Charles wrapped his scarf around himself before leaving the car. It was the first day back, and Charles was ecstatic to have a reason to leave the house. The autumn breeze messed up his hair even more, but he didn’t let it bother him as he entered the school gates.
“Charles!” Hank was the first to greet him, engulfing Charles in a hug. “We’re seniors now. Isn’t that exciting?”
“Extremely,” Charles replied. “Can’t wait to graduate, again I might add, and move away.”
“Ambitious, as usual.” Hank didn’t read into Charles’ statement. Thank heavens for that, Charles thought.
“We have a couple of transfers this year. That should be interesting.” Hank finds everything intriguing. The only thoughts he ever has are questions, Charles noted. But that’s probably why he’s at the top of the class.
As they settled into homeroom, Charles noticed a handful of new faces. He doesn’t recognise a lot of them, and can only hope the teacher will go through introductions.
“Class, welcome back to another school term!” A relatively normal-looking professor announced to the class. “I’m Miss Kinross. Let’s do a round of icebreakers, shall we? Get to know who we’re spending senior year with!”
The class didn’t reply. But as any good teacher would, Miss Kinross kept her energetic demeanour up. Charles could read right through that, though. She needed another four cups of coffee to deal with bratty students like them.
“Alexander Summers?” She called.
“I go by Alex.” A tan blonde stood up and waved. He looked like he belonged on the football team. “I just moved here, from California.” He paused awkwardly, thinking of what to say next.
Beside him, Charles could practically feel the emotions radiating off Hank. He’s so hot. I shouldn’t be thinking this, I hardly know him! Oh, but look at those biceps.
Charles smiled and leaned closer to his friend. “You might wanna close your mouth before you start attracting flies,” He whispered. Hank shot him a glare as he shifted back. A couple more students introduced themselves before Charles.
“My name’s Charles Xavier. I’ve been in this school before.” He heard a couple of thoughts. Mainly: why is he British? “I lived in England as a child. If you’re wondering.”
As he sat down again, he paid little attention to the rest of the names. He stared out of the window, calculating the maximum amount of time he could stay in school before going home.
Suddenly, he felt a change in the atmosphere and diverted his attention back. He looked around. No one else noticed the shift, not even Hank. He looked to the person who stood up.
“Emma Frost. Moved here from LA.” Charles could feel it. She was a telepath too. Turning slowly, she gave Charles a wink and a knowing look before sitting back down. She knew that he was a telepath as well. What did that wink mean? He wasn’t sure if Emma’s intentions were good or bad, but he refused to invade her privacy and read her mind. Even then, Charles didn’t want to intrude.
The next person who stood up was a boy. A very good looking one at that. “Erik Lehnsherr.” He wore a turtle neck sweater, and his voice was low and soothing. “I moved here from New Jersey.” He had short hair and a rugged look. Damn. Charles didn’t listen to the rest of the introductions. He was too busy staring at the back of Erik’s head.
“I’ve heard of Lehnsherr,” Hank said absentmindedly. “Got into a ton of trouble in New Jersey. Joined a gang, whatnot. Just bad news in general, if you ask me.” Bummer. He seemed like such a nice boy. Normal, too, but Charles supposes assumptions are hardly ever right.
Charles continued staring at the back of his head. His thoughts weren’t loud enough for Charles to hear without putting in effort, but he seemed well adjusted. A metallic clink came from his direction, and he bent down to pick up a coin. He does seem a little odd. Charles couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
The bell rang, signalling the end of homeroom. As Charles packed up for his next lesson, biology, he bumped into Erik at the door.
“Pardon me.” Charles was lucky Erik wasn’t a telepath, but even without the ability to read minds one could tell he was obviously flustered.
Charles tried to rid himself of his sudden infatuation. What was wrong with him? He barely knew this guy! Charles thought it was obvious Erik didn’t return the feeling.
As he was walking away, he heard a loud and condemning thought coming from behind.
He studied the teacher. She was so obviously going to get bullied throughout the year. She tried to maintain a cheerful demeanour but was still a little nervous. She kept fidgeting with her pen.
Glancing at the only other person he knew, Emma, Erik found that she was staring back at me. We had met during orientation. The moment he saw her he knew he wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. So far, she proved to be a decent friend. They exchanged nothing more than superficial chatter, but she didn’t judge Erik for his past, and it was a refreshing change.
As the teacher went through introductions, he fiddled with a coin, not paying attention. I didn’t need to learn their names anyway, Erik reasoned.
“My name’s Charles Xavier.” Erik looked up from his desk. He saw a timid looking boy, with bright blue eyes and an ugly sweater. He knew Xaviers. They were that rich, well-off family that scoffed at poorer people. He briefly wondered what Charles was doing in an average high school, with average people. He should’ve been pursuing his second PhD of something like that. His dad died, mum remarried, whatnot.
He didn’t have to worry about what he was going to have for dinner.
He didn’t have to work a second in his life. He was lucky, Erik thought.
He was fortunate enough to be born normal. To be born wealthy.
A sudden surge of envy and hatred captured him. He hated Charles Xavier. He hated him because he was probably spoilt. He hated him because he was so ignorant of everything happening around him. Erik glanced Emma once more and found her looking at him with her eyebrows raised. He realised his jaw was clenched and fists were gripping the table.
He relaxed as Emma stood up. “Emma Frost. Moved here from LA.” Erik saw her turn around and wink at Charles, who looked confused. He gave her an unsure smiled in return as she sat back down. It was Erik’s turn.
“Erik Lehnsherr. I moved here from New Jersey.” He saw Charles’ friend whisper to him and chose to ignore it. So what if he knew what Erik had done. His pretty face and spoilt ass wouldn’t associate with him to know who he truly was.
“Xavier, huh.” In his rage, he hadn’t noticed Emma shifting to sit next to him. “Thought he already graduated twice of something.” Erik didn’t know what to reply, instead silently shifting the coin around his fingers. This probed Emma to continue talking.
“He’s pretty pretty though.” The coin fell.
Erik scoffed. “He’s a spoilt boy from a wealthy family. Of course he needs a pretty face, he doesn’t have anything else going for him.” He saw Emma stare at him sceptically.
“Do you need help getting that rod out of your ass? You barely know the boy.”
“I know enough to know he isn’t someone I want to be buddies with.”
“If you say so.” He saw Emma smirk out of the corner fo his eye. He didn’t know what she was playing at, nor did he want to find out.
After class, he was walking out of the door when he felt a bony elbow jab his side.
“Pardon me.” Erik looked down and saw none other than Charles Xavier. Well, more like the mess atop his head. He kept his head down, avoiding Erik’s eyes. And why would he look at Erik? Charles was of the upper class, wasn’t he? He would never associate with some low life. As he saw Charles’ figure walking further away, there was only one thought in his head.
Chapter 2: Brotherly Love
I love Raven. You guys have to too.
He wasn’t quite sure what he had done to anger Erik. And he wasn’t sure why he cared so much, either. He knew people often jumped to conclusions about his personality from his family, but they come around eventually when they learn who he truly is. Yeah.
Erik will come around eventually.
Charles can only hope.
As he sat at his lunch table waiting for Hank, he read his Biology textbook. It had nothing he didn’t know, but he read it anyway. He might have to borrow some new books at the library afterwards.
A shadow loomed over the table, and Charles looked up to see none other than Emma Stone.
“May I take a seat?”
“Of course.” Charles closed his book, but not before placing a bookmark. He wondered what she had planned.
“Relax, Xavier. I don’t have anything up my sleeves. For now, at least.” Emma waved her hand nonchalantly and spoke as if they were friends. “I just want to make sure you don’t get the wrong impression of me. Warning: I’m a bitch to those who deserve it. But I doubt you’ll be one of those.”
Charles shook his head. “Glad to know that, Emma. I do hope we may get along.”
Emma merely smiled before standing up and leaving. Right on time too, Charles thought, as Hank took a seat next to him.
“What did she want?”
“Nothing.” Hank didn’t know that Emma was a telepath. Charles wasn’t sure if she likes people to know, but he wouldn’t be the first one to tell Hank. “Just wanted to say hi.”
Hank let it slide, even if he was a little sceptical. After a few minutes into their conversation, it was interrupted by Alexander Summers.
“Hey man, is this seat taken?”
Charles shook his head. He could hear Hank practically shouting his thoughts. Charles smirked to himself as he heard Alex’s thoughts too.
“So, Alex. What are you majoring in?” Charles decided to fuel the conversation as Hank was straight up not functioning anymore.
“No clue. I just need to get a decent grade, maybe find a small job somewhere.”
Time to put his plan into action. “Well, Hank here is extremely smart. One of the candidates for valedictorian, actually.”
Hank jerked at the mention of his name, and could only mumble an incomprehensible reply.
“Cool,” Alex said. “Could you tutor me?”
Readjusting his glasses only emphasised Hank’s red face. Charles cringed inwardly at the second-hand embarrassment Hank was putting him through.
