A/N: More angst from me! This is indeed one of those five-plus-one things, because I've always wanted to try one; unfortunately, I am not that good at writing drabbles - I'm way too wordy, lol - so I hope this was okay.

Warnings: slight language, angst, some content that may be a tad raunchy for younger readers, Charles/Erik, short segments, blood/violence. Set both during the movie and three years afterwards.

Disclaimer: Do you guys still even need one of these? I don't own it! Lol.

Erik was strong; that much he could say about himself. And he was nothing if not driven and persistent. Perhaps you couldn't call him kind, or funny, or a good person – but strong, driven, and persistent covered him perfectly. And if you added smart and traumatized, you had Erik completely under an umbrella, you had covered him with a perfect description.

He would follow Sebastian Shaw to the ends of the earth and back if that was necessary – indeed, he would follow the man straight to the river Styx and down into the pits of Hell if that was what it took to destroy him. He was driven, he was persistent; he was a force to be reckoned with, a single-minded avenging angel of death with one goal – to end Sebastian Shaw. Everything after that mattered little at this point – he'd spent his entire life going after this man, and suspected it might be the end of him one day, but that was alright, as long as Shaw went with him.

Someone who was less than Erik Lehnsherr probably would not have latched themselves onto a moving submarine magnetically, and someone who was more probably wouldn't have either (simply because that person would have been too smart to ever think it would work.) But Erik was Erik, and he did it, and when someone started shouting in his head for him to let go, he did not listen (go ahead, add 'good at taking orders' to the list of things Erik was not.)

But then that person had a hold on him, and he could not get any oxygen, and simple survival instincts took over – he released the submarine and struggled violently, then went slack and numb as he watched the craft disappear into the dark waters ahead, taking Shaw with it. And then he was yanked to the surface and to beautiful, breathable air by a young man (younger than him by maybe four years, he guessed – he'd always had a bit of a knack for judging a person's age) who already knew his name – a man who already knew more about Erik than anyone besides Sebastian Shaw did.

"Erik – you are not alone."

Those words seemed to both buoy and anchor him at the same time – I am not alone. I am not alone.

It wasn't until they were dragged out of the water by several flustered government agents that Erik was able to really look at this man. He was handsome, in a refined, classy sort of way – and his eyes were almost devastatingly attractive to Erik – in fact, he'd felt a surprisingly strong attraction to this man from the second he'd tugged Erik out of death's grasp (for now that he thought about it, he had really only been seconds from drowning).

The other mutant rolled up his still-dripping sleeves, then extended his hand to Erik and said, "And now, I believe a more formal introduction is in order. I'm Charles Xavier, and I'm quite pleased to meet you."

Erik hesitated for a second and then shook the telepath's hand. "Erik Lehnsherr. The pleasure is all mine."

Charles smiled, and his eyes twinkled like sapphires in the dark. Erik looked down at their hands, which were still clasped, and said, surprised, "You're bleeding."

Charles glanced down at his wrist, where three shallow crescents of blood were indeed rising. "Oh, it's fine. You've got quite a nasty grip, it seems."

Erik could feel that the other man was joking, but he dropped Charles's hand and said, "I'm sorry." He hadn't even registered digging his short nails into the mind-reader's wrist at all, but to see dark blood rising from beneath the pale, creamy skin made a surprising sensation of guilt run through him.

"It's quite alright," Charles said, his smile now reassuring.

A young woman came up to them, and her gaze flicked from Erik, who was standing there dripping in his black wetsuit, and then back to Charles, bogged down with his sopping-wet, dark clothing. "Charles, what were you thinking? Well . . . I guess there'll be some dry clothes for you two around here somewhere . . ."

Charles turned his smile on her, and Erik gave her a quick once-over – why was Charles smiling like that at someone who was so obviously human? "It's quite alright, Moira, I'll dry off soon enough. And I expect your people want to talk to Erik here."

