They reach the hotel just as the first rain begins to fall, cold fat drops that burst with a great splash upon hitting the windshield, and then, as Erik and Charles exit the vehicle, upon their faces and bodies. The quantity and force increases rapidly, even as they walk into the front office; by the time they've finished checking in, it's coming down hard, beating against the windows in a relentless rhythm, and the car is barely visible through the rain.
It had been a warm day up until now, sunny and fine, and Charles had peeled off his cardigan and left it in the backseat as they drove over the endless miles of highway that Erik suspects will now always represent America to his mind. Charles's pale, freckled forearms had proved a distraction to Erik all day, wont as Charles was to gesture wildly when he had a point to make. In this case, their conversation (some might say argument) had concerned English literature; they had touched upon Austen, whom Charles was rather fond, as well as the Brontes, whom Erik much preferred - something which had caused Charles to laugh, though he wouldn't explain why, except to say he should have expected it.
At any rate, Erik still wears his turtleneck, and thus more protection from the downpour than Charles, and so he volunteers to gather their things from the car while Charles proceeds to their room.
(The first few days of the trip, they had taken separate rooms; but that seems like a silly artifice, now. No one seemed to question their sharing, anyhow.)
The brief sprint to the car and back is enough to soak through to Erik's skin. He makes his way through the identical corridors to their room, dripping onto the faded carpet, and resisting the urge to shiver. Charles has locked the door, but Erik lets himself in with a small gesture of his fingers, not bothering to knock.
Charles has undressed further, down to his undershirt and briefs. He is sitting upright on the bed, a pillow set between his back and the headboard, his hands folded in his lap. He smiles - beams, really - at Erik as he enters, though it fades almost immediately as he takes in Erik's state.
"You look terrible, love," Charles says frankly, and Erik lets out a dry laugh as he sets their suitcases upon the spare bed.
"Like a drowned rat," Erik says, "isn't that the expression?"
"Oh, never a rat, surely," Charles says. "Something fiercer and more lovable than that."
Erik has, for the most part, given up arguing with Charles's compliments or endearments. Instead, he tucks them away without acknowledgment. "I'm going to take a shower," he says.
"Mm-hmm," Charles says. His attention is already mostly elsewhere, on the phone set between the beds, planning and imagining his daily call back to Virginia. It's ostensibly a check-in with the CIA, keeping them up to date on the progress he and Erik are making with their recruitment, but in addition to that, it's a chance for Charles to talk to his sister. Raven had been intensely annoyed at not being included on their trip, Erik knows; even beyond that, Erik rather doubts the two of them have spent more than perhaps a few days out of each other's company in many years.
Despite his split attention, Charles does manage to add, "Do give a shout if you need someone to wash your back" as Erik makes his way into the washroom.
He flicks his fingers at the faucets, turning them to provide the hottest water, as he peels himself out of his clammy clothes.
Erik has worked hard, over the last several years, to accustom himself to luxuries and fine things, to move in those worlds unnoticed alongside those who've known them from the cradle. He does not want to take any of it for granted, either, though, and it is a fine line to walk.
A hot shower is still, he finds, a glorious thing. He allows himself to bask as long as he can before the knowledge that he's standing around doing nothing outweighs the pleasure of it. He's not certain, but he rather suspects it might still be shorter than Charles's average daily shower.
He hadn't bothered to bring in his bathrobe or a set of clothing or pajamas to change into, so once he is mostly dry he simply wraps the towel around him and exits the bathroom.
Charles is lying on the bed again, apparently already finished with his call, to Erik's surprise. He's reading a slim mystery novel, but he looks up as Erik enters, his eyes going bright and greedy and a smirk curling around the edges of his mouth as he looks Erik over. He might as well lick his chops, like a wolf in one of the cartoons they play before movies.
You are utterly ridiculous, Erik thinks, and he knows Charles hears him, and doesn't care.
"Come here," Charles says, after a minute, setting the book down on the nightstand beside him.
Erik can't deny the pull that tone, that register has on him; it sends a warm curl of anticipation throughout his body, prickles his skin with the desire for touch, all despite Erik's best efforts at control. It's maddening, like most things about Charles. It would be unbearable, if it wasn't also so good.
Still, he isn't a dog, to come at Charles's whistle. "Why don't you come here?" he counters, folding his arms across his naked chest.
Amusement flashes briefly across Charles's face. He swings his legs off of the mattress and onto the floor, practically bouncing on his heels as he stands and makes his way to cross the feet between them. Erik's eye is drawn irresistibly to the bulge of his cock, thick and filling, pushing against the fabric of his briefs. He can feel his own cock start to swell in response.
