This is a work of fiction:

All characters seen in the story are either purely fan-made or from the X man's movies/ Marvel comics. I only own my own OC characters.

Thanks again to my Beta: lizzieBdarcy! You're the best!

Song: Laugh about it – Racoon

Wow! I feel blessed that so many wonderful people are taking the time to read this story.

So thank you!


And all the quests that reviewed /followed my story over the past months.

Can you give me solid ground,
'cause all my footsteps turn me down.

One by one.
Can you give me free advice,
I don't know if I can,
but I'll try to listen.

Chapter 17: When the rules change.

The first notes of a jazz song came from the clock radio on her dresser, filling her bedroom with the soothing chords. For a moment her mind scrambled to identify the vaguely familiar tune. She cranked the volume up to hear it better, and a tiny smile canted up the corners of her mouth when she recognized it. She hummed along softly, letting the radio blare through the room, losing herself in the music while she carefully unpacked the large suitcase that was laid out on her bed.

After a few minutes the song on the radio ended, and the radio announcer introduced the next one. She kept humming and occasionally singing along as yet another piece of clothing was placed in the closet.

She returned to the suitcase to fold the next shirt and try as she might, it was near impossible to hide how good she felt. Her smile turned into a grin that was probably going to be stuck on her lips for the remainder of the evening.

Her cheeks were starting to hurt, but it was all worth it.

It was hard to keep her mind from wandering as she folded the remnants of her old life into neat piles.

Earlier that afternoon they had driven the car around the mansion for 10 minutes before they were forced to stop because of the appearance of the owner. Katie had expected Moira to be mad, but Moira wasn't just mad; she had been downright furious.

The female mutant was certain that Alex or Sean had ratted them out, but as it turned out their little stunt was loud enough by itself to get the agent's attention.

Moira had been standing on the stone steps that leaded to the mansion; with eyes narrowed she watched Katie park the car in front of her. Charles had been there too, standing next to her, the tightness around his mouth and the glint in his blue eyes clear signs of an attempt to hold back laughter.

The moment they had gotten out the car, Moira started harshly lecturing both Katherine and Erik. They had listened patiently to her angry rants and voiced frustrations, until Katherine made the mistake of looking up at Erik at the same moment he looked down at her. They stared at each other for half a beat, both trying and failing to keep a straight face.

Even Charles had a hard time staying strict. He had tried to stop it from happening, but it had been futile. His lips slowly curved, and his head dropped to his chest as he chuckled a little. The moment Moira heard the sound coming from him; her head had snapped away from Erik and Katherine and seething, she had rounded on the poor telepath.

The kind expression on Charles' face had instantly morphed into one of shock. Even with his mutation that was not the outcome he'd expected and he had been rendered speechless. Before he had been able to find his voice, Moira had spun away in a huff and stormed off.

The three mutants were left in the garden. Two of them desperately trying not to laugh, while one was trying to understand what had just occurred.

For the rest of the afternoon, Moira had tried to call for a replacement car. She couldn't return to the CIA with a car that was hot-wired, and she couldn't call them to ask for a replacement either. The location of the mutants was still being kept secret, and no matter how angry the woman was she would never risk their safety.

Finally, after an hour of endless calling, she found a car rental company in a nearby town that would be able to send a car over in the morning. Unfortunately for Moira, this meant that there was no other option than to stay the night.

Needless to say, the atmosphere during dinner that evening had been tense and awkward.

The first few minutes everyone seemed intent on avoiding eye contact. Sean and Alex had told the rest of the group the story of how they had learned to hot-wire the car, and Moira's body language when they had entered the room had told them enough, the woman wasn't happy at all. The nervous tension that had settled in the room made it hard for the young mutants to stay serious.

Raven had been the first to crack. First her lips twitched, then she took in a breath that shook her entire body before a snort escaped.

It hadn't taken long after that, the tension in the room lessened more and more as the laughter spread. At first Moira tried to remain serious but the laugher of the others was infectious. Seeing no other option, she had shook her head, rolled her eyes and an annoyed sigh that turned into a laugh had escaped her.

Warmth and comfort had spread throughout the dining room after their laughing fit, and gradually conversations started.

Sean and Alex had been arguing about what movie they were going to watch after dinner.

