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Sins of the Past

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Charles’s grip on the pole of the plane tightened, his knuckles whitening under the pressure. He brought the walkie-talkie up to his mouth and spoke into it, his voice low and dangerous.

“Now you listen to me. You have nothing to do with this. I left that life behind, now turn around and leave.”

The woman on the other side gave a short laugh. “No, Mr Gibson- sorry, Mr Xavier. The Fraternity follows their missions through – now it’s your turn. You’ve done it before.”

“I told you, I left that life in Chicago.”

“I know.” There was a pause. “Let’s make a deal. You finish this mission, and we won’t bother you again. You can erase everything from your mind, forget it all. All you have to do is finish the job. You once believed in Fate, in the Fraternity. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. There is no leaving the Fraternity. Now, I won’t repeat it again. Finish the job, or we finish you and your little clique. I will give you two and a half minutes to decide your fate, Mr Xavier.”

“I-” Charles tried, but the soft click made it clear that whoever was on the other end wouldn’t hear him. His hand fell to his side, and long-forgotten rage began to boil inside of him. He was gripping the walkie-talkie so tightly that he wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up shattering in his hands.

His head was full of the loud thoughts projecting from everyone. Confusionfearconfusionfearconfusionfear-

“Charles,” Raven said softly. “Are you alright?”

Charles turned to face her, and saw that her gaze was steady. She was the only one that knew about him, about what he’d done. The first nightmare he’d had about it had projected, and she’d been subjected to everything. But she, bless her soul, hadn’t held it against him. She still treated him the same as always.

“No,” Charles replied shortly. “I fear that nothing is going to go well for us today.”

“Who was that?” Moira asked, her voice shaking slightly.

“I have no idea,” Charles replied honestly.

“Charles, what is going on?” Erik demanded. “What aren’t you telling us?”

Charles turned to him, struggling to keep himself composed. He was torn between wanting to burst from rage or break down in tears. Choosing his words carefully, he replied, “There are a lot of things that you don’t know about me. That nobody knows. I once lead a life that I now regret, and now the past is coming back to haunt me.”

“Why won’t you tell us?” Erik asked, and Charles could sense a small feeling of betrayal rolling off of him. It hurt.

Charles bit his lip. “I don’t want to tell you what I did, because if I do,” he looked around at everyone, “I fear that you will lose what little faith you may have left in me.”

“Charles,” Raven whispered.

Charles walked over to her and laid a hand on her cheek. “I am so very sorry, Raven,” he said. “I know I promised that I would never do this again, but they are forcing my hand. I fear that soon I may have no choice.”

Raven pressed her lips together, but nodded. “I understand,” she said quietly. “Just… stay alive. Promise me.”

Charles smiled weakly. “I promise that I will try my best to come back to you. I managed it once, didn’t I?” Raven let out a weak laugh at that.

Charles pulled his hand away and looked around at all of them, who were staring at him with that mixture of confusion and fear. “All of you need to stay together and work together,” he said loudly, sounding more confident than he felt. “None of you can do this without the others. You are mutants, and you are the strongest group of people I have ever met, and I am so proud of each and every one of you. You’ve all come so far since I’ve met you, and I am truly happy about that.”

“Professor, why does it sound like you’re saying goodbye?” Sean asked.

“Because I might well be,” Charles said.

“No.” Everyone looked at Erik, who was staring at Charles with a frightening intensity. “If this is another group out to persecute mutants, I will not let you-“

“No, Erik,” Charles interrupted him. “This is not a mutant problem.” He quickly looked around at all of them, before once again focussing on Erik. “This is my problem. This is about me and my past. None of you are involved, and it’s going to stay this way.”

The walkie-talkie crackled again. “So, Mr Xavier,” the woman said, her voice cold and calculating. “What’ll it be?”

Charles spoke into it after a second, “What are you threatening, exactly?”

“We have arms pointed at the plane you fly in as we speak. You know our accuracy. Either you complete the mission, or we shoot that plane out of the sky. Not even your metal man will be able to save you.”

Charles looked at Erik, and Erik looked at him. Slowly, Charles spoke, “I’ll do it.”

“Excellent choice, Mr Xavier. You have one hour.” The device clicked off again, and Charles threw it onto his empty seat.

“What’s the mission?” Erik asked, and Charles hesitated. Licking his lips, he walked up to Erik. They looked at each other silently for a moment, before Erik asked again, “What’s the mission, Charles?”

“Whatever you see, whatever you hear, whatever you feel,” Charles warned in a low tone, “don’t follow me. This is the only way I can keep you safe. The rest of this group needs you, Erik.” He slipped a piece of paper into Erik’s hand, and closed his fist over it. He had to resist the urge to kiss Erik then and there. Scratch that, he had to physically restrain himself.

Then he turned and went over to Raven. He said quietly to her, “Thank you for everything. Remember that I love you, and you are stunning in every way.” He kissed her softly on the temple, pretending not to hear her quiet sniffle.

Finally, he went over to Moira. He leaned in and murmured in her ear. “Thank you for all of your help. We couldn’t have done this without you.” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before striding up to Hank.

“Fly over the middle battleship,” he ordered. “That’s where I need to go.” He felt Hank’s hesitation both mentally and physically, but the doctor did as he said. “Open the hatch. Don’t stop or slow down. Go as fast as you can.”

“Are you crazy?” Hank nearly shouted. “You won’t survive a fall like that!”

“Yes I will.” The certainty in Charles’s voice seemed to convince Hank, so Charles clapped him on the shoulder and turned and walked towards the slowly-opening hatch. As wind rushed through the plane, he turned to Moira again. “Oh, and Moira?” he shouted over the wind. He couldn’t help but smirk in a way that was so Wesley Gibson, and lifted up Moira’s glock. “Keep a better eye on your guns!”

He allowed himself one more fleeting glance around the plane – his eyes lingering a little longer on Erik – before he took those final few steps and launched himself out of the plane, ignoring everyone’s screams and shouts.

He was in the air for a few seconds, though it somehow seemed like an eternity. He landed on his feet on the metal roof of the ship and crouched. That was only a little higher than the jump from the roof to the train in Chicago.

