Charles knew, logically, this confrontation was coming but it didn’t mean he was looking forward to it. After their chess game and talk, it was time to have Erik talk to the boys again. Even Jean. Jean had been with Emma and Moria for the majority of the day for a playdate with Kurt. He had sent her away as soon as he heard Erik coming, unsure of the reaction the metal bender would have. Now the group had arrived at the mansion. Charles sighed softly, feeling their minds grow closer as they entered the gate. Erik and Charles had just finished their third game of chest and it was nearing dinnertime. Classes had been out. The boys were anxious.
Not to mention, they had not discussed the reason for Erik’s departures. What Erik said about being a leash to him or even the radical thoughts that still raced through the mental benders mind. He would not just give up the brotherhood. Whatever choice to be made would have to be a compromise.
“Welcome back,” Charles greeted the two women and his daughter telepathically. Jean was tired from her day out but excited to reunite with her father, “Did you have fun?”
Jean’s mind filtered through her memories, her projections messy but better than what they had been. The benefit of a telepathic father. Charles literally knew everything about Jean, in the same way he knew everything about everyone just about.
“They’re back,” Charles announced to his companion and Erik looked up from the chessboard confused as to ‘who’ was. “Jean, Emma, Moria and Kurt. “
“Jean…” Erik trailed off, his mind flashing with so many different emotions, the main thing projecting from his mind was nerves to be able to see his daughter for the first time. Charles gave him a smile before wheeling out of the room to greet his daughter, not bothering to wait for Erik to follow. Erik needed a second to prepare himself. He would face the family he had abandoned tonight and that was no easy task. Charles pushed the familiar ache that sentiment had brought on and smiled widely for Jean as she ran into his awaiting arms. She quickly climbed into his lap to hug him tightly and babble about her day.
“I hope Jean wasn’t too much trouble,” Charles projected to the two women. Emma projected back an image of Jean using her telekinesis to lift a chair and Charles laughed, delighted at her strength. She grew stronger each day. Moria who held the young Kurt in her arms, smiled at the telepath. Emma snorted, her arm lazily resting around Moria’s waist, looking every bit bored.
“None at all,” Moria responded, her warm eyes turning angry as she saw Erik approached behind Charles. The telepath felt the flare of anger in both Moria and Emma’s mind at the sight of him. Moria wore this look but Emma did not. Moria had been among those furious at Erik’s departure. She had never truly gotten along with him but the fact he had abandoned the family he swore he wanted had made Moria want nothing more than to shoot him. She also knew the nature of his actions these past few years as Magneto.
“Moria,” Erik greeted flatly, “Emma.”
“Magneto,” Moria answered tightly, obviously attempting not to say anything explicit in front of the children but her mind was raging.
“Careful, Sugar,” Emma’s bored tone, projected into Erik’s head, “Moria wants to shoot you.”
Erik’s gaze shifted to that of Kurt in her arms, temporarily forgetting about Jean who was staring curiously up at him with big blue eyes. The metal bender gave the child a curious glance, he looked so much like Azazel but he did not have any children, that Erik himself, knew of.
“What are you doing here?” Moria questioned with thinly concealed anger.
“Moria,” Charles said telepathically, projecting calm into the humans mind, “You can interrogate him later. Why don’t you get Kurt home?”
Moria glared at the mental bender but trusted the telepath to make his own choices. Emma hummed at the interaction, her gaze flickering between the inhabitants, a mental message out to Logan to stand by. She didn’t think Erik would physically hurt the telepath but she had been wrong before. Erik’s mind had shields but she could gauge his new found want for family did not negate his views and passions of mutantkind. There was much still unsaid between it all.
“Daddy, who is this?” Jean question, her gaze finally picking up the other man in the room and Erik’s own gaze snapped to hers.
“Well, Jean, this is… your other father,” Charles responded, smoothing back Jeans hair and glancing nervously at Erik. “You remember the pictures, I showed you?”
Jean nodded, her gaze confused saying, “But I thought you said he was gone.”
“Yes… and he is here now. He wanted to meet you,” Charles replied, struggling to come up with something to say. Jean knew of Erik briefly from his own memories and some pictures. She knew he was her father and that he was gone.
“Hello,” Erik greeted softly, kneeling down to be eye level with the red head, “I’m your Vati.”
“I’m Jean,” She said, sticking out her hand in greeting as she had seen so many adults do, “I’ve seen you in Daddy’s memories.”
Erik’s eyes flickered uncertainly to Charles before back to their daughter, “Only the good ones?”
“You can control metal,” Jean said excitedly, “I can lift things too! Can you show me?”
“Of course,” Erik responded, lifting the closest metal he could get his powers on. That should happened to be the necklace holding the rings around Charles neck. It lifted from the shirt and Jean’s eyes widened with wonder. Her excitement palpable. The telepath flushed slightly at the rings being brought out and caught them in his hands to tuck them back inside his shirt.
