For the Cause

Pairing: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
 
Category: AU, Modern setting, Still have powers, Mutant Rights
 
Rating: G
 
Summary: You know what they say about making assumptions. In which Erik suffers from foot-in-mouth syndrome and manages to piss off Charles.
 
Series:
♦ Fic-A-Week Project 2014 - Week 13
♦ Our Future is our own to make
 
Notes: At some point, when the BB isn't looming and driving me crazy, I'd like to work on a story in this 'verse. Where the Brotherhood needs a more approachable face for the world to see and where Charles and Erik will forever be butting heads over world views while still trying to do what's right for the mutant population.
 
Word count: 1,334

"You are by far a greater idiot than I would ever have guessed,"Emma said, giving Erik a look that could have stripped paint off a wall.

"What just happened?" Erik asked, staring at the closed door. One moment he'd been busy telling that self important little brat what a waste of space he was and the next he'd apparently missed out on several minutes.

"He stopped you, using his gift," Emma said acidly.

Opening his mouth to ask her why the hell she hadn't stopped Xavier - she was supposed to protect him against, among others, telepaths.

"Even if I could have, I wouldn't have stopped him," she continued before he could say anything.

Erik glared at her. "What the hell does he know about what we went through?" Everything about Charles Xavier had rubbed Erik the wrong way. His naïve outlook on the world, his insistence that they could all 'get along'. Damned hippie.

"You, of all people, should know that not all scars are visible," Emma replied with a soft sigh. "We need him, Erik, whether you like it or not - and I think you need to go find him and apologize."

Erik glared at her.

"He was in Stryker's hands before he was rescued and taken out of the country," she said quietly.

The room was quiet as the grave and Erik had to break eye contact with her.

"Shit."

"That's putting it mildly," Emma said, sarcasm dripping from every word.

Erik eyed the door.

5 minutes earlier

Charles felt the burning heat of embarrassment mixed with anger. Lehnsherr was looking at him as if he was the lowest scum of the earth, not giving him a moment to answer, or when he did, not letting Charles get a full sentence out. If Charles had ever felt the urge to use his power for a less than ethically sound reasons, it would be this very moment. Because he wanted nothing more than to shut the man up. He hoped Miss Frost would do it before Charles gave into the temptation. No wonder they needed someone like him to soften their image. Erik Lehnsherr was all anger and fire and if he hadn't been such an arse, Charles might even have found him attractive.

"How can you even begin to understand what our kind went through in the military research facilities? You were busy hiding in the English countryside."

Charles stared at him. Could the man truly be that ignorant? He didn't quite know what to say, and in the end all he managed was: "Scotland, not England - want me to draw you a map?" Which turned out to be the wrong thing to say, as Lehnsherr went off on another rant.

Leaving a touch of apology in Miss Frost's mind, Charles reached out and stopped Lehnsherr, freezing the room's occupants for long enough to let him leave, allowing him to make it as far as the main entrance of the building without intervention. He stopped outside and sat on the steps with a huff. Of course he hadn't expected to need a lift this early, having stupidly hoped that the Brotherhood's invitation would have yielded hours of debate possibly and solutions to future problems. He hadn't expected to be all but attacked by its figurehead. And Charles had thought that after the fall of Sebastian Shaw, the group would turn towards more intelligent means of furthering its cause.

Just goes to show how stupid you are, he told himself. Pulling his phone out, he considered texting Raven to let her know she might as well pick him up. His finger hovered over the button. Of course if he did this now, she'd know something had gone wrong and she'd expect answers. Not that Charles minded answering those, but he was still reeling from the accusations, was still trying to keep his mind from supplying him with images from the eleven months he'd spent in hell - not to mention the years it had taken for him to reclaim his sanity afterwards.

Someone moved behind him and Charles sighed deeply. "Don't say a word," he warned. "If you do, I'll feel no compunctions against forcing you back inside against your will."

The silence was thick for a moment, then Lehnsherr sat down next to him, a sullen look on his face. "Emma said I needed to apologize."

"Poor little you," Charles said drily. "And what did I just tell you?"

Lehnsherr was quiet for a moment. "For what it's worth, I am... sorry."

Charles snorted, staring out onto the quiet street. "Pull the other one."

For another moment they sat in silence. "Which facility?" Lehnsherr suddenly asked.

Charles turned his head and glared at him. He really wasn't in the mood for defending himself.

"Emma didn't specify," Lehnsherr explained.

"Does it matter what I've been through?" Charles asked, genuinely curious. "Would my lack of personal experience keep me from trying to do what's best for our kind? And, before you answer, let me remind you, your group contacted me, not the other way around."

Instead of answering, Lehnsherr pulled up his sleeve and turned his arm a little, showing off the white skin with the barcode tattoo. After a moment he drew in a deep breath. "Nevada."

Charles winced. Yeah, he'd heard the rumors. "Anchorage."

For a moment Lehnherr held his breath, then he seemed to almost sink into the ground. "Shit."

Charles refrained from answering. He was sure the rumors couldn't be worse than the place had been in reality. Stryker had been a sadistic bastard.

"We... I trusted Shaw," Lehnsherr said quietly.

Charles didn't reply. He'd read the news. Shaw had been their leader, had spoken out against humans, occasionally resorting to violence. With all that happening, no one had expected him to have connections with the previously state run mutant correction facilities - supplying them with information and ...test subjects. Preaching one thing and then leaving their own kind in the hands of sadistic humans. Not to mention, he'd planned several terror strikes against various political headquarters who had been pro-mutant.

"He knew what was going on but it didn't keep him from..." Lehnsherr sighed. "I guess what I'm trying to say is, that knowing and understanding are not the same thing - and I don't trust people easily these days."

Charles frowned. "Are you saying that if people haven't experienced the torture, they must be like Shaw?" He considered for a moment having a look inside Lehnsherr's mind, then decided against it. He was a prickly man - no need to make him pricklier.

"No, of course not," Lehnsherr said harshly. "I meant..."

"Really, stop talking, you're only making it worse," Charles warned him, much against his will actually amused by Lehnsherr's bumblings.

Which he shouldn't be. Because he was still damned annoyed with the man for making assumptions.

Lehnsherr was quiet for a moment. "Emma thinks we need you."

"And what do you think?" Charles asked curiously.

"I... think..." Lehnsherr trailed off.

"Maybe we should re-join your friends and you can owe me an answer till afterwards?" Charles wasn't even sure why he was offering the proverbial olive branch, but then again, he'd learned to trust his instincts years ago and his instincts weren't all that much opposed to Lehnsherr. At least not now that his initial anger was gone.

"Erik," Lehnsherr said, holding a hand out to him.

Charles stared at it for a moment. He wasn't entirely sure what to do with this man's mercurial mood swings, but... well, they had to start somewhere. "Charles," he replied, shaking Erik's hand.

Erik didn't let go of his hand for a moment, and Charles looked up and met his eyes.

"How about we go to the diner down the street and I buy you a cup of tea in apology?"

Charles wasn't sure what to say, but he found himself nodding slowly. "Not a bad start," he agreed, letting Erik pull him to his feet.

Not a bad start at all.

Ondwards to Change is coming