A Vague Disclaimer is Nobody’s Friend.
Tony Stark is a jerk. He is an ass. He knows this. He has ownership of both his assholery and jerkitude.
Of course, being Tony Stark means that once he thinks this, he starts thinking about maybe investing in assholery here and there or perhaps designing some better jerks, so he can ultimately claim a controlling interest in assholery and jerkitude worldwide.
However, Tony Stark is not only CEO of Stark Industries, Iron Man, and a member of the Avengers, he knows Charles Xavier. He’s known Charlie since before that bastard to end all bastards fucked him up in college. He likes Charles, despite the man being a sweet natured tweed wearing do-gooder, who won't sleep with him.Charles likes him, or a least doesn’t immediately fle e whenever he sets eyes on him.
Charles Xavier was one of the few things Tony found that was in any way good for him at college. Charlie kept him sober before, during and after his parent’s funeral, and all his exams. Charlie-boy warned him about Obie. Charles came to search for him in the desert. That’s the sort of debt that Tony knows he can never repay.
And so, when he hears from Raven that Charles is dating again, he knows what he must do. The solemn duty of the good friend and other teenaged girl-sounding crap. And, being Tony Stark, he’s gonna be the best goddamn friend he can be. He’s going to raise the bar for friendship so high they can see it in space. It’s what he does.
He tells Pepper about Charles dating again. He tells Steve. And he tells Coulson. They’re going to give this man the background check to end all background checks. They’re going to end up knowing things about Erik Lensherr that Lensherr doesn’t know about himself. And when they’ve done that, Tony is going to talk to Erik. What he says depends on what they find...
They find nothing.
Well, there’s some stuff about a crappy childhood: mother got killed by mutant hater, metal bending boy got hauled off to abusive institution. Escaped. Breaks a few laws freeing other mutants from similar places, from time to time. Gets himself arrested at mutant pride demonstrations, that kind of thing. Nothing out of the ordinary. At least, not to Tony.
Look, he works with SHIELD, OK? He’s gone toe to toe with Loki. Nothing is out of the ordinary to him. The point is, his unholy trio of researchers don’t think there’s anything about Erik which warrants immediate death, dismemberment or watch listing. They all know Charles, and they care about the telepath's happiness, too.
Steve even thinks Erik might be good for Charles. Pepper says he returns his library books on time and is polite to PAs (which means Lensherr gets to live. Pepper respects the public library as an American institution.) Coulson had said he didn’t think he needed to alert Fury, which is as good as a gold medal from the taciturn agent.
So, all Tony has to do is talk. Warn Erik of the inevitable consequences of him screwing up. Which is pain, and suffering, and mental anguish, and also pain.
Except, he needs to do this without Charles around to stop him. Except he can't wear his suit, as it is, well, metal. Except he doesn't want to give Lensherr- or anyone else- ideas.
Could be a little tricky.
Erik is tense. He can’t see Charles. That means he can’t protect him. Not that here, a party attended by half of SHIELD, he’s likely to need protecting, but still. He could… trip. Or choke on an olive, or something. Still, Erik knows he has to deal with his possessive and clingy nature, so he stays put at his table, and morosely sips his mineral water. He’s not drinking around Charles until he’s punched the bastard who made him so afraid of alcohol on his lovers’ breath. It’s a personal vow.
Then Tony Stark sits down next to him, and he really, really wishes he’d ordered a scotch. Or a blow to the head.
“Hey, Erik!” Tony waggles his fingers at him, in a friendly fashion. Great. The man’s already half drunk, Erik thinks, sourly.
“Hello.” He replies, only a little curtly. Tony is one of Charles’ oldest friends. He's also a genius, and an Avenger. So reasonable manners are probably required.
Then Tony knocks back the drink he’s been carrying, and sits up, sharply. He clears his throat. He fixes Erik with clear, sober eyes. Erik sits up too. He knows what this is. He’s been waiting for it. The Best Friend Talk. The “You hurt him, I hurt you.” stuff. He’s surprised it took Tony this long. Erik has been dating Charles for at least six months.
