"So last night I had this totally weird dream," Cassidy said, and Erik considered taking a different route to the kitchen, because he didn't particularly want to hear this conversation, but then again, it was the shortest route, and if he doubled back now, he might run into Charles.
Charles was adorable with bedhair, but also very, very distracting, to say nothing of annoyingly insistent about having Things To Do that generally didn't involve getting naked, unless it was to take a shower. Alone.
Hank sighed. "Let me guess: marshmallows trying to eat you? Again?"
"No, it was - um."
He'd been spotted, clearly, although Cassidy's reaction seemed a bit ... overdone. "Good morning."
Cassidy - well. This was a slightly unfortunate development, given that they were supposed to work together as a team.
"And there's not even a window nearby."
Hank coughed and turned a slightly worrying shade of red. "G-good morning. Mr Lehnsherr. Sir. Erik."
"If you catch up to Cassidy, tell him I don't bite, will you?" Erik smiled, to make sure it was understood to be a joke - 'we're all happy, friendly mutants together here, aren't we?'.
"Yes, you do," Hank said, but then he added: "Sure, I'll tell him," so Erik decided he'd probably simply misheard that first bit, which seemed quite likely anyway. Hank couldn't possibly know about where that new bruise on Charles's left shoulder came from.
Possibly, Erik reflected as he strolled onwards, he should try and get some more sleep tonight.
"Hey," Raven said, which was perfectly fine; unlike Charles, Erik had no problem with people using less than a full 'good morning and how are you on this fine new day?' by way of greeting, except that then Raven turned that same shade of red he'd spotted on Hank and huh.
Maybe he should sic Charles on them, to make sure they were taking the sensible precautions and ... that sort of stuff. Erik hadn't really expected Hank to have the balls to get this thing with him and Raven beyond the puppy eyes stage, but possibly, he'd been wrong.
"Did you have a good night?"
"Hm," Raven said. "I had a ... really nice dream."
Replace 'nice' with 'sex', and Charles wouldn't need to be told a thing after all. Erik relaxed slightly.
"Is there any - " He'd only turned his back for a moment, to check the coffee pot. "Toast? Raven?"
"There's something really weird going on," Erik reported. It was probably nothing, which made Charles the perfect person to handle it. He'd solve the problem and feel good about himself and then he'd let Erik drag him off to bed a bit early and everyone would be happy. "Is that my toast?"
"Yes, thank you," Charles said. "Very thoughtful of you."
"There's something really weird going on," Erik repeated, since now did not seem the right time to start an argument about stealing other people's toast.
"Is there?" Charles happily munched on his toast. Erik's stomach growled. "Do tell."
"People are avoiding me." Put like that, it sounded like his problem. "People are acting strangely."
"Around you," Charles said.
"Yes." 'Then I guess it's your problem to solve, isn't it?'
"Then I guess that makes it your problem to solve, doesn't it?" Close, but no cigar.
"You're better with people." 'Flattery will get you nowhere.'
"I'm flattered, but really, I think this is something you should handle yourself. Just try not to shove anyone out of any windows, will you? There's a good chap."
Sometimes, Erik wondered how Charles had survived until adulthood without someone murdering him. It had to be his telepathy, really - that, or the fact he'd lived in relative isolation. Most people he annoyed probably simply left. "I have never shoved anyone out of a window. He jumped. Because you promised him he would be able to fly."
"Well, he is able to fly now, isn't he? Quite splendidly, I should add."
"Because I pushed him off of a platform. Not out of a window."
"You know what I meant. Do let me know how things turned out."
"Uh," Alex said.
He was the third person Erik had managed to corner after being sent on his 'mission' by Charles, and Erik did not hold particularly high hopes for cornering Cassidy.
"Anything?" Erik prodded. "Weird dreams, maybe?" Cassidy had mentioned them, but then, Cassidy always did. And Raven had dreamt about sex with Hank, which didn't seem particularly strange either.
"Look, it's not - " Alex said. "It's just - "
"It doesn't mean anything, all right?"
Sex again, then, and with someone Alex would prefer to believe he wasn't attracted to. Someone who was a member of the team, most likely. Hank, then. He fit perfectly; Alex ridiculed him all the time, and yet Hank had created the object that would enable Alex to use his power.
Ironic, really. Potentially messy, too, of course, so definitely something Charles should take care of.
"Of course not," Erik said smoothly.
Not quite smoothly enough, given the dark look Alex gave him. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Wouldn't dream of asking you to."
Case closed, then, and well in time for dinner. Perfect.
There still was the matter of Cassidy, of course.
"You had a sex dream, I don't care, and you will stop avoiding me immediately."
"Please don't hurt me?" Cassidy said. He actually cringed, which made Erik want to grab and shake him. Possibly, he should mention this, to see if it helped.
