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Sonnet for a Poet and His Pirate

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Charles is enchanting. This fact is incontrovertible: like stars in the sky, like magnetic north on a compass. Charles is enchanting, and so: Erik is enchanted.

He twists fingers, thoughtfully. Slides them out, then in, deeper, reveling in the slick wet sounds, Charles’ body opening up around his hand, muscle trembling and giving way to the invasion. Charles cries, though not from pain as much as overstimulation; Erik’s made him come twice already, hot wet spurts of fluid pulsing out over Erik’s hand, his own flat stomach, Erik’s bed. Erik’s made him come at the touch of a hand, Erik’s fingers buried in his body, Erik’s mouth on his lovely swollen prick teasing him back to full hardness.

Erik hasn’t come. He’s got enough self-control for that, enough patience, honed like a sword-blade and polished to bright steel. He’s had enough practice.

His cock aches, though. He presses a hand against it through his trousers, indulging in the denial. Crooks the fingers buried inside Charles once more; Charles sobs and writhes on the bed, hips arching against the erotic torment, but doesn’t say no. Doesn’t beg him to stop. And Erik grins, wide and feral.

They’re here in Erik’s ostentatious London townhome, all jewels and red silk and magenta satin, Turkish carpets and the sensual sculpture of white Greek marble. Tasteless, the London papers’d called it, in tones of awed astonishment: the home of a retired pirate, a man who’d brought back a fortune as a privateer and then proceeded to purchase the most desirable estate in the city from under the nose of one of the royal dukes. In this year of the Regency, under the banners of the government who’d supported his commission as he hunted his prey, Erik’s got every right to his wealth, and he knows perfectly well that Society’s fascinated by him even as they gasp in shock at his exploits.

And at his decorating sense, of course. But he likes red. And magenta.

He also likes Charles. He leans down. Bites the nearest quivering hip, teeth over tender freckles, enough to bruise. Charles whimpers, and his hands tense, then relax, on the pillow.

“Shh,” Erik whispers. “You wanted to be here, Charles, remember? You came with me willingly. You want this. You want to know.”

And Charles nods, though without opening his eyes.

Charles had come with him, willingly. That’s a fact as well. Erik luxuriates in the knowledge.

He’d known the name before they’d ever met, of course. Charles Francis Xavier, Viscount of Westchester. Famous, or infamous, for those scandalous little books of poetry, plain-bound and sold under discreet covers and scorchingly breathtakingly obscene. Those books had accompanied Erik on many long voyages, under covers in the captain’s bed, late at night with only the sea and the stars and the gentle rocking of the ship at anchor and those white-hot words for companions: I would love you, Charles had written in one of them, with my body and my soul; I would love you as I moved inside you; I would love you as we made each other whole…

The most delicious, most titillating, secret of the poetry: half of them, or more than half, were directed at an unnamed man. The man of whom Charles had written: I crave your hand, so large, upon my wrist; I crave your weight atop me, within me, your body telling mine that I exist.

Erik had wondered, on first reading that one, what man it had been written for, and whether that man appreciated the courage it took to put such thoughts to paper in this so-moral new century; and whether, if that man had ever come to Charles in response, he’d known how to be properly grateful for such a gift.

Erik thought not, somehow. He’d been sitting high up in the crow’s-nest of the ship under the setting sun, one leg dangling; and he’d thought, out of nowhere: if I met him, this poet, he’d know. He’d know what it means to be alone, and to be lonely, and how those two words are not the same.

He’s read everything Charles has ever written, from the sparklingly profane ballads full of astoundingly dirty puns—Erik suspects Charles of trying to see how far he could test his publishers, with that one—to the pensive melancholy ache of the latest collection, not erotica at all but full of images: moonlight, faded manuscripts in a library, a weary pen laid down.

He pauses to kiss the spot he’s just wounded, blood rising to the surface under English-fair skin. Charles murmurs his name, breathing swift, inhales catching.

They’ve known each other for four hours. Plus a lifetime of poetry, of course.

He’d been visiting his preferred bookshop, hoping for some new volume. Had realized a reading was in progress, some slim tidy young man with unruly dark hair and an expensive spruce-green waistcoat. Had almost left. And then had heard the words.

He’d known those words.

He’d frozen in the doorway, wind whipping at his coat, coaxing him on.

He’d been in shock, at first. The boy reading was so young, too young; barely out of his teens, if that, all endless eyes and aristocratic accent and even freckles, demure innocent gilt-edged sprinkles of brown sugar over pale skin. This boy could never have written those words, could never have wanted to be claimed and plundered and overrun, territory yielded, flags planted in virgin ground—

Ah. And he’d thought, then: of course.

After, Charles had smiled and signed copies and nodded to assembled lords and ladies, unruffled and self-possessed despite the way that mouth’d just been shaping lines about suckling and sweet honey and thorn-pricks. Erik’d deliberately shouldered a pasty-skinned little lordlet out of the way and put himself in front of Charles, knowing precisely what those blue eyes would see: the height, the muscles, the scars, the unapologetic presence of an ex-pirate-lord, dangerous and not bothering to hide it.

Charles had breathed in, audibly. Those enormous eyes had gone even wider, containing oceans. Erik had taken his hand—ungloved, and he’d thought at the time, oh, Charles, so easily you tempt fate—and murmured, “You’re a virgin, aren’t you, Charles,” and Charles had stared at him, façade cracking to reveal the innocence. Had stammered, no longer the arrogant purveyor of his own fantasies to his captive audience, “That’s hardly a polite introduction, is it, Captain Lehnsherr, and I fail to see how it’s any of your business—”

Erik had laughed. Tightened his grip on those fingers, in his. “Tell me I’m wrong. Or I’ll tell all of them. You’re not as depraved as you make them believe you are, are you, Charles? Not even close.”

“I’m not a virgin,” Charles had said, but the way he’d been staring at Erik’s hand suggested that if this wasn’t technically a lie it wasn’t far off. “I’ve—does it matter, if I can write the words, if they feel—I’m sorry, we’ve not even been properly introduced, and you’re a bloody pirate, would you let go of my hand—”

“You know who I am,” Erik’d said, “you knew my name, of course you knew it, because, Charles, you like the pirate, you like the danger, you want to know, you want everything you write about, you want me to tie you to the bed and put my cock inside you, my hand inside you, my mouth on your sweet little virgin hole—you’ve never been kissed there, have you, Charles, opened up with another man’s tongue—and you’d love it all…”

Charles’ hand had trembled in his; not with fear.

“Come home with me,” Erik’d said. And Charles had whispered, “Yes.”

He’s had Charles spread out on his bed for hours, now. Pale skin over red silk, priceless, captured in a cargo from India. Charles is his captive too, as surely as any of those other conquests; and worth more than them all.

Erik suspects that there may be more to this captivity—the way he can’t stop looking, can’t stop touching, finds himself drawn back to the bed. The way he’s not yet fucked Charles even though he’d meant to, had meant to take that trembling innocence once and for all—but Charles is a virgin, and is a paradox: sweetly responsive, unpracticed, utterly unafraid. Enticing. Complex.

He slides his hand out—Charles is still so wet, very wet, from the oils they’ve used, white roses and a touch of ginger—and enjoys the way that ring of muscle flutters, tries to clench around nothing, slick and pink and puffy from use. Charles sobs. “So lovely,” Erik tells him, “like this, so loose, so ready for me…you love the way this feels, don’t you, Charles? My fingers inside you, making you scream?”

“Yes,” Charles gasps, “yes, Erik—please—”

“Please what?” One finger, tracing the rim; Charles tries to push back against him. Erik moves the hand. “What would you like? Tell me.”

“You—” Charles is begging now, tears brilliant in those oceanic eyes. “Your hand—fingers—anything, Erik, please, I need—”

“You need to come for me, is that it? You’d get off on my fingers, my cock, anything I choose, inside you?” Charles had written, early on, half-playful outrageous lines, a nod to the deceased Earl of Rochester: I do know Signior Dildo; we’ve been great friends, he and I; at home upon the love-seat, you know; or in the park, waving, to unsuspecting passersby…

“You were made for this,” Erik murmurs, and strokes a finger inside those slick walls, watching each joint disappear, sucked into greedy flesh. Charles’ cock leaks copiously, spilling across his belly as he pants. “You love this, don’t you, Charles? Little Viscount Xavier, proper scion of British nobility…spread out in my bed, in a pirate’s bed, like a dockside whore. And you love it all.”

Charles moans, whole body shuddering with it; his cock jumps. Erik orders, softly but implacably, “Tell me,” and Charles whimpers and whispers back, “Yes, Erik, please, all of it, I want you, I’ll be that for you—your whore, your boy, anything, please, please fuck me…”

Erik raises eyebrows. “Such a filthy mouth, Charles. Slut.” And Charles gasps, a trickle of need spilling from his cock, from that yearning slit. Erik leans down. Licks it up. Then presses his lips to Charles’ parted ones, tongue pushing forward. Making him taste himself, his own want.

Charles moans, dazed. Those legs spread even wider, unconsciously. Erik laughs. And feels that odd tugging under his breastbone again, in his chest. As if this boy, not even nineteen and inexperienced and dreaming of love, has reached into Erik’s heart and set a hook in place, a tether, so that Erik will never imagine wanting to leave his side. And he doesn’t want to imagine it.

He doesn’t want to think about that small fact, either, so he repositions his hand, thrusts—three fingers, no warning, and Charles cries out, back arching off the silk—and holds those thighs open with his other hand, knowing he’s leaving bruises, fingerprint marks on mapping-linen skin.

He finds that electric bundle of nerves. Rubs. Once, twice, again, friction right over that swollen singing spot. Demanding that Charles feel it all.

Charles screams, and shudders everywhere, and white jets of orgasm splash from his cock. Less, now, third time in four short hours; weak but present, body surrendering to the relentless use. Erik smiles. Strokes that spot inside him until Charles is sobbing, clawing at the bed, trying to curl up around Erik’s hand where it’s tormenting him with the pleasurable pain of too much stimulation. He collapses at last, shaking, unresponsive except for tiny incoherent twitches as Erik withdraws the hand, pets his cock—this gets a whimper—and checks him over, carefully. No tearing, no injuries; tender flesh, as expected, but Charles is unhurt.

His own erection throbs, unsatisfied. But Erik is a patient man, methodical, well-schooled in self-denial. He can wait. The ultimate result, after all, will be so much sweeter.

Charles is unhurt, yes; this means that they can continue. Not just yet—Charles will need the rest—but soon. He touches one freckled cheek; Charles mumbles, a wordless sound that might be Erik’s name.

“Was that good,” Erik asks, very softly, and he’s not sure why he’s asking, the point is to fuck Charles and use Charles and ruin Charles and give Charles all that experience he pretends to possess—but he is asking, and he finds that he cares about the answer.

Charles opens one jewel-hued eye at him. Sapphire treasure, in Erik’s bed. Scattered breeches and waistcoat on the floor; night descending, velvety and intimate, outside.

Charles says, “Yes.”

Erik smiles. “Stay for supper?” He’s not meant that to be a question, wanted it to be a command. He amends, distracting by means of excessive detail, “I’ve got an excellent cook. I stole him from the Duke of York. I pay in rubies. He’s very good with curry, if you have a taste for…the exotic.”

Charles says, “Yes” again, no hesitation, only sparkles emerging anew behind all the exhaustion, radiant stars in a worn-out twilight sky. And Erik’s smile broadens. That is a yes; and he considers evening plans. After all, they’ve barely begun. There’s so much more in store. And introducing Charles to it all will be such exquisite fun.

Chapter Text

Erik is gentler than Charles expects. It’s the way he looks that makes the way he loves misleading: the strong cut of his jaw, the aristocratic tilt of his nose, the glass-edge gaze of his eyes. He’d been expecting to be buggered within an inch of his life by now; Captain Lehnsherr, after all, isn’t known for his genteel breeding. Though his hands are rough, they have been nothing but good to Charles. Far too considerate, in fact. While Charles lies devastated upon the bed, feeling unspooled like weak thread, Captain Lehnsherr—that is, Erik—

“You must call me by my given name, Charles,” the man had grinned, too many teeth on display. What audacity, to address the scion of House Xavier like he was some common boy! (What thrill, to simply be one, to be Lehnsherr’s boy!)

Charles would have spoken, had already opened his mouth to speak, but Erik had swooped down and captured his lips in a kiss. It was...warm, and wet, and the touch made him dizzy all over. Erik pulled back when Charles hadn’t responded, had simply frozen on the spot like a startled deer.

“Didn’t you like that?” The man asked, pulling away.

“No, I just. It was strange.” His cheeks flamed, and he could distinctly feel himself tremble. He felt like a leaf caught in a summer storm, and Erik was the tempest of desire pulling him to and fro. “I’d...I’d never been kissed before.”

The older man looked surprised, touching the bow of Charles’ lip, the corner of his mouth where his kiss still lingered and warmed Charles. “No? Almost nineteen and not a single kiss?”

“No,” Charles had lowered his eyelashes then, strangely ashamed. “No one’s touch but my own, and even then it was merely the fumblings of a well-read virgin.”

“Then it is my noble obligation to educate you, Lord Xavier,” Erik had murmured, and fingers touched Charles’ waist, pulling him closer. “It will be my utmost pleasure.” Charles let himself be caught, closing his eyes. Erik’s palm warmed the small of his back, and his other hand caressed the line of Charles’ jaw. His lips descended, not on Charles’ mouth like he’d expected, but on his eyelids, little butterfly kisses that made Charles’ stomach jump.

I’d written about this, Charles thought dazedly, recalling the words of his last book: kisses like dew on closed eyelids, breath caught on the glance of a cheek, electric air between two mouths.

He had gasped when Erik’s lips brushed against his bottom lip. When he pressed his mouth to Charles’ again. Charles opened his mouth, awkward, not sure how to move, stunned that kisses weren’t merely a touch of mouths but the taste of lips and tongue and the graze of teeth. Erik probed him with a gentle tongue, and he tasted like warmth. Charles moaned, unbidden, when their lips slid together. He found that he couldn’t breathe, that he ached with pleasure, that when Erik grabbed him by the waist and by the back of his head, he liked it, the forcefulness of it, found that he would let himself be the recipient of this pirate’s attention.

When Erik pulled away, they were both breathing hard. “Shall we take this to the bed, m’lord?”

“Please,” Charles had whispered, and received another lengthy kiss for that.

“Charles,” Erik calls, a roguish smile on his handsome face, “perhaps I’ll simply have dinner brought to the room. You look dreamy, darling.” He’s still fully dressed, although his erection has receded from his trousers. Charles wonders how long he’s been reveling in his memories. He feels like sugar melted down into thick syrup, and simply doesn’t have it in him to move.

“Darling?” he finally asks, turning so that the silks drape over him artfully, milking every drop of Erik’s attention.

Erik places one knee on the bed and caresses the line of Charles’ sternum, leaving goosebumps in his wake. His eyes are focused on the path of his hand. “It suits you. My cream and honey darling. My little English Rose.”

“I see you’re not beyond flattery, Captain.”

“I’m not beneath any trickery, my lord.” Erik replies, cheeky, and softens his words with a slow kiss, slick and soft. When he leaves, Charles clenches his arse and probes at the tender flesh there, amazed at how easily his fingers slip in. His body’s exhausted, wrung out from pleasure and buzzing with satiation, but like Erik’s said, the night is young, barely past suppertime. Once they’ve had their meal, perhaps he’ll have Erik for dessert.

He slips into the washroom to relieve himself, and catches his reflection upon the gaudy floor mirror in the corner. Catalogues what he sees. He looks well-fucked, color high, and his lips have taken on the color of a woman’s rouge from kisses and biting. His skin is littered with love bites and bruises the exact shape and size of Erik’s fingers, and the insides of his thighs are a mess of it. His bottom, when he turns around and looks over his shoulder, is the same as it ever was, but his appreciation for it furthers when he remembers how lovely Erik had found it, had grabbed the plush cheeks and watched them jiggle and redden when he held on too roughly.

He’s lucky there’s no one else but he and Erik when he returns to the bedroom. A table for two has been set up; the air is fragrant with the aroma of spices. Charles’ stomach growls. Erik is dressed in a satin robe pillaged perhaps from one of his journeys, and the neckline is so low Charles has to trace it with curious fingers, turning his face up for a kiss, giddy at being indulged. He stretches up on the tip of his toes to reach Erik, his mouth soft and yielding against Erik’s smile.

When he pulls away after a moment, Erik leans down and turns his jaw back with strong fingers, mouth pressing hard and taking, sucking at swollen flesh and making Charles keen with how sensitive he already is, caught by pleasure and unable to pull away from the kiss.  Erik’s lips trace a path from his mouth to his ear, and Charles’ entire body seizes in toe-curling pleasure when Erik hotly breathes there, letting Charles hear and feel what he’s doing to him. His neck arches willingly when Erik’s fingers sift through his hair and pull, lets him stay there suspended and at his mercy. Charles swallows, obediently still,  until the air softens and the older man pets him back to a more comfortable position, his cheek leaning against Erik’s shoulder.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but Charles’ cock is starting to harden again on his thigh.

“Sit,” Erik instructs, waving him towards one of the chairs. Charles squirms and has to rest his weight on one arse cheek, still sore and sensitive after hours of teasing. Erik watches him from under his lashes, his mouth a sensuous line.

There is an assortment of bowls before them, fragrant and steaming, and Charles’ hunger is only matched by his fascination. It’s a night of firsts, to say the least.

“What is this?” he asks. Dips a finger into the largest of the bowls to taste the sauce, forgetting himself and decorum and propriety. He flushes in embarrassment, but Erik is merely amused at his English sensibilities.

“This is curry. Good, authentic curry. I picked my night chef up from one of my travels, I pay him to be on hand at odd hours, and of the many dishes he knows how to do, this is his best.”

“Oh, how lovely,” Charles says, startling when Erik reaches across the table to put Charles’ finger in his mouth, suckling softly, hardly a hint of teeth, just rough tongue and soft licks. Charles pants, eyes glazing, but Erik lets go and reaches for the bowl with what looks to be flat bread.

