Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners
Fandom: X-Men: Movieverse
Rating: from K+ to M
Pairing: Cherik – Erik Lehnsherr x Charles Xavier
Genres: Fanfiction, slash, alternate universe
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), Charles Xavier (Professor X), Henry Phillip “Hank” McCoy (Beast), Raven (Mystique) etc.
Warnings: violence, (probably) sexual contents, etc.
Summary: A collection of short stories centered around the relationship of Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) and Charles Xavier (Professor X). Set in alternate universes (expect ghosts, mythical creatures, vampires, werewolves, etc.)
First story of Cherik Fantasy AU
Erik had expected, with joy budding in his bosom, an excellent catch as he pulled up the net. Through the rope he felt a formidable weight and, for a passing second, he thought the thick rope might give away under the strain. It could very well be his heaviest catch in this year, and anticipation swelled in his chest and fueled the strength in his arms, tanned and scarred by years of fighting and hardship.
Once the net landed on the deck with low thud, Erik’s eyes were wide with surprise as he caught sight of what had been lured into his net.
There was an ancient superstition that an encounter with those creatures when you were sailing far from land was an omen, whether good or bad still remained to be seen but the sheer act in itself was close to a miracle. During his years of fighting in the sea, Erik had acquainted with those stories, often by overhearing the old seafarers and fishermen sharing their seemingly never-ending anecdotes with the young men on board, green, wide-eyed and impressionable, who eagerly absorbed those tales as though air to breath, a means to ward off soul-crushing boredom when battles were scarce and catches were scarcer. But Erik, both atheistic and skeptical, tended to dismiss those stories as old wives’ tales. He believed in sea monsters, yes, those giant octopi that could sink a ship with their tentacles, humongous fish that could swallow a vessel whole, or those vicious sharks that were keen to blood as hounds to games, but sirens, selkies and merfolk? He found himself involuntarily and indignantly scoffing whenever someone in his hearing proximity claimed, swore even, to have seen one. Still, as he was now, witnessing with his own eyes a living, writhing proof of the supernatural, he felt a sudden urge to bite his tongue and curse in all the languages he could speak as what was before his eyes demolished every brick of his body of beliefs.
What Erik had thought to be a particularly big fish turned out to be less fish and more – more of what, he was at loss for a word to describe, for the initial word to roll at the tip of his tongue was ‘human’, and he refused with his every fiber of his being to accept this creature as his kind. Yet, no matter how much in denial he was, the visible truth remained that this deep-sea specimen was every bit a man as he was, at least from his waist up.
Perhaps a little too beautiful to be considered a man. Ethereal. The word slipped mentally before he had a chance to stop it.
From his waist up, it – no, he, should he be addressed as ‘he’ – possessed the torso of a typical man – flat but firm chest and waist so slender it could fit right into Erik’s hands. There was not a single blemish in his skin, pearly white and smooth as the inner side of a seashell. It was glistening as droplets of seawater freely rolled down his naked collarbone and chest like silver pellets, further amplifying his unearthly presence. But the semblance to human ended just a couple inches below his navel, where skin gradually receded to give way for cyanic scales to cover a huge fishtail, complete with large fins dyed in the same mesmerizing color. Under the moonlight, the scales glittered like they were made of fine crystal and probably cost more than sapphire stones, considering they came from something as unreal and mystical as a merman. Erik found his hand move on its own accord, yearning to touch them, to feel their shapes, their texture. He gritted his teeth, fighting hard the temptation, and losing by the seconds.
“Oh, do touch them, my friend, since you look so devastatingly tempted. I don’t particularly mind a grubby hand or two.”
Erik’s hand halted in the air as if frozen, his inside shuddered as he sucked in a cold breath upon being spoken to out of the blue. Did the merman just speak to him? He stared at the glossy ruby lips, which had curved into a half-smile like the creature could read his confusion, and perhaps appall, if it wasn’t already written all over his sea-kissed face. His eyes, impossibly blue and glowing like some sort of electrifying liquid in a magician’s glass tube, bored into Erik’s own with such queer and chilling intensity that the young seafarer’s instinct was begging him to avert his gaze lest himself be bewitched into diving headfirst into the inky ocean like many a tale had predicted. His whole body went rigid with tension.
“What are you?” Erik asked, and was immediately hit with a pang of shame at how retarded it sounded. Of course he knew very well what this specimen was; still, his befuddled state could be excused on account of his shock. It was not every day a merman was trapped in his net and spoke to him in such casual manner as though they were indeed old friends.
The smile deepened, bordering to transform into a smirk, which was infuriating and unsettling at the same time. Were all merfolk this disturbingly calm in capture? Did they not possess the slightest clue of what a fate might befall them at the hands of humans? Or simply what humans deemed common sense entirely evaded their alien brains? Erik couldn’t tell as his knowledge of this species was sorely limited to verbal stories woven by a combination of unverified facts, imagination and ale-loosen minds.
