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 yet another year has passed us by, Charles
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: May 1 2012, 09:09 AM


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It was May day.

That alone had never really meant anything to Erik. Just another day on a calendar made by a man. Had Cesar perhaps been a mutant? It was interesting, at times, to think of the great men of history, to think of them and wonder. Alexander, yes, Erik was almost certain that he had to have been a mutant. To have done as he did, to be so young and so powerful. Cesar, though. No. He was merely human, or his demise would not have been as it was.

All of those thoughts, however, were not the ones currently sifting through his mind.

Dawn had broken some hours ago, coffee had been had, as well as a handful of the biscuits that he so coveted. Not a healthy breakfast, by any means, but one that he enjoyed. To most, if not all, Erik was serious and logical and filled with a sense of no nonsense. To one, though, he had more depth and normalcy. With Charles, even more than those Erik had begun to form relationships with since their arrival, even more than Lorna and Jeanne or especially Zita ... With Charles, even as the rift between them widened, even with the personal spaces and different allies and companions they were searching for, even then, it was with Charles and Charles alone that he could truly be himself.

They had lost touch over the past months, Erik concerned more with Lorna, with Jeanne, with finding his past and forging a future. A future which might or might not include Charles in it. He had been busy, and using the busyness to shy away from the painful truth that he and his ... soul mate, for lack of a better word, that in this place they might not work. Drifting apart, space yawning between them.

Even that, though, all of it, would be put aside for this day.

It was Charles' birthday. He would be thirty-three. Or he would have been, or he was. Temporal anomalies aside and time-travel capable entities forgotten, his dearest friend was one year older, one year wiser, and that deserved to be celebrated.

Some of Erik's earliest and happiest memories were of his birthday. Or of his sister's. They had been happy once, his family. Whole and comfortable, all before the war and the SS and prejudice took over their nation and threatened to do so to the world. Gifts and banners and sweet meats and special foods cooked just for them. Their mother beaming, their uncle bearing presents, their father proud, always so proud, until he was too proud and it cost him is life.

Such thoughts would not be thought today though. No. As Erik stood, dressed in fine but light cloth, slacks of pressed khaki and a an oxford of white, no jacket due to the weather, no tie due to his own changing personality, a pair of keys hung loosely from his grasp, ice-blue vision resting on the vehicle parked before him. Today was for Charles. For both Charles and he. It was a day for happiness, and memory making. A day to remind him that there were good things in the darkness of his life, and that Charles, most of all, was one of them.

"Old friend."He projected lightly, feeling for and finding the feather of a bond which remained between them. It had been days since he'd spoke to Charles in this way, and for weeks it had been nothing more than small and inane greetings. "Are you currently occupied?"¯
Professor X
Posted: May 1 2012, 09:26 AM


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Of the two of them, Erik was definitely the earlier riser. That wasn't to say that Charles was lazy strictly, just that the hard fact remained that their childhoods had been rather...vastly different in what had been asked of them. And, save for early lectures to be given or nights where he never went to bed because he'd been lost in a good book, Charles had never really had any cause to be up before dawn.

Not even on his birthday.

Today he had drifted awake of his own volition, without the aid of alarm clocks or pressing engagements, and it had taken a few moments of blinking sleepily at the familiar ceiling of the master bedroom before he even realised what date it was and what that signified. Today, Charles Xavier turned thirty-three, and he had to smile at that a little because he remembered a time when he had been young enough to believe that life ended at thirty, and yet look where he was now...

...but the smile faded. Just a little. Partly because of the realisation that on May 1st, 1966 Charles Xavier would have properly turned thirty-three and that it was 2012 now, so what implications did that have for his age? But also because this was his first birthday in a long time where he hadn't awoken to Erik as an active presence in his mind.

Still, Charles did not allow such musings to weigh him down for long and neither did the semantics of the day change his morning routine. The man got out of bed and showered, shaved and dressed, sipped at a cup of Earl Grey even as his porridge slowly simmered and gave its best impression of some sort of volcanic mud pool. He had settled somehow into a routine at the Institute for all that he wasn't precisely sure of his exact place there and it was...comfortable. And familiar by now.

It was there that Erik 'found' him, the taste of expensive tea on his tongue and a hint of placid contentment overlaying his mind, and the opening of their bond was enough to cause a spark of sharper surprise and happiness somewhere at the front of his consciousness. It had been....a while. Since Erik had voluntarily communicated with him this way and his friend must have felt the way that Charles' lips curved into an automatic, grateful smile even as he put them to the rim of his mug.

"Only with a rather late breakfast," he admitted, lightly, punctuating the thought with the mental representation of the incipient taste of porridge. "But nothing that cannot wait. What can I do for you, Erik?"
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: May 18 2012, 12:49 PM


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The smile that pulled at Charles’ features, the feel of it, the rhythm of his breath and the steady beat of his heart, in an instant it was there again, once more within Erik’s own mind, his dearest friend comforting in his solidity, his normalcy, in the fact that he had always, always been right there. A pang of sadness shot through Erik at the thought, the smile which had just made Charles’ dim in comparison fading at the realization of time spent and time lost. The space that had come between them, a wedge put in place by a being bigger than them both, a crack allowed to grow by his own insecurity and arrogance. Charles’ attention had waned when they had arrived, and yes, it had been he who had cut their tie, severing it for a reason he felt had merit, but it had been Erik who had made that distance permanent.

Space and time, though, not even it could take fully away from whatever it was that bound them. It wasn’t as strong as it had been, but as leaves did fall in autumn, so too did they bud in spring. A sense of apology bloomed through him, as well as a yearning for the possibilities had been lost. Erik did not think the words “I have missed you.” But the feeling so remained, not needing linguistic representation in the slightest.

A face was made at the taste of porridge, and again without words Erik communicated, expressing his distaste for something he found to be so bland, recalling his own delicious if lacking breakfast, smirking and waiting for the disapproving rebuff, knowing as he did the possibility that it might come. “It is your birthday.” Was his simple statement. “Surely there must be better things to eat than that.” Food, all of it, was precious and not to be wasted, but enjoyment was also deserved, at least for some. In Erik’s mind, there were few men more deserving than his friend.

One moment passed, Erik silent in the waiting, closing his eyes as he tried not to see that which sat before him, focusing instead on the keys held within his hand. “I have acquired a present for you. Two, actually.” It had been something done on his one, one bought, the other made, both surrounded by thought, and lots of it, especially for a man had been so seemingly indifferent as the months had passed them by. No other had been involved, and as far as Erik knew, no other even knew of what he had done, the research made, the people called, the money earned by selling pieces of Eisenhardt crafted jewelry at a studio in the city, all by him, and him alone.

