Charles has a secret life.
During the day he's a bookish, absent-minded English professor wearing cardigans and leading young vulnerable minds through the nuances of Blake and E.E. Cummings and Ginsburg. When he goes home and sits at his laptop, avoiding having to read a million papers that offer the same basic take on T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland over and over, he becomes Professor Smut.
"Professor. Smut?" Moira asks, one eyebrow cocked in total amusement. "Really? Considering it’s you, I would expect something more, um, literary."
It’s his weekly Friday afternoon cocktail hour with his best friend and Charles seems to have decided to turn it into True Confessions and tell her about his secret online life. They are sitting in his cluttered apartment, Charles in the worn wing-backed chair he’d stolen from the Xavier estate and Moira stretched out across his couch, balancing a glass of wine in her fingers. They’d just spent the last half hour bitching about their department head, Dr. Summers, and yet another of his idiotic initiatives when Charles decided to change the subject and tell Moira about Professor Smut.
"No!" Charles gasps, "I can't even hint at my real life. What if a student figures it out? I can’t even imagine."
"What about the professor part?" Moira intones, her mouth twitching, as if she’s pointing out the obvious, which she kind of is. Okay, he’s not really keeping the boundaries that strong. But he really LIKES Professor Smut. It has a certain je ne sais quoi about it.
"Well..." Charles hems and haws, "that part is pretty vague, don’t you think? I mean aren’t there lots of professors out there?"
Moira rolls her eyes. "So what's the TV show? Is it that medical drama everyone seems to be watching?"
"God, NO!" Charles cries, mortified that anyone thinks he would be remotely inspired by glorified portrayals of doctors and ripped from the headlines storylines, "It’s Bent! Haven't you heard of it? It's on BBC." As if a decent pedigree and not being on a standard network improves the fact that Charles has just told his best friend that he's a 34 year old gigantic fanboy. It’s really okay. It’s on BBC. Well, there you go. That makes this entirely NOT embarrassing.
Bent. It's one of the hottest shoes around for the geek contingent. John Bent is a brilliant detective and a genius. He solves crimes using his intellect and with the help his friend, Kennedy Watson. Charles has been watching since the first series and it’s on it’s fifth now. It hadn’t taken him long to move from watching to immersing himself in the fandom, completely shipping Bent and Watson, otherwise known as BentSon. Because, really, it was obvious they were in love and wanted to bang each other.
“It’s brilliant, Moira,” Charles says excitedly, with the same tone he might discuss queer beat poets while drinking coffee in a cafe on a dark and rainy afternoon.
"Bent is dark and tortured, and drinks too much. He’s always on the hunt for the man who killed his family, Sebastian Shaw. And Kennedy is a great foil to Bent’s driven personality, kind of a regular chap. This actor, Erik Lehnsherr, plays John Bent, and he’s amazing. I mean, perfect casting. Tall and he has this square jaw and these ice blue eyes that seem to look through everything, and I don’t think anyone can play tormented like E. L. I mean, there was this episode where he got close to Shaw, only to have him slip away, and I can’t tell you how amazing...I mean, just the way E. L.’s jaw twitched spoke volumes, and the chemistry between him and Cassidy….”
Charles’ voice fades as he notices Moira has gone from just staring at him to looking somewhat worried, like she needs to call the insane asylum or something. Maybe she does, because Charles is absolutely crazy for Bent.
“E.L.?” she says slowly.
“Sorry, Erik Lehnsherr.”
“I take it you’re a fan.”
“I’m not just a fan, Moira my love, I’m pretty much crushing like a sixteen year old girl.”
“Oh. My. God,” Moira gasps as if she’s hit her limit, “Charles Xavier! You have a doctorate in English Literature from Oxford of all places. You’ve published several books that are used in classrooms all over the world. And now I find out that you are also a rabid fan of some television show and go by the moniker Professor Smut. I can see why you don’t tell everyone this.”
Charles grins widely, “Yeah, not the best first date material.”
“Not ANY date material,Charles. This needs to stay in this room.”
“It might get worse,” Charles mumbles a little, not quite sure why that he wants to tell Moira all of his transgression. “I might...maybe...kind of...well, I might write fanfic.”
“Oh dear god, I don’t think I want to know what fanfic is,” Moira says, taking a sip of the wine she’s been holding. “Please, let my brain remain ignorant of whatever you’re going to tell me. Please.”
“And I might write slash.”
“Well, it’s fanfic with a romantic relationship between two men.”
Moira blinks, “Well, that’s the least surprising thing you’ve told me tonight, Charles. I mean, you are a giant fag, so I’m not surprised that you write about the fags too.”
“I am only letting you get away with the fag comment because you’re of the tribe, Moira,” Charles smiles, “and it's true. Anyway, it’s obvious that Bent and Watson love each other. I mean, you should see the way Bent looks at Watson, and one time when he thought Watson had been hurt, it just killed me, and he yelled out his name with such anguish. Anyway, it’s actually not typically queers writing this stuff. It’s mostly straight women. I actually don't know if any men are reading what I write.” Charles pauses to catch his breathe, and Moira is still looking at him like he’s insane, “And speaking of the queers in love, don’t you have a date with that Betsy person?”
This comment earns Charles one of his throw pillows tossed in his general direction.
“Asshole. I think you mean Elizabeth, my girlfriend of two years. Yes, she’s meeting me for our monthly trip out to Costco to enact the fucking gay agenda by buying a large amount of toilet paper, if you want to call it a date.”
And this is why Charles loves Moira. Not only is she the only other queer in the department, when pushed, she’s wicked funny, and she puts up with him and all his insanity,
“So since this is true confessions time, Professor Smut, is there anything else I need to know.”
“Well,” Charles says quickly.
“Oh, why did I ask,”
“I might also write erotica.”
“Ahhhhh!” Moira covers her ears with her hands.
“Two men fucking their brains out.”
“Charles! I am out of here.”
Moira says her goodbyes and kisses Charles on the cheek, telling him she’ll see him at school on Monday, where they’ll pretend they are actually boring English professors who take their jobs of educating the masses very seriously. When she’s gone, Charles goes back to his computer and pulls up Tumblr. He reblogs a few Bent gif sets, then searches for the tag #erik lehnsherr. Charles peruses the pictures, staring at the actor’s strong jawline, the way the corners of his eyes crinkle, those thin lips, and he wonders if Erik Lehnsherr kisses well. He bet he does. And maybe he likes Chinese takeout just as much as Charles, and he bets if they somehow met they’d so hit it off, because surely Erik Lehnsherr has a thing for intellectual geeks with unruly hair who are just a tad on the short side. He think Erik Lehnsherr would think Charles fit nicely against him, tucked into his shoulder, and they would make a very nice couple.
Crushing like a sixteen year old girl is right. Jesus, Xavier, this isn’t real life. Erik Lehnsherr isn’t going to kiss you. You should just hit up OK Cupid and find a real person who will.
But still. Those eyes.
Erik. Emma makes poor fashion choices.
“We’ve got a Con in a few weeks.” Emma says, not looking up at Erik, who is sitting in one of the very nice leather chairs in her office, picking at a piece of loose cuticle on one of his fingers, wincing a little because it hurts. He hates these meetings. Emma is wearing white, as always, a habit of hers that Erik actually finds annoying. Yes, her last name is Frost. Frost is white. Everyone gets that. A six year old would get it. Since it’s one of their regular meetings she’s not all dolled up with her breasts shoved out for the world to see and her hair teased up high. She’s just wearing a velour white track suit and too many gold rings, and if Erik really wanted to irritate her, he’d tell her she looks ever so slightly like his pimp today. She kind of is his pimp in a way.
Erik keeps his mouth shut.
“Where is this one,” Erik asks absently. He’s not interested in another Con. It will be the same hoards of screaming fans, the same panel where he and Sean will act like best buddies and give vague answers about series six of Bent. It’s too bad he and Sean actually can’t stand each other, a byproduct of the fact that they spent the first series of Bent fucking each other before learning they actually had nothing in common. Oh well. Still, the sex was good while it lasted.
“New York,” Emma says while leafing through a stack of papers on her desk. “We’ll set you up in a nice motel. You and Sean should try to be seen around town together. Look like you’re best friends.”
Erik rolls his eyes.
“I know you’re bored,” Emma says, finally glancing up at him. She’s right. It’s been five years of Bent and this isn’t exactly what Erik had bargained for. Before Bent he’d done stage, and a few lesser known movies, but the steady money of a gig with the BBC had been alluring. No one had expected it to last this long anyway. Maybe a couple series and Erik could go back to stage with a little extra money in his pocket. No one had realized it would become a phenomena.
“I just want to be able to move on from John Bent,” Erik says, “I mean, I love the guy but he’s been a huge part of my life for years now and I’m starting to feel like I’m stuck in a bad marriage. All we ever do is argue.”
“Sorry, sugar,” she says, “John Bent has benefited both of us very well. He’s not going away anytime soon.”
“But,” Emma says slyly. “I might have something for you that will make him more interesting.” She returns to the pile of papers, rooting around towards the bottom and mutters something about needing to ask Kitty, her assistant, to actually try to organize the things on her desk, then pulls out a few sheets that look like pictures that have been printed off the internet. She hands them to Erik, who looks at them, not quite sure what he’s seeing, until it clicks in his brain. They are drawing. Artists rendering. Of him. Fucking Sean. Oh dear.
“Oh.” Erik says, glancing up at Emma. “Wow. That’s me.”
“Yeah,” she grins. “I mean, it’s not you. It’s John Bent and Kennedy Watson. I guess my new assistant is a big fan of BentSon.”
“Ummmm, Bentson? Wasn’t that a TV show in the eighties in the States?”
“That’s Benson, you asshole. No, BENTson. You know, John Bent and Kennedy Watson. Bent--Son.”
Erik glances at the pictures again, studying them a little more. He’s not actually sure he had ever achieved that position with Sean, and the proportions are a little off, and it’s actually kind of hot and very strange at the same time.
“And this is a thing? BentSon? On the internet?”
When it comes to the internet, Erik usually tries to stick to Google and email and the fake facebook account he set up one night when he was drunk and finding himself highly amusing. He likes the wall between him and the fans, so he’s never actually gone to find out what the world talks about when it comes to Bent.
“Kitty showed it to me. You’re huge, Erik. You would not believe how many people love BentSon. There are websites, blogs, and people make pictures and write stories and it’s like a whole world that I had no idea about.”
Erik thinks he won’t tell Emma she’s looking pimptastiC after all. His agent isn’t actually that bad. She’s a bit of a barracuda and a savvy business woman, and she does a good job of advocating for him. Then she says something that pisses Erik off.
“I thought I’d bring these to the con in New York. Wouldn’t it be hilarious. I mean, these pictures are a riot.”
Erik glares at Emma. She has the common sense of a rock at times, because despite all she’s done for him, this is the dumbest thing he’s ever heard. These are his fans, the ones who tune into watch him, who enjoy what he brings to the character of John Bent. Even if he’s tired of Bent, he'a not unaware that the series would have never made it past its first year if people hadn’t seen something they like. Emma’s idea is utter shit, so Erik gives her the best dirty look he can muster then lets loose.
“Your outfit makes you look like a pimp.”
Emma tells Erik to fuck off, and Erik decides their meeting can resume at another time. One of the perks of stardom is being an asshole on occasion and walking out of meetings with your agent. Ultimately he’s the one who provides the butter for Emma’s bread and she will come crawling back to him in a few days. In the meantime, Erik has gotten all the information he really needs. New York ComiCon, make nice with Sean, and his fans are a bit rabid. He can deal with all of that.
Erik heads home from Emma’s office. He thinks his fans would be surprised that he actually lives a mostly normal life. He has a flat in London. He doesn’t go out much. He doesn’t even really date - it’s hard when you’re part of something as big as Bent to find someone you actually like, and then the act of dating them is akin to climbing Mt. Everest. That’s why he and Sean had kept things quiet. Plus neither of them were exactly public about their sexuality. For Erik this was more by omission. It's not like Erik had ever actually tried to put up a front and dated women from time to time, but it’s not like he was telling the world he is a giant queer either.
He grabs a cab and heads home, thinking he’ll probably order some Chinese takeout for dinner then watch a movie.
His couch is comfortable but Erik finds that he’s not really wanting to commit to watching two hours of any movie, so after a while he grabs his laptop and checks his email. All his new email is uneventful. There’s one from his mother asking if he’s going to be home for Hanukkah this year and several from Emma, forwarding his itinerary for New York and telling him that she’ll see him in her office next week. She’s already capitulating.
The conversation from earlier plays over and over in his mind, and Erik finds that he is way too curious about this world Emma had described. He switches over to Google and discovers that what Emma was talking about is a documented phenomenon, a subculture, called fandom. This was his first foray into starring in a major television show and this is entirely new to him. Erik knows he should probably go back to watching his movie, or just go to bed, but he starts clicking and searching, and soon he’s lost in the maze of BentSon blogs and stuff on this website called Tumblr, and then he finds the fanfic. Oh lord, the fanfic.
The first one he reads is indescribably bad. It’s refers to Bent’s penis as his ‘leaking member’ and Erik feels himself blushing, because John Bent’s penis is actually his own penis, and the term ‘leaking member’ is kind of icky. Luckily most of the other stories refer to his penis more appropriately as his cock, although it still seems to have a habit of leaking when Kennedy Watson is around. Then he reads one where Bent and Watson are doing something on a couch in outer space. Hooboy, this stuff is bad, Erik thinks, but for some reason he can’t stop. He keeps clicking. At one point he’s a bit scandalized by the kink someone has given Bent, because he’s sure John Bent would never do THAT. He positive that HE wouldn’t do that.
Erik is about to stop his foray into the world of BentSon when he sees a title that catches his attention.
I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Madness.
Erik stops. Ginsberg. Heh.
By Professor Smut.
Oh dear. Ginsberg and smut. Such a perfect combination.
Against his better judgement, Erik clicks on the link, because even though the story has been written by someone who uses the pseudonym Professor Smut, it’s Howl and it’s Ginsberg, and that can’t be all that bad, can it?
Erik starts reading. He gets a few paragraphs in and he finds that he’s entranced.
Whoever this professor is, he has an amazing grasp of character and language, because as Erik reads, he finds that he is entirely in agreement. This is indeed John Bent, and somehow the professor has captured Bent and Watson even better than the actual writers have. Erik can’t stop reading. And they are hot. Fucking, sucking off, fingering each other HOT. He wants more of this version of John Bent, and the story has something like fifteen chapters, and before he realizes it, Erik is glancing at his phone and it’s 3 am. Erik wipes the tears from his eyes, because if he’s always played John Bent with the intent that he MIGHT have a thing for Watson, he now knows that John Bent and Kennedy Watson are truly in love with each other. They are CANON.
Oh. My. God. Erik Lehnsherr has crossed through the wall he keeps between him and fandom. He’s become one of them.
He should walk away. He should forget he ever did this, blame it on the whiskey (um, you’re not even drinking Lehnsherr), but he doesn’t. Instead he does something even more insane. He creates an account. Because he can’t let this story go without saying something to Professor Smut about how his writing is beautiful and how he transported him into Bent and Watson’s world, and how Bent and Watson, BentSon, are meant to be, and this is the craziest thing Erik has ever done.
He does it anyway.
He makes an account.
Erik is such a dork.
He has a million things he wants to say, but he can’t. It’s too much, so he settles with a simple sentence that he leaves as a comment at the end of Professor Smut’s story.
Professor Smut, you are amazing.
Charles has a fan with a really dorky pseudonym. He turns out to be a unicorn. And Charles likes to be naked.
When Charles wakes up on Saturday morning, he starts his day by stretching in the most delicious manner, from his fingertips, all the way down to his toes, his whole body shaking then releasing tension, then he thinks that waking up is overrated and maybe he should just stay in bed. That would be nice.
He is entirely naked, because Charles likes to sleep that way. It’s comfortable and has the side benefit of scandalizing Raven when they’re home visiting during holidays and sometimes over summer break. She comes running into his room to pounce on him while he’s sleeping and gets met with his morning hard-on, then Charles jerks awake, surprised, throwing the covers off and thoroughly scandalizing his sister with his nudity. She then runs off shrieking and swears she’s going to find a way to divorce him as her brother. No matter how horrified she is, Raven always forgets by the next time they’re at Westchester together and it happens all over again.
Raven is funny.
The next thing he does is grab his robe, throwing it over his shoulders and then he stumbles into the kitchen of his apartment and makes coffee, fingers rubbing at the several day growth of facial hair that Moira says makes him look extra sexy. Charles thinks it’s not really about being particularly sexy but about him being inherently lazy and the fact that he looks good in a bit of a beard is a side benefit. A couple of his boyfriends have liked it. Another couple have told him he chafes and that he needs to shave. Right now what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter because Charles is blissfully single.
The third thing he does, yawning with coffee in hand, is check his email. His robe is untied and hanging behind him, because for the most part Charles likes to be naked in general, but there’s something vaguely wrong about sitting his naked butt on his office chair. It’s just not quite right, although he has no qualms lying spread out naked on his couch. Charles doesn't mind the contradiction. He's a mass of them anyways. He stares at the screen of his laptop then launches his email.
The first email that appears in his inbox is from his mother, asking him if he’s coming home from Christmas. Of course Sharon. He’ll be there, because otherwise she’ll probably cut him out of the will. Christmas at the estate is always a big affair, with his mother throwing an epic party and all her friends from the country club getting roaring drunk. The only thing that makes it more bearable is if he has a boyfriend at the time, which means they can sneak around and have sex in all kinds of scandalous places; the library, the kitchen pantry, the coat room. This year it will just be him and Raven, and he's sure he can convince Moira to come again this year. She always enjoys a good Sharon Xavier party.
The second is from Raven, another report on her trip to Paris. Blah, blah, blah, and will she see him at Christmas. Of course. Raven is the other reason Charles puts up with yet another Sharon Christmas. Charles takes another sip of his coffee.
The next ten are comments on his writing. What? They come in, one after the other, and Charles blinks because he realizes they are all from the same person.
He has a fan.
His fan is named Bendover Bent.
Seriously. Charles' lips quirk a little.
But, comments! So many comments. Charles thinks that whoever Bendover Bent is, their eyes must be bleary from reading because Bendover Bent has managed to go through about a third of Charles’ fics, and considering he’s been writing for five years now, that’s no small amount.
He starts to read.
The first comment.
Professor Smut, you are amazing.
Charles snorts. Duh. He’s amazing. Nice one Bendover Bent. The next one is a little more nuanced.
I love how you made Bent’s humanity shine through. The writers often don’t do that. They tend to be more concerned with plot. ~Ben.
Charles thinks for a moment. Bendover Bent had signed ‘Ben’. Is it possible? Has Charles finally found the rare unicorn of the fanfic world, the FANBOY? Is there someone like him out there? Is he NOT ALONE?
Charles smiles. He starts thinking of Bendover Bent as Ben from that moment on.
Ben continues his love-fest of Charles’ writing. He comments about the plots. The actual PLOTS of his stories, not just how the fucking is hot, although the fucking is hot. Fucking is always hot. Stories should have lots and lots of fucking, but plot. Plot too, and Ben agrees. Ben tells him he loves how he developed some of the lesser Bent characters and Charles swoons. Ben even makes some suggestions on how he could develop Watson a little better, and Charles thinks he’s right. And he says he thinks some of his original characters are brilliant. Yes. It’s like a massive comment orgasm and Charles finds himself yelling, ‘yes, yes, YES!’ at his computer.
It’s like Christmas has come early and when it’s all over and he’s unwrapped all the delightful things Ben has to say, Charles thinks that this might be the best present ever. He heads over to Tumblr to see what all his fellow fans have been writing and reblogging overnight, and he sees he has a notification in his inbox. He clicks on it.
Ben has found his tumblr. That’s what he gets for putting a link on his AO3 profile. Charles feels a thrill. Not just comments. A message. From his biggest fan. This is so strange. It’s so AWESOME. He will never tell Moira. Never, ever, ever. Because she will never understand and she will make fun of him. Charles clicks on the message.
I’m making a huge fool of myself, but your writing is far better than the people actually writing for the show, and maybe I can talk to them about getting you a spot on the team. ;)
Charles laughs. It’s such a nice compliment. To think he could be one of the writers for Bent. Charles smiles then responds.
You have made my morning Ben. I woke up to find the most amazing comments. And you are kind, my friend, to think that I could be one of the writers. Ha ha. Thank you so much.
Charles hits send and his response heads back to Ben, wherever he is. He gets up, thinking he should probably get dressed and bother to email Sharon about Christmas. And he still has those T. S. Eliot papers, goddamn it. Charles goes to shower, and when he gets out, as he’s toweling his hair, he glances at his phone, which he left open to Tumblr.
Charles feels that thrill again. Maybe it’s Ben. He clicks on the icon and it is. Ben!
I didn’t know if you would even write back. It’s amazing to be able to talk to you.
Charles melts a little. Somehow Ben seems shy, and it’s funny to think about someone worrying that Charles wouldn’t write back. Charles clicks on Bendover Bent’s tumblr profile and discovers that Ben just created his account overnight, which means he might have done it just to be able to talk to Charles, and that is, well, adorable. He melts even more then goes back and responds to Ben’s message.
Are you a guy. I kind of feel you are and that would be awesome because there aren’t many of us out there.
Um, yes. Aren’t you?
Whoever Ben is appears to be up and have nothing to do but talk to Charles, and judging from the number of comments that came in this morning, it might be that Ben was up all night reading and is now staying up to talk to Charles. Charles writes back.
Yes! It’s just there are a lot of straight women in the fandom. I’m glad to meet someone else like me. Are you queer too?
Charles goes into his bedroom, keeping his phone with him, glancing at it every few seconds as he pulls on his boxers then wiggles into some jeans and grabs a t-shirt from his drawer. Weekends aren’t cardigan time. The only reason he even started wearing the damn things was that the rooms at the university tend to be cold. Then one Halloween his entire 101 class had decided to dress up as HIM and showed up with them all wearing various forms of cardigans, causing him to say,’very funny everyone, I’m still going to flunk half of you’. After that, he wore them because that’s what Professor Xavier wears. Professor Smut, on the other hand, likes to look a bit more sexy.
He’s entirely dressed and glances at his phone for about the tenth time and there’s no message yet. Has Ben finally fallen asleep? Is he distracted by something? Is he offended that Charles just asked if he’s a flaming fairy? Charles feels a bit unsettled, and how ridiculous is it for him to feel this worried about what a stranger thinks. He heads to the kitchen to pour a second cup of coffee when he sees that another message has arrived. Charles clicks on it eagerly. It’s Ben.
Yes. I am.
Oh! Charles can’t help but smile. It’s a big, hugely please smile. Another gay man who likes fanfic. Maybe he’s not just no longer alone, maybe they can fall in love and get married and they can be the most saccharine fluffy fic ever created. That would be awesome.
Charles looks at the message. Yes. I am. Short. Succinct. It took Ben some time to write it. If he were writing this into a BentSon fic, maybe Ben would be John and he’d be struggling with the fact that he found Kennedy attractive but doesn’t know how to say it, so he can only answer with three simple words, but those words mean everything. Everything and more. And then Watson would come to Bent’s door, knocking loudly and when John opens the door, Kennedy kisses him and they fuck each other on the stairway. Just like that. Exactly like that.
Stop it Xavier.
Charles starts putting in his response.
Are you cute?
His finger hovers over send, and he wants to push it so badly, but how stupid is he to flirt with some random guy who he knows nothing about. He could be a twelve year old boy for all he knows, or some creepy old dude. Fuck, he could be a student, and that would be a disaster. Charles should be careful. Just because they both love BentSon doesn’t mean they should meet-cute and fall in love. Really. Charles erases the words the types out something else.
Nice to meet you Ben.
He hits send.
Charles and Erik discuss squirrels. Erik might be crushing like a sixteen year old girl as well.
Erik freezes when he sees the professor's question.
Are you queer?
He’s been up all night and just when he was about to crash into bed and try to get some sleep before the Vogue photo shoot Professor Smut actually responds. Erik couldn't help the flutter of pleasure in his chest and his face was engulfed in a huge goofy smile and he decides sleep can wait.
Now he is staring at his laptop, not sure what to say.
He knows what Emma would say. Emma would tell him to lie. She's told him a million times she'll be glad to make his coming out the biggest media blitz on earth, but until he makes it official, ‘deny, deny, deny, sugar’. That's why Sean had been easy to date. They both had plenty to lose, so telling the world about their sexuality wasn’t even a topic of conversation between them. It was understood that their careers came first.
