Dress Your Family
a/n: 1/7/13 This is actually a fill for a prompt I did a couple of years back that I'm continuing now. This is probably the first in a series of updates including my other stories that I've *ducks* neglected for a really long time. I'm soo sorry about that, guys, but I'm beginning to gain some of my inspiration back and I've had a really long winter break after my first college semester. Anyhow, if you followed me as queen_subtle on livejournal these updates probably won't be new, but I should have some new posts up soon, seeing as I've finally figured out some key elements of the plot. So hurray for that! And I sincerely hope you guys like this little smidgem! I've shortened the prompt so as not to give too many spoilers!
Prompt: Charles gives birth to Wanda and Pietro, prompting Erik to abduct them post-divorce. Because of his disability, Erik is incredibly over-protective of him, and the twins follow their father's example.
"Ooooh, how about this one, mum?" Wanda exhaled excitedly as she snatched a dress from the rack of their seemingly endless closet. "Daddy will really love this one. I can just see his face when he sees you!"
Charles gave a sigh as he looked at his beaming and giggling daughter...and the dress she had picked out.
He wouldn't exactly all it trashy-he didn't want to hold the girl to such a low standard-but yet...
He was saved from further comment by the soft snort of his son, who gave him a sympathetic look from where he stood by the window. Pietro's glance pretty much summed up how he felt right about now-mortified.
"Can't you get mum something that doesn't make him look like he's supposed to be walking the streets at 3 in the morning?" he said with an exasperated sigh.
"Pietro," Charles found himself scolding instinctively despite silently agreeing with him. "Please, do not use such language."
"But it's true." the boy persisted. "She always does this. You should see how she dresses when she's out with her friends. I won't have her dressing you like that."
"Excuse me?" Wanda's voice was acidic. "Dress him like what, precisely?"
"You heard me." her twin snapped, standing his ground. "How do you think father would feel?"
"He'd love it on him of course!"
"He'd love everyone looking at him like he's-like he's some-some(he grasped for the word, before giving a quick and nervous glance at Charles) some common whore? Think for a second of how any of the guards sees him in this?"
"Do you not trust him enough that he would allow people that would even glance at him like that?"
Charles exhaled slowly. He knew that once the two started going, it would take them forever to stop. Glancing out the window of their mansion, he slowly counted the falling leaves as the wind scattered them across the grounds.
Eventually, when they saw the way he withdrew into himself, the two quieted down, and Wanda, giving a small pout at seeing the time, thrust the dress back into the closet.
"We'll see what daddy thinks when he comes back." she said in a huff, glaring daggers at her brother.
Can't she see how she's stressing him?
Charles heard his son's thoughts, cutting through his chest like ice, and he felt himself flush.
They were both projecting it-that fierce protectiveness they'd inherited from their father, Wanda wanting him to be able to keep his father happy, wanting to make sure that she kept her family together, and Pietro wanting to shield him from anything he could see as a threat. It pained him, smothered him with guilt at the fact that this was the only thing they ever really argued about.
He knew that the two of them meant well...but sometimes, he just wished...
Wanda let out a horrified yelp, slapping a palm against her head.
"Late again, dear?" Charles asked her softly and she gave a hurried nod as she began snatching things from the closet, and readying herself.
As she went out, she bent down and gave him a rushed kiss on the cheek and gave her brother a significant look, before reciting what had become their mantra ever since they were small children.
"Keep him safe." she says, and hurries out.
Pietro helps him choose the rest of his clothes, noncommittally giving him a much more conservative dress, one that covers his back and goes just past his legs. It's more of a homemaker's dress and though Charles will always miss his suits and ties, he finds this at least, acceptable.
The teen fixes him breakfast, and chats with him about the little things and laughs jokingly that he's glad it happens to be this day he's missing class-he'd had a test he wasn't ready for today. Not like Dad didn't have things arranged with the principal already. He's never gotten anything less than exemplary grades anyway.
"It's cuz I'm such a quick thinker." he blandly jokes, giving the telepathy a half-grin as he peels oranges.
Charles will always find himself intrigued at how different Pietro is when he's at home. In school, he's rowdy, loud, a bit of a smart-aleck and...Charles doesn't want to go so far but-a bit of a troublemaker to be honest.
He is nothing like how he is now-quiet, caring, tuned in to just the slightest cause of concern. He is Charles' little boy, his first born(by two minutes!, he can hear a seven-year old Wanda scream in earnest, and the thought makes him smile) and while Wanda more of a daddy's girl, her father's little Scarlet Witch, Pietro on the other hand, can only be called-and he flinches just the slightest bit at the term-a mama's boy.
"You're not still thinking about it, are you?" Pietro has stopped mid-peel, his eyes looking him over in worry.
"Ah, your sister's taste in dress, has always been but a minor fright to me, I'm afraid." Charles said, giving an offhanded gesture, and the tiniest of smiles.
"You know that isn't what I mean." his tone has none of the levity and joyfulness it had less than a few minutes ago, and Charles knows he must of heard he and Erik arguing last night. He feels his lips slide into the slightest frown. He says nothing, not knowing what to say, his eyes drifting towards the window once more. Beyond the fields of grass and the orchard, he can see the stone walls jutting out on the horizon.
