The first thing Moira does when they get off the Coast Guard ship is claim the front seat of the car provided by the CIA. There's a phone on the inside of it and she picks it up and dials her friend Diane who has the night shift filing in Research.
"I need to know everything you can scrounge up on Erik Lehnsherr. That's Erik with a 'k.' L-e-h-n-s-h-e-r-r, but check alternate spellings. German national, Auschwitz survivor, so contact our people in Israel for leads," she says quietly while Agent Black speaks with Xavier and Lehnsherr outside of the other car.
Moira's not unfamiliar with Lehnsherr's type. There's something sharp to him, something wild. Charles told her that he's after Shaw, that Shaw has connections to the Nazis, that Shaw did something to Lehnsherr in the camps, that Lehnsherr's out for blood because of it. He seems to think that makes Lehnsherr a perfect ally, but Moira's not stupid. Lehnsherr won't care for procedure, for meticulous planning and investigation. Lehnsherr will likely wring as many leads out of them as he can before taking off to have his revenge.
She watches through the window as Black says something that both Xavier and Lehnsherr nod at, though they're not looking at him. They're staring at each other. Xavier speaks rapidly, moving his hands and listing forward slightly. Lehnsherr isn't opposed to Charles in his personal space.
Of course, it is possible that Moira is wrong. It's possible that there is something that could keep Lehnsherr here. Moira's not above using it to her advantage.
Diane is quick. There's a reason she's Moira's go-to. It takes them half an hour to settle things with the Coast Guard and another half an hour to get everything settled and everyone back to the hotel. By the time Moira has returned to her room, the red message light on the phone is blinking. She calls for the terse message from the front desk ("The message was simply, 'I've got your info on tall, dark, and crazy.'") and then clicks her CIA-issue scrambler on to her room phone and calls Diane back, poised to scribble notes in shorthand.
It's a long call.
When she finally hangs up with Diane, her initial suspicions are confirmed. Lehnsherr is a loose cannon, if a noble one. He's been spotted in at least a dozen countries leaving behind a trail of mutilated former Nazis. Formerly of Mossad ("Briefly. Our guy in Israel says he lasted less than four months."), he's been ruthless, efficient, and inexplicable. Some of his marks have been killed in such a manner that local authorities couldn't even be sure it was murder. Moira has some insight into that now. She also knows exactly the sort of man she's dealing with.
She has no qualms with Lehnsherr's quest or even his tactics. She has no sympathy for these men. They did terrible things to millions of people, things that they'll probably never be tried for or held accountable for. If Lehnsherr wants to systematically rid the world of them, she won't stop him and she's obviously not the only one willing to turn a blind eye for the sake of justice. Moira's problem is that personal vendettas have no place in an operation as delicate and fraught as this. If the files she read in Vegas are accurate, Shaw is egging the Soviet and the American military both into nuclear war. The team that takes him down is going to need to be focused on the bigger picture and Lehnsherr is a liability.
That being said, she can't deny that he's powerful, well-trained, and knows more about Shaw than anyone they've met so far. He could be useful, but she's not sure if that outweighs the risk. Of course, if there were an easy way to help mitigate that risk, it would be a different game altogether.
She takes her notes and she goes to find Charles Xavier.
She watches Xavier and Lehnsherr drinking coffee in the grubby restaurant attached to their motel. She doesn't roll her eyes, but it's a close thing. Subtlety is not a virtue either of these men are familiar with.
"Charles?" she asks, approaching the table briskly. "Can I speak to you for a moment about the plan going forward?"
"Of course," Charles says. He drains his coffee and offers Lehnsherr an apologetic smile. "Excuse me, my friend."
Lehnsherr eyes Moira coolly and then nods at Xavier and goes back to his coffee. Xavier's eyes linger before he snaps them back to Moira and gestures for her to lead the way.
She takes Charles back to her room because this is a conversation she needs to have in private and she doesn't trust the other agents any more than she trusts Lehnsherr. She checked her own room thoroughly for bugs when they returned from the harbor, not that listening devices could stop someone with a power like Charles' from learning her secrets anyway.
That's a quandary for another time. For the moment, she focuses on sitting at the table and laying her notes out in front of her. Charles gives her a half smile and sits across from her.
"Yes?" he asks. He begins to raise his hand to his temple. It would be subtle if Moira were a stranger, but he seems to realize she's not halfway through the movement and aborts, his hand hanging awkwardly in the air.
"Lehnsherr is a liability, Charles," she says. No use dragging this out, not when Xavier is clearly seconds away from digging it out of her mind on his own.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Charles says. She can see the minute shift, the way he changes from sweet and genial and a little full of himself into something defensive and harder. His shoulders straighten. His accent thickens. Something flashes in his eyes. It's not intimidating, not to Moira, who once had a Russian agent attempt to drown her in the gutter of a back alley, but he's suddenly not as welcoming and Moira doesn't have time for his emotions to get in the way.
