Author's Note: WOW. Thank you for all the reviews! All of you are so gracious and kind. I'm so happy the majority liked my writing and the story. I've decided to continue for as long as I have interest. Once reviews start slowing down, though, I'll have to put it on hold.
I would like to point out, however, updates will not be often. I am just a crazy grammar/punctuation/spelling Nazi it's ridiculous. Already, going through chapter one, I've spotted NUMEROUS errors… (calling Hank a doctor? I must have been on crack. Two periods at the end of the line, "…you still look the same in the morning"? Now that hurts my eyes.) There were several more errors in the previous chapter that have since been cleaned up. You will not find them there.
So, as you can see, I am a complete, unrepentant grammar Nazi who has a joy for murdering rough drafts of essays. (Reason #1 why friends hate me). Therefore, updates will only be maybe 2 times every month. I'll do my best though, I promise. On average, I read over a chapter about 7 times before I am completely satisfied with the finished product.
Important: I want to establish the fact that Erik and Raven are not in love. They feel an attraction to one another, but it is not love. Raven is intrigued by Erik's point of view on her—ah—"cosmetic problem", as Charles so gently put it—and she likes his view on humankind. Erik, on the other hand, is amused by Raven's forwardness and is frustrated by her resolve to feel that she is not perfect, and not beautiful. He wants to change that, he wants her to feel comfortable in her own skin. Even though he finds her attractive and—ah, for lack of a better word—desirable—he feels that she is too young and innocent.
For the sake of this fanfiction, Erik is 33 and Raven is 21.
From this chapter out it will have some amount of AU-ness. This chapter focuses on the relationship between Charles and Raven, and Erik and Raven.
"ERIK, No! You said yourself that we're the better men! Now's the chance to prove it! There are thousands of men on those ships, innocent men, just following orders!"
Erik turned slowly towards his greatest friend and comrade, still turning the missiles back towards the ships. It seemed so surreal: finally, Shaw was dead, completely, and utterly destroyed—some vengeance for the death of his mother—and still, there were people trying to kill him. Trying to kill them. Trying to kill one of their own: Moira McTaggert. But Erik knew the reasoning: Anything unknown is an enemy. Anything more powerful must be destroyed.
"I've been at the mercy of men 'just following orders' " he said coldly, heartlessly. His eyes flickered towards Raven, who was watching starkly, uncertainly.
"Erik, don't do this—"
Erik flicked his hand, commanding the missiles back to their origins.
Several events happened in a quick sequence:
Charles sprinted forwards, taking Erik off his feet and into the sand. He lost control of several missiles.
"Get back!" Erik ordered the others when they moved as if to intercept the fight. The metal in their suits carried them backwards.
And, most importantly, Raven noticed that she was the only one Erik did not force backwards. She, alone, could stop him—
She watched, eyes blank as they fought for the upper hand. She loved Charles, and she would take a bullet for him-she would do anything for him-but at the same time, it was Erik who changed her view of the world. He was the one who told her she shouldn't feel the need to hide, while Charles encouraged her to keep to her human facade. Erik told her many things the night before, and now, she knew it wasn't all just so he could use her-as he did the complete opposite. She knew he was sincere.
And Erik was completely correct about the humans. They would seek to destroy every mutant, no doubt. As they already have attempted. And she, because of her serpentine-skin would be targeted first.
But even so. There were thousands of sons and brothers and fathers on those ships. And even more would die in the ensuing World War III. And mutants would be targeted more than ever for being the "cause" of World War III. And, she knew, she would never see Erik again if that happened. He would be hunted down mercilessly, targeted, captured, killed.
She snapped back into the present. Charles was on the ground, struggling to get back to his feet. Erik strode forward, to the beach, regaining control of the missiles and sending them back to the ships.
"Erik!" Raven shrieked. "Erik!"
He stopped, and the missiles came to a sudden halt as well. He turned to her, astonished.
"Don't do this!" she pleaded, holding her hands out. His eyes glittered, full of malice. But still, he stopped.
"Erik, don't you get it? If you do this, we are no better than them. And we are! We are the stronger ones here. Erik, these are Americans and Soviets-not Nazis, not the monsters responsible for the suffering of your people-" And here, she referred to his Jewish heritage and the many mutants undiscovered "-these are the soldiers, the navy, the people responsible for rescuing your people from those atrocious prison camps!" Raven implored him, "Don't do this-remember? You told me yourself that it was the Soviets that liberated you from that medical facility Shaw had you placed. You owe them, Erik! And the Americans," she was starting to run out of breath, "the Americans, they were the ones who helped you track down Shaw! Erik, this is only breeding more hate, more hate and violence and killing, and I just want it to stop!"
