Speaking My Mind by syrian_iceberg
FeatureSummary: Pairing: Charles Xavier/Erich Lehnsherr Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, 1930-1943. Lots of background, not much love. More of both to come in future installments.
Categories: X-Men Characters: Other
Genres: Alternate Universe (AU)
Warnings: None
Series: None
Chapters: 17 Completed: No Word count: 39371 Read: 46758 Published: 11/18/05 Updated: 05/19/13

1. Part 1 by syrian_iceberg

2. Part 2 by syrian_iceberg

3. Part 3 by syrian_iceberg

4. Part 4 by syrian_iceberg

5. Part 5 by syrian_iceberg

6. Part 6 by syrian_iceberg

7. Part 7 by syrian_iceberg

8. Part 8 by syrian_iceberg

9. Part 9 by syrian_iceberg

10. Part 10 by syrian_iceberg

11. Part 11 by syrian_iceberg

12. Part 12 by syrian_iceberg

13. Part 13 by syrian_iceberg

14. Part 14 by syrian_iceberg

15. Part 15 by syrian_iceberg

16. Chapter 16 by syrian_iceberg

17. Chapter 17 by syrian_iceberg

Part 1 by syrian_iceberg
When my so-called “X-Men” were at their height in power, number and public profile, it was often said, to the dismay of insurance companies worldwide, that although it was a mystery where they were going, you could always tell where they’d been. So it is with me, their founder. In January of this year I celebrated my ninetieth birthday. I’m very grateful for the excellent health I enjoy, but it would be foolish to believe I have decades more to live. It’s time to write the book I’ve considered writing for many years now, the full, unexpurgated story of my life. Although it’s a mystery where I may be going –heaven, hell, reincarnation, oblivion - I am fairly certain of where I’ve been. I can only hope the reader will not find my life as characterized by property damage as the exploits of my students. Still, there may be some shocks in store; your mental house may lose a shingle or two, perhaps a watery crack may appear in the basement of your mind. As an old man, it is just this power to tell the unadorned truth that I hold dearest. The expressions of dismay and embarrassment that come over the faces of my younger companions are reason enough to do so, but I also long, as so many people do, to be well and truly known, for good and ill. So be warned: explicit descriptions follow.

Son, psychic, spy, Nazi, friend, savior, playmate, brother, student, lover, mentalist, agent, soldier, teacher, mentor, cripple, superhero, crusader, father, consort, expert, mutant, ambassador, grandfather, sage, sinner. It’s very difficult to say which of these pigeonholes were the best fit, which the most restrictive. Perhaps that’s the same quality. All doled out pain and pleasure and all were challenging.

Nineteen hundred thirty now seems, to most of Earth’s eight billion inhabitants, as far away as our colony on Mars and, naturally, less accessible. It was, to borrow from Dickens, the best of times and the worst of times. While the rest of the nation had begun the year with the creeping disease of unemployment and bankruptcy, I was born, that wintery night, into the loving, even slavishly devoted, arms of Brian and Sharon Xavier, my father and mother, in the sumptuous aerie on Park Avenue that they called home. The attending physician and my mother, I was told later, were deeply frightened by my refusal to cry, despite repeated slaps to my bottom. Nevertheless I did soon breathe and suckle and settled into the life of a pampered only son.

My father was himself the only son of a shipping magnate. From him I gained a head for business which has served me well and a genuine love of life which has served me even better. His prescient retreat from the stock market in August of 1929, two months before the Crash, not only saved our family’s fortune, but also made me wonder just how much of a mutation my own psychic powers were.

My mother was a famously beautiful socialite who had dallied in theater before marriage. She passed along to me a desire to help others –she cooked in soup kitchens during the Depression, washed bedpans in Army hospitals during the War, both of which were shocking activities for a woman of her social status, a fact I’m sure helped inspire her- and she also gave me a reverence for nature, most poignantly in the vast Westchester estate which she’d inherited from her own parents and which she passed on to me. The uses and abuses to which I’ve subjected that lovely land might have made her regret her gift, but I nevertheless cherish the property with all my heart.

Although many mutants experience a single, unforgettable moment in which their powers are made manifest, many others do not. I myself cannot point to any one day on which I discovered my telepathic abilities. It seems they were always with me, as constant as the radio was in those days. The day they came to the attention of my parents, however, is clear: July 27, 1938. I was then eight and a half years old, intensely involved in reading, tin soldiers, and teasing my ever-patient governess, Anna. Whenever she had been out on a date with some beau, I’d know it and would pose the most embarrassing questions that I could think of. Anna blushed easily and I delighted in the game. It was just after one such interrogation that Anna left me alone in the nursery of our twentieth story penthouse. She went to use the water closet and I, at the behest of some unknown call, took the opportunity to crawl out onto the ledge of our building. It seemed at the time quite wide and accommodating, but of course it was actually only eighteen inches or so. From my room I crawled along the brick outer wall past the bath all the way to my parents’ sitting room.

I hadn’t been out there long, enjoying the view, unafraid and yet nagged by some unseen sadness, when Anna let out a shriek I can still recall today. I looked back along the stretch of parapet to see my governance in absolute horror, halfway leaning out the nursery window. This seemed an entirely new and fabulous game to me, but of course it nearly frightened her to death.

Within minutes my father had opened the sash of the sitting room, pulled me in, and for the first and last time in my life, spanked me. He then turned me over to my ashen-faced mother. She clutched me tightly, consoled Anna –who no doubt feared for her further employment- and tried to find the reason for my unprecedented high wire sojourn.

“John Warde, mommy,” I said without knowing why. “John Warde jumped.”

Only then did my parents turn on the radio to hear how a distraught young man by that name had indeed plummeted to his death off the 17th floor ledge of the Gotham Hotel, long blocks away.

In years to come my mental feats became something along the lines of a party trick for my parents’ friends and acquaintances. Some children sing or play piano; I guessed birthdates, maiden names, favorite artists. At first. My parents quite suddenly forbade me further to amuse our guests in this manner when I announced without prompting that not only was the Duchess of Cornwall’s first pet named Scottie, but also that she was actually sixty-eight and quite bald.

The Duchess, no doubt, would have taken great pleasure in seeing me lose my own hair my age twenty-five.

I was an obedient child. Thereafter mind reading was a ‘family only’ entertainment. After parties both my mother and father would at first hesitantly, then assiduously, ask me to tell them what so-and-so really thought of the hors-d’oeuvres, how Mr. A’s health truly was, and where Mrs. B actually got her millions. It was great fun for all of us. Although my mother did regularly make weak protestations not to pry in the future, she also laughed heartily at my innocent revelations.

Over nightcaps and sherbet after one such gathering when I was perhaps ten, my parents were taking pleasure in just such an uncovering of peccadilloes when I told them the funniest thing I’d heard someone think all evening.

“Dad, Grace Higgins thinks you must have the biggest cock in all New York!” I was greatly pleased with what I’d said. I’d saved the best for last, I felt, because stupid Grace Higgins, who pinched my cheeks very hard every time she saw me and always smelled slightly dank, had thought my father raised roosters. I continued spooning sherbet through my smile.

“Charlie,” my father said gravely, “you must never do that again.”

I looked up into his very stern, mortified face, then turned to see that my mother had begun crying. Her tears ran down her nose, then dropped onto the lace tablecloth, but she wouldn’t look up despite my entreaties. She simply continued to eat delicate spoonfuls of orange and was doing so when I ran out of the room bawling.

Afterwards I did begin to try blocking out other people’s thoughts. Mental repetition of the times tables worked very well, as did recitation of the Elements, the countries of Africa in alphabetical order, and any number of popular songs of the day. By the time my twelfth birthday rolled around, the United States was at war and I had gained a considerable degree of control. I could read or not read thoughts at will, although projecting my thoughts into other people’s minds had not yet occurred to me to try.

In those days spies were supposedly everywhere. My father, out of a deep sense of patriotism, took me to Washington, D.C. There he presented me to General Maxwell Fordyce, a stone of a man who scoffed at my father’s claims up until the point I described the breakfast he’d wolfed down that morning. I was immediately scheduled for further testing.

On one later such visit to the Pentagon my father and I ran into Henry J. Kaiser, a rival ship builder. My father gave in to self-interest and asked me to verify what he suspected: Kaiser was soliciting a contract with the government to build ‘Liberty Ships’. It was true, I told him, and supplied the names of all his contacts.

It is not enough to say “I was doing my duty”, but I was a dutiful son and I loved my father passionately. Thanks to my telepathic probing, Xavier Shipping was able to win the very lucrative contract that might otherwise have made Kaiser a household name.

Soon, despite teary protestations from my mother, it was decided that I should sail for England in the service of my country and, in fact, the summer of 1942 saw me, accompanied by General Fordyce and several destroyers, aboard a ship on the Atlantic. There weren’t actually very many spies in the US for me to interrogate and it may even have seemed wise to the powers that were to send a telepath far away from the minds of America’s war planners. To a reader of today’s enlightened time, such a scenario must seem nothing less than child abuse. Much of what I did, much of what was done to me, is profoundly regrettable, of course, but I wasn’t living in 2020. It was 1942 and there was a very serious war on. Americans understood what duty was and I considered myself extremely fortunate. Other boys my age had many years to wait before they could be of service.

I had never been away from my parents before, but I imagined myself a grown up and had for some time. Being privy to adult thoughts mistakenly led me to conclude I was mature myself. Certainly I acted the part. I never failed to speak in full, well-considered sentences which generally made liberal use of the expectations I read in the minds of those around me and refused most entreaties to ‘play’. Sailors around me thought me queer in the old fashioned sense because I scoffed at their invitations to throw a baseball around on deck or join in a craps shoot. It wasn’t until some years later that I rediscovered the child within me, stuffed into a long-forgotten mental cedar chest. Ironically I had one of the most serious men I ever met to thank for that.

My training in London was twofold: the German language and Mind Control. At the urging of British agents I found that I could indeed send my thoughts into other minds. With time and concentration I even became capable of significant mental deceit. It’s very difficult for a person to detect intrusive thoughts; “I’m hungry” feels very much the same whether it’s one’s own brain that generates the idea or someone else’s. Nine times out of ten such suggestions caused the receiver to act accordingly. Sudden, inexplicable desires to hop or pick up a pencil were child’s play to cause. Within a month I could make my target strip to his skivvies or kiss the man next to him as if it were his wife.

In the young men I was generally paired with, sexual arousal was both easy to detect and cause. Memories of girlfriends, alleyway conjugations and midnight masturbations flooded over me in the nearly all-male atmosphere. I had no brothers, had only the most casual of school chums, and so had never seen male bodies in such numbers before. The very air at the training camp was charged with eroticism. If young men were such a mystery to me, young women were practically undreamt of. The only woman I dealt with regularly was a frumpy Irishwoman named Molly who oversaw my nutrition and health. She was hard on the outside, but of course I had access to her inner being and knew she lavished on me all the love she missed giving to the son she’d lost to war.

That fall I was smuggled into Germany. A moonless night’s crossing of the Channel during which I was called upon to alter the perceptions of a Nazi patrol, help evade another, and find our way when the navigator on our tiny craft had lost his. In Calais I was delivered into the hands of a handsome French Resistance fighter named Martin. He fondled me in the coup of our train to Cologne. I’d known it was coming, of course; he’d been debating the act ever since I’d met him, but I didn’t stop it. He himself was so wracked by guilt afterward that I considered erasing his memory of it. I only held back because that was something I’d never achieved before. He hadn’t hurt me and I didn’t want to hurt him.

Eventually I was placed with a double agent in the very heart of the Reich, Berlin. Fritz Schlussmann was ancient in my eyes. He’d been a student with Sigmund Freud in the previous century, had battled the French during World War I, and now ran a small Konditorei just a few blocks from the Reichstag. I was passed off as his grandson, Karl. My telepathic powers had helped in perfecting my German and I could easily pluck the answer to any question the authorities might pose. I enrolled in school and discovered a life of camaraderie I had never known before. Up until then I’d been tutored privately or in small groups with children of my own social standing, but now I mixed with the sons and daughters of miners, streetcar conductors, soldiers, bureaucrats, and laborers.

All this was quite apart from the mission I’d been given. Every week or so Opa Fritz would take me for a walk as near as possible to important buildings and officers’ homes. While idling tying my shoe or feeding nuts to squirrels, I was to try to penetrate stone and wood faades in the hopes of gleaning information on troop movements, V2 rocket development, code deployment, and the like. Unbeknownst to the plain-clothes men whom we met irregularly and to whom we imparted all this intelligence, Fritz also had me probing for Hitler’s whereabouts.

Although Der Fhrer was constantly in public, extolling the virtues of the master race or exhorting Das Volk to greater and greater sacrifices, his schedule was deliberately kept secret and subject to last minute changes, exactly because he’d already been the target of assassination attempts like the one Opa was planning.

At this point my story no doubt stretches the reader’s credulity. No official acknowledgment of my stay behind enemy lines will ever be made by the US government. The British expunged all record of my training and Germany, of course, was completely ignorant of the whole operation. Nevertheless this is where I was between October 1942 and June 1945.

I must also make it clear that the training I’d received in England crossed deep into the territory we would now call ‘brainwashing’. I was, after all, a very young man, eager to please, and determined not to succumb to anything as childish as ‘homesickness’. To that end I used my telepathy against the very organ of its origin; once I’d arrived in Germany, I became Karl. I still knew that I had a mission, that I was not Fritz Schlussmann’s grandson, and that I’d come across the Channel, but beyond that my memories became vague. The necessity of fitting in, of keeping up pretenses, meant that I shoved my parents, my home, and my past into a box marked ‘Do Not Open Until War’s End’. No one in the British Intelligence Agency could have guessed the success his efforts would yield.

In late 1943 Opa finally attempted to assassinate Hitler. He’d become increasingly maddened by the course of the war, its toll on the Germans, and the dim prospects of Allied invasion. He built a bomb which he hoped to hurl, miraculously, into Hitler’s very lap. He managed only to blow up himself and our home above the Konditorei.

I was informed at school, although very little was happening scholastically by that time. Now that I was approaching fourteen and the war was not going well, paramilitary duties and pseudo boot camp took up most of my day. I was escorted home briefly, then spent a harrowing night under interrogation. The cause of the explosion had been discovered quickly. Some non-fascist sympathies in Opa’s past had come to light or been invented, and my own parentage was under question. I was terrified by the growing suspicions I found in the minds of my captors and acted to save myself as only I could. The commands I gave had nothing so mischievous in mind as stripping or kissing. I used my power to save my mission and my life, in that order. In short order I was released and forgotten.

I couldn’t return to school. Instead I wandered north of Berlin, determined somehow to continue my mission. That would have been quite an accomplishment, now that all contact with British Intelligence was severed, but still I had only that to go on. In a bakery shop where I paused to rest, I met a woman who took an instant liking to me. My blond hair and troubled face reminded her of a young man she’d been in love with long ago but had not married. I claimed to be an orphan, which actually seemed true to me in my amnesiac state. With no prompting from me, she took me in and brought me home with her.

Her home, it turned out, was just on the other side of a large concrete wall from a labor camp run by her husband, Colonel Friedrich Dunkelheim. The locals, my new mother included, deluded themselves about what was happening inside the camp, but in fact it was neither a concentration camp for the imprisonment of undesirables nor a death camp for their extermination. It was instead a large tire producing factory staffed by a mix of people the Reich had seen fit to work to death instead of kill outright.

It was in this place devoid of hope that I met Erich Lehnsherr.
Part 2 by syrian_iceberg
The Dunkelheim home was warm, clean, and well stocked. Frau Dunkelheim invited me in, took my woolen overcoat, and sat me down on the bench in the kitchen. On the table in front of me she placed dark bread, cheese, butter, a boiled egg, and a glass of hot chocolate. Two weeks had passed since Opa’s death. I’d been wandering around the northern edge of Berlin in a state of shock, using up the little money I had and then stealing food, either by means of telepathic deception or by simple sleight of hand. At first that had seemed a reasonable course of action. The mission was of utmost importance; comfort was secondary, I thought. I spent the days spying on the minds of passersby and writing their thoughts down into a little notebook I kept in my pocket. Soon enough, I believed, one of the British agents Opa had been in contact with would find me. I wanted to be able to show him that I’d carried on as usual, that I hadn’t fallen down on the job.

Looking at the food in front of me, however, feeling heat penetrate my limbs and knowing I would sleep indoors that night, I began to shed tears of self-pity. I was still too much under the sway of British brainwashing to remember that I was an American child who by rights should still be in his parents’ New York penthouse, but some memory of a loving home life ached inside me. I ate and wept. Frau Dunkelheim wrapped me into her bosom and cried as well. Her compassion for me, I knew now, was mixed up not only with memories of a former beau, but also with her unfulfilled desire for a son. In my fatigue I couldn’t probe her mind any farther.

While sitting there, rocked back and forth against her powdered breasts, I became aware that someone was watching me from through the barely cracked open kitchen door.

“Renate!” Frau Dunkelheim commanded, “Go and fill a bath.”

Small feet sprung upstairs and a door was slammed. Frau Dunkelheim released me, told me to finish my lunch, and then wearily trod upstairs herself. Strengthened by the meal, I made my way to the second floor where I could hear water running. My hostess met me in the bathroom, now steamy and cozy, took my clothing from me, and settled me down into the hot, wet wash before leaving the room.

I examined the body I hadn’t seen in its entirety for a fortnight. My feet and hands wrestled with each other in cleansing, both sets of extremities laughably large for the legs and arms that led to them. My penis bobbed in the water, an eel floating in a cluster of blond hair seaweed. Pink slashes of nipple. Hot water and soap scrubbed over my scalp. I felt a tingling all over, a restlessness, as if my skin might come loose of it moorings and wander over my muscles like honey over a bear-shaped bottle.

High on the wall above the tub was a window. I stood on the wet porcelain edge and peered out into a large, barren yard. No snow hid the dirty brown ground where many men in ragged gray clothes passed back and forth. Some pushed wheelbarrows, others toted sacks and tools. One thin youth worked a wrench over the gears of some machine. He strained to turn a rod that looked as frozen as he himself did.

A soldier stood about two meters from him, carrying a weapon at his shoulder, smoking a cigarette, and idly scanning the yard. The youth took one hand off the wrench and laid it directly on the rod. He frowned and held his breath, straining at something. At the same time I felt a tremendous spasm begin just behind my balls. It rippled up through my penis, groin and abdomen. It made my heart skip and made my throat itch fiercely, then dissipated. Whatever the youth had done seemed to have worked: the rod now gave freely under the turns of the wrench. He spun it several times, but then abandoned the task entirely. Instead he stood erect and looked up until he found my face in the window. He held a hand to shade his eyes, but otherwise did nothing to acknowledge our contact. For long moments we regarded each other this way, but then the soldier took notice. He strode toward the youth, barking and raising his weapon’s butt end as if to strike. The youth flinched, but the blow never came. Under my control, the soldier instead reached out a hand, patted the youth on the shoulder, then continued away to the right. I met the youth’s gaze when he looked up at me again. He returned to his work and I returned to my bath.

In the night I dreamt, or thought I dreamt, that someone came into the parlor where a bed had been made up for me. Whoever it was stayed only a little while and blended too well with the shadows for me to see, but the effect on me was swift and decisive nevertheless: in the morning I discovered a pool of cum had soaked my underwear, the very first time that had happened.

I was introduced to Colonel Dunkelheim. He was irritated by his wife’s impetuous charity, but had long been in the habit of giving her whatever she wanted and when she suggested I’d be a good playmate for Renate, little further argument was made.

Renate herself was only presented to me that evening. Her mother pushed her into the parlor where I was waiting, but then couldn’t pry her out from behind the credenza. She was heavily made up: white foundation covered her entire face and all of her neck that I could see above her collar. She wore dark glasses and lipstick, something I’d never seen on anyone but grown up ladies before. Her bright red hair fell about her shoulders in two braids and delicate satin gloves covered her hands.

Frau Dunkelheim left us alone. I approached Renate, but that only made her cower even more, so I returned to the book I’d been reading at the window. I felt a buzz similar to the one I’d experienced the night before while looking at the young man in the yard. Eventually Renate joined me at the table, picking up a book and pretending to read it.

“That book’s upside down,” I pointed out.

“That book’s upside down,” she repeated, using not only my exact words, but also my exact voice.

I tingled again. Turn it over, I thought at her. She complied and then laughed with delight. I smiled.

“Make me do something else!” she demanded.

For an hour or so we amused each other. I made her dance or stick her tongue out, she imitated my voice, her mother’s voice, Hitler’s voice. Finally we sat down together on the sofa over some drawing paper and charcoal pencils.

“Have you seen the boy in the yard?” she asked me while sketching out daisies and skulls.

I nodded. No explanation was required. We both knew which of the hundred or so prisoners we had in mind. “His name is Erich,” I said. “He’s a Jew from Berlin. You think he’s handsome.”

She didn’t deny the statement. “Father says Jews are dirty. We should make Erich take a bath. Then no one would know he’s a Jew and he could play with us.”

I was nearly fourteen, Renate, I guessed, about eleven. In the innocent logic of childhood, this plan made sense and I determined to see to it as soon as possible.

“Why do you wear make up?” I asked. With my pencil I’d begun a drawing of a ship on whose deck Renate, Erich, and I were playing catch.

“I was burned,” she replied nonchalantly. “I have scars.”

“No, you don’t.”

Renate shrugged, then set down her pencil and pulled off one of the gloves. Underneath it was a hand thoroughly blue. Not the slight blue of cold, but the blue of a velvet chair.

I held the hand in my own and examined it with great fascination.

“Mother doesn’t like it,” she remarked with little emotion. “I don’t go to school anymore.”

As I watched, the hand turned pink, then back to blue. I looked at Renate. She shrugged again and put the glove back on. “It does that sometimes. The way I used to look. Want to see something?”

I nodded and Renate removed her sunglasses. Underneath her eyes were a perfect amber, the color of corn mixed with tiny flakes of black and orange. They also changed as I watched. For a moment they were green, the same as mine.

Frau Dunkelheim came in with cookies and Renate quickly donned her glasses.

