Perhaps, it was rather fortunate that it happened the moment he settled down on the bed, a supposedly simple headache, slamming into him with the grueling force of a million little knives, the product of a typical, hectic day of training with the children.
He had already felt the early symptoms of it at dinner, a little push here and there at the sides of his head, which was why he had to excuse himself, despite the inquiring stares, especially Erik’s.
The funny thing— he was a telepath. He could utilize his telepathy to rid of this terrible, throbbing headache; it wouldn’t take much, just a flicker of his power, but it might drain him all the more in the end, considering how tired he was now, trying to get comfortable as he pulled on the blankets, resting on his side and looking towards the window.
The moon cast a faint glow over his bedroom, offering him just the barest hint of silver light. He shifted so that he was lying on his back and closed his eyes in his last attempt to ease the ache in what he considered was the normal way.
Moments passed. A cool breeze flowed into the bedroom, making him shiver, but only slightly. He was dressed in loose, pale pajamas, but the blankets around him were warm now from his own body heat.
Sometime during the night, an all too familiar figure slipped into the room. Even with his defenses lowered, Charles was still able to sense his presence with his telepathy; it was like trying to track one’s own shadow really, always so close when one least expected it, but it didn’t truly sink into him until he heard the audible click of the lock in his door.
Vaguely alarmed, he sat up, his eyes snapped wide open, but the sudden movement only worsened his headache. Now those knives were drilling into his mind instead of merely stabbing him. With one hand, he cradled his head. He was beginning to have second thoughts about doing this the standard way, but then the quick fixes were like taking painkillers, easily addictive.
“So you weren’t kidding when you said you had to retire early from dinner,” Erik said casually as he sat on the other side of the bed, right at the edge, so he had to turn in order look at Charles. Unlike Charles, he was adorned in that familiar black turtleneck and white pants. A hand rested on one firm thigh, his long fingers curled around the knee. There was hidden amusement dancing in those green eyes.
Charles resisted the urge to roll his own eyes. It would only make the ache a tad more painful. He let his hands rest on his lap. “No, I wasn’t. Why would I lie?” …so needlessly, he mentally added, to himself at least. “I wasn’t avoiding you if that’s what you were thinking of.”
Because he certainly wasn’t, despite the fact that things had definitely changed between them, from the moment they had met to where they were now, in a way that he couldn’t identify, much less predict even with his telepathy. He supposed it had something to do with time, simply time, and the circumstances that had brought them closer and closer together as though it was inevitable.
Still, that didn’t stop the sudden tension in the room, coiling around them now, threatening to choke them both.
“Are you reading my mind again?” Erik asked, the amusement vanishing from his gaze, but Charles only shook his head and then later regretted it as soon as he felt the sudden throb of that horrible headache again.
Erik stared at him for a few more moments, studying him. Never mind the fact that it was rather rude to stare, but everything Erik did, he did it wholly, relentlessly, and in some cases, without any trace of shame.
“Erik,” Charles said softly. He laid down, resting his head on the pillows. He turned to his friend for a minute and then glanced back at the door, the same door that was currently locked. “Is there anything you need for tonight?”
Those green eyes were gleaming with amusement again. Erik smiled, a small private one at that, as though he knew something that Charles didn’t. It was false, though. Charles hadn’t been lying to him when he said he knew everything about Erik. The fact that Charles himself wasn’t at all perturbed by what he had seen and knew about him, was what actually disturbed him all the more.
“I think it’s you who might need something,” Erik said in a low tone of voice, almost a whisper and to Charles’ chagrin, he moved over to him, perhaps too close, but some part of him welcomed it and didn’t even flinch as a hand, normally so rough, gently caressed his cheek.
“I could just use my telepathy, you know,” Charles reminded him because he was never sure where to draw the line between them when it came to relationships and body contact. Erik was his friend, his close friend, but the word friend didn’t even encompass the deep connection he had felt when he pulled Erik out of what could have been his watery grave.
“You could,” Erik said thoughtfully. There was a long pause, a heavy kind of silence. “Or I could do this.” With his other hand, he gestured, pulling and Charles felt the metal clasp of his belt being tugged so he was forced to sit up, only to be laid down again, his head now resting in Erik’s lap.
“Erik,” Charles warned. “What are you…”
Those long fingers weaved into his hair, gently massaging his scalp. Despite himself, he closed his eyes briefly and let out a soft sigh. The balls of those fingers pressed onto the back of his scalp, adding pressure. It hurt, but it was a good kind of pain, a distraction even, and it made him feel better, the ache lessening.
Some part of him wondered why Erik was doing this and he was tempted to ask, but he suspected that he already knew the answer. Any excuse to touch him, to be with him, in the little time that they did have left, but only going as far as Charles allowed, always testing his boundaries and to some extent, his own powers.
The headache was almost gone now and Charles had to bite his bottom lip when he felt those wonderful fingers leave him. They stared at each other again, smiling at one another. The tension dissipated somewhat; it was a little easier to talk.
“Thank you,” Charles said gratefully, but with meaning heavy in his words, he added, “my friend.”
Another smile on those normally firm lips, with a flash of too many sharp teeth. It gave Charles a strange sensation of being cornered and caught, much like a mouse, but then oddly enough, he was grateful for it.
Erik was about to move again, probably to excuse himself for the evening, but then before Charles himself knew it, his fingers wrapped around a wrist, stopping Erik instantly.
“Don’t leave,” Charles whispered. With a little more courage and with his head feeling much better, he rose up and gently brushed his lips against Erik’s, giving him a taste of what he could have— if he wanted.
He was leaning against Erik heavily now, but Erik held him, with both arms wrapped tightly around his waist. Erik was warm. His heat was addictive and it made Charles so drowsy.
“I won’t,” Erik said simply. It sounded like a promise, but Charles knew all about promises, which ones to break and which ones to keep. “In case you haven’t noticed, I still haven’t unlocked the door.”
“Planned this all along, have you?” Charles asked with a lighthearted laugh. Those green eyes focused on him again, burning intensely and his laughter died suddenly at the fierce, possessive gaze.
It eerily reminded Charles of their chess matches. In the times Erik had won, Charles could remember his eyes flashing with triumph and hunger, his lips curving into a smug, predatory smirk.
“Perhaps,” Erik whispered and Charles couldn’t say much else as Erik’s mouth covered his in a long, passionate kiss.
Charles didn’t have to read his thoughts to know what he was thinking. Those eyes and that smirk told him everything.
They spent most of the night in bed, touching and feeling, losing themselves in the forbidden pleasures of the flesh, learning more about each other that they themselves didn’t know, where one was sensitive, how they liked to be touched and kissed and fucked while the others, those who were still awake, wondered about them, looking at the not-quite empty plates in the dining room.
And when they were done, wrapped around each other, arms and legs all in a tangle, it was finally time for them to rest and sleep, feeling utterly content and safe, just in this moment of mutual vulnerability.