It probably wouldn't, though, and then Charles would feel entitled to lecture him again.
"I'm not going to hurt you."
Cassidy peered up at him warily. "You really don't care I had a sex dream about you?"
"No, I really don't - what?"
"You have a scar that looks like it's from a bullet on your left shoulder?" Cassidy said.
Charles, predictably, was in the library.
"You need to hear this," Erik said, and shoved Cassidy inside before closing the door behind him.
"You promised you wouldn't hurt me," Cassidy complained, rubbing his wrist. It did look a bit red, admittedly, but nothing that wouldn't vanish overnight with a bit of proper care.
"Erik!" Charles, of course, bought the act completely, like the soft-hearted fool that he was.
Cassidy could probably have pulled off the thing beautifully from there on, except that he made the mistake of glancing at Erik.
"He knows about the scar. On my left shoulder."
Erik's glare had struck terror in the heart of less scrupulous barely human beings than Cassidy. "In a dream! I saw it in a dream, Professor."
"That's hardly - "
" 'Snugglebunny'," Erik said. " 'Kissynoodle'."
Cassidy snickered. Clearly, the kid had a death-wish.
"He - " Charles looked appalled, like he was finally, finally getting it.
"And Hank - "
"And - "
"Well, I hardly see how this could be my fault," Charles said firmly.
"Telepathic projection?" Cassidy said. "By accident?" he added, when Charles glared at him and ha! That should take care of Charles's reputation as the laid-back, easy-going, always-nice one.
On the other hand, if Charles wasn't even willing to consider the problem might be him, however unwittingly - "I guess we'll not be having sex again in the foreseeable future, then."
"Well, that's only about two days anyway, isn't it?" Charles said coolly.
Two long, long days, if Erik couldn't figure out a way to solve this. And after - well, he didn't think Charles would really turn his back on Erik simply for killing another man, especially not when that man was Shaw. He knew Erik had killed before, after all.
On the other hand, if Charles insisted on this idea of his that they should work and live together with normal humans ... he'd need Erik to stick around. To save his life when the humans decided they didn't really need Charles and his kind anymore. Erik gave it two, three months, top. Possibly less.
Whatever happened, if Erik survived, he'd be coming back here. With Charles.
Unless he snapped and did something regrettable to Charles before then, of course.
"Raven, would you please ask Erik to pass the salt?"
"Raven, would you please tell Charles to stop acting like a fool?"
"What are we: chopped liver?" Cassidy muttered to Hank, who displayed the good sense not to answer.
"If you were, then we'd be having you for dinner," Erik said.
Alex sniggered. Raven smiled. "Ooh, very clever," Cassidy said. "Kissynoodle."
"Well, I think it's a positive thing they can joke about this," Charles said, after a hasty retreat to the library. "Raven, please tell Erik - "
"I heard you." Erik didn't think he'd ever killed someone with a fork before. He still hadn't, obviously.
Charles was strangely and sadly attached to his students.
"All right, I'll leave you two to work this out," Raven said.
"Do tell Cassidy Erik is very, very sorry he lost his temper like that."
"Will do, snugglebunny."
"You do realize this is a problem," Erik said. He felt calmer, now that it was just him and Charles again. Charles could be quite infuriating at times, obviously, but he was familiar. Plus, until very recently, there had always been the option of using sex to, if not resolve, then at least postpone the matter at hand.
Charles looked thoughtful. "I've never - if it did happen by telepathic projection, it really is a most remarkable phenomenon."
Erik managed not to ask how else something like this could have happened. Not by any use of magnetism, he could say that much. Still, best to let Charles get away with saying that while he hadn't been wrong, he might not have been completely, 100% right, either. "Quite. Perhaps you should undertake to study it more closely."
"It only happened that one time," Charles said. "I think it might be more valuable to reconstruct that particular event - see what led to its uniqueness, so to speak, rather than repeat the experiment. Significant data might be lost, otherwise."
"You're right," Erik said. "I should leave now. Immediately. Before - "
Charles unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. "Before what?"
"Your room or mine?" Erik asked.
"What's wrong with right here?"
the next morning
"What did these spoons ever did to you is what I'd like to know," Cassidy said.
Erik counted to ten. Quickly. "What makes you think I did this?" Admittedly, it probably had been him. Not consciously, but, well, it had been a long day with Charles ignoring him - and he'd worry about what that meant some other day.
"It's fairly obvious, isn't it?" Charles, the traitor, said. He even had the gall to look slightly smug.
Cassidy grinned, secure in being supported by 'the Professor'. "Yeah, k-" Erik glared. "Can I help?"
"Splendid idea," Charles said. "You can simply gather everything that's gotten bend and bring it here so that Erik can un-bend it."
"Fun," Erik said.
"Behave and I'll make it worth your while," Charles said.
"Who wants to make a bet about what's going to happen this time?"