NOTES: Okay yeah, I have no self control. I picked up another prompt on the kinkmeme and this is what came of it. As a warning, this fic will probably be slower going because of how tricky the plot is and the fact that I've got Tabula still to do. It definitely is not leaving me alone however, so no worries about that.

Pertaining to the original prompt as it relates to Matthew Reilly's Seven Ancient (or Deadly, on my side of the pond) Wonders. I did in fact read that and then I proceeded to respectfully gut the whole thing for two reasons. 1. Because I had an idea which I can't tell you so you'll have to trust me on this. 2. So those who did read the book can be as on their toes as everyone else. So there are lots of elements borrowed from there, as per prompt, but you definitely don't have to have read those books to understand this fic.


Prologue: Career Opportunities.

It was funny the things you thought about when you were dying.

It was like the rest of your body had just given up the ghost and transferred all your energy to your brain, allowing you to thread thoughts together at new, amazing speeds, to connect dots you had never even dreamed existed. Most people would spend that window of mental clarity contemplating the life they've lived or the workings of the world. Erik Lehnsherr, on the other hand, was spending it imagining new and unusual ways he could assassinate whoever invented the cell phone and, in relation, massively regretting that in the ridiculous amount of research he inevitably did for his job, he'd never figured out the damn man's name.

"Any signal?" A weak voice brought him back from that particular endeavor quickly. Erik ducked back under a toppled stone column, running his hand along the top of the collapsed tunnel to guide himself back through the pitch black until it turned a hue of brighter green.

Even though he knew what he'd see, Erik still felt his gut twist at the scene it illuminated. Slumped against a wall with one pale hand clutched faintly against his stomach, was Charles Xavier. Erik liked to think it was the unnatural green glow of their last fading glow stick on the floor that made Charles look so near to death, but he'd never been very good at lying to himself.

"It's a glorified electronic brick." Erik said sharply, but that was really how he spoke in general. He let his back hit the wall and slid down it next to Charles, staring up at the rubble that slanted down just feet above their heads. The only thing that saved them from being outright crushed was a few crisscrossed pillars and a mesh of highly decorative iron wall lattices. Every so often though, the rubble would make disturbing noises, like it was growling at them, the rubble above them settling and threatened to take away what little space they had left.

Charles looked up at broken structure with him, smiling lightly, like they were actually staring at the night sky instead of imminent doom.

"Suffocation's not a bad way to go." Charles said conversationally, shifting to better hold his hand against the red wet mess that was his own stomach.

"Is that so?"

The other man shrugged, "They say you hallucinate all sorts of wonderful things and then you just... fall asleep. Of course the first hand accounts are always skewed as... you can imagine, they're usually quite dead."

Erik snorted lightly, "So you're trying to spare me of that by trying to teach me to death? You take your call sign too seriously, Charles."

Charles batted at Erik's arm with his unoccupied hand, "Shut up, you're using my air."

Erik chuckled at that. He caught the flailing hand easily and trapping it between his own, fingers immediately working to sooth the tremors he felt under Charles's skin. Somewhere along the line, Charles leaned over, head tiredly finding a pillow against Erik's shoulder. There they stayed, glow stick steadily darkening, and simply waited for the world to fade.

...Two Months Previous...

Erik had barely opened the door to his own apartment when a blonde hyperactive blur shot under his arm towards the living room.

"DIBS ON THE TV!" The blur called as she passed, the audacity of the statement quickly followed by an intentionally endearing girlish laugh coming somewhere around the corner. Erik didn't sacrifice his dignity to sigh at the whole situation, but it said something that he very much wanted to. He was bone tired, had just suffered the most imbecilic client he'd ever known for six straight weeks for pay that was really not worth the chance of malaria.

Erik dropped the two plastic crates he'd hauled in unceremoniously on the floor, ignoring the immediate mess it made as bits of red mud flaked off the sides and nested between the floorboards in favor of slumping against the kitchen counter. In a practiced, entirely rote motion that wasn't dulled at all by the long time away, Erik upended everything out of his pockets and onto their designated ugly clay dish, a remnant of the few weeks Raven had gotten it into her head she was going to become a world renowned potter.

"Hey Dad!" Raven leaned around the corner, hanging over the edge of a teal couch like a small, pale monkey, "Can we get chinese food tonight?"

"No." Erik said, digging his fingers under the snap of his brown shoulder holster, pulling it off entirely and hanging it on the back of the closet door. "And feet off the couch."

