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Title: Love's Own Crown (2/?)
Series: The Sonnet Series (aka the sequel to An Ideal Grace)
Rating: NC-17 (see told you)
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.
Notes: Macro borrowed from If this is yours and you want credit or don't want me using it, please let me know.

Back to chapter 1

what he took
you give

what once



never before
was pleasure


love mixed with

rolled together.

in you,
in you
there is

so much more.

Getting, by Erik Lehnsherr, October 2011


They didn't run to Erik's bedroom--not like the few times they'd fumbled up the stairs to Charles' apartment, hands already buried inside coats, desperate to get inside and undressed. Erik pulled Charles along by his good hand, but his pace was neither hurried nor leisurely. He was a man intent on reaching a destination, but content to get there in his own time.

It gave Charles a chance to snoop a bit more, taking in the barren hall; a dark tunnel that led to nowhere, a handful of doors occupying only the one side. They passed a closed door, which Erik identified as the main bathroom--where Raven was undoubtedly getting ready for her date with Azazel. They passed another door, this one wide open, Charles startled to find a bedroom decorated entirely in lace and pastels. It looked like the room of a child on the cusp of becoming a preteen, the furniture entirely too delicate to belong inside this house, the bed littered with stuffed animals.

Charles was about to ask--because he was fairly certain Erik didn't have a child--when Erik said, "Raven's room," and tugged Charles further down the hall.

The door at the end of the hall was propped open, too--and Charles had never known anyone to keep a bedroom door open. Certainly growing up he had never left his bedroom door open--his mother would have considered such a thing incredibly uncouth. A new surge of affection blossomed in his chest as he appreciated both the open trust and the unpretentiousness apparent in Erik and Raven's home.

"And this is my room," Erik said, pausing outside the door. He gestured Charles inside.

Erik's room was exactly how Charles pictured it--save for the magenta sheets, which were as startling as they were unexpected. The room was sparsely furnished, with no personal effects, the furniture utilitarian; practical in a way Charles now associated with Erik. This room was bigger than Raven's, and had an ensuite bathroom that would be hard pressed to hold more than one person. Its walls were tiled floor to ceiling, its floor a mosaic of blue and green pieces.

Erik, who was still standing in the door, cleared his throat, and Charles realized he was waiting for something--Charles' assessment, maybe. Charles finished scanning the small pile of books on the nightstand and turned to face Erik.

"Bed looks cozy," Charles said, letting his smile shift into a smirk. It served to displace Erik's tension--and Charles still couldn't place its origin--Erik laughing as he came into the room.

"Raven's still here," he said, like that was a sticking point, and Charles nodded--because if he was honest with himself, it would be a little awkward with Raven only a few doors away.

He perched himself on the edge of Erik's bed anyway, brain stuttering as it registered that he was in Erik's bed--and if the look on Erik's face was any indication, he was just as dazed to find Charles there. Grinning, Charles crossed his legs, as though doing so might prevent him from dragging Erik down beside him--and he wanted to, oh how he wanted to. Erik's expression, which was already lost, went entirely slack, his eyes hazing over with lust, as though the sight of Charles crossing his legs was too much for him to handle.

Charles smirked, and then made a show of glancing around the room.

"You're a bit of a minimalist, I'm guessing," he said. It was almost comical, watching Erik process the statement. He literally shook himself out of his stupor.

"Habit, I guess," he said then, and there was likely an entire story there, but Erik didn't seem willing to share, so Charles didn't press.

Instead he leaned back onto his hands, so that he was half lounging across Erik's mattress. Erik's mouth fell open.

When he'd fantasized about this--dating Erik that was, not lounging on Erik's bed, which he'd also fantasized about; quite a bit in fact--conversation flowed readily between them. It was a surprise to find that it didn't, that Erik was so thoroughly distracting that Charles found himself incapable of thought, let alone speech. It was obvious--especially given the way Erik was looking at him--that Erik felt the same. Still, Charles had put entirely too much effort into getting to this point, and he wasn't about to let their mutual lust get in the way of initiating an actual relationship.

