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NEW: "Long Time Gone" (1/1) Charles/Erik, pre-X1

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  • tiffany rawlins
    TITLE: Long Time Gone AUTHOR: Tiffany Rawlins E-MAIL: tiff@wearemany.net PAIRING: Charles/Erik SUMMARY: Which way the wind s blowing. 1970. HTML d:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2003
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      TITLE: Long Time Gone
      AUTHOR: Tiffany Rawlins
      E-MAIL: tiff@...
      PAIRING: Charles/Erik
      SUMMARY: Which way the wind's blowing. 1970.
      HTML'd: http://wearemany.net/tiff/longtime.html
      ARCHIVE: Please let me know where.
      CREDITS: Title/summary by Dylan and CSN. Beta by Punk,
      Elizabeth and Jamie. Men by Marvel et al.


      _____________________________________________
      LONG TIME GONE


      it's been a long time coming
      it's going to be a long time gone

      //

      Erik's hair curls into the collar of his shirt, an
      inch that brushes the base of his neck. He's two or
      three weeks past needing a cut. His square-checked
      button-down is worn open over a silk-screened Black
      Panthers t-shirt. He's too straight for the longhairs,
      too radical for the Establishment.

      Erik has always excelled at not fitting in. Charles
      hasn't been able to for a while now.

      Erik's also too old for this crowd, but the draft-age
      dilettantes welcome him anyway because they've never
      met a survivor who didn't come to America old and gray
      and tired. Erik is too young to be their parents, too
      angry and unforgiving to be ignored. They don't
      question the source or scope or quality of his bloody
      rage, because he knows how to build bombs.

      Better, he wants to set them off. He wants to damage
      more than property. He says he wants to overthrow the
      government, to witness anarchy in the streets, and
      they believe him because they think they agree.

      Charles can always tell how few of them really mean
      it, but even so it's harder to distinguish just how
      fast and hard disillusionment will strike. They left
      the last commune in a hurry. Erik's expertise was
      suddenly a liability, a smoking gun that made scared
      little kids realize they were murderers, just like the
      kind they spat on in parades. Charles could have
      changed their minds but it wouldn't have been the
      same.

      It wouldn't have been enough for Erik, who called them
      traitors and fled, heartbroken at all the lost
      opportunity. He'd lifted Charles' body into the hotel
      bed, hand hard between Charles' shoulderblades, then
      sat smoking by the window, pushing fingers against the
      loose resistance of the screen and melting mesh
      together into a solid shield.

      Erik, hurt by small-thinking humans. If there had been
      a war that night Charles would have fought by his
      side.

      Erik found this particular band of outcasts three
      months ago. They are the third group of radical
      Americans Erik has infiltrated in two years. Not
      infiltrated, Erik would say, befriended, befriended
      and then abandoned when their politics were found
      lacking, their suspicions of Erik and Charles' motives
      too precise.

      "There's something here that feels more...committed,"
      Erik says, the first dawn after a night sitting around
      the battered coffee table, eating curry and talking
      revolution. Everyone feeling each other out, paranoid
      and pushy. One of the women, Leona, is a mutant but
      Charles doesn't think even she knows it. Leona thinks
      her consciousness is more raised, has no idea what an
      empath is or what she could do on her own. Charles
      watched them all, sitting quietly in his chair behind
      Erik, and he knew when Erik took a long toke and
      rested his cheek on Charles' knee that the others
      would assume they were lovers. They aren't always
      wrong.

      There are five other men, two women, and Erik and
      Charles. The house in Flatbush that serves as base
      camp looks run down but isn't falling apart. Four of
      the nine have day jobs. The rest listen to free radio
      and maintain a small printing press, running off the
      latest manifestos from their coalition of friends and
      allies. The women cook and clean and make peasant
      shirts out of old bedsheets. Charles doesn't need
      telepathy to see Erik's obvious disappointment that
      the underground continues to so greatly resemble life
      in depressed villages.

      Charles earns a decent amount by translating texts for
      a sympathetic Columbia professor, enough to cover his
      and Erik's share of expenses. The last house was from
      each according to his ability, and Erik's contribution
      to the collective was supposedly his labor. This time
      Charles isn't taking any chances with doubt borne from
      simple greed.

      He is quiet and they trust him only because his
      presence is clearly non-negotiable. The two of them
      have a tiny bedroom on the first floor under the
      stairs, as there's no lift and Charles is willing to
      be invisible but not pathetic. Erik hides in the
      basement, building increasingly sophisticated ordnance
      that defy basic physics. The others turn their backs,
      willfully ignorant, as he bends metal with his mind.

      "It is the great American arrogance," Erik whispers
      into Charles' neck one night. "They want to destroy a
      civilization whose power they can barely understand."

      The third group in two years and they've only just
      stopped arguing all the time, Charles screaming into
      Erik's head, Erik thinking so loudly and violently
      that Charles can still feel leftover bright pricks of
      pain between his eyes. They broke each other into a
      million pieces and then finally into a cease-fire:
      Twelve more months, a study in human interaction, in
      war-mongering and self-made militias. In what people
      must lose or feel is threatened before they fight
      back. An experiment in self-defense, Erik says.

      For Charles it is an experiment in compromise, but not
      with his beliefs. With Erik. He does this for Erik,
      because Erik with a promise of revolution on the tip
      of his tongue is insatiable, undeniable, so mad with
      inspiration Charles is almost convinced Erik's
      forgotten the world is his to destroy..

      Erik wants to believe he'll convince Charles of the
      necessity of force, says he's just drawing a blueprint
      for the measures by which their kind will be required
      protect themselves. Erik thinks that if he is
      single-minded and Charles is devoted, they can mold
      their two minds into one. Erik says they are born to
      do something greater than coddle would-be Communists,
      that their gifts make "by any means necessary" a
      reality, a possibility. An inevitability. This is
      merely a training exercise.

      Charles doesn't argue with that, not this year. That
      was the arrangement, and he can't deny they were born
      into something different. Something their comrades
      can't begin to guess at, something they've never given
      serious consideration to sharing here. Mutant rights
      will have its time, they agree on that much, not now.
      Soon, perhaps. Even the most radical of this group
      still has basic standards for equality, chiefly
      humanity.

      "Why be humane when we are anything but human?" Erik
      says, lips and teeth on Charles' collarbone like a
      copper wire run from a battery to a trigger. *You make
      me like this,* Erik thinks clearly, biting down. *You
      make me think we can rule the world.*



      END


      tiff@... // www.wearemany.net

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