For years he kept the coin as both a reminder and a promise to himself and his mother. That coin gave him the strength to get through the horrors and pain of Shaw’s ‘training’. It fed his anger and his goals as he traveled the world, hunting down Shaw and his associates. He wouldn’t let his mother’s murder be un-avenged.
And so he hadn’t. Erik had taken that coin with all its memories and the detested image of Nazi degradations and pressed into Shaw’s forehead, pushing it in and in until it went through his brain and out the back, killing Shaw.
His vengeance fulfilled and his path diverging so widely from Charles’, Erik found himself unexpectedly adrift. He’d never pictured a life beyond Shaw’s death. Erik had assumed he wouldn’t survive the experience. In the new life that stretched out before him Erik felt lost and cut off from his new followers.
In that emptiness, Erik found himself with a new memento to replace his coin. The bullet he’d pulled out of Charles’ back. The one he’d inadvertently harmed his friend with and caused Charles to end up in a wheelchair. Cleaned of his friend’s blood, it had become Erik’s cherished possession.
There was pain and loss attached to it as much as with his coin. But there was also the memories of a time where he’d found a home for the first time since losing his family, a degree of happiness and the finding of a dear friend. It reminded him of his and Charles’ recruiting drive, the slow evolution of becoming friends. That bullet was the remembrance of warmth, of chess games and finding an equal to himself.
Of the comfort and joy he found in the press of Charles’ mind against his and how Charles had given him the happy times of his family that Erik had locked away with his mother’s death. Emma’s touch left him cold and empty.. She was a pale image of the vibrant mind of Charles Xavier and the peace Erik had found from his friend’s mental touch.
One day, as he spun the bullet in the air with his powers, Erik remembered the eve before they went into battle over Cuba. Of an excellent game of chess in front of a roaring fire and Charles’ smile. The caress of his mind against Erik, and the warm press of his mouth to Charles in a chaste kiss. There had been such promise in that kiss, the hope of a future entwined with his friend and of something much deeper.
When he looked back at the bullet hovering in the air, Erik found he’d re-shaped it. No longer the misshapen form of a spent bullet it was a ring. Erik plucked it out of the air, turning it over in his fingers to find it seamless.
Erik slid it onto the third finger of his left hand, the band fitting perfectly. He stared at it for a long time, before closing his hand in a fist. When Emma called him to the conference room, Erik left the ring on. He ignored the looks from his followers as he was briefed.
The ring never left his finger. Ever. Not even during the worst confrontations with Charles and his X-Men.