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fic: Remembering Angel

Title: Remembering Angel
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: X-Men: First Class/X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pairing: Erik/Charles
Rating: G
Warnings: none, but spoilers for Days of Future Past
Wordcount: 839
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: After the White House, Erik needs time to recover.
A/N: Written for the "wingfic" square on my trope_bingo card; thanks to [personal profile] unforgotten, [personal profile] kalypso and 2ndskin for their encouragement with this one.





The days are turning colder and the summer visitors are mostly gone. Erik sits on the dunes at Assateague, watching the wild ponies crop the grass. Some people say they were domesticated once, but now they’ll attack anyone who gets too close.

It’s not a bad place to hide out, and certainly not anywhere his pursuers would think of looking for him. He can’t sense the presence of other mutants in the way Charles would, but the few campers left on the island are either human or passing for human. He fits in well enough in his civilian clothes, just another hiker getting away from it all, catching fish and cooking them on the beach, or spending hours gazing over the saltmarsh at the egrets and herons.

His powers have little scope for exercise here, but for now that matters less than having air and space, with hardly an enclosed structure as far as the eye can see. Ten years in a concrete cell have left him with a hunger for open skies, for colour and sound and the taste of sea-spray on his lips. Each time he thinks about going back to the city, he feels that tightness in his chest, as if the straps of his prison uniform were pressing in on him again. A little longer out here in the sun and the wind and he’ll be ready. The wounds Mystique gave him are long since healed, and his strength has returned.

A dragonfly sits sunning itself on a piece of driftwood, so close he could stretch out his hand and touch it. The wings make him think of Angel, so long ago: the first mutant he and Charles found together. The two of them drinking champagne on a red velvet bed, like some honeymoon couple, watching the wings unfurling from Angel’s back. Shining and strong, the tracery of veins so intricate and beautiful it almost took his breath away. How many men had watched her, paid her, desired her, never knowing what she truly was?

The sight of the creature’s outstretched wings stirs another memory – one he didn’t know he had. A single wing in a glass case, like a museum exhibit. Except that this display case was locked away, behind sealed metal doors he’d used his powers to rip open.

He wonders what’s become of that sealed museum, now the glass has been broken and the centrepiece has vanished. What would they have done with Angel’s wing, that sick trophy cut from her body?

He hadn’t even registered that he’d seen it: too focused on what he was there to do. Retrieving his helmet so that Charles couldn’t stop him from turning the Sentinels on the crowd at the White House, or from killing Mystique and making the future safe for mutantkind. Except it hadn’t worked out that way.

He watches the dragonfly take off, darting and swooping in the morning air. The memory of Angel alive and laughing seems a century ago, like the memory of himself and Charles, full of hope and the excitement of each other’s company, the attraction burning brightly between them. Everything seemed possible then, with Charles by his side, the way it should be.

When Charles told him on the plane to Paris about the choice he’d made between his powers and the drug, Erik could hardly believe him. But all that’s changed now; Charles has regained his powers with a vengeance, whatever it costs him. The White House was not Erik’s victory, but his. His and Mystique’s: her contemptuous voice still echoes through Erik’s dreams, saying He’s all yours, Charles.

They had let him go, the pair of them. Once he would have despised that as weakness, but he knows there’s nothing weak about either of them. To feel Charles in his head again like that was overwhelming – the sheer force of it, stronger than Erik had ever felt him before. More than ever, Erik wonders what he could achieve with Charles by his side now, Charles at the height of his powers.

A skein of geese crosses the sky, their cries blending with the sound of their wings. He imagines Charles hours ago, looking up from his chair on the terrace to see them heading south.

It’s not so far to Westchester, and the house is easily big enough for one more mutant to lie low in. He wouldn’t have to feel shut in, in a place that size. The thought of it is like a sharp ache: to be with Charles again, fighting their battles in words, on the chessboard, in bed…

Charles let him go. Charles will take him back, at least for a time. And if he thinks he can win Erik round to his point of view, well, Erik has his own ways of being persuasive.

There are worse ways to spend a winter, Erik thinks, watching the geese till they’re so far away he can hardly make them out. Whistling between his teeth, he gathers his belongings and starts to pack.


***

More on Assateague Island and its wildlife here.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/151652.html with comment count unavailable comments.

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