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05/20/01: I knew in my heart that I'd never be afraid again (Part two)
by Shadow Kitty, AKA Jen

(Last month, our hero took up her pen to record the first entry in her diary...)

"The professor wanted me to retell everything that I feel in a book and write it down and tell what I think. Mostly, I think I just miss Annie. She was my bestest friend who died and I kind of died with her--only I got better. I don't think the professor will ever replace Annie but he is a nice guy and he took me away from the dark place. I guess I could like him..."

Moira had been watching Charles, as she wondered what he was planning to do with the girl. He had been very vague when he called her, but he wanted her to come see the young girl who he had discovered. She sipped her coffee slowly as she continued to watch Charles from across the small coffee table reading a newspaper.

She lets out a sigh. "Honestly, Charles, how long are ye gonnae keep me in the dark?"

"Hmmm?" Xavier said, as he let his paper fall away from him and land on the table.

"Ye know what I am talkin about, Charles Xavier! I donnae appreciate bein told to pack my bags and come quickly without a reason as to why." Her features softened and she smirked a little. "But as ye know, I am willin to do anythin for ye..."

He considered her for a time before he answered. "Jean is the first," he finally said. "I could not tell you in front of the girl, but I have plans for her. She's quite powerful. I believe, with the right training, she will eventually have more power than even I. It is for this reason that I feel she is the perfect choice to start with. She has a good heart and soul, both which will have to be tempered to meet the challenges of the future, with the rough times that are looming over the horizon. It has been my life's work and I wanted you to experience it with me."

He had that glimmer in his eye. The glimmer that Moira knew quite a bit about. The one that blinded Charles Francis Xavier from everything but his dream. She had heard about it, for some time, but this was the first time she had seen something concrete come from it. "I'm quite flattered by that. There is no place I would rather be than here, by your side, to see the first step of your dream become a reality." Her eye brow arched slightly as she took another sip of her coffee.

Xavier knew what was coming. He drew in a breath as he watched her movements.

"But...it is gonna be a slow and difficult process, Charles, ye know that. It will probably take years for her to accept and to control her abilities. A slow and delicate process..." He was correct. That was one thing he always loved about Moira: She had a way of letting him see the big picture. "You are quite right." The glimmer had started to fade. "It will be well worth the effort in the end. Just give Jean a few more years of growing and maturing. By then, she will be quite ready to take up her responsibility if she so chooses."

"I'm sure she will be," Moira said as she finished her coffee. "I'm sure she will."

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A few weeks later

Jean sat across from Xavier in his small office. She was now more comfortable around him. Over the last three weeks, he had pushed her through various sorts of intensive training to strengthen her mind and her control over it. One of her first lessons was blocking out the thoughts of others.

She would never be able to completely block the surface thoughts around her, but she would eventually come to a point where they would not trouble her as much, the professor told her on her first day of training. The idea of being without the noise of other people's thoughts in her head was Heaven. She had a very hard time remembering what it was like prior to Annie's death. Xavier told her that over the years, she will have an easier time remembering. The wound was too fresh; the pain was too new that the only thing that she could do was block out the memories. She hoped that the professor was right.

"Jean..." Xavier asked calmly. "Did you hear me?"

Jean snapped to alertness. "I'm sorry, Professor. My thoughts...were somewhere else. She touched her long braid and brought it over her shoulder.

Xavier smiled. "I can tell. If we want to get anything finished today, I need you to concentrate on the task at hand." Xavier prided himself on being a strict taskmaster, but he could not bring himself to punish Jean for her disobedience. He was afraid if he tried anything, that the worst would happen: Jean would return to the state she had been in weeks before. They had come so far since then; he needed to be careful with her for still a while yet.

Jean leaned back in her seat then let her entire body relax. She started with relaxing her feet and then went upward to the top of her head. When she did this, a weird sort of energy would wash over her. "It is the power over the body your mind has," Professor Xavier had told her before. With each time of going through deep relaxation, it would become easier and easier for her body to become relaxed.

Now with her body in a state of relaxation, she would be able to perform the task Professor Xavier had asked of her. She lowered her rate of breathing and started inhaling through her mouth and exhaling through her nose. She could hear her heart racing. She became aware of the other functions of her body; it was at that moment she was in touch with every cell and every organ in her body. She became aware of the things around her in the room: Professor Xavier's breathing; the light buzzing noise the odd machine on Professor Xavier's desk made; the musty smell of the books in the bookcase opposite her against the far East wall. She could even feel the heat from the West window against her skin and she could even hear the birds chirping outside the window from their nests in the tree. It was in this state of awareness that she was ready to start her task. Professor Xavier told her that in order to keep her thoughts from being scanned by other telepaths, and to lower the sound level of the surface thoughts around her, a wall must be built in her mind. After she started the building of the wall, she could feel Professor Xavier there with her in the form of an astral projection.

