"Perhaps it's best I set aside automatic assumptions about your motivations. I certainly recommend, my love, that you not assume altruism on mine."
The whisper lingers tantalizingly on Erik's skin, even as Charles pulls away to absorb himself in practicalities. Nimble fingers examine the bandage on Lehnsherr's neck, and find it wanting. There's a first aid kit on the table, along with a covered mug and porcelain washbasin. Xavier manipulates the other's body to reach out grasp the cup; it is warm and, as the puppeteer removes the lid, sends forth little white wisps that Erik's stomach recognizes even before his mind. Yoykh-- even the scent of it lays against the tongue, calling forth those vague memories which are, never the less, the brick and mortar of childhood. His mouth waters for only a moment before he finds himself sipping down the broth, the taste and comfort of of it coiling through his innards while Charles disinfects and re-bandages his wounds.
The telepath seems less despairing about the stitches on Erik's scalp, as well he should be-- it is a skill the older mutant learned well long ago, and the teacher was a harsh task master indeed. Manipulating the needle with the luxury of both hands free made it even easier, but it could never inspire the pendulous haze woven by Xavier's fingers. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to these caresses, and the sensuous motion sends melting bits of starlight scattering up and down Erik's spine. After a time, the professor preforms the odd trick of essentially handing the mug to himself, setting it aside in favor of the washbowl.
Though he is expecting the next touch and cannot 'jolt' in any physical manner, Lehnsherr is still very much aware of the quavering alarm that somehow seizes in his very self.
"It's alright," Charles murmurs and, of course, it is. Nothing but a soft flannel, soaked with warm water and the faintest hint of vetiver. This misfiring of responses-- combativeness, panic, sensory overload-- will be a deep source of concern when Erik looks back on the evening. For now, all of that is lost in this strange but profound communion, the way mist may roll through a forest and make of it, instead, an ocean colonnaded by trees. He is aware of his own breathing, so deep and steady, of the iron grating in the hearth and the elaborate wiring of the mansion. Even the components and spokes of Charles' chair provoke only recognition; facts blessedly free of connotation, if only for a moment.
So Charles bathes him, with an air that might seem impartial-- perhaps even dispassionate, to an outsider-- if not for the deliberation behind each touch and the deep, languorous indulgence with which the telepath has taken Erik's will. Each brush of fingertips, each press of wide palm to steady or lave, is cut short the moment Lehnsherr registers it enough to begin savoring. He would whimper at each loss, try to chase the tempting tactile succor, but Xavier holds his body still and quiescent. Erik has an image of himself, docile under this cosseting; a creature defined by the careful contact of his liebling, as if Charles is sculpting him from firelight. It is a marvelously detailed image, compelling in its demand for arousal-- and the captive fears it because it belongs entirely to him.
Such concerns over vulnerability-- and the professor's motivations in general-- are distant things, indeed. His body is utterly focused on its craving for physical embrace; his mind in awash in sensation, clutched up close to that blazing intellect whilst still denied any true intermingling. The telepath keeps Lehnsherr's member passive as well-- despite the roil of arousal in mind and gut. Erik's body stands at that foreign command, legs parted slightly so that Charles might give his cock, balls, and arse the same diffident cleansing.
When the metal-bender is seated again, he is facing his old friend, and even the quiet rapture with which Xavier has entranced him cannot fully dampen the resurgence of guilt. It's ridiculous, the amount of relief he'd felt to counterbalance the ache in his jaw, at the sight of his former lover standing. Too good to be true, obviously, and it was. This G-dless universe gives with one hand only to take with the other, and miracles are nothing more than mythical beasts. If anyone were to deserve such pardon, it would be Charles-- but what has Erik done, to be freed from such guilt?
"Do not pity me, Erik," Charles says quietly. His own hands, having abandoned the tools with which he groomed his guest, curl around wheelchair's armrests. There is savagery beneath his civility, and plenty of it. ('I don't need anyone's pity, least of all yours.') Amazing, how the word and concept can appear viscous, even rotten and repellant when communicated mentally. Cloying; a weighted smell, like dying hospital flowers.
('Guilt is not the same as pity,') the metal-bender answers instinctively. It his own automatic thought, prior to the formation of any word or viable argument, but it is Xavier's gift and curse to hear it unvarnished. ('At any rate, I am not a man of pity… I pay my own debts. This is not the way it was supposed to be; beloved adversary, resented brother, I want--')
The professor holds up a hand-- a useless affectation to call for mental silence in accompaniment with the thick, unbroken atmosphere between them. Erik waits, watchful. All the comforting serenity in the world cannot change his essential nature; he is undone by his wanting. Magneto may have the Cause, but Erik as a person owns nothing irreplaceable save the identity Xavier revealed that night in the water-- and Charles himself.
