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before | after

Title: Deep Sea (Eggs, Wolves and Rubber Ducks)
Author: pprfaith
Summary: Psychics, werewolves and a whole lot of metaphors make up Charles’s morning after meeting Vampire Sheriff Erik Lensherr. Sequel to Old Metal. First Class/Southern Vampire Mysteries Fusion.
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Men franchise or Sookie Stackhouse & Co. I just borrow.
Rating: soft R
Warnings: Vampires being vampires. Charles being slightly creepy. Surprisingly little blood though.
Word Count: 5,800
Beta Goddess: As usual, vesselandpestle, who, for once, isn’t really to blame for anything at all. Thank you, dearie. All remaining screw-ups belong to yours truly.
A/N: If you read my non-fic related stuff, you know that somehow, Charles got away from me while writing this and got his angst on. I think I got him back on track, mostly, but it’s still a bit iffy. Less rubber ducks and more vampires. Idek. Concrit wildly appreciated, as always.



Deep Sea (Eggs, Wolves and Rubber Ducks)



It surrounded Charles, pressed in on him from all sides, filled his mouth, his nose, his lungs. Cold. Liquid. It was water but it felt like metal.

He moved his limbs, sluggish and heavy, like he was trapped at the bottom of the ocean. He was drowning but he felt no fear, only comfort.

Here, there was no fear of what he could do. No panic. No hesitation. He opened his mouth and screamed into the solidity of his surroundings. Ripples spread from him and returned, an echo of words and memories. But that was all. Charles was the storm, but down here, he had no power. Storms needed air and floods needed land and here, below, there was neither. He swam, moving in the direction he thought was up. He might have been wrong.

Deeper down – up? - someone screamed. Red flames licked at dark shadows. The sound of metal bending reached his ears. The world around him crept in closer, held him tighter.

It was metal but it felt like water.

His vision turned red, red like fire, like blood, like memory.

Memory through water, wavering and twisted, but still recognizable. Charles started treading water and stared into impossible flames, burning at the bottom of the sea.

A woman called, her voice full of fear, the name on her lips familiar but distorted. Charles didn’t speak Old German, but he recognized the hard consonants, the swallowed vowels.


This was Erik’s mind. Erik’s memory. This was Erik’s mind inside Charles’s mind, Charles’s mind inside Erik’s mind. Charles’s dream of Erik’s mind, so impossibly big, so old and dark and cool, like the grave.

It didn’t scare Charles, didn’t make him turn away in disgust. Erik’s was the most fascinating, the most serene and calming mind Charles had ever found. Erik lived in absolutes, clear and smooth. He was deeply logical and he never hesitated. His deeds matched his thoughts. If he wanted to kill, he killed. If he wanted to save, he saved. If he wanted blood he took it and if he wanted power, he made it.

There was darkness and horror and pain in Erik, but never conflict. After a thousand years, the vampire knew himself absolutely.

For Charles, who spent his life muddling through the minds of the insecure and hunted, it was paradise.

And there was room for him, inside Erik, so much room. Charles could slip inside and stay there, unafraid of breaking things, of erasing anything with a simple thought.

Erik was water and metal, and Charles, who was the storms and floods above, could not harm him. The opposite was not true, despite what he had told Erik. Erik could harm him, could drain him dry and drop him, lifeless, if he so chose. Instead of scaring him, that thrilled Charles to a probably unhealthy degree.

Even after having known Erik’s mind for only one night, even after having seen the horrors he’d seen, Charles was already very much in love with that mind, even if he was drowning.

Suddenly, light filtered through the water, impossibly, far too deep. The screams grew distant, the flames died. The undertow became a maelstrom, sucking down, down, down. Charles fought with all his might but could only slow his descent.

Then the sun rose above the horizon and Erik died, his mind going black. Charles woke with a gasp.


He sat up in bed, blinking, trying to make sense of his dream, trying to figure out if he’d actually touched Erik’s mind in his sleep, or conjured a memory of a memory. It was hard to tell. All he knew was that it took effort, serious effort, to contain himself within his own paltry body. Flesh and bone, he told himself. He was flesh and bone, solid, real. He was not the memory of the night wind soaring around Erik’s body in flight. He was not the warmth of blood down a parched throat. He was not the pulse of a beating heart, the edge of a blade, the pitch darkness of a windowless room. He was not the memory of Magda screaming, clutching the twins close and he was not his father’s guttural grunt as he refused to make a single sound while the flames devoured him. He was not Sebastian’s mouth, twisted in a cruel mockery of a smile and he was not the burning, white-hot hate in his belly. He was not -

- stop Charles told himself as he felt his mind stretch and twist, back toward the tangled ball that was the city, back toward the club, back toward Erik, who was still there, even now, after dawn, a negative imprint in Charles’s psyche, like a footprint seen from the bottom, an echo that didn’t move away but drew you in, dragged you down. The undertow of an enormous, deep ocean.

