They hadn't been at the mansion long before it happened.
On the road, in hotel rooms scattered across the country, they had spoken a rough language of love, all clashing bodies and demanding mouths. They had sucked and bitten and scratched at each other, falling into bed, tangled in each other's arms, to bruise skin and bloody lips. Charles had liked to shove Erik against a wall suddenly, always taking him by surprise with the suddenness of his desire, and squeeze his dick until Erik hissed and picked Charles up, flinging him on the bed. Night after night they shoved and growled and kissed each other to completion, rutting against each other's thighs, or into Erik's hand, wrapped around both their cocks.
The conversation of their days echoed their nighttime struggle, all push-pull-challenge-desire, disguised--shallowly--in teasing smiles and sometimes stinging banter.
They have been equals, always, and that inflames Erik yet shocks him still. There is such power in Charles, and if only he would let himself free...
Except that now, Charles is falling apart. Erik's never seen him come undone like this.
"Erik--please," he says, voice ragged.
Not a week in the ancestral home, and the chess matches gave away to something else: Charles going down on his knees; Charles sliding his red mouth over the swollen head of Erik's cock; Charles choking, eyes closed, radiating bliss.
But not even that could have prepared Erik for this.
"Erik, now, do it now, one more, Erik, god, just--"
Erik watches, transfixed, as Charles ruts back on his two fingers, pushing himself back, fucking himself...fucking himself...on Erik's fingers, as if...as if it's something he wants to do.
Tentatively, experimentally, Erik curls his fingers--
The noise that bursts out from Charles is obscene, a torn and jagged sound made of blasting impatience, unfurling into a shameless, frustrated moan that goes on and on and on.
Erik's mouth is bone dry.
Acting under Charles's prior instructions, he adds a third finger. It's all he can do to not shake apart: he'd seen the rosy flush travel down Charles's body until the whole of him was a soft, glowing pink, and every inch that color claimed was another wire in Erik's soul ripped free. He feels lost, now, unattached to anything, and he is, in a word:
In another word, also: aroused.
He can't believe Charles is letting him do this. He certainly can't believe Charles when he says that he wants this...
How badly must have Erik been projecting his desire, and for how long, that Charles folded for him so quickly?
This will change everything.
"Erik, now, Erik, fuck me, fill me, Erik, damn you, now," Charles hisses.
Erik swallows thickly.
Is this really--does he really want--is this how it's going to go?
"Goddamnit, Erik, stop that," Charles pants.
Erik spares a moment to think very hard about a stone wall; Charles shifts under him, impatient, and makes a fussy noise.
Heart beating fit to burst, Erik takes out his fingers. He shudders, a full body shake, at the wet sound that follows.
He lays his other hand, delicately, on the warmth of Charles's flank, and strokes him softly, like a frightened horse. Erik imagines--no, he can't--nerve wracking. He's--his own nerves--he can't imagine, what it must feel like, giving yourself up like that. Charles has already given him so much.
"Erik," Charles moans, "Erik."
A deep breath, and Erik wraps a hand around his own dick, pumping once, twice, and again. He's nervous enough that he's not fully hard, and it makes him bit his lip, savagely. This isn't the time for him to suddenly back down. He can't fail Charles that way--
"Inside me, Erik, fuck, please, Erik, I need you, now, now--"
The request goes right to Erik's dick, and his breath stutters a few times as he closes his eyes and works himself with his hand. Charles shifts under him again, hooking a leg behind his back.
A deeper breath, and then: Erik positions himself, starts to gently push his dick against Charles's entrance, not yet entering, but--
With a ragged sound, Charles shoves his hips down, simultaneously pulling his body closer with the leg around Erik's hips, immediately arching up and crying out.
It's the filthiest fucking thing Erik's ever seen in his entire life, and some distant part of him marvels that he doesn't immediately come stars at the sight of Charles Xavier impaling himself on his cock.
Erik still sort of can't believe this is happening.
"God, Erik," Charles says, and his voice already sounds strained. His hand, with long and slender fingers, comes up to stroke his cock.
"Charles," Erik breathes. He watches Charles touch himself, transfixed.
"Fucking move," Charles groans, and so, Erik does.
He stays slow, at first, mostly shifting their bodies and keeping his thrusts slow, short. Charles writhes under him, moaning softly, eyes sometimes opening to sear Erik with their startling blue before closing again. There's the sweetest furrow between Charles's perfect, drawn together brows, and Erik wants to drink in every exquisite detail of the moment--
But then Charles moves his other leg, clamping both firmly around Erik's hips, and he works the fine muscles of his thighs and ass until they are fucking in earnest. At some point something in Erik snaps, and he is filled with the conviction that this gift is his to take, if Charles is offering so freely, and so he buries himself in Charles, balls deep, fingers on those narrow hips, fingers gripping hard enough to--
"Loop my leg over your shoulder," Charles says, "And your arm around the other--yes--good--like that, Erik, just like that."
