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Title: A Good Man (Does Not) Go To War
Author: monstrousreg
Word count:  3894
Warnings:  ehh, Eleven being Eleventy.
Pairing: Erik/Charles.
Summary: For this prompt: The usual thing where the Doctor pops up on the beach when Erik is about to kill everyone. I like it when Charles already knows the Doctor, but it's not necessary.

Now the point. I want the Doctor to come down on Erik. For Erik to be all "they'll never change, this is the only way, blah blah blah" and for the Doctor to pretty much be all "yea, this isn't happening because I'm here and I'm over 900 years old, am the last of my race, seen more war and genocide than you are capable of imagining and you are wrong." know? Doctor being the Doctor and being our own personal fix-it.

Notes:  Unbetaed, and stuff. I uh, admittedly deviated a little from the prompt, and might eventually return and re-do it properly, because this idea just catches my attention every single time.

He knew it was foolish and probably pointless, but of course that something is foolish and pointless has never stopped one Charles Xavier from going ahead and doing it anyway, and admittedly most times it worked out somehow.

This was one of the times it didn’t, and no wonder.

Erik twisted like a snake, swiftly and easily straddling Charles, and unlike the telepath he wasn’t pulling punches. He landed a vicious punch to Charles cheekbone that left the telepath reeling so much he couldn’t bring himself to raise his arms and brace himself for the next one.

Charles lay dazed on the sand for a split second, and made to sit up. Erik—Magneto—whatever this creature that was not his friend was put his hand on Charles’ chest and shoved him back down. Then he pulled himself up and reacquainted himself with the rockets, some of which were still miraculously en route back to their original owners.

Let no one say Magneto could not multitask.

Charles’ mind was so disjointed from the startling violence with which Magneto had attacked him that it took him a second too long to piece together the alarm and the determination in Moira’s mind, spiraling together into a decision that she regretted but would nevertheless carry through.

The first bullet hit Magneto’s helmet and ricocheted to the sand. Charles scrambled back, desperately trying to find an anchor in Moira’s mind to stop her but failing—his telepathy was still fractured from the coin whatever-that-was and he could only listen, not command or control.

Magneto turned around and raised his hand, deflecting the bullets. Charles had a spare moment to think it’s always Erik and bullets, bloody hell before he got to his knees and tried to stand—

The sound was unmistakable, a wheezing struggle against the porous walls of time and space before a superior will established itself as the winner.

The goddamn brakes again, Charles thought, collapsing on the sand, joints weak with relief. He could have sobbed, he was so grateful.

The TARDIS settled, solid and bright blue in the Cuban sun. Movement in the beach came to a brusque halt as the players in the board stared, dumbfounded.

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Raven said, disbelieving. “It’s all true.”

Charles staggered to his feet, pushing hair out of his eyes.

“What the shit is this?” Alex asked, staring in bewilderment as, behind him, Beast bent over to help Sean to his feet.

There was a long moment of silent puzzlement. Charles took over the chance to turn back to Erik, who’s shocked mind had abandoned the rockets and left them hanging motionlessly in the air half-way to their final destination.

“What is this, Charles? Another of your little tricks?” he asked quietly.

“No, Erik. Long to explain, but in five words, alien, time-traveler, peace-keeper. Now please, put the rockets down and talk to me.”

Erik gritted his teeth. “We’ve talked. It takes us nowhere. You don’t listen!”

“It is you who won’t listen,” Charles insists, eyeing the TARDIS uneasily. “Erik, put the rockets down before the Doctor sees you, he won’t like it and you in turn won’t like him angry.”

“What even is that?” Erik asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes at the blue Police box. “The Doctor? You better start explaining fast, Charles—“

The door of the TARDIS flies open abruptly.

“Ooh, threats,” the Doctor says, stepping out into the beach with a soft, dangerous smile. “I do so like bullies. Hello, Charles Xavier, my boy!”

The man came forward and wrapped his arms tightly around Charles, rocking a little. Charles smiled despite himself, returning the hug.

“Doctor. It’s been a while.”

“Not as long as you think,” the Doctor shrugs, pulling back and turning Charles around to pat along the line of his spine. “I was a little late the first time, but I got the timing right this time around, I think. How’s your back? Legs? You can move your toes, hm? How nice to see you standing! Although I have to say, you’re shorter than I thought. Your dad was very tall, you know.”

