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[personal profile] nekosmuse
Title: Love's Own Crown (16/20)
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.

Back to chapter 15




wait

wait

rush
forward momentum

moving towards
moving with

syncopated

synchronized

together

words lost
voices carry

emotions spill


Anticipation, by Erik Lehnsherr, November, 2011

~*~



"This really isn't necessary, you know," Erik said, but Raven was wearing her resolve face, so he knew there was no arguing with her. He pulled his jacket--the leather one from his riding days--a little tighter and glanced down the street: still no sign of Azazel.

The wind had picked up, the day just the other side of brisk, so he wasn't particularly looking forward to riding on the back of a motorcycle, but Raven had insisted, and after Saturday morning, he rather owed her one. At least it wasn't raining.

"You're going to have to take a cab back. There's no sense paying the fare twice," Raven was saying. Azazel, apparently, had business in Queens today--and Erik hadn't asked what kind of business he had in Queens on a Sunday afternoon. "And, it'll give you two a chance to bond."

Erik carefully refrained from commenting on the difficulty of bonding while riding 60mph on the back of a motorcycle, the roar of the engine overwhelming anything his helmet failed to block. Raven had given him hers--electric blue and Erik was just grateful it wasn't hot pink or vibrant purple--but Erik was waiting until the last minute to put it on, the weight of it heavy in his hand.

"Besides, I suspect you'd probably fall asleep in the back of a cab right about now," she said, clearly not done stressing her point.

"I slept," Erik said, though they both knew that wasn't entirely true. What little sleep he'd gotten was mired in nightmares, Erik having spent the latter half of the night tossing and turning until he'd finally given up.

"Please, you were on the phone with Charles until four, and then you were out running by seven." Erik wasn't the only one who hadn't sleep, apparently.

"I agreed, didn't I?" Erik said. He'd done so hours ago, even before she'd called Azazel to make arrangements. Raven nodded, looking pleased, though entirely too cold. She was standing with her hands wrapped around her waist, sleeves drawn over her hands. He'd told her to wear a coat, but she hadn't listened. He unwound his scarf and handed it over. "Here," he said. She cocked an eyebrow. "It'll just get in the way on the bike. Take it upstairs for me."

The look she shot him suggested she knew exactly what he was doing and didn't approve, but she still wrapped the scarf around her neck. Erik wished he'd thought to wear a hat. The tips of her ears, visible where she'd tucked her hair behind them, were stained red with cold. Erik wanted to hustle her back inside, but knew she wouldn't leave until she'd seen him off. He settled on bringing a gloved hand to her cheek, brushing aside a stray lock, tucking it neatly back into place. She smiled. Her hair had faded somewhat since she'd first had it done; instead of a vibrant magenta, it was now a brassy copper. It startled him somewhat, staring at her now. She had grown up so much in the time he had known her.

He let his hand fall back to his side, feeling something spike in his chest that he thought might be pride. It might have been heartbreak, too.

The roar of Azazel's bike was a welcome distraction. Erik glanced over his shoulder, watching Azazel round the corner. He pulled the bike to a stop directly before them. Erik narrowed his gaze, eyeing the bike with suspicion. It looked smaller than he remembered. He'd never ridden double before, and had no idea how to feel about it--awkward came to mind.

Azazel cut the engine and pulled off his helmet. He set it on the gas tank and dismounted, giving Erik a brief nod before moving to stand at Raven's side. She beamed at him.

He'd known they were getting serious--hell, it was painfully obvious Raven was in love, and if the look Azazel was giving her was any indication, he felt the same--but he hadn't realized how much standing next to them would make him feel out of place, like he was intruding on something very private. Azazel didn't touch her, but he stood very close, and she didn't shy away, tilting her head like she might welcome a kiss. It was somewhat awkward witnessing the girl he'd grown up with transformed into the woman Raven now was. How he had missed it until now, Erik didn't know.

He turned his back towards them, allowing Raven her privacy, staring instead down their narrow street, lined on either side with towering apartments, old mixed with new. He didn't look away until Raven tugged on his sleeve.

"I'll see you when you get back," she said, shaking her head, like she still thought his meeting Charles at the airport was ridiculous, even though he'd asked Charles if it was okay, and Charles had readily agreed. "Drive safe," she said to Azazel, and then she was gone, back into their building, the doorman waving her inside. Erik turned back to the bike.

"You ride before?" Azazel asked, already climbing onto the bike.

"Yeah," Erik said, slipping on his helmet; drawing the strap tight against his chin.

He hesitated only briefly before claiming the second seat. As soon as he was in place, Azazel twisted to catch his eye.

