«If you keep me here, if you don't let go, he'll kill me.»
Charles grunted again as he felt Shaw try to free himself from his hold, pushing against Charles' mental presence as if he was able to blow Charles away by just doing that, but Charles was stronger. Even so, Shaw wasn't weak, and it seemed harder and harder to keep him there, especially as he looked through his eyes and saw Erik with the damned helmet, raising the coin in the air.
«I can't let you go.» Charles sent, feeling a wave of pure rage coming from Shaw. «You'll kill him.»
«You're in my head. You're in my head! You'll die with me, you idiot! That coin, you'll feel it. Do you really want to die for him?»
Charles' telepathy wavered for a millisecond as Shaw's words hit him, as he saw the coin approaching slowly, and panic settled in. It wasn't enough for Shaw to regain control, but Shaw noticed it immediately when it happened. They were linked after all. And, faced with his death, Shaw started screaming.
He cursed, he begged, he promised the world to Charles, he promised to take the world from him; so loud that Charles felt his head hurting more and more with the shouting, with the wave of fear, despair and rage that hit him. But Charles kept the link, he didn't let go, because if he did, Erik would die.
Because there, he was ready to sacrifice himself if it meant Erik would be safe.
When the coin touched Shaw's skin, when the metal broke it and started to go through his skull, Charles couldn't tell if the screams he was hearing were his or Shaw's.
Shaw's body fell to the ground, no mind for Charles to control and keep him up anymore, and Erik felt the sick satisfaction of seeing the man dead on the floor after so many years dreaming with it.
He pulled Shaw up by wrapping metal around his arms, raising him in the air as his head hung low, lifeless, a trail of blood coming from the wound in his forehead.,l The coin was now on the ground where it had fallen, marked with the blood of the man who gave it to Erik so many years ago. Erik didn't need it anymore, he could finally let that token of his suffering go. It had served its purpose.
He couldn't stop noticing, however, that Charles' words to him the night before were true. There was no peace in seeing Shaw dead, at least not yet. There was exhilaration, satisfaction and maybe a sense of justice being made, but no peace. But it wasn't peace that Erik was seeking, it was revenge, and he had gotten it at last. That was all that mattered.
With a last look at Shaw's face, Erik started walking out of the submarine, bringing Shaw's body with him as a trophy to show what he had done.
"Today our fighting stops!" he screamed, noticing the other mutants there at the beach staring at him and at Shaw before he let the dead man fall from up high, hitting the ground with a muffled noise.
Erik floated himself down, adrenaline still running through his veins as he looked at the others — at Raven, Hank, Alex and Sean, and at Angel and the other two mutants who were under Shaw's command before. It was only then he realized Charles wasn't in the middle of them.
Everyone's focus changed immediately, all eyes moving to look at the broken jet as Moira screamed at the top of her lungs. Something in her voice seemed desperate, the sound of her screams for help sounding terrifying, and deep in Erik's bones he felt that something was wrong.
"Charles- He collapsed! He's not responding, please, help!"
Raven was the first one to move, hands pushing Alex and Sean away as she stumbled her way towards the inside of the jet where Charles supposedly was, but Erik didn't move.
He felt the pieces coming together as the seconds passed, of what might've happened. Charles was holding Shaw in place, was connected to Shaw's mind before the man died, and Erik had pushed a coin across Shaw's head. He had killed Shaw, but hurt Charles in the process, and the realization of that felt like a cold weight settling on the bottom of his stomach. His eyes moved to Shaw's lifeless body for a moment, as if the man would get up and laugh at him, mock him for managing to hurt another person because of his powers, because of that stupid coin.
Erik eyed Shaw's men, gaze lingering on Angel as if she could say anything, but she looked confused and scared now, staring back at Erik as if he was going to do something, going to hurt her, and the idea of it made his stomach turn.
He didn't say anything when he turned around and ran towards the jet, any idea he had before left behind as his mind screamed to reach Charles, to make sure he wasn't dead. If he was, Erik wouldn't be able to forgive himself.
If he was dead, Shaw would win once more.
He didn't get a chance of getting too close, not when Moira got up from the ground and pointed her gun at him. He felt so lost, so desperate to look at Charles, that he forgot he was able to control the gun, the metal, his hands raising instinctively as the fire in her eyes seemed to be able to burn him alive at that moment.
"What did you do?" she almost growled, taking a step forward as Erik took a step back. "He was begging you not to do something before he started screaming and collapsed. What did you do?"
Erik took a shuddering breath, his mind finally catching up with the fact that he could take the gun out of her hands and waving his fingers before she could take a shot. The gun flew from her hands, hitting the broken walls of the jet with a loud noise as he started walking towards Charles again. Moira tried once more to stop him — and with reason, his mind told him —, but another wave of his hand had her pushed aside by the metal on her clothes.
