War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.
Some mutants can hide what they are, bury it away in their subconscious and pretend they are just like the humans around them and some cannot. Those who cannot were the cause of a war they did not mean to start but inevitably did. Some said the humans attacked because they did not understand, others because they were afraid, but all Erik knows is that so many died. They died for being different from those in power and it was just like being a boy all over again, powerless to stop the storm from crushing everything in its path. They didn’t call them concentration camps in the States, didn’t dare, but that is what they were. Camps for those that were different. Mutants could either submit or be killed.
Just like before the experiments came, and then the cure. The cure that failed. The cure that led to the uprising, because mutants could take being bullied and cast out but to be treated as monsters was a step they could not tolerate. They rose up and fought back and Sebastian Shaw led them, saved the children from their own parents and led them away into the mountains and safety. No longer did mutants hide their powers, instead they learned to control them, humans having their weapons and the mutants having theirs.
Sebastian said that they were the Brotherhood of mutants and that they were their own family now. Erik believed him, because Sebastian had never lied to him and the rest of the world had. He lived in a black and white world and to him, Sebastian brought colour. He is one of the first, only a boy when Sebastian swoops in the years after the war and takes him to his new home in the mountains somewhere in Montana. Erik doesn’t speak English very well but Sebastian teaches him and then slowly finds others and brings them to their home. There is a telepath, Emma, that fled her parents when they tried to cure her themselves using electricity and she becomes one of Erik’s best friends.
He feels safe.
The world changes around them, humans creating bigger and more dangerous weapons to use on each other and the mutants they fear. Sebastian tells him not to worry, that they are stronger, and Erik believes him because he has no reason not to and because the number on his arm reminds him of when he was weak. He doesn’t want to go back to that. At first, he tries to hide it by wearing long sleeved shirts but Sebastian encourages him not to. ‘Let them see what will become of them if they don’t stand, Erik. Have strength so that they might do the same.’
Another cure is invented by the time Erik turns sixteen and it creates conflict because at first they think this one might actually work. Some whisper of the chance to return home and be normal and Erik finds himself pinning a young man who can levitate to the wall and parroting Sebastian’s words.
“Normal? You want to be normal! Like them? Weak? You are strong! You have a gift, use it!”
“M-my family,” the boy stutters and Erik feels rage coursing through him.
“We are your family!” he roars, spit flying from his mouth and hitting the boy in the face as Emma screams his name, no doubt aware of his rage and more importantly his thoughts.
“Leave him, Erik. Like you said, we’re better than them. Let him make his own choice, as they would not, and perhaps he will make the right one. He should know there is no choice to be made,” she says quietly, one hand on Erik’s shoulder, not afraid of him as the others are.
They both know that he is no threat to her if she is in her diamond form and that she could literally crush him with her bare hands. Not all mutants are created equal.
“Fine,” he grits out, dropping the boy and storming off to his room. He doesn’t realise that Sebastian had seen the whole thing from the landing above, that he had watched with grim satisfaction as his first plan fell into place, as he saw his first soldier reach maturity.
He did not realise in that moment that what he had just gained in one mutant would be threatened by the one knocking at the door. When he reaches it he finds a boy, no older than thirteen, standing in the rain holding up a fascinating mutant with blue skin who looks as if she is barely managing to stay awake.
“With respect, Sir, my name is Charles Xavier and this young woman is Raven I believe. I heard that you took a stand against the government and their actions against mutants and I...well I didn’t know where else to go,” he quietly confesses.
Sebastian quirks an eyebrow and gestures them inside, leading them to the sitting room without another word, “Jean, blankets please and Alex, some hot drinks for our guests please.”
** ten years later***
“Do you remember the night you came here?” Erik asks one night, whispering across the room he shares with Charles, his covers bunched down and his clothes warm and sticky.
“Of course,” comes the polite reply, the sound of Charles shifting onto his side in the dark, springs creaking as he peers across the room, “Why?”
“I thought about it today. You and Raven, or Mystique as she now calls herself, and what you had been through and ...stuff,” Erik mutters.