“Here we eat with our hands.” Erik instructs, ripping off a piece and shaping the bread into a triangle, like a little spoon, to scoop out a bit of the curry. His other hand lingers on Charles’ jawline, coaxing him to open his mouth and it’s—decadent, to be fed like this. Charles feels spoiled, almost, debauched and now fattened up with attention and food.

“Good?”

“Mmmm…” It burns from the spices, on the way down, but it settles on his stomach like a warm coal. Dinner goes on like this, Erik alternately feeding himself and Charles. There’s vegetables, sour mango pickles that make Charles’ mouth purse and Erik laugh, kissing the red buds and melting into it until it’s full of hot breath and wet tongue.

Afterwards, Charles has chai to soothe his weak English stomach, which Erik strokes and rubs and makes Charles feel like a beloved pet. He’s terrified, frankly, how easily he molds under Erik’s touch, a sudden creature of sensuality and affection, but Erik effaces those thoughts away with caresses, and Charles is left quivering and hot, too aroused to think.

He wants Erik in him again, even if it might be too much—no, it’s not enough—please, he says, and Erik laughs and beckons him to stand, pushing his chair back even as he grasps Charles by his hips and turn him toward the table. It’s unbearable how casually Erik palms the insides of his thighs, nudging Charles’ feet apart and squeezing gently at his ballsac. Charles gasps, hands automatically clutching the edge of the dinner table, as Erik laves a strip from balls to hole.

“Good lord,” he whimpers. Erik is nothing but gentle, soft lips and tongue running circles into an unholy ecstasy. “Erik—ah!”

Erik has his cock in his grip now, and Charles can’t decide whether to thrust into that hand or back onto Erik’s tongue, so he vacillates between the two, caught and speared and pinned by pleasure. He won’t last long, not like this, and when Erik cruelly pinches the head of his prick, Charles cries out and comes all over himself and Erik’s hand, shaking so hard his knees give out.

Chapter Text

Charles, exhausted, sweetly imperious, demands that Erik permit him to rest before a second—third, fourth, infinite—round. Erik, amused, assents. He’s entertained by the phrasing. Charles wants to be arrogant about the order, a splendidly despoiled English teenage lord of the manor; but Charles is presently compliant as a drowsy sunbeam, sticky from the orgasms Erik’s wrung out of him, and yawns in the middle of his words.

Erik guides him back to the bed with one hand at the small of his back. Erik’s heart quivers as his fingers brush that pale skin, the dip before that luscious arse: some indefinable unfamiliar emotion swelling, strangely tender. Charles murmurs words, a question about cleaning up. Erik shakes his head; Charles’ lips quirk into a smile, and Charles curls into crimson silk sheets without protest, though that smile very clearly proclaims he could protest vociferously if inclined.

He’s not, apparently, inclined. He stays messy. Erik likes him that way.

Charles naps on and off as the evening slips away. Erik watches, and waves impatiently at servants who come to clear the dinner trays, and goes back to watching. Charles is his. His to admire; his to deflower; his because Charles followed him willingly into this lapidary silk-strewn pirate’s lair. His tonight. And if that odd twisted feeling comes back into his chest at the invocation of time, he chooses to ignore the knots. He’s good at ignoring emotions. Always has been.

The servants’re gone, the fire’s built up in the small bedroom fireplace, and the candles are burning low, guttering pools of expensive clear light. Erik, gazing at Charles—cinnamon and cream in his bed, stickiness and finger-marks and the delectable curves of that arse, so lately introduced to Erik’s tongue—feels his body stir. Arousal returning, with a shift in the air: predatory, possessive, poised.

Charles wakes instantly when Erik moves to sit beside him; wakes with the instinct of a man habitually aware of the positions of every other person in a room. Erik has seen those reactions before, among survivors of piratical raids, of swordpoints, of those things that men might do once away from the scrutiny of civilization.

Erik does not want to care about what Charles has seen; he is not here to fall in love with Charles, nor to make the little viscount fall in love with him. He’s here to provide wide blue eyes with the experience they pretend to in verse, and to slake his own lust along the way, most satisfactorily.

Nevertheless: knots. In his heart.

He says, “Are you rested, Charles?” turning the question into a purr, a seduction, a lazy innuendo. He is not feeling lazy.

Charles smiles. Not the sort of smile an innocent virgin might give; no, Charles smiles like a boy who knows precisely what his seducer wants, and plans to enjoy the ride. And then stretches, freckles and fair skin in beguiling motion, rapidly firming teenage prick on full display.

Erik lets his own grin widen, looking him over.

Charles says, rather pertly for someone who’s recently had Erik’s fingers and mouth breaching his rosebud-pink hole, “I believe the answer you want is yes, Erik.” Given name for given name: intimacy, of a sort. Of another sort.

Erik runs a hand over him. Shoulder to hip: proprietary. Charles preens under the attention. Erik’s fingers slip over to his cock, and cradle him: not squeezing, but letting the thought be plain. Charles’ eyes get wider, darker, quivering.

“Some men enjoy pain,” Erik informs him, toying idly with delicate flesh, “to add spice to the pleasure...to feel the rush of it, the danger...would you be one of them, Charles?” He catalogs every indrawn breath, every lip-lick. “Perhaps not. Or not yet, at any rate. After all, I’ve not even fucked you yet.”

He half-expects a flinch at the baldness of the profanity, but then again this is the boy who’d written poetry to leatherworks and the usefulness of oil; Charles only laughs. “Perhaps you should.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t tempt a pirate.” Coupled with a pinch to sensitive skin; Charles gasps. “Something else, first. Would you like to learn how to pleasure a man with your mouth, Charles? To take a man’s organ between your lips, down that pretty throat, the way only the filthiest of the good-time whores will?” He’s playing with Charles’ cock, which stiffens further at the words, the attention; Charles’ expression is rapt. “You would, wouldn’t you? To learn the taste, the feel, your mouth stuffed with a pirate’s cock, so you have no choice but to swallow what he gives you…”

Charles’ lips part. Soundless and yearning. Erik smirks. Leans down, swipes his tongue across the flushed head of the prick in his grasp. Charles tastes sweet: the residue of himself from earlier, from his exertions of the night. “Get up. Get on your knees.”

Charles gives him a slightly disgruntled look and retorts, “You could ask nicely,” and then mutters something about expectations and pirates, and Erik for no discernable reason suddenly wants to laugh.

In bed, with Charles—seducing Charles, and sex has never been about more than seduction, of course not, never—and he wants to laugh. Like lightness inside his body; like a balloon rising, like kites dancing to a breeze.

Because he feels like laughing, he demands, “Do what I asked, Charles, if you want to learn,” and Charles gives him a different sideways sort of look but gets up, still unabashedly naked, and slides to the floor. Erik spreads his legs, undoing his robe; Charles settles in between his thighs, evidently fascinated.

“Go on,” Erik says, “touch me,” and he wonders what thoughts’re moving behind blue eyes: about girth and length, which he knows for a fact are legendary among some sea-port brothels; about the circumcision that marks him out as a Jew, which a gently-reared lordling might’ve never seen before; about the scars, bullets and sabers, that map the years of Erik’s life.

Charles surprises him, then. He’d known Charles wouldn’t be timid; he’d not expected the first kiss to be against his left inner thigh, butterfly-murmurs over one of the ugliest shiny whorls of flesh. Charles breathes out, lips warm. “That one might’ve killed you.”

“It didn’t.”

“I’m glad.” Sincerity in the words, in the high-tea accent, in bottomless blue when Charles sits back on heels and looks up. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Well,” Erik says, uncomfortable with the answer that trembles on the tip of his tongue, “you’re entertaining enough, so I’m pleased you are too,” and Charles smiles as brilliantly as if he’s heard every word Erik hasn’t said and inquires, “How does one go about this, then?”

“It’s not hard,” Erik starts, and then, at the sudden sparkle in limpid eyes, “don’t say it, Charles—I mean not difficult,” and puts a hand into that poet’s hair and tips Charles’ head back. The hair winds around his fingers like walnut silk, soft and clinging.

Firelight spills over fair skin like notes rippling from a harpsichord: gold and red limning Charles’ bare back, the arrow of his spine, the freckles flung carelessly across his shoulder. Charles smiles, kneeling on the floor between Erik’s legs; Erik’s bedroom glows.

Erik takes his cock in hand. Presses the tip to Charles’ lips. Which part—that damnable sparkle, again, in those eyes—and take him in.

Charles is unpracticed: true. Charles has never felt the weight of a man’s shaft along his tongue, pressing deep into his virginal mouth: also true. Charles is however wholly himself in this as in the poetry and the choices of the night: committed, and unafraid. It’s Erik who swallows, hard, at the sight: his length disappearing into that red bow of lips, drawing back spit-slick and shiny, shoving in further as Charles moans, muffled, around the obstruction. It’s Charles who smiles anew—Erik can feel those lips curl—and sucks and licks at his cock-head, greedy and curious. The firelight and candlelight mingle with the lingering scents of curry and the languor of sex, transforming the room into a heady sensual phantasmagoria of delights. Magenta silk and that wet hot inexperienced mouth. Pale skin and the way Charles’ eyes flutter shut when Erik cups his jaw, holds him in place, shoves a thumb in alongside his cock and stretches that mouth obscenely wide.

Charles is unpracticed, and Charles is fearless, and this combination of innocence and boldness steals Erik’s breath away; his body tenses without his permission, drops leaking, spurting onto Charles’ tongue. This is unacceptable, this loss of control, teased out of him by an unskilled mouth—and why, why, why is Charles’ mouth so different, no technique, no finesse, but eagerness, and Erik’s body resonates to that emotion—and he grips Charles’ head tightly, snaps, “More,” and shoves deeper, forcing Charles to keep up, to take it: more.

Erik’s large and Charles is new to this. Charles gags, chokes, struggles around Erik’s cock: good, Erik thinks, a sick kind of satisfaction in ruining that teasing composure, that sense that Charles has hold of some invisible thread with its end set in Erik’s heart. Charles is here to learn. Let him learn.

Charles learns fast, it seems. He loses coordination a few times—scrapes of teeth, making Erik hiss—but masters the art of lips wrapped around those teeth in short order, glancing up through lowered eyelashes for approval. Erik permits himself a smile, too wide and wolfish; Charles’s cheeks flush pink. Exertion, arousal, humiliation at his position between Erik’s thighs, perhaps? All three at once? Charles breathes out and mouths along Erik’s shaft, lower, licking interestedly at drawn-up balls: exploring. Erik lets him indulge his curiosity for a while, enjoying the tentative touches and the way they grow more assertive, as Charles tastes him and trails fingers over vulnerable skin and flesh, discovering new territories.

Eventually the touches become too random, too light and unhurried, for Erik’s impatience. The air crackles with that need from earlier; he wraps his hand into Charles’ hair again, and Charles tips his head back, lips forming a flawless o, a summons to plunder.

Charles even chokes on cock prettily. His eyes open, wide and blue and wet; his mouth’s wet too, saliva and smears of Erik’s pre-come when Erik pulls back and rubs himself over that upturned face. Charles shivers, remaining on his knees; he whispers, “I never knew—” and his voice sounds wrecked and reverent, a martyr to holy ecstasy. And he leans forward, eyes closing, and seeks Erik’s cock anew.

Erik catches his breath. Charles breathes in, inhale warm and tickling over blood-hot skin; and then slides his lips all the way down, deliberate, slow. As far as he can: not quite to the root, but further than what Erik’d forced him to take, an inexorable glide that must be filling his sweet mouth, smothering his air, pushing down beyond his gag reflex.

Erik groans. Can’t help pushing back: this boy, this boy, this poet with Erik’s heart on that damned string, taking everything and begging for more and making Erik want to give him—

everything

He wraps a hand loosely around Charles’ throat. No pressure; but he imagines he can feel his cock as he thrusts, plunging in and out. He can certainly feel Charles’ pulse: a flutter-winged desperate thing, reverberating with desire. Charles can’t breathe well—not entirely airless, but close—with Erik’s cock down his throat and Erik’s hand on the slender column of his neck; and yet Charles isn’t pulling back, is trembling with want. Even arches his back and leans into Erik’s hands, letting Erik take over, letting Erik use his mouth and throat and body for pleasure.

Erik shifts one leg. Presses it between his boy’s legs. Charles tries to moan again around the cock in his mouth, and spreads his thighs. His eyes are dreamy, lost in arousal and overpowering physical sensation. His cock’s rock-hard. Erik moves the hand from his throat, grips the closest hip, nudges: Charles gets the idea instantly and begins to rock against him, rutting along Erik’s shin even as his mouth suckles Erik’s prick. Charles is, Erik thinks dazedly, the sort of boy who will never retreat, who will take more when more’s offered; who will dare everything to be right there at his partner’s side, racing ahead together, always always—

Charles shudders and whimpers, head to toe, still sucking valiantly at him but losing coordination, hands lying loosely over Erik’s thighs. His mouth’s swollen and slippery and his eyes look heavy-lidded, his face messy where tears’ve slid free, where Erik’s cock’s rubbed over his cheek and mouth and nose and closed eyes. But he looks up as if he senses Erik looking; their eyes meet through the tangle of Charles’s dark eyelashes.

The connection quivers. The fire snaps and crackles: abrupt and intimate.

And the sound and the sight and the wet cave of Charles’ mouth—

Those slam into Erik’s gut like a rifle-shot, a fatal wound, a sapphire bullet; and he thrusts hard one more time, all the way to the hilt, and comes down Charles’ throat.

The orgasm’s long and drawn-out and glorious, all the more so for his earlier self-denial; it washes through him in waves of riptide rapture. Charles chokes, swallows, must keep swallowing; Erik pulls back enough for more to land over his tongue, making him taste it, and across his lips and face, streaking his fair skin with Erik’s come. Charles whines faintly, rocking his hips against Erik’s leg, his cock dripping with need and rigid against Erik’s shin; Erik pushes his softening shaft back into that slack mouth and whispers, “You wanted to know, Charles; this is how a pirate would fuck you, that pretty mouth, and look at you begging for it, you’d be a pirate’s whore, you’d be my little whore, you’d be in my bunk every night with your legs spread, so beautiful—”

Beautiful. Yes. And even as he hears himself say it Charles stiffens against him, coming all over Erik’s leg, coming all over himself, coming with Erik’s spent cock stuffed into his mouth, abandoned to ecstasy.

Charles ends up crying in the aftermath, bewildered as the orgasm ebbs and the high recedes, collapsed down between Erik’s legs and suddenly looking like the teenager he is: not yet nineteen, an heir to one of the oldest titles in the land, a boy who’s found refuge in the bright sparks of poetry and intellectual fascination. Erik’s fucked his mouth and laid claim to his body and demanded that he feel every new sensation. Erik’s heart flips over inside Erik’s stony chest.

He scoops his little viscount off the floor. Says gruffly, “I’ll get you water,” and feels old and tired and bruised, every last one of his scars throbbing dully, when Charles nods through muted tears. The firelight licks accusingly at his back as he goes to pour.

But when he turns back to the bed, Charles is sitting up, already looking better; looking rather as if he belongs there, in fact, a child-emperor in a throne made of pillows and down. “Thank you.”

Erik raises eyebrows.

Charles takes the pewter mug in both hands, cradling it securely. His voice scrapes like frayed ribbon: ripped around the edges, but peaceful for all that. “I feel...I don’t know how I feel. Good, I think. Was that...was it...I know I’ve not, before…”

“Are you asking whether you were good?” He could lie. Could say: no, my lord, I’ve had better in a dockside tavern; I don’t need ridiculous blue-eyed freckle-shouldered virgins; I don’t need you; I don’t love you…

He says, “Yes. You were.” His body’s singing, radiant in an exhausted kind of way. Good isn’t the word. The evening’s fading into true nighttime outside, the indigo-hued hours when balls and parties might be finally ending, genteel society rattling home in gilded carriages and starched taffeta, yawning and tipsy and dizzy from sparkling wine or too much brandy or too many dances under glittering chandeliers. In the jewel-box space of Erik’s bedroom, red-gold light paints naked skin and scattered smallclothes on the floor.

“Good, then.” Charles takes a sip of water. Looks up. His eyes really are astonishingly blue. “I’d hate to think I’d been terrible at it. Of course, I hate to be terrible at anything, but you—”

“What about me?”

“I wanted to make you happy,” Charles says, very earnestly, and Erik can’t help but snort because Charles hasn’t yet figured out that Erik and happiness hardly go hand in hand.

Charles narrows those spectacular eyes at him. “You’ve made me extremely happy. Many times this evening. I don’t get to return the favor?”

“You’re using me for research,” Erik says. “I’m giving you the benefit of my experience. Happy doesn’t enter into it, Charles.”

“Still not afraid of you,” Charles dismisses airily, and drinks half the mug of water. Erik brings over the pitcher this time. Charles inquires, “Might there be tea, my throat’s a bit…” and Erik’s ringing down to the kitchens before he even finishes the sentence, and then there’s quite a lot of silence while they mutually consider this reaction.

“I haven’t properly fucked you yet,” Erik says, sitting on the side of his own bed, robe undone, toes shoved under disheveled quilts for warmth. Charles, naked and shameless beside him, scoots over to make more room and then scoots back so they’re touching, skin to skin; and Erik says, “You do understand that, that we haven’t, not everything.”

Charles smiles at the fireglow and the blanket-hill over Erik’s toes and says, “Yes, I understand as much, I could stay a bit longer, perhaps. If you’ve more to show me.”

“I do. Stay the night.”

“I’ll have to send a message round to my sister’s townhouse—” Charles waves a hand. Leans in against Erik’s shoulder. Erik’s shoulder feels unaccountably warm, and it’s not even the shoulder facing the fireplace. “—but she’s used to me keeping odd hours, Oxford parties, poetical societies…she won’t even blink. Yes, all right. I’ll stay.”

