Well I wrote 1000 more words. They achieve nothing plotwise, and I have no idea where they are going, but I wanted to write some pre-couple Golly and was feeling too lazy to start a new story. So, anyway… They’re under the cut, if you want to read them.
(I have had zero inspiration for ANYTHING today so I finally just wrote a scene from this. I have no idea if there will be any more, but… here.)
Charles knew he could doom Erik with a word. He knew the prosecutor had to suspect the truth; all he had to do was let her worm it out of him, there on the witness stand, and Erik might be behind bars for the rest of his life. All Charles had to do was admit that he had recognized the man who put a bullet in his spine. All the other evidence against Erik could, with effort, be explained away, but an eyewitness, Erik’s own boyfriend… that would be the death knell of Erik’s defense.
“Did you recognize any of the bank robbers, Professor Xavier?” the prosecutor asked, and Charles drew in a breath.
He had not looked at Erik while he testified, not once. Not once while the prosecutor dragged him, for the hundred thousandth time, through every detail of that day at the bank – dropping his deposit slip when men in black masks burst in firing guns at the ceiling, his attempts to talk them down, tackling his friend the off-duty cop (Moira had already given her testimony) when the lead robber shot at her. He managed to say it all, back aching more every second, without seeing more of Erik than his hands splayed out on the shining wooden table, hands that had fiddled ceaselessly with coins and paperclips throughout the rest of the trial but were now perfectly still.
Now, entirely without permission, Charles’s eyes flicked to Erik’s face. He had no idea what to expect there – glowering rage? tearful pleading? blank restraint? – but what he saw was…
Almost the same look he’d seen only a year before, when Erik took him by the shoulders the morning he defended his thesis and told him You can do this. You’re brilliant and you can do this. That look, now under a layer of resignation and wistfulness and breathless pain. A look that said It’s all right. Just say it. You can do it. I know you can.
Charles looked away, frantically adjusting his collar with trembling fingers, as if a too-tight tie were the reason he couldn’t breathe.
“No,” he said. “I didn’t recognize any of them.”
They found Erik guilty anyway. Armed robbery of seven banks and attempted murder. Twenty-five years.
Charles went home to an empty house and downed two bottles of whiskey with double his usual dose of oxycontin. He fumbled the transfer from wheelchair to bed and spent the night on the floor because he hurt too much and was too tired and drunk and angry to try again. The last thing he did before passing out was throw Erik’s picture across the room to shatter against the wall.