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A Delicate Fire

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The meeting has made it past the halfway mark when Charlotte feels her stocking retract along her thigh. She shifts to trap it and fails, and it slithers down her leg, ticklish and annoying. A garter clip must have broken, but this set's nearly new; Charlotte wears skirts as rarely as she can manage, so perhaps she failed to notice it was defective. At any rate, the broken stocking is distracting, and it's not as if Charlotte doesn't already know every word of Moira's report concerning the mutants they've found with Hank's machine and their plans to find more, when they rehearsed it together and Charlotte provided the bulk of the information.

So she stands, making her apologies, and barely anyone even notices as she slips from the briefing room. Everyone, that is, except Moira, who worries that Charlotte feels unwell, with a kind thought towards her stash of analgesics, and Erik, who follows her movement with hot eyes and a frank flash of warm desire. It takes more self-control than it should to wait for the door to close behind her before Charlotte replies by sending him the sense of her smile, but she's permitted a little giddiness, she thinks as she hurries down the hall. Almost overnight she's discovered proof of her hypotheses, fellow mutants in the flesh and the means to find more all across the country, and allies strong enough to help them unite for good.

And if she's honest with herself, she considers, smiling at the lavatory door as she pushes it open, she has reason enough for elation in having found Erik, who cannot be summed up in any one word, though she's beginning to dare hope one particular one might fit.

However, there's the stocking to attend to. It turns out to be surprisingly pristine, all the clips functional after all; Charlotte snaps them experimentally a few times before finally pulling her stocking up again, and as her fingers slide up her leg she briefly imagines longer, broader fingers in their place, pressing firmly from a different angle.

Charlotte shakes her head at herself, dispelling the fantasy. Tonight, she reminds herself, after dinner and her evening check-in with Raven, after the facility has settled to quiet. Tonight, if Erik --

She senses him, just outside the door. Charlotte pushes it open, tilting her head as she takes him in leaning against the wall, arms folded across his broad chest, smile unfurled across his face. He doesn't look as if he's merely come to check on her, but she says, "I'm fine, actually," just in case.

"And I owe you a small apology." Erik waves her forward with an elegantly tilted hand, and as she steps through the bathroom doorway he turns towards the stairwell rather than back to the meeting. Curious, Charlotte walks up beside him, and as he reaches past her head to open the stairwell door, something tugs free from her hair, which promptly pours down over her shoulders. Charlotte opens her mouth at that, but her objection dies on her tongue when she sees what Erik has done to her hairpin.

He's woven it into an intricate, lacy flower, which settles glittering onto her palm just as her stocking gives way again. "Oh!" Charlotte exclaims, glancing down at her leg as the stocking pools around her ankle. "I could swear --"

"I couldn't resist," Erik rumbles, soft and deep, as his mind flares brightly beside hers, lighting up with heat and sweet lust that stops her in her tracks; staring blankly at the wall ahead of them, she has to fight herself not to turn and climb him like a tree. "Your pins, your clips, warmed by your body -- that meeting was interminable, and I couldn't resist playing with them."

Charlotte laughs. She should have known. "My poor garter belt," she says instead of everything else she could, and starts to turn.

Erik's hand lands on the small of her back, long and broad, and he gently propels her forward a step, another. "Let me assist you?" he murmurs warmly into her hair; Charlotte glances around the stairwell, dim and deserted, and nods, extending her awareness. She can probably keep anyone from coming down these stairs for a few minutes, if necessary. She hopes.

Then Erik kneels, and her breath catches as she glances over her shoulder, having to toss her head to swing her hair out of the way. "What are --!" Erik's hands cradle her calf, his touch warm and reverent as he bends, sliding the stocking down and kissing her ankle just above her shoe, and Charlotte trembles and has to shift her stance wider to keep her balance.

As she does, the other stocking slides down too, and Charlotte can't help laughing even as she points out, "This is a public stairwell, Erik, our rooms are just upstairs..."