Chapter Text

Poetry, Charles thinks lazily, tucked into a pirate’s body heat. Rhythm and rhyme, the oldest sort, embodied. Erik is a song: a sea-ballad on the surface, perhaps, lusty couplets clamoring with adventure and derring-do, but something else altogether underneath. Complex and difficult to discern, but worth the trying.

Night pools like temptation outside: black velvet, shadowed, secretive. Politics and aristocratic gossip, wealth and the fate of nations bartered in card-rooms and opera-houses. In here the fate of nations might’ve been decided by cannon-fire from a pirate’s heavy guns. Taking out a ship, plundering weapons, delaying delivery of much-needed provisions. Erik has scars both physical and not, Charles knows.

Erik, his pirate, has yet to harm him. Has attempted to intimidate and to overwhelm and to, yes, plunder. But not to harm.

He suspects that even Erik’s not sure why. He suspects, with all the self-aware arrogance of his title and his youth and his unblinking eroticism, that Erik enjoys his company, though perhaps Erik does not know this himself. Erik-the-pirate likes unexpected sensation, odd stolen darts of luxury: the townhome, that curry, these jewel-hued sheets, this gruff care.

Charles Xavier would very much like to know that man. The gemstone under spiky barnacles.

His body hums and tingles, awakened, weary but not yet worn out. Erik’s drawn extraordinary ecstasy from his bones, his cock, his secret recesses; from, it seems, the very heart of him. He’s never been afraid of a challenge; he’s written bawdy poetry about his own fat dildos, toys moving inside him on a morning ride.

Erik’s shown him more colors. More, and he’s well aware of the pun, depth.

Erik also hasn’t fucked him yet. Charles has had that magnificent prick in his mouth, rubbed across himself, even spurting onto him; but he wants more. He wants it all. He wants it all now.

He yawns, deliberately, and stretches. Fire-heat plays melodies in orange and gold across his skin, bathing freckles in fluid topaz.

Erik, who’s been sipping tea—strong but sweet, another curious indulgence, a desire to have everything he might’ve once been denied—and looking silently into the flames, snaps his gaze back in an instant. “Are we boring you, Charles? Tea and scones, is that not what you aristocrats enjoy?” The tone’s sharp as broken glass, but not necessarily breaking in Charles’s direction.

“As it happens, I do.” He moves the scone-plate to a side-table. The table’s carved from some exotic wood he can’t identify, swirled with leaping mermaids and mythical sea-creatures in bas-relief: the half-human, the preternatural, the powerful. “But I’ve had two scones and most of this pot of tea, and I thought you promised to show me everything you knew.”

Erik’s gaze kindles. Crackles with fascination like the watching fire. “Have you been disappointed thus far, boy?”

Charles raises an eyebrow. Refuses to show the sudden breathless ache. Not to be Charles Xavier, Viscount of Westchester and member of the House of Lords at the age of eighteen; not to be constantly self-guarding, checking his own immense power, the estates and the wealth and the careless words that might affect trade balances and investments; not to be anyone other than a pirate’s boy, kept on his knees or on his back, sun and tropical breezes and Erik’s hands on his skin, no choices lying heavy on his shoulders but only orders to spread his legs and be taken and claimed and wanted…

He loves the power some days. He loves playing chess with the world and thinking five steps ahead.

He has also been, in effect, doing so for a very long time: his stepfather had cared for nothing but the estate’s wealth, and his mother’s a topic best avoided. Some days he’s tired.

He writes scandalous poetry and flaunts his personal sensuality in public because that’s a safe kind of rebellion. He can horrify the elder statesmen, but he’s not unfit to run Westchester or the government. No one’ll argue that.

He says to Erik Lehnsherr, pirate and privateer, killer of men and boats and peace of mind, “I’m not disappointed yet, though if nothing more’s to transpire, I may rethink that answer; how much older are you than I am, again?”

Erik lets out a noise that’s very near a growl. Pounces. A teacup goes flying.

“Erik—”

“Someone’ll clean it up.” Erik’s got him flat on his back, wrists pinned to the bed. Charles licks his lips: Erik’s body’s hot and hard and male above him, mapped in stories and scars and taut muscle. His prick’s firming rapidly; arousal drenches the air, the scents of sex and curry and spice and good English tea and firelight mingle like a cocktail of aphrodisiacs. “You might want to rethink that statement. Delicate little flower of the nobility that you are.”

“I’m not.”

Erik’s eyes rest on his for a moment. Erik’s hands are hard on his wrists, and Charles lies on his back and gazes right back at him and not away. “No,” Erik says finally. “You’re not delicate. I don’t have words for what you are, Charles.”

“And that irritates you.”

“Irritations can be dealt with.” Erik rocks his body into Charles’s trapped one, slow, with purpose. Charles spreads legs helplessly, instinctively. “Is that what you want? You want me to fuck you, Charles? You want me to ruin you once more, all over, a pirate’s cock inside your hole, filling you up with me? What would you do if I wanted to do that, to keep you tied to this bed and stuffed with my seed, until it’s dripping out of you, until you’re so well-used and that pretty hole’s so loose that you can’t hold any more of me?”

Charles raises both eyebrows this time. “That’s quite a challenge given human anatomy. Are you prepared to live up to it?”

And Erik blinks, dumbfounded.

“Well, go on.” Charles wriggles a wrist in Erik’s grip. “I’m at your mercy, aren’t I? Then fuck me.”

“At my mercy.” Erik stares at him, expression midway between burning lust and strange disconcerted disconnect. “You’d take it, too. Everything I just promised to do to you. Everything I have done to you. You’ve had my hand inside you, my mouth, your mouth on my…you’d let me tie you up and use you like the filthiest of whores.”

“Yes.”

“While you couldn’t get away.”

“You’re a pirate,” Charles observes. “You said you’d teach me what you knew. Do you want me as your captive? Your slave? Your pleasure-boy? On my knees, bound and gagged, pleading for mercy—or enjoying the captivity?”

Erik’s expression changes. Charles suddenly thinks again of tropical breezes on a ship’s deck, and how swiftly those breezes can transmute to hurricanes. Gale-force.

And Erik has rope—what, Charles thinks dizzily, from where, dear god, he had that in the bedroom??—and the rope bites down around his wrists, his ankles; in no time and too many twisted piratical knots he’s bound to the headboard, wrists above his head, legs up and spread and tied there, hole exposed and still stretched from Erik’s earlier attentions, prick undeniably hard and pressed against his stomach. The rope’s black satin and thick, a presence and prescience of its own.

Perhaps he’s pushed too hard. Some unknown button. Some wound in the past. Erik’s angry, though the anger shimmers like rubies and iron: tinged with rue and self-loathing.

Erik brushes the end of the rope—tied into a large thick knot, and something dark and desirous twists in Charles’s gut at the sight and weight of it—across his lips. “I should gag you. That mouth. I should flog you, Charles, and then fuck you. The way a real pirate would. Before the mast. You’d learn what hurt is. You’d learn how it feels to be someone’s captive. You’d learn how to feel fear. When you offer yourself to me.”

“You’ve not hurt me yet.”

“Don’t mistake amusement for kindness.”

“Tea is kind. Teaching me is kind.”

“I sailed under Sebastian Shaw, remember. Is that what you’d learn from me?” Erik looms. He’s a shadow against leaping flames, slender as one of them, etched in scars and determined opacity. Shaw’s name—Shaw and the Hellfire, that black-edged infamous name and vessel—skewers the room with dread and holds up a sword and menaces the world, laughingly cruel.

Charles does not flinch. He’s heard of Shaw’s reputation. He knows what Shaw’s done to captives, to cabin boys. He can guess what’s lying under those words. But Erik is his pirate now. “If that’s what you wish to teach.”

“Some lessons cannot be unlearned.”

“But all knowledge is worth having. Oh—that ought to be the motto of our new Scientific Advancement Society, oughtn’t it…”

“A poet,” Erik says, “and a scientist.” Flat. Unyielding. Iron. But metals melt and bend when hot.

“You think you know me,” Charles says, folded nearly in two and bound and displayed like a holiday-banquet sweetmeat on Erik’s bed. Satin kisses his wrists, his ankles. His hole flutters, empty, open. “Just because I’m letting you do the favor of taking my virginity, don’t imagine you understand a thing about who I am, Captain Lehnsherr.”

Kneeling above him, Erik hesitates. Power and anger and long-ago injuries collide in confusion.

“So get on with it.” Charles wiggles a hand as best he can. “I’m still quite obviously happy to be here, and I rather like being your captive, for reasons of my own, so don’t assume I’m you, and please do fuck me, I’ve been wanting that inside me since I came home with you, I want to know how it feels.”

Erik’s bewilderment turns into a laugh: a short sharp bark of stunned sound. “Irritation, I called you.”

“I’ve been called worse.”

“Have you?” Sitting beside him, Erik stretches out a finger. Skims it lightly over Charles’s straining cock, then lower, a press against the opening of his body. Erik’s tone’s both curious and a curiosity: a flash of shark’s teeth fading under ripples of some other less identifiable water. “For your proclivities? Your poetry?”

“Among other things, yes.” Erik doesn’t need to know about his family. Even if that tone holds unanticipated undercurrents of protectiveness. Irritation, Charles thinks again. Erik will mock his inexperience and try to scare him, but will roar and thunder at anyone else who does so.

He finds that he rather likes this idea.

He says, testing, “It isn’t important.”

A muscle in Erik’s jaw jumps.

“What’s important is,” Charles clarifies helpfully, “your prick and my body and the one inside the other. Giving me the experience I pretend to, you said.”

“I did.” Erik’s finger stops teasing his rim and plunges in: a swift remorseless invasion. Charles, already wet and stretched and excited, takes him eagerly. “Will you write about this?”

“I doubt—oh—any words could capture this.” Or you. You, you, you, Charles thinks, shivering with half-incoherent pleasure, as more fingers slide into him. Two, three, perhaps even four: Erik does nothing by small measures. “Yes, that, there—please—"

“Such a polite boy.” Erik’s other hand’s stroking his own cock; long and thick, it stands upright and ready, head flushed and dripping. Charles wants to taste it, wants to feel it in his mouth and in his arse; it’s possibly larger than even his largest toy, and he’s mesmerized, staring.

“Mine,” Erik tells him softly. “My captive, you said. Careful, Charles; you’re giving yourself to the devil.”

“If I am—” He moans as Erik’s fingers twist and curl and stroke inside him. “—it’s my decision. My devil.”

“A bargain.” Erik bends to kiss him, and the moment shivers, oddly intimate: lips to lips, a meeting. A compact sealed; and after everything they’ve already done it shouldn’t reverberate to his soul, but it does, it does. He wants to touch his lips; he’s tied irrefutably in place.

Erik moves between his legs, not bothering to untie him. Murmurs, eyes wicked, “Your first time should be on your back, bound up for me, bent in two for me, so you can watch it, Charles, you can see it as I take you, you’d never flinch or look away…” and suits action to words: thick rigid member pressing against Charles’s slick hole, pressing in, pressing deep.

Charles forgets how to breathe. There’s no real pain, but a heaviness, a stretching, and he’s watching Erik’s shaft disappear as his body gives way and takes it inside, legs up over his head, and he’s dizzy and airless and dazed by pleasure, saturated in sensation and fullness…

He can’t think. Drunk on this: being stuffed and skewered and claimed by Erik’s cock.

Erik sinks into him without hurry but with inexorable relentlessness, not stopping until he’s buried to the hilt. Charles gazes in wonderment at himself—he took it all, inside his body—and then up at Erik, eyes wide, aware that he has no words, aware that this is not the same as an afternoon spent fucking himself brainless with a handheld leather toy; and he doesn’t know what Erik sees in his expression but those chilly piratical eyes soften with something like wondering surprise in turn.

And then Erik moves. Drawing back, plunging in again. Truly fucking him now, gathering speed, harder when Charles gasps and cries out “More—!” Erik gives him more. A proper pounding, a battering of his insides with that wonderful length and girth, over and over; Charles keens and moans and makes desperate noises, sounds falling from his mouth, his own arousal smearing wet across his stomach. His mouth’s open, panting.

He can’t touch his prick, bound as he is. He knows that he will come; he will come untouched, spilling over himself as his pirate fucks his spread-open captive body. This realization makes him shudder, makes him tighten and clamp down around that cock in a spasm of bliss. Erik groans and fucks him harder still, shifting angles slightly, just enough to send fireworks flaring behind his eyes, rainbow colors like celebratory festivals, bursting red and gold and brilliant and weightless.

“Charles Xavier,” Erik breathes, hands biting down on his hips, his thighs: bruising force, and Charles still cannot look away, body shaking, flying apart. Erik groans again and jerks inside him and stills; sudden wet heat floods his insides, Erik’s come, Erik’s release filling him up, he can feel it—and his entire self goes taut and radiant and singing, drowned in ecstasy for one glorious silvery moment.

He comes with a pirate’s cock spending itself inside him, with his wrists and ankles bound to that pirate’s headboard, without a hand caressing his shaft or balls; he comes with Erik whispering his name, and his climax spurts across his stomach, his chest, even up to his throat with the force of it, emptying himself while pinned and impaled and on display.

He’s only dimly aware of Erik murmuring other words, far-off old-sounding words, almost reverent, in another language. He’s languorous and suffused by liquid light; his limbs fall as they’re untied. Erik remains inside him, softening, slipping; Charles clenches mindlessly around the presence. Erik says something else, and strokes his hair; Charles makes a sound and closes his eyes, only for a moment.

He wakes briefly to find that he’s clean and bundled into equally clean blankets, with the long lean weight of a pirate on his left side, pressed up against him. Erik’s hand’s lying loosely over his heart; it startles when Charles opens eyes, but does not retreat, no doubt because retreat is never an option. Erik comments, “You surprise me, Charles.”

“Do I? I’m so very glad.”

Erik laughs.

Charles yawns and nestles further into shared warmth. “Tell me in what new manner I’ve managed to surprise a man who once captured a foreign warship by infiltrating it dressed as a prostitute…”

“It was a tactical decision—”

“And a tactical blue dress, was it?”

“Go back to sleep, boy.” Erik’s rubbing the thumb over his skin as if feeling Charles’s presence; Charles isn’t certain he knows he’s doing so. “You should rest.”

“I am,” Charles agrees, because he is, “and you haven’t answered me.”

“You are—” Erik stops. Charles can’t see his face. “Was it… was that…of course it was what you wanted. What you needed me for. I trust it was satisfactory.”

“More than,” Charles says around another yawn, “but you know that, or you ought to, it was splendid. I may never let you go; I don’t see how I can possibly go back to mere toys after that…though perhaps toys and you…”

“You would keep me.” More curiosity, entertained, something less readily defined. “As your object of pleasure.”

“Mmm. Haven’t decided yet. But perhaps I shall.” He puts his hand over Erik’s, curling fingers around mildly startled long ones. Erik allows this. “Have I surprised you again?”

“I hadn’t meant to…I did not say I was surprised…and even if I did I meant that you did close your eyes after all. Not observing every moment. Unlike you, Charles.”

“In my defense, I was a bit overwhelmed,” Charles says, and stretches to nudge Erik’s leg with his toes, “and therefore we’ll just have to do it all again. Repeated experiments. Replication of results.” He’ll let the deflection stand for now. Erik had been surprised, yes. By something other than Charles. Something personal, perhaps, fiercely guarded and vulnerable. Something tender and new or rediscovered. Spoken in those hushed unknown words.

He adds drowsily, “We could even deploy your tactical dress in the bedroom, and also I’m not averse to wearing a corset, now go to sleep,” and Erik nibbles at his ear and rumbles, low as a panther purr and cozy as a house-pet, “We’ll talk about corsets and dresses, and you going without drawers underneath, in the morning, sweet boy.”

 

Chapter Text

Two weeks later. Two weeks and six hours later. Erik can feel his own heart beating in a way he’d only known on a ship’s deck with a gun pointed at his former master: reckless, desperate, bold, seizing a chance that might never come a second time. Charles sighs, and nuzzles a kiss into his shoulder. Erik takes a vise-grip on self-control.

They’re lying naked in his bed again, Charles having spent the night. Charles has, to be more accurate, spent the previous night with variations on Erik’s fingers and Erik’s cock and a fat leather dildo and a French china consolateur shoved into his delectable hole and mouth, sometimes in multiple combinations. It’s a good look on him, Erik’s decided: stuffed to the brim, moaning, covered in his own release. Charles, being Charles, is fearless, of course.

Two weeks ago Charles had left his townhouse on a drizzle-grey afternoon, mist not like sorrow but like enchantment, sparkling in indrawn breaths. Charles had said, smiling, will I meet you again, Captain? At a poetry reading, perhaps?

Erik had said, I don’t go out in Society, boy. Erik had shut the door on him. Erik had shut the door on his own heart. Charles Xavier’s a member of the aristocracy and a teenage lord and a sweetly imperious brat who no doubt had expected a retired privateer to jump to his tune. To attend his poetry readings.

Charles knows who and what he is. Charles has always known.

He’d read in the paper eight days previously that Charles Xavier, Viscount Westchester, had stood up in Parliament and argued for the rights of prisoners. For the abolition of hulking jail-ships, and for better kinder treatment of convicts, in particular those who’d stolen or broken indentures out of vital need. For commutation of sentences, work instead of transportation or chains in a floating tomb. Among those convicted prisoners were several former pirates: specifically, men who’d been press-ganged into the Navy, deserted, and been caught.

Erik Lehnsherr, retired privateer, will never have a voice in Society. Charles Xavier does, and uses it.

Charles is an idealist and a romantic, he’s concluded. He’s concluded this over and over. The façade of Society will fall someday. The pragmatists will be around to witness it.

And yet: he wishes he’d seen that. The teenage lord of Westchester taking a stand. Believing. Full of hope.

Charles kisses him again, quiet and affectionate. Erik does not want affection. Erik does not deserve affection. Charles—

He says, “You’re a whore at heart, aren’t you, boy? One of those dockside convenients, a tawdry petticoat, spreading your legs for sailors so they’ll fill you up.”

