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Charles Xavier blinked at the sudden brightness, and reined in the fear, the grief, guilt that he had suffered from through those long hours of darkness. No doubt, it would give Creed much pleasure to see him break down slowly, but Charles too, had his pride, and he would not allow it.

A small smile tugged at the ends of Creed's lips. " I trust you had a good night's rest, Xavier. I hope you're not too tired for today's 'session'."

" These games you play with me, Creed... do you not tire of them? I certainly do." Charles' voice was dispassionate, calm. But something began to gnaw at his stomach.

" Is that why you're so quiet all of a sudden? Funny - I always thought you enjoyed arguing, the way you always opposed me during..."

Is that why you continue to taunt me? It seemed almost an amusing thought.

" I can hardly believe that all this is only revenge for a few debates you lost to me."

" Getting feisty, mutant?" He laughed. " But it is! Why should I have chosen you otherwise? There were others, oh yes, many others, but I just wanted the pleasure of seeing you sink into the mud - into hell!"

And as Creed's henchmen grabbed him, Charles would have smiled had the circumstances allowed for that.

He does not know as much as I thought he did.

He struggled, attempting to delay the inevitable. But it was futile. The grip of his captors was firm.

His eye caught movement, and he turned his head to see Dr. Vasir slinking around behind Creed. Like a dog did, under the thumb of a cruel master. Vasir did not hide his obvious fear of Creed.

" M...M...Mr. Creed, sir?"

" Yes, Vasir?" Creed sounded almost jovial.

" S...s...sir, the Machine... it shouldn't be used so soon... it wasn't made that way... I..."

" Now, now Vasir, you wouldn't want to spoil my good mood now, do you?" Creed's voice stayed neutral, but his eyes threatened silently. " We're using it now, Vasir. And your machine had better work properly."

Vasir only nodded unhappily and slunk off again.

The Machine loomed over Charles, laughing maniacally.

He felt panic rising within him. In his mind, he envisioned what had - would - happen. In his mind, he saw mutants, young and old, screaming and collapsing as their minds were destroyed one by one... falling to the ground alive, but mindless and soulless; the undead.

I cannot... I cannot allow this to happen... but what can I do? What do I do?

Suddenly, fate seemed to hand him his opportunity.


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