Anonymous said: Wesley/Charles - Highschool AU?
(I’m sorry if this isn’t exactly what you wanted. I love Charles/ Wes, but Erik slipped in there too somehow, this time…)
I Fall Forward, You Fall Back
Wesley’s lounging against a building opposite the Westchester Boys’ Academy’s wrought-iron gates, smoking a cigarette and coolly ignoring the pedestrians flowing around his crouched form like water around a stone, when Charles emerges from his chess club meeting, blue eyes bright and animated, round cheeks flushed and dimpled with pleasure. He’s talking to someone, waving his hands the way he does when he’s particularly excited; Wes scowls when he notices that Charles has forgotten his gloves again. His hands will go stiff and red with cold before too long and he’ll whine when Wes tries to warm them by rubbing Charles’ fingers between his calloused palms: “Not so hard, Wes, your skin’s scratching me…”
“Wes!” Charles interrupts his idle predictions. Lighting up with incandescent glee, he waves like they’re two hundred feet from one another instead of twenty, like he’s not seen Wes for years rather than hours. It makes Wes want to blush and roll his eyes at the same time; instead, he grinds out his cigarette beneath the heel of his combat boot and smirks a little.
“Hey, Charlie.” He pointedly doesn’t look at the tall boy with whom his twin has been conversing, giving Charles the rough side-hug he reserves for their more public interactions. Had they been alone, Wes might have embraced him fully, let Charles snuffle into the collar of his leather jacket even as he protested that they were too old for this, really, Wes… “Good day?”
The guy next to him raises an eyebrow as Charles nods. “I didn’t realize you had a twin,” the stranger says to Charles, and Wes catches a German tang in his precisely-articulated consonants. “He doesn’t go to our school, does he?”
Eyes widening, Charles blushes and opens his mouth; Wes beats him to it. “I got kicked out,” he drawls, pulling another smoke from his coat pocket and lighting it, “back in middle school.”
“I don’t—” begins Charles, but Wes ignores him in favor of continuing:
“Some upperclassmen broke Charles’s leg. The school thought a week’s suspension was a harsh enough punishment for them. I disagreed.” He exhales, and if some smoke gets in the German boy’s face, well, the wind’s a bitch today.
“That’s a pretty good reason to get expelled.” Charles’s friend looks faintly admiring.
Wes shakes his head. “It was a dumbass move. Now I can’t be there for Charles at all.” Now, why the hell did he say that? Wes blinks, bemused at his own honesty. This German guy’s put him on edge. He glares at Charles’ friend, who raises an eyebrow. Go on, Wes thinks at him. Say something about it, Cheekbones, I dare you. But Charles swoops in before Wes can vocalize the threat:
“What’s done is done,” he intones, laying a hand on Wes’s elbow, “and I’d just as soon not revisit it, if it’s all the same to you two. Erik, I hate to dash, but Wes and I have some errands to run…”
“Of course.” Erik grins. He looks like something vaguely dangerous when he does that, and Wes has a policy about dangerous things getting close to Charles. But Charles yanks him down the sidewalk before Wes can find an excuse to pop Erik a good one. “See you tomorrow, Charles.”
Wes snarls low in his throat even as Charles tightens his grip around his twin’s arm, making Wes drop his cigarette. “Goodbye, Erik,” he calls back, then resumes putting as much distance between Wes and Erik as possible.
“What on Earth was that about?!” he demands a short while later, releasing Wes once they can no longer see his school-mate in the distance. “You looked like you were going to maul him, Wes!”
“I didn’t like him.”
“Yes, you made that abundantly clear!” snaps Charles. Then he inhales slowly, deeply, and releases the air in a tired sigh. “…I’m sorry, Wesley. I didn’t mean to get angry,” he says, rubbing his forehead.
Only Charles would apologize when Wes is the one being a total asshole. It pisses Wes off, but he forces himself to cool it, raking a hand through his hair and muttering, “Fuck that, Charlie. I was a dick. It’s my fault.”
“I know you don’t always like my friends…”
Wes shakes his head. “That’s my problem, not yours.”
“I know,” Charles says gently. “I was just disappointed; I thought you and Erik might get along. He reminds me of you in a lot of ways.”
“I like to think I don’t look at you the way he does,” blurts Wes, and almost jams his fist down his throat as Charles’s brows draw together confusedly.
"Look at me how?”
Shit! Fuck! “Nothing.”
“Wes…”Charles’s hand comes up as though to grasp his arm again, but Wes intercepts the motion, catching his twin by the wrist. “Wes,” Charles breathes, surprised and uncomprehending and so fucking innocent that Wes wants to be fifteen and beating the shit out of the guys who put his brother in a cast all over again, just to blow off the heat that’s surging through him now.
“Charles,” he says, lowly, evenly, forcing himself to hold his stare, “just leave it.”
Innumerable emotions dance their way through Charles’s eyes, then subside as quickly as they rose. Charles bites his lip, ducks his head.
“Okay,” he murmurs.
Wes lets the stillness hang between them for a minute. Then, transferring his grip from Charles’s wrist to his hand, he rubs his palm against it, brings his other up to sandwich his twin’s fingers.
“You forgot your gloves again,” he mutters.
“Your skin is too rough,” replies Charles.
Neither of them can make it seem like they’re complaining.