"Do you finally feel like the fool you are, Charles?"
Erik looked down at the man sitting against the wall in the hallway, who looked like he would pass out very soon, if not at that moment.
"Har har, very….funny. Would you…care to help me up…my friend? As much as this is all very…amusing for you, it…isn't for me, and I'd like to…get to my nice, soft…bed before I collapse in….an undignified heap."
Visibly fighting to keep himself sitting upright and his eyes open, Charles gave a strained smile, breath coming in short, harsh gasps and beads of perspiration sliding down his face.
"Had you been in a less pitiable state, I would think that you deserved to stay here, since you seem so intent on getting yourself sick working with Cerebro for hours on end. Didn't Hank tell you that you should have breaks in between?"
The annoyance in Erik's voice was clearly heard.
'….I suppose I can't get away with saying I forgot?' came the sheepish reply in his head.
"Definitely not, but you can go give it a try, as futile as it may be. And don't speak to me using your telepathy, your mind needs a rest after looking through millions of other minds without pause."
Charles muttered something unintelligible under his breath (which suspiciously sounded like 'It was for the greater good.'), his blinks becoming slower and slower as he surrendered to the darkness that had been dancing along the edges of his vision, head lolling to the side as he lost consciousness
Sighing, Erik bent down to pick Charles up, using one hand to wrap a pale arm around his shoulders and support his back, and the other to hook under the telepath's knees. Lifting him up without much effort ('That's it, I'm monitoring Charles' meals from now on.'), he made his way down the hallway and up the stairs to his room.
Using his power to turn the doorknob and push the door open, Erik walked into the room and paused by the bed, carefully laying him down, then removing his shoes before pulling the cover over him. Placing a hand onto Charles' damp forehead to feel the burning skin there, Erik stood up and went to the bathroom to get a washbasin filled with water, a small hand towel and some pills to help bring the fever down.
When he came back, Charles had come to, and was in the process of getting up before a strong arm pushed him back down.
"And where do you think you're going?"
Charles looked up to see the metal bender frowning down at him.
"To get water…I'm a little thirsty."
Erik would have laughed at the disoriented look on Charles' face, but he kept the chuckle in, forcing himself to look stern.
"You're burning with fever and you think I'm going to allow you to waltz downstairs and get yourself a drink? I don't think so. Stay in bed and let yourself be taken care of."
Having no energy to protest, the man feebly nodded, closing his eyes again and curling himself up under the blanket.
Erik shook his head as he set the things down onto the bedside table. Sitting down next to him, he dipped the towel into the water, wringing it, before gently patting Charles' forehead, wiping away the sweat there, then around his neck. One weary blue eye blearily opened, watching as Erik stood up, dipped the towel into the bowl and rung it out again.
"…didn't know you made such a good nurse…."
The tall man bent down to place a gentle kiss on Charles' forehead before replacing the cool towel there, smiling at the contented sigh he heard.
"I learned it from my mother, because I was just as stubborn and foolhardy as you are now. Now stop talking and go to sleep, I'll be back in a while to check up on you, I just need to go tell the kids you won't be overseeing their training today."
There was a muffled "Mhmm…", and then Charles burrowed deeper under his cocoon, sending Erik a last, warm mental feeling to show his appreciation before finally drifting off to sleep.
Feeling peaceful himself, Erik smiled again, brushing his fingers through soft, chestnut brown locks before making his way out the door and closing it with a soft click.