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Title: Love's Own Crown (15/20)
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.
Warning: attempted non con.

Back to chapter 14



time separates
holds us
distant

far away

in distance,
though,
shared space

voices linger
laughs echo

hours
together
emboldened
by admissions.

Declarations:
of trust,
of want.

sleep seems
foreign
when your voice
draws me in.</i>

Sleepless, by Erik Lehnsherr, November, 2011

~*~


"We have high hopes to start clinical trials this summer," Charles was saying, and though he'd vowed not to discuss his and Hank's latest research, it was near impossible not to get swept up in the excitement, especially when people were just so very interested in his work. It was somewhat exhilarating having people hanging on his every word, asking all the right questions--and Charles was very good at ignoring the probing ones that suggested someone might be out to steal his research.

He'd already abandoned Hank, Hank caught up in a conversation about genomic medicine. Charles had always preferred a micro approach to genetics, so the topic hadn't particularly interested him. He'd let himself get swept away by the crowd, dinner still heavy in his stomach as he sipped cocktails and shared his and Hank's preliminary findings. It was a shame his enthusiasm didn't last as long as the night.

Any other year, he would have been thrilled beyond measure. This year he was desperately bored halfway through his second circuit of the room, wanting then only to return to his hotel room.

The current group he was talking to kept shifting, people coming and going, the conversation running in circles, Charles constantly having to start at the beginning. He waited for the next changeover--the next lull--to excuse himself, seeking a quiet corner where he could call Erik.

They'd spoken once already tonight, just before Charles went to dinner, but Erik was three hours ahead and if Charles wanted to catch him before he went to bed, it would have to be now. He found a little out of the way alcove near the back of the banquet hall and tucked himself between two pillars, set kitty-corner from the emergency exit. He'd gotten halfway through dialing when he was again interrupted, this time by Dr. Essex, who slipped into Charles' alcove wearing a thoroughly delighted smile.

Having attended Essex's workshop with Hank, it would have been rude to send Essex away--though Charles rather thought Essex's work was a little farfetched--so he pocketed his phone, smiled brightly, took a sip from his neat scotch, and tried to appear at least a little approachable.

Essex had a bit of a reputation for being somewhat of a megalomaniac, something that became quite apparent as soon as he started talking. He droned on about his work; the advances he was making and the awards he intended to win. "I'm fairly certain my work is worth at least a Noble," he said at one point. Charles nodded politely, humming in all the right places, like he was listening intently, all while frantically casting about for an escape. It came ten minutes into their conversation, Essex saying something that caused Charles to snort--somewhat undignified, but he couldn't help it. Essex immediately fell silently. Charles couldn't quite help himself.

"Are you seriously trying to suggest you think you have found the immortality gene?" Charles asked. He wasn't usually so rude, but getting through tonight's dinner had required several glasses of wine, and since then he'd had two cocktails and his scotch. If there was one thing these conferences did well, it was stock the bar.

"You laugh, but I know you've read the research, and our work with mice has been quite promising. Wouldn't you want that?" Essex asked, stepping forward, into Charles' space like he intended to impart some great secret. "To live forever?"

Charles scoffed. "Dear God, no. The only reason life has meaning is because it has a definitive end. I wouldn't want to lose that for anything."

Essex's expression showed his disappointment, like he had honestly never met anyone who didn't want immortality. He cocked his head.

"But what if you could tweak it? Say add ten years, twenty; fifty to your life? Wouldn't that be worth exploring?"

Charles shook his head. Essex was hardly the only person working on such research--and Charles had read up on the subject--but it seemed to him the consequences outweighed any potential benefit. He was about to say as much when Essex's grad student--the one from his workshop--arrived, bearing two flutes of champagne. Charles sagged a little with relief, intending to use the opportunity to slip away and call Erik, but too late Essex caught his eye, swiftly plucking Charles' empty tumbler from his hands, replacing it with the champagne flute. Charles blinked.

"You looked thirsty," he said, mouth turning up into something that wanted to resemble a smile. Oh, Charles realized. He wasn't usually this slow on the uptake. Clearly Erik had broken his gaydar.