“I hardly went through anything. I was ignored and it was only when Raven turned up on our doorstep and mother found out I was hiding her that things turned ugly. She had to admit that I wasn’t quite the child that she expected. Raven had it harder,” Charles murmurs, getting to his feet and crossing the room to the door. Slowly opening the door he peers into the corridor and then shuts it again, taking a deep breath and reaching out with his mind. When he is satisfied that no one is going to disturb them, he sighs and crawls into bed beside Erik who shifts over to accommodate him.
“I know but, you’re such a demonstration of how this works, Charles,” Erik states passionately, turning on his side and leaning into the other teen’s personal space placing his hand on Charles’ chest under the covers and rubbing little circles on his lower abdomen, chin resting on the other boy’s shoulder.
“Of how what works?”
“This. Saving people from the humans and letting them come into their full potential so that we can take back what is rightfully ours,” Erik gestures, hands coming out from under the covers to wave above their tired eyes, casting shadows on the walls as Charles frowns.
“Rightfully ours? I came to be safe,” Charles says quietly, “Nothing more. I wasn’t planning on taking anything.”
“We have to help the cause for what they gave us. We are on the edges of the societies we should be at the top of,” Erik replies bluntly.
“I didn’t sign up to be a soldier,” Charles mutters unhappily, slipping from Erik’s bed and returning to his own, uncomfortable with Erik’s words.
“This is war though. They don’t want us to live, Charles. What will you do when they come for you if you won’t fight?”
Charles doesn’t answer him and he doesn’t sleep at all that night. Instead, when the morning comes he goes to see Emma.
“Erik is under Shaws’ wing, Charles. He always has been. You have been blinded by your feelings for him if you cannot see that,” Emma says quietly as they walk around the grounds after breakfast, “Shaw keeps us safe from the humans who wage war against us and I get the feeling that there is little that Erik would not do for him in return. He has been this way for years.”
“Is it truly a war though?” Charles asks, hands in his pocket, deep in his own thoughts to the point where he hardly registers the others, “Has it really become so bad?”
“They shoot to kill us the moment they realise that we are mutants and either we run or we retaliate. It sounds like war to me,” Emma says simply.
“I don’t want to be a soldier,” Charles says, “I never wanted to hurt anyone, not even those who lashed out against me and Raven for our abilities. I just wanted to be safe.”
“If only things were so simple. You’re young Charles, still idealistic and hopeful,” Emma states bitterly, her face as hard as it can be without turning to the diamond form that Charles finds so intimidating.
Charles rushes to see Sebastian when he hears of Nightcrawler’s latest antics and the death the police officers that had tried to detain him. He didn’t know what the other mutant was trying to obtain from the records office but he certainly knew that he didn’t want him anywhere near Raven or the younger children if he was willing to kill. The recent conversation with Emma flashes through his mind and he swallows a lump in his throat.
What he see has him skidding to a halt in Shaw’s planning room, where he so often spoke to groups of mutants to send them to try and get other mutants out and away from the humans harming them, a place that had seemed so safe to Charles before. Now those memories resemble a general giving orders and the mutants that Charles trusted and called his friends, Alex, Bobby, and the rest, following them.
Raven is there, sitting on the floor at Sebastian’s feet, and taking in every word the older mutant says. She doesn’t even notice Charles entering the room, completely wrapped up in Sebastian and his murmurings. When the older mutant notices Charles, he smiles, and the telepath feels his stomach sink.
“Something I can do for you, Charles?”
Raven still doesn’t look up and Charles itches to reach out mentally and try to understand what she is thinking. Fidgeting, he forces himself to turn his gaze to Sebastian even though he is suddenly very aware of the power the is projecting in the darkened room .
“I...I was downstairs working with Jean on finding the suspected mutant children in that Argentine village when Nightcrawler returned. He was bragging about what he was done and...I can’t say that I agree with what he has done in order to get a hold of the records that he was sent for,” Charles states quietly, trying to read Sebastian’s expression and enough of his thoughts to understand what he is thinking without the other man being able to detect his presence.
“But he did get them yes?” Sebastian demands eagerly, jumping to his feet and striding towards Charles with a smile on his face.
