Charles knew that they were angry with him. He didn't need to be a telepath to recognize it. It was in their careful responses and the side looks. Alex had been the first one he saw it in; his emotions were always an open book. That was what had probably landed him in jail in the first place. Sean had shown it through the longer than usual pauses in his speech and Hank, Hank had just become quieter.
The only reason their hostility wasn't open was, ironically, because of his other problems. They all still respected him, saw him as their savior and teacher. They knew that he was having a difficulty adjusting to the wheelchair and the loss of his sister and friend. Charles had to give a bitter smile when he thought of it. Even when they were angry they were still being considerate. He was someone you were considerate of.
All courtesy aside the anger was still there. Perhaps it had been made worse because they felt they couldn't say anything about it. Charles knew that they talked about it amongst themselves. He had no desire to know what it was that they said, what they theorized. It was enough for him to know that they were displeased. Anything after that was just unpleasant details.
He knew, without anyone saying a word, that it was about Moira. She hadn't played as big a role in the lives of the mutants as he or Erik had, but she had been there. She had been a physical reminder that humans could be trusted and that Shaw was wrong. Moira had shown that humans could be on their side, no matter what the opposition.
Ironically it had been the students who Moira had been closest to that had stayed on. She had never really gelled with Raven or Angel. The two of them had always been too independent to accept a government official wholeheartedly into their lives. Her presence had not been welcome to them. There were other factors, he was sure of that, but those who had not been friends with their resident homo sapien had joined Erik.
There were also various reasons why the boys had gotten along with her. Sean said she reminded him of his older sister whom he missed. Though Moira didn't understand most of what Hank had said, she had at least listened to him when he explained the difference between a particle and a wave. Alex had craved vindication, despite his delinquent status, and who better to give it than a CIA official?
So, as her friends, the boys had been reasonably upset when he sent her away without so much as a goodbye. No, he hadn't just sent her away; he'd tampered with her memories first. Charles hadn't consulted anyone about his plans, hadn't even shared doubts about keeping their location secure. As he had explained to them after the matter there had been no malice in his actions and no suspicion. He had just decided what had needed to be done and then done it; simple as that.
He had good reasons for proceeding like he had. For one thing he had been afraid that they would protest. Hank might not have; even now Charles could tell that he understood his choice. Alex and Sean were a different story. It might take days that they didn't have for him to convince them that erasing her memories of the school was the best choice available.
Even Moira might protest. She would, of course, have to be told if she was going to be given appropriate goodbyes. She might have felt like it was a betrayal of the trust she had unconditionally given them. He did have to admit that it was a poor payoff for everything she had done. Charles didn't blame her for that, but again it was something that they didn't have time for. She would have to go back to the CIA at some point.
The third reason was himself. Charles hadn't wanted to do that to her. He'd been impressed by her bravery, tenacity, trust, acceptance, and intelligence. He made no secret that he had been attracted to her. And he knew she harbored feelings for him. They had seemed on the brink of something before Cuba. Then there had been the tempestuous weeks in the hospital. He had witnessed her steadfast attempts to keep their location secret in the hospital. After that she had firmly shooed away CIA agents who tried to interview him in his sickroom.
Some of that was guilt. He had told her that she had done the right thing on the beach, something he firmly believed. She had attempted to distract Erik, to make him drop more missiles. Moira had even aimed for his shoulder. If Erik had been thinking with his head and not letting his anger rule him then he would have seen that. His own injury was an accident, nothing more than extreme rotten luck. He wasn't sure she completely believed him, but she had swallowed her lingering guilt to try and help him in the hospital.
Overall Moira hadn't deserved to have those memories removed. Truthfully it would have been very easy for him to be convinced not to do it. Sean and Alex could have bombarded him. If they had pleaded enough then they could have brought Hank onto their side. With all of them against it it would have been hard. Especially if Moira had pleaded for her memories.
