Magnetic Personalities
An X-Men: Evolution Fanfiction
By Jaelle and Orla


Chapter Six: Lock and Key


Disclaimer: All belongs to Marvel. etc, etc, etc. Damn it all.

Words in //slashes// indicate telepathic conversation.
Words in *asterisks* indicate thoughts.


"Good evening Rogue."

"You're being awfully formal," Rogue replied sleepily. "What's up? And why are you wearing your costume?"

Erik sat down on the bed and took her hand. "I just dropped by to say goodbye."

"WHAT?!"

"No! Not that kind of goodbye!" Erik hastily reassured her while rubbing at his ringing ears. "Xavier has asked me to go and deal with the Acolytes once and for all."

"You're gonna kill them?"

"No. I'm going to fire them."

"Okay..."

Erik smiled. "Not quite like that of course. But since I do not require their assistance any longer, it seems pointless to keep them around. Also they've been rather annoying lately. I'm going to officially disband them, and let those of them who desire it come here to hear Xavier's arguments. He is hoping to recruit one or two of them for the X-Men, or at least for other projects. I believe Colossus at least would be interested. He's not really a fighter at heart, and I'm sure it will relieve him to know that I won't be threatening his family any more."

Rogue glared at him.

"And I'm sorry that I did that," Erik added hastily. "Really."

"Hmph. How long will you be gone for?"

"Depends on how difficult they are. I should be back by tomorrow anyway, but I just wanted you to know where I was." Leaning forward, he kissed her gently on the forehead.

"You call that a goodbye kiss?" Rogue demanded as he pulled back. She grabbed the front of his costume and dragged him down for a much longer and more energetic kiss on the lips.

"That's a goodbye kiss," she said, releasing him.

"I will... remember that in future," Erik said dazedly. "I'll see you when I get back."

Unsteadily, he walked to the door, and managed to get through it after only two tries. Rogue leaned back in her bed with a pleased smile on her face.

**

An hour after leaving the Mansion, Erik dropped down in front of his mountain base. With an imperious gesture he opened the steel doors and entered. No one challenged him as he walked purposefully down the corridors and entered the main control room.

He frowned. The Acolytes were not there, nor did they seem to have noticed his entrance. Quickly he accessed the main computer and activated the security cameras. "Clearly they have been a bit lax in my absence."

He paused as something in the corner caught his eyes. On a pedestal lay his old cloak and helmet. He approached them and picked up the helmet, hesitating only for a moment before placing it on his head.

"Boss? You're back?"

He turned to see Pyro gaping at him in the doorway. "Correct, Pyro, I have returned," he said, his voice resonating deeply due to the helmet. He felt the old, familiar feeling of control settle upon him and enjoyed it. For a moment he was tempted to abandon his promises to Charles and return to his old way of life, but then the memory of Rogue's goodbye kiss burned through his memory and he pushed temptation aside. "I have come to..."

"So where's Gambit?"

"Excuse me?"

"Didn't you come and take Gambit for a job?"

"No."

"Oh," Pyro scratched his head. "That's odd."

"Pyro, tell me everything."

"Well, you or at least I thought it was you well, y'know it's like a dream really, someone who I thought was you came and Gambit left with him, you, whoever."

"Do you mean to tell me that Gambit has left, with an impostor, and you and the others have done NOTHING about it?"

"We thought it was you!"

"Surely Sabretooth would have scented me."

"Yeah, but he..." Pyro gulped. "He took off, a while ago"

"With another me?"

"No he just left, said he was bored and wanted to do something else," Pyro managed a nervous smile. "Uh you weren't exactly contactable or we'd have called."

"Right," Erik was secretly relieved that he did not have to worry about Sabretooth. *Besides, if I know that idiot he'll come after Logan one day soon and the X-Men can take care of him.* "Did you or Colossus bother trying to track Gambit, no of course not," he said before Pyro could answer. "You thought he was with me."

"Uh..."

Erik ignored the boy and turned to the security monitors. "When did he leave?"

Five minutes later Erik frowned at the images presented to him on the screens. A man with an oddly marked face entered the base, somehow managing to confound Colossus and Pyro, and walked out with Gambit following like an obedient puppy. Erik checked Gambit's tracking beacon and was relieved to see it was still active. Obviously the Cajun had not discarded his costume. It did not take long for Erik to determine his Acolyte's location, something that brought an even deeper frown to his face.

