1. Galatea Doolittle
Erik had never seen so many fluffy things in his life.
“This is delightful!” exclaimed Charles, picking up one of the (many) fluffy white rabbits running around the yard.
This is weird, Erik projected at Charles, nudging away the sparkly penguin that had attached itself to his foot.
Charles ignored him in favor of beaming at the harried looking parents, “When did she manifest?” he asked eagerly, soothingly patting the awfully docile rabbit.
Eliza sighed, stirring the tea in her china cup, “We think it was about a year ago,” she said, glancing at her husband for confirmation.
Henry nodded, cleaning his glasses nervously, “We didn’t really notice until later,” he confessed, placing his glasses back on, “but perhaps we should have realized something odd was going on when Galatea said her toy rabbit had run away. We thought she had just lost it at the picnic, so we got her another one.”
“And then rabbits started showing up in our yard, and Galatea’s toys kept disappearing,” Eliza continued, sipping her tea slowly.
“When live teddy bears started walking around in our yard, we realized that Galatea is…special,” Henry concluded morosely.
“We really thought we could handle it, but then we went to the department store and well…” Eliza trailed off, biting her lip as though trying to find the right words.
“It was a bit of a disaster,” Henry explained, reaching out and clasping his wife’s hand, “Galatea is an only child, so she thought the mannequins in the children’s section would be fun to play with and then—”
“We kind of had to run away in all the confusion,” Eliza finished sadly, “We didn’t even get to finish buying clothes for her.”
“Are the mannequins still alive?” Charles asked excitedly.
Erik elbowed him and projected, Stop being so excited, you’re freaking them out.
But her ability brings up so many questions! Charles argued back, Can she bring anything to life? How long does it last? Can she control them—
“We don’t think so,” Henry replied slowly, glancing at his wife, “At least, I haven’t heard anything about moving mannequins in awhile. So far it seems that as soon as Galatea loses interest in something, it stops moving. And she is young, so out of sight out of mind, I suppose.”
“Can you help her, professor?” Eliza asked Charles pleadingly, “We love her, but we have no idea how to help her control her powers!”
“Of course!” Charles replied happily, standing up, “Our Academy’s core mission is to help fellow mutants learn to control their abilities! We have loads of experience in training many mutants with many different abilities. In addition, our Academy provides a top-notch education for any young student and—”
“Can we meet her?” Erik cut in, interrupting Charles’ beloved speech on the Academy. If left unchecked, Erik knew from experience that Charles could blather on for hours, not noticing when his audience had fallen asleep.
“Oh, yes, certainly. Galatea, darling!” Eliza called out.
A small, doll-like girl with perfect blonde ringlets and a fancy pink dress embroidered with lace stepped onto the patio, “Yes mother?” she asked, holding firmly onto a squirming teddy bear dressed in plaid.
“This is Professor Charles Xavier and Mr. Erik Lehnsherr,” Eliza said, motioning her daughter closer and gesturing at the two men, “They run a school for people with your…abilities.”
Galatea tilted her head to the right, “They can all also wake things up?” she asked curiously.
No, my dear, but we can do other things, Charles projected around the room merrily, Erik, if you would be so kind?
Erik sighed, lazily raised his right hand, and gestured for the silver teapot to refill Charles’ cup.
Galatea’s cornflower blue eyes widened, “That is so cool,” she said emphatically and lifted her teddy bear up to eye level, “Isn’t it, Mr. Lumpkins?”
The teddy bear huffed and crossed its arms, “We’ve seen better on telly!” it exclaimed.
The teddy bear is talking, Charles, Erik projected numbly.
This is absolutely incredible! Charles shot back, staring avidly at the girl and her bear.
When has this become my life? Erik mournfully wondered, gulping down some tea.
“Don’t be rude Mr. Fuzzy Lumpkins,” Galatea scolded, tapping the bear firmly on the nose, “Besides, daddy says all our programs are fake anyway.”
“They’d be much more interesting if they were causing explosions,” Mr. Fuzzy Lumpkins persisted.
“There is someone at our school who can do that!” Charles cut in excitedly, “I’m sure you’ll get along splendidly with him!”
Erik snorted, Someone? Which little terror are we talking about? Alex, Sean, or Hank with his experiments?
Quiet you, Charles replied lightly, turning back to Galatea, “Would you like to come with us?”
Galatea tilted her head again and asked, “Can I bring Mr. Lumpkins? And can I see my parents during the weekends?”
“Of course!” Charles exclaimed, “I’m sure you and Mr. Lumpkins are going to enjoy it there!”
That’s as long as Hank doesn’t try dissecting “Mr. Lumpkins” Erik snarkily thought at Charles.
Charles pulled a face, I suppose I should talk to him about that.
(Later that night, when Erik has finally placed all of the suits of armor that Galatea had giddily animated back in their proper place and positions, Charles smiles and wraps his arms around him.
“My hero,” Charles says laughingly, kissing him on the cheek.
