Sometimes it had perturbed Charles that he didn’t remember much of his childhood, at least not after his father died and his mother remarried. By all rights he should have an incredible memory – for the mind never really forgot things, simply how to access them, and that was hardly an issue for him.
Perhaps it was simply because he had been unhappy. When he was small, when his father was still alive, everything was fine, and it became wonderful after he met Raven, because suddenly it didn’t matter how empty the mansion was, or how distant his mother was, or how infrequently he saw his father, because she was there and he was no longer alone in every way that mattered. Those memories were perfect, crystal clear, but things started to go foggy after his father died. He had first met Kurt Marko at the funeral, and though the man had crouched down next to him and patted him on the knee, the picture of a concerned family friend, his mind had been – bad, that was the only word young Charles had had for it, and it hurt to touch. His son, Cain, hadn’t been much better, but for such a different reason, so much pain and anger twisted up on itself, seeming – through the eyes of a child – immense and endless.
Kurt courted his mother in slow way that belied his intentions and charmed her, and she didn’t listen – of course, never listened – when Charles tried to convince her he was not a good man. Just jealousy, she thought. He misses his father, she thought. He could have convinced her easily, of course; he had done it before, for Raven – just the tiniest nudge to make it seem she had always been there – and while he hadn’t regretted it then (never regretted it, not for Raven) he knew he would if he did this time. He was still just a child, barely a teenager, but he was older for the time he had spent in the minds of others, and he understood the concept of a slippery slope.
He remembered the marriage even more vaguely – it was unhappy, he knew, even having spent so little time with his mother. The only thing that was clear about that time was Raven, as things got worse and they grew closer, until it seemed that was all he had. The last whole, complete memory he had before college was his mother’s funeral. And then – there were still small memories, random memories, not at all special; things he had been taught, but could no longer remember learning – but for the most part it was a blank.
And then there was college, and everything returned to normal, to how it had been before Kurt Marko. He was young and rich, intelligent and fairly attractive, he thought, and he was with Raven; everything was wonderful and he made new memories, memories that made the dark years before seem unimportant. And when he did turn his attention on that strange unnerving blank – knowing his mind better than he would ever know anything or anyone, knowing on some level he had to be responsible for it – there always seemed to be other things to do, more important things to do, and he left it alone.
And for a long time, that was that.
The headaches come first.
He doesn’t think anything of them at first, because of course he would have headaches, at the very least, after what happened. But the beach is an open wound, too raw and painful to revisit, so he takes painkillers and pours himself into learning how to operate without the use of his legs, into his work, into more important things, the most important things he has ever done.
He does not call it recruiting. Once he has mostly recovered, as Hank is finishing up the new Cerebro, Charles uses Alex’s admittedly hazy memories of his childhood as a starting point in tracking down his brother, Scott. When Scott’s arrival delays the implantation of Cerebro longer (because he is so heartbreakingly scared of what will happen if he opens his eyes), Charles discovers Jean Grey’s parents looking for him – not for him, really, but for someone, anyone, to help their little girl, and he gently convinces them to let her stay even after she’s woken up so it will never happen again. And when the machine is finally operational, he cautiously tests it by finding Warren – with small white wings hidden under a coat – in nearby Centerport, though even that leaves him with such a migraine that once the helmet is off he pitches forward and throws up all over poor Hank’s shoes.
Needless to say, they wait before trying again.
Charles focuses instead on the children – all of them are so young and so very scared. Alex and Sean are proving efficient teachers in their own rights, Alex helping Scott to acclimatize to the visor Hank eventually managed to fashion, and Sean teaching Warren to fly, even if their methods of doing so are very different. Overseeing them, and tutoring Jean himself, Charles does not notice when the headaches become daily occurrences, and only pays it a little mind when they become constant.
He has more important things to do.
Feelings start leaking through next.
Again, Charles hardly notices. There are already so many things he doesn’t let himself think of, after all. He offers no real explanation when Warren asks why Hank is blue, of all things (the same reason you have your wings, I’d imagine is what he says instead, and Hank does not elaborate). Charles tells Jean he understands, that he knows what it feels like to have someone die in your mind, but he leaves it at that. When Sean jokingly suggests pushing Warren off the satellite, Charles simply says that would probably not be the best idea – he does not mention the difference would be that Sean, wearing metal, had actually been perfectly safe when Erik had done it. The satellite itself is a subject his mind stutters away from, much the same way his eyes do, whenever they happen to fall upon it.
