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Title: Love's Own Crown (13/?)
Authors: nekosmuse wrote the prose, afrocurl the poetry
Series: The Sonnet Series (aka the sequel to An Ideal Grace)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Charles/Erik
Fandom: XMFC (non-powered, modern AU)
Summary: Follows An Ideal Grace, in which Charles and Erik navigate the complexities of their new relationship.

Back to chapter 12



milestones

indices of
progress

measured against
artificial markers.

before,
measured in

pain
anguish

counting off
distance from.

measured now
as distance
towards

horizons
endless
possibilities


Steps, by Erik Lehnsherr, November, 2011

~*~


From somewhere across the room, Charles' phone chirped. Right front pocket, he recalled, though it did him little good, his jeans pooled in a heap near the foot of Erik's bed. The phone chirped again. Charles ignored it in favour of arching into the fingertips trailing across his shoulder.

"Good morning," he said, sounding more than a little hoarse; understandable given what they'd been up to last night.

Most of yesterday, in fact, their date on Wednesday culminating in them calling in on Thursday; spending the better part of the day locked inside Erik's bedroom. There were days when it honestly surprised Charles that he hadn't been fired yet. He suspected only the news of his mother's death was keeping the school's administration from asking too many questions. Well, that and it helped that the department head was one of his closest friends.

In lieu of responding, Erik followed the path of his fingers with the tip of his tongue, pausing only to bite at the tendon on the side of Charles' neck. Charles hissed.

"I hate to tell you this, but we probably don't have time for this," Charles said, but Erik was unrelenting, mouthing at Charles' neck like he fully intended for Charles to go to Los Angeles covered in hickeys. "Ah, I have a plane to catch."

Erik murmured something non-committal, and then made for Charles' ear.

"At least tell me what time it is," Charles tried. It was very hard to focus with Erik pressed against the length of his back, mouth hot against Charles' jaw, arm wrapped protectively around Charles' chest.

"It's early," Erik said, dragging the side of his face--all coarse scruff--against the soft nap of Charles' neck. Beard burn and hickeys, Charles thought with a grimace; that would near impossible to hide.

"How early?" It was somewhat startling to realize Charles was starting not to care if he missed his flight. His phone chirped again.

"Six o'clock early," Erik said, which would explain the darkness. It also meant they did have time; a considerable amount of time, Charles thought with a smile. He sifted back until he could feel Erik's erection. Erik groaned.

It was somewhat surprising Erik was still interested after yesterday--hell, it was somewhat surprising Charles was still capable. He'd lost count of how many times they'd come--five, it was five--between Wednesday night and now. Apparently recounting therapy sessions was good for Erik's libido, because he seemed rather intent on breaking some sort of record.

It couldn't last--the constant sex, not the relationship, which Charles had high hopes would last forever. There was only so long they could maintain this pace before the giddy thrill of newfound love was trumped by stamina. Already Charles ached in places he hadn't thought it possible to ache. He was discovering muscles he hadn't known existed--and given his background, that was saying something.

Erik placed a sharp bite on the curve of his shoulder.

"I'm going to have to wear turtlenecks all weekend," Charles protested, but he shifted back into the sensation, craving more. Erik chuckled.

"Then wear turtlenecks."

"I don't even own turtlenecks," Charles tried, laughing now, because Erik was nosing his way down Charles' spine, a ticklish trail that left him twisting and turning, pushing into the sensation as often as he squirmed away.

"So borrow some of mine," Erik said. He'd disappeared beneath the covers, voice muffled; mouth having found the small of Charles' back. Charles thought about spending the weekend wearing Erik's clothes and groaned. Erik smiled against his skin.

"God, I haven't even packed," Charles realized. It was somewhat shameful how distracting Erik was. He was completely ill-prepared for this trip.

Erik resurfaced from beneath the covers, breath warm and moist against the shell of Charles' ear. "See how much easier it would be if you had all your stuff here," he said.

Charles' breath caught. This wasn't the first time Erik had hinted that he wanted Charles to move in, but it was certainly the most aggressive. Had Erik simply asked, Charles would have agreed in an instant. Since he hadn't, Charles said, "You know, I cleaned out a drawer for you."

They hadn't been to Charles' place since--at least, not for the night--but the drawer was empty, awaiting anything Erik wanted to put into it.

Erik settled back against him, erection pressed into Charles' backside, and said, "And if the drawer was here I could use it." He sounded positively smug, like he already knew Charles' answer. The last twenty-four hours had done wonders to fast-forward their relationship. Charles rocked his hips back, earning a sharp hiss, and decided on a direct attack.

