AN: COMPLETELY REDRAFTED! I read through this recently and realised how many errors there were. It had to be altered! So same story but hopefully without so many mistakes! Have a good read! :)
Charles sits in his metal wheelchair trying to enjoy the view from the window while ignoring the cold, hard metal beneath his fingers; feeling a chill travel up his body, down his spine and into nothing but numbness. He tried not to dwell on it. That feeling of helplessness threatening to engulf his very soul. He does not tantalise himself with any hope that he would walk again, he knows it is not possible. His dreams are his only sanctuary but are also his torment. Only there he could walk. Only there he could follow where Erik lead and run after him. But always when he was just within his reach the numbness would return and he would wake with unwilling tears in his eyes and bitter bile in his mouth. They were not because he will never walk again but because his friend Erik will never again be at his side. While they fought for the same cause they were on different paths and it pains him to think that one day they may have to fight one another. No...one day they will have to fight one another. It is inevitable.
He will admit that he misses running around the grounds. Feeling the wind in his hair as he pushed himself just that little bit further. Until he could feel that glorious burn in his legs. He allows himself to relive those memories temporarily forgetting his situation and bask in thoughts of simpler times. However his thoughts are disrupted by voices outside the door. He can feel Hank's overwhelming anger and fear bordering the edges of his mind on the other side of the door. He reaches out to Hank's mind in an attempt to discover the cause of his distress.
"What is it?" He can feel Hank hesitate for a few moments before mentally replying. "It's Erik, he wants to see you". He finishes with a growl laced with anger and remorse.
He feels his stomach lurch as he thinks about the various scenarios that this situation could dissolve into; none had a particularly good outcome. "Hank, tell him to wait a moment. I need you to come in and...and lift me into my armchair".
He asks trying to not shield Hank from his obvious embarrassment. He hears Hank answer Erik with a low growl and comes in closing the door firmly behind him. Even with all that blue fur it was easy to distinguish the pity and sorrow in his face that Charles had to ask him to do this. Wordlessly he lifts Charles and places him into the arm chair, covering his legs with a throw. He puts the chair into the adjoining bathroom and gives Charles a strained nod. Charles can feel the comforting waves of Hank's thoughts as he leaves "I'll be here if you need me" he reassures him.
He tries to breathe deeply trying to calm the rapid beating inside his chest; he strengthens his mental shields although he is sure Erik will not allow him to read his mind.
He clears his throat and nervously calls out.
As Erik enters he cannot help but smile at the sight of his old friend although it is a bitter sweet one. The helmet serving as a constant reminder of what he has lost. Of what Erik has become. Unknowingly a shadow of his former tormentor. He is still sporting one of his favourite black turtle-necks that Charles had often seen him in which is now clinging to every lean muscle in his torso and arms. His face is mostly covered by the helmet but Charles can see those grey blue eyes staring intently at back at him.
"It's been too long my friend". He says watching Erik allow a small smile towards him and seats himself directly opposite Charles.
Charles likes to believe he can feel the tension in the very air although he knows it is impossibility. He smiles again as he often had when faced with Erik's broodiness and spoke as if nothing has changed.
"How are you? Is Raven well?" He asks, he misses her company terribly although he is resolved to hide his...change...from her for as long as he can knowing how much it would hurt her.
Erik's body visibly relaxes, his arms no longer rigid and tense, resting more loosely in the chair. "She is fine, Charles, everyone is fine". He answers looking away, loving and hating simultaneously, Charles for his caring nature.
He goes beyond altruistic, he is unlike anyone he has ever met and he suspects anyone he will ever meet. He redirects his gaze intently back onto Charles' brilliantly blue eyes. Erik has missed his friend, missed his smiles, those penetrating eyes of his that he could never hide from. He studies Charles' face a little more; he had always been a bit of a baby-face but now there are signs of weariness in his eyes that had not been there before. His smile is not quite as deep as it had been and it worries Erik.
"How are you Charles?" He asks quietly; his thoughts being helplessly dragged to that day at the beach so many months ago. The tears falling down Charles face and that gut-wrenching guilt knowing that he had caused Charles to be in so much pain. He did not know what he would have done if Charles had died. He could not bear to contemplate the notion of yet again causing someone he loved to die.
Charles feels a jolt of panic and sadness hit him in his chest. He fights to keep his face as warm and as light-hearted as possible. Erik is not to blame for this. He will not hurt his friend by telling him.
