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I Would Fix You

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A month after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a month after the two best friends Charles had ever had, had left him, a month after starting Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters, Charles is finally beginning to feel normal again. It's not the same normal he'd had before. The normal of being able to walk, the normal of playing chess with Erik late at night, or of lying on the couch with Raven reading his thesis. That normal, is gone forever. But Charles has a new normal. Finding young mutants who need a place to be safe, working with and teaching the students he has, that is his normal now and it is starting to feel like enough. The ache in his chest when he thinks of Raven or Erik is starting to fade, and he is adapting to his life in a wheelchair. Hank is learning to accept his mutation and is trying to find ways to work with it as opposed to against it. Alex and Sean are working with Charles on the new students. Life is ok again.

Until, of course, the inevitable happens and Charles runs into Erik and Raven for the first time since the beach. Charles is out recruiting a new student for the school. A young girl with the power to imitate any sound she hears from a voice to an alarm clock. As he arrives at the girl's house he notices another car pull up. Erik, Raven, and Emma step out of the car. Alex, who was driving, turns to Charles.

"Professor, what should we do?"

"Nothing Alex, help me out," he replies with a slight frown. Alex gets out and grabs Charles' wheelchair from the trunk. Erik, Raven, and Emma stand by their car watching. Slowly a look of guilt and devastation comes across Raven's face as she realizes what has happened. Erik's face remains impassive but his stomach turns as Alex helps the professor into his chair. They turn and face the others and for a moment nobody moves. Charles looks at his former friend and sister and feels like someone has punched him in the stomach. Raven is in her true form and not wearing any clothes. Erik is wearing that ridiculous helmet and cape and Charles would have laughed if he didn't feel like crying. That helmet alone is like a slap in the face and the silence coming from Erik is deafening. Although it isn't much worse than the guilt, sadness, and anger coming from Raven, her emotions being projected so loudly that Charles doesn't even need to read her mind to know them.

Slowly Raven moves closer, "Charles," she says in a broken voice.

"Raven, how are you?" Charles replies trying to keep his voice level, but failing miserably.

"Oh Charles," she sobs as she rushes forward and flings herself at her brother.

"I'm so sorry," she says, "I would have stayed if I had known." Charles holds her close for a few moments and then pushes her far away enough to see her face.

"I know," he says with a sad smile, "That is why I didn't tell you. I didn't want you to stay only out of guilt." Raven lets out another sob as tears stream down her blue face.

"Mystique," Erik says breaking the silence. She sniffs once, kisses Charles' forehead and then steps back into line with Erik and Emma. Erik then steps forward.

"Hello Charles," he says quietly.

"Erik," Charles replies with a nod.

"Oh my friend, I am sorry," Erik whispers, "I never- you should have-"

"Told you?" Charles interrupts, "Why? So I could guilt you into staying, into coming back? No, I didn't want that for you or Raven." Erik looks into Charles' eyes and Charles heart aches at the sight of the crushing guilt that he sees in them. Erik steps closer. Charles glances at the helmet and wishes that he could feel Erik's mind, know what he is thinking. He's not used to being so cut off from anyone, let alone his closest friend. Charles can't help but to appreciate the irony of their relationship. His best friend is also his worst enemy. Erik steps closer until he is right in front of Charles. He kneels so that their faces are level.

"I am so sorry my friend," he says in a hoarse whisper. Charles smiles at him, but it is a sad smile.

"I know," he says as he takes Erik's hand in his. They stare at each other for what feels like hours. Finally Erik stands up.

"Goodbye Charles," he says.

"Goodbye Erik, my friend," Charles replies. Erik walks back to Emma and Raven.

"Let's go," he announces to them.

"But Magneto," Emma starts.

"I said let's go," he repeats turning to look at her. Emma stares at him for a moment and then turns around and gets into the car. Raven looks to Charles, mouths I love you to him, and then follows Emma. Erik and Charles face each other once more.

"If I could I would fix this. I would fix you," he says.

"I know," Charles replies. He doesn't say what he is thinking, 'but you can't.'

Erik gets into the car and they drive away. Charles watches the car until it is too far for him to see it anymore.

"Professor?" Alex says breaking the silence. Charles turns to look at him.

"Let's go to the girl," he says turning towards the house. Alex nods and turns away. Charles looks back to where he last saw the car drive away. 'I would fix you too, my friend.'