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FIC: "The Storm" (1/1) [R] Xavier/Magneto pre-X1

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  • candycornless
    Title: The Storm Author: candycornless Rating: R, maybe bordering on NC-17. I m no good at this rating stuff. Summary: Charles has to save Erik from a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 14, 2003
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      Title: "The Storm"

      Author: candycornless

      Rating: R, maybe bordering on NC-17. I'm no good at this rating stuff.

      Summary: Charles has to save Erik from a particularly bad nightmare.
      Set back in the day, before Charles was chair-bound and before Erik
      was "the bad guy."

      Disclaimer: Unfortunately, these characters and all things related to
      them are not mine. If I were making any money off this, I would not
      have to have a job waiting tables right now. What you will get if you
      sue me: an unimpressive wad of tip money and my Xavier and Magneto
      action figures. Woo-hoo.


      The Storm

      The night was not silent. Rain drummed upon the window glass with
      rude, wet fingers, and the wind went moaning over the roof of the
      mansion. A low mumble of approaching thunder came rolling up against
      the outside walls, and the bedroom was lit from time to time with a
      flash of lightning that made everyday objects look otherworldly.

      Charles Xavier was wakeful. He lay on his back with a white sheet
      pulled to his chest, staring at a beetle that was crossing the
      ceiling. He narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, and the beetle began
      turning in a circle. It did not take much effort to control the brain
      of an insect, and Charles made it crawl in patterns, made it spell
      words. M-U-T-A-N-T. The beetle must have gotten in through an open
      window. C-E-R-E-B-R-O. He and Erik left all the windows open while
      they were working; there were none in the basement, but the through
      draft freshened all the hallways. Charles smiled warmly. E-R-I-K.
      Erik would enjoy the game with the beetle. It might even make him
      laugh.

      Charles sighed. "Are you lost, my tiny friend?" he whispered. "Are
      you far from home?" He made the insect crawl down the wall and into
      his hand. He closed his fingers lightly around it. He threw back the
      sheet and walked over to the window. Cracking it open an inch or so,
      he gently set the beetle on the outside sill. It sat dumbly for a
      moment, shocked by the drops of rain, but then it crept over the edge
      of the sill and began moving down the wet brick wall to the ground.
      Charles wiped the rain from his face as he shut the window. Against
      the panes, he felt the wind shudder.

      He padded back to the bed and curled up on the mattress, pulling the
      blanket up over him this time. He nestled his head into the feather
      pillow and tried to sleep. Strange, how in the dark the mansion
      seemed to be living and shifting and whispering all around him. He
      almost found himself seeking out its mind. He thought about its cold,
      round, unfinished belly floors and floors below him, a huge haphazard
      stomach of metal, gorged with tools and machine parts. Here, in his
      bed, his work—even his dream—seemed alien to him. Perhaps,
      Charles
      thought, when one was alone in bed, there was only one kind of dream
      that mattered.

      He wondered if Erik was sleeping. He suspected that Erik slept very
      little, and the few probes he had sent into his mind seemed to
      confirm the theory. All Erik's thoughts were weighted with what
      appeared to be a perpetual tiredness. Charles tried to stay out of
      Erik's mind, for several reasons. The reason he gave himself most
      readily was that he did not want to frighten Erik; he had never
      reached so far as to make his presence felt. But also, he made
      himself admit, Erik's mind frightened him. It was full of horrors no
      one should ever have to know. It was full of Auschwitz. Inside Erik's
      brain, pain reverberated.

      It had chilled Charles the very first time he felt it. It was in a
      third-rate coffee shop in New York City; back then Charles went there
      on Saturdays to practice his telepathy. He had been particularly
      intrigued by a skinny boy of seventeen or eighteen who sat in a
      corner devouring a dried out piece of coconut cake. He was drawn to
      the boy's loneliness, to his agony, and his heart leapt into his
      throat as he watched the boy drop his fork and, instead of bending
      down to retrieve it, draw it upwards from the floor with only the
      tiniest movement of his hand. And that had been the beginning.
      Thinking of it made something jump in Charles' stomach even now. He
      had never been as close to anyone as he was to Erik. Erik had
      moments—
      during a lapse in work, in conversation—when he grew terribly
      quiet
      and stared off into space, and fear and pain came off him in waves
      that nearly took Charles' breath away. At those times, there was
      nothing Charles wanted more than to hold him, to whisper a
      consolation, to—

      An image flashed without warning into Charles' head: an image of an
      ashen, emaciated face, and as Charles watched, spellbound, centipedes
      began to crawl out of the man's open mouth, scuttling over his
      cheeks, leaving dozens of dirty little footprints on the glazed
      surfaces of his unseeing eyes. Charles shook his head vigorously and
      the image disappeared. He realized with an inward lurch that he had
      been searching Erik's mind without fully knowing it. Another image
      came, this time a pile of hundreds of bodies, packed like meat high
      into the air. All at once they began to groan; the noise was so
      deafening that Charles clapped his hands over his ears. He sat up,
      shaking. He was channeling Erik's nightmare.