Really, Erik would be insulted on his lover’s behalf, that his friends didn’t think he could look after himself, but Charles’ past does show he has a track record of loving people who hurt him, telepath or no. Erik had expected to be threatened with death and maiming, by at least one of Charles's friends, He would have been insulted- on Charles’ behalf- if he’d only had to put up with Raven’s glares and mutterings.
“So. Is this where you threaten to beat me to death with a shovel?” Erik has always liked cutting to the chase. Tony’s eyes widen, briefly, but he rolls with it.
“I don’t think so. For a start, I wouldn’t use a shovel on you- it’d be too much metal. No, I think this is the part where I tell you what happened to the last guy who hurt Charles. You’re bright guy. I think you can work out the implications yourself.”
Tony grins. Erik feels slightly annoyed- he’s always like the fact that he’s had the most unsettling smile around, and Tony is giving it a good run for its money. Then Tony begins to speak, all thoughts of his smiles vanish.
“I wasn’t a good friend to Charles in college. My parents had just died, and I was a mess. Charles helped me through that.”
“I know,” Erik murmurs.
“Yeah, but that’s when he met the Asshole.” Tony swallows, looks away. “I didn’t exactly have my eye on the ball, and when I paid attention, it was too late.”
“I know he hurt Charles but-“
“He was a grade one, absolutely perfect, finest kind bastard,” Tony spits. “I’m not giving you the details- That’s Charles’s affair but-“
“I know he drank, and was violent.” Erik has seen the signs, the pattern of Charles’s flinches. It hurts. Charles had dated the one guy for years, and after he’d left he’d refused to believe anyone else could ever love him. Hell, he hadn’t even realised Erik was wooing him, until he’d been told. It had taken Erik two years to convince Charles he was worth loving.
“The violence came later, after college... Mostly it was just verbal, to start with. How Charles was dull, and ugly, how he was lucky to have him- Lucky!” He laughed, sourly.
“Charles, ugly? And he believed it?” said Erik, incredulously “But he’s a telepath-“
“Yeah, but unfortunately, our Charlie boy is a telepath with morals.” Tony says, bitterly. “Bastard didn’t want him in his head. So he stayed out." Erik takes a gulp of his mineral water.
Tony picks another drink off a nearby tray.
“Anyway, we’re not talking about Charles’s lack of self preservation. We’re talking about the Bastard. And me. Can’t leave me out of this.” He grins, viciously
“What did you do?" Erik’s genuinely curious now. He's sure Tony Stark could get away with a lot.
“Once they split? I didn’t want him dead. I wanted him to suffer.” Tony’s grin is wolfish. “I did everything I could think of.”
“First I wrote a virus. Wiped the jerk’s bank accounts, crashed his credit record. Put unremovable nulin porn on his hard drive.” Erik blanches. What the hell is nulin porn? Tony continues. “Then Pepper keyed his car. Put him on the PA’s secret black list. His reservations and bookings keep disappearing, the works.” Pepper’s justice was like the rest of her- swift, lethally efficient and extremely through. " Apparently the dude still flinches at the sight of a receptionist’s desk, an envelope or cats."
“She didn’t hit him? I know I want to.” Says Erik, thoughtfully. His eyes are wide.
“No, Steve did that.” Tony replies, gleefully. Erik blinks.
“You’re telling me Captain America hit a civilian who didn't attack him?" Erik is incredulous.
Tony snorts. Steve is an all around gentleman and golden boy with the heart of a mother bear. It's an easy thing to miss, if you don't know the man under the icon.
“No. I’m, saying Captain America punched a man into a wall for bullyinh and hurting a friend. Twice.”
“What else did you do?”
“Me? Not so much. I talked Coulson into putting him on one of SHIELD’s watch lists. He gets within five kilometres of any airport, he gets a full body cavity search- no Vaseline- and a three hour interview.” Erik nods, approvingly. Tony looks a little shifty.
“Also I may have let the guy come to Loki’s attention. Erik swallows, nervously. Loki is… unsettling. On many levels.
“And that’s all. Apparently The Bastard has " a poor sense of humour". Loki doesn’t like that. Loki doesn’t like abusive assholes either. Bad memories. Loki likes Charles. Don’t know why. ”
“Everybody likes Charles.” Erik said, firmly.