It still took a decided amount of effort to form his next sentence.

"So you read, you write poetry, and you run," Charles said, and that was as far as he got before he remembered back to that morning in Central Park, Erik's abs--which he'd now licked so many times he'd memorized every line--coming to the forefront of his thoughts.

It took all of Charles' willpower not to let the thought derail his plans.

"You play chess," he managed, knowing he sounded rather breathless, "which, by the way, we should play sometime. And you cook. Is there anything else I should know about, or should I content myself with you being perfect?"

And there, he'd done it. He'd initiated a conversation and they were still wearing their clothes. Charles smiled, a little smugly as he congratulated himself.

His smile lasted just until Erik stepped further into the room, coming to stand at the foot of the bed, so that Charles had to tip his head back to maintain eye contact. He glanced to the empty mattress at Charles' side, and then flushed.

"I'm hardly perfect," he said, hesitating briefly before he sat at Charles' side, close enough that their shoulders brushed.

Charles shivered. How long had Raven said? Ten minutes? Surely ten minutes had passed by now. He almost missed it when Erik started speaking again.

"I like films; foreign ones, with subtitles and actors that aren't recognizable," he said, just under his breath, as though he was half afraid Charles might laugh at him for it.

Instead, Charles offered him a broad smile. "I'm surprised you need the subtitles," he said, and when Erik frowned, added, "your books." He nodded in the direction of the study. "How many languages do you speak, anyway?"

"Not that many. Four fluently, another two well enough to get by," Erik answered, and there was absolutely nothing boasting in the comment. He was stating fact, maybe even a little embarrassed by it.

Charles found himself wondering if he could convince Erik to speak some of those languages in bed.

"Don't tell me a second language wasn't part of your boarding school education," Erik said then, and Charles realized--at almost the same time that it occurred to him that Erik had remembered Charles had gone to boarding school, when the topic had only come up once or twice during their, for lack of a better word, courtship--that Erik was teasing him.

"We did," Charles said. "Mostly Latin, though we did study a bit of French."

Erik's eyes had gone wide upon hearing the word Latin, and Charles was half expecting him to request Charles speak it--which might not work these days, most of what Charles remembered limited to scientific applications--except it was at that moment that Raven's voice echoed from down the hall.

"You can tear each other's clothes off now," she called, and then added, "I'll be home in a few."

Charles had enough time to take two shaky breaths before he heard the front door close and lock, and then Erik was turning towards him, bottom lip caught between his teeth.

Had they not already had sex thirteen times in the last five days, Charles might have whimpered.

"So, you're in my bed," Erik said, like it was something he'd thought about often--something he'd wanted for longer than he cared to admit. Charles beamed at him.

"I am. And what exactly do you plan on doing with me?" he asked, and he rather hoped the answer including fucking him into the mattress, because Erik's mattress felt nice and firm and Charles suspected it could take a good pounding.

Erik's shy smile told him that that scenario was probably out of the question.

Not that Charles minded, because sex with Erik was still sex with Erik, and no matter what it took he was willing to do it if it meant actually keeping Erik.

He didn't hesitate in reaching over, grabbing Erik by his shoulders and pulling him forward.

Erik came willingly; he always came willingly, approaching sex with Charles with complete enthusiasm, though aside from that first time, Charles tended to make the first overture--the exception being this morning in Erik's office, when Erik had reached for him before they were even in the door, laughing even as he apologized for his lips being chapped.

Erik initiated the kiss, though--and he still kissed Charles like he had that first time, drowning in Charles like he couldn't get enough. Charles had lost track of how many times they'd kissed--he'd kept count until the twenty-fifth, and then Erik had kissed him several times in succession and Charles couldn't remember if they were up to twenty-nine or thirty, so he'd simply given up trying to keep track. Still, no matter how many times Erik kissed him, Charles' toes still curled, heat pooling in his belly even as he grew dizzy from lack of oxygen.

