Okay, so...yes I'm going to update the other two X-Men stories soon, but I needed to kickstart my brain again. That seems to happen a lot recently. but I'm in college, so there's a lot going on in there and it gets all jumbled and yeah...anyhoo. :P And yes this has chapters and is not a oneshot like The Choice, but it's not going to be really long or anything. And yes I realize that there is a movie and more than one book with this title, but whatevs. I like it and it fits. So, shamelessly stolen? Yes. :P However the plots of those books and that movie have nothing to do with this story.
Anyhoo, here ya go. Let me know if ya'll like it at all and such, thanks so much!
Never Let Me Go
He should have seen it coming.
He should have known it was a horrible idea, and he did, really, but he couldn't stand safely by in the trees and allow Erik to get himself killed, and he couldn't leave him behind.
Charles knew it was a bad idea to burst into the home of a senior Soviet official, but Erik had already gone in before him. He knew it was an even worse idea to go in when there was already another telepath inside, but he told himself he had to go in to protect his friend. He was the only one here who could defend against the other telepath. Emma, if the one memory Erik had of Shaw referring to her by name in Florida was correct.
It wasn't hard to find Erik, once he was inside. He needed only to follow the trail of unconscious men in the corridors, their guns in pieces on the ground beside them. Charles rounded a corner and found Erik coming to a stop in front of a set of double doors. Charles could sense the Russian general and the telepath on the other side, but he didn't know how Erik knew it.
Erik turned, paused, let him catch up but didn't say anything. From the jumble of adrenaline and anger and determination in the front of his friend's mind Charles managed to pick up the one small fact that Erik believed he was there to help, and that there was nothing to be said.
Erik, you know me better than that. Or I hope you do. This is not a good idea. Likely she already knows we're here, after the commotion you've made. We should get out while we still can.
But Erik's jaw was set. I can't do that, Charles. If we don't do this we'll never find Shaw. I have to find Shaw. Undercurrents, the pain and anger that was always there intensified by the moment.
Erik, please. She's a telepath. You don't know what you're getting into.
I know you.
I've never tried to hurt you. She will.
Erik hesitated, knowing Charles had a point, but it didn't sway him. Charles was beginning to panic. Any moment now the other telepath would realize that they were out here, and though he could tell already that he was more powerful than she was, that wouldn't make it much less unpleasant if she attacked them.
And the thought of anything happing to Erik was, he suddenly realized, physically painful, though he wasn't entirely sure why. His stomach was cramping, his head was pounding, and his breath was coming shorter. He could stop Erik, if he wanted to. He could do it easily.
But it would destroy whatever trust they had, and he couldn't do that.
He wouldn't do that.
It doesn't matter, Erik was saying.
But he didn't listen. Before Charles could react Erik threw open the doors without touching them. He charged in and Charles had no choice but to follow him—more at his side, really—hoping his own powers would be enough to keep this from ending in disaster or war or both despite Erik's stupidity.
He was so ridiculously stubborn. He didn't think before he acted, and Charles hated it at the same time that it somehow endeared Erik to him even more.
It was so damn confusing.
Knowing Erik in general was so damn confusing.
And then confusion was all he knew. Emma hit them with it the moment she saw them, and he didn't have time to defend himself. Charles found himself stumbling backwards, vision blurred out and horribly dizzy and nausea setting in as a result, and he heard Erik groan beside him and knew the same was happing to both of them.
Charles tried to throw it off, fight her influence, but the vertigo was too strong and he couldn't focus on anything. It wasn't that she was strong, but that she'd caught him off guard. He couldn't fight past it himself—not quickly—and he couldn't help Erik, either.
The general, however, was not affected.
Charles saw the man fighting off his own quite natural confusion, even through the blurry vision and the nausea and everything else.
He certainly saw the gun the Russian was pulling from his belt.
Erik saw it too. He held up a shaking arm as if to pull it away but nothing happened, and Erik grimaced and staggered back farther and Charles felt it too as the telepath redoubled her efforts to keep them helpless. He heard himself cry out because it hurt now, too, and Erik grunted and surged forward as best he could.
Charles still saw the gun. He'd lost it for a moment but he saw it now, but though he felt himself just beginning to fight around Emma's influence, he couldn't reach the Russian. The general's fingers were closing around the trigger and he was scowling now, and Charles lashed out desperately but all the man did was blink before he pulled the trigger.