"One tap to slow, two taps to stop." He gestured with his chin to the back rail, Erik grateful for it. He didn't particularly want to spend the entire ride clinging to Azazel's waist.

He was still entirely too tense, he knew, so he released a few breaths, trying to let his body go limp--it wouldn't do Azazel any good to have a rigid rider at his back. Azazel waited patiently, until Erik got himself sorted; only then did he flare the engine, rocking the bike back and forth a few times until Erik got the feel of it--and Erik hadn't ridden anything quite this powerful in his day. There was an obvious shift in his posture once he decided they were ready to go, Azazel pulling out onto the street and pointing them towards the Midtown Tunnel. Erik was grateful for the route; it was cold enough on the back of the bike without the wind coming across a bridge.

It took Erik several blocks before he remembered not to lean with the turns. Azazel took it slow until Erik got it, then he picked up speed, weaving in and out of traffic--sparse though it was on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The traffic picked up when they hit the tunnel, but once they were through it petered out again. It still took them a good forty minutes to make it to JFK, though Erik was surprised to find the ride was not unpleasant.

He wondered if Charles liked motorcycles.

He could easily picture it, weekends outside the city, touring down winding country roads, Charles' arms wrapped around his waist, the sound of his laughter tickling at his ears--and in Erik's mind the bike was silent enough to hear. They'd stop at out of the way diners that sold too weak coffee and fantastic pies. He'd always wanted to do that, whenever he thought about coming to America. He and Raven used to talk about it, in hushed tones, hidden inside Erik's closet, flashlight flickering between them as they named all the things they would do once they were old enough to escape the bonds of childhood. Go to America was always Raven's suggestion. She wanted to see the lights of Broadway; to see her name written amongst the stars. I'll take you someday, he'd said, and he had.

Azazel slowed when they reached the airport, jockeying with yellow taxis for a position in the passenger pick-up section of Arrivals. He squeezed the bike between a cab and a town car, and then cut the engine, setting his feet on the ground to settle the bike. Erik pulled off his helmet and then used his teeth to remove his gloves, placing them in his upturned bowl, tucking everything under his arm as he dismounted.

His legs were a little shaky after riding so long, but a few quick stamps got the blood flowing again. He reached into a pocket, jeans creased from sitting so long, and pulled out a crumpled twenty. He tried to hand it to Azazel.

"For gas, and tolls and whatnot," Erik said, but Azazel shook him off, so Erik pocketed the money, vowing to invite Raven and Azazel--and Charles, always Charles--to dinner so that he could pick up the tab. Raven would like that. "Well, thanks, then."

He expected Azazel to immediately tear away, but instead he took off his helmet, setting it in front of him before giving Erik a considering glance. Erik arched an eyebrow.

Azazel laughed. "I wonder. How long you think I have to wait before I can propose to her?"

Erik's eyes grew wide. He was fairly certain he stood, blinking, mouth frozen open, for a very long time. It felt as though time had stopped, the space between one minute and the next simultaneously a heartbeat and an eternity. Azazel's expression grew serious.

"Too soon, da. Dat is what I thought." He disappeared then, beneath his helmet, the roar of the bike drowning out anything Erik might have said--which was probably good, because he still had no idea how to answer that question. He watched, dumbfounded, as Azazel rode away, Erik left standing amidst taxi exhaust and frazzled travellers, still clutching Raven's electric blue helmet.

It was some time before he was able to head inside.

He was early, but when he checked the board he found Charles' flight number listed as having arrived. Panic seized in his chest--Charles was expecting him, but what if Erik had missed him? What if Charles had arrived, assumed Erik wasn't coming and had already taken a taxi home? He was somewhat frantic as he ran towards the arrivals gate. The airport was busy, but not so much that he couldn't navigate the crowd, scanning faces, none of them Charles. He'd about given up and was about to pull out his cell when someone called his name. Erik skidded to a stop, turning in a wide circle as he sought Charles.

"Up here," Charles said, Erik glancing up to the level above, where Charles was leaning over the rail. He smiled when Erik caught his eye, blowing a kiss like a traveller come home after a long voyage at sea.



All of Erik's tension drained. He stood, frozen in the middle of the airport, heedless of the people jostling him on either side, no one particularly impressed to find Erik blocking their path. He smiled, drinking in the sight of Charles, heart fluttering nervously even as his body grew lax, mind settling into something approaching serenity.

He had no idea how long they stood that way, staring at one another, absorbing each other's presence, but soon enough Charles pushed himself off the rail, heading for the escalators. Erik pushed through the crowd to meet him, squeezing between a woman with a particularly large suitcase and a man carrying a small dog so that he could sprint up the down escalator to reach Charles' side. As soon as he got there Charles caught a hold of his jacket and pulled Erik into a kiss.

