Six Years Later
-New York, Present-
Erik Lehnsherr looked down when he felt a tug on his pants. He smiled as a sweet face of his five year old daughter greeted him with a large grin. He knelt to her level and patted her cheeks.
"What's wrong, baby?" Wanda grinned as she pointed her chubby finger to living room. Erik sighed. Living room was where he left his kids to play with lego and he could already imagine the mess his son did. He took his daughter's small hand and together they went to the crime scene to investigate whatever mess his son had caused.
"Pietro." Erik called and shook his head when he saw what happened with his previously clean room. Legos were thrown everywhere like hidden grenades under the ground. In the middle of the room, somehow Pietro managed to build a blanket fort. The culprit was poking his head under of the blanket, grinning proudly at his father.
"Look, Father. I am a Prince. I am in my fort because I am in the middle of a war." Pietro said, waving a wooden sword Erik made him on Halloween last year. Pietro's eyes widen at the sight of his sister. He held out his left hand and screamed dramatically.
"My sweet sister, Princess Wanda. The shark monster got you. I will save you. Hold my hand." Pietro screamed dramatically. Wanda grinned and held out her hand while pretending to be struggle. Erik grinned and trapped the sweet girl in his arms.
"No, I will eat Princess Wanda." Erik growled and tickled Wanda, earning a loud shriek from his little gir.
"No." Pietro ran out his fort and jumped on his father's back, playfully bitten him. Erik pretended to be thrown onto the ground and let his kids jumped on him, tickling and kissing him. Erik laughed and hugged them close to his heart. He kissed their cheeks and sat up.
"Now, clean this living room. Put those blanket away, okay. Grandma will be here soon."
"Okay." Pietro grinned and grabbed the blankets, trying so hard to put them into his room. Wanda, on the other hand, dragged the small basket where the children put their toys. Erik looked at his treasures proudly before going to his bedroom where his mobile phone rang loudly. Erik looked at the name on the screen and smiled.
"Hello, Mama." He sat down on the bed, listening to his mother who was listing some gift for Wanda and Pietro.
"Mama, they will be gladly accept your gift. They love you; you don't have to be worry about that." Erik said, shaking his head.
"Oh hush, Erik. I know they love me but they are getting bigger. You know how kids are. One thing they think something is cool, the next they think it is so childish. Kids these days." Edie said from the other line. Erik threw this phone on the bed as he prepared to take a bath. He chuckled when he heard a shout from Pietro who protested about being told slow by Wanda. Erik looked at the mirror and rubbed his jaw, thinking when he should shave. His eyes caught the sight of black bracelet in his left hand. He smiled softly as he touched it.
It had been six years since the last time they met; a day when everything ended. Erik and Madga decided to hold a small ceremony with family and some friends only. He still remembered how his family patted his back, saying how lucky he was being married to a beautiful woman like Madge. Erik didn't say anything but forcing a smile. Charles didn't come, of course. Why would he.
Few weeks after the wedding, Erik went to Charles' apartment only to know that Charles had sold it and moved away. He went to Oxford and was told Charles had left his job as lecturer there. They said he was offered a job at a university abroad, where it was the staff didn't tell him. Erik didn't went home after that. He went to his and Charles' favourite park where they usually spent their day off. There, he sat on a bench and looked at the small pond where Charles usually fed ducks. His mind replayed his and Charles' memories.
Erik took a deep breath, trying to pull himself together and back to reality. It had been six years since then but Erik always prayed that one day he and Charles would meet and together again. He didn't know where Charles was right now, but he really hoped that he would meet him here, in New York. He missed him so much. He still hoped that Charles would be back to him. With Madga gone now...
"Erik." Edie's voice snapped him.
"I-I am in the bathroom." Erik said, quickly pulling on his shirt and pants before walked out the bathroom. His mother was in in room, putting some new clothes she definitely bought as his gift.
"Hi, Ma." Erik greeted, kissing her on the cheek.
"Hi, darling. How are you?" Edie asked softly. Erik smiled and guided her to the dinning room as he told her how his day was. He shared how he had registered his twins to a special school called "Cerebro."
