A/N: Okay, excuse is college applications, but that's not important. What is important is that for this chapter, I am warning you beforehand that it might be a little sudden but I swear it will all be explained in later chapters, so don't worry. Okay, enjoy!
Lee walked down to the makeshift gym the next morning, her head pounding but her mind focused nonetheless. Pulling her hair back into a ponytail, she was about to train with a punching bag, when she heard movement from behind her. It was Raven shifting awkwardly by the window. "Hi."
The older girl smiled. "What can I do for you, Rave?"
"Well, I was wondering…" she paused before clearing her throat and starting out stronger. "I want you to teach me to fight. I know that my abilities can be helpful in some situations, but I know just changing into someone doesn't mean I have their survival skills. When you were able to take down Erik yesterday, I was just hoping you could help me."
It was a little bit of a startle. After all Lee had gone through since coming to the mansion, she nearly forgot that there were other besides her, Erik, and Charles, especially another girl. Nodding to the punching bag, she said, "Hit it and we'll see where we have to start, huh?"
Lee shrugged. "I don't see why not. Charles is teaching everyone to control their powers, why don't I teach you all how to fight like you asked? Besides," she nudged Raven with her elbow, causing the other to grin, "there's always room for girl time. Punching a bag of sand really helps when you want to deal with your problems."
Raven hit the bag with good form for a beginner before saying, "You're having problems?"
Lee adjusted Raven's fist. "I didn't say that."
Blue eyes narrowed. "You didn't need to. What is it?" Another punch, then a successful kick. "Erik?"
"If I tell you, will you stop pestering me?"
"Who said I was pestering?"
A glare from mismatched eyes now. "I did and you feigning innocence doesn't change it."
"Well?" Raven prodded further, punching the bag again. "What's up?"
Charles watched as Hank began his mile run, without using his powers, to see how he could be improved, when Erik came up next to him, leaning on a nearby tree. "That one needs to learn the meaning of letting go."
"That's what we're here to do, Erik, learn control, but also acceptance."
Erik made a noise of malcontent as he crossed his arms. "Of course."
"You doubt my methods?" Charles asked, looking back at his friend in question. He saw the eyebrows crinkle and turned full on to Erik. "Is something wrong?"
The immediate dismissal in his eyes proved to Charles that something really was wrong. "Erik…" he continued, but movement out of the corner of his eye drew his attention away, and Erik's followed. Lee and Raven were running out into the grass, where the former was waving her arms as if to encourage his sister to do something. Raven was laughing, but then both girls became serious as Raven's fist was thrown. Lee blocked it with relative ease, her smile lighting up the world around her as the girls continued their practice fight. "Well, good to know Lee's teaching properly now."
"Isn't it?" Erik's tone was forced, as if the very mention of Lee brought him to the brink of rage.
The taller man broke out from under the tree, beginning his walk back toward the mansion. Charles stared at him for a moment. What in the world had happened between those two?
Lee and Raven both fell into the grass, laughing laboriously as their fight ended. Already, Raven was picking up on the basics of what Lee was able to teach her. Now, laying in grass the color of her eye, Lee felt at peace for the first time in a while.
"So," Raven said with a giggle. "After all of that, I say just wait and see what happens. No confrontations, no arguments, no forcing the issue. Erik is one to fight, but not reconcile. You know what I mean?"
Lee nodded. "That was the plan."
"Good plan then, glad I thought of it."
A swift punch to the arm and the girls were chuckling once more. It felt so good to be able to laugh all that she wanted with someone who didn't care about the worse details of her life.
Suddenly, a shadow washed over them. They looked up to see Sean bending over, a grin on his face.
Raven was first to speak. "Can we help you?"
"Yeah actually, thanks for asking." The red head dropped down next to them, pulling off the grey sweatshirt to reveal a white shirt similar to the one Lee was wearing. "Alex and I were searching the grounds and, correct me if I'm wrong Blondie, but we found what appears to be a little lake of some sort."
"If this is leading to what I think it is…" Raven started, but Sean held up a hand and stopped her.
"Nope, not at all, don't worry. I value a woman's virtue, though I admit it did cross my mind. What the interesting thing was what we found near the lake. Come on, it's great. Come on!"
The two girls looked at each other, then stood up, agreeing without saying that whatever it was, they could deal with it. Sean led them down into the bit of woods that were on the west side of the mansion, when Lee had a slight vision. Oh, that's how they want to play it. As the lake came into view, Lee nudged Raven, winking.
Raven got the message that Lee must have seen something, so faked an "Ow!" and grabbed her shoe like there was a rock in it. Lee told Sean to go on and then leaned down to Raven. The blonde asked, "Well, what's up?"
"Call it boy stupidity –"
"Like it would be called anything else." Raven interrupted with an eyeroll.
"Exactly." Lee agreed. "Well, the boys thought it would be hilarious to push us into the lake as an initiation, but they knew we'd get them back, but I say we get them first."
"First off, that is stupidity, second, I'm all for it."
The girls walked out to the beachy edge of the lake, knowing the boys weren't there. As they feigned to look for them, Raven heard running. Just as Lee had shown her just hours before, she grabbed the one that came after her, Sean obviously, and blocked his grab, pushing him into the lake as Lee did the same with Alex.
It was an interesting sight seeing the two idiots first confused by what happened, then annoyed at being soaking wet, then ideas dawning on their faces.
"Hey, can we get some help up?" Sean asked not so sneakily.
"Why?" Lee countered.
It didn't take but a few seconds for the boys to jump out of the water, rushing after Raven and Lee took off in the other direction.
Thus began the pranking war.
Lee didn't know how exactly the war got so intense, but she woke up after two days since the lake incident with part of her blonde dyed green, while Alex's pancakes exploded while he was cooking them, and even Charles wasn't immune: all of his sweatshirts mysteriously had "Professor X" written on them in black sharpie.
