Wake Up and Smell the Pancakes
Summary: Kinkmeme prompt: In one universe, Erik left Charles. In another, he stayed. So what happens when the two Eriks get switched? "At first, Erik thinks he's dreaming. Then he realizes that this is Charles. Who is not paralyzed. And kissing him."
Rating: K (nothing really bad)
Genre: romance ; angst ; major drama and confusion
Canon Character(s): Charles Xavier/Professor X ; Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto ; Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
OC Character(s): Kali, maybe some other random mutants
Set During: one-two and five-six years after "X-Men: First Class"
Notes: Inspired but not entire compliant with X-Men First Kink Round 8: Magneto wakes up in the world's most comfortable bed to the smell of pancakes. He opens his eyes to see Charles with a tray of breakfast. Upon seeing him awake, Charles straddles him and gives him a series of syrupy tasting kisses. Magneto assumes he is dreaming and goes with it. Downstairs are the former allies he left behind as well as the members of his new organization. There are still tensions and disagreements, but they are handled respectfully through compassion and compromise. This is essentially a united mutant front, operating both a school and working towards the advancement of mutant rights. He and Charles are the leaders of this group and lovers. This place is more than he could have thought to want. He later realizes that this is no dream. It is the world he could've had if he had laid down the missiles and gone home with Charles. He is filled with regret and wishes to stay forever. So, of course, he gets sent back. It is then that he must find a away to right things as much as possible. He lost out on perfection, but damned if he is about to lose the next best thing.
Also inspired by Rift by qikiqtarjuaq and Surrender to Hopeby Macx.
I'm going to switch between the two Eriks' POVs. One is going to be 1963 Erik (the Erik who abandoned Charles on the beach) and the other is going to be the 1967 Erik (who stayed with Charles). Hopefully I can find a better way of distinguishing between the two – if anyone can think of a better way let me know!
Prologue: Five More Minutes Please
~ 1963 Erik Lehnsherr ~
Erik thinks he might be in heaven. If he believed that he could ever deserve to go to heaven, of course. Which means that this is probably a dream. A very, very, very nice dream – Erik won't argue with that – and he's not one to look a gift horse in the mouth considering the pile of unpleasant surprises that have popped up over the past year (surprises like finding out Charles was paralyzed, for instance).
This is why, instead of trying to wake up, Erik keeps himself in a purposely groggy mindset.
He has Charles in his arms. Charles, wonderful lovely sweet Charles, in his arms. A Charles who is still trusts Erik and sleeps with his face tucked against Erik's neck, trusting him to hold the nightmares at bay and never hurt him. A Charles who still indulges in scotch and those ridiculously childishly soft pinstriped pajamas. A Charles who still is not paralyzed, who sleeps with his legs tucked in a ball like a child. The Charles Erik fell so hard for that he is still picking up the pieces of the heart that shattered in Cuba (and personally, he knows it's a lost cause, as the aforementioned telepath absconded from that beach with the largest piece).
Erik thinks he might go cross-eyed, after a few moments, if it 1) possible to do so when dreaming, and 2) well . . . if he wasn't dreaming.
But he'll wake up soon, and this dream is so nice. . .
Usually, if he dreams at all and especially of Charles, it's of Charles's face, contorted in pain as he falls to the beach; Charles's eyes, shimmering with unshed tears and resignation and pain; Charles's voice, ringing over and over in his ears: "She didn't do this, Erik. You did. You did-You did-Youdidyoudid" –
Until he wakes up.
And remembers the beach. Remembers the bullet he now carries with him always in his pocket. Remembers the cold metal helmet he now almost never takes off.
Although, contrary to most beliefs, he does not wear that helmet to keep Charles out because he thinks Charles would, God forbid, take control of Erik or wipe his mind or anything of that nature. (Charles is the most careful with his telepathy around those he loves. Like Raven. Like Erik. He would never take away Erik's free will, just like Erik would never use the metal he can sense in Charles's wheelchair to harm Charles.) He keeps it on because he's hurt Charles so badly, this time, and he just won't be able to deal with if Charles uses his telepathy to tell Erik's he's forgiven. Bad enough that he had to listen to Charles's voice calmly telling him he was forgiven, bad enough he had to look in Charles's eyes and see that the telepath actually meant it. Because some crimes can't be forgiven, no matter what.
This is one of them.
