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Friendly Fire

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“No can do, boss,” Azazel told him, “I can’t teleport onto the grounds.”

 

“What do you mean?” Mystique asked, from her spot next to the other mutant.

 

“After I tried to kidnap him, the blue mutant made a machine that blocks teleportation,” The Russian answered casually much to the shock of his companions. 

 

“Kidnap him?” Erik growled out, his mind running a mile a minute over what the mutant had said to him.

 

“Shaw wanted Xavier,” Azazel replied, “He is the most powerful telepath he had ever come across.”

 

“Explain,” Erik snarled, the other members of the brotherhood besides Angel, Janos, Azazel, and Raven fleeing the room, “Now.”

 

“The day in Miami at the mutant rally when Xavier stopped everyone in the square, Shaw became interested. He set up the shooting during the celebration, in the commotion I was going to grab him,” The red mutant went on and Erik flashed back to the red blur he saw on the stage in the video.

 

“You tried to grab him on stage,” Mystique spoke what Erik was thinking, “That’s why Emma called to him and the red blur…”

 

“Da,” Azazel confirmed, “We waited till he was out of the hospital to try again, I fought with the plasma mutant and injured him before Xavier seized my mind. He told me he would wipe my memory clean of everything if I ever touched his children again or got anywhere near the mansion before he made me teleport myself and Riptide away. We tried a couple of other times with psychic blocking gear but the blue mutant made the forcefield, Shaw’s next move was to get Xavier himself before you killed him.”

 

“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Raven questioned her voice a mix of anger and something else.

 

“You never asked,” Janos said from his spot, speaking up after remaining silent for so long, “We didn’t think you cared since you left him defenseless in a hospital.”

 

Erik’s ears felt like they were ringing. He sat down on the couch in shock drowning out the voices around him as Mystique began arguing with the two men. Shaw had attacked poor, innocent Charles and he wasn’t there to protect him. He had left a bunch of untrained kids to keep the love of his life safe. Shaw, the man who tortured and killed his parents, almost had Charles in his hands. The metal in the room shook with his anger, the humans didn’t cause Charles to be paralyzed, Shaw did. Yet another thing that mutant had taken from Erik.

 

“How close to the mansion can you get?” Erik asked abruptly cutting them off.

 

“His range 402.34 kilometers,” Azazel responded, looking back to Erik, glad to be looking away from Mystiques accusing glare, “What? I measured.”

 

Erik’s eyebrows raised, Charles range had grown considerably since they had parted ways. He always knew Charles would become more powerful.

 

“Get me as close as you can,” Erik ordered, the red mutant nodded standing and taking Erik’s hand. Azazel ended up taking him to an airport, the Russian refuses to get anywhere near the range of the telepath. It made Erik wonder what Charles had done to him.

 

 Erik was glad for not revealing his true identity as he bought his plane ticket, he would never be allowed on a plane if people knew he was Magneto. Not that Erik was ashamed of his work as Magneto but it just worked better if he could blend in if need be. The government did suspect him once but with Raven disguising herself as him while Magneto was in the area, they couldn’t press any charges.  As Erik settled down in his seat at the gate waiting for boarding to start, he noticed the handful of teenagers whispering and pointing at him. It wasn’t totally out of the ordinary seeing as he was a famous mutant activist. The odd thing was the number of looks he was getting from multiple persons. Erik shook his head and pulled out his phone, pulling up his twitter to maybe go insult Senator Kelly again. That’s when he saw it, the top treading hashtags were Charles Xavier/ Professor X, Erik Lehnsherr and Cherik. That’s when he got it, the documentary. His twitter notifications had also seemed to blow up with mentions and tags, which was just great. Erik didn’t think twice before going through the tags, the documentary left no question who it was, even if they didn’t outwardly say it, what kind of fiancé would miss a holiday and teach foster kids the meaning of menorah. The documentary had been out for one day and years of keeping it a secret was blown to hell. Erik sighed, he wasn’t angry that people had figured it out. Even if it was Erik’s idea to keep their relationship hidden from the pubic, he was never ashamed. He only insisted on keeping it a secret so that his political career wouldn’t be affected, plus it wasn’t the general publics' business.

