Title: Little Wonders
Word Count: Approx. 4600
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Relationships: Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr
Characters: Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, Raven Darkholme, Edie Lehnsherr, Emma Frost, Azazel, Logan, Scott Summers, Alex Summers, Sean Cassidy, Hank McCoy, Warren Worthington III, Ororo Munroe, Armando Munoz, Angel Salvadore
Notes: For the Charles/Erik Secret Santa run my Zimothy. Written for ma-belle-michelle, for the prompt "Mutant babies, ‘cause I think it’s so adorable! XDMutants are widely known about, you’re welcome to decide if they’re accepted or struggling for rights, etc.; but as such, there is a foster program for mutant children. Charles somehow ends up taking in mutant children who manifest early or seem to be “problem” children. Cue Erik somehow ending up with a baby Raven and the mansion the place he’s recommended to take her, which is how he’s introduced to the craziness that is the Xavier household."
This is not the original source picture. For some reason the one provided could not be found so I search for another mutant babies picture and ended up with the above.
Sorry if it seems a bit rushed or maybe not filled out enough. Finals cut into my time and I ended up down to the wire with this one. I think that I may write a bit more in this verse on my AO3. Probably some shorts to fill out what wasn't included here.
Erik trudged down an alleyway, paying no heed to the fact that the alley was dark, dank, dirty, and dangerous. He’d walked this alley everyday on the way home from work; people rarely came down it. Besides even if he was attacked, it wasn’t like he couldn’t defend himself. Growing up on this side of New York had taught him all he needed to know to keep safe but being a mutant certainly helped as well. He could rip a gun or knife out of an attacker’s hand without even coming into contact with the assailant.
Erik was about half way through the alley when a high pitched shrieking stopped him in his tracks. He looked up the alley and the back down behind him, but could see no one. Still, he was sure that the wailing was coming from within the alley, the sound bouncing off the walls and back at him.
Frowning, he continued on his way a bit more cautiously; the noise becoming louder and louder as he drew closer. He paused once more when he thought he had to be right on top of the sound. He looked around and still spotted nothing. It was only when he looked down at the pile of trash on his right that he saw something squirming. He stepped closer and nudged a bag aside with his foot. He saw her then, the pretty little blue baby settled among the trash. He stared in bewilderment, then glanced around, not quite knowing what to do with a baby. She wasn’t brand new but couldn’t be more than a few months old.
Someone had cared enough to wrap her in a blanket but not enough for the blanket was so thread bare that it failed to keep anything warm, much less a baby. Erik was disgusted with whomever had left her dirty and in the trash, most likely a human.
He looked back down at the baby. She had quieted a bit and was now blinking watery eyes at hi, while whimpering piteously. He knew he couldn’t just leave her there - she was a baby and a mutant at that. He couldn’t let her die in an alley. But she was a baby, he didn’t know what to do with a baby. He couldn’t take her to the police. They were all human and even if they accepted a mutant child, most would rather leave her in the alley to die than have to find her someplace safe.
She blinked her big amber eyes up at him and started to cry again. He sighed and bent to scoop her into his arms. He opened his jacket and lay her against his chest, bundling her close.
The moment he pushed the door to his apartment open his phone began to buzz in his pocket. He held the baby a bit tighter to his chest as he fished the phone from his pocket, looked at the screen, and answered, “Yes, Mama?”
“Why aren’t you home yet?” An older feminine voice with a thick German accent asked. No matter how long they had been in New York his mother had never lost the accent.
“I just got home, Mama,” Erik replied, “but I’m a bit busy.”
“Fine, I come to you,” she said.
“Mama, that’s really-” but it was too late, his door was already swinging back open. That is what he got for living next door to his mother.
“What is that?” She gestured to the bulge in his jacket.
“Hello, to you too, Mama.” He rolled his eyes as he moved the jacket so she could see the baby.
“Oh, look at the pretty baby,” She smiled but frowned immediately after and paused in her reaching for the baby. “Where did you get a baby?”
