Chapter 1: A Single Shot
He needed to protect his fellow Mutants. Charles didn't see that they needed to learn, that Mutants wouldn't stand by to be eradicated. Humans were like children, who stomped on the bug because it was ugly and scared them.
He easily turned the missiles around, and just as he started to send them back, he was tackled to the ground.
Damn it Charles!
He didn't want to hurt him, but this had to be done.
Why didn't he understand!
Taking power back over the last missiles, he concentrated on what neededto be done.
The first bullet caught him unawares.
The second one he deflected.
With a snarl, he turned to see Moira, the CIA Agent, shooting at him.
Did she miss the part where he was holding a dozen or so metal missiles with his powers? Shooting at him was a stupid idea!
He heard a groan behind him.
She was still shooting, with Charles in the vicinity.
Erik dropped the missiles into the ocean, and focused on the real threat. She was taking pot shots, barely aiming, just shooting randomly. Charles was in danger because of her recklessness.
Time slowed down as each bullet, raced towards him.
He lifted his hand to deflect with ease, only to realize one of the bullets was on a direct path to hit Charles. Without a second thought he moved …
He should have felt the pain on impact, but he couldn't.
Shaw had stolen that from him, right along with pleasure.
He felt Charles' arms move around him, as he fell towards the sandy beach. He blinked, trying to take a breath, to tell him that it was okay – he was safe now.
"Erik, just stay calm." Charles moved his hand over the uniform, trying to pull it apart to get to the wound. He couldn't lose him, not like this. With a scream of frustration he pulled off the damn helmet and tossed it as far as he could. <<Erik listen to me.>>
<<Safe. Charles. Safe.>>
"Oh God. No." In a blink he saw how Erik stepped into the bullet to protect him. It was the same as the plane, securing him to the fuselage with his powers. Even the blasted missiles. His only thoughts were keeping Charles safe. <<Stay with me.>>
"Protect them." Blood spilled from his mouth, he tried to wipe it but Charles held his hand. "All of them…"
"NO! You will not leave me!" He gripped the back of his neck and made Erik look at him. "I refuse to let you go."
He suddenly cried out in pain, scaring Charles even more. He looked down to see the bullet in Erik's hand. <<Oh God…>>
"Charles get away from him, he's dangerous."
His head snapped up, mind roaring with anger and desperation. "You did this!" He yelled, his gaze was like steal as he mentally shoved her away, invisible hands around her neck and squeezed.
"Charles!" Raven ran towards the fallen agent. "Stop it Charles you're killing her!"
He focused back on Erik, letting her go, not caring that she dropped to the ground gasping for air.
<<Promise me you'll take care of them.>>
"Not without you, my friend. We want the same thing, to help our people. I can't do this without you." He cupped his face, wiping away the blood.
"I will not lose you." Charles was desperate, and would do anything to save him. He wondered if his own powers could be used to heal if he wanted it bad enough.
Charles startled looking up to see one of Shaw's men standing over him. Azazel was menacing in all the wrong ways.
"Hold on to me." He held out his hand, towards Charles. "And hold on to him. I take you to doctor."
Charles reached out and in a flash they were no longer on a beach but instead in the lobby of a hospital.
"HELP! I need help!"
Doctors and nurses came rushing towards him instantly. He looked up to thank him, but Azazel was already gone.
"He was shot in the chest, but still breathing." Charles informed the doctor as they lifted Erik onto the gurney. "Save him."
"We'll do our best…"
He lifted his blood stained fingers to his temple. <<Save him!>>
Charles sat in the small room, waiting. They had wheeled Erik away, and every instinct had him wanting to follow, but he was getting looks from the staff. His uniform was covered in blood and sand, hair and eyes were wild, and he was pretty sure he was projecting everything but calm and serenity. He forced himself to take deep breaths, and then gently tapped his forehead to calm those around him.
With deliberate ease he stole a pair of scrubs, trashed the uniform into a hazmat bin, and worked his way back to the lobby, where he was directed to the surgery waiting area. It would seem he was startling the other patients.
After an hour of nothing but tired platitudes from the staff, he wandered. With his shields firmly in place, he explored the modern facility. It had sadly taken him a while to figure out he was in Havana. Azazel had got him to the closest hospital, and really at this moment he couldn't have been happier.
<<My cousin said they were so scared.>> A voice snuck through his shields, as he passed by the nurse's station. He wanted to ignore it, but something told him to pause. <<All those warships. He was sure death was coming to their door.>>
<<They are gone now.>> A second voice entered into the conversation. <<But tension has risen once again. We are not their battle ground.>>
<<Yet they sent bombs to our beaches!>> A third entered the conversation. <<I saw it. And then suddenly the bombs stopped and turned around …>>
"Code Blue!" A yell came from down the hall. "OR 3! Code Blue!"
Charles looked down the hallway as nurses, ran for the operating theatre. He knew without a doubt that was where Erik was located. There were frantic yells, as they grabbed equipment from the hall. He heard the charge, a yell and almost felt the pulse go through Erik. That wasn't going to set well, with his mutation.
Seconds later there was a horrendous sound of metal crashing onto the floor, followed by more yelling. Moments later a portable X-Ray machine was pushed into the room, along with the sound of ripping metal.
<<Don't leave me.>> His focus and attention on the only thing that mattered. <<Erik hold on! Don't you dare leave me now, you son of a bitch!>>
The silence was deafening.
Nurses moved out of the room, looks of relief on their faces. He barely picked up the sound of the ECG monitor showing life.
One of the older nurses made her way down the hall, stopping in front of Charles. "Come sit down, can we get you anything?"
"He's alive?" He asked, letting her sit him down, his focus still on Erik.
"He coded on the table. They couldn't find the bullet…" She gasped, hand moving towards her mouth.
Charles looked down at his open palm, where the bullet laid. "You don't know what he means to the world … to me."
She sat next to him, folded his hand around the bullet, and held it in between hers. "He's got a guardian angel watching over him…"
Charles chuckled humorlessly. "Well they've done a piss all job haven't they." He pulled his hand from hers, gave her a half hearted smile as she left him there.
He startled awake when a hand rested on his shoulder. He stood quickly when he saw the doctor leaning over him. "How is he?"
"He's in recovery." He gave him a reassuring smile, the one Charles was pretty sure all doctors were trained to give. "We lost him for a moment, but were able to get him back and repair the damage to his lung, but it's going to be a long recovery. We'll have to watch for infections, and he'll have a weakened lung, but if all goes well…"
"Can I see him?" Charles demanded.
"When we settle him into a room, you can visit." The doctor hesitated, motioning for Charles to sit back down, while taking the seat next to him. "I was concerned about the scars that he already has. Do you know any of his medical history, that we should be aware of … the next 48 hours will be crucial to his recovery."
"He's a survivor of the camps." He closed his eyes, as flashes of Erik's memory broke through the fog he'd been in, for the past … he looked around until he saw clock. Twelve hours. They had taken down Shaw twelve hours ago, and it felt like a lifetime ago.
<<Holy Mother of God.>>
Charles glanced over to the Doctor, who paled tremendously as he crossed himself.
<<Holy Mother I ask you to intercede with your Son to heal this young man … >>
The Doctor titled his head slightly, but didn't seem upset or fazed. "I will send for a Rabbi, in case."
"He survived the camps, doctor. He's too damn stubborn to die at the hands of humans." Charles gripped the bullet in his palm, feeling the sharp edges push against his skin. "But I thank you for your prayers and more importantly your skills."
"I'll make sure the staff knows his history." He stood only to pause and glance down at Charles. "There was an incident during surgery. The trays, tools, anything metal started shanking, right before he coded, and then everything crashed."
Charles gave him a soft smile, as his fingers touched his forehead.
The doctor blinked, shaking his head slightly. "A nurse will come to get you, once he's settled in his room." He turned and walked away, not quite sure what had just happened.
He leaned back in the uncomfortable seat, ignoring the tears that streaked down his cheek.
A few hours later he found himself sitting next to Erik's bed, holding his hand. He ignored the machines around him. The sound of the ECG Machine was background noise, the pen against paper telling him Erik's heart was beating.
The scar was long and ugly down the middle of his friend's chest, the staples were dark against the pale skin, holding his chest together. Charles took a calming breath, swearing to himself that he would make sure Erik had the best care.
"You will need to keep him calm when he wakes."
Charles jumped out of the chair, tripping into the bed, before turning around and glaring at the intruder.
Azazel smirked at him. "I couldn't sneak up on Emma."
"Well I am a bit distracted." Charles forced himself to calm down, trying not to lash out at the mutant. "What are you doing here?"
"Checking on you two." He stepped closer to Erik, giving him a critical eye before focusing back on Charles. "He's recovering?"
"They are worried about infection." Charles sat back down, taking Erik's hand again, not caring about the look he was getting. "One lung is damaged, the other collapsed under the pressure. They lost him once, but …"
"It's like you know him." Charles snorted softly.
"A man who hunts for twenty years to find the bastard who killed his mother." Azazel walked around the room. "Stubborn is only the beginning."
He looked down, not ready to talk about Shaw.
"I will have to thank him for killing the bastard." He continued watching his fellow mutant. "My people can rest easily."
Charles' head snapped up, a frown on his face.
"You think we followed him because we loved him." His chuckle was rich and dark. "Some aspects I agreed with. My mutation can't be hidden, hence I normally stay on my island with my fellow teleporters …"
"You don't think in time the humans would accept you?" Charles had always thought Raven was beautiful in her natural form, but then she had the ability to hide, Azazel didn't.
Azazel shook his head. "They don't let black people drink from the same fountain as whites in your country. What do you think?" He whipped his tail around, giving him a pointed look. "As far as good humans think, I'm the devil."
"But in time they can be …"
"Look at his arm." He pointed at the hand Charles was holding. "I know what those numbers are. They represent what humans will do to those who are different, and they were fellow humans."
His fingers ran across the inked numbers.
"Shaw did that, and worse." Azazel shrugged. "He bragged about Erik. The monster he created. How he loved him. The anger. The hatred. But he forgot that the story ended when the monster killed the doctor."
"There was another way, he didn't have to kill him." He stubbornly held his point.
"He will wake up disoriented and likely flash back to his time with Shaw." The teleporter looked around the room, eyes laying on everything that was metal. "Be ready to calm him down. Do you have a message for your sister? They demanded information."
"Are they okay?"
"I took them to your home." He smirked, laughing lightly to himself. "The blue furred one kept growling."
"Hank! You didn't hurt them…"
"No. Your sister is one to reckon with."
"Raven can be very protective."
"Bites too." Azazel smiled showing all his teeth. "Shall I tell them, you are waiting by your lover's side."
"We're not …" Charles wasn't sure why he even tried to deny it. The red mutant rolled his eyes. "Tell Hank to prep for us to return, Erik will need full time care, and I guess I'm going to have to deal with the CIA."
"The ones who fired weapons at us?"
"They were scared …"
"Yet you think they will accept someone like me or your sister?" Azazel's smirk was downright vicious. He turned towards Erik, tilting his head slightly. "He did the right thing."
"He was going to kill innocents."
"And what do you think would have happened to all the humans on this island?"
And with that last comment, he teleported out of the room leaving Charles alone with his thoughts.
The metal vibrations alerted him that Erik was waking up.
He had been by his side for twenty-four hours, and only budged to find a shower and change. Azazel had popped in again with clothes, necessities, and cash. He in turn sent a list of medical supplies that would be needed for Erik's recovering and told him to give it to Hank to prep a room.
Charles stood, holding Erik's hand as he leaned over him. "Erik I need you to calm your mind. You're safe. Wherever you think you are, it's an illusion. Follow my voice." He felt the grip on his hand tighten. "Come on Erik you can do this, I need you to stay calm … focus on my voice."
He barely flinched when the pen on the chart embedded itself in the wall, as the metal clipboard began to crumble.
Charles startled when he was pulled into Erik's mind.
He looked around trying to gauge where he was, the rain was heaving down making it difficult to see. He flipped the hair out of his eyes, and stared up at the iron gates and hordes of people being shoved through it.
He heard a boy scream for his mother.
Watched as the metal gate bent to his will.
In a blink he was dry and in an office, startled to see Shaw looking the same as when they faced him down only a few days ago. He studied the young boy, terrified of what was happening around him.
This was the moment.
The one that set Erik on his path, the one that would lead him to Charles … to Cuba … to recovering from a gunshot wound.
A part of him was awed by Erik's raw power as he destroyed the office and lab, inadvertently killing the German guards.
Watching as Shaw put his arm around young Erik, laughing as he dropped the coin at his feet … made him wonder why he wanted to take Shaw alive.
The man was truly a monster.
The next moment made him heave. Even if the scene before him was only in his head. He logically knew what happened in the camps, read about the atrocities. He had even seen glimpses in Erik's memories when they first met and during their recruiting trip.
But to see it fully.
'What are you doing here?'
He turned to see Erik has he knows him standing in the corner, looking between his younger self being electrocuted and Charles.
'You pulled me in, you need to wake up.' He reached out to him, wanting to move him away from the past.
'I pulled you into one of my nightmares?' Erik looked frustrated, as he ran a hand over his face. 'I am sorry for that, no one should see these.'
'No one should have lived them.' Charles whispered softly.
'I don't need your pity, Charles.' The voice became stern.
He could feel the anger brewing. 'Calm your mind Erik. You're causing damage outside …'
'That's why I asked for a room away from the others.' He took a deep breath, hands clenching and unclenching by his side.
'We're not at the house.' He finally got close enough to touch, fingers softly caressing Erik's arm.
'Where the hell are we?!'
The scene changed from cold sterile operating room, to the beach in Cuba. Erik looked around, then back at Charles to see him in the black and yellow uniform.
'It's beautiful when we're not being shot at.'
'What do you remember?' Charles asked, noticing that Erik was projecting his image without the helmet, not that it would work. He was already in his head.
'Shaw's death. Humans trying to kill us. One succeeding.'
'You're not dead my friend.' He reached out and laid a hand on his chest. 'You'll recover I'll be there each step of the way.'
'I might as well be.' He shrugged. 'You won't forgive me for killing Shaw.'
'I…' Charles hesitated only for a moment. 'I am a pacifist by nature. I don't believe in violence. I believe that one day we can all live in this world together.'
'Naïve idealism.' Erik smiled at him. 'But it's what makes you … you. I wouldn't change that, but I do wish you would see that the world isn't ready for it.'
'Nor does it need another revolution. It's seen enough death and destruction.' He pointed out in earnest.
'Then we find ourselves at a standstill.' He glanced out towards the water. 'You should just let me go. Maybe I can finally find that peace that has eluded me all these years.'
'I cannot survive this without you, my friend.' Charles reached out and cupped his cheek, making Erik focus on him. 'We're not a standstill, we're at a cusp. Neither of us is right nor wrong. We're better together.'
'You teach, while I fight.'
'The point I'm making Erik is we do it together.' He ran a thumb across his cheek. 'It's time to wake up.'
He looked down to see Erik's eyes were open, staring at him. He smiled softly, running his thumb over his cheek. "Welcome back."
Erik was resting once again.
The doctor had removed the respirator from his throat, Charles was thankful it was made of plastic, or the situation would have gone a lot worse, than the side rail of the bed being bent. They put him on oxygen, and then checked his incision to make sure it was healing with no infections present.
The doctor informed him, that Erik would need weeks to months of recovery.
His lungs were weak and would need to build back up to normal capacity. He would have to be careful in the future of infections. A chest cold could set him back in recovery. At the moment simple movement would cause loss of breath, and he should take things slowly. The chest muscles will heal in time, but Erik would require help with sitting up until the muscles strengthened.
