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Friendly Fire

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Charles was sixteen when his step-father walked in on him kissing a boy in the house. Three hours later he found himself stranded on the streets of London with his twelve-year-old sister, Raven, and four broken ribs. In truth, he was grateful to have escaped with that much. Now with no money, no home, and a younger sister to protect, he found his way to the homeless shelter for teens. This is where he met Erik Lehnsherr.

The cots were lined along the white walls, Charles was cramped in the same bed with Raven but sleep would not come. His ribs ached and the pain was making it hard to block the minds surrounding him. There was so much pain being projected from the inhabitants. One mind, in particular, caught his attention, a seventeen-year-old boy that could manipulate metal and was planning on murdering a man named Schmitt. Charles slowly sat up as to not wake Raven and crept his way through the cots. He followed the chaotic mind until he got to the bathroom where Erik was moving a coin between his fingertips.

If they catch you doing that they will send you to the mutant homes,” Charles spoke calmly into the boy’s mind, the reaction was immediate. Erik twisted around and had a knife hovering right in front of the telepaths face.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Charles Xavier and you are Erik Lehnsherr.”

“You’re in my head. How did you do that?” Erik demanded, his mind spiking with so much anger that Charles winced.

“You have your tricks, I have mine. I’m like you just calm your mind,” Charles placated, smiling softly at the mutant.

“I thought I was alone,” Erik whispered, his eyes searching Charles own, “The only mutant here.”

“You’re not alone,” Charles beamed, moving forward and clasping Erik’s shoulder, “Erik, you’re not alone.”

One week after staying at the home, Erik suggested doing street performances for money after hearing Charles sing Raven and a couple of other kids to sleep. After three months of singing on the street, a talent scout asked him to audition for Broadway. Shortly after his first Broadway performance, a record company offered him a deal and with his telepathy, he managed to get a good one. Using his mutation, Erik, and a small amount of stealing they rented a rundown flat. During their first night in the flat, Erik kissed Charles and they started officially dating. The day when Charles’s song became the most listened to song across the world, Charles told Erik he loved him for the first time. Erik returned the sentiment after Charles's first live show of his tour. Before the first interview Charles did, they both agreed to keep Erik’s name out of the spotlight so he could make a better name in activism as opposed to just being known as Xavier’s boyfriend. 

 

 

Charles was twenty when Erik was arrested for assault charges for punching Cain Marko in the face. Charles’ stepbrother had bought backstage tickets to one of his shows then proceeded to make mutantphobic and homophobic slurs at him before Erik attacked. He bailed Erik out but the assault chargers were on Erik’s record forever, even if Cain did deserve it.

 

 

Charles was twenty-one when Erik finally found a lead on Schmitt, now known as Sebastian Shaw. They were in Miami for a mutant rally and an upcoming concert when Erik spotted the man in the crowd. Charles only felt fear and anger rush through Erik’s mind before the metal bender was spiriting across the street. He did the only thing he could to help his lover, he froze every human in a 10-mile radius. The only ones left moving was the handful of mutants. Shaw had noticed the frozen people and turned his head to look Charles directly in the eyes as Erik charged forward knife in hand. The encounter was over as soon as it started because beside Shaw was a red mutant who teleported him to safety before Erik could even get close.

Erik had frantically searched the area to no avail and they did not return to their hotel room until well past dark. By the time they got in, Charles was on the verge of collapse and didn't have to read Erik's mind to know the older man wasn’t far behind.

“Erik,” Charles started softly, reaching out to touch Erik’s shoulders, “Are you alright?”

“He got away,” Erik growled, his body tense, “After years of searching, he just vanishing just like that.”

“Oh, my love, I’m sorry,” Charles comforted, stroking a hand down Erik’s neck and feeling the muscles slowly relax, “He will slip up some time and someone will stop him.”

“I am not going to stop Shaw, I am going to kill him,” Erik stated, turning his head to look at the telepath, “Do you have it in you to allow that?”

“It doesn’t have to be you, Erik,” Charles protested lightly, reopening the old argument they had countless times.

“You’ve known all along what I planned to do, Charles,” Erik responded, “He killed my parents. He killed my mother.”

