Erik had been naturally drawn to Charles. He was brilliant and understanding, if a bit naïve. He could see the good in people; he just miscalculated their ability to access it. Charles brought out the best in him, helped him find the center that would help him conquer the world. Yet Charles could not follow him into the darkness. He knew he could not go forward with it with Charles in his mind.
But when he slept without the helmet, he felt Charles presence. He was only a whisper of a touch on his slumbering mind. It wasn't intrusive, never once attempted to break the surface of his mind. It was just there, as if to check up on him.
One night, Erik got bold. He did all he could to reach back just out of curiosity, and found himself out on the lawns of Charles' estate, in the sunshine. His hand outstretched and clutching the hand of a very surprised looking Charles.
"Erik?" Charles looked perplexed. "You were not here a second ago."
"But you were here." He tapped his temple and Charles flushed.
There was a silence, in which Erik realized he still held Charles' hand. He didn't want to let it go. Charles squeezed it warmly before he could pull it away, "I have missed you, my friend."
"It has been a long time since we were friends, Charles."
"Never. It has been true every moment since we met. I have never stopped caring for you."
"Is that why you interrupt my sleep?"
"I- I'm sorry. When I sleep, my mind-"
"Searches for mine?"
Charles closed his eyes as if those words cut him. "I can't control it. After all this time, you… You tempt me, still."
Erik raised an eyebrow, "It pains you."
Charles laughed a little. "You know it does. Reading your mind became second nature. I knew it as well as I knew my own."
"It is as seeing old friends always is. They have changed but somehow-" He squeezed the hand he still held as if in awe. "You still fit right where you have been missing in my mind."
"If I let go of your hand?"
"The connection will be lost." Charles' voice wavered at that. "There is so much good in you even now. But you… You like to start fires and watch them burn. It will only destroy you in the end. I hope I'm not around when it does."
"Sorry to tell you this, but you'll probably out live me by a hundred years."
Charles laughed, looking uncertain. "I didn't mean it would kill you. It will change you. The day you'll be a stranger to me? It will kill me." Charles looked at him as if he already saw it. He was watching the city burn and was powerless to stop the blaze. "I've always been in your mind. Would you like to see into mine? There is something I'd like you to see."
Erik flinched, "What will I find there but disappointment?"
"There is far more than I could ever explain. If you'll allow I'll show you the way." He nodded to the mansion.
"I allow." He wanted to see what went on behind those eyes more than anything. Still holding his hand, Charles led him to the doors. "Has anyone not a telepath been in your head?"
He looked as if he were about to lie but he changed his mind. "No."
They reached the doors. Charles squeezed his hand and opened them wide.
Erik was bathed in candlelight, warm and shining. A wave of beautiful, pure emotion washed over him, overwhelming his senses, a rush of bliss. Moments between himself and Charles flashed before him and within him. He ached from inside himself, answering its call. He found the source of the symphony; himself in a workout suit smiling with a satellite dish off in the distance. It brought up the emotion he'd been trying so hard to bury inside himself. "This is inside you?"
It is the brightest corner of my memory. You were magnificent.
Suddenly it all swirled away into doubt and hurt and pain. He felt his name echo through an endless abyss. But still the ache remained. Nothing concrete held Erik this time. He floated deeper. "Charles?"
I was so happy, Erik. You made me so unbelievably happy.
"What is this? Where did it go?"
I hold onto who you were in that moment. I hold it close to my heart.
"Charles, I never meant to cause you pain."
Suddenly they were on a completely black beach and he was staring at himself turning those missiles around.
You are the light and the darkness. Even in this dark horrible place within me you glow.
They were in Charles sitting room across from each other. Charles was wiping away tears. His face was wet too.
"Charles." He stood knocking the chess board to the floor but Charles held up his free hand, stopping him from the embrace he knew was coming.
"Don't. Don't comfort me. Don't act like you can be what I need you to be. I felt it in you. My love for you echoing back from a place I hadn't seen before. I just wanted you to understand… But I fear now it will be harder than ever to let you go." He smiled but it didn't reach his eyes the way it use too.
"I'm sorry, Charles."
"I'm not." His old friend stood up, cupping his face in his hands. He whispered as he leaned in, "after everything you're still stunning." When their lips met the light was back, but instead of the joy there was sadness. Erik kissed him for all he was worth, clumsy and hungry. All that adoration he didn't deserve made him ache. It lasted an eternity before Charles pulled away. "I forget this isn't just a dream. It can't progress the way it usually does."
Erik swallowed hard. He tried to smirk but it was too soft and sad. "Why not?"
Charles hand stroked his cheek. "Because when I wake up you will not be here. And that will only hurt us both… I haven't changed my mind and neither have you."
"But-" He was right. Something damaged in him looked at Charles and saw a weakness, instead of all the strength he could have. The kind of strength good men had. Not power, but the strength to handle whatever the world threw at him.
"It is too late. It was too late before we even met." The grip Charles had on his hand loosened and the world around them disolved.
Erik awoke in his room, alone. It had been all in his mind but he could swear the taste of Charles lips lingered on his tongue.
A/N: So I wrote this the day after the movie came out and it's been sitting in my fanfiction folder on my old laptop. I hope you enjoyed it.