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Changing the rules

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Erik gets up, takes three steps, then returns to his couch, throwing himself back down on it, not at all like a surly teenager.

He's not. He's not a pining teenager!

Erik stares up at the ceiling. There's a small crack in the plaster and he should probably get that fixed.

It's all Charles' fault. It's always Charles' fault. Except when it's not - because sometimes it's Erik's fault. But this time it is Charles' fault.

They have an agreement. They have an arrangement. The one Erik can't tell his mum about when she asks if he's seeing anyone.

He's not seeing anyone. He doesn't have time for that, doesn't want to put the energy into a relationship. What he and Charles have is a 'friends-with-benefits' agreement. Just sex, so no cuddling, no dating, no kissing.

And that's exactly where the problem lies. It's the fact that Erik has been enjoying this agreement for nearly a year now, and Charles had to go and change it all. And Erik hadn't even been able to stop him, hadn't even thought about stopping him.

It's not until now, hours later, with Erik back home, staring at the crack in his ceiling, that the mounting ire for what Charles did, grows.

It's half past four in the morning, and Erik is angry and has no one to take it out on.

He wants to call Charles and rant at him. He wants to show up at his door and yell at him. Tell him exactly why they don't kiss!

At 7AM Erik is out the door, running gear on. It's Saturday morning and he hasn't slept all night. He's still angry, and the anger needs an outlet, hence the morning run. The earphones are in, hard rock blasting through his ears, probably doing nothing to get his blood pressure down.

Sweat is pouring off him and Erik is so deeply focused on his anger with Charles and his stupid, stupid kiss, that he doesn't realize he's right outside the building that houses Charles' apartment.

There's that little voice of reason in the back of his mind that says 'the doorman won't let you in anyway, so you're not going to make an ass of yourself today.'

He's there often enough that the doorman greets him by name and just holds the door open for him.

Erik wants to rant at him, that he shouldn't just let people in without checking their ID. For all intents and purposes, Erik could be a serial killer!

It says a lot about Erik's anger that he takes the stairs up to the 22nd floor where Charles lives. It's because he needs it, and not because if he stops pushing himself, if he goes into the elevator without an outlet for his emotions, he'll have time to think and he'll realize what an awe inspiringly bad idea this is.

He's out of breath when he stops at Charles' door, the muscles of his legs shaking from the exertion. He pulls his earphones out and his arm feels like lead as he lifts it to knock on the door. For a split second he thinks this is a bad idea and he should probably leave, but his sleep addled brain isn't quick enough to keep up with his fist landing hard against the door.

There's a few moments of silence, and Erik thinks to himself that maybe he's in luck. If Charles hasn't heard him, then he can turn and leave and no one but himself and the doorman will know he was here. Then there's a shuffling on the other side and it's all Erik can focus on. That and the feeling of rapidly cooling sweat trickling down his spine. He can feel Charles brush against his mind, not reading it, just checking to see who's on the other side. The door swings open and a very sleepy looking Charles is eyeing him with surprise.

All the things Erik has wanted to yell at him, his rant, the one he's been going through over and over during the night, are gone. Just like that. Charles' hair is standing up on one side and there's a vague imprint from the creases from his pillow on his cheek.

Erik's brain doesn't catch up to what he's doing until he's already crowding Charles' space and kissing him like there's no tomorrow. And part of his brain is trying to tell him that now he's the one changing the rules so it might very well mean no Charles in his future.

The overwhelming feeling of delight that's coming off Charles in waves finally makes it through to Erik and he can feel the rush of 'ohcanwekeepdoingthisneverstop'. All the images of what he wants with Erik, barely anything above PG, waking up together, dining together, living together, growing old together. It's all there for Erik to see and feel.

Eventually Erik has to pull back to catch his breath and he's a little embarrassed that they're still standing in the open door to Charles' apartment. At least it doesn't seem like anyone else is up this early.

"I want to try it," Erik says, not entirely sure how to voice why he's even here, at the back of seven, on a Saturday morning.

Charles gives him a confused look that almost makes Erik lean in to kiss him again. His hair is even more tousled now that Erik's had a hand in it and his red mouth looks bruised.

It's a look that Erik decides he quite likes.

Then Charles realizes what he means and Erik doesn't care if he's getting it straight from Erik's mind or has simply become fluid in understanding emotionally constipated Erik speak.

Charles first pinches himself, then pinches Erik, who yelps in pain.

"What was that for?!" Erik glares at him.

"I wasn't sure which one of us were dreaming," Charles says with a soft laugh.

"Can't be me," Erik mutters, "I haven't slept all night."

Charles raises an eyebrow, then holds out his hand for Erik to take. "It's too early for existential crises. You need sleep and I had no plans about getting out of bed before noon."

"Hedonist," Erik says with a small grin. Even though their relationship has been mostly physical so far, he acknowledges that Charles always makes him feel softer, always makes him smile.

Charles hums in agreement and pulls Erik into his flat, letting the door fall shut behind him.

Yawning, Erik lets him lead the way. Charles is right, he does need some sleep and he's much looking forward to waking up next to Charles afterwards.