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The Best You Never Had

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It goes without saying that Erik is used to being in charge.

It starts early on, in the days when he is at school and unfortunate life events mean he soon embodies the epitome of a rebellious teen- all snarky comments and biting comebacks, rounded up with a surly attitude and a general disrespect for authority.

Naturally, like most people, as Erik grows older he mellows, but it’s no mistake that his formative years result in him working at a senior level in a prestigious engineering company- a job where he makes the rules, not follows them, and everyone obeys his every instruction.

Of course, even the most commanding executives cannot be assured of their own unparalleled authority all the time, and- despite his clearly impressive standing- there are certain areas of Erik’s life in which he finds he cannot wield the same power he usually does, almost like he is reduced to being nothing more than a disobedient child once more…

 

It is late in the evening, and Erik knows he should be heading home to the apartment where he lives alone. Deadlines and late demands have meant that he’s been putting in more hours than he’d intended to, resulting in many nights spent sat in front of his computer when he should be unwinding in the manner of his choosing- usually with a good book or a particularly engaging documentary. But, on this occasion, it’s not detailed drawings and complex algorithms that have Erik stuck at his desk, it’s a phonecall that has already gone on for nearly an hour, and a voice that will not listen to reason…

“Erik, mein Junge, I don’t understand why you won’t listen to me? All I’m trying to do is help you, but you’re being so difficult. Don’t you know I want what’s best for you? Erik? Erik, are you even listening to me? ERIK”.

Erik is listening, but he’s also using his powers to slowly rotate a pen on the desk in front of himself, and wondering if it would cause a scene if his co-workers came in the next morning to find he’d jabbed himself in the eye with it…

“ERIK. Answer your mother!”

“Yes, mama”, Erik says with a sigh. “I’m listening. You don’t have to yell”.

“I wouldn’t yell if you actually spoke to me. Mein Gott, it’s like you were raised with no manners whatsoever... But I know better, Erik- I raised you to respect your elders, and that means listening to your mother when she is trying to help you”.

At that Erik grows exasperated, leaning back in his chair and pressing his hand to his forehead, like he is trying to ease out of the headache that is gradually forming between his temples. Outside of his office Erik can hear the low hum of a vacuum cleaner that tells him it is absolutely, definitely too late to be at work, but with no end to the conversation at sight Erik really is at a loss as to how to make his escape.

“Mama…” Erik says slowly. “I know that you think you’re trying to help me, but this really isn’t necessary... I don’t need you to find dates for me- I’m nearly thirty years old”.

“Pah”, Edie scoffs, the sound of her derision coming clearly through the phoneline. “It’s because you’re nearly thirty years old that you need your mother to find dates for you. Honestly, Erik, if I just left you alone it’s likely you’d end up spending the rest of your life in that big apartment by yourself, with not even a cat for company. Come on now, Schatz- that can’t really be what you want? Don’t you want someone special in your life? Don’t you want to start a family?”

Erik has barely opened his mouth to offer contradiction before Edie is speaking again.

“Yes, yes, I know that might not be an option for you. I’m only too aware of your lifestyle, and don’t you think I’ve been more than accommodating about that? Not that you’ve shown any gratitude… Honestly, Erik, it’s like you don’t even--”

As his mother continues to rant Erik’s mind wanders, thinking of the previous eight years or so of interactions than have all run in a similar vein. To her credit, Edie is right about the ‘accommodating’ part. After initially suffering through perhaps three years of coerced dates Erik had hoped to break the pattern by announcing to his mother than he liked men as well as women, but instead of being aghast the revelation only seemed to make Edie even more determined, as she now had more people than ever to set Erik up with. Not that Erik appreciated the fact…

“--all the effort I’ve gone to for you, and now you tell me you won’t even meet this latest one. Well, I’m about ready to lose patience with you, Erik. This latest match is perfectly lovely- he’s handsome, he’s smart, he comes from a good family. Why, just the other day Sharon was telling me about how well Charles was doing, how he was working as a professor, and--”

“Wait”, Erik interrupts, leaning forward in his chair once more, heart racing at little more than suggestion, just a name, and the implications it prompts. “Who?” he asks.