"I cannot wait to go to school." Pietro said, grinning widely.
"Of course, you cannot. How about you, Wanda?" Edie said, chuckling. The little girl smiled only before nodding. Edie threw a worry glance at her son.
"Has Wanda say a word yet?" Edie asked his son worriedly as she put the last plate on the cupboard. The dinner had been finished and the kids had gone to bed, leaving Erik and Edie to clean the mess. Erik put the dishtowel and sat down.
"No. Well, sometimes. She usually let out sound when she cries, laughs or scream. I don't know what to do, Mama. I don't even know how this happen, why Wanda doesn't want to talk. She was a very talkative child." Erik rubbed his face. Edie sat down across him.
"Maybe she missed... her mother."
"She stopped talking even before Madga died. I don't think that's the reason." Erik said, letting a long sigh. "That's why I sign them to Cerebro school. I hope that Wanda will open up to other kid so she will start talking again."
"Tell me about this Cerebro school." Edie said. Erik stood up and grabbed some pamphlets from above the fridge.
"This is Cerebro school. A school for young children to figure out their talents since they are kids. It;s like pre-school basically but with more complex students." Erik said as he showed her a huge white building with large garden surrounding it.
"Yeah, well not that kind of children. Just those who have trouble in socializing or talking or many things that can be problem when they have to enter real school. This school has an amazing reputation, Ma. The headmaster, Moira MacTaggert, is one of the best child psychologist in New York. I spoke to her through phone and told her about Wanda. She promised me that she would do anything to help." Erik said, feeling little hopeful.
"I do hope this will work. With Pietro by her side, she will have friends fast." Edie laughed a little.
"Well, we cannot separate those two. Beside, Pietro needs to be discipline, anyway."
-Monday, 08.00 am-
"Wanda, come on sweetheart. We're going to be late." Erik called his daughter as he helped Pietro with his backpack. The hyperactive boy was too busy playing with his airplane to notice his father's distress. Few seconds later, Wanda bounced to his view. The Lehnsherrs drove to their destination soon and arrive roughly fifteen minutes. Erik smiled when he saw his children were looking around widely. They were enchanted by the beauty of the school already. Erik quickly grabbed Pietro's backpack when he saw the little boy's eyes lit up.
"Where are you going?" Erik hissed.
"I wanna play. Lookie!" Pietro pointed to a group of boys playing catch. Erik smiled.
"We have to meet Miss McTaggert first, okay. Then you can play and study with them." Erik grabbed of their twins' hand and slowly walked to the end of the corridor where a large oak door with "Headmaster" sign above the door.
"Enter." A woman's voice could be heard from the inside. Erik opened the door and was greeted by a sigh of a beautiful auburn-haired woman behind a large desk. The woman looked up and smiled.
"Mr. Lehnsherr, I presume." She stood up and walked to them.
"Yes. Good morning, Miss MacTaggert. This is my children Pietro and Wanda. Say hi, kids."
"Hi." Pietro immediately greeted her enthusiastically while Wanda just waved her hand while smiled shyly. Miss MacTaggert smiled meaningfully at Erik before facing the children.
"Miss Mac, can I play with them?" Pietro asked eagerly, pointing at the same group from the Headmaster's office. Moira smiled and nodded.
"Sure. The class will start in thirty minutes, make sure you are not too tired. I need to talk to your Father." Without another word, Pietro grabbed Wanda and the two bounced out the school.
"So that was Wanda." She began. Erik nodded.
"Yes, Miss McTaggert. That was my daughter."
"Call me Moira. She is five years old, isn't she? When did she stop talking?" Moria asked, opening a notebook and scribbled something. Possibly, Wanda's name.
"When she was three and a half, I think. I don't know why. One day she just... stopped."
"She died a year ago because of breast cancer. Wanda had stopped talking even before he died, Miss Moira. I doubt it has anything to do with her mother."
"Actually, there is a possibility for that, Mr. Lehnsherr. Some children whose cases similar to Wanda, usually came from broken families. They-
"We are not broken family." Erik said angrily. He never even raised his voice to his children. Moira sighed and folded her arms in front of her breast.
