Title: You Never Called
Summary: Emma does not need help, even when she knows the only one who could. Charles/Emma
Song: "Here to Deliver" by Avalon
A/N: LiveJournal memery, prompted by whipsy

Emma hated the very idea of needing help. She did not need help, never had, never would. (Contrary to popular belief, lying to oneself could be a useful skill to cultivate.) She had been just a little girl the first time she felt the flicker of another's consciousness against her own, not yet a grown woman the first time she felt a telepath's surprise at meeting another telepath mind to mind, and at neither time did she want or appreciate assistance.

Company was not so bad.

The telepath was a boy and faintly amused. Of course, if you ever do need assistance, just call.

She humphed and then told him the latest on her new boyfriend, who thought the world of her—and her mutation. But you're more considerate, she reassured her invisible friend. He at least thought of women as intelligent, not just beautiful and useful.

Another chuckle.

Both telepaths were insufferably patronizing, but neither minded. They recognized themselves in the mirrors of each other's minds.

They lost touch for a while when Emma devoted herself more thoroughly to forwarding the goals of the Hellfire Club and her "friend" devoted himself to postgraduate studies. Occasionally, he "called" and asked her a question on psychology. Apparently, she had mastered manipulation far more than he had.

Your ethics will lose you a doctorate, she groused, woken from a sound sleep. But she gave him his answer.

You never call. His thoughts sounded sad.

Emma rolled her eyes. I don't need help. Ever. No names, no proper exchanges, nothing. It kept them both safe and happy behind their comfortable shields.

Self-delusion is not a desirable trait, he chided gently.

Speak for yourself. She turned to diamond and blocked him out. She did not need help. she never needed help.

Not even when she came face to face with the first telepath that could break through her flimsy mental shields like a piece of tattered cloth, when her only defense was diamond and the only thing keeping her from diamond was fear of the metal at her throat. Emma did not need help.