But this wasn't Erik talking now. It was Ben, and he was having a normal conversation with a normal guy. Well, a seemingly normal guy named Professor Smut with a penchant for writing hot gay sex scenes and publishing them on the internet. Details, Lehnsherr. Maybe he could just tell the truth, although with the British tabloids and how ruthless they are, they would find out somehow and then the headlines would be splashed all over. John Bent is bent. Those clever assholes.
Erik ends up erring on the side of truth. Partly because he rarely gets to tell anyone who he really is and partly because, notwithstanding his fake name, this professor guy seems nice and friendly and in Erik's world, unless you hang out with other famous folk, it's hard to make friends. Erik doesn't really have many of those, and he's not the kind of person to be able to smile and make nice with people in general. Sean ignores him. Emma is an opportunist. His family is really just his mother and she's in Germany. The professor feels like he could be a real friend. So it will be the truth that he gives Professor Smut.
Yes. I am.
Erik swallows and hits send.
Nice to meet you Ben.
Erik smiles when Professor Smut responds immediately. No, he actually grins wickedly.
They message back and for a little bit more than Erik begs off because he is exhausted and if he doesn't get a little sleep the photo shoot scheduled for today will be a disaster. He tells the Professor he has to go and it's been really great and can they talk again soon. The professor responds with an enthusiastic yes. Literally. His message actually reads 'enthusiastically yes.' Then his new friend suggests that the email each other and tells him his gmail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh shit. Erik has a brief moment of panic. He can't give out his email, but then he realizes that Ben can. Luckily email@example.com hasn't been taken, so Erik quickly sets it up then sends it to Professor Smut. There. Deception achieved.
A few minutes later he has an email response from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh good. I was worried you weren't going to want to email me for a moment. I'm Charles, by the way. Easier than Professor Smut. :)
Erik writes back.
Nice to meet you Charles. I really do have to get some sleep. Talk to you later.
Ohmygod, talk to you later. TALK TO YOU LATER!!!! What the fuck is he doing? Erik doesn't talk to anyone later, except that it appears that he does. He hits send.
Erik finally is able to collapse into bed. It's been quite an unexpected night, but he can't stop smiling and he even laughs out loud, feeling crazy. Professor Smut. Charles. Even though he hasn't slept in 24 hours, his mind is still spinning from everything and it takes him a bit to manage to finally drift off to sleep.
He survives the photo shoot. Emma is there, now dressed in her official Erik-Lehnsherr's-Agent garb, complete with boots and boobs, but Erik notices that she’s wearing less gold. No Pimptastic Emma today. Sean is there, not quite as grumpy as usual and Erik wonders if he's getting laid. His never-ending annoyance at Erik typically ebbs and flows depending on how well fucked he is. Erik flashes Sean a genuine smile which earns him a genuine scowl followed by a puzzled look, because when was the last time Erik actually gave Sean a real smile? Plus Sean tends to be easily confused. Erik doesn't care. He's oddly ebullient and no one is going to drag him down.
The photographer barks commands at the two actors and Erik blindly follows but the at one point he gets an idea of something he wants to add. He and Sean are standing side by side when Erik takes his hand and places it on Sean's shoulder. It's a gentle touch and Sean looks up at Erik, but Erik is not Erik at that moment. He's John Bent and he's in love with his partner, and that's the way he looks at Sean as the camera clicks away.
"Beautiful!" the art director exclaims! "Amazing vulnerability!"
"Creepy." Sean says, shaking Erik's hand away.
"Don't take it personally," Erik growls. Inside he's pleased. If they use it the picture will launch a million fanfics. Charles would love it. Maybe Emma can ask if they can send Erik a copy and he could send it to Charles. Of course he would be hard pressed to explain how he came by a photo from a shoot that had yet to be published. Maybe he won’t do that after all.
When he gets done Erik checks his new gmail account and yes, there's an email from Charles.
Took a walk before dinner. The light was lovely. Thought it would be more perfect if I came home to find BentSon making out on my couch. JK. ;)
Erik swipes over to Google to figure out what JK means.
Over the next couple weeks Erik and Charles email so much that Emma asks Erik if he has a phone addiction or maybe a secret new boyfriend. This causes Erik to blush and although he tells her neither, she bites her lip and looks at him suspiciously.
He finds out that Charles is 34. He tells Charles he is 37, because he actually IS 37. Not everything has to be a lie. Charles writes back excitedly that he’s the SAME AGE as Erik Lehnsherr. Yes, he is. Imagine that. He finds out that Charles lives in New York City. He tells Charles that he lives in London. There’s no reason to lie. Lots of people live in London, right? Charles writes back,
Wait, send me a picture of London to prove you live there.
Erik is sitting in his flat as he gets this email and for a brief moment he panics. What if he slips up. What if Charles figures out that Ben is lying to him. Erik can’t stand the idea of this fragile and burgeoning friendship ending just as it's started.
Why do you need proof? Erik writes back. Quickly, because Charles is always quick to respond, he has another email in his inbox.
I have a job that makes me vulnerable. It would be nice to know that you’re for real. I mean, I think you are, but the idea just came to me that this way I could know for sure you’re in London and not pretending and are actually sitting down the block from me, messing with me. :)
Join the club, Erik thinks. Maybe Charles is some American actor sitting in his New York apartment and hoping he’s not dealing with a crazy stalker fan, just like Erik. Probably not. Erik gets up from his couch and goes to the floor to ceiling windows that afford him a very reasonable view of the city. He snaps a picture then sends it to Charles, telling him it’s a picture from his flat. A few minutes Charles writes back,
Erik burns. Does Charles realize that not everyone has such a great view in London? Shit. Did he mess up? It doesn’t seem so, because a second email arrives and it’s full of BentSon discussion and something about seeing a squirrel the other day which made Charles think of him, and this is all so very strange.
They don’t just email about BentSon. They find out that they both like subtitled movies and Chinese takeout, and when Erik notes that several of Charles fanfics have titles taken from Ginsberg poems, Charles responds enthusiastically, saying he never knows if anyone will notice, and that’s followed by a long discussion about the impact of beat poetry on American culture, and how Ginsberg was a rarity, and out gay man in the fifties. Maybe the professor part of Charles’ moniker isn’t far from the truth.
Erik starts to write Charles silly things, like telling him he missed Charles one time when he doesn’t email for a whole twelve hours.
Sorry, my sister is back in town. Glad to know I was missed. :) Charles writes back. Another secret thrill. Charles has a sister. Erik is so crazy that the smallest thing he finds out pleases him.
Erik writes Charles about these two funny squirrels in the park because he remembers when Charles told HIM about those awful rats with tails, but it’s made him pay more attention on those days when he goes for a run, hoody shoved over his head in a somewhat successful attempt not to be recognized, and he ends up stopped at the park, sitting on a bench and just people, and squirrel, watching. It seems like there is very little in his life at the moment that doesn’t remind him of his new faceless internet BFF, Charles.
Then one day Erik thinks something entirely ridiculous. He’s sitting in his apartment waiting for an email from Emma and drinking tea, thinking about the way Charles is too free with smileys. Winky smileys. Frowny smilies. Ten smilies in a row. It’s rather adorable. He appears to be a very smiley, enthusiastic sort of chap. Erik then wonders if he’s as enthusiastic in other areas of his life, like bed.
What the fuck, Lehnsherr. What the BLOODY fuck??????
One random afternoon Erik figures it out. All these unbidden Charles thoughts, and how he misses him sometimes. It’s ridiculous. He’s totally crushing on Charles. He’s head-over-heels for some random guy he met on the fucking INTERNET. This causes Erik a moment of great consternation, because this is not how his world works. He doesn’t just meet random people and date them, so if he likes Charles, it means pretty much nothing. At least that’s what he tells himself.
Not long after this revelation, Charles sends him a email that practically whines and sighs at him with it’s tone, and it must be serious because Charles doesn’t even end it with a frowny smiley.
I wish we could meet. I just have a feeling we’d hit if off. It’s too bad we have an ocean separating us. Sorry. Just feeling a bit melancholy today.
Something clenches in Erik’s chest and he hates hearing that his Charles is feeling sad. Erik answers, because he wants Charles to feel better, but the moment he sends the email, he regrets it. Except that he doesn’t really regret it. Not one iota, although he thinks he really should, and if Emma knew, she would kill him. Hell, the Bent writers and producers would kill him. They might actually take revenge by killing Bent and ending the show. He doesn’t care. He wants this and almost all of Erik’s life is about doing what others think he should do. He wants Charles and his friendship and his laughter for himself.
Well, I AM in New York for business in a couple days.
Business, aka ComiCon with a million screaming fans and making nice with Sean. Erik frowns a little as he types. The chance to meet Charles might make it feel less burdensome.
We should meet.
Charles responds immediately. YES!!!!!!
Erik dies a little inside from joy. He’s going to meet Charles. He’s going to meet the amazing Professor Smut.
Charles meets Ben.
The night Charles finds out he's actually going to meet Ben he sits down and writes his 31st Bent fanfic. It's not his usual angst. It's actually total fluff AU where Bent and Watson meet-cute and end up fucking right away because they're meant to be. It's not even very good, but it's sweet. Charles sends the link to Ben, because the story actually belongs to him and is for him and he hopes he enjoys it. He gets a quick response.
This is awesome. Thanks.
Charles responds, Can’t wait to meet you.
Ben reblogs the story on his Tumblr. Charles sees this and goes to look at Bendover Bent's Tumblr, and while Charles' is full of gif sets and reblogs, Ben has one single post. His fic, with a note that says, ' thank you dear friend,' Ben also has no followers, excepting Professor Smut, and he clearly is deficient at tagging, so no one will ever see his expression of gratitude, but this secretly thrills Charles. It's like their own special moment on the interwebs. It's super cute.
It’s Friday night cocktail hour with Moira again and ComiCon is the next day. Charles is jumpy and hyperactive and Moira is now openly laughing at him.
“So, this guy is coming from London?”
“Yes! Can you believe it? It’s magnificent.”
“Or maybe creepy.”
“It’s endearing.” Charles protests.
“You really like him.”
Charles blushes. He does. It’s the craziest thing ever and he really likes him.
“And he’s here on business? Do you know what he does for a living?”
Charles looks at Moira. Actually, he’s never asked Ben, but he’s also never told Ben he’s a nerdy English professor by day. He wonders what Ben does. Something that brings him to New York. What types of things do people who fly for business do. Maybe something financial. Ben, the amazingly sexy finance kind of guy.
“I don’t.” Charles admits. Moira looks at him like crushing on a guy he's never met and knows very little about might be, um, weird. Maybe she has a point.
“Oh, Charles. What if he's a total stalker? Do you want me to come with you? Your bodyguard? Your Wing-girl for the night?”
“Wing-lady. Really, I’ll be okay,” Charles protests. He can take care of himself, and he’s going to ask Ben to meet him in a hotel bar after ComiCon. There will be tons of people around. If he needs to escape, he should be able to.
Moira takes a sip of her wine and looks at him over the rim of her glass.
“Transatlantic booty call. Really Charles?”
Charles smiles wickedly. Dear universe, please let Ben be everything and even more. And if not, please let him be a good lay.
“If I get lucky.”
Friday cocktail hour rarely passes without one of his throw pillows sailing across the room and this one is no exception. Moira has a good arm and sometimes Charles teases her by asking exactly how much lesbian softball has she played in her life.
“Slut.” Moira says as Charles puts up his hands to fend off airborne pillow.
After Moira leaves to meet Elizabeth, telling him tonight they’ll be hitting up Target and ignoring the way Charles rolls his eyes, he sits back down at his laptop. Ben is traveling today. He told Charles he won’t be able to email for a while, with getting through the airport and having to turn off his phone. Charles ignores the pang of disappointment he feels. Instead of sitting around moping because more than a few hours have passed without hearing from his internet boyfriend-slash-bootycall whom he barely knows, Charles decides to talk to a few of his fellow fangirls about the Con tomorrow. He can’t believe his luck. The Bent cast a live panel AND meeting Ben all in one day.
He ends up in a feisty debate with the ladies because he wants to ask a question at the panel and they’re not entirely sure it’s a good idea.
It’s only a matter of time, Charles writes. I mean, at some point fanfic will become more mainstream and we can either try to control it or we can let others control it. Even though the shows belong to them, fanfic ultimately belongs to us.
But does asking a question to the panel keep fanfic in control of the community?
Still, Charles decides he’s going to do it. He’s going to ask a question at the Bent panel.
The next morning Charles gets up early and when he gets out of the shower there’s an email from Ben.
Made it to New York. We're in the same time zone.
Charles can’t contain his delight. He dances around his room, stark naked and grinning. Because he’s thirty four and totally mature. Not really. Oh yeah! If only his students could see him now. After he's done dancing, Charles pulls on boxers, his favorite pair of jeans, puts on his John Bent t-shirt then grabs his messenger bag. He pulls out his phone as he waits for the elevator writes back to Ben.
Can’t wait to meet you. Want to meet for a drink at 7 pm? :) :) :)
Ben writes back immediately.
Charles sends Ben the address of a bar in a hotel near the convention center. He asks how he’ll know Ben and tells him he’ll be the guy wearing the Bent t-shirt, that he’s about 5’ 7” and that he’s totally excited to meet him. Oh wait, did Charles say that already? Ben writes back soon after.
Busy for most of the day. Dark hair, blue eyes, about six feet tall.
Charles smirks. He can’t help himself. He sends one more email. Ha ha, so is Erik Lehnsherr.
ComiCon is crowded and full of geeks of all shapes and sizes. Charles makes his way through the crowd, bumping into people left and right, and the Bent panel is in an hour. He wants to get there early and get signed up for the Q&A. He ends up slouched in one of the chairs towards the front, glancing at his phone now and then, texting Moira and wondering if Ben is going to write him back. The room gets fuller and fuller, people crowding in, and finally a murmur runs through the crowd as someone comes on stage and starts messing with the microphones. Then that random person leaves the stage. Another murmur rises as someone comes out with pitchers of water and glasses. Then, fifteen minutes after it’s actually supposed to start, the actors all walk out on stage, the crowd cheers and Charles' eyes follow Erik Lehnsherr. He’s tall and handsome and he’s wearing this really nice olive v-neck t-shirt and jeans that hang off him just right, and his hair is a little longer than John Bent's. Charles knows they won't start shooting series six for another month, so his hair will probably go back to short soon. It's also mussed, like maybe someone had been running their hands through it just before he came on stage. Charles thinks he should volunteer for THAT job. All in all, Erik Lehnsherr is incredibly hot in-person.
The panel starts. The actors banter with each other and the audience. Sean Cassidy laughs and puts a hand on Lehnsherr’s shoulder. Charles watches as Lehnsherr flinches and a woman next to him whispers that maybe the bloom is off the rose for the two actors, that their bromance has come to an end. Another woman says they were seen in a bar last night having a beer together. Then the Q&A session starts and Charles grips the card that has his number in the queue. Finally it’s his turn and he steps up to the microphone.
Most of the people asking questions sound nervous but Charles puts on his best Lecturing Professor Xavier voice, the one that Raven hates because he also uses it when he lectures HER. He smiles and clears his throat, as if he's about to launch into an analysis of the ghost scene in MacBeth.
“This question is for Mr. Lehnsherr and Mr. Cassidy,” Charles says strongly, making sure to project his voice, “do you have any thoughts on the Bent fandom and the fanfiction that’s coming out of it. There are some truly talented writers out there and I’m curious if you’re aware that they are creatively expanding on the Bent universe.”
There is as smatter of applause from around the room. Sean Cassidy looks confused about the question and leans back to whisper something to someone standing behind him. Erik Lehnsherr looks at Charles, and he’s smiling, actually SMILING, and Charles tentatively smiles back as the actor opens his mouth to answer. Then a woman is pushing forward and Charles kind of recognizes her from some fan photos. She’s tall and wearing all white, with platinum blonde hair and too much make-up, and Charles knows some drag queens that would kill for her outfit.
“Actually..." the woman says, pushing Lehnsherr aside and leaning towards the microphone sitting in front of him. Charles sees that she has a manilla envelope in her hand.
“Emma!” Erik hisses.
Oh yeah, Emma Frost, Erik Lehnsherr’s agent. That's who that is.
“I want to answer this one, if you don’t mind.” Lehnsherr says smoothly in a firm tone, and did he just glare at his agent? Emma steps back, looking a bit put-upon. Erik straightens himself a little then leans into the microphone.
“I think this is a great question. Thank you for asking it,” Erik rumbles, still looking directly at Charles. Charles feels himself blushing and he bites his bottom lip. Those ice-blue eyes. That jaw. The base of his neck which looks like it was made for licking and kissing. How can one human being be so damned sexy, and sorry Ben, I might stand you up because I might need to marry Erik Lehnsherr. Right now. Erik takes a quick sip of water, then continues talking. “As far as I’m concerned, fans should be able to determine how they choose to appreciate any show. Not just Bent. While it’s our job as actors, writers and creators to bring these characters to life, it’s not our place to define how our fans enjoy the show. Based on this, I’m thrilled about the different ways fans choose to honor Bent, from fanfic to fan art and even slash."
Charles can’t speak. The whole room is quiet and then suddenly it’s filled with applause and whoops and hollers. Erik Lehnsherr has just cemented himself as a demi-god in all aspects of fandom.
The host of the panel looks a little surprised and then he looks to Sean Cassidy.
“Mr. Cassidy, any thoughts?”
“Uh, no.” Sean Cassidy mutters, and is he actually glaring at Erik Lehnsherr? Maybe the bromance really is over. This panel is proving to be very interesting indeed. All his fangirl friends are going to DIE when they hear how things went, if they haven’t already, because surely Tumblr is BLOWING UP.
The Q&A continues, but Charles isn’t paying attention. All he can think of is how awesome Erik Lehnsherr is. So awesome. He’s dreaaaaaamy. He's amazing. Charles such a sixteen year old girl.
Charles has a few hours to kill before he meets Ben. He’s nervous and fidgety, and he takes a few minutes to email Ben, telling him that he’s really looking forward to meeting him, and he hopes his business went well, and OMG, he is not going to believe how awesome the Bent panel went. Charles doesn’t give him the details because what if they end up not having anything to talk about, he’ll need to fill the silence with fandom chat, so he can’t give it all away right now.
He texts Moira again. She texts back asking if he’s met lover-boy yet. He responds asking her how the Target bargain bins were. She tells him to fuck off. Best friends forever.
Finally Charles head to the hotel bar. He’s early, but he can sit and nurse a drink. The clock above the bar ticks forward and soon it's quarter to seven and Charles can't stop the butterflies that are doing flips in his stomach. His drink is gone and he's just about to order another when a woman slides onto the stool next to him.
"Hey, sugar," she hums. Charles is about to turn and tell her he's not interested when she speaks again, "are you Charles?"
Charles blinks. He's horrified. Um, is this Ben? Is Ben a woman????? Charles slowly turns to look into the face of...Emma Frost. Holy fuck. Charles can't answer. He can only stare.
"For godsake, what I do for him," Emma mutters under her breath. "Seriously, are YOU Charles?"
This time Charles manages to stutter, 'yes' and what the hell is going on here. Why is Emma Frost talking to him? Charles can't think. Ben is supposed to meet him in ten minutes. What does EMMA FROST want with him?
"For godsake, just come with me," Emma snaps and Charles nods dumbly then follows her as she stalks out of the bar. He trots along behind Emma as she winds her way down several corridors then pushes open a door and gestures for Charles to enter. He steps over the threshold and stands frozen as the door swings shut behind him. He is in a small private dining room and there's a single table with a white table cloth and candles, which in itself is unremarkable, except sitting at the table is Erik Lehnsherr. ERIK LEHNSHERR.
Erik Lehnsherr is staring at Charles with his mouth gaping wide open, looking almost as surprised as Charles feels.
"You’re the guy from the panel!" Erik says, sounding bewildered. His eyes travel up and down Charles in one smooth swoop, looking like he likes what he sees, and the other's man's appraisal makes Charles feel hot and his cock predictably starts to tingle in that familiar way. Shit. He's entered another dimension. He's sure of it.
"I'm so sorry." Charles stammers awkwardly and he's sure he's flushed, "this must be about my question, you must have found me so impertinent and I can't believe this, and wait until I tell..."
Charles trails off. Ben. Oh my god, he's standing up Ben. It must be seven o’clock by now. This is awful. Actually, it's amazing. He's in a room alone with Erik Lehnsherr, which is both a dream and a fantasy, but he can't even think to enjoy the moment because Ben is probably at the bar waiting, and while this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so is meeting Ben. Because Charles really likes him, and it's stupid to lose a chance to see if they might be something, even for this...this….
"I'm sorry." Charles says again, looking Erik Lehnsherr squarely in the face. "This is amazing, I mean a dream come true, and I'm sorry I pissed you off with my question..."
A small frown forms between Erik's eyes as Charles speaks and he opens his mouth to say something then shuts it again.
...but I am meeting this guy and he might be the real thing, so as awesome as this is, I can't stay. And I might hate myself for this the rest of my life but I have to say goodbye...."
"Charles," Erik Lehnsherr finally speaks and his voice cracks a little in a very sexy way, and his eyes are shining and he actually looks entirely overwhelmed, which is odd. Charles is the one who should feel overwhelmed. Charles looks at him and thinks he will never forget meeting his favorite actor, even though it seems it will only be for less than five minutes, but Ben is waiting and Ben is real, and he's really sorry but...
"...you're not going to miss Ben." Erik says quickly.
Why is Erik Lehnsherr talking about Ben? How would he know? Charles’ head is spinning. Erik stands up, unfolding himself from his chair and he steps towards Charles, who is shaking his head in confusion. What the fuck is going on here.
"I'm Ben." Erik says plainly, "Charles." God, the way he says his name, that accent, but what is he saying, "Listen to me. Professor Smut. I'M BEN!"
The words finally click into place.
Oh. My. God.
The man is serious. Ben is actually Erik Lehnsherr. He's been talking to and flirting with fucking ERIK LEHNSHERR. And Charles finally has an answer to the question he'd wanted to ask in the first place. Yes. Bendover Bent is cute. And Professor Smut is dead. So very dead.
Charles FREAKS out. Erik is smitten like a kitten. Words can't fix this, but there are other ways.
Erik needs a favor from Emma so he agrees to play nice with Sean when they reach New York. The Friday they arrive he heads to some sport bar and watches fucking footie with the asshole, patting him on the back in a friendly manner and throwing his arm around him as they exit and find a cab to their hotel, and he’s sure a few fans snapped pictures of the supposed BFFs. If he didn’t need Emma’s help, Erik would continue with his self-imposed ban on further public interaction with Sean. He didn’t want the world to get the wrong idea. Fuck it, he didn’t care about the world. He didn’t want Charles to get the wrong impression.
“Charles?” Emma says, staring at Erik blankly. “I’m supposed to walk into the bar and find some guy named Charles? Seems a bit random Lehnsherr.”
Erik sighs. Must she be so difficult? Emma is losing interest in this conversation and starting to contemplate her fresh manicure. Erik snaps his fingers in front of her face.
“I suffered through footie with Sean for his, Emma. I need your help. Not just named Charles. He’s five foot seven and has brown hair.”
“So I’m supposed to find every short guy named Charles.”
“That’s not much below average,” Eriks says, feeling miffed. “He’ll be wearing a Bent t-shirt and sitting at the bar. I’m supposed to meet him.”
“Then why don’t you?” Emma asks, sounding annoyed.
“Seriously, Emma. I’m supposed to walk into a bar to meet some guy and no one will notice? No one at all. What planet do you live on? Anyway, there’s a chance that he kind of thinks I’m someone else.”
Emma arches a plucked eyebrow his way.
“A one hundred percent probability.” Erik admits. “I just need you to do this for me. Please.”
“The things I do for you.” Emma sighs heavily, then turns to leave the private dining room Erik had commandeered for this particular event. Erik sits at the table, drumming his fingers across the white linen tablecloth, not quite sure what to do with his hands that seem to have a developed a will of their own. He’s nervous. Ridiculously nervous. He’s going to finally meet Charles.
This is not simple situation. Erik isn’t some normal person. He really can’t walk into a bar and plop himself down next to some guy in a Bent t-shirt and ask if his name is Charles. Emma knows this, she just excels in being unhelpful. First, there is no way he could walk into a bar without everyone watching him and whispering. Second, there would be no way Charles wouldn’t recognize him. He’s always made it clear he finds Erik Lehnsherr hot. At least he doesn’t worry about whether or not Charles will be attracted to him. The whole thing feels very strange.
