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Professor XXX

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Angel yawned before turning it into a whistle, "A date...or an interview?"

"Neither.” Erik adjusted the collar of his shirt while peering at her in the mirror. She was standing at his door with her arms crossed while shoulders leaning on the door frame. Her eyes were half-lidded and her hair was a beautiful mess—clearly, she had just woken up. “Just getting dinner with Charles,” he said.

 “Charles?” His roommate asked. “Which Charles?”

 “The professor.”

 “Oh, that Charles,” Angel grinned. “It’s a date, then.”

Erik rolled his eyes and asked, “Would you date a man who’s old enough to be your grandfather?”

 “If he’s rich enough and a gentleman. Why not?” Angel shrugged. “Hey, this is ageism, Erik!”

Erik frowned but couldn’t think of an appropriate response immediately so he just shook his head.

When Angel Salvadore moved in as his tenet and roommate about a year ago, people in this small town couldn’t stop gossiping about it. That good Jewish boy was living with a stripper?  His poor mother passed away less than half a year ago!  But Erik needed money, his mother and sister’s medical expenses left him indebted. While his full-time and part-time jobs were enough to make ends meet and pay his debt regularly, it was hardly a bad idea to make his life a little more comfortable. Angel danced at the club where he worked as a security guard. She needed a place to stay, and he didn’t care about her occupation or the fact that she’s mutant. So in an early morning, after their shift ended, Angel wheeled her suitcase and followed Erik home. They had been living together since then. Erik had no complaints about his tenant who always paid her rent on time, kept her room, bathroom and their shared space clean and tidy.

...Alright, perhaps except that she showed too much interest in his personal life.

To be more precise, she cared too much about Erik’s nearly non-existing sex life. 

Not that he wasn't interested, he was nearly abstaining because he was simply too busy--Erik had his day job at the steel factory, and worked four nights a week at the strip club to turn away drunk customers who try to pick fights or harass the dancers. Another reason was that the small town he lived in was far away from anything useful--the closest gay bar was three towns away, not to mention that he couldn't find anyone within two-hour drive distance on any dating app if he was in the mood. Of course, adult chat rooms or video sex were feasible options, but after a few attempts, he had decided that dirty talks weren't for him so he just gave up. Erik did not oppose meeting new friends, though. He went on a few dates with a guy from the town nearby, who then invited him to a local chat group before moving to a big city. In that chat group where most users were older, Erik had gotten to know "Professor XXX".

"Professor XXX" joined the group a few months before Erik. While that silly handle name was nothing but sexually suggestive, "Professor" had never gone out or even exchanged photos with anyone, except for a few times when he made harmless dirty jokes while fooling around with other group members. "Professor XXX" is definitely some retired old man using his kid or grandkids’ old tablets to sneak online to have some wicked fun. Someone in the group had guessed. "Professor" almost never talked about himself, but he was always enthusiastic about helping people--he would answer any questions he could, whether it was related to school, housing, family or health. If the subject matter was outside of his area of expertise, he would willingly go through the trouble to consult an expert on his own and pass their advice afterward.

Erik started to connect with "Professor" about three years ago. His mother had fallen ill not long after his sister's death. It was a gloomy, rainy afternoon, Erik had just stepped out of the hospital after visiting Edie. Exhausted, both physically and mentally, he sent a message to the group out of despair, asking to be fucked into unconsciousness. He was bombarded with messages for the next ten minutes or so, including one from "Professor". Not rushing into prying Erik's personal information or sending a dick photo (like some sexually insatiable idiots in the group), "Professor" only expressed sincere concern. "Magnus, is there something wrong? ...If there's anything I can do, please let me know, I'll do my best to help. If you just want someone to talk to, that's also fine. I'm here to listen."

Those caring words warmed Erik's heart. The only person he replied to that day was "Professor" who had no interest in sleeping with him. They exchanged emails, addressing each other by "Charles" and "Erik" instead of "Professor XXX" and "Magnus". Charles seemed to be as knowledgeable in medicine as his mother's physician--he would listen to Erik and offer him advice. When Erik waited outside for Edie's chemotherapy, Charles would play online chess with him and sometimes send some optimistic messages to keep his chin up. They never exchanged photos or did video chats, so he didn't know how old Charles was or what he looked like. Given that his late grandfather was the only family member Erik had played chess with, his image had overlapped with grandpa's. So he always imagined Charles as a kind, gentle, and sometimes-too-talkative grandfather figure.

