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These Streets

Chapter Text

There was something different about this boy. Erik could sense it in his being. Erik had a way of being able to differentiate the good from the bad, the strong from the weak. The young boy across the hall was a rare specimen, both good and strong. He wasn’t physically strong, but strong in spirit.

The young brunette with captivating sapphires for eyes (eyes so impossibly blue, Erik was sure that they weren’t of this world), had a spirit that Erik had never seen before and he was certain he would never see again.

Said young boy was shivering outside of the building in which they both lived.

Erik almost thought he was crying, but he knew better and saw that the boy was simply whimpering from braving the cold in his thin t-shirt and pajama shorts. It wasn’t raining but the rain was soon to come.

“It’s warmer inside.” Erik said to the young boy as he opened the door with his key.

The boy got up with a smile, accompanied by a few dark and ugly cuts and bruises, on his face.

“Yes, I imagine it would be.” A posh English accent replied.

“Get in then.” Erik gestured to let the boy pass before him.

“Thank you, my friend, but I’m being punished and things could get considerably worse if I go in before I’m told that it’s alright to.” He replied as if everything was fine and he wasn’t crooning his left arm in his right out of pain.

“You live right across from me,” Erik replied dully. “I know that the animal who gave you those wounds won’t even notice you came in until noon tomorrow.”

The younger boy squinted at him. “And how do you know that?”

“Same way that I know that this isn’t the first time this has happened and that it won’t be the last.” Erik supplied. “Are you going to come in with me or not?”

“Alright.” Charles said with a shrug as he passed Erik on his way in.

Erik walked up the stairs first to be able to open the door for both of them.

“I didn’t get your name.” Charles informed him with a shiver still in his voice.

“That’s because I didn’t give you one.” Erik smiled at him.

Those impossibly blue eyes blinked at him and the boy graced him with a smile.

“It’s Erik. I’m Erik. My name is Erik.” He stuttered out, caught in the intense focus of those eyes.

“Hello, Erik. I’m Charles.” Apparently Charles replied, his smile growing a bit before he settled it and held out his hand.

Erik stared at it for a moment.

A few moments actually.

“Sorry, yes. Hello, Charles.” Erik said when he came to his senses and took the small, cold hand.

Erik forced himself not to blush as he pushed the door open and they were engulfed in a friendly heat.

“Mama, I’m home.” Erik called out.

“Schatz! You’re later than you said you would be. Who’s this?” Erik’s mother asked.

“This is Charles. He’s- umm.” Erik was unsure what to say but his mama interrupted him.

“Freezing! The poor pale thing is freezing.” She brought the blanket on the couch to Charles and wrapped him in it.

“Thank you, Madam.” Charles replied a bit awkwardly.

“What happened to your face? Who would want to hurt such a handsome face?” She asked horrified as Charles’ ugly bruise made itself known to her.

Charles sputtered a bit and tried to cover himself.

“No, I will take care of this.” Edie said batting his hands away from his face. “Erik, please bring me the little kit in the bathroom, yes?”

Erik went to get the First Aid kit and could vaguely overhear Charles telling her that it was fine and that she needn’t go through the trouble.

Edie fussed over Charles and once his cuts were cleaned and bandaged, Erik brought ice in a towel for his bruises.

It was late but Edie heated some of the soup they had had for dinner for Charles to eat because he looked thin. Erik accompanied him with a small piece of bread that he had saved from dinner.

“So, why did he hit you?” Erik asked cautiously. “I mean, from what I’ve seen, you’re quiet and keep to yourself. You do all of your homework so it couldn’t be that. What happened?”

He didn’t exactly expect Charles to answer. These things could be hard to talk about but Erik had been wondering for the three years since the brunette first moved in with the horrible man in the apartment in front of them.

“I didn’t wash one of the dishes correctly. He found some food remains on a plate he was going to use.” Charles said indifferently.

Erik felt his anger rise and was ready to scream and ask why Charles put up with such bullshit, but he saw a ghost of a wince and a spark of sadness flash over Charles’s expression when the boy saw him turning red.

“Why do you live with him?” Erik asked with all of the calm he could muster.

Why do you live with that monster?

“I have to.” Charles sighed. “I haven’t anywhere else to go.”

“Who else lives with you? Isn’t there anyone to stop him?” Erik asked horrified.

Charles let out a dry chuckle. “His son lives there too. I’m afraid he doesn’t do much to stop his father though.”

“He isn’t your father then?” Erik knew he was prying now but curiosity won him over.

“Oh no. He’s- well that’s a bit more complicated.” Charles said easily. “A story for another time perhaps.”

Charles got up out of his chair and went over to where Edie was knitting on the couch listening to the record player.

“Thank you very much, madam, for your hospitality.” Charles said leaving his hand out. “I should get going now though.”

“Please, call me Edie.” She smiled, putting her knitting down and giving Charles a hug.

It didn’t escape Erik’s notice when Charles flinched back instinctively and gave her an awkward pat in return.

“Now it is late and no time for such a small child to be walking the streets. You can sleep here.” Edie said easily.

“I live right across the hall, it’s not a problem.” Charles replied stepping back for a bit of distance. “Thank you so much for the offer.”

“Oh! That explains it.” Edie said with a smile. “Erik never brings anyone home. Doesn’t make very many friends.”

Charles turned to look at Erik inquisitively. “I can’t believe that. He’s been nothing but lovely to me since we’ve met.”

Charles gave Erik a huge smile and Erik forced himself to look away.

“He is a good boy but he isn’t always so friendly.” Edie pretended to whisper to Charles. “I hope to see you again, but next time with less damage, yes?”

Charles gave her a small nod as he opened the door and left.

Erik ran to the peephole to see if he would go to his apartment and instead saw Charles head back down the steps.

“He make it home safe, Erik?” His mother smiled at him.

“He’s okay for now, mama.” Erik replied simply, knowing that Charles would have to be back on the street by morning.

After saying goodnight to his mother, Erik looked out his window to see if Charles was outside but he wasn’t.

Probably staying inside for warmth as long as he can before he has to go outside again.

Erik went to sleep with thought of Charles and those incredible eyes staring back at him.

Chapter Text

A month came and went and Erik hadn’t seen Charles anywhere. Erik was beginning to worry until one night when his mama had to work the graveyard shift and he decided to get some beer from a liquor store that had been trashed in a nearby neighborhood.

He fumbled with his key as he juggled the boxes in his arms when he heard something in the ugly shrub in front of the apartment building.

He sighed and, once he’d opened the door and stopped it from closing with the beers, he bent over to see Charles curled together and hissing in pain.

“Charles!” Erik exclaimed, bending down to the smaller boy. “Oh my God.”

“Hello, Erik. Lovely to see you here.” Charles groaned out.

Erik was speechless, but he was a man of action and picked up Charles’ smaller frame into his arms despite the others’ protests and, picking up the boxes of beer in his two hands and sliding Charles closer to his chest, he carried him up the stairs to his apartment.

After leaving Charles on the floor for a moment to open the door to his apartment, Erik scooped him back up and set him on the couch, then went to retrieve the beer and put it in his room.

“Did he do this to you?” Erik asked his blood almost boiling over in rage.

“You could have left me outside, I’d be fine.” Charles insisted even as he winced when Erik lifted his shirt.

Charles had bruises covering his entire abdomen and an old cut that looked as though it had been made with a knife, had split back open. Erik almost looked away but the wounds had to be cleaned and dealt with or they would look and possibly feel worse.

Erik went to get an old towel from the kitchen and the emergency kit. He could still hear Charles’ small noises and forced himself to keep his anger down. The last thing that Charles needed was another person blinded by rage.

After a half hour of taking care of Charles (who kept coming in and out of consciousness), Erik went back to get the beer.

“Would you like some?” Erik offered once he had opened a bottle.

“I’d prefer to keep my inhibitions as they are, thank you. I’m not too keen on alcohol for myself but please, go ahead.” Charles still winced as he sat up but there wasn’t anything Erik could do about that. Charles had at least two bruised ribs and maybe even a broken one.

“It could help with the pain.” Erik offered again.

Charles let out a wry laugh. “That is the hype isn’t it?”

Erik took an awkward sip and kept quiet.

“I’m sorry. Please don’t feel the need to walk on egg-shells around me. I’m not too delicate.” Charles apologized, but Erik wasn’t sure that he had said or done anything that warranted an apology.

“You’re not fragile.” Erik replied instead. “I’m not sure why you’ve put up with all of that man’s bullshit though.”

Charles looked down at the floor. It was the first time that Erik had actually seen him do that.

“I’ve already told you: I haven’t anywhere else to go.” Charles said quietly.

“Can I ask what happened to your parents?” Erik asked carefully, watching Charles’ expression.

“My father died a few years ago, then my mother started dating Kurt.” Charles said simply. “Kurt is the man I live with now. My mother forced him to adopt me, saying that when he did that she would marry him.”

Who would want to marry that lunatic? Who would trust him with their child?

“He adopted me and a month into the wedding plans, my mother ran off without a word.” Charles said looking around and leaning back. “That left him and me stuck with each other. I’m quite sure that it was what she had been intending the whole time, having someone who would be forced to keep me without being able to touch any of my father’s money.”

“Your father’s money?” Erik asked curiously.

“My father was a successful scientist. He was a nuclear researcher and had inherited quite some money from his own parents who were both from wealthy families. I’m not yet old enough to use any money from my trust fund and my mother is in the wind, leaving me with Kurt and his son.” Charles explained. “Kurt is angry about being forced to care for me without reimbursement and his son takes quite the pleasure in wasting his energy on me.”

Erik was quite stunned but mostly horrified at the abuse that Charles was receiving over something he had no control over.

“Why won’t you tell the police or someone who can do something about this?” Erik asked completely baffled.

“Because I’ll be out of here before next year, you’ll see.” Charles replied confidently.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I’ll have access to my trust fund next year and then I can pay to get out of here.”

“You don’t look to be turning 18 anytime soon, Charles.” Erik replied a bit awkwardly.

“When I graduate I can emancipate myself as an adult. I’m graduating this year with honors and I’ve already sent over some paperwork to a judge, he’s just waiting for me to finish the school year and I’ll be able to leave this place forever.” Charles informed him quite happily.

Erik felt a bit conflicted. Charles would finally be free, safe from the monster across the hall, but he would also probably never see him again. There would be no reason to, and it wasn’t exactly as if they were friends. Besides, Charles wanted to leave this place /forever/.

“That’s for the best then, and I wish you luck.” Erik replied, forcing a smile on his face.

“Thank you, Erik. Now if you don’t mind, it is late so I should be heading out-” Charles started.

“No.” Erik interrupted.

“Excuse me?” Charles asked a bit baffled, but he stood up indignant.

Erik felt a wave of pride at the fight that Charles was ready to put up.

“I mean you are not going back downstairs and onto the street like a dog. You’ll stay here tonight.” Erik informed him.

“Will I?” Charles asked with a bit of a smirk that Erik wanted to lick right off.

Back up, he’s only sixteen. Jailbait. You’re nineteen.

“Yes, you will.” Erik said firmly. “And what’s more, you’ll stay for me to make you breakfast.”

Seriously? You hardly ever even make breakfast for yourself.

Charles sighed at Erik and moved towards the door. “Thank you but I really must get going.”

Erik took a side-step in front of Charles to block him.

“Erik, please don’t do this.” Charles replied sounding bored but his eyes were wild and nervous.

“Say you’ll stay to take care of yourself.” Erik pushed.

“Erik, I must go. You can’t force me to stay, this is kidnapping.” Charles retorted forcefully.

Charles.” Erik crooned. “I’m doing this for your own good.”

Charles bit his deliciously red bottom lip and moved carefully around Erik. After a moment’s distraction, Erik stepped back in front of Charles.

“Erik.” Charles whispered.

Erik wanted to kiss the worry off the young boy’s forehead and instinctively stepped closer before he realized what he was doing and paused.

“Erik, let me leave.” Charles said firmly, almost as a demand.

Thoughts of never seeing the adorable brunette and those impossible eyes again clouded Erik’s mind and before he could stop himself he growled a low “No.” and was carefully moving a panicked Charles to the bedrooms.

Charles grabbed a book that Erik’s mother had been reading and, with all the force that his body could gather, he slammed it against Erik’s head, causing the man to fall to the floor and rethink what he had been doing.

That was bad. Also a little bit creepy. Nice going, Erik. Caveman.

“I am sorry, Erik.” Charles apologized quietly, a bit rattled and clutching at his ribs but otherwise unfazed. “You left me no choice. Now, I am going to leave and we are going to pretend that none of this happened. Correct?”

Erik nodded in compliance and shame. “Charles, don’t sleep outside on the disgusting street.”

“Kurt and Cain left me locked outside but that was because they’re going to be gone all week. I’m going back to my apartment.” Charles informed him with a sigh. “I managed to get a key around two years ago during one of the times which Kurt came home drunk, I’ll be fine. They don’t know I have it.”

“Do you actually have a bed in the apartment?” Erik asked, standing up.

Charles hesitated a moment.

“Are you going to sleep on one of theirs? I’m sure they’ll notice. People notice when their bed has been slept in by someone else, it smells different.” Erik told him with a sigh.

“I’ll sleep on the couch. I do that anyways, they won’t notice.” Charles said, opening the door to leave.

“Wait.” Erik said, moving to get the extra blanket they kept on the couch. “Take this. It should be warmer than anything they’ve provided you with if the way you dress is anything to go by.”

Charles received it awkwardly. “Thank you, Erik, for all you’ve done. Sorry about the- uh…”

He gestured to Erik’s head.

“I deserved it.” Erik replied sincerely. “If you would like to come over for breakfast when you wake, I should still be here. I don’t work tomorrow and I plan to spend it with my mother when she gets back, but she won’t return until the afternoon.”

“So long as you promise not to try and keep me here forever, I will be happy to stop by.” Charles said with a chuckle. “I should warn you that I get up at four in the morning to get to school early.”

“Like I said, I’ll still be here. Just knock on the door.” Erik smiled back at him.

Charles gave him a smile and a nod in return before leaving.

Chapter Text

Charles knocked on Erik’s door at five o’clock in the morning with a bashful smile.

He was already dressed in a school uniform for a prep school and had a large, overloaded backpack on the floor next to his legs.

“Good morning, Erik.” He said staring up at him with his big eyes.

“Good morning, Charles. Won’t you please come in?” Erik said with a smile, feeling like this was a defining moment for them.

Charles chuckled at him and stepped in, bringing in his backpack with a wince. “This is the first time I’ve ever been formally invited into your home.”

“I don’t like to do things in order.” Erik replied as he closed the door.

Charles looked him over unreservedly and Erik did his best not to squirm.

“You’re still in your sleeping clothes.” He observed with a squint.

“It is five in the morning.” Erik said with a smile.

“Right.” Charles hummed in response, still somewhat staring at Erik.

Erik coughed a bit nervously. “How do you like your eggs?”

Charles snapped out of his trance. “However you like them is fine.”

“Alright, then please have a seat.” Erik said pointing to a chair at the table.

Charles took the offered chair and sat down with a small gasp of pain.

Erik ignored the sound, knowing that there was nothing else to do about the wounds.

“So what do you do for a living?” Charles inquired.

Erik paused from where he was setting up the pans to make the eggs.

“I’m sorry, you don’t need to answer that.” Charles amended quickly.

“No, it’s fine.” Erik said turning to give Charles a reassuring smile. “I work part time at a scrapyard and I take classes at the community college during the week.”

“What kinds of classes?” Charles asked curiously.

“Just a few business and math classes right now.”

“So what’s your overall goal? What are you studying for?” Charles asked, standing out of the chair and moving to stand near the kitchen.

“Well, I’m not sure yet. I take them because I can and they help me get a few odd jobs here and there.” Erik shrugged.

“You don’t have a passion for anything?” Charles leaned forward with intrigue.

“I like the work I’m doing at the scrapyard.” Erik replied as he salted the eggs.

“What do you like about it?”

“Am I being interrogated? Why so many questions?” Erik teased. “I like the metal.”

“Sorry, that was terribly nosy.” Charles said looking down.

“It’s alright,” Erik assured him. “So, what about you? What are you passionate about?”

“I find biology fascinating!” Charles exclaimed excitedly before calming himself down. “I’m sorry, I should dial it down. I know how annoying I can get when I’m set off on that subject.”

“No, please continue. Anything specific or just biology in general?” Erik asked with a large smile.

“I’m particularly interested in genetics.” Charles said obviously trying to keep enthusiasm from bubbling over in his voice.

“Really, genetics?” Erik asked with a smirk.

“Yes, I know that it’s not very interesting to most people but the basis of our entire existence can be found in our genes.”

“Can it?” Erik asked, encouraging Charles to continue.

“You mustn’t knock it.” Charles chastised gently. “Mutation took us from single-cell organisms to being the dominant form of reproductive life on this planet, infinite forms of variation with each generation, all through mutation.”

Erik lifted his brow in surprise. “You really have done your research, haven’t you?”

“Yes well, when I find something beautiful and fascinating, I tend not to let it up.” Charles replied with a smirk.

Erik squinted at Charles in confusion but turned back to the eggs.

“How are you feeling today?” Erik asked, turning to point at Charles’ abdomen with his spatula.

“They’ll heal.” Charles said indifferently.

Erik nodded and they kept companionable silence as he finished cooking the eggs.

“Would you like me to set up the table?” Charles asked when he saw that the eggs were finished and Erik was putting them on two plates.

“You don’t need to bother yourself.” Erik said with a smile. “We don’t have any bacon, my mother keeps kosher. Would you like to serve yourself some milk? You can help yourself to the fridge.”

“Yes, thank you.” Charles said, grabbing at his side a bit before he opened the fridge to get the milk.

Erik opened a cabinet to get two glasses and put them on the counter in front of Charles.

While Charles served the milk, Erik retrieved forks for them from a drawer and moved the plates to the table.

They ate comfortably in silence, Erik not wanting to distract Charles from eating because he was remarkably thin. Charles ate like a gentleman of course, which would have surprised Erik if Charles hadn’t told him about his background. He was obviously starved but, just as with his wounds, he never acknowledged it aloud.

“Well, my friend, I must get going.” Charles said after he had finished his food and washed his plate despite Erik’s protests.

“Would you like a ride? There aren’t any prep schools nearby and it would be horrible for you to carry that for a long walk. It would be hard enough getting it down the stairs with how small you are.” Erik asked, pointing to the aforementioned overloaded backpack.

“I’ve been enough trouble,” Charles replied shaking his head. “I wouldn’t want to bother you anymore.”

“I don’t have anything to do and I wouldn’t mind company for a bit longer.” Erik said easily, already hauling the bag onto his shoulder. “Are you carrying rocks in this?”

“My books are in there. I take advanced classes and a few extra ones with college credits.” Charles replied messing his hands together awkwardly.

“Seems I’m dealing with a genius then.” Erik smiled at him. “C’mon, you’ll have to give me directions since I don’t know where it is.”

The car ride was quiet aside from Charles’ remarks on which ways to turn and Erik carried Charles’ bag for him all the way to the front doors of the large, posh school.

After an awkward goodbye handshake, Erik went back home. It wasn’t until later that he realized that Charles would probably have to walk back to the apartment.

~

Later in the afternoon, he heard Charles’ voice outside of the apartment. He looked out the peephole to see if Charles was going to knock but instead saw Charles with a young blonde girl holding his hand and smiling at him like the sun.

Once Charles’ apartment door was open, Charles wrapped his arm around her and gave her a kiss on the head as he led her in. The door soon closed again and Erik felt something tighten in his chest.

He felt ridiculous and went to grab another beer before he went back to sitting on the couch listening to the record player with his mama.

“What’s wrong?” She asked when she noticed his grim expression.

“Nothing, mama.” Erik said with an encouraging smile that he was sure didn’t reach his eyes.

She didn’t push though and went back to her knitting.

Chapter Text

It was another month before Erik properly talked to Charles again.

Ever since seeing Charles with the blonde girl, Erik had been trying to keep himself distanced and unattached. He knew that once Charles graduated, he’d never see him again.

Charles would still end up bruised outside of the building and Erik would bring him in to patch him up, but instead of conversing, Erik would say he was tired and Charles would leave with a small frown.

The next time though, he found Charles far worse than ever before.

“Charles?” Erik asked panicked. “Charles, please wake up and look at me!”

Instead of being outside of the apartment, Erik had found Charles when he’d gone to throw trash away. Charles was bleeding horribly out of his side and his leg looked broken. Hand shaped bruises were on his upper arms as though someone had grabbed him and shaken him roughly. No matter what Erik said, Charles wouldn’t wake up.

Erik frantically, but delicately, moved Charles around to find a heartbeat. He almost sobbed with relief when he found one and lugged the small boy into his arms, half running to his car to drive him to the hospital.

They received Charles immediately at seeing his condition and soon Erik was bombarded with questions from the doctor and the police as to what had happened. Erik told them he wasn’t sure and that he had found him next to the apartment buildings trash bins.

They didn’t know who to call and Erik told them that there wasn’t anyone. After what felt like forever, the doctor informed him that Charles had suffered major internal injuries and had most likely been beaten until he was unconscious and then some. The doctor told the police that Charles had old bruises and wounds that showed signs of continuous abuse and that it was improbable that mugging had been the result of all of Charles’ injuries.

Erik almost screamed at the nurses to let him in to see Charles. They finally let him in when the doctor gave them a nod.

Erik pulled a chair next to the bed and waited for Charles to wake up.

“He won’t be awake for a few hours, if he does wake up at all.” One of the nurses that came to check Charles’ IV drip told Erik.

“What do you mean if?” Erik snarled at her.

“Calm down, sir.” She answered easily. “He’s been through a lot and his injuries were incredibly severe. We can’t be sure how long he was unconscious before you found him and in his state it could take hours or possibly days before he wakes up again.

Erik sighed and moved to grab Charles’ small, unresponsive hand in his own, letting his head drop onto the hospital bed next to their entwined hands.

The nurse took the hint and left without another word.

~

Erik had fallen asleep sometime during the night and woke with the sunlight hitting his face, slightly disoriented as he felt someone petting his hair and realized he was hunched over awkwardly on a chair with his head on a hospital mattress.

“Charles?” He asked, moving his head up and feeling the hand freeze and retract itself.

He blinked at the young man and noticed that their hands were still linked from last night.

Charles’ eyes were puffy from what he could only assume to be crying and he let go of Erik’s hand to wipe at them.

“Good morning, Erik.” Charles said with an awkward smile.

“Charles, what happened last night? You could have died.” Erik asked forcefully, not willing to deal with whatever bullshit excuse Charles was going to come up with.

Obviously Charles took notice because he took a deep sigh before responding. “Cain and Kurt found out about me trying to emancipate myself. They weren’t exactly happy about it.”

Erik worked to keep his anger at bay. “Charles, you can’t let him keep doing this to you! You’re going to end up dead.”

“You think I want this to happen?” Charles asked in disbelief. “I’m making the most out of a bad situation! I’ve worked my ass off to graduate early and get away from him and, what’s more, you don’t have a right to get upset with me. I never asked you for your help.”

Erik ignored the harsh jerk his felt in his chest, as if someone had pulled something out. “But you need it don’t you? You certainly needed it last night!”

“I didn’t ask you for it!” Charles half-screamed but he gasped and held his ribs with a pained groan before settled down into the bed. “I never asked for any of this. I’m not helpless and I don’t need someone else yelling at me when I’ve done nothing wrong. Please, just go, Erik. I thank you for what you’ve done for me but I think it would best for you leave right now.”

Erik let out a shaky breath, ready to fight back but Charles was right, he didn’t need another person yelling at him right now. Erik should calm himself and come back later.

Or just not come back at all.

He left the room without another word.

~

Erik couldn’t really stay away, not with worry eating away at him. He found himself back at the hospital to check on Charles the next day.

“My mother made me bring soup.” Erik grumbled as he stepped into the room.

“Thank you, Erik.” Charles replied awkwardly, still bandaged but able to move more on the bed.

“I’m sorry about yesterday.” Erik began. “I know that you’ve been trying your best to get away from him and I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”

“And I apologize for what I said as well.” Charles said, moving to sit up with another wince. “I do appreciate what you’ve done for me and I don’t want you to think that I don’t.”

“Charles, you don’t owe me anything.” Erik assured him, moving the plastic container he had in his arms onto a bedside table.

Charles let out a chuckle. “Oh, my friend, I’m afraid you’re quite wrong there. I owe you my life after last night.”

“No Charles,” Erik said firmly. “You don’t owe me anything.”

Charles simply nodded and looked away.

“I went by your school and told them that you’d been injured and wouldn’t be going for a few days.” Erik said, changing the subject. “One of the teachers almost had an aneurism but they sent me with some homework for you to do. It’s all piled up in a box in my car but I’m not sure I’ll be able to carry it in on my own. They said it was just the homework for the rest of the week and that it’s all due on Friday. Good luck.”

Erik couldn’t help laughing at the ridiculous amount of homework that the young brunette had but Charles seemed rather unfazed.

“Well I would like to get it all done as soon as possible.” Charles replied easily with a smile. “Could you bring it up now or is that too much to ask?”

Erik knit his eyebrows together. “I wasn’t joking, it is a rather large box.”

“I’m well aware.” Charles said with an easy smile.

Erik left to get the box.

“They wouldn’t give this work to just anyone.” Charles said once Erik had returned with the box of homework and had helped Charles set it up comfortably in the room. “Who did you tell them that you are?”

“Oh, umm.” Erik replied awkwardly. “I told them I was your cousin visiting in town. They asked me a few questions but you’ve told me about your parents so I managed to get by.”

“Well it’s a good thing they didn’t ask you for the crest then.” Charles started laughing a bit hysterically but stopped when his ribs started hurting too much.

“You’re family has a crest?” Erik asked skeptically.

“Oh dear God, no!” Charles laughed out but gave Erik an apologetic grin. “It’s a bit of an inside joke.”

Erik nodded in confusion.

“Can you move that table a bit closer please?” Charles asked politely changing the subject.

Erik obliged.

“Don’t you have work or classes today?” Charles asked, now distracted by his homework.

“I don’t work until the evening and I can skip my classes today.” Erik informed him.

“Why would you skip your classes?” Charles asked, looking up at him.

You’re so clueless, aren’t you?

“I’d prefer to spend the day here, with you.” Erik tried to say it as though it wasn’t a big deal, but his heart was racing in his chest.

“That’s very kind of you, but I believe that education comes first.” Charles scolded politely.

“And I think that the safety and health of my friends comes first.” Erik retorted with a smile.

Charles looked at him oddly for a few moments before turning his focus back on his work.

“I won’t be much fun today.” Charles said, again changing the subject. “As you can see, I have much work to do and I won’t be paying you much attention. You should attend your classes, I’ll still be here when they’re done and we can do our work together. Sound like a plan?”

“I can’t say that I’m completely opposed to it.” Erik responded, standing up from the seat he had taken. “I should be back in a few hours, with a stack of homework to rival yours.”

Erik moved to give Charles a pat on the leg before leaving. He didn’t say anything when he noticed Charles flex and stop himself from flinching at the contact.

Once Erik was safe in his car, he took a moment to ask himself what exactly it was that he was doing.

Chapter Text

Erik had delivered the homework which Charles had miraculously been able to finish on Friday morning and the next day, the doctor informed him that Charles was ready to go home.

The only problem with that was, Charles didn’t have anywhere to go once he left the hospital.

“You can stay with my mother and I until you graduate.” Erik offered.

“I refuse to imposed myself on you and you’ve been kind enough already.” Charles declined. “One of my friends called and he said that he would love to have me stay with him. He’s quite lonely and has been itching to get me to come over. I already accepted his offer.”

A small wave of jealousy came over Erik.

Where was this friend when Charles was being abused on a daily basis? Where was he?

“I insist that you at least let me drive you to this boy’s home.” Erik said instead.

“Oh that won’t be necessary.” Charles said standing up out of the bed. “And he is hardly a boy, he has a car and a license and will be here to pick me up any minute now.”

“How old is he?” Erik asked cautiously.

“Twenty-two, who’s askin’?” A deep growl said behind him.

There was large, burly man with a cigar in his mouth and a scowl on his face staring at him warily.

“Logan!” Charles said with a large grin. “Lovely to see you again. This is my neighbor, Erik.”

Neighbor.

“Well c’mon, kid. We haven’t got all day.” Logan said but even as he scowled at Erik, there was a fond look on his face when he turned to Charles.

“Yes, of course.” Charles replied hastily moving to pick up his backpack but Logan beat him to it with a look. “Thank you for all that you’ve done, Erik. I’ll see you later, yes?”

Erik felt something ugly inside of him and could only respond with a nod and a tight smile.

Charles and Logan were out of the room soon enough, leaving Erik feeling more alone than he could ever remember feeling.

~

Two weeks came and went and Erik hadn’t seen or heard from Charles since the hospital. Then a small invitation to Charles’ graduation came to him in the mail and Erik didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the small envelope.

A month later, Erik, of course, ended up going to the ceremony his mama. Mostly because she yelled at him fiercely about being ridiculous when he told her that he wasn’t sure if he should.

When they called Charles’ name and declared him valedictorian, it was a screaming match of who could shout the loudest between Erik and Logan. Edie clapped excitedly but when Erik kept whooping, she raised her brow at him and he was silenced. Logan won.

Charles gave his valedictorian speech and was barraged with awards and recognitions. Erik was surprised at how actively involved in the school Charles had been, but thinking over, it explained why he only ever saw Charles during the evenings before he was hospitalized.

