Part 6! JFC, this thing continues to eat my face.

If It Comes When It Comes
by gale

SUMMARY: In which people are very loud, sex makes Charles into an origami flower, and Warren Worthington III makes an amazing bitchface.


Honestly, Charles thinks, this would all go so much easier if people would just admit he was right.

"This is a school," he says out loud. "Schools need teachers."

Irene and Hank are at the counter, getting coffee; Charles is settled in with his tea, Raven and Erik on either side of him. It's not quite time for the students--and Armando, who's apparently still having the odd moment now and again where his body's remembering how to be solid--to be awake, and there are things they need to discuss. They needed to discuss them before now, frankly, but time moves too fast.

"And what, precisely, do you suggest I teach?" Raven asks, red eyebrow raised. She's wearing a robe, albeit loosely tied, and she's got that expression he's privately dubbed Seriously Charles Sometimes I Think Your Taste Is In Your Mouth. She wears it a great deal when he's meeting young women in bars. "The rage of the disenfranchised? How to fit a sweater? Waiting tables?"

"Close," Erik says. "Math and physical education."

Raven stares at him. So does Charles; he would have suggested physical education anyway--Raven's had training in both dance and judo, and has more than enough stamina in her natural form--but while he'd been thinking about math, he hadn't ever actually said so to Erik. For a professor of genetics, Charles has been fair to middling at best with mathematics; Raven, on the other hand, is excellent at it.

"What," Raven says.

Irene squeezes his sister's shoulder. "Hear them out," she murmurs. "Please."

Charles still can't get a good read on their newest addition, but he's known his sister since he was twelve years old; he knows that soft look on her face, the way she can't quite not listen when Irene says something. You don't need to be a psychic to be able to read a room, especially when two people are looking at each other like they're the only ones in it.

Hank sits down next to Charles, hands--paws?--hands clasped around a mug. "The system we have now is okay," he says. "Not great. Alex is old enough for college - and ready; I've compared his grades to oral tests I've given him. Armando's older than Alex, but his power is mostly defensive. He can adapt to his own surroundings, but he can't do it to anyone else. Sean's seventeen, Scott's fourteen, Jean and Ororo are thirteen. They need actual accredited classes. And more importantly, if we're doing this - really doing this - we're going to have more kids here. We need staff, Raven."

"And possibly more buildings," Erik says. Charles raises an eyebrow at him. "Don't look at me that way, Charles. This house is ridiculous for eleven people, but we're talking dozens of students, maybe more. Hopefully more. The grounds are more than large enough, but you still need housing." Especially if we get the amount of students you think we will.

Charles tells himself not to get too excited that Erik said "we" and not "you".

"And training rooms," Raven muses, thoughtful. "That bunker your father built is already sort of half-burnt, thanks to Alex and Scott."

"Stepfather," Charles corrects, and Raven winces and tilts her head in acknowledgement. Kurt Marko was a lot of things when he was alive, but he was never Charles' father. Brian Xavier died when Charles was almost too young to remember him; his memories of his father are dim at best, even with his ability, and mostly based on photographs.

"The point is," Hank says, "we need--wait, no, let me get a pen--"

*

Charles stays up late that night, absorbed in the rough plans they'd made for a school and trying desperately not to hear what he's hearing from down the hall.

Not with his ears, of course; that, he could drown out. But for all that Irene has decent natural shielding, Raven doesn't, and she's...broadcasting fairly loudly, and he can't quite bring himself to make the whole thing more awkward by breaking in to ask them to keep it down. The better part of valor seems to be to try and block it out as best he can.

Sadly, that is not working all that well. Irene is a dim, soft, perfect pleasure; Raven, on the other hand, is almost deafening, the same sort of shout someone makes when they go white-water rafting.

"I don't need to know any of that," Charles mutters under his breath, and bends his head to the plans again.

And then someone knocks.

Charles blinks and looks up. "Come in," he says, rubbing at his eyes. He doesn't have to look up. "Oh--Erik, hello."

"That's never not going to be a little strange," Erik warns, but he doesn't look irritated. Charles counts it as a little victory. "I was just coming to say goodni--are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Charles says, waving it off. "Just. A little loud in here at the moment. I've heard worse."