But during the week when his mother's condition deteriorated, Charles went offline. He didn't reply to any messages or emails. Erik called him for the first time, but it went straight to voicemail.

Erik couldn't get ahold of him when his mother passed away as if he had vanished. It seemed that every message he had sent out was sucked into a black hole. Charles disappeared when Erik needed him the most.

After the funeral and mourning period, Erik spent a night at a motel with a stranger. Feeling sore and empty the next morning, he turned on his phone and saw a new email from Charles--he had gone through an emergency surgery and had been hospitalized for the past two weeks so he didn't read Erik's messages until the night before. He apologized and expressed his condolences. In the end, he asked Erik if he was alright.

Staring at the words on the screen, Erik started to cry. Never had he felt so lonely before.

Without hesitation, he called Charles. The call went through this time but answered by a woman with a tired voice. Instinctively, Erik hung up.

What is he thinking? ...The old professor was in hospital. Of course, his family would be there for him. It could be his daughter or granddaughter or even wife who picked up the phone. What would they think of their beloved father, grandfather or husband if they found out he had been talking to a 19-year-old he met in a gay chat group?

Charles rarely spoke in the chat group since then, but he kept in touch with Erik. He always checked up on Erik, paying close attention to how he coped with bereavement and adjusted to living alone. They would play chess during their free time. Erik had learned through their conversations that Charles was a wheelchair user, and that he seemed to be a real professor because he would mention his students from time to time.

Although curious, Erik never called Charles again or asked his surname. He kept himself from prying Charles' privacy so he wouldn't cause unnecessary inconveniences for him. Charles, on the other hand, asked for Erik's mailing address and sent a postcard every time he went abroad for a seminar or workshop. Those postcards usually had paintings or photographs of landscapes, with a message written in elegant cursive. Erik couldn't help but imagine a grey-haired (or bald) scholar entering a souvenir shop in an electric wheelchair, with a paper bag full of small gifts and postcards on his laps when he was leaving. Returning to his hotel room, he sat at his desk, put on his reading glasses, and carefully wrote down every word with a fine fountain pen. He could be writing to his friends, children or grandchildren or students, and Erik--a friend he had never met.

Erik was content to have a friend who sincerely cared about him. He didn't want to meet Charles that much--they're from different worlds, after all. He had no intention to go further with Charles, either, it was enough for him that someone on this planet cared so dearly. Besides, what if Charles was a married old man? Age difference aside, Erik didn't want to get involved in someone's family.

But you never knew what would happen in the future. If it weren't for that accident, Erik would probably never think about meeting Charles.

Last month, the factory that Erik had worked in for nearly four years had a major accident, and it was completely shut down for safety inspections. Because Erik was a mutant with "special ability", he had to go through special investigations to prove he wasn't the cause of the accident. Erik complained to Charles about the false accusation that might cause him to lose his job. He used his power to save his colleague but was blamed for the accident because the factory didn't want to take responsibility. How ridiculous!

"You're a mutant?" was Charles' only response, as if "mutant" was the only keyword he captured from that long rant.

And then Erik realized that he had never told Charles that he was a mutant.

The existence of mutants had been a known fact. And while the anti-discrimination law guaranteed their civil rights, there were still voices insisting "mutants are freaks not humans". Full equality hadn't been achieved yet.

Most people in this town knew about Erik's power, some didn't care, but some kept their distance. The strip club hired him not because of his intimidating, muscular build, but his power was handy when it came to seizing guns or other metal weapons.

Would Charles happen to be one of the anti-mutant bigots?

His stomach knotted up. "Yes, I'm a mutant. I can manipulate magnetic fields," he asked defensively. "Is that a problem?" 

Nervously, Erik stared at the blinking dot at the corner of the screen showing the other person's typing. A few seconds later, he got a reply, much to his surprise and delight--

"How could that be a problem? Erik, I'm a mutant, too!"

What? Charles was also a mutant?  "You, too?" He asked immediately.

"A telepath," Charles replied. "If you need help, Erik, I know a lawyer who specializes in mutant cases. I think she can offer you some constructive advice. Would you like me to introduce you to her?"

"Eh, sure. But--"

"No problem. I'll talk to her," Charles responded immediately. "Sorry, I have to teach. Talk to you later."

"...OK. Talk to you later."

Two hours later, Erik received a call from someone claiming to be a legal assistant at the Frost Law Firm. She had a few questions and asked for Erik's address. Before the call ended, she assured Erik that her boss would meet him as soon as possible.

