A/N: This is an AU of First Class, semi-reincarnations included, and everything is complex and weird and nothing hurts! Hahaha.
Inspired by Sarehptar's Kingdom Hearts fanfiction, 'The Violet Room.' Of course, I am changing things around a lot, but the basic idea is there. It's done out of respect, of course, because I adore that fanfic more than I can express in words. X3
Title inspired by the song, "Lovely Nightmares" by Katie Prior.
I don't know how long this will be, so bear with me! And expect the main pairing to be Cherik, and there to be side orders of plenty of other pairings, both het and slash alike. Most likely: Hank/Alex, Alex/Sean, Darwin/Angel, one-sided Moira/Charles, Shaw/Emma, one-sided Riptide/Azazel, Raven/Charles sibling-like relationship, Raven/Erik child-like crush, and Azazel/Raven.
"Charles? Charles, please, come to the door; it's time for your medicine," the soft voice of one of the clinic's many nurses says through the grated window of the white door.
"Ah, Miss MacTaggert; it's lovely to see you again," comes an answering voice, and a short man of about five feet and seven inches comes to the door, his brown hair being combed back by a hand as he smiles lopsidedly at her through the square window, and she hands him a small paper cup with two pills in it through a slot just beneath it.
"You see me every day, Charles," she kindly reminds, and her brown eyes flicker with pity. He is only twenty-five, fresh from college, not even a professor quite yet like he wanted to be, and already he's been confined here. She sighs. "And please, Charles, no tricks; actually take your medicine this time, won't you? For me?"
He chuckles, the sound dead and hollow, and it makes her wince, because everything he says and does is always empty, as if he's living another life inside his head and isn't at all connected to his true life, the one he has here, at the clinic.
He licks his chapped, rosy lips and nods. "For you, Moira dear, anything," and he downs the pills without water, swallowing them whole and dry. He makes a face, grunting with distaste, and crumples the paper cup in his fist automatically. He hands it to her through the slot for her to throw away.
"Thank you, Charles," she says softly. "Would you like anything to drink? Or eat? It isn't mealtime, but I could smuggle you an apple from the kitchen, or –"
"No, I would like to return to my writing," he says, and with a smile, he turns away from the door. He knows that Moira MacTaggert means well, and he knows that he's her favorite patient, and he also knows all too well that she has a bit of a crush on him, but he can't be bothered by her. She isn't the Moira he once knew, and for that reason, she means nothing to him.
"Oh… yes, that's fine. Do you need any more –?" she asks as a final inquiry.
"No more paper just yet, but thank you anyhow, Miss MacTaggert. Have a good day," he calls over his shoulder, dismissing her, as he sits down to his typewriter. They wouldn't permit him one for many months, for fear of him using the heavy object to kill himself or wound an employee. But once he proved that he could work his way up through the writing utensils without consequence – the crayons, the pencils, the pens, the sheets of paper, the composition books, the spiral notebooks – they gave him, finally, his typewriter, and he loves it very dearly.
He hears Moira leave, exiting down the hallway with a click of her heels.
Charles cracks his knuckles, settles criss-cross-applesauce in his chair, and gets to typing.
After all, he's the only one who can catalogue his memories, isn't he?
"I don't like that Xavier boy," Sebastian remarks coldly to his two main nurses for the D-Wing, Charles Xavier's section of the asylum. "He thinks he runs this place. He doesn't. I run this place."
"But Mr. Shaw," Moira butts in, a frown on her face, "He's a good patient. Charles is kind to the others, and most of the time, he writes, and we're seen what he's writing; it's some sort of fictional tale about mutated humans and himself depicted as one of the leaders of the race. It's something he thinks is a memory, true, but it isn't dangerous –"
"The Hell it's not, Miss MacTaggert! He depicts himself as the hero and me as the villain. The villain! Me! Even after all I do for these poor individuals. And then he has to go and convince others in this ward that they are part of his elaborate story, that they should 'remember' along with him that they were mutants like he was, and it's corruption, I tell you!" Sebastian argues, and his face is tinting pink, his usual false smile not in place when it doesn't have to be, all his forced politeness with his patients missing in this moment.
