Word count: 2517
Warnings: non-con, not described but mentioned. Trauma; depression. Victim-blaming, indifference.
Notes: Based off this prompt. I read this and then I felt like I needed to fill it. Please be advised that there are a lot of possible triggers in this story, as it deals with a victim's state of mind. I want to make it clear that I personally do not think Erik and Raven would actually react this way to this, but have twisted their response in favor of filling the prompt. Unfortunately a lot of victims do go through something of the sort.
This story is fully written, and edited by lovely, wonderful black_betty_26. I'll be posting the chapters one after the other to facilitate reading, and because I realize it's an emotionally charged story.
Title taken from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
Out of the night that covers me
black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
It was still snowing outside.
Charles could see the snowflakes falling, white dots against the landscape. It had been snowing for a while, and the forest outside was covered in white; the thick layer of it covering the ground muffled the sounds, making them indistinct.
But the silence was great, and Charles could hear him walking away; it was the only sound, besides his own hitching breaths.
He could see him, too, lopsided as if the world had tilted. He was still on the ground. The snow beneath him bit into his bare skin, but it didn’t hurt so very terribly anymore. He blinked and the blurriness of the world receded, slightly. The wet tracks on his face felt queerly cold and numb.
He should get up. He needed to get up. The snow was cold he knew, even though he could scarcely feel it. His breath was white puffs of steam, dissipating in the air above him.
Beyond them, the sky was grey and overcast. Charles blinked, slowly, and again the blurriness dispersed. He realized he was crying. He swallowed. His throat ached; it felt raw and inflamed, and breathing was a rasping, painful affair.
He should get up.
His arms and legs were weak. He couldn’t seem to stop crying. Whenever he blinked more tears came out. He became aware of the snowflakes falling on him, and melting on his sweater and shirt, rucked up to his chest. Where his skin was exposed the snow was cold and wet. He shivered.
He swallowed again, and shivered.
He needed to get up, he thought, and realized he’d thought that before. He shifted, trying to get up on his elbows, but his shoulders were curiously shaky and hurt. It didn’t feel like his muscles could hold his weight. Still he insisted, and after a few attempts managed to sit up. The snow crunched under his shifting weight.
He was naked, waist down.
His slacks were lying rumpled within arm’s reach, but he didn’t have the strength to grab them yet. He sat and shivered, for a while, and let the snow fall on him.
There was a blood on the snow between his legs. Not much. But it was stark red against the crisp white, and had spider-webbed out, so the dots had finally connected and run together: a constellation of red.
It hurt. But it wasn’t that bad. More puzzling was the white streaks of viscous liquid still clinging, congealing, to his stomach. Dully, Charles picked up a handful of snow and rubbed it against his skin, cleaning away the liquid. His fingers and stomach were numb; that didn’t hurt. He didn’t understand quite what it was, and then he did.
He didn’t sob. He blinked, and watched as one of his tears fell on his white thigh and slid down, down the expanse of delicate skin in his inner leg, to the underside of his thigh were it ran down to his buttock and merged with the snow he was sitting on.
It hurt, and then it didn’t, and then it hurt again. He realized distantly that it throbbed together with the slow beating of his heart. It hurt, it didn’t, it hurt, it didn’t.
He looked down; realized he was still holding a fistful of crushed snow: consciously ordered his fingers to slowly unclench, until he could see his palm, reddened by the cold, glistening with wet. He swallowed, blinked. Felt the tears roll down his cheeks, felt their salt upon his lips.
Slowly turning his head, he saw the ruined heap of his trousers and with a shaking arm reached out, vaguely surprised when he found his fingers closing over the wet wool. He dragged them over.
It hurt when he got up. Snow and water ran cold down his legs; something warm ran down between them. He didn’t look. He fell to his knees once, out of balance, while putting his trousers on, but he got up and insisted and they came up.
It hurt to walk, but it didn’t hurt terribly bad. A twinge. Annoying. Soreness. His trousers were soaked through; the wet wool rasped against the soft skin of his thighs. He started walking and realized late that he hadn’t looked for his underwear. Became aware that he couldn’t turn back and look because if he did, there would be no getting up. He was on his feet now.
He needed to get home.
He dragged down his shirt and sweater as he walked, vaguely aware of the cold of the snow and the season.
He’d always loved winter.