Erik's mind flashed backwards, backwards into that time when he was still in Nazi-occupied Germany. Back when he and his mother were imprisoned in Flossenbürg, the prison and labor camp his mother died in. Before Shaw and the other Nazis sent him to Krakow to undergo experimentation.
He was tied down completely, with leather restraints, as Nazi "doctors" took blood sample after blood sample from him, all under the pretense of figuring out what made his DNA code different from the average human. He screamed-he was only 13 years old-and clenched his fists. He felt for the power that he knew he had, that Shaw knew he had. But still, he could not find it.
Day after day this continued. Different experimentations. Infusing his blood into a young child's, only to see that little girl die. His blood, with the mutated genes, the doctors learned, were lethal to others. He contained more iron and zinc than others. And, even more astonishing, his own body could create its own iron and zinc reserves; he didn't need to ingest it. The scientists also discovered that because of Erik's iron reservoirs, he could regenerate blood cells faster than any other human.
Week after week. Shaw had the Nazis assigned to make him move metal. To manipulate it. And even though Erik knew he probably could, he didn't really try. He didn't want them to know what he was capable of-so he settled for trying to move small pieces of metal at night. A steel spoon, left over from dinner, or a pewter cup. And slowly, he found, he was even able to change its shape. And all this time, he practiced, he practiced with the Nazi coin.
Month after month. And finally, he heard a firefight. It came at night, suddenly. He heard German, Polish, and Russian being spoken, shouted, shrieked. He heard bullets. Two of his "caretakers" rushed into his cell and dragged him out unceremoniously and into the cold, wintery night. Flashes of light shrieked out at him, and he felt in the area for metals. He made every effort to control the path of two bullets, and was astonished when it worked-instead of hitting the concrete wall to his side, he turned them directly into his captors' throats.
He had finally been liberated-by the Russians, the Allied Soldiers. And more importantly, by himself.
Erik blinked, and jerked his head to the side, trying to concentrate. He looked back up at Raven, confused and disoriented.
Raven's breast heaved with effort as she fought for air again; her lungs and throat were burning from her furious tirade. Erik and Charles gazed at her with shock, as did the other mutants behind her.
What are you doing? she heard Charles ask her in amazement. The missiles remained floating in the air as Erik considered her words.
Shut up, Charles, she answered, trying to think.
"Erik Lensherr," she said slowly, choosing her words carefully. "If you do this, I will be forced into hiding. I will never be accepted into society." His grey eyes flickered, and she knew that he was remembering last night. "Neither will the normal-looking mutants be. Mutants will always be known as 'the instigators of World War III.' And...And I really don't want to hide...The world..." she continued slowly, taking steps to him. She saw him register the fact that she was getting closer, but he made no move as if to stop her. "You told me that the world had tried to tame me... but if you continue with your plans, if you launch those missiles into those ships, the world will beat us down. There will be no chance to break free or be accepted into society." At this point, she was a mere 3 feet from him.
His hand wavered in the air as he watched her movements unblinkingly. She slowly reached out, forgetting that there were others in the area. Her blue, scaled hand closed on his right wrist, the hand controlling the missiles' projectile flight, and brought it down steadily.
He did not stop her.
As his hand lowered, so did the weapons, until he relinquished all control the manyIntercontinental Ballistic Missiles, both Soviet- and American-made. They dropped into the ocean with a series of muffled explosions, and the sea turned a tumultuous cacophony of reds and oranges and yellows, shrapnel soaring through the air. But the reds and oranges and yellows were not, at the very least, because of the shedding of human blood.
"Let's go home," Raven implored him, her hand remaining on his wrist.
He still did not speak, but instead, gazed at her in such a penetrating and searching manner that she had to fight to keep her nerves under control.
The tension was broken with a crack! and a brilliant flash of light. All on the beach spun around to face the source, feeling trepidation-was it one of the missiles gone astray?
No, Erik confirmed. It was just the demonic mutant Azazel, along with Angel and Riptide. They were making their escape as soon as they could.
Although the beach was deathly silent, the sea was alive with the continuing explosions of the IBMs and the cheers of the soldiers. Erik blinked, and turned to Moira McTaggert, standing directly behind him.
"You can put that down," he told her softly. Her hand was shaking as she fought to keep her pistol steading. She wisely chose to follow his counsel, knowing that he could force her to do so anyhow.
Erik moved and put his left hand over Raven's, prying her fingers from his wrist, and stepped backwards. Charles had his hand to his head-whether it was hurting because of the fight they just had, or if he was trying to read Erik's mind, Erik did not know. All he knew and cared about was that he needed to get out.