 

Regardless, he scrolled through the tweets idly, clicking on one of the videos that had been edited of all of Erik and Charles interactions from over the years plus some clips from the documentary. Erik sighed, reading some of the comments about certain songs and the lyrical implications there. He had a bit before the plane took off and before he faced Charles, he should probably listen to it all. Erik pulled one of the songs up, sticking in earphones and pressing play.

 

“All this money can't buy me a time machine, no

Can't replace you with a million rings, no

I should've done things differently, woah

'Cause now I pay the price”

 

Erik closed his eyes, just for a brief moment, Charles did pay the price. He paid the price with his legs, with a mad man coming after him and with Erik destroying a family he had sworn they would build together.

 

“In another life, I would be your man

We'd keep all our promises, be us against the world

In another life, I would make you stay

So, I don't have to say you were the one that got away”

 

Erik listened carefully as the song ended, replaying it to hear out the implications. Charles wanted him back, he had wanted him to stay and now he wanted him to come home. It was all very in character of him. Charles never gave up, he would never give up on Erik, no matter what he did. But he needed to hold onto his anger so he wouldn't drown in self-hatred. The metal bender needed to remember Charles had hidden Jean from him all these years and never tried to contact him about Shaw. If Erik had stuck around longer, Shaw would have come to him and he wouldn’t have had to track the bastard down. It had been three years since he killed him, he had slid that stupid coin through his head, it was the only kill he had made as Erik and not as Magneto. After all, he was Frankenstein’s monster.

-

Erik arrived at the mansion gates just before noon. He could feel the enhancements to the fence and gate that had not been there before. With a flick of his wrist the gates swung open and he began his walk towards the school. By the time he got to front area, the burly man he had seen in the videos, Logan was out front. His arms were crossed and he was smoking a cigar.

 

“Don’t remember opening the gate for you, bub,” Logan said, glaring at the metal bender, from the look in his eyes, Erik could tell Logan knew who he was.

 

“Didn’t need it,” Erik responded, reaching out and feeling the metal running all along Logan’s skeleton, “Nothing metal can stop me, including you.”

 

“Not here to stop you, just to figure out what you want,” Logan huffed, blowing smoke out through his nose, “Believe it or not, I’m the most level headed in the house when it comes to you.”

 

“I’m here to see Charles,” Erik snapped, he was growing impatient and annoyed at the other mutant.

 

“Chuck’s in a class,” Logan responded dryly, then the man paused, Erik recognized that face. He had seen that on the boys when Charles would speak into their minds. Jealousy quickly rose its ugly head and he could think of nothing better than throwing Logan out of his way. He needed to see Charles, “Yeah, alright. Follow me.”

 

Erik fumed as he was led through the halls to the study as if he didn’t use to live here and know every part of this place. As he passed the classrooms, he could see children sat around listening to a teacher he didn’t recognize. This place truly had grown.

 

“Class is out in five minutes,” Logan huffed, leaning against one of the walls to wait. Erik nearly rolled his eyes, he was perfectly capable of waiting for Charles alone. The metal bender took the time to look at the study, it was nearly the same. Picture frames of family photos lined the walls with children’s drawings and a Ph.D. Clearly the telepath had been busy. His desk was cluttered in the way that Erik used to find both endearing and infuriating.

 

“Where did he dig you up?” Erik asked, his hand grazing the top of Charles's desk. His eyes lingering on the pictures of the boys, Jeans, and one of Erik, Charles, and Raven. 

 

“I came to him,” Logan responded, dryly, “Frost assigned me to protect him from people like you.”

 

“Shaw?” Erik suggested, his anger had spiked at the thought of Logan taking his place by the telepaths side. That when that psychopathic mutant came after Charles, Frost and Logan were there to protect him and not Erik. 

 

Logan grunted in assent and the two men sat in silence as they waited for the telepath.

