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Title: An absence which could not be more there
Fandom: X-Men: First Class (with teeny tiny Iron Man crossover)
Pairing: Charles/Erik
Categories: AU, Angst, Drama, Romance, Epistolary
Length: Long (18,201 words)
Warnings: difficult breakup, canon character deaths in the past, unpleasant childhood (including implied possible child abuse)

Author on LJ: aesc
Author Website: faviconaesc

Author's Summary:
He prepared to shift another half-step over to the Current Events section (which would, of course, enrage him) when the teaser positioned by the model's left elbow caught his eye: DATING WHILE TELEPATHIC: WHY I DON'T DO IT.

Review:
In this modern day AU, Erik and Charles have had a messy breakup, primarily due to Erik's (mis)understanding of the way Charles's powers work. When Erik is browsing through a mutant-focused bookstore, he sees an article in a Cosmo-like magazine about telepath's and dating that causes him to revisit his relationship with Charles and why it went wrong.

The emotions feel so real, both Erik's and Charles's. You can see the mistakes Erik made and how both parties, while they loved each other, were at odds. While the story is an AU, it explores the crux of the "beach divorce" scene, where Erik decides he ultimately can't trust Charles with himself. Post-breakup, Erik finding out more about telepaths and how psionic abilities work, as well as realizing why he couldn't deal with that at the time, is an intense ride. While Erik is the PoV character, Charles has an equal presence via flashbacks and in person.

The author makes telepathy seem like a real thing, with sections of the various magazines articles, books, and websites written by and about telepaths inserted into the story. These segments each have a different voice and tone, and conceptualize psionics for both Erik and the reader. Equally interesting are the sections where Erik uses his own abilities, feeling buildings and trains around him and sensing a familiar pen, showing how deeply his experience of the world is filtered through them.

One warning: if you find realistic stories about the emotional difficulties of relationships and bad breakups upsetting, you may want to avoid the story. However, the story does have a happy ending for both Charles and Erik, so the angst has a good payoff.

An absence which could not be more there

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mothlights
Aug. 23rd, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Especially the way aesc uses a (very realistically) fabricated issue to take on the meaning of privacy and the self, and of being known and accepted.
jenna_marianne
Aug. 23rd, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
take on the meaning of privacy and the self, and of being known and accepted

Totally agreed, and you put it better than I could! ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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