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Erik is decided that this school is going to kill him—and by 'school' he means the twenty rambunctious mutants running around it with the expectation for more.

It isn't so much the fact that he's never pictured himself as a teacher—where, exactly, Charles got the idea that he would make a good teacher is so far beyond his scope of mind—as the fact that the mutations seem to be getting more dangerous with every new student. As a mutant who is capable of lifting a nuclear submarine (Charles is convinced he'll be able to control the magnetic poles some day, and Erik would be lying to say the idea and faith in him wasn't appealing), he feels that it says a lot that he considers the some students hazardous. He's also very adamant about mutations and embraces each and every one that he's come across. The problem lies in when they aren't so keen to embrace him back.

He isn't about to punish them for their lack of control—most of them are teenagers—but that doesn't mean that he isn't going to get a little bit angry. He may or may not have made Magma cry because she may or may not have almost melted the ivy-covered bench Charles was fond of, which may or may not have resulted in a protective Boom Boom launching him into a nearby tree. He'd thought that he had bonded hard to Charles when he'd discovered him, but Boom Boom had brought an entirely new vigor to the idea of a Dom. She redefines it.

Erik doesn't blame her, in fact he's rather fond of her, but he doesn't like being launched into trees. He doesn't like being launched at all, in fact. At least not unless someone is doing it with the idea that they'll get the one-up on him, because then it's terribly amusing to watch their face fall when they realize he can levitate. He likes that part.

His back has that feeling that he should crack it, but any attempt at bending just hurts and doesn't really do anything for him in the end. He feels silly massaging against his spine, more so when it isn't doing anything, and eventually drops his hand away entirely. Naturally, that is the moment that Iceman—wait, wait. They're out of training now, so, Bobby—slaps him between the shoulder-blades.

“You alright there, Mags?” At first Erik is about to snarl at him, but then a pleasant chill runs down his back and the pain fades a little bit. He forgives the nickname despite the fact that he never forgives the nickname.

“Better. Thank you, Bobby,” he replies. Bobby grins and runs to catch up with the others, bumping his shoulder against John's which leads to a short shoving match between them. They haven't bonded, Erik notes, but he wonders if they're going to, given how close they are.

Not every pair of best friends will bond, Erik. Charles' voice is ethereal in his head, it comes with warmth and a further release of pain that tells him Charles has probably tampered with his pain receptors. Erik doesn't like it when he does that, he believes pain encourages strength, but he appreciates not having to limp the rest of the quarter-mile across the grounds.

You're turning those back on when I get inside, he says. Charles' smile is a tickle of water in the back of his mind.

Of course. I wouldn't dream of denying myself the opportunity to properly take care of you. Erik knows there's nothing erotic in the way Charles says the words, but it still makes him want to shudder. He doesn't, but he wants to, and that's enough.

Charles leaves his mind—or as much as his other half could ever truly leave him—just as Tabitha and Amara walk up beside him. Tabitha's arm is slung around Amara's shoulders with Amara's hand wrapped about her wrist, as though she's trying to keep her close. If the fingers curled loosely in the gold links around Amara's wrist are any indication, Tabitha has no intentions of stepping away. Erik eyes the metal passively before turning his attention up to Tabitha, her blue eyes watching him with the sort of aggressiveness Erik has come to expect not because she's also a Dom but because she's Tabitha.

“She's sorry about that,” Amara says. It drags their attention away from each other. Erik thinks he sees her squeeze Tabitha's wrist, but he can't be sure. “I don't know what gets into her.”

“It's instinct, chicky,” Tabitha says, waving her other hand. Erik looks away, but finds the slight 'oompf' that follows is a little more pleasing than it should be.

“He's already bonded to Charles, your instincts are ridiculous,” she huffs. “Besides, I...I should be able to take more. I want to be a real X-Man, after all, and I can't go around crying all the time.”

“It's fine.” He doesn't cut her off but he comes close, because Tabitha reminds him of himself a bit which means she may very well have taken the opportunity to turn that into an innuendo that he did not need to hear. “You're still new. No one expects you to handle this so quickly.”

“See, from the big man himself,” Tabitha replies. Erik wonders, offhandedly, if Amara's still more upset than she's letting on. It wouldn't be the first time.

But it isn't something he's prepared to trespass upon, and thankfully getting to the Mansion grounds proper means that he doesn't have to. The students disperse immediately, headed off in groups, pairs and alone. Tabitha and Amara are the only two students to have bonded, but many more have made friends. Some days Erik pauses to watch them, but not today. True to his word, Charles relinquishes hold on his pain receptors the second he steps inside.

He gasps, sways a little, but is ultimately fine. He's dealt with much worse, and a few bruises on his back isn't going to have him out of commission. He'll be fine for training again by morning.

Besides, being in the house comes with its own rewards. Without having to stretch his powers out, he can now feel Charles in his own way, separate from their bond and his telepathy—the rings.

Six rings composed of a unique mix of metal. Unique because each one contains a small portion of iron from both of their blood, distinct from biological imprints that feels like a peerless pattern of rust to Erik. Thumbs, pointer fingers, ring fingers. Erik feels each one out, warm against Charles' skin on one side and cool on the other where he's waving about, finishing a lecture. They respond to him like eager animals, but he doesn't stop Charles from gesturing.

The kids are hustling out of the room just as he arrives. A few call 'hello's out as they pass, one pausing to ask about an assignment for his class. Erik reiterates his office hours despite the crestfallen look he's given.