Erik laughs and pulls Charles up the stairs to their room, “If she animates the wardrobes, then you’re going to have a problem,” he jokes.
He’s groaning a week later when Galatea is looking up innocently at him while a wardrobe trundles across her room, “It wanted exercise!” she protested, “It hasn’t been moved for years!”)
2. Taro Kurihara
“It’s ridiculous,” huffed Mr. Kurihara, rolling up his sleeves, “He was always scared of dirtiness. I ask, why? America pretty clean country! But he shakes his head and keeps talking about germs! And now, it’s even worse!” he exclaimed, throwing open the door of his nephew’s room.
Erik blinked, eyes dazzled by the sheer brilliance of the floor, windows, and really anything metallic.
“Do not come in,” someone warned frantically, “Just wait a second.”
Erik felt a slight ripple (the feeling of blowing wind and flowing water somehow combined) over his skin and clothes, and he was suddenly almost blinded by his own belt buckle that had somehow escaped the grime and rust of untold years of neglect.
“Okay, you’re clean now,” the Asian boy in the middle of the room sighed, “You can come in now if you like, but please don’t touch anything. Skin cells have oil and germs I can’t get rid of yet!”
Mr. Kurihara slapped the boy lightly on the forehead, “Taro! These are guests! Professor Xavier and Mr. Lehnsherr of the Xavier-Lehnsherr Academy! One can read your mind, and one can choke you with metal! How do we greet them?”
Taro frowned and grudgingly dipped forward in a shallow bow, “My name is Taro Kurihara; it is a pleasure to meet you, Professor Xavier, Mr. Lehnsherr.”
Charles bounded into the room with endless enthusiasm, “The pleasure is all ours Taro!” he grinned, reaching out to shake Taro’s hand, “This is such a unique ability!”
Taro leaned back slightly, avoiding Charles’ hand, “It helps,” he admitted, eyes darting toward a box of sanitizing wipes and then to Erik, “Can he really choke me with metal?” he asked nervously.
Erik grinned widely, baring his teeth, “If I wanted to.”
Charles lightly kicked Erik in the shin as Taro’s eyes grew wider behind his glasses, Shush, don’t scare him.
What are you, ten? Erik shot back, Besides Charles, this room stinks of disinfectant, and I think I’m going blind.
Nonsense, Charles shot back giddily, This is wonderful! Think of the practical possibilities! The hospitals and surgery rooms and labs that would love him!
Yes, and you’d never have to clean the mansion again, Erik thought spitefully, headache growing and projecting pictures of the last time the children had decided to have a food fight in the dining room (Raven was a surprisingly good shot with peas, Alex had more or less the same aim that he did with his mutation, which had lead to splattering, Thalia had hid under the table, Sean had been flopping and screeching all over the place, Ororo had turned the napkins and the soup into a miniature tornado, Armando had somehow adapted to a food fight by developing energy shields that bounced everything back, Galatea had been intent on animating the salt shakers and sending them to battle, Angel had been pelting everyone with nuts from up high, and Hank had been mourning the state of his fur. Needless to say, Charles had not been amused).
Charles sent back a feeling of distaste mingled with amusement and turned back to Mr. Kurihara, “And he manifested about a month ago?” he asked eagerly.
“Right! And now he can’t go anywhere without making it abnormally clean!” Mr. Kurihara complained, frowning at Taro who was wiping his forehead carefully with a sanitizing wipe, “Everything becomes shiny and smells like lemons! Or hospitals if we stay long enough!”
“Everywhere is dirty in this filthy city!” Taro snapped back, pushing his glasses up, “I’m doing them a favor!”
“Our school is in a fairly isolated area,” Charles cut in, “It has large ground, and the facilities are more than adequate.”
“It’s a mansion,” Erik said bluntly, “It’s gigantic, we have a pool, a basketball court, a science lab, a library, and god knows what else.”
“Is it a dusty, old mansion?” Taro asked suspiciously.
Charles coughed, “Well, parts of it are,” he admitted, “But we’re slowly fixing and cleaning it up.”
“But you wouldn’t mind if I tried cleaning it?” Taro asked slowly.
“We’d be delighted,” Charles replied happily.
“As long as it doesn’t smell overpoweringly like a hospital. On the other hand, it might be an improvement in some of the rooms” Erik cut in, wondering if even this mutant could clean Alex’s and Sean’s rooms (all the girls had successfully appealed to Charles to let them live on another floor, citing disgusting smells that even Ororo couldn’t blow away, and Angel and Raven had sworn that they had nearly passed out at one point).
“I can sort of control that,” Taro said slowly, “But I can’t guarantee anything.”
“Don’t worry about a thing! We’re here to help you with your abilities. Oh, and please don’t worry about money,” Charles chirped, before Mr. Kurihara could open his mouth, “We offer many scholarships, and I am sure that Taro is qualified for one.”
We have scholarships? Since when? Erik asked.
