A/N: Prompts from LJ community 100wordstories. wild, almost empty, surrender, irresponsible, organic

Iterations of Trust

Ten-year-old Charles waited until his mother was in bed before he sneaked down to the mansion kitchen. He quietly opened the door of the pantry and removed the fresh-baked loaf of bread his mother had bought, then tiptoed to the back door.

Outside, he knew he would find the girl.

She was a little, wild thing, dark blue with a splash of red when moonlight touched her. She had not let him near her yet, but he figured it was only a matter of time.

He left the food on the step and a thought in her mind. Trust me.

Angel Salvadore had been running almost longer than she could remember.

Men beat her down in ways she didn't share with Charles and Erik when they came to rescue her from a life they didn't realize was merely a means of survival. She accepted. They were decent men; she was almost empty.

The world was harsh and unfair in ways she didn't share with the starry-eyed idealists she had joined. She couldn't explain that she trusted Shaw because for the first time in her life she saw something to run to instead of from.

"To the future," she promised herself.

Charles winced as how easy it was to read it off of the small, frightened child with the glowing white eyes and hair and dark skin in the middle of Cairo, Egypt of all places. It was raining and her wild thoughts told him it was her fault, and she didn't know how to stop it.

I can help you. He refrained from touching her mind more than possible, but truth be told, he didn't speak Egyptian.

White eyes flashed into a human blue. He caught his breath and reached out his hand.

She took it.

Charles was good. He was the moral compass that gave Erik something to push against, to fight for. Erik excelled at aiming toward a world that people like Charles could belong in, whether or not those people realized he was doing it for them.

Erik stared down at the redheaded girl smiling up at him. Not three months ago, Jean was a surly child, unhappy and too powerful for her own good. Erik had trusted Charles to help her.

"Do you remember who you are?" he asked, anger clenching his hands into fists. "Phoenix?"

Jean frowned. "My name is Jean."

"Trust must grow organically, Alex," Charles told him quietly. "You can't force it."

Alex clenched his hands into loose fists and worked his jaw. "He's my little brother."

"Yes," Charles agreed, then even more gently, "who does not remember you."

Scott tilted his head as if he could hear them, but he was outside on the lawn, and the two men were in the Professor's study. Alex couldn't stand the sight of the blindfold he wore. Brain damage. It should have been Alex that had been broken beyond repair.

"Give it time."

Alex shook his head and did not answer.