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Posted: Jan 8 2016, 03:07 AM
After Heavy Hearts and Minds
Charles sat by Fabian's bed in the medlab where the young man had dozed off, now in his usual daytime wardrobe of slacks, a button up shirt and a thick cardigan with a mug of tea in hand since it didn't seem likely that he was going to go back to sleep anytime soon.
Quietly, he sipped his tea as he studied the red haired boy. It was hard to imagine that someone so young could do the things he'd claimed to have done. Even harder to imagine how he managed to fall into such things. Still, from the turmoil that he could sense now that he was looking and the younger man's shields were temporary down in sleep he could sense that what he'd confessed was indeed true.
How awful would it be to go through the rest of your life knowing that you'd done such terrible things and know that nothing you did would make up for even a fraction of it? Charles didn't even want to think about how he'd have handled things in Fabian's place, he doubted that he could.
Fabian couldn't help but be surprised as he actually felt himself waking up. Sleep had been evading him for so long it was always a surprise to actually feel himself waking up. As he did so, however, the events of the previous...however long it had actually been came trickling in. He was glad he had finally done it, yes. The weight of sharing what he knew was something he could gladly lift but now there existed a whole new world of unknowns to cope with. A part of him wanted to curl in on himself and pretend he wasn't waking up at all but he knew there was someone else in the room; he just knew. Who would leave him alone at this time?
As he opened his eyes relief and dread came hand in hand as Charles Xavier came into sight. "Hello," Fabian got out, sitting up perhaps too quickly but not exactly relishing the vulnerability of laying asleep in front of the man. Just because Xavier didn't want him dead did not make him safe.
"Good morning," Charles said, polite and soft-spoken as always. "Well...early morning, at any rate. I hope that you're feeling a little better after some rest, however brief it was. I find that everything feels less terrible after a good night's sleep."
Fabian tried not to make his look too flat but he was pretty much Lehnsherr would have had to do a lot worse to him to get him to sleep long enough for anything to be less terrible. "Good morning, sir. Yes, a little, I'm sure...are they still on the plane flying out?"
"Yes, they left shortly after I sent you along to the medlab." He was silent for awhile, studying the younger man. "Why did you decide to reveal yourself now, Fabian?"
"How could I not?" He couldn't even fathom going on with the charade any longer than he had. The sleepless nights ran together, the horrible thoughts, guilt, everything. How could he have made it any further than he had made himself suffer already? "I just hope that I'm not too late and nothing has changed."
"You might very well have saved a few lives," Charles said, setting his tea aside on the bedside table for now. "Although you're a long way from atoning for all the others that you had a hand in ending yet."
"Atonement seems like an out-of-reach goal." Fabian replied. Just because it was what he wanted didn't mean it was what he was going to be able to get. Fabian Cortez may have grown up ridiculously wealthy but even he knew you didn't always get what you wanted or what you needed. Still, there was a part of him that would hope although he knew more than likely he would not get his chance. Atonement for him meant being around to make a difference, not rotting in a cell or rotting in the ground.
"It's what you want though, isn't it?" Charles asked mildly.
"It seems like the only actual good that I could do. The other alternatives do nothing but let others feel vindicated...which is good in and of itself, I suppose." They deserved their justice but it would be hollow in Fabian's eyes.
"I don't believe that your death would make up for all that's happened. Nor do I think spending the rest of your life behind bars would either. You'd have to spend thousands of years that you won't live and die just as many times to truly make up for everything."
Charles steepled his fingers. "I won't lie to you, even if you spend the rest of your life trying to undo the wrongs you've done you'll never manage to completely wash all of the blood off your hands...but you'll have tried and I think that might make the weight that you're going to have to carry just a little bit lighter than if you don't."
"I want to make you an offer, Fabian..." he said, reaching for his tea again. "I believe that everyone should have a second chance in life and this is going to be yours if you choose to take it. However, it isn't without a price so I want you think hard on what it is I'm about to propose to you." *about to propose to you."