"What I mean is that in broken family, domestic abuse usually has been an issue. They are beaten and you know. I don't say your family is broken, Mr. Lehnsherr, but the abuse can come from outside your family."
"But I never let them go of my sight."
"That's what we are going to find out, Mr. Lehnsherr." Moira said. She walked around her desk and pulled out a thick folder. She flipped several pages before taking few papers out of folder.
"This is what I have planned for your daughter, Mr. Lehnsherr. I see there is nothing to be worried for your son, therefore I didn't put any extra classed for him. For her, however, I put a special consultation session with one of my best teachers. Meanwhile, your son will have an extracurricular activity with our PE teacher while waiting for his sister. Those are their timetables." Moira said as she let Erik scanned the paper. Erik's eyes stopped at one name. A hope raised inside his chest.
"C-Charles X-Xavier?" He could hear his voice trembled.
"Yes, he is the one who will have consultation session with Wanda. Don't worry about it, Mr. Lehnsherr, he is a great teacher. Your daughter is in good hands." Once Moira finished her words, the door opened.
"Moira, sorry I am late. I was- Erik?" A familiar warm voice greeted his ears.
Erik couldn't believe his eyes. Charles Xavier was here. The man who had been in his head since forever, even after marrying Madga, was here. He still looks the same. Short, brilliant blue eyes, beautiful features. Erik unconsciously smiled at the sight of the younger man. He couldn't explain how happy he was. Unlike Erik, who looked at Charles with a delight surprise, Charles looked so shock. He clearly didn't expect to see the older man here in his school.
"Erik?" Charles asked with a clear shock in his voice. Erik's smile widen as he took a step closer.
"Charles, you're here."
"Oh, you knew each other." Moira interrupted them. Both men turned to her. Charles cleared his throat before glancing at Erik and answering.
"Yes, we were... classmate." He answered with a forced smile. The grin on Erik's face shattered when he heard Charles' answer. He forced a smile as well before nodding in confirmation. Moira looked at them with suspicious look on her face, clearly didn't believe anything. She was such a sharp woman, Erik noted.
"Okay. Charles, as I have told you that we have a... very special child."
"Yes, you said that she wouldn't utter any words to anyone even her family." Charles said, trying desperately to ignore the existence of his ex-boyfriend. His eyes were focus entirely on Moira. Moira nodded and gave a folder to him.
"Her name is Wanda, the daughter of Mr. Lehnsherr here. I suggest you meet the girl yourself, Charles. She is playing outside with Jean and the others." As Moira stopped speaking, Charles nodded and walked out the room followed by Erik.
"So, how are you?" Erik asked, trying to catch up with Charles who walked like he was being hunted by something evil.
"I'm fine." Charles said shortly. His abnormal blue eyes were scanning the group of children playing at the basketball court. He noticed two of unfamiliar children, one was a brown haired boy who was currently running around the field with an orange ball in his hands, while the other was an auburn haired girl who was clapping her hands happily. The girl must be Wanda.
"You left England and Oxford. I've been searching for you for years. I didn't know that you move here. If I had known, I would move here immediately." Erik said quickly. His eyes drank the sight of the person he missed the most. Charles looked down and took a deep breath. He looked at Erik and for few moment they were staring at each other silently.
"How is your wife?" He asked softly.
"She passed away." Erik said quickly as if trying to say that no one was between them again. Charles looked at him surprise.
"I am sorry."
"Don't be. She died because of a severe illness. It was long time ago." Erik tried to smile. Charles didn't say anything before nodding and looking back at the folder. Erik looked at him with a hopeful look. He wanted to see a relief in Charles' eyes. He wanted to see a happiness in Charles' eyes. Had Charles really stopped loving him? Didn't Charles think of him anymore? No, that couldn't be.
"Charles, I miss-"
"So, that red-haired girl. That's Wanda. It says that she suddenly stopped talking one day. Do you think this has any relation with Madga's death?" Charles cut without looking at Erik. Erik let out a frustrated sound and stood in front of Charles.