“He’d love to,” Charles replied for Hank. “If you’ll excuse me, I have to borrow a book from the library.”
He walked away smugly, ignoring the angry thoughts Hank was firing at him. He enjoyed a peaceful walk to the library, taking in the peace and quiet as he checked for books. Of course, all good things never last.
CHARLES. Charles jumped a little when he heard Raven’s thoughts.
‘How was taking the subway to school?’
Absolutely astonishing. Why didn’t you wait for me?
‘I tried waking you up like seven times. Eventually, your “five minutes” turned into an hour, and I assumed you would just skip the first day.’
Well, I got here on time. Not really. I missed Algebra but I’m not complaining. FYI, I made friends!
‘That’s nice. Where even are you?’
In the parking lot. With my friends. Eating the lunch you prepared me.
Charles smiled. Raven can take care of herself very well, but Charles likes spoiling her a little. No one at home ever does it anyway. ‘What are their names?’
They’re seniors. In your class, actually. But Emma’s in my precalculus class. And the other boy just tags along with her. Are you with Hank?
‘Nope. I’m in the library. I just set him up on a semi date’ Charles knew Hank had a thing for Raven. But because it was his best friend's sister, he didn’t go for it. So now that Alex Summers has entered the chat, Raven will soon be a distant memory. Not that she knew what was going on, of course.
Cute. Do you wanna meet my friends?
‘I’m a little busy now. I’ll meet them someday if you keep them that long.’
Emma introduced me to a junior during lunch.
“Hey Erik, meet Raven. She’ll be joining us for lunch.” The way Emma phrased it meant that there would be no objections. Erik looked Raven up and down. Blonde. A little babyish.
She must’ve seen his expression. “If you’re looking for a fuck to give, I don’t have any.”
Feisty. Erik decides that it wouldn’t hurt keeping her around. Emma led them to the parking lot as they sat on top of a random car.
Raven had brought and was eating some home-packed lunch, smiling to herself. Her mind was far away, it seems.
“So, Raven. What are your plans after school?”
“I don’t know. What do kids usually do? I’ll hang around, I guess.” She seemed a little uncomfortable. He wondered why. She looked pretty average.
“Come join me for cheerleader practice. I think you’ll do well.” Emma sure knew what to say. Erik was always a little cautious around her. “Erik? Any plans?”
“I’ve got to work, Emma.” He needs to support his mother somehow. She’s always working so hard, he felt the need to give back. He found a job at a little convenience store near his home. It should be enough for now.
“Bummer. Well, whatever,” Raven picked at the rest of her lunchbox. “Would you care for some carrot sticks? My brother always says I need to eat more vegetables, but I hate them.”
Erik noticed that she had finished the pasta and salmon her brother had prepared. As he took a carrot stick, he asked with his mouth still full, “Your brother packs your lunch for you?”
“Yeah. He’s sweet, really. But he needs to eat more. Also, his cooking isn’t really the best, but you see, you lie to the people you love so that their feelings won’t be hurt.”
Erik took another carrot stick, this time scrapping up some leftover pasta sauce. “It isn’t terrible.”
Raven shrugged. “Just wait till you try his chicken soup.”
After school, Erik head straight for work. He greeted Mrs Aaron before he started restocking the shelves. It wasn’t anything much, really. Just some way to earn a little more cash for the household income.
Erik felt the cars outside on the busy street pass by. He could tell if it was running smoothly, or if it was rusting up. The vibrations of the engines always soothed him.
He felt something different approach. It wasn’t the type of car that usually stops by here. This one was smoother. And a lot posher.
Erik continued to stack canned soup on the shelves, using his powers to reach the ones up top. His mind was still focused on the car. It had stopped outside the shop.
The shelves were almost done when a meek voice spoke out.
“Could you pass me the chicken soup, please?”
Erik turned and had to look down to face Charles. His head was bowed down as if he could sense Erik’s distaste for him. He was so small, so fragile. He looked up at Erik through his lashes, and fuck .
Erik felt something shift within him. He marked it off as irritation.
Without replying, he waved his hand, and a can of chicken soup hovered right in front of Charles’ face.
“Thanks!” Charles took it and hugged it to his chest, along with all his other groceries. Does he know that baskets exist?
Erik could feel Charles’ heartbeat through the can. As Charles was paying for his items, Erik couldn’t help but overhear their conversation in the quiet store.
“Wie war dein tag (how was your day), Charles?”
To Erik’s surprise, Charles’ reply was fluent. “Es war der erste Schultag. Ich denke, es ist ziemlich gut gelaufen. (It was the first day of school. I think it went pretty well.)”
Charles obviously did not grow up learning the language. It was probably something he learnt afterwards. Erik thought he sounded pretty cute.
The hell, Erik? He scolded himself. You can’t find him cute. You just can’t.
As Charles left the store, Erik could’ve sworn he felt his heart beating a little quicker.
Chapter 3: Charles baking
I’ve had a bit of a writing rush. My Writers block had recently been lifted. Don’t get your hopes too high, though. Thanks for reading!!! I appreciate it a lot.
Charles threw the bandages he bought in his drawer and slammed them shut. There. Mr Marko and Cain would never find them. He opened his newest read as Raven yelled at him though her mind.
It sucks that we live in opposite wings now. I have to walk a hundred miles to see you.
‘We hardly see each other on a daily basis.’
Yeah, duh. I hate walking. And I hate Cain for suggesting that I should move to this wing. He’s incestuous.
Charles smiled to himself. Little did she know the real reason for her moving, and Charles wanted it to stay that way. It was almost dinner time when they got home, and Cain and Marko would be here soon.
Charles took a deep breath as he readjusted the bandages he haphazardly wrapped himself in. That’ll have to do for now.
His chest hurt whenever he breathed too hard the next day. But he smiled and pretended nothing was wrong, as usual. No one can ever know, he told himself. Not even Raven.
Especially not Raven. He hugged his sister goodbye at the gate of the school as they parted ways to class.
Charles was reading his book, waiting for classes to start. It was about mutations - Charles was always extremely interested in that. He was so engrossed in his book he jumped when he heard a voice in his head.
‘Hey Charles. Mind if I join you?’
It wasn’t a thought. It was direct communication, from someone else who had telepathy.
“Of course, Emma,” he replied out loud. “I would like nothing more.”
She sat on his right as class started. ‘It comes in handy, doesn’t it? It’s like passing notes but without ever getting caught.’
‘I suppose that’s one way to think of it. Is there anything else, perhaps, that you can do?’
‘That’s for me to know and for you to find out.’ Charles could feel Emma’s cockiness. ‘Which you could at any moment, by the way. Why do you hold back?’
‘It’s rude, don’t you think?’ Charles thought of how to phrase it. He wondered why he was even projecting his thoughts when Emma was probably reading them anyway.
‘Indeed I am.’ They both chuckled. ‘And yeah, I suppose, but you’ve got to take advantage of what you get, right?’
‘Agree to disagree,’ Charles offered.
‘Agree to disagree.’
During lunch, Charles was automatically joined by Hank and Alex. They must’ve hit it off yesterday, as they dominated the conversation. Charles briefly wondered if they realised he was there at all.
‘Raveeeeeen. I’m bored out of my mind.’
Your Boyfriend found another Boyfriend?
Charles could feel Raven’s smile. You can always join us. Though I’m not sure if my friends will like you.
‘I won’t take the risk, Raven. How do you like your lunch?’
The pie is delicious, but the chicken soup leaves much to be desired. My friend here likes your pie. Could you maybe bake something extra for him tomorrow?
‘I’d love to.’
Charles smiles to himself. At least someone enjoys what he does. Aside from Raven, of course. He wondered who her friends were. Emma was one. Charles wasn’t sure how he felt about that. But as long as Raven is safe, that should be fine.
As his two friends rambled on about something Charles wasn’t paying attention to, Charles thought about what he was going to bake.
“Does your Brother pack you lunch every day?”
Raven smiled and nodded happily. “Yes. He can’t cook for shit, but his pies are to die for.”
“Maybe that’s why you’re a little full in the face,” Erik said. Raven shot him a fake glare as she offered some pie to Emma.
“No thanks,” Emma declined. “I’m on a diet.”
“I can’t possibly eat all of this myself,” Raven grumbled as she took another spoonful of pie.
Erik considered. If he ate a little in school, he could have less for dinner. And maybe he could work in the shop till a little later.
“May I have some?” Erik was tentative, he didn’t want to freeload. No, he worked for everything he gets. Nothing in life is free, he knew.
“Of course. Take more, will ya. I never see you eat.” Raven all but shoved the food into Erik’s face.
Erik thanked her and lapsed into silence. He noticed Raven pondering something before she spoke again. “Would you like a lunch box of your own? I hardly ever see you eat. I’m sure my Brother would be more than delighted to bake.”
