nekare: (Elektra)
Title: The one about the recruits that didn’t make the cut
Word Count: 1800
Summary: In which Charles keeps on finding Arthur and Eames making out under the bushes near the mansion.
Author's Notes: Written for [personal profile] ignipes, who gave me the awesome prompt of 'that time Charles and Erik try to recruit Eames and Arthur'. You know that fantastic XMFC/Inception crossover on the kink meme? Yeah, this isn’t that. This is pure fluffy CRACK. It was really fun to write, though.



The one about the recruits that didn’t make the cut


They find the next potential recruit in Portland, a man in his twenties dressed in an immaculate suit with thin lapels, the kind he’s seen around in London but that is still not as popular this side of the Atlantic.

Charles passes the standard issue CIA binoculars to Erik. It feels vaguely wrong to be spying on him on such a way, but the past few weeks have thought them that they should be careful about how to approach fellow mutants. They’re leaning against their standard issue CIA car, a mid-fifties dull affair that Erik has to jump start every few hundred miles. Charles must be going insane, because he’s starting to find it cozy. He also likes the standard issue CIA maps, pens, rubber bands, and assorted guns. The last ones didn’t technically come with the car, but Charles thought it sounded very exciting and spy-like and he had just made a stern suggestion, anyway, it’s not his fault if they had listened to him.

“So what’s his power, then?” Erik asks as he watches the well-dressed man shake hands with some very shady-looking people in a park. There’s a somewhat conspicuous exchange of money, and lots of goodbye gestures with fedoras. It all looks like a bad gangster film.

“He can dreamwalk,” Charles says, not hiding his excitement at the idea.

Erik frowns. “That doesn’t sound like a very useful power to add to the cause,” he says, ever pragmatic.

Charles does a dismissive gesture. “Nonsense, my friend, I think you especially will value his talents.”

The man – Arthur – has found a way to turn his power into an offensive one by going into dreams and stealing secrets from unsuspecting people. It turns out to be surprisingly lucrative. When he’s done explaining, he can tell he’s gotten Erik’s interest.

When Arthur gets home that night, Erik and Charles are sitting on his armchairs, legs casually crossed. Instead of being surprised though, Arthur just looks vaguely vexed. “That was a horrible lock picking job,” he says, and Charles can feel Erik going tense at the jab. Charles had suggested to just wait outside and not torn any doors open, but for someone so closed off, Erik has a taste for theatrics.

“We have a proposition for you,” Charles says.

Arthur joins up, but Charles can hear him thinking that it’s mostly because he’s bored. Still, you don’t get a mutant army by being picky.


----



They find Eames in Vegas, turning into beautiful, dangerous women and egging on high rollers into betting more before taking their money, leaving them panting and hard and tied to their plush hotel chairs.

When he joins up, It’s easy to see that he comes along for the thrill of it.

Raven is delighted to meet another shapeshifter, and she and Eames rapidly bond over their abilities. Within ten minutes of knowing each other, they’re already taking turns to change into the most ridiculous person they can think of.

“Dear god,” Eames says as Charles comes back to the room, finally out of the garish suit he’d worn to Vegas. “Are you just trying to uphold every single stereotype about the British ever invented?” He continues, to everyone’s amusement. He can hear Arthur trying to stifle his laughter as he and Angel walk in behind Charles to meet their new team member.

“I’ll have you know I’m a very stylish person,” Charles says, prissy, but Eames is no longer listening to him. Instead, he’s staring at Arthur unabashedly.

“And who would this be?” He says, flirtatious.

This would be Arthur, thank you,” Arthur says, trying to look affronted but walking closer.

“Charmed, then, Arthur,” he says, shifting into Arthur’s skin, so for a moment there’s two identical Arthurs looking vaguely impressed, head cocked to the side.

“Interesting,” says the real one.

“What about you, what can you do?” Eames asks once he’s himself again, excitedly. They start circling each other slowly, and Charles is amused and bewildered at the same time. Erik has long since lost interest and is staring out of a window, probably planning some kind of gory revenge. Business as usual.

“You’d have to be in bed to see,” Arthur says with a raised eyebrow, and the smile Eames gives back says he’s already forgotten there’s more people in the room.

“Oh, I could get used to this place after all,” Eames says with a toothy grin.


----



Even Sean is sort of a model recruit, after that.


----



“They’re both army,” Erik says with his eyes crossed as they look at Arthur and Eames spar, no powers allowed in a very human way. Even Erik insisted it is necessary knowledge though.

“How can you tell?”

