Written for Minisinoo's Powerswap Challenge. Since I'd proposed a powerswap challenge once myself, I couldn't resist. This one was: write a story focusing on Scott and Jean (I interpreted this as Scott and/or Jean) in movieverse, in which they have completely different powers. Swap other people as well, as desired.
The rain fell down in fits and spurts, angry cold wind kicking up for minutes at a time, then subsiding. Scott Summers wasn't much given to flights of fancy, but it didn't matter. He knew perfectly well that the rain was tears. Xavier might be too controlled to let anyone in the household actually see him cry, but the weather betrayed him, raining in jerky, barely controlled sobs.
Over 100 yards from the house, Scott could afford to turn off the degausser, and did. The nagging, aching pain of his powers being disrupted eased, and he could "see" the world properly again, metal and fiery nets of electricity glowing all around him. One such electrical net was approaching, through the air, and Scott doubted Charles would have the control to pull off flight, not tonight.
The electrical net landed behind him, rich with energy. Scott didn't turn around. "If you've come to apologize, it's not me you need to be talking to. You should be talking to Professor Xavier."
"Charles and I have already said all that we can say, tonight," Erik Lehnsherr said. He walked up behind Scott, his telekinetic shield extending, blocking the rain. Somehow this made Scott angrier. It was as if Professor Lehnsherr was blocking out the pain he was causing Professor Xavier, shutting it out. But then, Professor Lehnsherr had always been much better at blocking out other people's feelings than reading them. "I've actually come to talk to you."
"I'm not sure we have anything to say either. You're leaving. You packed your bags. Fine. Go."
Lehnsherr sighed. "Scott. You must understand. I cannot fight for what I do not believe, much as I might wish it otherwise. And this latest dream of Charles' is not only a naïve fancy, it actually offends me. You will set yourselves up as collaborators, oppressors of your own kind in favor of protecting the humans."
"We're going to protect people who need it. Humans or mutants. They're people too, you know, just as much as we are."
"Yes, I know that. But they will hardly acknowledge the same of us. And I cannot bring myself to endure being kicked and then still bringing the master his paper like a faithful dog. They are not worthy of the effort Charles wishes to put into them. Of the effort you will be putting into them."
"That's your opinion."
"True. But I can only make decisions based on my own opinions, not Charles'."
Scott turned around finally. "How long have you been waiting to do this?"
"I've thought it necessary for some time, but I wanted to make sure Hank was trained in the use of Cerebro first. I may not approve of the X-Men, but I still believe in training young mutants in the use of their powers. And I still think the appropriate place for such mutants to receive their training will be here."
"That's very generous of you."
"I had hoped you would be a trifle more mature about this."
"Sorry, I'm finding it very hard to be mature about you walking out on all of us, not to mention ripping Professor Xavier's heart to shreds while you're doing it. You could stay here and continue to work with training the new students, you know. You don't have to be involved with the X-Men."
"And when I see you return from some misguided mission of mercy, injured or dead for the sake of those who would declare you a nonperson and kill you, what then am I to do? I respect your beliefs enough to leave you now, instead of spending every single evening in fruitless arguments with Charles. Kindly respect mine, and understand why I cannot stay."
Scott shook his head. "We need you, Professor."
"For what? Your magnetism is a close duplicate to my telekinesis, and Hank is a far superior telepath. Charles makes a better teacher. And the studies you've undertaken while trying to overcome your disability make you close to my equal in electronics development. You and Hank can refine Cerebro as needed; you don't need me. The only thing I can contribute that none of you can is the harsh knowledge of what this world does to the different, and since you refuse to listen…"
"We've listened. We believe you. But we don't think war is inevitable. We know what could happen, but we also know it doesn't have to. We can fight to stop it."
"By setting yourselves up as protectors of humanity."
"More or less. And keeping other mutants from triggering the war by exploiting or hurting humans."
Lehnsherr was silent for a moment. "If I see a means of slowing or stopping the war, or winning it, and to do so I must take human lives… I will. Does that mean you will fight me, Scott?"
"If we have to. I don't want to."