He shook his head, cut himself off and focused his mind on simple things. A bird outside his window helped, its mind simple and small. Easy. He curled up in the bird’s hindbrain, breathed with it, sang with it, felt its hunger and its fear, so small, so simple. The bird had no idea that a world outside itself existed and Charles sunk into that, let it take him over. Calm, calm. He stayed there until he felt solid again. Flesh and bone.

Then he stood, shaking off the hunger for insects and the tingle in a phantom wing, and made his way downstairs to the kitchen, still in his night clothes, scrounging up a cup of hot chocolate for himself and putting on a pot of coffee for the two visitors coming from the wooded back of the property. The children were all sound asleep in their beds and would not stir for some time. He eyed the tea cupboard with some desperation as he waited for the milk to heat up, but he knew better than to go for anything containing caffeine right now. It was possible that he was just the tiniest bit… overexcited.

High, Raven would have called it, had she been there to see him stumble in in the wee hours of morning.

Logan and Victor didn’t bother announcing themselves, entering through one of the back doors and making their way straight to the kitchen with an ease born from two decades of familiarity.

Ten-year-old Charles had made his way through the strip of woods separating their properties only a week after they’d moved in, little Raven on his hand, and asked them, with the impertinence of a child who thought he knew it all, what they were. Their minds, he’d explained, were tangled and snarled and deep red and he’d never seen any others like them. His mother was an unshifting second born, as was Raven’s father, Charles’s step father. Their minds – Logan’s and Victor’s - had been a novelty to Charles. Since then, their lives had never been entirely separate again.

The brothers insisted it was because Charles and Raven refused to get out of their hair. Charles and Raven kept insisting that the two big, bad wolves felt bad leaving two supe children without guidance or protection since, to put it mildly, their biological parents were utter rubbish.

The fight about who was right was still ongoing.

Victor entered the room first, taking his duty as his brother’s protector very seriously, and shot a toothy smirk at Charles once he was done checking out the room. He leaned against the wall and nonchalantly started scraping dirt from under his claws, which were entirely too long and hard to pass for human. But then Victor didn’t much care for passing.

His brother entered a few steps behind him, inhaling the scent of freshly brewed coffee, his eyes almost closing in delight.

“Good morning,” Charles greeted, perhaps a bit too cheerfully and forcefully, as he settled at the kitchen table with his hot chocolate, hiding the slight shaking of his hands around his mug. Logan returned the greeting with a rumble and stomped his way toward the coffee pot, pouring two large mugs. He passed one of them off to Victor and sat across from Charles, looking intent.

Charles held himself still, but not too still, not like prey. His fingers clenched around his mug, the porcelain was hot and hurt his palms. He held on, relished the slight pain, the solidity of it. Relished it and shaped it, made it into a wall between him and the beckoning of Erik’s dead mind, so very addictive.

After a moment of silent staring and before Logan could start the interrogation they both knew was coming, Charles asked, “Is Raven alright?”

A formality, everyone in the room was aware. He had tracked her from Erik’s club all the way to Westchester the night before and checked in on her sleeping mind as soon as he’d woken. Raven was perfectly fine.

Logan nodded and Victor snorted, remembering the fuss she’d kicked up in the car, demanding to go back and collect her brother before the vampires sucked him dry.

Both of the werewolves thought in terms of scent and images more than words, a side effect of their enhanced senses, Charles guessed. Their – for weres and shifters – enormous age didn’t help. Logan verbalized nicely when he was having a conversation, but for the most part the brothers thought like a movie reel, complete with scent and texture. Charles loved their minds like few others, for the simple escape their offered. They were never quiet like Erik’s was and not nearly as deep, but they were like putting on a movie for background noise. They helped drown out the rest.

Through Victor’s or Logan’s eyes, a single leaf falling could occupy him for minutes on end, a welcome change from the usual mess in his head.