He meant to set the record straight, right then and there, but Essex had started talking again, attempting to regale Charles with anecdotes about life in a Max Planck lab, his grad student having already disappeared, and try as Charles might he couldn't find a break in the conversation. He stood, feeling a little like fleeing, listening to Essex's lecture with a growing sense of horror, until, finally, Essex brought his champagne glass to his lips, falling silent as he took a sip.

Charles took his opportunity.

"Dr. Essex," Charles said, intending to let the man down gently--not that it was his fault, Charles did have a bit of a reputation at this things--but before he could Essex was sweeping toward him, suddenly far closer than Charles wanted him to be.

"Nathaniel, please; call me Nathaniel," Essex said. Charles took a step back.

"I'm sorry. I really am," Charles said before Essex could get started again. "But I'm not interested." He hesitated only briefly before handing Essex back his champagne flute, untouched. The look of puzzled outrage on Essex's face was almost too much to bear. Charles fled, thinking then that he ought to ask Erik for a ring; anything to keep men like Nathaniel Essex at bay.

He wanted to call Erik right away, but instead he went in search of Hank, finding him right where he'd left him, still lost in the same conversation, Hank extra animated under the influence of a few gin and tonics. He was gesturing wildly, making his point with excited exclamations. Charles almost hated to interrupt him, but he couldn't just leave without letting Hank know, so he sidled up to him, laying a hand on his forearm to get his attention. Across the room, Essex was still watching him, frown painted across his face.

"Sorry to interrupt," Charles said. Hank glanced over, startled. "It's been a long day, so I was going to retire. I wanted to say goodnight."

The last was said to the entire group, Charles only recognizing a handful of the people Hank was talking to, but they all nodded.

"We should meet early tomorrow, go over the presentation," Hank said in lieu of goodbye. Charles nodded, and then left him to his socializing--Hank got so few opportunities.

It was a strange relief to finally slip from the hotel's rented banquet hall, the silence on the other side of the door a balm for his nerves. He thought about calling Erik, but in the time Essex had held him captive, the hour had grown late, so he opted for sending a text instead. If Erik was still awake, he'd call, otherwise Charles would call first thing in the morning, and then after tomorrow, it would be all over, Charles on a plane heading back to New York and Erik and home.

The thought of going home to Erik put a smile on his face, one that lingered as he navigated the hotel lobby, eventually ending up in an elevator bound for the eighth floor. He still missed Erik completely, but he felt a little lighter knowing the weekend was coming to an end. The next time he did this he was taking Erik and Raven both; no objections.

The elevator came to a stop when he reached his floor, bouncing slightly in that way that always turned Charles' stomach. Its metal doors slid open. Charles stepped out onto paisley carpet only to run head-first into a solid mass. Charles staggered back, not entirely certain what had happened. He glanced up, somewhat startled when he found himself staring into the pasty visage of Nathaniel Essex. Charles blinked.

It was entirely possible they simply shared the same floor, but there was something in Essex's smile, something sinister, that told Charles that wasn't the case. How Essex had discovered Charles' room number, or even beat him upstairs, Charles didn't know, but he wanted then to get as far from this man as humanly possible. Charles took a step back.

"Maybe I didn't make this clear downstairs," Charles said, "but I'm not interested. I'm seeing someone."

The elevator doors had closed behind him, the hall stretching in either direction; long tunnels, identically matched, their walls painted hotel-beige, their floors an endless sea of burgundy and blue. It all seemed so utterly deserted. Essex made no move to get out of Charles way, and when Charles tried to step around him, Essex moved with him, blocking Charles' path. Something ugly settled in the pit of Charles' stomach. His hand began to shake.

"Get out of my way," Charles said. It surprised him how oddly cold and detached he sounded.

Essex took a step towards him, Charles retreating back towards the elevator. "You're not being very friendly," Essex said. "From the rumours I'd heard, you'd fuck anyone and everyone, significant other or no significant other."

In an instant Charles went from frightened to incensed, because Essex didn't know him, and while, yes, Charles had certainly sowed his wild oats--and he would never apologize to anyone for that, let alone be made to feel shame for it--he had never, and would never, cheat on someone.