Charles kept a straight face, taking in all the information and pulled more from the doctor's mind. What worried him was the fact, Erik had eight staples in his chest, and about two feet of wire wrapped around his sternum.
This wasn't going to end well, he could feel it.
He asked when it was possible for him to take Erik home. The doctor gave him a look, as if Charles was insane, his thoughts were clear on the subject. He was just three days out of surgery, and under no circumstances was Erik to leave the hospital for another five days, and would need care afterwards. Reiterating everything he had already told Charles. Adding in the history of open heart surgery and the fact that Erik was alive was a miracle and not to push his recovery.
Charles calmed him down by explaining he had a quiet place away from everything where Erik could recover, plus a doctor on staff. It was only then the doctor agreed he could leave the hospital in five days, pending Erik's condition, and that he had no fever.
What Charles didn't mention was that his place was in New York, and they would be using a teleporter mutant to get home. He figured it would be painful and uncomfortable for Erik but only a few short seconds compared to a plane ride.
And the way the news was going on about sanctions against Cuba he wasn't even sure he would be able to get out of the country. Considering they had no passports, documents, or proof of who they were.
Last thing he wanted to do was alert the CIA. He had a feeling the only reason he hadn't had the 'Men in Black' in Erik's hospital room was Azazel hadn't told anyone where they were at, and was watching Moira.
A selfish part of him wanted to find a place in Cuba and hide Erik away from everything. Including the rants Charles was going to hear from Raven, and Hank's 'I don't approve stare'.
Erik was meant to be by his side, as he was meant to be by his.
When he would even let himself take a moment to contemplate the two of them separated - dread filled him, not just for himself but for the world.
"When can I leave?"
It was still disconcerting to hear such a soft quiet tone from Erik. The man was blunt, forceful, cold, serious, not quiet or weak. Charles glanced at the bed, to see Erik studying him. He so far hadn't mentioned the fact Charles was holding his hand, and the few times he tried to pull it away, Erik held on tighter.
"Five more days." He shifted until he was leaning against the bed. "They want to make sure you are more stable, and no infections have set in."
He took a few short breathes, struggling to cough. Charles grabbed a small cup from the table … the second table they've had, he won't mention what happened to the first after Erik woke up from a particular nasty nightmare … he helped him sit up and put some of the ice chips into his mouth.
"What is in my chest?"
Charles tried to bluff his way around it, but the mutant's eyes narrowed, and the fifth pen ended up embedded into the wall. Erik closed his eyes as pain shot through him, he gasped for air forcing Charles to shove the oxygen mask back onto his face. <<Calm your mind.>>
<<I was shot you asshole.>>
Charles bit back the smirk, last thing he wanted to do was encourage Erik's bad behavior. He already knew it was going to be hell on earth, during his recovery.
<<Steady breathes. Relax your chest. Don't tense.>>
<<I hate you so much.>>
But he followed Charles' instructions, slowly calming down as he breathing regulated. "I feel the metal Charles."
"You have staples down your chest, and a wire around your sternum."
"I want them out."
"They are holding your chest together!" He would not back down on this. Erik wasn't the one who sat outside, watching as doctors worked to save his life. "The staples can be removed in fourteen days. Hank can do it." Charles ignored Erik's snort. "The wires, will take longer … it would be best if you limited using your powers until you're fully healed."
"So if Hank is doing this surgery, when do we go home? If I'm still welcome."
Charles knew his expression softened at the word home. He probably had a sappy look on his face, if Erik's roll of the eyes was any indication.
"In five days, we can go home. Where you will do everything the doctor says. You will not push your limits. You will rest. You will ask for help. You will listen to me!"
Charles had only stepped outside the room, for thirty minutes.
The Head Nurse had assured him, that she would make sure Erik was ready to leave. She adored and practically adopted him these last few days. She was always gentle, helped Erik sit up, showed him how to hold his chest while he coughed, and talked him through his breathing fits.
And after the one time she talked him out of a nightmare, ignoring the shaking metal railings. He had been tempted to kidnap her.
Charles had gone to the Administration Offices, to make sure he had everything they needed for Erik to be discharged, and pay his bill. He discovered that despite everything that was being said about Cuba, their health system was slowly developing much like the one he'd seen while at Oxford.
Instead of a bill, he had been handed over a packet of material for Erik's rehabilitation: restrictions, breathing exercises, physical therapy, medications, treatment for the surgical incision, and a half dozen other important documents.
After picking up a bag full of medications, extra bandages and supplies he made his way back to the room. Azazel was due to arrive in the next few moments. The plan was for the teleporter to take Erik first, into the waiting arms of Hank. Charles would make sure the staff thought they had helped Erik out to the front to a cab, before he was zapped home.
He was looking forward to going home.
He wasn't looking forward to what was waiting for him.
Despite the stress and panic he felt every time Erik gasped for a breath, the past week had been pleasantly calm. The two were content in their silence.
Charles was sure they would be back to bickering soon enough, thought it would seem Erik wasn't going to wait until they got back to New York.
"Where is Ester?" He stalked into the room glaring at the sitting up patient, who wasn't supposed to be doing anything without help. "You were to wait for me!"
"She went to get me a wheelchair." Erik glared, breathing hard hand clutching at his chest. Just getting up, and moving his legs over the edge of the bed had worn him out. "I refused to be carried by Azazel like a bride on her wedding night back to the house."
"You make a lovely bride." The teleporter gave his burgeoning friend a smirk. He had popped in and out over the past few days, enjoying startling Charles and snarking off at Erik.
Erik glanced over at Charles a slight smirk on his face. "Charles prefers me in blue."
He stared at the two of them, with a confused expression. Until he felt Erik push an image of himself, in a blue dress with fishnet stockings …. "She told you!?" Charles blushed, and then laughed lightly as he ducked his head.
"I always thought maroon was more my color." Erik chuckled only to cough. "Okay let's do this."
He stood on shaky legs, hand gripping the hospital bed. He bit back the groan, from the pain that shot through his whole body. 'Suck it up Erik, you've had worse.'
<<You don't have to be strong all the time.>>
<<I can't be weak.>>
Charles touched his cheek. <<You're the strongest person I know.>>
Erik reached out, taking Charles' hand gripping it tightly. <<Don't let go.>>
"Never." He helped him move away from the bed, and closer to the teleporter.
Azazel wrapped his left arm around Erik, stepping closer to him. He then took his right hand, into his own, the tail wrapped around tapping Erik on the shoulder.
"Well I always knew I would end up dancing with the devil." He leaned into the taller mutant.
"You would take over hell, my friend." Azazel glanced over to Charles. "I'll be back in a few moments, so be prepared.
Charles nodded, stepping back almost everything he had was packed and ready to go. He just needed to shove all the paperwork and bag of meds into the duffle.
"Oh this is going … "
And they were gone.
Hank wasn't sure exactly when Azazel would show up with Erik. He had his room prepped, with an oxygen tank, blood pressure kit, an IV Drip line if needed, and stacks of bandages. He wasn't a medical doctor, but over the past week he had read everything he could get his hands on about chest surgery, what type of medications, pain killers, and after treatment.
He wasn't sure what his feelings were on the whole thing. They all had seen what had gone down on the beach, but no one knew what Erik was truly thinking, not even Charles.
Raven had been … still was … pissed at Charles. Hank wasn't sure if it was because he saved Erik or didn't back him.
Alex and Sean were keeping their own counsel on the event.
Janus and Angel kept to themselves.
Azazel was the only one who seemed to know more on what was going on, but he refused to tell anyone where they two men were located, and only gave basic information.
Hank wasn't sure why they were all in Erik's room, he had asked Alex for help in case he needed some, which led to the rest of them wanting to help.
He was pretty sure this wasn't going to end well.
"A teammate who was willing to kill hundreds of innocent humans!" Raven argued with Alex who was adamant that they all needed to calm the fuck down, and be there for their teammate as he recovered.
"A teammate who stopped those innocent humans from killing us." He shrugged, not backing down. "Hey I'm not saying he was right, I'm just pointing out he took a bullet to the chest to save Charles. So give the man some slack."
"He was ready to keep going with Shaw's destruction." Moira entered the argument, which hadn't really helped the situation.
Hank wasn't even sure why she was in the room, seeing her was not going to help Erik … hell it was likely going to set him off, and if Charles wasn't with them that was going to be bad.
He wasn't paid enough for this.
Wait, he wasn't even getting paid.
"Yet Shaw's dead." Sean stood by Alex, backing his friend. "Wasn't that your goal? Besides the bullet was yours."
"Someone had to stop him!" She glared at them, hands on her hips.
"Shooting metal bullets at a man who pulled a submarine out of the water." Janus spoke up from his seat on the couch, giving them all a look. "Yeah that works."
"Why are you even here?" She snapped at him. "You were one of the enemy."
"The enemy is the humans." He stood glaring at her. "I might add they were willing to kill you, collateral damage and all."
"Enough!" Hank rubbed his forehead, growling slightly. "At this moment we've gone over this a hundred times, and the answer is still the same. Erik is recovering from a gunshot wound, and Charles is going to skin all of us with his mindif we don't at least act civilized."
"Well you know how mom gets about dad." Sean snorted shoving into Alex, who chucked.
"What?" Raven glanced at the two snickering boys.
Alex laughed, only to frown. "Oh come on. They are so a married couple." He glanced over to see Moira's horrified expression. "So what you don't like queers. Yet you want to preach at us about how humans will accept mutants. Who gives a flying shit their fucking. Charles keeps Erik calm."
"Charles isn't fucking Erik!" Raven yelled, blinking at the two of them.
"She's kidding right?" Sean glanced at Alex, who shrugged and they both looked at Hank, who held his hands up begging them not to get him involved. "Charles has been by his side for a week now, like a concerned spouse."
"Charles would do that for any of us!" She argued.
"Not hold our hands." Alex pointed out, with a smirk. "Erik is the disciplinary, hard edge dad. Charles is the sensitive we can sneak extra sweets from mom. They work together. They make us work together. If we didn't have them, we wouldn't be here. So if Erik found peace in Charles' arms I'm not going to let anyone fuck that up." He stepped closer to Raven. "I don't care if you're his sister."
"Charles flirts with women." She stepped forward accepting the challenge.
"Oh please I know Charles darkest desire." Angel rolled her eyes, staring at the group.
She would admit it has been awkward as hell since Cuba, but she had nowhere else to go, and she wasn't sure her wing would fully heal. At this moment they all were just a ragtag bunch of misfits waiting for mom and dad to get home.
"Believe me it's not cute miss CIA agent over there. He likes them tall, ginger and in fishnet stockings. And have you seen Erik's package – woman I would pay to ride that big boy. Charles' is a lucky man."
Sean snorted, giggling desperately against Alex, before he turned serious. "Besides, he turned you down!" He gave Raven an all knowing look. He had seen her storm out of Erik's room the night before Cuba, that wasn't a woman who got laid, but one who got tossed out. "Where do you think he spent the rest of that night?"
Hank glanced at Raven.
Alex shook his head, cringing at Sean's bluntness. "Awkward."
"It's like living a soap opera." Janos shook his head, watching the children argue. "I'm so going to have to tell Azazel…"
"… to suck!" Erik's voice rang through the room, when the two landed. He cringed in pain, falling against the taller mutant.
Azazel gripped him closer, looking over at Hank. "Bed now."
"Let's move him." Hank moved past Azazel, taking Erik's arm grateful that the mutant wasn't fighting him.
He wasn't sure what he expected, but what he saw wasn't it.
Erik had lost weight, a lot of weight and he hadn't had much to spare. The pajama bottoms hung on his narrow hips, and the button down shirt, showed parts of the red ugly line down his chest. His face was pale with dark circles under the eyes, and his body was shaking uncontrollably. He was a man who was barely standing after being at death's door a little over a week ago.
"I got him." Hank's voice was soft as he used his new strength to help Erik towards the bed.
The room began to shake.
Everyone looked around, hands reaching out, only to realize it wasn't the room, but every piece of metal in it.
They looked at Erik's who dark pained filled gaze was staring at Moira. A lamp shifted, along with pens, a tray and a small knife was yanked out of Janus' boot.
Alex stepped in front of him, hands up. "Dad, you need to calm down."
In less than a blink, Charles stood between Erik and everyone else.
All the bags he carried fell to the ground as he stepped forward, cupping Erik's cheek. <<I need you to calm down.>>
<<She's here! The woman shot at you and has the audacity to be here!>>
Charles choked back his own emotions, as he laid a hand on Erik's chest. <<Darling you're hurting yourself…please.>>
Erik cried out from the pain in his chest as the metal staples and wires pulled. He gasped, and everything fell to the floor, as he sagged against Hank.
"Everyone out!" Charles' snarled, not even looking at the occupants. "Hank help me get him into bed."
Hank nodded, ignoring the tears he saw running down Erik's cheeks, as he gasped for air. Charles without thinking kicked off his shoes and moved into the bed with Erik, holding him close, soothing him as they worked to get his breathing under control.
He backed out of the room, followed closely by Azazel. He would give them a few moments, and then talk to Charles about Erik's care, but right now he figured they all needed to calm down.
He closed the door and looked at the group. They were all staring at him, waiting for something he wasn't sure what. With a smirk, he looked at them and said the only thing he could think of. "Mom's getting dad to calm down, once we're sure he won't kill anyone with a pen we'll set up a time for the kids to visit."
Alex snorted, choking on his laughter that sounded a bit like a sob. Sean crossed himself, sending up prayers for both of them, wondering if there was a Patron Saint of Mutants. Raven rolled her eyes, but sagged in a relief. Angel nodded, walking away with Janus who gave a head tilt to Azazel who nodded in return.
Hank noticed instantly that Moira wasn't there.
He sighed as his own thoughts churned. He had no idea what the next step was, but he knew he was going to stick around to find out. Though a part of him felt as if they missed the proverbial bullet … with his own humorless snort he couldn't help think - because it hit Erik instead.
Charles never felt so exhausted in his life.
Erik was resting, finally. He had made sure the pillows were fluffed and there were enough to keep the older man sitting up, yet comfortable enough to sleep. The oxygen mask was resting against his chest at the moment, in case it was needed.
Erik's breathing was labored, but calm.
Charles sighed as he moved off the bed, and made his way to the en-suite bathroom. He glanced at the mirror, and cringed. He looked like he had aged ten years in the past week, with the rate things were going he would be bald by the time he was forty.
He splashed some water on his face, took a few more calming breaths of his own, before making his way back into the bedroom.
Hank was standing just inside the door.
Charles gave him a warm smile, as he made his way to the dropped bags.
Seeing Erik in so much pain seconds after leaving the hospital had terrified him. Realizing why he was pissed and hurting, had angered him. He knew that coming back to New York, and dealing with everyone wasn't going to be easy. But he hadn't figured it would explode seconds they returned, he had hoped for a few hours at least.
"How's he doing?" Hank asked voice soft and low.
"Asleep." Charles glanced back at Erik, he couldn't help the small smile. "They gave him a sedative before he was discharged, lucky it's kicking in now. He'll need food, meds, and probably more pills in a few hours." He dug through the duffle bag and pulled out the bag of medications and wad of instructions and handed them over to Hank. "We'll need to get some of these prescriptions refilled." Charles paused. "Any means necessary."
One of Hank's eyebrows shot up, but he didn't say anything. He continued reading the chart and paperwork. "He's got metal in his chest?" He looked up shocked, eyes wide. "That's not going to end well."
"Nope." He agreed humorlessly. "When he uses his powers it pulls on the staples and wire."