"You're very careless with your possessions." The cocktail chit-chat tone has returned, but it's not quite enough to dilute the bitterness of the words themselves. The negation that flows through Erik in that moment must be strong indeed, for the telepath actually jerks back in his chair. A fractional quaver, but Lehnsherr is primed to look for any tell.
"You told me to leave!" he explodes while the opportunity is present. "You said--"
"I know very well what I said! You were bent on finishing what Shaw started! The designs of a man you hated, a man we fought together!"
"Shaw was finished," Erik snarls in an unholy tone that sounds rabid even to his own ears. "I finished him, and if you dredged him up from Hell right now I'd do it again!" He manages to bite off the notion that he would do it far more slowly this time, but it hangs between them like a serrated blade all the same. He grinds his teeth, as if looking for a part of the argument to sink them into, find a little stable rage, instead of the explosive kind. "The humans were firing, even though they knew the beach was secure. They started it!"
An actual scoff, "That's spurious logic-- it doesn't mean you had to finish it!"
"I didn't! Whatever my intentions may have been, they walked away alive-- which was more than any of them deserved." The metal-bender' hands are curled into fists, fingernails bitting into palms. He has no idea why Charles is granting him this liberty now, and even less inclination to pursue that reason. He is entirely absorbed in their struggle which-- though their association is but a fraction of their own life-spans-- seems to be eternal.
There are times he could shake this blue-eyed boy until his teeth rattle and the facts finally slot into place. For there is a boy within the man before him; lonely, quiet in the face of the world's clamor, obliging and charming because toleration will do if there is no love to be had. Just as there is a very different creature of starvation and ash within Lehnsherr; a stitched non-entity masquerading as a child, who knows the fate of the kind, the peaceful, the gentle-hearted teachers of the world.
"They walked away alive," Erik repeats, "and their first action afterwards was not to retaliate against you or I, but to carry out an assassination against an official elected as one of their own kind! That is an act of war. You said it on the plane; you admitted I was right. Have you changed your mind so soon?"
"That does not justify your heavy-handed exposure of our people!" They've been trying to speak over one another, have been shouting as pulses pound, in fact. Yet there is a catch at the end of Xavier's last statement, a brilliance in his eyes like the pain of the man felled on the beach-- holding, holding, but never quite spilling over into actual tears. No one, Erik thinks as he watches the professor brace himself in the chair as if preparing for some great blow of feat of exertion, ever gives Charles credit for how strong he truly is.
"We are stronger together. They'll pick us off one-by-one-- that's what they've been doing these past ten years…" Frowning, Lehnsherr lets his own voice fade. His dear opponent has fallen completely silent, still and abstracted like a mage whose scrying bowl has revealed something unpleasant and incomprehensible. The telepath looks away from Erik, and then farther-- focusing on a middle distance that excludes any other presence in the room. Erik's heart lurches at the sight, at the absorption in phantoms which paint that face into a grotesquely elegant marble mask.
What did that hairy brute tell Charles? Logan's story was very static by the time the metal-bender heard it, just rote facts and a set reticence in that beastly jaw that Lehnsherr-- whether he actually liked the man or not-- recognized all to well. There are certain acts, scenes witnessed, which are too heinous to bare any true recitation. No details, no narration of your own feelings could be tolerated, for it was effort enough convey such things in as few words as possible. The escapee had not been particularly interested in the prophet; he was absorbed in his own dead, and had no need to borrow. There were goals to be focused upon-- threads to cut, poisoned vines to be sheered before they could bloom.
"Schatz," Erik whispers urgently, not sure if he is frozen by the telepath's will or his own fear. The endearment is both natural and strategic-- if unaccepted, it may at least rouse Charles back to anger.
He is dreadfully certain his own eyes have taken on that blind but all-too-insightful cast too many times. The walls of his prison had been gray and unchanging, but they were also dangerous and inconstant. Things moved and wavered beneath the grain of the concrete, a stealthy slithering you would glimpse from the corner of your eye. There were little furry shadows with nothing to cast them, constantly absorbed in incomprehensible wars with one another beneath fluorescents that did not have the right angles to cast them in the first place. You knew none of them were real, but you still wanted to sleep with your hands over your face. Not just for the scant and borrowed darkness, but in case they decided to crawl inside your mouth or nose. The memory of these unreal companions makes the once comforting firelight sinister, driving Lehnsherr's breathing to that of a panicked horse.
He may or may not give a groan of despair, but Charles' eyes at last return to meet his own-- a tired blue that must match the ocean in the last days of the earth.
Less than a whisper; "I'm so tired, Erik…"
The older mutant moves quickly, and of his own accord. His conscious mind has no plan, but instinct guides him, leaves him kneeling between Xavier's legs with his head in the telepath's lap. Hands dive beneath the decadent robe, encircling the strong svelte waist and crossing behind to rest between the professor's body and the chair. He lays with his cheek pressed against one trouser-clad thigh, eyes closed-- careful, careful-- but holding on.
