Charles Francis Xavier had been brought up as a gentleman, and although that was an antiquated notion in the latter part of the 20th century, there were certain things that had stuck. He placed a high value on table manners. He always ironed his shirts. Until recently, he'd opened doors for people without being asked. His mother had also taught him to clean his shoes before he wore them, so they'd stay unscuffed for longer. It was sensible advice.
Charles had bought his new boots months ago, but with one thing and another he hadn't gotten around to cleaning them and breaking them in. He'd worn the old ones on his last trip because he didn't want these ruined in the snow - a wise decision, in spite of the way the other pair had leaked. He would have had no boots at all now if the new ones hadn't been preserved in his luggage.
The polish Charles managed to find in the cupboard wasn't quite the right shade of brown. A bit too dark. He frowned at it, annoyed by the imperfection. Still, beggars couldn't be choosers. The cloth was just right - worn to softness and marked with enough stains that he didn't feel guilty about making a mess with it.
In part, this was a good excuse to sit on the balcony in the sun - he wouldn 't risk polish on the carpet that way, although he still had to watch to make sure that he didn't get any on his pants. The ritual was soothing in the late afternoon warmth. This was a welcome and ordinary thing to be doing.
By the time his companion was ready, he could almost see his face reflected in his shoes. Well enough to shave, he thought with a smile. He wondered if he wanted to shave yet - it would be another sign of returning normality. Then again, Amelia liked the beard .
The question was left unresolved when his lover came to rest against the door frame. He turned his head to look at her, and couldn't help smiling. Amelia looked gorgeous wearing a dress and all polished up, although she couldn't often be persuaded to bother. "You OK?" she asked.
He tried not to resent the question. "I'm fine. I have clean shoes." He brandished them like a trophy, and she grinned.
"Well, it's not as if I'm going to get any other use out of them." He managed to keep his tone light. Charles knew it would be strange to turn up in a shirt and tie and hiking boots, but he had a feeling that people would try hard not to look at his feet from now on. Besides, he liked them. He hadn't spent all that time finding a good pair so they could sit in a box forever.
"They're lovely. Need a hand putting them on?" Casual, just like the suggestion that they should go out for dinner in the first place.
He thought about it for a shade too long. "Yes, I think I probably do." Charles was glad to find that admissions like that hurt less and less as time went by. It was a small consolation.
She dropped to her knees, pausing to kiss him on the way down. Amelia had a way of turning every bit of nursing she did for him into foreplay. It was something he appreciated about her enormously, although he had to wonder if he was wearing some of her lipstick now. He wasn't sure he trusted her to tell him.
Charles did his best not to wince as she lifted first one leg and then the other and put his boots on - he'd told her that he preferred a little discomfort to being handled with kid gloves, and he'd meant it. At the same time he took a moment to pat his pocket and check that his painkillers were present and correct.
Later, as they left for dinner, Charles took a deep breath and hoped that no-one would notice that someone else had tied his shoes.
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Title: New Shoes
Author: Andraste [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | het | 3k | 02/10/04
Characters: Charles Xavier, Amelia Voght
Summary: Charles Xavier cleans his boots.
Notes: This is comicverse, set around the time of (some of) the flashbacks in Uncanny X-Men #309.
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