"You want me to move in," he said.

He expected a simple yes; instead he was rendered speechless by Erik's answer.

"I want all the people I love under one roof."

For one brief, terrifying moment, Charles thought he might burst into tears. During that time, he felt Erik tense behind him, confirmation that Erik had said what Charles had thought he'd said--had meant what Charles had thought he'd meant. By the time he was finally capable of speaking, Erik was already pulling away, undoubtedly taking Charles' silence as rejection. Charles couldn't have that, so without thinking he blurted, "I think I've been in love with you since the third time I saw you," and then, because it seemed relevant to the conversation, added, "Of course I'll move in with you."

Erik relaxed, the arm around Charles' waist tightening. Charles felt Erik smile against the back of his neck. He nipped then, teeth scrapping Charles' skin.

From the floor, Charles' phone chirped again. Erik chuckled.

"It's been doing that all morning," he said.

"Yes," Charles agreed, but he made no move to retrieve the phone. Instead he turned in Erik's embrace so that they were face to face.

"It might be important," Erik said, but he was smiling, already nuzzling close, biting at Charles' lips like they had all the time in the world. Charles surged forward and caught his lips in a proper kiss.

"It's probably just Hank, calling to make sure I'm up," Charles said when he pulled back. Erik was leaned over him now, pressing him into the mattress, the soft-cotton of Erik's sheets cool against Charles' back. Charles let his legs splay wide.

Erik's face took on a rather hard look.

"That's nice of him," he said, sounding suspicious. Charles laughed.

"I can assure you," he said, rocking so that Erik had no choice but to nestle between his legs, bare cock pressed against bare cock, "It is entirely selfish on his behalf. He's a bit of a control freak."

If Erik heard, he showed no sign, hips circling, lip caught between his teeth, thoroughly distracted by the heat building between them. Charles understood completely.

It didn't seem to matter how many times they did this, there was never a moment Charles wasn't completely swept away by it. He'd lost count of the number of people he'd slept with over the years, but none of them had inspired the same passion Erik did. There were days when Charles would have been perfectly content to never leave Erik's bed, no matter how stained the sheets. Erik was biting at his neck now, leaving more marks to be hidden by a borrowed turtleneck. Charles wanted so badly for Erik to fuck him; to feel Erik inside him, for the sensation to linger throughout his flight. Instead he grabbed Erik by the hips, pulled him up, positioning him so that Charles could trail fingers down the crack of Erik's ass.

Yesterday's lube had grown tacky and dry, but Erik still moaned when Charles brushed fingers over his hole. For someone who claimed a warped understanding of sex, Erik was easily the most receptive partner Charles had had. Charles could have spent hours taking Erik apart; and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Erik accepted Charles' every touch like he was desperate for it; like he thought himself unworthy of it and was amazed Charles didn't agree.

Keeping two fingers pressed against Erik, Charles fumbled with his other hand, finally reaching Erik's nightstand, where Erik's lube--almost empty now; they would have to buy more--and a box of condoms sat from last night.

"Are you okay?" Charles asked once he had the lube in hand. Erik seemed to clue in to Charles' intentions. He stopped rocking, shook his head, and reached for Charles' hand.

"Probably not a good time," he said, which was clear enough, so Charles nodded and went back to simply playing with the outer ring of muscle around Erik's anus. Erik, who had plucked the lube from Charles' hand, used a liberal dollop to cover their cocks, pressing them tight together and wrapping a hand around them.

The circle of his fingers barely contained them, though that was mostly Erik's fault--Erik was also easily the biggest partner Charles had ever had. It often took all of Charles' willpower not to beg Erik to fuck him, especially after the last--and only--time. He'd felt the persistent ache of it all the next day, Erik having filled him perfectly. To keep from asking now, Charles reached between them and added a hand to the mix. Erik groaned.

Between them they set a steady tempo, Erik wrapped around their bases, Charles playing with their heads, fingers sliding neatly into Erik's slit, circling around his cut head, and then tugging on his own foreskin, rubbing circles around his swollen tip. It was a messy affair, lube and precome everywhere. They would both need showers, and the sheets were overdue for a changing. Charles would undoubtedly feel bad, leaving Erik to contend with the cleanup, but for the moment he was too far gone to spare the matter a thought. It was all he could do to rock against Erik as Erik thrust down into him, cocks sliding together, balls brushing; skin tingling wherever they made contact.