“I shouldn’t.” He couldn’t, either. It wasn’t right.
“C’mon. It’s no hassle, really. You take my food on a daily basis anyways.”
“I met you yesterday.”
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Erik gave up trying to argue with Raven. Free food, at the expense of… time? Spent with Raven, he supposed. Better not to think too into it before he backs out of getting a free meal.
“What classes do you have after lunch?” Erik asked as he took a spoonful of pie. It tasted heavenly. It reminded him of his Mama’s cooking. Full of love.
“Geography with Emma.”
Erik looked at Emma. “How many subjects have you failed? How are you still in my year?”
Emma shrugged. “Like half. But as long as I do extremely well for the other subjects I have, my GPA will balance out, or something. I’m very persuasive, so the teachers don’t mind. ”
Erik wasn’t sure how that was how it worked. “I have Biology next. Well, more like in five minutes, actually. I’d better get going.”
“My Brother has Biology too,” Raven mentioned offhandedly. “He’s a bit of a nerd. Actually, a lot of a nerd.”
“I hate biology. But I need at least like five credits to do what I want to do and all the other subjects suck.”
Erik left without waiting for a reply. Raven often spoke highly of her Brother. They must be very close.
He sat in the front row closest to the door in the lecture hall. His notes were already on his desk when the lecturer walked in.
“Good morning class! I’m professor Azazel. Today, we’ll be starting off the year easy.” A middle aged man walked to the front of the desk. He had black hair drenched in hair gel, and was pretty fit for an old guy. “First things first, I think a pop quiz should set the mood I want to achieve for the rest of the year.”
The lecture hall collectively groaned. Erik saw the sadistic smile on Azazel’s face. If he wasn’t apart of the people being tested he might’ve laughed.
“You’ve got half an hour, go.”
Half an hour? Erik flipped through the test booklet. It was ten pages. He decided he didn’t like this teacher as he worked on question one. It wrote:
An easy one to start you off. If a mermaid and a centaur had a child, which of the following options could be their offspring.
Jesus Christ. Erik didn’t think it was possible to hate Biology more than he currently did. As he started on question two, he heard the scraping of a chair against the floor echo as someone stood up in the quiet lecture hall.
“Mr Xavier, done already?” Half the class looked up. Erik was better than that.
“Yeah.” Charles had the nerve to sound timid. Wait anxiously for someone else to submit first before you do like the rest of us, dammit!
“Impressive. I’ll be expecting great things from you, Mr Xavier. You may begin the readings. Page four to twenty one.”
As Charles walked back to his seat, Erik risked glancing up. Big mistake, he thought. Charles was looking straight at him.
Chapter 4: Mama Lehnsherr
As Charles handed in his paper early, he heard tons of thoughts going around.
What a smart ass.
Damn son it’s been like thirty seconds.
What the fuCK.
Charles was used to it. But there was one thought he just couldn’t shake off.
Wait anxiously for someone else to submit first before you do like the rest of us, dammit!
Charles didn’t want to face the person thinking that. Professor Azazel’s praise flew directly above his head. Maybe he should have waited a little longer.
As he returned to his seat he risked a glance at Erik. He caught his eye, and they stared at each other for a split second before looking away.
Why does he hate me so much? What did I do to him? Charles had never felt so devastated. He didn’t know why. After all, tons of people envy him. Not to boast, but he was smart and charismatic. But what Erik felt towards Charles wasn’t only envy. It was pure rage.
And Charles didn’t know why. That was the worst part, he thinks. Surely, no one can hate someone they didn’t know so passionately.
The rest of class passed by a blur. Charles didn’t need to pay attention, he had already finished this course years ago.
After class, Charles caught up with Erik and pulled his arm.
“What’s your problem with me?” He tried to go for firm but not aggressive. It was hard to stand your ground when your opponent towers over you menacingly.
Erik glanced around before returning his gaze on Charles. His fists were clenched, turning his knuckles white. Leaving down, his face was right next to Charles’ his breath hot on Charles’ neck. He smelled like cologne. Erik inhaled slowly before he whispered.
“It’s not so much my problem as it is yours. You’re spoilt, you’re rich, and yet you take it all for granted. You’ve graduated, but you still come back to school just to make everyone else feel bad about themselves for not being as smart as you. You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to have for dinner, nor about if you’ll have enough money to sustain the next week.”
The class had cleared out by now, leaving only the two of them. Charles couldn’t look Erik in the eye. Where was he getting all this false information from?
“You don’t - you don’t know me at all.”
“I do. You’re a prat, a good for nothing boy who thinks the whole world is just his plaything.” He was full on shouting now. Charles felt his breathing quicken. It became shallow, and he felt a little lightheaded. “ That is my problem with you.”
Charles was too shaken to realise the metal rimmed tables shaking. As Erik left the classroom, the door slammed behind him without him touching it. But Charles couldn’t seem to care.
No. He couldn’t take in enough oxygen at that moment. He couldn’t gather his thoughts at that moment. The only thing going through his mind was Marko yelling at him back home. He recalled Cain pushing him down the stairs, then grabbing his collar and slamming him against the glass cabinet. Of course, they bought a new one, and no one else knew.
They were loud. And terrifying. And so, so mad. They were uncontrollable, and Charles was petrified. They belittled him for being a mutant, for not being like them, the common folk. The norm.
It was like how he felt when Erik yelled at him. He was different, and that was bad. He deserved to be punished, to be yelled at, because he was a freak. He’d never fit in. Not at home, not at school.
He’s the outcast in the story. He always will be.
Erik managed to work a few extra hours after school. His outburst at Charles tired him out, and he had little energy for anything else. Once he reached home, he dumped his bag on the floor and went straight to the showers.
“Mein kleine? Are you finally home?”
“Sorry mama, I worked a little later today.” His hair was damp as he walked into the kitchen to greet her.
“I can heat up the leftover dinner for you.” Erik realises his mother’s face was laced with worry. He had forgotten to inform her.
“I already ate, mama.” During lunch at least. “I worked a little overtime to make more money.”
“Oh, silly child, you needn’t do that.” His mother chided him as she patted his head with a towel. “How was school today?”
“‘Twas fine. There’s this annoying stuck up boy in my class, but other than that it’s normal.”
“Stuck up?” His mother grabbed a cup of tea and gave it to Erik. “How so?”
“He’s spoilt and rich and has everything in the world but takes it for granted.” Erik looked around at his home’s condition. The paint on the walls were yellowed and peeling. The couch was secondhand and had some odd stains on it. His backpack was almost a decade old, for God’s sake.
“How do you know he takes it for granted?” Erik’s Mother eyed him as he sipped his tea.
“He just does, Ma. Trust me.”
“Let’s say I do.” Erik’s mother sat up a little straighter. “And he’s as spoilt as you make him to be. Why are you mad at him?”
Erik hesitated. “I don’t know. I just am. He has everything but he doesn’t deserve it.”
“You are under the impression that he doesn’t work for what he has, is that right?” Erik nodded reluctantly. “Well, if hadn’t worked hard, would he have graduated? If he hadn’t worked hard, would he be where he is today?”
“No, but even so he’d still be high up.”
“My foolish child. If the boy is as haughty as you think he is, I believe he has all rights to be. You are making assumptions, little Erik. That’s bad.”
Erik hung his head in only the way your Mother can make you. “Yes, Ma.”
“Lord knows your ego is bigger than most things. But I didn’t raise you like this, you hear? Stop being so mad at this poor boy.”
“Good.” Erik’s mother stood up and ran her fingers through his short hair. “Go to bed now, young man. You’ve got school tomorrow.”
The next day, Erik went through his classes as usual. Trigonometry, Geography, homeroom, then lunch. He caught a glimpse of Charles during homeroom, but Charles escaped right after the bell rang. He felt a little guilty. His mother’s words had gotten to him.
He met Emma and Raven at the parking lot as usual.
“Here you go,” Raven announced proudly as she held up a paper bag.
“Your lunch, duh.” Raven threw the bag at Erik, who barley managed to catch it. Opening the bag, he found a metal lunchbox. Inside it was an apple pie with carrot sticks on the side.
After saying his thanks, Erik dig into his food. It tasted heavenly. Erik moaned in appreciation as he took another bite. He didn’t regret asking for this at all.
“Hey, you two.” Emma was scrolling through her phone, barely looking up at them. “Meet me at the Gen lab parking lot this Friday after school. The one on twenty three Hawthorne lane. I’ve got a surprise.”
Erik and Raven agreed, and they spent the rest of their lunch engaging in meaningless chatter. And by that, that means Emma and Raven spoke as Erik listened and was happy to be a part of the group.
He briefly wondered what Emma had in stall.
Sorry this is a little short. The chapter is a little too Long to merge with this one, and will completely be Erik’s POV.
Avoiding Erik on a daily basis was a little harder than he expected. Even on his best attempts he still caught glimpses of Erik. Charles tried nonetheless — he hated confrontation.
