It is a thousand explosions all at once, and one tiny explosion, one small impact. Charles feels the reverberation of all the missiles at in the air above them, and then Erik falls to the sand, helmet tumbling off his head.
The pain is deep, but compared to living through Shaw's death it's nothing. Compared to everything else Erik has survived, it's nothing.
It's nothing. It's death. Erik may be dying.
Charles is on his knees at Erik's side, holding onto him, as Erik closes his eyes and grits his teeth and forces the bullet out of his back. He pants when he's done, fully spent, and Charles clutches at him, applies pressure to his back out of sheer desperate panic.
He looks up at Moira. //Radio. Now. Get help.//
Raven's hands are still over her mouth, but she steps forward and whispers, "Erik--"
Charles shakes his head at Raven. "Not now," he says, and when she tries to step forward anyway, he says it to all of them, holding them all in place. //Not now. Be still. No one touches him.//
His eyes go back to Moira, and this time he doesn't bother with the words. She's gone in a heartbeat, as fast as he could think it.
The rest of them watch him warily--what else can they do? He has all of them, eight minds under his control, and it's nothing, it's nothing. He believed in free will; he believed in the basic goodness of humanity.
He believed, and Moira tried to kill Erik.
When Moira comes back, she's shaken, pale. She knows she doesn't have to tell Charles that no one's coming. Erik is bleeding to death under Charles's hands, and no one's coming.
Moira goes to her knees and reloads her weapon.
//You did this,// Charles tells her, and she holds the gun to her head. //You. I could have stopped him. I could have made him see reason. And you thought his death was the only thing that could save us. Death for life. It's so easy for you humans, isn't it?//
Erik's hand curls around Charles's wrist, weak, so weak. But Charles looks down anyway.
"It wasn't her," Erik whispers. "You couldn't have. Don't blame her."
Charles sees it so clearly: the trigger firing, the bullet rocketing out of the barrel. Death for life; the only language humans speak.
The trigger doesn't move, even though Moira's hands are tight with strain.
"No." Erik squeezes Charles's wrist. "No. I won't--let you," he whispers. "Won't let you become me. Not for this."
It's all too much, and Charles lets Moira go, lets the rest of them go--no. Not all of them. He grips Azazel and draws him over.
"Hospital," Charles says, and he doesn't wait for Azazel to consent to that, either. Azazel puts a hand on Charles's shoulder, wraps his tail around Erik's wrist, and all three of them are gone. Let the humans sort out their mess; let the rest of the fools and children take care of themselves, for once.
//Don't die on me, Erik. You were right. You were right.//