Professor Charles Xavier
Well, this got far better reception than I was anticipating. Cool beans. This chapter's also going to be a bit of setup, and then we'll get Dawn out and about and meeting the residents of the universe she's fallen into. The list - as it stands - will include members of both of the major mutant factions from X-Men: Evolution
, a few independent mutants, the Avengers, and even Spider-Man. And Spider-Woman, because that's how I roll.
"Would you mind buying me something white to wear for when I meet them? You know, so I blend in better? I'm sure I'll be able to pay you back once-"
"Once you explain to them that you are their middle daughter's fraternal twin from another dimension?" Charles Xavier leaned back in his wheelchair before steepling his fingers under his chin. "Just so you know, Dawn, I have already taken in several teenagers who couldn't remain in their previous situations once their powers manifested. As a matter of fact, they outnumber those who are paying tuition to attend my institute by a two-to-one margin. You wouldn't end up homeless or in state custody if you decided not to contact the Frosts."
Dawn frowned and flopped back in her chair, pulling her knees up to her chest. "Yeah, except I'm seeing a problem with being a part of that enrollment model. It kinda requires me to stay in your good graces if I want to keep a roof over my head and food in my tummy. What if I decide I don't like you? Or what you stand for? Then I'm back to being screwed and I've wasted time I could have spent getting to know my family." After a moment, Xavier nodded to concede the point and gestured for her to continue. "By the way, I love how you phrased things to make me sound like the biggest lunatic possible. I mean hey, maybe I am… but I'm a lunatic who can pass the DNA tests, which is all that matters to the muggle courts, isn't it? Heh. Muggles. Do you have a phrase for normal people that you guys use, or can I stick with that?"
After glancing down at his hands, Xavier looked over at the bookshelves that ran along the wall to Dawn's left. Following his line of sight, she found herself looking at the burnt and warped remains of a strange-looking metal helmet. "Erik coined the term 'flatscans', due to the difference in how they register on Cerebro. Some of my students continue to use it."
"Huh. 'Flatscans'. It lacks a certain… something… to be honest. Pass. I'll stick with muggles if it's all the same to you." Dawn tapped her fingers against her knees, patiently waiting for Xavier's attention to return to her. Because seriously, if she was going to have to bare her soul here, she wasn't going to do it for someone who wasn't even paying attention. "If it'll get you off my butt, though… my mom died last year. So did my sister, but then her friends brought her back. I wish they hadn't, as sick as that sounds, because she's not the same anymore. She's cold. Hard. Different. She's not my sister. And… I miss her. And my mom. And the dad I had before he ditched us to become a cradle-robbing douche. So if there's a chance I can be a part of a family again in this universe? Even if it's the Frost parents instead of Hank and my mom, and I'd have a brother and three sisters instead of just Buffy? I want to take it. And I don't think you have the right to try and stop me."
Rather than answer, Xavier just stared at her consideringly… and then Dawn felt the briefest of tickles against her mind before her body involuntarily shifted into diamond for the second time. That in turn made Xavier grimace, bringing his fingers up to rub at his temples. "My apologies. I've come to rely on my powers a bit too much in my day-to-day life, it seems. A habit I will have to break if you decide to stay with us."
"It's cool. My sister was telepathic for a few days back when I was in eighth grade and she couldn't stay out of our heads either." Dawn looked down at herself, imagining herself back in her flesh and blood form. It took a few seconds and some serious focus, but eventually her pale skin reappeared. As the reversion finished, an idle thought drifted through the blonde's mind. Xavier was an intelligent man. Maybe he knew… "Just out of curiosity, do you know what a stevedore is?"
"It's a term for a man who works at the docks loading and unloading ships. Why?"
"That… well, I suppose someone like that would have lots of stamina. And he'd be pretty strong. And considering who said it about who, I think that's about as far as I want to ride that train of thought." Dawn shuddered in disgust before uncurling her legs, leaning forward a bit. "So, like I said, I want to meet my family and I'm not going to let you stop me. Which means that at some point, I'm shipping up to Boston. The only real question here is… are you going to help me get there, or am I going to need to hitchhike?"
Opening the writing drawer, Xavier withdrew a white envelope and placed it atop his desk. "There's no need to resort to something so dangerous, Dawn. As I said, I'm quite capable of assisting young mutants who need my help. Even if I'm unsure of their true motives." He pushed the envelope across the desk toward her. "Inside that envelope, you will find two round-trip tickets between Croton Falls and New York aboard Metro-North, two tickets from New York to Boston and back aboard the Acela
, and a reasonable amount of spending money. Mister Howlett will drive you to the station tomorrow morning. Please be ready to leave by eight o'clock sharp. He doesn't like tardiness."
Dawn snorted, snatching the envelope up and opening it. "I get the feeling there aren't many things he does like." She set the tickets aside for the time being, focusing on the crisp green bills that filled the envelope. Thankfully, there were no Benjamins; a slightly scruffy middle-class girl wandering around with a pile of those would have been a bit too conspicuous for her liking. Instead, there were a pair of fifties and… fifteen twenty-dollar bills. More than reasonable in her opinion, especially since he was paying for her train fare on top of that, but she sure as hell wasn't going to argue. Glancing back down at the train tickets, she paused. One, two… three, four? Four tickets for each railroad? One there, one back, and what else? And then it hit her. Obviously Xavier wasn't going to let a strange girl with untamed powers and minimal knowledge of their world wander around without supervision. "So, who gets the fun job of playing my shadow?"
"I thought you might be more comfortable with one of your peers as a traveling companion, albeit one of the older and more experienced students here at the Institute." Xavier waved his hand, and Dawn turned to watch as the door opened to admit a slender redhead with stunning green eyes. "I'd like to introduce you to my protégé, Jean Grey. She is both a telepath and telekine, rendering her uniquely suited to handling any power-related incidents that may occur on your trip."
Definitely better than an adult shadow, and Dawn appreciated that she wouldn't have to spend the entire trip living in fear of her powers manifesting and doing… something. On the other hand? "Hmm. Does she come in any other colors? Not a big fan of redheads these days."