Charles, who’d long since learned to just go with the flow when it came to the Doctor, nodded.

“Everyone else?” the Doctor whirled around, effervescent and hyperactive in his usual fashion, startlingly clear eyes scanning everyone on the beach. Charles, well-enough acquainted with the Doctor’s body language to figure out what was going on, turned back to Erik.

“Erik, please,” he said, stepping closer to reach out for Erik’s arm. “Please, out them down before it’s too late.”

“Too late,” the Doctor agreed, whirling abruptly to face Magneto. “Yes, indeed, I agree. Quite. So, Magneto, is it? A lot of not pleasure to meet you.”

“Who are you?” Erik gritted out, clearly annoyed but wisely on edge.

“I’m annoyed, very much so. Right now annoyed is pretty much all I am, so you might as well refer to me as that. Although I’m taking a quick turn up towards angry and you, my little friend, you are standing on a very thin ledge.”

He squinted, unimpressed, and whipped out his sonic screwdriver as he muttered “And what is that on your head? People tease me about bow-ties.”

“Well,” Sean said blankly. “Bow-tie, dude.”

“Bow-ties are cool,” the Doctor replied without looking. “Besides you’re wearing a blue and yellow leather jumpsuit, it’s not like you can talk.”

He scanned Erik’s helmet briefly and looked at the results, shaking his head to flick his hair out of his forehead.

“Hm. Interesting alloy. Telepathy-repellent, I see. Very nasty. Also, helmet hair, awful. Nobody likes helmet hair,” he threw an arm around Charles’ neck and brought him closer, showing him the screwdriver as if he thought Charles might be able to make sense of it, which of course wasn’t the case. “Charles, Charlie, I love you my man, but you need to be a bit more selective with your friends, dear.”

“Doctor, if you would let me explain—“

“No, no, that won’t be necessary,” the Doctor said breezily, removing himself from Charles’ vicinity only to stalk closer to Erik and crowd into his personal space.

“No I don’t need anyone to tell me anything because I know.”

“You know,” Erik sneered, turning now to fully face the skinny, puzzling man. “What exactly do you think you know?

The Doctor smiled amiably, mood swinging as drastically as the Caribbean winds. “I know everything, Erik Lehnsherr, Max Eisenhardt, Magnus, Magneto. I saw you since birth till death, and then some in between that are a little harder to explain, and then I met you after that, but that’s for another story, because that one’s a bit tricky—“

“Will he start making sense at some point?” Moira asked Charles, confused.

The Doctor glanced at her, “I’m making perfect sense, you’re just not keeping up.”

He backed one step away from Erik and straightened his jacket.

“Okay, let’s all calm down. I can see you haven’t dropped the rockets yet, fine, keep them, do I care? But we’re going to have a little chat, you and I, and I’d appreciate it if no one interfered.”

“Doctor,” Charles started, helpless.

“I know what you’re thinking,” the Time Lord said, turning to him briefly. He paused, “Unless you’re thinking of the Lion King, then I don’t know what you’re thinking. But if you’re thinking why didn’t I go back in time and stopped Shaw, then I do know.”

Erik tensed.

The Doctor turned to him, pale eyes suddenly soft. “I can’t. The camps and Shaw are a fixed point in time. Things there must stay exactly the way they are, I’m sorry. You were meant to be there, you needed to be there.”

Erik went living with anger.

Needed to be there?” he asked dangerously. “I needed to be orphaned and savaged by a madman that liked to cut me open and torture me, all for the sakes of my betterment?

The Doctor went very still, blue eyes sharp. Then he straightened, smiling gently.

“I can’t change what is. I wish things could be different, Erik. But I can’t go back in time and save you. I always want to save everyone, but I can’t, not all the time.”

“So much good you are,” Erik snapped, stalking away before turning back around, sharply, body language aggressive and violent. “These rockets were meant to kill us.”

“Yes,” the Doctor agreed.

