A/N: Who can tell I've got a major crush on Lucas Till? Lmao.
Warnings: language, angst, Erik/Charles, strong Charles/Alex friendship, Alex being way too cynical and wise for his own good, mentions of slightly-depressed!Charles, the slightest possible implications of sex. This is very short, and it's almost a character study of Erik and Charles through the eyes of Alex, but not quite. Set after First Class, with no specific time. Title inspired by a line from 'On the Floor' by The All-American Rejects.
Disclaimer: . . . yeah. The fact that a disclaimer is necessary tells you everything.
Professor X is the best man I have ever known.
Not that I've known many great men – but spending time in solitary confinement gives you a chance to really think about shit. Shit like character and honor and stuff normal guys don't think about (but I'm not going to lie, I've never been normal). You sit there in your empty little cell and think and pray and die slowly, and if you're lucky, you get out. If you're dangerous, you stay in. And if you're a mutant, you are rescued by two saviors (a dark angel and a beaming saint) in suits and ties.
I think I've always idolized Charles Xavier. The man's a genius, and he's got a heart of gold. Corny as it sounds, I want to be like him. I want to be able to envision a world of peace and prosperity for mutants and humans alike – and for a while, I could. I could see that world in my head, so clearly that it was almost like he was putting that picture there.
And then Erik Lehnsherr left, and Charles was hurt.
Erik got a helmet; Charles got a wheelchair.
Before that day on the beach, I'd always had a bit of respect for Erik. He kept to himself, mostly (the only person he really seemed to enjoy spending time around was Charles – and cut the bullshit, we all knew why they spent every second together), and when he did speak to anyone, it was always with this weird sort of deadly intelligence, like he could find your innermost weakness and pinpoint it in seconds. And even though it was always Charles's gift to see into minds, Erik seemed to be able to look into the worst areas of your mind – the parts where you held your deepest, most terrible memories and secrets. Maybe he's like that because over-all, he's probably the most screwed up person I've ever met (and I'm sure I don't even know the whole story). I don't know, and frankly I don't care – it was unnerving, and to this day whenever I think of him it creeps me out.
But Charles liked him, and so did Raven; I don't know why, they were both just drawn to him like paperclips to a magnet (oh, ha-ha, look at me – making puns). Raven just kind of watched him, and Charles, always watching and always with this weird hope in her eyes – like maybe she was dreaming that it was her and not Charles that Erik was after. I could have told her otherwise – people think I don't know these things, but I do. I know more than you'd ever think.
And Charles? Charles was constantly around him, always near – they were like planets, orbiting each other, bouncing off of each other like asteroids and feeding off each other like weird black-holes. I saw Charles alone occasionally, but I don't think I ever glimpsed Erik without Charles somewhere in the vicinity. And Charles knew that I noticed, because whenever my thoughts happened to flick to Erik around him, he'd always get this knowing glint in his eyes – and then I'd remember that oh, shit, he can hear everything I'm thinking right now and change the subject of my thoughts before Charles could say anything. It was better that way – it was better to let all of us act like we didn't know.
They would spend hours together every night, playing chess and talking and doing God knows what else, and we all just ignored it, because these were the guys who one day we thought would be the leaders of mutant-kind, the ambassadors between us and the humans, the dream team, the dynamic duo.
We were wrong – God, we were so wrong. Not one of us, not even Charles, maybe not even Erik, thought that it would turn out the way it did.
Raven hoped that Erik and Charles would just let their attraction die quietly so that she could slide right in as Erik's lover and Charles's sister, but she didn't realize that to have Erik, she would have to forsake Charles. She didn't know what she signed up for when she fell in love with Erik Lehnsherr.
Hank thought that maybe this was finally a place where he could be accepted – a place where maybe he could learn to love himself. He didn't know that it's best not to meddle with untested formulas.
And Charles – for someone who knows so much and sees so much, Charles was so god-damn naïve. He didn't notice that he and Erik weren't on the same page – hell, they were in different libraries and he didn't even catch it. He was blinded by his insane romance with Erik, and it cost him.
As for me? I thought that I'd finally found a home, that I'd finally left behind my days of uncontrollable energy bursts and my nights of banging my head slowly against cinderblocks. I thought that Charles Xavier and his damaged, sulking sidekick could rescue me, and they did – but I didn't know that when you put people on pedestals, they will fall. And my saviors did fall. They fell hard, and the one who could not stand was the only one who got back up.
I honestly can't tell you how Erik Lehnsherr felt. Maybe Charles can, but I can't. Because call me biased and jaded if you will, but I can't forgive him. Not after what he has done. Charles can, because Charles is still trying to put the world together piece by piece and because Charles loves him, but perhaps I'm somehow wiser than all of the others – I know a traitor when I see one.
I sometimes wonder whether Erik knew what he was doing that day on the beach. Did he know that leaving Charles would be the worst mistake he could ever make? I like to think that he did, and I pray to God that it hurt. Did he know that for weeks after he left, Charles would barely speak to anyone and spend his days in his room and his study, staring at a chessboard without ever moving the pieces? I hope he didn't know that – Charles wouldn't have wanted him to, because at that point, Charles was still deluding himself into thinking Erik might come back.
But Erik did not come back, and eventually the board was wiped clean, the pieces were put away, and the hopes were dashed and buried.
Charles called us into his study one day about a month after that infamous day on the beach and two weeks after we took an unconscious Moira MacTaggert home in the middle of the night. He sat behind his desk in his wheelchair, his arms crossed on the desk and his face serious, and he apologized to us.
And I'll never forget it – I'll never forget how he said, "I just want to let you three know that I'll be eternally grateful for what you've done for me in these past weeks. And I also want to say that I am sorry for what you've been put through."
We three boys, students and brothers of Professor Charles Xavier, just stared at each other, not exactly sure what to say (not that we ever really had to say anything to a telepath).
But Charles had just smiled, his face for once free of any pain. "And you're all welcome to leave at any time you choose. I want you all to stay, but I will not stop you from going your own way."
Hank had been the first to speak, and to this day I admire him for it. "I can't exactly go anywhere now, and even if I could – I wouldn't. I'm with you til the end, Charles."
Sean, good old Sean, only said, "I love you guys too much to go anywhere. I'm with you, too, Professor X."
Charles had turned to me, smiling lightly. "Alex?"
"Do I even need to say it?" I'd asked, and even now I know that it was the best thing I've ever said. Because I know Charles heard what I thought next – We'll stay with you until the day we die. Because we aren't like him; we will not betray you.
Charles's eyes had widened, and his smile had turned sad, but he said in my head, Thank you.
And I swear we'll make this right, I'd promised, I'll kill Erik Lehnsherr with my bare hands if that makes it right.
And although the fervency of that promise still lives on in my heart, I know that killing Erik will not make anything right – not in Charles's eyes, at least.
Because Charles will always love Erik. Professor X and Magneto will be enemies, but Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are still best friends. It's foolish of him, yes, but I don't think he can help it. And I can't change his love for Erik any more than I can change Erik being gone.
I am not a teacher or a mentor, and I'm certainly not a hero; that will always be Professor X's role. But he cannot ever hope to rescue Erik Lehnsherr – he tried, and he failed.
I didn't know when I agreed to their proposition that day in my cell, but now I know all too well – some people, like Erik and like Charles, have always been doomed by the hands of fate. And fate leaves no room for saviors.
A/N: Well, that was short, but I love Alex, so I had to write it. :) Thanks for reading, please review!