"God, I've been thinking about this all day," Erik said as he pulled back. He said stuff like that a lot, like his every waking thought was of Charles--and Charles thrilled to hear it, because God knew he spent the better part of his day thinking about Erik. It was nice to have someone as obsessed with him as he was with them.

That sort of thing just didn't happen to Charles.

He wondered how long it would last. How many weeks or months could he get away with capturing Erik's complete attention before Erik realized Charles wasn't that great of a catch after all? He hoped by that point they'd be so entrenched in one another's lives that breaking up would be more trouble than it was worth.

"Do you want...?" Charles started, but he had to abort when Erik--who was mouthing a line down Charles' neck--reached a particularly ticklish spot near his collarbone.

Erik pulled back to look him in the eye. His pupils were blown wide. Charles couldn't seem to find the words he was looking for, so he simply jerked his head towards the top half of the mattress. Erik grinned.

He stood then, the tent in his trousers becoming readily apparent. Charles stared at it for several seconds. By the time he came back to himself, Erik was already out of his shirt and reaching for his belt.

This was another thing Erik did. Unlike that first night, where he had slowly--oh so slowly--removed Charles' clothes and then his own, Erik flew out of his clothes like they had personally offended him. He still liked to undress Charles--liked to shimmy Charles' pants over his hips, kissing each inch of skin as it was revealed--but he never let Charles return the favour. The one time Charles had suggested it, Erik's expression had grown dark--and this Charles suspected had something to do with Sebastian Shaw, but while he knew Shaw was Erik's ex, Erik refused--outright refused--to speak of him, so he couldn't say for certain.

Still, he hadn't asked again, and he very purposely did not undress now, instead shifting up until he was leaned against Erik's headboard--pausing only to toe off his shoes first, wondering then if he should have thought to take them off when he came in the house. The worry lasted only a moment, until the scent of Erik on the sheets distracted him. God, how could any man possibly smell so good?

When Erik--who smelled better in person than he did on the sheets--climbed into bed, he was wearing only a pair of boxer briefs, the outline of his erection straining against the cotton. Charles, who had been hard since he sat on the edge of Erik's bed, was undoubtedly making a mess of the inside of his briefs. He shifted, the seam of his jeans rubbing pleasantly against him. Erik, who was watching him intently, smirked.

"A little constraining," he said, reaching for Charles, but instead of unfastening Charles' jeans, he simply traced Charles' length, Charles shivering even as he bucked.

"Do not tease," Charles warned, and it occurred to him then that he really, really shouldn't be this trigger happy anymore. There was something about Erik, though, that turned him into a perpetually horny sixteen year old boy.

Erik, who was starting to learn Charles' moods, quirked a smile, and then did it again, applying pressure with his thumb against the head of Charles' cock, Charles' jeans an impenetrable barrier between them.

"I'll take them off," Charles warned.

Erik laughed--he did that a lot in bed, too, ever since that first morning, when they'd dissolved into hysterics. He seemed surprised by the sound, but delighted too, like he'd never before had occasion to find sex fun and found now that he rather liked it.

"Pushy," he said, and reached for Charles' button.

It was a physical relief to have his jeans unfastened--even more of a relief when Erik began tugging them over Charles' hips, still taking his time, but at least now Charles had room to breathe. As Charles had predicted, a dark wet stain marred the front of his briefs. Erik eyed it appreciatively, and then licked his lips. The sight was enough to startle a moan.

How many times in the past month had he pictured this; exactly this, lying stretched across Erik's mattress while Erik stripped him. The fantasy continued from there, Erik prepping him, fingers twisting inside until Charles was thrashing and moaning, Erik's sheets twisted in his fists. He'd enter him slowly after that, pressing inside until Charles arched off the bed, Erik brushing against his prostate, his strokes slow and leisurely until he couldn't take it anymore, becoming fast and erratic then, until the entire bed shook with the force of his thrusts.

God, Charles wouldn't be able to sit for days after. Erik wasn't exactly small.