      Charles squeezed his eyes shut and pursed his lips in an attempt to
      sever the link, but the dream was furious and refused to be ignored.
      The images began to grow viler and viler, and they came faster and
      faster and stronger and stronger until Charles was certain he could
      smell them—a foul stench of decay and despair invading his senses
      until he wanted to vomit. When he could stand it no longer he leapt
      from the bed, threw open the door, and went running down the shadowed
      hall to Erik's bedroom.

      He went in without knocking and slammed the door behind him in his
      frenzy. Erik, lit up by a flash of lightning which was accompanied by
      a simultaneous clap of thunder, was thrashing beneath his bedclothes,
      his face covered with sweat. Small whimpers and fragments of German
      met Charles' ears. The images were worse in here, and the screams—
      those of the corpses and those of Erik—were absolutely
      unbearable.
      Charles rushed to the side of the bed, put both hands on Erik's
      shoulders, and shook him—hard.

      "Erik! Erik, wake up! Erik!"

      Without warning the mental screams leapt into reality, and a
      shrieking Erik sat bolt upright, directly into Charles' embrace. The
      force of impact threw Charles backwards into a sitting position on
      the bed; he was holding Erik so tightly that he could feel his
      panicked heart rattling the bars of his ribcage. Erik's hands were
      digging into the back of Charles' nightshirt as if he were trying to
      keep from falling. He continued to thrash, disoriented.

      "Erik! Erik, it's me! Charles!"

      Slowly the boy's spasms ceased. "Charles?" he said breathlessly.

      "Yes. Hush." Charles rocked him gently.

      "Charles," Erik repeated, and leaned exhaustedly into the other man's
      body, rested his head in the curve of his neck. "Oh, god, Charles, it
      was—"

      "I know," Charles said, and ran his hand over the sweaty dark
      hair. "I know."

      There was another crash of thunder and a blinding bolt of lightning;
      Erik went into hysterics again; he seemed to be trying to escape from
      and bury himself in Charles' embrace at the same time. Charles
      refused to let him do either.

      "It's only the storm, Erik. It's all right."

      "I'm afraid of lightning!" Erik's voice was unnaturally
      high. "Lightning strikes metal!"

      Charles smiled. "Come now. You're not made of metal. Don't be
      ridiculous."

      "But—" Erik burst into sobs.

      "Hush," Charles said, pressing his mouth up against Erik's ear before
      he knew what he was doing. "Shhh." *I love you, Erik!* He felt a sob
      forming in his own chest. *Erik, I'll never love anyone else in my
      whole life! Not like this!* It took Charles a moment to realize that
      his mouth had not formed the words.

      Erik pulled away a little to look at him, eyes wide as saucers, tears
      streaming down both cheeks to a gaping mouth. "You were *inside me!*
      he whispered. "I *felt* you inside me!"

      "I—I'm sorry!" Charles said, separating himself from Erik and
      turning
      his face away. "I didn't mean to! It just...."

      "No, Charles!" Erik said, raising the whisper. "It felt—I
      was—not—
      alone."

      There was a long silence. The air felt heavy.

      "Are you crying, Charles?" Erik said. "Let me see your face."

      Charles turned, his cheeks glistening in the dim light. Erik moved
      closer, laid his head on Charles' shoulder. "Will you do it again?"

      Charles turned and rested his forehead against Erik's. This time he
      entered intentionally, slowly, moving his will through a sea of
      thoughts, churning them up slightly in his wake. He felt Erik
      shudder. *I won't hurt you. I promise.* Erik shuddered more. Charles
      turned the thoughts over as he moved through them, peering briefly
      into each one, watching misty images appear there as the future in a
      crystal ball. Only many of these were memories, moments from the past
      preserved, unchangeable. Charles did not have to look hard to see
      what most of them were; thin, gray hands reached up for him, souls
      lost in a neural Styx. He tried not to see them, concentrated on the
      smaller thoughts, the older memories, blocking out as best he could
      the echoes and re-echoes of the tortured groans. He heard Erik
      whimper. *I know, I know. Don't be afraid. I love you, Erik.* Charles
      was so absorbed in the mental bond that his body moved as it wanted,
      free of self-consciousness, tenderly lowering Erik onto the mattress,
      entwining their legs.

      Charles began pursuing a memory: bright, small, and beautiful, like a
      pearl. Without separating their foreheads, Charles moved his hands
      into Erik's thick, dark locks of hair, seeking the scalp with the
      tips of his fingers. He locked onto the little memory and plunged
      them both into it; suddenly he was high in the branches of a tree in
      a long-distant spring. The air was clear and cool, and music from a
      village festival was merrily riding the air. Charles closed his eyes
      and cherished the sound, felt the touch of the breeze, heard it
      rustle the new leaves all around him. Then he detected a clumsy
      scuffling sound, and looked down to see Erik, no more than seven
      years old, climbing the tree. As Charles watched, his chest
      overflowing with sudden warmth, the boy lifted a small branch to
      expose a well-concealed bird's nest. The nest held three baby birds,
      not yet feathered, all open mouths and demanding cries. Erik's face
      lit up and his eyes glittered; the tiny birds stared back at him out
      of their wordless black orbs, waiting noisily to be fed from their
      mother's beak, hungry and impatient for the kiss of life.

