Title: I'll Follow Your Voice, All You Have To Do Is Shout It Out 1/?
Author: Velocity_Girl (aka konishi_zen)
Verse: X Men First Class
Status: Fix-it, canonic divergence, established friendship, broken! Erik, Bruised! Charles, eventual happy-ending.
Word Count: 2,167
Genre: AU, Drama, Angst, Friendship, Eventual Romance.
Disclaimer: I don't own the X-men or the song quoted, which is by Rise Against. I do own a stack of comic books and hockey posters, tho.
Summary: Moira's pragmatism changes the beach showdown, leaving Erik in limbo and Charles trying to deal.
AN: I was intrigued by the idea of Moira being horribly pragmatic and planning for every eventuality that could occur on the beach. So when Erik turns on them, Moira reacts accordingly and thus changes the course of events.
“All because of you, I believe in angels.
Not the kind with wings, no, not the kind with halos
The kind that bring you home, when home becomes a strange place
I'll follow your voice, all you have to do is shout it out” Rise Against
-“Give me one reason why I should stop” Eric told Charles as he held the missiles aloft, ready to start the war to end all wars.
“Erik, they're just following orders!”Charles had screamed out, realizing a split second too late that was the wrong thing to say to a Holocaust survivor.
Even Moira could see that was the wrong thing to say. Erik's mind was made up then and there was no power on earth that would change it. But Charles wouldn't give up so easily. Stupid, naive and sweet Charles was going to fight till the last possible moment. He was that much of an idealist and even though he was woefully overmatched, he still fought against Erik with all he had.
It wasn't enough. She could see that after Erik had beaten him down and cast him off with as little effort as she would use to throw out garbage. Erik went back to controlling the missiles and it was then that she went into action, training kicking in without her even really noticing.
She still didn't know what she shouted as she pulled out her gun. Erik barely paid attention to her or Charles, who was running to stop him, so determined was he to complete his task.
She shot him then, finally catching his attention. He smirked at her, and made a move to deflect the bullet. Moira couldn't stop the jolt of triumph that had welled up in her at Erik's surprised expression as the bullet hit him.
It jolted him backward, but the missiles wobbled in the sky. Some had fallen, but Erik still held most of them aloft. Charles had reached him and that had been when Moira's hearing had gone.
She could hear Charles screaming and waving his arms around, but she couldn't make out any words. It was as if she was in a vacuum and had only one objective. Erik's eyes, although glassy with pain, were pinning her to that one spot on the beach. He was promising her painful retribution with his eyes, once he was done guiding the missiles to the ship. Moira didn't have any doubts that he would follow through with his plans.
So she followed her training like the good agent that she was.
She fired again, hitting Erik in the chest and knocking him backwards into Charles’ arms. Charles screamed again and pulled Erik's helmet off and hurled it into the sea before he cradled Erik's chalky face with bloodied hands. Raven ran towards them and ripped Erik's suit open to administer first aid while Charles screamed and Erik gasped and spat out blood, his eyes opaque and unseeing as he lost the battle with consciousness.
Moira's hearing had come back then, just in time to see the missiles had fallen harmlessly into the ocean and exploded underwater.
-”Goddammit!” Moira swears as she sits up in bed and tries to calm her breathing. She rakes her fingers through her hair and wipes the sweat that has pooled on her upper lip. She also wipes the wetness on her cheeks and forcefully pretends that it was also sweat from her nightmares.
She sighs, looks at her alarm clock and groans. It really is too early to be awake. Especially now that she has been put on what has been labelled as a leave, but is in reality the first step to pensioning her out of the CIA.
“Do not think about that.” She tells herself as she pushes the covers back, gets out of bed and steps into the en-suite bathroom of her room. She gets ready in an almost mechanical haze, not thinking about anything except fulfilling her morning rituals. The last time she let her mind wander, she ended up crying in the shower in a bout of frustration and self-pity and she still hasn't forgiven herself for that weakness. Even though Charles might say it was normal, considering all that happened, she still feels shame whenever she remembers it.
Once she’s ready, she gets dressed in a plain navy dress, stockings, and boots and heads down to the kitchen. She knows no one would be there. In fact, she counts on it; so that she can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in peace, let herself wallow in pity for twenty minutes, and move on with her day. Despite it feeling like the world ended on a beach in Cuba that day, it hadn't. In fact, it still goes on with or without her permission, and she still has to make her peace with that fact. Her morning ritual was just that.
She goes down to the kitchen and measures out the water and the coffee for the percolator and has it burbling away in minutes. She takes down the mug she has claimed as her own, sets it on the counter, and goes to the icebox to pull out the bottle of milk she shakes to mix the cream before she pours it into the cup. Replacing it, she closes the door and nearly has a heart-attack when she comes face to face with a still serene looking Charles.
“Charles! You nearly gave me a heart-attack! Try to make some noise next time!” Moira chastisises him as she shakily makes her way over to the counter and checks on the percolator to steady her jangled nerves and to quell the roiling disappointment in her stomach over having her quiet time interrupted.