Logan, the bastard, was the first to give Charles a hug. Erik felt another pang of jealousy at noticing that Charles hadn’t flinched back for once. He also decided that he was being stupid and should be glad that Charles didn’t curl away from physical contact.

He stood back to watch Charles laugh and positively glow with cheer and excitement for a few moments before he decided that Logan had basked in Charles’ company for long enough.

“Erik! I wasn’t sure that you would come.” Charles said running over to him when he saw him.

He gave Erik such a blindingly bright smile Erik was at a loss for words. Charles then turned to Edie and easily returned the hug that she gave him.

“Edie, you look lovely as always.” Charles complimented with a small bow of his head.

“Hey Charles! Did you forget about me?” A feminine voice called at Charles and he turned and ran to pick up the same blonde girl that Erik had seen Charles bring to his apartment before.

Charles lifted her with surprising strength and spun her around as she laughed happily.

“How could I ever forget my dearest Raven?” Charles said after he put her down and pulled her in for a long and tight hug.

“I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages, Charles.” Raven replied a bit more reserved than he.

“Yes well I have been busy graduating with top marks.” Charles smirked at her.

“Yea, yea. Show off.” She laughed out, moving to kiss him on the cheek.

Logan sauntered over just then. “Gonna tell us who she is or do I have to tie her down and interrogate her to make sure she’s safe?”

“That won’t be necessary.” Charles said, pushing Logan’s arm playfully. “This is my sister, Raven.”

OHHHHHH

“It’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m Erik.” Erik smiled at her widely as he extending his hand.

“Likewise.” She replied batting her eyelids at him flirtatiously.

“Raven, behave.” Charles warned.

“Raven! Hi!” A nerdy looking boy with glasses yelled as he ran over to them awkwardly.

“Hank!” Charles said turning around, his smile still plastered on his face as if he couldn’t help it. “Good of you to come, I was just about to ask where you were. Everyone meet Hank, he’s fifteen and graduating next year.”

“Yea, but I won’t have as many special honors as you. I think you took them all.” Hank teased a bit shyly, staring at Raven the whole time.

“Yes, well I’ve had quite a bit of spare time on my hands.” Charles replied easily. “Now, I’d like to treat you all to lunch if that’s all right?”

“It’s not all right.” Logan interrupted. “You’re the one that graduated so I say we take you out for lunch. In fact, I’ll pay. My treat.”

Charles was about to protest but Logan gave him a look and Charles simply responded with a clap on the man’s back and an “all right then. Shall we?”

Before they went out for lunch, they met up with a few of the kids in the lower grades that had come to see Charles graduate. Apparently, Charles had been tutoring on top of all of his extra-curriculum and Erik was beginning to wonder when Charles found the time, even if he didn’t sleep.

The lunch went well, even if Logan and Raven were the ones seated on either side of Charles. Even Edie was placed closer to the young graduate than Erik. A boy named Alex who was an eighteen year old studying to take his GED sat closer to Charles than Erik. Erik was left at the end of the table seated in front of a young Hispanic girl wearing revealing clothing and wings tattooed on her back.

The company was fine and Charles found a way to communicate with everyone at the table rather than leaving them to converse with whomever they were seated closest to. Charles ate extremely little and Erik noticed that he kept giving his food to Raven who took it easily without any qualms.

Edie had to leave for work once she finished her food and gave Charles one last congratulatory hug before leaving.

“There’s a party at my house since Scott graduated.” Alex informed them once they had finished their food and the sun was ready to set. “He told me to invite you, Charles, and that you can bring anybody else you want.”

“Shall we then?” Charles asked with a large smile.

“The party won’t really get started for another hour so how about we change into some party clothes and regroup, yea?” Raven responded eagerly.

“Good idea, Raven.” Charles said leaning over and placing a kiss on the side of her head. “We’ll meet back at Logan’s house in a half hour.”

Once the check was settled and the kids left with promises to return, Erik was left alone again with Charles and Logan.

“I should be getting home.” Erik said once they were outside. “Have fun at the party.”

“You don’t want to come? You’re more than welcome to.” Charles said, staring up at Erik a bit hopefully.

“That’s all right.” Erik replied with a nod. “I won’t know anyone there except for you.”

“Right.” Charles said thoughtfully.

He stood thinking for a few moments before grabbing a piece of paper and a pen from a nearby table.

“Here’s the address for the party.” Charles said writing it down. “In case you change your mind.”

Erik took the proffered paper and nodded at Charles with a smile. “Thank you.”

Charles blinked up at him expectedly.

“Well, I’ll see you when I see you.” Erik said a bit awkwardly.

Charles shook his head at him in what looked like disappointment for a minute but soon was smiling up at him again. “I’ll see you later, Erik.”

Erik walked off to his car a bit confused.

Chapter Text

The house was a twenty minute drive away and the sun was down by the time he pulled up. Loud dance music was being played for the whole block to hear and he could see through the window that someone had set up disco lights.

He pushed his way inside, noticing that some people were already toppling over themselves with alcoholic drinks in their hands. The house wasn’t too big but it was crowded and he couldn’t find Charles through the mess of sweaty people on the ground level. He checked up the stairs, and after a few awkward run-ins with people drunkenly attempting at public sex in the rooms, he went back downstairs to look in the backyard.

Someone shoved a shot of something in his hands but he didn’t drink it, still looking for Charles. When he got outside he saw Alex rubbing himself against a flushed Hank and Raven chatting up with Angel.

“Where’s Charles?” Erik yelled over the music.

Raven and Angel giggled at him, Raven moving to slide herself against him. “He’s occupied right now, wanna dance?”

“I’d prefer to find Charles.” Erik said, stepping away from the minor.

“Fine, he’s next to the trash bins next to the house.” Raven said annoyed, pointing to the side of the house.

Erik said a quick thank you and was ready to leave when Raven caught his arm again. “You might not like what you find. I think you should leave him alone.”

Erik glared at her and reclaimed his arm. Worry flashed through him as to what was wrong with Charles.

He moved to the side of the house, the music still roaring loud but he could hear Charles laughing.

“We shouldn’t be doing this.” He heard Charles say. “I’m a horrible influence for Raven.”

“It’s not like she doesn’t do the same and worse when you’re not around.” Logan’s voice said.

That is not the point.” Charles giggled.

“Are we gonna make-out or not?” Logan said gruffly.

“Patience, my friend, is a virtue.” Charles chuckled but the sound came muffled.

Erik felt something snap and before he knew it he had rounded the corner and was watching the young minor fiercely licking at Logan’s lips, small sounds escaping his mouth, their bodies entwined and hands feeling all over each other.

“What is going on here?” Erik yelled over the music.

“Erik! Lovely, I didn’t know if you would come!” Charles said, his hair tousled from where Logan had unsettled it and his lips bitten red.

“What are you doing here?” He turned angrily towards Logan.

“What’s it look like, bub?” Logan said half-annoyed but obviously pleased with himself.

“No, you misunderstand, Erik.” Charles said, swaying back and forth on his feet.

“So he wasn’t taking advantage of you while you’re obviously drunk?” Erik scoffed angrily.

“Speaking of which, thank you very much.” Charles said, taking the drink Erik still had in his hand and downing it in one go.

“This is illegal.” Erik yelled at both of them.

“We weren’t going to have sex.” Charles said as if it helped anything. The image of them naked and going at it like animals popping up into Erik’s mind.

“I’m not taking advantage of him.” Logan said soberly. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a while. Charles just said he needed some liquid courage in him before we did anything.”

“Yes! Exactly. Thank you Logan.” Charles said with a goofy smile. “If you want us to stop then we’ve stopped. You’ve done what you’ve wanted. We will not continue our activities anymore.”

Erik’s blood was boiling. This had been planned. They had been ‘talking about doing this for a while.’ What had he been thinking? Charles was a child. He had gone and gotten himself mixed up with a troubled child.

“I think I should go home.” Erik said turning to walk away.

“No, please, Erik.” Charles said, stumbling over Logan. “Logan wait here, we’ll get back to this in a moment.”

Erik couldn’t take the pain he felt in his chest and frantically pushed his way through the crowds of people despite Charles’ calls for him to stay and listen.

“What do you want from me, Charles?” Erik screamed once they were back in the front yard.

Charles tripped over a rock and Erik instinctively caught him in his arms.

“What do you want from me, Erik?” Charles asked, looking up at him with confusion and frustration.

Erik stammered. “Nothing. What makes you think I want anything from you?”

“You didn’t need to take care of me when you found me outside of our apartment building. You could have left me, but you didn’t.” Charles sighed. “You made it obvious that you’ve been stalking me for quite some time even before our first encounter, and even your mother is surprised at your behavior towards me yet you’ve never made a single move to tell me what it is that you want. You even started ignoring me for some reason and won’t even tell me what it is I did wrong.”

“What are you talking about, ‘ignoring you’?” Erik asked confused.

“You would just patch my wounds and hardly say a word to me.” Charles huffed.

“Anyone would have helped you if they found you as I had.” Erik defended weakly, changing the subject. Charles was right about everything else.

“No, they wouldn’t have. They didn’t.” Charles said blandly. “What do you want from me, Erik?”

“Nothing. I don’t want anything from you Charles.” Erik spat out defensively, pushing the boy away from him and out of his arms.

He moved to go to his car and drove away without a backwards glance.

Erik couldn't help realizing that Charles was moving away and Erik would never see him again.

Chapter Text

The day had been like any other, with Kurt losing his temper over nothing and Cain adding a swift kick to his arse as Kurt threw him out the door.

Except for that it wasn’t.

A tall young man with auburn hair and softness in his green/grey eyes stopped and offered to let him inside.

Charles was taken aback for a moment and, after some hesitation, he agreed with the stranger and followed him up the steps to the apartment. His name was Erik. Erik was exquisitely handsome with a natural and healthy build, but he acted strange for a few moments before accepting Charles’ hand to shake.

Perhaps he’s mentally ill. It would explain why, even after seeing how Kurt’s temper is, he has decided to let me into his apartment to care for me.

After entering the apartment, Charles was introduced to Erik’s mother, Edie. She was beautiful if a bit on the thin side, but she had so much kindness that it almost blinded Charles. She immediately started fussing over him and worrying, making Charles feel awkward as the feeling was foreign. Nobody had ever really cared about him like this. His own mother had abandoned him and had left him to live with Kurt.

His sister Raven was another story. He was more of her guardian than anything and he made sure that she would be safe away from Kurt before mother had left.

Erik went to get the first aid kit and even though Charles protested, Edie didn’t listen and took proper care of his wounds. Afterwards, she heated some of the soup that she and Erik had had for dinner and gave him a large bowl. Charles saw Erik pull a piece of bread out of his pocket before sitting down at the table to join Charles.

It had been a while since Charles had actually had company while he ate. Usually Kurt either sent him to sleep without dinner (or just out on the street for the night), or he would throw Charles a leftover of what Kurt had made for dinner because Charles tried to stay away from the apartment for as long as possible.

“So why did he hit you?” Erik interrupted Charles’ thoughts. He looked about ready to take it back, probably thinking Charles wouldn’t answer, but Charles didn’t care anymore and told him about his inadequacy to wash a plate.

Charles saw anger rise up in Erik’s expression. It both confused him and terrified him. He didn’t understand why Erik should get so mad about something that wasn’t his problem, but on the other hand, Charles wasn’t sure how Erik’s anger was and hated himself for wincing at the thought of Erik turning violent.

Apparently Erik also noticed the wince because he forced himself to calm down and asked why Charles lived with him.

Who else do you expect me to live with?

“I have to.” Charles let out a sigh. “I haven’t anywhere else to go.”

A few more prying questions and Charles tried to ignore the horrified looks at his answers but, when it all became a bit too much to bear, he got up and excused himself to leave.

Edie gave Charles a big hug, despite Charles’ attempts at a handshake, and Charles flinched back and patted her awkwardly. He felt silly for his body thinking that she could hurt anyone. She invited him to stay the night but Charles knew that if Kurt woke up and saw that Charles wasn’t outside of the building, then he would be punished again, so he declined.

Edie was kind and told him that Erik never really brought friends home, but Charles couldn’t believe that. Erik was a bit rough on the outside, but he was handsome and had a good heart. He was lovely.

So very lovely and absolutely gorgeous.

He turned to give Erik a smile and couldn’t help how ridiculously big it must have been as he saw Erik’s head slightly tilted as though confused. Edie was still talking and saying niceties about her son, but Charles couldn’t help staring at him even as he looked away and avoided looking Charles in the eyes.

Once out of the apartment, Charles let himself sigh and walked back down the steps but didn’t go outside yet, instead, going to wait out the rain that had started pouring down, inside the building but next to the doors.

All he could think about was Erik.

~

A month flew by with a lot of school work and tutoring that needed to be done. Charles was happy to be away from home for very long and be able to stay over at Logan’s or Scott and Alex’s homes. He did miss Erik, but he knew that Erik had probably forgotten him by now as they had only ever met once.

One night, he came home to find Cain struggling with a half-naked girl. Cain got up off the couch where the girl had been and charged at Charles, screaming at him.

“You didn’t see anything, okay?”

“Get your clothing on, quickly!” Charles told the girl who was frantically trying to find her shoes.

“Shut up!” Cain yelled, shoving Charles to the ground and chasing after her.

“Cain, stop.” Charles warned.

The girl was out the door before Cain could reach her.

“Guess I’ll have to find entertainment elsewhere.” Cain threatened, leaning over Charles.

Charles didn’t like where this was going and punched Cain in the nose with all of his might.

“You little bitch!” Cain shrieked, then kicked Charles in the stomach, still holding his own nose.

Charles grunted as Cain continued to kick him and felt himself passing out just as the door opened.

“Cain! What the hell are you doing?” Kurt yelled, shoving the other boy away from Charles.

“He punched me in the nose for no reason, dad!” Cain lied.

“We were going to be gone the whole week and you couldn’t resist getting into trouble, could ya?” Kurt snarled. “Well if it’s trouble you want then you get out of here! Stay on the street for a week and see how you like that!”

Kurt picked Charles up by the back of his shirt and threw him out the door and tumbled him down the steps.

“There was a girl.” Charles wheezed out, trying to explain even though he felt his old wounds being ripped open. Particularly the one from the time that Kurt had put Cain to do the dishes and Cain had “accidentally” shoved a knife into Charles abdomen.

“Dumb faggot, as it I’d believe that.” Kurt spat before closing the door.

Charles kept in and out of consciousness, and felt when Cain punched him in the face before they left for good.

About an hour passed but the pain didn’t, and Erik came by with two cases of beer.

Charles tried not to be seen, he didn’t want to trouble Erik, but Erik had already spotted him. Charles tried to remain calm as though nothing bad had happened but Erik lifted Charles into his arms and carried him up the steps.

You smell lovely. You are lovely. I’m in a lot of pain but maybe if I can keep smelling you it will go away.

He didn’t really know exactly what was happening but he tried to assure Erik that he was fine, though Erik obviously didn’t believe him. Once they were inside, Erik busied himself with taking care of Charles, though Charles wasn’t sure what was going on as he was too overwhelmed with pain.

Charles finally came to his senses a bit after Erik had finished taking care of the bruises and had bandaged the old cut that had reopened.

Erik offered him beer, but Charles had seen what alcohol had done to his mother and declined. He never wanted to touch the stuff. It was all his mother would eat or drink all day after his father had died and it made Kurt’s anger even worse. No, Charles wouldn’t drink any beer but he wouldn’t keep Erik from enjoying any for himself.

Charles knew that he was probably being a bit boring now, and after how Erik had seen him, he didn’t like the way Erik was looking at him with so much worry and apologized for his behavior.

Erik asked him about his parents and Charles gave the information willingly since Erik seemed to genuinely care. He felt he owed him a bit of an explanation as to why he had found him so damaged twice already.

He saw Erik look confused at the story of his childhood, but Charles was being honest and there was no need to sugar coat anything. He found himself feeling closer, more attached to Erik, and told him how he planned to leave by the end of the year and never have to come back.

Erik looked a bit odd when Charles told him that he never wanted to come back, almost sad, but Charles had to leave now that he was feeling better. He certainly didn’t want Edie to see him like this, she was a darling woman but she might just hunt Kurt down like a bloodhound and kill him if she knew what was going on.

The only trouble was, that Erik seemed disinclined to let Charles leave…

Charles was not going to get into a fight with Erik but he kept getting closer and seemed to smile at Charles when he stood straighter.

“You’ll stay here tonight.” Erik informed him.

That would be lovely if you didn’t mean for me to sleep on the couch.

“Will I?” Charles smirked.

Here he was being forced into doing something and he was thinking of every sexual fantasy that Erik would be perfect for.

Well aren’t my priorities straight. No wait, they’re actually very gay.

Erik almost seemed to be thinking the same thing but apparently he wasn’t, or something was holding him back, and he was harassing Charles again.

It seemed as though Erik was going to force him into staying until breakfast, which didn’t make any sense at all because you don’t invite people to breakfast when you are harassing them.

Charles sighed in disappointment at Erik before politely declining. Erik wouldn’t listen and proceeded to block Charles’ way. Charles was getting quite bored with all this as he had had enough for one night.

He was still nervous at the prospect of Erik being another person to hurt him.

Erik tried backing him into a wall and Charles couldn’t help biting his lip when Erik was so close to him, smelling lovely and crooning his name so nicely.

Charles got his head back on and started to move around him but Erik stepped back in front of him.

By this time, Charles wasn’t sure if Erik was going to take him then and there or if he was going to hit him. Charles couldn’t help whispering “Erik” when he saw the man tilt forward.

It seemed to help as Erik’s features relaxed into almost a daze and he stepped forward. But then, of course, something happened and his expression hardened as he paused.

Charles couldn’t stand it anymore and firmly demanded that Erik let him leave.

Erik zoned out for a few moments before growling out a “No” and started moving Charles closer to the bedrooms.

This isn’t the way to court someone. This isn’t how you deflower them! This isn’t how I’m giving myself to him.

Charles panicked but as soon as he saw a book (how fitting that books are always my salvation in life), Charles grabbed it and, with all the force that his body could gather, he slammed it against Erik’s forehead, causing the man to fall to the floor with a confused look.

Bloody lunatic, you are. Gorgeous but absolutely bonkers.

“I am sorry, Erik.” Charles apologized, because he was sorry, even though he was a bit baffled at how wrong a turn everything had gone.

Erik made him promise not to sleep on the street and Charles promised him he wouldn’t. Informing him that Kurt and Cain hadn’t actually left Charles locked out as he had stolen a key a while back. (Of course he neglected to mention the beating he had gotten when Kurt suspected him and Charles had had to hide it under another apartment’s mat)

After telling Erik that he would sleep on the couch, Erik apologized and lent him a blanket. Charles promised to come by for breakfast but warned that it might be too early for Erik before leaving.

~

The next morning, Charles had a wonderful breakfast with Erik, sharing more about himself and learning more about Erik in return. Erik drove him to school and Charles felt a warm feeling in his chest the whole day and kept a smile beaming through his classes. Scott noticed and made a few jabs, all in good fun, and carried his books from class to class.

After school, Charles had already cancelled all of his tutoring lessons so that he could spend the day with Raven. She had been wanting to see him for a long time but he had buried himself in his studies so deep that he hardly came up for air anymore. Logan came by, as always, to drive him home, and Charles was feeling so happy from the morning that he gave him a hug before putting his seatbelt on. Logan was properly stunned but seemed glad to see Charles so happy.

Raven was waiting on the steps inside when he got there.

“Raven!” Charles almost squealed at the sight of her.

“Charles! Who was the hot guy that drove you here? He looked so manly.” She giggled as she hugged him tightly.

“A friend of mine. He used to work in the library but there were a few accusations about him stealing poetry books and he quit out of principle. He said that if he were to steal any ‘goddamn books, then they sure as hell wouldn’t be anything pansy like poetry.’” Charles imitated his deep voice and Raven could hardly contain her laughter.

“C’mon, show me the crummy apartment.” Raven said after composing herself a bit.

“Yes, m’lady.” Charles bowed teasingly.

He held her hand and led her the rest of the way up the steps. Once he got the door to the apartment open, Charles wrapped his arm around her and gave her a kiss on the head as he let her in. Once the door was closed, she made jokes about what a junkyard he was living in, but she said them lightly.

“God, we’re rich enough to probably have a family crest and go to snooty schools, but you live here.” Raven commented idly.

“We don’t have a family crest, darling.” Charles reminded her lightly.

“Yea, but we should. You come from old money and most rich, old, white families have crests as if they were royalty.” Raven teased.

“But we’re not royalty.” Charles corrected. “What the bloody hell do we even need a crest for? That’s just ridiculous and I know you’re thinking about getting one but the answer is no.”

Raven pouted but moved on.

“So, are you seeing anyone?” Raven asked squirming in her seat as though getting more comfortable once he had finished making the tea.

“Not officially. No.” Charles answered with a smile.

“Do you like anyone?” She pressed.

“There is a dashing, tall, lovely young man across the hall with light eyes and a shark-ish but beautiful smile.” Charles told her with a grin.

“And you like him?” Raven asked, hold back a squeal.

“I think I do, yes.” Charles replied shyly looking down.

“You said he had light eyes.” Raven said, pushing for details. “What color, exactly?”

“Erik has grey-green, gunmetal-steel, morning-meadow-covered-in-dew, stormy-sea, knife-blade coloured eyes.” Charles answered thoughtfully. It was the best way to describe them. He’d been thinking about it all day.

“Wow. Sounds… poetic.” She giggled, laughing at him.

“Yes, well I’ve probably thrown myself a bit too hard into my English class then.” Charles murmured, half-insulted but still giddy inside at the thought of Erik.

“You really like him.” Raven stated. “So, does he like you back?”

“I think he might…” Charles replied hesitantly. “He’s a bit of a puzzle but maybe he just pities me. He’s found me roughed up recently.”

“Charles, even at your worst, you’re still adorable.” Raven reassured him. “Besides, I don’t think anyone can resist those eyes.”

Charles felt himself blush.

“So, tell me everything.” Raven demanded, moving to sit next to Charles and he lifted his arm so that she could cuddle him. “I want to know how you met and what you know about him. I want to know everything.”

Charles told her everything.

~

After telling Raven all about what she called his “raging hard-on for Erik,” Charles noticed that Erik had become extremely distant.

Charles had thought that after the breakfast they had had, Erik might feel a newfound closeness with him as Charles had, but it seemed to be the opposite. Erik would still take care of Charles when he was locked out, but most of the time he let Edie do all of the work and would leave to hide himself away in his room, only coming out when Charles was already leaving.

Charles got closer with Edie, which he didn’t mind. He actually very much enjoyed it as she treated him as her own child and was very sad to let him leave. She wasn’t stupid and she found out about Kurt, but Charles had begged her not to do anything and promised that they would keep in contact even after he left so she kept her peace. He did get a good scolding though, but she gave him cookies and milk even while she ranted.

Erik seemed distanced and rarely said a word to Charles anymore. Even on the nights when Edie was out working, Erik would dismiss him by saying that he was tired and Charles felt worse than before.

He felt like a burden. Something that Erik felt obligated to take care of but had no interest in, almost like Kurt had been at the beginning. Of course, Erik never hit Charles, instead cleaning up his wounds, but the same feeling of being unwanted was there.

Sometimes, Erik looked sad and wistful, other times he would stare into Charles’ eyes softly and almost start to talk. Mostly though, Erik would remain stoic and silent and proceed to kick Charles out of the apartment.

~

Erik’s behavior lasted for about a month, that is, until Kurt found out about Charles’ plans to graduate early and leave.

Charles had honestly thought that Kurt would be thrilled to be rid of him, but instead had grabbed him by the hair and thrown him against the kitchen counter before locking himself in his room. Charles had felt like he’d gotten away pretty easy, that is, until Cain approached him.

“See how upset my dad is?” Cain asked, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him roughly. “It’s ’cause for some stupid reason he likes you. HE LIKES YOU MORE THAN HE LIKES ME.”

Cain started beating him, throwing punches and kicking him until Charles couldn’t see anything. Maybe even after he had passed out. All Charles knows is that Kurt was the one to carry him down the steps and out the back to the large dumpsters by the side of the building.

“You wanted to leave? You can leave.” Kurt sneered. “Good riddance.”

Kurt looked around before kicking Charles a few more times and walking away. Leaving him there. Charles felt dizzy and the world was going black.

“Erik.” Was the last thing he thought or said before he passed out.

~

When Charles woke up, someone was holding his hand. Not just holding it, but had laced their fingers together. He slowly opened his eyes, but the light hurt them and he tried to blink them open. Once they were able to adjust, he saw Erik asleep on a chair with his head rested on the bed, his hands entwined with Charles’ own.

After a month of being ignored and their connection having been almost completely severed, Charles felt a wave of happiness come over him despite all of the physical pain. He gave in to the urge to pet Erik’s soft, auburn locks and continued like that until Erik woke up.

Erik’s eyes were red and he looked over Charles with worry. Charles realized that he had started crying when he saw Erik and let go of Erik’s hand to wipe at them.

“Good morning, Erik.” Charles offered awkwardly.

Erik apparently woke up with a hot head and started badgering Charles with questions and yelling at him.

So much for a tender moment.

Charles still had a headache and wasn’t in the mood to deal with all of the questions that came with being found half-dead in an alley. Charles found himself yelling right back at Erik and saying things that he didn’t really mean.

When Charles told Erik to leave, he felt his heart break at how easily Erik found it to actually listen to that. Again, Charles felt like a burden to Erik, but he still wanted Erik to come back.

~

Charles was worried about Erik not coming back for a whole day until Erik came back to visit him the next day with soup that Edie had made.

They both apologized and Charles felt better, especially when Erik revealed that he had gone to Charles’ school to get him his homework and explain his absence.

As Erik helped him set up the room to do homework he said something that astounded Charles.

“I think that the safety and health of my friends comes first.” Erik retorted with a smile.

Charles was a bit surprised. He’d felt like a burden for the past month and now Erik was implying that they were friends. His heart almost fluttered but he kept it in check as his reality set in.

Don’t be stupid, he only feels bad for you.

Charles made sure to force him to go to his classes and offered him the chance to not come back, but Erik promised to return with his homework to keep Charles company. Before leaving, he patted Charles’ broken leg, possibly not knowing or noticing, but Charles forced himself not to flinch as a gesture that physical contact was not something of which he was afraid.

Once Erik was out the door, Charles allowed himself a few moments to have an anxiety attack and think about just what exactly Erik wanted from him.

~

A week passed and Charles finished his homework before the due-date, which apparently shocked Erik because he gaped at him and the large stack of books and papers for about five minutes until he could talk again.

While he was gone, Charles thought about where he was going to go after he left the hospital. Obviously he couldn’t go back to live with the Markos, and he knew that Edie would probably push Erik into inviting Charles to stay with them but Charles knew that Erik would probably go back to ignoring him and making him feel like the burden that he was once Charles was out of the hospital.

He called Logan.

Erik did not take the news as Charles had expected him to, in fact, Charles almost thought that Erik seemed insulted when Charles had told him that he was done burdening his family.

When Logan came, Erik looked mad and the introductions were awkward. Charles didn’t know exactly how to label Erik with all of the hot and cold he had been getting and so introduced him as his neighbor. Erik was, but it felt odd saying it and Erik had turned to look at him with something close to hurt in his eyes.

After saying goodbye and leaving with Logan, Charles felt something gnawing in his chest as though he’d done something wrong.

~

Logan occupied most of Charles’ free time for the next two weeks and Charles hadn’t been able to visit Erik or Edie. Either way, he hadn’t felt extremely inclined to considering that Kurt lived right across the hall from them and Erik seemed to be mad when they had last seen each other.

The perfect opportunity presented itself when his graduation date was released and he sent them a small card to invite them. He hadn’t seen Edie in a while and, despite her odd visits to the hospital, it felt like forever.

Edie confirmed her own RSVP but she said that Erik was being troublesome about it but to count him in anyways so Charles did. Logan had helped him with the invitations and was, of course, invited.

“Logan, you’ve kissed other men before.” Charles interrupted their friendly silence as Logan dealt cards to teach Charles how to play different kinds of poker.

“Yep.” Logan replied easily, lighting his cigar after he finished dealing. “Why?”

“What’s it like?” Charles asked, a bit shy since he felt silly.

“Well I could show you right now, if ya want.” Logan smirked at him.

“Could you?” Charles asked hopefully.

Logan looked a bit surprised at him then. “What’s this about, kid?”

“Nothing. Forget I said anything about it.” Charles looked at the card he had been dealt.

“You’ve never kissed another guy, okay.” Logan shrugged. “Do you want to? And by that I mean, do you want to kiss any guy in particular?”

“Maybe…” Charles tried to shrug.

“You’ve gotta work on that poker face.” Logan smirked. “I don’t do girl talk but I can listen if you need me to.”

“Thanks.” Charles said awkwardly.

They played in silence for a while. Charles wanted to be able to kiss properly and a pair of fumblings with his female lab partner wasn’t going to cut it.

“I want to kiss someone before I leave.” Charles interrupted their silence again.

Logan lifted his eyebrows at Charles and took his cigar out of his mouth. “Where are ya goin’?”

“What?”

“You said that you’re leavin’ so where are you going?” Logan asked again.

“I don’t know.” Charles replied honestly. “I’d like to go to Oxford.”

“Hmm.” Logan sniffed a bit. “Well then you’ll get to go, you’re a smart kid. I’ll teach you how to kiss but you should know that it’s cruel.”