As such, Victor’s recall of Raven’s reaction was perfect, like watching it in person. Charles watched and laughed out loud at the more and more ridiculous threats his sister had made against Victor when he’d refused to turn the car around.

“Thank you,” he said, giving Victor a smile. The older of the two brothers grunted, as was his norm.

Logan sighed and reprimanded, “Use your words, bub.”

Charles opened his mouth to answer and then stopped himself, realizing that… oops.

“I’m sorry,” he offered, making sure, this time, to actually use his mouth. It was harder than it should have been, using muscles that he’d had for almost three decades. “I didn’t realize I was in your heads.”

He hadn’t slipped like this since he’d been a boy of eighteen and tried hard drugs for the one and only time in his life. His reaction had been bad and everyone in a ten mile radius had felt it for the next two days. Since that ten mile radius included an entire pack of irritable shifters and weres… Charles was never doing drugs again.

Logan sighed and sipped his coffee. Victor flashed fang, mockingly. “Sloppy,” he accused.

Charles stuck out his tongue at the man and immediately regretted it. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I might be a bit… to use one of Raven’s words, unhinged this morning.”

‘Barely holding it together’ would have been a better description, but the wolves didn’t need to know that.

“That got anythin’ to do with your new friend the Sheriff?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. His mind is amazing, Logan, you should have seen it.”

“Only you,” the Packmaster announced, “could find a bloodsucker’s mind ‘amazing’. ‘Scary’s’ more like it.”

Charles waved him off with one hand. True, a vampire’s psyche should have probably disturbed him, but he’d grown up surrounded by people’s innermost thoughts and fantasies. Sex and violence and murder happened inside people’s heads all the time. Charles was sure that, at the age of twenty-eight, his capacity for shock was, quite simply, gone. And the silence Erik offered…

“I’m surprised Raven hasn’t insisted on joining this little interview,” he said, just to move his mouth, just to have something real.

“She’s asleep,” Logan provided. In his mind, Charles saw more of how Logan had tired his baby sister out than he ever wanted to know. Logan, catching Charles’s snooping, got a peculiarly blank expression, one that Charles had long since associated with Raven related shenanigans. The shifter had driven Logan up the wall even when she’d been little more than a puppy, ten years old and already shifting.

Since then she’d grown up and somehow wormed her way into the Packmaster’s bed, screwing with his head – and other parts - something fierce. Half the time Logan had no idea whether to treat her like the tomboy girl he’d helped raise, the sulky teenager he’d avoided at all costs, the subordinate she technically was as a member of his pack, or the woman he slept with. It was all a bit mess of impulses in his mind and Raven knew it and abused it shamelessly.

Charles, having known of both Raven’s crush and her determination since she’d hit puberty, mostly sat back with Victor and enjoyed the show.

“You shoulda heard them,” Victor suddenly said from his perch by the door. “Jimmy does that thing where – “

“Victor!” the younger brother snapped, cutting him off. “Enough.”

“Quite,” Charles agreed, feeling himself settle at the familiar banter. “I do not need to know the details.”

Victor laughed, low and dirty, utterly immune to Logan’s death glare. Then, however, Charles’s delay was over and Logan asked, point blank, “What sort of deal did you make with the fang?”

“Mutual aid,” Charles said simply, sipping his chocolate.

“Bub,” Logan warned, slowly. He wanted to know more. Charles smiled at him, guilelessly, but didn’t jump to answer. For all that he loved the man dearly and had learned a lot from him, he was not part of his pack, nor was he submissive to him in any way. They were equals, Logan older, Charles more powerful, and Charles didn’t let himself be treated like a pup by anyone.

Logan knew that, waited and grumbled quietly in his head about it while Charles suddenly found himself thrown back to the night before, to Erik calling him arrogant. Perhaps he was.

With a sigh, he set down his mug. “I help Erik locate his maker. In return, he offers his protection for the school.”

Logan reared back in his seat, obviously shocked. Vampires didn’t give their protection lightly. To anyone, much less a whole group of people. “Where’s the catch?”

Charles shook his head and opened his mouth to answer, only to be momentarily distracted by Kitty having a nightmare three floors above. She was dreaming of the night her power manifested itself. She’d sunk into the earth that was her element and in her panic, she’d almost choked to death. He smoothed a mental hand over her forehead, whispered calm into her mind and felt her settle.

She sighed as she sunk into dreamlessness and Charles withdrew. He meant to return to his body, but something pulled at him, insistent, steady. Erik. It took more energy than it should have to withstand the pull and he snapped back into himself like a rubber band, with too much force.

