((a little Cherik fic for Valentine's day where Charles is an O. R. nurse and Erik is a surgeon))
It was just another ordinary day for one Charles Xavier, or so it seemed. He had scrubbed-in in two herniorraphy cases that morning and just one more minor operation in the afternoon. Things were looking great, it seemed that he could get home early and maybe make some real dinner for himself, read a book and finally doze off earlier than what he’s used to. However, when he walked down the halls towards the Operating Room theatre, he could not shake the feeling that something was rather amiss and he swears that what he ate just minutes ago would put up a second appearance. He was feeling a little bit nervous and he haven’t got the foggiest why. He went quickly to the dressing room, changed into his scrubs and crocs and went to the O. R. lobby where he was met with Raven writing something on the schedule board.
“Hey, I’m back from my break!”
Raven did not even budge, so he asked, “Is there something wrong with the schedule?”
Now, Raven finally looked at him, with the tip of the covered whiteboard pen settling just under her chin and shook her head. “Nothing, but you might want to see this.”
Charles swiftly walked over to where Raven was and settled right behind her. When he saw what she wrote on the board, he nearly choked on his own spit. “Wha—When the bloody hell did this happen?”
With that reaction, Raven actually chuckled and turned to stand up beside him. She then placed her right hand over Charles’ right shoulder, faced him with a sly grin on her lips.
“Moira just told me minutes ago that there has been a slight change in the schedule and tomorrow’s thyroidectomy will be pushed today instead. Don’t worry, Charlie darling, I will be there standing right behind you as your Circulating Nurse and I’ll make sure you won’t make a fool of yourself.”
With that last least comforting message hanging on the air, she gestured towards Charles (who was still blankly staring at the board) and departed with a mock salute.
1 PM: Thyroidectomy; O. R. Table no. 1
Patient: Grey, Jean; 25 y. o.
Surgeon: Dr. Erik Lehnsherr
Anesthesiologist: Dr. Sean Cassidy
Scrub Nurse: Charles Xavier
Circulating Nurse: Raven Darkholme
Patient: Grey, Jean; 25 y. o.
Surgeon: Dr. Erik Lehnsherr
Anesthesiologist: Dr. Sean Cassidy
Scrub Nurse: Charles Xavier
Circulating Nurse: Raven Darkholme
Meanwhile, Charles (bless his soul) could not understand where he went wrong with today or maybe with his whole life. So far, he knows that he has been a good- nay- excellent O. R. nurse for the past two years that he has worked under one Moira McTaggert’s supervision. But, oh, he knows he’s still lying to himself. The first time he met Dr. Erik Lehnsherr was almost a year ago and right before he even met the man, he has heard rumours about his demeanor towards his colleagues. He can still hear the testimonials given by his friends in his head about the man running around his head like a tornado.
Moira McTaggert, O. R. Superviser: “Doctor Lehnsherr is a wonderful surgeon, kind of aloof but his level of dedication towards his work is just astounding.”
Raven Darkholme, O. R. Nurse: “Hot. Just hot. He has these beautiful green eyes that just give me all the awkward ladyboners. Strange, though, I haven’t seen his hair ever. He always wears a bonnet in the O. R. And he doesn’t take it off even in the theatre or in the lobby. I tried flirting with him once, it didn’t work out and trust me, you don’t want to know what happened.”
Dr. Sean Cassidy, Anesthesiologist: “Oh, Lehnsherr. The guy. The man. I heard some girl who was also his scrub nurse at that time tried to flirt with him while they were having a minor surgery, Lehnsherr ‘accidentally’ aimed the cautery wand in the poor scrub nurse’s gloved hand. She had to scrub out after that. Thankfully her hand did not get burned.”
Alex Summers, Surgical Ward Nurse: “Lehnsherr? Doctor Lehnsherr, you say? Let’s see... Unlike other doctors who have hieroglyphic penmanships, he actually writes legibly but he seldom gives orders verbally. Doesn’t talk much.”
Dr. Armando Muñoz, Resident Doctor: Surgical Ward: “We actually had a few classes together in our first year in med school. He’s really smart but he keeps to himself most of the time. I don’t even know if he has a girlfriend. But, when you get to know him he’s actually really good company.”
From the information he gathered, he could deduce that Dr. Erik Lehnsherr is not actually unpleasant but the air of seriousness and constant vigilance surrounding him should always be acknowledged. When he first met this enigmatic surgeon, Charles could not even begin to describe what he was looking at. His first scheduled operation with Lehnsherr was a Modified Radical Mastectomy that had the early on-call of eight in the morning. Charles decided to come in earlier to have everything prepared before Lehnsherr even arrived in the premises. He was very much confident that day, at least he could show this particular formidable surgeon the competent man that he is. However when he reached the O. R. dressing room he was greeted with the vision of a tall man, with dark ginger hair and eyes so green Charles almost got lost in this doctor’s stern stare. It took a few more seconds for Charles to come down from Valhalla to earth and realize that this man is definitely Dr. Lehnsherr. The man was an hour and a half early. Wow. Don’t people sleep anymore? Raven was wrong, this man was not hot, this man was gorgeous and all things beautiful.
