Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men: First Class or any of its characters. I don't even own Magda; she's a real comic character – Erik's wife. Just this idea I had regarding her if she'd been in the latest adaptation of the comics, so enjoy!
PAIN & PERSEVERANCE
My life was simple. So very simple.
I grew up in Nurnberg, Germany. I'm not sure where I was born but there were photographs from many different places, places I don't even remember. My parents said they never had a real home; once they married, they just traveled from place to place and, even when I was born, they continued this and we traveled all over. I don't remember any of the other places we went, but I do remember Nurnberg. Mama wanted some stability for me, so we settled there and my parents opened up a little sweets shop. While he would bake the cookies, and muffins, and cakes, my mother would decorate the everything and make all the chocolate treats. I remember being in the boiling kitchen, sitting on that old stool, which always left me with splinters in my thighs, and watching them work. They would always sing to each other, and to me, the entire day. Mama would even let me sneak chocolate behind Papa's back, but Papa always knew and he never cared. It was a big game to all of us, pretending that I would be in trouble for ruining my appetite for dinner. Being the official taste-tester for all of their delicious concoctions was a dream.
Most of the town folk didn't like us. Zigeuner – gypsies – they called us, wanderers and vagabonds. Except for one family: the Lehnsherr's. Jakob and Edie Lehnsherr were the kindest couple I'd ever met. They were regular patrons of my parent's shop and with them always was their children, Erik and Ruth. I knew both from school – something else my mother thought I needed, but I really didn't like – but it was Erik who always remained at the forefront of my mind. Mama often teased Papa, saying how he would have to sit Erik down one day and I would flee to my room, blushing madly. I blushed so because I knew that Erik loved me. Such a silly thing to know at so young an age, isn't it? We were just children and yet Erik would go out of his way to impress me. I remember, one time, he won a javelin competition and, the next day, he was accused of cheating. Some slur about how a filthy blooded Jew couldn't possibly beat a pure-blooded German. Utter nonsense, but he was told to either give up his medal or recreate the throw with a "regulation" javelin. Erik won again, was accused of cheating again, was expelled, and beaten by our classmates. It was horrible. He came running into our shop and Mama had to clean him up.
When he was cleaned up, I took Erik up to my room and he helped me with my homework. We didn't talk about what had happened, but Erik told me that he hated them. He ranted and raved about how, when he was older and stronger, he would show them just what "this filthy blooded Jew can do to them!" It scared me, to see such reckless hate in him and I told him as such. That mad Erik even angrier. He couldn't understand why I didn't hate them, because they all treated me the same as they treated him, the same as they treated any Jew in Germany. Because I was zigeuner. "Do unto others, Erik. If we act like them, then we're no better than they are." Shaking his head, Erik reached into his pants pocket and urged my to take the object he'd pulled out. Delicately, I took it and smiled at the necklace. It was crude and handmade with bits of what she guessed was melted nails, screws, and even coins. But it was beautiful, in its own way. "I already am better than them," he told me, putting the necklace on me and kissing me on my cheek. Erik walked me to and from school from that day on, holding my hand tight in his, protecting me. The Jew and the Zigeuner – that was what all the other kids called us. While throwing rocks and rotten food at us. And yet they never minded coming into my parent's shop to get a sweet after school. I never understood how, if they hated us so, why they continued to buy our treats. It made no sense to me but, all in all, it was the perfect little life.
And then the war started and destroyed everything.
It had been brewing for some time, we all knew, and we had been identified – mine and Erik's family – some months ago. It was springtime and I was only eleven years old when the Nazis came. They constantly came into our store and tried a little bit of everything, paying less than half of what they bought actually cost. They were loud and obnoxious, always laughing loudly, making jokes at Papa, who never said anything back, and were constantly making looks at Mama. At the time, like most things, I never understood why my father never did anything. This went on for months. The Nazis would come, would buy our goods, make a raucous, and leave. But then they started to destroy our shop. At first, it was little things – a glass cup here, a plate of chocolate there – but then it got worse. One time, they watched as the town folk that were most opposed to us painted bad words on our doors and even helped them throw a bench through our window display. Mama wanted to close down the shop and leave, but Papa refused. He said that if the Lehnsherr's, after the shame Erik's uncle, Erich, had caused them didn't make them leave, then they wouldn't either. Mr. Lehnsherr told my father the same thing he told his own family: to stay, figure out the rules and don't fight back because, if we did, they'd stomp in our heads. Papa agreed to close the shop but he wouldn't budge on moving away. So we stayed.
