Blog of Sara Jakša

Correspondence Chess [X-Men Fanfiction]

As Angel came into the room, raven looked over her book and smiled at her. Angel nodded back, and removed her coat. There was a piece of paper in her hands. Raven closed the book and looked to see what kind of paper it was.

Erik was thinking in the chair, twilling the pen above his hand with what appeared to be no effort. He had the other arm in from of his face, in a loose fist. He was looking at the wall, but he did not concentrate on it.

"Magneto?" Angel said, as she came closer.

Erik looked at her, and he noticed the postcard in her hands. He looked at her in question, but then took it before waiting for the reply.

On the front side of the postcard, there was a church in portrait mode, that did not look anything special. The words on the bottom told him that it came from North Salem, New York.

On the back of the postcard there was their current address and the name of the recipient was Erik Lehnsherr. The message read Queen b6, and the chess board in the middle of the game.

Erik recognized the game, even though it had been weeks since the game was played. And the board on the postcard was replica of the last board on the game they played that night.

Raven looked on the front side of the postcard now, that Erik was holding it up. "I remember that church. It was near the place where me and Charles lived."

"Magneto?" asked Angel. "What does it means?"

"I don't know." Erik said as he let Raven took the postcard from his hands. "But it is from Charles."

Raven looked at him with hope and then started to look at the postcard. She had a small smile on her face.

"How can you know?"

"The game, it is the one me and Charles didn't get to finish." He saw the question in Angel's face. He shuddered. "Cuba."

"Does this means that our place is compromised?"

Raven looked from one to another. She was biting her lip.

"No." Erik said, but he did not look at them. "We stick to the plan."

Raven looked at him, then went back to the sofa, no longer smiling. There were lines on her forehead and her grip on the book was stronger than before.

Erik looked at Angel for explanation, but she just shook her head, so he decided to ignore it.

As they were preparing to leave, Raven came to Erik and pushed the postcard in his hand. Erik looked at it. There was a butterfly on the front and on the back there was already addressed to Charles. But there was nothing on the message part of the postcards.

Erik put it to the side, as he went back to make sure they took everything, but Raven pushed it back into his hands.

"Just write back the next move. I know you have been thinking about it." She offered him a pen and glared at him, daring him to refuse her.

"Why should I?"

"At least he still writes to you." Raven said, and she looked down. She rocked on her legs. She then looked up, still determined.

Erik took the pen and wrote Queen - f7 on the postcard and gave it back to Raven, turning away. She took it and left the room, going to post it. Erik decided to just forget about it.

Erik and Janos were in the room in Paris, when they heard the knock on the door. They looked at each other. There was nobody that knew they were there, but they had been here waiting for the last couple of days. Erik stood up and went to see who it was.

On the other side there was a young boy, with the post office bag on his shoulder. He looked at Erik and then on the postcard in his hand. "Erik Lehnsherr?"

"Who wants to know?"

The boy ignored the question and just waited for Erik to take the postcard from his hand. Before Erik even looked to see the New York Central Building on the front, the boy already turned to walk away.

"Who was it?" Janos said.

"Just a postman." Erik said, as he was already looking at the chess move on the back: Rook c2.

Janos did not say anything, but Erik could still feel the look on the back of his head. "Mystique made me play chess with Charles."

"And you just went along?"

Erik decided to not answer that, as he started to think about his next move. Not like they were doing anything else but waiting.

Next day, when they were walking away from the scene of the crime, when the police noticed them and started to pursue them. Erik and Jason mixed themselves with the tourists, and they entered the souvenir shop with them. Police noticed somebody similar looking and they arrested them, while they complained in French.

"Magneto, what about this?" There was a postcard with Louvre on the front. "For reply."

"Why would I reply?"

"How else will you find out why?"

Erik took it and then looked at all the other postcards there. On the end he choose one with the Eiffel tower on the front.

When he came back, he wrote his next move, which was Rook d7, and wrote the word why under it.

More than a week later, Emma entered the room, with the postcard in her hand. She waved it around, as she looked at Erik, enjoying his midnight glass of water.

