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Without His Wings

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The first time Raven sets eyes on Erik Lehnsherr - still wet and dirty, silent and stonefaced with a blanket around his shoulders - her eyes widen in a way that's almost comic. She looks from Erik to Charles and raises her eyebrows meangingfully in a way that makes Charles want to murder her.

He, too, is still wearing his heavy wet clothes, which are beginning to chill surprisingly quickly in the night air, and his head is starting to ache as well. It's possible that these facts both contribute to his homicidal urges.

He can be grateful, at least, that Raven keeps her mouth shut then. It's not until after they've arrived back at the hotel and the two of them are alone that she starts the conversation she's obviously dying to have.

Not first thing: Charles prevents that by shutting himself in the bathroom, turning the shower on full blast, stripping out of his disgusting clothes as fast as he can. But afterwards, once he's dried and dressed himself once more, Raven is waiting back in the bedroom, sitting cross-legged in the middle of one of the beds.

"Well?" Raven says, giving him a knowing look.

He glares at her. "Well?" he echoes.

"So you jumped into the ocean for that guy, huh."

"He was going to drown," Charles says. He sits down at the desk, crossing his legs at the knee.

"I'm sure he was," Raven says, and there's still that undercurrent of innuendo in her voice that drives him mad.

"He was, Raven. What do you want from me? I would think one could do a, do a good deed without getting this sort of treatment."

"Don't get so worked up, Charles." She smiles. "I'm not saying your motives weren't pure, but we both saw that guy. He couldn't have been more your type if you'd ordered him from a catalog."

"Stop calling him 'that guy,'" Charles says, ignoring the rest. "His name is Erik Lehnsherr. And he's a very powerful mutant. He's like us."

Raven looks at him, not saying anything, for long enough that it begins to unnerve Charles a little. "I didn't mean to fluster you," she says slowly, consideringly. "We talk about boys and girls all the time. I didn't think this would be different."

"Well - it is," Charles says.

"You're not going to make a pass at him, are you?" Raven says. "He looked dangerous. I don't want to see what kind of damage he could do punching you in the face."

"For god's sake, Raven-" It had been a dozen years or more since he'd been responded to with violence or hateful disgust after a come-on; he wasn't a child by any means, and he knew the risks he took. His telepathy was more than capable, even at his most pissed, of distinguishing between those men who were inclined his way; those who never would be; and those who didn't seek it out, but would be willing to perhaps allow a blowjob or wank given in a friendly spirit.

He'd been in Erik's mind. He'd seen everything about him. Erik had kissed a man before, and what he felt had been far from disgust. What he felt about Charles was ... confusing, mixed as it was with all of the other feelings Erik had been projecting so strongly, a complicated haze of emotion that showed not at all on Erik's face. And yet, Charles thought that there was something there. Something.

At any rate, it was a moot point.

"I just don't want to see you get hurt," Raven continues. "I know how you are. I'm just worried that-"

"You don't have to worry," Charles says. "I'm not making a pass at him. Jesus, Raven, what do you think of me?"

"Don't say it like that, like I've never seen you do stupid things before, thinking with your prick instead of your head."

"Not like this," Charles says, pressing an utter finality into his words. "Nothing like this. This is what we've been searching for our entire lives, Raven, this is all the things we've been dreaming about. And you think I would just seduce a man, in front of the U.S. government? The only other mutant we've ever met? And for what , some casual shag? No."

"Okay, okay, I get it," Raven says, shaking her head. She stands up from the bed and walks the few steps to the desk. She stands behind Charles's chair and wraps her hands around him, leaning forward to kiss the top of his head. "It's a shame you didn't meet him in some pub some time, isn't it? He really is pretty cute."

"He's bloody gorgeous," Charles mutters darkly.

"Not that you noticed."

"Not that I noticed." He turns in the chair so he's facing her. Her hands rest on his shoulders; he runs his own hand through his hair with a sigh. "He's extraordinary, Raven. There's so much inside his mind. He's going to help us with all of this, I'm sure of it. And I just want- I want to be his friend."

Raven looks down at him with an expression that is halfway to pity. Perhaps even more. "Oh, Charles. You know, you're a lot better at casual shags than you are at friendships." She says it carefully, like she's doing the best she can to take the sting out of the words. She doesn't quite manage.

Charles shakes it off, tilts his head up and gives her a smile. "Well, then," he says. "I'll have to learn quickly, won't I?"

"I suppose," Raven says, still sounding slightly doubtful. She leans forward again to press a kiss to Charles's cheek and hug him gently. Even with her annoyances, Charles thinks, he's rather glad he hasn't murdered her.

He tells her so, just to hear her laugh.