“Well yes but, two police officers are dead because of it and another in hospital!”
“But he got the records,” Sebastian replies, apparently unconcerned, nodding at Charles as if to rush an answer from the flustered telepath. Charles just can’t understand how Sebastian can be so cold about what he has been told.
“Sebastian, men are dead!”
“And many mutants have fallen in our struggle, Charles! Both sides lose soldiers. That is what happens in war!”
“I’m not a soldier!” Charles blurts out, memories of his conversations with Erik flashing through his mind, the remarks Emma had made and the changes in his friends who were closer to Sebastian than he was.
Sebastian merely smiles and turns to Raven, “I’m going to talk to your brother in my office. Why don’t you see if you can give Hank a hand? He is up to simply fascinating things in that lab of his these days.”
Raven doesn’t even look at Charles as she untangles her lean blue limbs and slips from the room. An uneasy feeling settles in the pit of Charles’ stomach as he follows Sebastian into his office. The chair he is led to is small compared to the large hard backed chair Sebastian eases himself into, almost throne like and the other man seems happy enough to play the God.
When Charles is as settled as he is ever going to be, Sebastian speaks. “Charles, you came here for my protection and I offered it willingly. The humans were going to hurt you. The Second World War saw the end of human conflict and the beginning of the war between humans and mutants. Not everyone involved in a war is a soldier but they remain involved.”
“So what, you took us in hoping we would fight for you and if we wouldn’t we could be used to what, drive forward your war effort?” Charles states angrily, putting the pieces together slowly in his mind. If any of the children under Sebastian’s care had ever been shown to the outside world it was always to show what they were capable of and never to try and suggest that they were not a danger and could contain their power.
Storm was taken with Sebastian into New York one day and at the time Charles had swallowed Sebastian’s reasoning that it was allowing her to see more of the world and that others would be able to take different trips in time. The police and descended on them and in fear Storm had reacted by causing a downpour that flooded Harlem. At the time it had felt like Sebastian was merely happy that they had got out safely but now the memories feel different, tainted, and the smile on the other man’s face seems more like grim satisfaction. Storm had been a pawn in a game, even as a child, Charles realises and Sebastian was uncaring about what happened Nightcrawler or indeed what the mutant had done as long as his personal needs were satisfied.
Sebastian looks at the wall behind Charles, a pensive look passing over his face, before he nods slowly, “It is all about perspective, Charles, but if that is how you insist on looking at then I suppose you are right. The humans declared war on us when they started to attack us for being different. They took people who did that in Europe to Courts they say are for human rights. Well, what about ours? If giving children a place that they can grow up safely and learn the truth is such a terrible thing then I guess you can sit there and believe that I am a bad person. Have I ever hurt you though, Charles? Has anyone ever been forced to do something that they didn’t want to while under my care? I am standing up to them because no one else will and if others want to join my cause then I welcome them.”
“And if they don’t?” Charles asks quietly, immediately unnerved by the smile that crosses Sebastian’s face and the laugh that breaks free from his lips.
“Well, that would just be a damn shame.”
“You’re using us for our powers. You’re manipulating us from our childhood into being your soldiers and you don’t even feel bad about it,” Charles states slowly, his hands curling around the arms of the chair, nails clawing at the leather as he fixes his gaze on a tarnished section of Sebastian’s desk, “That is what it is. Manipulation.”
“As I said Charles, it is about perspe-”
“Don’t give me that bullshit,” Charles snaps, finding himself on his feet, shocked at his own language and apparently shocking Sebastian too because the older man falls silent and sits back in his chair a little more, “This is all about you! You can’t play with people’s lives like that! They are just children!”
“I gave them what no one else would,” Sebastian states, “I loved them.”
“You’re prepared to send them off to die. What if it was Nightcrawler that got shot tonight? He would just be a casualty of war to you wouldn’t he?!”
“Casualties happen. Some have to die for others to live. I would mourn him,” Sebastian states, quiet and yet full of an inner conviction that horrifies Charles.