Emma Frost speaks up this time, having been choosing the proper moment to voice her own opinion on things. "I don't like him much either, sir. The way he looks at me… It's like he can see into my mind, and I don't like the intrusive feeling. Every time I try to ask him something, he beats me to it by saying it aloud. It's unnerving."
Moira bites the inside of her cheek. She just experienced this moments ago when Charles knew that she was going to ask about paper before she even uttered a word of it. She shoves the thought aside and tries to approach the warden with a softer tone. "Charles doesn't mean to cause trouble or implant ideas into others' heads. He simply likes to share his ideas. He's very creative, and –"
"I know, I know; 'the most creative artists on this planet throughout history have been just as insane as he.' I understand, Moira," Sebastian grits out. He turns away from the two nurses and sighs, pinching the bridge between his eyes. Lifting his head, one hand keeping him balanced as it rests on the top of his desk. He says to them both, "Gather up Janos and Azazel, will you? I need extra guards for the patient we have arriving today. He's a violent one; deemed criminally insane. Unfortunately, we can't put him in solitary confinement just yet, because Mr. Summers seems to keep that room well occupied. Instead, we'll have to resort to putting him in Xavier's wing. It's the only one with rooms left for someone as dangerous as this one."
"What's his name?" Emma asks, plucking a file from Shaw's hands as she steps over to him, Moira nodding and leaving the room to assemble the guards.
"Lehnsherr. Erik Lehnsherr. He seems to think everyone is a Nazi, and that he's back in World War II as a rogue Jew," Sebastian says with a long sigh, shaking his head. "Poor boy. He's only twenty-seven years old. How can he be so mentally distraught at twenty-seven?"
"Good question, Mr. Shaw," Emma agrees, adjusting her white dress and tucking the file folder under her arm. "I'll see to him once he's calmed down a bit in his room."
"Don't look at me; I'm a monster. Please, please don't look at me," he murmurs to himself, nearly in a whisper. Charles walks over to him and places a comforting hand on his shoulder, but the younger boy cringes and curls in on himself, whimpering like a wounded dog. "No, no! Don't touch me, either! I'll hurt you, I'm a monster, I'll –"
"Hank," Charles says, and the boy stops shaking. He blinks behind large spectacles and slowly raises his head from behind his drawn-up knees.
"How do you know my human name?" he says, voice soft. "No one's called me that in a long time. I'm Beast. I'm a monster."
"No, you're not," Charles returns gently, and he pats the brunet on the back, rubbing in circles. "You're Hank, Hank McCoy. And you are very much human, my friend."
"I am?" the younger boy asks quietly, and looks as though he might cry. He doesn't seem to think he can believe it. "But… I did do monstrous things. My sister is dead. It was an accident, but I did it. I killed her. I'm a monster."
And then Hank tears himself from Charles' grasp, fleeing from Charles' side, and runs to the corner of the Roaming Room, curling into a ball with his forehead pressed against the wall.
Charles stands, dusts his pajamas (no one is given clothes unless they have earned it, and no one in D-Wing ever earns privileges that far up the line), and cracks his knuckles.
"Stop that!" someone snaps at him, and Charles turns to find a gruff man with smoking privileges taking a log drag from a cigar, blowing it out irately from his nostrils on his scruffy face. "I hate the sound of cracking bones. Pisses me off."
"I'm sure it would, James. I'm sorry," Charles says, and steps away from James Howlett, his fingers twitching to finish being cracked, but he resists until he's out of earshot of the older man.
"Don't fucking call me that," the other retorts. "'M Logan. Logan. James is dead. I quit being 'James' a long time ago, back when me 'n' Victor went our separate ways."
"You two must have been close," Charles remarks.
"Not necessarily," the other scoffs. "Now will you shove off? You're buggin' me," Logan snarls, and Charles nods deftly, turning away to talk to someone else. He doesn't get to socialize often with the other patients in the D-Wing, and when he can, he likes to remind them of who they were and how he used to know them.
