Fic: To Tutoyer is My Friend
current location: The Cave
current mood: cheerful
current song: Ghost of You - My Chemical Romance
Title: To Tutoyer is My Friend
Fandom: X-Men First Class
Characters/Pairings: Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr
Summary: Erik missed this. He just didn't realize how much.
AN: Written for this First Class Kink prompt:
They both need to talk more. Those voices, asdfghjkl; - Charles, with that voice like honey and cream, and Erik, harsher, but no less compelling...
I'm not looking for dirty talk (what? don't judge), I really just want them talking...
"My friend..." *anon melts*
This story does contain brief references to the holocaust.
Erik is tense as he steps into the crowded Columbia lecture hall. He’s certain none of his mutants know where he is, and perhaps that’s part of his problem. He feels surrounded here. There are too many students for his liking, too many humans. He’s never particularly cared for crowds, not since the ghetto and the trains and the barracks. Yet for this, he’s willing to push his misgivings aside and hide in the back row of the auditorium, where the doors are easily accessible and there aren’t enough students in his way to slow an escape tempt, never mind stop one. He stares forlornly at the ceiling, almost the whole of his mind devoted to ignoring the nonsensical chatter of the students around him. The little bit of his brain not devoted to the ceiling stretches his powers carefully across the room, monitoring the ticks of the metallic clock hands through a projected magnetic field. He counts the number of times the thinnest of the hands rotates around the center screw, notes each six degree jump in positions. It’s three hundred ticks before the students abruptly fall silent, the doors to the hall swing open, and one Professor Charles Xavier enters the room, hands on the wheels of his chair, graduate assistant at his side. It is the same moment that all three clock hands align, signaling that the noon hour has begun, and serves to remind Erik that Charles has always been punctual, arriving perfectly on time to any occasion.
He can feel the metal on Charles’ chair as he carefully propels him down the sloped aisle and then up the ramp to the lecture hall’s stage. The assistant never wavers at his side, and Erik belatedly recognizes he is not an assistant at all, but Banshee – no, Sean – as the young man hands the professor his textbook and notes and then hops off the stage to take a seat in the front row. The overhead projector is switched on, and Erik closes his eyes as Charles places the textbook on the glass, opening it to the correct page as he does so. A second later, he begins to speak, and Erik feels all the tension from simply being there in such a vast crowd of students melt away, all fears eased by the sound of Charles’ voice.
It does not matter that the lecture is on psychology, a subject he knows nothing about. The easy lilt of Charles’ accent holds him entranced, the same as it did when they played chess years ago or when he lectured their kids – adults now – on controlling their abilities. Charles speaks of the subject at hand as though it is a story of adventure and magic being narrated to young children. And the audience listens as though they are children, Erik included, hanging onto every word and remembering them. Time seems frozen by his enthusiasm, and Erik could remain here for eternity, listening to that voice, so full of warmth and intelligence and not a drop of condescension.
So when Charles pauses just long enough for a girl near the front to raise her hand and ask a question Erik is annoyed. But only for as long as it takes Charles to give a small chuckle, eyes twinkling in amusement as he launches back into to full story-time-lecture mode. It takes only a moment for Erik to realize that the pause was perfectly timed to bring that exact question, all for a seamless launch into the next section of the chapter. It reminds him of so many debates over a chessboard he can’t even count them all. The familiarity of it… he swallows compulsively, cheeks suddenly warm – too warm – as a flush grows on them.
He’s missed this. He’d never have come if he hadn’t already acknowledged that. But now, he sees that it’s not just Charles voice, but his very mannerisms, the exact ways in which he speaks. They’re all completely irreplaceable, and Erik isn’t sure he can bear the thought of never hearing it again. So he stops thinking, and simply absorbs every world Charles says, every rise and fall of a line and every low chuckle. And it is a surprise as the world comes to life around him, as students leave to attend their next classes.
Not seeing Charles or Sean on the stage, Erik stays in his seat, preferring to avoid fighting the crowd. It’s several minutes later, that Erik realizes he is alone save for a single person, having been too lost in his thoughts to notice the metal wheels, moving slowly up the aisle.
“Are you coming?”
Erik shakes his head, unable to find the words he needs.
“No, I didn’t think so.” Charles says, a little melancholy smile on his lips.
He wants to say something, wants to make it okay, wants to hear Charles’ real opinion of him, anything. But he doesn’t know where to start. For all his eloquence when preaching his cause, with this man, Erik Lehnsherr – Magneto himself – is lost for words. He opens his mouth, and suddenly Charles is reaching across the two seats between them, pressing his index finger to his lips.
“You don’t have to say anything, you know.” Charles retracts his hand, settling back in the wheelchair. “Coming here, speaks far louder than anything you can say with words.”
“What makes you say that?” Erik nearly winces, his voice is sticky in his ears – he will not cry, no matter how much it feels like he’s about to.
Charles chuckles again, this time there is a genuine smile on his face.
“My friend, you forget I once knew everything about you. Surprisingly little becomes irrelevant, even after four years.”
“Why don’t you hate me?” It’s something he can’t comprehend, and yet Charles seems to harbor no ill will for him.
“I mean everything, Erik. Do you honestly think I had no idea what I was getting into? That I didn’t expect it?"
Erik shrugs, unsure if there is anything to say to that.
“Let me tell you a secret love.” Charles pauses, for the first time seeming uncertain about how to phrase things. “Whether you choose to believe it is up to you.
“There is a part of you, that is so bright and good… that contains all the love and excitement of the child Shaw killed… just being able to see that makes everything that’s happened, all the pain you’ve caused me, worth it.”
Charles reaches out again, and Erik feels his fingers lifting his chin, and Charles’ eyes are gazing into his, clear through to his soul. The other man’s next words are not particularly pretty, not remotely cheerful. And yet the tone they are spoken with, one of sorrow and love and utter, complete truth, breaks Erik’s heart in a way he hadn’t thought possible, not since the day Schmidt shot his mother in the middle of that hell hole.
“There may come a day where you cease counting me as a friend. It may have already come. But remember this. I will always count you as mine.”
And Charles’ hand is gone, and he is leaving, propelling himself to the doors. He is almost gone, nearly out of the lecture hall, when Erik manages to force aside the shock that he could see Charles as anything but a friend. He calls out, desperately hoping that the other man will stop, will turn to him.
Erik nearly sighs with relief when Charles’ hands pause, and he shifts to look over his shoulder.
“Yes my friend?”
“I…” he swallows, steeling his resolve. “Would you like to play chess…sometime…”
The words sound utterly pathetic in his own ears, but Charles’ smile has returned full force.
“I am done lecturing at a quarter past one on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” And he rolls out the door, leaving Erik alone in the lecture hall.
He recognizes the open invitation for what is. And on Thursday, he intends to take it.
When Erik calls out to him, Charles freezes, nearly cricks his neck when whipping his head to look at his friend. He had felt his rising panic when he turned to leave, felt Erik’s pure joy at being able to simply listen to him with no one there to know. But he hadn’t realized that he missed the other man’s voice, lightly accented and so very emotional and dry and brimming with humour all at the same time, as much as Erik missed his. Just the opportunity to hear it again, in a relaxed setting, with no lives at risk, no reputations to uphold…it’s something he can’t let pass.
“I am done lecturing at a quarter past one on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” He states, knowing Erik will know what it means, and maneuvers himself into the almost deserted corridor, where Sean is waiting to drive them home, a knowing smile on his face.