"Telepathy is so stupid. It’s, like, the worst mutant power ever."
"Telepathy is not stupid!" David snapped.
He was so angry, he had to keep it from flowing out. It was hard but his dad said it was very important not to project on people. It could be very dangerous and cause trouble with the school.
But this new kid Pietro was such, such a… “Asswipe!” David yelled, pulling the word from Pietro’s own consciousness because he wasn’t allowed to swear and nothing harsher than ‘jerk’ was coming to mind.
Pietro rolled his eyes and suddenly became a blur. The next thing David knew his shoulders were hurting and he was on the ground. When he looked up, Pietro was back in the spot he had been, but with David’s backpack at his feet, leafing through one of his notebooks.”
"Boring, boring. Wow! Boring! You actually take notes. I’d a figured you could just read the teacher’s mind with your fancy telepathic powers."
Unable to stop himself, he imagined Pietro’s own hand coming up to slap him in the face. Which is exactly what happened. Pietro stumbled and looked at his own hand with a dazed look, before throwing David’s notebook to the ground and yelling, “You are so dead!”
Feeling like he was going to get in trouble, but also feeling a little victorious, David said, “What are you going to do? Beat me up? I’ll make you think you’re a monkey and you’ll run around screaming and scratching your own butt in front of the whole school.”
For a second, Pietro looked scared, but ended quickly. “Nuh uh. I’m way too fast for you. You’d never stop me in time.”
"I’ve been training with my dad. He’s the most powerful telepath in America."
David wasn’t actually sure about that, but Dad was always finding people for the police and the FBI and SHIELD, so he had to be pretty good.
"Yeah well my dad’s super powerful, like, he can crush buildings. He could sink this whole city. Your wimpy dad can just, like, read minds. And if you did that my dad would totally smash your dad."
"Who exactly is going to be smashing whom?"
Suddenly a looming, sharp consciousness who must have been Mr. Lehnsherr appeared. He and Pietro’s twin sister Wanda, who was way less annoying than Pietro, were standing right by them in the nearly empty playground. Wanda ran to sit on one of the low balance bars and pulled a little pouch of Pop Rocks out of one of her skirt pockets, like she was watching a movie. Mr. Lehnsherr was very tall and there was something about his presence that put off the idea of reading his mind. David didn’t like the way he was smiling.
"You’re gonna beat up his dumb dad," Pietro said joyfully.
Wanda snorted, while Mr. Lehnsherr just looked at him curiously. “Am I?”
Pietro started jumping about in place, punching the air. “Yeah!”
"And why would I do that?"
"Because David’s a—" Pietro stopped himself, clearly about to swear, but apparently he really wasn’t allowed to do that. "Mean kid."
"I’m mean?" David spat. "You tripped me in Math class!"
"You said I was wrong in front of everybody!"
"What on Earth is going on here?"
David stopped completely hearing his dad’s voice. It wasn’t his ‘You can have cookies if you do your homework’ voice either. It was his ‘You haven’t been listening and I’m very disappointed in you’ voice, which always wound up being more angry than disappointed. He rolled up closer from around the street corner, looking concerned.
Dad’s mental presence was all around him, firm but secure, impossible to push against. I could feel you trying to start a fight halfway down the block he thought.
"Sorry about this," Mr. Lehnsherr started. "My little delinquent— Charles? Charles Xavier?"
Suddenly Dad’s slightly angry, confused face changed to something David couldn’t quite recognize. He looked a little like he was about to laugh, but just stared with his mouth open for a moment.
If David thought Mr. Lehnsherr’s smile before was a little scary that was nothing compared the big toothy one he gave Dad. But Dad was definitely not scared. He laughed and rolled closer.
David could tell by the prolonged silence that Dad was having a telepathic conversation with Mr. Lehnsherr, which… was kind of shocking, really. Dad didn’t converse with just anyone.
"Wait," Pietro said, looking very disappointed. "You know each other?"
Neither of the dads responded.
"It’s good to see you, old friend. I didn’t know you were back in the city."
"We just moved. I’m afraid I have to sour our arrival with some bad news. You and I are meant to fight. The boys were having a dispute and that’s apparently the only way to settle it."
"Is that so?" Dad said, looking back at David.
David wanted to melt into a crack in the cement. Even Pietro was starting to look guilty. Wanda giggled with a fizzing mouthful of Pop Rocks.
"Well, it won’t be much of a fight."
Mr. Lehnsherr smiled his small, sharp smile. “I know. You’d have me pinned in minutes.”
For some reason that made both of the adults laugh and stare at each other some more. But David was concerned when Mr. Lehnsherr leaned down and for a crazy moment looked like he was actually going to do something terrible to his wheelchair bound father. Instead, Mr. Lehnsherr kept leaning down until his lips were on Dad’s lips.
It took a moment to realize that they were kissing. His dad was kissing annoying Pietro’s dad.
Pietro yelled, “Oh my gooooooood!” a few times, running around in a circle, but too distraught to run at mutant speeds. Wanda dropped her Pop Rocks and covered her eyes with her hands.
David looked away for what felt like forever, until finally he heard Dad clear his throat and say, “There. Well, I hope that teaches you a lesson.”
David wasn’t sure what lesson he was supposed to learn, but he was never going to fight with anyone again if it wound up with his Dad kissing everybody. In fact when he looked at Pietro again they seemed to be sharing the same amount of regret.
Mr. Lehnsherr grinned. “I missed fighting with you, Charles.”
"We must fight more often, old friend."
David would have preferred just to be grounded.