He reached out to touch Erik’s mind and watched him unfold the piece of paper that Charles had given him. Erik was trying to block everyone’s panicking as the hatch of the plane closed again. The breath flew out of Erik as he read the sheet, and the name.

Sebastian Hiram Shaw.

Chapter Text

Erik fought to keep his hands steady as he stared at the piece of paper that Charles had given him. Everybody was talking over one another, trying to make sense of what just happened as the plane flew higher again and the hatch slowly closed. Erik’s mind whirled as he put all of the pieces together: Shaw’s name, Moira’s gun, the speeches that sounded like he was saying goodbye-

“Charles is going to kill Shaw,” he said out loud, and everybody fell silent and looked at him. “And he might not survive.”

“What?” Alex said. “The Professor- kill Shaw?”

Erik looked at Raven. She was looking down at her hands, which she was wringing around one another just above her lap. “Raven,” Erik said. “Care to explain what Charles was going on about?”

Raven licked her lips and took a deep breath. “Charles…” she started, and shook her head sadly. “Charles is the son of a very powerful and very dangerous man. He wasn’t a mutant, but he did have certain… abilities that made him so dangerous.” She took another breath, seemingly calming herself. “A long time ago, Charles was drafted to Korea during the war.”

Moira gasped. “He was a soldier?” she demanded.

Raven nodded. “Yes. The war messed him up in the head, and he lost a lot of his telepathy for a long time. He fled to Chicago, and he lived there for years. I tried to find him, even though he told me not to, but he was very careful, and he left no trace of himself anywhere – he even changed his name. He had a girlfriend, a job, a normal life. But he got involved with the same type of powerful and dangerous people that his father was, and his father was killed.”

There was silence for a little while before Sean piped up with, “W-what type of people?”

Raven looked around at them all, and her gaze settled on Erik. Erik’s heart was thumping with a fear that he hadn’t felt in years.

“The Fraternity was – is – a group of highly trained assassins. Charles’s father was the greatest assassin that the world has ever seen,” Raven said simply. “And Charles is better.”

The silence between the group of them was almost deafening, and Erik worried that the others could hear his heartbeat.

Charles – sweet, naïve Charles with his ridiculous idealisms and views of the world – was an assassin. His Charles, the Charles that he had fallen in love with and had just kept falling, was a trained killer. More puzzle pieces slotted together, the more he thought about it. The time he had forced Charles to hold a gun to his head, he had almost seemed experienced with it. The thought of Charles holding a gun to someone’s head and pulling the trigger… Erik supressed a shudder. It was scary, and it was wrong.

“What kinds of abilities does Charles have?” Erik asked.

“His heart beats at an excess four hundred beats per minute more than normal people, which heightens his senses and quickens his reaction time,” Raven explained. “He also has enhanced speed, strength and endurance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he can run faster than Hank.”

“You’re kidding me,” Sean said stupidly.

“He’s going to kill Shaw,” Erik repeated. “This is a kill order,” he realised. “The Fraternity wants Charles to kill Shaw because they think he’s the only one that can.”

Raven nodded. “He got that a few days ago,” she admitted. “The Loom of Fate – that’s what makes the names or targets – was destroyed in Chicago when Charles blew the place up.” Alex whistled lowly. “So they started using the one in Arabia again, and the first name to come up was Sebastian Shaw’s. Charles was trying to avoid it. He swore to never kill anyone ever again.” She steadied her hands in her lap and looked down at them. “Now he has to break that vow because, despite everything, he still believes.”

“In what? Fate?” Erik spat. “What a load of shit.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Screw that. I’m going after him,” Erik decided. “Hank! You need to land as quickly as possible!”

“We’re going down to land now!” Hank replied.

Erik was out of the plane as soon as the door opened. He was determined to find Charles. He needed to find Charles. There was no way in hell that he was going to let Charles go through with this. The thought of Charles killing someone was wrong on so many levels.

He reached out with his powers, trying to trace Moira’s gun. But there were just so many people with weapons there, he couldn’t pick out one. So instead, he opted for running towards the middle battleship. That was where Charles said he needed to go, although Erik couldn’t fathom how Charles would survive a fall like that…

He ignored the shouts of Moira and Raven, and snuck onto the ship. What he saw horrified him beyond belief.

He didn’t think there could be so much blood in one hallway. Guards were slumped over, their limbs in awkward positions. Arms, legs and necks were broken, and there were bullet holes in most of their heads or chests.

Erik was frozen as he looked around at the awful scene. Had Charles done this? It didn’t seem possible. He hadn’t seen a scene like this since-

Now is not the time for that, he scolded himself. He had to find Charles.

He heard a yell and a gunshot, and then a thud. It was close. Keeping low, Erik followed the sound. He had to carefully step over mangled bodies and keep his powers in check. He could feel it; it wanted to stretch out, to embrace his rage and to crumple this ship and everyone in it, and then move on and do the same to all of the others. He couldn’t let that happen, not with Charles on this ship and the others God knows where.

Erik reached the end of the hallway, where there was two more corridors stretching out in either direction. He pressed himself against the wall and looked up one. There was another body on the ground, a pool of blood slowly growing from under it. Bracing himself for what he might see, he looked around the corner.

Charles!

Charles’s blue eyes locked with his over the body of an armed guard, and Erik saw emotions flashing through them. Surprise, confusion, anger, fear. Everything seemed to stop for a second, and then there was a loud crack and Charles was sent flying to the wall. He stumbled, using the wall to hold himself up and his attention returned to the guard. The guard had an assault rifle, which he now lifted up and pointed at Charles. Erik didn’t have enough time to react before he fired.

And Erik had barely blinked before the bullet hit the wall and Charles had the guard bent over backwards and his arms wrapped around the guard’s neck. The guard flailed for a second before there was an awful sound – somewhere between a snap and a pop – and the guard stopped moving completely. Charles let him fall to the ground.

Erik was frozen as Charles calmly bent over the body and pulled a handgun out of its holster. He pulled the magazine out and looked at it, before sliding it back in.

“I told you not to follow me,” Charles said suddenly, startling Erik. His voice was low, dangerous, and with what sounded like a tinge of regret.