“So you’re going to tell me I’m not meant to defend myself, defend my people? You’re going to tell me, to my face, that I can trust humans?”
“Well, I’m certainly not telling your back,” the Doctor reasoned. His logic admittedly often worked backwards, but that seemed right enough.
“They’ll hunt us down like dogs,” Erik snarled. “And you’re telling me Charles’ naïve little view of the world is going to keep us safe?”

The Doctor held still for a moment, tilting his head sadly. “Oh, Erik. I’m not telling you anything. I used to be like you, you know. I’m much more similar to you than I am to Charles. It’s not naiveté, Erik; it’s hope. I know hoping is a scary thing, but you’re going to have to try.”

Erik was rigid, stiff with anger, but he moved dangerously closer to the Doctor, like a panther stalking its prey. The Doctor, of course, wasn’t cowed, though Erik was quite a bit taller and imposing.

“Used to be like me,” Erik repeated silkily, probably figuring out the most efficient way to murder the Doctor and only speaking to keep the target distracted.

“I’m nine hundred years old, Erik,” the Doctor smiled fondly. “I know what it feels like, all that hate, all that anger, all that resentment burning you up and that need to raze and slice and destroy, and all the fear that goes with it—to never let it happen again, to stop it, to protect, to save. You’re a good man, Erik, still. Not everything in you is dead, not yet. But if you go on like this…”

“This is the only way!” Erik hissed.

“There’s always an option,” the Doctor countered. “I told you some things are fixed points in time but this is not one of them. This is a chance, Erik. An opportunity. The shape of the world in your hands, between your fingers, and it all hinges on one decision, so you better make the right one, because many things will rest on your shoulders.”

“This is the right one,” Erik stepped back, fisting his hands, wishing he could push his hair back roughly as was his tendency when he was agitated. “The only one.”

“You’re not sure,” the Doctor eyed him skeptically. “You must be sure, Erik.”

“What else do you suggest? Get down on our knees and beg forgiveness?” Erik demanded.

“Look around you, Magneto,” the Doctor spat, suddenly incensed. “Start a war with mankind as see what happens. Would you like a preview? I’ll be brief. It starts like this: a madman in a beach, destroying two navy fleets from opposed countries. What happens next, you ask? It goes a bit like this: Russia and the United States are united in one common enemy: people like the madman that can redirect rockets. Mutants. It all starts with registration, and escalates, and then people start dying. By that time the secondary victims, sons and daughters and sisters and brothers and parents of the men you killed here on this beach have grown to hate you and fear you, and they want you and all yours dead to pay for the happiness you stole from them.”

The Doctor stalked closer to the water, turning his back on the ships to face Erik once more, pale eyes feverish.

“A whole generation of innocent souls turned to anger and loathing because you’re a hot-headed idiot so full of hate yourself that you can’t look any further than your own long nose. Congratulations: you’ve just turned into Sebastian Shaw! Actions have consequences, Erik, ripples in the water that stretch out to such distances that not even I can see them.”

“What’s the alternative?” Erik asked, raising his chin. “Presenting the other cheek? Letting them take us in, tag us, control us like their pets?”

“Why is it always extremes with you?” the Doctor asked tiredly. “I’m surprised anyone likes you, really. There are a hundred alternatives, Erik, and you’ll see them as soon as you stop staring blindly at the one spot in front of your eyes. You’re like a horse with a carrot, seriously. You’re snapping at it so harshly you’ll break your teeth.”

He stopped and considered for a moment, “Helmet hair and broken teeth, really not attractive.”

Erik turned back to Charles, “You grew up with this? No wonder you’re unhinged.”

He’s unhinged? You just tried to murder hundreds of people!” Alex shouted from a distance, incredulous.

“I said don’t interfere!” the Doctor hollered back, snapping his fingers under Erik’s nose.

“Anyway, back on topic, we’re wasting time, rockets, stuff, beach, bullets, you know what I mean. What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Being a murderer. Nasty stuff, trust me, I know. Bad day, bad stuff happened, I don’t like to talk about it, don’t ask.”

Erik fisted his right hand on the front of the Doctor’s shirt, bringing him close enough to see the flecks of green on his pale blue eyes.
“Give me one example, in all of the time you’ve seen and witnessed, one example, that will make me have some hope that we won’t be slaughtered if I turn my back on this right here, right now.”