And Erik saw that lawyer the next morning. A silver sedan had parked in Erik's driveway, a young woman in a spotless white suit with impeccably shining blonde hair smoothly got off of the driver's seat. Gracefully, she walked to Erik and reached out her hand. "Emma Frost, my assistant had spoken to you over the phone."

"Erik Lehnsherr." Erik shook her hand and said directly. "To be honest, Ms. Frost. I'm afraid I can't afford you."

"It's already been paid for so you don't need to give me a dime." Emma shrugged. "This is a public interest case, Mr. Lehnsherr. You need a consultant, and I need hours. So we both get what we need. I'm happy to take your case."

Someone paid for his lawyer! Who would do that...Ah, Charles, it must be Charles!

Erik couldn't help but frown. He didn't want to owe Charles money!

The sharp-eyed lawyer seemed to have read Erik's mind. "Although it's called a 'fee', in fact, I had Charles say to me: 'Please, Emma, I owe you one'." She smiled. "Mr. Lehnsherr, you know the professor as well, so you'd understand that having him owe me a favor would definitely worth more than whatever number I'll charge him." The smug smile on her face seemed almost evil.

Erik could only hope that this not-to-be-trifled-with lawyer wouldn't take too much advantage of Charles.

Emma stayed in the town for two days and nights, and solved Erik's case with a luncheon on her third day. She dashed off that evening, just like how she swiftly showed up. Before leaving, she handed Erik her business card and said, "Mr. Lehnsherr, if you decide to leave this middle-of-nowhere place one day, please do let me know. My business partner is interested in you--a mutant like you can definitely get a much better job than working at that crappy factory."

Erik knew that already, even without Emma's advice. He could find jobs with way more income with his power. In fact, he had thought about selling his property and leaving. But he couldn't bear to sell this memory-filled house. His late mother would not be proud of a son who worked for a criminal organization. Edie even talked him out of serving the military so that he wouldn't be used as a lab rat or trained to be a killing machine. The factory's pay wasn't great, but it offered him an opportunity to live an ordinary life. That was what he cherished because that was what his family had expected.

Taking her business card, he and Angel stood outside the house and watched Emma driving away.

The union representative who attended the luncheon later told Erik privately that Emma somehow got an investigation report and a collection of eyewitness testimonies, making the factory representative hem and haw. "Just because it happened in a small town doesn't mean it won't show up on national news." She didn't forget to push forward in her victory. "You do remember that last month, a young mutant who had been bullied for a long time 'lost control' and blew up half of their school, right? In comparison, your 'problematic employee' didn't tear the whole factory apart but saved his colleague's life so you dodged the compensation bullet. You should be grateful for that."

After everything was settled, Erik wrote a thank you letter to Charles. He decided to visit the university town where Charles lived before the factory reopened. He wanted to thank him in person, but he was also very curious about Charles who is also a mutant. "I'd like to buy you dinner as a thank you if it won't inconvenience you or your family." Erik didn't forget to add a note in the end, "But I can't afford a high-end restaurant."

Charles simply said, "As long as it's wheelchair accessible."

Browsing through reviews online, Erik picked a small, family-style Italian restaurant. Price wasn't the only factor he was concerned about, but also the possibility of Charles running into someone he knows--if they were dining at a family-style restaurant, the professor could say Erik was a grandson of a relative so no one would suspect him cheating on his wife.

On the agreed day, Erik put on his best shirt and pants. He was going to have dinner with "Professor", after all. It wouldn't be appropriate to go out in his old workwear which is full of dirt and grease. Seeing him "dressing up", Angel insisted that he was going on a date. Well, about that...Erik did plan on seizing the rare opportunity to get a few drinks at a bar and find someone hot to spend the night with. He could return home the next morning for his evening shift at the strip club.

Erik left around 3 pm. Before his departure, he and Angel eagerly searched for "his professor" online, but they didn't know Charles' full name, and Erik wasn't keen on wasting time researching about someone he'd meet soon. He only hoped that Charles would be as approachable in person as he had known for the past three years. As for the rest, he didn't really care.

He arrived at the university town after three hours of driving. The traffic was busy in the city so when Erik showed up at the restaurant, it was very close to their agreed time. Hastily, Erik parked his car and hurried through the parking lot to the restaurant. He glanced a black SUV parked in the accessible parking space in front of the restaurant. The door on the driver's seat side opened, and a folded wheelchair was placed on the ground, making Erik's heart skipping a beat. Before he could think through, his legs started to move forward on their own.