Erik moved out from behind the corner and slowly approached Charles. “You think I’m going to listen to you?” he asked. “As if I was going to let you go after Shaw alone.”

Charles pulled back the slider on the gun and stood up to meet Erik. “You don’t know what you’re walking into,” he warned, and Erik felt the edges of his mind meet Charles’s.

Erik met his gaze steadily. “Assassin? You?”

Charles rolled his eyes and looked away for a second. “Hard to believe?”

“Very.”

“Surprise.”

“Stop it,” Erik demanded. “I’m not going to let you kill Shaw.”

“Yes, you are,” Charles returned. “This is my job now. You don’t know what the Fraternity is capable of.”

“I know what Shaw is capable of. That’s enough.”

Charles blinked in surprise, and Erik held his gaze. “This isn’t about revenge anymore, is it?” he asked quietly.

Erik furrowed his brow, his anger spiking. “Of course it is,” he responded.

The corner of Charles’s mouth turned up in a disbelieving smirk. “You’re sweet,” he said, and turned on his heel. “Come if you must, I won’t stop you.”

Erik caught up with his friend and walked at his side. To Erik’s surprise, they didn’t encounter any more guards along their way. Occasionally, he snuck a glance at Charles, who walked with his shoulders back and his head high and his eyes alert. It was like he wasn’t using his telepathy, only his instincts. Raven had said that his… abilities weren’t a mutation, at least not one like the rest of them had.

They walked down more empty hallways, they passed rooms that had nobody in them, they entered a round room where every wall was a mirror-

There was a woman’s shriek nearby, which Erik immediately recognised as Raven’s. Erik and Charles started running through the mirror room, and Erik was so focussed on Raven’s screaming that he almost didn’t hear Charles yell in pain and the thump that followed. There was a sharp spike in Erik’s neck, and he clapped his hand to the spot, and then he was useless.

Chapter Text

There was a haze in front of Charles’s eyes when he next opened them. He was lying crumpled on his side, and the first thing he saw was tiled white linoleum. He blinked a few times, and was suddenly aware of a sharp stinging pain in his neck. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart. Could he feel his arms? Yes. He pushed himself up into a sitting position. His muscles complained as if he’d been asleep for a week straight. He blinked, and his surroundings came into focus.

He was staring at himself. He lifted his hand and pushed his hair out of his eyes, and the other Charles did the same. He looked around, and he found that he was staring at himself no matter which way he turned.

Mirrors. This was a room full of mirrors. That makes sense, he thought slowly. I was trying to… get to Raven, and Erik was- oh my god, Erik! Raven!

Suddenly full of panic-induced energy, he scrambled to his feet. He tried to reach out with his mind, to feel someone, anyone, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t feel anyone or anything other than the hard thudding of his heart against his chest. The panic was rising. He was useless without his telepathy, he always had been.

He saw something that looked like a door and went over to it, trying to find a handle or a hole, something that gave him hope of getting out. There was nothing. Swearing under his breath, he turned around, looking for something else. What he saw took all of his breath away like a bullet to the chest.

A beautiful woman stood in the room, her light brown hair falling around her shoulders and hazel eyes staring into Charles’s soul. Swirling black tattoos encircled her arms and wrists. Charles took a step back, and his back hit the wall behind him.

“Fox?” he breathed.

She smiled that small, dangerous smile of hers that didn’t reach her eyes. “Hello Wesley,” she said, and her voice echoed through the room, like it was bouncing off one mirror and onto the next. “Or should I call you Charles?”

“How…” Charles couldn’t finish his sentence.

“Long time, no see,” Fox went on, as if Charles hadn’t spoken at all.

“You’re dead,” Charles managed to choke out. “You’re dead, how are you here?”

“I’m not really dead,” she replied. “You just thought I was.”

“I saw you die!” Charles whispered.

Fox’s smile widened a little. “You thought you could run away from me,” she said, taking a step forward. “You thought that you could kill me and get away with it.”

Charles shook his head, his eyes never leaving her form. “No,” he said. “I… I didn’t kill you, Fox, it was your choice!”

She shook her head delicately, taking another step towards him. “If it weren’t for you, I’d still be alive,” she said. “If you hadn’t interfered, we’d all be alive.”

Charles felt a surge of anger rise within him. “All you of except my father,” he spat at her, and she lunged at him. He dodged around her.

“And whose fault is that?” she snarled. “You’re just like him. Meddling. Useless!”

“You killed me.” A new voice echoed around the room, and Charles spun around to see a familiar face leering at him, his Russian accent piercing. “If you had been more careful, if you had listened to me, perhaps I’d be alive.”

“I’m sorry,” Charles gasped. “I’m so sorry.”

“There’s no use apologising now,” Fox leered. “He’s dead. You killed him.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Charles tried to say, but all that came out was a mangled whisper. “I… I didn’t mean to kill him.”

The Exterminator shrugged. “Over now. Still your fault, but is over now. Always will be your fault.”

“Why are you here?” A third voice joined them, and Charles whirled around to see the Repairman standing there, winding a bandage around his hands, still bleeding from the bullet hole in his head. “Why are you here, Gibson?”

“I don’t know,” Charles replied on instinct, and the Repairman lunged at him. Charles dodged him, and the others moved to the outside of the room.

Why are you here?

Charles dodged him again, but stumbled and fell to the ground. “I know who I am,” he said. “I am not him anymore!”

“Oh, but you are,” the Butcher said. “And you know what else you still are? A pussy. You’re a pussy, Gibson.”

“That is not my name!” Charles said through gritted teeth.

“Charles Xavier is the name of a cowardly scientist,” Fox told him. “Wesley Gibson is the name of an assassin that could have saved the world.”

“You killed yourself, Fox, don’t you dare tell me that!” Charles shot at her, and she grinned wickedly.

“Your name came up,” Sloan said, his voice deep and penetrating. “Why are you still alive? Why didn’t you kill yourself after you killed me?”

“I’m not finished yet,” Charles said, glaring at him. Blood dripped down Sloan’s dark face from the clean hole through his brain.

