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Erik didn't take notice of her fall until he heard her curse. Slowing to a stop, he turned and saw her sprawled on the ground, clutching her nose. [b "Powerful mind, but clumsy body, I see,"] he drawled as he approached.
Crouching down, he drew her hands down from her face and took in the damage. [b "Some scrapes, but you'll live. Get some rubbing alcohol on it and you'll be good as new. Jaw might be a little sore, and from what I can tell you don't have a broken nose. Just a little bloody. Can't say much for your athleticism though."]
Rising to his feet, he took hold of her hand and hoisted her up to her feet. [b "Something I said?"] he challenged, already knowing the answer.
Charlotte was the opposite of himself in every way. No doubt she was taken by surprise at his suggestion. He would not apologize. She held a great power in her hands, and had the potential to show just how great mutantkind could be. Yet she chose to hide it from the world. It almost made him angry.
[b "I spoke only the truth. My powers are extraordinary but have limitations. Without metal, I would not be as powerful. Raven herself has an advantage but is not capable of the kind of ruins you could leave your enemies in. Your gift is something of a god. Do you realize this?"] He stepped closer, as if egging her on to disagree.
[b "World leaders should fear the kind of power you have. You could control entire populations if you wished, and turn them against the government. Power like that is unheard of, and something they only dream of possessing. Yet here you are. Why?"] he questioned, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
It was almost as if she didn't care that she could get whatever she wanted. And that is something Erik could never understand.
[b "My sister since near about a year after she and I met has told me that multiple times. Thousands or more."] That had been her near instant come back to his words, and it took all the impulse control she possessed to not point out that just because someone was optimistic didn't make them 'happy'. Excuse her for trying to keep her brain on the light side of thoughts! Her mind going to too dark of places wouldn't be good for herself or anyone within a... well... undetermined radius. It had been a long time since emotions had effected her so deeply so the range they'd cast out went unknown to her anymore.
[i Sidetracked, sidetracked! He's talking again.] Charlotte hissed at her own brain and returned her full attention to the conversation with Erik as the duo continued to jog. She near instantly finding herself having wished she had continued spacing out, though. Honestly this man could be so infuriating and, to agree with her thoughts from the night prior from before she had fallen asleep, he was such a hypocrite!
His words on Raven had itched at her a bit. Could he blame her for wanting to keep the younger girl hidden after all the horror stories she had been told from her when the girl had still been near a toddler; Raven's parents trying to murder her in her sleep, an apparently loving church group taking her in only to attempt to sacrifice her for they believed she was the Anti-Christ incarnate. Granted, Erik had no idea of these circumstances but it still didn't give him a right to judge Charlotte's parenting methods of her younger sister.
And of course he pulled the genetics card. Would she, as a genetically enhanced being striving her entire life to a profession that would help her to find more people like them if she planned on having everything suppressed? [i There's a time and place for everything! There's a time for acrobatics, a time for drinking, and a time for shooting practice with a bow set or a gun. Just because someone has an ability doesn't mean they need to flaunt it constantly.] The short brunette didn't voice these thoughts though, no sir. She doubted the man would see reason in her words. She's barely known him 15 hours and already she is very sure of his stubbornness and set-in-stone ways.
Then he tapped onto the subject of her own powers and she near froze in place. Charlotte's brain just simply locked down as he ranted on about all the chaos she could do and it led to her downfall.
A literal downfall.
She literally tripped.
Her feet stumbled over one another and with a yelp she went sprawling face-first into the concrete path they had been running on. And she had thought falling onto the steel deck of a Cost Guard ship had been painful. At least that didn't have friction to burn against her face. [b "Bloody hell-!"] She hissed out, pushing up to her knees and cupping her hands over her chin and nose with a wince.
She was aggravatingly optimistic. Erik was beginning to doubt the woman had ever experienced a worry in her life. There was nothing wrong with being prepared, he had taught himself long ago. Worrying meant not making mistakes. [b "Has anyone ever told you that you are positively annoying when you're happy all of the time?"] he called after her, picking up his speed to catch up.
