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“You’ve been quiet all afternoon.”

Charles can’t even turn around to look at Erik. Of course Erik would come to his room, really their room, because by now Erik’s room at the mansion had become no more than the place where he kept his clothes. This bed, the one Charles is sitting on right now, is the one they share.

It’s not that Charles forgot. He can’t forget one second of his time with Erik, hard though he’s tried the past many years. It’s that he’s spent the entire afternoon overwhelmed by his return to 1962. To memory. To life. He went from the paroxysms of death to coming to in Raven’s arms – young, concerned, caring Raven, wearing the human face he now thinks of as a mask. Alex as a boy – Moira not yet a doctor – his own legs in functioning order – the Everly Brothers on the radio – every bit of it astonishes him with its familiarity and its alienness. There’s no keeping track of it all.

Erik steps inside and shuts the door behind them. Charles still doesn’t turn, though he is acutely aware that Erik is coming closer.

“You’re not angry with me.” Erik’s voice is softer than Charles has heard it in decades. “You always say so when you are. Something else is troubling you, then.”

Angry? What Charles feels toward Erik now goes beyond mere anger. Erik is the man who left him to die at Alkali Lake. The one who saw Charles enslaved by an anti-mutant terrorist and took advantage of that enslavement to try to use Charles to commit an act of genocide. The one …

… the one sitting beside him on the bed now.

Charles finally lifts his face, and the sight of Erik looking at him gently – with love – it nearly breaks him in two.

As tears well in Charles’ eyes, Erik’s expression shifts into alarm. His hands find Charles’ shoulders. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m afraid, my friend.” He speaks in a whisper; the sobs he’s holding back steal his voice. “I’m afraid of what’s to come.”

Erik’s eyes widen, and Charles knows what Erik thinks he must mean. Yes, he wants to say, the genocide lies ahead, but it’s in your heart – the enemy is in this room, right now, your enemy and mine both, this man you’ll become –

But Erik says, “You’ve taught me to believe that we can shape the future.” His hand curls around Charles’. “You and I, together.”

For the first time since his astonishing resurrection, it occurs to Charles that because he is really in his own past, he has a chance to change the future. Does he understand what went wrong for him, for Raven, and beyond anything else, for Erik? Can he really undo so much devastation?

He can try. He has to – for both of them, and for all the mutants and all the humans who otherwise will fall in the battles between them.

And still, even now, above all, for Erik. There is no one else he wants to save more. If he can save Erik, he will save the world entire.

Charles kisses Erik fiercely. The depthless anger is still there, simmering beneath the surface – but it’s anger about a crime that hasn’t happened yet, one that he intends to keep from ever happening. So he forces the emotion into the kiss, burning it off the only way he knows how. His tongue forces Erik’s mouth open; his hands grip the side of Erik’s face with such force that it must hurt, and yet Erik doesn’t pull away. Charles’ eyes are shut so tightly that the whole world seems to be red-behind-black.

Erik tries to respond in kind, pushing Charles back against the headboard, but Charles shoves him down on the bed, hard. As Erik stares up at him, startled, Charles says in a low voice, “I need you to give me this.”

Erik’s body relaxes beneath Charles’ grip – a kind of surrender, and trust, that Charles knows Erik would give to no one else. Dear God, he used to be so beautiful.

No. He is so beautiful. This is real. This is now.

Charles lets go of him to tear away his own clothes, as fast as he can. After only a moment’s hesitation, Erik follows suit. That’s fine. He can get himself naked. After that, Charles intends to take over.

And oh, God, Erik’s body – that tapered waist, the lines of muscle across his chest and abdomen and pelvis – just the sight of him has Charles hard in an instant. It’s been decades since Charles could feel this with his body, not just his mind. The pent-up wanting surges into the pent-up fury, blinding and brutal and undeniable.

“Come here.” Charles grasps Erik by the hair, pulling his face down roughly. Erik slides off the bed, onto his knees. Utterly submissive, he lets himself be guided to Charles’ cock, and instantly he opens his mouth, taking Charles in.

The tears threaten to well up again – Charles has missed this so fucking much. Not just Erik, anyone, any feeling like this before his injury muted it. He’s experienced stimulation and orgasm through others these many decades, and that has its own unique sweetness and fire. But nothing compares to his own nerves, his own blood, singing as they respond to the heat and wetness of a willing, eager mouth.

Anyone’s mouth. But this is Erik – that’s what makes this not merely exciting but exhilarating. Nobody has ever compared; nobody ever will.

That knowledge lights the flame of anger within Charles again, and he clutches at the hair right at the back of Erik’s head, holding him fast so that Charles can thrust into his mouth – he wants to get down Erik’s throat, choke him, gag him, make him take it all. And Erik takes it. He wants it. The sound he makes is close to a groan.

This is what we were. This is what we are.

Charles could come in his mouth right now, but that’s not enough. He pushes Erik back and shudders as he feels the cool air of the room against his cock, still hot and slick from Erik’s spit. His voice so rough even he hardly knows it, Charles says, “Hands and knees.”