His arms and shoulders and back were sore. There was a strange pull in his neck, to the side and curving back, the muscles quickly stiffening. He became aware that the fingers in his right hand were swollen. He blinked at them as he walked and almost tripped on a branch, narrowly avoided falling by catching onto a tree. His shoulder hurt when he braced his weight against it, but it wasn’t terribly bad.
It hurt to walk, but he could manage.
He could get home.
It was still snowing. The streets were deserted, silent and queerly bleached in the whiteness of winter. It wasn’t yet suppertime—he didn’t think it was, at least. He wasn’t sure how much time had gone by. He wasn’t hungry; he always got hungry right before suppertime, so surely…
He got to his apartment and got his keys from the inner pocket of his coat. It was difficult to extricate them; he found his hands were trembling. He swallowed; tried again. This time he found them, caught them, and dragged them out. He opened the door to his building, waited for the elevator.
There was a mirror in the door of the elevator. Charles stared at himself, unblinking and confused, as the elevator climbed up to the fourteenth floor. He didn’t look any different. Pale skin, red lips, a somewhat unattractive nose, great blue eyes. His hair was wet and hung in strings on his forehead and temples, so dark it was nearly black. But he didn’t look any different. There was something in his eyes.
He turned around as the doors chimed and slid open.
No, there was nothing in his eyes. Nothing at all.
He got to his apartment. The lights were out. Raven wasn’t home yet. She was probably in drama class. He wanted her to be home, and he didn’t. He wanted to be alone, and he knew he needed help. But he wanted to be alone. He locked the door, didn’t turn on the lights. He made his way to his room and closed the door. Yes; he wanted to be alone.
It still hurt, a little. He took off his coat, his sweater and shirt and trousers, and he put dry sweatpants and a t-shirt. He considered a shower. He was cold. But it hurt, to stand up, to walk, to move. To be awake. And he was so tired.
Yes. He was tired. He would sleep. The shower could wait until morning. It didn’t hurt terribly badly. And he was so tired. He wasn’t hungry, either. Just cold, and tired. He stretched out on his side on the bed, pulled the covers over himself. Closed his eyes.
He was so tired. But sleep wouldn’t come. He was lying still on the bed under the covers but he could feel it, like the sensation on land of a rocking of a sailboat beneath the soles of his feet, after he had abandoned the deck.
He could feel the motion, between his legs, against his chest, hear the panting in his ear, the low groans, the moaning. The pain.
It wasn’t there now but he could feel it. And sleep would not come. He was cold, even under the many blankets and covers; so cold he felt he’d never again be warm. He wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t fall asleep.
He could feel the crunch of snow beneath his back, against the backs of his wrist as he was held down. The snow had rasped the skin at the small of his back and it stung, reddened and swollen. The fingers of his right hand ached, inflamed. He didn’t know how he’d hurt them.
He turned his face and looked at the window. The half-light of dawn was creeping through the window. It was dawn, and he had not slept at all.
Aching and stiff, he sat up. His body was sore and hurt and felt like it was alien and removed from him; a different entity altogether. His hair was stiff and tangled; abruptly he felt disgusted with himself, filthy. He dragged himself from the bed and to the bathroom, and stayed under the scalding hot water using the washcloth on his skin over and over until it was raw and red, and stung all over. Only then did he reach for the towel, and dried himself and short, jerky motions.
He caught sight of himself in the mirror.
He looked the same.
Had it happened? Had he imagined it? Had it been as he had thought—violent and painful? Or had it been altogether a different thing? Was he mistaken to think he—to think he had… had been—
“Raped,” he said aloud, and his own voice startled him, raspy and croaking. His eyes grew wet and overrun and tears rolled down his cheeks to the angle of his jaw.
“Raped,” he repeated to the man in his mirror, that pale-faced man with too-large eyes and tangled brown hair. That wasn’t him, that man; that wasn’t the Charles Xavier he knew. The Charles Xavier he knew wouldn’t—wouldn’t—
He turned around and fell to his knees, scrambling to shove up with toilet lid. There was nothing in his stomach but bile; nothing to bring up through painful dry heaves and spasms. It hurt—suddenly everything hurt, hurt like nothing before. He keened, a wretched sound that echoed off the walls of his bathroom, and listed helpless to the side, landing in a heap in the cold tiled floor.