"Hi," he said when he pulled back. Lost to the depths of Charles' gaze, Erik didn't realize they'd reached the bottom until he was spilled unceremoniously onto the next level. He stumbled his way off the escalator, Charles' good hand fitted into his, Erik using it to tug Charles out of the stream of traffic.

"God I missed you," he said when they were tucked away in a quiet corner, Charles' rollaway at their feet. He tugged Charles forward, intent on kissing him, except doing so lifted the sleeve of Charles' jacket, Erik's eyes immediately catching on the ring of bruises around Charles' wrist. He froze, staring, the world around him fading into nothingness. Charles' fingers twitched, breaking the moment. Erik slowly lifted his hand to get a closer look.

"Erik," Charles said, warning in his tone, but Erik was already shaking his head.

His hand was shaking as he turned Charles' wrist, examining the marks from every angle. He felt a little like he might be sick--and several times he had to swallow waves of nausea before they manifested into something definite. The urge to hunt down Essex and flay him came back tenfold. Had he thought Charles would tell him where to find the man, he would have boarded a plane immediately.

"You said he hadn't hurt you," Erik heard himself say, though it was certainly distant, like his voice belonged to someone else; some distant person whose world wasn't shattering.

"He didn't," Charles said. "He just grabbed my hand when I tried to answer my phone."

Erik glanced up, rather sharply; was that why Charles hadn't answered? Was he with that man? Right then, right when Erik was waiting, staring at the damned microwave clock, Essex was hurting Charles and Erik hadn't even known.

"Erik, please calm down," Charles said. His free hand--the one still wearing that damned splint--was resting on Erik's chest, fingers stroking against the space just over his heart. Erik wondered if Charles could feel the rapid pitter-patter of it, raging as it was in Erik's chest.

"I should have been there. I should have... God, Charles; what if he had hurt you? What if he had..."

It was too much to think about; too much to consider. Erik felt his breathing go shallow, even as Charles stepped into his space. Gently he took his hand back, letting his sleeve fall to cover the bruises. The hand with the splint he wrapped around Erik's waist. Erik let his head fall to Charles' shoulder, inhaling Charles' scent. He closed his eyes against the feel of Charles' fingers running through his hair.

"It wouldn't have happened," Charles said. "I used to hang out in clubs, remember. I'm rather used to watching my drink."

Erik jerked back at that, because was that supposed to help? "This isn't the first time someone has tried to do that to you?" He knew he looked angry; angry enough that people were starting to stare, undoubtedly thinking he was some brute of a boyfriend--God, they probably thought he'd left the marks on Charles' wrist. Charles settled him by curling a hand around his bicep.

"No. No," he said. "I'm saying it happens, and it's important to be smart and pay attention. I'm sorry; I shouldn't have brought it up. Please." He frowned then, expression going cloudy even as his gaze narrowed. He took a step back. "Why are you holding a motorcycle helmet?"

Erik wasn't quite up for the rapid shift in the conversation--though he suspected this was Charles' way of changing the topic. His first instinct was to ask, What helmet? but then he remembered the helmet still stuck under his arm, though even then it took him several seconds to work out why he was holding it.

"Um, Azazel gave me a lift," he finally managed.

Charles nodded, looking a little relieved. "Good, I don't exactly have the head for riding a bike today," he said.

It was only then that Erik got a really good look at Charles. He'd been so relieved to see him, and then so overwhelmed by rage--and it still lingered, settling in the pit of his stomach until it almost physically hurt--that he hadn't caught the bags under Charles' eyes, or the pale lines across his brow.

"Charles," Erik said, stepping forward then, bringing a hand to his cheek. He was such an utter shit for a boyfriend; always putting himself and his needs--his freak outs--first, when clearly Charles was exhausted, probably nursing a headache--head butting someone would do that--and very obviously still shaken up by what had happened. Erik drew him into a hug, Charles coming willingly, burrowing into Erik's chest like it was then only place he wanted to be.

"Come on, I'll take you home," Erik said, not relinquishing his hold on Charles, guiding him out of the airport and towards the line of cabs without ever once breaking their embrace.

~*~

Azazel Interlude

He hated owing favours to people.

But of all the people to owe favours to, Remy LeBeau wasn't a bad one. LeBeau had helped Azazel out of many a legal difficulty over the years, so when he call and ask Azazel to meet him in Queens, Azazel go.

