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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.

Chapter Text

Five Years Later

 

 Erik was speeding to their next mission location, a private facility called Trask Industries when he heard it on the radio. It was a common mission procedure to drive to the location listening to the single Mutant Only radio station, ran by mutants for mutants. The station covered everything from mutants right to music by the mutant artists, namely Charles Xavier, former international popstar. Secretly Erik would admit to himself that he listened to this station to hear his ex-fiancés voice. The reason for the drive was to allow Azazel to rest and save energy for the extreme jumps he would have to make during the mission, not to mention a car would provide a backup in case the teleporter was injured.

 

Reporting live from Mutant Radio, the only radio station that is run entirely by mutants. We have a hot topic today. As you know, today is the five-year anniversary of not only the bill that prevents mutant segregation and experimentation but also the day beloved Professor X was shot and paralyzed at the celebration. In light of this, Xavier has released a new album! It is adequately called ‘Friendly Fire’ in reference to that day when a human radical shot into the crowd and famed mutant activist Erik Lehnsherr deflected the bullets from the crowd only for one to end up in Xavier’s back.The radio host announced excitedly. Raven pushed herself up from the back to turn the volume up, her expression matching Erik’s own, “Yes, I know what everyone is thinking, FINALLY! Professor X has not released any music since he left the music industry to open his school for mutants, Xavier’s School for gifted youngsters. In such time of its opening, it is now the largest mutant school in the world and has a 100% graduation rate. Besides the occasional speech, Xavier has kept himself and his kids out of the spotlight, until today. Without further ado, here is Professor X’s new song ‘Wrong Direction’”

 

I don't hate you
No, I couldn't if I wanted to
I just hate all the hurt that you put me through
And that I blame myself for letting you

 

Erik, Mystique, Angel, and Azazel were eerily quiet as the telepaths soft singing filled the car, his words curling around Erik in a way that made his heartache to see the younger man.

 

Did you know I already knew?

Couldn't even see you through the smoke

Lookin' back, I probably should have known

But I just wanted to believe that you were out sleepin' alone

 

Erik’s hands clenched around the steering wheel before slamming the radio off, leaving the car in tense silence.

 

“Did you cheat on Charles?” Angel asked, turning her gaze to the metal bender. Angel had been one of Charles’ background dancers and had worked with them all for years before leaving with Erik and Raven. Not that Angel ever regretted leaving but she did miss Armando, Charles, and the rest of them at times. She also knew Erik missed Charles, this was why they listened to this station so much because they would always play old Professor X songs. Angel had seen the mutant gossip magazines in the trash around their base, she knew he kept tabs on the telepath. 

 

“No, I gave him back the ring before,” Erik growled out, the metal of the car creaking in his anger and Raven’s eyes filled with guilt as she turned to Erik. Angel looked between the pair silently before pulling open her phone and looking up Charles Xavier.

 

“He looks good,” Angel commented fake causally, pulling up the most react picture taken of Xavier. He was holding a red-headed girl that seemed to be around four or five and they were both grinning. The picture had been taken at a local park, one Angel could remember from their time at the mansion. At the foot of the wheelchair, Scott sat with a pair of red glasses and a toy rocket ship, “Looks like he has another kid now.”

 

“What?” Raven asked, peering over Angel's shoulder to look at the photo, “Biological or adopted? What about the others?”

 

Angel scrolled through the article, finding more pictures taken by the paparazzi. These were of Charles, Hank, Alex, Sean, and another burly looking man moving boxes out of a truck, “All accounted for. Sean went to NYFA if his t-shirt is right.”

 

“Film school?” Erik asked before shutting his mouth quickly and acting like he did not care. He did, in fact, care. Charles did an amazing job of keeping both himself and the children out of the spotlight. Erik knew so little about what they were up to. The bare minimum he knew was from what the gossip columns would say or speculate. The one thing he knew for sure was the school was everything they had planned for.

 

“Yeah,” Angel responded, Azazel joined Raven in peering over her shoulder as she read further through the article, “The daughter is named Jean, apparently she is biological.”

 

“Who’s the mother?” Raven questioned, insistently. For someone who coldly left her brother in the hospital, she seemed awfully interested to Angel.

 

“Not one,” Angel murmured, then she gasped, reading the next part aloud, “Due to a secondary mutation, Xavier conceived and carried Jean himself. He has not yet shed any details on who the father is.”

 

“What?!” Erik shouted, the entire car groaning around them from the metal bender’s outburst.

 

“Hold on, a video of them was taken this morning at an ice cream shop,” Angel said, ignoring the leader of the brotherhood and pressing play on the video. Erik pulled the car to the side and watched along with the rest of them.

 

The video started with the person zooming in on Charles from across the street, he was sat around a table of what appeared to be an ice cream shop. In his lap sat a red-headed little girl with Scott beside them.

 

“Is that Professor X?” The cameraman asked before they jogged across the street and approached the pop star, “Professor X! I’m a huge fan.”

 

Charles startled blue eyes looked up and gave the fan a polite smile, “Hello… Nathan, is it?”

 

The cameraman, now known as Nathan gushed over him for a minute or two before asking, “These are your kids, right?”

 

“Yes, two of them anyway,” Charles responded, uncomfortably shifting Jean in his lap. Erik’s eyes zeroed in on the small girl as she stared curiously up at the camera with the same blue eyes reflected in the telepath’s own.

 

“Bub, I think that’s enough screen time for today. You’re making Chuck uncomfortable,” A burly man said, coming into the frame holding a tray of ice cream. Alex came next standing protectively in front of Charles.

 

“Oh my god, are you Professor X’s famed secret boyfriend? Is this your daughter?” The man behind the camera all but squealed.

 

“None of your damn business,” Alex growled, putting a hand on the camera obscuring everything but his hand from view, “Now get lost.”

 

The video ended and the car was filled with tense silence once more.

 

“Wow, Charles has a type,” Angel snorted, along with Azazel.

 

“You don’t know if that man was with him, with him,” Raven protested, Erik agreed with that sentiment. The jealousy inside him growing as the seconds passed. Erik used to be the one who chased away too eager fans, Charles was always too polite to do it, “Is there any more? Videos, I mean.”

 

Angel scrolled through her phone before shaking her head, saying, “There is some for the school, like tours and a speech but nothing else besides sneaky photos.”

 

“Any more with the child?” Erik inquired, his eyes fixing to the road as he started to drive again.

 

“No,” Angel responded, “Charles was always good at keeping things away from the paps.”

 

“Alex looked good, seemed happier too,” Raven commented, remembering the last time she saw the blonde boy. They had fought in Charles's hospital room, by the time Alex and the others got home, they had cleared out their stuff. Raven felt guilty for leaving, after the anger and resentment had settled, all she could think about was Charles pleading, weak and hurt in the hospital bed. She knew Erik felt it too and so did Angel. They were all too proud to admit it though.

 

“Xavier is a very powerful telepath,” Azazel spoke for the first time since this whole ordeal started, “Too bad you broke up with him. He’d make a great asset.”

 

Erik glared at the red mutant through the rearview mirror, accelerating the car and speeding down the highway. Angel flipped to Spotify and pulled up Prof. X's album.

 

“I can check their private Instagram,” Angel suggested, “I mean I doubt Darwin has changed his password since and I’m willing to bet I could find more on it.”

“Do it,” Erik ordered, without sparing a glance at any of them. The curiosity alone was killing the metal bender, he was not in so much denial to say that he didn’t want to know. He had tried to steer clear, lest he give up and go home. He knew Charles, he knew the telepath would welcome him back with open arms but Erik would not do that. He would keep him safe by breaking into these private facilities and destroying the horrible things being done to mutants. He had to remind himself, he was doing this for them, to protect them. Even if for the past year, nearly every facility they intended to destroy had been wiped clean and the police had been on the scene. The news was hinting at vigilantes, the group had gone in freed the mutants held there, left only enough evidence to incriminate and destroyed everything else. It was frustrating not to know anything about this group or what their intentions were. He did know the group was taking the mutants, all he could hope for was they weren’t taking them to somewhere worse. It could be another ploy by the humans, this was why Erik had been on his team double time in order to either catch the group in the act or get there before them. None of the humans remembered everything and stated all the members had been wearing masks.

 

 “Yes,” Angel celebrated gaining access to the account, “Adapt to survive everything but cybersecurity.”

 

“It’ll have to wait,” Erik announced, even though he was dying to grab the phone from the young mutants grasp and find out exactly what Charles was doing in his private time, “We’re here.”

 

Meanwhile Charles was anxious the first day of the album release. Emma had insisted he record them for his children to listen to later. He made the choice to release the music to the public to show the loss had not broken him. He did not know if Erik would hear it but a large part of him hoped he did. So, he knew what he had left behind. Charles and his family had grown a considerable amount since the accident. Shortly after they had left, the telepath had discovered his second mutation along with a child of a man who had just left him. Not an hour later Emma had come into his hospital room with a grim expression.

 

Then

 

Charles was still reeling from the news the doctor had given him, trying to keep his head as Hank sat beside him rambling about how fascinating it all was. His telepathy was still not quite under his control from the painkillers, the grief, and oh, yeah, the crippling pain in his back. He was lucky the children had no qualms of him taking refuge in their heads. The telepathic link all of them shared minus two was helping a great deal so Charles wouldn’t be drowned in the pain of the other inhabitants of the hospital.

 

Hank,” Charles interrupted telepathically, stopping the scientist short in his rambling, “Go home.”

 

“But professor-,” Hank started to protest aloud and Charles shook his head.

 

“Please, you need rest. You all need rest,” Charles said, this time aloud to them all, “I will be fine. It is nearly ten o’clock at night, well past Scott’s bedtime.”

 

“We aren’t leaving you,” Darwin spoke up from his seat next to Sean.

 

“Armando, you know as well as I do there is not much else to do,” Charles reassured, “Please, go home and get some rest. I will likely spend the whole time asleep.”

 

“We can sleep here,” Sean said, trying his best not to look tired but Charles could read it on all of them. They were exhausted but not only that, they were afraid that when they went home, they would face the fact the others had really left them.

 

“I would feel better if you slept in your own beds, had showers, and a proper meal in you,” Charles explained, “I’ll still be here when you come back.”

 

“No,” Alex objected, Chares felt the fierce protectiveness radiating off of the boy. Alex had been rather silent after they left, his quiet anger and hurt speaking volumes. Charles knew he was attempting to keep it hidden from himself and the others.

 

Alex, darling, I will be okay for a couple of hours,” Charles spoke soothingly into Alex’s mind and the telepath could feel protests rising out of all of the boys when a voice cut through them.

 

“Go home, boys,” Emma said, as she walked into the room with Moria and a burly man on her heels, “I’ll stay with him.”

 

Emma, what a surprise,” Charles smiled at the fellow telepath, “See boys, Emma won’t let any harm come to me.”

 

“Who are you?” Alex asked, staring at the burly man behind Emma and moving to stand between them.

 

“Cool it, kid,” The man said gruffly, “I’m here to protect, Chuck.”

 

“Protect him from what?” Hank asked anxiously, his eyes flickering nervously.

 

“Just a precaution and to ease your minds,” Moria lied, giving the boys a smile, “Come on, I’ll take you guys back to the house.”

 

 “This is Logan,” Darwin spoke up after a second, “I knew him back when I was doing protection details, he can definitely handle anything. I can vouch for him.”

 

“Thanks, bub,” Logan nodded at the mutant, “You should listen to your dad, go home.”

 

The boys exchanged uncertain looks before agreeing, all of them hugging Charles goodbye with promises to come back tomorrow. Scott didn’t even stir as Alex picked him up, following Moria and Darwin out of the room. Logan and Emma were the only ones left.

 

“Not that it isn’t a pleasure to meet you, Logan but what are you here for?” Charles questioned, his headache growing, the further the boys went. Without the link they had, it would make it harder to concentrate. Charles held himself back from rubbing his temple, the weight of the past two days weighing heavily upon him.

 

“Like she said. Protection,” Logan responded gruffly, moving to check outside the window of the hospital room.

 

“Someone was trying to grab you at the fair, sugar,” Emma supplied, settling herself in the seat Hank had previously vacated. Charles scrunched his eyebrows together, reaching out with his mind to Emma’s and scanning the projection she sent him. He saw the red mutant puff into existence right as the gunshots started. Then the mutant was heading straight for Charles.

 

“Oh,” Charles said, his eyes blinking owlishly at them.

 

“The mutant, Azazel, was working for Shaw. The whole thing was a set up to recruit you,” Emma explained, her expression calm but her thoughts betraying her.

 

“Why would he..?” Charles trailed off, “That day in Miami when I stopped the entire street. He is behind this?”