Erik blinks. "I'm not--"

"No! No, I'm not--I wouldn't listen in without saying something," Charles says, and means it. He still skims Erik's thoughts more often than not, but he doesn't dig. He tries not to dig with anyone, he really doesn't, but he makes an effort with Erik. "Just." He waves a hand again, aimed at the door. "Raven and Irene."

"They're--" Erik blinks again. "Ah."

"I'm trying very hard not to have uncomfortable flashbacks to my mother and stepfather," Charles admits, and resists a shudder. His shields had developed almost as a form of self-defense, but sleep made him vulnerable. He'd known more about certain parts of human anatomy and psychology before the age of eleven than most children did 'til they hit university. "For a variety of reasons."

"I can't imagine," Erik says, and Charles resists the urge to apologize. It's not his place, to start, and it doesn't--their experiences are very different.

"Better if you don't try," Charles says. "And I'm fine, to answer your original question. Just--distracted." He shakes his head. "I was going to try and get a head start on the plans, but I think that's a wash for the night."

"Does distance help?" Erik asks, after a beat. "It seems to, occasionally."

"Not always. Still, every little bit would help." He stands up from the desk and switches the lamp off, uses the light spilling in from the hall to maneuver to the door. A walk might help, actually. It won't do a lot of good if they're at it more than once--and it hasn't been so long for him that he doesn't understand that no, it'll probably be two if not three times--and he really needs to get better at blocking it out, since he's fairly certain Raven's no good at one-offs, but still: very, very loud.

After a moment, Erik follows, then walks alongside him. "Does it bother you?" he asks idly. "Your sister and Irene."

"Hmn?" Charles looks at him. "Oh! No." It's a strange question. "For one, she can change her shape--"

"She shouldn't have to."

"I know that," Charles says patiently. "I was wrong about that." And should probably say so to Raven in the morning. God, he'd been dreadful to her, hadn't he? "I'm just stating a fact. More importantly, that--you know, it's odd. I find it much harder to judge people."

Erik just raises an eyebrow at him.

"Well--look," Charles says, and opens the front door, letting them both slip outside. It's a crisp, clear night, the kind he's always liked. He takes a deep breath, lets it out, savoring the feel of it in his lungs. "Society tells us something like that--two women together, or two men--is wrong, yes? But there's plenty of historical evidence of it, proof it wasn't the same taboo it is now. Times change."

"Not always for the better," Erik says quietly.

"No," Charles agrees, "but not always for the worse. Ask Irene sometime. One day, my friend, two women--or two men, or groups of people, what have you--will be as commonplace as a family with two picture-perfect children."

"And you saw that, did you, in the three seconds before you looked like you were going to pass out on the stairs?"

Charles is silent for a moment.

"I saw a lot of things," he admits. "But yes, that was one of them."

Erik turns suddenly, blocking his path. "And what about us?" he asks. "What did you see about us?"

Charles looks at him. "I couldn't get a good read on most of it," he admits. "It's not my ability, it was mostly a jumble of images."

"So I could be right. One day, we could all be rounded up, identified, marked--"

"Erik--"

"It's going to happen all over again--"

"No," Charles says, raising his voice. "That's not going to happen. I'm not going to let it happen."

"You can't stop it," Erik says, a little bleak. He doesn't quite slump, but it's close. "Charles, you're a lot of things--"

"I am," Charles agrees. And he apparently hasn't been clear about things, so he'll make a better show of it. Starting now. "Erik. You really don't understand. I am not going to let it happen."

And some of that must get through, because: "Charles."

"I'd rather do it through understanding and acceptance," Charles says. "People never grasp it as well if you just shove it into them. There's a difference between my learning German naturally and teaching it to myself directly from your brain, but in the end I'd still speak German. But if I have to use Cerebro to identify every human on this planet that hates us and rewrite them directly, I'll do it. I will." He lets out a breath. "And when that's done, I'll go home and put a bullet in my brain, because if I can do that, what else could I do? What else would I do?"

"Charles," Erik says again, helpless.

"But I'd do it, Erik. I would. Because right now, almost all of us think we're the only ones. I did, until I met Raven. And you did, until you met me. And we're not. We shouldn't have to be." He looks up at the sky again, blinking rapidly until the urge to well up leaves him. "We're not better than them, but we're no worse. We're different. And I will never, ever think you're entirely right, the same way you won't think I am. But that's all right. Our goal is the same."

Charles blinks a few more times, then shakes his head and sucks in another deep breath of night air. "Well," he says, making his voice bright. "Now that I've gotten unduly maudlin--"

Erik kisses him.