“Oh, can you not tell by your human eyes, because I believe the evidence is abundant? Also, I am definitely not wearing any glamor,” the creature replied mockingly, his voice laden with a hint of chuckle, grating Erik’s nerve. His fingers, pale and spidery, hooked the net as he continued, his voice rising a notch. “Congratulations, human, for you’ve managed to capture the rarest and most elusive creature of the ocean. Now, what are you going to do?”
Frankly, Erik was at a loss for an answer. He had thrown the net with a simple intention to catch some fresh food for his crew; they had been putting up with tasteless cured meat that required more effort to chew than acceptable and hard, dried gourds and pumpkins for almost two weeks. The men were getting cranky and morale was low, which something fresh and less bland might help improve. But as fate would have it, what had turned in his net proved to be entirely inedible.
“I can offer a couple suggestions, if you don’t mind.” God, here he opened his damnable mouth again, and with a sing-song tone no less. “You could hold an auction and make a fortune for yourself, enough to allow you to live your life with abandonment until you’re grey and wrinkled. As far as I’m concerned, there are always plenty of souls willing to pay a dear price for a half-man, half-fish thing. Or, alternatively, you could consume my flesh and achieve the single thing mankind has yearned most.”
“And what is that?” Erik asked incredulously, though he had a vague idea what it could be.
A sharp glint flashed his eyes, too wicked to not be missed. He licked his lips swiftly and breathed, “Immortality, my friend.”
The words came out soft as a whisper, heavily laced with seduction. For a second, Erik was almost fooled into believing that the merman was engaging in pillow talk with his lover and not with a human whose stomach he had just fondly suggested to be his final destination. Erik shuddered, being reminded of those tales in which men were seduced to their untimely and often gruesome deaths by a merfolk’s enchanting voice. His hands trembling ever slightly, he felt sweats beading at the nape of his neck in spite of the winds howling.
“I don’t need eternity,” Erik curtly replied, his voice shaking. “Nor do I desire it.”
“Do you?” mocked the merman.
It was the truth. The idea of living on forever he had never entertained, not even in his idle hours spent sharpening and polishing his sword on the deck. Erik was a man of the present, who neither dwelled in the past nor fantasized about the future, and at the present he had a clear, definite goal for which he was ready, willingly to give everything he had. He didn’t really see past that goal because Erik Lehnsherr didn’t see himself coming out of it alive. Not that he would mind, though.
So no, there was no place in his mind for such a flimsy notion as immortality, especially when it was proposed by a member of the merpeople, whose trickery and whimsical nature were legendary.
“I don’t,” came his ultimate reply.
The ruby lips pouted and disappointment veiled the beautiful face – it was hard to tell if this expression was genuine or a mere act. “Then, what shall you do with me when you’re quite adamant about not getting my most precious prize?”
What should he do with him? Erik quickly turned the question in his head. He had no intention to eat him – just a thought was enough to make his stomach churn, and he wasn’t going to make a fortune auctioning this singular creature – money was right next to immortality on his priority list. What he could do before everyone else on this ship found out about this quaint visit was to treat him the same way Erik and his crew would a poisonous crawfish or a fish so hideous it would be a crime to their eyes.
“Does your kind always have this habit of babbling nonsense?” Erik asked as his hands deftly untangled the next.
Erik half expected a dry remark from that pretty mouth; what he got was a look of surprise and forlornness that flashed across his countenance and dispersed so quickly he nearly mistook it for imagination. There were moist in his eyes as he shook his head. “I wouldn’t know,” the merman said, “for I have never in my life encountered another one of my kind.”
Erik’s eyebrows arched but made no comment, focusing on his task at hands. The net yielded effortlessly, leaving the merman free.
“What are you doing?”
Erik certainly did not imagine the low, undignified yelp when he lifted the creature in his arm and walked to the hull. He was heavier than he looked and Erik fathomed most of the weight was the lower body. Briefly, a grotesque thought of separating the man part and the fish one manifested in his mind, bringing him an unexpected chill. He took in a deep breath to clear his head and calmed himself before unceremoniously dumping the merman into the ocean below.
A loud splash but fortunately, no one seemed to be bothered enough to go and check. Erik heaved a sigh of relief and was already turning on his heels to return to his cabin when a melodious voice rang in his ears again.
“You’re a strange man indeed.”
The merman was staring him with those glowing blue orbs of his, a cheeky grin plastering on his youthful face.
He looked frighteningly like a human lad who had just won a bet.
“Go,” Erik commanded, exasperated, “to wherever you came from. Others might not spare you like I did should you get caught in their nets.”
“Thank you,” he said, his tone soft, free of mockery. “And goodbye, Erik.”
“How did you—”
The merman tapped a finger to his temple, winking at Erik. “We shall meet again, my friend,” he promised, before diving to the murky water, leaving Erik to contemplate his words.
This short story is inspired by a fanart featuring a merman Charles.
This merman storyline may or may not continue.