“If you would be so kind as to come outside?” He thought, with a bit of amusement, taunting the man that knew him better than any other with the imprint of the keys against his palm, and the darkness of the back of his eyelids. “That is, if you are able to tear yourself away from such an enticing meal.”

His Papa was a mechanic, he knows a good car when he sees one
Professor X
Posted: May 18 2012, 01:53 PM


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There was a very simple sort of contentment that came from this. It wasn't dramatic, or world-shaking, or anything that needed marking with ceremony or high emotion or gravitas. What it was...was warming. Relieving. Like the ache of an old wound finally going away or the sense of something fixed where before it had been imperfect, imprecise, niggling. Like a toothache. The world, Charles' world, had not been ill or in danger of destruction, but it had been...not quite right for the entire duration that Erik had been sullenly pulling away from him. He'd known better than to confront his friend about it, when doing so would only make Erik feel as if he was being backed into a corner, and Charles knew even without abusing his telepathy that that did not bring out the best in his brother.

So he'd left it, a remarkable display of restraint for a man who was somewhat known for his incessant nosiness and consistent belief that he was capable of fixing anything. He'd left Erik alone and, really, it had been one of the hardest things he'd done of late, giving his friend space even as he was wistfully, achingly, painfully aware of the cracks between them where once there had been none. And, sometimes, he had doubted his course of action (or, indeed, inaction.) What if it was the wrong decision? What if this would result in them drifting inexorably further apart? What if he was wrong?

But still Charles had moved carefully, casually. Had been light and friendly and as affectionate as ever whenever Erik approached him. But it had been up to his friend to make the first move and, honestly, he'd probably greatly resent Charles thinking of him as some sort of easily startled forest animal, but the comparison could not be avoided.

And, now, it was paying off. Because that wordless sense of regret, of a desire for reparation, of apology? Charles didn't put much stock in birthdays, but he was willing to bet that no gift could top that.

Of course, he didn't respond with a garish fanfare down their bond. Instead, he just radiated quite how pleased he was, pleased and relieved and, okay, just a little bit smug. But that was background, unconscious 'noise' compared to his more pointed, deliberate and very obvious exaggerated affront on behalf of porridge. It was an old battle, familiar and well-worn with neither of them ever willing to concede their respective positions, boring even...except boring was welcome. Boring was familiar and comfortable and had been denied to them for far too as long as far as Charles was concerned given the unspoken, low-key but ever-present tension between them.

"It's my birthday," he thought placidly, thinking that little bit harder about porridge before relenting. "Surely I'm allowed to pick my own breakfast." There was no malice there and the bond between them, silk twined around steel, was coloured with the depthless fondness that Charles had been keeping to himself of late, out of respect for Erik's space. Now, though, he was testing the boundaries again, was a little more willing to return to what had once been normal for them. For a moment, he teased his old friend, 'loudly' exuding a sense of deliberation, of weighing whether a gift (or two) was better than porridge, but in truth he was already in motion. "For you, old friend, I suppose I shall risk starvation for just a little while longer." His tea was abandoned on the table and it didn't matter that he didn't have a jacket or that his shirt was a thin one with the sleeves rolled up. All that did was that Erik was extending a metaphorical olive branch.

...except, in this case, the olive branch was distinctively car-shaped.

Standing on the front steps, Charles didn't bother to hide the sharpness of his surprise, or of the subsequent delight. "Oh, she's a beauty," he thought immediately even as his gaze raked across the machine. Out of excitement, he seemed to forget that he could actually speak with his lips now, and that translated into his mental voice fizzing like champagne even as he practically dashed down the steps to examine the car. Charles had always appreciated vehicles for their beauty - not necessarily with Erik's expertise, but with a love of beautiful and functional things all the same. He'd seen the advances in technology housed in the garage beneath the Institute and the cars of this day and age were well enough, but this, this.

Already, Charles was running a covetous hand over the sleek curves of the bonnet, a low and gratified croon humming down their bone. It may not have been quite as dramatic an example of love at first sight as when he'd first been introduced to Cerebro, but it was close enough. And when he turned back towards Erik, his grin was boyish and uncensored, unbridled. "Thank you," he thought, hard, even as he practically blasted his friend with gratitude. With that much enthusiasm shining out of his face, it was very much clear why Charles was the far less intimidating of the pair.
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: May 19 2012, 02:35 PM


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While they were no where near the astral plane, or even on the path to venture towards it, as Erik stood, eyes closed, fingers curled into tight fists at his sides, it was easy to feel as though Charles was directly beside him, such was the connection between them at the moment. Their shared almost … reminiscing was, well, Charles’ feeling of warmth was really no better explained and as they reconnected in this way, the gap still remaining, yawning deep and dark and unknown, but a silken strand had stretched across it, connecting them once more.

At the smugness, at the lighthearted but still real affront, a sense of contentment, of rightness flooded through Erik, from the roots of his hair to the soles of his feet. Never had they fallen into a pattern of placating one another, and instead they were always honest, no matter the cost. But cost there wasn’t, whatever the matter, be it little or big. Even in this, as Erik relaxed into the feeling he’d allowed himself to push away, he had been able to be true, as had Charles, and still they had this to return to.

Out of the rest of the world, or the universe, Charles was the only person with which Erik was capable of being himself. Only with Charles was he able to not need to be in control, or planning every moment. No manipulation was needed, no plotting required. No, in this alone, with him alone, Erik only had to exist.

How had he allowed for his pride to get in the way?

How did it matter?

He had, allowed his pride, his selfishness, his inability to bend, to affect their relationship. He had been like his father, and while part of him was proud for that, part of him remember, too, the unneeded death, as well as the fact that if Jakob had not died, maybe they all would have lived.

That, or it would have just postponed the inevitable.

But Charles was no Nazi and this was not the War. His friend, who he had turned away from and shunned, who he had blocked out and left alone, he was there, as always, and gratitude swelled within Erik at the realization. Once more Charles had proven himself to be the man that Erik knew he could be, once more Erik found him self so secure. It was alien, but welcome, and comfort was so obtained.

As was a realization, one that shocked Erik, one that had the potential, both to hurt himself as well as others. One, though, that would be put off until later. Not now. No. It was Charles’ birthday, and a day for such celebration.