Erik doesn’t even climb in the bed, like Charles was expecting; he braces himself right there on the floor at Charles’ feet. His scarred hands are pale against the deep red pattern of the Persian rug. His hard-won muscles outline the span of his shoulders and the tautness of his ass. Erik’s head lowers in total surrender. Anything Charles wants, he’s ready to give. Were they really like this?

Charles needs to prove that they were.

His hand goes to the bedside table and the Vaseline, his muscles remembering the movement before his brain does. Charles isn’t angry enough to do this to Erik without lube or preparation, but he imagines it anyway – the way Erik would tense around him, his hoarse cry of pain. The vision heats his thoughts as he slicks Erik inside, scissoring his fingers, taking care to make sure his fever dream doesn’t come to pass.

The first instant he dares, Charles grabs Erik so hard that his fingers dig into the flesh and the muscle, and he shoves in with one brutal thrust. Erik gasps, almost a shudder, but he doesn’t resist. The sensation makes Charles reel – he’d forgotten how tight this was, how crushing and blazing hot and wonderful. When Charles thrusts again, Erik rocks with it, allowing his whole body to move the way Charles wants.

Charles keeps going, speeds up, takes Erik harder. The slap of their bodies is the only sound in the room except their own ragged breathing, and Charles decides that’s not enough. “Beg me.”

Erik’s response is so low and rough it sends chills down Charles’ spine. “Harder.”

Charles gives him what he asks for. He’s hammering against Erik now, the motion almost too savage to be pleasurable – but the pleasure’s there anyway.

“Please,” Erik whispers. “Touch me.”

Through his lust-maddened haze, Charles can nonetheless sense how desperate Erik is to come – his cock is so hard it hurts. “No.”

“Charles – please – ”

“I said no.” Charles punctuates this with another brutal thrust, one that makes Erik’s knees rock against the carpet until they almost fall to the floor. “Because as soon as I’ve come, you’re going to fuck me, Erik. The second I pull out. You’re going to fuck me even harder than I’m fucking you now. Do you hear me?”


“I want you to hurt me. I want you to break me.”

“Charles – ”

“God damn you, do it.”

“Yes. I will. I will.”

Erik is his, absolutely his, and that knowledge crushes him in its fist. Charles can’t hold back any longer, and he pushes all the way to the hilt in Erik as he comes in a blinding rush. He doesn’t scream, doesn’t groan; it’s too much for him to make any sound, to do anything but let his head loll back as his eyes screw shut.

Just as his cock throbs its last, Erik pulls away from him – the slickness of Charles’ own come sliding down Erik’s ass, Charles’ thighs – and pushes Charles roughly down. Charles doesn’t even try to get to his knees. If Erik does what he needs to, Charles wouldn’t be able to stay up anyway.

Erik preps him, just as hurriedly but thoroughly as Charles did before. This is another experience Charles hasn’t fully known in decades. Every moment of it is oddly unfamiliar – the way his body resists, muscles clenching instead of relaxing, and yet the movement of Erik’s fingers coaxes him further and further open. The in-and-out slip of it reminds him of so much else he’s been missing. Just when Charles is on the verge of swearing at Erik, telling him enough is enough, Erik’s forearm comes down across his shoulder blades, forcing him hard against the floor.

Then Erik pushes one of his legs further out, opening him up, and shoves inside.

Charles cries out, and it’s pain and pleasure at once but mostly astonishment, because he’s felt this through others, even through Erik, but nothing compares to his own body. His flesh being parted. That hardness ramming up into him, striking him right where it makes him blind and crazed.

Erik knows just what to do. One of his hands fists in Charles’ hair – Christ, he even has hair again, hair for Erik to pull as he keeps Charles’ face against the rug. His body pounds into Charles, every stroke a burn that’s scorching Charles from the inside out. He’s so heavy Charles can hardly breathe, so rough Charles knows he’ll be feeling this for days, but he wants to feel it, it’s been too long since he had this – too long since he had Erik. Charles needs the burn. He wants the scars.

More than anything else, Charles needs to know he can still find it in him to trust Erik – this Erik that was – and he can, he can, because Erik’s taking everything from him and Charles doesn’t even want to fight.

He can’t hold back the tears any longer, and as the first sob racks his body, Erik hesitates – but only for an instant. Then he does just what Charles needs him to do; he thrusts even harder than before. There’s no mercy, no stopping, just Erik taking Charles as hard as he can stand, even harder, and Charles forcing himself to take it.

Finally Erik slams in and groans, a deep, shuddering sound. When he slumps to the ground beside Charles, they’re silent for a moment. Charles relishes every ache and sting of his body, every bruise he’ll have tomorrow.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow he will wake up in 1962. He’ll have to start making decisions about what parts of the future he should attempt to influence – very little, probably, because larger repercussions are harder to know. But Charles intends to fight for Erik with every bit of knowledge he possesses, with all his guile and all his strength. Erik deserves no less.

Erik’s dark eyes find his. Charles can feel the questions waiting there – Why like this, why today, what made you so angry, what made you so scared – but Erik is wise enough to say only, “Better now?”

Charles manages to say, “I hope it will be.”

“Come to bed,” Erik murmurs. “Rest.” He glances up at the unused bed only inches away. “Maybe we could try it there next time?”

Despite everything, Charles manages to smile. “We can do everything differently next time.”