 

“Yes,” Emma responded, shifting in her seat, “And seeing as you’re struggling with control of your telepathy at the moment, I’m not letting you out of Logan’s sight.”

 

Now

 

You once again are a sensation, Sugar,” Emma sent telepathically as she pulled up to the Xavier school, “I bet even shark-boy has heard your songs by now.”

 

I’m sure he hasn’t,” Charles responded telepathically, sending a separate message to Moria that her wife had arrived. Moria had been sticking around more and more with Kurt, her and Emma’s adopted son, so he could play with the students. Moria, his publicist, had decided a family life and teaching young children more appealing than helping celebrities with their image. She only stayed on with Charles, letting all her other clients go. A year after the events of the fair, Emma and Moria decided to get married.

 

You know you will have to do an interview sooner rather than later,” Emma stated telepathically, ignoring Charles's comment. He sighed and dismissed his class for lunch when he felt her parking her car.  

 

I promised Sean a documentary. That will be my interview,” Charles answered, stopping at the foyer, his students passing him in a flurry as the renowned Emma Frost-MacTaggert opened the school doors, her all-white outfit, sticking out against the wood. 

 

“A documentary? By your film student son?” Emma scoffed, strutting across the floor, “Really, sugar?”

 

“Yes, it is his final project for film school,” Charles responded easily, “He does well with the videos of the school, I’m sure he will do well with this as well and he won’t ask invasive questions, unlike the people you set me up with.”

 

“It’s good for publicity,” Moria supplied, moving across the foyer to kiss Emma and handing the white-clad women the blue mutant, “Kurt missed you.”

 

“Ganging up on a disabled person is said to be in poor taste, you know?” Charles commented dryly and started to wheel away knowing they would follow him, “I’m an old man now. No one wants to watch that.”

 

Emma scoffed, shifting into her diamond form and stopping the wheels from turning with her foot, “You’re thirty years old. You are not old.”

 

“I certainly feel it,” Charles answered wistfully.

Chapter Text

The mission did not go well. The facility was cleared out by the time they had gotten there, the unknown group had beaten them to it. All the humans had been tied up and wiped of their memories. Luckily, they had gotten there before the authorizes meaning they got to interrogate them and search the building. Coming out of it they knew one thing, whoever was doing this had a telepath on their side.

 

“So, they are mutants then,” Mystique stated, walking over from where she finished asking one of the human’s questions, “No way a normal human could wipe memories like that.”

 

“Xavier was rather skilled at that, wasn’t he?” Azazel commented, a smirk tugging at his lips at the angry look he received from Magneto, “Most powerful telepath in the world.”

 

“Charles didn’t do this,” Magneto snapped at the red mutant and the teleporter held his hands up in surrender.

 

“Telepaths are rare,” Azazel commented idly, his hands sliding into his pockets, “If there is another out there as powerful as the Professor, we might have an issue.”

 

Erik clenched his fist, the past five years he had avoided speaking or thinking of Charles and now he is everywhere. Mystique frowned at the teleporter, turning her attention to Magneto again. Azazel was right, of course. Charles was the strongest mutant Erik knew of, the only thing limiting him was his moral code. Besides the persuasion to get what he wanted, he never did anything without reason and he was always careful to keep himself in check.

 

Then

Erik had been thinking about it for a while before he asked the telepath. It had been after they had moved into a flat together off the streets and Charles's career had just started to gain some traction. They laid together, sweaty and basking in the afterglow when Erik asked.

 

“How powerful are you?” Erik questioned, his hand running over the telepaths sweaty back. He could feel Charles snuggled into his head, had used it to gauge what the metal bender liked and didn’t. It was the best sex Erik had ever had, telepathy brought a new level to it. Given Erik had only ever had one other sexual encounter besides Charles but that was in one of the shelters with a clumsy teenage girl.

 

“I could stop your heart right now,” Charles answered without hesitation. Erik always marveled at how quickly the telepath had trusted and accepted him immediately. He never doubted him or pressured. It was so different from anyone he had ever experienced, “I could tell your brain to just stop. I could make you into a completely different person.”

 

“But you won’t,” Erik responded but he couldn’t hide the fear that shot through him at the power Charles held within him, “Why don’t you?”

 

“I don’t want to reshape you, I love you the way you are,” Charles whispered, his blue eyes looking earnestly back at the metal bender, “And I wouldn’t do it to anyone without necessity because that is not who I want to be.”

 

Now

 

They cleared out before the authorities arrived, the brotherhood silent on the drive back and Erik’s thoughts were consumed with his ex-fiancé. The memories came crashing into him in ways he had not allowed in years. Ever since that day in the hospital room, Erik had pushed it all away when he put that helmet on. A true barrier between them, as if Charles had done anything to deserve the divide. That day, he had been so angry at himself and the humans. The weeks leading up to the celebration, Erik had spent more time with Raven and had encouraged her to remain in her blue form. All the mutant speeches and debates he went to had fueled his fire. It felt hopeless to continue with speeches, he felt called to actions instead-but Erik wanted Charles. He knew he couldn’t have him, the kids, and act. That day Charles was shot, he knew he had to become Magneto. He knew he couldn’t let the telepath hold him back anymore.

 

Angel sighed loudly in the car before turning the radio on, “At least brood with some music on and not make the rest of us suffer.”

 

“Fine,” Erik growled, speeding his way along the road and ignored the songs being played through the radio. He couldn’t ignore it any longer when a familiar voice filtered through the radio.

 

“Don't you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can't live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you”

 

Charles singing always conveyed so much emotion, so much like his eyes. Everything seemed to lay bare when he would sing and Erik remembered when he would watch the telepath compose. His eyes so focused and expressive. This song was no different. It seemed the universe was intent that Erik heard everything Charles had to say. Even if Erik would never admit, all he wanted to do was listen to Charles. The metal bender would never tell anyone he would listen to his ex-fiancé when he was alone.

 

“I came in like a wrecking ball

I never hit so hard in love

All I wanted was to break your walls

All you ever did was wreck me”

 

This time, Erik didn’t force the radio silent but sat through the whole song. His jaw clenched tightly, he processed the words and the emotions behind them. Charles had been in pain when he had left, he was weak and vulnerable. He needed Erik and Erik had left him. But he had to. Mutantkind needed him more than Charles did.

 

  Then

 

“Unbelievable,” Erik snarled, throwing his notes down on the hotel bed, his fist clenching and the metal in the room groaning along with it. Erik had just got through with a debate with Senator Kelly, the most mutantphobic person he knew. Charles had sat beside him and only barely manage to keep Erik from bringing the studio down on the man, “The humans will never tolerate us. They want to segregate us and experiment on us until there is nothing left.”

 

"Mankind is not evil, just uninformed,” Charles responded, setting his bag on the desk. In truth, Charles hated that man too and wanted nothing more than to scramble his brains, but they would get nowhere with violence. Especially if they wanted to get votes for the law to end segregation and protect mutants from experimentation. Charles was a well-known and well-liked figure, standing in support of Erik was the best way to get them to at least listen, “Just because that vile man can’t see reason does not mean every human in the world is the same.”

 

“They are insects among gods and yet they treat us like freaks,” Erik ranted, seemingly ignoring what Charles had just said, “We are the next stage of human evolution, they have right to fear us. Who wouldn’t fight their own extinction?”

 

“We have it in us to be the better man.”

 

“We already are. We are the next stage of human evolution, you said it yourself,” Erik snapped back, his anger at the situation being pushed out and Charles sighed softly. The telepath moved closer to his lover and ran his hands over his shoulders.

 

"Mutants. Since the discovery of their existence they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, often hatred. Across the planet, debate rages. Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity fighting for their share of the world? Either way it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity's defining attribute,” Charles said, bringing himself closer to the metal bender, “That being said, we must work for that change. Pyramids were not built in a day after all. I know you are angry and so am I but you cannot let it control you.”

 

 Erik closed his eyes allowing the feeling of Charles's hands on him to calm him. He leaned into the touch and brought his own arms to wrap around the smaller man, saying, “Peace was never an option, Liebling. There is a war coming.”

 

“Not if we stop it,” Charles whispered, cupping the metal benders cheeks, “Together, we can do anything.”

 

Now

 

The next day brought Angel scrolling through the Instagram of the boys and Charles. Using Darwin’s account, idiot hadn’t changed his password in five years, she could see so much of their lives. Sean was the worst of them all, keeping a public account with videos of them all. Sean would go around the mansion asking kids random questions, a favorite was Scott and Jean. Angel was right to assume he went to NYFA, his socials were swamped with film projects, his latest one being a documentary he was doing on Professor X for his graduation project.

 

“What are you looking at?” Raven asked as she entered the common room of the Brotherhoods base. They had returned back to begin planning of the next mission and hoping to find more about the group who was freeing all these mutants before they could get there.

 

“Looking at Sean’s Instagram,” Angel admitted, she didn’t really know what Raven would think about it. Both Raven and Erik rarely talk of Charles or the others. Even if they didn't like it, Angel wanted to quell her curiosity. 

 

“Oh,” Raven said as she started to pick at her fingernails which Angel recognized as her nervous/guilty habit, “Did you listen to the whole album?”

 

“Yeah,” Angel answered, after they got back yesterday, she had downloaded the whole thing and listened to it. Charles was her friend before all this happened, he used to dance alongside her and offered her a way out of the hands of greedy men. She never wished him ill will but she also wanted to act. Regardless of his pacifism, Charles never deserved being left like that. The music broke her heart a little bit.

 

“Do you think Er-Magneto has?” Raven questioned, the man in questioned entered the room as they spoke.

 

“I didn’t,” Erik responded curtly, “What did you find out from their socials?”

 

“You need to listen to this,” Raven insisted, pulling up the album and pressing play on one of the songs. Her expression determined but Angel could see the guilty edges in her eyes. When the song began to play, she knew exactly which part she was referring to, every part of her wanted to run out of the room and another wanted to stand to see what would happen.

 

“Our enemies whisper

So you have to scream

I know about whispers

I know what you did with my sister”

 

Erik’s face went pale in realization at what Raven had been so desperately trying to get him to hear. The metal bender felt ill, he had slept with Raven only a hand full of times in the year after they left. He had felt too guilty for it to continue than anything more than that. The fact, his sweet Charles, knew was deafening. Erik knew how much that would hurt him.

 

“How could he have found out?” Erik asked instead of the thousand other thoughts swirling in his head and Raven shook her head. The guilt was practically pouring from them both, the tension in the room becoming unbearable as the song ended.

 

“Sean is your best bet to see what going on with Charles,” Angel interrupted, standing from her spot and handing the phone to Magneto, “He has a public account and posts a lot. He is going to release a documentary soon too.”

 

“A documentary?” Erik questioned, more to himself than to anyone in the room. He couldn’t deny he wasn’t interested anymore. He couldn’t pretend he didn’t want to know what was going on after ignoring it for so long. The kids, Charles, he missed them more than he cared to admit, “He’s only 19.”

 

Angel shrugged at the Brotherhood leader, saying, “Jean is cute by the way and it looks like she is telekinetic.”

 

Erik nodded, taking the phone and making his way back to his room. Surely, he could spare an hour catching up, he could allow himself that much.  He went through Darwin’s profile first, seeing the mutant was still teaching at the school and was now married with a child on the way. Next, he went to Hank which was filled with voice-overs of science experiments and the occasional photo of the family or Alex.

 

“Hank hasn’t changed,” Erik mused aloud before he went to Alex’s profile, the young mutant grinning broadly at the camera with photos of himself and the others. The most surprising development was his relationship with Hank. Alex had always taken to teasing the older mutant but things had obviously changed as seen by the photo of them kissing. The rest of his page was various photos of Hank and the others, one with Alex posing next to a motorcycle with Scott. Scott was eight now, the metal bender’s heart clenched in longing at the memory of when he first called Erik, “Vati”.

 

Magneto sighed, shaking the memory from his head as he followed the link from Alex’s post to the official Professor X’s profile, basic pictures of the school, and announcement of the new music. Moria ran this page, he knew. He also knew Charles had a private account just for close friends and family. Luckily Darwin followed the private one, the profile made Erik take a pause. It was like looking back into a life he had left behind. The corny mutation jokes he wrote as captions to pictures of the children and the school. It made him ache to think about. He stopped on the photo of Jean who was perched in Charles's lap, seemingly around Christmas time with the caption ‘Jean’s first Hanukkah.’

 

Again, Erik was stumped at the idea of his ex-lover birthing a child, he had no clue Charles could carry children nor did he know of this child until yesterday. Jean’s smile was a copy of her fathers, her eyes just as expressive. The ache in his chest only grew the more he looked through the photos, Charles looked good. His hair was longer but he hadn’t looked like he had aged a day. This brought another question, who was the child’s father? And why did Charles still celebrate Hanukah when he was not Jewish?

