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Night holds no Redemption

Chapter Text

Charles stood propped against the bar, drink in hand. For a moment he studied the mirror, obscured by rows and rows of bottles with different coloured liquids inside. It didn't show much of the bar or its patrons, but enough if you looked closely and knew what you were looking for. To Charles it confirmed what he had been suspecting for several minutes now.

He dragged his fingers through his brown hair, making sure it didn't obscure the view. Maybe he should cut it, just a bit, despite Logan insisting it made him look softer and more vulnerable. He raised his glass and drank the rest of the whisky in one go, tilting his head back for good measure.

He felt the eyes on him, along with a spike of interest. It came with the familiar haziness that surrounded every vampire's mind.

Putting the glass down, Charles then turned in the general direction of the vampire. He took his time, let his eyes roam over the bar's other patrons, as if he were checking them out. He licked his lips, tilted his head to the side and let his eyes dart back to his target – who was hooked.

The vampire was looking straight at him.

Charles looked away, then back, venturing a coy smile.

He contemplated biting his lips, but apparently he had already done enough. The vampire was coming over, getting up close and right into Charles' personal space.

"Hello, may I buy you another drink?"

Charles wanted to get it over with quickly. He looked up at him, as if he was thinking about the offer, then let his gaze wander down the other's body, the tight shirt and trousers outlining his body nicely, making it not hard for Charles to feign interest. He looked up again with a grin. "Thank you, I think I had enough to drink. But I could do with some fresh air. Would you like to come along?"

The vampire's eyes widened for a moment, as if he couldn't believe his luck, though it quickly was replaced by a cocky smile. "Sure."

Charles pushed away from the bar and let the vampire slide his arm around his waist, even leaning slightly into the touch, as they walked outside.

'Got him. We're coming out.'

'I'm waiting in the alley, behind the dumpster.'

Charles steered the vampire along, right into the alley where the light from the street barely reached.

"I must admit, I lied when I said I wanted some fresh air."

The vampire grinned. "How naughty of you."

"Mhm, so how about you put me on my knees and show me how to use my mouth for something better?" He pushed the vampire against the wall right beside the dumpster. Luckily he was rather willing to cooperate. Quickly, Charles undid the vampire's trousers and pulled them down to his knees as he went down as well.

'Logan, now!'

It happened quickly. Logan charged out of hiding, metal claws ready. Charles threw himself against the vampire's knees, trapping him between his body and the wall. He heard his surprised screech, but before he could react and bolt free, Logan's claws had cut through the vampire's neck, decapitating the creature. The screeching stopped suddenly and the body imploded in a cloud of dust.

Charles screwed up his face and sneezed. He scrambled up onto his feet, trying to shake dead-vampire-dust from his clothes.

“Come here.”

Charles let Logan take him at the elbow and steer him away from where dust-motes still danced in the air. But his face already felt gritty. He blinked carefully.

“Wait.”

Charles held still while Logan brushed his hands through his hair to shake out the dust. Charles felt his nose start to itch again, but before he could sneeze Logan used a soft cloth to wipe his face off any remaining dead-vampire. Then he ran his hand through Charles' hair once more. Smugly Charles felt sure that Logan arguing for Charles to keep his hair long had more to do with him liking it that way than it making him better vampire-bait.

“This was quick. Should we call it a night or try and catch another?”

Logan shrugged. “You did most of the work, making this an easy catch, so I guess it's up to you – though I thought he wouldn't fall for that line.”

Charles smiled, all innocent. “What line?”

Logan did fidget. “You know, the one about...putting you on your knees...”

Charles laughed. “Oh that one. Couldn't let him go for my neck straight away now. And he seemed to like the idea of my mouth around his cock for starters.”

Logan frowned. “Is that how you used to work on your own before? 'Cause then it's surprising you haven't gotten yourself killed yet.”

“Oh my distraction plans have always worked perfectly. Perhaps I should give you a sample or two, just to boost your confidence in my abilities, since it seems Moira wants us to work together permanently now.”

Even by the bad light Charles could see Logan's face growing darker, and though he wasn't peeking, he could hear the argument of yes and noes erupting in Logan's mind. For a moment the image of grabbing Charles and pulling him in for a hot, searing kiss, sealing that naughty mouth shut, had the upper hand. Then it was drowned out by the fact that Charles was someone who Logan was working with, and NO!

Charles hid his disappointment behind a smile, as Logan pulled out his phone and checked it. Maybe next time he would point out that 'no' wasn't a valid argument. But he could give him a list of why an after-work-hookup with sweaty sex would be very much a 'yes'. Even if it meant for Charles to admit that he had listened in on Logan's thoughts.

“Speaking of Moira. She sent information of two more possible vampire hunting grounds. There is a playground, with teenagers hanging out in the evening. In the last two weeks three seem to have gone missing after last being seen there.”

Charles checked his watch. It was midnight. “I guess it's too late for that now. What's the other?”

“Another club, recently opened. It's called Hellfire. But we should get backup for this one. There have been people disappearing in groups. Nothing decisive points to the club, so the police isn't zeroing in it yet and Moira will keep it that way until someone from the NIB had a chance to check it out. Sounds like there is more than one vampire, maybe a nest of - “ Suddenly Logan was picked up by an invisible force and thrown against the wall. He hit it with a sick crunching sound. Charles whirled round, trying to spot their attacker. He cast out his mind, but before he could find anyone there was a fluttering sound from above. Charles jerked up his gaze, just catching a glimpse of a billowing cape, before someone grabbed him from behind and pushed him against the wall opposite from where Logan had fallen.

The air got knocked out of him and the world went black for a moment.

As his vision swam back into focus, there was a face just inches from his. Pale skin, a row of teeth with sharp fangs glistening, dangerously close to his neck and pale grey eyes boring straight into him.

“Hello, Charles.”

“Erik...” Charles tried to twist free, but the vampire held both his wrists in a vice-like grip.

“So good to know you remember me. Do you also remember what I promised you?” Erik leant closer, his lips brushed against Charles' cheek.

The touch sent cold fear down Charles' body, wrapping around his heart and squeezing painfully.

“You betrayed me, Charles. You left me there to rot.”

The sound of Logan moving, and thinking his name penetrated through the panic . 'Charles, Charles...'

He had to stall. He could do that - talk. “What should I have done? You nearly killed me!”

“I offered you to join me!”

“You knew I could never become - “

“-a monster? Is that all I am to you, Charles? Is that all I ever was?”

Charles squeezed his eyes shut, though it didn't help shut out the pain. Through it all, he became aware of Logan getting back on his feet. But Erik noticed too.

He let go of one of Charles' wrists, using his body to keep him immobilised against the wall. All it took was the flick of his hand and Logan was shoved hard against the wall. Effortlessly he kept him pinned there.

“Interesting friend you have there. How quaint. Really all his bones are coated in metal. What interesting possibilities this opens up.”

The moment Erik was distracted Charles tried to get at the wooden stake, hidden in his boot. He strained to reach down with his free hand, but Erik still had him immobilised with his body – just like he held Logan with his powers. And after he had finished with Logan...

Charles had to believe Logan could take everything Erik could do to him. He had seen him heal from being impaled after a vampire thought it would be funny to do to him what he did to them. But then none of the vampires had ever had the power to rip out bones from his body, and that's what Erik could do.

Charles tried to reach for Erik's mind. He knew it was futile, a vampire's mind was out of his reach, but he had to try and get Erik away from Logan - and himself. “If you try and prove a point that you are not a monster, then let us go, Erik.”

Erik kept his arm outstretched, keeping his powers focused on Logan, but he turned back to look at Charles. “Really Charles, you used to be better at making an argument. Have you lost your edge?”

Charles was beating and scratching at the wall around Erik's mind, trying to find a way in. “I never -”

“What? Never thought you would see me again? Well you should have killed me when you had the chance.”

“I should have - “ Charles tried to state it calmly, though his voice betrayed him, dying down to a whisper. But he knew Erik could hear him regardless. “But I couldn't. After all that happened, after all you – we both did, I still couldn't.” Without meaning to Charles' put his free hand against Erik's face.

Erik looked surprised, stricken, the expression so much like when they first met, that Charles had to struggle to keep clawing at his mind. “I never wanted it to end this way.” Tears stung in his eyes.

“Neither did I.” For a moment an expression of pain flitted over Erik's pale face, making him look almost human.

Suddenly something of Erik's mind became solid to his touch, giving Charles the needed purchase. He plunged forward, stumbling into darkness. For a moment he despaired. There was nothing here he could take control of, no thought he could hold and mould. Then he sensed it, the vibrations all around him and he reached into them.

'Let go!'

There was a loud growl and thud, as Logan dropped to the ground, pulled himself up and advanced, claws drawn. Charles let go of Eriks' face and pushed away, pulling the stake from his boot. Through the distance it was harder to keep a hold on Erik's mind, buzzing like a hive and just as hard to contain.

Erik stood frozen, except for his eyes. He was watching Charles, fully aware of what happened, and he didn't even look angry.

'I'm sorry...'

Before Logan could reach them Charles drove the stake right into Erik's stomach. The pain flared up between the link connecting Charles with Erik and Charles let go. Erik screamed and staggered away, bent forward, hand griping the wood impaling him.

Charles was pushed back by Logan. He staggered, the aftermath of Erik's pain still pulsing through his body, his scream buzzing along his nerves and fell to the ground. He couldn't see past Logan, but heard Erik's cape flutter as he took to the air and disappeared into the night.

Chapter Text

The walls were a pale clinical white, the furniture chrome and just as cool and impersonal looking and the light bright and just as sterile and cold. Charles sat amidst it all on the metal operating table. The doctor had just left, leaving him to get dressed again, after declaring him to be okay, except for a couple of bruises. Nothing was broken, and more importantly, he bore no bite marks.

Charles had known it to be so, had told Logan, but the man had insisted. And Charles had been too shaken to protest much. Part of Charles had even preferred to be taken back to headquarters, to the alternative of going home. At least here there were people. Even at night, not everyone at the NIB was out hunting vampires. All the people left enough of a background buzz, distracting him from his own thoughts.

Once he walked out of the room though, he would be sent home, and he didn't want to be alone just yet. Maybe he could ask Logan... He stopped the thought before it could fully form. That wasn't what he wanted right now either.

What he wanted was to have part of the night's events erased from his memories. Ironically, he could do that to other people, but manipulating his own mind was impossible. Just as impossible as altering a vampire's mind. If he were able do that – 'I could have done it to Erik, make him forget about me – us.'

He had to grip the edge of the table tightly as he started to shake, fighting for calming breaths, as the reality of tonight’s events came rushing back. Erik was free, and he was here, in New York. He had found him, and he wanted revenge or – something. The memories were still sharp, as was the pain he had felt when he stabbed Erik.

'I shouldn't have been able to control him, did Erik do something?' Charles slid down from the table, cold inside and out. Quickly, he pulled off the white shift he had been given to wear and picked up his clothes from the nearby chair, pulling them back on. He barely felt warmer even with the jeans and long sleeved white shirt back on.

For a moment he stared at the door, before he slumped down on the ground.

At least the room was brightly lit. Maybe he could stay here until daybreak.

He chuckled. How ironic, Charles Xavier, a seasoned vampire hunter, afraid of the dark. Though maybe it wasn't. He had come to realise there were monsters in the dark and it had been scary but also exciting, to be able to fight the nameless creatures. It had been simple, even when his life had been in danger at times. Live, die, it had seemed straightforward.

Until - Erik, until he had created his own, personal monster in the dark, and now it had caught up with him and death was not the worse that could happen.

If only he could travel into the past and undo his mistake. Though which one?

Not becoming a vampire hunter in the first place – not heading down those stairs – not getting distracted by his own zeal?

“Can you see anything?” The voice echoes down the stairs.

'No. And you know you can just think what you want to say. No need to go shouting.'

There is a moment of silence, then, 'You know it feels weird to me.' Charles knows Robin is muttering it under her breath as she thinks the words. Not ideal when she is working with Charles and vampires with keen ears might be close, but she will learn.

'I'm going after them.'

'Shouldn't you wait?'

'No. They are in there for 15 minutes now, so they'll have cleared out a good deal already. Enough for me to go looking for any of the taken humans and get them out.'

'I'm coming with you.'

'I know you want to help, but someone has to stay up there in case one of the vampires gets past them and tries to make a run for it.'

'I can't let you go in there alone!'

The worry isn't put in words, but he can decipher it nevertheless. 'Don't worry, this is how we do it. I know, the first raids are scary. But you are just as well trained as the rest of us. So just stay prepared, do your job, and all will be fine.'

'What if I need help, what if you need help, what if they don't manage to kill all the vampires?'

Charles grins. 'Then we don't deserve to call ourselves vampire hunters.'

He isn't waiting for a reply and just starts further down the stairs. He's done that often enough now. It's 17 months since he saw his first vampire, 16 months since he was recruited. He'd gone to Oxford to get a Ph.D. in genetics and ended up being trained as a vampire hunter instead. It still makes him giggle when he lies in bed after a successful raid, drunk on adrenaline.

Though he tries to play it cool in front of the others. He wants them to take him serious, even if his mutation, his powers are less useful against vampires. Though it's the first question he always gets asked when he tells he is a telepath. “So can you stop a vampire with your mind?”

It stung at first, now he answers calmly. 'No I can't. Their minds aren't human a bit more like animal minds but less solid. But that makes me able to spot them in a crowd. And I can find where they hide, and where they confine their human victims. I can get those back and erase all the horrors they have suffered through from their minds and make them whole again.'

This is what gets him approving nods of respect.

Charles lets the light from his torch shine into the tunnels ahead and pulls out one of the wooden stakes from his belt. His fingers grip the blunt end wrapped in leather. His mission may be to find any human survivors and get them to safety, but he is also trained to kill vampires. And just because the rest of the team had gone through the tunnels and cleared them, didn't mean he can afford to be less careful.

He breaths as shallow as possible through his mouth, as the stink of the vampire lair becomes stronger. It's a mix of blood, death and something sickeningly sweet that goes straight to his head promising a nauseating headache.

He stops as his ears pick up sounds and reaches out with his mind. He gets a vague sense of what is going on. The place is bigger than expected, the cellar stretching further, with odd corners and hidden rooms for the vampires to lurk and attack from. They are still cleaning it out. He flinches back. One of the team is injured, badly so. For a moment he just stands there, undecided. He's made the mistake once, getting close into someone’s mind who then had gotten killed. The shock had left him stunned, curled up on the ground, unable to move by himself for a day.

He tries reaching out again, more carefully this time. They saw cells, off through a corridor they had passed. Maybe the place where the vampires kept their victims. Charles heads off that way.

The passages are empty, the sound of fighting grows louder at one time, before it gets carried further away. Charles finds the doors, strong metal, bolted shut from the outside, a neat row of them set in the wall. He casts out with his mind, but his heart sinks as he feels nothing. Still he has to check to make sure. Sometimes victims are so far gone, their minds barely register, but they can still be saved.

Charles steps up to the first door, opens the hatch and peers inside. It's empty. So is the next. The one after that, he finds a body, but it is just that, a body, no life left. He becomes more grim after each door he checks, each room proving empty of life.

He knows these vampires are responsible for ten missing people in just the last five days. They can't all be dead – not yet. They can't be too late, there has to be someone left to safe.

'Sometimes all we can do is stop the monsters from killing.' He has been told that often enough, but he can't leave it at that. His skill is to find people, to reassure them that they are safe now, to get them out!

Perhaps that stubbornness is why in the end he misses the obvious.

The last door is made of sturdy wood instead of metal, even the bolts are wood. There is an odd smell emanating from it and something is carved into the surface. He doesn't bother to check, but goes straight for the hatch, and pushes it aside.

