Life is a bitch, and then one stabs you.

Dear I was pompous and my sister was crazy.

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Brief Lives (14/?)
Title: Brief Lives (14/?)
Author: monstrousreg
Word count:  2576
Warnings:  Sexual situation. 
Pairing: Erik/Charles.
Summary: Erik thinks he's going to seduce, interrogate and murder some nondescript CIA intelligence agent, and winds up biting more than he can chew. Charles is not keen on being murdered, he doesn't favor interrogations, and he's certainly not willing to be seduced. That he's not cooperating is midly put.   
Notes:  Unbetaed, and stuff. Short chapter, I know. Right now it'll seem a little confusing, but once Erik starts to understand, things will fall into place for all of us, promise.

He snaps out of sleep abruptly, disoriented and flooded by a crippling sense of dislocation. Briefly he makes a cursory analysis of his body and finds everything working in an acceptable manner. His head feels like it’s full of cotton, his eyelids are heavy and he feels drowsy and unpleasant, blood running cold and quick in his veins. But he’s fine. Or at least he has all his limbs which, considering he’s in Shaw’s clutches again, counts as fine enough.

Shaw’s clutches.

Erik is proud to say he’s being remarkably calm about this. Maybe it’s the drug.

What really makes him start into spiraling terror is the absolute lack of activity at the other end of his link with Charles. So he turns his mind away from that for now, swallowing against the dread and focusing on evaluating his own situation.

He’s in an octagonal room, floor and ceiling and floor-to ceiling walls covered in mirrors. He lies on a ceramic table with wooden legs, strapped to it by leather and plastic buckles. At first glance he thinks it should be easy enough to break the plastic and escape, but then he thinks the better of it. Shaw’s never been that stupid.

Erik and Charles, on the other hand, have had plenty of stupidity. He can’t believe he didn’t see this coming—how could they be so moronic as to allow this to happen? Frost was right, how could he just have disregarded all the barriers Charles had put between himself and Shaw? And how in the world could Charles have simply let him?

He shifts uncomfortably in the table and sighs, relaxing his muscles. There’s no point in expending necessary energy either struggling or regretting. What’s done is done—now they have to get out of here. He doesn’t know how long he’s been out; he feels lethargic and slow, mind and muscles clumsy. But that’s not an indicative of how long the drug might have lasted.

He lays on the table for a long time, attempting to calm down and simultaneously think clearly of a way to get them both out of this mess, but his mind keeps getting dragged down, like there is an abyss, a hole at the bottom of the pool sucking out all the water he swims in.
Charles, he sends out tentatively, wincing at the ringing silence, spiking occasionally to stabs of pain. Charles, are you there?

No answer.

Erik takes a deep breath and pushes forcefully against the shields Charles has erected between them, half-finished and porous, more membranes than walls. They’re flexible enough to bend to his will, but he can’t break through them. He’s not as skilled as playing with their mind-places as Charles is.

Charles, he tries to raise his mental voice, thinking maybe more noise will attract attention, but he still gets nothing. It’s like there’s a black hole in his head.

Impatiently and fighting rising dread, Erik turns away from it again. Only it’s not as easy this time—it feels like it’s pulling him down, dragging him, clutching at his own mind and calling out to it. There’s no consciousness there, Erik can sense, so whatever’s happening isn’t Charles deliberate doing. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think Charles subconsciously misses the connection, but it feels more chaotic than that and Erik’s afraid of what Charles unconscious, drugged mind might be like, so he fights it.

He realizes he’s stuck somewhere between his mind and the black hole and horror claws at his consciousness, breaking off bits and pieces of the calm he’d fought so hard to find.

A distant voice says, one.

Erik blinks and, now in front of him, is Francis Xavier.

“I’ve gone mad,” Erik rubs his forehead.

Ever the optimist, Francis smiles Charles’ smile, though his lips are different and he’s taller even than Erik.

“How would you know? You’re dead.”

I am not Francis Xavier, Francis Xavier says. I am a projection of the subconscious.

“Why would my mind take on your form?” Erik asks suspiciously.