Since pretty much the beginning. Don’t you think I can afford it? Charles asked teasingly and then turned back to Taro, “So, would you like to come with us, Taro?”
Taro glanced at his uncle and then around his room, “Can I bring my cleaning kit?”
“Of course, whatever you like!”
(Later, when their trunk and the entire backseat of the car were filled with cleaning supplies, Erik groused moodily that really, if the boy needed so many different chemicals, they should have just raided Hank’s lab.
Charles decides that Erik has the beginnings of a wonderful idea, and he will inform Hank of a fellow scientist of sorts immediately.
Erik wonders belatedly what exactly he has created.
When there are twice as many explosions from the lab over the course of the next few days, Erik writes in an order of a hundred more fire extinguishers and ignores the odd looks he gets.)
3. Irma Wang
Charles pulls a chalkboard out of his bag, quickly wipes away the DNA codes written on it, and writes, Hello Irma, my name is Charles.
He then draws a smiley face beneath the sentence, sets the board on the table in front of the Asian girl with her head buried in a book, and taps her on the shoulder.
Erik squashes down the thought of how adorable Charles is sometimes (Charles already has a big head, no need to let it swell up any further. Besides, he has an image to maintain.)
You lost that image months ago with the singing and dancing at me, Charles answers, projecting Erik’s most embarrassing memory (that Raven still liked to bring up, singing, “Why don’t you teach your heart to feel,” at the most inopportune times) back at him saucily before continuing to write on the chalkboard.
This is my friend Erik.
We’re from the Xavier-Lehnsherr Academy, have you heard of it?
The girl glances at the chalkboard and then back up at Charles. She sighs and gently slides a bookmark into the thick tome she was reading before closing it and setting it to the side, on top of a huge stack of other tomes, “Yeah, did my family send you to come and get me?” she asked warily.
Charles nods and writes,
Yes; they told us about your ability.
It’s actually quite extraordinary, you see
I’m a telepath, and I can’t even project
my voice into your mind right now!
Irma nods with a hint of a smug smile tugging at her lips, “It’s too noisy in my house,” she complained, leaning back into her library chair, “I mean, my parents run a restaurant, so there’s customers all the time, and then I have three younger siblings, and then our grandparents live with us, and then my aunts and uncles and cousins come over all the time. I just want to read in peace, but they’re always talking and screaming and yelling, so one day I figured out that I could just reach out and stop it.”
Charles erased the board and began writing frantically,
You can block out any noise? At any frequency?
And how large is your range?
How long can you keep it up for?
Can anyone else in your family do things like this?
Irma shrugs, “I don’t know about frequency, I just know that it’s quiet after I hush everyone. I’m not sure about range, but I know I can make my entire house go silent, but it’s not that big. And I can handle most of this library also, if I’m here instead. And I can do it as long as I am awake. I don’t think anyone else in my family can do stuff like this. Only thing I can think of is that they can pack an amazing number of people in one room.”
When she grows up, she will make a perfectly fearsome librarian, Erik commented to Charles.
Silence is golden in a library, Charles replied primly, then scribbled,
Would you like to attend our Academy?
We have a lot of students, all with
interesting abilities as well.
Irma frowned, “Is it noisy and crowded in the Academy?”
Charles paused and then wrote,
Not crowded at all, but a bit noisy sometimes.
Erik snorted, and leaned over to take the chalk from Charles fingers and wrote,
There are thirteen people, students and staff from ages ranging from
about 6 to perhaps 30 right now. Some of them get very noisy,
especially in a group, but the Academy is very big. You
can always find somewhere that is quiet. One of our students
even has his own lab. You could hide in the library if you wanted.
Irma’s eyes gleamed, “You have your own library?” she asked eagerly.
Charles grinned and took back the chalk from Erik,
Yes! It’s somewhat disorganized right now,
but it’s quite large.
“I want to go,” Irma said quickly, standing up, “My parents already really wanted me to go, so I can go, right? Oh, yeah, you can’t talk, hold on.”
She snapped her fingers, and a low buzz of noise took the place of the absolute silence that had permeated the library.
“We’d be delighted to have you, my dear,” Charles said happily, tucking his chalkboard back into his bag.
“Yes, we’ll see if you can finally solve the problem of Sean breaking windows with his scream every time Alex, Raven, or Galatea decides it would be funny to scare him,” Erik said dryly.
No pushing Sean out of a window with Irma nearby to see if he can still fly if she blocked out the noise, Charles scolded sternly.
Erik grinned fiercely, Why Charles, he projected innocently, why would you ever accuse me of such a thing?
(Erik never actually gets a chance to try this because as soon as Irma gets free time, she runs over to the library to catalogue Charles’ piles and piles of unsorted books.
“A library has to be organized!” she exclaims, “This place isn’t even alphabetized!”
