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The surly man wasn't entirely sure when he'd passed out, but the poking at his ribs was enough to jostle him awake. [b "Who's it-"] he blurted, smacking his knees off the seat in front of him as he jumped up, only to be pulled back into his seat by the belt across his lap.
Groggy and disoriented, Erik frowned at everyone around him. [b "We're here?"] he asked, unbuckling the seatbelt and wiping the small bit of drool from the corner of his mouth. [b "Did you actually tickle me?"]
Unsurprisingly, he was not a morning person. Or an afternoon person. Generally, any time he was woken against his will was sure to guarantee a moody man. He gathered their overhead bags and guided the way off the plane, keeping one hand in hers because she was so goddamn small that he'd likely lose her in the crowds.
[b "People are animals,"] his nose wrinkled in disgust as he caught sight of a well-travelled man cleaning his underarms with water from the fountain meant to drink from. [b "Airports may be the single worst destination in the world. Is there a car waiting for us?"]
He was sticking with consulting her for all logistics regarding the mission. She had more of a hand in the scheduling with the government officials, while he'd been off being difficult.
[#cc0092 "Sir? Miss?"]
Charlotte startled at the sound of the foreign voice, blinking to clear her blurred vision, and soon she was looking up at a flight stewardist. ...Slowly, the brunette realized her head was resting agaisnt something, and she glanced up to see she was practically in Erik's lap, his arms curled around her like a possesive child held onto a favored toy during naptime.
[#cc0092 "We've landed, miss. You and your husband can depart now!"] The stewadist gave a cheery smile, and Charlotte let out a groan. She tried to wiggled out of the others hold, so she could grab her carry-on, but.... she couldn't budge. Because the German-male was still sleeping like a rock and not letting go of her.
[b "...Erik? Darling?"] She asked, still half asleep with a yawn. The fact the endearment had slipped hadn't even changed her mind. [b "Erik, you need to wake up... we have to get off the plane, it's landed...."] She yawned again, and then not knowing what else to do, she had the most sophisticated and mature solution pop into her mind; she moved her hands to tickle at his ribs. Abruptly, mercilessly, and without a single care for how ticklish he may or may not end up being. She needed to pee, damn it.
[b "Don't get used to it,"] he play-acted stern. [b "Once this plane touches down, it'll be back to Violent Erik, throwing things at people whenever they annoy me."]
Later on, he would be ashamed to admit that he jumped upon hearing her voice in his head. His knees smashed against the food tray, almost spilling his drink. It'd been so long since she'd spoken to him in such a way that it was jolting to come out of nowhere.
[b "Leg spasm,"] he gruffly explained to the elderly woman across from him, watching with concern over her coke-bottle thick glasses.
At the teasing about the suit, Erik groaned and fought to keep from rolling his eyes. [b "First no violence, and now I have to put that monkey suit back on?"] he glared at her. [b "Now you're asking too much of me. What if when we're out, we're attacked? I can't exactly fight when I have a stupid tie flailing about, and a jacket impeding my movements. If I can't use my powers, I should be able to wear sensible fighting clothes."]
The conversation dwindled the longer the flight went on. Erik wasn't even remotely bothered when her head slipped to his shoulder as exhaustion claimed her. Hell, he even adjusted her neck so that she'd be at a more comfortable angle. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account the effect her warm breath on his neck would have on him.
His eyes fell to his lap, widening in surprise before slapping a magazine to cover the [i problem] she was causing. [b "Goddamnit,"] he huffed, forcing his eyes shut as he tried to think of anything other than the bloody woman poking through his brick wall.
[b "Look at you, not using violence. I'm so proud of you. I wish I had film to record this moment on,"] Charlotte sniffled dramatically, playful, but then her expression became soft and genuine.
[b [i /+// That was brilliant, you know. It really was. Bravo, Erik, bravo. //+/]]
She gently used her telepathic speaking for the first time in over a week on him – there really had been so much tension the past few days. Even if it had been jarring for Erik to feel at the beginning, it might possibly be some sort of relief for him to feel once more.
The brunette grabbed for a piece of bread from her meal tray, idly chewing on it, and then took a sip of her drink. [b "I suppose I'll be taking you on a dinner date once we get to New York, then. You willing to put that suit back on? I swear I won't look like a prostitute this time."] She giggled a bit, sticking her tongue out at him just slightly before pushing his plate closer to him.