Joy, unfiltered and pure crossed between them, ice-blue eyes watching with hunger as Charles’ examined his gift, Erik readily devouring the sight as well as the feeling, reveling in the fact that it had be he who had brought such things about. “I am glad you are pleased with it.” He responded, his lips not so much as moving, his mental tone filled with a soft and shy sort of happiness. With a flick of his wrist that which he held within his palm was flung in Charles’ direction, the pair of steel doors opening seemingly of their own accord as keys stopped mid-flight to hover, waiting, near Charles’ head. “It is a lovely morning. Perfect for a long drive.” Slowly Erik descended the small flight of steps, walking towards the passenger side, fingers moving to play across the beige cloth stretched taught across a metal frame. “Shall we lower the top?”
Professor X
Posted: May 20 2012, 12:56 PM


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It was a well established fact that Charles' nature was far less possessive than Erik's own, but there was still a comfortable familiarity to having his friend's complete attention. For so long, it had just been them, with few distractions to impinge on the solidarity that had existed between the two men - Moira had faded into the background, other friends were hardly vital for all that they were appreciated and even Raven had been eclipsed by the sway Charles' best friend had on him. But, here, Charles' attention had been tugged away by Jean, by Scott, by the wonders of this place that his future self had created. And it was clear that Erik had been...threatened by this, if that last mental conversation had been anything to go by, and even Charles was not so determined to defend the stability of their bond that he would deny that his enthusiasm had been divided. Because this future involved a version of himself that he could see an echo of himself in.

Erik's future, however, was far more bleak. And, in this place, the house that Charles' future self had built, he was distrusted, a potential threat. How could Charles have ever expected him to be as happy here as he himself was? It had been selfish of him, to love this place so much that he had wanted Erik do so as well. That wasn't the way that they worked, with one compromising for the other. They worked together in all things. Or they had.

Now, though, now Charles had Erik's attention and his goodwill. And he returned the favour, for even as he gloated contentedly over the car, it was still a sentiment that traced its way back to his friend, the giver of the gift. Wordlessly, the communication down their bond was clear, the sense of thank you, of this is how your actions make me feel, of I am glad that we have not lost this.

Calm, eternally used to Erik's tricks and never, ever afraid of the way in which his power was demonstrated (in fact, he revelled in it) Charles plucked the floating keys from the air. Tossed them up and caught them, once, twice. "All the better to appreciate quite how fast we'll be going." Charles thought and his grin was like a vision back through time itself, a time they had left behind.

- - -


Charles drove with a reckless sort of precision and, really, some of the winding roads in Winchester were perfect for being a bit loose where speed limits were concerned. It was a car that was meant to be enjoyed and he was sticking to that story, to the intention behind the gift. Of the pair of them, he was sure that Erik was by far the better driver, but even a childhood full of chauffeurs hadn't stopped the Xavier boy from at least being competent.

Was it surprising that he liked to go fast? That the intellectual scientist enjoyed something as basic as speeding down open roads with the top of the car down, the wind in his hair and his most important person beside him? Maybe. But Charles had never been all that interested in supporting expectations for the sake of fitting in and the wind may have whipped away any noise of amusement that he made, but his pure enjoyment filtered down the bond between them all the same.

Even if Erik had at least opened his head back up to Charles a tad more than of late, the telepath was hardly one to pry into his friend's head without explicitly given permission - in translation, he was still stepping somewhat carefully where Erik was concerned. But some things were impossible not to sense and the bond that Charles was currently saturating with exhilaration was still a two-way street. It had not escaped his notice that Erik had something on his mind, something big and new and not entirely settled. So, even as he slowed down in response to the increasingly complicated curvature of this stretch of road, his laugh finally becoming audible over the rush of moving air, Charles let his attention slide sideways to where Erik was sitting.

Now, as a telepath, Charles had always been horrendously lazy where verbal speech was concerned after Erik had first let him wholly into his head. Why waste energy speaking aloud when he could just stretch out, effortlessly, and put the words directly into Erik's mind? It was a liberty that Charles had been given and had subsequently made full usage of, unshy about chattering away in the heart of Erik's cerebral cortex.

So, when he actually made the point of speaking aloud, that was hugely significant for them.

"So," he said, sounding seemingly as casual as if discussing the weather, "you're letting me into your head again. I had become mildly concerned." His tone was completely lacking in aggression, in any sort of accusation, and yet his words spoke directly to the heart of things, to the elephant in the room that he was taking advantage of this moment to bring attention to.

As Erik knew, they didn't placate each other. And for all his seeming languidness, how he felt relaxed and exhilarated all at once, Charles had never really been one not to push in the long term, not when he thought that there was a chance of a positive outcome.

Erik had made the first move, opening up his head to him again. Now it was Charles' turn.
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: May 20 2012, 03:36 PM


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Lorna made him feel, she made him feel in such a way that could never be duplicated, that he would never want to. She was so twined around as part of his being, inside and out, down to the smallest molecule, the two of them a pair of opposing poles, drawn together inexplicably, never to part. Even with that, though, being so fully connected to someone, having an almost unnatural affinity for the person, even then it could not compete with the range of emotions that Erik had in Charles’ presence. Emotion, though, it was not strong enough of a word, and ‘feelings’ felt to gauche. Space, too, it was merely a word, an ideal, when it came to them. Before miles and continents had separated them, but still it had been if they were in the same room. Charles’ power was that great, as was their connection. For Erik to have so readily tried to thin that out, to shut it down, he must have been bitter and injured indeed.

How shameful of him, how weak. How benevolent Charles’ had been to put up with such a thing, to do so and welcome him back with more than open arms, but also an open mind. And it was the mind that mattered, not the arms or any physical representation of all that which they had between them. Like words could not express, neither could gesture or affection. So much more simply existed, beyond the realm of comprehension. A realm that Erik felt no need to ponder, but to simply live in, mind in mind with his truest friend and confidant.

To say the day was brilliant would have been an understatement. Not only did the sun shine brightly down upon them as the curvy country side whipped past, but so too did they pick up where they had left off, as if nothing had ever changed. A break had been had, of Erik’s doing, of Charles’ fractured desires, but once more, driving away from the mansion in a vehicle gotten by way of love and appreciation, they were together, alone, just the two of them against the world.

Or just the road.

It was blissful, and a full smile split the wholeness of Erik’s face, rows of straight teeth blindingly bright in the light of the sun. Blue eyes were squinted against the wind and the glare, but still he saw everything that went on around him, felt it, experienced it, not only through himself, but through Charles as well. It was daunting, at first, to so experience two things at once, but as he had gotten used to it before, so to did he quickly acclimate again. Missed you, missed this, missed you, flowed between them, wordless, as long and slender fingers were spread wide, held out from the vehicle, ripples of air cutting around his hand.