Charles, Moira and Hank were on the other side of the table, talking to each other in hushed voices. Charles was explaining something to them quietly with an enthusiastic smile on his lips. Raven was sitting next to Hank; she was listening to their conversation, and even though she tried to look interested, the bored expression in her eyes told otherwise.

Katherine had been surprised and a bit disappointed at first when Erik had joined them for dinner too. She had gotten used to their shared private meals, and had even looked forward to it. But it seemed that they would not share one that evening. He had taken a seat next to her without saying a word, and when he had finished eating he had sat back in his chair. One arm resting on the table, the other fisted on his leg in a relaxed position, listening to everyone's conversation in silence.

Katherine had finished her own plate with a tiny smile tugging at the corners of her lips. A weird unexpected sensation had passed over her during dinner, and it had taken her a while to figure out what it was. When she finally did recognize the raw emotion that coursed through her veins she had excused herself and had announced that she was retiring for the night.

She took her leave without looking back, aware that Charles was smiling at her as she went and equally unaware that steel eyes curiously followed her as she left the room.

Without hesitating she had returned to her bedroom, picked up the suitcase and had thrown it on the unmade bed.

The decision was quickly made, she would take the next step in letting go.

'Today we have a new song that reached the number one position in the charts. So for the first time on this radio station, here is Ray Charles with his new hit song….. I can't stop loving you.'

The deep voice of the radio DJ began to speak, interrupting her thoughts and pulling her back to the present. With just one glance to the small device she realized she had been daydreaming for more than an hour. She placed the last pile of neatly folded clothes on the small shelf in the closet, and then hung the few dresses she possessed on the hangers.

She took a step back looking over the closet, proudly admiring her work.

She had finally done it, she had unpacked her suitcase.

She peered over her shoulder at the empty case on her bed with a slight frown. It had been easier than she had expected and she did not know if she should feel wrong for that. It was a weird development. The old familiar feeling of guilt that always seemed to linger in the back of her mind was leaving her alone. The only thing she did felt right now was relief, like a heavy burden had finally been lifted from her shoulders.

Taking a deep breath, she scooted to the bed and looked down over the old brown case. A white envelope was the only thing left, staring up at her from the bottom, taunting her. Not wanting to spend another thought on it, she dropped the lid of her suitcase and tugged on the zipper. After a few tries, she succeeded.

She lifted it and set it on the floor. Kneeling beside it, she placed both hands on the case ready to push it underneath the bed.


A voice in her doorway startled her, and she shoved the suitcase under the bed before she turned to look behind her. Sean was standing in the doorway, wringing his hands and avoiding her gaze.

"Hey Sean." She smiled, and sat back on her heels on the floor, palms against her thighs.

He looked into her eyes and his shoulders slumped forward.

She rose slowly from the floor. "Everything alright?" She asked, using her foot to shove the case even farther beneath the bed.

The question snapped him out of his daze. He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand and looked away. The young man opened and closed his mouth, swallowed, and tried to open his mouth again.

"Sean." His strange reaction made Katherine all the more curious, she stepped a bit closer. "Something wrong?"

His face filled with indecision first before he slowly nodded. He dropped the hand from his neck, and took a deep breath, slowly letting it out before he opened his mouth to answer. "I promised the Professor I wouldn't tell you."

His words instantly doused the warm glow inside of her.

"You wouldn't tell me what?" Her voice dropped lower and vibrated with suspicion. She continued walking towards him slowly.

He moved his weight subtly to one leg and cocked his head a fraction in her direction when she moved closer, flinching when she calmly stopped in front of him.

One of her eyebrow rose when she saw the guilt crossing over his face. "Is this about your training program?" She asked.

He nodded hesitantly."They made some improvements on the suit. And they want to test it tomorrow." The frown dug deeper across his brow and he swallowed visibly before he continued. "I don't know Doc," he paused, unsure." I'm starting to get worried."

She looked him over. "Why are you worried?" She gently prodded.

He answered her, and what he said made the blood freeze in her veins.

Before she was able to get used to the feeling of happiness, it slipped away only to be replaced by anger.

If there was one thing Erik knew he possessed, it was the talent to read people. It was a skill he had honed over the years while hunting down Schmidt and his fellow Nazi's. It had always come easy for him to predict someone's weakness; you just had to know where and what to look for.

Right now, instinctively his mind registered that he had found a weakness in his telepath friend. Charles' attraction to the human CIA agent had been obvious, but the silent treatment he was receiving that very moment was telling him enough.

