“Explain to me again how this happened?” Erik managed to ask through his wheezes of laughter while attempting to wipe the icing and batter off of Charles’ face.
“We wanted to do something special for your birthday!” Charles exclaimed, pushing Erik’s hands away and grabbing wet paper towels for himself and Raven, “It just sort of got away from us…”
“We should do something special for Erik’s birthday,” Charles said adamantly as he sat down in his favorite overstuffed armchair and pulled out his worn copy of The Once and Future King.
Raven looked up from her careful study of roasting a marshmallow in the fireplace, “Like what?” she asked curiously.
“We should bake a cake,” Charles stated firmly, idly turning the pages of his book.
Raven pulled the poker out of the fire and bit into the marshmallow carefully, “You mean have the house elves bake a big one for him?” she asked while chewing slowly, “Ooh, we should ask for one of those chocolate lava cakes! Erik likes those!”
“You like those,” Charles corrected, handing her a big bag of marshmallows and sitting next to her on the carpet, “No, I was thinking more like doing it ourselves.”
Raven gave him a dubious look as she added more marshmallows to the poker, “Have you ever even baked?” she asked, handing him one of the pokers.
Charles shrugged, taking the poker, “How hard can it be?”
“So how many eggs go into a cake again?” Raven asked worriedly, dumping flour into the mixing bowl with a cloud of white rising up around her, “And are you sure that we should have sent the house elves out?”
“I think six since it’s a big cake,” Charles replied, cracking the eggs messily and picking bits of shell out of the goop (it had seemed much simpler when he had watched Doodge doing it, but eggs were a bit of a goopy mess in reality), “And I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
“Where’s Erik? He’s not going to suddenly pop up here, is he?” Raven persisted, stirring the milk and oil into the batter and lifting up the ladle to watch the mixture drip downwards, “It would completely ruin your idea of a surprise.”
“Do relax Raven; Erik is engrossed with mastering the Levitation Charm today. He’s in the gardens,” Charles said calmly, glancing upwards and quickly flitting through Erik’s mind (concentrationangerfocussteadiness) while pouring in the eggs.
“Your mind-soul bond thing is kind of creepy sometimes,” Raven commented, getting an egg whisk out of the drawer and staring at it, “And why’s he doing that? He levitates everything he wants to already. And how do you use this again?” she asked, turning the handle of the egg whisk experimentally.
“We must prevent you from speaking to Tony so often; you’re beginning to sound like him,” Charles sighed, taking the whisk from her, “Erik can levitate anything metal, but he thinks it would be useful in a tight spot to levitate things that are not,” he tapped the egg whisk thoughtfully against the counter, “I think this is for beating the mix.”
“Really? It’s not working very well,” Raven commented as she took the egg whisk from him and attempted to beat the mix, only to awkwardly make the batter slosh out of the bowl.
“Perhaps a little more effort?” Charles suggested, taking the egg whisk from her and trying to stir faster but spilling even more of the batter out, “Hm.”
Raven raised an eyebrow and glanced at the mess, “Now what?”
“We could always try using magic,” Charles said, concentrating on the egg whisk.
Raven shook her head rapidly, “No, no, no, bad idea, such a bad idea; you may be a whiz at Legilimency Charles, but when it comes to levitating things, let’s leave that to Erik, okay?”
“I don’t see why I should,” Charles complained, sending out the tendrils of his magic to twine around the egg whisk (much more difficult than reaching for a mind, but how else were they going to get the cake for Erik done?), “I am perfectly capable of using my magic for things besides Legilimency.”
“With a wand maybe, sure,” Raven retorted, attempting to tug the egg whisk away from him, “But remember that time at the Stark Mansion? When Erik was sick, and you and Tony tried to make a mop clean up that cake we snuck out for him and then accidentally dropped?”
“That was Tony’s fault!” Charles protested, narrowing his eyes as the egg whisk slowly rose into the air, “How was I supposed to know that Tony would overshoot and make all of the mops and brooms start cleaning?”
“And then you tried to make them stop, and then they all started dancing,” Raven grimaced, snagging the egg whisk clumsily with her own magic, “Let’s go ask the house elves for help.”
“No! It won’t be special if we don’t bake it for him!” Charles insisted, tugging the egg whisk back with his magic (it seemed to be a bit easier now; emotions did help with childhood magic after all), “Raven, let go!”