Thankfully, Charles had gotten a job at a genetics lab. It wasn’t hard, really, given his reputation. That meant he will be off school earlier but home later on Fridays. It was a pretty good deal, and that meant he wouldn’t bump into Erik after their last period
Charles quickly noted that he’d be skipping a period of biology for his genetics job. He found it a little ironic.
As he sat down in his class he heard Raven trying to speak to him.
My Friend thanks you for the food.
‘You don’t have to tell me that everyday, Raven.’
He insists on it.
Well-mannered. Raven really found herself some good friends.
‘I have biology now with Azazel. Wish me luck.’
Ouch. Good luck. Love ya!
‘I love you too.’
Charles was early, of course. He already had all his notes set on the table as the first few students flocked in.
“Alright, class. You guys have a term project. In pairs. Once I assign the roles you can’t change ‘em.” Azazel really knew how to piss of students, it seems. “I’ll be giving out the pairings at the end of class.”
Charles heard him think Suck it really loudly, and was surprised at his ability to keep his mouth shut. The rest of the lesson was rather uneventful, and after the first period Charles waited for an appropriate time before gathering his things and standing up. He slipped Azazel his permission slip and briefly explained that this would happen every Friday.
He left class quietly and without disruption, which was good. When he reached the lab he was shown around by a human professor. Professor Lee, was his name.
“It’s so nice to finally have someone take interest in mutant genetics, and since you’re one yourself you should be apt for the job.” He rambled on and on about his work. It was evident he was extremely passionate.
Charles settled into his lab and started work. He had asked Raven for a sample of her DNA, and she gave it to him along with a weird look. Charles places the strand of hair under the microscope.
It was truly mesmerising. Charles could sit and watch the patterns shift all day long.
Unfortunately, before long, a sharp spike of anger wrecked his skull, followed by numbing fear.
He ran out of his lab without a second thought. What could’ve happened? He followed the emotions through the cafeteria and into the…parking lot?
He was panting by the time he reached the parking lot, and his ribs ached from previous injuries. He heard Professor Lee before he could see him.
“This is a restricted area! You’re not permitted in! How did you even enter. You’re children, for God’s sake.” Professor Lee was fuming. Charles deducted that there must’ve been an intruder. Maybe it was accidental?
“Look, old man.” Oh no. Charles knew that voice. “Our friend told us to meet her here, but since she’s a no-show, we’ll be on our way.” Charles turned the corner and saw Erik glaring at Professor Lee head on. Behind Erik stood a shorter figure. Was that Raven?
“How did you even get in! And who’s this friend of yours? Look, if you two kids want to gallivant around and make out in a dark corner, by all means! But I swear —“
“Professor Lee,” Charles interjected, placing a hand on his shoulder. “My apologies. Those are my friends, I must’ve given them the wrong entrance information. I wanted to show them around.”
Charles felt a little guilty using his powers to calm Professor Lee. He wasn’t sure why Erik and Raven were there, but he felt the need to protect his sister, at least.
Professor Lee hesitated. “Oh. Well, refrain from doing that in the future. I’ll go check on the lock and security system. They must’ve been faulty.” He left, still rather miffed. Charles waited for him to be out of earshot before turning around.
“What in heaven's name are you two doing?”
They remained silent. Charles eyes traveled from Erik, to Raven, and back to Erik…
“Are you guys dating!”
“Hell no!” Raven stepped in front of Erik. “He’d be lucky to date me.”
Erik turned to state at Charles. Charles felt his chest constrict at the sight. He was hot when he was mad. But also terrifying. Charles didn’t think he could survive being yelled at again.
“Emma told us to meet her here. We should’ve known there was something up her sleeve,” Erik explained, his face void of emotion. Oh god, Raven was friends with Emma and Erik. Charles couldn’t bring himself to look at Erik. His breathing became shallow and he found himself unable to speak.
“Charles? Charles!” Rushing over, Raven grabbed her Brother by his shoulders. “What’s the matter?”
Charles couldn’t muster a reply. He felt a little faint.
Chapter 6: Erik realised he’s an ass
When Mr Azazel announced the pairing for the group project, the metal leg of his chair gave way.
Erik could hardly wait till the end of class, and the moment the bell rang, her and straight to the teacher’s desk.
“Why am I paired with Xavier?”
Azazel tutted. “You seem a little weak at the subject, no offence, and Charles is one of the brightest students in this class. He’s a pleasure to work with, I’m sure.”
“Let me rephrase the question. There is no way in hell I’m going to be paired with Xavier. Give me Alexander, Darwin, anyone. Just not him.” Erik was gripping the desk now. He must’ve looked like a madman.
“Look, I can’t change it. You can talk to Xavier civilisely —“
“That isn’t even a word.”
“Or suck it up cuz I don’t give a shit.” Azazel stared at Erik straight on. He wasn’t mad, or annoyed, even. “Erik, you’re a smart boy, but not in this field. Charles is talented at this subject, whereas may be lacking in others. You two can help each other out. Now, leave, I want to have my lunch.”
Erik was complaining to Raven as they made their way to twenty three Hawthorne lane. “And then, he told me to piss off. I can’t believe I’m paired with a prat!”
“Sucks for you, man.” Raven kept glancing down at her Google maps. “This boy sounds awful. What’s his name?”
Before Erik could reply, her phone chimed. “You have reached your destination on your left.”
On the left was a metal gate. It was three meters high, with menacing barb wire at the top. Raven double checked the message Emma had sent.
“She said to just unlock the lock.” Raven rattled the chains. “Easier said than done.”
“Let me try.” Erik places his hand on the iron lock, and it clicked and fell off.
“How…? You know what, whatever.” Checking her phone again, Raven looked a little confused. “She said just go in. She’ll meet us in a little while.”
Erik didn’t think twice before going in. It was foolish, but at that moment he was too mad to think things through. The pair walked around, trying to find a place to sit and wait, when a young man with greying hair marched towards them.
“How did you get in?” He was a little red in the face. Erik felt Raven cower behind him.
“Our friend told us to meet her here. Sorry sir, we'll leave immediately.” Erik didn’t want any trouble. Emma was going to pay for this.
“This is a restricted area! You’re not permitted in! How did you even enter. You’re children, for God’s sake.” His hands were flying about in his rage. Erik already said they were going to leave.
“Look, old man. Our friend told us to meet her here, but since she’s a no-show, we’ll be on our way.”
The old man was still chattering. Why for? They certainly weren’t paying attention. “How did you even get in! And who’s this friend of yours? Look, if you two kids want to gallivant around and make out in a dark corner, by all means! But I swear —“
“Professor Lee, my apologies.” Erik stiffened at the sound of his voice. Just his luck. “Those are my friends, I must’ve given them the wrong entrance information. I wanted to show them around.”
Erik turned to look at Charles. Charles, who was saving them. Charles, who could only focus on Raven. Were they perhaps together? Is that why he’s so protective? Erik felt a surge of anger at the thought. He wasn’t sure why, though. It must’ve been because Raven proved to be a decent friend, and her dating the brat Charles made Erik’s blood boil. Yeah, that’s it.
Professor Lee seemed to respect Charles a lot, as he calmed down almost immediately. “Oh. Well, refrain from doing that in the future. I’ll go check on the lock and security system. They must’ve been faulty.” He stomped away. Charles finally turned to Erik.
“What in heaven's name are you two doing?”
His question was followed by silence. Erik notes Charles was eyeing them both. He was evidently protective of Raven. Erik felt distaste at not knowing why.
“Are you guys dating!”
Erik was too shocked to register Raven’s quick reply. Dating? Ha! He was tempted to say he didn’t swing that way, but he remembered who he was dealing with.
The words his mama told him that night came back. Charles hadn’t done anything to anger him so much. Erik wondered why he was so… affected by Charles. He was short, with a horrible fashion sense, and nervous ticks, and striking blue eyes…
Erik realised he was staring. He quickly recovered and thought of something to say. “Emma told us to meet her here. We should’ve known there was something up her sleeve.” Erik tried to maintain as neutral as possible.
Charles was still at a loss for words. He just stood there, not saying a thing. He wasn’t even moving. Had Erik said anything wrong?
Shit. Erik realised he was having a panic attack. Charles tiny frame was heaving heavily. He looked like he was about to shatter.
“Charles? Charles!” Rushing over, Raven grabbed him by his shoulders. “What’s the matter?”
Charles didn’t say anything. He tried to cough, but that only made it worse.
Erik stepped forward before Charles fell. He gripped Charles, wrapping his arms around the fragile torso, and let him to the floor slowly. “Deep breathes, Charles. In and out.”
Charles was clawing at Erik’s shirt. Erik thought he was just unsteady, until he realised it was Charles futile attempt at shoving him away.
“Charles!” Raven’s face was full of worry. She knelt down beside Charles as Erik took a few steps back. “It’s alright Charles. Everything’s alright.”
