1963-07-07 - What All The Heroes Say
Summary: Crystal goes searching for Magneto, hoping to learn something about who he is and why he's at the Institute.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
crystal erik 

Crystal started the process of bringing order to the records of the school a few days ago. Charles provided her with the existing boxes full of records and receipts, and she retreated to the library to start sorting, organizing, and ordering. Conveniently, it turns out that being raised as a princess does prepare one for this sort of work. It only took a few days work through the backlog. But that means her next task is determining how to arrange existing practices.

Which is what's sent her looking for Erik.

She may not be aware of the exact history between Erik and Charles, but she sees enough to know that Erik certainly isn't a student, and doesn't seem to fall under the category of teacher. But the people here clearly respect him. That means he's currently a piece that doesn't fit into her calculations, and thus requires further inspection.

In black capris, ballet flats, and a bright blue button down sleeveless shirt, she at least looks a little more comfortable and casual as she searches the grounds.


Given it's the summer vacation and the holiday, the school is relatively quiet. It's a beautiful day outside, which is precisely why Erik has holed himself up in one of the science classrooms.

The door remains unlocked, but it's closed. At the far end of the room, Erik is crouched down at a desk where a Bunsen burner is flaring; above it, a perfect sphere of various metals floats, held aloft by an invisible force. It's lower half glows a fierce red, what with the Bunsen burner going at it, but the man's back is turned to the door, so anyone entering won't necessarily see the expression upon his face.

Rage. Serenity. The glisten of a tear in his eye. Magneto is focused, utterly focused on his task, with hands outstretched and trembling. A visual inspection cannot possibly tell one just how much mass has been compacted in that ball of metal, which is now glowing hotter by the moment, but… suffice it to say, it's a fuck ton of mass.

Other metallic objects in the classroom begin to vibrate and tremble, some of them pulled slowly toward Erik and his experiment.


The magnetic pull in the science classroom doesn't just tug on objects in the room. In the back of her mind, Crystal can feel the shift in polarity in the immediate area. It's an excellent hint as to where to find the master of magnetism. Following the sensation, she turns the handle quietly, peeking inside.

She can't see the mass of the ball, but she can feel it, just as she can feel the fire sinking into it and intuit the concentration involved. Rather than interrupt, she stays by the door, though she waves one hand carefully at her side, testing a few of her abilities against the magnetic pull that rattlesother distractions around him. Reversing their polarity: fail. Not effective against the magnetism he wields. Simply controlling the metal: ineffective. Too many small objects. Finally, she raises a field of air around Erik and his experiment, isolating it from potential interference.


The hair on Erik's head is ruffled, the tips of each strand blown slightly by the field of air that rises around him. This quiets the rattling of the room, and it draws a smile to his face.

"Now comes the truly difficult part," he murmurs. The Bunsen burner switches off of what would seem its own accord, and Erik rises, the glowing ball of metal held by the strong field projected by his hands.

Turning, he 'carries' it to an open window. Eyes glance toward Crystal, identifying her in a manner that seems to confirm his suspicion.

Once at the door, he gives a heavy grunt and throws his hands forward. The red hot ball of metal goes flying out over the grounds, headed for Breakstone Lake.

"It must now be cooled," he explains.


Crystal arches a brow, lowering the field as the burner clicks off and stepping inside to follow him toward the window. One hand lifts slightly, a finger extended as if she's touching something without actually being anywhere near the ball as she reaches out with other senses to inspect it.

"How rapidly is it safe to cool it?" she asks, leaning against the window frame and watching the ball move. "In general," she adds, smile flickering. "The lake, I presume, is safe enough regardless of how it responds to the change."


"Well, it is my goal not to blow up the lake." Erik's answer comes with a laugh, and a grimace. The ball is dropped into the lake, leaving a plume of steam that rises into the air from where it impacts the water. Only then does he move his hands, and promptly brings one up to hold his wounded left shoulder.

"I've found that only in applying heat will the molecules become so excited that I can further compact them," he explains, now turning to look partly Crystal's way. "Now, I wait."

With that, Erik leans against the window frame, folding his arms and giving her his undivided attention. "May I help you find something?"


"I've found what I'm looking for, actually," Crystal smiles crookedly back at him, arms crossed loosely over her chest. "I've been organizing some of the school's affairs the last few days. I've finally made it through the boxes with the last few years worth of records, and I'm ready to start on establishing new systems. Slightly more organized than boxes."

Her smile deepens a bit at the last, amused, before she settles a more steady look on the man. "But you don't fit. Obviously, you're not a student. But you're not a teacher, either. Yet the students here respect you. You're protective of the professor, but you don't agree with him."


Administrative particulars we're never of much interest to Erik, so he hooks an eyebrow at Crystal's answer, before glancing back out through the window and into the beautiful summer day.

"Charles and I don't always agree," he echoes, brow furrowing. "But then again, who does?" He turns back from the window, resting his pointed expression upon Crystal. "You're wondering what, exactly, it is that I am doing here." A grin flashes across his face. "I can smell a sleuth, Crystal. Is there something specific you'd wish to ask of me, or are you simply curious as to what my motives are?"


"Sleuth would be an overstatement," Crystal laughs, shaking her head. "I'm only curious. And somewhat protective of my work," she adds with a mock fierce expression. "So help you if wherever you fit in here drives whatever I set up back into a system of throwing papers into boxes," she shakes a finger at him.