"Yeah so seeing the person who shot you five seconds into recovery wouldn't go over well." Hank kept looking through paperwork. "We've got some nice areas in the garden that would help with the exercises. Doubt he'll be up to his five mile morning runs, but a walk to the balcony could be good."
"Give me the rundown of what's going on." Charles sat down on one of the chairs, waving a hand at Hank. "Don't sugar coat it."
Hank dropped his hands and looked at his friend. "What bad news would you like first?"
"The one that won't make me screech." He sighed slipping further into the chair, completely exhausted.
"Well everyone knows you two are lovers." Hank shrugged, figured that was the less troublesome. "Alex's taking to calling you two mom and dad."
Charles' snorted. "I'm going to take a wild guess here, and say I'm mom."
Hank didn't have to answer that question. "Raven is livid I'm not quite sure exactly what's pissing her off, but I'm guessing all of the above."
Charles didn't want to know what A through D were exactly, but he was sure he was going to find out in about an hour.
Unless he could hide in Erik's room for the next ten years.
"Everyone's leery of Angel, which is understandable. Azazel has seemed to settle, but isn't here often. Janus stays close to Angel, but I have to admit he's helped out around here, including going for food and doing odd things. He's trying to fit in, yet not."
He waved his hand for Hank to continue when he paused, knowing what was coming next.
"Moira isn't happy. She's feeling part prisoner and other part warden. Alex and Sean have been cool towards her, but nothing outright. I'm not sure what to do about any of it truthfully."
"And you?" He asked gazing intently at his friend. The fact Hank was still with fur, meant he was working something out for himself or at least hadn't had time to figure out how to get Beast back under control.
"I'm not sure." Hank shrugged. "We did what we set out to do. Shaw's dead. I'm not sure how, nor do I really want to know. We've stopped World War Three, but the US and Russia are eyeing each other like two rabid dogs. Cuba is caught in the middle, and well it's like nothing happened yet everything has changed. As for Erik, it wasn't until seeing him made me realize how bad that moment was. He took a bullet for you and I'm grateful, but he wouldn't have been shot if he hadn't taken control of the missiles, but if he hadn't - we and Cuba would be ash."
"That is a good recap of this fuck up."
"Did he intend to kill those soldiers?" He asked quietly, glancing at the bed.
"No." Charles sat up, resting his head on his hands. "I saw it in his mind, oh he wanted to, but also knew not to … saying a soldier was just doing his duty doesn't work on him, especially considering his past, but he also knew killing them would set off a war we weren't prepared for. In the end I think he wanted to make a point."
If the damn helmet hadn't been on, he would've have been able to sense what Erik was up to.
<<You should've trusted me.>>
Charles looked over at the bed to see that Erik was awake, and probably had been through most of the conversation.
<<You should've trusted me! You didn't the moment you put on that damn helmet!>>
Erik sighed, shifting slightly on the bed.
<<Don't you dare move and pull on your incision you asshole.>>
He snorted. <<I didn't want you stopping me from killing Shaw, and you know you would have if you could, no matter the high ground you take when using your power.>>
Charles' eyes narrowed. <<It was always your decision.>>
<<Cute you think that.>> He was now fully awake, staring directly at Charles. <<That decision was taken from me the moment he shot my mother.>>
<<You could've been the better man.>> He argued getting annoyed with himself for having this argument when Erik should be resting.
<<But I'm not. That's what you don't get Charles. I'm not.>>
"You are!" He stood up, stalking over to the bed and onto it. "You are and will always be better than Shaw. You are not the monster you think you are."
"I think Hank there would disagree with you." He motioned towards the other mutant.
Charles glanced behind him, to see Hank looking between them. His blue paw moved up to scratch at the back of his neck. "I think we are all monsters in our own minds."
Both blinked at the younger mutant. "You're not a monster, Hank." Charles shifted to move to his friend.
"I'm not?" He looked down at his body to see a Beast.
"No." Erik added his voice in with Charles. "I know a monster when I see one, and you Hank are far from it. Annoying, yes. But too geeky to be one."
Charles glared at him, only to focus back on Hank who was snickering. "You don't even like me."
"No, Hank, I don't like that you don't like your mutation." Erik shrugged only to cringe in pain. "I thought the feet were odd, but useful. Still better than the humans. Now you're amazing, and you hate yourself."
Hank growled. "Don't make me like you."
Erik laughed, which led to coughing. Charles moved next to him, supporting him as he worked to breathe, in the end Hank moved and shoved the oxygen mask over his mouth.
Hank ignored both of them, as he checked Erik's pulse, not happy at how high it was. "You need to rest, and no arguing internally or externally." He gave a small glare at Charles. "You want to stay in here with him? I can get your stuff from your room."
Charles nodded, it would pointless to act like he was going to stay in his own room. "There's a list of dietary needs, make sure someone gets groceries." He paused glancing at Erik, he could feel him falling back to sleep. "The food needs to be Kosher."
"I'll send Janus, he's been really good about shopping." Hank nodded again, and then moved for the door. "He's not really a monster."
"I know you don't want to hear this, but I'm okay with him killing Shaw." Hank looked down, not wanting to see Charles disapproval. "I couldn't think of any way to keep him alive without him hurting others. That and he stole Angel and killed Darwin."
"She made her own decision." Charles pointed out, and that was yetanother thing he had to deal with.
"Yeah, but we all make mistakes." He glanced at Erik, gave Charles a shrug then left the room.
"When did our kids grow up?" Charles wondered out loud.
"They're your kids, Charles." Erik pulled the mask down, giving him a look.
"Oh no, darling. You helped me find them, they're ours." He put the mask back on him, then shifted until he was sitting against the headboard, and pulled Erik close. Only after a moment of hesitation, Erik relaxed and rested his head on Charles' shoulder, drifting back to sleep.
He knew he couldn't hide forever.
No matter what his inner six year old wanted.
Hank had returned with some soup, bread and fruit to get Erik to eat. He scarfed it down, but then promptly fell back to sleep. It was going to be the cycle for the next week or so. They needed to get more food in him, and start exercising – even if it was just to walk to the bathroom.
He had every intention of getting out of the bed, and take a quick shower so he could face the children, but instead he woke up with Erik warm against his side, and the sun shining through the window.
For a moment he thought it was that morning … the morning they left for Cuba.
Charles instantly noticed Erik was having difficulties breathing. He shifted them, making sure he was sitting up, before placing the oxygen mask back over his mouth. He sent a mental note to Hank, startling the boy awake, he apologized then asked if he could come to the room, with food so Erik could take his medications.
He knew Erik was tired and struggling, since he didn't bitch at being helped out of the bed and to the bathroom. The first time he had done this, Erik had argued stating he could take care of himself and didn't need Charles holding his dick while he pissed.
'It's not like I haven't had your dick in my hand before!' Charles snarked back. 'It's been in my mouth and ass, so holding it while you piss is not all that troublesome!'
Erik had snorted trying not to laugh as it hurt as much as everything else. In the end, he'd given up and let Charles help.
He had known how difficult that was for Erik.
Once he got him settled onto the toilet, he prepped the shower, stripping out of his own clothes. At least at home he could get into the shower with Erik. The hospital had too many people coming and going, and the stall was too small.
The room began to fill with steam, as he stripped Erik out of his clothes. He still couldn't lift his arms over his head, so the button down sleep shirts would have to do for a while longer. Charles steadied him while he got into the shower, both sighing at the feel of water against their skin.
He didn't like how thin Erik had become, the man had an unnatural slim waist, and now he could see his hip bones, and he was pretty sure the image wasn't sitting well with Erik either – it brought up too many bad memories.
Charles took his time in washing Erik's hair and softly sponging him down. At one point Erik looked down at him while Charles' was on his knees, and smirked. "Such a wasted opportunity."
Charles smiled, as his hands slid up his thighs, then gripped his hips. He leaned forward kissing each one, before resting his forward against Erik's stomach. He didn't realize he was crying until he felt Erik's hands in his hair and soft voice in his head.
<<I'm still here Liebling. I'm not that easy to get rid of.>>
<<I should be taking care of you, not bawling my eyes out in the shower.>>
<<Stand up so I can hold you.>>
Charles wiped away the tears along with the water. He gave Erik a small smile, who pulled him into his arms, and held him close. The two took comfort in each other, until the water started turning cold. With a flick of his wrist Erik turned the taps off, cringing slightly.
"Don't do that." Charles laid a hand on his chest, eyes on the dark staples against the pale skin. "It's only for a while longer."
"It's driving me to distraction." Erik growled. "Think how it would be not to use yours."
"There are times my friend, that would be a blessing." He moved them out of the shower, grabbing a towel to dry them off. "But I can understand."
By the time they got out of the shower, and back into the bedroom Erik had to admit he felt better, and was hungry yet tired.
Hank replaced the oxygen tank, and made up the bed to some degree. He motioned towards the chair, where a tray was set with breakfast. "I figured you would want to sit up and eat, feel a bit more human."
Erik was going to make a snarky retort, but Charles pinched his arm as he helped him over to the chair, then gave him a look as he sat down. "Thank You, Hank."
"That hurt didn't it." The younger mutant smirked, eyes filled with mirth.
"I'll train you yet." Erik gave Hank a half smile as he picked up the fork and dug into the eggs. He ignored Hank and Charles talking quietly as he finished off the toast, potatoes and grapefruit. Without stopping the conversation, Charles handed him his medications along with a glass of water. By the time he finished, he leaned back in the chair, head resting as he felt the meds kick in.
"Do you want to nap in the chair?" Charles whispered softly next to him. "I can wake you up in an hour, we'll take a small walk in the garden, get some exercise."
"I feel like the family pet."
"Only if I start petting you."
"Could you, there are a few places I wouldn't mind a rub…"
"Stop!" Hank glared at the two of them. He rolled his eyes, when they both grinned. "Charles you need to deal with Raven, she's stalking the halls. Let Erik rest, besides the kids are getting antsy to see him."
Erik groaned and sunk further into the chair, he paused thinking back to the day before. "Wait, did Alex call me dad?"
"See, I told you they were ourkids, darling." He kissed Erik on the forehead then stood, smoothed down his shirt and made for the door. He opened it with a flair of dramatic, and watched as Raven, stopped in the middle of the hall to face her brother.
He turned back and took one last look at those he loved. "For those of us who about to die, we salute thee." Charles held his head high as he stepped out of the room, to face his destiny.
The door slammed shut behind him.
"Better him than me." Erik muttered, as his eyes drifted shut, sleep claimed him once again.
"Amen." Hank couldn't agree more, he was pretty sure it was safer in the room with a pissed of Magneto, than dealing with Raven at the moment.
The two siblings stared at each other, neither quite sure what to say. Charles wasn't going to apologize for being with Erik, or for putting him first at this moment. He wasn't even sure what Raven was pissed about, and he had promised her years ago he would stay out of her head.
He sighed, took a few steps away from the door and waved his hand at her. "Just say what's on your mind. Whatever it is, you're practically vibrating to let it out."
"You're fucking Erik!"
"That is what you're upset over?" He shook his head in confusion. "Yes, though I wouldn't put it that crass. We became lovers when we were recruiting other Mutants. He's got a beautiful mind, it calls to me."
"So you're doing it for his brain."
"Well he's also quite handsome." Still not sure exactly where this was going.
"What about all the girls?"
"What about them?" Charles sighed, feeling a headache coming on. He really hadn't recovered from the stress of the past week.
"You flirted with them!" As if that explained everything.
"Yes, 'cause flirting with a man, would get you arrested if you're lucky, and in some areas killed." He glared at her like she was an idiot. "I've always been like this, Raven. I don't care what the package is, male or female. But I'm not stupid to flaunt it."
"So, basically you're a slut."
"Well if that's how you want to think of me." His voice rose, not appreciating his relationship with Erik being cheapened or any of his relationships cheapened to such a level. "I like people. But I don't fuckeveryone I flirt with." He emphasized the word just to make a point. "What is really the problem here Raven. That I'm Queer? That it's Erik? Or that you didn't know?"
"How could you not tell me?"
"It's not like you gave me a lot of options." He stepped back, and turned to head down the hallway. "I need tea to deal with this, and I don't want your screaming to wake up Erik."
"Oh, yes preciousErik."
Raven actually took a step back at the power she suddenly felt coming off her brother. Charles turned - eyes narrowed, hand moving to his forehead. He took a calm breath, relaxed and then in a tone, she had never heard from him.
"You can be pissed at me Raven. You can call me a slut. You can rant and rave about how everything I've done has been wrong. But I will not tolerate you attacking Erik at this moment." He held up his hand stopping her retort. "I know Erik isn't perfect. He has a lot of anger in him, and a lot of pain. And some very extreme point of views. I am not excusing or even agreeing with some of his actions, but I am starting to understand some of them. But he's recovering from a bullet wound to the chest!" He snapped, hand gesturing to his heart. "Because he stepped in front of it to save me. So, bitch at me. Yell at me. Hell, hit me. But do not drag Erik into our fights because you're upset he decided to fuck me instead of you."
And with that he turned and stalked to the kitchen. He had the kettle filled and on the stove, and a cup on the counter, by the time she caught up with him.
"How did you know I made a move on him?" She demanded, eyes narrowed.
"I didn't read it in your mind if that's what you're getting pissy about." He put the teabag into the cup before turning to face her. "He told me. What do you think I was grabbing a bottle of champagne out of the fridge for when you confronted me in this very kitchen?"
He stared at her incredulously. "Really? Whatever bloody hell gave you that impression?"
"She technically was our boss or liaison. She wasn't even here most of the time. I'm not even sure what's going on with the CIA at the moment, and really don't care." He grabbed the screaming kettle and poured the hot water, he added in some sugar and milk, and with a sigh he turned back around, leaned against the counter holding his cup, while steeping the bag. "Okay so you're pissed you didn't know Erik and I are in a relationship. That's cleared up, so what are still annoyed with."
She glared at him.
"I'm not reading your mind!" He snapped tired of the same old accusations. "But you're very loud right now Raven, and I can feel you anger, you're practically seething in it."
"You do realize you almost killed Moira."
"Yes." His shoulders slumped, it wasn't his finest moment. He strained the bag and tossed it in the sink, he was stalling and he knew it. "I was angry my lover was dying in my arms, and there was nothing I could do."
"It was his fault." She crossed her arms across his chest. "He was going to kill all those people."
"Actually he wasn't."
She startled at Charles softer voice.
"How do you know?" She demanded, pushing the issue.
"Because unlike everyone, he lets me in his head." He sipped his tea, and then took a seat at the table. "What happened on the beach was a fuck up on everyone's part. Mine. Erik. The CIA. Moira. The Russians. You can blame Erik, but reality it was the humans who fired at us, willing to kill anyone on that beach or beyond." He gave her a look, forcing her to stay silent. "I'm not agreeing with what Erik did, nor do I think that all humans are evil. This past week I've had to look at myself and my own beliefs. I can't be this naïve. I want to open a school, bring our kind here to teach give them a safe place. But I also need to protect them. Erik sees the beauty in all mutations. He thinks you're gorgeous in your natural form, and would fight to allow you to be yourself. While I preached that we should get along with humans, yet tell you to hide. Neither of us is right nor wrong."
"You balance each other." She sat across from him, suddenly talking with her brother.
"Yes." He smiled at her. "I love him. I know he loves me, but he's had a hard life filled with pain. We will never agree on the right thing to do, but I think we can learn to listen to each other. My fault was that I didn't really listen to what he was saying about Shaw, his fault was he never looked beyond Shaw."
"And now?" Raven couldn't help but wonder.
