For this prompt @ 1stclass_kink: I envision Erik's mother surviving somehow- not killed when shot, or escaped or sent elsewhere before the scene in the office. She makes it to America or England somehow, and Charles' family sponsors/hires her. Found by Charles in England, escapes to US and is hired there, whatever. She and Charles become very close- nanny, cook, housekeeper- and she's the one who finds out he can read minds. Having a talented son herself, she takes it in stride, but helps him hide…
She wakes up in a ditch surrounding by the stench and sight of decaying bodies, a bullet hole just centimeters away from fatality, but she is alive. Her boy is still in that camp, her boy who believes he had a hand in murdering his own mother. She wants nothing more than to run back and hold him in her arms, to reassure him that he had nothing to with the evils of others, but her shameful cowardice will not allow her to go back and find him.
So she crawls and flees and does not look back. She steals onto a transport which takes her to friendly territory, a hole in her heavy heart. When her fortunes offer her ticket to the Americas, she jumps at the opportunity, the memory of the regime so fresh in her memories that she can only run, run away, run away so fast that they will never find her again.
It is not until she steps off the boat that she remembers her husband and her child whom she left behind, and grieves for all she had abandoned.
Because of her age and her appearance (she is the first to admit that she is nothing special to look at), she is able to find employment quickly in a rich man’s house. Her lodgings as a servant are far more extravagant than anything from old country, but she tries not to think about that too much. She doesn’t think about her husband at all, but she could not bring herself to stop thinking about her son.
She is outside in the garden maintaining flower beds when she meets the young master for the first time. He is about the same age as Erik, with solemn eyes, and small well-dressed frame that knew nothing of the insecurity of hunger.
“Marie Eisenhardt,” she replies when prompted. He searches her with those eyes.
“But that is not your real name,” he says. His (they say, adopted) sister calls to him and he runs back toward the fountain, ball in hand. She stays rooted to her spot, shovel frozen in her hand, an all consuming query in her mind.
How did he know?
She takes care to avoid him after that, which was not a difficult task. In between his lessons and his athletics and his playtime with his sister, Charles Xavier has little time for anything else. Part of her responsibilities is to keep the pantry stocked with non-perishable foodstuff—a task she discovers is nothing short of torturous.
There is enough stored in that room to feed a small family comfortably for months. Whenever she finds herself alone in there, surrounded by cans that would probably expire before the family decided to give up on fresh-made meals, all she can think about is how hungry they all were, how they were forced to walk even when their legs were about to give out, how the rumbling of her son’s stomach nearly drowned out his piteous cries for food.
“I’m sure he’s fine.” She whirls around. Young master Charles is standing the in doorway. He continues: “Your son, I mean. I’m sure he’s fine.”
She opens her mouth, unsure of what she would say. She thinks confusion is appropriate, anger probable, or maybe she should just dismiss the entire incident. What comes out instead is a an involuntary low moan from deep inside her chest as her knees crumple away from under her as she sobs into her hands. Her reaction is surprising to herself, and it completely catches the young master off guard. His fingers go to his head and he winces.
“Oh please, don’t cry,” he said imploringly, looking quite distraught. “I didn’t mean to make you sad, I’m sorry.”
Her grasp of English is not very strong, and she goes back and forth between English and German as she pours out her sorrow, her guilt, how she cannot look at herself in the mirrors she polishes because all she can see is a mother who deserted her own son when he needed her the most.
The young master listens quietly through her rambling, and though she is unable to express herself efficiently, somehow, she felt as though he understood.
“I’ll find him,” he says when her tears have dried. “And then I’ll bring him back to you. It’s a promise.”
She pats him on the head and calls him a sweet boy, but she does not once take him seriously.
Charles Xavier and his sister are special, and she does not use that term lightly. They think that nobody else realizes it, and after living in that mansion, she begins to think that perhaps she is the only one who looks closely enough to see it.
There is something definitely unnatural in the way the young Master Charles reads and understands people and their motivation, and there is nothing natural about the way the young Miss Raven’s face changes drastically day by day. Children will look different as they mature, but one’s nose does not gain or lose the nub on the end of it, however subtlety, naturally.
She observes, but she says nothing, because if they are special, then they are like her son. And even to this day, though he is constantly in her thoughts, she cannot bring herself to think about him.
His mother remarries, and Charles and Raven gain a stepfather and a stepbrother. The boy is a self-entitled nightmare, and the father is even worse. The Lady of the house crawls into a bottle and never sees the wounds they inflict on her son.