Charles seemed to calm down a little. He hugged Raven so tightly it seemed to Erik he was afraid of letting go. They stayed like that for a second or two. But to Erik, it felt like decades.
“Jesus Christ, Charles. You scared me.” Once Charles breathing had steadied, he sat cross legged on the floor, Raven still kneeling beside him.
“Sorry.” Charles wasn’t hugging Raven anymore, but her hand was still on top of his. Erik felt awkward. He shouldn’t be there to witness their PDA.
“I’ll just leave you two alone. I’d hate to impose.” Erik didn’t know why he was so bitter. Charles had just saved them, after all. “Oh, and Charles, we have the biology project together.”
Erik was about to walk away when Raven shouted at him to stop. “Wait! Charles is the prat you dislike so much?”
Erik turned around. Charles still hasn’t said a word, but Raven looked close to laughing. “Yes.” He answered simply.
“He’s the spoilt, know-it-all, boy you’ve been complaining about?”
Erik didn’t see what was funny. “Yes, Raven. Now, stop asking me stupid questions. You can ask your boyfriend.”
“Woah woah woah.” Raven stood up now, leaving Charles alone on the floor. “ Woah. First of all, he’s my Brother . I’m not as into incest as Cain is.” Raven let out a small laugh.
Brother? So the boy making Erik lunch for the past week was the one he hated so much. “You’re a Xavier?” Erik spat it out as if it were an accusation.
“Uh, yeah. Secondly, you can go fuck yourself, mate. Charles may be a bit of a twat - sorry Charles - but he’s the most loving hardworking person ever.” Raven was angry now. “If you can’t see that, we can no longer be friends.”
“Raven,” Charles croaked out. “Don’t make any rash decisions. You two just leave, and I’ll go back to my lab.” Charles hesitated for a while.
Raven scoffed. “Charles, I would never place a friend above you.” She glared at Erik as she made her point.
“And I believe that,” Charles responded good naturedly. He stood up and brushed his clothes. “You two better leave. Don’t get into any more trouble.”
Charles still wasn’t meeting Erik’s eye. Erik didn’t blame him — Erik was still shocked at the little reveal. Erik decided to take his leave before he did anything he would regret.
It only occurred to him a day later that leaving was the choice he’d regret most.
Chapter 7: Now the fluff may commence
He went out of his way to get to homeroom earlier than usual. He was hoping he could find Charles and maybe apologise. He thought of Charles’ broken expression last Friday. Erik was such a dick.
His plans for apologising was soon forgotten as he was greeted by a certain Emma Frost.
“What the fuck , Emma.” Erik threw his bag to the ground, hoping to intimidate Emma. She sat at her usual seat, unfazed.
“What are you mad at today?” Oh the nerve of that bitch.
“You tricked us. You sent us to an out of bounds area and got us into trouble!”
Emma leaned back. “It didn’t work, now did it? Trespassing government property can lan you in juvie, and with your previous records it should’ve. Now, what happened?”
Erik clenched his jaw. “We got saved. But that’s aside the point. You—“
“I’d say that was the point.” Emma finally turned to face him, and he saw the glint in her cold, cunning eyes. “You treated him like dirt below your shoes, and yet, he still saved you. He even packed your goddamn lunch today, despite it all!”
How does Emma know that? “So you risked sending me to jail… because you wanted Charles to be nice to me?”
“Erik, you’re denser than a fucking rock.” Emma took a breath in. She looked about two seconds from committing murder. “He’s a sweet boy. Go fucking apologise, dipshit.”
I had already planned to do that, dickhead. “What made you think I wouldn’t?”
“Your ego is bigger than mine, and that’s saying something,” Emma retorted. She took something out of her bag. It was a metal lunchbox. Handing it to him, she muttered, “Charles wanted you to have this. Raven won’t be joining us for lunch any longer. Thanks to you, I’ve lost my only semi normal friend.” Emma was displeased, evidently.
Erik took the lunchbox. After all he’d done, why was Charles still so nice to him?
He went through homeroom and then physics, trying to think of an appropriate way to apologise. It seemed like aeons before the bell signaling his free period rang. He knew Raven and Emma were on their way to algebra.
Erik was running through the corridor like a madman, his lunch his in one hand. He turned a room and burst open the door…
Only to find an empty classroom, with Hank and Alex making out.
“Jesus, Erik!” Alex yelled. They had stopped snogging, but Alex was still holding Hank close, despite Hank’s obvious embarrassment. “Have you heard of knocking?”
“Sorry, I thought this was the algebra classroom.” Erik was still in a flurry, but he realised Hank knew Charles and would serve his purpose for finding Raven. “Hank, do you know what class Charles has right now?”
Hank collected himself enough to glare at Erik, although his messed up hair and crumpled clothes didn’t help his cause. “Why should I tell you that? Raven informed me of your distaste for Charles.”
Shit. Charles must’ve told them he was yelled at. Erik swallowed. Why was he such an idiot? “I’d like to apologise. For everything.”
“Wait, what did you do, exactly?” Hank pushed Alex away now, and was staring at Erik straight on.
“What did Raven tell you?”
“That you thought he was a prat.” Hank narrowed his eyes at Erik. “What did you do?”
“Something fucking terrible. That I need to apologise for. What class does he have now?” Erik tapped his foot impatiently.
“Geography. Lecture hall three.” Hank tried to read Erik. It was a fruitless attempt. He may be smart, but social-wise Erik failed to see how he could’ve ended up with Alex.
Erik muttered his thanks as he ran out to the corridor. Once he reached the lecture hall, he checked for a teacher before entering.
There were students already in class. They gave him weird looks — he wasn’t in this class. He found Charles sitting right in front of the teachers’ desk.
He was avoiding looking at Erik.
Charles felt horrible. Raven had stopped talking to her only friends because of him. What kind of Brother was he? She assured him that she was more than willing, but Charles still felt bad.
He made lunch for Raven as usual. He debated whether he should make one for Erik, after all, Raven was mad at him. But Charles knew she must’ve had a reason to beg Charles to make an extra lunch in the first place. He made a spare lunch box.
I’ll give it to Emma to pass to Erik instead , he decided.
The day went by normally. He didn’t want to face Erik, especially not after that embarrassing panic attack. He sat at the back during homeroom, and even went out of his way to avoid Erik’s locker.
It didn’t seem to work, though. During Geography, when Charles thought he could finally relax as none of his classes clashed with Erik’s, he saw Erik barge into his classroom.
Ohshitohshitohshit. Charles couldn’t have another panic attack. He absolutely couldn’t.
“Charles, do you have a minute?” Erik sounded nervous. Charles didn’t want to risk glancing up at his face.
“Class is going to start soon, Erik. You best be going.” Charles stared straight ahead. He made it pretty clear he wanted Erik to leave, but Erik just stayed there, not moving.
He then did something that surprised Charles even more. He took a seat next to him. “I’ll wait for your class to end, then.”
Having to sit next to Erik Lehnsherr, for an hour, pretending that everything was okay, was too much for Charles to handle. He couldn’t pay attention in class. Erik was right next to him. Like, right next to him. He smelled nice, and his bicep occasionally brushed Charles arm.
Charles was a nervous wreck. He was so caught up over sitting next to Erik he didn’t realise that some of his anxieties actually belonged to the boy who sat next to him.
Erik was spending his free period, and missing another period of class, just for Charles, he realised. Charles didn’t know what he had in stall. He didn’t want to read his mind even then.
Charles suddenly heard an extremely loud thought, making him jump a little.
Am I doing this right? Charles? Can you hear me? I swear to God, Emma if you’re bullshitting me right now you’re going to regret ever —
‘Yes Erik, I can hear you.’ Charles looked up and gave him a look of confirmation. ‘Could you think a little softer?’
Is this okay? No, Emma, I’m not talking to you. Thinking to you? Whatever get out of my fucking head. Yes you’re the best and I owe you now just go away.
Charles felt Erik take a deep breath beside him.
Okay I know that this is an awkward place to do it but I’m so sorry for telling at you and judging you before even knowing and thanks for lunch but you didn’t have to and I’m just really sorry overall.
His thoughts were like a bullet, Charles thought. Fast and scary.
Scary because he didn’t know how to reply. Scary because he wanted to believe him, to trust him.
Scary because it was Erik Lehnsherr, and he never apologised.
Charles didn’t know what to say. He didn’t even know what to think. He kept quiet, not sure of what to reply.
Now that he’s heard Erik’s thoughts, he can’t seem to stop hearing them. Even those he didn’t mean for Charles to hear.
I fucked up, and now he’s never going to forgive me. I’m an asshole. Emma was right.
‘I agree.’ Charles tried to add a little humour to his tone. ‘Why the sudden apology, Lehnsherr?’
Erik didn’t project his thoughts. Charles read his mind, as messy and flustered as it was.
You were so small, so fragile, and I felt like a douche, and I just really want to straighten things out.