He doesn't answer in words, but in his warm hands sliding up her leg, his heated mouth following with soft kisses, his amused conviction that she can keep them hidden, his thoughts beneath flickering with don't care and can't wait and life is short, you make it sweet. His hands reach her hips, his mouth behind her knee, and Charlotte only realizes she's gasping when Erik stills, leaning his forehead behind her thigh, and murmurs, "Charlotte?"

Charlotte quivers, and her first try at a response results in a whimper. She feels like fire's running under her skin, she can feel Erik aching with desire, she barely catches an agent at the door above and struggles to surreptitiously turn him towards the windowed hallway and the other stairwell instead. "Yes," she whispers as Erik's breath curls warmly around her thigh, "Erik, yes."

She can feel Erik smile, a pulse of gladness sharp enough to cut, and he slides his hands up over her bottom, slowly enough to make her keenly aware of every rounded inch. His poetic thoughts of opulent and lush and exquisite make her blush and wobble, and she plants her hands on the wall, the blossom-shaped clip pressing into her palm. Erik caresses inwards, his hands on Charlotte's inner thighs gently widening her stance a little more, and then upwards, crumpling her skirt and slip up around her waist, baring her bottom to the cool air and his eager eyes.

Charlotte blushes harder, cheeks achingly hot and ears burning as Erik's hands push under her garter belt to close on her hips; she knows what he's going to do, intent pours off him in waves, but the long line of his nose denting her bottom makes her shiver, his tender mouth kissing between her legs makes her gasp so loudly it echoes up and down the stairs, his tongue boldly parting her pushes a groan up from her belly as her head fall forwards. "Oh, God," Charlotte moans, forehead against the wall, and downstairs poor little Hank hears a muffled echo behind the stairwell door he just passed. Shivering under the wet thrust of Erik's tongue and the press of his long fingers into her skin, Charlotte desperately pulls up Hank's thoughts of Raven all golden and pink -- so near the surface, so easy to do -- and gives him the idea to take a break to the nearby restroom.

This is a public stairwell, Charlotte reminds herself, reminds Erik, but he just laughs in her mind and tugs her back onto his face, licking her with deliberate lasciviousness, savoring every mouthful of her. He presses closer, her leg bending over his broad shoulder, and Charlotte lets loose a little shriek and wobbles perilously, her voice tumbling through a ridiculous self-directed giggle and into a rising moan as Erik teases her with the flickering tip of his tongue. She claws at the smooth blank wall, beating her fist on it, her skin prickling inside her clothes and everything within her melting towards the heat of Erik's mouth, and when he rolls her on his tongue she has to bite her lip sharply against a scream.

As if Erik would be denied. Feel me, he thinks at her, knowing she'll hear him. Feel what you do to me, how you intoxicate me. She can, she does, she can taste her own warm musk on his tongue, feel the tender slick contours of her flesh against his lips, the turgid ache of his arousal and the giddy whirl in his head. Charlotte sobs into that scream Erik's wanted to hear as he sucks steadily at her, drawing glories out of her inch by streaming inch.

Cheek pressed to the wall, shuddering with pleasure, Charlotte desperately gropes for every mind in earshot, every mind in the facility, thinking, don't hear us, don't hear this, don't come down these stairs. To Erik she thinks, you magnificent wonderful bastard, and he chuckles richly into her, vibrations rippling up through her as he gulps a heated breath and keeps going. Charlotte's knees quiver, her nipples tingle inside her bra, and she bites her own fist as Erik's fingers bite warmly into her hips, as his mouth caresses her demandingly, his tongue flexing into her again and again until she pulses into another orgasm, crying out, "Erik, Erik."

Charlotte, he thinks, mental voice rich and echoing, Charlotte, I need -- and she sees in his mind his simultaneous desires, how he wants to hold her up and lick her until he comes from the sheer delight of bringing her pleasure -- I want -- how he aches to hilt himself inside her and clutch her to him -- I'm sorry --

Yes, Charlotte thinks as she gasps, "No," I want that, "It's all right, it's better--" I want you-- "Fuck me." He shudders all over, and she sees him picturing her pink mouth shaping the vulgarity, feels his pulse of shocked lust as he pulls back from her, gasping wetly. Charlotte's knees buckle and Erik guides her down, unfastening his pants with his power; she slumps heaving against the wall, trying to summon the will to turn to him and help him, but before she's taken three breaths he's tugged himself free and clamped his hands around her waist again, lifting her up just enough, his warm scent washing over her as he maneuvers them together.

