All at once, things seem to have fallen into chaos. Logan is on his knees, claws springing out seemingly unbidden, eyes fixed on the human still spasming nearby on the floor, and shouting as though seeing something that no one else can see.
Charles can feel Erik's intent as he reaches for his gun, can feel Raven's fear and mistrust. How did everything go so bad so fast?
There's only one thing Charles can do about it - pick one fire and put that out. He's missed a dose of the serum, so he has the power to help one of them, but not all.
It will have to be enough. The sheer depth of Logan's panic, his pain, decides which of Charles's friends he will help for him, and Charles drops down onto his knees before Logan, almost thankful for the intense pain that shoots up his spine and wrings a short cry from him. If he were not in pain, that would mean he did not have his powers, and at this moment, that may be all that can save them. Charles sees the knowledge inside of Logan's head - if Logan cannot calm himself, or be calmed, he will slip back to his own time.
On the periphery, Charles is vaguely aware of Erik becoming distracted by Charles's efforts. He hears no gunshot, and when Charles reaches for Logan, mindless of the knife-sharp claws quivering in Logan's ready fists, Erik's is one of the voices that protest.
"Charles! What 's happening?"
But Charles cannot focus on Hank's caution, Erik's alarm, or Raven's questions - Charles lays a hand on Logan's cheek, to steady his shaking fingers as he presses them to Logan's temple, directing his energy, and Logan growls. Charles's other hand is already pressed to his own temple, and he can't spare a moment.
Charles dives into Logan's mind. It's a risk - not using what little power he has to freeze Logan. While he attempts to comfort Logan's mind, Logan's body could still react to whatever threat he perceives - he could literally rip Charles into pieces.
But freezing Logan would protect only Charles - it would not save Logan from the memories that have assaulted his mind. Logan's body, therefore, would be fixed, but his mind could still be lost.
Charles can think of only one way to shield Logan from the terrors of his mind - and that is to remove him from them. With what amounts to wrapping his arms around Logan's shoulders, telepathically, and throwing them both back into his own psyche, Charles opens up his memories, his thoughts and pulls Logan in.
Charles becomes disconnected from the sights, the sounds, and the other sensations that come with consciousness and is aware only of this wild, yet achingly vulnerable, being that has followed him so deep inside his own brain.
It's terrifying, and exhilarating, and so terribly intimate, allowing another person such complete and unfiltered access to his mind. It is unlike projecting a select thought or memory into another person's head; where Charles has taken Logan, Logan is free to wander Charles's mind at will, to expose and examine whatever he wishes.
Charles feels entirely, quite shockingly, almost painfully laid bare. He can feel Logan - two distinct consciousnesses, each called Logan - inside of him, the one unknowing and therefore quite indelicate as it searches Charles's mind for answers and an exit; the other at first uncertain, then in awe of what Charles has attempted, and finally unaccountably frightened by what this might mean for Charles.
'Charles, what have you done?' They can actually communicate - Charles and the dominant consciousness, strengthened by the mutant Logan said had sent him here. 'I don't know what I'm-'
Charles takes the mental equivalent of a deep breath and forces his own, rapidly frazzling consciousness to focus well enough to think, 'Just be calm, Logan. That's all you must do.' If he could feel his body, Charles thinks it would shiver.
This all takes mere moments of real time, but within the limits of Charles's mind it's impossible to say how long Charles waits for Logan's two selves to settle so that they again become linked, the consciousness with which Charles has become familiar functioning on behalf of the both of them.
Only then does Charles dare begin to gently push Logan back where he belongs.
Awareness comes back, slowly, as Charles does. Charles hears first, voices he can identify if not parse for meaning.
"-know what will happen if we try!"
"He's cut him! I'll tell you what will happen if we do nothing and he starts stabbing again... I'm going to put a bullet right-"
"Boys! I think they're coming out of it."
Next Charles can see - Logan is blinking at him, blearily. At the same time, Charles begins to feel the scruff of Logan's beard beneath the palm of his hand, Logan's feverish skin. Charles can't feel his own knees against the carpet on which he's knelt, which makes sense - Charles thinks - as patches of numbness generally accompany the pain that shoots through his spine just before the serum cycles out of his bloodstream completely.
It's when he thinks that that Charles finally feels that pain - he arches with it and screams, going limp in Logan's seemingly mindless grip. Charles can feel it now too, Logan's hands vice-like tight wrapped around Charles's biceps, undoubtedly painting circlets of bruises on each of Charles's arms.