Erik sighed, “Mama, it’s not like I stole her off of someone. I found her abandoned on the streets.”
“People,” Edie spat, “abandoning poor, pretty babies to die on the streets.”
She continued forward and scooped the baby off of his chest. “What are you going to call her?”
Erik ran a hand over his face. “We’re not going to keep her, Mama.”
“Kuhscheiße.” Edie narrowed her eyes up at him.
“Mama,” Erik snapped, “we are both severely under equipped to support a baby. I can’t afford a baby and you can’t afford a baby.”
“Where are you going to take her then?”
“I don’t know just yet but I’ll find her someplace safe,” Erik assured.
“Well until then we can’t just call her baby,” Edie admonished. “She will need a name.”
“What would you like to call her then, Mama?”
Edie pondered this for a moment before she looked down at the dozing baby and said, “We’ll call her Raven.”
Erik looked at her with raised brows. “You’re going to name her after a bird?”
Edie shot her son a scathing look. “Raven is a perfectly suitable name.”
“Fine,” Erik said, “fine. Call her what you want. She won’t be here much longer.”
Edie huffed and turned to leave the apartment, cooing to the baby, “Come now, let’s go see if we can find some of Erik’s old cloths that will fit you. He was much bigger than you though so we’ll have to see.”
Erik frowned. His mother still had his baby clothes?
“I know what you’re thinking,” Edie called over her shoulder. “I was hoping you’d have given me grandchildren by now but you’re to lazy for a relationship.”
Erik scoffed and turned back in his apartment, going about his usual evening routine. When he emerged from the bathroom in sweats and a sleeveless T-shirt, Edie sat on his couch. Raven was in her lap, giggling as Edie played with her little blue feet.
“You have a food processor somewhere, yes?” Edie asked without looking up.
Erik sighed and went into the kitchen to pull the food processor from the top shelf of the cupboard.
“Boil me some sweet potatoes,” Edie called.
“I don’t have any sweet potatoes.”
“I do,” Edie assured. “Go get them from my apartment and grab the apples and avocados while you’re over there because I know you don’t have those either.”
“Keys?” Erik asked.
“It’s not locked,” Edie said.
“Mama,” Erik scolded as he walked into the living room.
“I don’t have much that is worth anything, Erik. And anything that is valuable and precious to me is not worth much to anyone else,” Edie scolded right back.
Erik shook his head and crossed the hall to get the food his mother had requested. Apparently, he was making baby food.
Three days later Erik was ready to tear his hair out. He’d called several orphanages and a few social workers. The responses he’d gotten were less than helpful: ‘I’m sorry, we only deal with human children. Please try…’
He supposed he really hadn’t expected much more. It didn’t matter that laws were in place that gave mutants rights, that were supposed to end discrimination, certain organizations found ways to get around the laws. Mutant children can be dangerous. They don’t yet know how to control their powers. Erik didn’t know what to do.
His mother had gone out and bought baby things that they really couldn’t afford but she insisted they needed. She’d had him mixing baby foods every night and then storing them for the next day. He’d tried to change Raven’s diaper and it had seemed simple enough but according to his mother he’d done it all wrong and she had gone back and fixed whatever it was he hadn’t done right.
His mother also insisted on leaving Raven with him for the night. The first night hadn’t been so bad. The poor child was exhausted and had slept well. The second night had been hell. She wouldn’t sleep and she wouldn’t stop crying. His mother said it was probably the unfamiliar surroundings distressing her now that she wasn’t so tired. Erik had walked around the apartment with her in his arms until they fell asleep on the couch with her laying on his chest, supported by a big hand. He’d awoken to his mother snapping a picture. To which, he had grumbled, handed Raven over and stomped into the bathroom to get ready for the day.
Now he was at work, sitting behind the bar with his head dropped onto its surface wondering what the hell he was going to do if he couldn’t find some place safe for Raven.
“Afternoon,” Azazel called as he entered from the kitchen.
Erik looked up at the red man and gave a weak wave.
“You look like hell,” Azazel commented.
