"Did you hear that?"
He thinks about taking him, hard, against the wall that separates their bedrooms; they may be together, but Erik has insisted they have separate rooms. (Not that it stops him from sneaking in Charles' room on a nightly basis. If the students have noticed, they certainly haven't said anything.) He thinks about how the man would try not to scream, how he'd shove his knuckles into the telepath's mouth until he himself was bleeding, until Charles was choking around his blood. He thinks about it as hard as he possibly can, as loudly as he can, echoing his muffled choking screaming sobs as loud as possible, just to catch the man's attention.
It almost always works.
"I- I dunno. For a moment, it almost..."
He watches Charles' head turn, and can tell from his voice that he's frowning, straining to listen, but he's replaced the helmet on his head, despite the sweltering heat.
"It almost sounded like a scream."
Like my scream, he just knows he's thinking. He just knows it.
Every few days, he'll leave something new in Charles' bedroom.
It's exhilarating, being in the school when he knows the students are just upstairs, diligently listening to whatever lesson is being taught, or trying out ridiculous contraptions, or simply relaxing and enjoying each other's company. His plans in Russia have all but fallen through at this point, and he knows he needs to go and give the good officer a visit, but he can't seem to tear himself away. Sometimes, he doesn't use Azazel, preferring to sneak in the good-old-fashioned way, and that's the way that excites him the most.
Once, Erik almost caught him. He stood in the darkened doorway, his head tilting like he could smell something familiar, staring into the room. That would be fear, son. His face was entirely shadowed, but the glower was obvious, and he took a step into the room, cocking his head to listen for breathing, or metal that doesn't belong (he knows Charles' room like the back of his hand, down to the rosary with the metal cross hidden away in one of the drawers, deep and secret. Must be his mother's). But he didn't press it further - something called him away.
Somehow he knew it was Charles. He could feel that telepath's power, even when he wasn't using his ability, even when he had on that ridiculously helmet; it's like a silk blanket being pulled over his skin, or a breath of cool air on the back of his neck. A heavy breath left him, and he realized he'd been holding his breath the entire time.
He wants to see more.
He wants to show him what he's truly capable of. He wants to open his eyes.
Today, he leaves a little chocolate bar, directly under his pillow. The best part is knowing Charles will hide it from Erik, no matter what it takes; he's more than certain the other man would recognize the brand immediately, if he didn't.
He watches them while they fuck.
Really, it's more like "making love", as much as Erik's capable of such a thing. He treats Charles like he's precious, like every second he breathes is a gift, and while the telepath takes pains not to make an obvious show of noticing, he can tell, even from watching, that he's grateful. That he understands what this is to Erik. That he understands what it could be.
He wonders if he'd enjoy controlling him. Feeling those limbs tangled with his from both sides.
It gives him a delicious shiver, and he smirks, watching Erik slow his pace just for Charles, enjoying every breathless and desperate moan that drops from the lips of the telepath as he arches up into Erik and clutches at the sheets. He can tell that they're communicating silently, that Charles is connecting them, because their breathing is perfectly in tune, and every movement is orchestrated like it'd all been planned in advance. They're a well-oiled symphony, moving in perfect harmony, and it's almost breathtaking to watch.
It'd be certainly easier if he wasn't thinking about Charles choking on his fingers again.
He waits until they're right about to come. He knows this dance by now. Erik's shoulders tense and he touches his forehead to Charles', their lips just hanging off of each other's, like a suspended kiss. Charles' eyes flutter open and a little smile tugs at his face, and then those beautiful glowing blue eyes slide close and his head falls back, sweaty hair clinging to his forehead. Erik's tenderly kissing his neck as his body starts to convulse in pleasure.
That's when he takes his helmet off, sending his newest favourite image: Erik begging him to stop as he slowly breaks his mind.
Charles chokes on a moan and gasps, loud, and the immediate reaction from Erik confirms it: he saw it too. Quickly the helmet is replaced.
"What- oh, god-" Charles shudders.
"What the hell was that?" growls Erik, panting, his entire body tensed.
"I don't- I have no idea, I swear-"
The rift is immediately obvious. Erik pulls away, his long body tensed in rage and discomfort, and he snarls something under his breath at Charles, stalking out of the room, the door closing without aid behind him.
Charles lets out a quiet moan, his head falling back onto the pillow, a hand covering his face.
He smiles, and knows it's only a matter of time.
The next time he goes to leave Charles a gift, he's found out.
"You-" Charles manages to chokes out before he's on top of him, pinning him down to the ground, a hand roughly covering his mouth. He struggles, at first, but something in his look silences the telepath, and he goes limp, breathing hard.