"Maybe it’s the scent of tea. Or maybe it’s his secondary mutation. Adorability.”
There is silence for a minute. Then Tony continues: “So, I’d feel bad about the whole… Loki thing, but. Hey. It’s Charles.” Tony waves a hand. “ANYWAY, the point is, you have to decide: Knowing this- and Natasha told me she’s way below quota on her yearly allowance of ball crushing yesterday- Knowing all this, are you going to keep dating Charles?”
Erik is not sure what the right answer is. What does Tony really want hear? Yes? No? Whatever you say? He moistens his lips, and comes to a decision.
“That’s up to Charles.” Tony smiles. Erik continues. “I can’t say I’m never going to hurt him, because I’m an emotionally constipated jerk wad at times, according to Raven.” Tony’s smile disappears. “But I love him. I always will. I’m planning on spending the rest of my life or as long as he wants me to- caring for him. Charles is worth anything." Erik swallows. "Even ball crushing and Loki's attentions.”
“Well, that’s very good to hear, darling.” They both give a guilty jerk.
Charles is right behind them. His arms are sternly folded, but his eyes are twinkling. “And Tony, thank you so much for… Avenging me.”
“Supporter of Truth, Justice and the American way, that’s me. Be good, you two. And if you can’t, be spectacular.” Tony stands up, ready to flee. He’s too late though. Charles envelops him in a tight hug. “Ack! Noooo! Platonic affection, get it away from me!” He babbles. Charles laughs.
“Thank you, my friend. For everything.” He lets Tony wriggle a little longer before releasing him back into the wilds of the party. Tony flees, like a feral cat. He’s still so uncomfortable around genuine friends. Charles resolves to hug him more often. He deserves it. Then he glances nervously at Erik, his boyfriend, who is watching him hug another man really very calmly.
Erik sees Charles’ tiny flash of fear and it helps him choke down any jealousy. He never wants Charles to be afraid of him. Gently, he tugs at his wrist, pulling Charles down onto his lap, and wraps his arms around his nervous lover. He hopes Charles can detect his absence of anger, feel how much he loves him.
“Hey.” He nuzzles Charles’ neck, burying his face in his hair, and waits for Charles’ breathing to slow. It takes less time than the last, which means he’s doing something right.
“Hello. Yes. Hi. I hope Tony hasn’t scared you off?” Erik smiles against Charles’ neck, and kisses his freckle there. He loves that freckle. It’s part of Charles, of course he loves it.
“I love you.” Erik says, sincerely. Charles flushes and his eyes light up.
“I love you, too.”
“Good. And I’m only going anywhere if you want me to.”
“I don’t. I don’t want you to go anywhere.” Charles says, hurriedly.
“Then I shan’t.”
Around them, the party goes on. They sit wrapped up in each other, watching.
Erik is not given to mushy displays of his personal feelings in public. Nor is he a pushover. But Charles has taught him some of the joys of compromise, and so for that reason, and certainly not because he is disgustingly in love with him, he’s holding Charles close to him as they walk. No one notices anything to comment on, either because London really is a liberal and cosmopolitan world capital, or because Erik is projecting his aura of devotion and menace over quite a wide zone.
They do spot one street preacher who is shouting about sin and repentance. He looks at Charles, who tenses, clearly in touch enough with his British roots to fear a public scene. Then he looks at Erik who smiles at him, politely and meaningfully, and the preacher begins to talk about the love of money being the root of all evil, and condemning bankers and banks. Charles relaxes. Erik kisses him.
They’re in London, because Charles is apparently desperately interested in seeing both the new Wellcome Trust Collection of coffins and thanksgiving icons and the Leonardo Da Vinci special at the National Gallery. Although Erik isn’t that interested in either, the presence of Charles makes everything bearable. More than bearable. Worthwhile.
Erik also thinks they’re in London because it’s just possible they will find people less invested in making sure Charles is happy in his new relationship here.
Erik has no problem with empty threats from Charles’ friends- and they are all empty, because Erik would never deliberately hurt or upset Charles.