And while it seems Erik will have to wait awhile to force both Sean and Irma into the Danger Room during mandatory P.E. (Sean keeps running away every time he sees Erik, but really besides Alex, none of the kids like to train in the Danger Room, which is a pity) because Charles insists that Irma is much too young, at the very least he can say that in a match-up between Taro and Irma, Irma generally wins in their daily tussles over the fact that cataloguing and shelving the many books brings forth clouds and clouds of dust.
Though it has less to do with their respective mutation than the fact that the girl is a hellion defending her absolute right to have the library as her domain and the fact that hardback books hurt when thrown at the head.
“In a few years, she’s going to convince you to pay her to be the librarian of the place,” Erik remarked to Charles during a chess game, “And then she’s going to order more books, and then she’s going to want to make the library even bigger. And then Taro is going to have a heart-attack trying to clean up the dust created by construction, or he’s going to be already dead because he’ll have been bludgeoned to death by her by then.”
Charles tsked in disapproval, moving his bishop, “I’m sure that eventually they’ll learn to get along. After all, librarians don’t want to dust shelves on their own, and perhaps Taro could assist her in repairing some of the books. He can get rid of bugs and water-stains perhaps.”
It turns out that while Taro can get rid of bugs and water-stains, he also inadvertently removes half of the words in one of the books. Erik has to use a lamp to restrain a shrieking Irma from strangling the boy, and while Taro seems to have learned how to whack thrown books away with a mop, he still ends up getting a black eye from one of Irma’s flurry of books.
Maybe she has a secondary mutation that involves the trajectory of thrown books, Charles mused as he comforted Taro by taking him to a small (extremely clean) pastry café.
Or perhaps she’s just slightly psychotic about books, Erik projected, watching Irma instruct Galatea about exactly where she wanted the smaller girl to animate the bookshelves to walk to and informing Scott, who she seems to approve of because he is very quiet, that she will find his Tale of Two Cities in a few moments.
Charles snorted, Please, you nearly had Hank’s and Alex’s heads when they accidentally bumped your book of Shelley poems into the pool.
That had a suede leather cover! And you can’t talk because you won’t even let anyone touch the “The Once And Future King” in the study, Erik protests, herding the bookshelves along with metal folding chairs because according to Galatea, bookshelves are old, sleepy, and a bit blind and need some help moving along.
It’s a first edition. And it’s signed, Charles projected back primly, taking a delicate bite out of his tiramisu, And it’s a gift from you.
Erik knows he has a sappy grin, and he tries to cover it up, but Galatea still notices and whips out the Polaroid camera her parents had recently brought her.
“Raven told me that if you looked like that, I had to take a picture and give it to her because she wants to make an album and also show the other kids that you don’t look like a serial killer all the time,” she said seriously, before snapping away.)
4. Edward Mode
While this was one of the odder mutations Erik had seen, and normally he would be the one making snide remarks (and he still was because honestly, how did mutations like this even develop?) he was certainly enjoying the view.
“Can I have my jacket back?” Charles plaintively asked, tugging the collar of his new, form-fitting, pin-striped suit.
“Don’t,” Erik cut in, running a hand down Charles’ back and eyeing him appreciatively, “This is wonderful, and his jacket was a disgrace.”
Edward Mode nodded emphatically, “I know! Tweed is for old farts, Professor Xavier!”
“I like tweed,” Charles mournfully muttered, smoothing out the front of his waistcoat, “And this is much too tight. Can’t you change it into something else?”
“I think this is just right,” Erik purred, tugging Charles’ hands away from fluttering around the suit, “You have a most excellent mutation,” he added, nodding at the dark-haired boy.
Edward beamed, “I know! It’s so much fun, being able to just snap and change people’s clothes! Dad thinks it’s stupid, but Dad wears socks with his sandals, and he calls me Ed, so he’s not allowed to talk.”
“Why didn’t you change Erik’s outfit?” Charles complained, squirming unhappily.
“Mr. Lehnsherr looks great already!” Edward explained, nodding seriously, “Pulls off the rugged look very well wearing that leather jacket, with a dash of class with the turtleneck.”
He should have seen your idea for a costume, Charles projected with some irritation, pulling up the image of the maroon (Pink and fuchsia, Erik, don’t deny it, Charles scolds) cape and robes from Erik’s imagination.
Erik winced, One of my worse ideas, certainly. On the other hand, you look lovely.
I look like a wanker, Charles sighed in his mind, an extremely uncomfortable wanker.
If you really don’t like it, I’ll help you out of it when we get back, Erik replies, sending a few choice ideas that popped into his head the moment he noticed how very well the dark suit clung to Charles’ body.
Charles dimples and then frowns, But as soon as I walk in, Raven’s going to shriek and run to get the camera. And then I’ll be stuck with her posing me for hours.
We can sneak in,Although, I do think pictures are in order.
Later if you wish, Charles concedes, and then draws himself up to turn back to Edward, who was staring at the two of them in awe.
“Are you having a telepathic conversation right in front of me?” he asked excitedly, eyes wide, “That’s so cool! You guys look like a spread out of GQ! Complete with the smoldering looks! This is so awesome!”