It hasn’t, dear boy. Your subconscious is not the only force around here.

“Where’s Charles?” Erik demands. Francis arches black brows so Erik waves a hand, dismissive. “The rest of Charles.”

Around here… somewhere, I should think. Dormant.

“Why am I conscious and he’s, as you say, dormant?”

You are hardly conscious, Erik. I would not be here if you were conscious. As you said, I am dead. And I should think we would not be in your old home in Poland.

Erik looks around, startled to find they are, indeed, in the living room of the small house in Poland. The window is open to let in the afternoon breeze. In the armchair near the open door sits a newspaper, hastily folded. He can almost hear his father’s dry laugh.

We are very different men, Francis says, thoughtful. Pun intended, probably.

“I still don’t understand.”

Then pay attention.

In the background he can hear, two.

“Why is Charles gone?”

You unlocked too many things, Erik. Charles made a possibly fatal miscalculation. He thought you tend to naturally repress. That is not the case. You fixate, you obsess, but you don’t lock away. In the… communion, as you might call it, of your minds, what Charles had counted would serve as a dam actually turned into a key.

“What did I set free?” Erik asks, wary.

Me, Francis smiles.

“I don’t understand how—“

You have the weapon you need, Francis says, reaching up to flick a lock of dark hair back away from his startlingly blue Charles-eyes, beaming a smile that his son has never smiled. You need only learn how to use it.

“Charles?” Erik asks, dubious, and Francis fades and Charles voice says Yes. I’m here.

Erik can feel himself begin to relax.

“Where the hell were you?”

Gone. I—don’t know. Not here. Not—I couldn’t find you. I thought you were dead.

“Wouldn’t you know?

I’ve no idea, Charles answers helplessly.

Erik sighs, and just as he is about to say something suddenly everything is yanked out of focus. The house in Poland falls to pieces around him, and—

He’s in a mirrored room strapped to a table. His cheek stings. Shaw looms over him, and smiles.

“Welcome back, Erik. Have a pleasant rest?”

Erik thinks there aren’t words in any language created by humankind to express the hatred he feels for this man. All he find suitable to do is gather saliva and spit fiercely in Shaw’s face. The man straightens with a put-upon sigh, as if he was dealing with an unruly child, and wipes his face with the carefully folded handkerchief that had been peeking out of his suit jacket.

“Really, Erik, I thought we were past this.”

Erik realizes he’s shaking with fury. With some effort he manages to control the twitching of his muscles and exert some measure of control over his reeling mind. Tentatively he reaches out and realizes, once again, that Charles has abandoned him.

“Where is he?” he demands, just barely curving the urge to bare his teeth like an animal.

“Miss him already? You two children seem to have grown quite close. You should thank me for training him so well for you. Talented, isn’t he?”

Erik drags a breath through his nostrils, loud and long, and attempts to think with something resembling rationality.

“I’m not surprised about Charles, of course, but I have to say I never noticed any such inclination in you, Erik. I wish I would have known. I could have helped you with that.”

“I’d have rather been castrated,” Erik snaps.

“All that would have done would be preventing you from enjoying it,” Shaw replies, arching a brow.

All Erik wants to know is where Charles is and what’s being done to him, but he knows Shaw won’t answer and he’s not foolish enough to insist. The more Shaw realizes they care for each other the more he’ll use them against one another. All they can hope for at this point is maybe convincing Shaw that what’s between them is just sex. Hopefully Charles will think the same and angle for the same strategy.

He can’t make sure, though, because Charles is gone.

“So, Erik,” Shaw starts conversationally, crossing his arms. “Want to tell me precisely how you came to be in Xavier Hall?”

“Charles and I have some common ground to cover,” Erik says flatly.

“Ah. See, isn’t that nice? I always do try to make mutants come together. Think of it this way; if not for me, you’d have never met. And I know you must be glad—I put some effort in making Charles exquisite.”

Now Erik knows for sure that Shaw is baiting him.

“Yes,” he drawls. “He has quite the tongue.”

Shaw smiles that nasty little smile that means he’s not getting what he wants from Erik, and Erik will regret it shortly.