Speech, hearing Charles’ voice, that was not something to which Erik was accustomed. They’d spoken, yes, and in a way his friend’s mental tone was similar, but not at all the same. Thought was so much different than spoken word, so much easier, much less cumbersome. To hear Charles’ speak though, to hear his words, Erik’s fingers snapped shut, his arm drawn inward, listening as the smooth and deep tones ran across his aural passageways.

“It was lonely. Without you.” The smile had dimmed but not disappeared, Erik still obviously happy in the moment, no matter how solemn his words. Contented and comforted to let his friend have the wheel, both with the car in which they road and in their conversation, Erik turned towards his friend, elbow resting on the low head rest, head supported by his hand. He had a sleepy sort of happiness, like a cat having napped in the afternoon sun. “There were things that I needed to discover.” Using his mouth to talk to Charles was odd, but at least his words could be backed by something else, underlining everything that he said. “I have them all in order now, though.” Amusement filtered through. When first he’d stood upon the steps, calling to disturb his friend’s morning, he hadn’t, but in a moment, everything had changed.

“I am sorry, old friend, for having distanced myself.” Regret was there, as was the unflappable knowledge that there was no one else in the world that Erik found worthy of apology, were he to be in the wrong or not. “I do not plan to do so again.”
Professor X
Posted: May 20 2012, 05:16 PM


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Erik did not often smile, or at least not in a way that was likely to inspire a sense of safe reassurance in any one. It was just a quirk of his face, the fact that a smile from Erik was particularly toothsome no matter the intentions behind them, and it didn't help that Charles knew his friend had a cold smile, a haughty one, one that promised no end of trouble if compliance was not reached. Erik was always going to be more naturally commanding than mild looking Charles would ever be and the smaller, slighter man was used to it, used to people underestimating him the way they never did with his stronger-seeming partner. In contrast, though, Charles often evoked trust in people just by seeming quite so genial and harmless ('seeming' being a key word in that sentence) while Erik...well, Erik made people wary. Simply because he could not and probably would not hide the steel that lurked beneath the surface, indoctrinated into his very being. Quite simply, he was not as openly warm as Charles so continually was.

And yet his smiles were wondrous things like this, when Charles could sense the utter contentment that lay behind them. He'd never been scared of Erik, even when he'd witnessed the phenomenal feats of power that he was capable of, and maybe it was foolish, trusting bravado, that was a possibility. Or maybe it was just that Charles had been given a chance to know the man, inside and out and, well, if one feared the unknown then how could he ever fear any part of Erik? In the same way that there was no jealousy or possessiveness on Charles' part of whatever bond they had because there was never any doubt in him regarding Erik, so too could he rest easy because he had faith, he had knowledge, he had certainty. Telepathy could reveal falsehoods and lies, the inconsistencies between how a person acted and how they felt...but such things had not existed between them ever since Erik had first bared his thoughts. How could they? Complete and total knowledge of each other rid them of the need for posturing, for second-guessing, for vulnerability.

And that certainty? The strongest foundation in Charles' life. And even a cosmic force of primal creation could not change that.

So Erik smiled and Charles grinned and that was simply how they were, the latter always seemingly more demonstrative than the former. And even as they sped down an empty country road, this was the safest environment of all, for it was just them and their thoughts and each other. Things could be said and admitted here because they were already known, or the intentions behind them at least, so Charles may not have looked surprised when Erik stated something so baldly sentimental as loneliness in the absence of himself, but it was a fond expression that was briefly shot his way nonetheless.

"I did not find it enjoyable either," he said easily, everything he was lacking in malice even as he admitted to and acknowledged the discomfort that Erik's withdrawing and closing off had caused. "But patience was always my virtue and not yours." He grinned then, sent a wave of teasing affection Erik's way, surprisingly light-hearted in spite of the seriousness of the nature of their partnership. But that was Charles for you, not grasping, not caging, simply calm acceptance and gentle, steady faith where Erik was concerned. He had trusted that Erik would relent, would come to the realisation that he couldn't just lose Charles simply because something distracted him in the short-term. Others had suffered that fate, but not Erik, not the man who was the exception to the dynamic forward motion that was Charles Xavier's quest to discover the unknown.

Only of Erik would Charles never tire.

So there was an apology and a reassurance, and Charles had almost known of their existence before Erik spoke, simply because of the power that lurked inside his head and the bond that spanned whatever physical distance there was between them. "Good," he said succinctly, and his grin had shaded down to a contented, serene look that took some of his boyishness away from him, but gave him depth as well all at once. "Because I don't think I made this clear enough before, if you even had enough doubt to make discovering things a necessity, though I assumed you knew. Maybe it was my mistake. Maybe it's simply easier for me to read between your lines than you mine just because of the powers we were dealt. But you do not need to apologise, for I never had any intention of letting you going anywhere without me. In fact, I am sorry, for not making it clear that, were it your desire to leave the Institute, it would only be with me by your side."

All of this was spoken with that same almost effervescent lightness, a frivolity of tone that both contrasted and complimented the effortless certainty at Charles' core, a steady, unhurried, unworried heartbeat that represented his absolute and unwavering faith in this man who was more to him than brother, than partner, than friend. There wasn't a word to represent the bond between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr and, really, there did not need to be one. Charles could make these promises almost casually because he was relaxed. Because he was certain. Because he knew. And therefore why make the assumption that everything serious needed to feel like a heavy burden when some things simply...were. "I appreciate what my supposed future self has built here. It is wonderful. One half of a dream come true. But I have no interest in any future in which you are not my friend, Erik." Driving required eyes on the road most of the time, but he shot his friend a brief, sideways glance, his smile lopsided and relaxed and content even as he tied himself to this man for as long as he had the breath in his body to try. "We want the same thing."
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: May 20 2012, 09:56 PM


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For months Erik had not found peace like he did in that moment. Wrapped in a bubble of it, warmed by the sun that beat down upon them, cooled by the breeze, contentment ricocheted throughout the entirety of his being, ebbing between them like the rhythm of waves that struck against the shore. Charles’ words were reassuring, but just as Charles was able to acknowledge the depth of what would be said before Erik could utter a sound, the same was true in reverse. It was a alien thing, this nanosecond of pure prescience, but it was something that Erik had long ago discovered he enjoyed.

Teasing affection drew a light laugh from the thin line of Erik’s mouth, him turning to sit properly once more, head leaned back as vision focused directly overhead, eyes of blue blatantly staring down the brightness of the sun as if to challenge it’s brilliance. “Patience has never been a gift of mine.” Came an unneeded admission. Erik didn’t have to say it, he was certain that Charles already knew. But patience or not, temper or not, Charles had always accepted Erik as he was, asking for no change, or difference in action. He trusted Erik to do what was right, and mostly, Erik hoped that he did.