He gasped and only Logan’s reflexes saved him from spilling his drink.

“Kid?” Victor asked, claws growing as his hands dangled by his sides, ready for battle. Charles hastily shook his head.

“I miscalculated. Kitty is having a nightmare. Nothing to worry yourselves about.”

He got two skeptic looks and brushed comfort and calm over their minds. Victor relaxed and Logan handed back the mug.

“No catch,” Charles steered the conversation back on track. It was better than having them wonder what made him so sloppy this morning. “Erik’s desire to find his maker is very strong.”

He did not say why, did not mention burning flesh and screaming children, bending metal and singing ore. They were not his secrets to tell.

“He’s gonna raid the place for talent,” Logan grumbled, angrily.

Charles waved the concern away. “He won’t touch the children.”

“Don’t sound so sure.”

Really. This enmity between weres and vampires was ridiculous. Just because they were of different species they treated each other like lepers. Dog, fang, mutt, bloodsucker. Always ready to think the worst of each other, to fight each other.
Charles found it extremely silly and annoying. If the two factions would just join forces, then supes would be taken seriously instead of treated like side show freaks. And people like him, half supe, half human, would not need to be so very scared anymore.

“But I am, my friend,” he said, firmly. “Erik has no need of any of the children.”

His mind had informed Charles, quite clearly, that while Erik appreciated power, he knew that unnecessary power caused unnecessary trouble. What did he want earth movers, wind benders, or clairvoyants for?

“How so?” the Packmaster wanted to know, pulling a cigar from nowhere and going through the motions of lighting it.

Because, with the right training, with a few nudges from Charles, Erik would be able to move entire mountains by himself – literally. Armies had once fallen under a flick of his hands and they would again, soon. Erik had the physical aspect well covered and the mental…

“Because he has me.”

Charles said it without pretense or emotion, a simple statement of fact. Arrogance again? Yes, maybe. Erik had him, firmly and absolutely, because Charles could no more stay away from the vampire than the vampire from him. They were drawn to each other, to the other’s mind and blood and strength, like planets, falling into each others’ gravity.

Charles wanted Erik’s mind, Erik wanted Charles’s body. And that was just the beginning of it, just what had been built in one night. Charles had no illusions whatsoever that, eventually, he would belong to Erik, blood and body and soul. But Erik would belong to him, too.

Erik had Charles and that was enough, because Charles was the most powerful of his kind, a telepath who had no limits, no blocks. Short of murder, Erik could ask anything of Charles and Charles could deliver. Would deliver.

Logan chewed on his cigar for a long moment, trying to still the maelstrom of anger that was churning in his gut. Charles watched and waited. To his left, Victor smiled a smile full of teeth and expectation.

“He’s gonna use you, kid,” Logan finally rumbled around the obstacle in his mouth, sounding incredibly jaded.

An image of Charles, bruised, bleeding and puking onto a perversely expensive Persian carpet next to his step father’s corpse, flitted through his mind. Charles looked away too quickly and the were caught it, shoved the scene into the far reaches of his mind. “I just don’t wanna see you screwed over again.”

Logan had been the one to find Charles that day, the day Kurt had asked too much. Charles had started reading the minds of Kurt’s business contacts at fifteen, telling the man when to invest, when to pull back, who to trust. And Charles had done it with pleasure, so very glad to have someone care for his ability – a human who wasn’t afraid.

But Kurt had been afraid. And he hadn’t cared at all. One night Raven had given him lip and when he’d raised his hand against her, Charles had shoved a single thought into his mind, too panicked to do anything else.

Go away.

Kurt had gone.

He’d gone and eventually it had dawned on him that he never would have done that, never would have walked away from a little girl who didn’t know her place. And he’d come to the right conclusion and he’d found Charles and told him how things were going to work from then on.

“You make them do what I want. You put it in their minds, get it? In return, I’ll leave your bitch alone.”

Raven had been nine, too young to shift, too young to fight. Their mother was dead and so were both their fathers. No more Father. No more Daddy. Only Kurt and no-one to protect her from him.

Maybe Charles would have done it. Maybe, if Kurt hadn’t pulled the most important person in Charles’s life into it. Maybe. But he had and Charles hadn’t been going to let that slip. He’d said no, told Kurt to forget. But the man had been more stubborn than Charles had thought, or maybe more afraid. Maybe Charles had been sloppy.