Charles winces slightly, most likely inundated with pictures of magazine spreads that Edward’s mind is no doubt flipping through, “Indeed,” he says dryly, “Does that mean you would like to attend the Academy?”
“You guys get GQ, right? And Vogue?” the boy asks eagerly.
Charles scratches his head in thought, “Well now, I’m sure I’ve seen Raven flipping through a few before. Most likely it’s all piled on the coffee table or in the library by now though.”
“Library,” Erik answers, “Irma has decided that piles of magazines and newspapers are disgraceful and also need to be classified.”
“That’s why I couldn’t find my newspaper; I thought one of the children had run off with it for the comics,” Charles mused and then shakes his head, “Anyway, I’m sure you’ll fit right in.”
(Alex nearly kills himself through suffocation by laughing too hard about Edward’s mutation, but the boy quickly gets revenge by making Alex wear a clown’s suit, complete with clown’s makeup and nose for the next week. Hank has way too much fun calling Alex “Bozo,” and Erik is pleased at how often the two boys end up training against each other in the Danger Room for the next few months, even if he does have to order more fire extinguishers. Raven quickly recruits Edward to help her with the details of shapeshfiting into different clothes, and Charles attempts to convince him to stop transforming all of his tweed jackets into suits.
“You have to respect someone’s free will,” Charles patiently explained, “If someone wants to dress one way, even if it’s not fashionable, you should let them.”
Edward wrinkles his nose, “But it’s ugly,” he whined.
Erik is forced to take matters into his own hands (after Charles threatens to drag him into Raven’s photo sessions) and explain to Edward that although he does like the way Charles looks in the suits (Raven at this point has practically a whole album of pictures that she claims makes up for Charles’ terrible outfits at Oxford), he also likes Charles in his natty old jackets.
Edward nods slowly, “I guess it makes him look more professor-ish. Although kind of like an old man also. This isn’t some weird sex game, is it?”
Erik chokes and shakes his head, “No,” he growls out through gritted teeth.
Raven and Angel have so much to answer for.)
5. James McFass
The blonde boy looks up at Erik and Charles and says blithely, “My mom and I been having issues since dad died, and I guess my powers kind of broke the camel’s back. I tried setting her up with the plumber since he was way nicer than the jerks she was dating, but then she started shrieking at me about class and propriety, and I had heard about this place, so I decided to come here.”
“So your mutation is to—make people fall in love with one another?” Charles asks slowly, also projecting, Stop making that face Erik, with a hint of disapproval.
Erik attempted to pull back on his poker face, but his eyebrows kept threatening to slide up, Somehow, we keep getting weirder and weirder mutations.
“Sort of,” the boy explained, hefting up his suitcase and shifting from side to side, “If two people absolutely loathe one another, or if one or both of the people are already madly in love with someone else, I can only make them love one another for a very short period of time.”
“That sounds wonderful!” Charles exclaimed, and Erik could already feel his thoughts darting to new ideas, “Therefore, in a way, you could also gauge the relationship between two people, simply by how long your mutation could work on them!”
The boy frowned and nodded slowly, “I guess; I never thought of it that way.”
“Could you make two people just act friendly?” Erik asks, thinking of the daily battles (to the point where Sean and Raven have set up a betting pool on how badly Taro was going to lose) between their resident librarian and janitor.
The boy shrugs, “Not too sure, never tried yet. Probably could though. If I can, will you let me stay?” the last question slipping out somewhat pleadingly.
Charles mouth tightens and he replies, “You can stay here no matter what. I promise you.”
The boy gives a sigh of relief and stretches out a hand to shake, “I’m James McFass, and if either of you ever need to be set up with anyone—”
“We’re good,” Charles cuts in and shakes his hand.
Possessive much, Charles? Erik projects as he grins and also shakes James’ hand, Don’t you want to see if we’re “madly in love?
Given how badly Warren, Scott, Galatea, and Edward so much want to put on a Cinderella play with me as the title character and you as the prince, I think that question is already answered. Although, you would make a terrifying Prince Charming; they’d probably end up calling you Prince Sharky, Charles teases as he helps James move his luggage into the house, Besides, I don’t care if his mutation doesn’t work much on us; he can set up whoever else he likes, but not us. You’re mine, and I’m yours.
Erik swallows at Charles’ matter-of-fact tone (was it really only a year ago when he was uncertain and terrified and so, so sure that this was going to come crashing down all around his ears because nothing this good had ever happened to him before) and projects a warm wave of affection to wrap around Charles’ mind while replying out loud quietly, “Yes.”
(They do end up doing a play, only to appease all the students caught up in the storm of books and cleaning equipment that had accompanied James’ experiment at producing friendly feelings between Irma and Taro.
“He kissed me!” Irma shrieked, barely constrained from farther bodily harm by Charles’ hold on her emotions and Erik’s metal shelf.
“I did not!” Taro protested, also barely being held back by an armored up Armando from swinging around his mop, “She kissed me! I have cooties! This is disgusting!”