"You are back early." Erik remarked, as he ignored her knowing look. She was unable to read his mind, since even now he was wearing his helmet. "What did Rose said?"

"I will tell you, when you explain that." She turned the postcard. "Knight c6. Rational therapy. Ellis hypothesis might help me deal with the feeling of betrayal."

Erik saw the New York skyline that was on the front of the postcard. He tried to take it from her hands, but he moved it away. "It was Mystique's idea to write back."

Emma looked again at the postcard. "Charles?" she asked, as he offered the postcard to Erik, who took it, but then put it on the table immediately.

"Rose confirmed my theory. He is a mutant. Telepathic persuasion." She walked around and took a glass, pouring herself some sherry. "She is working on the project WideAwake. CIA covert task force."

"I don't trust them." Erik said, his hand in front of him, gripped in a fist. He was thinking. Emma just put the glass in the sink, leaving him alone in a kitchen.

When Raven came in early morning, she noticed the postcard that was left lying on the counter. She picked it up, tracing the words with her finger.

"You miss him, don't you?"

Raven turned and came face to face with Azazel. His tail was swinging behind him in a slow manner.

"He was the first person who was not afraid of me." She had put the postcard down and started to prepare breakfast, joking with Azazel the whole time.

Tempest came before the breakfast was finished, taking the apple and bit in it, taking the postcard in his hands. "Wouldn't that compromise our secrets?"

"It is with my brother." Raven said, as she juiced the lemons.

Tempest looked up, then let the postcard fall back on the table. "I just never expected Magneto to be in correspondence chess."

Erik came into the room, nodding, but ignoring the words that were just said. He turned to Raven. "I borrowed one of yours. Make sure it gets posted."

Raven stopped cutting the food, wiping her hands in the cloth that was lying there. She took the postcard, the path among the trees in the front. On the back there was the chess move up: this time it was Queen - e6. Below it was written: 'You are not the only one that feels betrayed.'

"Chess is good at all, but with constantly changing locations, how does he find you?"

At these words, Erik took the postcard from Raven's hands, and wrote below it: 'How do you keep finding us?' He then returned the postcard to Raven.

"I can deliver it to his house." Azazel volunteered, and took the postcard, disappearing for a minute.

Emma, Janos and Angel came to the kitchen, just as Azazel returned, the cut vegetables, fruit and cheese on the table. Erik looked at them.

"Emma found some interesting information, so we are going to divide and pursue different lines at the same time."

Dividing the team meant that Erik was currently alone, scouting the place around. He had been looking for hours, but he still did not find him. So he returned to his room.

As he passed the reception, he heard. "Erik Lehnsherr? From room 305? There is a postcard for you."

Erik turned and accepted the postcard, nodding to the person. "Do you have any postcards, to write a reply?"

As he returned to his room, he looked over the postcard. There was Brooklyn bridge on the front. On the back there was a message. As always the move: King h2. Plus the words: 'Cerebro. I take a glimpse while looking for students. Have to make sure you are keeping Raven safe.'

Erik started thinking about his next move. He needed some distraction, and that one was welcome.

Some time later he took the Dallas postcard that he bought at the reception. It was nothing special, but it will do.

He wrote: 'Rook - d4. We all make our own choices and have to live with them. Mystique included.'

Next time they encounter the CIA agents, they need to regroup. They were a lot better prepared for them than they imagined. It was like they knew all of their abilities and made adaptations to them: plastic guns, passphrases between them, and equipment that stood against both Janos' wind and Angel's acid.

But as they came to their hideout, there was a postcard on the ground. The picture of American troops was on the front. On the back there was a message: 'Queen a7. Sometimes other people need to live with these choices as well.' Below was written in a different ink: 'Major Stryker knows about this place.'

Erik looked at them, as he read the postcard out loud. They all looked at each other, and Azazel quickly got them out of there.

Couple of hours later, Azazel came there, looking solemn. "There were troops in front of our hideout. They told the neighbours that they suspect communist spies are living there."

Raven looked at the postcard in her hands, where the warning was written. "We could ask him for help."

"No." Erik turned around, his eyes determined.

"He did just warned us."