The children – and he includes Alex and Sean and Hank in that category – need a leader, not a man mired in grief and regret, so he doesn’t think about the beach and everything it changed except that it means he is down two (friends, family) teammates. He spends so much time pretending to be infallible, but he is anything but (obviously), and he is not surprised that on occasion he finds himself breathless with sudden melancholy or excusing himself so he doesn’t take a flush of irrational rage out on his students.
What is out of place is the fear. Which isn’t to say he isn’t afraid; he is, he’s terrified, but this fear is wrong. He fears he isn’t doing the right thing, or he isn’t strong enough, and he will fail – and by extension fail the people depending on him – but this is the panic of a boy, desperate and blind and alien. It comes in a rush and makes him duck under the stairs one day, one hand clasped over his mouth until he can gulp down the sobs and get himself under control.
He still catches Hank staring at him when he gets to the lab, looking concerned, and Charles doesn’t know if he’s projecting or if it simply shows on his face, but he carefully begins reinforcing his shields nevertheless.
The feelings feed on one another. Soon, his fears have become certainties.
‘Am I doing the right thing?’ No, of course not. If you were doing the right thing they wouldn’t have left, he wouldn’t have left. The last right thing you did was – the place between rage and serenity – if only you had had the good grace to die on that beach – would it have saved him? He is the leader they need, the leader you could never be, because you need him too.
He begins taking his meals in his room.
Raven, young and pale, and he is so scared for her, but it is – again – not the right sort of fear, a boy’s fear, beating soft panicked wings against the edges of his mind.
Big hands, so big.
It hurts more than anything he has ever known, more than the bullet, more than their leaving.
He wants to die.
For such a smart man, Professor, you can be – have always been – incredibly stupid.
They’re just following orders.
You could have stopped him, all you had to do was say the right thing, but instead you said that, the same thing every one of the men responsible for killing his mother would have used to wash their hands of her death. How could you have been so stupid?
these useless legs
you deserve this.
He has no excuses he can give any of the students. He turns and leaves in the middle of a conversation, ignoring Sean’s soft, confused, “Professor?”
Charles puts his energy into shielding himself.
It was arrogance to think you deserved to love him in the first place.
He was so – strong, beautiful – so much more than you ever were, than you will ever be.
At least he has Raven – perfect, beloved – at least you did that.
You never deserved either of them.
You are – wrong, disgusting – he knew.
That’s why you let him –
By the time he understands what’s happening it’s too late, much too late. Even if he was thinking with a clear head, he wouldn’t have known – how shocking! – what to do.
He begins sleeping in Erik’s old room, as if he can steal strength from the fading scent of the other man.
He can feel the students; they are projecting their worry so intensely.
Professor, what’s wrong? I don’t understand…
… something wrong with Cerebro? Knew I should have done more testing, stupid, stupid…
… why is he sleeping in here, is this because of Erik?…
… please tell us what we need to do, how we can help you, please.
But he cannot bring himself to open his eyes and reassure them.
He is walking through the corridors of his mind, and this time they look like the mansion. The smooth featureless walls that had protected the years between his mother’s death and his going off to college have crumbled almost to nothingness, and he pushes through the sick stale air to brush the remains away from a door and step inside.
For a long time he is silent.
And then he says, “Oh.”
Charles does not wake up.
It takes two weeks for Hank to track down Magneto without Cerebro, and when he finally does he curses so loudly that a floor above him, Alex slaps his hands hastily over his brother’s ears.
The fledgling Brotherhood is less than an hour away, occupying an all but palatial set of suites in the Waldorf-Astoria.
Leaving Hank with the kids – because they can’t exactly parade a man covered in blue fur through the streets of New York, Alex and Sean head down to the city and try to think of a politely convincing way to say, “May we borrow your telepath, please?” on the way. It doesn’t help that what Alex wants to do involves a lot less talking and a lot more punching, and Sean is inclined to see that as a noble endeavor, and they are both worn thin with two weeks’ worth of worry and guilt. They’ve each picked out points when they tell themselves they should have known, should have done something – when Alex passed by the parlor door and saw Charles next to the chess board, the black king in hand and his head bowed; when Sean almost walked in on the Professor sitting on the floor beside his chair, holding his head and laughing like he was about to cry. Just what it is they could have done escapes both of them, other than just… something, anything, other than let it get this bad.