There was a slight skepticism in Fabian's face. The last time someone had made a proposition to him he had ended up halfway around the world doing the only thing in his life so far he could honestly say he regretted. There was no choice to be had in the matter, however, not one he could see. "What is your offer, if I may ask?" There was also curiosity in his face; that couldn't be denied.
"You've already turned on your employers, if your information leads to their capture and imprisonment - which I'm sure it will - then you will join this school as a student, attempt make amends to those you've wronged if they'll let you, learn how to become an example of mutantkind for humanity. Perhaps even help make the world a place where both mutants and humans can co-exist peacefully. Essentially, what I ask of any young person that comes to this place."
The offer was, at first, met with silence. There was the odd shuffling in the nearby rooms where Fabian had no doubt that staff or student were still shuffling around perhaps but he didn't pay it any mind, too trapped in his own thought process to consider doing so. It was the best offer he could ever have considered even though he couldn't really see that it was going to come close to what he felt he needed. You didn't always get what you wanted or needed, however. Fabian wasn't entirely sure he should eve get this. "What about the others, though? Wouldn't my presence here be bringing them undue stress? I can't imagine any family not pulling someone from the school once they caught wind of the situation."
"I will never turn away anyone in need who feels truly remorseful. Either they will understand in time or they will leave of their own accord and I will have to respect their choices whether I like it or not, just as they must respect mine. You might be surprised though how many people will be willing to forgive when presented with a sincere apology."
"...I do have some conditions though," Charles added.
"I suppose it's only fair to hear yours before I answer, then." Fabian replied although his own answer was already formulating in his mind.
"I ask that until your employers are captured you remain in the school and that you submit to a full telepathic scan." He smiled apologetically before draining his cup. "I'm sorry, normally I would never ask this of anyone but unfortunately I am taking something of a risk in bringing you here and the safety of my students is paramount."
Fabian had to snort. That was it? Those were his conditions. "Done. I'm the twin brother of an empath, Professor. You're not going to bother me by having a tiptoe through the tulips in my mind...and it's not like I have much in the way of choices to go unless I was to fly back home and I am certainly not ready to show up there without said empath or at least knowing what happened to her." He paused, face going back to the seriousness of before as he decided to go ahead and make his own condition. "If one of the former Horsemen or Cecilia want to leave this place because of my presence I would like the chance to leave first. I will gladly work with you still but I do not want to cost them an opportunity and, as I see it, they are the ones that truly would have a right to complain about me being here."
Charles just smiled. "If it comes to that; I think you'll be surprised."
"Now, would you like to do the scan now or...?" "Be my guest." Fabian replied, "It'll almost be relieving to make sure every bit of it is out in the open."
Charles nodded, raising his fingers to his temple, a mannerism that he had adopted in youth to warn someone he was about to use his powers. "Try to relax."
Fabian decided to lay back down, never entirely sure what to do or think when he knew something like this was happening. It was like preparing for guests that you didn't realize were coming over. The pantry was bare and the house was a mess but there they were right at the door. "I think this may be as relaxed as I get for a while."
"I understand," Charles said, already flipping through his memories like cards in a rolodex, examining each one with a speed and ease that most telepaths could only envy until after a minute or so he lowered his hand. "I think that covers it."
"So...did any of that change anything? Do we still have a deal?" A small part of Fabian wondered if he should be ashamed of the nerves in his voice as he asked the question. The rest of him, however, didn't care. He just wanted the answer.
"No, we still have a deal. Actually it helps a little, to know my faith isn't misplaced."
"It isn't?" He laughed, sitting back up again. "Well, I shall be relieved to know that for certain then."
Charles smiled, although it was a bit sad. "Welcome to the school, Fabian."
Fabian's expression matched the Professor's despite all of the worries that were still flooding through his mind and the fact that he was thanking the man for so much more than his welcome. "Thank you, Professor."