(Backscene 2011) An Invitation Is Made

January 01, 2014:

October 17, 2011: After having been healed, Cal has a talk with the Professor and Scott.

Xavier's Institute

Three years ago.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been a couple weeks since Cal arrived in this reality, broken and beaten to the point where his healing factor was just able to keep him alive and only so long as he stayed in metal form and couldn't actually bleed to death or have his organs shut down. As promised, the mutant with the ability to heal was able to weigh the scales in his favor. For the last week, he's been able to transform back to flesh and has been up and about while still recovering: the mental and emotional taking as big a toll as the physical. He's in the atrium, leaning against one wall and watching students stream in and out, up and down the stairs. In one way, it's so familiar. In another, many of the faces are different.

"It must be difficult," comes a friendly, but almost diffident murmur. Charles rolls up next to Calvin, his strong hands bringing the wheels of his chair to a smooth halt. "People you know and love who have no memory of shared events. Jokes told, parties spent together." He looks up at Calvin and smiles slightly. "You're feeling better?" he says, putting it more as a question than statement- out of polite consideration. He knows what Calvin's about to say before he says it. But it's still polite.

In from the atrium walk two of the original X-Men, Cyclops and Angel. The pair have just retuned from a trip into the city and are conversing with each other, when Scott takes notice of Calvin and the Professor. He quietly excuses himself, sending the winged Worthington another way before walking up toward the others.

Scott's eyes are always concealed beneath ruby-quartz lenses. However, much of his expression can be seen in the way his face seems to be fighting a scowl. As he walks up, he says, "Hey." Glasses turn to look at Charles for a moment before turning back at Calvin. No need to echo the Professor's question here.

"I've gotten used to it." Cal says and it's mostly the truth. He smiles down at the Professor who's so much like the one he thought of as not just a mentor but a father. "I'm just glad there's no problem to fix, no disaster to avert." No friend to kill. At the question he nods and rolls his shoulders. "Much better. I'm almost back to normal." As Cyke walks over, he transfers the smile to him. "Hello, Scott."

"Scott," Charles says, almost before the man finishes speaking. "Try to understand that Warren is going through a difficult time right now. I know his problems seem… simple, but to him they are complicated." He offers the man a subtle smile, a reminder that they've all been through difficult times, and looks back at Cal. "You seem to be healing well. Miss Grey is encouraged by your progress, and I have to say, you are adjusting remarkably well," Xavier compliments Cal. "You're even fitting in with the others here, despite some incongruities. People speak well of you, young man," Xavier says.

Far be it from Scott to argue with Charles, nor for him to talk of Warren so openly. "We all have our problems," is all he says, and the lingering frown sticks around for smother moment or two before fading in favor of his usual look; intense, attentive. "If can't be easy," he echoes, motioning about with his hand. "Being here. Though I guess this proves right some of the quantum theories that have been floating out there for the past three decades."

Cal almost laughs at the comment. Even in this reality, the Professor is complimenting him on fitting in, albeit over ten years after the first time. "I've had practice." he notes dryly. Then more seriously "And it's not as if our realities are very different from each other. Some of the faces aren't the same but even with different experiences, Scott is Scott and Warren is Warren." And Jean is alive. A point of difference definitely in the plus column. But easy? No. He nods to Scott and shrugs slightly. "It is what it is. And while I don't know the science behind it, it certainly seems like there's a near infinite number of realities. Hank could probably explain it. Not that I'll likely understand it any better after he did."

"Hank is currently taking bets with himself on how many Nobel Prizes your appearance will earn him," Charles says with a laugh. He lifts his front wheels off the ground with no visible effort, then backs into the little chair-avator that hooks up to the back of his seat. He folds his hands in his lap and waits patiently as the machine gently starts taking him down the curved stairway.

"I doubt he'll see any of them- your existence would be impossible to verify without someone like myself asserting it, and a single biased perspective doesn't make for a strongly supported theory. Or academic paper," Charles points out, as they near the bottom of the stairs.

Calvin's answer brings a rueful grin to Scott's face. "He's already tried." He shares a look — much as he can — with Xavier before they make for the stairs. He follows along at the rear, lips curled in a thoughtful manner. "I doubt the technology exists here to make something like that happen. Not yet, anyway. Kind of weird, thinking that we might see that in our lifetimes." The last is reserved for Charles, considering Calvin -has-, in fact, already seen it.

"What year was it when you left your home reality?" he asks Calvin, curiosity in his voice.

"Unless he could prove that each reality resonates on a slightly different quantum level so that anything from a different reality has a slightly different energy signature that might be detected somehow." Cal points out. After a moment, he adds "Multiple Reed Richards and Hank Pyms have theorized something like that." So don't think he knows anything about quantum physics. As the Professor starts down the stairs, he walks next to him. Scott's question causes him to pause a moment before continuing down the stairs. "Funny. I didn't think to ask what year it was here. But time is different in each reality too so it ends up not really mattering much. Before I was pulled from home, it was 2009."