Because the last time any of them saw Magneto, other than suspiciously vague news reports, was when he was abandoning them on a beach with the Professor seriously injured. He isn’t exactly very high on their list of emergency contacts. But – as Hank pointed out, in the middle of running an IV – it wasn’t as if they had a lot of options, or that the situation could get much worse.
So they had gone, and hoped there was something left of Erik in Magneto.
As it happens, they don’t actually have to say anything at all.
Azazel lets them in with a sharp-edged smile before they actually knock, and then they’re face to face with the entirety of what the news has been calling, cryptically, the Brotherhood – Emma Frost standing by a window, looking amused, Mystique on a couch in her natural blue form, and in the middle of it all, Magneto. Not here to fight, we aren’t here to fight, come on, but Sean and Alex can’t help but incredibly tense and cautious, at least until Magneto says, “No Charles? Should I be insulted?” – and then their expressions go from cagey to utterly shuttered. Mystique’s on her feet in a second, and then she's looking at Magneto, who has abruptly become very still and very, very stiff.
And that’s all it takes.
Magneto refuses to let them drive back. Instead they – Sean, Alex, Magneto, Mystique, and Emma – arrive with Azazel in the mansion’s main foyer, and Xavier’s mutants explain the situation as they lead the group to their Professor. Emma listens with half an ear, preferring to card through their memories directly, trying to figure out what’s been bothering her since they arrived; it’s not until they arrive at a door that she realizes what it is.
On occasion, when Mystique got a bit tipsy, she would forget herself and reminisce about “my brother, the slut” in warm, affectionate tones before sobering to the realization that Charles Xavier could, most likely, no longer be considered either of those things. From the impressions Emma’s gotten, however, that label could have been just as aptly applied to his use of telepathy: Xavier may used discretion when reading people (generally, with his acquaintances; occasionally, with everyone else), but it seemed he was projecting nigh constantly. Mystique’s memories of childhood are things like Charles smiling at her across the dinner table, the expression accompanied by a wordless burst of delight and affection at some silent, shared joke, or, more rarely, a pang of despair that makes him smile sadly, eyes much too old, and mouth, “Sorry” when he realizes she caught it. When they’re older, it’s not as strong, but it’s still there, so constant and such a part of Charles, in her mind, that it’s alien to kneel next to him on the beach and feel nothing for possibly the first time since they met. Later, Mystique understands he probably didn’t have to read her mind to know what she wanted, and she cries for the first time since the leaving when she realizes that if she could have felt Charles’ pain, she probably never would have gone – and he knew it.
By all rights, Emma should have been able to feel whatever’s got Xavier stuck in his own mind as soon as they arrived – with a telepath that powerful and that fond of projecting, they all should have. But as they enter the room that Alex and Sean and Mystique’s minds whisper was Magneto’s, Emma realizes she hasn’t been feeling anything of the sort. Even if not that, she should be able to feel something from him when they enter the room, just like she can get brushes of emotion from any mind without effort, but Xavier – pale and ridiculously small in bed – is a telepathic dead zone.
“He’s shielded. Heavily,” Emma tells Magneto, with a frown, and he arches a brow in return.
“Is that going to be a problem?”
“Of course not.” She crosses to the other side of the bed, and takes a seat that’s obviously been left there for whatever student happens to be holding vigil at the time. “It’s meant to keep things in, not people out.”
But as she settles in, closing her eyes, Emma realizes that she is… apprehensive, of what she’ll find in Charles Xavier’s mind.
For as involved as he is in keeping things in, Charles has no attention to spare for keeping things out – or had, considering for all intents and purposes Xavier is no longer home, and Emma has some respect to spare for the attention he could put towards shielding himself in the middle of a breakdown. She moves through the shadowed halls of his mind, until she finds the beach, and starts from there.
She’s seen this all before – in Mystique’s mind, in Janos’ mind, in Azazel’s mind – but it’s something completely different through the eyes of a telepath. She has been with Magneto longer than Charles was, but he is so much more familiar with the man’s mind, and there is a moment when she loves Erik Lehnsherr just as much as Charles does, with a terrifying, exhilarating passion. It’s unbearable and awful and wonderful, love with the surety of youth – ‘I will love you forever’ – but that is simply because for Charles there is no other option.