"What is he doing at Warren Worthington's place?"

"Boss?"

"Nevermind," Erik turned back to Pyro and saw that Colossus had joined the boy. "You two remain here, I will return with Gambit and this mysterious man who dared to steal one of my people."

"Uh sure," Pyro said.

"Is he back with us now?" Colossus asked his teammate after Erik had left.

"Search me, mate."

**

Gambit's presence was confirmed when Erik saw the Cajun leap over the Worthington House gates. Holding back, he watched as Angel confronted the thief and a cloaked figure. His eyebrows rose when Worthington fell, unconscious, from the sky after the mysterious figure looked up at him. Now it was time to act.

Focusing his powers on the metal fence, he tore loose a number of the pointed poles and flung them in front of the cloaked man, who tried to escape in the other direction, only to be halted by another barrage. Erik smirked as he caged the man, and descended.

"Whoever you are, you've got courage," he said. "Not everyone would hypnotise one of Mine to do their stealing."

He had really missed this helmet. It made his voice sound so cool.

The mysterious man looked up, his marked face drawn into angry lines. Erik felt a slight pressure on his mind, and smiled triumphantly.

"Don't bother. Your psychic blasts can't affect me."

The man glanced at Gambit, who immediately drew out a playing card and charged it up.

*I don't think so.* Erik wrapped the poles tightly around the man, squeezing hard. "Release your mental hold on Gambit. Now!"

The man sighed, "Alright."

Gambit blinked. "Where am I?" He blinked again. "Magneto?"

Erik ignored him and reached for the object that the mystery man held. "And as for this relic, let's find out if it was really worth it."

*Something serious is going on here,* he thought to himself. *What should I do? Mastermind is in Italy, and I feel that time is of the essence. Perhaps, yes, Charles.*

The decision made, he rose into the air, pulling the improvised cage along with him. A quick glance ascertained that Worthington was uninjured and therefore, safe.

"Come Gambit," he said. "Let us gather the others."

"Riiight..." Gambit said slowly. "You de boss. I guess."

"Don't worry," Erik said absently. "All will be revealed soon."

Gambit's eyebrows shot up. That didn't sound like the usual thing Magneto would say. However, he shrugged the surprise aside and followed his leader back to the base.

Once they got there, Erik brushed aside Pyro and Colossus' questions. "Prepare to shut down the base, only leave essential systems online. We are leaving for the Xavier Mansion."

"Oh right... WHAT?" The three Acolytes gaped at him.

"I knew it!" Gambit drew out some playing cards and moved into a fighting stance. "You are still with them, n'est-ce pas?"

The floor beneath him rippled and trapped his feet. "Gambit, I do not have time to debate things with you," Erik said coldly. "So shut up, and remember that I can still hand you over to the Thieves Guild in New Orleans. I'm sure there are a number of questions that they still want to ask you."

"Now get moving. We're leaving in 30 minutes."

**

"Who the hell is banging on the door?" Bobby asked sleepily, raising his head from his pillow. "Don't they know what time it is?"

"Huh? Door?" Ray mumbled.

Bobby sighed and hauled himself out of bed as the pounding continued.

"Yeah, yeah, we're coming," he moaned. "Oh, hey Amara."

"Hey, Bobby," Amara yawned, cutting ahead of him on the way to the front door. "I swear, if this is an insurance salesman, there's gonna be trouble."

"At this time of night?" Bobby asked. "And besides, how would they get through the security systems... wait a sec, the security systems are on, right?"

"Yeah," Amara reached for the door.

"Then how would someone get through?" Bobby sluggishly worked through the logic as Amara undid the locks.

"I don't know," Amara yawned again, and pulled open the door. "Perhaps they flew... geep?"

Her jaw dropped as she stared at the tall, handsome, winged figure standing in the doorway.

"Hi," said Warren nervously. "I'm sorry to barge in like this, but I must speak to Professor Xavier immediately."

"Ghk," Amara managed.

"Um, can I come in?"

"Uhhh...."

"Hello?" Warren waved a hand in front of Amara's face.

"Sorry, she's brain dead at this time of night," Bobby said as he dragged Amara out of the way. "Who are you?"

"I'm..."

"Warren!" Scott came down the stairs. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, I'm trying to tell you," Warren said, stepping inside. "I had a late night visit from Magneto, among others."

"Erik?"

"Huh?"