“I’m so sorry professor!” James apologized, practically groveling in his guilt, “I tried using it subtly, but nothing was changing, so then I thought that if they hated each other so much, I could try ramping it up and still get a friendly result, but I just made them, for a second anyway, decide that they really loved each other!”
“It’s alright James,” Charles sighed through the strain of holding down on Irma’s riotous emotions, “Let’s just not try that again while neither Erik nor I are in the mansion, alright?”
Erik sends calming emotions and thoughts (lazy early mornings spent in bed, quiet chess games in the evenings, the lovely dinner they were having at the restaurant before being interrupted by Raven’s frantic phone call) to soothe Charles’ pounding headache and then in a steady voice calls out, “Irma. Taro.”
The two psychotic little brats turn to look at him.
He frowns, “You two are acting like preschoolers,” he says, affecting disdain, “Irma, what are you doing screaming in your own library? Taro, why are you making a mess in the mansion? Frankly, I don’t see how we can give so much responsibility to children who act so immaturely.”
Charles catches on and adds sorrowfully, “Indeed, Erik has a point. Irma and Taro, I’m sorry, but if you two can’t even manage to talk to each other rationally, I’m not sure how we can trust you to be in charge of the library and cleaning—”
Irma and Taro are both groveling at Charles’ feet so fast that Erik feels a bit of Charles’ whiplash from Irma’s sudden switching of emotions.
“No! We’ll be good!”
“I swear I’ll be a mature librarian! I’ll take great care of the books! I won’t yell anymore! And I won’t—I’ll try not to hit Taro!”
“I swear I’ll keep this place clean! I won’t muck it up at all! And I won’t go after Irma with a mop!”
They’re never going to keep all these promises, Charles sighs in Erik’s mind, I can already hear the small mumbles of, “As long as…” and “Not that much anyway…”and all the other little loopholes they can come up with.
The point isn’t to make them stop fighting completely, it’s to keep them from involving others in their fight, Erik replied, cautiously setting the metal bookshelf back in its place, Those two always skip P.E. so they need some form of exercise.
I can’t believe someone would actually face your wrath of skipping class, Charles thinks dryly, before nodding solemnly, “See that you will; we’re going to hold you two to your words now.”
The two children nod anxiously, and Charles is about to turn to suggest to Erik for them to continue their interrupted date upstairs, when Galatea pipes up.
“Hey, what about us?”
Charles frowns and looks at doll-like girl who is wearing a mischievous smile that Erik has grown to fear, “What do you mean, my dear?”
“We were all in grievous danger while you two were off on your date!” Galatea dramatically gestures to the huddled group of students and staff nursing bruises and ruined shirts, “We should get some compensation!”
“What grievous danger? All of you have mutations; you could have used them,” Erik growled.
“We don’t have enough control over our powers to restrain either of them without being sure it wouldn’t hurt them,” Galatea said seriously, tone belied by the merriment dancing in her eyes, “I think we deserve a play. Cinderella would be lots of fun. Or Sleeping Beauty, we aren’t picky.”
Erik protests as loudly as he can, but Charles feels as though the children could use some entertainment, and what’s the harm in a play?
The mansion is turned upside down in preparation for the play. Galatea appoints herself as director, Raven and Edward claim costume design and makeup, Irma wants to write the script, Thalia is reluctantly forced into being in charge of music, Hank and Taro get dragged from the lab to come up with special effects for the dragon that Galatea and Warren insist there be, Ororo happily assents to create the rest of the special effects, Armando is put in charge of lights, and Alex and Sean are put in charge of building the set.
Casting is a nightmare because Erik is forced to be the prince (At least now you get to wear a cape, Charles points out), Charles is bemusedly cast as the princess (It’s like we’re in Las Vegas again, Charles jokingly points out when he sees the dress and wig he is to wear), Angel, Warren, and Jean are to be the fairy godmothers (“Because they can all fly,” Galatea insists), Raven demands to be the witch (“It’ll be fun putting a curse on you and then setting a dragon on Erik,” she says cheerily, “Besides, Edward doesn’t need much help with costumes”), and Scott, James, and the other various stuffed animals that Galatea has animated over the course of the term are to be friendly woodland creatures (“You have to have animal friends!” Galatea, Warren, Scott, and the rest of the children protest).
When the play is finally almost over and Erik is bending down to kiss a reclining Charles, he projects, Please wipe everyone’s memory of this.
Wouldn’t work, Charles projects back as he pulls Erik in for a deeper kiss, Raven has this all on tape.
“Charles! We said we were going to keep this PG!” Raven yells from the audience. )
+1. Thalia Smith
Thalia is sure that this is an extremely bad idea (maybe not as bad as the time they were taking a field trip to Washington D.C., and Galatea had decided that, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial stood up?” because nothing was as bad as Galatea’s ideas of what would be cool, but this was close), but considering she had been outvoted 2 to 5 by the other girls (Irma being her one ally in this area, but she wasn’t going to put up a fight because she could always sound-proof the library), she didn’t have much of a choice.
