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24 March 2014 @ 06:30 am
fic: Ghost in the Shell (X-Men, Charles/Erik, Interactive Fiction)  
Title: Ghost in the Shell
Fandom: X-Men Movieverse
Pairing: mostly gen, with some Charles/Erik
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Post-X3 interactive fiction. "Well, we've been going through some of the professor's things since he…" Hank says. He lets out a shuddery breath before composing himself. "Ms. Munroe and I have been busy with the personal effects, the physical ones anyway, but we could use a hand going through his computer files. You don't have to organize them or anything as complicated as that. We just want to know what's there so we can figure out what to do with them later."
Notes: Will not play nicely with mobile devices. I have not tested it in IE, and some functionality may not work with it. More detailed notes can be found at the end!


You're walking down the main hallway in the west wing of the mansion after the final classes of the day when Hank pulls you aside.

"This is a delicate matter," he says, taking his glasses off and wiping them with a cloth. "Normally, I wouldn't ask students for assistance in such things, but we are currently short on staff, and I am running out of options." He gives a rueful smile, all sharp teeth. When some of the parents come by while Hank is at the mansion, they tend react to his blue fur and yellow eyes with varying levels of surprise, apprehension, and fear. But you've known him long enough that he only reminds you of the warm, fuzzy hugs he gives to all the students whenever they're feeling stressed out or upset or sad. He's been giving out a lot of hugs lately.

"What is it?" you ask. You know that the school has been short-staffed for a while since-- since Scott and the Professor both--

You're old enough to be helping out now. Older than either Rogue or Bobby, and they've both out in the field with the team several times by now. There are some students who can't wait to join up, who look forward to the day when they'll be considered ready to go out in the field with the rest of the team. They'll make plans to go to college, and they'll major in something practical, but everyone knows that a few years down the road, they'll be back. To teach classes, to keep track of the expenses, to learn how to operate Cerebro or the jet.

That's never been your dream for yourself. After you graduate, you intend on having a normal life. As normal as it gets for mutants, anyway. Maybe not a white picket fence, two dogs, and a house in the country, but at least your own apartment, your own stained coffee table, your own overflowing bookshelves. As much as the professor has given you, you'd like to make your own way in the world, outside of his shadow.

That's for later, though. Right now, the school is short-staffed, and as one of the older students, you've been responsible for enforcing lights out and putting some time into one-on-one tutoring that the teachers don't have time for anymore. You don't mind it so much. You like being useful.

"Well, we've been going through some of the professor's things since he…" Hank says. He lets out a shuddery breath before composing himself. "Ms. Munroe and I have been busy with the personal effects, the physical ones anyway, but we could use a hand going through his computer files. You don't have to organize them or anything as complicated as that. We just want to know what's there so we can figure out what to do with them later." He clears his throat. "And there may be some, ah, sensitive information in his files involving Magneto from the days when the two of them worked together. We'd like to know about anything like that sooner rather than later."

It's pretty common knowledge that Magneto and the professor used to be friends, though only the oldest students know much about what that was like. All you know is the way Ms. Munroe looked when she was trying to keep everyone in their rooms after Magneto kidnapped Rogue, pinched and angry, and the way the professor would still sometimes calls him Erik during classes, like maybe they were still friends.

"Yeah," you say. "I can do that." You were always one of the better students in the programming classes Scott used to teach. And he hasn't taught any of those after Jean died. This is simple enough. You can do this. Go through the files. Find anything involving Magneto. Simple.

Hank's smile gets a little wider, a little realer. "Thank you," he says.

"No problem," you say. You try to smile back, but you're not sure if it reaches your eyes.

---

The professor's office is quiet, untouched. Hank and Ms. Munroe must not have gotten around to cleaning it out yet. You know this room, from the smooth wooden surface of the desk to odd assortment of art scattered around the room to the large window shaded by nearby trees. You were six the first time you were in here, bracketed on both sides by your parents. You don't remember what was said during that meeting, but you do remember that the professor smiled at you, and you remember how his smile was gentle and how his eyes were kind.

There's a new computer on his desk, sleek and new and shining. Ms. Munroe upgraded the hardware last year over the professor's protests. He was attached to this ugly, beige CRT monitor down in the sub-basement, but she insisted that he should have his own computer up here as well. You run your fingers over the smooth plastic of the keyboard and take a deep breath.

There's no chair behind the desk, so you have to move one other ones in the room into the right position before you sit down. You take a piece of paper out of your pocket, the one where Hank wrote down the professor's username and password. You lay it flat on the desk next to you.

username: cxavier
password: ivebeentothemountaintop

You boot up the computer, waiting for the login prompt to appear.