The light from his torch falls onto a human shape, curled up in one corner. Tentatively Charles reaches out tendrils of thoughts, then stops excitedly as the figure moves and crawls away from the light.

Charles' heart is hammering in his chest as relieve washes over him. “It's okay. I'm here to get you out!”

Charles puts the stake back into its loop on his belt and works back the bolts on the door. There is not only one, but three. Yet finally he can pull the door open. He finds the figure still crouching on the ground, far back from the door, arms raised defensively, flinching back as the light hits his face.

“I'm sorry!” Charles lowers the torch, so it only lights the ground, but he has seen enough, it's a man. His clothes look torn and dirty, his face pale and drawn. It's hard to say how old he is, but he looks like he's been in here longer than five days. “My name is Charles. I'm here to get you out.” He takes a step forward, then stops and slowly sinks to his knees. “I'm not here to harm you. The ones that did this to you, they are taken care of.” He ventures a reassuring smile. “You're no longer alone. Come - “ He reaches out a hand, palm up.

Dealing with vampire victims can be tricky, but with his telepathy Charles has an ace up his sleeve. He waits a moment, before he slowly reaches out with his mind, carefully so the man won't notice, to nudge gently and prompt him to come along and trust him for now. He stutters to a halt, as his mind reaches into flimsy mist, obscuring and hazy.

He should have ran then. Slammed the door behind himself, never to look back.

Startled, Charles draws back. Then the man moves, hesitantly reaches out to put his hand in Charles'. The expression on his face, and in his wide grey eyes is full of surprise and disbelieve. Charles doesn't move but the man still flinches, as he touches him. As if he was expecting Charles to lie – or be a lie, just a figment of is imagination. Charles finds himself unable not to respond. He wraps his fingers gently around the man's cold hand, squeezing it just enough to reassure him. “What's your name?”

The man's mouth moves as if he is trying to remember how to form words. Charles smiles encouragingly and waits.

A frown appears on the man's forehead, then he sucks in air and with a gasp answers Charles' question. “Erik. My name is Erik.”

There is a knock on the door and Charles jerks his head up at the sound. He blinks, surprised, to find himself sitting on the cold ground of the brightly lit examination room. Not entirely sure if he'd fallen asleep, or just drifted off in his mind, he scrambled up to his feet. His left side felt stiff and sore from where he'd hit the hard concrete in that alley earlier that night. The knock came again, this time more insistent.

“Yes, yes, I'm coming.” As he tore the door open he found Logan waiting on the other side. He looked concerned and a bit uncomfortable.

“You alright? The doctor came out awhile ago. Said you were okay.” Logan was looking him up and down, tried to, and failed, doing it unobtrusively.

“Yes, I'm fine.” He felt tired, he wanted to go home curl up on his bed, but he didn't want to be alone.

“I gave a quick report. So looks like we are done for the night.”

“Thank you.” Charles licked his lips. “Logan...”

“Want me to drive you home?”

It sounded like an innocent enough offer. He could hardly stay here tonight, not without raising questions. “Yes, that would be great.”

The night was neither dark nor quiet, not in the city. Street lamps, blinking ad-signs, cars and people out in the streets. Charles left himself open enough to feel the buzz of people, alive all around them. Though it also left him open to Logan's thoughts. As Logan was driving he looked stoically straight ahead at the traffic, yet Charles felt his mind was directed at him.

Finally Charles turned to look at him. “Logan, is there something – something you want to say?”

Logan threw him a sideways glance, but didn't answer until they came to a halt at a red light. He did turn his full attention on Charles then.

“The vampire, the one that attacked us. He knew you.” It was a statement, not a question.

Now it was Charles turn to look straight ahead. “What makes you say that?”

“I heard him say your name.”

Charles pressed his lips together.

“I didn't put it in the report. And I understand if you don't want to talk about it, but the way he suddenly showed up there in the alley... Is he going to be after you?”

“I guess – he might be.” Charles shrugged, then he realised what Logan might try to say. He turned to look at him, expressionless. “Look, if you want to get a new partner, that's okay. I've been working on my own most of the time. I'll just go and see Moira tomorrow and tell her – something.” He wasn't in the mood to be creative right now, so he just made dismissive gesture. “I'll convince her to assign you a new partner.”

The light turned green, Logan focused back on the traffic. “That's not what I meant.”

Charles blinked, surprised. “It's not?”

“No. I only want to know what's coming our way.”

Our way... Yes, he probably should warn Logan. Actually he should be the one to ask Moira to split them up again. With Erik out there - Charles' throat felt suddenly tight and he turned to look out the side-window. Yet the mix of blurring lights and faceless people couldn't take his mind off things. Right now, Erik was out there, somewhere. Probably licking his wounds, though it wouldn't take him long to recover. The stake hadn't come anywhere near his heart. Still he would need to feed to heal. Some innocent human would die, because Charles hadn't been able to do what was necessary. He'd failed - again.

He flinched as suddenly a heavy hand landed on his shoulder, shaking him.

“...Charles, hey Charles.”

“Sorry, what?” Reluctantly Charles turned back to Logan who seemed hard pressed to keep focused on the streets. He gave a little sigh of relieve as the next red light forced them to stop.

“I realize you must be tired after what you did. And I didn't put that in the report either. But you always said you can't control a vampire’s mind but you had him there. You made him let go of you and me both. You managed to control him, if only for a short while.”

Charles opened his mouth to protest, but unless he would alter Logan's mind, denying it would be ridiculous. Logan sounded sure of what he had seen.

“Do you think you can do it again?”

“I don't know. I was – desperate, I guess. I couldn't move so I was fighting the only way I had left...” It was partly true after all. Though Charles wondered, what else had Logan seen or heard?

Logan gave a non-committal grunt.

“I'm sorry, I guess I should be more excited about the possibilities, but I'm just glad we got out of this unscathed.”

“Perhaps knowing you can do it, will help you do it again.”

“Perhaps...” And perhaps it wasn't really his doing, but had to do with Erik. With a frustrated sigh Charles forcefully tossed back his head, hitting it against the firm leather neck rest of the seat. Gladly Logan didn't comment.

Finally they arrived in front of Charles' apartment building and Logan parked the car. Taking his time, Charles unbuckled the seatbelt, then slowly slid out.

“Briefing for tomorrow at 1400. And Moira wants us to do some extra training, to get better at fighting together.”

Usually Charles would have said something flirty, of them already working well together, but his thoughts were elsewhere. “Okay.” Hand still on the door, he hesitated to close it. 'Want to come up – for coffee? - Come on, that's lame, you can do better.'

But Logan beat him to it. “Do you want me to come up with you, to check your apartment's defences, just in case.”

Charles blinked surprised. Had Logan changed his mind from earlier or was he really just concerned for Charles safety? Well, Charles guessed there was only one way to find out .“That – yes, thank you.”

And whatever Logan's reason, it would delay the moment when he would be alone, with nothing to stop him from having his thoughts inevitably drawn back to Erik.

Chapter Text

“Do you want something to drink?” Charles took off his boots then headed for the living room area with its open kitchen.

Logan stayed behind at the door, examining its bolts and sniffing it. “A glass of water maybe.”

Charles poured them a glass each, then put Logan's on the counter, while sipping from his, waiting for him to join him.

“What did you use on the door?”

“Buckthorn oil. It doesn't stay that well since the door isn't solid wood.” Charles shrugged. “It's not like a vampire can get in, if it's not invited.”

Logan crouched down, his back to Charles and almost absently Charles' gaze was drawn to Logan's firm arse.

“You should use it on the floor, about a meter past the entrance should do. The laminate here will absorb it better.” Finally Logan got up and moved on through the living room. Ignoring the waiting drink, he frowned as he took in the windows, high and large, that gave a good view of the city.

Charles liked them, the made the place look bright and open during the day. Now it showed the dark city with its glittering lights, making it look like some child's dream fairytale castle. Logan seemed less impressed. “You've got a terrace?”

The way he said it, was almost accusing and made Charles roll his eyes. He had wanted Logan here as a distraction, not for him to make Charles feel less secure in his own home. “Yes, and I have planted juniper bushes out there. Really Logan, I won't go inviting vampires in, especially not if they suddenly show up on my terrace. And how the hell should they even find this place? If E – one follows me here, he won't be so stupid as to wait until I'm in the safety of my own home.” Charles didn't want to linger on the thought that Erik found him, in a nondescript alley. Maybe that had been just by chance – and maybe Charles shouldn't try lying to himself.

But even Erik couldn't make Charles invite him in. Not after what he'd done.

But Charles' protests seemed to go unheard by Logan, who went to check the terrace outside. By the time he came back, Charles had decided to take himself and his glass to the couch. He was lounging on it, pillow propped onto his lap. Logan stopped and stared at him for a moment, before he closed the glass door behind himself.

“A vampire can always force you to invite him in.”

Charles frowned.

“Could you watch one slowly torture an innocent human in front of your doorstep, or on your terrace.”

Charles swallowed. “Stop...” He didn't want to think of the possibilities, not for tonight at least. He'd had enough.

“That vampire from tonight, he could fly.”

“I said stop!”

Logan suddenly froze and Charles felt the stab of pain in his head. He paled and got to his feet as he realised what he'd done. “Logan, I'm sorry.” His hands were shaking slightly as he eased back his control as gently as he could. He couldn't let Erik get under his skin like that. He was no fledgeling vampire hunter anymore.

Logan shook his head, as if he was dislodging a kink in his neck then looked at Charles, eyebrow raised.

Charles looked at the ground and brushed back his hair. “You're right. I should check to make the place more secure.” Logan's hand on his shoulder made him look up again. He really was out of things, if he hadn't even noticed him come closer.

“I only mean to help, Charles. Want me to come over tomorrow? I can bring some more buckthorn oil and we can soak the wooden tiles on the terrace so it will send any vampire that tries to step on it screaming.”

Charles studied Logan's face. Yesterday he wouldn't have been able to stop himself from using that to flirt. Say something like they should use the oil on each other's body – as vampire repellent. Now the thought made him cringe. Only as he saw Logan's frown did he realise that he must have mistaken this for an answer. “No, I mean, yes. Thanks for the offer, I – I'll gladly take you up on it.”

Logan squeezed his shoulder, his gaze flickering to the smile Charles mustered to make up for the clumsy reply. For a moment Charles was sure Logan would bend down and kiss him and Charles' pulse quickened. But then Logan raised his gaze, looking at something behind Charles.“Now what's up there?”

Charles blinked, suddenly irritated but turned his head, following Logan's gaze. He dropped his shields, opening himself to Logan's thoughts. He'd definitely been thinking about kissing Charles. And he tried to find excuses to stay longer. A smile stole itself back on Charles' mouth and he licked his lips. “Bathroom – and my bedroom. Feel free to check it out.”

For a moment Logan looked almost a little guilty. His hand on Charles' shoulder tightened. “Alright – lead on.”

Charles headed for the open metal staircase. Logan's warm hand on his shoulder lingered, before it slid down between his shoulderblades. Then Logan's fingers brushed along Charles' spine only pulling back as he reached the small of his back.

Charles was tempted to turn around, but he wasn't sure what he would do then. Tell Logan to stop, or to go on. Ask him, why now? Though no, he didn't really need to ask that. He could taste the answer skittering along the edge of Logan's thoughts. To Logan Charles had gotten close to getting killed tonight. The realisation made the reserves he'd had about getting involved with someone he worked with go suddenly mute.

Charles kept climbing the stairs.

At the top a wide corridor led to the bedroom door. The corridor itself, a wide and open space, Charles had turned into a sort of walk through office area/library with bookcases and a desk.

“Dracula, really?”

Charles stopped to look over his shoulder to where Logan's attention had been caught by the bookshelves content. “It was a gift.”

Logan looked curious but before he could ask, Charles added, “Bedroom is this way,” and stepped through the open sliding door, hearing Logan follow him.

He hadn't bothered drawing the curtains and despite the dim light he'd turned on, it was still dark enough to see the night with its glittering lights outside. It looked so bright and yet only highlighted the dark, hiding the shadows and what lurked there.

The window up here was the least likely entrance for a vampire to take, even Erik was more likely to try via the door or the terrace if he wanted to pressure Charles to invite him in.

So now Logan had been able to asses Charles' place and there were no more excuses to stay. Slowly, Charles walked past the large bed towards the window and looked out, worrying his lip.

“At least come daybreak a vampire would be hard pressed to find a dark corner at your apartment to hide.”

“You don't like my place?”

“It can be improved.”

“Apart from soaking everything in vampire repellent oils, what else is there you would change?”

“Draw the curtains for a start.”

“I like to know there is a world out there.”

“Someone could look in.”

Charles meant to argue that the next building was far enough away, but from the corner of his eyes he caught Logan glance briefly towards Charles' bed. He licked his lips. Perhaps Logan wasn't intending to leave after all.

“Hmm, you think they get something interesting to see?”

The image suddenly clear in Logan's mind caught him by surprise. Charles, naked except for a towel wrapped around his hips, coming out of the shower at their gym at headquarters. The tips of his hair wet and curling, rivulets of water still running down his pale skin.

So Logan had been watching. Right to the point where the towel slipped.

“Whatever, it's none of their business.” Resolutely, Logan stepped up to Charles and drew the curtains shut. The sound of the metal rings from the curtains sliding along the curtain rail sent a shiver down Charles' body.

“So what is it you want to do, that you don't want anyone else to see?”

Logan hesitated, his calm exterior betrayed by the boiling storm of images and words that were his thoughts. Charles tried not to peek, but he was hard pressed not to catch the idea of a touch, a kiss while Logan's gaze lingered on Charles' body...

Charles dragged his fingers through his hair.

He watched Logan's jaw move as he gritted his teeth, still trying to not grab Charles' hair.

Charles was sure if he were to reach out or lean in for a kiss Logan would bolt. So he leant back against the wall and pushed the curtain back a little, tilting his head to look outside, giving Logan time to come to his own conclusions.

Suddenly Logan was close, shoving the curtain against the wall. Charles let it go and it slid close again. He tilted his head to look up. Heat radiated from Logan's body and his breath brushed against Charles and Charles couldn't hide the smug smile as he realised Logan was already half hard.

“It's hard not to overhear what you're thinking.” Charles bridged the little distance remaining between them and arched his body, shamelessly rubbing against Logan. “But it's alright cause I'm thinking the same.”

For a moment Charles thought Logan would draw back after all, but then he dragged his fingers through Charles' hair, grabbing hold of the locks at the nape of his neck.

Charles put his hands in Logan's neck to pull him down for a kiss. This time there was no hesitation. Logan claimed Charles' mouth. The fervent intensity of the kiss turned into a pleasant surprise for Charles, as Logan sucked and licked at Charles' mouth. He'd imagined how Logan might kiss, and thought he would be careful and slow about it, but this was better. It allowed no room for thought.

Charles sucked at the tongue currently stroking the inside of his mouth, making it a clear promise to suck on other parts of Logan's body later. He moaned as Logan finally gave his mouth free. Charles allowed some distance between them, so Logan could run one of his hands down Charles' body, to find his own growing erection straining against the fabric of his trousers. Now he was playing it slow, as he palmed it, rubbing along its length until Charles moaned again.

“This what you want, Charles?”

“Yes!” Charles eyes drifted shut. He let his own pleasure surge against Logan's mind like waves, taking as much from Logan as he drew back so not to drown him. He was warm and alive with lust.