"How are your sister and your keepers?" Erik says, as Charles stops before him. The height difference between them is more evident when they are both barefoot, as Charles has a tendency to wear shoes with a distinctly thick sole. Pure coincidence, of course.
"Oh, shut up," Charles says, and then he wraps his arms around Erik's neck and pulls him in close for a kiss.
It's always a good sign when Charles is too worked up to be clever. Erik likes it more than almost anything. Charles is rarely at a loss for words, for opinions, his brilliant and arrogant mind working at a million miles a minute, in a million different directions. It's very satisfying to witness him too distracted for that; even more so to be the cause of it.
You're an ass, Charles says directly into his head, but as Charles is too involved in the kiss to bother pulling away long enough to say it aloud, Erik declines to take it seriously.
He runs his own hands down Charles back, appreciating the feel of soft cotton over solid muscle over strong bones. Everything about Charles cries out his lack of fragility, in both body and mind, and Erik finds it quietly reassuring.
Desire for Charles had come to him almost as soon as they had met; that, and curiosity. Later, Charles had persuaded him that they could be allies. Friendship, and something Erik thinks comes very close to trust, followed last of all. By now, the emotions seem to have fused, somehow, into an untidy snarl, one Erik has no hope of ever untangling.
It's a distraction, there is no doubt about it. And yet Erik's not sorry for it. And Charles has never asked him to lie about what he is doing here.
Charles breaks the kiss, his soft breath wafting over Erik's lips for a moment before he turns his head, nuzzling against the curve of Erik's neck.
"I believe," Charles says against his skin, "you could tempt a nun to sin."
Erik brings a hand up to lay against the curve of Charles's skull - not holding him there, but merely touching. "And you can resist everything but temptation, I suppose."
He can feel Charles's surprised pleasure. "You've read Wilde," Charles says, delighted, tilting his head back to look Erik in the eyes.
"Yes, I've read lots of things," Erik says impatiently.
He thinks he can almost see in Charles's eyes the number of very clever, very knowing quips that occur to him in response, but Charles doesn't say any of them out loud. Erik is glad of it; he likes Charles better when he's serious, when he's simply himself, the true meat of him, not the glittering wit or flirt he sometimes displays.
Charles's hands are on Erik's hips now, his grip firm and steady through the thin towel. He places a kiss on Erik's neck, and then the notch of his collarbone, and then a series of them all down Erik's chest, leaning over until it becomes ungainly, and then going down on his knees. He smiles up at Erik, wide and bright, but there is a heat in his eyes that sends a spark down Erik's spine. Erik rests his hands on Charles's shoulders as Charles tears his gaze away.
Erik's erection is obvious, of course, distending the lay of the towel obscenely as it does. Charles eyes it silently for a moment, before trailing his hand over to the simple knot at Erik's waist and tugging it free.
Charles grazes his fingertips along the length of Erik's cock, a tease of a touch against the sensitive skin, before removing his hand entirely.
"Sit on the edge of the bed, please," Charles says. His voice has deepened with his arousal, his accent more pronounced.
Erik walks backward the few feet until he hits the bed, and then he sits abruptly, with no elegance or grace about it, like a puppet with its strings cut. Charles follows him, still on his knees.
"Rug burn," Erik says, but Charles shakes his head as he tucks himself between Erik's open knees.
"I'll be glad of the reminder tomorrow."
Erik doesn't quite understand that, not with what he knows of Charles's perfect memory - what need does he have for a physical reminder, when he has that? But for all the great strength of his mental powers, Charles is still very much a creature of the physical world. An astonishing sensualist, in fact, as Erik has reason to know. Charles loves comfort, and pleasure; good food and good drink; and yes, sex, too.
Erik hadn't come a virgin to Charles's bed, but the handful of brief and unemotional trysts that made up his sexual experience hadn't prepared him for either the variety or the nuance of Charles's lovemaking. As for this act... Erik had rather thought it was something done only by prostitutes, a thought that had caused Charles to stop what he was doing that first time in order to sputter, caught between offense and laughter.
Neither of those is in any evidence now, of course. Charles looks nothing but serious. His hands are on Erik's thighs, spread out wide and rubbing absent circles. His gaze is fixed, hungry, on Erik's erection, and he's worrying his lower lip between his teeth.
Erik bites down painfully on his own lip. "Don't - don't tease, Charles."