Right now. He needed time to think. He needed to leave, get out, get away from Charles and his overwhelming presence, his telepathy and his knowledge. More importantly, Erik knew he needed to escape Charles' goodness.
"I'm sorry, Charles," Erik told him, his eyes narrowed. "But I need time to think."
"Take it then, friend," Charles said evenly. "All the time in the world." His blue eyes flickered to Raven's yellow ones. He didn't need to read her mind to know that she was fascinated by Erik, and as much as he would like to keep Raven with him, he knew that she wanted to get with Erik. Even so, Charles wanted to protect her and keep her from feeling the guilt that would come with abandoning her brother.
"I just have one request, my friend," Charles added. "Take Raven with you."
Raven and Erik exchanged looks of astonishment. "What?" Raven said stupidly. The scientist, Hank McCoy, looked at Raven with undisguised disgust and betrayal. He thought she was attractive to him-so why was Charles telling Erik to take Raven with him? Unless...
"What did you do?" Hank demanded, striding threatening towards Erik. "What did you do with her?"
Erik turned to him, smirking, goading Hank into an even more furious state of mind. "Nothing she didn't already want," he said, inferring that something may have happened last night, when, in fact nothing, happened.
Hank was now nose-to-nose with Erik.
"Hank, NO!" Raven shrieked when she saw him moving to attack Erik-but that infuriated him even more. She was trying to defend him! But Erik was one step ahead of Hank, and had already forced him to be still by the many metal alloys in his suit.
"You know," Erik said softly, only loud enough for Hank to hear. Erik remembered vaguely that Charles was listening as well, through Hank. He chose his words carefully: "It's really because of you, that she came to me. You forced her into feeling that she needed to change her physical appearance, to look normal-" he spat the word in disgust "-in order to be herself. So, Hank-I thank you for that."
He stepped away from Hank, giving a sidelong look at Charles. Charles, shocked, knew that his friend thought this applied to himself as well.
Charles nodded in complete defeat: It really was his fault. He drove Raven away. His tactlessness to her natural form made her feel unaccepted by even her brother. It was him that accused Raven of intentionally changing her eye color all that time again. It was him that encouraged her to take the "cure" from Hank. It was him that told her that in her human facade, any man would be lucky to have her-but not in her natural skin. It was him, her brother, Charles, who polarized her and made her feel insecure about herself and her own powers. And, perhaps most importantly, it was him who did not encourage her to continue to develop her powers.
On the other hand, it was Erik who freed her. It was Erik who told her that if he was her, he wouldn't change a thing. It was Erik who pushed her out of her comfort zone and into her sapphire form. It was Erik who told her that by constantly focusing on her human facade, she wouldn't be able to focus on whatever else was at hand. And, it was Erik, who made her feel cherished and loved in her very own form. Charles gleaned all this from a split second look into Raven's mind, before she could even sense his intrusion. It was Erik, his comrade, his friend, his partner in this grand scheme he intended on building, who could really make things better for his sister.
Erik moved towards Raven, the one person on the earth he felt he could change. It was clear her brother wasn't going to help her further her powers and talents, challenge her, or help her feel accepted. He needed to do that. "Let's go," he said to her softly, extending a hand.
Her topaz eyes flickered between her brother and Erik. Charles gave her a stiff nod.
She took his hand.
Author's Note: You will notice several differences here. I have my reasons for wanting this: first, having Charles spend out the rest of his days in a wheelchair is not going to do me any favors. Second, I find it positively ridiculous that Azazel, Angel and Riptide all formed an alliance with Erik and Raven at the end of First Class. Seconds ago they were trying to kill each other. Not to mention, the aforementioned trio were allies with Erik's nemesis, Shaw. I would think Erik would want them dead for assisting his mother's killer-not on his side. So, for my own arrogant, creator-of-the-universe peace of mind, I'm going to flip this. That's the reason it is AU.
Parting Note: Heading out RIGHT now to go see First Class again.
READ AND REVIEW. Also, follow this story! I noticed how many people added this to their favorite stories list but did not add to their story alert list. Thanks and keep those reviews coming! They make me immensely happy :)
Also, starting on the 20th of June I will be gone for 6 weeks. Chances are, during the first 4 of those weeks there will NOT be any updates. I cannot tell you where I am going or what I am doing, but think Moira McTaggert. (Really, it's not as exciting as you may think. It's just a long, government-sponsored seminar.)
Secondly. Because of this long absence, I will do my very best to update at LEAST one more chapter, if not two, before then.
Thanks for your patience and please keep reading and reviewing. :)