"Where do you live, Charles? Are you alright? I miss you so much. How's-how's everything? Do you-"
"Erik, please. Stop." Charles snapped, finally looking at Erik. The taller man was too shock to utter another word. Charles took a shaky breath, trying to calm himself.
"Erik, I am trying to work here. Please, don't ask anything private. I am trying to help you and your daughter right now. Please." Charles pleaded. Erik went silent for few minutes. His green blue eyes were looking at Charles with hint of sadness. Finally, Erik nodded.
"Good. Can you tell me since when Wanda goes silent?" Charles said, looking at the folder, pen ready in his hand. Erik sighed and looked at his daughter. His mind was trying to recall any memory related to Wanda.
"Since she was two years old, I think. She was suddenly went quiet one day. I thought she was sulking or something but days by days, no matter what I did, I couldn't make her speak any words. Even when she cries, she is silent. It is like she is so afraid to produce any sound." Erik said, running his hand on his face.
"What about her relationship with... Madga?" Erik bit his lower lip as the name of his wife came out of Charles' mouth.
"I... don't really know. I worked for a whole day and only came home when it reached dinner time. I guess, they were fine. The kids weren't really that close to her. Most of the time, she was just cold to them and left them to my mother." Erik recalled a memory when he was given an early leave from work. He was so excited to go home and surprised his children only to find the house was empty. His family was nowhere to be found. When he called his mother, Edie said that Madga left the twins with her because she apparently had an important business to do.
"They weren't very close to their mother?" Charles asked, puzzled. As far as he knew, Madga was a good woman. He remembered how she wished to have a big family. He always imagined that Magda would be a wonderful mother.
"She wasn't being cruel mother if that was you think. I didn't find any domestic violence hint in my family. She did what mother usually did, but..."
"But?" "But she acted more like a babysitter sometimes instead of a mother." Erik finished his sentence softly. Sadness was very clear in his voice as he tried to talk about his family. Charles looked at the twin, who was now running toward them hand in hand, and couldn't help but to feel pity with them.
"Daddy." the ever energetic Pietro immediately slammed his small body to Erik, while Wanda was looking at Charles curiously, hand fisting his father's trousers. Charles went down to her level and smiled warmly.
"Hello Wanda, I am Charles Xavier. I am one of your teacher here. Nice to meet you." Charles said warmly as he held out his hand. Wanda titled her head and looked up at his father.
"Say hello, Wanda. Mr. Xavier here is also daddy's... friend. He is so nice." Erik said, smiling. Wanda's eyes moved from his father to the kind looking man in front of her. Charles and Wanda stared into each other eyes for a moment before Wanda grabbed Charles' bigger hand. She grinned widely but no sound came.
"This is Pietro." Erik said fondly. Charles' bright blue eyes went to the boy beside Wanda and he held out his hand as well.
"Hello, Pietro. It's nice to meet you."
"Hello, Mr. Charles. It's nice to meet you too. You will be my teacher, yeah?" Pietro asked excitedly. Charles chuckled and nodded.
"Yes, I'll teach you Biology. It's a very fun subject." Charles said, patting the boy's head. Charles' attention went back to Wanda, who was still looking at him.
"Wanda darling, are you excited for school?" Charles asked, trying to get the little girl to speak. Wanda smiled and nodded happily. Before Charles could ask anything else, the bell rang.
"I'll see you later?" Erik asked hopefully, holding Charles' elbow.
"Please." Charles looked at him with uncertain look on his face before finally nodding briefly. Erik smiled gratefully as he watched Charles walked away.
Charles watched Wanda and Pietro' beginner class from the window. He smiled when Pietro excitedly raised his hand and answered every question, didn't really care his answer was correct or wrong. Wanda, his twins, was seated beside him and sometime wrote down the answer and gave it to her brother who would raise his hand and answer again. Charles frowned. Something was wrong with her definitely.
"How is she?" Moira's voice startled him a bit. Charles glanced at his friend before focusing on the girl.
