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Xenomnesia

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Charles senses the ripple seconds before it hits. When it reaches him, images, memories, from a person he’s never met before flood his senses. Moving metal, running away, hunting, killing, anger. It leaves him with a taste of blood in his mouth even once the ripple has faded away. He checks himself to find that some of his memories seem to be misplaced.

“Have we ever been to Jersey?” Raven asks. “I’m pretty sure we’ve never been to Jersey, but I remember an entire vacation there.”

“No, we’ve never been to Jersey,” Charles answers distractedly as he looks around London Airport. Everyone else he sees is looking around in confusion and asking questions of the people next to them just as Raven had. They all have misplaced memories, linking them to each other to the point it reads to Charles’ mind like everything has been overly highlighted. No one seems hurt, but they’re all reasonably frightened after their first telepathic experience. Someone, however, has some of Charles’ memories.

Charles gets to his feet. “I think I may have hurt someone.”

“What?” Raven asks. “Where are you going?”

He nearly trips over his bags trying to trace where his memories have gone. He can’t tell where they went, but he can get enough from the memories deposited in his head to be able to track the mind they came from. Hopefully, they’re the one who received his memories. “Finding someone. You’re free to come with me.”

Charles hurries down the terminal, taking advantage of the confusion to nearly jog and be able to avoid too much attention.

“Charles,” Raven snaps, following him. “Do you know what’s going on?”

“Wait a moment,” Charles says, waving her off as he finally locates the mind the memories came from. They have a headache blooming brightly from trying to process all the sensory data Charles’ memories offered without the necessary mutation to understand it. Charles can’t get a true sense of the person with his memories attempting to fight their way into a suitable spot in their memory.

“Charles.” Raven hisses, catching hold of his arm.

He tugs on the memories, and they fly back to him. Most of the memories come from school, both grade school and university. One, however, contains Raven transforming from her natural blue form into the form a teacher she had hated. They may not have been able to properly interpret other information such as how Raven felt as she transformed, but the visual information was incriminating enough.

He pulls free of Raven’s grasp and rushes towards the mind his memories had latched onto. Now that he can read it, he finds that it belongs to a fellow mutant named Erik Lehnsherr. Charles finds him in the men’s bathroom standing over a sink with a paper towel pressed to his nosebleed. He glares at Charles before turning back to the mirror.

“What are you doing?” Raven asks, having shifted into the form of a man in a suit to enter the bathroom.

Lehnsherr glares at her, and she glares back before turning to Charles. Charles steps towards Lehnsherr. “I’m Charles Xavier. You were recently in possession of a few of my memories due to a slight ripple in electromagnetic waves, and I have a few memories of yours. The reason you have a headache and a nosebleed is because I’m like you. I’m a mutant, but with telepathy. You have a headache because your brain doesn’t have the necessary mutation to take in all the information that mine can.”

Lehnsherr stares at him the shifts his gaze over to Raven. “Oh,” Charles says, gesturing towards Raven. “This is my sister, Raven. She shapeshifts.”

Raven, stubbornly, doesn’t demonstrate. Charles sighs and lets it be. Lehnsherr wipes the blood away from his nose then throws away the paper towel.

“I never knew there were others like me,” Lehnsherr says, looking them over.

Charles grins. “But here we are. What exactly does your mutation allow you to do? Your memories weren’t very clear to me.”

“I can manipulate magnetic fields.”

“Fascinating,” Charles says, wanting to reach out and pluck all the information he wanted from Lehnsherr’s mind. A conversation, however, would be far more pleasant.

“Charles,” Raven says. “We board in a few minutes.”

“Where are you headed, Mr. Lehnsherr?” Charles asks.

“How do you know my name?” he asks.

“Oh, sorry,” Charles says then gestures to his head. “Names are very easy to find out with telepathy. They’re very ingrained in minds.”

Lehnsherr nods. “I’m headed to New York.”

“Excellent,” Charles exclaims, flashing a grin to Raven. “We are as well. Would you care to join us, Mr. Lehnsherr?”

Raven sighs as Lehnsherr makes his decision. His mind ticks like a luxury watch, and Charles could spend many an hour studying how each gear turns so precisely. Lehnsherr nods. “I’d like to join you.”

“Wonderful,” Charles says, reaching for Lehnsherr’s arm. “We have so much to discuss. Thank goodness it’s a long flight.”

“You’re the only one excited about spending an hours long flight discussing genetics, Charles,” Raven huffs as she shifts back into her previous disguise as they leave the bathroom.

“This is important,” Charles counters then turns to Lehnsherr. “I just finished my degree. This couldn’t be more perfect timing.”

“Degree?” Lehnsherr asks.  

“Yes, I now have a PhD in genetics,” he says, beaming. “It’s fantastic to have another person to discuss this with in practicality. I have to speak of it theoretically most of the time.”

Their plane begins boarding, and Charles and Raven have to scramble to gather their things. Lehnsherr boards with them, and Charles notices that he does so under a different name.

“Is it alright if I switch seats with you, Mr. Lehnsherr?” Raven asks. “I’d rather not have to sit and listen to Charles go on about genetics for hours on end.”

“That’s fine,” Lehnsherr says, and they switch seats without trouble.

Once they’re seated, Lehnsherr stares at Charles. “Is there something wrong?” Charles asks.

“I know you saw my ticket.”

Charles nods. “Your secrets are yours, Mr. Lehnsherr. I don’t make a habit of going through the entirety of others’ minds.”

“Then there are a couple things I should tell you,” Lehnsherr says. “You’re free to call me Erik.”

“And?”

“I need the alias because I intend to continue killing Nazis in New York.”

Charles stares at him as he shifts in his seat and looks to the front of the plane. “Oh my god,” Charles says as he sits back in his seat and puts a hand over his mouth.

Erik’s memories had hinted at a fair amount of darkness, but Charles hadn’t expected that. He’d say Erik was joking, but he did not seem the joking type. Nor could he find any hint of insincerity from his mind. His stomach is abnormally queasy as the plane takes off.

“You’re not going to run off when we land, are you?” Charles asks. “We’ve only just met.”

Erik stares at him in shock.