A/N: The title of this chapter, in full, would be "The Man in the Wheelchair Come to Take Him Away", but I felt that was a little obsessive and wordily compulsive.
Chapter 1: The Man in the Wheelchair
Professor Albus Dumbledore walked into his office, smiling lightly as he glanced over to the shadows which flickered by his fireplace.
"Good evening, Charles. I must say, you are one of the very few who can get into this office without my expressed permission." Dumbledore said as he turned from the shadows and made his way toward his desk.
"Hello to you as well, Albus." a man said as he came out of the shadows in a wheelchair, another man behind him. The first in the wheelchair looked older, with a clean shaven head. His strange plastic wheelchair being pushed by the man behind him, who stood tall with a cigar in his mouth and an abrasive disposition, "Please forgive me for intruding. I believed it would be best if we let ourselves in, so as not to cause any commotion and draw attention to ourselves.
"Yes, that would be best." Dumbledore said, nodding to the man behind Charles as the man nodded back, scowling around his cigar, "Though it must be interesting to be such a power Legilimens."
"Please," Charles began, "I prefer the term telepath or even psychic. You know that I do."
"Of course, forgive me." Dumbledore said as he took a seat behind his desk and gestured for the large man behind Charles to sit as well. The man behind Charles made no motion to sit, but Dumbledore hadn't expected him to.
But the offer was always made politely, just in case.
"I see you've expanded your school to mutants." Charles said casually as Dumbledore nodded.
"Yes, but we prefer them not to know that their abilities are a mutation." Dumbledore said quietly, as though the students would hear him if he spoke any louder, "All their powers can be passed off as some form of magic, and from there imagination takes hold of them."
"Indeed." Charles said, leaning forward in his wheelchair, "Tell me, has that decision been because Harry Potter is a mutant?"
"It only helped to get the registry extended to mutants, I assure you. I have always wished to teach any student with special abilities." Dumbledore sniffed, as if he were slightly offended by the hidden accusation from Charles.
"I did not mean to offend, Albus." Charles said quickly, "I'm just worried, is all."
"I know…" Dumbledore said quietly, solemnly, "I'm not dead nor blind just yet, Charles. Your mind is a match for any of the wizarding world's finest."
"Yes, I like to believe that." Charles said humbly, "But Voldemort alluded my metal-sight, and now so does Magnus." Charles bowed his head as did Dumbledore, "It's time we put the plan into action."
"And you could have not picked a better time." Dumbledore said, "The Ministry are starting to spy on me here. They've sent a High Inquisitor by the name of-"
"Dolores Umbridge, yes, I know." Charles said, "With them denying Voldemort's return and you not recanting it, it was only a matter of time before they sent someone to quiet you."
"Yes, I knew." Dumbledore said, quietly closing his eyes before he opened them, the twinkle in them dim, "I trust you've come for him?"
"Yes, we have." Charles said, "Logan here will retrieve him while we discuss the arrangement. Remember, it is his choice."
"I know…" Dumbledore said quietly, feeling his age upon him, "If only Tom did not mark him as his equal, then this could have all been avoided…"
"Perhaps," Charles said, "but destiny rarely is a gentle mistress."
"You're here for more than just him, aren't you?" Dumbledore asked suddenly as Charles only made a gesture for Logan, the tall man behind him, to go. Logan growled lowly before flicking the remains of his cigar into the fire and leaving the office.
"Yes," Charles began as soon as Logan had left, "While his signature is one of the most potent and untapped with potential, Cerebro has been picking up other readings from this school and the area as well." Charles wheeled his chair closer to the desk as to speak lower, "Now that I'm here, Albus, I can sense the children, and even Severus. I will need to bring in these cases with me so as not to leave their powers unattended."
"Are you saying that Hogwarts could not provide the necessary instruction and education to teach them?" Dumbledore demeaned with a mirthful air as Charles chuckled.
"Not at all, my friend," Charles replied, "Only that they would be a glass half full, as the term is. They would only know the mystic part of their powers, when they could learn the scientific part of it as well."
"I have been rather curious as to what the muggles explanation to these new abilities were…" Dumbledore admitted quietly.
"Well, it's all in genetics, Albus." Charles said, "Even if he was not marked as Voldemort's equal, he would still have his abilities. They would mostly, have just been hidden a bit longer."
"Hmmm... Yes, I believe your assumption is correct." Dumbledore said, reaching into his desk as he got out a manila folder, "Alright then, let's begin with him. His name is Harry James Potter, son of James Potter and Lily Potter nee Evans."
"Alright," Charles said as Dumbledore continued.
"His abilities include high levels of magic, an ability to speak to reptiles, low level of telepathy and telepathic defense, and high level magnetic manipulations of some sort." Dumbledore said as Charles bowed his head.
"Erik would have made an excellent teacher for him…" Charles said somberly as Dumbledore continued.
"He has a few emotional issues, mostly because I had to place him under blood wards with a spiteful family for his own protection," Dumbledore ducked his head from the look Charles was sending him as he quickly pressed on, "but now with him and others going across the pond with you, that will be a thing of the past. His grades are good, but he doesn't put much effort into school work. Though I have garnered that is because he believes he will die at some point while either in school or shortly beyond it, taking Voldemort with him onto the next great adventure."
"Why does he believe that?" Charles asked as Dumbledore again avoided eye contact.
"Because Voldemort has continually attempted to kill him over the years here at Hogwarts." Dumbledore said, currently cowed under Charles' look, "Again, with him leaving with you; these things will be of the past."
"I should hope so…" Charles said crossly.
"Now onto the next student." Dumbledore said quickly, moving onto another folder as he handed Charles the first profile.
Harry sighed as he sat in the back of History of Magic class. Binns was boring as ever this year for their third week back, rambling on about Goblin Wars and the like.
Then the unexpected happened.