A dazzlingly bald head stuck out of the SUV--the bald guy transferred himself to the wheelchair with ease and grace. Judging by his movements, he didn't seem old at all.

Erik strode forward, but a bit more hesitant to ask. "Charles? ...'Professor'?"

The person in the wheelchair turned his head.

But Erik stopped right away.

No, it couldn't be Charles because he--

"...Erik?" The man asked, and then he beamed. "Hi, I'm Charles, Charles Xavier. I'm glad that we finally meet." 

Wait, he was...Charles? The young man who seemed to be at Erik's age was the old professor he had been talking to for three years?

"Are you really a professor?" Erik asked suspiciously.

Except for his old-fashioned dark blue sweater, Charles looked just like a college student, no wonder he was skeptical.

The young man lifted a finger to point to the windshield of his car. Erik took a closer look and spotted a faculty parking permit at the corner of the driver's seat. Erik dragged his eyes back to Charles, thinking to himself. This professor can't be older than 25, but are university professors usually this young?

"I skipped a few grades," Charles made a pouty face and explained. "I graduated earlier than most people."

"...You mean, you're a genius."

"In certain areas, I suppose." Charles openly admitted with a nod. "But there are many people who are smarter than me out there."

"I always thought you were an old professor near retirement!" Erik confessed, shaking his head in defeat. Angel would certainly laugh at him mercilessly after hearing about this.

Tilting his head in confusion, Charles asked, "Why? Do I sound old? I thought I didn't--" His furrowed eyebrows suddenly smoothed with relief. "Ah, I see. Because I play chess with you. And that reminded you of your grandfather."

How did he know? ...Oh, telepathy. Shit.

"Do you often read others' minds?"

"Not often." Charles made a funny face, looking more like a big boy than a dignified professor.

Erik was as amused as he was annoyed, shooting daggers at Charles but his eyes were glued to his head. The smile on his face slowly dissipated before he asked carefully, "...Your hair?" Please don't tell him you're sick. Please don't say it's because of chemotherapy...

"Oh, that." Patting his bare scalp, Charles smiled shyly. "I lost a bet to a student of mine, so I shaved my head as promised. So, Erik, do you like my new hairstyle?" He ended his sentence with a wink.

...

Erik finally let himself roll his eyes at Charles. He's not some kind, gentle, highly respected old professor! He's just a cocky, genius kid!

Although Charles wasn't like what Erik had imagined, not even close, they had dinner as planned anyway. A cheerful middle-aged waitress greeted them at the door and led them to their table. She called Charles "professor" and exclaimed at his shaved head, suggesting that he was a regular and she remembered him. Charles told her "Mr. Lehnsherr" who reserved their table was an "old friend", a term Erik found surprisingly suitable for them.

Without opening the menu, Charles just gave her an endearing stare and smiled charmingly. "What would you recommend, darling?" And in less than ten seconds they ordered the in-season combo for two people. Charles invited Erik to another chat group--for mutants only--while they waited for the food. Everyone in the group used an over-the-top handle name, which was said to protect their identities in case some bigots tried to target them. Charles went by "Professor X" (not creative at all, to be frank), and Erik chose the name "Magneto". Erik then invited Angel to the group. She posted a selfie of her wings and hit it off with several group members with special appearances right away.

They talked about everything over dinner. Charles told him that he had graduated from a prestigious school at the age of sixteen, then studied in the UK and got his first PhD. After returning home, he got another two PhDs from another world-renowned university. He was less than twenty years old then, but an unfortunate accident took his ability to walk.

In the few months after Charles left the hospital for the rehabilitation center, he joined an online help group. For the first in his life, he didn't need to care about school so he became obsessed with online chats. "Communicating online, instead of face-to-face, makes my telepathy completely useless. I don't know what the other person's thinking, and they don't need to worry about me reading their minds. It's actually easier this way."

A tad of loneliness crept onto the young man's face. Erik couldn't help but sympathize with the telepath. It must have been hard to always see through others' lies and deceit. 

The two of them seemed to have endless topics to talk about, despite it being the first time they had met. Time flew by without Erik noticing. It was only until the waitress came to tell them the restaurant was about to close Erik had realized they'd been talking for nearly four hours without stopping. He had wanted to go out for a drink!

"Erik, would you like to come to my house for a drink?"

