AN: This fic is actually an RP thread that I am writing with the lovely askprofessorx on Tumblr. They have done me the kindness of giving permission to post this one as a fic because I am in love with this story.
Charles is written by them and Erik is written by me.
He could find no comfort in the rain. It was a disturbing anomaly, given his known fondness for the serenity of storms. Sightless eyes stared into the churning void outside the windows of that cozy little classroom, his mind half a world away. Plump, merry droplets chased one another down pane-less glass, heedless of the young man's plight. Surely they'd have more sympathy if they understood.
Charles had been welded to the same spot for the better part of two hours, the children having long since made their cheerful adieus. His addled mind seemed incapable of stringing as much as two words together. The task had seemed simple enough, in the beginning. His students had certainly taken it in stride, collecting food, toiletries and any odd baubles they could find to send to the brave soldiers stationed overseas. Additionally, each had written a short letter. It'd been a clever way to kill two birds with one stone, if he did say so himself. The kids had been working on their penmanship, after all.
As any good teacher would, Charles had heartily agreed when his exuberant third-graders suggested he participate in the school-wide project. A bit of philanthropy would do him good. So, it was with lofty spirits that he packaged together a neat little box of goods and sundries, complete with a travel-sized chess set. Someone was bound to enjoy the game as much he. All that remained was the insurmountable task of penning a letter.
In all his years, the young educator was certain he'd never been faced with a feat more daunting. What, precisely, did one say to a stranger risking life and livelihood in service to his country? Damned if Charles knew. His life, though far from perfect, was undeniably comfortable. What right had he to offer support to a man or woman on the front lines? It seemed inadequate, at best. Insulting at worst.
He'd considered -very briefly- simply doing without, but soon thought better of it. This nameless, faceless soldier deserved his effort, if nothing else. Besides, if his kids could do it, he should at least give it a go. Casting a forlorn glance towards the clock, Charles steeled his resolve. His sister would be phoning if he didn't turn up soon and he had no desire to recount his efforts to scribble a single-page letter. Raven would never let him live it down. With a long-suffering sigh, he bit down on his lower lip and finally put pen to paper.
February 8, 1960
I pray that this package finds you well. The organization gave us a list of odds and ends that you might need, but I thought that a person so far from home might appreciate something more than soap and tube socks. I hope you like chess! If not, I'm certain there's someone in your unit who might. As far as the novels go, I'm deeply sorry if you don't care for fantasy. Though, if you aren't a T.H. White fan, I'm afraid we can't be friends.
If I may be perfectly honest with you, I wrestled with the idea of writing you this letter. It must be strange hearing sympathetic words from people you've never met. At the heart of it, I think I'd find it rather lonely. While I would never have the audacity to pity you, there is an ache in my heart for the home you may have left behind. The loved ones praying for your safe return. If we can relate on no other plane, I do know the sting of isolation.
I must apologize if this seems uncouth. It's an odd thing, writing to someone without a name or a face. Just as odd as it must be to hear from one. In an effort to humanize things, I suppose I could tell you a bit about myself. My name is Charles. I'm an elementary school teacher in New York. I live in a tiny apartment with my younger sister. My favourite colour is blue. I like old films and I'll eat anything with strawberries. I also have a strange fondness for science fiction. There, now we aren't perfect strangers.
With that in mind, I would like to thank you, darling soldier. I can't possibly imagine what it is to do what you do. My admiration for you is endless. Admittedly, I have always been an advocate for peace, but I respect your dedication nonetheless. Know that you have the undying support of at least one person. Thank you for your bravery.
Wishing you all the best,