A slight AU, in which they meet for the first time in Oxford.
May 1st, 1961
For a town that seemed to be entirely made up of alleyways, Erik thinks, dragging Xavier after him more by his cufflinks than his wrist, Oxford is strangely devoid of private corners.
I'd never truly appreciated that, Xavier babbles into his mind, bringing with him a slurry of warmth and the smell of old libraries and the sweet sting of too much champagne. But you're quite right. Beauty follows function. Is that right?
“Form,” Erik snarled at him, and suddenly he can feel Xavier rifling through his mind for the correct quotation, a loose mental rustling that makes the hairs stand up on the back of his neck and his toes curl. He would demand that the man get out if it wasn't for the sheer delight he was taking in Erik's mind.
Because you are quite delightful, Xavier informs him, swaying closer. His cheeks are flushed and his mouth slack; his eyes lazy and his bowtie hanging loose around his neck. He is ridiculous and temptation made flesh, and Erik needs to get him out of the sight of the crowd. He needs answers.
They're not the only ones staggering along these cobbled lanes – giggling debs in ballgowns, boys in tailcoats drinking champagne from the bottle, long-haired girls with guitars and too much make-up around their eyes. They weren't important, but he wanted them gone, wanted to have the town, and Xavier, to himself.
A stone archway, below gargoyles with time-softened scowls, and he shoves Xavier out of the flow of the crowd, pushes him against the faded stones. The sun is not quite up, and the light is ghostly, caught out of time. “You,” Erik demands, as Xavier allows himself to be pressed between Erik and the wall, his wine-slick mouth laughing. “Who are you?”
I'm like you, Xavier tells him, putting his hand over Erik's heart. My friend, I'm just like you.
Erik isn't sure if he's about to kiss the drunken fool or throttle him, but he's stopped by a sudden jingle from behind. There are morris dancers passing them, and a man dressed as a tree behind them, and he wants to hurt this town.
Technically, and there are fingers creeping inside Erik's shirt, reaching out to brush his nipple, it is a city. The chapel of-
“Do you have any boundaries?” Erik demands.
Xavier grins at him, sloppy and good-humoured. Well, of course. I'm a telepath, did I tell you?
Very important to have a code of ethics. For a telepath, that is. One must have rules to live by.
“And do you ever keep to those rules?”
Xavier chuckles into his throat and reaches for his belt. “When I'm sober.”
Erik has been looking for an expert in human mutations for months, seeking out venerable and learned men in the great cities of the world. More than one had told him that Oxford was the place, a young chap there doing amazing things. So to Oxford he had come, on a slow and wheezing train, only to find Xavier absent from his lodgings. He had been greeted by a somewhat improbable blonde, who had rolled her eyes and reeled off a list of balls and parties where he might, if he was lucky, find her brother.
“A popular man,” Erik had drawled at her, “to be invited to so many places.”
She had laughed at that, although it hadn't been a joke, and said, wearily, “Charles tends not to need invitations.”
“Nor to offer them, I see. I don't suppose I could persuade you to join me in the search for your brother?”
She hadn't blushed, but her smile had become softer, as if suddenly she wore a kinder woman's mouth. “I have to work.” Then, after a moment's hesitation, she had added, “But – you should know – if he happens to tell you that you have a very groovy mutation and then makes a pass at you, it's not personal. He's just drunk and I'd appreciate it if you didn't hit him too hard.”
And with that, she had closed the door in his face, and he had wandered out into the Oxford twilight, a little more intrigued than he had been.
And it is the grooviest mutation I've ever seen, Xavier tells him now, and Erik uses the man's watch to gently lift his hands away. Even a few of the drunken revellers are starting to notice them now, and he's already got plans for Xavier which don't involve being arrested on the street.
Somewhere private, then, Xavier decides, nodding a little too gravely. An image drifts into Erik's mind: a library filled with light, lined with bookshelves, and himself spread across a desk, clothes scattered around him as Xavier dreamily nuzzles down his chest.
No, you're right, Xavier muses as Erik grabs at his shoulder for balance. People will be wanting to study soon. So, not college – perhaps-
“You live in this town,” Erik reminds him, and his fingers are tight around Xavier's shoulders and he can feel how Xavier likes that, little thrills shivering through his own mind in response. He's not as drunk as Xavier is, but he's not sober either, not after a night prowling through medieval courtyards where the drinks pressed into his hands were the perfect cover. He's losing focus, losing sight of what he wanted to learn from this man; is starting to just want him.
