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Title: Mortuis, Vivit
Genre: AU with powers, zombie AU, Cherik, action, angst, hurt/comfort, violence, death
Warnings: Zombie-grade violence with great detail; death; sexin’; cursing, angst.
Chapter 7: Cursus
Erik is tired of fighting.
It’s a thought that has never before occurred to him. When he escaped the camps, he embarked on a ceaseless journey of movement and stalking, hunting, killing. He reveled in his work. It had become his sole comfort to him, a way to soothe the many agonies buried deep within him.
Now he fights, and the only reason for it is locked in an iron collar, moaning incessantly in his ears, clawing at him more weakly by the day.
“Charles,” he says today, as he has said for the past four days. “You are Charles Xavier, goddammit. You’re a man. Wake up. Wake up.”
Erik flinches as his mind curdles with violent hunger. Charles is still a telepath, even when locked in the grip of a dead mentality, and he can still receive and project with astonishing clarity. Thankfully, he does not appear to be able to control Erik in this state; Erik supposes that a conscious will is necessary for mind control. But receiving the images in Charles’ mind is a form of torture that Shaw would have been pleased to use.
Erik shakes the images away. He does not know what to do, and the feeling is unsettling in a way that makes his stomach ache. He is a man of action. This sitting and hoping is a foreign, nihilistic exercise and the waste of it makes him sick.
He rummages through their supplies. He cannot pretend to himself any more that they can simply wait out Charles’ latest fugue. They need to move, or they will die of thirst.
He moves more slowly than he would like. The days of little food are beginning to take a toll on him. Erik knows his reaction times are dulled, that if a horde were to happen upon them, he would not be at his best. They need to leave now, or never again. And looking into those blue eyes, no matter how wild, Erik knows he cannot make a choice that leaves Charles with only certain death.
So it is that he packs the scant contents of both packs into a single bag, and straps the weapons to himself in a familiar routine that today is muddled. He swallows, then reaches out his hand to call the metal in Charles’ chain. It leaps to his hand gratefully, and before the terrible simulacrum of Charles can leap to bite him, Erik pulls the chain, jerking Charles viciously to the side.
Summer in upstate New York was a cruel thing, Charles thought ruefully. He sighed. In an astonishing oversight, the library had been built on the third floor. He could have collected the books he wished to examine and taken them down into the cool bunker underground, but he would have had to make several trips in the heat, in which case staying upstairs in the first place was the most appealing option.
So he sat there in one of the plush overstuffed chairs, feeling a little foolish in his undershirt and a pair of shorts, and still feeling dreadfully hot. The air lay thick and heavy on him. Even with the windows open, the world outside refused a breeze.
A knock at the door to the library had him stirring from his reverie. He looked toward the door, moving sluggishly through the humid air. ”Who is it?” he called.
Erik poked his head through the doorway, his face shining with sweat. He, too, was stripped down to a thin white undershirt and flimsy shorts. ”How can you possibly concentrate in this hellishness?” he asked dryly.
"One does what one must," said Charles, though it was with the weakest enthusiasm that he turned the next page in the heavy genetics tome.
"You could have at least asked me for a little help," said the other man, a wry grin twisting his face.
"How do you figure?"
Erik stepped into the room, pulling up the chair next to Charles and settling into it. He nodded to the metal bookends keeping the books separated and neat, then gestured. Five of the bookends flew out to hover above them as Erik lazily twirled a finger. The brushed steel that had looked so modern — something Erik had suggested, instead of the baroque wooden bookends that had been there for ages — now seemed to melt and flatten above their heads, transforming now into a familiar shape. The new fan whirred merrily above them, sending a blessedly cool stream of fresh air down into their faces.
"Better?" asked Erik. His lips pulled back into a smile, revealing a long row of gleaming teeth. His eyes, so often cold, were now quick and playful.
"I suppose now you think that you’re earning your keep," said Charles. "Seeing as you’re being so helpful and all."
"No, no," said Erik seriously. "I know I need to do rather more than that."
He leaned over and pulled Charles’ face close to his, meeting his lips with a kiss that was full and hot and wanting. Charles moaned, closing his eyes and savoring the sensation of Erik’s wet mouth on his. The book in Charles’ lap clattered to the floor, as up above the fan’s cooling breeze wavered.
"Ah… perhaps you should put that down for the moment," said Charles, glancing up to see the fan wobbling madly in midair. "Concentrate on… other endeavors."
Eric gestured slightly and the fan made a hasty landing on the floor. Charles didn’t notice what happened to it after that, as he was too busy climbing over his chair and onto Erik’s lap, sweat and humidity and stickiness be damned.
