When Sean walked into the room, he was not expecting to find Erik sitting by Charles bedside. He knew Erik wasn’t real; he was faded, even the chair wasn’t completely solid.
“Hank said he’s projecting,” Moira said. Sean looked at her for the first time. She was wrapped up in a blanket, and her eyes were red and puffy, “he’s been there all night.”
“Are you okay?” he asked, coming closer.
“Fine,” she said, attempting a smile, “just not sleeping.”
“Yeah,” he said, not calling her out on the lie, and sat down next to her. He pulled out the giant cookie he got from the dispensing machine outside, the sound of the packaging loud in the almost dark of the room as he opened it. He broke the cookie in half and handed one piece to her.
“He doesn’t move?” he asked, mouth full.
“Erik? No, he flickers sometimes, disappears completely, but then he comes back. He’s just watching.”
They sat in silence for a while, watching the ghostly Erik watch Charles.
“Has there been any word?” he asked, wiping the last of the crumbs from his mouth.
“No,” she said, “it’s like they’ve fallen off the edge of the world.”
“I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or not,” he said, “does no news is good news apply here? Or are they just biding their time? Planning something?”
She shook her head. “There’s no way to be sure. They keep looking but with Azazel they could be anywhere.”
He pursed his lips and worried the edge of his shirt. Erik flickered like a bad TV signal as Charles shuddered in his sleep. Once Charles settled, so did Erik.
“Do you think Charles knows?” he asked.
She shook her head and sniffed. He turned to look at her but her hair had fallen to cover her face.
He reached out and brushed it back behind her ear. “It’s going to be okay,” he said.
She nodded. “I know,” she said, wiping at her eyes, “it’s just, he’s never going to tell anyone, he’s going to pretend he’s fine, and he won’t let anyone help him.”
Sean felt a little out of his depth. He put an arm around her shoulders and for a moment she almost let him, but she shook him of and stood up. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I think I just need some air.”
She was out the door before he could say anything, leaving him in the semi-dark room, with no one but a memory of Erik and a sleeping Charles for company.
He reached out and wiped away a tear that tracked it’s way down Charles face, then he pulled his feet up and hugged his legs close. It was going to be okay. He had to believe that.