“There! Right there!” Raven hissed, pointing out the window. Everyone followed her finger. Erik and Charles stood by the statue, backs to the window of the room that the younger mutants had claimed as “their” lounge. They were talking with their heads close together, and if you looked hard, you could see the curl of a smile on both their faces (although Erik’s was much smaller).
“Look at him!” Raven continued, “He’s gay, totally gay!”
“Who, your brother?” Sean asked.
“No, he’s bisexual,” Raven answered dismissively. “I mean Erik!” She rolled her eyes as the others stared. “Look at that tan skin and the killer shape he’s in! He’s gay!”
“I don’t know,” Hank muttered, eyeing Erik critically. “I don’t see it.”
“The elephant in the room,” Angel commented, and everyone looked at her. She smiled. “Well, we were all wondering it. Don’t lie. Although, is it relevant to presume?”
“The guy does wears perfume,” Alex drawled.
“It’s cologne,” Raven corrected.
“Look at his coiffed and crispy locks,” Sean said scornfully.
“Look at his silk translucent socks,” Raven added persuasively.
“There’s the eternal paradox,” Hank mused, “Look what we’re seeing.”
“What are we seeing?” Raven asked.
“Is he gay–”
“Of course he’s gay!”
Everyone went quiet.
“Gay or European?” Darwin finally asked into the silence. “It’s hard to guarantee.”
“Is he gay or European?” Alex repeated, then, when everyone looked at him, he flushed and snapped, “Hey, don’t look at me!”
“Well, they bring their boys up different,” Angel reasoned, shrugging a little. “They play peculiar sports.”
“In shiny shirts and tiny shorts,” Raven agreed.
“Why are we rhyming?” Sean asked, but no one paid any attention.
“Gay or foreign fella? The answer could take weeks.”
“Or not, if we just ask,” Sean said.
“Both say things like “Ciao bella” while they kiss you on both cheeks.”
“Oh please,” Raven snorted.
“Erik would never do that, though,” Sean pointed out.
“Gay or European? So many shades of grey–”
“Depending on the time of day the French go either way,” Alex said slyly. Raven whacked him with a magazine.
They continued their discussion, Sean still asking plaintively why everyone was rhyming. Then, suddenly, as one, they noticed that Erik and Charles had left the statue. And they heard two pairs of footsteps in the hall, along with a laugh that had to be Charles.
Sean leapt to his feet. “I have an idea I’d like to try,” he told the others, eyes glinting as a mischievous smile spread across his face.
“The floor is yours,” Hank said graciously.
The door opened. Erik entered, eyes sweeping over the gathering, and held the door for Charles, who smiled briefly at him before turning a different, more general smile on the younger people. “Hello,” he said, but before he could say anything else, Sean looked straight at Erik and said, “How long have you been having an affair with that guy I saw sneaking out of your room last night?”
Erik’s face turned to stone. “A day,” he answered stiffly.
“What’s your last name?”
Erik frowned a little. “Lehnsherr,” he replied, in that particular way he had when he wasn’t sure if the person he was talking to wasn’t a little slow.
“And what the last name of the guy you were with?”
“Xa–” Erik caught himself, but it was too late, everyone gasped, and he flushed bright red before whirling and exiting the room, slamming the door shut behind him with his powers.
Charles looked at the assembled, triumphant youngsters and gave a shy smile. “To answer your question,” he began, “He’s gay and European.” He turned and opened the door, just in time for Erik to appear again and snarl, his face still quite red, “I’m straight!”
“You weren’t yesterday,” Charles replied.
Erik actually ran away, and Charles shook his head as he exited the lounge and went after him.
“…he was listening!” Sean said with great disgust. “In our heads!”
“Of course he was,” Raven answered. “How else do you think we were able to rhyme like that?”