There came a knock… at Binns' classroom door! No one had ever interrupted the deceased professor's ramblings before, much least with an outside issue.
The door swung open as Binns had one of the students open it, and ever gasped at the stranger before them as he walked in. He was tall, muscular, and looked like a strong-featured logger as he stalked into the classroom, sniffing the air as his lips curled. He glanced around a bit, then stared fixedly at Harry, who wanted nothing more than to back away when the man came up to him.
"You Harry Potter, kid?" the guy asked, his voice as gruff and grizzly as Mad-Eye Moody's own. Harry could do nothing more than nod dumbly as he glanced over at his friends, who seemed just as nervous and confused as he was, "Get your stuff and pack. You're leave this joint."
And with that, the man turned on heel and walked out as casually as a Sunday stroll while Harry was left staring dumbly at the spot he had been.
"Well! Get moving!" the man's voice yelled as Harry found himself jumping to his feet and quickly packing his things away.
"We'll help ya, mate." Ron said as he gathered his own things and began to move as Hermione looked conflicted between helping Harry and staying in class to learn. Her loyalty to her friend beat out her thirst for knowledge as she quickly packed her books and quills, catching up to Harry and Ron as they rounded a corner to run up to Gryffindor tower where the guy was waiting for them.
"Password. Need it." the man said, jabbing his thumb at the Fat Lady's portrait.
They quickly gave the password and rushed into the common room, Ron and Harry charging upstairs as the man and Hermione occupied the couch in the common room.
"No rush, kid!" the man said, "We've practically got all day!"
"Umm…" Hermione struggled for something to say, "H-Hello, I'm Hermione Granger. And you are?"
"Call me Logan." the man said, shaking her hand firmly as Hermione paled at his strength.
"Well, Mr. Logan," Hermione began, "Forgive me for being so forward, but-"
"I like forward." Logan said, taking out another cigar and lighting it as Hermione backed away some, not wanting smoke in her face.
"Yes, well, why are you here for Harry?" Hermione asked, glancing up the stairs, "Has he done something wrong?"
"Nope," Logan replied, taking a puff of his cigar, "He's being… transferred, so to speak. You're his friend, right?"
"Yes." Hermione said as Logan nodded.
"Chuck'll probably be calling you up, too." Logan said, "You seem like him; smart, collected, nerdy."
"I beg your pardon!" Hermione said, looking scandalized at being called nerdy, "There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a bit… bookish!"
"I'm sure you're right, half-pint." Logan said, taking a drag of his smoke, "Just saying that you might be leaving with the runt up there."
"Why is Harry leaving?" Hermione asked suddenly, "He never approved of it, and we didn't receive any warning."
"Trust me, half-pint." Logan said, standing, "The world is bigger than you and your little school here. You don't get a notice when people are trying to keep you safe, and I'm sure we certainly don't need no stinkin' approval for that."
Hermione could say nothing as Logan tossed the remaining bud of his cigar into the fire and moved to the staircase going up to the boy's room. He banged on the door for Harry, who opened it as Ron stomped on his trunk to close.
"Don't you hocus-pocus people have magic for things like that?" Logan asked as Harry and Ron exchanged a look before smacking their foreheads. Ron took out his wand as he muttered words under his breath and Harry's trunk closed shut with the items safely, as well as snugly, within.
"Umm… where am I going, sir?" Harry asked as Logan took his trunk up easily with one arm, not looking bothered by the heavy weight at all.
"For now; downstairs." Logan said, "And the name's Logan." he said, turning as he led the way down the stairs where Hermione was fidgeting nervously on the couch.
"Okay then," Logan began, pointing at Harry, "You, come with me. Chuck and the mighty Gandalf look-alike wanna see you; a.s.a.p."
"Uh, okay…" Harry said quietly as he followed Logan out of the common room to Professor Dumbledore's office. The gargoyle which guarded the office leapt away upon seeing Harry and Logan, though Harry wasn't sure which one was truly expected as Logan didn't seem bothered by it at all.
"I see… do you… I know, I know…" Harry heard as he and Logan walked up the spiral staircase, the voices of Professor Dumbledore and another Harry did not know deep in conversation.
"Malfoy… never agree… hard sell… could work… hmm…" the voice Harry didn't recognize said as Harry's eyes widened. Malfoy? What could anyone want to do with one of the Malfoys?
"Chuck! Open up!" Logan said, knocking on the door, "I got the runt!"
"Very good, Logan." a kind voice replied as the office door creaked open.
"Please, come in." Professor Dumbledore said as the door opened completely, showing Harry that the second voice belonged to a bald man in a… clear wheelchair.
"Harry, my boy! How good to see you!" Professor Dumbledore said, but Harry noticed the man was not meeting his eye.
"Albus, this issue must be addressed." the bald man said as he flipped through a folder, "Now would be good."
"Of course," Dumbledore said as the bald man turned his wheelchair to Harry.
"Hello, Mr. Potter, I am Charles Xavier." Charles said, wheeling himself over to Harry and shaking his hand, "I see you've already met my associate, Logan."
"Y-Yes, nice to meet you." Harry said, feeling odd as the man smiled at him like they had been friends for ages, "You were on television this summer. Starting work on genetics or something."
"Yes, yes, Mr. Potter! Genetics!" Charles said as Logan rolled his eyes, "I'm sorry, but I'm glad we have some premise to start on while we're here."
"Is something wrong with me?" Harry asked as he walked into the room beside Charles, who was being wheeled now by Logan, "Are my genetics bad or something?"
Charles laughed as Harry felt stupid for how dumbly he phrased his question, "No, Mr. Potter, your genes aren't bad. In fact, your genes are strong… so to speak. I'm here to speak with you about some matters that do, in fact, deal with your genetics." Charles leaned forward as Harry took the seat next him, Dumbledore watching them from behind his desk while Logan stood behind the genetics expert, "Tell me, Mr. Potter, have you ever felt strange before? Done or seen things you could not explain; even with normal magic? Hear voices when no one speaks? Felt as if the things around you were alive when they should not have been?"
