There's this thing Magneto does where he drums his fingers on the desk and everything magnetic in the room starts thrumming. It’s only when he’s lost in thought, and John has learned to keep an eye out whenever he and Mystique set up base camp in the hotel living room, frowning over stacks of newspapers and file folders. Drum roll on the desktop. The ice bucket gives a little 'ping' like someone flicked it with a fingernail, and the car keys on the table jingle, and the fourteen-gauge, nickel-plated rings through John's nipples vibrate.
He’s stealthily tested it out in three hotel suites now, and he figures the range is only about twenty feet. All he'd have to do is go to his room if the slow buzz of it bothered him. But it doesn't—not like that, at least. So every time it starts up, he goes and lies down on the couch with his headphones on but his mp3 player off, pretending to read a magazine and keeping one leg strategically bent so no one can see him getting hard.
Magneto never seems to notice he's there. He kind of likes that. When he hung out anywhere at the school, there was always someone getting in his face, asking if there wasn't something else he should be doing. Here, no one minds if he listens and watches. So he does, stealing glances from behind his magazine.
The thing is, when Magneto's talking, it's hard to look anywhere but at his eyes. Not like how it was with Professor X, who stared right into your brain, but kind of like...well, like Mr. Rogers (not that John would say that out loud in a million years). He remembers sitting in front of the TV every morning when he was five. A patient voice drowning out the sound of his mom and her boyfriend on their first fight of the day. Calm eyes looking into the camera like John was the only kid watching in the world.
But when Magneto's distracted, John can look at whatever he likes. Like that line between his eyes as he peers at rolls of blueprints or an array of glossy photographs. The way his mouth moves silently sometimes, shaping a word or two before suddenly quirking. The way his pants fit. His hands, long and thin—elegant.
‘Ping’ goes the ice bucket, and John’s nipples go painfully hard as the rings hum. Just breathing makes his t-shirt rub against him like sandpaper, and his heart starts to pound. And usually that’s all there is to it. He stays on the couch as long as he can stand it, sometimes sneaking little touches to his chest or his dick until Magneto hits on some idea and shifts out of distraction mode into Serious Fucking Business.
This time, though, this time’s different. Mystique’s out, and it’s just Magneto at the desk, drumming his fingers and doing math. John is pretending to read an almost-educational article in Rolling Stone, and the rings are humming so hard without moving that it feels like they’re on fire. It makes him want to get his lighter out, but he’s being a good boy. It's a non-smoking room and the smoke detectors are prissy.
Magneto finishes whatever he’s writing, and then he very slowly rolls his shoulders and stretches. Every piece of metal in the place stands up and takes notice. Then, looking over out of the corner of his eye, he says, “Whatever can you have under there, John?”
John freezes. Then he slowly pulls his headphones down around his neck. For an embarrassing but hot-as-fuck moment, he takes that to mean under the magazine—which is at the moment something a little more than a semi—but then Magneto raises one eyebrow and looks pointedly at his chest.
“Oh.” He tries to smirk and fails. He shrugs instead. “Just piercings.”
“Piercings,” Magneto repeats. He doesn’t look the least bit surprised.
John's palms start to prickle with sweat, and when he sees the little quirk of Magneto's lips, he knows (suspects, hopes for, prays for) what he's going to say next.
“May I see?”
Fuck. His throat is dry when he swallows. He's never really sure when Magneto’s just asking something or when he’s asking something. But either way, it's a yes. He shrugs again and sits up, casually letting the magazine fall over his lap just in case. “Yeah. Why not.”
He grasps his t-shirt at the bottom and pulls it over his head. He shivers. The room is cold, pumped full of sterile air conditioning hotel air, and Magneto is staring now, his lips parted. He can't help but look down, himself—at the glinting metal, and at his nipples, which are way too red.
Magneto stands up and walks over to him, cool as can be. He halts just a few feet away, looking down with his head cocked to one side. His gaze sweeps slowly over John's chest just once before locking onto the rings. “And what would make you do something like that to yourself, I wonder.”
Goosebumps break out down John’s arms. “I—" I lost a bet, is what he almost says. That’s his usual story. It makes it look like it wasn't his idea, if some asshole thinks it’s gay or something. It makes it look like he hangs out with the kind of people who make bets like that. But he has a hard time lying to Magneto. He licks his dry lips. “I don’t know. My dog died. I just wanted to go out and do something stupid.” Something that hurt a little.
Magneto looks kind of pleased at the admission—like he does when something John’s said makes him look at Mystique and say, “Bless,” in a way that’s partly making fun but mostly not.
Then his hand makes one of those elegant little motions, and the rings start to rotate. John's breath catches sharply. They stick for an instant—he’s been shit at taking care of them—and the snag makes his dick twitch and his face flush hot. Then it’s all smooth, just fucking perfect, the way he’s never been able to play with them on his own, and his stomach clenches up and his eyelids flutter.
"Fuck," he says, his voice half-shocked. He's been jerking off to the thought of this for weeks. The thought of Magneto looking at him, his eyes hot and sharp and unblinking. The magazine falls to the floor when John's knees spread apart with a mind of their own. His fingers dig into the couch with the sudden realization that if he touches himself, he's going to come in his pants.
Then Magneto’s index finger curls and the rings get tugged hard. A hot, pathetic sound slips from John’s throat. Another tug, and then another, this one so rough that his nipples stretch, and for a second he’s scared the rings are going to rip right out, but then two and two click together (Magneto's finger curls again—come here, come, come), and he gives into it, surging forward and falling to his knees on the carpet.
“My dear boy,” Magneto murmurs approvingly, and he strokes John’s hair as the rings gently twist.
John can’t help but turn into the touch. He rubs his cheek against Magneto's hand, then mouths at it, lips wet and tongue darting out. Dry fingertips trace looping lines along his jaw, then down his throat, then—
He chokes, his hips jolting forward.
—over his raw right nipple, pinching it around the hot metal, rolling it over and over again until he's seeing stars.
“They suit you.”
John's eyes squeeze shut as he grasps for Magneto's hips. "Please," he whispers. "Please, please, fucking please..."
Best seventy bucks he ever spent.