Chapter 13 Talk
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I am Roland Cooper. As a boy I was kind, adventurous, outgoing, and happy. But as a teenager that all changed. I no longer wanted adventure. No longer was outgoing or happy. But was I still kind? 

I don’t know.

===

“Ouch,” I say after Kitty hits me.

“Where Have You Been?! No calls or texts! No ‘I am fine’ or ‘I am here!’ You could’ve been Dead for all we know!”

“Sorry,” I say, genuinely feeling bad I left them hanging.

“You better be!” She then takes a good look at me and notices my disciple robes. “What are you wearing?”

I sigh. “They’re monk robes. I went to Kathmandu and became a monk. Sort of.” 

“A monk?!” Kitty exclaims. 

“Can’t you just change out of them?” Rogue asks.

“Gah! Rogue, don’t remind me he’s always naked while I’m hugging him!” Kitty steps back. 

“Yes, Rogue, I can, but I happen to like the look,” I say.

“Indoctrination! Quick, call Jean!” Kitty yells. 

“I’m not indoctrinated. Just-” I feel Jean moving toward our room. “Great, she’s coming now.”

“Ah! Oopsie,” Kitty says.

*Knock Knock*

I go to the door and open it. 

Jean’s eyes widen slightly as she takes me in. 

“Hello, Ms. Grey,” I say. 

“Roland… I am surprised,” she replies.

“Yes, I can see. Why don’t we take this conversation to the Professor, shall we?”

“Well, I-” she cuts off as a telepathic tendril connects to her. 

Then she continues, “I think that would be wise.”

I turn to my friends and wave. 

They wave back, a bit sad.

I smile, then follow after Jean. 

===

Inside the Headmaster’s office is Storm, Beast, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean, me, and of course Charles. 

“Well then, now that we’re all here, let me be the first to welcome you back, Roland,” Charles says.

Logan and Scott are disgruntled, Henry is indifferent, but Ororo and Jean are smiling. 

“Thank you, sir,” I say. “But I feel we should revisit our previous conversation before making it official.”

Charles smiles. “I agree. Would you like to start?”

“If you wouldn’t mind?”

“Please.” He motions for me to continue. 

“Last time we spoke about trust. How you were entitled to such, as you were acting as a caretaker and guardian, and how I was unwilling to share, as it is extremely dangerous.”

He nods. “Has any of that changed for you?”

“No.” 

I feel Logan tense up, like he wants to pounce me.

“Ah, but you are here, so I believe you have discovered something, yes?” Charles asks, confidently. 

“Correct. I have learned, or more begun to learn, that I need friends and friends are deserving of trust inherently. If one wants to keep them that is.” 

“And do you? Want to keep us as friends, I mean?”

“Yes,” I say, resolutely. “Not just because you are safe, or deserving, or strong, but because you are kind.”

Charles, Jean, Ororo, Henry, and Scott smile widely. 

“Even sourpuss over there,” I say, pointing towards Logan. 

“Grr,” he growls.

“Well, thank you, Roland. That is very nice of you to say,” Charles says.

I nod. “And of course I am willing to share with you my secrets, all I ask in return is to ask three questions.” I hold up three fingers.

The happy atmosphere quickly cools. No more smiles or welcoming vibes. Even Logan stills. 

“Hmm,” Charles thinks to himself. 

Then I feel the telepathic link between him and the others. 

I can’t tell what is being thought, but I can tell everyone, but me, was invited. 

I wait patiently for their conversation to finish.

A minute goes by.

Then another.

And just when I think about meditating to pass the time, they stop. 

Charles looks me in the eye. “You said you want to ‘ask’ some questions. I assume that means I am allowed to not answer.” 

I nod. Of course we both know that a non-answer or the lack of one is still an answer.

“Well then, go ahead,” he says, a bit fearful of what I may ask.

I nod. “Well, they’re not in any particular order, so I guess I’ll just ask the most pertinent one first.”

The others tense up.

“Is Jean currently under a psychic lock?” I speak slowly, enunciating every word.

Jean and Charles are surprised, but the rest are confused. 

“Chuck?” Logan asks. 

“It’s alright, Logan, it’s alright.” I don’t feel any telepathic links that would suggest mental manipulation. 

“I haven’t been under a lock for a while,” Jean says. “But how did you know I used to have one?”

“I will be happy to answer, but I hope you will let me ask my other two questions first,” I say. 

Jean wants to press me for answers, but Charles says, “We can abide by that.”

The others look at him askance. But they listen to his un-said orders.

“Thank you,” I nod. “The next question may bring up some bad memories, so I apologize in advance.”

The room tenses again.

And again I speak slowly, “Where is the third Summers brother?”

“How do you-” Scott says, taking a step towards me, but then is held back by Jean.

“Jean. How does he know? Does he-”

“Shh, shh, it’s okay,” Jean hugs Scott. 

My eyes remain on Charles, who looks deeply saddened by what he heard. 

“We don’t know,” he says. 

I nod. “Again, I apologize, and I will explain after my last question.”

The room tenses, for maybe the last time. 

“How is Sage doing, Professor?”

The others are confused. It seems they don’t know Sage, but Charles does and they recognize this.

“Professor?” Ororo asks. 

“Chuck?” Logan asks. 

“Charles?” Henry asks.

Scott is no longer despondent. 

Jean, no longer hugging Scott.

Charles “the Professor” Xavier is guilty. 

‘That bad, huh?’ 

“It’s alright, I understand,” I say. “How about we move on?”

Charles is conflicted; he wants to move on, but also sees his friend’s faces. 

“It’s alright,” I say softly, “You can talk later without me here. How about I give some explanations?” I look at the others. 

They don’t know what to say. Fear, doubt, anger.

‘Don’t let it control you,’ I say to myself. 

“How about a story?” I ask. “About a boy named Roland Cooper.”

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