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Lex shows up to Snow Valley for a mystery meeting with Morgan

Lex shows up to Snow Valley for a mystery meeting with Morgan

Aoife stood at the reception desk at Snow Valley stretching an arm out in an attempt to reach the post-it with her name on it. If she were in her own body it would have been easy. Vanessa was used to Aoife's small stature by now, but her own height was much more useful to have most of the time. Things up on top shelves and the like mocked Aoife in a way in which they'd never manage with Vanessa. Her feet went up off the ground and pale fingers finally managed to close on the post-it. Just then she heard the door open behind her and the tiny redhead slid back over the counter and straightened.

She turned around to find a mostly nondescript bloke. Well, he didn't work here. She glanced around for Mark for a moment but he was nowhere to be found. Was he on break? Did he have today off? Did it matter? At least she was wearing Aoife. Vanessa thought Aoife would go over much better than her own body would with most strangers. "May I help you?" The accent was thick west Irish and the voice was soft, almost quiet enough to be a stage whisper. The office itself was quiet out here. The reception room was populated by empty chairs and a couch along with several low tables holding a miscellany of magazines. She stood there studying the stranger. Vanessa was willing to guess he was or had recently been military from the way he held his posture. She was willing to bet he was observant as well. Maybe he was an intel contact who had shown up to hand some information to Remy. Perhaps he was a friend of Betsy's, though he seemed on the young end for an old mate of hers.

Lex stood a few feet into the room staring at the small woman who'd spoken to him. She was pretty enough, but definitely not the Morgan he was supposed to meet. Looking around, he checked the other entrances and decided his best approach was to play it smooth. He sauntered forward and pulled the card from his wallet. "I was told I'd be meeting Morgan. The note I got from my lawyer said someone requested my presence here." He held it out to her and stepped back, folding his arms behind him.

He was military who was coming here to get out? Huh. She looked down at the card, then looked at the post-it in her hand. Alexander Lexington, mutant in the special forces who was being remanded into Charles' custody because of a powers mishap. Fun. And she got to find out what he knew about the use of mutants in the US military? Aoife couldn't deal with this. She looked down at herself. Vanessa's own body would never fit these clothes. Damnit. "Aye, Mister Lexington, you're a wee bit early. Morgan's here, just needs to change. But I can bring you to the conference room you'll be meeting in." She was sure she had a change of clothes around there somewhere.

Aoife held out an arm to gesture him through a door and then led him down a hallway to one of the smaller conference rooms. "If you'll just wait in here Morgan'll be in in a bit. It won't take much time. Would you like anything to drink? Coffee? Tea? Water? We may have some soda about if you'd like." Well, Vanessa thought, at least Aoife's polite enough to play hostess, good to know.

"Thanks, but I'm uh fine." He said, cutting himself short. Lex took a seat and leaned back. Damn, they had some comfortable chairs. The conference room was clean and sparse, like everyone he'd imagined growing up. He wondered what people discussed in there. Snow Valley Memorial Center for Mutant Affairs, what a mouthful. To him it meant a place where his powers were probably not going to be the biggest topic of conversation, and hopefully it would mean a place where he might be believed.

Lex stood up as the door opened, shifting to attention unconsciously. "Excuse me ma'am, but I am supposed to meet Morgan?" The words were his but he seemed to be unable to tell where he'd gotten the will to speak them, he'd heard of mutants with altered physical appearances, but he'd never seen one.

It hadn't taken much time for Vanessa to strip out of Aoife's clothing and then drop the mimic. Once back in her own body a pair of brown cargo shorts and a fitted tank top were pulled on along with her standard, worn in steel toed boots. Morgan's white hair was suspiciously in the exact same braid Aoife's had been in when she went back into the room with a notepad and pen. "I am Morgan," she told him, the accent having shifted from Aoife's Irish to her own strange mix of Boston and Irish. Her tone was patient, explanatory rather than annoyed.

She grinned at him, one corner of her mouth turning upward only. "At ease, soldier, you don't need to come to attention whenever someone walks into a room here. Aye, I've met loads who take years to break the habit," she shrugged and fell gracefully in a chair across from him and gestured for him to sit. "So, from what you said when you came in I take it you've no clue why you're here, huh?"

Lex was taken aback by the statement. What did she mean by what he'd said when he came in. His hand shifted slowly towards the blade in his belt. Maybe it was a setup, some anti-mutant conspiracy to get him to confess to destroying the chopper and disobeying direct orders. He looked around nervously and then spoke directly to the woman. "What do you mean, when I came in? Do you have this place bugged?"