“You are worse than them,” Charles whispers, “At least they were motivated by something I can understand! They were afraid of us and they didn’t understand, humans don’t know any better but you do a-“
“Exactly Charles! My boy, you’re making my points!” Sebastian states, apparently delighted, as Charles seethes, “They don’t understand. They are inferior to us and we should not have to be afraid of an inferior race of people because there are more of them. We are the next step in human evolution and you know this. You of all people, with your books and your science, know this to be true,” Sebastian declares passionately, getting to his feet and round the desk quickly.
“You’re leading a war with child soldiers. Angel did something for you last week didn’t she? She’s fifteen. A child.”
“She doesn’t understand what she is agreeing to!”
“You underestimate her. What is the point in all of this Charles? What did you expect me to say? You knew before you came in here what your brother had done and who he had done it for.”
“He is not my brother,” Charles spits out.
“We are the brotherhood,” Sebastian replies automatically, smiling that smile Charles had never understood until today.
“I won’t be one of your soldiers. I can’t.”
“I didn’t ask you to.”
“But you won’t accept a no,” Charles states, rather than asks, his mind spinning with everything that now seems important and relevant when it didn’t before. Reaching out with his mind he reaches Emma, Jean and the other telepaths at the mansion and passes on what he knows, “This isn’t a place of safety. It is a different type of prison and I won’t stay here.”
For the first time, a flicker of concern passes over Sebastian’s face, “Charles,” he begins, a warning clear in his tone, “Think about what you are doing.”
“Oh, believe me I am. For the first time in years perhaps,” Charles replies as Jean recoils in horror in his mind, her mind an explosion of all the possible things she might have been manipulated into doing for Shaw’s cause. The thought that as telepaths they could control other people, make them do terrible things and believe they were doing it for the right reasons was terrifying and at the same time, makes Charles feel a deep sense of sadness that he knows won’t fade for a long time.
“Charles, I need you to stay.”
It makes Charles feel sick. It is almost like conformation that Sebastian had plans for him and his mutation. Charles brought Raven to the Brotherhood because he believed that things would be different and yet it turns out that in a way Sebastian is little different from the mother that rejected both him and his adopted sister because of their mutations. That was what she fixated on, not who they really were as people, and now Sebastian is doing the same.
“Oh but I can’t let you leave. You need to understand this. We can come to some agreement but I’m afraid that you need to remain here with me,” Sebastian says soothingly, reaching out with his hands spread in front of him, “Calm down, Charles.”
“You don’t want one of your strongest tools in the hands of an enemy you mean,” Charles bites out, “The telepaths must be important to you. There is so much we can do and so few of us.”
“You have remarkable abilities. I have always admired them.”
The door crashes open behind Charles and he spins on his heel to find Alex and Ororo standing in the doorway, looking over his shoulder at Sebastian who speaks quickly, “Restrain him. He’s working for the humans!”
They both react without question, horrifying Charles, who immediately freezes them with his telepathy and flees the room, calling out to his telepathic friends as he hurries towards his bedroom. He thinks of Erik, of what he might say, and then of how close he is to Shaw. Raven is already a lost cause to him, though it pains him to admit it, because the look in her eyes explained the dedication and admiration that she clearly had.
Emma, Jean, and the others pack effectively and silently as Charles shares the revelations with them in full, without the screaming confusion of his own thoughts filtering through at the same time.
‘I don’t think anyone else would come with us. They won’t believe you, Charles. They can’t see your thoughts and they are close to Shaw. Especially if we don’t know where we’re going’ Jean’s voice filters through Charles’ mind and he can’t help but agree. They are alone, at least until they can convince the others of what they have seen. Alone in the crossfire of a war.
*Five years later *
Erik leads his group into the US embassy in London and when they are recognised many of the humans flee without putting up any sort of fight. The ones stupid enough to stay are dealt with by Angel as she floats around the room. Erik focuses on the task at hand, pulling apart safes with his mind until he finds the computer chip that he has come for. It should contain the newest list of suspected mutants for him to find and get out of the reach of the government. It was a very simple job and though he doesn’t need to make more off a mess, Erik has learned that it serves as a good warning to the humans to make them think twice about who and what they are dealing with. He is busy throwing another filing cabinet to the ground when Darwin rushes into the room,
“Magneto! We’ve got company! Sanctuary company,” he pants out.
