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across my big brass bed

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Raven finds them in the solarium, sitting on the daybed; the long ottoman has been pulled out from underneath it, and Erik has his feet up on it, his shoes haphazardly discarded on the floor. Charles is curled up next to him, his head on Erik's shoulder, fast asleep. "How long has he been out?" she asks; she's not surprised to find them this way, not after the night they all had.

"A while," he answers, motioning her over. She toes out of her shoes, crawling up into the bed so she can lie down beside him. He puts his arm around her, kissing her on the top of the head, and she turns in towards him, wrapping an arm around his waist. "Just sort of dropped off while we were talking."

"He does that sometimes," she tells him. "At least he doesn't snore."

They sit there for a long while, Erik's fingertips tracing idle patterns on her skin as she listens to his heartbeat, the rhythm of Charles's breathing. She's all but fallen asleep when loud footsteps approach. She looks up; it's Hank, and he's staring at the three of them like he doesn't know what the hell he's looking at.

"Can I help you?" Erik says dryly.

"I, uh," he stammers. "I was just on my way to- I didn't mean to-"

It's all very tense for a moment, as Hank looks at the empty space next to Raven, a hangdog expression on his face.

"The hell with it," Erik says, waving a hand at him. "Come on."

Hank startles. "Really?"

"No shoes," Raven tells him.

He carefully unties his shoes, setting them out of the way before he sits down stiffly next to her. He seems totally unsure of what to do; she finally grabs his hand and pulls him over, settling him in behind her. He settles his face into her hair in a way that he probably thinks is very subtle, but Raven doesn't mind too much. He smells pleasantly of soap, and he's warmer than Erik; she stretches in between the two of them, relaxing deeper into the bed.

Raven doesn't know how much more time passes before Sean comes wandering by. "Is this a puppy pile?" he asks, delighted, immediately taking his sneakers off. "Sweet." Without hesitation, he climbs up and burrows in next to Charles, who shifts, making a contented noise. Erik looks at Raven, and she gives him the universal, "I don't know, let's just go with it," shrug.

Darwin is right being Sean; he looks at all of them in confusion for a moment, but he moves on quickly. "I've been looking all over for you," he tells Sean. "Weren't we going running?"

"Yeah, we were, but then this happened," he says, unabashedly.

Darwin shrugs. "Sounds good to me." He kicks off his loafers, climbing in next to Sean. "Why do we have such a big couch?"

"It's a daybed," Hank tells him. "It has to be big enough for someone to sleep on."

"This still seems like a lot of room."

"Don't knock the daybed," Sean tells him. "Obviously it's useful for something."

"You've got a point," Darwin says, tucking himself up against his back.

"Darwin, are you down here?" Alex says, from the other room.

"In here," he calls back.

Alex comes walking in, but then he stops, taking in the scene. "What."

"What does it look like?" Raven says.

He tries to talk several times, but in the end he just shakes his head.

"Come on," Erik says. "There's a little more daybed."

Alex throws up his hands. "Try anything once," he says.

He makes to sit down next to Darwin, but Darwin stops him. "Hey, man, it's a cuddle puddle, there's no shoes."

"What the hell is wrong with all of you people," Alex mutters, but he takes his shoes off and climbs in.

Sean and Darwin have to shift to give him room; the motion jostles Charles a little, and he blinks awake. For a moment he's fine, but then he frowns. He looks back over his shoulder, and his face is unexpectedly very close to Sean's; Sean grins, giving him a little wave. Charles raises his head, taking a look around, then he looks up at Erik. "I'm not exactly sure what has happened here."

"Hank started it," Erik says.

"What?" Hank says, startled. "I was invited! Sean started it."

"Hey, I was like number five," Sean says. "It can't be my fault. It must be Raven."

"If it's not Hank, then it can't be me," Raven argues. "So it must be Erik."

"Well," Erik says, "we've already established that it's not me-"

"When did we do that?" Alex cuts in.

"-so it must be you, then, Charles."

"Ahh," Charles says uncertainly. "Alright. Then I suppose I'll gladly take all the blame or all the credit."

"Of course you will," Raven says, snuggling into Erik's side, pulling Hank's arm closer around her. "Now, why are we talking when we could be cuddling?"

"We can't talk and cuddle?" Alex says. "I didn't know this thing had friggin' rules."

"We can't argue and cuddle," Charles clarifies. "Arguing is antithetical to cuddling."

"Five-dollar words aren't?" Sean asks.

"No," Hank answers. "They might facilitate cuddling."

"Quite right," Charles says. "They could be a panacea for all cuddling-related problems."

Raven presses her face into Erik's shoulder and laughs and laughs.

There's absolutely nothing in the world she'd rather be doing right now; in this moment, it really doesn't get any better than this.