Lightening burst through the sky in the form of choppy ribbons, turning the night into day for a split second before the world darkened once more and thunder crackled through the air, shaking the houses in rolled over, including the large Xavier mansion. No one within the building heard this however. No one's dreams were phased even slightly by the way the windows rattled and the walls trembled as the thunder slowly faded away. No one except the owner of the mansion: Charles Francis Xavier.
Due to his mutation, Charles had never been a deep sleeper. He was often awake until the early hours of the morning, trying to keep the thoughts of those around him from entering his mind, so he could close his eyes and attempt to find serenity in his dreams.
However, this night, it was not his ability to read minds that was keeping him from drifting off. It was the thunder shaking the house, the lightening brightening the sky. It was the old irrational fear that the loud noises, existing only in the air above the wealthy establishment, could hurt him if he did not stay still in his bed, if he did not stay awake, if he did not stay inside.
Another bang made him jump beneath his bed sheets, and he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, trying to calm himself down, trying to force himself to believe that there was nothing outside that could hurt him. When he jumped again and caught himself grasping the blankets around him, he chuckled, sarcasm evident in the sound.
"You're a bloody scientist, Charles Xavier," he whispered to himself through gritted teeth, his brows narrowing as he slowly let go of the blankets and, instead, balled his hands into fists, digging his nails into his palms. "You're a bloody scientist and you know that the sounds you're hearing cannot harm you. It's just electricity in the sky. It can't hurt you. It can't –"
Lightening, thunder, jump.
He sighed heavily as he settled once more and placed an arm over his eyes along with a grimace on his lips. He hated this weakness. He was twenty-five years old msn and he was still afraid of thunderstorms.
Swallowing hard, he called to the only person he knew could take away his fear, could soothe him into sleep.
The night Erik had been taken from his home in Germany and placed in a concentration camp in Poland, it had been raining a startling amount. He was soaked almost the instant the soldiers dragged him out his front door to shove him in a truck full of other Jewish children and their parents. He had huddled in between his mother and father, trying to keep his fear at bay, trying to believe that the camps were really just as simple as the soldiers claimed them to be.
This, of course, had not been the case. However, it had not stopped him from trying to keep his sanity by convincing himself that as long as he did exactly what the soldiers around him asked, what Schmidt asked, that he was winning this sick game. Every scar he gained, he counted as a point against them and every time he cried, he counted as a point for them. Before he was able to truly understand the gravity of what was happening, he had turned his painful existence into a game, a game that, he was convinced, he could win.
If all truth be told, he was not in the camps long enough to find out if there could have been a winner between him and the soldiers. It was only a year after he first arrived that he was liberated and taken back to the United States where he remained until he was eighteen. After that he moved back to Europe and began searching the continent for Schmidt, the man who had ruined his life and taken away his mother's.
However, not too long ago that search had been interrupted by the man whose house he was now occupying: Charles Francis Xavier, a young British professor of genetics, who, as much as Erik hated to admit it, he was steadily growing more and more attached to. It was a dangerous thought, but the more the metal-bender thought about it, he had to admit that the feelings he had for the telepath were beyond simple friendship. In fact, he might even call them something closer to love, romance.
Now, as he stared out the window, watching the rain pound mercilessly against it with his arms crossed over his chest, he tsk-ed himself for thinking such perilous thoughts. Getting attached to someone, anyone was always a bad idea. It had happened to him as young man in the camps and all of the people he had grown to care about ended up dead.
What if that happens to Charles? A voice whispered in his mind. What if, simply because you come to care about him, he ends up injured or worse?
Running his fingers over his face, Erik knew this to be a possibility. It seemed that everyone he cared about ended up injured or dead. Usually the latter in the end and if that happened to the telepath he had, whether he wanted to admit it or not, grown to love, he did not know if he could take it. He had barely been able to keep himself from falling to pieces when Schmidt murdered his mother. He could not imagine how he would hold himself together if Charles was taken away from him as well.
Almost as though he were reading his mind at that precise moment, Erik heard the telepath's voice in his head.
He whispered it in a tender way, a pleading way, a way that made the metal-bender sure he needed him at that moment. He closed his eyes, running his hand over his face again as the desperation in Charles' tone washed over him once more and he pushed himself slowly up out of bed, staggering to the door as he responded, his voice just as soft, careful, light, I'm coming, Charles. I swear. I will be there momentarily.