She slides her notes across the table to him.
"I've been on the phone with the CIA for half an hour," she says. "I pulled up a lot of information on Lehnsherr."
"I don't need to read this," Charles says, and from the face he makes, she thinks he also can't read it. "Moira, I know it's difficult to understand, but I've been inside of Erik's mind. I've seen everything about him. I know him, maybe better than I know anyone, and believe me when I say he wants Shaw even more badly than we do."
"I don't doubt that," Moira says. God, but he's arrogant. "But that's not necessarily useful to us. Lehnsherr wants Shaw for his own reasons and he's left a haphazard trail of dead Nazis all across Europe that speak to just how far he's willing to go. We're not in this to murder Shaw in cold blood. We're taking Shaw out because he's a threat to the entire world. He's clearly demonstrated that he has the means to bend world leaders to his will. He needs to be stopped. We need to be careful and deliberate. He's proven that he's more powerful than we anticipated, that he's recruited others like him, and that he's not afraid to engage. The absolute last thing we need right now is some revenge-crazed killer running after Shaw half-cocked and bringing down the entire investigation."
Charles is frowning, but she can tell at least some of it is getting through to him. There's resignation in his expression and something bordering on loss. She understands. She knows what it feels like to think you're entirely alone, that there's no one who can understand your life. She also knows what it feels like to fall suddenly and unexpectedly into a new infatuation, for there's no mistaking the looks, the touches, the way Xavier's been smiling non-stop for the past three hours.
"I can--I do truly think he's an asset, Moira," Charles says. "He's powerful and he knows more about--"
"--Shaw than anyone, I know," Moira says. She lays her palms flat on the table. "That's why I'm willing to make you a deal."
Charles looks as though he wants to speak, but he keeps his mouth closed. His hand twitches for his temple, but he doesn't move it. She's beginning to wonder if he really needs the gesture at all, or if it's just for show.
"I'm in charge of Erik," Charles says. It's not a question, though Moira supposes it answers one of hers.
"Yes," Moira says. "We'll keep him on, but he's your problem. It's your job to keep him on task, to keep him focused, and to keep him from making a scene. You control him. The moment I think you've lost that control, he's gone, Charles."
Charles licks his lips and stares at her thoughtfully. Moira meets his gaze without flinching.
"All right," he finally says. "I accept those terms."
"You don't have a choice," Moira informs him. He smiles grimly. "We're leaving for Virginia tomorrow morning at 8 am sharp. Tell your sister and Lehnsherr. Agent Black is going to take us to his off-site facility. He says he has a few people he'd like us to meet who may be able to help us find more resources to take on Shaw."
Watching Charles' face is fascinating. He really is an open book. She wonders if it's the wealthy upbringing or the buffer of telepathy that leaves his emotions in such sharp relief against his features. He's agitated and concerned and resigned and wary and he finally settles on excited. He smiles at her as he stands up to leave.
"I'll pass on the word, boss," he says.
"Thank you," she says. He turns to leave and she should really let him--it's none of her business, what he gets up to, and as long as it doesn't interfere with the mission, she doesn't care, but he really does wear his heart on his sleeve and she knows the rest of the world isn't nearly as forgiving as she is.
"Charles, wait," she says, and he stops just shy of the door, turning back to her. "If you're going to be staying at the CIA facility, for the love of god, you have to be slightly more inconspicuous."
"Pardon?" he asks, but there's a slow blush crawling up his neck.
"I don't care," she tells him, "but I'm the exception, not the rule and you're going to be living with dozens of federal agents."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Charles says, and the defensive posturing is back. His accent turns thick and posh and his face is bright red. Moira sighs and rubs her forehead.
"Charles," she says. She stares at him frankly until his shoulders slump. "All I'm asking is that you be discreet. I'm the one that twisted McCone's arm into bringing you in. If they throw you in jail as a homosexual or a communist, I'm the one who gets sent back to typing and filing. Do whatever the hell you want, but don't get caught and keep Lehnsherr on point. Are we clear?"
Charles smiles ruefully and rubs the back of his neck. "Crystal," he says. "I'll employ discretion."
"That's all I ask," Moira says. "I'll see you outside at 0800. Get some sleep, okay?"
He nods and pushes his hair out of his eyes. It's still a disorderly mess of curls and cowlicks thanks to his impromptu dive into the Atlantic. The hair plus the gesture plus the very small, thankful smile that he gives her conspire to make him look years younger.
"I will," Charles says. "And thank you, Moira. I won't let you down."
Moira watches him go and sighs, shaking her head.
She wishes she could believe him.