They did make them paranoid these days, didn't they? She arched a white eyebrow up at him. "Do you really think the snazzy blue skin, red eyes and white hair is all the mutation I've got? Maybe I've got super hearing. Maybe I can read your mind. But I can guarantee I will have a knife in your shoulder before you get anything near me, so calm the fuck down and stop jumping to conclusions." She really didn't like the twitchy ones.

Lex looked her up and down, maybe he'd underestimated her. He put his hands back on the table and folded them. It'd probably be best to keep those thoughts to himself. "Alright, I'll bite. If you don't want me jumping to conclusions I guess I'll just ask. What am I doing here?"

"Asking questions, good idea." She refrained from commenting on how very not military that was of him. It'd be better to not piss him off so much that she didn't get her information out of him. "You've been in the military for just over a decade now. They're getting rid of you because they found out you're a mutant in a combat ready unit, something which is a big no-no according to the executive order that came down from McKenna a while back. That executive order says the military isn't allowed to use mutants or research into the application of them for combat. But you got through. Following so far?"

"Yeah, I understand. I hadn't used my powers since my mother kicked me out of the house." He looked down as he spoke, he still had a hard time talking about his youth, even if he'd never admit it openly. "So, what do you want to know, I mean it's not like the government knew I was a mutant."

She made notes about his lack of powers use and the government's lack of knowledge about him. Morgan wondered if there was a running trend of mothers kicking mutant teenagers out. She thought of her own mother bitterly and then shoved the thought aside. "Did you know of any other mutants serving in combat ready positions? Whether with your squadron or elsewhere in that or another branch of the US military?"

"Like a special unit of mutants?" He thought about it a moment, he'd never seen or heard of anything like that, but it didn't mean that it wasn't there. Thinking back across all of his missions, he tried to piece together any strange occurrences and realized he couldn't remember half the shit he'd been put through. It all blended together into some dark haze. "Sorry, but nothing that I've heard about. I mean, I wasn't exactly open with them about my powers."

She nodded and made more notes. "Rumors? Whispers? Ghost stories? Research? Units? Well placed people within normal units?" Morgan was watching him, luminescent red eyes studying him intently. She was good at spotting liars from body language, eyes, facial expressions, but he'd been special forces and she knew it was possible the guy might get something past her. It only doubled her efforts in watching for small hints that he was lying to her and knew something.

Lex almost laughed, she was looking at him so intently he thought there must have been something wrong with his suit. He checked his tie, and his collar, it was the first suit he'd worn since junior-year prom. When everything seemed to be in place he looked back up at her. "Actually, I think there might have been one thing. Some of the older guys used to tell stories of people being elected into special-ops units that were wiped out on their first missions. I mean these guys were seasoned veterans with perfect combat records and they were killed on routine missions."

He looked over at the door. "Do you think that nice little woman could get me a glass of water now? I'd be much obliged." He put on his best "I'm a nice guy, I swear" smile, and leaned back.

She made notes, thinking Remy would want that, and then actually laughed. "Her name's Aoife," Morgan said, still laughing a bit. "She doesn't really exist, though." She paused, that was the wrong way of phrasing it. "Aoife's a mimic of mine. The actual girl lives outside of Boston, Irish only by descent. She let me nick some hair of hers to use her as a mimic. That was me before." This reaction might actually be good. Morgan sat back and waited for him to piece the shapeshifter thing together.

Lex looked at her inquisitively. A locket of hair, what would she need a locket of hair for. Then it hit him, and he balked. "That means you... you can... no." His voice sounded like paper fed through a shredder, damn but he needed that water. It was bad enough that his career was over because of his powers, but now he'd come face to face with someone who could steal his identity.

Taking a moment to recover himself, he decided that he needed to stay calm. These people were going to help him, right? He looked at her and tried not to imagine how she had changed so quickly. It didn't seem physically possible. Lex's training came to mind, when faced with the impossible there's one thing to do, adapt and improvise. "Well, at least we didn't shake when you came in. I would hate to have this conversation with myself."

Yep, there were the pieces all falling into place. "I can't store it or anything. Besides, you'd never fit into Aoife's clothes." Morgan quirked a half-smile at him and was sure it wasn't reassuring in the least for the guy. Poor bloke. "It's an instantaneous thing. I touch you, I pick up your mimic. Or I touch you, I stop touching you and I've lost my opportunity." She pushed her chair out and began to walk around the table. "If you promise not to go running off like a little girl I'll get you that water, though. If you do go running off like a little girl then I'll be forced to assume you know something you're not telling me and it's important. And then I'll have to hunt you down. Like a rabbit."