"I'm afraid I'm a little more selective these days," Charles said, letting his distaste for Essex show in the twist of his lips.

To his surprise, Essex laughed.

The man was larger than Charles, though not by much, and while Charles wasn't one for violence, it wasn't Essex physically overwhelming him that worried Charles--he was more than capable of taking care of himself. There was something in the way Essex was watching him, as though waiting for something, that set Charles on edge. Not willing to let Essex intimidate him, Charles squared his shoulders.

"I'm not going to ask you again. Get out of my way," Charles said.

Essex's smile was far too amused. He stepped forward again, crowding Charles against the elevator, Charles about to bring his hands to Essex's chest to shove him away when his phone rang.

It should have frightened Essex off, but instead his smile grew wider, and he reached out, catching Charles' wrist before Charles could retrieve his phone. The act was so shocking Charles momentarily froze, not entirely certain what to do. Essex's grip was firm, bone crushing, and would undoubtedly leave a ring of dark, finger-shaped brushes. In the time it took him to get his wits together enough to shake Essex off, his phone stopped ringing.

"Do not touch me," Charles said, shoving then, but Essex only retreated a step, still looming, looking entirely too smug for the situation. Charles was starting to think he might have to resort to desperate measures.

"How was your champagne?" Essex asked then, tilting his head.

Charles narrowed his gaze, momentarily confused until he made the connection. The son of the bitch had drugged the champagne, probably as soon as his grad student had handed it to him--there was no way Charles would believe she had known anything about it--and now he was simply waiting for Charles to succumb to its effect.

Had he really not noticed that Charles hadn't touched a single drop?

Letting his mouth twist into his own ugly smile, Charles stepped forward, this time forcing Essex back. For the first time that night, Essex faltered, uncertainty colouring his expression.

"Sorry to disappoint, but I don't drink champagne," Charles said, and then, because the kind of guy Essex was had always--always--enraged Charles, he did something so out of character that, later, after he'd had a chance to calm down and stop hyperventilating, he'd look back on it with wonder and something akin to awe.

He stepped completely into Essex's space, hauled back, and head-butted the man right between the eyes.

Contrary to everything he had seen on television, head-butting someone hurt--considerably--Charles more than a little dazed as he stepped back, head throbbing, thoughts fuzzy, stars dancing across his vision.

That was nothing compared to Essex, who was on the ground, clutching his nose--Charles' aim must have been a little off--blood dripping onto his upper lip even as tears formed in his eyes. He looked so utterly terrified that Charles couldn't help the vicious thrill that tore through him. How many people had Essex done this to, he wondered. How many people had woken up, memories blank, and just assumed they’d had too much to drink the night before? Would Charles have even known? Would he have thought to question? The thought filled him with rage, but instead of kicking Essex--and he wanted to, oh how he wanted to--he squared his shoulders and stepped back. Ignoring the way his vision still crossed, he turned on his heel and fled down the hall to his room.

It wasn't until he was inside, door bolted behind him, latch pulled across the top, that Charles fully registered what he'd done--what had almost happened. He glanced down at his hands to find them shaking again, breath coming in shallow pants as he slid down the door until he was sat, knees drawn to his chest, heart racing and body trembling.

From inside his front right pocket, his phone started ringing again. Charles almost sobbed with relief.

~*~

Erik glanced at his Blackberry and frowned. It wasn't like Charles not to answer, especially considering he'd just texted; just asked Erik to call him if he was still awake--and of course Erik was still awake. He was hardly going to fall asleep, not when he was waiting for Charles' call.

It was entirely possible Charles was simply indisposed, or perhaps in the middle of a conversation, or maybe sitting in an elevator with no signal. Erik disconnected the call without leaving a message and set his Blackberry on the coffee table. He'd try again in a few minutes.

One more night, he told himself, which was ridiculous; because it wasn't like he hadn't spent the night apart from Charles before. Dr. Frost had reminded him as much; had told him it was normal--healthy even--to miss Charles, to want him home, but that spending a few days apart was not going to hurt either of them. He hadn't particularly liked hearing the advice, but she was right.