Logan tugged back Charles' head and kissed along the line of his jaw, down to his neck. Logan's lips were hot against the sensitive skin there, as he was licking, sucking, biting –

Charles suddenly froze. His ears rang with the cacophony of his harsh and loud breathing, mixed with the rushing blood in his ears and the dull thump of his heartbeat. Something cold settled low in his belly, replacing lust with something dark and twisted.

“Charles...”

He could hear a voice whispering against his ear, cold hands touching his naked skin, a mouth chasing the pulse in his throat, pain, sweet pain rushing through his body forcing a moan from his throat...

“Charles?!” Warm hands held his shoulders.

The world came back into focus.

He looked up into Logan's brown eyes. Worry and concern pushed against Charles' mind while Logan gently rubbed his shoulders.

Charles blinked, wanted to back away and found he stood against the wall. Panic rose. He was suffocating, he needed space, he needed to breath. He turned his head, pushed at Logan, shoved his hands away and stumbled to the side.

Confused Logan wanted to take a step closer, but then stopped and slowly took a few steps back instead. “Charles – I'm sorry, I thought – Nevermind. I shouldn't have.”

Hand braced against the wall, Charles straightened. This wasn't fair, a small voice in his mind wailed. And he wanted to laugh and cry and scream. Oh it was – it's what he deserved. He rubbed his hand against his throat, where the touch of lips still lingered like a ghost. “No, Logan, this – I want this, I want you. This – us, felt good, I just - “ Yesterday he would have dragged Logan to bed by now. He thought he could slip away from his past, forget it, yet it had found a way to get a hold of him again.

Logan nodded. “It's okay. Get some rest, Charles. I'll come by tomorrow to see about what protections we can add to the ones you already have.” He gave him a curt nod, then turned to leave.

'No!' Charles didn't need to rest, he needed someone to drown out his mind, his thoughts, his memories. Fill him with something else, even if that was mixed with discomfort or even pain. 'Don't go, stay, take me, just push me against the wall and fuck me. Gag my stupid mouth and fuck me 'till I scream – 'till I forget...' Because if Logan wouldn't do it, wouldn't stay - he would be alone in the dark with his memories.

Suddenly, Logan stopped.

Charles' heart was hammering in his chest. He wasn't sure if he hadn't actually projected his internal screams of frustration. Was Logan shocked, or - But this was Logan, he was sure the man would never force him, even if Charles asked exactly that.

Unless he made him do it.

Charles licked his lips nervously, as the idea formed in his mind. A shiver ran along his skin, almost delicious in its desperation. He wanted to laugh at how crazy his mind was twisting and turning, coming up with this idea. He could command Logan to fuck him, ignore all Charles' protests and just take him, use his body ignoring all of Charles' struggles or pleads to stop until Charles was ready to pass out.

And then he could make Logan forget about what he had done.

No one would know.

Logan turned and walked back to Charles.

Charles balled his hands to fists. A laugh bubbled up through his throat but got drowned by a wave of dizziness. Had he planted the idea instinctively in Logan's mind, was he loosing all control now?

But Logan's eyes shone warmly as he came closer, treading carefully, stepping closer only as Charles made no indication he didn't want him to.

Charles shivered with relieve.

Logan reached out to gently touch Charles' cheek. “I'll gladly pick up from here whenever you want to.” Then he bent down and brushed his lips against Charles' mouth. A chaste kiss compared to what they'd shared before. “Good Night, Charles – and don't forget to lock your door.”

Charles nodded, but stayed where he was, gaze following Logan as he disappeared through the bedroom door. He listened to the sound of Logan's footsteps on the stairs, waited until he heard the door to the apartment being shut.

He waited some moments longer, before he finally moved. He locked himself in for the rest of the night, then took a long shower, though the hot water only warmed his aching muscles, but didn't reach deeper. Still feeling slightly sick about himself, about what he had actually contemplated doing, he crawled into bed.

He lay awake, staring into darkness, his body tired but his mind refusing to find peace in sleep. Instead his thoughts wound up back in the alley, back with Erik. If only he had known – no, he had, if only he hadn't fooled himself and ignored the obvious when they had met.

Getting Erik up on his feet is actually easy. He's about a half a head taller than Charles, so he fits easily under Erik's shoulder and can prop him up. Getting Erik to walk out the cell is harder.

He still looks at Charles in a mix of puzzlement and wonder. It's disconcerting and also pleasant. When he thought there was no one to be saved down here, he found him, and now he will get him to safety. But as they reach the door, Erik's whole body goes suddenly rigid.

“It's okay, the others cleared the way. I'll get you outside quick, my friend.”

Why didn't he try and take control of Erik's mind at that moment? He wouldn't have been able to ignore the truth then. He would have known, before it was too late, right. Yet only a small part of Charles was ready to acknowledge the truth. It had already been too late.

The good thing is, Erik clings to him. Sometimes the victims fight him, because they are trapped in their own minds. They think he is one of the monsters come to drag them away and hurt them again. Erik seems to know he is not, still every fibre of his body is fighting against taking another step. And despite his weakened state he is still strong enough to make it hard for Charles to drag him along.

“Erik, please, we need to leave now.”

“I can't...” His eyes are wide and fearful as he stares at the wooden door.

“Yes you can. I'm here, I won't leave you. Just take one step after the other. You can close your eyes if you want. But you don't have to be afraid of leaving this cell. The ones who locked you in here -” He can't promise that they are truly dead, not yet. “I won't let them hurt you for that.”

It's working, slowly, but it is working. Erik still holds on to Charles what makes it hard to move, with his head almost buried at Charles' shoulder, but he takes a step forward. Charles is patient but insistent. The longer they stay, the more dangerous it is. One of the vampires might escape and come past here, or the team might need to retreat. He doesn't dare cast out his mind for fear of getting caught up in someone else's struggle.

As they reach the door, Erik cringes and whimpers and Charles has to drag him across the threshold. A pained moan escapes Erik's lips but Charles is too busy, straining his ears for any sounds of fighting or for something lurking in the dark corridor, to wonder about it too much.

Erik is shivering, but he's leaning less on Charles now. He looks around the corridor instead. Charles wonders how much he recognises it, or if he remembers at all how he has been captured. The torchlight is held in a bad angle in his hand, shining uselessly against the wall beside them.

“I came from there, the exit isn't far.” Charles whispers encouragingly and they turn to head back the way he came. But they only manage a couple of steps, when suddenly Erik goes still again.

Charles looks up at Erik, this time close to taking control of the man's mind, when something in the way Erik looks ahead alerts him. Charles reaches out with his mind, concentrates on the path in front of them.

He finds an angry haze lurking. A vampire, maybe even two. It's hard to tell. But it is clear they are wounded - and angry.

Charles' heartbeat speeds up. He tries to breath calmly, but it's hard, knowing he will have to fight two vampires on his own at the same time. In practice he hadn't done so bad in fights against two opponents, though even with his trainings-partner's mutations, it didn't compare to fighting the real deal. He turns to Erik, intent to make him stay here so he can take care of the monsters. He isn't sure if Erik is capable to make a run for it should things go south. At least this way Charles won't have to worry about him getting hurt further in the fight.

Erik looks at him oddly, then points at the way they just came from.

Charles shakes his head.

Erik leans closer, his voice so low, brushing against his ear, Charles can barely hear all he words, but he understands enough. There is another way out.

Charles nods. His priority is to get Erik out after all. This means avoiding fights that are not in his favour, if there is another way.

He wonders briefly how Erik knows another way out, but maybe it's the way he had been brought in here. He might have been thinking of escaping all the time he'd been kept here, heading down the corridor i8n his mind that they took now for real.

Charles can't see beyond the feeble cone of light, every wall ahead the light hits making his heart thump for a moment, before the bend in the corridor is revealed. Doubt creeps in. Erik's memory might be faulty and who's to say not more vampire's are waiting for them ahead. Hoping the fighting hasn't been carried this way, Charles gropes ahead with his mind.

It makes no difference. The attack comes from behind.

Charles hears the snarl just a split second before the vampire barrels into him. He hasn't even enough time to turn around.

He and Erik go down. The vampires caution seems to save them, for the creature has withdrawn after the initial attack. Charles quickly draws the wooden stake and knife strapped to his thighs. Not much help in defeating a vampire but it is sharp enough to separate limbs from body. It helps slow them down – a bit.

He rolls up into a crouching position in front of Erik. “Stay down.”

The light from the fallen torch illuminates the dirty ground, sending a pool of light into the empty tunnel.

A soft scratching sound from above alerts Charles. He looks up just in time to raise his weapons as the vampire drops from the ceiling. With a screech it avoids the stake, but as Charles stabs upwards with the knife, he hits solid flesh.

His arm gets wrenched back, as the vampire tries to jump away with the knife embedded in its body. Charles refuses to let go. 'Don't drop your weapon, don't drop your weapon...'

Stubbornly Charles clings to it, swings his other arm, hoping to impale the creature with the stake. The wood hits ribs, merely pricking the vampire's skin.

The next moment Charles' arm is grabbed by cold claws, and the vampire lurches itself forward, pale teeth snapping close to Charles' face. He smells the stink of rotten blood on the vampire's breath, and fights not to gag. He kicks up with his feet, trying to keep the monster at bay when suddenly Erik grabs the vampire from behind.

“No... Erik, run!” He can deal with this alone, he needs to get Erik safe!

The vampire lets go of Charles' arm, twists and struggles against Erik and both go down. With a sharp tug Charles feels his blade slide free of the vampires body. But sharp pain lances through his arm, making his ears ring and a moment Charles has to fight against dizziness, before he can get back on his feet.

He sees Erik and the vampire rolling on the ground, the creature finally getting the upper hand, sitting on Erik's chest with its fingers digging into Erik's shoulders, sharp claws tearing into flesh.

With a silent snarl Charles throws himself forward. The vampire turns just before he reaches it, hissing, pale lips drawn into a twisted snarl, revealing sharp fangs. Charles plunges forward with the knife and stabs the vampire in the shoulder. His arm trembles, his grip weakens at the impact muscles protesting the abuse they suffered moments before.

The vampire tries to pull the knife free, yet the distraction isn't enough. It still sees Charles' attack, the stake aimed at its heart and blocks it. Charles curses. Suddenly the vampire's arms are yanked back, leaving its chest open an vulnerable. Its screech echoes through the corridor, but Charles doesn't flinch back. He plunges the stake into its heart.

Charles wheezes, as the dust of the dead vampire settles on the dirt floor and Erik, who slowly drags himself back on his feet. He stands there, leaning against the wall. Charles looks up at him, licks his lips then cringes and wipes at them with the back of his hand. “Thank you, my friend”

Erik looks confused for a moment, then reaches out his hand to help Charles up. He flinches at the last moment, and looks at the wound on his shoulder, where the vampire had pierced his skin and flesh with sharp claws. He looks more in shock than pain though.

Still Charles grimaces at the sight. Nothing he can do now.“I'm sorry,my friend, I promised... But I'll get you out of here now.” He pushes himself to his feet, collects the torch and puts the knife back in its sheath – the stake stays in his hand, just in case. It's a little awkward, him with his hands full, trying to help Erik along. But they manage, following Erik's directions they make it to another staircase.

A trapdoor blocks their exit but they can easily push it open. Erik helps, using his uninjured arm, despite Charles' protests and finally they stumble out into the night, somewhere on the cemetery, amongst some trees and bushes. Charles makes sure they shut the trapdoor before he allows himself a moment's rest. He sinks into the grass, sucking fresh night air into his lungs. After the stink down in the tombs it's heavenly. Erik sits down beside him, then just drops back into the grass.

Quickly Charles scrambles back onto his knees. “Are you okay? Your shoulder – we should get you to a hospital.” Carefully he starts peeling back the shirt from Erik's left shoulder. It's hard to make out details, but there doesn't seem to be much blood.

“Charles...” Erik reaches for Charles' right hand, getting hold of his wrist and pulls it from the wound. He has to lean over Erik to keep his balance.

“I'm sorry, did I hurt you?”

“You freed me.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

The question seems odd to Charles, but then who knows what Erik has gone through till now. “Because that's what I – we do. We look for people who have been abducted, like you. How long have you been locked up down there?”

“Days...weeks. I don't know. Why did you try to protect me?”

“Because I promised I would get you out of there, my friend. Because I told you I would let no one harm you.” He smiles at Erik. “In the end you had to help me, right. Without you I wouldn't have been able to defeat that monster.” Erik must have tapped on some last reserves of strength, powered by desperation, to be able to wrestle with the vampire and pull back his arms the way he did.

Absently, Charles brushes a lock of hair from Erik's pale face. He should get him back to the others. Or better yet, contact Robin to see if they were out already and then get them over here to help him with Erik. “Can you get up and walk, or should I call the others to help?”

“No, no one else, I need...”

“It's okay, Erik. They are friends, they went down to kill the monsters. They are like me. They will protect you too.”

Erik shakes his head. “I'm – I'm weak.”

Yet Charles notices, that Erik grips his arm with surprising strength. Cool fingers rub over Charles' wrist, the touch gentle but firm. “That's why we should get you to a hospital.”

“No. Charles, please, I need – need you – please, you said you would help...“

Charles' heartbeat stutters for a moment and he feels his whole body warming, then his eyes widen as Erik pulls his arm closer, pressing Charles' wrist against his pale lips. Pale – cold – like all of Erik.

'No.' Finally - too late - he tries to touch Erik's mind and finds nothing but a vague shape, thoughts obscured by an impenetrable haze.

His pulse quickens. Erik gives a soft moan, the sound vibrating against Charles' wrist.

No, not Erik. The vampire, monster, creature, beast...Charles' free hand flexes, empty. He had dropped the stake somewhere in the grass.

Erik looks up at him, eyes wide, just as he had looked at him down in the cell. The dimmed light from the torch in the grass is barely enough to see by, yet Charles can still recognise the look. “Please, Charles, I need your blood. Only a little – they starved me - I haven't – not since they locked me up – please, I need to...”

Erik's lips lie trembling against Charles' skin, his grey eyes wide, unblinking – vulnerable.

He should run - he can't run, Erik is holding his arm – but waiting. He must be starved and still he is waiting for Charles' answer. 'NO!' Charles' mouth forms the word “Yes.”

Erik's gaze doesn't leave his, keeps Charles captured. As Erik opens his mouth, Charles can see the sharp fangs, glistening with saliva.

His heart is racing as is his mind, and yet it still hasn't managed to catch up with what is happening. Charles freed – saved – a vampire. A cold shiver runs through his body, as he becomes aware of the press of pointed teeth against his flesh. There is pain, sharp and severe. Charles wants to clench his hand to a fist, finds he can't he only ends up grasping Erik's hand holding his. Erik's grip tightens until Charles' own loosens, his muscles relaxing and with it the pain lessens. Then Erik sucks at the punctured wounds and nothing has prepared Charles for this.

The sensation races through his body, straight to his cock and he can't stifle the moan that betrays his arousal. He struggles to get away, then to get closer, straddles Erik's leg and the friction feels so good.

With one arm Erik pulls Charles close and the feel of his body shifting against his makes Charles moan. The sound seems dirty, wrong, but with each gulp Erik takes from his blood, new sparks of pleasure race through his body. His cock is hot and hard, leaking precome. He looses all concept of time, of how long he is shamelessly rutting against Erik's body, then slowly dizziness creeps in. He feels like he's floating and downing in pleasure at the same time.

Erik stops sucking at Charles' wrist, mouth still pressed against his skin. Dimly Charles becomes aware that this could be the end. Erik could drain him, and he would moan and rut against him and welcome his death. He laughs. It sounds distant, rough, while tears stream down his face.

Suddenly the world tilts sideways and everything goes black for a moment. Then he finds himself sitting up, Erik holding him, dragging his tongue against Charles wrist, making it tingle and itch. He is aware that he isn't bleeding from the puncture wounds, is aware that he is still alive. Charles tries to get to his feet, but Erik keeps him back.