My time in that family certainly qualifies as the strangest in my life. Since Renate didn’t attend school, I didn’t either. Instead I began to perform small duties in the tire factory. At first I was limited to office work. There was a small administrative complex connected with our house’s back door through the stone wall by a passageway. I would file, take out garbage, sweep up. Later I was given greater freedom to enter the yard and factory. I’d deliver messages or watch the assembly line sometimes. Always my eye was drawn to Erich. He had very dark hair and large dark eyes, but his mouth was tender and rosy. He was taller than I and, I learned, about two years older. He watched me too, but cautiously.

It’s very difficult, today, to understand my complicity in what was happening just over the wall. Years later, when the full scope of the Holocaust was known, I could barely reconcile my image of myself with the boy I’d been. It seemed a dream. Was I truly there then? How is it I did so little? I do not seek forgiveness from the reader, but I think it important that you be able to picture for yourself the world I was living in.

In 1943 human life did not count for so much as it does today. I find that one of the most marvelous progressions our species has made, but it has come at great cost. In 1942, age twelve, I entered a world, Germany, based on the superiority of one race over all others, but I came from a world, America, where much the same held true. Before I got to the work camp I had never met a Jew. Not until after the war did I first speak with an African-American. As a child, as all children do, I accepted the world as it was; some people were above other people. I had been rich and waited on by servants. My father employed hundreds of workers, just as Colonel Dunkelheim seemed to. I’d heard of chain gangs in America, toiling by the side of the road. This camp seemed much the same and that, of course, was the worst horror: the normality. It is by small, inoffensive steps that a majority demonizes a minority. It had proceeded in Germany over the course of a decade. Erich himself had never known any other regime but Hitler’s. I myself would later feel the weight of society’s hostility, in more ways than one. We all must be on guard.

But back to my story. I was not a superhero then, perhaps I never was later, but I liked Erich from a distance and never let the guards strike him again. Men died in the camp regularly: disease, exhaustion, and the elements did them in, but news reports I heard on the radio said the same was happening to German soldiers in Russia, so it did not appear to me the crime that it actually was.

Erich and I began to communicate telepathically. I learned about his family, where he’d lived, his pets. He would have grown up much the same as I: his family was wealthy clothing merchants. He had servants in childhood, even a governess named Anna, just as I did, but Hitler changed all that. In small increments he’d been brought to the place where I found him, just as I’d been.

Getting him inside the house for a bath took two weeks. The Dunkelheims went for Christmas to visit relatives in Chemnitz. With my prodding Renate had practiced enough to keep her skin pink, her eyes green, for hours on end. My role in her “recovery” was not guessed at by her parents, of course, but they’d given me a toy train for the holiday just the same.

I was left in the care of one of the guards, a man named Heinz. As soon as I was alone in the house I found Heinz in the parlor and told him that I wanted to invite a guest in for tea. With some telepathic shoves, he thought that a fine idea and saw to it that Erich was brought in.

Erich was bewildered. He sat down at the formal dining room table, his cap in hand, and stared at the plates of food.

“I’ll be ill,” he said. “I’ll be ill if I eat all that.”

“Just have soup then,” I said, carefully ladling some dark broth into his bowl. It felt wonderful to play host. I had flashes of memories of great buffets and guests in my past, but couldn’t fix them into place.

We ate. His hands were strong and worn, his eyes furtive, but intelligent. “You’re different,” he said. “You can do things. I can do things too.” With a flick of his finger, the spoon he’d been using slid across the tablecloth. At his command, it came back.

We talked about his work. He’d always been strong and capable. That had kept him alive in the camps so far. No one knew what he could do with metal. If they knew, he said, they would shoot him. Or worse.

“It isn’t much anyway,” he said after the soup, “just dancing spoons and such.”

“We’ll make you stronger,” I replied. “You’ll eat more and you’ll get stronger and then you’ll be an even better worker.”

We washed the dishes, put away the food. I showed Erich around the house, holding his arm as we passed through each room. A little alcove on the third floor had been made into a bedroom of sorts and there I showed him the cot I slept on. I showed him Renate’s room.

“This is the girl?” he pointed to a photo on the wall.

I told him about Renate and her beautiful blue skin.

“I have felt her sometimes,” Erich said. “It’s like a hum. With you too. It’s like we’re brothers.” He held out a hand and I took it in mine. From there I led him into the bathroom. I began to run water and then to take off my clothing. After a moment Erich did the same. The tub was very large and deep. The faucets came in from the side, so he was at one end and I was at the other.

“Turn around,” I said. “I’ll wash your back.”

Erich complied. His shoulders were broad, but his ribcage and spine stuck out painfully with starvation. My calves lay on either side of his hips, pressed against the sides of the tub, my feet reached to his mid-thighs. I took a sponge and drizzled water down his back, then smeared his skin with the rough cake of soap. He smelled of sweat, but enticingly. It made me aware of my own scent. Under his arms were sprigs of dark hair. My own armpits were still mostly bare and I laughed at the difference. Erich smiled and pulled at the hairs while I washed them. Suds I managed to work onto his scalp didn’t stay in place because his head was shaved. As I massaged his temple, he leaned back against me.

“Talk into my mind again.”

I showed him the Dunkelheims. He thought Renate pretty. I showed him Opa Fritz and our apartment above the Konditorei. He knew the place and then took me on a mental tour of the city as he’d known it. We arrived as mental ghosts at his family home, walked up the entry stairs, and examined every room. Pictures on the wall he pointed out, fine furnishings, a grand piano. It all seemed very large.

“Because my memories are from when I was small,” he said, holding a hand out to indicate his height back then. We laughed. Where his back pressed against me, my cock had gotten hard. He felt it and jostled around against it till I pushed him away. He stood and all his youthful glory was before me: his long well-muscled legs, his low balls, the graceful heavy curve of his cock and the black bush it sprang from, taut stomach, a skinny chest on which dark and full red nipples seemed luxurious additions, like red plush seats inside a moving van. He smiled down at me, saying in his mind that he liked my looking at him. He turned around. His ass was thin, but somehow gentle. Fine dark hairs crossed it, merging downward with the hair on his legs.

With a gesture he made the hot water faucet open. Then he sat down facing me, his face sullen. “If I were stronger, I could escape perhaps.”

Escape to where? I puzzled. Now that he could eat as much as I did, could bathe and be indoors, what reason was there to leave? I wanted him to stay. I felt alone, without even my own real life to comfort me.

He gripped the back of my head and kissed my mouth. His lips were pliant, his breath tangy and raw. Our faces meshed in imitation of movie kisses we’d seen. With his other hand he encircled my cock, pushing and pulling my foreskin over the glans inside it. I came. The contractions made the inner muscles of my groin ache with new exertion. He seemed a little regretful and hustled me out of the bath. The water had gotten cold anyway. Shivering on the bathroom tile, I stood obediently while Erich toweled me dry. We put our clothes back on. Then he led me to my bed and tucked me in.

“Make it all right that I’m bringing food to the others, ja?” he asked. I promised I would. He kissed both my cheeks. In my mind I followed his descent to the kitchen where he stuffed as much bread, cheese, and meat into his pockets as he could.

With some difficulty, because of the distance, I made the guards let Erich pass unchallenged through the stone wall, across the yard, and into the barracks, safe. Then I cried underneath my arm and fell asleep.
Part 3 by syrian_iceberg
A mockery of life went on in the work camp. I gradually became a guard, which, although a vile duty, allowed me to safeguard Erich better. He in turn grew stronger. Many a gun did not fire, thanks to him, and prisoners who would have died on the spot lived on. He talked to me of escape on many occasions. At first I opposed the idea for childish reasons: I felt a duty to stay and continue the ragged outlines of my ‘mission’ and wished him by my side. Later, as we both matured, we saw that flight for us, if even possible, would mean swift death for many others. We also could not easily leave Renate behind. We felt a kinship with her that none of us could have described. Her power, and ours, was blooming.

One night Erich came to me in my third floor alcove. He lay down upon me and kissed me. I embraced him, surprised and thrilled by his passion and by the daring he’d shown in passing through the wall and house. He showed a great curiosity with the contents of my pants and spent long minutes stroking my cock until it absolutely ached. Just as I began to beg relief, he gave out the most girlish of giggles and the charade was over: where Erich had lain, now Renate laughed into my pillow.

She dared to play the same trick on Erich one day in the middle of the work yard. It was very nearly the last trick she ever played as the guards advanced on her, in my form, kissing a prisoner. They drew their weapons and might have shot them both, had Erich not been strong enough to jam their triggers. We both were furious with her and upbraided her in private. Foolish and mean, we said. Deceitful. Neither of us faulted ourselves for the abuse of our own powers: I worked people like puppets back then and thought nothing of it. Sadistic guards that withstood my manipulations met with horrible, flesh-piercing accidents as soon as Erich had the strength to cause them.

Much of what followed in decades to come, much of what Renate became, I believe, had its origin in that day’s prank and our harsh words. Though later he and I both lay with her, in pairs or menages-a-trois, exploring her breasts and vagina, comparing with each other the sequences of foreplay and positions of intercourse, I think she never quite forgave us. At a critical juncture we three were neither American, German, and Jewish enemies, nor a Family of Mutants; we were, most primitively, two boys banded against a girl.

As 1943 and 1944 dragged by, we three became the true masters of the camp. Colonel and Frau Dunkelheim continued on as our public face, but they had no real control over us anymore. Beyond the camp, however, we were very limited: too much awry and a new factory master would have been installed. Separation from each other could have meant slow starvation or a death camp for Erich, interrogation and a firing squad for me, ungodly medical experiments for Renate.

We learned through trial and harrowing error how many prisoners we could save for how long, on what rations, producing what amount of work, in what weather.

For most of those two years we were saving ourselves and others from the Nazis, but as 1945 arrived, we very quickly became concerned with saving ourselves from the Red Army. The Russian reputation for rape, revenge, and racism proceeded them and scared all three of us. Wild speculations and rumors made controlling the camp harder and harder. Guards were constantly resolving to shoot all the remaining prisoners and escape toward the Americans. Prisoners likewise, perhaps still slightly better fed than victims in other camps-–though all of us were starving by then--were ready at a moment’s notice to riot. They would have killed me right along with the other guards. Erich had become their leader, but his sway was limited.

“Liberation” finally came on the last day of January. The bombing of Berlin had been constant and dreadful. All surrounding communities fell to advancing Soviet soldiers. Erich was desperate that I not be caught in guard uniform. Renate was panic stricken. Colonel Dunkelheim gave the order to murder all the prisoners. All the other guards had fled or been taken captive. He brought me a rifle. I refused it. He struck me with his fist and gave the rifle to his wife. They burnt whatever records they could and then set out on grim murder. Erich stopped up their guns whenever they were aimed at innocents, but, perhaps justly, perhaps cruelly –I cannot say- did not prevent the Dunkelheims from suicide.

Erich begged me to leave. He had to stay with the prisoners, perhaps the last Jews in all of Germany, we thought. I couldn’t tear myself away from him: my first brother, my first true friend, my first lover, my companion in this hellish crucible. I was nearly hysterical and weak. Only as Soviet troops massed at the wide iron entrance gate –held shut by the youth who most rightly wanted them open- did I decide to run.

Blind with fear and sobs, I sought out Renate. She was in the house, staring coldly –in shock, no doubt- at the corpses of her mother and father. I tried to pull her away with me, but she struck me across the face and threw me out into the street. Just as the door closed behind me I could see her changing, but whether that person would be man or woman, German or Russian, real or invented, I hadn’t time to tell.

Back on my own again, I scurried like a rat down war torn streets, going west, always west. I managed to stay ahead of the Russians, though sometimes only barely. Even when I’d reached the Allies, I did nothing but mill in with the millions of other refugees. The brainwashing that had been done on me took months to undo. On the day that Germany surrendered I was in Hamburg. I heard the news and felt the last wisps of amnesia fade away. My mission was over. I went to the nearest, most trustworthy GI I could find and said, weak and weary, in a language I hadn’t spoken in almost three years, “Take me to General Maxwell Fordyce. I’m Charlie Xavier, the Boy Psychic.”
Part 4 by syrian_iceberg
By June of 1945 I was back in New York. My father had sailed for England as soon as word of my survival had reached him and we returned to the United States together. It was, of course, a strained reunion. My father had gone completely gray in just three years and I was greatly changed as well: six inches taller, heavier, and now shaving irregularly but proudly. We first laid eyes on each other at the very base near London where I’d been trained. Surrounded by stiff-lipped British officers and half-strangers to each other as well, my father made as if to hug me, but then offered me a handshake instead. I accepted it. We had been physically very affectionate in my childhood, but we never were again.

On board the ship we spoke only of the day’s events or the sea, father’s business or the continuing war against Japan. “Your mother’s had another baby. His name is Mark,” my father said suddenly and without follow-up as we watched the prow of the ship cut the Atlantic in two. I was steadfastly not using my telepathy then. I think I planned never to use it again, in fact. The mental silence was peaceful and helped to distance me from the previous three years as much as miles and miles of ocean did.

My mother met us at the dock. She had grayed as well, but her streaks were mostly hidden under a red rinse. She did embrace me and I was shocked to see that I’d outgrown her during our separation. We climbed into the limousine and wound through traffic back to the Park Avenue penthouse.

The entire city seemed marvelously untroubled after the ruins of Berlin. It didn’t seem smaller, although that’s what I’d expected. Instead it seemed grander, as if my journey so far away had let me take the city’s true measure for the first time.

That evening we had supper and Mother announced that she and I would be heading up to the Westchester estate the next morning. I was dazed by everything and didn’t argue. I could tell not all was well with my parents, even without probing their thoughts. Mother slept in the guest room that night. Father paced out long hours in his study.

Mark was a delightfully chubby and gurgling baby when I finally met him, toddling around in the nursery on Graymalkin Lane. Big and unafraid in my arms, he hugged me and patted my face with joyful curiosity. We bonded instantly and deeply. I never cared that he was only my half-brother, as was obvious from the start. He engaged me in life again and made me leave behind the protective shell I’d begun to erect during that first boat trip to Europe years before. Now, whenever I had the chance, I ran and played ball and tumbled with my brother, as I hadn’t allowed myself to do with the sailors who thought me so odd.

I learned, in the quiet, observant way of those not deemed old enough to be told the truth, that Mark’s father was a former gardener at the estate, a Mr. Cain, who’d only been dismissed, with generous severance pay, when word of my return had come. My mother had gone to live in Salem Center permanently after being told that British Intelligence had lost contact with me. She blamed my father and he blamed himself as well. They never divorced and did remain cordial, but the separation was made permanent by my mother’s affair and pregnancy. To his credit, my father accepted Mark very nearly as his own; he was provided for in Father’s will and, until he chose to do otherwise, bore the name Xavier.

Soon after my “normal” life got under way again, Father announced that he had purchased –lock, stock, and barrel- a small and struggling New York private school. Its entire inventory, including staff, was transferred to the mansion over the course of the summer months. In September, the war recently and decisively ended, I duly reported for class at the newly rechristened Xavier Academy, which occupied the west wing of our home. In deference to my wishes, and in recognition of the fact that finding upper class students on such short notice would be difficult, admission was open to all of Westchester County’s young men. Generous tuition grants were provided and when instruction began, I was happy to be counted among the Academy’s first thirty-seven pupils.

As had been the case in Germany, my classmates came from all walks of life. Some, of necessity, even took up residence there and the Academy became a de facto boarding school. My father, I understood, was trying in his way to make up for my long, hazardous absence. Mother was greatly relieved that I would not be living in the city away from her and complained only a little about the noise and commotion all those teenagers wrought. After the first semester, she even conducted classes in theater for the Academy. Just as its principal and teachers had been persuaded to overlook the mystery of my education between 1942 and 1945, they were made amenable to my mother’s lack of conventional pedagogical training. She had, of course, earned a degree from Vassar, in Drama, but some of her methods –she donned a toga for a class reading of Julius Caesar- would likely have meant her dismissal from most other faculties.

The three years I spent as a student in my own home were naturally very formative ones. With the war and its horrors over, I and the entire world were fanatically focused on the future. Mother, Mark, and I were crammed, if that can be said without tongue in cheek, into one half of the mansion. There was a wonderful energy and verve in every room. I resolved always to be a part of school life and I decided then to become a teacher. As a young person will do, I believed the status quo was eternal and I envisioned myself teaching and living at the Academy forever. This has by and large been the case and I am infinitely grateful that my youthful wish came true.

In honor of my sixteenth birthday, my father hired a magician. It was January of 1946 and even in those far more innocent days, the party my parents had planned for me seemed too juvenile to bear. As the reader may have anticipated, my teenage years were an especial hardship for Mr. and Mrs. Brian Xavier. To them I was a boy miraculously returned home in time to pick up where I’d been left off. They strove not to think of my time in Europe, they never asked about it, and I never referred to it except on one truly regrettable occasion.

To me, on the other hand, I was a man of the world, battle-hardened and more than normally aware of the evil that lurked in the heart of humanity. I was happy to attend school, ecstatic to play with little Mark, but I was not, I insisted, going to don a paper hat and eat cake in view of my peers.

In the end Mother cried and what son can withstand that? Father rightly pointed out that Mark and many of my less affluent schoolmates would enjoy all the festivities. January can be a dismal month after New Year’s Eve, he argued. I acquiesced.

The magician’s name was Jason Wyngarde. He was about twenty then and claimed to be a war hero, newly mustered out of the European Theater of Operations and now operating his own Theater of Illusion. His act was astounding. I, my classmates, many of their parents, our servants, and my own family watched slack-jawed as he trotted smoothly through the regular rabbit-in-a-hat and disappearing coin tricks. Then came heretofore unseen dancing balls of flame, levitations, and tiger-summonings. The nearly faint-inducing finale had Mastermind twisting his head completely off his neck and parading it about the makeshift stage in our mansion’s ballroom.

I, and everyone else, rushed him after the show, agog with questions and accolades. He shook my hand and wished me Happy Birthday. A buzz I had almost talked myself into believing was a flimflam of memory shot up my arm and through my entire body. I could see Jason felt it too. He offered me his card, took a piece of cake, and in due time made his exit.

“What can you do?” he asked me when I visited him the next week. We were standing in his small, fourth-floor walk-up in Manhattan. Around us motley furniture mingled with his personal items and articles of the magic trade. The uncontrollable heat waving out of the room’s radiator had stripped Jason down to his undershirt, pants and suspenders. He looked me up and down frankly, then began to unbutton my overcoat. “What? Can you fly? I met a guy who could fly once, out in Kansas. In California I met a gal who could stick to walls. What can you do?”

My coat was off and Jason threw it impatiently on an overstuffed green armchair. He did the same with the cap I was wearing, then he gripped me by the arms.

“I…I can read people’s minds,” I stammered. He nodded, then slid his hands down to mine and lifted my fingers up for inspection. Whatever he saw there met with his approval. He dropped my hands onto his shoulders and put his own on either side of my face. They roamed in tandem with his eyes.

“Can you feel it?” he muttered, half-closing his eyes. “It’s all over us.”

I did in fact feel it. I have felt it every day for many decades now. Its familiarity and my old age have weakened its effect on me, but there in Jason’s steamy, furnished apartment, his bed mere feet away from us, I felt it like a fire in my pelvis. It flicked every muscle of my body in turn, testing and releasing its tone until I thought the downstairs neighbors must have been hearing it. It engorged my cock and broke sweat out on my back. It played with my senses until the room itself seemed to grow larger and more luxurious.

“Take off your shirt,” Jason said. He slipped his suspenders down and pulled white cotton over his head, then helped me do the same. We stood tracing fingertips over each other’s torso. It seemed that sparks jumped between us, real, literal shots of blue and white that didn’t hurt but should have.

“You’re an illusionist,” I said with a little shock, “a real illusionist.”

“Yeah, didja think I really had a tiger under my cape?”

“Can you do real magic tricks?” I watched yellow streamers follow my fingertips across Jason’s muscular belly.

“Sure, I can do all that stuff.” He shucked his shoes. “But so can a hundred other guys. If I’m gonna make it big, I gotta do stuff that’s unique. The moneymaker stuff.”

There was Boston in his speech and a brilliant blue in his eyes. He was, or seemed, handsomer than any man I’d ever seen before, handsomer even than Tyrone Power. The room around us now was a mansion, brocade walls pulsing red to either side, a large oaken canopy bed nearby, golden urns and marble statues at the corners, a polar bear skin rug underneath our feet. As I watched, a fire sprang up in an alabaster hearth the size of a garage door. The view out the window was no longer the dull brick wall of the building next door, but a snowy forest, serene and somehow sexy.

“Do you kiss?” he asked. His clean-shaven jaw angled in toward my mouth. Blue-black locks of hair fell to either side of his perfect face.

I didn’t respond, but parted my lips. He met them with his own and on them wafted baking soda toothpaste and a little bit of liquor. His kiss was not the gratitude and bonding of Erich’s nor the experiment and tease of Renate’s. His kiss was pleasure and lust, self-assured in its desire and confident of its power to incite. He licked down my chest and stomach to the waistband of my trousers, then took them off and continued to the elastic of my underwear. When those too were off, his tongue continued through my scraggly pubes and out the long plank of my cock. He took me in his mouth and I gasped, standing on tiptoes as my entire body tensed.

“Lie down." As I did so, he removed the rest of his clothing and then fell on top of me. This passion was so different from what I’d experienced in Germany that it felt like an entirely different emotion and Jason an entirely different species. I almost felt like it was my first time again.

From a gorgeous Louis XIV table at the side of the bed Jason grabbed a tube of some lotion, too commonplace and plain to be an illusion. He smeared it over both our hardons, then ground them together between us.

“You like this?” he asked, dancing our dicks against each other and bouncing his eyebrows up and down. His tongue lolled just out of sight at the corner of his mouth.

I wasn’t sure what he meant. The sensation or the scenery? I nodded. Some doubt ran across his face and in an instant we found ourselves on a raft. Above us a starry night sky, all around us an endless ocean. The effect was perfect. Nothing my sight, hearing, or sense of motion and balance told me deviated in the least from the proposal that we were alone, adrift, and lapped by saltwater. I was, in fact, becoming nauseous. He went on grinding our groins across each other for several wave-thrown minutes, then tired.

“Whew! Let’s take a break.” He collapsed to my side on what was suddenly a rather gray and lumpy sheetless mattress in a small room echoing with midtown traffic.