"Raven, my dear," he says when he sees a blonde girl a few years younger than him come from her room and into the Roaming Room. She's smiling, but she doesn't realize that she is. She has a dreamy expression on her face, and she immediately moves into Charles' open arms, snuggling against his collar. "So good to see you again."
"I had another dream, Charles," she whispers into his shirt, and he can feel the stale, hot breath from her mouth on his neck. "I was different people again. And when I woke up, I asked them if I could paint my room."
"What color, love?" Charles asks, pulling away just enough to touch her face, brushing her messy, wavy hair from her eyes.
"Blue. Blue everywhere," she says, giggling hysterically, ducking her head back into his shirt. Muffled, she adds, "Because in my dream, I was blue. I was blue, and my hair was as red as a firetruck, and I was so pretty. I didn't think I was pretty in the dream, but when I woke up, I thought I was pretty. Isn't blue the best color?" she asks, lifting her head and looking into his eyes. She touches the corner of one eye, just on the bone of his eye-socket at the top of his cheek, and she smiles faintly again. "Darker than your eyes, but still. Still so blue. I love blue."
"I know you do, Raven," Charles hums, and she hangs on one of his arms as they moves around the room, talking to others. Charles drops into a crouch, and Raven follows suit, falling to her knees beside him as he peers up at a boy sitting in a chair. "And how are you today, Sean?"
Sean doesn't reply. He never does. He's a mute.
Charles stands again, sighing, and gently petting Sean's mop of wild orange hair, smoothing it down. "Another time, then."
Raven whispers things to herself under her breath, always sounding like someone else when she does. When she speaks to him, she is Raven, but when she speaks to herself, she is any of a number of other personalities who don't even know that 'Raven' exists. But she always clings to him arm like an anchor to hold her steady through the shifting voices and people in her head.
"Armando!" Charles says cheerfully, and the African American man hardly looks at him. Charles shakes off the coldness and continues to smile. "How are you, my friend?"
"We should start calling each other by our nicknames," Armando says idly, and he fiddles with a Rubik's Cube in his hands. "I'm starting to feel less and less like 'Armando,' you know? And this place makes us not who we were; makes us different people."
"A valid point," Charles agrees, and he looks at the blonde on his arm, smiling. "What do you think, Raven?"
She snaps from a daze, bring brought back to herself. "I'm Mystique."
Charles chuckles and pats one of her hands on his arm. "Yes, indeed you are. And I am Professor X."
"And I'm Darwin," Armando says, grinning now. "Hank is already Beast. And I'm sure we can get Sean and Logan to be Banshee and Wolverine. But where's Havok?"
"Alex is in solitary again," Charles sighs sadly. "The poor boy loves it in there. He says that it's the only place he can think. The soundproof walls might be part of the reason."
"He likes the jacket," Darwin adds. "Says it keeps him warm, and his arms around him feel like his brother's, he says. Poor guy doesn't seem to know that Scott died in the fire with the rest of the family."
"Ah, too true," Charles agrees, nodding. "He still believes that Scott is out there somewhere, along with Gabriel. But all of the Summers are dead except Alex. Poor, poor boy."
"Havok," Darwin corrects and reminds.
"Yes, of course; forgive me. I meant to call him that," Charles says, and soon, he's walking away again, watching Angel out of the corner of his eye. She's one of the cafeteria staff; she bakes. She sees who Charles talks to, and hears what he says. She's a risk for what he does, because she always secretly reports to Sebastian Shaw, the warden of the asylum. And she's also very familiar. Charles remembers her, and her dragonfly wings. But she doesn't remember, and if she does, she's too terrified of it to accept it.
"Professor, would you like to see the newest addition?" Mystique suddenly giggles, starting to tug him toward the locked front doors of the entrance to the D-Wing, just down the hallway from the Roaming Room. "I forgot to tell you, but I heard Miss Frost talking to that cute guard Azazel. There's someone new coming today! Want to wait for him?"
"Him?" Professor X repeats, raising his left brow at his sister-figure.
