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In Response To Your Last Letter

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Charles,

If you're reading this letter, then the worst has happened. I assume Shaw killed me, or that I wasn't willing to listen to you this time when you no doubt told me to let go of whatever it was I needed to hold in order to defeat him.

In both cases, I apologize.

You tried so many times to convince me to talk about what we'd do once the fighting had stopped and Shaw was gone; this letter will be small comfort, I suppose, but I wanted to tell you, at last, that I had been thinking about it. That I had ideas of my own, and that I'd come to believe in some of yours.

With Shaw dead and peace gradually forming between humans and mutants, I wouldn't have been willing to go back to being even tangentially connected to a human government; for all her talents and abilities, I would have lobbied very hard for Miss MacTaggart's departure. I know that would have caused you some consternation, but I assure you, Charles, you are enough of a pacifying influence to convince even me to slow down and think before reacting to human attempts at regulation and intervention. I think anything short of an outright human-on-mutant assault would be something I'd listen to you about, and on that we would have to agree to disagree. You're the pen, Charles; I'm the sword. I know you've often argued that I'm more than that, but today and tomorrow, that is my nature. Change, if it comes, will happen slowly. At your side.

On our own, then: what next?

My hopes were always to find more of us, and bring us out of the darkness we all struggle with under the power of humans who care little for us and understand less. The time we spent in training demonstrated this much: teaching and learning can be powerful things. I would have liked to find more mutants with you, and recruited people capable of becoming their teachers-- you can't be expected to take on that job alone. I suppose my willingness to push harder could have made me worthwhile as a teacher too, but if I'm honest, I'd have been learning from the students as much as they learned from me.

I'd like to think that, in time, I could have convinced you to listen as much as talk. Perhaps to recognize my fears and concerns about the humans, even as you held onto your hope that they'd come around to seeing us as allies to be treated with instead of threats to be studied.

It seems we don't have that time after all, and for that as well, I can only apologize and offer my regrets.

As for the rest... you read my mind tonight, as much as I could allow, and I know I don't have to tell you all the things you've made me feel. I had no idea I could feel that way again, but as I'm dead now there's nothing to be gained by leaving it unsaid.

I love you, and you brought me closer to happiness in these last few months than I've ever been. Thank you, Charles. Don't forget me.

Erik.

***

Dear Erik,

As I lie here in recovery, staring up at the ceiling and trying to convince myself to do all the therapeutic exercises I'm meant to (what point is there, I've asked; I'm not expected to walk again), I have read and re-read your last letter to me, and can only wonder:

Damn you, Erik. Did you mean none of that?

Come home. I can't promise all is forgiven, but I can promise that every day you stay away and persist in this absurd "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" of yours (I notice you didn't replace the news agencies' title with one that lacks the word 'Evil'; were you attempting to be ironic, or have you decided the lines are well and truly crossed?), you drive more of a wedge between our ideals.

I've hand-copied your letter and am enclosing it; look at what you wrote and try to remember the man you wanted to be, not the man you believe you were forced to become.

I love you, too, you selfish bastard. It isn't too late.

Come home.

Charles