Charlotte has a flicker of comparative memory -- so far Erik's been gentle during sex, almost tremulous, he's been holding back -- but now he tilts her hips to his and buries himself in her in one thick searing slide, and she presses her cheek to the wall and cries out, hands flattening to brace herself. He quivers on a heartbeat of worried doubt, so she flings her mind open, showing him how glorious he feels inside her, and he buries one hand in her hair and crushes their lips together in a savory kiss, clutches her hip with the other and fucks her like a force of nature. Too rough, he chides himself, unable to ease off, and Charlotte laughs into his mouth, into his mind, soaring with him on the wild tide rushing between them, through them both.

This time when she comes she flutters tight around him within her, and he growls and wraps both arms just as tightly around her, long fingers arched over her breast and belly, pulling her down forcefully into his thrusts as her orgasm sets off his. Charlotte drops her heavy head back against Erik's shoulder, her lips brushing his woven collar as she whimpers; Erik shudders into her, his arms like iron bands around her creaking ribs, his mind echoing her name, his breath hissing between his clenched teeth. When she can make her arms work Charlotte lifts a hand to his cheek, holding her blossom-hairpin with two fingers as she strokes his face with the others, brushing her thumb across his wet chin. When the whirl in Erik's mind dies down somewhat he tilts his face enough to kiss her fingers, and pries his arms from around her.

I don't mind, she tells him; he chuckles, sounding winded, and backs away just enough to disengage them before letting himself slump against the wall, his arm draping easily now around her waist. Charlotte tugs her crumpled skirt down her thighs and slumps back against Erik, her hair spilling everywhere. They're still completely dressed, tingling damply inside their clothes, and both utterly disheveled.

The door above them creaks; Charlotte presses fingers to temple and reaches out to the agent behind it, reminding him to return to the briefing room to check that he collected all of his papers and suggesting he then take the other stairs to the kitchen. When he's gone she hoists her arm further, curling it backwards over Erik's shoulder as he lifts his hand to rest it on her ribs, his thumb brushing beneath her breast, and after a few more breaths she lets herself laugh in glee.

At least until Erik's happiness sharpens away from merriment towards wistfulness, and Charlotte turns to look up into his face. He smiles at her, fondly, bravely, as if he's forgotten she can see behind his sea-green eyes, that she can hear his conviction that nothing good lasts so he might as well enjoy this while he can, that she's sworn one day she'll convince him to stop expecting her to vanish from his life. Aloud he says, "I may owe you something more of an apology."

"Nothing of the sort," Charlotte answers, as tartly as she can despite the broad smile on her face, and Erik smirks at her. She sits up a little straighter, still leaning on his shoulder, and when he reaches up to run his fingers through her hair she kisses the heel of his hand.

Erik smiles widely at that, so open and just a little terrifying, and Charlotte tilts her face up for another kiss. As their lips slide softly together he gathers up her hair, and while he strokes it back she presses fingers to temple again, calling out to Moira, letting Erik hear her.

Moira's still in the meeting, listening to one of the security detail drone on; when Charlotte touches her mind she startles a little, as usual, but keeps her expression admirably composed. I don't think I'm going to be back, Charlotte tells her, please let them know I'm indisposed? So Moira knows she hasn't actually taken ill, she lets a little satisfied warmth thread through her mental voice.

Moira laughs in her mind as Erik laughs in her ear, gently tugging the blossom pin from her hand to affix it in her hair. And it's complete coincidence that Erik went to check on you, I suppose, Moira replies. Don't think you're getting out of the next meeting so easily, either of you. Charlotte can still hear her smile, and she can watch Erik's turn almost shy as he puts himself to rights and stands up, as he gives her his hands and helps her to her feet. They cooperatively tug her underthings up her legs, unvoiced laughter vibrating between them; after he clips her stockings back in place, Erik offers Charlotte his elbow, which she folds her arm through as they start up the stairs.