A/N: This is a companion piece to my fic "Left and Right," with ficlets from Erik's point of view (so they will probably make more sense if you read that one first). I debated for a while whether to upload them in interludes as chapters, but decided it would be too confusing as they won't be written in order and are not vital to the main plot. So I'll just be stuffing them in here as I write them, with a few words to show where they take place in accordance with the timeline in Left and Right, and will mark this as complete because each is essentially a one-shot from the 'verse. Hope you enjoy these little glimpses into Erik's mind! (Also, if anyone would like a specific scene written from his point of view or a "missing" scene that's referenced by the characters, I will be happy to take requests, although writing the main storyline will take precedence over these ficlets).


Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.
~ John Donne's Holy Sonnets

...

The young Jedi don't trust him, Erik knows. Not that he cares, particularly, but Charles had asked him would he please stop being quite so 'dark lord of the Sith all the time and try to get along with others. Well he never could resist Charles when he's being oh so sincere and lightside, and he'd agreed despite his vague annoyance (and misgivings) at the request.

He hadn't been about to let a bunch of teenage Jedi intimidate him.

So earlier that morning when Erik had suggested with fake but possibly passable enthusiasm that they go for a walk around the city, Charles had said, with disgustingly real enthusiasm, weren't you just saying you wanted to go sightseeing, Raven, and wouldn't it be nice if there was some team bonding time.

And he'd wrangled grudging agreements from all of them before starting out the door.

"And where are you going?" Raven had demanded.

"Oh I have meetings all day long," Charles had replied cheerfully. "In fact I'm late for my 9:00! But have fun without me!" and then the insufferable man had disappeared, leaving the rest of them staring at each other, or rather, the Jedi and Erik staring at each other, with identical expressions of horror.

Which is why he's now resignedly walking with a group of young Jedi who have absolutely no sense of maturity or discipline.

It's exhausting to shop, Erik realizes. And they haven't even bought anything, just wandered around, Raven and Angel trying on outfits and asking for each other's opinions while the boys had cast barely hidden looks of suspicion at him.

"Block me for a sec," Raven demands, and Erik watches in consternation as she shifts through several forms to see which one looks best with the pair of sunglasses she's wearing when she's mostly out of sight within their group.

"Which do you think?" she asks, looking at herself this way and that. She slips back into her natural blue form. "Whoops," she mutters.

"This one," Erik says without thinking, because why does it matter what she looks like anyway, it's not like she's any different, and does not flush (because whoever had heard of a Sith Lord doing that anyways) when Raven studies him.

"Thanks," Raven says thoughtfully. Her skin ripples back to her favorite blond form.

And the group moves off again. They continue to walk aimlessly and never buy anything, and the boys continue to toss a suspicious look his way every so often, just like they've been doing for the past five hours. But it feels different somehow.

They've just bought ice cream when a group of teenage boys approach them.

"Oh shit," Hank mutters.

"Hey!" one of them shouts. He's the leader, Erik thinks. Poor fighting stance, more for show than actual defense or attack. Too much weight on the right leg, easy to unbalance. Overconfident demeanor, large group of minions, most likely untrained, easy to knock out and scare the rest of the thugs away.

"Bigfoot!"

Hank hunches his shoulders. "Come on Hank," Darwin says, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah just ignore them," Sean says.

"I thought I told you not to come back when they took you away to the temple of freaks," the boy taunts. His group jeers at them.

Erik looks at the young Jedi. Raven is annoyed but trying to act nonchalant, as is Angel. Alex has his fists clenched, while Darwin has a hand on his arm, calmly restraining him. Sean has crossed his arms. They've shifted so Hank is mostly blocked from view. Defensive formation, surprisingly, when they're obviously the more powerful group.

Raven yelps when her form slips into blue for a moment.

"Freak!" the leader laughs, pointing at her. The other passersby hurry by, averting their gazes.

Suddenly Erik is pissed off.

Erik? He feels a worried touch on his mind.

I'm fine Charles, he thinks back. Just keep your mind on your meeting.

Raven's eyes are narrowed and now Angel is restraining her.

"Come on guys," Darwin says. "They're not worth it."

They've turned to leave, Erik swallowing his fury (he had told Charles he would play nice even if it's galling not to wipe the smirks off their faces when he can kill them all in different ways from where he stands even despite the power dampener), when one of the teenagers, emboldened by their retreat, throws a rock at them. By the time Darwin's whirled to block the rest of the Jedi, Erik's already standing in front of them. The rock hovers about an inch from his mouth.

"An iron rich planet," he murmurs appreciatively. Iron's a good metal. Eager to please and easy to mold.

The teenagers, for some reason, but most likely blatant stupidity, decide to continue to pelt them with rocks. Erik stops them all.

There are other people staring now. Whispering and pointing. Even a man in the yellow of the police, watching uninterestedly from the side of the street. And none make a move to intervene.

People are all the same, Erik thinks bitterly. Standing by and doing nothing because it doesn't affect them. It's none of their business if a bunch of freaks get attacked for buying ice cream.

He's done his share of standing by as well, Erik knows. All those years under Shaw's fist. All those atrocities he'd committed. He'd been too weak to stand up to him then. Too afraid. "Never again," he murmurs to himself, swearing to himself. He'll never be weak again. He'll never stand by again and do nothing.

The mocking teenagers don't know what hit them. Neither do the outraged men who join in, yelling insults.

He's knocked out about thirty or so, just gentle taps really, they'll be up and walking in a day or two, no problem—except for that one asshole, he'll probably need a month—when he's hit by a blaster rifle at the lowest setting. It seems the useless policeman has finally decided to become useful.

Just not to Erik.

Erik drops like a puppet whose strings've been cut.

The rest of the brawlers are shot after a pause, almost like an afterthought, and it's certainly enough time for them to give him a whole new set of bruises and possibly a cracked rib or several.

The young Jedi are gone, he notes woozily as he's dragged to his feet and shoved into a truck. He's glad they're not stupid enough for pointless heroics. Perhaps there's some hope for these Jedi after all.

He just hopes that Charles won't be too disappointed in him.