From the other end of the phone there is a certain noise of exasperation.

“Erik, Gott in Himmel, haven’t you been listening to me? Charles. Charles Xavier. You used to go to school with him, remember?”

Erik remembers. Preserved in his mind are memories of Charles from ages twelve to eighteen, after he moved to America and started at Erik’s school, before he left to go back to England once more to attend Oxford University. There are a hundred different thoughts and images in Erik’s mind of Charles, of his kind face, of his warm heart, of his soft words and good intentions. But Erik knows those memories are softened by time and wistfulness, and if Charles thinks of him at all such recollections are unlikely to be as fond in return.

“Charles lives in England”, Erik says, rather stupidly.

Edie tuts down the phone. “It’s like you’re deaf sometimes... Not any more, Schatz- he moved back a few years ago. I bumped into his mother earlier this morning and she was telling me all about him. He’s doing wonderfully in his career, and while he currently lives in that big mansion with his mother and sister I’m sure he’ll get his own place soon- maybe he just needs someone to settle down with… And he’s single right now, Erik- single! A handsome boy like that won’t stay on his own for long, so I suggest you listen to your mother and get in there quick whilst you still have the chance”.

If only…” Erik thinks gloomily. But he knows deep down that he doesn’t have a chance with Charles, that he never had a chance, and thinking about it now will only serve to make him want for what he cannot have.

“Mama…” Erik says, standing up from his chair and going over to the large window that spans one wall of his office. Outside the lights of the city are just coming into life, like fireflies against the haze of late afternoon smog. The blue of the twilight makes him think of Charles’ eyes, and it prompts an unwanted surge of longing within his chest.

“Mama, Charles won’t want to go out with me…” Erik continues quietly, leaning heavily against the window frame. “Trust me- he’s not interested. You’re better off trying to find me someone else”.

“And why wouldn’t he be interested? You’re so handsome, mein Geliebter, you have a good heart, you’re strong, you’re loyal. Any man or woman would be lucky to have you!”

“That’s easy for you to say, you’re my mother…” Erik grumbles.

“Mother or not, I know what there is to see in you. And Charles will see it too- didn’t you say he was a telepath, after all?”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean he knows me”, Erik replies, thinking of the day, many years ago, when he first told Charles to stay out of his mind. To the best of his knowledge, Charles has always honoured the request, meaning the only Erik he knows is the one he saw every day at school, the one who scowled at him in his gentler moments and called him names in his harsher ones.

“Well he can get to know you!” Edie trills, seemingly ignoring Erik’s trepidation. “And this party is a perfect opportunity to do just that”.

“Party?” Erik asks, feeling like he has missed something once again, and knowing he has when Edie emits a rough sound from the back of her throat that could easily be a curse.

“Yes, Erik… Charles’ birthday party. His mother invited us”.

“You want me to go to Charles’ birthday party? You want us to go??”

“It’s ideal, isn’t it! You don’t even have to go on an actual date with Charles if you’re so nervous about it, you can just go to the party and meet him there and see if you both hit it off. Of course, I’m sure you both will- how could you not? You can talk to him about those abilities of yours- he teaches a course on genetics, after all, so I’m sure he’ll be fascinated when you show him what you can do. And you can tell him about your career, though maybe leave out all the boring parts that no one really understands… And you can tell him about that work trip you took last year, and all the places you saw. Oh, Erik- I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time!”

Erik doubts it, but when it becomes clear that Edie isn’t going to let the issue go, Erik decides that the only way he can get his mother to shut up that night is to tell her that he will at least think about her suggestion.

 

Erik does think about it, more than he intends to. He stays at work for another half hour after he has ended the call, but his thoughts are dense and muddled, and he cannot concentrate enough to perform even the most menial of tasks.

