1963-05-29 - Climbing Up the Walls
Summary: Jean and Xavier meet for the first time.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
xavier jean 

3:44 PM

Charles had first found her a week ago, but back then she was in no shape to be visited. Broken, scared, she'd gone through a particularly terrible patch. That's sort of par for the course at these sorts of facilities. Some people send their kids here to get help. Others send their kids here to forget about them. And although there are many people here who generally care about their patients, St. Marguerite's is a lot like many institutions out there. That is to say, poor in many ways.

"Mr. Xavier," the nurse in the crisp white dress announces, and dutifully Charles approaches the desk. "There was a bit of an issue because you were not on the visitor's list." Charles knew all about that, all about that indeed. It may have taken a little push from the young Professor to get his foot in the door. Literally.

"That is no problem," Xavier replies kindly. "It'll just be nice to see Jean."

There's a clanking of the keys and the large, slightly rusty metal door creaks open. There, inside the white tiled room, lying on the sorry excuse for a bed, is a young girl with red hair and a white straight jacket.

Three days ago, Jean had a boiled chicken breast, peas and a slice of bread. It was on a white tray with precisely two napkins and a plastic fork. The boiled chicken breast was unseasoned, and the peas were two degrees too cold.

The chicken breast wound up as ribbons and pieces of plastic from the fork chased a nurse screaming out of the room.

Two days ago. Toast. It was seventy degrees outside. The patient next door was singing a song about sunshine. Those pieces of toast tried to force their way into Jean's mouth.

Things have gotten better, but three weeks ago it was not. Everything came to a head when the padded down room she was in was ripped to sunder, the screams, the cries, the random bitchings of the other patients set off a chain reaction which put her into catatonia. There was a seizure, maybe. It could have been a cry for help. Then there was absolutely nothing.

But now as she lays there, sedated, dull green eyes stare towards the ceiling as she tries to pick out which spot resting there was water, food.. or something else.

"I'll be down the hall if you need me," the nurse says. "Good luck." The door slams behind her in a harsh way with a slight echo coming afterwards. Charles, meanwhile, looks horrified. He can feel her emotions, even those that have been sedated, her memories, her anger, and her fear.

"Jean?" he says slowly. Carefully. And with just a hint of hesitation. "My name is Professor Charles Xavier. I would like to speak to you if it is alright by you."

The slam of the door snaps her out of her staring. Her head jerks a little as her eyes close, head twisting at an angle just to see below her feet who stands there. Attempting to focus draws him to split apart into three other people, which swirl around the original like a kaleidoscope in slow motion. "What?" Her throat was a little harsh, her shoulders twisting and moving, lifting so that she could turn herself upon her side and angle her bottom further against the wall so that she didn't need to sit upright.

"A professor?" There was a little frown. "It.. yes. No. No. It's not alright. But it is alright. Yes. It's alright." Her head pushes against her pillow to move her hair out of the way, a deep sniff given to avoid a slight sneeze. "Are you a professor of.. the curiosities?"

With one eyeblink, Jean will find herself in the asylum. When she opens her eyes, the pair are sitting and looking out on the Mediterranean on a rooftop in Marseille, France with beautiful sunshine. They're seated at a white table, with white chairs, and a large carafe of lemonade in front of them. Their glasses are already full.

"I hope you don't mind, Jean. I felt like you might like to get out of there for just a moment. As I was saying, my name is Professor Charles Xavier. And while I am not an educator of curiosities, I am an educator of those who are special. Jean, I am a mutant. My mutant power, is the ability to enter people's minds, read thoughts, that sort of thing. Knowing that, you surely will have some sort of idea why I am here."

He looks out over the beaches down in front of them and smiles, "My school is far different than those you may be familiar with. I teach mutants to work with their powers in hopes that they can learn to live with other humans in peace. I've come to at least offer you the chance to learn more about yourself. I've been watching and attempting to not interfere for the last few weeks; and it is in my judgement that you are not getting better here. And while I believe these people care about you, as do your parents, I'm not sure they really understand who you really are."

"Please, look into my mind. You will know that what I speak to you is the truth."

It would seem strange to the nurse that passes by. In one moment, they were speaking aloud, and the next, everything came to a stand still. Jean and Xavier both remained at a quiet stand-still in the room, and the woman chalked it up to the oddity of medical science in all that it entails.

Jean however, felt the perception change. The full use of her arms. Her feet. The fabric of a nice, well-to-do dress upon her skin, the wind in her hair and the sun on her face. Instead of the many voices that were dulled to a slow that she's heard since her sedation, the sound of chirping birds replaces them. Along with the rushing waters upon the beaches below. There was no one else there, and perhaps for this visit, it was better that way.

Silence, even if the nature that now surrounds them is thunderously loud.

"A faint idea.." She quietly murmurs, her gaze not fixed upon him, but upon the water. Something she has seen possibly once in her life. "But mutants.." She shakes her head. "..I have heard of them in passing. Rumors. Something not spoken about, acts of the devils and shunned by god. At least, that is what someone believes. Another believes that there is no hope. And.." She shakes her head clearly.

