“Who else have you been?”
“Oh, um,” Charles scratches at his head, takes a sip from his mug. “there was a boy named Robbie- I fought in the war; died of pneumonia. I was Tom and I fell in with a writer. She was a lovely creature. There are more...You don’t want to know about them.”
Erik looks to him with a wry expression. The silverware on the table rattles slightly.
“I think I want to know all about you.”
Charles gives a long, dry, and hollow laugh. “No, I don’t think you do. It’s not very pretty.”
Erik stretches out his long hands, slides one closer to Charles.
Charles lets out a huff. “My name is Martin. It’s the 80’s and I’m in Bristol. I walk parks at night and strange men pick me up and use me and pay me.”
Erik is silent for a moment. The silverware on the table flip and turn and crumble slightly.
Charles smirks and it almost looks like a real smile. “Not really. Degradation is always fun every couple hundred of years.”
The silverware rights itself slowly. Erik closes his eyes.
“How old are you?”
Charles laughs. “I’m twenty- How old am I? I think, I’m twenty five or so. I don’t know, how old do I look?”
Erik groans. “That’s not what I- that is,” The silver shrink somewhat. “how long have you...been?”
“Been around? Living?” This time Charles really smiles, but it’s kind of sad in a way, the way his mouth upturns but doesn’t fully reach anything, Erik thinks.
Erik gives a slight nod.
“I don’t know exactly. If I did the math...But I suppose, if it helps at all, Louis V was the king of the Franks.”
Charles huffs out another laugh, almost like a chuckle. “I’m sorry. I forgot you don’t call them that any more. Sorry. It’s the um,” He waves his hands about a little. “it’s those that,” He laughs again. “I’ve never had this much trouble remembering. I’m sorry. The Franks, they are those that...That’s it,” Charles snaps his fingers. “Those that hail from France.”
“The French?” Erik looks down to the table, his fingers traces undeterminable patters on it. “That must make you...” Erik brings his head up slowly. “Over a thousand years old.”
Charles puts his head in his hand and tilts it to the side. “Well, when you put it like that...” And he laughs. “I think I look pretty good for my age, don’t you think?”
Erik grunts and Charles smirks.
“So what’s your name?”
Charles ponders this for a moment, fingering his mug. “I think I’m James right now. An actor, but I can’t quite remember. I have it written down somewhere at my flat.”
Erik shakes his head. “No, what’s your real name. The one that you were...born with?”
“Oh, that’s-hmmm. I believe it was Charles but I can’t remember. It might not have been, but that doesn’t matter. I’d like it if you call me Charles. I like the sound of it.”
“So...who else-fuck, it’s so weird to ask. Who else have you been?”
“I’ve been a top chef. I think I called myself John or Joe or something to that like. I went insane and had someone stab me. Did you know,” Charles sits up straighter and points to the spot on his abdomen, just below his sternum. “that it’s still kind of tender, and that was nearly fifty years ago.”
“Why did you...go crazy?”
Charles stretches and motions for the waitress.
“Had to die somehow. I think that was when...Oh, yes it was.” And he’s grinning like mad now. “My wife of the time, she killed herself, too. Jumped off of the roof our flat. Broke every bone in her body. I was a detective before, too. I fell in with my major case-”
“What’ll it be?” The waitress interrupts, giving Charles an odd look.
Charles beams. “Raven, I’d like you to meet my dear friend Erik Lehnsherr.”
Raven trails her gaze to Erik. She puts out her hand.
“It’s nice to meet you Mr Lehnsherr.”
“Call him Erik, Raven. He’s like us. A mutant.”
Raven smiles. “Oh really? And what can you do Erik?”
Erik smiles and lifts his hand, fingers splayed. The silver bracelet on Raven’s wrist broke off and melded itself into a small swan statue. Raven gasps.
“You put that back together and on my wrist right now.” And laughs when the intricate design of the bracelet is back and on her wrist. “We’ve never met anyone quite like you, Erik.”