"I'm good, thank you. We have been getting more and more students every month. The place is not as quiet as you may remember it." He grins but them sombrely adds "Everyone misses you. Even Hank...although he may not show it". He adds chuckling slightly.
Erik finds he cannot reply and simply nods. He is willing to admit that part of him does miss being here. It is a rare moment of peace that he is sure will never be a part of his life again. But there is a war coming and he has to be ready to fight it. He looks outside for a moment to see the satellite dish, hit with a crashing wave of nostalgia he longs to go outside and walk the grounds with Charles again.
"I see they have not managed to move the dish back" He says with a small impish grin. "Let's go outside, I feel like reminiscing."
Charles can feel panic bubble at his core and his throat close around his voice. He desperately tries to think of a way out of the situation.
"I'll join you in a moment." He says, feeling the strain on every fibre in his face to mask his fear and sadness.
"I'll meet you outside. I just need to see to something". He tells Erik. He fights the overpowering emotions that are pushing the barriers in his mind as they only do when they are too overwhelming.
Erik stands puzzled at Charles hesitance, taking in how rigidly he sits. He always used to be the first to leap out of his chair and practically sprint at the chance to go outside.
"Nonsense, Come on". He says grabbing Charles arm with a firm grip and pulls in attempt to lift him out of his seat.
"Erik, No!". Charles cries out but it is too late. Erik sees. He watches as Charles tumbles to the floor, the throw strewn to the side of him. His legs lifelessly twisted in angles that surely cause him pain. But Charles looks up at him. His eyes fill with tears just like the day the beach. He remembers pulling the bullet from his spine. And it hits him. His legs were not causing him pain because Charles can not feel them. He refuses to believe it. Charles, who is so full of life and energy. He had not done this to him. He hadn't...
"Charles". His voice was shaking uncontrollably. "Get up." He growls.
Charles looks at his friend; he sees Erik's eyes brimming with tears like that day with the satellite but for an entirely different reason. He feels shame, anger, frustration course through him as he sees the pain he is causing his dearest friend. Unable to wretch his eyes from Erik's he replies in a voice thick with regret and pain.
Erik just stands there, silent tears running down his face. Letting the realisation of what Charles has told him wash over him like an ice bath. He drops to his knees the shock causing them to buckle and slowly removes his helmet feeling it is the least Charles deserves from him. Charles struggles to get to the chair. Sweat trickles down his temple and his teeth bury themselves in his bottom lip straining with effort. He finally hoists himself up whilst Erik watches numbly. He watches the man he knew, so powerful, kind and caring, drag his lifeless legs behind him. Crippled, vulnerable and in so much pain. He will never walk again; never run again. And he knew it is entirely his fault. He can feel his body radiate with anger, uncontrollable and wild.
In an instant all the mental in the room begins to bend and shudder. The door knob deforms and twists in gnarly fashion, the bed frame creaks and warps and admit the chaos Erik cannot tear his eyes from Charles.
Whispering desperately in a barely audible voice.
"No, no, no, no, no...this can't be true. I did this!". He can feel his body tremble as he releases all his rage into the metal in the room. Bending and deforming it into twisted mimicry's of his pain. He feels a jolt of confusion as he senses a large amount of metal in the bathroom. He snarls wordlessly and raises an arm, ignoring the desperate warning from his friend.
"Erik, do not do this to yourself". Charles pleads but there is a groan from the door followed by an ear splitting crash as Erik drags his wheelchair from the room. Everything seems to stop as Erik stares at the chair, tears falling helplessly; the only sound his heavy breathing from the force of his exertion. Charles sends out a frantic message to everyone in the mansion, assuring them that he is fine and to not disturb them. He then turns his attention to Erik.
Charles reaches out mentally to his friend...
'Erik, please stop this. You did not mean for this. You are not to blame'.
Erik's angry despairing voice cries back in his head.
'How can you not blame me? After everything we have been through, after everything I have done, how can you not?' Charles tries to comfort him, tries to show him that he could never blame him. But Erik's physical voice full of self-loathing and anger cuts in. "Show me."
Charles looks up at Erik, studying his handsome face which is contorted with pain, he knows it will not help him or ease his suffering. He shakes his head; his voice finally calms and flows out.
"No. I will not cause you any more pain. Please, do not tell Raven. Not yet at least, give her time." Erik stares up at Charles in disbelief, did he really just say cause him any more pain? He shook his head. No, he needs Charles to show him this. He did not deserve to forget or to go on without guilt.