He went down backwards, knocked off his feet by the bullet he'd never had a chance in hell of deflecting. His eyes were open and he was gagging and gasping, and he wasn't dead but he would be if no one helped him.
Charles's mind was nothing but pain thanks to the other telepath, but maybe the panic was helping because the confusion and everything that came with it abruptly began to fall away.
"Erik!" he shouted again. He finally managed to get his fingers to his temple, and he lashed out once more, at the other telepath, fighting off in one desperate attempt anything that remained of her influence and shoving her and the Russian both into comas before letting his arm drop.
They were safe now. It would be days before either of them woke, if not weeks.
But Erik had a bullet in his chest.
Charles spun immediately, losing his balance and dropping to his knees just about where he wanted to be anyway—on the ground in the doorway. Erik was on his back on the floor, and the bloodstain spreading through the layers of clothing around the small, dark hole was not comforting. He'd obviously been hit low enough, far enough away from his heart not to kill him instantly, but in the long run that meant almost nothing.
He could still die.
"Erik! God…no no no…."
Moira! Erik's been shot; we need help NOW! There's no threat inside. Everyone is unconscious.
Still calling frantically in his mind, hurrying the CIA operatives along, Charles pulled open the buttons of Erik's coat and unzipped the sweater beneath as quickly as he was able. He started to fold up the extra layers back over the wound to press over it but a hand caught his wrist.
"Wait," Erik gasped. He pushed Charles's hands and the extra layers of clothing away again and stretched his own trembling hand over the hole there.
"Erik—" Charles knew what he was doing, and it needed to be done but he didn't know if it were a good idea for him to use what energy he might have left to do it.
Then again, he supposed it wouldn't make much difference one way or another if it were already too late.
He locked that thought quickly away.
Erik's face was a mask of pain and he shook and his back arched from the floor, but one ungodly scream later and the bullet had pulled itself out and into Erik's hand. He threw it away, angrily, and when he collapsed backward again Charles had shifted and Erik's head and shoulders landed on his legs, one folded and one stretched out on the ground now.
Erik was coughing, and blood was coming up, and he was squirming from the pain and it was only making the bleeding worse.
"Erik, calm down. You have to calm down, please," Charles begged. He used a bit of influence to make it easier—he knew it had to be hard, as much pain as he was in—and in a moment Erik was limp but still gasping, but Charles was able to get the extra layers of clothing back over the wound and press them there. Erik let out an awful strangled sound, but the bleeding had to be stemmed.
Charles grimaced, and there was a lump in his throat. "I know! I know, I'm sorry. Oh god…" He couldn't panic. He couldn't panic. Erik didn't stand a chance if he panicked.
He pressed down as hard as he could, but the bleeding was not slowing. At least not enough. Soon both sides of Erik's sweater and jacket were soaked through with blood, and Charles had pulled his own coat off and pressed it there, instead.
"Hold on," he pleaded, trying not to choke on it. "Hold on…"
But Erik was fading.
"Charles," he grated out finally.
Charles was making out some of what he was thinking, and he didn't want to hear it. "No, no, you'll be all right. They're coming. We'll get help."
"There is…no help," Erik gasped. He coughed again, more blood—more blood soaking the coat under Charles's hands and more blood trailing from the corners of Erik's mouth. "No hospitals. Not close enough."
He was groaning, trying to push Charles's hands from his chest, trying to stop him from saving him.
"No point!" Erik growled weakly.
He stopped, but his hands were still around Charles's wrists though his grip was loosening by the second. He seemed to realize that, and one corner of his mouth quirked up and he made a sound that was something between a laugh and a cough.
"Wasn't…supposed to end this way," he whispered hoarsely.
"Nothing is ending," Charles insisted. The lump in his throat was bigger now, in the way, and his vision was swimming again but this time because his eyes were damp. "You'll be fine. You'll be fine…" The last bit came out a dry sob, but right now he didn't give a damn. He didn't have the time or mental capacity to give a damn. Not when Erik's life was hanging in the balance.
Somehow he managed to press down harder, and Erik gagged.
"I have to stop the bleeding or you're going to die, Erik!"
"Erik, be quiet," he begged. "Please be quiet." He couldn't keep his voice even any longer. It just wasn't happening.
Oh god, where were they? He'd showed Moira where they were and how to get here. They should be close, shouldn't they? Or had it really not been as long as it seemed?
They were coming, she said. Coming. Hurrying. Running.
Not fast enough.
"Charles…" It was barely audible now, Erik's voice, and it came out just as uneven as Charles's and he shivered against Charles's legs.