Erik does have a problem restricting himself from asking Tony Stark, Sue Storm, The Thing, and most of the X-Men, and Logan, and Loki, of all people, what they thought they were doing when Charles was getting hurt in the first place.
They should have done something then; Erik could have respected them more if they’d actually protected Charles when he’d needed it. He restrsins himself because arguing with Charles' friends makes his lover unhappy, and also because Loki is too unpredictable
Loki is also much too invested in planning a wedding that is only going to happen in his dreams. He is a God, so Erik and Charles have let him just about get on with it, but it’s getting a little ridiculous. (Any sparkly all white outfit is strictly Emma Frost’s territory.) The Asgardian God of Mischief is now consulting baby name books, too.
This is spectacularly worrying as Loki is apparently not much in favour of fostering or adoption. Much as he likes children, or at least the opportunity to shape the minds of the next generation, Erik has no intention of being given a working womb as a wedding present.
At this- admittingly alarming- point in Erik's thought processes, they are interupted.
“Hmm. Public affection, you’re not quite comfortable with it, but you’re not just enduring it.” Erik looks up to see a tall pale skinny horse/raven combination disguised as a man in a dramatic coat staring critically at them with silver-blue eyes. He circles them thoughtfully. “And from the position of Professor Xavier’s hands, I’d say he’s quite certain of your affections.”
“What?” The strange man’s head tilts, and he gives Charles a sudden warm smile. Charles beams warmly back at him.
“And from the love-bites I d-“ Charles turns a delicate pink. It looks very good on him.
“Bit not good, there, Sherlock. You can’t just walk up to strangers and deduce their love life!” Ah. Now a short, sandy haired man has joined the raven. He nods at them both, amiably.
“I can.” snorts the tall man- presumably, Sherlock.
“Well, you shouldn’t.” sighs the sandy haired man.
“These aren’t strangers, John; this is Charles Xavier.” Charles grins. “And Erik Lensherr- also known as Magneto.” He does not smile. John gives Erik a sympathetic look.
“Also, from the quality of the coat you’ve made him wear, you not only care about him, but take care of him. Mycroft will be pleased.”
“How do you know that he made him wear it?” John asks, curiously. Erik would like to know that, too.
“It’s all in the angle of the buttons, John. You see, but you don’t observe!” The stranger looks even more insufferably pleased with himself. The sandy haired one rolls his eyes.
“Telepath?” Erik asks, wearily. He’s pretty sure what’s about to happen.
“Consulting detective. You’re wrong, by the way. I’m not here to threaten you over relationship with Charles. I’m here to deduce it.”
“Sherlock’s a detective for the dectives.” John- John Watson, who is in fact Dr John Watson, explains, shortly, while Sherlock is staring fretfully at a menu, and Charles is refusing to let him avoid eating altogether. “Very clever. Very observant. Not very polite.”
“Ah.” Erik says, carefully. He recognises the light of affection and admiration in John Watson’s eyes. He sees it in the mirror when he thinks of Charles.
Sherlock looks up then, and his own eyes warm as they look at John. He tries to put down the menu, but Charles simply picks it up again and pushes it at him. He huffs.
“And if Sherlock doesn’t like what he… deduces?” Erik asks dryly.
“Well, he’s doing a favour for his brother, really. He says, anyway.”
“Oh.” Erik does not ask for details. The light of love in John’s eyes has been extinguished by a steely look of determination. Erik does not feel nervous, but he does feel inclined towards tact. For once.
Fortunately at this point, Charles tells Erik that John was an army doctor, and then they find some common ground talking about protecting people, particularly stubborn geniuses, they care about. Sherlock looks up from dissecting his fish to demand, urgently, from John, the names of other geniuses he knows. John just smiles. Charles puts his head on Erik’s shoulder, so it’s not the worst meal ever.
It is good to know people appreciate Charles, even if they did a piss-poor job of being friends to Charles before Erik showed up to fall in love and take care of him. And the sky may be grey, but it’s not actually raining, and Charles is happy. He looks at his lover, blue eyes shining and face alight with appreciation of Leonardo’s delicate skill and Erik’s fierce heart hurts, he loves him so much. Charles must pick up on this wave of feeling, because he stops talking about the Lady with an Ermine, and kisses him, right there on the street.
