Izzy here, with my fanfic, "Odi et Amo," an X-Men movieverse Charles-shot which can be seen as a companion to "Witness Now" and "Standing by Your Side" if you want to see it as such, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone. Charles/Magneto, thus. Takes place a day or so after they get back from Canada. Charles is Fox's and Marvel's. Catullus is out of copyright, and the poem is very liberally translated by me, with the aid of what I remember from Latin class over a year ago.

Odi et Amo

By Izzy

I remember you had nightmares quite often. Given what you'd been through, I would have been concerned if you hadn't. Do you have them now? I wouldn't know.

Or have you just given them away to me?

I lie awake, having been plagued for hours by dreams of people writhing and screaming in agony, before finally falling down dead. Killed by me. And I hear your laughter.

You didn't have to do what you did. You could have just freed me. You knew how utterly terrible what you forced me to do was, especially for me. You are intimately acquianted with my reverence for life, with the compassion that saved you from madness once. That you have done this is enough for me to wish to discard this reverence and kill you.

Yet I do not know if I could actually do so, or if the other emotions that rage in my heart would stop me, emotions that I cannot discard, though I have tried so greatly.

But if they are not gone after what you have just done, I know they never will be.

When I first awoke from my nightmare, I tried to read. But of all timing, I found on my bedside The Once and Future King, which I had been prepared to discuss with my students. Your favorite novel.

And beneath that, a collection of authors from Ancient Rome, many of which I remember translating to relax, while you looked on, laughing at the silliness you saw in Catullus. Now one of his verses runs through my head:Ut iam nec bene velle queat tibi, si optima fias/Nec desistere amare, omnia si facias. "So now I would be able to wish you naught but ill, were you to become the noblest of people/And I would be able to do naught but love you, were you to do every crime imaginable."

You've just done the worst crime imaginable, which I, who hates very rarely, hate you for, and here I am, realizing that still can do naught but love you. And it seems that I cannot turn around without being reminded of you.

I never hated you before. Even when you nearly killed so many people, including one of my students. I tried to regard you as nothing more then a simple threat to be defeated with as little emotion as possible, and I buried my pain very deeply. But I cannot bury my pain now; it is too great.

But as much as this changes me, it still changes nothing. Because this always was just a little personal between the two of us. How could it not be, when in you I saw so many promises I had made over the years broken?

The first one to your wife. While you were in Brazil, I managed to track her down, and found out why she really left you. She was pregnent, and was afraid of the baby suffering Anya's fate if it was ever connected to you. She made me swear not to tell you I'd found her. I loved you then, yet I pleaded with her to come back, because I feared for your sanity, and hoped she might help keep you stable. But she guessed that I loved you. To this day, I cannot imagine how. She did not judge; perhaps she felt she could not afford to. Instead, she informed me that keeping you stable was my job. And she made me promise to her that I would stay with you and keep you out of trouble. One promise completely shattered.

Thanks to her I broke my first promise to you. You let me in completely into your mind that night after you returned from Brazil, but it wasn't easy for you to do. It took my legs being crushed before you felt comfortable, because then I could make you understand that I was as vulnerable as you were. I promised to never keep anything from you, knowing even then that was a promise I was breaking. I kept from you that your wife was alive, and that you were a father again. I even keep from you that I kept track of her and her son until they died, and that you have two grandchildren too. You probably still believe she was killed.

I didn't let it bother me then, because it had nothing to do with me. But it contributed to what was until now my most painful memory: our final fallout, in which you, in the throes of the last emotional state I've ever seen you in, accused me of breaking all my promises to you, and I knew you were righter then you realized.

You weren't thinking of that promise, though. You were thinking of the ones afterwards, promises made like all lovers make promises: between kisses, within entangling arms, or on pillows. The ones to write on the wind and running water. Promises that I would never leave you, that I would always stand by your side-I was a fool to make that one. I could never support someone like that, and neither could you. We were both alpha males, and neither of us could ever give up a cause for the other.

And now another promise added to that list of empty promises. That I could never hate you.

One promise alone I have kept, and it was the one I made least often. That I would always love you. You cared less about that then you cared about my always being there, of my not hating you. I promised you what you needed before yanking it all out from under you-and tonight, for the first time, I feel a grim satisfaction for it.

And I cannot even claim that the fault is entirely yours. I gave you the opportunity I knew you'd take. If I'd be able to overcome Jason, if I hadn't failed with him in the first place, or I'd come to my senses in Cerebro-you told me once I blame myself too much. Would you like me to blame you? Even though you were only responsible for half of it?

I'd forgotten that, actually. I've been lying here, cursing you, without considering the man who was even more responsible for this then you were. I pity Stryker, but I don't hate him. Even when I have a history with him, too. I don't hate any of my enemies, except you. You should be flattered.

You probably are. I don't know what goes on in your mind anymore. I could look, of course, and when visiting you in prison, I've been greatly tempted to. But then I've realized that I don't want to know. It is very likely more then I can handle.

Though there are certain things I understand. What you did is evidence enough of how ruthless you've become. Your behavior in the prison also indicated a possible mental instability. That should by logic make me pity you more then hate you, but your crime is too great for any excuse.

And yet you still love me. This above all I wish I could not be certain of, but I am. I don't know if you hold any grudge against me, and I still lack the courage to find out. Your hate could very well break me, especially now. Never before have I feared for myself, but that too has been changed by your recent deed, and the loss of Jean. I didn't realize until now how important she was in keeping me stable.

I cannot break. I must defeat you, now that I know what you're fully capable of. But when I do, I will feel no joy.


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