“You really should be more lax, Erik.”

Charles is leaning in the doorway when he turns around, and Erik only wishes that the pain melted away the way rest of his mind does at the sight of him. As if sensing his Dom's plight, Charles steps forward and Erik relishes in the warmth wrapped around his middle. He puts his arms around Charles' shoulders and nuzzles into his hair.

“If you had your way, they would be able to come to our room at two in the morning,” Erik mutters. Charles laughs, the warm air puffing just enough to tease his chest through his sweatshirt and not a bit more.

When he realizes the hallway is silent he leans down and murmurs into Charles' ear, “Besides, you like it when I'm hard on you.”

He can feel Charles' breath catch in his chest and smirks to himself. A second later Charles loosens up with a shudder. His fingers are clenched in the back of Erik's sweatshirt.

“And I'll kindly not have you thinking the students deserve the same treatment you give me,” he says, but his voice has lowered a register. It's heavy and seductive in its own right. Erik's smirk refuses to leave. Or he refuses to drop it. It isn't important.

There's two determined inches of height difference between them, but Erik rather likes it. He likes having to lean down a little to press his lips, and a little later his teeth, against Charles' neck. He licks his pulse point and trails the way the vein stretches up his throat from memory and years of practice.

They're still in the hallway, but it's the second floor and that's entirely classrooms. None of the students come here unless they have to or they've forgotten something. It's silent save for Charles' breath skating across his ear and his own heartbeat jumping around in his chest, making the bruises ache in a way that he doesn't mind nearly as much now.

Charles' fingers relax from the back of his sweatshirt and Erik follows the metal in the back of his mind as they slide up, up, over his shoulder-blades and down his sides. He cringes when Charles presses a little too hard in one spot and bites down firmer than he meant to. Charles yelps, and it very well might have been satisfying except that Erik loathes losing himself.

“Sorry,” he murmurs, mouth brushing the red skin lightly. He can feel Charles' heartbeat jumping against the rings, his chest swelling and receding against his own like waves.

“Quite alright, love.” His voice is thick but close, and not in a way that meant to physical proximity. That is obvious.

Erik pulls back, reluctant, and sets his hands to either side of Charles' neck. The skin-to-skin contact eases that brief, mutual start. He watches Charles' pupils as they flicker between calm and craving, certain that his own are doing the same. If there is one unfortunate thing about the schedule, it is that they do not spend nearly enough time around each other during the weekdays.

“She needs to learn to control that,” Erik says, frowning as the thought takes him. “There are other Doms around. She can't view all of them as a threat to Amara or she'll blow up the Mansion.”

Perhaps the worst part is the literal application of that statement.

Charles smiles. Erik knows where it is going before he opens his mouth.

“I seem to remember a Dom who tried to rip someone's skeleton out of their body for looking at me.”

Erik growls. “Logan is an exception. He practically demands that you put him in his place.”

He remembers the day Logan left (with no allusions to returning but no allusions to staying gone either) with grim satisfaction. Erik wonders if he isn't just some nature-born test for Doms, like any other training exercise.

He wants to be mad, but then Charles' hands are cupping his face and his smile is bright and placating. Erik relaxes and lets himself be pulled in for a kiss, this one chaste and soft. When they pull back, Charles' thumbs stroke across his cheeks in tandem, his words are ghosts of air against Erik's lips.

“Now, none of that,” he says, and distantly Erik is reminded of all those books on bonds like these. The ones that encourage subs to know they have as much control over their Doms as Doms have over them. A lot of submissives don't believe it, they don't see how that could possibly be true when the very denotation of the title implies otherwise. When a part of him, a deep part, falls quiescent at the slightest beckon from Charles, Erik rather thinks they're all idiots.

He slides his hands down Charles' shoulders, to his forearms, and lands another kiss. They break apart a second later, with Charles' hands drifting down his sides.

“Why don't we take dinner in the suite?” He suggests, and Erik can only think of a few things he would like to do more than that.

They walk up to the fourth floor while students run down on their way to the expanded dining room on the ground level for dinner. The sun is dipping low into the horizon, visible through their window, and casting a pleasant but short-lived glow across the room. Charles wastes no time in tugging him towards the bathroom, and Erik barely has a second to toe off his trainers on the way.

When they get there Erik starts the bathwater with an afterthought, seating himself on the plastic edge and guiding Charles to the space between his spread legs. The telepath's fingers push his hair, somewhat matted with sweat and tree scrapings, away from his face. Erik feels some of the debris scratch at the back of his neck but it becomes inconsequential when Charles kisses him, slow and assured but with that touch of question along the edges. That little bit of constraint makes Erik's hands tighten on his hips.

He kisses back, the silent equivalent of granting permission, and Charles is slowly moving his hands up his sides, pulling the sweatshirt off and tossing it to a heap on the floor. With the kiss already broken, he takes a few moments to trail his fingers over his chest; he's checking, scrutinizing, and generally being the medic that Erik lacked all his life. His lips soothe a bruise forming on his chest from Alex, a scrape from Rahne's claws on his arm. Erik thinks watching him might be just as relaxing as the feeling.

Then Charles drops to his knees in front of him and heat boils in his belly, his rings cascading down Erik's sides and over his hips. Charles tugs faintly, but Erik doesn't move until those blue eyes are flicked up towards him. “Stand for me, love?”