“I’m fine,” he says tersely every night when she knocks on his door, first-aid kit in hand. The Young Miss is no longer in the house—Charles had sent her to boarding school on the eve of his mother’s wedding despite her most vigilant protests, saying nothing in his own defense even when she screamed obscenities and shouted through her tears. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.
So she also says nothing, offering an ice pack for the bruise on his cheek, a band-aid for the cut on his lip, and a light touch on his wrist, projecting to him all the warmth and comfort she could give. She tries her best not to coddle him—coddling does more harm than good—but if he cries, maybe she will hold him until he stops shaking.
Eventually, everyone runs out of tears, and Charles Xavier is not an exception.
YOU MUST LEAVE, GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW, RIGHT NOW!!
She hears the voice as clearly as if someone had shouted into her ears, and it jolts her out of her stupor. She was alone in her room, but the idea of hearing voices in her head unsettles her so much she throws a shawl around her shoulders and steps into the hallway. That’s when she smells it.
The servants who managed to escape the burning house are out on the lawns, waiting for the fire department to arrive, but much to her horror, Mr. Marko and his son and Charles are nowhere to be found. The mansion continues to burn and the firemen are pushing her away telling her to calm down, when the front door bursts open and Mr. Marko emerges, his son and stepson under his arms. Her breath returns and she nearly faints at the sight. She rides with him all the way to the hospital, hands clasped tightly together.
“I’m not going to die yet,” he manages out deliriously in between the coughing and the wheezing. “I made a promise to you, I haven’t forgotten.”
She waits until they’ve wheeled him out of sight before she reaches unconsciously for the scar near her heart and lets out a shuddering sigh, knowing that she had almost lost another child today.
In the aftermath, the Young Mister Marko disappears and the Young Miss Raven returns home from school with a broken expression and throws her arms around her brother, bawling and wailing that she didn’t mean it, not a word of it, I love you Charles, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.
They decide to go to London while waiting for the manor to rebuild—both children because Miss Raven refuses to leave her brother’s side no matter how much he chides her. So she sees them off with her blessing and well-wishes before returning to oversee the renovation.
Master Charles wires a sizeable sum into her bank account with a note for her to use it as she sees fit. Once upon a time, she had expressed her desire to learn, to be educated; she couldn’t believe he remembered. She invests in herself and enrolls in the local community college.
It is years before she sees them again.
Charles doesn’t even realize there’s someone else in the water until Shaw’s mind is sealed from him by the other telepath. He searches out for that mind and feels something achingly familiar, so much so that he just had to know more about it.
“Hold your fire!” He shouts out desperately, running toward the bow, stripping off his heavy coat. “There’s someone in the water, stop shooting!”
He can feel the mind slipping away, so much anger and hatred and pain. When he wraps his arms around the other man, when their skin touch for the first time, he sees the image of a woman being shot, just below the heart where Marie touches when she thinks no one’s looking, and he knows.
You’ll drown, he begs the other man. You have to let go. I know what this means to you, but you’re going to die. Please, Erik…
The stranger, who is not a stranger, breaks through the surface of the water and promptly throws a wild punch at him.
“My name is Charles Xavier,” he says when he finally gets the opportunity. You are not alone.
His first priority is to make sure with absolute certainty that this man whom he is almost completely positive is Erik Lehnsherr, is Erik Lehnsherr. His next thought is to contact his housekeeper and prepare her for the news, but then the CIA steps in and disallows telecommunication citing their safety as the main reason. Then he meets Cerebro for the first time and in between getting to know the machine and recruiting other mutants alongside the man he now knows for sure is Erik Lehnsherr, there is simply no time in between.
Of course, fat lot of good the communication ban does, they still lose Darwin and Angel, and the entire facility is in shambles by the time they return. When the dust settles around the rubble of the fallen compound, Charles is struck with a brilliant idea.
The manor is up and running months before Master Charles returns—she makes sure of that. He had insisted that there was no reason to hire any more personnel with no one living there, so she is the single caretaker; not such a daunting task when there was no one else to clean up after.
When he calls her and tells her that they would be returning home with five other guests, and that she shouldn’t overexert herself, her simple reply is: “It will be nice to have noise in this house again.”
“I…have a little surprise for you,” he says over the phone, sounding unusually tentative. “I hope you are…okay with it.”
A trinket, she thinks. Perhaps a giant novelty item like the baubles Master Xavier, God rest his soul, used to bring Charles whenever he returned from a convention. She does not hesitate to inform him that she would be pleased with anything he chose to give her.