That would be his biggest mistake
Erik and his family, however, did leave. November 7, 1938 – that day is burned into my memory – because it was the last time I saw Erik's parents and his sister. They came to our home to say goodbye. Erik told me they were fleeing to Poland with another man, Ernst von Rath, as their guide. I kissed Erik on the lips, my first kiss, and made him promise we would see each other again. He swore on his life we would. And then they left. With all the trouble the Nazis were causing, it was becoming very dangerous for us. More than it had been before. We never thought they would do to us what they did to the Jews. I saw them, everyday, taking people in big trucks that churned out black smoke. Papa told me that the people were Jewish and that they were now prisoners, but that, that would never happen to us. He promised to make sure of that. But he was wrong. Two years after Erik left, they came at night, pounding at our door until it burst. Mama screamed and Papa had a gun in his hand, but the Nazis shot him before he could he lift his arm. Mama tried to go to him, but the soldier's grabbed her and then they grabbed me. A German threw me over his shoulder and carried me out of my home. The last thing I saw was my mother being dragged into her and Papa's bedroom, the door slamming behind the soldiers that took her.
I don't know what happened to my mother, but I can guess.
I was put on a train and taken to Poland. It took months and I became very sick, delerious. All I wanted was my Mama and Papa, for them to hold me and sing to me like they used to. I wanted Erik. I remember seeing them and being so happy because I thought I had died and they had come, as angels, to take me with them to heaven. But I woke up and I knew I had just been dreaming. I was taken to Marzahn Detention Camp but my time there was short. Well, short enough for them to take the necklace Erik had made me and to give me my brand, the last form of identification they could give me: Z10013. I was no longer a name but a number and, shortly after, I was on another train. It was in Auschwitz, in the Vernichtungslager Extermination Camp, that I was reunited with Erik. I didn't even recognize him. I was in a long line that the soldier's said was for a shower. The mere fact that they allowing us to have such a privilege told me that something was not right. To this day, I don't know how Erik knew it was me but he did. He saved me from, what I later learned, was the gas chamber. He destroyed it, with his amazing gift. Before I even knew what was happening, I was immediately taken out of line and brought into a building, Erik with me. There was a man, Dr. Schmidt, who scolded Erik like a father would a son and asked me who I was. I didn't answer. He asked again, bribing me with chocolate – I hadn't eaten anything for days and it was all I could do not to snatch it out of his hands – and told me that, if I behaved, he would take good care of me. Because I meant something to Erik. But he wasn't the nice man he claimed to be.
The next few years were strange. So long ago, I can hardly remember them. What I do remember is being scared every single day. Most times, I was in a tiny cell with Erik. It was there that he told me what had happened to his family, why they weren't with him. After the Nazis invaded Poland in September of 1941, he and his family fled to Warsaw where they were placed in a concentration camp. While attempting to escaping, his sister Ruth and his father were captured and executed. But it was Schmidt who killed his mother, who shot her right in front of him because he couldn't use his power on command. He explained to me that he had only been able to save me from the gas chamber because he was serving in the Sonderkommando, the squad of Jewish men who were forced to help their Nazi masters run the gas chambers, ovens, and fire pits of the camp. He saw me in line and knew he had to do something. I didn't even recognize him so how he recognized me, I don't know; he said it was my dark red hair but I always suspected he was lying. In turn, I told him what happened to my own parents and we held each other tight as we slept that night. Most times, yes, I was in that cramped little cell and felt safe. Other times, however, I was with Erik in Dr. Schmidt's office. That was the worst place to be. So much pain. Dr. Schmidt, thankfully, hadn't found a use for me other than to keep Erik complacent. But he soon figured out the best way to do that. The medical table was so cold and his tools...it was a nightmare that I couldn't awake from. It was all for Erik. He wanted to push him further, push his ability, see just how much we both could handle.
But it wasn't enough. It was never enough. He wasn't satisfied, he never was. No matter what he did to me or what Erik did, nothing was ever good enough, and he continued to push Erik to do better. Or else.
We knew we had to escape but we had no idea how. Luckily, the Allies took care of that for us. When Auschwitz was being evacuated – while all of the prisoners were being taken out for a mass extermination as the Allies approached – Erik and I escaped together. He was stronger now, thanks to the doctor, and he killed whoever got in our way. Did all of those people Erik killed in our escape deserve to die? Perhaps not, but I don't regret letting him. I had to choose and I chose to live. So we ran.
