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small hours (morning fluff remix)

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There used to be a time when the simple act of sliding into bed after Erik was asleep would jar Erik awake in a wave of panic that left him tense and sleepless for the rest of the night.

Now, when Charles crawls into bed, twining his fingers with Erik’s by the pillow, Erik comes awake slowly. Charles can feel him shift, feel the steadiness of his breathing shift, but there’s no urgency, nothing drastic beyond the way he grips at Charles’ hand.

Letting out a long, deep breath, Erik murmurs, “What time is it?”

“Just after two,” Charles says, shifting closer to drape his free arm over Erik’s stomach.

They drift for while, Erik only half awake, Charles dozing off, before Erik sighs something sharp and rolls himself out of bed, leaving Charles to curl into the warmth he leaves behind.

Charles doesn’t bother cracking his eyes open, just wraps the blanket more tightly around himself. The sound of the toilet flushing and the rush of water in the bathroom sink are distant, almost soothing for their familiarity. And when he hears Erik’s feet on the carpet, Charles reluctantly unfolds himself to give up the space on Erik’s side of the bed.

Folding himself back down into bed, Erik’s fingers find Charles’ hand again, loose but secure, and Charles smiles into his pillow.

“Good night,” he says, his voice muffled by the edge of the pillow.

Erik hums something soft in response, already sinking back into sleep.