Even Raven had said as much, after Erik had woken from his unplanned nap, still sprawled across her lap--and God, how he'd apologized, horrified by what he'd done, even with her reassurances that it was fine. It's hardly the first time we've fallen asleep together, she'd said, alluding the nightmares that used to see her curled on the couch, Erik often falling asleep on the floor beside her feet. This is different, he'd told her, but she'd only shaken her head and asked what he intended to make them for dinner.

They'd talked then, while Erik had cooked, and then they'd talked some more as they ate, Erik recounting his session, Raven agreeing whole-heartedly with his psychiatrist. She was gone now; Azazel having picked her up for work, and it was unlikely she'd make it home before he fell asleep. Erik glanced into the kitchen at the clock on the microwave, green numbers fuzzy from this distance, but he could still read them. His two minutes had passed. Erik reached for his Blackberry.

This time Charles answered after two rings, but Erik's relief was tempered by the knowledge that something was wrong. There was something in Charles' tone, shaky and terrified, that had Erik sitting bolt upright on the couch. He went so far as to shift to the edge of the cushion, the desire for action leaving him rigid and tense.

"What happened?" he asked, desperate then to see Charles--and he should have gone; he should have gotten on that damned plane and gone to L.A., no matter what Dr. Frost said. "Charles, what happened?"

Charles let out a shaky little laugh, the sound crawling across Erik's skin, making the hair at the back of his neck stand on end. His stomach rolled with nausea. If Charles was hurt, he would never forgive himself.

"It's nothing, I'm fine," Charles said, and then again, "I'm fine."

"Charles." He was desperate now, he knew, Charles sounding so utterly shaken, so utterly alone; and Erik was so far away, incapable of doing anything to protect him, to keep him safe.

Through the line, Charles released a strangled breath. It sounded unnaturally loud in the otherwise stillness of the room; the only thing louder was the blood pounding in his ears, incessant droning he was surprised Charles couldn't hear.

"I need you not to freak out," Charles said, which didn't exactly help the pounding of his heart. It was as good as telling Erik to freak out, Erik standing, already halfway to the door before better sense got a hold of him. It would take him hours to get to Charles, and Charles needed him here, now.

"Okay," he sound, though he very much doubted either of them believed the promise.

"A man tried to drug me at dinner tonight."

Erik almost dropped the phone. Rage whited his vision, the hand not cradling his Blackberry clenching in a fist. He could feel the tendons standing out along either side of his neck; feel the angry flush that stained his cheeks.

He sounded entirely too cold when he asked, "What?"

"Calm down," Charles said. "I'm fine. He slipped something into a glass of champagne and then handed it to me, but I didn't drink it. He thought I had and accosted me in the hall."

If Erik had been angry before, it was nothing compared to how he felt hearing the calm certainty in Charles' voice, like he was simply recounting the weather or commenting on what he'd had for dinner. Erik's vision shifted to red. He had his coat in hand before he realized flying to Los Angeles and killing a man wasn't really an option.

"Have you called the police?" he asked, because that was what you were supposed to do.

He expected Charles to say he had. Instead, Charles let out a little laugh, sounding more than a little hysterical. When he spoke, however, the same steady determination carried through his words.

"Small problem with that," he said. Erik frowned, realizing then he was still standing in the hall, hand stretched towards the front door. "I don't actually have any proof, and I technically assaulted him."

Erik blinked, hand falling to his side. He stood, dumbfounded, not entirely certain he'd heard what he thought he'd just heard.

"You assaulted him?"

"Head-butted him, actually, and I think in doing so I might have broken his nose. It's entirely possible the police are already en route to arrest me."

Erik was moving again before Charles had finished speaking. He was into his coat and shoes and out the door before the me left Charles' lips, Erik practically running down the hall to the elevator, repeatedly hitting its button in a bid to get it here faster. He was debating using the stairs when it arrived.

"I'm on my way," he said.

"Erik, don't be ridiculous," Charles said, which stopped Erik entirely, poised halfway in the hall, halfway in the elevator, body keeping the door from closing.

"Charles," he tried, but Charles would not be put off. He spoke right over Erik's objection.

"First, you're not going to get a flight out at this hour."