 

“Erik,” Charles said, he sounded just a bit happy to see him. He looked good, he wore a blue sweater that defined his thin waist and his eyes shined brightly as they looked at him. Erik felt the breath halt in his chest, for the first time in five years, it felt like he could breathe again. He was home. How he could ever deny that, made no sense to him. It was easy to forget when he wasn’t around him but now staring at this beautiful man, he couldn’t. The biggest relief was he could see in Charles' eyes, the love. Charles still loved him, they may have been parted for five years but he knew the telepath well enough. Those eyes gave away all his emotions. The burden that had been weighing on Erik lifted, Charles still loved him.

 

“Charles,” Erik responded, his own voice sounded affectionate to his ears.

 

“If you’ll excuse us, Logan,” Charles spoke, as he turned to the other mutant and giving him a reassuring smile.

 

“You sure, bub?” Logan questioned, eyeing Erik with suspicion.

 

Quite,” Charles projected into Logan’s mind, “I’ll be fine.”

 

“Call me if you need me,” Logan responded, squeezing Charles shoulder and Charles reached up to squeeze his arm back with a smile. Erik’s warm feelings were quickly replaced with jealousy and anger at the exchange. Once they were alone and the door shut, Charles gestured to one of the chairs as he wheeled over.

 

“I have to apologize on Sean behalf,” Charles started, making Erik look at him in confusion, “I didn’t know what videos he put into the documentary until it was already released.”

 

“What?”

 

“Isn’t that why you’re here?” Charles questioned, this time confusion tinting his own eyes, “Because Sean outed our past relationship?”

 

“What?’ Erik asked again, shaking his head, “No, I don’t care what a bunch of humans think.”

 

“Oh,” Charles responded, looking even more confused, “Then why are you here?”

 

“Jean,” Erik answered quickly, even if that was only part of the truth. Erik was here for Charles, Jean, Shaw and so much more. There was so much that Erik wanted to say but he didn’t know how.

 

“Ah, yes,” Charles nodded in understanding.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me about her?” Erik demanded, the earlier anger coming back.

 

“I tried,” Charles answered calmly, “You didn’t exactly leave me much way to contact you.”

 

“You’re a telepath, you could have figured it out,” Erik reminded him, anger at being left out of the loop, not getting to know his own daughter.

 

“You told me to stay out of your head,” Charles responded bitterly.

 

“Like you ever listened to that,” Erik bit back and the metal bender watched as the calm expression flickered to an angry one.

 

“Don’t worry, I won’t step into your head again,” Charles snapped, a part in those expressive eyes closing off.

 

“I deserved to know Jean was my daughter,” Erik persisted, ignoring Charles earlier comment.

 

“What would it have changed?” Charles questioned, “You didn’t stop to think about the boys.”

 

“I left because of the boys. To protect them from the humans,” Erik exclaimed, the same argument rising in his throat over these past few years.

 

“You didn’t protect them from anything,” Charles retorted, “Your escapades as Magneto-“

 

“My escapades,” Erik interrupted with a scoff.

 

“-has caused fear in the humans and a bad example for the young generation of mutants,” Charles continued ignoring Erik’s outburst, “I did try to contact you about Jean for months but I realized it would change nothing. You chose revenge and war over our… my children. I wasn’t going to let you break her heart too.”

 

“You had no right to hide her from me,” Erik insisted.

 

“Maybe not,” Charles conceded with a sigh, running a hand through his hair, “But can you honestly say that knowing about Jean would have changed your mind? Would you have given up the Brotherhood? Would you have ever stopped hunting Shaw?”

 

Erik remained silent because he didn’t know the answer to that question. Not really. He knew that he needed to kill Shaw. The truth was ever since killing Shaw, all he wanted to do was go home to Charles. All these years away had proven that no matter what Erik did, Charles would always be his weakness.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me about Shaw coming after you?” Erik questioned, changing the subject.

 

“I didn’t know until you were gone,” Charles answered honestly, his eyes had grown guarded in a way that Erik had never seen before. Silence stood between them. Erik looked at the telepath, he hadn’t aged a day since he last saw him.