The feelings ran deeper than just a simple attraction.

He had followed Charles to the library for their nightly game of chess after dinner. But ever since Charles had sat down, not a single word had exchanged between them. The telepath was just staring down at the chessboard, brows furrowed in concentration. The probing presence inside Erik's mind, that he had instantly recognized, had been there the moment he set foot in the room.

Things were clear. Crystal clear.

Charles was angry because of Moira, and he wasn't going to be let off the hook easy.

The metal bender rested one arm on the armrest of his chair, a whiskey tumbler full of liquor caught in his hand. Silently he stared at his friend, before he lifted the glass to his lips and sipped the amber fluid. He pulled the glass away from his mouth and it dangled between his fingers before he carefully placed it down on the table next to him.

Really Charles?

He spoke in his mind.

You're ignoring me because of a woman?

There was no answer, the telepath merely reached out to move a white pawn forward.

Erik tried something different. He leaned forward in the chair; placing his elbows on his knees.

"Just to satisfy my own curiosity Charles." He asked, a teasing note entering his voice. "How long are you going to be mad at me?"

Charles remained silent. Lips pursed in concentration, eyes still roving over the chessboard.

"We didn't leave the grounds, and we brought the car back." Erik tried again.

The telepath's eyes snapped up from the chessboard. "You hot-wired the car of a CIA agent and drove around with it." He raised his voice accusingly, "Moira was very upset Erik."

"You have to admit, it was entertaining" Erik replied, chuckling softly.

Charles eyes narrowed slightly, and his lips twitched as he tried to keep the smile from forming. Even though he tried to remain angry, Erik could already see his bright blue eyes filling with the same kindness and laughter as always.

Without looking away Charles picked up his own tumbler glass from the small table next to him and sat back in his chair. He brought it to his lips, and sipped his whiskey slowly. He pulled the glass back cradling it in his hand, and he broke the eye contact to stare down into the amber liquid.

"What did I do to deserve you two?" He savoured another swallow of the whiskey, longer this time, more satisfying. "I thought Raven was the difficult one." he muttered, lowering the glass again.

The metal benders head tilted back and laughter came from deep within. "Sorry to disappoint you Charles," He gave a small apologetic chuckle before he leaned back in his own chair. "I had no intention of causing you trouble."

Charles lips curved, He twirled the glass between his fingers, watching as the whiskey rolled up the edges of the glass before sliding back to the bottom. "It's alright my friend, just don't do anything like that ever again." he said with a slow drawl and a half smile. "I don't think I can handle another argument with Moira."

The flames in the fireplace cracked and popped, casting a golden glow over the room. Both men turned silent as they looked down at the chessboard between them.

Charles put his head to one side studying his pawns, and then a sly grin filled his features. One Erik knew all too well. His grey eyes shifted from the chessboard to Charles, studying him with one eyebrow raised.

"I'm not going to win tonight, am I?" He enquired, despite already knowing the answer.

"What makes you say that?" Charles replied, the grin on his face deepening the wrinkles in the corners of his mouth.

"I felt you in my head since the beginning Charles." He flicked his finger and the metal bishop moved. Before the pawn had even stopped at its new location, Charles already responded; he picked up his white knight and placed it in front of Erik's queen.

"You didn't believe your stunt would be without consequences now, did you Erik?"

"You're not going to make this easy are you Charles?"

Charles carefully placed the glass down on the table next to him. He clasped his hands on his knees, bright blue eyes filling with humor. "No I'm not."

The older man rubbed a hand over his face, scratching the day-old stubble on his chin. He breathed in and out deeply through his nose, before he looked back at the chessboard again.

"Very well."

He wasn't looking forward to this particular challenge, but he knew he really didn't have a choice. If this was his punishment, he would accept it. Keeping Charles out of his head was impossible, but the least he could do was make it as hard as possible for the telepath to read his moves.

Head still down, Erik's eyes moved up to watch the man on the other side of the chessboard.

Charles was smiling innocently.

The knight on Erik's side of the board moved quick and unexpected. Thinking about every move he made would only help Charles in winning the game, so the best chance he had was to make his move without thinking, basing every decision purely on his instincts.

Charles lifted his chin, eyes narrowed in challenge. He moved his own white pawn after a few seconds. Before he could even release the white bishop another metal piece moved forward.

Within seconds they lost themselves in their game. And before long an hour had passed.