[b "Raven will be fine. She's perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She has an ability that most would dream of having. Being able to blend in anywhere is a great advantage. It would be foolish to not teach her to embrace it. Control is what we should be striving for, not suppressing our advanced genetics,"] he challenged, glancing down at her out of the corner of his eye.
[b "And you! You have the greatest advantage of all. Do you realize what I would give to be able to get inside Shaw's head and break him piece by piece, like he did to me? You have a mental superiority that goes beyond any physical pain one can inflict on someone,"] there was a spark of jealousy in his voice.
Erik had spent the better part of a decade planning exactly what he would do to Shaw when he got his hands on him. Torture was ideal. Physically mutilating didn't seem to be enough anymore. A body can go in to shock. Adrenaline can take away a lot of pain. But mental torture is a step above that. To break someone's mind means to take away every chance they could have at survival. You take away the only thing they could possibly have any control over. Invading the highest level of personal security. Erik would give every last ounce of oxygen in his body to be able to ruin Shaw like Charlotte could.
[b "Who is to say they [i are] intending to do such a thing?"] Charlotte countered simply, sparing a glance over at Erik before speeding up her step just enough to get in front of him, turn, and look him face to face. Halting both of their progress around the large compound for the time being.
Even from knowing this man less than 24-hours she could all but tell he'd throw a ranting little fit over her simple counter to his own question though, so huffing a small sigh she quickly continued, [b "Remember last night in the car, when I said what I did to you telepathically?"] The young professor was silent a few moments to allow him a chance to recall.
Then, soon enough, she spoke once more. [b "If anything does go wrong I could probably have them all thinking their chickens long enough to not only escape, but wipe the existence of myself, you, and even my sister from all their minds."] The short woman reached up a hand and lightly taped two fingers against one of her temples. Emphasizing her point on the matter. [b "I wasn't exaggerating. I've never done a scale so large—usually just minor things I've erased from the mind of a cop or or a social worker or so, I admit—but I'm confident that I'd in the least be capable of wiping the minds of those who would actively go after us I believe. So quit fretting, hm?"]
With that being all she really had to say on the matter, Charlotte turned around and started to jog forward and away from him to continue along the bath they had been taking. After getting a few feet away she glanced over her shoulder and called out, [b "If you [i do] keep fretting, however, I'll retract all rights you have to try and convince me to not put up a stink about my sister joining in [i if] this all comes down to some sort of fight. Worriers never prosper, Erik! It doesn't do well to be a pessimist all the time!"] Her tone was cheeky, a grin flashing across her face before she disappeared around a curve along the path.
It would be plenty of time for his run. It would also give him time to clear his head before putting himself on a plane surrounded by people that are still strangers. If he's still tense by the time they take off, he won't exactly be easy to deal with. At her question, Erik looks down towards his scuffed boots and huffs. Damn her and her observance. [b "Borrowing a pair of sneakers seems to be the best course of action. Lead the way."]
Evidence of his years of training are evident as they wander the hall. Though a large man, Erik moves silently like a predator, with his feet barely making a sound. His eyes are alert, even if they aren't in any danger. He's constantly calculating a defensive and offensive plan with each turn and corner, habits he's developed during his time on the run.
The psychic woman is correct once again he notes as he helps himself to a pair of new running shoes from a storage locker inside the fitness room. They're a little snug, but they'll do, he figures as he stretches his legs. [b "I won't take it easy on you. Try your best to keep up. If that's possible with those tiny legs,"] he taunts with a challenge in his eyes.
The grounds of the headquarters are empty, save for a few guards standing around. They are clearly far from the prying eyes of civilization as the building is surrounded by trees. The path winds around the oddly-shaped building, and is just wide enough for the two to jog side by side. [b "Do you truly believe we can trust these people?"] he asks after a few moments of silence. [b "Humans haven't exactly been understanding, in my experience. Who's to say they aren't just waiting for a reason to arrest us and send us for experimentation?"]
[b "It's not even 6:30 yet—plenty early to go for a run if you want. Raven won't be back for a while yet with some others clothes I sent her off to get for you,"] The younger Xavier woman was a shifter, so the [i how] of getting clothes accurately wouldn't even need to be asked, [b "And the flight won't be leaving till about 9 or so. You have time."]
