"It's Purim next month, you know," is what Charles says, sprawled naked on the hotel bed, as Erik puts his socks on, sitting with his back to him.
It marks a truly bizarre ending to a bizarre encounter. It's as if Charles keeps trying to outdo himself with outlandish questions that stun Erik into silence.
"Are you going to dress up? Or will your horned helmet and purple cape serve as your costume?" Charles asks. Erik hears the sharp edges in his phrasing.
"I think this year," Erik says, turning to face Charles, fully dressed. "I'll pretend to be deluded about my species' prospect for survival. Could I borrow one of your wheelchairs for the day?"
Charles looks down, breaking eye contact. A smile tugs at the corners of his eyes. He doesn't say "touché" or "ever with the tasteful humor, aren't you, Erik?" He doesn't need to say "You're avoiding the question" because that part's obvious. It's been hanging in the air between them for weeks now, Charles' proposal.
Erik gathers his things (smart, regular clothes, designed to be functional and appealing to the eye, unmemorable) and turns to leave.
"We're going to have a costume party, with the students," Charles says when he's nearly out the door. And then, because neither one of them has ever been good at knowing when to stop pushing, he adds "You should come."
Erik sighs, mentally, and counts to five before turning back to face Charles (who is still, maddeningly, lying naked on rumpled sheets). "You are a stubborn and careless man," Erik says.
"Yes, only I fit that description, of the people present in this room," Charles says sarcastically. Erik remembers a time when he would have found that surprising. Charles' sarcasm had once seemed odd given his stuffy, earnest persona.
"Purim is a stupid holiday," Erik says, after a pause, and turns back to the door.
"Passover's just around the corner," Charles calls after him.
"Talk to me then," Erik says, standing in the hallway, before he shuts the door.