He doesn't realize he's holding onto the bullet until that evening. It's not that he's really even holding onto it; the metal is stuck to his skin -- he's making it stick to his skin -- and it takes a concentrated effort to make it drop onto the table of the shitty motel they're in.
He misses Charles. He even misses the children. It hurts him in a way nothing has hurt since the death of his mother. No, not like that, a duller, sicker sort of pain.
It's easier to be angry at Charles for being a stupid, optimistic son on a bitch, so he's going to do that for a while until it hurts less to think about him.
He can't stop staring at the bullet. He wonders what happened to Charles. Is he recovering now? Erik remembers the feeling of bone scraping up against the bullet; he thinks, sickened, that Charles is lucky to be alive. What if he's crippled now? What will he do? He feels another surge of anger toward Charles.
For a minute he wants to go back to him. That's absurd and he knows it; what is he going to do? Put Charles out of his misery? Hover over his bed like an anxious lover?
The bullet's hovering a little above the table now, and Erik can feel the screws and joints of the table trembling as his power fluctuates with his emotions. He takes a deep breath and calls up the memory that Charles gave back to him. His mother's face in the half-light of the candles. The touch of her hand on his hair. The table stops trembling but the bullet still hangs in midair.
For a minute he wants to crush it, destroy it utterly, but he knows that it won't do any good. He can't do anything now but go forward on the path he's set for himself.
He misses Charles desperately.
He laughs a little at himself -- how long has he known Xavier? Less than a month, and yet the man is as needful to him as air, it seems. It was probably just as well that they have gone their separate paths. He couldn't bear to rely on anybody as he has come to rely on Charles, and yet even now he misses the cool pressure of Charles' mind against his own, smoothing his jagged edges away and calming the turmoil of his thoughts.
It can't be helped. It won't be helped. He won't be so weak again. He looks at the bullet again and imagines the metal stretching out, curving into a loop, tying itself into a true-lover's knot like the one on his mother's wedding-ring. The ring had been taken from her but this ring will never be taken from him; as he takes it from the air and slides it on he thinks he can hear Charles, his clear soft voice saying, Oh, my dear friend.