"Well, now that is a nice little trick. And about the running, I don't have anywhere to go, so I think I'll just wait around until you fill me in on what I'm supposed to do next. If you aren't back in 10 minutes though, I might think you're trying to set me up and I'll come hunting you." He hoped he was keeping his voice under control, his throat was still dry, but he knew how to push back when being interrogated.

"No worries, there, I hide in plain sight. Plenty of experience being the bait." She flashed him a grin and disappeared out of the room. She left the door cracked open so that she could hear if he tried to get out a window or call someone who'd cause trouble for them. It didn't take her long to come back with a tall, plastic glass of water for him. She set it down in front of him and walked back around to her chair. Morgan leaned back casually. "So you don't know anything, huh? 'Cause if you're lying," her voice trailed off and the expression on her face suggested it wasn't advisable.

"I don't lie, not when I can help it, and even then I'd remain silent before I started lying. Remember, I am special forces." He grinned, the self-satisfied grin of someone who wanted nothing more than a cold shower and a hearty meal. "Thanks for the interview, but if there isn't anything else, I'd really like to know how this'll help me..."

"Aren't you cute with your good ole boy, schtick." Morgan laughed. Then she shrugged. "Fucked if I know what use it's supposed to be to you. I know what use it is to us. The note I've got says you're going off to Xavier's and the Professor's supposed to be your keeper. No worries though, as far as cages go it's a pretty damn nice one."

"Well, you seem content." Lex smiled and rose, hoping she was right. "Well, let's go meet my new master."

"Your master ain't here, lovie. He's off in Westchester, about an hour off driving. I can give you a ride, though, if you want. I used to teach the kids self-defense there. The people're nice, always food, no one shooting at ya. What more could you want?" She was sure he likely had a whole lot of what more he could want, but Morgan liked the basics. Somewhere comfortable and secure to sleep, food to eat, the likelihood of not getting shot if everyone goes to bed and she was good.

Lex cringed, kids? He'd done a lot of things in his time, coped with a lot of crazy situations, but he didn't know if he'd be able to handle dealing with kids. What were they doing having a woman like her teach self-defense anyway. Wouldn't she be better suited as an ultra-spy or something. Her one statement had opened him to even more questions. "Sounds like a plan, but I've got one condition: I'd like you to tell me just what this place is on the way."

"Which place, the one you're in right now or the one you're going to?" Either way, she had a canned, publicly approved statement about the former and the latter wasn't really in hiding anyway. There's nothing she could tell him about the mansion that he wouldn't find out within a week anyway.

"I'd take both, but I was talking about the latter. I mean, I'm pretty fucking clueless here, and I'll use any information you're willing to give me." Lex opened the door and held it for her. The more he talked with her the more he realized he liked being around her, even if he found her ability to morph into other people extremely creepy.

"Just because I feel like being nice I won't make you ride bitch on the bike," she grinned. "Just hang out for me in the reception area and I'll meet you there in a minute, yeah?" The real question was more if she could borrow someone's car or if she was going to prod Adrienne to borrow Driver and company. The latter was likely the more reliable one.

Lex laughed. "Let's take the bike, if you're driving it'll give me a good look into your personality." He dropped in behind her, matching her step as she led him towards the reception area. It had been a long time, a real long time, and he wasn't going to miss a single opportunity.

Morgan escorts Lex up to Charles office where he learns a little more about himself, and what he's doing at the Mansion.

Morgan escorts Lex up to Charles office where he learns a little more about himself, and what he's doing at the Mansion.

The tires squealed as Morgan brought the bike up short of the garage door. Lex cringed as the seat collided with him in an entirely unpleasant manner. He slowly dismounted and gave her a frosty look. "When you said you enjoyed speed, I assumed 90-100 not 120..." He took the helmet off and laid it on the seat and then looked over the grounds. So this was where he was supposed to stay, it looked like a palace more than the school it was supposed to be. He couldn't help but wear his shock openly.

"Too much speed," she asked innocently as she cut the engine and put down the kickstand. She pulled the helmet off after dismounting and laid it beside the other helmet on the bike. "I understand, it's a special sort of man who can handle that much speed on a bike. Aye, but Adrienne manages just fine." She smirked and nodded to the front lawns he was gaping at. "C'mon you, we'll give you the mini tour on the way to see the Professor. This is the front yard, obviously. I told you it was a nice cage so far as cages go." She tugged at his shirt and headed off around the side of the building.

He followed, staring openly at the pristine grass. "Not too much speed, just not what I'm used to. It's been a long time since I've gotten to use a civilian craft." He paused to shift his pants and then continued following her, gaping like an awestruck child. "As for the cage, it depends on the rules. Even the most luxurious cage can suck the life out of a man if the rules don't fit him." The front entrance loomed up and stopped him cold. It was like something out of a fairy tale, the massive castle with it's beautifully sculpted brickwork covered in vines.

