Not two days after their break up Charles runs into Erik at the on campus coffee shop. He freezes up with one foot in the door and the other still barely touching the outside concrete, but the familiar sight of Erik’s lean perfect back makes him trip up. He shouldn’t have expected anything less. Hell’s Coffee was their favorite place when they were dating, it made coffee the exact way Erik liked and had a variety of tea that Charles enjoyed to pick from.
Still, his first reaction upon seeing Erik is to turn around and walk right out of the shop to avoid the necessary post-breakup awkward meeting.
Unfortunately for him, it’s Raven and Sean manning the cash register, two of the loudest and chattiest workers employed to serve coffee. And unfortunately they saw him before Charles could make his escape.
“Yo Professor X.” Sean is the one who calls out, and waves frantically as if Charles could miss his bouncy mop of red hair.
His retreat foiled, Charles rolled his shoulders and stepped fully into the shop. At Sean’s call Raven’s head peeked up from where she had been hidden behind the coffee machine. Her pink lips pulled into a bright smile, while Charles took in her newest hair color for the week. Blonde- she looked good blonde, but then again Raven looked good in whatever change she did to herself. One week it was color contacts, the next it was a short bob, and one month she pierced her nose but that phase was thankfully over.
She had a soft spot for Charles since he first taught her Genetics 101 when she was a freshman. At the time, it was possible that she had a crush on him which would explain why she tried to chat him up after class and please him with her grades on the tests. But he only saw a bright pupil , a possible candidate to major in his field. As time went on, he saw Raven as a little sibling. He kept interest in what was going on in her life, just as much as she did his. Working at Charles’ favorite coffee shop meant they had regular gossip sessions.
Seeing her, gave him the strength to march towards the cash register, right beside where Erik stood and put on a bright smile, “Morning all.”
“It’s unusual to see you here without Erik.,” Raven said eyeing the German professor with a tilted smile, “We were getting worried.”
Of course they didn’t know about the break up yet, Charles had hardly been out of his apartment since then. He gave Erik a sideways glance and saw that he was frowning while staring at the mug set up for sale. It would have to be an awkward discussion that would be set for another awkward time . “Well I’m here now, give me the usual Sean.”
“Yes sir,” Sean gave him a quick salute before his fingers were busy typing in the order. The machine made a loud clang as it printed the receipt. “Will that be all?”
“You know it will.” Charles said just as Raven put a steaming cup of black coffee in front of Erik.
“Just how you like it Professor Lehnsehrr.” She said, emphasizing the use of Erik’s official name the way she always did on the job. Sebastian Shaw, the owner of the coffee shop, had stressed her polite attitude towards older employees one evening while giving Erik a direct look. Meanwhile, he said nothing when the kids referred to Charles by first name or even nickname. Both Raven and Erik had hated the new rule, that was, until she discovered how much Erik hated being referred to as Professor Lehnsehrr. Then it was just Erik hating the rule.
In the classroom, he was Herr Lehnsehrr. Outside, he was Erik. In Hell’s Coffee he was Professor Lehnsehrr. He’d never really explained to Charles why he hated the title so vehemently, the brunet guessed it may have had something to do with the fact that Shaw had issued it as a rule. Erik hated the owner with every fiber in his body. Another thing he never truly explained.
Erik frowned at Raven’s words but took his coffee none-the-less. Charles was slightly surprised when he stayed in place, instead of immediately making a run for the door. He just stood by uncomfortably, sipping his coffee.
Charles pocketed his hands and tried not to look as uneasy as he felt. “I thought you have class at this time…” he said sparingly, giving Erik another crucial look.
The taller man shrugged, “They have a paper to turn in today. So I gave them the class period off.”
“Herr Lehnsehrr giving his students a break? Are you also giving extra credit now?” he said the words with a smile. As soon as he said them, he realized what once would have been taken as a joke, could easily be seen a bitter jab now.