When he returns home the apartment is dark and quiet, as Erik left it, but it soon comes to life as Erik wanders leisurely though the various rooms, using his powers to turn on the television and to start the coffee machine. By the time he has shed his coat and removed his shoes there is a pot of freshly boiled coffee waiting for him, and he pours himself a cup as he slumps down onto the sofa to watch TV.

Of course, it soon becomes clear that the latest gripping documentary is to be the furthest thing from Erik’s mind that night. Ever since Erik heard his mother mention Charles’ name he has been unable to stop thinking about him, much like he used to many years ago…

As Erik lies back against the sofa cushions, cup of coffee cradled in his lap, he remembers days coarse with bitterness and grief, with disbelief and sadness. He remembers feeling angry all the time, at himself, at his father, at the whole sorry situation. He remembers lashing out, acting up, being rude. And, amidst it all, he remembers Charles. He remembers Charles offering support, a kind word, a listening ear. He remembers Charles sacrificing his own free time to seek out Erik in his time of need. He remembers Charles’ sweet face and the gentle touch of his hand. Most of all, Erik remembers throwing all those things back at Charles, telling him his help was unwelcome, his assistance was unneeded. He remembers seeing Charles’ face crumple with each bitter word- everything Erik ever said but never meant. Erik remembers the first time he called himself a monster.

The words would echo in Erik’s brain in the years that followed that one, with each day he pushed his feelings down and let Charles think he hated him, rather than allow him to suspect the opposite. It didn’t help though. No amount of denial and self-destruction could enable Erik to avoid the truth- that he was hopelessly besotted with Charles, and had been since the day they first met. But Erik knew then just as he knows now that Charles will never want him- that he is too brilliant, too kind, too amazing to ever lower himself into considering such a thing.

Erik gave up hope a long time ago, considering it a pointless thing like faith and belief, and consoled himself with the fact that he would never have to see Charles again. But now Charles is back in the same country, Charles is- presumably- open to the idea of seeing Erik again, and perhaps it presents an opportunity for atonement, if nothing else.

It’s perhaps a foolish thought, but there’s part of Erik that wonders whether he could face Charles again and make amends with him, perhaps apologise for every terrible thing he ever said or did. Though Charles may never forgive him Erik is sure he will at least listen- Charles has always been very considerate in that respect- and he will undoubtedly give Erik the time to explain himself.

Erik has just about convinced himself that the plan forming in his mind is sound, when there are other thoughts that surge unbidden. The idea that Charles might be pleased to see him, that Charles have missed him, that Charles might want him. Barely thirty seconds have passed before Erik is thinking about all the avenues the meeting could lead towards, all the ways he and Charles might end up in each other’s arms, and it’s only when he feels a dull burning sensation on his crotch that Erik realises just how vivid those daydreams have become.

Scheiße!” Erik exclaims, bolting upright on the sofa and sloshing part of his hot cup of coffee over himself, only exacerbating the pain of where his now-erect cock pressed up against the bottom of the mug moments earlier. Even through the thick material of his trousers the burn is painful, and Erik succumbs to yet more cursing as he dumps the cup down on the side table and gingerly tries to pull the heated material away from his crotch. Eventually there is nothing to do but remove the stained trousers, and as Erik does so he tries to pretend he hasn’t noticed the way his member is pushing desperately against the damp material of his underwear, urged on by little more than thoughts and memories of Charles.

Of course, a blind man could probably still sense nine inches, and no amount of pretending can enable Erik to think that he hasn’t been influenced by his little daydream about Charles. Troublingly, even phantom thoughts of Charles are as affecting as they were when Erik was fourteen years old, when he first laid eyes on the gorgeous blue eyes that would forever take his breath away. Spurred on my desire and the onset of puberty, Erik couldn’t help but think of Charles even more over the subsequent several years, dissatisfied by every other relationship and sexual encounter he ever had because it wasn’t with the person he really wanted. In the end though, all fantasies remained unfounded, and Erik was left with little more than imagination to sate him.