When he finally laid his eyes on Charles, Erik thought he was dead. His head was resting on Raven's lap as the girl called his name over and over again, voice breaking as her hand held one side of his face, tears staining her face. Charles' eyes were open but unfocused, looking up but not at Raven, as if he wasn't able to see her there anymore. If it wasn't for the light rise and fall of his chest, barely perceptible, Erik would've believed he had killed Charles.
He knelt next to him, Raven's eyes moving to look at him with caution, as if she knew he had something to do with that, but she didn't stop him when his hand went under Charles' head, cradling it carefully as he pulled Charles to himself. His hands were shaking.
"Charles." he almost didn't recognize his voice, shaking and weak as it was. "Charles, look at me."
It took a few seconds, which for Erik felt like hours, but Charles' eyes moved, still unfocused but looking back into Erik's, as blue as ever. Even so, Charles didn't say anything, as if he couldn't, like his mind was fighting the fact that he wasn't truly dead, that whatever he felt was a mirror of Shaw's pain and Shaw's death.
Erik felt his chest hurting, the air leaving his lungs, as Charles laid there, barely responsive. There was just the two of them there at that moment, and part of himself — the part that learned to love that man in his arms — was begging for it to not become just him. He took the helmet off, desperate now to see if Charles could at least still reach him like that, to make sure he was there, and the touch of Charles' mind was almost immediate.
Erik had heard Charles' voice in his head before, the echo of it in his mind, but never before it felt so weak and far away. It sounded like a dream, faded and distant.
"You didn't." Erik said out loud, pulling Charles a little closer, holding him like he could break at any moment, one hand resting on Charles' cheek. His skin felt cold. "You didn't die, you're here. Alive."
«He screamed so much. He was so scared... Or was that me?» and then, after a few moments, «You got your revenge... Did it bring you peace? Please say it did... I died… I'm dead. Am I dead?»
"You didn't die." Erik said again, insisted, as he could feel Charles fighting against the notion that he was dead. "Stay with me, Charles. I'm so sorry…"
Charles kept his gaze on Erik, still unmoving, his mind covering Erik's like a blanket and projecting every emotion towards Erik by accident. He could feel the thoughts crossing Charles' mind, the brush of those against his own, questions and more questions hanging in the air, mixed with pure emotion.
There was fear, lingering from before but dying down slowly; there was gloom, staining every thought and bringing a million others with it; there was some kind of emptiness in the midst of it all, calm but morbid. But there was no anger, no bitter feelings towards Erik, no rage, and Erik didn't feel like he deserved that.
He heard noises coming from outside, his eyes finally leaving Charles' when he raised his head, feeling the missiles coming towards the beach and breaking the moment, bringing Erik back to reality and making him remember his surroundings. Charles wasn't dead, but they all were about to die if something wasn't done quickly.
Erik closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, Charles' mind still serene over his, and his hand raised to the air, feeling each and every missile stop its trajectory mid air. He considered sending them back, killing the men who were trying to kill them, but Charles' mind against his stopped him. Those men weren't his biggest worry at the moment.
When he closed his fist, Erik heard the missiles explode, away from the beach and the far away ships, his eyes opening to look down at Charles, whose gaze was unwavering on him.
«You're upset.» Charles' voice rang against his again, slightly stronger now, but still eerily distant. «I made you upset? Did I fail?»
Erik felt his throat dry, shaking his head down at Charles as calmly as possible and pulling his body up a little more. He pulled Charles onto his lap, hugging his body closely and holding the back of his neck softly as Charles' head rested loosely over Erik's shoulder. His arms didn't hold Erik back.
"We'll get you home." he started saying, feeling the word home stir something in Charles' mind. "And then you'll feel better. You'll be okay."
When Charles' arms raised slowly, probably heavy from the exhaustion the telepath was feeling, and held Erik back in a hug, Erik left out a heavy relieved breath, burying his face against Charles' hair. Charles would be okay, he would be okay.
«My body feels heavy. I don't know- I can't move properly...»
"It's okay. It's okay, I'll carry you if I need to." his eyes scanned the room then, looking at everyone there. They were all looking back, worried and curious looks in their faces, and Erik felt himself holding Charles tighter, as if they could take Charles away from him. "We need to leave. He needs… a doctor or rest, I don't know. We need to go."
When he managed to get Charles comfortable in his arms and get up from the ground, Charles' mind seemed more awake, self aware of his state, slowly coming to terms with the fact that Charles hadn't really died, but there was still something there, something that Erik feared wouldn't heal that easily.
As he brushed the thought away, he started walking out of the crashed plane, helmet forgotten behind as his mind settled on the decision of doing anything in his power to keep Charles safe, to help him heal, praying that he hadn't broken the person he loved the most too badly.