"I'm not here to hurt you," he murmurs quietly, giving a quick and easy little smile. The reply is clear in Charles' eyes. Liar. "You can trust me, Charles. I only want to help you."
He stands, roughly dragging the telepath up from where they lay and dragging him to the bed, throwing him onto it. His eyes widen and shoot towards the door, and he understands immediately. He's calling for help. Quickly he wrenches the helmet off his own head, Charles' whispery screams for Erik or Raven or oh, God, anyone, quickly, help-- and jams it onto the telepath's head.
Immediately, there's silence.
He smiles coldly at the telepath, who chokes on the breath he tries to draw in, but it's already too late. He has to get out of here.
"I'm here with an opportunity," he says quickly, his tone not rushed though his words are spilling out faster than he can think about them. "I can help make you stronger. I know you've always thought about it. I know you have it in you. You can command him to do anything, you can take the memories from him, you can keep him. Forever."
There are thundering footsteps somewhere behind him, rocketing up the stairs, and loud shouts to each other; he can hear Erik's boots, and the determined and dogged gallop down the hall. Hurriedly his mind screams for Emma, for Azazel. Help.
"I saw what happened. You can't pretend you don't hear his thoughts. You know he's obsessed with it. You know he's losing trust in you, and you haven't done anything yet." Something in Charles' eyes clicks home, and he drops the smile, leaning in. "I can help you, Charles. You and I. We can work together. Help each other. This doesn't have to be a fight."
He snatches the helmet and is gone in a whipcrack of sulfur and fire. Charles is left, staring bewildered at the door as Erik, Alex and Sean and burst through the door, quickly followed by the others.
He doesn't know how to explain it to them, or what to say, and he says nothing. Good.
They don't have sex for a few straight days. They barely even talk. There's something between them, something Erik won't say and Charles has to pretend he can't hear. Watching them is fascinating; he knows exactly what's wrong with them, and it's so much fun to watch it rot their relationship out from the inside.
He watches them from different rooms and different angles. Erik, in one of the many empty rooms, going through and inspecting everything, his brow tense. He doesn't realize the metal is floating behind him right away, and when he does, he almost looks ashamed, dropping it without pretense. Charles, in his study, staring sadly out the window, tapping a pencil in tune to the music the kids are listening to three floors below without realizing it.
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
He wants to help Charles fix it. He really, truly does. He wants to see him happy.
But he wants to see him happy and free. No longer holed up in whatever supposedly moral hell he's made for himself. He wants him to see the real world as it is; he wants to make him understand who he really is and what he can do.
He lets his mind wander, imagining pressing burning hot fingers to that silky, creamy white skin, listening to the desperate breathing and choked screams. It'd be for him. It'd be all for him. He could be so much more than this caged little pet telepath he's allowing himself to be.
He looks up, into the window Charles is staring out of, and finds the telepath's staring at him, at his general position, eyes wide.
I could show him where you are.
He's startled for a moment; he's toying with the helmet, but he's curious.
You could. But you won't. Will you?
Charles' face gets dark and his lips tighten, and he looks away. A few windows down, Erik's head snaps up.
We have an intruder, comes Charles' voice, and he knows it's just for his benefit. Will you take Havoc and Banshee out, see where they are?
Are you absolutely sure? He recognizes Erik's reply as German, and wonders if Charles understands it. Though the telepath replies in English, he knows Erik hears it in German. He's not sure how he knows.
..Not absolutely, but we can't take any chances. Clever.
The helmet's replaced. He's gone long before they even get to the door.
He likes to send Charles memories.
His favourite memories to send all feature Erik, 14 years old and begging for mercy in a fast string of German. All manners of tortures and ideas, all kinds of pain and suffering, all from the long, lanky boy with the scruffy hair. Scalpels bending suddenly, an ice pick going through the eye one of the best surgeons at the camp, the way his voice breaks when he holds the boy down, a gun to his head. To his eye. In his mouth.
He likes to make his emotions pop out: the fascination, the drive - but, most of all, the sick joy.
He loves watching Charles shudder in disgust, closing his eyes and focusing, turning his ability off. He just knows it's killing him. Knows the screams echo through his dreams. He's seen him wake in a sweat more than once, he knows he's not just seeing those memories - he's feeling them.
One night, he's watching as Charles rips the sheets off, fighting some invisible limbs, a raw scream leaving him. He pants, swallowing hard, trying to take stock of his situation, trying to understand that he's gone from a living memory to reality again, instead of the other way around. He sways, and the door snaps open, Erik shirtless and glowering and quite obviously concerned.