"No. Quite aside from the personal considerations I think you know I know your powers too well to lose to you."
"That goes both ways, Professor."
"It does." Lehnsherr sighed. "Scott, I didn't want it to be this way. You are- you have always been like a son to me." He smiled ironically. "If it were biologically possible for Charles and I to have a son, in fact, he would be much like you. You and I have always shared an affinity."
Scott knew what he meant. It wasn't only that Scott's magnetic powers, when working properly, behaved more like Lehnsherr's telekinesis than anyone else's powers. It was because they were both crippled, not like Professor Xavier in a place where all the world could see, but in their powers. Lehnsherr had never been able to overcome his own monstrous mental shielding to be an active mindreader- he could sense mutants, he had built Cerebro, he could do limited things with mind control and astral projection, but he couldn't read minds, not since the voices of the dying at Auschwitz had come flooding in in his adolescence and he'd had the choice of blocking them or dying himself. And an old head injury had robbed Scott of the ability to turn off his powerfield- he could control it, manipulate its polarity and strength within limits, but without actually being able to shut it down he couldn't go near any piece of sophisticated electronics without destroying it. For a bright young man with mechanical aptitude and an interest in cars, planes, motorcycles and computers, this had been sheer hell- Scott hadn't been able to drive a car made after 1980 or so once his powers kicked in in late adolescence, or go near a computer, or a television, or a telephone. Lehnsherr had built him the degaussing belt, a way to keep his powers under control when he wasn't actively using them, so he could live a normal life as long as he was willing to put up with arthritis-like pain throughout his body and the loss of what felt like eyes and hands at the same time.
That was part of why this hurt so much. Lehnsherr walking out on Professor Xavier and the school felt like being abandoned by a father, and Scott had had rather enough of that from his actual father. "Yeah, well, you're the one leaving."
"I am sorry. I'm not doing this to hurt you. Or to hurt Charles, for that matter, though I recognize that I can't avoid doing either. But I can't stand by and watch you throw your lives away for a fool's dream of paradise, either." He shook his head. "If Charles and I were fathers to you, he is obviously the one you take after, for all the affinities we two have shared. You cannot conceive of the notion that he might be wrong, can you?"
"You can't conceive of the notion that he might be right. I didn't burn my human race membership card when I discovered I was a mutant. I think Professor Xavier is right, not because I believe him and I don't believe you, but because I think we do have an obligation to humanity. All humanity. Mutants and normal people both."
"We're not like them, Scott. Someday you'll have to realize that."
"Someday maybe you'll remember that we are."
The rain had stopped, turning into occasional gusting winds, like the final tearless sobs of a man who'd finally, mostly, forced his pain down inside him. "This conversation is as fruitless as the one I had with Charles," Lehnsherr said, sounding frustrated. "I… I had better go."
"Yeah, maybe you'd better."
"Take care of Charles. He will need you." He smiled sadly. "Take him to the desert if you need to. He spends too much time forcing his emotions down. I realize his ethics won't let him lose control, but I don't like to think of him shutting down his feelings. Bring him someplace where even the worst he can do will harm no one, if you must. And stay with him."
Scott nodded. Being immune to electricity, able to generate his own heat from electromagnetic energy, and able to anchor himself to the earth's magnetic field even in the face of a blasting gale made him the best equipped to stand by Professor Xavier if Xavier did let go of his control. Ororo's healing factor wouldn't stop her from being thrown by winds and Jean's fire powers were absolutely useless in a hurricane. "I intended to."
And with that Erik Lehnsherr lifted into the air, a large satchel containing all the possessions he apparently considered worth taking with him floating beside him, and flew away.
Notes: Scott has Magneto's powers, but the brain damage that in canon keeps him from being able to shut off his eyebeams keeps him from shutting off his magnetic field voluntarily. Erik has Jean Grey's powers, but his telepathy largely doesn't work for the reasons explained in the story. Xavier has Ororo's powers, Jean has Pyro's powers, Ororo has Logan's powers and Hank McCoy actually has Emma Frost's powers, as I was planning on having Rogue have Xavier's powers eventually but I needed a telepath right now.
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