Harry only nodded shakily, feeling his throat go dry as if the man were reading his mind.
"You see, Mr. Potter, you are not alone in these abilities that cannot be explained; even by means of ordinary magic." Charles started, smiling lightly.
"I'm not?" Harry asked in shock and awe.
He wasn't alone…?
"Yes." Charles said, "You see, Mr. Potter, humankind is on the verge of evolution in this day and age. While it is seen occurring mostly throughout the non-magical community, those with magical powers have the same odd occurrences in their DNA structure as well."
"What does that mean?" Harry asked.
"It means that your magic folk here aren't exactly as mystical as they wanna believe." Logan said as Harry got the feeling he wasn't one for bookish education.
"Though put crudely, Logan is correct." Charles said, "Magic is easily explained by genetics, but we can lecture on that another time. For now, all you need to know is that magic is as easy to have from your parents as their own red hair or dark brown eyes. Those without magical parents have cells which give raise the mutation that is magic."
"So magic is a mutation?" Harry asked, his mind whirling, "Like having twelve finger or three eyes?"
"Again, crudely put and not quite as simple, but yes." Charles said, "You see, new mutations allow individuals to have certain abilities outside that which is considered the norm; like magic for explain."
"Okay, I understand." Harry said, feeling a little slow on the uptake as Charles nodded.
"Though this mystical gene pool has been around for centuries, such a phenomenon is still a huge breakthrough in the medical sciences of today, and a large leap forward in terms of the evolutionary trend for man, homo-sapiens, if you will." Charles said as Harry nodded again, "Throughout medical history, in the cases of mutation, in almost all instances there are specified mutations which are derogatory to the individual's health, hence a disadvantage in maintaining its survival."
"Like that Down Syndrome stuff I've been hearing about." Harry said, remembering how his aunt and uncle were badmouthing and gossiping about one of the neighbor's kids.
"Yes, that would be one resultant from non-disjunction, as well as the more startling one of cancer, which is a somatic cell mutation." Charles said quietly, glancing off as if he were thinking about doing something about cancer before he resumed the conversation.
"However, Mr. Potter, these mutations do not always bring with them such ill side effects that dampen the ability of the individual to live out life. Some contain advantageous abilities that increase the individual's chances of survival, hence why scientists have reached no other conclusion but this; evolution is catching up and humankind is changing."
"Changing?" Harry echoed in fear, visions of three-armed children fluttering through his mind.
"Not bad change, Mr. Potter." Charles said, sensing the boy's fright, "But more of the change that progresses. Perhaps not as smoothly as one would like, but the transitioning from one point to another is hardly ever smooth." Charles looked as though he were getting off topic as he shook his head, "The point is that this change in human genetics will not occur in comfortable paces, but over night in all but the metaphorical sense, advancing and occurring at leaps and bounds."
"People can't be too happy about that." Harry muttered, now understanding why he was up in the office. Just, now he was even more of a freak than his relatives had first thought…
"Of course not." Charles said sadly with a shake of his head, "No… not everyone is happy with the changes that are and will take place."
"If I may intervene, Charles." Dumbledore said as Charles nodded, "I have heard tale of how in Muggle society, there have already been numerous protests against individuals born with these rather unique mutations, calling these people mutants."
"Indeed…" Charles said, looking worried that even Dumbledore had heard of these things, "People are afraid of change; they feel threatened by its prospect and the possibilities it may bring."
"Yes, but I believe that above all, they fear they will be the ones that are left behind." Dumbledore said, "They fear they shall soon become the minatory and that the mutants will rise up against them."
"Yes," Charles said, sighing heavily, "and some mutants have already started that line of thinking."
"I remember." Harry said, "There was a protest in London a few weeks ago while we were out for summer."
"Yes," Charles said, with that same look of weary determination, "but we digress." he then gave Harry a look, piercing as it was gentle, kind as it was stern, "You, Harry Potter, are a mutant."
"I figured as much when we started all this talk…" Harry muttered solemnly as Logan scoffed at him.
"Kid's smart, Chuck." Logan said, and Harry felt that the burly man did not give compliments lightly or often.
"Your powers are most… unconventional; in both the sense of their combination and your obtaining them… given circumstances, Mr. Potter," Charles said, leaning his arm on the arm of his chair while rubbing his temple, "I confess myself greatly intrigued and fascinated by them. They are a rather unusual combination."
"What powers?" Harry asked as Charles smiled, most likely having wanted to make him curious enough to.
"We're not sure if this is the extent of your abilities, Mr. Potter, but it is the list we have so far." Charles said as he opened the folder that had been in his lap, forgotten, "Your magical potential is very high. In conventional society, your magical powers would be best explained as metaphysical manipulation; bringing things of the mind to reality, so to speak. You also seem to have some small telepathy abilities, though you would need better control over your emotions to refine them better. Also…"
"What? What is it?" Harry said, feeling in suspense as Charles trailed off.
"Well… you also seem to have other abilities, like your power to speak with snakes." Charles said, but shook his head, "However, that one does not worry me. It's this last ability which I now find myself… wondering about…"
"What is it?" Harry asked, his foot jumping as he felt like he was at the end of rope, his nerves in bundles.
"Your perceived ability in magnetic manipulations." Charles said, "You'll have to forgive me, but I just recently lost a friend with such a power, and I believe he had children…"
"What? You think this kid…" Logan began as he looked down at Charles, "He's way too young to be a runt from old Helmet-Head."
"Yes, but perhaps not too young to be a child of one of those children…" Charles said, steeping his hands before shaking his head, "Never the less, you are special."
"Yeah, they've been telling me that my whole life." Harry mutter irritably as he jabbed a thumb toward Dumbledore, indicating that wizards were the one telling him such.