"Now I'm going to help him heal, and then we'll likely fight over exactly how to build a school. Alex, Sean and Hank will snicker behind our backs. You, will likely, in time take his side. But in the end I'm hoping we'll all find our way."
Raven reached over and took his hand. "I'll back you on occasion."
"Thank you my dear." He chuckled and took another sip of his tea. "Is this when we hug and make-up."
Raven got out of her seat, and moved around the table to settle next to her brother pulling him into her arms. "You've always protected me."
"It's time I let you grow up."
"I am grown up. It's time you figured that out." She kissed him on the forehead. "He hurts you I kill him."
Charles held her tightly, and then let her go. "So catch me up on everything else."
"We need a staff or something." She sat back down, giving her brother a look. "Janus is the only one who can cook, and it's not that spectacular. And Charles, I'm living with mostly boys, they don't clean up after themselves."
"I'll yell at the children, and see if we can bring back some of our original staff. They dealt with us as kids, so maybe Hank in blue fur wouldn't be too shocking." He finished his tea and washed the cup out. "Is Janus out shopping?"
"He's looking for Kosher foods. I think Azazel is helping."
Charles knew that tone, and he felt the rush of arousal from his sister. He turned on his heel and looked at his sister with wide eyes.
"What?" She gave him a pointed look.
"You really can't bitch." She stood up from her seat, giving him a wink. "By the way, you do have one major thing to deal with."
He sighed, and it had to be soon. The last thing he wanted or needed was for Moira to confront Erik. He admired her, she was strong, willful, and fought her way through a man's world. He wouldn't put it past her to take Erik head on, but what she didn't realize – Erik didn't care that she shot him, he was pissed she shot at him with Charles in the line of fire. If she confronted him, he would see it as a threat to Charles, and that would not end well for her.
Alex snuck down the hallway and into the room, after he saw Raven stalking towards the kitchen following her brother. No one wanted to get in the middle of that sibling argument. He slipped into the furthest bedroom, and gave Hank a half smile.
"How is he?" He glanced over see Erik resting in the chair. Like the others, he had been shocked at seeing their teammate's condition when he came back from the hospital. It hit home that he was recovering from a gunshot wound.
"Resting at the moment. I don't like how high his blood pressure is." Hank frowned writing down some notes in the medical files. "We have to keep him calm." Alex's snort was pretty much what the other mutant was thinking. "Let's be frank." He looked at the younger man. "He's got metal staples and wires in his chest..."
Alex frowned not quite understanding why that was important. Then he realized what Erik's mutation was. "Damn."
"He lashes out when he's pissed and scared, so if he feels threatened." Hank ran a hand through his blue fur.
"He'll use his power and it will pull on the healing wounds. Yeah, got it. Keep dad calm, which leads to the question, why haven't we tied him to Charles?"
Hank chuckled. "He has to deal with Raven."
"If you two could whisper quieter some of us could get more sleep." Erik opened his eyes groggily glaring at the two of them. "And I'm not your father."
Alex gave him a smile then took a seat on the coffee table. "How you feeling?"
"Like I've been shot." He gave him an annoyed look.
Summers at least looked a bit embarrassed. "Raven and Charles are having it out, so I figured I would keep you company."
Erik shifted, cringing when his hand gave out from under him. Alex held out his hand, giving Erik the leverage he needed to shift until he was sitting up straighter. He took a few breaths, trying to will the pain down.
Hank eyed the two of them, tempted to pull the oxygen tank over, but Erik seemed to settle down. "I'm going to see about getting some of these scripts filled, Alex make sure he drinks more water and takes his pills in an hour."
They watched as Hank left, then turned and looked at each other.
"Good he's gone you can break me out."
Alex held out his hands, shaking his head. "He'll kill me. And if he didn't the disappointed look mom would give me, would just make me want to kill myself."
"Charles isn't that scary."
He gave him a look.
"Yeah okay, he does have the 'I'm very disappointed in you'look down." Erik's smirk was enough to scare Alex even more. "I'm not asking you to help me rob a bank, just a walk over to the balcony. I haven't seen daylight or been outside in over a week."
"Well that may have something to do with getting shot." Alex stood and held out both his hands, letting Erik use him as leverage to stand. He easily shifted, taking a portion of the older man's weight staying still until he was settled on his feet. "You got this?"
He ignored the pain, instead taking a small step forward. It was humiliating having Alex help him, like he was an old man, but at the moment he was grateful it was him and not the others. Alex got the need to stand on your own, that showing weakness wasn't an option.
It took ten minutes to get across the room, and out onto the balcony. Erik leaned against the railing, taking in the fresh air. He was sweating profusely and his body was shaking slightly, but damn the fresh air felt good.
"I can get the need for fresh air." Alex leaned his back against the railing keeping an eye on the patient. He knew who would take the brunt of Charles' anger if Erik were to fall and injure himself further. He saw what happened on that beach, the desperation and fear had bled into all of them.
It was something none of them wanted to talk about.
But it was something Alex would never forget.
He felt Charles' anguish.
It was when he knew that whatever was going on between the two men wasn't a fling or scratching an itch. That he understood. One doesn't spend time in prison, even juvenile prison and not get that. His heart ached for Charles, and he was willing to do anything to fix it. Thankfully Azazel stepped in and actually did something, while the rest of them had just sat there like morons.
"So now what?" He glanced over to the older man. "I mean Shaw's dead, which despite all the bluster, is a good thing."
"I'm actually not sure." Erik answered shockingly honest. "I've spent twenty years hunting that man down. Hell, for a moment there, I probably would've taken over his organization. He had some points, we are superior to humans and they will come after us."
"But now?" He asked.
"Getting shot changed things." He looked over at Alex. "It's going to take me months to heal, and that is me pushing the envelope every chance I get. I don't have the energy to take over the world, at least not at the moment."
He laughed, knowing full well Erik wasn't kidding.
"So you're playing house husband to Charles." Alex gave him a look, he knew Erik wasn't a man to sit around and do nothing.
"He wants to open a school." Erik shifted until he was standing more upright, hands resting on the railing. "And he should. He's right we need a place to hide. A place where our kind will be safe, where they can learn to use their powers, to protect themselves, and yes, even others. I know how out of control I was when I was a kid, I had spoons attached to me everywhere I went." Alex snorted. "We don't need humans using kids who can't control their powers as an excuse to lock kids up."
"So the world domination is on hold."
"Don't doubt for a second I wouldn't bring the world to its knees if they ever came after Charles and his dreams of a school." Erik's tone was dark and held conviction that gave Alex no doubt he would. "So I'm going to do what Charles will hate, and make sure his school is protected. There will need to be systems set up, surveillance in and around the school, and enough of a threat that if anyone shows up trying to bring harm to any of his kids, they'll regret their life choices."
"I can help you with that." Alex shifted sideways taking in Erik's profile. "Not every mutant is going to appreciate Charles."
"No. Many won't like that he's a Telepath, and some will have had experiences with humans and will not like Charles's naïve idealism. " He agreed glancing at Alex. "We need that. You and me. We know what humans will do to us, hell we've seen what they do to their own kind. We also have to watch out for other Shaws. Mutants using mutants for their own gain, it's not right. And I could've gone down that path in my own extreme idealism."
"You two balance each other."
"I'm still not your dad." He gave him a dark glare.
"Sure thing, dad." Alex patted him on the shoulder. "Want to go back inside?"
"How about a small walk around the hallway, then you can dump me in my chair and I'll likely sleep like an old man for a few hours, and Charles will never know about the escape."
Alex held out his arm, waiting patiently until Erik took it grumbling in German as he leaned against the younger mutant. They made their way back into the room, and then out the door.
The coast was clear.
There was no need to talk as they made their way down the corridor, to the stairs. Alex gave him a pointed look - they were notgoing down the stairs. He knew exhaustion most be setting in, when Erik didn't even contemplate it, just turned around to headed back to his room.
They were almost home free.
When they heard footsteps coming up the stairs.
As they both turned, Alex knew instinctively it wasn't Hank or Charles.
He wouldn't be that lucky.
Standing at the top of the stairs, was Moira. Which meant only one thing, she was on her way to Erik's room, as he was the only one staying in this section of the Mansion.
Alex stepped in front of Erik, ready to defend his friend. As he mentally screamed for Charles, the light fixtures on the walls began to shake and bend. "Fuck."
"Do you really love him?" Raven asked leaning against the kitchen counter. "I mean he can be an asshole."
"Yes." He turned and studied her. "He's also gentle, deep down, well mostly to me." Charles smirked slightly. "Raven, I've seen what Shaw did to him, and the fact he's as sane as he is, is astounding. Erik needs to deal with the rage, and I'm willing to help him find his serenity, but it's going …"
Charles cringed. His hand moved up to his forehead as Alex's voice slammed into his mind.
He blinked focusing on Alex, pushing in to find out what was going on. He saw enough to know it was bad.
"Fuck!" He jumped up and ran for the stairs, with Raven only a few steps behind him. By the time he got to the right corridor, all hell was breaking loose.
Angel and Sean were flanking Alex, all three standing in front of Erik, who was in a shouting match with Moira. Charles' could feel Erik's powers moving through the hallway, the lamps were bending to his will, every metal tray was vibrating, doors were rattling as pins were being pulled out of the hinges.
He hit a block wall, hard enough that he actually blinked and checked to see if Erik was wearing that damn helmet.
"Moira this isn't a good time …" Raven stepped next to her, taking an arm to pull her away.
"It's as good as time as any!" She pulled out of her grasp. "He has to answer my questions?"
"It's only been a week since he's been shot!" Sean stared at her in frustration and shock. "The man is barely standing."
"He seems perfectly fine to me." She glared over them at Erik. "You were going to kill those innocent…"
"Innocent?!" He snapped at her. "Innocent. No soldier is innocent!"
"They were following orders!" Hands on her hips she held her ground refusing to be intimidated.
"So where the Nazis when they shoved my father into the gas chamber, along with millions of my people!" He growled. "The moment you put on a uniform you don't get to claim innocence."
<<She's no different, Charles. This is what you didn't want to see.>>
"So you get to be judge and jury!" Moira stepped closer, only to have Alex step away from Erik to block her.
"You may have missed the part where they were going to kill all of us." Alex waved his hand around the hallway. "Every single one of us, just because we were different. We saved their lives from Shaw and they were going to kill us – get rid of the freaks so they can rest better."
<<Please darling, I'll make her leave. I need you to calm down. You're hurting yourself.>>
"You were just collateral damage." Angel added arms crossed over her chest.
"It gives him no right to turn the missiles back on them!" She threw her hand out, pointing towards Erik.
"Eye for an eye." A new voice popped into the fight.
A few turned to see Janus walking into the area, Hank not far behind him.
McCoy ignored everyone and made his way through the line of defense to get to Erik. He growled low in his throat. "I need you all to calm down." He reached out taking Erik's wrist, cursing when he felt his heart rate skyrocketing. "Out. Every single one of you."
"NO!" Moira held her ground. "He has to be accountable."
<<Who's next Charles? At the moment she's after me. She's afraid of me. My power. Who's next? Azazel? Raven? Which of our kids will she fear next? I'm only the beginning.>>
"You shot him!" Raven pointed out, and then looked to Charles who was staring at Erik. She couldn't help but wonder if they were arguing via telepathy.
<<You have to trust me.>>
"He was going to kill innocents."
"They were going to kill us."
<<You're the only one I do.>>
"We're all culpable!" Charles snapped, they all turned and looked at him. "I am, for not realizing the true threat Shaw was. Erik is, for putting on that damn helmet. Moira you shot at a man who manipulates metal…"
"I paid my price." Erik snarled hand clutched over his chest hating the weakness he was showcasing. "You refused to see the same mistakes the damn soldiers were making. You shot at me with Charles in the line of fire. You shot at an innocent. If I had deflected that bullet like I had intended it would've hit Charles."
Everyone turned towards Charles, who only had eyes for Erik.
<<I would do anything to protect you, Liebling.>>
"I couldn't let that happen. But what did you do? You continued shooting. Like those innocent soldiers, who were shooting weapons of mass destruction at an island filled with other humans, but who cares, right,they were just Cubans."
Hank moved behind Erik, not liking the sudden paleness he was seeing. "We're done here."
"Everyone out…" Charles took a step towards Erik, Sean moving out of his way.
"What were you planning?" Angel asked, hands on her hips. "Erik's supposed to be on bedrest for weeks. Healing is going to take months…"
"He needs to be brought in. Detained and questioned."
"You mean to lock him up?" Sean asked bewildered, feeling a sense of betrayal. "But he's our teammate. He saved us from Shaw …"
"You take him." Alex pulled back his shoulders, next to him he could feel Angel's wings vibrating. "You take us."
<<No. I will not allow her to take our children.>>
Sean looked at her in shock and pain. "I thought you were our friend."
<<Erik. I will…>>
It was Beast who was the first to realize that the metal in the hallway stopped moving. His hand tightened on Erik's wrist, the other moving around his waist, prepping for the man to faint. His blood pressure was too high, and his body was about to give out.
<<I promised to protect you. Your school. These kids. I can't do that in a weakened state. I need full use of my powers.>>
Raven grabbed Moira's arm pulling her away from everyone. She could feel Janus' whirlwinds, and had no doubt he was ready to use them. She couldn't help but think about the irony of the moment - Moira had done the one thing no one that possible. She proved Erik's point. If she, who had worked with them, was willing to lock one of them up, who was next?
"Erik NO!" Charles screamed as he reached out to his lover, pushing past Sean in haste.
Hank frowned at Charles' frantic expression, and then he heard it … the sound of metal hitting the floor. Followed by a second, third … with a growl he pulled Erik closer, using his larger paws to hold him up.
A cry of agonizing pain echoed through the hall, halting everyone in their tracks. They all turned, staring in shocked horror as a bloody wire was pulled from Erik's chest and landed on the wooden floor.
Blood flowed through Hank's fingers, as he yelled for Azazel. In a flash the teleporter appeared, he grabbed the two of them, and then was gone.
Leaving behind 8 metal staples, 2 broken wires, and a pool of blood.
"Oh God." Raven's hand went over her mouth as she stared at the bloody aftermath. "He pulled out …"
Alex turned to Moira eyes flashing with rage, he could feel the energy building within him.
Wind began to whip around all of them, as Janus calmly twisted his hands, making each tornado grow, eyes focused on one person.
Everything and everyone froze.
There was a partial red glow surrounding Alex.
Sean's hair was pushed sideways, as tears streamed down his face, mouth half open.
Raven was reaching for Charles.
Charles stepped in front of Moira. "Why?"
"You really have to ask?" She wore a shocked expression. "You were on that beach, you saw what he did. Not just the missiles but to Shaw. I was there, heard your scream as he killed him. He hurt you."
"Yes he did." Charles wasn't going to deny that, and he was pretty sure that particular argument when it arrives will be epic, enough that the kids will flee the building or lock them in the danger room. "But it doesn't mean you have the right to detain him."
"He's dangerous Charles." Her hand touched his arm. "What else would he be able to do? How many weapons will he be able to control?"
"And Azazel?" He asked. "He can just pop into a Bank's Vault and steal the money. Raven? She can walk into the White House, no one would notice. How about Sean, who could destroy people's eardrums? Or Alex, who can also destroy buildings or cause destruction … the list is endless Moira"
"Well Azazel did work for Shaw, as did Janus over there. We already arrested Emma, at least we're safe from her." Charles realized she had no idea that she was talking to a Telepath while stating another was dangerous. "I can understand your sympathy to Angel, Shaw is known for his manipulation."