He’d watched the events of that night unfold a hundred times since then, trying to find the flaw, the mistake he’d made. He couldn’t pinpoint it, even now.

Kurt had felt the compulsion and it had enraged him enough to grab Charles and break his nose. To hit and hit and hit and hit until Charles felt like he was dying, until everything hurt and he couldn’t breathe, until he was spitting blood and felt like every bone in his body was broken.

Kurt hadn’t felt the compulsion coming that time. Hadn’t felt anything as Charles had told him stop.

He’d just done it. He’d stopped.

For good.

Logan, called by a panicking Raven, had been the one to storm into the room moments later, but it had already been too late. Kurt had been dead and Charles almost.

Logan carried that memory and the guilt of not having come sooner. Charles carried the nightmares, the fingers that still ached in the cold, the scar along his hipbone that still twinged sometimes, and the weight of having killed a man.

Logan still wished he could undo that day every single time he caught Charles shake out his hand after writing for too long, or flinch when someone mentioned Kurt.
But what Logan didn’t know was that killing Kurt hadn’t been a brief, pain-fueled flare in Charles’s telepathy. It hadn’t been one last desperate effort to save himself.

Charles had simply lost control. There’d been no power surge, no Herculean effort.

He’d told the man to stop and he had and it had been easy.

Too easy.

A single thought, a single command was all it took, all it would ever take. Charles had the world in his palm and he could crush it on nothing but a whim. For years after that day, he’d been too scared of himself to tell Raven to shut up, too afraid that she’d go and cut out her tongue to obey his command if he put just a fraction too much of his will behind it.

Fast forward twelve years and suddenly there was a man, a vampire, who was the ocean to Charles’s storm.

Forcing Erik off him and to the other end of the room had cost him the night before.
He’d had to work for it.

That feeling, that need to stretch himself, followed by the immediate realization that he didn’t have to be afraid, had been exhilarating.

It had been the equivalent of finding out there were stones in the world after spending a lifetime juggling raw eggs.

So yes, Erik could screw Charles over. More so than anyone else he’d met in his life. Because if Charles told Erik to stop, he wouldn’t. He’d just keep going and Charles would, without a doubt, end up dead or worse.

Was the silence to be found at the bottom of the ocean worth drowning for?

Charles didn’t think it was very sane or logical of him, but his answer was yes, a hundred times yes.

Erik was enticing, Erik was fascinating, Erik was addicting because he was dangerous. Because Charles could push and he’d push back. Because Charles was a storm strong enough to wipe continents clean, but he could never, not in a thousand years, hope to touch the ocean beyond its surface.

“I know,” he said, quietly, pushing just a bit of trust out at the weres. Not enough to change what they thought, but enough to make this go over a bit easier. He felt guilty for not feeling guilty and angry, just the tiniest bit, for having to hold himself back so. Weres and shifters got to run, to cut loose and be what they truly were. Charles never did.

He’d never minded, not after he’d seen what could happen if he lost control, but now that he knew there was an alternative…

“And I am grateful, believe me. But Logan, Erik is…”

Amazing. Dangerous. Brilliant, and as arrogant as me. Deadly, beautiful, wild, untamed, strong, powerful, volatile, hungry, dead, alive.

“Complicated,” he finally settled on. “I don’t understand him. Do you know how very rare that it? That I meet someone I cannot see to the bottom of immediately?”

Victor barked a laugh. “That what they call it these days?”

Charles looked at the older of the two werewolves and found the usual mockery there, the razor sharp desire for blood and destruction. But he also found understanding. Victor was a bit left of sane most of the time, a bit too volatile, too wild. He made Charles feel like the ground was moving under his feet. But he understood Charles right now, better than his brother did.

Charles flashed him a brief smile before turning back to the Packmaster. “I’m not sixteen anymore, old friend. I can look after myself.”

Logan knew that. He’d seen Kurt’s body, sprawled on the carpet where he’d simply dropped, no fight, no suffering. Just dead. But Logan was a leader, a true alpha and he wanted to protect people, even from the extent of their own power. He couldn’t quite help himself. That’s why he had Victor. Between the two of them, they almost made one stable person.

“I don’t like it,” the wolf growled, biting his cigar like it had offended him.

Charles inclined his head slightly and looked at him, expression serious. “You don’t have to,” he said, evenly. He thought of the older man as family, but that didn’t mean he needed his approval. “But Erik’s protection carries weight. It will be good for us.”