I need help, he thought, grabbing at the edge of the tub with weak fingers to pull himself up again to his knees, to his feet, shaky and unsure. He grabbed clean clothes and put them on, careless of what they were, and moved slowly and cautiously out of his bedroom to the living room. The smell of bacon and eggs assaulted him. His stomach heaved, roiling, but there was nothing in it, so he retched dryly and kept moving.
Raven and Erik were at the kitchen table. Erik looked freshly shaved and immaculately put-together, as always. His slacks and shirt were so perfectly pressed they had corners.
He looked up when Charles showed up, and grinned.
“Slept rough, Xavier?” he asked. “A little bird told me you two had a bit of a wild time outdoors.”
Charles collapsed into a chair, silent.
Raven turned from the stove, laughing. “Charles, are you sleeping your way through the University staff, or what?”
Charles looked down at his hands. The fingers of his right hand were swollen and stiff.
“Any time now you ought to start charging,” Erik teased, pushing a cup of tea in his direction.
Charles opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He closed it again, with a snap. Swallowed bile. He felt something hard against his forehead and realized he’d bent his head to the table, shaking. With an effort he straightened again, stared at his hands open like dead spiders upon his lap.
“I didn’t,” he rasped, voice a thread. “I didn’t—want to.”
“Charles, it’s fine,” Raven said dismissively, putting a plate in front of him. He recoiled from it until his back hit the back of the chair. “We know you’re a slut. We still love you.”
“I’m not,” he said weakly.
Erik laughed, good-humored. “You are, a little.”
“I didn’t want to,” Charles insisted, dismayed. “I told—I told him—I asked him to—to stop—“
But Erik and Raven weren’t listening. “—and anyway you’ve got good enough taste. Sebastian’s pretty good-looking for his age. We know you’ve got a thing for older guys anyway.”
“Please,” Charles whispered, and that did stop them, made them look. “Please, I—I’m hurt. I asked him to stop. I didn’t want it.”
“You didn’t want it?” Raven arched a brow. “Then what were you doing out in the middle of the woods with him? Charles, you said it yourself—you wanted to get him alone somewhere and have your way with him.”
“But I asked him to stop,” Charles’ voice broke. “I’m hurt.”
“I’m sure it always hurts a little,” Erik smiled. “You’ll be fine. You’ve had it rough before, Casanova.”
“No,” Charles insisted, but his voice gave out.
“Just get in the tub and have a lazy day,” Raven patted his hair gently. “You’ll be fine.”
“He forced me,” Charles ground out, finally, clenching his hands. Raven and Erik stilled, staring at him. “He—he—I was—“ but he couldn’t say it out loud.
“Are you saying,” Erik said slowly, frowning. “That Sebastian raped you?”
Charles’ throat and mouth were dry; he could not speak.
Erik gave a short, disbelieving laugh. “Charles, don’t be ridiculous. You’ve been flirting and chasing Sebastian for weeks. I’m sorry it went a bit different than you hoped for, but I’m sure next time will be better.”
Raven was a little more uncertain. “Charles, Sebastian’s a really nice guy. Maybe he was a bit overly rough, but then you should just tell him to be gentler next time, okay? Don’t get hurt, either.”
“Next time,” Charles said dully.
“Or don’t go out with him again,” Erik shrugged. “You’ve got plenty of people to go back to if you need to scratch an itch. No need to put up with unpleasantness.”
“I was… you’re not listening,” Charles whispered.
“I heard you,” Erik said firmly. “You misinterpreted. Talk it out with him.”
“But I’m… hurt,” Charles felt tears coming back. He swallowed convulsively.
“Charles, you’re a man and a grownup,” Erik frowned, beginning to sound annoyed. “I understand you’re upset, but don’t you think it’s disrespectful and selfish if you to say that—Jesus, Charles, this is a serious thing. People really get hurt. Why would you say that? If you didn’t like it, just don’t go back to him.”
Charles stared at him, speechless and confused. Raven sighed and went back to cooking, shaking her head as if Charles was being stubborn and obtuse. Arching his brows, shaking his head slightly, Erik picked up the newspaper and started reading it, the subject discarded as so many of Charles’ amusing little quirks.
Charles looked down at his hands. The swollen fingers of his right hand hurt. His head, shoulders, neck and arms ached.
“I asked him to stop,” he whispered quietly to his hands.
Erik sighed without looking up, “Charles, let it go. It’s not funny.”
Quietly, Charles staggered to his feet and left the kitchen.