The invite to go with him surprised her. Eyebrows arched she debated silently, mouth puckering in a pout of thought before glancing down at her sleeping tire that did consist of the Oxford sweatwear she had chosen the night prior. After a moment she shrugged. [b "Sure. Give me a minute or two, hm?"] She walked over to her suitcase that was open at the foot of her bed, rummaged around in it, and then shrugged off her sleep-robe before heading off into the bathroom with the door clicking shut behind her.
The brunette returned less than a minute later, hair pulled into a high ponytail and socks on her feet. The reason for the brief bathroom moments? Wouldn't due to go running without a bra, and despite her sister's belief the young genius indeed did have modesty-boundaries.
She walked over one more near her case, rummage through it, and successfully pulled out a pair of trainers that she began to tie on her feet. After a moment she paused, casting a thoughtful look towards Erik. [b "Will you be wearing those steel-toed boots you got' last night, or will you be 'borrowing',"] She had of course added physical air-quotes with her fingers, [b "A pair of sneakers? I'm sure they'd have some in the gym area of this building. I can lead the way there if you want...?"] She stood up, tapping two fingers against one of her temples with an easy-going little smile.
Erik's sleep had been fitful, though he remained still. Images of his past, and his hunt to capture the man who killed his mother flashed through his head all night. He could hear his mother's voice accusing him of failing her; seeing her scowl at his inability to complete his vengeance. No matter how much he begged, she merely turned away from him, leaving him calling for her to come back.
He barely had time to process that someone had touched him before he sat upright, moving quickly to his knees in a striking position. His breath comes in pants and his eyes are wide, staring at Charlotte as his became aware of his surroundings. He's fine. They can still track Shaw. He will do right by his parents.
[b "Thank you,"] he murmurs. [b "For doing as I said."] He can only imagine the damage he'd have done to her if Charlotte had shaken him instead.
Throwing his legs over the side of the bed, he hurries to his feet so he can get to the glass of water he'd left on the table near the bed. Chugging it down, his eyes close and he tries to still his heart. [b "It's not too late in the morning, is it? I'd like to get a run in before we start with the next phase of the plan."]
Erik wants to keep himself busy so it doesn't feel like they're just sitting around waiting for the government to give them permission to make an attack. He wants to be in as much control as he can. [b "You're welcome to join, if you'd like. It might be best to maintain a fitness routine while we're doing this. Powers won't be enough. If it comes down to it, we need to be able to defend ourselves with hand to hand combat, and stamina is rather important for that,"] he says, looking at her directly.
[b "Of course. I completely understand."] Charlotte replied and, giving a wave in his direction she shifted about to be able curl up under her own blanket, rolled onto her side to face the wall, and did her best to start drifting to sleep.
To be honest she had the option of falling asleep instantly—one of the tricks of being a telepath, she found, is inducing sleep onto the mind. Instantly. She's used it to get out of some sticky situations and, more than once, she has used it on herself when insomnia had been getting the best of her otherwise. And yet she did not resort to that power at this moment.
The genius-level young professor listened to the room in silence. The shower water stopping, her sister exiting the bathroom, turning off the lights which put anything behind her eyelids into darkness, and then to the silence after that as it was undoubtedly not long until she was the only one awake in the room. Ten minutes? Twenty? Perhaps an hour? She wasn't exactly sure how long sleep had been alluding her but soon enough, with a silent sigh, she cracked her eyes open and rolled onto her back. Her blue eyes gazing at the ceiling of the now darkened room. Thoughts just pulsing in her mind as she made sure her turmoil remained internet without any chance of accidentally projecting.
[i Now what was it that Erik said to Raven just earlier...? Oh! Yes, I remember exactly since my memory is pretty damn eclectic; 'You should be admired, not feared. We all should.' And then he went ahead and said what he did to me. This man is a bloody hypocrite!] The brunette fumed in her mind but then, slowly, she shut her eyes with a silent sigh. Her hand raised and scrubbed at her face, her thoughts finally starting to calm and her emotions settling. [i I can't believe I'm that angry over it. Hypocritical comment or not, I... I guess I understand it. Raven's response had been uneasy when we first meant a well, and I can't very well be angry with she getting a compliment in her natural state from someone other than myself.]