“Your name came up,” Fox repeated Sloan’s words. “Fate wants you dead. So why don’t you just kill yourself?”

“I changed!” Charles said. “I don’t want any more death, I don’t want to kill anyone else!”

“Then explain all of the dead bodies outside,” Sloan pointed out. “Why did you go after Shaw?”

“Shaw’s name came up,” Charles said. “The Fraternity that survived the explosion, they… they threatened the people I love. It’s all of them or Shaw. I had no choice.”

“You have a choice with everybody,” Fox said. “You chose to watch your father die instead of letting him save your life.”

“You lied to me!” Charles yelled at her, and he heard his own voice echoing for ages afterwards. “You lied to me,” he said again, feeling hopeless.

“And you were so fucked up in the head that you didn’t even realise it was your own father,” Fox taunted him. “You haven’t even admitted it to yourself yet. You never admitted to yourself that you killed your father.”

“I…” Charles saw it all again. He saw his father’s pained face above him, holding his hand as he dangled from a train carriage over a ravine. He saw the shock and resignation as the bullet went through him. He saw the pain and guilt as he told Charles, told Wesley the truth.

“Say it.” The one voice he didn’t want to hear spoke those words, and Charles slowly turned around to see his father standing there, staring at him with piercing and calculating eyes. “Say it.”

“No,” Charles replied. “No, I won’t.”

“Say it,” his father demanded.

“Say it, Charles.”

“No, no, I won’t!”

“Say it, Gibson.”

“Say it, you pussy!”

“Fine!” Charles roared, clutching his hair. “I killed him! I fucking killed my father!”

There was an appreciative silence, and Charles saw the appearance of them all flicker. His arms fell to his sides as he realised.

This really isn’t real, is it?

“Thank you,” his father whispers, and Charles could swear he saw the hint of a smile.

“At least you admitted something to yourself,” Fox sneered.

“Weak,” the Repairman scoffed at him. “No wonder you only lasted four punches.”

Feeling a sudden surge of irrational anger, Charles swung a punch at him with all of his might. His fist smashed into one of the mirrors, shattering the glass everywhere and sending jolts of pain up his arm. His blood dripped from the newly-formed cuts in his hands, and he stared down at the shards littering the ground. Energy leaving him, he sank to his knees, putting his head in his hands.

“You know what to do,” Fox breathed in his ear.

Charles moved his hands, only to see his own eyes staring back at him through a piece of the mirror. It looked dead, without any light or spark in them. He picked up the piece. It was long and thin, just enough to see his eyes in. Charles almost didn’t believe that it was him in the reflection. It didn’t look like him.

“End this,” his father said on his other side, and if he didn’t know any better, Charles would say that he could feel his father’s warm grip on his shoulder. “Fix this.”

“Give Fate what she wants,” Fox said, and Charles could imagine her breath on his cheek, her lips on his again like they had been, once upon a time.

“You know what to do,” his father said.

Charles nodded, gripping the shard. He felt it pierce the skin of his balm, and he felt warm blood trickle down his wrist. He knew what he had to do.

“I’m so sorry,” he apologised to Erik, and to Raven, because he knew that they were somehow listening. “I’m so, so sorry. For everything.” He swallowed, raising his hands to his chest, and then his neck. “But it’s better this way. Forgive me,” he begged them.

Praying to Fate one last time, he dragged the shard across his throat.

Chapter Text

Erik couldn’t do anything. He was useless. He felt so blind, he couldn’t feel the hum of the metal around him. All he had was his fists, and that scared him. He’d never gone a day without using his mutation, and today was supposed to be the day that he used it to kill Shaw.

But instead, he was useless and in chains, right next to Raven, Moira, Alex, Hank and Sean. And in front of him stood Sebastian Shaw, the man he wanted dead with every fibre of his being. A quick glance around showed him that there were guards in every corner of the room. Nobody could try anything, or they’d be killed.

“Welcome,” Shaw said, sweeping his arms wide. “So good of you to join us. Today, our main act is that of one Professor Charles Xavier.”

“What did you do to him?” Erik growled, clenching his fists.

Shaw grinned maliciously, and walked over to a control panel. He flicked a switch and pressed a few buttons, and three screens flickered on. Two showed Charles in a room full of mirrors, lying crumpled on the floor.

“Charles!” Raven yelled. “Charles!

“Don’t bother,” Shaw sneered. “He can’t hear you. But don’t worry too much, he should be waking up any second now.”

Erik focussed his attention on the third screen. It showed what looked like a file, and Charles’s picture was on it.

Name: Charles Francis Xavier
AKA: Wesley Allan Gibson
Occupation: Assassin of the Fraternity, Geneticist, Professor
Status: Alive
Notes: Owns the Fantasy rifle; extremely dangerous, approach with caution

Extremely dangerous? Erik almost scoffed, until he remembered the mess of blood in the hallways where he found Charles.

A few more images popped up, including one of Charles on a roof with a sniper rifle and one of him lying across the hood of a car with a gun in his hand. The looks on his face in all of the images were terrifying.

“That can’t be the Professor,” Alex said weakly, his voice strangled. “There’s no way-”

“I suggest you shut up until you know what you’re talking about,” Shaw interrupted him, and Alex shut up.

There was a sound from the monitor, and Erik looked over to see Charles pulling himself into a sitting position, and then scrambling to his feet. He walked around the room, looking for an exit.

“And now the fun begins,” Shaw said, and pressed another button.

The second screen flickered, and the image of a woman appeared in the centre of the room. Charles whirled around and froze upon seeing her. He backed away from her.

Erik looked at the first screen, where it showed that the woman wasn’t really there.

“Fox?” he heard Charles say, and a new file came up on the third screen. The picture of a beautiful woman came up, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. More pictures showed her with an array of guns and rifles, and one showed her and Charles together in the street.

Name: Unknown
AKA: Fox
Occupation: Assassin of the Fraternity
Status: Deceased (suicide)
Notes: Extremely dangerous, approach with caution; lover of Gibson/Xavier

Erik froze. Lover? A wave of jealousy flooded over him, before brushing it off as irrational. Of course Charles had had past lovers.

