It is a pleasant surprise when Erik's children show up during a weekend brunch at the mansion, particularly when both appear to be in high spirits. "Pietro, Wanda," Charles says, greeting them warmly. Beside him, Erik nods. "To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?"
Wanda speaks first. "We've been thinking," she begins, and suddenly Charles realizes that several of the institute's students are now paying attention. He looks at Erik, who shrugs. "We just wanted to know when the two of you were ever going to tie the knot."
Somebody lets out a strangled sort of wheeze; Charles is pretty sure that it's him. "I beg your pardon?" he asks, goggling a little at Wanda, but the girl holds her ground rather impressively, crossing her arms over her chest.
"You heard what I said." Wanda's painted lips quirk into a smile. "It's legal now in a few states. You could go there, get all the paperwork filled out, and then come back here to do the ceremony. It'd be super-easy. So again, why haven't you done it yet? I mean, unless you guys really do spend every night locked away in the professor's office, 'playing chess.'" To Charles' horror, she accompanies the last bit with air quotes. More than one person titters.
"I ... you ... this is, I believe, a very private, personal matter between myself and Erik," Charles finally manages. Next to him, Erik nods. Feeling emboldened, he picks up his fork from where it clattered onto his plate, and spears at a bite of egg. "So we would both appreciate it if you would leave such topics of conversation to be discussed between myself and Erik."
Wanda shrugs. "Suit yourselves. I just figured, you know, maybe you two just needed a little nudge in the right direction. We'll leave you to your love nest. C'mon, Pietro," she finishes, and both her and her brother saunter away, Wanda snatching up some fresh fruit before she goes.
Gradually, the other students resume their own affairs, though Charles can still feel errant glances in their direction, and knows that that's why Erik is sitting ram-rod straight in his chair, being extra cautious not to lean in too intimately or touch Charles' hand in passing. "Well, that was sufficiently awkward," he comments under his breath, and Erik snorts.
They fuck later that night - as Wanda seems to know all too well, the chess games tend to be merely foreplay for their sometimes lengthy love-making sessions - after which Erik rolls off of Charles and graciously offers to let him shower first.
In the bathroom, Charles regards the small touches of both himself and Erik that have worked their way into the very essence of the room throughout the years. There's the shower seat (his, of course, a necessity for a man without the use of his legs); the metal fixtures and soap dispenser and such (Erik's); the handsome, dark green rug beneath the sink (something they chose together, scant weeks after Erik had officially moved into the mansion, officially his lover; boyfriend; 'husband?' he wonders). Charles is ruminating over the way Erik's toothbrush handle (red, of course, and Charles' is blue) crosses in front of his, protective and bold, and that's when he decides that he has officially become a sentimental old sod, and makes his way back out into his and Erik's shared master suite.
"Your children made an impressive spectacle at breakfast today," Charles comments idly. He wheels himself towards where Erik is sitting, a leather tome balanced in one hand.
Looking up, Erik sets down the book and strides behind the other man. When Charles feels the Master of Magnetism's long fingers begin to rub at his neck, and then move slowly, kneading across his shoulders and the planes of his back, he lets out an appreciative groan. "Were you offended by it?" Erik asks calmly, and Charles lets his head loll forward as Erik works out a particularly kinked up area in his neck. 'God, so good,' he thinks, but considers the question seriously.
"I wasn't offended," he says lightly. "Just ... well. It wasn't something I was prepared for." When Erik's hands still, he tugs one over his shoulder and lightly caresses the other man's fingers. "Were you?" he asks, and Erik shrugs.
"I've read the news reports about legalizing it, of course." Erik cards his free hand through his hair. "I can't say the thought didn't initially cross my mind." He smiles down at the other man fondly. "You always have cut a rather dashing figure in a tux."
Charles laughs, threading his fingers through Erik's. "I must say, you scrub up rather nicely yourself." He sobers again. "I've been married before," he continues, and raises an eyebrow ruefully. "I'm sure I've told you before how that went."
"I'm drawing a blank," Erik deadpans. "Is this the relationship that ended on such a sour note that you didn't even realize she'd borne you a son until fifteen years later when she needed you to help her get his telepathy under control?"
"The very same," Charles laughs. He'd loved Gabrielle, of course, and he hoped one day to figure out how to bring back David permanently from where he still resided in the mind of his smarmy alter-ego, but all the same, their marriage had been over before it had really begun. They'd fought all the time, Gaby seeming to expect different things from him than she ever had before he'd put a ring on her finger; in the end, they had gone their separate ways with relative peace, though Charles sensed by the chilly silence that had followed that he had screwed up quite a lot more soundly than he'd wanted to believe. "I don't think I'm cut out for matrimony," he says honestly, and Erik's face remains smoothly impassive.
"Hmmm," is all the other man says, and then he leaves the room to take his own respective shower. A short time later, he reappears, hair damp and body nude and tan, and they settle into bed together to watch the news.
Another week passes before it happens. The majority of the institute filters gradually down to breakfast anew, including the twins, both of whom have become an increasingly familiar presence at the mansion, if nothing else, because Wanda appears to have bonded with Rogue over their shared adventure with Apocalypse, and Pietro just seems to genuinely enjoy being around his father.
Wanda is passing Scott the orange juice when she addresses Charles with suspicious casualness. "Oh, hey, did you hear?" she queries. "Vermont just legalized gay marriage. Did you two think about getting hitched at all?"
Charles rolls his eyes good-naturedly. "We might have bandied the topic back and forth during one of our chess games," he insinuates blandly, and Wanda smirks.
"So what," Pietro cuts in impatiently. "Did you come to a decision yet?"
