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MCIS: First Case

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Erik blamed his lateness to the scene on a misplaced pillow, which he kicked his phone under in the middle of the night, and then slept on. All of this meant that when Moira rang him at 6am with news of a dead mutant, she had to call him again at 6:10am, and then 6:20am, and then 6:30am before he finally heard it and woke up, and then he had to listen to her laugh at the fact that he was either clearly hung over, or entertaining overnight company, neither of which was the case, but he did enjoy the fact that he got to brush his teeth - and spit on her - via the phone conversation where she read him the dispatch report.

"Oh, and Lehnsherr, your new team member will be there." And then she hung up on him.

Maybe he shouldn't have spit in her ear, because now he was going into a crime scene with absolutely no idea what his new team member would be. He'd made requests, of course, someone who could actually handle shooting things. Alex Summers had made an excellent addition to his team last year, but he was too green. He was great with hair, fiber, and dirt analysis, but he wasn't great with... aiming.

He arrived at the scene at 7:16, and he flashed his badge to the human at the door. Halfway up the first flight of stairs he heard the cop grumble behind him: "Another one for the freaks."

Erik just shook his head - he wasn't going to change any minds by pulling pranks - but he did have to fight down the urge to make sure the man's pants fly wasn't uncomfortably warm all day.

"What do we have?" He yelled to the room at large as soon as he walked through the door.

"Boss!" Alex was standing in the front hall and living room area of the apartment, and nearly dropped whatever he was working on - fibers it looked like. "Um..."

Great. Erik realized it was going to be one of those mornings.

"Where's the new--"

"In here!" He frowned at the voice. British?

He followed the voice down a hallway and finally caught sight of a mess of brown hair attached to neatly pressed suit. Angel was looking between Erik and the new mutant, looking slightly out of her depth - probably due to the mutant, she was more than capable with camera, notes, and occasional brawling. The new member of his team was down on his haunches near the head of the victim, but then stood, turned around, and gave Erik a bright smile. Another cheerful kid, apparently. He couldn't be more than twenty.

"Charles Xavier." He held out a hand, a hand which contained a steaming cup of some sort of coffee. Erik took it, eyes narrowed, when he finally realized that Xavier's sleeves were rolled up and he was wearing the thin, elbow length power-dampening gloves of a mutant with a powerful touch power. "Your new team member."

Erik was further pleased to see Xavier wasn't obviously armed - always a good sign. "Erik Lehnsherr."

"Mmm. A pleasure." He looked over Erik for a moment and Erik returned the appraisal. Xavier dressed like a forty year old, in a grey three piece suit that - although very nicely tailored - just made him look like a teenager playing dress up in his father's wardrobe. "Business or personal introductions first?"

"Business," Erik answered.

"Victim: Michael Summers - no relation to Alex Summerset al." He actually said 'et al.' Erik could barely contain the quirk to his lips, but when Xavier moved and revealed the body the humor of the situation died entirely. The kid was very obviously a mutant, some sort of gossamer, almost papery skin instead of flesh, silvery hair, buggish, maybe. He glanced towards Angel in sympathy, but she was keeping it professional for the moment.

Xavier continued, apparently deaf to the emotional undercurrents of the room. "Gun shot wounds - at least twelve discrete wounds - I was told you would -" Xavier wiggled his fingers and Erik arched an eyebrow "- take care of recovery."

Erik could already feel the various bullet fragments, some in the floor, several in the victim. He had the best chance of retrieving them intact. Xavier had been briefed on him. It made him feel... underdressed, and again he realized he probably should keep the human-baiting to a minimum when he was owed a new mutant. Erik hunched down over the victim and Angel turned her tablet towards him so he could see the how she'd labeled the entrance wounds. Erik started pulling out slugs and Angel wordlessly bagged them while they levitated over the body. The newcomer spared him a quick glance before continuing.