Charles thinks he’s going to meet Ben. Erik knows that there’s a good chance that after tonight Charles will walk away. He hates the thought and he hates how abnormal his life is. He wishes he could just walk into the bar and look around for some guy in a Bent t-shirt and they could grab a drink and talk and maybe kiss goodnight or fuck each others brains out, then see each other the next day and the day after. He has no idea what it would be like to actually try to date Charles. Since he started on Bent he’s been unable to have any type of normal dating life.
He hears Emma’s voice outside the door and Erik feels like he can’t breath. He clenches his fists then unclenches them, forcing himself to relax. He takes in a deep, shaking breath, and this is just like before he goes on stage, when everything feels sharp and his senses are heightened. The door swings open and a man steps into the room.
Erik’s eyes widen.
It’s the guy from the panel. The one with the fabulous question and the even more fabulous blue eyes, and Erik can’t stop gaping. The door shuts and they are left in the room alone, eyes locked on each other.
Erik blurts out something about him being the guy from the panel, or something like that, and he’s taking in the man standing in front of him, and good lord, he’s even hotter than Erik had expected. He’s not very big, not at all, but compact and a very nice package, with slim hips and a slim chest, and clearly he knows how to show off his assets because the aforementioned Bent t-shirt fits snugly. Erik looks him up and down, from his floppy brown hair and perfect amount of facial hair, his blue eyes and his nice arms, long fingers, and when his eyes return to his face, to those beautiful eyes looking at him in total and utter shock, all Erik can think is, ‘delicious’.
Erik is smitten. Like a kitten, and he wants to purr.
Charles blabbers on about something. Oh, the panel. Erik watches Charles’ mouth as he stumbles over words, apologizing, telling Erik he’s sorry.
“...I’m sorry I pissed you off with my question…”
What? Erik starts to say something then he doesn’t because of what Charles says next.
“...but I have to say goodbye…”
No! Erik almost says the word out loud. Why is Charles trying to leave. This is what they’ve been waiting for, the chance to finally meet. Charles keeps talking, and he’s telling Erik that he has to meet someone, someone who could be the real thing, and...oh. OH! Erik’s head starts to spin. Charles thinks he’s here because of the question he posed to the panel. The brilliant question that Erik had taken great joy in answering. Charles has no clue that Erik is Ben. He thinks Ben is at the bar. His face is worried and even though he’s meeting the actor who plays his favorite character on his favorite TV show of all time, all he can think is that he’s going to miss some guy he met on the internet, and this makes Erik completely melt. Charles is about to walk away and go find Ben.
“Charles!” Erik says a little too loudly, “You’re not going to miss Ben. I’m Ben.”
Charles blinks. He doesn’t say anything. Erik tries again.
“Listen to me. Professor Smut. I’m Ben.”
Blue eyes go blink. blink. Then comes understanding. “Oh my GOD!”
Erik watches and Charles covers his face with his hands and repeats, ‘oh my god,’ over and over again. He’s not sure how he expected Charles to take this revelation, certainly he didn’t think he’d answer, ‘oh, great’ and they’d make out, but he’s not quite sure what to do as he stands watching the other man who seems borderline hysterical with this new information. Charles takes his hands off his eyes and looks at Erik.
“You’re Erik Lehnsherr.” Charles says.
“And you’re Ben. My Ben.”
“You think my squirrel stories are funny.”
Erik’s lips quirk.
“Yes. Very funny.”
“We’ve been emailing for the last couple weeks.”
Charles pauses for a moment and looks at Erik, his eyes searching for something. Then he asks his next question, his voice hesitant.
Erik takes a deep breath. It’s not like he hasn’t already told Charles the truth, but that was as Ben and now he’s speaking as Erik, and it’s hard for him to tell someone else this without some fear welling up.
“Oh fuckity FUCK,” Charles says, running a hand through his hair, making it look even more unruly and dead sexy, and Erik swallows. Then Charles is pacing back and forth in front of him, muttering…
“...I can’t do this, I can’t do this, fuck, I can’t do this…”
Erik fights back the small feeling of irritation welling up.
“You know,” he says dryly, “you get over the famous thing pretty quick, if you give me a chance.”
“What?” Charles says, stopping to stare.
“I mean, I’m just a boring guy.”
“I leave my clothes on the floor. I eat over the sink. I don’t smell good in the morning.”
Charles gulps audibly and licks his lips, and the adjective ‘delicious’ pops back into Erik’s head. His cock perks up. Oh shit.
“Seriously?” Charles says, sounding exasperated. “You leave your clothes on the floor? You’re fucking Erik Lehnsherr of Bent. I was wanting to meet Ben, some random guy who I might have been interested in dating or at least fucking, and instead I met fucking ERIK LEHNSHERR. I don’t know what do with this.”
Erik’s cock knows exactly what to do because it perks up a bit more.
“Even if this was remotely possible, because damn it, I like you. I mean I like Ben, and Ben is you, so that means I like YOU. But you’re ERIK LEHNSHERR. How in the world can I figure anything out with all of that in the way? Do you get that. It has nothing to do with how you fucking SMELL in the morning!”
Charles pauses in his diatribe and stares at Erik. Then he adds, “although I’m sure you actually smell amazing in the morning.”
This time Erik groans audibly. Maybe Charles would like to wake up with him in the morning and give him the sniff test.
“Listen,” Erik says forcibly, causing Charles to blink, “I know this is crazy. I know it’s not what you expected and if either of us think about it too much, we’re both going to walk away. The truth is I have no idea how to have a normal relationship under these circumstances. I mean, I’ve only been with Sean since I started Bent, and anything else feels daunting.”
“Holy shit, Cassidy?”
Erik nods. He doesn't want to delve into Sean. That's a thing of the past.
“Here’s the deal, Charles, I like you. I like you more than I’ve liked anyone in a long time, so I don’t want to think about this too much. So, would you...would you….”
Erik is starting to walk towards Charles as he makes this speech, getting closer and closer step by step and when he starts asking Charles the one thing that Erik thinks might save this situation, might keep Charles from walking out the door, he’s standing directly in front of the other man with mere inches separating them. Erik reaches out and touches Charles’ jaw, feeling the light beard under his fingertips, wondering how it might feel on his skin, against his thigh, and Erik shivers. Charles doesn’t say anything, just watches Erik, and when Erik’s fingers skate along his jaw, his eyes flutter shut.
“Would you just let me kiss you?”
Talking isn’t going to make any of this better. It’s going to make it worse, and If they keep taking Charles is gong to walk away because the logistics of trying to have a relationship with someone like Erik are daunting, and Erik knows this. But if he can just touch Charles, just feel him, maybe that will be the way he can say how much this means to him. How much he wants this. How amazing the last two weeks of emails have been.
Charles doesn’t say anything, just watches Erik as Erik’s fingers stroke along his jawline. Then his lips part, and he sighs, a short huff of breath, and Erik feels like his a string wound too tight, about to break, until Charles answers with one word.
Then another word.
Something inside Erik snaps.
Erik wants more than anything to crush those amazing lips, to kiss Charles with his mouth wide open, wet and sloppy and desperate, but he holds himself back and decides to take his time. He leans down and touches his lips to Charles, lightly, a little hesitant, and they are so soft and they immediately give way, surrendering, and Charles kisses him back. The press of their lips together is almost too much, and Erik’s head is reeling with how heady and sweet this kiss is. Then Charles is kissing him harder, more persistently, his mouth opening, and it’s Charles whose tongue starts to tangle with Erik’s. Erik hears a moan, and he’s not sure if it’s him or Charles, and Erik’s hands are wandering aimlessly, smoothing over the fabric of Charles’ t-shirt, finding the hem and slipping under, his fingertips finding bare skin. Charles pushes away, gasping, and then leans back in and Erik tilts his head down to rest his forehead on Charles’, both of them breathing hard, and those lips are so close, and Erik aches to kiss them again.
“This is crazy,” pants Charles. “What the fuck is happening?"
“I was going to buy you dinner,” Erik says, laughing a little.
“I think you should take me to bed instead,” Charles says, his eyes brilliant blue, his pupils blown wide and his mouth wet from kisses. Erik’s cock is now at full attention and painfully hard.
“God, yes,” Erik hisses. He’s not entirely sure what’s even happening here, but he knows where it’s going in the next few minutes...down the street to his hotel where he plans to spread out Professor Smut on his bed and fuck him entirely senseless.
I feel that a slash fanfic set in the slash fanfic community deserves a good sex scene. I hope this suffices.
He cannot do this. He absolutely can’t. Except that he can. Fucking hell, he can, because Erik Lehnsherr is kissing Charles and Charles thinks his legs are going to give out from underneath him. What the fuck is going on?
If he’d just been able to keep talking, Charles is positive that he would have talked himself right out of that room, because it turns out that Ben is not Ben after all, but Erik Lehnsherr. This means that all of Charles dreams of dating and falling in love and maybe he’d move to London just to piss of his mother, are all dead. Because he can’t date fucking Erik Lehnsherr, huge mega star of Bent, who appears to be a closeted queer. How would that work? Charles doesn’t want to try to build a life with someone who has to hide. And he doesn’t want to live a life where everyone is staring at him all of the time.
Then Erik asks to kiss him. And Charles stupidly says yes, because ERIK LEHNHSHERR just asked, in the most polite manner and actually quite sweetly, to KISS a boring English professor, and there are some moments in life that despite all one’s misgivings, the answer is obviously YES.
Erik Lehnsherr is exactly what Charles expected, which is an amazing kisser. And this is why Charles is sure his legs are about to give out from under him, and in order to keep this from happening, and ending up on the floor, he winds his arms around Erik’s neck and holds on for dear life.
Charles tells Erik to take him to bed, because what else is he going to say? Call me a cab? Nice meeting you? I’ll just, ahem, go home and jack myself off, because that’s better than getting thoroughly fucked by the incredibly handsome Erik Lehnsherr. Charles really needs to stop calling him by his full name. Surely having someone’s tongue shoved in your mouth means you can officially move to being on first name basis.
Well, unless money is being exchanged.
Erik is in full agreement because he tells Charles that his hotel isn’t very far away, and that’s followed by him pulling Charles hard against him and Charles can feel Erik’s erection pushing into his belly. Someone kill him now. Having Erik Lehnsherr’s erection shoved against his belly might be all he’s ever wanted in life, and he can die now. Except Erik is smiling down at him with what might be described as hunger, and no, Charles thinks he might be able to stay on this earth a little longer because it appears that he is going to be subjected to much, much more pleasure.
They exit the hotel from one of the back entrances, and Erik smiles apologetically, muttering something about having to be careful. Charles ignores the way those words make him cringe and focuses on his throbbing cock. They head towards the sidewalk and Charles hears some people nearby whispering Erik’s name as Erik ignores them and hails a cab. Just as someone is starting to approach them, a cab pulls up and Erik ducks into the back seat, grabbing Charles and pulling him behind him.
“Sorry about that,” Erik says, looking a little worried. “I can’t really think right now, I mean, god...you’re sexy.”
Charles blinks. He’s so overwhelmed by Erik that he hasn’t even stopped to consider that this man appears to WANT him quite badly, and all that might mean. Now he’s telling Charles that he’s sexy and Charles is so consumed by how much he wants Erik that he hasn’t stopped to consider that Erik wants him too. He finds him attractive, and while he wants to ask ‘why’ and feels that he’s way out of his league, Charles just blushes and contemplates scandalizing the cabbie.
Erik is right that his hotel isn’t far away and after the cab deposits them on the sidewalk, Erik glances over and Charles and growls, ‘come on, then,’ at him. They head through the front doors and across the lobby, where Charles sees Emma Frost gesturing towards Erik, calling out his name, then start walking towards them. Charles is thrumming with tension and his fingers are twitching because they want to touch Erik so badly, and it seems that Erik is feeling the same way because when Emma is finally standing in front of him, Erik growls at her,
“Fuck off, Emma.”
“Erik, we have that promotion to go to and…oh.” Charles realizes she’s seen him standing next to Erik, not too close and not too far, and then she says, “OH! Charles.” with a tone of complete understanding.
“Tomorrow, Emma,” Erik growls again then he puts a hand on Charles’ back, the first time he’s touched him since leaving the other hotel, and Charles feels himself being propelled forward.
“We need to talk about this, Erik!” Emma yells after him, sounding annoyed.
“No we don’t,” Erik mutters under his breath. They are finally at the elevator and the doors are opening and they both step in. It’s only once the doors are shut that Charles ventures to reach a shaking hand towards Erik and Erik glances over and growls at him in the same tone he’d used with Emma.
Shit. What the fuck is he doing? If it had been anyone and Charles was this turned on, he’d be slamming the other man against the elevator wall and hoping no one else stopped it on the way up. But this is entirely abnormal, and Charles is actually a kind of boring, normal guy, and this is something he can’t handle. He should step back and put some space between him and Erik then tell him that it’s not doable. Even if they both agree that the antics of squirrels are amusing. Even if fucking Erik Lehnsherr is a fantasy. This is going to end poorly. Then, as if he can sense Charles’ trepidation, Erik violates the rule he’d established just moments before and reaches out a hand, touches Charles lightly, then smiles. He fucking smiles. Charles ignores all those entirely rational suggestions and decides that he’s just going to figure this might be the best fuck of his life and leave it at that.
Erik doesn’t touch him again until they are inside his hotel room. Erik kicks the door shut and Charles barely has time to glance around, although what he has been able to see looks nice, because NOW Erik is touching him, hands running up and down his arms, going to his t-shirt, tugging at it, and Charles thinks that clearly it’s Undress the Professor time, so his fingers go to the button on his jeans. This is all confirmed when Erik mutters, “Mein gott, I need you naked,” which is followed by, “it’s been a long time.”
“You haven’t fucked anyone in a while?” Charles manages to gasp, allowing Erik to pull his Bent t-shirt over his head.
“I have a very strong relationship with my hand,” Erik says, huffing out a little laugh. For some reason, this sounds like something Ben would say, although Ben is actually Erik, but it makes Charles realize that Ben might not have been entirely a lie. Erik is now helping Charles skim his jeans down his hips and legs, followed by his underwear and finally Charles is standing naked in the hallway entrance of the hotel room, skin flushed and slightly sweaty, cock jutting out, flushed as well and Erik steps back a little and stares at him. He licks his lips and Charles feels his breath hitch a little.
“Perfect,” Erik says, his eyes skimming up and down Charles, “absolutely perfect.”
If Charles was flushed before, he’s sure he’s bright red now.
“This strikes me as a situation of grave inequality,” Charles manages to say, which sounds way more coherent than he feels.
“Um,” Erik says absently, apparently lost somewhere in space and time as he continues to stare at Charles.
“I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be the only one who gets eye candy here.”
“Uh huh,” Erik hums almost absently, “let me...let me just get you to my bed.”
No argument, Charles thinks. Really, take me to your bed. I don’t mind, you adonis of a man. I mean, you can take me against the wall, on the floor, on the couch, wherever you would like, but bed. Yes. Erik takes his hand in his and leads him down the hallway, into a sitting room then into a bedroom. There’s a very plush, comfortable looking king-sized bed with lots of room for romping in the middle of the room and the floor to ceiling windows afford an amazing view of New York. He pulls back the duvet in one swift motion, then Charles crawls onto the bed, rolls onto his back and looks through lust-heavy eyelids at Erik, who is standing at the foot of the bed.
“Really,” Charles insists, “I want to see you.”
Erik startles, as if he’s been in a daze, and then he nods and strips, efficiently and quickly, then returns to standing at the foot of the bed, naked, strong, HARD, and staring at Charles. Charles want to look away because he’s never felt so on display before, but it also makes him feel powerful, to be able to stay a man like Erik, to be enough for him to want to just stop and look at him, and it makes him feel sexy and wanted and good lord, this has to stop. Charles is aching so badly he might start begging shortly.
“Now,” Charles says, finding his voice, and it’s hoarse and cracking under the strain of how much he just fucking WANTS this man. “fuck me.”
“Yessssss,” Erik hisses, and in one smooth movement he’s on the bed and crawling over Charles, bringing his full weight onto the smaller man, and the length of him feels so good, and it squeezes the breath out of Charles, but he doesn’t care, because Erik’s mouth is back on his, and this makes some sort of moan rumble at the base of Charles’ throat.
Erik kisses him and kisses him, until Charles is practically writhing and his hands are gripping at the sheets beneath him, and he’s begging, because he needs Erik in him, RIGHT NOW.
“Flip over,” Erik growls, biting at Charles shoulder, making Charles gasp. Charles scrambles to turn over, and then obediently gets up on hand and knees, and Erik sighs out a litany as he takes his large, strong hands and runs them down Charles’ spine from the nape of his neck to the rise of his ass, and then his feels his long fingers spreading his buttocks apart and he knows what’s coming. Charles is almost shaking with anticipation, and he’s panting, his hand hanging down, his arms trembling as he supports his weight, when he feels something entirely unexpected. Erik’s tongue. Oh jesus effing christ, his TONGUE, and clearly Erik is the type of guy who doesn’t test the waters but plunges in and immerses himself entirely. He licks Charles, from his perineum, all the way across his anus. to the end of the cleft, then returns to the center to lick all around it.
“fuckyeahhellthat’sgood,” Charles explodes, because something about sex makes Charles entirely incapable of lying, or even responding rationally. He moans in an entirely embarrassing manner. He is never going to forget this night. His entire life, this will be burned into his memory. He hopes when he dies it will be the last thing his brain replays before he leaves the earth.
“You like this,” Erik says against Charles’ ass, then returns to his anus and starts to push inside with his tongue, eliciting another long, guttural, completely uncontrolled moan.
“More,” Charles gasps, “You’re tongue deeper. Please, deeper.”
Erik’s hands are gripping his hips right now, and his tongue is fucking Charles ass with a hard fast rhythm, and Charles starts to scramble away, because while it feels good, suddenly it’s entirely too much, and he feels tears leaking from the edges of his eyes, and, what the fuck?
“Charles,” Eriks says, and his name sounds like a prayer.
“Fuck me now,” Charles answers, his own invocation, “and fuck me hard.”
Eriks murmurs his agreement. Then he’s gone for a moment and Charles is left holding himself up, shaking, feeling the cool air across his skin and entirely wrecked. Then Erik is back and Charles hears the always welcome sound of a condom being ripped open and lube. God, lube is good, and the Erik’s hands are back on his skin, running down his back again, gripping his hips. Charles spreads his legs and arches his back, and Erik takes that invitation to push slowly inside. Yes. When he’s entirely inside and Charles can feel his hips pressed against his ass, Erik holds still, so very still and they breathe in time with each other. In. Out. In. Out. Then Erik leans down and drops a single, sweet kiss on the nape of Charles neck, and Charles hangs his head down and moans, and his hair is damp, sweat rolling down his hairline, and the moment is so perfect he might cry.
“Are you okay?” Erik asks, and this question rocks Charles to the core for some reason. His whole body shivers all at once, then he pushes his hips back, an invitation to Erik, and hisses through clenched teeth.
Erik utters several profanities, grips his hips tighter, and obliges. He pulls back and slams into Charles with ferocity that belies the gentleness with which he’d entered him, and Charles finds he’s almost immediately hanging on with all his strength as Erik sets a fast and dirty rhythm. The ache in Charles cock is growing almost unbearable, but he can’t reach down to relieve it without losing balance, so he stays there, craving release, loving the feel of Erik’s balls slapping against his ass as the bed shakes from their exertion. It doesn’t take long for Erik to come, and he slumps against Charles’ back and he weight has this sweet heaviness to it, and Charles collapses under it, his face smushed into the pillow, his entire body craving release.
After a long moment, Erik rolls off Charles and onto his side, pulling Charles shoulder until he rolls over from his belly onto his side and they are facing each other. Erik’s face is satisfied and his eyes look sleepy, and Charles still wants to cry because he’s so hard, when Erik glances down and notices this.
“Oh!” Eriks says, softly, leaning forward to place a soft kiss on Charles forehead, “I’m sorry. You were just so...I got carried away...how rude of me.” Charles grimaces, not able to answer because he’s crawling out of his skin from being so aroused. Erik doesn’t make him stay that way much longer. He reaches around Charles, grabbing the bottle of lube off the bed and squirts some into his hand. Then he pulls him against his chest and at the same time, his slicked up hand goes between them and wraps around Charles’ cock, his touch almost like electricity, and Charles jumps, gasping.
“Relax” Erik says, his lips against Charles’ ear. Charles takes in a deep shaking breath and tries to do what the other man says. Erik’s hand starts to work his cock, not fast, not slow, absolutely perfect, and Charles starts to hitch, almost fighting his touch, because he’s so turned on it hurts.
“Shhhhhh,” Erik whispers, pulling him closer, “Breathe.”
Charles takes a deep breath. Erik’s hand keeps its almost lazy pace. He starts to feel this far away tightness building in his groin. He knows if he moves faster, pushing Erik to move faster, he’ll come in a matter of moments, but instead Charles takes another deep breath. The tightness grows. Erik’s hand moves. Charles breathes. Breaths again. His orgasm is there, hovering on the edges, teasing at him until he feels that familiar feeling that says nothing is going to hold it back now, and it almost slowly takes him over, flowing over him then suddenly Charles is coming hard. He’s bucking against Erik and taking in huge gasps of air, and oh. my. god. everything flies apart, then he’s being gathered close to Erik and he’s shaking and Erik is laughing in his ear.
“You are beautiful.” Erik says, still laughing. “So beautiful.”
They lay there like that, languid and entirely blissed out and Charles can feel the muscles of his body still trembling now and then, little muscle memory aftershocks, and everything is entirely delightful. Charles looks at Erik and brings a hand up to trace along that strong jawline that he’s coveted a million times over, but now it’s real.
“You’re amazing.” Charles says. “Thank you.”
Erik murmurs something back, and he’s rolling onto his back, cradling Charles’ head to his chest, and Charles lays there, his body curved towards the other man's, until Erik’s breathing slows and his hand that’s been stroking his hair stills, and the Erik appears to have fallen asleep.
As soon as Charles thinks it’s safe, he moves Erik’s hand and rolls away to sit on the edge of the bed. Standing up, Charles feels all the muscles in his body ache in a way that means he’s been entirely fucked, and he smiles. He pads out to where his clothes had landed and puts them on. Then he returns to the bedroom and stands at the end of the bed, looking at Erik sleeping, lit by only moonlight. He’s splayed out without covers, and Charles is free to allow his eyes to explore every curve, every angle of his body, to linger on the way his cock lies heavily on his thigh, watch the way his chest rises and falls. Erik moves a little and shivers, and Charles thinks he must be cold, so he grabs the duvet and drags it over the other man’s sleeping form, then turns to leave.
Good bye Erik. Thank you for the night of a life time.
He’s almost to the door when Charles hears Erik’s sleep heavy voice rising from the bed, and just hearing Erik makes Charles want him all over again, and he hopes he can manage to keep back the tears that are welling up until he reaches the elevator.
“Charles?” Erik asks, sounding confused. “You’re leaving? Why are you leaving?”
Erik asks Charles to stay. They agree to go to brunch. It's a bit more complicated than that.
Erik has always had this thing about falling asleep after sex, but despite the overwhelming urge to sink back into the luxurious hotel bed and let his eyes close, he slicks his hand with lube and reaches down, coaxing Charles to climax. As he watches the other man’s unfocused gaze, listens to him struggle to gain control with deep, shaking breaths, and sees his jaw go slack with release as he spills onto Erik’s hand, he feels something begin to grow inside. It’s a strange, bubbling, light feeling, and he remembers earlier that evening watching Charles stammer about some guy he was going to meet and how he might be the real deal. Erik resists the urge to kiss Charles on the cheek and the forehead and along his neck as he shudders in his arms, and he thinks that Charles might be right, but not about the fictional Ben. He might be right about himself. He might be the real deal, because Erik has never felt this much about anyone.
They end up cuddled together, skin sweaty and sticky, Charles sweetly snuggled into Erik’s chest, Erik absently stroking Charles’ hair until the he’s swept away by that blissful, post-coital sleep, where Erik still manages to dream of blue eyes and red lips and that slightly posh-sounding accent whispering in his ear.