Morgan shrugged and headed across the front and around toward the back. She was, of course, going to enter through the kitchen. Who cared about the front door? "Rules are pretty simple. You keep your Xavier's issued cell on you at all times in case something goes down so they can find you. Has a panic button on it, too. They're high tech about their security here. The security guy is a genius, and I'm not being flowery with my words, but he's also kind of a twat so," she shrugged again. "Don't endanger people. In fact, if you put the kids here in harm's way I will cut your balls off and keep them in a fucking jar, you hear me?" The lightness of her down had dropped down to serious gravity as she'd said that and she gave him a look that punctuated the seriousness of that statement from her.

Lex thought Morgan's response was a little overly dramatic, he'd been in the business of putting people in harm's way for the past ten years. He looked at her and realized how serious she was. Well, he could play nice but he'd have to be very careful. "I think I understand. I keep my nose clean and don't endanger the kids and I'll be fine." He thought about it and wondered if that meant he could leave the campus. "But I can leave the grounds, right?"

"Under normal circumstances? Yeah, you can do whatever the fuck you want." She headed down toward the back of the building and pulled open the door that led into the kitchen as if she still lived there. "I don't know of the government's putting restrictions on you or not, that's not my clearance in all this, but unless they do you can come and go as you please. They'll set you up in a suite, in which you may or may not have a roommate, give you an Xavier's issue cell and laptop and be on your way." She pulled open the fridge and rifled around until she found a nectarine. "Nectarine," she asked as she poked her head back around so she could look at Lex. "Apple? Grapes? Pear?"

"Well, let's hope that they don't restrict me. I have a hard time being pinned to one place. Pear, if you don't mind too much." Lex spoke absentmindedly, staring towards the forest through the back window. He hadn't been hunting in a year and a half, and he was getting that itch. The one where he couldn't keep his hand from straying towards his knives. He wanted to hunt something, take it down and cook it up. "Can we hunt on the grounds?"

"Yeah, you can. The ones who shift into animals tend to hunt. Went hunting with Catseye out there once. Being a cougar? Bit odd." She grabbed a pear from the fruit drawer and tossed it over to him. "You hunt much? 'Cause there's also a gun range and an archery range on the grounds, too."

The more Lex heard about the mansion the more he thought staying there might be just what he needed. He looked at Morgan and drew one of his knives. "I hunt, but only with a bow or knives. I'm not into hunting with guns, no sport in it." He sliced off a bit of the pear and popped it in his mouth. This place was growing on him faster than he could possibly have imagined. Lex moved towards the door. "Is this the way to the Professor's office?"

"There's only more sport with an arrow because it takes longer to restring than pull the trigger again," she pointed out. "Aye, and that's the hallway that'll take you to the professor's office. He's a telepath, probably already knows you're here." She wandered on down the hallway with Lex, biting into her nectarine as they walked. "So, not going to turn tail and run then? Get twitchy with a bout of PTSD and off everyone or anything? 'Cause, really, I like ya, I'd hate to have to make good on that threat about your balls and the jar."

Lex held his hands up, "No, I think this place'll fit rather nicely. Besides, I'm not into killing kids just ignorant bastards with guns." He walked towards the end of the hall, a nagging feeling that someone wanted him to go in that direction. He scratched his chin and kept walking, the closer he got the more distinct the feeling. Like someone was guiding him towards the doors at the end of the hall. He turned back to Morgan. "Well, I think your professor's gonna take me the rest of the way in. Morgan, thank you very much for getting me here. If you're ever bored..." He left his though unfinished, not knowing if it would provoke her into anger or laughter.

The office he was guided to was spacious, elegantly laid out and very quiet, even in the middle of the day. The man sitting in the wheelchair smiled at him, gesturing him towards the chair opposite the Art Nouveau coffee table. "Welcome to the Institute, Mr. Lexington," Charles Xavier said. "Some tea?"

"I'd love some, and you can call me Lex." He took his seat and stared around, wondering at how they could afford to live in such luxury. He watched Xavier for a moment, trying to gauge the man, and realized that he had no clue what the man was thinking. Lex smiled, "So, you're the Professor. What do you teach?"

"Lex, then. Please, call me Charles." The Professor poured two cups of tea, then extended one to Lex with another smile. "I've taught a good many things, over the years. Of late, I fear I've spent more time on non-teaching pursuits. Such are the perils of an administrative role."