Beneath Logan's hands, Charles's arms sting also and feel oddly hot and wet. Charles looks and sees that his sleeves are ripped and soaked through with blood - not enough, perhaps, to suggest that Logan had cut him badly, but obviously Logan's claws had at least grazed Charles's arms as he'd grabbed him.
"Oh, good, you're back. Now get the fuck away from him!"
"Erik..." Charles tries to scold. "It's not his... fault." But Charles barely gets the words out, feeling more than hearing them through the rush of sound that's come back with the pain.
Voices. Inside his head. So many voices, in so many different kinds of anguish...
Charles's powers have had enough of a workout today, he can't handle the voices now - not that he ever can, these days, without the serum shielding him.
Charles passes out.
He comes to on the plane, feeling no pain and hearing no voices, but feeling a sharp spike of unease at how much time could have passed while he was out. Anything could have gone wrong in the meanwhile.
"Hey, there you are. Rise and shine, Charles."
Logan is sitting nearest to him, but Erik and Raven are within sight and the plane is in the air, so at the very least everyone made it back on the jet while Charles was out of it. Charles sighs in relief, although it does look like it might have been a very near thing. Logan is unscathed, but his clothes look as though he's been brawling, and Erik's sporting a rather livid bruise along the curve of his jaw. Raven is sitting separate from everyone else, scowling at everyone but Charles with very ill humor.
"Raven..." Charles wouldn't care if she was spitting curses - she's coming home, and Charles smiles so hard it aches a little. Raven meets his eyes and smiles back at him.
Charles feels no pain, although he's sure that if he did, right now it couldn't touch him. Charles's head is blissfully quiet also, and when he dares to move one of his legs it obeys his command easily as he watches with some trepidation.
"Hank fixed you up," Logan says, while Erik looks away, a murderous expression on his face. Charles can only imagine that these two have chosen to sit so close to one another out of distrust with the other's nearness to him.
"Yes, but you'll have to get clean at some point," Erik says stiffly, still not looking at him. "We need your powers to figure out what we're supposed to do about all this."
Charles doesn't need his powers to guess what Erik thinks about the serum he must have seen Hank administer to Charles, but he pushes away whatever embarrassment or umbrage he feels at Erik's obvious censure and focuses on the more important thing that's been said.
"What all? What do you mean?" He looks to Raven. She's here, not being shipped off to some lab even as they speak. They've done it - haven't they?
Logan's voice is grim, his face oddly apologetic as he looks at Charles. And maybe it's Charles's imagination, but in Logan's eyes... Charles tries not to fixate on any one part of his new friend. It's to be expected, Charles supposes, that having shared the experience they did, one or each of them would feel somewhat-
"I'm still here," Logan says before Charles can get lost in his thoughts. "That means we missed something."
"Or they didn't." Erik turns back to them, looking no less furious. "They won't be getting Raven's DNA now, but we certainly left plenty of yours back at the consulate. I suppose they've made do," Erik says sneeringly.
Charles looks down at his arms, remembering. "Charles, I'm so sorry. I couldn't-" Logan begins, but Charles stops him, reaching over to place his hand on Logan's, directly above his knuckles and the skin that sheathes Logan's claws.
Logan's hand twitches but doesn't pull away. 'I don't fear you,' Charles thinks, although he's no way to make Logan hear him now, without the others also hearing their private conversation. 'You needn't fear yourself.'
It's quite alright, my friend," Charles says aloud. "You couldn't have helped it. And we'll figure out what to do next. Together."
"Can they even do that?" Raven speaks up at last. "Make these Sentinel things you keep talking about telepathic?"
"They'll certainly want to try," Erik answers, but his eyes remain on Charles - and on Logan. "After that stunt Charles pulled in front of Trask."
"We'll figure it out," Logan repeats Charles's words, with narrowed eyes. It's quite like having a protector defend his honor, but Charles can hardly criticize Logan's presumption in acting as exactly that. He still hasn't removed his hand from Logan's. Logan gives no sign that he'd like Charles to.
"And if we can't find the answers on our own, I know where you can look," Logan continues, turning to Charles. He reaches up with his free hand and taps his own temple.
Charles very carefully avoids reacting to the mere thought. A repeat of the "stunt" he'd pulled in Paris - but in reverse... And Logan knows exactly what he's suggesting, of course. He could feel everything that Charles felt when he was in Charles's head. He knows how the experience would open him up, lay him out at Charles's feet; how every tentative step Charles took through his mind would feel like an intimate act-
And, no, Charles didn't imagine it - there is definitely something new in Logan's eyes, something hot and intent, when he looks at Charles.
Charles has never had a more compelling reason to want to regain his powers.