mattlauercansuckit: (Default)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title Here Lies Everything
author [livejournal.com profile] patientalien
rating PG-13
word count 1440
summary The end and the beginning. Takes place during the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Badlands"
notes For my [livejournal.com profile] citizenjess. I love you so much. Fulfills the "mistaken identity" prompt for my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card. Title from "Everything You Ever" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

-----




Magneto is not a man who readily admits to failure. However, as he watches his Sentinels (they were supposed to protect them!) burn Genosha to the ground, he can admit, now, that he was wrong. The Sentinels (they were supposed to keep them safe!) were never under his control, and the humans do not care how many they are killing, how much art and beauty they are destroying. The humans never understood true beauty, after all.

"Father."

Magneto turns to see Lorna standing beside him, her shining hair flowing around her as if caught in a light breeze. He does not know where her sister is; Wanda set out to fight the Sentinels, and Magneto suspects she has been caught in the conflagration outside, just one more of the so many already lost. "Go down to the catacombs," he commands her, turning back to the window. "Stay there until it is over." He cannot save Wanda, or any of the others, but he can save Lorna.

"No!" she exclaims, youthful defiance flashing across her face. "I'm staying with you! I'm going to fight!" So willful, she is, Magneto thinks. So strong and selfless. So unlike him. Genosha's death is because of his selfishness, his weakness, and he cannot bear the thought of losing his surviving daughter for the same reasons, much as he wants to keep her by his side.

He turns to her. "Do not argue with me," he intones, knowing, now, what he must do. There is an explosion outside, the blaze coming ever-closer to the palace. He slides his helmet - the symbol of the House of Magnus for so long - off his head, shaking out his hair. He settles it onto Lorna's head; it will protect her, will give to her if not power, then at least the symbol of his power (she has enough of his power already, she just needs the confidence).

"Father." She is trembling, luminous green eyes filling with tears. "Don't."

Magneto - or maybe just Erik, now - slips off his cape and drapes his over her shoulders. She looks like a little girl playing dress-up, but Magneto knows better. "Stay down there until it is over," he instructs, again. He looks towards the window; the fire is nearly upon them. "I love you." It is difficult for him to say the words, not because he doesn't love her, but because he's never been able to say them to anyone, not even those who matter more to him than life (Wanda, Lorna, Pietro... Charles).

She is shaking her head desperately, but he waves his hand and the floor falls away from her just as the first licks of white-hot flame touch the window. She screams as she falls, and Magneto turns back to the window as flames engulf him.

-----


20 Years Later

-----


The Badlands live up to their name, Charles Xavier thinks bitterly as he wakes up, realizing that he is upside-down, suspended by his leg braces connected to a metal structure of some sort. Everything around him seems to be made of metal, and he feels a glimmer of recognition (the Sentinel-dogs, ripped to pieces by a magnetic force, the strength which which he himself had been spirited away). He stamps it down as quickly as it appears; it is too much to hope.

He unbuckles himself from the braces and falls unceremoniously to the sandy ground. Once he gets his breath back, he tries to regroup, reaches out with his powers to see if he is alone (he knows he is not). A rustle in the wreckage in front of him draws his attention, and he sees the hem of a red and purple cape. His breath catches in his throat as the figure - tall, broad-shouldered, the shadow of a helmet so familiar that it is almost comforting - comes out from behind a metal pillar. He can't help himself when he chokes out, "Magneto!" The figure stops short, and Charles tries again. "Erik?"

It all falls into place. Despite the destruction of Genosha, he should have suspected that his old, best enemy would have survived. It is what Magneto has always done, it is in his blood to survive. Charles lets himself follow his thoughts to their conclusion: with Erik's help, his task of changing the future will be that much easier. Living in this terrible reality will be that much easier handle. With Erik's presence, he will feel whole again, in a way he has not since that day on the beach so very long ago.

The figure steps from the shadows, and Charles gasps, partially in surprise, but mostly in disappointment. It is not Magneto, but it is his progeny. "Lorna!" he corrects himself, recognizing Erik's youngest daughter. It is a near thing, he almost can't see the girl he once knew under the pallor of her skin, the way her flesh is drawn taut over the bones of her face. She, he realizes, has seen horrors worse than he can imagine.