I sat up and took it all in, including Jason. He was not Tyrone Power anymore, just a guy, good-looking and sweaty, hairy-chested and a little vulnerable. He seemed to be gauging the chances that I’d leave. It was on his mind and on his face both. This is a test, isn’t it? I thought at him.

“Fuck! That’s fucking incredible!” he initially thought, then said out loud. “Can you do that to anyone?”

I shrugged. “More or less.”

“Ever find out nasty stuff? Like…” he pondered the possible revelations, “murder or robbery or affairs?”

I wanted to lie, but didn’t.

“Hot damn! You could make a mint with that!” He saw now in my face the same vulnerability he’d shown and sat up beside me, nudging my shoulder with his own. “’Course, you don’t have to. Your folks are rich already. Me, I’m just a poor GI, getting started in the world.”

From out of thin air appeared a small black box which held a purple heart medal.

“You weren’t really in the war, were you?”

“Nah,” he shrugged. “I got 4F’ed ‘cause of my flat feet, but it’s good for business to be a veteran. Helps me get gigs.”

I knew without probing that he was lying. He’d only had flat feet the day he’d been drafted. They, and a dangerous murmur of the heart, had melted away like his medal was now doing the moment he’d left the induction office. In his mind I could even see the sorry looks the army docs had given him, thinking his heart so bad that he wasn’t long for this world. I couldn’t call him coward though. Images of real hardship before the war, a childhood stripped raw and hungry by the Great Depression, drifted like smoke over the surface of his mind.

“You an’ me should do an act together,” he suggested, lying back down.

I joined him, realized the heat of the radiator was fading fast, and hugged my arms around me. “Like how?”

He twiddled a lazy finger over his nipple, then raked it along my arm. “Like you could be a mentalist and read people’s minds and I could be a magician. It’d be great! We could do the whole east coast, you know? Everybody loves magic.”

I said nothing, just stared at the peeling painted ceiling. My erection had begun to fade, but Jason’s touch revived it. “I’m still in school,” I said blandly.

He nodded absently, then turned his finger onto my nipple with feather light touches. “You ever met anyone like us?” he asked.

Although I can detect a lie with ease, I cannot tell one so adroitly. I shook my head, but felt Jason’s disbelief like a thump against my forehead. I rolled over toward him and buried my face in a pillow that smelled of Brillcream and loneliness. Before I could stop them, three years and six months of tears fell out of my eyes. I sobbed and was ashamed by sobbing, but Jason didn’t pull away. He continued to stroke my arm, my head, my back. Around us now a carousel danced gaily. Purple, red, blue, green, pink, and white wooden horses bobbed in time with carnival music and flashing lights.

It soothed me and for a time we only lay and watched. It was not love and it did not promise to become that later, but it counterbalanced an emptiness inside me that all my psychic powers had not detected.

When Jason began to let the illusion go, I curled forward and took his member in my hand. I peered into his eyes, real blue, not sapphire, and held them with my own as I thumbed the length of his erection.

“Do you want…?” The room shimmered. Something Arab danced in my peripheral vision, but I shook my head at him and it faded away. I didn’t have to use telepathy to make it clear I wanted him unadorned and beautiful, young like me and lonely without completely understanding how that was possible in a city of millions. Instead I licked and made him arch his back. I kissed and made him whine. I held down his hands and made him buck his flesh between my jaws. I felt the buzz our powers gave us, swirled it over my tongue and fed it back along his shaft with an adult drive he couldn’t have guessed at while entertaining for my birthday party. I insisted with the muscles of my cheeks and teased with the sinews of my throat, on and on through panting and moaning and warning and shooting until both of us were spent, unloaded, and magicked into sleep.
Part 5 by syrian_iceberg
Jason and I formed an act: “Mastermind and Cerebro, Mysterious Men of Magic and Mentalism!” It was corny, yes, but successful. During the school year we performed at parties, in clubs, theaters, and even parks around New York City. During the summer we ranged farther afield: north to Maine, south to Florida, and everywhere in between. This arrangement was an appeasement to my parents, of course. Father objected to my interest in show business -he’d pulled Mother out of it in the nick of time, in his opinion- but he thought highly of my earning my own spending money. Mother knew the pull of the limelight and enjoyed my stories of the road immensely, but she worried about the influence young Mr. Wyngarde might have on me.

At her urging Father pulled me aside one weekend at the penthouse. Jason and I were booked to appear at a party at the Hellfire Club, a slightly risqu secret society Father belonged to. He had a few concerns, he told me. First of all, he thought it wise to invest in some sort of disguise for me. Some of those attending would otherwise recognize me as his son. Not only might they look unfavorably on a member’s child being involved in theater, they might take my powers seriously and wonder whether Father had used them to get ahead in business.

(A word here is required. Not only did my parents and I never speak of my experiences during the war, we rarely made mention of our lives before the war. My cocktail party feats of mentalism had become, in their minds, the tricks of a precocious child. That I had refined these tricks into an act now worthy of the stage was all in keeping with years of practice; had I begun the violin in childhood, I’d be giving music recitals now. It was all quite natural. Father further pushed from his mind the fact that I had indeed helped him profit from the war at the expense of a rival shipbuilder. As a telepath, I have seen and marveled at this willful repression of memory in thousands of people.)

I had been to Hellfire Club ftes before, but not like this one, my father assured me. At this party there would be no wives or children, although women would be present. Some of the acts involved exotic dancing and the waitresses might also be ‘exotically’ dressed. It shouldn’t shock me, Father said, to see him enjoying himself with women there. It was all quite a natural thing for grown up men to do.

Quite unnatural however, Father warned, were the men who sought out other men’s company in that way. He grew quite red as we spoke, nearly as red as the velvet divan we sat upon. Such men could be seen here and there, primarily at bus stations he thought, and were to be avoided or, in dire cases, reported straightaway to the police. Sometimes, he went on, ‘special friendships’ developed between young men in their school years –for some reason the name Randall bounced around Father’s mind along with the image of a swimming hole- and that was to be expected, but certainly not encouraged, especially when one youth was of a certain class and the other was not. Was he making himself clear? I nodded and he seemed relieved that it was all done. He poured us both tiny glasses of cognac and promised someday to expound on the virtues of sex so that I might be prepared for my wedding night and all the joy it would bring.

I thanked him in an absent manner and drank the umber liquid. Not all of what Father had said made sense and the need for this talk was unclear. I’d known about his dalliances with other women for years. They met him here in the apartment all the time. Others he visited in their flats across town. Still more he paid for, singly or in pairs. Father was especially fond of ‘the double BJ’, as he thought of it. Before I dulled the sensitivity of my mind, Father was thinking of Randall; a blond boy in black trunks, his cock outlined by wet, clingy fabric. It didn’t shock me. Such memories and fantasies were exceedingly common, as I knew. It was yet another example of what some might say is the human capacity for hypocrisy, but which I regarded as simple good manners. Besides, I was sixteen and knew everything; homosexuality had nothing to do with what Jason and I did together in bed.

That summer was a wonder to me. In Jason’s ’38 Ford we motored along the highways of the northeast. When money was low we stayed in awful hotels that Jason cursed and felt ashamed to be in but whose novelty I enjoyed very much. Before he’d ‘redecorate’ I’d soak up the cheapness, the stale aromas of past guests, and yearn for the wider world. Those many weeks spent traveling produced in me a Wanderlust I have yet to fully satisfy, although I have gone quite far from Westchester County indeed, sometimes directly up!

Our act was good. Some of the more disturbing tricks that Jason had used in the past got dropped as we toured. Too many matrons fainted at his beheading. Too many moppets screamed when faced with an uncaged tiger. Little adjustments made for a more pleasing, but no less unique, performance and word spread ahead of us. Better engagements and better payments came along. We put what we earned into a common pot, taking out of it for classier hotels, swankier restaurants, and finer clothing. I never had to wire home for money and I think Jason was glad of that. For whatever reason –simple camaraderie perhaps- he preferred to think of me as just another struggling performer, not the elder son of Brian Xavier, Shipping Magnate. He never, in fact, returned to the estate in those days. Nor did he ever call on me in the penthouse. He’d ring and I would meet him somewhere, either his series of apartments –each roomier and fancier than the last- or at a caf. I know he wanted to rise to my level. Only then could he enter my home with his head high, in his opinion.

We bought a camera and made publicity stills. They revealed something we hadn’t considered before, something which I now think is actually quite sad: Jason’s illusions could not be photographed. In those shots where there should have been a tiger or a headless man or a pillar of flame there was only Jason and some sort of gray blur. We tried again. Jason gave it his fullest concentration and in one shot he did manage to put a sort of gray dove into the photo, but that was the extent of it. At the time it was not much of a disappointment.

Standard photos of him in costume looking mysterious were good enough advertisement and we depended on word of mouth from people who had seen his airtight illusions in person. Better this way, he said, more surprising.

In hindsight, however, it was a calamity. Had Jason’s illusions appeared in photographs, they likely would have shown up on television in later years as well and he could have stayed with his first, best choice of career. As it turned out, this flaw ultimately led him to other, less joyous lines of work.

But that summer we were very happy and knew nothing of terrible battles to come. We were troubled, however, by a strange series of mishaps and pranks befalling us. Objects, sometimes money, would disappear from our hotel rooms as we slept. One time an empty trunk we were carrying suddenly grew very heavy; we dropped it in surprise, but then found nothing inside. We began to feel practically haunted. In every audience we began to see one face again and again, never for very long. The buzz between us -now a steady, ball-vibrating hum- would spike for a moment, then relax. It was maddening.

We decided to take action. One night in Bangor, Jason created the illusion of a pile of cash near the foot of our bed. I made my mind as sensitive as possible and we only pretended to sleep. Just past two in the morning, our ‘ghost’ arrived. To say he appeared in the blink of an eye boasts too much speed for one’s eyelids; he came into view as fast as one motion picture frame shoots past the projector’s light bulb. Had he left as speedily, we’d never have caught him, but he was entranced by the money Jason had created and stood over it, seeming to calculate something. In that moment I had him: all my psyche descended on his and held him in its grip.

He cried out in shock. Jason let the bait fade away, switched on a table lamp and rushed to the wrought iron foot of the bed.

“Who the hell are you?” He caught the intruder’s small bicep up in one agile, strong hand. “You got ‘im, Charlie?”

“Yes, but he’s…slippery. He might get away.” I ransacked the thief’s mind until I found a bit of knowledge I could

use. “Jason, he can teleport great distances, across the country even.”

Jason caught the idea I projected into his mind. “But not between planets, I bet!”

With a wave of his hand, the best hotel room Bangor had to offer was shunted away, replaced by a red sky hanging over the ruins of some great city and its deep, abandoned canal. The sun, reduced by distance, nevertheless spread ample heat over the rocky plateau where we three stood, one in pajamas, one in skivvies, one in a sort of black union suit.

The man winced where Jason’s fingers dug into him. He also reeled under the force of my mind. He was older than either of us, but not by much, maybe twenty-three, twenty-four. He was shorter as well, and balding. I felt sorry for him and unconsciously ran fingers through my as-yet-unlost head of blond hair. Not a bad looking guy though; elfin almost, and nicely shaped. He called himself Telford Porter, I saw in his mind, but that was only a nom-de-guerre.

“Charlie?” Jason asked.

“It’s all right,” I lied. “He knows he can’t get back to Earth without our help.”

Jason let go of him, acting with the confidence our ruse required. I kept tabs on Porter’s mind, but also relaxed. As I did so, the man unclenched his face and gained a degree of comeliness.

“What’s the idea, stealing from us?” Jason demanded. “Go rob Fort Knox, why don’tcha? Leave us workin’ guys alone!”

Porter looked us up and down. A smile spread across his jaw and he crossed his arms over his slender chest. “Aw, don’t get sore! I didn’t steal nothin’ important! I was just testin’ you boys, see? Seein’ if you were worth anything off stage! Now that I get a good look at’cha,” he ran his eyes over both our crotches, “I see you’re worth plenty.”

I blushed a bit, but couldn’t help running my eyes down to the top of Porter’s legs in turn. The dyed black long underwear he wore swelled in the groin. “A very serious dick”, as Jason had said many times before. Usually he meant snotty hotel clerks or club managers who tried to cheat us out of our full pay, but it applied now also.

“What you got in mind?” Jason asked, less stridently. His eyes wandered downward, then snapped back to Porter’s thinnish face.

“Well, I figure the three of us could pull off some capers, see? Make a mint and maybe enjoy some extracurriculars on top of it.” Porter uncrossed his arms and dropped his hands to his narrow hips. Both his index fingers now pointed to the buttons holding back his manhood. “Whadda ya say?”

Jason looked over at me for a moment. His ability to reason seemed divided between his two heads and he kept searching my face, then Porter’s body, while waiting for me to speak. I drew nearer to both of them. “We’re doing okay, aren’t we, Jason? I mean, the act’s pulling in money. We’re doing okay?”

Jason made a face of frustration, then tore his eyes away from the growing bulge in Porter’s pants. “Yeah…hell. Yeah, we’re doin’ okay, mister. I’ve done my fair share of stealin’. I can’t blame you for that, times get hard, damn fuckin’ hard, but what we got goin’ on now is payin’ the bills.” He leaned an arm on my shoulder and put his weight against me.

“Why don’t you join the act?” I said out of the blue.

“Yeah!” Jason clapped Porter on the arm. “Stick around. Have some fun. We could put you in the act easy!”

Porter looked at both of us blankly, then silently vanished. Now behind us, he wrapped arms around each of our waists and turned us. We stood on the rocky, windswept Martian hill that Jason had created, face to face, groin to groin. The buzz the three of us made together was even stronger than the one Erich, Renate, and I had made, due perhaps to our better health and greater age. It was overwhelming. I felt my knees buckle, but was held up on either side by the men I now embraced. My eyes were closing of their own accord. My scalp tingled. The cotton of my pajama top rubbed up and down over the hypersensitivity of my nipples and I felt pre-cum ooze out my glans.

“I don’t fancy being on stage,” Porter was saying huskily, “but I would like to get into that bed that I know’s over there.” He cocked his head to his right and smiled.

Jason smiled as well and let the landscape go. In place of rocks there now were downy pillows and clean white sheets. He ran his hand over Porter’s close shorn pate and asked languorously, “How’d you figure it out?”

Porter smiled mischievously. “Mars ain’t got no air. Any fool could tell you that!” He vanished again and reappeared in the middle of the large bed Jason and I had been sharing, his arms crossed behind his head. At some infinitesimal moment in his transport, he’d removed his union suit. Now lolling pendulously against his slender, muscled right thigh was a cock to write home about.

Jason and I stripped quickly and dropped into bed with him. As one we reached for Porter’s tool. It responded to our touch. He muttered in a low voice, giving us directions for his pleasure. Jason and I both were licking along its meaty rise when I suddenly realized what my father meant by ‘the double BJ’. I also saw why he liked it so much that he’d pay for it.

Porter resisted kissing. He said that was for sissies. I didn’t meet Jason’s eye and he didn’t meet mine. Whatever embarrassment Porter’s comment caused us, it didn’t stop us from mouthing each other with abandon the next time we were alone.

What Porter didn’t think was for sissies was fucking. This had not quite occurred to Jason and me yet. To date we’d only held and stroked and rubbed and sucked, not entered. I knew he looked at Porter’s peter with as much trepidation as I did. Fortunately, once the man between us had shot, he flipped over onto his stomach and invited us on board. This was a first for both of us. Jason was so caught up in the thrill and novelty of it that he never bothered to conjure up a setting for us. I watched, transfixed by the expression on Jason’s face. I bonded with both men. What each of us felt and saw and heard was shared with the other two so completely, we really couldn’t tell for a while who was in whom, who watched, who came. My cock in hand was Jason’s inside Porter was his pinned to the mattress, his ass being invaded was Jason’s bobbing up and down was mine explored by finger. We all cried out at once.

In the morning, finally so exhausted and spent that the buzz among us was resistible, we made our sleepy way to the hotel’s restaurant for late breakfasts of coffee, eggs, bacon, toast, and marmelade. Porter stirred his black unsugared cup. He’d gone wherever home was and donned clothing that was snug but not as dark or revealing as his union suit. He ate little, said a full stomach made teleporting nauseating.

We shared our stories of the road. Jason did not give away who I really was and I, of course, said nothing about my time overseas. Porter was especially intrigued by the people with powers that we’d met.

“There’s more an’ more of us,” he observed.

“What do you mean?” Jason asked.

“More of our kind,” Porter said quietly, glancing over either shoulder.

Jason and I still didn’t follow.

“Well, you don’t think everybody can do stuff like this, do you?” Porter said pointedly.

“Well, I don’t know,” I countered. “Everybody can do something. There are lots of mentalists out there and magicians too. Maybe they’re doing what we do. Plus there’s a boy at my school who can touch his nose with his tongue. I can’t do that.”

“My uncle Earl can sing while breathin’ in or out,” Jason added with a shrug. “Charlie’s right. Everybody’s got something. Big or small, something.”

Porter looked at us, dumbfounded. He frowned in disbelief, then chuckled with consternation. “You two have cum for brains!”

A heavyset woman near us gave him a sharp look. He lowered his voice and leaned in. We did the same. Our chins almost dipped onto the thick rounded edges of our coffee mugs.

“We ain’t human bein’s,” Porter said simply. “We’re somethin’ else. I don’t know what it is, but there’s more of us every day an’ I’ll tell you what,” he paused and gave a sideways glance at our plump, eavesdropping neighbor, “one o’ these days, they’re gonna notice us.”
Part 6 by syrian_iceberg
The magic act continued for another two years, but Jason worked farther and farther away from New York as his fame grew. We didn’t perform together as much in the fall of 1946 as we had in that year’s spring and not at all in the spring of 1947. Jason wrote perhaps a hundred postcards to me as he traveled the entire perimeter of the nation: pictures of palm trees in Florida were followed by magnolia trees in the deep south, saguaro cacti in Arizona and palm trees again in California. He loved the Golden State and did well for himself. On occasion he’d include in his rambling travelogues the story of an encounter with “one of us”, as he put it. “One of us”, he’d say, was very, very fast or “one of us” had a “fiery disposition”.

Porter’s theory had struck us both dumb when we’d first heard it. I’d had the creepiest sensation of floating just outside my body. I can’t say I ever returned to feeling normal; my idea of normal, rather, adjusted itself to include the notion that we truly were not human or, at least, not just human. I began to look at myself and everyone around me differently. What was it, I wondered, that made me able to read minds? All kinds of theories flitted across my imagination: we were Martians, Atlanteans, Angels. I wanted to know, but for the time being had nowhere to look for the answer.

When Jason came back to New York at the beginning of my summer vacation, he had a brand new Ford and fine clothes that weren’t the product of his imagination. My parents reluctantly said goodbye to me. I promised to stay in touch and out of trouble. Many of my mother’s cousins and a few of my father’s were expecting to host Jason and me as we traveled the country. I agreed to this partly to lessen my parents’ worry; partly to see whether any of my extended family had abilities like mine.

This tour took us away from the east coast into lands nearly as foreign to me as Britain and Germany had been. I saw Pennsylvania’s forested hills peter out and smooth into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. The great plains stopped sharply as we crossed the border between Nebraska and Colorado. Rain dogged us in Oregon and Washington. We had several lucrative engagements in California. I continued to wear the strange silver helmet in my act as Cerebro. It hid my identity and lent an air of scientific mystery to an otherwise straightforward display of my ability.

By the middle of August we’d reached the Gulf Coast of Texas and were cursing our lack of foresight: every day was hotter than the last. Air conditioning was unknown. Even fans were sometimes hard to come by in the hotels we checked into, dragging and dusty. We slept naked, if we slept at all, and awoke more often than not to the sounds of roosters.

On a miserable highway between Houston and Baton Rouge, worn out by the heat, we came across a soldier hitchhiking. As we always did –as everyone did in those days- we stopped to pick him up. He was fiercely blond and tall. His uniform was snug and sweaty. The instant we came to a stop beside him we felt the buzz of him down our spines and up our legs. He felt it too, I could see. He pawed at his groin and wiped one large forearm across his mouth. I had come to accept the raw sexual charge that others of “our kind” set off in me; Jason and I had made fast friends along the road that summer and frankly anticipated more pleasure with the man at the side of this lonely road. Desire inflated in my mind; I found it in Jason’s mind as well. It pulsed between us, gaining strength and rode the air toward the blond man. He felt passion even greater than ours, I saw.

To our astonishment he began to undress. The shirt that he’d had tucked into the back of his belt, his strained t-shirt and pants, the army issue underwear, they all came off quickly and were dumped into the withering grass of the ditch behind him. Jason gripped the wooden steering wheel with one hand and the back of my grimy neck with the other. I felt his cock grow in synch with mine, but something besides lust tickled at my brain. Shock, certainly, for now the hitchhiker had gotten completely starkers, in plain though unlikely view of passing vehicles. Something else, a feeling of desire mixed with adrenaline, emanated off the man.

“Jason,” I whispered.

The man, we soon saw, had disrobed not only to facilitate the sex act, but also to save his clothing from certain destruction, for as he strode across the gravel of the road, his legs lengthened, his chest expanded, his arms engorged to twice, then thrice, their original size.

“Jason!” I said in alarm, but too late.

In the short time it took the man to reach our car, he’d matched its length in the height of his body. Now bloody violence was all his mind revealed to mine.

Jason struggled to put the car in gear. He succeeded, but then let the clutch out too fast to catch the gears and our beloved Ford stalled dead. The door beside me snapped open and nearly off its hinges. The man took hold of me. One hand made its way around the entire circumference of my thigh and pulled me out of the vehicle with horrific ease. My back was deeply scratched by its ride over the side of the floorboards and my femur seemed about to give way to the pressure brought upon it.

I was, frankly, hysterical. Even in Germany, let alone in my plush and pampered Westchester life, no violence had ever been done to me. The might of my mind was nothing compared to the might of my panic; its strength was uselessly devoted to perceiving the images of rape, robbery, and murder that the hitchhiker fashioned.

Jason, older, tougher, and more experienced than I in the grim realities of abuse, reacted quickly. It was pointless to start the car; I was now out of it. It was obviously a lost cause to play tug of war with my body in between. He stood up out of the car and faced our attacker. Where my mind had been undone by its fear, his was not.