But a lover that was an assassin? That just seemed very… not Charles-like. She had committed suicide…

“How…” Charles said, and Erik’s attention went back to the screen with the image of the woman. There was a brief pause, and Charles said, “You’re dead. You’re dead, how are you here?”

“That isn’t real, is it?” Moira demanded, and Shaw grinned.

“No,” he admitted. “Hallucinogen in the prick we shot into his neck. He’s seeing hallucinations of his worst nightmares.”

“I saw you die!” Charles whispered.

Erik was frozen. He didn’t know what to do. He was watching the man he loved suffer right in front of him.

“No, I… I didn’t kill you, Fox, it was your choice!”

“Why are you doing this?” Raven asked, and Erik heard a tinge of desperation in her voice.

“To prove a point,” Shaw replied, and straightened his tie. “To prove that your precious Professor isn’t the person you think he is. To prove that nobody is who you think they are.”

“All of you except my father,” Charles spat at the hallucination of Fox, and Raven sucked in a breath.

Erik watched Charles spin around, and the second screen showed a new person in the room. A new file came up:

Name: Unknown
AKA: The Exterminator
Occupation: Assassin of the Fraternity
Status: Deceased (shot by Gibson/Xavier)
Notes: Rarely on field missions; highly intelligent

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Charles was gasping to the image. “I didn’t mean to. I… I didn’t mean to kill him.”

“Charles…” Raven whispered, and Erik felt a chill run down his spine.

A third image joined the other two.

Name: Unknown
AKA: The Repairman
Occupation: Assassin of the Fraternity (moulds recruits)
Status: Deceased (shot by Gibson/Xavier)
Notes: Extremely dangerous, approach with caution

“I don’t know,” Charles said to the image, or to nobody, and the Repairman lunged at him. Erik tensed up and his chains clinked. “I know who I am,” Charles said. “I am not him anymore!” Now he was on the ground, having clumsily fallen over. “That is not my name!”

“Stop it!” Raven begged Shaw. “Please, he doesn’t deserve this, please!”

“He’s not who you think he is.” Erik looked around to see Angel standing in the corner. He mentally punched himself – when had she come into the room? He’d been so focussed on Charles that he hadn’t noticed her. “You don’t know the things he’s done.”

“That’s not who he is anymore!” Raven tried to convince her. “Please, Angel!”

“You killed yourself, Fox, don’t you dare tell me that!” Charles said to the image of Fox.

A fourth image came up. Erik read the file:

Name: Unknown
AKA: Sloan
Occupation: Assassin of the Fraternity (leader, interpreter of the Loom of Fate)
Status: Deceased (shot by Gibson/Xavier)
Notes: Extremely dangerous, approach with caution

The image showed a fierce-looking man with dark skin, and his dark eyes were piercing.

“I’m not finished yet,” Charles said to Sloan. Erik’s eyes flicked over to the screen where it was just Charles, and he wanted to scream and rage and fight his way out with his fists alone. But he knew that doing that would only get himself, and everyone else, killed. “I changed! I don’t want any more death, I don’t want to kill anyone else!”

“Charles.” Raven sounded like he was holding in a sob.

“Shaw’s name came up. The Fraternity that survived the explosion, they… they threatened the people I love. It’s all of them or Shaw. I had no choice.”

“So that’s why…” Shaw mused. “I suppose that makes sense. It’s a little anticlimactic, but it makes sense.”

“Angel, please don’t let him do this,” Raven begged her friend, but Angel remained emotionless and silent.

“Forget it,” Erik said shortly. “She’s made her choice.” Raven inhaled and exhaled heavily, and her exhale was shaky.

“You lied to me!” Erik jumped at Charles’s sudden outburst.

“Whoa…” Sean said dumbly. Erik resisted the urge to roll his eyes, instead focussing on Charles.

Another file came up, and reading it made Erik’s blood run cold.

Name: Brian Allan Xavier
AKA: Allan Francis Cross
Occupation: Former Assassin of the Fraternity
Status: Deceased (shot by Gibson/Xavier)
Notes: Owns the Fantasy rifle; extremely dangerous, approach with caution

Raven sobbed.

“No, no I won’t,” Charles said to the image of his father. He was backing away from him. His hands slowly went up to clutching his hair as he continued to refuse to do whatever the hallucinations told him to.

“Raven, what’s going on?” Erik asked, looking over at her. Tears were running down her blue skin, and she just shook her head in disbelief.

“Fine!” Charles roared, and Erik looked back at him. “I killed him! I fucking killed my father!”

Raven gasped, and one look at her told Erik that she didn’t know about that. Erik wasn’t sure he believed it. Everything had gone quiet.

“Uh oh,” Shaw hummed. “Looks like time’s run out.”

There was an ear-splitting crash, and Erik looked to see Charles facing away from wherever the camera was, one of the mirror walls shattered. His blood dripped onto the floor, and Charles dropped to his knees, putting his head in his hands. Everything was silent, and Charles picked up one of the shards of glass.

“I’m so sorry,” Charles croaked, and Erik knew that Charles was talking to him, not the flickering images on the second screen. “I’m so, so sorry. For everything. But it’s better this way.” Don’t say that you stupid- “Forgive me.”

There was a spray of blood, a shriek from Raven, and Charles’s body slumped forward. Erik was frozen. He couldn’t move. He watched the blood pool around Charles.

Screw you!” Raven shrieked. “Go to hell, you monster! You killed my brother!

Raven screamed and cursed Shaw, Moira gave out a mangled sob, and Hank just kept saying “Oh god” over and over again.

This wasn’t right. This couldn’t be right. There was no way Charles was dead. Charles wasn’t supposed to die, he was never supposed to get dragged into this! They were never supposed to have met!

Shaw motioned, and a guard opened the door and went into the room.

“Get up!” Raven screamed. “Get up, Charles! Don’t you dare be dead! Don’t you dare!”

The guard went in and knelt by Charles(‘s body). Erik felt sick to his stomach. They were just starting to get somewhere, they were just starting something together, and now he was… gone?

The guard rolled Charles(‘s body) over, and then there was chaos. There was another spray of blood and the guard fell backwards, there was a gunshot and the camera turned to static. Shaw lunged for the panel and slammed his hand down on it, and the door began to close.