Charles gently took Erik’s face into his hands, pressing a soft kiss to his lips before saying, “Listen to me very carefully, my friend: killing Shaw will not bring you peace.”

“Peace was never an option,” Erik muttered, trying to pull away, but Charles held strong.

“There is so much more to you than you know. Not just pain and anger. There is good, too. I feel it,” Charles whispered, his eyes burning with conviction, “I see it every day that I spend with you. In your passion for mutantkind, in your love for me. You do not think you deserve peace but you do. You deserve to be happy more than anyone. Please don’t let what Shaw did to you, the pain he caused control you. That being said, If you must kill Shaw or go after him, then fine. I will support you. I told you once I could never live without you and I meant that. I love you, I would never abandon you.”

 

 

Charles was twenty-four when his mother died. He was filming a music video in Italy when he got the call. The flight back to New York was silent, Charles grieved for a mother that kicked him on the street when he was sixteen and that he never got to reconcile with. Erik held him through it all, the funeral, the wake, and the reading of the will. Everything was left to Charles. The house in England, the Xavier fortune, and most importantly, the estate in Westminster.

“Don’t you see what this means?” Charles asked, sitting on his old childhood bed and looking up at Erik with hopeful eyes, “This is a sign, to start the school and family we talked about! This mansion is huge and full of awful memories, but we can make it better. We could make this into the school! We have the money for it now!”

“You have the money for it,” Erik amended and Charles frowned, standing and grabbing Erik’s hands.

“No, we do,” Charles said, bringing their faces together, “I want this with you, I want everything with you. “

“And you’ll have it,” Erik responded, bringing their lips together, “We can start a family. Foster mutant kids?”

Yes,” Charles whispered into his mind, a grin stretching across his lips before he spoke aloud, “We could give them a safe place to control their powers and achieve their dreams.”

“I suppose you would teach music?” Erik teased, lifting the telepath so he could wrap his legs around Erik’s waist, “I could teach foreign languages.”

Charles chucked, tangling his fingers in the older man’s hair, “I know Armando wanted to settle down too, we could ask him to teach science or literature. We could go find other mutants for teachers and students.”

“As long as you’re not afraid I’ll warp the young mutants minds,” Erik joked, pressing kisses to Charles's neck.

“They will hear both sides and make their own choices,” Charles retorted, letting out a soft giggle when Erik nibbled on his ear. He pulled away from his lover to look him in the eyes, “You want this, right? The kids? The school? I’m not just projecting?”

“Of course, I want this,” Erik answered firmly, placing a hand on the telepath’s cheek, “I knew the night I met you that I wanted to share my life with you, Liebling. I’ve always wanted a family since mine was taken from me and I wouldn’t have it with anyone else.”

A month later Charles was officially out of the music industry much to Emma’s, his manager, dismay. A day after everything was official they both applied to the mutant foster system, with intentions to eventually adopt. It was in such meetings to sign up they discovered Erik could not be a foster parent because of his assault charges from years ago. The workaround would be to foster first and be married when the adoptions came around. Erik proposed a week later, Charles said yes.

Armando aka Darwin agreed immediately to their idea of teaching. He was eager to leave being a bodyguard to teach mutants. Angel was harder to convince, but in the end, the idea of teaching dance class appealed more than looking for another mutant artist to dance for.

At a mutant protest to end experimentation and segregation, they met Dr. Hank McCoy, an 18-year-old genius who accidentally enhanced his mutation causing him to be covered in blue fur. After listening to the pitch from Erik and Charles about the school, he agreed immediately. Hank told them that after working for three years at the CIA with judgmental humans, he was ready to be among his own kind.

Charles piled sandwiches on a plate before making his way down the bunker where Erik and Hank had started to build Cerebro. The scientist and metal manipulator using their combined talents to get the machine working so they could hunt down more mutants. Raven had taken a shopping trip with Angel and Darwin. 

“Lunch?” Charles asked as he entered the room, with a soft smile. Hank eagerly moved to grab a sandwich before returning to his work and Erik floated down to take a sandwich as well, “It seems to be coming along well.”