He doesn’t know what wakes him. Maybe he gets a little cold. Maybe it’s the light drag of the duvet being pulled up over his body. His limbs heavy, Erik slowly rises up through the shadows of sleep, reaches out, searching for Charles warmth, for his soft skin, and finds nothing. The other side of the bed is empty. Nothing. This makes his eyes fly open and Erik sits up a little, blinking, because the bedroom door is open and the dim light of one of the lamps in the sitting is streaming in, and in the doorway is Charles. Standing. A dark silhouette. Dressed. Erik feels confused, sleep still clinging to him, and he shakes his head a little, trying to make sense of what’s happening. Charles is dressed and leaving. He’s standing in the doorway, not moving.
“Charles?” Erik manages to croak out.
Charles turns at the sound of Erik’s voice. Erik still can’t see his face, and he wants him to come back to bed, to take off those clothes and crawl back under the duvet, and maybe this is all a dream, his anxiety playing itself out.
“I can’t stay.” Charles says, his voice sounding strange and clipped. Erik’s chest clenches.
“You were leaving? Right now?”
Erik has done this before. He’s slipped out in the middle of the night, wanting to avoid an awkward morning, wanting the comfort of his own bed, and he thought this...what happened tonight,which was intense and amazing and some of the best sex he’s ever had...was not the kind of thing where afterward you crawled out of bed and didn’t leave a number. He says this, choosing Charles’ own words, because they are exactly what he’s been thinking, from before he finally met Charles.
“I thought you were the real deal.”
Charles lets out what sounds like a choked sob. Erik wishes he could see his face.
“I can’t be.” he says softly,”You can’t be. It’s not possible. Please, Erik.”
“No.” Erik blurts out, wanting to stop this. “Please.”
Charles is still standing in the doorway. Erik can’t stay in bed any longer, not when Charles is so far away and he wants to see him, touch him, run his hands over his arms, beg him to say something different, anything different. He rolls out of bed, not caring that he’s naked, and walks quickly across the room, stopping in front of Charles who looks like he’s been frozen in place. Now he can see his face. Erik wants to see something there, some sort of hope, something to dislodge the fear that his knotting his stomach. He only sees pain.
“Please stay.” Eriks says softly. “Please. All those emails. And fucking each other. All of this has to mean something.”
Charles squeezes his eyes tightly shut at Erik’s words.
“It means everything.” he whispers, eyes still closed, and Erik can see that he’s trembling and now that he’s closer, he can see that Charles’ cheeks are wet. Erik resists to trace those tears with shaking fingers.
“But...” Erik says, because if there wasn’t a ‘but’ Charles would still be sleeping by his side. Charles opens his eyes and looks at Erik.
“But you’re Erik Lehnsherr.”
“Goddammit.” Erik swears. Back to this. “I’m not. I mean I am, but I’m Ben. The Ben you’ve been talking to you. Except for the name, I haven’t lied to you. You know me.”
Charles looks at Erik with such softness in his eyes that it hurts, and Erik knows that it doesn’t matter.
“If you were Ben, I wouldn’t be leaving,” Charles says softly. “Because this, you...it’s everything I’ve dreamed of. But you’re not Ben. You’re Erik Lehnsherr, and we might be able to fuck each other, but we can never do more than that.”
Erik doesn’t say anything. He wants to protest. Charles is wrong. They can date. They can find a way to make it work. But he doesn’t say anything because no matter how much he wants to make this work, Charles is saying what Erik already knows - has known all along. His life is complicated and not normal, and he doesn’t really know how to fit Charles into it. But he wants to.
Charles takes Erik’s silence as agreement. He runs a hand through his messy post-sex bed head and looks Erik squarely in the face.
“I’m an out gay man,” Charles says softly. “I don’t hide who I am, and I can’t go back and erase my past. We could never be seen together. We could never go out to dinner or hold hands walking down the street. No matter how much I like you, you’re Erik Lehnsherr and I don’t want to live the way you do. I don’t want all the baggage that you come with. Which means I have to leave, and staying until the morning would make it even harder. I want this to work more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my whole life and it never will.”
“Charles,” Erik gasps.
“I don’t want what you can give me depending on the circumstances. I want all of you, all of the time. I want to pin you against the elevator wall and kiss you silly, not caring if we scandalize other people, and last night...you would barely touch me because there’s a camera somewhere. God...”
“Please,” Erik says, not wanting to hear what he knows is true.
Charles puts up a hand as Erik speaks. “This is hard enough, Erik. Please let me finish. All we can be for each other is one amazing night. And it was amazing. I will never ever forget you, Erik. Never.”
Erik stands, hands hanging down by his sides as Charles moves closer, places a soft kiss on Erik’s cheek then turns to leave. They are over before they had even begun.
Erik’s chest clenches and he can’t breathe and the most amazing man he’s ever met is walking away, and Charles is right. How idiotic of Erik to think that he can just meet someone and they would be okay with all his restrictions and regulations. But Charles is leaving, and one mind-blowing night can’t be the beginning and end of their story. Erik needs more time, just a little more time.
“Charles,” Erik cries out, and he is spurred to action, running out into the living room towards the entry hallway, “wait!”
Charles stops, his messenger bag slung over his shoulder. He looks at Erik, eyes red-rimmed and miserable.
“Stay,” Erik pants. “Please, just stay. Just for tonight.”
“I can’t, Erik. Please don’t make this harder than this is. I never bargained for any of this. I just wanted to meet some nice guy named Ben who makes me laugh and loves my writing. And I can’t believe everything that has happened, but it’s actually not what I want.”
“What about what I want,” Erik says, words spilling out before he can really formulate what he wants to say, “I want you. So please, stay. Stay with me. We can sleep or we can talk or we can fuck. Whatever you want. Then we can go to breakfast in the morning. I promise.”
“Some nice place for brunch. You and me.”
“I can’t.” Charles says wretchedly, “Please stop. It’s not fair. I can’t go to brunch and pretend that I don’t want to touch you, I can’t not hold your hand.”
Erik swallows. “I’m not asking you to.” He waits for his words to sink in. Charles blinks.
“Please. Stay just until the morning and we can sleep in and go have brunch, just like normal people.”
“You’re not a normal person, Erik. You’re the star of Bent. People will stare.”
“So,” Erik says, “Let them. I don’t care. If it’s a choice between my career and public image and YOU, fuck them all, I choose you. You, Charles, your blue eyes, your crazy stories, your over enthusiastic emails. You.”
“Erik.” Charles gasps, sounding entirely overwhelmed. “You’re agent…” Charles says haltingly.
“Yes, Emma will kill me,” Erik sighs, “but I spend all my time with everyone telling me what to do, and you’re doing the same thing as well. I want this. I want you. Let me make this decision. Stay.”
Charles is silent for what feels like an eternity. He just stands in the hallway, staring at Erik, poised to walk out, his bag over his shoulder. Erik wants to say ‘please’ again. He wants to say it ten more times. He wants to fall on his knees and beg. He does none of this. He just waits, until…
He sees it. A small, secret smile, and something in Erik’s chest lets go. He let’s out a deep, shaking sigh.
“Okay,” Charles says softly.
“Okay?” Erik repeats. “You’ll stay?”
In two big steps Erik is pulling Charles into his arms and whispering into his hair, telling him how he thought he was going to die when Charles said he was leaving, kissing the tears that have left Charles’ cheeks wet, running his hands up and down his back in a quick, jerky motion. It’s all entirely too much, and Charles must think he’s such a freak. Erik doesn't care. Charles is staying. His Charles.
“Come back to bed,” Erik murmurs. Charles nods and they walk back to the bedroom, arms wrapped around each other. Charles takes off his clothes as Erik watches, and as the fear that Charles was walking out starts to fade, it’s replaced with something primal and urgent, and Charles must be feeling the same thing because he twines his arms around Erik’s neck and pulls him down into a bruising kiss and tells Erik he wants him.
They end up tangled in the duvet, rutting up against each other in a manner reminiscent of Erik’s teenage attempts at sex, and it’s desperate and dirty, but underneath that, there’s an aching sweetness that lingers long after they both have come and have returned to lying tangled up in each other.
“Don’t do that again,” Erik murmurs into Charles neck where he’s buried his face, “don’t leave me like that.”
“I’m so sorry,” Charles whispers, “I was scared. I’m still scared. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever been involved in.”
Erik lifts his head and grins at Charles, huffing out a little laugh. “Just wait until tomorrow, it’s about to get crazier.”
They are standing on the brink. Erik is going to take Charles to brunch and he’s not going to care if they hold hands or if Charles snuggles against him. But the world is going to care.
Emma is going to kill him.
Charles looks at Erik. His eyes are soft and sleepy. His lips are bruised and he’s smiling in a way that makes Erik’s heart jump. The world might care. Emma might care. As long as Erik has Charles by his side, Erik doesn’t.
Erik comes out. Emma goes ballistic. Moira sends a surprised text. Charles checks out Erik's ass in public causing a Tumblr blow-up. The boys eat out and then they order in. And more sex.
When Charles wakes up he does what he always does, because despite the fact that he is lying in the most comfortable, plush hotel bed and despite the fact that Erik Lehnsherr is sleeping heavily next to him, flipped on his belly, his face smushed into one of the high thread count cotton pillowcases, a line of drool crusted down one cheek, Charles Xavier is a creature of habit.
He reaches his arms above his head as far as he can, then points his toes and stretches, his whole body shaking, releasing tension. It feels good.
“My god, that was amazing to watch,” Erik mumbles from next to him, and Charles looks over to see a still sleepy Erik Lehnsherr who has rolled himself on his side, propping himself on his elbow and is gazing over at Charles. Charles smiles. Then he launches himself at Erik, who has this gorgeous look of anticipation on his face, as if he knows what’s coming next, but Charles surprises him by nuzzling his nose into Erik’s neck, then trails his nose down to Erik’s chest, snuffling him, making his way down his abdomen and ending in the stiff, sticky curls around his cock. He hears Erik gasp a little.
“Yup,” Charles says, lifting his face to gaze up at the other man, whose mouth is hanging open. “You’re right.”
“I’m right?” Erik asks, no trace of sleep left in his eyes.
“You do stink in the morning. But you’re also wrong.”
“I’m wrong too?” Erik asks, sounding bemused.
“Yes. It’s a rather delicious stink.”
Erik growls and reaches down to pull Charles up his body then kisses him, long and sweet, making Charles groan. When he’s done, he pulls back slightly, and Charles touches his forehead to Erik’s and Erik murmurs softly, “good morning.”
Charles grins. “Best morning ever.”
“So,” says Erik, still holding Charles close, “What’s on the agenda today?”
“Brunch?” Charles says, remembering their conversation.
“Blow job?” Erik says at the exact same time.
“Oh good lord, if you want that, we might as well order room service because we’re never going to leave, and you promised me brunch last night. Remember, that’s why I stayed. Brunch. Bacon. You. Not in that order.
Erik contemplates what Charles is saying, then he capitulates.
“Blow job later.”
Brunch for the win.
They shower together, because isn’t that what you do after spending the whole night fucking each others brains out and then wake up together? Charles spends half the time getting cleaned up and the other half the time warding off Erik, who seems to rather enjoy a soaped up Charles. They manage to make it out of the shower without getting distracted by each others cocks, then they manage to get their clothes on as well, although Erik looks so GOOD that Charles thinks he might be removing those clothes sooner than later.
Erik looks Charles up and down, a habit he seems to have, as if he just can’t get enough, then he smiles a wicked smile.
“What?” Charles asks coyly.
“This is going to be highly amusing,” Eriks says, still smiling.
“Why? Am I somehow humorous without trying?”
“No. You’re wearing your Bent t-shirt.”
Oh. Charles smiles. Yes. This will be very funny.
Charles checks his phone and there’s a text from Moira that reads, how was lover boy, did you find out what he does? Charles grins then texts her back;
He does ME!!! ;)
Moira will find out the rest later.
Charles and Erik leave the hotel room and start walking down the hallway when Erik reaches over and takes Charles’ hand. Charles glances down at their fingers that are clasped together then back up at Erik’s face.
“It’s what you wanted, right?” Erik says, looking happy, “holding hands.”
Charles swallows and nods. The gravity of what they’re doing hits him hard. This is no small thing.
There have never even been rumors about Erik Lehnsherr. He’s been a bit of a non-entity when it comes to stardom, keeping mostly to himself, mostly being seen with Sean Cassidy pal-ing around, and now that Charles knows they were actually sleeping together at some point that makes more sense. Other than that, Erik has avoided the rumor mill, and the world has no idea that he’s queer. They’re about to find out. Oh good lord, this is insane. But it’s what he wanted, Charles reminds himself. He doesn’t want to hide who he is, and he doesn't want to hide Erik either.
The elevator dings and when they get inside and the doors slide shut, Erik quickly pulls Charles to him and kisses him, thoroughly and soundly, making brunch seem slightly less desirable compared to going back upstairs and having more hot sex. When Erik is done, he releases Charles from his embrace and smiles.
“Cameras,” Erik says, glancing up. Charles smiles. He can’t stop smiling. He’s going to strain a muscle from smiling so much.
When they arrive in the lobby, Emma is there and it’s like last night all over again. When she sees Erik, she starts stalking over to him, and everything about her body language says she’s pissed off.
“I’ve been texting you, Erik.” She snaps, walking up to them. Charles smiles hesitantly at her, a little intimidated, and notices she’s wearing a horrid white velour track suit. What is with this woman and her fashion choices? “We have that event today. What the fuck have you been doing?”
“Fuck off, Emma.” Erik growls.
“And you need to be seen with Sean today, you agreed to two appearances…”
“Sean can fuck off too.”
Charles holds onto Erik’s hand through this whole exchange, as if he might be washed away in the river of vitriol that is suddenly surrounding him, and Emma, who has been looking at Erik’s face as she talks, now shifts her gaze downward, almost casually, and her eyes grow wide, and she stops speaking. She just stares at Erik and Charles hands clasped together, her mouth hanging open, and it’s blissfully silent for a long moment. Then Emma looks back to Erik.
“Erik.” She says sharply through clenched teeth, her voice full of warning, her brow furrowing, her words slow and in control, “what. is. happening. here?”
As if she doesn’t know. Erik Lehnsherr is holding hands with some guy. A GUY. Not bromance holding hands, but HOLDING HANDS holding hands. In the lobby of the hotel. About to walk out onto the street. Emma has eyes, just like the rest of New York. The next look on her face is essentially, ‘holy shit’.
“Fuck off, Emma,” Erik growls again. Charles can tell there is little love between Erik and his agent.
“You can’t do this. Do you know what’s going to happen when you walk out that door?”
“I’m not stupid Emma. I know.”
“They can deal with it.”
“There’s a right way to do this, Erik.”
“THIS is the right way.”
“I’m going to spend my whole day fielding phone calls, emails. Holy fuck, Erik, this is a disaster. What am I supposed to say? How will I deny…”
“There’s nothing to deny. It’s your job to manage this, Emma. Go do your fucking job.”
With those words, Erik pulls Charles' arm around his back and Charles’ fingers hook onto one of the belt loops on Erik’s jeans, then he wraps his arm around Charles’ shoulders, and Charles can feel that despite his bravado, Erik is actually shaking. He’s struck by the knowledge that Erik knows exactly what all of this means, and he’s scared and he’s still going to walk out into the streets of New York City and let the world see him with Charles. All because Charles asked him to.
Charles doesn’t know where all of this is going. Well, he has a good idea. He knows there is no logical reason why he should ever let Erik go, but what that means isn’t entirely clear. All the words he could use to describe what is happening feel too laden with expectations. But if he were to use the world love, if he were to say he could LOVE this man, this would be exactly why. Charles asked him to give up safety for him, and Erik is doing just that, despite the fact that it means he could get hurt, even lose everything.
They head towards the door, hips bumping against each other, and Charles can see heads turning in the lobby. Then they are on the sidewalk and Erik hails a cab, still keeping Charles close by his side, and when they are finally in the back of the cab, Erik lets Charles go and heaves a great sigh of relief.
“I don’t even know where we’re going for brunch,” Erik laughs. Charles blinks at him, because Charles is good at blinking, then leans forward and gives the driver the address of his favorite brunch place.
“You are amazing,” Charles says, reaching out to take Erik’s hand. “Truly amazing.”
When they reach the restaurant and Erik gives the driver a really good tip because he’s had to put up with them kissing during most of the drive, Erik once again grips Charles hands. Charles would like to think that it’s because of his request to be normal and hold hands like normal people, but it’s something else, because Erik holds hands like he’s touch deprived, like it’s some amazing thing, and for him it probably is.
They go to check in with the hostess, and her eyes grow huge because ERIK LEHNSHERR has arrived to eat bacon and drink coffee. When Erik asks how long the wait is, she can barely stammer out ‘forty minutes’ then says they can make accommodations, but Erik tells her he’s okay with waiting. He doesn’t want special treatment. He’s still holding Charles hand and he pulls him outside to wait with all the other bleary eyed, bed-headed brunch attendees, and it’s a little cold, making Charles shiver. Noticing this, Erik pulls Charles close to him so he’s almost tucked inside Erik’s wool coat, and then Charles is warmer. So much warmer.
People around them are staring, and Charles can hear them whisper. He hears Erik’s name and ‘Bent’ and ‘who’s he with’ and ‘I didn’t know he was gay’. Charles just rests his head against Erik’s chest and listens to the beat of Erik’s heart, thump, thump, thumping away.
“Is this okay,” Erik whispers into Charles’ hair and Charles nods. He tilts his head up to look at Erik.
“Is it okay for you?”
Erik smiles broadly. “god yes. More than okay. It’s perfect.”
The whispers and stares continue when their name is called, and eyes follow them as they walk behind the hostess to their table. It’s all very strange, but Charles just ignores them and watches Erik, the way he walks, the muscles in his back, that ass. THAT ASS. He wants to bury his face in it. There’s going to be a picture on Tumblr tomorrow of Charles staring at Erik’s ass. He’s pretty sure about that.
When they finally sit down, and Erik has hung his coat on the back of his chair, and they’ve looked over the menus and had a brief discussion about brunch items, and they have delicious coffee in front of them, Erik reaches across the table and takes Charles hands in his, gazing into Charles’ eyes.
“Okay still?” Erik asks. Charles nods. So very okay. Erik laughs a little.
“What’s so funny?” Charles asks, her brow furrowing a little.
“I was just thinking that I don’t actually know much about you,” Erik says. “I mean, I don’t even know your last name.”
“That’s funny,” Charles says, “because oddly enough, I know a lot about you.”
Erik sighs, “see why my life can’t be normal?” Yes, Charles does see. He’s seen all along, which is why he thought the best thing he could do was leave, but that would mean he missed out on all of this, and THIS - brunch, sitting with their hands clasped together, ERIK - is some sort of wonderful.
“Xavier.” Charles says. “My last name is Xavier.”
“It’s a nice last name,” Erik says genuinely. “Distinguished. What do you do for a living?”
Charles blushes. “Um, I’m an English professor.” Then Charles eyes grow wide, “Oh shit, this is going to freak out my students.” and this revelation causes Erik to snort a little.
“So Professor Smut is a professor after all.” Erik smirks.
“What specifically do you teach?”
Charles is getting more comfortable, and despite the continued whispers and stares, Erik has somehow created an intimate bubble around them, his fingers grounding Charles, his voice low and intimate. It feels like it’s just them.
“Ginsberg.” Erik smiles, as if it’s all making sense.
“Yes. I love Ginsberg, and the romantics, and contemporary American. I have a basic English 101 course and Shakespeare as well.”
“I’ve done a few Shakespeare plays in London. MacBeth once and Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
"I would love to see you do Shakespeare," Charles says. Erik in tights. Mmmmmm.
“So, Charles Xavier. Professor X…” Erik says, his ice-blue eyes twinkling, mouth quirking, and he's looking especially kissable at that particular moment.
“Good god, you’re amazing.” Charles says, feeling overwhelmed. “Can I say again that I can’t believe I’m sitting here with Erik Lehnhserr.”
Erik frowns a little.
“I guess so, but you’re only allowed to say that once a day. And I promise you, it will fade. I’m just Erik.”
He's wrong. He's so much more than just Erik.
The food arrives quickly, because Charles is having brunch with the star of Bent, and that means your food does not linger in the kitchen, and your wait person keeps smiling at the two of you nervously. They both tackle their food because a night of hot sex has left them hungry, and Erik tells Charles that the bacon is indeed delicious then reaches across the table to brush his thumb across the corner of Charles' mouth, making Charles blush.
“Crumb.” Erik says, smiling, his voice sounding a little husky. All from brushing Charles’ lips with his thumb. Jesus.
"So, what now?" Charles asks, watching Erik. Erik smiles this huge, ridiculous smile and wiggles an eyebrow suggestively.
Charles swallows and his cock tingles. He wishes he could drop to his knees and suck off Erik right now. He's pretty sure that would be a PR nightmare that would cause Emma Frost to explode.
Just then Charles’ phone dings and he drags his gaze from Erik to look at a text from Moira. It’s a picture of him snuggled into Erik’s chest while they wait in line for brunch along with the message, um, what happened to Ben, is something you want to tell me? Charles texts back,
so much, Moira love. So much ;)
They settle the bill and Charles is vibrating with the knowledge of what's going to happen next and barely notices the patrons who are staring as Erik practically drags him out of the restaurant. They don't say much as they make their way back to the hotel, Erik still holding Charles hand, and at some point in the back of the cab Erik leans over and whispers into Charles' ear, his breath hot and moist against Charles' skin,
"I can't wait to have your cock in my mouth."
This becomes evident when the moment they are behind the closed door of Erik's hotel room Erik's fingers go immediately to unbutton Charles' jeans, pulling them down to pool around his ankles in one swift motion, and he pushes Charles against the wall then sinks to his knees, taking Charles' cock in his mouth without ceremony. Charles' head jerks back at the sudden hot, wet suction of Erik's mouth, hitting the wall hard, and his back arches as his hips jerk towards Erik, and he must be such a sight, in his Bent t-shirt being blown by the actor who plays John Bent. Erik's mouth is fabulous and skilled and seems to be able to go forever, until Charles finds himself whimpering because it's so good. If he wasn’t so aroused and close to coming he might linger a bit longer on the whole image, but instead he mutters that he's about to come, squeezing his eyes shut as his orgasm becomes inevitable, and Erik pops off just as Charles' cock pulses and spurts across Erik's cheek. Goodness, that’s was hot.
Charles starts to slide down the wall because his legs feel like jelly and his head is spinning, and Erik leaps up, his arms coming around Charles, and he’s whispering in his ear.
“Holy hell, you’re beautiful when you come. Just beautiful.”
Charles wants to say something back, but he can’t find the words, and he feels that Erik is hard, and he must be aching, but Charles needs to catch his breath and he needs to be able to think, and as much as he wants to sink to his knees right now, he thinks he’ll just end up curled in a ball on the ground.
“Thank you, Erik,” Charles finally manages to mumble as Erik pulls his pants up from around his ankles then leads him towards the bedroom.
“My pleasure,” Erik grins.
Later, much later, they end up spent and naked and Charles has finally discovered what it feels like to have Erik’s cock deep in his mouth. They are lying pressed together in that glorious bed, tangled up, so close to each other that Charles can feel Erik’s every breath. Erik is stretched along Charles back, Charles nestled back into Erik’s hips and Charles is occupying himself by tracing random patterns across Erik’s forearm. Then something comes into his head.
“You and Cassidy?” Charles says, not stopping his fingers. Erik tenses up slightly. Still, Charles wants to know.
“Cassidy is an asshole.” Erik grunts dismissively.
“You always seem like you get along so well.” Charles says. He’s thinking about all the pictures he’s seen of them, watching football, out for drinks, doing press conferences. Cassidy cracking Erik up, Erik slapping him on the back. Buddies. Best friends. Classic bromance.
“I’m a good actor, Charles.” Erik says resolutely, “Sean and I fucked each other for about a year and then we were done. I don’t like him. He doesn’t like me, but we’re BentSon, we’re professionals, so we do what professionals do.”
“So there’s no one else?” Charles asks, remembering Erik’s comment about his hand.
“Not in a long time. Not even random fucks. I can’t do that. It’s too risky.”
“Yes. Until Professor Smut came alone.”
Charles smiles. Ha. How strange life can be at times.
“So,” Erik says, changing the subject, “since I took you to brunch do I also need to take you to dinner?”
Erik’s hand, which as been draped over Charles’s waist starts to move, stroking up Charles’ thigh, making Charles’ breath hitch.