 

His thoughts were interrupted by a message sent from Alex to Darwin’s account, without a second thought he clicked on it. Reading over the past messages, lots of it was memes but the more recent one was a post of a wedding band.

Yesterday 1:05pm

Do you think Hank would like this?

No, you’re better off with simple.

You’re 21, man. Don’t you think you’re proposing a little young?

When you know, you know.

Wait, didn’t you propose six months after dating??

Yeah but I was 26 at the time.

(Read 1:15)

One minute ago

(video of a proposal)

Okay this but less dumb and nerdier. I was thinking Pokémon. 

Also, Sean is going around with another questionnaire so heads-up.

 

Erik’s fingers hovered over the keyboard. All his questions would be answered if he responded back but he couldn't risk being exposed. The metal bender clicked out of the chat and went to Sean’s Instagram page, scrolling through the countless videos the boy had posted. He understood why he was making a documentary so young, he had such talent. Erik held pride in his chest despite himself. The videos were of the school, of travel, but mostly they were of Sean going around asking questions to his family. Charles was always the last person he would ask in the lineup, which is probably why Sean had so many followers. He poured over those videos, catching a glimpse of the children, of Charles. Magento went through five years’ worth of media, hours passing without him noticing. He frowned the burly mutant from the other video started making more appearances, his name was Logan. He seemed to be close to Charles, always hovering close to the telepaths in the videos. Jealously and anger shot through him, what if Logan was Jean's father? It would make sense. If Sean's videos were anything to go by then Logan had appeared right after he and Raven left.

 

Erik’s frowned deepened at the thought but pushed it away in favor of watching the latest video, it had been posted an hour ago if the time stamp was correct.

 

The video opened with Sean grinning at the phone with a tiny microphone in his hand, “Today we will be asking everyone their thoughts on the new Professor X album and their favorite song! Let’s goooo!”

 

Erik’s lips twitched slightly at the young mutant's enthusiasm, Sean had grown so much in the five years since he had laid eyes on him. It made Erik’s heart clench at the memories. Sean's face had grown longer and he clearly had gotten taller, no longer a gangly fourteen-year-old boy anymore. The shot opened to one of Moria sitting at a laptop, typing away.

 

“Up first, we have Moria!” Sean announced behind the camera, “Moria, what did you think of Professor X’s new album?”

 

Moria looked up patiently as Sean stuck the tiny microphone in her face, saying, “It was amazing, of course.”

 

“Typical answer,” Sean commented, “What was your favorite song?”

 

The human rolled her eyes at his comment before smiling, saying, “Rolling in the deep, the vocals and emotion behind it were incredible.”

 

“Excellent answer,” Sean agreed, the video cut to a little girl with white hair and dark skin, writing what looked to be basic math, “Ororo, thoughts on the album?”

 

The little girl, leaned close to the microphone before burping into it cause Sean to yank it back with a holler, “Nasty! Who raised you?”

 

Ororo was giggling along with some of the other children surrounding them, “Mr. Alex said to do it.”

 

“Of course he did,” Sean grumbled, the next shot was of Emma Frost sat beside Logan, “Emma, thoughts on the new-“

 

Before he could finish that statement, Emma flicked the tiny microphone out of his hands with a diamond finger.

 

“Rude,” Sean said into the microphone before bringing it to Logan, “Thoughts on the new album?”

 

Logan turned an unimpressed face to the boy before raising his fist where three metal claws came out and then the video was blurry as the mutant ran from the man. The next victim was Hank who was sitting in his lab and writing diligently into a notebook. Sean shoved the microphone in his face, repeating the question.

 

“The professor's music is quite good. I can tell because the sound waves actually appeal to the ear in ways-,“ Hank started, his answer taking a turn about why the song was a success.

 

“Booorrinng,” Sean interrupted, “Favorite song?”

 

Hank frowned at the younger mutant, saying, “Why do you ask if you think it’s boring?”

 

“Because it’s funny,” Sean responded, the camera cut to Alex who was standing near the basketball court with a couple students. The blonde mutant had a whistle and was monitoring a kickball game.

 

“No,” Alex said before Sean even opened his mouth, “Unless you’re joining the game, go away.”

 

“Come on, one question?” Sean begged and the mutant just turned to him before blowing the whistle into the microphone. The next was a passing dog, which he stuck the camera by the dog's snout, asking the same question only to receive a bunch of sniffs.

 

“Thank you for your professional opinion,” Sean stated seriously before he moved on to a blue baby, his tail flicking around and his finger stuck in his mouth, “Quick before your Moms get back, what did you think of the album, Kurt?”

 

Kurt’s tiny blue hands reached for the mic before putting it inside his mouth.

 

“NO,” Sean yelled, tugging it from the baby’s mouth and Kurt paused before starting to wail, “No, wait. Please. I’m sorry.”

 

The video cut and resumed in what Erik recognized as the Xavier mansion garden, the sound of children’s laugher filled the background as Scott and Jean sat on a picnic blanket, snacking on some fruit.

 

“Finally, for the best musical critics in the world, what are your thoughts on the new album?” Sean asked, extending the microphone out to Scott, the sound of chewing filled the video.

 

“I like it,” Scott responded simply, making an unnecessary amount of noise while eating, “I can listen to Dad sing whenever.”

 

“Very good answer,” Sean said before turning the microphone to Jean. The four-year-old nodded her head in agreement, “Favorite songs?”

 

“I like the song about me,” Jean responded with a big grin.

 

 “Narcissistic but okay,” Sean replied before the video changed again and Erik saw the face he wanted to see the most, “Dad, what do you think of Professor X’s new album?”

 

“Who is Prof. X?” Charles teased, feigning a confused expression and Sean groaned loudly. Charles looked almost angelic in the sunlight, his chestnut hair glinting just so and Erik paused the video there, just to look. They were obviously out on the grounds, same picnic blanket laid out in the background as in the previous shot. Charles used to love picnics. When they first moved into the mansion, they would sit on the grass under the shade of the trees for hours, kissing as the sun went down. Erik ran his finger over the screen, tracing the outline of his ex before clicking play. The telepath grinned at his son before saying, “Honestly the album was a bit pitchy.”

 

“I think millions of people would disagree,” Sean snorted, into the microphone before sticking it back into his father’s face.

 

“Why does the microphone smell like baby powder?” Charles questioned, taking a pause to look at the young mutant before him, “Did Kurt have this in his mouth?”

 

“No time, video is ending,” Sean answered and the video was back to his grinning face, “You heard it here first, Professor X’s album is the best. Science approved if Hank is anything to go by.”

 

The screen went black before starting the video again, this time Erik swiped it away. Closing out of Sean’s Instagram to go back to Charles's own, he scrolled through the photos of the telepath and the children. Erik had missed so much. The yearning to have Charles in his arms again was almost crippling. He wanted to see the younger man again in person, maybe not talk to him but just see him. Perhaps that would stop the insistent guilt of leaving, the guilt of sleeping with the one person he knew would hurt him the most, the feeling that he would never have a home again because Charles had always been his. He had offered Erik peace, love, and a home. He accepted him, sacrificed for him and how did Erik repay him?

 

“Verdammt,” Erik shouted, throwing the phone down on the bed and starting to pace. He owed it to Charles to listen to his album, in completion. To hear the pain, he inflicted and the joys Charles had without him. Picking the phone back up, he pulled up the album and hit shuffle.

 

“Wedding bells were just alarms

Caution tape around my heart

You ever wonder what you left behind?

The heart you broke wasn’t only mine”

 

Erik paced the room, his guilt quickly shifting into anger as it always did. That is how he dealt with things, pain and anger. How dare Charles think Erik cheated on him? He did not cheat. Yes, he slept with Raven but that was after. How dare Charles think he was the only one to blame? Charles was not innocent in their parting, he refused to act for mutants. He chose to hope for a brighter future and work with the very people who tried to kill him. Erik clicked the phone off before it could go to the other songs. He couldn’t do this, he left this life behind and he had a Brotherhood to run.

 

A month passed since the album came out, Erik had done an excellent job avoiding the music on the radio and the guilt that still remained. Or Erik would have if Charles Xavier’s face wasn’t plaster on every social media platform and his songs weren’t played everywhere. Every single public area Erik had been into, was playing ‘Friendly Fire’ and every radio station was too. It was if the universe was taunting him. The worst part was the gossip, everyone wanted to know who Jean’s biological father was and who Charles’s ex-fiancé was that inspired the album. If the metal bender saw one more twitter thread about Xavier’s potential lovers, he was going to level a city. For real this time. To add to the frustration, there were no leads on the group that kept clearing out the facilities before the brotherhood got there. At this point, he felt useless, guilty, and very much like he wanted to go back to the telepath.

 

“If you’re interested,” Angel began, coming into the room where Erik was pouring over a lead on a facility he suspected held mutants, “Sean released his documentary. It’s called Professor X through the eyes of his kids.”

 

“Why are you telling me this?” Erik growled out, looking up to glare at the mutant standing in the doorway.

“Because you don’t spend six hours scrolling through social media to see someone you’re over,” Angel scoffed and crossed her arms, “I’m going to watch it and so are you. You spent the last month avoiding it and you might as well watch it with us instead of waiting until we are asleep.”

 

“Reconsidering your stance in the brotherhood?” Erik snapped, his face turning into an angry frown.

 

“No,” Angel responded, turning to walk out of the room, “I’m starting the documentary in five minutes, you can watch if you want.”

 

Erik clenched his hands, rubbing his fingers through his hair before huffing. He would watch the documentary only because it needed to be put to rest. He wouldn’t let Charles distract him from his cause again. When Erik finally appeared in the living room, the documentary was queued up and the entirety of the brotherhood was sitting around ready to watch it.

 

“Really?” Erik asked, the members, and was met with shrugs.

 

“Professor X was my childhood crush,” Pyro admitted, Erik sneered at him before sitting himself down by Azazel and Raven. Erik shot Mystique a raised eyebrow but she looked resolutely at the screen as Angel played it.

 

Professor X through the eyes of his kids’

A documentary by Sean Cassidy Xavier

 

The camera blinked on, showing the face of Sean up close and adjusting it where it was perched, “That should do it.”

 

“Welcome to the documentary of Professor X aka Charles Xavier aka my Dad. My name is Sean Cassidy Xavier, I go to NYFA and this is my senior assignment,” Sean said with his arms outstretched before sitting down in front of the camera, “I chose my dad to be my main subject because he is my hero. He adopted me when I was fourteen along with my two brothers Alex and Scott. My dad, he went through a lot and throughout it all he never once gave up even when I knew he really really wanted to. Many people know him as Professor X, international pop star, or Charles Xavier mutant activist, or even just Professor but he is so much more than that. He’s my dad.”

 

The video went on to show Charles in his early career and h. is show toppers with a narration provided by Sean. Videos Erik remembered being, therefore, either watching from the sidelines or actually being in them. The footage of Charles speaking at one of the mutant rights debates, Erik by his side looking pissed at the human on the opposing team. Most of what was said, Erik knew, everyone knew about how Charles had gotten started and his childhood friendship with Erik and Raven. Magneto was surprised at how good the editing was and how much work Sean had to have done to get this amount of footage. In the background, he recognized Charles's music. The video transitioned to Sean in front of the camera again in what Erik remembered as the mansion’s smaller kitchen and the ginger mutant set the camera up before addressing it.

 

“Okay, so Dad hates traditional interviews so I enlisted the help of my brothers Alex and Scott. Plus, Hank and Logan to help,” Sean explained to the camera, “We are going to do it in parts, so it feels more like conversation instead of an ‘interrogation’ as Dad calls it. Since this is through the eyes of his children, I’ll be interviewing his kids, including myself.”

 

Erik remembered how much Charles hated interviews, he would always groan and whine in the time leading up. Charles always felt they were unnecessary and intrusive. Even if the interviewer didn’t ask certain questions, they would broadcast it. To Erik’s surprised, instead of Charles sitting in front of the camera it was Jean. The big blue eyes staring at Sean who was slightly behind the camera.

 

“So, Jean, how do you see Dad?” Sean questioned the four-year-old, who looked at him with confused eyes.

 

“With my eyes, silly,” Jean responded with a giggle and Sean groaned.

 

“I should have seen that coming,” Sean mumbled, “Okay, what do you think of Dad? What’s your favorite thing about him?”

 

“Daddy is the best, he reads me stories and makes really good cookies,” Jean answered, “I like it when he reads stories in my head at bedtime and he makes funny voices. I really really like sitting on his lap and feeling his mind touching mine.”