Charles looks up; something seems to soften in his face, which Erik feels as though perhaps he should resent.
"No," Charles says quietly. "No, I wouldn't."
Erik closes his eyes as Charles's mouth begins to take him in.
There's a loud, jarring noise as the shutters bang against the windows, once and then again; the wind has picked up since Erik came inside. The rain is still pouring down, too, a steady and unrelenting rhythm on the roof. Not just early summer showers, then, but a true storm.
No, Charles's voice says sharply in his head, no, pay attention, Erik, look at me, that's the whole point...
"The whole point?" Erik manages, as he forces his eyes open.
Perhaps not the whole point, Charles allows.
He looks down at Charles's head, bobbing in his lap with concentration and enthusiasm that Charles doesn't hesitate to share. At Charles's wordless urge, Erik sinks his hands into Charles's thick, shaggy hair, not guiding his movements but holding on tightly. Charles lets out a low noise of approval, before bringing one hand up to cup and play with Erik's sac, another sensation, another element to add to the feelings Charles is building in him.
Erik keeps his eyes open as Charles pushes him further and further, until there's nowhere farther for him to push, and there's only the blinding force of his climax, spilling out into Charles's wide lovely mouth as Charles takes everything he has to give.
He does let his eyes shut, then, as Charles releases his cock with a last, fond lick. He lets himself fall back on the mattress, though his feet remain planted on the carpet. He throws his arm over his face and tries to catch his breath.
A shuffling noise, and something that might be a disapproving click, both barely audible over the patter of the still-pouring rain. After a moment the mattress dips with weight as Charles settles beside him.
"Don't you dare fall asleep now," Charles says. The roughness and hoarseness of his voice sends a jolt of possessive satisfaction through Erik, which is still disconcerting. "I should know better than to let you get yours first."
"I'm not asleep," Erik mumbles, not moving a bit. "Give me one moment."
Charles snorts. Rather than waiting, he takes hold of Erik's free arm, guiding it down to his own cock (uncovered, now, he must have undressed while Erik wasn't paying attention), letting out a hiss as Erik closes his fingers around. Charles's grip on Erik's wrist is tight, and he moves in quick, jerky movements as he masturbates himself with Erik's hand.
Erik is content to let him do so, for a while; it's a novel sensation, and he likes to listen to Charles's sounds, the way his breath escapes unwilling and tight from his clenched teeth. But then Charles lets out a small, choked moan, and suddenly it's not quite enough. When Charles pushes this time, Erik pulls, ignoring Charles's annoyed "Erik!" and rolling them both over across the mattress.
He stops when he's got Charles beneath him, his own weight pressing Charles down, his hands pinning Charles's wrists on either side. Charles arches up against him, straining against Erik's grip, but Erik's stronger than him - in a physical sense, at least, and Erik knows Charles isn't about to use his powers to get free.
Charles stops struggling all at once, relaxing into Erik's hold. A knowing smile curls around his mouth. "Well?" Charles says, his ruined voice warring with his haughtiest tones. "Make me come, Erik. I can tell you want to."
It's nothing but the truth, and both of them know it. Erik leans in to steal a kiss. His intention is nothing but a quick peck, but it ends up nothing of the kind, for which Erik blames Charles entirely.
He releases one of Charles's wrists, trusting him to keep it where Erik's put it, so that he can reach his hand between their bodies and grip Charles's cock once more. He tugs at him, fast and unrelenting, swallowing down every one of Charles's sweet sounds.
Erik's not sure when he let go of Charles's other hand, but he must have at some point, because when Charles comes, his cock jerking and spurting hot and thick through Erik's fingers, Erik can feel his nails digging deep into Erik's shoulders and upper back.
Erik wonders if that will make a mark, too. Perhaps he wouldn't mind if it did.
He's not entirely certain how long they kiss before Charles pulls away again. "My turn to shower, I suppose," he says, and Erik moves off to allow him to stand.
Erik watches Charles gather pajamas and a robe from his suitcase, and disappear into the bathroom. After a minute, Erik gets up as well, bending to pick up the towel that still lies on the floor, wiping his filthy hands. He takes a pair of clean underpants out of his own bag and slips them on, then climbs into the free bed.
He means to stay up, to discuss with Charles again their plans for the next day, but he surprises himself by falling asleep, the sound of the shower and the rain outside melding together into one vague but comforting noise.
If he dreams that night, it's not of the war, or of Shaw; when he wakes in the morning, sunlight is streaming in through the cracks in the shutters, and Charles still asleep beside him.