Of course, that fantasy had yet to happen. Erik finished with Charles pants and socks before reaching for the hem of Charles' t-shirt. He pulled it up, pausing when he caught sight of the faded remnants of his poem.

"I'll have to write you a new one," he said then, tracing the letters with his fingertips. Charles shivered and thought, yes, yes, yes.

He said, "You can write as many as you like, wherever you like," because he would gladly convert his entire body into a canvas if it meant having Erik's words written across his skin.

Erik chuckled and brought a hand back to the front of Charles' briefs, pressing two fingers into the dampness he found there.

"Even here?" he said, and Charles couldn't help it--he pictured Erik between his legs, attention riveted on Charles' cock as he wrote along its length.

"God, you're going to kill me," Charles said.

As if to punish Erik for the image, Charles took over removing his shirt--he was getting incredibly good at doing things one handed. He tossed it over Erik's head, the shirt landing somewhere beyond the foot of the bed. "Better," Charles said, and then, in a move he was more than a little proud of, he knocked Erik's arm out from under him, pulled and twisted until Erik was stretched out on top, pinning Charles into the mattress.

Erik looked more than a little startled.

Charles didn't give him a chance to protest--or even change positions--bringing his hand to Erik's spine, creeping fingertips down the line of his back until he had a hold of Erik's ass--and Erik had a phenomenal ass. He pulled, wiggling his hips so that their cocks ground against one another.

Erik moaned. Charles whimpered.

"Is there anything you want?" Charles asked once stars stopped dancing behind his eyelids. He was hoping this would be the point where Erik asked to fuck him--because Erik was made for fucking, of this Charles was certain.

Except, that didn't happen. Instead Erik tensed--though only briefly--before shifting so that his mouth was right against Charles' ear, hot breath making the small hairs on the back of Charles' neck stand on end.

The first few times they'd done this, Erik had outright refused to ask Charles' questions, saying things like, whatever you like, or whatever you're comfortable with, like he was half afraid anything he suggested would be shot down; like he was worried about offending Charles.

That had ended the sixth time they had sex, when Erik, seeming unaccountably nervous, had asked if Charles would mind if he played with Charles' foreskin. He'd confessed then that he'd never slept with anyone uncut before--and while Erik hadn't said, Charles got the impression that Erik hadn't slept with many people. Naturally Charles had agreed, and had then spent the next half an hour writhing in ecstasy as Erik fingered, played with, licked and sucked on Charles' foreskin.

"Anything," Charles said now, because Erik was still poised on the brink of telling him what he wanted. As if to accentuate the point, he rolled his hips, new stars bursting across his vision.

It seemed to do the trick, because Erik groaned, and then a breathless rush, said, "Your fingers, inside me."

Which was pretty much the last thing Charles was expecting, but also probably the hottest thing anyone had ever said to him, so he moaned and nodded, and then, because Erik's face was pressed into the crevice between his shoulder and his neck, said, "I can do that. Yes."

Erik shuddered against him, his hips working in frantic circles now, so Charles let the hand curled around Erik's ass cheek shift inward, until his fingers could trace the line of Erik's crack, pressing slightly in until the fabric of Erik's underwear became trapped in the crevice.

"We're going to need to change positions," Charles said then, because as lovely as it would be to finger-fuck Erik like this, he wanted to see what he was doing--maybe get a chance to involve his tongue, because he had a sneaking suspicion no one had ever rimmed Erik.

Erik, who still had his face buried in Charles' neck, and who was all but rutting into Charles, immediately stilled. After the briefest moment of hesitation he pulled back, looking a little dazed and more than a little awed when he met Charles' gaze. Charles gave his ass a squeeze and a pat, and then nudged him over. Erik immediately took the hint, rolling off Charles until he was sprawled on top of his sheets, looking as debauched as Charles had ever seen him. He was flushed scarlet, though from arousal or embarrassment, Charles couldn't say.

Either way, it was a stunning sight. Charles took a minute to memorize it.