Turning to give Erik an apologetic look, Charles was taken aback when he saw the usual wide smile tugging at his ex’s lips. “Hardly Charles, I’m not you,” Erik said.
A huff of laughter escaped him, “Me?” Charles looked around for support as he retorted, “Are you implying that I’m soft on my students.”
“Why don’t we ask them…” Erik tilted his head towards Raven and Sean who were running behind the counter, busy. But not so busy that they couldn’t yell over their shoulders.
“I didn’t study once!”
“You’re the best Professor!”
“Raven I know you studied so stop lying! And Sean…er, thank you, I suppose.” Charles sighed before pressing his face into his palms.
Laughter followed after him, that familiar deep chuckle . And just like that, the situation was defused. It was almost surreal how he and Erik still had their chemistry together without being… together.
Their light banter and quiet talk about classes didn’t change much. The only difference presented itself when they had to depart and didn’t exchange a goodbye kiss.
It was strange, but not nearly as bad as Charles thought it would be. The things he didn’t take account for, were the things that could always get worse.
“So let me get this straight,” Raven said waving her straw through the air and spilling the remains of her ice mocha across the table. Alex Summers turned from cleaning the table and glared. Raven shot a look right back before turning her attention back to Charles, “He says he needs a break and you just agree with him? That happened last week?”
Charles fidgeted under her gaze, “Well, we haven’t really had time to catch up love, and every time I’m here he’s here as well.”
“That’s just the point Charles. I thought you two were still dating! You two sure were acting like it.” She exclaimed loud enough for Alex, at the other table, to look over again and call out, “What? The Professor and Erik broke up?”
“Later Summers,” Raven snapped before taking a loud gulp of her drink.
Charles sighed, “It just happened so suddenly. I could tell he was getting a little distant, nothing big. Then one day, he just said it and I just agreed because… well, there’s really nothing I could do to change his mind- is there?”
“You could at least ask him why?” Raven said.
“He told me why.”
She rolled her eyes at that, “Sure the old ‘I just need a break’ excuse. News-flash Charles, that is not the reason.”
He straightened his shoulders and tried to pretend that the statement didn’t hurt. “I know that. To be honest, I think he was just getting nervous. We were getting pretty serious you know two years together and…” Charles cast a look around the shop. He saw that Alex was trying to pick up a girl on her laptop and Darwin was ringing up another person’s order. “We… were talking about moving in together, at least I was. Maybe that scared him away. Made him want to reevaluate if I’m what he really wants.”
“Charles,” Raven sighed, her entire body curling forward in sheer exasperation read across her face, “Of course you’re what he wants. You’re what anybody would want. Smart, kind, considerate, loved by teachers and students alike,” a grin formed on her face as she added, “great at parties.”
“Yes, thank you,” Charles interrupted reaching for his own tea and brining it up to his lips, “You forget to mention that I’m an absolute slob at home, usually run late for everything, and I tend to fall asleep everywhere that isn’t the bed.” All three of those reasons were things he knew rubbed Erik the wrong way in their relationship. Particularly the last one, since it put a damper on their sex lives the last months. But Charles was preparing for his PhD, which resulted in long hours on the couch or at his desk. On one occasion, he fell asleep on the living room floor of Erik’s apartment, notes stern all around him.
Raven shook her head at his list, “Everyone has their faults Charles. I’m just saying if he broke up with you because he had to make sure you were the one” she made a face and put the last part up in quotation marks, “then fuck him. He ruined a good thing.”
The words had a strange sense of warmth to them that made Charles smile, “Thank you dear, but it’s fine- really. Our relationship seems unhindered by this whole thing.”
A sour look crossed Raven’s face again as she muttered, “That’s what I’m worried about.”
Charles pointedly ignored her.
Telling Raven was the easy part, she would make sure the rest of the city knew he was back on the market within the day. It was telling his obnoxiously over protective twin brother that was the real problem, which explained why he waited a full week before picking up the phone and dialing Wesley’s number.