“The way they carry themselves. They have added different things to their styles, but you can still see the rigid movements underneath. I can’t decide if that will benefit or hurt us.”

“I thought you were army yourself,” Charles says, not sure if he should mention the Mossad at all.

Erik gives him a pointed look. “Exactly.”

The spar is turning less training and more playful competition in front of them. They’re both smiling, sweat rolling down their faces, desperate not to lose to the other one.

“I thought you would know already,” Erik says after a while, gesturing to his temples.

“Believe it of not, I don’t make it a habit to go around reading people’s minds when I first meet them.” Well. He tries, anyway.

Erik looks amused. “You read mine.”

“Ah, but I couldn’t resist yours.” The words slip out before Charles can think it through, but it’s not like he doesn’t mean it, so he just smiles broader instead of fretting. He’s not exaggerating, Erik’s mind had been such a bright spot, a tangle of energy and raw, deep emotion. It would have been hard not to.

Erik is staring at him, focused and intense. It might be just Charles’ wishful thinking, but he suddenly seems to be slightly out of breath.

“Well, then.”

“Yes.”

There’s no awkwardness, no strangeness. It’s just them, teaching together or at least attempting to, feeling like they’ve never met any other person alike. Charles feels slightly drunk on it.


----



Three weeks later, already in his and Raven’s childhood home, he runs into Sean as he hurriedly walks out of the television room.

“Yeah, you don’t really want to go in, Arthur and Eames are making out on the couch,” he says, looking vaguely traumatized. “There’s like, tongues, and everything, man. They’re supposed to be be grown ups, what the hell.” He walks away, shaking his head.

Charles barely manages to not peek into the room. Barely.


----



He and Erik have a race to the house back from the grounds, laughing and cheating all the while, tripping each other up. Charles has even stopped pretending to be outraged at the idea. Erik wins but not by much. He’s still smug though, as they walk together to go get a snack, Charles rambling on the way.

“– And then there’s – oh my god,” Charles says, and closes the kitchen door again, his back to it. “That – that’s my kitchen table!” He says, scandalized at the thought of his poor table put to use like that. Erik just laughs at him.

He then has to spend the rest of the afternoon mentally convincing everyone to leave the kitchen well alone, where Arthur and Eames had indeed been using the table enthusiastically, kissing sloppily and with their hands buried in each other’s hair, and. And that’s probably not a good train of thought to have, Charles thinks as he blushes again, feeling too hot all of the sudden.


----



“This is ridiculous,” he says the third time he catches Eames and Arthur going at it behind some bushes in the mansion grounds.

Turns out, he doesn’t even get to tell them to leave, because the next morning they find out they have eloped.

“Technically, they left to lead a lucrative life of crime, not eloped,” says Raven while shaking their goodbye note in the air, sounding too envious for Charles’ taste.

“Yes, well, same difference.”

Two days later, he finds out they took one of his mother’s prized Manets. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise, he supposes.


----



Chess with Erik is usually one of his favorite parts of the day, but Charles can’t seem to be able to concentrate tonight.

“Are you still thinking about them?” Erik asks as he moves his knight.

“They were good fighters, weren’t they? That leaves us with two scrawny scientists, three teenagers that sneak into town to go dancing every weekend and a nazi-hunter. Doesn’t sound that impressive, does it?”

Erik shrugs. “It’ll be fine. Besides, I thought you were about to kick them out.”

“Yes, but maybe I was being brash,” he says, rubbing at his chin.

“You’re just jealous you didn’t get to fuck on the kitchen table,” Erik says, at which Charles gapes. He’s... not wrong, to be perfectly honest.

“Mmm,” he says, trying to sound as neutral as possible. He takes a sip of his scotch to have something to do with his hands.

“Because we can remedy that.”

If Charles chokes a bit on his drink, well, he can hardly be blamed.

He watches, entranced, as Erik checkmates him and then stands up. He pulls Charles up to his feet and slowly pushes him backwards until he hits the dresser with the back of his legs. Erik’s face looks determined, intent, and Charles doesn’t even want to think what his own looks like. Worshipping, probably.

When they kiss, Charles goes slightly on tiptoe, which just makes it easier for Erik to drag him off his feet and get him to sit on the dresser. Erik kisses like he’s drowning, like they’re still in that ocean the night they met.

So Charles doesn’t get to fuck on the kitchen table, but he does get to have sex on a rocky dresser against a window, and it doesn’t seem to be such a bad trade off. It’s a bit perfect, actually.

Until he goes for breakfast the next morning to find everyone glaring at him, that is. Perhaps a little training to get his projecting under control wouldn’t hurt.

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