 

After Jean finished speaking, a short video played of Jean sitting in Charles lap out on the lawn with the two of them laughing and smiling. Erik’s heart ached at the sight.

 

Next, Alex appeared on screen, he was sitting on a stool next to a motorcycle in the garage, his hands and white t-shirt covered with grease. The garage was tidy with a handful of vehicles in it, on the wall hung picture frames filled with family photos.

 

 “I was sixteen when Dad started fostering me and Scottie. I was a handful back then, mad at the world, and couldn’t control my powers. I didn’t make it easy on him. Honestly, I was just a little shit. I thought he would abandon us as everyone else had but he never did,” Alex recounted with a wistful look on his face, “Scottie took to him almost instantly, was calling him Dad maybe a month after being with them.  A few months after being here, I blew a wall in the side of the house because I lost my temper again. Dad came sprinting into the room with Douche Rocket. I thought they would be pissed. He seemed so panicked when he came in.”

 

“Instead of anger or rejection, he just ran to me, completely disregarding his own safety and asked if I was okay,” Alex elaborated, a video of Charles and Alex, heads bent together, pointing at construction plans played while Alex recounted the story. Another video showed Charles helping Alex with the motorbike, the telepath handing the younger mutant tools, “I was baffled because every time I lost control like that my social workers would move me to another house but Dad just smiled saying, walls can be replaced but no one could ever replace me. After that, he helped me get a handle on my powers. Always reminding me, he had faith in me and that I would learn to control my gift. It was the first time, anyone had ever believed in me. He gave me a home, made me feel like I deserved to be loved.”

 

Alex paused, wringing his hands as he listened to a question Sean asked, but the audio didn’t pick up what it was. The blonde flinched before he spoke.

 

“When he was shot, I was terrified of the future. Watching this man who had done so much for us just collapse like that was horrible. I didn’t doubt that he loved us and that he would do anything in his power to keep our family together,” Alex said his voice dripping with respect and admiration, “Even when Douche Rocket left and his legs were gone, he picked himself up and gave us his best.”

 

The video transitioned to Charles and the boys sat at the table, a board game stretched in front of them. They were playing life, laughter and playful arguments breaking out. The video showing the closeness of them all. Scott was the next one to be on screen, he was sitting in the study, homework papers scattered in front of him.

 

“I was three when I was adopted. I don’t really remember anything before Dad. I know I’m adopted and that Alex and I went through the foster system,” Scott said, a thoughtful expression on his face for an eight-year-old and a clip of Charles and Scott sat at the piano. Charles was showing him the different keys and Scott had his fingers in position, paying rapt attention to the older mutant, “A year ago, when my powers came, I was standing with Dad as he pointed out the tree he wanted to build a treehouse on for us. My eyes had been itchy all day and then all the sudden the tree was split in half. I was so scared but Dad told me everything was going to be alright. He said I had an amazing gift and he was so proud of me. No matter what, I always know he is going to have my back. I know some people think he is less of a parent because he is in a wheelchair but I disagree. I think he is twice the parent because he stayed when things got complicated and never once let the hard times affect his parenting.”

 

 The video changed again, this time to show Charles sitting in his study talking to Logan.

 

“I remember that day in vivid detail, I remember the smell of the carnival and the happiness that was circulating in the air. It was such a big step for mutants everywhere,” Charles said, looking at Logan who was off-camera but asking the questions Sean had supplied him, “I had a chat with Emma and jumped on stage just like normal. I think I was about a couple verses into the song when the gunshots rang out.”

 

The picture Emma had taken of their family right before Charles got on stage shower while Charles voiced over as a narration. The picture shifted into a video. The TV camera was filming Charles as he sang happily into the microphone, the exact moment the gunshots started he dropped to the ground but the camera was on the stage the whole time. Ice ran through Erik’s veins as the video played, he never watched it even though it had been broadcasted on International news. Watching it happen from this angle was daunting.

 

“I found the shooter but he was wearing some sort of telepathic blocker, I shouted for Erik where the man was and then I heard Emma calling my name, her voice was so panicked,” Charles went on, the video depicting everything that the telepath had said, a red blur had surfaced behind the mutant in it, “When I turned towards her, there was a beat before I felt this excruciating pain in my back. I knew I had been shot by the time I hit the stage, everything around me had felt blurry from the pain. I could feel the burning of the wound and then my legs went numb. I thought maybe it was the shock but I quickly realized it wasn’t that.”

 

“Then Erik Lehnsherr, who stopped the attacker, ran to my side, pulling the bullet out and pressing his hands to the wound. There was so much blood around me and on my hands, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I could hear Erik telling me everything was okay and that I needed to stay calm but I couldn’t stop,” Charles continued, the camera showing Charles’ downed body and Erik jumping on stage in a hurry, “I said to him ‘I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs.’ I just kept repeating that, hoping I was wrong or that something would fix it. The next thing I remember was waking in the hospital and they told me I would never walk again.”

 

Charles sighed, the video turning back to the telepath, “After that my fiancé and my sister left. Then during one of the tests, the doctors discovered I was pregnant and I laughed in their faces. I thought they were having a laugh. Of course, they weren’t. My first thought was how is this baby going to get out? My next thought was how am I going to raise four children by myself?”

 

Erik inhaled sharply, the child was his and he was not the only one who seemed to put it together from the gasp Raven let out. There was no way Jean wasn’t his biological daughter unless Charles had cheated on him but that was impossible. Charles had spent every waking minute with either Erik himself or the children. The answer felt so obvious now, the Hanukah, the timing, and the telekinesis. Jean was his daughter. A daughter Charles and Erik had made together. This world-altering realization was broken by Charles speaking again.

 

“I had to consider if I was the best fit for them or if they would be better off without me. Nothing would ever be the same for me or them if they decided to stay. So, I called them each to me one by one and gave them a choice. Obviously, they all chose to stay with me. Actually, in Alex’s words were ‘Standing or not, you’re my dad.’,” Charles recounted, a smile curving his lips up. He shifted in his seat slightly, causing a necklace holding two metal rings to fall out of his lilac sweater. Erik immediately recognized them, they were the rings Erik himself had crafted for their wedding bands. The one he had handed back to Charles before he left him in that hospital bed, “The relief and love I felt at that moment, it made me realize that if I had them then everything would be okay. The adoption was tricky, I had lots of hoops to jump through. Since the accident, they didn’t want to let me keep the boys but I fought for them. It worked out rather well, considering.”

 

The video faded into Charles sat next to where Scott was laid in his bed, tucked in and he was reading what looked to be a children’s book. Jean was sat in Charles's lap, her head resting on the telepaths chest. She was clearly asleep as Charles read through the book, using different voices for each character.  Scott was pressed against his dad, his eyelids fluttering as he was being lulled to sleep.

 

Another clip came on of the telepath. Charles wheeled himself around the classroom, reading aloud from a book and spinning to talk to the students in the room, answering their questions, and giving them patient smiles.

 

“I always wanted children, after the disaster of a home life I had, I wanted to make a family,” Charles explained over a video of the Christmas/Hanukah before the accident, a camera had been set up to record as they decorated the Christmas tree.  Charles had Scott on his hip, helping him put the ornaments on the tree. Hank and Alex were bickering about the placement of the tinsel. Raven was seen pouring eggnog with Darwin and Angel. Sean was leaned over the menorah, Erik beside him explaining the concept behind it all. It was the last holiday besides Charles's birthday they spent together. They looked like a family, they were a family or had been. Erik remembered that so clearly, Charles had been flushed with eggnog and had pulled him under the mistletoe as soon as the children had been distracted with cookies. The ache in Erik’s chest grew with each second that passed, “I wanted to adopt mutants to give them what I didn’t have, someone to help me control my abilities and understand what it was like to be a mutant. I thought I had found the person to share my dreams with but life is quick to change.”

 

The video moved away from Charles to show more videos of Charles with the children or helping around the school, Sean’s voice narrating over it, “This project was meant to show a real-life hero, my dad is that to me. He gave me a home, he taught me the value of kindness, and overall, he taught me that everyone can be a superhero.”

 

Fin.

Erik sat in silence before standing up and turning to the red-skinned mutant, “Azazel, take me to Westchester.”

Chapter Text

“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.”

Chapter Text

Charles wheeled himself out the study as quickly as he could without looking like he was fleeing. He sent Logan a reassuring mental nudge and went to his room. He needed to collect himself before he faced everyone again. Charles wanted Erik to come home, he wanted them to be a family again but he was still hurt. He had forgiven Erik but that didn’t mean he trusted him again, not with the children or with his heart. The telepath flicked the door to his bedroom closed with his wrist, that was another thing ever since giving birth to Jean and honing his skills, he discovered he was a low level telekinetic. He could move small things, it seemed Jean's powers reflected his own more than he had ever thought. The truth was, he was growing more powerful every day. His range continued to grow as did his powers.

 

The telepath sighed softly, leaning forward to put his head in his hands and let himself feel. Seeing Erik again had brought so many emotions to the surface, his love for the metal bender had never waned and today proved that much. It took everything in him not to fall into Erik’s arms and beg him to come home but he was an adult. He had children and a school, he needed to do what was best for them.

 

“Bloody Erik,” Charles huffed, tears slipped from his cheeks again. The memory of finding out Erik and Raven had slept together fresh in his mind. Knowing Erik didn’t cheat on him, at least, physically was a relief, it lessened the hurt in some ways. Charles pulled the rings from out of his shirt and smoothed his fingers over the metal.

 

Then

 

Charles giggled as Erik pinned his arms above his head and kissed his neck, they had just gotten back from an improv date. They had drank a bottle of wine between the two of them and they were both pleasantly buzzed.

 

“I made you something,” Erik whispered in Charles's ear as he kissed along the stretch of his neck.

 

“Oh?” Charles hummed as he wrapped his legs around Erik’s waist to bring him closer, “Do tell.”

 

Erik pulled back just enough to look into Charles's eyes with a fond expression, Charles basked in the love that was pouring from Erik’s mind. The metal bender released his hand and levitated a metal box into his hand. Charles breath hitched, it was a ring box. If Charles was thinking correctly, Erik was going to propose.

 

“A long time ago, you saved my life, and you offered me a home. You became my home, Liebling. I’d like to do the same for you,” Erik said seriously, opening the box to reveal two perfectly crafted rings, “Will you marry me?”

 

“Oh, darling, of course,” Charles answered, pulling Erik into a desperate kiss, laughing and crying a little bit, “You’re my home too.”

 

Now

 

Charles chuckled at himself, wiping blurrily at his tears and taking deep breaths. He needed to alert the boys of Erik’s presence before they accidentally ran into him. Charles could only imagine what would happen if Alex caught him roaming the grounds.

 

Boys,” Charles reached out telepathically through the link that connected all of their minds. A chorus of acknowledgments came back through the link, “Erik is here.”

 

There was a pause before the link exploded, the emotions being transfer were both good and bad.

 

What the hell does he want?” Alex demanded, his mental voice louder than any of the others.

 

“He is here about Jean,” Charles responded calmly, “I will explain later but for now, don’t be alarmed if you see him on the grounds. He may be staying for a bit.”

 

“Professor, do you want me to get the plastic chair?” Hank asked, he was angry but doing his best to keep himself calm. This was a trait Charles admired about the boy, his ability to regulate how he was feeling, he had come such a long way.

 

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Charles answered back.

 

“Who’s Erik?” Scott asked through the link, “Is he Jean’s other dad?”

 

“Yes,” Charles responded, blocking out Alex and Sean’s responses. Scott barely remembered Erik, he was only three when Erik had left. Alex’s mind was a storm of anger, the telepath knew the mutant would not accept this quietly. Sooner rather than later did he expect an outburst from Alex.

 

“Man, I pick the worst times not to be home,” Sean grouched through their connection, Sean was currently at his university. The classes were watching each documentary the students had submitted.  Charles shook his head ending the link between them all. Whatever Erik decided Charles needed to be ready for. No matter what, Charles wanted Erik back into his life, in whatever way that would be. That is what it truly came down to, Charles would never stop wanting or loving Erik. He would rather have him in his life than be without him.

 

 

Meanwhile, Erik took a walk around the grounds after Charles had wheeled from the room, he needed to clear his head and figure out what he wanted. Charles was right, he couldn’t just come in and out of her life. He had tried so hard to hold on to his anger so that he wouldn’t break down and vow to stay forever. He wanted to. Coming back here was a sign more than anything that this was what he truly wanted. The truth of the matter was the Brotherhood wasn’t as needed as before. There was another group out there saving mutants, public reforms for peace had been working and the Brotherhood looked like a terrorist group that took things to the extremes. Erik would never get along with humans but maybe he could give up the Brotherhood. Maybe he could have this. He could win Charles back and rebuild the family he had torn apart.