Charles finally looked him in the eyes again, and when he looked Erik's eyes were unfocused but on him, squinting to see better, and they were damp and Erik was swallowing between gasps of air.
Charles, let me go…
"No," he sobbed, and the tears were on his face now.
Why was this so hard? He'd met this man only weeks ago—a few short months, maybe, if one wanted to look at it that way—but they had connected more easily than he had ever had any sort of friendship with anyone other than Raven, and the idea of losing Erik was unbearable.
Don't think there's a choice here…
It was pointless. He knew it now. There was too much blood and it wasn't stopping quickly enough and he could feel Erik slipping away.
But he didn't want to believe it. Charles was shaking his head furiously, and he didn't know how Erik had the energy for it, but he must have used everything he had left to reach up behind Charles's neck and pull his head down.
Erik pulled Charles's lips to his and kissed him.
Charles responded, the rest of his body going weak because he knew now that this was what he'd wanted all this time, what the feeling in his chest every time he saw Erik had meant, but it didn't matter now, did it?
He sobbed against Erik's mouth, apologizing for the temporary break in contact with renewed vigor, and the kisses tasted of blood and sweat and tears but he wasn't going to complain because this was all they were going to have.
The words "I love you" fell from Charles's mouth at one point, and he knew he meant them, and Erik smiled weakly, much more sincerely this time.
Then I can go. That was all I wanted to know.
Erik didn't have to say it for Charles to know he felt the same, and his eyes were rolling up in his head now and Charles felt him leaving.
And suddenly Charles knew that he couldn't survive this loss. Not this one. He couldn't lose Erik. Not now. Not so soon. Not this way.
Charles didn't know what the hell he was really doing, but he panicked and he only had one idea, and for once he did what Erik would do and he acted before he'd really thought anything at all.
"No!" he gasped desperately.
More tears fell, and he bent over again and pressed his forehead to Erik's as firmly as they would go together, and he grabbed Erik's mind before it could slip away into nothing. But Erik's body was shutting down. He had to do something beside simply hold on. He couldn't do that forever. They couldn't stay in this moment forever.
So he pulled.
It hurt more than he thought it would. It was harder than he'd ever dreamed and he wasn't ready for it and it hurt and he didn't even know if it was working, but Charles held out even when he heard himself screaming.
Then everything went black.
Moira heard the screaming from halfway across the general's mansion, and she knew it was Charles without reaching out to him.
When she did try to reach out to him there was no answer, and the screaming stopped abruptly and the overly-large house was too silent. Weapon drawn, she and Levine led the team to the end of a corridor and around a sharp corner, and there were the open doors Charles had shown her.
Erik and Charles were both on the ground in the doorway.
Moira motioned quickly for the others to make sure there were no hostiles conscious and to see to getting the female telepath back to the truck, and she shoved her gun back into its holster under her jacket and bent near the two unmoving forms on the floor.
She stopped abruptly, when she realized that there was no use in calling to the other man.
Erik's eyes were half-open and dark, staring at nothing, and the blood and the hole in his chest told the rest of the story.
He was gone.
"Oh god," Moira breathed. She'd never liked Erik much, and she felt guilty for that now. But she knew Charles cared about him. She knew they were close, and she knew this was going to be hard on Charles.
If Charles was alive himself.
He was collapsed over Erik's body and, trying not panic, she pulled him to her and turned him over—hoping more than she'd hoped anything in a long while that he was all right.
He was. He was unconscious, but there were no obvious injuries. He was breathing just fine. There was blood on his lips, but she doubted it was his.
His cheeks were stained with tears.
Moira swallowed and brushed his hair out of his face. "I'm so sorry," she whispered.
He didn't stir at all; not until later, in the truck on the way back to the plane. She sat in the back this time, on the end of the bench at the front of space where Erik and Charles had been on the ride in. Charles's head was in her lap, the rest of him stretched out on the bench, and he didn't wake up but he mumbled—sometimes calmly, but mostly not. More than once she had to calm him, hold onto him more tightly or stroke his hair and whisper to him.
Once he opened his eyes, not really awake but staring blearily at the floor of the truck bed before he was out again. If he'd seen anything at all he'd seen Erik's body, laid there carefully, his face covered with Levine's jacket.
They weren't going to leave a man behind.
Charles mumbled most of the way back to the plane, and it was too quiet for her to know what he was saying.
It was quiet enough that it took a while for Moira to realize that at some point he'd started speaking in German.