That was what was different in their … relationship was not the right word, bond had been overused, whatever it was that they shared between them, free of definition, unable to be named, it was not at all how the outside world perceived it. Yes, Erik was more intimidating where Charles was inviting. Yes, he was cold and stern where Charles seemed to some to be warmer and more willing to bend. But it was not Erik who so ruled any part of their friendship. There was no dominance here, and if there was, it would not be by the man who most would assume.

No, in most things, if not all, Erik deferred to Charles. He had not asked that Charles leave Moira, it had simply occurred. He had not been the one to create the Savage Land by himself and bring Charles along, no, they had toiled and built it together. If Charles would go so far as to trust Erik, Erik would do everything within his power to so be worthy of that gift. And as Charles had trusted Erik to return to what they once had, to realize that he had allowed fear of abandonment, of being alone in the world once more, to over take his common sense, so had Erik eventually followed though.

His fear though. It had been so real. And until he stood there, connected once more with the only person in the world who would ever be able to truly understand him, a friendship born of years and years spent in each others’ company, he realized it. All of them, he had lost them all. Jakob, his father. Erich, his uncle. Edie his mother and Ruth his sister. Magda, then, too. He had loved them, loved them with an innocence and a fire and a depth that he feared he would never feel again, and then they were gone, taken from him. If he’d been stronger, if he’d been better, perhaps?

With Charles, with the mansion and the people within it, that fear had lingered, mostly unknown, hidden and buried away as it had been. These people were ones that Charles needed, that fit more perfectly into what his friend had always envisioned. Of course Charles would choose them over the roughness of Erik’s own self. Trust though, he should have had it, and all of these emotions, all of this revelation, it flowed between them. Contentment had faded, as had the happiness, leaving behind a seriousness tinged with relief and apology. Charles had never left him, and even in this …

Fingers bent inward to palms, perfectly manicured nails cutting half-moons into vulnerable and unmarked flesh. Before his skin had been littered with calluses, but that was long ago. Only a small scar cut jaggedly across the lines of his life, but perhaps that had just foretold all that which was to come.

“I have done you an injustice.” Erik replied to the sun, smile having been eclipsed by the grimness that had resurfaced within him. Charles had been privy to a moment of joy, but such moments were never something to last. “My faith should have been stronger.” The line of his jaw tensed, a similar sort of effect occurring through the rest of his body, throughout his mind. Charles’ words, his admission, it struck a chord within Erik, one which he was more than uncomfortable acknowledging.

Their dream, their wants. How far away it seemed, years behind them, yet gone forever. For months he’d constantly been drenched in the reality that Charles had managed to do as they had wished, but he’d done so by leaving Erik. For months he had been exposed to hate and prejudice and fear. In some moments he used it, doing as he’d always done when survival was necessary. In this place it was not the guards that threatened him, or not guards in the same right. He had to play their games, to fight back in his own way, in order to obtain any ground. The ground he was finding, though, he was uncertain if it had been the ground he’d wanted.

“This place distracts us.” He continued, trying to express all of that which he was recalling and feeling, the children who followed him out of some strange fascination or fear, those that were truly terrified of him, those that were filled with hate. He did not want to be there, not in the mansion, not in a place that was so filled with once happy memories, memories polluted by the people who now roamed it’s halls, each looking to him as if waiting for the cannon to explode. He wanted them to leave, to have never left, to return to the savage land that they had so created. It was petulant and childish but in that moment he didn’t care, he just wanted to be free of it all, to be free and happy and himself once more. “These people, they are distractions. I spend my days concerned about things which will never matter, in the end, rather than focusing on things that should be done, that need to be done.”

“I have met someone.” They sounded strange, his own words, but as he spoke them his feelings for Lorna flowed through him, the way he saw her, the feel of her hand in his, the taste of the sweetness of her mouth. “I forget the world with her.” More regret, more self-disgust. She made him happy, but that was not his path. “I was meant for something else, Charles. We both were.” Again he turned to his friend, but not as fully as he had before, relaxation had banished, ripped away by wind that had suddenly grown cold.

“Your family’s home has become my prison.” As it was often wont to do in Erik’s presence the conversation had taken a serious turn quickly. “I am bound there because of you, but I feel trapped within it’s walls.”
Professor X
Posted: May 22 2012, 09:35 PM


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Happiness with Erik was always a fleeting thing.

Charles felt the emotion through him - secondhand, yes, but immediate in a way that spoke of how intertwined their minds were, so sharp and heady and real. It was a bond of Charles' own initiation, yes, as the telepath between them, but it was one that could not have existed without Erik's compliance. Had he wanted to shut Charles out, he would have been able to do so. And yet he wasn't, so Charles felt the exact, exquisite, saddening moment when that joy lost its purity and the weight of the world as Erik saw it sank back onto those powerful shoulders.

As much as he coveted this gift that Erik had gotten him - a mode of transportation that was his and not the 'Professor's' - Charles almost resented it in that moment, for it meant that he could not properly look at Erik even as he felt the happiness draining out of him, replaced by grimness, by self-judgement. He spared a look, a thread of concern, of sympathy, of compassion sliding down their bond, but in the real world as opposed to the astral plane of telepathy he had to keep his eyes on the road.

Well, the simple answer to that was, of course, to pull over.

A grassy verge offered the opportunity, the fact that he could feel actual physical pain filtering down their bond was the motive, and even as Charles was putting the car into neutral he sent his friend an almost surprised look. Why was Erik apologising? When had such things become necessary? This was a facet of life in their futures that he hated and the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose was almost overwhelming for a second or two.

"If we're playing that game, then I should not have given you reason to doubt me in the first place," Charles said quietly, but then what Erik was saying next proved that even a telepath could be surprised sometimes. It wasn't so much the admission that Erik did not like the Institute or that there was a woman involved - Charles could at least vaguely sense when someone else was added to the extremely short list of people Erik respected or actively liked - but the way in which his friend was responding to something that he himself would count as a good thing. Of the two of them, whatever appearances implied, Charles was the surer, the steadier, the more certain that Erik would always need him as much as Charles returned the favour. But Erik...for all his strength, he worried more and this translated into a possessiveness that Charles did not have, built on a tendency towards jealousy that was similarly unfamiliar to the telepath.