Charles, knowing the awkward position they were in, fidgeted and finally broke the silence.
“Uhm, good morning Dr. Lehnsherr.”
Lehnsherr, in perfect mint green scrubs and white crocs, raised both his brows and simply nodded in response to the greeting. Charles had really no idea what to say next, so he fidgeted more.
“I assume you’ll be part of my team this morning?” Lehnsherr’s inquiry hung in the air while Charles changed into his scrubs.
After the mundane ordeal of changing clothes, Charles replied, “Yes, Doc” and raised his right hand forward gesturing a handshake. “I’m Charles Xavier, your scrub nurse this morning”. Erik firmly shook his hand. Charles was pretty sure that that was the moment he realized he was infatuated and it hit him hard. After the introductions, Charles proceeded on readying everything for the operation- the necessary tools and things needed taken out from the autoclave, the operating table in perfect shape, the cautery and the suction machines functioning and all the others that were required for the upcoming MRM operation. While doing his scrubbing, Charles could not shake off the warm feeling in his chest towards Lehnsherr, he was sure he was developing a crush for the handsome doctor but the question was, was he even gay?
Even though Charles was thoroughly prepared for the operation, luck apparently was not on his side at that time. In the middle of the operation things started to run to a rather ill-fated course:
· First, he discovered that he was missing some retractors and forceps in the sterile table, so an orderly had to sterilize newly washed ones before they could proceed which took them quite some time. He tried his best not to look at Lehnsherr because he was afraid that his eyes would look disappointed, so he never really knew how the doctor felt about the minor delay.
· Second, Lenhsherr asked if he could change the blade of the scalpel since it was beginning to turn blunt. It was an easy task and it didn’t really require much expertise for Charles to do it but when he tried to remove the blade with a forcep, it wouldn’t even retract itself. It took a few more tries before the blade surrendered and was snapped in two. He was deeply embarrassed with himself.
· Third, when it was finally time to close the incision, Lehnsherr asked for a plain surgical gut suture. Now, Charles has no idea how he made a fool of himself with this simple, easy-peasy request but when he asked Raven for the requested suture through a subtle murmur in her ear, he said “Doc needs a chromic surgical gut”. When Lehnsherr spotted the mistake, he did not look disappointed or dismayed, he just looked at Charles with his squinted eyes. Charles was not sure if he was glaring or if he was smiling. But a rooky mistake like that wouldn’t really deserve a smile. A glare, it was.
That was a year ago and Charles now swears that he will not allow himself to be embarrassed anymore. And anyhow, he even had around four or five more operations with Lehnsherr in between that horrendous performance and at present and no drastic mistakes were made in those times. He wouldn’t let an emergency thyroidectomy, with Lehnsherr as his surgeon, get him down. No, he will not allow it. And besides, if it is any consolation, Lehnsherr does not even talk much, his eyes do the talking for him. Oh right, it was worse than verbal murder. It’s not that he finds Lehnsherr repulsive that he detests seeing him, on the contrary he finds him rather breathtaking but seeing him and working with him always reminded him that he could instantly turn into a helpless, clumsy little buffoon with just a gaze from those green eyes. He wants to block them with a pair of shades so much. (Oh right, there is a huge possibility that Lehnsherr may look dead sexier with shades, damn!)
The emergency thyroidectomy with Lehnsherr, surprisingly, went splendidly. No accidental cauterization of the scrub nurse, no scrub outs, no misheard suture orders and a certain infatuated scrub nurse. Charles was at the top of his game. Before he even knew it, they were already closing up the incision. Then the sudden sound of Lehnsherr clearing up his throat brought Charles out of his focus with the closing suturing and looked up to meet Lehnsherr’s too-green gems.
“Do you like coffee, Mr. Xavier?”
Charles felt his whole body flush, thank all the gods that his sterile gown and his mask hid his rather embarrassing trait. He blinked twice before he realized there was a question for him to answer.
“Not really, Doc. I prefer Nai Cha over potent caffeine.” Charles still could not get over the fact that Lehnsherr is doing small talk with him.
“Nai Cha? As in milk tea?” This man is amazing, he can do small talk with Charles and at the same time suture an incision with drop dead precision.
“Yes, I like milk tea a lot.”
“50 percent sweetness?”
“I go all the way, Doc. Only a hundred percent for me.”