"Well, it appears we are time-locked, at least," Charles says with a nod. "Or at least we follow the same Gregorian calendar." He starts wheeling along, bumping his office door open and moving behind his desk, balancing carefully on two wheels for a few moments, just for the fun of it. "It is a boggling idea to think there are more Charles Xaviers out there," the teacher says with a shake of his head. "Just like me. Or just a little like me," he amends. "To see it first-hand is one thing, but I cannot fathom it, myself." Charles gestures towards the little refridgetor in the corner. "Cold soda? Water?" he solicits, offering a drink to the two men. No liquor in this office.

"Huh." Now that's something to think about. For a few moments, Scott is tempted to think of himself in those other timelines. How he may have turned out. Then, he realizes that it's probably best not knowing. "If any me's end up appearing, I'd probably want them as far away as possible. The concept is something I can believe in, but I'd rather not see it with my own two eyes." He grins just a bit as Charles performs his trick, then shakes his head, politely declining the Professor's offer. He'd shared a beer with Warren an hour ago, and a bottle of water on the way back.

"Or very unlike you, Professor." Cal corrects somberly. "In some realities, it's Magneto who's the voice of reason." And Charles Xavier who's the mass murderer he had to kill. At the offer, he shakes his head. "No thank you, I'm good." To Scott, he says "Meeting yourself is very strange."

Charles shivers visibly at that, dropping his front wheels to the ground. He'd had many such conversations with Erik over the years. The debates had walked the thin razor's edge- times that the ersatz Mr. Lehnsherr had nearly compelled Charles to come over to his side of the argument. Moments where Charles had come /that/ close to talking his friend out of a path of self-destruction. "There but for the grace of God," Charles murmurs, glancing skywards once. He rests his eyelids a moment, then smiles at Calvin. "I should think so, young man," Charles says with a rueful chuckle. "Now, on to less… disturbing topics. Where do you see yourself fitting in, here in our reality?" he asks the man, resting his forearms on the desk in front of him and folding his fingers. "Would you like to stay here at the Institute? You are of course welcome here always, but there is a difference between a guest bed and keeping quarters," he says, with a warm smile.

A shiver runs down Scoff's spine, frown returning. He takes a seat, thankful for the moment that the particular line of conversation is drawing to an end. He remains silent, curious. This is Xavier's show. He'd already expressed his concerns with Calvin's presence in confidence, and heeded the Professor's advice at keeping an open mind.

Stay at the Institute? Cal just blinks then gazes at the Professor as he ties to make sense of that. "I…" He stops. Deep breath. "I wasn't planning on staying." But oh how he wants to. "My friends will be back once I've had enough time to recover. We have a duty, realities to fix." One after another after another ad infinitum. Shaking his head, he moves over to the window to stare out it.

Xavier nods quietly, letting Calvin think. He exchanges a glance with Scott- letting the man know where his sympathies lie. Scott's face is unreadable, but his surface thoughts aren't. Xavier nods once at Scott, agreeing, then turns back to over his left shoulder, looking over it towards Calvin. "There's no hurry to make a decision, my friend," Xavier says quietly, in tones that are perfectly suited to be reassuring and calming. "You are welcome to stay here, for as long as you need. Longer, if you need," he says with a smile. "Meanwhile, just relax. Heal. Wait for your friends. Feel free to revisit some old ones here, if you want. Or know you are somewhere safe and secure, if that is what you want, too," Charles offers, as a second option.

Meanwhile, Scott's lips are pressed into a thin line. He's tempted to dig in, pressing Calvin for more information about where he's from, why specifically he's here, who his friends are. As team leader and the First X-Man, he's developed an uncanny ability to put mission and safety before personal needs, and it's something he's become recently aware of. Though it tests his patience, he keeps himself silent, only nodding his agreement. "As much time as you need, yeah. I can show you around, get you some gear and bring you into the field if you get antsy."

Cal nods, not looking away from the window. His thoughts and feelings have gone completely unreadable as he mimics the Professor and wraps himself in a mental shield. "Thank you, both. I'll think about what you've said. But if something major comes up, just ask. I'm healed well enough for that."

"Of course. Scott, a moment of your time? I'd like to talk about the training schedule. Get your thoughts on it." Charles backs his wheelchair out of the desk and rolls past Scott, gathering the man in his wake, and leaving Cal there to look out the window. He even closes the door behind them, leaving Cal his privacy in Xavier's office, to sit somewhere quiet and muse over the life he had, the life he has, and the life he could choose to lead.

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