So, even as part of him silently rejoiced at how Erik was once more using that comfortable, hard-earned 'we', Charles mourned for his friend's seeming inability to ever trust in happiness. Suddenly, it seemed like a crime to surrender the closeness of their bond and Charles abandoned spoken words, even as he rushed to let his mind brush more strongly against Erik's. It was the equivalent of a touch on the shoulder, a hug, saying 'I am here, it is fine, you are not alone.'

"Maybe I'm wrong," he thought softly at Erik, curled up in his mind. Perhaps it made eye contact obsolete with that sort of mental closeness, but Charles had twisted at the waist, one arm draped over the back of his seat, his gaze fixed on Erik's face. "Maybe I'm just optimistic...but has it ever occurred to you, Erik, that we could still seek that something else even while you find happiness in this woman?" Because Charles was not Erik. Because Charles simply wanted his friend to be happy more than anything else. Because Charles did not see a mystery woman as a threat, not at all, how could he given the strength of their fire-forged bond?

His expression was tender, sad, and all of that low affection washed at Erik's mind like waves upon a shore, a sentiment backed up by a sense of all that they had experienced and suffered and enjoyed together. There was regret there, a sorrow based around Erik not being content in a place that seemed so perfectly suited to Charles if one ignored the fact that it was built on a foundation that lacked his most important person, but behind it there was faith. And trust. And an unwavering certainty of what was the most important thing in this situation.

"I don't want you to be caged," Charles said simply into Erik's head, his gaze soft and steady. "That was never my intention." A soothing brush of his mind against Erik's, a sense of friendship, of brotherhood, of 'you and only you matter.' "Where would you rather us go instead?"

Because that was what they were. An 'us'. And, in truth, nothing else mattered.
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: Jun 25 2012, 08:24 PM


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Even connected to a telepath, even connected as Erik was to Charles, it was impossible to know all the things that the other was thinking. The mind as it was, having not evolved to a point capable of such things, would be overwhelmed, erasing any uniqueness from those bound, leaving behind only a strange sort of singularity, a oneness that was anything but beneficial. One mind would be the Leader, the other the Follower, dragged behind, willing or no. While Erik was one to mostly defer to Charles’ suggestions, he was not the sort to meekly trail in anyone’s wake. Perhaps it was that which made their bond such a successful and unordinary thing. Both minds were strong and stubborn and willing, and while connected one did not need to take over the other. There was no symbiosis, just adaptation. Two where one would normally be, adjustment, room cleared and concessions made.

It was because of this that Erik was still able to be surprised by his companion. So wrapped was his mind round things of an altogether different nature that he had no clue what Charles was doing as he steered the convertible to the side of the road. Only a fraction of a second was needed to determine the cause and reasoning, but for that nanoist of moments, brows furrowed as confusion registered on his features. That confusion, however, was soon washed away with understanding, leaving something else to settle in the aftermath.

Charles was a man of many talents and many things, and Erik was the same. In their own rights, their separate ways, they were brilliant and unique and pioneers of paths that no other would take. For years Erik had been accustomed to these truths, to what they were and their individual strengths. They were equals and brothers and maybe something more. Halves of coins, one side to each, a balance of dark and light, tied together with the shadow between each. Even with that, though, with all the understanding and being as accustomed as he was, Erik couldn’t help but to feel a sense of comfort, of, well, of being special, that Charles would do something as massive as focusing all of his attention on his friend and the issues risen, not even sparing a fraction of a thought for the road.

Because of this Erik was both awed and grateful, two things that he never was with any other. Maybe, perhaps, in his past such feelings had come forth. But since the after and during the before, only Charles could pull them from him, and even then it was a thing of rarity. Precious and gem like moments, all of them, locked away into the vault of Erik’s mind, shafts of light left there to ward off the darkness which lingered within.

Taking that warmth, that sense that he had so missed of not being alone, of not having to do it all on his own, Erik felt the remnants of the walls around him crumble, fading into dust as the sun beat it’s warmth down upon him and he turned to face his friend, folding into the comfort of the seat, chin wresting on the back of a wrist which lay across the leather upholstered frame. “Woman is a loose term.” Erik thought in response, thinking to her youth, her inexperience and then his own. Charles had long known of Erik’s … failing, but it was not to that which his mind wandered. She was smooth and round like a gem well polished. People, though, tended to work in reverse. Edges and hardness were things earned, and while Lorna had gone through difficult times, she was not nearly as sharp as he. In the end he would cut her, or her smoothness would not be compatible with his many imperfection. “She is impermanent.” The statement might have been harsh, and it was even unexpected until Erik thought it. Harsh as it was though, it was his perfect and only description of her. He loved her, he knew this, but would he love her forever? No. Was his tie to her as strong as it was to Charles? No. Could that change over time? It might, but it was unlikely, and he would not let such frivolity slow him down. Not when he’d been stagnant and stale for so very long.

Us. A small word, two letters, as insignificant as anything, but nothing could have been more meaningful in that moment. Between them, across them, a hiccup of strong emotion passed, Erik’s eyes flashing with an intensity as his soul swelled at the realization of what his friend was saying. All the months that he’d wasted, all the anger than he’d harbored, all of it had been for naught. Insecurity flared, thoughts of the Phoenix-Woman, and the contraption that Charles so adored. “Us?” The word fluttered tentatively through Erik’s mind and into Charles’, along with broken images of possible futures. A school, nameless, shapeless, with children who wandered the grounds. A basement, dark and dank with electricity jumping in nonsensical arcs as he and Charles built a new Cerebro, another one, a better one. “Would you?” He wanted it so badly, what they had originally thought of, dreamed up, almost built and lost. All of it had been done together, rather than the world in which they lived in universes so vastly separated. Silently, belatedly, not even taking the shape of solid thought or defined words was a ripple of please, of unending thanks, of it being what he needed to have purpose in his life once more.
Professor X
Posted: Jul 6 2012, 08:47 PM


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In many ways - so many - Charles Xavier was a complex man. He was layered, had faults to balance his strengths, was dichotomous in his faith in his science and his even greater faith in humanity. He was logical and yet emotional, trusting yet intelligent, capable of sounding old beyond his years one moment and boyishly enthusiastic about some new and sparkling concept the next.

In this, though, he was simple - wanting Erik to be content.

It wasn't that he did not believe that his old friend could aim for 'happy', could be happy rather than content. After all, he'd experienced the great capacity that Erik had for emotion, the sharp, fierce joy, the burning rage, the loss and horror that Charles had only ever sensed through his oldest companion's experiences and never his own. As a telepath, he knew that Erik could and did feel to an almost heightened degree compared to other people (perhaps because he was so much more involved in Erik's heart and mind than anyone else, but hush, that was not the point here) but he also knew that Erik's soaring joy - like an eagle's screech, fierce and ecstatic and wild - rarely lasted. It would spike, intense and glorious, and then be gone soon after, sliced to ribbons by the edges of his friend's too sharp mind.

