AN: Don't normally delve into the comic-based fiction... So it's definitely been an experience. :) A good one. I hope. Not as well-versed in the comic fandom as I am elsewhere. Love the movie, though, and after watching it again the other night, decided this needed to be written.

Enjoy, my friends!

Disclaimer: I do not own the comic/move X-Men/X-Men: First Class. I do not own the characters of the comic/movie X-Men/X-Men: First Class.

Magnetism

He goes to Charles in the night, slipping into the hospital unnoticed and finding the telepath's room with little difficulty. He's always been able to find Charles. The other man emits something that Erik cannot resist—like he's being pulled towards him.

And there is only one way to describe it...

Charles is feigning sleep. Erik knows this because the other man doesn't look that way when he sleeps—eyebrows drawn together, ugly frown-lines creasing the skin around his mouth.

It could be the pain medication causing a restless sleep…but it isn't.

"You're not wearing the helmet," Charles says, his voice quiet, husky.

Erik shakes his head, making his way to the telepath's bedside. "I didn't think it necessary." Instinct—or maybe habit—has him slipping his fingers over the hospital-issue sheets, gravitating to the other man's hand. "What did the doctors tell you?"

"I'll live," Charles says with a bitter laugh. His gaze falls to his legs, and the pit of Erik's stomach drops out.

Trepidation sending a shiver up his spine, he reaches with his free hand and places it on the other man's thigh. Charles watches then glances back at him, jaw clenched and puffy eyes watering furiously.

Erik releases a stuttered breath. "You can't…?"

"No."

Eyes wildly searching the room for nonexistent answers, Erik shifts restlessly, saying, "I'll…I'll fix it. I'll find someone. You'll be all right."

"You can't fix me, Erik," Charles replies drearily. The other man has never seen the telepath so resigned. So defeated.

It is a bad look on Charles. And Erik has put it there.

"Not until you've fixed yourself."

"I don't need fixing, Charles," Erik hisses, though there is little vehemence behind his words.

The other man smiles, and it is genuine—if not sad…and somewhat disappointed. "Everyone needs fixing, my friend." His eyelids begin to droop. "Some more than others."

Erik bites the inside of his cheek, looking down at their intertwined fingers. "You won't reconsider, then?"

"No." Charles says it without hesitation, despite the haze, and with a universe of hurt and pain in his eyes. "And neither will you."

"No," Erik concedes, gripping the hand in his just a bit tighter. A small part of him wants to hold that hand forever, wants Charles to make him stay.

Please make me stay.

A silence blankets them both, filling the room with the hum and whoosh of machinery.

Erik does not like it here. It reminds him too vividly of his days as a guinea pig for Shaw. And when he sees his internal fear etched onto his friend's face, he swallows hard, trying his best to clear his mind.

"You shouldn't…" He stops, clears the lump from his throat, and tries again. "You shouldn't look for me, Charles." A smile trembles on his lips. "You won't find me."

"I will," Charles argues gently in that way he has always argued. Without anger or hatred. "One day I will find you, Erik." His words become slurred as the medication sets in further, and he begins to drift away.

Erik wants so badly to follow.

"And I will not stop looking until I do."

Yes, there is only one way to describe the two of them: magnetic.

But now Charles is facing the other way, has switched his polarity. Their attraction has reversed itself. And no matter how hard he tries, no matter how much he fights to reach him, to force Charles and himself together, there will always be that ache between them.

Eventually, it will become so great that Erik will have to let go. Again.

And there are no words to describe that kind of pain.

Erik waits until the meds put Charles to sleep before he lifts the lax hand in his own, presses his lips against it, and (for not the first or last time) turns his back on the greatest friend he will ever know.

AN: Once again, my brain has found a way to ship two characters...and completely level any hope of them being together.

Thank you, brain...Thank you bunches.