Erik doesn't want to wake up, this time. He, childishly perhaps, never wants to wake up, even though he knows he will.
Charles mutters uneasily in his sleep, his forehead furrowing as he somehow manages to push himself even closer to Erik's chest. He settles pretty quickly when Erik soothes him with a careful kiss to his hair, though, wondering idly at how realistically soft Charles's hair is, how realistically tangible Charles's body feels in his arms.
I wonder, Erik thinks, if you dream of me, Charles. I wonder what you think of me. I wonder if you blame me as you should. I wonder if you might ever blame me enough.
Secretly, he doesn't think Charles ever will – he loves Erik too damn much. And secretly, Erik's glad.
Charles's rejection on the beach broke his heart. His placid forgiveness is cracking Erik's resolve. But if Charles blamed him, hated him – Erik thinks he might just break Erik's mind then too, without even needing to use his telepathy.
Erik loves him too damn much too.
Charles stirs suddenly. "Erik, for God's sake, it is four in the morning," he says grumpily, his voice sleep-rough and childishly grumpy. "Whatever it is you are thinking about – and no, I don't know what it is – it is too early in the bloody morning for it. Go back to sleep."
"Bossy, aren't you," Erik manages to reply after a bit, because, God, it sounds exactly like Charles sounded, once.
Charles huffs indignantly. Go to sleep, Erik, he murmurs in Erik's mind, and with a soft breeze, Erik finds his worries and woolgathering abruptly fifty thousand miles away and terribly unimportant at this time. His body relaxes. No need to fuss – Charles is here, safe, asleep – Erik can deal with these problems another time, Charles will help – he just needs to go back to sleep and sleep and sleep . . .
Erik falls asleep before he realizes that he went to bed wearing the helmet, and shouldn't be able to hear Charles's thoughts.
~ 1967 Erik Lehnsherr ~
Erik is seriously reconsidering having these late night "teacher conferences" with Charles in the study room. His head hurts from all that wine and feels like it's five pounds heavier, and something is wrong with his nose because it is telling him that there is sea water nearby, and something is just wrong in general, because he can't feel his bond with Charles in his head and there is no warm body tucked beside him.
Either he drank way too much wine last night (and now he winces, because Charles drank way more and he doesn't particularly like dealing with a hung-over and projecting telepath) or someone put something that is probably illegal into said wine (which also doesn't bode well for a telepath whose projection range grows by at least a hundred bloody miles every year).
(Yes, he uses "bloody" and he completely blames Charles, because with the bond in the back of his head, Charles's Britishness is leaking through and Erik has noticed that he's drinking a hell of a lot more tea than he used to.)
Someone bangs on his door and he groans. God, it is way too early in the morning to deal with another explosion. Seriously, can't Hank or Alex or Sean take care of three kids that are only about ten years old? Without barging in on Charles and Erik and sheepishly explaining about yet another incident involving Jean's telekinesis, Ororo's tendency to cause rainstorms indoors, or Scott's plasma blasts?
No. Apparently not. And once Erik wakes up, he's up – he won't be falling back asleep unless Charles plants a telepathic suggestion in his mind or until he falls back into bed with said telepath sometime late tonight.
Ah. Correction. This is Raven. And she's using his codename, which means that 1) the CIA or the American government has done something exceptionally stupid about mutants requiring him to go glare them into submission or 2) Azazel is refusing to speak in English again and Erik is needed to play translator or snap at him in Russian for something. (Emma refuses to get involved when Raven and Azazel fight because she claims it's hilarious, and Charles studiously avoids his sister when she's like this because, in his words, "she's like a bloody valkyrie, this is insane, I refuse to get involved in my sister's love spats!")
So the task falls to Erik, who usually ends up despising Azazel's mutation because it means that he can't simply shove Raven and Azazel in the bunker and weld the door shut to have them fight it out.
(Of course, it isn't like Erik and Charles are that easy to lock in a room when they argue either. But that's a story for another time.)
"What is it this time, Raven?" he groans in the general direction of the doorway.
He finally consents to sit up. It sounds urgent. Or maybe he's just still really hung-over. He leans over automatically to the space beside him and presses a kiss to Charles's hair – or shoulder, as he misses and accidentally kisses something he would wager is more like Charles's pajamas than his hair, but it's the same sentiment – before he stumbles towards the door, boycotting opening his eyes and so banging his toes on various furniture items as he uses his mutation to sense his way to the door.
