When they bloom back onto the earth at some kind of apartment in some city somewhere, Raven and Angel immediately start talking, albeit in subdued tones, while the windmaker and teleporter sit on nearby couches, watching cautiously, assessing. Erik takes note of the metal on each mutant's clothing, then turns to the huge bay windows and realises his fist is clenched around something small.
He looks at it, and jolts. It's the misshapen lead bullet, crusted with the scarlet blood of the man he loves, warm from his hand and the phantom clench of Charles’ body. Everything hits Erik at once, then; is Charles alright? What were the injuries Moira - no, the injuries he himself had dealt? Would Charles pine for his sister, would he miss Erik? Would he long for lengthy chess games over whiskey, in a bed together all languid and pliant and sweaty afterwards? Kisses in corridors? Would Charles still want the bright weight of a ring on his left hand, a circle of unique metal that Erik would put there? They had talked about it, in half-whispers and tentative telepathy, but now. Now.
The bullet thrums with guilt and almost without a command from Erik, it floats up and twists onto the ring finger of his left hand, where a wedding ring would embrace him, where none now ever would. For Erik is married to his mistakes, married to Charles' pain, married to the divorce on the beach that would haunt him forever.
The ring gleams malevolently, grey and red, and Raven places a sapphire blue hand on his shoulder.
"What now?" she asks.
"We need a telepath," he says firmly, turning to face the other mutants, his mind so, so empty. Charles. Charles, forgive me.
"I will take you," says the teleporter, Azazel, Erik recalls. "Emma Frost, she is in the CIA facility. She would be…grateful to be removed.” Erik nods and gestures for the mutants to gather around. "Let's go."
The ring orbits his finger as a cold moon clings to a dying star.