She then also reminded herself that with the glimpse she had needed to dissect out of Erik's mind that the man had... a very horrible, long, lonely life since the second World War. That reminder to herself fizzled away the last of her hurt and upset.
And it was was that which finally had Charlotte that she finally drifted off to the sleep she had been longing for hours to finally have.
[h3 The Next Morning — 20th of July, Friday (6:15am)]
[i Hm.... Well, he did say just to grab his foot.] With that thought mused in her mind, the short woman continued to observed the tall man laying down in the bed. She had been up for a while now already after five hours of sleep, which was all she averagely needed, and Raven had been up for roughly an hour. Her sister was performing a tax that had been set for by Charlotte herself, and now the elder of the two siblings as staring at their new friend's sleeping form.
[b "For someone who says he sleeps on high alert, his impression of a rock is outstanding."] She muttered to herself, amusement in her voice. Moving to the foot of the bed she hesitated briefly before deciding 'To hell with it' and lift up the blanket covering the mans feet. With her free hand she grabbed his large foot by an equally large big toe and, quite simply, lifted his foot and shook it a bit.
If the threat of cold water is the most he has to worry about, he'll sleep just fine. A teenager with a bucket of water isn't exactly something that will make him panic. [b "I think I can handle a little bit of ice water, after spending time in that river. Although I will give fair warning that payback is a bitch, and I'm quite good at it."]
Erik huffs at her question of whether or not he had any warnings about his own sleeping habits. [b "I'll have you know that I'm a sound sleeper, and I don't even so much as snore,"] he defends himself.
A moment later, he reiterates. [b "Technically I have night terrors every now and again, but for the most part, I'm absolutely silent. You have to be when you're constantly running around the world trying to capture the man who ruined your life. Being a light sleeper helps you wake up quickly at any sound, in case of a threat. Wouldn't be good if I slept through an apocalypse. I'd have been killed a long time ago if it weren't for my habits."]
He closed his eyes and threw an arm over them to try and block out the remaining lights. [b "For your own safety, if you insist on waking me in the morning, it would be wise to just tug on my foot. I will not hesitate to throw a punch if someone shakes my shoulder, or leans over me. And I seriously doubt things would go well if you tried to wake me up via telepathy. I'm still not keen on someone getting in to my head whenever they want, especially if I'm not anticipating it."]
He lays down the ground rules in a neutral tone. He has no reason to threaten her with them, or come across as aggressive. If anything, he's warning her for her own safety. No sense in giving her a black eye if she's just trying to wake him.
Those his statement had been teasing she did take the warning to heart, it worried her of course, but she felt comfort in one thing she knew for sure, [b "Raven pretended to be a male for ten years to become a black-belt in karate at an 'Boy's Only' academy. She could break their necks if she needed."] There was obviously pride in her voice.
When the Lehnsherr male and as he added the extra bit on as far as Raven joining the fight, she nodded as visibly as possible while having her face hidden to show her thanks for him agreeing to not try and talk on the matter any further that night. She really was far to tired to coherently judge the matter despite a part of her knowing he was (unfortunately) right in regards that Raven would be far too stubborn to take Charlotte saying 'No' on the matter if that was what the older sibling decided.
Soon enough he spoke more, however.
[b "I'd offer to pinch you to prove you're awake, but there is nothing that is going to move me from this bed before sunrise. Not even a fire or the apocalypse."] Charlotte spoke in a muffle against her pillow.
The woman was far too caring to be insensitive so her tone hadn't been scathing, but the tiredness in her voice was even more clear even if now buried against the bed.
