The roar of the fire filled his ears as the heat of it pressed into him from all sides and the smoke burned his throat and stung his eyes. The metal helmet designed to block out telepaths did little to block out the heat. Erik Lehnsherr, or 'Magneto' as he preferred to be called, surveyed the wreckage around him, looking for a way out. Piles of rubble and still half-standing walls all flickering in the light of a hundred fires and wreathed in massive clouds of angry billowing smoke formed a haphazard labyrinth like a poorly designed maze for a scientist's unlucky mouse. Though his mutation made him a veritable god compared to "less evolved" humans, even he needed oxygen in his lungs to keep his body alive, and all the oxygen in the immediate area was being greedily sucked up by the fires and replaced with heat and ash and smoke. It was as he stepped over a mangled metal beam that lay across his path that Erik saw him: Charles Xavier lying motionless on his side, his eyes closed. A drop of bright red blood glistened in the firelight as it slowly slid in stark contrast against his pale skin from a small abrasion on his cheek.
"Charles!" It would have been a shout, but came out rough and strangled. All thoughts of his own discomfort forgotten, he was at Charles' side in an instant, ripping off and discarding one glove and pressing his bared fingertips to the side of Charles' neck. His own heart pounded painfully in his ears, but there it was—pulsing and vibrant under the press of his fingers: Charles' heart still beat.
He was mildly aware of the mangled metal that had been his friend's wheelchair, smashed beneath a pile of nearby rubble, as he carefully gathered his friend into his arms. "Oh Charles," he rasped as he stood to his feet and began to walk in the direction that seemed the quickest escape from what had only earlier that day been an unassuming and sturdy-looking building. "You do have a habit of putting yourself in harm's way." A cough ripped itself from his throat, followed by more that shook his body, but he walked on, holding tight to the man he carried.
His eyes were focused on finding a safe route through the destruction around them, so he did not see Charles' eyes open and blink several times to gain focus though the falling ash and ever-present smoke. But he did feel Charles arms shift from hanging limp to cling to him, making the task of carrying the smaller man substantially easier. When he felt Charles hands at the back of his neck lifting and pushing his helmet up and off of his head, he turned his eyes to meet Charles' eyes, blue and flickering with reflected firelight. Charles was leaning towards him and pressed his forehead against Erik's, both feverishly warm from the heat. Erik, he heard Charles whisper in his mind, and there was so much joy and gratitude in that one word.
'I thought I might die here…If you hadn't found me…' were thoughts never fully formed in Charles' mind. He just clung to his rescuer as tightly as he had the night their roles had been reversed and he had been the one rescuing Erik from certain death. So much had changed since then—no longer could he run half the length of a ship or dive into the ocean to save anyone. But he could still link his mind with Erik's and help navigate a route to safety for them both.
Erik didn't even object as Charles let the helmet drop to fall amidst the dust and ashes in their wake—it was metal; it wouldn't burn, and he could always find it once more when the fires had either burned themselves out or been extinguished. What was far more important was the man whose fingers were threaded though the hair at the back of Erik's neck as he clung to him with all the strength his physical body currently had, and held his mind with a gentle and familiar touch that was so very much less than the strength his powerfully mutated mind possessed. Like him, Charles was a god in a world of insects—no matter what Charles chose to believe.
But Charles wasn't made of metal; he wasn't something Erik could relinquish to the fire.