Erik hummed in agreement as he chewed through the sandwich, sliding an arm around Charles's waist as he sat on one of the chairs in the lab, “I can’t argue with having you surrounded by metal, Schatz.”

“Oh, I know. Your enthusiasm last night was proof enough,” Charles pressed into Erik’s mind along with the image of the metal that had been wrapped around his wrists the previous night.

“Metal headboards were the best investment we ever put into this house,” Erik mused, his hand sliding lower to Charles backside causing the telepath to giggle and press a kiss to Erik’s lips, “How likely are you to wear metal bracelets regularly?”

I might need some convincing,” Charles responded, his mind curling around Erik’s own, “I do like the ring quite a bit though.”

That did the trick, Erik’s powers smoothed over the handcrafted metal engagement ring he had given the telepath. The metal bender heated the ring slightly and smirked at the shiver it caused.

“I’m going to take a break,” Erik called to the blue mutant, his eyes never leaving Charles own, “I’ll be back in an hour.”

“Two hours,” Charles corrected, tugging the metal bender out of the lab and ignoring the grumbling mind of the scientist inside.

With the aid of telepathy, every hoop they needed to jump through for fostering and the school was easily done. Soon enough though Cerebro they found more mutants for potential students and teachers.

“I can't stop thinking about the others out there, all those minds that I touched. I could feel them, their isolation, their hopes, their ambitions,” Charles sat excitedly as he moved one of his chess pieces, “I tell you we can start something incredible, Erik. We can help them.”

“Is this the tradeoff for being Hank’s adorable little lab rat?” Erik teased, taking one of the telepaths pawns.

“If I am anybody’s adorable anything, it would be yours,” Charles flirted with a wink before clearing his expression, “I mean it, Erik. We have the potential to make something amazing here, together.”

They used the same method when they found Alex and Scott Summers, brothers who were in the mutant foster system together both marked with volatile powers. Alex was sixteen and Scott three, both of their parents had died in a car accident a year prior. Erik and Charles brought them to the estate after settling the paperwork. Legally only Charles could foster them, but Erik was there every step of the way.

Shortly after that, they met Sean Cassidy, a fourteen-year-old with a sonic scream. One day after meeting him, he joined the family. The school was set to officially open one year from the day they started officially fostering Sean. With everything in place to start a life, they started to plan their wedding set on June 5th, two months before the fall semester would begin for the school.

The choice to adopt the boys was made rather quickly but it didn’t cement until Scott called Charles ‘daddy’ and Erik ‘Vati’ for the first time. That very night they called Alex, Scott, and Sean into the living room.

“Boys, Erik and I have a very important question to ask you,” Charles began as soon as they were settled, his hand clasped firmly in Erik’s, “As you know, Erik and I will be getting married in three months.”

“After we are married, both of us would be able to adopt you,” Erik said plainly, “Do you want us to adopt you?”

“For real?” Sean asked, with a grin and at Charles nod, the ginger hugged him, “Hell yeah. I already consider you guys my dads.”

“That’s wonderful, darling,” Charles beamed, hugging him back, “Alex? Scott?”

Alex nodded, looking suspiciously like he was about to cry, “Uh yeah. I’d like that a lot. I already, um I mean, Scotty already thinks you are so yes.”

Erik smiled, widely and clasped Alex on his shoulder before hugging him.

 

 

Two months after Charles's 25th birthday, he and Raven had a terrible fight. It started that night when Charles was down in the kitchen grabbing some water before heading to bed when Raven entered the kitchen.

“You know, sometimes I wonder what my life would've been like if you haven't found me here that night,” She said as she stood in the kitchen doorway in her nude blue form.

“Yaah! God's sake, Raven, where are your clothes? Pu... put... put some clothes on—” Charles exclaimed, quickly averting his eyes.

“That's not what you said when you first saw me. But I guess pets are always cuter when they're little, right?”

“Raven, I don't know what's gotten into you lately. I swear, you've been in a good mood,” Charles responded in confusion, “I thought you were working with Hank about the Mutant and Proud approach.”

“Oh? It’s all about Mutant and Proud now?” Raven bit out, “What about when we were children? When you forced me to hide my true form?”

