Charles could not recall the last time he had felt so angry. It surprised him, then, that this was the first thing he felt when everything had finished. He knew his flaws; knew that he was often bull-headed and sometimes arrogant. He knew that he had always thought himself right and that he had the tendency to smother people he cared about because he couldn’t help but wrap them in cotton wool and hide them from the world. He was self aware enough to know all of this. He had to be, because being able to control his particular type of mutation called for it.
Charles thought that Raven had understood. Charles had trusted her. They had been through so much together, and really, he loved her so much he’d have done anything for her. She was his only family after all, and he had thought the bonds they had chosen, the bonds that transcended blood, would be enough to keep them together.
And Erik... with his compelling mind, his refreshing honesty, his brilliance… Charles had let him in, had thought he’d found a kindred spirit, had decided to lay his heart out for the taking.
So no matter how unnatural it was for him, how much it felt like he was chopping off a limb or gouging out an eye, he did what they asked – he stayed out of their heads. Of course, it was impossible to completely stay away; particularly loud or persistent thoughts would always reach him, and he’d talk to them in their minds (it was not so much the giving as to the taking they balked at), but he was careful never to peek, not even at their mundane thoughts.
He knew his faults; his only mistake was in trusting them to understand, and he never expected them to accuse him of not… of not caring for mutantkind, of only wanting peace so they, as a race, could hide and pretend they were human too. He knew that it hurt Raven when he encouraged her to stay in her blonde, blue-eyed skin. But it wasn’t like it was easy to forget that she had been almost killed once, when Charles was young and tired and lost control, and the groundskeeper had seen Raven’s blue skin. At least Charles had logical reason, because she could get killed this time; Charles might not be there to pull at an assailant’s mind and twist.
But what reason did they have to want Charles to be ordinary? To not use his mutation unless it wasn’t them, or unless it was convenient for them.
Charles had always let Raven try on whatever face she wanted in private, and even Erik played superfluously with metal. But Charles wasn’t allowed even these kinds of frivolities; his mutation was treated like something especially dangerous, like a tool or a weapon, only to be brought out when needed or when used against others.
Telepaths have no need of trust, because they could easily pluck the truth from any mind. But he trusted them despite that, and this is how they return it.
But there is still Hank, and Alex, and Sean. There is still a school to build and a world to change. There are mutants and humans to save from them, and his rage will do nothing except hinder his goals. So he takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, pulls out a thick box from a safe hidden in the deepest recesses of his mind, and shoves his rage and his broken trust into it.
Without the anger and betrayal there is only the encompassing feeling of tiredness and regret, as well as a multitude of feelings tied with memories he cannot bear to hide away yet. But he is in control of himself enough to be able to really breathe, and there will be time enough tomorrow to lock away the rest.