If that happened then he would have been left defenseless. Charles was very familiar with his own mind, how he would start to think. If they were all against it, then why should he have the final say? Shouldn't their opinions count for something? So even he would have worked against himself in the end. If he had waited on the decision, even by a day, then he might have talked himself out of it.
He kept telling himself she couldn't stay. She was the only member of their team who hadn't become a violent radical or retired to his school. Secrecy had to be their watchword and, as much as it had pained him to admit it, she was a loose end that needed to be tied up. He could deal with the resentment of his students; a resentment that he knew would lessen with time, if it kept them safe.
So he knew it was better that he had taken the decision on himself. They couldn't have a security risk. He felt disgusted when he thought of her as such, but it was true. She still worked for the CIA and they would see her as a continuous source of knowledge of their location unless she didn't know it. He could make that happen. He had. End of story. No matter how much he might have wished otherwise, the subject was closed.
Charles tried to shut the memory out with work. Since there was rather a lot of work to do it wasn't that difficult, although the memory never fully went away. Remodeling the mansion into a school was a harder job than he had originally imagined. He had seen it as a simple task. There were so many rooms; they could just add extra furniture. They certainly didn't lack for funds, his stepfather had seen to that. Dormitories could be designated and maybe he could better stock the library with more appropriate titles.
It wasn't until Hank had pointed out a fatal flaw did he see how complicated it really was. For a dormitory you would need more than just a few rooms with beds. Walls needed to be knocked down and electronic outlets installed. The kitchen would need to have more food storage facilities added. More bathrooms would have to be set up too; something so obvious he couldn't believe he'd missed it.
Luckily for him he had the cheapest, and most enthusiastic, wrecking crew in the world. Alex especially loved to tear down walls with his newly controlled powers. The noise on the first three days had been incredible. Hank had stayed with him, hovering nearby wondering if Alex was going to bring the mansion down.
Sean was good at ordering and directing the influx of furniture from the local town, but he was rather liberal with the paint for the new walls. Sometimes even Hank would join in for games that would leave the rooms messy and cans of paint wasted. At least he always volunteered to go back to the town to get more.
Charles also had to spend time finding teachers who would be willing to make the school feasible in the makeshift Cerebro that had been constructed. He wanted to keep the student to teacher ratio low, at least at first. Since he had received positive answers to his call for students, he and Erik had only had one negative response to their recruiting after all, he needed more teachers. There were promising responses from a few so far.
Sometimes Charles wondered if it was ever going to get done. It was just one of many things that woke him during the night in a cold sweat. Many, many piles of paperwork had to be put through before he could get permission to open up a private school. He had never thought that the bureaucracy would be this complicated when someone wanted to set up a school. So he had struggled with only Hank to help him on the finer aspects of legalizing Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
Finally the paperwork had gone through and children and teachers would be arriving in a few days. Classes had been sorted out and the kitchen was going to be stocked with food. There were only small, last minute touches to add on now. He realized he could do this, he could make it happen. Even as wiring problems built up he still had glimmers of hope, rushing around and trying to fix things.
Yet, all of this he did in a wheelchair he despised. The halls had never been more cluttered, more difficult for him to maneuver. He wanted to scream sometimes at the unfairness of it all. He should be helping put up new walls and paint, not just sit there watching approvingly. When students came he wouldn't be able to keep up with them.
His wheelchair was an almost constant source of grief. At the end of the day his arms ached from having to spin the wheels. He had never been very strong and it was coming back for him now. One of the boys had to help him with nearly everything he did. The feeling of helplessness built up, especially when he ran his wheelchair into the doorframe or couldn't turn it around.
In that frame of mind he wheeled himself into the mansion's library four months after he had been released to his home. He was exhausted but relieved to be free of problems for the day. The relief quickly faded when he saw the shape silhouetted by the window. Charles flipped on the light switch, more angry than anything.
The anger leeched out as he saw who it was. It was replaced by panic.
"The door was open, so I let myself in," Moira said, turning around, "I didn't want to bother anyone."