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This is the turning point of the piece. All things being equal I think this is going to be another 2 to 3 parts.

Erik cradled Charles as gently as he could. Charles was in a fetal position muttering to himself “No. No More. I promise I’ll be good. I’ll promise. Whatever you want I’ll do. Just stop please stop. Don’t make me do that! DON’T!” The mutter would turn into a crying howl as whatever was going on in Charles’ brain just took him over. Erik braced himself for the headache he knew was coming his direction. Once the fit passed or Charles passed out, Erik was never sure which is was, Erik went back to thinking how he was going to get both of them out of there with what was left of their sanity. He just had to find a way that didn’t involve their abilities.

His musings were interrupted by a new noise. He braced himself for whatever they were going to do to them next. His brain still felt fuzzy from all the drugs they had been pumping into his system.

All of the sudden he could feel metal. Lots of it coming his direction. The noises grew louder and he could hear people yelling at each other in German and English. Then he heard gunfire and more thumping. He put himself between the door and Charles. Whatever was happening, he wouldn’t let anyone hurt Charles anymore. The door burst open and he found himself facing men with metal guns. He was about to take the metal into his own mind when he heard one of the men shout into his walkie-talkie, “Agent Taggard we found them!” He kept his guard up until he saw Moria come into the room itself. He tried to stand up but failed miserably. The look on both Moria and the men’s faces told him that he looked pretty bad.

“Moria, take care of Charles” he said as he tried to stand up again. He found himself falling forward into Moria’s arms and the blackness took him.

He awoke slowly. He tried to sit up but found himself restrained. The animal part of his brain started taking over when he heard a voice say, “Erik, you are safe. You’re safe. Come on snap out of it.” He slowed his panic brain and turned his head to see Raven sitting on a plastic chair next to his bed. He wasn’t sure if she was really there or if they were making him hallucinate again. She put a hand on his and said, “No. Erik calm down. We rescued you and Charles.”

He tried to focus but it was still hard to think. He finally formed the words, “Where’s Charles?” A look of extreme sadness passed over Raven’s face. Erik could feel his stomach tighten.

“He’s…” she searched for the right words “He’s still alive.”

“I need to see him.”

Alex came into his line of vision and said “I’ll go get the Doctor for you.”

“What happened?”

“The CIA is still sorting it out. As near as we can figure someone wanted Charles and kidnapped you both. We couldn’t find you for 10 days.”

‘10 days’ thought Erik ‘an eternity it seemed’

The doctor came and checked him over. Erik wished he had Charles’ abilities because he felt like he was getting half the story from the Doctor. They finally unstrapped him and helped him sit up. He felt as weak as a kitten. Sean came in and said, “Wow. You look like you went 10 rounds with Cassius Clay and came out on the wrong end of the glove.”

“I want to see Charles” he said in a tone that would brook no argument. They got him into a wheelchair and Sean took him to see his friend.

Erik gasped at the sight of his friend lying there in a hospital bed. He looked so small and frail. Tubes all over the place and, like Erik, he had been strapped down for his own protection. Erik wasn’t even sure if his friend was there anymore. It seems more an empty shell rather than the vibrant man he knew. He took Charles’ limp hand into his and held it, thinking as hard as he could ‘It’s all right. We are safe. Charles come back to me.’ He repeated the thoughts in his head over and over until it became a chant. He fell asleep holding Charles’ hand.

He woke up in a hospital bed but they had moved him into the same room as Charles. Moria and Raven were holding vigil at Charles’ side. He could hear the boys outside the door arguing about whose turn it was to go get the next round of coffee. Moria noticed that he had woken up again.

“Erik, welcome back to the land of the living. How do you feel?”

“Better I think. How’s Charles?”

“No change. The Doctors say that they think this is self-induced because they can’t get him to come back. The suspicion is some sort of trauma. Do you remember what happened to you?”

Erik remembered too much but he didn’t want to tell Moria what had happened. He was ashamed of his actions and inactions. “They kept us pretty drugged up the whole time. I know that they knew about Charles and my abilities. They seem particularly interested in Charles for some unknown reason.”

Moria looked at him knowing that he was not telling the whole story but decided not to push the issue.

Erik tried to get to his feet but the whole world was spinning. Raven and Moria helped him to a chair and put him next to Charles. He held his friend’s hand again and thought as hard as he could “Charles, come back to me.” Charles stirred a bit but then went back to unresponsive. Raven took his other hand and said, “He saved my life and I never got to thank him for it.” She looked like she was barely holding it together. And to all of their amazement they heard a thin voice from the man they were watching, “I knew Raven. I always knew.”

Much to their amazement Charles opened his eyes and looked around carefully. Moria was out of the door like a shot getting a Doctor and informing the boys that the Professor had open his eyes.

Charles focused on Raven’s face, “Raven dear, could you give me and Erik a moment before the Doctor gets here. I want to talk to him about something. And if you could delay the boys for just a tic?”

Raven ran to the door and closed it behind her leaving the two men alone in the room.

“Erik, it’s not your fault and I am sorry to do this.”

“Do what Charles?” And he felt Charles crawling into his brain and taking bits and pieces of the last two weeks out of his mind “Charles, stop! What are you doing? STOP RIGHT NOW! I forbid this!” and he passed out.

Charles strokes Erik’s hair awkwardly with his bound hand and said, “I’m sorry Erik. But I can’t let you feel like that.” And he removed the rest of Erik’s memories about their time in captivity. He sighed and settled down to deal with the Doctors and the rest.


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