Charles turns himself onto his back so Erik is now hovering above him, looking down, and Charles thinks he could spend hours absorbing and memorizing Erik’s face. His eyes with their dilated pupils. His thin and skillful lips, looking a little bitten from all of their exploits over the last twenty four hours. The bit of stubble along his jaw. He could teach an entire course on his beauty, could write countless poems, compose sonnets about his thighs. He has never in his life felt so entirely overwhelmed by another man. The ramifications of the way he feels are so enormous that he has to push all if it into the back of his mind and just focus on this very moment, otherwise he thinks he might break down in tears.
“No dinner. Room service,” Charles manages to gasp just before Erik’s mouth descends on his.
Erik finally talks to Emma, then he goes home
Erik decides it’s time to deal with Emma.
At some point in the evening, long after dinner had been consumed and before Charles kissed him just short of one million times before saying goodbye, Erik watches with unsettling disquiet as the other man bolts out of bed, stark naked and starts running around the room, grabbing his clothes and throwing them on. He can’t help the thought of ‘not again’ that bubbles up.
“Did I miss something?” Erik asks cautiously and Charles stops and looks at him.
“My classes. I have to teach tomorrow. I totally forgot. Oh my god, I totally forgot. I can’t believe the whole weekend went by and I haven’t done anything, haven’t prepared.”
Oh, Erik thinks. That. It’s proof of the ordinary, and Charles Xavier is indeed an ordinary man with an ordinary life that he has to get back to. Erik tries to quell the uneasiness that starts to build in his stomach. Erik is not an ordinary man and it’s only a matter of time before he will be forced to return to his non-ordinary life. But not now. Not tonight. Maybe not even tomorrow. Not until he absolutely has to.
“So you’re leaving?”
Charles blinks. It’s an echo of the night before when Charles had crept from the bed, intent on leaving before Erik had a chance to stop him. “Oh,” he says, sounding a little lost, “I’m so sorry, Erik. I didn’t mean to worry you. I mean, I have to go to my apartment, but this isn't goodbye. Not yet…”
"Goodbye?" Erik echoes, as if this hasn't occurred to him before. Why is Charles talking about goodbye? The unease is still there, swirling around his edges. “What do you mean, goodbye?”
“I mean goodbye, Erik” Charles continues softly, watching Erik with careful eyes. His expression is pained, like he hates the words coming out of his mouth. “don’t you have a life to get back too? Aren’t there obligations? You go back to London and what happens to me? I have classes to teach, an apartment, friends, a life in New York. You are the most amazing man I’ve ever met, but this...this weekend, you and me, it was never supposed to last. Was it? Hasn’t it occurred to you that this might be all we ever have? At some point we'll have to say goodbye. Just not right now. Not tonight, but soon."
Charles’ eyes are glassy with tears. His hands are trembling.
It’s Erik’s turn to blink. No. He had never thought that. This weekend and Charles are both something entirely unexpected, something indefinable and Erik realizes that he’s never actually thought about what happens when Monday comes and he’s supposed to be on the plane with Sean and Emma and the other members of the Bent team. Except maybe he just won’t go back. They don’t start shooting series six for another four weeks, and maybe he will just tell Emma and everyone else to go to hell, and maybe he’ll just stay. No goodbyes. Not right now.
He says this. Three words that mean everything.
“I can stay.”
Charles stops with his t-shirt in hand and stares at Erik.
“You can? Really?”
Erik doesn’t actually know if he can stay, but he knows that the worse they can do to him is fire him, and that wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would just be the end of John Bent, and if he can stay than maybe he can figure out this all out in the next few weeks. And if not, if he indeed has to return to London and return to an ocean separating him from Charles, at least they will have more than two days.
“Yes.” Erik says quietly.
This is when Charles kisses him the first time out of just short of a million, dropping his t-shirt to the ground and practically leaping across the room to push Erik back until he tumbles onto the mattress, his hands pinning his chest down, his mouth crashing into Erik’s. Charles is happy, unable to contain his joy and Erik wants to feel the same but there is something lurking on the edges of his brain, a dark whisper that say that even if he stays, it just delays the fact that he will eventually have to leave.
Charles kisses him again and again and again, until Erik has to push him off and remind him that he said something about a class. Charles says something about how his students can fuck off, and Erik reminds him that he’s the boring, normal guy here, so he needs to get back to his boring normal life.
“Would you come with me?” Charles asks, grabbing hold of Erik’s hand. “Come to my apartment? Stay with me, so I can wake up with you and come home to you every night. Would you please?”
“Yes,” Erik says without hesitation, “But not right now."
Charles practically pouts and this makes Erik want to kiss him then worry that full bottom lip between his teeth. He resists.
“I need to take care of something first.”
Charles finally leaves and Erik walks him to the lobby where Charles once again winds his arms around Erik, buries his face in his chest and whispers that he’ll miss him, and this makes Erik ache. He watches Charles as he walks out the doors to the sidewalk, messenger bag bouncing with every stride, and he stops at the doors, looks back at Erik and smiles, and it’s this small, secretive smile that goes right to Erik’s heart, burrowing inside, lodging itself there, just for Erik. Only for Erik. One thought floats to the surface as Erik stands watching Charles leave.
I could love this man.
When Charles finally disappears outside, Erik turns and heads towards Emma’s room. As he strides towards the elevator he straightens his back and squares his shoulders, as if he’s going into battle. It’s never fun to tell Emma something she’s not going to like. Erik knocks on the door of Emma’s suite, and although it’s far into the evening, she answers the door right away. When she sees it’s him, she puts both her hands on her hips and levels a glare at him.
“Fuck you, Erik.” Emma says succinctly, like she's been rehearsing this moment in her head for the last 24 hours, and Erik is sure she has and he deserves it. Despite his disdain for Emma’s meddling, he knows the past twenty four hours can’t have been easy for her.
“We need to talk,” Erik says.
“I’m pretty sure about ten of my texts said exactly that,” Emma says, flipping her hair. Erik can’t hold back a smile. Yes, she did suggest that they need to talk. And about ten other texts had threatened to cut off some parts that are quite precious to him, that he had been using extensively while ignoring her. This makes him think of Charles and the way he comes undone when Erik just touches him, the way his breath becomes ragged when Erik kisses his neck. He smiles a little. Charles. Emma’s mouth grows tighter, more pinched, as she watches him, then she rolls her eyes and sighs heavily.
“For godsake, Lehnsherr, you are so fucked. And that means I’M fucked. Get in here.” Emma grabs his arm and drags him into her suite, slamming the door behind him, and the sound echoes down the hallway. She strides into the sitting room and Erik follows, then deposits himself into one of the standard issue, moderately uncomfortable chairs while he watches Emma pace back and forth, running a hand through her expertly dyed hair.
“First rule of fame,” Emma hisses at him on one of her passes by his chair, “Don’t pull this kind of shit on your agent.”
“You would have told me not to do it.” Erik says blithely. Emma stops pacing and glares at him.
“You don’t know that Erik. Times are changing. You can be gay and it won’t ruin your career. As your AGENT I’m well aware of this fact.”
“True,” Erik agrees. But he’s actually never been hugely worried about his career. He openly dated men when he was doing plays in London. It’s just that no one cared if the man who played Hamlet that year’s version of the classic tragedy liked to suck cock, especially because so many of his colleagues shared his penchant. And when Bent came along being out was a decision he avoided. He never decided to be in the closet. Sean had made that easy because he DID care, and Erik didn’t care enough about Sean to demand they not hide their relationship.
Then he met Charles.
“But you would have called a press conference.” Erik says. He knows Emma. He knows how she works.
Emma opens her mouth to protest, the closes it. Bingo. Always looking for an angle. It’s not like Erik could blame her. It was her job to manage his career as much as it was his job to bring John Bent to life and to make the world think that he and his co-star were as much friends onscreen as offscreen, or Charles’ job to help students get the meanings behind Ginsberg’s Howl. They are all doing their jobs.
“Yes,” Emma admits curtly, glaring at him, “I would have called a press conference.”
“I just wanted to go to brunch.” Erik says smoothly, knowing this will probably send Emma into the stratosphere. He’s not wrong.
“Brunch!” Emma exclaims. “Brunch is fine, but brunch where you snuggle with the man you fucked overnight and where he checks out your ass and someone snaps a picture that gets splashed all over the internet is a whole different story. Do you know what I’ve had to do because of your BRUNCH?”
“I told you not to deny.” Erik says.
“Oh, I didn’t deny. I said that you are a private person and want to maintain that the best you can. But that was all I could say. I have no idea who Charles is. I have no statement from you. I’ve been in the dark and everyone...EVERYONE...wants to know what’s going on and who was that man you were holding hands with, and does this mean that Erik Lehnsherr is gay, and is he coming out, and I had nothing to say. NOTHING. You put me in a terrible position.”
Emma is practically shaking with anger at this point, but this doesn’t sway Erik. She’s good and she can manage this. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if she has nothing to say. It’s her fucking job.
“So put out a statement.” Erik says, shrugging. “I’m not going to hide Charles and I'm not going to omit the fact that I'm a gay man any more.” Erik stops and looks at Emma, “He was going to leave, you know. Walk away from me because he thought I would want him to hide. I will not lose him for this...any of this."
Emma doesn't say anything, just stares at him, then her shoulders slump a little and her expression softens into some sort of attempt at empathy, which just ends up looking awkward on Emma Frost.
"You really like him." She finally says, resigned, as if NOW she understands.
More silence. Erik can practically see Emma's mind at work. Then she narrows her gaze.
“You’re an asshole, Lehnsherr.”
Erik shrugs again. “So?” he says in a flip tone, “isn’t it my prerogative?”
“I don’t mean it that way, Erik, that making me jump through these hoops, not giving me information, putting me in a bad situations makes you an asshole. I mean you think you can do whatever you want and that you owe the world nothing. The world - the fans, the people who watch your television show, who love John Bent and what you bring to him - they have made you who you are. You actually do owe them. They want to know you, want to feel connection, and by refusing to even entertain any sort reaching out about this, to just burst out into the public with Charles and say nothing. It hurts them. It’s disrespectful.”
“It’s MY life,” Erik says forcefully to Emma. “They don’t get to touch it.”
“You’re right, Erik,”Emma sighs. “It’s your life. But you don’t have a normal life. and you’re acting as if somehow you’re owed that. You’re NOT someone who can just meet a guy and have a weekend of fabulous sex then go to brunch, not matter how much you want to pretend you are. Even if Charles asks you to do it for him. He’s as much of a fool as you to think any of this can last. You can it for a little bit, but at some point you need to figure out how to be yourself AND Erik Lehnsherr who plays John Bent. You’ve never had to do this. Not until now.”
Erik is speechless. As much as he holds her in disdain, she’s fucking right. She watches him, waits for him to say something but there is nothing to say. Emma is right and he and Charles are living on borrowed time. Erik runs a hand through his hair and looks at Emma. It’s an oddly intimate moment between two people who mostly antagonize each other.
"Would you do an interview?" Emma says, regaining some of her typical composure, and the smirk on her lips says she knows the answer already.
"No," Erik says firmly.
"Give me something to work with here," Emma almost whines.
"A statement, Emma. That's all I'll do. Erik Lehnsherr is a gay man. He requests privacy. Blah blah blah, and leave Charles out of it!"
Emma looks annoyed. "Well at least we're going back to London tomorrow," she grumbles.
"Actually," Erik says. Emma's eyes widen.
"Aw, HELL NO, Lehnsherr!"
"I'm not going back."
"Erik..." Emma warns, "we have promotional events planned."
"The producers will be pissed."
"Fire me then," Erik shrugs, "I'm staying here with Charles. I'll be back before we start shooting, but I will NOT be leaving New York tomorrow."
Emma looks at him and rolls her eyes then huffs a little, the queen of exaggerated body language, and it's like she thinks she can eye-roll Erik into submission.
"Fine.” she snaps, “Your Charles must be a hell of a lay."
Erik smiles. Emma has no idea. Unbidden, the image of Charles spread out on his bed, sweaty, shaking, cock hard, hissing at Erik to fuck him until he can't walk comes to mind. Then there's Charles again, stretched out next to him, laughing and showing Erik something on his phone, his eyes crinkling at the corners and his hair flopping in a way that makes Erik's fingers itch to brush it back. Lastly there's Charles at the panel, standing tall and proud, his voice strong, confident, and he fucking shines from head to toe to the point that even then, when Erik thought he was a random stranger, he couldn't take his eyes off him. Yes, Charles is one hell of a lay. He's one hell of everything. Maybe Emma just needs to get fucked long and hard.
Suddenly Erik misses Charles with a ferocity that takes his breath away, and it must show because Emma throws him a look of disdain.
"Pathetic," she mumbles almost under her breath.
"Fuck off, Emma."
Emma smiles a strangely kind smile and she walks up to him then wraps her arms around him, causing Erik to shirk away from her for a moment, but she ignores this and holds him tightly. It’s disorienting, standing in her hotel room, being hugged awkwardly by the Ice Queen.
“Erik Lehnsherr, I think you might be the most exasperating client I’ve ever dealt with,” Emma says softly, releasing him from her grip, “Now go get your Charles.”
Erik leaves Emma grumbling about the mess she will have to clean up for the next few weeks as he and Charles cavort around New York. Your job, Emma, Erik thinks to himself, but it’s kinder than before, and Erik thinks that underneath everything, Emma might actually be his friend.
He pulls out his phone, noting that his hand is shaking and pushes the number that Charles had programmed into his phone earlier. Charles picks up immediately.
“Erik!” Charles says breathily. Erik squeezes his eyes shut. Borrowed time.
“I’m ready to come home.” Erik says, sounding a little choked up just at the sound of Charles’ voice. There’s a short silence, a barely audible hitch of breath. Home.
“Yes, love,” Charles says, his voice warm and inviting and he sounds so happy. “Come home.”
Erik is glad Charles can’t see the tears that leak onto his cheeks.
Charles is a nut. Erik comes to stay with him. Moira spoils everything with the truth.
Charles is pretty sure he’s a world-class idiot, because the moment the cab starts to pull away from Erik’s hotel, he starts to miss him. Only a world class idiot would miss someone they saw only minutes ago that he'd only known for a weekend, plus a month of emails. Still, it’s better than the alternative, which is missing Erik for days, weeks, months or maybe forever because Charles is staying in New York and Erik is returning to London. It’s better that they only endure a few hours apart. Yes, he’s still crushing like a sixteen year old girl.
Erik is staying. He’s staying with him, and this means that Charles is going to have to endure numerous jokes about U Hauls from his best friend. Good lord, MOIRA. He needs to call her. When Charles finally arrives at his neglected apartment, and he’s not somewhere that he could be overheard, the first thing he does is call Moira. She picks up almost immediately.
“What the FUCK Charles Francis Xavier. WHAT. THE. FUCK.”
“Beware the angry lesbian,” Charles jokes, “How’s Betsy?”
“Elizabeth, and fuck you,” Moria answers. “How’s Ben? Oh wait, you seem to have gotten side tracked. By some famous British actor.”
“German-Irish, by way of England,” Charles corrects her.
“Fuck you, Charles. Someone sent me the picture of you outside our favorite brunch place. That’s how I found out about my best friend having some massive romp across New York City with some super handsome famous guy. FROM THE INTERNET. And what about Ben? Where is Ben?”
“Erik IS Ben. He was my fan.”
Moira is silent for a long moment as she absorbs what Charles has told her.
Charles grins, “I know. Isn’t it amazing?”
“So what happens now,” Moira asks, “do you have wank material for a lifetime? Was he good in bed?”
“I don’t need wank material,” Charles tells his friend, knowing what’s going to happen with his next reveal, “he’s going to stay with me for a bit. If anyone is going to be jerking me off, it will be him. My hand is going to be VERY lonely. Sad little hand.”
Charles holds his phone away from his ear as Moira says something him being crazy, and uhauls and she should come right over and slap him silly for this. And what about his classes, how will he be able to teach after being splashed all over the internet? Finally Charles interrupts her diatribe.
“Moira...Moira...MOIRA LOVE,” Charles bellows into the phone, “I’ll talk to you later. Really.” And he hangs up. He’s sure he’ll see her tomorrow because they both teach a class at the same time and there’s no way she’s not going to appear in his office to continue their conversation. Charles sighs then glances at his phone.
No Erik. Not yet.
He turns on his laptop and heads to the internet. Professor Smut should see what’s going on out there. Charles find out that what’s going on is HIM. Good god, the Bent fandom has blown up and he’s all over Tumblr. He’s snuggling with Erik. Eating bacon with Erik. Checking out Erik’s ass. He’s reblogged all over the place, with people exclaiming that they had no idea that Erik Lehnsherr is gay, and who is that guy with him, he’s cute. His fangirl besties have emailed, asking if he’s heard the news. He has. He actually might have made the news happen. Whoops. And isn’t he excited that E.L. bats for his team. He really can’t express how exciting it really is, as in Erik doesn’t just bat for his team but it seems he’s batting for Charles specifically. #teamprofessorsmut Nope, can’t say a thing, especially because he’s sure Erik is currently doing CPR on Emma because he’s induced cardiac arrest, and he doesn’t need to make things worse for his handsomeness.
To a lesser extent some people are talking about ComiCon and the Bent panel and the question Charles asked. He sees Erik quoted over and over again, and his heart swells. He’s his fanfic knight in shining armour.
Finally his phone buzzes and it’s Erik, and he’s asking Charles if he can come home. How does he do this, reduce him to a quivering puddle without even trying. Of course he can come home. Please come home. By the time Erik rings the outside buzzer, Charles is a crazy bundle of nerves, nervous and excited all at once, and the moment Erik steps into his apartment, Charles throws himself into his arms, and kisses him soundly.
“Welcome to my home,” Charles says, taking Erik by the hand and leading him down the entryway hallway into the living room. It’s an old building and the walls are exposed brick, full of eclectic furniture that Charles has picked up here and there, along with his favorite Westchester wing backed chair. One wall is floor to ceiling bookshelves and Charles wishes he’d taken more time to get it straightened up. On the other end is Charles’ desk and computer, piled high with papers. It’s not big. Cozy is what Moira calls it, and cluttered. She may have once even said disgustingly dusty, why don’t you hire a housekeeper? One either side of the living room there are doorways, one leading to the kitchen, with it’s gas stove and small dining table. The other leads to the bedroom.
Charles could have picked something much bigger. His apartment is not courtesy of his professor’s salary but purchased by his trust fund. Sharon doesn’t care if he decided to take over the entire floor of a building. But Charles likes economy of space. He likes it’s tall ceilings and the warmth of a small place that can be entirely heated by him making roasted pumpkin soup on the stove. He likes the way the rain hits the windows on a blustery fall day. Home is important to Charles and this is home for him. It has been since the first time he walked into it.
Erik looks around. He walks over to the book case and gazes over the titles, running his fingers along their spines. He goes to stand by one of the windows and looks down onto the street. Then he turns to look at Charles. Charles thinks about the view of London “Ben” had sent him, and now he realizes that it’s most likely Erik has a very nice flat compared to this. He shuffles a bit, feeling strangely nervous.
“It’s nice,” Erik says. Nice. What does that mean. “It’s very, Charles.”
Okay. He can accept that, especially because it seems that for Erik anything that is ‘very Charles’ is very good.
“Would you like to see the bedroom?” Charles asks, grinning stupidly, because Erik is in HIS home. He wants to show him the bedroom, meaning that he would both like to show Erik the room he sleeps in and would he like him to see the BED, close up, because Charles is thinking that having his fingers up Erik’s ass while he blows him might be nice, and what the FUCK is it about Erik that turns Charles into a perpetually horny teenage boy who cannot manage to stop thinking about sex for the life of him?
“Yes. I would like that.” Erik says and Charles takes his hand and drags him through one of the doorways. He gestures around the room and watches as Erik’s eyes take it all in. Then Charles lets go of Erik’s hand and goes to his tall, dark wood antique dresser and pulls out a drawer.
“For you,” Charles says, grinning stupidly at the other man. “While you stay here. For your clothes.”
Erik smiles. He walks over to where Charles is standing and takes his hand in his, then he brings it to his mouth and plants a kiss on the delicate skin on the inside of Charles’ wrist, which quite predictably makes him shiver.
“Thank you,” Erik says softly.
“Now,” Charles says, licking his lips as desire starts to coil in his belly, “take me to bed?”
“What about getting ready for your class?” Erik says, his eyes locked on Charles’.
“I’ll just be unprepared. Anyway, I have an idea, and it’s a good enough one that we can fuck each other all night long and everything will be just fine.”
Erik smiles and it reaches across his face and all the way to his eyes. “Excellent.”
Charles’ alarm wakes them in the morning, because he has responsibilities and can’t just lay around in bed all day and discover all the places that make Erik gasp, and because there are young minds to train and form and inspire about great literature. Still, Charles lingers, because Erik is so warm and despite his previous warning, he smells really good, and Charles wants to snuffle him all over again.
“Hi,” Erik says quietly. “This is nice.”
“It is,” Charles says, smiling mischieviously, because he’s just come up with a brilliant idea, “but I need to ask you a question.”
Erik cocks an eyebrow, looking curious.
“It’s very important.” Charles says, still smiling. Erik looks nervous. He should.
“Ask away,” Erik says.
"Can I have my ‘Erik Lehnsherr’ for today?"
Erik looks surprised. Perhaps he wasn’t expecting this question. Charles’ smile becomes a grin.
"Your what?" Erik asks, peering over at Charles. They are waking up together for the second time ever, and Charles wants to find a way to mark this occasion. Because he’s sentimental. Because he’s a fucking idiot.
"You said I could only freak the fuck out about you being Erik Lehnsherr once a day."
"I'm just Erik," Erik reminds him with a growl while glaring.
Charles ignores him, "I'd like to have my freak out right now. Here. In this bed."
"You're nuts, Charles.”
Charles shrugs. Maybe he is nuts. Bat shit crazy. Crazy for Erik. “So can I?”
“Must you?” Erik asks in a pained voice.
“Yes.” Charles says, thinking that a man must have a few indulgences, and despite that fact that Erik Lehnsherr has become very much a real person to him, Charles still harbors a secret fanboy who may never get over this turn of events.
“Fine.” Erik hurumphs. He sinks back into the covers and looks at Charles, “go ahead,”
“Um, Erik?” Charles says, looking at the other man, who doesn’t seem to really understand what he’s asking.
“You might want to get out of the way.”
Erik glares at Charles who is doing his best to look adorably earnest. He rolls out of bed and walks over the dresser where Charles had carefully unpacked his clothes the night before, folding them neatly and patting them carefully, opens HIS drawer and pulls out a pair of loose sweat pants then pulls them on. Erik turns to Charles, who is kneeling on the bed, naked, watching Erik as he folds his arms across his bare chest and does his best to look gruff. Erik does gruff very well. He actually IS a good actor. Charles can’t help but smile.
“Go ahead,” Erik says wryly, as if he hopes this won’t be a regular request. “Have at it.”
With a loud whoop, Charles launches himself upwards and proceeds to jump all over the bed like a seven year old child gone wild, and he yells,
“ERIK LEHNSHERR SPENT THE NIGHT IN MY BED!!!!!”
Erik covers his eyes with one hand, then looks over his fingers at Charles and cocks an eyebrow.
“Are you done?”
Charles is panting and flushed and happy, and he looks at Erik, who is still working hard to look unamused at the entire spectacle, but he can see that his lips are curving into a small smile.
“Yes.” Charles says seriously, stepping off the bed and onto the floor. He pads over the Erik, who is still standing with his arms crossed.
“I’m just Erik,” Erik says again.
“I know, darling,” Charles says, stopping right in front of him, invading his personal space because he can, smiling up at him. He places a quick kiss on Erik’s lips. “You’re just Erik.”
“You know that will break your bed.” Erik frowns.
“Uh huh,” Charles says, turning away and rifling through one of his drawers. He pulls out a blue cardigan. This one should do.
“You would have to buy a new one.”
Charles stops and turns to look at Erik again.
“Um, that’s not a problem. I’m kind of, well, rich.”
It’s Erik’s turn to look surprised. “Rich?”
“Family money. Xaviers of Westchester. I can buy a new bed, but I don’t intend to do that again. If my bed is going to be broken, it should be after a night of extravagant fucking.”
“Oh.” Erik says.
“Shower?” Charles asks, holding a hand out for Erik. Erik takes it and allows himself to be led to the bathroom, and from his face it appears he’s still pondering the ways they might be able to break the bed.