He thinks nothing in the world could hurt as much as losing Erik’s mind to that helmet; even feeling Shaw die is nothing in comparison to that. Charles realizes he is wrong a few minutes later, but it is not the bullet: it is watching them leave, his sister, his love, and realizing he will never be complete again.
Emma moves on.
She skims her way over the year that’s past since then. She watches him as he learn to operate without the use of his legs; as he gathers new students; as he teaches and trains them. Slowly, the world becomes aware of them, and all the time Charles worries and he fears – for the world, for mutants, for his children. He hears the vague reports on the news and tries to think of the Brotherhood as simply that and not Raven and Erik because he cannot think of them, cannot think of what he’s lost. He has to be strong, he has to be a leader, he has to – he is alone and that is how it must be.
It’s certainly enough to cause a breakdown. But this – this isn’t that simple.
Emma moves on.
She realizes there are thoughts and feelings bleeding in from somewhere else, some other part of his psyche. His – exhaustion, despair, loneliness – mood has weakened something in his mind, and it feeds his depression, which means whatever block there is gets weaker, exacerbated and exacerbating in turn, until it is out of control. He thinks of Erik and he thinks of Raven and all the ways he could have done things differently, blaming himself, hating himself, convinced he will fail, he is already failing, and then –
She’s reached the wall. Well, where the wall used to be.
She steps through the door.
It is a memory, the earliest, but one of many.
She is now Charles Francis Xavier, age 14.
His mother has just died. Well, not just died. The funeral was over a week ago, but he can still remember the press of thought – that poor woman, lush, you mean, you’d’ve expected it to happen earlier, knew it would come to this, those poor children, at least they have Kurt.
He hates Kurt Marko. Charles’ father used to tell him that hate was a strong word, but he’s dead too, just like Charles’ mother, and now there’s only Kurt.
Charles thinks he hates Kurt more than ever, sitting down the table from him, watching him watch Raven.
Raven is his sister, except not really, but Charles has made everyone think she is. He doesn’t do that a lot, make people think what he wants them to think, because he knows it’s wrong, but he would do it again in a heartbeat for Raven. Right now she’s blonde and pretty – she’s usually blonde and pretty, but she’s really blue and pretty, and she can make herself look like anyone at all, and he thinks she’s pretty much amazing.
Charles doesn’t know much about what happened to her before they met, but he does know that she was stealing food out of his refrigerator, so he assumes it’s nothing good. He promised her she would never have to steal food again, but he made a different promise to himself: that he would always protect her.
He doesn’t like the way Kurt is watching her. Charles slips into his stepfather’s head; it’s not the first time, and he hates it every time, because Kurt’s head is appalling. But he would do anything for Raven.
He can see her through Kurt’s eyes, then, and he understands what Kurt wants to do to her. Charles is too young – not powerful enough to erase the desires, they run so deep. So instead he reaches out, into the awful darkness, and nudges, just so. Just enough.
And Kurt looks at him instead.
She already suffered so much.
When Kurt comes to his room that night, Charles does not fight.
He could never let her be hurt again.
It hurts more than anything he has ever known.
She will be safe. And she will never know.
Abruptly, Emma Frost is no longer Charles Xavier, age 14 – she is, in fact, no longer in his mind at all, and it takes a few moments too long to realize it’s because she’s assumed her diamond form automatically, trying to protect herself against something Charles Xavier had willingly accepted.
She lets it dissipate, leaving her to breathe and run her fingers through her hair and pretend she isn’t shaking. No one – no one – could be that ludicrously altruistic. No one would look into a mind like Karl Marko’s and turn that awful attention on themselves, on purpose. But Xavier had. Because he was young and didn’t know the hundreds, the thousands of tricks that would have let him twist Marko’s perception and desires. Because he didn’t know any other way to protect the girl he thought of as his sister – most of her family put together wouldn’t have cared enough to do that, and they were actually related to her. It’s the stupidest thing Emma’s ever seen, and utterly infuriating, and she realizes this is why whenever Magneto – Erik – takes off his helmet he is thinking of Charles Xavier as much as anything else, perhaps more than anything else.
She has an audience.
Emma takes a steadying breath, pushes away the urge to do something ridiculous like cry, and lifts her head to find the entire room watching her. She wonders when the blue furry one arrived.
