To those who felt the ending was sudden and rather forced, you're absolutely right. This is a disadvantage of writing serially, rather than completing the whole story first. I liked the idea of ending it with slash, because it works well as a metaphor for compromise, which is really the only feasible non-divorce ending (other than, say, some kind of Dadaist nightmare world of surrealism and ennui). Charles compromises by agreeing to become more cynical, harsh, and pragmatic in the form of violence. Erik compromises by accepting some elements of peace, love, and spontaneity, in the form of sex. If I had written the whole thing before publishing it, I would have gone back and added clearer hints toward this in the earlier chapters.
Deleted Scene #1:
I wrote this scene early on, but dropped it because I decided it was unrealistic for Erik to agree back during the recruitment phase. I mainly hung onto this piece because I liked the line about notaries. I like notaries.
"Just take off your shirt, Erik," murmured Charles, as he flipped lazily through an anthropology journal, taking in only the barest gist of each article.
Erik froze briefly, then returned to adjusting the windows. "It's homo superior, Charles, not plain homo."
"What it is, is it's 95 bloody degrees in this hotel room no matter how much you keep fidgeting with the blasted windows. And I should like for this not to be the second night in a row that you wear turtlenecks to bed and sweat and stink to high heaven." Using his finger as a bookmark, he closed the journal to look directly at his traveling companion. "You smell, my friend."
Erik merely raised an eyebrow.
Xavier wrinkled his nose. "Well, that kind of language isn't really called for." He twisted around, sat up in bed. "Look, I've seen your tattoo. When I first...felt your mind, I noticed it. And I know there are other marks. And it seems you've been putting quite a lot of effort into hiding them and I just think that there must be a more productive use to which that effort can be put and-"
Erik raised a hand, palm perpendicular to the floor. "You're babbling."
"You're sweating. A lot." He paused. "Look, what if I gave you one of my nightshirts? They have short sleeves, you won't be so hot."
"I am not wearing your clothes."
"Well, see, I would give it to you and then it would be your clothes. I know the whole process seems complicated, but I would be happy to get it notarized if you-"
Erik raised a hand, palm perpendicular to the floor and Charles stopped talking. Erik drew a small knife from the neck of his shirt and stowed it between his mattress and boxspring.
"I suppose I'd do best not to ask how many knives you have with you."
As he began to slide his shirt over his head, Charles politely turned his head to the side. He wanted them to be comfortable with one another, not to humiliate the other man.
"No," said Erik, "you wanted this, you look." He slid the shirt over his head and dropped it near his suitcase. And looking on, Charles realized that he really had not had a picture of what it would look like, that Erik must have made a distinct effort in his life to avoid looking at himself, so that although Charles had seen glimpses of how each mark was born, their entirety, their collective was nonetheless a shock. Then he saw Erik's reaction to his face, suddenly looking quite uncertain.
Charles swung his legs around so he was sitting on the side of the bed. He gestured next to himself. "Sit down, Erik, please."
"Bring your knife if you like."
"I'm not afraid of you."
"Of course you're not, but there is much in this world that is quite worth fearing, and much of that is in your memories, in your mind, and so telepathy is understandably quite frightening, even if the telepath himself-" he gestured toward his chest "-is not a very imposing figure."
Erik sat down, a knife from his suitcase floating over and resting at his side. His muscles were tensed and a slight whistle with each inhale indicated his teeth were clenched.
"Now let's not be stabbing me, right then?" Though his companion did not technically agree to the condition, Charles proceeded as though he had. He took Erik's left forearm in both hands and turned it upward, so the numbers were quite visible. They were a bit blotchy; the ink had spread in some places. They were stretched out, angled to the right. Perhaps the skin had been held strangely when the ink had been applied initially, or perhaps one patch of skin had grown more than another. "You were..." Charles whispered, "you were surprised by the needle. You didn't know how tattoos worked. No one in your neighborhood had ever gotten one – they're against Jewish law, correct? So you weren't expecting a needle. You yelped when it first stuck you. Surprise and pain. There were a few tears, though just a few, but later you looked back on it and you were ashamed to be bothered by something as mild as a needlestick. But you've always hated it, hated those numbers. You once smashed a telephone when the number the operator gave you to dial was too similar." He paused, looked up.
Erik was quite still, as if frozen. Though his muscles were tense, they did not twitch. Charles could see tiny vibrations in the knife, however.
"Keep going," he whispered, commanded.
Charles ran his index finger very lightly over a pink line perhaps four inches long on the man's bicep. "This is from barbed wire. You were crowded into a space. You don't know why they brought you and the others there, but it is dark and it is foul and there is barbed wire between you and the outside. You try to get out, to crawl between the wires. You cut your arm but you didn't care. And then a man in an SS uniform hits you in the head with the butt of his rifle and knocks you out."
Deleted Scene #2:
I thought it would be fun to subvert several traditional tropes by making exactly one character gay. There would be no pairings of any kind, the character would just be gay. That was my plan for Alex, but I eventually abandoned it because I thought it would make his tough-guy antics sad overcompensation rather than funny and largely meaningless. Alas. This would have occurred sometime when they are at the mansion, training before meeting Shaw.
Charles fiddled idly with a pen. "Mr. Summers has been finding excuses to spend time with Raven. I rather hope Hank makes a move soon. I'd much rather she date him."
Erik sniffed dismissively. "I don't think you have to worry about Alex."
"And why not?"
"He's...I don't know the word in English. Schwul, rosa," when comprehension failed to dawn on Charles' face, he elaborated more crudely, "fucks men."
Charles' eyes widened in unmistakable surprise.
Erik laughed again. "You didn't know? Some psychic you are."