"Lube?" he asked, not wanting to snoop through Erik's drawers--at least, not yet.

Erik looked momentarily started, and then confused, his brow furrowing even as his mouth pressed into a thin line. Charles felt his eyes grow wide without his permission, anger coiling in his chest as he fought against the urge to say, Who the fuck did this to you without lube? Charles might have been a pacifist, but he would gladly track down the bastard and kick him in the balls.

Erik, who now looked chagrined--and why he thought it his fault was another reason Charles wanted to track this guy down--shook his head. "I don't have any. I didn't think..." he said, clearly embarrassed, but Charles wasn't about to let anything spoil the mood, so he smiled in mock exasperation.

"Lucky for you I came prepared," Charles said, pressing a brief kiss to the side of Erik's mouth before he slid off the bed.

He found his jeans pooled on the floor, where Erik had deposited them not ten minutes before. Inside his left front pocket were a condom--they probably wouldn't use--and a small packet of lubricant--not the best stuff in the world, but it would do in a pinch.

Before Erik--and Charles was quickly starting to define his life in terms of Before Erik and After Erik--Charles had liked to brag that his sexual prowess was such that he could give his partner the best orgasm of their life with one hand tied behind his back. And okay, it wasn't so much that Charles bragged, as he occasionally thought it, and then promptly flushed with shame and embarrassment because there were times--a lot of them--when even he couldn't tolerate his arrogance.

Still, he was so far doing a pretty good job, if he did say so, of keeping Erik satisfied, and at present he only had one working hand. He had a feeling this was going to prove a little more difficult, but Charles had never been one to shy away from a challenge, so he tossed the condom and lube onto the bed and crawled up until he was kneeling between Erik's legs--he'd had to spread them open himself, Erik lying tense and nervous, like he was half expecting Charles to change his mind.

Charles made eye contact, making a show of licking his lips, the corner of his mouth tugging up into a smile, and Erik instantly relaxed, legs splaying a little wider. Sometime while Charles was retrieving the supplies--and he'd only been gone a few seconds--Erik had lost his underwear. Charles paused long enough to do the same, new arousal sparking through him at the thought of leaving precome on Erik's sheets.

And God, here he was fantasizing about rutting against Erik's sheets; if he kept this up Erik was going to kick him out before they even got to the sex.

Charles shook the thought away and then settled between Erik's legs, hooking his good hand under one of Erik's knees and drawing it up. Erik took the hint, bringing it to his chest, his other leg splaying wider. His flush grew more pronounced, but Charles was fairly certain Erik was enjoying being on display. There was something in his breathing, some subtle shift that suggested his arousal had amplified.

Apparently Charles wasn't the only one hiding a few kinks.

Charles grinned, and then took his time looking--and God, Erik looked so tight; so tight that for perhaps the first time in Charles' life he was struck with the almost uncontrollable urge to top. That never happened--perhaps that condom would come in handy.

But first Erik had made a request, and Charles was nothing if not a gracious lover, so he reached forward and brushed a finger against Erik's hole, watching it contract. Above him, Erik shuddered. He made absolutely no sound, but when Charles hazarded a glance up, he found Erik biting his lip; his eyes squeezed shut and his hands grasping the pillow above his head.

The sight was almost enough to send Charles over the edge. Instead he turned his attention back to Erik.

"Can I use my mouth?" he asked, the clean scent of Erik--he'd obviously showered just before Charles had come over--so intoxicating that he wanted nothing more than snake his tongue inside, lick at Erik until Erik was squirming and begging.

And apparently Charles was discovering some previously uncharted desires tonight.

Erik hadn't answered, so Charles placed a thumb against Erik's hole and began making steady circles without ever breaching Erik. He glanced up only after he'd established a rhythm and found Erik staring at him, looking mildly alarmed and very, very turned on.

"Is that a yes?" Charles asked, hopeful.

Erik seemed incapable of speech.