"The reason I'm here is to inquire if you'd like to learn more about these other abilities and powers you possess," Charles offered as Harry blinked, "Forgive me Albus, magic is fine, but these powers go beyond any sort of mystic rituals of rudimentary education. I have seen what others have done with powers such as yours, Mr. Potter, and I'm telling you that you are destined for great things."
"Again, heard it all my life." Harry sighed, "But what about Voldemort? He's back now, and-"
"He will not be a problem once you've come to grasp your powers." Charles said, "We can take you far from this place, where Voldemort has little to no reach at all. To America where you can hone your abilities, live a normal life among others like us."
"Us?" Harry asked, narrowing his eyes slightly at the genius genetics expert.
"Yes, Mr. Potter," Charles' voice intoned within the confines of Harry's mind, "You see, I am also a telepath, though far more powerful than you at the moment. I can project thoughts, read minds, and so much more."
"Whoa…" Harry breathed as he tried to shake the voice from his head.
"And with your affinity for magno-manipulation, you would be able to do great things from disarming dangerous weapons to helping find cures for diseases." Charles said, wheeling forward as he offered his hand, "I'm here to help you, should you want it."
"Listen," Harry began, standing from his chair, "I've been feeling so… confined lately. And then with that Umbridge woman." Harry's jaw set, giving him a haunting look, "Look, all I want right now is a bit of space, yeah. I just feel so anger, all the time."
"That might be the connection you have with Voldemort at the moment." Charles said, steeping his fingers together, "You see, from what I've been told; when Voldemort used your blood to obtain his new body, he formed an unwitting connection between the two of you. A telepathic link, of sorts. His stronger emotions are broadcasted over this psychic link, and it is his own irritation you are feeling."
"What?" Harry shouted, feeling his own anger bubbling up as he then shot a deadly look at Dumbledore, who was avoiding eye contact, "You knew this! That's why you won't look me in the eye!"
"He catches on quick, Chuck." Logan said, reminding them all of his unusually quiet presence in the room.
"Start talking…" Harry mutter to his Headmaster, retaking his seat as his anger subsiding for now. Dumbledore looked at him before quickly moving from behind his desk to stand at his side.
"What Charles has said is true." Dumbledore said, "The reason I wouldn't look you in the eye is because I fear that this link to Voldemort is… a two-way street, as the muggles would say."
"You mean bilateral?" Harry asked as Charles leaned forward.
"More like bidirectional." Charles correctly smoothly, "This is, of course, a worry that Albus cannot deal with directly while the Ministry are spying on Hogwarts this year. He fears that if Voldemort becomes aware of this psychic link, he will use this link to spy on not only you, but those around you."
"Dumbledore." Harry said, frowning severely, "You mean to tell me that he'll use me to spy on whatever Dumbledore's doing."
"Yes, and with this Ms. Umbridge here-" Charles started as Harry's brows furrowed.
"That means he can't do anything without it looking bad." Harry said, not sure if Charles and Logan knew about the smear campaign going against them and headed by the Ministry.
"I know now, and it makes the situation that more pressing." Charles said as Harry blinked at him. Had the man read his mind? "I did, but only because I'm trying to be sure we have all the information we need."
"Okay, so what now?" Harry asked, crossing his arms, and hopefully keeping his thoughts private.
"Well, should you choice to stay here at Hogwarts, Dumbledore would like to have you learn to shield your mind through your metaphysical powers." Charles as Harry raised a brow, "My apologizes, I mean, through magical means."
"I understand that, but…" Harry trialed off as he gazed up at Dumbledore, "What do you believe I am; some kind of security risk at the train station or something? You could have told me this!" Harry took a deep breath to calm himself down, "So what's this magic to help close this link."
"This link is not so simple to close and open as you wish, Harry." Dumbledore said to him, "Mind magic is particularly tricky, and Voldemort was a master of entering the minds of his enemies and torturing them with false images of pain and torment before he killed them."
"So you think that at some point he's gonna put things in the runt's head?" Logan asked as Dumbledore turned to him, nodding, "That doesn't sound too good. Had something like that done to me once." Logan growled as he remembered flashes of images and memories of whatever his past was, "Didn't like it much."
"So, wait," Harry said, a look on his face, "you think he can just mess with my mind; erase memories or implant images from wherever he is?"
"Yes, Harry." Dumbledore said as Harry gained another look, like he had an idea.
"Do you think that with Mr. Xavier's help, I can do the same to him? Or maybe find out what he's doing or where he is?"
"Perhaps…" Charles said, laying his hands in his lap over the file there, "With training it could be possible, but our main concern is keeping Voldemort from your mind."
"The magic I refer to is called Legilimency, and is basically the magical equivalent to Charles' telepathy." Dumbledore said as Harry nodded in understanding. Just from the small part of hearing the bald man's voice in his head, Harry had freaked out a bit. He hardly wanted to fathom the vile things Voldemort could do to a person's head. Then something of an idea suddenly clicked to Harry.
"You think he'll be able to look through my eyes and into your head!" Harry exclaimed, pointing a finger at Dumbledore, who glanced away, "You thought he'd use me as some sort of halfway to read your mind!"
Dumbledore sighed, but then he beamed as he found himself proud of how quickly Harry was catching on. Though Harry had always been a bright young man, "Yes exactly, my boy! Though, Legilimency is not quite reading someone's mind, mind you. The mind is not simply a book to be opened and closed at will; it has many layers. The most average Legilimency can do is view the surface, namely memories, emotions and the like, but Voldemort can do much worse."
Then Harry noticed something, "Why are you looking me in the eyes right now then?" Harry demanded, annoyed a little.
"Well, right now I am employing a great deal of mental power to protect my mind, just in case." Dumbledore as Charles glanced at him, a look of faint focus on his face before he nodded, seeming to prove that Dumbledore's mind was unreachable, "The point is, we fear that this link between the two of you will… influence you."