Perhaps, he reflected, before Erik tore his undershirt off, summer wasn’t so bad after all.
Fewer clothes to get in the way.
Title: Mortuis, Vivit
Genre: AU with powers, zombie AU, Cherik, action, angst, hurt/comfort, WIP
Warnings: standard zombie-grade violence described in great detail, also some sexin’ and cursing.
Length: 7200~ words in 6 chapters, WIP. Previous chapters here: http://fanfoolishness.tumblr.com/post/26156011225/zombie-cherik-fic-returns
Chapter 6: Janus
Erik’s nerves are raw. The moans of the undead wear on him, even when they’re at a distance; hundreds of yards away is close enough to run his mind ragged. Hearing them in his ears from only a few feet away is enough to make him want to kill.
But it’s Charles, trapped by his telepathy, making those hated sounds. Erik lifts his hooded eyes to watch the other man, a feeling of nausea rising in his chest. Erik had taken the old crowbar and formed the unwarped part of it into a collar, which now sat loosely around Charles’ neck. It’s old and grimy, and leaves a ring of grayish dirt against the skin of the other man’s throat. Luckily Erik had led them to a small cabin in the forest, using his magnetic sense, and the people who had owned the place had had a dog. Charles was now chained to the wall furthest from the door and window.
Charles is settled back on his haunches, like an animal, like a predator. His pupils stare but only vaguely; they don’t seem to focus on anything in particular. He’s still filthy from their flight through the forest, his face spattered with blood and what Erik guesses is bile. And he sits there groaning, red lips parted obscenely to produce the sound.
Erik understands, mostly, what has happened. The same thing had happened at the house at the lake; there had been a horde, they’d been fighting, and suddenly Charles had turned on Erik, his jaw working, teeth snapping. Erik was bitten twice on the forearm before he flung Charles back into the other room of the house. It had taken him hours to destroy the horde alone, shooting them through the window, sending his weapons out to work on them. When it was over, he had warily gone back to Charles, his heart in his throat, blood crusted on his arm. He did not feel feverish or sick, the way that bitten people they had seen before acted. It just felt like a normal bite, a little sore, a little tender, with no deadly infection coursing through him. But yet Charles was still behind the door, growling and scrabbling at the walls instead of simply turning the doorknob and walking out.
That was when Erik had been slammed with a wave of violence that was achingly bright and realistic. Erik could taste blood in his mouth, feel the way flesh gives way to teeth, feel chunks of it choking in his esophagus. Charles’ power had been twisted by the overwhelming feel of monsters broadcasting their mad hunger, overwhelmed by the sameness of the creatures’ projections.
It took two days of Erik shooting straggler creatures out of the window before Charles came to his senses. In that time Erik had had to pin Charles against the wall in the other room, fighting off the other man’s pawing hands to dribble water from a bottle down his throat. The constant moaning was dehydrating him rapidly. Erik tried leaving bread on the ground, but Charles had ignored it. So Erik stayed in the main room alone, while Charles groaned and scrabbled at the walls in the other room, incapable of opening the door. Erik tried to talk to him, at first, but could not bear to hear the answering gibbering noises from the Oxford-educated man. He retreated into a state of silence, waiting, scarcely moving so as to avoid startling Charles.
A bleak morning dawned, the weather as drab and muddled as Erik’s thoughts. Chief among these thoughts was the one he tried to suppress, and kept failing at; the idea that Charles might never come back from this psychotic break. He tried stuffing his brain with other thoughts, memories of better times with Charles, before somehow the dead could walk and hunt and kill. It felt like an empty exercise, but for scattered moments, at least, he could lose himself in a chess game, or a bottle of wine, or the bedroom.
He had not seen one of the undead for over six hours, and began to hope that the horde had been destroyed. He had just settled down onto the shabby settee for a much-needed nap when the doorknob on the door to the other room twisted, and Charles stumbled out, tears running down his face.
“Erik,” he gasped, and his voice was ragged sandpaper. “Thank God. I thought something had happened to you.”
Erik stood and carefully guided Charles down to sit, settling beside him. He was shaky with relief, a feeling that was foreign to him. “Charles, I –“ He didn’t know what to say, so he swept the other man into an awkward embrace, then held him out to look at him. Charles looked dreadful. Drool and blood had dried on his stubble, his hair was missing chunks, and his arms were covered with scratches. His fingernails were worn down to nubs, his fingertips raw from the flesh being scraped away on the walls. The two days without food left him looking even thinner than weeks of short commons had left him.
“Where did you go?” asked Erik quietly.