“Gee, thanks,” Erik grumbled, “Damn baby has been keeping me up.”
Azazel paused. “Whoa, baby? First of all, I totally thought you swung the other way. Second, the thought of you taking care of a child is just frightening.”
Erik glared. “She’s not mine.”
Azazel frowned. “So…niece?”
“No,” Erik said. “I found her. I’m trying to find an orphanage or something that will take her but no one will accept mutant children, as if I expected anything different. My mother is insisting that we keep her but neither of us can afford a baby.”
“I know a place,” Emma spoke up.
Erik glanced at her with a frown, having missed her entrance. Then he wondered why she of all people knew someplace he could take a mutant baby.
She rolled her eyes. “He’s another telepath. We’ve met a few times and talked. He takes in mutant children who have either been abandoned or manifest early.”
Emma stepped up to the bar and snatched up the pen next to Erik. She motioned for someone to hand her a piece of paper. Erik glanced around and gave her a napkin from the dispenser.
She looked skeptically at the napkin before scribbling something down and then handing the napkin back to him. Upon glancing at it, Erik realized it was an address.
“Take her there,” Emma said. “Charles will take good care of her.”
Erik blinked. “Thanks.”
Erik had to clench his jaw to keep it from dropping open as he stood staring up at the mansion in front of him. Raven squirmed in his arms, drawing his attention back down to her. He was fairly certain his mother wasn’t going to speak to him for at least the next week. She’d been angry when he’d said that he was taking Raven to a place the cared for young mutants.
He shook himself from his thoughts and strode up to the grand front door. He shifted Raven, freeing on arm to rap on the door. When the door swung open, Erik saw no one until he looked down.
Erik blinked at the child standing in the doorway. Did…did that child have side burns? He couldn’t be more than twelve. He frowned. Another boy appeared next to him wearing a red pair of sunglasses. Red Glasses tugged on Side Burns’ sleeve.
“Logan,” Red Glasses whined, “Logan, you know we’re not supposed to answer the door. Professor says so.”
“Whadya want?” Side burns, Logan, scowled up at Erik.
“Logan, that’s rude,” Red Glasses tugged harder at Logan’s sleeve.
“Go away, Scott,” Logan bit out still glaring at Erik and he repeated his question. “Whadya want?”
“Logan.” A calm voice called from some unseen place within the house. “That is not how we answer the door and you know that you’re not supposed to answer the door without an adult.”
The owner of the voice appeared in the doorway with a blond toddler perched on his hip and another red-headed boy following, clutching at the man’s trousers. He set the blond one down and urged them to go back into the house.
“Alex, Sean,” he said, “Why don’t the two of you go play with Hank?”
The two tumbled over each other as they practically sprinted down the hall.
The man looked sternly down at the two older boys. “Logan, I’ve told you before not to answer the door without me. Now, you and Scott need to go finish your homework in the kitchen. Moira will tell me if you’re not working on it.”
Logan crossed his arms and grumbled, hunching over as he stalked back down the hall. Scott’s lower lip wobbled before he turned to follow Logan.
Now the man finally turned his full attention to Erik. “Hello.” He smiled. “I’m so sorry about that. Please come in. I’m Charles, by the way.”
Erik followed him into the house, murmuring his own name in response. He was a bit dazed. Quite honestly, when Emma had told him about this place he’d expected more of an older man, at least middle-aged. He certainly hadn’t expected the blue-eyed, floppy-haired, attractive man who walked in front of him. He couldn’t be much younger than Erik. He certainly had a nice smile.
Charles led them to a study where he gestured for Erik to take a seat in one of the plush chairs and then sat down in the one directly across from him.
“Now.” Charles leaned closer. “Who is this lovely little one?”
Erik glanced down at Raven with an slightly fond expression though he’d never admit to having become fond of her. “We named her Raven.”
“We?” Charles questioned curiously.
“My mother and I,” Erik answered. “After I found her. She was abandoned in an alley way.”
“Oh.” Charles looked down at Raven, startled. He stretched out his arms to Erik. “May I?”