“Emma,” Magneto – Erik, he’s going to be Erik for now and he’s going to have to deal with it – says, again. His voice is soft, and he is obviously – so, so obviously – trying to remain calm, but it feels like the metal in the room is humming. “What did you see?”
She takes another steadying breath, and draws herself up, sliding into cool indifference like a familiar, well-worn dress.
“He had a wall – a mental block – on some of his memories,” she offers. “Given… recent circumstances, it failed, and he’s become overwhelmed and trapped in his subconscious.” She actually hadn’t been entirely aware that it would be possible for Erik to get even more overwrought, nor did she know Raven could turn a paler shade of blue. Today was simply full of new information and Emma really just wants to sit down, so she does, sinking back down into her chair and wondering when exactly she stood up.
“I think it would be best if I led you down there so you could fetch him,” she continues, looking at Erik. “Even if he’s capable of recognizing me, it would probably be as a threat.”
“Me?” Erik repeats, and now his voice was low for another reason altogether. She doesn’t need to read his mind to know he’s thinking of hot sand and blinding sunlight and Charles broken and crying in his arms. She puts her head in her hand and wants to hit him.
“Yes, you,” she snaps instead, which thankfully forestalls whatever the furry blue one is going to say, because really she could not deal with another idiot man right now. There are only two people in the world Charles Xavier cares about enough that she’d consider bring them into his mind, into that, and one of them – her eyes skate over Raven, who is watching the whole thing with stark apprehension.
She will never know.
Emma Frost has been called many things, a great deal of them unkind and quite a few of them true, but she isn’t heartless. Yes, once they fish Xavier out of his head, he’s probably eventually going to have to tell his sister what happened, but she will not hear it from Emma, and she certainly will not see it firsthand. So Emma looks at Erik again, and simply says, “He needs you.”
At this point, she is entirely unsurprised when that’s really all it takes.
Even after all this time, Erik remembers Charles’ mind.
Granted, he remembers everything about Charles, but especially his mind, warm and honey gold and brighter than anything he could remember. It was the most beautiful thing about Charles, and most things about Charles (those eyes, that smile) were beautiful to begin with, so that was saying something. It was certainly the first thing about him that Erik fell in love with.
Erik once asked what his own mind was like, and received a wholly unsurprising, “Metal.”
“But,” Charles had continued, with a smile, “No one sees metal quite like you do, my friend. It’s – fluid and utterly variable and really, completely impossible to describe.” He laughed a little at his own ineloquence, and grinned. “It’s really quite amazing.”
There are times, more often than he’d like to admit, when Erik wonders what would have happened if he had done what he wanted to that night, which was to abandon their game of chess and kiss Charles breathless: would it have changed anything, in the long run? Or would it simply have made it hurt that much more?
Emma’s mind is cool and glittering white, but what she leads him into a pale shadow of the vibrancy he had come to associate with Charles. And Erik finds himself on a familiar beach through wholly unfamiliar eyes, which is possibly the last place he wants to revisit.
Do I really need to see this? he asks – or rather, directs a thought at Emma. I was there.
You weren’t Xavier. I found it very illuminating.
Illuminating is one way to put it. Torturous might be more applicable.
Emma – or rather the shimmering essence representing Emma – focuses on him. For this brief, shining moment, I have Charles Xavier’s best interests in mind. You should probably cherish it.
She takes him through the next year, murmuring beneath the memories, You need to understand what happened. Xavier didn’t just have a mental breakdown, though he was probably due for one of those too.
It makes sense. It also doesn’t change the fact that Erik, at the moment, hates her. He hates her for making him watch Charles fall apart, hates Charles for still affecting him so much, hates himself more than anything for leaving.
They end up in a place that feels more like his mind than Charles’ ever should.
This is what he was blocking out, so he’s somewhere in there. She hesitates, for a moment, and then looks at him again. You’ll need to go in alone.
I didn’t mean to come out before. I’m not sure if it’ll happen again, and if it does it’ll take you out too. She gives a shrug, or at least the impression of one. I’ll be here if you need me.
This seems like the worst idea Erik can recall hearing.
We don’t have a lot of options, and Xavier needs you. Go.
And he had thought it hurt watching Charles fall apart.
This is so much worse; it makes him feel hollow and aching in a way he hasn’t felt in – a year – but no, that’s not true, because even before he finally killed the man that killed his mother, even before that, there was Charles, with his bright mind, and the beautiful memories Erik had forgotten he had, and the traitorous thought that perhaps peace had never been an option before simply because he hadn’t met Charles Xavier.