Charles looked baffled for a moment. “Go? What do you mean? I should ask you the same –“ Then a shadow crossed his face, and with it, a painful realization. “Oh, God. Oh, fuck.” He began to tremble, and Erik hurriedly grabbed the tattered blanket that lay on the floor, pulling it around Charles’ shoulders.
Charles licked his lips, which were dry and cracked despite Erik’s attempts to keep him hydrated. He spoke in a halting voice, so different from his usual self-assured tone. “I think I see what happened, now,” he said dully. “It’s – it’s this.” He gestured vaguely at his temple. “This bloody mutation. When I was a little boy, I – sometimes found it difficult, to remember who I was, when there were all these other voices shouting in my mind. But I learned to control it. Humans and mutants… they pose no problem. But these…”
Erik could think of nothing to say. Even without a telepathic connection he felt the other man’s shame rolling off of him in waves; shame at being overmastered, shame at his loss of control. So instead of saying anything, he just inched closer to Charles, then brought one arm up to rest around his shoulders.
“But you’re all right now,” he said gruffly.
“For now,” said Charles. “For now.”
Erik shakes his head, startled out of his memories by another rattling moan from Charles. Charles had come out of his fugue on his own at the lake house, but here they are now, supplies low, half of the horde still out there. Erik had simply taken Charles and fled once he understood the situation. Charles might fool a human or mutant observer, but he has no doubts that the dead would still see Charles as one of the living, nothing more than meat. He couldn’t hope to protect both a ravening Charles and himself, so they had fled, Charles staggering at his side.
Now they stare at each other, ten feet of space separating them, enough space so that even with Charles stretching out to his full length and wheeling his arms, he still can’t reach Erik. Erik’s chest feels dull and heavy, watching Charles claw uselessly at the air, saliva coating his face, those goddamned moans so ugly and strange.
“Charles. Charles. Charles,” Erik says sharply, again and again. He thinks of all the things that make up the other man: brilliance, telepathy, a good heart, rubbish flirting, chess skills. He wishes, not for the first time, that he could send these things directly into Charles’ mind to negate the filthy residues of the dead. Remember what you are!
But that’s not his gift. He can only think these things hopelessly, longing for them to reach the other man, with no real way to tell if his thoughts are being received at all.
Charles sags against the wall, slumping back to a crouching position, his head lolling on one shoulder. The posture is so unnatural and uncomfortable that Erik knows his thoughts are merely echoing in an empty room.
Erik remembers what it was like to be alone before. His ruthless hunts had brought him a hollow joy, enough to keep him moving. Exacting revenge was the only thing he knew to do for that boy in a doctor’s office, long ago. He thought it was enough. Until he met Charles.
Charles, who had seemed like just another stuffy academic who didn’t know how to handle his liquor. Erik had given him one glance and ignored him, instead choosing a booth in the back of the bar, waiting for the man whose father had been an officer in the camps. The man never showed, and somehow Charles found his way to Erik’s booth, rudely sliding in to the seat across from him, carrying an English beer for himself and a German brew for Erik.
“I don’t want company,” said Erik flatly, ignoring the beer.
Charles’s ruddy face contracted into an expression of keen insight, something that looked out of place on a man who appeared to be on his ninth drink. He licked his lips carefully, then said, “You’re like me, you know.”
“Do enlighten me.”
Charles lifted a hand and settled it beside his temple, smiling devilishly. You see, you and I, we’re something different, he said, but the words were inside his head, and Erik recoiled instinctively.
“What the hell –“
We’re mutants, you and I. You have a way with metal. I have a way with minds. Quite fascinating, isn’t it? I’m so bloody excited I can’t stand it. And by the brightness in his eyes, the glowing smile, Erik could see the other man absolutely meant it.
That was the last time Erik’s tightly ordered world of hunts and planning made sense. Suddenly there was a world where he was not alone. At least, that was how it was supposed to be, until the dead began to move.
Erik sighs, turning away from the foul caricature of Charles, his eyes suddenly stinging. He shakes his head and swallows. “I’ll keep trying,” he says, in a low voice that is swallowed up by Charles’ heavy breathing. He looks out the window and sees the first of the shambling horde making its slow, painful way out into the clearing.
“I’ll keep trying.”
Much like a fallen comrade rising anew to lust for your brains, I’m working on my zombie Cherik fic again. This post is to put all the old chapters in one place and refresh people’s memory before I post the next chapters. Hopefully it will all be over soon! Gave it a new title (old title was a generic “The Fight”) and will keep the wanky Latin stuff going on, because it gives me a happy.
Title: Mortuis, Vivit
Genre: AU with powers, zombie AU, Cherik, action, angst, hurt/comfort, WIP
Warnings: standard zombie-grade violence described in great detail, also some sexin’ and cursing.