The two mutants were hunched in their chairs, having identical faraway looks on their faces. They were so engaged that they didn't hear the library door open behind them. Only when it slammed closed did they looked up at one another, startled.

Erik had just moved his latest pawn but the unexpected sound made his hand waver. His queen fell to her side, rolling off the board and landing on the ground next to the table.

Charles stayed hunched forward in his chair, elbows on his knees and face in his hands. His eyes moved away from Erik to look at the door behind the metal bender. His head did not move, his neck did not move, but his eyes widened slightly when he saw who had entered the library. Slowly he lowered his hands back to his knees.

For a moment the telepath looked uncomfortable, and the change in his demeanour confused Erik. The sound of footsteps behind him almost seemed to echo through the quiet room. Out of nowhere the sultry smell of lavender hit him, and he immediately knew who was walking towards them. He raised his head, looking up at her when she stopped next his chair.

And immediately he froze.

Anger radiated from her and rolled towards him like waves.

Confused, he let his eyes drift slowly up her legs, over her body, and finally to her face.

Her lips were pale and pressed into a tight, thin line. Her eyes so dark and deep, he was sure he could drown in them. She was breathing in deeply through her nose, her jaw set and her fists clenched next to her.

A sudden thought flashed through his mind, and he couldn't help the smile that curled his lips.


She looked absolutely lovely when she was angry.

With difficulty he dragged his attention away from the woman next to him to look at his friend.

Charles was sitting back in his leather chair, looking far too comfortable. Innocently the telepath smiled at her before he opened his mouth to speak.

"Good evening Katie."

Her eyes narrowed dangerously and she blew a frustrated breath out through her nose. "I talked to Sean." was all she said through clenched teeth.

Erik lips curved even more. Sean had filled her in on the plans for training tomorrow. Now he understood why she was angry.

Charles was still feigning innocence. "Okay. And what exactly did Sean tell you?"

"Don't play this game Charles, you promised me that you would keep them safe" She snapped. "Throwing Sean of a satellite dish is not something I consider safe!" She raised her hand while she talked, pointing to the window.

The satellite dish was ghostly white in the distance.

The telepath stared at her silently, trying to find the words to say to her to ease her mind.

Erik watched him struggle, a tiny smirk canted up his lips. He chuckled, before he placed both hands firmly on the armrests, wanting to get up. If she was angry with Charles, there was no reason for him to stay here. Besides, he was absolutely not in the mood to be dragged into an argument with her.

Before he was even able to lift himself out of the chair, her head snapped to him. Her eyes locked with his, and the anger blazing in them took his breath away.

"Sit down lehnsherr; I'm angry at you too!"

He stared at her, steel eyes filling with confusion. Gingerly he lowered himself to sit again.

I'm sorry my friend, it seems you're stuck here with me.

The telepath chuckled, and the words echoed in Erik's mind.

Why the hell was she angry with him? It was all Charles' idea in the first place. He just voiced his own opinions when asked. There was absolutely no reason to be angry with him.

His jaw clenched so tightly he could feel his teeth vibrating behind his lips. His hands curled over the armrest, the knuckles protruding against his skin.

She pulled her angry eyes away from him to look back at the telepath. "You're not going to push Sean off a satellite dish Charles." Her voice was still tense. "What the hell are you thinking?"

Gradually Charles stood up from his chair; taking in a deep breath before he answered. "Of course we're not going to throw Sean off a satellite dish Katie, he's exaggerating. " Calmly he looked her over, his eyes reassuring. "I promised you that they would not be injured during training, and I'm keeping that promise." He added gently.

His entire stance changed the moment he got up. He was standing straight, hands folded together behind his back. He kept his face strict and without emotion, though the warmth in his voice told otherwise.

Erik finally moved his eyes away from her to look at his friend. With effort, he splayed his fingers apart over the armrest, and despite his own growing anger, he grinned.

The nickname that Raven had chosen suited him; Charles did look like a Professor.

The change in his demeanor and the authority in his voice cooled the slow burning anger inside of Katherine slightly. She folded her arms underneath her breasts and shifted her weight to her right leg.

Some of the tension in her face eased and her dark eyes softened. "They trust you with their lives Charles, don't abuse that trust." She murmured.

Charles nodded. "I know, you don't have to worry."

Her rigid posture relaxed visibly, and she unfolded her arms planting her hands on her hips. "I'm serious Charles." She warned, keeping her eyes locked on his face. "You can't push Sean off a satellite dish."