It is therefore unfortunate, in light of Erik’s uncertain temper, that at this point a green cloaked man in a metal mask and armour steps up to them and says “Erik Lensherr? He who calls himself Magneto? I, Victor Von Doom, would speak with you!”
“Is this about Charles?” Erik is too used to this to be surprised by anyone, now. “Professor Charles Xavier will be a favoured servant of Doom in times to come” Doom states, arrogantly. Erik can feel his eyebrows rise towards his hairline. “He has deemed you acceptable as a consort. If you, puny fool,-”
But now Erik really has had enough, and he gestures, just so, and the edges of Dooms’ mask run together, effectively reducing him to furious sign language and muffled yelling. Charles giggles. Inwardly, Erik exults. Charles is laughing.
Doom steps forwards, and Charles twitches, so Erik melts his boots to the pavement. It’s so thoughtful of the super villain to arrive covered in metal. They leave him there, gesturing wildly at the street. A small audience gathers. Doom has already collected five pounds in loose change before they turn the corner.
I apologise profoundly. Profoundly for this.
You wanted more (some of you), please to read and enjoy. Once again, I’m terribly sorry.
Really, Erik thinks, this is getting ridiculous. He has been dating Charles for four years (in his opinion) or two and a half (in Charles’ opinion) He has watched with delight as Charles slowly relearns his confidence, shattered by his previous ex. He has shared Charles with his friends, with his school, with the world.
Victor Von Doom is still not talking to him; not that Erik misses this. Apparently it wasn’t the melting of his mask that caused this reaction, it’s the fact that the day Victor spent as an unwilling street performer in London was actually more profitable than his criminal excursions. Londoners.
The Avengers now tolerate his presence, if they ever have to call on Charles’ abilities to prevent alien invasions, and Erik is resigned to the fact that his love will risk himself for anyone, including heroes and the masses of prejudiced humans. As long as he’s there to encase Charles in protection, Erik will tolerate it.
He just wishes, occasionally, as he gazes at a very small Ororo Munroe, who is shaking her tiny finger at him, that they were as willing to share Charles with him. It seems only fair. They urge him to take care of Charles, and then they want to take him away from Erik so he can't.
“You no be a mean boy to Professor!” Ororo says, and proceeds to threaten to zap him with lightning. Again.
Erik sighs. He is not going to be electrocuted into agreeing to marry Charles and then go away. If Charles ever agrees to marry him, Erik is planning on welding them together, when he proposes, Charles needs to know Erik is asking because he loves, him, not because a mutant terror fried his synapses until he agreed.
The children’s open unwillingness to share their beloved father figure and teacher he can understand; and at least the sight of Charles surrounded by them has stopped Loki’s most unsubtle attempts to get the pair of them to give him adoptive grandchildren.
Erik did not appreciate being a woman for two days, at all.
Neither did Charles, which is why it only lasted two days. Two fine and exciting days of experimentation, and Loki left them with the Mystic and Unpronounceable Gender Swap Rock for later exploration “just in case”, which was thoughtful of him. Charles swears he doesn’t need to try it, because of his telepathy, but Erik remains hopeful.
But in the name of everything mutant, does he have to deal with people who don’t want him to marry Charles, in order to protect him, as well? He glares at the homophobic human in front of him, and refrains from firing the man’s fillings through his thick skull. It would be messy, and Charles wouldn’t like it.
“If I decide to marry a man, in the US, I will marry him.” He states, flatly, to the bigot. “If you continue with this lobbying of funerals and public places about the evil consequences of gay marriage and tolerating gay people, I will show you the meaning of the phrase "evil consequences". Personally.”
The bigot pales, and mumbles something about free speech, and freaks. Erik draws in a breath, sharply, but remains silent, when he feels a hand on his arm, and a presence in his head. He turns, and smiles at Charles. Who smiles back, and then kisses him, deeply.
Onlookers murmur and crane for a better view. The bigot gags, noisily and publicly. Charles beams at him and says, clearly, in his beautiful Oxford accent.