Length: 6000~ words in 5 chapters, WIP
Chapter 1: Proelio
Their whole lives, Charles muses, have become about fighting.
He remembers the fight in the beginning. When Erik refused to believe that something incredibly wrong was happening to those poor people, that they were becoming fundamentally changed. Charles could feel it, the way their minds were snuffed out of existence, replaced with nothing but gnawing animal hunger. He’d at last had to drag Erik out of his head and into Charles’, where he could see the way the humans and the mutants alike were now something… else.
They fought over what to call the new creatures. Dead. Undead. Zombies. Walkers. Erik favored the dead, wanting to cut ties with them as thoroughly as he could. Charles called them walkers. Even though he could feel the emptiness in what remained of their ravaged minds, the one-note ditty they all broadcast, the roaring song of famine and thirst — even though he felt that, he still wanted to believe there was something in them of their former selves.
Their battles against the creatures were mad, at first. Charles was able to procure guns from his stepfather’s arsenal, and though his shooting skills were rusty — he’d never enjoyed the lessons — they sufficed, though barely. They each took a rifle, a pistol, and cartons of ammunition. Erik, however, also carried a bag of assorted metal pieces: a crowbar, a hatchet, small knives, large knives, a pipe.
Charles is the pointman. He’ll climb to a safe vantage point, a tree or a small tower. From there he can lose himself in the unconsciousness of the walkers, keeping only a small portion of his awareness focused on his immediate surroundings. The rest of himself he lets wander, finding those vicious bursts of bloodlust in the psychic scenery, mapping them to the terrain. He gets their locations, fixes their violent hunger in his head (fight back the nausea, now, Charles, there’s a good chap) and sends it to Erik.
Erik is always waiting, instruments hovering in a tight circle around him, guns in hand. Charles admires him, the way he grew so efficient so quickly. He knows he shouldn’t have been surprised, he knew Erik’s history, but it is still breathtaking to watch the way Erik shoots a rifle in one direction and sends a levitating crowbar or a whirling pipe smashing through a skull six feet behind him. Charles is there in Erik’s head, their connection the one shimmering bit of humanity that Charles can sense. He cherished that connection, even as he used it to help Erik crush another, and another, and another, former person.
It was all they had, after all.
When they clear an area, and find a place to shelter, there’s another fight, over whose turn it is to bugger the other. Something about feeling the deaths of the undead, the adrenaline coursing through their veins, always leads to rough kisses and desperate touches, as if to make sure the other one is really there. A detached part of Charles thinks that there’s something sad about the way they cling to each other, as if to forget the sickness outside. And another part of him is simply grateful that they can still sweat and taste and kiss and fuck, like people, like the living, and he laughs and buries his face in the crook of Erik’s neck.
They may be fighting, but at least it’s together.
It’s really just another of your standard Charles-has-trouble-coping-after-his-first-time-with-Cerebro fics but I hope you lot enjoy it anyway. I might pick it up again… I do miss my brokeback mutants ;_;
Charles was restless. His mind itched and crawled, aching at the confinement of his own skull. He reeled with excitement at the memory of using Hank’s invention, Cerebro. There had been so many minds spread out before him, a wonderland of exploration, an invigorating vista of new horizons. He had ignored the way Cerebro made his head throb at the effort: what was a little discomfort after such exploration? He was hungry for more, even with the headache still pulsing at his temples.
They were going to use Cerebro again tomorrow to further bolster their list of potential recruits, but for tonight, he had watched Hank triple lock the doors of the installation. Hank said it was because Charles had done enough, that his machines had started to show evidence that Charles was becoming strained. Raven had looked relieved when Charles begrudgingly lifted the helmet from his head. Erik’s face had been harder to read, his mouth tightening in what appeared to be a combination of intrigue and disappointment.
Charles had left Cerebro with Raven at his side, protectively demanding to know what he saw. At times Hank would interrupt her out of scientific excitement. Erik had followed behind the three of them, seeming quiet, but to Charles’ newly sensitized mind, he could tell that Erik’s consciousness was awash with conflicting thoughts. He did not particularly mean to listen, but he heard Erik’s thoughts anyway.
Erik’s mind was a swirl of visceral disgust – treating him like an animal, testing him, experimenting – distrust – what are they going to do to the rest of us – and strangely, a sense of pride mingled in with the other emotions. Even so he is astonishing, can he really find people hundreds of miles away? Incredible. The questions from Hank and Raven crowded out his perception of Erik and he let it fall away to insist, for the third time, that he was perfectly fine.