“Yes,” Charles says, unrepentant, “I quite like sex with you too, Erik.”

“You’re wrong about that bill. They’ll never pass it. Prison-ships’re too convenient.”

“Ah, we’re talking politics with your cock in my arse.” Charles wriggles. “Of course they’re convenient. They’re also bloody dangerous—to the prisoners and to everyone, fire hazards, disease, contaminated water—and it’s a cruelly old-fashioned practice in any case. The Lords—”

“Don’t give a damn about health and safety of the lower class. You know that. Stay put.” He comes back with a Chinese cock ring, this one mostly decorative: imported ludicrously expensive blue-and-white porcelain. It fits neatly onto Charles’ prick, encircling the base; when he strokes, bringing the shaft toward firmness—Charles has spent himself once this morning, but can certainly manage more—the restriction clearly hurts. Charles shivers.

And says, looking down at himself, “I rather like that one. Artistic. Did you buy it for me?”

“No,” Erik says. He hadn’t; it’d been part of a cargo he’d seized, though he’d forgotten he’d had it: he’d gone looking through chests for toys, while Charles had been sleeping. “Do you expect presents, brat?”

“From you?” Charles raises an eyebrow: dark sarcasm over blue seas. “Don’t even much-used bits of muslin get presents, sometimes? No, though; you’ve made your position very clear. Many times over. I’m planning to argue that the safety concerns which affect harbor conditions, workers, and consequently the income we rely on should be enough to advocate change. Will that be enough?”

“For some. Not all.” He doesn’t like the idea that Charles is amused by the question of presents. He does not like being predictable. He does not like Charles thinking that he wouldn’t—that he would—

He’s aware he’s lost that thought in confusion.

He knows nothing about what one might buy for a barely-of-age viscount poet who drops to his knees like a halfpenny market-molly, and enjoys it. He suspects that Charles could give him suggestions.

Yesterday morning he’d wanted to see Charles. A whim. A desire. His little viscount hadn’t called upon him or written, and Erik Lehnsherr would not be so easily forgotten. Erik Lehnsherr had had Charles Xavier; Charles had been his, he’d thought. Erik’s surprising irritating beautiful clever virgin, in Erik’s bed.

Charles could not have forgotten him. No. He’s not a conquest. He’s a captain.

Charles had called him Captain in bed, teasing, meeting him challenge for challenge.

He’d gone out, crankily, telling himself he only wanted a new pair of boots. He had paid various servants, through a network of connections, to ask about where Viscount Xavier might be likely to appear, and had discovered an appointment at Hoby’s, because Charles needed boots, and therefore Erik did too.

Charles had been leaning against the doorframe when he’d arrived: a hatless and sun-dusted idle nobleman, dressed in a spruce-green coat and impeccable footwear. Clouds bustled overhead: light and shadow chasing each other. He’d said, if you’d wanted to know you could’ve simply not closed your door on me.

Erik had answered, heart queerly shaken, resonating to the tips of his toes, where would be the fun in that, Charles?

They’d gone home to Erik’s townhouse together. Had made love, and drunk wildly expensive brandy, and argued about spying on each other, and made love again.

He says, “You’ll need a rallying-point. A moment. A dramatic spectacle that proves what you want it to prove.”

“I’m not setting fire to a raft of prison-ships to demonstrate their flammability,” Charles answers, but in a way that means he’s been thinking about it. “Too risky. Too many lives which might be lost.”

“How many would be acceptable loss?”

“None, thank you.”

“Assuming that’s realistically not possible—”

“But what if it were?”

“That isn’t how the world works,” Erik says, half annoyed, half…some other emotion. Something he can’t quite name. “You know that as well as I do. Spread those legs, boy. Hold them up for me.”

Charles does, obligingly. Not obediently: no, Charles listens because he wants this for himself, what Erik can give him. What only Erik has given him.

Charles’ boots, flawlessly polished, lie in a heap on the floor. One of them’s tipped over, leaning on the other. Curious, watching, but calm about it.

Erik slips fingers, slick with oil, into Charles; Erik angles those fingers and adds more and slips his whole hand into Charles, a fist, as that pretty hole opens up and takes it, blossoming around him. Charles gasps and moans and shudders, body clenching and loosening, rocking against Erik’s hand, Erik’s wrist. He begins looking dazed: inundated by sensation, impaled, as the fist moves inside his body. He whimpers, head falling back, cock leaking slow but endless, milking streams from his youthful reservoirs. Those lovely eyes grow unfocused, distracted by bliss; Erik fist-fucks him, crude and cruel and full of exquisite pleasure, until he’s sure Charles is near-mindless with it, twitching and sobbing, bewildered by ecstasy.

This, he thinks, this is how the world works: control and command and the ravages of pirates. Is it not?

Charles whispers his name, trembling, spasming around his hand, hot and wet with oil, buried deep inside.

Erik slips his hand free at last, considering the sight: his little viscount, not yet nineteen and yet among the most vibrant voices in Parliament; his Charles, ruined and despoiled and wet with exertions, hole stretched and loose; his Charles, who asked him a question—what if?—and who chooses to answer that question for himself, every day.

Charles’ eyelashes flutter, and open; he’s near sleep, thoroughly debauched and delicious. He has freckles, Erik observes, incongruous flecks that paint aristocrat-fair skin like raw cinnamon and gilt.

He murmurs, “My pirate.”

“I plan to fuck you,” Erik tells him. “In the filthiest terms possible, the language pirates use for whores, I want to fuck you, Charles, like this. Whether you’re tired or not, whether you can come again wearing this—” He taps the china cock-ring. “—or not, whether you’re even awake or not, it won’t matter. I want you to know what I’m planning to do to you. It’s what you want, isn’t it? To be used. To know everything. To know what that feels like, being my toy to despoil.”

“Whether I’m awake or not,” Charles echoes, marginally more so now, speculative.

“As I said.” He hasn’t moved. He does not know why he hasn’t yet moved.

“Yes,” Charles says. “Was that what you wanted? Yes, you can. Teach me. Use me. Show me what you would do with me, if you captured me. A member of the nobility. Wealthy. Powerful. Young. Innocent. At your mercy. Why do you think I let you know where I’d be?”

“Remarkably not innocent,” Erik reminds him, “at this point. Boy.” 

Charles actually stretches a leg upward, deliberate. “Have I ever been? Only inexperienced. Hardly the same.”

“No,” Erik says. “No, it isn’t. Were you giving me permission, just now? In that tone?”

“Do you need it?”

That question hits the air, and hangs there, and slides down like honey into afternoon tea: golden and bright.

To avoid it, he shoves Charles over onto his stomach, face-down, arse up and already primed from the fist he’s had up there; the position keeps Charles vulnerable, ringed cock rubbing against sheets and mattress. Charles moans.

Erik kneels behind him. Trails a finger down his spine.

What if. What if—

He has extravagant wealth, rivaling if not exceeding his teenage viscount’s. He has no Society standing nor introductions to make, but he does have other contacts. Men and women he’s met in the course of his particular life. Sharp-edged shadows who’d do a lot for coin, or for a kind of hardbitten loyalty to a prosperous former captain. Charles is wrong about acceptable losses, but Charles might not come back to this townhouse if—

He thinks about arson, and guards who might be bribed, and a single prison-ship which might be emptied in the dead of night, and gifts to be given, and a spectacle delivered.

He pushes his cock into Charles, who quivers under him. Charles will be sore, no doubt. Will enter the next debate, the next proposal session in the House of Lords, feeling him. Knowing him.

Charles moans again, soft and broken and needy, and shifts on the bed: turns his head, cheek pressed to scarlet satin. Erik fucks him harder, a deeper shove into well-used oil-slick heat; Erik leans down over him, thrusting into him, and their eyes meet.

Charles’ lips part, soundless. Erik can’t look away, and they hold each other, caught that way, on the brink.

Chapter Text

“This is not,” Charles hisses, “part of the terms of our arrangement!” Erik’s hand doesn’t lift from his wrist; Charles pulls against the grip, glares, wonders whether to try harder. “You don’t get to—to—”

“Save your life?” Erik’s fingers bite down on his arm, but release just as Charles begins seriously debating a few less gentlemanly maneuvers; Erik doesn’t want to hurt him. Erik doesn’t want him hurt.

Erik does shove him unceremoniously toward the bed upon letting go, hard enough that someone not expecting as much might’ve fallen. Erik’s eyes get a bit surprised when Charles catches balance effortlessly, but continue snapping back. “Save your virtue? Your body? Or would you prefer I’d left you in that rat’s nest of—”

“Of pirates and whores and privateers?” Charles crosses arms: shorter than the angry, yes, pirate glowering above him, and aware of it. Aware as well of his disheveled hair, his working-class attire, the splash of gin upon one shoulder. He raises an eyebrow, not needing to finish: that rat’s nest, that tavern, full of men like you?

“You don’t care that you—” Erik turns, paces: abrupt dramatic motions, a Gothic-novel hero wracked by frustrations. “What would you have done if I hadn’t—”

“If you hadn’t shown up and hauled me away from my informants?” Charles kicks off battered boots. He’s likely to be here a while, overnight if the dangerous glint in Erik’s eyes is any indication. He knows as well as Erik does that the spark will catch fire: the two of them together combust and explode and become firework glory.

Which doesn’t mean he’s conceding without a fight. “I talk to people, you understand.” You idiot, suggests his inflection; Erik’s growl confirms it’s landed. “How do you think I win half of my arguments in Parliamentary sessions? Both the practical knowledge and the illicit.”

“The—”

“What people want. And what I can use to secure votes.” He scowls, yanks off his waistcoat—still decent enough quality, he’s a fan of his own comfort, but a year or so out of fashion. He’s not in disguise, and everyone he speaks to knows his identity; he’s established himself as a member of the gentry but a supportive one, an outsider who’ll nevertheless take concerns to the House floor. “And, for your information, I fence. And box. And practice gymnastic arts.”

“Gentleman’s sports—” Erik pauses. “Gymnastics?”

Charles, now in the irritating position of having revealed a piece of his past without an alternate explanation, deflects with a half-truth. “It’s very handy for sneaking in and out of windows.” Erik doesn’t need to know why, or what family unpleasantries he’d been avoiding, as a boy. “And what were you doing in that tavern? You’ve already burned down one prison-ship; were you plotting further arson?”

Erik’s eyes narrow. “You could say thank you. No one died. You got your votes.”

“Some people bring posies. You didn’t answer me.”

“I’m not here,” Erik rumbles, and lean strength’s abruptly pinning him down against the bed, bending him back, conquering belated struggles with ease, “to answer your questions, boy. Did you forget?”

“I’m—”

“A pirate’s boy.” Erik’s hands pull at his shirt: over his head, but then down, immobilizing his arms. Charles struggles; remains caught. “Which is why you’re here. You, with all that vaunted fencing and boxing prowess…surely you’d not be here if you didn’t want to, then, Viscount Charles Xavier. You know you’re mine.”

Charles, despite the ludicrous restraint of his own shirt, tilts his chin up. “And yet you followed me.”

Erik does not appear to have an answer, only another growl. His expression’s as unyielding as it’d been while dragging Viscount Xavier from a gin-soaked tavern, giving terse orders to a shadow-figure with ruddy skin, hauling Charles into the summoned carriage. They’d made it all the way back to Erik’s townhome and up to the bedroom in very noisy silence.

This bedroom’s familiar. Lavish and opulent, but known now, holding no mysteries. Carved heavy wood and magenta silk don’t intimidate, merely smile.

And Erik’s hands, while rough, don’t harm him.

Charles, smiling too, hides the expression in his shoulder, in the duck of a head; when he looks back up he’s careful to wear insouciant defiance and invitation. “So you’ve proven you can manhandle me. Well done.”

“You enjoy that.” A statement, not a question; the pause in action gives the hesitation away.

“I do,” Charles agrees. “Are you planning to ensure I don’t? Do you, in fact, plan to punish me?”

Erik starts to answer, stops. His smile grows, which is hardly reassuring. “You have no conception—”

“Of what I’m asking? I rather think I do.” He glances at the side table and the silver tray which’d anticipated their arrival, and adds, “Unless you’d rather simply sit down and have tea. Like a gentleman.”

Erik moves. Charles, who had indeed asked for it, ends up breathless, trousers and smallclothes around his ankles, hands neatly tied behind his back with the remains of his shirt, bent over the bed. The coverlet murmurs satin promises to his skin; he knows this bed. His body shivers, sings, rises to further attention; his cock’s pressed between his stomach and the satin, which drags pleasantly when he moves. Air whispers over his bared arse and thighs; the vulnerability makes him quiver even as it excites him, that low pooling heat in his gut. He is Erik’s boy, his pirate’s boy, here and now.

That thought fills up his head. Stiffens his prick. Makes him rub against the mattress.

Erik’s hand presses him flatter. “Stay put.”

Charles twists his head around. “What’re you doing?”

Erik mutters something inaudible that sounds both amused and irritated. “Did you not hear me?”

“Oh, I did. Did you just ring for service?”

“Stay put, Charles.”

He can’t see the door from his position; he’s in the bedchamber, not the sitting area, and he wonders how much of himself will be visible to the servant who answers; he wonders this with mingled dread and humiliation and shameful hot arousal, Viscount Xavier with pants at his ankles, tied in place, arse up.

Erik crosses the room, gives low-voiced instructions, seems unbothered by the scene. Erik’s servants are well-trained and loyal and don’t bat an eye; they never have, and this one’s no exception. Erik waits, is handed something at the door, closes it with a quiet word.

“What’re we—”

“Charles.” Erik’s hand lands on the back of his neck. “You’re in enough trouble already.”

Charles’s cock, which does not mind the idea of trouble, stiffens further. Traitorous body.

“Here.” Erik holds out something. It looks like a root; Charles regards it with first bewilderment and then rapidly dawning shock. Erik raises eyebrows. “So you know what I’m planning.”

“I’ve read—” He cuts himself off. Those pirate eyes’re far too entertained. “Is this part of your further experimenting with me and spice?”

“I hadn’t intended it to be, but it certainly is.” Erik’s produced a giant knife from thin air. Is peeling and carving ginger: slow, unhurried, portentous, letting the visual and the scent and the movement of hands build together. “What precisely have you read, again?”

“No doubt the same scandalous literature you have. That’s not going to fit.”

“It is,” Erik says calmly, and considers him: Charles hasn’t moved other than to peek up, and they both understand that. Erik carves away another tiny sliver, watches his face, smiles.

They begin.

Erik tells him he deserves a spanking. For recklessness, for carelessness, for having a pert mouth and not listening. Charles takes a breath, meets Erik’s gaze, lets the moment hang on a knife-point. Nods.

Erik comes to stand behind him. Charles shivers. His hole, plugged full of ginger, clenches; fresh fiery juices make him whimper, which in turn makes him tremble more: pain and pleasure blend and build upon each other, deliciously spiced humiliation and degradation and submission. In this moment he’s Erik’s to use, to chastise, to play upon; he’s chosen this, and the knowledge of his own complicity makes him moan.

Erik’s hand lands across his bare backside. It’s hard. Erik’s not holding back. And brightness blossoms like new fire from the impact.

Erik spanks him again, and again: unwavering and steady as a metronome, no words, only implacable correction and conquering, unbearable repetition, over and over. Charles at first moans aloud, then tries to arch up into each strike, then starts losing voluntary response. He’s squirming under Erik’s hands, writhing against the thick cruel weight of searing ginger root in his arse, sobbing while his face rubs against Erik’s lush royal-purple bed-linens. His world dwindles and then billows outward like a tropical zephyr: the movements and contractions of his body, the helpless dripping stiffness of his cock, the maddening tease of the bed against him, the heat inside him, and above all the endless succession of spanks that rain down, turning his body liquid and malleable as molten metal; yes, melting him, he thinks, though he’s not thinking so much as dreaming, hallucinating, floating in velvet crimson dark.

He’s crying. His hips twitch, thrusting his cock into Erik’s bed. He feels good. He does not want this feeling to stop; he wants to stay happily like this forever; and yet he also feels a growing tension, a need, a low ache between his thighs, craving some sort of relief. He whines, wriggling in place.

“Oh, Charles.” That voice comes low and entertained, but laced with some other emotion, perhaps affectionate, perhaps wistful; Charles is too far gone to distinguish. “My little whore, aren’t you, Charles. A viscount begging for a pirate to redden your cheeks, to shove a cock up your arse. You’d be on your knees for me anywhere, wouldn’t you? Here. On board a ship, on deck, out in the open. In Hyde Park, if I took you respectably riding someday, where all the gentlemen go. If I told you to bend over for me right there in public you’d do it.”

Charles, lightheaded, not entirely processing, sobs and squirms. He’s stuffed full and it hurts, freshly peeled fat ginger doing its work inside him; he needs more, though he’s not sure if he wants agony or kindness, a pinch to the head of his cock or a lingering stroke. He loves sensation, always has, gained a reputation on it: words and poetry and luxurious eroticism. This is sensation, and it overruns his senses in glorious streams of ecstasy.

Erik grips his hips. Moves him, maneuvers him, turns him over. Charles, deprived of bed to rut against, throbbing arse brushing the counterpane, cries. Erik runs a hand over him, shoulder to thigh, soothing as one might a frightened pony, a creature of animal instinct. Charles’s head lolls against Erik’s shoulder; Erik covers his eyes briefly.

Erik’s fingertips touch his cock, the head of his cock, where he’s so slick with his own desire. At first he thinks Erik’s going to bring him off that way, to draw him inexorably to completion; but no.

No, something’s pressing—god, into his cock, into the slit, something small and slim and—

And it burns, it’s more ginger, Erik’s stuffed his arse and his cock with ginger, and suddenly he’s struggling, sobbing, thrashing; it scours and it scorches and it lights delicate flesh from the inside; and he no longer knows where he is, lost and flailing and bewildered, drowning in heat and hurt and radiant rhapsodies of unimagined intensity.