“Top marks,” Charles remarked to Erik, “but I’m afraid the boys cannot be delayed any longer. They are waiting for us.”
“Good luck, sugar,” Emma snorted sarcastically as she turned to lead her wife and child out of the mansion. The walk to the small family living room, only for the Xavier family, was filled with Jean asking Erik different questions about his mutations and what he did while he was gone.
Charles pushed the door open and wheeled himself in where everyone was waiting. Immediately he could tell there would be a fight. The minds of his boys were strife with swirls of different emotions, the main one being anger and betrayal. Logan, Alex, Hank, and Scott all sat waiting for them. Sean would no doubt would come home as soon as he could. His finals would be officially over tomorrow.
“Calm your minds, boys,” Charles said softly into the link they all shared, “Remember the young ears in the room.”
Erik walked in directly after Charles, closing the door behind him but pausing at the boys. It had been so long since he had seen them all in person. Pictures and videos were one thing but being in this house staring at him, it was like he had time traveled.
“Erik,” Hank greeted, mindful of the professors wishes to be civil at the moment. Scott peered at the mental bender as if trying his hardest to remember him.
“You’re Jeans other dad,” Scott stated simply and Erik nodded.
“He can move metal,” Jean said eagerly to Scott, slipping from Charles lap to go sit on the couch as they moved further into the room.
“Do you remember me?” Erik asked, even if he knew the answer to that question. Charles had warned him about this, he still hoped he was wrong.
“No,” Scott responded, shaking his head. The metal bender’s heart ached at the word, he had missed so much of their lives. Scott was too young when he left to remember that much.
“Not really worth remembering,” Alex snipped, his arms were crossed and he stood behind where Hank sat.
“Alex, you haven’t changed,” Erik said, looking towards the blond.
“Not that you would know at all,” Alex snapped, uncrossing his arms and clenching his fists at his side. “Too busy being a terrorist. Isn’t that right, Magneto?”
“What’s a Magneto?” Jean questioned, she looked questioningly at the telepath and Charles grimaced.
“I am doing this for mutants. To protect our people, the humans need to be stopped and I won’t hide away while they do that,” Erik retorted, ignoring Jean’s earlier question. “We take measures we deem necessary-”
“Killing people is necessary?” Hank scoffed and Charles could see this spiraling out of control quickly. Erik and he had yet to discuss this particular topic. The telepath had been caught in the euphoria that he had returned and that Erik loved him, he almost forgot about the reasons for their parting. Their love for one another was not enough to keep Erik here the first time, why would it be the second? But things were different now. They would compromise.
Charles pinched the bridge of his nose, the telepathic waves of anger and uneasy hitting his shields from the inhabitants in the room.
“We are not having this discussion right now,” Charles stated, pulling his gaze up to level with Erik’s own. “Jean and Scott do not need to hear this.”
“No, they should hear. This includes them, they are mutants too.”
“They should not. They are children, Erik.” Charles responded firmly, his eyes narrowed. This conversation almost mirrored the one they had in the hospital, this time Charles was in control of his powers and was not in pain. Perhaps he was too hasty when he welcomed Erik back, they still had so much left unsaid and undiscussed.
“Don’t,” Charles snapped in Erik’s mind before moving to look at his children and Logan, “Children, Erik is staying with us for a couple days. If you must argue please do so away from young ears, understood?”
The chorus of agreements followed, even if through their link a thousand questions were being asked. Alex was the loudest voice and he still had Sean curious as to what was happening.
“Scott, Jean, why don’t we go see whats on the menu for dinner tonight, yes?” Charles questioned with a soft smile. He knew Alex needed to say his peace otherwise he would not be able to rest. Scott got up from his seat and walked towards Charles, pausing in front of Erik to look up at him through his red glasses.
“I think I do remember you,” Scott said, “You left us in a hospital, when Daddy was hurt.”
Erik opened his mouth then closed it, shock and guilt shooting through his veins. Logan snorted leaning down to pick up Scott before leaving the room with Charles and Jean. Alex stayed where he was glaring daggers at Erik and Hank didn’t look too pleased either.
“Alright, let’s hear it,” Erik said, settling into a chair across from the two, “I know you have something to say.”
“Why did you leave? Let me rephrase that why did you choose that day to leave?” Hank asked, his tone much calmer than Alex’s.
“If I didn’t leave then I wouldn’t have.” Erik responded honestly.
“Okay,” Hank nodded, trying to process that answer. “Did you know about Shaw? Did you know he was out to get Charles?”
“No, I didn’t know until yesterday,” Erik replied, it was much easier to talk to Hank. He seemed to have gained a better emotional control over the past couple of year.