Charles quickly added before Erik had a chance to respond, "Of course, if you already have plans with someone else, that's fine. If not...Since you live far away, why don't you come to my house? I have booze, coffee, tea...whatever you're in the mood for. There's a guest bedroom so you can also stay for the night and go back tomorrow...Oh, I'm not suggesting anything!" He blushed, licking his lips frantically. "Just worried about your safety."

"...Now you know why people thought you were an old man." Erik teased him. Charles seemed to be in the habit of taking care of others, despite him being only one year older than Erik. It'd be easy to mistake him for someone much older if you hadn't seen his face. "Wouldn't it disturb your family or roommate if I stay for the night?"

"I live by myself," Charles said.

Erik gave up a rare chance of indulging himself--although feeling a bit sorry--accepted Charles' kind offer instead and followed him home.

Charles lived in an old community on the outskirts of the city center. There were no other cars, just two of them driving slowly in the quiet night, passing by well-pruned trees on both sides of the road. Charles' power made following his car easy, he could tell Erik where to turn well before getting close to the intersection to turn on the direction lights.

We're here. Charles drove into his driveway. The dim streetlight shone on the bricks on the driveway and sidewalk, and the front yard that desperately needs a mowing. 

Erik parked his car on the side of the road, and walked along the sidewalk paved with grey non-slip bricks to the ordinary-looking wood cottage. The style of the house is old but the exterior walls didn't appear to be faded or peeled off. It was probably renovated in recent years. Charles wheeled out from the garage, the gentle slope connecting the driveway and the front porch was enough to allow his wheelchair to pass through smoothly. He opened the front door and led Erik into his house.

Erik followed him through the hallway and into the living room. The room was bright and spacious. Feeling a bit jittery, Erik was afraid his dirty boots would leave footprints on the gleaming, dark hardwood floor. "Don't worry about small things like that." Charles wheeled himself around. "The mud trails left by the wheels during a rainy day are much worse."

"...are you reading my mind?" Erik frowned.

Not answering directly, Charles just smiled.

Curious, Erik glanced around. He had never seen a place with so many books except for the library; books filled with every storage space, some were neatly put on shelves while others were randomly stacked together. Charles showed Erik around; a narrow bar table separated the living room from the kitchen, the bathroom with grab bars on the walls smelled like air freshener. Charles closed the door when they passed by his room--it seemed there was something in it that he didn't want Erik to see. And then they entered the guest room where there was a double bed covered in a bed sheet and a row of storage boxes stacked along the wall. It appeared that the room also served as a storage unit. 

Returning to the living room, Erik spotted a chessboard on the small table to the couch. He walked over and took a close look--intricate sculptures of brass and bronze lying on a spotlessly clean wooden chessboard. Erik picked up a metal chess piece and marveled, "You really like playing chess, don't you?"

"Yes, I do." Charles nodded. "But I don't get to play with 'people' much, the chess set is more like a decoration."

"Why?" Puzzled, Erik asked.

"My power." Charles raised his fingers to point at his temple. "No one wants to play with a telepath because it's unfair. I joined the chess club when I was in school, but I wasn't allowed in any competition...I understand, I really do...I play with computers, or people online. But swiping your fingers across the screen always feels different from holding a real chess piece in front of a chessboard."

It was probably that Charles told a similarly sad mutant story in a calm manner had resonated with Erik's own experience. Out of impulse, he said loudly, "I'll play chess with you!"

Charles' eyes widened slightly. Staring at Erik, he asked carefully, "Even if I'm a telepath who can read your mind?"

Opening his hands, Erik let the metal pieces whirling in the air. "If you cheat, I'll turn your beautiful chess pieces into thirty-two metal nails and pin you and your wheelchair to the ceiling!" He jokingly threatened him.

Charles broke into laughter. "Oh, Erik!" He clutched Erik's hands tightly. Charles' hands were warm; his touch seemed too intimate but not aggressive. And he held Erik's hands for too long, making it difficult not to wonder his intentions.

"...Sorry." Charles let go of his hands and coughed a few times in an attempt to hide his embarrassment. He wheeled himself to the bar table and opened the liquor cabinet. "What would you like to drink?"

Erik made himself a Martini while Charles poured a glass of whiskey. They moved to the chess board and arranged the pieces, starting to play chess while drinking and chatting.

Erik blamed alcohol as he found it harder and harder to concentrate on the game, but it was also because the person sitting in front of him was...distracting. Normally Erik wouldn't go for the "pretty boy" type, but when Charles stared at the chessboard and furrowed his eyebrows, the fine lines on his forehead and his focused gaze added a touch of maturity to him. Charles cracked a shaky smile when their eyes met.

