//Continued from Guest Rooms: Alex in the Temporary Doghouse//
Charles shut the door, then rotated his chair with care, the liquor bottle still resting in his lap. He faced Scott and stopped. The hallway was peaceful at that hour, softly lit by the wall sconces near the stairs, and silent, the vast majority of the mansion residents--with the possible exception of Mr. Starsmore and the girls' pajama party in the basement--already fast asleep, wrapped in the comfortable quiet of a winter's night. It left them alone in the third floor hallway, surrounded only by closed doors and the listening house.
Charles folded his hands over the bottle and surveyed Scott for a moment.
"No one in the house knows your brother like you do," he said softly. He paused, then added with care, "And I believe I am safe in saying that no one else in this house understands, as you do, the terrible depths of an addiction.
"I know you are exhausted, Scott. It has been a long day for all of us, but you most of all. You led your team through a terrible mission and brought them all home again. Alive." He stressed that; saying that the team was alive and whole would be stretching the truth a bit much. "But there was a second team left behind today, to guard this house. And that second team is in danger of losing one of its leaders. To that end, I need you to be Cyclops." His voice was infinitely kind. "For just a few minutes more."
Charles inclined his head toward the closed door of Alex's room. "How long has Alex been drinking to this extreme?"