As always, it rang a good while before someone picked it up. It was always 50/50 who answered the phone. This time it was Logan. “Hello?”
“Logan, hello. It’s Charles.”
He heard the other man make a gruff noise in greeting. “You want your brother?”
“That would be lovely, thank you.” He smiled even though no one could see it; old habits are hard to break even over the phone.
“Alright,” there was a long pause before Logan was back, “Just waved him in. He’ll be a moment.”
“Was he outside?”
“Yeah, target practice. Wes just bought of new gun.”
“How… like him.” Charles’ smile shrank just slightly at the topic of his brother’s favorite hobby. As far as twins went, they were as opposite as could be.
Charles, the younger had always been quiet and shy. Fell asleep in the library curled around a fort of books, while Wesley would fall asleep outdoors under the stars. Charles at least could relate to their father, while he had been alive, his brother had always felt out of place. Their mother was always dressing them in uncomfortable suits, giving them etiquette classes, and training them for a proper lifestyle of the socially elite.
Then their father had died and Wesley found his place playing the role of big brother. Charles especially remembered his twin being attached to his hip when Kurt and Cain Marko moved into their home. Cain had tried to bully them once and Wesley, three years younger and twice as small, had pushed the brute back and giving him a black eye.
Then the second biggest difference was that Charles was always non-confrontational and Wesley who could do nothing but confront.
When they turned eighteen, Charles fulfilled his mother’s wish of attending a good university and getting a science degree, like his father. Wesley opted out of college and decided to hit the road. Charles had worried about him for years; especially when his brother informed him he bought his first gun and was making money doing cage fights in the middle of nowhere.
There he had met Logan, the first person besides Charles who Wesley could relate to. They had been living together for nearly three years and insisted there was nothing going on.
“That’s your thing Charles, not mine.” Wesley had laughed, but it had been an uncomfortable laugh.
Charles had only met Logan once; when he and Erik had gone up into the mountains to visit Wesley’s cabin. The man was nothing like he expected, which would have been a dirty animal looking creature who snarled and possibly slept in a hammock. Logan was incredibly good looking, playing off the rugged lumberjack look in spades. He didn’t snarl, but he did grunt, and he also slept in a comfortable looking bed that he claimed to have made himself. Charles got along famously with Logan. Wesley did not so much with Erik.
This is why Charles waited a week to call and give his brother the ‘good news.’
“Sup!” a heavily American accent answered the phone, “Charlie?”
“Hello Wes.” Charles cradled the receiver closer to his ear and bent his head fondly towards it, “How are you?”
“Great,” his twin exclaimed, “Logan told you I got a new gun? It’s a shotgun, I’ve never had one of them before, but he says he can teach me to hunt.”
Charles ignored the rolling in his stomach at the thought of hunting animals. He hummed in agreement though, not to flatten his brother’s enthusiasm. “That sounds… lovely.”
“So what’s wrong?”
“What?” Charles forced a laugh at the question, “Why does something have to be wrong?”
“Well it doesn’t have to be. I mean you do call to check in sometimes like a worried mother hen,” Wesley laughed, “but that’s generally on the weekend and today is a week day. Which means… something is wrong.”
“Very perceptive,” Charles said trying to keep the pout out of his voice. He heard his brother’s breathy laughter again and took a moment to appreciate it. Wesley’s laughs were sparse and usual saved for him alone. Taking a deep breath he began, “Erik broke up with me.”
“What?” he could hear Wesley shift on the other end of the phone, “When? Why?”
“Oh you know he just needed a break I guess. It happened about a week ago.” The last part was added in a quick rush of words, but Wesley still caught everyone one of them.
The string of curses and words came out just as expected. Fast as lightning and with a certain fluid grace only Wesley could accomplish. “A week ago? That bastard! What the fuck man! Why didn’t you tell me? I mean what a complete fucking bastard! What the fuck!”