The bike always felt too light with just him on it. He was used to Raven now, who fit against him like a glove. She weighted the back end perfectly. Her brother was not so bad, but for a wiry fellow, he was a good deal heavier. Azazel rolled the bike to a stop, and then walked it closer to the curb, cutting the engine. LeBeau was standing on the sidewalk. He looked bored.

"What is here?" Azazel asked, nodding to the large warehouse at LeBeau's back.

LeBeau turned to glance over his shoulder. "That be one of the warehouses the Bureau of Land Records keeps."

Azazel nodded. LeBeau wasn't one for explanations, but Azazel didn't always need explanations. "We go in?"

"Already taken care of, mon ami," LeBeau said, patting his pocket.

Azazel frowned. He didn't ask, because if LeBeau no want to share, then it was not Azazel's place to question, but it confused him, Azazel not understanding his place in this.

LeBeau, who Azazel always thought good at reading people, took pity. He lifted his coat to show a yellow envelope. "This be a copy of the deed to a little house in Westchester. Little things. Someone dies, and in the chaos no one thinks to check these things. Throw in a few unscrupulous characters and property doesn't always go to where it is supposed to go."

"So why you call?" Azazel asked, because as pretty as LeBeau's explanation was, it didn't answer his unasked question.

LeBeau smirked, eyes glinting. "Remy need a ride."

Azazel laughed. That was another reason he liked LeBeau. Remy was funny.

"Da, okay," he said, gesturing to the back of the bike. Now LeBeau owed him one. Sometimes it was good to do favours for people.

~*~

"Hank just made it back," Charles announced, setting his iPhone down on the coffee table. "Apparently the pigs are fine." He couldn't believe he'd forgotten, but after his run in with Essex, and then the stress of his presentation, not to mention the excitement of seeing Erik, half a dozen pigs had slipped his mind.

He'd leaned back on the couch now that he was done on the phone and was watching Erik and Raven puttering in the kitchen, clearing the dishes despite Charles' offer to help.

If in your words I'm officially living here now, then I ought to share in the chores, Charles had said, but Erik had only told him to rest after his flight and that they could work out a chore list tomorrow. He'd sounded perfectly serious, so Charles had retreated to the couch, glass of wine half finished, belly full of Erik's cooking--which Charles was now starting to associate with comfort food--a night of conversation and laughter doing wonders to ease the discomfort that, until now, had been threatening to suffocate him.

He'd contacted the ESHG--the governing body Essex belonged to--and filed a formal complaint this morning, though he had no idea what having done so would accomplish. On Monday he'd draft letters to Essex's Max Planck institute, and possibly the ASHG--they'd hosted the conference. Right now, however, his biggest concern was Erik.

On the surface Erik seemed fine. He'd laughed over dinner, engaged in the conversation, teased Raven--and endured her teasing--all while smiling and seeming perfectly at ease. The problem was Charles knew him well enough to know that he was working very hard to maintain that image. It showed in the little things; in the way he constantly hovered at Charles' side, or the way he touched Charles at every available moment, as though afraid Charles might disappear. Or the way he'd insisted Charles bring all his clothes to the apartment after they'd stopped at his, cab idling downstairs. Charles had only intended to grab a change of clothes. Instead he left with two suitcases filled to capacity.

We'll get a truck for the rest of your stuff next weekend, Erik had said, and while Charles was more than a little thrilled by the prospect--though oddly nostalgic about the thought of leaving his apartment--he didn't miss the near hysteria in Erik's voice.

Then there were the dark shadows that settled across Erik's face whenever he caught sight of Charles' wrist--and more often than not Charles found Erik staring at it, no matter how far down he drew his sleeves.

He told himself not to worry about it; to relax and enjoy being home and safe. He tried shifting further back into the couch, letting its cushions embrace him while he watched Erik dry and put away dishes, Raven washing. As a pair, they were perfectly in sync; a well-oiled machine that worked with perfect precision. Charles tried not to envy them that; he really, really did.

Erik was smiling when he finally hung up the dish towel and crossed to Charles' side, sinking down onto the couch, half leaning, half nuzzling into Charles' side. Charles melted against him.

"You really should have let me help," Charles said. Erik shook his head.

"You can do tomorrow's batch." Even as he spoke Erik turned, pressing his nose into Charles' neck. He inhaled sharply, and then shifted to press his lips to the same spot, Charles shivering at the contact.

They'd kissed at the airport, several times, and had spent the better part of the cab ride back to his apartment making out, and then there was a brief ten minutes up against the door to Charles' apartment before Charles mumbled, Why did you tell the cabby to wait? which reminded Erik of their mission, sex aborted in favour of tossing Charles' belongings into bags.