Charles knew what it was like to be too smart, sometimes, to have the capacity to analyse everything and see the flaws in it. But the difference between him and Erik was that Charles himself could still hope, could still have faith, could still trust that something so flawed and damaged as humanity could fix itself.

...he did not think that Erik could do that.

And so it was that happiness as Charles felt it - in the little things in life, the way that a cup of tea or a child's smile or the smell of old books could make up for the ills of the world - seemed beyond Erik's reach, in that he experienced the emotion in far more intense and fleeting instances. So Charles did not want Erik to be happy, for Erik's happiness was an ephemeral thing. No, he wanted something far steadier for his friend and he was just...sad that he could not find it in this woman. 'Sad' was perhaps too simple a word for the complex blend of regret and wistfulness and a distant, almost amused sort of wryness that it was here at the Institute that Erik had found the first person since Magda to touch him on any sort of romantic level and yet he still wished to leave the place behind.

"We are all impermanent, old friend," he thought gently at Erik, but that was his only comment. He was not going to argue with Erik, not about his own feelings even if they were twinned with his own, there for the feeling and experiencing if only Charles stretched out that little bit more. Erik's was a head he could lose himself in, so familiar by now that, at times, he forgot exactly where Charles Xavier and the man who was now called Erik Lehnsherr began. The line was sharper now, more obviously drawn in the sand because of the way Erik had been pulling away from him of late, but Charles could still wander through the twisting labyrinth of his friend's mind, inspecting the 'furniture' with a wistful, bittersweet sort of familiarity.

It still had the capacity to surprise him, quite how unsure of himself Erik could be in these rare and hidden moments. Of the two of them, the leaner man was most certainly the sharper, the most visibly driven by a burning sort of fire. In contrast, Charles came across as almost puppyish, enthusiastic in a warm and affectionate sort of way that appeared to lack true seriousness. And yet Charles was the anchor for the pair of them, the one who knew his place in the world so innately and instinctively that he never suffered from self-doubt.

Erik, though...

"Us," Charles thought, perhaps a bit too emphatically. He sent apologetic gentleness at his friend in response, but stood by his thought nonetheless because it was important - had always been important - to remind Erik that he was no longer alone, that he need never be alone. And the harshest parts of Erik had always seemed to come out in response to the sense that it was him against the world.

...was that it? Had the Erik of this time become Magneto because, even in a Brotherhood of mutants, he had had no one to turn to, no one he could trust with the secrets of his mind, the parts of him that weren't polished and relentless steel? Had he become Magneto because the future Charles had allowed him to be alone in a way that this Charles knew would forge his Erik into something harder and harsher and more willing to have no limits than he liked to think of. He knew what Erik was capable, his razor-sharpness, his bone-deep determination, the way anger and rage and revenge could colour his mind. But he also knew of the gorgeous elegance of his mind as well, that deep capacity for feeling, the fact that he still had a heart as savaged as it had been by the atrocities of his childhood. One could not tame an Erik, that was not possible. But by trusting him, by standing by his side and calling him brother and doing everything he could to convince him that he was not going anywhere, Charles had made him his friend.

(In that moment, Charles actually actively hated his future self for having been driven away, for not having been stronger or truer to this, to what he had with Erik right now, and it was an uncharacteristic emotion for a gentle man but he meant it.)

Most of that was probably too complex for a non-telepath to have completely comprehended though, as open as Charles kept the bond, and so the man sought to put it into clearer thoughts, ones that Erik could not mistake the intentions of. "I would do whatever necessary to keep you by my side, Erik," he thought simply. "I will miss specifics of this place, but they do not need me here. The work done here...it is not mine, for all that the name on the sign is the same. This was done by someone else. Someone who did not walk the path that you did." The smile was probably felt before it was seen, gentle and reassuring and as steadily certain as Charles always tended to be, like the warm glow of a light left on in a house to guide people home. "So I say we make our own path. If we are to remain in this time for the rest of our days, then let us make them count. Our own way."
Erik Lehnsherr
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 09:14 PM


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“Not you.”

The thought was instantaneous, Erik’s mind releasing the rejoinder as soon as, or even before, Charles’ words had come to an end. Perhaps that was in part his problem, the permanence that Charles had in his life. Without him there, without him as a part of what he had, Erik could not see himself existing, surviving. He would, he could, just as he had through the camps, through worse and more horrific. But that, then, had simply been instinct, he had long been dead, soul thought to be lost, sold to whatever devil had trapped him there, traded for the promise of vengeance, and of redemptions to be made.

In a way, in truth, he had died within that place; Maximilian, son of Edith and Jakob, brother of Ruth, perishing by their side. For years he had lingered in that purgatory, finishing the work done by the hands of others, then, later, taking lives on his own. Time passed, decades, and still he was unliving, a ghost which wandered amongst the world of men. A spook, a corpse, until California, until the train, the train that he had long been waiting for as well as the man that had come with it.

Cold steel and panic had been the domain of his rebirth, taking the place of fire and ash. Charles had been there, a pillar of reason in a sea of confusion, a beacon burning brightly in the darkness of his life.

Toward the light was what they always said. The illumination spoken of in hushed whispers, the only hope that he or his people could cling to was one wrapped in the most absolute of finality. Peace could be found there. Forever given. Theirs for all eternity.

His light had been Xavier. A single man both his beginning and end. And since that moment, since that time when the world had aligned and things had seemed to finally have a place and he a purpose, Erik had not been without him. It was because of this that Erik though Charles permanent, as everlasting as whatever came after might be. It was because of that, he realized in the more present of moments, in which his fear and anger had risen upon their return to the world of men. Losing Charles to them, to her, would be like losing both his salvation, and his soul. He would fight, he would revolt, and as they sat within the warmth of a ray of sun, cold crept through his body, Erik knowing, knowing that had that happened, all of what they said would have come true.

“My existence depends upon your own.”

They were words thought without additional weight, or a great amount of feeling behind them. They were just backed by truth and fact, Erik solidly knowing that they could not be claimed as false. He might not die without Charles by his side, but his life would change, and he would yet again cease to be the man that he once was. Because of that Charles was a thing irremovable, like the heart in his chest which beat, or the lungs which so allowed him to breathe.

Lorna, however, was not something upon which he so depended.

