"Erik, don't do this!"
"I am Magneto." Erik would not be moved by this. In the months since he formed the Brotherhood, he had known this day would come, when he and Charles would be forced to confront each other. He reached out to push his helmet tighter onto himself, as if the barrier it provided against Charles' powers would protect him from the pleading look in Charles' eyes as well. Still. This time, they were alone, neither bringing backup for what both considered a recruitment mission with little risk. He relented slightly. "It is not too late to join me, Charles."
"You know that I cannot."
"Then it appears that I have no choice."
Steeling himself against the hurt look in Charles' eyes, he turned his power against the metal of the wheelchair. It twisted and folded in on itself, trapping Charles inside. In a forgotten corner of the small room, a child's cry pierced the air and the ground beneath them rumbled and shifted.
The first thought that occurred to Michael as his eyes flew open was that James was really killing the scene today. Magneto's heart has got to be made of stone to resist that hurt puppydog look on James' face, he thought to himself. Oh God, and he just did that thing with the moist eyes and wibbling lower lip. Can I just hug him? I'm going to hug him once this take is over.
The second thought that came to him was that all of James' acting in this scene was going to waste because he could not for the life of him remember what his line was supposed to be.
"Charles. Join me." There. That was a suitably reasonable line Magneto might say.
Without breaking eye contact with James, who was currently suspended in the air and being held tightly in a wheelchair that was almost twisted beyond recognition, he used his peripheral vision to peek at the set around them. It looked like some sort of child's room, with bright purple walls and toys strewn about the floor. Was this a scene in the movie? Was Charles supposed to be paralyzed already? The last thing he remembered was the wrap party for the movie, where the entire cast and crew got completely drunk off their arses to celebrate the end of filming. He remembered James leaning all over him, giggling and making horribly inappropriate jokes. And now they were here. Filming a scene he did not remember reading in a script that was clearly set after the events in the movie.
Suddenly, James cried out in pain and he snapped his attention back to the man in front of him. One of the metal bars pressed tightly against James' stomach had apparently moved and drawn blood.
"You're hurt!" Michael broke character and looked frantically around the room for a PA, a stunt coordinator, a techie, or anyone who could help. And he froze. This wasn't a set at all. There were no cameras in sight, no lights, and in fact, no one else around at all. He looked at James and the wheelchair contraption again. There are no wires holding it up.
A horrible realization washed over him, and then the wheelchair unfolded itself and fell to the ground, dropping James with it in an ungraceful heap.
"Are you all right? You're bleeding!" He rushed over and cradled James in his arms almost helplessly. James didn't respond, except to look at him with bright blue eyes filled with emotion. For a moment, he felt his breath taken away at the intensity of that look. This wasn't the way James normally looked at him. It wasn't the way James ever looked at him. There was something so naked and openly vulnerable about it that he felt distinctly uncomfortable, as though this wasn't meant for him at all.
"It's not a serious wound, Erik. I'll be fine." A small pause. "In fact, I am happier than you can imagine that you still value me my life in some way."
Erik? I'm not Erik. Michael blinked in confusion. Then, a theory formed in his mind. Oh. Of course. What movie would be complete without the obligatory cast pranks? Who else was in on this? He thought back again on the wrap party, where James first proposed the drinking contest. So that was the trick, then? Get Fassbender drunk and then trick him into thinking he's Magneto?
He let out a deep breath of relief. Well, at least James wasn't actually hurt, though that fall did look a bit painful. And the more he thought about it, the more he was impressed with the effort they'd gone through to make this work. How did they do the trick with the floating wheelchair, I wonder? Are there hidden cameras? I'll bet there are hidden cameras.
"Erik, I... Please let me..." James was apparently still trying to stay in character, his hands shaking as they moved to take off the metal helmet.
"Oh, for the love of -- stop it!" he said with a bit more harshness than he intended. Really, though, this trick stretched his suspension of disbelief just a bit too far. There was being drunk and easily confused, and then there was being stupid to the point of delusion. It still didn't stop the pang of guilt that hit him at the hurt look in James' eyes as his hands stopped in mid-air, though.
"I am sorry, my friend. I had hoped--" James withdrew his hands to his lap and twisted them nervously. "Well, of course, I understand if you no longer trust me. We have hurt each other these past months, both of us. But Erik--"
"I'm not Erik." Michael regretted those words almost immediately as James turned the 'woe-is-me-angst-meter' up to 11, his entire face contorting into a mask of pain. It was honestly a bit ridiculous how easily James could get anyone to do their bidding with the smallest shift in expressions, even when the other party knew they were nothing but crocodile tears. Well, not really anyone. Mostly him. This time, though, he resolutely refused to pull James in closer for a hug. Because the other man most certainly did not need a hug, and was probably cackling on the inside.
"Magneto. What do you intend to do then? I don't think you want me dead."
"Well, of course I don't want you dead!" With a grunt, he stood and pulled James up into a sitting position. "Here's what we're going to do. You're going to stop this ridiculous charade, get those scratches and bruises looked at by a professional, then we'll go to the hotel, order ridiculously expensive room service and just... think of anything to do that isn't pretending we're mortal enemies who hate each other. Got it?"
James simply gaped at him. Then a tentative smile curved on his face. "Anything, Erik?"
Michael rolled his eyes. James would find some innuendo in this, of course he would. "If you think for a second that you can get me into bed with you without some proper romance, complete with poetry, wine and fancy dinners, you are sorely mistaken."
At that, James actually blushed all the way up to the tip of his ears. Michael sighed. It was really difficult to stay annoyed at the man, especially when he was blushing so adorably. He stopped in his tracks. James? Blushing? When did James ever have a sense of shame about anything?
"You know, Erik. I don't think I've ever hated that damned helmet of yours any more than I do at this very moment. I can only hope that I did not misread you."
Michael could barely force out a response before he was pulled down on top of the other man, and his lips were captured in a passionate kiss.
"Come home, come home, please," the whispered words filled his ears. When his mind finally caught up to the events happening, he flailed his arms and pulled himself free.
"What?" was all that he could manage to say.
"Erik, I-- I'm sorry. I thought you were offering -- at least tonight..."
Michael didn't respond as he looked at the completely dejected and forlorn man sitting in front of him. He suddenly had a very very bad feeling about all of this.