"You don't have to decide now. We could try it, and if you don't like it, you can tell me to stop," Charles tried, because the one thing he'd discovered with Erik was that Erik was more likely to say no when asked purely out of awkward embarrassment. If Charles simply initiated something, and then asked if Erik was enjoying it, Erik responded with enthusiasm.

Erik still hadn't answered, but he inclined his head, releasing a breath as he did, head falling back against the pillow and eyes falling shut. Charles took that as permission.

He began by nuzzling the inside of Erik's thigh--which caused Erik to jump, Erik a ball of tension now, practically vibrating against the mattress. Charles chuckled and did it again, this time getting a moan for his troubles. Things were starting to look promising, so Charles traced a line up Erik's thigh with his nose, pausing occasionally to kiss the soft white of Erik's skin. All the while Erik trembled beneath him.

When he got to Erik's balls, Charles kissed them too--and they'd done this before, Erik apparently rather fond of having his testicles played with. Charles lingered only long enough to nuzzle and kiss his way past them, letting his tongue slip out when he reached Erik's perineum. Erik jumped again, his legs instinctively coming together, but Charles was ready for that, giving them a nudge so that as soon as Erik relaxed, they once again splayed wide.

When his tongue reached Erik's anus, however, Erik bucked and cursed, saying something in German that Charles wouldn't have been able to translate even if he'd tried--and now he wished he'd taken the time to learn German, because he would have given anything--anything--to know what Erik had said.

"Fuck, Charles," Erik said when Charles pressed his tongue inside, sounding utterly wrecked, and that much at least Charles understood.

He shifted so that he could lean into Erik's leg, keeping him tethered to the mattress. Erik, who was simultaneously trying to get away from Charles' tongue and screw himself further down onto it, swore again, this time in English, Oh, fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, falling from his lips in rapid succession. Had Charles' mouth not been otherwise occupied, he might have smiled.

Which was probably why it was a surprise when Erik's next words were, "Please, stop. Stop." He sounded completely desperate, and more than a little afraid, like he half expected Charles to continue despite his protests.

Charles pulled back immediately, swallowing against the taste of Erik. "Too much?" he ventured, because it seemed likely. Erik nodded. Somewhere along the way he'd started panting. Charles paused briefly before asking, "You still want my fingers?" because he wasn't sure if Erik wanted to abort entirely--and that would be new--or if he only needed a minute.

Judging from his cock, which was hard against his stomach, the tip stained purple, his balls drawn tight, Charles suspected it was the latter.

"Okay. Okay," Erik said a few seconds later. He brought his knee back up as he spoke--it had fallen to the mattress when Charles pulled away. He was still breathing hard, but it was less panicked, more aroused.

Charles reached for the package of lube.

He applied a liberal coating to his index and middle finger, and then reached for Erik's wet and shiny hole, making a few circles with the pad of his index finger before he pressed it inside. Just the tip, holding it steady until Erik groaned, ass clenching around Charles' finger, entire body shuddering.

"More," Erik said after a moment, and just like that Charles was finger fucking Erik.

He took his time, slowly moving in and out with first one finger, then two. He paused every so often to apply more lube, wanting to stretch Erik without hurting him. Erik seemed completely lost to the sensation--he wasn't holding back his moans now, writhing on the sheets as he groaned and whimpered, a litany of words falling from his lips, only half of which Charles recognized--that one of those words was Charles' name was easily the hottest thing Charles had ever heard.

Charles' own arousal, which had abated during Erik's minor freak out, came back with renewed vengeance, and Charles thrust into Erik's mattress, hating that he didn't have the patience to focus entirely on Erik. He couldn't help it though, the sight of Erik--legs splayed wide, three of Charles' fingers now moving steadily in and out of Erik's ass--was so arousing it was a wonder Charles hadn't come yet.

And then Charles felt a hand settle in his hair--and this was one of the best parts about having sex with Erik, the reverent way in which Erik touched him, like he was half afraid Charles might shatter. Charles leaned into the sensation, feeling decidedly like a cat as he pressed into Erik's palm.