"He only does it to protect you!" the boy insists, his voice suddenly stern, and Charles feels that embarrassment gnawing at him again, that it is he that is the child, and not the other way around. Erik has given them that much authority nowadays, now that they are old enough that are even attending school alongside other mutants, mutants at the school that Erik founded in his name.
"He knows how I feel about the attacks," he replies, his tone reserved, still trying to hold on to the small sense that he is somehow protecting his son from the worst of the outside world. "He knows how...it isn't right. It was unprovoked."
"How many times had Stryker preached to destroy people like us? How long has he been preaching that hate speech? Do you not remember how he hurt your own sister?" Pietro counters, his voice rising almost hysterically, before he lowers it, ashamed, as he sees the hurt look on Charles' face.
"Please, don't talk like that. It isn't fair."
Pietro's voice softens and he lays an orange-juice stained hand on his. "I'm sorry. But it's true. It's why we all have to protect you." His voice takes on that cocky tone once more. "Why do you think we risk our 'precious' education?"
"And take so much time from school?" Charles says, mildly scolding, but his smile weakening the reprimand. His son gives him a smile and all is well again. "I'm happy to see I'm your excuse for ditching your physics class. It means an awful lot."
His son finishes on the stove, fixing up their plates. He has fixed all of Charles' favorites.
Pietro ducks his head, abruptly shy.
"I will...I will talk to him when he comes home. See to it, that he hears your concerns at least. It really isn't fair is it?" he adds, almost to himself.
Charles feels himself tearing up just the slightest bit at his words, at the care placed into the boy's face.
He laughs them off with a grin, his eyes temporarily glued to the plate.
"That's one trait you certainly didn't inherit from me. I never could cook."
It is a simple statement, but Pietro suddenly gives a sardonic laugh and wraps his arms around him in a rare warmth-filled hug.
The rest of the day moves on quite slowly, his son wheeling him around and they even venture out onto the grounds for a short while. He leans back sucking in the fresh air, soaking in the sight of the long fields of grass, the trees and the leaves. Fall has always been one of his favorite seasons. It feels as though it's been an eternity since he was let out.
"There's been...strife since the sapien riots in New York." Pietro tells him, his brows creased as he feels Charles' feelings seeping out of him like ink.
Charles pinches the bridge of his nose at the term. "I thought I told you I didn't want to hear you using language like that."
The frown he receives is part guilty, part indignant.
Sapiens... It's a word his father has taught him, and one of the reasons Charles cannot stand when Erik has them go with him on missions. He can feel his chest constricting at what they're being taught.
"They're humans. They're not so different from us."
Pietro chooses not to comment on this. "Dad's coming home soon." He looks down at him with that half-smile again. "He says he can't tell you how much he misses you."
But he is projecting nothing but unease, and he can tell he prefers spending time with him.
The residue of Erik's oppressiveness when he was younger still clings to him.
He can, even now, recall his twins at six years old, and not even able to go out into the backyard. They are older now, and given more than their fair share of freedom, but at the same time Charles can tell that Pietro feels as though he is a continuos disappointment to Erik somehow, that he will never be as special as Wanda, that he will never quite match up to her. That somehow, Erik doesn't love him enough. And that is why, subconsciously he clings to Charles'-his mother's skirts as if he is still three years old.
"Yes, he messaged me for a moment not too long ago," Charles said, pressing a finger to his forehead. "It was very brief though-he seemed in a hurry. When did you go see him?"
"This morning." the boy says with a smirk. "Speed has a vast amount of benefits, did you know that mum? I can see him anywhere as long as he tells me where he is beforehand."
"Or if he's on the news." and the cloud comes across Charles' face again at Magneto's latest escapades.
They sit in a semi-awkward silence, staring at the rippling waters of the lake in the shade of a tree.
After awhile, his son speaks again, his tone notably more reserved.
"I think I'm ready to fight."
A sledgehammer slams into his heart.
Not this. Not now. Not when things here are so peaceful.
"I don't want to talk about this. Not now." his tone is sharper than he wanted it to be, edged with panic.
"There is a war coming, Mum. Can't you see? This is my chance to fight and protect people like us! To-"
"How do you think your father would feel about this? About you risking your life like this? About kill-"
"They would only people who deserved it! Only people who have taken lives anyway, sapiens and anti-mutant terrorists and those pigs like Styker, those who know nothing about-"
"Do you really think you have the right to decide what is right and what's wrong, who should live and who shouldn't?" his voice is definitely louder now. "Do you think that their lives mean anything less than yours?"
"But they're trying to hurt us-hurt you! Mum, why can't you-"
"Don't call me that!" Charles is shouting at him now, and he pauses, shocked at himself.
Pietro gives him a hurt and pained look.
He lowers his eyes. "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I just-" he struggles for words.
"Just take me inside now, will you?"
Pietro obeys, face stony.
a/n: 1/7/13 This was originally about three chapters(if I recall correctly,) in order to fit lj's format but I guess just the one is fine for now. Also, I'm not sure, but let's say that the setting is in Genosha. It's a complete bastardazation of canon if you want the truth, with elements of First Class, plus Genosha, plus House of M. If you have any suggestions, please let me know and I'll try and address them. Also, as I've said before, I don't want anyone to think I've given up on any of my stories-it's just taking a while, since my muse sort of died.