Erik shot his computer a bored look. It was Friday afternoon and with a little luck no one would manage to blow the university servers up before he was off the clock.
A small notification vying for his attention made his heart sink. The little script was running solely to make sure that the IT department could keep track of the professors and students apparently incapable of changing the temporary password they had been given. And through this, Erik or Azazel could send out strongly worded emails to remind them. They both made sure that the emails were clean enough that the Uni couldn't accuse them of being rude, but just on the edge, because Erik knew that sometimes nothing short of bodily harm would work.
has changed their password to: **************************************************************"
"Urgh," Erik said, drawing Azazel's attention.
"Either this wins you the pool or you'll have someone asking for a password reset time and again until they learn to use a shorter password," Azazel said, after leaning in to see what had caught Erik's attention.
Azazel wasn't wrong. The IT department, or rather, more specifically Azazel and Erik who handled most of the userID setups and what came with it, had an office pool. Who had the user with the longest password and capable of remembering it. So far Azazel had been in the lead for nearly a year because Moira Mactaggert had a damned good memory and had the so far longest password either of the two had ever seen.
"We'll just have to see, won't we?" Erik replied. He didn't need another Shaw. Granted, the man had fixated on Erik and had used any and all excuses to elicit his help. Including constantly locking his system by using long, complex passwords that he could never remember.
That had all lasted until he'd been caught sexually assaulting his TA at the time, and after this, Erik had been damned glad that he'd never given into the man's charms. Far too slippery and slimy for Erik's tastes.
Dared he hope that Azazel was right? That he'd finally be able to tip Azazel off his top spot?
"Don't get cocky," Azazel muttered as he logged off the server. "You'll crash and burn."
"Oh, fuck off, Azazel," Erik replied with no heat. "I'll close up shop, get the hell out of here."
"Don't dig," Azazel warned.
"I'm not an idiot," Erik said, beginning the process of logging himself off - only leaving open what he'd need until the evening crew came in to take over. Azazel was right. He wasn't supposed to abuse his access to the information to find out who the user was. He wouldn't know until said user had a problem. Now the question would be, would this be an actual IT problem or would it simply be when the idiot turned out to have forgotten his or her insanely long password?
Erik hoped for the former, but wasn't stupid, he was a realist and could accept that it would probably be the latter.
After a few weeks, Erik should have probably forgotten about the interesting user ID, but Azazel was a fair man and at the end of the month, he handed over the polished little trophy and Erik realized that he'd forgotten about the password contest.
Which kind of left him torn between pride and even more curiosity. Because if he was winning, it meant the user wasn't going to contact him for help which then again meant no figuring out who they were.
This was partly on Erik's mind as he went through one of the laptops that he was cleaning up after a virus infection. The harddrive was so infested that he sort of felt as if he should be wearing gloves - or maybe even a hazmat suit.
Something tugged at his attention and it wasn't until a knock to the door drew him away from the project that he realized what it was. As soon as he gestured the door open, he realized the metal he'd felt was a wheelchair, though this was quickly forgotten when he was hit over the head with the most brilliant smile he'd ever seen.
Erik wasn't used to people smiling like that at him. Mostly they glared at him or cowered. This smile however, was completely fear-free. Lovely red lips, blue eyes, short-cropped brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard.
Erik jolted back to reality and tried to figure out how to answer. His visitor did come to his aid though, with the smile twisting into something else, something knowing.
"I'm Professor Xavier. I was told I would need to see you regarding access to your supercomputer. I have some models I need run and it would take ages on the regular system."
Erik swallowed hard. The answer would be no. You didn't just get access to Erik and Azazel's baby. By asking. Even if you were hot.
The guy coughed, obviously trying hard not to laugh. "I am aware that such privileges are few and far between, but I am sure I can convince you that both I and my research are above board."
"Who sent you?" Erik finally asked.
"Professor Mactaggert did," Xavier replied sunnily.
Erik bit back a curse. She may be one of Azazel's favourite people, but Erik could do without her sharp tongue. Which he'd been on the receiving end of more than once. It didn't help that Erik did respect her razor sharp wit and above average intelligence - not to mention general smarts, but he had yet to one up her.
"Professor Mactaggert also told you that there are procedures to go through before we can allow it, yes?" Erik said as coolily as he could.
"Yes," Xavier said. "She did consider the option of me asking your colleague Azazel for access but I believe due to her slightly twisted sense of humour, she felt it would be more fun to tell me to ask you."
"She told you this?" Erik asked curiously, as he pulled the form up on his screen that Xavier would be filling out. He wasn't unreasonable - he could always block the application afterwards.
"She has yet to learn not to broadcast her glee when hatching her pranks," Xavier said evenly, tapping his temple.
Erik blinked for a moment, then very carefully took his initial reaction, marvelled at his embarrassment and pushed it as far from his conscious mind as he could.
"You are aware that that is like ignoring the elephant in the room, right?" Xavier said with a small grin.
Erik watched him for a moment, then shrugged. "I'm not dead and six feet under," he replied. It wasn't like it was a crime for him to notice a guy and appreciate his looks. A little lust never hurt anyone.
Xavier raised an eyebrow and bit his lips, drawing Erik's attention again. "That's a refreshingly amiable attitude."
"One of my oldest friends is a telepath," Erik admitted. "I gave up on feeling embarrassed years ago."
