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Only Hope - Chapter 2
drarryiconic
onaxe
Title: Only Hope
Author: onaxe
Pairing: Charles/Erik, Raven/Angel, Hank/Alex
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Alpha/Omega Dynamics, possible Mpreg (nothing explicit), mild violence, implied past child abuse (nothing explicit).
Summary: According to werewolf law, an unwed Omega cannot legally hold custody of a child. When Charles is challenged custody over his 17 year old sister, Raven, he desperately turns to the only solution available. He marries a complete stranger: brash Alpha, Erik Lehnsherr, who is haunted by a mysterious past.

Also available on AO3

Chapter 1



Chapter 2

The café was a flurry of activity as it struggled to meet the demands of the lunchtime rush. The wait staff nimbly weaved through the narrow gaps between the tables that littered the floor, balancing heavy trays laden with food and drinks with remarkable dexterity. Their own waitress barely had time to smile in return of Charles' murmur of thanks as she set his large cup of Earl Grey on the table before she was bustling away to deal with other orders.

It wasn't an ideal place for them to hold a meeting, but it was their best option. Emma couldn't enter his house without risking a fight with Raven, and Charles adamantly refused to follow her to the more Alpha-orientated parts of town that she'd suggested. The human run café was a neutral territory that Charles often frequented, though normally in the company of Moira or Hank.

Charles took a large gulp of his tea, the mildly perfumed taste comforting even as the scolding liquid burnt his tongue. Emma gave him an amused look when he winced.

"You sure you don't want anything stronger, Sugar?" she asked, her perfectly rounded nails tapping her own fine glass of red wine. "You look like you could use it."

"I'm afraid I haven't much indulged in alcohol since my youth," Charles told her with a sardonic smile. "It doesn't quite agree with me."

From the way in which Emma continuously eyed him with a mild wariness, and from the fact that she seemed to be trying hard to keep him placated and comfortable in his surroundings, he guessed that she already knew to what he was inferring. Since Cain had somehow managed to retain her services, he'd no doubt informed her all about Charles' unfortunate... condition.

"I have to say," Charles said, his tone deceptively light. "I am fairly surprised that my step-brother was even able to file a custody claim. Last I heard, he was still serving his life sentence in Stryker Prison."

Emma grimaced in mild disgust at the mention of the jail. It had been founded over fifty years ago in the wake of the revelation of the true existence of werewolves upon human society. Designed specifically for containing werewolves, it was the only known jail currently in existence that could handle the inmates during their shifts. It was rumoured to be a terrible and cruel place, apparently liberal in its use of silver as punishment against the inmates despite the severe allergic reaction to the metal that all werewolves shared. Stryker Prison was generally used as a last resort for only the worst kind of criminals.

"There was a rather fortunate change in circumstances that aided in the early release of Mr. Marko," Emma said, leaning back in her seat as she took a sip of her wine. "As I'm sure you're aware, I'm unable to divulge anything in great detail, but I will tell you that after a recent review of my client's case, the charges against him were dropped due to the unreliability of the evidence."

Charles' grip tightened on his porcelain mug until his knuckles turned white. The evidence was unreliable; their own eye-witness accounts given as testimonies against Cain were deemed as unreliable. Raven's was most likely discounted because she'd barely been six years old at the time, and his own because...

Charles grit his teeth, the low growl that had started from the pit of his stomach working its way up his throat to escape past his lips, unbidden. Emma shifted in her seat, snapping Charles' attention to her. Her sharp gaze was completely focused on him, her hands braced on the table and her feet planted firmly on the ground, poised on the edge of her seat. She was bracing herself for a fight, Charles realised with vague amusement. That was all the proof he needed to know Emma was indeed aware of his condition.

"Forgive me," he apologised as he reclined back into his seat, moving slowly so as to not startle Emma into attacking him. "That was rather rude."

Emma watched him with wary eyes for a moment before she slowly relaxed, leaning back in her seat in a casual pose that didn't fool Charles for one minute. He cast a quick glance around the swarming café, feeling a mild sense of satisfaction at his choice of venue when it was clear that none of the humans around them had noticed anything out of sorts.

If they had been around other werewolves, they would have quickly picked up on the tense atmosphere and in turn been bewildered by the fact that an Alpha was acting like she was afraid of an Omega. Charles' condition wouldn't have remained secret for long after that. He allowed himself a moment to feel grateful for his friendship with Moira, her job at the CIA in the Werewolf Control Division (WCD) keeping him safe from official government investigation.

Emma's smile was stilted and clearly false. "It's fine, Sugar. You're clearly under a lot of stress." Setting her wine glass to one side, she pulled some papers out from her briefcase, laying them on the table before Charles. "All you have to do is sign the bottom of pages 1, 4 and 9 and your sister's custody will be officially transferred over to Mr. Marko."

Charles gave the papers a dismissive glance. "And why would I do that?"

"Because you don't want this to go to court. It would be a major waste of time and money for you," she explained, her tone patronising. "All I would have to say is that you are a single, twenty-nine year old Omega. At your age, it'd be hard enough to find an Alpha willing to be your mate even if you had a Pack to help barter and negotiate for you. As a loner, your chances are slim to none." Emma shrugged. "I won't even mention the possibilities of your finding a new Pack willing to accept you. You have zero prospects, Sugar."

She allowed a moment for all of this to sink in before she added lightly, "Of course, there is another option that would allow you to keep custody of Raven."

Charles looked at her, askance. "There is?"

Emma smirked, her eyes glittering in a cruel mirth. "You could always rejoin your former Pack. That way, both you and my client get what they want."

"Never," Charles hissed back, stifling a surge of fear at the thought. Cain was the last remaining member of his former Pack and, as the only Alpha of legal age, was technically the Head of the Pack. Charles would have to spend the rest of his days, bowing his head in deference to the brute. It was one of the reasons Charles had tried to run from him in the first place.

"Then sign the papers, Sugar," Emma told him, fishing a pen out of her pocket and laying it on top of the crisp white sheets.

"No," Charles replied without hesitation, pointedly pushing the papers away from him. "I refuse."

Emma scowled. "I'm telling you, Xavier, you don't want this to go to court. I've never lost a case yet."

"Then this shall be your first," Charles told her. He leant forward, his voice low but firm. "My sister is the dearest person to me and I will not give her up to that neanderthal brute of an Alpha without a fight. I don't care what else it takes, I will not lose her and I will not go crawling back to him to keep her." He sat up, teeth bared in what only an idiot would interpret as a smile. "I'll see you in court, Miss. Frost."

Emma's lips were thin as she stood, sweeping up her papers in a quick movement, her briefcase held in a tight grip before her. "Thank you for the drink, Mr. Xavier. The conversation was most... enlightening."

She gave him a curt nod before heading for the door, slipping on her fashion shades as she walked. Charles waited for a few moments until after the door had shut behind her before he allowed himself to slump in his seat, the tension draining out of him.

"What am I going to do?" he mumbled to himself, ruffling up his hair with both hands. If he expected any chance at winning this case and keeping custody of Raven, he was going to need help. Smoothing his hair back out with one hand, Charles inhaled deeply before reaching for his phone. He scrolled through the depressingly short list of contacts before hitting the call button.

It rang a couple of times before the line clicked on and a feminine voice answered, "Moira MacTaggert."

"Moira," Charles said in greeting.

"Charles?" she replied, her voice immediately filled with concern. "What's wrong? Has something happened? Is it Raven?"

Charles gave a small smile at her concern. "Raven's fine. But I need your help."

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