Lost and Found
Disclaimer: I own nothing in this story! All references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon. All references to X-Men: Evolution belong to Stan Lee, I guess, since he's the creator of the original X-Men. I intend no infringement with this story; I am simply letting my plot bunnies out to play.
Summary: Professor Charles Xavier has always treated his students like they were his own children, to make up for the losses in his own life. When a strange disturbance registers on Cerebro, he gets the chance to reclaim someone he loved and lost. Extremely AU!
Rating: FR-15, I suppose, for violence and some language.
Timeline: Somewhere in season one of X-Men Evolution, after Rogue joins the team, and near the end of Season Three of Buffy. There will also be multiple flashbacks to times before both series begin.
Author's Note: In writing this story, I have tried to stay as true to life and the X-Men comic books, as well as the show, as I can. However, in order to make these two universes gel properly, I have had to make some adjustments for artistic license. Most of these adjustments will be to Professor Xavier's back-story. So to anyone who is a die-hard X-Men fan, please do not be offended!
Prologue: From Death Comes Life
Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.
Bayville, New York , November 19, 1981 – Bayville Hospital
If he could be in there with her, he would be. He cursed his disability and the wheelchair that prevented him from being at her side. Lizzie...
Charles wished that he could pace. Hell, he wished that he could walk to Lizzie's side and be with her, holding her hand, murmuring reassurances to her. But because he was confined to a wheelchair and because of the delicate nature of the procedure, he couldn't be with her when she needed him most. He couldn't even reach out to her with his telepathy and let her know that he was with her that way, because the doctors had her so heavily drugged.
He glanced at the clock mounted on the wall of the waiting room for the umpteenth time. What is taking so long? he wondered to himself, not for the first time. It seemed that he had been here forever, but hardly any time had passed.
He tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair impatiently as he tried to rein in his worry and his fear. Everything had seemed to be going so well for the last few months. He had Lizzie and they were together and happy and everything had been perfect. He should have known that it couldn't last, but even the recent loss of his ability to walk hadn't overly dampened their happiness. It had all changed a few short hours ago.
Was that all? he wondered. Just a few hours ago, everything was perfect? Why must everything change so quickly?
Lizzie had woken him up early this morning, screaming in pain. He had soothed her with his power, taking some of her pain into himself to try to help her as he rushed her to the hospital in their specially modified van. He had called ahead to the hospital and to Lizzie's doctor to let them know that they were on their way. As a result, he had barely pulled the van to a stop before the doctors were there, rushing Lizzie into an examination room. He'd parked the van before entering the hospital and being directed to the ER waiting room.
Fortunately it had only been a few minutes before Lizzie's doctor had emerged from the ER looking for him. The expression on her face had spoken volumes to him before she even said a word.
"Susan…how is she?" he asked, looking up at the tall, elegant woman, whose long brown hair was neatly braided up out of the way, her dark brown eyes reflecting her concern.
Susan shook her head. "Not good, Charles. She's gone into premature labor. We can't stop the contractions."
He knew he paled at that news. Lizzie was only seven months along. "Why? Everything was going fine at her last check-up!"
"We don't know Charles." Susan replied.
"What are the options?" Charles asked, swallowing back his fear.
"All we can really do is let the baby come and then try to figure out why she went into labor so soon," Susan responded. "Charles, Lizzie is in a lot of pain, even with the medications we've given her. It would be easier on her and the baby if we went ahead and performed a caesarian section."
"What are the risks?"
"It's hard to say without knowing why she went into labor so soon. Fortunately, she was seven months along, which will give the baby a higher chance of survival than if she was…say…five months along." The doctor sighed. "Until the baby is born, we just won't know for sure." Susan speared him with a Look. "Charles, we need your approval to go ahead with the caesarian. We have Lizzie too heavily drugged to give us permission."
He nodded. "Of course."
As Susan turned to leave, he reached out and caught her hand. "Help her, Susan. Please."