It changes the angle substantially, and Charles starts making a keening, raw noise. Erik is mostly silent as they fuck, until quiet grunts and hisses start to escape between his teeth.
Charles has gone incoherent, writhing under Erik in ways that nearly fail to make sense. There is nothing self conscious in the way he moves--he is shameless--Erik buries himself deeper in Charles, at the thought that he has made him so. The long and perfect line of Charles's throat is exposed by a particularly high arch, and Erik growls deep as he snaps forward, teeth finding soft skin. He bites, softly, and then moving down to Charles's shoulder, much harder and deeper, because he can, because now Charles is his, his, finally his--
"Erik, now, nownownownow--" Charles babbles, gasping and writhing and--
Erik jerks his head sideways, grimacing as he comes. The world goes white hot and everything is blocked out, and it's a miracle that he comes back to himself in time to see Charles throw his head back--Erik feels his hand, trapped between their bodies, twisting over the head of his dick, come spurting between his fingers.
They stay together for a long, sliding moment, then separate slowly.
Charles throws his head back and mumbles something incoherent, but he pushes a fuzzy contentment at Erik, and a deep, satisfied bliss.
The only thing Erik can really fathom out of it is the tiny lining at the edge that says something more concrete than the rest of the huge and ecstatic feeling. It says: towels.
So Erik gets up and goes to the bathroom, gets towels, turns the faucet on, waits for it to warm up, wets some washcloths, wrings them out. The he pads back to the bed, and, with a care he didn't even realize he was capable of possessing, cleans them off.
It's his job, now, to take care of Charles.
"What," Charles says vaguely, but Erik just kisses him on the forehead. Charles yawns, gives up, and, now that he's properly cleaned off and perfectly warm and satiated, decides to roll over and go to sleep.
Erik stays awake for some time longer, watching him, counting his breaths, thinking of how many men he would be willing to kill to let Charles sleep peacefully for the rest of their lives.
He counts them, for a time, like sheep.
In the mornings, sometimes Charles is so sleepily content that he drags Erik down with him. If it wasn't for this, Erik would always be awake before Charles, but, as it stands, it's the kind of day where Charles has to wake up first for Erik to be let free of soft and pleasant dreams.
Erik is still better at actually waking up, though, so he's a little more alert when Charles murmurs,
"'Ssserik," he yawns, "Where's 'smy tea?"
Erik strokes his hair.
"I'll get you your tea," he whispers.
They do this every morning. On the road, Erik had gone and ordered Charles tea every morning, even before they had slept together--long before. Since coming to the mansion, Charles has shown him where all the tea is, where the kettle is, and how much cream and sugar he prefers. So: this ritual is familiar, soothing. Erik thinks nothing of it. For now, there is tea, and so Charles shall have tea. In the future to come, perhaps, tea will be scarce. Soldiers cannot afford some luxuries, but Erik knows how to make even chicory root taste sweet, and for Charles, he would share that secret.
When he gets back to the room, Charles is sitting up in bed--sort of. His hair is wrecked. There are pillow creases on his face.
Erik loves him more than anything in the world. Erik would single handedly slaughter armies for this man.
And he may have to, since now it is time to prepare in earnest for war.
Charles gives him a curious look, but accepts his cup of tea.
Erik will give him a moment, but it is time for them to go to work--serious work, not this soft game of it they've been playing. With a nod, he sets the teapot down where Charles can reach it, and goes to shower.
When he showers, Erik showers like the solider he is--in, clean, scrub, out. It's brisk, it's efficient, and he doesn't usually even bother with hot water. With swift, economic motions he dries himself off, then goes back into the room, to choose from the clothes he has stored in Charles's closet.
"Oh, not that one," Charles says languidly from the bed, still not having gotten up, "The other one, the one to my left, that sweater's my favorite."
Erik pulls the indicated sweater over his head, then returns to Charles's side and pours him another cup of tea. Charles makes a low, pleased hum of a sound, and Erik sits at the side of the bed, takes his hand.
"I love you," Erik says, straight forward, without preamble, all quiet intensity, looking Charles right in the eyes.
"I love you, too," Charles says, smiling over the rim of his cup.
"I want you to know that I will take care of you," Erik says, leaning in closer, "In the coming war. Come hell or high water, Charles, I will keep you safe."
Charles coughs, softly.
"Um," he says.
"No man is ever fully prepared for war," Erik goes on, "but I swear, Charles--"
"So, uh," Charles interrupts, finally putting down his cup, then clearing his throat, "Um. About this war?"
"Why are we suddenly so convinced it's...happening, exactly?" Charles makes a vague rolling gesture with his hand, as if to convey, what the fuck, dear boy, what the fuck?
"I intend to begin preparations immediately," Erik says crisply, "My strategy should come to no surprise to you by this point, Charles."
"Ah," Charles says, nodding as if he understands, "Yes. Erik. Right." Then, he stops nodding. "No. We're not going to war. We're not starting one, anyway."