“What is, kissing you?” Charles laughed a bit.

“Yea, well, I mean kissing somebody the way I can and then leaving them to go to another country.” Logan smirked.

Charles laughed aloud and they continued the rest of the poker game, dropping the subject.

~

The day of Charles’ graduation came and even over the pride he felt over finally finishing, he felt a trickle of nervousness that Erik wouldn’t show up. That is, until he was called and he saw Erik and Logan practically yelling on top of each other, louder than anyone else.

When the ceremony was over, Charles rushed over to where Logan, Erik, and Edie were and Logan wrapped him in a large hug that Charles happily returned. He was so happy that Erik was there and he had to take a few moments to compose himself.

“Erik! I wasn’t sure that you would come.” Charles said, running towards that lovely brood.

He was a bit disappointed that Erik hadn’t given him a hug or even said anything, but he turned to Edie and she looked absolutely stunning in a dress that she had obviously bought special for the occasion. She gave him a hug and he returned it willingly, hoping to convey how much she meant to him in the tight squeeze.

Raven soon came charging at him and, after not seeing her since he’d brought her over to Kurt’s apartment, he couldn’t resist lifting and twirling her as a show of the strength that he had gotten back. Logan had been lending him weights and without Kurt and Cain sucking the strength from him, Charles had gotten a lot stronger than he had been for some time.

Once the group of people that Charles cared for most in the world had formed, he invited them to lunch but Logan insisted on paying. Edie had left early, leaving Charles slightly disappointed but she gave him her cellphone number so that they could still keep in touch.

Alex informed them of a graduation party at his house and Charles, not having been alone with Erik the whole time, invited him as one last try to get him without interruption before he left to whatever school he was going.

Erik seemed extremely reluctant to go and Charles didn’t want to seem pushy, but he pushed and left the address on a piece of paper that he gave to Erik in case he changed his mind.

Charles leaned a bit close to Erik, kind of hoping that Erik would take the bait and kiss him if this was the last time they ever saw each other. Or maybe give Charles his own number as Edie had done so that they could stay in contact.

Erik left, not looking like he would attend but Charles was an optimist today.

~

The party started ten minutes earlier than Raven had said and Charles’ confidence that Erik would show up was dying. Twenty minutes and eight tequila shots later, Charles went to find Logan.

“Let’s do this!” Charles screamed over the music.

“Do what?” Logan asked, his voice only slightly raised but Charles could still hear him.

“Let’s make out!” Charles said enthusiastically.

“Charles, you’re a minor, I was kidding.” Logan said, pulling Charles outside of the house where the music wasn’t as prominent and the crowd wasn’t as thick.

“I wasn’t! Erik didn’t kiss me. If he shows up, I’m gonna kiss him.” Charles said, leaning on Logan.

“You wanted to kiss Erik?” Logan gave him a judging look.

“Show me!” Charles said, putting on his most sober face.

“You’re drunk.” Logan smirked at him. “Someone might like to take advantage of that.”

“You’re not taking advantage of me. We talked about this. We’ve talked about this a bunch of times before, even if just snippets of conversation. We’ve taaaaalked.” Charles started messing with Logan’s collar. “I’m tired of talking.”

“Alright, but not here.” Logan growled. “I shouldn’t have been playing shots, I’m way to drunk.”

Charles hummed, nosing at his neck. “How many have you had?”

“Seventeen and counting, maybe more.” Logan pulled away, grabbing a full tray of vodka shots.

“Give me more.” Charles said reaching for them. “I need some liquid courage if we’re gonna do this.”

“Am I really that scary?” Logan tried to smirk again but he pulled Charles’ hands away from his belt. “Get your hand out of my pants, that’s not part of the deal.”

“You’d like it to be.” Charles purred at him. “I know you like me. I know that. I can’t tell if Erik likes me. I think he hates me.”

Logan sighed and had another shot. “You should never feel underappreciated. You’ve have enough of that for a lifetime.”

“Make me feel appreciated.” Charles tried to pull him in for a kiss but Logan kept pulling him farther away from the crowd.

He led him away to the side of the house where the music was muffled and they downed the rest of the shots and stared at each other, unsure of how to start.

Charles started to laugh when Logan came towards him. “We shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a horrible influence for Raven.”

“It’s not like she doesn’t do the same and worse when you’re not around.” Logan’s said, leaning closer, his mind obviously very clouded.

That is not the point.” Charles giggled pulling Logan down to his lips.

“Are we gonna make-out or not?” Logan asked gruffly.

“Patience, my friend, is a virtue.” Charles chuckled as his lips met Logan’s and they moved together awkwardly until they adjusted a bit.

Charles knew it was wrong, but he thought of Erik. Of kissing him as he was kissing Logan now, and his kissing got hot and desperate. Logan was obviously out of his head as he was starting to kiss Charles back unreservedly and clutching him close as if trying to mark him as his own. Charles pretended it was Erik and thought he heard Erik’s voice but it wasn’t happy.

Charles pulled away to look where the sound came from and sure enough, Erik was standing there, looking delicious in a very tight navy blue shirt made purely of silk, tight pants that hugged his ass almost perfectly, and a black leather jacket that screamed bad boy.

“Erik! Lovely, I didn’t know if you would come!” Charles said a bit awkwardly, in desperate need of a drink.

“What are you doing here?” Erik turned angrily towards Logan.

“What’s it look like, bub?” Logan said half-annoyed but too drunk to really care.

Charles really hoped that Erik didn’t notice Logan’s obvious boner.

“No, you misunderstand, Erik.” Charles said, swaying back and forth on his feet as the room tilted.

“So he wasn’t taking advantage of you while you’re obviously drunk?” Erik scoffed angrily.

Charles really needed a drink.

Ah! Erik, you have one, you beautiful godsend bastard!

“Speaking of which, thank you very much.” Charles said, taking the drink Erik had in his hand and downing it in one go.

Why are you mad? There was a time when you wouldn’t even give me the time of day? I’m very mad at you for some reasons that I can’t seem to remember right now but they’re good ones.

“This is illegal.” Erik yelled at both of them.

“We weren’t going to have sex.” Charles said, making it clear that it wasn’t actually illegal unless they had sex.

“I’m not taking advantage of him.” Logan almost sounded sober, but Charles knew that he wasn’t. Nobody would be after that many drinks. Not to mention most of his blood still wasn’t in his brain. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a while. Charles just said he needed some liquid courage in him before we did anything.”

“Yes! Exactly. Thank you Logan.” Charles said with a goofy smile, trying to appease Erik. “If you want us to stop then we’ve stopped. You’ve done what you’ve wanted. We will not continue our activities anymore.”

Erik just seemed to look even angrier and a tad bit hurt. That didn’t make any sense either but since when did Erik make any sense?

“I think I should go home.” Erik said turning and walking away.

“No, please, Erik.” Charles said, stumbling over Logan. “Logan wait here, we’ll get back to this in a moment.”

“Erik!” Charles called after him, stumbling through the crowd. He found he was very drunk and couldn’t actually remember which way was up or down but he managed to push through the crowd with sheer determination.

“Erik!” Charles called weakly.

They were now in front of the house, the music still too loud but it was easier to hear each other.

“What do you want from me, Charles?” Erik screamed once they were back in the front yard.

Charles tripped over a rock and Erik caught him in his arms. There was his lovely scent again. He’d freshened his cologne for the party too, what a dear.

Wait. You fucking bastard.

“What do you want from me, Erik?” Charles asked, looking up at him, confused and frustrated.

Charles was infuriated by Erik’s reply.

What makes me think that you want anything from me? You sodding tosspot?

Charles let go. He told him exactly how things had been from his perspective.

“What do you want from me, Erik?” Charles asked again, hoping for a different answer.

God, by this time he was praying for a miracle. He wanted to feel like something other than a burden to Erik.

“Nothing. I don’t want anything from you Charles.” Erik spat out defensively, pushing Charles away from him and out of his arms.

He moved to go to his car and drove away. Charles kept hoping that Erik would turn back to look at him, but he never did. He collapsed on the lawn in tears, refusing to let anyone touch him.

Everyone pushes me away. Erik hates me. I’m disgusting.

A mantra of similar thoughts clouded Charles’ mind and he felt stupid. He didn’t want pity. He didn’t want anything. The only thing he had really wanted had thrown him aside like the worthless thing that he was.

Chapter Text

Two years later, Erik was sitting alone with his cat in his apartment.

Lots of things had happened in the past two years. Erik’s mother had been killed in a mugging gone wrong and when he went to look for revenge on the bastard, Sebastian Shaw, who had killed her, a woman named Emma Frost had recruited him as a killer for hire after helping him find and kill Shaw.

He was thinking over all that had happened in two years and all the people that he had killed. Erik had told Emma that he would never kill anyone innocent and after many long arguments on the subject, she had finally agreed.

Things had rapidly gone to hell after the last time that Erik saw Charles. Those blue eyes still haunted his dreams but Erik refused to let thoughts of them in the shower or any other time that he could help thinking about them.

Every now and then, he would wonder what Charles was up to, but he thought it best to let that subject alone even if it wouldn’t let him.

Erik had murdered his way to being one of the best hit men of his age.

Most of the time, on a job, Erik would imagine his target as Kurt Marko and would let all of his fury out on his victim. Killing came easily to Erik after killing Shaw, and he made a good name for himself and a more than decent amount of money.

Max meowed at him and Erik couldn’t resist bending over to pet the small creature. Max was his small tortoiseshell kitten that he had bought a few months previous. He had wandered into a petshop and Max had meowed at him till Erik had finally caved and pet the adorable bastard. It was a lost cause after that. Now that Erik had nothing else in the world, he found himself more attracted to cats and couldn’t resist petting one if it called for his attention.

Once on a job, he’d been shoving sand into a man’s mouth but when he saw a small cat walking by, he told his victim to shush and called it over. Erik petted the soft fur for a few moments before resuming his job. When the man was dead, Erik found some tuna in the pantry and left it on the counter for the cat to eat while he took care of the body.

“Goodbye, little friend.” He had told the cat before leaving.

Erik had just come back from killing a corrupt cop who had been laundering drug money for the mob and his clothes were still stained in blood. He took his clothing off and turned the showerhead on to set the temperature. He padded across his apartment, naked while he went to set the record player up to play music as he showered.

He had always thought about moving away, but the apartment held too many memories that he wasn’t sure he was ready to get rid of yet. Kurt Marko still lived across the hall and it hadn’t taken long for Erik to get Emma to do some research and find out that he was a drug-pusher on top of keeping drugs and drug money in his house.

As if Erik hadn’t been disgusted with the man enough.

He was fresh from the shower when he heard noises coming from outside the door. He looked out through the peep-hole and saw a young man knocking on Kurt Marko’s door.

The figure turned around and Erik was shocked to find Charles staring at his door with some nervousness.

Kurt opened the door in a dirty shirt and boxers with a look of annoyance. “What do you want?”

“Umm, hello Kurt.” Charles’ voice had deepened but he still had a certain boyish charm in it.

“I thought you were dead. You never showed up again after that night.” Kurt said gruffly.

“I assumed you wouldn’t want me to come back and so I didn’t.” Charles replied evenly.

“You owe me money, kid.” Kurt said stepping forward harshly, but Charles didn’t back away.

“Yes, well that’s part of what I’ve come to talk to you about.” Charles said leaning back with more confidence than Erik had expected.

“Gonna finally give me my share of the money that your whore of a mother promised me?” Kurt asked, towering himself above Charles.

“See, therein lies the problem.” Charles said with a smirk. “My mother never promised you anything except marriage. She’d even had a prenuptial agreement made up before you scared her away.”

“I never did anything to your mother!” Kurt boomed at him.

Charles sighed at him with ease. “In any case, I don’t think that you letting your anger out on one of the housemaids was very attractive.”

“You don’t get to tell me what’s attractive.” Kurt sneered at him. “Are you forgetting that I beat anything eye-catching about you off of you for three years?”

“No Kurt.” Charles said darkly. “I haven’t forgotten what you, or your son for that matter, did to me.”

“Good, because I’d hate to have to teach you another lesson.” Kurt growled back at him.

Erik clenched his fists tightly, he could feel his nails digging into his palms.

“That won’t be necessary.” Charles said with a shrug. “You really should learn to listen before you react like an animal.”

“Who are you calling an animal?” Kurt yelled.

“I’ve come to reimburse you for your trouble.” Charles ignored the comment. “I would have come by sooner but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve come to have access to all of my money and, since I’ve been reminded by a friend, I can settle our debt fairly.”

Erik watched as Charles took a check from out of his coat pocket and handed it to Kurt.

Kurt opened the folded piece of paper just as Charles headed down the stairs.

“Is this a joke?” Kurt asked angrily. “I put up with you for three years of my life and all I get is a measly thousand dollars? You have enough money to buy a small country and you’re going to give me this bullshit?”

He threw the paper at Charles and grabbed the young man by the lapels.

Once Erik saw the look of panic in Charles’ eyes, he opened the door.

“What’s going on here?” He asked calmly leaning against the doorframe.

“None of your business, go back inside.” Kurt glowered at him.

“It seems to me as though you’re trying to push this young man down the stairs.” Erik replied coolly.

Kurt let go of Charles’ lapel with a slight shove.

“I said this isn’t your business, go back inside.” Kurt said angrily stepping towards Erik.

“Kurt, stop.” Charles voice was half-warning, half-pleading, and it helped anger Erik just that much more to see Charles feeling so helpless underneath his calm façade. “I’ll give you more money just leave him alone.”

That caused the man to pause. “How much more?”

“Just leave him alone.” Charles then turned to look at Erik. “Please, go back inside, I can handle this.”

“The same way you used to handle it?” Erik snarled at him. Charles forced him into showing more emotion than he would have liked.

“This isn’t your problem. Go back inside.” Charles said more firmly, staring back at Erik with a hardened expression he had never seen on the young man’s face before.

“I’ll know if anything happens.” He told Kurt before closing the door.

“I want half of all of it.” Kurt said once Erik had gone back inside. “And I want the mansion.”

“I’m afraid you’re not getting a penny more than what’s on that piece of paper.” Charles said with a shrug.

“You lying piece of shit!” Kurt yelled, shoving Charles backwards over the stairs.

Erik was out the door as soon as he saw his intent but he was still too late to stop Charles from tumbling down the steps with painful groans.

Erik lunged himself at Kurt with all of the fury he had been keeping inside for the past four years. He beat in Kurt’s face, letting his rage take over him and savoring every punch that landed on the ugly man’s face.

Charles groaned in pain somewhere else but Erik was so caught up in pummeling the disgusting wretch under him that he didn’t bother to check.

Charles crawled back up the stairs, screaming at Erik to stop, but he couldn’t. Charles mustered his energy together and charged at Erik, toppling them both over and leaving Kurt groaning and unconscious.

“Get off me!” Erik yelled as he pushed Charles away.

“You were going to kill him!” Charles said horrified.

“He pushed you down the steps!” Erik screamed back at him.

“That isn’t your concern!” Charles yelled. “It never was! I can handle myself just fine!”

“Can you?” Erik asked darkly. “You’d be dead if it weren’t for me.”

“I might have been better off then!” Charles screamed with a small sob escaping his lips and a tear running down his cheek.

He quickly wiped it away with his sleeve and turned away.

“Charles, I know you don’t mean that.” Erik said inching closer.

“You don’t know anything about me, Erik.” Charles spat out. “I’ve come to realize you never really did.”

“What’s this about?” Erik asked confused but a growl that he couldn’t help still in his voice. “You turned around and never came back. You are the one who left without another word.”

“No, Erik.” Charles sighed at him. “You are.”

Erik couldn’t quite understand what Charles was telling him. “What are you talking about?”

“You, Erik.” Charles replied frustrated. “I’m talking about you turning around and leaving without caring enough to look back.”

“You’re the one that never came back to the apartment.” Erik defended.

“Why would I?” Charles scoffed. “You made it perfectly clear that you didn’t want anything from me before you physically shoved me off and drove away.”

“You were drunk! You had been kissing Logan inappropriately in a dark corner. What was I supposed to do?” Erik asked confused and caught off guard.

“Nothing!” Charles huffed as he stood up. “Nothing. You’re right. I don’t even know why I still bother.”

“Bother with what? Getting yourself thrown down a flight of stairs? Because if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t know why either.” Erik snapped back.

“Can I ask you one question?” Charles asked completely serious. “Just one question and I’ll walk out of your life forever just as you want.”

“Who said I wanted you out of my life forever?” Erik asked, still confused as to what it was they were really talking about.

Charles sighed and looked up at the ceiling as if asking for patience. “Never mind.”

“Charles, why are you so frustrating?” Erik asked as he stood up to face the man more comfortably.

“Because I’m a spoilt, rich, child that isn’t worth my inheritance.” Charles replied spitefully before heading back down the steps.

“You’re so much more than that.” Erik corrected softly.

“You wouldn’t actually know though, would you?” Charles bit back before pointing to Kurt’s unconscious body. “Haul him back into his apartment with his check.”

“He can bleed out in the hall for all the fucks I give.” Erik said following after Charles.

“You’re a sociopath.” Charles said under his breath, turning back around to haul Kurt back to the apartment himself.

Erik couldn’t have that. He lifted the body with the same ease with which he used for dead ones.

“You have no idea.” Erik retorted with a smirk.

Once they had hauled Kurt’s body back into the apartment and had moved back into the hall, Charles turned to leave.

“Why did you come back?” Erik asked, causing Charles to pause mid-step.

“To reimburse Kurt for his trouble.” Charles replied, clenching his jaw.

“You don’t owe him anything and you can’t be naïve enough to believe that you do.” Erik growled. “Why did you come back?”

“It’s none of your bloody business, now is it?” Charles retorted, continuing to walk away.

“Charles.” Erik caught him by the arm.

“Let go of me, Erik.” Charles warned.

“Not until you tell me why you really came back.” Erik pressed.

“Erik I’ve already told you, it’s none-”

“Yes it is!” Erik growled at him. “I would take care of you after he left you out on the street like a dog. I have a right to know why you would come back to deal with his abuse again.”

Charles let out a deep sigh. “I had to know that I could face my abuser.”

“What?” Erik asked for more clarification.

“Logan has been reading psychology and sociology books at the library and he said that facing my abuser would be one of the steps I had to take before I could have an honest and open relationship with something, or more specifically: someone.” Charles replied reluctantly. “He says that I feign closeness in my relationships with other people but I never actually let anyone know how I feel.”

Erik let go of Charles at the mention of Logan.

“So you and Logan?” Erik asked standing straighter but the sound came out broken.

Charles chuckled dryly. “Interesting what you picked up on. What do you care?”

“I don’t.” Erik said defensively. “At least now you’re not a minor and he won’t go to jail for touching you.”

“Some of the ways he touches me could be considered illegal.” Charles winked at him.

The hole that Erik had felt in his chest since Charles had left two years ago grew wider and he wished it would swallow him in one piece.

“I’m joking.” Charles said, patting Erik on the arm. “Goodbye, Erik.”

“Wait.” Erik said, not ready to let Charles walk out of his life again.

Charles stopped and looked at him in interest but didn’t say anything.

“Can we maybe have coffee sometime?” Erik asked nervously.

Charles looked at him skeptically and laughed.

Erik felt his stomach in knots.

Charles continued to laugh, almost hysterically, on his way down the stairs and out the door.

Erik pretended that it didn’t hurt or offend him as he went back to his apartment, resisting a grumble.

~

The next day, Emma handed Erik a file with information on his next assignment.

This one lived in Holland and he took the first ticket out.

Erik went about it the same as usual in his own professional manner. Instead of a brutal death, he let this one get away with a fake suicide.

Erik went back home the next week with a new bell for his cat.

Chapter Text

A few days after finishing his latest assignment, Erik told himself he needed to clear his head. He’d been having too many dreams featuring blue eyes and red lips. Erik went out for a walk.

He took a stroll through the local park, ordered some coffee at a kiosk that had set up shop, and sat down on a park bench.

People were walking together and he grimaced at a couple holding hands.

“Not a big fan of hand-holding then?” A voice asked behind him.

Erik knew that voice. He had been dreaming about that voice and the soft lips from which it came.

Erik took a moment to compose himself before turning around to face Charles.

“What makes you say that?” Erik asked politely, scooting over to a side of the bench as an invitation for Charles to sit.

“The way you were glaring daggers at that pair of girls.” Charles replied with a small gesture towards the lesbian couple.

“I wasn’t glaring.” Erik defended.

“Are you homophobic?” Charles asked, but it held no bite. “It would explain your behavior at times.”

“We haven’t seen each other in over two years.” Erik stated blandly. “What do you know about my behavior?”

“Well I can only assume that would be the explanation for you being a complete arse about it when you found Logan and I kissing at that party a few years back.” Charles answered dismissively.

“You were pissed out of your mind.” Erik huffed at him. “You were a minor and he was taking advantage of you. It had nothing to do with you both being… well both of you…”

“Both of us having big fat cocks, yes?” Charles finished for him.

Erik fought the blush he could feel rising on his cheeks but, if the pleased expression on Charles’ face was anything to go by, then he was failing miserably.

“Yes.” Erik replied, looking away to a mother struggling with a fussing child.

“Well, I already told you but I assume you’ve forgotten: it was consensual and even if I was properly pissed, you could have given me at least a bit more credit.” Charles answered him, looking out at the busy people as well.

Erik didn’t know what to respond so he asked what he probably should have asked before the conversation started.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m talking to an old acquaintance.” Charles replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“I meant here at the park. Here in New York.” Erik clarified with a scowl.

“I’ve come out for a stroll. My mother passed away a month ago and left me everything so I decided to come back to these old streets. Despite the bad memories,” Charles answered looking down. “There were good ones too.”

Erik allowed himself a hopeful moment to think that maybe Charles was talking about him, but reality set in and the moment was gone.

“Where did you go?” Erik asked, going for dismissive even if he was dying to know what Charles had been up to. “If an old acquaintance may be so bold as to ask.”

He told himself he hadn’t choked on the word even if he knew deep down that it was wrapping itself around his throat and threatening to kill him.

“Of course you may.” Charles said, giving Erik a smile, even if it was only a small one. “I’ve been at Bard University to get my bachelor’s degree.”

“You stayed in New York? And how is that going for you?” Erik asked politely.

“It went fine.” Charles smirked at him. “I’ve already accepted a graduate-studies program at Oxford University where I’ll be working for degrees in genetics and biophysics.”

“You already have your bachelors?” Erik asked in slight disbelief.

“I already have quite a few accomplishments.” Charles chuckled. “I didn’t sit down with you to brag about my life though. C’mon, tell me what you’ve been up to.”

Suddenly Erik realized he didn’t have a good answer. All of the people he had killed and all that he had lost came rising to the surface so he searched for something that he could tell Charles about himself.

Ihaveacat.” It came out rushed and Erik wanted to punch himself in the face.

Charles blinked at him for a few moments in confusion but after studying Erik’s face (which was either red or desperate or both), he gave Erik one of the brightest smiles Erik had ever seen. It was bright enough to outshine the sun.

“Brilliant.” Charles said with barely suppressed laughter. “What’s his name?”

“Max.” Erik replied blandly, still distracted by Charles biting his lips in attempts to hold back his amusement.

Charles started glowing with his laughter and Erik could barely hold himself back from reaching out to taste those delicious sounds and find out if a smile that bright could burn at the touch.

“Oh, my friend.” Charles managed to say.

Erik’s heart did an awkward flip in his chest.

Stop that.

“You are good company.” Charles said once he had calmed down.

“Yes.” Erik replied unthinkingly.

Those damn blue eyes were staring into him and he was losing all his grips on reality.

“I-” Love your smile and your eyes and I’ve missed them since you left and I can’t believe that I didn’t look for you but you didn’t come back for me and I feel so stupid because I think I’ve been in love with you since I first saw you being tossed out into the street four years ago but I never knew what to do about it and when I finally got to talk to you and realized how wonderful you are I fucked things up and you made out with that bastard Logan and he’s probably touched you in ways that I’ve only ever dreamed of and I can’t stand talking to you again because I love you and it hurts.

“Have to go.” Erik ungracefully shuffled to stand up. “I have to go.”

Charles’ smile faded away into nothing and Erik bit back his disappointment.

“I’m sorry,” Charles quickly apologized. “I’ve just never been good with people and I honestly didn’t mean to offend you. I think it’s lovely that you have a cat! Max is a delightful name, please stay.”

There was desperation in his voice and when Erik looked at him, Charles looked so apologetic that Erik wanted to soothe the worry off his forehead with soft kisses and-.

“It’s all right.”

You’ve been properly whipped.

It’s those damnable eyes.

You’ve been whipped for years, stop making excuses.

Shut up.

Get out of your head and listen to his apologies you dumb bastard.

Hey!

You’re insane.

Erik shook himself to clear his head from his talking to himself. Charles abruptly paused with a pained look.

“I am sorry.” Charles apologized again.

“When are you leaving for Oxford?” Erik asked for a change in subject.

“In three months.” Charles answered hesitantly.

“You’ve been in New York this whole time and now you’re leaving for England.” Erik said regretfully, more to himself than anything.

“Is it too late for me to take you up on your offer of going to get coffee together?” Charles asked bashfully.

“Never.” Erik hadn’t meant to say that, but he was glad that he had when Charles grinned at him again.

“I should give you my number!” Charles said excitedly. “Give me your mobile.”

Erik handed it over easily. He would give Charles the world if he asked for it.

Whipped.

Erik sighed once Charles gave him his phone back and was confused at the contact name that Charles had chosen for himself.

“‘Sexy Genius’?” Erik asked with a tilt of his head.

“Yes, as opposed to the other, more average looking geniuses that you know.” Charles winked at him.

Erik nodded in resignation. “What did you put me down as in your contacts?”

He let himself lean towards Charles to look at the other’s screen.

“Ah, well you’d be the ‘Lovely Brood’ I have here.” Charles told him with a smile as he pointed to the contact name.

Erik couldn’t help noticing that a few odd names below it there was a contact named “My One Love<3” and Erik distanced himself and set himself back into his own space.

“Is that rude?” Charles asked with a scrunched brow. “I could change it to “Owner of Max the Cat.”

He poked at Erik a bit which forced Erik to pull himself together enough to smile back and assure Charles that the contact name was fine.

“At least I know you find me lovely.” Erik smirked, even as he felt his heart being torn at like the time Max had decided that Erik’s arm was a scratching post and had left painful, ugly scratch marks.

“Yes, but you should know that already.” Charles replied with a slight pink tingeing his cheeks. “One of the first things I ever told your mother was how lovely you are.”

Erik smiled at the memory, but the pain of losing her still hurt and getting his revenge on Shaw hadn’t felt as good as he had thought that it should.

“I do have to go, my cat needs food.” Erik sighed.

“Max.” Charles beamed at him.

“If you’re not busy, would you like to accompany me to the store?” Erik asked, keeping all hesitation out of his voice.

“I would love that.” Charles replied, still beaming at him. “That would be lovely, yes.”

They walked together with small conversation until they got to the store.

“What brand does he like?” Charles asked very seriously once they were in the pet isle.

“What?” Erik furrowed his brow.

“Max, what does he prefer? Fancy feast or Friskies?” Charles asked, looking up at Erik with two different brands of cat food cans in his hands.

“Those are just as treats for when he’s been good.” Erik said, looking at the bags of dry food.

“But which does he prefer?” Charles asked again.

“Friskies.” Erik sighed. “Fancy feast is too messy for him, he never finishes it.”

“Does he have a favorite kind? Like liver or salmon? And does he only eat the paté or does he like the wet stuff too like ‘Savory Shreds’ and ‘Meaty Bits’?” Charles asked, inspecting the different colored cans.

“His favorites are the patés.” Erik replied with a fond grin at the sincerity that Charles was asking him questions with. “Max’s favorite is the Ocean Whitefish and Tuna but he also likes the Mixed Grill.”

Charles hummed and grabbed six cans of each.

“What are you doing?” Erik asked in bewilderment.

“I’m getting your cat food.” Charles replied, looking up at Erik innocently.

“I’m not paying for all of that.” Erik said pointing at the stacks that Charles had settled in the cart. “I’m just here for dry food and some other groceries.”

“No, of course not!” Charles chuckled at him. “I’m paying for it but I think it would be ridiculous to get another cart for twelve cans of cat food. I’ll pay for them myself when we check out.”

“Why are you buying Max food?” Erik asked confused.

“I hear cats take a while before they like someone and I want him to like me.” Charles said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“When are you meeting my cat?” Erik still didn’t understand.

“When I help you with your groceries at your apartment.” Charles’ confidence died down a bit.

“You’re coming to my apartment?”

What?

“I thought that’s why you invited me along to grocery shopping…” Charles answered awkwardly.

Erik blinked at him.

“Oh. Sorry.” Charles apologized, turning a bright red and moving to take the cans out of the cart.

Before Erik knew what was happening, he was holding Charles’ wrists and staring at him with wide eyes.

“Meet my cat.” Erik blurted out.

Charles stuttered a bit. “But I thought-”

“Meet my cat.” He said again.

Erik mentally slapped himself across the face. He had learned to talk the panties right off a woman before she even knew what had happened and his pick-up line for Charles was basically a demand that he meet Erik’s cat.

“Please.”

That helps nothing, you giant idiot.

“Alright.” Charles blinked at him.

Erik made a stupid move of looking down at those red lips and he barely held in a whine.