Charles starts. It's--a surprise, is what it is, because he's used to trying to pick someone up, being able to read their thoughts and signals and modulate his words and behavior accordingly. He can see it coming from a mile away, and he can spot the minute it crashes and burns, but either way it's not a surprise. Things don't really surprise him.

A good surprise, he realizes slowly, and kisses him back.

*

They stay out for a while after that, as much because the children might still be awake than as because the night is even more enjoyable knowing how it's going to end.

("Though you could fix that fairly easily," Erik points out. He still sounds measured and reasoned, the way he tends to when discussing the more morally questionable uses of Charles' ability.

"I could," Charles says, "but I won't."

"Spoilsport," Erik says, and very poorly hides a smile.)

"We're going to need staff," Charles says out loud, "and actual teachers. You know that."

"Of course I know that," Erik says. "You think you're the only one who can consider practical applications, Charles?" He looks thoughtful. "But maybe fewer people than you'd think. Have the older children look after the younger ones, let them take care of things like lawn care and maintenance--"

"Chores? Really?"

"Not everyone is going to leave here and have their own lawn service," Erik says, and Charles coughs and rubs one eyebrow.

"Yes," he mutters, "well. Fair point." He blinks. "Say Shaw was right--"

"Never."

"--about one thing," Charles adds, ignoring the interruption. "There are more and more of us every day. There's no set age for powers to manifest: Jean's thirteen, she was catatonic for eight months, so twelve? I was seven--"

"I was fourteen," Erik says quietly.

Charles bumps his thoughts into Erik's, the mental version of squeezing his hand. "Raven's never really talked about her life before I met her in any great detail, but either she's been able to change her shape from an extremely young age or she's always been like that. Irene was thirteen. The consensus seems to be the onset of puberty, but it's not definite. We're probably going to be getting children here, not just younger teenagers."

Erik's silent for a moment. "That--Irene said something," he finally says. "It. I don't love the idea of her trying to write history, Charles."

"I don't--" Charles shakes his head. "I don't get that impression from her. But we'll be cautious all the same." When nothing's forthcoming: "The idea?"

"I still say I'm right," Erik says. "We need to protect ourselves. Humans won't do it for us. MacTaggart might have--" He stops, shakes his head too. "No. We'll have to do it ourselves. But not everyone is suited for it. Hank's new mutation is physically impressive--" he rubs at his throat, wincing slightly "--but his greatest asset is his mind. The agility is impressive, but in a fight--"

"--not always needed," Charles says. He stops and looks at him. "You want a militia."

"Shaw's not going to be the only one who wants to start a war," Erik says. "And not just with the humans. Don't kid yourself, Charles: we'll be fighting ourselves. Threats on all sides." Are you sure you want that? My way--

Our way, Charles shoots back. I'm an optimist, you're a pessimist, remember?

"How could I forget?" Erik says. "I kissed your sister, you know."

"I know," Charles says. "Telepath, remember?" He doesn't address the change in topic, just lets the idea roll around in his head. It's a good one--more, it's a necessary one. "Though I think if you tried now, Irene would be cross with you."

"Really?" Erik asks. "Just Irene?"

"You forget," Charles says, "I am naturally forgiving of others. My powers give me a unique sense of empathy to others."

"Mmn."

"Mind you, if you do it again, I would be..." He pauses. "...irritated."

"Oh, and we can't have that," Erik says, smiling a little. "The great Charles Fr--"

Charles grabs his shirt and yanks him down--damned height difference--and kisses him. Don't do it again, he says, not a threat. Not that he couldn't be a threat, if it was necessary, but he wants desperately to believe all of that was left behind in Cuba. Like the sub: a remnant of something awful that happened.

No, Erik agrees.

Charles' watch vibrates against his wrist. He steps back and blinks at Erik.

"We should go," Erik says, slow and careful.

Charles doesn't dare peer at his thoughts right now. Grass stains are murder to get out, and there's a perfectly good bed back in the house.

"Yes," he says, "we should," and they take off at a fast walk.

*

It is almost certainly the longest walk of Charles' entire life.

For a start, Sean is still awake--which, honestly. Charles doesn't hesitate, just reaches out and tells him to go to sleep. He locks the main doors behind himself once Erik is inside, starts for the stairs.

"Really, Charles," Erik murmurs. "I thought you were above such moral ambiguities."