Hissing through his teeth, Erik rushes down the corridors of the building, pulling Darwin along with him. Angel and Azazel meet him halfway towards the door and Erik bites out, “Get us out of here,” just as they hear the first Sanctuary agents step into the building, mortified gasps making him scowl. Things had to be done.
“I can’t. They are blocking me.”
“X” Erik snarls, “Only he could manage that.”
Nightcrawler slips into the room and nods the affirmative, making Erik swear under his breath, “I hate that mutant.”
“I’m sure the feeling is mutual boss, now what are we going to do about him?” Mystique remarks in her usual sarcastic way, seeming to appear from nowhere as usual and placing another chip into Erik’s hand before moving to the door and peering down the corridor.
“We leave, now. We have enough of what we came from and I don’t want to end up in a fight here. Too many humans around with their guns for us to keep an eye on while dealing with fucking telepaths at the same time. They are probably here to protect the humans of all things. Waste of potential,” Erik mutters to himself, scanning the room for anything he has missed before making his way to Azazel, “We will get out the back quietly. As soon as you can get us out of here, do it.”
“So we’re just giving up?!” Angel demands in disbelief as Alex cracks his knuckles in frustration and nods, both clearly looking for a fight. A fight they can’t win though, Erik is sure of that.
“If you want to stay here and get yourself killed then by all means do so but this is not the time or the place to take on X and his crew. We need to plan and be ready for them and their abilities. Right now, we still have the chips and the information. It is obvious what we came from and if we lose it now, it will only be moved to where we can’t find it. Get it?” He rants, staring at both Angel and Alex until they lower their heads in submission, “Good, now move.”
It takes them three months to plan their attack on the Sanctuary that Charles has built to house the telepaths that fled from Sebastian’s mansion and the subsequent mutants they have been able to find before Erik and convert to their own cause. They had suspected its locations for over eighteen months but now Erik throws all of his resources into confirming it for certain. X is becoming too much of a threat and growing steadily more powerful. They telepaths wear masks to hide their identities but Erik would never forget Emma. Her entire being screams of who she is and what she is capable of and he gives Darwin the task of dealing with her and her diamond form. Hopefully, he can find a way to adapt to even that. X is for Erik to deal with.
Rarely, have they clashed with the other group of mutants as the Sanctuary group is against violence but Erik is fully aware of what they are capable of when provoked.
“Are we ready?” Mystique asks quietly, rubbing at her wrists as if she is limbering up, preparing herself. Snatching the helmet he had inherited from Sebastian off his desk, Erik nods and leads her and Azazel from the room. His crew is waiting for him and some of the younger children are hanging over the banisters at the top of the stairs looking confused. They don’t know what they are doing but they can sense that this is different. Erik tries to reassure them and when Kitty suddenly appears in front of him, he leans down and kisses her cheek, “Back upstairs with you, Kit. Everything is ok.”
“Azazel looks too serious,” the five year old responds solemnly.
“He’s just being grumpy today. Go on, up to your room and play. Maybe you can get Rogue to teach you how to play that game of hers huh?” he says quietly, rubbing her back as she does and smiling reassuringly when she suddenly scampers back up the stairs, “The rest of you as well. Entertain yourselves. Rogue and Bobby are in charge.”
“Ready boss?” Azezel asks quietly, still staring at the spot where Kitty had been just a few moments before.
Erik nods and suddenly, they are in front of a tall building that is surrounded by pillars that unnerve him slightly. Cameras watch every square inch of land surrounding the Sanctuary and the building seams to lean over them and pin them all into place. It is all far grander and more intimidating than Erik had ever expected. By finding a closer co-ordinate than before, the group has managed to teleport right inside the complex and through the illusion that Erik suspected hid them from the outside world.
“Everyone can see it?” he checks, smirking when they all respond affirmatively, “Excellent. Now, let’s approach the front door shall we?”