She nods enthusiastically. "Yes! I don't know how old he is, but it's a boy. Miss Frost said, 'Be ready for this one. He's violent.' And I know she said 'he' and not 'she' because I was listening very carefully through the slot in my door," Mystique tells him, and she looks so thrilled that he can't help but beam at her.
"Well then, this is very exciting. Yes, let's go wait for him. I wonder what he's like, and who he is," he says to her as she brings him flush against the door, the guards in the distance, down by the A-Wing, and the entrance adjacent to it. The white-painted metal of the door chills the young man, but he remains where he is.
"Want to pass the time with a song? I don't know he'll get here," Mystique declares after about five minutes of silence between them.
Professor X nods. "Let's." He pauses, then, with a bit of a bounce in his tone, he sings a favorite of theirs that he knows she can join in singing: "Two little boys had two little toys, each had a wooden horse / Daily they played, each summer's day; warriors, both, of course…"
It's about thirty minutes that they wait until there's a loud commotion going on outside the doors. A man, restrained by four men, comes roaring in, shouting profanities and other outrages. He is about Charles' age, he looks like a worn soldier, and he looks so shocking familiar that it makes Charles back up a few steps from the door, one hand clamping over his mouth.
Raven goes from yelling, "There, there! That must be him! Ooh, wow, he's a fighter, and so cool! Look, Professor X, look –" to turning away from the door, her nails scratching as they slip from the frame around the grated, glassed window as she becomes heavily concerned, her smile vanishing like a puddle in the sun. "Charles! What's wrong?"
He's got a wide-eyed expression on his face, and suddenly, he starts groaning, falling to the floor with his hands to his head as an onslaught of painful and blissful memories both plague his mind, gathering and dispersing in and out like ocean waves during a storm.
"Erik," he gasps, and scrambles to his feet – wait, no, where's his wheelchair? If Erik's here, there should be a wheelchair – to head back to his room.
"Charles? Charles!" Raven calls out, and she fights between returning to the door to watch the newcomer wrestle with the guards and hopefully greet him as he comes in, or running after her beloved mentor and comforting him.
She decides to do neither. Instead, the blonde falls into a different personality altogether and returns without a word to her blue room.
"Here we are," Emma says in her best voice, buckling Erik down in a chair in his new room. It's stripped of all privileges; there is only a cot, a toilet, a small sink, and a plastic drawer set for pajamas and socks and underwear. The walls and sheets are all white, and it's blaringly deafening in the silence of the cell. "Nice and comfy, are we?"
"Go to Hell, bitch," Erik spits, and she recoils, her complacent smile twitching brighter.
She removes and replaces the nurse's cap in her blonde hair and replies, "I most likely already am, Mr. Lehnsherr. Now, if you please, calm down for a while and get a good look at this room, because you might be here for a while." And her tone is off, sounding falsely sweet and falsely warm, and Erik doesn't like her, not one bit. "We'll come back inside and remove the restraints when we think you're not going to retaliate or try to make an escape."
And with that, she turns on her heel, her shoes clacking on the tile as she exits the room and shuts the door behind her, locking it with a final metal clunk before disappearing down the hall.
Erik closes his eyes and rests his head back onto the top of the chair. He slowly eases his body down from its adrenaline high of fighting the guards, kicking and biting and clawing and yelling, to resist being put away into a cage like some feral animal at a zoo.
His heart calms to a steady pace, his breathing slows to a regular rhythm, and he lets his muscles go lax in the chair, hands unclenching, feet sliding forward on the floor. There are splinters and tears of skin under his nails, and there's blood from someone he hit in the nose smelling strong where it spattered on his shirt collar and shoulder. Erik is a mess, his hair out of place and a bruise forming on his defined cheekbone.
But at least he won a small victory: someone bled, and it wasn't him.
He smirks a little.
Foolish human; don't they know anything? he thinks, as if he were superior to them, or separate from them entirely.
And with a controlled pull on his restraints, the buckles on the leather straps on his wrists give, and he slips out of them, moving his hands to release the chest-restraints. He stands from the chair, self-satisfied, and paces over to the bed in the room.
Then, without a conscious thought of wrong or regret, Erik falls asleep under the thin, scratchy blankets.