“Good.” Erik sighed, letting Charles’ wrists go and moving to run his hand through his hair.

“I probably don’t need this much cat food.” Charles said awkwardly, returning all but four cans.

“You probably don’t need that much either.” Erik smirked a bit oddly, not really feeling his confidence.

“I want him to like me.” Charles reminded him with a small smile.

“I don’t think anything could resist lov- liking you.” Erik stuttered at his mistake and he was sure he was as red as the tomatoes in the fresh foods section.

Charles smiled at him shyly. “Thank you but I’d like to make sure.”

Erik decided his mouth had revoked its privileges and nodded quietly.

Charles chatted away as he helped Erik with the rest of his groceries; surprisingly skilled at choosing the best products and squeezing the avocados and such to tell when they would be ready or if they already were.

The squeezing was oddly sexual and Erik squirmed in his pants.

You’re not fifteen, keep it together.

When they got to the checkout with a half-full cart, Erik pulled out his wallet and Charles separated his four cans of cat food with a stick.

“Let me go first?” Charles asked kindly.

“Alright.”

As if I can deny you anything even when I hate waiting in line.

Charles paid for his cans quickly and moved to the end of the lanes to pack the food efficiently.

Oh.

“You don’t have to do that.” Erik told him.

“I know, but I want to.” Charles told him kindly.

The packing and sale was done faster than it had gone for Erik since his mama passed away and he spared himself a moment to smile softly at the shorter man carrying a few bags.

Chapter Text

Erik was a bit nervous to let Charles into the apartment again. Not that he didn’t keep it clean, because he did, he just didn’t remember what he had left lying around. Things like guns or bloody shirts and such.

Nonetheless, he opened the door and let Charles in.

“Max, we have company.” Erik called out to the apartment.

“I brought you something.” Charles said awkwardly looking around. “Can I give it to him now?”

“Only if he comes out and lets you pet him.” Erik replied loudly.

A small black kitten with an orange patch on the left side of its face and white paws came scampering out. It had large green-yellow eyes as wide as an owl and was a bit heavy looking for its size.

“He’s beautiful.” Charles admired.

He crouched down and held his hand out to Max. “You are gorgeous, come here please.”

Max cautiously stepped closer but as soon as he was close enough, Charles started petting him and he let out content purrs and bumped his head against Charles for more.

“He likes you. I knew he would.” Erik smiled, turning to the kitchen to put away the groceries.

“Erik told me that you wouldn’t be able to resist liking me. I’m glad he was right.” Charles said to Max.

Max purred his appreciation and pawed at Charles’ shirt.

“Are you hungry?” Charles asked moving his free hand to get the can of Friskies that he had hidden behind his back. “You’re being delightful and I think you’ve earned this.”

As soon as Max heard and smelled the can opening, he balanced himself on his hind legs and supported himself upright on Charles’ chest.

“Alright, calm down, darling.” Charles said, maneuvering it open above his head. “The best things come to those who wait, so be patient.”

Max sat back down but still struggled to keep still.

“Here you are.” Charles placed the can down and Max attacked it eagerly, letting Charles pet him while he ate.

“He’s going to love you forever now.” Erik informed him, putting the last of the groceries away. “And he’s gonna expect you to feed him treats every time you come over.”

“Is that an invitation to come again sometime?” Charles asked, smiling up at him.

“Only if you want it to be.” Erik shrugged.

“I think I do.” Charles told him, looking back down to Max. “He’s too gorgeous not to see again, isn’t he?”

Is he talking to me or the cat?

He’s talking to you.

It really looked like he was talking about me to Max.

Don’t get your hopes up.

Erik decided to mutter his agreement (because Charles was obviously talking about the cat) and stood awkwardly watching Max practically inhale the paté.

“As lovely as this has been, I should get going.” Charles said standing up. “I have to catch the last bus to Westchester but you have my number so if you would call me when you have a free day I’d like to come back.”

“You’re taking the bus?” Erik asked confused.

“Raven took the car and driver for the day.” Charles said easily. “Besides, it’s better to take a bus when coming to this neighborhood. Never know what kind of psychopaths live around here.”

Erik forced out a chuckle and looked down.

“I don’t mean anything by it.” Charles amended.

“No, no. You’re right about that.” Erik laughed a bit. “There are psychopaths in this neighborhood.”

“Yes, well I should get going.” Charles said, walking to the door and opening it. “It was lovely seeing you again.”

Erik watched the door close but before he knew what he was doing, he was chasing after Charles.

“Let me drive you back.” He offered. “It’s the least I could do for making you miss out on dinner.”

“Dinner?” Charles looked at him confused but shook himself off. “It’s fine, I’ve bothered you enough already.”

“Still not eating like a proper human being?” Erik teased lightly. “You haven’t bothered me, I want to enjoy your company a bit longer. Completely selfish reasons.”

Charles smiled at him again. “Alright then, lead the way.”

Once they were driving off with Charles telling him the way, they were on the freeway when Charles interrupted the companionable silence.

“What did you mean ‘not eating like a proper human being’?” He asked.

“Two years ago you wouldn’t eat very much.” Erik replied awkwardly. “I remember seeing you give your food to Raven when you thought no one was watching.”

“Oh, that’s just an old habit.” Charles answered quietly. “And for your information, as a college student I’ve gotten used to not having dinner. Honestly the only times I have a real meal nowadays is because either Raven or Logan sit me down and force me to.”

“How is Logan?” Erik asked, trying not to pry. “Has he aged well or has his muscle turned to fat yet?”

“Logan’s about as stunning as ever.” Charles replied with a chuckle. “Probably more so now that his muscle has leaned a bit and he’s mastered his smirk.”

Erik held back a growl. “So you and he are still friends. Seeing each other regularly?”

“Hardly regularly.” Charles said with a bit of sadness. “He’s been traveling around a lot since I went to University and I didn’t see him for a while, but he’s been staying at the mansion with Raven and I during my months off before I head to Oxford.”

“You’re living in a mansion?” Erik asked with a grin.

“Yes, my mother left it to me as part of my trust fund and Raven said that I should make use of it while I can.” Charles replied easily.

“That’s probably a good idea.” Erik said thoughtfully.

Charles pointed out the exit and they stayed quiet for a few minutes.

Again, Charles broke the silence.

“Do you have work tomorrow?” He asked looking at Erik nervously but with a glint of hope in his eyes.

“No, why do you ask?” Erik answered glancing back and forth from Charles to the road.

“Well it’s a long drive and there are plenty of spare rooms.” Charles played with his hands nervously. “You could stay the night if you want.”

Erik was a bit stunned and didn’t know what to say.

“Only if you want, I’m not forcing anything.” Charles added.

“I’d love to.” Erik replied, still staring at the road and a bit shell-shocked.

“Splendid!” Charles exclaimed, beaming at him. “Oh, take a left here.”

“Good thing I just filled Max’s food and water bowls.” Erik smiled.

“Oh, will he be okay for the night?” Charles asked with genuine concern.

“Yes, he’s spent longer than a night alone before. He’ll be fine.” Erik assured him.

A half hour of mindless chatter later, Erik pulled up to a fantastically large mansion in Westchester.

“You weren’t kidding about your family’s money.” Erik said looking up at it with amazement.

“Old money, old families.” Charles sighed. “Much more prestige than I know what to do with.”

Once they were standing outside, Erik let his jaw drop and he looked up at the mansion in wonder.

“Come on, time for the tour.” Charles said slapping Erik’s back in a friendly way and walking ahead.

Erik trailed behind slowly, admiring the architecture and beauty of the mansion.

After a quick viewing of where the breakfast room and kitchens were, Charles took Erik upstairs. He led him through a few hallways until he found a closet full of blankets, took one out, and handed it to him.

“You’ll need sleep clothes.” Charles said looking around but walking with practiced ease. “Ah, here we are.”

He opened a room full of clothing, took out some pajamas that he estimated to be of Erik’s size, and handed them to him.

They walked up another flight of stairs and Charles opened a door that led to a very nice, spacious room, decorated with fine wood but simple enough despite its elegance.

“You can sleep here.” Charles entered the room. “The bed sheets are clean but if it gets cold you can use the extra blanket. I’ll be in the room right across the hall.”

Erik nodded dumbly. “Thank you.”

“Please make yourself at home.” Charles said with a genuine smile. “Goodnight, Erik. I’ll see you in the morning.”

"Oh!" Charles turned around. "If you get hungry at night, the house phone has the number for an amazing 24 hour pizza place. It should be under the O's. Raven put it down as our One Love or something equally ridiculous."

With that, the young brunette left, closing the door behind him and Erik was left alone in the large but cozy room.

Erik sighed with relief.

Chapter Text

Erik woke up early the next morning with a feeling of disorientation.

What the fuck?

You’re at Charles’ mansion.

Charles has a mansion.

I’m extremely out of my element.

He put his clothing from yesterday and left his room to look around the unfamiliar territory.

“Early riser?” Charles’ voice interrupted his thoughts, but it sounded a bit muffled.

When Erik turned around to look at him, he had a toothbrush in his right hand and some white foam in his mouth. It took a moment to notice that Charles was shirtless, clad only in his boxers, and Erik was left blinking away to look down the hall and avoid any awkwardness.

“Excuse me.” Charles said, entering a room and exiting Erik’s line of vision.

Erik wasn’t sure what to do and he was just about to leave to explore but Charles came back out, still in his boxers but with a clean mouth, to see him.

“Do you have to leave now?” Charles asked with a small hint of disappointment.

Erik licked his now very dry lips and coughed into his hand. “I don’t have anywhere to be but if you want, I’ll be out of your hair.”

“No.” Charles said rather quickly. “You can stay. That is, if you would like to stay. At least stay for breakfast?”

Charles was now fidgeting and toying with his hands, looking up at Erik with hopeful eyes.

“I would really like to have breakfast with you.” Erik smiled.

Just then, Logan came sauntering around a corner, completely naked.

“Morning, Charles.” He grumbled, moving into Charles’ room.

“Logan, have some decency, we have company.” Charles chastised but his face was completely red and he avoided Erik’s gaze. “I told you last night.”

Suddenly, Erik couldn’t really look at Charles either so he just smoothed back his hair and with an awkward face rub and hand gestures, he retreated back to the room he had slept in.

Erik didn’t exactly want to hear but he couldn’t help hearing the conversation.

“Logan, how many times do I have to tell you not to leave your things in my room?”

“Calm down, I just can’t find my socks.”

“What the devil are your socks doing in my room? You weren’t even wearing them yesterday.”

“I think Raven is playing tricks on me again. Why are you naked? You have a weird obsession with pajamas, I’m surprised you aren’t in any.”

“I’m not naked, you’re naked.”

“Well if we’re both naked…”

“No, Logan.”

A giggle. Charles’ giggle.

“Logan, I said no.”

“C’mon, let’s mess around a bit.”

“We’ve had this discussion.”

“Alright. Still waiting for ‘em, aren’t ya?”

There was a shuffle.

“Alright, I’m leaving. You don’t need to push me.”

“It doesn’t work anyways; you’re a lot meatier than I am.”

Erik didn’t need to see to know that Logan was probably smirking at Charles.

“That isn’t what I meant. Besides, we both know that I’m pretty well endowed where those things are concerned.”

“By ‘those things’ you mean-”

“Dammit, Logan!”

“Yea, alright.”

Erik heard the floor creak as footsteps padded down the hall and he realized he had moved to listen at the door.

“‘Waiting,’ I’m not waiting.” Charles grumbled.

Shit, he’s on the other side of the door.

Charles knocked.

Erik panicked a bit, not wanting to be caught listening at the door and threw his phone to the bed.

Why the fuck did you do that?

“Erik, are you alright?”

Erik quietly crawled away from the door and waited until he was at a safe distance to respond.

“I’m fine, give me a moment.”

Erik stood up and moved to the door with loud steps.

“Yes?”

“Are you alright?” Charles asked. “I heard a thud and now that I see you, your face is almost completely red.”

Dammit.

“I’m fine.” Erik growled. “You still don’t have clothes on.”

“Oh.” Charles looked down at himself and turned a bit pink. “I forgot. I was busy dealing with Logan.”

Erik nodded, still avoiding looking at Charles.

“I’ll get Raven to show you where the kitchen is.” Charles sighed.

“I can find my way around.” Erik replied looking down the hall.

“Okay.” Charles said sadly. “I’ll leave you to it.”

“I’ll see you in a few minutes.” Erik smiled a bit awkwardly.

Charles gave him a small smile and went back to his room quietly.

~

As it turned out, Erik was having a harder time finding the kitchen than he had thought. Ten minutes had passed and he didn’t know where he was.

He heard his ringtone and saw that Charles was calling him.

“Hello?”

“Erik, where are you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you still in the house?”

“I think so.”

“Find a room and tell me what’s in it.”

Erik walked around a bit until he saw a door and opened it.

“There’s a large stuffed panda in this one. Charles, why is there a large stuffed panda in this room?”

“I’ll tell you when I get there, stay where you are.”

Charles hung up.

Erik walked into the room and saw a few other toys that looked like carnival prizes. He was especially fond of the small sock-monkey toy on the bed.

“There you are.” Charles said just as Erik had sat down. “You really did get lost.”

“What? I was just exploring.” Erik defended.

“You couldn’t find the kitchen, could you?” Charles teased.

“What’s with the giant panda?” Erik asked to change subject.

“It’s Moira’s. She’s an old friend of mine.” Charles replied with a hint of sadness.

He’s waiting for her to come back. Logan said he was.

“I won this panda for her when we went to a carnival together.” Charles explained. “She loved it and we had an amazing time together.”

“Why do you keep all of these things?” Erik asked. “Shouldn’t they be at her place?”

“We had a bit of a quarrel and she told me to keep them.” Charles sighed and let himself drop onto the bed. “She doesn’t want anything to do with them, or me for that matter.”

“May I ask what happened?” Erik asked gently, moving to sit next to Charles.

“Nothing really, we just didn’t feel the same way about each other and she wanted things that I can’t give her.” Charles stated with a shrug. “I do miss her companionship, but she said she’s going to visit me when I go to Oxford. She’s going to be visiting London in the fall anyways.”

“Was it serious with you two?” Erik couldn’t help wanting to know how much this girl had wormed her way into Charles’ heart just to break it.

“She wasn’t my girlfriend.” Charles said looking up at Erik with a bit of a sadness in his eyes but his eyebrow was raised.

“But it sounds as if you’re in love her.” Erik said with confusion.

“Oh dear.” Charles said shaking his head. “She thought so too. I didn’t want to lead her on, I treated her exactly the same way I treat Raven and she thought it was something more. We had quite the argument over that, she thought that Raven was another girl whom I was courting and I had a difficult time explaining that she’s my sister.”

“Well, Raven is an attractive young woman.” Erik shrugged.

“Yes, well, when Moira found out the night after we went to the carnival, she stormed out of the mansion and told me exactly where I could shove all of these toys.” Charles said a bit sadly. “She called me a few days later and asked for me to pack her things and leave them on the steps for her to come and get them. I did and now the room feels a bit empty.”

“Why don’t you throw the toys away?” Erik asked. “Why are you torturing yourself with them?”

“Because I broke her heart and they’re hers to throw away, not mine.” Charles replied, tapping Erik’s knee as he stood up. “I’m hungry, let’s have some breakfast.”

“Do you think you could love her the way she wants you to?” Erik asked, following Charles out of the room.

Charles paused for a moment but continued walking. “No, I don’t think so. If I did, none of this would have happened.”

“Do you love someone else? Maybe waiting for someone?” Erik pried.

If it wasn’t Moira, then that meant that Charles was holding out for someone and that broke Erik’s heart.

“I can’t say for sure that I know what love is.” Charles replied slightly irritated. “I’m only eighteen and I had an alcoholic mother who left me with an abusive prick. I don’t know anything about love.”

“What about Raven? You love her.” Erik tried.

“You don’t know anything about it.” Charles turned around to face him. “You don’t know, Erik. You don’t. I’m sorry.”

Erik wasn’t sure if it was anger, irritation, or sadness, but Charles had tears in his eyes. Maybe it was all of the above.

Erik pulled him in for a hug.

“I’m sorry, Charles.” He whispered into the smaller man’s hair. “You’re right, I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

Charles gripped onto him tightly and buried his face into Erik’s chest.

“I want to tell you everything, Erik.” Charles said, his voice was muffled and broken. “I want to know everything about you too.”

Erik sighed and let his head lean against Charles’.

After a few moments of holding Charles and petting his hair while Charles hugged him tightly, Charles pulled away.

“I’m sorry.” Charles apologized.

“Don’t be.” Erik smiled at him assuring, he let himself kiss Charles’ forehead before completely letting him go and gesturing for Charles to lead the way.

“Breakfast.” Charles said, marching the way to the kitchen.

Chapter Text

Charles cooked some bacon and eggs while letting Erik busy himself with the waffle-maker.

“I can’t stand that thing, I always get the batter everywhere and it’s hell to clean.” Charles had said when Erik had taken it out.

They worked efficiently while Charles had shown Erik where to hook his phone to a stereo system and they listened to music.

Once they had finished cooking, Charles led the way to the table.

“So, what have you been up to lately? Are you still taking random classes or what?” Charles asked conversationally.

“No, I haven’t taken any more classes, but I have a job where I make good money and a cat so I’m content.” Erik answered easily. “How about you? What have you been doing?”

“Alright, well I’ve been studying and mostly just busying myself with university. Raven says that I turn into a monster on the weekends though, because I like to go out and have fun.” Charles said with a chuckle. “I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I spent years trying to finish school early and with honors to escape an abusive household and now I can do whatever I want. My grades are phenomenal and I don’t see why I should let my youth pass me by because I’m too busy planning a future.”

“You have a schedule and schedule the fun in, don’t you?” Erik smiled.

“Well of course I have a schedule!” Charles laughed. “I need to make time to study. It’s as they say, ‘there’s a time for work and a time for play,’ I just actually schedule out the times.”

“Nerd.” Erik teased.

“With all of the things I have to do, my life would be complete chaos if I didn’t establish some kind of order.” Charles smiled. “Besides, with a self-imposed schedule, I can be flexible about it if I want, I just know better than to break it completely.”

“Well I would hate to think that a genius such as yourself isn’t having any fun.” Erik mocked. “Just don’t kill too many brain cells.”

Charles beamed at him despite his attempts to look annoyed.

“Give me bacon.” A feminine voice interrupted.

Raven came in looking like a zombie and wrapped in her bathrobe.

“Of course, sit down, darling.” Charles said, getting up to pull a chair out for her.

He handed her his plate without question and excused himself to the kitchen.

“I didn’t think he’d bring someone home while Logan’s here.” Raven said, scarfing down the food.

“What?” Erik asked confused.

“Logan’s been pining after Charles years now and you’re stepping on his turf.” Raven smirked. “Well, don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the first one and you certainly won’t be the last. Sometimes I think Charles is trying to wash something out of his system with all the people he fucks, but he’s never had anyone special so I don’t know. He’s kinda shut off now, no matter how open he pretends to be.”

“Umm, Raven.” Charles coughed.

“Yea?” Raven said, turning to look at Charles with a bit of effort.

“Remember what I told you about talking about my problems? I have coffee.” Charles said, but it was like they were having a conversation with their eyes.

Raven was probably too sleepy to fight.

“Give me the damn coffee.” She said lightly.

Charles did.

“Well, you remember Erik, yes?” Charles asked Raven.

“Oh, which one?” She smirked. “The tall football player that must have been really good in bed for all he made you scream, or the sexy mathematician that could hold his liquor better than even you?”

Charles blushed and looked apologetically at Erik.

“I mean the one that lives across the hall from Kurt…” He coughed.

“So the jerk that threw a fit at Scott’s party.” Raven turned to glare at Erik.

“Raven.” Charles warned.

She seemed much more alive now. Alive enough to kill someone at least. Specifically if that someone were Erik.

“No, I remember that.” Raven scoffed. “You cried the rest of the night and then threw up all over yourself.”

“Raven.” Charles warned a bit louder.

“You said that no one loved you because you’re so hateful. That no one wants you or anything to do with you.” Raven’s voice was starting to rise and she was still staring Erik down. “You didn’t even let anybody clean you up because you didn’t want anyone to touch you.”

“RAVEN!” Charles yelled.

She stood right up and slammed her hands on the table.

“I almost lost you that week, Charles!” She screamed, turning around to face her brother. “You would go back to the apartment building and wait for him to come out but you wouldn’t say anything to him. You called his name once but he ignored you and that night you got so messed up I had to take you to the hospital!”

Erik was frozen. He didn’t know how he had affected Charles, he hadn’t realized that what he had said that night might be twisted to mean something completely horrible in Charles’ mind. It hit him like a ton of bricks.

Charles never felt loved.

He remembered when he had thought he had kept seeing Charles and a few days later, he’d heard Charles call him but he had blocked it out thinking that he was going crazy. He thought that he was just missing Charles enough to imagine him places. He remembered how relieved he felt after he never saw Charles again after that because he thought he had won a battle with insanity.

“Raven.” Charles slumped down into a chair. “I was a different person back then. I was a child and I didn’t know what it was that I was looking for. I’ve grown since then and you know that I’m fine and that you’ll never lose me. I’m sorry for what I put you through.”

“You’re so stupid, Charles.” Raven said as she moved to give Charles a hug.

“You keep telling me.” Charles smiled as he stood up to receive her.

“You have to stop apologizing all the time. You’re allowed to break down and let me take care of you.” Raven said. “After everything you’ve done for me, I owe you everything, Charles.”

“You don’t owe me anything.” Charles promised. “Except maybe not telling strangers about my personal problems.”

“I’m just so mad at him.” Raven growled. “I hate him. I hate what he did to you.”

“He didn’t do anything, the fault is all mine.” Charles soothed as he withdrew. “I was foolish and misconstrued the attention I received. I still do sometimes.”

“You always do. You never see it when someone’s completely in love with you.” Raven teased.

“Yes, I know you warned me about Moira.” Charles rolled his eyes.

“I told you not to take her to the carnival.” Raven poked him.

“She asked me to go, I didn’t know it was a date.” Charles defended.

“I told you it was.” Raven pressed.

“How was I to know that you were actually right about something?” Charles teased, picking up the plates and taking them to the kitchen as she followed.

“Because I’m always right, Charles.” She replied.

They continued their bickering in the kitchen and left Erik completely stunned in his seat. He couldn’t think, he had to leave. He had hurt Charles and he wasn’t the kind of person to get into anything serious. He wasn’t a child anymore and he didn’t have a chance at a normal life. He had thrown that away when he had gone after Shaw, he wasn’t going to stay and ruin Charles’ life. He couldn’t be that selfish.

Erik gathered whatever strength he had and (after a few wrong turns) found the way out and left.

~

When Erik got back to his apartment, he found a file on his countertop and a missed call from Charles on his phone.

“Max!” Erik called out.

Nothing.

“Max?” Erik called again, looking around.

Usually Max would greet him at the door.

Erik wandered into the bedroom and noticed the window had been left open.

He’s okay, he’s just out for a walk or something.

He’s an indoor cat, you idiot. He doesn’t know how to do anything.

Give him more credit.

“SHUT UP!” Erik yelled at himself, slamming the door against the wall and running to get his keys before heading out the door with another slam.

He checked the back alley and called for Max.

“Max?” he asked when he heard something being displaced.

“Who the hell is Max?” Kurt Marco asked drunkenly sitting on a pile of garbage.

“No one that concerns you, shithead.” Erik growled.

“You’re that prick that went ballistic when I was educating this prissy bitch I was forced into raising.” Kurt spat, stumbling over himself as he stood up.

Anger almost clouded Erik’s judgment. “Stay away from me.”

“I owe you an ass-kicking, you good-for-nothin’ faggot!” Kurt yelled.

Erik grabbed him by the collar of his dirty tank top.

“You wanna say something else?” He asked warningly.

“That boy’s a slut.” Kurt slurred, leaning into Erik’s face, his breath rotten with alcohol. “How long did you have to wait before he let you fuck him?”

Erik bashed him up against the wall.

“No, I don’t think you had to wait at all.” Kurt pushed. “Chucky boy probably threw himself at you the second he laid eyes.”

“Listen to me,” Erik said, punching Kurt in the face. “I don’t have to put up with this. I’m not Charles. I won’t let you push me around, I’ll kick your ass. What you did to him was fucked up and I’ll kill you if you ever so much as look in his direction or even just think his name. He’s made a life for himself so you are going to piss off and leave him alone.”

“Man, Charles must give it to ya real good, don’t he?” Kurt laughed out, some spit making it onto Erik’s face.

Erik couldn’t contain himself. He started punching and soon Kurt was back on the floor but with blood covering his face.

“I didn’t hurt him like you think I did.” Kurt wheezed.

“What?” Erik asked, towering over him.

“Charles didn’t call the cops because nobody could stop it.” Kurt answered. “It was my kid, Cain. He did most of the hurting. Practically killed him the last night we saw him when he was sixteen. I protected my kid. I just dragged that prissy faggot out here to die.”

“Charles said it was you.” Erik glared, knowing that the fat bastard was lying.

“I tossed the little bastard around, sure. But I didn’t break nothin’ of his like my boy could. Cain thought I favored Charles, if you can believe it.” Kurt huffed out a dry laugh. “Hated him. He’s the one that told me Chucky was queer. I broke his arm, sure. My boy would mess up his face no matter how many times I told him not to hit him where people could see.”

Erik had seen what Kurt had done to Charles. Nothing he said would change that and he knew that no matter what he was saying, Kurt had broken bones and abused Charles over minor things.

“You coached your son on how to properly abuse someone?” Erik asked, seething with rage.

“Well he wasn’t going to stop.” Kurt defended. “Nothing was going to keep him from hitting that boy. I hit him a few times when I caught him beating Chuck for no reason, but that just made him angrier. ‘Course I needed to hurt that piece of shit, it was the only way to protect him.”

“And yet you left him for dead.” Erik growled, picking up the man and shoving him against a dumpster. “You left him here to die when things got out of hand. I’m the one that took care of him. I saved the life that you found worth nothing. But guess what? He’s worth more than you could ever hope to be.”

“He owes that to his dear mommy.” Kurt snarled, face pressed against the dumpster. “You better rethink what you’re doing because he’s just as tight as she was and nobody is ever gonna touch that money except him and that little tramp he calls a sister.”

“I don’t care about his fortune.” Erik accentuated his point by slamming Kurt’s head against the dumpster again. “He’s worth a thousand of you even without it. You don’t know anything about the life of the man you tried to waste.”

“And what do you know about him?” Kurt goaded. “What do you know about Charles Xavier?”

Erik knew he didn’t know much, hadn’t even learned his last name until just now, but he didn’t care. “I know he deserves restitution, and after all the bad things that you’ve done in your life, starting with ever touching Charles, you deserve to die.”

“You wouldn’t get away with it.” Kurt smirked. “And you wouldn’t have the balls to do it.”

“You’d be surprised.” Erik flashed all of his teeth. “I’ve gotten away with many things.”

Kurt’s smirk faded into nothing. “If you think so highly of Charles, then you must think wonders of yourself to think you deserve him.”

“I know I don’t deserve him.” Erik said calmly. “I think it’s best he never sees me again.”

Kurt squinted at him as he moved closer.

“But I can do him one last favor.” Erik smiled menacingly.

Erik began to punch Kurt’s face in. He punched and shoved and kicked and let his inner beast come out to play. Later, he wouldn’t be able to remember how long it took before Kurt died, or how long he stayed to destroy the carcass afterwards. He wouldn’t remember how long a break he took before he pickpocketed him to make it look like a mugging and set the whole thing up, before he cleaned the body of his own DNA or any signs that he was there.

He wouldn’t remember any of those details, because they weren’t important. What Erik would remember, is how good it felt as he felt those bones cracking at his violence, and the sounds of Kurt’s pleading for his life, or the sight of the man he had been wanting to kill for so long finally being dead. He felt calm, but not peaceful. He’d given up on that a long time ago. His job of protecting Charles was finished, and he could go on with life as it was before Charles had fallen into it again.

“Max?” Erik asked, spotting the small creature.

The tiny cat jumped up on a box and stared at him.

“Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

There was a frantic knocking on the door just as Erik had finished cleaning up the blood that had trailed into his apartment.

“I’m coming!” He yelled at the door but the knocking didn’t stop.

“I said I’m coming!” Erik yelled opening the door.

“Why did you leave?”

“Raven?” Erik was surprised to see her.

“Answer the question. Why did you leave?” Raven asked harshly.

“What are you talk-” Erik started.

“You know that Charles has liked you for years now and when you find out you just get up and leave without so much as a goodbye?” Raven yelled, pushing her way past him to enter.

“What was I supposed to do?” Erik sighed.

“Stay and explain yourself and your dickish behavior!” She yelled.

“Nothing is going to change what happened between us!” Erik yelled back. “Nothing is going to take back two years of not speaking or even seeing each other. I don’t know him and he certainly doesn’t know me and I’m not the same person who he thought he liked back when he was in high school.”

Raven scoffed at him. “You don’t give him any credit. He’s kinda dense sometimes but he has a way of knowing if someone’s good or bad, so much so that it’s kinda freaky sometimes. If he likes you then he likes you, and he has been waiting for you for two years at least!”

“Well he obviously can’t tell if someone’s good or bad if he still wants to be with me or if he’s still hanging around Logan.” Erik said, moving into her space.