"Neighbors told the uniforms they heard nothing, they are, of course, lying. Neighbor to the left is lying the hardest and with the most vigor; probably saw something he wasn't supposed to. No obvious signs of robbery, no forced entry. Angel and Alex will have to inform you of any further forensic observations."

The man picked up another cup of takeaway coffee and sipped slowly. Erik spared a glance at Angel and saw she also had one settled near her side. Xavier was a suck up. He took a sip of the coffee and glared at it. Three sugars - Moira had ratted him and his sweet tooth out to Xavier.

"Body's still warm..." Angel frowned for a moment. "Metabolically impossible to know what his normal temp is but Charles says that the neighbors..."

She trailed off and Xavier gave her a smile. "Definitely didn't hear anything, of course, around 4:20."

"How many interviews did you do, Xavier?"

"Hmm? Just the one. Mrs Henderson, neighbor below who called it in - she has a very nice cat named Vincent, orange tabby, named after the painter, and a daughter at school for law in Boston..."

"Then how do you know all of the other neighbors are lying if you didn't talk to them?"

"How do you know the walls are eggshell white?"

"Because... I see it?"

"Exactly."

Erik said something very annoyed and unflattering in Yiddish. "You're a fucking empath."

"Not on the first date," he answered, completely straight faced. Erik glowered at him, and then Angel, only to find that she apparently thought it was funny as well, and was hiding a grin behind her tablet. "Regardless, the emotionally complex idea of 'don't talk to me, please don't talk to me, please, please, please, I don't want to see anyone, stay away, stay away' is radiating rather strongly."

"That's a little more than I'm used to getting from an empath." Erik was - begrudgingly - impressed. Less impressed when Xavier apparently caught the emotion and grinned at him.

"I'm very good at nuance," Xavier assured him.

"I somehow doubt that."

Xavier didn't even look abashed, just grinned at Erik and relaxed into an easy posture. Erik watched him roam around the room more, keeping him at the edge of his vision, trying to get a feel for him. Xavier picked up a few things - magazines, books, papers - his eyes running over them easily, followed by gloved fingers. The carefree young man he'd been only a few moments ago disappeared behind a more serious mask. Erik tugged another bullet out. Xavier poked around under the bed.

"Xavier." Xavier ignored him. "Xavier!"

"Oh, right." Charles straightened from where he was and tugged on his clothes for a moment. "Charles, please." He picked up a tablet from one of the team's bags on the floor.

Erik wasn't certain he was interested in calling the man 'Charles' just yet, but he kept that to himself. He fucking hated empaths, they were always so... touchy feely and smug, wanted to go all 'tell me about your mother' after a half-day together and Erik was very much not interested in getting psychoanalyzed. He got enough of that during his annual reviews.

"Was the kid registered?" Erik didn't care for registration, but that was the first thing that sprung to mind.

Charles handed him the tablet. "Yes. It's almost impossible not to be with a physical mutation." Erik heard a hint of distaste, but it could have been for anything. Charles didn't have an obvious mutation, Erik might have thought he was human but for the gloves.

Erik scanned the registration information. "We should check with his job."

"Not necessary," Charles answered immediately. "He left or was fired approximately five weeks ago."

Erik looked back at the registration, embarrassed that Charles had noticed that, but realized there wasn't any mention of a change in employment. "That's not in his file."

Charles shook his head, holding a pay stub between fingers for Erik. He took it - the paycheck was for only two days' work. "He could have taken vacation."

"Money troubles." Erik was starting to get a little flustered with Charles' seemingly endless supply of answers. He enjoyed an occasional Socratic quiz session with his team, but they weren't supposed to have all of the answers. Erik arched his eyebrow with an implicit 'please, continue' behind it that Charles seemed to read easily. "He's living off cup o noodles - not my personal choice, but acceptable in a pinch - a stack of unpaid bills in the kitchen -" Where Erik hadn't been yet. He hated feeling this unprepared and this off balance. A quick glance to Angel proved that she was waiting for the explosion that Charles - empathic or not - was clearly not aware of. "Also empty prescription bottles with refills remaining but no refills in the house."

