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Breathing Through You

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Charles tried not to abuse his telepathy. He knew very well that it was applicable to day-to-day life and people consistently wished that they were capable of reading other people's minds, but that wasn't the reality of his gift. He had to come up with his own set of ethical rules from a young age and even then he was persistently breaking them. He'd broken them with Erik, for example, and was all too lucky that it had worked out.

Erik's mind itself was sort of like a compound formula that he could relate only back to memorizing charts of the various elements in the Periodic Table. All of these components—rage, strength, regret, vengeance, good, kindness, acceptance and so much more—somehow made up Erik. Erik, who had seen so much and yet sometimes seemed open to so little. It wasn't by accident that he'd delved into Erik's mind, but it was by accident that he happened to discover another of his darker components.

They weren't in the same room, and that was the problem. He wanted to see if Erik was interested in a game of chess before the kids got back from the city and perhaps he'd gotten a bit lazy or perhaps he'd gotten a bit interested but he delved too deeply. Or maybe Erik wasn't trying to hide it at all.

It was Erik's emotions he felt as he watched the scene unfold, the image of himself was just a projection of his mind and their connection was nonexistent. A surge of insurmountable power, the rush of satisfaction at the indomitable control hit Charles like a ton of bricks and if he hadn't physically been sitting then he might have hit his knees. Erik's emotions were always powerful, almost overwhelming, but they'd tamed in the past few weeks.

Despite not feeling the projection of himself, his stomach twisted into tight knots and he swore he could feel the ghost of Erik's warm weight settling heavily on him even as emotions flooded through the connection. His body pinning his hips, one hand keeping one wrist down, trapping him to the floor as the other curled about his throat. He could feel the strength in Erik's fingers and suddenly his own pulse was struggling against them. The unsteady beat of pressure against Erik's palm was his Adam's Apple struggling to swallow.

Erik...” He gasped and yet it wasn't him gasping because the voice was detached and in front of him, but he swore he felt it wheeze out of his own sore throat. Erik's fingers tightened, unrelenting steel, and his—no, no, the projection's, not his—free hand was gripping at Erik's arm, doing anything it could to get out from under him. His legs bent only to fall flat, Erik's weight too much for the fervent bucking of his hips. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe...then Erik loosened his grip, just slightly, and he sucked in as much air as he could before, a second later, it was choked off again.

His head was swimming from the power of the scene but it felt like it could have been the lack of oxygen. This had to have been a nightmare, didn't it? There was absolutely no way that Erik wanted to kill him and he'd missed it all this time.

Except that he didn't have to move to see that Erik was smiling, lines of teeth visible between parted lips in excitement. He wasn't just happy, he was thrilled.

Meanwhile the projection gasped again, choking out a cough because words couldn't be formed anymore, and Erik's pulse seemed to jump as his eyes fluttered. Not quite there... Erik's voice resounded through his mind and he felt his fingers spread a little bit, evening the grip and the pressure as another swallow weakly pushed against his palm. There was a brief moment of reprieve, a teasing amount of oxygen flooded his lungs, and he gasped before the grip tightened again. And it did tighten again. A game.

Now the rapid pulse was even harder against his fingertips, Erik could practically feel it as the blood toiled through the vein from one digit to the next beneath the soft skin of his throat. Any minute now and it would slow. The few instances of air weren't nearly enough to keep him alive, he—the projection!—would lose consciousness any second now. Maybe that was what Erik wanted.

It seemed to be the case as his eyes fluttered close, the arm gripping Erik's starting to go slack, sliding towards his wrist but with no purpose. Then—There!

Without warning Erik punched him, not him, and withdrew his hand to do it. The projection gasped, grunted, and sputtered through the pain, almost unconscious and denied it. But Charles lost track of it at the surge of heat that went through Erik's mind, the burn of unmistakable arousal that turned this from being a nightmare into pure fantasy. Fantasy. Erik's head was pulsing with arousal and impulse that hit him so hard that Charles pulled out of his mind with a groan, rolling onto his side and pressing his hand between his thighs.

He dug the heel of his hand against the encroaching erection, the edges of his mind burning like a sheet of paper held too close to a flame. He gasped, head swimming, and desperately tried not to associate any of it with what he'd just seen even as his mind steadily betrayed him. The pulse in his chest reminding him of the one Erik felt fluttering beneath his fingertips, the whisper of how soft his skin was as each beat forced it slightly up into his grip. Charles nearly bit the plush arm of the couch to keep himself quiet.

It took all of his will-power and the amount of time it took Erik to find him for him to compose himself again. When he appeared in the study doorway his hair was wet and he hadn't bothered with his shirt, just pants. He was in the shower, Charles realized, a split second too late.

He made a pointed effort not to look at Erik's hands.

“I am so terri—”

“I've had more privacy in public bathrooms, Charles,” Erik snapped. He looked flushed and the rest of that previous split second brought him to the realization of what, exactly, Erik was doing in that shower.

Now he was looking at his hands and he couldn't look away but he had to say something, didn't he? He had to at least apologize. “Erik, I—”

“Not. A. Word.” He was growling now and Charles was fairly certain that there was a distinct “don't you dare judge me” in his tone, as well as a slight amount of fear.

For the life of him all Charles could think to do was bite his lip and nod and Erik looked like he wanted to say or do something but he didn't. He just turned on his heel and left, at least for a moment, before he came back a second later looking terse and leveling his eyes with Charles.

“I would never—”

“I know, my friend,” he replied quietly, hoping to spare him the pain of having to say it. He smiled in a way he could only hope was encouraging, but Erik just watched him for a moment before leaving again. This time he didn't come back.

Charles tried not to wonder if he'd make an exception, and tried harder to pretend that he was not considering such a thing.