It still amazed him how quickly Erik got him to spiral out of control. He could feel his orgasm building already, balls drawing tight as he thrust helplessly into the circle of Erik's hand. Erik didn't slow, coaxing Charles towards his peak with whispered encouragement, words like Come on and That's it breathed into Charles' ear. Charles was fairly certain Erik had no idea he was even speaking, let alone knew what he was saying. He always seemed so determined to make Charles come.

Charles had yet to disappoint.

Erik brushed a free hand against Charles' nipple, pinching slightly as he did, and that was Charles' undoing, still surprising considering how many times they had done this over the last twenty-four hours. He had a hairpin trigger where Erik was concerned, especially when Erik was focused on him, intent with desire and unrestrained want. Charles shuddered through his orgasm, spilling between them, come spattering his stomach, Erik, and the sheets. Erik pulled back, startled despite the ferocity of his effort. He glanced between them, staring at Charles' spent cock with a look of smug wonder. Charles whimpered.

"Sorry," he managed, uncertain what had caused his quick release, except perhaps that he was still floating high on confessions of love and plans for cohabitation. Erik shook his head, dismissal of Charles' apology, Charles knew, but he didn't start moving again. Charles immediately reached for him, but before he could Erik grabbed his wrist. Charles froze.

"Erik?"

Erik still looked a little startled--looked a little lost, too. "Can I..." he said after a moment, but he didn't finish the question, so Charles only nodded--there was nothing he wouldn't let Erik do. In response, Erik very purposely took Charles' hands and placed them on either side of his head. When he was content Charles wouldn't move--or object--he ran a hand through the mess on Charles' stomach, coating him in lube and come until he was slick and stained. Erik settled back onto him.

And thrust.

There was something decidedly frantic in the rocking of his hips, Erik's dick sliding through the mess on Charles' stomach; brushing occasionally against his rapidly deflating, over-sensitized cock, catching in the space where his inner thigh met his pelvis.

Without ever penetrating Charles, Erik fucked him.

It was messy and desperate and just this side of uncomfortable, but Charles remained as still as Erik seemed to want him, hands loose above his head, body lax, letting Erik use him as Erik chased his own completion. It came after a particularly vicious snap of his hips, Erik pressing into Charles, jerking repeatedly until warm, wet semen spilled between them. Almost as soon as it was over Erik collapsed, face burying into the side of Charles' neck.

For the longest time, Charles didn't move, allowing Erik a moment to simply catch his breath. It wasn't until Erik shifted, tensing, his uncertainty betrayed by the tightening of his shoulders, that Charles ran a sticky hand through Erik's hair.

"God, that was hot," he said, which seemed to dispel Erik's uncertainty, because he laughed, entire body shaking against Charles', Charles only then registering just how heavy Erik was.

He nudged Erik sideways, rolling with him so that they were once again face to face. Erik blinked at him, and then smiled.

"Sorry," he said, but Charles caught the apology with his lips, shaking his head when he pulled back.

"I thought we talked about this," he said. Erik rolled his eyes.

"Yes, no apologizing for taking the things I want in bed," he said. Charles offered a bright smile. "You'll have to be patient with me. I'm not used to this. Seb..." he caught himself then, rolling his eyes a second time. "Shaw wasn't big on letting me have a say in what we did."

It was a measure of how far they'd come, Charles thought, that Erik could talk about Shaw now, without the haunted look that used to settle over his face whenever Shaw's name had come up before. Charles brought a hand to Erik's face, trailing fingers over his jaw. It helped to display the urge to hunt Sebastian Shaw down and hurt him for the things he'd done to Erik.

"Well I'm a big fan in letting you have a say. So far your ideas have been pretty amazing."

The grin that earned him was well worth the rushing he'd need to do to catch his flight. Charles answered with one of his own and pulled Erik back towards him. Erik came willingly.

~*~

It was probably ridiculously clingy, but Erik couldn't help but agree when Charles offered to let him accompany Charles home, and then to the school where his airport shuttle was scheduled to pick him up at 10:00. He wasn't entirely certain why Charles had offered, save perhaps that they'd showered together again--and no matter how many times Erik reminded himself it was a bad idea, it was still too tempting to resist--Erik unable to keep his hands to himself, and Charles had chuckled and said, "I absolutely do not have time anymore, but you can come see me off if you like." Erik had agreed before registering that maybe doing so might make him seem a little desperate.

