Chapter Four: Progeny
December 22nd, 1973-2:54 AM
"Hey. …I woke you."
"…You did, Darling, you did. And to what do I owe the REM-interruption? This isn't the red phone, so I'm assuming I don't have to wake the troops-"
"Oh dear. Erik, you shouldn't hold your breath like that, you're already anemic and under such stress-"
"I'm a father."
"…Ah, w-…excuse me?"
"I hired a new Doctor. You're always telling me I need a better infirmary. 'S good for morale. She's an American. Big hair and a big mouth and a flashy degree from one of these fellowship programs, she and Emma get along famously. She can see through people. Through their bodies. She can see everything-"
"Erik. Erik you're hyperventilating."
"What does that word-…? Never mind. It doesn't matter."
"It does. You need to slow down."
"We were stealing intel. A medical research facility in the Everglades. I brought her along, her and Pietro-"
"Pietro…the fast one. The one with the white hair."
"Yes your little Witch. They've been with you for a while now. She in particular runs the CIA ragged with her near-misses and the hexes…Erik what's that noise?"
"Nothing…it doesn't matter…"
"Christ, are you…Erik please try to breathe through your nose, then out through your mouth, if you keep retching like that you'll pass out."
"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND."
"…I have the notion that I rather do. Or will. But you need to calm. Down. One word at a time. One breath at a time, my friend."
"She never told me. She never told me, Charles…gone like all that smoke and I was alone. And where did she go? What kind of life did they have before…"
"Are you talking about Magda?"
"Yes…no…not anymore; there were brambles. In the Everglades. Coated with some sort of poison. We got in and out but it was a close thing, we needed blood work and Keshia-"
"Is that your X-ray gifted Doctor?"
"What? Yeah…Keshia took our samples and she did something…she explained it to me but I don't-…HL-"
"She ran your human leukocyte antigens? Why would she do that, did you ask her to do that?"
"She said s-she wanted to practice. Flashy, I told you…brand new…it's new science but she says she would bet her life on it. Charles I almost made her an honest woman on that one, I thought she was trying to play me somehow. But she stood her ground…They're mine…they're both mine and the timing's right and...and-"
"And Wanda, especially, is like looking in a mirror, yes. Her mind works like yours too. I noticed that the first time we fought her."
"There there now. Shhhh. Erik...oh Erik this is no time for tears. This is a joyful day. They're everything you could hope for in children."
"They're...not children. They never got to be children. They're warriors, they're jaded feral people Charles, and they were better off orphans because I'm a shit father, I always was-"
"As ever, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Erik...how I felt when you left is an old song, but it hurt them all. It hurt them deeply, and it could only have cut as deep as it did because you meant something to them. Sean and Alex and Hank...they'll never fully forgive you because they looked up to you, after only a few days they were like little ducklings...don't you remember, how they would follow us around?"
"I...d-destroy...everything that I touch..."
"Shhhhh. Shhh you don't. You don't, Erik...Jean is positively enamored. She asks about you all the time. Storm, Polaris...they all miss you, I feel it. Believe me-they look forward to our truces almost as much as...you're the love of my life, Erik. Despite everything, what you made in my heart still stands. It always will. And you're a bloody fantastic father. Present tense. You've been fathering those two since they found you. Maybe...on some level, they already knew."
"...I've made them...kill...they've killed for me."
"I've killed for you. Does that make me feral? Broken?"
"That was different...Genosha...war...you chose-"
"And do you imagine for one second, Darling, that they do not freely choose every day to stay with you? Are you such a tyrant that you demand it? They love you, Erik. They're made of the same stuff and they relish it. Is it really so hard to believe?"
"Then you're perfectly sensible, and welcome to parenthood, while I'm at it. Are you in the area, by any chance? I have cigars and brandy for just this sort of occasion..."
"I'm not. I could be. Charles...can I-?"
"I'll be on the third floor. But you have to tell them tomorrow."
"And you...have to tell me what to say."