He hesitates for a second but obliges in the end. Charles shucks off his pants and underwear in one sweep. Erik can feel the mixed metal and skin running down his thighs and while he's not hard, or even half-hard, he's interested and Charles can feel that. Charles kisses his hips, traces the sharp angle of his bone with his tongue, and manages to pull off Erik's socks when he steps out of the puddle his pants have become without looking.

Erik vaguely thinks one man should not have so many talents, and he isn't sure which talent of Charles' he's referring to.

“Which would you like?” Charles asks. He isn't referring to the talents, but the oils they have in the bathroom. His voice is clear and hot against Erik's skin in a way that the bathwater won't compare to. He thinks about it, but his answer is almost always the same.

“Surprise me.” And Charles always does.

Charles doesn't get up immediately, instead rubbing his thumbs in circles against Erik's hips and then sliding his hands down to the backs of his knees. His fingers toy at the popliteal fossa, a term Erik only knows because it makes him do things like shudder and grip the edge of the tub to keep his balance; which naturally means that Charles had murmured the anatomical term to him at some point and it stuck. Erik thinks it's because his body knows how vulnerable the spot is; Charles thinks Erik shouldn't turn his erogenous zone into something dark and twisted.

“May I stand?” Charles whispers. Erik is expecting the words, but he considers them for a moment anyway. Charles doesn't look up at him because the more they touch and kiss and soothe, the more his submissive instincts start to take over. It doesn't always work this way, of course, because that would be rather boring. But sometimes it does. Right now it does.

“Yes.” Erik refuses to admit that his voice rasps.

Charles stands and moves away, leaving Erik to slide into the half-full tub. Steam is curling up into the air, bland and dense, clogging his throat in a way that's slightly pleasant and slightly unnerving. His eyes flutter closed, which means that when Charles' hands land on him it's from the dark. In the beginning of their relationship he would have jumped and snarled, the surprise unwelcome, but now pacifies him.

A scent of mixed herbs and something mentholated fills his nose, but it's second to the tingling in his back. Charles' hands work at his shoulders with steady precision, careful of the yet-invisible bruise forming beneath the skin. Whatever oil he's chosen—and they have several—numbs the pain for him to work without much issue. Erik focuses on the combined scrape of light callouses, old paper cuts, and metal across his back. He can feel his rings—they're Charles' but they're his, too—singing to his sore muscles, and it isn't with just their own voices but with Charles' sympathies and concerns as well.

“Tell me about your day,” Erik says. It has never been his rule that Charles must stay silent until spoken to—or at least not one of his persisting rules, it happens sometimes—but sometimes Charles needs prompting.

Charles hums, and Erik swears he can feel the sound through the fingers working at the knots along his backside.

“We've started the unit on Shakespeare,” he explains, his voice light and pleasant on the misty air. “They voted on Macbeth. No terrible surprise there, I think. I'm just glad not to be focusing on Romeo and Juliet for another year. Not that there's a thing wrong with it, of course, it's just so...expected, I suppose. So typical.”

Charles enjoys teaching literature second only to the sciences, and he is particularly fond of his end-of-the-year projects when the students are required to choose a book and compose a paper. Erik knows that part of this is because he likes reading the papers and telling Erik how brilliant the children are; the other part is that it means his their week is relatively free to be together, as Erik also assigns projects to his physics, philosophy, and mechanics classes that just happens to cover the same span of time. Erik doesn't tend to swoon over the children the way that Charles does, but he's a master at the art of critical complimenting. For him, it isn't about the amount but the timing. When a student is just on that line between giving up and being brilliant, he'll swoop in and let them know, typically in six words or less, how well they're doing. He always means it, and it happens so seldom that the children absorb the praise like sponges. It isn't a tactic that works well for Charles, just as Charles' consistent praise with sprinkles of suggestions for improvement doesn't work for Erik.

“I would love to have Hank teach them a lesson on Stevenson,” Charles continues. Erik supposes he never stopped, so much as Erik himself had zoned out with the steady rocking of his body against Charles' hands. They were slipping lower gradually, now working around the middle of his back. “The end-of-term projects are always the best when students really find that book that connects with them. Don't you think?”

Erik knows he's supposed to have an opinion—Charles reads him all of the projects every year, and they've been doing this for several years—but he just grunts. There's an answer in there somewhere, though, because Charles hums in a way that's complacent.

Charles' hands slide lower on his back, and when they get to the point where they will have to submerge beneath the water he stops. Instead he cups some of the hot water and pours it down Erik's back. Erik arches, which cracks a few more things into place now that the knots are no longer holding them awry, and by the third time Charles does this he is relaxing against the edge of the tub. Charles' hands come up to push backwards through his hair, the touch firm and determined. The lingering moisture on his fingers is enough to keep Erik's hair out of his face even after those hands move down to his shoulders, rubbing for a second, then sliding over his chest. Charles' arms cross over his sternum and he tucks himself against Erik's neck.

“What do you need from me, love?” He whispers, the air teasing across Erik's neck and down into the cradle of Charles' arms. Charles isn't worried, but he can sense tensions that even Erik isn't aware of. It isn't uncommon between them, even if it is rather strange between most other bonded pairs.

He leans his head back against Charles' shoulder and deliberates, first by dissecting the feeling that Charles has found and he has missed. It takes him a moment to locate the discontent and that last remaining tension that Charles has been unsuccessful with so far. When he does, though, he is able to work outward from there.