She finally looks towards him, a healthy vision of both selves, a warm smile finally touching her lips at long last. It was so quiet. And the need to stay there was great. "I don't understand who I really am Professor Xavier. And I do not know how to do what you're asking. It.. sounds impossible." Her hand reaches out to touch the glass, then withdraws. "It feels like you believe that it is the truth. It feels that I should trust you. It also feels that if I decide to drink this lemonade that I would not taste it. Which makes me sad."

"Miss Grey, I would very much like for you to try it," Charles says with a smile. "Because I've made it with extra sugar and the best part about it is that it does not actually add to our waistlines."

For the first time in a long while, Jean pops a quick little laugh. One that has her hand raising to press her knuckles against her lips, the other snatching the glass from the table which felt cold to the touch. She waits until that little laugh dies down to take a sip, her cheeks burning a slight hint of red, eyes widening as she looks towards the Professor with pure amazement. "I can actually taste it! My god, this is real!"

"Mutants, Miss Grey, are simply those with an altered gene on the X chromosome. What we know thus far is that it tends to be passed down through fathers. There is a belief by some of us, that is genetic researches, that there are many different types of mutations. Some of which grant a mutant different abilities. Yours and mine allow us to read minds. Others might give someone the gift of flight, strength, or the ability to run fast. Some mutations may just be cosmetic, and others have had adverse effects on the person in question."

He sighs sadly, "I do not believe that God hates us Jean. I do not believe that God would do this to us to show the world the devil. I believe that God brought us here to help him show the world mercy."

Charles grins a bit and the mood lightens as she takes the sip from the glass, "I'm glad you like it. I must admit I'm sort of mixing cultures here. The lemonade is made from my memories of summers on Coney Island as a child. And the landscape is from a trip I took with my mother when she was still alive." He adds, a bit forlornly, "We used to travel all over before she died. I'm one of the lucky ones, however. My memories can feel real, just as real as that lemonade you are drinking."


"There are good parts to being a mutant, Jean Grey. But as I mentioned, I don't believe that the people here at St. Marguerite's are the best equipped to help you. I believe I am."

"My father would be greatly upset to hear that fact." Jean muses. She was polite in the sippage of the tea, but it was all gone in an instant. And some part of her wanted to try another taste of something different. Something she's never had.

"It was the voices." Jean confesses. "That told them that god hates us. That motherless children were a result of God shaming their mothers for being harlots. That the negros came from paganism and…" She pauses, stifling her words. She was sure that he had gotten her point. "I do not know what I believe about anything. But I -am- sorry to hear about your mother."

She looks away from him now, scooting the chair sideways, one leg crossing over the other as her fingers soon rest within her lap, yet twisting against each other in the form of nervousness. "My reservations about being a mutant is what I can do. I never wished I could be different.. I.." She shakes her head. "I don't know how truly well you could help me and keep others safe as well. Here, I am contained. I am not a threat." Though, she was close to considering..

"But .. if.. if… I go with you, could you save me? Us?"

"Are you completely sureand I do not want to be presumptivethat it was not your own fears that you were accidentally sending to his mind? That the voice was not your own? Knowledge, Jean. Knowledge eradicates fear. The man who does not go to the hospital when he is sick does so out of fear, but in that fear, that is what really ails him."

"You know those things are not true. Just like you know mutants are not the blight of God. It's fear talking. Fear of people with differences—Each generation has it, they just call it something new."

"Thank you for that," he says at the comment of his mother, but says no more. He too has his own pain, altogether different.

"I am confident that I can train you. At the beginning I can insert some mental blocks. Such blocks would bar you from your full potential until you were ready to combat the darker parts of your mind. Make no mistake, Jean, you are extremely powerful. Very powerful. Without training you stand a far greater risk to others and yourself. I should note that is my opinion. I don't come here telling you how to live your life. I used to try and do that and drove away someone very important to me. I no longer wish to do that."

"I don't know, Professor. And I'm not completely sure of anything." She gestures around. "This place isn't my own doing and yet often times, if I can escape into another to experience their happiness.. maybe it could be my own one day." She looks wistful, her hand drawing away to rest upon the table, flattening it and curling into a fist all on its own. "How can I tell the difference between my own fear and anothers? Even if this knowledge. How do I know -me-."

There was a faint look of unease that crosses her features. But at this point, she was willing to do anything to have a sembliance of a normal life. Normal as it all could get. "And what would happen to me if you fail?"

"Do you know why people are criminals, Jean? Do you know why men flock to gangs and have since far longer than men like me have written and flocked to books? Or why women turn tricks or medicate themselves to remove all feeling until they die?"

"I believe it is because of the same reason. We crave social interaction. But more than the interaction, we crave social belonging, Jean. I do not pretend to know you as well as I would like, Jean, but it is, in my judgement, that you sit at a razor thin precipice between happiness and pain. Between becoming something great and falling to darkness. I believe what will save you is not me, Jean Grey, but all of us. By belonging."