"And how did you arrive at this conclusion?"
"I searched his room."
"Why did you search his room?"
"I searched everybody's rooms."
"Okay, first of all, that actually does not answer my question. And second of all, what did you find that convinced you of this?"
"Of a boyfriend?"
Erik rolled his eyes. "Pornography."
"Ah. Well, that is rather strong evidence." A pause. "The word you were looking for was homosexual. There's other terms, derogatory ones, which ironically I believe you have already heard from Mr. Summers."
Here's a few other deleted scenes from that same time period. These are ones that I just never found a good place for.
Deleted Scene #3:
A voice rang out from two floors above, halfway between yelling and singing. "WHO threw the OVERALLS in mistress Murphy's CHOWDER?"
"Oh glory, Sean's gotten into the liquor cabinet."
Deleted Scene #4:
Various other ways to lead into Xavier getting high.
"And there are some...advantages to being off of government property, yes?" Charles pulled out his wallet, and handed a thin stack of bills to Raven with a wink. "And don't sample!" he shouted as she walked back to the car. "You're lucky I give you the key to the liquor cabinet!"
"This key?" She held it up, grinned, and tossed it to him. She looked at Erik. "You see, I told you my brother likes to think he's the boss."
SOME TIME LATER
Raven dropped a paper grocery bag on the table in the parlor. Charles looked inside eagerly. "Did you order the bloody combination platter?"
"You didn't specify. Besides, I wanted to be hospitable to our guests."
"This isn't hospitality; this is multiple felonies."
Raven shrugged, indifferent.
Deleted Scene #5:
This issue has always bugged me.
"We're the new species, Charles." Erik somehow looked both faintly amused and deathly serious.
"You know, I'm not entirely certain that we are. 'Species' is a technical term, a scientific one, not a referent that social and demographic groups can just claim. It would mean that we cannot interbreed with non-mutated humans, and I've yet to see any evidence of that. And, of course, to be a species, we would have to mate successfully and produce fertile offspring." A pause. "Quit being so juvenile. I meant mutants in general, not you and I specifically."
"I'm quite glad. Otherwise you're setting the bar rather high."
Deleted Scene #6:
Xavier is paralyzed long before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, when the realities of being physically handicapped were far different than they are today.
The rehab facility itself was depressing. He noticed that very few patients ever completed their course of treatment and checked out. It didn't seem likely that they had all checked in just before he did.
A bit of telepathy combined with simply reading carelessly mislaid files (Some of the nurses seemed to forget that the patients could read. And hear.) confirmed his suspicions: most of the patients had been there for years and there was no plan to return them to the outside world. If he had been in a more gracious mood, Charles would have considered the fact that his wealth offered him basic opportunities to return to the community that were otherwise unavailable.
I had originally planned to keep the beach scene exactly as it was in the movie. About 10 chapters in, I started to lose my resolve. This is what the epilogue would have been if I had stuck with the original beach scene. It occurs about 10 years after the beach scene. (Also, Cats wasn't released until 1981, so I would have had to rework that whole reference and I had been having so much fun finding creepy little parallels between Jesus Christ Superstar and XMFC.)
Charles opened the envelope to find two tiny scraps of paper.
Show me just a little
Of your omnipresent brain
For your followers are blind
Too much heaven on their minds
"Those are from Jesus Christ Superstar," said Sean. He had grown another inch or two, but he had also stopped hunching, so he appeared much taller than he did when Xavier had first recruited him.
"Are they?" asked Charles, "I'm amazed he would stoop to Andrew Lloyd Weber."
"It's better than Cats."
"Everything is better than Cats."
"I could loan you the album if you want."
"I'd like that."
Sean looked over Charles' shoulder at the newspaper. "Do you...still want to go to the park today?" They both knew that park meant chess and chess meant pleasant conversation with Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto.
"Yes, I do. It's never the right time to ignore old friends."
Sean didn't disapprove of the Professor's choice to continue meeting with Erik Lensherr, but neither was he comfortable with it. He changed the subject. "Speaking of old friends, Alex called last night."
"He said he's coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Bringing a girlfriend apparently. Lisa, Laura, something like that."
"Wonderful." Charles smiled warmly.
They both glanced at the boy sitting across the room, who was slowly eating a bowl of dry cereal. Sean had been happy to stay at the mansion to learn and teach. Hank hadn't really had much of a choice. Alex had stayed on for a few months, before announcing that he just wasn't cut out for communal living. He called from time to time, visited more rarely, but a few weeks ago, he had sent them a gift in the form of a bewildered, scrawny, teenage boy with a thick black scarf wrapped tightly around his eyes. The boy wasn't blind; he simply sent out waves of destruction whenever he opened his eyes. Charles and Hank had been working intensely to devise a solution.
They looked back out the front window. Hank was sitting on the lawn, in a circle with five mutant teens, discussing with them the finer philosophical underpinnings of Milton's Paradise Lost. Two twin girls, no more than ten years old, were building a domino chain in mid-air, that spiraled and dipped, attached to nothing at all. Four boys – or was it five? or six? played soccer.
"We are the men we wanted to be, Professor."
"That we are, Sean. That we are."
As Sean left the room, Charles murmured to himself, sadly, "It seems that my old friend became the man he wanted to be as well."
Charles set down the newspaper. The front page headline read, Mutants Attack Military Installation, 27 Dead. The photograph showed Magneto hovering above the chaos, surrounded by metal swirling and people running terrified, in perfect control and majesty, like a god.
That's all, folks! Be sure to check out my upcoming Harry Potter fic, The Rise and Fall of the House of Snape, coming soon to an internet near you.