“I'm sorry, Moira. I will make my presence known next time. If it is any consolation, your being in the kitchen also gave me a turn. I didn't expect anyone to be up so early.” Charles apologizes as he goes to the cupboards and pulls out his own mug.
His calm tone makes Moira cringe and feel awful that she sees him as an intruder in his own kitchen. Considering that he was gracious enough to let them all stay in his home without any complaints, it is a shitty thing to do to him. Especially when he has his own worries and burdens to address.
“Moira, I understand. We all need our quiet moments. Especially after what happened in Cuba.”
He moves over to the kettle and fills it with water. He sets it to boil before turning around and rooting around for the box of Earl Grey that Moira swore was bottomless. Moira watches his movements and tries to quell the “what if” thoughts that spring up at the sight. She appreciates his efforts to make her feel at ease and figured that she could smooth the situation over by keeping her thoughts down so that Charles couldn't pick them up. She never regretted making the decisions that she did. But she didn't want for Charles to relive them through her self-imposed guilt that she knows she needs to work through and let go on her own, rather than get Charles involved.
“Do you mind if I join you? I could use a cup of tea.” Charles asks as he dumps a tea bag into his cup and pulls one of the kitchen stools up to the high counter. Moira quickly shakes her head and does the same. Even though she is mildly annoyed at having to share her morning interlude, she is glad that it is Charles that she has to share it with. He does talk a lot, but he also knows the value of being quiet and letting someone pull themselves together in order to face the day.
They sit in companionable silence until both the burbling of the percolator and the thin whistle of the kettle gets them moving again to get their respective fixes of caffeine for the day. It isn't until they take a couple of sips of their drinks that conversation tentatively starts up again.
“How is he?” Moira asks. She still can't bring herself to say his name and she hasn't explored why due to being unsure of the answer she would find. She doesn't feel bad for having shot him. She just feels bad that she hurt Charles by extension. No matter what Erik is, Charles still loves Erik and it isn't easy for him.
It is something that still stings. Like a bruise that is almost healed, yet still hurts when poked carelessly. She doesn't begrudge Charles his happiness. She can't say that she feels the same amount of warmth towards Erik. But she would be a hypocrite to not recognize that Charles makes Erik a better person due to this love. She can see that Charles is an anchor for Erik and that with time, Erik can heal the soul rending wounds he’s suffered at the hands of soldiers and Shaw.
So she asks for an answer that she doesn't know how to properly react to, simply because she knows that Charles would appreciate it. And even though Charles isn't close to her in the way she would love him to be, he's a close friend and she's loyal to her friends.
“Still comatose.” Charles replies and takes another sip of his tea. His blue eyes look tired, unfocused and distant as he speaks. He's been trying desperately to coax Erik out of the labyrinth of his own mind without success. Although he's tried everything and then some that Hank has researched...there's just no progress. No sign of Erik being alive except for the constant beeping of the machines he's hooked up to and the occasional tremor of metal in his room. Nothing more.
“Do you think he's going to stay that way for the rest of his life?” Moira asks him gently, trying to soften the question by the tone of her voice.
Charles rubs his eyes and sighs. “I wish I could say he won't, but even I'm starting to have doubts of it myself. He's so...lost. It's as if the shock of everything forced him to retreat and he just cannot find his way out. It's as if every time I just get a hint of his mind, it disappears as quickly as I found it.”
Moira's eyes widen at the fact that Charles admits that much to her. He really must be at his wit's end if he's being that open about his lack of success with Erik. She doesn't blame him, since she's seen the long hours he spends at Erik's bedside with his fingers pressed to his temples until Raven or the other boys or even herself coaxes him to eat, to read, to help them train and to live. Sometimes, it's the nurse that deals with the every day medical needs of Erik's broken and comatose body that force Charles out.
Those are times that everyone has learned to avoid Charles. Especially herself. He understands the necessity of her actions, but understanding and seeing the aftermath of those decisions and accepting it are two different and very delicate and complicated things. Despite his powers and understanding, Charles is still human and one of the things he can't deal with well is seeing others helpless and in pain. Coupled with the fact that it was his best friend and love in that situation...it made for tense times.
“What will you do if he is permanently lost?”
Moira doesn't want to be the one to ask it. She'd rather leave that careful mine-field manovering to Raven, but the girl has her own demons to face and the boys are useless and no one has ever heard Janos speak and the devil looking guy terrifies everyone...so it falls to her by default. They all are wondering, but no one is sure when they should address the possibility. She would have waited a few months longer to bring it up, but with Charles admitting that he's not had any success in bringing Erik back, she knows she can't put it off any longer.
Charles' face suddenly goes smoothly blank and pale and Moira draws back, an apology already on her lips when Charles waves his hand abruptly and plunks his teacup down on the counter, sloshing the tea on the usually pristine surface.
“Then I will deal with it as the situation arises. But until then, I will keep trying. I won't leave him there when I can do everything in my power to help him. If you'll excuse me, Moira.”
Charles wipes up the spills and deposits his half full cup into the sink before calmly exiting the kitchen, leaving Moira to her thoughts and to a coffee that is now even more bitter in her mouth than it had been before.
She ends up dumping it down the sink as well.