Chapter Three: You Tell Him
Joining the Brotherhood turned out to be more dangerous than you thought. It has been a month after your first mission in Washington, D.C. to infiltrate the Pentagon. Magneto has had use for you elsewhere and you have traveled around the country helping the Brotherhood. The work is never boring.
Your second assignment was to go to Austin, TX on a recruiting mission. There had been news reports of a mutant who could shoot spikes out of his forearms. Teamed with Callisto, who still hadn’t warmed to you, you headed to the Southwest. Once in the lone star state, Callisto found tracking the mutant easy. Taming him was another matter. He was being hunted by the National Guard and was running scared in the desert. Recruiting him had not been easy.
He shot at Callisto and you when he heard you two approach. Callisto dodged the horn-like spike with her usual swiftness. You were lucky to get out of the way. The spike whizzed right past you less than an inch off target. It tore a hole in your T-shirt.
The guy who could shoot spikes out of his arms was a medium large Caucasian man, bald and seemingly inherently angry. He did not respond to any of your verbal efforts to calm him. Callisto continued to dodge his attacks with speedy maneuvering. You took cover behind a large rock.
It was obvious spike guy had been in no mood to talk and your initial efforts to communicate ended in more spikes sailing through the air at you.
“It’s all your mind control, chick.” Callisto indicated this was your department.
You used your telepathy to calm the man down, removing the anger and fear from his mind. That got him to listen, but it didn’t get him to agree. Callisto and you did your best to try to explain to spike guy what the Brotherhood was and how it could help him. Spike guy was not in a state of mind to hear a sales pitch. He was confused, disoriented; he had been on the run for several days. You tried to remember the words Magneto used in his speech, but it was in vain. He declined your offer.
As spike guy moves away, Callisto grabbed you by the arm. “You can’t just let him walk away. He knows about us. What will Magneto think if we fail to recruit him?” It was a valid question and you were loathe to disappoint such a great man.
“What should I do?”
“Make him join us.” You’ve never used your powers like that before. You’ve never changed someone’s mind on such a critical issue; you’re not sure you can. But you close your eyes, focus, and try to.
It’s all over very quickly, a little suggestion in the right part of the brain and he walks back to you two. With deliberation he states that he would like to join the Brotherhood and follows you to your SUV with zombie-like precision.
Your recruiting work takes you to several more cities. It is usually Callisto who accompanies you. She appraised which potential recruits deserved a place in Magneto’s army and you helped to “persuade” the particularly powerful ones. Maybe you should have balked at using your mutation to change someone’s mind. But you don’t. It helps that when the mutants have lived with the Brotherhood a while and the mind control is long over, they seem happy and stay of their own accord. You tell yourself these mutants need the Brotherhood; that they’re isolated and scared, desperate to find others like them. Just as you were.
Now, however, you’re part of a group that understands you and certainly has use for you. Other than recruiting you’ve gathered intelligence on Cure production facilities and helped to dissuade violent anti-mutant protesters. The work fulfills you. Especially the part of you that hated living a lie and hiding what you were. It’s very freeing to acknowledge your mutation; your separation from the human world around you. And it feels right to make use of your telepathy as you rarely have before.
At the end of the month, you’re on the move with the rest of the Brotherhood, camping out in a national park in Northern California. The sequoias are hundreds of feet tall and Magneto’s army has grown to over a hundred mutants. You sleep in tents that Multiple Man “acquired” from an outdoor supply store. You cook food over open fires. Pyro is particularly astute at this and sometimes he roasts marshmallows for you and you two make smores.
There is a militaristic feel to the camp. You get that impression from the minds you read. The mutants are impatient and angry. You can tell something is going to happen soon. You’ve read Magneto’s mind and you know he’s preparing an assault of some sort.
You’ve seen the Phoenix, dressed in her crimson red outfit, drifting in and out of a catatonic state. She is a frightening presence. You can tell the others are scared of her. Even Magneto himself. Everyone avoids her and she rarely communicates. When you tried to read her mind you heard two distinct voices: one angry, yelling at you to leave her alone, another desperately crying out for help. You did not read her mind again. Although you know telepathy is not where her strength lies, her mental signature is powerful. She could hurt you easily and you trust Magneto to know how to control her.
Since your arrival at the camp, you’ve noticed Magneto’s changed behavior. He seems different. He is no longer jovial. He thinks only of business, of his crusade. You can feel his pain, his guilt. He regrets something, but you hate to pry further into his private matters. You leave him alone until he calls you into his tent.
Magneto had the largest tent. It could easily sleep ten people and had two separate compartments. One served as an office, the other as his private quarters. There was no way of knocking on a tent door, and you have been asked to see him. You unzipped the entrance and called in.
“Magneto. You asked to see me.”
“Yes, come in.” He was seated at what served as a mobile desk. It was a foldout table covered in maps, reports, and a laptop. He wore his gun metal grey wool combat suit with maroon cape. He had black boots with metal soles and black leather gloves on. He had worn this uniform nearly everyday in the camp. It was symbolic that their next goal was a military one. You don’t need to read his mind to guess the mutants will see combat soon.
You waited standing in front of his desk as he finished reading whatever he had been looking at. You have not seen him much recently. You have only spoken with him to report back on your assignments. He does not look up when he speaks to you.
“You have done well as a member of the Brotherhood.” You can’t help the swell of pride that surged through you at Magneto words. You had hoped he noticed how hard you worked to succeed. And although helping your fellow mutants drove you, impressing him inspired you. He was… well he made your heart flutter a bit.
