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Homeward Bound

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Charles folds his knees up against his chest, sheltered in the window seat in his room. It's been such a mixed day-- Charles received permission at school to take college courses early, in what would otherwise be his freshman year of high school.

He should be pleased, but so far it's only brought trouble. Kurt's been piqued, goading Cain with why can't you be more like your stepbrother, though he scarcely seems to have much use for Charles except as a comparison to make his own son feel badly; Cain has been even more resentful than usual, and nothing Charles does seems to help.

But at the same time, Charles has been getting so much emotion from the bond-- his soulmate has been excited all week, and it seems to increase almost by the hour.

«What are you looking forward to so much?» Charles sends to his soulmate. «Is your birthday coming up?» He can't help smiling to himself. «I hope it's not your birthday. I didn't get you anything.»

He doesn't get anything back but emotion, of course, more of that happy excitement. The feeling is so powerful that his soulmate must be trying deliberately to push it across their bond to him. Charles tries to just enjoy it, to send back gratitude. «Thank you for sharing this with me.»

Gradually the excitement slackens and begins to flicker, his soulmate's attention falling away from the bond. Charles taps his temple. «Maybe whatever you're so excited about is happening, and you're busy with that? Have fun,» he sends wistfully.

And he hears something back.

«soon... promise... there? ...hear me? ...potatoes...»

«What?» Charles sends back with all the power he can muster.

«I'm awake! I was asleep, I'm awake now, oh God, I'm awake, was that you?»

«Oh my God, I can hear you!» Charles presses his free hand against the window, staring out as if his soulmate is going to come into view at any moment-- it feels almost as if he could. If Charles can hear him, anything seems possible. «Do you hear me?»

«Is that you? Are you out there? Say something else!»

«It's me! Where are you?» Charles asks. «You must have moved...?»

«I'm, I'm, wait, I'll ask my mother--» The energy between them slackens a moment and then it's back, so strong again and clear in a way it's never been before. «An hour east of Columbus. Ohio. Where are you??»

«Westchester. New York. Are you traveling?»

«We've been driving for a week, we started out in Portland. My name's Erik. Erik Lehnsherr. What's your name?»

«Charles Xavier.» Charles feels the sting of tears starting in his eyes. For two and a half years, he's shared feelings with his soulmate, but even with their unusually strong bond, sometimes he's been worried that they might not find each other easily when they came of age. But now-- Erik. Now Charles knows his name. «Do you mean you're coming here? Please, I hope--»

«Charles,» Erik responds, excited and adoring. «Charles, yes, we're coming to you. I'll be there soon.»