As she asks about failing he tilts his head in thought, looking out over the sea. "I don't know, Jean. Seeing into the future is not one of my gifts."

"Then what do you do with a person who craves nothing at all?" It was an honest question, but one could hear the irritation, the slight aggrivation in her tone. "Social belonging and true family are two different things, Professor. I want a family who is not afraid of me, who does not tip toe around me. Who are of my blood and who would give me hugs at night.."

The ocean is in tormoil, the clouds slowly looming and lingering in upon the backdrop. The sound of the birds that chirped and sang merrily ceased..

"Who's to say that I did not find that here? In these four walls, all of the social interactions that I need.."

The pitcher filled with lemonade darkens.. a shade of blue at first, then pitch black, swirling into something that resembles blood that fills to the top and begins to spill over.

"Who is to say that your judgement is inaccurate and I've already been pushed to the brink…"

There was a scream in the distance, people crowding along the beach as all fingers lift to point at the distance. A maelstrom of water soon gathering..

Yet in the room, the straps that held Jean's arms become undone, perhaps by a wish that she had made, the thoughts of being free tempted her telekinetics to undo the bind. And now, she was standing right.. in.. front of him.

The nurse pounds on the door, her hands beating as she tries to urgently gain the Professors attention, orderlies soon rushing past as a commotion begins to kick up on the very floor they were on. It was like a mass frenzy. Pure hell on Ward 7.

"I would like you to try. To try to see the future, Bub." Jean stands from her chair, both hands placed upon the table now that soon begins to crack under the very weight of the light pressure she puts upon it. (Which really wasn't light at all!)

"Because if you fail, the only thing that would be left standing is me with your blood on my claws!"

"I do not fear you, Jean Grey," says the standing Xavier, staring back at the young mutant as she attempts to intimidate him. He knew something this would be coming. This poor girl. All fight and all flight. So twisted and warped by the voices. She reminds him of himself, as a young boy. So alone, and angry. And sure he was insane.

"If you wish to come with me, I will make that happy. If you have found peace, or something else here then I will. Leave. You. Be." Charles' voice starts to raise as the craziness begins to reach a fever pitch, both in the hospital room and in Marseille.

Suddenly a blinding light strikes Jean right in the face from over Xavier's shoulder in Marseille. The god imagery has been thick in this conversation and he plans on going for it full tilt.

Sunlight rips through the roaring waves and a little ball of sunshine fights for its place in the pitcher of lemonade.

"You should."

The scene itself was becoming warped, grisly, thunder rolling through the beautiful sky in Marseille which soon bleeds a level of purples and blacks to signal incoming doom. Doom as in, her emotions weren't in check, so many others began to crowd and fill the scene; such as the residents at the bottom who point towards the raging waters were the very same residents within the very hospital. Their collective fear, their collective loss and mourning, even their collective longing and hope for better days were present.

And all that was left of Jean was confusion. At least that was her own.

In the room, both of her hands lift to clasp the side of her head, curling and stepping away from the Professor as she kneels upon the ground..

While in the vision her hands lift to shield her eyes from the blazing sun. The show of 'godlike' power was submitted to as she fell back into her chair, one leg lifting and arms effectively hugging her head to fight away the light that was blinding.

Blinding and calm.

"STOP!" She shrieks out, -here- and -there-, it was clear that she couldn't stay. Short of begging to leave and crawling out of the room by scratching the tiles until her nails bleed, she needed out. It was no longer a thing of want.

And as soon as she says stop, it's over. All of it. And then it just those two; the fear of the residents is calmed and forgotten at Charles' beckoning. The memory is similarly altered for the nursing staff and everything goes on just as it was.

"I can help you, Jean Grey. And I am willing. But you will have to meet me halfway. If you want, I shall leave my contact information at the front desk. If you choose to leave this place and come to me in Westchester at my school, we both know you are fully capable of it. We both know you are fully capable of blocking the sedatives that block your brain anytime you wish. We both know you allow them to work to keep others safe."

"Nurse?" Xavier calls out over his shoulder, while keeping his eyes on Jean. "I think we are finished."

Key's jingle and the doors unlock, the Nurse opening the door to allow Charles to leave, a rather large nurse (her name is Olga, for sakes of explaning appearance), slips by and into the room, draping her arms around Jean to help the crying woman to her feet.

It was as if nothing happened, the orderlies who crowded the hallway soon found something to do. One grabs a broom and the other begins to pick the larger pieces of paper off of the floor. One brings up his clipboard to read, while another begins to check rooms and note the cleanliness and place orders for other staff to come and help out. It was.. a bustling business.

"I do hope the meeting went well, Professor Xavier!" The nurse, she was oddly cheery for the moment, her own keys swinging. "I've contacted her parents as protocol to let her know that a visitor came by. They still have power of attorney even though she is an adult. It's a necessary step. But they wish to meet with you soon."

She gestures the way out, watching as the larger nurse carefully straps Jean into her binds yet again, this time positioning her for comfort instead of subjugation. "But visiting hours are still the same, you're now added to the roster!"

If Jean was watching, she'd consider this eerie.

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