Erik couldn't help but wonder if Charles was interested in him. Why would he care for him over the years otherwise? But Charles had never suggested to go further with Erik, not even tonight, not even after he had successfully brought Erik home. All they did was playing chess and chatting, no other suggestions at all. Or perhaps, Charles was interested in Erik, but his body couldn't...?

"What are you thinking?" Charles' eyes darted up to look at him.

"Aren't you a telepath?" Erik asked.

Raising his glass, Charles gave Erik a cheeky wink. "Do you prefer me to read your mind without asking?"

Erik raised an eyebrow and asked, "Do you want to have sex with me?"

He smirked when Charles got choked on his drink. Putting down his glass, Charles coughed, "...Eh, sorry, I beg your pardon?"

"You heard me."

Charles looked away, but his ear and neck were of the same crimson color as his cheeks. "I can't deny that I had expectations. You're my type, and you didn't judge me by my power or disability. But--" He looked at Erik carefully. "Don't get me wrong, Erik. This is not why I asked to meet you or why I invited you home so you don't have to worry that if you didn't meet my 'expectations', I'd kick you out in the middle of the night."

It was pleasing to see Charles so nervous, Erik grinned. If he just wanted someone to sleep with, Charles wouldn't be his first choice, but he didn't oppose the idea, either. Charles looked nice, and he missed being intimate with someone, but-- "I don't know how...eh..with..." Erik peered at the wheelchair, knowing that Charles would understand.

Charles chuckled. "Would you like me to show you?" The flirtatious tone was unmistakable.

They left the chessboard and moved the battlefield to the bedroom.

The master bedroom was a little bigger than the guest bedroom, with half of the space taken by a desk and a bookshelf. Charles headed to the double bed directly and motioned for Erik to sit down. There were several pillows in different shapes on the bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Erik's gaze met Charles' eyes.

Charles parked his wheelchair in front of Erik, his fingertips brushing through the back of Erik's hand, caressing him gently.

Erik willed himself not to roll his eyes. He's already brought me to his bedroom, and now he's shy?  Erik simply took Charles' hands and placed them on his laps. But Charles moved away instantly. Before Erik could say something cheeky, Charles threw his arms around his waist and leaned over. An unexpected but warm embrace. Personally, Erik preferred to go straight to business rather than wasting time hugging, but he was happy to accommodate his old friend. Raising his hands around Charles' shoulders, Erik was surprised at how firm and broad they felt underneath his clothes.

"What would you like me to do?" Charles asked softly.

"I thought you were going to show me."

But you have certain expectations and preferences, right?  Charles' voice asked in his head. Ah, I see.

Erik was about to give a lecture on personal boundaries, but when he lowered his head, the person in his arms lifted his chin and kissed his lips.

Kisses of fire were both tempting and teasing, deft fingers slipped underneath Erik's shirt, stroking his lower back. The man who had been shy and hesitant a few minutes ago swiftly stripped Erik off his shirt, hands and tongue touching every inch of exposed skin. Not wanting to lose in his game, Erik took off Charles' shirt, exposing his upper body. It seemed that Charles wheeled to the gym often, it was impossible to look away from his muscular shoulders and arms.

Charles took off Erik's pants and put a wedge-shaped pillow behind his back to let him lie in bed. He buried his head between Erik's legs, mouth and hands working together to entice him. Warm, wet licking through the fabric of his underwear made Erik gasped loudly. It had been too long since someone touched him like this. No, no one had spent so much time exploring his sensitive parts as Charles did. Finally, Charles took off his underwear, put a condom on his length, and swallowed him. He couldn't resist the urge to fuck that warm mouth, but Charles grabbed his waist hard and pinned him to the bed. Erik glared fiercely at the man between his legs, but his annoyance quickly dissipated because Charles knew too well how to use his mouth and hands to make Erik lose his ability to think. Erik held Charles' head to steady himself. The new-grown hair had a prickling sensation to his fingers, it was quite interesting and addictive. 

Charles grunted, Really? You're paying attention to my hair now?

"Stop reading my mind!" Erik growled.

When the hot, wet tongue slid to his entrance, Erik couldn't make any noise other than moans. He couldn't even form a complete sentence in his head.

After Erik came, Charles transferred to the bed, lying next to Erik and panting with him.

