When Erik had started his new job with the Mutant Division of MI6, he'd heard about the Professor. Much like any other agency he'd been in, MI6 had its fair share of stories too insane or incredible to be believed. The stories tended to be taller than the people they portrayed, if anyone asked Erik.
That was, of course, before he'd been introduced to the Professor. To tell the truth, Erik was fairly sure that the stories had nothing on the real thing.
For one, the Professor hadn't just trained the team that Erik was now working with, he'd been a father figure - or older brother at least - to them, since the start. And he'd been thought dead, killed in action.
Right until the time that Shaw had reared his ugly head and threatened the team. Knowing what he did now, he wasn't too sore about the fact that the Professor had taken Shaw down and not let Erik have a go at him. Considering what Shaw had done to the Professor, the team, and how many MI6 agents he'd had on his conscience, few had more dibs on doing the deed than the Professor.
It didn't mean Erik hadn't been annoyed back when the Professor had saved them and then proceeded to cheat Erik out of his revenge. It had simmered in Erik until about a month later and then exploded in the most magnificent way.
Erik wanted to say that he felt as much a part of the team now as he had before Charles had reappeared. That would, however, be utter bullshit. He still felt at ease with the team itself, but now that Charles had taken over as handler of the team again, Erik felt like he couldn't do anything right.
He knew perfectly well why. Two reasons. He still felt the anger he'd harbored for years against Shaw, unreleased, unappeased. And it was Charles who'd taken the opportunity from him by taking down Shaw himself.
And the second reason was Charles himself. Erik was constantly torn by the earth shattering want he felt for the man and the anger that was slowly growing out of control, only made stronger by his exasperation with himself.
Everyone had been busy since they'd come back. The team was over the top that their mentor had returned from the dead and that, for the first time in years, they no longer had to worry about Shaw.
Erik hadn't been sure what to do about his anger at first, but once he'd realized one outlet was constantly being an ass to Charles, he just couldn't help himself. It was a Pavlovian response.
It didn't' help that Charles seemed to know what he was doing, and was more or less just letting him. Or rather, that was what Erik had thought. And he was still thinking this would be how it would go in a circle of slowly simmering anger and annoyance until the MI6 kicked him off the team. He was just waiting for MacTaggert to make the call.
What did happen, was Erik working his anger out on the punching bag in the gym at 1 in the morning, sweat beading his forehead, trickling down his temples. He'd left Charles in the office about an hour earlier, after being an utter asshole to him, constantly being ornery and not knowing what the hell he was supposed to do about it. Which of course only made his anger worse.
He was so focused on beating the punching bag to a pulp that he didn't notice when he was no longer alone. Which he should have. He knew every little bit of metal on his team and most of all, he knew the metal that Charles carried on him. The necklace, the earring that Raven had handed him with a broad smile when Charles had returned with them.
The bits of metal moving didn't register with Erik until his fist was caught in an iron grip and he was spun sideways, his feet swept out from under him and he was face down on the floor.
Erik's instincts kicked in, but no matter how much he struggled, he couldn't get out from under his attacker. Reaching out for any metal was second nature to him, so he folded his gift around the chain of the punching bag, the metal of the gym machines.
"Don't." The voice was low in his ear and suddenly Erik couldn't hold onto the metal. It was as if everything was there but he couldn't grip it. "Just evening the playing field."
"Charles," Erik growled, trying to use any move that he'd learned to get the other man off him. His heart was beating double time. Evening the playing field? Charles had fucking blocked Erik's ability to use his gift against him.
"You have been nothing but a problem since we came back and I refuse to let you jeopardize the team."
Charles' words stopped Erik in his tracks. If he'd been clear headed he would have agreed. His attitude was nothing short of unprofessional and his team came first. The team always came first. All the logic, though, went out the window as his anger about being denied his revenge swamped his mind.
"Ah." Charles held on as Erik fought to get him off. Then all of the sudden, Charles wasn't holding him down anymore and Erik staggered to his feet, turning to his opponent.
"This problem is not going to go away on its own, is it?" Charles asked quietly, walking over to the mat on the floor used for sparring sessions. Turning at the far corner, he watched Erik, his head cocked to the side as if watching an interesting specimen.
Erik slowly moved towards the mat, watching the other man warily.
"Well, come on," Charles said, a small, mirthless smile on his face. "Let's get this over once and for all. Get all that anger out."