Something crinkled when he did so. It took Charles several seconds to process that Erik was holding a condom; that Erik wanted him to... Oh. Oh.

And yeah, Charles could do that. Charles rather wanted to do that--maybe even really wanted to do that.

He still glanced up to make eye contact, finding Erik watching him intently, eyes wide, like he was having a hard time computing the sight of Charles between his legs. He smiled as soon as Charles met his eye, though there was something decidedly nervous in the edges of it. Charles swallowed, hooked his fingers against Erik's prostate, and then slowly withdrew his hand.

Erik groaned against the loss, eyes falling shut, the hand in Charles' hair--cradling the back of his skull now--falling away. Charles licked at his lips, and then plucked the condom from Erik's hand, using his teeth to tear into the foil.

And God, this was probably going to be really bad. There was a reason Charles didn't do this. He was too much of a selfish bastard to take the time to make this good. His own need always overwhelmed him and then he was thrusting too fast, too erratic, chasing his own completion without concern for his partner's. He didn't want to do that with Erik. He wanted to make this good for Erik.

Calmly, Charles. Take your time and go slow, he told himself, fumbling awkwardly with the condom until Erik--who had propped himself up on his elbows--took it from him and rolled it down Charles' length.

"Okay?" he asked, and Charles felt a little like laughing hysterically. Instead he nodded.

"You?" The smile Erik offered him was as nervous as it was excited. For reasons Charles couldn't explain, he instantly relaxed upon seeing it.

Though not enough to keep himself from shaking, tension running through Charles as he maneuvered himself between Erik's legs. He exhaled, somewhat shakily, and then wrapped a hand around his cock and positioned it against Erik's hole.

Erik shifted against him, drawing his legs further up to give Charles better access. Charles rubbed the tip of his cock against Erik's hole, pushing in just the tip and then pulling it out, doing it again when Erik bucked against him. After the third time, he glanced up to make eye contact. Erik nodded.

Charles pushed in.

Not far, but enough that he felt immediately surrounded by Erik's heat. He'd forgotten this; forgotten how incredibly tight the human body could be. It took all of his willpower not to simply thrust in as far as he could get; to jack rabbit his hips until he was coming and coming, falling apart inside the tight, tight heat of Erik's body.

A quick glance at Erik's face showed him biting his lip, eyes fixed on the ceiling, brow furrowed as he adjusted to Charles' width--and Charles knew he was at best average sized. He relaxed in increments, though the occasional spasm ran through him, Erik clenching around Charles' cock, making Charles want to move that much more. Charles caught his own lip between his teeth, hoping the pain might distract him.

Steady, he told himself, and waited for Erik's nod to slip a little further inside.

It took the better part of minutes--though it certainly felt like hours--until he was fully seated in Erik, Erik's body clenching around him, muscles fluttering until Charles was certain he would come from the sensation alone, without ever having to move. Erik was incredibly tight, and it occurred to him then, Erik's hands coming up to scramble for purchase against Charles' shoulders, that he probably should have prepped Erik longer. Charles was half afraid he was tearing Erik apart. The sensation of it was overwhelming.

"Are you okay?" Charles managed to ask.

In response, Erik pulled Charles towards him, tangling their tongues in a messy kiss that drove Charles further into Erik's body, even as his leg came up to loop around the back of Charles' thighs. It pretty much killed the last of Charles' self-control, his hips taking on a mind of their own, stuttering and circling until he was grinding inside Erik, a messy rhythmless fucking that would probably embarrass Charles later--right now all he could think was good and brilliant and Erik.

It wasn't long before was coming, way too soon and before Erik had, which until now hadn't happened; something Charles considered a matter of pride. He had half a second to feel guilty for it before he was lost to the white hot heat of it. He broke the kiss to moan, and then tucked his head into Erik's neck, panting against Erik's skin in an exact reversal of how they'd started tonight. It was a long while--or what felt like a long while--before Charles had the presence of mind to reach between them, to wrap his hand around Erik's cock and stroke until Erik shuddered and came--and at least that didn't take long, Erik obviously right on the edge--Erik clenching around Charles' over-sensitive cock.