“What does Logan have to do with anything?” She asked, glaring at him. “You don’t know anything about him. Charles doesn’t judge people by their actions, so much as he can tell if they have a good heart. Logan, underneath that hairy and tough exterior, is a good guy and I can’t think of a good reason as to why Charles hasn’t done anything with him yet.”

“You mean to tell me that Charles and Logan have never fucked?” Erik asked skeptically.

“No, never.” Raven replied. “Don’t get me wrong though, Charles has fucked his way through New York, guys and girls alike.”

Erik held back a snarl.

“He doesn’t fuck people that are in love with him.” Raven informed him with a smirk.

“He seemed ready to fuck Logan two years ago at that party.” Erik challenged. “Or let Logan fuck him. They’d talked about it.”

“They were never going to fuck.” Raven rolled her eyes at him. “Charles wanted make-out lessons so that he wouldn’t kiss like a virgin. Logan offered the lessons as a joke and he accepted, but Charles didn’t want Logan to get into serious trouble because he was a minor and they agreed not to do anything more. When you caught them, they were just going to make-out.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Erik was having a hard time believing what she was saying.

“It doesn’t make any sense to you because you never bothered to get to know the real Charles.” Raven was back to glaring at him and she stepped closer into his space. “He’s not what everyone thinks he is. His spirit is someone that he is always trying so desperately to hide and that someone is the one you hurt. He’s the reason I want to bash your fucking skull in.”

“I can’t hurt someone I’ve never met.” Erik replied easily.

“Yea, you can.” Raven said. “You’re stupid if you think that you can’t.”

“How would that even work?” Erik scoffed. “There’s no way.”

“Kurt never touched me.” Raven replied with a low voice. “Charles had me sent to a different school with dorms I could stay in. Every time I saw Charles with a bruise or a cast though, it hurt me because I never wanted to see him hurt. My heart broke every time he called me and I could hear that he had a swollen lip. Don’t you think that it hurt even worse to see how you broke Charles’ spirit? Kurt could never do that much damage.”

Erik’s anger flared at the comparison. “I am nothing like that monster.”

“You’ve never hurt anyone?” Raven challenged.

“Not anyone who didn’t deserve it.” He growled.

“Kurt thought that Charles deserved it.” She pressed. “Who are you to say who deserves what?”

Erik grabbed her and slammed her against the wall. “I’m nothing like him.”

“Nice way to prove it.” Raven snarked.

“Take it back.”

“Kurt used to threaten Charles just like this and beat him until he apologized. What are you going to do if I don’t?”

Erik pulled away from her as if he’d been burned.

“Get the fuck out.”

“Charles won’t come looking for you.” Raven said, walking closer to him. “I’m not sure if his self-esteem is too high or too low for that, but I know that he won’t.”

“What are you doing?” Erik asked as she pressed up against him.

“When was the last time you got laid?” She asked, pulling at his shirt buttons.

Too fucking long

“What does it matter?” Erik asked, pulling back a bit, but she just followed right after him.

“I could take care of you.” Raven purred in his ear.

Honestly, Erik wasn’t thinking clearly because his mind was still clouded after killing Kurt and it had been so long since he’d last been with someone, let alone someone as attractive as Raven was.

“What are you going to do?” She asked seductively.

Shut up

Erik pushed his lips against hers and hungrily trailed bites and kisses down her neck. She let out soft sounds of encouragement as he moved his hands down her back and she jumped to wrap her legs around him as he touched her ass and shoved her back against the wall.

She pulled her dress off with a quick movement and started pulling his shirt off next, interrupting the bites he was leaving on her chest. He didn’t want to leave any lasting marks and barely grazed his teeth against her soft skin. She started fussing with his zipper but when she couldn’t do it from their position, she unwrapped her legs and pushed him back against the couch as she pulled his pants down.

He landed with a huff and she climbed on top of him. Erik couldn’t have that. He rolled them off the couch onto the floor and landed on top. She was on her belly but she was grinding her butt against his cock.

“Fuck me, you bastard!” She panted, handing him a condom packet.

He didn’t need to be told twice.

~

Thirty minutes later, he was spent and she slipped her dress back on.

“What was that?” Erik asked, putting his boxers back on.

“Don’t call Charles.” Raven glared at him as if he had failed a test.

Fuck. It was a test.

You think, you dumb snot?

Now is really not the time for this.

She was out the door before he could get another word in. Max meowed from his food bowl.

"I didn't know." Erik said defensively.

Max stared at him long and hard.

"Oh, you want food." Erik grabbed the bag and refilled the bowl.

~

A week passed and Charles hadn’t called. Raven had said he wouldn’t.

Erik was getting stir crazy and Emma called to tell him that he was getting out of control. She’d found out about Marko and punished him by giving his assignments to Janos and Azazel.

“I can still do my job, Frost.” Erik growled at her over the phone.

“Two weeks of vacation left.” Emma told him coolly. “Enjoy them. Find yourself someone to have fun with, and I don’t mean your cat.”

Erik hung up on her with a huff and threw his phone on his bed.

Chapter Text

What are you doing here?

You know what you’re doing here. Ring the bell.

What if he has a fancy doorbell sound?

Now you’re just stalling, stop being an idiot.

Improbable.

RING THE DAMNED BELL.

Erik rang the mansion’s doorbell and waited.

What if he’s not home?

What if-

Charles opened the door with squinted eyes and a scrunched face.

He’s drunk…

Perhaps I should save this for another time then.

Grow a fucking pair, Lehnsherr!

“You’re not my pizza.” Charles slurred at him. “You’re not my anything.”

“I’d like to think of myself as your friend…?” Erik asked nervously.

Charles started laughing dryly with a skeptical look on his face. “Are you bloody serious, or are you just fucking with me?”

“Umm…” Erik didn’t remember what he was supposed to say.

“Well I’m not in the mood right now, so if you could please leave, I have some things I have to do.” Charles glared at him as he was closing the door.

We’re losing him!

Erik stopped the door with his hand.

Charles just scoffed at him and walked away.

Erik had honestly expected more of a fight.

“You’re not going to shove me out?” Erik asked with a chuckle, attempting to lighten the mood.

“I’ve never been able to keep you out of my business so, no. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep you out of my house.” Charles replied dully while he flopped onto a couch in a sitting room.

“Charles, I’m sorry.” Erik decided to just jump right into the apology.

“I don’t know why I should even try to keep you out. You’d worm your way in and leave a sodding mess anyhow.” Charles said as if he hadn’t even heard Erik apologize.

“Charles.” Erik tried again.

“Honestly though, it’s okay.” Charles slurred at him, tipping forward off the couch. “I’m the one that’s an idiot. I don’t even know if you’re a homosexual or a homophobe or bi-curious or what the hell you are and maybe… maybe I didn’t put enough effort. I blame myself. Damn myself for trying to learn how to kiss another man from Logan. I shouldn’t have fucked with his feelings either but I’m a selfish arse and I don’t know if it can be helped.”

“Charles, stop talking and listen to me.” Erik interrupted.

“No, I don’t think I will.” Charles answered with a mirthless laugh. “You know when you asked me for coffee a month ago I thought it was like a date. God, you have no idea how long I’d been waiting for you to ask me out and then, when you did… I was ecstatic and I hadn’t even realized that I hadn’t said yes until the next day.”

Charles broke out into giggles and sipped out of a bottle of whiskey that had been on the couch.

“I’m a complete idiot.” Charles was still laughing and all Erik could do was sit and watch the drunken wreck. “I’ve got so many accomplishments on top of accomplishments when it comes to academic studies but they don’t mean anything. I can’t talk to people! I’m a complete waste of a human being! My father is probably rolling in his grave. He never wanted me to drink. Then again, he never wanted my mother to drink and it’s all she did after he died up till it was her turn.”

“Charles.” Erik tried again, softer this time.

“OH, don’t feel sorry for me, Erik.” Charles answered with a shrug. “I wasn’t exactly delighted when my mother died but I wasn’t devastated. I know you were when you lost yours. Edie was a blessing. I loved your mother and I missed her terribly after she died.”

“What?” Erik was confused even more now.

“We used to call each other.” Charles clarified. “She was lovely and obviously kept her promise never to tell you. I loved her as my own. She was always busy and working, of course, but she would set some time apart once a week to talk to me. We had dinner sometimes.”

Charles’ eyes were starting to water and his lip was shaking but trying to smile.

Erik wasn’t sure what had happened to Charles, but he had reached a breaking point.

“I used to take her to the best restaurants so we could laugh at the fine dining together.” A tear slipped down Charles’ face. “Afterwards, we would go eat some takeout together. I showed her the mansion but do you know what she said?”

Erik shook his head dumbly.

“She hated it. She absolutely hated it.” Charles was now hysterical and Erik couldn’t tell if he was laughing or crying anymore. “She said that it wasn’t me. Can you believe that? Not me.”

Erik felt the backs of his eyes start to sting but he refused to cry and shook his head.

“She’s your mother, not mine.” Charles pulled himself together a bit. “I’m sorry. She loved you so much and I think you need to be reminded of that.”

Erik was taken aback by the comment. “What makes you think I need to be reminded of anything? She was my mother. I knew her better than anyone.”

Charles was back to laughing at him. “No you didn’t. She’s your mother and there are things she could never tell you. Times, so many times that she felt like breaking but she couldn’t show you how helpless she felt. It’s an honour and a privilege that I got to be there for her, and that she would always be there for me.”

Erik wasn’t sure if he should feel angry, but it was an option so he chose it.

“You don’t get to talk about her.” Erik growled. “You didn’t even go to her funeral!”

“And I was to know that she had died?” Charles asked, calmer now as though pacified. “I spoke to her once a week and by the time I found out, the funeral had already been.”

Erik could only gape.

“I visit her grave once a week. I have for the past two years.” Charles said, leaning back on the couch. “I thought I might run into you there sometime, but you don’t visit.”

“There’s nothing to visit except a pile of dirt on her body and an engraved rock.” Erik snapped at him.

“Hmm.” Charles hummed. “I’m quite pissed now, I think I’m going to nap.”

“No you don’t.” Erik demanded, storming to the couch. “I came here to say something.”

“You can yell and hit me if you like.” Charles looked up at him with empty eyes, glossed over from the drinks and the crying. “I suppose it would be better if you did it now, rather than later. I can nap after you’re done.”

“I’m not going to hit you, Charles.” Erik reflexively stepped back. “I’ve never hurt you.”

“Yes you have.” Charles looked back at him. “But I suppose I would prefer for you to hit me than what you normally do.”

“And what do I normally do?” Erik asked, sitting down right next to Charles.

“You’re on and off again.” Charles replied closing his eyes to sleep. “I’ve been waiting for you to let me love you and you simply won’t. I’m very tired now, I have been for quite some time. Ages even. Goodnight.”

Charles passed out on the couch.

“Charles, what do you mean I won’t let you love me?” Erik asked, trying to wake him, but Charles was out. “I’ll let you love me right now! Charles? Charles!”

Chapter Text

Charles didn’t wake up until a few hours later.

“Raven!” He yelled out.

He fell off the couch before Erik could catch him.

“Oh, bloody fucking hell.” Charles groaned. “You’ve made an arse of yourself again, you fucking idiot.”

“Charles.” Erik said, trying to help lift Charles back onto the couch.

“Who?” When Charles saw him he groaned again, even louder and shoved him away. “Don’t fucking touch me, I’m not in the mood.”

“I’m sorry.” Erik apologized awkwardly watching Charles try and fail to heft himself back on the couch.

“You bloody well should be.” Charles muttered. “I was thinking that I’m an arse but here you are. The fucking king of all bastardly arsenesses…es…?”

“What does that even-?” Erik asked confused and hardly understanding what Charles was saying through his slurring.

“It means, you gorgeous, colossal shit-head, that I don’t want you here.” Charles mumbled into the couch.

“I want you to love me.” Erik smiled at him a little hopefully.

“What?” Charles moved to give Erik an annoyed, pained, and confused look with “obvious hang-over” written all over his face.

“You said that I won’t let you love me but I will.” Erik answered, trying not to let his nervousness show but it came out sounding a bit arrogant instead.

“Thank you.” Charles replied sarcastically. “I would ask you what the bloody hell you were talking about if I cared, but right now there’s something about cooking fish that I have to deal with.”

What fish?

“What?” Erik asked dumbly.

“I can make time for you but you’re cutting into my self-loathing time and it’s really bothering me.” Charles said thoughtfully, holding his head. “I have ‘bigger fish to fry,’ that’s it! In this case, my hangover is more important than whatever the fuck you want to talk about.”

Erik was taken aback by Charles’ behavior. He’d always been so cordial and kind, but now it seemed as though he were talking to someone else.

“Charles?” Raven’s voice interrupted.

“In here, darling.” Charles pulled himself together as much as he could.

“Charles, I’m sorry about- WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING HERE?” Raven yelled once she had spotted Erik.

“Hello.” Erik gave her a small wave.

Don’t fucking wave at her, what the hell is wrong with you?

I fucked her, what am I supposed to do?

Ignore the fucking bitch.

She’s his sister.

You’re an idiot.

Yes, I know. You’ve told me.

I’m you.

Yes, I know.

“Shhhuuushhh, Raven.” Charles groaned while she helped him flop back on the couch.

“You started drinking?” Raven asked angrily. “I can’t believe you. Only drink when you’re happy, Charles. We’ve talked about this.”

“Don’t talk about my problems in front of others, love.” Charles chastised tiredly. “Especially not him.”

“That brings me back to the question of ‘what the hell is he doing here?’” She demanded.

“I can’t remember.” Charles muttered. “Apparently he’s giving me permission to love him.”

“I’m gonna kick your ass!” Raven yelled, coming straight for Erik.

Best choice of movement right now would be?

How the fuck should I know?

You’re the less stupid part of my brain!

I’M STILL PART OF YOUR BRAIN

Run it is.

Erik ran and she chased him around the room.

She’s gonna kill you.

I know that!

Punch her!

I’m trying to make things right with her brother, I’m not gonna punch her!

Do something! You look like an idiot!

I AM AN IDIOT

Erik was panicking and it was not pretty. He was a professional hit man dammit! He killed people for money and he was running away from a thin blond girl in heels.

“Raven, you’re heels are making little ‘click clack’ sounds and are driving me insane, could you both please stop running?” Charles asked annoyed but with his usual politeness back somewhat.

“Truce?” Erik asked, his panic contained and he was back to his usual cool.

“This isn’t over.” Raven glared, taking off her heels and moving back to where Charles was lying down.

“Let’s talk about this like civilized people.” Charles said but after a few moments of silence, he sighed. “No, I can’t do that.”

“Let’s get you cleaned up.” Raven said, pulling him up off the couch.

“I’m sorry for this, Raven darling.” Charles apologized, looking at her sadly. “I’m not easy to put up with, I know.”

“You’re not a burden, Charles. We’ve been over this.” She soothed with a hint of annoyance.

What about me?

“OH!” Charles said, turning to look at Erik. “Thank you for the permission. You may leave now.”

“That wasn’t what I came here to say.” Erik tried to explain.

“Come back in a few hours if it’s really that important.” Charles half-yelled over his shoulder. “I should be half-sober, at least, by then.”

“What he means is: scram.” Raven said harshly.

“I’ll be back.” Erik promised, glaring at her. “I will speak to Charles.”

“We’ll see.” She scoffed. “Now, get out.”

He circled around her as he headed back towards the front door and left.

You’ve never had good taste in women.

I didn’t even choose her, she chose me.

Fucking her was your choice, don’t be stupid.

Stop calling yourself stupid.

I blame Charles. I had good self-esteem until he waltzed back into my life.

Sure, blame everyone but yourself. Hey, you couldn’t keep it in your pants and you fucked up with Charles, admit to that.

Erik grumbled at himself.

Chapter Text

Erik came back a few hours later and rang the bell again.

“I didn’t know for sure that you would come.” Charles sighed, stepping aside and letting him enter.

“Of course I came, I need to speak with you.” Erik answered seriously.

Charles kept quiet as he led the way into a study.

“What is it that you came to talk to me about?” Charles asked with a light tone, gesturing for Erik to sit.

“I’m not sure where to start…” Erik mumbled honestly, as he sat down.

“Well, I already know that you had sex with my sister if that’s it.” Charles shrugged, sitting down himself.

“Oh, no that’s not what I came to talk to you about.” Erik said, suddenly feeling very awkward.

“It’s alright, you know.” Charles smiled at him. “She’s an attractive woman and just because you think I’m in love with you, it doesn’t mean that I actually am or that I care at all who you sleep with.”

Ouch.

“I’m not here because I think you’re in love with me.” Erik clarified. “I’m here because we’ve had horrible communication and I think that you and I could have a meaningful relationship.”

Charles chuckled. “And what on God’s green earth makes you think that?”

“You fed my cat. You wanted to come back to see me at the apartment.” Erik sighed, a bit annoyed. “You think I’m lovely and, from what I hear, you at least used to want something similar as to what I’m asking now.”

“Alright, I’ll admit that I was taken with you back when we first met.” Charles explained rationally. “I even thought, the whole time up until my graduation, that we could be together and maybe have a ‘happily ever after.’ Erik, I’m not the same person that I was, and you certainly aren’t either. I think maybe, when I saw you again, I was thinking about who you used to be and a part of me still wants that. I went looking for you the next week, chasing the old you.”

“I suppose we can’t see how the other has actually changed, Charles.” Erik replied, Charles didn’t actually know him and Erik was starting to see what Charles meant.

“No, I don’t think so either.” Charles admitted. “When I saw you again I felt as though I was sixteen all over again, but I’m not. I have changed and I don’t think you see that. You still see me as a child suffering abuse, and you’re wilder and far too violent and you hide into yourself when someone’s talking to you that show classic signs of isolation and years of living alone.”

“You said you wanted to tell me everything about you, Charles.” Erik reminded him. “You said you wanted to know everything about me too. Was that all a lie?”

“No.” Charles looked away. “It wasn’t… But I think the smartest route now though, would be for you and I to have closure and end this mess.”

“No!” Erik boomed. “I can’t have closure. There will never be enough.”

“You do like to exaggerate, don’t you?” Charles smiled. “I don’t think anything ‘meaningful’ can ever really happen between us. You’ve never been able to see me as I am.”

“And what are you, Charles?” Erik asked, annoyed by the whole prospect of Charles cutting him out completely.

“Well, how do you see me?” Charles asked calmly. “Whatever you have wrong, I’ll correct.”

“You’re brave and you’re strong.” Erik said, just to start. “You have a good heart and a smart head on your shoulders. You’re kind and loving and far too trusting. You’re scared, mostly of what you’re feeling, and you worry about everything even if you don’t have to. You throw yourself into your studies as an escape, and you feel the pressure to drink in a crowd.”

Erik sighed and shook his head. “That’s all I can come up with on short notice.”

Charles stared at Erik for a few moments. “It’s an interesting picture but I’m afraid you’re wrong. I can’t call myself brave when my doubts lead me to find answers at the bottom of a bottle. I can’t even admit to being strong because I’ve never been able to stand up for myself. A good heart, I hardly know, and academically I’m a genius but I’m stupid in other matters that actually, well, matter.”

“Apparently you’re self-loathing as well.” Erik scoffed, but Charles held up a hand.

“I let you speak, now it’s my piece.” He interrupted. “I haven’t been loving in years and I trust people about as far as I can throw them, Logan and Raven are exceptions. I think everyone is scared every now and then of their emotions because they can’t control them, so there’s that, but I hardly worry about anything anymore.”

“Of course you do.” Erik sighed.

“I really don’t.” Charles answered with a twitch of his lips. “As for throwing myself into my studies, that brings me back to you seeing me as I was. That’s what I used to do because I needed an escape from Kurt and Cain, but after I left, I’ve been pretty lax about it. I’ve never felt pressured to drink in a crowd, I drink when I’m nervous, angry, or want to be just a side of tipsy to enjoy things more. Crowds have never made me nervous either, just in case you were going to use that as an excuse.”

“I don’t think you’re giving yourself much credit, Charles.” Erik sighed.

“Oh, you don’t, do you?” Charles raised an eyebrow at him. “I suppose my admitting that I’m scared and running away and drinking because I’m pressured is a way of giving myself an enormous amount of credit. Thank you, but I think my statement was just fine, Erik.”

“I mean about you being brave, strong, kind, and incredibly smart.” Erik held in a growl but he still glared.

“Fine, I’m brave,” Charles sighed. “Or at least I can be. I’m not strong in any way though and my kindness toward you has usually been because I fancy you. I can be quite mean if you haven’t already noticed. And alright, I’m smart, but my priorities are never what they should be.”

“What are you talking about?” Erik asked, confused. “Priorities? And don’t even start by saying you aren’t strong because it takes a lot to overcome abuse, especially the kind that you went through.”

“Well I haven’t exactly overcome it now have I?” Charles answered with a sneer. “But you wouldn’t know. As for my priorities, I’m talking about how I was more nervous about seeing you than I was about confronting Kurt. If that doesn’t say something about my priorities, then I don’t know what else to tell you.”

“Wait, I was a priority?” Erik shook his head, even more confused.

“You never seem to see the bigger part of what I’m trying to tell you. That’s alright, I don’t want to talk.” Charles sighed. “But I have a solution for the both of us.”

“I think we do need to talk.” Erik stated firmly, but, after a beat, curiosity won him over. “What’s your solution?”

“I say we fuck and get it out of our systems.” Charles proposed. “Listen, I think we have unresolved tension. I don’t know if you’re gay or not but obviously you have some feelings for me as well that need to be sorted and I think fucking is a way that will either give us both closure or help move things along. Either way I don’t see much of a downside.”

Erik was at a loss for words.

“I’m not saying we fuck and then start a relationship.” Charles corrected, speaking as though this were all just a business transaction. “I actually think we should fuck and then have nothing to do with each other. Once it’s out of our systems, whatever it is, we should both feel better and be capable of moving on.”

“Charles, I don’t just want to fuck you.” Erik felt disgusted at the idea. Charles was always so much more to him than a casual fuck. “I amqueer. I’m not strictly a homosexual, I’m actually quite bisexual but I lean towards men. I can’t say I know what my sexuality is exactly… never sat down to figure it out, but I’m not confused as to who I would and would not fuck.”

“So would you fuck me?” Charles asked as though he was a lawyer and Erik was on the witness stand.

“No.” Erik sighed.

“Then we have nothing left to discuss.” Charles replied easily, but something on his face was off. “I have no interest in being friends with you and I won’t torture myself by keeping you in my life. I’m sorry, but that’s all, we’re done and this is it… This is the end of it.”

Charles looked extremely hesitant and, though it was well concealed, he looked heartbroken.

“I don’t want to fuck you because I want to make love to you, Charles.” Erik amended softly, standing up and stepping closer to him.

“I can’t offer more than a fuck.” Charles sighed, and Erik could see the struggle he was having with himself.

“I’ll take the offer then.” Erik answered.

“It’s only a fuck.” Charles reminded him, but his face looked a little less conflicted.

It’s now or never, and he said that we could try a relationship afterwards.

He also said he wanted to cut off all contact.

I’ll get him to change his mind.

“I know.” Erik assured him with a smile.

“O-okay.” Charles looked a bit unsure of himself as he stood to face Erik.

“Alright.” Erik couldn’t help a large toothy smile.

“I’ve just showered, how about you?” Charles asked nervously.

“I showered before I came.” Erik nodded, still smiling down at him.

“Oh.” Charles looked very different from he had just a minute ago. His composure was gone and he looked shocked at Erik having accepted his offer.

“Shall we?” Erik asked, kindly.

“I suppose we shall.” Charles replied a bit unthinkingly. “I mean, if you want to do it now.”

“We’re both clean.” Erik smiled, but as a second thought. “Oh, speaking of, you don’t have any venereal diseases do you? I know it’s a bit of a rude question but Raven said you sleep around, so....”

“You’re one to talk.” Charles glared at him, his shock all gone and replaced with a scowl. “No, I don’t have any diseases, thank you. I was tested for any of them last week, I’m completely clean.”

You shouldn’t have brought Raven into the conversation.

“Good.” Erik smiled a bit awkwardly.

“And how about you? Are you clean, or do you just sleep with anyone and then not bother to check?” Charles asked with feigned politeness.

Reeeaaally shouldn’t have brought her up.

“I’m clean.” Erik nodded. “I got checked last month and the only other person I’ve slept with since then was, well, your sister… we used a condom.”

stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid

Did you honestly just remind him that not only did you sleep with Raven but that she’s his sister?

Well I don’t think he forgot that.

Stupid.

“Right. My sister.” Charles looked pained for a moment but he shook himself off and walked away.

Do I follow him?

“Are you coming along so that we can get this over with, or not?” Charles stopped to yell at him.

Erik said nothing and followed him up the steps.

Chapter Text

“So, shall we begin?” Charles asked once they’d reached his bedroom.

“Is Logan still here, or Raven?” Erik asked, looking around.

“No, Logan left yesterday.” Charles assured him. “Raven left for a date, albeit reluctantly.”

“Why reluctantly?” Erik asked.

“Why do you have interest in my sister’s love life?” Charles asked darkly. “You’ve already fucked her and she never called you for anything else. You’re about to fuck me. What is it you want from her?”

Erik glared at him, but he had been chastised and held back a bite. “I was asking because I was wondering if she was having problems, so I could help get rid of him, or if she left because you asked her to because you knew I would come.”

“I thought you might come.” Charles sighed. “And she can handle herself quite well, you needn’t concern yourself.”

“Alright then, let’s get on with this.” Erik said, slowly moving towards Charles.

“Yes, what are you doing?” Charles asked with a scrunched brow.

“I prefer we do this correctly.” Erik whispered next to Charles’ ear once he was flesh up against him.

“Maybe we should take our clothes off first.” Charles breathed lightly, trying to remain composed.

“As you wish.” Erik smiled. “You go first, this was your idea.”

Charles tried pulling of his sweater but it caught on one of his shirt buttons.

“Let me.” Erik pulled the sweater off him easily and dipped his face tantalizingly close to Charles’. “Easy enough.”

Charles let out a little sigh but didn’t reach to kiss him, staring deep into his eyes. He seemed stunned and stood there frazzled.

“Okay, let’s move on, shall we?” Erik asked, removing his tie and unbuttoning Charles’ shirt, nice and slow.

What the fuck?

“Charles, it’s 90 degrees outside!” Erik yelled exasperated. “Why are you wearing a t-shirt under your shirt and tie under a fucking sweater?”

That snapped Charles out of his daze. “Well if you’re going to judge my dressing habits then we should just stop here.”

“No, I just thought I wouldn’t have to peel layer after layer off of you as though you were an onion.” Erik rubbed his hair back with a sigh.

“Alright, that’s it.” Charles pushed him away a bit and started buttoning himself back up.

“Fuck, no! The point is to be naked.” Erik stepped forward and, with a swift motion, ripped the shirt open.

Charles let out a small sound of protest but his eyes were wild with excitement.

“Well you’re not naked.” Charles pointed out.

“Fine.” Erik threw his shirt off and tossed it on the floor.

“Wait!” Charles stopped him as he reached for his belt. “I’ll do that bit, just kick off your shoes.”

Erik did as he was told. “Alright, your shirt?”

Charles took his off and tossed it next to Erik’s, then without warning, reached for Erik’s belt.

“I’ve been dreaming about this for ages.” Charles whispered, wiggling on his knees and smiling up at him.

“So have I.” Erik whispered back, carefully running his hands through Charles’ hair.

Charles unbuckled him and pulled his pants and boxers down in one motion, Erik took a moment to kick them away from under him and stood back in front of Charles.

“I knew you had a huge cock.” Charles smiled at him.

“I knew you’d been thinking about it.” Erik smirked.

No you didn’t.

Shh, it’s sex talk. Leave me alone.

Charles nosed at his cock before pausing and standing back up. “What am I doing? There’s a bed here and you’re standing, lay back.”

“We haven’t kissed yet.” Erik noted as he moved to lie back on the bed.

Charles said nothing and headed straight for his cock. He started with slow up and down movements, making up for whatever he couldn’t take in his mouth by stroking with his hand.

It felt overwhelmingly good but Erik thought about all the people that Charles had practiced on to get to be that good and he sighed a bit.

Charles pulled back. “I have it on good authority that I am very good at cock-sucking, so if you could please stop whatever you’re thinking about and think about this-” He licked all the way up Erik’s shaft, staring him dead in the eyes. “You’ll be very happy.”

“Have I told you that you have fucking amazing eyes?” Erik asked with a small smile. Seeing Charles on his knees with his pupils dilated and his lips redder than usual with spit from licking Erik’s cock had left him on a high.

“No, now shut up and give me your cock.” Charles demanded, nipping Erik’s inner thigh lightly with a smile and taking him in farther this time.

With every down movement, Charles took him in deeper and deeper, eventually removing his hand completely and making long, slow movements of bobbing all the way up and sinking all the way down on Erik’s cock. Erik was squirming and moaning. He had to stop looking at Charles just to keep it together when he started moaning with his lips getting tighter on Erik’s cock and quickening his pace.

“Fuck, Charles.” Erik managed to say. “I won’t last.”

Charles popped off at that moment and grinned at him with a devious twinkle in his eyes. “Oh, I’ll make it last.”

Erik couldn’t think. He could barely breathe. “Fuck.”

“My pants are still on.” Charles reminded him. “Do I have to take them off myself?”

Erik reigned himself back together as well as he could. “Fuck no.”

Charles kicked off his shoes and socks before Erik hefted him up and tossed him on the bed with a thump. Erik pulled Charles’ legs around his waist even though his pants were still on and lunged for a kiss.