"She is very quiet. Never utter a single word. Pietro did most of speaking from introduction to answering questions. I think it has something to do with her family. Children this age doesn't really have any interaction outside family environment. Erik said that they were left at his mother's home many time and that their mother was very cold to them but he didn't see any domestic violence done by his late wife." Charles explained.
"That Erik fellow. You two have a history, don't you?" Moira said. Charles took a deep breath. Moira was a smart woman. She would immediately suspect something just by looking at two people stared at each other.
"If you don't want to talk about it, it's fine. I want you to focus on Wanda. Whatever happened between you two, please, put it aside. Wanda is innocent little girl who doesn't need to be a victim from your past feud."
"Moira, you know I never-"
"I know, Charles. I know you wouldn't do that. It was not you I'm talking about. It was Erik. He seems... infatuate with you. I am not sure how serious your problem was, but I can see that Erik will not let that go. You actually look very uncomfortable with him. Are you two exes?" Moira said, frowning. Charles clenched his jaw but he didn't confirm or deny.
"Forget it for now. If you want to talk about it, you come to me, you know?" Charles smiled at her.
"I know, Moira."
"Charles." Charles sighed as he heard Erik's familiar voice. He was standing at the gate with both Pietro and Wanda. Charles watched as the man who he hadn't seen for years now walking toward him with a bright smile on his face.
"Hi, Erik." Charles forced a smile.
"Kids, can you two wait in the car? I need to talk to Mr. Charles." Erik said to his children softly. Pietro and Wanda nodded and ran to the car hand in hand, leaving both men alone. Erik moved closer to Charles. His hand was lifted to cup Charles' cheek. Charles took a step backward, avoiding Erik's touch.
"Sorry, Erik. I..." Charles bit his lips. He suddenly couldn't form any words in front of Erik. How he wished to speak everything in his mind, but why he couldn't say anything right now.
"Charles, I miss you so much. I have searched for you for a long time. Why did you suddenly disappear?" Erik started. He didn't want to miss this chance. Charles was here in front of him. How it took everything in Erik not to pull the shorter man into a hug and kissed him senseless.
"I still love you, Charles. I love you very much. I was planning on divorcing Madga once the twins were born but I couldn't find where you were. You left. You didn't say a thing. No one informed me anything when I asked about you. Now, Madga is gone. There's nothing between us. We're free to be together again. We'll have children too. They are wonderful. They'll love you." Erik said happily. He took both Charles' hands in his, ignoring Charles' pleas to listen to him for once.
"Let's be together, Charles. We can get married in US, right? Let's get married. We finally can be together. My mother will be happy to see you again. Let's go to my place. I have this wonderful house with garden you'll like. You said you'd like to have a garden once we married, right? I've built it for you. You'll love it. I-"
"ERIK!" Charles almost shouted. Erik stopped talking.
"Erik, I-I'm happy to see you well but... I can't go with you. I-""Why? Why can't you? You still love me, right? I still love you, Charles. I love you very much. Please say you still love me. Please, I beg you. Please." Erik said hysterically, gripping Charles' shoulders. Tears begin to form in his eyes.
"Erik, I am getting married." Charles said softly. Erik felt his whole body went numb. A sound of car break they gaze as Charles looked past his shoulder. Erik turned his head and saw a tall handsome blonde man exited the car and looked at both him and Charles curiously. Erik felt a bad feeling gnawing his heart.
"That's my fiance." Charles said. Erik turned his attention to him.
"No." He said in disbelief.
"Sorry Erik, but I can't leave him." Charles said firmly, ending Erik's hope to have a place in the shorter man's heart. Erik's hands went limp as they fall to his side. He could only watch as Charles walked away. He felt a sharp pain in his heart greeted the man with a kiss and enter the car. As the car disappeared, Erik felt a small hand touching his bigger one. He looked down and saw the twins were by his side, looking at him worriedly.
"Are you alright, Daddy?" Pietro asked. Erik forced a smile and hugged them, letting tears ran down his face.
"I'm fine." He said, hugging them tighter. "I'm fine."