Summary: Erik is an artist who is obsessed with the young man he by chance bumped into six months ago. Charles is the long-suffering brother being dragged to an art exhibition by Raven. There he spots the man he has been dreaming about for six long months and realises that he had been noticed after all.
Just fluffy stuff.
An Unexpected Muse
It was an ordinarily busy day for Charles Xavier, running from lecture theatres, to the library, and finally down to the town to meet Raven in their lunch hour. She was late, as usual, probably lingering behind to speak to her college friends. As he waited impatiently, Charles tried to avoid the people hurrying past him. But at midday the street was packed with people furiously shopping and not paying attention to where they were going.
Charles dug his hands in his coat pockets to keep the chill of the cold day off of them, and ducked his chin under and behind his high collar. Suddenly a child came careening towards him, running without looking, and Charles had to step to the side in order to avoid a collision. Only, his dodging of one disaster launched him immediately into the path of an oncoming stranger. Knocked off his balance, Charles stumbled clumsily, wrenching his hands from his pockets to fly them out to the sides and right himself. The man who he had bumped into had cursed loudly, the items he had been carrying were now scattered all over the floor.
"I am so sorry," Charles said hurriedly, dropping to his knees immediately and trying to collect the items that turned out to be sketching pencils, paints and brushes, which had fallen out of the their old and ratty canvas wrap.
The man remained standing, stooping only to pick up a sketchbook as if was the only thing he cared about. He left Charles scrabbling after everything else in the dirt and dust of the pavement. Finally he crouched down to Charles' level and retrieved the last paintbrush. The young man he had almost sent flying, had his head bowed, his brown hair hanging over his eyes. His hands were small and soft looking, unlike Erik's, who had spent years with carving tools and covered with paint. But Erik was left without words as the young man finally looked up at him, all pale faced and bright blues eyes with a worried expression in them.
"I wasn't looking," Charles said, not even realising that he was speaking. He watched the tall man straighten up, and copied him, slowly standing as if expecting an attack. He couldn't read the man's face, but it seemed impassive and cold. "I hope nothing is broken."
He held the canvas wrap out between them. The stranger took it without comment, and Charles began wishing that the ground would just swallow him up. The man was strikingly handsome, and Charles couldn't keep himself from blushing with embarrassment at the thought. What an idiot he must look, flushed faced and awkward. Charles dropped his gaze and realised that this wasn't about to be one of those great and romantic, love at first sight meetings. If he was daydreaming, he was dreaming alone.
But still, the man was staring at him, and Charles was starting to feel even more self-conscious. Why didn't he say something? If he didn't want to speak, then why didn't he just say excuse me and go on his way? Why keeping staring if he didn't like what he was seeing?
"My apologies," the stranger said at last.
Erik realised that he had been rude; standing in silence whilst the blue eyed young man had helped him, and then blushed under his intense gaze. But what was he supposed to have said? He could hardly say what he was been thinking, that he was looking at someone so very perfect. Or, at least the young man looked perfect to Erik. He looked like a subject from a classic painting, wasted here in this busy street with no one looking.
"I must have hurt you."
"Hmm?" Charles had been lost for a moment, starting at the man's mouth, knowing that he was very close to slipping into some indecent thoughts.
"When I knocked into you."
Charles shook his head and flushed even more. But the man hadn't finished. He looked as if he was steeling himself to say something more. In fact, there was an idea forming in Erik's mind that was highly inappropriate considering the circumstances, but this was an opportunity that he couldn't let himself miss. The young man's face was one he knew it would be difficult to forget, but still, he wanted more. He wanted to turn him into that classical painting.
"I wonder if…" Erik began, staring into those wide blue eyes, which were looking back at him just as intently, as if the world had completely disappeared.
"Charles!" Raven shouted, hurrying towards him. "There you are!"
Erik looked over at the blonde girl. Charles. The young man's name was Charles. But he was escaping him, being drawn back into the world where he belonged, and out of the strange moment out-of-time with Erik.
"I'm sorry, I have to go," Charles said with a sad kind smile, as if he too wished the moment might have lasted a little longer. Erik nodded once at him, then continued on his way. It had been a foolish idea anyway.
"Who was that?" Raven asked, looking after the tall stranger as he walked away.
"I don't know," Charles admitted. He saw his sister frown out of the corner of his eye, but kept a watch on the stranger until he finally disappeared. He knew he'd be imagining a different ending in his dreams tonight.
Erik had tried to forget him, but for a whole month it was as if he had lost all of his vision. He couldn't create anything worth anyone's attention, just splotches of paint on a canvas, which all ended up being destroyed in frustration. All he could think of, and all he could see when he closed his eyes, was Charles. He wished he had been brave enough to ask the young man to come by his studio sometime, to have ignored the blonde girl and finished the hesitant sentence he had tentatively begun. But it was too late. He'd started walking through the town again, but he had never seen the young man since. Almost as if he had been a mirage, or a dream, a perfect illusion, he had gone.
As the first month passed into a second, Erik gave into his heart and let his brushes guide him. Charles started to appear on every canvas, and sketched on every scrap of paper. Innocent faced, blue eyed, Charles looked back at him from every corner of his studio, and finally his soul ceased it's perpetual burning and found a moment of contented peace. The young man might have disappeared into memory, but Erik's imagination was alive once more.
It was as if he had been taken over by a demon, creating, sculpting, painting, sketching, and for once, he was ready for the upcoming exhibition a full week ahead of schedule. Sitting back on the cold concrete floor, Erik surveyed his work. He felt a contented sense of pride, knowing that it was turn to nervousness and finally flat out fear at the thought of revealing it to the world.