Charles!” Raven screeched.

Just as the door was about to slide closed, someone slid under it, a gun in their hand. They swung their arm around and the rest of the guards collapsed as the gun went off. Shaw swore. Faster than Erik could comprehend, Shaw was on his knees and a gun was pointed at his head.

And Charles was behind the gun.

Chapter Text

Erik gaped. Charles was breathing heavily, and there was a fiery rage in his beautiful eyes. They were dancing with rage that Erik could barely comprehend. Erik’s serenity had become pure rage. The man holding the gun looked like Charles.

“You know, you should really take more care in where you put your cameras,” he said.

That was not Charles. It couldn’t be. It didn’t sound remotely like him. But still… who else could it be?

“Especially,” Charles went on, “when the person you’re trapping is an assassin.” He held up his free hand, and Erik saw an awful cut along his palm that was still bleeding heavily. “Some of us are smarter than you think.”

“Wesley Gibson,” Moira breathed. Charles inclined his head towards her, not taking his eyes of off Shaw. “You’re- you’re a wanted criminal!”

“I asked you all not to think any less of me,” Charles says. “I’m sorry for that. That was an unfair thing to ask of you.”

“Now they know what you are,” Shaw taunted him. Charles moved forward, pressing the barrel of the gun against Shaw’s forehead. Shaw fell silent, but still grinned maliciously.

“Charles, please,” Raven begged him. “Please don’t do this! This isn’t you!”

“You’re right,” Charles replied. “I guess you could call this a relapse.” He took a deep breath, but he still seemed eerily calm. Erik was almost scared. “And I think that this time, there’s very little chance of me ever returning to the Charles you knew.”

“Charles,” Raven tried, but her brother just shook his head.

“I didn’t want it to go this way, Raven, I swear to you I didn’t,” Charles said. “But now I don’t have a choice.”

“But you do,” Erik blurted out. He was desperate. “You do have a choice. Let me kill Shaw.”

Still not taking his eyes off of Shaw, Charles acknowledged him. “I’m sorry Erik, I can’t let you do that.”

“Why not?” Erik demanded.

“I told you,” Charles replied. “Killing Shaw may lead you down a path that even I can’t follow.”

“It will do the same thing to you,” Erik tried to convince him, and he strained against his chains. He felt a wave of relief as he started feeling the metal on the edges of his senses, like pins and needles. It wasn’t enough for him to control it, but it was there.

“Erik,” Charles said firmly, and Erik fell silent. Erik, he said again, and Erik felt the comforting warmth of Charles’s mind in his, where he felt like Charles, sounded like Charles. Erik, you have a chance here, a good chance, with the children. You have a chance to start something amazing, and lead mutants to an age where they are respected, and equal to humans. There’s no chance for me, my friend. I have to kill Shaw, and then I am going to leave and kill myself. Permanently, like I should have done a long time ago.

“No,” Erik said, and he fought to not let his voice crack. “No, Charles, don’t. Let me, please! Please Charles, don’t do this!”

“I have to. I have to do this, or you all die,” Charles said, and his voice sounded strained.

“I wonder who would be more proud of you,” Shaw said, as if he was thinking out loud. “Your dead girlfriend or your dead father?”

“Shut up, shut up!” Charles roared. “Just shut the fuck up! You have no right to talk about them!”

Shaw grinned insanely. “They’re both burning in hell.”

Charles took over a calm stature. It was eerie and unnatural, like all emotion had been wiped clean. “And so will you,” Charles said shortly, and squeezed the trigger.

The sound that followed made Erik feel like his head was splitting open, and the metal around him was no longer humming – it was screaming. The chains and the cuffs around his wrists exploded, sending shards of metal everywhere. Gasping, he fell forwards, bracing himself on his hands.

This wasn’t right. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

He was supposed to kill Shaw, not Charles! Charles was never supposed to be like this, none of this was meant to happen, none of it-

“Are you okay, Erik?” Charles asked softly, placing his warm hand on Erik’s shoulder.

Erik looked up at him, pulling himself up. “Charles?” he tried to say, but all that came out was a mangled whisper.

Charles briefly squeezed his shoulder, before standing up and moving around to free the others. Erik watched him move behind a sobbing Raven and somehow break the chains. Erik couldn’t focus – he was still so confused.

“I’m so sorry, everyone,” Charles was apologising. “I truly am. Please forgive me. I never intended for any of you to find any of this out.”

Once everyone was free, Raven launched herself at Charles, and Charles hugged her tightly back. “I’m sorry, Raven,” Charles mumbled. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you everything.”

“Shut up,” Raven sobbed. “Shut up, you son of a bitch. Oh my god, I was so scared I lost you. Oh my god, Charles…”

Charles rubbed her back soothingly, and Erik locked eyes with him over her shoulder. She had no idea what Charles was planning to do to himself.

Charles pulled away from the hug and took her hand, pulling her towards the exit. Erik scrambled to his feet and everyone followed after them.

Once out on the beach, Charles turned and stood facing all of the battleships. Erik pushed his powers out on instinct, and he panicked.

“Charles,” he said quickly. “They have missiles. A lot of them.”

“I know,” Charles replied softly. “They won’t fire them.”

“How do you know?” Erik demanded.

Charles looked at him, and Erik looked back. There was something swimming in those eyes – something like regret, but much deeper than that.

“Charles, did you…?” Erik couldn’t finish his question, he didn’t need to. Charles nodded, raising his hand and touching two fingers to his temple.

Erik felt Charles push out with his mind, and it was incredible. It was like they were all under an umbrella, and Erik could hear the thoughts of every man on every ship. Some were confused, some were panicking, and some were praying. Some were even saying their goodbyes to their crew. He heard, and he felt the thoughts of everybody. It was almost overwhelming.

And as he heard the thoughts, he heard them change. He heard Charles’s voice in every one of their minds. It was warm and gentle, like it was telling a story to a child at night.

It’s alright, Charles was saying. There’s no need for a war. Nothing is wrong. Turn around and go back to your countries with words of peace on your lips.