"I will not tell Mystique but Charles I want you to show me. Since that day at the beach. Everything".
His voice is full of an intense resolution warring with agony that is so painfully familiar. Charles looks at Erik searching for a name for this unknown feeling. They share an inseparable bond, one that he is sure that no matter what side they were on; will never be broken. A single tear falls down his cheek and Erik moves forward and gently wipes it away with his thumb. He kneels at Charles' chair and places his hand on top of Charles', squeezing gently. He can feel the warmth of Charles' feelings flow over his mental barriers. Erik can see his conviction falter wavering between what was right and what Erik needed from him.
"Alright". He agrees and places his two fingers against his temple.
Erik sits up so that they are level and gasps at the onslaught of memories and feelings that overwhelm him. He watches himself leave Charles on the beach. Experiences Charles' pain and fear when he says "I can't feel my legs" to the others. He can feel how glad Charles had been that he had not been there to witness it. He then saw images of hospitals, of Hank quietly telling Charles that he would never walk again and of him getting used to his wheelchair. The first few months riddled with self-consciousness and bitterness. The feelings of helplessness and that gut-wrenching loneliness that his and Raven's leaving had caused him. He felt the tears as if he had cried them on nights where Charles had woken from dreams where he could run only to bitterly remember that it was just a dream.
But he also saw happier memories of student's controlling their abilities. Of Hank, Alex and Sean smiling at their Professor X (as they were now calling him) as he taught a group of awed students revelling in the feeling that he was helping these children. Erik feels overwhelmed by the powerful emotions that Charles possessed; who to him had always seemed so light-hearted and so naïve at times.
However there is an emotion that Charles cannot block him from feeling; longing. He can feel how much Charles misses him, how much he wishes he had Erik by his side, playing chess on late nights and chatting about the students; simply enjoying each other's company. He feels the connection sever but he leans forward until his forehead is resting against Charles; desperate to stay connected somehow. They both keep their eyes closed, breathing in each other's breathes; overwhelmed by the onslaught of memories and emotions.
"I'm sorry Charles". He whispers finally opening his eyes to see Charles looking at him intensely. His eyes were so blue; he wondered if they were part of his mutation. He looks at Charles face; his cheeks are wet with tears and his lips are swollen and red. He swallows knowing he longs for Charles' company just as much as Charles wants his. He leans forward hearing Charles catch his breath and presses his lips softly against his. Erik feels him press back tilting his head to side allow Erik to kiss him more deeply.
Hesitantly Erik slowly draws his tongue across Charles' full bottom lip; nipping and sucking gently; Charles breath catches in shallow gasps. He opens his mouth and slides his tongue against Erik's; caressing and licking gently with a barely restrained passion. Harsh breathes come out through their noses as they taste each other frantically for the first and most likely last time. They sit like that for what feels to both of them to be fleeting moment; hands stroking reverently at each other's face and scraping gently through each other's hair. Charles can feel how much Erik cares for him, how much he misses him but also that deep within him this is encounter is surrounded with a sour tang. Erik knows that this can never be because he will never allow it to be so. He pulls away looking at Charles, drinking in the sight of him greedily. As if he were trying to memorise his face, their kiss; everything about this moment.
He stands up and retrieves his helmet, once again shielding himself from Charles and looks back his mouth opened as if he wants to say something but closes it again knowing that there were no words. He returns the metal to its original state, wishing that he could fix Charles just as easily, bitterness threatening to swallow him whole. Charles smiles knowingly at him; a small sad smile that cuts through him.
"Goodbye, Erik". Charles whispers his eyes softening kindly but his knuckles white on the arm of the chair. Erik let his eyes linger on Charles for a few more moments and then strides away as fast as his legs will take him. Leaving behind a life that he could have had, a life with Charles at his school, where he could walk, where he was by his side and where he could have been at peace.
But he has chosen his path, as has Charles; he cannot linger in regret and torment for the life he could have had. He cannot reverse what he has done to Charles and he knows he will relive this day for the rest of his life. The words that he had uttered in Charles' room that fateful night replying over and over in his mind. "Peace was never an option." Except now he knows it could have been; he had just been too blinded by anger to see it and Charles...his Charles had paid the price.
Hope you enjoyed it! Am considering continuing this so let me know what you thought :P - Poet.