Charles cuts in before Erik can say anything. “Other mutants, yes...At least I have, but no one that can bend metal like you.”
“Hmm, and I’ve never met a telepath that can’t die. Raven what can yo-”
“You told him!?” Raven looks over to Charles, furiously.
Charles shrinks slightly. “I didn’t! He just-he might have caught me-”
“Sneaking out of a morgue. You still had a damn suture hanging off your chest.” Erik says, only slightly accusingly.
“I didn’t know he was there. I couldn’t sense him.”
Raven smacks at Charles’ head. “How could you be so careless?!”
Charles rolls his eyes and rubs at where Raven hit him. “Maybe I wanted someone else to know.”
“Charles you idiot, you know he’s going to die within...How old are you Erik?”
“Twenty nine. And could you not talk about me like I’m no-”
“See, Charles? He’s nearly thirty! What would you have? Fifty years with him? This isn’t the smart thing to do. It’s only going to hurt. You know what happened the last time you pulled this.”
Charles throws his arms up. “That was a fluke. I didn’t know! And this is different, Erik is not Fox. He never will be. First off, he’s not a mental patient and second, that wa-”
“We’re not going to have that happen again.” Raven crosses her arms over her chest. “You have to erase his mind.”
“What?!” Erik looks wide eyed between the two.
“I told you.” Charles says petulantly, ignoring Erik.
Raven glares at him. “That’s because I’m going to last more than eighty years. Now do it before it’s too late.”
And with that, she storms off.
Erik stares quietly at his hands on the table. The silverware start to rumble again.
“I’m sorry, Erik.” Charles says quietly, he places his hand on top of one of Erik’s.
Erik looks up to him, eyes searching for something and not quite finding it.
“People have died over me. Did you know that?”
Erik shakes his head no, and after a moment he asks “Who were you and Raven talking about? Fax or Fox or whoever.”
Charles sighs and bites his lip. He pulls his hand off of Erik’s and onto his mug.
“I once told someone, a lovely lady, beautiful and extremely intelligent, but a little off her rocker. She knew me as...Wesley, I think and I met her at a pharmacy. She pushed me to the floor and shot at the boxes of cereal across the store, claiming that she knew my father and was trying to protect me from an assassin. We struck up a friendship that was quite...intense. She showed me were she worked, she called it a fraternity, but it was just a textile factory.
“Anyhow, she and I were at this-mud spa like place and she told me about her past. How she watched as her father was murdered in front of her as a child and how the Fraternity took her in and trained her. And in the heat of the moment, I told her about-about me. How I can’t, you know,” He flicks his wrist in a gesture. “die, how I’m a telepath. Her already shaky psyche completely cracked and she killed herself, thinking she was sacrificing herself and about five other men to save me.”
Charles shakes his head and huffs out a sad laugh. “I regret telling her everyday.”
Erik is silent; he reaches his hands out to catch Charles’. Charles looks to him with a wary expression.
“I don’t want to-to erase your mind. I want to-”
But he couldn’t finish his sentence, Erik’s lips were on his in a desperate, yet chaste kiss. When he pulls back he whispers: “Then don’t. I’m not going crazy. I won’t.”
Charles smiles sadly. “I know you won’t.” He touches the side of Erik’s face lightly, and kisses him again lightly then pulls away completely and stands.
“I know.” He repeats and walks away.
When Raven sees Charles leave, she walks up to Erik and smiles.
“Hey hun, you alright? Can I get you anything? Coffee?”
Erik looks up to her with a blank expression. She sits down on the bench seat across from him.
“You have a name?”
Erik’s gaze seemed to focus at that moment.
“Yeah, it’s Erik.”
She gives him another smile and places a hand on his, trying to still its shakiness.
“Can I get you anything, Erik?”
“Coffee would be nice.” He looks down at his and Raven’s hands. “Do you? A name, that is.”
She nods, pats Erik’s hand, and stands. “It’s Jennifer. And let me go get you that coffee.”