Erik handed Raven over and watched as Charles cradled her to his chest.
“Why would anyone abandon such a pretty thing as you?” Charles looked back up at Erik and smiled. “We’ll take good care of her you don’t have to worry.”
Raven started to make herself known then. She began to squirm and whine. Erik stood up on reflex and moved to look at her over Charles’ shoulder. She quieted immediately.
“Oh.” Charles looked back at Erik. “You know,” he bit his lip before suggesting, “it may be a hassle but perhaps you could come back a few times. She appears to like you and it may help make her transition easier.” He smiled brightly.
Between Raven’s wide yellow eyes and Charles’ smile he probably couldn’t have said no if he wanted to. Erik nodded.
Charles’ eyes brightened, “That’s great!”
Erik quickly learned that it was probably a mistake to say yes. Not only did he still have his job at the bar but he pretty much had another job working mornings and early afternoons at the mansion. The children were rambunctious and generally everything was plain insanity. The best part was probably seeing Charles. Really the man was ridiculously attractive and he was fantastic company. Also, though Erik would never say so out loud, he enjoyed seeing Raven. If you asked, Erik would say he hated the other children. He was there to help Raven transition and then he would leave. However, while a grand majority of the children drove Erik nuts he was starting to like most of them and their antics.
It was the end of Erik’s second week of daily visits to the mansion when Charles flopped into a chair in front of him and said, “I should really hire on more staff. It’s getting hard to keep track of all these little ones with so few adults.”
Erik paused in reaching to scoop up Ororo and looked over a Charles. Ororo pouted, extended her arms and said ‘Erik’ so he pulled her up into his arms and rested her on his forearm. He then turned his attention back to Charles as the other man continued speaking.
“You can’t imagine how hard it is for just Moira and I to get all of them to sleep at night,” Charles sighed.
“You and Moira are the only staff that care for the children?” Erik frowned.
“Well, the only two that live here. Most of the staff don’t live in the mansion, not that it matters it’s not their job to care for the children anyway.” Charles shrugged. “Though many of them help as much as they can anyway. You being here in the morning helps but I think I need another live-in staff member.”
Erik considered this for a moment. “You know, I think I know someone.”
Charles sat up. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Erik nodded. “I’ll talk to her after work tonight.”
Charles blinked. “Oh, well let me know what she says ok?”
“Speaking of work,” Erik said as he looked down at his watch. “It’s time I left.”
“Oh.” Charles jumped from his seat. “Just a minute.” He left the room only to return moments later with a slip of paper in hand. “Here you go.”
Erik stared at the cheque. “What is this?”
“Your payment for the past two weeks,” Charles smiled.
“Well, you have been pretty much working morning here.” Charles shrugged. “You take care of all the children not just Raven. Why shouldn’t you get paid like Moira?”
Erik frowned. “I’m here by choice and I don’t live here like Moira.”
“I’m going to pay you whether you like it or not.”
Before the other man could protest more, Charles turned and walked from the room.
Erik looked over at Ororo, who sat quietly in his arms. He sighed, “Alright. It’s time for me to go.” He set her down and she stared at him.
“You can just work here,” She stated matter-of-factly.
He chuckled. “I don’t think that this is that easy.”
She frowned at him as he patted her head and went to gather his things. She was right though. Charles had paid him better for two weeks part time than he was paid at the bar, even counting tips on some of his worse weeks.
Erik woke to the smell of coffee the next morning. When he entered the living room, it was to the sight of his mother perched on the couch, mug in hand. He entered the kitchen and prepared his own cup of coffee before returning to the living room and sitting next to his mother.
“Mama,” Erik said, “what are you doing here so early?”
“I thought that I would come help you today,” Edie responded. “You seem tired lately. It must be because you go to see Raven so often and work the job as a bartender, yes?”
Erik sighed. “I’m fine, Mama.”
Edie seemed as though she was about to say something else so Erik quickly continued on. “How would you feel about working again, Mama? And moving?”
Edie blinked. “You’re not making enough money? Do you need to cut costs? Are we getting rid of my apartment then?”