His next question did cause her to raise her head, and she arched an eyebrow at him. [b "No, we don't. The worst you'd have to worry about in regards to Raven is if you state a specific time to be awake at, and you don't do it—she'll pour water on you."] Her grin was of an easy nature yet, in a matter of moments, her expression morphed into gently concerned softness, [b "What about you, Erik? Any sleeping habits I should be aware of? Or... sleeping troubles?"] The brunette mutant's voice held hints of the same humor his own tone had. There was genuine worry in her voice as well, though it wasn't a fearful worry, just a concerned one. Concern not of him, but [i for] him. She really was far too empathetic.
[b "Glad to see I get the approval of the moody teenager,"] Erik drawls, raising an eyebrow as Raven closes the bathroom door.
Seeing Charlotte collapsed on the bed doesn't surprise him. He'd known that she wouldn't be completely on board with her sister joining the fight. Hell, if he'd had a sibling, he'd probably feel the same. [b "She's a smart girl. She'll hold her own. I'd worry more about all these men surrounding her. I'm sure she's the only source of eye-candy they've had in this pasty compound."]
Sitting on his own bed, he starts pulling back the sheets and scratchy blanket to get comfortable. [b "I'll drop the subject for now. I can see you aren't too thrilled with the possibility. But, I can also tell that she's not going to be one to take no for answer. You'll have your hands full with that one."]
Resting his head back on the pillow, he sighs. [b "If you would have asked me forty-eight hours ago what I'd be doing tonight, I would never have guessed that I'd be sleeping in an FBI base with two other mutants, planning on teaming up to take down Shaw. This doesn't even seem like reality yet."]
Erik isn't quite sure how he feels about all of this yet. He'd been on his own for so long that even the idea of sharing a room with people is daunting. Over a decade of not trusting anyone has led to a very skeptical man. He doubted he'd even get much sleep, regardless of how exhausted he feels.
[b "Should I be warned of any snoring or sleep-walking from either of you? If I wake up to someone standing over my bed, I can't guarantee it will end well,"] he mutters dryly, closing his eyes against the light of the lamps on the night tables.
[b "I'll think about it, alright?"] Charlotte asked, huffing a sigh as she pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger.
[#c43112 "That's her way of saying 'No' to the idea."] Raven butted in, and Charlotte sent a scathing look that only an older sibling is ever capable of creating before threatening, [b "If you make childish remarks and pout like that, it really will be a 'No'. I said I'll think about it, and I'll think about it."] The blonde huffed silently but nodded despite turning away with a roll of her eyes.
As the younger moved off to her bed the brunette turned her attention back to Erik. She looked very tired, and she sent the metal mutant a look as if silently begging him to not continue pushing the point any further since she figured, quite rightfully, he might. She didn't have the energy to deal with such debating right in that moment.
Charlotte had mentioned a few times in the couple hours they'd known one another that she had been up for over 48-hours by now. The poor telepath was exhausted.
Once she was sure she had gotten her silent request across she walked over to where her sister sat gathering sleeping clothes. [b "You go take your shower and then we'll all go to sleep, hm? I hope you don't mind Erik having to share the room with us. I mean if you do that's alright—Moira offered him a lovely closet and he assured me that he'd be just fine with puffy coats for pillows."] Her tone was bluntly innocent, but humor sparkled brightly in her eyes as she glanced between the Lehnsherr male and Raven.
The effect she had wanted had succeeded, for the pouty shape-shifter barked a laugh. [#c43112 "I guess it's fine."] Her voice was just as playful, and then the teen scooped up her clothing and headed off to the bathroom to shower. Once the door shut behind Raven, Charlotte let out a groan before turning and flopping stomach-down onto her chosen bed.
The demonstration is extremely impressive. Raven was still young, but had excelled so far with controlling and mastering her abilities. Erik still struggled with his powers at her age. Then again, he had a self-admitted anger issue that often blinded him to controlling himself before he lets his powers get out of control. He even cracks a smirk when she takes on the appearance of himself. [b "I'm sure you could have quite the fun with a mutation like yours,"] he drawls out as she goes back to her blonde self.
[b "I can't say I've ever heard of shapeshifting powers. Then again, until a few hours ago, I was fairly convinced there were no other mutants around. Consider yourselves lucky that you had each other growing up. Not all of us have had that kind of privilege,"] he says with a flash of minor jealousy.