"So Azazel and Janus couldn't have been manipulated? What about Emma? How do we know she wasn't?" He asked head tilted slightly. "Are they obvious bad guys, because one looks like the devil?"
"It's not that …"
"Really?" His snort was humorless. "Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, that doesn't mean they are lost forever."
"Oh come on Charles. There are second chances, and then there are criminals." She rolled her eyes, hands on her hips. "You do realize Erik killed his way to get to Shaw."
"Yes." He answered easily, knowing he shocked her. "I also know every one of the men he killed were Nazis. I won't judge the actions that were the product of being tortured."
"So we should just let people seek revenge?" She argued the moral point.
"So we should just lock people up because they couldbe dangerous?" He pushed her moral argument back. "You, the CIA, the government, all of you wanted Shaw dead. He's dead. So now because you realized how powerful Erik is you want to lock him up?"
"He was going to…"
"He took a bullet for me." Charles gave her pointed look. "You're a trained professional, yet you continued shooting despite the fact I was behind him, what were you thinking? He pulled a submarine out of the water, you think a few bullets would stop him."
"It did didn't it."
"So you intended to kill him."
"I had to protect all those people."
"And who was protecting us?" He took a step back, shaking his head. He knew this argument was never going to be won. No one was right. No one was wrong. The key was to find the balance in between.
"He still needs to be detained and questioned."
"I won't let you have him." He gave her a sad smile. "You must realize that."
"You really can't stop me…" She suddenly stopped and looked at Charles' hesitation in her eyes. "You're not Erik."
"No, I'm not. But I am as powerful as he is, yet you don't fear me. You don't want to lock me up. Irony being that you locked up the other Telepath, and I'm a lot stronger than she is. All I have to do … " He leaned close to her, and snapped his fingers. "… is this."
He caught her as she dropped, and the room came back to life.
Alex and Sean both stumbled, when they saw Charles in front of them, holding an unconscious Moira. He gave them a look, getting both to move quickly to take her off his hands. "I've wiped her memory of us, all of us. The last thing she will remember is going to Vegas."
"We'll get her back to the city." Janus pulled his whirlwinds back, and gave Charles a nod. "Is there anything we need to bring back?"
"My sanity?" Charles gave them a half smile. "Get back as soon as you can. Angel, Raven can you clean up the blood?"
Raven looked a bit more green, than blue, but nodded. "Is he going to be okay?"
"No, 'cause I'm going kill him!" Charles stalked towards the bedroom.
Hank wasn't sure what to do. Blood was pouring off Erik, and he had no idea how to stop it. Azazel dropped both of them next to the bed, and then helped get the unconscious man stripped and lying down.
The pulled staples had ripped open his surgical scar, which caused it to bleed all down his chest and onto the sheets. He was more worried about the wires, the ones that were holding the sternum together. He wasn't sure how to fix that. The incision could be re-stitched preferably with thread, but they would need to keep him still to let the bones heal.
With a growl he grabbed a pillow and shoved it on his chest, hoping to stop the bleeding. If he smothered him in the process, so be it.
He felt the air shift around him, and smelled the sulfur. He was getting good at knowing when the Teleporter came and went. It might've had something to do with their fight at Cuba. He snorted at the memory, especially now that he was relying on him to help save Erik.
Another pop this time with an added, yelp.
Hank looked over to see a middle aged man, wearing a white doctor's coat. His ID said Dr. Gregory McMillian, New York University Hospital.
"Did you just steal a doctor?" Hank asked in shock.
"Yes." Azazel shrugged, not really caring. "You are not trained to deal with his wounds. I brought a doctor, instead of taking Erik to one."
"Hello." Dr. McMillian looked down to see Hank holding a pillow over a prone man. "Dear God man, are you trying to kill him!"
"No! I'm trying to stop the bleeding!" He pulled off the blood soaked pillow.
"Out of my way." He pushed Hank to the side, to get a closer look at the injury. He needed to stop the bleeding, and then deal with everything else. "You, the red one, pop back to where you grabbed me, and bring my black bag, now!"
Azazel popped back out.
"And you Mr… Is that fur?" He asked then shook his head, now wasn't the time. "Never mind, I need bandages, iodine, thread and a needle."
Hank ran off to grab what was needed, just as Azazel popped back in, with not just with his bag, but a box filled with variety of hospital supplies. "I stopped by the pharmacy."
"You are definitely useful." He motioned towards the bag. "Hand me some bandages." Azazel handed them over, watching as the doctor place them on Erik's chest and leaned against the wound, just slightly. "Next, give me the ace bandages, and help me move him so I can get these wrapped around him."
By the time Hank came back, they had a made pressure bandage. "I haven't done that since the war."
"Which war?" Hank asked handing him the tools.
"The Second World War. I was a medic, landed on Omaha Beach, and got too much practice using pressure bandages. I see our patient, is a survivor of the camps." He looked down at the black numbers. "I helped with triage after we liberated some of them. It's something you don't forget."
"Now what?" Hank asked, adrenaline still pumping through his system.
"I see you have an IV stand, do you have any fluids or blood?" He asked, only to startle when the red one disappeared. "How does he do that?"
"He's a Teleporter, a Mutant." Hank shrugged. "We all are, well Mutants, a Teleporter is unique."
The doctor only nodded, then focused back on his patient. "What's his name? And how did this happen?"
"His name is Erik." Charles' voice joined the small group. He wasn't going to ask, who the doctor was, just happy he was there. Later if he needed to make a generous contribution to a charity, hospital, or person he would. "And he's a stubborn asshole who has no sense of self preservation."
"Definitely a survivor then." Gregory chuckled, he knew his sense of humor was darker than most. It was formed in the trenches, and built in the ER. "This looks like a gunshot wound."
"Originally, but he just pulled out all his staples and wire." Charles ended up sitting on the chair, staring at the prone man in the bed, holding back the tears.
"I can stitch him back up, get some blood and fluids in him. We'll need antibiotics, I'm sure with the added trauma it will be inevitable that he will end up with an infection, but we can stay ahead of it."
"Don't thank me yet, someone has to go tell my wife, I'll be late for dinner." He gave the young man a soft smile.
Erik had been out for five days.
It was the longest five days of Charles' life, and he thought the previous days spent in Cuba were bad.
Erik developed a fever, just like the doctor predicted. It was two days of tense emotions throughout the house. Charles knew his feelings were bleeding into the others, and he tried hard to keep his shields tight, before violence escalated at the dinner table.
The doctor kicked him out of Erik's room, stating he would send someone for him if something happened. So Charles went to his old room, took a shower, got dressed and faced the day.
With Raven's help they were able to find a portion of the original staff. A few of them only blinked at the new inhabitants, and went along with their duties, and there were two he had to wipe their memories and send them on their way.
The cook, Helen, had taken to Azazel instantly. When he brought back spices from around the world, she claimed him as hers and sent him on shopping trips. When she was told Erik was Jewish she made sure to add Kosher foods to her lists, plus added a second set of cooking utensils to make sure the food stayed Kosher. At the moment though she made sure to keep everyone else fed, including the nice doctor who seemed to randomly appear.
The gardener, Austin, who was Helen's husband, started fixing the gardens. Charles found him one day on the terrace, looking out over the greens. He leaned against the railing, and asked if he was okay.
'I'm fine, sir.' He gave him a bright smile. 'I know it's been a few years since we've taken care of this place, but I could've sworn the dish was facing East.'
Charles wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh or cry, so he found himself doing both. Austin, just handed him an old rag, and asked if he wanted to put in rose bushes in the East Garden. Charles wiped his tears and gave him a nod.
'It's good to be back, sir.' He patted him on the shoulder.
'I'm going to start a school, for …' He paused for a moment, trying to find the right word.
'Gifted children?' Austin gave him a sly smile. 'That will be good, sir. Be nice to have the house filled with a purpose.'
'You and Helen have always been kind.' Charles reached out and felt that there was no malice or deceit from Austin, he was genuinely happy to be back in his beloved gardens.
'Do you think that nice you man, with the winds could come out.' He asked as he grabbed his shears and began to head for the some of the more unruly bushes. 'I could use some help sweeping up the leaves.'
Charles went to look for Janus, who was shocked and delighted that a human would ask for him to use his powers. 'Maybe they aren't all bad.'
He felt as if that was a win.
Hank was happy to say that it looked as if Angel's injured wing was healing, but he wasn't sure how long it would take or if it would hold her weight, when fully healed. She agreed to stay put, let Hank study her, plus help out where she could.
Sean had smiled and welcomed her back, it had taken Alex a few more days, but he eventually came around.
Charles slept in Erik's room, usually on the couch. He just wanted to be close to him, feel his presence. The few times he reached out mentally, he found himself stuck in fevered nightmares. He tried to sooth him as much as possible, but found himself either shoved out or he had to pull himself out of Erik's night terrors. He woke on many occasions with tears running down his cheeks, after seeing some of the horrors.
Including the death of Erik's wife and child.
He had no idea that Erik had, at one point, settled down and tried for a normal life. Only to lose them to human's fears, which added to his pain and rage. Charles' heart ached for him. The fact that Erik was willing to stay with him, and help build a school, was a major step in healing. It wasn't going to be an easy journey, but they would do it together.
And if Charles was honest with himself he had his own issues and insecurities. Erik was the only person, who let Charles in his head, which is why, when he had put on the helmet, it had been so devastating.
"You should rest in a real bed."
Charles sat up, wiping his cheeks, giving the doctor a tight smile. He liked the guy. Gregory had a wicked sense of humor, and didn't take shit from anyone, including Raven who had tried to shock him by turning into a mirror image of the doctor. The doctor only raised an eyebrow and pointed out he was kidnapped by the devil, nothing shocked him after that.
"I want to be nearby, in case he wakes up disoriented and starts bending the light fixtures."
When Charles explained Erik's mutation, Gregory had paled. It took him a few moments, and a glass of scotch to tell Charles the story. When they had liberated one of the camps, there was a story, which most had thought was myth, about how the gates of Auschwitz had been bent to the will of a child…
'I tried to help, but so many were sick and dying.' He downed the second glass of scotch. 'For many years I had nightmares about the beaches and the camps, but over the years with love of my wife and kids, it started to ease. Then one day I was in the ER and this young woman had brought her kid in, the little one had an earache. The nurse was being rude to her, I demanded to know what was going on, and realized instantly she was being treated differently because she was Jewish. The numbers were visible just below her sleeve. It had been ten years since I help liberate those camps, and some ignorant nurse was treating them like they were second class citizens because they were Jewish. I don't understand people.'
'Yet here you are.' Charles pointed out. 'Kidnapped by the devil, helping a man who could bring down this house if he wanted, and having scotch with another who could read your mind.'
He set his glass down. 'I've seen doctors be condescending to fellow doctors just because they are black. I won't even comment about how many women have asked for my help. We don't talk about how anyone who doesn't live a normallifestyle is treated.' He paused and looked at Charles, a hopeful smile on his face. 'Then again, I know of a clinic that helps women in difficult circumstances, I graduated Medical School with a talented black man, who went to his home state of Georgia to open a medical office, and I've been training a nice young man who happens to have blue fur how to be a doctor, despite the fact he has more degrees than I do.'
'I actually am looking forward to meeting your Erik.'
'He'll piss you off in five seconds.'
'I'm sure he will.' Gregory was looking forward to it.
After that they usually talked for an hour, before Azazel took the good doctor home. The Teleporter stated he liked the doctor's wife, she was feisty. The first time he popped into their kitchen, she pulled a knife on him. She still wasn't sure about Azazel, but she at least stopped pulling a knife.
"He's been coming around more." Gregory informed him, as he settled on the chair across from Charles. "He was awake for a few moments this morning, and a bit more this afternoon. I've eased up on the pain meds, hopefully by morning he will fully wake."
"No pens in the wall?" Charles asked slightly shocked.
"I wouldn't say that. I'm now using a pencil, and a legal pad instead of a clipboard." He shrugged, laughing lightly.
"How is he honestly?"
"He's healing. You'll need to keep an eye on the incision to make sure there aren't any more infections. He will have a weakness in his lungs, but with good exercise and making sure he keeps his chest warm in the winter, he should be fine. Only thing I would be cautious of - is when you open this school, if the kids get sick, keep Erik away from them. A cold won't kill him, but it will hit him hard. And he'll need to watch is blood pressure."
"And how about the damage he did to himself."
"He will have a nasty scar, but I hate to say it will just be one more in his vast collection." Gregory shook his head, not wanting to know how he got a portion of them. "The bones will heal in time, no lifting of anything over five pounds, be careful of lifting his arms over his shoulders, and if anyone gets a cold in the next few months isolate them. Over all if he follows directions, eats well, does his exercises he'll be back to his healthy self in six months, in a year it would be like it never happened, just the residue affects."
"Residue affects, being staying warm in the winter, and avoid sick kids."
"Which is good advice for anyone." The doctor patted Charles on the shoulder. "Now from what you've told me about him, you'll have to watch him like a hawk. He'll push the envelope, any chance he gets."
"Oh not this time he won't." His eyes narrowed as he glanced over at his sleeping lover.
"Charles?" Erik groaned as he struggled to open his eyes. His head felt like it was filled with cotton.
"Take it easy, son."
The voice was soothing, yet held a command to it. He opened his eyes, cringing at the light, after a few blinks he was able to focus. Standing over him was a middle-aged man with brown hair, with sideburns more grey than brown, and dark eyes that showed nothing but warmth and concern. He was wearing suit pants, a buttoned down shirt, covered with white doctor's coat.
Erik smirked slightly when he saw the series of pencils in his top pocket instead of pens.
"How many pens did I destroy?" He asked voice sounding rough and unused. He shifted slightly, to realize he was still in his bed, not in a hospital. "How long have I been out?"
"Six." George smiled at him. "Pens. Six pens you've destroyed. You would think I would've learned after the second, but I'm a creature of habit. You're still in the big Manor House, in your room, and you've been out for five days, pushing into the sixth. You have some very worried friends, and I'm not sure if your Charles is going to try and smother or kiss you when he realizes you're awake. By the way I'm your doctor, Gregory McMillian."
Erik stared at him for a few moments. He was human, that he had no doubt, and he was talking to him about his mutation, and the fact Charles was his lover.
"How the hell did Charles find a human doctor in the middle of nowhere, who has no problem with the mutant thing, or the fact he's my lover?" He frowned, as he raised his hand to block the sun coming through the large windows, noticing his own tattoo. "Let alone Jewish."
"Well not all of us humans are bad." He gave Erik a bright smile, who just frowned at him. "And not all of us are good. I'm sure you can say the same of your own kind."
"If I didn't know better, I would say Charles planted you purposely to prove his point." Erik cringed as he felt his lungs convulse as he started coughing. The doctor eased him up, pushing pillows behind him, while taking Erik's hand and holding it over his chest as he helped him through the coughing fit. "Thank You."
"From what everyone has told me, coming from you that is high regards." He settled down on the bed, taking his patients pulse. "Charles did bring me up to speed on mostly everything. I needed to know your medical history to treat you properly."
"Why are you doing this? Is it the money?"
"I work in an inner city hospital, money isn't why I do this." He turned Erik's arm over, finger traced the tattoo. He seemed to realize what he did and pulled back. "That was rude of me."
"If not the money…"
"I trained to be a medic in the war, trial by fire on the beaches of Omaha." He realized what Charles' meant about Erik being prickly and didn't easily make friends. "Liberated a few camps. It's not something you forget."
"The camps aren't something anyone forgets. Or they shouldn't or we will just end up with them again." Erik studied the older man. "Though next time I doubt it will be Jews."