Erik didn't think, just moved at his opponent. The man who'd taken his revenge, who'd left Erik with so much anger and nowhere to point it.
The punch landed squarely in Erik's face, snapping his head back. Staggering to stay on his feet, he let himself fall into a crouch, letting his body do what came naturally. The metallic taste of blood told him that Charles' hit had done some damage. As did the throbbing in his face.
Lunging forward, Erik went for Charles' legs, only to find himself flat on the back of the mat a split second later.
Charles almost danced away from him, scoring another hit that made Erik's ribs ache.
Erik rolled up into a crouch, anger flooding his mind and making him stupid. Each and every hit he tried to get in was rewarded with a slap, a punch or a kick.
Each and every one of them landing perfectly and causing Erik pain.
The pain as Erik slammed into the mat, face first with Charles' knee in his back and iron grip on his wrists finally broke the red hot anger and he found himself gasping for air, trying to find enough energy to ask Charles to stop.
Apparently Charles could tell - or was in his head - one way or the other, he slid his legs on either side of Erik's lower back, straddling him. He leaned down over Erik, his breath short and hot against the shell of Erik's ear.
"Are we done?"
Erik managed to nod. "Yes," he rasped, feeling incredibly stupid. So much anger had built up and with the majority of it gone, he felt as if he'd lost the will to lift his head. His limbs felt like they were filled with lead, holding him down just as much as Charles' weight was. He only barely managed to push himself up until his elbows to be able to breathe more freely.
"Why, when you were such a promising agent when you started here, did you go so fucking overboard?" Charles asked quietly, holding himself still, though still not getting off Erik's back.
The heat from Charles was hard for Erik to ignore and if he hadn't felt so drained, he'd probably have had a rather embarrassing reaction. "I don't know," he admitted. He hadn't the words to explain why anyway.
Charles leaned a little heavier on him, and Erik felt his pulse speed up.
"Oh," Charles said quietly. "Erik…"
Erik swallowed hard. "It's not just that," he said quickly. "I was after Shaw for so many years. He killed my parents - logically, I can appreciate that he's locked up and won't hurt anyone else anymore, but in my heart…"
Charles hummed quietly, then shifted and put one arm around Erik's chest, his hand flat against Erik's damp t-shirt, right over his heart. "Revenge won't bring you peace, my friend, but I think you already know that."
"I do," Erik found himself admitting. A little surprised at himself, he realized he meant it. "I never meant to unbalance the team."
"I know," Charles said, resting his sweaty forehead against Erik's neck.
"It didn't help that you're' so infuriating either," Erik said with a soft laugh. "I may have wanted you since you straddled me on that damned chair and shot the floor out from under us."
This startled a laugh out of Charles as well. "So you're saying I neglected my duty as team handler by not getting hot and heavy with you from the beginning?"
This time Erik couldn't' help the surge of want and he was pretty sure that Charles was getting the feedback as well.
"I'm not sure it would solve the problems," Charles hedged.
"It probably won't," Erik admitted, his heart still beating hard in his chest. Was there a chance that Charles might be considering it?
"It would be so unprofessional," Charles continued. "It's not how teams are run."
"Like this team is run in the normal MI6 way," Erik scoffed, not missing that Charles was slowly moving his hand down Erik's chest, fingertips brushing against the waistband of his trousers. He put his hand on top of Charles' and held it there, feeling the heat from his skin.
"Erik," Charles' voice was low and warm in his ear.
"Come home with me - we're not doing this here." Erik felt vulnerable, but he had to be the one to initiate this. Not just because Charles had a higher rank, but because he'd been the one to fuck it all up with misplaced anger and constantly goading Charles.
"This?" Charles sounded almost amused.
"If we're getting hot and heavy, we're doing it in a bed."
"So vanilla," Charles mock-complained.
"You won't think that when I'm done with you," Erik threatened.
"Who says you get to be the one to do," Charles mumbled into his ear, his lips brushing the shell of Erik's ear and making him shiver.
"I don't care who does who," Erik growled. "But we're not doing it here."
Charles slid his hand out from under Erik's and patted the sensitive bulge of Erik's erection, causing him to draw in his breath. Hard.
"If you say so, Darling," Charles replied and Erik didn't have to look at him to see the smirk.
"Be ready to go home in five minutes," Erik said in a low voice, "we're leaving."
Charles just laughed and squeezed Erik's crotch before agilely getting to his feet and dancing out of Erik's reach.
That man would be the death of Erik, he just knew that.