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Take The First Option

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Charles wheeled himself back towards the door to the mansion where Sean, Alex, and Hank were waiting gravely for him. Sean shuffled nervously.

“Did you do it?” Sean asked. Charles nodded once, and Sean took off like a shot, all tensely-coiled muscle waiting to snap. He took a glassy-eyed Moira by the hand and led her to the waiting car. She watched him blankly as he helped her into the passenger seat, then climbed into the driver’s seat himself. Alex half-waved at the departing car before Hank stole his attention.

“Help me, Alex,” Hank said, his growl of a voice pitched lower than usual. Alex snapped to attention, grabbing the left wheel and left handle of Charles’ chair while Hank lifted the right side. Charles laid his hand on Alex’s forearm.

Thank you, Charles’ voice echoed in their heads.

“No problem, Professor,” Hank answered gruffly, moving in tandem with Alex to take Charles up the four steps into the mansion.

“I’ll finish your ramp today,” Alex assured him as they set him in the doorway. “It’s made of wood. Hank buffed up some industrial wood glue for us, so there’s no nails or screws or anything. I mean, we probably don’t need to, but… Just in case, I mean.”

“Thank you,” Charles repeated, out loud this time. “Both of you. You’ve been…”

When Charles trailed off, Hank picked up the thread for him, filling the silence that Sean usually took care of for them. “We know, Professor. Thanks.”

Silence fell again. Charles caught the edges of anxiety and unease from the boys’ minds, even as he maintained the walls that kept him from fully entering their minds without permission. Their emotions were fierce, projecting outwards without their conscious decision. Hank broke the silence again.

“Moira brought the blueprints for Cerebro,” Hank informed Charles, slowly, cautiously. “I should start going over them, make some adjustments so we can get started as soon as possible.”

“Of course, Hank.” Charles clasped Hank’s furry hand in both of his, white encircling indigo. “Go get some work done. Dinner’s at six.”

“Won’t Erik-” Alex began, before catching himself and snapping his mouth shut.

“Why don’t you go train downstairs for a bit, Alex?” Charles suggested quietly. Without another word, Alex turned and left, just slow enough to not be called “fleeing”. Hank wrung his hands.

“I’m going to go down to the lab,” Hank said, leaving Charles waiting in the threshold for Sean to come home. The sun set.