“I have thousands,” the Doctor said, just as intensely. “One in particular you might be interested it. November nineteen-forty-four, Berlin, a small lithe orphanage in the outskirts of the ghetto. Jewish children live there, just barely making the winter. A mob of angry Nazis prepares to storm the building and drag out the kids, and the Police is told by the higher-ups not to interfere, though officially for many years to follow the Police supposedly didn’t know. Trust me. I know better.” The Doctor’s eyes are like ice on fire, sharp like diamonds, the sharpened tips of icebergs.

“One man,” he says quietly. “One policeman, says no. He stands in front of the crowd and says no, and stands there and doesn’t move and lo and behold—the crowd leaves, the orphanage is saved, the children live. One man. One man, Erik, and he held in his hand the thread of the future like you do now and he made his choice. Now you do yours. This is your time.”

Erik was still stiff and his eyes were hard like blades, but something had shifted, something was different. The Doctor sensed it, the small chip on his armor, the scratch along the surface of the frozen river. Below, the currents were in turmoil.

“Look at you,” he said quietly, with some awe. “All the things you’ve been through, horrors and pain and hate and anger and you’ve been twisted out of shape, but you’re not lost to yourself, Erik. You know who you are. Look at you. You’re bright as a star, bigger than supernovas, so beautiful. Don’t let it all burn out because you’re too scared to believe.”

Erik released him, eyes troubled, and took a shaky step backward.

“It’ll just happen again,” he said, but he sounded less sure of himself, less hard.

“No, because you won’t let it,” the Doctor said. “You’re different now, harder and stronger and older, and taller, you’re very tall, I hadn’t noticed. Were you always this tall?”

“Doctor,” Charles called, arching a brow.

“Right, sorry. I’m just saying, tall. Anyway, I had a point. Not about the tall thing, the other one. Oh yes. Erik, look at me. I’ve been alive for nine hundred years, I’ve traveled this world and others, shifted through dimensions, seen the past and the future. I’ve seen the men of the past make their choices and I’ve seen the consequences in the future of their children.  Erik—I’ve seen your future.”
The Doctor took a step closer, eyes earnest.

“You stand at a crossroads now, Erik. Look around, and see. As things stand right now, right now, nobody knows what you are and what you can do. The mutants are a secret, your secret, a secret well kept. In being a secret you are safe. But you do this now, Erik, you kill these men, you burn those ships, and you are a murderer and a threat and no longer a secret, and if you’re not a secret, then people will start fearing you. Fear, then hate, then people start dying. Do you see?”

“We shouldn’t have to hide,” Erik said low.

“And you won’t, not forever,” the Doctor smiled. “Trust me on that. But for now, right now right here, yes. You need to hide. You need to disappear. Keep your loved ones safe, regroup, reorganize, re-lots of other things that sound really good, you know my meaning. Retreat. Your work here now is done, Shaw’s dead, the threat is gone, your mother avenged. Walk away.”

“Walk away from the people willing to stab us in the back?” Erik shook his head. “They’ll hunt us down.”

“They won’t,” the Doctor smiled. “I’ll give you my word on that. I know some people, and more importantly some people know me. But I can’t help you if you don’t let me.”

“You’re asking me to trust a lot in you,” Erik said warily.

“Well, yes. I ask that of everyone, don’t feel special. I promise if I don’t keep my word I’ll let you poke me with a stick.”

“They’re dropping boats into the water,” Azazel said suddenly, straightening abruptly. “They’re sending soldiers over.”

“Out of time, sorry Erik, you’ll have to make up your mind quick.”

“What happens if I let the rockets fly?” Erik asked, pinning the Doctor with his eyes.

“Then I stop you,” the Doctor replied frankly. “I won’t let you massacre innocent people.”

“And after that?”

“After that, time happens, as it tends to. Can’t help it. I happen to know a bit about it.”

Erik glanced at the ships, and the boats closing in on the beach. Then he turned to Charles, eyes clear and open.

“Can I trust him?”

Charles smiled, “I’d trust him with the world a bit more, Erik. He’s never failed me, not once.”

Erik teetered on the edge.

The boats were coming closer, and they were full of armed soldiers prepared to put bullets through all of them. The Doctor rocked on the balls of his feet, looking idle but growing impatient.  Charles waited.

