Erik hadn't thought much of it when he and Charles had decided to go to Carnegie Mellon, because the school was awesome, but they both soon realized that it was... pretty ridiculous, because Hamerschlag Hall just had stairs, and only stairs, and that was where the engineering courses were (well, most of them). Unfortunately to actually get there took a minor act of god. You had to go in Newell-Simon, up the elevator, over the causeway to Wean, more elevators down to the third floor, go through the unending hall of unendingness, and then out the little rampy thing, through the parking lot and in through the back door. And, well, once you were actually in you had to get to the right floor. It was either that or through the entire parking lot of Baker-Porter and then more parking lots, so really it depended on if it was raining or not.
No one told Erik that it always rained in Pittsburgh.
So basically the only way he could both walk with Charles, and not end up completely panting from running after his friend's electric wheelchair, was to hitch a ride. They'd always done that, since they were kids, since Erik had saved up for ages and run it by Charles and now said wheelchair had badass flames and a little place for Erik to stand while he clung to his boyfriend for dear life because goddamn those chairs could book when Charles put his mind to it.
And they still were almost always a few seconds late.
Erik popped his back as he stood from the ridiculously crappy foldychairs that made up the lecture hall, twisting slightly.
"I'm going to talk to the teacher, want to meet for lunch in fifteen or twenty?" Charles asked from where he was parked inside the door right next to Erik.
"The way you're going to ramble, I'll make it thirty. Want me to grab us lunch and a table?"
Charles nodded. "Pasta or something?"
"Done." Pasta or something was very nebulous, but he always did his best to pick something that was both awesome and nutritious with lots of garlic because for Charles he would put up with garlic breath because the man loved...
"You know you really shouldn't do that."
Erik startled and looked down at the girl walking beside him. She was cute enough, blonde, and she had a sort of semi-friendly look about her.
"Your friend. I saw you ride into class on the back of his wheelchair. Don't you know how disrespectful that is?"
Erik gaped. "But... I've always done that..."
"Well then I guess you haven't considered how it must feel to be treated like a pony just because you have a wheelchair."
Erik frowned, struggling with how to answer, because, well first, he'd totally given Charles piggyback rides sometimes when Charles wanted, but... Charles had never said anything to him. And that was just so very Charles, wasn't it, for something to be bothering him and not say anything. Of course, sometime he would have those electric blue puppy eyes (that Erik was weak to, super effective, 4x damage) and Erik would know that something was wrong, but it was never really easy to tell if it was just generic Charles being misty eyed over the state of the world or if there was something more going on.
"I... thanks," Erik said, because... well, what else was he supposed to say: 'thanks for letting me know that my boyfriend probably secretly resents me for riding around on his wheelchair because he's way too nice to say anything so I'm just going to sit here and be sad for a few minutes. But then feeling sorry for myself is no good because really that's just me being a dick...' Erik sighed. Fuck.
"Yeah, just be more thoughtful, yaknow?" And then the girl was off and Erik... well Erik had no fucking clue what he was supposed to do, so he trudged across the cut to the Student Center and then stared at a lot of food and tried to wrestle with the supreme presumption that was selecting Charles' lunch.
But Charles had told him to get his lunch, so that was ok, right? Or was it not ok? I mean there was penne and spaghetti. Which one should he pick? Charles usually liked penne, but what if he was in the mood for spaghetti and he just didn't tell him? Erik was considering just having a little freak out in the corner and maybe he would get over it.
So instead he bought both pastas and three garlic breads for Charles and a sandwich and fries for himself, and then he found a nice table that had the you-can-actually-get-a-chair-under-its, and suffered through a few glares at groups who thought Erik should have just GTFOed from the bigger table, but there were knees to consider, Charles-knees, so he glowered at them and made the 'I know how to murder you with a spoon' face.
And then he had some ketchup, because, Pittsburgh, condiment of choice, and he waited until he saw Charles come in the front door and he waved at him. "Charles!"
Charles looked up and gave him a wave back before he headed to the elevators. Erik wished there were actually good wheelchair happy seats on the first floor because it sort of sucked, but another five or six minutes later Charles arrived and wrapped his arm around Erik and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Hello, love."
Charles took a few moments to get scooted in properly and then looked down at the lunch that Erik had gotten him. "Erik, I think you overestimate my desire for steam tray pasta."
Oh. Erik felt slightly wounded now. "Um... do you want something else?" He'd said pasta, right? He'd asked for pasta and he hadn't just imagined it because getting pasta was easy and waiting in line for those crazy frou frou salads Charles sometimes liked was a bit of a pain and...
"No..." Charles tilted his head. "One or the other would have been fine." He laughed, though, so Erik smiled, the weak sort of nervous sharky smile that he really wasn't supposed to use on people he liked, but he had no idea what he was supposed to do.
"Erik, we're going to be late!" Which didn't really matter, because it was just huge-ass philosophy lecture, but it was in the little mini-basement thing of Porter and you had to take two elevators to get there and they were still a billion miles away because the little mini-elevator in the dorms was broken (of course) and Charles had to throw his 'I am very disappointed in you' face at the RA before they doubled back and went out the basement and they still had a huge amount of campus to cut through and they'd just missed the traffic light and they were finally on the other side of Forbes and on campus but now they had to book it.
"We'll have to be late then." Erik was trying to be sedate, he really was, but it was hard because... well it felt like he and Charles had fun when Erik was riding on the back and Charles would laugh and zoom and be awesome but...
"You do know this thing can get up to fifteen mph if I floor it, right?" Charles was grinning at him, floppy hair and wild and happy and him, that guy Erik loved, but...
"Well... yeah." Because that was how they got into town pre-awesomely-huge-madeover-van that Erik got when he turned sixteen.
Charles stopped. Erik stopped.
"Erik. What has gotten into you?"
"I..." Were they really going to have this conversation in front of a really weird art instillation with people walking up into the sky?! "I can't ride on your chair."
"Why on Earth not?"
"It's... you know..." He waved his hand in a way that didn't really express anything, because he was pretty crap at expressing himself, really. "Disrespectful."
Erik wondered if maybe Charles hadn't gotten the memo that Erik had been being disrespectful. Maybe he'd thought it was spam... So instead Erik waved his hands sort of in a distressed way that he did when he was grasping at something that Charles had once endearingly called 'constipated jazz hands'.
"I mean I never really thought about it but you must hate it when I just jump on your wheelchair and ride around and..."
"Did someone tell you to stop?"
Erik nodded, feeling a bit helpless.
"Was that someone me?"
Easy question again, he shook his head.
"Then whoever told you that was an idiot, because I'm the one who says who can ride on the wheelchair, and there is a decal and flame encrusted seat with your name on it, Erik." It didn't actually have his name on it. "It... I like it when we're speeding through campus and you're right there behind me, or we're doing wheelies in the parking lot in the regular chair. It's... fun. I like it... I love it... and I love you, Mr. Idiot-who-would-rather-listen-to-some-random-person-rather-than-his-boyfriend. Now hop on, because we're going to be really late for class at this rate."
So... instead of hopping on he might have kissed Charles, a lot, hard, right in front of the creepy modern art sculpture, and yes, late for class, but there were more important things going on.