Erik tensed when the woman replied, "Yeah, you bet we do."

However, he relaxed ever so slightly when Charles turned those eyes back on him. His eyes were still sparkling with kindness, but behind them glinted knowledge, dark and powerful. I am not alone, he remembered.

No, Charles said inside his mind, causing Erik to twitch just slightly. You are not alone.

The other man turned back to Moira, smirking. "Good – because I want to talk with him as well. Does that sound alright, Erik?"

Erik nodded, and for once, it was true – something finally did sound alright.

"Erik . . ."

Erik could not help but marvel at how gorgeous Charles was like this – hair mussed, lips reddened and cheeks flushed, with his usually tucked-in shirt hanging halfway out of his waistband.

"How kind of you," Charles muttered, leaning in for another kiss, resting his hands on the sides of Erik's head and tugging him in as close as possible. They were sprawled on the loveseat in Charles's study (one he kept "explicitly for the purpose of having guests, not for necking like a couple of overly-hormonal teenagers", to which Erik's only reply had been a hungry kiss to Charles's neck and a devilish smirk) and Erik moved the hand that had been resting on Charles's back up into the air and waved it vaguely, grinning into the kiss when he heard the door's lock click across the room.

"You would do well," he said hoarsely, "to stay out of my head, Charles."

Charles brushed his lips over Erik's square jaw lightly, teasingly. "What will you do if I don't?"

"Do you really want to find out?"

Of course.

Erik tugged on Charles's hair firmly, turning the other man's head so that he could reach his lips again, and kissed him roughly, grunting lightly as the faint taste of copper became detectable.

You bit me, Charles thought to him, astonished and admittedly even lustier than he had been before. I'm bleeding.

There's more where that came, Erik responded a tad sadistically, pinning Charles to the loveseat. You asked for it, after all.

I didwoe is me, Charles replied smugly, and Erik knew he'd been expecting this the entire time. Very well; he was just going to make things worse for himself.

Sounds fun.

Erik did not respond – he merely chuckled darkly against Charles's creamy neck and bit down again.

Oh, God, Charles – oh, God. No, not you – anyone but you.

But Charles did not think back a response – he either was in too much pain to do so, or he was too angry to. Oh, God, Charles, anyone but you.

But all Charles said was, "You did this."

And Erik looked at the scarlet-and-silver bullet in his palm, stuck magnetically to his hand (he wasn't doing it on purpose, he realized dimly; he had lost control, as he tended to do in moments when the few people he loved were threatened – but I don't love Charles – yes, I do – I love him) and smelled the faint, metallic scent of blood rising from Charles, and he knew it was true.

I did this. Charles – I did this.

"We want the same thing," he said fervently, begging Charles, pleading with him to say that it was true, to say that he would go with Erik from here, and now, and towards a future they could share – together, as friends, brothers, lovers.

"Oh, my friend," Charles said, tears pooling in the corners of those bloody fucking beautiful eyes. "We do not."

Erik's mind was repeating an endless loop of thoughts, memories, sounds, emotions. The zing of deflected bullets – a scream of pain – his mama, repeating "Alles ist gut," in a shaking voice – Sebastian Shaw's empty eyes as the coin pressed through his brain – and Charles, Charles saying, "You did this." over and over until Erik thought he might lose his mind if it didn't stop.

I did this, he thought again, and suddenly it all went silent inside his head, and he knew Charles was listening. Charles . . .

Yes, Erik. You did this.

Those words came back again, spinning slowly in his head over and over, even as he was leaving. The last thing he saw before he was sucked away by Azazel was Charles, lying there on the beach in pain, and the last thing he heard was Charles's voice, in his mind – You did this. And then, his own mind, answering itself or perhaps even answering Charles – I did this.

And then they were gone, and then somewhere else, and Erik could not help it – the first word out of his mouth was, "Wait."

But it was too late – he had done far too much now to ever go back.


