i. What I don’t like about you
If there is one thing you ought to know about Charles Xavier it is that he cannot stand Erik Lehnsherr.
That ridiculously pig-headed, rude, megalomaniac separationist asshole has done nothing but rile Charles up ever since the moment he entered his life.
Since their very first debate in their Mutant studies class Erik has done nothing but try to goad Charles into fights. Charles wants calm and thoughtful exchanges of theory and opinions. He wants to discuss ways of integration and how mutants can live peacefully within a civil society. He wants to contribute to that society.
Erik wants war. He wants war with humans and he wants war with Charles. But Charles won’t stoop to his level andhe won’t let Erik pull him down.
So whenever someone asks him how he feels about Erik – and people tend to ask that alot since over the years their debates (okay, screaming matches) have become somewhat infamous on campus – he answers that his number one rule is that Erik Lehnsherr is an asshole and he cannot stand him.
Then of course, every rule has its exceptions.
ii. Your passion
Erik isn’t all bad, Charles is mutant enough to admit that they do share some similarities and they do share the same goal, even if they have wildly different ideas of how to get there.
He hasn’t told Erik this, but he does appreciate his passion. Erik believes in his ideals with his entire body, with his entire being. He knows the reason Erik gets so worked up is because he is so dedicated to this cause. Erik wants to create a better world for all mutants – including Charles – and that is something Charles has a huge amount of respect for.
At first he let himself get blinded by their differences and focused only on how much Erik’s confrontational attitude clashed with his own strong convictions.
But now, after numerous exciting, challenging, and invigorating debates between them, he considers himself a better person just from knowing Erik. He knows he wouldn’t be as much of an activist if he didn’t have Erik to spur him on.
So he will be the first person to admit that he does enjoy Erik’s passion.
ii. Your loyalty
Erik is fiercely loyal. Charles doesn’t think he has ever met anyone who has their friends’ backs as much as Erik does. Charles knows he would have Charles’ back too in pretty much any situation and they’re not even friends. They’re at best acquaintances who most of the time manage to tolerate each other but not much more than that.
Yet he knows that Erik will come to his aid if he needs it, because that is exactly what Erik did once.
Charles was waiting outside one of the campus coffee shops when out of nowhere one of the meatheads in his bio class shoved him from behind, completely unprovoked. He was just standing while mutant and gay.
Had Charles not been preoccupied he would have noticed the guy coming from a mile away, but he was deep in thought and caught by surprise and so he smashed helplessly into the ground. Just as he braced himself for impact again, his attacker was flung across the quad seemingly by an invisible hand.
“Fuck off asshole!” Erik shouted after him. “Now stay the fuck away or I’ll strangle you with your ridiculous dog tags.” He bent down, reaching to pull Charles back on his feet. “Charles, are you okay?”
“I think so, Erik. Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it. So, was it a mutantphobe or a homophobe?”
“Both, I believe,” Charles said. “Erik, I am very grateful for your help.”
“You don’t have to thank me, Charles. I protect my kind,” Erik said, looking straight into his eyes, “I might not see eye to eye with you… like ever, but I would never let anything happen to you, Charles.”
Charles still thinks about that moment. How it made this tiny little spark ignite somewhere deep in his belly and how if he concentrates he can still feel its warmth.
iv. Your fearlessness
Charles loves how Erik is always himself, no matter what. Erik is fearless. Erik would never let anyone trample on him or let anything stand in his way. Whether it is using his powers in a gloriously flamboyant way just to spite mutantphobic protesters or walking down campus draped in a rainbow flag and go-go boots, Erik stops for nothing and noone.
He knows that when Erik was younger he used to hide away. He would hide his true self because he thought that noone would understand, that he was alone. Now he wears his powers as a badge of honor.
Charles wishes he could be more like that. Not that he isn’t bold himself, he can flirt you under the table in less than a minute, but when push comes to shove he knows he would rather take a step back than a leap forward.
He knows Erik thinks he’s a coward. He has told him so many times during their more than heated debates. And sure, Charles realizes that when Erik says that he is talking about Charles’ more measured approach to mutant issues. But he still wonders if Erik doesn’t also mean in life.
So he looks on as Erik strides across the quad with confident go-go-clad steps and the rainbow flag billowing behind him.
Charles could swear Erik’s eyes light up as he spots him.
“Coming to the Mutant youth center’s pride party tonight?” he asks.
“I’ll probably stop by,” Charles answers.
“Dressed like that?” Erik arches an eyebrow and bobs his head at Charles’ blue comfy cardigan.
“What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?”
“Nothing!” Erik laughs. “It’s just a bit safe, you know?”
Charles does know.
“You’re just too safe, Charles,” Erik continues. “When was the last time you did something really crazy?”
Charles squints, trying to think of something clever to say, but somehow his brain seems frozen in place.
“C’mon Charles! Do something wild! Right now. I dare you!”
For a second everything goes still and dark. Maybe he’s having some sort of blackout.
When his mind starts working again he notices the firm muscles under his hands, the long fingers raking through his hair, and the stubble scratching his chin.
He gasps and tries to pull back, but Erik holds him in place and deepens their kiss. It’s deep and intense and just outright filthy and it goes on forever. And Charles has never been more proud of himself for taking a leap.
v. Your sweet smile
To most people Erik comes off as a stoic – sometimes even vicious – but Charles knows that behind it all is a sweet man with a sweet smile.
It takes time. He won’t let you see it right away, perhaps never.
But Charles sees it. He sees it in the morning when Erik has just woken up and is still in a sleepy haze. He sees it late at night when Erik’s eyes sparkle and his mind is shouting at Charles all the things he wants to do to him.
And he sees it in quick flashes when they debate, argue and discuss all the way from the classroom and into the bedroom.
It never fails to light Charles up from the inside.
“Erik,” Charles says, pulling some of Erik’s attention away from the computer screen.
“I think I’m in love with you.”
Erik pauses, all of his attention now firmly on Charles.
“Well, that’s good,” he says, “because, Charles, I have loved you ever since the moment you entered my life.”