In the background, he could barely hear Logan over Wesley’s muttering, “What happened?”
“Erik dumped him!” Wesley replied, and once again in the background Logan’s voice answered, “The fuck?”
“I’ll kill him,” snarled Charles’ twin, finally taking a pause in his questions to address the real issue at hand.
“There’s really no need to, things are strangely fine on this end.”
“Strangely fine?” Wesley sounded more then a little suspicious, “define that for me.”
“I mean, it happened a week ago and since then we’ve run into each other at the coffee shop, and it hasn’t been awkward. In fact one could say we’ve been friendly.”
“Friendly?” his brother achieved a new pitch on the word, and he even managed to throw in a Logan like scoff as he said, “That’s all you Charlie. A person isn’t supposed to be friendly to an ex. You’re supposed to treat them like the plague, talk about how much you don’t need them, and how glad you are that they’re gone.”
Charles frowned at the phone, “And you would know that how?” he asked, trying not to openly point out that his brother’s track of past relationships that totaled zero.
Wesley made another nonsensical noise and quickly changed the subject, “Do you want me to come down there?”
“Again, you’re over reacting. I said everything is fine.”
A strange silence hung over the line, which was disconcerting. Wesley was hardly ever quiet and if he was it was never for long. He blinked slowly, but waited for whatever it was that his twin needed such a long time to gather his wits for.
Then Wesley’s accented voice carried through the line, softer then Charles ever remembered hearing it in years, “Charles, you were… pretty serious about him. Are you sure everything is okay? Because I know you put on that smile for everyone else, but you don’t have to with me.” Another pause and then even softer, Wesley said, “You can tell me if you need anything. That’s what big brothers are for.”
The tone on the other end of line made Charles hesitate for a moment. As he quietly considered his true feelings over the whole break up.
“I’ll be fine Wes,” he finally answered.
Wesley seemed satisfied with the truth at last, “Alright, call if you want me there. You know I won’t hesitate…”
“Of course,” Charles said and then swiftly changed the topic back to his brother’s growing collection of guns, a topic that managed to be less awkward.
After eight months of the same old routines, Charles was just beginning to think he was okay with single life. It meant a lot less sex, yes, but it also meant a lot more time that he could dedicated to his PhD, which kept him plenty busy. He only saw Erik on their few run-ins at the coffee shop and they always made nice and exchanged pleasantries. Erik occasionally questioned how his doctorate was going and Charles ventured to ask about Erik’s family.
The children who worked at Hell’s Coffee gave them stern looks whenever they were pleasant. Angel made sure they knew her opinion with constant eye rolls and making Erik’s coffee less then warm. Sean gave what he considered to be a disapproving look, but really it just made the boy cross-eyed and red faced. Raven acted normal enough, but told Charles later that she spat in Erik’s coffee once, just as a little pay back.
Charles rolled his eyes at all the antics, but knew they were still young. It was to be expected. Over time, they did forgive Erik it seemed because they acted normally enough. And it was right around this time that things got… complicated.
Charles rushed into the coffee shop, a loose scarf draped around his neck and shoulders. New York was becoming chilled and snow was beginning to fall even in early November. He wore his usual aged pea coat and balanced his stack of genetic books in his arms. He was two weeks away from presenting his doctorate and his level of stress was at its peek.
Three people were crammed behind the small counter; Raven, Alex, and Angel were the unlucky victims today. It was Sunday and one of the busiest days for the coffee shop with people coming in after church and students trying to get a head start on their final papers before Thanksgiving Break.
He pushed through the crowd to the end of the line. An elderly couple, making their way out, brushed against him roughly making Charles bump into the man in front of him in line. “Oh terribly sorry,” he murmured, holding up a hand in apology.
“No problem, really.”