"I try to be," Charles murmurs back. "No one's perfect." His watch is still vibrating against his wrist, and he's fairly certain it's a degree or two warmer than it usually is against his skin.

He stumbles halfway up the stairs, takes a step back; Erik just laughs, almost sub-vocal, and catches his elbow. "I don't think you're going to miss anything," he says, and the bastard is laughing.

Charles just turns in his grip and glares at him. "You know," he says, "I could just go--"

"No you won't."

"No I won't," he agrees, and slides his hand free--or mostly; when their fingers catch and Erik's hold on, Charles doesn't try to pull free.

The good news, though, is that Raven and Irene have either gotten quieter, or--more likely--he's too preoccupied to naturally filter the static out. His own thoughts are still a jumble of things right now: how long it's been since he last pulled (not appropriate, Charles), how this isn't exactly pulling (good lord, no), how it's increasingly difficult to keep out of Erik's head (though he's honestly trying, now more than ever). Frankly, the last is a little worrying; he's never had difficulty keeping himself separate during sex, but they're just walking and all his brain wants to do is unfold like an origami flower.

"Except you're not supposed to unfold origami," Erik says, right behind him, and Charles is too startled to open the door slowly, just lets it bang into the wall.

"That--" He looks at Erik, eyes wide. "I wasn't thinking that at you."

"Well, no, it was quieter than you usually d--" Erik stops, eyes widening a fraction.

"Oh," Charles says, "oh dammit." He turns on the lights and feels himself slump a little. "I. I can't."

"Charles--"

"Not if it's going to constantly be leaking over," Charles says, quiet and furious with himself. Now? He chooses now to fall back on old habits he unlearned at nine? "I told you--"

"You've told me quite a few many times, yes," Erik says. "Do you mean to do it?"

"What?" Charles frowns. "No, I don't."

"Are you actively digging around in there?"

"No, it's not--it's not digging," Charles explains, or tries to. "It's like skydiving. I don't know where I'll land."

"How do you--" Erik stops. "Telepath. Right." He's quiet for another minute. "If I asked you to stop looking at something, could you?"

Charles doesn't hesitate. "Yes."

Another minute of silence. Charles toes his shoes off, sets his watch on the table next to his bed. He'll get up in the morning and have a word with Raven; it'll be supremely awkward for both of them, but it's not as if he was trying to read her mind--

The slow, soft purr of his zipper going down gets his attention. He half-turns.

"I'm not going to tell you I'm not apprehensive," Erik says. The button slides free of Charles' fly. "You'd know I was lying."

"I'd know without having to read you," Charles says. "This--Erik, it's not--"

"And you know damn well you're not going to like everything you find in there," Erik continues. Charles' belt unbuckles and dangles, waiting to be tossed aside.

"I don't like everything in anyone's head," Charles says. "Especially mine. That's not the point." He turns the rest of the way around.

Good lord, he realizes, Erik is really very tall. And looming. And imposing. And--none of it in a bad way, at least not to him, just. It's strange to realize it this far into knowing someone.

"And what is," Erik asks, "the point?"

Charles has never been the most skilled liar, though he's gotten better by necessity over the years, but he's always been awful at it with Erik. "I don't have to like everything in your mind to love it."

It's trite phrasing, a terrible explanation. That doesn't mean he doesn't mean it.

And then Erik's kissing him, maneuvering him back onto the bed as the metal filaments in the bulb by the door burn out and the metal knob clicks on the bedside lamp; and Charles, for the first time in a very long time, stops meaning anything altogether.

*

It's not that Charles has thought about it, in any concrete way. He hasn't. If occasionally his brain's started to lean towards thoughts that start with "maybe" or "what if", well, everyone does that. It's not so strange. But those maybes and what-ifs, they tended to be very - intense, the same way you can sometimes feel it when a thunderstorm's coming.

This is nothing like that. For a start, they keep laughing--

("That--how is your elbow on my hair?" Charles says, trying to wrestle out of his shirt. "It's nowhere near long enough for you to--yes, thank you, that's generally a sign that you should move your arm, Erik."

"Is it my fault you're so little?" Erik says, but he moves his arm and starts working Charles' belt free of the loops.)

--no, honestly, laughing--

("This bed is ridiculous," Erik says, watching, not bothering to hide the grin on his face, as Charles dives for the small bottle of lubricant that's threatening to roll right off the side.