From out of literal nowhere the biggest, blackest, angriest bear fell with a snarl upon the shoulder of the blond man. I was in such a state that I cried out at this new danger, redoubled in my panic, and scurried between the man’s tree trunk legs.

The man, however, was only confused, not frightened. The snarling beast was fearsome, but in Jason’s face he saw neither surprise nor fright and in that instant he acted against the real menace. With a giant’s hand he smashed Jason’s nose against his cheek, effortlessly reaching over the car’s roof to do so. The bear vanished in the moment Jason hit the ground. Its furious roar seemed to echo in the trees around us for a second, then gave way to the babble of a brook.

He turned and looked at me. More vicious scenes, some conjectured, some remembered, ran on the silver screen of his mind. Good job, Hiram, he thought to himself, and smiled. I saw in his head the pleasures he would take with me, the crippling, tearing, bruising, and breaking joys he planned. Had he set upon me then, I’m sure I would not be writing this today. I was numb with terror and now feet above forehead in the ditch, panting and hoarse from screaming. I could only stare at his huge body with wide eyes and open mouth.

In that moment though, he made our life-saving mistake. He did not scoop me up and rend me with his murderous passions, but turned instead to begin with Jason. For an insane instant, I saw he found my friend handsomer than me and I was dismayed, if you can believe it! I have never considered myself a “looker”, but in those days, as the object of Jason’s daily desire and admiration, I’d come to think myself quite charming.

It is in such mad folds of our brains that salvation sometimes begins. A spark of anger diminished my terror enough to restore my ability to act. As Hiram moved around the rear bumper of our Ford, his buttocks as large and round and white as our spare tire there, I found my feet and left the ditch. What I was able to do then I have never succeeded in doing again. Perhaps it was my close relationship with Jason or his unconscious state, perhaps it was a similarity of talent or just the expanded strength that springs from need.

Whatever it was, it allowed me to reach inside Jason’s mind and use his power as my own. I’d somehow guessed that the rage and lust in Hiram’s head would not permit me to overwhelm him as I had so many Nazi guards. Instead I made him see something on the other side of the car far more credible than a Louisiana bear: I made him see an empty road.

“I’ve sent him far away,” I lied in a pained, weak voice. “He’s a hundred miles from here.”

Hiram had no reason to doubt me. He’d felt the buzz of our arrival. He’d seen what Jason could do, the apparition he had conjured. My power –he knew I had one from the unceasing thrill of our proximity- was now revealed. I was a teleporter. He’d heard of me, I saw in his thoughts. He’d beaten and killed another of our kind the month before. Before he’d done so, however, he’d heard the man tell tales of wonders unimaginable: men who could fly, women who could turn to smoke. The fantastic stories, told with delight by the black man Hiram later sodomized and tore in two, had been ones of awe and joy, but they had struck the blond man as sure signs of the end times. He saw himself as holding back the gates of hell. He meant to go on scourging God’s earth of all its miscreants. If he took pleasure in the mayhem, that was acceptable.

He meant now to have his way with me. This time, however, I was on my feet and engaged in saving my best friend’s life. Hiram grew even taller, but my mind expanded also. Some bit that wasn’t busy creating the illusion of Jason’s absence, that wasn’t occupied with monitoring the steps that Hiram would take to catch me, instead got to work waking up Mr. Wyngarde. I carefully walked backwards, keeping my foe in view and a good distance off. I couldn’t turn tail and run, however; doing so would break my link to Jason’s mind, as would too great a distance.

“You can walk away,” I told the giant, “or I can send you to the bottom of the sea.”

This gave him pause. Jason, invisible and inaudible, stirred behind him in the bloody gravel.

“Go ahead,” Huge Hiram mocked me. “If you can, why don’tcha? Huh? Why don’tcha?”

He advanced steadily. With every step he grew more confident that I was bluffing. In fact, I was, but not as he believed. Every footfall brought him closer to me and Jason closer to consciousness.

Just when Hiram had decided to lunge, Jason woke and acted. He took over the illusion from me, with flourish. There was a tremendous flash of light and a sound like cloth ripping apart. I dove into the bushes at my right, but they seemed undisturbed by my fall. Hiram plunged through my supposed portal and roared in anger. He landed without injury and without grace a few feet away from me. He pounded the dusty lane with one massive fist and kicked up a cloud that almost made me sneeze, but never knew it. Instead, as Jason slowly edged toward me and I, in aching inches stood up, Hiram turned over from his stomach to his back and began to tug at the python that was his cock.

“The buzz!” I thought at Jason in alarm. “We all still feel it! If he realizes-”

“Back away, Charlie, just keep backin’ away. I’m right here. Take my hand.”

I did as told, found Jason’s hand in the illusion of its nonexistence, and went with him down the long road until Hiram no longer seemed to set our teeth on edge.

We waited, now honestly out of sight, as Hiram pounded himself to orgasm nearly as violently as he’d planned on pounding us.

“He’s done,” I whispered to Jason. In the brook nearby, I wet my handkerchief and tended to Jason’s poor broken nose as well as I could. No power of self-delusion could dull his pain or the fear his looks were ruined.

“It’ll be all right,” I said, trying to comfort him. An unpleasant plan, however, came to me over the long rocky yards from Hiram’s mind. “He’s taking the car!”

Jason plunged out of the bush just as the Ford sputtered to life. With a gesture he strained to make the car fall silent, but the distance that hid us from our near-killer also lessened Jason’s ability to deceive. The Ford faltered once, either on its own or in Jason’s dream, but then took courage and carried Hiram away, as faithfully as it had carried us.

Injured, dehydrated, overheated, and almost broke, we trudged along the road back toward Houston. Uppermost in our minds was avoiding a surprise encounter with Huge Hiram. I told Jason what I’d learned from the behemoth’s mind. It assuaged his anger at being robbed slightly to hear what might have happened, what had happened to someone not as lucky as us.

“He was alone, wasn’t he?” Jason asked. “The black guy.”

I nodded.

“Then we’d better stick together, all of us. We’d better warn people.”

I knew by ‘people’ that Jason meant ‘our kind’, but wondered whether Hiram posed an equal threat to everybody else. I felt for the first time the responsibility of using my powers not just to entertain or spy or protect weak people from strong people; now I saw I’d also have to protect people from ‘our kind’.

Jason dropped a weary, bruised arm across my brush-scratched shoulder. I wrapped my arm around his waist and drew him nearer as we walked. The night was falling and the temperature with it. Up ahead a farmhouse glowed. It looked welcoming and even boasted telephone lines.

I knew Jason’s question before he asked it, but waited until he’d put it out into the air between us.

“What could he do, that black man? Did you learn?”

I sent the good, happy, living images of the man from my mind to Jason’s. I held back the pulp that Hiram had turned him into. “He could play the air like a guitar. He could make a trumpet sing just by blowing through his lips. With dancing fingers he could make music like a grand piano.”

We reached the well-lit door and Jason lifted his hand to knock. Wearily, but with wonder, he said, “That musta been somethin’ to see. I wish I’d seen that.”

“Me too,” I replied.
Part 7 by syrian_iceberg
I was the valedictorian of the 1948 graduating class of Xavier Academy. My classmates were fair-minded enough to see that I had earned that honor through study, not nepotism, and I was savvy enough to claim with tongue in cheek that I had cheated my way to the top. We all laughed at the funny little school we’d attended, swore we’d stay in touch, and split up for the summer and life to follow.

My parents could not be persuaded to let me join Jason out on the west coast before becoming a freshman at Columbia University. Instead, my father booked the two of us passage on the RMS Queen Mary, bound for the Olympic Games in London. We sailed in two sumptuous and adjoining first class cabins. I missed Jason and was sullen at first, but I could see that Father wanted very badly to make up in some manner for the results of my first voyage across the Atlantic and, at eighteen, I had finally just enough maturity to put his feelings ahead of my own this time.

It was, of course, an easy task to feign enjoyment. On board with us that July was the entire contingent of American athletic competitors along with quite a lot of provisions intended for their use in ration-bound Great Britain. The team’s excitement was infectious and I palled around with them in the carefree way I’d been incapable of in 1942. Two of them were recent high school graduates just like me: Robert Mathias of Tulare, California, and a raven-haired beauty named Calista Hinckley out of Enid, Oklahoma.

Calista passed me on deck during our first day out at sea. She hung on the arms of two young men and had several more admirers following in her wake, but abandoned them all when our eyes met. They moved off, mollified by her promises to join them later, and she came to stand beside me at the railing. The sea breeze whipped a lock of her hair across her mouth and she squinted her blue eyes into the wind, staring at me as if trying to place me somewhere in her past. She gave up and I introduced myself. She offered her hand and I held it gently in spite of its strength and calluses. The buzz between us was strong. I’d felt it since we’d left port and recognized it for what it was, but for Calista it was a new sensation. It puzzled her, I could tell, but I decided not to acknowledge or explain it.

She insisted I call her Callie, which nicely complemented the drawl she spun into my name, Charlie. We stood until suppertime there at the bow of the ship, watching the sun sink behind us and unveiling the stories of our lives for each other. For Callie this was an amazing adventure, undreamt of even a year before. She’d never been out of The Sooner State before, had only discovered her athletic talent in twelfth grade, and confided in me that she hoped never to return to the Double H ranch again. None of her family had been able to afford passage, so she traveled under the supervision of a teammate’s parents.

I held back much of my own story. Though the quality of my clothing said something about my material wealth, I claimed only to have attended a very small school in New York where my mother taught. My father, I said, worked for a shipping company. I also did not reveal my telepathic powers. Brief scans of Callie’s mind showed she did not suspect she possessed any special gift. As for me, remember there had been no girls at Xavier Academy; other than Renate I’d never spent much time in female company and was elated at the sensation. Even discounting the magic vibration our proximity caused, Callie was a thrilling girl.

At last a blonde teammate came and fetched Callie out of the early evening hours with a giggle. I agreed to meet them both later at a party the captain was hosting for the athletes and headed off toward my cabin. Just as I drew around a nearby corner I found my father occupying a deck chair there. He’d clearly been taking in the sight of Callie and me together. He sprang up with a wide grin and clapped me on the shoulder. An obviously charming girl, he said, lovely. The sea does things to the blood, he said robustly. I was pleased to have his approval and we walked away jauntily, almost like school chums.

Back in my cabin Father took the opportunity to explain in rather embarrassing, martini-inspired detail to me all the pleasures a woman’s body could provide and be provided. He slapped me heartily on the knee for my good taste in the female form, changed into dinner wear similar to mine, and accompanied me to the Captain’s table.

For the remaining three days at sea Callie and I were inseparable. All her teammates accepted me in games of shuffleboard, which she won handily, and poker, which I won or lost at will depending on whether money was at stake. My father found Callie just as charming up close as she’d seemed while talking with me at a distance. She was, indeed, an extraordinary specimen, lithe and buoyant, tall and strong to the point of tomboyishness, but also an unrepentantly girlish flirt. She easily beat all her male teammates in footraces, but attributed her skill to having grown up in the middle of four brothers and assuaged their damaged egos with kisses to their cheeks. We danced with abandon in the nightclubs on board and talked at length on deck, but she refused more intimate surroundings. It was a new experience for me; sex had always accompanied, or threatened to accompany, the buzz before and I was so obviously frustrated that Father suggested I take a cold shower. In his mind I saw the solitary act he really meant to suggest and we blushed simultaneously. I promised to take care of it.

The reader will no doubt have recognized the name of Calista Hinckley at the head of this chapter. She is, of course, widely regarded as the greatest female athlete of the twentieth century, eclipsing even the great Mildred “Babe” Didriksen-Zaharias. If times had been less sexist, her position as the all-around best athlete of the age, male or female, would have been assured. Going into those long-postponed Games, she was thoroughly unknown; she emerged a worldwide celebrity. In those two weeks she won gold medals in the 100 meter and 200 meter runs, the 80-meter hurdles, the 4 x 100 meter relay, the high jump, shotput, discus, and javelin, setting records in nearly all of them. She only did not win the long jump because it clashed with her appearance in the hurdles.

It was astounding to witness. Father and I had not planned to watch any of the women’s athletic competitions, but ended up being in the audience for all of Callie's victories. She was magnificent, untiring, graceful, powerful, and I was rapidly falling in love.

The world as well was simply on fire with the story of America’s two high school Olympic champions. Robert Mathias, still only seventeen, had won the Decathlon to the surprise of everyone. Every newspaper bore the now-famous photo of him and Callie in all their medalled glory, hugging lightly and beaming with joy of accomplishment and good times ahead. I have an original front page of the New York Times on my office wall with that very picture and look at it whenever I need reminding of how beautiful and full of hope the earth once seemed.

Though I do not appear in that famous photo, many others caught me in Callie’s embrace at balls and award ceremonies afterwards. I was after all, though somewhat reclusive, the son of wealthy Brian Xavier, a man America considered a war hero for having provided Liberty Ships in such overwhelming numbers. Our presence in London did not go unnoticed or unreported. I will deal later with two important people who noticed my presence there and the way my life changed as a result.

Callie, to her credit, handled the sudden fame extremely well for a girl of her background and youth. She seemed, in fact, to have hoped and prepared for just such a turn in fortune. In just a few days she banished the tones of Oklahoma from her speech. She confessed that she’d realized who I was while still on board, but had kept that knowledge to herself, then paid me a high compliment by adopting my native mid-Atlantic accent. She strove to improve her manners in accordance with those of her society well-wishers. Though she remained athletic, she seemed to will away all traces of tomboy when she was off the muddy track at Wembley Stadium. By the end of our time in London I’d thought more than once that, had I not turned out to be rich and somewhat famous, as well as the source of a perplexing and relentless wave of energy, I would never have kept her attention for long.

Our mutual passion grew irresistible once Callie’s events were over. The night before a major turning point in both our lives found us ecstatic together in the bed of my luxurious hotel room. Every possibility for pleasure that my father had mentioned was explored. Her legs were long and wrapped around my waist with strength and divine flexibility. Her breasts were lovely and mesmerizing; their nipples almost a cherry red under my tongue. The black satiny hair of her vagina glistened around my cock and I let loose inside it again and again. Her mouth was equally as skilled at pulling climaxes out of me and I matched her with my tongue and fingers until my stamina was gone. Hers was not and sometime around one in the morning when I was near collapse and she unweakened, she expressed her frustration.

“Why can’t you keep up with me?” she panted raggedly. “I can feel the energy coming off you, Charlie. I thought…I thought you were as strong as me. I know you’re not an athlete, but you could be, couldn’t you?”

Her question was nave, but reasonable. The pulse we both felt was undeniable and unmistakable. I decided to answer her the best way I could.

My power isn’t like yours, I thought into her mind.

She gasped and recoiled to the end of the bed, clutching a sheet to her chest.

“How’d you do that?” she hissed.

I hadn’t expected her to be so afraid and startled. “Everybody’s gift is different,” I explained. “That’s just the way it is.”

“What gift?” she stammered.

“I…don’t know exactly.” I was at a loss. “It’s just what some people can do.”

“What people, Charlie? What are you talking about?”

“People like us,” I grasped for clarity. “People who are different.”

“There is no ‘us’, Charlie,” she said flatly. “I’m not different at all.”

I sat up and took her hand. “I don’t mean ‘strange’, Callie, that’s not-”

She withdrew her hand and stood up at the side of the bed. “I ain’t strange, Charlie! There ain't nothing wrong with me and I don’t like you saying there is!”

“Callie, that’s not what I meant! Where are you going?”

She’d begun to dress, her movements jerky and uncoordinated. “I had four brothers, Charlie. Four! And I had to run and jump and fight and work just like all of them. We were always short of help. I didn’t have time for balls and dresses and boys and putting on pretty things so don’t you go saying I’m some kind of freak ‘cause I ain’t!”

Her rage scared me. Where had it come from? With no thought to how easily she might have thrown me across the room or knocked me out with a blow to the jaw, I seized her in my arms and held her tight. “No, no, no. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Callie. I was just joking around, see? Please don’t go, please don’t. Please stay. Please.”

She huddled against my chest and shivered as she calmed down. I could sense the terrified thoughts racing around her mind, all the times she’d beaten boys in sports and been condemned for it. Her mother figured especially in her fears of not being a proper girl. Callie was as desperate to get out of her small town as Erich had been to leave the work camp. The Olympics were as liberating for her as the Soviet Army had been for him. She did enjoy the competition and loved winning, but was ashamed by it as well. I knew she would do anything to leave sports behind as soon as they had gotten her somewhere safe, somewhere pretty. She lay in my arms on the bed for an hour before approaching total calm.

“Callie,” I said, still reeling from all the unsuspected terrors her mind had revealed to me, “Callie, stay with me, won’t you?”

She peered at me in the light coming through my hotel room’s window. She seemed to be gauging my earnestness.

I plunged ahead. The terror I felt was matched by the sense of purpose and adventure in what I was about to propose.

“Marry me, Callie,” I whispered huskily. “Marry me and stay with me always.”
Part 8 by syrian_iceberg
Sometimes there are configurations of the planets so remarkable that the entire world pays heed. Sometimes momentous meetings go unnoticed. The latter was the case just two days after I proposed marriage to Callie. We and my father were in attendance at a grand ball celebrating the end of the Olympic Games. It occupied the largest hall of our hotel and counted among its guests some members of the Royal Family, ambassadors, athletes, and Hollywood celebrities.

That evening Callista fulfilled the meaning of her name: “the most beautiful”. She wore a radiant ballgown that my father had insisted on purchasing for her and felt light as a feather on my arm. I myself seemed two inches taller that night. Father had wisely taken the news of my proposal in stride. He congratulated me on such a beautiful fiance and assured me that –after college- marriage to Callie would be a marvelous idea. Callie herself, I neglected to realize, had not actually said yes to me, but for the several hours we glided among the very best of society, it didn’t matter.

There was a tremendous buzz in the air. Flash bulbs, gay conversation, wealth and privilege and joy, they all combined to hide for a time the familiarity of the sensation. At last, however, I could not mistake it. It wasn’t just Callie; there were other ‘special’ people present. I began to scan the crowd, both with my eyes and with my mind. It wasn’t long before I spotted him. He stood just beyond the entrance to the ballroom in the hotel lobby. He was tall and powerful and wore a uniform whose like I had not seen before. He was conferring with an older man, an ambassador, I surmised.

I began to approach him. He saw me and was thunderstruck, but quickly recovered.

I stopped where I was and he looked significantly down a hallway toward the hotel’s kitchen. I made my way there. After a few more minutes conference, he was dismissed by the ambassador and came my way. With a small wave of his hand he indicated a door to a stairway. I led the way through a prep area. He followed and several cooks were startled to see one young man in a tuxedo and another in an Israeli soldier’s outfit suddenly cross through their workplace. Down a set of stairs we fairly flew without speaking until we emerged quite near a deserted loading dock.

I cannot accurately describe the sensation of seeing Erich again that August evening. It had only been three years since we’d parted, but it was quite as if a toy from one’s crib, once cherished but long since forgotten, had suddenly appeared at the bottom of a desk. Erich was taller, or seemed so, and fleshed out. He had muscles and a tan, a strength honed by hard work and determination. Just twenty, he already had a few streaks of white in his otherwise ebon hair.

“Ich habe dich in der Zeitung gesehen,” he said while pulling a cigarette pack from his pocket.

“Yes, I’ve been quite an attraction lately, I guess.”

An awkward moment passed between us in which I realized Erich hadn’t understood me. His German had taken me by surprise. Somehow, since 1945, all of our long conversations in the camp had been translated by my subconscious into English. We stood on either side of a gulf which grew wider.

“You are now Amerikaner?” he said while lighting the cigarette. His fingers shook almost imperceptibly.

I tried to put him at ease. “Ja, das ist, I mean, ich bin. Ich bin Amerikaner.” My struggle to dredge up the language we had used to speak together only made us both tenser.

He pointed to himself. “Israel,” he said, then mimicked wielding a gun. “Soldat.”

It was an absurd pantomime that was so unworthy of the intimacy we had once known. Erich’s eyes were very hard, but he couldn’t keep them still. They moved up and down the length of the area we occupied. His hands shook worse. My heart raced and I couldn’t seem to stand right. I could tell he was wondering whether speaking to me after our lives had diverged so greatly had been a good idea.

I wanted desperately to make things work. This chance meeting, so unseen, so achingly desired, couldn’t fail. Instead of more talk, I reached out a hand towards his temple. He saw what I was going to do and pulled me into an even more secluded area of the basement while tossing his cigarette away. Now brought closer by the confines of the passageway, my fingers connected with his brow on one side and then the other. Erich likewise lifted his hands onto my shoulders and submitted himself to my physical and mental touch.

I started with images of myself leaving the camp, running along Berlin streets, hunting for food and shelter until finding an American soldier to whom I could entrust my true identity. Slowly, almost delicately, I showed him my homecoming, my parents, brother, and school. Erich, in turn, remembered for me the liberation of the camp, the fatigued Soviet soldiers, the uncertain fates of those prisoners who’d survived internment. In his mind I relived hunger and danger and endless travel. On foot, alone, Erich had gone into eastern Europe, to Greece and Turkey, then south to Palestine. A fierce purpose had come over him there, comrades had been found, and battles fought. I could feel the fantastic strength his body and mind now possessed. He shared with me a jailbreak that his power alone had made possible, the rank and responsibility it had won him. There were other, bloodier deeds as well, but he pulled away from me before I saw them clearly.

I pulled my mind away. He had secrets. I had them also. Nothing I’d experienced or learned about with Jason could be found in the thoughts I’d shared. I didn’t know why I’d kept those from him; magic shows and romps in bed just seemed childish somehow.

“Heit du noch Karl?” he asked.

“No, I’m Charles now.”

He tried it out. “Chaalss." We both smiled. Then a frown crossed Erich’s face. “Renate?”

My face no doubt made clear my ignorance, but I was about to put it into words anyway when out of the shadows came a soft voice.

“Da bin ich, Jungs,” she said. “Here I am.”
Part 9 by syrian_iceberg
Erich and I were both astounded by Renate’s appearance: not only was she suddenly in the basement of the very same London hotel as we were, she was also dressed as a waitress. No doubt she’d been serving at the ball upstairs. In fact I could remember seeing her with a platter of canapes not half an hour before. But how and why? It was too odd a get together for us to be happy to see her.

