Author: Kat Lee
Challenge/Prompt: slashthedrabble #430: On the Job
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death
Word Count: A little over -- sorry! -- at 629
Date Written: 11 January 2017
Timeline: Back in the '80s, right after Magneto became the new teacher for the New Mutants following Charles' apparent death
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
He stares out at the sea of faces. It's only a few people in reality, but to him the whole class room seems to be full of young faces looking at him expectantly not to teach him but to make a mistake. He starts every day thinking that walking into this very room is a mistake, but so far he's been able to keep his word. So far, as far as they know, he hasn't messed up, and in truth, he hasn't messed up -- in no small part, Erik privately believes, because he has limited his days to these grounds and the occasional battles in which he still finds himself involved.
If he ventures too far outside of the school, however, he knows what's going to happen. He's going to see humanity once again being cruel to his people. He's going to see the plain, crystal clear evidence that exists in normal mutants' every day lives that will remind him, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that his lover's dream, no matter how many people may still cherish it, can never happen. Humans are too full of hate and fear. They will never accept what they do not understand, let alone allow those they fear to live in peace.
It's only a matter of time, Erik knows, until he sees their hatred again. It's only a matter of time before his calm facade breaks, that these walls he's trying so hard to build around his instincts come crumbling down, and he breaks his word. That's something else he thinks not just at the beginning of every day but multiple times again and again throughout every day he spends on this, his new job in a position into which he never asked to be cast: He never should have given his word to Charles.
He is many things. Humanity has made him into many things. He has lied before, but he tries very hard to be a man of his word, especially for those few people for whom he still cares. He never gives his word lightly, but sometimes, he does give it and come to regret giving it. This is certainly one of those times, but Charles was dying. He could never have refused him his final wish. He's always loved him far too much for that.
He's always loved him, and that is exactly how he has come to find himself in this place. It is exactly why he is still standing here while Charles is gone from him forever. He holds no illusions about death. There is a place after death, he knows although he does not buy into the same faith as Charles. There is a place after death for men like Charles, and a place after death for men like himself. The two will never cross. Charles is gone from him, and he is gone from him forever.
So this place is all he has left. His memories are all he has left to cherish, and his final word to Charles is his last obligation to fulfill. He will play the role he asked for him for as long as he can, but one day, he knows he'll revert back to his old ways. One day, he'll have to. He'll have to bend humanity to his will before they destroy what is left of his people.
He'll do it, and when he does it, he'll rename this nation in which Charles so believed. It, along with this school and others that will be built in its image, will be Xavier's. It will be his to do with as he wishes, after all, and is he himself not already Xavier's? Erik bows his head slightly and continues to teach for the time he has left.