After his breathing steadied a bit, Erik sat up and began to undress Charles' pants. He grabbed Erik's wrists at first, seemingly wanted to stop him, but after a moment of hesitation, he let go of his hands, letting Erik unbutton his fly and pull down his zipper. Grabbing the waistband of his pants, Charles wiggled his body like a snake to took them off, revealing his atrophied-muscled legs. Charles gazed up and looked at Erik with uncertainty as if he was worried that his body would make Erik uncomfortable.

Erik had to admit that Charles' body was indeed "different", but it didn't change his mind. Erik leaned over to kissed him firmly and whispered to his ear, "Charles, what do you want me to do?"

Charles took Erik's hand and pressed a kiss into it. His eyes slip shut, taking a deep breath. I like hugs, touches, and kisses.

So Erik did.

Holding Charles in his arms, he covered his whole body with kisses and touches. Charles was no stranger to him--despite this being the first time they had met--he always cared for Erik for the past three years, and Erik allowed himself to rely on him a little. This connection seemed to make every touch more electrifying.

Charles was responding eagerly to his touching, gasping breathlessly under Erik while not forgetting to caress Erik at the same time. He whispered to Erik's ear, "I'm afraid I won't be able to fuck you into unconsciousness. But would you like to try it out?"

Erik saw no reason to reject this offer. He helped Charles sit up and watched curiously as he took out a jar of lube, some condoms and a vacuum pump from his bedside table. Erik wasn't slightly bothered by Charles' openness and honesty. He stacked some pillows together so Charles could sit comfortably--now he knew what those long pillows and wedge-shaped pillows are for--then he knelt in front of Charles, masturbating while prepping himself with his fingers, enjoying Charles' glistening, lustful gaze.

Although Charles had warned him not to expect too much so he wouldn't be disappointed, Erik thought he had experienced the best sex of his life tonight--while riding Charles, he bounced around to find his favorite angles and rhythms. Charles couldn't move his lower body, but his hands remained busy the whole time, caressing Erik's legs, kneading his backside and nipping his nipples. And what drove Erik completely out of his mind was when Charles abused his power, talking dirty directly in his head, praising how good he looked and live broadcasting it to Erik to prove his point.

To stop Charles from projecting those embarrassing images, Erik leaned down and gave him a fervent kiss, completely distracting him.

Finally, Erik gathered some strength to lift himself up, letting Charles' semi-soft penis to slip out. Noticing the lack of semen in the condom, he frowned. Charles explained before he had the chance to speak, saying that it was normal after his injury. Erik was concerned that Charles didn't get to enjoy himself but was rewarded with a lingering kiss. Snuggling up in his chest, Charles asked, "Do I look like I didn't enjoy myself?"

Erik reached two conclusions: 1) The injury didn't make Charles lose his ability to enjoy sex; 2) Telepathy is a very annoying power.

Embracing each other, they fell asleep. When Erik opened his eyes the next morning, he was welcomed by a roomful of sunshine, Charles’ gleeful smile, and some hot morning sex. He was more than glad that he went home with Charles instead of some random guy at a bar. 

When Erik begrudgingly left Charles’ arms, it was almost 10 am. He had his shift tonight so he couldn’t stay here for too long. “Why don’t you have brunch here first?” Charles wrapped his arms around his waist again. “I'll cook.”

"...OK, but you'll have to get out of bed first."

Charles mumbled in frustration, and instead of letting him go, he tightened his arms and started to kiss Erik's back.

Erik struggled to break free from the embrace, turning his head to shoot daggers at Charles which turned into chuckles after seeing Charles' pouty face. His heart melted and leaned in to kiss Charles' cheek to make up for him, which then accidentally escalated into lovemaking again.

Finally out of bed, Erik made use of the bathroom in the guest bedroom. He found out that Charles had left him with hickeys and bruises all over his body, and wondered if Charles was a possessive partner. After letting his thoughts wander a bit, he remembered that Charles wasn't his partner.

After Erik finished his shower and changed. He heard the sound of running water coming from the master bedroom. Starving, he walked into the kitchen to forage food. He took some juice and eggs from the fridge, and a bag of sliced bread from the freezer. He was about to make eggs and toasts when he heard the doorbell.

"Charles?"

The sound of running water didn't stop, so Charles probably didn't hear the doorbell.

Should he help Charles answer the door?

Erik left the kitchen and walked through the living room and heard the sound of a key opening the door before he reached to the hallway.

The door was pushed open, a blonde woman stood at the door, holding a full paper bag from a supermarket.

Erik froze, not sure what to do.

The blonde woman took off her sunglasses, narrowing her eyes to study Erik.