The first voice was a mystery, but the one that followed wasn’t. Charles looked up and saw Erik smiling at him just ahead. “Oh Erik, busy day isn’t it?” he gave his own smile, and noticed how the man in front of him shifted to move closer to Erik, getting a better look at Charles as he did so.
Erik nodded, “The usual for Sunday.”
This was strange to say because Erik hated coming to Hell’s on Sundays because of the crowd.
The man in front of Charles looked at Erik and smiled. “Usual? Does that mean this place is always this packed?”
“No, it’s generally pretty quiet Erik answered, giving his friend a knowing nod and smug smile. It was then that it dawned on Charles that the two knew each other and were more then making casual conversation between strangers. Because- heck, Erik never made casual conversation with people he didn’t know.
He took in the stranger with curious blue eyes, sleek black hair, well shaped nose, and slender features. He was roughly the same height as Erik and wearing a well fitted green jacket.
Erik must have noticed Charles’ stare as he shifted and moved a hand to his companion. “I’m sorry, Charles this is Loki, Loki this is Charles Xavier.”
“Ah the Genetics Professor,” Loki smiled his eyes lighting up as he leaned forward and extended his hand.
Charles blinked back and mimicked the gesture, “Yes and you’re Loki. Interesting name.”
The man laughed, “Yes, my parents are mythologist from Iceland. They also have what some would call a sense of humor.” His smile turned weary at that, “my brother’s name is Thor.”
“Ah I see where the humor comes in,” Charles nodded.
“Loki is a regional expert on Nordic countries.” Erik started, “he teaches Nordic languages.”
Loki shook his head slightly, “It’s referred to as the Northern Germanic language, I speak a few of the dialects, but here I’m teaching Finnish”
And it suddenly made sense why the two of them got along so well. Charles nodded and tried to keep his expression muted. Erik loved learning languages, he taught one of them at the university after all.
Looking at it that way, he realized the close proximity the two were standing in.
“So,” he gave them both a bright smile and pointed look, “What are you two doing here?”
“Getting coffee,” Erik answered first.
Loki laughed, he sounded like an elf when he did, and looked beautiful while doing so as well. “Erik loves this place. I thought it would be fun for us to get some coffee here together.”
For a date, Charles’ mind supplied, definitely a date.
He tried to ignore the sudden discomfort that ached through his limbs. Looking at the two of them suddenly got harder. Instead, he looked at the large gap in the line that had appeared during their discussion. Angel was giving them a very stern and very obvious look.
“I think it’s your turn to order Erik,” he stated giving Angel a stare in reply. The tanned beauty smirked and rolled her eyes even as Erik flushed before turning to give his attention to her.
Loki continued to stare and smile at him, “It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“Er… you too.” Charles replied watching as Loki turned back to Erik and nestled up to the man’s side.
Charles closed his eyes and took a deep breath to counter the sharp pain that stabbed through him. Eight months, almost a year, and it still hurt. How could it still hurt?
When he opened his eyes, Erik and his date had moved to the side, joining the line of people waiting for their coffee, giving him room to step up to the cash register.
“What will it be professor?”
Angel’s smile was extra bright when she greeted him and Charles appreciated the gesture even though he just knew the kids would bombard him with questions next time he came in- alone.
“The usual,” he said fiddling to get out his money.
“Alright,” Angel punched something into the machine and the total came to two dollars less than the usual price. He didn’t say anything, but made sure to put on his own sunny smile.
When Raven put out Erik and Loki’s orders, before the people ahead of them, he didn’t say anything about that either. Erik, at least, had the decency to give him a nod as they took their coffee outside. “It was nice seeing you Charles,” he said.
Charles nodded back, I wish I could say the same.
He knew that breaking up with Erik all those months ago would mean moving on eventually. He just hadn’t spared the time to think about it. He definitely didn’t give time to think about, when Erik moved on and started dating other people. Now that it finally did happen, it was like having a bucket of cold water dumped on him.