"How so?" Harry asked.
"Your levels of aggravation, as I said before, are evidence that what we say here is true." Charles said, "This telepathic link is making you angrier than usual, as I've seen from your mind. You must learn control, Mr. Potter, or you may be lost in these mood swings, or less you become… a second Voldemort."
Harry leapt from his seat, "I would never!" he shouted as those in the room felt the air around them crackle like electricity was in the air. Harry placed his hand to his head, groaning as he felt a headache come over him suddenly.
"Not by conscious moral choice, no." Charles said softly, "But I'm sure you understand the idea."
"So… I go with you and learn to protect my mind." Harry said more than asked, his head bowed while Dumbledore peered over his half-mooned spectacles at his student.
"Or you could stay and learn the counter to Legilimency." Dumbledore offered gently, "I think it is likely that it will keep Voldemort from unduly pushing his emotions onto you, or using you as a conduit to mentally attack me. This counter is known as Occlumency, and it involves clearing your mind and controlling your emotions. Occlumency is the art of defending one's mind against all forms of magical influence."
"Who would teach me?" Harry asked, "You already said that you couldn't do it because that Umbridge woman is here watching us for any suspicious activities."
"Yes, but Professor Snape could teach-"
"My things are packed. Let's go." Harry said dryly with a straight face as he stood.
"From what I've gleamed from your mind, you and Severus Snape have a rather… adverse relationship of sorts." Charles said, looking vaguely uncomfortable about what he learned of Severus Snape from Harry's perspective.
"So you'll be going then?" Dumbledore asked solemnly and Harry sighed.
"It's not that I don't like the school. Hogwarts is like a home to me; more so than Privet Drive, at least… I just can't deal with most of the people here." Harry said, looking from Dumbledore to Xavier, "Most of them now think I'm some sort of attention-seeking psychopathic liar, and Snape-"
"Professor Snape, Harry." Dumbledore corrected as Harry glared darkly at him.
"Snape," Harry grounded out, giving Dumbledore a look that dared him to correct him again, "has been an even bigger prat than normal; he actually gave me zero marks on our first day back for my potion while everyone else simply got by with things far worse than mine. Even Neville!"
"No, shut up!" Harry roared, his face red with anger as he balled up his fists at his sides. He could feel the blood pumping in his ears as he glared at Dumbledore, "I've held my tongue for far too long, and some things need to be said! I'm sick and tired of having to sit here and take things while you come to me at the end of the year with some stupid wise bullocks about being the better person! I'm…!" Harry's tirade and his burning face eased as his eyelids drooped, "It's… Huh…?" Harry said, his look of fury replaced by one of confusion.
"Forgive me, but I believe an angry tirade wouldn't help these proceedings move along any faster." Charles said as Harry blinked owlishly, figuring the man must have done some of that telepathic stuff to calm him down.
"I'm sorry." Harry said, "I just got so angry there…"
"Not a problem, Mr. Potter. Do you mind if I call you Harry?" Charles asked as Harry shrugged indifferently, "Well, Harry, I think a change of scenery to my school would be just what the doctor ordered."
"Your school?" Harry echoed in confusion, "So I really am being transferred?"
"Yes, in a way." Charles confirmed, "While you might not learn… proper magic, as it were, you will have all the time and help you need to hone your other powers under our careful instruction."
"Oh… okay…" Harry said while placing his hands in his lap. He felt strangely calm, like an undisturbed pond. This sudden emotional peace almost made him feel empty, and he hoped that what power Mr. Xavier was employing would go away soon.
"My school is not so different from Hogwarts, only that we teach subjects that one could use in normal everyday society instead of only within the wizarding world." Xavier said as Harry looked a bit more interested, "Things like mathematics, science, and literature."
"I was always good at my school work before Hogwarts, though I had to stop because of my cousin." Harry admitted, looking vaguely interested, "It's been a while though…"
"Not a problem," Charles assured, "I've taught students with far less of an educational background than you, Harry. We'll have you well caught up in no time at all."
Harry smiled. He hadn't wanted to admit it, since it got him so far away from the Dursleys, but he had missed his normal primary school studies in place of all the wand-waving mumbo-jumbo taught at Hogwarts… he supposed that all those from the Muggle world felt the same as him at some point, and Harry wondered if those that graduated from Hogwarts ever returned to their studies within the Muggle world.
"Now then, I'd like to speak to you a little about my school, but I think we should bring in the other students I'm interested in first." Charles said as Harry blinked.
"Others?" Harry echoed as Charles nodded.
"Yes, just a few others who I believe have unique abilities not unlike our own." Charles replied as Harry arched a brow.
"Like what? Telepathy and such?" Harry asked as Charles nodded.
"Perhaps different, perhaps not so different." Charles turned to Logan, "Would you be so kind?"
"Sure thing, Chuck." Logan said, "Been waiting for an excuse to leave the talking to you Harvard educated folks. Just drop me a thought so I can find them all."
Harry watched as Logan left the room, feeling surreal as he thought about going to a new school, meeting new people, and escaping the stupid life he had here with Snape, Umbridge, and the idiots that thought him and Dumbledore were lying about Voldemort's return. The stupid sheep that thought him an attention-seeking crazy wanker. Well, he was no attention-seeking wanker, he knew that much for certain. Malfoy already had that sort of area covered.
"I see Logan has already found them." Charles said with a smile, "Seems we've caught them while they were all at lunch."
Harry said nothing as he felt hungry, knowing that he'd get the chance to eat at least when all of this was over. He wasn't even sure how long he had reflected on how much the people in Hogwarts annoyed him as he glanced up from his lap to stare intently at Charles Xavier.
"Albus, if you would be so kind as to hand me the files of the others." Charles asked politely. Dumbledore moved to his desk and handed Charles about ten rather muggle-looking manila folders.
