The air was still. Her heart was beating a thump, thump through her veins. She felt her breath, felt the coolness of the floor and the warmth of the sun. She heard the sound of chatter and water and footsteps, but she wasn't listening.
Her eyes snapped open, jade irises dilating in adjustment to the light. She saw her closed door, her dulled senses rushing back to brilliant focus. "Yes?"
I'm sorry for interrupting. The voice was smooth, apologetic and kind.
"That's okay," she replied, and waited.
I was wondering if you'd join me in my office? There's something we need to speak about, Laura.
"I will come now." She rose fluidly from her pose, reaching for her boots. Quickly she buckled the clasps up to her knees and set off downstairs, knocking on the large door of the Professor's office.
"Come in," and she did. She returned his soft smile with a blink and settled into a chair at his silent gesture that she should.
She met his level stare with a blank one, folding her hands in her lap. It was a while before he spoke; Laura counted the seconds to have something to do.
"You haven't been around the mansion lately."
"No," she answered, although lately she had been spending nights in her room instead of outside in the cold.
"Why is that, Laura?"
"I am not welcome," she answered simply. She wondered why he would ask such an obvious question.
"By who?" he asked softly. His eyes seemed to scrutinize her expression, which stayed flat and unreadable.
"You ask many questions with obvious answers," she said blandly, tilting her head to the side.
He laughed shortly and suddenly, and she wondered what was funny. "No, Laura, I... I am just worried. I am not blind or deaf to the fear and rejection many have of you... but you must realize, Laura... you are wanted here."
"Yes," she nodded once, although she was confused.
"I've asked you to come down here to tell you so, Laura." His brow pinched, his expression serious, his words firm. "You are welcome. As a mutant, as a human, as family. We care about you. I care about you, and I would like to see you more often."
"You have told me," she acknowledged his accomplishment and speculated when she could go, but it seemed as if he had more to say.
"You have been through an ordeal, Laura. I want to help you."
Those words gave her pause, and she stilled to stare at him. "You would like to help me?"
"Yes. Yes, I want to help you." He reached his folded hands across his desk, the gesture one of friendship. "I have spoken to Logan... about your past. About what was done to you. I can help you, Laura."
"How?" She whispered.
"Nothing invasive," he smiled. "I will not use my telepathy on you. You were conscious of what was done to you," and his lips turned downward, "and because of that, we will only talk."
"It's not a cure, Laura. But it's important to talk about our traumatic experiences, and over time talking will help you work through them. I understand if you feel uncomfortable coming to me, but I would not betray your confidence. I am sure that your friends... Kitty or Bobby... or Logan would all willingly listen to you." He paused then, and she looked deep into his open gaze for a long while, ignoring the heavy weight in her chest.
"I will think about it," she finally replied, and it was low and nearly inaudible.
Xavier nodded. "All right, Laura. And please, do not be shy anymore."