“I want you to know that this may be…a little shocking,” he says, pulling her into a small alcove overlooking where the guests were wandering the ground. “So I just want you to be prepared.”
“I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately,” she says, bewildered. “All this secrecy is unbecoming, Master Charles.”
He flashes her a weak smile, but directs her view out the window. Miss Raven is back, looking older and completely different than she did the last time she was back here—but then again, she always could recognize Miss Raven no matter what form she was in. She was standing in a small gaggle of teenage boys, and she is about to remind Master Charles to give Miss Raven that all important conversation when just behind the brunette lady with shoulder-length hair, she sees—
The sight of him sends her flying back away from the window, palms clasped over her open mouth. He was a grown man now, but all she can see is her little boy who begged silently, helplessly for forgiveness as that monster pointed his gun at her.
“Mrs. Eisenhardt—“ Charles steps forward, alarmed.
“Charles!” She gasped, waving her arms almost violently. “Charles, is that…did you…Charles?”
He swallows. “We met just a few weeks ago,” he says. “His name is Erik Lehnsherr.”
She lets out a shuddering breath and it takes more than a few moments to calm and collect herself before approaching the window again, carefully this time. He had grown into a handsome man, broad-shoulders, and a steely set to his jaw. Strong and capable, nothing like the memory she had steadfastly held onto.
“I…I don’t know if I can do this,” she whispered. One side of her wants to run down right now, audience be damned, and pull her son into an embrace to see if he still fit in her arms. The other side wants to take off in the opposite direction and never let him see her, never have to hear him question her, why didn’t you look for me, why did you leave me behind, what kind of mother are you?
“Mrs. Eisenhardt, he loves you very much,” Charles says softly. “I think he would be very happy to know you’re still alive.”
She glances out the window again. His gait is long and purposeful, so unlike his father’s. “Please,” she says quickly before her courage deserts her, “make it happen.”
“What could possibly be more important than trouncing you at a game of chess?”
The one who speaks is distinctive, elegant, and powerful. She wrings her hand, trying to get herself ready for the inevitable moment.
“I can almost assure you,” Charles says, speaking faster the way he did when he was nervous, “that what I have to show you—“ the doorknob twists and she holds her breath–“is infinitely more relevant to your interests.”
“I don’t know how that’s even pos—“ and finally, they come face to face.
He is clearly shocked speechless and her words lodge in her throat and refuse to be uttered.
“What is the meaning of this?” He is addressing Charles and he sounds absolutely livid. Her stomach drops out from underneath her.
“Um,” Charles fumbles. “This is…someone who—“
“My name is Edie Lehnsherr,” she whispers, the name she has not allowed herself to speak for almost twenty years. His eyes dart back to her. “My son is Erik Lehnsherr—“ her voice rises uncontrollably “—and the last time I ever saw his face it was in a camp—oh Erik, Erik, I’m sorry.”
She is prepared for him to raise his voice, she is prepared for him to walk away, and yet the one thing she did not prepare herself for is for Erik to step forward and pull her into a determined embrace. He is so strong now, she feels as though he could break her with this arms, but he is so very gentle. She wants to say something, tell him what a fine, handsome young man he’s grown into, but then he chokes out in German, “is this really happening?” and the floodgates burst open with a vengeance.
Charles is gone and the door closed behind him.
Her son is a Nazi hunter. Meticulous and calculating, he seeks out those who had maimed and killed their people and executes them. The thought should horrify her, but instead her emotions run alongside sadness—that those who had robbed her son of his childhood and innocence still had such a hold on him and his future.
She tells him how she woke up in a ditch and managed to escape on a supply train, using a stealth she had never before possessed. She tells him how fortunate she was to be able to find treatment from a pitying English doctor before the wound could be infected and how he had provided her transport to the Americas, and how the housekeeper had taken one look at her with pity in her eyes and hired her on the spot.
“Are you upset with Charles?” she asks when his hands tighten around hers.
“You were his maid,” Eric maintains stubbornly.
“Darling,” she touches his face and he leans into it. “I’ve always had the option to leave.”
“Why didn’t you?” Erik asks. “Why didn’t you ever try to find me?”
Her heart seizes and this is exactly the conversation she did not want to have.