How we survived the frozen woodlands, I'll never know. I remember Erik managed to light a fire one night and brought us food, though I couldn't stomach it in my debilitated state. For a time, we lived little better than animals yet, somehow, though sick and hungry, we still survived and Erik vowed to always protect me. We wandered south into the Carpathian Mountains where Erik found work in a village and we made new friends, had a chance to restart on the life that was taken so brutally from us. We learned to laugh and our love grew, we learned of true contentment. We stayed there for a time until Erik told me he had to leave. I didn't understand why, I screamed at him, hit him even, but he just grabbed me and told me that he had to go after Dr. Schmidt. Knowing I could nothing to stop him, I made up a small dinner and didn't fight about it again. We slept together that night, for the first time; I was sixteen. When I woke up the next morning, Erik was gone. All that he had left was a necklace, once again, made out of random bits of metal.
But Erik left one other thing that last night: a child. I had a daughter who I named Anya, after Mama, and we stayed in the village for another three years until I too was finally ready to leave. With no word from Erik, I figured he wouldn't return and it was time to leave. If he really wanted to, he could find me; he always found me. So, I moved us eastward into the Soviet Union, hoping to finish my own education as well as start one for Anya. I hoped only for the best possible future for my daughter. We settled in Vinnista, a Ukrainian city, but I soon wished we had stayed in the mountains where we'd been safe. The people there, they looked down at us but I dismissed it as being due to our "country bumpkin" appearance. I had been out shopping for food and left Anya sleeping our room, which we were renting at an inn. It was a foolish and stupid thing to do, I was so damn stupid to think she would be safe. Upon returning, I found the inn on fire. I tried to run inside but the villagers stopped me. I heard Anya screaming in pain and I tried to get free of them, but they restrained me and told me that it was far too dangerous, that the inn would collapse. I didn't care. I struggled and screamed and begged for someone to help my daughter but no one did. I screamed for Erik, but he never appeared.
My daughter died and I left that horrible place.
I didn't bother to try and find Erik, though I wanted nothing more than to be in his arms, desperately so, but I didn't even know how to begin. No, instead, I headed west to the one place I knew I could start over and be far away from all the pain that Germany and Europe as a whole had caused me. I went to America and I've lived here ever since. I'm thirty-three now and, with some rather impressive forgeries on behalf of Georg Odekirk, who I met en route to America, I have always been an American citizen and was born in Baltimore, Maryland – my deceased parents being German immigrants, mostly due to my accent. My name is now Magda Eisenhardt and it is thanks to Georg that I am able to have the life I have now, as a true American, safe and secure, and stronger than I ever was thanks to my training with the CIA. But for all the good that my life is now, I still think about Erik. He is like a phantom that plagues my every thought. I often lay awake at night and wonder where he is, if he found Dr. Schmidt, if he's even still alive and...
...if he is, does he even remember me?
A/N: So that's the opening! I skipped around a lot, I know, but Magda's history is very short. I made up the bit about her parents owning a shop because all that was known about her family was that they were gypsies and her mother's name was Anya. The rest of this came, for the most part, directly from Erik's own history.
The only other part of their history that I changed was the bit about what happened they got to the Carpathian Mountains. In the comics, they got married, then both moved to the Ukraine where little Anya did die in a fire at that inn. It's my opinion that the fire was set by the villagers because Erik's foreman at the construction site he worked at accused him of being thief. It was in this fire that Erik's powers actually first surfaced, not with the necklaces he made Magda or at the gates in Auschwitz. Erik went into a rage and used his power to kill all the men that stood by and allowed Anya to be killed, thus terrifying Magda. She ran away into the woods, Erik chasing after her to come back, but she called him a monster and said that he wasn't the man she'd fallen in love with and he never saw her again. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Erik, she was pregnant with twins – Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Pietro (Quicksilver). She was found and hidden on Wundagore Mountain by another mutant, an evolved cow, Bova Ayshire who acted as her midwife. Sometime later, in a fit of fear and anger, Magda fled into the woods and died from the cold. She thought that Erik would use his powers to erase her memory – because all she knew was that he had power, not what it was exactly – of the twins and taken them from her, etc. However, on a lot of X-Men wikias, she's listed as presumed dead. So who really knows.
Anyway! I hope the changes I've made to Magda meet your approval. I like to think that, had she been included in the film franchise, First Class in particular, this is how she might have been portrayed. Not sure if I'm going to continue this, but I might.
P.S.: Four pages total.