“Or it’ll paint a target on all our backs.”


But Charles was being selfish. He wanted Erik and he would have him. He’d deal with the fallout when it came down.

That was that arrogance speaking again, wasn’t it?

“You gonna risk the kids?”

Charles leaned back in his chair, trying and failing at not looking annoyed. “I risked the children the moment I decided to negotiate Raven’s return instead of you.”

Alpha and lover. Logan had had as much right to go for her as Charles had. More maybe. But to protect his pack, he’d let Charles go.

Logan didn’t know that Erik was an elemental. That he’d rather die than do to others what had been done to him. That in a thousand years, Erik had only changed one person, and he’d done it to spare her his own fate. Logan didn’t know that Erik wanted to protect psychics and elementals almost as much as Charles did because he still thought of them as his people, deep down. Erik would uphold his end of the deal.

But Charles couldn’t say that and Logan couldn’t believe that. They’d have to live with the consequences of their actions, all and one. For all that they were family, they had different priorities. Charles had Raven and his children, Logan had his pack, of which Raven was a part. Overlapping priorities, but never identical ones.

In the end, the Packmaster nodded, understanding all the things Charles wasn’t saying. He was about to say Don’t come crying to me if it blows up in your face when Jean stumbled in the kitchen, bleary-eyed and half awake.

Conversation halted abruptly as the redhead blinked at them in turns before yawning a good morning. She shuffled past Victor to get to the stove and with a mental question mark sent at Charles, poured herself the leftover hot chocolate. She took a sip and smiled a bit more alert. Then she plopped down on one of the empty chairs between Logan and Charles, as unafraid of the wolves as Charles himself had once been. She knew them, knew that they wouldn’t hurt her.

Once she was suitably awake, she said, “You dreamed of the sea.”

Charles nodded, layering his mental response with approval for her ability to differentiate dreams and gentle reproach for sniffing around when others slept. She blinked big, dark eyes at him, returning the feeling of slipping into foreign dreams, unintentionally. He answered with acceptance and the conversation continued, out loud.

Jean needed to learn to communicate normally and in Charles’s current state, words were better than thoughts.

“But it wasn’t the sea at all.” She cocked her head, looking older than her eleven years. Logan and Victor watched the two telepaths, silent and curious. “And you wanted to drown in it.”

“Not drown, necessarily, just stay there.”

She scrunched up her nose cutely. “That’s the same, Professor.”

Yes, yes it was. Erik was metal and the ocean and Charles was the flood and he was playing with fire and he was mixing all his elements and metaphors because, in a way, he did want to drown.

He dreaded the day Jean would understand the sentiment. And she inevitably would, one day. Her heritage was a mixture of all kinds of blood and her powers… her potential exceeded even Charles’s.

“Can you promise me something, dear?”


“If you ever find that sea again, in my mind, or anyone else’s,” – Erik’s – “shore up your shields and stay away from it.”


“There are things in there you need not see. Adult things.”

“Sex?” Victor snorted while Logan made a choking noise, unhappy to hear an eleven-year-old speak of such things. But Jean was like Charles had been, far too educated in the ways of man already. There’d been a vampire living in her neighborhood when she’d manifested. She knew too much about these things already.

“Death,” Charles corrected and felt her acceptance of his request flood the room.

Pinky promise, she whispered through his mind.

Good, he returned as he levered himself to his feet. “Now who wants a proper breakfast before the hordes descend?”


Charles stood on a ragged rock, rising solemn and lonely from a deep, deep sea. He stared into it and could not see the bottom.

Knew that he could never see the bottom because the water was water but also metal and he could not touch the darkness.

He spread his arms instead, spread them into the empty space spanning the surface of an entire ocean and called up the storm, the flood, the tides. Let it all go, wild and harsh and strong enough to rip at him, even where he stood, even at the eye of the storm, no more flesh and blood than the wind howling in his ears.

He felt wetness against his skin, salt and brine and memory, felt it soak through and into him, into his cells and very being.

The sea raged against his rock, against him, unrecognizable in its fury.

But down below, beyond the storm-thrown waves, there was still silence. Charles could not see the bottom. Charles could not touch the bottom. He could let his storms rage until the world was wiped clean and he still could not touch the bottom.

No floods in the darkness. Impenetrable metal walls.

A flash of red on the horizon startled him, unnatural, not belonging. He looked and found an imprint of a little girl with fire red hair. She laughed with the storm.