He paused for some seconds before he answered her, again with a small nod. "I promise." He unclasped his hands from behind his back and gave her a smile. "I will not push Sean of the satellite, you have my word."

She listened to his words carefully; watching the look in his eyes reflect the truth in his words. The pleading grin that accompanied it was too damn irresistible. For a second her mouth curved upward at one side in a faint hint of a smile, before she pursed her lips.

"Very well, I'm keeping you to that promise Xavier."

Without a glance in the metal benders direction, she turned and left the room in haste, leaving the door open in her wake. Her footsteps echoed through the hallway, before fading away slowly. And when Erik could no longer hear them, he swiftly rose to his feet.

He could not let it go. Not until he had been told what he had done to deserve her wrath. It had always been Charles plan.

He had just – well, agreed with it.

And just the thought of her unreasonable anger made him angry all over again.

With heavy steps he walked to the door to go after her.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Charles's voice stopped him in the doorway.

Erik's brows drew together briefly before looking over his shoulder. Charles had taken his seat again, hands folded between his knees, looking down at the chessboard on the table.

Without acknowledging his words, Erik turned his head back; He stared into the hallway before him. She had almost reached the end of the corridor. His fist doubled, his jaw clenched and without giving it any second thought, he ignored the warning of his friend.

He stormed after her.

She continued walking, soon turning the corner and disappearing from view. He picked up the pace and turned the corner too, he reached the main entrance hall in time to see that she had taken the first steps up the stairs. He reached her in a few strides, seizing her by the elbow and whirling her around.

Roughly he jerked her down the few steps to ground level.

She gasped, stumbling against him to regain her balance. Both her hands braced flat against his chest. She shoved hard against him, the man barely budged. Erik wrapped heavy hands around her biceps pulling her against him. His hold didn't hurt, but it wasn't kind either.

She pushed her shoulders back and lifted her chin. Her dark eyes flashed dangerously. "Let me go."

He responded by pulling her even more firmly against him, trapping her palms against his chest. "No," he told her, voice just as cold and eyes just as heated.

He dipped his head lower and caught her gaze with his own. "Why are you angry with me?"

She couldn't look away. She stared right back at him, refusing to let him intimidate her. The hard beat of his heart pounded beneath her palms. "Let me go now!" She hissed, trying again to shove away.

His eyes narrowed when he heard the angry words escape her lips. A furious flush spread from the slender column of her neck to her cheeks. Her scent wrapped around him, filling his lungs with every breath. Her bottom lip trembled, almost begging him to lean in closer. It was becoming hard for him to remain vexed at her. She looked breathtakingly sensuous when she was angry.

Trying to hold his anger in check, he managed to growl out a "No." Their lips almost touching, he let his voice soften a fraction."Why are you angry?"

He was so close she could see the silvery flecks in his eyes. Unexpectedly he released the firm grip on her arms. His dark gaze roamed her face and she felt the heat from his eyes. The intensity in them burned every inch of her. Her heart started to beat faster, and a very dangerous ache started to move slowly through her, spreading warmth to dark cold places she hadn't known even existed.

Involuntarily, she shivered.

She was trying to stay angry, forcing her lips to make the words. "I'm angry, because you kept it from me" She managed to spit out.

Through the fabric of her long sleeved shirt, his thumbs stroked the pulse points at her inner elbow. "Kept what from you exactly?"

Every fiber in her being wanted to move closer to him. The feeling of his fingers on her skin, his hard body against hers and the warmth of his breath on her lips as he spoke made longing pulse through her veins and need pool at her centre. She bit down on her lower lip, and instantly his steel gaze focused on her mouth before, reluctantly, they returned to her eyes.

She had to shut this down now.

She took in a deep shuddering breath, and cleared her mind of unwanted emotions. She pushed both hands hard against his chest again until hesitantly he released her. She stepped away the moment he did, creating distance between them.

"I asked you in the kitchen last night," she started, glaring fiercely at him, "If Charles was keeping something from me that could be dangerous. You said I was just being overprotective, and nothing was going to happen." She folded her arms over her chest. Her back rigid, her jaw set.

"You lied to me Erik."

His face morphed into disbelief. "This is why you are angry?" he asked, taking a step towards her.

She took a step back. "Yes. I understand the need for a white lie now and again, but this was not something you should have kept hidden from me." She snapped.