“Have you fucked him yet? It’s so nice, tight and hot. He tends to bleed, but he hardly complains anymore.”

Erik has a split-second wave of fury, wondering if Shaw’s laid a single finger on Charles and God, what he will do to him if he does—then he remember he’s just spoken to Charles, and he sounded wary but normal enough. He could not have hidden that from Erik—could he?
“He didn’t bleed with me,” Erik lies, and smiles like a wound. “Maybe you’re just not good at it.”

“Hm,” Shaw makes a thoughtful sound, and Erik gets the unpleasant sensation than more than goading him, he just gave Shaw an idea.
“I wonder if you’d bleed,” Shaw says silkily, taping the tips of his fingers slowly on the bare flesh of Erik’s chest. Erik has to greet his teeth with the effort not to flinch or swallow.

“I’m a little old for your tastes,” he grits out.

“Well, yes. But you know, I’ve learned to the only way to deal with an unruly Charles is to make him realize what the consequences of his disobedience are on the ones he cares about. And he’s been especially unruly, now—he won’t even wake up.”

Ah. So that was it. Charles has shut down until he can control himself enough not to fall into chaotic panic when faced with Shaw.

“Any tips on how to bring him around?” Shaw asks genially.

“You could shoot yourself in the groin,” Erik replies just as nicely. “I don’t think that would wake him but what a favor to the Universe it would be, Sebastian.”

Shaw smiles and pats him on the chest.

“You’ll come around.”

He leans comfortably against the side of Erik’s table, running the pads of his fingers teasingly over the faded ink of the Auschwitz tattoo. Now Erik does flinch, unable to help himself.

“I really am sorry about what happened in the camps, son,” Shaw says regretfully.

“I am not your fucking son,” Erik spits, lifting his head to glare at Shaw as fiercely as he can, given his position. “I am Mathias Lehnsherr’s son, and you made me bury my mother.”

“You’re still on about that?” Shaw blinks. “That was a long time ago, Erik.”

“You’re still on about me?” Erik replies harshly. “That was a twelve years ago, Sebastian.”

Shaw reaches up to pat Erik’s cheek soothingly, and the German has the most violent impulse to bite his fingers and thrash until they come off. Only the unlikeliness of the result keeps him back from doing it.

“You’re the one that got away,” Shaw says gently.

Erik drops his head back tiredly and closes his eyes.

“Truth be told,” Shaw continues. “I never did meet your father. He was already dead by the time I found you, as you know.” He considers for a moment. “I did meet Francis Xavier, once.”

Erik opens his eyes, stares at his reflection in the ceiling.

“Francis was a telepath. Not very powerful, nothing spectacular, but he’d trained himself well. And he had wonderful genes, obviously, and I don’t mean just the amazing blue eyes.”

“Jealous?” Erik asks flatly.

Shaw smiles, “I’m only bringing up Francis because Emma has this most fascinating idea about subconscious shielding and telepathic self-mutilation. What was it you said in the manor about Charles repressing memories?”

Erik gives him a flat, bored look.

“Are you planning on boring me to death, or will you start torturing me any time soon? Time’s a-ticking, Sebastian, and our absence is bound to be noticed soon.”

Shaw waves a hand. “You dear children won’t be going back until tomorrow, and even then, the chances of them finding you are low enough to be inconsequential.”

Tomorrow. It was Thursday, then—the children were meant to return on Friday. Shaw was right, the chances of the children finding them were slim, but even then they’d know something had gone wrong—Erik had nearly destroyed the manor with his gift and there were several animal-type mutants in the student body that would smell unfamiliar presences in the house. It was something.

“So, Francis,” Shaw insisted. “Interesting man, hm?”

All of a sudden, Shaw and the room fall completely quiet.

Tell him, Charles urges, voice firm and calm, and oh, thank the Lord, he is back to his usual composed self.

But you said he mustn’t know about—

It doesn’t matter anymore, he knows, he’ll rip me to shreds anyway. I need you to make him understand that he won’t access the memories unless Frost forces my mind. Convince him.

You want me to tell him to throw Frost on you and make her attack you? Have you gone mad?