His voice is a soft caress, that makes Charles' guts clench. “Thank you. It's alright, I won't hurt you, Charles. You set me free.”

Erik stands, pulling Charles along with him.

'No...leave me.' Charles wants to say it but he isn't sure the words make it past his lips. He can still call the others, even if he can't utter a word, he can still reach them with his mind. It's not too late.

“Don't worry. I won't leave you here. You didn't leave me either.” Erik's body is warmer now, as he pulls Charles close and lifts him up.

Charles closes his eyes and it's as if he is falling endlessly into darkness.

Charles opened his eyes to darkness. For a moment panic threatened, then he realised he was in his bed. He turned his head towards the window, and though the curtain there was drawn after the first feeling of disorientation passed, he could make out the city lights drawing a halo of electric yellow and orange around the thick fabric.

Slowly he sat up in bed, noticing how unusually awake he was though he couldn't have slept for more than two or three hours. His mind had been spinning restlessly. Had he really believed that Erik would stay buried, that he could escape from his past forever?

“Have you really thought you can escape me, Charles?”

Shocked Charles heard the familiar voice, saw one of the shadows in the room solidify, move closer, turn into the familiar shape he'd thought he would only see in his memories again.

“Erik – how did you get in? I didn't let you in!” His voice sounded faint to his own ears. He remembered Logan's words. 'They can force you to let them in.' But he had been asleep. “I didn't let you in!” This time it came out more firm and sure.

Erik had reached the edge of the bed, and started moving across it on hand and knees, taking his time, sure of his prey. “But Charles, you have invited me in a long time ago.”

The words hurt, like a fist clenching around Charles' heart.

Erik was on top of him now. He brushed his fingers against Charles' face, the touch gentle. For a moment the expression on Erik's face was the one that Charles remembered, the one that had made him believe for too long that this could work out, that Erik was not one of the monsters after all.

And for a moment, in a bout of madness, Charles wondered if indeed he couldn't reason with the monster.

Suddenly cold fingers gripped his throat and Erik snarled, showing his fanged teeth. “That's all I am to you. A monster.”

“No.” Charles tried to struggle but found he couldn't move. Erik had him pinned down efficiently.

“You owe me! You owe me Charles, and I will have you repay your debt drop by drop.”

Charles tried to remember how he had taken control of Erik's mind earlier, find the tiny opening that had let him get a hold on the hazy thoughts. But he couldn't even feel that. There was nothing. And nothing to stop Erik, as he buried his teeth in Charles' neck.

 

With a jolt Charles woke up.

Heart hammering in his chest he lay there, staring up at the ceiling, unable to move. The room was filled with pale light from a bright day, sneaking around the edges of the curtain. His skin felt clammy with sweat, but he stayed buried under the false safety of the blankets.

Erik wasn't really in his apartment. It had only been a dream. But he couldn't hide from the fact, that Erik had come back, had found him and it was only a matter of time until he would have to face him.

Chapter Text

Charles turned off the shower, grabbed his towel and headed towards the lockers. After training he had put in some extra time for stretching while Logan had left already. He had mentioned speaking to Moira about their assignment for tonight.

It was still a little early, so he wasn't surprised that there was no one else in the spacious room. It was one of those times, when it was quiet, no voices outside or inside his head, that he found the leisure to really take in his surroundings. And he was still a little amazed at the headquarters of the Night Investigation Bureau. Here they were a proper government agency – albeit if said government only knew half of what it was funding.

Back in England they had been more like a ragtag band of people who happened to have some sort of mutation, some power, that gave them an edge in hunting vampires. Creatures most people thought belonged into the world of myths and legends.

Their base of operation had been the home of the professor who recruited him. Weapons had been self-made and their database a mix of books and mostly handwritten files, because no one ever had the time to put everything in digital form. Because hunting vampires had been more like a vocation than a job, since they hadn't gotten paid.

Now hunting vampires was actually a paid job. Though Charles had been lucky, he at least never had to worry about finances. His family had money and now being the only one left of said family –

He stopped that thought, opened his wide locker and pulled his bag out. Logan had mentioned two open cases yesterday, so they would probably pick up one of those. The disappearances from the club seemed the more urgent one. Multiple disappearances at once meant more than one vampire. It would take all their wits and skill to work this one. Spotting vampires in a crowded room was what Charles was good at. As well as luring them out. Most likely this would be tonight’s goal.

He pulled out underwear and a pair of tight black trousers. They had a silken shine to them that would look good in the flashing light of a club.

He had just put them on when he heard someone approaching. He checked, more out of habit, for the mind coming with the sound and as suspected found it was Logan. Charles turned to face him. Logan was wearing his usual black leather jacket along with dark jeans and white shirt.

His expression didn't give much away, though Logan's gaze ran down Charles' naked chest, stopping briefly at his hips and at the hem of his trousers.

A delicious tingling ran down Charles' spine and he smiled. So Logan was still interested. Waking up in the morning, Charles hadn't been too sure. Even after Logan had shown up at his apartment in the early afternoon as promised. They hadn't talked about what had happened last night but worked steadily, rubbing the buck-thorn oil into the wooden tiles on the terrace.

When Logan had taken off his shirt, Charles had been tempted to touch and run his hands along the muscled arm and neck – or at least say something.

But then doubt had crept in. Clearly Logan had only acted on his attraction to Charles last night because he'd been worried. So what if, after a good nights rest, he'd changed his mind again.

Instead of acting on impulse Charles had fetched himself a glass of iced tea instead and drowned any indecent thoughts in the cold drink. Now though he found himself wondering, if Logan was not simply waiting for Charles to make the first move, after his little freak-out reaction to Logan kissing his neck last night.

Maybe he should simply ask him over for drinks after work. Charles rubbed his hands together. “So where are we headed tonight? You said something about a club with people disappearing in groups …”

“Yes. But we’re not going there. I’ve talked with Moira, she’s sending Darwin and Alex to the Hellfire Club. We’re going to the playground with the disappearing teenagers. Try our luck there. So I guess you should change into something more suitable for that.”

Charles frowned. “Why? Alex is more fit to play the delinquent teenager hanging out in parks than I am. We should take the hot spot. I’m better at spotting vampires in a crowd, and we both have more experience at fighting. You said yourself, they expect to be a group of vampires hunting there.”

“They are only there on stakeout, just looking, and they are not to engage any vampires tonight. I thought it would be better if we take a more quiet assignment.”

Charles was suddenly angry. “You could have consulted with me before you made that decision.”

“I decided not to.”

Charles undid the buttons of his trousers again, more forceful than need be. The movement stating his annoyance clearly. He pushed his trousers down and pulled them off, glaring at Logan, who watched Charles' every movement.

For a moment Charles looked challenging at Logan, standing there in nothing but his underwear. He felt the emotions of last night rushing through him in full force again.

Logan didn't move.

Finally Charles turned around, stuffing the trousers back into his bag, muttering under his breath. “Fuck you, I don't need you controlling how I work.” He was not in the mood for hanging out in a dark playground left with nothing more exciting to do than watch some teenagers while his own thoughts would undoubtedly go back to thinking about Erik – who it seemed he couldn't do anything about. Not knowing where he was or what he planned next.

At least at the club there would be distractions, and people, with minds he could check because maybe, just maybe, someone had seen something suspicious. He couldn't just wait for Erik to show up again.

He pulled out a more worn jeans and grey shirt. Suddenly he felt a brush of fingertips against the back of his neck, then Logan's hand finally settled on Charles shoulder. The touch was gentle and firm – and Logan's hand a lot warmer than Erik's touch had ever been. “I know, both of us work very well on their own. We have proven that. I was less than thrilled having to work in a team when Moira – suggested it.” 'Threatened' was the more appropriate term. They had lost some hunters that worked alone to a very vicious vampire. Both Logan and Charles had thought they would go their separate ways again after the vampire was brought down, so they agreed to team up. Yet after they killed it they where still stuck together.

“But – I know I can rely on you. Most people underestimate you, but I've seen you out there. You know the monsters. Now I don't know about that vampire who attacked us the other night, or how you could make him stop, and I'm not asking. But I do know that he got under your skin and that you want to go to the club because it will prove a distraction. And that will get you distracted which is dangerous – for both of us.”

Only reluctantly Charles admitted, if only to himself, that Logan was right. Still he gritted his teeth. “I hope you have another lead on any vampires because if no vampire shows up at that playground, I'll drag you to random bars until we find one.”

“If not, I can try and make it up to you another way.”

The words took Charles by surprise, as did the gentle press of lips against his shoulder. Before he could react Logan had stepped back, giving him space. Several flirty remarks burnt at the tip of his tongue, but he got none of them past his lips.

“You can let me drive,” Charles finally said, just to say something and not just stand there gaping.

Logan laughed. “You would still have to convince me that you actually know how to drive.”

“You have seen my drivers licence, “ Charles protested.

“And I've let you drive once and I'm convinced you only got that by making everyone think you can drive. So no.”

Charles chuckled, the awkward moment having passed, he finished dressing.

In the end it was more convenient to have Logan drive anyway. Charles made him stop at a gas station, coming out with a bottle wrapped in brown paper.

Logan raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment. They only spoke as Logan stopped a few blocks from the park to drop Charles off.

“We might be here for nothing. So far only three teenagers went missing from here. None from any other close by areas. So perhaps the vampire hasn't settled in yet. Maybe you can pick something up from someone hanging out there, some of the kids noticing someone who doesn't belong. ”

Charles nodded. “If it weren’t chance kills and really is part of a feeding ground.” Charles sighed. He had hoped to get something to do tonight, kill a vampire, make a difference. He gritted his teeth and tried to tell himself that it would be just as good if he was able to gather information that they could use to find the vampire responsible and keep the humans safe.

Though tonight it wasn't enough, and very likely wouldn't be for the next nights either. “Well, if nothing happens until midnight, we can still go to Hellfire and join Darwin and Alex.” Charles grinned. “Just observing of course.”

Logan gave him a long look, from the sports shoes to the oversized shirt, hiding his weapons and hair brushed into his face. Clean-shaven he looked a lot younger than he was, Charles knew, especially in the odd gloom of the cities electric light. “The way you look you wouldn’t even be allowed near the bouncer. They’d send you straight back home.”

Charles got out of the car. “And you said yourself, I can make them think whatever I want. I can make the bouncer not even notice me walk in.” He smirked at Logan, then turned away and headed to the park, bottle grasped firmly in his hand.

Charles realised he had hoped the playground would be deserted, but he spotted a group of three girls, maybe 15 or 16 years old. It was hard to tell from the distance. They were occupying the slide, two sitting on it while the third was leaning on some sort of mushroom-shaped toy thing. They were looking his way as they heard the gate to the playground fall shut with a clank.

Charles opted for giving them a long annoyed look, then settled at one of the swings furthest from them, apparently ignoring them. He started idly moving back and forth on the swing, then opened the bottle and took a swig. He didn't have to act as he crunched up his face at the taste of cheap alcohol.

The girls deemed him not worth their attention and went on chatting.

He searched for Logan's mind and found him in the car parked about a block away. 'I'm in position. There are three teenagers hanging out, I'll try and see if they have seen anything suspicious.'

Settled firmly, with his arms around the metal chains of the swing, it didn't look odd as he hunched forward and for all the world appeared like he was in a bad mood. He cast out his mind, targeting the three girls – and reeled back, his heartbeat quickening. He quickly took another swig from the bottle to mask his reaction, sticking his tongue into the bottleneck to make sure he wasn't actually drinking.
'Logan, make that two girls and one vampire!'

He felt the tension rolling off Logan's mind and was quick to clarify. 'They are only talking for now. Let me check out the situation first. Maybe I can get them out without alerting the vampire.'

'I'm ready. Just give me the go once you need me.' With that came the distinct picture of Logan getting out of the car,and settling against the hood, waiting.

'Okay.' Charles quickly swung his focus back to the girls.

He had to sift through a rabble of thoughts, school, homework, plans for the upcoming weekend, parents. They were popping up again and again, getting in the way of what the actual conversation was about.

Finally he had gleaned enough. The vampire had approached the girls and was now trying to lure them away, wanting them to follow her to some party. One of the girls was already very eager in wanting to go, the other still showed some reluctance. Which was good. The vampire might get suspicious if both girls suddenly had a change of heart and walked off. Maybe she would decide to attack them then, regardless of how intent she seemed to take them somewhere else. Somewhere where no one could hear them and there was no escape.

Charles pressed his lips together.

He nudged 'reluctant girl's' mind so she wouldn't be swayed to go along after all, then dug through the thought's of the other girl, trying to find something that would make her not wanting to follow the vampire to whatever fun she promised. It had to be something convincing, something she talked about already would be perfect, so the vampire wouldn't grow suspicious.

Finally he found a good reason and set about to nudge the girls minds to make excuses and leave.

The vampire was insistent. Charles shivered, hearing the hunger in her words, or at least imagining it. He urged the girls to promise another time, tomorrow... but to snatch the food from under the vampire's nose, he needed more. A distraction, or rather – bait. He pushed himself back so the swing made a little creak. He let the bottle drop on the soft ground and, cursing softly, slipped down to save it from spilling all the liquid and pick it up again.

He didn't dare look, but felt the two girls leave for good. He nudged them on and took the time to make sure they would feel reluctant to come back here again. As he got back to himself and looked up he found the vampire standing in front of him. He got to his feet, giving her a sullen look.

“Hey, mind if I sit down here?” She indicated the swing next to Charles.

Charles shrugged and got back on his own. He eyed her from the side. 'Girls got away safe.'

'Charles, what about the vampire?'

'She planned to take them somewhere, so she isn't killing them here. Maybe I can find out where she took the others.' The 'maybe there is still someone alive and worth saving' Charles kept to himself.

'Don't do anything rash!'

'I'll let you know when I need help.' He sent Logan an image of the vampire, how she was sitting on the swing beside Charles. Tight black jeans with artful rips at her knees, orange chucks and a green shirt. She wore her black hair cut short and it suited her pale face and brown eyes. She could pass as anything from fifteen to twenty-five.

“What's your name?”

“Francis.”

“Hi, I'm Clara. Why are you drinking here alone, Francis?”

Charles pursed his lips and looked at the ground. “Why does one drink. For fun.”

“When you drink in a group it's for fun. If you are alone... trouble?”

“It's none of your business.”

“Suit yourself. I just thought maybe you need a sympathetic ear.” If he hadn't been looking out for it he might have missed the way she suddenly went still, only her fingers moved, gripping the chains of the swing tighter. Suddenly patches of rust started flaking off the metal.

He took a swig from the bottle again, then looked at it and, seemingly reluctant, offered it to her, not looking at her hands. “I just got dumped.” He really hoped she could only influence metal like that and not skin and flesh.

She took it and just held it in her hands, not drinking from it. “Hey, why – I mean, I know we just met, but some friends of mine are having a party and maybe you want to come along.”

“You don't know me.” He didn't want to sound too eager, unlike her. Maybe it hadn't been recent that she'd fed. Maybe there was no one left to save after all.

“Yes, but – you seem nice and – okay, I'm not going to lie. And I guess you will understand, 'cause, my ex is going to be at the party and ....”

“What? You want me to go as a fake date or something?”

“Well, no, yes, or just, I don't want to show up there alone, really.”

“Hm...well...it's not like I've anything else planned for tonight... okay.” He added another shrug, then waited while the vampire jumped up before he himself got to his feet.

“Thank you.”Her smile seemed genuine. She was good, almost as good as – Charles felt for her mind to distract himself. The usual haze of a vampire's mind. He didn't comment as she threw his bottle away in a dumpster and followed her.

