So, this is part of a 2 story series that is all about child heroes. Though they can both stand alone, this is the 2ed story. The first one is "I am 15 Going on 30" and isn't really about the X-Men, but it tells things from a child hero's point of view. You don't need to read it, but they do go together. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own what rocks dream about.
My name is Charles Xavier and I'm training an exceptional group of students. Mutants. Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Marvel Girl and Angel. And… I love them as my own. They're brave, exceptional, extraordinary… young. Very, very, young.
None of them are out of high school. And yet I'm training them to fight terrorists. Adults who kill and torture and strip away any sense of innocence that they may yet possess… I'm telling them that they have to face these people. That they have a responsibility to do so. They believe me. After all, I'd know: I can train them, I know of forces beyond their control… and they want to be heroes.
I believe, were I evil, I could have convinced them to join me without inconceivable effort. If I'd said things right. Played the humans off as evil, as monsters willing to destroy us all. If I told them the humans now were modern day Hitlers, Stalins… I think they would have believed me. The thought terrifies me.
Because it means that if I am doing something wrong, if throwing these children into a war is wrong… they wouldn't know. I could be committing an atrocity and destroying their lives, and Scott would defend me, and Jean would smile at me, and none of them would know what I had truly done. None of them.
But it's necessary, isn't it? Someone has to fight. I can't. Not in this chair: there's only so much I can do. Someone has to fight. But does it have to be now? Do I have to send them out into the cruel, unforgiving world while they're still so young? I would give anything to believe the answer wasn't 'yes'.
Magneto isn't going to wait until they're grown. Neither will Task and his Sentinels. Who else can stand against them? Not the army. Not without causing far too many problems and escalating this into a different kind of war; one with far to many civilian casualties.
But there are other options, aren't there? The Avengers, the Fantastic Four... but no. We can't rely on them, not completely. They aren't mutants. They don't understand who we are or what we need. They certainly haven't helped defend us against the public, against the common folk! How can we trust them to fight our battles? No, this is an affair for mutants. And as I only started recruitment recently, I have nothing but children. Children I have done everything to train so that they may stay alive, but children.
Children to whom I do more than train to fight: I train them to lie! To their very parents! None of their parents know what they do, and I know that at first it was hard for my children to keep such an important truth from them. Is it better or worse that they seem far less conflicted now?
I remember wondering, struggling over what to say if any of my students should die. What to tell their parents. I remember deciding that I would then tell their parents who their child was; how brave they were and what a sacrifice they had made. It was the only human thing to do.
Now I think that was idealistic. If any of my students should lose their life, who am I to compromise the mission and dishonor their sacrifice? I would play it off as an accident, now. If the parents got suspicious… I could always convince them otherwise. The mission… it's what's most important. My students understand that.
When Jean first came here I remember her putting on makeup; doing her hair. I haven't seen that for so long… I don't think she believes there's a point anymore. Bobby cracks jokes like always, but they seem more methomedical now… scripted almost. Almost as if he's trying so hard to fill the role he once loved… I think Warren doesn't believe he's enough. I try to tell him he's important, that he has great potential, but the fact remains that his only mutation is in his wings, while all the others have more offensive powers. I try not to believe that Warren's boasts and apparent arrogance stem from his own perceived inadequacy. Scott was always serious, somber. I fear I've stolen any chance that he could live a normal life; a life of joy and love.
Perhaps, though, I haven't. Perhaps I could pull the plug now, disband the X-Men… at least until they're older. Bobby isn't old enough to do drive!
The dreadful humor of this war is that I've trained these children to be guns before they're even old enough to own one.
I could stop it, though. They wouldn't want to stop: they're too noble for that. But I could make them… even as I think this, I know it to be unrealistic. Impossible: I've made my choice. The fact of the matter is we need them. And even though I know it's killing them… we need to them to survive as a species! Later, when we've grown stronger, then we can send out the adults, and keep the children at home; safe and innocent. But for now… we need them. And were it possible I would give myself up for them in a heartbeat because I love them… but how else can we survive?
Mutants need to stand up for themselves, and… and they're all we have. I know it's hurting them. I know… I know. But we haven't a choice. I still try to improve Cerebro, hoping against hope to find someone older, someone who could be a soldier without being a child… There's something awful in seeing Bobby studying for midterms until three in the morning because he was out all day fighting the Brotherhood of Evil. (There's something even worse in seeing them not really care about their grades because Magneto caused a train wreck and they couldn't save everyone.)
But this isn't permanent. I know I'm sacrificing their childhoods and I hate it. But later. When we've grown stronger. It'll be over then. And then my child soldiers can come home and be safe. And I will still be every bit the monster I've always been. But we will have survived.
Nothing is more important than the mission. It'll be fixed later. I'm sorry, my children, my brave, brave children. Even though you don't know I've done that you should forgive me.