Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognise; if you're on this site, you know the drill
AN: Just a one-shot featuring a few theories I had about how some of the details revealed in X-Men: First Class can be reconciled with what we learned in the original movies- Xavier walking in Wolverine, his prior contact with Colonel William Stryker, Magneto helping Xavier build Cerebro, that kind of thing-; hope you like it
X-Men: The Next Term
As he studied the information on the screen before him, left on the mansion doorstep this morning by an anonymous source that he nevertheless had no trouble determining the identity of, Professor Charles Xavier couldn't help but shudder.
An entire island used to contain mutant prisoners...
He might understand the reasoning for the founders to create this place- after the failure of the 'Team X' experiment to create a government-sanctioned version of his and Erik's former team, creating artificial mutants from scratch was the next logical step, even if it was a perverted logic that lead to that conclusion-, but locking up innocent mutants in case they became a threat when they were older...
Regardless of how much he wanted to hope for the best, moments like these helped him understand why Erik and Raven had left to make their own way in the end.
They might have achieved some degree of resolution between their points of view after the initial anti-mutant hostility in the aftermath of the Cuban battle had died down and the need to find and train mutants took precedent over everything else- Erik was fully aware that he lacked the resources to recreate Cerebro on his own, even without Emma Frost's inability to open herself to the degree required for her to use it taken into account-, but, like any friendship with such a fundamental difference of opinion, tensions had increased to a point where a schism was inevitable.
They'd put those issues aside when working with Hank to assemble the components necessary for him to rebuild Cerebro in the mansion's basement, and had found and recruited a wide variety of new students for the school- Jean Grey alone had significant potential if trained properly that they would have never been able to help if either of them had worked separately-, but, in the end, no matter how many new mutants they discovered together, one thing always tore them apart; Erik's belief that mutants had to isolate themselves from the world to survive versus his own belief that they could live with humans if they worked to convince others that they weren't a threat.
Still, in the end, Erik had made his choice, and Xavier had made his; treating Jean's potential mental instability was one thing, but making Erik stay would have been something else, no matter how many reasons he missed his friend and his sister.
That was one decision that he regretted more than any other; she had been the first person he had ever met who truly understood him, and yet he had failed to help her by giving the impression that he wanted her simply to blend in, rather than encourage others to accept her as herself.
It wasn't like they were completely cut off from each other- she still kept in touch at times, and she had admitted during some of their past reunions that she agreed with his idea to establish a school for mutants to teach them how to use their abilities away from prying eyes rather than Erik's more militant approach, even if she still favoured Erik's long-term policies more than his-, but there was a definite gap growing between them over time that he sensed in every conversation they had had since that fateful day in Cuba.
After Raven's absence, however, the loss he kept coming back to with Erik's absence was the loss of his ability to walk. The implants they'd used to partially repair his spine certainly did the job they had been designed to do, but they would only last so long without Erik's magnetic powers to 'charge' the repairs they'd carried out on the nerves that had been severed by Moira's deflected bullet; eventually, with Erik's powers no longer able to 'charge' them, they would inevitably shut down for good.
Hank had done what he could to create a technological substitute for Erik's powers, but aside from the complexity of the device in question- the parts involved were so complex that they could only make it a certain size before it was too small to work properly, and even then power was another factor-, Xavier hated the thought of being completely dependent on technology in that manner; needing a wheelchair was one thing, but if he became that dependent on a piece of equipment it made him too vulnerable if it was ever removed.
Drawing strength from a friend and teammate was something that he could accept, but reliance on technology just to get around normally was something else; his wheelchair allowed him to go around the mansion, but if he needed technology to do anything more active, the risk wasn't worth it.
Thoughts on his increasing vulnerability were one of the main reasons for his interest in the files he'd just received from Raven; with Sean, Hank and Alex preparing to move on to find their own lives and careers outside of the team, he needed to find a new wave of students to help him develop his dream, and so far the information he had received about this island looked like it would answer most of his problems.
For a moment, the records about a prisoner called 'Emma Frost' inspired some concern, but closer analysis of the file revealed that this couldn't be the Emma he knew; judging by her age, the records of her powers including no reference to telepathy and the notation about her having an older sister, she was probably a relative of the Hellfire Club's former telepath (Probably a niece judging by the different surnames, coupled with the fact that he found it unlikely that woman would ever choose to 'ruin her figure' by having children).