“Please understand, I only had you do that so we would not be kicked out of the shelters and to protect you from Kurt and Cain,” Charles explained, “I did not even register as a telepath until I was eighteen for that very reason. To protect you.”

“And yet you use them to ease the way for things,” Raven snarked back and moved to walk away before Charles caught her arm.

“Raven, please listen,” Charles urged, moving his hand down to clasp hers in his own, “Your blue form is beautiful and I’m sorry you had to hide it, but I was only trying to protect you.”

“You know Charles, I use to think it was gonna be you and me against the world,” She snapped, ripping her arm out of his grasp, “But no matter how bad the world gets, you don't wanna be against it, do you? You want to be part of it.”

Charles sighed, rubbing his temples as he watched her go and started the trip back to his and Erik’s room glass of water forgotten about.

“What’s wrong, Liebling?” The metal bender asked as soon as he closed the door and Charles sighed as he began to change into pajamas. Charles mind immediately reaching out to curl around Erik’s own. The link between the two of them, always centered him. Most times he would try to shield it for privacy but just the feeling of the metal benders orderly mind was enough.

“It’s Raven. She thinks I don’t accept her for her true form and resents me for having her hide it growing up.”

“Well, I can see why.”

“What? I was only trying to protect her. If people had known we were mutants in the shelters they would’ve sent us to the mutant homes or worse.”

“You aren’t exactly encouraging of her natural form, Schatz.”

“I haven’t a problem with her blue form, but she can’t walk around naked. There are hormonal teenage boys in this house and a three-year-old,” Charles elaborated, dressed down in his underwear now, “I wouldn’t encourage anyone to walk about without appropriate clothing.”

“Have you ever looked at a tiger and thought you ought to cover it up?” Erik asked, lazily watching as Charles pulled on a fresh pair of underwear.

“No, but that is not the same. Raven is a person, not an animal,” Charles retorted, “A person who is around children, our children if you haven’t forgotten.”

“She is an exquisite creature. All her life the world has tried to tame her,” Erik countered and Charles paused looking at him for a beat before shaking his head, “It's time for her to be free.”

“Exquisite creature?” Charles huffed, pulling on his pajama bottoms, “If I didn’t know any better, I would say you were attracted to my sister.”

“Raven is a beautiful woman,” Erik answered, not denying it, “Are you jealous, Charles?”

“Do I need to be?” Charles asked, genuine hurt flashing across his face and Erik felt Charles mind pull away from his own. Before Erik could do damage control, Charles held up his hand, “Come on in, Scott. I know you’re there.”

Scott cracked the door open, his eyes red-rimmed and tear streaks down his cheeks, “I’m sorry but I had a bad dream, Daddy.”

“No need to apologize, darling,” Charles reassured, pulling Scott in the room and into his arms, “Would you like to sleep with Vati and me?”

The next morning the whole family headed to the Mutant Rights Celebration Concert and Fair. The bill had been passed internationally, no mutant was allowed to be segregated or experimented on. In light of this, Charles was asked to perform at the celebration seeing as he was the most influential mutant out there. Charles was excited about the performance, having not sang on stage since he and Erik had started a family. The boys were eager to go as well and he couldn’t say no. The celebration had a stage, rows of seats, and rides such as a Ferris wheel. It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Scott was practically vibrating with excitement as got out of the car to enter the fair and Charles shared the sentiment. Although the telepath couldn’t help but dwell on the argument he had with Raven and Erik last night.

“Dad, is something wrong?” Sean asked as they made their way through the fair.

“No, I think I may be a bit nervous about my performance,” Charles lied, giving the ginger a reassuring smile, “I’ve never performed in front of my own children, now have I?”

“You’re going to do great,” Sean beamed at him before getting distracted by the cotton candy stand. Erik and himself had talked only briefly today, impossible to have any serious conversations with Scott glued to Charles's side. He was determined to cast those conversations out of his mind and enjoy today, the serious stuff could wait until tomorrow. Today was a huge win for mutantkind and he refused to dwell on negatives for today. Emma and Moria caught them as they had just finished riding the Ferris wheel, insisting they take a family photo in front of it.