"Charles, I fully intend to not be at the mercy of the humans when they--"
"Yes, yes," Charles says, waving his hand in a somehow more definite and obviously dismissive gesture, "We've had this discussion, the one where I go, "Erik, you cannot wage war on an entire world, and also, we live here," and you go "but Charles, I can," and I say, "But please don't, Erik." My question is, when did it stop being a discussion and become our--" there is a very firm stress on the word "--immediate, definite plan?"
Erik blinks at him.
"Well," he says, hardly sure to begin, "After last night, when you--"
"Yes?" Charles says promptly, "When I what?"
To his credit, Erik only hesitates for a second.
"When you--when you gave yourself, to me--"
"I remember a distinct lack of political talk," Charles says, "And I was there; I remember it quite vividly."
"But I thought--"
"Do go on, Erik."
"But I'm the man here now," Erik says, frustrated, "I have to take care of you, but that means I have to do things a certain way. You have to let me--"
He frowns. That doesn't sound right at all.
Suddenly, Charles is holding his cup of tea again, and making slightly garbled sounds into it. He chokes, a little.
Erik takes his cup away and pats him on the back until he can breathe again, so he thinks it's very unfair that when Charles shoves himself forward to bury his face in Erik's shoulder, he starts laughing.
"Oh, Erik, Erik, my friend, Erik," Charles is saying, between fits of what could almost be called giggles, "I--you know--just--"
He coughs again.
Erik feels cold, and he wants to shove Charles away roughly--he aches with the need of it--but he can only manage to softly push at him.
Charles sobers up quite quickly.
Something deepens in Erik's expression, and it must worry Charles, who suddenly pressed up against him, grasping his wrist, looking at him intently.
"My friend," he repeats, more urgently, "My friend, my love, my lover--"
Erik growls at him, a little.
"My darling," Charles whispers, fiercely, "You have been a mystery to me, despite how I know every bit of your history. You have been a worthy opponent everywhere, from the chessboard to the bedroom to our war room, where we butt heads in an attempt to shape our future. I have loved you for this, for our long hard fight, from the very moment my mind touched yours." He twines their fingers together, forcefully. His eyes are wide, and Erik hates their perfect, innocent blue. "Do you believe me?"
Erik stays silent.
Charles squeezes his hand.
"...perhaps," Erik allows.
"Close enough," Charles says, with a sloppy smile, "For now. But we have been equals, have we not? This is, to you, part of the appeal. I know it is."
Erik says nothing, but a line tightens in his jaw, and Charles pushes a memory at him--needlessly, for Erik remembers it quite well--
Charles, clinging to him, and Erik, tearing him away and throwing him down onto a cheap motel bed.
"I know you, I know you, I've always known you," Charles babbles, hands immediately on Erik's hips, sliding up, under his shirt.
"What do you know?" Erik says roughly, "What do you fucking know about me?" Erik, grabbing Charles, pinning him down roughly--he is seeing it now from Charles eyes--the tautness of his whipcord body, muscles lean and ready, all of him trim and dark and dangerous, to Charles, and thrillingly, perfectly safe, too.
"You could strangle me right now," Charles is saying, words spilling over of his mouth, over each other, like water rushing from a brook, "Or send one of the broken springs in this bed right through my heart. You could murder me right now--"
Charles, clawing his way up his body, breath hot and wet in his ear,
"--but I could kill you with my mind, where you stand."
Back in the present, Erik clears his throat, and shifts uncomfortably.
"All of that is still true," Charles says, "We were equals then. We are equals now."
"Did last night," Erik says, voice low, "Mean nothing to you, Charles?"
He doesn't mean for that soft, plaintive edge to betray him by revealing itself in Charles's name, glittering like gold in the sunlight. Erik drops his eyes.
"It meant more than you know," Charles says softly, gently, "But not what you think. It meant--it means--so much more."
Erik pulls away, unhappy but--his heart hurts, and flutters, and perhaps feels like it swells in size.
"I can't--" he starts, then stops. "We can't--right now. We will discuss this--later."
"Okay," Charles says, "Tonight, Erik."
"Tonight," Erik promises, and he stands.
Charles brushes his lips against his knuckles, unlocking his fist, then kissing his palm.
Erik's breath goes a little shallow.
"I love you," Charles says.
"I love you," Erik echoes, even if it's a whisper.
Charles smiles at him.
"Will you take the tea back down?" Charles asks, eyebrows up and hopeful.
"Yes," Erik says.
"And could you start some toast?" Charles adds, stretching, and yawning, and finally getting out of bed.
"Butter or jam?" Erik asks.
"Both," Charles says, "And the blueberry this morning, please, not the strawberry."
Erik makes his way to the kitchen, and tries not to think about how many times, exactly, he has made toast in the morning.
Then he cuts the bread into triangles because, what the hell.
He knows it's how Charles likes it.