“I’m already a murderer,” Erik said, turning to the Doctor.

The man turned slowly back to him, smiling in that strangely ancient way of his.

“Don’t forget that. They greatest mistake you’ll ever make is forgetting yourself and your past. We live and by living we learn. I’ve lived a long time, and I’ve learned a lot—but I haven’t forgotten myself, where I come from, or what I have done.”

“You’ve killed,” Erik said, coming closer, eyes fixed on the boats.

The Doctor paused. Then he said, “Yes. I know how it sits on a heart. We’re more alike than you think, you and I.”

“Nine hundred year old alien time-traveler,” Erik said, almost amused. “You look human enough.”

“Oh, everybody always says that,” the Doctor grimaced, annoyed. “You look Time Lord. We came first! We already had space ships when you were figuring out fire!”

“And that’s the best you came up with? The blue box? Very sleek.”

“Typically German, everything has to be aerodynamic. I travel through time and space, I don’t need wings and fancy flaps! Blinking lights don’t make it better! Although they do look nice, I like blinking lights, very distracting. Half the time I don’t know what they mean, but they do look good.”

Quite suddenly, the Doctor squinted up at Erik, suspicious.

“You’ve already made a choice, haven’t you?”

Erik looked at him, reached up and removed the heavy helmet, weighing it in his hands.

“What should I do with it?” he asked curiously.

“It’s your hair,” the Doctor shrugged, turning around sharply. “Alright, we figure it out, everyone in the TARDIS, now, chop chop, start moving—there’s a lad, Charles, nice long strides, very walkabout, I’m loving it.”

Erik pushed the helmet into the Doctor’s hands, combing his hair back with his long fingers.

“Could you maybe lose it somewhere in space and time where I can’t find it?”

“Oh, I’m running errands now, grand.”

“It’s… bigger on the inside,” Sean was saying blankly.

“I love that bit,” the Doctor said, almost giggling as he tossed Charles the helmet. “Be a darling and leave it lying around somewhere, eh? The TARDIS will lose it, she misplaces everything. Now! Shall we go home? I haven’t been to Westchester in years, and they have such comfy chairs. I love comfy chairs, did I ever say?”

Charles run nimbly up the boardwalk to the corridors, turning a left in the first angle and then randomly taking turns, deliberately not paying attention, until he stumbled almost into a—well, it was a hole in the ground, really.

“Well, that’ll do, I suppose,” he said, letting the helmet fall down the shaft until it disappeared from sight. “Now to find my way back—ah.”
The corridors alongside the walls went dark as the lights turned off. Charles could only follow the illuminated one, and did so, until it led him back to the control room.

He joined the Doctor by the console, leaning his hip against the edge and smiling.

“You could stay a while,” he offered.

“Maybe I’ll visit,” the Doctor said, grinning genially.

“I see you still stick to that first rule of yours,” Charles laughed.

“You know what they say?”

“No, remind me.”

“Oh no, that was an honest question, I don’t know either.”

Charles laughed again.

“Look at you,” the Doctor said fondly, squeezing Charles’ wrist. “Small little Charles Xavier, all grown up. What a fine man you turned out to be, Charles.”

“I have a big name to fill,” Charles grinned.

“A brilliant name, I must say, it has a lovely ring to it. It was bit big when I met you, but then so where your pajamas. But you’ve grown! Not a lot, you’re quite short, but you evened out.”

“What’s your obsession with people’s heights?” Erik asked, amused, coming up beside Charles.

“Transient and amusing,” the Doctor answered. He squinted at Erik curiously. “Has anyone told you, you have a groovy mutation?”

Charles arched his brows, and Erik stared for a beat.


“Nevermind, wrong moment in the timeline, forget all about it.”

The Doctor’s attention drifted off towards the kids, wandering curiously under the command console to look at the vast wiring. Erik looked at Charles, expecting an explanation on—well, everything.

Charles shrugged, “He’s the Doctor. That’s all I can say.”

“Why did he keep going on about your legs and back?”

“He won’t tell me.”

“You’ve asked him, then?”

“No. I don’t need to. He won’t tell me.”

“And what was that about my mutation?”

Charles smiled, eyes flicking slyly to the Doctor.


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