Having seen the horrors Erik is capable of, having touched the bloody emotional scars, most people eventually walk away if they haven't already coiled back in the fear that grips.
"You think I should be scared of you."
Charles is on the bed, lying on his back in days old clothes, staring up at the ceiling in their motel room when Erik walks out of the shower in a pair of pants and a towel draped around his neck. The other doesn't miss a beat, doesn't wait for his eyes or hands to wander before he takes a seat at the edge of the bed, back turned from Charles, body angled towards the door.
Erik doesn't pretend, he is not one for that, never one for it.
"But you aren't."
"No, I'm not." Charles sits up, smiles at Erik's bare back. The one littered with scars and traumas he can't even begin to voice, not without a hand muffling the screams. "…I won't run, you know."
Charles puts a hand on Erik's back, runs a warm palm against the heated skin and waits.
"…You don't need to tell me that."
"I don't need to do anything when it comes to you, Erik." He rubs at the muscles, feels the knots of tension and runs his hands against his skin until their temperatures match. "But I would like to, if that's all right with you."
"…Did I ever have a choice?"
Erik rests his elbows on his knees and leans forward, and away. Charles feels the bumps of his spine with one hand and pushes his bangs from his eyes with the other, his fingertips brush against his temple. And then, he says.
"I would like to think you do."
"…I would like that too."
Erik twists his head back and smiles, Charles's eyes close when he feels lips pressing over his.
When Charles thinks he is being merciful, Erik thinks otherwise as loud as he can. And, it really doesn't matter, not when he has this.
But still, it is always silence that answers back.