Disclaimer:: If I owned X-Men, there would be more Charles. Always. Everywhere. I'm just borrowing the characters to have a bit of fun. Not mine.
Erik wandered the compound, coffee in one hand and a doughnut (swiped from one of the kitchens) in another. It would an understatement to say that today had been a long day. Hank had been overjoyed to see that Cerebro was working, and his pride was matched by Charles's fascination. It had only taken a few seconds for the powerful telepath to grow used to the exponential increase in distance allowed by Cerebro. Soon the typewriter had written an entire page, and nearly six hours and eight pages later, they decided to wrap it up: for now. Erik could hardly wrap his head around the fact that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people whose mutations had thrust them into the new generation of mankind. What kinds of powers would they have? How strong were they? These were questions they would be able to answer later, once he and Charles (as agreed) had approached the located mutants. If he was this excited, Charles must literally be bouncing off the walls—
The magnetic-manipulator was shaken out of his contemplative mood by nearly tripping over the object, or rather person, of his thoughts. He had turned the corner to see Charles half-sitting half-leaning against the wall. The man's pale and clammy skin looked harsh in the fluorescent light, and after a moment's inspection, Erik realized the man was shivering. Dark circles were pronounced under his eyes, and they lacked the usual spark of excitement when the telepath looked up at him.
"Are you alright?" Erik asked, although it was quite obvious that that wasn't the case.
Charles chuckled weakly, and whether he had knew that the question had been a formality or had read his mind, he didn't reveal. "I'm caught somewhere in between jumping for joy, throwing up, and passing out," he said simply. The fleeting smile didn't reach his eyes.
Well, I wasn't that far off with my 'bouncing off the walls' statement. Erik finished his doughnut, licking his fingers clean before replying. "Well, that's what happens when you spend half the day hooked up to the minds of millions of people, I suppose. Right now, judging by how pathetically awful you look," The slouching man glared at him. "I'd say you're going through some kind of withdrawal. As if you're coming down from a high, from Cerebro." It was definitely possible: going from thousands of minds down to just one, or even a handful, would be quite a shock to his system. As well, as much as the younger man tried to hide it, Erik was pretty sure that prolonged use of his telepath abilities was draining, both physically and mentally.
Charles sighed softly and nodded, making a half-hearted attempt to smooth his wrinkled shirt. "They can be."
"I told you to stay out of my head," Erik practically growled and spun on his heel to continue down the hallway to his room. Charles's voice from behind stopped him, not just the words, but the tone.
"This is as far as I could get…" The German muttered something under his breath and returned to the corner where his friend was struggling to his feet. He wasn't about to let the man get off that easily.
"And?" He questioned. The weaker man glared at him again, obviously annoyed at the fact that his pride would suffer, but he finally gave in when another tremor wracked his body. "Help me, please."
Simple as that. Erik manoeuvred a supporting arm around the telepath and hoisted him to his feet. Charles was immediately unsteady, and let out a soft groan. "Hey, no throwing up on me, got it?" The other man said jokingly, but softly. "How's the head?" he asked as the pair made their way slowly down the hall.
"Feels like it's going to split in two, thanks for asking." Erik took a moment to remember where he had put his bottle of painkillers. But would they help? Certainly couldn't hurt. He honestly couldn't think of a time where Charles, always cool and collected and in his damn fancy clothes, had looked quite so… vulnerable. It reminded him that although yes, he certainly was powerful, he was still human. Some part of him, anyways.
Charles nearly lost his grip on Erik's leather coat with the supporting man turned left into his room, mentally praising himself for leaving the door unlocked. It would've been hell to search for his keys in this position. Charles immediately began to protest: "No, this isn't my room; I don't want to intrude…" The other man ignored him, depositing his charge on the end of the bed before moving around the room, closing blinds and windows. "I don't want to be seen carrying you around the hallways like we're best buddies. Now, I think there's a bottle of Tylenol in the bathroom…" He turned back to Charles, and didn't need to be a mind reader to decipher the light shade of green on the other man's face. He pointed at the door on the left. Charles stumbled into the bathroom and Erik winced when he heard him emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet.
After waiting what seemed to be an appropriate amount of time, the German moved to stand in the doorway. Charles had taken off his suit jacket and was slouched over the toilet with his head resting against the blissfully cool porcelain. "Just kill me now," he practically whimpered, and Erik scoffed at him. "You're such a drama queen."
The telepath's eyes fluttered shut as Erik moved around the room, producing a couple painkillers and a glass of water. "Take these." Charles complied but otherwise refused to move from his position on the floor. The silence was just becoming uncomfortable when he spoke, voice hoarse. "I'm tired." Erik rolled his eyes. "Obviously. Now, would you like to sleep on this garish linoleum, or would you prefer somewhere more comfortable?"
This drew a chuckle from Charles. "I'll go with the second option," he said quietly, and breathed a small sigh of relief when they crossed into the now darkened bedroom. He moved towards the small couch but was quickly intercepted by Erik, who steered him towards the bed.
"Don't protest, just do it," the older man said sternly. He could still feel the other man shivering. Too exhausted to argue, Charles slipped out of his shoes and crawled under the covers. Once he was sure Charles was resting comfortably, Erik stretched out across the couch. Now he was tired. That's what I get for taking care of him, I suppose. I wonder if anyone else knows how much of a whiner he can be. He must've been a terror when he was ill as a child. The thought was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.
Erik had just about fallen asleep when shuffling from the bed brought him back to full consciousness. Huffing in irritation, he sat up to check on Charles. He was lying in bed, but his eyes were open and he looked almost annoyed. Well that makes two of us.
"What?" He asked brusquely, the sound of his voice drawing Charles's gaze. The man looked almost worse than before. He was curled up in the maroon blankets, one hand lightly massaging his temple.
"Can't sleep," he said shortly, and looked at Erik expectantly. The other man raised an eyebrow. What do you want me to do about it? He wasn't his mother or his babysitter. If he was expecting a warm glass of milk or something, he was sorely mistaken… Still, as he watched Charles fidget and attempt to get more comfortable, he couldn't help but feel as if he should help him. And after a moment, he knew how he was going to do so.
Erik took a moment, mentally preparing himself. He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. The change in pressure caused Charles to face him, his confusion evident. "Wait a moment… okay." He let out a deep breath. "Read my mind."
The command brought a deeper look of confusion to Charles's face, and he ran a hand through his sweaty hair. "No, I won't, I said I wouldn't—"
"Just do it."
After a couple moments of hesitation, Charles closed his eyes and reached for Erik's mind. Erik closed his eyes as well, bringing the memory he wanted to the forefront of his mind, letting his friend share in it…
He had been sick, struck with a fever and bedridden for days. He was curled up in the same position that Charles was now, except that he wasn't alone: his mother sat on the side of his bed, smoothing out the patchwork blankets. She softly stroked his hair and sang to him. Her voice, although soft, filled the dim room and soothed his mind. She continued, and soon a young Erik could feel himself drifting off to sleep…
Erik opened his eyes, breathing deeply and blinking sleepily. He glanced over at Charles. The man was asleep, finally. The previous tension in his body had left, leaving him resting easily. Erik allowed himself a small smile before returning to the couch and relaxing against the pillow. He brought himself back to that memory, and was soon asleep as well.