“Singing valentines are a time-honored tradition,” Raven said persuasively, “It’ll be fun!”
“You just want to have more footage of all of us doing embarrassing things,” Thalia pointed out tiredly, “Besides, I’m not sure I can direct it that well.”
“You’ve been practicing for nearly an entire year,” Raven said encouragingly, “It’ll be fine! Think of it as a practice run!”
“Practice runs usually don’t end with the whole house wanting to murder me though,” Thalia said morosely.
“It’ll be fine!” Raven repeated with a slap on her back, “Everyone is going to blame me and Galatea and maybe James and Edward a bit, so don’t you worry about a thing.”
Thalia makes pitiful wide-eyed appeals to the other girls sitting around the table, but it doesn’t seem to work. Raven’s a lost cause, Galatea is always happy with chaos (as far as she can tell, it seems to be the small girl’s state of being), Jean thinks singing valentines are adorable, Ororo has never seen singing valentines before and wants to, Angel thinks it’s going to be hilarious, and Irma doesn’t really care as long as she can hold the library silent.
She sighs and nods slowly. Fighting the inevitable is too hard.
Valentine’s Day arrives, and Thalia really wants to bury herself in her nice, soft bed, but Galatea has animated the sheets to roll her out with a thump onto the floor.
“Today’s the day!” she sings out, swinging her legs back and forth from her perched position on top of the bed, “Knock them dead! Break a leg!”
“I think I already have,” Thalia muttered, dragging herself up from the floor.
Galatea ignores her as she prattles on, “Raven’s already set up the cameras downstairs by the big stairway, so all you have to do is stand by the stairs and point whenever we drag people there.”
“What if Professor Xavier notices beforehand?” Thalia frets as she puts on dark, nondescript clothes, “Or Mr. Lehnsherr strangles me? Or if Mr. Azazel stabs me with his tail? Or Scott and Alex try using me for target practice? Or Irma brains me with War and Peace? Or—”
“Relax,” Galatea replies, pushing her out of the door, “James will take care of getting them there unawares. Just slap them with a musical number fast and run away. When they’re done, I’ll hurry them away with Sir Gawain or Sir Gaheris, or if they’re really mad, Sir Agravain, and then you can come back, and we’ll drag in some more people.”
“I’m going to die,” Thalia moaned, walking down the hall, “Your suits of armor won’t work on Mr. Lehnsherr, and then he’s going to use one of them to stab me in the gut.”
“No, no,” Galatea replied, shaking her head, “I’ll use my Legion when it’s Mr. Lehnsherr and Professor Xavier.”
“He’s going to rip through your rabbits and kill us all,” Thalia muttered, unhappily already at the top of the stairs.
Galatea tossed her blonde hair back haughtily, “We are Legion. We are Forever.”
“Until you’re all smushed by a chandelier from an enraged Mr. Lehnsherr,” Thalia replied leaning over the banister.
“That’ll never happen simply because Charles would give Erik hell about ruining the ceiling,” Raven commented, and then talked into a walky-talky, “Mystique to Cupid, Muse is in position, Pygmalion and her army are good to go, and Lord Byron has just arrived.”
Edward popped up from behind Raven and grinned at Thalia, “You ready for this?” he asked eagerly.
Thalia gave him a sickly grin, “As ready as I’ll ever be to face certain doom.”
“That’s the spirit!” Raven said happily, placing the walky-talky down as the doors to the parlor opened, “Okay, show-time.”
One sweet duet between Jean and Scott (“I know when we collided, you’re the one I have decided, who’s one of my kind,”), one lovely serenade from Azazel to Mystique (“Cause girl you’re amazing, just the way you are,”) , one impassioned ballad from Alex to Armando (“When you’re gone, the pieces of my heart are missing you,”), one argumentative duet directed at each other with Irma and Taro (“So shut up, shut up, don’t want to hear it,”) that somehow segued into a confused, slightly less vitriolic musical thought process (“I don’t wanna think about you, or think about me, don’t wanna figure this out,”), a lovelorn Sean singing to a photo of Moira (“I can’t fight this feeling any longer,”), a flirty song that alternated between Janos and Angel (“I can’t take it, take it no more, never felt like, felt like this before,”), a surprisingly friendly song from Galatea to herself (“I walk the streets with a song in my head, we ebb and flow so,”) , an encouraging song from Edward to James (“I know she’ll let you down, but the fever breaks when it’s too much to take, so you can put your weapons down,”), and when Hank, Warren, and Ororo got dragged in, a friendly chorus with everyone in the room (“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on,”),Thalia was feeling as though this could actually turn out okay.
