It’s a Tuesday when Charles and Erik tell them they’re going to be springing a mutant from the Bronx Psychiatric Center. Charles caught a glimpse of her mind by accident (he usually avoids the psych wards, and hospitals in general, because that much fear and distress leaves his head aching). Hank has tracked her through the system, and says that they’re moving here from the Intensive Treatment and Stabilization Unit (wards 5 and 7) to the Intensive Diagnostic and Treatment Unit, because she’s not crazy and they can’t figure out what to make of what she claims to know. Alex hates Tuesdays. And he hates crazy people. Alex remembers what prison was like, and walking into a hospital he finds it smells of the same kind of desperation. He’s glad he’s not Hank, he’s glad he doesn’t know these things for sure. But he hates the feeling of it all the same.
Charles smooths everything over, partially with his talents, partially with his natural charm, and partially with a measure of applied “I know what’s going on and I’m qualified to deal with it so why don’t you just let me” ... Alex isn’t quite sure how to describe that particular aura his boss possesses, but it’s there. Alex mostly hangs back while they’re actually retrieving her. He’s not much help in these cases. He’s too gruff and too angry to really help anyone delicate. He drives, which gives him an excuse not to say anything on the way back to their base in Westchester. Charles felt that that environment would be more conducive to helping this woman feel relaxed and safe, than the base in the City, which is industrial and harsh, and underground. Alex doesn’t like to think too much about it, but the mansion in Westchester sometimes feels like it’s coated in the same kind of desperation as the hospitals and the prisons. Except that this was some kind of hell that Charles Xavier was born into, and that none of them dare ask about.
Charles bundles the girl into the kitchen where Erik is waiting with enough tea for everyone on the team. Alex never thought he’d be a tea person, but when your boss is an English ex-pat, and his boyfriend can make every brewed beverage under the sun, but only ever acquiesces to the requests of said boss... You get used to it. The girl is whimpering, at least she stopped clutching her head and crying the way she had been on the drive all the way through the city. Charles makes soothing, shushing noises at her and asks her questions in his calmest voice. She clutches at his hands and starts crying again.
“Everyone, I’m going to have to ask you to leave, your presence is disrupting her psychic abilities and making it more painful for her,” he’s looking at all of them, and his gaze becomes a little more pointed when it comes to rest on Erik, who, as always, is loathe to leave Charles on his own with anyone new.
It’s three days before they’re allowed to see her again. Charles spends long hours helping her come to terms with and control her gifts. None of them are really privy to what those gifts are; Charles refuses to tell them, at her request. They imagine that Erik might know, because almost anything that Charles knows Erik does. Alex sort of hates not knowing, because it leaves him feeling vulnerable (and he’s tired of it, every time he feels like he’s come to a place where it’ll stop feeling that way... Something happens to wrench the feeling away from him) but he knows what it’s like to feel dangerous, and the desire to protect yourself from others because of who you are. He doesn’t know if they should be afraid of her, or if she’s afraid they’ll try and use her, but he gets that sometimes, you want to keep your secrets.
She joins them at lunch. Charles smiles at her and introduces her to the table, telling them this is her last day with them. She’s tall, with dark hair, and now that she isn’t crying Alex can see that her big, dark eyes are sad, despite the fact that she’s smiling. She looks at each of them in turn, and something in her gaze pierces through each of them. Alex doesn’t know what it is she sees, but the haunted look in her eyes makes him shiver. But she keeps smiling through lunch and talks to with them, so he supposes that it can’t be that bad (he knows her eyes are going to haunt him, maybe forever).
The team goes together to see her off, because mutants need to stick together. Despite the fact that Charles was the one that helped her get the most balance, they’re working together to help people help themselves. “Mutant and proud” is how Raven says it. It’s a rallying cry, a statement of solidarity. They want her to know that should she get in trouble, should the rest of the world be ready to reject her, Charles Xavier and his X-Men are here. And they’ll come to the rescue of any mutant that needs it. Except, she doesn’t just smile and say her goodbyes, the way people usually do. She stands in front of them, strong and sad, and speaks to them in a voice that tells them they have to listen.
“I can’t do anything about what I see. Not really. Trying to warn people never works, because it’s not my place to save people. And mistakes will always happen. Erik Lensherr, be careful. Think very carefully about what is most important to you, lest you hurt those you love. You know what is most important, please remember it. Hank, I cannot tell you anything to change what is going to happen. I just wish you knew... Alex, I’m so sorry. Do not let the past get in the way of the future, but I wish you didn’t have to go through any of this. Raven, sometimes we have to wait for what’s right to come to pass. Don’t let your impatience get the best you. Sean, don’t let your doubts undermine you. Angel, be careful what you wish for. Some things can only be won with time and anything else will leave you bitter. Thank you so much, all of you, for helping me. Thank you.”
And with that, she walked away. Sean, Angel and Hank started talking amongst themselves, wondering what she meant. Raven looked in askance to Charles and Erik frowned, probably thinking about what she’d said to them. Alex couldn’t quite get rid of the chills and dread that she’d left behind. Nothing good could come out of a gaze like hers. He walked back inside.