Fair enough, Charles reasoned. He was sincere. Charles wasn’t one to harp on small misunderstandings. Let’s just give him a second chance. What’s the harm in that?
Charles entered a different mind this time. He thought she deserved to know. ‘Erik apologised. It’s fine now.’
He has to do more than say sorry. I’ve never seen you so… Raven searched for the right words. So… distraught. Even if you refuse to tell me what he did I won’t stand for it.
‘Forgive and forget, Raven. He means well, truly.’
She hesitated. I trust you. But if he hurts you again I won’t hesitate to murder him.
‘I love you too.’ The bell rang, signaling lunch. “So, er, Erik. Would you like to have lunch with me?”
Erik obviously didn’t expect that. He stuttered for a moment, but he had already made up his mind. Charles didn’t wait for a reply before walking towards the cafe, occasionally looking back to make sure Erik was still there.
Chapter 8: Head over heels
I’m sorry I haven’t uploaded in a while, I promise I’ve worked on this recently.
He didn’t have to walk fast to catch up with Charles’ short legs. He was still a little stunned. Surely, no one could be that forgiving? He walked slightly behind Charles, trying to gather his thoughts. Were they friends now?
Charles suddenly came to a stop in front of him, and Erik almost walked straight into Charles. He turned to look at what Charles was looking at, and found himself at the door of a recreational room. Someone had left a set of chess out.
“Do you play?” Charles seemed a little aloof.
“Yeah. You?” Better keep it short and simple. He didn’t know what else Charles was hiding besides his feelings.
“Fancy a game? I’m a little rusty, though,” Charles asked.
“Me too.” After pulling out a chair for Charles, Erik took a seat across him. Charles had taken white, Erik noticed, even turning the board around to do so.
As they played, they forgotten about the previous tension. Erik even pouted when he lost the game.
“Damn it, Charles. Are you reading my mind?” The moment he the words left his lips he stilled. Shit, was that an insensitive thing to say?
“I would never do that!” Charles said, not insulted in the least. Erik didn’t notice how tense he was until he was physically relieved hearing Charles’ reply. “Besides, your mind seems rather empty anyways.”
Erik gasped and placed his hand on his chest. “That hurt! In my defense, I almost won. I can’t certainly be as dumb as you perceive me to be.”
Charles laughed. “No. I’m just extremely smart. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Oh shut up.”
“Make me.” Erik glanced up and saw Charles looking at him with a teasing stare.
He can fucking read minds I must not get a boner I must not get a boner I must not —
He saw Charles chuckle a little. Erik’s face must’ve been bright red.
Clearing his throat, he desperately searched for something else to talk about. “So uh. When would you like to meet for the project?”
“I’m free on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I only leave the lab after six on Fridays, so unless we’re really strapped for time I suggest we don’t do that,” Charles said as he packed up the chess board.
“Wednesdays are okay with me,” Erik replied. “Your place?”
“I’d rather yours.” Charles didn’t elaborate. Erik wondered why. He must’ve owned a mansion, why would he not show it off?
“My house is rather… run down,” Erik explained. He didn’t want Charles to see his home.
“My, uh, Father doesn’t like guests. Even for projects.” Charles didn’t give up easily. “Or we could go to the library.”
“It closes early on Wednesdays.” Fuck it, Erik thought. Why did he care about what Charles thought of his home? He shouldn’t. “Just come to my place then.”
“You sure? We could always figure something out, I mean —“
“Yeah I’m sure.” Erik couldn’t back out now. Besides, he shouldn’t care about what Charles think of his home.
The next class they had together was gym. They were separated by weight, and Erik was surprised to find himself a little disappointed at not being with Charles.
He did, however, find himself with Alex. Alex, who wouldn’t leave Erik alone, no matter how hard Erik ‘accidentally’ threw a ball at his face.
“It’s no problem. Man, you aim really horribly, huh?” Alex rubbed his nose, which Erik hoped would start to flatten. “So, what’s with you and Charles?”
“I made a mistake which I’m trying to correct. That’s all.” Erik threw the ball again, but this time Alex caught it before it hit his face. Damn it.
“So you guys are friends now?”
Were they? Erik looked across the gymnasium at Charles. He looked to be in great pain while running next to Hank, his sweat staining his shirt. Erik almost forgot to reply. “Uh, I think? I’m not sure.”
“Cool, cool.” Alex tried to think of how to continue the conversation. Damn his persistence. “Well, I plan to fuck Hank.”
“I really didn’t need to know that.”
“He’s cute. I think he bottoms. I hope he does. I can’t see him as anything else, really, but you can’t tell with some people.”
Erik would’ve done anything for the conversation to end. Luckily for him, the bell had rung, ending gym. Alex walked with him to the shower rooms.
Erik took his time washing up. He never liked to shower when a crowd of smelly boys surrounding him. He took a nice warm shower, relishing the momentary peace
Once he left the showers the locker rooms seemed empty. After packing up, he was about to leave when he realised he could still feel one pipe running. The warm water was soothing, and the pipe led to one of the further stalls.
Someone must’ve forgotten to turn it off. How irresponsible. Erik followed the pipe to the furthest possible stall, and didn’t think twice before opening the curtain.
Chapter 9: I can’t keep coming up with these titles
Imagine if the chapter was just “When Erik opened the shower stall he saw Hank and Alex getting it on. The end.”
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When he saw Charles, naked, his mind stopped functioning. He couldn’t even close the curtain back, he just stood there looking at Charles. Which part of Charles he chose to look at, however, was probably the main reason he couldn’t look away.
“Err, Erik? There’s this thing called privacy, and that means people usually leave other people alone when they shower,” Charles said. He would’ve waved his hands in front of Erik’s face if they weren’t doing such an important task at covering something else.
“Yes of course.” Erik fumbled back before closing the curtains. He didn’t even try to hide his thoughts.
He stood outside of the stall, recollecting himself. He couldn’t think straight (pun intended). As he tried to memorise the sight, Charles finished his shower.
“Erik, could you be a dear and pass me my towel? And maybe afterwards promptly leave?”
Erik looked around and found his towel on a bench. As Erik took the towel on the bench outside, a couple of bandages fell to the ground, along with some numbing cream.
“Charles? Why’d you need all this?” Erik threw the towel over the curtain as he picked up the bandages. He hadn’t noticed any injury on Charles just now. Granted, he was paying attention to other things.
“Just leave them.” Charles sounded hesitant.
Why was he so defensive? Erik didn’t have to read minds to tell something was wrong. “Charles? Answer my question.”
“I told you to leave!” Charles couldn’t sound angry no matter how hard he tried, but Erik senses his apprehension. The bandages were large, too. It must’ve been a serious injury.
Erik tore open the curtain, startling Charles. Charles’ back was facing toward him, and Erik felt anger consume him.
“Who the fuck did that to you!” Erik hadn’t moved. He was afraid of what he would do if he did. Charles pale skin were marked with bruises and scars, some fading, some still slightly pink. But what angered Erik was the large gash taking up half his back.
“It was an accident.” Charles spoke quickly. “My, err, glass cabinet fell on me, and then I got injured.”
The injury did look like it was caused by glass. Erik knew — he’d inflicted some before. But that, it wasn’t an accident. It couldn’t have been. It was a slow and agonising cut. A cut that hasn’t been tended to, nonetheless.
Charles had turned around now, facing Erik, hiding his wound. But his ribs were black and blue too, and Erik could clearly see the outline of fingers on his wrist.
“Cut the bullshit, Charles.” Erik stepped forward tentatively, and cursed himself when he saw Charles retreat. He couldn’t yell at Charles. “I won’t ask anymore questions if you allow me to help you.”
Charles thought about it, then nodded. He sat down on the bench as Erik unwrapped the bandages. He massages the cream into Charles wound, making Charles flinch a little.
He never had someone to tend to his wounds before. He had always kept them to himself. But as he felt Erik’s firm but gentle fingers caressing his back Charles wondered if he should’ve done so earlier. Erik wrapped the bandages carefully, making sure it was loose enough for Charles to be comfortable but tight enough to serve its purpose.
“Thanks,” he said. He didn’t want to look at Erik, and kept his eyes on the ground. Erik stayed silent, but Charles could hear his burning questions. He wasn’t obliged to answer them, though. He swiftly packed up his things and left the locker room without Erik.
He’d have to face Erik sooner or later. It was going so well. The chess game, the fun banter. And he of course had to ruin it. Charles cursed himself. Whatever happened, no one else could know.
After classes ended Charles was waiting in the library for Raven to finish her classes. She ended way later than Charles did, but he didn’t want to go back just yet.
“You’re in the library studying. What a surprise.”
Charles turned around and faced Raven. “I don’t fancy wasting time.”
Raven snorted and gestures at his books. “This is the biggest waste of time if anything.” She took a seat beside him and fanned through the pages. “Ready to go home?”
