Prologue

Fear

It was the raw emotion everyone on that beach projected as a myriad of missiles targeting them was launched from the Soviet and American military fleets. Charles wasn't unaccustomed to fear. He had felt his share and above of that devastating emotion up to this point in his life. He was however inexperienced in dealing with the amount of raw emotional power that surged off the other mutants.

It felt like his mind was being assaulted. His breathing becoming increasingly irregular with every new wave of panic that hit him.

Ohholymotherofgodmakeitstop

Idon'twannadiepleasedon'tkilluswedidnothingwrong

Helpussomeonethisisn'trightdon'tletusdie

Professoryou'vegottomakethemstop

Charlesstopthempleaseyou'vegottodothis

Charles' knees was shaking and his mouth drying up. His powers were already unstable and attempting to interfere with so many moving objects could possibly ruin him or even make their current situation worse.

How could I possibly make this worse? Everyone on this beach is going to die if I don't act soon!

Charles raised two fingers and pressed them to his temple forcing himself to action. Long ago, before the CIA's mutant division was set up, Charles discovered that his powers was not limited to the realm of the mind.

At first he wasn't quite sure what was happening as objects around him suddenly grew a tendency to appear and disappear at random. It wasn't until the pocket watch he was looking for floated through thin air towards him that he realised his second ability. He had telekinesis.

Raven had been thrilled but Charles quickly noticed oddities in his newly awakened power. Sudden spurts of intense telepathic and psychokinetic energy happened in an alarmingly increasing amount and had a disposition to be harmful to objects or people standing in it's way.

The power he possessed was more than he had previously imagined, which should have exited him if it wasn't for the fact that the displays of indisputable lack of control was harming those around him. As a result of both fear and shame Charles decided to seal of the raw part of his power until he had the time and energy to master his true potential.

This meant no more telekinesis. Not until now.

As Charles felt that coin tear through Shaw's brain tissue his own mind went into overdrive. The terror. The slow torture. The nausea. The repulsion. The- oh god the pain.

Something broke inside of him.

Charles could feel it. His powers were restless and growing more and more unstable. The way the minds of the mutants, his friends, were affecting him with a force tenfold of what it used to be was proof enough. Their pain, worry, panic and horror making him want nothing more than to curl up and shut them all out.

But he would not resign to be weak.

Not now.

Not when his friends, his family counted on him.

But as Charles searched for the missiles with his mind that numbing feeling grabbed a hold of his spine.

Fear.

What if he failed?

He could not do it.

Attempting to move a tea tray only to have it explode within five seconds of grasping it with his mind was one thing. Attempting to stop numerous of moving missiles and not have them harm anyone standing on this beach was a different, more delicate subject.

He-.. He couldn't do it.

Charles let his hand fall to his side and opened his eyes to stare straight into the inevitable death coming for him and his mutant friends, his family, his reason for existence.

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A small smile graced his lips as Charles tried to regain control over his heartbeats.

Of course Erik wouldn't let them die.

The man had recently pulled a massive submarine from the ocean. God bless him for still having the strength to stop all those missiles.

Pride swelled inside of him and Charles reached out with his own mind for that of his friend to tell Erik how amazing Charles thought he was.

Silence.

Realization.

Shaw's helmet.

Not trusted.

Charles' smile died on his lips and his chest tightened as a movement caught his eyes.

The missiles were changing direction.

"Erik..." his voice weak and lacking in the confidence it used to have when speaking to his friend, "You said it yourself – We are the better men."

Still changing direction.

"This is the time to prove it."

New position locked. Ready to fire back towards all those people who were just doing their job. Yes, maybe not the most valid of arguments but Charles understood their confusion. He could feel it ever so faintly over the distance.

Confusion. Fear. Surprise. Awe. Remorse. Contempt. Guilt.

The emotions of the people on board was wide and conflicted, confirming to Charles that the decision to fire was taken too quickly and didn't go well with everyone on duty.

He had to stop Erik.

"There are thousands of men on those ships. Good, honest, innocent men. They're just following orders."

Cold, mind-numbing silence.

Oh no-

Charles could see what Erik was thinking from watching the emotions flash across the other man's face and he knew the words Erik was going to say before he voiced them.

"I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again."

A flick of his hand and Erik sealed all those people's fate.

"Erik release them!"

No response.

Panic.

This can't be happening.

All those people. Their fear, their pain, it was all becoming too much for the telepath as he charged onto his friend to stop him from doing something reckless.

Unnecessary deaths, unjustified fear, unlimited pain. It had to stop. It had to stop now. If Charles only could get his hands on that helmet. He never wanted to take hold of Erik's mind, but desperate times calls for desperate measures. If that was what it took for Erik to realize that he could not revenge one death with another then so be it.

Charles was so engorged in his quest to stop his best-friend, his partner and someone he had seen as family that he almost missed the quiet 'I don't want to hurt you, don't make me'. The elbow to his temple on the other hand was something he wished had missed.

Faintly Charles could sense a weight straddling him, keeping him locked in place but the pain to his head was breaking him. His mental barriers was collapsing, his powers expanding and getting more and more out of control.

If he only had the time to get them in place.

But time was something he most definitely didn't have.

