Title: "The Storm"
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 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
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 workeven his dreamseemed alien to him. Perhaps,
thought, when one was alone in bed, there was only one kind of dream
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
during a lapse in work, in conversationwhen he grew terribly
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
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 thema 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 Erikwere absolutely
Charles rushed to the side of the bed, put both hands on Erik's
shoulders, and shook himhard.
"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
"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
"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!"
"II'm sorry!" Charles said, separating himself from Erik and
his face away. "I didn't mean to! It just...."
"No, Charles!" Erik said, raising the whisper. "It feltI
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
"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 worldthe night, the storm,
bedroomdisappeared. *Erik.* Charles tried to maintain the mind
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
"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."
* * * *
"Mmm?" Charles ran a hand contentedly up and down the outside of
"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?"
"When you go inside my mind, in my memories..." He nuzzled closer, as
if to beg forgiveness for his former sharpness.
"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 neverthey didn't see it, they didn't feel it. They don't
hate them. I can't help it. They can't understand. They don't want
"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.