 

He had come to this realization when he felt it. Erik scrunched his eyebrows together, reaching out with his powers and feeling the large metal under the ground. They had made more changes than Erik originally thought, there was metal pathways running all through the ground, a huge one leading out towards the coast. He would have to ask Charles about it, he turned on his heel and started his way back to the mansion.

 

Charles had made his way back into the study, having collected himself and was now going over some of the older children’s essays.

 

“How can you take him back?” Alex asked angrily as he burst into the room, “He abandoned us and now he staying at the mansion again? I know you love him but he isn’t worth it.”

 

“Oh, Alex,” Charles murmured, reaching his mind out to soothe the anger in the young mutant’s mind, “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, it doesn't mean they're lost forever. Sometimes, we all need a little help. I remember a young boy who stumbled quite a bit whom I never gave up on."

 

“Don’t compare me to him,” Alex grumbled back, crossing his arms over his chest and plopping into the chair, “I never abandoned my family.”

 

Alex,” Charles said into the mutant’s head, “I forgave Erik a long time ago. That does not mean I trust him nor does it mean I forgot what he did. In the end, I’d rather have him than not.”

 

Alex deflated at that, his pouting expression reminding Charles of when he first met the mutant. A sixteen-year-old foster kid who was angry at the whole world, “Fine but I’m not playing nice with him and I’m still pissed. He’s an asshole that left us.”

 

“Thank you,” Charles responded with a smile, “All I ask is no maiming, yes?”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Alex answered, grumpily, “But if he takes one step out of line, no promises.”

 

“Now you sound like Logan,” Charles said with a chuckle.

 

“Logan has the right idea,” Alex replied with a huff, seemingly placated for the moment. The mutant stood from his chair and sighed, “I got a class to teach, call me if Magnetman is being a dick.”

 

“Of course, darling,” Charles said, watching as Alex opened the door and Erik was on the other side, waiting thereafter Alex had basically shoved him from the room. Alex paused to give Erik a nasty look before stalking off.

 

“Lovely children you have,” Erik commented as he stepped into the room and taking the seat Alex had just vacated, “Very protective.”

 

“They all are quite lovely,” Charles agreed, ignoring the sarcastic nature of the comment.

 

“Almost all grown up now,” Erik commented, the ache in Charles's chest returning. The metal bender had missed so much when he left but maybe he wouldn’t have to miss anymore? Maybe Erik would stay? No. Charles couldn’t think like that, he couldn’t get his hopes up.

 

“Yes, Scott still has a way to go,” Charles answered, giving Erik a pained smile, “I must warn you, Scott does not remember you.”

 

Erik seemed to pause at that, looking away from the telepath to hide the conflicted expression on his face, “I see.”

 

“He was three when you left and eventually he just… forgot,” Charles said softly, lifting his hand to touch the metal bender before dropping it before it could reach it’s mark, “I’m sorry, Erik.”

 

“How long..?”

 

“He stopped asking for you after six months,” Charles responded, even without reading Erik’s mind he could tell what the metal bender was going to ask. Erik nodded, running a hand over his face. The lyrics of one of Charles's songs sprang into Erik’s mind, the telepaths pained singing filling his ears.

 

“Every step I take, we used to lead the way.

Now I’m terrified to face it on my own.

You’re not there to celebrate the children we made.

You’re not there to share in their success and mistakes.

Is it fair, you’ll never know the people they’ll be?

You’re not there with us.”

 

“I wasn’t there,” Erik stated, the remembrance of the song echoing in his mind, turning his gaze back to the telepath. The lyrics could not have been more true and yet they made him hurt, “Not for them and not for you.”

 

Charles understood what the metal bender was referencing, of course, Erik had listened to the album. The telepath had practically poured all his heart into music about the one man in hopes he would hear it and hopes that he wouldn’t.

 

“You listened to the album then?” Charles asked, the telepath was careful not to look into Erik’s mind, even if he was dying to. Every part of him wanted to delve back into it, finally returning to his rightful place but he did not dare. He was terrified of what he would find there.

 

“Yes,” Erik responded, not tearing his eyes away from the telepaths. He wouldn’t admit to the telepath that he had tried almost everything in him to avoid listening to it. Not everyone had an entire album written about how they had abandoned someone. Erik had spent his time on the way here, listening to the album. He listened to each song on repeat, memorizing the words in hopes that it would stop the aching in his chest. It didn’t. “It was good.”

 

Charles laughed a little, a bit hysterically actually. Of course, Erik would listen to it and just reply with, ‘it was good’ and not elaborate. So much had been said in those lyrics, it almost made Charles feel naked. His lyrics had begged the metal bender to come back, relating how much he had missed him and that was all Erik could say about them.

 

Erik seemed to realize he had said the wrong thing, saying, “I liked- I am- Verdammt. I- Can you please just look into my mind.”

 

“I told you-,” Charles started but Erik grabbing his hands and moved to kneel in front of the telepath.

 

“Please, Liebling.” Erik pleaded, bringing Charles hands to his head and moving as close as he thought the telepath would allow. “Please, look.”

 

Charles could feel the desperation leaking off of Erik, no matter how much he was trying to shield the metal bender, he could still feel his emotions rolling off him in waves. How could Charles deny him when he was pleading like that? Charles still loved him and he would be lying if he said he didn’t. This just proved that nothing had changed for the telepath, he would still always fold when it came to Erik. No matter what he did, he would always give him another chance.

 

“Okay,” Charles conceded and the relief filled the metal benders face. The telepath took a deep breath before closing his eyes and pressing his fingers against Erik’s temples. He did not need to touch him or even move his hands to read his mind but he wouldn’t pass the chance to touch him. Erik’s mind was just as Charles had remembered, orderly and metallic. It was like coming home, he couldn’t tell if it was him or Erik that had sighed in relief at the feeling.

 


“Charles,” Erik whispered in his mind, the overwhelming pain, love, guilt and so many more emotions crashing in Charles's own mind.

 

Hello, Erik,” Charles responded, allowing himself to stretch out in Erik’s mind, the metal bender was pleading for it, asking for the telepath to look at everything.

 

Please, Charles, I’m sorry,” Erik spoke, as Charles passed over the memories of Raven and Erik’s entanglement and the memories of leaving Charles alone, the kids alone. Charles felt Erik’s guilt and regret there. That he had been with Raven out of misplaced anger and affection. The memories of the years he had spent longing to come home, that Charles was his only home. Erik’s overwhelming remorse for everything, his genuine pain. This was why the telepath could never hate him, he knew the metal bender for everything and loved him for it. What surprised Charles the most was Erik still loved him, he still wanted him. The telepath was shocked.

 

“You love me?” Charles asked telepathically, his mind still submerged within Erik’s own.

 

“Of course,” Erik answered back, the emotion slamming into Charles's own mind, his fierce love for the telepath, “My feelings for you have never been in question.”

 

“I thought…” Charles trailed offed, projecting the memories of Erik walking out and Erik pushing him from his mind. The images of Erik not coming home, even after Shaw was dead. He showed Erik that when the news of Shaw’s death had found him, he had expected, had hoped Erik would come back. That he had left a lamp on every night in hopes Erik would show up but never did.

 

“I wanted to come home so badly but I didn’t know if I could,” Erik explained, his words being back with the memories and longing swirling around Charles's own mind, “You gave me peace, you offered me a home and I wasted it. I couldn’t face my mistakes, what I did to you. I couldn’t forgive myself, why should you?”

 

“Oh, Erik. I forgave you years ago,” Charles assured him, projecting his warmth and forgiveness into the metal bender’s mind, “I always knew you would go after Shaw, I thought we were happy and it was enough.”

 

“I was happy, I really was. Thank you for the happiest years of my life,” Erik whispered either aloud and within in head, Charles wasn’t quite sure, “I really loved you, I still love you. Nothing will change that.”

 

Charles let out a sob at the words both in anguish at what they had lost and in relief at the words. Erik pulled back slightly to look into Charles's eyes, the telepath was still in his head, sitting in that spot that he had carved out for himself all those years ago.

 

“Do you still?” Erik asked, fear and doubt tinting his gaze. Of course, the lyrics had spoken but the metal bender needed to hear it. Charles understood what he meant and nodded.

 

I never stopped,” Charles whispered into his mind and relished in the relief that washed through the metal bender.

 

“Is there a chance?” Erik questioned, trailing off but Charles was in his mind understanding every unspoken word. The telepath knew the answer, he would welcome Erik back but it would take time.

 

Yes, but I need time,” Charles answered, the image of Raven and Erik wrapped around in a naked embrace coming into both of their minds, “I love you and I want you to come home but I can’t trust you with my heart right now…And I can’t if you leave again.”

 

Erik nodded in understanding, unwillingly pulling back from Charles embrace, saying, “I-I want to stay. I want to meet Jean and be with you. I need to figure out what to do with the brotherhood but if you allow me, I’d like to come home.”

 

Charles gave the mutant a watery smile, stray tears slipping down his cheeks, “Then come home, Erik.”

 

“How do I start?” Erik asked, his emotions choking up in his throat. How was he going to work this out? He knew what he wanted but how would he get there? The forgiveness of the boys, the news of the disbandment of the brotherhood. There were so many things that needed to be worked out before he could actually have things back to where they were. If things ever could return to the way they were.

 

“How about we start with a game of chess?” Charles asked, offering a hand to a man drowning in a sea of doubt.

 

Erik nodded, moving to where the chessboard was set up by the fireplace, saying, “When’s the last time you played?”

 

“Truly played?” Charles said, considering, “Since you left. None of the boys ever had the patience for it and Jean’s interest is limited to using the pieces as practice for her telekinesis.”

 

“I’ll go easy on you then,” Erik answered with a grin and Charles tilted his head to look at him with a fond expression.

 

“No, you won’t,” Charles answered with a hint of a laugh, “You were always such a sore loser.”

 

“At least I don’t cheat,” Erik shot back with a teasing glint in his eyes.

 

“There is no pleasure in winning if you don’t do it fairly,” Charles responded back with a sniff, “Besides it was only one time.”  

 

“We almost got kicked out of the casino because of it,” Erik teased.

 

“How was I supposed to know there was a telepath monitoring the game?” Charles argued, moving one of his pawns, “Besides I was exhausted from my performance, the minds of crowds always weakened my shields back then.”

 

“But they are better now. You’ve become stronger since we parted,” Erik commented as he moved his knight on the chessboard, “Your range has grown too. You used to only feel people from a 100-mile radius and now its 250.” 

 

“After you left, I was in a great deal of pain,” Charles answered, examining one of the chess pieces, “It's not their pain I was afraid of. It was my own. And as frightening as it can be, that pain made me stronger. I realized if I allowed myself to feel it, embrace it, it would make me more powerful than I could ever imagine. It's the greatest gift I have: to bear their pain without breaking. And it comes from the most human part of me: hope."

Chapter Text

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.

 

“Not anymore-“

 

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?”

 

“After.”

 

“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.”

 

 

Then

"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.

 

Now

 

“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.

Chapter Text

The next morning found the mutant family at the table in the kitchen for breakfast. Alex was still ignoring Erik, the two youngest children questioned the metal bender like a shiny new toy. Charles sipped at his tea as Hank explained improvements he wanted to make to the elevator.

 

“What’s under the school?” Erik asked, the question caused Hank to choke on the coffee he was currently drinking and Alex patted his back.

 

“A danger bunker,” Charles responded smoothly, “You knew that.”

 

“Sure, but there is something else. More metal,” Erik replied, watching the other closely. “It goes out to the coast.”

 

“We added more to Hanks lab and Cerebro,” Charles answered, looking unbothered as he leaned forward to wipe a crumb from the corner of Jean’s mouth.

 

“Pretty big for a lab,” Erik commented, his powers feeling down under the structure. Whatever it was, it was big and had different halls.

 

“Indeed,” Charles hummed, setting down his tea before pausing and putting a finger to his temples, “Sean is here.”

 

Seconds later, the familiar sounds of Sean’s sonic screen reached their ears and just outside the window they saw him land. The red head came jogging through the doors seconds later with windswept hair and a bag.

 

“Sean, what the bloody hell are you doing here?” Charles questioned, raising his eyebrows at his adopted son. “You have a final today.”

 

“I took it early. The family group chat is blowing up, no way am I gonna stick around while Child Abandoner is kicking around the house,” Sean responded, walking over to grab some toast and ruffle Scott’s hair. “Have you not checked your phone?”

 

Charles sighed, “Did you fly all the way here?”