City, Xavier says, and suddenly it's too much. He has to step back. He'd always thought that if there would be others, they would be more like him. The slow pull of Xavier's thoughts twining through his is wonderful, miraculous, but terrifying, and he needs to breathe.
“I can talk out loud,” Xavier says and he sounds a little uncertain of it, a little sadder and lonelier than the multi-layered voice that had touched Erik's mind.
Erik closes his eyes and breathes in, smells cologne and the faint mothball staleness of a rarely worn suit.
When he opens his eyes, Xavier has stepped away, back into the street. His smile cheerful, he says lightly, “We'll miss the singing if we don't hurry.”
It makes him angry. This man should never have needed to learn how to smile at rejection. “I didn't come here for the damn singing.”
“Oh, but you should see it now,” Xavier says. “It's a tradition, and quite charming.”
Erik reaches out for him, but Xavier is just out of reach now, turning down the lane. Erik grabs his shoulder and pulls him back round. “What makes you think I care for charming?”
Xavier doesn't call him a liar, but there's a flash of humour behind his easy smile. “Come and listen to the children sing, Erik.” He walks away, and Erik follows him, with an uneasy sense that this is who Charles Xavier really is: affable, amenable, inexorable.
He'd searched all night, and then Xavier had found him. It had been as the crowds began to leave the colleges and spill down towards the river. Erik had stopped to lean on a railing and watch them go, wondering if he should just admit defeat and go back to the man's lodgings to wait for him. Then, on the other side of the square, one of the pretty, privileged boys had stopped dead, the suddenness of it catching Erik's eye. He had watched with idle curiosity as the boy turned, ignoring the surprised and affronted girl he had been talking to, and looked across the crowd to Erik.
Oh, a voice not his own had sighed inside his mind, and he had tensed as the boy came across the square to him, the crowd parting around him until he was standing right there, his fingers against his forehead, blue eyes wide and a voice in Erik's mind singing, oh, you're marvellous, another one of us, so lovely, metal and magnets and just lovely, as the railings hummed with shock below Erik's hands.
Now they're in the middle of a crowd, students and townsfolk and baffled tourists and two more men covered in leafy boughs and more morris dancers and folk singers than Erik thought still existed in the world, and mounted policemen following the crowd, so he can feel the tang of horseshoes on cobbles underlying everything.
Then the crowd goes quiet, and the light changes as the sun touches the tower with gold, and very faintly, he can hear snatches of song, high and lonely and strange. Everyone is still, faces raised to peer at the distant bright specks of the choir's red cassocks. Erik, though, looks at Xavier and wonders if a telepath can ever truly experience silence.
When the bells strike and the crowd hums back into life, Xavier is looking back at him.
“I can feel how those around me enjoy it,” he says, and then looks sheepish. “Even if I'm sober, I can't help overhearing, I'm afraid.”
This man has been stumbling drunkenly through Erik's brain for an hour, yet is more downcast by the idea of staying out than being trapped in there. His fascination is, by itself, fascinating, and Erik can't afford to stop moving, not yet, not before his job is done, but he can take a night or two, to learn what this man knows, among other things.
“Listen all you like,” he says, and lets that earlier image move back to the front of his mind: the library table and the morning light but this time it's Xavier with his neck arched back and his hands thrown out as Erik fucks into him, hard and fast and relentless.
He goes pink, and Erik grins at him. His turn now, he thinks, at least until Xavier seizes his wrist and babbles, home, please, my rooms aren't far.
They cross Oxford at a run, dodging around dancers and bands, past restaurants with their doors flung open to the morning, and the beat and clatter of countless bells and guitar strings thrumming. Xavier lives in a ridiculous little side-street, half medieval cottages, half milk bars and frumpy boutiques, and he presses Erik against his door for a blazing moment before he starts to mutter about his key and delve into his pockets.