"You're ridiculous," Charles shoots back, on autopilot, just coasting, but he's warm and he hasn't felt this present in his happiness in a very long time.)

--and really, that would be enough, most nights, because Erik doesn't laugh enough. Frankly, neither does Charles. But it'll have to be enough on another night; tonight, it's just the start.

Erik doesn't grumble or glare or so much as look surprised when Charles slips in (untrue; he's been in there since they got into the house) and starts peering at memories. It's not that he doesn't have confidence in his own experience, but he's a gentleman, in his own way; he likes to know what the person he's with likes, what she (or he) enjoys, because it's rude to end the night on a sour note.

"Unnecessary," Erik murmurs, when Charles brushes across a warm summer night in Madrid: Gregor, twenty-six, bullfighter. Excellent hands.

I'm not cheating, Charles protests, just--studying up. He opens his mouth to say something out loud, but Erik chooses that moment to press in the second finger, and his vision grays out for a moment. Mmn.

And what about you? Erik asks. He's mostly focused on what he's doing, but Charles is careful not to get too much of an impression from him, Erik's permission or no.

People in pubs aren't quite the same as--ohhhhh, I see, Charles breathes out. Diane. Lovely woman. You have excellent tastes in-- and then he can't really think words, because there's a third finger and he suddenly doesn't feel like a creature of his mind at all; he feels drunk on sensation, bound to flesh in a way he never normally feels. It's wonderful.

Stop talking now, Erik advises, trying not to laugh. He almost manages it.

Yes, Charles says faintly, yes, all right, and gives up.

*

(Years from now, in a supremely awkward talk with Jean, he'll try to explain it. He'll use vagaries, of course, because Jean's like his daughter and Scott's like his son, but there are some things only telepaths will be able to understand.

It's not that it's sex, or fucking, or lovemaking. That part's fine. That part's excellent, actually; Charles is no slouch himself, and Erik's incredible, and together it's - together it's good, anything else would be hyperbole. From the outside, it probably looks good. Charles doesn't know, because that's not what did it. It's--)

(his mind is cracked open, broken, breaking, he can't hide anything, he can always hide something or a lot of things, but not now, and he doesn't even care because it's maybe the first time he can offer the same sense of bareness to Erik that the world is to him.

come in, he thinks hazily, come in, there's nothing I won't give you.

there's things you shouldn't, Erik--not-thinks, he's not really thinking any more than Charles is; it's more like a very general impression he'll later translate into words. no one should be open like this, Charles. not to anyone.

of course they should, as if it's the dumbest thing he's ever heard, and right now it is. and you don't have to come in, if you don't want, but it's there if you do.

and Erik, because underneath everything he's as fascinated by this as Charles is, does. of course he does.)

("It's the most vulnerable you'll ever be," he will tell Jean, bright pink and curious, knees drawn up to her chest. "Even Cerebro doesn't lay you bare like that--pun not intended," he'll add, because it wasn't and because it makes Jean smile a little. "You know how everyone else feels to you? That's what you'll be to...whoever."

Scott, Jean will say, because Jean has never in her life run from a fight: she takes after Erik that way. You know that, Professor. "And...I get it."

"No," Charles will say, because she doesn't. How could she? "But you will."

And he'll smile.)

*

Then there's a blank spot where Charles doesn't remember much of anything at all, except that he's probably breathing. He lets his body handle that; his mind is too busy trying to gather up its clothes and make the shameful walk home. It's not the best metaphor - it's not actually accurate; there's nothing shameful at all in this - but it's the best he can manage at the moment.

It's quiet for a long time. Charles settles back into himself, takes deep breaths. He's aching in several places, but pleasantly, and he's torn between sleeping for a week and getting up and making steaks.

After a long pause, Erik says, "I've had better."

Charles pushes himself up on one arm and stares at him, mouth open, gobsmacked.

They look at each other, and burst out laughing.

"We really shouldn't," Charles gasps, and burrows his face into Erik's shoulder. It's smooth, and a little sweaty, and he couldn't care less if you paid him. "Someone might h-hear."

"You put them all to sleep," Erik stage-whispers, still shaking with trying to keep the snorting inside.

"I put Sean to sleep," Charles says. "God, can you imagine if Alex walked in--" and that just sets them off all over again.

Eventually, though, they pull themselves together. Charles' lids feel heavy, like he wants to curl against Erik and drift off; apparently, the need for food has lost.