"What?" he says, rubbing at his eyes.
Then he very nearly bites his own tongue off.
Raven is naked. Like, no clothes at all. No even the decency of using her mutation to put on clothes over her scaly form. He has no problem with said scaly form, but Charles is squeamish about seeing Raven naked ("She's my sister, Erik, I refuse to see her walking around naked – " "She's already seen you naked, Charles, it's not like she's never walked in on us before – " "That – Erik – That's not the point, Erik!") and, due to the bond in the back of his head, by default now Erik is too. So Raven usually consents to at least wear a shirt and short-shorts or a short skirt.
"Raven, where are your clothes?" he says, looking upward.
She gives him the stink-eye. "My name is Mystique, Magneto, and I haven't worn clothes for a year – why are you getting squeamish about this now?"
Erik splutters. He sure as hell did not pull a Sleeping Beauty and sleep for longer than one night, because Charles is a telepath and would have woken him up after perhaps a day because Charles can do that stuff. He thinks. Charles can do a lot of stuff Erik doesn't prefer to think about, because only another telepath can comprehend it and it usually gives Erik a gigantic headache that Emma laughs at him for.
"Raven – Mystique," he revises when she glares at him, "please, for your brother's sake, put some clothes on – you know I hate dealing with Charles when he's sulking; he gives the entire damn house a headache when that happens."
Mystique blinks at him, her rage dissipating. "Did you hit your head or something, Magneto?"
Erik rubs at his eyes and God his head feels heavy. Maybe he did hit his head or something. He's going to have to get Charles to take away this hangover if he is supposed to function properly today. Everything is just not making sense.
"Possibly. Your brother decided to break out his father's old wine collection," Erik says mournfully. "So my apologies if he broadcasts his hangover all over. . . Can you ask Emma to help us at breakfast?"
Mystique blinks again. "Er, Magneto. . . What the hell is wrong with you?"
Erik tries to scratch at his head, but his fingers slip off some shiny metal casing that curves under his chin. He scowls and scratches harder, but no, whatever it is, it won't come off.
"Magneto, you're wearing a helmet. Which is not conducive to scratching your head."
Erik's hand stills. Why would he wear a helmet? He never wears a helmet, not anywhere, his control over motorcycles is strong enough that he'd never crash and helmets make Charles uneasy because they remind him of Shaw's ugly thing.
He pulls it off his head.
He knows this helmet. It's got that low-level hum of telepathic-resistance alloy that Erik knows all too well and wishes he didn't. But now it's some God awful scarlet color that makes his eyes water.
"Okay, which kid found it and why did they decide to put it on my head?" Erik snaps.
Charles hates this helmet – he'd confessed, once, that when Erik put it on it was like Erik had died. And Erik hates being cut off from Charles, no matter how infrequently or brief it is. Funny, he thought that he'd told Hank in no uncertain terms to study it (only to find out how to neutralize it) and then have Scott or Alex or someone destroy it, because he hates the panicked look in Charles's eyes when he sees it.
But more importantly, Erik wonders why Charles didn't notice Erik vanishing from his telepathic map. Or why they didn't notice someone slipping into their bedroom.
Mystique stares, jaw all the way to the floor. "Erik, what are you doing?" she hisses. "Emma is right downstairs, do you know how vulnerable you are without that – "
Erik tosses the helmet off to a corner, still scowling. He's learned from Charles some better ways to keep other telepaths out and his thoughts to himself, for one, and for another, Charles doesn't take kindly to anyone else messing with Erik's mind and Charles is stronger than Emma telepathy-wise, so Erik's not too concerned about Emma trying anything.
"Charles would kick her out, and you know it. Raven, why do you keep calling me Magneto? What's Azazel done this time?"
Erik groans. It is way too early in the morning for this. He waves a hand and shuts the door in her face. She is older than she looks due to her mutation, she has a relatively good head on her shoulders, she can deal with whatever is going on for at least another few hours while Erik wakes up properly. Right now, he wants a bed, sleep, and Charles. So he stumbles back to the bed, tripping over some obnoxious maroon cloak thing on the chair, and falls into bed with a relieved sigh.
Erik falls asleep before he realizes that he was the one to destroy that helmet, and that he can't feel his bond with Charles in the back of his mind.
A/N: Well, what do you think?