True, now that that song had worn off, Alex looked red and murderous, Scott looked as though he wanted to blast her through the ceiling, Irma had already taken the head off of Sir Gawain and was busy attacking his gauntlet, and Taro was busy trying to corrode away the metal of Sir Gareth, but it did seem that Galatea’s knights were holding them off (it turned out that they were making too much noise to simply hurry away, and Irma was refusing to help them out after her song, so it was a good thing the mansion had so many suits of armor). And yes, Edward’s costume swaps on everyone seemed to have the majority of the victims glaring at him (since James who had been the one to bring them in had left), not her, which was helpful. And even if a few of the routines had been kind of disturbing (she really could have done without Janos and Angel grinding against each other, and Alex looking that mushy at anybody was just weird), a few of them had actually been quite cute (Jean and Scott were blushingly holding hands, and Azazel was twining blue flowers in Raven’s hair). All in all, Thalia was feeling pretty good. Occasionally, music did help!
Then the doors slammed open and James was quickly dragging Mr. Lehnsherr and Professor Xavier in by their sleeves.
Professor Xavier’s mind briefly brushed hers, and she heard him begin to project, Wait, what in the world—
Thalia pointed and hit the two of them with her power as quickly as possible, projecting as loudly as she could, I’m really, really really sorry Professor, but I was outvoted.
Mr. Lehnsherr dropped to one knee in front of Professor Xavier, folding the professor’s smaller hands in his own and sang,
“Do you hear me,
I'm talking to you,
Across the water across the deep blue ocean,
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying.”
Edward snapped his fingers, and Mr. Lehnsherr’s trademark turtleneck shifted into an elegant black suit while Professor Xavier’s tweed outfit transformed into a dove gray silk suit.
The professor opened his mouth and began to sing softly while drawing Mr. Lehnsherr to his feet,
“Boy I hear you in my dreams.
I feel your whisper across the sea,
I keep you with me in my heart.
You make it easier when life gets hard.”
Mr. Lehnsherr began to sing again, drawing a slightly stunned looking Professor Xavier into his arms,
“And so I'm sailing through the sea,
To an island where we'll meet.
You'll hear the music fill the air,
I'll put a flower in your hair.”
As Mr. Lehnsherr placed a hand around the professor’s waist, Professor Xavier placed a hand on Mr. Lehnsherr’s shoulder and sang at him,
“Though the breezes through trees.
Move so pretty you're all I see.
As the world keeps spinning round,
You hold me right here right now.”
At this point, Mr. Lehnsherr was waltzing with Professor Xavier around the room, crooning into his ear, and Galatea had made her small army of knights sway to the music, regardless of who they were busy restraining.
“They don't know how long it takes,
Waiting for a love like this.
Every time we say goodbye,
I wish we had one more kiss,
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will.”
Professor Xavier smiled, rested his head against Mr. Lehnsherr’s chest and sang back,
“I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend,
Lucky to have been where I have been,
Lucky to be coming home again.
Lucky we're in love every way,
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed,
Lucky to be coming home someday.”
The professor wrapped his arms around Mr. Lehnsherr and drew him into a long, soulful looking kiss, and Thalia knew that was her cue to run away as fast as possible.
She was halfway out the door, before she heard the chaos erupt behind her.
“Give me that camera Raven!”
“Yeah right Erik, this is great!”
“You are going to die for this outfit, brat!”
“What’s wrong with skinny jeans?”
“Can I have my normal clothes back? All this black is going to kill me if we go outside.”
“Galatea, if you do not release me from this knight that is so ridiculously named, right now—”
“My knights are awesome!”
“I think I still have the notes somewhere from last time about how to calibrate Cerebro in order to bleach our brains!”
Can you please release us from this truly incredible amount of rabbit plushies though, my dear? It feels as though we are about to be suffocated.
“Thalia, get back here!”
Oh, don’t scare the child, Erik. Thalia, my friend, please come back. We realize this is not entirely your fault and that it was all mostly Raven’s ridiculous ideas—
“It was actually James that suggested it to me, but I think this should be a tradition!”
We are all going to be having a talk.
(When the chaos had finally subsided, and all the hysterics had been sorted through, Charles slumped into the crook of Erik’s neck and said, “That was quite tiring.”
“If they do this again next year, we’re going for a vacation in the Caribbean by ourselves,” Erik replied glumly, burying his face in Charles’ hair.
Which explains why we were singing about an island. I actually quite liked it, Charles projected shyly, Dancing and singing with you.
Erik’s mouth twitched into a smile, Parts of it, I liked, although I think we traumatized the children even more. And Raven has it all on tape.
“That’s true,” Charles said out loud, idly playing with Erik’s hand, “we do have to do something about that video. Perhaps there’s a mutant that can walk through walls?”
Erik shrugged, “Anything seems to be possible, given the army of sentient rabbit plushies that was pinning us down.”
“Hm,” Charles mused, getting up slightly than slumping back down onto the bed, “No, I’m exhausted. I think I’ll stay here with you.”
Erik smiled and leaned over to kiss Charles, Happy Valentine’s Day, mein libeling.
Charles rolled Erik onto his back and replied, Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. )