Disclaimer: I don't own these characters!

Notes: So this isn't underage; Charles and Erik are both at university. And this is my first X-Men fic, obviously. And it won't be long, so… I hope you like it! Tell me if I've made any errors :0)

"Well, look at you, Charles," Erik says, after a pointed cough forces him to turn his head and look. "How elegant."

And then he groans internally, because Charles is wearing jeans (jeans!) and a terrible, terrible Thanksgiving sweater which was definitely made by a woman from last century. It's bright, garish, and very, very orange. Erik respectfully does not laugh, but Charles can see it in his eyes, and he flops down on the sofa where Erik's been reading and pouts.

"I know you're joking," he accuses, posh accent causing Erik's lips to twitch. "And it's not supposed to be elegant. It's supposed to be hip."

Erik shifts, mouth quirking. He sets down the book (ExplorationsoftheHumanPsyche,for Psychology) and plays along. "Trying to impress someone?" he asks with a raised eyebrow. Charles cares about his appearance far too much, but when he is, as he so eloquently puts it, 'on the prowl', he spends even more time fussing with himself.

"No, it's for the party," Charles prods. "Tonight, remember? In Lisa's room."

"I thought you hated Lisa," Erik retorts, not bothering to hide the horror on his face. Not another party, where alcohol is the main source of amusement and people entertain themselves by drinking it off body parts. He'd thought Charles had forgotten.

Charles looks up from where he's been twiddling with his hemline. "Yes, of course I do," he says, and scowls. Lisa Jackson is the sole reason that Charles's precious atomic history research paper had been drenched in Kool-Aid. It's the first failing grade he has received, as far as Erik knows, but that doesn't make it any less hilarious. "But that doesn't mean people I do like aren't going to be there," he continues.

"You like everyone," Erik protests futilely. He rubs his eyes with a long-suffering sigh. "But if we go, please, please do not wear that sweater. For everyone's sake."

"It's festive!" Charles counters, lower lip sticking out. "For Thanksgiving."

"You don't even celebrate Thanksgiving," Erik points out. He raises one incredulous eyebrow. "What are you trying to do, blend in?"

Charles heaves a hapless sigh and runs a hand through his hair. "Yes," he admits sheepishly. Then, unexpectedly: "What do you think I should put on?"

Strange. Charles never asks for advice on clothes, especially not from a 'mono-palette' person like Erik. Yet it is a different sort of situation than Charles's usual events, Erik thinks. "Something less... huge," he decides. "Maybe with a more muted color scheme." Who would have thought he'd be talking about clothes, let alone 'color schemes'?

Charles rolls his eyes. "Fine," he grumbles, and stands up. "I'll have to dip into my old wardrobe," he grouses over his shoulder, and Erik just smiles. Charles is the most dramatic person he knows when it comes to clothes, and he wonders fleetingly who the lucky girl is.

At ten minutes to eight Erik is jolted from a particularly exciting passage by another pointed sound. Annoyed, he looks up. And looks. And looks.

Charles's jeans are now much, much tighter than before, and from the way he's standing, with one hand on a cocked hip, Erik can see the round curve of his ass. His shirt is worn, but fashionably so, and it is so thin that Erik can see Charles's nipples through the fabric.

Erik swallows, because that is so not what he meant when he said 'less huge.' The way Charles is dressed is bringing up a lot of things that Erik really would rather not think about right now, like the fact that he still hasn't told Charles he's gay, and that he might possible be in love with him.

Charles coughs from somewhere above, and Erik forces his head up to see him looking concerned. "I... is this - is this okay?" he asks, worry evident on his face.

"Yes," Erik manages; schooling his face back into what he hopes is a normal expression. "Great. Much... better."

"Good." Charles still has that look, quizzical and uncertain and something Erik can't quite name. He shifts where he's standing, and Erik realizes that he hasn't allowed himself to blink for the past thirty seconds or so. He lets out a long breath.

"I'll just go get ready," he mumbles, and sets his book down without folding down his page.

"Okay," Charles says, and Erik is careful not to brush him when he walks past.

:::

They're only a half an hour late when Erik steps out of his room, clad in a pale green tee shirt and black jeans. He slides on his leather jacket from where it's hung on the coat rack.

"Better get going," he says, bracing himself for when Charles get up from the sofa and turns around.

It's just as bad as he remembers, and he stares rigidly at the wall as Charles pulls on a thin sweater.

"You all right?" Charles asks as they stroll out onto the campus lawn. It's dark, and Erik wishes they had brought a flashlight. He's glad, though, that Charles can't see his face.

"'Course," he replies brusquely, perhaps too brusquely, because instead of asking more questions Charles just subsides into quiet.

They're almost to Lisa's dorm building when Charles speaks again. "Look," he starts, and Erik winces. "You can go back if you want; I don't want to force you into anything."

Erik feels the heat of Charles's stare as he opens the doors. "You're not forcing me," he says, using the brightness of the lights as an excuse to not make eye contact. He squints to the side. "I wanted to come."

Charles snorts. "Yes, I'm sure," he retorts, but he sounds reassured, and they continue in silence down the hall.

"So who's the girl?" Erik inquires once they're inside the elevator. He tries to sound casual, and meets Charles's glance with all the innocence he can muster.

"There isn't a girl."

"There isn't a girl," Erik repeats skeptically. "There's always a girl with you, Charles."

For some reason Charles flushes at the words, whether from anger or embarrassment Erik can't tell. "Not always," he grits out, and his face is suddenly stony.

Erik gapes at him. "Okay," he says carefully, wondering what he's done wrong now. "That's fine. You just want to have fun, no...stuff. That's good." He stifles the feeling of relief in his stomach, because he isn't relieved that Charles isn't going to fornicate, because that would have meant he had been jealous.