"Hmm… I see…" Charles murmured in thought whilst he looked over the files, "Yes, these individuals will do." he handed Dumbledore back all but four of the several files. Dumbledore looked skeptical, but then returned to seeming oddly pleased about something.
"You do not wish to bring any of the Weasley children across the pond with you, Charles?" Dumbledore asked as Charles glanced up from one of the files to him. Harry's eyebrows rose. The Weasleys? They were mutants? Though he now understood that every witch and wizard was a mutant, but still-
"They have a big family, and I do not wish to ruin that with separation and distance." Charles said, but Harry caught the flash of a look on his face, as if he wanted to say something else but thought better of it, "Besides, I could always speak to them later."
"Indeed…" Dumbledore intoned, but gave Charles a piercing look as though he was staring at the paralyzed man's soul, "Indeed…"
"Albus, I know what you're thinking, and I'll have you know-"
But whatever Charles Xavier was going to say, he was cut off by a rapping at the door and Logan's voice, "Open up! Got more brats for ya!"
"Let me go, you blithering lummox! My father will hear about this!" Harry only sighed and massaged his temples as only one person could be so annoying and childish.
Uhh, Draco Malfoy was a mutant… At least Harry knew that Lucius Malfoy would never entrust his son with a bunch of muggles… Even mutant muggles that could pass off their powers as magic.
The door opened and Harry was a bit surprised by who he saw walking in. Hermione, Harry hated to admit, was a given with her abnormal smarts and intelligent nature despite her obvious inability to adept to wizarding culture. Though Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom were certainly not people he thought he'd see.
"Harry, why don't you go with Logan for a meal while Albus and I speak to your schoolmates." Charles suggested as Harry quickly agreed, catching Draco's glare as he must have thought it was all Harry's fault.
Harry and Logan left the office just as Charles was introducing him, "Glad not to be in there, huh, bub?"
"Yeah." Harry breathed, "Draco Malfoy, the blond pointy-faced chap you dragged along, is gonna flip his lid when they tell him he's some sort of freak of nature."
At Harry's last words, Logan gave him a searching look for a split moment, but seeing the ghost of a smile on Harry's face gave him pause. "I should have stayed to see that." Logan finally said, grinning a bit as Harry decided that the Great Hall would be too… open for him and the burly man to enjoy a meal properly. He walked right past the hall, going toward the kitchens themselves instead.
"Tell me, Mr. Logan," Harry began, grinning lightly, "How do you feel about tickling the pear?"
At Logan's confused look, Harry's grin only grew in amusement.
"So, you're really just gonna up and leave your life to come with us, huh, bub?" Logan asked as Harry glanced at him while eating a turkey leg.
"Not really," Harry said quietly, swallowing his food before he spoke again, "I mean, it's not much of a life I'm leaving behind in the first place. I go to school only to be hated and gossiped about by my so-called peers every single year to date. At my relatives' home… well, that's just unbearable. It'd be nice to get away from it all, ya know? Not have to deal with a psycho-madman or the fickle people who call me a hero one moment and the next I'm, like, public enemy number one." Harry said, hoping Logan would understand the jest of what he was saying. "Just to be a normal nobody whose studying world history instead of goblin rebellions. Make a fresh start, yeah?"
"I hear ya, bub." Logan said, wolfing down food with no abandon, "Got me a bone to pick with the mad scientists who made me their personal Frankenstein. Thing is; I don't know where to start lookin'. But sometimes even I gotta step back from it all before I go off the deep end of a cliff dive."
"Finally, someone that bloody understands." Harry muttered aloud while lending his head back against the kitchen wall. Logan slugged him lightly in the arm.
"You're a good runt." Logan said, and Harry flushed lightly, figuring that from Logan it was, in some form giving a compliment, or at least, something close to one…
"So… who else is at this school?" Harry asked. Logan looked up from his food, thanking the elf for the extra plate of grub. He wondered why the little thing burst into tears, but couldn't care too much with all the great they were shoving in front of him for him to eat.
"Chuck always has a bunch of brats running around his place. I don't really know any of 'em, but most are probably around your age." Logan said between bites of roast, "Maybe a year or two younger than you, runt."
"Oh, who are they?" Harry enquired.
"You sure do ask a lot of questions, kid." Logan commented as Harry shrugged, "Like I said; I don't really stick around long enough to make season's greetings."
"So you don't know any of their names?" Harry asked incredulously as Logan scoffed, stuffing a bread-roll in his mouth before gulping down a swig of his pumpkin juice.
"Again with the questions, huh? Anyways, no. And don't get your hopes up. I'm not sticking around for too long after this, runt." Logan uttered after taking another swig of his juice, "I'm only here because Chuck needed a hand. In exchange, I get a few things."
"Things like what?" Harry was letting his curiosity get the better of him, and he felt more than saw Logan cut his steely eyes at him.
"Great grub this place has." Logan complimented, wiping his mouth clear of crumbs, "You little things sure you how to cook. Chuck could use a few of you instead of letting those brats in his place burn water without the stove."
While the elves were weeping tears of joy from the compliment Logan off-handedly gave, Harry turned to Logan, who blinked owlishly as he watched the elves cry.
"They burn water? With no stove?" Harry asked, figuring it was a mutant thing and feeling more surreal about it by the minute. He glanced down at his hands, wondering when he would see his so-called powers come to life before his eyes.
"So, Mr. Logan, what do you teach?" Harry asked as Logan gave him a look. A deadpan one.
Harry couldn't help it; he laughed loud and cheerfully. Logan gave a small smirk. With the two weeks Harry had been having, between Umbridge and all the mounting homework that piled up every second, Harry needed the break. At least, that was what he thought as he rubbed the scar on the back of his right hand…
"I don't actually teach there." Logan said, "In fact, this is the first time Charles has come to me for help since we first met."
