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Liquid Metal


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A/N: I didn’t want to go with the typical ‘hates being sick and tries to hide it’ angle so I hope I got Erik’s character down okay without it, but he’s much harder to write than Charles. Also, I don’t like using flashbacks, but it was the most elegant way to convey the idea I wanted to get across so i hope they’re not too rushed.


Liquid Metal

===== 1944 =====

His bed was hessian, stuffed with spare cloth and hay, but at least it existed. Each morning when he rose, his breathing strained from the dust, he would remind himself of what he had been sleeping on before. Concrete and dirt. Blood.

Erik sniffed and ran a dirty sleave under his running nose. The room was cold, but he didn’t mind much, even though was making his throat ache even more than it was normally; like swallowing glass then gargling salt. A glass of water had been set on the floor beside his mattress and it helped, but he only gave the occasional sip. He didn’t care about hydrating himself back to health.

He muffled a sneeze into his elbow as the door swung open.

“Still feeling ill, Erik?”

He looked up at Schmidt, “I’m sorry, Herr Doctor.”

Schmidt walked over to bed in two easy strides. He crouched so he was closer to Erik, who straightened up from his slouched position and flattened himself against the wall. It didn’t seem to faze the older man.

“It’s alright, Erik. We may be superior beings, but we still have the right to fall ill.”

A small amount of relief trickled through the young boy. He had been ill for days, not knowing how long Schmidt would tolerate it, but he seemed much more understanding about this than he was about everything else.

Then the doctor smiled, and chills went down Erik’s spine.

Schmidt reached into his pocket and threw a handful of nails across the floor. Erik knew he was just supposed to roll them around, gather them together. It was a lot easier than the other exercises he’d been trained in. However, in his weakened state, he doubted he could move them. Erik reached out and turned his palm to the nail-scattered floor.

He quickly withdrew his hand to cup around his nose as he sneezed violently. Wiping his hands on his pants, Erik extended his arm again and tried to regroup while ignoring the soft words of encouragement from Schmidt.

The nails on the floor didn’t move, but the ones holding the walls together were ripped from their places and flew across the room. Erik threw his arms up over his face to protect his eyes.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He mumbled.

There was a disappointed sigh. “It’s alright, Erik. You just rest,” the older man moved to stand, “get yourself better soon, hmm?”

Erik kept his head buried in his arms until he’d heard Schmidt leave. He tried to sniff around his stuffy nose and let a small, tired smile grace his lips. One more day of being ill, one more day of being in bed;

One more day without Schmidt.

===== Early 1962 =====

The window was open just a crack. With his nose as blocked as it was, anything to make the tiny room feel less stuffy was a benefit, even if it left him shivering. The hotel manager had lent him the blankets from the unoccupied rooms, and he’d cocooned himself within their depths to the point where he could barely free himself if he needed to use the bathroom.

Erik was quite content in his sickness. On the whole he knew a few days rest would, in the long run, only benefit his quest to bring down Schmidt. If he wasn’t at peak health when he was confronting Schmidt’s old associates then there was a very real chance he wouldn’t walk away from the encounter.

Eh’Atcshhhoo! Etchhhoo!” He pitched forward, his nose buried in the corner of his blankets.

While his quest was important, and it had never felt like a burden, he enjoyed this kind of down time. Sickness was the only thing that allowed him to relax without it feeling unnatural.


He reached out and grabbed a handkerchief from the bedside table, but was hesitant to blow his nose. He had been sneezing and blowing so much that he’d already had too nosebleeds, and he wasn’t gunning for a third. He cleared his nose softly and carefully, leaving it sore and undoubtedly red.

Placing the cloth on the bed beside him, Erik reached for the bottle and glass that he’d set aside. However, before he could pour a glass he found himself coughing, deep hacks that sent the metal fixtures in the room quivering and the wiring in the walls playing havoc with the lights.

Once he’d recovered enough to focus he poured some cheap whiskey into the tumbler and quickly downed it. It burned like acid, and after an uncomfortable flip in his stomach it settled comfortably enough that he could take another shot. He set the glass aside and left the bottle close by, resting on top of his handkerchief.