Charles amplified his thoughts and said, And if your child comes to you saying they can do extraordinary things, be proud of them. Love them. They are just as human as the rest of you.

“Charles,” Raven whispered.

My head it hurts pain determination fear pain paIN PAIN

Silence.

Charles gasped, ripping his hand away from his head, and Erik felt the umbrella snap closed. Charles collapsed to his knees, and used one hand to hold his head and the other to brace himself on the ground.

“Charles!” Raven exclaimed, trying to help him up.

Erik looked around at the ships that were, a moment ago stationary, now slowly turning around and heading back out to sea, away from Cuba.

“You did it,” he breathed, turning back to Charles. He walked over to him and knelt down in front of him, cupping Charles’s face with his hands. He looked into Charles’s beautiful blue eyes – he would never get enough of those eyes – and saw so many emotions swirling in them that Erik wanted to wipe away like tears. “You did it, Charles,” he said again, smiling a little, stroking his cheek with one thumb.

Charles didn’t return his smile. In fact, he looked worse.

“Charles?” Raven said gently, rubbing his back.

“I’m sorry,” Charles said, his voice breaking at the end of the word. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” He kept apologising, and Raven pulled him into a hug. Erik took his hand, lacing their fingers together, and ran his thumbs over Charles’s bloodied knuckles.

“It’s alright, Charles,” he said, and impulsively kissed Charles’s knuckles. “It’s alright. It’s over.”

Charles shook his head, and gently pushed them both away. “No,” he said. “No, it’s not over, it can never be over, it will never be over! There is no way it will ever be over again, there is no over for me anymore!” He was beginning to sound hysterical, and he pushed himself to his feet, backing away from them. Moira and the others were watching them carefully, looking worried.

Erik slowly stood. “Charles,” he started, but Charles cut him off by raising his hand.

Charles took a moment to collect himself, and in that moment Erik felt so many emotions at once: confusion, fear, hurt, anger, love.

“I’m sorry,” Charles said again. “I have to go. I have to fix this.”

“What is there to fix, Charles?” Raven asked him, sounding on the brink of tears.

Charles looked at her, and Erik thought he looked on the edge of tears himself. “Everything,” he said. Then he locked eyes with Erik, and Erik licked his lips nervously. When Charles had said the same word to him back at the CIA base, Erik wasn’t sure what the future would hold – he felt exactly the same now.

“Charles,” Erik said again. “Please. Come home with us.”

Charles shook his head without taking his eyes off of Erik, and said, “I can’t.” There was a resigned certainty in his voice that Erik didn’t like.

There was a stinging pain at Erik’s temple, and a hand went up to it instinctively. It was so painful for such a brief moment that he had to shut his eyes through the pain. When he opened his eyes again, Charles was gone.

Erik looked around him and saw everyone else looking just as confused as he was.

It was Raven that figured it out first, dropping to her knees again and sobbing, holding her chest.

“Where did he go?” Moira demanded.

Erik watched Raven, who was shaking her head as she cried. He slumped his shoulders as he realised.

“Charles is gone,” he said, and felt the gaze of everyone turn to him again. “Charles is on one of those ships, going to America.” He ran a hand down his face. “Charles never came off the ship with us.”

Only Raven’s sobs broke the silence that followed.

Chapter Text

In the city of Chicago, the streets were buzzing with life. If you crossed the road without carefully looking, you’d be lucky not to get hit by a car. In some places, street lamps flickered on. Men in their suits and women in their dresses littered the streets, their heads down, knowing exactly where they were going. The hum of vehicles and the shrill ringing of shop doorbells made up for the lack of conversation on the sidewalks.

One man walked these streets with his head held higher than those he walked past. To any of you, perhaps he would seem like a newcomer in the city, not knowing where his destination was. In truth, he had been to the city before, but this time was different. This time, he was looking for someone he loved instead of someone he hated.

His eyes were trained and sharp, looking for a sign of something familiar. Rather, someone familiar. Nobody knew the man in the leather jacket and the turtleneck jumper, but he knew them all by the metal they wore. He knew if they were out for a day of fun, if they were workers, or if they carried knives or guns.

He was looking for a particular set of blue eyes that he would always know, even from the other end of a street. He looked left and right as people passed him, looking. Always looking.

He felt for the hum of a familiar piece of metal – perhaps the watch, the chain he wore around his neck, or the gun that killed Sebastian Shaw.

He absentmindedly played with a coin in his pocket. He knew what the chain was now. He could never quite figure it out before, but now he knew that the chain held the dog tags that men were given when they joined the army. He never would have guessed it was that.

Charles Xavier was more than the man Erik thought he knew, and he had to find him before he did something awful.

Erik pushed out with his powers, trying to find that place between rage and serenity. He thought of his mother, and he thought of Charles. They were both the serenity to his rage, and he needed them both.

But now he just needed to find Charles.

He latched onto something: a handgun that seemed familiar, and he tried to follow where it was going. It was in front of him, hidden in the crowd of people. He started walking a little faster, weaving in and out of the people. He tried to catch sight of him, but he was still hidden.

How long had they been walking in the same direction? Erik didn’t know, but he kicked himself for not seeing him earlier.

He kept following him, unsure as to whether he should confront him in public or not. So he watched Charles jaywalk across the busy streets to an apartment building, where he slipped inside. Charles didn’t look like Charles – what with the simple pants, working boots and leather jacket, but it was undeniably him. It had to be. So Erik crossed the street and entered the building after him.

He followed the hum of the metal up the stairs to an apartment with a rickety door. He tried the handle, not surprised when he found it locked. He undid the lock as quietly as he could, and silently slipped inside.

He followed the sound of the beautiful voice he’d missed over the past few days. He felt like he would have gone insane without Charles there. In the past, he might have called himself weak at how quickly he’d become attached. Instead, he did what Charles would do: called himself strong for finding the courage to love someone.

Charles sounded like he was talking to someone, but nobody was replying. “You told me I knew how to fix it,” Charles was saying. “She did too, actually. But you were telling me different things, weren’t you?” He sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t see it back then. And I’m sorry I can’t listen to you now, but she’s right.”

Erik now stood beside the doorway, listening to Charles talk. His heart was racing.