"I- it's okay. I'm okay." Charles rubs his face, letting out a long breath, swallowing hard.
"What's the matter." His questions and tone are so matter of fact they're almost disinterested, but he knows the man's worried. Somewhere in there, he's worried.
"Nothing," Charles replies, his own tone clipped. He looks away from the door. "Go back to bed, Erik."
Erik tongues the side of his mouth in annoyance, raising an eyebrow. He's silent for a moment, and then his arms swing out, an obvious "if you say so" motion, and he shrugs.
"If you insist, Charles."
He watches with a mounting silent rage as Erik strolls across the room, smacking Charles on the shoulder, the door shutting again without aid. "Move."
Charles snorts and stammers- "I- Absolutely not, what makes you think I want you in my bed?" -but moves over, Erik slipping into bed beside him.
"Are you honestly complaining?" The reply is almost amused.
"You-" and Charles stumbles over a few more syllables before Erik kisses him, deeply.
They have some of the closest and most intimate sex he's ever witnessed in his life, Erik's hands on Charles' hips as he enters him slowly, both men laying on their side. Charles moans obscenely (but quietly; wouldn't want to alert the students, after all) and grabs at the sheets, the sweat on his chest shimmering in the slight moonlight.
He's losing ground. He's losing it fast.
I will have him, he thinks at Erik, knowing full well neither man can hear him with this damn helmet on. I will have him, and I will break him. He belongs to me.
I'm not done taking everything from you yet.
The burning jealousy reaches a fever pitch somewhere in the next week.
It's enough that they've ruined his plans together, honestly. That he and Erik were able to stop his plans was enough to enrage him, but destroying the sub? Sending him and Azazel on a crazy flight for their lives, leaving Angel to die? Too far. They've gone too far. Years of careful planning and they ruin him in less than an hour.
He has to regain the high ground somehow, flip the balance of power. He has to have Charles by his side.
He has to.
It doesn't help that every time he sees Charles, Erik is somewhere nearby. Keeping him in check. Taking all of his attention. He's ruining everything all over again, all of his groundwork. The nightmares are dying down, he barely gives notices or replies whenever he sends a choice set of memories his way - in fact, half the time he barely gives a passing glance before he sends one of the students to search the grounds. (Of course, it's a different student every time to avoid suspicion, and the blue hairy one is the one that bothers him the most. He swears to God that thing can smell him every single fucking time.)
Erik's testy, these days, but he's drowning himself into his work, helping Charles piece together their great glorious school. He watches them build Cerebro again, though he has no name for it. It's almost poetry in motion, watching Erik calmly piece together the great metal monster, metal tools and pieces and wires chaotically moving while the man watches, arms out, floating in the middle of everything. Something's changed in that nervous, timid, screaming little boy, and he's not sure he likes it.
Though, his power is impressive.
But Erik is merely a side-note in his studies. Charles keeps to himself as he works, frustrated at the loss of his main quarry on that beach, frustrated at the humans for reacting as the obviously would, frustrated at the more frequent squabbles he and Erik have. He's just as doggedly throwing himself into everything as his lover is, paperwork and sporadic lessons among his students taking all of his time.
Their evenings are disgustingly predictable. They play chess often, they eat together. Every few days they fight and make up and fuck passionately on the floor of Charles' bedroom.
You're wasting your talent. You're wasting your life. Nothing but pointed silence greets him.
He decides it's time to take matters into his own hands.
It's just like he's always imagined.
His hands burn with the heat of stored energy from the sub, stored rippling under his skin for well on six days now, searing into the soft flesh at Charles' hips as he pulls the telepath up against his body. The hoarse cry of pain is just delicious, and has no equivalent. One hand reaches up, pushing down on the helmet he's shoved onto Charles' head, silencing his beautiful gift long enough to start his new therapy.
"You need to understand me," he whispers, his voice husky with the lust and victory of it all. "I need you to understand."
Charles tries to push up, tries to fight the heavy weight on his head, but he's quickly forced down again, helmet making a dull thud against the ground. They're outside, in the furthest grove of trees from the mansion- no, from the school -as far as he was able to drag him before he started to struggle too much to handle. His hands had been bound, but he didn't want to pop a wrist or arm out of place while he worked, and had so freed them.
Not that it matters. He isn't getting away.
"We can be kings," he hisses, pushing harder into Charles, who cries out but is muffled by the odd position he's got him in - partially pushed against the ground. His arms scrabble at the grass, pulling up clumps and ruining his lovely soft hands, fingernails pushing into his palms.