Prescription... he almost asked Charles, because the man had obviously read the file, but his pride made him glare at the back of the man's head and scan it for himself. Chemical power suppressants. He felt a twist in his stomach. Charles glanced over his shoulder and caught Erik's eye, slightly sad, before he turned back away.

"Where to, Boss?" Charles asked, taking another long drink of the coffee he'd brought for himself.

Erik frowned at him. "Go see if Alex has found anything." He wanted Charles out of his head for a few moments. Charles tilted his head slightly and left the room.

Moria must have known, she clearly delighted in pissing him off like this. You needed time to get prepared to be in the presence of someone with mind voodoo, get yourself psyched up, put up some mental barriers, stop thinking about elephants in the room. He glowered down at the tablet and called up Xavier's registration.

Charles Francis Xavier: age 26 Even that was somehow a shock to Erik. He really didn't look that old. He skipped over the boring biographic information - mostly because he didn't want to know that about someone whose parents apparently thought 'Charles Francis' was a suitable name for a child.

Weapons Certifications: none Erik felt a twitch coming on at the corner of his eye.

Physical Mutations: N/A

Mental Mutations: High level empathy, grade 10+ Erik swore, mentally, almost wondering if Charles could hear him. He'd worked with empaths before, but that was ridiculous. Empathic acuity creates the impression of borderline telepathic.

Special Handling: Disallowed from all S/TS/SCI facilities without psychic dampeners grade A or higher.

It was really quite impolite of Moira to have put Charles on his team. Empaths were... in a word - two words, really - fucking useful as investigators, but in Erik's experience they went completely to hell as soon as violence happened. They were uniformly pacifistic, hippy, peace and love and happiness types, and he had seen an empath go completely to pieces as soon as someone got hurt, with whimpering and whining about psychic energy and it just made Erik want to crush something. He cleared the query on the tablet and stalked out into the main living room where Charles was apparently now chatting up Alex and being particularly smiley.

Charles looked his direction and winced, a moment later he actually rubbed his temple. "If you'll excuse us, Alex, I believe Agent Lehnsherr and I are going to conduct interviews."

He hadn't been thinking of conducting interviews, but he realized that was where they should be going and headed out of the room, finally ending up in the plaster-walled hallway with his back to a wall and eyes closed. Charles carefully pulled the tablet from his hands - politely not touching him - and started to tap away.

"So. How good are you?"

"I'm afraid you're going to have to be a bit more specific, Erik."

Erik brain-glowered at him.

Charles leaned up against the wall, close enough that he could feel the ghost of the man's presence even though they weren't touching. "Go ahead and say what you need to."

"I don't need you to headshrink me, Xavier."

"Please call me Charles." He didn't answer the core question though. "Do you want me to stay out of your head?"

Erik knew, intellectually, that would be almost impossible. Everyone - human and mutant - bleed like an open wound without even meaning to, thoughts leaking everywhere. It wasn't so much that Charles would stay out of his head, as Charles would just politely ignore it when Erik thought too loud. He sighed, shook his head. "No, you empaths are fucking socially awkward without the mind voodoo."

Charles let out a long breath. Relieved. Erik looked at him, surprised. "Would you like to get a feel for my interview style in a dry run, or speak to our liar?"

Erik tilted his head towards the door that Charles said was the home of the neighbor with something to hide. Charles straightened, fixed his jacket so his gloves were very clearly visible, brushing his fingers along the smooth material. "What grade?" Erik asked.

"C."

"Take them off."

Charles shook his head. "I like them."

If he was going to have an empath on his team, then he wasn't going to suffer through an empath on his team who wasn't even able to use his full abilities.

"Please trust me on this, Erik." Charles straightened the tie knotted at his throat. Erik scowled. "And try not to spike emotions, makes it harder for me to keep a read on the subject."