"I hate to think you're right." He sighed, pulling out his stethoscope from his pocket, to listen to Erik's breathing. He didn't like the sound, still too congested and labored, but better than it had been. "The part of me who saw the camps thinks you are, but I'm hoping your Charles' will prove us both wrong."
"Only Charles could." Erik tried to take a deep breath only to cringe in pain. "So how did you get here?"
"You're friend Azazel stole me from the ER."
Erik chuckled, only to end up coughing. "Welcome to the world of mutants."
"It's an interesting world." He grabbed one of the pillows and held it up to Erik's chest. "Hold this while coughing to steady yourself. Also keep your back to the headboard, or if you're standing up against a wall. It will help you keep from bruising your ribs, and let that sternum you damaged heal."
They spent a few minutes working through breathing exercises and lectures on how to not push the healing process. The doctor gave Erik a few pointed looks, and even tried to use Charles' good name into making sure Erik behaved.
"How long was it until he got under your skin?" Erik asked, exhaustion already setting in.
"Not long." He checked his pulse. "You should probably rest."
"I've been asleep for five days."
"Your body needed it." Gregory pointed at him. "Seriously Erik, right now your body needs rest, food, and rest. Helen has been working with the Jewish deli in town on recipes and so far I have to say her dishes are quite good."
"What the hell has been going on while I've been out?" He demanded, not quite sure what Charles has been up to. Who were these new people working at the House? Did he need to check security? Only Charles would let strangers wander around, human or mutant alike.
"Well if someone didn't rip out the metal from their chest, they wouldn't be asleep for the past five days!"
"And that would be my cue to find Azazel and have him drop me off at home." Gregory patted Erik on the arm. "Good luck."
"I could learn to tolerate you."
"High regards for sure." The doctor smiled, standing just in time for Charles to push past him and take his place. He watched silently as the young man fussed over his lover, hands gently running over his chest, and arms, then taking his hands, kissing them gently. "I'll be by tomorrow to check on the patient."
"Thank you." Charles' glanced back, a smile on his face. It was the first time he had seen that particular one. Gregory nodded and headed for the door, he paused and took a second look to see the two of them with their foreheads touching, whispering softly.
That was why he does what he does.
As he stepped outside, the rest of the 'kids' were waiting nearby. "Erik's awake, grumpy and likely to ignore everything I said."
"It's like you know him." Alex smirked, his relief evident in his relaxed posture.
They decided to leave the reunited couple alone, and head down into the kitchen. Helen had cookies, for the good doctor to take home, while Austin fixed a bunch of roses.
As they said their goodbyes, they were startled by a knock at the door.
"I take visitors aren't common?" Gregory commented as he moved for the door.
"Usually Azazel just steals people for us." Hank muttered, getting a look from the group.
The teleporter chuckled slapping the furred shoulder. "Look who dropped some balls."
"Oh dear." Helen gave them all a scathing look.
Gregory hushed them all, and opened the door. "Hello?"
"I'm sorry." The young man stared at Gregory in shock. "I'm looking for Charles…"
Alex pushed past the doctor and stared in shock at the man in front of them. "Armando?"
"Hey! I did find the right place!" He beamed at Alex, reaching out to take his hand only to get pulled into a hug.
"How?" Hank asked shocked, yet happy to see him.
"Adapt to anything." He smirked. "Just took me a while. The facility was completely empty, and when I discreetly asked around … I … well I figured there was a reason no one knew where you were."
"Then how did you find us?" Raven asked, moving next to Alex. She had made sure Azazel, Janus and Angel stayed back. She wasn't sure how Darwin would react to seeing Shaw's helpers.
"I looked up Xavier, discovered there was a mansion out here in Westchester, and here I am." He shrugged. "So want to catch me up on what's going on?"
Hank looked at Alex, who glanced at Raven, who shrugged.
Alex rolled his eyes, stepped forward put his arm around his friends shoulder and moved him into the mansion. "So let's start off with mom is pissed at dad for getting shot …."
Erik stared at Armando, who was wolfing down the leftover sandwich and soup. He had to admit, Helen was a good cook, though it wasn't quite his mother's cooking. When Charles let him out of his room, he may seek her out and let her in on some of his mother's recipes, it would be good to have them enjoyed by others like they should've been.
"So did they leave you alone with me, because there's not much I can do to you?" He asked, smirking slightly. He had been shocked when Charles told him Darwin had re-appeared, and then laughed, until the coughing became too much.
"It would seem." He gave Erik a bright smile. "Alex caught me up on everything that happened. I'm not sure if I'm pissed for missing it, or at the massive fuck up you all created."
"Both." Erik shifted, until he sat straight on the bed, letting his feet hit the floor.
"Dude last time you tried that, it all went to shit." He stood and moved over to the bed, scales appearing for protection. The last time he startled the man, a lamp came out of nowhere.
"Moira isn't here." He held out his hand, and sighed. "Don't make me ask."
Darwin held out his hand, helping the older man stand up. "It's good thing I can't be killed."
"Charles will be too busy yelling at me, so you can escape out the back." Erik shuffled, snarling slightly at his inability to just get up and walk. It took a bit, but they made it out to the balcony. He leaned against the same railing, watching silently as the gardener wandered around. "He's done a lot in the week he's been here."
"Seems nice." Armando shrugged. "Janus' has been helping him."
"And how are you taking that?" He asked casually.
"That has been the harder adjustment." He admitted easily. It had been a surprise to see the enemy sitting for tea. "I get it, and well we all deserve second chances. Maybe even third and fourths."
"You'll do fine here." Erik leaned against the railing, taking in the fresh air.
"Hello, Mr. Erik." Austin waved up at him. "When you escape, there's a nice spot in the Rose Garden for you to rest. Good morning sun, I made sure there was a bench."
Erik waved back.
"We should get you back inside." Armando held out his arm.
He pushed away from the banister, taking Armando's hand as they headed back inside, only to find Charles waiting for them. Darwin's eyes went wide in shock, and without hesitation, he handed Erik's hand to Charles and ran for it.
"Don't Erik me." He gripped Charles' arm as they made their way back into the bedroom. "It was a small walk to the balcony, something Dr. Gregory said was good for me." He settled into one of the chairs, sighing in exhaustion. "I hate this."
"Well if you …"
"Don't." He gave his lover a look. "I'm not going to apologize for that. I needed them gone."
"Stubborn asshole." Erik smirked at him. "I had the dishes taken back to the kitchen, so how about a game of chess."
"That I would like." He sat up slightly smiling as Charles set up the board. "Maybe tomorrow I can have dinner with everyone."
"You know you called them our kids."
"I did not." He glared at him over the board.
"Oh, yes you did. Twice." Charles smiled, leaning forward. "You've adopted them, and will do anything to protect them."
Erik stared at him for a few moments. "I would do anything to protect them, but I'll destroy the world to protect you."
"I wish you wouldn't my friend." Charles sighed, but knew the truth when he heard it.
"It was good you dealt with Moira, I would've killed her." He made a move on the game and sat back.
"I almost did." Charles leaned back in his own chair. The moment reminded him of the last game they played right before they went to Cuba. This time, everything was different. "But I knew if she disappeared, they would come looking for her."
"True." He nodded in agreement. "So she proved my point, and your good doctor proved yours."
"Let's build this school of yours. Give our kids a home." Erik felt Charles' content happiness settled over him. "But…" The telepath sighed, yet waved his hand for him to continue. "You can train them to control their powers, I will train them to defend themselves. You will not bitch at me, about security. I promise not to go out and start a revolution, but I damn will finish it if they bring one to our home."
Charles studied him for a few moments, then stood and slid into his lap. He cupped Erik's cheeks and kissed him with everything he had.
Chapter 2: Timestamp #1
The beginning of The Brotherhood and The X-Men
The first small Timestamp, that will lead up to the sequel.
Erik cringed slightly, as Azazel landed them in the small abandoned warehouse, a state over from Charles' fledgling school. It was his way of making sure nothing would link back to him and the kids.
Who knew that their first students would be the very ones they recruited.
Charles and Hank equally had a heart attack when they realized Sean and Alex hadn't finished high school. Armando had stared at the two kids, muttering he hadn't realized they were thatyoung.
Sean had just turned 18, yet was still in school, when they recruited him. His parents hadn't even cared to find out what happened to him. Alex was pushing 20, but had dropped out of school years ago. He had joked it was why his parents were working on having another kid, hoping for normal. He didn't want to break it to them, that normal wasn't likely an option.
Charles built a curriculum and set up tests for both of them, and then planned to use it as the bases for incoming children. Everyone agreed it was a good idea to start off with teenagers, as they were not prepared to deal with anyone under the age of 12. Erik wasn't thrilled with the idea of a house full of teenagers … as he knew how dangerous they could be.
As the school started to form, Erik needed to put in his first layer of security.
Charles will always look for the good, but Erik knew there was always going to be the bad. As he healed, he arranged with Azazel to get Emma out of prison. It was easier than it should've been, but he had a feeling she had been working her own agenda.
Janus, though loved working with Austin, knew his place wasn't at the school and left with Azazel. Angel joined them, once her wing was healed.
Charles' was disappointed but understood.
Erik had been shocked to see Raven at the meeting. He knew she had taken up with Azazel, they didn't hide it very well, but hadn't realize she was willing to fully walk away from Charles.
But then there was a history between the siblings, one that he refused to get in between. He had thought they worked through some of their issues, but maybe they had more than he thought.
And lately, she really hadn't been hiding her contempt for Erik's new role in Charles' life.
"Did Charles let you off your leash?" She sneered at him, still not quite gotten over the fact he shared Charles' bed. As far as she was concerned he was betraying the cause, by letting Charles influence his decisions.
Erik ignored her, instead focused on Emma. "So how was your trip to Geneva?"
"Profitable." She smiled brightly at him, eyes narrowing.
He stared back at her. "Good luck trying to read my mind."
"Shields are stronger than before, sugar." She nodded, the smirk never quiet leaving. "I see you've got some solid foundation for those walls."
"I only let one telepath in, and you're not it."
"Oh honey, Charles is a lucky boy." Emma tilted her head slightly, studying him for a few more moments before getting on with the meeting. "You should know we transferred all the funds from Shaw's accounts to the new ones. There's enough capital to get us going on this new endeavor you're plotting."
"Shaw's method of destroying the earth to rule the earth was a bit extreme." Erik though still had moments that he agreed with the bastard, but he sure as hell wasn't going to follow his path. He was very thankful for Charles for helping him see past that.
Though he did regret that he had hurt Charles, at the time he had no idea the telepath had felt Shaw's death, but he still wouldn’t change what happened.
That was a particular nasty argument that ended up with hot sex on the floor of the danger room – followed by a breathing fit that had Charles freaking out. Watching Charles try to explain to the doctor why Erik ended up breathing harshly, was fun.
The lecture he got for pushing his limits, not so much.
"But we also know Charles' 'let's all just get a long', isn't going to work either." Raven snorted.
He still ignored her.
"So what's your deal in this?" Emma watched him intently. She knew ofErik and everything Shaw had done to him, pulled it out of the bastard's memories over the years. It had disgusted her, but she knew how to play the game. Besides she had put good odds on Erik showing up one day and killing Shaw. She was disappointed she didn't get to see it.
"We know the humans aren't going to be accepts us with open arms. Maybe a few here and there, and likely more than I would expect. But overall, the majority of society, no. They barely tolerate different skin color, or sexuality, let alone someone with a tail or feathers." Erik glanced at Azazel, who whipped his tail around. "So I want to build an organization that will protect mutants. Rescue them from the labs, we know they're in. Take out government facilities that are experimenting on our people. Find children who've been thrown out."
"Then what?" Janus asked intently. He had watched Erik over the past months as the older man healed, and seen him interact with everyone, and especially with Charles. He knew instantly he would've made a great leader, so many would've followed his passionate spirit. He wasn't sure yet, if it was a waste that Erik was staying with Charles or not, only time would tell.
"For those who want to fight, train them. For those who need help or care, send them to the school. I'm sure in time, we'll be taking in kids, probably all the way down to toddlers. I would hate to think parents would toss their kids out, but well…"
"Oh, yes, because human parents are so likely to be supportive of their mutant kids." Raven rolled her eyes, knowing how her own parents left her on the street.
"Watch it, Mystique." Erik gave her a deadly glared. "I killed the last person who insulted my mother. She was a human Jewish woman, who helped me with my gift. Yes, she taught me to hide it, but we were living in Nazi Ghetto at the time, so it was understandable."
It was one thing Charles had forced him to realize, and he painfully admitted it changed the way he looked at a few things. His mother and father were human, and they loved him. Yes, they had him hide, but the circumstances were not normal. But they also were delighted to see him use his power, had tried to help as best they could. His mother in her final words - encouraged him, she knew he was scared of showing his gift to a soldier and told him she was proud of him.
"My mamma loved me dearly." Janus added to the conversation. "She was always delighted to see the wind blow. And it was her, along with my grandparents who died protecting me from the government." He crossed himself, and looked heavenward. "And Austin is cool."
Raven frowned, pushing her argument. "Not all of them are good loving parents."
"No." Emma frowned, reading Raven easily. The woman had some serious brother issues, but messing with Erik, wasn't going to win her any favors. "But what Erik is saying, sugar, is that our job will to bring those children from unwanted homes to his sweethearts new school. Parents, who adore their little mutant babies, will likely get visited by the Professor, who will personally explain the benefits of higher education. This way, his hands stay clean."
"And that is why you'll be leading this rag tag group of social deviants." Erik gave her a smirk.
"Of course I am dear." She smirked. "You boys are just all about world domination, someone has to think ahead."
"One rule." Erik gave them all a look, staying on Mystique for a few extra seconds. "No soft targets. We arenot Shaw. We will not wipe out an island, to start a nuclear war. We will not blow up a school, to make a point. Anyone who works for a government or private fund lab, are fair game. Their families aren't. We will not let the humans call us terrorists, giving them the excuse to round up mutants. At this moment we're still living under the radar, but as more of us are born, it will come to their attention, and they will want to squash us like a bug."
"So we let them?" Mystique pushed. "You're as bad as Charles. You're nothing but his lapdog."
"Let's get this out of your system." He reached out, yanking her upwards with the metal in her pockets and throughout her outfit. "I think your mutation is beautiful, but right now your prissiness is getting on my nerves. I'm not Charles' lapdog and he isn't mine. We're coming at this fight from two different angles. We want to help our people, fighting each other isn't helping. It took a bullet for me to figure that out, don't make the same mistake." He dropped her back on to the ground.
"Oh so that's why you're being bitchy." Emma glanced between the two of them. "I wondered what that buzzing noise was in your head. You're pissed Charles got to suck Erik's cock and you didn't." She laughed at Raven's glare. "Oh sugar, I'm not your brother, I don't really care about boundaries, so get used to it."
"Well if I had known Erik preferred cock, I would've been able to give it to him." She changed her form to Charles, giving Erik a sultry look.
He glanced down her body, then back up a smirk on his face. "You're missing about two inches, and I don't mean in height." Raven turned back to her natural blue form.
Emma snorted, and then collected herself. "Let's get down to business. How do we exchange information? Will we go for specific targets? And what about ones that we happen to come across?"
They hashed out more details for another hour, and once the basics were finalized The Brotherhood was established. Emma and Erik would send information through Azazel. The school was to be off limits, unless in an emergency situation. Erik made sure they understood - if their lives were at stake, get to the school. It will be one of the safest places in the country.
