the first shift: a new way of being.

How long had it been since Charles had awoken fully rested, with a mind clear of the psychic clutter of others' thoughts and emotions? Even as he opened his eyes to the foreign landscape of the room, there was something within him that hadn't been so calm since his boyhood. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived reprieve, his body siezing with the skull-cracking force of the headache washing over him. Help me, he heard a voice inside his head. This was not an unfamiliar phenomenon; Charles had been hearing voices since he was a young boy. However, he had the distinct feeling that this one's origin was from within his own body and mind.

"Who are you?" he probed gently, swinging his legs off the leather sofa to pull himself into an upright position. His legs. Looking down at his lap, Charles felt chilled; he hadn't been able to move his legs for decades. Lifting a hand, he scratched his head out of reflex, his fingers freezing as he felt the soft tuft of hair beneath them. He'd been bald since puberty. Had he somehow forced his consciousness into a host body without remembering it? The thought was as disturbing as any of the rest of it. He couldn't be losing control. Not again.

HELP ME!!! The voice was insistent, and Charles stood gingerly, unsure of how long his control of this body would last. He appeared to be in an office; books of various sizes and thicknesses were stacked in small, managable piles on every flat surface. There were multiple copies of the same text on the corner of the desk. Turning the top edition over, Charles studied the photograph of the author carefully. The face seemed familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. Picking it up properly, he glanced at the front cover.

"The Whole Organism," He read aloud, surprised at the tone and timbre of his host's body. "Evolutionary Genomics and Proteomics. Hmm." Dr. Xavier made an interested noise to himself as he began to flip through the pages. His ability to speed read seemed to have escaped him, as did all his other abilities, but he was still able to read remarkably fast. Scanning the text, he soon realised that this man, this Xander Charles was much like himself. The other man's work and interest within the field of Human Evolutionary Biology was remarkable, and remarkably interesting, as a fellow man of science.

Help me, the voice began again, but this time it was paired with images: Charles witnessed a little boy playing with chemistry sets, building models of molecules from Playdoh and colourful straws; the funeral of a father; the wedding of a mother; extensive intelligence testing. Charles was surprised by the parallels he found between these images and his own memories. "Xander?" He asked aloud, the sound of his voice still a foreign thing. "Is that who you are?"


Somewhere beyond the hazy memories, Charles was able to push against the consciousness which was Montgomery Alexander Charles, push into that consciousness and truly explore it. The memories flooded slowly over him, as water from a shower head, and he allowed himself to be saturated. Sensory data was transferred, pulled from one archive, then another, again and again until Xavier felt he had known this man his whole life. In fact, he could go so far as to say he felt as though he had been this man his entire life.

His heart went out to the poor young man to whom this body originally belonged. However, there was too much to be done, and the good doctor was afraid that he was running on borrowed time. "Don't worry, Xander," He muttered to himself, pulling on a coat of charcoal wool. "I'll make sure not to do anything reckless." Smirking, he pushed the thick black glasses up the long line of his nose. "You can trust me. I'm a doctor."