When he came to the shop for the scheduled gossip session with Raven, the table was full with most of the coffee shop’s workers; Raven, her boyfriend Hank, Angel, and Sean. Alex and Darwin were the unlucky one’s assigned to work, but they lingered when picking up dishes or pretending to clean the tables.
Apparently the children had an issue they wanted to address and as soon as Charles gathered his tea and sat down they jumped to business. It was no surprise that Raven led the charge as she said, “So would you like to hear the intel we gathered on this guy?”
Charles gingerly sipped at his tea and blinked at her, “What guy?”
“You know Professor Lehnsehrr’s new arm candy,” Angel said helpfully.
“Are you saying I was his last arm candy?”
“Well yes…” Sean said easily. Then at the look Charles gave him, he immediately back peddled, “I mean no. I mean, you were always at his arm. Wait, no, that makes you sound like a hooker.”
“The new guy,” Raven interrupted, redirecting the conversation back on its tracks, “Do you want to hear about him? Because we got the lowdown.”
He was very proud of the fact that he didn’t make a face at Raven’s use of the word ‘lowdown.’ She and Angel both went through phases where they tried to revive slang from previous decades. Their last attempt had worked well enough that after hearing 60’s catch phrases for two entire weeks, Charles said, “Groovy” to an entire hall of students.
However, he did lock on to one fact that Raven had said. “You’ve been stalking him?”
“Not stalking him. There has been no hiding in the bushes on our part,” Angel amended.
Sean shook his head, “Speak for yourself. Raven made Hank and I sit in the car and try to listen in on the man’s telephone line. I’ll tell you what Hank is a genius at this kind of- OW!”
The table rattled slightly and Raven preened while Sean shot her a dangerous look. Charles shook his head, “I don’t want to hear it.”
“Come on Charles!” Raven cried, “Don’t you want to know what this guy’s got that you don’t have. Because I’ll tell you what- it’s not very much.”
“I said I don’t…wait what do you mean by that?”
Raven’s lips curled into a perfectly smug pink line as she whipped out a small notepad and began to read off a list. “First, he already has a Masters in Mythology, and also teaches at the university. Apparently, he’s a transfer teacher from Finland or Denmark or… something.”
“Well I already knew that,” Charles said with an eye roll, though a sting lingered against his skin and he had a feeling it was only going to get worse.
“Second,” Angel picked up easily; as if they had rehearsed this encounter numerous times, which Charles wouldn’t doubt. “He’s nearly done with his own PhD and his favorite book is Our Once and Future King. Sound familiar?”
Charles made a face, “How do you even know that?”
“Differences,” Sean began, “He’s taller then you.”
“Thanks, I saw that as well.”
“He apparently works out with Erik; which you never did,” Raven peeped up.
“He is immaculately neat, a trait you definitely don’t have,” Angel hummed.
“If you’re talking about that table again, I did apologize for that.” One measly week in the height of his thesis writing had graciously allowed his table to remain untouched. There were always stacks of books and papers strewn about, at the end of the day there were at least five cups of tea also cluttering up the spot and pen markings itched into the wooden table. Angel and Darwin both gave him grief about it because they were usually working the late night shift and had to clean up the mess.
“He likes tea more then coffee, there’s another thing you have in common,” Sean pointed out before Raven’s face lit up.
“Oh tell him about the brother thing!”
“Oh yeah, he also has an obnoxious older brother, just like you. Funny how that works out,” Sean beamed.
At the same time, Angel sang out, “Lehnsehrr has a type!”
Charles brought his mug up to hide the grim look he knew decorated his face, “Yeah funny.”
Raven was right when she said Loki and he had a lot in common. The few things that were different between the two of them were vast improvements. He knew that Erik always wanted Charles to run with him. He knew his book cluttered apartment was a slight eye sore to Erik and his strict housekeeping ways. And now he was in a relationship with a man who appeared to be the new and improved Charles Xavier.