 

“I’m sorry, Charles,” Erik said at last, looking straight into his eyes, “For what happened, I truly am.”

 

Charles eyes grew glassy again, tears threatening to spill from his eyes before he looked away. Erik felt his heartbreak all over again watching as he pulled further into himself.

 

“Liebling,” Erik started, his voice soft as he reached out to taking Charles hand in his own, “I never wanted to leave you.”

 

Charles shook his head, turning to look back at Erik as he pulled his hand away from the older mutants, “But you did.”

 

Erik pulled back, frustrated at the telepath, and at himself. Why couldn’t Charles understand he left to protect mutantkind?

 

“When did you last see her?” Charles asked, quietly. Erik hated how guarded Charles sounded, never had the telepath felt the need to be cautious around him. The telepath didn’t need to say who, they both knew he was talking about Raven.

 

“Right before I came here,” Erik answered honestly.

 

“How was she?” Charles questioned, trying to seem casual but Erik could tell he desperately wanted to hear about her. None of them had parted on good terms, he knew how much Raven had meant to Charles.

 

“Strong. Driven. Loyal,” Erik replied. 

 

“How... how was she?”

 

“She was... We were...,” Erik said, struggling to explain. He needed Charles to know he didn’t cheat on him but he couldn’t deny he had slept with her, “You should be proud of her, Charles. She's out there fighting for our cause.”

 

Your cause,” Charles answered firmly, his tone turning angry again, “The girl I raised, she was not capable of killing.”

 

“You didn't raise her. You grew up with her,” Erik responded, “She couldn't stay a little girl forever. That's why she left.”

 

“Didn’t I?” Charles retorted, “I taught her to read, I helped with her homework, I taught her how to ride a bike and about her period, when I was woefully unqualified. You know as well as I do that my mother did no raising, she simply threw us onto the streets.”

 

“Charles,” Erik began but cut himself off to look at his hands before back up at the telepath, “I never cheated on you.”

 

Charles scoffed, looking as if he didn’t believe Erik for a second and anger shot through the metal bender. How could Charles think he would cheat on him?

 

“I mean it. I never touched Raven in…that way until I had taken the ring off,” Erik explained, his eyes flickering to the chain around Charles throat. He could feel the metal rings resting against Charles' warm skin, “Look into my mind, I’m telling the truth.”

 

“What was I supposed to think, Erik?” Charles asked, exasperatedly, “The night before… everything you described her as an ‘exquisite creature’ before that you had been spending time teaching her self-defense and you had grown touchier about me being in your mind.”

 

“It wasn’t because I was sleeping with Raven, I would never do that to you,” Erik insisted, growing more frustrated at how badly this conversation was going. 

 

Charles laughed bitterly and looked him dead in the eyes, “You abandoned me in a hospital room after I was paralyzed. I knew everything about you but I never thought you would do that.”

 

Erik realized then he was losing Charles, if he continued on this path of anger, he wouldn’t be able to salvage what was between them. Erik had admitted that to himself now, he would never stop wanting Charles. The telepath had been right, all Erik ever wanted was a family with Charles. He had left because he felt it was what was needed to protect his family.

 

“Please, read my mind,” Erik said, softening his tone. Charles shook his head and looked away from him.

 

“After I tried every possible way I could of contacting you, I went into Cerebro,” Charles recounted, Erik was confused as to why he was bringing this up now, “You deserved to know you had a daughter and I was due soon, I knew I was running out of time before she would be born. I searched for your mind and do you know what I found?”

 

Then

Charles pinched the bridge of his noses in frustration, the children’s minds slamming into his own like waves on an ocean. His shields were nowhere near what they used to be, his control had not been the best since the accident. The hurt seeping from the boys and his own was drowning. The combination of the healing he had to do from the bullet wound, the loss of Raven and Erik, the loss of control of his telepathy, and his best effort to parent boys who had just been abandoned again. There wasn’t much time for focusing on fixing himself. Emma wasn’t powerful enough to help me rebuild his shields, his mind was too dangerous for her to enter at the moment.