Currently, the metal-bender was dressed only in a cashmere robe he had found hanging on the door in the bathroom adjacent to the room in which he slept. He did not want to enter Charles' room all but naked, so he carefully dressed himself in one of his many black turtlenecks and a pair of comfortable matching trousers before he left his room and headed down the hallway towards the telepath's.
His own memories would have to wait to be subdued. Right now it was Charles' pain, Charles' memories – whatever they may be – that he had to erase.
The storm had not subdued since Charles had called out to Erik. In fact, by the time the metal-bender arrived, opening his door quietly and shutting it just as gently, it seemed to have intensified. A clap of thunder proceeded Erik's entrance and the telepath jumped again, nearly falling out of bed and making a complete and utter fool of himself in front of his friend.
Immediately, the older man was at his side, a gentle hand on his shoulder, another one curling around his own and, when Charles opened his eyes, he saw a concern in the metal-bender's face that he had never seen before.
The intimacy of his touch was astounding and the telepath wondered if maybe his friend had become something more. However, then Erik pulled away, his fingers quickly removing themselves from his shoulder and his hand. He cleared his throat, as though embarrassed and moved around the bed to the space that was not occupied. He sat down heavily and asked, his brows drawn together in what appeared to be concern and accusation as though he already knew Charles was going to lie, "How are you?"
If he was going to be completely honest, Charles did think about lying. He thought about smiling and laughing and telling his friend that he was completely alright, that whatever he thought was wrong was not any longer and he should go back to his bed to sleep. It was right about this time that the thunder shattered the silence in the room and he nearly fell out of the bed a second time. When he righted himself once more, he swallowed and turned away, staring at the door, unwilling to look at his friend as he replied in a soft voice, "I'm afraid of thunderstorms, Erik. I always have been and I do not know why."
The last bit was the only lie in that entire statement, but he did not given any indication that this was the case. He simply swallowed, slightly embarrassed at having told the man beside him his childish fear and afraid of what the next clap of thunder was going to do to him.
Before he could do anything to prevent it, Erik's arms were around him, drawing him into an embrace that was not prepared for and, for that reason, resisted, if only for a moment. When he realized that he wanted this just as much as the metal-bender did, he carefully wrapped his own arms around the older man's neck, moved his fingers through his hair, closed his eyes and sighed in what could only be described as complete contentment.
They stayed that way for a very long time or so it felt. In all truth it could not have been more than a couple of minutes, ten at the very most. When they did pull apart, Charles swallowed again, taking a deep shuddering breath, before he licked his lips, took the metal-bender's face in his hands and, without thinking it through completely, pressed his mouth against the older man's.
He was afraid, when their lips first connected, that Erik was going to pull away, that he was going to push him away and tell him that he was not interested, that he did not care for him that way, that he was reading too much into their relationship, but none of this happened, despite the fact his friend remained very stiff and un-relaxed for several moments, before, finally, he began to kiss him back. He felt the other man's fingers reach up into his hair and grip it tightly as he opened and closed his mouth, dipping his tongue in and out.
When Erik finally did pull away, he kept his fingers in Charles' hair and a gentle hand on his cheek. The telepath watched as he swallowed, clearly nervous, before his thumb carefully rubbed the skin of his face. He closed his eyes and leaned into the metal-bender's touch, a small smile spreading across his face as he did so.
"Everyone I have ever loved has been taken away from me," Erik whispered, his voice shaking slightly with emotion. "I have never been allowed to care for someone without tragedy striking them and I'm terrified that will happen to you. I'm terrified you will be taken away from me as well and I do not know if I could handle that."
As he had been speaking, Charles had placed his hand atop the one Erik was holding against his face. He had opened his eyes, his smile had faded and now, when the metal-bender was finished speaking, he said in the same soft tone, "I will never leave you, Erik Lehnsherr. Not for as long as I live. I swear to you. We will always be together."
With that the telepath kissed the metal-bender once more this time with a passion that could not be described with simple things such as words.
As he lay back down on the bed, pulling Erik atop him, Charles only half noticed the thunder had been all but forgotten.