//Welcome to the mansion Warren. Scott, please bring Warren upstairs to my study.//

"Whoa," Warren started, and put a hand to his head. "Does that happen often?"

"You get used to it," Bobby said.

//Bobby, Amara, go back to bed.//

"Aw man... Come on Amara. You can look at the pretty man later."

As Scott led Warren upstairs, there was a brief whimper of pain as Amara finally woke up and extracted vengeance.

Xavier looked far too alert for one o'clock in the morning as he welcomed Warren into his study and offered him a chair. "You had something you wished to discuss?"

Warren explained about his late night visitor, and the encounter he had had with the cloaked man outside his house.

"...and when I woke up, the man was caged and being taken away by Magneto."

"I knew we couldn't trust him!" Scott burst out.

"Couldn't trust who?" Erik asked, walking in behind him.

"GAH!"

"MAGNETO!" Warren leapt to his feet.

"Yes? Oh. You made good time Mr Worthington. I apologise for not stopping to assist you, but I could see that you were only stunned, and this seemed too important to delay."

Warren stared at him. "How? What? You look younger than last time."

"Don't remind me," Erik grumbled.

"This is a nice place you got here, Monsieur Professeur. There are some valuable pieces here I see," Gambit observed, slipping in through the open door.

"What's HE doing here!" Scott yelled.

"Hmph, but the welcome needs work," Gambit glared.

"Stand down Gambit. And don't touch anything."

"You're no fun," Gambit mumbled.

"I trust there is a very good explanation for all of this, Erik," Professor Xavier finally managed to get in a word.

"Yes, it's downstairs in the foyer."

By the time Warren, the Professor, Scott, Erik and Gambit had made their way downstairs, the whole house was up and staring at the make-shift cage hovering in the middle of the lounge.

"That's Mesmero!" Jean cried.

"Oh, at least we know his name now," Erik commented casually. "He hypnotised Gambit to make him steal this item." He handed the spider-stone over to Xavier. "I brought him here in the hopes that you would be able to ascertain his reasons for doing so."

"And you brought the other Acolytes here too, I see," Scott said sarcastically, glaring suspiciously at Pyro and Colossus.

Pyro was not the least bothered by the unwelcoming reception, but Colossus looked a little unnerved.

"Nice place you got 'ere," Pyro said cheerfully. "Love all the wood panelling. Got a sprinkler system?"

"Yes," Jean gritted out. "So keep your flames to yourself."

Pyro made a face but shut up.

"You did tell me that you wanted them to hear your pitch," Erik said. He was clearly enjoying the confusion and kafuffle that he had caused.

"I believe the first order of business is to uncover what Mesmero is up to this time," Xavier said. "Erik, could you install your associates in the guest rooms. I presume they will behave?"

"If they know what's good for them."

Gambit put down the vase he'd been examining.

"W'as going on?" A sleepy Southern drawl preceded Rogue's arrival. "W'as all the noise?"

"Rogue!" Warren and Erik both headed to her. "Are you all right?" They asked in unison.

"No. Ah think Ah'm gonna throw up, an' ma legs are shakin', and... Warren? What're you doing here?"

Erik and Warren met on either side of Rogue, and glared over her head at each other briefly.

"I'm, uh," Warren paused for a moment and tilted his head to look at Xavier. "Just visiting."

"At one o'clock in the morning?!"

"I got the times wrong."

Rogue stared past him. "Is that Mesmero and the Acolytes standin' in our foyer? With the annoying Cajun one stealing the silver plate?"

Gambit hastily put down the plate as Erik glared at him, and tried to look innocent. Erik sighed and looked at Xavier.

"The Acolytes? No you must be still half-asleep," he said casually. "Why don't I help you back to the infirmary?"

"But... but..."

"No please," Warren interjected. "It's my fault for waking you, let me help you."

"I'm helping her," Erik snarled.

Warren blinked in surprise. Then Rogue took the decision out of their hands by collapsing in a dead faint.

"Okay, let the Doctor through," McCoy shouldered both men aside and picked Rogue up carefully, making sure not to touch her bare skin. He glared at Erik and Warren. "Well, I hope you're both satisfied."

Erik and Warren looked guilty.

After Beast had left, Xavier ordered all of the New Mutants back to bed, and called the X-Men and the Acolytes into his study. Erik came in last, propelling Mesmero's cage along with him.

"Now," said Xavier, wheeling up to the cage. "I believe it's time for some answers."

