A/N: Dunno why this is suddenly present tense. Sorry. And thank you for your comments. This bit is set at the beginning of the first movie.
Charles Xavier is a knower of minds. Some people sample wines, taste them, evaluate them. He does the same with minds. He hardly remembers a time when he has not slipped almost automatically into a person’s mind to catch just a hint of their essence, of who they are. It might not always be the nice thing, the proper thing to do, sneaking in people’s heads without their knowledge but he can’t really control it after so many years.
Since childhood he has been trained by two wonderful people to use his skill. To use it right and to use it good. To not abuse it and to not give in to the bitterness like Erik did. He thinks sometimes that he is not stronger than Erik because he resisted. He is merely….duller. Into how many thousands of heads has he looked in his life? Too many. And there was darkness in every single one. He’s known the evil inherent in man for as long as memory serves. He didn’t learn to hate it. He learned instead to search for the sunny place in a person’s mind, for the balance. Most days, he finds it.
Still, Charles is a knower of minds. Everyone tastes differently. Ororo’s is calm and deep as the ocean. She has no hate, only sadness. If her mind had a colour, it would be dark blue. He finds peace there, whenever she allows him in. Scott’s mind is perhaps, of all his student’s minds the most ordinary. His powers have not set up shop in his psyche. Jean and teaching and saving the world keep him happy, balanced, until he has a bad night and the memories come. Jean is more complicated, layered. A maze of the hidden and forbidden and he feels guilty every time he sets foot in it because he’s the one who made it so. Her mind is red. Erik’s is, not like one might expected, a twisted labyrinth of hate and rage. He has flushed the hate out a long time ago, has distilled his rage. He can think clearly, he can plan and process. He doesn’t let his emotions get in the way.
All those minds are interesting but they are far from the most fascinating he has ever seen. No, the most fascinating, the most complex and beautiful minds he has ever found were also the first he slipped into.
Lizzy’s was wonderful. Like a carnival of loops and hoops, swirls and twirls. Lizzy was never quite sane and her mind was proof of that. Some moments repeated endlessly inside her head while others, weeks or even months, were completely missing. Nothing about Lizzy was linear or logical. She jumped from one point to another, all over the place and she was old.
As a teenager he didn’t quite understand just how old she was but now, as he feels his own age creeping up on him, he does. Centuries lived inside of Lizzy and ever year leaves a mark. A child’s mind is small, with few memories and the older a person grows, the more memories they have, the bigger their mind becomes, the larger their treasure chests and rooms of memories.
The other mind that still fascinates him to this day is Logan’s. Not quite as old as Lizzy, his mind was nevertheless a maze of recollections that seemed endless because of his enhanced senses. Colour, sound, smell, texture became an endless ocean of sensation for Logan and through him, for Charles. His mind was dark and warm and cosy and full sensual impressions, memories and Lizzy.
Lizzy and Logan had always been each other’s focus until the day Logan disappeared and Lizzy came to Charles in his sleep, called for his mind and told him that Logan was gone. That was twenty years ago and he has heard nothing of either of the two since then. It’s why he thinks of them in the past tense. Hope, he has learned after Erik, is a fickle thing. Knowledge is better. Knowledge doesn’t betray you. It doesn’t play you for a fool. But he’s rambling. Lizzy and Logan. They were each other’s focus. Logan was Lizzy’s anchor, the one thing binding her to the here and now of everyone else. He was the line she clung through year after year after year. He made sense of her world.
And to Logan, Lizzy was all the beauty in the world, all the miracle and hope and joy and light and happiness. She was his heart and breath and food and drink. Logan wanted, for as long as Charles knew him, to crawl inside Lizzy and never be anywhere else ever again. That’s how much they loved each other.
Charles knows all this because he is a knower of minds and once he knows a mind, he never forgets it again. And so it comes as quite a shock when he suddenly feels the familiar tingle of a mind so much older than all others at the edge of his own, coming closer. Scott and Ororo as well as another mutant are close to it, messing with what he senses but he could never get this one wrong. Could never not notice it in a crowd.
Because it’s old and deep and feels like cigars and booze, long nights and infinite patience with just a hint of wilderness underneath. It feels like crazy love for a crazy girl and two hundred years of memories.
Except it doesn’t. The crazy love is still there but he’s forgotten who he feels it for and the memories…there are so few of them. Young memories in an old mind. Charles shakes his head, slips away from the approaching minds, refuses to believe. He must be getting confused in his old age. It can’t be. It can’t.
That would mean…it can’t be.
Hours later Logan comes stomping into his office, grumpy and stubborn and smelling of cigars and wolf and not of Lizzy and he glares at Charles with a look that’s all too familiar and no spark of recognition in his eyes. This Logan does not know Charles. This Logan does not remember teaching him and Erik, taking them out to get drunk for the first time. He does not remember helping to build this school. And what is possibly the worst thing, he does not remember the crazy girl he loves.
Charles sits in his wheelchair, staring across his desk at this old friend and he has no words to speak.
+Wishlist 2011, Timestamp