Charles reached towards the helmet again. A little bit more, if he only could reach a little bit further he'd be able to save them. Most importantly - he'd be able to save Erik.

"Erik! Stop!" His voice cracked with heart-ache and despair. Charles didn't know where his strength came from any more. The suffocating weight of Erik straddling him and the constant ringing in his ears was driving him insane. He needed silence from all this madness to be able to complete his task – to be able to save them all.

As if to answer his unvoiced prayer a clenched fist collided with his head and made everything quiet.

Darkness.

Warm blood seeping from his head and sticking to his sweat soaked hair.

The last mental strength Charles had left gave up and the barriers he had put in place months before started to crumble .His world turning into a blurry mess and spinning colours.

Finally.

A gun went off somewhere in the distance and the weight keeping him down was lifted. Charles rolled over to his stomach and tried to put his weight on his elbows and knees as a long since forgotten convulsion ran through his body, making him spit out a mouthful of blood and saliva on the sand underneath him.

As Charles' world started to settle he raised his head to watch the missiles still heading straight for the two fleets by the embargo line.

He still had time.

But it was short.

In the corner of his eyes he could see Moria keeping Erik occupied. This was his chance.

Crawling on all fours Charles made his way to the water. By some supernatural miracle or as an effect of his newly released powers Charles managed to force himself up on two feet.

He heard screaming behind him but didn't dare look back as whatever was happening most probably would keep him from doing the right thing.

Charles raised his fingers and pressed them against his temple.

Yes. Set me free Charles, let me help you.

And Charles did.

He erased all trace of his previous mental barriers and quickly searched for the part of his brain where his power was being stored. Charles had barely touched it before every ounce of power he had locked up inside of him was pouring out in waves. The missiles were easily located and an uncharacteristic vile smirk dressed Charles' handsome features.

Free.

His otherwise blue eyes were turning dark and a twisted shadow covered his face. The water he once stood in was now evading his legs and smaller objects close to him was shaking as his power engulfed them.

Breathing in air as if for the first time Charles heard nothing but his own heartbeat and that sickening voice in his head.

Free.

With a cold chuckle he released a strong wave of raw psychokinetic energy that reached the missiles within seconds and obliterated them even faster. Charles viewed the destruction he had caused with eyes darker than hell itself and a satisfied grin.

The explosions, the fire, the smoke.

Beautiful.

Never before had he felt this pleased with his own ability. The power still flowed through him. He could feel it in every fibre of his body. And god did it feel good.

Not only did the fact that he had just used his telekinesis and not messed anything up make him feel better, but his psychic ability too. It had grown as that first wave of power exploded from him and he could sense it wrap as a blanket around all the mutants close to him.

Well.

All but one.

Erik.

Erik still wore that helmet. He still didn't trust him enough to remove it. Charles lowered his gaze from the two unharmed fleets and found himself watching his hands clench into fists before him.

Not trusted.

But things had changed now, right? He had stopped the war, or at least postponed it, and they could have peace. He had a power unlike before. This could prove how great he was. That they didn't need to worry about the humans any more. Would Erik listen to him? Charles frowned and felt his heart clench at the thought of his friend dismissing him like before. But if that was the case he could just as easily use his power to make that helmet float right off Erik's head and then show him, right?

What?

Charles staggered back in shock. What was he thinking? He couldn't- wouldn't do that. Not to anybody and especially not to Erik.

No, no, no. We can do this. We can show them, all of them, just how strong we are!

There was something wrong. He shouldn't have dropped the barriers that quick. Yes he had saved all those people but what was going on inside of him? Why did it feel like his mind was tainted and how come he didn't feel secure in his own head?

Charles don't-

He had to lock up his powers again. Until he had everything figured out.

NO!

Flames erupted inside his head and a pain he had never endured before ripped through his mind. Charles gripped his head in agony and barely felt it when his body made impact with the beach beneath him.

The only thing that he could think of was the fire scorching him to insanity from within.

You are NOT locking me up again!

Another eruption of flames made Charles arch of the ground in pain.

YOU HEAR ME? NOT AGAIN!

As pushed further by an ungodly roar that echoed inside of his mind the flames became more intense. It felt like his mind was being ravaged from within and there was no escape. The fire was everywhere. It tore at his brain, ferociously slicing and cutting him in pieces, and he could sense it clawing right through his skull.

Every shot of pain, every new wave of torture, ripped holes in his control and sent his mutant powers bursting out in the open.

Please make it stop.

His throat was dry from screaming and from his eyes closed shut in pain a never-ending stream of tears made their way down his face. Any attempt at sealing off some of his power resulted in a growth of intensity of his torture.

This isn't going to stop. I'm free now Charles, and I intend to stay that way.

Charles felt his toes curl as his body tensed up in a particular savage convulsion. He screamed until his lungs gave out. His body was trembling with distress and he was so tired of clenching every muscle in his body to withstand the torture he was being subjected to.

Each second that passed was a second closer to letting his power tear through his skin and destroy ever last molecule of him. Urged by a sudden serene presence Charles did the only thing he could to numb his pain. As the world around him turned dark one phrase, imaginary or otherwise, kept repeating itself in his head.

"Calm your mind Charles!"