All of Erik's focus was on the feel of the bullet racing through the air, grabbing it and finding someplace safe for it to ricochet where it wouldn't hit anyone when a piece of wood bludgeoned the side of his head. He released the bullet and plunged into darkness.
The next time he woke everything was hazy. His thoughts drifted slowly as he blinked at a ceiling that seemed to swirl before his eyes. A murmur of voices gradually entered his consciousness and he reached out instinctively for metal, but it was like trying to grasp a wriggling fish under the distorting rush of water in a stream. He felt the thinness of a needle approach and plunge into his arm, and then he was gone again.
When he finally woke with all of his senses intact he was encased in a white cage of concrete and glass.
Days crept by as he minutely examined his new cell for any hint of weakness. All he needed was a sliver, the barest break to exploit... but there was nothing. Nothing except the barren, blank whiteness surrounding him and the thump of his heart. Guards came to deliver his food, but he couldn't get a grasp of a systematic schedule or rotation they might be on. The same person would occasionally come twice in a row, other days he recognized one guard in five. He couldn't even be sure they were keeping him to a regular 24-hour day. His lights shut off when they wanted him to sleep and turned on when they wanted him to wake. Being unconscious for so long had also confused his normally impeccable internal clock, and the absence of any external markings of the passage of time meant he never knew exactly when it was. He would just as likely be given eggs for three continuous meals and chicken for four, so trying to judge by what food they were feeding him was moot. He ate everything he got. He needed to be at full strength, ready for any hint of an opportunity.
He had no concept of how long he'd been incarcerated before he felt it: A familiar, light brushing in his mind that caused goosebumps to break out over his arms and legs.
Hello, Erik, Charles said. His voice, his accent, his words all went through Erik like a physical sensation.
Cerebro? he asked. He forced himself to coldly calculate what Charles might want, what might force him to break the long silence that had hung between them.
Not quite, said Charles. There was something about his voice that was different, that Erik couldn't quite put his finger on, though four words were hardly enough to get a read on. Then again, he'd always understood the nuances of Charles unlike anyone else. Are you feeling up for a visitor?
Erik's heart rate kicked up. The possibility of seeing Charles electrified him, yes, but also, for the first time since they put him in here something would be opened. He put that realization as far back in his mind as he could.
I think I can clear my schedule, he thought dryly. There was no answering sensation of amusement.
Are you sure?
Erik frowned. Of course I'm sure.
A pause, as though Charles were conferring with someone else, or debating something privately. All right. By your invitation. Another wrestling pause, and then almost reluctantly, I am sorry for this.
Erik blinked, and then Charles was sitting in front of him in a flimsy plastic chair, hands clutching the arms. His hair was slightly longer than it had been when Erik had seen him last, curling around the tops of his ears. He wore an impeccably tailored three-piece Prince of Wales suit in grey with a light blue tie. All of it - Erik quickly ran his powers over him - completely metal free. His eyes were just as stunning as Erik had remembered, shining royal blue under the unforgivingly bright lights of his cell.
"Hello, Erik," Charles said again. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. I apologize for the -" he lifted a hand and wiggled his fingers by his temple in a gesture that was heart-breakingly familiar, "but as you can imagine, our hosts didn't want the metal of my wheelchair anywhere near you, didn’t trust to allow you in any location but this one, and I didn't particularly relish the idea of you watching me being carried in." Charles absently ran his hand down his left thigh and squeezed his knee. He took a deep breath and clenched the armrest again, knuckles going pale. "So here we are, I'm afraid."
He must have wheeled in with a guard carrying the plastic chair, who then took the wheelchair out. It suddenly occurred to Erik look around to find the opening that had admitted him; he hadn't looked away from Charles since he appeared. Erik wasn't sure he had even blinked. Unsurprisingly, the ceiling was exactly as it had been a split second ago. A split second to him - who knew how long it had taken to arrange Charles where he now sat. Any metal from his wheelchair was now beyond Erik’s ability to feel and control.
"So formal,” Erik murmured. He looked back at Charles. “Is that any way to greet an old friend?”
Charles' lips thinned. "I came to offer you my family's best legal services for the trial."
This turn of the conversation was so unexpected that Erik had to take a few seconds to gather himself.
"Is that so?" he asked.
"I knew of the chap they were going to give to you," said Charles, gaze darting on every aspect of the cell except Erik, "and it would have been a death warrant for sure. Bartholomew has been with the Xaviers' for years. You can't do better."
Erik's non-response finally cracked through the polite-visitor front. Charles' eyes locked on his, flashing. "I almost wasn't admitted, you know that. I had to assure them I could handle you before they agreed."
"I could handle you" was so far away from "I knew you couldn't do this" or even "I knew you wouldn't hurt me" that Erik felt a cyclone of emotion rise up in him in response.
"So you've set yourself up as jury, judge, and executioner against me already, Charles?" he drawled dangerously. "No question as to my guilt, then?"
"You will have your day in court, Erik," said Charles sharply. "And it will not be with me. Luckily for you."
"And what crimes would you convict me of, Charles?" asked Erik. "Just the ones you witnessed in person, or the ones you stole from my mind?"
"I am not fit to be anyone's jury, so save yourself from that concern," said Charles. "I seem to have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy."
