What If?

The house and backyard were dark and quiet, if you could call the gigantic grounds and huge mansion a house and backyard. A car pulled up to the back, slowly and quietly. A small dark figure got out of the drivers side, hurried around to the passengers side, grabbed some bags and a small bundle, and hurried into the house. Inside the house the figure left the light off, feeling it's way around the kitchen in a not-quite-familiar-with-it's-surroundings-yet kind of way. It finally came to the little island counter in the middle of the room, placed the bags on it, checked whatever was in the bundle, then slowly and quietly left the room. The figure had just made it past the library doors, thinking it was safe, when…

'Moira?' Asked a voice from inside her head.

'Damnit, Charles I can explain.' She thought desperately.

'Come into the library. Please'

Moira pushed open the gigantic doors to reveal a huge library, filled with every type of book imaginable. Charles was sitting across from Erik facing the Moira, they were both absorbed in a chess game. Moira couldn't see Erik's face but she practically feel his anger rolling off him. She was glad his gaze was on Charles and not her.

"Charles? I'm sorry I came back late, but…"

He held up a hand to silence her, Erik moved a piece and shook his head. Charles simply sighed and rubbed his eyes.

"Moira, you left the house at noon. It's been almost fourteen hours since. Erik believes you went to the CIA and told them where we are."

"But I didn't!" protested Moira.

"Exactly what you would say!" growled Erik. Charles looked at him hard then turned to face Moira again.

"I would like an explanation, please."

Moira debated for a moment then sighed and walked over to the two men.

"I'm going against all protocol, several promises, and a few state and federal laws, but…she'll be better off here then anywhere I could take her."

"She?" Asked both men.

Moira sat on the couch and brought the bundle from her shoulder to her lap. Both men inhaled sharply at what they saw.

"How." Erik asked angrily.

"I don't know about her injuries, but I found her. It's why I was gone so long. I think, after being around you Charles, I must be sensitive to telepathy." Moira said softly.

"What makes you say that?" Asked Charles, reaching out a hand to touch the small child's hair.

"I had to drive almost fifty miles before I was anywhere near her and then it was just feelings and…"

"And what?" Asked Erik.

"Pain. Lots of pain, and loneliness. And fear." Moira whispered. "I did the best I could with what I had."

The bundle held a small girl, bruised and battered but wrapped warmly and securely. Charles was softly stroking her golden black hair, Erik was simply staring from Moira to the girl and back.

"So…What happened?" He finally asked.

"I don't know." She said softly. "I drove there like I was compelled, she was just so small and helpless. Her voice was so…faint and little. Not like yours Charles, just beginning."

Moira looked like she was trying to remember, Charles just watched her, waiting for her to continue.

"I…pulled up to a house?…no, a church…there were people singing inside…she was chained outside to a stake. She looked so lonely and afraid. She took one look at me and practically choked herself trying to get to me. I couldn't take her then, I had to wait until everyone went home. They left her there, then I got this horrible image of a big fat guy in priest robes coming up to her and I don't know why but she didn't want him to see her. So…I took her." Moira looked at Erik beseechingly, like she needed someone to help her rationalize what she had done. Erik simply raised an eyebrow at her and sat back in his chair.

"Surprised?" He asked snidely.

"No, disappointed." she replied sadly.

"Do you know her name?" Asked Charles before Erik could say something.

"Yes, we stopped at a diner. She said her name was Lily and that she was three years old." Moira held her hand up like a child would. She looked like she was going to cry or fall asleep or both. Charles flopped back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose. He muttered something to himself then hit the arm of the chair. Erik looked at him in surprise while Moira jumped.

"I am upset Moira, but please put it in perspective. I am not going to hurt anyone." He said tiredly. "Does anyone know you took her?"

"N-no." She stammered, sometimes she forgot he could read her mind. "I mean, I don't think so, besides I'm pretty sure they won't come looking for her."

"Alright." Charles sighed. "Go to bed Moira. You look dead on your feet."

Moira stood up with Lily and moved toward the door. She stopped, looked confused for a moment, then turned back and placed Lily on Erik's lap before leaving.

Erik looked at the sleeping girl on his lap in confusion. Charles moved another piece on the board, smiling faintly. He didn't have to be telepathic to feel the confusion and hesitance of his hard metal-bending friend, but he could also feel the pleased and gentleness with which he regarded her.

"So! Shall we keep her?" Charles asked at length.

"She's a mutant." Stated Erik.

"Yes, she's a telepath. Quite strong too."