Erik holds him while he spasms and struggles and eventually calms. His body’s grown heavy, almost lethargic. He drifts: the waves of sharp-edged spice come and go, washing through him. He cannot make words, only small incoherent noises; his mouth’s open and slack. He nestles into Erik’s hold.

Erik sets him back on the bed. Recommences spanking.

Existence fades. Becomes purely the bed and the darkness behind closed eyes and the washes of fire. He’s rocking in place, mindlessly; he is meant for this, yes, right here. Under Erik’s hands. This is right. This is good. Himself and Erik, who makes him feel.

The climax, if it is one, catches him by surprise, a tightening convulsion that feels like a peak, sudden and sharp and singing; but he relaxes again after, dreamily. He grunts softly when Erik’s hand meets the center of his arse, driving ginger deeper; he spreads legs as far as he can, bound by his clothes.

After some time Erik says again, hushed, “Charles,” and the spanking pauses; one hand touches his face. Erik’s weight shifts, leans above him; Erik’s breath quickens, and there’s a sound of skin on skin, quick rough strokes. Charles learns what this is when Erik comes, when hot jets of fluid land across his bare back and aching backside.

Covered in Erik’s come, body wet with it, cock plugged and ginger in his hole, he squirms against the bed, in the wetness of his own leaking desire, frustrating against tender skin; it is sweet.

Erik lifts his hips, slips a hand around his cock, takes hold of the carved bit resting inside him. The motion makes it stir; Charles cries with fresh anguish.

“Like this,” Erik says, with a note almost like anguish too, gentle as revelation and leather whips; and draws the bit of ginger from his cock.

Charles comes. He comes without thought, without awareness: one instant he’s floating languorously, body stopped on the brink, and the next he’s spilling himself in a gush of fluid, balls drawn up, cock pulsing whiteness out across Erik’s bed. His body moves, ruts into the mess of himself, rocks in place dazedly; he keeps coming and coming, so much, simply pouring forth with no conscious control. The ginger in his arse twists and pumps, Erik fucking him with it. Charles makes broken babbling noises and spurts again, weak drops from his poor abused cock, which burns from ginger and from stretching, and yet he craves that, craves more, dribbles more release.

Erik runs a hand over his fire-scorched backside. Pinches sensitized flesh. Hard.

Charles screams, hips jerking, and tumbles into darkness. Not quite unconsciousness—he’s vaguely aware of Erik touching him, stroking him, saying words—but a sort of distant fugue state, overwhelmed, mind gone dark and empty and blessedly dim.

He’s not Viscount Xavier, teenage politician and aristocrat and manipulator of Parliament. He’s not Charles the disreputable flamboyant poet, scandalous reputation carefully cultivated. He’s not required to be anything.

He’s merely required to be. To be Erik’s. To be free.

He wanders safe and weightless and cared for, his body ceaselessly fondled and caressed and painstakingly emptied of every last drop of release, in the gentle dark.

He wakes up some time later, naked in Erik’s bed, which has been tactfully cleaned. He’s certainly had a bath, probably while the cleaning occurred, and something wonderfully cool’s easing his backside, a salve or cream; he feels drowsy and exhausted but oddly clear, purified, perhaps, or annealed. The first color his eyes focus on is red; “Red,” he says.

Erik, who has been sitting against the headboard with Charles’s head in his lap, tenses with reaction. A slim book of poetry—with a very recognizable gilt-edged name along the spine—drops to the mattress. “Charles—!”

“Your dressing-gown. Red.”

“Yes…I like red. You’re awake.” This is Erik regaining self-control, the lazy ruthless pirate-captain veneer; but Charles has the memory of that first frantic relief, the tremble in Erik’s voice saying his name.

He smiles. He tries to move. He gasps.

“Stay still.” Erik guides him into place. “Don’t disturb that ointment. It’s good for you.”

“No argument.” He yawns. “That was…certainly edifying.”

“Not the word I’d choose.”

“Really? I would. Enjoyably edifying, mind you. Perhaps there’s a poem in there, about uses for ginger.”

“Charles,” Erik says.

“Impersonal,” Charles says, “or at any rate I’d leave you—us—out of it, I wouldn’t—I couldn’t do it justice. Everything I felt. With you.” Too immense. Too splendid. Too intimate. Himself and his pirate, who takes such care to give him what he needs.

Erik nods. It’s a nod, and an expression, that on anyone else might’ve betrayed hesitance or vulnerability. Erik Lehnsherr will never be anything less than dangerous, and vulnerability only makes him more so.

Erik’s hand’s resting in his hair. Erik’s been watching over him, petting him, soothing him.

“Next time,” Charles suggests brightly, “you can simply come with me. To the docks, or the taverns. Then you won’t have to catch up to me.”

“Next time.”

Charles gives him a smile, plus a head-tilt that’s a shrug, which not incidentally nudges Erik’s hand into more hair-petting.

“Next time,” Erik repeats, and that’s a sigh but it’s also a smile, glinting clear as day. “Go back to sleep, boy. Rest. You could use it.”

“Read to me,” Charles requests, curling closer to his pirate, head still in Erik’s lap. “Your favorite of them. I’d like to know.”

 

Chapter Text

Charles stays the night. Charles stays the following night. Charles stays the night after that.

Neither of them makes mention, in fact, of Charles going back to his own townhome, that cool slim palatial elegance with an address among the most fashionable in the City. Erik has not been inside. Charles, he has noticed upon previous occasions, seems to prefer not to spend time there: out at poetry readings, drinking in clubs, scribbling decadent verses under trees in parks with sunshine on his hair and rivers glinting blue beside him. The townhome is, of course, an inherited property, along with the Westchester estate; Erik does not know what to do with this information.

He senses it might be important. He tucks it carefully away. He could ask Charles outright. He does not, because he does not care, he has no reason to care, he is enjoying Charles and using Charles and indulging Charles, the whims of a nobleman who likes a bit of rough, and if Charles does not speak of his home or his family, if Charles might flinch and betray a wound if Erik speaks of it, if Erik himself does not wish to see that brilliant firework brightness falter because the thought of such is unthinkable—

He does not speak. Because he does not care that much. He scowls at his mirrored reflection and tells it so. His reflection says nothing, only smiles, because Charles is stirring in bed and waking up and inquiring in that ludicrous plush accent about the possibility of tea.

Charles stays, and Society raises eyebrows and murmurs in low voices—the young Viscount Xavier on an extended visit with that pirate, the two of them alone, a pirate’s hired household scarcely counts, imagine the corruption. Charles simply laughs. Two men together is not unheard of, even arranged on occasion for political alliance; Charles has the shield of his eccentric poet’s reputation and his title. Erik, annoyed that Charles seems unbothered by his own detractors and simultaneously unwilling to seem bothered either, resolves this mental contradiction by pouring them both excessive amounts of horrifyingly expensive brandy, bending Viscount Xavier over across a brass-bound sea-trunk, and fucking Charles until neither of them can see straight, lost in brandy-soaked kisses and slick heat and pounding thrusts.

Until Charles is moaning and sobbing in delirious tipsy ecstasy, having come and come again, Erik’s cock and subsequently fingers and toys shoved up inside him as he sprawls bent over the trunk, no longer even holding up his own weight, shuddering and sweat-drenched.

Until the world dwindles to one certainty: bodies and climaxes and Charles being his.

Charles Xavier has never been anyone else’s, a virgin in Erik’s bed. This is a truth, diamond-edged and real. Erik knows about jewels. Knows how valuable they are, how ripe for plunder they can be, and how hard they can cut.

Charles airily requests Earl Grey with breakfast and befriends Erik’s servants. This includes Azazel, Erik’s old first mate and current general solver of many and varied problems. Erik catches him with an armful of books one day, and inquires. Azazel says, as if the answer’s self-explanatory, “Charles was wishing for some of the scientific romances from his own library, yesterday.”

Erik narrows eyes. Charles had said so, yes, but it’d been an idle mention, half-dismissed: I’ve not read the Cavendish in some time, I was remembering a passage about utopias… Erik had distracted him with physical inquiries about perfect worlds and where to discover them and how best to work with one’s hands.

“I’ll just go and put these in your bedroom,” Azazel says, shouldering pointedly past his employer. Erik stands in place and watches him go, bemused.

Charles Xavier, he concludes, is dangerous. Charles is dangerous like an underwater reef, an unmarked shoal, shallow deceptively clear tropical seas. Charles glints with passion like sunlight on tides, and dazzles like horizons, and contains hidden hooks and snags that catch and pull away unwary bottoms of boats. Water rushes in, and the wreck’s inevitable, tangled upon reaching arms.

Charles has freckles along his arms. They glint in sunlight too. Erik touches them with fingertips, with tonguetip, while Charles lies blindfolded and again half-drunk because Erik has—consensually; Charles could’ve said no, but instead laughed at the challenge every time Erik held the glass to his mouth—plied him with alcohol, enough to keep a scandalous teenage viscount lazy and languid, loose and supple as Erik fondles him, teases him, idly maps and conquers his body.

The freckles do not taste of cinnamon and gold, though they should; they are the right colors for it, shimmering over cream.

The morning after the extensive brandy-drenched debauchery, Erik awakens first; Charles groans in protest and tries to cuddle back into his warmth. Erik should not find this adorable.

“Up,” he says firmly. One blue eye opens to glare at him.

Erik raises eyebrows. “Bath.”

“Tea?”

“Up, Charles.”

Charles sighs, but offers a hand: assist me, then. As a gentleman might to a valet. Or as a languorous lover might to a demanding beloved.

Erik drags him to his feet. Wraps one large hand around both slim wrists, keeping them at the small of Charles’ back. Wraps the other hand around Charles’ half-mast morning-happy cock. Tugs. Ah. Response. Well trained, by now.

Charles gasps, “Erik—” but walks when Erik pushes him ahead, takes fumbling steps under rough command. His cock grows flushed and dark and begins dripping copiously, clear fluid beading up at the tip; he whimpers when Erik presses a thumb to his slit, cups his balls, encircles his base. When Erik’s hand shifts, pressing firmly and inexorably over wiry hair and tensed muscle, Charles moans faintly, hips jerking away.

“What is it,” Erik says, though he knows.

“I need—” Charles breaks off, cheeks flushed as well. “You know. You know.”

“You need the convenience, boy? The necessary room, perhaps?” He rubs the hand in place: heat and caresses. Over Charles’ groin, over what must be a heavy ache of needing to relieve himself.

Charles actually swears at him, a bitten-off aristocratic burst of filthy words.

“Shh,” Erik tells him, voice a velvet promise. “I do know. Did you forget, boy, that you’re my captive?”

Charles whimpers again at the words. He’s trying so hard, being so good; but the morning’s bodily demands and the previous night’s brandy have done their work too well. He’s shivering in Erik’s grip, not resisting but entirely focused on not losing control, desperate, breathing quickly. They’re both naked. Quite so.

Erik’s bathing-room is one of a kind. He’s rather proud of it. He’d had parts of the design copied from Roman baths, part from Turkish ones; the plunge-pool in the center’s deep enough to swim in, likely over Charles’ head, and heated by a boiler in the basement. The walls gleam, simple spotless white marble a statement on their own. The shower-bath in the corner’s the very newest design, from the same manufacturer who’d set up the infamous luxuries at Wimpole Hall; it’s twelve feet high, all gleaming pipes and pumps to draw water from the basin to the showerhead and release it in a fall of rain. The water won’t stay hot forever—it has to be heated elsewhere, and even hot stones and such will only last so long—but Erik has paid a great deal of money to be kept appraised of further developments in this area.

He’s spent a lifetime without such luxuries. Here and now, he can afford them. He sees no reason not to indulge. Besides—Charles seems to approve.

Charles doesn’t talk about the Westchester estate, either, the same way he doesn't talk about the townhome. He’s a good landlord—Erik’s picked that up over the fleeting weeks they’ve known each other, notes answered immediately, disputes settled, monies dispatched to families in need—but an absentee one.

Someday perhaps Charles will tell him. Erik wants to know everything—everything, about Charles, about his Charles—but can be patient. He’s good at patient.

And he doesn’t care. Of course he doesn’t. He merely wants to know.

Charles, on the other hand, has been trying very hard—literally so—to achieve patience. Is losing the battle, though, his need too evident, distress in enormous eyes, prick hot and damp in Erik’s grip. He groans, twitches; another drop slips free, evidence of desperation. “Erik—Erik, please—”

“A bit longer.” He coaxes Charles down the steps, across the room. He wants to see this. Wants to revel in it: this most intimate abject surrender. Charles will give even this to him.

“I can’t—” Charles’s eyes are wet. “I can’t, Erik—this—I have to—please—”

“You can’t?” He stops, steadies Charles with hands on his shoulders. “You don’t want to? Or you don’t think you can wait any longer?”

“That—I’m—” Charles blinks back tears. His cock’s rock-hard between slender milk-pale thighs: arousal, embarrassment, need. “I want to, Erik, if you’re telling me to, if it’s—I said I want to know and I—”

“Then you’ll wait until I say.” He gets them walking again, though. Charles sounds close to breaking, and that’s not the point; the point is for Erik to see him, for Charles to lose this last virginal shyness and embrace even this facet of desire. Erik loves that moment, the moment when Charles falls from innocence to knowingness, the bloom of comprehension. He’s had Charles so many ways, so many times, by now; each new awakening remains a delight.

They manage the final steps to the shower, the two of them aligned together beneath the arch of the pipes, the folds of the heavy curtain. The copper of the tub is cool and welcoming. Charles sobs, hips lifting, movement unbidden. Erik’s hand’s relentless, fondling his base, his shaft. Toying, teasing. Every touch must be agony by now to over-stimulated nerves, too full.

Erik braces Charles against his body. Slips his other hand down between the twin moon-pale curves of that graceful backside. Finds that ring of muscle, no longer virginal, no, stretched and swollen and thoroughly despoiled, used by Erik’s hands and lips and cock and toys in every conceivable manner.

Charles is still lingeringly slick and loose from the previous night’s penetration, muscles fluttering vainly, trying to clench. Erik thrusts fingers in, no mercy, and finds that electric spot inside, and strokes.

Charles makes a sound, high and broken and pleading; his cock jumps, sliding in Erik’s hand. “Please—I need—I have to—”

“Let go,” Erik murmurs, “for me, that’s why we’re here, you said yes, Charles, you want this, let me see you,” and Charles sobs, quivers in Erik’s grip, thrusts up and back uncontrollably into Erik’s hand. Erik strokes him from the inside and teases him outside, hands remorseless in drawing out sensation; Charles hits the tipping point with a tiny bitten-off “Oh—” And golden warmth spills over Erik’s hand, pulses from Charles’ tormented cock, past any embarrassment or shame and lost in the exquisite ecstasy of relief.

Charles’ wetness splashes his own thighs, Erik’s leg, the tub; he’s sobbing now, as the high fades and the humiliation sets in. Erik doesn’t give him time to be mortified. Only twists the fingers buried inside him, grips his slick shaft, works the whole length of him, knowing how every caress will feel to tender flesh and emotions laid bare. Charles comes helplessly, entire body bending into a beautiful arch, new spurts of whiter fluid landing on his stomach, his chest, trickling down heaving flanks to mingle with the rest of his release.

He can’t stand, after, collapsing into Erik’s arms. His eyelashes tremble, wet. His body shakes, small random tremors. “Shh,” Erik breathes, and pets his back, his sweat-damp hair. “So good, Charles, so lovely, all mine, aren’t you. The way you want to be. A pirate’s boy.”

Charles whimpers, and his head falls more heavily against Erik’s shoulder; but the breath he lets out carries a yes, and so: they’re good. Erik grins.

And then tugs the chain, sends warm water cascading over them, a tropical waterfall here in London luxury, a cleansing deluge. A marvel. Like Charles in his arms.

The evidence drains away with the water, swirling and gone. Steam floats through the air, lazily suffusing the bathing room with heated clouds. Charles is splendid, barely conscious, dreamy and pliant with the reprieve. His fair skin shines with droplets; the water tangles in those long eyelashes, decorates scattered freckles, adorns his nipples like jewels.

Erik has to have him. And Erik, being a pirate, being Erik, takes what he wants.

He bends Charles over. Works a hand between trembling thighs. Charles doesn’t protest the roughness. In fact, Charles moans softly and tries to spread wider for invading fingers, for thumbs drawing the cheeks of his arse up and open. Erik strokes a hand over his cock, limp now but beginning to swell anew, and catches the last drops of climax; that and the remaining oil will have to be enough, because he cannot wait, has to fuck Charles here in the shower where Charles has just come into Erik’s hand and pissed himself at Erik’s command and will now give this to Erik too. All of him. Because Erik wants that.

Because Charles wants that too. No word of no or stop or resistance passes those lovely lips. Only a gasp, a cry, as Erik plunges into him, as Erik fucks him. Not gentle, not now. He’s had Charles so many times and so many ways; he knows what that compact elegant body can take.

So he takes Charles, bent over in the shower with Erik’s hand at the nape of his neck, buried in curling wet hair. He pounds into that yielding heat again and again, feeling the burn in his own legs, the coiled tightness in his stomach and hips. Charles’ legs shake, overwhelmed; Erik slams into him one final time, feels Charles push back to meet the thrust, consciously or unconsciously, he’s not sure and it doesn’t matter because he’s coming, the world white-hot and searingly bright, lightning through all his veins at each exquisite clench of Charles’ muscles around him.

Charles’ legs give way. Erik, dizzy with aftermath, can’t quite keep them both upright, but does ease them to the floor of the tub, Charles on hands and knees, trembling as Erik’s come trickles from his hole, slipping sticky down his thighs. Erik, panting, kneels behind him; strokes a hand over his back, traces the flexible line of his spine, all the way from his bowed head to the enticing dimples above the plushness of his arse. Charles sighs and arches his back, kitten-like, enjoying the caresses. Erik does it again, gently petting him, letting him drift amid the euphoric heights.

Above, the basin’s refilled with warm water, drawn up by those reliable gleaming pipes. The water in the bath proper will stay hot, courtesy of the heated channels beneath the tile; it’d been ruinously expensive, but Erik’s not averse to expense when luxuries are involved. He has memories of poverty and loss and hardship. Decadence is far better.

