They all stood around the grave. Moira, Alex, Sean, Raven, Hank, and Erik. They were back at the mansion and it was raining, ironically. No one was smiling and why should they? You could find more cheer in a morgue and the tension could be cut with a knife. The beach seemed years ago, even though it just happened the other day, and Erik looked around at everyone else.
He felt like a traitor and maybe he was. No. He WAS. He is. Erik looked over to Alex, who stood near Hank, and noticed he wasn't crying, but he knew Alex still felt terrible. Hank seemed to retreat back a little, obviously still self-conscious, but there was a glint in his eyes. Sean looked ill. Like he was about to throw up. Moira and Raven were sobbing openly, Raven in disguise. She was trying to hide. Moira probably felt the worst of all of them, besides Erik of course.
It was his fault. And he knew it. Moira and Raven looked over in his direction and shook their heads scornfully, wondering why they had let Erik come here in the first place. Erik didn't care what they thought of him. After all, Moira didn't have to shoot at him. Charles didn't have to die. Not like this.
Erik wasn't crying, but he wanted to. He loved Charles. He was like a brother to him, well, a brother that he often kissed and touched affectionately. But they only ever kissed, even though they both wanted more. It just didn't seem right.
"Why not?" Charles pouted.
Erik stared up at where Charles straddled his waist, pinning him to the ground in the courtyard. Charles was grinning slyly and his hands clutched around Erik's wrists.
"I like the way we are now," Erik lied.
"Are you afraid?"
"I've never been afraid of anything in my life."
"You're a terrible liar, Erik. I don't need to be psychic to know that." Charles bent down and pecked Erik on the lips. It was sweet and warm. Charles really wish he would reconsider. He wanted Erik. "We could go places, you and I."
"No. You just want to fuck me," Erik scoffed.
"Well, there's that too I guess," Charles admitted. He climbed off of Erik and dusted himself off. Charles lent a hand and Erik reached for it. They walked hand in hand towards the mansion and Charles couldn't be happier.
"You know I love you, right?" Erik asked.
Charles made a quaint little smile and giggled heartily to himself. Erik loved seeing Charles smile and hearing that laugh.
"I love you more than you know, my friend."
Those words were sincere. It was everything Charles was and that was all the recognition Erik needed.
They lowered his casket into the ground. The same spot in the courtyard where him and Charles had spent most of their time. Talking, playing, kissing.
One by one they drop their roses into the hole, onto Charles' coffin. Erik was the last to do so and he lingered momentarily, frozen in place. He wasn't believing his eyes, or at least didn't want to. Charles was dead.
The boys decided to head back inside. They were wet, exhausted, and drained of all emotion. Raven followed suit, but Moira stayed behind. Erik stared at her, trying to figure out what to say, if he should say anything at all.
"You loved him, didn't you?" Moira asked quietly.
Erik blinked past the water droplets that had collected on his eye lashes. Moira gazed at him with a mix of sorrow and something that resembled hope. She seemed to lighten up on her mood a little. For the sake of herself, Erik supposed.
"I did," he stated plainly, then corrected himself. "I do."
Moira nodded and looked down into the six foot hole. She sighed heavily and for a split second, she almost forgot where she was. Forgot what had happened. Moira never got closer to Erik, nor did she move a muscle.
"So did I. But, I knew I never had a chance. Especially against you."
The delivery of the admission almost stung Erik. He bit back a sob and tears dared to tip over his eyes. Moira saw him fighting an unwinnable battle with himself and walked over to put a hand on his shoulder.
"Crying doesn't make you weak, Erik. It makes us stronger." And with that, she walked away and out of the rain. Trudging through the soggy grass, she looked back one last time. At Erik and Charles.
Erik stood there and when he was finally alone, he cried. He dropped to his knees and didn't care if he got dirty; he was already soaked. He could still remember the beach.
He remembered seeing Charles arch his back in pain and crumple to the ground. His boding hitting the sand with a thud. Everyone's face distorted into shock and Erik didn't realize what had happened at first, but when he tip toed over to Charles' prone body and bent down, it was clear.
The stray bullet had ricocheted and pierced through Charles' back and out of his chest. Erik scooped Charles' lifeless body into his arms. His eyes were open. Those big blue irises blank, but still undoubtedly beautiful.
Erik shook Charles a few times, wanting to believe he was still alive, but it was no use. Charles was dead and Erik had killed him. After that, no one was the same and Erik thought that maybe nothing would ever be the same.
Erik could lie and say it was a sacrifice for all mutant kind, for the greater good. But it wasn't and Erik banished all thoughts of a revolution out of his mind. He was no better than the humans. And this war would never end. Without Charles, the thought of uniting in peace was absurd and far fetched.
He stared down at Charles' headstone one last time. Charles was dead, but Erik thought that maybe, just maybe, he was still alive. Not physically, of course, but mentally. Erik could feel Charles all around him.
His astral form floating infinitely between time and space for an eternity.