“Actually, I’m making extra money. But the man who runs the orphanage that Raven is at needs to hire on more live in staff. I know that it’s not ideal for you to take another job but I know that you get bored here and the house is certainly in a much better part of town.” He chuckled.
“Ok,” Edie nodded. “Then today I will go with you to see Raven and I will meet this man and see the house. Then I will make my decision.”
Erik let a small smile curve his lips upward. “Alright.”
Erik stood back as his mother stared down Charles, practically judging him with her gaze as she looked him up and down. Erik was slightly uncomfortable and more than a little confused as to what was going through Edie’s head but Charles just stood there smiling. For all he knew they could be having some silent conversation right now.
Suddenly, Edie glanced over at Erik, smiled and nodded as if she approved of something. Erik’s frown deepened. Before he could question her odd behavior Charles began to speak.
“Well, I suppose we should introduce you to the children and the rest of the staff then.” Charles smiled.
“Oh!” Edie exclaimed with a grin, looking beyond Charles. Both men glanced at the doorway and saw Moira entering the room, cradling Raven in her arms.
Edie made her way over to the woman and scooped Raven into her arms. “I’m sure this capable young woman can do that. You two can stay here and talk.”
Erik watched his mother leave the room.
Charles turned to him. “Why didn’t you say it was your mother you wanted me to hire?”
Erik looked over at Charles and shrugged.
“Why do you want me to hire her anyway?”
“We don’t live in a great part of town. I’ve always wanted to get her out of there but never had the chance. When you mentioned you needed live-in staff that was my first thought,” Erik explained.
“And you’re going to stay across town?” Charles looked up at him through his lashes.
Erik looked away. “My job is across town.”
“So you’d rather drive here everyday then have to drive there?” Charles raised his brows.
Erik looked over at Charles with a skeptical expression. “And where would you have me live?”
“Here,” Charles stated, matter-of-factly.
“It makes more sense to just keep my apartment,” Erik argued.
“If you insist,” Charles said as he turned away. Erik couldn’t shake the feeling that he was disappointed for some reason.
When Erik encountered his mother again later, she appeared to be enjoying herself immensely.
She stood in front of him, her lips spread in a wide grin. “The man in the kitchen, the chef-”
“Janos,” Erik said.
“Yes, Janos, he can make whirlwinds in his hands.” She held out her hand, palms up. “And the little girl who controls weather-”
“Yes, she’s just adorable. But she’s rather fond of him. Apparently he helps her train sometimes.”
“I take it you like it here, Mama?”
“Oh, yes,” She nodded, “There is a little boy with beautiful wings and a little girl with dragonfly wings.”
“That’s Warren and Angel.”
“There’s a group of three boys around the same age that seem to stick together. A blond, red-head and then the last boy is blue and furry.”
“Alex, Sean and Hank, Mama,” Erik chuckled.
“The last one I met they called Darwin but I got the feeling that was a nickname,” Edie said thoughtfully.
“His name is Armando,” Erik informed her. “I’m glad that you like the children. Do you intend to take the job then?”
“I do think I will.” Edie nodded.
“We should inform Charles then,” Erik said.
“Oh, you go ahead,” Edie gestured. “I’m going to go play with the children some more.”
“You look like you haven’t slept in weeks,” Azazel said as he lean against the bar across from Erik.
“That’s because I honestly haven’t,” Erik sighed.
Azazel gave him a questioning look.
Erik gave him a side-long look, tempted to withhold the information the teleporter was seeking. It wasn’t like it was really any of the other man’s business but it also didn’t really matter so Erik leaned against the bar as well and replied, “I’ve been working two jobs for just over a month now.”
Azazel frowned at him. “What for?”
“You remember that baby I found a while back and took to that place Emma suggested?” Erik questioned. “Well, I ended up going back to help her settle or something for a week or so but now my mother works there so I’m there all the time and it’s pretty much another job. I even get paid for it.”
“And you do what exactly?” Azazel asked slowly.
