All I can do is apologise about fifty times for the amount of time its taken me to get this done- every time I tried it just didn't work, but now its done, for your approval, and I hope it's a fitting end...
He doesn't need to see them to know they are coming; even with his eyes closed he can feel how they move, sleek and smooth and deadly as they glide through the air. Time slows and everything goes quiet, quiet enough to hear Raven gasp behind him as power courses down his arm and out, up into the sky where the missiles are waiting.
They stop, quivering in the sky like obedient puppies, and the world is reduced to red because of what they have done.
They were going to kill the children. They were going to kill Charles; the fact that he was included on the list of targets doesn't even cross his mind; they were going to kill the children.
Without conscience, without pity, there were going to slaughter innocents, innocents who would help them, who would risk their lives doing so, and in that moment all he has ever hated about the human race is confirmed. He wants them to burn.
High above, the missiles twitch as his anger makes itself known, but somewhere someone is talking to him, voice a buzzing in his ear; he reaches out to swat it away, but realises that it's Charles. Charles is saying something, the tone of his voice urgent, but he can't understand through the haze across his vision.
"Erik please!" His lover shouts again, as if by calling louder he'll make more sense. "Don't!"
The scarlet fog recedes, helped along its way be disbelief; does Charles not realise what's just happened? What these people have just done, to those saved them, did everything they could to protect the lives of people who should be protecting them?
Charles isn't stupid.
"Please, Erik." He breathes, voice so soft Erik has to strain to hear it, and it's as if the whole world is holding its breath. "I'm begging you, don't kill them. Don't let them make you a murderer."
Erik scoffs and turns away, something bitter coating his mouth and tongue. "You're a bit too late Charles." Charles knows what he's done, and pretending ignorance won't help his cause.
That gets his attention, grabs it and pulls hard, and Erik whips round because there is no way he can have heard right. "What?"
"You heard me." Charles replies, crossing his arms, and though this is no time for humour, there's a small smile on his face. Neither of them has forgotten the missiles, or the ships watching in horror as they hang above them, but this is important.
"What happened to pacifism?" Erik asks one part sarcasm, two parts genuine curiosity.
"I met you."
For some reason, that hurts- hurts a lot, and the missiles begin to wobble dangerously as his control slips. Something squeezes his ribs, but Charles isn't done ripping him in two yet.
I knew you'd probably kill him; I've gotten good at predicting you, and I knew no matter what I said you were almost certainly going to do it. I could have let him go, I could have let him defend himself, but I didn't. Because in the end, it came down to him or you, and he wasn't even a contender.
The missiles begin to fall Erik is so stunned, and he only just regains them before they hit the water. He doesn't look away though, can't stop staring at the Charles android someone must have left in his lovers place, because there is no way this is actually him.
It sounds like him though.
But if you kill them, they'll come after us all with everything they have. You'll be putting the children in the middle of a war, and Erik? He pauses, and Erik knows it's for effect. We. Cannot. Win.
Do you know anyone who can face us Charles?
Do you think we can fight the entire human race?
Erik pauses, and it takes Charles less than a second to push his advantage. You have had the revenge you deserve, even though it was my dearest wish you wouldn't, you needed it. You were right then, but now, my friend, you know that I am right. We cannot fight the entire human race.
There is a moment, when the world waits, when telepath faces metal bender and the fate of so many, who know nothing of this exchange, hangs precariously from a single thread.
And the missiles are released.
They soar with a beauty that belies their intent, higher and higher and higher, till the sun itself seems marked by their kiss. And high above the children, so all can see and witness what awaits another threat; they explode, shielded from the falling shrapnel by their friend, teacher and enemy.
What do we do now? Erik asks, as Moira runs forward with the children, only to be lifted into the air by the mental on their harnesses. There is still urgency, because even now they will be organising a pursuit, but Charles smiles, and takes his hand.
I was considering starting a school. What do you think?
Wow- it took me so long to think of how I wanted to do this, and now I've done it, it feels a bit wierd...