The sensation was agony, but Charles waited until Erik collapsed back into the mattress, body going lax post-orgasm, before he slowly pulled out. He rolled onto his back then, and blinked up at the ceiling for several seconds before disposing of the condom became a necessity.

And possibly this was also why Charles tended not to top, because he was an incredibly lazy bastard when it came down to it, and climbing from the bed, hunting down a waste bin--he found one in the bathroom--took far more effort than he wanted to expend at the moment. His legs were shaking as he returned to the bed, where he found Erik, lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, and looking more than a little dazed.

Charles smiled, and was about to make some comment, when he caught sight of Erik's eyes, wet and shiny with unshed tears. Charles' stomach immediately dropped.

"Oh, God, did I hurt you?" he asked, because the second he realized he should have prepped Erik more he should have stopped--should have pulled out and started from scratch and this is why he didn't do this.

Erik, who came back to himself then, glanced over to where Charles was standing and shook his head. He turned onto his side, wiping at his eyes with the back of his thumb.

"No, I'm good. Really good," he said, smiling then, a delighted grin that took over his entire face. When Charles made no move to climb back into the bed, he patted the space beside him, a contented laugh spilling past his lips. "Thank you," he said.

And Charles didn't know what to make of that, so he gingerly climbed into the space at Erik's side, letting Erik pull him until they were pressed together, Erik immediately nuzzling against him, and despite the threatened tears--which Charles couldn't for the life of him comprehend--Erik appeared more content than Charles had ever seen him. Charles half expected him to start purring.

He didn't, but he did sigh happily, burrowing his face into Charles' neck, as though he planned on spending the entire night that way. Charles was happy to let him. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the steady in and out of Erik's breathing. It was a long time before sleep found him.


Raven Interlude

Raven was smiling as she let herself into the apartment. Coffee had led to dessert, which had led to a ramble through Union Square, which had led to Azazel tentatively taking her hand. Raven couldn't remember the last time she'd let anyone hold her hand.

It amazed her, really, how patient he seemed. She knew of few men who would be content with the contact she allowed, but Azazel had never once questioned it; had never once expected more than she was willing to give. She'd told Erik they were only hanging out, that they were friends, but even she was starting to see that that was no longer really the case.

The realization should have sent her into a panic attack; should have found her buried beneath her covers, arms covered with fresh marks--that was what had happened the last time she'd thought herself ready to date. Perhaps her shrink was right; perhaps she was steadily moving forward.

Or perhaps it was just Azazel.

She'd expected to have to tiptoe into the apartment--it was well after midnight--in order to avoid waking Erik and Charles, but to her surprise she found Erik in the kitchen, glass of water in his hand. It was clear he was waiting up for her.

"Is Charles still here?" she asked, whispering in case he was. Erik nodded.

"Sound asleep. And no, I'm not waiting up for you. I only woke up a few minutes ago." He shrugged then, sipping from his glass. Raven didn't entirely believe him--he may have woken thinking he wanted a drink, but she had no doubt his subconscious was fretting over her absence.

This was evident in the fact that the t-shirt Erik was wearing wasn't his own.

But it wasn't until she got into the kitchen, the light above the stove the only light in the entire apartment that she noticed how content he looked. Not that he hadn't been ridiculously happy these last few days--happier than she'd seen him in a while, if ever--but this was different. There was something decidedly peaceful about Erik, like he'd found something he'd spent a lifetime searching for.

Raven was starting to understand what that was.

"Look at you," Raven said, smiling as she took in the soft smile tugging at Erik's lip.

"Look at you," Erik countered, and it was only then that Raven realized she, too, must have looked happy.

In response, Raven grinned at him, Erik returning it, not even protesting when she shooed him back to his bedroom. The apartment was drafty, she knew, and Charles would undoubtedly be cold.

On to chapter 3

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July 2013

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