It isn't fair. Not them. She's never seen anything better than them. But it's so fragile; they're so fragile, so tentative, so damn cautious, and this was the wrong move and it's wrong.
"I don't know how you survived, Charles, living in such hardship." As sharp as a whip, as careless as the brush of wind. She flinches when Charles flinches.
There are so very many things Raven cannot bear about the Xavier Mansion.
It's raining; thick, freezing drops that fall from the sky like arrows shot from enemy lines. There's the faintest shimmer of light from the sliver of a crescent moon that's been left to hang in the sky, an echo of what it could be, masked by the crying clouds.
She's clothed in only her nightgown, thin and now weighed down in water, not even stockings on her feet. Sharon will be too far gone in the morning to pitch a fit, but the maids will mutter and the cook will scowl in disapproval and she really cannot care because her head is still poundingpoundingpounding and Charles is standing at the edge of the roof, a dark figure against the rain and the moon and the lights from below, standing too close too close too close-
Her voice, shrieked and desperate. She's feet from him and stops, shivering, because it's so cold. She can see the outline of a dark bruise against the pale skin of his cheek, the small trickle of blood the rain can't wash away, and doesn't know if it's from Kurt's angry fist or Sharon's hysterical bottle.
He breathes, and doesn't look at her. Keeps looking down, keeps staring over the edge, as though he can't decide. As though he's seeing it -- seeing it in a way she can't; the past, the future, the ever-uncertain present. He breathes, and he's shaking, not like her, not from the cold, but from something she knows but can't remember how to feel.
Swaying, can't decide. Go forward, step back? Go forward, step back? Leaning forward like he's searching for something he doesn't know will be there, stepping back as if chained down.
She's scared. He's standing there and he's thinking about it and he's hurting. He's hurting and he isn't Charles anymore so much as he's Charles. It's raining and it's cold and there's anger, so much anger, and broiling rage and softsoft tendrils of 'whywhywhywhywhywhywhy?'.
"Please don't," she whispers, cutting it off, cutting it up, interrupting it and pleading, and he'll hear her -- does hear her -- inside and out. She steps closer, just a little, ghosts her blue fingers against the cuff of sleeve, because how could they be anything else -- how could she be anything else -- in this? "Don't leave me, Charles. Please."
As if she had tugged him, he jolts away from the edge of the roof, blinking rapidly against the assault of the rain as he turns around. Still shaking, still confused, still whywhywhywhy -- the bruise takes up the entire top of his cheek (the bottle, then), and he's trembling and heaving breaths and his eyes are very, very blue.
"Don't," she repeats, softer, and there's a hot wetness on her face and when did she start crying? But it doesn't matter, or doesn't anymore, because the next second Charles is wrapped around her, pulling her close, and he's apologizing, swift and rough "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" and promising "I'll never leave you, Raven" and apologizing more "God, I'm so sorry, don't cry, don't cry" and the rain is covering them both and they're away from the edge.
They stay out there for a while, just holding, just whispering, because the pull is still strong, and the pain is still new, and the whywhywhy has become entwined in each beat of pule she feels from him against her skin. They'll both be sick in the morning, and the maids will mutter and the cook will scowl and Kurt will scold and Sharon will be too far gone to notice and Charles will subtly flinch at the sight of her bottle and Raven will sneak into his bed and hold him when they have all gone to their business and forgotten them again. But that will be later.
She holds him now.
There are so very many things Raven cannot bear about the Xavier Mansion. So very, very many things. She remembers every time she has pleaded with Charles to step away from the edge of the roof.
She steps forward with false cheerfulness, slipping her arm through to loop around Charles' elbow, and gives it a tight squeeze, tossing Erik a careless smile and eyes that snap. "Well, it was a hardship softened by me." Keeps her tone light and teasing, and Erik's narrowing eyes are suspicious. But Charles, cleverclever Charles, pulls her in and kisses her head firmly, desperately.
And her smile hurts.