Home wasn’t what Charles would describe his house. It was more of an obligatory residential area to Charles. A home was where you rest, where you can let your guard down and relax.
Charles didn’t have a home. He knew that. The closest thing was Raven, and even so he had to keep so many things from her. He was tempted to tell her everything. To let it all go, to be comforted for once. To be able to cry on someone’s shoulders. Such a simple act, and yet, Charles couldn’t think of anything he wouldn’t do for that offer. Besides informing Raven, of course.
She couldn’t know. If she knew what he had done, she’d never forgive him. She was mutant and proud, obviously, but sometimes her confidence might place her in an unwanted situation. Sometimes that meant every single day.
Charles said goodbye to Raven before parting ways. The house was huge, he hardly ever sees her at home after family dinner.
Family, ha! Charles scoffed at the phrase. Raven was family. Hank was family. But his mum, Marko, and Cain? They were less than strangers.
Charles hid in his room as much as he could. Unfortunately, dinner was mandatory.
The table was large, and he sat diagonally across Raven. Marko sat at the head of the table. The one his Father used to sit in so long ago.
Cain sat across him, stepping on his feet underneath the table cloth. Charles crossed his legs.
He didn’t partake in the conversation for his mind was preoccupied. Raven often decided to go all blue when she was home. Charles had to make sure no one else noticed.
He’d never admit it. It wasn’t something he was proud of. But he had to protect Raven, even if it means sacrificing himself.
It was tiresome, altering the minds of three people and any passing servants. He wanted Raven to be proud of who she is. She was absolutely beautiful. But not everyone could see that. Especially not Cain or Marko. They think she’s beautiful too. Just blonde and fair skinned.
Charles only relaxed when Raven went back to her room. Charles took this as a cue to leave as well.
Standing up, he folded his napkin on the table. “I think I’d better go to bed as well. I have a long day at school tomorrow.”
As he walked past Marko he felt a wrist close right on his arm. He had been expecting that.
“Now where do you think you’re going, freak?”
Charles found himself in his room, wrapping himself in bandages once more. It had felt so much better when Erik had done it.
Erik was a mutant too, he recalled. In the shop, when he was levitating cans. Telekinesis, perhaps. Charles wondered if he hid his powers too. Or did he do that often, in full view of baselines?
Well, whatever it was, Charles was sure he could take care of himself. He hoped. He didn’t want Erik getting hurt.
Charles looked at the bruises that had started to form, this time on his shin. He winced as he applied numbing cream.
He wondered what Erik was doing. What his home was like. Did he have siblings? What did his parents work as?
I know nothing about the boy , Charles realised. He made sure to remember to ask more the next day.
His phone rang suddenly, causing Charles to jump a little. It couldn’t have been Raven, she would’ve just thought loudly. And she was asleep. Could it be Hank?
Charles noticed the number wasn’t saved. He picked up the phone.
“Charles Xavier. Who’s calling?”
“Charles!” A voice rang out in the quiet room. Charles felt his whole body relax when he heard that voice. “I called you at nine, then ten then at eleven, and you didn’t pick up!”
“Sorry, Erik, we were having a family dinner.”
“For three hours?” Erik’s tone was skeptical.
“Why’d you call, anyways? Do you need help with work?”
“Don’t change the subject, Charles.” Erik took a deep breath. “Are you alright?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Charles found that question a little odd. Why would someone call at twelve midnight to ask someone if they were alright.
Erik hesitated on the other side of the line. “You’re lying.”
“I believe I’m the telepath here, you don’t know anything that’s going on.”
Charles was comforted at the thought that Erik cared about him so much as to stay up to call him. Erik huffed. “Fine, whatever, get some sleep. Sorry for bothering you.”
“It was no bother. Rather lovely, on the contrary. It was sweet of you.”
“Yeah yeah whatever good night.”
Charles went to bed smiling that night. It was a first.
I felt a little dry reading this chapter. It just didn’t have the thing stories have to make them captivating. It was subject verb object repeatedly. The next chapter is my fav, though. Stay tuned :))
Chapter 10: Meet the parents
“My Charlesisbeinganidiot senses are tingling.”
Emma briefly wondered why she was still friends with Erik. “What do you want me to do about it?”
“Could you check up on him for me? Please.”
When Emma pulled that little prank hoping to get Erik to realise what an asshole he was, she didn’t expect it to escalate so quickly.
She closed her eyes for a brief second before opening then again. “Your boyfriend’s fine.”
He ignored the jab. “Are you sure?”
Emma looked at him as if he had grown another head. “I mean I could have made a mistake you know how unreliable mind-reading is nowadays - Yes I’m sure, dimwit.”
Erik wasn’t. No matter what Emma said. He went through the rest of the day trying to look for Charles, but he was nowhere to be found. Was he intentionally avoiding Erik? He couldn’t have been, right? After all, he was nice to Erik when he picked up the phone.
Erik thought back to his first impression of Charles. He had called him a spoiled brat. It was far from true, Erik knew now. He couldn’t shake away the image of Charles’ scars. Who in their right mind would ever do such a thing?
Even as the final bell rang, he had yet to see Charles for the day. He had to go to work soon, but his worries were gnawing at him.
He was closing up his shift when he heard the door open. It was late — almost eleven, and Erik could barely keep his eyes open. He was in no mood for yet another customer.
“We’re closed,” he snapped. He was making sure everything was in place for the next morning.
“I know, I know, and I’m terribly sorry to intrude, but I didn’t know where else to go, and I can’t really go to Hank’s like this, and —“
The voice was hoarse. It sounded as if it had been sobbing for weeks on end. Erik whipped around and found himself looking down at Charles. His eye was bruised, and he looked so tiny, so fragile.
Erik didn’t realise the metal in the store beginning to shake. It wasn’t violent. It was just building up. Erik just stood there, too dumbfounded to even think of aiding Charles.
Who the fuck did this?
“The person doesn’t matter, Erik.” Charles wrapper his arms around himself. Erik felt his heart break a little more.
He called for his coat by the metal buttons, and tenderly wrapped it around Charles. “Stay here. I’ll close the shop, and I’ll bring you home, yeah?”
Charles wrapped the coat a little tighter around himself and nodded. Erik rushed to close the shop, exhaustion completely gone. They were on their way home within minutes.
Erik kept his arm around Charles’ shoulders the entire walk home. He wished he could’ve called a cab. He wished he didn’t live in such a shady area. He hoped Charles didn’t look down on him. Not that he would — he was too tired at the moment.
Erik held Charles close as he staggered up the staircase, and he gave his mum a look when she saw them stumble in.
“Go take a warm shower. I’ll lay some clothes for you to wear.”
Charles must’ve just realised the severity of the situation. “I don’t want to be a hassle, Erik. I just need someplace to stay for a little while.”
“Yeah. You’re staying the night. C’mon now, I’ll make dinner.” Erik all but carried Charles to the washroom before finding some clothes for him. Even his smallest shirts would look oversized on Charles.
Once he was done, he went to the kitchen. His Mother has just watched all this unfold, sipping her tea quietly in a corner.
“He’s a Friend. He’s not doing well at home, can he crash for a couple of days?” Erik was afraid she’s say no. “He can sleep on my bed, and I’ll sleep on the couch, and —“
“Of course.” His Mother was… laughing at him? The wrinkles on the corner of her eyes showed as she took another sip of tea. “Is he by any chance that brat you were talking about?”
Mothers seem to have this supernatural tendency to know everything. Maybe that’s her own unique mutation. “Shut up, mama.”
Erik felt the tap turn off. His mum assured him she’ll handle dinner before he went back to his bedroom. He knocked on the door and waited for Charles to allow him to go in.
“Thank you, Erik. It means a lot.” Charles was sitting on his bed. Erik’s shirt was way too big for him, it only emphasised his smallness. His hair was wet, it dripped down to his shoulders, dampening his shirt. Erik realised he was staring, and looked away.
“It’s no problem. Really.” Erik wanted to ask questions. He wanted to assure Charles that everything would be alright. And most importantly, he wanted to break the neck of whoever did that to Charles.
Jeez. He needed to chill before he ended up in jail. “I’ll go take a shower, make yourself at home.”
He took a quick cold shower. It helped him unwind himself. When he was done he went to look for Charles, only to find his bedroom empty.
He found Charles in the kitchen instead. He watched intently as Mama cooked. His hands were wrapped around a cup of tea, trembling as if it were too heavy for him to hold up.
“And then, Charles, you add a little bit of salt, and it’s done! Simple!”
“Fascinating.” Charles watched as she took the soup to the kitchen table. His eyes met Erik’s.
“Ah, my boy, just in time. We’ll have some soup to warm us up on this cold day.” Charles rushed to help set the table.
The conversation was mostly filled by Mrs Lehnsherr. She told Charles about the time Erik was a baby when he broke the infrastructure of a wishing-well just so he could have a shiny coin.