Raven flipped deftly over the couch's arm, feet thunking loudly on the floor, Only after that did she try to form some kind of argument, "But!" It wasn't a very good one. Erik flicked a look over at her, eyebrow raised.

"Give me a good reason to change my mind." He intoned reasonably, moving over to the sink to wash the last bits of grease and mud off his hands. Raven stood up straighter in response, eyebrows pinching together as they always did when she was sorting through some challenge.

"I was gonna practice my Mandarin when I ordered," She said, not quite turning the full force of her puppy dog eyes on him. When Erik didn't immediately concede, she continued, "and! And I'll clean the dishes!"

After studiously drying his hands and considering the offer deeply, Erik dropped the rag into her hands and nudged her toward the skin, "Wash your hands."

Raven lit up like Christmas morning, "So we can have Chinese?"

"Didn't say that, did I?" Erik brushed past her to a cluttered corner of the kitchen that was supposedly the dining room. What it really ended up being was a defunct office where a small, secondhand desk sat, cluttered in scraps of paper and logs meant to keep things organized but really only made things more complicated.

Raven gasped, "Not fair!"

"That's how negotiations go, isn't it." Erik agreed, rummaging through the papers. He didn't dare look at the girl, he didn't have to, he knew what her face would look like. It looked like it always did whenever she was told no, which was why Erik made it a point to say it. She had to learn the lesson sometime

She obediently, if sullenly, washed her own hands, less dirty than his had been but still reasonably worked with. He waited until she'd finished then reached across the distance and let a folded Chinese menu flutter down into her hands.

"Cool!" She called, zipping around the table to wrap her arms around his stomach in a quick, but undoubtedly enthusiastic hug, before climbing over to the desk to retrieve the phone from its cradle. Erik watched her with tired fondness, knowing without a doubt that she'd never learn that particular lesson from him as he simply didn't have the will to deny her anything. She was spoiled, he knew, but he held some solace in the fact that she carried that particular burden well.

"Hey Dad! Message light is blinking!" Raven called as she dialed before retreating back to her spot on the couch.

That got a sigh from Erik. There weren't many people who had his home phone number, and every single one of them laughed at him for maintaining a landline, complete with a fifteen year old answering machine. Undoubtedly one of those few people would want something from him, and he wasn't feeling generous at that point. He looked over at the thing with a grimace, only to see a bright red "7" flashing in his direction.

Refusing to feel cowed by the contraption, he stabbed the button and leaned against the counter to listen.

He identified the female voice, Scottish brogue enhanced tenfold by her obvious enthusiasm. Moira MacTaggert. The first three messages were updates on an expedition Erik had previously known about. A desperate grab off the coast of Turkey on very little information. Moira had been excited about it, as she was about everything, but Erik had passed in favor of something with an actual payday.

He was surprised to hear her updates though. She'd found something. Not much, but something and she'd fought the local governments tooth and nail just to take it home, an admirable feat a lot of the time. If you found anything even slightly interesting there was always some local government or another who would make a grab for it. The tone of the next couple messages seemed fairly consistent until the fifth one.

"Erik. I- I think I've just been robbed."

Erik stood up straight and faced the machine, listening intently.

"My house is turned inside out I... I don't know..." Moira's message sighed, "I'm going to call the police. This doesn't smell right. Just... ring me when you get back. First thing, Erik."

Erik skipped past the automated message to get straight to the next. The sixth message didn't start off with Moira talking, at least not to Erik. She was squawking annoyed commands at other anonymous people over the clatter of a crowd.

"Put that- Hey! Boys! That's my room, get out of- Christ." Her voice returned to the phone, close to the receiver and muffled in a way that meant she was probably trying to call covertly, "Erik! Answer your damn phone! I called the police about that break in and the goddamn suits showed up! They won't tell me why they're here or what they want, but they're digging through all my stuff. I hope you get home soon but I have got to find someone else to help me with this until then."

Erik yet again skipped to the last message, expecting Moira to be calling from the inside of a volcano at the rate this was escalating. Instead of that however, the seventh message was actually quite sedate. It was short, no background noise and Moira was no longer frazzled, as a matter of fact, she seemed outright smug.

The message: "Erik, I have a job for you."


Original Prompt is Here: 1stclass-kink(dot)livejournal(dot)com(slash)8846(dot)html?thread(equals)18353806#t19939470

I will post finished chapters up here as they become completed but you can feel free to watch me as I go section by section over on the meme. See ya around!