Cel (c_elisa) wrote,

Pterosaur!fic: Tuppence a Bag

From st_aurafina:

Write a drabble (100 words exactly) based on your current default icon. no changing it! just write it as it comes; no beta-reading or mulling over. any fandom or no fandom at all. comment or link here

I fail the challenge completely, because this is closer to 500 words and I cannot claim not to have mulled, but considering how long it's been since I wrote anything but Wikipedia entries, I'm unrepentant.

Magneto in the Savage Land, early days of Ultimate X-Men, roughly as Charles/Erik slashy as the actual comics. Or, well, maybe not quite that slashy.

ETA: If you haven't read Ultimate, it shouldn't matter much; this should make sense if you've seen the movies and know that Ultimate!Charles and Erik ran away from their wives to build a mutant civilization in the Savage Land, which is a prehistoric land with dinosaurs and all that. (Yes, when Marvel decided to update the X-Men for a new, younger audience, the first thing they did was include their ripoff of Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World. Go figure.)

Tuppence a Bag

The pterosaur's bill is as hard as a duck's, but pointed -- sharp against his fingers as it takes food from his hand.

They're becoming tame, these creatures, and there's no one but himself to blame for that. Charles had never fed them -- had never seemed to like them much, after that evening on the little deck overlooking the water, in the first house ever built in the Savage Land. The place has been torn down now. It was never anything to look at, but its kitchen was a great improvement on a campfire, and it was something they had made themselves, with their hands and their powers, nothing scavenged from the human world. They had stood there at sunset watching the pterosaurs wheel over the lake in a messy skein, long tails like banners behind them. Their voices, deep and hoarse as ravens', carried over the water, and Charles and Erik had for once been silent. It had seemed to them that everything had already been said, that there was nothing left but to build in the world what they saw in their minds. Their hands on the wrought iron railing had not quite touched. Then Charles had closed his eyes, leaned forward almost imperceptibly, and though the expression on his face might have been caused by any ordinary ecstasy, Erik knew what he was feeling was nothing human. He looked out over the water and wondered which of the soaring crowd was Charles.

Charles caught his breath as one of the gyre broke into a dive. But when it thrust its head into the water he clutched the railing as if he might fall, bent forward and vomited up the dinner they'd been so proud of having been able to cook. He said it wasn't so much the taste and feeling of the live fish moving in his mouth as how obscenely pleased he'd felt about it.

They're content with bread now, or whatever scraps they're given. They've probably forgotten that they like their prey to struggle. He's seen some of them harrassing mutants as they come out of the mess hall, with the gait of a man on crutches and the manners of a starving swan. They have no more dignity left than Charles does, now that he's gone back to the human cities to scrabble and beg for the crumbs of compassion.

He spreads his fingers out to show his hand is empty, but it won't believe that he has nothing more to give. It nuzzles at his helmet as if trying to taste the metal, picks at the collar of his costume with its beak. "Yours is a colonized people," he tells it, hearing more affection in his voice than he'd intended. It's so intent on proving that the fastenings of his cape are edible, it doesn't even notice when he reaches out to stroke one warm and leathery wing.

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