"I am Polaris now," she informs him, turning away, so tense she is shaking. She whirls back to him, eyes blazing. "And you are going to die!"

Charles shakes his head, unsure of where the sudden vitriol is coming from. "Lor... Polaris," he says, trying to sound soothing, comforting. He can't get into her mind with the damnable helmet on, but he can at least try to use some of his less-developed gifts to calm her.

"You were his enemy," she spits. "He went to Genosha to escape people like you! You led the humans right to us!" He understands, now, though it is clear the years alone have unhinged her. "It's your fault he's dead!" She lashes out, and metal strips wrap around him, drawing him upright.

"No," he says. "No, I was not your father's enemy." And they never were, not really. Not in any way that really mattered, in any case. "We were friends," he continues. "I just did not agree with what he was doing." It had been a point of contention long before they'd officially gone their separate ways, but it had never truly come between them. Until the end, they had been friends, sometimes more. The reality that Erik was truly gone was like a punch in the gut; though he'd thought he'd come to terms with it when he'd first woken from his coma, to see the evidence of it now was staggering.

"Why should I believe you?" Polaris demands as Charles' unlikely band of companions comes over the ridge protecting the twisted metal palace. The ruins, Charles realizes, horrified, of Genosha. She catches sight of the others, and lets out a shriek. The metal around them stirs, and she is frenzied, piecing chunks together in what Charles suddenly recognizes as the form of a Sentinel. Before he can wonder what the remains of a Sentinel are doing all the way out here, it is attacking, controlled by Polaris' rage and grief.

"Do not try to stop it!" Charles barks. "Get the helmet off!" If he can get into her mind, he can calm her. He does not want to control her, the same way he never sought to control her father, but he does want her to be safe. The way she is lashing out now, he doubts her ability to control her powers in the long term.

"I've got it!" Marrow exclaims, pulling off a jutting fragment of bone from her back. She rears back, throws it boomerang-style, at the girl in the too-big cape. The helmet clatters to the ground; Polaris shrieks, and the metal that has encompassed Charles peels away. He drops, pulls the helmet to himself. He dives into her mind, heedless of the pain he may cause himself.

Images bombard him; Genosha, burning. Erik, bestowing his legacy onto a girl not ready to be torn so violently from her family. His friend, going down with his dream. Polaris has calmed, is sitting on the ground. The Sentinel has frozen, mid-attack. "I'm so sorry," Charles gasps. "Your father was a good man." Misguided, perhaps, but good nonetheless. "And... his strength will live on in you."

Polaris looks up at him, her hair chopped, dull, her eyes full of tears. "I miss him," she chokes out.

Charles lowers his head. "I do too," he admits. He has never missed anyone more, but seeing Polaris, so much like her father in so many ways, gives him hope that the future that has been wrought can, indeed, be changed. Then, perhaps, one day he will wake up in Erik's arms once again.

Date: 2011-10-26 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] citizenjess.livejournal.com
I liked the bits about Magneto ruminating on Lorna. I had a mental image of his children as the Largo siblings; Lorna is, of course, Pavi, kind of innocent and naive. I assume Mags' kids fare better than the Largos, but uh, you know. :P

I also really liked Charles' determination for Erik to have survived in Genosha, and how tender he is with Polaris. I think he recognizes how fragile she is in the wake of everything that has happened to her.

Date: 2011-10-26 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
And now I have "Mark it Up" stuck in my head. Thanks for that. :P

I think Charles just really wanted Erik to have survived, and I think he definitely feels a certain pity for Polaris given everything she's gone through. He lost Magneto kind of as an afterthought, she was there when it happened, etc.

Date: 2011-10-26 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] citizenjess.livejournal.com
Pietro will find a hole and fuck it. :P

Date: 2011-10-26 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
If there ain't one, he will make one. Pietro don't take shit from no-one.

Date: 2011-10-26 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] citizenjess.livejournal.com
So many glory holes to make, so little time.

Date: 2011-10-26 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
In EVERYTHING.

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