“Renate? Bist du das wirklich?” Erich asked.

The girl nodded. With a shrug she dropped the plain, mousy face of an English servant and resumed her natural blue one. She was taller than I remembered her and fuller-figured under the frumpy uniform, but still retained a beguiling mix of naivete and surprise in her demeanor. I touched her mind. It was sad, but also purposeful. I had the impression she was clinging fiercely to a buoy in what she saw as a storm-tossed sea, but what that buoy was, I couldn’t determine.

Erich held out his hand and Renate took it, but drew no closer to us.

“How did you survive?” I asked.

Renate’s face and clothing shifted into those of a large Russian infantryman, dirty and tired, but convincing and menacing as well. She let me share a few images from her mind with Erich in which we saw her mix in with the camp’s liberators unsuspected. She’d remained with them for as long as her strength held out. There was a brief, terrifying memory of being discovered and shoved onto a troop transport vehicle among a leering group of men, but then Renate jerked her hand away from Erich’s and drew her mind away as well. I didn’t pry. The end of the war had possibly been even more horrible than its progression. None of us wanted to dwell on it now.

“What are you doing here?”

By way of answering, Renate took on her normal human face. Her hair was done up at the back of her head in a utilitarian style and her clothing became the severe uniform of a female Soviet officer.

“You’re with the Russians?” I was astonished.

“Sie sind die strksten,” she replied with some defiance. “They are the strongest.”

“But what brings you to London?”

“Now that, me fine gents, would be a matter of state security, wouldn’t it?”

All three of us turned to see a large man approaching slowly, almost leisurely. He wore a bobby’s uniform, but I suspected it was not genuine, or at least not his property. His black hair was slicked back, his eyes were piercing, and he seemed to be calculating something as he walked. His accent was thick. Erich’s basic English was stimied by it completely and I too had difficulty. What I did understand I mentally transmitted to Erich. When he was close enough I felt the additional buzz he created and for the first time in my life wondered just how many of “us” there might be in the world. Dozens, perhaps. That was my wildest guess there in 1948.

“Shaw, Sebastian Shaw. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” He tipped his helmet, then tucked it under his thick arm. “And you’re Charles Xavier. You can read minds, turn people into puppets, or so I’m told.”

He eyed Erich up and down.

“You I don’t know, but the girl says you control metal.” Shaw indicated Renate. “Well, ‘ere, take this.” He produced a short iron bar from one of his pockets and held it out on his palm.

Erich frowned. He already disliked the man, but was as intrigued as I was. With a bare gesture he pulled the bar out of Shaw’s hand and floated it in midair. It danced among us for a time, then Erich suddenly bent it quite in two before settling it back down in Shaw’s palm.

“Very nice, lad. Very nice.” Shaw seemed not at all intimidated, but suddenly he spun and began to pound on the brick wall behind him with the meat of his fists. When he’d done so several times –to what purpose I couldn’t guess- he interlaced the iron bar in his fingers and bent it in half again, then dropped it with a clang to the concrete floor.

Superhuman strength. I thought of Huge Hiram and wondered what Shaw might have in store for Erich and me. The buzz among us four was so intense, however, that I was having trouble scanning anyone’s mind.

“Renate,” I said, “who is this?”

Renate only cast her eyes down and clutched her arms around her waist, so Shaw answered for her. “I’m what you might call the lil missie’s business partner, ain’t I? She’s got an errand to run in London ‘ere and I been ‘elpin’ ‘er wiv it. It’s a quid pro quo, you might say.”

I couldn’t fathom what Shaw meant.

“See, your bird’s comrades ‘ave got their eyes on acquirin’ the very latest in British……candles, you might say. I’m by way of gettin’ ‘er into the best of the best candle factories. In exchange I get a nice bit of ‘is Majesty’s coin and the opportunity to meet you fine gents.”

“Why?” Erich asked.

I echoed his question. “Yes, why? What do you want?”

“Wot any bright young man such as meself would want: to come up in the world, better ‘is prospects an’ get respectable like.”

“How…how could we possibly help you with that?” I asked, perhaps pretending –or revealing- more class prejudice than I ever had before.

Shaw’s face darkened briefly. On the surface of his mind were coal mines and village poverty, a drunken shame of a father and beatings galore. Before he could answer, however, someone else’s voice cut in.

“Charlie? What are you doing down here? What’s going on?”

Callie stood uncertainly at the door leading upstairs. Her ball gown and hair were slightly ruffled by what I sensed was a worried search for me. She looked over each of us, but clearly couldn’t see why I’d be in the hotel basement conferring with a police officer, let alone with an Israeli or a Russian soldier.

“Callie! It’s all right! Come here!” I held out my hand and she came to cling to my side.

Her arrival dizzied us all. As far as I knew, never before had five people like us been gathered together in one place. I swayed and Erich’s hand on my shoulder was all that kept me from falling over. Callie seemed ready to faint, but Shaw positively basked in the buzz we were creating. Renate, on the other hand, shuddered and drew away in distress, temporarily losing the pinkness of her skin to the blueness it concealed. Her uniform likewise lapsed and she was briefly naked except for hundreds of darker blue bumps covering her body.

Callie gasped and looked around at us all again in alarm. The buzz among us grew nearly unbearable, as if an electrical transformer were pulsing in the middle of our circle.

“Charlie, make it stop! My head! I can’t think!”

“Karl,” Erich said in a low, firm voice, “entferne dich. Move.”

I took his advice and so did the others. When we five were as far away from each other as the room permitted, we found it easier to think, breathe and speak.

Shaw was the first to recover. “Muvver of God, wot a thrill! Puts the crisp in my bacon, it does.” He grinned from ear to ear.

“What is this, Charlie? Who are these people?”

“I, me lovely Miss ‘inckley, am Sebastian Shaw, and I was just about to make a very fine business proposal to me new chums before you, to our great fortune, joined us.”

“Business?” Erich wondered.

“Business of the best kind, friend, the very best kind. Business which can raise us to the very ‘ighest rungs of society, see?”

“You’re only thinking of theft,” I blurted. “Robbery.”

Shaw paused in momentary contemplation of my forehead. “Any new venture needs capital, Master Xavier, aye, and there’s no bank or train in Jolly Ol’ that we couldn’t ‘eist, but that’s only the start. Once we ‘ave the proper nest egg it’d be legit affairs all the way, see? Realty, investments, connections. Our little group, our club, as it were, …soon enough we’d be at the tippy top of any society we wished. There’d be no stopping us, would there? Appointments to the bloody ‘ouse of Lords if we wanted. Ambassadors. Prime Ministers even.”

I suddenly thought back to Telford Porter and his theories. They no longer seemed so crackpot. “We…we might not be human, Shaw. We might not be safe in high society.”

The others regarded me with mixtures of pity, wonder, and dismay.

“Me muvver said the fairy folk brought me down with the rain, aye, maybe you’re by way of believin’ ‘er, eh?” Shaw smirked. “Be that as it may be, Xavier, tis better to be inhuman and rich than inhuman and poor. I mean to be rich. Who’s wiv me then?”

“Wealth won’t save you.”

We turned to look at Renate and she seemed to shrink from the attention, but spoke again.

“Rich Jews and poor Jews, they all went to the camps. They all went to the gas chambers. They were weak. The state was strong. Germany was strong. It did what it wanted. It took what it wanted. Money, property, even gold teeth. Ja. Everything. And when the Fatherland was weak, Mother Russia took it over.”

A tear fell from one eye. Where it ran down her cheek, the skin turned blue. Another and another fell in turn until she’d let her whole face revert to its blue form.

“Only if you are useful,” she shook before some imaginary or remembered party official, “will the state keep you, feed you, let you live.”

“Renate?” Erich held out his hand again, but she didn’t take it.

“They’ll come for you in Palestine too, Erich. All the wealth of the west won’t save you. Capitalism will fall very soon, especially now that…”

I saw in her mind the clear image of a bomb, but not whatever nuclear secrets Renate had been able to pass to the Soviets. There was so much to consider in her words, I frankly paid little attention to what America’s enemies might have known at the time.

“If they come,” Erich said grimly, “we will fight them. I will fight them. A people must have a homeland to defend.”

“What are you all talking about?” Callie’s voice was strained with near hysteria. “What people? This is all nonsense. I’m leaving. This has nothing to do with me!”

She turned to go, but stopped short when Shaw asked me, “Doesn’t she know?”

I had to tell the truth, though Callie tensed even more at my words.

“She doesn’t want to know.”

She whirled on me, her face harder than I’d ever seen it, and her voice grew to nearly a scream. “Know what, Charlie? Huh? Know what? I know I’m a human being, Charlie! I know! I’m not like you all! I’m not weird. I’m not something that should go and live in the sewers, Charlie! I’m not some goddamn blue freak!”

“You’re a cheat AND a freak!” Renate shot back.

Callie rushed her with a speed I could barely comprehend and slammed her so hard into the wall that even I had the wind knocked out of me. I was paralyzed with shock, but Erich and Shaw were not. Callie got in two vicious punches to Renate’s face before Shaw caught hold of her arm in one of his powerful hands and threw her literally twenty feet back the way she’d come.

I expected Callie to land unconscious and broken, but her incredible athleticism kept her on her feet, unharmed and ready to spring away. Shaw advanced on her with murder in mind. I foolishly tried to pull him back and he took me by the throat, then lifted me off my feet. I was blacking out already, but I could see Erich gesturing from where he crouched by Renate’s side. A barrel of some sort flew through the air and crashed into Shaw’s head. He wasn’t even vaguely hurt, but dropped me and turned now on Erich. Again and again the barrel slammed into him without effect.

I reached out to protect Erich as I had often done in the labor camp. Shaw’s mind was more powerful, more determined, than any Nazi guard’s had been, but I was unrelenting. Wave after mental wave confused him, misdirected him. He stumbled, fell to one knee, then passed out entirely.

Erich and I panted. Callie, when I turned to look, was already running away into the further depths of the hotel basement.


He was picking Renate up like a baby and cradling her to his chest.

“I know a doctor. I will take her.” He looked down at her bloody face and pipes overhead groaned with his anger, but did not burst. “I will come to you tonight, Charles. In your room, ja?”

I nodded and stood up. Erich carried Renate down a hallway toward a loading dock and disappeared from view.
Part 10 by syrian_iceberg
It was nearly midnight before Erich arrived and knocked softly. I’d already put on light cotton pajamas, but didn’t think to grab my robe before letting him in. A matronly woman in jewels and rouge happened to be passing by just then, saw me, and gave me a very disapproving cluck of the tongue. Erich also seemed disconcerted by my clothing. He frowned, glanced over his shoulder at the woman, and stiffly waited for me to let him in.

I did so and while Erich examined my room with his back to me, I slipped into my robe. He still wore the Israeli uniform he’d had on earlier in the evening. I felt boyish and spoiled. It seemed suddenly that I had nothing in common with the real man Erich had become.

“Do…do you want a drink?” I indicated the small selection of liquor in one corner of the suite.

Erich nodded and I hurried to pour us both a shot of something amber. He took the glass and studied it, then toasted me before swallowing its contents. I drank mine as quickly, but not without a cough that caused me to blush. I returned to the bar and picked up the bottle, then followed Erich to where he stood at the window. I refilled his glass and looked out on midnight London. He sipped and peered into the street far below us. I did the same.

“Renate has a broken jaw.” He spoke in German again, checked to make sure I understood him, then continued. “The Soviets are evacuating her back to Berlin.”

“You took her to a hospital? Did people…see her?”

“No. They have a doctor in their embassy. I took her there. No one saw her but the doctor and the ambassador. I got the impression they’d been looking for her.” He turned away from the window and sat down in one of the room’s two plush armchairs.

“The Russians just let you go? You bring them one of their spies, unconscious and injured, and they just let you go?”

In Erich’s mind I saw the scene. He stood at some building’s side door, on the way out. Two guards had their rifles trained on him, but couldn’t fire. The triggers wouldn’t budge. He simply walked away after that.

I sat across from him. “Do you think she’ll be all right?”

He slid down in the chair and stared at the ceiling. “She’s made her choice. She’ll have to live with it now.”

“What about the information she’s stolen?” I studied Erich’s face. There was so much hardness in it. I felt unbearably soft in comparison. “Do you……think we should tell someone?”

“If you like.” He looked at me over the rim of the glass he’d rested on his stomach and I involuntarily remembered how that stomach had looked the many times it had been under my fingertips. “As for me, I only care for Israel now.”

“If the Soviets get the bomb, aren’t you afraid they could use it on-”

“I would stop any bomb they dropped.” There was no doubt in Erich’s voice. He knew he could do it. Perhaps he’d already done something like that, just snatched a bomb out of the air and cast it into the Mediterranean or crushed it in upon itself. Perhaps he’d sent it back to its owners. Did his new homeland know exactly how powerful a soldier they had on their hands?

“What will you do,” Erich interrupted my imaginings, “when you go home?”

For a moment I couldn’t think where home was supposed to be exactly. “Um, university. I’m going to Columbia, of course. Father wouldn’t have it any other way.” That sounded fatuous and I instantly regretted it, but Erich didn’t seem bothered.

“What will you study?” he asked. “Science?”

“Um, no, I mean, perhaps. I’ve only declared history so far, but I may change.” I swallowed the rest of my drink quickly and coughed again. “Science might be good. How about you? I mean, are you interested in college or…”

Erich stared hard at me, but seemed to forgive my gaffe. “There’s a girl. I will marry her when I have enough money. Maybe two years. No college.”

He finished his drink as well and we seemed to have nothing more to say to each other. It shouldn’t have surprised me. In the labor camp we’d been focused on survival, the day-to-day details of keeping body and soul together. What did we have in common now?

Erich stood and I jumped to my feet as well. I thought I should at least bid him farewell with some measure of grace. I stuck out my hand in the best imitation of my father that I could manage.

Erich looked at my hand in confusion. “But…may I use your water closet?”

I swung my hand in an absurd circle until it pointed behind me. Next to the fireplace was an ornate white door. Erich stepped past me, momentarily spiking the buzz between us so that I noticed it as if for the first time. He seemed to catch it as well, but went on into the gleaming white bathroom.

The toilet flushed and the sink’s faucets ran for a moment, but then Erich did not emerge. I waited a minute or more before I went to the door, sensing a strange pulse of emotion on its other side. The knob turned of its own accord and the door swung open slowly. Erich’s power receded back into his hand, but he did not turn around. Instead he only stood at the side of the sumptuous bathtub, somewhat less militarily erect than before. I came to his side and stared into the shiny white porcelain as well. I didn’t need telepathy to know he was thinking back on our time together alone in the Dunkelheim home.

My hand hung next to his and he took it. His mind opened up. I don’t think I could have severed that connection if I’d wanted to.

“I’m glad you’re alive, Karl. I’ve…missed you.”

“I didn’t miss you. I didn’t think of you. I…forgot you.”

“Of course,” he said aloud, but softly. “That was the way it had to be. You could do no other.”

“But now,” I wondered at him, “I’d like…I’d like to remember you now, Erich, a thousand times over.” My mind blushed at the naked sadness, fear, and longing it had revealed.

Erich’s grip on my hand tightened. “Come.”

He pulled me by the hand to the door, switched off the light, and led me through the room to my canopied bed. What lamps I’d had on he turned off with bare gestures until only the scarce moon illuminated us. His power passed through me, but my heart did not race. Instead it seemed to take up the rhythm of his, contracting and relaxing in deliberate mimicry. He undid the belt around my robe and slid his hands around to my back.

“This is the last time, Karl,” he thought at me, “the last time, but we survived. We survived and I want…I want to mark that somehow. Do you understand?”

I nodded and embraced him as well. He was much fleshier under his uniform than he’d been three years before, but still very strong, muscles of iron. Even without his powers, I would never have wanted to face Erich in a fight. He kissed my neck up to a spot behind my left ear and my cock oozed precum without even having gotten totally hard yet. There was, I admit it, an extra appeal in such a strong man’s being gentle. For the first time in my life I wondered what women felt during the sex act.

He kissed my mouth quickly and unbuttoned my pajama top, then dropped it and my robe down my back. I opened his uniform shirt and ran my thumbs over his nipples. He paused in pleasure at the sensation, then kissed down my chest to my own nipples while massaging the flesh of my buttocks. When he had pulled my pajama pants down, I was fully hard. Erich stroked my balls and moved me onto the bed, then removed his own pants and shoes. I pulled his cock out through the opening in his boxers and put my mouth onto it impulsively. He tasted like salt and iron and I sucked with ever increasing lust.

When Erich was close to coming, he removed himself from my mouth and stripped entirely, then returned to the bathroom for a moment. Whatever he’d taken from there he hid behind his back and then dropped beside the bed before lying down on top of me.

The comfort and leisure of my hotel suite, in addition to the much improved health we now enjoyed, added vitality to our sex. We were well fed men on the young side of our physical primes and ready to make the most of it. Erich humped me as I pressed him closer. Our cocks slid side by side and we panted with every up and down for long, hot minutes.

“Ich will dich, Karl,” he grunted into my ear. “Ich will dich…ficken.”

In all my playtimes with Erich, Jason or Telford, that had never happened. I was apprehensive, but incredibly turned on as well. Erich guided me onto my stomach and I found my back arching of its own accord. I hoped he knew what he was doing because this was all new to me. Luckily, he didn’t plunge ahead like a rutting animal, but rubbed my shoulders, back, and buttocks until I was more relaxed. From the floor next to the bed he retrieved what I saw was a jar of petroleum jelly. He took a large glob of it and began a wholly terrific job of opening me up. I burned with the intimacy of it, but knew there was no one else on the planet I’d rather have take me like that for the first time than Erich.

Slowly, gently, but with the unswayable willpower he would show again and again throughout his life, Erich began to push into me. I was dumb with pain at first, but he was generous with kisses to my neck and soft words of pleasure.

“Ach, Karl, danke.” With one more push, he was entirely in me. The buzz I’d always felt before in my cock now took over the virgin territory of my ass and I trembled with unexpected delight. Erich brought me up to my knees and elbows before starting in on a motion that never slackened, but never rushed. Before he came, he took hold of my cock and rubbed it so expertly I seriously wondered if this was a separate power of his that he hadn’t revealed before.

Whether it was luck or my own telepathic feedback, we shot together. My contractions added to Erich’s and his inside me spurred my own on. He removed himself as considerately as he’d entered and helped me to my feet. After a hug and another deep kiss, he smiled as I’d never seen him smile before. It was utter pleasure and peace of mind that culminated in a short laugh.

He brought me by the hand into the bathroom, grabbed one of the plush towels, and left me alone for a moment to use the toilet. When I had flushed, he came back in and threw the towel on the floor, then began to draw a bath. He tested the water, got in, and sat down, then guided me in as well. I sat down where he indicated, between his legs, and shuddered despite the warm water. Erich snagged a large washcloth from the rack and soaked it, then pulled me into a recline against his chest and laid the cloth on my exposed skin. He washed me and embraced me until I was still.

For a time we said nothing. I knew this would be a unique experience in our relationship. Erich would marry his girl. I would marry Callie. This was simply a last stop in boyhood. Nevertheless, I wanted to have it as fully done as possible, like a blanket made with the maximum possible thread count so as to last through a hundred years of use.

“If we are not human,” he said after long silence, “what are we? Do you think you could learn, Charles? At university?”

I nodded slowly and decided that I would.
Part 11 by syrian_iceberg
The voyage back to New York was gloomy. To my great disappointment, Callie did not join my father and me on board. She’d been offered a role in a movie in London and had siezed the opportunity with both her lovely hands. I still dreamt that she would marry me some day, but all shallow hopes of having an exciting, famous girlfriend as I began my freshman year in college were dashed.

When we docked, the nation was gripped by communist spy mania. The House Un-American Activities Committee was in full swing and had Alger Hiss in its claws. Unfortunately, I also came back to the attention of the government. General Maxwell Fordyce, to whom my telepathic powers had seemed such a boon against Nazi Germany, terminated the reprieve I’d won after returning home in 1945. For three years the guilt he bore at having “lost” a child spy among the Fascists had kept him from contacting me. Most of the few other officials who’d been in the know at that time had forgotten about me, it seemed, but now General Fordyce, nearing retirement, reminded his bosses of my existence and I was quickly drafted into service.

It was onerous, though blessedly infrequent, duty. Once a month perhaps, I’d receive a call in my dormitory and be asked to meet unnamed men at the train station, from which we’d travel in separate compartments to D. C. There I’d be taken by other unnamed men to some neutral spot such as a hotel or restaurant, sometimes a park. Then I’d be introduced to the thoroughly terrified focus of a new investigation. No explanation of my presence was ever made to these men and women. We’d chat as amiably as possible on bland subjects suggested by one of the unnamed agents for as much as twenty minutes, then we’d be parted and I would render my report.

None of these low level civil servants ever turned out to be half the communist spy that I knew Renate Dunkelheim to be. Most had been communist party members of varying devotion in the hard-scrabble ‘30’s, but now they had nothing of interest to report to Moscow. Several of the non-communists were homosexuals and I could see that was the true bone of contention the government had with them, but I was never asked about that directly. Uncomfortable with the idea of sodomy among consenting adults, my escorts from the recently established Central Intelligence Agency never spoke of the subject to me, whom they took for an innocent, upper class college boy.

Great care was taken not to let me come too close to sensitive government buildings and I was told not to travel to the nation’s capital on my own. It would have been much more efficient, my contacts admitted, to simply walk me through the lengthy halls of the Pentagon in search of spies, but what I might have inadvertently learned and then shared about US operations myself was too awful to contemplate.

Otherwise, I was a young man on his own in New York and I relished every game, every nightclub, every encounter there was to be had. I ran with a crowd of a dozen or so wealthy youths who had –unlike me- sat out the war and seemed to attack the city every weekend in compensation. We read Alfred Kinsey and Alan Paton, saw Brando on Broadway and Hitchcock’s “Rope” on screen. We staged raids on sororities, picked fights of bravado with strangers or each other, and drank highballs till we puked or passed out. It was easily the most carefree time of my life and I felt an affection for that arrogant, dissolute gang that was never equaled.

Two of that crowd, Don Pierce and Harry Leland, stood out from the others, albeit for entirely different reasons.

