‘Say something!’ Charles’ voice, off camera, urges. The image wobbles and blankets shift as he crawls up on the bed. Erik has pushed himself up on his elbows, hair tousled. There is yellow light on his face, his shoulders, his chest.
‘What do you want me to say?’ He laughs, and the sound is so easy.
‘Oh, I don’t know, anything, really.’ Erik looks up at the ceiling in consideration. The video wobbles again, another shift forward. ‘Get on with it, then!’ his voice insists as his hand reaches onto the screen and shoves playfully at Erik’s shoulder. Erik clears his throat loudly and sits up a bit straighter on the bed.
‘Testing, testing, this is Erik Lensherr,’ he announces, imitating the voice of a radio broadcaster.
‘Anything but that. Say something nice.’
‘Hello, Charles. I am speaking to you from the past.’
‘Hello, Charles Xavier of the future.’ Charles groans, and Erik waves a hand to silence him. ‘It’s 8:30 in the morning of May 12th, 1962, and you are being very annoying with your new toy. If you had not let me have sex with you last night, I would break it.’ Charles laughs, and it distorts the audio briefly.
‘You would not!’ he chides, and the image dips forward when he chuckles.
‘Oh, but I would. In an instant.’ Erik grins, wide, and clenches his fist in the air. ‘It is metal after all.’
‘But you love me too much to break my nice new things.’
‘Like I said, only if you had not agreed to have sex with me last night would breaking the camera be a consideration.’ He leans forward, the sheets folding around his hips. ‘By which I mean to say, if I did not love you so dearly, it would be a consideration. Come here. Get this on film.’ The view sweeps to the side as Erik lifts the camera on a cushion of magnetism, moving it until both of their profiles are framed. He looks directly into the camera, checking it, before turning around and purposefully pressing a kiss to Charles’ lips.
‘This is supposed to be a video of you!’ Charles groans, grabbing at the camera. He returns the focus to Erik, now much closer to the lens. The light reflecting off his eyes is still visible through the grain of the film.
‘But it’s so much better now that you’re in it.’ He grins again, and draws his head back from the lens. ‘Now put it away, or I really will break it. I’m hungry and you’re not going to film me eating breakfast.’
‘Fine, fine.’ The beginnings of a laugh are heard.
The image cuts to black with a click, and the tiny view-screen is empty. Charles moves his thumb to the rewind button, and the tape whirs furiously as it spins back the reel. If he watches he can see the time turn back: the kiss undoes itself, his hand draws away, Erik lies back into the pillow. He worries absently that he will damage the tape from the numerous consecutive rewinds, but does not move his finger from the button. The tape clicks when it reaches the beginning, and Charles presses play again, settling the camera back into its cradle in the lap of his dead legs. ‘Say something!’ He wipes an errant drop from the screen. ‘What do you want me to say?’ Two more fall in its place. He hastily dabs those away, too. ‘Oh, I don’t know, anything really.’ He swipes violently at his cheek with the palm of his hand, and it comes away wet. ‘Get on with it!’ Something loud and choked fights to escape his throat, but he pushes it back down. His chest aches. He brushes quickly at his face again, dampening the sleeve of his cardigan. ‘Anything but that. Say something nice.’ And as his breath hitches painfully, a crackling voice laughs and says,
‘Hello, Charles. I am speaking to you from the past.’ And there is no holding it in.