“No!” Raven replied stubbornly, managing to grab the egg whisk again with her magic.
“Raven!” Charles said in exasperation as they struggled for the egg whisk, “Let go! We don’t have much time before Erik decides he’s done for training for the day!”
“I’m not letting you make all the kitchen utensils start dancing!” Raven shot back, “The house elves would all start crying, and then I’ll never get a chocolate lava cake today!”
“The chocolate lava cake, of course,” Charles scoffed, “Let go Raven!”
As they blinked uncertainly and the batter, flour, oil, eggs, and icing rained down on them, Erik came running in.
“What happened? Are you alright—wait, what’s going on?”
“—and that’s when you came in,” Charles finished, sighing sadly and wiping the rest of the batter off his face, “And you can stop laughing any time now, you realize.”
“I-I-I’m sorry,” Erik wheezed through his laughter, neatly gesturing for the mops to start cleaning up the mess, “It’s just too hilarious.”
Charles chooses to ignore the whisper of Erik’s mind (adorable, really), and sighs as he attempts to get the gunk out of Raven’s hair, only to be hit smack in the chest with a wad of icing.
“Next time, we’re getting the house elves, and you are never allowed to do wandless magic in the kitchen ever again,” Raven loudly proclaims, attempting to shift her hair into a short style more easy to clean and gathering up more icing to throw at Charles.
“Is this really necessary?” Charles protested, scooping up and throwing some batter at Raven.
“My hair is ruined Charles, this is completely necessary,” Raven deadpanned, this time aiming the icing straight at Charles’ face, but hitting Erik instead when Charles ducked behind the taller boy.
Erik grinned fiercely, eyes gleaming as the ladles around the kitchen rose to gather up the batter on the floor, “Oh, it’s on.”
“What’s this?” Hank asked puzzled as he examined a photo that seemed to be of the kitchen covered in flour from the many, many albums of the Xavier Mansion (Raven glared every time he picked up a magical theory book since his accident, and there wasn’t anything else to do while recuperating in the mansion. Also, the albums were surprisingly entertaining to go through. He was amazed by the sheer amount of blackmail material Raven had evidently accumulated throughout the years.)
“What? Oh that,” Raven grinned as she tapped the photo, “It’s from the time we tried to bake a cake for Erik’s birthday. It rapidly devolved into a food fight by the end, so the picture us are too busy running around in the photo to see.”
“Then what’s the point?” Hank asked quizzically, tilting the photo to the right.
Raven’s grin grew sharper as two small boys ran into focus, “Because every once in awhile you get a lovely image of both Charles and Erik with their hair covered in icing. It’s hilarious.”
Hank’s mouth quirked upward as the small Erik scowled and attempted to drag some of the icing out of his hair and the small Charles lobbed more batter at a small Raven with a buzz cut running towards them, “It kind of is.”
“I’ll be taking that if you please, Hank,” Charles cut in, entering the room and quickly snatching the photo from Hank, “Stop showing Hank embarrassing photos of us Raven.”
“But all we have are embarrassing photos!” Raven protested, grinning and swinging her legs back and forth from her perch on the arm of the sofa.
“And whose fault is that?” Erik groused, coming in and giving Hank a baleful glance (he was not going to survive this trip to Xavier Mansion, he was almost certain of this), “Which photo was she showing him?”
“Your tenth birthday,” Charles answered, handing him the photo.
Erik glanced at the photo, and it seemed to Hank that his mouth curved into an actual smile, and not one of those crazy, shark-teeth, serial killer ones either, and actual human-looking smile. (He still hadn’t completely discarded his theory that Erik was really some sort of killer robot, like the Terminator from that movie Tony and Oliver had made him watch, whose one glitch in its murderous program was a weakness for curly-haired Legilimens Ravenclaw Xaviers.)
“Your disastrous effort at making a cake, I remember,” Erik said fondly, as the small Charles handed the small Erik a bucket of water, “I’m not sure Dotsy ever forgave us for that.”
“It would explain the burnt pudding every year,” Charles agreed, sighing and taking the photo back from Erik, “Ready to try it again this year and endure her teary long looks at us?”
“Let’s,” Erik replied, looping his arm through Charles’, kissing the top of his head, and walking through the door.