Don was our leader and perhaps the handsomest man I ever met. His real appearance –thick blonde hair, blue eyes worthy of his last name, chiseled features- outstripped even Jason Wyngarde’s most ambitious personal illusion. He was nearly six foot three and, as an avid bodybuilder a couple of decades ahead of that craze, he was in better shape than most professional athletes. He played tennis in the summer, football in the fall, skied in the winter, and rowed in the spring. His hands were large, exquisite, and in constant motion. He was physically affectionate to a degree none of us in the group had ever experienced before, but his sheer charm and masculinity put us at such ease that no one thought it queer to find Don’s head in our laps, his fingers in our hair, or his chest against our backs. For Don there was no friendship without intimacy and many were the afternoons I and others spent studying in his room, either stretched out with him on the twin bed Columbia provided or curled up together in the dozey sunlight of a windowseat.

Harry Leland, on the other hand, was heavy and dull. He laughed at anything someone wittier said whether he understood it or not and lagged at the back of our group so badly that we often had to hold up taxis, buses and subway cars for his sake. For the first three months of our acquaintance I successfully avoided being alone with him, sure that he’d put me to sleep within the first minute.

It was a shock, you can therefore understand, when at last all my best maneuverings failed and I found myself momentarily alone with Harry in a little used hallway near our dormitory’s loading dock. As soon as Mitch and Robert, our group’s two most rambunctious members, had suddenly realized they had no cash for the upcoming evening’s festivities and had rushed off to raid Robert’s emergency stash, I felt an odd vibration in the soles of my feet, as if a truck were idling nearby or a train were passing far beneath us. I looked all about me and wondered what it could be, during which time Harry only stood and waited. At last I recognized the sensation, muted and somehow of a baser frequency than I’d ever felt before, and I looked with astonishment at the source.

He nodded. “It’s me.”

I found I couldn’t speak.

“I felt it from you right away,” he shrugged, “but since you never seemed to notice, I figured it wasn’t worth mentioning. I know you don’t like me much, so I figured you were probably just ignoring it.”

I flushed with shame at how apparently obvious my dismissal of him had been. He’d interested me so very little that I’d never even bothered to read his thoughts. All that smug condescension was now replaced by utter embarrassment.

“I’m sorry,” was all I could squeak out.

“That’s all right. You’re not the first. I’ve met people before that don’t recognize me even though I notice them right away. Maybe it has something to do with my trick.”

“Your trick?”

“With what I can do.” Harry looked around and lowered his voice. “You know.”

I was still dealing with this surprise revelation, but I understood. “What is it exactly you can do?”

He cast an appraising glance at the walls and ceiling. “I don’t want to do it in here. I don’t want to cause any damage.”

I was still at a loss, but I indicated the door to the outside and, when he merely stood there looking at it, led him through it into the crisp November night.

“Sure,” he agreed, “this’ll do. See that one?”

He pointed to a delivery truck not far off and soon I felt the buzz between us spike for a moment. There was a low creaking from the truck’s undercarriage, but nothing else. I shifted my gaze from the vehicle to Harry and back in ignorance.

“I don’t-“

“Come closer,” he said. “I don’t want to do it too hard.”

We drew up to the big red fender and I tried hard to focus on what I was supposed to see.

“Watch the tire.” Harry pointed again. “You watching?”

I nodded and bent over, eager to catch whatever it was he was going to do as if in recompense for having ignored him so completely until then. As I watched, the tire bulged at the bottom, then regained its normal shape.


“You…melt stuff?” I felt thoroughly dimwitted and hoped I was right.

“No, it’s- no. Here. Stand up.”

I complied. Harry grasped me lightly under the arms. All at once I felt perhaps fifty pounds heavier. My knees buckled and I would have collapsed to the ground had Harry not held me up. He was clearly far stronger than I had taken him for. In another moment the wave passed and I stood under my own power again.

“It’s gravity,” he said, trying to make sure I got it. “I can make things heavy.”

“Wow!” I sounded puerile, I knew, but the whole effect had been as thrilling and astounding as my first ride on a roller coaster. I found a wall to lean on and let my legs remember the sensation. I stared at my feet and half expected they would bulge out like the truck’s tires had done.

“It’s nothing like what you can do, but that’s what I got.”

“It’s amazing, Harry, amazing! How far can you take it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I mean, could you flatten something? Pull something down? A building?”

“Why would I want to?”

I had no answer to such a reasonable question.

“In any case, it does me no good. Not like being super smart, like you. Now that’s a trick worth having.”

“I’m not super smart.”

He cocked his head slightly. “Sure you are. You always know everything in class.”

Harry and I shared an English literature class, but I’d barely noticed him in it. He sat at the back of the hall and never volunteered a comment. I spoke often, but not with any special insight, it seemed to me. I simply read what was assigned.

“I can read minds. That’s my trick, not smarts.”

“So you always know what the professor is thinking. What the answer is. Good trick.”

I should perhaps have told him that I didn’t need telepathy to discuss Milton’s Paradise Lost, but instead I did something that I thought would go a long way toward making up for my behavior over the last few months, something that seemed the natural consequence of our mutual revelations.

I kissed him.

Harry’s lips were warm, but lax. His hand on my chest, however, was firm and the wall he pushed me back against was even firmer.

“I like girls. Don’t do that.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his other hand.

Just then Mitch and Robert burst out into the night with hollers and whoops. They had money in hand and scooped Harry and me up on their raucous race to the subway.
Part 12 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Twelve
Author: Syrian Iceberg
Pairing: Charles Xavier / Donald Pierce
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, December 1948.
Feedback: Welcome. This is my very first slash attempt, based on ideas I’ve had for quite a while.
Harry Leland and I never became intimate, but after the night we revealed our secret gifts to each other, I did count him as a friend. Whereas before I had considered him dull, I now saw that he was simply more mature than all the rest of our gang. He was generous with his money and his time, a virtue I hadn’t noticed before. He was often running to catch up with us not because he was slow, but rather because he had stopped to give a dollar to some indigent we others had ignored. I learned he did quite a lot of peer tutoring, not in English, of course, but in mathematics. I met some of his family and found them equally stolid and kind hearted. His father was a self-made man in the growing industry of business machinery and his mother, like mine, was a well-loved figure in charity circles. Harry’s booming laughter and good nature kept our get togethers from becoming either too morbid or too vicious. Some of us were debate enthusiasts and had wicked tongues, but whenever some personal rejoinder threatened to cut too deeply, Harry, would laugh and say something self-deprecating, whereupon tensions eased. He was a follower through and through, but a follower who inspired our leaders to aim for a higher plane.
Something else became clear to me after my talk with Harry that night. It came to me like the bite of static electricity one gets from touching a doorknob after shuffling over a rug: Mitch and Robert were a couple.
It shouldn’t have been such a surprise, but I was, for all my psychic abilities and presumed worldliness, still just eighteen. It wasn’t news to me, of course, that the two of them were having sex; Harry’s whole-hearted preference for girls aside, most of the fellows we ran with and certainly half of all the men I had ever given even a cursory telepathic inspection had had same sex experiences or longings. Kinsey himself might have been flabbergasted by what I could have told him about “Sexual Behavior of the Human Male.”
Mitch and Robert were, however, a couple, and that was something I had never heard of before. In their minds –I admit I pried unscrupulously- they were wholly devoted to each other and in fact remained together for the rest of their long lives.
The more I watched them together the rest of that fall semester, the more I longed to have such a commitment in my own life. With the typical impatience of youth, it seemed to me that I was long overdue for true love. Erich, Renate, Jason- these seemed preludes to a symphony of rapture that I should by then have been enjoying. Calista’s choice of movie career over what I was certain would have been an early and blissful marriage had disappointed me in the summer; by the start of December, it had made me bitter. I felt cheated and was looking for what I thought I had coming to me.
That was Don, I decided.
I began to look at him with new eyes, as it were. I also began to eavesdrop on his thoughts and what I found there encouraged me. He wasn’t in love with me, not at all, but I did find in his mind a sort of hyper-awareness of me. Whenever we encountered each other, Don’s thoughts and pulse began to race. He felt an urge to touch me that wouldn’t leave him alone until it was satisfied and if he weren’t sitting right next to me, he’d have to sit directly in front of me. In anticipating his excitement, I talked myself into the same feeling and it wasn’t long before I was telepathically amplifying his desires with my own.
This seemed to me the natural course of falling in love and I savored it in secret for a couple of weeks before the holidays sent the two of us to our respective mansions.

“Charlie, let’s go skating.”
It was the blessed stretch of winter between familial Christmas and drunken New Year’s Eve and Don’s phone call was very welcome. We hit the rink at Rockefeller Center just before 11:00 AM and mixed in with other New Yorkers lucky enough not to be working on a Wednesday.
“How was the holiday? Did your folks get together?”
Don was the only one in our circle with whom I’d ever discussed my parents’ separate lives in New York and Salem Center. I’d never intended to keep it a secret, exactly, but one didn’t divulge personal business as readily in those days and in any case, Father’s and Mother’s arrangement seemed to me the natural order of things, at least as far as the Xaviers went.
Although I had some uncles, aunts, and cousins on both sides, they were a reclusive bunch and I very rarely saw them. When I did, their thoughts were invariably unpleasant. My mother’s people thought she’d married impulsively, escape from them being her chief goal. That was true. My father’s family felt he’d swindled them out of their fair share of Xavier Shipping, which was only partly true: they’d been very keen to sell their shares of the broken-down business my father had later turned into a blue chip enterprise. He’d made triply sure that I would be sole inheritor upon his death.
I shrugged and Don clapped a hand on my shoulder in consolation. His family was exceedingly tight knit and I knew he looked on me as an almost-orphan.
“That’s rough.” He stroked one large thumb against the back of my neck, then dropped his arm to his side. “Still, I’m glad that means you and I can get away together. At least for an afternoon.”
He smiled a smile that seemed nearly as big and white as the ice rink we glided over. His long legs took him around and around, first forward, then backward. His bare hand took hold of mine when he had lapped me and we raced past a pair of beautiful brunettes, then slowed to stay just in front of them and aped the way they skated, arms linked demurely at the elbows. They were sisters or cousins and every few yards Don and I would glance over our shoulders to see them giggling into their mittens.
Don stopped on a dime and the girls collided into him with even more giggles. I coasted a few feet past where he’d let me go.
“Hello, ladies! Enjoying this fine December day?” He smiled and the girls twittered back in agreement.
We resumed skating, a girl on either of Don’s arms and I erratically off to one side. In half a lap he had their names: Francesca and Noreen, cousins. In two laps he had their phone numbers, both were Brooklyn extensions. In ten laps they’d agreed to be treated to hot cocoa at a nearby diner. By the time they’d drunk their fill and reapplied their lipstick, they’d agreed to a matinee of “Trouble Makers” over at The Regent.
We sat in the dark at the back. While the Bowery Boys were stumbling through a mob murder, I was stumbling under Noreen’s sweater. It was humiliating.
After the movie Don’s interest in the girls seemed to have waned. They hinted at a longer evening together, but we only escorted them to the subway. Don threw their phone numbers away. He was horny. I thought I should be too.
“Say, why don’t we go to the Hellfire Club?”
I shrugged. “Can we get in?”
“Only one way to find out!”
Don hailed a cab and we rode across town to the non-descript main entrance. We’d both been there before with our parents at New Year’s Eve celebrations and I’d been there in disguise as part of Mastermind and Cerebro, but this was our first visit unchaperoned. The cabbie seemed to doubt that we’d directed him to our genuine destination. He kept leaning over to peer out the passenger window. Nothing more than a stone staircase and an unmarked door was on display. Don paid him and we dashed up the stairs.
Just as we reached the top step a doorman appeared. He was dressed in 18th century clothes, complete with wig and tri-cornered hat. We paused. Would he let us in? We had no membership cards or fathers with us. We were dressed for ice skating and could have been any random college students.
He bowed and waved us inside.
After passing through a small foyer we entered the main reception area. The ceiling was low, the walls white and the carpet a bit worn. Portraits of dour men looked us over as we moved towards a large oak counter. Two men -one middle-aged, one youthful- stood behind it, also in 18th century garb.
The older man greeted us. “Master Pierce, Master Xavier, welcome back.”
Both Don and I were surprised that he knew us. I didn’t recall ever noticing him before, but apparently we’d been memorable.
“How can I help you gentlemen this evening?”
I had no answer at the ready. Don took the lead.
“We’d like supper, uh . . .” Don snapped his fingers together.
“Jenkins, sir.”
“Jenkins, yes. Two for supper.”
“Very well, sir. May I show you our complementary selection of dinner jackets and ties?”
Don and I looked our clothing over.
“That would be swell, Jenkins.”
The man led us down a short hallway off to the left and through a curtained doorway. As I passed by him he touched my elbow and suddenly my arm was alive with a very familiar buzz. If Jenkins felt it too, he didn’t let on. He maintained the same servile smile he’d had when we’d arrived. I opted not to scan his thoughts.
In a few moments Don and I had picked out jackets and matching ties, put them on and returned to the reception area. Jenkins assessed us.
“Very striking, gentlemen. Now if you’re ready, Murphy here will escort you to the dining room. The Black Queen is in residence this evening. I will let her know of your arrival. Please enjoy your meal.”
The younger man had already positioned himself at the entrance to a long hallway on the right. He led us past other rooms which he named as we walked: the billiards room, the smoking lounge, the library. We emerged into a large room with perhaps twenty-five tables and eight booths. The ceiling was two stories above us. Mezzanines looked down upon the chamber from either end and simple chandeliers provided most of the light. Only two tables and one booth were already occupied, the tables by a trio and a quartet of men respectively and the booth by two men and two women who were clearly not their wives.
Murphy seated us, handed us menus, then recommended the Porterhouse steaks before asking us what we’d like to drink. We ordered Manhattans. He retreated to the bar at the far end of the dining room and left us to our decisions.
“Not a part of the club I’ve seen before,” Don observed.
“Nor I. Father and Mother and I have always been in the main ballroom before.”
“Think you’ll join?”
Don indicated the room around us. “Become a full member. On your own.”
I shrugged. “I suppose. My grandfather was a member. You?”
“Probably. It’s good for business.”
Don’s father owned mines all around the country. The Pierces were wealthy and blue-blooded, but I’d gathered from Don that his father had had to work very hard to restore the family’s fortune after his own father had squandered much of it on one ill-advised venture after another.
“Think you’ll go into shipping?” he asked.
“I . . . I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it before. I guess I can’t imagine myself following in my father’s footsteps or even wanting to. My future, whatever it might be, seems wholly untethered to his career.”
“Why’s that?”
I realized I had already begun to assume that my telepathic abilities would lead me in a direction far removed from the everyday world of cargo ships and government contracts, but I couldn’t tell Don that. I suddenly felt a distance between us that was at odds with how chummy we were at college.
“Just a hunch.”
“Not me. My father already has my future mapped out. First college, then some low level position in the company and a steady climb to a vice-presidency where I’ll remain until the old man kicks the bucket.”
Don dug a thumbnail along a groove in his chair’s armrest.
“You don’t seem happy about that.”
Don looked at me curiously. “What else is there?” He seemed honestly to want to know.
Before I could fashion an answer Murphy returned with our cocktails and we ordered Porterhouse steaks. We sipped our drinks and looked around. A woman appeared on the mezzanine at the other end of the room and then reappeared in the bar below. She began to wend her way among the tables of customers, pausing to chat with each of them in turn. Her laughter and murmurs reached across the room without being intrusive.
“That must be the Black Queen,” Don said.
Indeed, the woman wore black from head to toe. Only the red gardenia in her hair stood out. The overall effect was not somber, however. Her gloves reached almost to her shoulders and her dress plunged modestly low at her bosom. Her skin was milky white. She wore no jewelry and appeared to be in her late thirties.
“Who is she exactly? I mean, does she own the club?”
“No,” Don shook his head. “It’s not like that. It’s some sort of club leadership title. There’s a White Queen and Black and White Kings as well. Your father never mentioned them?”
“No, he’s pretty tight-lipped about the club. Yours?”
“He’s told me a little. He wanted to be the Black King at one point, but he wasn’t chosen.”
“They’re elected?”
Don nodded. “The Kings are at least. I’m not sure about the Queens. It’s all a bit mysterious.”
The woman was now headed to our table. We rose to greet her.
“Gentlemen! How do you do? I’m Queen Adele.”
Don, who had no end of charm when he wanted it, kissed her gloved right hand and introduced himself without taking his eyes off hers. I mimicked him as well as I could and was surprised to find the woman’s hand emitted a buzz just as Jenkins’ hand had.
They’re brother and sister, I realized, though I had not actively scanned Adele’s thoughts.
The Queen, like her brother, gave no indication that she’d felt what I had felt. She sat down in the chair Don offered her.
“So, what brings two such strapping young men to our humble establishment?”
She looked at me. I looked at Don.
“A whim,” he said. “I hope we’re welcome.”
“You’re sons of members in good standing,” she purred. “You’re always welcome. I hope our facilities will meet your needs. What you most seem to need right now is female companionship.”
She glanced at me and I saw that she had been with my father. An image/sensation of him lying on a bed as she rode him caused me to blush.
She noticed, but Don recaptured her attention.
“You’ve joined us now,” he murmured. “Who could ask for better company?”
Adele stroked his arm with one satiny finger. “Charming though I may be, Mr Pierce, I’m unfortunately not at liberty to remain. There are other duties I must attend to. However, I think I know just the girls to take my place.”
She now pressed her finger to her chin and focused on Don. The buzz I felt coming off her spiked.
“For you,” she said, “a Nordic goddess. As tall and blonde and lovely as you are yourself.”
She turned to me. For a moment I felt I was seeing arrows leap out of the Black Queen and fly in all directions. Most turned to strike the two of us.
“And for you, well, let’s see who turns up, shall we?” She gave me an enigmatic smile. “Will you gentlemen be spending the night in the club?”
Don checked for my agreement, then said, “Certainly.”
“Wonderful. I’ll see to it that you have adjoining rooms on the fifth floor. Have you by chance been to our jazz club?”
We admitted that we hadn’t.
“You must drop by. It’s on the other side of this building. I’ll have Murphy escort you there after your supper or perhaps you’d like to freshen up beforehand?”
We nodded.
“Very well. Murphy will show you to your rooms first.”
She stood up and we followed suit.
“Enjoy your evenings, gentlemen. I hope we see you again regularly.”
“I’m sure you will.” Don kissed her hand again and I did the same.
When she had departed, Don said, “Now that is a high class whore.”