It was just that he hated the idea of Charles leaving for the weekend; hated the idea of Charles being on the other side of the country, where Erik couldn't get to him if something happened and Charles needed him.

Raven would undoubtedly tell him he was being an idiot. He wasn't sure he disagreed.

It didn't help that Charles' ringing phone had turned out to be Charles' research partner, Hank--whom Erik had yet to meet and whom Erik had already taken a disliking to. He treated Charles like a wayward child, four messages reminding Charles of their flight, like Charles was incapable of keeping his itinerary details straight without Hank's assistant.

It was almost surprising that this mysterious Hank wasn't waiting for them when they got to Charles' office, Erik carrying Charles' suitcase, despite Charles' many protests.

"I just need to print some things out," Charles said, getting them in the door. Erik nodded, setting down Charles' suitcase before crossing to Charles' couch. It was an ugly monstrosity of a thing, and Erik had no idea why Charles kept it.

He was having a hard time tearing his gaze from Charles. He'd only been joking when he'd offered to loan Charles a turtleneck, but Charles had taken the offer seriously and was now wearing one of Erik's knitted ones. It was entirely too big on him, but Erik had felt a fierce surge of pride as soon as Charles slipped it on. There was something immensely satisfying about seeing Charles in his clothes. It more than made up for the irrational disappointment Erik had felt about the shirt covering Erik's marks.

He was in the middle of trying to decide if he could stretch the neck--just a little bit; enough so that Charles could still hide, but so that, from the right angle, people could see what it was he was trying to hide--when a voice echoed from the doorway.

"Oh, good, you made it on time."

Erik glanced over, expecting to find a middle-aged scientist-type. Instead he found himself staring at a younger guy, not unattractive, with a shaggy mop of brown hair and horn rimmed glasses. He looked somewhat exasperated, but altogether too fond. He glanced from Charles to Erik, eyes widening slightly when he found Erik staring at him. To Erik's delight, he immediately flinched back. Erik offered one of his least sincere smiles.

"Of course," Charles said, surfacing from beside his printer, where he was waiting for his itinerary to print. "Really, Hank; I wasn't going to miss our flight. When have I ever?" He laughed then, moving around to the front of his desk to make introductions.

Erik immediately stood. It was somewhat vindicating to find he towered over Charles' research partner.

In the small space that was Charles' narrow office, it felt almost claustrophobic, the three of them crowded together. Charles seemed oblivious to the tension as he gestured to Erik.

"Hank, this is Erik. Erik, this is Hank." He fell silent then, like he fully expected them to exchange pleasantries. It was only because Erik didn't want to disappoint Charles that he stepped forward, right into Hank's space, and extended a hand.

"A pleasure," he said, and if his grip was a little too tight, he could always excuse it as nerves. Hank winced, just a little, but he didn't say anything, flexing and relaxing his hand once Erik had released it; letting it fall back to his side.

"Likewise," he said.

Charles smiled brightly between them. Erik shifted a little closer to Charles' side. He didn't once take his eyes off Hank. Hank coughed, clearly uncomfortable.

"I suppose I should just..."he gestured out the door. Charles frowned, looking like he might protest, so Erik very carefully nudged his arm, Charles glancing, startled, in his direction.

"You have a message," Erik said, gesturing to the flashing red light of Charles' office phone. By the time Charles had glanced between Erik and the phone, Hank was gone.

Charles shook his head, running a hand through his hair in that way that he did when he was working out a problem. There was something decidedly hesitant in the way that he glanced at the phone.

"Do you want me to...?" Erik started, which seemed to remind Charles of where he was and what he was doing. He glanced to the door, frowning when he found Hank gone, and then glanced back to the phone. Shaking his head, he crossed to the desk and, putting it on speaker phone, retrieved the message.

Charles Xavier. This be Remy Lebeau. You need to call me a-sap.

It was somewhat startling to watch Charles carefully delete the message and then steadily begin packing his messenger bag. Erik moved to his side.

"You're not going to call back?" He had rather thought this was what Charles was waiting for. Charles' expression, when he finally met Erik's eye, suggested otherwise.

"One of the messages from this morning was from him, and I will call back, but I think I'd rather worry about this conference first," he said.

It was hardly Erik's place to argue, so instead he nodded and waited for Charles' nod before retrieving Charles' suitcase and walking him towards the door. They paused only so that Charles could lock his office, and then Charles led him back the way they'd come, linoleum floor tiles scuffed beneath the press of countless feet, the fluorescent lighting above flickering somewhat nauseatingly. Erik waited until they'd climbed into an elevator to speak.