It wasn't long after they ate and bickered a little more that Charlotte seemed to realize just how exhausted she was after a previou night of no sleep following a mini panick attack. So, against her will, she found herself slowly nodding off and, by the time there was maybe an hour left in their flight, her head tilted to rest on Erik's shoulder as she breathed in her gentle dreaming.
Erik's posture grew completely straight at the challenge. It was pathetic to get competitive at thirty thousand feet in the air, but they were crammed in this sardine tin so they may as well have fun with it. [b "You're willing to buy me dinner, if I win?"] he glanced wickedly at her.
Cut off by their delivery of food and wine, he forced a smile on his face. [b "This doesn't count,"] he muttered, gesturing to the meal.
Taking a deep breath and focusing his attention, Erik's eyes drifted closed. The resonating ring of the cutlery was easy enough to single out. However, eliminating sound was not something he was accustomed to. He was usually the one causing it. His fingertips twitched on his lap. Slowly, he heard the clanging silverware fade until it was a dull thud.
[i "Hey,"] the kid frowned, noticing the lack of noise.
He tried banging the forks together, only for the same dullness to play. Almost like a finger tapping lightly on a table. [i "Mom, are you seeing this?"] he elbowed the woman next to him.
[i "For the love of christ, Jacob,"] she snapped, moving the complimentary eye mask she'd been wearing. [i "I don't care about the goddamn forks, alright? Be quiet! For ten minutes, please just be quiet!"]
A smirk tugged at Erik's lips, satisfied as he watched the boy throw himself back into his chair in a huff, the forks dropping to the tray. [b "Not as satisfying as using them to tie his hands together, but I'll take it."]
If the Britishwoman was honest with the universe, she'd admit that the clanging the young teenager was causing really was rather irritating. And, considering that Erik could probably sense the metal getting clanged, she knew it must be even more irritating for him to endure the same experience.
[b "...You can put an end to Ringo Star's performance. If-"] Charlotte tagged on quickly, not wanting Erik to possibyl do something violent, [b "-you can do so by stopping the resonating vibration of the forks that are making the 'clinging' sound exist. If you do that, it'll change it into just dull thunking."]
She knew Erik liked a challenge, and she liked to think this counted as a challenge. And if he [i didn't] count it as a challenge, she turned it into one wordlessly a moment later by arching her eyebrow at him with an innocent little grin, saying, [b "That is... if you can."] She acted as if she was inspecting her nails, thanking a stewardness as the woman said they had apparently been randomly selected as one of two coach members to receiver free alcohol and first-class meals.
'Randomly' being a lie, but in a way it was randomized. It's not every day a mutant with the power to read and manipulate minds existed on an airplane, after all.
Goddamnit, what was it about this woman that left him so charmed? He even felt a smirk pulling at his lips more than once. She made several good points; they were definitely the opposite of each other. Everything about her more laid back nature conflicted with his constant fight or flight mode. Conflict resolution through words had never really been his way of handling things. It was easier to get information through physical threats.
He downed his second beer before rising from the table. [b "We'd best not be late, then,"] he threw cash down for the bill.
The second plane was mercifully roomier. His legs weren't as cramped, and his shoulder didn't bump hers as the plane was taxied to the runway. [b "Remind me to request first class seats, next time,"] he mumbled to her, still uncomfortable with being in such close quarters with so many other people.
If the government authorities were going to be sending them all over the country, the least they could do was spring for luxury accommodations. Two rows ahead of them, a preteen boy was drumming on the meal tray in front of him, using metal forks. Erik's eye twitched with every clang. [b "You're still in charge, so I'm begging permission to put an end to Ringo Starr's solo up there,"] he looked at her.
Charlotte rolled her eyes a little, [b "You know, every time I try to have a serious conversation with you, Mr Lehnsherr, you bring up my social class. Didn't you promise to listen to me and what I have to say completely this morning [i before] being cheeky?"] Her smile was gentle, letting him know she wasn't actually mad or anything.
Shifting, she held up a bottle of hot-sauce and then her own glass of water. [b "You operate from a place of rage, Erik, and it's completely understandable. Rage is powerful even to normal people– adrenaline, hormones pumping, low impulse control. That's the main difference I see, Erik; you operate in rage, and... I operate in what I consider serenity,"] the Britishwoman swirled both of the containers a little, setting them both down. [b "Could you imagine what would happen if someone like [i me] operated in rage? I could burn myself and others into nothing. Rage and serenity, Erik. The two of us combined almost make a normally functioning, mentally sound adult. ...Almost."] Charlotte giggled a little at her joke. [b "I'd be a liar if I didn't say rage and serenity was the most powerful option, though. Calmness and anger alone are powerful, but combined? Like a good man who goes to war, that would make demons and angels run all at once."] She arched an eyebrow herself, shrugging, and then glanced up as the flight call to begin boarding for their flight started.