“The cuffs should be enough,” he says. Charles' arms hadn't been moving around him, but Erik can still feel them freeze. It's like a wind had been blowing through Charles' body and suddenly stopped. His sub exhales through his nose, audible. Precise.

“Both sets?”

Erik thinks. “Just the wrists.” A pause. “Keep your sleeves rolled up after you put them on. I want to see them.”

Charles pulls back without a sound or a gesture and leaves the bathroom. It only takes a minute: Shall I come back or—

No, Erik decides this before Charles even suggests it. Wait for me in the bedroom. Clothed.

Silence follows. Erik sinks further into the depths of the tub, turns off the water when it reaches his shoulders, and relaxes. From the bedroom he can feel the metal in Charles' rings tapping against the telepath's thighs. It twists around the growing anticipation that seeps from his sub in waves. With every minute that passes the thoughts turning about in Charles' head get more potent, and although Erik cannot read his thoughts he can feel them. He can feel the minute reactions, the cravings, the desire dripping to need through their bond. As Charles' wait turns to agony, it soothes a deep, hungry part of him.

He takes his time enjoying his bath, feeling the water gradually cool around him. His powers follow Charles' hands through every fidgeting gesture. Charles rubs his hands down his thighs, towards his knees, and back up again. Erik considers giving him an order not to fidget, but he likes the distant feeling of it buzzing through his nerves. It's easy to tell that the waiting is something Charles favors, too. It was easy to tell that before they'd had several long years to get to know these important aspects of each other.

The water cools to a point it's no longer helping and he slips out before it starts to cramp his muscles. It takes only a quick minute for him to wipe himself down and wrap the towel around his waist, but for Charles the time passes like a crawling man with a limp. Erik combs his fingers back through his hair and heads for the bedroom.

“Eyes on the bed,” he calls, before even entering the room. Charles has obeyed the order by the time he does step onto the threshold and Erik properly takes him in.

Charles is kneeling on the duvet with his legs slightly spread, gray slacks stretched deliciously over the muscles of his thighs. The black leather cuffs on his wrist have a thick width but they're elegant, highlighted with silver buckles and a single D-ring. The metal sings to him, making a new heat stretch out in his belly now that he can see it himself. He's rolled his sleeves up, as told, and it exposes the length of contrasting fair skin that makes up his forearms. Other than that, he's unchanged from how Erik saw him in the doorway after his class. The pale, periwinkle shirt is slightly open at the collar and his dove grey waist coat snug across his chest, bunching just slightly at the waist.

“Very good, Charles.” Charles doesn't reply, but he can feel the stress of anticipation, of wondering if he'd gotten everything right, ease just a bit.

Erik doesn't bother getting dressed completely—they've already decided to be in the room for the rest of the night—but there's still something vulnerable and unappealing about starting off naked. More so when Charles is still dressed. So, he pulls on a pair of pyjama pants and sheds the towel, laying it over a pulled out drawer of his dresser to dry off, and turns towards Charles.

There is something decidedly wonderful about seeing Charles this way, and it is something that Erik knows he will never tire of. “Face me and keep your eyes down.”

It should be impossible for someone to move so gracefully on top of a mattress, but Charles manages to twist towards him easily. He resumes the exact same position, as though he had managed to pick himself up and just turn at a ninety-degree angle rather than had to move at all. These are the little things about him—about both of them—that have been perfected with time. Just the way that Erik doesn't let it phase him how seamless Charles is.

He can feel Charles burning in the back of his head as he steps closer, that distant ache for him, for Erik, that perpetually draws them together. He could have run across the room to him and it still would have been too slow for Charles. But it's exactly what Erik wants.

There's a very faint twitch in Charles' fingers when Erik touches his thighs, like he wants to do something big but has managed to contain it down to one small slip. Erik smirks before he can help it and slides his hands higher. His fingers dig into the small space between Charles' calves and his thighs, higher, to the curve of his ass. He squeezes, “Up.”

Charles goes off like a shot, coiled and ready to throw his all into whatever gesture was asked for him. Their chests don't just touch; they practically bounce together. Erik has to slide his foot back an inch or so to keep his balance, containing Charles' action in the curve of his shoulders like herding sheep into a corner. He quirks a brow.

“Eager thing, aren't you?”

“I'm sorry,” Charles murmurs, eyes meeting Erik's, and just like that, the water of the scene has closed over their heads. No banter, no teasing, no playful 'it's your fault for making me wait so long.' Just an apology, quiet and sincere with a touch of want.

“Nothing to apologize for.” Because there isn't and he won't have Charles thinking there is.

The look in Charles' eyes is enough to make his stomach twist and churn. His mind explodes with ideas of senseless exploration and rutting against each other until their muscles ache. It's been too long.

But he still knows how to twist everything around in his head, so all that recklessness turns into a clear order instead: “Eyes down.”

Sparkling blue disappears beneath pale eyelids and dark lashes. Erik only affords himself a minute to miss them before he's moving on, running his hands down the backs of Charles' thighs again. “No skin contact unless I initiate it or say otherwise.”

Charles' breath catches in his throat, Erik can feel it as though it were his own, but he ignores it. Tendrils of his power snake around the cuffs, pulling Charles' wrists behind his back and locking them together by an invisible chain. There's a brief tug—that compulsion to check—before Charles accepts that he's lost the ability to use them for now.

