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fic: Revelations

Title: Revelations
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: X-Men First Class
Pairing: Erik/Charles
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Mention of consent issues
Wordcount: 1261
A/N: part of the Patterns of Light series; thanks to [personal profile] kalypso for invaluable beta advice and to Owl-by-Night for cheering me on.
Summary: “Don’t tell me this, Lehnsherr.” MacTaggert stares at him, her face white with shock and anger.



“Don’t tell me this, Lehnsherr.” MacTaggert stares at him, her face white with shock and anger.

You think I want to tell you this? Any of it? He doesn’t say it, but his look probably does it for him.

He’s cold and sick inside, remembering the moment of discovery. Dragged from sleep by the shrill clamor of his alarm-clock across the room, and stumbling out of bed, still groggy, to find a heap of bedding and a discarded police uniform at one end of the sofa. Rushing into the hallway, frantic, almost locked himself out: no sign of Xavier. He could have been gone for hours.

How do you tell your boss that her precious key witness has vanished, who knows where? That you’ve lost him, lost the case you’ve been working on for months now?

Lost more than that. His stomach knots with rage again. That strip of photographs: himself and Charles Xavier, kissing and making out in a seaside photobooth. (Seaside? Where did that idea come from? There’s a crackle in his head, like electricity shorting.)

“We had a fight,” he says. “I found out about the memory wipe.”

“What the hell?” MacTaggert explodes. “He had no business to tell you that.”

“He didn’t,” Erik says tightly. “Like I said, I found out.”

He takes the strip of photographs from his pocket and lays it on the desk. (Another echo: there were photographs on the desk before, weren’t there? Surveillance photos, with Charles in them. He can’t get the memory clear: too many images blurring and overlapping, fluttering like the leaves of a calendar in a movie sequence.)

MacTaggert stares at the shiny strip of paper in disbelief. “But you didn’t even know him,” she says. “You’d never seen him before that night at the jazz club.”

He doesn’t remember the jazz club. Ask MacTaggert, Charles had said. She was there when we met.

There’s a smudge at the top right hand corner of the strip - his fingerprint or Charles’s, he doesn’t know. The paper must hold both, as it holds their likeness together. It’s all that’s left of whatever there was between them - that, and the flashes and jolts of Erik’s mind, fragments of the memories Xavier took from him.

“What does it look like to you?” he says harshly.

“Don’t do this, Erik. It’ll finish you with the Service.”

“You think I care about that?”

Yes, I think you care about that.”

It’s true: the department’s been his life for the last ten years. Until yesterday, he’d have fought with everything he had to stay. Now, he won’t lift a finger. His life as he knows it is over; what does it matter if he loses his job?

“Not any more,” he says.

“And Shaw?” she snaps. “What the hell are we supposed to do about Shaw? You have to get Xavier back.”

“Find another way,” he snaps back. “Break Frost. I don’t know where he’s gone. How could I? He wiped my memory and you stood by and let him.”

She jumps up from her chair as if she’s about to take a swing at him. He braces himself but it doesn’t happen. She breathes hard, and holds herself very still.

“You consented to that,” she says. “More than consented, you insisted.”

Charles had said that, too. He hadn’t believed him. But MacTaggert wouldn’t lie. She’s a pain in the ass but she’s honest - it’s one of the things she and Erik have in common.

She pushes her hands through her hair. “I thought you wanted it so much because of Moss’s death. Christ, what a mess.”

Another flash and crackle of static in his head, MacTaggert’s voice saying They have a telepath. Moss told us that much, before he – .

“What did Xavier have to do with Ray’s death? Was he there?” His scalp crawls with rage.

“No, that’s just it,” she says bitterly. “If Xavier had agreed to go into Shaw’s house in the first place, it wouldn’t have happened. But he refused point blank, the first time we tried to recruit him. That’s when Moss went in.”

“But Xavier was Shaw’s lover,” he says, bewildered. That much had been obvious, from the briefing and everything else. “He was in the house already.”

MacTaggert shakes her head. “We planted him, after Moss died,” she says. “We knew there was a connection between him and Shaw, but he insisted they’d never been sexually involved, whatever it looked like in the photographs.”

(Photographs on the desk. Shaw with his hands all over Charles. A surge of fury, half-remembered, the taste of bile in his throat.)

If what Charles said was true, if they were the ones who pushed him into Shaw’s bed, against his will, if he was part of that – He can’t even think about it.

“You said you couldn’t work with him as long as you knew what he’d done. I’d never have let you near him again if I’d known what it really was.”

“Darkholme has his testimony,” Erik says, knowing he’s clutching at straws. “Some of it, at least.”

“It’s not enough,” MacTaggert says. “We need him to take the stand.”

For a moment he’s tempted to suggest finding another counsel and getting Darkholme to impersonate Charles - she’s done it once already. But it wouldn’t work: with the collar and the suppressants they’d insist on to keep Xavier’s telepathy in check, she wouldn’t be able to keep up the illusion.

MacTaggert turns away from him and pulls open one drawer after another in her filing cabinet. What’s she looking for? he wonders, and then he gets it. She’s giving him a chance to take back his confession, to pocket the evidence. Moira MacTaggert, turning a blind eye for the first time in her career. He’s speechless, and she says nothing, her back turned. Waiting.

The phone rings, shattering the silence.

“Fuck!” she says, whirling round to grab the receiver. “MacTaggert.”

A babble of indistinct sound from the other end of the call makes her sit down hard. “What?” she says. “When? Jesus Christ. How many? ... Which way did they go?”

His stomach lurches, like an elevator dropping too fast.

It can’t be that. It can’t be anything else.

“Shaw and Frost just broke out of jail,” MacTaggert says heavily, putting the receiver back on its cradle. “Killed three guards. They’re still picking up the pieces.”

He tries to speak but nothing comes out. It’s like his throat is full of sand.

Charles.

“Last anyone saw, they were heading north-east,” she says. “Mean anything to you?”

It’s the closest he’s ever been to saying Fuck you to his boss. How can it mean anything to him? There’s nothing left but these flashes in his brain, like static from a faulty TV set.

He picks up the strip of photographs, the corner of the shiny paper sharp against his fingertips. A seaside photobooth, his mind had called it. Seaside. Cold spring, crossing the Bay Bridge.

Rehoboth.

“Delaware,” he says. “They’re heading for the Delaware coast. Frost must know where he is.”

She grabs the phone again and punches in the number. “Hello? This is Agent MacTaggert. Put out an APB for - what the hell are you doing, Lehnsherr?”

He jerks the office door open. “I’m going to find Charles before they do.”

“You’re going nowhere without backup,” she hisses at him, her hand over the mouthpiece.

“No time,” he says. “Goodbye, Moira.”

He never uses her first name, but it’s not like they’ll meet again in this life and he doesn’t believe in the next.



Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/215817.html with comment count unavailable comments.

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