This was their release from the rigors of training. Lee began teaching everyone how to fight, sans Erik. He seemed to be immune to the fun and had preferred to stay away from it all, she noticed. Not that she minded, just like Raven said, she kept her distance. The man was a nuisance on her mental state, she didn't need it.
"Hey, hey Lee!" She looked around for where the yelling was coming from, only to see Sean hanging upside down from one of the chandeliers. "It was Hank, I think Raven…"
"Think it's gone too far?"
He nodded. "Can you get me down?"
Lee laughed. "Oh no way, you must've done something to make Hank agree to put you up there, just take it as time to practice your crunches, you're really lacking in them."
She took two steps back so she was directly under Sean. "What are you gonna do?"
"Complement your cleavage, because it's looking real nice…" She shot him a glare. "Promise to not prank you anymore but everyone else?"
"Nice job." Her eyes went pure white and the chandeliers wires extended to let Sean be low enough to safely detangle himself. As Lee was putting everything back into place, she saw Erik walking in, his brow furrowed. Of course, he was judging. She turned away from him, fixing the chandelier and beginning to take the walk back up to her room when –
She saw Erik pointing up to the chandelier. Lee furiously fixed it, but as she did, one of the crystals fell from it. Erik caught it perfectly, holding it up. "Miss Stathis," he said with a nod before leaving.
With a huff, she continued up the stairs, ignoring the heat rising in her chest.
Two weeks had passed since they came to Charles's home and Erik was getting less comfortable being there as time went on. He was ready to fight Shaw and finally, finally know that he succeeded in killing his torturer, the man that murdered his mother. After so long, he should think that a few weeks were little in the span of how long he's waited, but they seemed to drag on and on, until Erik lost the notion of the days and nights. What didn't help matters was everyone was laughing and pulling pranks and jokes on one another that it drove him near mad. He only knew that the confrontation was coming, and he was ready for it. He knew he was ready, he had to be. Rage had gotten him through his life and it would be what finally let him kill Shaw.
How can you deal with the waiting? he thought as he walked through the halls late one night, so long after dark that the moon was the only source of light from the windows. As he came to the kitchen, he noticed that the light was on. On edge, he slowly made his way in, silent as he did so, to see Nathalee sitting on a stool by the island, her hair knotted in a bun, as she ate a bowl of cereal and read a book. She was just in pajamas, which consisted of a long sleeved shift, and Erik thought for a moment of whether to interrupt her or not. His pocket burned as he thought of the chandelier crystal that still resided there. As he went to leave, his feet began to walk forward, silently on the floor, until he was just behind her. She didn't sense him or wasn't paying enough attention. He read the title of the book.
"Bullfinch's Mythology? Bit on the nose, don't you think?"
Lee jumped without a scream, turning so her back was pressed against the counter, her chest heaving. "What… what are you doing? It's the middle of the night."
"Could ask you the same question. Late night reading usually goes with a bed, does it not?"
She glared up at him, before casting her gaze down. "I like it down here when everyone's asleep, it's actually quiet for once. Pardon me for wanting some alone time."
Erik casually leaned his one hand on the counter, just by her side. Twenty-one, the voice in the back of his head reminded, but the rest of him couldn't comprehend how her eyes were so shadowed, how regal her neck was now that the hair was away from it. "Do you still want alone time? I'll be happy to leave you alone." As he said it, he subconsciously leaned into her just enough that the shadows on her face were caused by him.
"You said that you didn't want this."
Her hand rested on the side of his belt, her thumb hooking in. "And yet you're here."
"I suppose I am."
"Why?" Her voice was hard as he put his other hand on the counter, boxing her in. "You can't just push me away and then come here with your lust-y thoughts and –"
"'Lusty thoughts'? How do you know what I'm thinking?"
"Because you just said so." She said with some satisfaction, before her tone turned serious once more. "Will we speak of this after tonight?"
"Probably not for a while, but maybe someday."
Lee slowly sat up on the counter, her legs well on display for Erik as he moved in between them. She smirked as his hand moved to let her hair down, the green still there as it felt across her shoulders. "I'll take that as an answer."
"You don't care about being so wanton and careless?"
"Not the first time, Mr. Lehnsherr."
"Of course, Miss Stathis." His nose ran along her neck, inhaling her scent of vanilla as she threw her head back. He moved up to her jaw where he nipped at her skin, then to her mouth where they finally, finally connected. His hands clamped around her bare thighs as their lips crashed together, her legs wrapping around his waist, their tongues beginning a luxurious dance, Erik filled to the brim with the feeling of her. She reached for the edge of his shirt, which he helped pull off. She bit her lip a little until Erik continued to push up her shift until it was bunched around her waist. Her hands roamed his chest as she leaned in, trailing kisses and bites along his neck as if she needed to claim something, just as he did.
"We shouldn't be," she took a heavy breath, her eyes languished, her lips full, "we shouldn't be doing this on a kitchen counter."
He made some noise of agreement, but ignored the comment as he pressed his lips against hers once more. This was exactly what he shouldn't be doing, losing himself to something he could never have. It wasn't love, he doubted it would be, but knowing how easily it was to fall into the trap of sex, he knew he couldn't stop or he'd never return to her golden embrace. Trailing a line with his fingers from the edge of the shift to somewhere more sensitive, he heard Nathalee gasp against his lips, a feeling that sent a shudder through him.
She responded by gripping the bottom of the shift, her eyes steeled as her heavy breathed voice said, "The kitchen counter is just fine."
A/N: Yeaaaaaaaaaaah, I told you it was sudden. What did you think? Would you like a more fleshed out version of this? How do you think these two are going to deal with this later? Let me know in a review!