"Truly, though. I am, as you say, wondering what it is you do here. If I had to guess, I would say you're the chief of security. You have the air about you. And it suits the way the students and the graduates here tend to look at you. But on the other hand…" Trailing off, she glances outside. "You experiment in the science classrooms and repair motorcycles."


Quiet laughter is Erik's answer to Crystal's mock threat. "Confinement to paperwork is a fate worse than death," he agrees, before his mood settles. "I suppose menial labor has never quite agreed with me. I'm not one for holding down a steady job, building a career, starting a family."

Erik turns to look outside again, his eyes settling on the distant lake. "Perhaps you'd be better suited to phrasing the question this way: 'What is it you're doing here?'. A very good question; I'm not entirely sure why I'm here."


Crystal leans in just a little bit, lowering her voice. "I don't entirely disagree," she confides on the topic of paperwork. "But. If you set up the proper systems, it eventually takes care of itself. Mostly."

At his answer, she quirks a brow, head tilting. "Is that something that bothers you?" she asks. "Or is that the way you like it?"


A rueful look is cast Crystal's way. "Been reading Freud, have you?" He's only partly joking.

Looking back out to the lake, he draws a deep breath and lets loose a sigh. "Some years back, when Charles and I first met, we began working with the Central Intelligence Agency on a project related to mutant kind. I was reluctant, but I agreed, out of my loyalty to Charles. We were going to train a generation of young mutants to use their powers for the good fight. I agree that mutants should learn how to control and use their powers, but I questioned the motivations of those we had aligned ourselves with."

A long pause, the creasing of Erik's brow.

"As it turns out, my concerns were more than warranted. Charles and his students came here. Built this institution. I departed. I've only recently returned, and with the sole purpose of visiting, but events in the city have prompted me to stay."


Crystal smirks. "We've been running and hiding for a long time. You learn to pay attention to people." Watching him, she listens quietly, piecing things together. "That's why they look at you like that," she smiles faintly. "You're the conquering hero, returning home. And it is home, in its own way."

She sets a hand to the window frame, glancing out into the yard. "You're not even my people, and it felt like home after one day. This place, these people, his mission…" Pausing, she takes a breath. "If I'm entirely honest with myself, I wonder if he's unconsciously influencing the people around him here. But when I consider it? I'm not even certain if it matters."


"Well, I'm no hero," Erik answers. "And I'm certainly not a conqueror. To be fully honest, Crystal, I'm not entirely certain whatI am."

Erik takes a step away from the window then, and lifts his hands. An expression of great effort comes over him, and he stares out at the lake for a long moment. Soon, a small sphere becomes visible in the distance, soaring toward the open window. "I do not think Charles would use his power so recklessly, nor would he violate his morals to such a degree, unless it were absolutely necessary. Even then…"

The sphere slows as it approaches the window. "I believe he would choose to allow mankind their free will, where others might not."

The sphere connects with his hand, and his muscles flex. "It has become quite heavy," he tells her. "What I do know is that I will not stand idly by while my people are subjugated to unfair treatment. I do not know yet whether I will build them a shelter, serve as a shield against their oppressors, or become the conquering hero, but I will not simply do nothing."

He turns and sets the ball down on a nearby desk. It creaks under the weight.


"I believe," Crystal murmurs, watching the ball, "That is what all the heroes say." She holds a hand out toward the sphere, an unconscious gesture. Unnecessary, likely, but one built of habit. Rather than use her powers, though, she walks over to the table, simply picking it up.

"You should stay, Erik," she says as she turns back toward him, turning the ball over in her hand without showing any signs of difficulty. If she's using powers, they aren't affecting magnetism, at least. "Places like these need guardians."


Erik's eyebrows rise upward when she lifts the item, with such ease, with no sense of the magnetic fields being changed. He's a man who holds the highest regard for those with powers, and Crystal seems to be revealing new ones by the day.

"Indeed they do," he agrees. "You might consider doing the same, though I understand the quest for your sister is important."

He won't speak of his own quest. He never does. He does reach down to his pocket, feeling the old, swastika-emblazoned Deutschmark he carries, and a slight frown comes to his face.


"Inhuman," Crystal says when he raises his brows, setting the ball gently back down on the table. "That's what we call ourselves. And I plan on staying here, actually," she nods. "At least for a while. My parents can continue the search elsewhere, but this place…We'll never find each other if we're all always moving. Maybe one of us should stay where we can be found for a little bit. And this way, when we find her? I'll be around people who can help me reach her."


The thought brings a smile to Erik's face. He nods his head in a slow manner, a clear sign of approval, before lifting the hand from his pocket and reaching for the sphere.

There's a tug, and the ball flies from her hand, until it comes to rest hovering above his left shoulder.

"If you're settled then," he asks, "come into the city with me? Tomorrow. I've some searching of my own to do, perhaps you might be of help." He begins to walk away, but he pauses about halfway to the door. "It's a lovely city, you know."


"As it turns out, I have no plans for tomorrow," Crystal replies, smile flickering across her features. As the ball sweeps past her shoulder, she doesn't flinch, well aware of where it is. "Well, I was going to see about interviewing someone to cook and possibly a groundskeeper, but I have a feeling whatever you're doing in the city is infinitely more interesting, and the summer students haven't starved themselves yet."


"Believe me," Erik answers, smile turning coy. "The summer students could find the food if it were hidden a hundred miles from here. I will see you tomorrow."

The dense ball of metal floats along as he walks, departing from science room.

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