Grimly, he leads them on, looking around for anything metal as he goes, listening to the hum in his blood the tells him where it all is and how heavy and dangerous it all has the potential to be. If they can take out this base, some of the telepaths, then they will be rid of their interference and can focus on their main goal, getting rid of the human scum that plague their lives and building their new society.
“I can see them moving around inside,” Darwin informs him softly.
“They will be getting ready to respond,” Angel grins, loving the fight, her steps getting lighter until she is floating just above the ground, wings beating softly in the light breeze as the door to the Sanctuary building slowly open. Several mutants slowly appear before them, all wearing their silver masks that shield their identities and allow them to blend in to the human world as if anyone would want to do so. The idea disgusts Erik. Mingling with those ignorant fools was not something he wanted to waste his time on.
“You’re not welcome here. I would ask why you have come,” X asks, hands clasped behind his back as his team slot into place beside him.
“You’re never welcome at our jobs, but that does not seem to stop you,” Erik replies as Darwin and Alex move slowly forward.
“We leave your home in peace. I would ask now, that you leave,” X responds, an edge to his words as Emma moves forward and without warning turns into shining diamonds that glitter in the low sunlight just peering out of the clouds. Darwin smirks and Erik turns his attention to her.
“Emma, friend, long time no see.”
“We are no longer friends,” Emma replies without taking her eyes off Darwin who has clearly given away the fact that he is to handle her, “I don’t associate with murderers.”
“Murderers kill their own kind, I don’t,” Erik states flatly, irked at the term because though he has had it thrown at him many times before, Emma had been with Shaw for many years. She of all should understand.
“They are still people,” Emma responds coldly, “And they have more freedoms than you could dream of. You’re nothing more than a puppet to a dead mutant’s deranged dream.”
“Emma,” another of the telepath’s says carefully, “They believe in their cause. Let them.”
Emma scoffs and moves closer still to Darwin, before turning her attention to Professor X, “They get our kind killed because of their ridiculous notions and a battle they can’t win.”
“True, but nothing that we can help. Now, I ask again, will you leave?”
“Nein, I’m happy to stay and make sure that you can’t bother us anymore,” Erik states calmly.
“Are you hear to kill us, Metalbender?” another of the telepaths asks softly, “Are you here to kill even mutants now? There is no line you won’t cross.”
“I’m here to take the Sanctuary out of the equation, one way or another, in order to allow me to get on with my work of creating a better world for us all to live in. What that means, is not my choice but yours,” Erik states slowly, carefully, letting his tongue roll of the end of each word so that it sinks in and is understood. He is offering them a way out and so won’t be held accountable if they are not clever enough to take it.
“Well then, I am sorry but we will be forced to make you leave. We keep people safe, we’re not soldiers, but we will do what we must. Jean,” X states calmly and there is something in the way that he speaks that Erik finds strangely familiar but can’t dwell upon because no sooner has X finished speaking has another telepath reached out with her arm and sent Erik and his team flying backwards. He hits one of the stone pillars surrounding the building and then all he can hear are groans and Pyro’s panicked “They are blocking my mutation!”
“Fight it!” Alex snaps, in the distance, “There are too many of us for them to hold back all at once.”
The land in front of the Sanctuary tower descends into chaos as the telepaths try and force Erik’s team back behind the illusion boundary so that they can no longer see where they are and be an effective offence. Alex unleashes immediately and the telepaths scatter, throwing themselves to the ground as one goes down hurt, possibly dead. Erik mourns the loss of a potential brother, willing to do what it takes but hating to take mutant life at the same time.
One takes cover behind an SUV parked outside and Angel sprays it until it looks like it has been taken out with a machine gun. In doing so though, she allows herself to get too close to the telepath who freezes her in place and throws her into the car face first. Scowling, Erik turns on Professor X and grits his teeth while pulling one of the large decorative metal plates from the roof of the sanctuary and hurling it towards him. Unused to mutants being able to resist him so well, he is caught off guard when Professor X seems to slow the sheet down and then turn it towards Erik before it picks up speed again and catches him right in the gut, throwing him backwards. Pain explodes through Erik’s stomach and sides, red hot pain like he hasn’t felt in years and then suddenly warmth as blood starts to gush from the wound.