The two of them just stared at each other for a while, and eventually, she broke the silence and asked, "Are you a student of Charles'?"

Erik didn't respond, his gaze resting on her sunglasses-holding left hand--a gold ring with a diamond on it glistened on her ring finger.

"...No." Erik struggled to squeeze out his answer.

Without looking back, Erik rushed out to his car. He took out his key, opened the door, got on the driver's seat, started the engine and fled.

On his way home, Erik kept cursing, unable to believe how stupid he had been.

She had the key to Charles' house.

She entered the house with a bag full of groceries.

She was wearing a wedding ring.

Indeed, Charles was young, and a wheelchair user. But it didn't mean that he couldn't be an unfaithful husband who took young boys home when his young, attractive wife was away.

Erik had been so irritated the whole time that he missed the highway exit, so he wasted more than an hour before returning to the small town where he had been living in for his entire life.

When familiar scenes entered his view, it already passed mid-afternoon. Finally arriving home, Erik saw a familiar car parked in front of his house, looking suspiciously similar to the black SUV he saw at the accessible parking space last night.

His first thought was that he was hallucinating. A few seconds later, he saw three people sitting in the front porch. They turned their heads to his car simultaneous--one of them was his roommate, the other was the blonde woman who made him ran out of the door, and the other man was in a wheelchair.

Cursing to himself, Erik hit his innocent steering wheel.

But escape was not an option, nor was it in his character.

Breathing in deeply, Erik forced himself to calm down. He turned the engine off, walking to his own door with gritted teeth.

Standing on the front porch, Erik glared at the three of them with a stone face, not sure if he was more angry or disappointed.

Charles reached his hand out, holding Erik's cellphone. It wasn't until then Erik realized he left his phone at Charles' house as he left in a hurry, and he was too distracted on his way home to notice that he lost an important belonging.

"Erik, this is my sister, Raven." Charles was the first to speak. "Raven has the key to my house, just in case I fell in the bathroom and couldn't get up one day. Sometimes she would come and spend a few days with me. Usually, she'd pick up some food beforehand so she'll have something to snack on if she gets hungry at night because there's very few junk food in my house. And she just got engaged so she's always showing off her ring."

The blonde woman named Raven mouthed a "sorry" to Erik.

Erik felt his cheeks burning. He must look ridiculous!

He tried his best to ignore Angel's snicker or Raven's interested gaze, lowering his head and taking back his phone from Charles.

"You're not inviting me in?" Charles asked in his usual feigned, saddened voice.

"I have to work soon." Erik snapped.

"There's an easy solution for that." Said the culprit responsible for the misunderstanding.

Erik gave a cold look to Charles' sister, but in a blink of an eye, she shifted into Erik's look and gave him a cold stare. "I have to work soon." Wow, she even sounds the same. How annoying!

Angel chuckled and rolled Raven's arm. "Well, this 'Erik' will send me to work so you can stay to entertain the guest."

"Charles, you owe me one," Raven said in her own voice.

"Hey, wait--"

"It'll be alright. Raven is a great shapeshifter. It's just for one night, no one would notice anything."

Charles wasn't helping at all. Erik knew better than counting on him, though he couldn't deny that the shapeshifter who can even imitate voices was truly impressive. Even he couldn't spot anything different on that "fake Erik".

Angel didn't forget to tease him when she passed by Erik. "I told you it was a date, didn’t I?"

The two mutants who instantly became partners in crime drove away in the black SUV, leaving the other two staring at each other in awkward silence.

Erik sighed, "W-Why did you come here?"

"I wanted to explain, but you left your phone at my house," Charles said.

"So you followed me immediately?"

"Yes," Charles said with a nod.

Of course, the "old professor" who sent dozens of postcards to Erik for years knew where he lived. "She…Why is Raven here?" Erik asked.

"Raven said she wanted to enjoy the show so she insisted on coming with me," Charles said resignedly.

Erik huffed.

"Erik." Charles took his hand. "I like you and...I was very happy last night. I hope we can meet again."

Charles' sincere tone softened Erik's heart. He liked Charles, too, and they got along in bed so he was not opposed to this proposal.

He nodded, and Charles' warm smile lightened up his mood immediately.

"Erik, I'm hungry...Why don't I take my turn and treat you to dinner tonight?"

Erik grinned and raised his hand, lifting Charles' wheelchair off the ground and through the doorway into his house. "Do you want the whole town to see us together? ...Come in, don't forget that you said that you would cook."