[b "I believe it's time for us to head to New York, hm?"] She smiled, standing up and stretched out her back a little before scooping up her luggage bag.
Erik pictured the vibrant young girl waiting for them back at the compound. He had noticed that her eyes held more than what her smile let on, but now it made sense. Raven had been treated as a throwaway, nothing more than garbage. She held more strength on her shoulders than most men he'd ever met. She was a survivor, and he felt a great deal of empathy for the girl who felt the need to hide.
[b "You're quite right that we had to work to train ourselves. Controlling what we are given is not guaranteed,"] he stared into his beer. [b "I spent years in small, cramped rooms practicing on coins and scraps, and anything else I could get my hands on. And now, I can use what I've learned to eliminate Shaw, for everything he's done; to show him the boy he ruined is now capable of far more than he ever imagined."]
Erik looked up at her, crooking an eyebrow. [b "One difference? Ms Xavier, I can assure you that there are at least ten differences that I can count between the two of us, none of which even touch on the social classes we come from."]
Her mansion was far greater than the two bedroom apartment he'd had with his parents, above a bakery in a small German village. Her clothes were nicer than anything his mother had ever kept in her wardrobe. Even her language was proper, and more eloquent than his own vocabulary.
[b "...Raven told me, once, that the earliest memory she has of actively shifting form was when she was a toddler. Three years, maybe less... Her mother had tried to dump boiling holy water on her,"] Charlotte sipped down the rest of her vodka-a-cola. [b "She was still blue and yellow eyed before that, though, which means that like all talents or gifts, it would have come with time. But, like all traumas, it caused more powerful reactions to be the response quite quickly. It took her years to gain the skill she has--shifting so easily from one form to the next. Shifting into just one in-and-out used to tire her."]
The Englishwoman ate the rest of her sandwich, wiping her mouth off, [b "And you had the tingle of metal in your fingers before Shaw traumatized you, and I had headaches for years until I learned how to block out from reading other's minds as much as was possible to do so. Our traumas gave us an intense access to our powers quite quickly, but it didn't give us skill and control. Without our traumas, they all would have come with time, as any talent does. ...One day, I hope to be able to provide that safe time for people so they can grow without the pain."] She shrugged her shoulders, eyes soft as she gave her therory of teh whys and hows.
[b "...Thank you for trusting me, Erik. [i Again.]"] It was with that thanks and the vodka on her tongue that Charlotte allowed herself to giggle a bit, she giving him a tongue-in-teeth grin. [b "I think, however, there's one place that we differ in regards to our abilities. ...Besides, you know, the fact they're completely different skills."]
[b "Powers that manifest as a result of trauma are often stronger than those that develop naturally,"] he explained. [b "They are jump started to act as a protective barrier against whatever poses a threat. Most of the time, the powers are much stronger because of the sudden need for them."]
Erik relayed his own story to her, of the exploding gun and Nazis invading, and of his mother's warning to keep it a secret. [b "I didn't have my powers long enough to control them by the time my own family was taken. They were separating us to put on trains to send us to the camps. I was pulled from my mother's arms, and I was fighting to get to her as desperately as I could. The officers tried closing the gate between us, but I was running on so much adrenaline that I caused the gate to collapse in on itself."]
His jaw tensed as he recalled being summoned to Shaw's office. [b "Shaw was running experiments on people like us. He was told what I did, and I was brought before him to prove my worth. Everything was so new that I couldn't do as he requested, and my mother was killed for it. That gave me motivation to master my abilities as much as I could. Now here we are."]
His beer tasted a little more bitter after his recollection, so he turned to his burger. [b "The more we understand each other, the better we will work together,"] he explained after a few mouthfuls. [b "If we know where the other is coming from, we can put ourselves in their shoes. We've both suffered in our youth, which sparked our mutations. I think that makes us have a bit more in common than we initially thought."]
[b "...I've heard voices for as far back as I can remember. Perhaps... four years old? It took me until I was seven to realize the voices were the thoughts of other people."] Charlotte admitted softly, swirling her finger a little around the edge of her mug as she spoke. [b "I could read minds and speak to people through them by the time Raven came into my life. It's how I figured out she was parodying my mother."] She chuckled a little at the memory.