Charles laughed at the story, and laughed even harder when Erik’s face turned red.
“That’s enough, Ma—“
“Nonsense! He doesn’t even know about when you thought eyeliner was a good idea!”
“You thought eyeliner was a good idea?” At least that cheered Charles up. Erik would’ve ended the conversation ages ago if it were anyone else.
“Alright Ma, it’s late, we should sleep, I love you, stop revealing my life secrets.” Erik places his arm on Charles’ shoulder as he brought him to his bedroom.
“Shouldn’t we help clean up?”
“I’ll take care of that.”
Charles sat on his bed quietly. He didn’t speak for a moment, thinking of what to say.
Finally, he decided. “Your home is nice.”
“Psh.” Erik fluffed the pillows. “It’s old and worn down.”
“No. It’s not that.” Charles laid back. “It’s… loved, you know? It isn’t a house. It’s a home. It’s cozy, and warm, and loving.”
Erik hasn’t thought about it like that. He supposed if that was the case, Charles never really had a home then. “Yeah.”
“You’re lucky, Erik. You really are. I’m envious.” Charles sighed. When Erik didn’t reply, he took this as a sign to continue. “I can sleep on the couch. Rather selfish of me to hog the bed.”
“I can’t let a guest sleep on the couch. Also, mama would murder me.” Erik rummaged through his drawers and took out his first aid kit. “Come ‘ere. Let me patch you up.”
It felt like routine now. Charles didn’t hesitate when he crawled over to Erik. It felt familiar. Erik didn’t want to stop. He wanted to take care of Charles.
Even when he was done he let his hand linger on Charles’ skin for a little longer before letting go. “You should go to bed.”
“So should you.” Charles’ eyes were almost closing. He was under the covers now, curled up into a tiny ball. Erik had packed the first aid kit when he felt Charles tug on his sleeve. “Stay with me. A little longer. Please.”
Fuck. Erik couldn’t say no to that. He got under the covers, and almost lost it when Charles snuggled against him. He didn’t know where to put his hands when Charles was still grabbing onto his sleeve.
“God, Erik. You can’t be any more awkward, can you?” Charles pulled Erik’s hand toward him, so now it was as if they were hugging. “I want to be selfish for just this one night. I’m running away, and I want to be the brat you thought I were.” He held Erik a little closer. Erik could feel his breaths. “I want to have everything I’ve wanted, even for just a single night. Could you give that to me?”
Erik didn’t reply. He just held on to Charles as if he needed him. Hell, he probably did. Charles sighed contentedly, and Erik was glad Charles decided to be selfish for once.
Chapter 11: Boyf riends
I had a blast writing this. I attempted to write in first person, bear with me.
I wake up to an Erik snoring in my face. He’s very handsome. It’s not like that was the first time I thought he was handsome, but now I could take my time to stare at him without him noticing. His usual scowling face was so serene. He looks like such a sweet boy when he’s asleep.
I must’ve been staring at him for hours, because I feel my leg go numb. I can’t move it — there’s something heavy resting on it. I look down and oh — that something heavy is Erik.
Only now did I notice how intertwined we are. I vaguely remember hugging him to sleep. Now, his legs were tangled against mine — how is he bent like that? — and his arm is tightly wrapped around me. I couldn’t move even if I wanted to — not that I did. Not in the least. I could stay here forever.
“Staring is rude.” I jump at his voice. His eyes are still closed, but his mouth curled up into a smirk.
“You scared me!” I complain. I take this as a chance to try and get out of bed, but he only held me tighter against him. “We’ve got school, dingus.”
“Fuck school.” Erik opens his eyes, finally. “Good morning, sweetheart.”
Sweetheart? I beam at the nickname. I don’t know why it fills me with such joy. “You can’t possibly fuck school, Erik.”
“Fine whatever. Fuck me then.”
I feel a little bold. I toss my chin up as I say, “I’d love to.”
Erik is wide awake now. “Don’t play with me like that.” He groans as he sits up. His hand is still on mine, and I feel like interlocking our fingers.
What is wrong with me?
“Fuck — it’s already ten.”
I jolt up and glance at his clock. “Shit. Raven must be wondering where I am.”
“Text her then.” Erik’s phone flew over as he texts Emma.
“I left my phone at home.” I hadn’t brought anything when I ran away. The only place I could think of to go was, well, Erik.
Once he texted Emma to inform the school he wouldn’t be showing up, he gave me his phone. I scroll to Raven’s contact and I decide to send a voice message.
“Hey, Raven. I don’t feel so good. I decided to stay in today, sorry!”
Erik chuckles as he places his phone on his nightstand. He is still holding my hand.
We’re lying in bed, not doing anything. We stay like this for a little longer, before Erik rolls around to face me.
“So,” he says, “this is great, I really like this, and I totally wouldn’t mind at all if I woke up to you every day for, like, ever.”
I laugh. I wouldn’t mind either. But I don’t say anything, instead, I just hug him a little tighter. “You literally hated me just like three days ago.”
“And I’ve changed my mind,” Erik says. “We might not have much in common, but I like holding hands.”
“So do I.” I sigh into his chest. He’s warm and nice and huggable. I could spend all day in his arms, but my stomach craves food. It took an hour to get up, much to Erik’s distaste, and another to convince him to let go of my sleeve.
I bring a sandwich and a glass of water for him upon my return.
He still has a mouthful of food when he asks, “Did you plan to go to school today? You don’t even have your bag.”
“I was in a flurry to leave,” I explain. “I didn’t even know where I was going.”
“And you came to me.” He sounds proud when he says that.
“S’pose I did,” I murmur. I glance at Erik, half-awake, lying in his bed smirking.
And what an extraordinary decision I made. I refuse to go back to bed — who knows when I may ever get up? Instead, I go take a short shower. I worry about my situation as brush my teeth. Marko didn’t see me leave last night, but he’ll find out something’s wrong soon enough. I really don’t want to face him again.
Of course, I could stay here, with Erik. Oh, what a lovely thought. But I shouldn’t impose. No matter what Erik says, I still feel a little guilty. Maybe I’ll sneak back today and grab a duffle bag of some stuff I need. I can go to a hostel, perhaps.
I worry about how I’ll explain this to Raven. She hasn’t a clue on what’s been going on.
Leaving the bathroom, I go and find the clothes I wore here last night. Erik eyes me from the bed as I dig around his room. Where did I put them?
“Your clothes are in the wash. You can wear mine.” Erik stands up and tosses some clothes at me. He must’ve prepared it beforehand.
“Thank you.” I hold the turtleneck and baggy jeans. Well, it’s probably only baggy when I wear them. Erik finally rolls out of bed and heads to the washroom.
“Did you use my toothbrush?”
Oh crap. It hadn’t occurred to me. “Sorry! I’ll get you a new one!” I yell back.
Erik comes out of the bathroom as I finish pulling down his sweater. His toothbrush is in his mouth. “No matter,” he says, his mouth full of foam.
Damn. I can’t form a single sentence. He laughs softly as he walks back to the bathroom. I’m too flabbergasted to respond.
His phone chimes and I sprawl across the bed to pick it up. I hope it’s Raven, but Emma’s name takes up the screen.
Skipping school with your boyfriend?
Boyfriend? Is that what we are? I shake the thought away, it’s probably just Emma’s usual teasing.
Boyfriends. I could be Erik’s boyfriend. The thought plagues me even as Erik comes out of the bathroom.
I’ll think about that later, I tell myself. I have to deal with other things now.
I ran away from home. I packed up and left. I can’t ever go back now, can I? I can grab my valuables this afternoon and make a run for it.
What will I tell Raven?
Hey, I’ve been abused for the past decade of our lives, but I hid it from you because reasons.
I don’t think that would go over well. I sigh and run my hands through my hair. I have more pressing matters, I suppose. Getting my things. I’m sure that wouldn’t be too much of a hassle, but it pains me to even think about leaving the books behind. And where will I stay? I can’t stay with Erik, as much as I want to. There aren’t any dorms in our school, or student hostels nearby. I could crash at Hank’s, but then I’d have to explain it to him, and he’d tell Raven, and —
“Charles?” Erik sits on the edge of the bed, facing me. His expression is soft, and his voice even more so. “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.”
I don’t know about that, really. I hope it will. I really do. Hugging myself a little tighter, I ask, “Do you know anywhere I could stay? If I do run away.”
“Here, with me,” he says it as if it is the most obvious thing in the world.
“I don’t want to impose.”
Erik sucks in a breath. “You’re not imposing. If you feel bad, you can pay rent or something, I don’t know.”
Hm. I’ve never thought about it like that. Perhaps it’ll work. Erik reads me like an open book, and grins when he knew he won. I try to smile back, though I’m afraid it came out a little apprehensive.
Erik’s smile doesn’t falter, however. He leans over and pulls me into a hug. “We can get your stuff back this afternoon. I’ll come with you.”
It wasn’t a question. It was a promise.