 

“Uh…” Sean closed his arms to hide the built-in wings on his hoodie, “No?”

 

“Really? Your flight time has gotten longer,” Hank piped up, bringing out a notepad and scratching some numbers on it, “Did you have to land at all?”

 

“Nope, I attached a camelback so I don’t get dehydrated,” Sean beamed, pleased at the praise from the scientist.

 

“Truly? That is amazing,” Charles mused before shaking his head. “You need to be careful. You should have taken a break.”

 

Sean hummed, waving his hand at his father before his eyes fell on Erik, “Oh hello, Child Abandoner.”

 

“Sean, it’s nice to see you,” Erik greeted, ignoring the title. Sean had gotten taller since the last time he had seen him. His read hair was still shaggy and hanging loosely around his head.

 

“Like my documentary?” Sean asked, his eyes glinted with mischief, “Not gonna say I’m sorry for the twitter explosion afterwards.”

 

“It was well done. You have a real future in the film industry,” Erik answered, ignoring the quip. After everything that happened, there was really no point in hiding his relationship with Charles. They were going to tell everyone after the wedding anyway. It was only a matter of time before it came out. Now that Jean was in the picture, the urge to claim her was something fierce. To let everyone, know that Jean was his daughter, that Charles had been his.

 

“Thanks,” Sean responded, looking a bit uncertain how to respond before turning his attention to Jean and swinging her into his arms. “How is my fellow ginger doing?”

 

Erik was quiet for the rest of the meal, thinking over things. He needed to contact Raven and the brotherhood to discuss plans. He needed to talk to Charles about how to move forward. He wanted to stay and come home. Of that he was sure but he still wanted to continue his work with the brotherhood, he couldn’t just up and leave his passion. He still had to worry about the other group that had been taking the mutants. Just because other mutants were involved did not mean they were good, Shaw was proof of that. The metal bender looked over at Charles, so beautiful in his element. The relaxed posture and easy smiles towards the children, it seemed like so long that those smiles had been solely directed at him and Raven.

 

Charles,” Erik projected and the telepath’s mind immediately brushed against his own in acknowledgment, “Can we talk?”

 

“Of course. We can talk after dinner? I’m afraid I have classes to attend to,” Charles responded, not stopping his conversation with Alex for a second. It was curious to see how easily the telepath could have so many conversations at once. At any given moment, he could be talking to someone else. It makes you think what is left unsaid to the room.

 

Do you talk to the children like this often?” Erik pressed the questioned in his mind.

 

Yes, we share a link. Jean prefers this way of communication. She likes projecting her memories at me,” Charles responded, projecting one of Jeans memories into Erik’s mind. It was of Jean coloring and watching Charles teach. “I think she will be a telepath.”

 

“Why? Isn’t she already telekinetic?”

 

“Secondary mutations aren’t crazy to think about, after all she is a product of one,” Charles responded, a hint of amusement flickering in Erik’s mind, “She is very receptive to telepathy and I have a feeling.”

 

“Your secondary mutation… how did you never get pregnant before? We never used protection.”

 

“They assumed it developed within that year or had laid dormant for so long.”

 

“Can you still…?”

 

“Yes, I am able to conceive another child. The paralysis is from my mid-thigh down so it still…works,” Charles answered him within his mind, unconsciously moving to touch his legs and shifting slightly in his seat. The telepath would not lie and say he didn’t miss his legs but he had accepted what happened to him. It didn’t make him any less than he was but the reminder of it was still a bit sad. Things he missed out on because of them. Charles sighed, trying to refocus on the conversation with Alex as memories flitter through his head of the early days after the accident. Charles taught his classes, leaving Jean and Erik to spend the day together. He read her stories, played dolls with her and listen to her babble about her life. There was something so easy spending time with her, she didn’t know what he had done or the wrongs he had made against her father. It was nice. Sean had tried to subtly check in on them everyone once in a while but Erik could always see him lurking.

 

After dinner, Charles led Erik into his private office and towards the chess board they had spent so many nights at before. The telepath felt elated to have Erik in the mansion, yes there was still things that needed to be discussed but just having him back was a step in the right direction. Once he told Erik everything then all would be well. This was the happiest he felt in awhile, the love of his life back with him and all his children together. Only if Raven would return as well.

 

Charles knew the boys would struggle to get used to Erik but he also knew they would forgive him with time. They were still holding on to the hurt and Charles couldn’t blame them for that. They did not have the advantage of seeing Erik inside and out, knowing his motivation for every single thing he did. Not to say Charles was not still hurting at it but he knew Erik was closer back into his heart than he let on.

 

“You know, I have plans for this place. I mean to turn it into a real campus. A university,” Charles said as he reset the chess board from their game last night, “I get students from all over the world and some just want to visit.”

 

Then

 

Charles had his fingers threaded through Erik’s as they walked the grounds of the mansion in New York. The telepath was silent for most of the tour, thoughts and feelings tangled up in that head of his.

 

“Liebling?” Erik questioned, when Charles stopped them and turned towards the house. His blue eyes scanning the place.

 

“I hated this place. I hated the place in England too. I hate all the houses we had, they always had such bad memories attached to them,” Charles said softly, squeezing Erik’s hand.

 

“Promise me, we will build the school. I know I said it earlier but promise me we will do it,” The telepath pleased, turning his sad eyes to the metal bender.

 

“I promise. Together, Liebling,” Erik swore, cupping the telepath’s cheek and bringing him into a kiss before resting his forehead against his own. “We will protect them all.”

 

Now

 

 

“You’ve done a good job,” Erik praised. “Black or white?”

 

“You can have white this time,” Charles answered, they played for a while, an easy conversation flowing between them. Almost as if none of the bad stuff had come.

 

 “We need to talk.”

 

“Alright,” Charles responded, moving his rook to take one of Erik’s pawns.

 

“I won’t give up the brotherhood. I can’t just sit by and let our people be killed. I built that organization to free them,” Erik started, slipping his hands into his lap. “I want to have this with you. I want our family back but I won’t turn my back on mutantkind.”

 

“I wouldn’t ask you to but I cannot condone killing,” Charles responded, his eyes earnest as they peered at Erik. “I can’t have you bring violence into this space. This is meant to be a safe haven from violence.”

 

“Do you plan on hiding every mutant here then?” Erik questioned, his arms crossing and giving Charles an incredulous look.

 

“No, I am preparing them to work and flourish in society,” Charles answered, calmly.

 

Erik snorted at that, saying, “That sounds a lot like conforming.”

 

“Well we all can’t be running around killing humans willy nilly, now can we?”

 

“They deserved it.”

 

“Maybe but we are not meant to decide who lives or dies. That is a slippery slope, my friend.”

 

“Then we should let them get away with their crimes?”

 

“No but killing isn’t the answer. There are other ways,” Charles responded, there was a look on his face like he was debating on telling Erik something.

 

“I did what I needed to do.”

 

“What Shaw did you to does not justify what you’ve done,” Charles said, sitting back in his chair to give Erik a look. The chess between them forgotten and the mental debate shut down in his eyes.

 

“You have no idea what I’ve done,” Erik scoffed back, his grey eyes focusing on the telepath.

 

“I’ve been inside your head, I know quite a bit,” Charles replied, his eyes knowing as they bore into Erik’s own.

 

“Stay out of my head!” Erik snapped, anger shooting through his veins. A mix of guilt and anger at the seemingly violation of his privacy.

 

“Get in your head or stay out. Please choose one, Erik.” Charles said with a sigh, rubbing his temples, “You know I can’t control everything I see when I go into peoples head.”

 

“You see, this is why Raven never wanted you in there,” Erik sniped and Charles eyes flashed in anger at the metal benders words.

 

“If you want a fight, Erik. I will give you a fight.” Charles snapped back, his voice getting dangerously close to yelling. Erik just raises his eyebrows in challenge, leaning forward and encouraging the telepaths anger. “You abandoned me! You took her away and you abandoned me.”

 

“Alkali Lake, Milbury Hospital Essex House for Mutant Rehabilitation, Ice Box. Mutant brothers and sisters all dead at those facilities. Countless others experimented on, butchered. Where were you, Charles?” Erik exclaimed, the metal in the room shaking and rising in the air, “We were supposed to protect them! Where were you when your own people needed you? Hiding! You and every mutant here. Pretending to be something you’re not. You abandoned us all”

 

“No, I didn’t!” Charles snapped, rising to meet Erik’s anger with his own. “What exactly am I pretending to be, Erik? A father? A teacher? These are my children, our children. I built this school as a safe haven for mutants, to teach them violence isn’t the only path for them. What would you have me do? Put on a ridiculous helmet and slaughter a bunch of humans? What are we meant to do with all the mutant children brought here? Raise them as soldiers to fight against humans? I have responsibilities to my children. I am protecting them in the best way that I can!”

 

“And how is that? Raising them to be a bunch of pacifists? To conform to a world that hates them?” Erik snarled back. “What about the mutants left in those facilities? You leave them to suffer at the hands of the humans you hold so dear.”

 

“No, you don’t get to say I have abandoned the world. You don’t get to lecture me for what I have or have not done because you have no idea what I have done or currently do,” Charles shouted back, his anger and hurt rising to the surface. “You don’t know because you left!”

 

Whatever Erik intended to say was cut off by Logan entering the room, his eyes scanning the room quickly.

 

“Everything okay, Chuck?” Logan questioned, his eyes narrowed in suspicion at the metal bender. Erik was suddenly reminded of lyrics from Charles song again, as if it was being echoed in his own head.

 

“The scar I can't reverse

When the more it heals the worse it hurts

Gave you every piece of me, no wonder it's missing

Don't know how to be so close to someone so distant”

And all I gave you is gone

Tumbled like it was stone

Thought we built a dynasty that heaven couldn't shake”

 

Erik was stuck on that, everything that had wanted to build together, he had tried to crumple to the ground. Their family for one thing. The school Charles wanted to open together. Everything Charles and him had spent years building hard fallen. Charles had rebuilt them. For the second time, Erik realized he was losing Charles again, this path would only lead to their separation. The metal bender didn’t want that, he needed a new approach. 

 

Yes,” Charles responded telepathically, bringing his fingers to try to sooth the oncoming headache, “Yes, we were just having a discussion and it is over. Erik is leaving.”

 

Erik did not leave. He went to his room and planned. This was not how he wanted things to go. Alex was right, he couldn’t walk in here and expect everything to be alright. They wouldn’t get very far if all they could do was fight and bring up past hurts. Erik was not willing to give up rescuing mutants. He had no idea if this other group were good or bad, they needed to be either stopped or maybe recruited.

 

The metal bender sat there planning.

Step 1: Apologize to Charles and the boys.  

Step 2: Find out what Charles is hiding under the school.

Step 3: Find out who the other group is.

Step 4: Win Charles back.

Chapter Text

Needless to say, Erik woke up determined. He had a game plan and he was intent on putting it to work. Logan or not, he was winning Charles back. He shot out of bed way before the sun had even risen and went for a jog. On the way to the shower he heard the soft singing of one telepath. The metal bender had not heard Charles sing in person for years, it was a different experience all together.

 

Erik recognized it as one of the songs he wrote in the height of his music career. One the metal bender remembered Charles singing to him, the telepath straddling his hips and pitching his new song. It had been the middle of the night and Charles couldn’t get it out of his head.

 

Then

“Erik,” Charles whispered, shaking the metal bender to consciousness. “I think I’ve finally got it.”

 

Erik groaned, throwing his hand over his eyes and grumbling about the time. The telepath chuckled, climbing on top of the older mutant and trapping him between his thighs.

 

“Darling,” Charles urged again until Erik glared up at him in the dimly lit room. Charles had a notepad in one hand and was grinning brightly down at the metal bender. “Excellent, you’re awake.”

 

“Libeling, can’t this wait till morning,” Erik grouched but sighed in defeat at the pleading blue eyes. “Okay, go on.”

 

Charles beamed happily, clearing his throat and begun to sing, “I'll make you happy, baby, just wait and see. For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three…”

 

When the telepath finished the song, maybe the metal bender was just slightly more in love with him, even if he did wake him up at 3:30 in the morning.

 

Now

 

Erik moved towards the singing, it was Jean’s room and when he listened closer he could hear the soft giggle of his daughter. Their daughter. It still was unbelievable.

 

You can come in, Erik,” Charles whispered into his head, his singing didn’t stop as he spoke. He sounded hesitant and apologetic. Maybe they both were.

 

Didn’t know if I was welcome,” Erik responded but pushed the door open anyway. Jean was sitting on the stool in front of a mirror as Charles braided her red hair. The telepath looked exhausted as if he had been awake all night and only slept a little. Maybe Charles had been thinking about their fight or maybe Jean had kept him awake.