'We're leaving, heading in the opposite direction from you.' He sent along the image of the street they were heading down.

'Charles, we should finish it off.'

'This place is no good, someone might see. She doesn't look like she's going to attack yet. I think she wants to lead me somewhere.' “So where are we going? I don't really know the place. My gi – my ex-girlfirend lives close but after... I just was looking for a quiet spot.”

“Oh, it's not far.” She was walking close by his side, her hand brushed Charles'. He nearly flinched back, his skin crawling at the thought of her touch, but then he let her slowly entwine their fingers. His right hand was still free. He could grab the stake he had hidden underneath his shirt or the ones in his boots.

She would think his tension and speeding up heart came from her touching him. Though she would believe it was for albeit different reasons. A thought struck. Should he try? Tentatively, he tightened his grip on her hand, then latched onto the haze that was her mind. It was insubstantial and vague, he still tried to get a grip, to hold, find some opening to go deeper. He tried to remember how it had felt when he had been able to grip Erik's mind and then delve deep enough to take control. He searched for the strange buzz, the vibrations, that he had been able to manipulate. It was harder cause they were moving. He stumbled a little, heard her chuckle. He kept trying, but despite the contact of her cold hand in his he could find no purchase.

“Shortcut,” she said and pulled him along into a more narrow alley.

Charles blinked, realising he had lost rack of where they were for a moment. He needed to orientate himself to let Logan know. He turned his head to see where they had turned away from the main street and felt her hand slip from his grasp. Suddenly alert he turned around, hand reaching for the stake. The alley was empty.

'Logan...!' Fuck, he had been stupid not paying more attention – such a dumb mistake.

The alley's exit was too far and he was an easy target when he ran, leaving himself vulnerable to any attack from behind. He needed to get his back against something solid. His gaze roamed up and down the alley, but he couldn't spot the vampire. The skin at the back of his neck was crawling.

“Clara?” He looked around while apparently moving haphazardly until finally he felt hard brick against his shoulder. Relieved he dared reach out with his mind now and found something moving towards the mouth of the alley, away from him. But why would she run away? Had she noticed something was wrong, or even felt him probing at her mind.

She was moving quickly and it was hard to keep track of her, since he couldn't properly latch on like he could with a human mind. But he got the sense of smug satisfaction not worry from her.

Why hadn't she attacked yet? Or did she want him to run so she could hunt him down like an animal? Charles gritted his teeth. Well he would have to disappoint.

Suddenly there was another mind, right above him, filled with burning hunger. Charles ducked instinctively and reached for the stake in his boot. But he wasn't fast enough. Cold fingers grabbed his left arm, sharp nails digging into his flesh. A cackling laugh filled his ear and before he could move he lost all ground underneath his feet. The vampire jumped upwards, dragging Charles with him.

Charles body hit the brick wall as the vampire landed vertically, clinging to the wall as easily as if it were a ladder. The violent move sent a burn of pain along Charles' arm. He knew he had to do something before he got dragged any higher. He wriggled so he could face the wall, feeling like a worm on a fish-hook. The vampire just gave an angry snarl, then jumped again. Charles stomach lurched but he gritted his teeth as his body was jerked up again, but he was facing the wall now. He pulled up his legs and his feet found purchase as his body was swung against the hard bricks once more.

He pushed away from the wall and pulled himself up, holding onto the vampire's arm.

Surprise was on his side, the vampire still thought him easy prey, and only turned to hiss threatening at him. A long pointed tongue darted out of his mouth. Charles didn't hesitate at the sight and plunged the stake into the monster's unprotected chest. The sharp wood slid in under the vampire's ribcage and penetrated its heart.

Charles plunged down in a cloud of dust. He tried to roll as he hit the ground. The impact forced all air from his lungs and pain lanced through his abused shoulder.

There was a high pitched screech from down the alley.

Despite the pain Charles forced himself to reach for the other stake strapped to his side under the shirt. As he looked up the vampire was running straight towards him, furious, hissing, sharp teeth bared. She was quick though at least kept to the ground. Small mercies. Charles pushed himself to his knees, but stayed crouched forward. He kept the stake close to his body, hoping she wouldn't notice. All he had to do was bring his arms forward when she was almost on top of him to impale her heart.

She had almost reached him when a loud crack from a pistol echoed through the alley. Her body jerked forward, hit, but not vitally so. She whirled to see who had attacked her. Charles threw himself forward, grabbed her round the waist and tried a blind stab to her chest with his right. The stake penetrated soft flesh, but missed the heart. Charles tried to get the stake back out and impale her again, but she was twitching violently and he lost his grip. She was clawing at his already injured arm, and for a moment Charles feared her touch would corrode his flesh just like she had done to the metal. But she only dug in her sharp fingernails, finally prying Charles' arm away.

“Duck!”

Charles let himself fall to the ground. Then there was a rush of air and silence. Charles stayed down, breathing heavily, waiting for the pain in his arm and shoulder to subside.

“Charles, you okay?” Logan bent over him, hand touching his shoulder.

“Yes – just...” Determined not be be caught off-guard again, Charles cast out his mind. This time he made sure to check the alley and up the surrounding buildings and down into the cellars as well, but there was nothing there. “Okay, clear.”

Logan straightened and looked around. “Clear? Is there another vampire?”

“Was. Stabbed him as he was just dragging me up the building. I guess they had some sort of roof- pick-nick planned.” Charles chuckled, then winced. For a moment he simply cradled his arm against his chest while tears stung in his eyes from the pain.

Logan knelt down beside him, helping him to sit up. “He got you bad?”

“No teeth. Just grabbed my arm.” Charles carefully held up his arm for inspection. It hurt like hell and he was hard pressed not to flinch as Logan took it in his hands. It was hard to see by the dim light. The shirtsleeve was shredded and showed dark patches of blood.

“Can you move your fingers?”

Charles did. “Yes. I guess no torn muscles. Just scratches.”

“Lets get you back to headquarters, they'll check you out.”

This was the second time in two days. Usually all he needed after a successful hunt was a shower to clear off the dust. He didn't like the idea of Erik getting to him in ways that influenced his abilities to do his job. “Okay, but I want to check something out first.”

“What?”

Charles pointed up towards the roof the vampire had meant to drag him up to.

“What's up there?”

“That's what I want to find out. I think... it's just a hunch, but let's check it out. It won't take long.”

“Alright.”

Charles was glad Logan was ready to follow his lead without asking questions. He felt in no shape for an argument. So he collected his stakes, putting them back into their sheaths. A little awkward but manageable to do with only one hand. Then he headed for the fire ladder leading up to the building. The first rung was about four heads above him. He could make the jump, but with his left arm injured he had no chance of pulling himself up.

“Here, let me.” Logan linked his hands for Charles to step in and crouched down so he had a firm stance.

“Thank you.” With Logan's help he got up on the fire-ladder and started climbing, careful not to put too much weight on his left arm, the process a lot slower than he would have liked. He felt Logan get on the ladder behind him.

“And I'm sorry,” he called down.

“What for?”

“I should have paid more attention and kept in contact with you. I hardly noticed as we entered the alley.”

Logan grunted. “I only found you when I heard the scream. Had to take a shot, cause I was still too far away from the vampire as it tried to attack you.” No rebuke, he was only stating a fact.

“And I missed the second vampire. Only I - “ Charles licked his lips, but he owed Logan an explanation. “I tried to do it again, what I did – I tried to get hold of its mind.”

“Did it work?”

“No... “ Charles couldn't tell why though. He'd touched it physically, just like he had – Erik. He'd thought the contact may play part in it but apparently that made no difference. So why had he been able to control Erik?

“Perhaps there is something you did differently.”

“Yes, maybe.”

Logan grunted, though Charles wasn't sure if Logan didn't suspect that the reason was something else, something Charles wouldn't tell him and had all to do with what happened between Erik and Charles in the past. But if Logan wasn't pushing for an explanation, Charles sure wouldn't give one. Especially since he simply didn't know what the answer was, really.

Finally Charles pulled himself up on the roof. Here it was brighter than down in the alley, yet there wasn't anything worth seeing. He hadn't known what he'd hoped to find, but the roof completely ordinary, disappointingly so.

Logan stepped onto the roof behind him and started looking around too.

Charles decided their best shot may be to take a look inside the building. He made his way over to the door leading off the roof, when he heard Logan call his name.

Charles whirled around, right hand ready to grab for the closest stake at hand. But Logan simply stood in front of some windows. Charles walked over and by coming closer realised what he'd mistakenly believed to be part of the building was a whole separate structure – a glass house. His hands balled to fists and he ignored the pain to his arm even that slight movement brought along.

It was obviously abandoned. Most of the windows were grimy, and several were smashed, providing a view inside. It was still filled with plants, probably watered by the rain coming in through some more holes in the glass-roof. The dense dark foliage covered most of the place, a small jungle grown out of hand in the middle of the city. Charles' could hear the low buzz of insects inside and he looked closer.

“Do you have a flash-light?” Charles already knew what the three vague shapes he could make out on the ground were, but he needed to see.

Logan pulled one up and shone it's light in through a broken window. It fell on a dead body, then another - and a third one.

Neither of them said a word. Suddenly Charles went around the glasshouse, checking its walls until he found the door at the narrow side.

“Charles, what are you doing?”

Instead of giving an answer, Charles pushed the door open and stepped inside. The smell assaulting him was a sickly mix of green plants and wet earth mixed with the stench of urine, faeces and decay.

Charles covered his mouth and nose with his hand, but it took him some moments until he could breath through the stench and not bolt outside. Still he only took shallow breaths through his mouth as he stepped closer to the dead bodies. Along with the flies buzzing about he saw white maggots crawling over the dead flesh. He hesitated a moment, but then knelt down to check the bodies. From what he could see they were two girls and one boy. Their clothing looked filthy and showed tears. Their mouths and eyes, now crawling with flies and maggots, stood open. Despite their decomposing flesh he still could make out the marks on their necks, arms, thighs. He also could see the rope, tying the bodies hands and legs.

“What is it?” Logan still waited outside, shining the light into the glasshouse.

Slowly Charles got up and took a step back. “They were tied, hands and feet, so they couldn't escape. They captured them and brought them here and fed from them – probably over the time of some nights, until they had bled them dry.” Charles shuddered. They had intended to do the same to those two girls on the playground. If they would have followed the vampire, they too would have ended up here, tossed in beside the dead bodies, scared and dizzy from being bled. Caught in a nightmare that would only end in death.

This! This was what vampires did. They were monsters.

Chapter Text

The vampire is the first thing Charles sees when he opens his eyes. Something seems different though, and after a few moments, during which his eyes adjust to the bright light, he realises what it is. There are no longer any smudges of dirt on his face and his hair is wet, looking like he's just washed it. Also the dirty and ragged clothes are gone, replaced with clean trousers and a black shirt.

What catches Charles attention though are Erik's eyes. Charles can see them out clearly now. They are a pale greyish colour, like the stormy sky. The expression they hold is still the same as it was down in the cell. They are still too wide and alert, looking almost like he's going to flinch at any sudden move or loud sound. They look just like the eyes of any vampire victim Charles has ever seen.

It's confusing to Charles, just as is the tentative smile on Erik's face showing briefly before it's replaced by concern and he reaches out and helps Charles as he sits up.

Then he pushes a bottle of orange-juice and several chocolate bars into his hands.

“Here. You'll need this. I didn't – I think I didn't drink too much. You're awake now, but...” He nods, more to himself. “But you need to drink and eat.”

Charles stares at the single slim bars of milk and caramel Cadbury chocolates, like the ones you got from vending machines, looking oddly bright and cheerful in their purple wrappers. 'That's right. He drank my blood. He's one of them, he's a vampire!'

“Where did you take me?” He looks around. There are no windows in the room and only one door. It seems to be some kind of storage with shelves and boxes. Otherwise it looks neat and the electric light is bright, though it fails to give any real comfort.

“We're in the National Gallery. In the Sainsbury wing.” Erik clears his throat as his voice starts breaking – probably from disuse. How long has he been in the cell? Charles can't help but wonder. “I've hidden here before. Don't worry.” Erik's fingertips brush against Charles' arm, making him twitch. “I took care of the security system. No one knows we are here.”

Charles thinks he should ask how, or why, but no word comes out. Erik surely means to be reassuring, but his statement sends a shiver down Charles' spine.

“You have to drink.” Erik obviously misinterprets Charles' reaction. “I should have brought you a blanket.” He frowns, as if still trying to figure out communication or the situation, maybe both. “I'm sorry. Here, let me...” He plucks the bottle from Charles' hands again and opens it before he gives it back.

Charles stares at it. It is a way to avoid looking at Erik. He needs to find out what Erik plans to do and then he needs to escape. He takes a shuddering breath. No way is he up to a fight against a vampire, so, absurdly, Erik is right. Charles needs to eat and drink. Reluctantly he tilts back his head and takes a sip. Only as the orange juice fills his mouth does he realise just how thirsty he is. As he finally lowers the bottle it's half empty.

Erik is watching him intently.

Charles fumbles with a caramel chocolate bar, tearing the wrapper and eating it, more slowly, hoping the sugar will take effect and he will know what to say and do once he is done. He tries to check his watch unobtrusively and is shocked to find it's already early morning. He must have been out longer than he'd thought. Though of course, if Erik has managed to bring him all the way from the cemetery here...

He raises his head to look at Erik, the questions a whirlwind in his mind making him dizzy. “How...” It comes out a croak and Charles takes another sip from the bottle. “How did you get me here?”

Something like a smile tugs at Erik's mouth. “I'll show you – later.”

Is Erik already planning to take him somewhere else? Charles needs to get out. Perhaps he can reach someone outside, but he can't let them come here and look into the room. National Gallery, Sainsbury wing Erik had said. So they are probably underground. No windows, not just inside this room, no daylight to keep a vampire in check.

“I need to use the toilet. To clean myself up.” Saying it brings new focus to what happened earlier, when Erik bit him. He shifts uncomfortable, his underwear feeling sticky with his come.

“Of course.” Erik gets up and holds out his hand to help Charles to his feet.

Reluctantly Charles takes it. Erik uses a little too much force and Charles, still dizzy, sways and stumbles forward. His heart races as Erik catches him and keeps him pulled against his body. Cool skin touches his and Charles hears Erik inhale.

“You smell good.”

Charles stiffens.

Erik draws back, reluctantly until he is only holding on to his hand. “Come.”

Of course he will not let him go alone. Charles follows for a few steps, then presses his lips together. “I can find the way on my own. I need – I need some time alone.” Charles is sure Erik will refuse, but to his surprise he nods.

“The wash rooms are one level up.” He makes sure Charles is standing on his own before he lets go of his hand.

It takes Charles a moment, but then he gets moving to the door. To his surprise he finds it isn't even locked. All he needs to do is slip out, take the next stairs leading up and up until he reaches ground level. The sun will be rising already. There will be daylight and Erik will be unable to follow him.

“You'll come back? You won't leave me alone, Charles?”

Charles stops, halfway through the door. He turns to look at Erik, standing in the brightly lit room. Charles sees how gaunt he still looks, not only is his skin pale but seems ashen, and there are shadows under his eyes. Apart from his outward appearance there is something else, shining through his expression, the way he stands and holds himself – haunted, small, lost and out of place.

“I'll come back – I promised I won't leave you.” Charles chest feels tight, but he realises he is smiling at Erik when he smiles back. Charles turns away, then gently closes the door behind him.