As Azazel disappeared with Erik in a puff a smoke, Emma turned to Mystique. She gave her a look, and had no problem rummaging through her mind, to get the information she was seeking. "Sugar, let's get this straight. I don't care what your issues with Charles or Erik are, you work for me. I tell you to do something you do it. You don't whine or bitch at me. I'm not your brother, and I will dig through that brain of yours if need be. As for your issues with Erik, get over it. He picked Charles over you, and well … your dear brother picked Erik. You're a strong capable woman. Men are assholes, learn to manipulate them not whine about them."
"Well that's encouraging." Janus smirked at the two women, giving a side eye to Angel, who was nodding in agreement. "So first order of business, find more brothers for The Brotherhood."
Emma gave him smirk. "Oh you and Azazel are exceptions, though I don't know why Mystique here is complaining, Azazel knows how to use that tail of his." She gave Raven a wink, then called out for the teleporter, who appeared at her side. "Take us to the chateau in France we've got some planning to do."
Azazel dropped Erik off in front of the Cadillac, giving Alex a nod. "He's exhausted, freezing, and been holding back a coughing fit for about ten minutes."
"Stubborn asshole." Alex yanked out a heavy coat from the backseat and forced Erik to put it on, then wrapped a woolen scarf around his neck. "You had to have a mysterious meeting in a cold damp warehouse."
"Gotta keep up the aesthetics of being an anti-government organization." Erik pulled the scarf up towards his face, as he started coughing.
Alex rolled his eyes, and handed him a thermos filled with hot lemon tea, with honey. "Helen sent it, said you would need it."
"I am going to be mothered henned to death." He glanced at Azazel, who was snickering. "Keep an eye on Raven, for Charles' sake."
"She's a strong willed woman. I can't stop her from doing what she wants." He shrugged. "Emma will keep her in line."
"She'll try to prove to Charles she can be someone without him." Erik sighed, not quite sure how those two ended up where they were. Some of it he got, Charles can be domineering and doesn't like to admit when he was wrong. Raven is stubborn and wants to prove herself. The two aren't mixing at the moment, maybe in time, but right now it's likely best they are not in the same state. "And Charles will act like he's not fretting, while secretly fretting."
"How about you both just fuck it out of them." Alex gave his suggestion, smirking at the twin glares he was getting. "Oh don't give me that look. We all know mom caves the moment dad starts whispering German in his ear, and you wiggle that tail, and …" He paused looking between the two very deadly mutants. "Just an observation is all."
"He'll make a good second on this end." Azazel smirked at Alex. "Observant and can sass you when you need it."
"Keep me informed of what's going on, I trust Emma as long as our goals are the same." In the past few months, he learned to trust Azazel. He may come across quiet, and easily used by others for their needs, but he had been around a lot longer than some knew.
"Speaking of the Ice Queen, she summons." He bowed his head, and then gave Alex a pointed look. "Make sure he doesn't do anything stupid."
"Yeah 'cause I'm a miracle worker." He rolled his eyes then looked at Erik. "Get in the car, I'll put the heater on, and hopefully by the time we get home, you'll be warm and less Popsicle and Charles won't yell at me."
"He won't yell at you."
"Where have you been?" Charles walked up to the car, opening the passenger door, and pulled Erik out. "And why are you so cold?"
"Oh I see." He smoothed down the scarf, tightening it slightly, before resting his hand on Erik's chest, feeling the steady heartbeat. "Super-secret meeting, I know nothing about so I can have plausible deniability."
He sighed, wrapping his arms around his lover, holding him close. "I hate the fact that you feel the need to have a Brotherhood, but I hate the fact that you actually doneed one, more."
"You can't be seen doing anything untold, and as I'm staying with you, I need someone else to rage war against those who would harm us." Erik kissed the top of his head, wrapping his arm around Charles. "I will protect what you're building here Charles, don't ask me how."
"I don't like it." He stepped back, then grabbed the scarf and pulled Erik down for a kiss. "But I am learning to understand it."
Erik gripped Charles' neck holding him still as he devoured the sweet mouth under his. He moaned into the kiss, feeling Charles wrap himself around him physically and mentally.
"Can you do that inside where it's warmer?" Alex rolled his eyes at their 'parents'.
Erik flipped him off, as Charles chuckled and stepped back. "Let's get inside, Helen has hot coffee, and Hank has been vibrating all day to show us his new plans. He was waiting until dad came home."
Two hours, and a cup of coffee and dessert later, they found themselves in the danger room, looking over schematics and plans hanging on all the walls. Hank was bouncing with excitement, what was making Erik smile was the fact Hank was still blue and furred. He was coming to terms with his mutation, but as he pointed out a time will come he will need to look human to deal with local politics and schools, when working with Charles.
It sucked, but he was right.
"You want to rebuild Cerebro?" Charles asked looking over a specific set of plans.
"I can make it better than the original, and with Erik helping me with the metal framework, we might be able to get you to expand further." Hank nodded, pointing out a few adjustments. "There's a whole tunnel system under this place, we can build further back."
"We'll need to add extra security, to make sure no one can access it." Erik glanced over a few of the other diagrams. "Is it possible to make it only accessible to Charles? Like a system to read him or his fingerprints."
"With the help of Raven…" He paused frowning slightly, but then shoved the glasses up his nose and continued. "I was able to get back into the old headquarters and grab all my work."
"I made sure to destroy what was left." Alex added to the conversation, he pointed at the drawings on one of the boards. "New uniforms?"
"I know we're not talking about …" He waved his hands towards Erik. "…But I figured it would be a good idea to be prepped as a team to do help. I'm not sure what yet, but well if a bridge is collapsing, Magneto would be a good resource."
"So Erik's gang of radicals, raid labs and government facilities." Armando smirked over at the older man. "And we what? Save kittens from trees?"
"More like bus of school children falling off a bridge somewhere." Hank shrugged. "Just thought it would be a good image for Mutants."
"It's not a bad idea." Charles nodded, glancing over at his lover. "The government will label, no matter how hard your guys don't hit soft targets, as terrorists. This could be a nice counter."
"Let's just not get into a fight with them. I'm not facing Emma." Erik commented wandering around looking at the designs for the Danger Room Upgrade. Admiring the new training facilities.
"Well this could come in handy, but it would cut you off from Charles." Hank held up the infamous helmet.
"Where did you get that?" Charles asked in shocked horror.
"Azazel popped a few of us back over to Cuba, while Erik was still in the hospital. We figured there was stuff in Shaw's submarine we didn't want the CIA to have." He held out his hand in it was a Nazi coin. "This being one of them."
Erik floated it off his hand towards him, at least they cleaned it. He concentrated for a few moments, twisting it around until it was a Star of David.
Charles eyes were wide as he watched Erik use his mutation. His mind was lit up, and eyes held a certain spark, and Charles could feel his sense of closure.
Erik floated it back to Hank, setting it back in his hand. "Hang it up in the training room. It's a reminder, good and bad."
He nodded, studying the new design, fascinated at the detail. "What about the helmet?"
"I hate to say it, but we should keep it." Charles gave the thing a disgusted look. "We could run into a telepath that will potentially do damage, and we'll need a counter."
"And if Erik needs to run with his other 'friends', it will disguise him." Sean piped up from the back area where he was looking over the uniform designs. "I'm sure dad isn't planning on to many raids, but let's face it – at some point we'll need to let him go blow something up before he kills us."
"Way to keep Magneto separate from Erik, if need be." Alex nodded in understanding. "But then again Charles would be cut off."
"I can make a communication device … maybe. Small enough to put into his ear so Charles could talk to him…" Hank wandered off to start taking notes, slipping the Star of David into his pocket.
<<Are you okay with this?>> Erik glanced over to Charles.
<<No.>> He answered honestly. <<It's bad enough Raven ran off. I don't like the idea of you leading them.>>
<<Then I won't.>> Erik leaned over and kissed Charles' temple. <<I'll let Emma do what needs to be done, and I'll save kids from crumbling bridges.>>
<<I love you, Darling.>>
"Ah it's so cute when they get all mushy with each other." Alex smiled at them, elbowing Sean who was grinning.
"We'll keep the helmet, better than it be in the wrong hands. We should find out if there is another, or how they made it … in case." Charles gave them all another hand wave.
"Another Shaw?" Sean asked.
"Or worst a human." Erik added.
"Is this a new jet?" Armando pointed at one of the larger designs. "I kinda bummed I missed the first one."
"I'm working on building us a second." Hank looked up from his notes, a grin on his face. "Though someone else should learn to fly it, besides me."
"Where are we going to put a jet?" Sean gave him a pointed look.
"Most of this will take years of construction, and I've already started on permits, may have fibbed a bit on what exactly we'll be building, but all the plans are in range of what would be part of a school." Hank shrugged. "The Jet will go under the basketball court."
"What basketball court?" Alex asked, smirking.
"The one that we'll build in the East Garden." Hank looked around the room.
"I'm not telling Austin you're ripping up his roses." Erik shook his head. "I would rather deal with Raven."
"Erik, afraid of a human?" Charles smirked at his lover.
"You tell him, honey." He leaned over whispering gently.
"No, I say Hank does it." Charles looked at Hank. "It is his idea and all."
Hank glared at the two of them.
"So what do we call ourselves?" Darwin grinned, clapping his hands together. "I mean we already have code names, so what do we call the group."
"Not the Men in Black." Banshee sighed.
"The Professors Men…" Havoc cringed slightly.
"Dude that sounds like a bad porn." Armando shook his head at the young blonde.
"Then how about X-Men." Hank suggested. "Since he's Professor X."
"Yeah I like that." Darwin nodded. "The X-Men."
<<You're children are batshit.>> Erik gave him a look.
<<Our children, darling. And they get that from you.>>
Erik pulled Charles close, cupping his cheek as he leaned down to kiss him softly. They ignored the boys high pitch squeals and excited talking. They were together, and they would make this work.
Chapter 3: Timestamp #2
The School gets an unexpected arrival (Set three years after Cuba)
I know in X-Men canon Peter Maximoff's twin is Wanda and their mother was Magda, but I'm going with how they presented it in Days of Future Past (including the fact they never named his mother). Let us not discuss the massive plot holes of massive in both films (though I love the movies dearly)
So basically making it up as I go along, which is why I love AUs.
The ended up sending Erik to talk to Austin, for some reason the two got a long, something no one had expected. Charles was the only one, who knew why Erik took to Austin – he reminded him of his father, who was soft spoken, polite and willing to help anyone who asked. It helped that Austin had planted a small rose bush, Edie's favorite, in honor of Edie and Jakob Leshnerr.
So it was Erik who explained they would need to move the Rose Garden.
And moved it they did.
It was a good work out for everyone, despite having blisters for days afterwards.
It was a rare moment when Charles hated Erik's mutation as he sat on one of the benches and used his powers to make a few of the shovels dig holes. When Alex asked why he wasn't working out, Erik coughed and rubbed his chest.
Charles wasn't sure if he had wanted to glare or laugh.
The hot bath Erik ran for him that night made up for it.
During the first year, they made the East Wing into dormitories, and the West Wing into classrooms, and the staff offices. While the East Ballroom, was working towards becoming a student hangout, and West Ballroom - the fact there were two Ballrooms had Erik eyerolling at the extravagance – would become the dining room.
At the moment, they were still small enough to fit in the actual dining room, which Erik was sure in time would end up being a lounge for the staff.
The underground was taking the most time to convert, since they had to manipulate permits and plans to get them passed. Charles and Erik vetted construction works, and after the jobs were done, they barely remembered the school.
The Danger Room had been expanded and equipped, there were secondary features that Hank was working on, but they were in the early stages. The labs were finished, and Cerebro was up and running.
The first mind Charles had latched onto was a young boy named Peter Maximoff. He had noticed the fast moving mind instantly, something about it called to him.
It wasn't until he met the small child he realized why. When he reached out and touched Erik's mind, there was a brightness there that always pulled Charles in. He saw something similar in the young boy.
It was confirmed when the boy's mother, stared at Erik in shock. The two talked quietly in the kitchen, while Charles tried to watch the boy. His mutation was already starting to showcase, and his mom was having a hard time keeping up.
They agreed after some arguing, cursing, and intense stares between Erik and Charles that they would help Peter control his speed while at home, and then during the summer break he could come to the School, to learn more.
Erik hated leaving his son, but knew Mary loved her boy dearly, she was just tired. Which after spending one weekend with the kid, he could understand. And as Charles pointed out they were in no way equipped to handle kids.
Which influenced Sean in ways they hadn't expected.
After meeting Peter, Sean decided he wanted to go to University, get a degree in Education. He pointed out, that there will be more kids in the future, and someone needed to be able to handle them. Charles was enthusiastic about the idea, and made sure that his expenses would be paid.
Sean started to attend classes at a local college, to get used to being in a classroom, and then with Hanks' help applied to a variety of colleges around the country. Erik watched Charles beam with pride, when Sean was accepted into five different Universities.
Charles strategically didn't point out Erik's rush of proud Papa feelings.
When he decided to go to University of Southern California, Alex came to Erik, and asked about security. Sean was still a mutant, and would be far from home. Erik nodded, and made sure that Azazel would pop in from time to time. They would work out a few more arrangements and safeguards before he left, at the moment they still had a few months before school started in the fall.
Right now Sean was getting a crash course in a hyperactive nine year old.
Charles leaned against Erik, watching Sean in his updated flight suit, following Peter around the property. "I get tired watching them."
"Mary deserves the cruise you sent her on." He tracked his son, by the metal pieces he sewed into his clothing.
"She told me he's better at slowing down to act normal. The kids don't tease him as much for the hair, now that they think it's cool, especially as he's calling himself Quicksilver." He laid his head on Erik's shoulder, still knowing he gets riled on the fact his son was bullied for being different.
"I guess we should thank Darwin for that." Armando was great with Peter, and helped the kid handle the bullies. Erik's advice was to smack them down, teach them not to mess with a Lehnsherr. Armando rolled his eyes while Charles scoffed. Darwin showed him how to make his physical mutation cool, by giving himself a cool nickname.
And it worked.
Which proved to Erik just how fickle humans were. "How's our two teenagers doing?"
Despite finding over a dozen mutants over the past years, not many wanted to leave their home. A few had come for the summer or a couple of months, learned how to control their mutation and then left. This was the first year they actually had two full time students.
Charles had recruited Petra from the foster care system. Darwin used his connections, having himself been raised in the system. Charles convinced her foster parents to let her come to the school, and be educated.
They were happy to get rid of her.
When they discovered she could manipulate the earth around her, they thought Austin was going to adopt the girl instantly. Though the way she took to Helen and Austin, she may end up with adopted parents over time.
Mimic had made a grand entrance.
The Brotherhood had found Calvin Rankin in one of the labs. Hank was still trying to go through the files to figure out what they did to the boy.
Azazel had dropped him off with Charles, stating they had one shape shifter, they didn't need a second, then left. When he tried to mimic Erik one morning, Charles only blinked and sat the kid down so they could talk.
It took awhile for him to adjust to living with other mutants, as he kept mimicking their abilities, but only for short times. Erik was the one who finally who told him to be himself, not someone else.
"They are both doing well, taking to their studies. At the moment, Petra's working with Hank, for obvious reasons she's interested in geology, so it's a learning curve for both of them. We're going to have to think of diversify our program. It can't just be Hank and I teaching." Charles moved back into their bedroom, followed by Erik.
"I can teach languages." Erik closed the door behind them. "That would be about it, unless you want to put Nazi Hunting on the curriculum."
Charles' gave him a look, which turned contemplative. "Though talking about your experience may be good … " He felt the rush of anger. "Darling, you don't have to talk about what Shaw did to you."