Charles started kissing back immediately, licking at Erik’s lips for entrance and then massaging Erik’s tongue with his own. It was perfect if a little bit messy and Erik kissed him back with just as much fervor, rocking his naked cock against the rough cloth covering Charles’.

He couldn’t find him in it to stop. Charles was addictive and they stayed with their lips attached for a few minutes, their hands moving all over whatever they could touch of each other. Eventually the kisses got softer and Erik wanted to taste every inch of Charles, adorn his pale, freckled skin with hickies and reminders of what they had done, what they were currently doing.

He moved his hands back to Charles’ belt and he trailed kisses and sucked bruises down his neck, shoulders, and chest.

“You’re mine.” Erik growled a bite against Charles’ skin.

Charles replied with a moan and moved his hands to play in Erik’s hair. Erik backed up to pull Charles’ pants all the way off and trailed his hands over Charles’ legs, feeling the soft hairs and moving his hands upwards while Charles spread his legs open for him again.

Charles moved him back up to him and, though Erik wanted to explore Charles’ body, he kept his hands on either side of Erik’s face and refused to let him go. Erik didn’t mind, he’d been waiting to kiss Charles for so long, he didn’t mind if they stayed like this for a few hours before they did anything else.

Neither of them knew when they were breathing, it was as if they were just breathing each other in while they kissed.

Eventually though, Charles seemed dissatisfied and rolled them over so that he was on top, straddling Erik. He ground his hips on Erik’s now very hard cock in a few circular movements. Erik saw the opportunity, reached for Charles’ cock, and started stroking it slowly to tease him.

Charles let out a sigh mixed with a moan and leaned forward on the headboard. Erik pulled Charles closer by his perfectly round ass until his cock was up against his face. He pulled Charles down to look at him with one hand and sucked on his cock eagerly, stroking the rest with his other hand.

You weren’t kidding when you told Logan you were well endowed.

“Erik.” Charles looked at him with so much wonder, Erik had to close his eyes and focus on what it was he was doing.

He pulled back to kiss and bite at Charles’ abdomen, slim but without working out. Most likely because he didn’t eat well. He remembered the times he’d fed Charles and how they still hadn’t gotten that coffee. Erik couldn’t help smiling as he sucked a few little marks on there too.

He moved his focus back to Charles’ cock and rested both his hands on that perfectly firm bottom, pulling him closer to tell him to control the pace however he needed and Charles did. He curled in against Erik, almost cuddling his head as he moved slowly, making things easy for Erik, but he got rougher with every thrust and soon he was spread out on top of Erik’s face, still keeping his movements measured but moving faster as Erik left himself open.

Charles pulled back, and desperately grabbed Erik’s face for a kiss as if it were air and he’d been underwater for a few minutes. He rolled his hips eagerly against Erik as they kissed and couldn’t help a whine that escaped his lips when Erik started stroking his cock again.

“I didn’t want to kiss you.” Charles confessed. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop.”

“What made you think you ever had to stop?” Erik growled, nipping and biting at Charles’ lips possessively.

Charles panted against Erik lips and let out a small chuckle. “Fuck me.”

“That’s what we’re supposedly here for.” Erik nipped at one of Charles’ nipples.

“There are condoms in the drawer next to your head.” Charles told him moving to reach for it.

“I’m clean.” Erik reminded him.

“So am I, but I practice safe sex.” Charles raised an eyebrow at him.

“If you want, but when it comes time for you to fuck me, I want to feel you inside me without a barrier.” Erik said rubbing at Charles’ thighs and cock.

Charles squinted at him pensively for a moment. “This is only once, I suppose I can risk it.”

“Alright, come here.” Erik motioned for Charles to sit on his face and he did. Erik licked at Charles’ hole and the man giggled.

“I’m sorry.” Charles apologized with a shy smile.

“What?” Erik asked with a confused grin.

“Nothing I’m just a tad ticklish.” Charles turned a bright red. “It’s not so bad when I’m on my back since the position’s different.”

Erik smirked at him and licked again, Charles let out another giggle.

“Stop that!” Charles was really red now and he was moving away.

“Alright, get a pillow.” Erik smiled at him. “You’re adorable.”

“Shut up.” Charles replied defensively, throwing a pillow at Erik’s head, causing him to let out a laugh.

“C’mon, Giggles, lie down.” Erik demanded lightly, moving back on his knees.

Charles grumbled but complied, and Erik resumed his previous work. He licked slowly, pressing his tongue in, slowly and carefully. Once it was wet enough, he pressed a finger in and Charles let out a heavy moan.

“Wait, there’s lube in the drawer, get it.” Charles could barely manage to stutter out. “Please.”

“So many interruptions.” Erik teased, but he moved to get the bottle anyways. “It’s flavored?”

“Have fun, it tastes like cotton candy.” Charles chuckled.

“Oh, I intend to.” Erik assured him, squeezing some of it on his fingers and spreading it on Charles’ opening and pressing in carefully.

Charles let out tiny sighs of pleasure with every changing movement that Erik teased him with. When Charles let out a loud grunt, almost a scream, Erik knew he’d found what he’d been looking for.

“Are you okay with prostate stimulation?” He asked for confirmation.

“Bloody hell, stop asking questions!” Charles squirmed against Erik’s fingers. “Yes!”

Erik chuckled and gave him a small peck on the lips that Charles chased for more but got none. Erik continued to spread him open slowly, grazing over his prostate to remember where it was for future reference.

“Stop the teasing and fuck me or I’ll come and then it won’t be very comfortable.” Charles demanded.

“I’m bigger than most of your other partners.” Erik cautioned.

“JUST FUCK ME!” Charles screamed.

“That’s not a very nice way to ask for favors, Charles.” Erik admonished with a smirk.

Charles was riled up enough to flip them over and start touching every inch of Erik he could find, rapidly leaving marks all over his skin with his mouth but refusing to kiss him when Erik reached for him. He started stroking him quickly, and moved Erik’s legs up, pressing his cock to slide against Erik’s ass, balls, and cock.

Charles.” Erik whined.

You don’t whine. Stop that.

“Fuck me, Erik!” Charles demanded.

Erik flipped them back over and Charles let himself. Erik aligned himself with Charles’ ass and slid in slowly, closing his eyes, feeling how tight Charles still was despite the preparation and hearing Charles let out a moan filled with pain, pleasure, and a small laugh.

“Fucking finally.” Charles said, grinning at him like a lunatic once Erik opened his eyes again.

“I’ll say.” Erik smiled back.

“Now move!” Charles pushed back at him, squirming.

Erik obliged and continued to moved slowly at first, building a rhythm but leaning over to kiss Charles with every thrust. It was easy to kiss him, barely sliding out and their kisses slow but passionate. As Erik started thrusting faster, harder, the kisses became erratic and messier.

Charles let out tiny sounds and moans, eventually the kissing stopped all together as he squirmed and moaned, exposing his neck for Erik to bite and suck on. They flowed together with ease, and the very look of seeing Charles pleasured and wild beneath him, his brown hair messy and his lips almost bruised with Erik’s kisses, drove him mad, causing each thrust to go faster, harder, deeper.

Charles started screaming at some point, and his arms were everywhere. They were gripping the headboard, rubbing Erik’s shoulders and pushing them away lightly, stroking at his own leaking cock to meet with one of Erik’s hands. Charles was in complete ecstasy and completely gone.

He screamed Erik’s name loud and clear with a mantra of demands of “faster” “harder” and “fuck, just like that.” It was more than Erik could bear, especially with the way Charles was clinging onto him, tightening against Erik’s cock unthinkingly.

Erik was surprised to find himself letting out harsh pants and saying incoherent things back to Charles, quickening his pace and watching the young man fall apart underneath him.

He didn’t usually, but he came first. He came harder than ever and became so boneless after he had ridden it out that he slumped on Charles for a moment before he could roll off. He saw Charles replace his hand with his own on his cock and quickened his movements, until he came with a loud groan and coaxed the rest of it out slowly.

As an apology for having Charles have to finish himself off, once Erik could move again, he licked the cum off Charles’ stomach and kissed him lazily when he was done.

“You’re gorgeous, Erik.” Charles smiled at him, sated and happy. “But you know that.”

“I love you, Charles.” Erik told him with all the honesty and sincerity in the world.

Charles stared at him with shock, searching his face for any trace of a lie. “I think we should nap now.”

“I’ve been an idiot, I’m sorry, Charles, for what happened, I truly am.” Erik sighed. “I loved you even then.”

“How do you know what love is?” Charles looked away.

“I know more than you.” Erik shrugged. “My mother showed me, and I loved her. I love you too, Charles. I want to know more about you. I want to give us a try, a real one.”

“I’m not the kind of person to be loved.” Charles said, tired.

“You’re the person I love, isn’t that enough?” Erik asked, a hopeful smile on his face.

“Can we talk about this later?” Charles asked, looking away.

Erik let out a chuckle. “When you have the energy to get rid of me? No, I don’t think so.”

“I’m very tired, Erik.” Charles sighed. “I promise not to kick you out first thing and to have a proper conversation about this with you before you leave. Is that good enough for you? May I sleep now?”

“Yes.” Erik leaned over to kiss Charles again and he felt the small smile on Charles’ lips as he did so.

“Go to sleep.” Charles demanded, pushing him away gently as he held back a smile.

Erik hummed a reply and laid back. A few moments later, Charles turned over to rest his head on Erik’s shoulder and spread his legs to tangle theirs together, a smile on his face that he nuzzled against Erik’s neck.

You’re totally screwed.

We can work out the kinks later.

You kill people for a living.

Leave me alone. I’m enjoying the moment.

Chapter Text

Erik woke up first.

Charles was still curled up against him, his eyes closed and sleeping peacefully. His hair was a mess and he snored lightly but he couldn’t have looked more beautiful to Erik.

Erik let out a deep sigh and squirmed closer to Charles, letting himself cuddle him close for a few moments, breathe in Charles’ scent, and bask in the lightness he hadn’t felt in his chest for a long time.

Charles murmured something that sounded suspiciously like “sorry for screaming the wrong name, love” and snuggled closer to Erik.

“What?” Erik asked, smiling down at Charles.

“Come back to bed, I’ll make it up to you.” Charles said sleepily but his voice was more awake.

“I am in bed.” Erik chuckled as Charles’ face scrunched up and he woke up.

“What?” Charles asked, looking at Erik adorably confused.

“You were talking in your sleep, I was just answering.” Erik informed him, kissing Charles’ forehead.

“I probably should have warned you about that.” Charles sighed, removing himself from Erik and sitting up.

Erik frowned at the loss of his warmth.

“It was a pleasant surprise.” Erik answered, moving to sit up and lean his back against the headboard.

“Hmm, most of my bedmates tell me to shut up.” Charles laughed dryly and Erik could see his walls pulling back up.

“It’s adorable.” Erik assured him.

Charles just hummed at him again and got out of the bed completely naked and unashamed.

“What did I say?” Charles asked casually but Erik could see that he was a bit nervous too.

“You apologized for screaming the wrong name and told me you would make it up to me.” Erik smirked.

“Oh.” Charles frowned but it was gone sooner than it had appeared and he smiled again. “Happens often enough, must be programmed by now.”

“You know you’re just standing there naked and tempting me, right?” Erik asked, changing subject.

“Yes, I often forget I’m not wearing clothes.” Charles laughed. “I have a mirror next to the door to remind me.”

Erik turned to look and sure enough, there was a full-length mirror next to the door.

“Who’s idea was that?” Erik asked with a large grin. He couldn’t help it, Charles made him happy.

“Logan’s.” Charles smiled. “I usually sleep in my pajamas so that I don’t mentally scar Raven when I forget in the mornings, but about a month ago I was tired and drunk and I passed out wearing nothing but my tie around my head. I got up in the morning and went to the kitchen for breakfast and the next thing I know, I feel like my ears are bleeding from a scream that Raven let out finding me in there. When Logan found out, he first laughed his happy little arse off, then he told me his cousin was the same way and put a mirror next to my door.”

“I overheard Logan say you had a thing about wearing pajamas when I first came over.” Erik said thoughtfully. “I’m guessing that’s it?”

“You were listening in on our conversation?” Charles raised an eyebrow at him and placed his hands on his hips.

“I wasn’t trying to.” Erik lied.

“No, of course not.” Charles squinted at him. “Anyhow, yes I always wear pajamas to sleep in case I’m too fucked to realize there’s even a mirror in the room.”

“Why weren’t you wearing any that night?” Erik asked.

“Which night?” Charles asked with a furrowed brow.

“The night that you invited me to stay over.” Erik clarified.

“I umm…” Charles looked down. “I was but I remembered that you were in the other room and I took them off.”

Erik blinked at him. “You were trying to seduce me?”

“Look, I’m usually the one to make a first move.” Charles huffed but his face was red with embarrassment. “I just didn’t know if you wanted me and I’m not sure how well I would have taken rejection from you. Actually, I know that I would take it horribly but that’s not the point. The point is that I had already tried to let you know how I felt and I let you know that I’m more or less pansexual and it was your turn to do something.”

“You were waiting for me to make a move?” Erik asked slowly. “Am I not clear as to how I feel towards you?”

“Well up until yesterday it always seemed as though you weren’t interested at all.” Charles informed him a bit annoyed. “You seem protective of me but that might also mean you just see me as a child and you could have been 1000% straight for all the insight I have into your romantic interests.”

“My only romantic interest is you!” Erik yelled, he was sure that he’d made that clear. “It’s only ever been you.”

Charles looked blindsided for a moment but he shut himself down. “And I suppose sleeping with my sister, that was just-”

“Romantic and sexual attraction are two different things, Charles!” Erik cut him off. “I slept with your sister, yes. She was there, she was willing, and I haven’t found a good lay in months! I regretted having sex with her two seconds after it was over because she isn’t you, Charles. It’s been the same with anybody else for the past two years.”

Charles kept quiet but he was staring directly into Erik’s eyes. Something about that gaze made Erik want to tell Charles everything.

“I kill people for a living.” Erik said before he even knew what he was saying.

What the fuck?

“What?” Charles finally blinked.

Take it back.

“I killed Kurt Marko.” Erik confessed. “I made it look like a mugging but I hated him and I don’t regret it.”

Charles started breathing heavily and looked around panicked.

“You need to leave.” Charles said after he had calmed down.

“Charles, we need to talk.” Erik said, getting out of the bed and moving towards him.

Charles grabbed Erik’s clothing and pushed it against his chest.

“It’s out of my system.” Charles said more to himself than anything.

“Charles.” Erik said again.

“I knew it!” Charles yelled, throwing a ceramic trinket across the room. “I knew you were different. Violent! Of bloody course I happen to fall in love with a fucking murderer! I knew it from the moment Kurt pushed me down the stairs and you went straight for him. Two years ago, you would have checked to see if I was alright! Two years ago, you would have let everything alone!”

Charles was completely red, his still being naked allowed Erik a better view at just how red he could get.

“TWO BLOODY YEARS AGO!” Charles screamed.

He saw himself in the mirror before he could storm out, turned back around, angrily put his pants on and grabbed a shirt, then marched out the door.

Erik let him go and put his clothing back on before he headed down the stairs.

Charles had left the front door open when Erik got there and as he headed towards his car he saw Charles sitting on a bench. Charles was shaking but Erik thought it better not to bother Charles when he was like this and went to his car.

He said he’d fallen for you, you can’t just leave him now.

He hates me.

He needs to process this.

Erik did the only thing he could think to do.

“Erik, I told you I’m not giving you an assignment.” Emma said once she’d answered the call.

“I fucked up.”

“Oh Sugar, what kind of mess did you get yourself into? Do I need to send a cleaner?”

“No, I mean I really fucked up.”

“Well you’re not being specific, tell me what you need, Honey.”

Erik took a deep breath. “Advice.”

Chapter Text

“You’re still here.” Charles noted when Erik walked up to him.

“I’ve left too many times.” Erik sighed. “I came here to talk so let’s talk.”

“I don’t want to talk just now.” Charles looked away.

“Then listen.” Erik said, taking a deep breath. “My mother was murdered by a man named Sebastian Shaw. He shot her when he was mugging her. She wasn’t his only victim and it wasn’t the first time that there were casualties because he was careless. He was a bad man but he was smart and no one could get to him.”

Erik paused to see Charles’ reaction but his face was blank.

“You’re right. I am violent and I am a monster.” Erik conceded. “Shaw killed my mother and I sought revenge. Along the way, I met some people that helped me find him and kill him. They must have been the wrong kind of people because after he was dead, I was offered money to kill someone else and after him, it got to be a regular thing. Everyone I’ve killed, they were all bad people that the law wouldn’t be able to bring to justice. I’ve never killed anyone innocent.”

“I’m guessing Kurt doesn’t count as innocent to you.” Charles said coldly.

“Kurt was involved in a lot of crooked things, Charles.” Erik informed him. “He was a drug pusher and helped a lot of bad people do a lot of bad things. Drug pushing isn’t just selling drugs, Charles. He forced it on people, on kids that didn’t know how to say no.”

Charles looked down.

“On top of everything, he’d hurt you.” Erik said softly. “I witnessed that first hand and he never should have gotten away with it. When I killed him, he was taunting me and I couldn’t take it. I won’t apologize for it and I’d do it all over again if given the chance.”

“I need some time to think.” Charles answered neutrally. “I don’t know what else to respond.”

“I’ll leave then.” Erik frowned. “You have my number and you know where I live.”

Charles nodded and Erik left.

~

Erik paced nervously around his apartment when he got there. With a lack of anything else to do, he packed a bag in case Charles decided to call the cops on him.

Max was sitting patiently in a small bag, cleaning himself.

Erik envied him for the briefest moment before gathering himself again. He focused on Charles again.

Did he call the cops?

He wouldn’t do that.

I’m not going to ignore my training.

What training? Emma sent you to kill Azazel as a test and he gave you two lessons, a clean gun, and sent you to Janos.

Emma might have Charles killed before he even decides anything.

She won’t do that, she knows better than that.

You told someone about what it is you do for a living and she’ll want to protect herself.

She advised me to talk to him and besides, I never gave away any of their names.

She can be a vindictive bitch.

I hate thinking to you.

Same.

Similar thoughts passed through Erik’s mind over the next few hours but he calmed down when he noticed that there weren’t any sirens, which meant that Charles hadn’t called the police.

There was a knock on the door, Erik expected it to be Emma coming to bitch at him about being stupid.

“Charles?” Erik was a bit surprised that Charles would come over so soon.

Apparently, Charles didn’t like his expression because Erik got a good punch to the face and landed on the ground.

“It’s good to see you too, old friend.” Erik smiled while Charles looked down at him angrily.

“You are a complete moron and I can’t believe I waste my time with you.” Charles said, shaking his hand in pain.

“You didn’t call the police.” Erik noted as he got up from the floor.

“Don’t, Erik. Just don’t.” Charles warned.

Erik nodded in resignation.

“What do you want from me?” Charles asked, his eyes boring into Erik’s skull.

“I want you by my side.” Erik replied hopefully.

“You want to be my boyfriend then, yes?” Charles asked for clarification.

Erik shrugged and nodded.

“How much?” Charles asked. “How much do you want to be together?”

“I’ll do almost anything.” Erik answered without hesitation.

“Will you stop killing people?” Charles asked, putting his hands in his pockets.

Erik paused a moment. “Yes.”

“Erik, think about your answer.” Charles said sternly.

“Yes. I’ll stop killing people.” Erik promised.

“Then do it.” Charles demanded.

“Do what?” Erik was a little confused.

“Call whoever gives you names or jobs or whatever you call them, and tell them that you quit.” Charles raised his eyebrows at him expectantly.

“Right now?” Erik asked but pulled his phone out of his pocket.

Charles nodded and waited.

“Hello Frost. I quit.” Erik said once she’d picked up.

“What do you mean you quit? Is this about what you called me about earlier?” Emma asked.

“It’s too much blood and I think I’ve more than repaid you for everything. You actually owe me a few favors and I want out.” Erik informed her. “I won’t reveal anything about you or our associates to anyone and you know that if you send anyone after me, I’ll have to kill them. I’m done.”

“Fine, Lehnsherr. You want out, then you’re out.” Emma sighed. “Don’t forget to call on holidays, Sugar. If that little muffin of yours ever realizes that you’re not worth it and you want back in the game? You know how to find me.”

“I want my retirement fund.” Erik told her before she could hang up.

“Oh, right… That.” Emma chuckled. “I’ll have someone leave it in a bag for you at your apartment.”

With that, she hung up and Erik put his phone away.

“I just quit.” Erik shrugged. “I’m surprised it went that well but she knows that I don’t do anything that I don’t want to do.”

“Alright then.” Charles said, turning towards the door.

“Is that it? What about us?” Erik asked confused.

“I’m leaving for Oxford in a month, I can’t stay here just to be with you.” Charles told him calmly.

“I just gave up my whole life to be with you.” Erik scoffed.

Charles looked down and sighed. “I honestly didn’t think you would do that.”

Erik was at a loss for words.

Charles took out a small can. “Max?”

The traitorous little creature came out and Charles opened the can of Max’s favorite Friskies.

While Charles pet Max and Erik stood shell-shocked, the silence grew.

“I’m sorry, Erik.” Charles said after Max had scarfed down at least half of the food. “I did tell you I would be going for the fall. Oxford is important to me and it’s my whole future on a silver platter.”

Erik couldn’t find words and he felt his knees were going to give out any second.

“How does Max prefer to travel?” Charles asked looking up at Erik.

“You want to take my cat too?” Erik asked, shaking his head.

“No, Erik.” Charles sighed and rubbed at his face. “You aren’t seeing the obvious solution.”

Erik blinked at him.

“Listen, I’ve purchased an apartment in England.” Charles explained. “It’s quite big, Raven chose it for if I wanted to throw my own parties so it can easily fit two people and a cat.”

“You want me to move to England with you?” Erik asked feeling incredibly stupid.

“Yes.” Charles nodded. “But only if you bring Max.”

“You want to live together.”

Erik felt like he was going to throw up.

Charles smiled uneasily. “Or not?”

“Why not?” Erik asked quickly.

“You look as though I just asked you to skydive without a parachute.” Charles pointed out.

“You kind of just did.” Erik replied looking at Charles like he was insane.

“Fine then.” Charles nodded. “Forget I ever said anything. I would say that I'm sorry for making you quit your job, but I'm really not. Good day, Erik.”

Erik couldn’t think, not even enough to tell Charles to come back or chase after him once he’d walked out the door and left.

Chapter Text

Erik was shell-shocked.

Charles just asked you to move in with him.

In a different country.

Yes.

You didn’t say yes.

Did I want to say yes?

Yes.

Say yes.

He’s gone.

Go find him.

He probably went home.

To his gigantic mansion.

It’s a monster of a home.

You don’t know him that well.

I don’t get what your point is.

There’s another solution.

Erik ran out the door as fast as possible and drove to Charles’ mansion.

He spent a good long time knocking on the door but there was no answer. Just as he was about to give up, he heard a car pull up.

“Erik, what the bloody hell are you doing?” Charles asked, parking right in front of the house and stepping out of his car.

“I came to talk to you.” Erik replied, out of breath.

“You really are just an idiot.” Charles muttered under his breath, shaking his head. “I told you before I left that I would be in the coffee shop across the street if you had made up your mind.”

“What?” Erik asked confused. “No you didn’t.”

“This is what I meant about you getting lost in your head when people talk to you.” Charles sighed.

“If you’re supposed to be at the coffee shop, then why are you here?” Erik asked suspiciously.

“You know, I know that you are actually quite intelligent but you always seem to be out of focus when I speak to you.” Charles chuckled, laughing at him. “I saw you running out of the apartment as white as a sheet and I thought you were either being a wanker and ditching me, or you were heading to my home because you’re an idiot that doesn’t listen.”

“Oh.” Erik mentally slapped himself across the face. “I should listen more.”

“Sometimes, you’re so brilliant and open when you speak with me, but other times it’s like you’re deaf or just incredibly moronic.” Charles was smiling wider, obviously amusing himself at Erik’s expense.

Erik sighed and looked down.

“Honestly, it’s like you don’t see a bigger picture.” Charles shook his head at him again. “Like you try to but it comes out blurry.”

“I have a different solution to our problem.” Erik rolled his eyes and interrupted Charles’ mocking.

“Fantastic!” Charles said sarcastically, but he was interested. “Let’s hear it.”

“I’ll move to England with you, but I won’t move in with you.” Erik answered easily.

“My apartment is big enough, it could easily fit the both of us.” Charles replied with a shrug.

“Yes, but I have been living on my own for the past two years.” Erik reminded him. “I can’t say that I’m easy to live with and this way, I’ll have someplace to go if we fight.”

“And we do love to fight, don’t we?” Charles asked with a smile.

Erik couldn’t help a small smile. “I’ll still get to know you and we can still have a fresh start, away from the mess that is New York. It might just be exactly what we need.”

“It’s a brilliant idea.” Charles answered with a smirk. “I knew you had it in you to use that beautiful mind of yours.”

“When are we leaving?” Erik asked. “I should start packing my things and looking for an apartment.”

“I usually like to arrive early but since I don’t have to actually be there for another month, I’d like to help you get settled. Besides, that way we can share the plane.”

“I’ll see if I can book tickets.” Erik nodded.

“Oh, don’t bother.” Charles shrugged. “Hank will fly us there.”

“Hank?” Erik shook his head.

“Yes, you remember a boy that was in love with Raven two years back?” Charles asked, trying to remind him. “He was lanky, nerdy, had glasses, and was adorably dorky in every sense of the word? He was a genius.”

“You’re the only genius I can remember.” Erik squinted. “But I do remember a young boy who admired you quite a bit and had a small obsession with your sister.”

“Yes, well someone else had a small obsession with him.” Charles chuckled. “He’s serving in the military but he and Hank have quite a time together when he’s home.”

“He?” Erik inquired.

“Alex helped pick up the pieces Raven left of Hank’s heart.” Charles replied. “I told her to be careful with him but she refused to listen, she can be stubborn and even a tad cold at times. Anyway, Hank realized that he didn’t care what was on the outside, he wanted someone he could love whole-heartedly and wouldn’t take it for granted. Alex had been in love with Hank for years despite all the teasing and now, after a few bumps in the road, they’re the embodiment of perfect happiness.”

“Sounds like an interesting plot.” Erik smirked.

“It was lovely to watch.” Charles chuckled. “And I must say that the couple’s therapy with Logan was interesting.”

“Logan did couple’s therapy?” Erik asked skeptically. “You must be joking.”

“No, I’m actually not.” Charles smiled. “Logan is actually very good with psychiatry but he can’t really be patient with people he doesn’t know and trust so he can’t make a career out of it.”

“So what does he do?” Erik asked.

“He has odd jobs around the country.” Charles shrugged. “Maybe even kills people but that’s not my business.”

Erik glared.

Charles started laughing again. “I’m kidding! He travels, he hustles, and he gets by on whatever he can. He doesn’t need much aside from ‘a good lay, some grub, and [his] motorcycle’ as he puts it.”

“And you believe him?” Erik sighed.

“No, I can’t say that I do.” Charles shrugged. “But I don’t get very involved in Logan’s life. He won’t let me even if I try and, I dare say, he trusts me more than anyone else in the world. I think he met a girl in Canada that he’s fond of and he’s thinking of being a lumberjack to stay near the area, but honestly he won’t talk to me of such things. I’m afraid I may have burned a bit of that bridge.”

“I’m sure you didn’t.” Erik assured him.

“No, I can be a mean drunk and I may have done something to him during one of my episodes.” Charles sighed, sad for a moment but shaking it off. “I can’t remember what I did, but it must have been awful.”

“Logan must be pretty sensitive to take something you say when you’re drunk personally.” Erik hummed.

“He doesn’t look it, but Logan has an enormously fragile heart, just waiting to be shattered.” Charles sighed. “I think I may have left my mark with a few cracks.”

“I still say you are completely innocent in the matter.” Erik shrugged.

“Yes, but you don’t really know me all that well.” Charles smirked.

“Ah, see but I intend to.” Erik smirked back.

~

“Where is your sense of sentimentality?” Charles sighed, helping Erik pack his things. “You hardly have anything here that’s even decorative.”

“Most of everything here has been touched by my mother and reminds me of her.” Erik replied seriously. “Aside from her, I’ve never been very sentimental about anyone.”

“Oh, Erik.” Charles sighed, with a comforting smile.

“It’s all right, Charles.” Erik assured him. “There’s nothing left to do anyhow.”

Charles simply nodded and carried a box down to the moving truck.

Chapter Text

The plane trip was better than expected.

Max had thrown up a few times but he had grown tired of meowing and fallen asleep after the first hour.

Erik discovered that he and Charles shared a love for chess and were quite evenly matched. Erik was relentless in his offense though and Charles conceded his defeat in the final game just before the plane landed in a small airstrip just a few miles from Charles’ new apartment.

“Thank you so much, Hank.” Charles expressed his gratitude with a smile before leaving the plane. “You may take her anywhere you wish so long as she comes back safely.”

“Of course.” Hank smiled back. “Are you sure I can’t help with the unpacking and settling in? I’d be happy to if you need any.”

“We’ll be alright, thank you.” Charles nodded. “I hired some movers to help with the furniture and Raven will be coming by shortly to help with the lighter boxes.”

“Tell her ‘hey’ for me, will you?” Hank asked shyly.

“Of course I will.” Charles assured him.

Erik watched as Charles left the plane and hobbled down the steps with a huge trunk in tow.