Charles phoned in their find to NIB headquarters. They would send someone to collect the dead bodies. He just hoped there would be evidence as to who the kids were, so parents or relatives of missing kids didn't need to come in to identify them. He tried not to think about it too much while he sat in his seat, arm cradled close. By the light in the car they had been able to see more, and though Charles had known it was bad by the way it hurt, it looked worse. The vampire's claw-like fingernails had left deep gashes in his flesh. He was having some painful cleaning out of wounds to look forward to and probably needed some stitches too.

At least the creatures who had done this were dead. They wouldn't lure any more kids away from the playground to feed off them. Charles didn't want to think of how scared they must have been, or speculate if they had been hoping to be found and saved, or had given up all hope in the end.

“Relax.” Logan's hand squeezed his knee shortly, before he drew it back.

“I just hate being too late to save them – if only one had still been alive...” If only they'd gone yesterday to check out the lead. He knew, having seen the dead bodies, it wouldn't have made a difference, still Charles was hard pressed not to wonder if he could have done something differently to dial down the body count.

“That why you didn't join the raiding team? Moira told me she had you down for that.”

“Yes...something like that.” After that fateful night raiding the catacombs where he'd found Erik, Charles had started to dread it whenever they went to a vampire's hiding place and he was sent in search for victims.

“You stopped those two from hurting anyone else ever again.”

“Hm...”

“Do you know how many vampires you killed?”

“No. I'm not keeping count.”

“Glad you don't, but I guess it must have been many by now. And no matter how many lives they took before you got to them, you stopped them from taking more.”

“Many, yes...” Charles leant back into the seat and closed his eyes. “And I know... I know...” He had heard it so many times, but in the end the vampire's he'd killed didn't seem to matter. He had failed once, had let one vampire live – saved him actually. And it weighed far more, along with the dead bodies said vampire had left in his wake.“Did you ever – not make a kill?”

“Like, had one get away?”

Charles hesitated. He should tell Logan. He deserved to know. But could he admit out loud to what he'd done. Charles opened his mouth - “Yes.”

Logan threw him a glance, unable to take his gaze off the road and traffic for too long. “A few times. Sucks to try and track them down once they know you're on to them. But they usually are too cocky and pissed that I dare try and kill them, so they turn up in the end... Is that what happened with you and that vampire?”

The question shouldn't have come as a surprise but it did. “Sort of – yes. I thought I got him but... didn't.”

“When did that happen?”

“When I was still in England. Some eight years ago.”

Logan huffed. “You think he tracked you all the way from there?”

“I don't know. Maybe he just showed up here by chance and found out I was here too.” In his gut Charles knew Erik was here for him, but if he admitted that, he would have to tell Logan more, a lot more.

“Bad luck.”

“Yes.” Charles sighed. “And payback is a bitch.”

Another missed opportunity to tell the full truth. But Charles didn't want to test their friendship and see if Logan would understand.

Logan was waiting for Charles as he came back from the emergency room at headquarters. He looked Charles over sceptically.

Charles had cleaned up and changed into a short sleeved shirt. It left his lower arm bare, that now sported thick bandages. Two of the wounds had indeed to be stitched up. His shoulder was bruised too. Apparently the vampire had nearly pulled his arm from the socket when he started jumping up that wall.

“You only did it to get out of writing reports – though you will still have to fill in the parts of when I wasn't there.” Logan greeted him.

Charles grimaced. “I'd rather write those reports. Hurts like hell.”

Logan raised an eyebrow. “They didn't give you anything?”

“Tablets only, you know that half the painkillers have nasty side-effects with my telepathy and doctor said it's not so bad that they would give me anything stronger and then having to knock me out with something else, so I don't have the whole of NIB hallucinating. Anyway, feels like the tablets take their time to kick in. But they gave me some more for tomorrow morning.” He patted his pocket with his uninjured hand.

Logan grunted, then suddenly stepped up to pull him close, careful of his bandaged arm.

Startled Charles swayed, then opted for simply leaning into the embrace. Logan felt warm, solid and the touch was comforting.

“Next time tell me where you are going and then you can start your little experiments.”

“Will do.” Charles closed his eyes. Logan smelled faintly of cigar smoke but mostly of warmth, leather and beeswax.

“I'll take you home. You can do the report tomorrow, since we're grounded.”

“I'm grounded, you can go out on your own.” Charles looked up at Logan, who had let go and was gently manoeuvring him towards the elevator.

“I've gotten used to you playing bait for my kills.”

“Your kills?” Charles snorted.

“No arguing, you have to go easy.”

“Forget it! Those measly scratches will not make me go easy on you.”

“You can't train with that arm.”

“I can be there for your training and comment on your performance.”

“Nag.”

“... cheer you on. Depending. You can use some target practice. That shot you took at the vampire tonight - miserable aim.” Charles shook his head, the movement leaving him suddenly dizzy. Luckily he had Logan to hold onto.

“I was making sure not to hit you.”

“Excuses!” He stumbled as they got onto the elevator.

“Guess the painkillers are finally kicking in. Come on, we can argue tomorrow. Now lets get you home.”

The painkillers were indeed doing their job and Charles became more and more chatty during their ride back to his apartment – chatty and happily drugged out of his mind.

“Look Logan, just look at all those lights. I love the stars, I really love them, a dark night and just the stars blinking overhead but, but this...” Charles waved his arms theatrically nearly hitting Logan in the driver's seat. “This is so beautiful. It's like a mind, one big mind. You know I can read minds!”

Logan sighed. “Yes.”

“Not now, though, you know, they gave me those painkillers that make my mind go all fuzzy, like it's wrapped in cotton.”

“Yes. “

“It's like everything is muffled. I can't even hear you thinking.”

“I'll let you know what I'm thinking.”

“Good...good... You would think something so sparkling would be only beautiful. But the city, like a mind, has those dark places, crammed with evil. Do you think this is why I can't read a vampires mind, cause it's just dark and - It's like, like clouds, dark clouds and sometimes there is a flash of lightning when I get a little something from them but it's so quick and – you can't get hold of lightning.”

“I guess not.”

“If I could control a vampire's mind I could do more, so much more, I could be useful, I could stop Erik for good...”

“Erik?” Then Logan sighed. “No, don't tell me right now!We're nearly at your apartment. Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow, bring along some groceries maybe? Guess you shouldn't carry anything with that arm.”

Only the seatbelt stopped Charles from leaning over and hugging Logan. “You're so nice to me.”

“It's okay.”

Logan parked the car and got out before helping Charles untangle himself from the seatbelt and get into the apartment building. It took them a little longer than necessary, because Logan kept checking the surroundings, including the sky, for nasty surprises while Charles got distracted by – everything really. Luckily the porter noticed their struggles and held open the door for Charles and Logan without commenting. Finally they reached the floor to Charles' apartment and Logan had Charles dragged to his door.

“Keys.”

“In my pocket.” Charles smiled in, what he was absolutely certain, was an enticing and flirty way. Logan didn't move, so Charles licked his lips before elaborating. “Jeans. Back-pocket.” Charles kept clinging to Logan with his good hand, waiting expectantly.

Logan sighed, but then fished the key's out of Charles' pocket. To Charles' dismay he was rather efficient about it. Charles let his head sink against Logan's shoulder as he unlocked the door.

“I can hear your heartbeat. And you feel warm.” Charles wanted to fall asleep like this. “Take me to bed.”

“Charles...”

Charles wasn't sure if Logan meant to protest or agree, because his mind was swimming in a sea of colours and lights and nothing and everything made sense.

Logan sighed. “I guess I better make sure you get up those stairs of yours to your bedroom.”

Logan's gruff voice sent a little shiver down Charles' spine. “No, don't...” Charles protested as Logan steered him into the apartment, since it meant Charles no longer could lean against him. “That is, yes, bedroom. You – my bed...” Charles sighed and tried to shake his boots off his feet, until Logan suddenly knelt down in front of him, to help. Charles grabbed hold of Logan's shoulders, then slowly ran a hand through Logan's hair. “I know you like my hair – I like yours too. Perfect length to hold on to – while you suck me off.”

Logan only answered with a grunt, his hands still on one of Charles' ankles.

“You never say anything back. If I couldn't hear you think...not now. But other times... Damn, I shouldn't have said that.” Charles tried to make Logan look up. “Are you angry?”

Logan finally did look up. “Charles...” he sighed. “I'm not angry. Now Charles... let's get you to bed.” Logan stood up, careful to untangle Charles' hands from his hair before manoeuvring him up towards his bedroom. The stairs were tricky. They were moving under Charles' feet and he stumbled a few times, missing his step. Logan guided Charles' hand to the handrail to hold onto with his uninjured hand, while he made sure Charles didn't fall.

It seemed to take endlessly long until they reached Charles' bedroom and Charles could sink onto the bed. Carelessly he put some weight on his injured arm and groaned.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, just think I feel my arm.”

Logan peered down at him, hand braced on the bed beside Charles' head, leaning over Charles. He was close but, in Charles opinion, not close enough.

“Do you need to take more painkillers? I'll get you a glass of water.”

“No!” Charles managed to grasp Logan's shirt, though it was rather hard to aim and grab, his fingers feeling like butter. The dim burn from the claw marks penetrated through the drugs and his shoulder protested as he threw the injured arm around Logan's neck for good measure and pulled him down with it. But keeping Logan here was more important. “No, I just need you.”

He nearly missed Logan's mouth as he attempted to kiss him and Logan drew back, but Charles pulled himself off the bed, closer to Logan and finally managed to capture his mouth with his. Logan's lips were soft and warm, parting compliantly before he tried to detach himself though. Charles still held on, refused to let go, just released Logan's shirt to slide his hand up to Logan's neck, burying it in his hair again.

Logan's mouth twitched and he swallowed. Suddenly Logan grunted and slid an arm around Charles' back, pulling him close. The kiss was hungry, Logan devouring his mouth, licking, sucking. It was too much and not enough, spreading like fire through Charles' body.

Charles made a sound deep in his throat, a mewl, almost desperate. He clung to Logan, wanted him on top of him, feel his weight pressing him into the mattress, warm and alive. Charles wrapped his legs around him, hoping to pull down any last resistance.

But with a little grunt Logan finally pulled away, still looking down at Charles, searching his face.

“Stay.” The word came only as a rough whisper.

The conflict in Logan's face showed clearly, but Charles felt the wave of lust rolling from his mind, intense enough to registered even to Charles' clouded up telepathy. It made him smile, and he licked over his bottom lip, savouring Logan's taste still lingering there.

“You need to sleep.”

The words took Charles by surprise. “No, I - need you - to kiss me!”

Logan shook his head. “You need to rest your arm.”

“I hardly feel it – painkillers still working. And your kiss is wonderfully distracting and if you want to do more than just kiss I'm sure it will feel even more wonderful – lish, delicious, distracting.” Charles smiled, sure he made his point perfectly clear.

For a moment Logan just closed his eyes, then started untangling himself from Charles, gently but firmly. “You need to sleep now Charles. I'll be back tomorrow.”

Charles wanted to protest, but it was hard to hold on to Logan, and as soon as his grasp slipped his arms and legs grew heavy and he sank back into his soft bed. “I don't need sleep...” A wide yawn betrayed him and he rubbed his hand over his face. “Maybe..maybe just a little...”

Logan gently pulled away his hand and placed a chaste kiss on his forehead. The gentleness suddenly made Charles throat feel tight and he couldn't do more than just look up at Logan, smiling down at him.

“I'll just get you that water before I leave.”

Charles nodded, then buried his head in the pillow as Logan turned his back towards him.

Charles woke up sometime in the morning. He had dreamt he had tried to get on an underground train and his arm got caught in the closing door with him still outside. He had attempted to get it out while running to keep up with the slowly speeding up train. Still befuddled he wanted to role to the side, only to wince and clasp his arm close, just lying there for some time, breathing through the pain.

When he finally managed to sit up he found a glass of water and the painkillers he'd had stuffed into his jeans pockets, right next to his bed. He took two and then just sat in bed, waiting for them to take effect.

He realised he was only in his underwear but couldn't remember taking off his shirt, jeans or socks. Finally he sighed and closed his eyes, head lolling backward against the bed's padded headboard. “Logan...”

Chapter Text

Charles was running on the treadmill at headquarters' gym. His shoulder only protested mildly, feeling more stiff than actually hurting.

Five Days. It had taken five days for his arm not to be in a constant throbbing pain and him to be able to sleep without painkillers that turned his mind upside down as a side effect. All the time he did not spend sleeping, Charles was confined to headquarters. Or, not that it was a much better option, to the inside of a car while being driven around the city, scanning for vampire brains – whose finds he then relayed to another vampire hunter team who then tried to catch the monster.

All in all it made Charles feel nearly useless.

The only upside was Logan, who had kept to his word and stuck with him.

The downside. He was stuck with Logan.

Okay, it wasn't a downside as such, yet Charles had grown a little weary, since every attempt at doing more than kissing Logan, well actually every time he kissed Logan, there was something that made them not go through with it or interrupting them for good.

Also doubts crept in. Maybe it was for the better, that he and Logan didn't get a chance to become anything but colleagues and friends. Charles didn't want to drag anyone else into the conflict with Erik. Logan might already be a target since he simply was working with him. If they got involved Charles didn't put it beyond Erik to attempt hurting Charles by making Logan suffer. After all he'd been ruthless like this before. 'Raven...'

Charles took deep deliberate breaths, trying to let go of the memories. He had promised himself to never think of her again and he'd be damned if he broke that now. Only he always seemed best at dwelling on problems or the past while running. So he stopped the treadmill and got off. His gaze wandered over to Logan who was lifting weights, muscles bulging and sweat beading his skin.

Other than Charles, Logan no longer showed any reserve, not since he basically said 'fuck you' to his guardedness and kissed Charles. Charles' need for the painkillers and NIB's policy to split up teams when the members became involved with each seemed to be all that was holding him back from grabbing Charles and going through with what their heated kissing had promised.

With the painkillers finally off the table, Charles figured he might have to tell Logan that he had changed his mind and thought it would be a bad idea to be more than just friends – and why.

Charles walked over to the weights and picked a spot not too close to Logan, not exactly encouraging conversation. Yes, he was avoiding the unavoidable. He sat down on the bench and picked up the chosen weights. He would take it slow, making sure he didn't strain his protesting shoulder too much.

“You're favouring the shoulder.” Logan put his weight down and stood up. “You'll get in a bad habit if you continue like that. Keep yourself straighter. Here...” Logan's large hand pressed against Charles' back while with the other he held his shoulder.

The touch felt oddly intimate, maybe it was just in Charles' mind though.

“Okay.” He gritted his teeth, lifting the weight in his hand, trying not to avoid putting strain on the shoulder. His muscles were protesting but there was no real pain.

“Good. Go on, I'll keep an eye on you.”

Not sure if Logan was aware of the effect his soft spoken words had, Charles turned his head to look at him. He could have peeked into his mind, but he might not be able to tell him what he needed to then.

Logan's face was close, and he looked directly into Charles' eyes as he turned.

“You're tensing up. Don't get distracted.”

Charles looked straight ahead, feeling chastised and embarrassed. He frowned.

“Still tense. Relax.” Logan's fingers pushed into his muscles just underneath his shoulderblades. Charles groaned at the odd mix of painful pleasure.

“Try it now.”

Charles followed Logan's instructions though he wanted nothing more than to push his back against Logan's hands, urging him to continue rubbing and kneading his back and shoulders. He kept lifting the weight again and again until his muscles started to burn. But he was sure he could still do several more, yet Logan stopped him

“Okay, don't overdo it.”

Charles put the weight back down, but Logan kept his hand where it was and placed the other on Charles' right shoulder. He was pushing his fingers into the taut muscles there, massaging him. The touch felt just as good as Logan sliding closer was, his thighs pressing against Charles' legs straddling the bench.

