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Location: Over New York

An airline jet winged across the blue sky.

From one of the small windows, a single man's face shows. His face was solemn, creased by the slow increasing years and the more brutal weariness that he felt. His bald head only served to accentuate the lines on his brow, as he frowned deeply.

But it was not anger that showed. For his eyes spoke not of frustration, but of pain and sorrow.

Pain and sorrow, because of what he was, what he fought for, and what he had lost in that great battle which had lasted a lifetime.

Charles Francis Xavier was a man of contradictions. In the public eye, a man - a human, - who was the world's expert on mutants, and mutant-rights activists. A Man of Learning, and not popular to be sure, because of his ideas, but a human being all the same. One of "Us."

But, as perhaps the greatest secret to ever have been kept, he led too, another life. In that life, he was not just Charles Xavier, Ph.d, but Charles Xavier, most powerful mutant psychic on the planet, and leader of the band of mutants known as the X-men.

Not one of "Us", but one of "Them."

For all these years, it had been that way. It was difficult to lead a double life. With it, always came the danger of being discovered; of being destroyed by the masses of untrusting, fearful, blood-lusty human beings that sought to turn back what it perceived as the oncoming wave of mutant destruction.

And it would not be easy for a man, crippled and old as he was, to turn them away.

No, it was not an easy life, the life he led.

But, as he had once told an old friend so long ago, he did not yearn for an easy life. Only a just one.

The cities hummed below him. It was the hum of a million minds, each a thinking human being, each mentally 'talking' to himself, contributing to the constant mental white noise that Charles 'heard' within his own mind.

Each mind, a frightened person. Mutant, and human alike. Both frightened for themselves.

Petty prejudices and fear of the unknown was what kept people like him from being able to live in a society that could accept a coexistence between the two kinds: human and mutant. Someone would have to fight the prejudice, the fear. Someone would have to be able to see further, to see through the fear and prejudice, and find a solution. One without bloodshed.

That was what The Dream was about.

A dream of peace and harmony between the two warring races. The Dream. His Dream.

I have a dream... he smiled wryly.

History repeats itself.

" Professor."

He sensed her approaching him, before she spoke. He turned towards her.

" Yes, Val."

She sat near, but not too near, so that she would not invade his personal space. Lately, he realised, many have been avoiding him in little ways. Very much the way she was doing now.

" I'm done with the reporters. But they're not satisfied. I think they're tired of me already," she smiled a little. " They want you now."

He turned back to the window.

" I do not think that I want to see them before the talks."

She got up. " I'll tell them you said 'No thanks.'" But she paused before leaving. " But Charles, I thought I'd better warn you. You'll be getting lots of questions on New York. Be ready to answer them." And she left.

The white noise of the city once against took precedence.

New York will never go away. They can never forget. And I... can I ever forgive Magneto for what he did there? He should pay for what pain he has caused. And yet...

... Magnus. I wonder where you are, old friend.

The clouds below turn gray, and the wind picked up speed.

The plane lurched a little.

" This is your captain speaking: there will be some turbulence up ahead. Please fasten your seat belts and remain seated for the duration that the turbulence lasts. But don't worry folks... after that, it'll be clear skies ahead and no trouble at all..."

... no trouble at all.


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