She took a moment to eat her food a bit more, chewing on how to answer Erik's question. [b "...I don't remember having the ability to... control or manipulate minds until after an incident that left my elder step-brother in an almost vegetative state. He went from a promising future football player to a babbling toddler. All of my powers sort of exploded into existence from there."] The short British woman paused, voice soft, before shrugging her shoulders... but her eyes had darkened with the memories.
She was glad Raven would never remember that incident. She was glad she was able to save her little sister from that trauma. [i Raven will [u never] remember that. Never, ever, ever.] With this declaration once more sworn to herself in her mind, she returned to the moment with a slight clearing of her throat.
[b "So, yes. I think it's safe to say trauma caused the manifestation of my my more powerful powers in the least. Why?"] Charlotte turned her eyes back on him, her own tone curious.
[b "You seemed to know what you were doing,"] Erik brushed off her gratitude, uncomfortable with being shown appreciation. [b "Men don't always have to be the ones running things. Why get in the way when you had it handled?"]
He slugged back his drink in mouthfuls, waving the waiter over for another pint as he listened to her speak. Questions? He wasn't sure where he would even begin with everything he wanted to know. He wasn't a curious man by nature in terms of understand the people around him, but he knew that if they were going to work successfully together, they were going to have to exchange personal information to one another.
[b "Have you always had the ability to manipulate minds and objects?"] he began poking around his plate to eat his friends one by one. [b "Or did it manifest later on after a trauma?"]
He himself discovered his own capabilities closer to ten years of age. He had been sitting in the town square, watching the Nazis march on his town. He remembered feeling a rage build towards the men that were there to round up his people, staring at the pistol resting on an officer's belt. Before he'd realized what happened, the gun had gone off, firing a round into the soldier's leg.
In his panic, he'd fled to an alley where the tin trash cans and metal fences began orbiting towards him, bending and crunching under his inability to control what was happening. He'd rushed home and told his mother what had happened, only to be hushed silent and instructed to keep the oddity to himself. With soldiers marching on them, his mother feared he would be taken for experimentation.
Despite her protection, the experiments came anyway.
Charlotte had ordered the same as him, though hers had been an expensive pitcher of soda-and-booze instead of just plain booze alone. The only difference with their greasy burgers is that she had swapped out the normal cheese for the pepperjack variety.
At his words she outright giggled, shaking her head. [b "Yes, yes. Very proud of you. You only wanted to murder every man who so much as breathed in my direction, and then only made one of them bleed. Very proud."] She gave him one of the pickles from her burger in a playful show of 'reward', not liking the odd number she would have eaten otherwise. Silence lingered for a moment, she looking thoughtful, and she'd speak before Erik would possibly ask what she was thinking upon.
[b "...I want to thank you,"] she said, and once knowing she had his attention she explained fruther. [b "For letting me have the lead in the club? I want to thank you for it, Erik. For being willingly to trust me. For all you knew, I could have been talking my abilities up far more than what they were."] She smiled a little playfully, swirling the vodka-and-cola in her glass.
[b "If you have any questions on my abilities, by the way, I want you to feel free to ask. I'm willing to tell you anything you want to know. What I know I can do, what I can't do, what I've attempted, and what I'll never do. Excetera. I... want you to know I have as much trust in you as you gave me back there. So..."] She trailed off, shrugging her shoulders with a go-ahead motion. They still had half an hour left before they had to board their flight.
[b "A PhD in Pain In Erik's Ass,"] he muttered under his breath, slowing down to match their step.
For the most part, Angel didn't appear to be that nervous about jet-setting across the country and getting picked up by total strangers. Granted, the girl could fly so it wouldn't be that challenging to get away from a captor if need be. Erik couldn't help but internally groan at the fact that they now had two teenagers to keep control of.
His mood improved a bit when it was back to being the two of them. At her jab, he threw her a sideways glare, keeping the game going. [b "I don't know. I feel like food and pouting go hand in hand quite nicely. Add in a glass of scotch, and I might even attempt what you people call 'smiling'."]
The one godsend in airports was the twenty-four hour bar. Being late in the night, it was even fairly empty so finding a table was easy enough. Erik ordered the greasiest burger on the menu and a pint of beer, not even opening the menu.
[b "That went entirely better than expected,"] he said after taking a few good slugs of his drink. [b "I was anticipating things to get messy. As in guns-blazing, potential fire being started in the building kind of messy. Aren't you proud of me for keeping calm?"] he asked like he hadn't been two seconds away from ripping heads off of the club-goers.
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