The X-Men watched in nervous anticipation as Xavier probed Mesmero's mind. Finally Xavier sank back in his chair, sweat beading his forehead. "The spider-stone, the second half, is in the Tisdale Museum in London."

"London, England?!" Kitty exclaimed.

"Yes. Together both halves form a key that will help unleash the most powerful mutant in the world: En Sabah Nur, known as Apocalypse."

"Well there's a friendly name," Kurt whispered to Evan.

"So could this be a second key to match the one formed by the rings Mesmero had us steal?" Jean asked.

"I believe so," Xavier replied. "But it's hard to get much information. His mind is very powerful." He rubbed his forehead. "I will try again in the morning. Scott, make sure that Mesmero is placed somewhere safe."

"Yes Professor," Scott said enthusiastically.

"Erik, settle your people in for the night. We will discuss this further later today. For now, we should all get some rest."

"Yes Professor," Erik replied just as enthusiastically. Scott glared at him, hearing the sarcastic undertone. Pyro and Gambit sniggered.

**

"What do you mean he's gone?" Erik yelled. "Where did you put him, the closet?"

"No, I put him in the Danger Room!" Scott yelled defensively. "I didn't think anyone could get out of there without the proper codes!"

"Well obviously one person could!" Erik swore. "AND he took the stone."

"Well, at least we know where he's going," Pyro pointed out, munching casually on a muffin.

Scott glowered at the Australian. He was already furious that Mesmero had escaped, to have Magneto's Acolytes lounging around the dining room as if they'd been there forever only made him feel worse.

"There's no point assigning blame," said Hank reasonably. "Our next step is to decide what to do now."

"Go to London, of course!" said Jean. "That's where the other half is, so he's bound to be heading in that direction."

"Quite correct, Jean," Xavier entered the dining room. "We have no time to waste, I will take a team with me to stop Mesmero from achieving his goal."

"I will be coming," said Erik, in a tone that held no room for argument. "And the Acolytes."

Scott started to object, but Xavier held up his hand. "Very well. We don't know if Mesmero has acquired any other resources, so a fighting force would be a reasonable precaution. Jean and Scott, you will also accompany us, as will you, Hank. Your scholarly expertise may be required."

Jean and Scott glanced at each other. Going on a mission with the Acolytes was not a prospect that filled them with great joy. However, they kept their objections to themselves and nodded.

"Aw man, don't we get to go?" Evan complained.

Kitty elbowed him. "I don't think this is open for negotiation, Ev," she said in resignation.

Xavier glanced in their direction. "You three will be responsible for looking after Rogue and ensuring that the New Mutants do not get out of hand."

Kurt slumped in his chair. "Oh that's harsh! Don't you have a suicide mission we could go on instead?"

Gambit threw the newspaper he had been reading on the table and stretched. "At last, some action!"

Warren cleared his throat. "Do you need my help?"

"Thank you for the offer, Warren, but I think we should be fine," Xavier smiled. "Feel free to stay here as long as you wish. We will return your artefact."

Warren smiled wryly. "Thank you, but please don't worry if you have to destroy it. I have quite a few relics lying around, I'm sure my father wouldn't miss this one too much."

**

Kurt bamfed into the infirmary and found his sister lying in her bed, a pensive expression on her face.

"What's up, Rogue?" he asked, sitting on the end of the bed.

She blinked and focused on him. "Oh, hi Kurt, nothing's wrong," she shrugged. "Ah was just thinking," she sighed. "Hey, did Ah have a crazy dream or did Erik bring the Acolytes, Mesmero and Angel back to the mansion last night?"

"Uh, Angel showed up on his own, but, yes, to the others," Kurt fidgeted. "I think the Professor didn't want you to worry, so he didn't say anything, but he's taken Jean, Scott, Erik and the Acolytes to London"

"What?" Rogue's eyes widened. "London? Erik didn't come and tell me!"

Kurt reached out to pat her shoulder reassuringly but she flinched back. He hesitated, hand still outstretched.

"I'm sorry," she said, looking away. "Ah didn't mean it"

"It's okay," Kurt said, putting his hand down. "I thought you were kinda okay with people now though."

"Ah just don't want to hurt anyone," she said, twisting a thick strand of hair around her finger.

"But what about your magnetic powers? Wasn't Erik going to teach you how to use that shield thing?"