After we had eaten and signed our bill, Murphy led us to an elevator. Our rooms were small but well-appointed and connected by a double door which we left open.
Don sniffed at his armpit. “I stink. C’mon. Let’s take a shower.”
He began to strip and I did the same. When we were down to our skivvies he led me into his bathroom, urinated and then turned on the water. This wasn’t the first time we’d bathed together: our dormitory had only one large bathroom for the entire floor and in it a communal shower. I’d already seen all my chums naked and it wasn’t unusual for us to double up under one spray of water, but this was even more intimate than that.
Don got naked and held the curtain aside for me. When we both were wet he took a washcloth and soaped it up, then began to scrub my back.
“You think our dads are gonna see the bill for tonight?”
I shrugged. “I suppose so, but I don’t think they’ll care that we had supper here.”
“What about the girls?”
“I have some money. I mean, we’re just buying them drinks, right?”
Don washed both my arms. “No, I mean afterwards. Is that gonna show up on a bill?”
“What afterwards?”
“Afterwards.” Don suddenly grabbed my dick and shook it. I jumped and turned around. Don laughed. “When we bring the girls back here. Think our dads’ll get the bill?”
“You think the Black Queen is getting us prostitutes?”
Don resumed washing me. His washcloth roamed over my chest and belly. “Charlie, how can you know so much and be so thick? Of course she’s getting us prostitutes. That’s what the Black Queen’s in charge of.”
I revisited the image of Adele in bed with my father and wondered whether he had paid for her services. It was a bit of a surprise; I’d always assumed his conquests had been the products of his charm, not his wallet.
“I don’t know. Don’t prostitutes just take cash? Did your dad ever use one of them?”
Don matter-of-factly washed my genitals, then knelt down to scrub up and down my legs. “I suppose so. He got one for me once. Turn around.”
I did as I was told. “When was that?”
Don washed the backs of my legs. “When I was fifteen. Some Puerto Rican girl. He wanted her to be my first.”
“He likes controlling things like that, I guess. Lift your leg.” He stood up again and ran the washcloth back and forth between my buttocks. No one had ever done that to me before.
When he was done he rinsed the washcloth out thoroughly and soaped it up again. “Here. Do me.”
I washed and admired what I was washing. Don’s back, buttocks, legs and arms were spectacular. His skin was unblemished and every muscle was toned. He turned around and I was as unabashed in washing his cock as he had been in washing mine. I didn’t get hard and neither did he.
We got out of the shower and dried off. There was a robe hanging on the back of the door. Don put it on and trotted over to my bathroom to fetch an identical one hanging on that door. “We should call downstairs and get some new clothes.”
I nodded. “Sure.”
“What size are you?”
I told him what I knew about my neck, waist and legs and he got on the phone. Jenkins, apparently, was on the other end and in just a couple of minutes Don said, “They’re sending some things up.”
We lay next to each other on the bed just shooting the breeze until there was a knock on the door. Murphy had returned with clothes hangers of pants in both hands. An assistant carried shirts. Yet another held a selection of socks and underwear. We made our choices and got dressed.
Murphy had dismissed his bearers and waited in the hall to take us back downstairs. There he brought us down another hallway to a small set of stairs and held a door open for us.
There was darkness, music and smoke inside. We appeared to be backstage. Through periodic gaps in the curtains we spied a small a saxophone player, another at a piano and a lithe black woman at the microphone. I didn’t recognize her face from this angle, but her voice was unmistakable. It cried and tripped along the song’s melody.
“That’s Billie Holiday,” I whispered into Don’s ear. “She’s supposed to be banned from performing in New York.”
He whispered back. “I doubt the Hellfire Club pays much attention to anyone’s rules.”
As the audience applauded, Don and I made our way to an empty table in the back and ordered another round of Manhattans. The crowd was a mix of the upper crust and the intelligentsia with some Bohemians thrown in. Most of the seats were taken. Word had gotten around about this place.
After two more songs Holiday took her bows and left the stage to the house musicians. They took a well known melody and twisted it this way and that while waiters circulated and collected glasses. Two young women suddenly stepped up to our table. The taller of the two, a serene blonde in a snug silver-blue dress spoke first.
“I’m Helen.”
Her companion, shorter, bustier and bouncier, waved at us both. “And I’m Sylvie. Hi!”
Don and I rose, introduced ourselves, and held chairs out for the two of them. Helen looked only at Don, but Sylvie’s eyes darted from me to Don to Helen and the rest of the room without ceasing.
“Have you ever been here before? I never have. It’s terrific, don’t you think? I never even knew it existed until Hel here –I mean Helen- and me got hired on. I’m from Scranton. You ever been there? It’s pretty nice, but it’s not New York, of course. I just love New York, don’t you? It’s a great city.”
As Sylvie chattered on, her honey-gold ringlets of hair danced on the plump edges of her face. Helen’s hair, by comparison, was swept up the back of her head like a frozen wave. She neither smiled nor relaxed. Her face remained placid and beautiful.
The music never wavered. No one danced. When Miss Holiday returned to the stage, Helen and Sylvie turned their chairs around and sat close beside us. Sylvie tried to snuggle against me, gave up, tried again. Her hand fluttered from her thigh to mine and back. Her hair tapped the shoulder of my jacket every time she moved.
I watched Don and Helen from the corner of my eye. He’d laid his arm along the back of her chair and now gripped her shoulder. I scanned his thoughts, but not much was going on. He thought only in terms of sensation: the music, Helen’s skin, the play of light on the saxophone.
I too concentrated on the music. When next I glanced at Don and Helen, I was surprised to see them kissing. Sylvie saw them too and nudged my elbow expectantly, but I felt nothing for her. She was pretty and high-spirited, but unremarkable in comparison with Callie or Renate. It occurred to me that I had never had sex with anyone that did not give off the buzz and I wondered whether I even could.
We remained in the jazz club until last call. I briefly wondered whether –and perhaps hoped that- Sylvie and Helen would say goodnight and leave Don and me alone for the night, but instead they accompanied us back to Don’s room. We fixed ourselves another round of drinks and kept the lights low. Don found music on the radio and we swayed gently to its rhythm.
Don and Helen continued to kiss. When he laid her on the bed, I led Sylvie through the door to my own room, but didn’t know what to do then. She stood near me until my silence and inaction became awkward. She looked around the room for something to talk about.
“It’s a nice view, huh?”
Out the window was nothing much actually, but I drew closer to it and agreed.
“Yes. It’s nice.”
We watched cars pass by and cats made their rounds as well. Some drunk stumbled into a garbage can.
“Ain’t we gonna screw?”
She looked hurt, which surprised me. I saw in her mind the idea, planted there by the Black Queen, that Don and I were tickets to a higher class life. Perhaps this was something Adele had told only Helen, but Sylvie had latched onto it as well.
“I’m tired.”
“Well, are ya too tired?”
I nodded. “Yes. I’m too tired.”
She put her hands on her hips. “Well, what am I supposed to do? The Black Queen ain’t gonna like it if I don’t do what I was paid for. And then there’s usually a tip too.”
I fumbled for my wallet and pulled out two dollars. She took the money, looked at both sides and folded them up tightly in her fist.
“Okay, well, I guess I’ll go.” She looked me in the eyes again, hoping, then twisted her mouth to one side. “Okay. G’night then.”
“Good night.”
She started to leave, paused at the door to Don’s room and listened for a moment, then turned back to me. “Tell Hel I left, okay? I’ll see her later.”
I nodded again.
“You’re kinda weird, ya know?” She opened the door to the hallway. “And you’re kinda losin’ your hair too.”
With that she was gone.
Part 13 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Thirteen
Author: ebay1963
Pairing: Charles Xavier/Don Pierce
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but I do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Continuing excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, December 1948.
I awoke several hours later, still in my pants and shirt. It was a foggy morning. I went to the door connecting Don’s room with mine and pushed my mind over the threshold. Don was still asleep, alone. Before I could open the door I noticed a note sticking in from the hallway.
“Dear Mr Xavier, won’t you join me for brunch? I’m in my suite on the tenth floor. Hanson will escort you. No need to wake Mr Pierce.”
I cracked open the door. A bewigged young man I hadn’t seen before stood across the hall.
“One moment,” I mumbled. “I need to wash.”
I splashed water on my face, followed it up with soap and more water, then checked my hairline. I retrieved my jacket from the bedpost I’d hung it on and made what I could of my necktie.
Hanson took me to the elevator, deposited me on the tenth floor and indicated one of four doors in view. It opened before I knocked and I was escorted into a comfortable sitting room. Coffee and croissants were laid out on a small table next to one large window and Queen Adele occupied one of the chairs. She still wore black, but the gloves and gardenia were gone. Her hair fell loosely around her shoulders.
“Mr Xavier, so good of you to join me. Please have a seat. Would you like some coffee?”
“Thank you.”
Adele poured out a cup and handed it to me. “Cream? Sugar?”
I took a lump of sugar and stirred it in.
“I hope you passed a pleasant evening.”
“Yes, thanks.”
We sipped.
“Did you enjoy the performance?”
Adele hummed a kind of laugh. “Miss Holiday’s.”
“Yes, she’s marvelous.”
“I’m glad you liked it. You did not like Sylvie however. My apologies.”
“There’s no need to apologize. She’s a nice girl, but . . . not my type.”
Adele tore a croissant in two and buttered it. “No, of course not. I confess that I knew as much when I selected her.”
I ate a bit of croissant plain. “Why did you send her then?”
“It would have been unseemly to provide companionship for Mr Pierce alone.” She smiled broadly. “He’s quite taken with Helen, I hope.”
“They seemed to get along.”
“That’s good. I have a knack for introduction.”
I paused, studied the woman for a moment, and decided to be truthful. “You see the arrows as well.”
It was Adele’s turn to pause. She held her cup at her lips, then smiled again and sipped. “I do. That is not your particular talent though, is it?”
Now I felt more reticent. “No.”
She waited, but I said no more. “You’re quite right to hold back, Charles. May I call you Charles?”
“You may.”
“You’re right to hold back, but I think you’ll find your acquaintance with me very beneficial.”
“How so?”
“I am well connected. People you wish to meet, positions you wish to secure, objects you wish to acquire, all of that I can help you with.”
“What would I do for you?”
“That remains to be discovered. You strike me as a young man with talent and superior intelligence, though you seem to lack ambition or, perhaps more precisely, purpose. With purpose, you could advance any organization you joined and advance in it also.”
“The Hellfire Club,” I said.
“The Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, yes.”
“You think I could be one of your Kings?”
Adele picked up one of the orange slices on the table and took a bite of it. “I’m certain of it. Does that interest you?”
I peered out the window. “What about Don?”
She took another bite. “Loyalty and talent! Lovely.”
“What about him?”
“Young Mr Pierce has wealth, good looks and a secure future. He will be a welcome member of the Club, as is his father.”
I had a vision as she mentioned Don’s dad. He held Adele face down on a bed and penetrated her. It was painful. Another image –a plan revolving around Helen- followed quickly after that.
“You don’t intend him for the Inner Circle. You helped stymie his father’s ambitions and now you plan to keep Don out too.”
Adele squinted a bit. “I have no such plan. I just met you two.”
“It’s pointless to lie to me.”
She gazed at me more intently. “You can read thoughts. That’s your talent, isn’t it?”
I ate an orange slice. “Still want me in your Inner Circle?”
“As I apparently must be honest, I’ll tell you that I’d now prefer to keep you my own private friend.”
“You’ve come up in the world, haven’t you?” Even without actively invading her thoughts I could sense a childhood spent in coldwater tenements.
“And I prefer to stay here.”
I did not say what I understood: a potential Black Queen was as much a beauty contestant as a job seeker.
”I can see you need to think this over, but I do hope we’ll stay in touch, Charles. You’re a very stimulating young man.”
Our brunch ended and Hanson saw me back to my room.
I passed through the door to Don’s room. He was still face down in bed, asleep. Perfume and sex hung in the air. When I walked around to the other side of the bed and lay down, Don roused a bit and flung an arm across my chest.
“Hey, pal. How was Sylvie?”
I shrugged. “We didn’t sleep together.”
Don lifted his head up onto his other hand. “What? She didn’t put out?”
“I didn’t want her. How was yours?”
“Helen?” Don turned onto his back. “Yeah, she was . . . I don’t know. Think I could see her again?”
“Sure. I guess so. Just tell the Black Queen you want her again.”
“Nah, I don’t mean like that. I mean . . . take her out.”
I looked at him. “You want to take her out? Like a regular girl?”
“Yeah, like a regular girl. Is that so hard to imagine?”
“No. It’s just, do prostitutes do that?”
Don glared at me. “She’s not a prostitute. Don’t call her that.”
“She works for the Black Queen and you called her a whore. What’s the difference?”
“Aw, shut up, Charlie.”
I contemplated my shirt tails.
“Why are you dressed already?”
“It’s almost eleven. You should get up.” I began to rise, but Don brought me back down onto the bed with one arm, then laid his head on my chest. I studied the golden hairs just beyond the end of my nose and ran my fingers through them. My other hand rested where his broad shoulder turned into a muscular upper arm. This I began to rub and from there I wandered onto his back. The skin was soft and downy.
Don eased his hand under my shirt and rubbed my belly. It felt good, comforting, but not sexual. This was, as far as I could tell, just another level of intimacy that Don seemed to need and offer. Had I done nothing more, I’m reasonably certain nothing more would have happened, but Don’s buttocks were partly exposed and out of curiosity or mischief or maybe spite I brushed the backs of my fingers over them.
The effect on Don was instantaneous. He moaned and arched his back, then buried his face in my belly. I laid my palm on one cool white cheek and stroked it more deliberately. He turned and kissed me full on the mouth. His breath was sour, but still enticing and my cock began to grow.
Don opened my shirt and suckled at my nipples while I continued to paw what I could reach of his ass. He undid my trousers and took me in his mouth. I was astonished. I saw in his mind that this was the first time he’d ever done that, but he had the benefit of much receptive experience and good instincts. He slobbered on my member and brought my own fluids into play.
“Don’t tell anyone, okay?” He searched my eyes. “Promise?”
“I promise.”
With that he lay face down beside me and guided me onto his back. I left my pants around my ankles and began to work my slickness up and down his crack. It felt divine, but I saw that he wanted more. He gripped my hips and pulled me up against his hole. Slowly and as gently as I could manage, I worked myself inside him. He seemed to be suffering both from pain and from humiliation, but he wouldn’t let me stop.
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and head as I fucked and held my face next to his. Some tears ran down his nose. I kissed them away.
“It’s all right. It’s all right.”
“Do it, Charlie. Do it in me.”
I obeyed.
When my orgasm ceased, I withdrew and rolled onto my back. Don kept his face buried in the pillow.
“What do I do now?” he asked.
I was surprised to realize that he had been, in some sense, a virgin. He was honestly at a loss.
“Go to the bathroom, I guess.”
He looked at the door, but didn’t move.
“Come on.” I stood and took my clothes off, then held out my hand.
He followed me, but only slowly.
“It hurts.”
“You’ll be okay.”
I took some toilet paper and wiped my dick off with it, then flushed it away.
“Okay, well, sit down and use the toilet.” I began to leave.
“Where you going?”
“I’ll be right out here. It’ll be okay. Just relax.”
His face was misery and fear.
“It’s okay. You just need to use the toilet.”
I got him to sit down, but he seized my hand and held it against his forehead. I couldn’t believe how infantile he was being, but there seemed to be no choice but to remain.
“Just relax. You’re okay.”
He defecated while I still held his hand. I flushed the toilet and handed him more paper. He used it.
“There’s blood, Charlie. I’m bleeding.”
I took a quick look. “It’s not much. There’s nothing wrong. Flush it away, Don.”
“Did I . . . did I break something? In there?”
This was insane. All the times I’d been with Erich, Jason and Telford, no one had made such a fuss about this.
“There’s nothing to break in there. You just have a small tear or something. It’s going to stop. You’ll see.”
“A tear? Oh Christ. Am I going to have to go to a doctor or something?”
His emotions were getting the better of him in a way I would not have thought possible twenty minutes before. I embraced him where he sat and stroked his head.
“Shhh. Calm down. Everything’s all right.” I reached out with my mind as well and ‘said’ the same. He began to quiet down.
When he seemed more relaxed I drew him up and got him into the shower with me. I washed him as I had the day before. The blood had stopped and his stomach unknotted. He hugged me fiercely. He said nothing, but his thoughts were clear. I read in them that he loved me and admired me more than I thought I merited. He also needed me desperately and hoped I’d never leave him.
I began to see I might never be able to.
Part 14 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Fourteen
Author: Syrian Iceberg
Pairing: Charles Xavier / Don Pierce
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, New Year’s Eve 1948/1949
Feedback: Welcome. This is my very first slash attempt, based on ideas I’ve had for quite a while.
Don and I didn’t see each other again until New Year’s Eve. Our parents had taken note of our friendship and encouraged it. Both our fathers found it a good excuse to cement their own acquaintance and hoped their respective businesses would profit. The Pierces picked us up in their Packard Limousine and we arrived at the Hellfire Club together with Don’s sister Marie.
That evening we celebrated in the main ballroom, not the dining hall Don and I had eaten in before. It was decked out in white and silver. Balloons and bunting were everywhere and Dizzy Gillespie performed with a small combo for perhaps four hundred revelers. Among them were the Lelands and Mitch’s family, the Ingersolls. My pals and I clumped together near the bar while our parents mingled or danced.
“Where’s Robert tonight?” I asked Mitch.
“Times Square,” he answered miserably.
“His parents aren’t members?” Harry asked.
“No, and mine wouldn’t let me skip this.”
“Aw, it’ll be all right, Mitchy.” Don slipped his arm around Mitch’s shoulder. “We’ll keep you company.”
“I thought his parents were rich,” Harry said. “Why aren’t they members?”
“I dunno, Harry, why do you think the Rosensteins aren’t members?” Don knocked back his drink and ordered another.
Some bebop song wound down and two couples took the stage from either end. They wore identical dresses and tuxes, one set white, the other black.
“Look,” Mitch said, “royalty.”
We watched as the White King and Black King made a comic scene of both reaching for the microphone and then offering it to the other. When the crowd had chuckled, the Black King deferred and the White King spoke. His voice was stentorian; he barely needed the amplification.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome! I hope you’re enjoying the Black Queen’s black music!” He applauded.
There were more chuckles and some clapping among the audience. The musicians were stone-faced.
“It’s a great pleasure to see so many old friends here tonight, members in good standing and members who can barely stand.”
“Oh, groan,” Mitch put in.
“As always, the proceeding year was a mix of the celebratory and the regrettable. Elections were held, wars were fought, horse races were run and I promise you, the Hellfire Club did not determine all their outcomes!”
More laughter. Don broke suddenly from our group. I looked in the direction he was heading and saw Helen there. She glimmered in a silver gown near the entrance to the kitchen.
“Closer to home,” the White King went on, “business was conducted, properties were bought, laws were changed and my fellow monarchs and I represented your interests in all of them.”
“Who is he?” Mitch asked me.
I shrugged, but Harry answered. “Randolph Ambridge. He’s head of a law firm.”
“I’d like to take a moment,” Ambridge’s voice softened, “to raise a glass to some members we lost this year: Reverend Mordechai Chambers, Jameson Peters, and His Honor L. William de Boers. They may be in heaven now, but they’ll always be in Hellfire.”
The crowd drank in unison.
“We can’t forget to mention our very special guest tonight. A round of applause, please, for newly elected Representative for the 3rd District, Joe Petroni!”
Tall and handsome, he waved to the crowd from the front row of tables. He stood directly between Adele and me and as I watched the two of them, I felt certain he was another promising young man she had recruited.
Ambridge ceded the microphone to the Black King.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
Harry leaned closer. “Hugo Manx. He’s in banks.”
Mitch and I smirked at the rhyme, but Harry didn’t notice.
Manx was taking full advantage of the microphone, but he was nevertheless hard to hear and easy to ignore, so I asked Harry what the various Kings and Queens were in charge of.
“Well, officially, it’s just internal club business, but in fact,” he dropped to a whisper, “my dad says they have their fingers in all kinds of things. The White King is club president. He’s just supposed to handle legal affairs for the club, but he also works behind the scenes in politics, obviously. My dad says he got Petroni elected, practically single handedly. The Black King is the treasurer for the club, but he used to be a rum runner during Prohibition.”
“What about the Queens?” Mitch asked.
“Oh, they don’t do that much. The White Queen does charity stuff, organizing the members’ wives for good causes. You’ll hear her talk about that.”
“And the Black Queen?” I was curious.
Harry held his hands up to take in the room around us. “She’s just a social secretary. All the parties and stuff.”
I knew that wasn’t true, but I didn’t think I should reveal what other services Adele provided. Either Harry’s dad didn’t know or he hadn’t seen fit to tell Harry yet.
I looked around for Don and Helen, but they weren’t anywhere to be seen. On stage the White Queen stepped forward to talk about blankets that had been handed out to New York’s homeless and iron lungs that had been donated to victims of polio. She seemed a very pleasant, middle-aged woman, slightly on the plump side but regal nevertheless.
“What’s her name?”
“Barbara Saunders. She and my mom went to Bryn Mawr together. She’s actually a real doctor, if you can believe it.”
I wondered what else the woman might be doing for the Hellfire Club. I was about to try to scan her thoughts when I instead felt an urgency to find Don and Helen.
I excused myself from Harry and Mitch and headed toward the kitchen. I ventured in and dodged cooks until I came to a back door. When I opened it I found a much relieved Don and Helen standing in the alley there.
“Charlie! You’re a life saver!”
It was snowing heavily. Helen wore Don’s jacket and they both hurried past me back into the building.
“What were you doing out there?”
“We just wanted to talk, but then the damn door locked behind us.” He guided her over to a radiator. “How’d you know where to find us?”
“I didn’t. I just kept looking.”
“You all right?” He chafed her arms and back.
She nodded. “I have to get back to . . . the party.”
“No, come on. You don’t want to go back to that louse. Stay with me.”
She gave him his jacket. He held onto her by both arms and whispered something I didn’t catch. I would have given them privacy, but there was nowhere for me to go. I just stared at the floor.
When she’d finally convinced him, he let her go and she strode off toward the kitchen.
“Who’s she here with?”
“Aw, some nobody from upstate. Couldn’t get his own date so he . . .”
Rented one, I thought to myself.
“Speeches done?” he asked.
“They’re probably done by now. Want to head back?”
“Not yet.” He slid past me and opened the alley door again. It stank a little, but snow was falling heavily so even the garbage cans looked okay. Don looked up and down the alley and at the windows above. He held out one hand. “C’mere.”
I drew closer and he laid his hand on the back of my head, then began to kiss me. It was long and passionate. His breath was better than it had been a few days before and Don seemed much more confident this time. I could tell he was giving me his best.
“I didn’t think we’d have a chance to later. Happy New Year, Charlie.”
“Happy New Year, Don.”
We stood and watched the snow fall until we were cold, then shut the door and rejoined the celebration.
Part 15 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Fifteen
Author: Syrian Iceberg
Pairing: Charles Xavier / Don Pierce
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, January 1, 1949
Feedback: Welcome. This is my very first slash attempt, based on ideas I’ve had for quite a while.
The party lasted until three o’clock, but my mother, Mrs. Pierce and Don’s sister Marie left in the Pierce’s car just before one. Marie and I had shared a chaste kiss at midnight. She gave Mitch one as well, over his objections, but Harry had gone wanting. Don had become sullen and drank a lot. His attention kept returning to the table across the room where Helen sat with her balding, paunchy date. He dozed with his head on my shoulder, then suddenly lurched to his feet and stumbled toward the men’s room.
“You’d better go with him, Charlie,” Mitch said.