Erik had thought of that; had considered the possibility of chartering a plane, or maybe just stealing one--they couldn't be that hard to fly, could they?--but Charles wasn't finished.

"Second, even if you could get a flight, it'll take you hours to get here, and by that time I hope to be sound asleep, either here, in my room, or in a holding cell, though I honestly don't think Essex would risk his reputation by pressing charges, especially given the allegations that would come out. I assure you I frightened the wits out of him, so I suspect he's already left the conference."

What Charles was saying made a good deal of sense, but Erik was too busy focusing on Essex, the name branded into his consciousness--alongside Shaw--as someone who shouldn't be allowed to live.

It was a mark of Charles' influence on him that he didn't get on the elevator, instead stepping back, letting the door close as he turned back towards his apartment, walking slowly this time, feet dragging as the last few minutes finally caught up with him. It occurred to him then that his reaction was probably not what Charles needed. He was probably shaken and frightened and in need of comfort, and yet instead he'd had to talk Erik down from doing something incredibly stupid. Guilt and shame flooded him as he slunk back into his apartment.

"God, I'm sorry. I didn't even ask; are you okay?" he said once he was safely behind the door. He leaned against it, eyes falling closed as his head tipped back to rest against the wood.

"I told you, I'm fine, he didn't..." Charles got out before Erik was interrupting him.

"No, are you okay?" he asked again. This time Charles let out another desperate little laugh.

"Well, I'm sitting on the floor of my hotel room, with my back to the door, and shaking somewhat uncontrollably, so maybe not entirely fine, no."

Erik appreciated his honesty, even if it hurt to hear. It took every ounce of his willpower to open his eyes, walk into the living room and sink onto the couch. He could do this, he told himself; he could talk Charles through this, because as much as he wanted to be there--to sweep Charles into his arms and reassure himself that Charles was safe, Charles needed him now.

"I can't believe you head-butted him," Erik said, feeling a little hysterical himself. He thought back to the last time he'd seen Shaw; to the way Shaw's head had twisted back, the sickening crunch of impact. He wondered if Charles had felt half of his delight. It didn't seem appropriate to ask.

"Neither can I," Charles was saying. He laughed then, sounding a little more like himself. "It hurt, actually."

Erik barked a rather helpless sounding laugh. "Yeah, I can imagine." Punching Shaw had hurt too. "Worth it, though."

Through the line, he heard the rustle of fabric against fabric--Charles standing he realized.

"You know, it really was," Charles said. "You should have seen his face. I think he was honestly shocked someone would think to fight back." He paused then, the silence between them growing heavy. "God, to think he might have done this with other..." Charles trailed off, as though unable to even contemplate such a thing.

Erik understood the sentiment. Every time a therapist told him to file a complaint against Shaw--every time he refused--he felt a stab of guilt knowing Shaw would probably do it to others; that Shaw had probably done it to countless others before him.

"Is there a board or organization you can file a complaint with?" Erik asked. This wasn't the time for him to get emotional; or for him to get bogged down in his own history. Charles needed him to be objective.

"Yes, yes, I suppose I should do that," Charles said against the sound of more rustling. Erik sat, very still, letting Charles get settled. "I know it's probably not healthy, but can we talk about something else? For the time being I'd rather like to forget the whole thing entirely."

Erik wasn't sure that was such a good idea, but he didn't think it his place to say as much. Instead he said, "Of course," because there was nothing he wouldn't do for Charles, and if he couldn't be there, at least he could be here.

He thought he heard Charles' smile, though he suspected it was only his imagination.

"Tell me what you did today," Charles prompted, sounding far less shaky--far happier--than he had when he'd first called. Erik flashed briefly to this morning; to waiting at the airport and then his session with Dr. Frost. It didn't seem the sort of thing he ought to tell Charles.

"I pined for you, actually," he said, which wasn't exactly a lie. Through the line, Charles laughed, low and musical and God, how Erik ached for him. The thought of anyone hurting Charles...

He cast that thought aside before it could grow wings.

"Funny, I pined for you, too," Charles answered, and then, to Erik's complete surprise, added, "What are you wearing?"