He raised a brow, standing still as a statue while she took another step back.

"You disappointed me Erik."

Before he could open his mouth to reply she turned hastily, walking up the stairs to the first floors.

His eyes followed her until she was out of sight.

Was she serious? Did she really just say that?

He ran a frustrated hand through his hair and shot a last aggravated look at the empty stairs, before he turned to walk back towards the library. He couldn't believe the nerve of that woman.

She was disappointed?

In him? Really?

Images of her face, her body, and her words were on constant repeat in his mind. Out of nowhere a sharp pang shot through him. His heart, for an instant, ceased to beat as the sudden meaning of her words hit him like a brick wall.

She was disappointed in him.

Why didn't he like that?

He stopped walking and looked back over his shoulder to the empty hallway behind him. Why on earth was he troubled by her so called disappointment?


He growled under his breath, and continued walking.

He entered the library through the open door, and found that Charles was waiting expectantly. Agitated and unnerved, he sat down in a huff and grabbed the tumbler from the table next to him. Raising it to his lips he threw it back, swallowing the whiskey and savoring it as it passed down his throat. He twirled the empty glass between his fingers, seriously considering pouring himself another, before he finally looked up to see Charles grinning widely at him.

The telepath opened his mouth to speak but Erik interrupted him before he could utter a single syllable. "If you're about to say I told you so," His eyes turned into slits. "Don't."

Charles chuckled and sat back in his own chair. "Well at least I'm not the only one who can't seem to win an argument today" He raised his own glass to Erik before bringing it to his lips.

"It's not funny Charles."

"Oh, I think it is Erik." Charles told him shaking his head slowly up and down.

A long annoyed groan came from deep within the metal benders throat. He slouched forward in the chair, scrubbing at his face briefly in frustration before trying to refocus on their game. Silently he stared down at the board, his anger slowly cooling down.

Unbidden, his mind began to conjure up images. The way she had reacted when he had touched her surprised him.

He could still feel the heat of her body and smell the lavender that always seemed to surround her. The image of the way her teeth bit into her lip, and the sharp inhale of her breath when they were pressed together kept repeating itself in his mind. It was extremely difficult not to smile, and he couldn't focus his concentration back on the chessboard in front of him.

He flicked his gaze upward, Charles was staring right back. The corner of the telepath's mouth curved upwards and an all knowing look appeared in his eyes.

Erik immediately tensed; he sat back in the chair shutting his mind down before the telepath saw more than he had intended him to see.

Erik's reaction made Charles grin smugly. He lowered his eyes back to the table again and reached out, moving the white queen on his side of the board. The metal bender followed suit, with a flick of his fingers the metal queen, that had fallen on the floor earlier, flew up in his waiting hand. He placed the piece back on the board before moving it to the destination he had in his mind before the woman had stormed in. After his move, he looked over the pawns in thought before he raised his head, settling his eyes on the man in on the other side of the table.

"What is the plan now Charles?" He asked curiously. "You still want to go th-"

"Of course we're going to go through with it." Charles finished.

Erik smirked. "She'll be angry with you."

"I don't think she will be angry with me" Charles looked up, smiling secretively. "You have to learn how to read between the lines my friend."

Erik's brows lifted.

"May I ask what you are planning?"

"I promised I wouldn't push Sean of the Satellite dish." Charles started to explain. "So tomorrow he will jump of his own free will."

"And what if he doesn't want to jump?"

Gradually, the smile on Charles his lips turned into a grin, and the grin into a snicker.

"Then you will push him."

Erik's lips thinned into a straight line. "What?"

"Like I said" Charles stated matter of factly, amusement dancing in his pale blue eyes. "I don't think she will be angry with me." Without a care in the world he sat back in his chair, reaching out for the glass on the table next to him. "Come now Erik" His plummy voice was smooth just like his smile. "I'm not vindictive but I do know when it's my turn to make a move." He emphasized his words and reached out for his knight, calmly placing it down in front of Erik's king.

"Checkmate dear friend." Charles tipped his glass and finished the whiskey.

Erik sat rigid in his chair, fists clenched on the armrests, eyes screwed shut.


For the first time in over a week, he was not looking forward to seeing her in the morning.

No, he was not looking forward to it at all.


Thank you guys again for all the support and love, I also want to use the opportunity to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year' to all of you.

Hope to see you all next year.