A/N: THIS IS DARK.

Warnings: slight language, heavily implied torture/child abuse/sexual abuse, spastic German, heavy on italics, confusing-ness, angst. Could be Erik/Charles. Set during The Infamous Mutant Road Trip. Title comes from 'Turn the Lights On' by Adam Pascal. (The full line is awesome; "Wake me from the chill that kills the heart, I know you'll understand.")

Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men.


"Hallo, kleiner Erik Lehnsherr. Wir werden etwas Spaß zu haben heute."

Terror shoots through Erik like lightning, roils and bursts in his belly like cold thunder. Sweat breaks on his forehead, and he's not an inch from hysteria. Herr Doktor – Schmidt – hovers over him with a horrible smile. That smile reminds Erik of the cat who caught the canary – Erik feels weak, weak like a baby bird (but with so much potential, Schmidt would say), and Herr Doktor is all-powerful here . . .

"Nein, Herr Doktor, bitte, bitte . . . nein . . ." Erik knows his pleas fall on deaf ears. Herr Doktor just smiles, lifts something shiny and steel. Erik doesn't know what it is or what it does, but he's surely about to find out.

"Es wird bald vorbei sein." It will be over soon. He lies . . . Erik already knows that this will not be done soon.

"Bitte! Bitte, nein!"

Erik isn't aware that he's dreaming until Charles intrudes.

"Please . . . no . . ."

Herr Doktor doesn't react, but little Erik Lehnsherr's gaze drifts to the corner of the nightmare-room (the room whose every contour he still remembers). Crouching there is a boy, a boy who is dressed in neat khaki pants, a white collared shirt, a vest, and shiny brown shoes. He's cowering, trembling, and begging for mercy, just as Erik is. And abruptly, everything begins to change. The room is not Herr Doktor's den of torture, but instead a dimly lit study of some sort.

A man is there – a man Erik doesn't know. He's tall, strong, and has a deep booming voice. He's brandishing a belt. He lurches forward, grabs the boy by the collar of his pristine white shirt. The boy screams and tries to fight, tries to cover his face, but that isn't what the man is going for – the man turns the child around, yanks up his shirt and vest and – the belt smacks hard against innocent white flesh. Erik feels the blow almost as if it were his own body being beaten.

The boy – Charles, his subconscious notes – lets out a scream from behind a hand with each blow. He's biting hard onto his palm, no longer fighting – just trying not to make any noise. He's failing.

"Please! Please – !"

The dreams collide in a hellish, feverish collage – one moment, Erik is on a cold metal table, and there is a knife above him, poised to cut – then he is being held in place, choked by the stiff collar of his shirt, and each blow jerks his entire thin body – then a new nightmare enters, a tall boy who someone's mind names Cain, a boy who smacks him (them) hard, forces his legs apart, rips open his pants, shoving and snarling like a Nazi's hound –

Erik is all at once starving and tortured, beaten and violated, and he's screaming with fury and pain and fear – Charles isn't screaming, but he's calling out with his mind, begging for mercy and sobbing – and then suddenly – it is over.

Erik jerks up and forward, and nearly falls off the bed. The room is dark, and for a second, he has no idea where he is. He hears quick breathing nearby, and twitches, head turning towards the noise. "Was war das – ?" he grits out, before it all hits him.

Charles is staring at him in the darkness, still lying in his respective bed. They are in a hotel room somewhere – somewhere in America, that much he knows, but Erik can't think of the city at this particular moment. Charles's big blue eyes and dark hair stick out against his pale face, illuminated only by the pure light of the moon.

"What the fuck was that?" Erik demands.

"I'm sorry," Charles says. He sounds like he's still trying to get a hold of himself. "I think I accidentally linked our dreams. Blended them, really."

"I'll say you fucking did," Erik says. He reaches up to wipe the cool, sticky sweat from his brow. "I – Charles, who – what . . ."

"I'm sorry," Charles repeats quietly. To Erik's surprise, he rolls over in bed, so that his back is to Erik. His tone, words, and posture all scream: this conversation is over. We will pretend this never happened.

Erik stiffly lies back down on the bed, forcing his gaze away from Charles. He stares at the ceiling. He longs to ask questions – who was that man, who was that boy, why did they do that to you – and he longs to explain – he tortured me, Charles, and with every breath I take, I remember it all and it destroys me – but he doesn't. He won't ask questions, because he doesn't need any more nightmares, and he won't tell, because Charles is pretending not to already know.

Understood, he mentally shouts at Charles, projecting as best he can. This never happened. I never saw anything and neither did you.

Charles doesn't respond, and Erik tries not to think anything else. His thoughts fester in the darkness, sick and free, smiling horribly at him – since when could thoughts smile – Herr Doktor –

Erik.

Oh. He'd fallen asleep again. "I'm alright."

No, I'm not, he thinks.

I know, Charles whispers mentally. Neither am I.

Silence comes once more. Erik doesn't fall asleep again for the rest of the night, and he feels no comfort in the knowledge that Charles doesn't, either.


A few translations, as obtained from Google Translate:

"Hallo, kleiner Erik Lehnsherr. Wir werden etwas Spaß zu haben heute." -

"Hello, little Erik Lehnsherr. We'll have some fun today."

"Was war das"

- "What was that"

"Bitte", "nein"

- "please", "no"

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