Charles makes it through the rest of the morning, arrives at school somewhat on time, and finally walks through back doorway of his classroom, puts his bag down and goes to stand at the podium. He looks across the room, noticing that it seems that today every seat is taken for 101, and all eyes are on him, and good god, about a third of his students are wearing Bent t-shirts. The whispering and murmurs that had filled the room die down as Charles clears his throat.
“Um, hello everyone. We’re going to be doing something different today. I know we were going to discuss Wordsworth and his place in the canon of American literature, but I’ve changed my mind. I want to talk about something more contemporary.”
The room is now dead silent and all eyes are on Charles.
“So, I suspect many of you, if not most of you have some questions about your professor due to some photos that appeared on the internet over the weekend.” Charles falters a little because as he’s glancing around the room he notices that Moira is standing along the wall in the back. She smiles wanly at him, like she’d really rather be stabbing his eyeballs out, and then flips him off. The always professional Professor MacTaggart.
“I don’t want any of this to be a distraction, so I thought I’d clear the air.”
Still silent. Charles takes a deep breath. Okay.
“I am a gay man.” Charles says, “I haven’t kept that a secret. This weekend I was seen around town with Erik Lehnsherr, star of BBC’s Bent. He and I are indeed seeing each other, but Erik is a very private person. I will not be talking about him with any of my classes. And I don’t want him to become a distraction.”
So far so good. All eyes are still up front. Keep going.
“But I also know there are questions, so that’s why I’m cancelling my lecture for today and…”
There are gasps around the room as Erik enters on queue, coming to stand next to Charles.
“Erik has agreed to answer questions about Bent.”
Erik smiles, looking around the room that is full of students in pajama pants with open laptops and their mouths gaping.
“I just ask that no one take pictures,” Erik says smoothy, then he leans down to place a kiss Charles’ on the forehead, “thank you for the introduction”
“WAY TO GO PROFESSOR X!” comes a whoop from the back row, and maybe that was actually Moira, and then the whole room comes alive with applause. And this, thinks Charles, is how you fuck your handsome television star lover all night and avoid doing a lesson plan, but he won't tell his students that. At this moment they just think he’s awesome.
Charles steps down from the podium and leaves Erik standing up there, talking to his students. Erik is in his element, charming everyone, smiling with every question, taking them seriously. Charles walks back to where Moira is standing and bumps her with his shoulder.
“Well, what do you think?” Charles asks, “Spectacular, isn’t he?”
Moira turns to look at Charles.
“How long have you known him?” Moira asks slowly as she looks at Erik, then to Charles then back to Erik.
“Well, since Saturday.”
“Oh Charles,” Moira sighs, “this is not going to end well.”
Charles fights the irritation that wells up in him. Did he say something like this to Moira when she met Elizabeth on some online hook-up site? Did he voice his concern when she moved in with her after a month, complete with fucking u haul truck? Did he ever tell her it was a mistake, although he was honestly worried it was? No. Not once. He sat by and reminded himself that it was none of his business. So how can Moira say this now. How can she feel the need to tell him what he already knows but has kept carefully tucked away along with all of his other fears, right next to the abandonment he felt as a child and the niggling feeling that he will never truly be worthy of love. These are things he cannot think about or he will go insane, and here she is ripping him open, like the scab off a wound.
Charles wants to walk out, to get as far away from his best friend as possible, but he can’t because it would mean leaving Erik, so instead he moves away from her, trying not to shake. At this moment, Erik’s ice blue gaze finds him and he sees a little frown form between the other man’s eyebrows even as he answer one of the student’s questions. Charles works up a smile that say everything is alright and he sees Erik relax. Erik isn’t the only actor in the room.
“Fuck you, Moira,” Charles manages to mutter and she puts a hand on his forearm, causing him to flinch.
“Charles,” she says softly, “I don’t mean I don’t like him. He watches you like you walk on water, the way you deserve to be seen. I mean that he’s Erik Lehnsherr and you’re playing house with him, and you’re in love with him. Three days and you’re in love with him. How is it possible that he’s not going to hurt you. You’re already wide open. You’re already given him all of you.”
Charles wants to cry. She’s right. He loves Erik. And it’s not going to end well.
Erik wins over Moira. Charles and Erik have goodbye sex. Erik makes a decision.
Charles talks in his sleep and he slathers his toast with butter until it drips and sometimes when he doesn’t realize Erik is looking he gets this sad look, like he’s mourning something. Erik is never brave enough to ask, primarily because he suspects that it’s him. Charles doesn’t say anything, doesn’t ask Erik for more than they have right now, and Erik can see that he bears all of this silently.
Sometimes when Charles is a asleep and Erik is memorizing him with the same intent that he spends time memorizing lines and working on characters, tracing every single freckle with his eyes, he thinks it’s entirely too much to feel this way and know that at some point something will have to change.
They never talk about him leaving, except for a few times. One time when they are lying in the dark, pressed up against each other, and Charles says almost randomly that he saw that series 6 will start shooting in two more weeks. Erik doesn’t say anything, he just strokes his fingers up and down Charles arm then tilts his head down and kisses Charles deeply, trying to wash away the reminder that he has a whole different life that’s nagging at him. The next day Erik buys his ticket online.
Charles has this thing he calls Friday Night Cocktail Hour with is best friend, who walks into the apartment (their apartment?) and immediately pokes Erik in the chest with her forefinger.
“I don’t know if I like you,” Moira says, glaring.
“I grow on people.” Erik answers. It’s true. Moira is not alone. Many people don’t know if they like him. He’s imposing and intense and unfriendly at times. This is why Erik has never been built for the level of stardom he’s accidentally managed to achieve and why it chafes at him.
“And if you hurt him, I’ll kill you.” Moira says, cruising for a fight, her eyes cold and ready for battle. Erik will not fight.
It’s too bad that hurting each other feels inevitable sometimes. But Erik doesn’t say this, he just smiles and hands Moira the glass of wine he’s been holding in her hand, that Charles had filled and shoved at him, saying Moira could always be won over with wine. She takes the glass and blinks at him, mystified that he’s not going to either promise her that he won’t hurt Charles or swear his undying devotion. Erik is private. He will swear his undying devotion to Charles tonight, with his hands and his lips, until Charles thrums under his touch and sings back at him.
It’s doesn’t take long for them all to be draped over the various pieces of furniture in the living room, Charles in that threadbare chair he seems to favor, Moira stretched out on the couch, Erik in one of the other comfortable chairs that occupy the living room. He would rather kick Moira’s boney ass off the couch and pull Charles into his lap so he can find some bare skin to trace his fingertips over, but Erik is neither young nor naive, and he recognizes that this moment is not about him and Charles. It’s about Moira and a tradition between friends who clearly care deeply for each other, so Erik sits apart from Charles to show his respect. Moira kisses Erik on the cheek when she heads out to meet her girlfriend for one of their numerous Friday night errands that Charles had already warned Erik about. Erik blushes and Charles makes fun of him.
They eat out. They eat in. Slowly the world seems to adjust to Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier, who has been identified as son of socialite Sharon Xavier, and heir to the Westminster estate. Emma calls every few days, asking Erik when he’s coming back, telling him she has some good interview prospects, and would he consider having Charles by his side. Erik tries to take these calls in rooms away from Charles, or in the hallway at the university, on the sidewalk outside the cafe where they’ve been sitting sipping on lattes and talking for hours. He doesn’t want his other life to intrude on what they have. Not yet, anyway.
Erik does broach the subject once. Come to London, he tells Charles, you can teach there, you’ll love my flat. Charles looks sad. He tells Erik that he has tenure. He has Moira. His sister is moving back from Paris soon. His mother is in upstate New York. He can’t come to London. Erik doesn’t bring it up again. It hurts too much.
They’re living on borrowed time, and before Erik knows it, the time has come for him to get back to London. Emma is calling every day now, her shrill voice in his ear, telling him that the creators and writers are getting nervous. Even Sean reaches out a short and terse email, not because he particularly cares that much, but because Erik being more cooperative is greatly to his benefit.
“I saw the ticket,” Charles says the night that Erik prints his boarding pass and left it on the dresser. He’s also pulled out his carry-on and left it sitting by the doorway of the bedroom. Still, he hasn’t been able to say what they both know is happening.
“We knew this was coming,” Erik says softly. Charles nods, his eyes shining with tears, but he doesn’t say anything else. He just slides his arms around Erik’s waist, pulls him closer and tilts his head up to kiss Erik. There is no need for talking.
They do need to talk, because they are going to go their separate ways and they can’t avoid that forever. Still, Erik can’t find the words everytime he tries to start that conversation and Charles has this way of distracting him at just the right moment, as if he senses that this is not something that will go well. Just like the night they met when Erik almost begged Charles for a kiss because even then the words were going to be too painful, they can only speak to each other with their bodies. Is this healthy? No. Is it necessary for their sanity. Yes.
The day after he prints the boarding pass, Erik packs his back, taking each piece of clothing out, noting how they have been neatly folded by Charles, that they smell like his laundry detergent, that nothing is the same since he initially packed in London for a weekend promotional event. Charles doesn’t say anything when he sees this, just glances at the bag and his eyes go sad.
After dinner Erik tells Charles to wait in the living room, and he does, picking up a book he’s been reading from the side table, sitting in one corner of the couch, framed by lamplight. It’s mid-December and it’s pitch black outside but not really late, and there’s a light snow drifting down outside. Erik loves this moment so much that he wants to capture it forever, with a photograph or paint it. It’s peaceful and Charles almost glows in the lamplight. Erik blinks back tears.
Not much later, Erik returns to the living room, going to stand in front of Charles, who looks up at him. Erik extends his hand and Charles accepts him, allowing Erik to pull him to a stand.
“I don’t want you to go,” Charles says, one of those rare moments when he’ll actually talk about what’s happening, but Erik doesn’t want him to talk right now. He places a finger lightly on Charles’ lips.
“Later,” Erik lies. He doesn’t want to talk about this later either. He doesn’t want to have this be their last night together. He doesn’t want to have to walk out the door in the morning. He wants none of it. Erik leads Charles into the bedroom, which is now filled with candles. They are the electrical kind, so no worries about wax or fire. They twinkle all around the room, and Charles turns to Erik with a look of amazement.
“Moira,” Erik laughs. Yes, he’s won her over and as a result, she let him borrow her stash of Target bargain-bin candles so he could make this night special. Charles eyes look soft at the mention of his friend, and although he’s been able to pick up on some bits of tension between them in the last few weeks, he suspects that whatever is going on, Moira has officially been forgiven.
“So what do you want to do?” Charles asks. Erik laughs.
“I just dragged you into a bedroom full of candles. What do you think?”
“Ha ha,” Charles says, still gripping Erik’s hand. “I mean, what do you want ME to do?”
Charles is offering himself. Erik thinks. What does he want. He wants Charles to give everything up and come with him to London. He wants to have more than a few weeks. There are so many things he wants, but he settles on something more attainable.
“I want you naked,” Erik says, feeling his cock tingle. Charles nods and proceeds to remove his clothes with neat precision, walking over to place them in the hamper in the corner of the room, then returning to stand in front of Erik. Erik looks at him, just looks, eyes tracing across the curve of his shoulders, his nipples on his chest that are hardening from the chill in the room, the jut of his hipbones that Erik has discovered he likes to trace with his thumb, his half-hard cock surrounded by curls of pubic hair. Charles is compact, slender but solid. He sees the curve of his buttocks, the strength of his thighs. Erik’s eyes sweep back up to stop at Charles’ face, which is growing increasingly flushed with all of this attention.
“Stunning,” Eriks murmurs without really meaning to. Charles’ chest shakes as a short gufaw erupts.
“Says the most stunning man on the face of the earth,”
Erik suddenly becomes acutely aware of the inequity between them and quickly strips off his own clothes, but instead of taking them to the hamper, he tosses them on the ground, pushing them away with one foot, then stands in front of Charles, submitting himself to the same perusal. His skin feels hot and crawling as Charles eyes sweep up and down his body, and he’s feeling surprisingly aroused just from standing naked in the room with Charles, looking at each other.
“I want you so much,” Charles mutters almost to himself, “how is it possible to want you so much? How is it fair?”
Those words are too much for Erik and he closes the gap between them, pulling Charles into his arms and they are kissing, mouths hot and sloppy as Erik starts to walk Charles backwards to the edge of the bed. He doesn’t stop kissing him as Charles tumbles backwards, Erik crawling on top of him, a knee between Charles thighs, a hand gripping his wrists and pulling them above his head until Charles is stretched out and moaning with every kiss. Charles is begging the way he does when he wants it hard and fast, eyes blown wide, mouth luscious, hips jerking up trying to get contact.
“Fuck me, Erik. Please fuck me.”
No, Erik thinks. Tonight is not about fucking to forget. It’s about remembering, creating a memory. It’s not going to be fast. It’s going to be long and slow, and they will slowly unravel to together, and then they will forget.
“Soon enough, Charles,” Erik says, his mouth returning to the other man’s, and it reminds him of the night he had come home to Charles' flat, the way Charles had kissed him so many times he lost count. When Erik starts to feel he wants something more than kisses and Charles agrees because he’s BEGGING for more than kisses while Erik licks his way down his neck, Erik decides to turn his attention to those pink buds of nipples, taking one into his mouth, sucking and then biting softly. This results in Charles almost arching off the bed, except that Erik’s weight is still heavy on him, and he gasps something about not knowing that could be so good. That inspires Erik to move his attention to the other nipple, which causes the same reaction a second time. When he’s done and Charles is almost sobbing, Erik kisses his way down his belly, down that trail of hair just below his navel, then moves to one of those deliciously jutting hip bones and sucks on it. Charles moans loudly and buries his hands in Erik’s hair.
“SonofaBITCH, you’re cruel.” Charles gasps, fingers tightening in Erik’s hair almost to the point of pain.
Erik pulls back and looks at Charles cock, which is jutting out, flushed and leaking precum. He licks his lips because he would like nothing more than to sink his mouth onto it and he suspects that it wouldn’t take long for Charles to come. But he doesn’t want that. Well, not right now. Maybe later. Maybe after they are spent and sweaty, then sleep a little, and wake again, he’ll end the night by sucking Charles off. Right now he wants to be inside him.
Erik stops sucking on that hip bone, causing quite a few more profanities to emerge from Charles delightfully dirty mouth, then he kisses his way back up Charles’ torso until he’s once again stretched out over him. Everything about Erik aches and he feels so tight that he might break, and he knows what’s coming next. So does Charles, because he licks his lips as he stares up at Erik’s face hovering over him. Erik rolls off him long enough to grab the lube and a condom off the nightstand, then he rolls back onto Charles, who sighs with the return of Erik’s warm, heavy body.
“Are you ready?” Erik asks softly. Charles nods.
“I don’t know how much I can hold back,”
“Don’t,” Charles whimpers. “Please don’t.”
Erik pushes himself up and Charles spread his legs wide to accommodate Erik kneeling between his thighs. He likes how Charles watches him, biting his lower lip, as he rolls on the condom then squeezes a generous mouth of lube into the palm of his hand, then slicks up his erect cock. When he’s done, he puts a hand on either side of Charles hips and pulls him toward him a little, takes one of his legs and slings it over his shoulder, then, positioning the tip of his cock at the entrance to Charles anus, he slowly carefully pushes in.
“Oh, fuck, Erik. I love how you fit into me. It's perfect,” Charles spits out, his neck stretching back, his hips bucking a little. Erik is still, just letting himself feel everything - how Charles feels around him, tight and hot, and after a long minute, Erik pulls back, then slams into Charles and starts to fuck him.
After taking his time, this part ends up rough and fast, Erik pushing into Charles so hard that Charles ends up with is head banging against the headboard and almost bent in two as Erik searches for the perfect angle. Erik keeps one hand on Charle’s leg and the other goes to grip the headboard, keeping him steady as his hips go faster and faster, a quick dirty rhythm at first which becomes increasingly erratic as Erik sinks further and further into his desire and arousal. Charles is past the point of no return, not even able to say words, just moaning and panting, hands flying out seeking purchase as he entirely lets go. Erik feels his muscles start to tense and his orgasm begins to build somewhere deep, but he takes in a deep shaky breath and tries to will it away because as much as he want to come, he also wants to stay buried in Charles forever. Finally his body takes over, refusing to listen anymore, and Erik jerks hard and his cock pulses and he comes.
He is spent and sweaty and all of his muscles are trembling, buried ball-deep in Charles ass, and he’s gripping the headboard like it’s the only thing keeping him up. When his eyes can finally focus, he looks down to see Charles, cock hard, bucking up towards Erik, tears leaking down his cheeks and he’s begging.
“I need to come. Please, make me come. Erik, this, it almost hurts. Please.”
Erik ignores the creeping exhaustion taking over his body. He pulls out of Charles, grabs Charles hips, and Charles audibly gasps at the touch of Erik’s fingers, then pulls him down the bed until he’s supine. Erik pushes Charles thighs apart, takes one of his still slicked-up fingers, reaches down and strokes it once, twice, across Charles’ sensitive anus, then pushes it inside while leaning down and taking Charles’ hard cock into his mouth.
“Yesssss,” Charles hisses, sounding primal, and then he tips his head back and moans so loudly Erik is sure the neighbors have head. Charles is so aroused, so turned on and ready to come, that it doesn’t take much, and soon he’s crying out with release, and gripping Erik’s hair with his hands as he bucks up into his mouth. Erik lets his cock slide out of his mouth, removes his finger, then crawls up to cradle Charles in his arms as the other man shakes and shakes from the aftershocks of his orgasm.
“You,” Charles says, his eyes unfocused, a hand coming up to push back a sweaty lock of hair that has decided to occupy Erik’s forehead. Erik waits for what else Charles is going to say, but it appears that Erik has managed to fuck him wordless, and Charles can only lean forward and place a soft kiss on Erik’s lips.
No, YOU. It’s not about me, Erik thinks, it’s about you, Charles. Charles is everything. He’s the sun and moon, and when Erik thinks about leaving him tomorrow, he can’t breathe. He can’t think. He can’t even move. And then an entirely unbidden, disastrous thought enters into Erik’s head. Because he love Charles. That’s why. He loves him.
Charles is wrecked and languid, pliable in Erik’s arms, and he falls asleep holding Erik’s hand in his, murmuring ‘thank you’ over and over. Erik does not sleep, because his brain will not stop spinning, and he loves Charles.
Sometime in the middle of the night, when Erik knows that he’s not going to be able to sleep until he does something, he somehow manages to slip out from under Charles’ heavily sleeping form and sits at the edge of the bed. He picks up his phone and contemplates it, and he knows what he has to do. He loves Charles, and Charles has made it very clear that his life is in New York, and if Charles won’t come to London, then...
Erik texts Emma.
Emma texts back,
what the fucking hell, stop thinking with your dick, Lehnsherr.
Charles' penis threatens to destroy an entire fandom and he narrowly misses getting nicknamed Charles Ono. Emma wears jeans. Moira does not use power tools but dresses in support of their use. Power tools are NOT a thinly veiled reference to sex toys. Erik gets protective.
that was my second favorite chapter summary ever. The first favorite being simply, "sex".
Erik is still sleeping when Charles starts to stir, feeling restless and needing to take a piss and trying to ignore the first thought that bubbles up as he shakes off the shrouds of sleep.
Erik is leaving.
He manages to extract himself from Mr. Cuddles, who seems to want to place every limb somewhere on Charles’ body and suck his warmth away, and makes his way to the bathroom. After he pees and splashes water on his face, Charles then makes his way to the kitchen and starts rummaging around for something to make for breakfast. By the time Erik stumbles into into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, wearing just his sweatpants, Charles is standing naked at the stove making a scramble. He’s also started a pot of coffee and there are biscuits in the oven. He hears Erik’s rumbling laugh from behind him and then there are strong arms sliding around his waist and Erik’s nose is snuffling along the back of his neck. It seems that Erik has picked up Charles’ snuffling habit.
“Good morning,” Erik laughs, “you weren’t kidding about doing almost everything naked.”
“I’m an unrepentant nudist.” Charles says, smiling. He had spent so much time as a child doing what everyone else thought he should, having Sharon dress him and tell him what to do and what to say, that once he had his own space, he decided that part of his recovery from his Xavier Childhood was to violate all of Sharon’s rules as often as possible, so he ate breakfast for dinner and opened all his birthday presents early. One of her rules had been wearing clothes, although Moira had pointed out one time that wearing clothes was a rule that most people had in their house growing up. Charles ignored her.
Erik doesn’t seem to mind this habit. He takes a handful of Charles’ ass and squeezes it gently, making Charles snort and push back against him.
All of this is entirely too normal.
It’s the day Erik leaves. Charles knows this, despite their playful banter, and he’s been working hard to ignore the sinking feeling in his stomach that’s been there ever since he got up. But Erik isn’t acting like Charles expects. He is strangely ebullient. Erik walks over to the coffee maker and pours himself a cup, as if he lives there, and the familiarity burns as Charles glances over and watches him. Maybe this is the actor in Erik, pretending nothing is about to happen. That a cab won’t arrive and Erik won’t walk out that door.
“You slept well.” Erik says, his tone observational, then he takes a sip of his coffee. He takes his black. Charles likes cream and sugar, and then maybe more cream. Organic, grass-fed cream from the farmers market near Westchester that the housekeeper snags for him and sends him on a regular basis. Moira makes fun of him, calling him a snobby hipster, but she always drinks two cups when she comes over.
“Well, you fucked me half-conscious,” Charles says, feeling the sadness well up and he forces himself to keep his smile light, “I didn’t have much farther to go when it came to falling asleep.”
“It’s what any awesome boyfriend would do. I take my role as Awesome Boyfriend seriously,” Erik says, grinning, taking another drink from the mug he's cradling. Charles stills and he blinks. What is going on here. Erik is in way too good of a mood considering that he’s leaving. And wait, did Erik just say boyfriend? BOYFRIEND. Charles looks at him, then says the word.
“Boyfriend?” He asks warily.
“Yeah,” Erik answers, smiling. No, grinning like he has some great secret. What is going on here?
“Did I miss something? When did you become my boyfriend?”
“Well, I signed the awesome boyfriend contract last night. Second section, third paragraph states clearly that as your boyfriend I have a duty to fuck you into oblivion on a regular basis.”
“Boyfriend?” Charles says again, stupidly. He is rarely rendered mostly speechless. This is one of those times. Erik shrugs. He fucking SHRUGS nonchalantly, like he’s telling Charles that it’s going to rain or there’s a new movie opening down the street, or that he likes his eggs scrambled.
“I couldn’t sleep. I did a lot of thinking. I figured out that I’m pretty much falling in love with you and figured that means I get to be your boyfriend. A very logical conclusion.”
Charles’ coffee is sitting untouched on the table. The scramble is sticking to the pan. Charles is feeling like he’s missed something, that there must be another version of him walking around, because Erik is calling him his boyfriend and he doesn’t remember any conversation they’ve had where they discussed even what this relationship is to start with, and anyway, Erik is leaving, and…
Wait. Did Erik just say he loves him. What the FUCK?
“Erik,” Charles says slowly, warily, “are you high?”
“Nope,” Erik grins, watching Charles with careful eyes, “I mean, besides being high on the elixir of love that is Professor Charles Xavier, I've taken nothing at all.”
Charles makes a face. Oh. My. God. Aliens. He’s witnessing an alien abduction.
“You’re not hearing voices?”
“You feel totally fine. No fever.”
“You just said that you love me.”
“I know that. I do. I love you.”
“You’re leaving today. You’re leaving today and you love me?”
Erik is silent for a moment and Charles starts to feel something grow in his chest.
“That. Well, we should probably talk about THAT, but I’m not sure we’ll have much time. Emma will probably be here soon.”
Emma? What the fuck?????? Charles remembers the food, which is now burned, and he turns off the stove, then he sits his bare ass onto his kitchen chair and wishes he had something alcoholic he could tip back.
“Erik,” Charles says slowly, his tone as if he’s explaining to a child, “Last night was our last night together. You’re going back to London, to your job. You have a plane ticket. But I will use my amazing powers of deduction here to observe that SOMETHING has changed.”
Erik nods eagerly. “Yes, Charles. Brilliant observations. I can see why they pay you the big bucks to mold young minds.”
“Ha.” Charles makes a face then looks around for something to throw but Erik is save by a lack of napkin or food item nearby.
“I was up all night,” Erik continues, “and I realized that I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to go back to London. I don’t want to wake up without you. I don’t want anything that doesn’t involve YOU. And then I realized that it’s because I love you, and idiotic as that sounds, because no one can love someone after less than a month, but no matter, I know that I don’t want to let you go. So…”
Erik pauses and looks at Charles, looking a little afraid. He takes a deep breath. Then he opens his mouth and speaks.