“I…I don’t think I can explain myself,” she says haltingly, the most horrible fear spreading through her fingertips. “I…I was running away and I didn’t have the will to turn back, I just kept running. By the time I had stopped running, I thought, I can’t face Erik, I left him with those…fiends. Then time passed by and it turned from ‘what if he’s not even alive?’ to ‘it’s been 3 years, he’ll wonder why I haven’t tried to look for him’ to ‘it’s been 5 years’, 10 years, and I…I just…” the tears had returned in full force. “It was unforgivable, what I did, and I’m so sorry”
He pulls her into his lap, the way she used to hold him when he was a tiny child.
“Well, I suppose I never tried to look for you either.” He reasons. She laughs weakly.
“Oh my son,” she murmurs softly in German. “I have missed you so.”
Charles stares at him. “You want me to do what?”
“I think it’s reasonable,” Erik says. “If you claim to know everything about me, I think it’s only fair.”
“Um, well I-I suppose I could,” he stammered. “It’s just that, erm, I haven’t actually done that before.”
Erik’s raises his eyebrow. “And you’re the one telling me to push my limits?”
“Oh, fine,” Charles makes a face at him. And then he focuses, pressing his fingers against the side of Erik’s head. “Ready?”
Erik nods, and he is swept off his feet.
”Marie Eisenhardt,” she says, but she’s lying. The truth is locked away in a dark and scary place deep inside her. Charles is seven years old and he doesn’t understand how someone can be scared of her own name.
Mrs. Eisenhardt is a constant presence against his mind because her thoughts are constant and all-consuming. Charles has never before met anyone like her. He sees the image of a little boy, whose face is hallow and frightened.
“I’m sure he’s fine,” he says. He just wanted her to stop feeling so sad. Instead, the assault of emotions is like a tidal wave of anguish and guilt and everything terrible in-between, and it nearly splits his head in two. He has never made anyone, much less a grown woman cry, and he feels truly awful.
She babbles, and though he could not understand her words, he sees everything. The man behind the desk who points a gun at her as the boy—her son?—looks on helplessly. The awful odor of rotting corpses and the knowledge that her son is in one direction but she can only run in the opposite, far away from him. How, even at that moment, she knew she would never forgive herself.
Charles wonders if his own mother would feel that way for him.
It becomes apparent to Erik that no one has ever asked Charles if they could see the world the way he saw it because suddenly, he sees fragments of memories Charles surely did not intend for him to see.
”Oh, Charles.” His mother is the image of perfection, from the perfectly coiffed hair to her perfectly lined lips and her perfect red pumps. He can feel the ripples of annoyance rolling off of her. She gave her husband the child he wanted—and a boy at that—her duties were over why was he so clingy. “Why don’t you just get one of the servants to do it? I’m sure it’s not important who’s reading it to you. Mommy has to leave now. You’re making mommy late. Charles, I’m becoming very upset with you.”
”You’re sending me away?! So what, you’re trying to get rid of me now?!” Raven rages, shape-shifting uncontrollably between her two forms. “I knew you’d get tired of me eventually. You’re just like everyone else, Charles. I hate you, I hate you, I HATE—“
The backhand across his face is going to leave a bruise. Kurt Marko steps back and admires his handiwork. “Why I married your mother is none of your goddamn business.” And she will never believe you. “Now get out of my lab.”
He locks his door the night that Kurt first belts him, the marks on his back bleeding and burning so badly he wants nothing more than to go downstairs and show that trash of a man what he’s capable of. Mrs. Eisenhardt lets herself in anyway. “A man should only use his fist to defend the one he loves,” she says quietly as he looks at her with murder in his eyes.
“The second your mom goes into the ground,” Cain jeers. “You’re gonna be thrown out into the streets like the little piece of filth you are, you and your whore sister—“ His body reacts before his mind catches up, and he wants to destroy—
He’s going to die. Down in this underground lab, the place he hates the most in the world with the boy he hates the most, he’s going to burn here. He’ll never see Raven again and she’s going to hate herself, and poor Mrs. Eisenhardt is never going to see her son again because she’s too afraid to search for him. He remembers nothing else.
He’s alive. Kurt Marko had saved his life, and the knowledge makes him numb. Raven is beside herself, overflowing with remorse and shame. “I’m going away,” he says to her, voice rough from disuse. “Will you come with me?”
Charles pulls away from Erik’s mind, but he has already seen too much. Erik blinks and realizes belatedly that he had shed tears.
“I’m so sorry,” Charles says quickly. “I meant it when I said I couldn’t control it, are you alright?”
Empathy is not a sentiment Erik is familiar with. Thinking like the enemy makes you, trying to understand their motivations makes one weak, and he banished all weaknesses in himself a long time ago. It is something else entirely to realize that Charles, a good man who embodies everything Erik has rejected, to be so strong—strong enough to where he could control himself even to a man he despised with everything in his heart.