“It’s an orphanage.” Erik gave him a withering look. “I take care of the children. What else would I do?”
Azazel stared at him for a moment before he burst into laughter. He bent over, one hand clutching the bar and the other wrapped around his midsection. Erik glared at him until he stood back up and wiped the tears from his eyes.
“You’re taking care of children now? In the plural? You hate children,” Azazel said. “There’s a guy involved in all of this isn’t there?”
“Oh, certainly. Erik is smitten with one Charles Xavier.” Emma approached Azazel and perched on one of the bar stools next to him.
Erik stared at her. “I most certainly am not.” The worlds slipped out before he even thought about them. He could actually feel Emma brushing against the edges of his mind at the moment.
“Why are you even attempting to lie to a telepath, Lehnsherr?”
Erik sputtered, “Charles is a telepath and I’m sure that he doesn’t know.”
“You’re right, I had lunch with him just the other day.” Emma nodded. “He most certainly doesn’t know. Charles has more of those pesky scruples than I do.”
Erik glared. “Emma, stay out of my head.”
Emma pouted, “Oh, it’s only the surface thoughts, sweetie. I can’t help it.”
“Well, Charles helps it,” Erik mumbled.
“Charles only helps it because he doesn’t want to know what you’re thinking.” Emma rolled her eyes. There was that pesky permission thing too but brushing against someone’s mind, brushing the surface thoughts, was about as natural as breathing to a telepath and nearly as necessary.
Erik frowned. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Why not?”
Emma smiled. “Oh you two are so frustrating.”
Erik looked at Azazel who shrugged. “What are you talking about?”
“You’re blind,” Emma snapped. “You’re blind and so is he.” She sighed before she slipped from the bar stool and walked away.
Erik stared after her confused.
“Emma told me I was blind yesterday,” Erik commented to Edie when he entered Raven’s room.
Edie hummed her acknowledgment of him and continued to focus her attention on Raven.
“We were talking about Charles,” Erik said. “I rather wish I knew what she was talking about.”
“She’s right,” Edie smiled as she picked Raven up and turned to looked at him.
Erik gaped. “Mama.”
Edie smiled and patted him on the cheek as she moved past him. “It’s ok, you’re not the only one.”
Charles pressed the kitchen door closed behind him and leaned against it. “So, your mother said something to me today.”
Erik pausing in preparing lunch and looked over at Charles, eyes wide. “What did she say?”
“She told me I should stop beating around the bush.” Charles smiled.
Erik winced. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Charles shrugged, “Maybe she’s right.”
“Right about wh-” He didn’t finish. Charles strode forward and reached up, jerking Erik down so that their lips met. Erik froze in shock before he realized it may be a good idea to kiss back, lest Charles get the wrong idea.
When they pulled apart, Erik couldn’t help the upturn of his lips.
Charles sighed. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.”
Erik smirked. “Actually, I think I might have a pretty good idea.”
“You know, Emma said something the other day.” Erik frowned down at him. “She said you didn’t want to know what I was thinking.”
Charles’ eyes went wide and his cheeks reddened. “It’s not what she made it sound like.”
Erik stayed quiet waiting for an answer.
“Ok, I try to stay out of people’s heads without their permission but I mean I didn’t want to…to touch you thoughts and know that you didn’t reciprocate my interest.” Charles looked away.
“You have my permission,” Erik said. “Emma does it a lot without my permission. I’m getting better at pushing her out and keeping her out though.”
Charles blinked. “You can do that?”
Erik nodded. “I don’t want her in my thoughts, even just the surface but I don’t think I’d mind you on occasion.”
Charles smiled and reached up to cup Erik’s face between his hands. His lips curved down though as he ran his thumbs lightly under Erik’s eyes. “You need to get more sleep, lack of it is starting to show. Maybe you shouldn’t come around so often.”
Erik shook his head. “Don’t worry. I’m way ahead of you. I’m looking for an apartment on this side of town and a new job.”
“Really?” Charles asked.
“Really.” Erik smiled and pulled the telepath to him for another kiss.