Before settling down, Erik slid a hand under his pillow until it bumped against something small and hard. The plastic wrapping crinkled and a smile tugged at his lips. He retrieved the small butterscotch lolly before hastily undoing to wrapping. It was his comfort food, and the only indulgence he allowed in his expenses.

Squirming back down into the blanket pile, Erik sighed and tried to quell the shivers running through his body, content in conceding the hunt for just a moment.

===== Late 1962 =====

The soft pelt of rain would have been soothing if Erik hadn’t felt so destroyed. He couldn’t remember a time when cold or flu had got him so down and all he wanted to do was crash into his bed and wrap its frame around him so no one could pry him from it no matter how hard they tried.


Erik sat heavily on the large, ornate bed and pulled several tissues from a small box before clamping them around his nose: “Hessnnpphh! Shhhumphhh!” He groaned and hunched in on himself, blowing his nose into the depths.

He had spent the day training the younger mutants. While he hadn’t flexed his own muscles, he had been stressed and trying to keep up appearances. He didn’t think it would be very good for a leader to show that he was putting himself in front of the cause. He had responsibilities now; it wasn’t just about him anymore.

Erik hadn’t relaxed nor allowed himself any luxuries like he usually did when he was under the weather. There was no way he could take time off to wallow in self-pity and special comforts. He was, however, using the tissues in excess. They were usually too expensive for him to warrant buying multiple boxes, but now they were at Charles’s expense and he was very much enjoying the luxury.

He coughed harshly into the back of his hand. He could almost feel the chandelier in the main hall quivering and spasming in time with his lungs. His chest hurt, although perhaps not as bad as his throat. Coffee would help, Erik decided, but didn’t want to travel down to the kitchen lest he run into anyone.

Falling so he way sprawled across the bed, legs still dangling off the side, Erik groaned at his head throbbed.

Hah’Etchhhoo! Heh’Ehsshhhh!” he sneezed congestedly, his head bouncing against the plush mattress. He gave a few more heavy coughs before a strong shiver went up his spine. If he was going to be able to make it till dinner, he had to stay awake. If he let his eyes fall closed, Erik wasn’t convinced he’d ever open them again.


The German sighed at the mental intrusion “Yes, Charles. What is it?

...There’s no need for that tone. The metal fixtures seemed to think we were having an earthquake and I was just worried you were having another nightmare.

No, no nightmare. I’m just...” He hesitated. He never had to admit sickness to anyone before. Erik pulled himself up into a sitting position and grabbed another hand full of tissues to blow his nose. “I’m... not well.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Do you mind if I come check on you, just to put my mind at ease?

Err, sure.

Thank you.

The immediate knock on the door startled Erik.

Damn Charles. Living alone Erik’d just had to deal with being sick and take care of himself, so he didn’t know how to behave when there was someone else around. Erik wasn’t one to bow down to authority, as he’d done enough of that when he was younger, and he wasn’t sure how to let someone take care of him.

Giving another tired sneezes into a new batch of tissues, Erik gave himself a quick glance in the mirror across the room, just to make sure he was presentable enough for the British telepath.

The door opened, but bumped hesitantly as Charles entered at an awkward angle. Frowning, Erik stood and moved to see what was wrong when Charles spun around to reveal a polished silver tray being held between his hands. It was loaded with several things, but the one that caught Erik’s attention was a rather large mug.

Having just been thinking of coffee, Erik swooped in and scooped it up. Charles looked smug.

“Hello to you too.”

Erik smirked and opened his mouth to retaliate, but only a harsh croak emerged.

To remedy it Erik took a sip of the coffee, which his blocked nose had misidentified. “Tea, Charles? How British”, he mentally mocked. It was undoubtedly sweet. Sweeter than the lollies he used to take comfort in, and much sweeter than tea should be. He frowned.

“It has honey,” Charles explained, crossing the room, “and a touch of lemon.” He set the tray down next to the bed and turned to smile placidly at Erik.

Erik was only briefly able to glance at him before he had to bury his nose in the crook of his arm. “Heh’Ischhhoo! Hiht’Ttshhhoo! Ettshhhhh! Ehhhh... Hehhh...” He was left hanging, jaw hanging open and nose twitching.