A soft moan escaped Charles lips. Quickly he bit down on it, but it was too late. Logan pulled Charles back against him. Charles knew he should protest now, but for a moment he closed his eyes and enjoyed leaning against Logan's chest. When he tilted back his head it rested comfortably against Logan's shoulder.

'Just let me have this for a short moment,'he thought to himself.

“I figured, now that you are better, would you like to try this again?” Logan's hands caressed over Charles' arms, still careful of the healing wounds on his left. The simple touch left Charles acutely aware and craving for more.

“I - “Charles licked his lips. “We should not. NIB rules...” He didn't care about the rules, but it was the simpler reason to give. Still he didn't move away, savouring every moment, every touch of Logan's hands. They would stop, any second now, but until that time came – 'just a little longer.'

“Fuck the rules.” Logan leant closer and his lips brushed against Charles' ear before he murmured roughly. “I want to kiss you again.”

The words, and the shiver they sent tingling down Charles' spine, were hard to ignore. He swallowed. There was nothing for it. “I want that too, but, I don't want to make you a target.”

“What do you mean.” Encouraged, Logan pressed another light kiss against Charles' skin, just below his ear. Unbidden a small noise escaped Charles' mouth. He couldn't focus like that. He moved, twisting around until he sat facing Logan.

Logan let go but put his hands back on Charles' thighs as he settled down. Charles noted how much colder his back suddenly felt. He rolled his shoulders, and faced Logan with a resolute sigh.

“I mean the vampire that is after me.”

"What does he have to do with this?"

“You said yourself, I wouldn't be able to watch a vampire torture an innocent human on my doorstep. Now, if he finds out we are more than just colleagues, he might target you specifically.”

Logan just shrugged. “He will target me once he realises I'm out to kill him.”

“Look, Logan, you already know that this is personal. The vampire wants me – dead, or to suffer, or I guess both, personally. I don't want anyone else fighting my battles for me. If someone else kills him in the meantime, so be it.” Charles didn't add that he thought it highly unlikely that someone would manage to kill Erik. He ignored the cold tightening in his gut at the thought. But it might sound strange if he voiced it out loud.”But if not, this is my mess and I have to deal with it.”

“You don't have to deal with him alone.”

“Thank you, but I really can't have anyone else getting hurt over this.” 'Because I failed to kill him in the first place.'

“I'll survive.”

Charles licked his lips, stalling for a moment. “He can manipulate metals and electromagnetic fields. That's how he flew. And that's how he so easily pushed you around without having to touch you.” Charles put a hand on top of Logan's and traced his fingers up over Logan's arm. From the outside his metal coated bones felt no different, at least not as long as one didn't try to hit him. “Honestly, I worry he might be able to do worse to you, once he has some time thinking about the possibilities.”

“Charles... What if I tell you, you're worth that risk.”

Charles' heart did a little skip then started hammering harder in his chest. Regardless of what Logan said he should insist that – his focus went to Logan's hands. They gently squeezed Charles' knees, then moved upwards, rubbing along Charles' thighs. Logan's lips brushed against his mouth, making him aware that he'd been holding his breath.

There were several good reasons not to do this and Charles' couldn't think of one of them as he put his hands on Logan's shoulders and leant in to lick over Logan's lips. His mouth parted and Charles tongue slid in. Charles closed his eyes, revelling in the feeling of Logan's warm mouth. He moved his hands to Logan's neck to better hold on to him.

The kiss was slow, exploring, making Charles aware of Logan's whole body so close, his breathing, his pulse, his hands kneading Charles' thighs. They only parted reluctantly.

“I usually don't like to cut a training short, but how about we head for the showers?” Logan spread small kisses from the corner of Charles' mouth to his ear, making him shiver.

“Someone might come in.” The protest was uttered only half-hearted.

“I'm sure you can convince them to forget what they saw and make them go away.”

“That's highly - unethical!” Though Charles chuckle betrayed him.

“As is leaving this unattended.” Logan's hand cupped Charles' growing erection, rubbing along his cock outlined through the soft fabric of his training pants.”

Charles gasped. “Fuck...”

“I had something like that in mind.”

Logan moved in for another kiss. Charles' hands were on his chest, blindly groping, trying to get him out of the shirt he wore, wanting to touch bare skin. Logan stood up, pulling Charles along and they both stumbled in the direction of the showers, barely able to let go of each other, let alone stop kissing.

The showers were dark as they stumble into the room, but Logan pushed Charles against the tiled wall, kissing him while groping for the light switch. As the bright light flared to life, Charles groaned a little and flinched.

“Too bright?”

“No, I want to see you.” Charles tugged at Logan's shirt, finally pulling it off him.

“I thought I'd seen you looking all the time.”

“Looking and – looking and being able to touch is something else entirely.” He hooked his fingers under the elastic of Logan's sports-pants along with his underwear and pulled them all down. A grin spread on his face as he found Logan already hard. Charles slowed down a moment, looking his fill of the large cock and running his fingers over Logan's pectoral muscles, heaving with each heavy breath.

“Do you want me to touch you with my hand or with my mouth?”

Logan grunted. “Why or? But first I want you naked as well. You're not the only one who was able to only look up until now.” He kissed him again, then manoeuvred Charles deeper into the room, until they were in one of the shower stalls. He let go of Charles for a moment to get his clothes fully off, while Charles stood there, watching him, smirking.

As Logan's dark gaze hit him, Charles sucked in a deep breath, feeling naked despite still being dressed as Logan's full attention was on him.

“Do you want me to strip for you?” Charles was half joking, but before he could do anything Logan was crowding him in, reaching behind Charles – and suddenly he was doused in the warm water from the shower. He gasped, surprised, and found his open mouth invaded by another kiss.

“I always wanted to do this.”

“What?” Charles didn't need to ask further, because Logan sank down on his knees before him, pulling Charles' wet trainings-pants down.

Charles pushed his wet hair back, while Logan licked along Charles' wet thighs. He gasped and swayed and grabbed hold of Logan's wet hair.

The sound of the shower barely muffled the sounds Charles made as Logan slid his hand along his thigh upwards and over his belly, frustratingly avoiding his cock.

“Tease!” Charles accused while he arched wantonly into the touch.

Logan's laugh, caressing along Charles' skin, rose more goosebumps. “You're one to talk. You made it hard to resist you.”

“There I thought you enjoyed avoiding my charms.”

“It has it's appeal...” Logan sucked, licked and nuzzled along Charles' thigh, up to his hip, getting tantalisingly close to Charles' cock yet never getting close enough.

Charles' breathing grew more and more ragged and he tugged at Logan's hair. “Logan...!”

He held his breath as Logan stopped and looked up at him, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “As I said, has it's appeal to make you squirm.”

Charles growled and made to grip himself but Logan batted his hand away. Before Charles could protest Logan's lips brushed against Charles' straining cock, then his tongue, as he licked up the length.

“Yes!” Charles' head rolled back, hitting the tiles at his back almost too forcefully, but he didn't care, the sensations caused by Logan's mouth on his cock enough distraction.

Charles' legs went weak and he slid down the wall a fraction. Logan's hand gripping Charles hips, held him in place while his mouth and tongue wickedly continued their teasing. The touches and flicks of his tongue felt good but were not enough.

“Logan, take me into your mouth!”

Logan's low laughter danced along Charles' sensitive skin. “I knew that British politeness of yours is only a façade. How should you phrase that correctly?”

“Now!”

Logan shivered, his eyes became glazed over for a moment as Charles' demand pressed against Logan's mind, taking over...

“Fuck, Logan, I ...”

But the involuntary command he'd given had lost its power – yet not it's effect. Logan growled, fingers wrapped around the base of Charles' cock and he took him deep into his mouth in one go.

The sensation of wet heat, sucking, a tongue pressing against his engorged flesh, before Logan let Charles cock slide out of his mouth only to take him back in again.

Charles fisted Logan's hair, his grip tightening almost painfully. Yet Logan didn't protest but kept on sucking Charles off. Charles panting filled the room, echoing against the walls, the sound of the running water no longer able to drown him out.

It seemed like a delicious forever that he teetered on the brink of orgasm and no time at all for him to come. Logan's throat contracted around Charles' cock and tipped him over the edge. Desperately he held on to Logan, his eyes drifting shut despite wanting to watch Loan's face, but it took all his effort to stay upright.

Logan was aware of that, or so Charles' thought. When he finally stood up he kept his hands on Charles' body to steady him. Yet quickly Charles' realised Logan seemed more intent on peeling the drenched shirt from Charles' body.

Willingly Charles raised his arms to help and once he was free he pulled Logan down against him and captured his mouth in a deep kiss. Tasting himself on Logan's lips made it just the more hot and intimate.

Charles let his hands wander, fully aware of Logan's still hard pressing against his body.

“What would you want me to do?” Charles asked, still breathless. He was ready to go down and return the favour, but Logan only pushed against him, his cock sliding along Charles' belly.

“Your hands.”

Charles wrapped his fingers around Logan's hardness, stroking him. “Like this?”

Instead of an answer Logan kissed him, dragging a hand through Charles' wet hair. With his other hand he held on to Charles' shoulder, steadying himself.

“There's something I fantasized about you doing.”

Charles' curiosity was peaked. “Tell me.”

Logan grunted as Charles' hand nearly stilled. “You could look into my mind.”

The invitation sent a small delightful shiver down Charles' spine. It's tempting, yet - “I want to hear you say it out loud.” He could feel Logan's pulse quicken at the words. Charles pulled Logan closer by a hand on his neck, so he could whisper low into his ear. “Tell me, Logan.”

Logan's hot ragged breath caressed along Charles' wet shoulder as he tilted his head forward. “I imagined heading into the showers after watching you work out. I have to restrain myself from touching you, responding to your flirting, but I'm alone in the shower and touch myself. Then you suddenly come in and...”

“Yes? What do I do?” He was tempted but kept his fingers still, only wrapped loosely around Logan's cock until he knew what it was exactly he wanted.

“You say something flirting.”

“What?”

Logan gave a little shake of the head. “Not important. But you take control of me. You stop me – fully take control of me. I can't move, can't speak and you touch me, jerk me off, with me completely helpless.”

Charles' eyes widened slightly and he sucked in a deep breath.

“Charles?” Logan suddenly sounded reluctant and Charles could feel the tension in his body as well as radiating from his mind.

“The idea is...” Enticing, intoxicating, unexpected? “If you want this, I can do this for you.” He leans closer, pressing his mouth against Logan's in a slow kiss.

Logan relaxed. “Only if you like to.”

“Oh it sounds – tempting. Having my wicked ways with you, if you're really up for it.” A chuckle escapes him, more masking his surprise than betraying amusement. The idea of Logan willingly giving full control to Charles is a heady admission.

“Believe me, I am.” Logan pushed his hips forward, his cock sliding into Charles' hand, showing him much the idea turns him on.

“Okay...” Charles cast out his mind, making sure no one was going to interrupt them. If he was doing this he wouldn't be able to spare his attention anywhere else.

“I won't stop you from making any noise or speaking. Because I want to hear you and I want you to tell me if it's too much or if you absolutely need to move. But I will make you unable to move and I will touch you just as I want.”

“Yes, please.”

That's all Logan had to say. Charles eased into his mind, taking over his body and first made Logan lower his arms to his side. As much as Charles liked the large hands on his body, it wouldn't work well for what Logan wanted. He considered turning off the water but the splashing masked any sound they made from anyone coming to the door. And he liked the sight of water running down Logan's ripped body.

Charles slid away, leaving Logan facing the tiled wall. He ran a hand down Logan's back, slowly, fingers tracing the muscles there, then rubbing and squeezing his butt. “You'll tell me if it's too much.”

He felt Logan meaning to nod, then test out Charles hold of him, willing himself to move but unable to do so. He ended up gasping and panting, but sounding pleased as he answered. “Yes.”

“Good.” Charles stepped closer, pressing himself against Logan's back and letting his hand slide over his side and stomach, revelling in the feel of hard muscles.

Charles pulled back his control a little, just enough so he could feel Logan's muscles quiver with the need to move, so he knew how he wanted to move but couldn't.

He kept one hand on Logan's ass, while he slid the other into the dark curls at his groin, wrapping his fingers around Logan's cock at the base, leisurely stroking upwards. He felt his own arousal starting to pool low in his groin again as Logan moaned. Charles pressed his face against Logan's wet shoulder, then spreading kisses along heated skin, while he kept up the move of his hand, up and down, slowly.

The sounds Logan made, the needy grunts, the desperate urge to move, to thrust into Charles' fist, all went straight to Charles' cock. He let Logan feel his arousal by rubbing himself against his hip.

He could taste Logan's desire to touch him in his mind, it was thrilling, as was denying it to him. Charles licked the water from the nape of Logan's neck, nuzzling against his shoulder. Logan was panting heavily, then growled in frustration.

“Do you want to move?”

“Yes.”

“Should I allow you to move?”

Charles felt Logan want to shake his head, struggling against Charles' hold on him, though it was simply futile.

“Just say it out loud for me. Should I let you move?”

“No, no...” Logan's voice died down to a whisper.

“Good. Because I know exactly what you want – and what you need – anyway.” Charles kept stroking Logan's cock, watching as pre-come was washed away with the water spraying from the shower. Charles hummed, then with a flick of a thought ordered Logan's body around, to lean against the tiled wall, legs spread apart, hands splayed, pressed against the smooth tiles.

Logan's breathing hitched, his chest and stomach rose and fell with each sucked in breath. Charles licked his lips, moving closer so Logan's hard thigh slid between his legs and he could rub his own straining cock against him. The gasp Logan made let Charles look up, concerned. “Too much?”

“No, no...go on...”Logan looked down at him, his eyes dark with lust and something deeper.

“If I were to allow you one thing now, what would that be? Would you like me to take you into my mouth, be allowed to move your hips, or be allowed to touch me...?”

“I'd like to kiss you.” Logan's gaze seemed heavy on Charles' mouth, fuelling Charles' arousal.

Charles licked his lips, aware of the effect that had. “I think you can wait for that a little longer.”

The rumbling sound coming from Logan may have been a laugh or a growl and turned into a broken gasp as Charles leant in to suck at Logan's nipples, gently biting down.

Charles dipped in a little deeper into Logan's mind yet not deep enough to loose himself completely. He kept his control firm, only lapping at the whirlwind of thoughts that left a sweet tingling along his mind. He could taste Logan's burning thoughts, straining against being held in place and relishing in the loss of control.

Logan wanted to thrust his cock so badly into Charles' fist, so Charles' slowed down his strokes. Logan couldn't move, couldn't squirm as he wanted, needed to and it made him feel every touch of Charles more acutely. His mind was slowly reduced to small gasps of yes, more, no, yes, yes like this, please, please, please...

It was absolutely intoxicating.

“Say it.”

“Please.”

“Please what?”

“Please let me come, please.”

Charles hummed thoughtfully.

“Charles...” The need in that one word was absolute.

Charles groaned and quickened his strokes, touched Logan just the way he needed it to get off, but kept him completely trapped.

The orgasm wrecked Logan's body and mind. A sobbing cry tore from his throat as Charles kept him still regardless, letting his muscles just contract and twitch enough for him to come in hot spurts of semen. The feeling was intense, sending Charles over the edge for a second time, clinging to Logan, shamelessly touching and fondling him as he pleased.

Logan was still breathing heavily when he softly said, “Thank you, Charles.”

Dazedly Charles looked up and noticed there were tears running down Logan's cheeks, not mere droplets of water. A little shocked he finally let go of Logan.