 

“Vati!” Jean exclaimed, waking happily at the metal bender. She had not called him that before, Charles must have told her to do so.

 

“Guten Morgen, Schatz,” Erik greeted, moving closer and using his powers to shut the door. “Braids today?”

 

“Yup!” Jean answered then stuck out a red dinosaur stuffed animal to show it off to Erik. “Daddy found my T-rex! Scott accidently put it in his toy box.”

 

“Isn’t that..?” Erik began asking.

 

“Devil Dinosaur, quite right,” Charles said, finishing off the braid with a black ribbon. “I’m afraid Scott and Jean are quite obsessed.”

 

You are welcome, Erik. I’m glad you stayed… I want you here,” The telepath said softly into Erik’s mind at the same time as he told Jean to brush her teeth.

 

I’m sorry, Charles. For what I said, for everything. I want to make this work,” Erik responded, the telepath’s eyes grew soft and adoring. This is what he was doing it for, to have Charles look at him that way again. He wanted that. He just needed to figure out how to have this and keep the brotherhood. Compromise, the dreaded word.

 

I’m sorry too. I let my temper get the best of me,” Charles replied, the tip of his lips turning up at the metal bender.

 

“Our fights used to end much better if I remember correctly. A lot less clothing,” Erik flirted, Charles cheeks heated slightly as Erik pushed the memories at him. The telepath chuckled and shook his head.

 

Ah, I can’t quite do all the acrobatics I used to,” Charles answered, his eyes still gleaming with love and happiness.

 

“No less creative, I imagine,” Erik said, pushing affection at the telepath.

 

I wouldn’t know, I haven’t been with anyone since the accident,” Charles responded, looking away from him and fiddled with the leftover ribbon in his hands. “Never anytime for that stuff. With the children always running about.”

 

Erik blinked in surprise, a rush of happiness shot through him at the thought, Logan wasn’t with Charles. No one had been. The metal bender felt wrong for feeling so happy about this, then he remembered Raven. Erik couldn’t say the same. Every ugly feeling he had over the past couple days, Charles had been feeling and worse.

 

“Daddy, can we have pancakes for breakfast?” Jean questioned as she ran back into the room, cutting off what Erik wanted to say to the telepath.

 

“Of course, my love,” Charles agreed, reaching forward and wiping toothpaste from her cheek.

 

“I can make them?” Erik offered, not wanting to sit in his own guilt for any longer. He was on the path to making it up to them. Jean celebrated, grabbing Erik’s hand and started tugging him to the kitchen.

 

“We have to go now or Sean will drink all the milk,” Jean informed.

 

While Jean dragged Erik to the kitchen, Charles went to Scott’s room giving a soft knock before entering. The boy was sitting crossed leg on the bed and had a photo album opened before him.

 

“What are you looking at, darling?” Charles questioned as he wheeled further into the room.

 

“I’m trying to remember Mr. Erik. Alex and Sean say I used to call him Vati,” Scott answered, the telepath scrunched his eyebrows and glanced at the album. It was pictures they took the first month they had with the boys. The picture Scott was focused on was the one where they were throwing water balloons at each other. The metal bender had been cheating by using metal to sling it at everyone. It was such a fun day, Charles treasured it. The telepath sighed softly, reaching into Scott’s mind and scanning for the memories the boy was looking for. All memories of Erik were almost completely forgotten, memories fade. Especially with time.

 

“You did,” Charles confirmed, unsure of what to say to the young mutant. “You remember him leaving?”

 

“Yeah, a little,” Scott said with a nod. “You wrote those songs about him too. I saw his name on the wedding invitations in the attic.”

 

Charles paused at that, all the wedding things had been shut up in the attic for a while. After Erik and Raven had left, Charles couldn’t bear to look at them anymore. The wedding had been so soon and everything had been ready.  Now it all collected dust.

 

“Yes, he is,” Charles responded, he truly didn’t know what to say to him. Things were complicated, too much for someone so young for him to understand. Children were curious though and Scott never liked being excluded.

 

“If you guys were going to get married then why did he leave? You only marry someone if you love them, did he not love you anymore?” Scott questioned, his eyes hidden by the red glass and Charles heart ached.

 

“He did love us but it was… is complicated,” The telepath answered. “He wanted different things than I did or he had a different view on how things should go. On what we should do. Sometimes you can love someone so much and it not work out.”

 

Scott’s eyebrows came together in thought and the telepath sighed, skimming over the younger mutant’s mind. His thoughts were going over the fuzzy memory in the hospital, watching the anger in the older mutants voice as he said he was leaving. The emotions were the strongest thing that mixed with the memory.

 

“Come on, love. Breakfast will be ready soon,” Charles said with a tired smile.

 

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Erik held Jean on his hip as he flipped pancakes on the stove. Hank stumbled into the kitchen, looking almost as exhausted as Charles. If he weren’t for the blue fur, he would most likely see big bruises under his eyes. Alex followed him in, same sluggish moves and yawns.

 

That was weird. Charles he could chalk up to their argument or even Jean but Hank and Alex too. Did they all stay up late? Maybe Scott had kept them up? But then why didn’t Erik hear anything. It was quiet last night.

 

“Rough night?” Erik questioned, innocently.

 

“Fuck off,” Alex grumbled as he sat loudly and put his head on the table. “Coffee.”

 

“Erik,” Hank greeted, more politely as he poured two cups. He set one down in front of Alex and kissed his head.

 

“You’re welcome to the pancakes,” Erik said, gesturing to the stack he had already finished.

 

“Vati made them with chocolate chips,” Jean informed them brightly, a juice cup in one hand and her other hand hanging on Erik’s neck.

 

Alex looked up from where he was resting his head, taking a sip of his coffee, saying, “I know. He used to make them for us.”

 

Erik frowned, this was going to be harder than he thought. Sean was the next one to walk in, still in his pajamas and tired. They were all tired. Erik knew for a fact Hank was annoyingly chipper in the mornings. Something was going on.

 

“Why is it always night-” Sean started to grumble when Alex elbowed him. “Ow, why did you do that?”

 

“Shut up,” Alex snipped, nodding his head to Erik.

 

“Oh,” Sean said, grabbing a cup of coffee. “Hey, Child Abandoner. I thought you were Logan.”

 

Logan chose that moment to walk in, cigar in his mouth, and to Erik’s surprise was looking the same as he always did. With the way everyone was this morning, he wouldn’t be shocked if he too was exhausted.

 

“Just be grateful it’s not Chuck making the pancakes,” Logan huffed, grabbing coffee and moving to lean against the door.

 

“Logan, my tolerance for your smoking in the mansion notwithstanding, continue smoking that in here,” Charles said as he wheeled into the room with Scott trailing behind him, “and you'll spend the rest of your days under the belief that you're a six-year-old girl.”

 

“You’d do that?” Logan questioned, raising his eyebrow.

 

“I’d have Jean braid your hair,” Charles responded, reaching out his hand and telekinetically putting out the cigar. “Never smoke around the children.”

 

“Daddy, Vati made chocolate chip pancakes!” Jean exclaimed, wiggling in Erik’s arms. The metal bender for his part was in shock, Charles was more powerful then he previously thought.

 

That’s new,” Erik projected at the telepath and Charles gave him a shrug.

 

I told you before I’ve grown with my pain,” Charles responded to him as he got Scott into a chair and a plate of pancakes.

 

“That’s why you think Jean will be a telepath,” Erik thought mainly to himself but also at Charles. He knew the telepath was still tucked in his head. “Is that a third mutation now?”

 

“Not really, it is technically an extension of telepathy,” Charles said, fixing a cup of tea for himself and letting himself be dragged into a conversation with Scott.

 

How powerful?”

 

“Not very much. I can do little things; my telepathy is much stronger.”

 

“Was there a meeting last night I wasn’t invited to?”

 

“What?” Charles asked, shocked by the jump in subjects. The telepath was only truly shocked while speaking this way if he was exhausted. Another factor pointing to something going on last night.

 

“You and everyone else seems to be exhausted,” Erik commented, sitting with Jean at the table and cutting up her pancake. In the corner of his eye, he watched Charles.

 

“Well, if you must know the boys stayed up watching some sort of film series and I couldn’t sleep,” The telepath lied and Erik knew he did. Charles was a good liar to the untrained eye, years of being a celebrity did that to you, but Erik knew him. Five years did not change Erik’s ability to read the telepath, nine years of a relationship together allowed him to know the telepath deeper than anyone.

 

“Dad, can Mr. Erik help me with target practice today?” Scott questioned, drawling the telepaths attention to his son. Charles raised his eyebrows in surprise, scanning over the boys mind to make sure this was an innocent enough query.

 

Hell no,” Alex almost shouted through their connection. The telepath would have flinched if not for years of practice.

 

Scott is trying to remember Erik. I don’t think he will hurt him. You can go with them if you want,” Charles responded.

 

“I suppose that would be alright if Erik wants to?” The telepath answered, looking towards the metal bender.

 

“Of course,” Erik agreed, shocked but pleased by the request.

 

“Jean before you ask, no,” Charles stated, reading the intention from his daughter’s mind. “The danger room is only for the mutants who need help and adults.”

 

Did you still want to go to the jewelry shop today?” Charles questioned Alex telepathically and the plasma mutant looked conflicted. Alex had asked him last night if he would come with him to pick out an engagement ring for Hank.

 

But what about Scott?” Alex asked in return. “I don’t trust him around Erik.”

 

“We can wait until after the practice or you could have Hank sit in on them,” Charles offered, the younger mutant mulled it over in his head, debating with himself before nodding at Charles.

 

Can you ask Hank to watch them?” Alex asked, glancing briefly at the mutant before back to Charles.

 

Already done,” Charles responded, having already had a conversation with Hank about it. The scientist thought Charles needed to have a meeting with Emma and Alex was coming to help.

 

Erik was watching Charles when he turned to look at him, his eyes were calculating. The telepath knew Erik was suspicious of the reason they were tired. Erik could always tell when Charles was lying. Hopefully Scott would provide enough of a distraction.

 

The telepath cleared his throat and slid his eyes to his plate. He just needed more time to get everyone on board with telling Erik and making sure the metal bender could be trusted. As much as Charles adored the man, he knew him too well to trust him blindly anymore. If their argument had proven anything, he still had things to work through. Mainly Erik’s relationship with Raven. That particular betrayal had been one of the worst of his life, even more so than leaving. He could understand where Erik came from, he knew the mutant had always wanted to hunt Shaw down but at some point, the metal bender had drawn a line. Just as he thought they were taking the final steps, Erik suddenly took steps back, leaving the telepath confused and hurt.

 

Regardless, if the two had not slept together before hand, emotions of some sort had been involved with them. It was one of the reasons Charles struggled so much to allow anyone else into his heart or his bed. He went undesirable and unwanted. There was a time after Jean’s birth and things had begun to settle down that something had formed between Logan and himself. They had flirted and even kissed but he had to stop it. He knew how unfair it was to the other mutant. He had wanted to feel wanted so bad and he still did. Logan would have been a place holder for Erik and he did not deserve that. They were much better friends then anything, truly.

 

“Chuck? You listening?” Logan grunted, the telepaths eyes snapped up to the other mutants and he flushed noticing the table was staring at him.

 

“My apologies, was I projecting?” Charles questioned, praying to whatever entity existed that he had not been. The lack of sleep could have caused that and god forbid the children or worse, Erik hear what he was thinking about. 

 

“No, I was askin if you still wanted me to drive you to town?” Logan asked for apparently the second time. Charles let out an internal sigh of relief and tightened his control on his telepathy. Pointedly ignoring the searing gaze of one metal bender.

 

“Yes, if it isn’t too much problem. I apologize, I am quite tired,” Charles said apologetically, giving Logan a smile. “Alex will be joining us, I need his opinion.”

 

“For what?” Scott questioned, his brain was more awake now and pushing questions at Charles. Alex almost always sat in with him during his training and he wondered what could be so important to miss it.

 

“Gym equipment,” Alex answered quickly, shoving a forkful in his mouth.

 

“Quite right,” Charles agreed, sending a wave of amusement into Alex’s mind at his poor coverup.

 

Are you sure going into public is safe right now?”  Erik projected and Charles almost sighed in irritation.

 

I see no reason why I shouldn’t be going.”

 

Maybe because you just released a new album and you haven’t slept; your control is poor if you’re sleep deprived.”

 

“It is not truly your concern, Erik,” Charles answered back, shutting down the temporary connection to their minds. He rubbed his temples, blocking out the loud thoughts of the children and one metal bender.