Erik, to get to the repressed spot she will have to get under my shields. I’m stronger than her, if I have her in my playfield I can kill her from the inside out, but I need her to attack me. Send her my way.

I don’t think that’s—

You don’t understand, Charles says, almost desperately. She has to be gone. Things have changed. I made a mistake. What I had thought to do before won’t work.  

What mistake? Charles, what—

Erik’s lip is split and bleeding. He blinks, focuses back on Shaw.

“Am I boring you, Erik?” he asks viciously. “Looked like you feel asleep there a second.”

“What do you want from me?” Erik asks in a monotone. “I don’t have anything that might help you. All I know of Francis is that he liked to read and he rode horses.”

“Ah, but I know you must know a bit more than that, Erik. He kept his son very well guarded from me for a long time, so I know he must have been a good enough father. My question then is why Charles is repressing him so fiercely. Any ideas?”

Erik thinks of ways to make Shaw sic Frost on Charles. Something that would make the man absolutely ravenous to break through Charles’ formidable shields. It isn't’t as easy as just revealing something either; Shaw would suspect if he just up and spills his guts. Erik has a record of being particularly uncooperative, and his last few years away from Shaw have done nothing but deepen the roots of that reputation.

Conveniently enough, one didn’t need to make a great effort to get Shaw to resort to torture.

“Ask nicely,” Erik says, licking at the blood on his bottom lip.

Shaw’s smile is slow and sly.

Chapter 15

Talk about cliffhangers, I'm here chewing on my nails! O___________O

No nail biting! o.O There's still some ways to go and these dam space limitations on LJ are forcing me to take this so slowly that every damn chapter's going to be a cilffhanger until this thing is solved.

Awesome chapter, I wonder what Charles's father was talking about...can't wait to see how this story will continue after this cliffhanger.

Thanks you <3 We'll find out soon, promise!

I was fairly jumping with joy when I saw you updated, especially after the cliffhanger in the last chapter. I have to say, the situation looks bad, but I feel like they have enough options left to take care of themselves, with a bit of luck. I have to guess that Charles is the first person to ever really form such a mental bond and hopefully Shaw doesn't realize what that might mean. If Charles and Erik are able to communicate with each other... maybe they can also use their respective powers. I'm pretty sure that Shaw did not think to keep Charles room free of metal and obviously he is not very concerned about touching Erik.

Also, I was blinking at Shaws 'Oh, but I killed your mother ages ago, it's all water under the bridge, why can't we get along now?'. I had the feeling he was actually sincere and does not understand the problem. In fact, their whole conversation gives me the idea that Shaw is really fond of Erik in a twisted kind of way. I bet Erik would have been his successor had he not been able to escape...

I really like that you have so many layers embedded in your story. I wonder what this mistake is Charles, his subconsciousness and Emma say he made. And I'm curious how Francis Xavier or rather, the memories of him, fit into the whole picture.

Thank you!

I know, I usually don't like using cliffhangers this much, but the chapters have to be short so I can properly post them in LJ. I wish I could make them double as big, then everything would be solved in two chapters. As to what Erik and Charles have at their disposal, you'll see soon enough :D

Yes, that's what I got from the movie too, that Shaw was actually fond and proud of Erik, that he saw him as his greatest work and his heir. He thought he did all that was in his power to make Erik pure and the best he could be. Effing psychopath.

And for Francis... well, repressing's never a good thing. Things just tend to, you know, build.




*flails along*

I'm rather fodn of this Erik myself <3 I'm a little proud of him, too.

Am I terrible for preferring this cliffhanger? There's a plan, everyone is talking, and ERIK IS FANTASTIC! That was just....I was applauding him the entire chapter. I'm assuming that what they have is the fact that they share powers now. They're stronger. Shaw isn't expecting certain things from either of them so he's reacting accordingly. Shaw is at a disadvantage, they just need to figure out that out and get the advantage...does that make sense?

I hope Charles and Emma have an epic battle in his head where he just kicks her ass hardcore. Just saying. I can't wait for mooore!!!