"Yeah, but," she hesitated. "Kurt, no one knows except the Professor, but Ah might not have those powers anymore."

"Huh?"

"When he drove everyone out of my head the powers went too. Zaladane was erased as well and Ah don't know if Ah still have her powers permanently. Ah started to try and move something yesterday but my head ached so bad Ah had to stop before Ah could really know or not. The Professor told me to take it slow, but..." she shrugged helplessly.

"Oh, I see. But if Zaladane is still unconscious..."

"She's in stasis, like Juggernaut, and no one wants to release her for obvious reasons."

"Yeah, I see your point," Kurt sighed. "That's rough, sis. I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Rogue said, although it was clear from her tone that she wasn't really okay. "Ah just... we never knew if Ah had her powers permanently, but Ah guess Ah got used to having them and thinking that Ah could have some sort of normal life, to be able to touch."

"You've certainly been happier," Kurt grinned. "It was a little unnerving at first, but I quite like seeing you laugh more and be more open with us. I know Erik has a lot to do with it."

"He does not," Rogue blushed.

"That's denial talking," Kurt said sternly. "I'm your brother, I see it, I KNOW what you're feeling. I feel the same about Amanda."

Rogue glared at him, but then cracked under his steady gaze and blushed more. "Ah guess he does have something to do with mah mood," she admitted, dropping her gaze and plucking at her bedding. "It's weird being so happy though. You think it was unnerving for you? Ah kept wondering if Ah was possessed!"

"Hey, maybe this happy you is the real you," Kurt suggested. "You know, the person you should've been if..."

"If Ah wasn't a mutant?" Rogue made a face. "Ah don't know..."

"Were you happy as a child?"

Rogue thought about it. "Ah guess, no yes, Ah was," she frowned. "Ah remember being happy with Irene and... Mama..."

"Now, now," Kurt said hastily, seeing the dark mood descend on Rogue. "We're not talking about her, we're talking about you. The happy you," he reached out again and patted her shoulder. "And I'm glad that you're happy."

This time Rogue didn't flinch and grinned at him. "Thanks, little brother."

"Achem, am I interrupting?" Warren's voice broke in on the moment.

Rogue glanced up and her eyebrows shot up when she saw the huge bunch of flowers Warren was carrying. "Uh, no Kurt and Ah were just talking. Um, are those for me?"

"Wow!" Kurt goggled. "That's got to be the biggest bouquet I've ever seen!"

"Are you allowed flowers?" Warren asked anxiously. "No one could tell me, so I assumed it was all right."

"Ah guess it is, umm..." Rogue looked around. "Kurt, could you get a vase or something?"

"Sure!" Kurt made a mock salute and bamfed away.

Warren coughed slightly in the aftermath of Kurt's teleportation and smiled at Rogue. "I'm sorry that you're not feeling very well," he said, taking a seat by her bed.

"Um, yeah, Ah had a bit of power surge," Rogue said, watching as he adjusted his wings and balanced the bouquet awkwardly in his arms. "But Ah'm feeling better. Uh, how're you?"

"Oh, fine, fine. Had a bit of a busy night, thieves and mind controllers, that sort of thing."

"Oh. But you're okay?"

"Fine, not a scratch on me. Maybe a couple of bruises, but no scratches."

Rogue smiled. "Ah'm glad. You really didn't have to go getting me flowers you know."

"Well you know how it is; a girl gets sick, you buy her flowers." Warren smiled charmingly causing Rogue to let out a nervous giggle.

An awkward silence fell.

"So, Magneto's living here, huh," Warren said. "How did that happen?"

"It's kind of a long story..."

**

Outside the Tisdale Museum, three metal spheres touched down. Erik floated down next to them, and opened them with a wave of his hand. Another wave reduced the front doors to so much debris.

"Get in there and check the place out," he ordered. "Secure the perimeter and keep an eye out for Mesmero. Move!"

Wrapping his cloak around him more firmly to keep out the cold, he advanced into the Museum.

Five minutes later, the X-copter landed.

"Oh that was subtle," Cyclops said as he viewed the damage. "No one will ever guess that someone broke in now."

Xavier frowned. "I cannot contact Erik."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't hear him telepathically."

"Do you think something's happened to him?" Jean asked.

"I don't know. The only times I can't contact Erik telepathically are when he's wearing his helmet, which is specially designed to protect him from mental attacks."

"Didn't Erik put his helmet on just before he left?" Beast commented.