 

“I don’t think we will be able to find him,” Charles announced, setting down his phone after his last attempt to call Erik’s old number. It had been three months since they had left, after finding out about the baby, Charles had done everything to contact Erik. The prospect of a baby might change Erik’s mind, he was known to make rash choices when angry. Perhaps all he needed was an olive branch and he would come home. Even if he didn’t want to come home or didn’t care, he did deserve to know. The telepath thought Erik wanted the life they had together but obviously he was wrong.

 

“Wait,” Logan grunted, setting down his beer and the phonebook he was looking through, “Why don’t you use Cerebro?”

 

“I don’t know if that is the best idea at the moment,” Charles responded, looking down at his fingers.

 

“Well it’s not like we have another choice,” Darwin supplied, he sat with Scott on the floor playing with action figures. Darwin’s mind was very relaxing, it was easy to focus on but he also harbored lots of pain at Angel’s departure.

 

“It’s up to you, Chuck,” Logan said, looking every bit indifferent to whatever the telepath decided. Logan’s mind was very animal-like. He relied on instincts as a way to cope with what was done to him in those labs. What Stryker had done.

 

Alright,” Charles responded telepathically, that was another thing he struggled to do, was differentiate speaking aloud and telepathically, “Hank, would you mind…?”

“Of course, Cerebro has been ready for months,” The scientist said eagerly, standing quickly and leading them from the room down to the lab, all the way babbling about the improvements he had made. Hank was a constant solid which Charles appreciated to no end, his brain was predictable and scientifically centered. It would be comforting if it weren’t for the overwhelming hurt he felt at Raven’s departure, he had fancied her quite a bit. Nor did it help that Hank constantly struggled with his image and always sought Charles for reassurance. Charles did not mind this, he loved that Hank trusted him enough and that the children felt comfortable enough to tell their problems. He cared so deeply for them all and he would never trade it. It was simply just overwhelming at times, the pain.

 

They finally arrived at Cerebro, the door scanning Charles eyes before opening with a “Welcome, Professor.” The others stayed outside while Hank and Logan filed in after him. The room looked the same as it did when he was last here, except it was adjusted for a wheelchair. The last time he was in here was to find another teacher for the semester and Erik had stood by his side, fingers entangled. Charles wheeled himself to the panel with a sigh, picking up the sleek helmet and examining it. He could feel the tears stinging his eyes at the fresh ache he felt, he knew he was broadcasting when Hank cleared his throat and squeezed his shoulder.

 

“Are you sure?” Hank questioned, his mind projecting pity and sadness. Charles sniffed before nodding, placing the helmet upon his head.

 

I’m ready. If you would please start it up,” Charles spoke softly into the blue mutant’s mind and Hank flipped the switch. As soon as it flicked on, Charles let out a pained gasp as he was flooded with millions of minds. He tried to steady himself with his shield but it refused to work, the pain of all those people crashing full speed at him. He could hear himself screaming as the glass to the dials broke and the machine shut off.

 

“I’ll go check the generators. It must have malfunctioned,” Hank supplied quickly, heading out of the room, “I’m sorry, Professor. I’ll go look at it now.”

 

“It’s not the generators is it?” Logan asked once the door to Cerebro was shut again. Charles fought back tears and ran his fingers through his messy hair. He shook his head, the tears slipping down his cheeks and he hated how weak he felt at that moment.

 

“No, it’s not,” Charles answered, taking a shuttering breath.

 

“You’re just a little rusty,” Logan stated, “You just haven’t done it in a while, that’s all.”

 

“You don't understand, it's not a question of being rusty! I can flip the switches, I can turn the knobs, but my power doesn’t come from here...” Charles stuttered out, pointing to his head and then pointing to his heart as he continued, “It comes from here. And it's broken... I feel like one of my students, helpless.”