"How long have known Hank?" he asked.

He meant only to appease his curiosity, but there must have been something in his tone, because Charles glanced over sharply, gaze narrowing.

"Tell me you are not jealous of Hank," he said. Erik felt himself flush, even as he opened his mouth to deny it. "Oh, Erik, don't be ridiculous. Hank is one of my oldest friends, and someone who has done more for me than I probably deserved. You do not get to be territorial where he is concerned."

There wasn't much Erik could say to that--at least, nothing that wouldn't land him in a lot of hot water--so he carefully kept his mouth shut and followed Charles off the elevator. Hank was waiting for them by the front doors, turned so that he could watch out the glass, shoulders tense like he was expecting to have to rush out and catch their shuttle. Erik tried to push aside the awkward irritation he felt--jealousy the part of his brain that sounded like Raven said--but it was a losing battle. The best he could manage was to keep the sensation internalized, so that it didn't show on his face.

Charles stopped them walking several feet from where Hank was standing. Erik didn't miss the slight tightening of Hank's posture; the one that said he knew Charles and Erik were there, but was studiously ignoring them. Charles didn't seem to notice, but then he was intent on stepping into Erik's space, smile lighting up his features.

"I'm going to go to Los Angeles now," he said. "And while I'm there, I am going to spend my days attending a conference, and my nights pining for you in my hotel room. I trust that while I'm gone you will pine just as much, and then on Sunday night, when I get back, we can have marathon reunion sex."

It occurred to Erik then that he didn't want to let Charles go--that he wanted to follow Charles to L.A. because waiting for him to come home was probably going to kill him. Instead he leaned in and captured Charles' lips in a kiss. When he pulled back, Charles was looking decidedly flustered. Erik smirked.

"Call me," he said, and then, because Charles' shuttle still hadn't arrived, and he could, he drew Charles up into another kiss.

~*~

Hank Interlude

Hank tried not to listen to the hushed conversation going on behind him--he really did--but it was hard not to, and his hearing had always been good. He'd seen Charles in relationships before--of course he had--quite a few, in fact, so he knew this was simply Charles, swept up in love. It was still somewhat awkward to witness, not because he'd ever had any designs on Charles--never that--but because Hank was an intensely private man who didn't particularly care for public displays of affection.

Charles thought public displays of affection were made for him.

He waited until their conversation broke off, Erik brushing past him on his way out the door, to glance at Charles. Charles was still watching Erik, who had turned, once, glancing over his shoulder to catch Charles' eye before his shoulders had squared he'd turned away, resolve renewed. Charles remained strangely silent until Erik vanished from sight. Then he turned to Hank, soft smile playing on his lips. Hank wished desperately for the arrival of their shuttle.

"Well?" Charles asked, and this was what Hank was afraid of, because now he was going to have to give his opinion and that never went over well.

Still, he opted to cut straight to the point. "He's a little scary."

Insanely terrifying, was more like it, but Hank could hardly say that. Still, there was something very unbalanced about Erik; something that had Hank more than a little worried for Charles' safety. The last thing he wanted was for Charles to disappear, end up bits of meat in someone's freezer. What would happen to their research?

In the reflection of the door, Hank saw Charles frown.

It wasn't, Hank supposed, his place to question Charles' relationships, and God knew Charles had had plenty of those over the years, none of them particularly well chosen--except Scott; Hank had liked Scott--but this Erik set all of his instincts on edge.

"I mean, in an 'I'm sure he's actually harmless' kind of way," Hank clarified. Charles' frown deepened.

"I grant, he is a little possessive at times, but I would really like it if you two liked each other. Or, at the very least, tolerated each other," Charles said.

There wasn't much Hank could say to that, so he tipped his head, silent acknowledgment of Charles' request. Charles was his oldest friend--his very first friend--and if Charles wanted him to like his new, terrifying boyfriend, then Hank could do that. That didn't mean he wasn't going to watch this Erik fellow closely. Charles still needed someone to watch his back, and Hank had been doing a pretty good job of it so far.

He didn't say any of that, though, opting instead to nod outside the doors and say, "Shuttle's here."

On to chapter 14

Date: 2012-01-19 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've been stalking tumblr and when I saw this .gif, and it just kinda screams "hissy fit" to me, lol http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v497/HopelessTwit/PFTIMMAD.gif

(I'm html and hotlink illiterate, sorry.)

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