If Raven were to come home right now, she would find him on the couch, slack-jawed, looking positively gobsmacked. It took several minutes for Erik to respond, during which he worked on his best fish impression.

"You're kidding, right?" he asked when he was able, because after everything that had happened, Charles wanted to...

"Not in the least," Charles said, and then, because someone up there either really liked Erik or really hated him, added, "I have just taken off my jacket and am slowly working on the buttons of my shirt. In about two minutes I will be without pants, as well."

Erik shifted, feeling more than a little uncomfortable even as sparks of pleasure coiled in his gut, dick growing heavy as he thought of Charles striping for him.

"Charles," he said, a warning, because he wasn't entire certain they should be doing this; wasn't entirely certain Charles should be doing this.

For the longest second Charles didn't say anything, breath coming in ragged pants. Erik glance again to the door, wanting more than anything to be able to step through it; to get in a cab and arrive outside Charles' hotel door in the space of a breath. It seemed in that moment his life was a series of impossible wants; Erik forever doomed to fate's disdain. When Charles finally spoke, it was an arrow to his heart.

"Please," he choked, so low and desperate Erik's breath caught in his throat.

His earlier interest had vanished, but this wasn't about Erik anymore.

"Okay," he said, and then, "lay back on the bed."

Charles made a sound that was half sob, half laughter. He sounded utterly grateful. Erik's discomfort took shape; settled in the pit of his stomach until he thought he might be sick for it. Instead, he walked Charles through removing his clothes.

"Each button, Charles, slowly," he said.

Charles' breath sped up, the rustling of fabric almost drowned out by his exhales. "Okay," he breathed when he had finished, Erik letting a rush of air escape through his nose before he continued.

"Leave the shirt on, but unbuttoned, and unfasten your pants; just the button and zipper."

It was, perhaps, not what Charles wanted, but if Erik was in his position--and he had been, Shaw fond of calling Erik and asking him to do the most ridiculous things, all while narrating, much to Shaw's amusement--he would have wanted a cloak of security, however imagined.

"Okay," Charles said. He sounded so impossibly far away in that moment; so impossible small, too. Erik's heart clenched.

"Charles..." he tried again, but Charles breathed that same broken Please and who was he to resist?

"Reach inside and touch yourself, overtop of your boxers." He waited a beat. "Are you hard?" he asked.

Some distant part of him hoped Charles would say yes--and he didn't want to look at that part too hard--but most of him wanted Charles to say no. When Charles didn't say anything, Erik tipped his head back onto the sofa to stare unblinking at the ceiling. He didn't want to do this anymore. He wasn't sure he could.

So he stopped.

"I wish I was there, you know," he said instead. "I wish I'd come with you; that I was there right now, curled up beside you in bed, my hand in place of yours, touching you, watching the way your eyes glaze over. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but you're so beautiful like that."

It was impossible not to imagine, Charles stretched out in a hotel room bed, hair dishevelled, pants open, looking at Erik with those big, blue, trusting eyes. He always looked at Erik like he was the most important person in the room; the most important person on the planet. He had from the moment they met, there in Erik's classroom, Charles staring at him like he was heaven-sent. Was it any wonder Erik had fallen so hard, so fast?

"I wish I could feel the way your chest rises and falls, your breath catching every time I press a kiss to your shoulder, your collarbone, your neck. God, Charles I'm so bad at this, but I want..."

And how to explain everything he wanted. An eternity wouldn't come close to covering it.

"I want to bury my nose in the space behind your ear; I want to inhale your scent until it's forever imprinted in my mind. I want to feel the way you shudder beneath me whenever I trace your ribs with my fingertips.

"I want to write words on every inch of your skin. My name, I want to write my name in permanent marker, so that it never comes off. I want to paint you with my tongue and I want to slide inside you until we're sharing one breath, one heartbeat. God, Charles; why was this so hard?"

He hadn't registered saying the last part out loud, not until it was already past his lips, Erik colouring then, heat staining his cheeks, but he didn't take it back. He ran a hand through his hair, and was about to apologize, when Charles spoke.

"Yes," he said, oddly breathless.

"What?" Erik asked, not quite following.

Charles didn't hesitate in responding. "Yes, I'm hard," he said.