 

“I don’t know how to fix this for you but I do know, that when I came to watch over you, I was your most helpless student, and you unlocked my mind. YOU showed me what I was, you showed me who I could be,” Logan said fiercely, turning Charles so he was facing the bigger mutant, his hands on either side of Charles, “You helped me when I didn’t even know I needed it and you did it all while you were at your lowest. I don't know how to do that for you; you're right, I don't... but I know how I could help. Look into my mind, anchor yourself there.”

 

“You saw what I did to Cerebro, Logan,” Charles replied, tears still filling his eyes, “You don't want me inside your head.”

 

“You’ve been in there all these months and you haven’t hurt me or the children” Logan argued, “Besides there's no damage you can do that hasn't already been done, trust me.”

 

Charles hesitated for only a moment before reaching his hands up to press against Logan’s temples, just as he had done with Erik all those years ago, he found a calm spot, attaching himself there to center.

 

“The powers back on!” Hank announced as he entered back into the room, giving the pair a strange look at how close the two had gotten. Charles pulled back and wiped his eyes nodding.

 

“Yes, it has,” Charles answered, giving Hank a reassuring smile and turning back to Cerebro. The second attempt was painful but easier to manage now that he had anchored himself to Logan’s mind for the time being. It was a link he had cherished with Erik, one that grounded him wherever he went and now there was a gaping hole. Logan’s mind was different than Erik’s, it was not the same but it was enough for now. Charles filtered through the minds, easily locating Erik’s, he knew that mind almost as well as his own. Slowly entering Erik’s mind, cautious if Erik was still upset.

 

“Erik..” Charles whispered, a sigh of relief before he registered what he was doing and who it was with, “No, no, no, no.”

 

“Charles?” Logan’s concerned voice shot through his mind with their connection and Charles ripped himself from Erik’s mind. He couldn’t stop the tears if he tried, “What happened?”

 

“I found Erik,” Charles answered, tossing the helmet on the console roughly and his breathing was coming out in short pants, “He was… he was...”

 

“Give us a minute,” Logan instructed Hank, giving him a slight shove towards the door, “I’ve got this.”

 

Hank looked so hesitant and unwilling to leave but at the shove, he went. Once the door had shut, Logan crouched down to try and catch the telepath's eyes, asking, “Charles?”

 

“It was a mistake coming down here,” Charles snapped, his voice almost hysterical as the tears poured down his cheeks, “It was a mistake trying to contact E-Erik. This whole thing has been one, bloody mistake!”

 

“What the hell happened?” Logan asked, patiently. He reached forward and grabbed Charles' cheeks, brushing the tears away. Before he knew it, he had arms full of telepath, pressing his face into the burly mutant’s neck and full-on sobbing.

 

 “Okay,” Logan said awkwardly, wrapping his arms around the telepath but the part unused to affection was confused. His instincts called for blood, whatever had hurt Charles like this would suffer. Charles looked so helpless, crying and pregnant, clinging to him, “Chuck.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Charles replied quickly, pulling away and wiping at his face hastily. His hands were still shaky and he looked like he needed to vomit.

 

“What happened in there?” Logan asked, keeping his hand wrapped around Charles' forearms. The telepath looked heartbroken before he pressed an image of what he saw into Logan’s head. Erik was having sex with Raven. That was not the only thing that transferred but the fight they had about Raven the night before and how Erik had called her an ‘exquisite creature’. Protective rage filled Logan at the injustice of it all. First, Erik leaves his fiancé paralyzed in the hospital with a mad man after him. Second, he is sleeping with Charles’ sister and might have been for a while.

 

“What a fucking asshole,” Logan growled but Charles just gave him a watery smile.

 

Now

 

“I found you fucking my sister,” Charles said before Erik could reply. The telepaths voice wavered slightly, “So, forgive me when I say I will not go into your head again.”

 

“Charles,” Erik whispered, guilt tearing him apart as he watched Charles' eyes grow glassy, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t-,”

 

“You are welcome to stay here, you have the right to know your daughter,” Charles said, clearing his throat before leveling him with a sharp look, “But if you stay then that’s it, don’t go in and out of her life. Don’t break her heart too, she doesn’t deserve that.”