Raven had offered to give them privacy, but Charles had refused--he was not going to let his moving in inconvenience her in any way--and now Charles had been home for the better part of five hours with only a handful of tantalizing kisses to make up for days of drought.

He wanted to take Erik on the couch, Raven be damned.

Instead he tilted his head, letting Erik kiss a line down his throat.

"If you two are going to be cute, I'm going to go get ready for my date," Raven said, earning a mumbled affirmation from Erik, Charles incapable of even grunting because Erik was currently sucking on his Adam's apple.

Belatedly, it occurred to him that Raven had mentioned something about jazz music with Azazel. Charles might have asked, but by the time he had his faculties under control again, Raven had disappeared into the bathroom, and Erik was toying with the top button of his shirt.

"How long?" he asked, the question coming out a high-pitched squeak. Charles blushed, and then cleared his throat. He asked the question a second time.

"Twenty minutes or so," Erik said. He was still mouthing Charles' neck, re-colouring the mostly faded marks from Thursday--and Charles had had to wear high collars the entire weekend. He was clinging, too, hands fisted, one on Charles' shirt; the other in Charles' hair. There was a thin edge of desperation in the erratic panting of his breath. Charles settled a hand in the centre of his chest.

"Easy," he said, pushing back. To his surprise, Erik went willingly, ducking his head.

Doing so brought Charles' hand into view, his shirt cuff having lifted, livid purple bruises encircling his wrist. Erik frowned, lips pressing into a thin line as he stared. Charles made to remove his hand, but too late Erik reached out and caught it, the move as startling as it was quick. Despite his speed, there was something infinitely gentle in Erik's touch. He pulled Charles' hand towards him, not stopping until he had brought it to his mouth, kissing first each of Charles' fingers before flipping his hand to press a kiss to the centre of his palm. When he was done, he moved to Charles' wrist, placing feather-light kisses along the bruise. Charles sat perfectly still and allowed Erik the ritual.

When his kisses became little more than nuzzles, Charles took back his hand, turning his palm and pressing it against Erik's cheek, Erik pressing into the contact, eyes squeezed shut, pain and worry and anger--so much anger--readily apparent in his features.

"Hey," Charles said, shifting closer then. "Hey," he said again, which seemed to get through, Erik pulling back, shaking himself a little, eyes wide and watery as he slid from the couch, standing to offer Charles a hand.

"Come on," he said. Charles was quick to obey.

He let Erik lead him down the hall, past the open bathroom door, and then Raven's closed bedroom door, and then into Erik's--their--room. It felt like coming home.

Charles moved immediately to the bed, sinking down onto it like it was a welcome old friend. He tugged the hand still clasp in his, bringing Erik down alongside him. For the longest time they remained, sprawled across the covers, Charles' head tucked under Erik's chin, their feet and calves hanging off the end of the bed. They listened to the sounds of Raven puttering in the next room. Erik kept nuzzling Charles' hair.

"My psychiatrist wants you to come to one of my appointments," Erik said, seemingly out of the blue, though it was obvious he'd been thinking about it. The suggestion was somewhat surprising--and more than a little nerve-wracking--but Charles agreed.

"Of course, whenever you'd like."

"Wednesday. I have appointments Monday and Wednesday afternoon, but I'll need to tell her your coming, so Wednesday."

It was official, Charles thought, secure in the cocoon of Erik's arms. He had official become an adult. His research was trucking steadily along. His best friend was getting married and having babies. His parents were both dead and he probably stood to inherit their fortune. He was actively working to destroy one man's career and another man's financial security. He had moved in with his boyfriend. And he was now seeing a psychiatrist.

Funny how, even five years ago, the thought of any of those things would have sent him running; now he felt oddly at peace, content to see where life took them. He'd probably start thinking about real-estate soon.

"You're being oddly quiet," Erik said. He'd grown very still since asking Charles to go with him. Too late Charles realized it had probably been an incredibly hard thing to do.

He pulled back so that he could catch Erik's eye, smiling softly as he said, "I just decided I was rather happy. It feels... nice."

For perhaps the first time since Erik had arrived at the airport, the smile he gave was utterly genuine; there was nothing hidden beneath it, no worry, no concern, no anger. It grew teeth, Erik grinning. He lifted an eyebrow then, Charles catching the hint, listening intently to the sound of Raven in the front hall.

"I'm off," she called, Erik waiting all of five seconds after they heard the front door close behind her to pounce, kissing Charles like he had on that escalator in the airport.

