Chapter 2

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"Let go of me!"

Charles is trying his best to sound resolved and not as frightened as he truly is.

It's not easy faced with the situation he has somehow gotten himself into. Not that he is surprised that they found him walking around their turf so quickly –they're the mafia, it's part of their job to not let anyone walk in on their business unexpectedly. He just hadn't expected them to be quite as quick about jabbing a gun into his back and snatching him off the street, acting like they've just prevented a hostile takeover. Who do they think he is anyway? Can't they see he looks like a librarian, a professor at best? What kind of threat are they expecting?

Again, he pulls at the arm he is being restrained by, but the lump of muscle holding him barely seems to notice his effort.

"What the hell do you want here?" the man growls at him, shaking him none too gently. The other man in the corner has his hand inside his suit jacket and Charles can guess at what he is concealing. He feels his heart sink, sweat rising on his brow. So maybe wasn't the best idea to just walk into the territory of the mob unannounced and not expect anything like this to happen. But what choice did he have?

In lack of any sound alternative, he straightens as best as he can and decided to at least pretend to be strong and fearless.

"I told you, I need to speak to your boss about my sister."

His opponent opens his mouth, probably about to snap at him again, but before he can get a word out a door to the side of the hall they're in busts open.

"Logan, what the hell is going on out here?!"

Everybody falls silent and stares as a man, tall and broad, with dark, slicked back hair strides towards them. He is wearing an expensive looking suit and a deep frown that makes those of the rest of the men look not so scary after all.

"Porter messed up," the giant holding Charles, Logan apparently, growls, jerking his head in the direction of the other guy, "He left his post and when he got back this one had snuck onto the premise."

The man's gaze –hard, ice blue eyes- passes over his employee first and then lands on Charles, who can't help but flinch, a cold feeling spreading in his chest as that look goes right through him. He instinctively moves backwards but Logan's grip on his arm tightens painfully, keeping him in place. The man walks up to them, more slowly now, his eyes still fixated on Charles. He is probably trying to remember, categorize him, but they have never met and Charles has no connection to the mob, so obviously he fails.

"And who might you be?" he finally asks coolly, stopping short in front of them. He is tall enough that Charles has to tilt his head to keep eye contact. From up close the man's gaze is even more frightening, and Charles knows he's doing a poor job at hiding his emotions. He has no trouble at all imagining that this man has criminal potential. In fact he's half convinced he's about to get killed right here where he stands.

Nothing happens though other than the man staring down at him impatiently. It takes him a moment to remember his words and get them out in any sort of order. "I- my name is Charles. Xavier. I need to speak to Erik Lehnsherr."

"That's me."

Charles' gut twists, even though he should have expected that. That means this man is Newport's king pin. The Don, if this was the Italian mafia. The worst of the worst. Very disturbing images of all sorts flash across his mind and between that and his brain still screaming at him to, Run, run, run, he kind of forgets that he is expected to say something here.

"I- I'm here about Raven Darkholme."

Lehnsherr looks unimpressed at that, casting a questioning glance at Logan. "Blonde, hot, ditzy," the man reminds him, "Can't pay her debt. Deadline was two days ago."

"So what is this about? Compensation or something?"

Charles blanches at the casual implication and if he didn't know Raven was at his place right now, banged up and crying her heart out but safe, it would have been enough to make him faint.

"She ain't dead, boss."

Lehnsheer arches an eyebrow at that, "Why the fuck not?"

Logan shrugs in the direction of his co-worker again who tenses and Lehnsherr's frown deepens. Charles would be worried for the man who's obviously fallen out of grace by failing to do his job, if rising panic wasn't clouding his thinking. Before he can think better of it he steps forward, only survival instinct keeping him from actually reaching out to touch the man's sleeve. "Please, you can't hurt her…give her time to pay you back."

But Lehnsherr just looks down at him, unemotional, bored almost, "I don't run this business on empty promises, Charles. I know she won't ever have the money to pay me back so I might as well sell her body into prostitution and get some of it back at least."

"No! Please – I will pay you back. I swear you'll get the money if you just give me some time-"

"Do you even know how much she owes?"

He doesn't. He didn't get the chance to ask, racing over here in his haste to save whatever was left to save.

"250000 dollars. Can you get that to me by the end of the week?" he snorts, "I didn't think so. What else have you got?"

Charles swallows hard, his mind racing frantically, trying to find a good answer even though he knows there isn't one. He has sadly little he could offer. The apartment isn't his; he doesn't even own a car. He only has his college loans and Raven and what the two of them need to get by. Raven. All he has is his sister….he can't let her get hurt….

"I'm a doctor. I-I could help you with medical emergencies, if you ever need-"

He doesn't know what he's saying anymore. What, is he crazy offering such a thing? He has sworn an oath; he can't be involved with the mob, with killers! But Lehnsherr looks remotely interested for the first time now, studying him like he's pondering the idea.

"You any good?"

Charles can only nod. The next thing that happens he can't even process until it's much too late. Without warning, Lehnsherr reaches around his back and whips out a gun out of nowhere. A second later a deafening noise fills the air, so close to Charles are that he physically jumps back into Logan, and then the guy across the room goes down screaming, clutching a bleeding arm to his chest. Charles stands frozen, staring at the man in shock and horror until Lehnsheer moves towards him and he flinches back fearfully. The gun is already gone again though and the mobster's face is as impassionate as before.

"Let's see about that," he bares his teeth in what is supposedly a grin, "There's your chance, doc. Fix him up good and I might consider your offer."

He doesn't say what will happen if he doesn't do well but Charles can imagine. He can't imagine there are many living witnesses to this man committing a crime.

Doing the only thing he can to save now both his and his sister's life he hurries over to the injured man across the room, willing his hands to stop trembling as he assesses the wound.