“Adorable,” Emma commented dryly as she handed Charles back his phone, “You’re on in ten, Sugar.”

“Ah, that is my cue, children,” Charles said, turning towards the kids with a smile, “Moria reserved some seats for you upfront.”

“Sweet,” Alex said, his hands shoved in his pockets.

“Charles,” Erik says, grabbing his elbow, steering him a little ways from the children and reaching his mind out to Charles. The telepath had made sure to steer away from Erik’s mind since last night, part of him afraid of what thoughts would be lurking in his mind, “Come inside my head, Liebling.”

“Alright,” Charles murmured, sliding into that familiar mind but only surface thoughts, “What is it?”

“About last night, we should talk,” Erik whispered in his mind back to Charles, “You've been avoiding my mind since last night.”

“I know. We can talk tonight, now isn’t the best time,” Charles answered, his calm words washing over Erik’s mind, the metal bender had missed the soothing touch.

“Tonight then,” Erik spoke aloud, his thumb brushing the skin under it, “I love you.”

I love you too, darling,” Charles whispered into his mind, brushing a mental kiss to his lips. They never showed romantic affection in public, still after all these years keeping their love hidden from the media.

Charles stood backstage, peaking through the curtain to see his family sitting front row and talking with each other. Erik was turned towards Raven, seemingly having a very serious conversation.

“Sugar, take that look off your face. You can’t go on looking like that,” Emma ordered, a bored expression on her beautiful face, “I don’t need to be in your head to know something is going on with you and shark boy.”

“We just had an argument last night,” Charles responded, turning around to look at his friend/manager, “I think I might have overreacted or misunderstood something.”

“You’re a telepath, how do you get into a misunderstanding?”

“Practice,” Charles joked, with a slight chuckle, “Erik called Raven an ‘exquisite creature’.”

“Honey, you knew Erik was an asshole when agreed to marry him, right?” Emma drawled, raising a perfect eyebrow at him, “Ever since I’ve known him, I have only seen him look happy around you. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“You’re right,” Charles nodded, “I never thought I was the jealous type.”

“Everyone is,” Emma huffed before making her way to Charles and straighten his hair, “Now, get out there and remind shark-smile that he is lucky to have you.”

Charles laughed as he took the microphone from the tech hand and walked out on stage, the crowd erupted at the sight of him. Charles gave a wink and little wave in the direction of his kids as he addressed the crowd. Everything was normal, the music started and he started singing. Until the gunshots were fired and everything went into chaos. Charles immediately ducked down, pressing his fingers to his temple, and started searching the crowd for the assailant. He spares a glance at the children who are being ushered away by Moria and Darwin protecting them. He finds the human quite easily and stands, his fingers still pressed to his temple and points with his other hand at the man.

“Erik, he is over there,” Charles shouts, pointing at the shooter, “Blue shirt! He is wearing blockers, I can’t freeze him!”

Erik immediately swings around and starts to face the attacker as everyone around them is running. The attacker opens fire directly at Erik but Charles turns away when he hears Emma’s panicked voice.

“Charles! Look out!” Emma shouts actual fear present into those otherwise cool eyes. Charles turns to come face to face with a red mutant, the same one he had seen with Shaw. Before he could put anything together, red searing pain shot through his back as a bullet lodged into it. Charles let out an ear-splitting scream as he fell to his knees, the red mutant in front of him, eyes widened before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

 

 

Charles Xavier was twenty-five when he was shot on international television. He was twenty-five when he lost his legs, his fiancé, and his sister. When Charles woke up in the hospital later that day, it was to the news of his paralysis from his mid-thigh down. All he could do was nod at the doctor, the drugs making him sluggish and his telepathy hard to control. The kids filed in shortly after that, their expressions sick with worry and eager to see him.

“I’m so glad you’re all okay,” Charles whispered, smoothing back Scott’s hair as he had climbed into his lap, even after the warning Erik had given. The mental bender had been eerily quiet the whole time and when he looked at him, those eyes were burning with something he hadn’t seen in years.

“Charles,” Erik started, effectively cutting through the buzz of chatter from the boys, “Can you still say we can coexist with the humans? After what they did today.”