You might need this. She called into the cacophony. Please don’t drown. Teasing and wise beyond her years.

Something yellow fell, became separate from her redness as she receded like a sunset, gone again as quickly as she came.

Charles watched it for a while, bobbing on the water, that yellow thing, letting the storms rage. Eventually, though, as the sun fell below the horizon in the real world beyond this memorydreamoceanmetalsafe, something stirred like Leviathan, down below.

The darkness was moving. The bottom of the sea was rising.

Charles fell to his knees, clutched at the jagged edges of rock with both hands and reeled in the winds, called back the tides. They came, like docile dogs, all played out, and he inhaled them, pulled them back into himself until his skin felt too tight over his bones, until it was stretched to bursting.

He contained himself within himself.

The darkness rose and spoke with the voice of metal and blood.


Charles laughed and thought, absurdly, that he should have been born in a different age. An age where the monsters were not movie stars, where people still had values, had morals. An age where the innocents were protected instead of shunted into oblivion and fed to the wolves.

An age, he thought, where he could have fought for ideals, for a better world, instead of this, the mere survival of a handful of children.

Maybe Charles could have been different with something bigger than himself to fight for. Maybe Kurt would still be alive then, would have died some other way. Maybe he would be a bit saner, a bit less… a bit less as he was.

He plucked the rubber duck from the water, yellow and bright, tucked it against his side with a wry smile. Jean, oh Jean. Sweet girl, pulling from his memory the brightest speck of the night before, wrapping it in something solid, something warm and soft, like herself. A reminder of both Erik and herself. Balance. He wondered if she’d done it consciously, or just gone with her instincts.

Never mind now.

Maybe, in that other world, that other age, Charles would not have been so selfish.

Good evening, Erik, he sent across the waves, giddy and open and far too trusting. Are you ready?



And the madness continues in the sequel.


( 77 have spoken — speak )
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Aug. 9th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
You killed my brain.

I say this because with 99% of everything I read, my mind/imagination automatically plays an internal movie. I had to read some scenes twice because the descriptions kept overloading my movie maker. LOL

Aug. 13th, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
Lol, that's how I read, too. I'm sorry for breaking the head-movie-maker. ;)

Thank you, though.
Aug. 9th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
That was brilliant! I'm usually not that much of a fan of Logan, but he and Victor are great and really interesting here.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:32 am (UTC)
Thank you! I tried to make them interesting, especially Victor, since he's usually the bad guy. Happy to know it worked.
Aug. 9th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
I love how you manage to stay true to their voices even in such different circumstances - this is awesome.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
I do? \o/. Thank you!
Aug. 9th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
I love everything about the universe you've created here.
And the imagery is breathtaking. I connection that you've built between Charles and Erik is so compelling and I just kept watching as the screen went lower and lower to the end of the story while I begged it never to end.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Thank you very much.
Aug. 9th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous! I'm so glad you're continuing this story.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)

(And you icon, OMG, cracks me up every time.)
Aug. 9th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
I love the way you describe Charles' attraction to Erik on all of its different levels.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
Aug. 10th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Loved this. Loved Charles not being quite right and wanting to just drown in Erik, him looking forward to it.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Aug. 10th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC)
I love what you've crafted here - Charles' attraction to Erik because Erik is strong and can push back. It's wonderful.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Aug. 10th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
Your imagery is breathtaking. I felt like I watched this chapter happen rather than read it. Love this.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Yay! That's great! I love it when I manage to make reader's see, rather than read. Thank you!
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:14 am (UTC)
You're going to write more... aren't you. This is an amazing fic, fan-smegging-tastic. I love the premise and how believeable the characters are in this world. Plus the instant attraction/obsession of Charles and Erik is captivating. Great work :)
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Thank you. And yes, I plan on there being at least one more. Probably two.
Aug. 10th, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
this is so great. i love that Erik's mind is basically heroine for Charles and that Victor of all people is the one to get why.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Thanks, dear.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! :)
Aug. 10th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Fucking brilliant. That is all.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Aug. 10th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)

What is coherence? What are words?

I'm just gonna be...dead in a corner here.

I'll never be able to recover after reading this.

Aug. 13th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)

Sorry for killing you, but I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Aug. 13th, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
This is so very gorgeous! I love all the elemental comparisons.
Aug. 13th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
You do? Good to know. I thought they were getting a bit much, personally.

Thanks for reading!
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( 77 have spoken — speak )

this girl

too many words

the past

December 2015


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