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A Bedroom, Late At Night

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Maybe Erik thought he could come back without anyone noticing. Maybe he thought he'd have a good chance of slipping in unseen if it was night, if no one was awake.

He's probably right. But Charles is up a few times a night, anyway, and it's hard to sneak much past a telepath.

In a lot of ways, feeling Erik's presence is comforting. It means he doesn't have a new helmet, which surprises Charles. Feeling him is familiar-- it's like being back in 1962, when everything seemed possible. Even though things are different now, Erik's here. Erik's home.

There's no need to call anyone for this; Charles can easily transfer out of his bed and into his manual chair. He knows the room Erik is in... it'll be a bit more work, getting into bed when there's someone else already there, but if Erik's willing to do his part, they can manage together.

Erik wouldn't be here if he weren't willing to manage things together, would he?

Maybe he's still foolishly hopeful, or maybe it's more than his foolish hopes are finally stronger than years of cynicism and despair. Either way, he's headed for the room Erik chose, careful to go as quietly as he can.

It seems he's not the only one whose senses are attuned to the out-of-place; he notices it when Erik realizes he's outside the door. Even the manual chair is full of metal, and it's hard to mistake that shape for anything else.

«Charles?»

«Erik.» Charles swallows past a lump in his throat. It's been a long time since Erik's mental voice called out to him that way. Longer still since he was able to let himself answer. «I'd rather not knock, I don't want to wake anyone else... may I come in?»

The door swings open obligingly, and Charles enters Erik's room. It occurs to Charles that Erik might have chosen this room on purpose... it's an empty bedroom with quite a lot of space, room enough for Charles to maneuver easily to Erik's bedside. Erik closes the door behind him, and although the warded key to this bedroom was lost long ago, Erik slips the lock neatly into place. It must be useful at times, not needing a key.

"Hello," Charles whispers.

"Hello... old friend," Erik whispers back.

He's lying in bed, curled up on his side. Both his arms are out from under the covers, and the covers are drawn up to his chest. He stays there, sideways to Charles's sight, looking at Charles in moonlight and starlight. Charles has to wonder what he makes of what he sees-- Charles in striped pajamas, his hair trimmed since Erik saw him last, his beard neat.

"You could have called," Charles says quietly. "I would have talked to you."

"I didn't want to have this conversation over the phone."

"What conversation would that be?"

"The one where I tell you that I miss you. That I want to be here. Side by side, working with you."

Charles's heart leaps and catches in his throat. "And Raven?"

"Raven's on her own. You know that as well as I do. Here and now... it's only me, Charles. I'll go if you tell me to go."

"Don't be stupid," Charles snaps out. He pushes a little closer to the bed, and he can get his hands on Erik from here, his fingers curving to the shape of Erik's jaw. He leans in and kisses Erik soundly-- not the angry motions from the plane or the desperation they had in that hotel room in Paris, but a kiss that says welcome home, you stubborn, stupid bastard, I've missed you.

Erik gives as good as he gets, though what Charles picks up from his mind is different. Less exasperation, more need for connection. Erik needs to be here right now. More than that, Erik needs him.

It melts what little anger Charles had left, and when he pulls back, he brushes his fingertips down Erik's cheek.

"Move over," he says, maneuvering his chair into place and setting the brake. "Make some room-- I need more than I used to."

Erik slides over and pulls the covers back. Charles gets just enough of a glimpse to see that Erik packed light this trip-- no pajama bottoms. He wishes, somewhat, that he'd brought a transfer board with him, but it shouldn't matter, the bed's a good height. He hoists himself up and over, and once he's got himself underneath the covers, he shifts and turns until he's on his right side, his right leg slightly forward, left leg bent a little and slightly back. He tucks his right arm under his pillow and reaches out for Erik with his left.

"All right, settled. Come here."

Erik squirms and rolls, and when he's through, his back is pressed to Charles's chest, Charles's arm draped over Erik's waist. Erik threads his fingers through Charles's and exhales softly.

"We'll talk in the morning," Charles promises, his lips between Erik's shoulderblades. Erik nods. "And I'll likely need to turn over in a few hours-- don't throw a leg over mine, I can't have pressure on them that way anymore."

"I won't," Erik promises.

He's quiet for so long that Charles starts to drift off. He thinks Erik might be, as well, until he hears Erik's voice in his mind again.

«Charles?»

«Yes?»

«I'm glad to be here.»

Charles tightens his arm around Erik's waist. «I'm glad you're here, too.»