“Thanks for the lift.” Erik nodded to Hank and followed Charles with his own suitcase in one hand and Max's cat carrier in the other.

“I had them send our things to my apartment if that’s alright?” Charles asked once they were in a cab.

“That’s fine.” Erik replied distractedly. “What does the apartment look like?”

“Oh, well I’m not sure yet.” Charles blushed. “Raven chose it out and I haven’t had the time to check it out yet. I’m sure there will be room for your things, at least until you find a place of your own taste and liking to move into.”

“You don’t know what it looks like?” Erik asked blandly. “Surely she sent you pictures or something of the sort.”

“No, I told her that I had complete trust in her and that she could choose any place she liked.” Charles sighed. “She took it to heart and bought the place before I had a look and I figure I’ll see it when I move in so there’s no harm done.”

“Do you always allow Raven to control every aspect of your life or does she simply take over at any given opportunity?” Erik asked, annoyed.

“Raven means everything to me. I suggest you watch what you say about her.” Charles warned. “And for your information, she doesn’t control everything in my life. I trust her and value her opinion and you would do well to think before you speak of things which you don’t understand.”

“And you would do well to make your own choices and stop being such a gullible pushover wherever Raven is concerned.” Erik retorted harshly.

“Why must you always seek out war?” Charles asked. “We were having a perfectly pleasant time until you brought all this up. Raven is my sister and I hope you understand now, before our relationship escalates, that it would take an enormous amount of betrayal on her part for me to even begin to doubt her.”

“She seduced me knowing full well of our feelings for each other, what more betrayal do you need?” Erik scoffed.

“And you slept with her, even though you claim to love me, because she was there and willing.” Charles countered. “She didn’t drug you and she didn’t force you, she simply offered. Should I count that as a betrayal on your part also?”

“We weren’t together at the time and I wasn’t even sure if you felt the same way I did.” Erik clarified.

Max hit the cage door with his tail.

“No, we weren’t together.” Charles cut in. “Raven could have handled the situation differently but she wanted to find out if you actually felt about me the way that you claim to, she was simply looking out for me.”

Max scratched around in the carrier, making a disruptive amount of noise.

“Why must you be so naïve?” Erik asked, frustrated. “She didn’t have to have sex with me to prove anything.”

Max meowed at him.

“And you didn’t have to have sex with her but you did.” Charles replied, exasperated. “Honestly Erik, I blame you both for what happened but I have it in me to forgive. Do you expect me to hold it over your heads forever? I won’t do that. I love and trust Raven, no matter what she’s done, and I’m trying to give you and me a good start in our relationship but you are making it incredibly difficult.”

Max meowed at Erik again as if in agreement.

Erik was about to respond when the cab stopped and Charles stepped out, going around the back to get their luggage out of the trunk. Erik paid the driver a few pounds and stepped out to help with the bags.

“Not everyone is as well intentioned as you are, Charles.” Erik said, following him up the steps into the building while Charles fumbled with few keys on a chain.

“And not everyone is as ill-intentioned as you believe them to be, Erik.” Charles sighed, pushing the door open and dragging his heavy trunk behind him.

“What do you have in there?” Erik asked, realizing that Charles had sent his clothing and other belongings ahead of them.

“Just a few of my favorite books.” Charles grunted, lifting the trunk to a resting position while they waited for the elevator.

“Just a few…?” Erik asked, confused.

“I’m going to be very busy with my studies, Erik.” Charles informed him, just as the elevator dinged and the doors opened. “I have much to read and study but that doesn’t mean that I’ll just leave my books anywhere. In fact, Raven made sure to have a large bookcase installed to keep my volumes safe.”

“You must have incredible upper body strength.” Erik commented idly.

“I wouldn’t say ‘incredible,’ but it is impressive, if I do say so myself.” Charles winked at him.

Erik smirked. “Will you show me when we get to the apartment?”

Charles leaned close to Erik, his lips ghosting over Erik’s. “No.”

What? Why the hell not?

Erik sighed exasperated, barely able to hold in a whine. “Why not?”

“Because you were insulting Raven and even me just a few minutes ago and now you expect sex and I refuse to be a ‘pushover’.” Charles replied with a hint of a smirk at the corner of his mouth as he stepped away again.

“I didn’t mean to call you a pushover.” Erik started, but the doors opened on their floor and Charles was out, hobbling his trunk after him, completely ignoring Erik.

“I could have been kinder about the situation with Raven, but that doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.” Erik continued as Charles fumbled with a large bunch of keys hanging on a single chain.

“Charles, are you listening to me?” Erik asked, trying to get his attention. “I’m trying to apologize.”

“No you’re not, you’re just trying to take back enough of what you said so that you can have sex. GODDAMMIT WHICH KEY IS IT?!?!” Charles yelled exasperated.

Max sneezed. It sounded like a snicker and Erik looked at him with disapproval.

“Why do you have so many keys to begin with?” Erik asked with a sigh, setting his suitcase down to move Charles’ trunk to lean against the wall.

“Well some of them are for the mansion in Westchester, some of them are for safety deposit boxes, others are for the mail, and a few others are for other homes and estates which my family owns and now I added the keys for this apartment.” Charles sighed, finally finding the right key and using it to open the door.

“Why don’t you separate them? Maybe color-code them or something so that you know what you’re looking for?” Erik asked, trying to drag Charles’ trunk in.

“You don’t have to carry that, I’ve got it.” Charles said reaching for his trunk.

“Like hell you do.” Erik grumbled. “This has got to be a few hundred pounds at least and you’ve been dragging it everywhere. The least I can do is try to get it through the door.”

“Erik, you’ll get a hernia.” Charles sighed.

“Just tell me more about your damned keys.” Erik grunted, pulling the trunk in with all his weight to make it squeeze through the door.

“Erik…” Charles coughed.

“Do you have car keys on the chain too?” Erik deflected.

“No, I have a separate chain for those. Erik-” Charles called again.

“That’s good, at least you don’t have to worry about getting them mixed up then.” Erik interrupted.

“Erik stop!” Charles yelled, rubbing Erik’s shoulders until he let go of the trunk.

“What is it, Charles? I almost had it.” Erik sighed.

Charles placed his hands on both of Erik’s cheeks.

Can we kiss now?

No, you have a trunk to bring in.

But his eyes are so blue.

Erik, you shithead, get back to the trunk.

No.

“So I’m just going to push the trunk back out and then we can bring it back in.” Charles said, finishing a sentence that Erik had completely missed and moving towards the door where the trunk was stuck.

“Alright…” Erik squinted. “NO WAIT. I tried too hard to pull-”

Charles pushed the trunk back out, to Erik’s horror, and Erik let out a growl.

“Charles!” Erik yelled, but Charles was unlatching a set of large doors and opening them.

“I just told you, we can bring it in through the service doors.” Charles shook his head at him and started shoving the trunk back out into the hall around to the service doors.

Well that was stupid.

His eyes are so blue, he almost kissed me.

Yes, but now you look like a complete idiot, don’t you?

…..

Charles pulled at the trunk for a few moments before turning to Erik again. “I thought you wanted to help with this?”

Smooth going.

Shut up.

“Yes, sorry.” Erik apologized sincerely before backtracking to something a bit redeemable. “You just looked adorable trying to haul a trunk double your weight through the hall.”

“Yes, I’m sure it was very amusing.” Charles grumbled. “Max and your suitcase are still in the hall, I’ll get them but could you set this down next to the bookcase?”

“Of course.” Erik replied, pulling the trunk over to a large bookcase, taking up almost half of a wall.

Looking around, Erik noticed what a large space Raven had chosen for Charles.

“It’s more of a loft than an apartment, isn’t it?” Charles sighed next to him.

“Yes, it’s got a lot of space. I can still see you cluttering the place with books until I have to walk through stacks of them like a maze though.” Erik smiled fondly at him.

“As you’ve noticed, I’ve taken the precaution of a rather large bookcase to avoid such a problem.” Charles smiled up at him, and then turned to look back to the bookcase. “It is actually larger than I thought that it would be, but that just is how my life is now. Honestly, if Raven had something dangling between her legs, I’d think she was trying to compensate for something.”

“Maybe she is a man, and she’s fooled you all along.” Erik teased.

“No, I’m entirely sure that she has female organs and she’s quite proud of them.” Charles sighed with a shake of his head, completely serious and slightly annoyed.

What?

Did they ever?

No…

Charles wouldn’t.

Raven might…

Eww.

“Charles…?” Erik was about to ask about what he might mean when the door burst open and Raven came running in.

“CHARLES!” She yelled with a huge smile on her face, running to her brother at top speed and jumping into his arms.

“Hello, dear Raven.” Charles laughed into her hair, which was covering most of his face.

“Charles, you said you were coming last week and you didn’t!” She pouted. “J’accuse!”

“Yes, I know, darling.” Charles sighed woefully, petting her hair. “I got held up, I was helping Erik pack his things and we got distracted a few times.”

Raven turned to glare at Erik and all he could do was wink at her with a smirk.

“Ugh, I can’t believe you’re actually letting him move in with you after all the shit he put you through.” Raven scoffed.

“Have you ever known me to be anything but forgiving?” Charles asked with a soft smile.

“No, and it’s both one of your best and worst features.” Raven informed him. “I’m not going to lie: I wish it only applied to me.”

“What have I always told you?” Charles asked sincerely, smiling at her but still trying to be stern.

“I’ll always be your Raven and no one will ever share the space in your heart that I have, but I can’t be selfish with you just like you aren’t selfish with me.” Raven sighed, pulling Charles in for another hug.

“Now you understand how hard it was for me when you decided to run off to university in Russia.” Charles smirked, holding her tighter.

“Oh, c’mon.” Raven sighed. “Not this again! Azazel was a sweet piece of ass and you know it.”

“He wasn’t a good man and I told-” Charles started.

“If you say ‘I told you so,’ I will break Erik’s arm.” Raven threatened.

“You’re just looking for any excuse to hurt him.” Charles sighed.

Erik shook his head. “Where’s all the furniture?”

“I haven’t bought any yet.” Charles informed him. “I couldn’t very well buy furniture for a loft, ahem, that I hadn’t seen yet.”

Charles gave Raven a pointed look.

“You like to party and this loft is perfect for them!” She defended before he could say anything.

“Yes, and it’s a lovely place but I thought you said that you had bought me an apartment.” Charles sighed again.

“Oh, you’ll love it!” Raven assured him, skipping about to the windows. “There’s so much natural light and a lot of space! You can set up a bunch of bookcases to cover the walls if you want or you could paint them. You can do whatever you want with it! It’s great, isn’t it?”

“Yes, I suppose that it’ll do.” Charles shook his head. “I was hoping for something simpler and less expensive. Maybe just crawling to bed after a long night instead of having to climb the stairs?”

“You could set up the bed downstairs.” Raven shrugged. “No one said that it has to be on the upper level. In fact, when I chose the place, I was thinking that you could make a little room on the lower level and set up another bookcase upstairs as a study.”

“Well…” Charles scrunched his face in thought.

“C’mon, you have the penthouse and the ceiling windows!” Raven continued. “There’s plenty of natural light from that and we could still get one of those large lamps that light up a room for when you want to study at night.”

“Raven, don’t you think Charles should decorate his apartment as he sees fit?” Erik intervened. “I understand that you’re trying to help but when we get to the store, he’ll start seeing how he wants to place things.”

“Would you butt out?” Raven glared at him.

“Alright, calm down.” Charles said, looking around his new home. “I like your ideas, Raven, they’re lovely. Erik, I agree with you also, I’ll get a better feel of how I want to decorate my apartment once we get to the store. In the meantime, if you could both try to get along while I see what sort of kitchen I have then we can all go shopping together.”

“Charles, I was simply trying to intervene before she had you decorating the loft the way that she might have it.” Erik shrugged.

“Hey!” Raven started, but Charles cut her off with a raise of his hand.

“Thank you, Erik.” Charles nodded. “In any case, I’m more concerned of where all of your things are.”

“Sometimes furniture luggage takes a longer time to get here than the usual, don’t concern yourself about my things.” Erik shrugged.

“If you say so.” Charles said, worrying his lip.

“Hey, I have to go.” Raven said, looking up from her phone that had vibrated. “The class that was supposedly cancelled was a prank played by some idiot in the class. I’ll stop by later, maybe tomorrow.”

“If you must go.” Charles smiled politely, reaching out to hug her and placing a small kiss on her cheek. “Take care of yourself and don’t hurt anyone.”

“No promises.” Raven winked back at him, exiting the apartment.

Charles sighed and placed his hands on his hips. “I rather like her idea of making a study but I have a better idea of where to put some bookshelves.”

“Charles.” Erik called, causing the brunette to pause and look at him. “Have you and Raven…? Before she came by I was going to ask if perhaps maybe Raven has ever come on to you in a less than sisterly manner.”

Charles stood stock-still and stared at Erik with an unreadable expression.

Well that was indelicate.

“Wh-why? Erm.” Charles looked shaken. “What makes you ask that? I think any siblings that are as close as Raven and I are hug just as much as Raven and I do.”

“No, it’s not that… Before she arrived, you seemed as though you might have seen her naked before…” Erik coughed, suddenly regretting his bringing any of this up at all. “As though she may have shown herself to you.”

Charles’ shoulders slumped and he sighed. “Raven isn’t my real sister.”

What?

“Say again?” Erik asked.

Max scratched at his cage.

“Raven is my real sister, of course, in everything that matters: in my heart, my mind, and my soul.” Charles clarified, sitting down on his trunk to open the cage door. “But we aren’t blood related. She wasn’t even officially adopted by my parents.”

“Then how…?” Erik asked, confused.

“Many years ago, when we were both so very young, she broke into the Westchester Mansion and was going to steal food.” Charles sighed. “I caught her when I was going to the kitchen for a late night cup of hot chocolate and she was so scared, so terrified, that I couldn’t let anyone know about her and I let her eat whatever she wanted and gave her one of the rooms in the house.”

“You adopted a stray?” Erik was slightly amused.

“I simply took in a young girl that need a home, and love.” Charles clarified. “She’s been with me through everything, and after my father died and my mother left, I used whatever savings I had and opened my father’s safe to pay for her tuition in a boarding school for girls. I didn’t want her to live with Kurt so I had to send her away.”

“Fast-forward a few years and you’re a beautiful, kind-hearted person who’s always taken care of her.” Erik says, starting to understand.

“After my high school graduation, she became extremely attentive of me.” Charles nodded. “I had some very bad days and she stood by me through all of them, talking me down from every edge and keeping me safe.”

“She always remembered that she wasn’t really your sister.” Erik said, watching Charles carefully.

“One night, I came home completely broken.” Charles shook his head at the memory. “I was drunk and high and I hadn’t phoned her for a week. She screamed at me while cleaning me up and when I had finished eating and getting sober, she asked me if I would ever date her. Obviously I said yes, because anyone would be lucky to have her. I’m very blessed just to have her in my life.”

“What did she do?” Erik asked carefully.

“She let the subject go and went off somewhere with friends or to school.” Charles looked down. “I can’t actually remember, but when she got back, I was in my room and she walked in, completely naked and crawled under the covers. I was sitting on them until she had approached and I jumped up immediately, stuttering about where the devil her had clothes gone.”

Erik wanted to cringe for him, understanding that the situation must have been extremely awkward.

I bet he turned completely red.

That beautiful blush that colours his whole face and chest red.

Not the time, calm down.

“I proceeded to hand her my robe and inform her that she is my oldest friend and that I’m incapable of thinking of her in the sort of way she was implying.” Charles was starting to turn red just at the memory, like he was reliving it all in his head. “It just felt…wrong.

“How were you ever able to overcome such an awkward situation?” Erik asked tentatively, moving to sit next to Charles on the trunk.

“Well she’s seen me through the worst of times and helped me through most everything.” Charles smiled, returning to the present. “It’s not difficult to understand and forgive one small awkward situation. In all fairness, she’s seen me naked as well, and it horrifies her now.”

“I think you look sexy without any clothes on.” Erik nudged Charles’ shoulder.

“I’ve just remembered an awkward moment with my sister in which she was naked in my bed.” Charles replied blandly. “I might not be able to even get it up for a week.”

“We can try.” Erik winked.

Max ran up the stairs.

“Don’t think I’m not still mad at you for trying to come between myself and Raven.” Charles chastised as Erik nipped at his neck.

Erik murmured against Charles’ neck and felt Charles shiver.

“Erik, for god’s sake, there isn’t even a bed here.” Charles protested weakly.

“The floor’s as good a place as any.” Erik said, nuzzling Charles’ neck where he could feel his heartbeat quicken.

“How unromantic.” Charles complained half-heartedly.

Erik started petting Charles’s clothing in an attempt to get them off but Charles interrupted by standing up and walking away a little.

Erik stood up to try and coax him into some more but Charles raised his hand in protest.

“No, stay right where you are and don’t move a muscle.” Charles warned, taking a deep breath. “I need a moment and then we are going to the store to buy furniture.”

“Charles-” Erik felt his shoulders slump.

I hate shopping, especially for furniture.

“The first thing we buy will be a bed and a mattress and some sheets and whatever else might be needed.” Charles interrupted him.

This time it might not be so bad.

~

They never made it to the store.

“I can’t believe I actually let you convince me into checking into a hotel.” Charles sighed, grumbling as Erik managed to open the door and push them both inside.

“I saw a nice little motel on the way but you said no, the hotel was your idea.” Erik reminded him, pushing him down on the bed, pulling his shirt out and trailing kisses over Charles’ belly.

“That’s because on the cab ride, you kept rubbing at my jeans and sucking on my neck after we passed the motel.” Charles huffed, pulling his shirt off in one messy motion, nearly elbowing Erik in the face.

Well at least it’s only one shirt this time.

“You could have told me to stop.” Erik smirked against Charles’ chest, carefully unbuttoning his own shirt while sucking on Charles’ pecks and hearing his breaths start to catch.

“I did.” Charles countered breathlessly. “Many times in fact, but it was the cabby that heard me say stop when you did that little thing with your tongue just as we were going to pass this hotel.”

“So then let’s blame the cabby and drop the subject.” Erik suggested, flicking his tongue against a sensitive nipple and causing Charles to jerk a little.

“Oh, you infuriate me.” Charles moaned, locking his legs around Erik’s waist and pulling them both further up on the bed.

“In a good way though, right?” Erik chuckled, feeling Charles’ hands running through his hair and feeling delightfully dizzy with want.

Charles managed to shrug and pulled Erik’s face to his own for a passionate kiss, opening himself up to Erik in such an intimate way that it left Erik completely breathless but afraid to pull away lest the moment end.

Charles eventually pulled back, grinning ear to ear. His brown locks askew, some falling over his bright, impossibly blue eyes and looking as gorgeous as ever.

“You’re gorgeous.” Charles chuckled, taking the words right out of Erik’s mouth.

Erik couldn’t think of a single thing to respond and decided to kiss that adorable smile. The taste of Charles’ lips was something Erik would never be able to get used to. He tasted sweet and humble and beautiful in ways that couldn’t be described with words.

It was as though time stood still and the world had disappeared. Erik was almost terrified of how easy it was to get lost in Charles. It was too easy to let Charles worm his way into every fiber of his being, even letting Charles see the darkness Erik felt and know that Charles accepted that too, even if he couldn’t agree with it.

Charles’ kiss was slow and passionate, accepting everything Erik gave him and giving as good as he was getting. His hands raked through Erik’s hair, curling it in his fingers and playing with the sensitive spots on Erik’s neck. His arms pulled Erik closer, their chests flush as skin met skin and moved together in synchronicity.

Erik trailed his hands down Charles’ sides, feeling at the ribs and circling his thumbs as he pet his lover softly. When Erik pulled away to look at Charles, his breath caught again at the insane amount of adoration he could see in those magnificent sapphires that he loved so much.

“Erik.” Charles whispered, his eyes startled as though the name had escaped his lips of their own accord while he stroked his face.

“Charles.” Erik smiled back at him, quickly placing another kiss on Charles’ swollen lips before moving to suck marks on Charles’ neck and shoulders.

“Erik, how do you want me?” Charles asked, almost a whisper.

“Every way.” Erik murmured against his skin.

Charles huffed out a laugh. “I mean we don’t have any lube or condoms so how are we doing this?”

“I’m content to just stay kissing you like this.” Erik replied with a smile, his lips never leaving Charles’ skin.

“Yes, but I feel a bit useless not doing anything.” Charles chuckled, pushing Erik until they were both sitting up on the bed.

Erik sighed. “I brought lube, I was just hoping we could take our time.”

“We’ve been kissing for over half an hour, maybe more.” Charles laughed aloud, raking a hand through his hair. “I’ll be happy to continue, but I need to take my pants off so that I have something to wear when we leave.”

“You worry about the smallest things.” Erik smiled. “Has it really been a half hour? I could have sworn it was five minutes.”

Erik checked his watch and sure enough, it had almost been an hour since they had stumbled into the hotel with lust clouding their judgment.

“I’ll take that as a compliment, I suppose.” Charles said, stripping out of his remaining clothes.

Erik hummed. “Please do.”

“Please get naked.” Charles replied, jumping on the bed with a huff.

Erik indulged him and did as he was told, placing the packet of lube on the bed. Once he was lying down, Charles straddled his hips and started sucking fiercely on Erik’s chest, licking and biting all the spots that got any enthusiastic reaction from Erik’s body.

Their cocks rubbed against each other, a small, strangled sound escaping Charles’ lips while a loud moan was ripped from the back of Erik’s throat.

“Fuck, Charles.” Erik moaned.

“How do you want me?” Charles asked carefully, bending over so that his ear was next to Erik’s mouth.Erik licked it playfully, making Charles giggle.

“I want you to fuck me.” Erik replied softly, sending a chill down Charles’ spine.

Charles placed another kiss on Erik’s shoulder and moved to the side. Erik took the opportunity to roll over onto his belly and stick his ass up in the air.

“Bloody mother- Erik.” Charles let out a shaky breath. “You know exactly what you do to me, don’t you?”

Erik just smirked at him.

Not nearly half as much as you do to me.

Charles moved to kneel behind Erik. “Have you done this before?”

Erik hesitated for a moment. “No.”

“How far do you want to go?” Charles asked, making sure that this was what Erik wanted.

I haven’t done this before, how should I know?

“Erik?” Charles asked, settling back to Erik’s side while pulling Erik to sit back on his knees.

“How far did you go your first time?” Erik asked, self-conscious.

Charles shook his head. “Never mind, we’ll start small.”

“Wait.” Erik said decisively. “I want you inside me, no matter how much prep it takes.”

“Erik, it’s your first time.” Charles sighed. “I want this to be pleasurable for you.”

“Charles.” Erik looked his partner straight in those gorgeous eyes. “I want to do this.”

“Erik-” Charles started.

“No.” Erik interrupted. “I want this.”

Charles sighed. “Alright.”

Erik laid back down on his stomach and Charles adjusted himself back behind him.Charles opened the lube packet and spread some on his fingers.

“I’m going to put the first finger in, alright?” Charles asked carefully.

“I’m not a child, I can take it.” Erik rolled his eyes.

“Erik, you are in a compromising position, don’t mock me.” Charles warned playfully.

“You have all my trust.” Erik smiled, then paused.

Woah, fuck.

You actually meant that.

I love him, of course I trust him.

“I can’t do this.” Charles said, standing up and locking himself in the bathroom.

What? What did you do?

You freaked him out, that’s what.

Fuck.

Erik got out of the bed and took small steps towards the bathroom.

“Charles?” Erik asked, knocking on the door.

“I’m sorry, Erik.” Charles replied on the other side of the door.

“Come out, we can talk about it.” Erik coaxed.

There was a long silence.

“I’ll break the door down if I have to.” Erik warned.

What a time to act like a brute.

He won’t come out.

So you break down the door and what?

We talk.

Good plan.

“Charles, I’ll count to three.” Erik warned.

“Bloody hell, Erik. Can’t I have some peace?” Charles called from the other side of the door.

“One.” Erik started.

“Erik, please, now is not the time.”

“Two.”

“Erik, don’t.”

“Three.” Erik sighed. “Alright, you’ve given me no choice.”

Charles opened the door.

“Dammit Erik!” Charles yelled angrily. “A few moments of peace, that’s all I want!”

Erik took in the sight before him. Charles’ eyes puffy and red and his nose a little runny.

“Charles, what’s wrong?” Erik asked, stepping forward.

Charles took a step back. “Nothing.”

“One minute you seem fine and the next you’re running to the bathroom to cry.” Erik gave him a pointed look. “Don’t lie to me, tell me what’s wrong.”

Charles rolled his eyes and headed towards the room door.

“Charles, you’re naked.” Erik informed him before he could open the door.

Charles sighed and hurried to get dressed while Erik did the same.

“Charles, you can talk to me.” Erik offered.

Charles remained quiet as he laced his shoes.

“Charles.” Erik called, trying to get any sort of eye contact.

Still nothing.

Erik sighed exasperated. “Charles, this is ridiculous, what did I do wrong?”

Charles’ shoulders slumped and he buried his head in his hands.

It’s a reaction at least.

He looks so sad…

You should do something.

What does it look like I’m doing?

Thinking to yourself.

Right.

“Charles.” Erik tried again, softer this time.

“Erik, please stop.” Charles held his hand up in protest. “I can’t handle this just now.”

“Charles, tell me what’s wrong.” Erik persisted.

“Erik, I-I can’t.” Charles sighed.

“Charles.” Erik was getting antsy and he ran his hand through his hair.

“Erik, I can’t fuck you.” Charles said, his tone defeated.

“Then don’t.” Erik shrugged. “If it makes you uncomfortable then that’s fine, we don’t have to.”

“No, Erik.” Charles shook his head. “I can’t be with you.”

Erik felt his chest tighten so hard he jerked.

“I’m sorry, I just can’t.” Charles said, looking away from him.

“WHAT THE FUCK? WHY THE FUCK NOT?” Erik screamed.

“Erik, please calm down-” Charles tried but Erik had lost his calm.

“I WON’T CALM DOWN!” Erik groaned, infuriated. “Charles, I love you. I’ve told you that I love you and you have no idea how hard that was for me. I left my home and my job and everything I’ve ever known because you asked me to. I packed up and I moved to a different fucking country because I want to be with you. You can’t just fucking tell me that you can’t be with me and NOT GIVE ME A FUCKING EXPLANATION.”

“Erik, I can’t answer you.” Charles said in a low voice, looking down.

Erik knelt down in front of him. “Charles, I need an answer. I’m a dangerous man and I have triggers and I can’t fucking calm down because I’ve been trying to be good for you for weeks now and all of a sudden, you can’t be with me. You couldn’t possibly be so cruel as to destroy my life with a promise of happiness and love in the safety of your arms and then take it all away just as I’m ready to give myself over to you completely.”

Something in Charles broke or snapped but his eyes turned cold and his face showed years of pain in their lines.

“What do you know of my cruelty, Erik?” Charles asked coolly, as though ice were running through his veins. “You have no idea what I’m capable of because you still see me- you will always see me- as a child that needs your protection. I can’t be with you because I’m broken, Erik. I feel helpless. It was a mistake to drag you away from your life. It was a mistake to bring you over here. It was a mistake to sleep with you in the first place. This whole thing has been one, bloody mistake! I’m sorry, Erik. I don’t have it in me to give you what you ask.”

“All I ask is that you give me the chance to share with you my affections.” Erik shrugged. “I didn’t pack up and leave because I thought you loved me, I left because I’ll stay with you as long as you’ll have me and even when you won’t.”

“I don’t fuck people that love me.” Charles sighed. “I won’t fuck anyone that thinks that they love me.”

Erik let the silence stretch between them, unsure of what the next move to make would be.

“You were fine when we got here, what happened?” Erik asked, staring at the ground.

“I- You wanted to give yourself to me.” Charles sighed.

“Someone had to take my anal virginity, I saw an opportunity.” Erik shrugged, still not looking at Charles.

“Is that all it was?” Charles asked, watching Erik out of the corner of his eye.

“I could lie to you, say that it’s all a huge misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion.” Erik replied. “But I figure one of us should tell the truth.”

“I did tell you the truth.” Charles said defensively.

“You don’t freak out because someone wants you to be their first at a sex position.” Erik answered blandly, rolling his eyes at Charles.

“It was just realizing that you love me.” Charles murmured looking down.

“No.” Erik corrected. “Try again. You knew I loved you before, it’s why I’m here.”

Charles sighed, frustrated. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“Closer.” Erik held back a smirk. “Why not?”

“Because you’re a friend to me.” Charles said with determination, but his face was looking around worriedly.

“I’ve told you that I’ve killed people, even murdered your step-father.” Erik watched Charles carefully. “Why do you care if I get hurt? Shouldn’t I deserve it for all the harm that I’ve caused?”

“Erik, I’ve always been very good at forgiving people.” Charles shrugged, as though it were a real answer.

“Alright.” Erik sighed. “Do you want me to leave? I’ll leave. I’ll pack my things and never come back if you don’t want me anymore.”

A quick flash of fear passed over Charles’ expression, gone as quickly as it came but Erik saw it.

Ask me to stay. Please, just tell me to stay.

“Go.” Charles said, looking down with his face completely fallen.

What? No, you were supposed to tell me to stay. Charles-

“Charles, please.” Erik breathed out, the air punched out of his lungs.

“Pack your things and never come back.” Charles’ voice was shaky, but he held firm. “I don’t want you anymore.”

