"You work too much."
"You work too little."
From his lean in the doorway, Erik ignores Charles and continues. "Always with your head in a book." He pushes away from the dark, cured wood to walk casually into the bedroom.
"I am a scholar." Charles has yet to look away from his thesis. "Professor Xavier, remember?"
Erik is now perched on the desk where Charles writes, arms folded across his chest. "Well, professor, take a break."
"Maybe later," Charles murmurs and jots something down. He turns another page in the huge book (one of many that surround him) and is absorbed in his work once again. He doesn't catch Erik's indulgent eye roll, but does take notice, vaguely, when the other man walks away and flops inelegantly onto the carefully made bed. A few moments later his Newton Cradle across from his studies begins to knock, balls clacking against each other in a soothing rhythm even though he has not touched it. The noise doesn't disturb him, though, and despite his initial insistence that Charles take a break from his texts and notes, Erik doesn't make a sound.
Next to him his metal paper weight lifts up, hovers, and floats slowly in the direction of the bed. A small smile tugs at Charles' lips – that paperweight began as a solid cube. So far it's been shaped into a cone, a sphere with a flat bottom, a miniature version of Michelangelo's' David, and, interestingly enough, a duck. A rather fine, detailed duck of course, but nevertheless. It made Charles smile. He enjoys walking into his bedroom to find that he has required a new ornament. It's something small, yes, but it makes him all the fonder of his friend every time he sees it.
Minutes pass in a comfortably warm silence - a silence in which Charles, while absorbed mostly in his studies has to hold back from the temptation of looking at the man on his bed, curious to see what shape he is molding out of metal this time. But despite his self-control a second later his attention is grabbed suddenly and fully.
Could ask… don't want to disturb him.
The thought filters over lazily, and Charles feels rotten – even though he has only promised Raven that he'd refrain from ever reading her mind, he still feel guilty when he accidently does it to the others. He doesn't look away from his books, though he still listens. He seems very busy… just wait… know how he gets when he's interrupted…
Charles doesn't think he gets any type of way when he's interrupted from his work; in fact he happens to think he is quite accommodating, but he doesn't say this. Deciding quickly, he finishes writing up a thought, places his pencil down in between the pages of his tome, and rolls his shoulders.
"All done then?" Erik asks, nonchalantly, and Charles finally looks over. The metal hovers, shapeless in the air, swirling and separating, suspended molten drops.
"Just taking a short intermission. My eyes were getting a little tired." It's a lie, he feels fine.
"That's what you get," Erik says idly as Charles gets up, stretches, and walks over to flop down next to him on the large mattress. "I assumed you knew everything about mutations. What else is there to learn?"
"One cannot possibly know everything about a subject, Erik." Charles sinks further into the pillows and lifts his right hand up. "There is so much left to know, so much left to look for."
"Mhm," the other man hums quietly, not unkindly, and proceeds to meld the metal of the paperweight into a long, malleable snake. It weaves itself in between Charles's fingers and around his wrist. The sight is mesmerizing, and Charles can't help the slightly tight feeling he feels in his chest. They, all of them, are special. So special. They can make this world such a better place if they just learn to hone in on their abilities. He feels a rush of pride at his own gift and the sense of helping others reach further in their own successes. He's finally putting this huge, spacious castle to use...
He's done working… ask… he will say yes… friend…best friend… done it before…
Charles waits and watches the metal weave and hover above his flesh. He can be patient.
Ten, maybe fifteen minutes pass before Erik finally speaks.
"Do it again." The words are quiet. So low that if Charles were still at his desk across the room he would not have caught them. "Please."
Charles doesn't have to ask what he means. Without a word he shifts and settles until he is sitting cross-legged near Erik's head. He can feel the relief and anticipation seeping from the other man as he withdraws his snake of metal and rolls it into a ball to settle on the bedspread. Two pairs of eyes close and Charles focuses.
He starts with Erik's favorite – he knows this is his favorite because of the pure joy and utter peace he'd felt the very first time he'd shown Erick this forgotten memory and how that same feeling persists, gets stronger, despite seeing it many times before. He is young, barely out of infancy. All he can see is his mother's face, young and beautiful, eyes shining with love as she looks down at him in her arms. Soft, gentle hands smooth over downy soft hair. They are only brown tufts, but she admires them as if they are spun gold. He sinks into this memory, holding it there for a long moment, allowing Erik to be encompassed by the all empowering feeling of having been loved unconditionally.
Smoothly transitioning, the scene melts away from the warm, lowly lit nursery and now Erik is outside. Six years old, small for his age, so the tall bright green grass of summer tickles his cheeks as he runs to hide behind a tree. Joy leaps from his chest, tiny heart thudding wildly, waiting for his father to find him.
"…vier… drei… zwei… eins. Wo bist du?"
Erik giggles at his father's playful tone, but tries to smother it in his palms. He can't see it, but he knows his father is taking a little longer to find him than is normal. There are only so many places to hide in this kind of field where everything is spaced out and there are few trees before the forest. But it is still a little thrill of surprise followed by immense happiness when his father pops up, face reddened by the sun, smile wide, and bright, and young. "Gefuden!" is his gleeful shout and the air is rent by Erik's peels of laughter. Charles feels himself grinning, the warmth of the sun filling his own chest, and he slides into another memory.
Erik is younger now, maybe four years old. He is in his kitchen, the smell of baking bread heavy in the air. He peeks over the edge of the table, barely able to reach, but there is a plate of cookies there, slightly out of reach. Even on tiptoes he is too small, but maybe the chair will work. Stealthily as only a four year old can, he steals up onto the wooden seat, darts a look at his mother's turned back, and climbs onto the table. He is close, fingers brushing the plate when he is lifted up into the air by strong hands. "Allzu fruh," his father's voice rumbles into his ear as he is set back on his feet. Erik does not agree - it is just the right time for a cookie, but he doesn't argue. His father's word is law, but even as he kisses his wife on the cheek and murmurs something in her ear that makes her blush and smile prettily, Erik pouts.
His father has left the room, and he is on the floor playing with a rolling pin when a cookie hovers in front of his face. Childish glee runs through his veins and his mothers smiling face fills his vision again. "Nur für uns," she whispers and winks at him, and it is probably the best cookie Erik has ever had.
Charles lets the memory melt away and when he open his eyes he sees that Erik's is still closed, a small, utterly peaceful smile on his lips. It's such a rare expression to be seen, especially from him, and Charles can't help it when he lifts his hand and runs it gently through Erik's short brown hair. They both feel happy – lazy, and happy, and serene and Charles could drift off right now. And he would if he doesn't feel Erik take a hold of his free hand. He tugs gently, and Charles allows himself to be pulled down. Lips press against his cheek and a thumb rubs over his knuckles. "Danke... für dein Verständnis."
He always says the same thing, softly, like angel wings fluttering against flesh, and Charles smiles, his own lips ghosting over Erik's ear. "Immer." Another tug at his hand and he unfolds his legs and slides down to lay next to the warm body beside his own. His eyelids drift shut when soft, warm, lips press against his forehead, and they stay closed when Erik shifts so they are both lying on their sides, foreheads pressed together, and hands still intertwined loosely.
It does not take much tonight - the clicking of the Newton's Cradle, combined with the lingering feel good feelings caused by the memories, and his best friend's steady breathing beside him, Charles falls asleep within minutes.
A few hours later he floats into wakefulness to find the lights low and Erik gone, in his place a heavy apple, made of glittering metal.