He heard a small chuckle from Charles and someone pressing in the back of his mind. “Just relax.

Erik felt Charles’s mind guide his head back and eyes to the ceiling’s light. “Aesshhhoo!! Urrgh... Excuse me,” he croaked, “and thank you.”

“My pleasure; it looked like you needed a nudge.”

Shifting uncomfortably, Erik moved close to Charles and awkwardly reached around the smaller man to retrieve a tissue or two. But Charles shifted and rested a hand on Erik’s forearm while another hand presented Erik with a small square of folded material.

Erik, who was still quite happy to enjoy the pleasure of tissues, accepted the handkerchief out of politeness. He pressed it to his nose and turned his back on his friend, blowing as quietly as he could. Once the congestion had shifted an odd small hit his nose causing it to run and tickle. “Atisshhhhh!

“It’s eucalyptus,” Charles answered the unasked question, “and bless you, my friend.”

Becoming aware of a hand that was resting casually on his back, Erik shrugged and moved a few paces away.

Disappointment and hurt flickered through Erik’s mind before Charles shut it off. Erik felt his own guilt project in response. He gave an embarrassed smile and croaked, “Sorry,” before stepping back to the telepath’s side. “I’m just not very good at this whole being sick thing.”

“Oh, I think you’re doing a marvellous job.”

Charles reached up and brushed a hand against Erik’s forehead. The metal manipulator almost flinched back, a flicker of paranoia running through him, before realizing Charles was just checking for a fever and not trying to do something with his mind.

“I’ll let the others know you won’t be joining us for dinner. I expect you to rest tomorrow, so you won’t be joining us for training either.” His tone left no room for argument, as he brushed past Erik to take his leave. His pace hastened, Erik suspected, because he didn’t want to get caught in an argument about ordering Erik to bed.

Once the telepath had left the room, Erik sniffed thickly and towed off his shoes so he could slide himself into the bed. A familiar feeling came over him, and a small smile flittered across his lips as he felt the reprieve of responsibility.

For the first time since coming to the mansion, Erik allowed himself to relax.

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Okay, I'll admit that it took a few seconds for me to actually read this story, because as soon as I saw the title and the summary underneath it I started flailing like a crazy. It's definitely easier to write for Charles ( believe me, I know :laugh: ), but you handled Erik VERY well! :D

I absolutely loved the flashbacks. I think they really provided excellent framework for the future. :P Especially the contrasts from Erik's childhood to adulthood, and then from being alone to having Charles. Talk about some serious shifts in tone! Christ, there goes my English major talking... :lol: Anyway, great job with all of that!

The delicious details were what also stood out to me. For example, this particular line had me literally SHIVERING in unrestrained delight:

He could almost feel the chandelier in the main hall quivering and spasming in time with his lungs.

Humunuhhumunuh. :laugh:Don't even get me started on his sneezes. OHGOD. I'll fangirl into oblivion. :wacko:

Overall, this was remarkably well done. It's nice to see some Erik love! Sure, Charles is adorable and equally fun to torture, but there's no harm in picking on good ol' Magneto. :laugh: Thanks for the fantastic read, Mercury! Please treat us to more soon, okay? :D

:heart: Spoo~

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The other crazy fangirl is here for the party! Mercury, holy hell, this is delicious! Thanks so much for sharing! <3

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Errr, and by that I mean the movies. Because obviously this is an X-Men fiction. Anyway, very, very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed this. B)

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Whats this?! Is the universe plotting to make me explode from happiness.

That. was. awesome.

I super loved it, you write Erik and Charles perfectly.

It was refreshing to see him accepting illness, but I'm afraid I must demand more, you see if you don't continue I think I'll explode.

I'm sure I'll explode actually, explode from depression.

I explode a lot.


That was so awesome I exploded.

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Yay, another X-Men fic! *jumps up and down, hugs self and squeals with joy* One more and I may keel over from a combination of James McAvoy hotness and fangirl-ness. Please tell me this will be continued...

By the way, 100th post...yay, Centurion! :D

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