When they get back to the mansion, Charles immediately heads for Cerebro. Erik follows, knowing that it's their best shot at finding the child quickly. Matthew follows as well, which Erik thinks is more related to him not knowing where else to go. The kids have come spilling out of various rooms, all asking questions at once. Erik interrupts them with a pointed look, and a brief summary.
"Charles is going to attempt to use Cerebro to locate a missing young mutant."
That only starts a new flood of questions.
"Who's the kid?"
"Where did you go?"
"Did you bring pizza?"
Knowing he isn't going to get peace until they get answers, Erik responds.
"A child named Scott; that is his foster brother Matthew; we went to New York City where they were living; and no, we didn't get pizza."
Hank is hanging back, not knowing how the new person will react to his appearance. Not that Matthew seems to actually notice. He's got a hand on the back of Charles wheelchair and his entire focus seems to be Charles' explanation of Cerebro.
"But how will you find Scott specifically, if you can see so many minds at once?"
"I'll limit my range to the vicinity of New York, and specifically search for those in distress." Charles explains, "I'll widen my search from there."
"But how will you know you've found Scott and not someone else who needs help?"
"Mutant minds tend to be… louder. And if I search for male mutants with a mind more mature than a child's but not as developed as a young adult's, then that should narrow it down nicely."
"And you can really reach all those minds at the same time?" That always amazes Erik too.
"Not quite, it's more like wandering a library and seeing all the books on the shelves. You can get a general idea, but I'd have to pick one and focus to really know who I'm looking at." Then Charles winces, "I apologize."
"It's fine," the boy says, "I understand the analogy."
Erik finds the exchange odd, but their arrival at Cerebro prevents him from asking about it.
"Now, Erik if you'd be so kind as to get Matthew settled into a room?" the kid tries to interrupt or protest, "At the moment, the best way you can assist is by getting acclimated. Hank would you run the programs? I want to do this as quickly and thoroughly as possible."
Erik isn't happy about having to leave, but he can't do anything to help with a Cerebro search. He attempts to send Charles his appreciation for something to do coupled with the frustration of not being able to do something actually helpful. It must make sense to Charles, because he receives a warm feeling of understanding in return.
Erik thought the hardest part would be getting the rest of the kids to stop hovering. Turns out, having conversations with teenagers he doesn't know is worse. Matthew seems polite enough, but stressed and worried. All to be expected, Erik supposes. He has noticed that the kid has an odd habit of tilting his head toward a person instead of facing them. He suspects the boy's hearing is significantly better than his sight and has become his primary sense.
But really, he's faced down monsters and murderers, talking to a worried young man should not be this hard. He compromises by giving a running commentary on the mansion. They have to pass the kitchen/dining area to get to the stairs where they pass the library and go up another floor to get to the bedrooms. It gives Erik plenty to describe.
Well, naming each room and explaining where the other important places are doesn't take much talking. Telling Matthew about the fastest routes down the hidden servants' staircases/entrances takes much more time.
"I can hear them, now that I know what to listen for."
"How does that work?" Erik gets the feeling that it's a rude question, but he's curious.
"I get what's almost a… a radar?"
"Echolocation? Like a bat?"
"It's similar, but it's much more than that. I can feel the difference in temperature from another person, or the way the walls feel slightly cooler than the air. The scent of food in the kitchen, but also of fresh air coming from an open window. I can hear Dr. Xavier's heartbeat, and the heartbeats of everyone else in the building."
"How do you tell heartbeats apart?"
"At first I couldn't, but after a while it was like footsteps or voices. If you know what someone sounds like most of the time, it's not hard to differentiate them from someone else."
It makes as much sense to Erik as anything else, he supposes. At first, all metal had felt the same to him. As he had practiced and grown, he had begun to differentiate between types and determine shape without having to really search for it. Being able to sense all the metal in his immediate area had saved his life more than once.
Erik directs them to the kitchen; after the boy drops his bag off in a guest room. He and Charles had missed breakfast and lunch, and he knows Matthew missed lunch at the least. The rest of the kids seem to have gathered there, which could be unfortunate given their tendency to stick their noses in other people's business.
They seem to be attempting to make food. From previous attempts, it would likely turn out questionable looking or questionably edible, with no in between. The kids were obviously curious about Matthew, but Erik was reluctantly impressed to find they held their tongues. Matthew did step in to help, citing experience in the group home's kitchen. They wound up making spaghetti, and insisted that Erik should just watch given he had been driving all day.
Erik had to admit, it's really hard to mess up spaghetti.
When Sean and Raven try to season the sauce, Matthew gives his opinion from across the kitchen.
"You can tell from all the way over there?" Raven asks.
Matthew laughs slightly, "I can tell you made pancakes for breakfast."
"I can smell flour and syrup. That generally means pancakes or waffles, and there's a skillet that smells like batter in the sink, but I didn't notice a waffle iron."
That line of questioning is interrupted when Matthew says, "Any luck?"
"I'm afraid not quite yet," Charles says, as he and Hank reach the doorway. Erik hadn't even noticed them coming. "After dinner I'll try again."
"Good timing, the noodles are ready to be taken off the stove."
Alex startles at the mention of his contribution to dinner, and does so.
Dinner is more distracted than awkward. Raven, social chameleon that she is, keeps the conversation going with enough small-talk to avoid that. She even manages to draw Matthew in enough for him to reveal that he has two years left of high school, and wants to be a lawyer someday.
It's as their cleaning up that Matthew finally addresses the elephant in the room.
"You didn't find him."
"No, there was an alarming amount of people in distress within my usual range, but none that quite seemed like who we're looking for."
"Would it help to read my mind," Matthew suggests, "and try to work off what I know of him?"
"No, no I would be getting your memories and impressions of him. It would require an in-depth analysis of his mind to match them and would ultimately be no faster than going one-by-one."
Hank and Charles then get into a discussion relating to adjusting Cerebro to increase the accuracy and how that would affect the range. At least, that's what Erik thinks they're talking about. His knowledge of technology is primarily mechanical; psychic-assisting computers are very much not his area. They also have this irritating tendency to use unnecessarily complex technical terms.
Judging by the resignation on Raven's face and the bafflement on Sean and Alex's, at least he wasn't the only one confused.
Matthew seemed not to even register the discussion, sunglasses directed blankly down toward the table.
"Maybe try looking for someone who isn't scared."
Everyone turns to Alex.
"What?" He crosses his arms defensively, "You're looking for a scared kid and you can't find him. Try looking for something else."
"That would make sense." Matthew agrees, "Scott is good at compartmentalizing. He knows how to bury fear when it isn't useful to him. Try searching for someone who is some combination of nervous or angry, but mostly determined."
Hank and Charles make their way back toward Cerebro, leaving the rest of them to wait.