It was too bad that the team were otherwise occupied at the moment- if he'd had the time he would have asked Sean and Hank to do this; Alex's powers tended to be too explosive for situations where stealth would be of greater benefit-, but given recent reports that he'd heard about the escape of 'Weapon X' and the 'Deadpool', he couldn't afford to wait; he would have to do this himself.
Still... if this was to be one of the last uses of the nanites, he would ensure that they fulfilled a good purpose; if this had to be one of the last times he walked, he would do so to bring together the next generation of X-Men, the generation that would work to fulfil his dream in the event of the day coming when he would no longer be around to do so.
He would have to be sure to thank Raven for giving him a chance to resolve this his way; they might have their differences, but it was... comforting... to know that she still disagreed with pursuing a scheme like Shaw's by completely eradicating humans in favour of mutants.
A few hours later, as he began to pilot the large helicopter down towards the facility where Stryker had kept his prisoners, Xavier was only slightly surprised to sense panic from within the facility; from what he could tell amid the chaos below him, it felt like someone had already started to stage a breakout.
For a moment, as he reached out to search the island for more information, he sensed a familiar mind on the island- the mind of someone he'd made contact with via one of his first uses of the original Cerebro; he thought that he and Erik had spoken with this man while trying to assemble the team, but he couldn't be certain given the length of time since that meeting and the brevity of his original contact-, but he quickly shifted his attention to the younger minds after sensing the familiar mind's resolve and protective instinct; he clearly had other matters to attend on rather than the simplicity of escape.
After a few moments of sending out a simple mental 'beacon' to the most receptive mutant mind in the building- he couldn't be sure of the facility's exact layout or where the escaping prisoners were in relation to him, and there was too much going on for him to waste time searching for someone who knew the internal structure well enough to provide him with the kind of map he needed, but by using this method of communication the prisoners' subconscious minds would become aware of his location and send the conscious mind instructions and directions that would lead them to him based on what they had picked up from overhearing their guards without knowing it-, he saw a small group of young men and women in red jumpsuits hurry out of an underground tunnel, and smiled at the sight of the young man who was leading the way, despite the thick blindfold covering his eyes.
Scott Summers... the nephew that Alex had lost track of so many years ago.
He'd noted the name in the files, but knowing about someone's family heritage and powers did not mean that he knew them; it was reassuring to know that his old student's nephew possessed the same strength of will as his uncle had possessed.
It will be all right, Scott, he thought at the young man who'd struggled so hard to maintain a normal life when faced with a power that would have made it all too easy for him to lash out randomly at the world that prosecuted his 'kind'. My name is Charles Xavier. I'm a mutant, like you.
I can hear your thoughts... the young man thought back, a slight awe in his thoughts at this discovery.
Yes, and I can hear yours, Xavier replied, allowing himself a brief smile at the other man's quick assessment of the current situation.
He might not have the combat skills of his uncle yet, but he already demonstrated a quick mind and a commanding presence- judging by the fact that so many of the other prisoners had followed him based on relatively little information or reason for doing so- that would have made Havok proud if he had been here to witness it...
"You're safe now," he said, speaking audibly to the rest of the young men and women gathered in front of him. "Come; we have to go."
As the children hurried towards his helicopter, he briefly noticed an older man in a long brown coat standing behind them, but a quick mental scan confirmed that this man was no danger; a former resident of the prison himself, he simply wanted to confirm that the children were in no danger of recapture. As the two men stared at each other across the field that separated them, Xavier sent the other man a brief mental transmission assuring him of his good intentions for the former prisoners, the other man responding with an instinctive signal of gratitude before he turned back.
For a moment, Xavier thought about asking him back- from what he could tell, the man had a very interesting talent-, but decided against it; with the chaos currently unfolding on the island, he didn't have the time to wait around to tell the man everything, and if he was turning back into a situation like that he clearly had a plan on how to depart that made Xavier doubt he would appreciate someone trying to interfere, no matter how well-intentioned such 'interference' might be.
He had a good range of potential students here, and he had a few good former students to help him teach the new generation; as nice as it would be to gather more, he would have to be content with what he had.
All in all, as the helicopter took off as the last of the students clambered in, rising into the sky and heading for New York, he had to admit that this 'recruitment drive' had been far easier than he had expected; with whatever has happening inside the facility that was causing the main building to collapse, it had kept enough of the prison's security teams occupied to prevent them from noticing where the prisoners had gone, and that last clash must have damaged enough of the security systems to prevent anyone from noticing his presence.
His last few hours of independent mobility for the foreseeable future would be over almost as soon as he returned to the mansion, but they had been used for a good cause; for the moment, that was enough.