Besides, Charles flushed by heat and rippling water and arousal is worth any price. Charles making small contented sounds and lifting his hips, unselfconsciously displaying himself and his well-fucked hole for Erik, is delicious.

The splashes of waves of water rising in the basin, drops glowing over Charles’ skin, nudge at Erik’s mind. Charles wasn’t the only one sipping the imported brandy of the night before, and Erik’s cock, having relieved itself of one kind of need, is becoming aware of another.

He skims a finger idly over Charles’ right hip. Inward. Over that pink tender space, beginning to draw closed but still easily opened with a finger, sliding in. His arousal stirs.

He presses a hand between the wings of Charles’ shoulderblades, pushing down; Charles comprehends at least that much instantly and bends into the new position, head and shoulders down, back curved into a sinuous arch, presenting himself. Erik praises him for that; Charles blushes, though the pink’s difficult to see under steam-flushed fairness. Erik pauses, thoughtfully running fingers over the shape of one hip.

“You’re beautiful, Charles. There’s no shame in that. In this.”

Charles nods, as best he can against the copper of the tub; it’s a slow nod, whether from spreading sensual languor or from well-hidden argument. Erik hopes it’s the former. Needs it to be.

Needs?

He stops, fingers biting abruptly into the pliant swell of lifted backside. Charles groans, low and welcoming. Erik doesn’t stop because Charles doesn’t want him to, but his mind’s whirling.

He does need Charles to believe the words. Needs Charles to want this, to want—him. Needs Charles to feel ashamed of nothing, to yield to him wholly, not merely body but also soul. Charles is a good person, a poet with shadowy blue eyes and quicksilver depths of laughter and courage and long-ago bruises and willingly surrendered innocence; Charles walked with eager open eyes into Erik’s home and Erik’s heart along with it, and Erik needs him like air, like wind in billowing sails, like a solid deck beneath wandering feet.

He doesn’t know how to say those words. Too long since he’s had anyone he might’ve said them to. Rusted-over sea-chests at the bottom of the ocean.

Charles, he thinks, would dive in after them without a second thought. Could draw Erik’s heart back up to the surface, and cradle it in sunlight.

He wants to despise this thought. He cannot quite find enough irritation within himself.

He says, “You want me,” and it’s not a question, it’s a truth, he’s holding onto that truth. Charles nods again anyway, because Charles is perfect.

“Mine,” Erik tells him, and digs fingers in deeper, reinforcing the bruise he’s just left. His marks—primal, savage—on that poet’s skin. Charles’ breath catches, but he pushes back into Erik’s hand. Erik smiles. “You do want to be mine, don’t you, Charles? You love it. If we were at sea, you’d be my prize. My captive. I’d keep you tied to my bed and fuck you until you couldn’t walk, and everyone would know, Charles, they’d all want you, all the crew getting off to just the thought of your skin, your eyes, the sounds you’d make…they’d all want to have you, but you’d be mine. My boy. And we’d make sure they all knew it.”

Charles is breathing faster now, quivering at the words. Hearing them all, feeling them as they sink in. His legs tremble, and his lovely little hole clenches, wanting, betraying the desire. Erik grins, sharp-toothed. Goes on, each word deliberate and portentous, a promise. “I might take you on the upper deck, Charles. In front of them all. They’d see the way you moan and beg and scream my name, the way you look when you come, when you come with my cock inside you, my hands on your skin…I could strip you naked and have you serve me at supper, or bend you across the aft guns—would you like that, I wonder, metal between your legs, iron rubbing at your cock every time I thrust into you, and you’d come, wouldn’t you, fucking yourself on it as I fucked you…”

Charles whimpers. It sounds like “Please.”

“I don’t share,” Erik tells him, putting every drop of black sails and broadsword menace into his voice. Charles likes that. And Erik doesn’t mind playing the role. Not in this moment, not with those moans, that encouragement, that willing desire beneath him. “You are mine, now. You belong to me.” With me, he thinks. With me, always, so that the weariness in those darker poems never has to surface again.

Charles tries to part his legs even wider; can’t, prevented by the walls of the tub. Erik leans closer. Takes his cock—heavy with need, now, the same tingling urgency Charles had surrendered to at his hands—in one palm. “I believe I ought to claim you, don’t you?”

Charles tenses everywhere, a split-second flash of comprehension: innocence shattered all over again. Erik waits—Charles could whisper the no—but then sees the shiver of acquiescence, the ripple of elemental submission running all through his body. Charles accepts the idea, even wants it; that’s there in the sudden relaxation, waiting with flawless grace.

Erik smiles, murmurs, “Good boy,” and proceeds.

He marks Charles with himself, covers him with it; spills hot liquid gold along white thighs, and pisses into that stretched pink hole, right where Charles has already opened so readily, so trustingly, for him. Charles whimpers softly, but it’s only a token protest; if Charles truly wants to move, he can. There’s nothing holding the beautiful Viscount Xavier in place except mutual desire. And Erik fills him up with it, pisses inside him, watches it leak from his gaping body the same way Erik’s orgasm had, moments ago. Charles remains splendidly in place, taking it all.

He finishes, leaving Charles dripping and thoroughly claimed, the spent length of Erik’s cock resting casually over that inundated quivering bud. Charles sobs; Erik slips a hand between parted shaking thighs, and discovers that, yes, Charles is hard, has gone stiff as a mast at the act, at the gesture, at the sensation of Erik using him so abjectly.

“Mine,” he says again, and Charles groans, low and uncomprehending, and rocks his hips ever so slightly, getting his cock to slide wetly through the circle of Erik’s hand. Ah, Erik thinks, the joys of being not yet nineteen; well, he himself can’t come again so soon, but Charles can, and Erik will take boundless pleasure in that sight.

First things first. He pulls Charles upright—limp and barely conscious from the sensory overload of pleasure and degradation and arousal and bruised knees on unforgiving metal—and finds the shower’s chain and tugs. Sweetly lukewarm water drenches them both, washes away the evidence—not completely, not without proper soap and scrubbing and the scents of ginger and cardamom replacing those of sex and Erik—and he feels Charles flinch at the new sensation, mindless little cries as the deluge sweeps over sensitized skin. Erik holds him, soothes him, walks him the few steps to the plunge pool, and eases him in.

There’s that odd tenderness again. A butterfly-wing, catching under his breastbone. A reorientation, headspinning: a new island, unmapped, rising up unexpected and lush amid blue sea and sky. Changing the horizon.

Charles opens exhausted sapphire eyes as the water flows over his skin, lapping like kitten-tongues into tender abused places. But there’s desire in there as well: dreaming, weary, trusting as bluebells. His erection hasn’t faded; his lovely teenage lord’s prick swells further as Erik’s fingers stroke him, tease him, handle him beneath the ripples of the pool’s water. The boiler below, in the basement, thrums like the soul of the world.

“Erik,” Charles whispers, reaching for him weakly; Erik kisses him, noses into the soft skin under his jaw, along his throat. Never ceases the motion along his cock, which must be throbbing by now with such unrelenting use. But Charles spreads his legs again, lax and fluid as molten honey; so Erik pulls him onto his lap, props him on a thigh, arranges him for ease of playing. Charles lets his head loll back onto Erik’s shoulder. Erik winds that hand around to cradle his face, to settle along his throat and jawline. Not squeezing, not threatening, but a weight that Charles will feel when swallowing, when breathing.

Charles sighs, closing his eyes, drifting. His body’s malleable and relaxed, but for his cock, which demands attention, hot and rigid in Erik’s grip. Charles doesn’t beg, though. Only breathes, in and out, believing beyond doubt that Erik will take care of him. Believing in Erik. His pirate.

Erik’s the one who swallows, hard, at that.

He adjusts their bodies ever so slightly, parting the cheeks of Charles’ delectable arse, pushing up: blunt pressure over, though not in, that intimately sore space between. Charles moans; Erik scrapes a fingernail gradually, torturously, across the tip of his cock. Charles cries, tears free and close to the surface, but whispers, “More, please,” when Erik’s hand pauses.

He bring Charles off that way, unhurried and methodical, alternating pleasure and pain until he’s certain dazed blue eyes have forgotten the difference. Charles lies back against him, content with Erik’s hands at his throat and on his cock; he’s floating someplace faraway, looking as drugged as an opium addict, except there’s no drug here except the weightless water and Erik’s touch. Charles is nevertheless addicted. That’s only fair. Erik is too.

He keeps Charles balanced on the edge, drawing the hurt and ecstasy out to razor-fine heights; finally, finally, Charles begins shaking, truly sobbing with bewildered need, body trying to convulse and curl up and come on its own. Erik holds him in place, presses a fingertip against the head just under that dripping slit the way Charles likes it, and tightens the grip on his throat just enough.

Charles comes shuddering and breathless, jerking involuntarily against Erik’s grip; he climaxes in long rolling waves, not the immediate brilliant thunderclap of earlier but helpless full-body spasms that go on and on, as his come spurts over Erik’s hand and out into the pool. Erik watches, astounded, delighted beyond measure. His boy is so lovely. So perfect. So utterly his, and yet still himself: it’s Charles who’s chosen this, has chosen to give Erik this. Viscount Xavier has youth and wealth and literary fame and eyes that have brought half of London, men and women, to slavering knees. And Charles looked up at Erik, in a bookshop, on a windy day, and smiled.

Charles goes limp at last, every last drop of pleasure wrung from his quivering frame. Erik holds him close, murmurs nonsense words—so beautiful, so pleased with you, so perfect—and pets his hair, leaves kisses like gemstones on closed eyelids, a temple, the corner of parted lips, the twin sparkles of cinnamon on the bridge of that aristocratic nose. He could adorn Charles with sapphires, perhaps. Colored diamonds, yellow and green and blue. Rubies for those lips, for his cock. A fortune in treasure, and not worth nearly as much as the person beneath.

Charles sighs, mouths kisses into Erik’s shoulder, lazy and uncoordinated as the steam drifting through the air. He’s not quite awake yet, though he smiles when Erik skims a finger along his bottom lip, and tries to kiss it.

Erik cleans them both—apologizes mentally to the bath-water; well, it’ll have traces of Charles in it until it’s drained, and he can’t regret that—and his hands are gentle over tender pinkened flesh, and Charles watches each movement of tanned callused skin over no-longer-innocent English-rose fairness and smiles more widely.

Erik kisses him, and leaves his skin smelling of soap and spices, Erik’s soap and spices, cardamom and ginger and hemp and lemon. Charles wakes up enough to murmur inquisitiveness about the ingredients; India, Erik tells him, Morocco, the Silk Road, and Charles yawns and gets Erik to promise stories for later, with all the power of those wide blue eyes and that poet’s fascination for all the multifaceted narratives of humanity.

Erik’s never found humanity all that fascinating. They brawl and they compete and they kill and fuck and marry out of greed and self-interest. Piracy was straightforward. A sane man’s response. The privateer’s commission had simply been legal protection for his crew; he’d never considered himself particularly affiliated with any government, though it’d made settling in England easier, so there’d been that.

In England. Where Charles Xavier, poet, might be found. Where those poems had been published, the ones Erik had read over and over, on starlit wind-brushed nights surrounded by midnight seas.

He lifts Charles out of the water, ignores the protests—ah, Charles is waking up further, then, and plainly feeling well enough—and folds him into a Turkish robe and then carries him to bed, proprietarily dropping him in the center. Charles glares, but the glare turns into a crooked smile. “I don’t suppose you’ve got any notebooks lying around.”

“I might.” He gets up, shifts items around on his desk. Afternoon sunshine streams in through the picture windows, painting the room with cheerful gold; it trails aureate designs over one of Charles’ bared legs, back on the bed, and Erik gets momentarily distracted. Jealous of a sunbeam. Hell.

He goes back to looking. It’s not as if he’s misplaced the object of his search—Erik Lehnsherr does not misplace things—but he has stacked other items atop them, and thus the quest requires some excavation. He’s never been a diarist—safer to keep everything in his head—but he’d bought two luscious leather-bound journals on a whim, a few months back. They’d been on display in the bookshop, and they’d been expensive, soft as satin to his touch; he’d wanted them, so he’d bought them, for reasons he couldn’t quite articulate. He’s toyed with the thought of writing in one—memoirs, perhaps, or something more factual, true accounts of the East and the Orient and a pirate’s life, stories to contradict the absurdities most of Society believes—but now he’s glad he never has.

He brings both back. Sits down beside Charles, who props himself on both elbows, the rest of him a satiated sprawl of bare legs and Erik’s too-large robe slipping off one shoulder. “Oh, lovely, you’re just brilliant, aren’t you…”

“Me, or the journals?”

“The journals,” Charles retorts promptly, “you already know you are, Captain,” and Erik laughs but raises eyebrows. “Back to formality, boy?”

And Charles grins, unrepentantly wicked. Erik suddenly has the same feeling he’s had upon spotting a second Royal Navy frigate hiding behind the first.

“Only if you’d like that,” Charles purrs. “Sir.”

Erik realizes his mouth’s open. He absolutely cannot think of what he might’ve meant to say.

“…did…you…need to write something?”

“I had a line, in my head…” Charles looks up, serious now. Erik’s reminded all over again that, for all the youth and the poetic enthusiasm and the eagerness for debauchery, Charles is a peer of the realm. Has been since birth, really. To the manor born, as it were. Responsible for villages full of lives. “Unless—I know what shop these came from. I know how much they’d’ve cost you. You don’t have to—”

“Write your line,” Erik says. “Write on anything you please. I can afford it.”

Charles’ eyes dance. “In that case…could you bring me a pen, and then come here for a moment?”

Erik does. And then, rather bemusedly, finds his hip being used as a writing-table, while Charles props butter-soft leather over his skin, while the pen-nib scratches across paper. Charles doesn’t look up, eyes intent; Erik lies there and tries not to disturb him.

At first he has to wonder how they’ve gotten here, and at what point the terror of the civilized oceans became the sort of person who’d fetch pens and lie still when asked and not move a muscle in case that’d disrupt the magic. And then he stops wondering and simply drinks Charles in: the sheer intensity of him, the flying fingers, the pauses, the artistry evident in every line of his being.

Charles composing is artwork himself, captivating and enthralling. No concern for the impropriety of being near-naked in a pirate’s bed, no fear about what they’ve done or where they are; there’s only the soul of the words on the page, Charles and the vision. It’s someplace Erik can’t follow, but he isn’t lonely. Charles has asked him to be here, has let him into this moment. Charles is sharing this with him, and Erik can only be grateful.

So he lies still, watching because he’s been given that, and he is grateful, and utterly enraptured.

Charles blinks, gives a kind of full-body shiver, looks up. Resurfacing. “Sorry, sorry, I know that took—dear God, half an hour—I’m so sorry, I was just—”

“You’re beautiful,” Erik says, and Charles stops talking, flushes pink, meets Erik’s eyes.  After a second, says, “Is there possibly tea now?” while his fingers stretch out and find Erik’s, across rumpled silken sheets and sunshine.

 

Chapter Text

“You had this made to fit.” Erik trails fingers over Charles’ waist: the line of the corset, white and sleek and elegantly shaped. Bones and laces and hooks, deceptively virginal in hue, pressed to naked skin.

Charles smiles at him. Erik appears captivated, circling him, selachian and ready to devour. “I know a shop that asks no questions. Other than one’s measurements. Would you mind lacing me more tightly?”

Erik’s eyes flash. Storms at sea. Outside London’s raining, black and thundery and all-encompassing. The weather turns pavements to oceans and muffles the sounds of city sin behind conspiratorial waterfalls. In here fire dances against the damp. In here Charles’ letters and notebooks lie scattered across a writing-desk, a brass-bound sea-chest gapes wide and full of delectable toys, and neither of them has worn proper clothing since yesterday morning.

Improper clothing, now: that would be a different story.

He slides a hand over his own stomach, smoothing lines that don’t need it, toying with the silken line of equally white and innocent underthings, delicate scraps of material that cup his cock and balls. His skin prickles with sensation, electric as the night. Erik’s eyes narrow.

“I’ve also got a petticoat,” Charles says sweetly. “In any case it was your idea, I believe, me in a corset.”

“You were, as I recall, enthusiastic.” Erik comes to stand behind him. Takes laces in hand. Jerks once, hard. “Were you successful in your other endeavor, yesterday?”

“I was—” Erik draws laces tighter. Charles gasps, shivers with recognition like intoxicating wine—he’s Erik’s, he’s dressed up for Erik, he’s vulnerable like this, Erik’s hands making expensive slimness of his body—and goes on, breathless, “I was. We’ve found a site. For the school. If I can’t use my money for good—oh—then why have it, honestly.”

“Other than imported brandy and silk against your skin?” Erik skims a hand, a pirate’s hand, over the curve of Charles’ bottom: indecent now against the reshaped slenderness of his waist. Charles stops thinking about finances and schools he can endow but won’t have time to properly run with his Parliamentary and estate obligations and his own past fleeting Oxford naturalist-poet dreams, and thinks about Erik and that voice instead. “The world is cruel.”

“And we should take what we can from it?” He twists around enough to throw his pirate a scowl. “I don’t believe that. Nor do you.”

“Don’t I?” Erik sounds amused. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten. I’ve taken you.”

“Have you,” Charles says, not backing down; their eyes collide and hold each other, washed in fireglow and rainshadow. “Would you like me on my knees? Tied to your bed? Flogged for insubordination, Captain?”

He of course enjoys all these things. Erik knows he does. Charles knows he knows.

In answer Erik reaches out and pulls laces even tighter: beyond mere tangible support and graceful shape, into a shocked constriction. Charles tries to take another breath, can’t quite fill lungs, wobbles on his feet: lightheaded at the comprehension, at the way his cock immediately throbs and drips inside silken confines.

Erik smiles, slowly, showing teeth. Holds the laces in one hand, moves the other to cup Charles’ aching length through delicate fabric, and squeezes. Hard.