Xavier laughed, and cocked his head to the side. "That's not an attitude I'm familiar with, but one I'd like to see more of."
Erik stared at the form on his screen for a moment. Was he being flirted with? "Don't think flirting will get you access to the computer any faster," he warned.
"Ah, saw right through my scheme, did you?" Xavier said, his voice warm and deep.
Erik turned the screen and keyboard to Xavier. "Flirt all you want," he said evenly, "you still have to fill out the form." He paused. "All six pages."
Xavier narrowed his eyes, but his smile didn't diminish. "And what will flirting and filling out the form get me?"
"If you're lucky, full access," Erik said without losing a beat. Then he realized what he'd said and did not flush. The office was warm, that was all.
Xavier, however, just held his gaze and his smile grew impossibly wider. Erik considered taking a picture of it just to prove to Azazel that there were scarier grins out there than Erik's.
The phone rang, saving Erik from any more embarrassment. He put on the headset. "Erik Lehnsherr," he said into it, pointing at the form, not breaking eye contact with Xavier until the voice at the other end demanded his full focus.
The call took more of Erik's time than he'd expected, and Xavier had finished filling out the form, looked at his watch and sighed heavily, looking forlorn - before ruining it by winking at Erik and giving him a small wave before leaving Erik's office.
Shit, Erik had wanted to see if he could get the guys private number, because he'd kind of liked the flirting. Scratch that, he'd loved it. Normally people didn't flirt with Erik, but he kind of wanted Xavier to the be one single exception to all Erik's rules.
Azazel walked through the door, stopped, then back out - only to enter again.
"What?" Erik asked.
"I thought I'd walked into a parallel universe," Azazel said, pointing at Erik. "I thought I'd seen all your smiles, Lehnsherr, but I think that one came close to being dopey rather than scary." He paused for a moment, fighting a smile. "Hence the parallel timeline - only way I could explain such a sunny demeanor."
"There's no parallel world where I'm not dangerous," Erik growled, or tried to. God, had Xavier broken him?
Azazel dropped into his own seat. "The only other explanation would be that you'd finally killed professor Stryker - should I be looking for a body?"
Erik's good mood dropped a little with the mention of Stryker. The man whose laptop was Erik's current cleaning project. "Unfortunately not."
Azazel shrugged and poked his mouse until his work screen came back to life.
Erik took a deep breath and figured he should at least save the application form that Xavier had filled out. Then he could go over it later and maybe, if he played his cards right and dragged it out, Xavier would come back to ask him again.
"There's that grin again," Azazel muttered.
Erik chose to ignore him.
The form didn't yield a private number, not that Erik had thought it would. It would just have been nice if the professor had thought to give it to him. Unless of course his flirting had been just that. Flirting and nothing more.
Erik looked at the top of the form and stopped. Now, he had a fairly good memory…
Azazel looked up when Erik nearly fell out of his office chair, leaning back to check the board they used for their little office pool.
Longest password winner is:
May 2018: UserID 1005-587-89-2018
Currently master of the office: ELehnsherr
"What's gotten into you?" Azazel asked when Erik started laughing, checking the userID again.
"I had him in here, asking to use the supercomputer, and I didn't know," Erik admitted, pointing triumphantly at the board.
"So he still remembers his password? Impressive," Azazel said. Obviously not getting it.
"He was in here, Azazel, in here."
"I need to see him again," Erik said, sitting down on his chair. "And if possible, see if his flirting was serious."
Azazel laughed out loud. "Lehnsherr, have you finally gone around the bend?"
Erik snorted. "No."
"Do you even know how to go about dating anyone?" Azazel narrowed his eyes. "Do you even know how to have physical intimacy with another human being?"
Erik opened his mouth to argue with Azazel, but a 'ping' from his computer drew his attention. A message on the internal messaging board that the uni used.
UserID 1005-587-89-2018: 'I know it won't get me to the supercomputer faster, but would you like to have lunch with me?'
The cursor blinked, telling Erik that Xavier was typing again.
UserID 1005-587-89-2018: 'If for nothing else than to prove to Professor Mactaggart that it's possible to flirt with you, date you, possibly have sex with you and not get killed and dumped in a ditch somewhere.'
Erik was about to answer, feeling as if his fingers were incapable of hitting the right keys. Then the cursor blinked again.
UserID 1005-587-89-2018: 'Her words not mine.'
Erik finally managed to type his answer. He backspaced several times, but finally sent his answer off.
Azazel, reading over his shoulder, radiated both mirth and mock horror. "You are not right in the head, Lehnsherr."
"Birds of a feather," Erik said with a grin. "I'm taking my lunch."
"Of course you are," Azazel said with a sigh. "Please do not call me when campus police drag you off to jail for emotionally scarring the pupils or the staff."
"And here I thought you loved me," Erik said as he marked himself offline. "I've earned this - I'm working on Stryker's computer."
Azazel shot the laptop whirring away next to Erik's computer with something bordering on fear. "Is it contagious?"
Erik rolled his eyes as he grabbed his phone and headed for the door. "You know as well as I that it's not."
"Normally, yes," Azazel agreed warily, "but this is Stryker we're talking about."
Erik grinned. Azazel wasn't wrong. "See you in an hour."
Azazel waved him off. "Don't come to me when you need an alibi."
Erik just ignored him and hit the search function on the uni overview on his phone. Time to go prove Mactaggert wrong.