“I’m sorry I can’t listen to them, either. They only saw me kill one man. They don’t know what I’ve done.” His voice broke and he exhaled shakily. “They don’t know how many people I’ve really killed. I… I can’t tell them, I don’t want them to look at me that way. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look in a mirror again without… without seeing you, without seeing them.” Another pause. “Fox was right. Sloan was right. I’m so sorry.”

Erik felt the gun in Charles’s pocket move, and he heard the click of the safety and the slider.

“Well, father,” Charles said, sounding emotionless, “I guess I’ll see you in hell.”

Erik pushed himself off the wall and looked into the room, and he felt the gun’s excitement as the trigger was pulled.

No!” Panicking, Erik flung his powers towards the gun. It crumpled in Charles’s grip, the bullet along with it. Charles jumped a little, but gave a little laugh.

“I should have known you’d follow me,” Charles said, and it sounded like he was supressing a sob. “You are quite a stubborn person.”

Erik felt a tiny spike of anger, but tried to push it down for Charles’s sake. He pulled the useless lump of metal away from Charles, dropping it at the same of the room. Charles offered up no resistance, and simply leaned against the window. “So are you,” Erik said, taking a few slow steps towards Charles. “Or, I thought you were.”

Charles huffed. There was a strange silence as Erik moved to stand next to Charles. Charles looked out of the window into the apartment opposite, and Erik studied Charles. His eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles under them, and he looked like he hadn’t eaten in the time since they’d seen each other last.

“This was my father’s apartment,” Charles said suddenly. “I used to live in that one there.” He gestured to the apartment he was looking into. “I lived there with my bitch of a girlfriend who used my anxiety as an excuse to cheat on me with my best friend.” He took a deep breath. “That was one of the many reasons I was glad that Fox and the Fraternity found me.”

Erik didn’t know what to do, but it didn’t seem like Charles was expecting him to.

“Raven didn’t know that I killed my father,” Charles said, and he shivered. “I didn’t know I did until he was dead. She knew everything else after I projected a nightmare one night, but I didn’t tell her about killing my father. She didn’t deserve to be burdened with that. Besides, I was scared that she’d abandon me, disown me as her brother.

“And on that ship… you’d think someone like me, a telepath, would think. But having that gun in my hand… it was like I had nothing else. It became my first instinct, and telepathy became my last.

“There’s no hope for me anymore,” Charles continued. “I can never go back to being the Charles that you knew. You’ve already learned things that I never wanted to think about again.”

“I don’t want you to go back to being that Charles,” Erik said, and Charles finally looked up at him, surprise and confusion in his eyes. “I would never ask you to. You’d be lying to yourself and everyone around you, and I know you hate doing that.”

Charles gave a half-hearted smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “What are you doing here, Erik?” Charles asked.

Erik replied simply, “I came to bring you home.”

The smile fell from Charles’s face, and he stared at Erik.

Erik looked out of the window, preparing himself. “I was going to leave after I killed Shaw,” he said. “I wanted to prove that people like me, mutants, would always be superior to ordinary humans. I wanted, I planned to make them suffer like I had suffered because of what I could do. I truly hate humanity,” he reminded Charles. “I was a killer, a madman with nothing but pain and anger to carry him through. I… I was going to leave you.”

He took a deep, shaky breath. “But seeing you like that, it reminded me of myself. I saw you, in that moment when you held that gun to Shaw’s head, how you said you’d seen me: a tortured soul surviving on sheer anger alone.” He turned to Charles and put a hand to Charles’s cheek, making sure that Charles was looking at him. “I want to help you, Charles,” he said. “I want to help you like you helped me. There is more to you than you know. There is more than just pain and anger. There is good in you, too.”

Repeating Charles’s words to him physically hurt, but Charles had to hear them. He had to hear that Erik saw those things in him.

A tear ran down Charles’s cheek, and Erik wiped it away with his thumb. “I don’t like what I am, what I can do,” Charles croaked. “I despise it. But without my telepathy… it’s all I have left.” He sounded distraught, so Erik pulled Charles close to his chest, burying his face in Charles’s hair and wrapping the other arm around Charles’s waist.

“You have me,” he promised. “Come home with me, Charles. Please.”

He felt Charles sob and clutch onto Erik’s jacket, and that nearly broke Erik.

“Please, Charles. I’m begging you. We can get through this together, I swear.”

There was a short pause.

But finally, Erik felt Charles nod against his chest. Erik sagged in relief, and ran his hands through Charles’s hair. “I swear to you, Charles Xavier, that for as long as I’m alive I will never leave you.”

Charles lifted his head and Erik looked down at him. “What makes you so sure of that?” Charles asked quietly.

Erik rested his hand on Charles’s neck and ran his thumb across his jaw. He licked his lips and said, “Because I love you, Charles.”

Charles was silent, and his eyes widened slightly. His hand went up to touch Erik’s, and a soft smile found its way onto both of their lips. Charles rested his head against Erik’s chest again and closed his eyes, and Erik gently kissed the top of his head.

“Everyone’s freaking out looking for you,” Erik mumbled into Charles’s hair.

Charles laughed. “I think you’re the only one that could have been able to convince me to come home,” he replied.

“I think I’m the only one that could have stopped that bullet.”

Charles looked up at him again. “Thank you,” he said.

Erik rested his forehead against Charles’s. “I love you, Charles,” he said softly, “mutant or otherwise.”

Charles smiled at him. “I love you too, Erik.”

Erik finally relaxed with a sigh of relief. He closed the distance between their lips and Charles met him halfway, clutching onto the front of Erik’s jacket like he was scared Erik would disappear. But now that this was happening, Erik knew that he wasn’t going anywhere.

He felt a strange surge of happiness on the edge of his mind that lovingly entwined with his own.

I love you, Erik, so much.

Erik smiled against the chaste kiss. I love you too, Charles.

Charles pulled away, staring at Erik with wide eyes. Erik smiled, and Charles laughed in disbelief.

And with the busy streets below the apartment and raindrops beginning to patter on the window, they laughed and they kissed and they swore to endure whatever the future held for them together.

 

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. – Oscar Wilde