Erik kneads his fingers into Charles' thighs, making him suck in a breath and his fingers twitch again. He feels Charles start to lean forward and pinches the top of his thigh, right under his ass, and he straightens again with a different sort of gasp.

Erik growls. “What did I just say?”

“I'm—”

He pinches him again. They're hard enough to hurt, but brief enough that the pain won't last or leave marks. Charles straightens even further. A translucent sound hums, high, from the back of his throat.

“That isn't what I asked you, Charles.”

Erik feels Charles flex his fingers, his breath almost pressing their chests together as he draws it in. “No skin contact unless you initiate it or say otherwise.”

Erik strokes the area he'd just pinched lightly, moving his fingers along the edges to distract sensation from pain to comfort. Charles shudders against him, relaxes, but stays upright this time. Erik strokes back down his thighs, just running his hands over the taunt muscles beneath the slacks. His calluses snag without pain in the material when he slows down, pressing his fingertips in as though he's feeling out knots of tension. Charles' breathing starts to come in long streams from his nose, a veritable gust against Erik's shoulder. Like this, Charles is just a little bit taller than him.

It doesn't take long for him to feel Charles' cock starting to press against his stomach; it had already been heading in that direction from the beginning. But there's a purpose to this, so Erik slides his fingers between Charles' thighs and presses. He doesn't have to say anything for Charles to spread his legs wider for him, allowing his fingers to work at the more sensitive muscle of his inseam. Charles' hips cant slightly at the first firm touch, looking for friction, and Erik's blood starts to pulse a bit harder in his veins.

“Easy,” he soothes. Charles listens, relaxes just a bit. His breath still itches with slight sounds while Erik works, hips wriggling, but he's steadier somehow. Erik pulls back after a moment, “Look at me.”

Charles' pupils are wide, but the blue is still a crystal wall around the black depths. His red lips have parted a bit, wet from where he's licking them every once in a while, and hot breathes are slipping between them. He doesn't seem certain if he wants to look Erik in the eye or at his mouth—he settles for the mouth and Erik can hazard a few guesses as to why. He's drifting, but he isn't completely gone. Good. It's enough to make Erik's blood roar in his ears, his own erection already threatening the confines of cotton, but he maintains his control.

Erik reaches a hand back towards his dresser and the leather gloves fly to him by the buttons on their wrists. The action snaps Charles more towards awareness, disapproval keens from his throat as he watches Erik slip them on. His vested interest is not of the positive nature.

“You asked what you could do for me,” Erik says. He won't admit to making a show of pulling the gloves on, but he does. He tugs on the wrists and stretches his fingers out, as though he hasn't worn them in with months of use.

“I didn't realize you'd be using the gloves,” Charles protests. Erik feels him flex his fingers again; he's not struggling, just anxious.

He raises a brow. “Would you have refused?”

Erik is still holding the wrist of his glove when he gestures for Charles to look up at him, which his sub obliges with hesitancy. His look is still downright sinful in its blatant display of want, but there's an edge of defiance to it. More than that, a touch of control that makes Erik's instincts flare. Charles must see it because he averts his eyes purposefully downward. He shakes his head.

“I didn't think so.”

Charles doesn't dislike the gloves the way Erik doesn't like them. They're a tool, something to heighten the sensation and pleasure by drawing it out, and nothing more. But he's careful with them, with Charles, because, like any tool, there is a time it isn't meant to be used. It's with Charles' permission—his averted eyes, the lack of safeword—that Erik continues. He takes nothing less.

When both gloves are on, he reaches forward to unbutton the waistcoat. He isn't slow to push it off Charles' shoulders, letting his wrists part enough that he can remove it completely and toss it to the floor. The shirt follows, and an uncertain stillness settles over Charles. He's fighting avidly not to break the rules. The tension twisting through Charles' mind is powerful, winding him like a rubber-band pulled too tight. Erik hears his own orders echo through his mind from Charles', the edges of a heady desire to please on them. It's intoxicating for Erik in a different way.

The leather is warm as he trails it down Charles' chest with each button, hooking his fingers beneath his shirt in a display that isn't so much a necessity as an indulgence. Erik knows, of course, that the gloves don't compare to skin-on-skin contact, which is precisely why he's wearing them. Charles craves the touch of his Dom, the only thing that will satiate that overflowing well of heat in him, and Erik is denying it.

But touch, of course, is still erotic in its own way. Charles could be aroused by anyone else, they could possibly even get him off, but it would feel wrong. It would feel like being touched by leather gloves.

Not that Erik ever intends to have Charles in such a situation, of course.

The shirt follows the trail of the waistcoat and soon they're both topless, which means Erik puts a little bit of extra distance between them. Charles gets to feel his hands only. Erik skirts over his skin, rubs his thumbs over his nipples and earns a hiss in reply. He smirks and skates lower, traces his fingertip into the dip of Charles' navel and then back up. He holds Charles' shoulder as his other hand wraps around his throat. He massages his thumb into his pulse, works up and finds the spot behind his jaw. Charles whimpers as he presses into it and Erik feels him start to quiver through the gloved layer.

He cups Charles' through his slacks—he's certainly eager, his erection straining hard against the material—and Charles' hips spasm as a result. He can't open his mouth much, but a strangled sound of distinct need slips through anyway. It hits Erik's ears and shoots straight to his cock, so he squeezes Charles' to return the favor.

“You're trembling already,” he keeps his voice low, sultry. Charles nods as best as he can despite the fact it wasn't a question. His neck, his pulse, are both warm through the leather—he feels Charles swallow against his palm.

