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The People Who Stand By You

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Wesley didn’t want much out of life.

He didn’t want money. He was born into money, and had then inherited even more after he shot—after his father died. He didn’t need more money.

Getting laid would be nice, but after Fox and his ex, he figured he’d lay off anything even close to a relationship for a while.

He wanted the Fraternity—the new, re-vamped Fraternity with a current membership of himself, plus Pekwarksy as an outside agent—to run smoothly. He wanted to slowly, but surely, rebuild the Fraternity into the great organization free of corruption it had once been. He wanted his assignments from the older Loom of Fate, the one pulled out of retirement in Moravia, to go without fuss or loose ends. He wanted the best guns, bullets, supplies he could get his hands on.

But what he wanted the most was for Charles and Raven to be safe and happy—especially Charles, because while Raven was their little sister, but Charles was his twin. Charles was his other, much better half.

So when he returned to his room in the monastery, planning on slumping into bed for the night and catching the next flight to Oxford in the morning, he was rightfully displeased when he heard the message left on his emergency line, and by someone distinctly not Charles or Raven.

“Hello? I’m Agent Moira MacTaggert from the CIA. This number was given to me as Charles’ emergency contact. There’s been an accident. Charles has been checked in at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. I’m calling back again in twenty four hours to try to reach you again.”

Wesley put off wondering how the fuck Charles got involved with the CIA and worrying about where the hell Raven was for later. Rushing to the nearest airport, he boarded the next flight out to Miami with nothing but the clothes on his back and his wallet and passport. In less than fifteen hours, he was on US soil and hailing a taxi for the hospital.


There was no one he recognized when he stepped into the hospital waiting room, not that he had expected to. There was, however, a pair of boys, a redhead and a blond, sprawled out in their plastic hospital chairs, dressed in rumpled clothes that didn’t properly fit them. A brunette stood nearby, dressed in a black suit and skirt and standing in a way that just screamed Fed. Agent Moira MacTaggert, no doubt about it.


He wondered again what the fuck Charles had gotten himself into, because he knew very well that Wesley didn’t want his family to have anything to do with any kind of government authority, not with his profession.

Regardless, all three of them looked up when he entered the room.

“Holy shit,” said the redhead. The blond said pretty much the same thing.

The agent’s mouth fell open in surprise. Then she closed it, steeled herself and approached him.

“You Agent MacTaggert?” Wesley said in lieu of a greeting.

“Yes. You…Charles never mentioned he had a twin,” the woman said.

“Yeah, well, I’m not around as much as we’d like. Wesley Xavier. Where's Charles?”

“The doctors have just moved him to a private room. We—” She looked back over at the two boys, who were still staring at him intently. “—haven’t been allowed to see him yet, being not next of kin.”

“Then it won’t be a problem for me.” He brushed past the agent, heading for the nurse sitting behind the reception desk.

In a few minutes, Wesley was heading for Charles’ hospital room, MacTaggert and the two boys trailing hesitantly after him. He didn’t care about any of them. The doctors suspected Charles was paralyzed.

“What happened to him?” he demanded.

“I think it’d be best if Charles explained everything for you,” the agent said. “This is classified, but he’ll tell you this anyway. We were in Cuba.”

Cuba. The showdown between America and Russia Pekwarsky brought up briefly before Wesley had run off to the airport. Jesus Christ, Charles.

“Where’s Raven?” None of them answered him. “Is Raven alive?” he snarled, spinning around to stare the agent down.

“Yes, she is. She left us of her own volition,” MacTaggert said stiffly. All three of them avoided his glare.

Left us. Meaning Raven left Charles in his condition without even bothering to call him. He was going to have to have words with her later.

There was a doctor waiting outside of Charles’ room. Wesley barely paid attention to the words the man was saying, sneaking glances over his shoulder through the little window on the door. Eventually, the doctor let him pass, and the CIA agent pulled the doctor aside for more extensive questioning Wesley didn’t care for.

He shut the door closed right after slipping in. Charles rested in the room’s only bed, chest rising up and down slowly in sleep. But it wasn’t any kind of sleep Wesley was used to seeing Charles in. Even when sleeping restfully, the moment Wesley was in his brother’s radius of telepathic awareness, Charles’ mind will curl around his own like an embrace.

At the present, there was…nothing. Not even a slight indication of Charles’ mind exerting his presence on the world.

Charles looked so small and pale among the crisp tucked-in hospital sheets, and Wesley hated it, because he was reminded of their childhood, before they’d met Raven, when Charles hadn’t gotten the hang of shielding and the sheer volume of noise cutting into Charles’ head left him a sick wreck for days at a time.

“Can’t keep out of trouble, can you, Charles?” Wesley sighed, looking down fondly at his twin.

Then he yanked down the irritatingly white sheets, kicked off his boots and eased himself onto the bed. Even if he had to threaten the doctor or nurses, he wasn’t leaving Charles’ side any time soon.