Everything is so much different when the opposition actually poses what is a legitimate threat.
Aware that he is weakened, Erik knows that the car is too big but he manages to rip the bumper off and launch it at Professor X who dives out of the way. He is not quick enough to avoid being cuffed though. A dull clatter suggests that X might have lost his mask and Erik is filled with nervous excitement. This man had been his adversary for so long, taking the mutant children away to his safe haven before Erik could reach out to them on behalf of Sebastian and recruit them for their cause. He was the mosquito that just seemed to keep biting but be gone by the time you noticed he was there, always getting away. X made their war so much harder to fight, and Erik firmly believed that if it wasn’t for him that it might be over by now.
Then all he can feel is burning, his vision filled with sparks, the burning of his skin as Angel flies over him, her eyes glazed over. Clearly, a telepath is controlling her and Erik groans, his stomach in agony, while picking up the bumper again and launching it towards X who doesn’t manage to move as fast this time and gets caught in the side and gasps before slumping down into the dirt. It is enough for him to break the hold over Angel who drops to the ground distraught.
“I’m so sorry! He was in my head and I couldn’t do anything to stop it and I just. Are you ok?!”
“I’m fine! Get off me! We’re in a battle here!”
“Erik, we can’t take them. Not yet.”
He knows that, but doesn’t want to admit it or show weakness in front of his team but Angel is right His shoulder stings angrily and he drops his head, “Get everyone out.”
X crawls across the dirt of the road that leads to the Sanctuary entrance, trying to get to his mask, but when Erik reaches for it he finds that surprisingly it contains metal and flies into his waiting hand. Throwing it aside, Erik stumbles to his feet, hands putting pressure on his wound, and towards X before promptly stumbling back to the ground again.
“It can’t be. It...no. Sebastian said you were dead.”
X doesn’t argue but a wry smile crosses his bruised face, “Sebastian Shaw said a lot of different things that were not true. I hoped that one of these days you might see that.”
“My God, Charles, it is you.”
The smile falls and Charles freezes before scrambling to his feet and rushing back towards the front doors of the Sanctuary.
“Wait! Charles! We should talk!”
“We have nothing to talk about,” Charles insists, “You are fighting a war that I don’t believe in. I will protect the children you seek to corrupt and until you realise what you are doing...we have nothing to talk about.”
“You just left Charles! Did I mean nothing to you?”
Charles doesn’t answer. He doesn’t say a word as Jean Gray appears out of nowhere gain, limping, and puts her arm under him to help him along. Both sides have ceased their attacks and the telepaths are retreating as Magneto’s team gather around him ready to be transported back to their own base. Jean was a child the last time Erik saw her, barely a teenager, and Erik can’t quite match her to the woman standing before him now.
Jean had been shy, afraid of her own gift, and now she stands before him a confident young warrior. Erik can’t be sure but he would guess that she was the telepath to make the first move and as a child, he would never have believed her capable of wielding such strength.
“This isn’t over Charles,” Erik shouts, his voice cracking as he stumbles back towards his gathered team, “You can’t keep us out forever.”
“You’re right. It won’t be over. Not until you come to your senses,” Charles shouts back, “Because this? This is madness. This is your madness. How are we meant to show the world that we’re not dangerous if we lash out at each other? There are simply too many of them to eradicate them Erik and we have to come from somewhere, from someone, someone who doesn’t have the gifts that we do.”
“I’ve heard these arguments before, Charles,” Erik scoffs, putting his hand on Azazel’s shoulder, “They won’t change anything.”
“No old friend, I feat that they won’t. I fear that you are too far gone. But be aware that it was a mistake to come here and we will always manage to find a way to stop you. Know this, killing will not bring you peace.”
Erik bites his lower lip, looks around at the dismantled car and the wounded on both side from just a frightfully short skirmish between the two sides and thinks of the way he was treated as a child, of the state of those he took from the humans, “That is where you don’t understand Charles and never will. Peace was never an option.”