I guess I was kind of inspired by the amazing story "Ghost", which was published a few days ago. I'd had a few lines of this floating around in my head taking shape. This is what came out of it. As it turns out, I kinda like dark Charles. Intriguing, I know. I have the beginnings of a multi-chapter floating around in my head now too. I'm pretty picky though, so it might not make it. We'll see. Anyway, I hope everyone likes this one!

Oh yeah, and reviews are amazing so please drop me some!

It was pure luck Charles hadn't been at the mansion when it was destroyed. Erik had insisted their meetings take place at a neutral location. Charles gave his word he wouldn't use his powers and Erik agreed to leave his helmet back with the Brotherhood. While on opposing sides with differing beliefs on certain matters, Erik still saw Charles as a friend.

Thus, 3 months after Cuba and following a less than friendly first meeting (he had deflected the shot that put the man in a wheelchair then left him bleeding on a beach after all), the two were meeting every now and then on peaceable terms. They were in a café in town when they heard the explosion. Erik looked out the window in horror. Charles, whose back was to the window, had to turn around in his chair to see the cloud of smoke and fire rising from the direction of his childhood home.

When they got there, Erik had assembled the Brotherhood. Mystique, of course, had the double shock of the loss of her old home and seeing her surrogate brother in a wheelchair for the first time. She looked as if she wanted to talk to him a few times, but was never able to catch his eye. She settled for looking for survivors, although she knew there were none to be found.

Charles wheeled himself around the remains as best he could, taking in the destruction. It had been an air strike. No one had bothered to come in on foot. The mutants of Charles' fledgling little school hadn't even had a chance to defend themselves. Erik shot wary glances towards Charles as the students (a word that made them seem so young, but then again they were young, weren't they) were confirmed dead. The look went from blank shock to steadily blossoming anger, particularly when Hank, Sean and Alex were added to the list.

With little more than a change in the air as warning, Charles let out a blood curdling yell. Erik assumed it was a yell since he saw Charles mouth open a split second before the pain hit. Because with that yell came the raw emotions of a telepath who had lost control, slamming anyone and everyone with indescribable pain, both emotional and physical. Later, in news interviews, people would say it felt like all their dreams had died, like every hope they'd ever had had disappeared. Every mutant and human within 100 miles dropped to their knees, grabbing their heads and writing in pain. It was difficult to say how long it lasted, but it stopped as suddenly as it started. Erik shakily rose from the ground, wincing as his head throbbed again like an aftershock to a major earthquake. His eyes found Charles and he stumbled over. Charles was breathing hard, as if he'd gone for a long run (a cruel analogy Erik realized) but his now tear-streaked face was once again blank. Charles' red-rimmed eyes moved up Erik's form until their eyes met. His gaze lingered on the man standing before him for a few seconds before rolling back. Erik caught him as he started to tip forward, gently leaning the man back in his wheelchair. He knelt down and checked Charles pulse, just to reassure himself. After so much loss, he needed at least that. When he was satisfied he looked to the Brotherhood, all of whom had picked themselves up off the ground but were keeping their distance from the telepath.

"We're going."

Nobody questioned him as he wheeled the unconscious professor with them.

Charles slept for nearly 2 days after his show of power. Erik decided he would keep to himself that over 80 people had died in Charles' telepathic wave, as he called it. Most were non-mutants in close proximity to the mansion. With his love for humans, it would just upset Charles more to know he'd caused innocents to suffer. While to Erik there were no innocents, he still respected Charles' beliefs enough to protect him from them.

Erik fully expected Charles to wake up a broken man. Instead he woke up barely a man at all. Within days the war between humans and mutants, initiated by coordinated attacks on the mansion and several other known mutant safehouses, was over. Charles never smiled or frowned, never broke a sweat and barely blinked. He just sat at a window, looking outside with a hand to his temple, and systematically decimated the human resistance with a stony-faced silence that made even Erik uncomfortable. At some point in those few days, he realized Charles had been lying when he'd said Erik might be the most powerful mutant he'd seen. Either that or he was the most modest man in history.

He also came to another realization. Charles hadn't been protecting humans from other mutants by standing for them. He'd been protecting them from himself.

Erik never left Charles' side. Other mutants would come and go by silent command. Charles' eyes never left the window. It had disturbed Erik at first. He didn't know if they were coming by their own volition or if Charles was forcing them. He decided it was best not to know. Only he and Raven remained consistently with the telepath.

As the last cell of the human resistance fell to Charles' mind, the man looked up from his wheelchair and spoke for the first time since the mansion had been destroyed.

"It's all yours."

He turned and began to wheel himself out of the room.


Charles stopped, not turning around, not saying anything.

"That day at the mansion, when you lost control…80 people died."

He didn't know why he said it. Maybe he was hoping to catch a glimmer of his old friend, even if it were through pain. As the statement left his lips, he felt silly, knowing that countless people had died over the past few days because of Charles and Charles had to know that. There was a pause before the man in the wheelchair replied.

"They were right to fear us."

With that, he continued out of the room. Erik stood for a moment before turning and looking out the window at the destroyed city below, seeing how right Charles was.

6/15/11 - First off, thanks so much to everyone who reviewed, favorited and put this on their alerts! It's inspiring to get a response and it means a lot to me. I'm going to try to respond to everyone eventually.

Unfortunately, as much as I LOVE this story, at this point I don't know that I'm going to continue it. I've been writing more the past few days trying to develop that multi-chapter fic I had floating around in my head. I read over what I had last night and wasn't happy at all. So as much as I'd love to give you more dark Charles, I don't want to give you a subpar story that I'm not that happy about. I'm going to take a little bit of time away from it for the time being. Between work and helping a friend plan her wedding, the next couple of weeks are going to be busy anyway. BUT, I will keep it in the back of my mind and, fingers crossed, something better will come out of it.

Until then, I have a couple of more stories that are fairly developed and might be publishable soon. So keep your eyes open for that. Hopefully they won't be victims of my pickiness too. Thanks again so much for the response! I really do appreciate your feedback and if anyone has any ideas or thoughts on this and/or the potentially/eventually developing multi-chappie fic I'd love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

Red Aurora