For just a moment Charles isn’t quite sure what this means. Erik quit what. Then it dawns on him along with an increasing sense of horror, because he gets what Erik is saying. He quit. HE QUIT BENT. John Bent will never come back to television. Oh my god. All because he doesn’t want to leave Charles. He looks at Erik in horror.
“Sorry,” Erik says sheepishly, “I was worried you might take it this way.”
“ERIK! BentSon. BENT-SON. You have killed them. Do you know what this means????? They will NEVER BE CANON!”
“Well,” Erik says, “technically, you killed them. If you weren’t so amazing and sexy, and if I didn’t like your mouth so much, and if you didn’t make me laugh, and if you weren’t so fucking hot in bed, maybe this could have just been some New York fling. So, it’s not entirely MY fault.”
Charles leaps up and is now pacing, saying ‘oh my god’ over and over again. His mind is racing. The fandom is going to freak out. They will blame Charles. He has destroyed Bent with his penis. His penis of destruction. Maybe if he threatens to withhold sex for a month Erik will reconsider. But that means Charles won’t have sex for a month. Bad plan. VERY bad plan.
“So Emma is on her way,” Erik says, watching Charles as he freaks out. “And she might, possibly, want to kill you.”
Erik looks apologetic. “I think her specific words were something like, ‘I’m going to kill Charles’.
Oh dear god. What is happening. Charles is still pacing, then he stops and looks at Erik again.
“But this means you’re staying. YOU’RE STAYING.”
Every worry, every sense of shock melts away. Charles leaps onto Erik’s lap and kisses him, saying over and over again, ‘you’re staying’, and Erik is kissing him back, running his hands up and down his bare back, and answering back, ‘yes I am’. Then Erik stills and pulls back, gazing into Charles’ eyes.
“I’m staying.” Erik confirms, “In New York. For good. But only if you’ll have me. I know this was never supposed to be a permanent solution.”
“Yes,” Charles says with a ragged gasp, “You stupid amazing man, I’ll have you.”
“I might need a bigger drawer,” Erik says, moving onto the practical, “Emma is bringing some more clothes for me, despite her threats of bodily harm. I think she has a soft spot for me.”
“You can have as many drawers as you need.”
Charles had planned to have Moira come over right after Erik left, because he had been holding it together for so long that he was sure he would fall apart the moment the other man walked out the door. She had sounded sympathetic, telling Charles she was so sorry, and yes, Elizabeth would be okay if she came over and spent the night. Now he needs her for an entirely different reason, because the wicked white witch is on her way and he thinks Moira would make a formidable body guard.
Charles calls her and tells her that Erik is staying and they need her lesbian bad-ass-ness, and Moira is at his apartment by lunch time, giving Charles and Erik enough time for a glorious quickie, and Charles cries when he comes. Because life is amazing, and he loves Erik and Erik loves him. When she walks through Charles’ front door, she is wearing a white t-shirt, tight jeans and a fucking flannel, and good lord, she also has on a baseball cap...backwards. And Converse. Charles looks at her and smirks.
“Elizabeth is building something with power tools today.” Moira explains, “This is my ‘I’m supportive’ outfit.”
It’s Erik’s turn to snort.
“I see you’re sticking around,” Moira says, poking him in the chest with her forefinger again as she brushes by Erik.
“Is this going to be our standard greeting?” Erik asks, “because I’m going to end up with bruises.”
“I need a beer,” Moira grunts, looking at Charles, who has now managed to put on pants a t-shirt.
“No wine?” Charles grins.
“Beer goes with the outfit.”
Erik looks at a text that has just popped up on his phone.
“Emma is on her way.”
“By the way,” Charles says to Moira, who is sipping on the beer that Erik shove into her hand, “I’ve killed John Bent. Well, my penis did.”
Moira looks at Charles, clearly speechless, then she looks at Erik, who shrugs and nods his agreement.
“You two are made for each other,” she says, rolling her eyes. Charles thinks that Moira and Emma are going to get along splendidly.
It’s not long before there’s a sharp knock on the door, a rat-tat-tat that couldn’t be anyone else. When Charles pulls the door open, Emma Frost is on the other side. She’s wearing jeans. JEANS. Well, with a white turtleneck and white boots. Erik must have truly startled her.
“Where is he, Yoko Ono?” Emma hisses at Charles. Charles winces, because that was entirely undeserved, and steps aside as Emma marches past him into the apartment. If there is one single Charles Ono meme on Tumblr after this, he knows who to blame. Emma enters the living room, looking around then sees that Erik is in the kitchen, sitting with Moira, and when Moira sees Emma, she leaps up and saunters...SAUNTERS...up to Emma, the thumb of her right hand hooked into the pocket of her jeans, looks Emma up and down then says…
“If I didn’t have a girlfriend...”
Charles wants to die. Erik is clamping a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. Emma’s anger seems to dial up to eleven at this point.
“Lehnsherr,” she hisses, “I’ve always wished you had more friends but understood that you’re such a son of a bitch that no one likes you. Now you have friends and of course they’re just as much assholes as you. Do you know anyone actually FUCKING normal????"
Erik can’t help but laugh at this point.
“Fuck you, Emma.” Erik says, when he’s done laughing. From what Charles has seen, this might be considered a standard greeting between Emma and Erik.
“Ha!” Emma says, “That’s rich, YOU telling me to fuck off. You’re supposed to show up at the studio tomorrow and if you’re not there, all hell is going to break loose.”
“I’m not leaving, Emma. I told you. I quit.”
“They will destroy you, Erik. You will cost them a lot of money. You won’t be able to work anymore, all because of him.” Emma throws Charles a disdainful look and Erik visibly bristles. “is it worth it?”
Erik looks over at Charles who is standing slightly behind Emma watching the whole exchange. Moira has gone to lean against one of the kitchen counters, her body taut. The tension in the room is palpable.
“Yes,” Erik says.
“Arrrrrrrgh,” Emma yells, throwing her hands up, “You and your logic are impossible. Do you get what’s going on? You are throwing everything away after one month of good sex…”
“It’s more than sex, Emma,” Erik says, his voice low with warning. She was pushing him, Charles could tell.
“A warm place to stick it and you destroy how many people in your wake? I miss when you were fucking Sean. Your penis was occupied and Sean knows how to behave himself.”
Everything happens in a flash. Erik lunges forward but Moira does as well, throwing herself in front of him, at the same time, Charles grabs Emma and pulls her out of Erik’s grasp. No one needs to get hurt here. No one. Then everything freezes. Emma is shaking as Charles holds her arm. Erik’s chest is rising up and down from exertion. Moira looks scared.
“I will not only quit.” Erik says, his voice quiet and deadly, “I will fire you and we will be done if you ever...EVER...say anything like that again. I’m done doing things for appearance. I’m done behaving myself according to your rules. I’m done.”
They have reached an impasse.
Charles releases Emma who rubs her arm, and he realizes he was gripping her so hard she’ll probably bruise. He also realizes that he is shaking as well, and Erik looks over at him as if he’s seeing him for the first time since everything blew up.
“Oh my god, Charles. I’m sorry.” Erik starts towards him and Emma flinches, and Charles puts up a hand to stay Erik. Erik listens. He stops and stands there, staring at Charles, almost vibrating.
“We can figure this out,” Charles says, his voice shaking. “there has to be a solution.” He looks at Erik, “you won’t leave me, is that right? You’re quitting the show because it means you have to go to London and I can’t come with you.”
Erik swallows and his eyes are shining, and Charles can almost feel his anguish. He nods. Charles turns to look at Emma.
“What if they start filming late? Could they do that?”
“I don’t know. They want to release the show in the spring so maybe they could condense the time table, but I don’t know if they’ll be willing.”
“Okay,” Charles says, “that’s one idea. What if it were either have Erik there or have no show. Would they be willing to change their plans, work a little faster?”
“Maybe.” Emma concedes.
“And Erik, love,” Charles says, turning to the man who is standing in the kitchen with his arms hanging by his sides looking wretched and miserable. Charles knows that he’s just starting to realize how much he scared everyone in the room. “What if I come with you?”
“You can’t…” Erik says quietly.
“I might be able to,” Charles says. “I can’t right now. I need to finish out the semester, but I can probably ask to take a sabbatical starting next semester. I can go do some research for my next book, and I can do that in London. I can even go back to Oxford. And with enough good scotch at the holiday party, I’m pretty sure mother can be convinced to pony up a nice donation to the department to cover a visiting instructor or a poet in residence, or something.”
“You would come to London with me?” Erik asks.
“If it mean saving John Bent, yes.” Charles smiles, relieved to feel some of his humor returning. “And Emma, could you negotiate that this is the last series of Bent and get Erik out of his contract?”
“I can probably do that,” Emma says, “but I need more from Erik. He’s obstructive and I really can’t do my job.”
“Okay, Erik. Will you do more of what Emma wants you to do? What do you want from him Emma?”
Emma thinks for a long moment, then answers. “A few promotional events, but it doesn’t have to be as many as we usually do.”
“No Sean,” Erik growls. Emma nods at him. She glances over at Charles with gratitude and Charles thinks there may be no Charles Ono memes after all.
“And,” Emma adds, looking from Erik to Charles, and her gaze lingers on Charles for a moment because she thinks he’s her allie. She’s not wrong, because Charles doesn’t want Erik to get hurt, and that means he has to work with Emma to find a workable solution. Left to his own devices, Erik Lehnsherr is a bit of a ticking time bomb. “I want to manage you officially coming out.”
Charles swallows. Erik glowers.
“Wait,” says Charles, “what do you want from him. Don’t say no until you know what she wants.”
“An article in a reputable magazine. And an interview on the telly. Just one. That’s all. Not even a press conference.”
Erik looks wary, but he nods, “Okay.”
“And Charles by your side,”
“No! I will not have him dragged into this.”
“If you don’t you’ll lose control of the story. People will start digging into his past. If you give the amount of access you feel comfortable with, you can dictate how all of this comes off. Please, Erik, I know what I’m doing.”
“He doesn’t deserve to have his life turned into the same kind circus mine is. He’s some guy I met and liked, he’s Charles, and not Erik Lehnsherr’s boyfriend. I can’t.”
“Erik!” Charles says sharply, “Emma! Can you please let ME make this decision. I would be the one putting myself out there.”
They both turn at the sound of his voice and stare at him. It is his life after all. Shouldn’t he be the one making the call?
“If it’s best for Erik, I’m happy to do an interview.” Charles says, “I think Emma has a good point that I’m more vulnerable if we don’t make some effort to introduce me to the public. The fans will love it. Then once Erik is done with Bent and moved to New York, the scrutiny will die down and neither of us will have to do this kind of thing again. I agree that being transparent is going to be the best strategy.”
“Charles,” Erik gasps, “are you sure?”
Charles moves from standing next to Emma and crosses the room to stand in front of Erik. He takes his hand in his and looks into his eyes.
“One of the reasons you’re in this situation is that I refused to do more than fuck you one night unless you agreed that we wouldn’t hide. I came out to my mother when I was fifteen year old. I wasn’t just youngest person at Oxford, I was the only out queer amongst my colleagues working on their doctorates. I don’t teach Ginsberg without talking about him being queer. I lecture on queer history during Pride even though I’m supposed to be doing Dickens or Austen or something. I have a rainbow flag on the bag I carry to work in case there’s a student in my class who is struggling and needs to feel less alone. It’s who I am. I don’t hide, Erik. I wear it like a badge, and I’m happy to wear you like a badge as well. I am happy to sit next to you and tell the world that I’m in love with you. Because it’s true. I love you, Erik, and I’ll deal with some public scrutiny if it makes things better for you.”
Erik says nothing. He just stares at Charles with a look of indescribable wonder. Moira is back propped against the counter and she proceeds to roll her eyes. Emma shifts behind him, rustling a little. Erik still says nothing.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Lehnsherr,” Emma spits, “blah blah blah, he loves you. Kiss him already.”
Erik jerks at Emma’s voice, pulls Charles into his arms and does just that.
Charles and Erik go to Sharon's holiday party. Raven is back in town. Sharon is practiced in passive aggressive parenting. Erik hasn't just found Charles, he's found a family.
“There are some rules.” Charles says, running his hands down the front of Erik’s tuxedo. Erik looks down at him, his mouth quirking a little. He can tell it’s not going to be one of those Serious Conversations by the twinkle in Charles’ blue eyes.
“Rules.” Erik repeats.
“Yes. I have techniques.”
“You don’t get this. We’re going into battle here. It’s Sharon. It’s a Sharon PARTY. She expects me every year so over time I’ve figured out ways to make it better. Techniques.”
“Okay,” Eriks says, turning to let Charles brush off his back, “what are your techniques?”
“Well, typically, lots of alcohol. It’s a great time to get plastered, because the whole thing becomes even more ridiculous when you’re drunk, but that’s my coping technique for the years I’m not dating someone.”
Erik cocks an eyebrow, enjoying the feel of Charles’ hands, soft and warm, sweeping down his back. This is all terribly domestic.
“But when I’m dating someone, the rules change.”
“Wait, we’re dating?” Erik says, amused. “I didn’t know we were dating.”
Charles blushes a soft pink that always makes him look especially kissable.
“Okay, I admit, this is not the way things usually go. We lived together before you told me you loved me, so it might be strange to say dating considering our circumstances, but I think I can safely say dating for this situation.”
“Sometimes I think there isn’t much about you that isn’t strange, Charles.”
“So, when I’m dating someone,” Charles continues, ignoring Erik’s jibe, “lots of alcohol is actually the second most important thing.”
“What’s the first?” Erik asks, “I need to have a good idea of what’s expected of me.”
“You need to fuck me and suck me off in all kinds of naughty places in the mansion.” Charles says, “It makes the entire night SO much better. I can’t tell you how much better Sharon is when I’m post-coital.”
“More than once?” Erik says, trying to look perturbed and not doing it very well, “I don’t know if I have it in me.”
“I trust that you will reach deep down in your soul and will your cock to life just for me,” Charles says, patting Erik soundly on the shoulder then turning him around to face him again. He steps forward onto his tip toes and places a kiss on Erik’s lips, a fluttering soft touch of familiarity. “If there’s a cock that’s up for the job, it’s yours.”
“I’m not a teenager, Charles.”
“Thank god for that. I’d be arrested.”
“By the way, Emma said to tell you Merry Christmas.”
“Emma can fuck off,” Erik growls.
“I think there needs to be an entire line of greeting cards for you two that captures the vitriol that marks your relationship.” Charles laughs. “Merry Christmas. Fuck you. Happy birthday. Fuck you.”
Erik knows that Emma has decided that Charles is her new best friend because in general Erik rarely starts any conversation without telling her where to stick it, and now that she has someone who can talk sense into Erik, she’s not going to let him go. She even sent them a fucking fruit basket. Charles had bitten into an apple, chewed it then turned to Erik and declared, ‘for the fruits in her life’. It was terrible. Erik remembers how he had once written to Professor Smut that he should be on the Bent writing team. Maybe not.
She’s taken to emailing Charles, which doubly annoys Erik because that means Charles will be sitting on the couch, looking at his phone and suddenly say something like, ‘I’ve suggested to Emma she consider adding ice-blue to her wardrobe choices. It still says Frost but provides a little more variety.’ Their growing friendship perpetually annoys Erik, which he is sure greatly delights his agent.
“She’s looking forward to seeing us in January. Says she wants to take us to dinner.”
“She can go fuck herself.”
Charles smiles up at Erik, “I know that’s Erik-speak for, yes, that will be lovely Charles, I’m looking forward to it and will be on my BEST behavior because the other option is you might withhold sex.”
Erik works up his best glower. Charles is right. He’ll play nice with Emma, but only because Charles wants it, and if Charles wants it, Erik does it. Emma knows this and this irks Erik to no end.
"You like my penis too much to withhold sex."
“True." Charles admits. "So, changing the subject, if you want to charm my mother, ask about her damn dogs. I hate those damn dogs, but she loves them."
“Who says I want to charm anyone,” Erik growls, adjusting his bow tie in the mirror. He was planning to look especially fuckable tonight in hopes of post party sex, but it seems that Charles intends they will be partaking DURING the party, and this thought makes Erik feels hot and bothered.
“For some reason, I think you and Sharon are going to either LOVE each other or want to kill each other. She gives less of a fuck about others than you. OMG. you’re my mother. I’m marrying my mother.”
Erik is confused. He frowns a little.
“Wait, are we getting married?”
Charles looks embarrassed, “Oh, sorry, headcanon.”
“Awesome.” Eriks says dryly, “You’re pretend-marrying me. You’re insane.”
“Insane for you, love.”
The intercom buzzes and it’s Moira and Elizabeth who are accompanying them for moral support.
“Hurry up, assholes, we’re freezing out here and the car is waiting.”
Charles grabs both their coats and hands Erik his.
“And don’t forget, you’re going to meet Raven.”
Raven. The mysterious Raven who has been doing something in Paris. Charles says she’s a budding fashion designer and she’s been doing some apprenticeships in the Paris fashion houses. Moira suggested that she’s a covert CIA operative. Charles says she’s a little eccentric, but from what Erik sees, this whole family might be a little eccentric. He tells Charles this and he responds that the Xaviers have their charms.
Charles adores Raven. It’s clear from the way he talks about her and the fact that he jumps around the (their) apartment when he learns she is indeed moving back to New York for good. This causes Erik a twinge of guilt because they’re heading to London in three weeks and wont be back for a few months. Charles tells Erik not to worry about it. He’s a big boy and he’ll see Raven when they get back at the beginning of summer. Still, Erik hates that the siblings are being separated and it’s his fault.
They step into the elevator and Charles takes one of Erik’s hands in his, studying it for a moment.
“You have such long, lovely fingers,” Charles murmurs, then licks his lips, “I hope you will seriously consider using them to finger me stupid up against the bookshelves in the library tonight.”
Erik swallows hard and he suddenly WANTS Charles to bad that his breath hitches and he wishes they weren’t sharing a limo with Moira and Elizabeth. “Good god, Charles, this might be fun for you, but I’m at your mercy when you say things like that.”
Charles grins, “Good. I like you that way.”
They all pile into the limo that will take them the over an hour drive to Westchester. Moira and Elizabeth are both wearing dresses that are black and sparkly. Charles and Erik look dapper in their tuxedos. Moira grabs a bottle of champagne that has been chilling and waves it at everyone.
“Might as well get started.”
Charles nods eagerly. Erik has discovered that Charles is actually not much of a drinker. He usually confines most of his imbibing to Friday Night Cocktail Hour, at which Erik has become a regular attendee, although he ever EVER does anything but sit across the room and watch Charles and Moira banter, and duck the inevitable cushion that will fly across the room. Charles must really hate his mother if he’s intending to start drinking now.
Erik puts his hand up when Moira offers him a glass. He’ll wait for the good scotch Charles promised will be plentiful. He grips Charles hand, trying to tell him without words that he knows this isn’t easy for him and Erik is there for him. All night. However he needs him.
Moira and Elizabeth are quite tipsy by the time they pull up to the mansion, giggling at each other, and Erik is openly glaring. This causes Moira to again push a finger into his chest and inform him he’s a certified curmudgeon. She says it with love. They pile out of the back of the limo, the cold air sharp and stinging, and the Xavier mansion is lit brilliantly, it’s windows afire with light, the entrance hung with garlands of cedar. There is a fresh dusting of snow on the ground and the entire world is white and sparkling, and the whole picture is very warm and cozy. It’s hard to believe this is where Charles grew up, a house he has described as cold and unfriendly, with Sharon only caring that her kids make her look good and his now-deceased stepfather being unusually cruel to him and Raven.
“This is nice,” Erik says. Charles’ mouth twists a little.
“It’s stunning the first time you see it. For me, it’s just the home I grew up in.” He says, sounding a little sad, like someone who doesn’t really know what home means. Erik thinks there and then that he will do everything in his power to change that. He will make Charles a home that doesn’t bring sadness to his eyes, a home with warmth and love and joy. The sound of big band music drifts out across the expansive lawn and Charles comments that it’s good that mother didn’t go for the chamber quartet again this year. Moira grins and declares excitedly, 'Dancing!' Charles loops his arm through Erik’s and they walk up to the door.
Just as they reach the front door, it swings open and someone comes running out, hair flying behind her, screaming Charles’ name. Charles releases Erik’s arm because all of the sudden he has an armful of Raven Darkholme, who has actually leapt on Charles full-force and is wrapping her legs around his waist as she hugs him.
“Brother!” she exclaims. “I’ve missed you!”
Raven drops her feet to the ground and Charles is grinning wildly as he places a kiss on her cheek.
“Raven,” Charles sighs. “I can’t believe you’re finally home. It’s been a year.”
“An amazing year,” Raven says, “but I’m back now.”
She is very unlike Charles. Her hair is long and dyed deep black and while Charles’ eyes take up a good portion of his face and sometimes almost glow blue, hers are deep brown. Where he is almost slight, she is curvy and they are almost the same height due to Raven’s heels. But they both have the same way of tilting their heads, the same ebullience and the same tinge of sadness in their eyes.
“And this is Erik,” Raven says smoothly, smiling warmly, extending a hand, and Erik is slightly grateful that he is not also subjected to a full-body hug. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Likewise,” Erik says, gripping her hand strongly.
Raven then throws her arms around Moira, followed by Elizabeth, then looks at the whole group and says, “Let’s get this over with. The bar is open and flowing.”
“Let’s grab a table together,” Moira says, “of course, not that we’ll spend much time at it. There's dancing this year and we all know what happens when Charles brings a date.”
We all. They all know what happens? Erik actually manages to blush.
“Sorry, love,” Charles apologizes, glancing over at Erik, noting his embarrassment. “I might have some poor boundaries at times. I think I may have forced Moira to do some brainstorming on different spots for illicit sex the year I was dating that asshole Scott.”
“Scott?” Erik almost growls. Charles shakes his head dismissively as Erik bristles.
“No worries, my love. He was nothing compared to you. I was never tempted to headcanon-marry him. Not once. And he wasn’t actually that great of a fuck. It didn’t last long.”
“Insane.” Erik mutters. “You are fucking insane.”
It doesn’t take long once they enter the ballroom for Sharon Xavier to come sweeping over to them, trilling out Charles and Raven’s name, draping her arms around their shoulders and kissing them each on the cheek. Erik watches as Charles winces a little.
“My darlings,” Sharon chirps, “I am so glad to see you. A mother always misses her children, especially when they don’t call very often.”
Erik watches Charles roll his eyes.
“Hello mother,” Charles says, turning his face to kiss her back on the cheek.
“Moira,” Sharon says, sounding a little curt, “and I see Elizabeth is still around.”
“Nice to see you again Sharon,” Moira says smoothly.
“And Raven, darling, home from doing your drawings in Paris. Is your dress one of your creations? Maybe a work in progress?”
“Hello mother,” Raven says, looking like she’d like to run back to Paris right now.
“And who is this,” Sharon murmurs, her eyes settling on Erik.
“Erik Lehnsherr.” Erik says, extending his hand, and it stays there, hovering in the air as Sharon contemplates him. Sharon manages to look blank for a moment then her eyes widen a little. This woman is good.
“Oh yes. You’re the actor who is dating my son. My assistant showed me some pictures in the papers. Dreadful how those pictures get into the papers, grabbing pictures of one little impropriety and spreading it all over." She finally takes his hand and her grip is strong. Erik hates her. He bites his tongue and hold back the ‘fuck you’ that’s about to emerge from his lips just as Charles squeezes his hand hard and whispers under his breath, ‘dogs’.
“How are your corgis?” Erik asks, and Sharon releases his hand and her face lights up. The next twenty minutes are spent discussing grooming, the challenge of dog shows, and how sometimes the dogs, like her children, just don’t listen. Erik manages to look polite the entire time and Moira and Elizabeth excuse themselves and head towards the bar. It’s a Very Sharon Christmas. When it looks like there might be a break in the conversation, a chance for Erik to escape, he takes Sharon’s hand in his, leans down and kisses the its back.
“It’s been so nice to meet you, Mrs. Xavier,” he says smoothly, and with no trace of mirth in his voice, adds, “Charles tells me that you have quite an extensive collection in your library and I thought I’d ask him to show it to me.”
Behind him, Charles chokes on the drink Moira just returned from the bar carrying and has shoved into his hand. Sharon practically shines as Erik bends and kisses the back of her hand.