In an act that would relieve the strain even on Samson's shoulders, Charles leans forward, embracing Erik in return. He draws the great front lapel of the robe across the nude man's back, hunching over a little, free hand brushing shorn hair before completing his part of the circle. Better still, he takes Erik to him with that velvet-sheathed will; closer, sharing some of his own grasping relief, his want in the face of all that lies between them. Lehnsherr smiles ever-so-briefly; moans, swathed in that pressence like an unwary child caught up by die Erlkonig.
Once more, Erik's hands obey another master, skimming against skin as they move to cup Xavier's shoulder blades. Where the professor can better feel the embrace, Erik realizes. He would experience once more the insidious wend of guilt, if not for the overwhelming sensory input; the texture of his lover's smooth flesh, coupled by the way his own strong-fingered caress is experienced by the telepath. Warmth of the body, which banishes a different kind of chill. The scent of cedar and something undefinable that belongs to Charles alone. The smooth handling of his will by that of his dear one makes Erik ache, with the same obscenely sensual longing fired clay must remember of the sculptor's hand.
('Harder,') he pleads inwardly, uncertain if he means the psychic entrapment or the physical hold.
He feels unreal, experiencing this. Charles must know, must see how often Erik has imagined him throughout the long years, pined for their companionship both erotic and mundane. On bad days, he would sit perfectly still in a corner of his cell, conjuring the professor beside him in minute detail. The weight of him, curled beside Lehnsherr as it had been in so many hotel rooms, reading while Erik did the morning's cross-word puzzle, or playing a drowsy game of chess that depended less on strategy and more on the excuse for physicality.
Eyes closed against the glare of his cage, Erik would contemplate the press of hip flush with hip, the determined set and enticing curve of shoulders beneath his encircling arm, the scent and feel of Charles' hair. And sometimes, instead, the warm hollow of the Englishman's shoulder, where the prisoner might rest his own cheek and feel the thrummings of that accent like the delicious vibrations of a viola's strings. Even within the safety of his own mind, Erik could not abide those damning words of comfort-- that everything, anything, would be alright. Instead, he strived merely for the brief ability to fool himself, focused on phantom sensation and the distant murmur of Xavier rhapsodizing: mitochondrial DNA, the folding of space-time, the evolutionary significance of bizarre creatures occasionally found in distant ecological niches.
Presently, Charles' grip does tighten, accompanied by a noise so low and needful that Erik cannot discern if it is sorrow or commiseration. Is it a response to Lehnsherr's request, his memories, or the professor's own still mostly shielded emotions?
"Erik, Erik," the telepath murmurs, now bent in their odd embrace to the point his lips move against the nape of Lehnsherr's neck. Perversely, the older mutant is gratified by this indirect answer-- a yearning that echoes, note for note, his own.
He shuffles forward on his knees, though there is scarcely any distance to be closed between them. Nose brushing against Xavier's member, Erik gives into the urge to nuzzle at it. The outline against his cheek and questing lips is impressive, despite the fabric and quiescence of the organ. The professor's nails dig briefly into Lehnsherr's shoulders, accompanied by a silent growl that is still perfectly thunderous within their shared mental landscape.
('I'm afraid its not much inspired by anything other than manual intervention, these days-- and sometimes, not even then.') How well Erik knows that particular brand of academic hauteur, and the tender flesh it masks. ('Psychogenic arousal is impossible.')
The metal-bender's only response is to redouble his affectionate attention, reaching for-- feeling Charles allow him to reach for-- his own gifts to undo the fly and allow for closer inspection. If Xavier's comment was meant to discourage him, then it has missed its mark. Erik has not forgotten the reason for his current position, nor how quickly the professor came to hardness in Paris, a strangely ephemeral creature even as he rode his lover's thigh. This intimacy is as everything else, now; a treasure with a specific price no matter which choice is made. Moreover, whatever the telepath's conscious intentions for the evening, he is bare beneath his trousers-- a boon Lehnsherr would never waste. Almost reverently, he takes the professor into his mouth, laying his tongue flush against his lover's member, not even aware of the fact his own eyes are slipping closed.
The submissive nature of the position does occur to the assassin-- perhaps more now because he is deliberately participating in it-- but he dismisses it as irrelevant almost instantly. He has spent a decade scrupulously aware of every little movement and gesture made within his monitored cage, determined to give nothing that could-- even with the most creative imagination-- be construed as a symptom of imprisonment's long attrition. His struggles and flairs of madness have been entirely internal, and all the more difficult to endure for his soul's naturally treacherous terrain.
