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Erik returned the next night. This time he just had Azazel take him to the patio outside the study. Charles knew he was going to show up so why take the long way around. He glanced into the study and saw Hank and Charles having an argument about something. Charles was behind his very large wooden desk looking rather stern. Hank seemed agitated but was trying to make his point. Charles held up a hand and stopped Hank’s reply. He gestures outside and Hank turned and saw Erik. Hank crossed to the doors and opened them up.

“Erik” Hank said in a low rumbling voice “Charles is expecting you.”

Erik walked into the room “Nice to see you Hank.”

Hank gave him a half nodded and said in a very low voice “I am not sanguine about this at all but Charles is insisting that everything will be fine. But understand something, hurt him again and I will find you.” He showed a very toothy grin.

“Hank, that’s enough. I’ll call you if I need anything else this evening” Charles said while getting into position at the chess board. Hank turned and left the room but his body language said that he was not happy about the situation.

After the door closed Erik asked, “Is he your butler?”

Charles chuckled “No, the boys takes turns making sure I go to bed at a reasonable time and that I don’t need any help getting to bed.”

Erik hadn’t really thought about how difficult Charles’ life had probably become. The simplest thing probably takes much more time and effort without the use of his legs.

“Can you pour me a scotch neat and make yourself whatever you want? Ice is in the bucket.” Erik went to the liquor cabinet and pulled out the good scotch Charles always seem to have on hand. Then he found the materials for a martini and put himself together a drink. He handed Charles the scotch and sat down across from his at the chessboard.

Charles had out the good chess set. The pieces were ivory and the board was marble. Charles had told him that the set had been in his family for a number of generations. Erik liked this set. He liked the weight of the figures and the cool feel of the board.

They proceeded to play.

“Mystic sends her regards.”

“How is the dear girl?”

“Worried sick about you in fact. She misses you Charles.”

“And I her. If she wanted to come back, she can. This has been and will be her home.”

“I will tell her that.”

The game proceeded both on the board and in the conversation. Erik felt like Charles was being extremely careful in both his chess play and his chat. But he couldn’t fault Charles, he was doing the exact same thing.

They got about halfway through the game when Erik heard a tapping on the window.

“I think your ride is here” said Charles.

Erik turned and saw Azazel gesturing to him.

“Ah, well. Time passes and we must go on back to our jobs.”

“Is plotting to destroy a group of people a job these days? I thought that went out with Hitler.”

Erik looked angrily at Charles “That's rather uncalled for isn't it Charles? I am not destroying them and I am saving us. Good-bye Charles.”

He left with Azazel and a bitter taste in his mouth from what Charles said.


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