“Oh yes, Charles. Erik should see our collection,” Sharon says, sounding a little discombobulated because she’s been attacked by the rarely seen Lehnsherr charm, then she smiles at Erik and sweeps away, calling the name of some senator as she crosses the room. Charles is immediately by Erik’s side, linking his arm through his.
“You are wicked,” Charles says.
“Your mother said you should show me that library,” Erik responds, grinning wolfishly. “I’m looking forward to it.”
From that point on, the term ‘show me the library’ takes on a whole new meaning for Charles and Erik, because Erik ends up on his knees, his hand frantically working his own cock as he sucks off Charles, both of them being very careful not to make too much of a mess. When they neaten themselves up and return to the party, Erik tells Charles that he’s right. Everything about this party is better post-coital. And with scotch.
The evening winds on and despite the fact that Charles’ mother is crazy and not motherly at all, and this fact makes Erik ache for the man he loves so much and makes him admire him that much more, he’s having a great time. That Charles can be as incredible as he is and have survived his childhood is a testament to the strength that lies beneath all of Charles’ humor and goofiness. Erik keeps thinking this and looking over at Charles, until Charles blushes profusely and waves him away. Moira is amusing and Elizabeth is her perfect foil, a little stoic and possessing a dry sense of humor. Raven spends her time hovering around Charles, touching him, hugging him, and Erik watches Charles lean into her touch, like he’s missed her physical presence, and he can see the love between them. Charles has told him that for the longest time it’s just been him and his sister, and that if it weren’t for her he’d be an entirely different person. They are having such a good time that Charles forgets that he had intended for Erik to fuck him more than once, and they both forget to sneak away, remaining at the table and enjoying the company.
At some point in the evening, before they all pile back into the limo and make their way back to the city, Erik thinks that Emma is right. He actually has friends. These are warm, loving people who have clung to each other through good times and bad, and now he’s part of them. He sees why Charles was unwilling to leave them and move away. Erik feels happy. He didn’t just find Charles. He found a sort of family.
He tells Charles this when they tumble in bed, kissing slowly and lazily, scotch buzzing through both their veins, and Erik knows that there’s a good chance they will both fall asleep before they managed to get to the point of fucking each other, and that’s okay, because despite the background hum of his arousal, Erik feels heavy with exhaustion and deeply content.
“I’m so glad you like them,” Charles says between kisses, “It’s important to me.”
“And I’ve officially survived my first Sharon Xavier Holiday party, complete with illicit sex, grand humor and excellent scotch.”
“It was best one I’ve been to yet,” Charles murmurs, tucking his head into Erik’s shoulder and sighing heavily, “You pretty much make everything better.”
“As do you, Charles.” Erik says, his eyes fluttering shut, feeling happy, “as do you.”
Poetry. Sex. Marriage. Fame. Love. Fanfic.
and I am DONE.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading and loving fanfic and slash. Thank you for those who write so *I* can read. I need to give the plot bunnies a little rest. Sleep, plot bunnies sleep. xoxo
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"You're ready for this?" Erik asks, his face solemn and etched with concern. He reaches over and takes hold of Charles hand, squeezing it reassuringly. They are sitting in the green room at the BBC, waiting for the interviewer to be ready and the signal that they can head into the the studio.
“Yes,” Charles nods.
"And you know Emma's talking points."
"All of them?"
"Every single one."
"Charles...." Erik says, his voice sounding wary, "you are being entirely too agreeable. You're up to something."
"Me? Up to something? Not at all." Charles says innocently. "Really, Erik, what would I be up to?"
Erik frowns, a furrow between his eyes that Charles finds rather adoreable.
They’ve been in London a month. Charles has made Erik’s flat home in no time, taking over one end of the dining room table with his research, filling one of the drawers of the dresser with his cardigans. When Erik looks at them with amusement, Charles huffs a bit and informs him that sometimes he gets cold. Erik has been busy at the studio, filming Bent and regaling Charles with tales of how much it annoys Sean that he keeps having John Bent make what Erik calls, ‘googly eyes’ at Watson.
“I can’t really help it. It’s like I never really understood my character fully until I ready your writing,” Erik says one night as they’re eating dinner together. “I mean, you’re right. He really is in love with Watson. It’s so obvious. I can’t play it any other way now, even if I tried. I just wish Sean would stop storming into my dressing room weekly and yelling at me about it. He’s such an asshole.”
This makes Charles almost glow.
Life in London is a bit different than New York. The press is more present and more intrusive, but Charles takes it all in stride. It’s not like he and Erik go out much anyways, but when they do, he just snuggles into Erik’s side and ignores the cameras, and the world slowly but surely falls in love with Erik Lehnsherr’s totally normal, boring English professor boyfriend, who doesn’t give the paparazzi a second glance as he heads to the archives to do his boring research or when he grips Erik’s hand as they go for their boring walk through Erik’s neighborhood.
“It will fade,” Erik says, looking annoyed at a group of photographers one evening as they’re walking down the street in the fading light of day, both of them wrapped up in wool coats and scarves.
“Oh, I know,” Charles answers, “It’s just part of being here with you, and you’re the flavor of the moment, and I’m a curiosity. I’m sure someone more famous than you will do something utterly ridiculous soon, and there are only so many pictures of us being utterly boring that a person can take.”
This reminds him of Moira and her boring Friday night dates, and a feeling of terrible homesickness wells up. Charles hates that he can be so blissfully happy and still so sad at times. He looks up at Erik with sad, soft eyes. Erik smiles and pulls Charles closer, not saying a word, but radiating gratitude for how tolerant Charles is of the circus, and for him being in London.
Still, London isn’t New York, and Charles misses Friday Night Cocktail Hour, and teaching and even Sharon nagging him about visiting Westchester, so he immerses himself into his research and spends time writing more Bent fanfic and talking to his fangirl friends. It’s strange because they are all aflutter over Erik Lehnsherr’s new boyfriend, and Charles hopes he isn’t oddly quiet about the whole thing. He has this strange fear of being found out, and he doesn’t know why. He’s willing to take on the world for Erik, to deal with the paparazzi, to make his private life a little bit public, but when it comes to fanfic, he almost cringes at the thought of people finding out.
Charles tells Erik this.
“Why?” asks Erik a few nights before Emma has scheduled them for the one television interview Erik agreed to. They are sitting in Erik’s very modern living room with London lit up below them. It’s one of those nights when filming has gone late and Charles has been waiting at home, feeling lonely and at loose ends. Erik grabbed takeout from his favorite Chinese place on his way home and they are now stretched out companionably on the couch eating directly from the paper cartons.
“It just seems so silly, writing stories about other peoples characters.” Charles shrugs as he grabs the carton of sweet and sour chicken off the glass topped coffee table and digs into it with chop sticks. “I mean, I teach the literary greats, the writers who impacted our society in so many ways, and I write about television and characters I didn’t even create…”
“But your writing is brilliant. It’s concise and interesting, it has a good pace and the way you bring John Bent to life...seriously brilliant. It’s what made me notice you immediately.”
“Really?” Charles asks. Erik nods, then tells Charles how he found his writing in the first place. how Emma thought it was all a joke but Erik realized it wasn’t at all. It was serious writing being done by people who are passionate about the craft, good and bad.
“You actually opened my eyes in a big way,” Erik tells him. “You’re why my quote from ComiCon has been reblogged about 45 thousand times on Tumblr."
“You follow that?” Charles asks, thinking about ‘Bendover Bent’ and how this all started. .
“I’m proud of it,” Erik answers, “And that was YOU. If I’d never met you, never gone online to see more of what Emma was talking about, never lost control and did the stupidest thing on earth of messaging you, I would have never been able to understand what you were asking me that day. I would have looked as stupid as Sean. You saved me from that fate."
Charles feels his emotions swell. He sometimes feels that the world has no idea how important this stuff can be for people who write fanfic and put it out there for others to read. And here Erik is telling him that fanfic changed him. It’s easy to dismiss his own writing, to say it doesn’t count, but Erik is looking at him, his face serious, telling him that it does.
“I love you,” Charles says, grabbing a green onion pancake. “And I think you deserve to be thoroughly fucked tonight for being the most amazing boyfriend in the entire world.”
Erik smiles from behind chopsticks full of hand shaved chow mein noodles.
“Clearly I should complement your fanfic more often.”
Later, when Charles is lying next to Erik feeling deliciously blissed out, mind, body and soul, he can't stop thinking about what Erik said, about how proud he'd looked when talking about Charles' writing. An idea starts to germinate, to stretch tendrils into Charles' brain and take root, and from that, a plan.
The day before the interview Emma stalks into the flat, tells Erik to fuck off and kisses Charles warmly on the cheek, calling him 'love', causing Erik to bristle. Emma has been spectacular in handling Erik’s coming out. Even Erik has to admit this, although he never fails to add that he still hates her and her doing her job isn't really that impressive.
"We just need to go over a few things. It's your first time being interviewed, Charles. These things can go south if you're not prepared."
The tabloids have been abuzz with leaked info about the interview and a few nights ago Erik had come home and dropped one of them on the table for Charles to see. He had looked up from his laptop and stopped transcribing the notes he’d made earlier that day while researching at the library. Charles glanced at the headline. It was a picture of him and Erik, taken over the weekend when they'd rolled out if bed and decided to be incredibly scandalous by going out for coffee. Across the top of the picture are the words 'Bent is Bent." Charles chuckled a little and Erik looked perturbed.
"I knew this was coming," Erik had grumbled.
"It's rather clever,"
"I'm not John Bent!"
"I know, honey." Charles had said, attempting to sound reassuring and not laugh at the same time. "At least it doesn't say 'Erik Lehnsherr takes his sexy bed head from fucking his boyfriend twice last night out to coffee.' Now THAT would be out of line."
This earns him a full blown Erik Lehnsherr glare.
Tomorrow they will give the world what they want: an intimate glance into their relationship. Emma sets her briefcase down and pulls out her laptop, placing it the dining room table. Charles pulls out a chair across from her and settles into it, resting his forearms on the arm rests. Erik comes to stand behind him, a hand softly caressing Charles' shoulder. Charles glances up at Erik and smiles. Emma heaves a sigh.
"For being such a grumpy pain in my ass," she says, opening the laptop, "you are annoyingly charming Lehnsherr. The world is going to eat you two up."
"You know my feelings about this, Emma," Erik snaps. "I don't care about the world."
Erik doesn’t seem to be fully himself unless he’s actively insulting Emma. She glances at Charles who offers her his best sympathetic look. It’s so VERY hard to deal with Erik. Poor baby. Why don’t you leave and I promise I will punish him. Thoroughly.
Emma pulls out some sheets of paper and hands one each to both men.
“Talking points.” she says, looking at her laptop screen. Charles scans down the list. “And Sean wants to confirm for about the one hundredth time that he won’t be dragged into this. No surprises.”
Erik growls. Charles puts a hand on his arm and tells Emma that it won’t be a problem.
“You’re going to be asked to give some personal information so you might have some innocuous anecdote ready to share. Something harmless, like who hogs the bed...no, we don’t want people thinking about the fact that you’re having sex.”
“Lots of sex,” Charles chirps.
“Loads,” Erik says.
“Not funny.” Emma snaps, like she’s chastising naughty children. “Isn’t there some marginally cute story about you two? Hasn’t Erik done something unspeakably romantic?”
Charles wants to laugh. Erik is not one of those people who expresses themselves in some cheesy romantic manner. The most amazing thing he’s done has been offering himself, heart and soul, to Charles, and Charles isn’t going share something like that on national television.
“He quit Bent for me,” Charles offers, “that’s pretty amazing.”
“NO!” Emma says. “That is never going to be discussed in public. NEVER.”
“Well,” Charles says, “he did come out for me.”
“I didn’t actually come out, I just stopped omitting the truth,” Erik mutters.
Charles glances up at Erik, who is looking rather annoyed. “Still, love, you did it for me. You didn’t have to and you did. That’s way better than roses or chocolates in my book.”
“Good,” Emma says, “that’s good.”
“well, if you didn’t have such an amazing ass...” Erik says,
“BAD!” Emma says, giving Erik a look. “Take this seriously Lehnsherr.”
They go through more of the details. What to say about Charles career. What he’ll say about being part of the Xavier family. How this affects the TV show. Is John Bent gay. Charles watches as Erik stops pulling Emma’s chain and shifts into professional mode. They come up with the Charles and Erik that the world will get to meet the next night. Erik is a talented actor. Charles is an accomplished academic. They spend their time together taking walks, reading books. Charles is taking a sabbatical to work his next book. Yes, this is indeed the last season of Bent. They’ll return to New York when Erik is done.
There are only a couple more things to touch on.
“So, what about how you met,” Emma mutters, typing something on her laptop. She looks up at them. “Wait, I don’t even know how you met. Erik just showed up dragging you across the hotel lobby, like some sort of wide-eyed stray.”
Charles flushes, remembering how he’d stood so close to Erik and how much he’d wanted him.
Emma looks over the laptop, first at Erik, then at Charles.
“Online.” Erik blurts out.
“Seriously?” Emma asks, “how in the world did that happen?”
“Erik was my biggest fan.” Charles says.
“It’s not my fault. Charles is brilliant.” Erik says.
“What are you two talking about?”
“Well,” Charles says slowly, “I kind of write stories. Fanfic. Bent fanfic.”
Emma’s eyes widen. She looks to Erik and then back to Charles. “Oh. My. God!”
“It’s really your fault, Emma.” Erik says, “remember when you showed me that fan art of Bent and Watson? I was curious and checked out some stuff online, and that’s when I found Charles and his writing.”
“BentSon.” Charles says, grinning. “they’re canon. Seriously, it HAS to happen.”
Emma stares at him, “I don’t even know what language you’re speaking, Xavier. You’re a fucking fanfic freak. I think we should keep that on the down-low, that you write those crazy stories.”
Charles tries not to feel too offended. Emma is on the other side of the wall that sits between the fans and the creators. She doesn’t understand. It’s clear that Emma doesn’t just need a good fuck, she needs to get herself a good ship too. Erik doesn’t try not to be offended because he hand tightens on Charles’ shoulder.
“He’s quite good, Emma,” Erik says, “I don’t think you’re being fair.”
“Just say you want to keep some things personal. That should work,” Emma mutters, ignoring Erik. “And one more thing.”
“Marriage. They’ll ask you about getting married. It’s legal here, it’s legal in New York.”
“Charles has already headcanon married me,” Erik almost purrs, “that’s probably not the answer I should give.”
“Again, I have NO idea what you’re saying.”
“We haven’t even talked about marriage,” Charles says, “I don’t know if either of us want to have that conversation right now in order to have something to tell a random interviewer.”
“Except that I would marry you, if you want.” Erik says nonchalantly. “it doesn’t just have to be headcanon.”
Charles blinks. He twists around to look up at Erik, who is looking down at him and smiling softly.
“Really?” He asks. Erik nods. “REALLY?”
“Really. Erik says, and Charles is entirely overwhelmed. “I mean, it will take time. We both have a lot of complicated legal issues to consider, and you’d probably want a prenup. There’s planning that would need to be done, but I’ve been thinking maybe next summer, in New York, and Emma can be my best man….”
Emma is looking at Erik like she’d like to tell him to fuck off, but she can’t find the words. At the same time Erik stops speaking because Charles has leapt up from his chair and is now throwing himself into Erik’s arms and kissing him.
“Well,” Emma says dryly, watching them, “that answers that question. Engaged. Check. That leads to another question though. You’ve known each other just months. Are you sure you don’t want to take more time, now for sure that this is the right thing?”
Erik stops kissing Charles long enough to look at Emma and give her a curt, ‘no’, and Charles grants her a humongous smile.
“Emma, darling, maybe someday you’ll get to experience this yourself, but when you know that someone is for you, you just know. There’s really no reason to wait.”
No reason at all.
“Now, love,’ says Charles, his voice unsteady because Erik is sucking his way down his neck, “this meeting is done. My boyfriend just proposed to me and I must answer him appropriately, for a very very long time. I intend to fuck his brains out, so you might want to go.”
Emma hurumphs a little and huff as she shuts her laptop, and Charles ignores her as he kisses Erik again and again until Erik lets out a guttural moan and hissed for Emma to get the FUCK out. So she does, telling them she’ll see them at the studio tomorrow.
“So, we’re getting married,” Charles says, his arms going around Erik’s waist. Erik doesn’t answer because he’s busying himself by pulling Charles’ shirt out of his pants with one hand while the other pushes Charles’ cardigan off his shoulder, and he’s muttering something about there being too many clothes to deal with. His big square hands skim under the cool cotton of Charles’ button up and go to find his nipples, causing a sharp intake of breath followed by quite a bit of profanity. There is a good chance they won’t make it to bedroom this time. Charles likes the bedroom. He also likes the floor or the couch. He basically likes Erik any way he can get him.
“Yes, we’re getting married,” Erik grunts, “and seriously, you’re wearing way too many clothes Charles. Way too many.”
Charles understand this is a plea for assistance, so as Erik’s fingers fumble with the buttons on his shirt, he goes to undo his pants the hooks his fingers in the waistband and pulls them down. He’s aroused and hard, so he presses himself against Erik, who is hard too and moans at the contact. Charles starts to move against Erik, ignoring the rough drag of his pants on Charles’ cock because it feels so good. Erik shifts a little, he pushes Charles back and mutters, “pants off,” Charles obliges, because why wouldn’t he, leaning back, chest heaving, hooded eyes looking down as he undoes Erik’s pants, pulls them down along with his underwear and watches as Erik’s cock bobs up, free at last. He looks back to Erik’s face, and the other man is licking his lips.
Charles takes a hand and places it on Erik’s chest that still has one of those ridiculously delicious v-neck shirts he’s so fond of. He pushes the larger back back towards one of the dining room chairs and tells him to sit. Erik obeys, watching Charles, smiling the entire time.
“I like it when you’re a little bossy,” Erik pants.
“Well, if you like it so much, don’t move. I’ll be right back.”
When Charles returns to the living room with the bottle of lube in his hand, he is greeted by Erik still sprawled out in the dining room chair, thighs splayed open, chest flushed, hair mussed and cock hard. He looks entirely debauched and so very ready for Charles. It’s one of the most lovely scenes he’s ever come upon, so Charles decides that despite the fact he wants to leap on Erik and devour him, every tasty little morsel of him, he just stands in the doorway and looks at him. Just looks, taking in every detail, memorizing this moment.
He’s going to marry this man.
“Cruel, Charles,” Erik pants, “so very cruel.”
This spurs Charles to action and he returns to where Erik is sitting then straddles himself over one of Erik’s muscular thighs, leans himself over until he and Erik’s chests are pressed together, Charles bare chest against the fabric of Erik’s t-shirt. Charles touches his lips to Erik’s, softly at first, then more persistently, until Erik opens up beneath them, and at the same time he thrust his hips forward, sliding his lubed-up cock against Erik’s and begins to rut up against him in a somewhat impolite manner.
Charles cannot find the words the describe how he feels about the journey that has brought him to this moment. He cannot adequately describe the intense feeling of fate that courses through his bones whenever he sees Erik. It’s some strange combination of planets colliding and an unusual alignment of stars that caused the events that ended up with them here, with the two of them pressed together, moaning almost in time, mouths crushing together, never getting enough.
Charles CAN find the words of the poets and writers, so he uses those words, whispering poetry across Erik’s lips, his clavicle, the curve of his shoulder. He cannot find the words to express the deep and abiding love he feels, so he allows Lawrence, Cummings and Ginsberg to speak for him.
And down his mouth comes to my mouth! and down
His bright dark eyes come over me, like a hood
Upon my mind! his lips meet mine, and a flood
Of sweet fire sweeps across me, so I drown
Against him, die, and find death good.
...Erik arches back, pushing against Charles, whimpering for more. His hands come around to skim down Charles’ back, ending at the rise of his buttocks and he proceeds to squeeze Charles’ ass, taking great, greedy handfuls, his fingers digging into the cleft, skimming across his anus and making Charles gasp and want and he briefly loses his rhythm...
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones,and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
….Charles keeps sliding his cock against Erik, the friction almost driving him mad. His mouth finds the column of his neck exposed as Erik’s head falls back and Charles licks and kisses his way along its edges, making Erik gasp with every sweep of his tongue...
The warm bodies
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--
Sweat drips down Charles forehead, splashing down onto Erik, who doesn’t notice, because he is starting to sob a series of words that sound mostly like ‘please’ and ‘love’ and ‘Charles’, writhing and bucking under Charles who can no longer keep up the rhythm and starts to feel almost wild with pleasure and joy, everything in the universe condensed down to the point of sensation that lock the two men to together. The unraveling starts, building from his center, spreading out until he arches his back and everything tightness and Charles comes, Erik’s name on his lips, tears mixed with sweat, Erik clutching Charles as he’s borne away on his own orgasm, following Charles into the abyss.
They cling together, shaking, wordless.
“I do love you,” Charles whispers, collapsing against Erik, heavy and spent, and for a long moment neither of them move, neither of them even breaths. This is heaven. This is bliss. This is love.
They somehow do manage to untangle from each other and make their way to the bedroom, drugged and languid and intensely happy. Charles can’t stand for Erik not to be touching him, and his hands can’t stop wandering across his skin, his foot strokes Erik’s strong calf, his lips drop soft, tired kisses wherever they happen to land, until they both drift off to sleep.
The next day, as they sit waiting for the interview, Erik’s hand on Charles knees, Charles feeling like he can still feel the imprint of Erik’s lips all over his body, Charles thinks about the idea that Erik had planted weeks ago, about the plan that’s been rattling around his head, and he knows what he wants to do. He reaches over and takes Erik’s hand in his and squeezes it.
“Seriously, Charles. WHAT are you up to?”
“I just love you,” Charles says, gazing at Erik adoringly, and he’s won’t to do. “That’s what I’m up to.”
They hear an ‘ahem’ and both their heads swivel to find a young woman with a clipboard cradled in on arm, looking at them with what can only be described as a ‘schmoopy’ look on her face. Erik frowns a little and Charles feels him tense up. This much scrutiny is hard for him.
“They’re ready for you.” she stammers.
Erik gives Charles a wan smile. “It’s time,” he says, and they both stand up and follow the girl down a long hallway towards the studio.
The interview goes exactly as they had practiced. Erik, for all of his grump and bluster, is amazingly charming, and Charles is reminded again what a good actor he is. Charles just leans in towards Erik, letting him be his strength and uses his best Professor X voice, and he finds himself relaxing, laughing a little and actually enjoying the moment. All in all, it’s splendid and Emma will be proud.
Then the question that Charles has been expecting arrives.
“So,” the interviewer says, a practiced smile that seems almost shark-like plastered on her face, “how did you two meet?”
“Well,” Erik starts, ready to beg off under the guise of privacy, but Charles takes his hand and places it on Erik’s knee, then turns to him with a smile and says, “darling, let me answer this. It’s a funny story.”
Erik blinks. If there hadn’t been TV cameras all around them, Charles thinks Erik would have yelled ‘nooooo…’ and dive-tacked Charles to the floor, but instead he just hardens his eyes and his mouth twitches a little. Yes, an excellent actor.
“Well, I have a hobby that I’m quite fond of and Erik discovered me through this hobby.” Charles says matter-of-factly.
“Hobby?” the interviewer says, sounding a bit blank. Erik’s hand squeezes harder on Charles knee. Charles ignores him.
“Yes. You see, I write something called fanfiction. It’s a term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator” Thank you wikipedia. “And the series I happen to write for is Bent.”
“Bent?” The interviewer says, and it seems her technique has been reduced to repeating the last word Charles says every time.
“Erik liked what I wrote and he messaged me and we hit it off.”
“Oh.” the woman says, her smile still in place despite the utter panic in her eyes.
“It’s an amazing thing, fanfic. It’s a tribute to the work that people like Erik do. It deserves recognition in it’s own right, and Erik recognized this, which is why he spoke so eloquently about fandom and fanfic at ComiCon in New York. That was the first time I saw him in person, and that was the moment I fell in love with him.”
Erik has been silent the entire time, but now he says something, his voice almost cracking as he seemingly forgets that this is all part of a carefully crafted show.
“Really? You loved me then? Even back then?”
Charles turns to him and finds Erik’s ice blue eyes searching his.
“Absolutely.” Charles says, not caring that the entire world is seeing this moment. He’s finally completely done hiding.
He loves Erik Lehnsherr.
He writes fanfic.
He’s Professor Smut.