He can smell the blood.
"I can teach you what it means to be a god among men." Every punctuated word brings another rough thrust, another dull cry from Charles. "I can give you everything, Charles. I can show you the right path." He pulls his hand off the man's head, pulling him up flush against his body, taking in his smell.
"You and I, we can help Erik. You can take away his memories. Take away his pain. Make him happy. Together, we can bring the humans to their knees." His lips are pressed against Charles' ear as he hurriedly whispers, tasting the man's sweat. His hands flare up with the red-hot energy, burning the telepath again, a hand wrapped around his collarbone, the other an iron grip on his hip to keep him in place. He can smell the burning flesh. Charles' hair is plastered to his forehead. his face in a contortion of pain that screams - but he's only making choked moans of pain instead. It's quietly beautiful in its own way. "What do you say?"
He gets only an "unnh" of pain in reply.
"This is where you belong, Charles. Let me show you the way."
"Let him the fuck go."
It's when he hears Erik's voice that he realizes, with a sick stomach drop, that the helmet's laying in the mud and grass a few inches away. He drops Charles without meaning to, twisting to face his prodigy, trying to force himself to his feet as quickly as possible-
but it's too late, there's a coin and it's painful and hot, his mind distracted just enough to cut through once without the energy being absorbed. And Erik makes it count - right through his head, right through the center.
As he's falling to the ground, as his life is ending, he's very vaguely aware of a hoarse cry of absolute pain, and Erik's moving form, sudden shock written on his face as he dashes to catch Charles.
The scars are hard to ignore.
Charles' eyes flutter, half-open, as he watches Erik's hands run over his skin, down his chest and now-useless legs. He vaguely remembers what they feel like, even though they were in working order just six short weeks ago. He vaguely remembers moving them, feeling Erik's against his; running with Hank seems foreign to him, now.
What he remembers quite vividly is the coin cutting into his body. Falling to the ground. The unimaginable pain added to all the burns and cuts and humiliation. Erik's body against his, pulling him up, trying to understand.
It'd just been an accident.
It'd really only just been an accident.
Even without reading Erik's mind, he knows the man's swamped with guilt. He'd thrown the coin too hard, been too enraged and too desperate to stop Shaw. It was truly his fault. He has more control than that; how is it in the one moment it mattered he wasn't able to stop himself? Charles lets his eyes close and wonders on that for a moment, lazily, distracted by the calloused hands lingering on the shiny skin on his hip. (It doesn't so much look like fingers anymore, more like strips than anything which is good. He can still feel Shaw's touch.)
Maybe, just maybe, Erik'd subconsciously let whatever there was between them affect him at that moment.
Maybe it hadn't been an accident, deep down. Maybe he'd wanted to hurt him, even if the end result was much more than he'd wanted.
Charles' eyes snap open, a short, sharp breath making his body jump just slightly. Erik frowns and cocks his head slightly, watching him carefully.
"What's the matter?"
It's been like this since Erik killed Shaw. Charles gets lost in thought, or stares off into space, his look twisting into something dark and unfamiliar. Or, as the telepath wonders, reading the worry in Erik's mind, something dark and perhaps too terribly familiar. He can't help it. It's like Shaw's still out there, poisoning his mind with his Goddamn ideas.
"Nothing," Charles lies, his voice quiet, and Erik's face immediately goes blank. He nods, lets his head fall, goes back to his quiet touches.
But Charles knows exactly what he's thinking. He knows he's lying to him. He knows, at least in part, what he's thinking about. Control. It all boils back down to control. Charles knows he kept Shaw's bloody helmet. He knows that, sometimes, at night, he slips it on and closes his eyes, relishing the slight bit of peace of mind.
He's deluding himself into thinking he can stop Charles. Deluding himself into thinking he has a chance.
For a very short moment, Charles entertains the idea of taking that away from him, and finds himself delighting in it.
It's not out of the ordinary, anymore, when Charles starts to cry. Erik finds himself at a loss. The telepath isn't letting him in as much as he used to, and never seems to have a reason for his sudden and silent distress, and he's left feeling helpless. He can't do anything but pull the man into his arms and just let him cry, and there's never a word about it afterward.
Erik wants to help. He truly does. But Charles is slipping away from him, and he's not sure how or why.
They lay there for a long time, the silent sobs wracking Charles' body subsiding after the good part of an hour, and Erik tightens his hold around him, not realizing that Charles can't stop thinking about everything Shaw said.
I can show you the right path.
It's exhilarating, the first time.