"You have no idea..." Erik muttered between kisses, though it should have been fairly obvious that Charles, in fact, did. He tried to say as much, but then Erik's tongue was in his mouth, his hands ghosting through Charles' hair, tracing patterns down the sides of his jaw.

Charles was far too impatient for that.

He pushed Erik back, Erik letting out a whimpered protest before he caught on to what Charles was trying to do. Then he was instantly on board, stripping out of his clothes faster than Charles would have thought humanly possible.

It made it so that by the time Erik was naked, Charles still had briefs and socks to strip off, something Erik took great pleasure in doing. It was still a bit of a fumble, getting beneath the covers, Erik not wanting to relinquish his hold long enough for them to shift fully up the bed. They ended up somewhere in the middle, feet still hanging off the end, though Charles no longer felt like they might end up in a heap on the floor.

Erik was sucking on his neck again.

"God, I missed you," Charles managed. He couldn't even remember his presentation this morning--he'd woken after a night of broken sleep to his ringing cell, Hank giving him all of twenty minutes to shower and shave before they were seated over breakfast, flipping through power-point presentations. The rest was a blur, including the cab ride to the airport, and the flight across the country, Charles thoroughly occupied with envisioning this moment.

He wanted to crawl inside Erik and never come out; and from the way Erik was rutting against Charles' hip--hands tracing across Charles' skin, mouth marking Charles' neck--he was fairly certain Erik felt the same.

He shifted then, pulling on Erik's arm until Erik took the hint and settled over him, slipping between Charles' splayed legs, Charles bringing his hands to the back of Erik's neck to direct his kisses. Erik went perfectly pliable, smiling into Charles' neck as Charles moved him from under Charles' chin to the space behind Charles' ear. He nipped at the delicate skin there, laving the space with his tongue.

They'd done this before, Charles recalled, back when he'd thought it might encourage Erik to top. The way his head was tilted, he could see into the tiny green and blue bathroom, the sight of it bringing a flash of Erik as he'd seen him in the mirror; pupils dilated, hair dishevelled, skin flushed. He'd looked desperate and so utterly despoiled. Charles wanted so badly to see that again, but he knew better than to ask, allowing Erik to lead them where he wanted this to go.

It was somewhat startling, then, when Erik moved up to Charles' ear, nipping at his lobe before he asked, "Can I fuck you?" in a breathless whisper, like the words were forbidden; like he was asking something impossible.

Charles groaned. "Oh, God, yes," he said.

Erik went impossibly still; for a brief moment Charles half expected him to retreat, to vanish from the bed and the room, overcome by what he'd asked. Instead he merely pulled back, catching Charles' gaze, staring intently into his eyes until he found whatever it was he was searching for.

Once he had, he still asked, "Are you sure?"

There was such awkward hesitation in Erik's words; in his posture too, rigid and tense. Charles pushed himself up onto an elbow so that he was once again in Erik's space. He briefly caught Erik's bottom lip between his teeth, sucking slightly before releasing it with a wet pop. When he drew back, Erik was looking about as undone as he had that night in the bathroom.

Very clearly, and with total conviction, Charles said, "The only time I will not want you to fuck me is if you don't want to fuck me."

For the longest minute Erik didn't say anything, still pressed up on his arms, hips pressed into Charles' so that Charles could feel the length of Erik's erection along his own. Erik glanced between Charles' gaze and his mouth, then back up to his eyes.

"I think I do," he said, sounding less certain than perhaps Charles would have liked, but they could always abort if things went badly--it wouldn't be the first time.

"Okay. We'll take it slow, and if you want to stop we'll stop."

That seemed to be exactly what Erik needed to hear, because he immediately settled, his tension easing as he lowered himself back down, recapturing Charles' lips in a kiss that seemed to go on forever--so long, in fact, that Charles was starting to think Erik might be staging a delay.

He did pull back eventually, pressing a light kiss to Charles' nose before telling him to stay put. Then he was up and out of the bed, into the bathroom, returning with two bottles of lube--the old one and a replacement, telling Charles exactly what Erik had been up to this weekend--along with a new box of condoms.

His hands were trembling. He looked oddly resolved.

"Come here," Charles said, taking the paraphernalia from his hands and tossing them onto the bed so that he could properly pull Erik back down beside him. "This doesn't have to be so solemn. We can just have fun and see where the night takes us."

Erik smiled at that, but he still looked a little nervous--still swallowed awkwardly before Charles gave up and pushed Erik back down onto the mattress. He was up and straddling Erik's hips before Erik had fully settled.

A look of confused arousal flickered across Erik's face. "I thought I was..." He gestured, somewhat obscenely Charles thought, the sight so comical he couldn't help but laugh.