"But you said you were doing this in exchange for something." Harry pointed out, "What?"
Logan gave him a long hard look, making Harry regret asking, but he was curious as to why a man that seemed like such a loner would tag along with a guy like Xavier to pick up some kids for a school transfer.
"Memories…" after a long pause Logan finally spoke, and didn't speak again as an energetic elf handed him another dish of food. Harry didn't bring it up again, not when Dobby came bounding over, so excited to speak to him that he couldn't turn the little elf away.
After their pleasant lunch, to which the elves cried in sorrow to see Logan go after only devouring seven or eight plates of their cooking, Harry and Logan were headed back to the Headmaster's office to see if they were done speaking to the others.
Imagine their surprise when they ran into the two school leaders inside the antechamber set off to the side of the Great Hall.
"Ah, Harry, glad to see you and Logan got a good meal in." Charles nodded to them. Dumbledore beamed at them, "We have just finished speaking with the children and their guardians, who are in Albus' office informing their parents."
"Through the Floo?" Harry inquired, remembering how he had spoken to Sirius through the Gryffindor common room fire not too long ago.
"In person." Dumbledore said, "We have brought the parents here through the Floo to speak to their children face-to-face. All have already agreed, and most have gone to pack their things."
"Yes, and while it was hard to convince Mrs. Longbottom that our school was up to snuff… Mr. Malfoy agreed almost too quickly to the idea." Charles informed, steeping his hands and sharing a dark look with Harry and Dumbledore. Both knew exactly what Charles meant, because Harry had been banking on Lucius' blatant refusal, if only to spare himself the headache that was known to go by 'Draco Malfoy'.
"While we are here alone, Harry, I must ask that you take caution with young Draco," Dumbledore said as he looked Harry's shoulder over, "He's still in a great deal of shock at how quickly his father agreed to the idea of a transfer, and will undoubtedly be a bit sore on the topic for a few days. So please, try and make the adjustment easier for him."
"So you want me to be the better person when he takes the mickey out of me for being a freak?" Harry asked candidly, his tone subdued thanks to his full stomach and pleasant state of mind. He suspected his calm was Charles Xavier's doing, but didn't argue. Good was good, for now.
"If you would," Dumbledore smiled with a small shrug, gazing over his half-mooned spectacles, "I believe that this year is not the time for petty and childish squabbles. Remember the Sorting Hat's song well in your time across the great ocean, Harry."
Harry stared at the Headmaster for a while, feeling as though he should argue with the old man about how he didn't even bother the blond prat, but decided against it with a sigh. Dumbledore was right, like the Sorting Hat had sung; they needed to band together to fight the coming darkness that Voldemort would undoubtedly bring.
And if that meant being the better person and playing nice, even if it were toward Draco Malfoy… Harry supposed that he could suck it up and take one for the home team…
"Someone's coming." Logan announced as his ears twitched and his nose flared.
"Hem, hem" Harry gave a start as he heard the ridiculous clearing of a throat. He didn't even need to turn to the side as he already knew the only person who could make such a sound.
The toad woman… Professor Umbridge.
"Good afternoon, Professor Umbridge!" Dumbledore greeted enthusiastically as Charles gave the woman a smile. Logan scowled deeply at her, crossing his arms in a show that he wouldn't even bother faking pleasantries while Harry almost did the same, but decided to simply nod his head in her direction.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen." Umbridge greeted as she marched up to their little group, staring directly at Harry with fury hidden deep within her eyes, "I have been looking for you, Mr. Potter. I wished to inform you that you have detention for skipping my class."
"I'm sorry to inform you, madam, but Harry here was, in fact, not skipping your class." Charles verbally stepped in as he placed a hand on Harry's arm. "He was attending an important meeting with us about his future education."
"Oh? And why was I not informed?" Umbridge asked, tapping a pudgy against a rather important-looking badge on her pink cardigan, "I am now High Inquisitor, after all. All the school's on-goings and out-comings are to be under my scrutiny."
"Well, that might be because Mr. Potter here will no longer be attending Hogwarts." Charles Xavier politely countered, "He is being transferred to my school for the exceptionally gifted."
"… I'm sorry, my dear?" Umbridge uttered in disbelief or confusion, Harry couldn't tell. Her left eye gave a small twitch as her sugary smile strained on her plump face.
"You heard him, Lady. Kid's leaving this dump." Logan snapped, then looked over at an amused Professor Dumbledore, "No offense, Al."
"None taken, Mr. Logan, my boy." Dumbledore replied cheerfully, his eyes twinkling.
"This…! This! This cannot be!" Umbridge pitched as her voice strained much to stay at a polite and casual level, "You need approval for this, dears!"
"And they have it!" Dumbledore stepped into the verbal cage now, the twinkle in his eye visible and evident, "My approval to be exact. After all, Mr. Potter has no true ties to keep him here. He could have just as easily transferred to Beauxbatons, or Durmstrang. Yet, he has chosen to enroll far from the government that does him wrong at every turn, deciding to seek a proper education across the waters."
"America!" Umbridge squeaked with indignation, "You- He- he can't! I forbid it!"
"I'm afraid it's not within your power to forbid such thing, Ms. Umbridge." Charles said lightly, gesturing to Harry, who stood stock-still, "It's Harry's choice as to where he pursues his educational needs."
"You can't!" Umbridge cried, desperately with eyes bulging more so than usual. And then, she calmed. So suddenly, so completely as her sugary smile came back with full force. She then clasped her hands together in front of her neatly, giving them a sweet look.
"I'm afraid, however, that before Mr. Potter can be transferred anywhere legally, that he must obtain his guardians' permission, and that they, in turn, must forward that expressed permission to the school and the Ministry." her smile grew as the breath in Harry's throat hitched and died, "Only then can Mr. Potter truly transfer to whatever school he wishes."
