Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men. Marvel does.

A/N: Writer's Block buster for the "post anything you write" challenge. Different formatting technique. wh00t.

I promise I'm still writing my other stuff! D: I'm having trouble finding time with school.

Rating: T


Fragmented


"I thought I was alone."

Cold, freezing, slowly – slowly dying.

But never more alive.

God. How was this even possible?

"You're not alone. Erik? You're not alone."

The glass quivers in his hand like a fragile blanket of ice over a pond, trembling in the fear of the approaching Spring.

The sound of his heartbeat is like the cracking of it in his ears.

"I don't trust you."

Pain. Rhythm. Jagged pieces that have to pierce to fit together.

"I don't expect you to."

"But you want me to."

"If you want to.

Confusion. But nothing breaks.

The snow on the ground is thick and bleak – gray where it should be white. It doesn't dance as it falls.

Nothing dances anymore. But everything falls.

"Something's bothering you, my friend." It's an observation, and said cautiously, because privacy is very important to this man – the only thing in the world he has left – his mind the only thing that has always been his.

A sudden tension in strong shoulders, but not from the intrusion.

"Why do you call me that?" An accusation. Harsh and biting and wounded. Where privacy is important, so is honesty, that slowly building trust on crumbling cinder – he does not pretend to not know what is being asked.

"Because you are, Erik." It's so simple, but he knows it isn't. Tucked against the cotton-clothed seats of their taxi in the middle of some mutant hunt – nothing about any of this is simple.

Silence reins, as it rains outside, and words among words among words are swallowed thickly and hesitantly before anything else is said.

"…I think you may be mine, as well."

Nothing should ever feel as wonderful as those words.

He takes a deep breath.

It burns more than the flames of a fire.

He takes another.

"Why did you come in after me?" Russia is cold, but the inferno of rage in the other man's eyes would be enough to send it into the Equator.

Charles doesn't look away, but he says nothing. The roar of their cargo plane is enough to fill the void, even if offers no answers.

"Do you know what could have happened?"

He waits.

"Are you suddenly indestructible? Bullets don't hurt you, Charles?"

Silence.

Slumped shoulders. Defeat or acceptance. One in the same. It doesn't matter.

"…Why didn't you just leave me?"

Finally. His lips quirk slightly.

"Would you have left me?"

They stare, eyes locked as they so often are. A snarl half-formed, soundless, and then fading – an exasperated burst of laughter. A steel resolve that neither frightens or comforts. Final.

"Never."

There is silence – not a sound. Even ghosts are quiet.

His hand is pressed against the window, reaching out.

"You're an idiot." A scowl. Ignored.

A grin instead. Their first night in the shadowed mansion and a distraction is needed.

"Thank you, Erik." An arched eyebrow.

"It wasn't a compliment."

"Of course not." A low growl.

"You're impossible!"

"Yes. Quite." A dangerous flash of teeth.

"I'm not amused."

A soft chuckle. The fire in the study hearth crackles in similar amusement,

"For goodness sake's, Erik! It's just Chess! You can stand to lose one game."

Another scowl.

The I.V. line tugs gently, a reminder.

There is no reaching out.

His fingers clench hard enough to scratch.

But they are useless.

Words have become useless, all of a sudden. A sense of communication involving nothing but looks, touches – brief glances that express hours of secrets and vulnerability and wariness.

'I'm sorry.' A look that says the words that lips have never formed. All knowing eyes of blue widen in surprise.

'Why?' they say. A slow shake of the other's head.

Guilt, confusion, sadness.

Required sometimes, though. Words. Only one is a telepath, the other can only try to be.

"You didn't have a good childhood." Erik's voice, soft and careful, like Charles usually has to be. A pawn kills another pawn and neither knows who is winning the battle.

"…No." Admittance. Pleasedon'task. It isn't fair. But he can't…

Erik looks at him again, the same as before. 'I'm sorry.' Sorry for the words from before, for the assumptions, for the anger. Guilt.

Charles blinks.

'Thank you.'

The glass is cold to the touch.

The needle in his hand pulls and stings.

It's all he can feel anymore.

He takes it.

Waiting, joking, relaxing. War on the horizon, but hidden away here – safe, surrounded, free –

The smile is bright. It's foreign. Pinned to the ground, protected from injuries only by the training mat, they are laughing for no reason and enjoying the act and Charles can see that Erik is just as surprised by the smile as he is.

It's not cocky, it's not bitter, it's not awaiting blood and death – carefree and brilliant and pure. The artificial lighting of the bunker only makes it that more historically breathtakingly shattering.

Erik is smiling. Charles is breathless.

"You should do that more." Whispered. Awed. And just as Erik begins to pull back, embarrassed and weak and self-loathing, Charles pushes up on instinct.

Their lips connect and neither is quite sure what to do about it.

Neither pull back.

It feels lightening.

Sometimes he imagines beating against the window.

But from such old experience he knows…

It won't break.

The sheets are cold to his skin.

Against them, he shivers, bites his lip, and then groans as his teeth are chased away by a demanding mouth.

They should have seen it coming. But they didn't. Unacceptable. Taboo. Sin. Wrong, so so wrong. There is no small amount of fear, no lack of trepidation and hesitation and plenty of isthisokay, canIdothis, isthisalright?

But he whimpers (slightly, so slightly), and Erik keens, and they both grab before they think – each a lifeline, each needing to save and be saved. The reassurance. The pain.

It's wrong, but they take and accept and demand and fear each other against the sheets of Erik's bed and it's real. Wrong, but. Fuck the world. Fuck them all.

Tomorrow they could die. But.

They won't lose this.

Erik bites harder. Charles tucks closer. They both cry and deny it. But they won't lose it.

Never.

He wants to get up. He wants to run.

Scream and cry and rage and destroy things that can't fight back.

But the snow falls and he can't move.

There is silence.

And it's not like before.

He doesn't know what happened.

But it's all empty.

He opens his eyes. There is no sun. There is no sand. Only fake white lights that are too bright – that hurt too much. Only the faint sound of a high-pitched heartbeat. Only the feeling of something in his hand, stinging and full and heavy. He takes a breath. A deep, deep, deep breath.

It burns.

He takes another.

Remembers.

And takes another.

So much pain. He wants it. He takes another, and another, and another – the high-pitched sound speeds up, and something begins to wail. Loud, crying – screaming.

People race in.

But Erik doesn't come.

And Charles can't feel his legs. But that's … okay.

Because now he can't feel anything.

His hand is covered in bruises. He can't feel them.

A small drop of blood forms. He can't feel it.

The medicine kills the pain. Kills the senses. Makes him forget, every other minute, that his legs are useless.

But it can't…

"Damn it, Erik." Charles' voice cracks and he pounds at the glass and he breathes and it burns. The I.V. line pulls and the needle slips out.

He's alone and trapped and it can't save him. "Damn it! Damn it!"

It can't.

"Would you have left me?"

"Never."


A/N:

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