The first time Erik asks Charles to shoot him, Charles turns an utterly adorable shade of pink and stammers out, "I don't-- I mean, I never-- that is to say--"
Erik waits. Patiently. He's good at patience. And at arching an eyebrow at Charles as if to say, spit it out already.
And Charles looks down at his shoes and mutters, "I don't know how to use a gun."
"Well," Erik says, "We'll have to fix that, won't we?"
Charles lifts the gun like it's a rattlesnake, pinched between two fingers and held as far away from him as possible. Erik rolls his eyes. "That's not how you hold one," he says.
"I don't really believe in guns," Charles says.
"Ah, but they believe in you." Erik takes the gun from him, rests the side of the barrel against Charles's cheek so he can feel the cool metal against his flush. "It won't bite, I promise."
"I don't need to know how to use a gun!"
Erik smiles. "Yes," he says simply, "you do."
"This is how you do it: no, just watch," Erik says. "Eyes only, first time."
"Yes sir," Charles says with mock severity, and Erik looks at him for a long moment before he raises the gun and fires.
Charles flinches at the shot.
"Go on, then," Erik says, and Charles puts his hand to his temple and slides inside Erik's mind.
He tries to be very aware of what he's doing, each little thing, bits that are so ingrained in him at this point that he doesn't usually think. "Hold the gun like so," and he is meticulous about the positioning of his hands. letting Charles feel where they go, where they overlap, how they rest against the cool metal of the gun. "And like so," letting the tip of his index finger slip inside the trigger guard.
Erik knows it's not the case with others, but to him the gun feels like a living thing, every metal part sharp in his mind. The gun is less like a weapon, more like a lover: Erik holds it with care, finger caressing the trigger, and the squeeze is a kiss. The shot rings out, and Charles makes a soft noise of appreciation and slides back out of his mind.
"Do you see?" Erik asks him.
"Yes." Charles's tongue flickers nervously across his lips. "I just don't -- it won't be the same for me, and -- I don't know that I can."
"First," Erik says, "is stance."
"Yes, because if I have to fire a gun I'm sure whomever my target is will be happy to stand around waiting for me to get into position."
"Hush," Erik says. "Get into a comfortable position. Comfortable and stable," he adds.
Charles is standing in a rigid, awkward position that looks utterly ridiculous. Erik doesn't say anything, just plants his hand between Charles's shoulderblades and shoves hard. Charles stumbles, recovers, gives him a what-the-hell glare, and resets.
"Better," Erik murmurs. "Not perfect, but we'll get there." He steps up behind Charles, pressing close so that he can reach around to Charles's hands. "Second: grip." Erik positions the gun and then positions Charles's hands properly around it: his right hand just so, fingers and thumb and heel and knuckles, and his left hand just so, support and stability and a careful balance to the right hand. Erik's hands end up wrapped around Charles's, holding everything carefully in place.
"Don't touch the trigger," he says sharply, even though everything's under control -- whatever Charles does, the gun won't fire unless Erik lets it. "Just hold it. Get to know it. Say hello."
"This is ridiculous," Charles mutters.
"Third: aim. Focus on the front sight," he tells Charles, who gives him a baffled look at that. "This," he says, stroking the nub on the very tip of the gun. "Align the sights with your target, but focus on the front sight above all else.
"Fourth: trigger. Squeeze lightly, and don't--" Charles fires, bucking the gun up as he does, and Erik sighs. "--don't do that."
"Oh," Charles says, and swallows.
"It's important to follow through. To keep the gun steady as you fire, and after, long after you think you should."
"Even if someone shoots back at me?" Charles says smartly.
Erik kicks lightly at the heel of his foot.
They practice until Charles is exhausted, and a bit whiny: "I don't see why you're making me learn this," he complains. "It has nothing to do with my mutation, you know."
"It could save your life someday." Erik grins at him. "Plus, you with a gun is... really fucking sexy, actually."
"Ahuh," Charles says coherently, and Erik reaches out and kisses him hard.
"Shall we move this elsewhere?"
"God, no," Charles says, perking up immediately, and relinquishes the gun into Erik's hand. "There's no one anywhere about, why should--"
The rest of his sentence is garbled by another fierce kiss, because, God.
The phrases keeps running through Erik's head like a litany: stance, grip, aim, fire; front sight, trigger press, follow through.
He starts to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Charles, bracing himself against the stone wall, looks back over his shoulder. His trousers are pushed to mid-thigh only, and Erik has done barely more than unzip his own fly, and it should be wrong to be even partially naked and completely open like this, but Charles is confident of his ability to know if anyone comes anywhere within sight, and Erik just wants to take.
"You," Erik says. "Us. This."
Erik grins fiercely, and stands flush up behind Charles. "Stance," he murmurs, and runs one hand over the bare flesh in front of him. "Grip. Aim," and he lines his slicked-up cock, easing himself inside. "Fire." Long glide in, and Charles arches his back with a groan. "Do you remember the rest?"
"Front si- ungh," Charles drops his head. "Sight."
"Good," Erik murmurs, and traces spirals on Charles's bare ass with the front edge of the gun (empty of ammunition, and rendered completely and utterly safe by his own power). "And?
"Fuck me," Charles says.
Erik says, "I only reward my good students," but even his own body wants to move, to drive into Charles and claim him and make him Erik's. He gives into the urges, his and Charles's, and is rewarded by the deep throaty noises that it tugs out of Charles.
"Please," Charles says, desperate, clutching at the rim of the wall. "Ple-- Erik -- God--"
"Trigger," Erik prompts, as his free hand goes around to Charles's cock. It's a different grip than holding a firearm, but remarkably similar all the same.
"Tri-- squee-- squeeze the trigger, ah," Charles pants out. Erik tightens his grip, thumb brushing over the tip of Charles's cock, and Charles finishes, "gently," and then, "oh fuck harder please."
"And then?" Erik says, relentless, driving into Charles so hard that his hands skid on the wall.
"What's the last thing?"
"I'm waiting," Erik says, even though he isn't really.
"Er-- oh God oh yes fuck, there, right there," and each breath is practically a sob.
Erik leans close, wishing more of their flesh were touching. Not out here. "If you're very good," he whispers, "I want to see what you look like with this," bringing the gun into Charles's line of sight, "in your pretty little ass," and Charles moans helplessly and comes, his whole body jerking with the force of it.
"Well?" Erik says.
"We shouldn't," Charles says, but his gaze is fixed hungrily on the gun.
"You still haven't finished the list," Erik reminds him.
"Oh-- uh--" Charles shakes his head slightly, as if to clear it. "Follow through?"
"Perfect," Erik says.