Erik rises from his place on the bed and gathers the files. He drops them in a neat stack on the desk, and turns to the two girls. [b "Your mutation could actually come in handy, Raven. We might need a few tricks in our arsenal when it comes to taking down Shaw."]
He pauses and looks to Charlotte. [b "How much does she know about what we're doing here? Assets like her mutation are something we cannot take for granted."]
Erik is full on prepared for an argument. He wouldn't blame her, to be honest. He can't imagine that Charlotte would be willing to put her younger sister in any kind of danger but at the same time, the two of them alone stand little chance at taking down Shaw and his new arsenal of bodyguards. [b "Before you shoot down the idea, just think about how useful it would be to have someone who can take on the appearance of anyone, without drawing suspicion."]
Raven looked to Charlotte, an excited look upon her face. The older of the siblings put on a thoughtful face that she partnered with an over-exaggerated hum before, smiling a little cheekily, she'd give a soft sigh. [b "Oh, just go ahead. You haven't had the chance to show off in a very long time. Have fun."] With consent the blue one of the siblings let out a giggle of glee, and the brunette young woman could only shake her head as she sat down to better enjoy the show her little sister was about to put on.
With her older sister's agreement, Raven returned her attention to Erik with an innocent expression. [#c43112 "What else can I look like? Well to be honest I seem to only be able to take on human-like appearances. Like, for example... a smaller version of a Statue of Liberty,"] Her form shifted and in a matter of seconds what seemed to stand in the room where she once was appeared to be a small version of the famous statue. Suddenly the 'statue' spoke, [#c43112 "Or like the First Lady of the United States."] Another mere amount of seconds and it appeared as if Jacqueline Kennedy herself was in the room.
[#c43112 "I can even look like Charlotte,"] Another shift and it was as if two geniuses woman oxford-certified professors were in the room. [#c43112 "And I can look like you."] She shifted into an exact copy of him before shifting back to her normal form. [#c43112 "I can also shift and un-shift only certain parts of my body if I focus. Like just my eyes,"] Her normal yellow eyes shifted into multiple colors and shapes. And then in President Kennedy's tone she finally finished, [#c43112 "Or only my voice."] And with that Raven shifted back into her neutral blonde-hair-and-blue-eyed appearance before she sat down on the bed beside her sister.
Charlotte had been grinning the entire time, and as Raven finally sat down beside her after the entirety of her act she couldn't help but laugh. [b "As marvelous as ever, baby sister."] The blue-eyed woman compliment, wrapping an arm around her sibling and pressing a kiss to the younger girl's temple before both Xavier women turned their smiling faces towards Erik for any comments he may have.
[i Star Trek?] Erik asks the question in his head, but doesn't say anything else. It sounded like it would take far too long to explain, and he still wouldn't understand. He'd never been much for watching television, and he certainly didn't understand how people could claim they like a show with a teleporting character, if they condemn one to death in reality.
The conversation doesn't go any further before her sister is bursting in to the room in a blonde blur. Erik raises an eyebrow, looking between the two women. It doesn't take long before the younger of the two takes notice of him. His mouth opens to introduce himself, but her attention is taken again by Charlotte. The silence between them gives him enough knowledge that they're having some kind of conversation. He's almost positive it's about him. After being introduced by Charlotte, he nods his head in greeting. [b "I've heard much about you. Your sister is quite proud."]
He shakes her extended hand. [b "Always a pleasure to meet others that are gifted."]
Erik could feel the texture of her skin changing before he actually saw the visual transformation. He couldn't help but stare, but for reasons other than shock. It was incredible. [b "Beautiful,"] he breathes, meeting her eyes. [b "It's a shame you feel the need to hide your true self. You should be admired, not feared. We all should."]
Dropping her hand gently, he rises from his seat and collects the files. Placing them on the desk, he turns to the sisters. [b "So you can take on alternate appearances. Fascinating. What else can you look like?"] he asks Raven.
He was fully aware of Charlotte's abilities, but he was curious. It wasn't often he came across others like him.
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