"You are, but I thought this might be easier," he said, pressing Erik's hips firmly onto the mattress before reaching for the lube. He grabbed both, tossing the new one on Erik's chest. "We're going to need that, get it open," he instructed, using what was left of their old supply to coat his fingers, Erik watching with rapt attention, still seeming a fair bit uncertain until Charles reached around behind to begin playing with his hole.

Erik's eyes went wide. He swallowed, though this time it was obviously not nerves. He licked at his lips, and then began fumbling with the new bottle. Charles tried to smile, but the first press of two fingers inside--sharp and intrusive, just this side of uncomfortable--stole his breath, his mouth falling open into an 'o' of surprise as he tried to remember the last time he had done this.

That night over the sink, he recalled. It had been a while.

He took his time, slowly working his fingers in and out, enjoying the way Erik was watching him, clearly aroused, clearly on board Charles' plans for the night. Instead of adding a third, Charles nodded for Erik to coat his fingers, gently directing them to join Charles' two once he had.

"Are you sure, I'm not sure you should..." Erik said, but Charles pulled Erik's wrist and Erik slipped inside, the angle awkward, the burn delightful.

"You're a lot bigger than this," Charles said. And God how he'd felt it; how it had lingered, Erik filling him so completely Charles didn't think he'd ever, ever find anything to compare--it made him deliriously happy to know he didn't need to.

Erik hesitated a bit at that, but then Charles moaned, Erik's fingers sliding along his own, moving in tandem until Charles was half desperate. It seemed to spur Erik on, the fingers inside Charles doing more than just going through the motions. They scissored and twisted, fucking up deep inside, then slipping shallow to play with the ring of muscles around Charles' opening, only to press back up with such force it took Charles' breath away.

He was panting now; desperate and loud; the sound broken by moans and whimpers as Erik's enthusiasm mounted. Charles' hand had stopped moving entirely, directly only by Erik's movements, Erik having braced himself on an elbow to get a better angle. The press of Erik's knuckles against Charles' perineum every time Erik bottomed out was enough to set off stars behind his eyes. At this rate, he was going to come long before Erik slid inside.

"Oh, God, stop, stop, you need to stop," Charles said, cursing his damned brace which limited his movements, fumbling awkwardly to squeeze the base of his cock while Erik froze completely.

"Are you okay?" he asked. Charles let out a little laugh.

"Just desperately close to coming," he said, and then, because it needed to be said--especially with Erik--asked, "Do you still want to fuck me? Because I'd really like that."

Erik exhaled, looking momentarily conflicted before he nodded, adding a second later, "Yeah," which was pretty much all the confirmation Charles needed. He slowly removed his fingers, taking Erik's with him, feeling incredibly empty in the time it took him to retrieve a condom and roll it over Erik's length. Erik watched the proceedings with wide eyes, propped on two elbows now, expression torn between panic and desire. Charles covered his length, pausing to lean forward and press a soft kiss to Erik's lips, Erik relaxing marginally at the contact.

"You tell me to stop and I'll stop," Charles said. Erik nodded, a little reverently. Charles maintained eye contact as he reached for the new bottle of lube, liberally coating Erik's cock before shifting up, lining himself so that he could sink down onto Erik's length.

Erik closed his eyes.

"No," Charles said. "I need to see."

It took obvious effort, but Erik's eyes fluttered open. He looked determined now, and he nodded slightly when Charles paused with Erik's tip pressed against his opening. He sank down.

Erik kept his eyes open, but Charles could tell he was fighting to do so. He looked--blown apart. He caught his lower lip between his teeth, groaning as he did, entire body shaking--though whether with nerves or the effort not to move, Charles couldn't tell. Charles sank a little lower. Erik's groans grew louder. He was biting his lip so hard Charles was surprised he didn't break the skin.

"Okay?" Charles asked, about halfway and, God; he'd forgotten how big Erik was. It was some time before Erik processed the question.

He very purposely nodded. Charles sank the rest of the way down.

The move appeared too much for Erik's restraint. His eyes fell closed, his mouth falling open as he let out a series of curses Charles couldn't identify with any language--they were more like wordless muttering; chants or prayers to some unnamed deity. Charles remained perfectly still--hard to do with Erik seated fully inside him, stretching Charles in ways Charles wanted to be stretched every damned day.

He waited.

Eventually Erik fell silent, mouth still open as he panted. His hands had come to Charles' hips, and he was gripping them hard enough to leave bruises--the thought spiked something ugly in Charles' chest, but Charles pushed the sensation aside. Slowly, Erik opened his eyes. He looked drugged.