"He's probably still wearing it," Xavier sighed. "Very well. The three of you go inside and see if you can catch up with the Acolytes. I will remain out here and monitor the situation."

"Yes sir!" They chorused, before entering the building.

Xavier rubbed his forehead. *Erik, what are you thinking?*

**

Erik floated down the corridor, searching for Mesmero. *This time he won't get away,* he thought. Warren's accusations and Scott's readiness to believe them still burned in his mind. *After all I've done, they still regard me with suspicion. Charles still wants to keep me under control. Well, old friend, this time I don't need your help and I will solve this little problem alone!*

He paused, hearing the faint sound of hurrying footsteps on the marble floors and a door opening. A grim smile curved his lips. *I have you now!* With a gesture, Erik forced an elevator from its mooring and sent it after Mesmero. He floated after it and was rewarded by a cry of alarm from the hypnotist. Another couple of gestures and Mesmero was deposited inside the elevator, which Erik crushed around the man, effectively trapping him. Passing the elevator, Erik reached for the dropped spider-stone half, but before he could grasp it, the stone floated up into the air and arrowed towards its other half.

"No!" Erik stretched out his power, trying to prevent the stones from joining. His efforts failed and the stones joined with a ringing sound and a flash of light that sent him reeling back, almost blinded. When he could see properly again, Erik found himself staring at a huge glowing green spider. He gaped for only a moment before gritting his teeth and reaching out with his power. The spider ignored him and turned, scuttling towards the window.

"Ngh..." Erik was dragged along as he pulled back at the spider with all his power.

For a brief moment the spider halted, but then it ploughed on, snapping free of Erik's grip and bursting through the window. Gasping, Erik hauled himself upright and stood, looking down as the spider dropped to the ground and made its way towards the centre of London.

**

Xavier ducked and wheeled back as glass rained down around him. When he looked up, he saw a huge green spider had dropped to the ground and was moving away. He glanced up and saw Erik standing amongst the ruins of the window, his cloak flowing gently in the night breeze. Their eyes met briefly and then Erik turned away before Xavier could call up to him. Quickly Xavier contacted the X-Men inside the museum, informing them of the situation.

**

"What's going on?" Gambit demanded as Erik stormed towards them. "What was that thing?"

"The spiderstone halves came together and created that thing," Erik snarled. "I don't care what it takes, destroy it!"

The Acolytes nodded and ran past the X-Men approaching down the corridor.

"Erik!" Jean yelled. "The Professor said we have to capture it!"

"I won't let that thing become a threat. This is one key that will not be unlocking any doors," Erik said grimly, and flew after the Acolytes.

"Take off your helmet!" Scott yelled after him. "Damn."

The X-Men exited the Museum and paused by Xavier. "That spiderstone possesses answers we need," he told them. "I will go after Mesmero. You must prevent Erik from destroying the spider."

The X-Men nodded and took off after Erik and the Acolytes. They were easy to follow thanks to the trail of destruction they left in their wake. Unfortunately, by the time the X-Men managed to catch up, Gambit had just plowed a double-decker bus into the spider, and blown the bus up.

"I think that's going to hold it," he said, grinning.

"Just long enough," Erik said, stalking closer to the spider, which was struggling to free itself.

"Stop!" Beast yelled. "We have to capture it!"

Erik ignored him and began to concentrate all of the powers at his command upon the spider.

"Don't do it Erik! Don't destroy it!" Xavier yelled. However, Erik could not hear him over the rush of power.

*I must destroy this thing,* Erik thought. *I won't let Apocalypse rise and hurt all I care about.*

The pain was intense. He'd never had to focus his power so narrowly, and use so much of it on a single opponent, but he gritted his teeth and forced more power into the creature. The spider screamed, struggled, and then shrank slowly down back to its original form. With a blinding flash of light, Erik completed its destruction, and collapsed onto the ground.

"You've done the very thing Mesmero wanted," Xavier's voice sounded from behind him.

"No, the key has been destroyed," Erik struggled to his feet, accepting Colossus' help.

"And he knew you had the power to do it. I broke through Mesmero's defences. It was not just a key, it was a guardian, designed to prevent Apocalypse's release. And with its destruction, the second door will now open. He used you Magnus."

Erik's hands clenched. No, it couldn't possibly be true. But the sorrowful look in Xavier's eyes told the truth, and he stared at the ground in despair.

"What have I done?" He whispered.


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