Erik's eyes grew wide. The image of Charles nestled between pillows on a king sized bed, cream coloured linen pristine beneath him shifted. He was no longer coy and smiling, watching Erik with a mischievous glint in his eye. Instead he was wanton, stretched out, hand inside his pants, jerking frantically while Erik confessed his undying love.

Erik might have been offended, where the idea not so entirely comical. He laughed, Charles groaning at the sound, like Erik's laughter was better than a thousand whispered promises.

"How close are you?" Erik asked, because if the sound of Charles' breathing was any indication, it was very.

Instead of answering, Charles asked, "Can I put my hand inside my boxers?"

It took Erik several seconds to work out why he hadn't already--You didn't tell him to, floated across his mind--but once he did he laughed a second time and said, "Of course." Charles whimpered.

"In answer," Charles said, breathless and broken, "to your earlier question," he groaned, "I'm very, very close."

Erik smiled, even as he leaned forward, no longer uncomfortable; no longer awkward. He was perfectly at ease when he said, "You know if I was there, I would have already taken you into my mouth."

There were a dozen other things he would have done by now, but that seemed to satisfy Charles, because he let out another broken moan, Erik falling from his lips like an entreaty to God. Erik chuckled, listening intently to Charles' orgasm.

He still had no interest in following Charles--though he suspected that would change if he tried to picture Charles now, something he rather wanted to avoid, so he kept his mind blank, waiting for Charles' breathing to settle, and then for Charles to gather his wits enough to say, "Well," like he'd just had a particularly profound epiphany.

"Well," Erik echoed.

Charles let out a little laugh. "That was rather screwed up."

Erik couldn't help but agree. "Join the club," he said, because it seemed rather fitting.

This time, when Charles laughed, it was a genuine, full-belly laugh that carried warmth with it through the line. Erik still wanted to get on a plane and fly to L.A.--and he still wanted to hunt down this Essex guy and kill him--but he no longer felt like he was falling apart; and he was no longer as worried about Charles.

"Did you even..." Charles started to ask, though he still sounded more amused than he did guilty.

"No, but the night's still young," Erik said, standing from the couch, stretching slightly before carrying Charles down the hall and into the bedroom. The night was nowhere near young, and Charles knew it, but Erik still added, "Tell me what you did today," and after a moment's hesitation, Charles did.

On to chapter 16

Date: 2012-01-22 10:17 pm (UTC)
verilyvexed: (Default)
From: [personal profile] verilyvexed
Okay, I'm just going to declare my undying love right now. That was amazing. All the Feelings. And Erik confessed! And I'm now picturing Benedict Cumberbatch as Essex, which amuses me greatly. The phone sex was wonderfully unique.

However, the 15/20 makes me sad because my fix, I need it. *sends a stampeding horde of plot bunnies your way* (My sadness is considerably lessened by the fact that woohoo, Erik is going to top, and all the Charlses did rejoice.)

Date: 2012-01-22 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wow! I was not expecting what happened in this chapter. There are so many different plot lines going on in this story that I was in no way expecting you to have *Charles* be harassed by someone, much like Erik had been by Shaw. It's a very interesting parallel.

And hey, I'm excited to see that you know how many chapters this story is going to be, now. Though it saddens me because I now know when they end is, it's exciting because every step closer is a step towards a hopefully happy ending. My end-goal for this fic is for Erik and Charles to have really good, hot, sexy, happy sex with Erik on top, not freaking out, and Charles loving every second of it. ^_^

Date: 2012-01-24 04:45 am (UTC)
verilyvexed: (Default)
From: [personal profile] verilyvexed
expecting phone sex, but I don't think anyone expected that.

Definitely! It seemed sort of a given, as they were going at it like bunnies before they left, but that was perfectly played.


Clearly I fail at fanfic writing.

Don't make me challenge you to a duel to defend your honour. (It would be terribly embarrassing for both of us when I lost. I'm more of a creeper than a fighter.)

Date: 2012-01-27 10:17 pm (UTC)
afrocurl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] afrocurl
The html for the poem link isn't working. Just an FYI.

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nekosmuse: (Default)
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