It was positively beautiful.

"Are you ready?" Charles asked, half expecting Erik to say no--to ask Charles to stop because he looked about as lost as he had the night in the bathroom, the edge of his eyes crinkled with near panic. Instead he released a shaky breath and nodded.

Charles started moving. He fucked himself down onto Erik's cock, hips twisting, grinding into Erik every time he reached Erik's pelvis. Erik did little save cling to Charles' hips, as though for dear life, watching Charles with wide, blown eyes, lip once again caught between his teeth as he panted through his nose.

Charles was merciless.

If they'd gotten this far, then he was damn-well going to fuck Erik until Erik couldn't see straight--something that seemed to be happening if Erik's crossed eyes were any indication. He set a relentless pace, sweat beading across his skin, dripping in trails down his spine to pool in the small of his back. Erik was flushed and sweating, too, damp hair curled around his ears and hanging in his eyes. The next time Charles pressed back down, grinding hard against him, Erik caught him, holding him captive there, grip crushing where he held Charles around his hips. His was staring at Charles with something close to wonder.

"I want..." he got out, and Charles could only nod, desperately close, clinging only because he wanted Erik to come first.

He had no idea what Erik had wanted, or even what he'd intended to do, so it was somewhat of a surprise when Erik sat up, tugging on Charles until Charles got the hint and shifted, wrapping his legs around Erik's hips so that he was seated in Erik's lap. The change in position took Erik that much deeper, Charles groaning at the sensation.

And then Erik started fucking him.

It was somewhat awkward, and consisted mostly of Erik rocking his hips, driving up into Charles and then pulling back, the range of motion severely limited, but Charles didn't care because it was about the most incredibly thing he had ever experienced. Erik looked crazed; his eyes were wide, his teeth bared, and he held Charles to him tighter than perhaps Charles would have wanted. Charles let the heels of his feet settle against Erik's ass, urging him on.

The touch seemed to spur something in Erik, because he surged forward, arm coiling around Charles' waist to brace him as Erik lifted him up, driving hard into him over and over again until Erik's expression crumbled, hips jerking frantically. Charles clung desperately to Erik's shoulders, which were pretty much the only thing giving him leverage. Erik remained as taut as a bowstring while he came, collapsing a second later, falling back to the bed, Charles falling with him, the landing driving Erik so far inside Charles' vision whited.

They both groaned.

Erik was still clinging to him, though now they were once again seated, Erik with his legs splayed out in front, Charles with his wrapped around Erik's waist, Erik still buried inside. It was Erik who reached for him, hand wrapping around Charles' cock--the first time he'd touched Charles all night; neither of them exactly having the patience for much foreplay. His grip was steady and strong, and he stroked Charles from root to tip, picking up speed in response to Charles' whimpers, all too soon Charles coming over Erik's hand.

For the longest time after neither of them moved, Charles half afraid to breathe. He waited for Erik to draw back first, Erik carefully maneuvering them so that he could pull out. He remained seated, Charles taking a moment to remove and discard Erik's condom before crawling back into his lap.

"Are you okay? Was that okay?" he asked, somewhat alarmed by Erik's silence.

Erik caught his eye, still looking a little startled, though nowhere near as freaked out as he had the other night. He nodded.

"Yeah, yeah; that was..."

"Better than before?" Charles offered.

A grin broke out over Erik's face. He laughed. "Much better," he said, and then, because Erik seemed to like being contrary, he crushed Charles to his chest, buried his face in the side of Charles' neck, and hitched a sob.

Charles wasn't entirely too sure what to do about that, so he settled a gentle hand on the back of Erik's head, petting his head while Erik panted against his neck, Charles very deliberately ignoring the dampness spreading across his skin.

It was probably just sweat from Erik's hair, he told himself; they were both in need of a shower. It was still a long time before he suggested as much.

On to chapter 17

Date: 2012-01-28 01:01 am (UTC)
pickleddeath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pickleddeath
Poor Erik. He is messed up. Why is he crying? Stop crying, Erik. :o; You're gonna make me cry.
I think Charles should just fuck the crap out of Erik. Or, I guess, it's all about Erik getting in touch with his inner man? Or, whatever? ; - :
As a loving Magneto fangirl, I would have no trouble fucking his brains out with my imaginary dick, if it would make him happy.

Date: 2012-01-28 03:57 pm (UTC)
pickleddeath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pickleddeath
Yes, that would be very nice!
Because we both know that sharing is caring and that Charles and Erik care about one another very much.
Also, don't mind me. I'm just being awfully ornery today. ^.^

Date: 2012-01-28 03:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This chapter was lovely.

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