Charles moans. His legs give way. Erik steadies him as if he weighs nothing, and takes corset-laces in hand again. “Are you enjoying this, boy? Of course you are. You enjoy all of it. Spreading your legs for me, being put over my knee…letting me fuck you and mark you and piss inside you, my hands on you, my hand in you, until you come for me, and you do, every time. Charles Xavier.”

“You,” Charles manages, vision hazy, blurred with rapture and Erik’s fingers finding the slit in his drawers, finding his already-oiled hole, “and also you sent money…and three of your old shipmates, injured men, men without prospects on shore…to the site of our school…because they needed jobs and would be good at repairs…”

“Did I?” Erik plunges fingers into him, not kindly and yet tender: Erik knows by now exactly how much he can take, and gives him precisely that. No holding back. No treating him like a lord or a celebrated poet or a youthful virgin.

He’s no longer the last of those in any conceivable way. In some ways he never has been—he’s not been innocent for a very long time—but the physical, oh, the physical…

Erik takes the fingers out of him. Pulls Charles by corset-laces over to the desk. Opens a drawer.

The dagger, sheathed and glimmering, catches gold firelight. Flings it back amplified a thousandfold, gilded, set with rubies. The rubies are real and gaudy; the hilt’s a mass of treasure. Charles does not flinch.

Erik shoves his legs apart. Runs the flat of the blade, unsheathed now and cool as water, along the inside of a bared thigh.

Charles says, to his pirate, “You save people.”

“I think,” Erik murmurs, dark as a looming flag, “you misunderstand what I might be capable of, boy.” But the blade never nicks skin.

Charles says, “You need a cause.”

“And you have too many causes.”

“Perhaps. Would you like one or two?”

“I have one.” Erik flips the dagger around one-handed—the other’s still holding Charles’ corset-laces—and stabs it back into its sheath. “Educating a willing bit of soiled viscount muslin. You occupy my time.”

“Do I? I’m so very glad to take precedence in your—ow, I can’t breathe—your thoughts. Would you like to be on the lookout for anyone else who might need employment? Or education? No outright ruffians, please, but anyone who could use a refuge.”

“You like it. You like it when I put a hand on your throat, steal away your air…” Erik grins: oddly suddenly playful. Disconcerting, that, especially as Charles is growing a bit dizzy, pinned against the desk and laced too tightly. “You like ruffians. Pirates. Being fucked by a pirate, Charles, because you’re a whore under that viscount’s title. Debauched and lascivious.”

This isn’t quite an answer to his proposal. It isn’t a no; and Charles smiles. The bones of the corset press into his body; he’s hyperaware of each sensation, each caress, body and nerves raw and yearning. His cock’s leaking steadily, making a mess of white underthings, turning them wet and near-transparent.

Erik sees him smiling. Raises eyebrows.

Thunder rumbles and fire pops in an explosion of sparks and Erik brings up the dagger’s hilt and shoves it inside him: gold and heavy and unbending, stern and thick and intricate, a paradox of danger safely sheathed and now sheathed in him…

It’s large and firm and strange, an object inside him, no shape he’s yet had there. He groans. Shudders. Impaled by the dagger’s hilt, consumed by it, as he sags over the writing-desk in a delicious cruel corset and matching drawers, legs quivering, hole instinctively clenching and hurting at the hard invading presence and clenching again. His prick dribbles fluid helplessly into his expensive underthings; the open slit of them means he’s exposed, and Erik can see everything, can see his needy slick hole and the hilt penetrating him…

He sobs. Erik twists the dagger idly, making it move inside him. Charles sobs more and writhes and cannot think any longer. Erik leaves the weight of it in him, filling him up, and employs both hands, hauling this corset to its limits: Charles’ waist must be so tiny, so fragile, spanned by those hands, feminine prettiness and yet undeniably himself, his freckles, his legs, his cock and balls and skewered hole.

He can only breathe in tiny gasps, and then he cannot at all; he’s wavering, shaking, as every sense spirals into sizzling intensity, aware of danger, heightened and ecstatic.

Erik fucks him with that pirate’s weapon, teases him, fondles his prick and balls with rough care; says, almost gently, “You’re my little whore, Charles, you want to be that, there’s no shame in wanting, that’s who we are, a pirate and a pirate’s boy, dressed up in pretty underthings and making a mess of them, and you want to come so badly, don’t you…”

Charles whimpers, foggy, delirious. Sparkles shimmer around his vision: the fire, he thinks, or the rain, silver and gold, crimson and night-black and white as his corset-laces…so pretty…he’s Erik’s boy, dressed up and manhandled and being fucked by a hard unyielding object inside him, and he moans as his cock, his whole body, pulses and throbs and drips liquid onto the desk. He’s dissolving, flying, drowning in sparks. His mouth’s open but he doesn’t know what air is; his lungs have gone from shrieking to silent, everything bright and dreamy and wrapped in clouds. The world dwindles down to a few fleeting glimpses of piercing awareness: the solid wooden desk beneath him, the cinching pressure around him, fire-heat caressing his hip, the wonderful presence in his backside, making him feel so good, so much…

Erik says, “Come for me, Charles, let it go, let it out, let yourself come the way you need to, like this, show me,” and he does, he is: open-mouthed and convulsing with it, body jerking against Erik’s desk, no conscious control but a sense of falling, diffusing, breaking apart in an ocean of light and darkness. The crest bursts over him and he spills himself, every last drop, spasms rattling his otherwise limp body; he cannot make himself respond or move, but he is coming and coming as if he is made of orgasmic pleasure alone, drowning in it.

The presence in his hole vanishes. Charles, half-conscious, floating, makes a sound. His mouth’s wet, open, pressed to the desktop. The constriction around his body snaps away fast, too fast, a bewilderingly abrupt change in pressure.

Erik’s body covers his. Something else slides into him. Erik. Erik’s cock. Erik fucking him.

He breathes. Oxygen makes him sparkle too, body slack, recovering, wholly rose-tinted. He quivers with euphoria: used, fucked, taken, made to purely be, to be Erik’s. Given everything, by Erik. His Erik. His Erik, thrusting away inside him; that’s dreamy too, utterly lovely, and he tries to clench and tighten around that cock in appreciation, though he’s hazy, drowsy, radiant.

Erik groans nevertheless and more wet heat floods into him: Erik’s climax and pleasure in him. Charles moans, feeling it; his own body does something, a reaction, an echo, a weak dribble of fluid into the pool beneath him. The world fades in and out, serene and delighted and contented like this.

When Erik pulls out a trickle slides down Charles’ thigh: Erik’s release and a bit of oil perhaps, not held in by his loosened body. He can’t stand; Erik takes him to bed, undresses him and cleans him up, cares for him, gives him water, murmurs hushed words. Charles isn’t sure he’s meant to understand those words; they don’t sound English or Latin, but something older, intimate, unguarded.

Erik must think he’s asleep, then; one hand strokes Charles’ hair. In English, this time: “The way you take everything, Charles. You frighten me.”

Charles nearly protests that one—really, he’s not that frightening, despite what his sister says—but cannot form words yet. Erik goes on, “Everything. Even this—I held a knife, I took your breath from you, and you trusted me—how can you, how can you give me so much, and you take so much from me, sometimes I think—I can’t not think of you. You ask me to teach you and I do. You ask me to fuck you and I do. You don’t ask me to save your life when you walk right into gin palaces and gaming hells, but damn you, Charles, I would, you must know I would, and I—”

He stops. His hand’s unmoving on Charles’ head, heavy in place. Erik’s breathing’s ragged, a torn sail flapping loose in the night.

The moment swings like an uncertain compass under clouds: having lost itself for a heartbeat, shaken, reorienting.

Charles, because Erik does not appear inclined toward further words, judges that now is the time to yawn and wake up. Erik actually jumps, which melts any and all observing hearts in the vicinity, fireplace and stormclouds and Charles’ own: his pirate is adorable.

His pirate. Of course.

He breathes—his voice is scratchy—“I’m yours.”

“Yes,” Erik says, though plainly not quite understanding, too arrogant. “You’re mine. My captive boy, if you’re still in the mood.”

“I’m here because I want to be,” Charles says, lying in Erik’s decadent bed with the memory of glorious use thrumming through his body, with Erik’s hand petting his hair. “You’ve not grasped that yet, have you? I’m not using you to teach me, or maybe I am, that too, I’m enjoying all of this, but I could’ve found a dozen men in certain clubs who’d’ve fucked me if I’d ever asked.”

Erik goes tense. “Is that what you want?”

No, you giant piratical lunatic.” He sits up more, swats weakly at the closest bicep. “Unless you’d someday like to set that up and watch, while I get fucked by a succession of men and women you choose for me. And you’d take care of me after. I said I want you. I want you. Because I love you and your heart and your hands on me and your impressive uses for your…dagger. I love you.”

Erik stares at him. Rain chooses this moment to drum commentary on the windowpane with dreadful enthusiasm.

“Oh, be quiet,” Charles says to the weather. “I know that was hardly poetic, thank you very much.”

“I’m not a poet,” Erik says.

“That was meant for the rain—”

“I won’t pretend to know why you’re talking to raindrops.” Erik grabs his wrist, grabs him, flips them over. Charles lands on his back, Erik’s lean weight settled between his legs. Charles, turning his head, glimpses his corset discarded on the rug; Erik had cut the laces, at the end. The dagger lies there as well, glistening dully, smug about it.

His pirate pins his wrist to the mattress. Charles obligingly offers up the other one too. Erik makes a sound between a growl and a sigh. “Insatiable.”

“I believe you have met me.”

“I’m trying to answer you.” Erik’s eyes are hard and bright: not rejection or anger, but fierce and complex and burningly sweet, pale celadon seas and a new dawn. “Dammit, Charles, I’m not good at—you heard me. Earlier. You did hear me.”

“Most of it, I think?”

“I said everything,” Erik says.

“You said I frighten you.”

“I said everything. I want to tie you to this bed and I want to set prison ships on fire for you and I want to send ex-pirates with wooden legs to your damn school for unfortunates if it’ll make you happy. I want to buy you every notebook in the four corners of the world so you can write poems in them. I stalked a bootmaker for you, until he told me when your appointment was.”

“Very menacing of you,” Charles agrees. “You know I wanted you to find out; I’d’ve not been so obvious in making the appointment, otherwise.”

“You take everything,” Erik says, “my peace of mind, my plans to retire and hate Society on my own terms—damn you, again, Charles—and the hell of it is I want to give it to you. The world. My heart. It’s already yours if you want it. I’ll get on my knees if you ask. I hate that. I love you. You throw yourself into a lion’s den and you smile at me as if I won’t eat you, and you say you’re mine, my viscount pirate’s whore with spread legs begging to be claimed, and I do, over and over. I don’t know what else I can give you. Treasure. Fucking you however you please. More pretty outfits we can ruin. You already have it, anything I can buy, anything I can offer, I love you.”

“You said your heart,” Charles says, “you said you want to give me that.”

“I said I already have.” Erik doesn’t look away, though Charles has the sense he wants to: laid bare and open, but Erik Lehnsherr doesn’t flinch. “Is that enough? For you?”

“It’s what I want,” Charles tells him, “I want you. I love you, Erik, my pirate. Now please kiss me.”

Erik does, face soft and astonished, eyes those of a man expecting a cannonball and met with flowers instead, blooming on a hillside after fire and rain. And that fire and rain sing to them in the townhome’s sex-flushed bedroom, inside and out, a symphony of night and light and brilliance. 

Chapter Text

“Good heavens,” Charles says. Voice astonished. Not dismayed, but astonished.

“You wanted to come,” Erik says. Taffeta rustles across a hallway, a woman scampering dizzily from one room to another. A man, laughing, clutching a deflated oiled-silk bag, runs after. The air’s redolent with the scents of brandy, cigars, sex, and sweetness. This particular private townhome belongs to a Duchess Emma Frost; Erik’s never heard that she necessarily indulges in the wilder vices herself—not in public, at any rate—but she enjoys hosting. Opening her doors to an exclusive membership of London’s fashionable elite and their newest trendy vices.

They’re here in public. Him and Charles.

Here. In public.

Or not precisely public. Or public, yes, but in the disreputable demimonde way: the kind of party that upright stiff-backed London society’ll shiver at and tut disapprovingly over and secretly regard with awe in Society scandal papers.

Of course Charles had wanted to come. Of course Charles knows people. Of course Charles doesn’t give a damn about Society—which is fine, neither does Erik—and will show up at with a pirate on his arm.

Erik wants to be annoyed that he himself is not the most reputation-ruining element of this party. Somehow can’t be. Not when gazing at his pocket-sized optimistic tidal wave of teenage viscount, who’s swept all his anchors away. Who’s built those anchors anew out of nutmeg-spiced freckles and fearlessness and sapphire-water eyes.

And those eyes dance at him, taking in the scene as if it’s all a dare. A boy, Erik thinks. And a poet. “Of course I wanted to come. Humphrey Davy’s discoveries are scientifically fascinating. The implications of nitrous oxide gas in terms of pain relief…for wounded men, or women in childbed…the understanding we could develop of physiological responses…”

“And the recreational value has nothing at all to do with why we’re here.”

“Well.” The tip of Charles’s tongue flirts coyly with his lips, wetting them. “One cannot fully appreciate a revolutionary discovery without exploring all its implications.”

Erik sighs. Charles grins, brilliant and beautiful. “Also I’ve heard it’s excellent for suggestibility. Lowering of inhibitions.”

“As if you need that,” Erik grumbles. “You and inhibitions aren’t on speaking terms.”

Charles pauses, one foot across the hall’s threshold. Eyes unexpectedly serious behind the merriment. “You and I both know that isn’t true. Not before you.”

Lyricism. Inexperience. Desire and skittishness regarding the physicality of desire. The reasons Charles remains a distant landlord for his lands in Westchester, never returning to the blood-red memories of his childhood home. Charles has written scandalously erotic works that’ve titillated all of London into a glorious frenzy, and had come to Erik’s bed a virgin.

Charles is most certainly no longer a virgin. Erik is no longer a virgin in ways that have nothing to do with sex and everything to do with love.

“Yours,” Charles says, very very softly, standing there in the grip of evening with the tinkling sounds of a drunken pianoforte echoing in the distance.

“Mine,” Erik says, because that encompasses possession and protectiveness and love and the odd tender glow inside his chest all at once, and coils his hand around Charles’s left wrist. “If you would like to further your disreputable explorations, then.”

“Always,” Charles agrees brightly, and tows him into the receiving line. Erik holds on to him. That glow again. Ever-present. Even when Charles is embarking on bizarre recreational-drug activities, newfangled scientific toys that’ve no doubt been improperly tested, and what if this is dangerous, what if Charles breathes too much of the gas, what if Charles overdoses—

Charles turns to roll eyes at him. “I can hear you fretting. There’ve been no reported ill effects, other than among one or two extremely foolish persons who never paused for oxygen. I do research, Erik.”

“You’re eighteen,” Erik says.

“Nearly nineteen, and you’re a pirate.” Charles cocks an eyebrow at him. Dark hair curls up into the night, and his expression’s playfully impatient. A flawless mischievous imp, the embodiment of temptation, lips shaping sin. “Scared?”

Erik glares. “We should find your friend.”

It’s tacit agreement, though with the caveat that he’s less inclined to indulge and more inclined to keep an eye on his miniature-demon lover. Charles sparkles at him again. Greets a few men and women as they recognize him and flutter breathlessly. Of course they do. London’s most shocking poet, here in a den of hedonism.

Charles spots the man he’s looking for and pulls Erik that way like the moon draws the tide. “Hank! You look marvelous, is that a new waistcoat, how are you, are you using linseed oil for those silk bags, how’re you handling the flammability issues?”

“Charles!” the bespectacled target of this enthusiasm announces, setting down his current half-inflated chemistry project. “Um…thank you, Indian calico, grateful for the funding, and we’re experimenting with neetsfoot, in fact, though I’m not certain it’s making much difference. Curiosity, or here to play?”

From this reply Erik deduces that this apparent Hank knows Charles quite well. He unobtrusively shifts his weight a bit to the forefront. Charles is here with him.

“Hmm,” Charles says blithely. “Both, in fact. Hank—Doctor Henry McCoy—meet Captain Erik Lehnsherr, previously scourge of the high seas. I think you two might get on famously. No appreciable difference, though? Did you know that flax was once associated with purity, which is rather ironic when you think about the present use; there might be a poem in that, Egypt and London, clean linen and decadence…”

“Charles,” Hank interjects, with what’s evidently the patience of long practice, “poetry later. Why are you here with the man the Times once called the most dangerous privateer the country’s ever bought off?”

Charles opens his mouth; Hank says hastily, “Never mind, don’t answer that, I know you. Captain Lehnsherr, if you hurt him I’ll kill you in your sleep, um, probably with poison.”

Erik, rather nonplussed and begrudgingly impressed—he’d’ve thought the idea as ludicrous as a rabbit threatening a panther, but Hank McCoy’s eyes hold loyalty like committed daggers—says, “For the record, I was never bought off, I had no particular grudge against England and perfect willingness to take the money for not attacking in the first place,” and offers a hand.

Hank takes it as if he’s sure Erik’s going to bite off his head but will step out into danger anyway. For Charles.

Who glances from one of them to the other, and beams. Like he’s accomplished the preservation of the world. Great alliances. Introductions. “I do love your willingness to indulge the more seamy aspects of society, Hank. Erik, shall we indulge?”

“I’m not innocent,” Hank says, “I’m entirely happy to conduct scientific observations of the effects of nitrous oxide on drunken peers of the realm,” and hands over a bag and inhaler. “If you get dizzy, stop. Breathe oxygen. Don’t drink too much. Captain, don’t let him drink too much.” His determined rabbit’s eyes brush Erik’s over the word innocent: Hank, Erik thinks, must know a few of those secrets that Charles doesn’t tell to simply anyone. “Lady Frost has private rooms you can use upstairs, but the first floor’s semi-private, and nothing locks anyway. Refreshments are across the hall. Um. Do you need French letters?”

