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Ficlet: Liberation, G

Title: Liberation
Author: caitri
Rating: G
Pairings: Charles/Erik pre-slash
Word Count: 1,125
Summary: AU. Suppose Captain America had been the one to liberate Erik from the camps? An XMFC/Captain America movieverse crossover. Written for gadgetorious.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, or Marvel Studios. Just so you know.
Noted: Inspired by this post.
ETA: [Bad username: reenajenkins> made a podfic, which is available <a href=]here</a>!!!

Liberation


Charles wakes first, his arm already reaching out to wake Erik. We need to go, now! The HYDRA facility is silent around them, and Charles is glad for his ability to communicate wordlessly. For better and for worse, his abilities have grown since his captivity, as well as his control over them.

What’s happening, Charles? Erik’s mind is sharp as a blade, body tense. They’ve been well-treated here—well, as much as two prisoners can be, one wearing a yellow star and the other a pink triangle—and Erik’s thoughts are an anxious blur of foreboding. The man has told him a little of what happened to him under Klaus Schmidt’s initial tutelage; the horrors he has experienced makes Zola’s experiments on Charles look almost quaint in comparison.

I’m not sure. Charles closes his eyes, fingers pressed to his temple as he tries to sift through the minds of the men throughout the factory. The HYDRA personnel seem indifferent, but the majority of the people here are still prisoners, and their minds are a riot of emotion: HopeAstonishmentConfusionFearRelief. He pushes further, sees the image of a man in a blue cowl with a white A emblazoned on it.

The building shakes around them, rocked by explosions somewhere outside.

“We need to get out of here, now!” Charles opens his eyes; the little flame of hope he has nursed so carefully for so long is now a forest fire in his breast. “Erik?”

His friend grips his shoulder tightly, wordless, and Charles takes his hand, impressing all his FaithTrustLove in Erik with a force that’s almost physical. Erik gives him a twitch of the lips that might almost be a smile, and the doors of their cell are ripped off their hinges with the force of a hurricane.

“Hurry,” Erik says, and they scramble through the halls—now deserted of guards—and wind their way outside. The night is lit up with flashes of gunfire and brilliant blue rays from HYDRA’s weapons, many of which are now in the hands of the Allied prisoners. Charles had known they were there in the lower levels of the facility, but had never seen them before this moment. He and Erik had been kept closer to the medical labs, like the rats Johann Schmidt thought them to be—only the clothes on their backs to keep them warm in the chill of early Italian spring, enough food to keep them healthy enough to provide blood samples. “Wait.” He starts to tug at the patches on their coats, throwing them to the ground. “They can’t know.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Charles tries to tell him, but they are knocked to their feet by the force of another blast.

“Come on!” Erik pulls him to his feet, holding onto his hand and pulling him along until they reach a truck filling rapidly with other escaping prisoners. Hide us!

Charles does as his friend asks; the men around them may only see them as other prisoners, but that can’t last, and if they are retaken their invisibility might keep them alive a little bit longer. He has learned, bitterly, that the necessity of survival trumps more of his moral imperatives than he would have ever thought. It had been a brutal lesson he had absorbed first when he was captured in Guernsey and had continued throughout his imprisonment these two years. If not for Erik, he sometimes wonders if he might have been strong enough to survive alone, but something in him saw both a kindred spirit as well as that inner gift of power. Without Erik, he thinks he would be but half a man, and so he concentrates intently. The other prisoners see them, but don’t see them; no one tries to sit on their patch of bench in the back, no one acknowledges their presence in the quiet chatter of travel.

Their truck stops midmorning. Charles half-stands as he focuses his power (and he is tired, so so tired, but he will do this!), determined that no one see, and when the blue-cowled man hops into the back of the truck and looks right at them and says “Gentlemen!” with such astonishing cheerfulness, Charles thinks his heart stops.

“Cap?” says one of the men in confusion, and Erik presses his back against the wall of the truck like a cornered animal, ready to fight wildly before being taken back.

With a burst of panicked energy, Charles peers into the mind of—of Steve Rogers, who does see Charles and Erik, never mind how, and so with a final effort of will, Charles rearranges the memories of every other man present: of course Erik and Charles are there, they had always been there, Erik the quiet one, Charles the amiable one, nothing to wonder at at all.

“Is everything alright?” Charles asks as calmly as he can under the circumstances, trying to repress the urge to pant with exertion. Erik is looking at Charles with something like horror, and Charles makes himself gaze into the friendly face of Steve Rogers.

“I’m checking in on everyone,” Rogers says. He is, like everyone but Erik, oblivious to the work of the telepath. He nods at Charles first and then all the other men. “We’ve got a man working as navigator at the front of our convoy; he thinks we’re a little over two days out from the Allied camps.” There’s a palpable feeling of wary joy among the men gathered. “We’ve only got a few vehicles, though, and as near as I can tell there’s almost four hundred of us altogether. I’m ordering every able-bodied man to take a turn walking a few miles each day. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we will be soon. I’m going to get you guys there.”

“Who are you?” Erik’s voice is a strangled, rough thing. Charles would envy the admiration in it if his hand wasn’t tight on Charles’s knee.

Rogers gives them a self-deprecating grin. “I’m Captain America.” And he gives them all an earnest salute, and jumps off the truck.

~

Later, Charles will wonder if that wasn’t the moment that didn’t change Erik for the better: the moment they were saved by a man whose limited powers emerged from human ingenuity rather than genetics. In the last days of the war, they find themselves as part of a group of men attached to the S.S.D., and if the Howling Commandos get to take the better part of glory with Captain Rogers, well, the efforts of a telepath and a master of magnetism have their uses, too, in locating certain strategic HYDRA bases hidden underground, in mountains, in heavily camouflaged bases. But that is another story for another time.

Comments

( 18 comments — Add your .02 )
_profiterole_
Jan. 2nd, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
Great story! ^__^
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:43 am (UTC)
*G* Thanks!!!!!
amine_eyes
Jan. 2nd, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
... f'dsoifhs;dfkjshd;fkjshdf;ksjhfsdkjfhsldfkjhdslfkjdshfldskjfhdslfkjdshfldskjfh.



Yep, I think that about covers it.
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:43 am (UTC)
*L* *adores you* <3
avictoriangirl
Jan. 2nd, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
Just when I think I can't love you any more, you go and do something like this. ♥!!!!!!!!!!!!
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
*squishes you!* I'm glad you like it, bb!!!! <3
rubynye
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
Oh, this delights me, in its wonderful hopefulness. *beams* Don't forget to make sure they see it at comicstore_news!
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
<3333

Ooh, new comm! I added them to my Friends list! Thanks, bb!!!!!!
blue_jack
Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
This is much better than canon. :)
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
Marvel should keep me on retainer, we knew this. ;) <3
skull_bearer
Jan. 3rd, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Please can we have more? This is wonderful!
caitri
Jan. 3rd, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
*G*G* Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!!!

I don't know if there'll be more--this was kind of a one off because gadgetorious found that tumblr post and asked for it. If something pops in my brain I'll see what I can do though. :)
samjohnsson
Feb. 10th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
Very nice!

(Came in cause the podfic showed up in the feed.)
caitri
Feb. 10th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
*G* Thanks muchly!!!
wordwitch
Feb. 12th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this.
caitri
Feb. 13th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
*G* I'm glad you liked it!!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 26th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
willing to write a sequel about Erik and Charles in 2014 meeting Steve?
caitri
Sep. 26th, 2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
The closest I've come is this, I guess: http://caitri.livejournal.com/450821.html
( 18 comments — Add your .02 )

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