"Non-teaching pursuits... like disciplinary meetings or trying to find funding for this mansion?" He chuckled, thinking that it'd be funny if Charles was just a figurehead that the others respected because he was so old. "I mean this place is very well stocked, and from what I've seen quite large."

"This place has a complex story," Charles said, a slight curve of his lips suggesting that he was perfectly aware of his own understatement. "Complex, and very lengthy. I'd be happy to share it with you, but I think perhaps, before we get into that, that we should discuss what's brought you to my door?"

"I don't see why not," Lex said, taking a sip of his tea before he began. "I don't know how much you already know, so I'll give you the brief version and you can prod deeper. I've been hiding my powers since I was 18, before I joined the military, so I could serve my country. I was doing great up until a few months ago... but you
probably know that... don't you?" He had the feeling that something was different about the man sitting before him.

"I was given basic information about you and your situation," Charles conceded, leaning back in his chair and gazing at Lex thoughtfully. "We were, as a matter of fact, somewhat...involved in the creation of the policy that's led to some of your difficulties. Perhaps it's only just that you should have landed on our doorstep."

"Well, then you probably know more about my situation than I do." He smiled and leaned forward. "So, I guess now's the best time to ask... If I'm going to stay here...what rules do I need to obey. Morgan already told me that I have to have some special phone and I need to keep the children out of danger, but is there anything you are
requiring of me?"

"As necessary as these arrangements might be from time to time in situations such as yours," Charles said after another thoughtful pause, "and as preferable as they may be to some of the alternatives, I've always disliked them. I will 'require' very little of you, Lex. For the time being, you should avoid out-of-state travel, but that's
for the benefit of the US military's peace of mind, not any concern I have." The Professor's smile was wry.

"Fair enough. I think I can manage to stay in the state, as long as I'm allowed to leave the campus occasionally." He laughed, he couldn't believe he might actually be a free man. "So, is there anything around here to do?"

"There are several possibilities that could be explored. What would you like to do?" The Professor's gaze was keen, assessing without being uncomfortably so.
"Well, I'll be honest, I don't know. I like to hunt, cook, and I used to work with my father in his garage when I was younger." It was strange, Lex didn't think about his past but he found himself at ease with Charles. "I also read a lot of philosophy, but I doubt that will help anyone."

"One never knows," Charles murmured. "But it seems that your skills would allow for a range of possibilities. It would do for the short-term, in any case. I would like to see you at least begin to think in the long-term, however. This may be the end of your life in the military, but I hope that you'll come to see it as a fresh start."

"It seems like you have something in mind." Lex paused, wondering if he was doing the right thing. It'd been a very long time since he'd trusted a stranger. He rubbed his chin, moment of truth. "Look Charles, I'm not very good with this sort of thing so if you've got something to tell me just come out in say it."

"You're hidden what you are, for a very long time," Charles said, just as direct as Lex had urged him to be. "I'm wondering how you feel about that now, after what's happened."

"I don't know... I mean it's been at the heart of every major crisis in my life." He shook his head, he hadn't talked to his mother in almost eleven years. He didn't even know if she was still alive. "I want to embrace it, but I don't know if it'll be that easy. I mean, up until I met Morgan I don't know that I've ever seen another mutant, and now... I'm surrounded by them."

Charles spread his hands wide. "We're not unlike any other group of people," he pointed out gently. "We have teachers and students, doctors and engineers, and a range of other professions. Even a few ex-military types like yourself. Being a mutant is only a component of who you are, Lex. The key is to determine how to integrate that aspect
of yourself into the rest of your life."

Lex didn't know what to say. He knew his mutation was part of who he was, and that he needed to embrace it, but it had always caused him pain. He looked at Charles, stared him straight in the eyes, and decided that it was time to face his skeletons. "I understand... It'll be very difficult for me, but I'm willing to try."

"The first step is very easy," Charles murmured. "Talk to the people around you, about their experiences. Watch them, and draw your own conclusions."

"I think I can manage that." Lex couldn't help but wonder what the next move was. Talking to Charles was good for him, because it forced him to face things he'd long since repressed, but it was also very unnerving. He looked towards the window and looked longingly through it. He wanted to explore this place, get the lay of the land, and find
out where he was staying.

"Now," Charles said, that twinkle back in his eyes. "Shall we discuss practicalities?" He extended a slim folder to Lex. "Information about the school and the Institute - including a map of the house and grounds. One of the very good things about our little community is that there's always a small legion of people ready to help you get settled in."

Lex took the folder, he opened it and skimmed the information. "I think there's no better time than the present." He looked at the schematics of the mansion, "So where do I stay?"


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