 ~You are coming along with it very well, Jean. You could not be doing any better. Now enough of this particular exercise. I have another task I wish for you to try. This one you have not tried before.~

Jean was pleased with herself, though it did make her a little nervous as she wondered what Professor Xavier had planned for her to do next. ~All right, Professor.~

 ~Jean, I need you to continue concentrating. This time, instead of concentrating inwardly, into your own mind, I  want you to send your mind out and tell me what you are seeing. You can see how far you can send your mind, if you like, but be warned, you are not experienced enough with this facet of your ability. Your mind might suffer repercussions from what you are about to attempt.~

Jean decided to be easy on herself and not try anything very risky. ~Oh, I don't want that to happen. Would it be all right if I just tried to see outside of the mansion? Is that too far?~

 ~That is perfectly fine, Jean. This task is different from the others I have had you attempt: I will now be in your mind with  you..~ He disliked having to take a step back. It was similar to when a young child is about to venture out on their bicycle without training wheels, or without their parent holding on, for the first time. Only in Jean's position, she could get seriously injured if something disastrous happened.

Jean felt Professor Xavier leave her mind. It was a very weird feeling; it was almost like all of the warmth was leaving the room and a cold void was entering. She took a breath before she was ready to attempt sending her mind outward. She could feel a pang of nervousness in her stomach. She was not going to let her nervous feelings get the best of her. She counted to three, and then gave a big push to her mind, sending it outward. A flash of nausea passed over her and a sea of color flashed in front of her mind's eye. In the moment it took her to recover, she became instantly aware that she was now outside. Everything in her field of vision was bright. Everything was vividly colored, almost to the point of blinding. It was not just her sight that was expanded, her other senses were expanded as well. She could hear the buzzes of honeybees as they pollinated the roses by the lake. The waters were a crystal blue-green, possibly even the same color as the water that she had seen in that photograph weeks ago in the hallway. The sun was dipping down into the waters with a stretch of color left on the sky from the sun's dying rays. It was the most beautiful experience that she had ever been through. There was no way she could vocalize what she was going through.

She pulled her mind back, feeling once again nausea rush over her. Her eyelids flew open. She brought her blurry gaze back on Professor Xavier. She was back in his drab office. None of the colors were as bright as the one's she had experienced outside. Her muscles were sore, and she felt like she had been awake for twenty-four hours straight. "That...was amazing," Jean said groggily.

Xavier smiled satisfied with her accomplishment. He did not need to even talk to her about it to know what she had experienced. When he himself first experienced that facet of his ability, he was astounded. "Jean, I want you to continue working on seeing how far you can send your mind in addition to building up your mental barrier."

Jean nodded slowly. She was learning so much about her ability and how much vast power she herself possessed. Professor Xavier had helped her so much with leading her down the road of finding herself, as well as leading her away from the darkness and the loneliness.

"Dear Diary, It feels strange, my head does. As if I had the biggest brain in the world and I needed to fill it with everything, like it was always hungry. Professor Xavier explained that it is because I'm different but that this aspect of my, what's the word, 'mutation' will pass. He is a brilliant man. He has helped me so much since I started staying here at his mansion in Westchester--I don't think I could ever repay him for making me better."

The next day, Professor wanted Jean to work on Cerebro with him. Jean sat across from Professor as he typed something into the keyboard on the panel.

"And what exactly is Cerebro, Professor?," Jean asked. All she could tell was that Cerebro was an odd contraption with a monitor, panel, and some weird helmet that was connected to the monitor and panel by some wires.

Without looking at her, he answered: "It is a device that picks up the brainwaves of Mutants throughout the world. The range is somewhat limited at the moment, I am afraid. But sometime, I know it will work. Tonight, I want you to help me calibrate it." He stopped typing into the panel, lifted up the helmet, and handed it to Jean.

The helmet was really heavy as she placed it slowly over her head. After Jean had the helmet on, the sounds that were already audible in the room were echoing inside the helmet.

"Now I am going to turn it on," Xavier said. Jean could not make out the words that he said. She could see that his lips were moving, but his voice was drowned out by the other noises in the room. She watched him flip the switch.

She braced herself for something to happen. At first, nothing did happen. A moment later, she felt her mind being expanded. She became nauseated as the feelings and thoughts of others shot into her mind all at once.

"Jean, I want you to concentrate. Pick out one of the voices you hear and tell me what they feel." Instead of speaking with his lips, he projected what he wanted her to do directly into her mind. His voice was louder and crisper compared to all of the other voices.

Jean nodded. All of the voices were muddled together, so she picked one randomly. She concentrated on that single voice, while letting everything else go: The hollow background noises of the professor's numerous devices; the other voices. The only thing that was important was that single voice. The Professor turned a knob, silencing all of the other voices except for the one that Jean was concentrating on.

Moment by moment, the thoughts and the emotions became clear. The person she was sensing was lonely and tired. She suddenly got a flash of who the person was: A boy roughly about her age. His thoughts and emotions were sad, but the melody that his mind made was wonderful. Jean wanted to sing with the tune...to let him know that there was someone else out there who was like him and had gone through the amount of pain that he was feeling. She sensed that there was something that he was deathly afraid of, but even with the effort she exerted in pushing herself in unlocking it, his fear was bound tight.

She wanted to know more about this person...needed to know more about him. He was everything that she had hoped for: A person who was going through a similar situation that she was. He was not someone who had been there for her like Professor Xavier, or Ms. MacTaggert. He was someone she could call a friend. She wanted to tell him so much. She wanted to tell him things that she could never tell her parents or the professor, even though he was like her; she had a feeling he would not quite understand.

Next month, Jean continues to come to terms with her new found power.