"I'm a liar," Erik murmurs into his hair.

"About this one thing, yes." Charles kisses his shoulder. "'s all."

After a while, he can feel Erik murmur something into his hair, but he's already drifting off, thoughts lazily tangled with Erik's, too hazy to get a picture of anything he'll remember later.

*

Professor?

Charles mumbles and turns over, keeping his face pressed into Erik's shoulder.

Professor, I wouldn't--if this wasn't an emergency, I'd knock, but I'm on my way to the hangar, I thought you'd want to meet me.

"G'w'y," Charles not-quite-says, batting a hand absently at whoever's thinking at him so loudly. He is not awake. Honestly, people need to learn manners--

Charles! And this time it's loud enough for him identify who's speaking - Hank - and make him actually open his eyes. One of the kids you talked to, he was in Centerport?

Yes, Charles says, carefully sitting up. He rubs at the back of his neck. Warren Worthington III. His family's very old money; his father and mine had friends in common, apparently. He smiles, remembering. He has wings, Hank.

Yeah, and he called ten minutes ago to say a group of people had him trapped in his house while his parents are out of town. He sounds really freaked out.

And that's enough to get Charles moving, reaching for his shirt and pants.

*

Getting Warren isn't anywhere near as complicated as it'd been getting Ororo, but significantly more trouble than finding Jean.

There is, in fact, a mob of people clustered around the Worthington home - or one of them; Charles is fairly certain they have several - with homemade signs: "MUTIE GO HOME" and "FREAK" seem to be the most prominent. One of them is, most distressingly, in the uniform of a sheriff's deputy.

It's moments like this that test Charles' resolve, make him realize that maybe - maybe, whether he likes it or not - Erik has some validity to his argument. But it's not the moment for maudlin thinking; now is the time to get Warren out of there, make sure he's safe.

He doesn't wait for Hank to park the jet, because God knows how they'd react to Hank if a pair of wings set them off this way. He just reaches into their minds and makes them forget ever seeing Warren, then puts them to sleep - none too gently, because he's not in the most gentle of moods.

"That's still unnerving," Hank mutters, and sets the jet down with a careful thump. "No offense, sir."

"None taken, Hank," Charles says. "I'm defusing the situation, not playing peacemaker." Warren? It's Charles Xavier. We spoke several months ago.

! is the response he gets, which isn't surprising; it's how most non-telepaths react when he first does this, a startled not-word he's learned to loosely translate. Uh. Hi.

Hi, Charles says, bemused. I've gotten rid of the problem on your lawn, but you're--thirteen?

Fourteen! Warren shoots back, hotly. A moment later, a tousled blond head peers out of the door, followed - after a quick look at said lawn - by the left side of the boy's body. The wing that's visible is drawn back, the way cat's ears go flat to the skull when they're irritated or angry.

My apologies, I misspoke, fourteen. Charles waits for Hank to open the blast doors before he slips out, walking down the ramp. "The point is," he says out loud, "I don't think I can legally allow you to remain here by yourself."

"I have guardians," Warren says warily. "I mean, they're not home now, but - what, you weren't left home by yourself when you were my age?"

Quite often, as a matter of fact, but he was a tiny adult at ten and it doesn't really count as "alone" when you have a Raven with you. And a Cain, sadly. "I'm not having an absentee-parent-off with you, Warren," Charles says patiently. "You called, which means you needed our help--"

"You want to teach me to hide," Warren shoots back. "I don't want to hide. I shouldn't have to."

Charles blinks. "No," he says, "you shouldn't. But there are going to be times when that's necessary--"

"I can do that already," Warren says, and turns his back on Charles. Sure enough, he draws the wings in tight enough that they look particularly painful and - smaller, somehow. "I can cover them up with a backpack or a baggy sweatshirt, and bam! No more freak."

"You're not a freak," Hank says, and Charles turns towards him. He hadn't even heard Hank approach. Also, look at that: Hank out in broad daylight. Charles beams, but keeps an eye out for unexpected visitors just in case. "Take it from someone who knows."

Warren just gapes. "That - you're blue. And furry."

"Long story," Hank mutters. "Look, you--we can't make you come with us, that's fine. But you called us and asked for help, and we're here. And there's a place upstate where no one will say one word about you having wings, unless you count 'those are amazing' as one word. Which it's not."