She gave him a sympathetic look. "I will, Charles. I'll do everything I possibly can for her. You have my word. We're going to move her to the delivery rooms. I'll send a nurse to come and take you up to the waiting room upstairs."
Now he waited. Too long, and yet not long enough, he waited for word. He was anxious and he feared greatly for Lizzie and the baby. She had been having such a good pregnancy so far, and there had been no signs of anything wrong at her last appointment just a week ago. There were no indicators.
What went wrong?
Intellectually, he knew he should call Lizzie's parents, let them know what was going on. They were in Toronto, and it would take time for them to get down here, but he knew they would want to know. But all he could think of was Lizzie.
Lizzie had never been as strong, physically, as some of the other women that he had known, but Susan had said there would be little risk in her bringing the baby full term. They'd been keeping a close eye on her just to be safe, but Lizzie was young and in perfect health. She'd been doing everything that she'd been told to do, and she had simply blossomed over the last few months. Her face had been to radiant and excited, and her enthusiasm had been contagious.
The double doors leading to the delivery room swung open just then and Susan stepped into the waiting room. Her surgical greens were smeared with blood and she looked tired, but that was not what arrested Charles' gaze and sent a thrill of fear down his spine like ice. It was the sadness in her eyes.
"Charles, congratulations. You have a daughter," Susan told him quietly as she came up next to where he was sitting. Her voice was soft and displayed none of the joy that such news should have brought.
He swallowed nervously. "Lizzie?"
Before she could say it, he knew.
"She didn't make it Charles. I'm so sorry. She was bleeding internally and she lost too much blood before we could even start the procedure. We tried, but we couldn't stop the bleeding." Susan laid a hand on his shoulder. "We tried, Charles."
One word, spoken so softly. Who knew that one word could echo in his heart and mind so poignantly? A word of denial, of not wanting to accept what he had been told. It isn't true! It can't be true! he thought frantically. Reaching out with his telepathy he desperately sought the one mind that he knew as well as his own, and one he could find anywhere on the planet with ease.
Lizzie? Dear heart, please answer me!
His search met only blankness. Where he had once been able to reach out and touch her bright, shining mind with little effort, now there was only a cold, empty darkness. Lizzie!
Susan…her hand was still on his shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. He tried to pull himself back to attention, but his heart was breaking. Sweet, beautiful Lizzie…with her soft golden hair and sparkling, mischievous green eyes, whose petite form could fit into his lap with ease. She had been perfect in every way that mattered, and had done more for him than he could possibly have dreamed when he first met her.
She had stood by him through everything, though all the pain of learning that he would never walk again, the anger and frustration that he had felt at his new limitations, the intense, painful physical therapy. She had been the one who had come up with the plans to change their home to accommodate his wheelchair and she had executed those plans so that everything was finished and ready for him when he came home for the first time after the accident. She was the one who had convinced him that their life together wasn't going to end just because he could no longer walk. And then, finding out that she was pregnant, that a new chapter in their lives was beginning, watching her blossom…it had made him believe that everything would work out for the best.
He forced himself to focus on the doctor and not on his memories. "My daughter? Will she live?" If he lost Lizzie and his daughter all at once…
"It's too soon to tell for sure, Charles. She was breathing when she was born, and as far as we can tell, there weren't any complications from the premature birth, but she is very small and very weak. We have her in an incubator with oxygen and we're monitoring her very closely. She's been moved to the Neonatal ICU. The next few days are going to be the most critical. Her chances of survival will increase with each day, but she is premature, and other complications could still arise."
He nodded, understanding what Susan told him intellectually, but not wanting to accept it emotionally. To do so would mean to accept the fact that he still might lose his daughter. "May I see her?"
She smiled sadly at him. "Of course Charles. Come with me."
Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There's a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.