Erik takes a moment to look down the length of Charles' body, strained, and gloriously so, from knee to throat. He moves his hand back to Charles' side and strokes, watching the muscles twitch and his chest expand into the touch. Charles shifts impatiently from the lack of contact on his erection, but otherwise is completely subservient. Erik licks his thumb and toys with one of his already hardened nipples in time with his other touch.

“Erik—” he rasps, arches.

He chuckles, putting something intentionally dark in it. “You're not even close, Charles.”

He knows his sub's limits, and Charles is very aroused, yes, but not so close to his edge just yet. He pinches his nipple in warning before dropping his hand down his side again, feeling the muscles straining in Charles' thighs from holding himself upright. He turns Charles' head a little, enough that he can breath against his ear.

“But.” Charles whimpers; it's quiet, though, so he won't miss a word. “I'm not punishing you today, am I?”

“No.” Charles' answer is a mix between relief and pride. “No, Erik, no.”

He isn't refusing him, just reassuring him. Charles hasn't done anything wrong, nothing that deserves severe punishment, at least, and they both know that.

Erik smiles. “Proud of that, Charles?”

Charles goes rigid in his hands, and Erik can practically feel him running back through everything he's done and said up to this point. Not just in this scene, but in their lives together. He's checking for rules he's violated, nervous.

“Hush,” Erik murmurs. It snaps Charles back into himself like a whip. Erik feels him swallow again, still uncertain, so he shifts his hand and presses his fingers into the nape of his neck. “Why shouldn't you be proud? You've done very well.”

Charles goes slack, dropping his head forward, from a mix of touch sensation and the knowledge that he's pleased Erik. He's done something right, and even if it's simple it is something he has done with absolute perfection.

It's Erik who shudders this time, feeling Charles radiate content ease and subtle pleasure through his mind is a better agent for relaxation than all the hot baths and menthol in the world. He's not quite there—he hasn't reset, hasn't fixed all the problems of the past week or so—but he knows he will. They both do.

He massages him for a few minutes longer before sliding his hand up, tipping Charles' head back. His pupils are blown now, the blue a faint trickle of color along the edges. A lazy smile tugs at his features, pleased. Almost, Erik thinks.

“On your back, then,” he says. “Arms over your head.”

It takes a second and, like everything Charles does, it's graceful. He doesn't flop back on the bed, but instead makes deliberate movements to rest in the center of the mattress. He stretches his hands over his head, towards the wooden headboard, and unfolds his legs. Erik traces the spread of his body and, when Charles' toes wiggle in his socks when he reaches them, he realizes he's been watched. Charles follows his attention through hooded eyes, still trembling, but this time it's pure adrenaline and excitement. Erik's mouth goes dry.

It won't matter how many years they're together, he'll never get used to seeing someone—to seeing Charles—so willing and malleable under him. The trust is opaque in the heavy haze around them and pure in the blackness of Charles' eyes. He squirms when Erik swipes his hand down his stomach, free to tug on the cuffs that Erik is now holding there with his powers. Erik sits on the edge of the bed and just touches him, careful to keep any of their skin from meeting, and feels Charles wind even tighter in his mind even as an unmistakable pleasure races through his veins. He has no control now, held to the bed as he is, and it's starting to properly sink in.

Erik unfastens the buttons and zip without touching them, moves higher on the bed to give his hand a better angle as it slides down the plane of Charles' pelvis.

“No,” he whines, low, and throws his head back into the pillow. Erik's dick feels like an only slightly more manageable weight now that he's sitting down. Erik starts to retract his fingers.

“No?” It isn't their safeword, of course, and despite not being a telepath he knows what Charles' problem is before he says it.

“Not—hng,” he pants. Charles struggles to follow the withdrawing touch, trying to curve his hips after the hot trail of Erik's fingers. “Not the gloves.”

God, and how much time it took him to break Charles of refusing to say what he wanted, now he was relaying it with interest. It's like all those months of shy restraint, of the need to do whatever was wanted of him, burying his own pleasure beneath Erik's—secondary, less important—had never happened. Sometimes Erik doesn't listen, of course, because it's his responsibility to unravel Charles bit-by-bit, but he listens when it's important.

“Manners, Charles.”

His fingers barely traipse back the direction they'd come from before Charles is squirming. He isn't quite thrashing, but close. “Please!” Erik stops. “Please, take them off, please—”

Erik is already biting the tip of his other glove off by the second 'please.' He removes his hand from Charles' underwear completely as he swings his leg over him. He touches Charles' cheek, strokes his thumb over the flushed skin. “They're off, hush.”

Charles calms, turns his head into his touch. He tries to nuzzle into his thumb.

It has him off and Erik feels the distant, tell-tale detachment of Charles pulling away from him.

As a Dom, subspace isn't somewhere he can follow—wrong chemicals in the brain—but as a telepath, Charles has a way of letting him know. Erik speculates it's unintentional, because Erik feels him tugged off by a breeze. Charles is suddenly a kite, flying beyond Erik's fingertips, and Erik is the thing grounding him. The only thing. In his physical senses he can see it—the blown pupils, the distance in his actions, the lull curve of his flushed lips—and almost smell it. That's all most Doms have, but it's enough.

He isn't surprised that's what does it, really. The touch of leather like that, Erik's hand but not quite his hand, would have been dreadfully impersonal. Charles has experienced enough impersonal hands on him to last a lifetime.

