FORGIVING

(A/N: Hallo. This is set after XMFC but before DoFP. Enjoy.)

(EDIT 08-30-15: This work is now available on AO3, under the name of 'DoctorIdiot".)

The next booming thunder jolted Professor Charles Xavier awake. He blinked the tiredness in his eyes, lifting his head slowly from his paper-filled desk. Strands of his shaggy growing hair fell onto his face, and he quickly brushed it away. Rain pelted on the windows, making a smooth rhythm that almost lulled him to sleep. He was near the edge of unconsciousness but was awoken by the sudden ringing of the doorbell, barely heard amongst the thunderstorm raging on outside.

Charles weighed his choices. He could just ignore it and go back to sleep, but the immediate thought that it could be a mutant searching for shelter in the dangerous weather warmed his heart — he heart that was so easily broken as it was too soft — and made him reconsider.

In a moment of reluctant, he was in his wheelchair, wheeling his way out of his study. All those months of getting used to his useless, paralyzed legs paid off. Charles knew he would get the door faster than Hank, or any of the other mutants. Even though Charles had the disadvantage of being a handicap, the other mutants had their bedroom upstairs and after all, who knew what they were doing. They could be sleeping like a log and could've not heard the doorbell ringing at all. For all he knew, the only light sleeper in the house was Hank.

He gathered that no one was in the mood to answer the door from the fourth ring of the doorbell and the empty hall. He sighed, resisting the urge to yell at the visitor to wait up as he rolled across the hall to get the door because it wasn't like he wasn't going to answer.

When Charles finally got to open the door, dread filled his bones as he saw who exactly was standing in front of the threshold. He couldn't see most of the face as it was hidden by shadows, but he didn't need to see the newcomer's face to see who it was. The person was clad in a coat, drops of water dripping from his clothes and his face.

"Erik…" Charles choked, feeling hatred course through his bloodstream. His hands instinctively gripped the arms of his wheelchair when they started to tremble.

"Charles?" The reply came not as a sentence, but a question.

A feeling of very-sickening horror replaced the dread in the pit of his gut. Charles reached out, mentally and timidly, towards Erik's mind. Erik's head was filled with mental questions of how and why is his long lost friend in a wheelchair, along with a mixture of remorse, sadness and longing.

"Charles?" The question came again. Erik's mind revealed confusion. The fade and dull light of the hall was enough for Charles to see that the older man was frowning down at him. "Why are you in a wheelchair?"

Charles was desperately trying to find a way to avoid answering. Hell, he wanted to avoid Erik in particular. A set of loud footsteps saved him. His telepathic abilities told him that it was Hank approaching them. He looked over his shoulder at the incoming genius. "Hank," he said, using all his willpower to sound casual. "Can you get a towel for him?" he asked, motioning to the rigid man in the doorway.

Hank stepped into the faint light of the hallway, his face contorted into a frown of what seems like suspiciousness. Is that Magneto? The question radiated off him so powerfully that the professor was sure he'd hear the question even without telepathic abilities.

Charles hated the name Magneto. It was like a reminder that his Erik Lehnsherr was no longer his. Yes, Hank, he mentally told him. It's Erik. He hardened his gaze at the last part, and Hank had the decency to look sorry.

Please don't hate me for saying this, professor, but he can't possibly be trusted, Hank replied, his eyes darting to the German at the door.

Hank, please, just bring him a towel. Charles raised an eyebrow when Hank just stared at him before excusing himself and leaving. Shaking his head, Charles rolled himself back towards his study without so much as a glance towards Erik, knowing full well that Erik would follow. His expectation was true when Erik crossed the threshold and into the mansion. "Close the door behind you, Erik."

Erik did, Charles could tell by the sound of the door closing and the lock clicking into place. Charles wondered why they haven't changed the lock to a plastic one, or maybe just a non-metal one. There were still a plenty of metal in the mansion.

"Charles, don't turn your back on me. What the hell happened to you?" Erik nearly shouted at the telepath as he followed.

Charles gritted his teeth. "Look who's talking, Erik. Tell me, what have you been doing for the past months?" At that moment he felt it, Erik's pain flooding inside him, but Charles refused to be affected by it. He kept rolling to his study.

Then, the horror in him that was slowly subsiding came back in a flash as he realized that his wheelchair was not made out of a non-metal material. That terror doubled when his wheelchair forcefully stopped moving. He closed his eyes, willing himself not to be afraid. His chair spun slowly even without him controlling it.

He didn't mean to do it, but a soft whimper escaped him, his eyes shut tighter than ever. "Erik, no." Even as he said it, he brushed his mind against Erik's, finding no threat there. It didn't calm him even a bit; he had known what this man was capable of doing. Charles did not see it, but he knew Erik had taken a step towards him.

"What happened to you, Charles?" Erik repeated. "Please, Charles. I'm not the telepath here."

Charles laughed, a bitter and humorless laugh. "You can't possibly have forgotten what you've done already, Erik." He opened his eyes to put all his hatred into them, boring them onto his old friend like a tattoo. He never wanted to actually get into Erik's head, but he did. He was dying to know what was going on in that lost mind. Erik was thinking about how Charles is a cripple. He was afraid that Charles was suffering from polio, or something alike. No, Erik was not thinking of what he'd done on the beach back in Cuba, but the German has certainly not forgotten, as it was the main reason why he was here.

"What I've—" Erik stopped mid sentence. His jaw dropped and Charles caught the slight widening of the eyes as he gasped. "The—"

"Yes, Erik, the bullet. It paralyzed my legs." Charles's gaze didn't waver. He kept it trained on the cold blue eyes of whom he used to love.

In all sudden, the metal-bender was on his knees in front of Charles's wheelchair, his head bowed so his forehead was on Charles's knees. His hands were wrapped around the telepath's. "I'm sorry," the metal-bender said. "I'm so sorry."

Charles wanted to move, to roll away and not forgive Erik. He wanted the man to feel the same pain he had felt. But he couldn't move his legs, he couldn't feel Erik's forehead on his knees and it was all because of that damned metal-bender himself.

A strangled sound from the older man had him shocked. Erik was crying.

It broke Charles's already-broken heart into more pieces. It made him want to forgive what Erik had done, to forget everything that transpired between them.

But that easily forgiving person he once was were of no more. If he forgives Erik now, then he knew that Erik would continue to hurt him. He couldn't let it happen. He had lost too much and he didn't want himself to lose more. Plus, Erik had taken everything that meant the most to him. Charles couldn't just forget about that.

So even when Erik was sobbing and begging for his forgiveness, Charles didn't speak once.

But deep down in his heart he knew that he would forgive the metal-bender sometime in the future, because no matter how many times Charles denied it, forgiveness was in his nature.