I followed after and guided Don into one of the stalls. He knelt and moaned, but did not vomit. After a minute or so, he pushed me out of the stall and shut the door. I waited by the row of sinks. Don’s shoes were visible below the door and I kept one psychic “eye” on him, just in case he passed out.
A black attendant in full livery and wig stood off to one side. I washed my face and he handed me a fresh towel. While I was drying off there was a flush and the stall at one end opened up. The man who emerged looked as neat and fresh as if he had just arrived at the party.
“Hi there.” He washed and dried his hands, then stuck one out. “I’m Joe Petroni.”
Even before our hands met I knew what I would feel, but the buzz came as a surprise to the congressman. He looked at my hand, my face and then my hand again.
I let go. “I’m Charles Xavier.”
“Nice to meet you, Charles.” He studied me for a moment. “You’re one of Adele’s friends, aren’t you? I think she mentioned you.”
“We just met a few days ago.”
“Nevertheless, she thinks you show great promise.”
There was more moaning from Don’s stall.
“How’s your friend doing?”
“Too many Manhattans.”
Petroni seemed to falter, as if he didn’t know what to say next, and his appearance sort of slumped. He suddenly looked rather tired and disheveled. I blinked hard and felt a resurgence of the buzz between us. Petroni straightened up and smoothed the front of his shirt. He also adjusted the hang of his cock in his trousers. My eyes went to the bulge there.
“Impressive, huh?” he said sotto voce.
Indeed it was, but I felt I was being fooled in some way.
Don began to stand up. He swayed hard into the wooden partition.
“I . . . I should see to my friend.”
“You do that,” Petroni said, “but come to my office sometime soon. I’d like to get to know you better. Any friend of Adele’s is a friend of mine.”
He shook my hand again before leaving.
Don emerged, unsteadily, from the stall. “False alarm. Not gonna happen.”
“You sure?”
He nodded. That small movement was apparently the last straw for he wheeled about and hurled into the toilet a moment later. When he was done I saw that the attendant had soaked a towel in cold water and was now holding it out to us. His demeanor was helpful, but his thoughts were full of condemnation of rich boys that couldn’t hold their liquor and “fairies” who cruised restrooms.
“Thanks,” I said.
I guided Don to the sink. Two or three other revelers came and went as I helped him wash his face and gargle some mouth wash. I left the attendant an entire dollar and we returned to the ballroom.
My father and Mr Pierce had joined Mitch at our table. Harry was gone and the number of guests was dwindling. Don sat down clumsily next to his dad.
“Demon rum got the best of you, son?”
Don nodded. “Sorry.”
“Aw,” Mr Pierce clapped Don on the back of the neck, “think nothing of it. Nature of the beast. Right, Brian?”
“Quite right,” my father replied.
“1918 was the first time I imbibed,” Mr Pierce went on. “The Armistice. I was just a lad really. Came here with my own father to celebrate, spur of the moment. Remember, Brian?”
“I don’t believe I attended that celebration.”
“No? Damn high time. Real monarchy we had back then.” He lowered his voice to something below booming. “Not like this lot we have now. No, they were powerful, not afraid to throw their weight around. The White King then, uh . . .”
“Wallace Morewright,” my father supplied.
“Right, Morewright. Friend of Woodrow Wilson’s. Both Princeton men. Convinced the President to get us into the war over there. Red-blooded Americans, all of them.”
“His wife was the White Queen. Margaret Morewright.”
“Exactly,” Pierce tapped the table in front of my father. “That’s how it used to be. Queens were Kings’ wives. Not like now. This dyke-” he jabbed a thumb towards the stage where the White Queen had been “-tried to get us to help out the commies when they had that earthquake in Armenia a couple months ago.”
“Turkmenistan,” my father corrected.
“Wherever. I put a stop to that, toute suite. I may only be a Black Rook, but I still have a say in what the club does, let me tell you, and as long as I am, we won’t be giving any aid to Ivan Russky.”
“There are rooks? Are there bishops and knights too?” I asked.
Don pulled on his father’s arm. “Dad, we should head home. It’s late.”
Mr Pierce had apparently let some cat out of the bag though only Mitch and I appeared not to have seen it before.
“Indeed,” my father agreed. He signaled one of the attendants along the wall.
“Yes, sir?”
“Two cabs.”
“Actually,” Mr Pierce stood, “just the one. I’ve made arrangements here for the night. Don can squeeze in with you though, can’t he?”
This was a surprise to Don. He looked to me.
“Of course.”
The attendant walked off quickly.
“Well, I’ll bid you all a good night then and a Happy New Year.”
My father stood and shook his hand. “The same to you, John.”
When he had left, Mitch said, “I guess I’d better find my parents.”
“I think your mother’s at the piano,” I told him. “I don’t know where your father is.”
“Terrific,” he groused. “Good night, everyone. Happy 1949.”
I watched Mitch hurry off. His mother had begun the beguine, but she left off as soon as he reached her.
“Well, shall we?” my father suggested. I stood, but Don remained seated.
“Don, do you-”
“Yes, yes,” my father interrupted, “come with us, Don. There’s plenty of room at the penthouse. There’s no need to cab it all the way back to Connecticut.”
Don looked at him, then me, and stood up. “Thank you.”
Father put a kindly arm around his shoulder and guided him between the tables to the foyer. Our coats were retrieved and the cab was already waiting for us. Father tipped everyone on hand and wished them a happy new year.
After a short ride we were home. Father, I was surprised to see, entered the master bedroom where Mother and Mark were sleeping. I led Don to my room. We used my bathroom and put on pajamas in silence, then hurried beneath the blankets of my bed. I propped my head up on one hand and turned toward him.
“How do you feel?”
He shrugged. I reached below his pajama top and began to rub his stomach as he had done for me a few days before. He wiped a tear from each cheek and sniffled. I let my mind relax enough to let his thoughts in. He kept imagining his father somewhere in the Hellfire Club, screwing one of Queen Adele’s girls after another until he inevitably came to Helen. This scene caused his chin to quaver and many more tears ran down from his eyes.
I was surprised that he had such strong feelings for her already and cursed Adele for having introduced them. For a moment I contemplated interfering in Don’s feelings for her, but instead I simply drew him into an embrace and whispered comforts into his ear.
He held me fiercely and gave over to quiet sobs.
“I’d kill myself without you,” I heard him think.
“Shhh, it’s all right. I’m here.”
I kissed his brow, his temple, his cheek. I pulled the blankets tighter around us and did not stop caressing him until he’d fallen deep asleep.
Chapter 16 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Fifteen
Author: Syrian Iceberg
Pairing: Charles Xavier / Don Pierce
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, January 1, 1949
Feedback: Welcome. This is my very first slash attempt, based on ideas I’ve had for quite a while.
The party lasted until three o’clock, but my mother, Mrs. Pierce and Don’s sister Marie left in the Pierce’s car just before one. Marie and I had shared a chaste kiss at midnight. She gave Mitch one as well, over his objections, but Harry had gone wanting. Don had become sullen and drank a lot. His attention kept returning to the table across the room where Helen sat with her balding, paunchy date. He dozed with his head on my shoulder, then suddenly lurched to his feet and stumbled toward the men’s room.
“You’d better go with him, Charlie,” Mitch said.
I followed after and guided Don into one of the stalls. He knelt and moaned, but did not vomit. After a minute or so, he pushed me out of the stall and shut the door. I waited by the row of sinks. Don’s shoes were visible below the door and I kept one psychic “eye” on him, just in case he passed out.
A black attendant in full livery and wig stood off to one side. I washed my face and he handed me a fresh towel. While I was drying off there was a flush and the stall at one end opened up. The man who emerged looked as neat and fresh as if he had just arrived at the party.
“Hi there.” He washed and dried his hands, then stuck one out. “I’m Joe Petroni.”
Even before our hands met I knew what I would feel, but the buzz came as a surprise to the congressman. He looked at my hand, my face and then my hand again.
I let go. “I’m Charles Xavier.”
“Nice to meet you, Charles.” He studied me for a moment. “You’re one of Adele’s friends, aren’t you? I think she mentioned you.”
“We just met a few days ago.”
“Nevertheless, she thinks you show great promise.”
There was more moaning from Don’s stall.
“How’s your friend doing?”
“Too many Manhattans.”
Petroni seemed to falter, as if he didn’t know what to say next, and his appearance sort of slumped. He suddenly looked rather tired and disheveled. I blinked hard and felt a resurgence of the buzz between us. Petroni straightened up and smoothed the front of his shirt. He also adjusted the hang of his cock in his trousers. My eyes went to the bulge there.
“Impressive, huh?” he said sotto voce.
Indeed it was, but I felt I was being fooled in some way.
Don began to stand up. He swayed hard into the wooden partition.
“I . . . I should see to my friend.”
“You do that,” Petroni said, “but come to my office sometime soon. I’d like to get to know you better. Any friend of Adele’s is a friend of mine.”
He shook my hand again before leaving.
Don emerged, unsteadily, from the stall. “False alarm. Not gonna happen.”
“You sure?”
He nodded. That small movement was apparently the last straw for he wheeled about and hurled into the toilet a moment later. When he was done I saw that the attendant had soaked a towel in cold water and was now holding it out to us. His demeanor was helpful, but his thoughts were full of condemnation of rich boys that couldn’t hold their liquor and “fairies” who cruised restrooms.
“Thanks,” I said.
I guided Don to the sink. Two or three other revelers came and went as I helped him wash his face and gargle some mouth wash. I left the attendant an entire dollar and we returned to the ballroom.
My father and Mr Pierce had joined Mitch at our table. Harry was gone and the number of guests was dwindling. Don sat down clumsily next to his dad.
“Demon rum got the best of you, son?”
Don nodded. “Sorry.”
“Aw,” Mr Pierce clapped Don on the back of the neck, “think nothing of it. Nature of the beast. Right, Brian?”
“Quite right,” my father replied.
“1918 was the first time I imbibed,” Mr Pierce went on. “The Armistice. I was just a lad really. Came here with my own father to celebrate, spur of the moment. Remember, Brian?”
“I don’t believe I attended that celebration.”
“No? Damn high time. Real monarchy we had back then.” He lowered his voice to something below booming. “Not like this lot we have now. No, they were powerful, not afraid to throw their weight around. The White King then, uh . . .”
“Wallace Morewright,” my father supplied.
“Right, Morewright. Friend of Woodrow Wilson’s. Both Princeton men. Convinced the President to get us into the war over there. Red-blooded Americans, all of them.”
“His wife was the White Queen. Margaret Morewright.”
“Exactly,” Pierce tapped the table in front of my father. “That’s how it used to be. Queens were Kings’ wives. Not like now. This dyke-” he jabbed a thumb towards the stage where the White Queen had been “-tried to get us to help out the commies when they had that earthquake in Armenia a couple months ago.”
“Turkmenistan,” my father corrected.
“Wherever. I put a stop to that, toute suite. I may only be a Black Rook, but I still have a say in what the club does, let me tell you, and as long as I am, we won’t be giving any aid to Ivan Russky.”
“There are rooks? Are there bishops and knights too?” I asked.
Don pulled on his father’s arm. “Dad, we should head home. It’s late.”
Mr Pierce had apparently let some cat out of the bag though only Mitch and I appeared not to have seen it before.
“Indeed,” my father agreed. He signaled one of the attendants along the wall.
“Yes, sir?”
“Two cabs.”
“Actually,” Mr Pierce stood, “just the one. I’ve made arrangements here for the night. Don can squeeze in with you though, can’t he?”
This was a surprise to Don. He looked to me.
“Of course.”
The attendant walked off quickly.
“Well, I’ll bid you all a good night then and a Happy New Year.”
My father stood and shook his hand. “The same to you, John.”
When he had left, Mitch said, “I guess I’d better find my parents.”
“I think your mother’s at the piano,” I told him. “I don’t know where your father is.”
“Terrific,” he groused. “Good night, everyone. Happy 1949.”
I watched Mitch hurry off. His mother had begun the beguine, but she left off as soon as he reached her.
“Well, shall we?” my father suggested. I stood, but Don remained seated.
“Don, do you-”
“Yes, yes,” my father interrupted, “come with us, Don. There’s plenty of room at the penthouse. There’s no need to cab it all the way back to Connecticut.”
Don looked at him, then me, and stood up. “Thank you.”
Father put a kindly arm around his shoulder and guided him between the tables to the foyer. Our coats were retrieved and the cab was already waiting for us. Father tipped everyone on hand and wished them a happy new year.
After a short ride we were home. Father, I was surprised to see, entered the master bedroom where Mother and Mark were sleeping. I led Don to my room. We used my bathroom and put on pajamas in silence, then hurried beneath the blankets of my bed. I propped my head up on one hand and turned toward him.
“How do you feel?”
He shrugged. I reached below his pajama top and began to rub his stomach as he had done for me a few days before. He wiped a tear from each cheek and sniffled. I let my mind relax enough to let his thoughts in. He kept imagining his father somewhere in the Hellfire Club, screwing one of Queen Adele’s girls after another until he inevitably came to Helen. This scene caused his chin to quaver and many more tears ran down from his eyes.
I was surprised that he had such strong feelings for her already and cursed Adele for having introduced them. For a moment I contemplated interfering in Don’s feelings for her, but instead I simply drew him into an embrace and whispered comforts into his ear.
He held me fiercely and gave over to quiet sobs.
“I’d kill myself without you,” I heard him think.
“Shhh, it’s all right. I’m here.”
I kissed his brow, his temple, his cheek. I pulled the blankets tighter around us and did not stop caressing him until he’d fallen deep asleep.
Chapter 17 by syrian_iceberg
Author's Notes:
Title: Speaking My Mind, Part Seventeen
Author: Syrian Iceberg
Pairing: Charles Xavier / Jason Wyngarde
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I love these characters, but do not own them. They are the property of Marvel Comics and I make no money by using them here.
Summary: Excerpts from “Speaking My Mind”, the autobiography of Charles Xavier. Alternate Universe, based more on our own than on the comics or the movies. Xavier’s life, January 7, 1949
Feedback: Welcome. This is my very first slash attempt, based on ideas I’ve had for quite a while.
Jason and I spent the night together in his hotel room. After we had sex, he used his power to show me the artist’s studio in Minneapolis and the old woman’s cabin in Tennessee. I had seen these images in his mind, of course, but the detail he could put into his illusions now was stupendous. Ambient sounds –a far off train, crickets, a babbling brook- were more convincing than he’d ever managed before.
In the morning we breakfasted and I returned to the Penthouse for the day. Around six o’clock Jason picked me up in his car and we drove to the Piedmont Theater to set up for the show. Though he could create anything he needed out of thin air and convince an observer that they were real, an illusory table, for example, could not actually support a top hat, let alone an audience member pulled up on stage. Several basic tools of the trade were kept in cases that we pulled out of his trunk and back seat. I had also brought a tuxedo and the silver helmet I used as Cerebro.
The remaining time before the show we spent exploring the theater and drinking coffee in our dressing room. The stage manager, a middle-aged but nevertheless enthusiastic man named Ralph knocked on our open door to tell us fifteen minutes remained until curtain.
“How’s the house?” Jason asked.
“A pretty good crowd,” Ralph replied. “Better than I expected, to be honest. You got the intro?”
Jason handed him a card.
“’Kay. Looks good. How you say this word?”
I read where he was pointing. “Cerebro.”
“Sir REE bro? That it?”
“That’s it.”
In another five minutes I took my place center stage behind the curtain and donned the helmet. Bright blue-green lights spun around the auditorium. Ralph picked up a microphone and turned on the feed to speakers in the auditorium, then read from Jason’s script in what was no doubt his spookiest voice.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, open your minds, clear your thoughts. Prepare to have your deepest secrets revealed! No mysteries will remain unsolved, no truths will remain buried. Get ready for the world’s greatest mind-reader . . . Cerebro!”
He handed me the microphone. The curtain parted slightly and a greenish spotlight fell upon me. I held my chin down so that reflections bounced off my helmet and landed on the walls of the auditorium. There was no applause and I said nothing. I let the silence add to the spooky mood while I simultaneously let my mind begin to wander among the audience members. It was always best to start my “act” with the most skeptical older man present. Tonight that happened to be an insurance salesman from Schenectady in the fifteenth row left.
I kept my voice low, barely audible. “Morris. Morris Mortenson.”
The man himself perked up, but the audience at large had no idea who I was naming, of course. I lifted my arm and pointed at him with gradually more accuracy. Other audience members turned their heads in the same direction.
“Morris Leopold Mortenson from Schenectady, New York.”
A second, smaller spotlight that Ralph was operating searched out my target until it had found him.
“Ye—yes?” He took hold of the chair in front of him, unsure whether he should stand up.
“You doubt my power, Morris Mortenson.”
He stood. His coat and hat fell to the floor. He bent over to pick them up. “Well . . . I imagine I do, yes. Mind-reading . . . that’s just not possible.”
“I must PROVE myself to you! That’s what you’re saying, Morris Mortenson?” I made my voice boom around the auditorium.
“Well, yes.
“Very well, Morris Mortenson. I shall prove my power to you and all who doubt me! Ask me a question to which only you could know the answer. Hold the answer in your mind and I shall pluck it out!”
“Pluck it out?”
“Yes. What is your question, Morris Mortenson?”
“Well, I . . . I don’t know.”
Someone in the audience shouted out, “Your age!”
“My age?”
Others assented. “Yes! Your age!”
“Very well.” Mortenson fumbled with his tie. “What is my age?”
I put the microphone into the stand that Ralph had set in front of me and made a great show of putting my hands to my helmet. “Your age, your age . . . I am searching your mind, Morris Mortenson . . . I am reaching in . . . reading . . . I see . . . deception!”
“Deception?” Mortenson squeaked.
“Deception, yes. You maintain that you are forty-five, but I see in your mind that you are actually . . .” I did dig deeper now “thirty-three?”
Some in the audience laughed. Mortenson himself smiled in surprise.
“Is that correct?” I asked.
“Yes. Oh yes.”
“Why do you say that you are older than you are?”
Mortenson shrugged. “I look pretty good for forty-five, but not for thirty-three!”
The audience laughed loudly and I couldn’t help but do the same. This wasn’t the tone I usually aimed for in my act, but that’s the way performances went sometime.
“Who will test my power next?” I asked once the laughter had died down.
A middle-aged woman in a black and lilac dress jumped to her feet.
“Me! I will!”
I decided to have a bit of fun with her. “Very well. Your age is-”
“Oh no! No, no!” she laughed. “That ain’t my question! That ain’t nobody’s business!”
The two other women sitting with her laughed and there were more chuckles in the audience.
“What is your question then?”
“What’s my name? That’s my question. I mean, you can guess someone’s age just by looking at ‘em, but you can’t guess nobody’s name, right?”
Despite the fact that I had just done exactly that with Morris Mortenson, I made a big show of puffing up my chest at her challenge. “I can!”
“Well, go ahead then! Go on and guess!”
I paused a moment although I already had the answer. “Your friends and neighbors call you Daisy, your favorite aunt calls you Day-Day, and your husband calls you Sugar Bottom, but your legal name is Dorothea Maxine Eubanks, ne Greiner.”
“That’s right!” The woman shouted. “I’ll be! That’s right!”
The audience applauded. It was gratifying to please the crowd, but I was only the opening act and couldn’t tarry.
“Next!” I commanded.
“Over here!” “Here!” “Right here!” Young male voices from my near right vied for my attention.
“You there?” I pointed.
“No, not me! My buddy here!” A handsome man with short hair and very bright eyes stood up and was joined by another who hauled a third to his feet. “We wanna know-”
“This is Guinny!” the other interjected.
“Yeah, Guinny, and we wanna know-”
“Jack and I wanna know where Guinny hides the key to his liquor cabinet!”
The answer, of course, jumped to the mind of the man in the middle. I saw in quick succession a refrigerator, a drawer within the refrigerator, a package of sliced cheese in that drawer and a small key shoved into the middle of those slices.
“The ether,” I mumbled, “The ether is clearing. I see… I see somewhere cold. An icehouse? Yes? No, that isn’t it.”
I swayed back against the curtain for dramatic effect.
“An icebox? Yes!” My voice grew louder and louder. The audience sat forward in their seats. “A yellow icebox? Something yellow in the icebox? Bananas? No, it’s getting clearer…clearer…Cheese! His key is in the icebox between slices of cheese.”
Jack, one of the two men holding Guinny up by the arms, said, “That right?”
Guinny looked miserable, but nodded. The audience applauded and the men all sat back down.
“Time for one more,” I announced. “One more mind to lay bare! One more soul to be read like a novel by Cerebro!”
Most of the audience looked around, wondering who would volunteer next. A wife in the second row nudged her husband sharply, but he shook his head and frowned. Two or three other people laid their hands on the backs of the seats in front of them and prepared to stand, but didn’t. One youngish woman in the eighth row on the left side of the theater bit her lip and smoothed out her skirt before rising.
“You, miss! What secret do you want the Great Cerebro to reveal? What mystery can I unravel for you?”
To my right, Jack, Guinny and their third stood up quietly and began to scoot past the others in their row.
“Well, it’s not a secret exactly,” the young woman said, “but I wanna know, when’s my boyfriend gonna propose to me?”
Some of the audience laughed, but the woman took no offense; she chuckled as well. Luverne, I saw, worked in a cafeteria at a hospital. Her boyfriend’s name was Norman. He delivered milk to the cafeteria and was, at least according to Luverne, about as good a guy as she was likely to land.
Guinny and his two friends reached the end of their row and began going up the aisle. The two men still held onto him by the arms.
“Your boyfriend isn’t here,” I intoned.
“No,” Luverne gestured beside her, “it’s just me and Bella here. Norman had to work.”
I faltered a moment. “Yes, I see. Hello, Bella. How’s your wrist?”
“It’s getting better,” the other woman offered. “I kept ice on it all night and- Hey! How’d you know-?”
“Cerebro sees all!” There was more laughter in the audience.
Buddy, ya gotta help me.
This time the ‘voice’ registered with me. I scanned the audience, but couldn’t place it.
“Luverne, your boyfriend lives in Brooklyn, doesn’t he?”
She nodded.
“I’m going to try to contact his mind. I’m going to read his thoughts for the answer
to your question. I’m sending my mind far across the city…over the buildings…over the streets.”
I actually was doing no such thing. All the information I needed was right there in Luverne’s mind. She’d been to Norman’s apartment herself and the memory of it was open to me. I saw the living room, the dinette set, the radio.
What I did not see was the origin of the voice I’d heard. I expanded my search beyond the stage and rows of seats to the lobby.
Christ, I gotta get away. Maybe I can make a break for it out on the street.
It was Guinny. He and the men I’d taken for his friends were nearing the revolving door that led to the sidewalk. I could feel them tightening their grips on his biceps. One of the men pushed the barrel of a gun hard against his ribs.
“Are you in Brooklyn yet?” Luverne asked impatiently.
More of the audience laughed and distracted me.
“The…the traffic is terrible,” I wisecracked. More laughter.
More flashes of Norman’s apartment. Little things out of place. Norman wouldn’t let Luverne see his bedroom or use the bathroom. Oddly blank spots on the wallpaper stand out.
It’s the key to a safe. This thought was my own, but Guinny’s mind confirmed that. He owed the two men money. They planned to take the money from his safe and kill him afterwards. I had to act quickly.
“Luverne, you know Norman will not propose, don’t you?”
“I do?”
“Yes, you do. You know why he won’t propose as well, don’t you?”
“Well, I guess so. So I’m right? About what I think?”
I nodded. With the lightest touch I could manage, I sent her the words, he’s married.
Luverne looked a bit glum, but she sat down and Bella comforted her.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” I raised my arms, “nothing is hidden from Cerebro, but MUCH IS HIDDEN FROM WITHIN!”
I took a quick bow. There was some applause, some bewilderment, but I couldn’t worry about that. I slipped behind the curtain and hurried past Ralph and Jason. Down past the dressing rooms I found the door I needed. It opened up onto an alleyway and there I found Guinny and his two captors. Guinny’s escape attempt had only gotten him a hard punch to the gut and a blow to the head from Jack’s gun.
I threw my helmet as hard as I could into Jack’s face and cracked my elbow across the other man’s jaw. Both men fell unconscious to the dirty pavement. To the naked eye it looked like I’d knocked them both out with brute force, but in fact it was a mental onslaught that had done the job.
“All right!” Guinny exclaimed. “Looky there! Wow! One, two, down they go!”
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“I’m okay now. That’s for sure! Thanks a million, buddy!” Guinny began running toward the street.
“Hey! Aren’t we going to call the police?” I yelled after him.
“I’m gettin’ outta town, buddy!” Guinny yelled back. “You should too! Them’s the Black King’s henchmen!”
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