Title: Go Ask Alice
Author: punahukka / Jester
Fandom: X-Men First Class / Girl, Interrupted / Sucker Punch crossover/AU (featuring and ensemble of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, The Avengers and Spider-Man characters)
Disclaimer: Playing with Marvel’s toys in Susanna Kaysen’s, James Mangold’s and Zack Snyder’s sandboxes.
Rating: most likely Nc-17
Pairing: Charles/Erik, various others
Warnings: mental illnesses, mentions of suicide (attempted and committed) and child-abuse, language, sex, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, cross-dressing, era-specific homophobia and racism, screwed timelines
Summary: Have you ever confused reality with a dream or a good story? Or a bad one? Have you ever stood on a bridge and not jumped because you cannot trust the laws of the physics and you’re afraid of the ever after? Have you ever been kissed? Have you ever been kissed like a frog and not turned into anything at all? Have you ever met anyone you know from another life or timeline than this?
A mental institution AU for this prompt @ xmen_firstkink.
"I do not know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?"
"Oh, yes," replied Dorothy.
"Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe there are no witches left, nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and wizards amongst us."
It must be a sign of something when there is a black male nurse called Darwin leading him into the asylum. Charles signs his name to some papers and is informed that he will be seeing his psychiatrist first thing in the morning. (He has his own psychiatrist already?) His small suitcase is raided for drugs or sharp pointy objects, and when there are none to be found Darwin starts showing him around.
“This is one of the men’s wards.” It would be a rather pleasant-looking wing of a huge building if every door wasn’t locked and if there were no bars in every window. There are stairs after corridors after stairs after corridors and finally a door with a large painted “3” on it. Almost everything is white. “Get comfortable but don’t make yourself at home.”
Apparently the locked doors aren’t the only thing keeping crazy people at bay: when they enter, Charles finds himself shaking hands with a fair-haired man with equally fair-coloured beard and moustache and sparkling blue eyes (the words Scandinavian and Viking pop into his numb mind which is finally making some effort to wake up) and a heap of muscles he doesn’t want to match his strength with. “This is Thor Odinsson, our warden who usually works day-shifts,” Darwin says, already nudging Charles to move along from Thor’s booming “Welcome!”
“This is the living-room. Everybody avoids it. And this is the art-room, which pretty much explains itself. If you feel like playing an instrument or painting, just ask a nurse.” (Charles really doesn’t believe he will feel like it.) “This one here is the nurses’ station, don’t hesitate to come and knock if there’s anything you need or want to talk about.” Darwin opens the door to the little office-like room where a beautiful red-headed woman is hunched over a pile of papers and writing frantically. She looks up over her glasses and gives them a quick smile. “Jean Grey, Charles Xavier.”
“Nice to meet you,” the woman says, nodding to Charles before returning her attention to the papers.
Halfway down the corridor there’s a large open space with big windows (with metal bars, naturally) and some couches, armchairs and tables to create a cosy atmosphere. “And this is the TV room where everybody hangs out.” There are three patients and one more male nurse present, but Darwin suggests he’ll introduce them later and directs Charles to yet another room, this time a rather small one with two beds, one of which is occupied by a pale, slender young man with sleeked black hair and a grey jumpsuit.
“Loki, this is Charles, your new roommate.”
The man puts down the book he’s reading and gets up in one elegant move, and Charles is shaking hands once again - this time a long-fingered, delicate hand with smooth, dry skin.
“Loki is probably the best roomie you can get around here,” Darwin continues, lighting a glint in the man’s eyes followed by a dazzling smile.
“Why, thank you, Darwin.”
“Will you take Charles down to dinner?”
“You know what that means, right?”
Loki’s smile takes a turn to sheepish. “I know.”
Charles doesn’t know what to do with himself so he takes the required step and a half to put his suitcase on the free bed.
“This dresser here is yours so you can unpack your things,” Darwin goes on. “If everything’s okay I’ll leave you to settle down.”
“I’m not going to be here for that lo-“
Charles is cut off by a firm “Darwin!” and the beautiful redhead rushing to the doorway: “Darwin, we need a hand.”
The nurse hurries after her with an apologetic smile, and when Charles turns his head Loki is already peeking out the window, sighing “Oh, great” with a load of sarcasm. (Charles is not sure if he’s fine with being left alone with his new co-habitant, but at least Loki doesn’t look like a psycho serial killer.)
He takes a look, too, and sees a police car taking off the yard.
Then Loki hurries to the door, and Charles finds himself following, or rather his feet moving on their own accord. The main door of the ward clangs open, and there are three men (including the Scandinavian) in those sterile white clothes accompanying the fourth in black trousers and a black turtle-neck sweater. No-one’s touching him; they’re only gathered around him in a tight formation. When they approach the TV area where Darwin and the read-head are waiting Charles can see there’s a patch of dried blood on the man’s forehead.
“It’s good to be home!” the man announces, grinning with too many teeth and waving at someone Charles cannot see from where he’s standing. “Hey, Ginger, did you miss me?”
He can hear an airy “Not really” before the man turns his gaze to their direction and the manic smile on his face dies immediately. “Who’s that in Steve’s room?”
What happens next happens awfully fast. Within just a few seconds the man has shoved off the wardens and nurses, made Loki retreat with a little yelp, crossed the distance to their room, blocked the door with a chair placed under the handle and shoved Charles against the wall (there will most likely be a bump on the back of his head).
Charles blinks, two panicked thoughts battling for space in his brain. (One: I’m gonna die. Two: Is that in his eyes even a real colour?)
The man literally growls with a push to his chest. “Who the fuck are you and where the hell is Steve?” His voice is rising, and staring at that furious face Charles realizes he’s not the only one who’s panicking. (Shit don’t tell me he gave up can’t take it if he’s oh fuck please no.)
Charles opens his mouth to speak but is spared from answering questions he doesn’t know the answers to when the door opens with a loud crack followed by a bang and the Scandinavian leaps in (followed by the gang of other staff members) and twists the man’s arms behind his back. “What the hell are you doing, Lehnsherr? Now back off and leave him alone! A lot of shit has happened since you left!”
There is a moment of the most absolute silence seven (Charles actually counts) people on the scene can produce before the man faces Darwin: “How did he do it?”
Thor pushes him to move along, and he exits the room almost as quickly as he entered. Charles can hear him repeating the question as he’s walked away. Darwin takes a quick glance at Charles. “I’m terribly sorry about that. Are you hurt?”
Charles shakes his head, and with a promise to check on him later Darwin hurries after the others.
Loki is sitting on his bed, cross-legged and hugging a pillow to his chest.
“What -“ Charles clears his throat and tries again. “What was that?”
“That,” Loki says, bitterly despite the obvious horror, “was Erik Lehnsherr.”
“Who is Steve?”
“Steve Rogers was Erik’s best friend,” comes an unexpected answer from the doorway, and when he turns to look Charles sees a ginger kid with a lot of freckles and a teddy-bear tugged under his arm. “He was really sad when Erik escaped. He made a rope of his sheets and hung himself.”
“Oh.” Charles really has nothing else to say. He tries very hard, but no: nothing comes out.
“Steve was bat-shit crazy anyway,” Loki adds, as if to soften the subject, “He was in the military, I heard him telling Erik that there was some human experimenting and super soldier shit going on.”
“I’m Sean, by the way,” the kid (he must be eighteen though, Shaw’s for people of age) says, waving. The teddy-bear waves too with a little assistant from its master.
Charles closes his eyes.
When he opens them, the guys are still there.