"Did you?…"

"Yes I looked into her mind. She politely asked me to leave but that she wanted to stay with us."

"What happened to not imposing you will on someone else?" Teased Erik, thinking of Moira.

"I merely asked Moira to leave Lily with us. Where she put her was entirely her own decision. Check." Said Charles moving his knight. Erik moved his king out of harms way before saying,

"There's a war coming, Charles. Do we even have the right to take her? Much less keep her?"

Charles considered this before moving another piece.

"I think…she has no where else to go. Are you going to take her back? You may have done a lot of bad things in your life Erik, but even you wouldn't harm a child. If my memory serves you always go out of your way to try and save them." he finally said.

The two men sat in silence for a moment as they continued to play. Suddenly the quiet was broken by a small cry from Lily. Erik jumped as though he'd been shot at, Charles quickly came over with a tight expression on his face. Lily began to thrash around wildly, crying out in an unintelligible babble. Charles put a hand on her forehead and the other to his temple. His eyes slowly closed as Lily calmed down. She turned over slowly and grabbed Erik's arm in a strong child's grip. As Charles opened his eyes, she stuck her thumb in her mouth and sleepily murmured.

Charles leaned his head onto Erik's shoulder, as he contemplated what he had seen.

"She stays. No one will come for her, and no war will harm her." he finally said.

"What did you see?" asked Erik.

"She…" he swallowed. "You once told me that there are many ways of creating pain and fear."


"Sometimes I wonder…If you're right about humans."

"Charles, what the hell did you see?" asked Erik. Few things frightened the broken man anymore, but one of them was Charles agreeing with him.

"She was abandoned when she was born and placed in a home with other children but…"

"Her mutation?"

"Yes, she started hearing the voices and something about a devil…and then the caretaker had her exorcised. More then once. She was burned, beaten,…" he said tiredly.

"Raped?" Erik asked softly, dangerously.

Charles didn't say anything, just sighed a long rush of air.

"We'll protect her, Charles." Erik said angrily. "And I swear, if I get my hands on whoever…"

"No! She wasn't raped! Calm down Erik!" rasped Charles.

"How can I? You're agreeing with me! A child's been hurt, multiple times! How can I calm down?"

"Because you're making all the metal in the room float. And I…can't breathe!" Gasped Charles from a few feet above Erik's head.

"Ah! Sorry, Sorry!" He said quickly. Erik tramped down his feelings and regained control of his powers. Everything in the room slowly lowered to the floor. Charles coughed and rubbed his neck before saying,

"She's safe now. We will take care of her, I promise you. No more harm will come to her. Ever."

"And the war?"

"I don't know."

Charles went and sat back in his chair still massaging his neck.

"I am sorry. What are you wearing?" asked Erik.

"Oh, just a gift. From Raven, she thought it'd be funny."

Charles held out a gold chain with the word 'Psychic' written in script. Erik started laughing, he couldn't help it. Charles smirked and tucked it back under his shirt.

"We have ten days to figure everything out. And I am exhausted. Let's finish this and go to bed."

"One question." asked Erik after losing to Charles in three moves, "Where is she going to sleep?"

Charles stopped putting the chess set away and thought a moment.

"I know a room but…I'll need to clean it up." He said finally.

"And tonight?"

"She looks comfortable." Charles said smiling. Lily was still hanging onto Erik for dear life.

"Seriously Charles."

"I was serious." He said still smiling.



"Charles!" Erik said with a hint of panic in his voice. Charles couldn't help teasing. He just looked so cute. The most dangerous mutant in the mansion holding a helpless sleeping infant who trusted him with her life. And he was keeping his voice down for said child!

"Well, I suppose she could sleep with you for the night." Charles said when he stopped laughing internally.

"An untrained child telepath sleeping with me?"

"Good point. She could sleep with me."

Erik tried to remove his arm from Lily's death grip, but she just held on even tighter. Like he was some personal teddy bear, he growled in his mind.

"For the moment you are." Teased Charles

"You…" began Erik furiously.

"Only heard because you're angry. Well if she won't let go and you can't sleep with out her being shielded. Then there's only one thing left to do."

The next morning Erik awoke to a sleeping Lily cuddled into his side sucking her thumb, and a long pale arm draped across his torso lightly touching her hair. He turned his head and found Charles laying next to him with his head on Erik's shoulder and a leg around his. Erik couldn't help thinking, as quietly as possible, 'How did I get talked into this?'

so just alittle something i've been thinking of. i'd really appreciate some reviews. more shall follow!