She then turned on heel, "Excuse me, gentlemen, I have a call to make." and with that, she left, brushing past Draco and Hermione while nearly knocking over Luna and Neville in the process as the four came into the antechamber with their trunks.
"Yes, I understand, Albus." Xavier spoke calmly, signaling to Logan, who nodded and raced up the way to the Headmaster's office.
"Harry." Dumbledore called just as casually, but his movements were far from such. He swept over to the boy with all haste while Charles wheeled himself over to the others, "You must go quickly, Harry. As soon as Mr. Logan returns with you belongings. You must convince your relatives to give you permission to transfer, and do so before whatever Professor Umbridge has planned comes to fruition."
But sir, that's impossible. My relatives-"
"I believe you can do it, Harry." Dumbledore said, briefly looking Harry in the eye before Harry felt unbelievable rage grip at him. But then the feeling was gone, just as quickly as it came, "You must get that permission; through any means necessary."
"I…" Harry was at a loss for words, especially at the undertone to Dumbledore's own last words. What did he mean; by any means necessary?
But Harry didn't have time to think, what with Logan bounding into the room with Harry's trunk slung over his shoulder.
"Come on, runts! Time's a-wastin'!" Logan shouted. He stopped running full throttle and headed out of the great oak doors with a powerful stride. Neville squeaked as he followed after the burly man with Hermione and Luna not far behind. Draco followed at a far more subdued pace, grumbling under his breath the entire way while Charles' chair kept pace with him.
"You must go now, Harry. There is no more time to tarry." Harry suddenly felt like he hadn't truly had enough time to think about his decision to leave as he looked up at Dumbledore's anxious face. He had never seen the wizened wizard look so shaken.
Harry threw Dumbledore one last look over his shoulder as he began running after the others. He was hoping to convey some kind of promise; whether to see him again or to actually get his relatives to give him permission. He, however, knew that he failed when Dumbledore gave him a reassuring smile, one that said one of them had to wear the brave face in the moment of pressing time.
Running out onto the grounds, Harry turned to face in front of him. He saw Logan running toward the open grounds near Black Lake. He didn't see any visible mode of transportation in sight. Maybe they were travelling by use of a Portkey? Or some other magical means of transportation he had yet to be introduced to.
Then the air in front of Logan rippled like the surface of the very lake it was near. And out of nowhere came the large airplane Harry had ever seen in his entire life to date. He stopped for a second, taking in the sight before remembering why he had been running in the first place, and redoubled his efforts. He caught up to the others, just as a landing hatch came down to let them onto the plane with Draco being dragged into the vehicle by Logan while Xavier's motorized wheelchair rolled into the plane calmly, Harry and Neville practically bouncing on the balls of their feet as they trailed after him. Hermione squeaked as she realized she was being left behind and quickly boarded the plane while the landing hatch came up behind her.
"Please, take a sit and calmly strap yourselves in." Xavier instructed. He gestured to the side where Neville quickly dropped into one of the bench-seats and buckled before gripping the seat's edge so tightly that his knuckles turned white and the leather exterior began coming up under his nerve-wrecked vice-grip.
Hermione and Draco quickly followed suit as the plane jerked with them inside, and began to rise while they still stood. Harry had heard Hermione gasp behind him, and saw Draco turn pale, or rather paler, in front of him before the blond practically flung himself across the plane's cabin room to get a seat. Hermione crammed herself between Draco and Neville. The three looked as though they would be ill at any moment while Harry remained standing in the middle plane. He watched as Xavier locked his chair into place on some kind of specialized pad. He saw Logan and some other man upfront taking control of the plane and flying the giant metal contraption. This other fellow must have stayed behind on the black plane when Logan and Xavier had come into the school. Harry noticed, with a detached sense of curiosity, that this other bloke had wild blue hair atop his head. It was peaking out from atop the broad pilot's seat.
Still, Harry did not take a seat as he made his way over to the window. Peering out of it, Harry allowed his solemn gaze to rest on the castle which was growing smaller as they steadily rose into the air over it. This had to be one of the few times Harry had ever seen the castle in full view, but was also the only time he wished he hadn't gotten to take in such a breathtaking sight. Hogwarts had been a home to him, more so than any other place before or after first being within its halls. Even though he found the start of the year unbearable, it wasn't the castle itself that he loathed. No, it was only some of the people inside its hallowed halls that made him feel unwanted and unwelcomed for his fifth year in the esteemed school. Even classmates he had known for years had turned their backs to him, believing him a crazy lair who only wanted to garner attention. People he had roomed with, mates he would have defended like family.
Mates he had treated like family…
Harry gave a sigh as the castle began to disappear from view whilst they ascended into the grey and dreary clouds. Harry let his fingers trail along the glass window, making a silent promise that he would someday return and that he would not let Dumbledore down.
"Harry, you should take a seat." Xavier kindly offered as he gestured to the chair next to the locked in place wheelchair. Harry declined politely, seeking the spot next to Neville as he wanted to be near those that were sharing in his unique and overwhelming experience.
"It'll be alright, Harry." Hermione offered her own brand of optimism, looking a bit shaky as she reached out and patted his hand. Harry gave a small smile, hoping his smile reached his eyes as he gazed into her worried brown eyes.
"Yeah. Thanks, Hermione…" Harry muttered quietly as Neville gave him a watery smile. Draco remained quite firm in his silence as he stared transfixed out the window across from them, looking both horrified and fascinated with the way the clouds seemed to gently cruise by them.
"Where are we headed next, Professor?" the oddly blue-haired man asked in a roguish tone. Xavier closed his eyes briefly.
"Southeast England to Surrey." Xavier answered, "We need to visit Harry's relatives, and speak with them."
"Ahh… It borders Kent and Greater London. Excellent choice of living arrangements." The man in the cockpit said as Harry stayed quiet.
He would not fail Dumbledore this time. He would get the Dursleys' permission.
By any means necessary…