“Uh Oh,” Sean said from across the table, taking note of the Professor’s dreary attitude.
“Quick tell him the other thing!” Angel urged.
Raven made an apologetic face and quickly turned the page of her notepad. “This should make you feel better,” she said, “They’re taking things really slow. Erik hasn’t even invited him over to his apartment yet. They just get coffee, go on walks, and sometimes have dinner.”
“There’s been no sleepovers,” Sean inputted, as if that would help.
Charles shook his head. “Thank you all for the attempt, but all this tells me is that things between Erik and I are truly done. And I should take note from him and move on.”
The children in front of him all looked at each other, faces crestfallen. Of course Raven was the first to speak up, locking her sea green gaze on him with an utterly sympathetic look. “Charles, are you saying that you were hoping you and Erik would get back together?”
The question made him pause just as Angel leapt in, “I mean we all hoped and you both seemed to… you know, act the same as usual.”
“We just don’t want you to be so down anymore Prof.” Sean said, his goofy smile, for once, gone from his face. “We use to think that the two of you were perfect and when you broke up… well we felt like Mom and Dad got a divorce.”
He wet his lips, finding the topic strangely uneasy. He knew the children enjoyed Erik and his presence in the shop, but he had underestimated how much their relationship influenced the younger workers. Charles had always asked them about school and Erik tried to speak German to Raven and Alex when he could to teach them.
Now that he thought of it, Erik and he did treat them as they would their own children… if they had their own children… someday- never.
“Well I’m sorry but Erik and I broke up eight months ago. I’ve gotten over it since then and clearly he has as well.” Their faces fell at his words and it took every ounce of strength Charles had not to take it back. Instead, he shook his head, “Maybe I just need to get back in the game.”
“But Charles they haven’t even kissed yet.” Raven protested, “Don’t you want to… you know, fight for your man?”
“Again, I am not going to ask how you know that,” Charles stated giving her a firm look.
Sean leaned over to her and staged whispered a quick, “I think this means he’s given up.”
“Yes, I’ve already said that. Haven’t I?” Charles eyed the other side of the table dubiously, “Now can we talk about something besides my absolutely boring love life.”
The children looked worried, and Charles barely kept back a sigh of exasperation, “What is it?”
“We kind of spent all our free time last week gathering intel.” Angel said nodding towards the notebook in Raven’s hands.
“Raven and I skipped class,” Sean said almost too happily before the table rattled for a second time and the red head winced while Raven glared.
“All for me?” Charles asked.
In unity all three of them, and even Alex from across the room replied, “All for you.”
Raven did warn him that Erik brought his new boyfriend to the coffee shop on Sundays. Which, once again, hurt considering that Charles always enjoyed the Sunday rush and could never get Erik to join him, except for a choice few times. But Charles had spent the following night staying up late grading papers and trying to prepare for presenting his thesis, so coffee on a crisp Sunday morning sounded delightful.
Of course, when he walked in, the sight of Erik and Loki was the first thing that greeted him and of course, they would be sitting at the table Charles would have once considered his and Erik’s spot.
And of course… Charles was dressed in drab sweatpants, a cardigan, and gloves that made him look like a homeless person. Fantastic.
Erik had looked up as he entered, flashed a smile in greeting and raised an eyebrow at his attire. Charles simple waved it off before moving to stand in the growing line. He could hear the clatter of cups being thrown onto counters and machines roaring to life as they poured out delicious liquids. The smell of coffee beans and chocolate hung in the air as a permanent odor and it provided Charles a nice distraction from the couple sitting behind him.
The presence of a hand falling on his shoulder jostled him out his lovely diversion and for a hard second, Charles knew it was Erik standing behind him. And that he would have to put on a brave face and smile even after knowing that his Ex had moved onto someone who was without all of Charles’ faults.