He reaches out and squeezes the smaller man’s shoulder. Charles, he wants to say, I…I had no idea.. He knows Charles heard it because the other man smiles easily, the way he always has. When the aftereffects finally cease and he feels like himself again, he speaks.
“You are an extraordinary person, Charles Xavier,” he says quietly. “I am grateful that we have come across each other in this life.”
A mother knows.
The two of them walk closely alongside each other, heads bent together, mired in deep conversation. They run together and laugh together; Erik has never been one who finds amusement easily, even when he was a child.
Charles is enamored. He rarely shows interest—true interest, not dictated by social courtesy —in people, but he all but glows when Erik is around. One only needs to see how Erik’s eyes soften around the edges and how he reaches out for Charles when he reaches out for no one else to know that those feelings aren’t unrequited.
She does not need Charles’s precognition to notice how their unsettled their shirttails are, how mussed Erik’s normally sleek hair becomes after jogging with Charles, and how flushed Charles is every time the two of them play chess.
They will be outcasts even among the small band of outcasts they have gathered at the mansion right now. But both of her sons are grown men and she loves them, even if they are a bit strange.
Of course, life is dynamic, especially in those troubled times. One day the children in the house are coming to terms with their selves and their abilities, the next day they are sent to a warzone as soldiers.
Nothing changes. Erik still forces a coin through Sebastian Shaw’s skull. The Americans and the Soviets still launch their missiles with intent. Charles still looks on, horrified, as Erik freezes the missiles in midair and slowly turns them around. There are thousands of men onboard those ships, innocent men!
“Your mother is human!” Charles yells out, his own personal Hail Mary. “Are you really capable of making that distinction between which humans deserve to live and which ones deserve to die? If you think you are then you’re no better than the men you hunt—“
The missiles explode before they impact the ships. Erik, losing all forms of concentration and composure, launches himself at Charles, pins him, and strikes him, again and again.
Gunshots are still fired, the bullets are still deflected, and one still manages to find its way into Charles’s body.
Nothing changes, and yet nothing is the same.
They return to the mansion in a puff of red smoke, a larger group than before. Erik is holding Charles in his arms and Charles has blood seeping out of the hole in his gut.
They call the old family physician and he manages to remove the bullet and patch up the wound. It was a flesh wound, a very deep one, but would be non-fatal and Charles should recover full health if he allowed his body to rest. The hallways are empty when she walks him to the door afterward, thanking him profusely.
“It wasn’t any trouble at all, Mrs. Eisenhardt,” he laughs. “Only a minor cold, don’t let Charles out of bed no matter what he tells you.”
“She cannot stay here, it’s far too dangerous,” Erik says. “She knows too much.”
Charles stares at him, aghast. “You cannot seriously be asking me to—“
“I’m not asking you,” Erik cuts in. “I’m telling you.”
“I can’t do that,” Charles says, horrified “How can you, of all people, even think that? She’s your mother.”
“Yes, she is,” Erik says resolutely. “And I have to protect her. There’s going to be a war and there will be other mutants coming here. Some of them may be dangerous, some of them may not know how to control their ability, and some of them may even resent humans. You want her to be in the middle of that?”
“I can’t just…send her away?”
“All children must leave their mothers eventually,” Erik says harshly. “You must do this.”
She throws open the curtains and is treated to a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Today marks her first day in Honolulu, and she is eager to explore the island. The war had claimed her husband so many years ago, and they were childless. She never remarries and never once indulges in her wanderlust—that is until she began receiving checks from the Veteran’s Fund for her husband’s services.
She had nearly fainted when she read the numbers for the first time—she had been convinced they were too good to be true. But the checks kept coming, like clockwork, and soon she had amassed a small fortune, plenty to live comfortably for the rest of her life even if she spent extravagantly.
Now, she travels the world. She is sixty and she is alone, but she is free.
Marie Eisenhardt is truly the happiest woman in the world.
[ // ]
+ My original intention was to just reunite Erik and Edie and leave it at that, but then I really thought about it and this was the ending I thought was most likely to happen. I think both of them would miss her immensely, but know deep down that they would prefer her (relative) safety, even if it means she no longer knows who they are.
+ Edie Lehnsherr is the name of Magneto's mother on the X-Men: First Class IMDB page. One of Magneto's names (according to Wikipedia) is Max Eisenhardt. Which is where I got those two names. :D