“Now, now, Frederick, it’s really not so bad.” The bigot glares. Charles continues, brightly
“No one knows you have those feelings, except for you, and well, me now." He looks a little embarrassed. "I’m sure-"
Erik tries so hard not to laugh; he misses some of Charles’ words. The bigot is turning puce, in denial, but Charles smiles at him, and licks his lips as he talks. It’s his most deadly non telepathic weapon, and Erik himself is defeated by it at times. So he kisses Charles again. This takes some time to do properly. He looks up from their embrace to find the bigot has burst into tears, and wandered away, in the direction of a therapist, probably. Typical. They come and bother Charles, they get a personal epiphany, and do they ever say thank you?
“Where do you want to go to lunch?” Charles asks, cheerily, as if this sort of thing happens every day. Well, it does, to him. Erik’s reply is drowned out by a strange wheezing, groaning noise, that sounds a little like a sick cello and a lot like something in pain. The noise is accompanied by the appearance of a couple of very strange people. One of the two strangers is a man-shaped being- although, given the way the metal content of his blood resonates, there is no way he is human. The second of them is an angry red head who is not Jean Grey; because she is not a telepath and also definetely from London.
“Doctor!” Charles cries, happily. Erik raises an eyebrow. So does the red head, whose name is Donna, and had been expecting to be somewhere completely else. She isn’t happy, until this Doctor chap promises to take them all to eat at a restaurant that apparently closed down two hundred years ago. Erik blinks.
Erik understands, when he meets the Tardis for the frist time. She's truly beautiful, rare metals and energy dancing in ways he's never seen before.
Erik decides he likes the Tardis, and the restaurant, and (even) Donna. Possibly this is partially due to the amount of alcohol, and the very good food, but still. They aren’t mutants, (at least, Donna is not, as far as he can tell.) but they like Charles, and at no point do either of them mention marriage, or Charles’s happiness.
He makes Donna some earrings, to demonstrate his abilities, and she hugs him. Possibly she has had quite a lot of the wine, too. Charles looks intrigued, rather than jealous, so Erik hastily slides up to him, and kisses him. Donna looks a little disappointed, but the Doctor beams brightly at both of them.
Then, of course, there is an attempted alien invasion (in the 18th century? Really?) which they have to foil, a murder mystery to solve, and a couple of stranded time travellers they have to help without revealing who they really are. Charles’ telepathy is very handy for the last one, when the Doctor’s psychic paper (whatever that is) doesn’t work on them.
Erik refuses to acknowledge the sonic screwdriver, though; if there’s’ going to be anything around that controls and alters metal , it’s going to be him, damn it. Even if it fits in a pocket, and can be smuggled into the prison they have to free Donna from more easily, Erik is better, he decides.
Charles laughs at him, a little, for being jealous of metal and wires, and then they meet the Cybermen, and things are not funny at all. Erik destroys every conversion unit within range, at once, and then is violently sick, from the taste and feel of the metal and the blood. He aims it at the Doctor, as much as he can, but he misses.
They go to the beach, as final farewell, before returning home, and that is lovely, until the sea starts talking to Charles, and they have to prevent the colonists from causing ecological disaster and also xenocide. They manage it though, and Erik feels happier.
As it turns out, the Doctor later reveals, by swimming in the sentient sea, together, Erik and Charles are now married.
“I wasn’t wearing white, Charles, and neither were you! Rings were not exchanged!” Erik protests. Charles’ grin is wicked in reply
“We weren’t wearing anything. And you did break a glass!”
Donna groans, sad to have missed it, and the Doctor helpfully points out that actually Erik and Charles have got married, mostly to each other, and occasionally to him or Donna, no less than four times, on various alien planets. Erik gapes and even Charles looks a little discombobulated. Donna cackles.
“Are you going to threaten me about Charles’ happiness, Doctor?” Erik says, as they give their farewells and prepare to return to their time and place. He's been waiting months for the Doctor to be just like every other person who likes Charles.
The Doctor looks at him with his bright, dark eyes, and says, simply
“I don’t need to.” Erik is about to press him on this point, when the man puts a finger to his lips and whispers “Spoilers!” before he vanishes back into the TARDIS.