For info etc see part 1.
Sensation crept in like a slow tide. Scott's' mind groped at it,
tried to understand why he felt like he was trying to breath through
mud and then with sudden clarity his awareness returned. He lay very
still, heart beating fast in his chest as his survival instincts
kicked in and overrode conscious thought. He felt the soft bed
beneath his back and strained to pick out anything in the silence.
Too quiet to be a hospital he knew. There was always background noise
in those places. *Where the hell am I?* He wasn't alone. He could
hear the quiet steady breathing of another person in the room with
him. Scott lay still for a moment longer gathering his perceptions
and memories to him like a blanket. What was the last thing he
remembered ? Oh yeah…..* Shit, well that didn't work like it was
supposed to. * Followed swiftly by * Then again if I'd set myself on
fire it'd probably have rained! * The soft chuckle that followed that
thought startled and unnerved him.
"If it's any consolation you would have succeeded had we not already
been looking for you. You did yourself a great deal of harm with that
"Well I was a boy scout y'know," he responded automatically, his
voice sounding tired and croaky even to himself. He was a little
surprised his voice even worked. His mouth felt like the inside of a
cereal packet when only the dusty residue was left in the bottom.
Scott's' mind suddenly caught up to itself. * I didn't say that stuff
out loud did I? *
" No Scott, you didn't."
"Telepathy, you're reading my mind," he accused without heat.
"Yes…and no." Charles considered the boy carefully. "I am a mutant,
like you, though my gift is in the mind rather than the eyes. I'm not
actually reading your mind right now though. I like to think that I
can respect someone's privacy where possible. I am hearing some of
your more prominent thoughts – you are projecting rather loudly at
the moment." Scott could hear the wince accompanying the words.
"Sorry," Scott muttered, not really meaning it.
"You are a little emotional at the moment. Together with the after
effects of the sedation you've been under its quite natural, a
projection of your anxiety."
"Emotional," Scott laughed bitterly. " Imagine that. Where am I?"
"You are in my home, in Westchester New York. My name is Professor
Scott's' next question was barely a whisper. "Why ?"
"I hope that I may be able to help you with your more unusual
abilities and you may in turn be able to help me."
Scott considered the mans words carefully. The guy wanted something
from him. People always did. It didn't bother him that much, after
all nothing came free in this life. He just wasn't sure he wanted to
play this game any more. "I'm not going to be here that long."
Charles heard the suspicion in the boys voice. He realised that his
offer to help had probably been perceived as misleading given the
last experience with a stranger he had to draw on. This had to be
tackled head on – no going back now. "Because you are going to leave
or because you are going to kill yourself?" He didn't insult the boy
by saying `try' to kill yourself.
Blunt enough. "I see."
"You're not going to stop me," Scott stated firmly.
"I would not presume to decide your fate for you, Scott. I'd consider
your actions a waste but I cannot in good conscience deny you your
right to live your life as you wish." That got Scott's attention.
"Then why did you stop me before?" he asked angrily lifting his
bandaged arm for emphasis.
"Because you did not choose on that occasion Scott. You did what you
did out of desperation and a feeling that you had no choice. I want
to show you that there are alternatives and that you have a future if
you have the courage to take it. If you still decide you want no part
of that future then do as you will, but at least give me the time to
show you what you would be missing. What have you got to loose ?"
They sat in silence for a long while.