      Charles felt Erik's mind filling up with joy: a cool, liquid-like
      sensation all through his nervous system, and he slid gently our of
      the memory to find Erik's face wet again, his arms locked around
      Charles' neck.

      "However did you find that, Charles?" he said. "I'd forgotten it."

      Charles smiled and pressed the tips of their noses together. He
      paused briefly, then answered, "Perseverance."

      Erik let out a short laugh, choked with tears. He smiled, ran a hand
      over the side of Charles' face, and laughed again. Charles joined him
      and for a moment they chuckled together, then Charles stopped,
      suddenly conscious of how close his lips were to Erik's, of how
      little effort it would take to simply lean in... he couldn't seem to
      catch his breath. His muscles tensed, half-wanting to flee, half-
      wanting...he moved closer, shaking, his lips brushing Erik's now...he
      froze. He had never been more terrified in all his life.

      "Yes," Charles could feel Erik's mouth moving next to his. "I want
      you to kiss me, Charles."

      "I know," Charles replied, his voice barely audible. "I know you do.
      Erik...I've never done this before."

      "I know. Neither have I."

      *Erik.* Charles closed his eyes and let himself fall into the kiss,
      which seemed to come up out of the ether and seize both of them, wrap
      them up together in a place where the world—the night, the storm,
      the
      bedroom—disappeared. *Erik.* Charles tried to maintain the mind
      lock,
      but he felt like his whole body was made of taut rubber bands, and
      the only thing he knew was Erik's mouth. Somehow it did taste
      slightly metallic, and it was inexplicably cold. Charles deepened the
      kiss, his tongue exploring Erik's mouth, trying to warm him, trying
      to keep him from being alone.

      It was Erik who broke away at last, panting. Charles planted kisses
      down his neck, one hand still blissfully lost in Erik's hair. "I've
      wanted this for so long," he muttered, thrilled when Erik shivered
      with the tickle of the words against his skin.

      "Why didn't you tell me?"

      "You were so...fragile." Charles moved even closer, ran a hand up
      under the soft flannel of Erik's nightshirt to stroke the skin
      beneath. "I think I was afraid that if I touched you, you might
      break."

      "Let's find out." Erik's eyes glistened and he pulled Charles into
      another kiss. Feverishly Charles fumbled at the fasteners on Erik's
      shirt; he had never thought something so simple could prove so
      difficult. He felt Erik's lips form a smile against his, and one by
      one the metal snaps came open. Charles abandoned Erik's mouth and
      trailed kisses down his chest, his stomach. He reached the waistband
      of the flannel pants and lost his nerve; he moved back up and took
      Erik into his arms, kissed him again.* Erik, Erik, Erik.*

      Charles faltered. He could feel rational thought slipping away from
      him; he snatched at it with his mind, but all the while his hand was
      moving downwards, caressing Erik's hips beneath his clothing,
      reaching further...Erik moaned loudly.

      Charles stopped moving. "Did I hurt you?" he said.

      "Hurt me?" Erik gasped. "Oh, god, Charles. Get on with it." He thrust
      his hips desperately against Charles', his mouth wide open with
      silent urgency. "Come inside me."

      Charles' head was spinning; he could even begin to establish
      contact. "I...can't... concentrate...."

      "No," Erik said, effortlessly parting the snaps on Charles'
      nightclothes. "Not like that."

      * * * *

      "Charles."

      "Mmm?" Charles ran a hand contentedly up and down the outside of
      Erik's thigh.

      "Charles, this is the happiest moment of my life."

      "Oh, Erik," Charles wrapped drowsy arms around him. "Don't say that.
      You will have happier ones. I promise."

      "What would you know?" Erik's voice was suddenly icy and hard as
      steel, but a second later if softened. "Charles?"

      "Yes?"

      "When you go inside my mind, in my memories..." He nuzzled closer, as
      if to beg forgiveness for his former sharpness.

      "Yes?"

      "Can you do that with *any* of my memories? Even the ones from...."

      "Certainly I can." Charles paused. "Do you want me to do that, Erik?"

      Erik looked at him earnestly. "Don't you see? With other people, I
      can never—they didn't see it, they didn't feel it. They don't
      know. I
      hate them. I can't help it. They can't understand. They don't want
      to. But—"

      "Erik, it's not that—"

      "But you, Charles, you *can* understand. You can be there. And you
      *do* want to, don't you? You do *want* to understand?"

      Charles felt tears forming in his eyes. He found Erik's hand beneath
      the sheets and interlaced their fingers. "Yes," he said.

      "Not now," Erik said, and looked into Charles' face gratefully. "I'm
      not ready now."

      "Whenever you ask it."

      Erik smiled. "I love you, Charles. Your eyes are honest."

      "Sleep now, Erik," said Charles, and gathered his lover up into his
      arms again, humming softly. Outside the rain had slackened to a
      steady drizzle. Far off, Charles could still hear thunder. He
      wondered dreamily if it were the thunder of the old storm retreating,
      or of a new one approaching. When Erik's breathing finally evened
      out, Charles kissed him lightly on the cheek, leaned back into the
      pillow, and slept.
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