“Well, from your choice in beverage, sweetness and flavour I could probably conclude that you have quite a sweet tooth Mr. Xavier.” Was that... no, Charles could be wrong but he’s quite sure that what he just saw on Lehnsherr’s face (to be honest, just his eyes) was a smile.
After the end of the whole operation, Lehnsherr was left to attend to the Patient’s chart with Raven and Charles had to prepare for the next operation. For a moment there, Charles actually had a conversation with his *ahem* crush. Even though it was far from flirtation, that single moment was enough for him to keep on daydreaming until the end of his second and last operation for the afternoon. At last, he thought, he could finally go home and be left with daydreams of finally having a longer conversation with his dear Erik. ‘Really, Charles? Your dear Erik? And when did you even start calling the man by his first name? You have got to get over your head’. He knew he was hopeless when the daydreaming starts.
It was quite a bit of a surprise for him when he stumbled in the O. R. Lobby, ready to go home, and found Dr. Lehnsherr looking gorgeous in just jeans, a white V-neck shirt and a pair gray chucks sitting in one of the love seats with two take-out Nai Chas in both his hands cradled by his lap.
“Dr. Lehnsherr, you’re still here!”
At that, Lehnsherr looked up from his blank gaze on the floor and actually smiled. Charles suddenly had the feeling that the ligaments holding his knees up were giving in.
“Please, call me Erik. And yes, I’m still here.” Lehnsherr, uhm, Erik stood up and walked towards Charles and handed him one of the Nai Chas with his right hand. Too flabbergasted, Charles could not do anything clever but stare and stare some more.
Realizing that Charles may have not taken the hint to take the Nai Cha, Erik shook it with his reaching hand. “Nai Cha, for you. Wintermelon, 100 percent.”
Charles was doing his best to fight back a whimper threatening to escape from his vocal box. God, he realized, he must look rather stupid now because he was just staring. Well, bloody-effing-hell. So, he straightened up and took the Nai Cha from Erik’s hand. Erik flashed him that toothy smile again. Huh, Erik had too much teeth, Charles realized. He could not escape the momentary daydream of having those teeth graze his neck, his jaw, his everything. ‘Charles, get a hold of yourself.’
“Uhm... wow... uhm.” Splendid! And now he was an incoherent, babbling mess. Just perfect, Xavier. You just lost your dignity right there. “Thank you, Doc- I mean Erik. This is really thoughtful of you.” He sipped and tasted the sweet goodness that is 100 percent wintermelon. When he looked up, he realized that Erik is still staring at him. Or his lips. Maybe his lips. No, definitely his lips.
“Oh please, do call me Charles.”
With that, Erik smiled again (what’s with all the smiles lately?) and straightened himself up, with all his six feet two inches self towering over Charles’ five feet seven inches figure. He definitely felt like a hobbit.
“As you wish, Charles.” Erik said with much emphasis on the Charles. He took a sip from his Nai Cha without even breaking his gaze over Charles. Charles was then made aware of how he was holding his Nai Cha with both hands like it was precious china, too fragile to be held with only one. Erik grinned while sipping and Charles grinned back. It was a well meaning give-and-take situation from then on.
Erik then swept his free hand over his hair and finally regained his voice. “Since coffee is definitely out of the question... Charles, I was wondering if you would like to have another Nai Cha with me sometime.”
Charles was slightly gaping and he was aware of that. Surprised as he was, he couldn’t really find the right words to say. It was a war between “Yes, sure”, “Alright” or “Of course! Then we can get married, have cute little adopted Chinese kids, maybe a Labrador pup or two, a house in the suburbs and a station wagon. Anything, really. Anything for you, Erik”. So much for maintaining composure.
Meanwhile, Erik took Charles’ momentary unresponsiveness for reprieve.
Charles was sure Erik was talking but could not hear what he was really saying because he was trying his best to catch Erik’s eyes because they were going everywhere except to the direction of Charles’ own gaze.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to, Charles, just because I am your surgeon and you are my nurse doesn’t really oblige you—“ God, he was blushing! His self-salvation speech was halted due to the fact that Charles’ index and middle fingers were subtly touching his lips. ‘Wow, Charles, you’re rather courageous today, talking to and touching Erik on the same day!’
“I would love to have one or more Nai Chas with you, Erik.” The smile that he was rewarded with possibly blinded him.
Not being able to resist, Charles then smiled back, took Erik’s free hand and stood beside him. He looked up and saw a glimpse of what could be an expression of surprise in Erik’s eyes.
“I’m actually on my way home, fancy a walk with me then maybe take-out dimsum in my apartment?”
Erik lit up and nodded.
Charles knew it was going to be more than just a walk and take-out dimsum. Maybe a little flirting, maybe little kisses here and there and maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t be as clumsy in bed with him as he is in the operating room.