Erik turned around and looked at all his team, sans Emma, glaring at him. Emma was looking at her nails.

"I guess I could thank him." Erik said, as he realized that none of them will stand down. "But on a postcard."

Raven immediately offered him a postcard and Tempus gave him a pen.

Erik thought for a couple of minutes, and then wrote: 'King h6. Thank you for the warning. Even if you only did it for Mystique.'

They spend the next couple of weeks separated, never more than a day or two apart. Until they realized that Emma disappeared. They all gathered in one place, but none of them were be able to find any trace of her.

After spending two days there, Angel realized that there was a post in their mailbox. She opened it and realized that there was another postcard with the chess move on it.

"Knight f3. You are welcome." Tempest said, as he read the postcard with a smirk.

"Why not?" Mystique asked. "You know he could find her for us."

"He was the one that didn't want to work with us." The metal around them shook a bit, but stopped a moment later. Erik slowly exhaled.

"It doesn't mean that we need to stop looking for her. Just that we are using all available resources." said Janos.

"What if he can find her, Magneto?" said Raven. "Could you live with knowing you didn't do everything you could?"

Erik left the room, taking a small walk to calm his mind.

Next morning there was a postcard on the counter, Erik nowhere to be found. The message on the postcard was: 'Queen - e3. We lost Emma. Will you help us find her?'

Erik was losing hope, when he heard the knock on the door. He opened it, and saw the young boy, holding the postcard up. Erik turned around and looked at the other side. 'Queen f7. Fort Uncompahgre. N 38.7495 W 108.0736. She is a hard person to find.'

He immediately went to the phone, dialling Tempest in their other hideout.

He and Angel were waiting together, as Raven went to see if Emma really was there. Erik was nervously tapping his finger, then he took one of the postcards that Raven left behind. He simply wrote: 'Rook d2. Wish us luck.'

When Angel saw the finished postcard, she offered to drop it by the post office. By the time she returned, Raven was already explaining where they moved her in the last couple of days.

Erik was still sapped even after sleeping at least a day if not more. His head was throbbing and he could stand, but he could not concentrate. He stood up and wished for his helmet to relieve his headache.

He took a glass of water and a painkiller that he happened to find. He looked around as he could not remember where he was. The house was unfamiliar.

He looked around and noticed a postcard at the front doors. He picked it up. 'Rook 2d. What happened Erik? I couldn't find you, Raven or anybody else from your group for months.'

The date on the postcard was 19th of November. Erik found the telly and realized that today is already the 21th. He knew he did not have a lot of time.

The next day, as he was making his way to the grass field in Dallas, where he knew the assassination is going to happen. He just deposited the Dallas postcard with the following words: 'Queen d2. I am sorry Charles.'

It was almost a month after New Year, when he had gotten a reply. He poured himself some of the whisky, that he had found inside the summer house he was currently living. He was twirling the Christmas themed postcard in his hands.

Unlike the previous ones, this one did not hold his name, just his current address.

'King h3. What happened? What have you done?'

He let the postcard slide on the table, as he took another sip.

He posted the postcard in the post office. 'Queen f2. I wish you could be here helping us.' He had chosen the Empire state building as the front.

He walked into the FBI offices, the officers pointing the guns at him as they recognized him. He just raised his arms, not once using his powers.

The trial was a mockery. But Erik was used to it, and just calculated where he would be able to get out of it.

It was in the middle of the trial, when Erik realized that the supposed evidence they were holding was a postcard. He looked at the front, but it was nothing he saw before. From the memory, he could recognize the Golden Gate bridge.

"A couple of days ago this arrived. A postcard containing the chess move and the following sentence: 'Knight d2. You are always welcome back home. You just need to say a word.' Which means he has an accomplice. Or more of them."

He came closer, intruding into Erik's personal space. "You can always write back."

"I am not planing to make your hunt for mutant any easier." Erik said, as he came closer, making the other person back off.

Here, where they can track any post he sends, he can't risk sending anything. It would only endanger the recipient. He did not want Charles to pay again for his decisions.


The chess game used in the story is between the City of Edinburgh and London Chess Club correspondence match played in 1824. The story starts with 52th move.