Erik both enjoyed and hated being on the train. Mostly the loathing was due to fellow passengers during his commute to and from work. The enjoyment was the feel of tons of steel and technology flying towards his destination.
Another fly in the ointment would be general delays - not to mention; breakdowns.
And this wasn't even a commute to work. It was getting out of the city on a Friday afternoon to go see his mother in Pleasantville. A trip of about an hour on a good day. On a bad day? Who knew?
Currently he'd been stuck in a stuffy train with too many people and possibly not enough oxygen for more than an hour. The last half hour more or less without the train moving. Erik had gone through considering using his powers on the train, killing everyone, killing himself etc.
The first thought of using his gift he had turned down quite quickly. As an engineer, he knew too much about structural integrity to start pushing and pulling a train from its stationary position. Killing everyone wasn't really an option either - his mother would be very disappointed that the anger management meetings of his youth hadn't panned out. Killing himself was just messy and it would wake up the man who was sleeping against his shoulder.
Erik was well aware how fucked up that was, but the guy had sat down next to Erik even though Erik always exuded 'dangerdangerdon'tsitdown' at people. It worked on everyone else and theoretically it should have worked even better with this guy. Five minutes after he'd put his head back and fallen asleep, Erik could feel his presence and had easily guessed that his seat-mate was either a telepath or an empath. So the guy should have been even better at reading Erik's aversion to a seat mate.
At first Erik hadn't been sure if the contented feeling was coming off the man next to him, but the ebb and flow of sleepy tiredness fit too well with proximity and the m-pin on the lapel of the man's suit. A nice and serviceable, dark grey suit, though lightly crumbled from the day's wear. Erik used the pin as a very transparent excuse as to why he hadn't bounced the man's head from his shoulder. In truth, he had sat completely still from the beginning, at first gobsmacked that anyone would dare. Then feeling oddly warm that someone had dared.
Erik tried to ignore the voice in his head laughing at him - tried to tell himself that it didn't sound one bit like his mother's laughter. Nor did he acknowledge every time he looked sternly - he wasn't glaring! - at anyone in the car being too noisy.
Checking his phone one handedly, Erik smiled at the WhatsApp text from his mother. Most women her age weren't interested in technology, but there were days where Erik thought his mother was better at utilizing every little bit of advantage of a smartphone than he was. She'd even huffed when he'd bought the new iPhone, mainly because she'd been a diehard android supporter for years. Hell, she had been the one to introduce him to using Linux years back, so he wasn't going to argue with her.
He replied to the text with a quick snap of the front camera. He felt only mildy bad about sending an image of a sleeping stranger to his mother. After all, the man had fallen asleep on him and not vice versa.
The reply from his mother came promptly. "My goodness, he's terribly cute, Erik. Are you taking him home to meet me?"
Erik tried to keep still instead of laughing out loud. She would never give up, would she? "No, mama, he's a stranger who fell asleep on me - the train is still stopped."
"I still think you should bring him home. Must be special if you haven't crucified him for invading your personal space yet."
Erik smirked and shot ";P" at her.
This quickly escalated into an emoticon war.
Something must have shifted and Erik looked down and found a pair of very blue eyes now open, watching him with sleepy interest.
"I'm sorry," Erik found himself saying. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
The man blinked rapidly to clear his eyes, then flushed a little as he straightened himself. "I think I'm supposed to be the one to apologize." He ran fingers through his and and smiled at Erik. "I was the one who fell asleep on you."
"You seemed to need it and we're not exactly going anywhere," Erik replied, still feeling oddly at ease with this man. And damn it, he couldn't shake his mother's words. The man was definitely cute."
The colour in the man's cheeks rose and Erik realized he'd probably caught that thought. He couldn't find it in himself to be embarrassed about it, though.
"I'm sorry, my mental shields are a little fuzzy when I've been sleeping and you are right, I did need the nap." He held out his hand. "Charles Xavier," he introduced himself, holding a hand out to Erik.
"Erik Lehnsherr," Erik replied. "I don't mind," he said.
"That I fell asleep on you or wandered into your head?" Charles asked drily.
"I don't mind either," Erik explained. "I'm a mutant as well, I sometimes bend the metal frame of my bed in my sleep."
Charles shot him an interested look. "Telekinesis?"
"Magnetism," Erik replied. "I had to go through many frames before I found one that resonated just right for me, or I'd get a toothache from sleeping in it." He wondered why he was sharing this with a stranger…
"Huh, interesting," Charles replied.
"Not really," Erik said drily. "If the frame isn't quite right, I grind my teeth in my sleep."
Charles cracked up and laughed, eyeing Erik as if he didn't quite believe him.
"I'm serious," Erik insisted, feeling oddly refreshed by this conversation, by focusing his annoyance at being stuck on the possibility of being stuck with the right company.
"I'm pretty glad to be stuck with you, too," Charles said, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.
"Too bad we don't have a chess set or something," Erik lamented. It was one of those things he looked forward to when visiting his mother - her enjoyment of the game.
"Oh, I'm pretty sure we can make do," Charles said with a wink. "If you don't mind coming in here." He tapped his temple.
Erik was intrigued. "I would be delighted to," he said, "as long as we don't miss our stops - my mother will never let me hear the end of it."
Charles laughed. "I'm not pulling us that far under," he said with a wink.
So Erik was treated to his first ever game of mental chess - as Charles supplied him with a board and pieces projected inside his head. He was also, as the train finally began rolling again, invited to have a real world game of chess when they were back in New York, not to mention an actual date with dinner before said game.
No, Edie was never going to let him live it down. At least not until he could talk Charles into coming home to visit her.