“Are you and Raven together?”
“No, we were for a time but not anymore.”
“Before or after you left?”
“That’s still fucked, you understand, that right?” Alex snapped, Erik turning to look at the boy for the first time.
“Yes,” Erik answered, unapologetic. He knew what he did and the consequences of those actions, even if he never intended for any of them to find out. He still felt guilty for it.
“Did you love us?” Alex questioned, his eyes were filled with anger but also hurt. Erik felt another stab at the sight.
“Of course, I did,” Erik responded, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees, “I left because of that. I needed to protect you, all of you from what the humans were doing. I couldn’t sit by while our brothers and sisters suffered. You didn’t need me, mutantkind needed me.”
Alex scoffed at that, turning his head away and taking a deep breath as Hank gave his arm a squeeze.
“You two, huh?” Erik asked causing Alex to turn to glare at Erik some more.
“Not that it is none of your business but yes,” Alex responded, covering Hank’s large blue hand with his own.
“I remember you two always being at each other’s throats,” Erik commented, his lips curving up slightly at the memory of it. Alex always calling Hank ‘Bozo’ and teasing him relentlessly.
“I sucked at flirting,” Alex said with a shrug and Hank snorted. The humor left as soon as it came as Alex’s jaw clenched again. “Why are you here?”
“I… I want my family back,” Erik responded softly. “I want to make things work somehow.”
“You don’t get to walk in here and get your family back, you realize. You left us,” Alex said, anger back in his voice. “We were in danger and you left us. We almost got taken away from Dad because of that. I get you want to work things out with Jean and all that other bullshit but don’t for a second think things will go back to the way they were. Dad may forgive you but I don’t. To me, you will always be another person who tossed me aside when things got hard. You say you loved us but you don’t do that to people you love. Family sticks together when things get hard, families are there for each other. If Dad allows you to stay then fine but don’t you dare come into their lives again if you just want to mess it up.”
With that Alex exited the room, Hank silently following after him.
Dinner had been a relatively tense affair, Alex refused to look at Erik. Hank made conversation with Logan and Charles. Jean and Scott had been the ones who hogged his attention. Asking all kind of questions about his mutation and places he had been.
When the sun had finally fallen behind the horizon and everyone was off to bed, Erik was at a loss. This place he had called home seemed foreign to him now. If this had been five years ago, he would’ve walked with Charles back to their room but now, he had no idea where to go.
“Logan,” Charles had said and the burly mutant had nodded. Communication passing between them so easily, the same easy way it used to pass between Erik and Charles.
“C’mon, bub,” Logan spoke to Erik, nodding his head as a gesture to follow him. “Chuck said you can stay in the guest room.”
Erik nodded, knowing he couldn’t just jump back to the way things were. He knew Charles would need time but it didn’t mean he wouldn’t miss being back in bed with the telepath. He followed the mutant down the hall, even though he knew this place, it was changed but not that changed.
“I’d like to stay next to Charles,” Erik remarked, once they stopped at a room that he knew was all the way down the hall from Charles’ own.
“This is the closest you’re gonna get,” Logan answered, his arms crossed.
“There is an empty room next to his,” Erik countered, hoping the rooms had not been changed otherwise he would sound silly.
“Jean has the one to the left and I’m in the one on the right. You’re staying here, bud.” Logan stated and jealousy shot through Erik once again. How dare this man put himself anywhere near his beloved telepath? Erik clenched his fist, his powers smoothing over the metal in the mutant’s bones, wanting to throw him.
“Are you sleeping with him?” Erik bit out, the ugly head of jealousy resurfacing. Just because Charles still loved him didn’t mean he wouldn’t be with someone else. The metal bender was torn and glaring at the other mutant. Angel’s words about Charles having a type, echoing in his head.
“Listen, bub. Chuck is the best mutant I’ve ever known,” Logan began, “He gave me a home when I needed one. I know you hurt him and you hurt those kids. So, if you plan on doing that disappearing act again then go. Save them the trouble.”
"You know, Logan,” Charles started, his wheelchair in the doorway of Logan’s room where he was packing his bag to leave, “This is what life looks like. A home, people who love each other. Safe place. You should take a moment and feel it."
“I don’t belong here, Chuck,” Logan responded, shoving another thing of clothes into his bag.
“Why not?” Charles asked, wheeling himself into the room further, “This could be your home if you let it. There are people who love you here. Perhaps whatever you’re looking for is right in front of you.”
When morning came, Logan was still there.
“Didn’t know they meant that much to you,” Erik said, his voice now taking a calmer tone but inside he was still jealous and angry.
“They do and if you hurt them I’m gonna cut your head off,” Logan threatened before starting to walk away, leaving Erik quietly seething.