But subspace offers its own high for Erik; the additional control is intoxicating. Suddenly the world that he has no practical ability to manipulate—the students he could fail as a teacher and a trainer, even the broken sink on the second floor—don't matter. Nothing matters beyond Charles, vulnerable and exposed. Charles, who mumbles incoherent disapproval when Erik slides his hand away. Charles, who needs him.

He doesn't say anything, just presses his mouth to Charles' and coaxes his lips open. They part easily and he takes his time exploring, feeling Charles' groan reverberate through his mouth, into his mind and down to his already aching erection. He pulls their lips apart to slide down, holding himself over Charles' thighs as he tastes the familiar skin of his shoulders, chest, stomach. His hands glide over Charles' sides, down to his pants, and unhook the waistband off the jagged line of his hips. Charles groans, tugs a little on his cuffs though the action isn't struggling. He tries to find purchase to push up.

“Settle,” Erik says, his voice a command but not harsh. Charles quiets with little more than a hum, pleased to oblige, and remains still until Erik slips his pants off entirely. His cock bobs back up, curving over his stomach and leaking already. Charles shudders down to his toes when Erik wraps his hand around him, an audible puff of air leaving him as though he'd been punched.

He momentarily curses himself for forgetting to run back through their rules again—Charles is too far gone to coherently agree to or remember anything—but they're engrained. He knows not to come until given permission.

He settles himself between Charles' legs, massaging his thighs for a moment before reaching up to reestablish his hold. He licks the tip of Charles' cock, holding the rest in his fist. The contact sends a surge through his body, ten times stronger than electricity that prickles to his very nerve endings. Charles bucks and Erik grips his hip, holding him to the bed as he teases his slit, swirls his tongue over the familiar shape of his tip. The legs on either side of him spread a little bit wider and Charles squirms, trying to get closer despite being trapped.

Charles mumbles, detached, and it's something that sounds quite a bit like Erik's name but might be something else. Either way, it is distinctly not their safeword. Erik continues his ministrations, making no move to take him any deeper for several long moments. He teases, clears away the precome as it appears, and presses light circles into Charles' hip. Charles whimpers, contorts, and Erik can tell when his sub is fretting on the edges of orgasm even when he's gone to subspace.

He pulls back before Charles can spill over, starts stroking his thigh instead. It's trembling—all of Charles is trembling with tiny quakes of pleasure—under the roughness of his calluses. He unfolds himself, balancing on one hand so he can nuzzle against Charles' exposed neck. Charles is chewing his lip to a bright and warning red, so Erik kisses him until he stops trying to draw blood. He can taste the faint threat of copper, but Charles hasn't broken skin yet.

He withdraws, whispers, “Steady, now.”

When the trembling has subsided a bit he leans over, finding the container of lubricant in the bedside table drawer. He can feel Charles watching him, but it's Erik's face and not his actions that are captivating him. Erik smiles, kisses him softly. “You're doing perfectly.”

Charles smiles back, still dazed, and wiggles a bit like a contented cat settling into a plush pillow. His cheeks are almost as bright as his lips, and it takes a good chunk of Erik's remaining self control to pull away. He can feel Charles' eyes following him, faraway and curious, as he pops the cap on the lubricant and smears a healthy dose across his fingertips. Charles legs spread a bit wider for him, and Erik hears an amused whisper in his his mind Oh, that worked, like Charles hadn't been expecting his body to respond for him.

He takes Charles' cock deeper now and the bed jumps as Charles throws his head back into the pillow. A throaty moan rattles Erik's mind and he twitches when his fingers first press to the tight entrance, fighting back the urge to thrust one deep inside the familiar cavity. He massages instead, pressing them in expert circles as Charles shifts and curls his back in ways contortionists could have been envious of. Erik lavishes slick heat all along his cock, messy but not sloppy.

He waits and works until Charles cries his name, like the scrape of a branch against a window pane, before pressing his first finger inside. Charles body, breath, being hitches at the intrusion, lost with what he's supposed to do with it. Erik strokes Charles' hip with his other hand, presses Relax, Charles, relax for me, now until Charles shivers and complies. He melts like hot wax around Erik's fingers, and preparing him turns into a very easy task. Charles dissolves to moans and pliable clay for him, reduced to something basic and sensuous. With his absolution, Erik feels his own tension washed away like hot water to the uncomfortable cling of sweat and grime, fear and pain.

Charles is three fingers stretched before Erik pulls back, sits up straight, and looks at him. Charles is higher than any kite is meant to go, and yet he's completely and totally with Erik. The calm of his eyes, the flush of his skin—no one else can accomplish this, and he refuses to believe that on a completely biological level. The heat racing through his veins is entirely Charles; it's not as sub and not as Dom, but as two people existing in a breadth of space that's entirely their own.

“Erik...” he whispers, and there's something more powerful than biology and something deeper than love there. It's like Charles is shaping his name for the first time, and yet has known him for thousands of years.

“Tell me what you want, Charles.”

Charles wants to reach for him, but is unperturbed by the fact that he can't. Maybe he thinks he has—Erik will never know what genuine subspace is like. He smooths his hand over Charles' stomach, eases him.

He hisses, “Fuck me. Need you—ah—please, Erik...”