Charles disliked art exhibitions. Ever since Raven had started studying art at college, it was all they ever seemed to spend their free time doing. The business element and the pretentious people milling about made Charles feel annoyed. Or perhaps it was the way people tended to look down their noses at himself and Raven, as if they didn't belong there that irked him the most? It made Charles want to stand up and shout that he could buy whatever he liked in the room, in fact wrap it all up! Instead he simply ignored them, and trailed after Raven who never seemed to notice any snooty glances, that or she didn't care.
"How much longer are we going to be here?" Charles asked. It wasn't as if he disliked looking at art, or didn't appreciate it. It was just that he liked to look at it alone, away from everyone else' opinions.
"I want to see Erik Lehnsherr's work. I wrote an essay on him last term, I couldn't believe it when my friend said he was in town," Raven said excitedly, pushing her way through the crowds. Charles followed her doggedly, walking up the stairs and almost walking straight into a press interview.
Cameras were flashing, and Charles was being jostled. He didn't look at the poor artist who was being bombarded by questions, but continued on to view his work. The room beyond was in reality, just as busy. But to Charles it became suddenly empty and silent. There was such a thumping of blood in his ears that all other sounds were blotted out, and he felt faint, sick and shocked. It was his face, his eyes, and his shy smile staring back at him, perfect as if he was looking into a mirror.
"He looks like you," Raven said. Charles felt her hand touch his arm, and he jumped, not having realised she was so close. "Hang on…"
"That's me," Charles whispered. "It's me Raven."
Raven's hand found it's way into his, squeezing some life into his numb body. His heart was hammering and his legs felt weak and shaky. He had no control over where he was walking, following Raven and staring at his own image, which appeared time and time again. It was a strange confusing feeling that clenched at his heart, his stomach flipping over and over. He held tightly to Raven, knowing that the rushing sound in his ears was the prelude to him fainting.
He stopped and felt the world spin.
"Raven I need some air," Charles managed to choke out. He felt his sister dragging him towards the exit, but immediately they were back in the throng of reporters surrounding the artist.
It was like a dream, everything moving, but himself drifting and unable to control anything. Until his eyes met with the man he had been dreaming about, ever since he'd scattered his art supplies in the street. Right there, Charles' dreams collided with reality.
Erik was sure than his heart had stopped. Charles was real after all, and there he was, staring at him like a frightened animal, looking ready to faint. Erik forced himself to step forward, confusing the reporters, and trying to push them out of the way.
Charles felt Raven tugging on his hand, but it was as if his feet were stuck to the floor. He couldn't have moved even he had wanted to, his legs heavy as if all the blood had dropped down into them. There was pounding in his head now, and he knew he was fighting against collapsing on the floor.
Erik Lehnsherr. The stranger was called Erik Lehnsherr, and he was the artist… who hadn't forgotten him after all. Charles had been a part of Erik's dreams, just like Erik had been in his.
"Charles!" Erik called, hearing his surprise in his own voice.
Suddenly the mob of press turned around, like a predator searching out their next victim. A few seconds of silence ensued, which allowed for Erik to get closer, before the camera flashes started going off once again, only this time aimed at Charles.
"How does it feel being a muse for one of the country's most celebrated artists?" someone was demanding to know, shoving a microphone towards Charles' face.
"Back off," Raven snapped, swatting the microphone away, much to the shock of the reporter. She tightened her hold on Charles and started dragging him away. He was no longer rooted to the spot, but shocked and dazed once more. "Charles, come on."
They made it to the bottom of the stairs before Charles started listening to the person repeatedly calling his name. It was Erik, who had managed to disentangle himself from the press, and was hurrying after them. Charles paused, and looked back. Erik was even more remarkably attractive than he remembered, just as tall, but his eyes this time were filled with emotions. His face was worried, and he called Charles' name with a touch of desperation.
"Please let me explain…"
"Those paintings… that's me?" Charles asked in complete wonderment. He couldn't let his heart believe what it was trying to tell him, that he was worthy of such interest, and such painstaking devotion. There had to be another explanation.
"I wanted to ask you that day if I could paint you…only, I stupidly let you go. I walked away knowing I'd made a mistake, and I just couldn't get you out of my head. Every time I tried to paint, all I could see was you…" Erik explained. He felt mortified and foolish. Charles must be thinking that he was some kind of crazy obsessed psycho, sad and rather delusional. No wonder he was trying to run away. "I looked for you, day after day… I couldn't stop thinking about you, and I wish, I'd been brave enough to say something to you, when I'd had the chance."
Charles suddenly realised that Raven had stepped a respectful distance away from him, and looked as if she was pretending not to be listening Erik's painfully heartfelt confession. Charles could barely believe what he was hearing. This was crazy. Why would someone like Erik be interested in him? He didn't even know him, and people only spoke to him after they realised whose son he was.
"I…" Charles stammered, his mouth dry, his legs still shaking. This was it, his chance to say what he had been dreaming of saying. He couldn't be afraid now. "I've been thinking the same… every day… I didn't forget you."
The relief that flooded across Erik's face was infectious, and his smile even more so. Charles found himself completely mesmerised, the frightened feeling in his stomach turning to excited nerves. The change around of emotions left him feeling high, and as Erik suggested they escape the place for a drink, he wondered whether this might be the start of something great.
After all, there were multiple painted pieces of proof to convince him that he'd somehow made a way into Erik's heart.