“I will not punish an entire race for the actions of a few,” Charles stuttered out, the drugs slurring his words, “Can we have this conversation later, Erik?”

“No, they should all hear,” Erik snapped, standing from his seat.

“They are children, Erik,” Charles protested but the metal bender raised his hand to silence him.

“Not anymore, they need to hear this,” Erik said firmly and Charles ran a hand over his face.

“Erik, please,” Charles pleaded but Erik cut him off.

“No, I have let you placate me for long enough,” Erik growled, “The humans are afraid of our gifts. Because we are different. Humanity has always feared that which is different and they are right to. We are the future. We are the ones who inherit this earth and they are seeking to tear us down. They may have appeased us with bills and laws but that doesn’t stop our mutant brother and sisters from being tortured, from hiding. Why are you on their side? Why fight for a doomed race who will hunt us down as soon as they realize their reign is coming to an end?”

“Erik, we have made progress, that bill is proof of it,” Charles argued, a headache making his head pound, “Today was the action of a group of misguided bigots. Don’t start a war where there is not one.”

“I won’t let this go, Charles,” Erik exclaimed, “They have their weapons… we have ours. We will strike with a vengeance and a fury that this world has never witnessed!”

“Erik, please,” Charles begged, “Don’t do this. If you do this everything we worked for, everything we did for the past nine years will go to waste. You cannot have it both ways.”

“I cannot sit by while our kind is murdered and abused,” Erik stated, “You are blinded because you believe they are all like Moira.”

“You cannot judge all humans like this,” Charles responded, running smoothing hands over Scott as the boy began to squirm at the anger in Erik’s voice, “You can’t let what Shaw did to you control you. Please, Erik. Think about the children.”

“I am thinking about them,” Erik ground out, his hands clenching into fists, “I won’t let the humans get away with this. I will not stand by and watch as we are led to a slaughter.”

“We aren’t being led to anything,” Charles protested, his voice cracking. He tried to sit up hurriedly but only collapsed back in pain. His children all reached for him worriedly but Erik just stood still as a statue.

“Don’t move, Charles,” Hank urged before turning a glare to Erik, “That’s enough, Erik.”

“I won’t let you leash me any longer, Charles,” Erik continued as if the blue mutant hadn’t spoken at all.

“Leash you?” Charles asked, holding back a sob, “Is that what you think I’ve been doing for these past nine years?”

“That’s what you always do,” Raven murmured, glaring down at her shoes. Charles ignored the jab and stared resolutely at Erik.

“Shut up, Raven,” Alex snapped, glaring daggers at the shapeshifter and the two erupted in bickering. 

Erik, if you do this. If you take this path then I can’t be part of it. I won’t allow you to put our family in danger,” Charles spoke into Erik’s head, his eyes were pleading, “I can’t let you bring a war to our doorstep. Please, Erik, don’t do this.”

“Stay out of my head, Charles,” Erik shouted, his mind lashing out at him. Charles yelped in panic at the mental strike and looked at his lover with wide, betrayed eyes. The children all fell silent at the shout and turned to them.

“I thought we wanted the same thing,” Charles said, tears threatening to spill over and his headache growing by the second.

“I'm sorry, Liebling, but we do not,” Erik answered, pulling the metal ring from his finger and floating it into Charles's hand, “Peace was never an option.”

Charles looked down at the ring in his hand, wrapping his hand around it, and shook his head. Tears slipped down his cheeks in earnest and his emotions projected out to everyone in the room as he struggled to get up, “Please, Erik. Don’t leave.”

“I’m going with Erik,” Raven stated, standing with her arms crossed, “And so is Angel.”

“Then leave!” Alex shouted in anger, “Get out of here if we are such a burden to you.”

Please, don’t do this,” Charles projected, crying out as he tried to move again and more pain flooded his back. The monitor keeping track of his vitals started beeping loudly and a nurse rushed in.

“Farewell, my old friend,” Erik said, his eyes steely as he bore into Charles own, “Whatever comes, I and mine will not go like lambs to the slaughter — but like tigers!”

“Erik, please don’t leave me here,” Charles begged telepathically but Erik had already turned his back with Raven and Angel in tow.