But this is Charles, who transforms words, acts, and even meaning with his presence alone-- Erik's pretty sorcerer, who so often has no need of that god-like mind to work his will. So in a way, it's not enough obeisance, though he applies himself with gusto all the same. The little tricks he knows are old, but relived so many times that they are quite readily at hand.
('Make me,') Lehnsherr thinks with deliberate-- and probably excessive-- volume. ('The way you like it, whatever feels good for you now. Forget the guesswork.') His own cock is heavy, a burning pillar of steel between his legs. ('Make me please you.') The very notion is like a flame through straw. Erik _wants_, directionlessly; more of Charles' touch, his presence, the mental companionship that reaffirms Erik's own existence. His neshama, channeling the scattering of self and power the same way electricity is grounded. He could rub himself all over Xavier, as absurd as that sounds, in the sinuous way felines achieve a full-body caress.
Charles doesn't take the bait; he doesn't slide into his lover's consciousness like water adhering to the shape of a riverbed, even as it wears away those same constraints. The words that ripple through Erik's mind, however, are rich enough compensation.
That beautiful accent, somehow clipped and breathless despite the purely telepathic medium; ('Perhaps you should focus on the task at hand? Your efforts have had little impact, so far.')
Helplessly, the older mutant moans, sound muffled by his burden and the sheer venerating excitement that rushes through him. This seems to have more effect than his previous attempts, so he repeats the vibration, giving into the urge to simply suckle. While imprisoned, his water had always been rationed-- a single delivery he chose to mark his 'morning'-- and even Lehnsherr lacked the skill to portion it out satisfyingly during the day. A puzzle with no solution, for the very knowledge of its scarcity made one crave it all the more. To stretch his slim supply, he had picked a button loose from the prison cover-alls, knowing from long experience that sucking on it would help. Not much, but one could appreciate even the smallest aid against dehydration. This is so much better; Charles, at last throbbing to life under his attentions. The professor is stroking his hair, over and over again, with tender solicitude that belies the critical words of before. The contrast only spurs Erik on. As his jaw begins to ache, elegant scribe's fingers steal down to caress the articulation of neck and jaw, and the secret, sensitive niches behind Lehnsherr's ears. He melts a little, but will not let go of his determined rhythm, focused on feeling his lover's intimate heat and the traces of iron pounding through the primary vein.
Indeed, he can feel the precious element rushing through Charles' bloodstream; a galaxy of golden circulation whose nexus is the drumming organ invested with so much sentiment. Charles; Charles' heart, his pulse, even the weight of the professor and the glide of his skin against the metal components of the chair. Lehnsherr's focus has both narrowed and expanded. All of this is a world, a part of his schatz, that no one else will ever see. It belongs to Erik and Erik alone-- his, his…
A star-shower of tiny but potent flares of pleasure serves to blot out this train of thought. He is dimly aware of rustling satin, the fact the professor is no longer cupping his supplicant's bowed head with both hands. The movement is ever so slight, but in a definite rhythm that compliments what Lehnsherr previously set. Then he realizes it; Charles is toying with his own nipples, the new locus to which his physical sensitivity has migrated.
Erik gasps-- almost chokes. Desire makes him dizzy as he easily pictures those buds, which have always inspired in the metal-bender a faintly embarrassed fascination. They are so lovely, set amidst a wholly masculine terrain; oddly delicate blushes of coral on a rower's muscular, sparsely-haired chest. He used to nuzzle at the professor's collar bone, kiss and bite along the hint of healthy curve in the belly, ignoring those nipples simply because they entranced him. Too pink, too apt to inspire exotic half-hunger, and too sure to provide a dreamy, torpid satisfaction those few times he bowed to their temptation. What must they look like now-- how red must they become when Xavier indulges himself, now that they are so key? He wants to lift a hand, awkward though that may be, and work in concert with his lover. Once he inspires a traditional orgasm, he can salute those treasures with his lips.
Again, Lehnsherr is denied, but left with great reward all the same. Charles won't let him move-- won't let him move-- and the sensation of that restraint is almost beatific.
(Mine.) Neither one of them recognizes the thought as solely their own, and neither one of them cares. At last, the professor comes in Erik's eager mouth, and the metal-bender comes all over those crisp dark trousers. Charles doesn't force the latter occurrence-- his graciousness lies in allowing his lover's excitement to peak on its own. All the while the older mutant feels just that slightest scrape of will, indicating that the telepath could deny him if so inclined.
That thought finishes him off.
The sense of Xavier, of that vibrant psyche, twines itself about the metal-bender, the way rain may freeze around a branch or bud to form a perfect sheath. It's warm, of course, because everything about Charles-- even when roused to anger-- is warm. Erik, made a marionette not by strings but rather by this seductive armor, still cannot smother his own internal blaze of triumph.
For this brief eternity, he is exactly where he wants to be.