What,” Erik says. Charles, on the other hand, dissolves into gales of laughter at the intimate-sheath protection offer. “You…really don’t think…highly of him, do you…sorry, Erik…”

“Who knows where he’s been,” Hank says darkly.

“I can assure you,” Charles manages, getting the amusement under control, “that Erik’s, er, assured me on that front. In any case it’s far too late now, but no, we’re fine, Doctor…”

“We’re leaving now,” Erik says, with dignity, and yanks Charles off into the closest room.

This room proves to be the library. Charles makes a soft sound of appreciation, gazing at leatherbound volumes and crinkled maps and marbled endpapers and tall wood shelves like the masts of ships. “I could forget all this, and go open that edition of the Walpole…oh, look, Byron…”

“Could you?”

“ ‘To mingle with the Universe, and feel what I can ne’er express’…not really, no. I do want to try.” Charles looks up at him, and Erik’s all at once more conscious than usual of the height difference between them. “There’s a sofa.”

There is indeed a sofa. A few, in fact, and two of the others’re occupied by amorous couples, in turns giggling and slothful and half-dressed. Erik’s unimpressed. Their eyes look giddily unfocused.

He nudges their sofa sloppily around so it’s mostly facing the books and a few champagne-bottles on a side-table, not the rest of the library. Then, just because he can, tugs Charles onto his lap. Charles, a vision in blue silk and tight-laced waistcoat and loosened cravat, smiles and squirms a bit. “Hello, sailor.”

“No,” Erik says. “Please. No.”

“Captain?”

“Charles…”

“Sir?”

“Do you want me to take you home now,” Erik muses, sneaking a hand under Charles’s lightweight expensive shirt, untucking it, “and put you over my knee, the way I might for insubordination on my ship, my disobedient little cabin boy…”

“The one you captured in a raid,” Charles murmurs, and tips his head back for a kiss. “Anything, sir, I’m only hoping to please you…”

“You do.” He says so with words. With certainty. With kisses, more like bites, to the exposed skin under Charles’s jaw, along that pale throat. When Charles speaks, when Charles gives readings, that voice spills and gathers like English gold. It’ll bear the imprint of Erik’s mouth now. “You do.”

Because Charles wants him to, he picks up the stiffened silk bag, swollen with gas, and the inhaler apparatus. “Here.”

Charles opens that mouth obediently. One breath. Two. Those eyes get wider; Erik starts to move the hand, and Charles shakes his head. One more.

When he takes the bag away, Charles regards him with saucer-eyed amazement. Like Erik’s the most amazing creature in the world. It’s flattering, and a bit concerning. “Still all right?”

“Yes…” Charles’s pulse is fluttering like hummingbird’s wings, Erik discovers. Even the briefest skim of fingertips over bare skin earns a gasp and a shiver. He leaves the hand there.

“It’s like…art.” Charles blinks, resurfaces. “Like not being able to breathe, but it’s perfectly fine, like being weightless…inexplicable…I feel…relaxed, I believe. But good.”

“Art,” Erik says. Indeed. “More?” The high fades quickly; Charles had said as much when attempting to convince him. Euphoric and dreamy as opium, but short-lived.

“Mmm, yes.” Charles curls up against him. Breathes. Erik, out of curiosity, tests some on himself. It…tingles, in a way. His lungs know they’re not getting oxygen. But it feels…good. Light.

He walks a hand across Charles’s chest. Silk under his hand. Slick and cool. Fascinating. Charles is laughing softly, possibly because the silk is entertaining.

He flicks open a waistcoat button. Then another. “I like that,” Charles says. “I like it when you undress me.”

“Do you? Here.” These few breaths leave Charles leaning more heavily against him, limbs succumbing to languor, splendidly intoxicated. His body’s limp, fingers uncoordinated when he attempts to assist with the next button. Erik lets him breathe normal oxygen for a while, and does the buttons for him.

Charles murmurs something indistinguishable, lying back across his lap; Erik strokes his hip, bends to kiss him, motion like swimming, like a dream. “Good?”

“Love you,” Charles says, and kisses him back messily and ardently, loose and pliant and sweet in Erik’s arms, ripe for plunder.

More, until Charles is quivering with it; with the need for air, with each caress Erik bestows upon him. Erik keeps a cautious eye on his face and fluttering eyelashes; he’s willing to push, to walk Charles to the brink of inundation, but he’ll be damned if he hurts those blue eyes.

More damned. He already has been. In cannon-fire and bloody thunder. The world’s seen fit to send him salvation, in the shape of a reckless optimistic passionate poet. He’ll corrupt Charles because Charles wants that, and he’ll let Charles save him because Charles wants that too. It’ll balance out. They balance each other.

He rations their breaths. One for him. More for Charles. It’s intimate and strange, sharing this experience, this heady vertiginous rush. The giddiness does fade, and he keeps himself mostly clearheaded but just tipsy enough to have an excuse to touch Charles everywhere, to make that clotted-cream-and-scones accent shiver when moaning his name.

He lets Charles get lost in the high. Abandoned to it, floating someplace where each sensation’s paradoxically faraway and all-encompassing, washing over him. Charles responds so artlessly, trembling and arching up and accepting every stroke, every caress, every murmured naughty suggestion. Far enough gone that he doesn’t care when Erik rubs a hand over his thigh, between his legs, over his cock, limp in drugged bliss but hardening somewhat as Erik teases him through fabric. Erik’s own arousal swells and aches, pressing upward: Charles trusts him this much. Charles wants this, with him.

He pauses to let Charles come down to Earth, or at least closer. Blue eyes flutter open and collect relative sobriety. “Erik.”

“Erik,” Erik concurs. “With my hand on your prick, me touching you. Tell me you like it, Charles.”

Charles doesn’t blush, perhaps still riding the high, or just tempting fate the way he so often does. Oh, Charles. “I love it. I love your hands on me. On my prick, Erik.”

“Mine,” Erik reinforces, and bites a kiss into Charles’s shoulder. Charles gasps, head tipping back; Erik’s hand toys with him more. “Should I make you come like this, then? Right here, fully dressed, in someone else’s townhome? So filthy of you, Charles. Giving yourself up so easily, in public no less.”

But he’s not letting up, and Charles is rocking into his hand, whimpering quietly, cheeks flushed. Erik means to take pity on him—he’s not entirely convinced Charles when sober will want to walk out of here in stained clothing—but then blue eyes get even more huge, catching a glimpse over his shoulder.

Erik turns to look. Ah. All right, then.

He looks back at Charles. Who’s gazing enraptured over the sofa-arm at the couple on the other couch, at the way the woman’s leaning back against her man, the way his mouth takes hers as his hand drags the bodice of her dress lower. Her breasts tumble forth, exposed, with hard pink nipples; she doesn’t seem to care, only giggles and sighs and permits his hand to creep beneath her skirt. Unguarded, here in this library. Wanton and reckless and lovely and free.

Charles trembles. Erik raises an eyebrow. “You enjoy watching?”

“N-no…I've never…God, in public…” Charles sounds more awake now; well, it is a temporary effect. But his cheeks’re flushed, and his cock—ah, that’s straining for attention, jutting out obscenely between his thighs. He looks both innocent and not, a fallen angel shocked to find new depths of depravity. Erik curls a hand around the nape of his neck. Gives him one more breath, two, of dizzying gas. Charles leans back against him, languid.

The man’s hand moves faster, out of sight beneath petticoats. The nameless woman gasps. Then gasps again. The air’s cloying. Sex and arousal, old books and silk and brocade.

Charles moves a hand, almost unconsciously. It drifts between his own legs. Teasing himself. His lips’re parted. Wet and shining.

Erik, considerately, slips a finger between those parted lips. Two. Something for Charles to suckle at, to mouth. Charles does, while murmuring disconnected syllables that aren’t words.

Erik takes the hand away. Coaxes, “Did you need something?”

“I need,” Charles says, and then stops as if forgetting; but his hips shift and move into his hand, which has remained rather clumsily cupping his prick through clothing. “I want…I need to…”

“You want me to make you?” Erik himself must be intoxicated too, drunk on a haze of opulence and lust and slow thrumming velvet, plush sofa-fabric and the warm brown tumble of Charles’ hair against his face. His senses sing with it, though he’s not imbibed much: it’s the night, the recognition, the heat of Charles here with him and belonging to him and unashamed of any of this. He presses his own hand over Charles’: over the swell of arousal. “You want me to make you spend yourself right here on this sofa, while you’re three sheets to the wind on whatever your pet doctor’s concoction is, and you couldn’t stop me if you wanted to…”

And Charles pauses just long enough to grin at him. “It does wear off fast. Mostly it’s an excuse.”

“Ah,” Erik says.

“I would like it very much,” Charles says, adorable and earnest as Erik knows he isn’t, eyes wide and guileless as tropical sunrise, voice utterly polite and demure, “if you would pin me down on this quite lovely sofa and play with me—I’m feeling exceedingly sensitive right now—until I come at your hands, Captain Lehnsherr.” And his eyes say, as well: I love you. I’m here with you, Erik, and I love you.

“I believe,” Erik says, “I can manage that, boy,” and he’s saying it right back: I love you, I adore you, you and your damnable imperious instructions, you and my heart. He presses his hand down again over that eager stiffness between Charles’ thighs, hard enough for a gasp; his fingers move to fondle delicate tight-drawn balls, heavy hanging weights.

Charles sighs, “Yes, please,” and practically melts against him.

This time Erik grins. And flips his little viscount onto the sofa: on his back, one leg dangling, luscious and displayed. Fingers caress Charles’ mouth, so lush and delicious and pink; after this he finds that teasing scientific bag, the experimental tipsiness Charles has sought out, and he leaves his lovely boy shuddering and giddy as far-off clouds, billowing as sails in the breeze, eyes dreamy and half-lidded.

Charles’ cock has gone slightly less stiff—probably the effect of the inhalants—but somehow that’s even more decadent, depraved, debauched: vulnerable and intimate. He moans when Erik opens his fashionable breeches just enough to sneak a hand in, to rub at him, fondling him. Charles had said sensitive, and this seems to be the case: even light touches must be magnified by the nitrous gas filling up his senses, because the whimpers and squirms and little sobs are wondrous as Erik toys with him.

That comprehension hits like lightning and spins like the electric gleam of otherworldly fire at sea, mysterious, inexplicable, phosphorescent. Charles loves him. Charles came here—and will indeed come, here—with him.

In this moment, as in so many other moments, Charles is dazzling: young, offhandedly arrogant, kindhearted, passionate, poetic, wholly eager to chase every new experience. To draw others into his orbit; to draw Erik into his orbit, alongside him, with him.

To make Erik smile. When smiles have been less than commonplace in occurrence. For so very long.

He rocks their bodies together, himself on top, cocks nudging, pressing, sharing hardness; they move and Charles sighs like the sea and gives himself over to it: Erik’s hands, weight, control, and the drowsy euphoria of drugged breaths.

Erik opens that tempting shirt and teases a nipple. Charles moans. Other soft moans arise and echo the sound: the other couple, perhaps, or a new arrival. Either way the room throbs and drips and pulses with desire: groans and rustles of skirts and undergarments and slick movements. Charles shudders under him, eyes heavy-lidded, body responding. Erik hears someone panting: himself.

He works a hand between them, rubs at Charles’ cock, gets another low noise of indescribable pleasure. Charles has no thoughts left regarding exposure and being circumspect; therefore neither does Erik. And he’s always been competitive by nature. Prizes to be won.

Charles whimpers and keens and squirms. They are clearly winning as far as delightful sounds.

He bends down above Charles, and fondles Charles’ thick wet-tipped prick through the opening of those clinging breeches, and smears a thumb through the wetness and then pushes it into Charles’ slack mouth. Charles trembles, licking at himself, malleable and trusting. Erik’s own arousal aches between his thighs and in his gut and down his spine, hot demanding need.

He denies himself that release. This is for Charles. And as he silently admits this a flush of not unpleasant warmth swells through him: denial, wants subsumed, so that he can please his beautiful boy.

He’ll have time. They’ll have time. At home. Where Charles Xavier once returned with him after a poetry reading, and laughed when Erik promised to teach him how men might fuck, beginning with hands and mouths. The mirror of it hums silver along heartbeats: he had not fucked Charles that first time, preferring slow savor, and he will not now, though he will make Charles come and come apart and spend himself in his breeches upon the sofa; the parallel quivers in satisfaction.

He has not ceased his ministrations regarding Charles’ cock; Charles is wriggling and whining as best he can with Erik’s thumb remaining in his mouth, pressing over his tongue. Erik says kindly, “Shh, Charles, you trust me, you know that you do, lie still, let me make you feel better.” Charles mumbles, head lolling, soothed by the voice.

Erik tells him he need not worry, he’s Erik’s boy now and Erik will give him what he needs, he only exists to please his captor and captain, and Erik will guide him. It’s what Charles asked of him, after all; and Charles breathes out and those eyelashes flicker and that cock twitches.

Erik kisses him once, and then gives him more sips of nitrous—their bag’s nearly empty, and he wonders briefly whether Hank McCoy would come to visit, later, to set up equipment; not that this is an everyday indulgence, but Charles so loves science and natural wonders and the entwining of poetry and discovery. Charles would love a laboratory at home, and a firsthand seat for exploration to be celebrated in verse. Maybe even at their school.

Charles’ face is flushed. His hips move, perhaps involuntarily; Erik grips him, strokes him roughly, rubs a thumb over the head: firm sensation to couple with drugged inhales. Charles has been breathing only the experimental gas for some time now; Erik watches his face attentively, watches his body stir and shudder, watches movements become slower and drowsy even as more slickness dribbles uncontrolled from his cock-slit. He gives Charles the end of the gas, squeezing the bag, wringing it limp.

Charles’ hips quiver, and suddenly he is coming. His release pours across Erik’s hand, his own breeches, his stomach: spurts of white, ribbons of white, decorating him. His eyes have fallen closed, face loose and mouth open, while his body spasms helplessly and spills itself, pearls of sticky gleaming that continue to emerge and drip over tender skin.

Erik lifts the inhaler away, permitting oxygen. Charles gasps as the reprieve hits, what must be a vertiginous rush of air and breath and pounding adrenaline, and seems to come again or more, making a frantic noise as his cock jumps and new slickness appears at the tip, pooling and falling slow and shiny from the slit. Charles actually sobs, gulping air, shaking; he trembles and convulses with it, and finally clings to Erik as Erik reaches for him.

Erik’s heart aches: a desperate newfound yes.

Charles curls into his arms and shivers and pants for air, semi-conscious, recovering. He’s small and somnolent and pliable, and he whimpers when Erik touches his spent prick, tucks him proprietarily into messy clothing, doesn’t bother lacing him up. “Erik…”

“Yes, sweet boy?”

“You…you didn’t…” Charles blinks. Seems to be concerned over the rigid jut in Erik’s trousers. “You didn’t want to feel good too? To fuck me?”

“I do,” Erik says.

Charles frowns at him. This is precious. “Those were two different questions.”

“I know,” Erik says.

“You’re deliberately being difficult.”

“You enjoy that.” After a moment’s hesitation he brushes a kiss to the top of Charles’ head. He does not know how to express affection in public, but he knows what Charles enjoys, and this earns a contented nestle of weight closer against him. He can’t quite see the other sofas from this angle, but everyone else has either left or fallen quiet. Solemn library volumes peer down at them, gilt-edged and entertained, hiding smiles at the corners of stolid leather spines.

“Erik,” Charles explains, midway between scolding and plaintive, poking a slightly unsteady finger into his chest, “I want you to feel happy.”

Erik can’t answer for a second. Simple words, and a knife to his soul, flashing silver on a quarterdeck; the kind of knife that lays bare the depths of a heart. He’d grown so used to not remembering he might possess one. Not until Charles. And all of Charles’ words.

When he can talk he announces gruffly, “We’re going home now.”

Charles, recovering suspiciously rapidly, raises an eyebrow.

“Let me rephrase. I am going to carry you out of here, it will be thoroughly obvious to everyone what we’ve been doing, and I don’t care. I plan to take you out Lady Frost’s front door in my arms, sticky and covered with yourself, and throw you into bed and ravish you until you’re screaming my name.” He’d heard the last line in a play somewhere. He’s rather proud of it.

“Is that bit from a play? Ravishing me?”

“I told you what I was planning,” Erik mutters, “so you know in advance, not so that you can argue.”

“Which I’m not, as it happens. At least not this time.” Charles holds out arms to him. “Abduct me, Captain.”

Erik promptly scoops him up—Charles isn’t that heavy, and muscles honed from years at sea can certainly handle the walk out to Azazel and the waiting carriage—and balances weight. Charles puts the arms around his neck, puts his head on Erik’s shoulder, bats eyelashes. “I feel I’m being carried away.”

“Terrible puns earn you ten lashes. Tied to the mast. Or a bedpost.”

“I approve of your plan.” Charles’ clothing bears the evidence of passion: undone laces, drying spots and splashes of ecstasy, visible and unabashed. His face is that of a boy thoroughly pleasured, soft pink lips and blissful blue eyes and languor. Charles must know this, knowing his own body as he does, having written lines and odes to self-indulgence; Charles, in Erik’s arms, only smiles.

And Erik carries him off downstairs, past Society gazes startled and speculative and approving; past Hank McCoy’s eye-roll and mutter of “Well, enjoy yourselves;” past a few drunken cheers and a few more amused murmurs about young hedonist Viscount Xavier and how it’s only to be expected, a famously wealthy and famously short-tempered pirate right out of a melodramatic sensation-novel plot, and of course that indecent outrageous poetry would find a match in such fearsome extravagance…

“Of course,” Charles says, looking up at him as they pause at the townhome’s front door: visible, a declaration, laughing, unafraid.

“Of course,” Erik agrees, and tosses him into their carriage—some ravishing might be allowable on the seats, along the way; he thinks he and Charles would both quite enjoy that prelude, and he thinks, as well, I love you, I love you, Charles—and carries him off.

To their home.