Chapter Text

Charles and Alex left with Logan shortly after breakfast concluded. Moria and Kurt arrived at the same time. They took Jean to play while Sean and Hank accompanied Erik and Scott down to the danger room. Halfway down the hall, Hank’s watch started beeping alerting him to an issue in his lab. This left Erik, Sean, and Scott to target practice. Erik used his control over metal to shoot the frisbees in the air while Sean lurked nearby. Scott was thrilled to have Erik’s help and loved the praise he got from the metal bender. Erik’s chest clenched at the goofy smile the boy shot his way. This was the kid he remembered, the boy who would laugh, play, and cuddle with Erik freely.

 

“The flying is new,” Erik commented, Sean glanced over at him before back at Scott who was picking up the piece of the broken frisbees he had been shooting at.

 

“Uh, yeah. Dad and Hank helped me with it,” Sean responded easily and Erik listened intently as he recounted the event.

 

Then

 

“Now remember, scream as hard as you can,” Charles encouraged as Sean sat on the edge of the windowsill and wore the wings Hank had designed.

 

“You need the sound waves to be supersonic,” Hank explained further, adjusting one of the straps to tighten it. “Catch them at the right angle and they should carry you.”

 

“They should carry me. That's reassuring,” Sean scoffed, giving Hank a dirty look.

 

“Logan will catch you if you fall. Good luck.” Charles said, giving his shoulder a squeeze and wheeling back to give Sean some room. Logan gave a grunt in acknowledgment from the ground as he stood with his arms crossed glaring up at them. “And don't forget to scream.”

 

Alex, Scott, Armando, and Jean were leaning their heads out the window to watch the scene unfold. Sean slid from the sill and let out a normal scream, causing him to fall into the gruff mutant below.

 

Later they had climbed atop of the roof, standing at the edge, the wings Hank made were firmly in place.

 

“You truly believe I'll fly this time?”

 

“Unreservedly.”

 

“I trust you.”

 

“I'm touched.”

 

“I don't trust him,” Sean said, referring to the blue scientist who stood a pace behind them as Charles tried to calm the redhead.

 

“Say nothing,” Charles told Hank without turning back to him. He could already feel the protest rising in the mutant’s mind at Sean’s comment.

 

“I'm going to die!” Sean exclaimed as he looked over the edge of the roof, the ground far below.

 

“You don’t have to do this, darling. We're not going to make you do anything you don't feel comfortable with, all right?” Charles soothed, squeezing the redhead's shoulder and giving his son a reassuring smile. This was all well and good until Logan stepped forward to pushed Sean from the ledge. He didn’t die, he flew but he never stands next to Logan in high places anymore.

 

Now

“Use it for anything besides transport?” Erik questioned, trying to sound innocent in the question. Maybe to uncover what they were all up to last night. Maybe to find out why Erik feels like it is connected to whatever is below the school.

 

“Oh yeah, it comes in handy when we-”  Sean cut himself off and cleared his throat. “Why do you care, Child Abandoner?”

 

“I care,” Erik responded.

 

Sean snorted saying in a sarcastic voice, “I can tell.”

 

“I am sorry about how things happened but I’m not sorry for leaving. The Brotherhood fights to protect mutants,” Erik begun but was quickly waved away by the young adult.

 

“Look, I get it… well not really but sorta. You did what you thought was best or whatever. You wanted to protect us,” Sean said turning his attention to the metal bender. “I want to help mutants too but there is more to helping them than blowing up things and killing people.”

 

“You sound just like Charles,” Erik mused and Sean huffed out a laugh.

 

“Dad is better than you know,” Sean said, suddenly serious. “He is fighting the same cause and doing more than you see.”

 

“What don’t I see?” Erik questioned.

 

“Nope, nuh-uh. I’m not going to be the first one to- Nope. I know they have bets on me,” Sean started, turning his attention away from the metal bender. “I’m not bad at secrets, they are just mean.”

 

“I got all the pieces, I think,” Scott announced as he approached the pair with a basket full of broken frisbees. He handed it to Sean. “Can you get more, please?”

 

Sean agreed, moving out of the danger room to collect more frisbees and dispose of the others. The young mutant was aware Scott just wanted to speak to Erik alone and who was he to stop the little guy?

 

“Daddy said you loved us, is that true?” Scott questioned Magneto. Erik was taken aback by the question but kneeled down to be able to look the young mutant in the eye.

 

“I did, I do,” Erik responded. “I’m sorry I made you have to question that.”

 

“Daddy said you wanted different things.”

 

“What else did your Dad say?”

 

“That it is complicated but I don’t know what that means,” Scott answered, he looked thoughtful. “Are you going to stay?”

 

“Do you want me to stay?”

 

“I want you to stay because Daddy and Jean want you to,” Scott replied simply, nodding to himself as if concluding the point.

 

The day went smoother after that, Erik would even dare to say that they had had fun. At the back of his mind, he couldn’t help but wonder the metal he felt and what they had been up to last night. Another thing that bothered him was Charles leaving the house. Erik recalled the migraines and the loss of control. Once when Charles was on tour, he had not slept for a whole forty-eight hours and gave the entire hotel a headache. Or the big crowds, he always used to seek out Erik’s mind as a tether but as Charles said, he had Logan for that. Jealousy reared its ugly head once more but this time Erik could reason that Logan had never had been with Charles.

 

By lunch, Charles and the others had returned. Alex had darted to his room, touching his pocket unconsciously as he went. The conversation Erik had read on the Instagram DM’s coming to mind. Alex was going to propose to Hank and now he had the ring for it. Charles looked pleased, watching his eldest son go with a smile.

 

“I don’t see any gym equipment,” Erik commented.

 

“It will be delivered here,” Charles assured him with a smile.

 

“I’m sure,” Erik said, looking the telepath over. He was in a good mood but clearly tired. “Any complications?”

 

“Huh?” Charles asked confused before it cleared as he understood Erik’s worrying over breakfast. “Oh, no. Everything was alright. How was practice? You seem to still be intact.”

 

“He is sloppy but getting better,” Erik responded as Charles lead them into his study. “You trained them well.”

 

“They are very bright minds,” Charles agreed, rolling behind his desk and shuffling his papers about. “But thank you.”

 

Erik settled into the chair on the opposite side of the desk, “Alex is proposing?”

 

“I thought I was supposed to be the telepath here?” Charles asked, the corner of his lips tilting up.

 

“I felt the ring in his pocket,” Erik responded, lifting his hands in innocence. “He was never good at hiding things either.”

 

Charles nodded in understanding, saying, “Do you remember when he tried to hide the spill on the carpet-”

 

“And he ended up bleaching a $12,000 rug?” Erik finished and they both laughed at the memory.

 

“Then he tried to say he tripped and fell with the cleaning supplies,” Charles recounted.

 

“You didn’t even get mad, you thought it was funny,” Erik said, looking lovingly at Charles’ smiling face.

 

Charles hummed in agreement, “I wasn’t the one who told him to recreate the fall to prove authenticity. That was just cruel, how was I meant to keep a straight face?”

 

“It’s his own fault for trying to lie to a telepath,” Erik responded, a grin stretching his lips at the memory. Charles had been beside him almost red in the face trying to suppress laughter as Alex pretended to trip.

 

“He knows better now. Honestly, sometimes I miss the explanations they used to come up with,” Charles mused remembering fondly. “I caught Sean smoking weed and he told me he was burning incense. As if I didn’t go to parties when I was young.”

 

“Charles, you’re thirty. You are young,” Erik answered, giving him a stern look.

 

“You sound like Emma now,” Charles commented, stacking his papers into a neat pile to be graded later. “You know she tried to get me to go out to a club last month.”

 

“How did you endure such hardships?” Erik teased causing the telepath to huff. Their conversation was interrupted by a knock at the study door.

 

“Professor, there is a phone call for you,” A woman with blue hair and scales along her cheeks said. Erik recognized her as one of the staff members he had seen walking around the grounds, she taught English if he was correct.

 

“Thank you, Erie,” Charles said, with a smile and they were alone again. “Hopefully this call won’t take long. You’re welcome to stay.”

 

After the call had finished, they sat talking awhile longer. Joining the children for a picnic outside in the garden afterward. The phone call was for a new student, an eight-year-old with the ability to heal and had black wings from his back.

 

“I think Castiel will be a wonderful addition,” Charles said as he finished explaining his phone call. “He will provide Warren, someone, to fly with.”

 

“I wonder why his wings presented black, what age do you think they grew?” Hank pondered, soon enough they were engaged in a discussion in genetics. Alex was fiddling nervously next to him, he kept touching his pocket and picking at his sandwich.

 

“Keep squirming like that and he’ll know before you can ask,” Erik commented to the blonde mutant who glared at him.

 

“Shut up,” Alex snapped, glancing at the blue mutant to see if he overheard what Erik had said. “How’d you know about that?”

 

“It's metal,” Erik deadpanned which only caused Alex to frown harder. “Plan on asking today?”

 

“I said shut up.”


 

The following morning after Erik’s jog, he went looking for Charles. He was nowhere to be found at the breakfast table. In his stead was Moria, attempting to convince Jean to eat her fruit.

 

“Where is Charles?” Erik asked, the inhabitants of the table turned to look at him.

 

“Good morning to you too,” Moria responded, with an unimpressed look. When Erik didn’t do anything but glare she said. “He’s in the music room.”

 

Erik nodded, turning from the group and making his way to the music room. The room had been built as one of the first things there, Charles still liked to sing even if he did give it up. He also loved the idea of entertaining the children with it. The room was, of course, soundproof to prevent the noise from disturbing everyone else, he must host music classes in there now. When the metal bender finally got to the room and eased the door open, he heard Charles's voice fill the air. He was sat at the piano, eyes closed and halfway through a song. His blue eyes were closed as he built up to the crescendo of the song.

 

“Now there’s hopeful light in my eyes

And my lover on my mind

And I’ll sing from the piano, tear my white shirt and

Cry and cry and cry.”

 

Erik blinked, the telepath could still hit those high notes no problem it seemed. So many times Erik had watched him and listened to him hit those notes effortlessly. This song was not one he had heard on the album, he must have composed it recently. Charles's eyes opened, locking on to the metal bender as he sang the next part.

 

“Cause you’re a hard soul to save

With an ocean in the way

But I’ll get around it

I’ll get around it”

 

The song was about him. Erik knew it by the look in Charles's eyes, expressing the emphasis on the words. The telepaths eyes closed again, breaking the eye contact but the spell did not break. Erik was ensnared. It was hard to remember why he ever left this beautiful man. He was like a siren, luring his victims to be struck dumb at the beautiful sound of his voice and the captivating eyes.

 

“New song?” Erik asked, coming further into the room and closing the door behind himself.

 

“Yes, I seem to have found inspiration,” Charles answered, his fingers smoothing over the ivory keys and his cheeks flushed. Erik moved closer, perching himself on the piano bench beside the telepath.

 

“Play it again?” Erik asked, pressing his side against the other mutants and Charles's breath caught. The blush on his cheeks deepening before nodding. The telepath restarted the song, his voice strong and so sweet. The metal bender had missed this. To have Charles again would be the greatest heaven. This is what he truly wanted. They would have to come to a compromise, he was not willing to give this up again.

 

“Beautiful,” Erik complimented once Charles's voice had faded and they were left in silence again.

 

“Thank you,” Charles responded, turning a beautiful smile towards him. Their faces were inches apart, their breath mingling with one another, and Erik closed the last couple of inches between them. The kiss was chaste and sweet, much like their first one. Tentative and full of unsureness. Charles was the first to pull away, his eyes searching Erik’s own. He looked so vulnerable at that moment, that same helpless look he had as he laid in the hospital.

 

“I love you, Liebling,” Erik said softly, projecting his love at the telepath.

 

“I love you too,” Charles whispered back, his lips brushing against Erik’s again. They kissed for a bit before the telepath pulled away again. “Wait, I need to tell you something.”

 

Anxiety shot through the metal bender immediately but at Charles's hopeful and excited look, it was quelled. “What is it, Liebling?”

 

“I want to take you under the school. I want to show you what is under there,” Charles answered with a rush. His voice was a mixture of excitement and nervousness. “I-I wanted to tell you sooner but I had to get everyone to agree. You see, it isn’t only my choice to make because-“

 

“Charles?” Erik asked when the telepath abruptly cut off and his eyes became unfocused. He was impatient to know what was under there. The metal bender wanted to break in but the elevator wouldn’t let him down and if he was meant to be rebuilding the trust he broke then he had to play by the rules. Of course, something would interrupt them as soon as Charles was about to let him in completely.

 

“Raven is here,” The telepath whispered, his gaze focusing back on Erik again.