Resisting the urge to swear, Erik slowly lifted his foot up off the floorboard he had stepped on – he was used to thick carpet being all over this house, but he supposed after Charles's injury, the carpet would have simply been too much of a hassle for him.

He delicately and stealthily kept walking up the long, dark hallway – he had already passed both the library and the kitchen, and Charles was not in either of those rooms. There were only a few other places he could conceivably be – his study or his bedroom. Arguably the two more likely places, but you never knew with Charles.

He had just reached the grand, fancy staircase and had only taken one step up when he heard an all too familiar voice.

"Who are you – Erik? Erik, is that you?"

Charles Xavier was seated in his wheelchair at the top of the stairs, presumably having been on his way to an elevator. He turned the chair slowly to stare straight down at Erik, his gaze wide and incredulous. It was obvious that he had gotten out of bed, as he was wearing only a dark robe over a pair of familiar blue and white-pinstriped pajamas.

"It's me," Erik said from under his helmet. "But I no longer go by Erik now."

Charles seemed to have regained some of his sense. "Don't tell me – it's that ridiculous name Raven suggested three years ago."

It's not ridiculous, Erik thought back instinctively, but he remembered that with this dreadful helmet on, Charles couldn't hear a thing – which was obviously the only reason he had surprised the man in the first place.

"That's neither here nor there," Erik said. "Charles, they're after us now."

Charles quirked an eyebrow. "What on earth are you talking about?"

"The government," Erik replied flatly. "They've got a team for us now – some sort of mutant retrieval team. According to my sources, they want to . . . study us." Just the thought of ever being rounded up and experimented on again made him want to scream with rage and squeeze everything nearby that contained the slightest trace of metal into an unrecognizable, twisted lump.

Charles merely said, "I know. I've already been approached by them."

Shock rolled over Erik in a sickening, thick wave. "What?"

"They're not what you think, Erik. The humans are just curious about us – it's natural. Trust me, I read everyone's mind."

"But they could fake it, Charles – just because someone thinks something doesn't mean it's true."

Charles merely looked at him. "You're planning to kill them, aren't you."

Erik nodded. "Yes. They're having a meeting tomorrow night – in Washington. We're going to wipe all of them out." Before they wipe any more of my people out.

"I can't let you do that, Erik," Charles said, raising his fingers to his temple. "I'm going to call for Hank and Alex now." Both mutants were vulnerable when it came to metal, but they could conceivably overpower or kill Erik if they got lucky.

Erik reacted instinctively – with a quick, sharp motion of his hand, he gave the wheelchair a jerk, intending only to break Charles's concentration – but apparently he had misjudged the chair's distance from the stairs, because it lurched forward and then down with a horrible racket.

Charles landed on the floor at the foot of the stairs in a heap, the chair landing on top of him and one of the armrests bonking him in the head. Horrified, Erik lifted it and threw it, but then caught the chair like a yo-yo on a string before it landed and woke the whole house. He raised it until it was resting back at the top of the stairs – he could not afford Charles trying to go and get help.

Charles was staring up at him darkly, and the anger and pain behind his eyes was almost palpable. Erik had never been looked at like that by Charles, and it scared him. And the edge of the armrest had cut his forehead – there was dark blood running down and over his nose, and for a moment he looked so much like the dead body of Sebastian Shaw that Erik had to restrain a scream.

"I'm sorry, Charles," Erik said, regaining his cool. "Don't try to stop me." He then snapped his fingers – if Emma was indeed watching through Charles's mind, then she should be sending Azazel along right about – poof – now.

Erik grabbed hold of the teleporter's forearm. "Goodbye, Charles. Don't say I didn't warn you."

This time, the last thing he saw before he vanished was Charles's bloody face, his eyes staring up at Erik, something completely unreadable, almost like hurt, swirling behind them.