But he was not perfectly fine. In the initial rush of using the machine he had ignored physical sensation as much as he could and was only aware of a building headache. Once he had made his way back into the facility and shaken off Hank, Erik and Raven to go to his quarters, he realized that he in fact felt very, very strange. The last few steps into the room were strangely difficult: he felt disoriented as he opened the door and made his way to the nearest of the two hard twin beds. He looked up blearily, realizing he had forgotten to shut the door: he would get to it later, he decided.
The headache, rather than diminishing, seemed to be strengthening. The pain made him groan and sink his head into his palms. His hands were shaking, he realized. He looked at his hands: they looked normal, aside from a slight tremor.
Suddenly he could not see his hands, or anything in front of him. Instead he saw a kaleidoscope of images, layered with thoughts and feelings: a dull meal in the kitchen, a hot shower, tattered documents in German, reports, telephones; mixed with excitement and worry and a seething rage, body sensations of warmth and hunger and tongue and teeth moving, swirling around him, he had only a faint sense of who these people were, what was happening, how did he get back to himself –
Charles was on the ground; the cement floor was cold and hard beneath him. He blinked and looked up, his vision blurring. There was someone there, tall, lean, male, dark shirt. He focused.
“Ah,” said Charles thickly. “Erik. How nice to see you.”
I can hear James’ and Michael’s accent slips more with every rewatch. The ends of sentences are where they tend to lose their movie accents, where pronounced Irish r sounds and singsong Scottish lilts leak through. It’s adorable.
The airline has edited out quite a bit in the name of “Family Friendly” fare. “Fuck” = “frak,” “badass” = “bad news” (WTF?) and perhaps best of all, “old fart” = “old fuss.” They even blurred out the mannequins’ boobs – which didn’t even have nipples in the first place!
I really wish that Charles had been more thoroughly explored in the movie; it would have been welcome. Where did his determination to believe the best of people in all circumstances come from? He reminds me of Ender Wiggin, Speaker for the Dead, from Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quartet: Ender was able to empathize with anyone, human or alien, and able to understand their intentions and the way they viewed themselves. But Ender only honed that gift after unknowingly committing xenocide, destroying an entire species. How did Charles arrive at that gift of extreme empathy, when Emma Frost, another telepath, only views humans with disdain? Did Charles, like Ender, also unknowingly commit great wrong early in his life, which shaped his worldview? Charles sees the disconnect between people’s intentions and their actions, and understands and cares for them regardless. Why?
Charles Xavier is at many times described as one of the most powerful mutants in the world. This begs the question: when does he use this power? We must consider the possibility that at some times – or even most of the time – that Charles manipulates those around him into being their better selves, perhaps unconsciously, with only Erik and other telepaths being immune. There is evidence that despite what Charles wants – people to choose wisely on their own merits – that he may wind up manipulating them for “the greater good,” if necessary. He bends the will of the CIA agent (“Get in the car!” “Okay!”) and wipes Moira’s memory. These things are indeed necessary for the greater good. But what if Charles’ definition of the “greater good” expanded, until he felt that it was necessary for him to control more and more to achieve a greater end, a la Leto II, God Emperor of Dune? I could easily see Charles slipping into megalomania and a hyperinflated sense of control in order to produce “good” for people. Mmmm, morally ambiguous Charles…
I think that even without the emotional and physical torture Erik endured in the concentration camps, that he would always have been a dangerous man. So many people suffered in the camps and yet did not emerge as vengeful hunters. Erik’s intelligence, his extreme focus, and perhaps most dangerously, his sense of justice, combined with his trauma to make him a singly perilous force. However, had he grown up loved and safe, or even neglected like Charles – I still think he would have been a dangerous man. I think Erik would always have had difficulty with his means, no matter what his ends.
Erik reminds me of a predatory bird, a hawk or a falcon. He is fierce, cunning, and strikes with surgical precision. He is very nearly fearless. And yet, just like a smaller raptor, there is still fear: he remembers a doctor who was bigger than him, more powerful than him, who held him an emotional hostage… That thin thread of fear is still there in the grown man, a memory of a scared, angry 12-year-old boy with a helpless rage. It’s heartbreaking. And yet you can’t get too close to him, to try and save him, because just like a raptor he will try and attack you even if you mean to help him. Charles was the only one who ever got close: and unfortunately, he will always bear the scars that Erik gave him.
Speaking of that… GODDAMMIT MUTANT BOYFRIENDS YOU NEED TO JUST KISS ON THE BEACH AND THEN EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE :( :( :(
Also Erik you are such the stupidest boyfriend ever, who the hell discusses differing ideologies when your boyfriend is shot on the beach, you are seriously terrible at this
I HEART THIS MOVIE