Instead though, when he turned it wasn’t Erik he was staring at. It was Sebastian Shaw, owner of Hell’s Coffee. The man was dressed in a sharp brown suit that complemented his eyes and tanned skin. He looked incredibly young for someone Charles knew was nearly fifteen years his senior. But he had a handsome smile and a full head of hair which was not something most men Sebastian’s age could say.
The shop owner flashed him his devilish smile in greeting, “Charles Xavier, how nice to see you here.”
“I’m nearly always here Sebastian,” Charles answered, while holding out his hand in greeting. “It’s you I haven’t seen here in a while. Do you still even own this place?”
Shaw still had a hand perched on his shoulder. It gave a slight squeeze then moved to take his handshake as the man laughed. “Yes, well I’ve been busy recently. Handling a divorce.”
Charles’ brows frowned, “You and Emma got a divorce? Why?”
Shaw’s mouth turned down just enough that Charles thought he may have crossed a line with the question, but he answered in a civil tone. “We reached a fork in the road for our relationship. You know how it happens.”
“Yeah,” Charles nodded, “I know what you mean.”
“Oh that’s right, a little bird did tell me you and Lehnsehrr broke up as well.” Shaw’s eyes lit up with interest and crossed his arms over his chest in a casual manner, “A while ago, am I right?”
“Over half a year,” Charles said, “it’s been a pretty clean break up.”
“I’m sure,” Shaw said, but his eyes flickered back to the table where Erik sat and settled on the couple there. Charles didn’t follow his gaze, choosing to stare intently at the menu hanging above the counter instead.
“Well my friend, it seems we are both in the same boat.” Shaw sighed beside him, “both of our exes have already replaced us.”
Charles briefly wondered who Emma could have left Shaw for. From the few times he met the woman, she seemed wholly uninterested in all people, but the line moved and he found himself already at the counter with Alex manning the cash register.
The blonde gave him a bright smile, which wavered at the sight of his boss standing next to Charles. “Err, Morning Professor, what can I get you?”
“Give me your biggest cup of Earl Grey,” Charles said already fishing his wallet out of the deep pockets of his sweatpants.
A gentle hand touched his elbow, making him stop. “This one is on the house Charles,” Shaw said, stepped forward and smiling at Alex, “Get me a Chai Latte, Summers.”
“Yes Mr. Shaw,” Alex didn’t ring up his boss’ order, but Shaw paid for his tea, which was generous.
Charles stepped towards the side to wait for his order and Shaw followed him. “You didn’t have to do that,” he said with a smile.
“You look like your having a rough time, allow me to make it easier anyway I can,” answered Shaw with a shrug of his shoulders.
Their orders were up on the counter quicker then Charles had ever been served before. The heat radiating off his cup of tea quickly warmed Charles’ fingertips and even his hand threw his thick gloves. He sighed happily and gingerly sipped, “Oh that’s lovely.”
“You enjoy our tea then?” Shaw asked casually taking his latte in hand.
“It’s the best I’ve ever had,” Charles affirmed, “really does the trick on days like today.”
“Well it’s been a pleasure seeing you again Charles, but…” Shaw glanced at his watch, “I have work I need to get done here.”
“Of course,” Charles licked his lips, tasting the tea that still lingered there, and smiled. “I understand. My own work is beckoning me home now as we speak.”
“I hope I’ll see more of you now that I’ve dropped the nagging wife.”
The Professor forced a laugh though the words struck him as harsh. “I’m always here,” he said.
Shaw nodded and flashed one last smile before moving to a nearby door that read ‘Employees Only.’ Charles took another gratifying sip of his coffee before turning to make his exit.
He stopped dead in his tracks when he noticed Erik was blatantly staring at him. Not staring, glaring. As soon as Charles noticed, the German Professor diverted his eyes and continued talking easily with his date.
Leaving Charles to stand in place and blinking awkwardly. When he left, he could feel Erik’s steel eyes glaring at his back.
End of Part One