The assault on the humans started off perfectly – they were like shocked, screaming little ants whenever a handful of armed and already-dangerous mutants appeared suddenly in their midst. The ones who were not quick enough to flee were dead in seconds, killed by Azazel as he flitted among them, appearing, slitting throats, and disappearing, only to appear again seconds later and slit another jugular.

Erik himself followed the handful that had managed to get out the door, his cape fluttering behind him as he strode after them. Every lock in the building suddenly clicked shut, every metal emergency door fused to its hinges, and the elevators all hummed to a stop. He smirked – they were trapped, each and every one of them.

Just then, Emma darted into the hallway and called from behind him, "Magneto – they're here."

Erik turned. "Who?"

"Your telepath friend, the blond boy with the energy beams, and the beast," she said, wrinkling her nose with distaste. "I sensed them immediately when we arrived, but I didn't get a chance to tell you. They intend to stop you at any cost."

At any cost. They planned to kill him.

"They're coming now," Emma said. "The telepath isn't trying to read my mind – he's trying to keep them all shielded."

Suddenly, Erik heard gunshots from far away, although he could definitely pinpoint them as occurring somewhere around the corner. The look that flitted over Emma's face made his blood run cold.

"They've shot the telepath," she said. "And the boy. The beast is killing three humans." She transformed into diamond form then, shimmering lightly. "If he finds us, he will try to kill us."

But Erik had already turned, running in the opposite direction, his boots making dull thudding noises against the linoleum floor. He reached up and yanked off his helmet, calling out with his mind – Charles! Charles, I'm coming

He reached them soon enough – there were three ravaged human bodies on the floor, and the blond boy was seated up against the wall, clutching his arm as blood soaked through the gray sweatshirt he was wearing. Hank McCoy, giant, furry, and blue, was towering over Charles, who was slumped in his chair with blood soaking through his white shirt.

"Charles!" Erik said, skidding to halt, shocked. Charles looked up at him, his eyes widening – and then the beast attacked.

"Stop!" Charles cried, his fingers pressed hard to his temple. "Hank, let him go. Now."

Hank unwillingly dropped Erik from eight feet up in the air, and Erik hit the ground with a dull smack – but it was better than what would have happened, which would have undoubtedly been his skull cracking open when Hank threw him against the wall. But Erik did not hesitate in the slightest – he crawled towards Charles, eyes clear and slightly panicked.

Alex lurched to his feet, preparing to murder Erik right where he was, groveling at Charles's feet, but Charles stopped the young man with a gentle mental push.

"Charles," Erik said, eyes wide, working hard to keep his voice steady. "Charles, you've been shot."

Charles looked down at the crimson blood spreading steadily over his shirt, and he nodded, the very motion taking too much effort. "Erik – I wasn't coming to kill you – I thought I could talk you out of it."

Erik shook his head frantically. "You still can."

"No," Charles said, smiling weakly. "I can't. You've done it again, Erik."

Erik's breath hitched, and Charles knew without reading his mind that those words had hit the other man much deeper than a bullet ever could.

"I did this," Erik breathed. "All over again. This is my fault."

Charles felt very light, as though the blood draining out of him was actually causing him to weigh less and less each second. "You did this, Erik," he said, and like Erik, he was unable to think of anything else.

"Charles, no," Erik said, before turning his head and roaring out, "Azazel!"

Inside Erik's mind, he was screaming for Emma to hear him and to send Azazel – but she and Azazel were long gone. They had forsaken Erik just as Erik had forsaken Charles, leaving him when he needed them the most.

Calm your mind, he whispered in Erik's head. I forgive you.

Everything was going dark, and his mental control over Alex and Hank snapped – somewhere, he could hear them yelling, but he could not make out the words. You did this, Erik, but I forgive you.

And so Charles Xavier died, his last act that of incredible forgiveness – but Erik Lehnsherr would never, ever be able to forgive himself.

A/N: Dude, I seriously need to quit killing Charles! Thanks for reading, please don't hesitate to leave a review!