Erik took a deep breath and knocked on the door. He didn't need to be an empath to see the man at the door was nervous, twitchy. Beside him, Charles seemed to tense just a touch as well.

"Agents Lehnsherr, Xavier, MCIS. We'd like to ask you a few questions about your neighbor, Michael Summers." Erik gave the man his best, happy-mutant-non-predatory grin, but it was when the man saw Charles' gloved hands wrapped neatly around the tablet that he really started to sweat.

"Terrence, Terrence Mitchell."

Charles nodded, very polite as he dutifully made notes against the tablet. Erik found himself splitting his attention between Charles and Mitchell, curious at the man's approach. He seemed to not be paying any attention at all, and he realized, as their subject slowly relaxed that Mitchell was responding to Charles' body language. "You wouldn't mind if we came in, would you?" Smile. Eye contact. Mitchell swallowed, heavy. Xavier was completely fucking with the guy's head with barely a word.

"No, no, please come in."

Erik scanned the room, just a brief sweep, but Charles seemed to take it as an invitation to run his eyes over everything, he kept his hands to himself, lazily tapping the pen to the tablet while he seemed to admire each knickknack or piece of 'art' that lined the walls. "You have a very nice apartment."

That was a lie. They were in a trashy part of town in a horrible, roach infested apartment, but the assurance put the man further at ease. Charles made a brief note to himself, a quick glance to Erik and he realized Charles was urging him to go ahead with the questions.

"I'm sure you heard that Mr. Summers was killed this morning."

"Yeah..." A glance between Erik and the back of Charles' head. "Hadn't .. uh ... heard until the cops came this morning."

"How well did you know him?"

Erik settled into an easy routine, almost completely ignoring Charles' presence as the man continued to circle Mitchell's living room. He touched nothing, inspected almost everything, and made lazy notes while Erik peppered questions. He added almost nothing, asking only what Mitchell did for a living and if he enjoyed 'motor sports' which confused Erik completely. Charles slipped the questions in seamlessly between pauses in Erik's questions and Erik offered the usual 'call me if you think of anything' before he nearly dragged Charles out of the room.

"Did you even take notes of the interview?" Erik had, in paper, because tablets were annoying, but Charles had been in his own little world.

Charles handed over the tablet and Erik squinted at the messy handwriting there. It was just numbers - clearly the questions asked, with a brief notation of what each question had been about 'job', 'alibi' and notations like 'lie', 'truth', 'half-lie', 'practiced lie' next to each. After that the notations just got ridiculous: 'sex', 'violence', 'guilt', 'angry', 'happy', 'lots of sex'.

"Really?"

The empath took his notes back, heading back to the victim's room before showing Erik the notations again. "Mr. Mitchell does something of dubious legality, something he lies to a lot of people about on a regular basis."

"So? Is he a killer? An accomplice?"

"It doesn't work like that. He's really very guilty of something, but my impressions are not admissible as any sort of evidence in any court of law, nor cause for a search warrant, or even necessarily further investigation along those lines." Charles shrugged. "If feeling nervous around an empath was a crime, almost everyone would be in jail."

"Dude, you're an empath?!" Alex said from his place in the bedroom door frame.

Charles winced when Alex fled the room, finally giving in and massaging his temples. "Would you like to know what I think, Erik?"

"No." Yes.

"I think we may be looking at something as simple as loan sharking for Mr. Summers. Whatever the baseline criminal activity, it was likely Mr. Mitchell who provided the introduction. He has an underlying fondness for mutants, just not ones who can touch the mind." Charles finally stopped touching his temples and Erik could almost feel the beginnings of a headache in his own skull. "He feels quite guilty."

"Are you ready for another interview, then?"

Charles nodded, flashing a huge grin. He had ridiculously blue eyes.

"And the 'sex, lots of sex'?"

"There was a couple three floors up having sex in the shower, hard to filter out."

Charles grinned at him, Erik just shook his head.