So! To celebrate my own insanity I am writing even MORE fic. First, I am reminding everybody of the contest at shoneenclub (for which I am writing) and then I am subjecting you to X-Men: First Class fic even though I've only seen the movie once.
Cloudburst (come in from the rain)
Charles didn't know why Erik was so important to him. They didn't have a common vision—he'd always known that, from the very first it had been obvious. Similar hopes, divergent methods, separate evolutions. Too, it wasn't as though they had much in common outside of their visions—Charles played darts, Erik hunted Nazis. Charles hit on pretty girls, Erik hunted Nazis. Charles drank too much, Erik drank too much and hunted Nazis. Charles verbally eviscerated morons, Erik eviscerated Nazis. Or shot them—Charles was a bit fuzzy on the exact details.
Reason, rationality, compassion—that was Charles. Passion, calculation, austerity marked Erik.
They were both stubborn as hell, however.
Maybe he did know why Erik was so important after all. Erik was the first person he couldn't push, couldn't lead, could and couldn't read. Erik was, had been, maybe was still, a man he could walk along side. Somebody with whom he could stand shoulder to shoulder.
Charles looked down at his legs. "Figuratively," he mused.
"Something, Charles?" Moira stopped pushing the wheelchair and leaned down and around to look him in the face.
"Nothing," Charles said. Then he reconsidered. "Have you ever had holishke, Moira?"
She laughed. "I don't even know what it is."
Neither had he. "It's this cabbage leaf roll sort of thing, with meatballs and sweet and sour sauce. It sounds dodgy, smells a little off, and tastes incredible." Though he wasn't sure if that was because the taste was good or—
"Something your mother used to make?" Moira was smiling still and Charles was reminded all over again that she just didn't know.
He looked out across the grounds of his home. "No. No, my mother never so much as set foot inside the kitchen. Or any kitchen. Erik's mother made them." Moira straightened, he could see it in the corner of his eye and he knew very well she didn't want to talk about it. "Some holiday or other, something to do with ingathering. I didn't pay attention to the reason: I was there for the holishke."
"I—" Moira hummed.
She really didn't want to talk about it, not like this. Charles nodded. "We used to sit, Erik and I, and play chess and talk about the future and the past. Whenever there was something he couldn't explain he'd let me—" he motioned vaguely to his head, to his customary mind-reading 'tell' as Erik had called it. "He'd show me his, I'd show him mine. Like boys do." He thought of finding Angel and More tea, Vicar and looked away from the fields and lawns, back to the house.
"I was there, with him, the day he discovered his abilities. In the storm and the mud. Very unpleasant." He was there, too, the day Erik's mother had been murdered. "Most of his memories involve rain, even if the sun is shining." He shook his head. "It's a projection, of course, emotional coloring, memory mutation." He cleared his throat and rubbed at his eyebrow with a thumbnail. "In the jet, on the way to Cuba—" on the way to confront Shaw-Schmidt-hell itself "—I told him that the sky was blue."
Moira said nothing but he could hear her thoughts without even trying and he waited. At last she said, "That must have been an interesting non sequitur."
He hadn't thought so, at the time. "Not for Erik," he said softly. "He told me that it had never stopped raining. I suppose I should have realized what he was about when he thanked me for the use of my umbrella."
"What? Charles he—"
"No, Moira, no. I've said it badly, put it wrongly. That doesn't happen often," he said. He paused to consider it. "That never happens." He set the thought aside. "There were things about Erik I'd always known." Things he had refused to see. "I might have hoped that he'd taken a different path but nothing that day came as a shock." He tipped his head back and looked up at Moira. "Aside from the leaving." He hadn't expected it. At least not so soon.
"Charles," Moira said strongly.
"I'm sorry, Moira, I am never letting you finish a single thought, am I? It's rude of me. But I'm no better than Erik, you must understand. I held Shaw for him. I could have released Shaw. I could have allowed him to use his abilities. I could have given him the suggestion that he was somewhere else doing something else entirely. But I didn't. I held him there, kept his powers trapped, and I left him all too aware of every moment." He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "I knew Erik wasn't going to change his mind no matter what I wished but I did what I did in spite of that. I valued Erik's revenge more than I did a human life. A mutant life."
Moira's hand lifted, hovered, and set down on the handle of the wheelchair again. "I'm not sure what to say."
"Oh, there's nothing to say. Well. If we're being honest, that's a lie. There was something. I asked him if it had stopped raining."
"Did—" Moira chose not to continue that sentence on her own, though Charles would have let her say her piece if she'd had a mind to it.
He answered her question anyhow. "No. He told me it hadn't. He called me an optimistic fool." He laughed honestly, short and sweet. "I called him a pig-headed lout and then he put the helmet on." Charles was unprepared for the way the thought of that moment seized in his gut, like a physical pain. "He put the helmet on and that's the last we said to each other, Erik and I." He brought his fist to his mouth, pressing his knuckles to his lips. "What a note to leave it at, eh, Moira?"
For a long moment she said nothing and then, "Pig-headed lout?"
"I said 'bastard' actually but, well you know, polite company."
"I'm a CIA agent, Charles."
"You're still a girl." He winced. "And you're now angry with me for what you perceive to be my gender-based summation of you. Which I didn't intend, so do please stop."
Moira was in front of him suddenly, crouched down and glaring. "You're reading my mind?"
She was nothing like Erik. "With some people it's more a matter of not listening than it is a matter of going looking. Not that knowing about your feelings really require either. Ohhh, and I really shouldn't have said that should I have? It's all right, it's perfectly fine, Moira. What were we talking about before I hared off down memory lane for a dip in the maudlin pool? Let's talk about that, shall we?"
Blushing but pretending she wasn't, Moira nodded and stood. "The government—" She interrupted herself. "Is it raining, Charles?"
He looked up at the sky even though he knew what she meant. On the beach, bullet in his back and missiles in the air, he'd understood with shocking clarity how it could come to rain forever. But then Erik had been there, tears in his eyes to match the tears in Charles' own and it had been a cloudburst, a momentary downpour. The rain always ended sooner or later. "The sky is clear, love, but even if it wasn't, I do have the sense to get in out of the wet." Once he was done standing out in it with his umbrella like an optimistic fool. "You do recall that I've got a PhD, don't you? You were there for the party, after all."
Moira shook her head. "The government," she started again, pushing the chair.
Charles listened to her but he already knew what was going to happen, what he was going to do. When he kissed her goodbye and she left him behind, he watched the clouds gather on the horizon. "You could have kept it, you know," he said softly, to somebody who was no longer at his side.