Another thing realized in the moment shared beneath the sun. He could never be to Lorna what she deserved, and she could never be something so important to him. Love was there, yes, and a bond forming, but never would it grow to the strength shared between the man beside him. A bond which crossed minds and space and time.

Nothing and no one could ever hope to compare to that.

And so it was in that that Charles’ ‘Us’ Echoed between them, rising to a crescendo, reaffirming that which had been on the cusp of Erik’s mind, reassuring and relaxing, the rigidity of his spine taking to a curve, pale lids sliding to a close over blue eyes. To say that the months he’d had at the Xavier Mansion had been torture would have been an exaggeration, but happiness, or even contentment, comfort, had been things and moments each short-lived. Tension had descended upon him, anger and jealousy, hateful and vile things that melted away with Charles’ repetition of that one and simple word.

Us.

In an instant life changed, something beyond joy surging within Erik at the sound. A caged bird freed, a wild horse left to run. He would do whatever it took. To keep Erik. The thought was one made almost laughable. All the time that he had planned his leaving, that he had thought of going out into the world alone, Erik had done so because he thought that he was the one who had lost hold. But then, between them, a smile that was not his own was felt, his eyes opening once more to see that which they knew was there.

“There are those that do need us, Charles.” For them to be needed together, for Erik to be needed at all; months had passed where he’d been more ostracized than anything else, alone in a world he did not know. No more, it seemed, no more. “We just have to find them.” And just as the pure weight of that which had crossed between them came, Erik allowed for it to linger, but fade. A future was strung between them now, waiting, taught and undefined. “All the remains is deciding the when and where.” Time was a strange concept for Erik, it seemed to move in different patterns and speeds, and once one had traversed it in decades, well, it never was quite the same. He could wait now, until Charles tied up whatever ends he had, until Charles decided that the time had come. Reassurance had been all that he had needed, the kind that only Charles and their bond could offer, Erik ;left with his faith restored.

That damned car was the best thing he'd ever bought.
Professor X
Posted: Aug 2 2012, 05:55 AM


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Sometimes, knowing Erik made him sad.

That sadness was only a small facet of the totality of knowing his friend, a fraction that contributed to the swooping and elated and gloriously belligerent joy of knowing Erik Lehnsherr, but a person could not be so...submerged in another without being forced to take the good with the bad. And Charles was not so black and white, really, to class anything as strictly bad, because who was better qualified than a telepath to know that every strength and weakness was a double-edged sword when it came to the mind of any one person?

But Erik's strength? It was being willing to take on the impossible. Charles himself was stubborn and would not shy away from adversity, would not be deterred from seeking to change something that would be difficult to achieve success in. But the difference between them was that he accepted the existence of absolutes, of limits, of things that no one person could change.

Erik did not.

So, yes, it was with a fond, bittersweet sort of sadness now that Charles beheld Erik, both with his eyes and the part of his mind that was always tangled up in his friend's. It was irrational and illogical to argue this point...and yet oh so Erik as well. Given the choice between saving the world by compromising his own beliefs and burning with it, Erik would be defiant right up until he was ash. And in a fierce, insane sort of way, it was almost sweet.

But it did make Charles worry, about the dogged sort of obsession that could drive a man mad. Erik burned so much more brightly than he himself did, the man with fire and war and steel in his past compared to Charles, who had grown up amid books and houses that were too large and empty, with ink-stained fingers and excited eyes. They were so different, so opposed and yet here they were now, caught inextricably in each other's orbit, out of time and out of space and yet still together.

It had made Charles aware, however, of how nothing was permanent. How even that which he had thought constant could be broken. And yet Erik still had such defiant beliefs and grit, and it all rested on Charles, all on him, the faith of one brilliant and world-changing man...

It wasn't pity that tainted the blue of Charles' eyes then, for Erik was not a man who inspired such emotions. He was too strong for that, too intensely and purely himself and in such a way that it was impossible to look at him and ever regret who he was now. But it was saddening to Charles - who loved life, who loved people - that Erik could only have room inside himself for one person to matter, one person who represented the totality of his faith in mankind. It wasn't that Charles objected to being that person for Erik or would ever shy away from it, not when Erik was by far the most important thing in his own world.

He just wished Erik's world had more room in it for joy.

Charles didn't bother arguing. Didn't bother saying that nothing was immune to entropy, that Erik was so much more than the parts of him he gave to Charles, that didn't this world have bitter and bloodstained proof that he could be without Charles? Instead he just turned his face up towards the sunlight and felt the weight of being Erik's lifeline...and it was alright because the cut went both ways.

He needed Erik too.

...and, really, at the end of the day, that was all that mattered.

'Mine' was the wordless, blanketing sensation that Charles projected then, swathed them in, drowned them in, and apparently Erik wasn't the only one of the pair who was allowed to be possessive. It was a light blanket for all that it encompassed all of them, with Charles' usual languid calm woven into the thread, but it was important to convey, the duality of this bond that they shared. And Charles' mouth crooked secretively at one corner even as he rested his hands back on the steering wheel, his foot back on the clutch.

"And there I was thinking that we were done with our road trip days, old friend," he said, warm and affectionate and Erik's even as he chuckled and put the car into motion once more, showing a worrying trust in the fact that the road would be empty as he pulled out onto it once more. "The Institute is not going anywhere...but we certainly could. There are so many more mutants these days out there, Erik, I can feel them. All of them, and it's like..."

For once, Charles Xavier was lost for words and his response was to project, briefly, the world as he saw it to Erik, the vastness, the press of all those minds, mutant and not, though it was the mutants who glittered like constellations strewn across the earth. They were stars burning, stars shining, stars dying and Charles felt irrationally drawn to those ones, the ones who had grown up like Erik and himself with no mentors or teachers or Institute to make them feel any less alone in the world.

He and Erik, they could find them. The Institute was one way to educate mutants, but maybe the pair of them could be another - mobile and transient, a pilgrimage made to change lives, maybe to save them. And excitement curled in Charles' head then, bright and enthusiastic, his own anticipation lending him a certain radiance as he decided yes, yes, this was what he wanted.

"If they cannot come here...then someone should go to them." There was that sense of 'us' again, of Charles and Erik, Erik and Charles, of the solitude of their partnership squaring up to the immensity of the task stretching before them. He shot Erik a sideways look then, half obscured by the wind dashing errant brown curls into his eyes, but the expression was clear and enthusiastic and bright enough in spite of that. "And I see no reason to delay that overly-long. A month or two to put my affairs in order and say my goodbyes, maybe, but then..."

He thought of the open road and did not even need to share the image because he knew, in his mind, that Erik was already there.
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