But Erik is a grown man now, and there’s no way he’s going to spend his evening miserably wanking over thoughts of Charles like he did when he was a teenager, no matter how much his body wants it. Definitely not. Okay, so it’s only logical for Erik to remove his underwear, given it is now ruined, but it’s purely for practical reasons, and nothing else. And deciding to sleep nude? Well, who doesn’t do that from time to time. It doesn’t matter that it’s barely nine o’clock and Erik isn’t even ready for bed, there’s nothing to stop him flipping back the bedsheets and lying back against the mattress, his legs slightly parted and one hand resting on his stomach.

However… that was a rather nasty burn, after all. At least, it could have been. And it’s only sensible for Erik to make sure he hasn’t suffered any lasting damage. Erik wraps one hand around his cock, just to check that nothing has been badly injured by the coffee spillage- that’s all. Of course, in the moment his fingers tighten around the circumference of his cock an image pops into his mind of Charles’ cherry red lips in place of his hand, and all good intentions are blown, like Erik wishes he was.

There really is no pretending after that. Accepting the undeniability of his desires, Erik begins to stroke his cock with vigour, thinking about Charles in a million different ways, guises, positions… It’s been a while since Erik thought about Charles in such a manner, due mostly to the fact that ignorance is bliss and it was safer to not think of him at all, but it’s amazing how quickly the thoughts come flooding back, rising with Erik’s desire until there is nothing behind his closed eyelids but pale skin and dark brown hair and striking blue eyes and soft pink lips.

Erik’s crotch rocks up into his hand, smearing pre-come across his fingers as he sucks in untidy breaths and imagines Charles in bed with him, Charles’ lips trailing down his stomach, Charles’ hands holding his hips, Charles’ mouth closing around his cock as Erik thrusts and thrusts, fucking that gorgeous mouth as Charles moans and begs for more until Erik reminds him that it’s rude to speak with his mouth full. Because that’s what Erik imagines life with Charles would be like- fun, silly, loving, exciting; all the things Erik has ever wanted but always found lacking in his previous relationships. He doesn’t know why, but Erik feels very much like being with Charles would be like finding something Erik didn’t know he was missing, something he needs, something that makes him whole.

Of course, such thoughts easily seem sound when you’re stark-bollock-naked, wanking yourself into a stupor, and Erik knows when he comes down from this particular high he will be back to facing reality, one where he is single and alone, and Charles is little more than that boy Erik used to know. Still, in the meantime Erik embraces the fantasy, and groans and writhes and comes, lost in thoughts of Charles, Charles, Charles…

 

The next morning, real life is calling.

Erik awakes alone- grateful for the fact that he was at least sentient enough to clean himself off last night before he went to bed, and not enjoying the way his heart pangs with sadness when he remembers the previous day in more detail. It’s Saturday, and Charles’ birthday is today. Erik knows this even without his mother having told him- it’s just one of those little facts about Charles that has been safely stored in Erik’s memory, like valued treasure in a sealed box.

As Erik slowly rises from bed and begins his morning routine he knows without question that his mother will be calling him later, that she will want to know if Erik has changed his mind, that she will most likely talk Erik’s ear off if his answer is anything but what she wants to hear. Erik knows she means well, and he wishes he could just be compliant and succumb to her meddling, but this is very different to just going out on a date with a random person- it means so much more.

But then again, perhaps that’s a reason why Erik should listen to her, for once. Every single date his mother has arranged has failed. Yes, some have lasted a bit longer than others, some have even become fully-fledged relationships, but none have had any real staying power. If this ‘faux-date’ with Charles already means more to Erik than anything else has before, then perhaps that’s the answer- perhaps that’s the way to ensure success for once, perhaps that’s a reason to try, to wish, to hope?

Edie answers the phone on the second ring.

“Yes”, Erik sighs. “Yes, alright mama… I’ll meet him”.