The end is even more depressing than Erik always knew it would be. Charles long since dead, Raven human as he is and still hating him for it. Erik dies alone, penniless. He scarcely realizes anything is wrong before the heart attack is upon him. He only has time to think of Charles one more time before—

He's on the beach, Charles broken and bleeding in his arms, the words I'm sorry…but we do not ringing in his ears.

Now do you see how this could end? Face drawn with pain and streaked with tears, Charles doesn't speak aloud.

Erik looks at him, and he knows what happened. "None of it was real. A whole lifetime…" He's realizing it's all becoming fuzzy. But the horror of it still grips him. As if Charles lying there, injured by his own actions and trembling, isn't enough.

Don't let it happen. It doesn't have to be like that.

He feels so old. In a way, he IS old. So is Charles.

"Your legs…"

A fresh tear, a grimace. That much is real.

Erik smooths back the damp hair. His own cheeks are warm with tears now. I'm so sorry…

This time, it's different.