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The guard supporting him on his right tripped over a mess of untidy wires, dropping his firearm, and for a moment, let go of Charles' right arm.

Almost instinctively, Charles swung his arm, and smashed the other guard across the face. As that guard let go of him, unconscious, Charles slid unceremoniously to the ground.

Creed turned around, to see Charles struggling to drag his body to the weapon that the first guard had dropped.

" Stop him you fool!" The remaining guard stared, almost as if he could not believe that an old cripple could actually crawl. He stupidly stood there, and did not even take the few steps needed that would allow him to pick his own weapon up.

By then, Charles had already painfully dragged himself to it, and now grasped it in his hands, pointing it at Creed.

" I cannot allow you to use me... to kill."

He nodded to the remaining guard and Vasir to join Creed.

But Creed smiled.

" So, you've got me. Now what are you going to do?"

What am I going to do...?

" You can't escape, Xavier. In your state, where'd you go? We'd find you in a minute. It's not difficult to find an old man like you who has to crawl. So what are you going to do?"

Almost without thinking, Charles answered gravely. " I can kill you."

But Creed only laughed.

" Kill me? Kill me?" He fixed an accusatory gaze on Xavier. " You can't kill me. You're like a boy with a gun, Xavier. You can't pull the trigger. The man who argues for peace, for non-violence, for talk, can actually threaten to kill me?"

" You're a pacifist, Xavier, a coward. A miserable coward that argued for mutants while pretending to be a human. You haven't got the courage to kill me."

Xavier refused to listen, refused to allow Creed's taunting to temper his determination. But, even so, as his hands brought the gun to a level with Creed's heart, they shook. And as much as he tried to, he could not pull the trigger.

What am I doing?

He wanted to, and yet did not want to pull the trigger. Killing Creed would be taking down a menace to mutants worldwide, would stop this ongoing genocide, would bring down the Friends of Humanity so that it would never threaten mutants again...

And yet, he could not do it. He had killed in Korea, had shot several on the front, and he remembered their faces, their thoughts as they died. With their deaths, they had added more weight to the burden of moral guilt that he carried with him every day. It would be no different here, for no matter who was involved, killing was - as a child might put it - wrong.

Xavier paused, for a lifetime.


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