I preferred this cliffhanger too. Probably because it's not hopeless, right? There are some slivers of a plan and people are starting to rally up and think rationally about strategies and ways out. Charles and Erik combined are MUCH stronger than apart, especially now, but Shaw has no idea what he's dealing with. He thinks they were just having sex.

And not to worry, Emma's getting her due soon enough *grins*

I feel like I'm being put through a wringer. I'll just whimper here quietly in the corner, then.

*hugs* I know, it's all awful right now, but don't worry--not all is lost.

I am not sure I was able to take a breath during this whole chapter. I cannot believe how this story spirals deeper and deeper and deeper... it's just fascinating. Shaw is horrible, so spot on character there. And Erik knows how to push his buttons. He is incredibly brave -- Charles' projection is right, when Erik obsesses over something, no pain will stand in his way.

I wonder why Charles meant to use Erik as a dam. I knew that he had meant to use Erik as a weapon/bait all along, before his feelings for Erik, but I cannot wait to find out the mystery, and how Francis Xavier fits into it all.

I don't know how your imagination comes up with these original things. How does it? Seriously.

Ehhh, my mind is a weird place, that's all the explanation I can give. I probably think waaaay too much on the implications of powers of fictional characters in comic books.

When Erik first brough up the subject of allowing Charles to copy his mental patterns by forcing a bond, Charles imagined that Erik's natural tendency to repress (something he talks about in Paris at that cafe) will fortify his own repression of his father's memories. The walls he'd build were beggining to fracture, as it tends to happen when you repress something for a very long time--you can;t hold it back forever. So Erik was meant to be a dam, but that's where Charles made a mistake--Erik doesn't repress at all. He embraces and moves forward, only he does it in much more intense a way that Charles, thus developing obsessions.

...I think too much of myelf, clearly.

WAGH. Evol cliffhanger of DOOOOM. *bites nails*

ZOMG where did you get your icon????? *goes hunting*

Oh god. I was so worried that Emma had somehow destroyed their connection. I love this, I love Francis, I love Erik being a tough little shit, and I love Shaw. And I think the fact I love Charles goes without saying.

Erik being a tough little shit is what I like the most of his character. No one cand estroy their connection except Charles and Erik, so don't worry. Thank you!

I don't think I breathed at all while I was reading this! Your Erik/Shaw dynamic is fantastic!

Thank you! I'll update soon, promise.

Oh wow. Even thought they're still in Shaw's evil clutches for some reason I felt oddly reassured by this chapter. They're aren't completely cut off from each other, and it seems like Charles has a plan, sort of. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then when Erik said his last line I was like, "Oh Shaw, you are so screwed and you don't even know it." :D *cackles evilly* Looking forward to what happens next!

I know, Shaw has no idea what's coming. I'm glad you felt reassured! I think this chapter was better because they had an inkling on what was going on and started to gather their collective wits.

I'll update soon!

I..really like how stubborn Erik is. And his 'track record' and 'reputation' for being so. It's just so..strangely adorable and consistent, one of his more outstanding and obvious characteristics.

I know, right? I think it's one of his core characteristics, his fixations and his stubborness. I like that about him.

OMG how am i to survive until your next udpate!!!!!!!!!!!!

These kinds of comments make me want to update really quickly =D

Unf, what a chapter. I'm on the edge of my seat to see what Erik, Shaw and Charles respectively will do, if it'll work... damn. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another update as quick as this one. :) Such great dynamics.

Thank you! I update as soon as I can. I used to have more than one chapter written at a time, but idl what happened to my brain. One's coming though, promise!

I like this cliffhanger much better! At least I have an idea of where this could go.

As everybody I wonder what Francis was talking about, and what plan Charles has in mind. I can't wait to see what will happen!

Just a little question, though. If Erik is in a mirrored room similar to that of the movie, how can he speak with Charles via telepathy? Shouldn't it be blocked? Or maybe their bond doesn't work like that.

Beautiful work, as usual! Thanks for the quick update, Almighty Author!

Thank you! Everyone seems to leave this chapter with a lot more hope than the last one, so that's good. About what Francis meant, well, we'll figure it out soon!


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