An unfortunate side-effect of being a teacher was that Erik had a pretty good vantage point from which to observe the students. One stroll down the classroom and back, and he had a pretty good idea what each of the pretentious little bastards looked like with their head at crotch-level. Erik hated himself a little for having that thought, though not enough to go full-on Catholic and seek penance. He’d never thought about teenagers even when he was a teenager, so that was one worry struck off the list.
The Xavier kid though…
He was a year younger than the rest of the class, which put him even further in the “oh fuck no” territory, but clearly the Invisible Pink Unicorn had it out for Erik, and decided to take its sparkly revenge by shoving the boy – boy, he’s a boy, Erik, do not for one moment think of him as anything else – onto the adulthood train. Erik wasn’t completely stupid: this wasn’t a line of reasoning any official would accept as an excuse. He could argue till the cows came traipsing through the neighbour’s cabbage that Xavier was emancipated, that he’d managed to gain access to his trust fund and leave an abusive household, along with a visibly mutant sister, and he was a telepath on top of it, which meant he’d gone through the entire court proceedings drugged to the gills. It wouldn’t matter. He was still sixteen.
“Sir, all due respect, but the entirety of our legal system is based on the idea that actions alone are not enough to cast judgement,” the boy was saying, his eerie blue eyes fixed on Erik. “Intentions matter.”
At this point even looking at him felt like the gravest of sins, Erik thought in horrified fascination, grateful, for once, for the psionic insulators lining the classrooms, but kept on looking, committing every frown, every freckle to memory. Hell in a basket, he saw the cupid’s bow crowning his pink lips every time he switched his lights off at night.
He’s sixteen, Erik told himself, even as he casually – oh so casually – perched on the edge of his desk and countered with a choice passage of Kant’s in the original German. Today he’s sixteen years, five months and seven days old, and I can’t fucking breathe.