Charles opens his mouth to speak, but Erik beats him to the punch. "As a matter of fact," he says carefully. "We have." Blinking, Charles watches Erik gesture to Pietro, who tugs a small box from his pocket, ... and suddenly, he knows that he's been rather grandly set up.
Erik moves gracefully onto one knee, his eyes alight with mischief. "Charles Xavier, will you marry me?" he says in a sweeping baritone, and opens the box. Of course, the ring inside is metal; it's both brilliant and understated, and it surprises no one that it fits perfectly on Charles' left ring finger. 'I haven't even said 'yes' yet,' Charles hisses at the other man mentally, but Erik shoots back with well-practiced calm.
'So say it, then.'
'I think you just did this in front of the children so I couldn't say 'no,'' Charles accuses him, and Erik rubs his knee affectionately. 'Because it would break your heart.'
'It's true. I would be unable to live without your love,' Erik smirks.
Their mental conversation seems to be trying everyone's patience. "So come on, is it 'yes' or 'no'?" one of the younger students demands, and once again, all eyes in the vicinity are on them. Charles sighs.
"It's a 'yes,'" he says at last, and the room erupts into cheers. "Yes," he murmurs softly to Erik, who squeezes his hand. Then he kisses Charles full on the mouth, bawdily, in front of all of the children, and Charles is pretty sure he's never going to live this day down.
Two weeks later, Charles is lured into a conversation with Pietro about hor d'oeurves for the wedding, and wonders again if this isn't the worst idea ever. "Maybe we could just elope," he murmurs. "It'd save everybody an awful lot of hassle."
Pietro looks appalled. "Don't you dare," he shrieks, and waves his hands over the expansive book with "WEDDING PLANNER" written across the front in flowing letters. "I have been planning this since I was five."
"How is that possible?" Charles asks, bewildered.
Pietro just glares at him. "It's possible," he insists, and Charles sighs and tries to get excited about color swatches.
The night before their laboriously planned wedding ceremony, Charles ducks out onto a balcony that somehow manages not to be occupied by teenagers using it to make out, and inhales the warm summer air deeply into his lungs. Scant days ago, he and Erik had gone on a short road trip to Vermont, in order to retrieve an official marriage license. They'd left Storm and Wolverine in charge, because neither could be bribed into letting their guards down enough for the students to have a party in their absence. Fortunately, that had been the case in this instance, as well. Unfortunately, it meant that the entire institute was itching for some sort of all-out bash. Since Charles had flat-out refused to even entertain the thought of a bachelor party, that left a semi-structured, alcohol-free event in which Charles is still certain that dubious things are taking place under his roof. Still, as he sits outside clearing his head, he admits to himself begrudgingly that he's enjoying the attention and fawning. A bit.
Naturally, he enjoys it even more when Erik locates him, shutting the glass doors behind himself, keeping the raucous music from inside from swirling around them. "Nice night," he comments, and Charles smiles when he sees that Erik is carrying two glasses of wine. "Wherever did you get those?" he teases, and Erik waggles his eyebrows.
"I have my ways."
They sit in companionable silence together for several minutes, until Erik reaches out to take Charles' hand. He glances down at the ring around Charles' finger and smiles. "Ready for this?" Charles asks, grinning a bit, too. "For tomorrow, I mean. Everything's going to change, you know?" He doesn't voice his worry that the change might not be a good one. He doesn't have to.
Erik just squeezes his fingers. "We'll find out tomorrow, I suppose." He leans over and kisses Charles on the forehead. "We've overcome more terrible things than a bunch of teenagers waiting for us to say 'I do,'" he offers.
Charles hears the sound of something breaking in the distance and winces, because it sounded expensive. "I don't know about that," he sighs, and Erik chuckles.
Of course, it shouldn't surprise him that Jean did some Internet correspondence course and is now officially an ordained minister. As the young woman helps Charles with his cummerbund and bowtie, she seems to be unable to stop smiling. "I always thought that you'd be the one to give me away at my wedding," she confesses. "But I think this is just as good."
Charles smiles and takes her hand in his. "That can still happen, you know." The unmentioned image of Scott nonetheless crosses both of their minds. Impulsively, Jean leans over and hugs the professor tightly. "Thank you, Jean," Charles says sincerely when she breaks away again. "For doing this today."
"Thank you for being you," Jean responds swiftly, and then gives Charles a once-over. "Now, let's go get you married," she says.
Overall, the ceremony goes off without too many hitches. Boom Boom's unique contribution, her own version of fireworks, goes off a bit early - twice - and then Kurt appears to be allergic to the flower arrangements that Pietro painstakingly picked out, causing him to go into a sneezing fit as Charles and Erik are reciting their vows, which then causes him to teleport in and out for several minutes. Then, though Charles insists that there's no reason for them to have a bouquet because neither of them are women, the students collectively throw such a fit over the prospect of not getting to catch one that he eventually sighs and lobs a random clump of flora into a crowd. Rogue catches it, but she has to touch and effectively stun three different people to do it, so it probably doesn't count. Still, the weather is surprisingly nice - Charles suspects that Storm had a hand in making sure it was so - and when the hubbub dies down, there is only him and Erik, who looks absolutely dashing in a full, black suit.
"So, Mr. Xavier," Erik says, grasping his hand and kissing it, his thumb rubbing over Charles' skin. "It seems we're bound to each other for life, now." He looks around and smirks. "It's a good thing I didn't mind that you already had children."
Charles hears Pietro loudly chewing Kurt out and rubs his head, bemused. "Yes," he replies after a moment. "It is that."