Erik unlocks the door with a thought and drags them in. As soon as it shuts behind them, he is on Xavier, kissing the eagerness from his mouth as his mind swells and flushes with delight. They crash up the narrow stairs, brushing peeling paint from the walls with every turn: Xavier's dinner jacket lost on the third step, Erik's shirt on the fifth, shoes kicking and thudding down the steps behind them as Xavier's hands slide down Erik's back, hot and clutching.
At the top of the stairs, Xavier curls his hands into the top of Erik's trousers and drags him through a doorway. There are words in Erik's head, words which aren't his own, but they're broken into pieces that don't make sense, and, as they circle towards the messy bed, he tears the buttons from Xavier's shirt with his hand and rips every metal clasp from his trousers so hard that they spear into the plaster above the desk with a quick thrum.
Oh, yes, Xavier manages, eyes bright and amused and wild, and Erik is flooded with images of all the things Xavier wants him to do with metal, of bedposts curling around slim wrists, coins vibrating in the depths of pockets, cufflinks clamped to nipples.
“Later,” Erik promises and pushes him down onto the bed, stripping away the remains of Xavier's clothes. He goes easily, the laughter on his lips breaking into groans as Erik slides his tongue up his pink cock and closes his mouth over the head.
Oh, so – so, yes, and Erik would laugh himself if he wasn't caught up in Xavier's delight in this, joy singing through him as it never has, not in all the years he can remember. He swirls his tongue around the head, slides his mouth down and then tightens his lips on the way back up, just to hear Xavier whimper and feel the incoherent rush of it through his thoughts.
Four more times, and Xavier's throwing out his arm, knocking everything off the bedside table in a wild clatter as he grabs wildly. Erik knows what he wants, summons enough focus to pull the metal tin to his own hand, which makes Xavier moan again, and the lid flies off and he's slicking up his fingers and reaching round.
It's easy to let Xavier guide him to the perfect spots, to stretch and tease inside that soft heat. He knows when he finds Xavier's prostate when both their minds go blank for a long teetering moment, and then Xavier's begging him wordlessly. Erik pulls off his cock with a last slow stroke of his tongue and pushes Xavier's legs apart with clumsy hands (hot, large, powerful hands, another voice corrects in a new flush of desire).
He fucks into Xavier hard, because he knows he can take it, and Xavier shoves up against him in return, moans and writhes. For Erik, desire has always been gathering and searing heat beneath his skin, but this time his mind is full of flashes of light as well, and he's grunting in time with Xavier's moans, the headboard rapping against the wall in perfect synchrony.
And Xavier's thinking Erik! Erik! as he comes and he doesn't know which of them was lost and which was found, but they're here, here right now, and he lets go.
He's woken by a shrill scream, and is sitting up before he's fully aware, reaching out for all the scattered metal in the room.
“Bloody hell,” the blonde in the doorway wails before he can strike, his hands clamped over her eyes. “Charles, how many times do I have to tell you to close the damn door when you bring someone home?”
Beside him, Xavier – no, Charles, now, he really has to be – stirs in his tangle of sheets and mumbles, smug and sleepy, “Good morning, Raven.”
“I hate you,” she says. “And it's afternoon.”
“Huh,” Charles says and pulls himself up to loll against Erik's shoulder. “Erik, my sister. Raven, this is Erik. He's one of us.”
She drops her hands to shoot Erik a look of sympathy, even as he tenses in dismay. “I'm sorry. He's always this stupid. Has he starting lying to you about his code of ethics yet?”
“One of us?” Erik asks slowly, raising an eyebrow at her.
She tenses, but then shakes her hair back, and suddenly he's looking at a second version of himself.
He returns the courtesy by making the change in her pockets float in slow loops around her head, and then, as she smiles, the expression out of place on his face, asks, “So, is the blonde real?”
Her smile fades a little, and suddenly she's blue.
“Beautiful,” he tells her, and knows it won't take a telepath to hear the sincerity in his voice.
She slips back into the blonde, to his disappointment, and smirks at her brother. “If you're finished with him, can I-”
“No,” Charles says fiercely, more than a little sulkily.
Erik grins at her, and says, “I'm not done with him yet.” Then he reaches for the hinges and slams the door in her face.
“Erik!” Charles protests but he can hear the peals of her laughter on the other side of the door. Still grinning, he turns to press Charles back down against the pillows and kiss the pout from that pretty mouth. He's very far from done, far, far indeed.