"I don't want to work for the CIA--"

"Not the CIA," Hank says. "It's just us. Come out on weekends; you'll be the second kid who does that. The rest of us are full-time." He shrugs. "Or not. It's your choice. It's always going to be your choice."

Charles watches him, amazed. He makes a mental note to ask Hank to do more of these little trips. He's good at it. Better than Charles would have thought, frankly; he's still not the same man he was, but this is the most relaxed he's seen him since Cuba.

Warren's quiet for a minute. "I could just go look," he hedges. "I don't have to stay, right?"

"Legally you can't, without your parents' permission," Charles agrees.

"You could always--" Warren waves a hand at the side of his head. "Better yet, just mention your family to my dad; you can snow him with privileged-kid talk and convince him it's a boarding school for 'special needs' kids, he'll send me there in a heartbeat."

"Just for the weekend, then," Charles says. "We'll bring you back Sunday night." He pauses, then adds, "The grounds are huge, and we don't have a staff yet. No one will notice if you fly around."

"Sean might try to race him," Hank points out.

Oh, that wouldn't end well at all, but Warren brightens. "Give--I need ten minutes," he blurts, and bolts back inside the house.

"Go with him," Charles says, inclining his head. "I'll stay out here and watch for intruders."

"I probably should," Hank agrees. "He's just a kid." And he darts across the lawn at the same running lope he's always used - because he's barefoot, Charles realizes - except now it's blue.

He smiles a little and leans his head against the side of the jet, breathing out slowly.








UGH YES MORE WORLDBUILDING. shut up, half this stupid story comes out of my need to see Jean running around freaking out about her thesis presentation while Erik looks at her like she's adorable and totally stoned, and just reminds her Charles did this years ago, and she's miles smarter than he is, while Charles mentally pictures tossing giant hardcover editions of Russian novels at his shoeless feet and wonders why in the name of god he's with him after all these years, but in this long-suffering way only people who have been married for nine billion years can ever really manage.

Warren Worthington III is, in fact, originally from Centerport, NY, and comes from money; he also used to wear a nightgown and a wig and save people, thus earning the nickname "Angel".

the whole "let students do chores, because some of us don't have lawn services, you total snob" bit was stolen from penknife, because it's a good idea and totally without permission. (if, for some reason, pen - who is a billion times better at this than I am - happens to read it and want it taken out, let me know and I can excise it.)

there's something delightfully creepy about Charles just casually brain-wiping people and knocking them cold. he's actually creepier in the comics, you guys, which: let's think about that for a minute. YEAH. also, I don't personally agree with the part where he could rewrite the whole world and then off himself, but again: in the books? he could probably do that. he is the world's most powerful telepath; with Cerebro, he's that times a hundred, maybe a thousand. and if he fell that far off the rails, I don't know that he actually would kill himself. he's mostly mentioning it here for emphasis, and to show that he's changed. no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and I honestly think if Charles and Erik had sat down and tried to hammer out a path somewhere between "being a total pussy" and "putting humans in camps", the Marvel Universe would be in a golden age of mutants. ANYWAY.

up next: I totally steal a plot-point from Jean and Scott for Charles and Erik.
Tags:
eisen: Ginshu (allow me to introduce myself). (in this way we're refined.)

From: [personal profile] eisen


SM IN LIBRARY BECAUSE SPENDING A WHOLE TWO WEEKS WITHOUT INTERNET WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE, BUT ONLY HAVE AN HOUR WHICH MEANS CANNOT READ THIS IN FULL - YET - BUT STILL HAD TO COMMENT TO SAY I LIKE WHAT I HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO READ RIGHT NOW AND I BET I'LL LIKE ALL OF IT WHEN I REJOIN THE LAND OF THE INTERNETTED.

I remain stupidly devoted to this series jfc.
eisen: Bonnie (you love me, you know it). (c'mon c'mon.)

From: [personal profile] eisen


And now I've read the whole thing and it's lovely but I don't have time for proper fb either so AAAAHHH SO PERFECT HAHAHA CHARLES AND SEX AND TELEPATHY AND OH GOD TELEPATHY SO CREEPY IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT. Ahahaha so much privilege, Charles.

God Charles and Erik's conversations.

Haaaaank, you're so cute when you're happyyyyyyy.

(fhkldshklfdhk "you're not alone when you've got a Raven" FJDHKGLHFDL:KHKL.)
.

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