Erik couldn’t breathe. He felt his heart constrict and his knees give out as he fell to the floor. Charles looked at him worried for a moment but Erik lifted himself with whatever will power he had left and marched to the door.

His hand drifted over the handle for a few moments, afraid that reaching out and leaving the room would make it all too real. Charles didn’t turn to look at him, Erik didn’t have the strength to even slam the door behind him.

Chapter Text

ERIK’S POV

Chase after me, call me, please. Anything.

Erik could hardly think. Listening for the sound of Charles’ voice to call him back and tell him to stay.

What did I do now?

How did I fuck this up?

We were so close.

What am I supposed to do?

No matter how many times Erik looked back, Charles wasn’t anywhere to be found.

Erik found a liquor store and bought all he could with the bills he had in his wallet. He had exchanged his dollars for pounds at the bank in New York before heading out to meet Charles at the plane and had wanted to surprise him by buying him dinner.

It was all moot now.

~

CHARLES’ POV

Erik was gone. He had looked so broken before he left. No anger. No fire. Not even enough fight to slam the door.

A small click of the lock was the only sound left of indication that Erik was gone, probably for good.

“It’s better this way.” Charles told himself in the empty room. “I know it is. I’ll only hurt him more the longer we try to make things work.”

Something pressed in his chest and Charles found himself gasping. It took him a few minutes to realize that he was crumpled on the floor, sobbing.

“Alright. That’s enough of that.” Charles told himself, hiccups interrupting his monologue. “You hurt him, there’s no reason for you to be dramatic about anything. This was your decision.”

Charles lifted himself off the ground and grabbed his keycard and things, making sure not to leave anything.

The lube.

The lube was still on the bed.

Making sure that he had everything else, Charles left the room.

~

“Hey, Charles?” Raven called out to the almost completely dark apartment as she turned on a light.

“Raven!” Charles replied, rushing down the stairs to greet her with a large smile. “Good, you’re here! I want to show you how the decorating is coming along.”

“You went to the furniture store with Erik and you didn’t invite me?” Raven shook her head at him. “I would have loved to make fun of his taste.”

“No, I went by myself.” Charles answered quickly. “But that doesn’t matter, I think that I have a study set up already. I’m going to need one after all.”

“Right…” Raven nodded. “Where’s Erik?”

“Why do you care?” Charles asked with a small twitch. “You two don’t get on very well and he’s not here, so you should take advantage of that and allow me to show you how the decorating is going. You can give me your tips and advice and opinions freely without having someone interrupt you.”

“There is that.” Raven agreed. “Alright, show me. Is it on the top floor?”

“Yes, I would like to keep my books safe from any guests I might have over later for parties and such.” Charles replied. “I’m thinking of moving the large bookcase to the upper floor as well, just to have all my books in the same area.”

“That might be a good idea, Charles. Don’t want any of them to get lonely or anything.” She teased.

Charles chose to ignore her and led the way up the stairs.

“Oh my god, Charles.” Raven gaped. “This is just incredible! You did this all in one day? It’s so very you I want to hug it!”

Charles allowed himself to chuckle. “Yes, I should hope that it looks like me if I decorated it.”

“Where did you get the idea?” Raven asked, moving closer to the desk.

“I can’t say that I’m sure, but I did some measuring and calculating and I was able to find what I wanted.” Charles replied, smiling.

“So is this like another bedroom?” Raven asked, moving over to the space against the wall where Charles had put a bedframe and mattress.

“Yes and no.” Charles answered easily. “As you know, I tend to fall asleep at my desk often or leave too many books in my room. I figure, if I set up a bed in the study, surrounded by my books, I can avoid two problems. One being falling asleep at my desk, now I can simply crash on the bed if I’m too tired, and the other being that now my books will all stay in one room and I won’t lose as many of them.”

“That’s pretty genius actually.” Raven smiled. “You haven’t painted yet though, or bought any bedding. Where are you sleeping tonight?”

“I hadn’t thought of that…” Charles looked down.

“Are you alright?” Raven asked, noticing his fallen expression. “Where’s Erik?”

Charles smiled back up at her, a bit too happily. “I’m perfectly fine, don’t worry about me, and certainly don’t worry about Erik.”

Raven sighed. “If you say so, but Charles?”

Charles turned around to face her.

“You have to stop keeping this shit in.” She sighed. “I’m here for you if you need to talk or watch a stupid movie or just sit around and do nothing. If anything’s wrong, you should tell me. Or someone. Or anything! Just don’t keep whatever it is in.”

“Of course not.” Charles nodded. “Now quit being a nuisance and leave. I’ve shown you what I wanted.”

“Oh no.” Raven shook her head. “You’re coming with me. Wherever Erik is, he can let himself in or find someplace else, but you are not sleeping on the floor.”

“And the alternative is?” Charles asked her with a knowing sigh.

“My lumpy pull-out couch with the spring that sticks out!” Raven giggled, grabbing Charles by the arm and yanking him towards the door.

“I’m saved!” Charles laughed out sarcastically.

“It’s your own fault for not wanting to buy me another.” Raven said, smacking his arm playfully.

“I’ve told you to get rid of that monstrosity a hundred times!” Charles replied with mock indignation. “You continue to completely ignore me, as always.”

“I just like to watch you squirm a bit.” Raven teased.

“Right, it has nothing to do with the fact that we out-bid Hugh Grant for it at an auction.” Charles smirked.

Raven just glared at him.

“I should have just let him have the blasted thing. It’s hideous.” Charles said, wrapping his arm around her.

~

ERIK’S POV

Erik prided himself on being able to hold his drink, but even he had a limit. Apparently three large bottles of absinthe, vodka, and whiskey were enough to get him feeling pretty stupid and off-balance.

Erik stumbled along the streets, feeling reckless and wild. Ready for a fight and yet ready to give up.

He spotted a homeless man and sat down next to him.

“I’m sort of rich.” He slurred.

The homeless man just nodded.

“But I’m homeless too.” Erik laughed out, humorless. “I’d give you some of my money but it’s been spent. See I spent it all on booze, liquor, whatever you want to call it, just for the sake of getting myself in such a state I can forget blue eyes and that stupid, stupid accent.”

“How’s that working for you?” The homeless man asked, pulling his coat closer to himself for warmth.

“It’s going shit.” Erik laughed again. “I still remember ‘im. Can’t forget. I’ll never forget but he probably already has someone lined up to fuck. He won’t fuck me though.”

The man shifted uncomfortably.

“I don’t want anything from you, don’t worry.” Erik assured him, getting up. “Here, have my coat. It’s cold tonight.”

Erik took his coat off and tossed it to him, wandering away drunkenly even as the man thanked him and warned him against the cold.

Erik was wandering for a few more minutes before he heard a familiar giggle.

“I can’t believe you, Charles.” Raven said, huddled against Charles’ side. “It’s freezing and you let that old lady steal our cab.”

“I can’t believe you, Raven.” Charles chuckled, hugging her closer. “Were you honestly going to wrestle that old woman over a taxi?”

“CHARLES!” Erik yelled out louder than he had intended to.

Charles’ face was that of surprise and deer-caught-in-the-headlights.

“Erik-”

“Oh my god, Erik.” Raven growled. “Are you seriously fucking drunk right now?”

“Raven, please.” Charles said, now holding her back. “I didn’t tell you what happened.”

“Raven, dramatic as always.” Erik bowed mockingly. “Cuddling close to Charles just cause you want him to ravish you?”

Both Charles and Raven paused and looked at Erik in surprise, but Raven was more enraged than anything.

“How fucking dare you?!” Raven hissed. “What the hell’s the matter with you, huh?”

She tore out of Charles’ arms and shoved Erik, causing him to stumble back with a wry laugh.

“You cling to him all the time and you hang around his neck and you obviously want to jump his bones!” Erik smirked. “But he won’t fuck you. He doesn’t think of you that way and he never will. And even if you weren’t his sister, you love him and he doesn’t fuck people that are in love with him.”

“Erik, that’s enough.” Charles said firmly, holding Raven back from charging at Erik again and standing between them.

“It’s enough for you.” Erik sighed. “You’ve had enough of me. You’ve had quite enough of everything and everyone. I love you, Charles. I love you so much, I don’t know just what to do with myself. I’d do anything for you. I have, in fact. And if that stupid little tramp could get over what happened at your high school graduation, or at least see that it was both of our faults, then she’d see that too.”

“Be careful what you say about Raven, Erik.” Charles warned.

“Yes, you told me earlier today.” Erik nodded. “And if I could shut my mind up for just a few seconds then I’d be happy to just leave her alone as a kindness to you. No matter what you feel or how you treated me, I don’t actually want to harm you. I should. I should hate you. I should tear your spleen out through your teeth and make you suffer as I do, or at least want to, but I don’t and I won’t.”

“Jesus, Charles, you sure have a thing for psychopaths.” Raven said worryingly.

“Erik, I’m sorry for earlier.” Charles apologized. “I should have handled it differently. Earlier for sure. I’m so sorry. But that doesn’t excuse you to make lewd comments about my sister. It doesn’t give you the right to harass either her or me anywhere or at any time.”

“I don’t want to harass you, Charles.” Erik swayed on his feet. “I just wanted to love you. I had hoped that you might learn to love me too.”

“Yeah, well he doesn’t.” Raven bit out. “You better leave us alone or I will have to handle you myself.”

Erik smiled. “And what are you going to do?”

“Raven, that’s enough.” Charles said, trying to pull her back again but she kept pulling away.

“You don’t want to know.” She said, stepping in front of Erik.

“I might.” Erik leered, stepping closer to tower over her.

“Both of you, please.” Charles pleaded, trying to step between them.

“Stay out of this, Charles.” Raven told him.

“Raven…” Charles tried pulling her away but she pushed him back.

“I’m waiting for an answer.” Erik said impatiently, a bit tired.

“I’ll tear you apart, asshole.” Raven reached to punch him but Erik was faster, catching her fist in his hand and holding her neck with the other.

“Erik, let her go.” Charles demanded.

“She should learn what happens when you play with fire.” Erik said calmly, his instincts kicking in.

“Is that what you are? Fire?” She mocked, his hand still at her throat.

He squeezed his hands harder, loosening her fist and causing her breath to hollow.

“Perhaps.” Erik smirked.

“Erik, that’s enough. Please, let her go.” Charles started breathing heavily.

“She’s a snake, I don’t trust her.” Erik said, pushing her back harshly.

Raven tried to attack him again, her kicks and punches fast but he deflected them, even in his drunken state.

He caught her leg mid-air and flipped her over, causing her to land on the cement with a huff.

“You’re a dick and I hate you.” Raven spat.

“Raven, we should leave.” Charles implored her as he helped her get up.

“Not until this jackass has learned his lesson!” Raven jumped on his head, trying to crush Erik’s head with her thighs, but he leaned forward, face-first, causing her to jump off of him and land a firm blow to the jaw.

“Raven, we should run.” Charles said, pulling at her now and starting to jog.

But Erik was faster and he caught her arm, swinging her around into a choke-hold, falling back and crossing his legs over hers, leaving her squirming helplessly.

“Erik, please.” Charles begged, kneeling down to where they were tangled. “Please, she’s the only family I have left.”

Raven started gasping for air, her arms flailing.

“Why did you make me leave?” Erik asked, looking up at him and letting all of his pain show.

“You’re tired, and drunk, and confused, and heart-broken.” Charles swallowed hard. “It wouldn’t matter if I told you now.”

“Why did you force me to leave?” Erik asked again, louder with a slight growl.

“I’ll tell you once you let her go.” Charles promised.

“I don’t know that I can believe you.” Erik frowned at him.

“I give you my word, on my honor, that I will tell you why I forced you to leave once Raven is safely home and you have sobered up.”

Erik’s grip loosened and Raven started coughing, scrambling out of his grasp and into Charles’ arms.

“What happened between you two?” Raven asked hoarsely as Charles helped her stand up.

“You should have gotten the answer to that before assaulting him. I’ll tell you later.” Charles sighed. “I’m sorry about this. What were you thinking? He could have killed you!”

“Charles-” Raven started.

“No. You and I are going to have a very long discussion about you charging into dangerous situations that could get you killed, later though. I have a friend to take care of. Can you make it home without getting yourself into any more trouble?”

“This trouble wasn’t mine and you know it.” Raven glared.

“Maybe not but that’s certainly how it ended, isn’t it?” Charles sighed. “Go on home, I have a loft and a bed, I’ll sleep there tonight.”

“Alright.” Raven shrugged. “If he steps out of line, just scream in his ear.”

“I can handle a drunk.” Charles smirked at her.

“I still want the details of all of this tomorrow.” Raven stated firmly, pointing her finger at Charles.

“And you will get them, but go home now.” Charles pulled her in for a hug.

“Fine, fine.” She replied, hugging him back and then leaving.

Charles watched her go a ways before turning to where Erik was laying on the pavement.

“Do you need a hand?” Charles asked, offering to help Erik stand up.

“No, thank you. I have two of them.” Erik half-smiled at Charles.

“You almost killed my sister.” Charles told him.

“I hate her and she tried to kill me first.” Erik shrugged.

“Is that an excuse?” Charles lifted his eyebrow at him.

Erik shrugged again. “Does it matter? I’m pretty sure that you hate me now too so what does any of it matter?”

“Don’t be so dramatic, Erik.” Charles sighed. “I don’t hate you. Come on, let’s take you home.”

“Where’s home?” Erik asked, taking Charles’ hand and standing up. “I don’t have a home.”

“Home is with me.” Charles smiled at him shyly.

“Home is with you.” Erik smiled, nodding in agreement.

“Yes.” Charles wrapped his arm around Erik’s waist as they stumbled in the direction of the apartment. “Now that that’s settled, Erik, where the bloody hell is your coat?”

“I gave it to a homeless man.” Erik shrugged.

“You’re going to catch hypothermia, come here.” Charles took off his coat and wrapped it around Erik’s shoulders.

“What about you?” Erik asked.

Charles stepped in front of Erik, pressing his back up against Erik’s chest and walking in step with him.

Erik smiled and wrapped his arms around Charles’ chest, just for good measure.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.” Erik sighed, breathing in the scent of Charles’ hair.

“That’s funny, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with you either.” Charles teased, cuddling closer into Erik’s arms.

“You’re not forgiven.” Erik informed him.

“Neither are you.” Charles replied.

“You broke my heart.” Erik clarified.

“Hmm.” Charles hummed. “You tried to kill my sister.”

“I didn’t though.” Erik reminded him.

“Yes, I know. Thank you.” Charles smiled. “You bloody lunatic, you should be institutionalized.”

Erik hummed his agreement and they walked their way home to Charles’ apartment in companionable silence.

~

Erik woke up with a nasty headache and a dry mouth.

You’re on the floor.

No shit.

Don’t sass me.

Shut up, for once in your stupid life, just leave me alone.

Erik groaned and turned over.

Max was sitting next to his head, sniffing his face curiously. He didn't seem to like what he smelled and walked over to the kitchen.

“Ah, you’re finally awake!” Charles said rather loudly.

No, he’s speaking normal, you’re just being sensitive.

I told you to shut up.

“What am I doing here? Where am I?” Erik asked, disoriented.

“You’re home.” Charles replied with a large smile, purposely lowering his voice for Erik’s sake.

“Huh?” Erik frowned at him. “I thought you didn’t want me, what happened?”

“We can talk about that when you’re feeling a bit more human.” Charles deflected. “Let’s get some food in you, you threw up almost ten times last night.”

“I must’ve made a complete ass of myself.” Erik groaned again. “Why am I on the floor?”

“We don’t have any furniture yet, remember?” Charles answered kindly. “Well, I did buy some but that was more impulsive than thoughtful.”

“What did you buy?” Erik asked, attempting to get up, waving off any attempts Charles made to help him.

“Bookcases, a desk, and a bed.” Charles shrugged. “I got a call this morning saying that my books and clothing will be arriving tomorrow, so I’ve got plenty of time to kill decorating the rest of the apartment if you’d like to help.”

“Wait, but if you have a bed, why didn’t you sleep in it?” Erik asked, noticing how Charles looked rumpled and tired.

“I was looking after you and you refused to sleep in the bed, saying that it gave you nasty ideas and you didn’t want to insult me by being pushy.” Charles smiled at him brightly.

“Well at least I was trying to be a gentleman.” Erik sighed. “How did we end up back here anyhow? I thought you didn’t want to see me again.”

“You were drunk on the streets without your coat and you spotted me walking with Raven and I brought you home.” Charles shrugged. “I couldn’t very well leave you alone out there in your state.”

“Oh.” Erik frowned. “Well I don’t want to bother you anymore, I’ll just let myself out.”

“Erik, you really are an idiot.” Charles sighed, grabbing him by the arm. “You’re not a bother and I didn’t mean it when I told you to leave, not really. I’m sorry.”

Erik looked down to where Charles’ hand was on his arm and smiled up at him. “Does this mean you want me to stay?”

“Well, I- yes.” Charles nodded.

“Say it.” Erik pressed. “I just want to hear you say it.”

“Stay with me, Erik.” Charles said, looking honest as though he truly meant it. “You’re home is here, with me.”

“You’re an ass.” Erik chuckled.

“And you still tried to kill my sister last night so I suggest you keep the insults to a minimum.” Charles rolled his eyes.

“Did I kill her?” Erik asked worriedly.

“No.” Charles shook his head. “You let her go.”

The events of last night started coming back to Erik. His wandering, his drinking, the homeless man, and Raven.

“She tried to kill me first.” Erik half-smiled, trying to lighten the mood.

“She wouldn’t have let you off that easy.” Charles laughed, smiling at him again.

“Why did you make me leave?” Erik asked, remembering Charles’ promise. “If you didn’t mean it, then why did you say it?”

Charles paused and looked down.

“Never mind.” Erik shrugged. “We have some shopping to do and I’d much rather do that than force some information out of you that you’re not ready to share just yet. Shall we go?”

Charles smiled back up at him gratefully. “You need a shower first.”

“Right, I suppose I do.” Erik sighed. “But I’m not really in the mood and I still have a monster headache.”

“I made some eggs and there’s a bottle of aspirin on the counter.” Charles informed him, pulling Erik by the arm that he had not yet let go.

Erik followed him easily and Charles let go of him once Erik had seated himself on Charles’ trunk standing upwards to be used as a barstool.

“These are awful.” Erik gagged and nearly spat out the eggs. “Oh, these are horrible and… salty.”

“Hey!” Charles yelled defensively.

“Why are they raw in some parts and burned in others?” Erik poked at the contents of his plate with a grimace.

“I was cooking them while making sure you didn’t choke on your own vomit, so excuse me if they aren’t perfect.” Charles grumbled.

“I thought you were better at this.” Erik said, looking up at Charles confused. “You’ve made better eggs than this, I’m sure of it. Who the fuck screws up eggs?”

“I got distracted with a phone call.” Charles pouted.

“And you still tried to feed me this horse shit.” Erik started laughing. “Next time, I know better than to try to kill your sister, but poisoning me is just unfair!”

“I wasn’t trying to poison you, I was trying to do something nice.” Charles protested.

“Charles.” Erik stood up and wrapped him in a hug. “Surely, even the worst cook in the world knows that what you served me isn’t edible.”

Charles remained silent.

“Have you eaten yet?” Erik asked, pulling away to see Charles glare at him.

“No.” Charles shook his head, disgruntled.

“Let’s go find a café or something and get something decent to eat and a nice hot cup of coffee for my hangover.” Erik sighed, pushing Charles in front of him out the door.

Max jumped up on the counter and pushed the plate off.

~

“How do you even have it in yourself to laugh after getting so trashed last night?” Charles asked once they had finished their meal.

“I’m used to dealing with pain and disorientation.” Erik shrugged. “Sometimes the people I try to kill, try to kill me. I’ve been drugged and beaten and thrown in a river weighed down by chains. A hangover is a lighter one of the many pains I have to deal with for my job.”

“Used to deal with.” Charles corrected. “When were you thrown in a river?”

“Oh, this one time in Florida, I was trying to sneak onto a boat and the captain of the ship found me, suspected me of being a spy, and had me chained up and thrown in a river.” Erik shrugged. “It could have been worse, I could have been shot on site. Incidentally, I’ve dealt with that too.”

“What?” Charles asked confused. “If you’ve been shot, then why are you even still here?”

“I had a hell of a backup team.” Erik smirked. “I did get shot though, I have a few battle scars from my travels.”

“I feel like I should have noticed them.” Charles looked down.

“Well, anytime you’ve seen me shirtless, we both had other things on our minds.” Erik winked.

Charles laughed at that. “Yes, I suppose we did.”

~

“Erik, you don’t have to carry that in yourself. Don’t be stubborn.” Charles chided, rushing over to help Erik settle a couch into the apartment.

“You didn’t have to hire the movers, I could have carried these things in myself if you had rented a truck.” Erik grumbled.

“Well I was hoping that you wouldn’t get a hernia before we could get around to doing other, more athletic, things.” Charles answered suggestively.

“Oh no.” Erik let out a huff. “I’m not doing any of those kinds of strenuous activities until after we talk.”

“Are you honestly putting off sex for conversation?” Charles asked dubiously.

“The movers will hear you.” Erik teased, bending down a bit to give Charles a quick kiss on the lips and then rushing out the door.

“Why did I have to tell them to move it all in today?” Charles asked himself quietly, shaking his head.

Once all of the new furniture had been moved in and the workers had all left, Charles and Erik sat down on one of the new couches together, admiring the décor and drinking wine, whIle Max slept peacefully on oNE of Erik's clothing boxes.

Erik was thinking about the fur getting all over his black shirts when Charles spoke up.

“Want to have sex on the couch?” Charles asked idly, sipping at his drink.

“That’s pretty straight to the point.” Erik raised his eyebrows at him with a smirk. “I must look pretty good right now.”

“Actually you didn’t shower this morning and you’re all sweaty from moving furniture, I’m just feeling particularly horny.” Charles shrugged, playing coy but smiling back at him.

Erik smiled thoughtfully and looked down. “Charles…”

“I know what you’re going to ask and I was scared.” Charles cut in.

“You told me to leave.” Erik said, finally looking back up at him. “How am I supposed to know if you’ll still want me here tomorrow?”

“Well of course I’ll still want you tomorrow.” Charles sighed, placing his wine glass on their new coffee table.

“Do you just want me for sex?” Erik asked seriously. “If you do, then that’s fine. You wouldn’t be the first and I don’t mind being your boy-toy, but I’d like to be warned before I do anything even stupider like ask you to marry me or something equally foolish.”

“You want to marry me?” Charles lifted his eyebrows at that with a teasing smile, trying to lighten the mood.

“Don’t change the subject.” Erik said firmly. “I want an answer to my question first.”

Charles sighed. “No, Erik. I don’t just want you for sex.”

“Then what do you want me for?” Erik asked, sincere.

“I don’t know.” Charles looked away. “I just can’t actually let you go. I try and try but for some reason, when I see you again, I just can’t let you slip away.”

“I hope you realize that that sounds like complete bullshit to me after yesterday.” Erik frowned.

“Yes, I suppose it does.” Charles let out a groan. “Erik, I don’t know what to tell you.”

“How about the truth?” Erik muttered. “Why did you get so upset yesterday? What scared you?”

Charles hesitated. “You were- no. You love me. Above that, you trust me. I can hardly trust myself and somehow you managed to worm your way into my life again. Possibly even my heart. I let you into my house without a second thought. I brought you to England because I couldn’t stand the idea of having a whole ocean between us. I never even left bloody New York because you still lived there.”

“Is that why you never left?” Erik asked, a smile growing on his face.

“I kept telling myself that I had friends and a life there, but I know, as I always have, that the only reason I actually stayed was because I was hoping to see you again.” Charles answered, smiling with relief, like he was finally being honest with himself. “I went back to see Kurt, dreading that you might be there and see me so weak again. The same boy that couldn’t stick up for himself against what was really just a big bully.”

“Charles, you never seemed weak to me.” Erik told him, scooting closer to him on the couch and setting his own wine glass down on the coffee table. “I’ve been in love with you since I first saw you because you’ve always been so strong. You’re intelligent and humble and kind, but I’ve never seen you as weak. I’ve always seen you as the second strongest person I’ve ever met, second only to my mother.”

“But you hated me.” Charles said confused. “When you’d find me or your mother would to tend to my wounds, you hated me. You would ignore me and shut yourself away in your room. I was so sure that I was a nuisance, and that you didn’t want me intruding on your life.”

“Charles that’s ridiculous.” Erik scoffed. “I’ve been in love with you since before we met. The only reason that we did meet is because I had finally built up the courage to talk to you. I still remember that night: it was cold and about to rain. You were shivering because you were only in a thin shirt and pajama shorts but you weren’t crying, like you refused to. There were bruises on your face and Kurt had hurt your left arm but no matter how much it must have hurt, you didn’t even complain once.”

“You let me in the door that night.” Charles smiled fondly at the memory.

“I remember when you were following me up the stairs and you kept staring at me with those blue eyes of yours, introducing yourself in that stupidly posh accent and asking for my name.” Erik chuckled.

Charles chuckled with him. “I thought you were mentally ill, you didn’t know how to shake my hand.”

“Have you ever seen someone so beautiful that they left you speechless?” Erik asked with a smile. “I’d always known that you were attractive, but having the focus of your eyes on me is still one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

“Oh shut up.” Charles blushed. “I vaguely remember you letting it slip that you’d been stalking me for quite some time.”

“Well, I’m not the most sociable of people.” Erik shrugged.

“Why would you ignore me so much?” Charles asked, a hint of hurt seeping into his expression.

Erik made a pained face. “Ah. That. Erm, I saw you with Raven before I knew that she was your sister. I saw an attractive teenaged boy kiss an attractive teenaged girl and I jumped to conclusions. I suppose I was trying to push you away so that I wouldn’t get hurt.”

“Well then we’ve come full circle.” Charles laughed aloud. “We honestly have the worst communication and we are both very much at fault but neither more so than the other.”

“I haven’t been with anyone else.” Erik said, confused.

“No, but I was trying to push you away so that I wouldn’t get hurt.” Charles smiled. “I forced you to leave because I realized, in that terrifying moment, that I wanted to take what you were offering.”

Erik was still confused. “What?”

“I wanted to be selfish with you.” Charles explained. “I want to keep you to myself and never let anyone else touch you. I want to please you and make you happy. I want to be yours. I want to love you. I do love you.”

Erik gaped at Charles.

Did he just say what I think he said?

Not the time. Later. Tell him something, you ugly fish!

Erik closed his mouth. “You love me?”

“I love you.” Charles giggled.

“But I love you.” Erik said, like the two things couldn’t both be true.

“Yes, that’s why it works out quite perfectly, don’t you think?” Charles smiled, waiting for Erik to catch up.

“I love you.” Erik said again, for good measure.

“Erik,” Charles said, scooting to sit next to him and gently placing both hands on either side of his face. “I love you.”

Charles smoothed his thumbs over Erik’s cheeks just as Erik smashed his lips against Charles’. Charles moved his hands to play with Erik’s hair and Erik pulled Charles ever closer by the waist, towering over him as they laid down, their lips never separating. Erik squeezed Charles closer to him, willing to hold on to him forever.

“Erik.” Charles mumbled against Erik’s lips.

Erik didn’t let go.

“Erik, I can’t breathe.” Charles chuckled.

Erik pulled away. “You won’t change your mind tomorrow?”

“What? No, of course not.” Charles laughed at him as though he were ridiculous. “We have to buy paint tomorrow, and then we have to paint the walls and put all of my books away, and settle you in because there’s no way you’re leaving me alone in such a large apartment.”

“What if you kick me out again?” Erik teased.

“Listen to me very carefully, Erik.” Charles said, extremely serious. “I cannot promise that I won’t get angry, or that I won’t suddenly shut myself away or ignore you or say nasty things. I won’t be easy to live with. I could give you the excuse of everything that I’ve been through, but I won’t because it doesn’t matter. There is no good reason to treat another person the way that I have treated you.”

“Charles, I was joking.” Erik assured him.

“I know, but I should at least warn you.” Charles shrugged. “I can be moody. I lie about how I’m feeling, even to myself, and then I lash out. I’m trying to fix myself, and I’m confident that with enough effort I can change.”

“You don’t have to change.” Erik sighed.

“Yes I do.” Charles continued. “There will be times when I will be cruel and vicious and say things that I don’t mean. At times like that it will be up to you to decide whether you want to leave me to cool down, or if it’s the appropriate moment to calm me down and help me unwind. I can’t tell you when and I can’t tell you how, but I can try to warn you about my moods.”

Erik simply nodded.

“Your home is here with me.” Charles stated firmly. “You have your own bedroom and things, even that adorable ltitle kitten. Most importantly, you have me. You have my love and my loyalty. I’m yours as you are mine.”

“The upstairs is more yours than mine to be honest.” Erik winked.

“The upstairs is the study, and you chose some of the furniture up there too.” Charles replied mock-defensively. “You can choose what color we’re going to paint it.”

“I’ll choose something soothing.” Erik promised.

“That’s a rather good idea, but nothing too soothing, I don’t want to fall asleep too often.” Charles smiled.

“What about Raven?” Erik asked, there would be some trouble there.

“You’re not the first person to try and kill her.” Charles snickered. “She’ll get over it all when I explain what happened, and if that doesn’t work, then once she sees how the apartment looks, she’ll have to. Even if she doesn’t get over any of it and decides to hate you forever, then there’s still no way I’m letting you leave me ever again.”

Erik smiled at Charles again. “I love you.”

“I love you.” Charles smiled back.