“Thank you, sir.” You watched the way his long fingers dance over a piece of paper, using a ballpoint pen to write with long elegant strokes. When he stopped and looked up at you, you draw in a breath quickly. His steel blue eyes were piercing and he stared at you for a full minute, his lips drawn into a hard, thin line. You were always a little nervous around him and then you couldn’t stop the pit that formed in your stomach.
“You’ve seen her I’m sure.” You gave him a look indicating you’re unsure who he was referring to. “The Phoenix. The late Jean Grey. She is not stable. Her great power makes her uncontrollable. Her mind has deteriorated. She goes from states of catatonia to anger to lust without reason. I’m curious if you could help her.”
“I can’t Erik. She won’t let me read her mind. But, I can tell there are two distinct personalities in there. One wants my help. The other violently opposes me. I don’t think I can get through to the Jean part.”
Erik nodded his head with quiet acceptance. The firm clench of his jaw suggested he wasn’t pleased but understood. His thoughts were full of frustration and regret. He is plagued by guilt and you get the sense that he has been depressed of late. You knew you shouldn’t probe his mind further; it would be an invasion of his privacy. But you could not resist. You were concerned for him.
He was upset by the Phoenix’s disassociation with reality. It stemmed from something that had happened a few weeks ago. He felt guilt. You went back further in his mind to see the Phoenix take out her anger on a wheelchair bound man. His name was Charles and he had been Erik’s friend… no, his lover.
You had to know more and you watched Magneto’s memories of the Phoenix disintegrating Charles. Erik wished he could have done something to stop her. He wished that he hadn’t provoked the Phoenix. So that was what had made Magneto feel miserable. No there was something more. You could feel it in Erik’s thoughts. He had lost someone he loved besides Charles.
You followed the thought thread in his mind to a prison compartment where a naked woman lay sprawled on the floor. You read more of Erik’s memories. She had been the blue woman, Mystique that Magneto and you had gone to Washington to learn where she was being imprisoned. The blue mutant had been cured. To Erik it was as though she was dead and he was greatly troubled by the loss of her.
“I’m sorry about Mystique.” You said before thinking.
“What?” Magneto’s expression changed instantly.
“I just read your mind. I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have. You haven’t seemed like yourself lately and I was-” You rushed to apologize but Magneto sneered in anger and interrupted you.
“Mind your own business girl.” His hand shot up and his wrist flicked. The wave of magnetism made no sound, but you could nearly see it as it slammed into you, throwing you to the hard floor of the tent. Your elbow and head impacted with force to the unyielding ground that lay beneath the tent’s Mylar floor. You yelped in pain and pulled your elbow to you and then rubbed the back of your head.
You looked up to see Erik staring down at his desk, his eyes distant and unseeing. He did not raise his head when he spoke, instead avoiding your gaze.
“Forgive me. I should not have lashed out at you. I snapped. Mystique… is a sensitive subject.” You do not know what to say. You still feel bad for reading his mind, but you stay still on the floor till your head’s throbbing abates a little.
After a few seconds, Erik seemed to pull himself together and he rounded his desk to kneel beside you. He held his beautiful cape over his left forearm as he checked your head and eyes to make sure you did not have a concussion.
“I did not mean to hurt you. It is natural you should use your gift. The situation with the Phoenix and the Cure has been very trying. They hit Mystique with a Cure dart right as I was freeing her. She took the dart for me. The Phoenix,” Erik’s head nodded in the direction of the hill Jean Grey’s tent occupied, “killed an old friend of mine.”
“I’m sorry. Those are private matters. I should not have intruded on your memories.” Your head was hurting less but your heart was beating quickly. Erik was warm next to you and he smelled like expensive aftershave. His hands are checking your arm for injury. His touch was electric and you felt suddenly bold. “You seemed upset about something. I was worried about you.”
Your words sounded harmless but your eyes were full of meaning and on the floor of his tent Erik Lensherr stopped checking your arm. His eyes met yours.
Does she? Could she possibly? His thoughts were loud and clear in your mind. You immediately worried he suspected your attraction to him. You hadn’t wanted him to realize the very personal feelings you had for him.
“I just wanted to make sure everything was going well for the assault. On the Cure production facility.” The words stumbled out of your mouth as you tried to hide the glimpse Erik had seen into your true feelings.
“Of course.” He set your arm down slowly and moved away from you quickly. You felt a hint of an emotion he was trying to shield from you. It felt almost like rejection. You probed past the shield to find out what he was feeling: rejection and attraction. You were startled. Your attraction was mutual. That was the one good thing about being a telepath. You never had any doubt if someone liked you or not. And now, knowing that Erik felt something for you… your world changed in an instant.
“Erik.” He turned around to look down at you. You reached up to grasp his hand in yours. He gave you a confused look and you steeled yourself to reassure him. “I- I care about you. You’re a great man and I respect you and,” You let your eyes make sure he did not misunderstand you. “I want you.”
His hand was burning in yours and you heard rather than felt the gasps of breath you were taking in nervous fear. Erik’s eyes glistened, the blue sparkling with surprise. As the look on his face changed from surprise to understanding, you read his mind to watch first hand as the knowledge of your attraction to him settled into his mind. When you learned he was pleased by it your heart soared. You feel, rather than see, his own attraction take hold of him. It was frighteningly sexy to feel wanted by him.
He knelt back down beside you and his cloak unfurled around him. You knew he was going to kiss you but knowing did not take away from the bliss you felt when his lips united with yours.
Many thanks to kumadapuma
for the beta. I’ll admit this isn’t my best work, but I desperately want to write this smut and we had to get there somehow.
Preview: Finally, the whole reason this story was written. Fun 2nd perspective smut.