Two months later…Xavier Mansion…1407 Greymalkin Lane, Bayville, New York
He steered his chair up the ramp to the door with the utmost care and attention. One arm held his daughter, carefully bundled up against the cold winter air, while he maneuvered his chair with the other hand. Reaching to the control panel on the arm of the chair he pressed a button and the door opened automatically. That had been Lizzie's idea, he remembered with a pang, but he had never been as grateful for it as he was now.
"Welcome home, my love," he spoke aloud, gazing down at the sleeping face of his precious, precious burden.
She stirred ever so slightly, but did not wake. He smiled at her, thankful that she was alive. Lizzie would have been happy to know that their child had survived, even if she'd had to give her life to make it happen.
"Charles?" Susan McGee stepped up next to him. He glanced up at her from where he was seated next to the incubator that held the tiny form of his daughter. It had been two long weeks since Lizzie's death. Somehow he'd managed to contact Lizzie's parents with the news of their only child's death and the birth of their grand-daughter. Somehow he'd managed to arrange Lizzie's funeral and memorial service, and somehow he'd made it through the funeral, watching as his Lizzie was laid to rest in the small family cemetery at the back of his property, next to his parents. All the while, however, he had feared for his daughter's life.
"I just spoke to the pediatricians that are monitoring your daughter's case, Charles. I have good news. They just got the latest batch of test results back and it looks like she's going to make it. There are no abnormalities in her blood work, and all the tests we ran came back clean. She is still underdeveloped, and we'll be keeping her here for at least another month, but she's eating well and the premature birth doesn't seem to have caused any complications."
He stared up at Susan, who had been Lizzie's best friend her whole life. When they had found out the news of Lizzie's pregnancy, there had been no doubt in her mind about who her primary physician would be. "Thank you." He fought back tears of joy. His daughter would live.
Susan laid a hand on his shoulder. "I will warn you Charles. Her struggles aren't over yet. Preemies are often more susceptible to illness and injury while they're young than full-term babies. Other problems may still show up as she gets older, and she may never be as strong, physically, as other children her age."
He nodded, returning his gaze to the tiny form of his daughter in the incubator. Her chest rose and fell, steadily but slowly. He didn't care. He would deal with any problems that might arise as they came. All that mattered was that she would live and that Lizzie's death was not in vain.
"Charles, there's one more thing," the doctor continued, drawing his attention to her again. "I've filled out her birth certificate, but I need to know what her name is."
"We…we hadn't chosen one. Lizzie had liked the name Kathleen, but I didn't agree," he replied quietly. He hadn't chosen a name for his daughter yet, because, somewhere, deep in the most emotional part of his psyche, he had been afraid that if he gave her a name before knowing for sure that she would live, it would hurt all the more if she didn't make it.
Susan smiled in understanding. "I'll let you think about it, then. Let me know when you've made a decision." She checked a few of the readouts on the side of the incubator and made some notes on the infant's chart, before turning to continue her rounds.
His voice stopped her before she had left the room. "Elizabeth."
She turned back. "Charles?"
He looked back up at her as she returned to his side. "She'll be named after her mother. Lizzie's full name was Elizabeth Anna, so our daughter will be Elizabeth Anne Xavier."
Susan smiled warmly. "Lizzie would be proud, Charles."
He reached down and caressed his daughter's cheek. She looked so much like her mother, with soft, wispy blonde hair and green eyes. She was still so tiny, but he didn't care. This was the last, most precious gift that his Lizzie had given him. You would be proud, Lizzie. If you can see her, I hope that you know just how important she is to me. I'll protect her with everything I have…I promise.
It had been two long, wearying months, full of heartbreak and sorrow and incredible loss…but maybe now…maybe things were finally looking up. He had his daughter, and she had him. What more did he really need? He smiled again. "My Elizabeth." Leaning down, he kissed her gently on the head.
Hark, a solemn bell is ringing,
Clear through the night;
You, my love, are heav'nward winging,
Home through the night.
Earthly dust from off thee shaken,
By good angels art thou taken;
Soul immortal shalt thou waken,
Home through the night.
-"All Through the Night" – Old Welsh Lullaby