"I will teach them to fight so they don't end up in the hands of a Shaw or the government. You know the Brotherhood took down another lab, just last week."
He sighed, slumping into one of the high back chairs. "Yeah and it pains me that the mutants they find are either dead or so scared they want nothing to do with any of us, the school or the brotherhood."
"You thought we would have more students by now." Erik sat on the coffee table, hands resting on Charles' knees.
"I did, but I understand why we don't." He gave his lover a half smile. "We've seen what's going down in the South. FBI Agents have been murdered for daring to investigate lynchings. They are killing people just because they're black and want equal rights."
"Yet you still believe they'll be fine with Mutants. Ones that look like a devil, or a telepath who can read their minds."
"Yes." Charles held his gaze. "I believe we all can get along. Look at Alex and Armando, they are best friends, like brothers."
"Have you talked to Darwin and asked about his experiences as a black man?" He gave Charles a look. "Do you see how people react when they see my tattoo?"
He nodded, tears in his eyes as he sat up and took Erik's face in his hand kissing him deeply. "We have to learn to find a way past skin color, religion, sexuality. We have to, Erik. I promised you a world that would accept us all."
Erik shifted, until he was seated in the chair, with Charles in his lap. "You gave me that world, Charles." He held him close giving him comfort knowing the news reports coming out of Alabama were upsetting him. "You gave me a home, filled with laughter, love and acceptance. I never thought I would have that."
"Maybe you were right." Charles laid his head on Erik's shoulder. "Maybe all this is for nothing."
"I am right, humans will hunt us down and try to kill us. It's their way. They have to find something to fight against to prove their superior. The irony will be that they will ignore skin color, religion, and sexuality, so they can hunt down the dude with a tail." He was honest to a fault. "But you are also right, education will change people. Look at Austin and Helen, they educated themselves and now practically have adopted everyone in the building. And let's not forget your good doctor."
"How is Dr. McMillian?" Charles asked knowing Erik had gone into town to see him for his checkup.
"He's good." He kissed the top of Charles' head, settling in the chair enjoying the time they had together. "You should know he yelled at me."
"Told you he would." He sat up and looked at his lover. "How bad?"
"He wants me to gain ten more pounds." Erik sighed, it wasn't as if he wasn't trying. Helen was a good cook, and had done an amazing job working with Erik to write down all of his childhood recipes.
"That means food." Charles stood, and headed for the door. "I'll go see if Helen can fix a sandwich, you stay here."
Erik pulled Charles back into his lap, refusing to let go until his stomach grumbled. Cbarles gave him a look, and then slid off his lap, making his way towards the kitchen.
Erik leaned back in the chair, sighing softly. It wasn't like he didn't try to gain more weight, he just wasn't hungry and with all the work he'd been putting in with Hank in building the underground he was burning through his energy and the reserves.
Let alone trying to keep up with Peter.
God help him, if Charles found out that he had been running a small fever, and the doctor had given him some antibiotics. Gregory had glared at him for at least five minutes, ignoring Erik's own glare.
'You need more rest.' He argued.
'I'll rest when I'm dead.' Erik gave him a vicious smirk.
'Yeah and how will Charles feel about that?' Gregory knew he won that argument.
'Well someone has to make sure Charles and his school stays safe.' He argued back.
'Eat. Sleep.' He refused to argue with him. 'If you don't gain the weight by next checkup. I'm telling Charles. Or worse Helen.'
Erik admired the doctor's evil streak.
He would take his pills after lunch, and will eat everything on the plate just to make Charles happy. It will be dinner that will be the problem as he wouldn't likely be hungry. Well sneaking the food to Peter is always a plan, that kid needed extra everything.
He startled when Azazel popped into the room, it was rare the teleporter appeared in their bedroom. He did it once, regretted it ever since. He wasn't sure who was more horrified, Charles for being caught riding Erik, or Azazel for interrupting. Though the teleporters comment about the extra two inches had only confused Charles, and Erik refused to explain.
"What are you doing here?" He asked concerned. "We weren't supposed to meet until next week."
"Change of plans." Azazel hesitated, and then looked at Erik directly. "This place takes all mutants?"
"Yes, you know that." He knew something was wrong. Azazel was hesitant, upset even. "Did you find someone?"
"Not necessarily found, but needs more stability than we can provide." He glanced around. "I wanted to make sure they'll be accepted."
"Unless this mutant plans to hurt Charles, then they will be accepted." Erik assured him, only to startle when he disappeared again. He was ready to call out for Charles when Azazel appeared again, this time with a nine month old mutant baby. "Azazel…"
"His name is Kurt." He handed him over to Erik, who stood to take the child, and then took off the diaper bag setting it on the floor. "He's my son."
Erik looked at the little one in his arms, who was happily sucking on his tail. The dark purple skin was beautiful, and the small smile was captivating. "He's beautiful Azazel."
"He can't stay with us. It's too dangerous. We took care of him until he could be weaned." He laid his hand on the child's head, kissing the top of it. "He's got my abilities."
He settled the little one on his hips. "You didn't pick him up?" Erik stared at Azazel intently, who was smiling at Erik's unintentional rocking of the little one. "Who's his mother?" The shifty eyes were enough. "Oh dear God. Really? Raven? Is she okay with this?"
"We agreed that Charles and you are the best option to raise him." He sighed, clearly upset that he was leaving his son, yet knowing it was the right thing to do.
"Emma must have been pissed." He looked down at the little one, seeing more of Raven in him now that he knew Kurt's full parentage. "And I can't believe you didn't tell us."
"She was worried what Charles would say." Azazel shrugged.
"I'm sure he would've lectured both of you on the use of birth control, for one." Erik shook his head. "But he would've been supportive."
"That's what she was afraid of."
"More like she was afraid he would lock her in her room until she had the baby." He shook his head. "How did you handle this?"
"Her abilities let her cover the pregnancy all the way up to when she gave birth." Azazel explained. "Emma grounded her completely until we decided what to do with Kurt, since The Brotherhood wasn't a babysitting service."
"Sounds like Emma." He frowned when Kurt started fussing.
Azazel grabbed a bottle from the bag, and handed it to Erik. "He's easy going, but doesn't like loud noises, he will poof."
"We're not equipped to deal with babies." He pointed out, giving the little one a bottle. He had never thought he would hold a baby in his arms again, not after losing Magda and Anya all those years ago.
"You're a natural." Azazel smiled at his friend.
"I had a daughter a long time ago."
The teleporter closed his eyes, feeling the pain in the statement. "I am sorry my friend."
"He won't be able to go out in the world." Erik glanced at Azazel. "Not until he can learn to control the teleportation and get out of bad situations."
"Which is why he is safest with you." Azazel cupped his sons head, and gave him one last kiss on the forehead. "I trust him with you, as you are his Godfather." Erik gave him a look, but couldn't hide the small smile. "Besides you have experience with the rugrats around here, dad."
"Oh fuck off."
And with that Azazel poofed out of the room.
Now he just had to go tell Charles they were parents again.
He looked down at Kurt, letting him finish his bottle, before wiping his mouth and then holding him up to his shoulder, patting his back. He got smacked in the face with his tail. That was going to be a new challenge.
"Let's go say hi to Uncle Charles."
Kurt burped then giggled.
He found not just Charles but the whole gang in the kitchen, fixing up a huge lunch. Obviously someone had informed the kids about Erik's need for more food. He stepped into the kitchen, bouncing Kurt lightly. His eyes were wide as he was taking in all the new sights, it was likely the only thing keeping him awake. After being fed, burped and cuddled the little one was likely itching for a nap.
It was Armando that saw them first.
He stared at Erik and Kurt for a few moments, blinking.
"What the hell is that?"
"Dude." Armando glared at Alex. "Rude much?"
"What else was I supposed to say? Last I checked Erik didn't have a purple baby. His kid is out running laps that would make Formula One drivers cry in envy." Alex waved his hands at Erik, then towards the outside, where they could hear Sean chasing Peter.
"Darling?" Charles set the plate of sandwich meat down on the table. "Who is this cutey?"
"This is Kurt." He held him out for Charles to get a better look at him. "Azazel dropped him off, there's a bag up in our room, and he promised to bring more stuff."
Charles' expression was questioning. <<Did they find him?>>
"Congrats Charles it's a nephew." He handed over the baby. "Kurt meet your Uncle Charles."
"Fuck." Alex covered his mouth with his hand.
"Alex!" Darwin smacked him, eyeing Hank who couldn't keep his eyes off the baby. "Hank…"
He waved them off. "I'm fine. I mean… He's cute." He walked over to ashocked Charles who was now holding the baby, and put out his finger, smiling when the baby took it instantly. "It's fascinating that with Azazel being naturally red and Raven blue that their baby is actually purple." He glanced at Erik. "With the tale I'm guessing he takes more after Papa."
"Azazel stated he's already showing signs of teleportation." Erik took the baby back from Charles who had a look that was mixed of adoration and fear. "We'll have to baby proof the house."
"Sean is going to freak."
"Why didn't she tell me?" Charles asked suddenly. "I would've been there for her. She could've stayed her and had the baby in a safe environment, not some warehouse!"
"I doubt she had it in…"
"They were both irresponsible!" He fumed slightly, and then looked at the three boys in the kitchen. "This is why I talked adamantly about birth control."
They all nodded.
"I just can't believe she didn't tell me. It's okay for her to run off to be a badass, get pregnant, and then dump it on us. But God forbid I have a lover." He looked at Erik who was rocking Kurt asleep. "We're not prepared for children let alone a baby."
"We weren't prepared for the other kids either." Erik motioned towards the three boys.
"You're okay with this?" He admired Erik's natural ability with the baby. Charles had no idea how to handle children, let alone a baby. He had been reading everything he could on child development, but was not prepared for an infant.
"Where else is he going to go? This is what you wanted Charles, a safe haven for Mutants. Look at him, he's not going to be safe at the local park, school or nursery." Erik hushed as Kurt got agitated with his raised voice. "We're just taking in younger ones more quickly."
"Do we know how to take care of babies?" Hank asked. It was a legit question.
"I had a daughter…" He hesitated swallowing down the pain that came when he thought of his family.
<<Darling. I know. You had a nightmare when you were sick.>>
<<I loved them.>>
<<I know. She was beautiful, they both were.>>
"I'm sorry man." It didn't take much to realize what had happened to Erik's family. Armando gave him a smile. "Well I guess you can give us some lessons. And Sean will just need to send his notes home, so we can figure this out."
"What if we hurt him?" Alex asked worried. "I'm still not in full control."
"Have you hurt Peter?" Erik asked.
"No…Oh yeah okay." He moved around the table, laid his hand on the back of the now sleeping infant's head. "He is cute. Oh look at him suck on his tail."
The room was filled with awes.
"Okay, first up." Charles clapped his hands, then cringed when Kurt woke up. "Don't do that. Armando go into town, stop by Helen and Austin's place, I know it's their day off, but see if she can help you find baby stuff." He nodded and left, just as Kurt started crying. "Hank, Alex clean out the room next to ours, we'll need to make a nursery." They ran off. Charles glanced at Erik who was now working to calm the little one down. "What do you need me to do?"
"Here." He put Kurt back in his arms, and flipped the towel on to his shoulder. "Just hold him, rock a bit and tell him about genetics. It will put him fast to sleep."
Charles glared, but started doing exactly what Erik said. He started walking around, talking about genes and cells, smiling as Kurt laid his head down and started to fall asleep. Just like his mother. Erik sat at the table, fixed a sandwich and ate it, knowing he was going to need the energy to deal with Charles and the baby.
Their lives had once again changed for the good.
Chapter 4: Sneak Peek
Sneek Peek of what's coming for the sequel.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Blackbird landed at the base of the Chinese Temple, hidden deep inside the mountains. It was well secluded. Bobby had done a good job finding the place and getting the rest of the team secured - away from the Sentinels.
The ramp lowered to reveal Bobby waiting for them. Charles gave him a nod, and walked down the ramp, with Hank and Mystique right behind him. Logan and Storm followed them out of the jet and into the temple, where Kitty and the others were waiting.
They were so few now.
His dreams of a school destroyed by hatred.
"Professor?" Kitty smiled at him, as she took a seat. "We called you here because we might have a plan."
"To stop the Sentinels." Bobby added to the conversation.
"At this rate, anything is an option." Hank snorted, his voice low and gravely with age. His blue fur rippled under the X-Men uniform, the only thing they all still held onto.
Mystique smirked over at him, she opened her mouth to comment about one of Erik's crazy plans, but shut it, when Charles gave her a dark look.
"What is the plan?" He asked the younger Mutants.
"We've been staying one step ahead of the Sentinels by tricking them with allusions - basically they are fighting us in the past. When they get to Kitty, we disappear to where we are located - giving us more time to escape."
"I think I could use the same abilities to send someone back." She took a deep breath. "I know no one talks about the time before the Sentinels, but maybe, if we knew what time to go …"
"1973." Hank said without thought. "It wasn't when it all started, but that was when Trask Industries got the Sentinel program approved."
"Trask's labs had been targeted by the Brotherhood." Mystique continued with Hank's memories. "He had been experimenting on Mutants for years, but it wasn't until then the company got the approval…"
"How did they get it?" Bobby asked, he had never been sure how this whole thing started. He had been trained by Charles since he was a boy, parents not wanting a mutant for a son. As long as he had known there never had been peace between Humans and Mutants.
"I killed him." Mystique answered honestly. "And from that moment, the war began."
"It just didn't start until ten years later when the first Sentinels appeared." Charles glanced at his sister, she still looked as young and beautiful as those days before Cuba, before the Brotherhood. "Do you think this would work?" He looked at Kitty, she was one of his brightest would’ve made an excellent teacher, instead of a soldier.
"It could, it's just that I've never done it for that long or far." She glanced around the last of their unit. "We would need someone who was there, but I don't know how it would affect the person being sent back."
"I'll do it." Logan stepped up volunteering.. "I was around at the time, and with my add abilities." He gnawed on his cigar, giving them a shug. "I should be able to handle it."
Hank looked at Mystique, they both glanced at Charles.
"It might not be like you think it is." The Professor chuckled humorlessly.
"Oh I know about the 70's Chuck. Lava Lamps, free love, the war … it was a different time. I might not remember most of my life, but everyone knows the 70’s." Logan smirked at the Professor, who gave him a rare smile in return.
"You will need to go to Westchester, find the Xavier School for the Gifted." Now that was a name Charles hadn't thought about in a long time.
"It's in the same location where our headquarters were located." Hank explained.
Logan glanced between them. "It was a school?"
"Yes." Charles gave a side eye to both mutants before they said anything more. "Logan, when you meet me, I'm not the same man I am now."
"No one is bub." He put out his cigar before settling on top of the stone altar, he felt like he was going to be a living sacrifice. Maybe he was.
"I'm not kidding Logan. I was a very different then. I was naïve and so stupid." He closed his eyes trying not to think about that time. "I will be difficult to deal with."
"Oh for fucksakes, Charles." Mystique stepped closer to Logan, right before Kitty settled at his head. "You'll need to convince Erik."
He frowned at the two of them.
"Just tell him Charles' life is in danger and he will listen to you." Hank added, his hand wrapped around the metal Star of David in his pocket.
"No!" Mystique glared at her brother. "I know I fucked up back then, but if we're going to fix this, you're not going to be the one to do it, not you from back then. He needs Erik."
"Who the fuck is Erik?" Logan asked.
"The reason for everything." Charles answered sadly.
Logan woke up to the sight of a lava lamp.
If interested in following this storyline as it develops follow my Afternoon Fic on My Blog