He squirms, the previously contented cat now a coiling serpent of debauchery. Erik finally allows himself to lean forward. He hooks one of Charles' legs over his shoulder and the other finds his waist out of habit, leaving Erik a free arm to lock into the small of Charles' back. Their angle set, it's a simple matter of pressing in, and yet everything complicates to one final knot in his spine in that moment.

Charles is still trembling, but he relaxes as Erik sheathes himself inside, as though the blunt pressure has the opposite effect expected. Erik holds his breath—he always does, even when he shouldn't—as he eases himself into the tight grip. They don't do this often enough for Charles to be loose, which makes when they do fuck that much better. Charles' legs tense against his shoulder, his hip, keening as he pulls him deeper, impatient. Erik pinches his thigh, a silent command, and he stops, eases back into the bed. A second later and Erik is buried inside, hunching over Charles and panting against his throat. If he had the use of his arms and mind, Charles probably would have soothed him just then, but Erik has driven him to the rapturous ends of his nerves and he's a creature of unbridled want now. Erik decides, with the restless wiggle of Charles' hips, that he would not have him any other way.

He sets a pace and Charles follows, rolling his hips to meet Erik's thrusts and curling his fingers hard into his palms. The bundle of unpleasant remnants starts to unfurl as he drives into the tight burn of Charles' body, the clash of skin-on-skin filling the room outside of his growls and Charles' gasps. He drives them both to a fever pitch before slowing down, easing Charles away from the sharp edge of his orgasm. He moans, he wants, but Erik keeps up the pattern until he's convinced those last dregs of Professor Charles Xavier are gone, leaving behind Charles, his Charles, and, in return, the Charles he belongs to.

Charles' cock is strained against his stomach, offset with the pale contrast of his belly, and it's hot when Erik wraps his hand around it. Charles bucks, wild demand and taunt limbs, and the sound that comes out is a sob, a plea, a confession.

“Shh,” Erik soothes. He nuzzles Charles' throat, his cheek, and Charles nuzzles back, trusting and trembling. Their touch is like the brush of exposed nerves, sparking something sensitive and vulnerable with each caress, but necessary. It hurts and it heals, a wound being cauterized.

“Please, Erik...”

“It's alright.” He kisses him, feels Charles' lips quiver against his. “Let it go.”

And he does, his voice cried-out and strained, Charles spills over Erik's hand with little more than a quick gasp. He clamps down hard, body wrecked with spasms, and Erik thrusts into him a few more times before following after. It's a downward spiral, those last impossible knots uncurling from his brain, spine, life and drifting away like a cleanse.

When he starts to come back to himself, he realizes that he's holding Charles' pinned hands and that Charles' fingers are clinging to his. He's shaking when Erik releases the cuffs with a thought, pulls his hands down and kisses them. It takes some coaxing to get Charles to let go, to move his hold to his shoulders, and his grip is hard when he does. It will remain that way until the cocktail of natural chemicals subsides, Erik knows, and it's an insignificant pain in the scheme of things.

Charles' is vocal in his mind as the high wears off, but it's more like a child's babbling than anything. Erik picks up stray sensations and pieces together what Charles needs from that. He gathers him into his arms after he pulls out, rolls onto his back and lets Charles tuck himself under his chin. He strokes his hair, his back. He kisses him whenever Charles lifts his head, just softly, and slowly guides him back into himself. It's like winding in a kite—left alone it'll hit a tree or crash into the ground, pull too hard and he'll break the string—and he has the patience.

He murmurs things that are usually silent and understood between them—you're wonderful, I need you—because Charles doesn't understand much right now. Erik is stroking his thigh when Charles' fingers twitch and he shifts, becoming aware of the fact they're both sticky. A dull thrum of something like panic rises through the shared haze of their minds and Erik kisses his temple, keeps his lips there even when he speaks, “You're just as perfect as the day I collared you,” and Charles slumps against him again.

They stay like that for a while, until Charles' trembling goes away completely and his breathing is even and slow. He's not asleep, Erik knows, but he's starting to doze. He slips two fingers down Charles' spine and the smaller body shudders, grunts a complaint. Erik grins.

“Bath first, then dinner, then you can sleep,” he says.

Charles yawns, murmurs, “I'd prefer to skip to the last one.”

“Not happening. Would you like me to carry you?”

Charles doesn't say anything for a moment, just nuzzles against his collarbone, and Erik is very near to pinching him when he shifts. He tests his limbs, stretches his arms and legs. He's all but worked his way off of Erik's lap when he says, “I think I can handle it.”

They walk to the bathroom and Erik keeps a hand against Charles' back just in case, once again starting the water before they get there. He's looking for fresh washcloths and soap when Charles speaks up.

“Do you feel better?”

Erik turns to look at him, a bottle of body wash in one hand and a loofa in the other. Charles is sitting on the edge of the tub, leaning over and running his hand through the water in slow lines. There's a tension to his jaw that threatens to knot something in Erik's stomach. He walks over before it can, catches Charles' chin, and makes him look at him. His pupils have dilated and the bright blue that he adores is back, blinking a question up at him that Erik always hates: Am I good enough?

He strokes his thumb against the soft line of his jaw, “As always, Charles, you've done me a world of good.”

That's all it takes for him to brighten, smile, be as at peace here as he is when they're twisted together, Dom and sub, complete.

Erik is decided that this school is going to kill him—and by 'school' he means the twenty rambunctious mutants running around it with the expectation for more.

But they'll have to go through Charles first, and Erik, quite frankly, feels rather invincible knowing that.