Because Charles had made him a better man, a stronger man, told him, “There’s so much more to you than you know”, and in that moment Erik had wanted nothing more to find out what sort of person he could become if – even just for a moment – he let himself believe in Charles’ vision of a better future without bloodshed. But Erik had been self-centered enough to think the only way someone could have such blind optimism was because they had never truly suffered, that while Charles may have seen all the worst in humanity – the darkest part of anyone’s mind – he had never honestly been touched by it.
He had thought Charles arrogant. He had thought Charles naïve.
Erik hated being wrong as much as the next man, but he had never hated it quite so much as he did right now.
It was just Charles; of course it was just Charles, stupid, beautiful Charles, who less thought he could change the world as he simply, absolutely had to try. Erik feels like he’s going to scream.
At this entire situation; it never should have happened, no fucking part of it –
– at himself, for being so blind, for hurting Charles, for leaving him –
– at Charles, for being so idiotically wonderful but incapable of asking for help, and for letting Erik leave him broken on a beach because if Erik hadn’t made himself go at that single moment, still seething with anger and power, he never would have been able to go at all.
And Erik is going to make it a point to yell at Charles eventually, but first Erik’s going to find him, and tell him he doesn’t have to be strong on his own anymore. He’s going to pull Charles out of this, and then Erik is never, ever going to leave him again, not just because Charles needs him, but because he needs Charles just as much, and they’re stronger together than they ever would be apart.
Beyond the memories (and there are so many, too many, God, Charles…), Charles’ thoughts cling to him like spider webs.
… look at yourself, what makes you think you can lead anyone, falling apart? …
… could have said anything, you could have stopped him, but you said that, you stupid, stupid man, you deserve everything that happened, everything…
… please, Erik, please don’t leave me, love you, not like this, please not like this, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…
… never understood, I was never ashamed, only scared, scared for her, because I’m a coward, not like her, my beautiful sister, they would hurt her, they would take her, best to hide until the world changed…
… only ever held her back, would only have held him back, best that they left, that they’re together and you’re alone…
And here, where it’s worst, where it crawls under his skin and makes him ache, because there is nothing but that, endless and awful because an insidious voice whispers he knows it’s true, all true –
There is Charles.
Still golden and warm, even in this place, and Erik presses forward, curls around him, within him, saying his name until it is all Charles can hear, until he realizes there is something else there, something besides his own hateful thoughts and awful memories. Erik, he whispers, clinging close. Erik, Erik, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, he says, soft and broken, and Erik wants to cry.
Charles, you don’t have anything to apologize for. The idea of artificiality is a joke. This – them, together, this is intimate in a way that makes the word seem clumsy and inadequate, and they bleed together at the edges, where they are both nothing but I love you, I missed you, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s terrifying in a way that should be awful, but it’s wonderful instead, and abruptly Erik realizes why that helmet had hurt Charles so much.
There’s a shivering, breathless sigh along his nerves. Yes, Charles murmurs, and Erik feels the ache of loss, just as bad as the day Charles had watched them leave hand-in-hand, a wound deep inside that had never healed, but festered instead, until it became this blackness, because he wasn’t strong enough, because he was never strong enough –
No, Erik gasps, and somehow, impossibly, he finds a way to get even closer, pulling Charles back before he could be dragged away again. Stop, Charles, no. We’re leaving this place.
That gets Charles’ attention, and there’s a shiver of fear, No, I’ve tried, I can’t, I’m not –
You’re the strongest man I’ve ever known, Erik tells him, and he can feel Charles’ surprise at the vehemence. Even if you weren’t, Erik pulls them both away from the black, though it still drags at Charles. You’re not alone. I’m here. And I’m never going to leave you again. It’s beyond sincerity, it’s beyond a promise; it is the only possibility. Come on.
And Charles goes.
When they wake up, the memories, that horrible grasping blackness – that will still be there, and there will be no sealing it away behind walls again. And even after, Charles and Erik will still be two very different men, with very different ideas about how the world works, and what they should do to secure their future. They will be foolishly in love, incomplete without one another, but there will still be fights, probably a lot, and some of them most likely severe.
But when they wake up, it will be together. And that’s exactly how it should be.