Erik finally realized what that emotion he had been trying to identify in Charles's voice was. Anger. As they had known each other before, anger had been a foreign language between the both of them. Erik had been raised on it, but whenever it had entered Charles's voice or tainted his thoughts it had been more exasperation than anything. Anger for Charles had been passing even as it occurred.
Now the anger was in a language Erik could understand. It was built on hatred. On self-loathing.
A long few seconds passed with both of them breathing heavily before Erik surged forward and crushed Charles's lips to his, grasping both sides of his face and bending in half to press Charles's back to the chair.
Charles's mouth... Erik had had so many fantasies, so may dreams, so many daydreams, so many memories about it that it hardly felt real now he had it between his lips.
It was as plush and warm as he remembered, the taste as heady as he recalled, moving desperately under his lips as he tried to devour Charles whole. A whimper escaped one of them, but neither paid it any notice as Charles's hands came up from under Erik's arms to cup his shoulder blades, as Erik leaned forward to get closer, closer...
The flimsy chair under Charles moved as if buckling between their combined weight. Charles jerked his head back while at the same time his upper body jolted as if shocked, arms tightening fully around Erik's shoulders in an almost vise-like grip, a terrified gasp gusting passed his lips against Erik's ear. Erik's arms shot around Charles's waist and bound them together, furiously ready to hold Charles up and away from anything that might send him sprawling in an undignified heap to the ground.
But the chair righted itself and held. A moment passed where they both processed this. Erik moved his hands to contract on the chair's back, warping it under his hold, hating fervently every unfeeling, lifeless molecule of it... There was no way he could protect Charles in this scrap of furniture. Then Erik glanced at the pathetic excuse he had for a bed, a slab on the ground. A brief idea flashed through his mind: Erik sliding an arm under Charles's legs and lifting him to the bedroll, gently lowering him, covering him with his body...
Charles jerked his head back with a contemptuous snort.
"No," he said harshly, right arm unlocking from Erik's neck. "Like this."
Charles shoved his hand between them and fumbled with Erik's pants so furiously they ripped at the joining at his crotch.
"Charles..." he started. He voice deserted him the second Charles's hand closed around his semi-hard cock.
Charles began to slowly jerk him off, watching Erik's face avidly as his mouth fell open. His other hand came around and shoved Erik's pants and underwear down to his thighs. His hand then moved up and thrust Erik's shirt up to mid-chest, revealing more of his skin to Charles's eager eyes.
Charles pressed his left hand flat against the flat, muscled plane of Erik's stomach. He pushed in slightly, fingertips depressing into the flesh in five small craters. He slid his hand around to Erik's hip, thumb sliding into the hard dent caused by his hipbone and sending a shiver running up Erik's spine. His hand continued to the small of Erik's back, bottom two fingers just barely riding the crest of his ass. Charles urged him forward at the same time as he opened his mouth, slid his right hand to the base of Erik's cock, and swallowed him down.
Charles kept going, lower, lower, mouth and throat opening. His hand dropped away and then reappeared on Erik's waist, palm gentle under the proud arch of his bottom rib. Soon Charles had him all the way in, nose brushing against Erik's groin. His breath puffed out in harsh warm gusts against Erik's thick pubic hair and hard lower stomach.
Erik's hands drifted to Charles's head, sliding into his thicket of hair and curving lovingly around his skull, palms covering the top of both ears. He remembered the tickle of his thick hair, the weight of the strands against the nerve endings in his fingers as if they had never been anywhere else. He had touched gold, he had held marvels, but never had he cradled something so precious.
The urgency of a moment ago dimmed a moment as they both breathed in once, twice. Then Charles's left hand pushed insistently against his lower back and he lifted off of Erik's cock until only the head remained, and then swallowed him back down. Understanding the command, Erik started a slow pumping motion, in and out while Charles moved his head in time. Erik's right hand smoothed down Charles's cheekbone, brushing up against his red, red, stretched lips, and resting finally lightly against his long full throat, thumb caressing his Adam's apple. After a few seconds a slight choking sound accompanied every thrust. Charles gagged badly once but refused to be lifted back, instead tightening his lips and swallowing defiantly, eyes flicking up to Erik's. Tears gathered in the corner of his eyes from the strain, matting the eyelashes at the corner of his left eye.
Erik stared back, fully captivated, a true prisoner, watching the slick, shiny base of his cock disappear, appear, disappear, appear to and from Charles's red and taut upper lip. He picked up speed, unable to help himself, his lungs heaving for breath as if he were a racehorse at the end of a competition.
His orgasm hit him like a train, his head flinging back and his hips shoving forward before he could signal a warning, pumping again and again into Charles's generous mouth until he thrust in for one final release. His vision whited out and the meager amount of noise in the room - created only by him and Charles - seemed to static out, and the two grew until he was consumed in a deafening supernova of brightness.
When he returned to himself he was completely alone, standing in the dead center of his white-lit prison.
For a moment he doubted his own sanity, until he turned to look up at the ceiling and he felt his cock - tucked carefully back in his torn, done-up pants - slide slickly against his thigh.
He plunged his hand into his pants and ran it down his cock. He put his wet hand against his face, breathing deeply, tongue darting out, trying to cut past his own thick scent to find any trace of Charles, of his sweet mouth, to relive his last kiss.
It was days before Erik heard from Charles's lawyer. It was nearly a decade before he heard from Charles himself again.