With a groan Logan wrapped his arms around Charles' and pulled him close, burying his head at Charles' shoulder. Charles rubbed soothing circles across Logan's back while he gave Logan one last nudge with his mind so he raised his head and Charles could kiss those tears from his face.

Finally Logan slid to the ground, pulling Charles with him and they stayed like this for a long time, Charles hunched over Logan under the spray from the shower, limbs entwined, neither saying a word.

 

Charles closes the door to the wash room behind himself. The emergency lights, marking the exits, are burning bright enough to see by. He looks down towards the stairs he came from. There is no sign of Erik, no hint that he has followed him and is making sure Charles keeps his word and returns to him. His gaze is drawn towards the exit signs. On the wall it says Level -1. So he would only have to head up the flight of stairs and be on ground level . Surely there will be some kind of security guard around that he can alert make let him out. He's right at Trafalgar Square, so easy to get a taxi, however late or early in the morning it is and then he would be home.

He could forget about all this, forget about the vampire...

But his mind spins back to Erik, hiding down there in the dark. His trusting expression as he asks Charles if he will be back is all to clear. The mere memory sends a shiver down Charles' spine.

Erik is a vampire and yet – could there be vampires being the victim of vampires? What if he was only recently turned, and not on his own free will. He had actually asked Charles for permission to take his blood, despite, clearly having been starved.

Charles chews his bottom lip. What do they know about freshly turned vampires. It was said that they had no control and were usually more feral and violent, that only those with some sort of mutation survived being turned and that the vampires themselves kept a close eye on the freshly changed, lest they do something stupid like wander out into bright daylight.

That would explain why Erik had been locked up, but his control spoke against him being just recently turned. And hadn't Erik said he'd been hiding here before. There is no answer for Charles about the puzzle that Erik is.

He should leave.

Charles walked over to the stairs leading down.

He really should leave.

Slowly Charles starts walking back down.

So far Erik hadn't hurt him. He was free now, so Charles no longer was any use to him. Actually, for a vampire, the logical thing to do would have been to drain Charles dry, so he would regain his strength after having been starved.

For a moment Charles stops, suddenly shivering from cold. He takes a deep breath. But he isn't dead. Erik had been – compassionate, gentle almost. It is probably a good idea to try and find out more about him. Charles is a vampire hunter and didn't shy away from danger after all.

Still he hesitates once he reaches the door to the storage room, though he attributes the uneasy feeling in his belly to the loss of blood. Carefully he pushes the door open.

The room hasn't changed, except – it has. But before he can fully take in what Erik has done it's Erik's expression that captures his attention. He has turned towards the door and now stands still, looking at Charles. For a moment he seems frozen, then a smile spreads on his lips and it makes Charles swallow hard, for it shows sharp fangs.

“Look. There are blankets.” He sounds so proud about the fact that it's almost comical and Charles relaxes, despite his better knowledge that he is facing a predator. He does look though. Erik pulled out some boxes from the shelves and opened them. So there had been blankets in them. Now he had those arranged into, well it looked like a blanket fort, with blankets pulled over a table and enough to make a bed spread out underneath.

“What is this?”

“You need to rest.” Erik comes towards him, Charles heartbeat quickens and he starts feeling dizzy. Erik suddenly looks alert, but he stops and only holds out his hand to Charles.

Despite the uneasy feeling boiling in his stomach Charles steps forward. He has made his decision, he won't shy back from the unknown but learn more about Erik. He can't hide his tension, but Erik doesn't move until he has reached him. Charles isn't sure if that stillness isn't even more alarming. Then Erik's hand brushes against his, but he doesn't take it. “You don't have anything to fear from me. You know that. You came back.”

Charles isn't sure how to answer this, isn't sure if he shall be so bold and believe Erik. “Why did you - “ He points vaguely at the structure of blankets.

“You need to rest.” Erik repeats his words. “But I thought you would rather leave the light burning, but... let me show you.” He takes a step toward the fort, waiting for Charles to follow.

Clearly Erik didn't intend to harm him, so Charles does. At the same time his mind comes up with completely different suggestions. What if Erik is crazy, unpredictable in his moods. Maybe that's why the other vampires locked him up. Charles thinks about how he immobilised the vampire attacking them, so Charles could kill him. He is dangerous -

He stops and looks at Erik, takes a moment to study his expectant expression. There is no sign of any erratic behaviour, he only waits, patiently, as if he's fully aware that trusting him might be hard for Charles. Slowly Charles kneels down and crawls onto the blankets under the table. Erik smiles at him, then pulls the blanket on topdown, so Charles is left in a cosy half gloom.

“This way you can rest better.”

Charles just sits there, staring aghast at the spot where Erik is on the other side of the blanket-wall. He carefully pushes the blanket aside and peers out. “Thank you, Erik, that's - very kind and considerate of you.”

Erik looks pleased, then grabs the chocolates and half empty orange juice bottle and places them beside Charles. Charles takes it and drinks, just so he has something to do, before the surreal feel of it all makes him say or do something weird. He is almost tempted to reach for Erik's mind to see if he hadn't been mistaken and he isn't a vampire after all. He also eats another chocolate bar, though the sugar hasn't the desired effect. He feels drained regardless. Perhaps he should rest, just a little. He's sure he can deal with this better once he's rested.

He sinks back down onto the blankets and closes his eyes. “Thank you.”

“Did you mean what you said, when you got me out.”

Charles is startled by the question. He'd said a lot, but whatever he'd said, he'd meant it at the time. “Yes.” His mind is too sluggish to make the argument that it was when Charles had thought Erik to be human – a human victim.

“I mean it too. I won't harm you. I'm sorry I had to do this...” Erik' reaches underneath the blanket into Charles' space. His fingers ghost over Charles' wrist. The skin feels tender where Erik has bit him, the bite marks still red and angry looking, though they didn't bleed after Erik stopped drinking. It seems strange, but Charles is sure there is a logical and scientific explanation to that.

His fingers twitch at the touch, Erik pulls his hand away, no longer touching but staying close. Charles moves his hand until he finds Erik's, his fingers loosely wrapping around it. It is cool, yet no longer as cold as he remembers from first touching him.

“You asked. I said yes.”

Erik is silent for a while and Charles is nodding off, only half waking as Erik shifts. “Do you mind if I join you?”

There might be uncertainty in Erik's voice but Charles can't tell. He shifts over to make room. Erik slides in beside him, his hand searching out Charles' again once he's settled. Charles is too tired to find it strange or worry about sharing such closed space with a vampire, to whom he is only food.

“I've been alone in that cell. When you left to use the wash room I thought I had only imagined you. That this was only in my mind, and I was still back there alone.”

“It's alright, my friend.” The words come out only mumbled.

“Yes, yes I want to be that. Charles I can feel your heartbeat, I know you are, scared of me, but you don't have to be – ever, I will...” There is more Erik says, but Charles can't hear it, for he is drifting off to sleep, lulled by Erik's voice, hoarse but soft nonetheless.

Chapter Text

Charles had itched to do something about Erik. He couldn't go out and search for him, not without knowing where to look. And not while his arm was still healing. Sometimes he really envied Logan for his mutation. But he wasn't even sure if he could face Erik when he was fit, not if he would hesitate to kill him.

With growing loathing Charles had gone through the names of the people he had known and Erik had killed or had caused to get killed, to steel himself for what he had to do. All the while the knowledge that he was just as much to blame as Erik, maybe even more so, turned his stomach as he remembered names and the event of their death.

Robin
Edmund
Tom
Christina

“A loss, but they were expendable.”

Erik's words. Charles had been mad at Erik then and refused to talk to him. But Erik had come back, every night, slowly wearing down Charles' resolve to keep away from Erik. Charles had even come to believe him. They had died killing vampires. It wasn't Erik's fault that he had provided all the information leading to that raid during which they had been killed. And their deaths hadn't been in vain. They had completely destroyed a whole nest of the monsters.

But then there had been Professor Morgan...

He had been the final straw. No, that wasn't right. He had still listened to Erik allege reasons as the Professor, the one who had taken Charles on in his quest to hunt vampires, lay drained at Erik's feet.

“He would have killed me.”

“If you'd come to me I would have protected you! I would have explained to him - ”

“He would have killed you too.”

And there was still that treacherous voice in the back of Charles' head that wondered if Erik hadn't been right, or at least utterly convinced he was correct in his assumption. That's why instead of finally killing the vampire then and there Charles next words had been: We could have left – together.”

But then - Raven.

Yet not even to strengthen his resolve to kill Erik could he think of her. He couldn't bring himself to face the pain and the guilt. All the arguments he'd had with her, her storming out, him failing to follow, to reach out, to stop her. He couldn't think of her because, again, his own guilt weighed too heavy. So he only ended with one of his tea-mug smashed on the ground and himself kneeling amidst the mess, cleaning up the shards and spilt tea.

Finally he pushed that idea of mentally preparing himself for having to kill Erik back and focused instead on finding out where Erik was. With no real lead he decided to start at the beginning. Vampires usually didn't use air-planes due to lack of passports, and though travelling as cargo was possible for them, with security measures as they were, highly risky. So it was more likely that he had boarded a ship of some kind to come here.

Tracking ship's records to see if there had been any unexplained accidents or deaths on board was a tedious task, especially since he only had a vague idea of what time-frame he was looking at. After all Erik could have been here in the U.S. for years, only now stumbling across Charles. Still it had given Charles something to do while he waited to heal.

So for the past days, when he wasn't doing anything deemed useful by the agency, he went to one of the computers down in the archives, that also had access to information only government agencies could demand access to and did his search.

Now that his arm had healed enough, he should focus on getting back outside. It didn't matter much when Erik had come here, but only last night he had stumbled on something that might hint at a vampire travelling. He'd requested the ship's captain's journal to check if his suspicions could be confirmed.

He shouldn't waste his time on it. It didn't matter how and when Erik had travelled here, but he just couldn't let it go completely.

So he was down in the archive and read through the journal, that had been forwarded by email, about the week long journey the container ship had taken from Liverpool to New York. What had caught his attention was the mentioning of a sickness that had befallen every crew member. Not at the same time, but one or two after the other. They all showed symptoms of dizziness and feeling tired, weak even confused. Everyone was recovering after a day or two, but it sounded like they all suffered from blood loss.

Of course it would have been easier for a vampire to simply kill some of the humans to feed himself and throw their dead bodies overboard, but not if it wanted to avoid drawing attention.

Charles sighed. It was a feeble lead, but it was something. He checked the date of when the ship reached New York. That would make it only two weeks since Erik's arrival here. Charles shivered. So, if it had been him, his encounter with Charles was no accident – Erik had come here deliberately, searching for Charles. And he'd been freakishly quick to find him in this big city.

“Charles.”

He looked up to see Moira walking towards him. Instinctively he closed the file before he turned away from the screen with a beaming smile. “Moira, what can I do for you.”

“Can I talk to you in my office?”

“Of course, let me just...” He would probably go through the journal again later, see if there were any other hints he had missed in the short notes, though he was half certain that there wasn't much more to find. He logged off and then shut down the computer, wondering if Moira hadn't found out about his strange research and wanted to talk to him about that. All done he followed her reluctantly to the elevator going upstairs and from there to her office.

“How's your arm?”

“Better. The scratches healed and all I have to deal with now is the itching, well and the skin is still a little tender. Shoulder is okay too. So I'm good to go back on active duty.”

She smiled. “Howlett told me you were throwing some mean punches today while exercising.”

Charles raised an eyebrow. She had talked to Logan about him? Well as long as he had left out the bit of shower sex that had happened right before and left Logan with, well, an urge to move. “It's not like he can't take it.”

“Oh I don't think he was complaining.”

Charles stopped the reply on the tip of his tongue. He wouldn't bet that Moira hadn't notice something going on between Logan and him that hinted at more than friendship, but he would be damned if he said something she couldn't ignore.

Unless it might turn out to be the best for Logan, if they were split up as a team. Though he shouldn't wait for Erik to make the next move, but make sure Logan would be safe now. Yet his mind wandered back to Logan in the shower with him. It wasn't just the sex, Logan made him feel – Charles set the thought aside. He should concentrate on Moira if he wanted to keep that between Logan and himself secret, however selfish it was. 'For now, just for – a little bit longer.'

“I think he enjoys criticising me too much to go complaining to you.”

“Actually, he said you were tolerable to work with.”

Charles smirked. “Sounds like high praise.”

They had reached Moira's office and she was holding the door open for him. He stepped through and waited for her to walk over to her desk and sit down, then took the seat on the other side.

“It's good to know you two are working so well together. But with the next mission I hope you can also work on a bigger team.”

Charles raised an eyebrow. Bigger teams usually meant rescue missions. The three dead bodies of the teenagers he and Logan had found were still fresh on his mind.

“I know you worked in bigger teams back in England. You told me it all fell apart when your team-leader was killed by a vampire. I understood that this is the reason you no longer wanted to rely on others and work on your own. But this is too important, we will need to pull together our best resources and even if we suffer losses we cannot shirk back. I need to know if you can do this. If you can follow through with the outlined plans, even if someone on the team gets wounded or killed – without hesitating.”

Charles' gaze fell on the table, where she had put her hand on the file innocently lying there. “I've told you we've lost people when raiding vampire nests. And I've learned to shield myself from any backlash,” Charles briefly touched his forehead, “the death or injury of a team-member might cause.”

“I hoped you would say this. So far we mostly had to deal with mostly singular vampires here, maybe a handful working together, but this is different.” She gritted her teeth. Her brown eyes had lost all warmth and she looked dead serious.

“You know why I came here and joined you as soon as I heard that there was someone doing the same as we did in England. Just a lot more organised. I can't turn my back on the vampire threat, so whatever this is... I'm in and I won't hesitate until the monsters are dealt with.” 'Won't hesitate, won't hesitate again.'

Instead of any further explanation she shoved the file towards him.

Charles picked it up. He gave her one last searching look, but as she didn't indicate she would give him any more information for now, he opened it and read. It turned out to be a report from Summers and Munoz on their observation of the Hellfire Club. Some parts were highlighted. Charles skipped to these.

As instructed we didn't directly interfere or confront any of the vampires picking out humans. Summers tried to get a young woman away, who one of the vampires was leading away. He bumped into her and tried to chat her up, but she didn't react at all and appeared drugged. The vampire had no problem taking her with him. She seemed to follow his every suggestion.

He searched further for any mention of how many vampires Darwin and Alex had counted. “...at least ten...” He looked up as he realised he had read that bit out loud.

Moira nodded. “I want to know what they are doing to their victims to make them tranquil. Also I want to know how many vampires there are exactly and what they can do. We will have to raid their lair, during the day, to make sure we’ll get them all.”

“A day-raid?” Of course here it was an option, when they could cut off the area to make sure there were no nosy bystanders. Still it held a danger of its own. The monsters tended to fight more stubbornly when there was no way out for them – and during the day all of them would be in their lair. “We'll have to know exactly with how many vampires we're dealing with, and how many humans they hold. They'll probably have a few they keep alive and feed on regularly to keep the numbers of disappearances down.”

“Charles, this isn't about getting any victims out. This is about destroying their nest and every last one of them. First step will be for you to go to the club, scan for the vampires and alert the others of the team. They will try and track them, see if they can spot what their mutations are. Only then will we know what to send against them. I won't have anyone go up against them blind.”

“We will waste time with this, we might need more than one day. And in the meantime more people will go missing.”

“I will not risk any one in the agency if we can dial down the risk by gathering as much information as possible beforehand. Find out what drug they use and how they administer it if you can, but the main focus must be on the vampires. Can you handle this?”

Charles stared at the file. “What if there are humans in their nest?”

“Freeing them can only be the very last step.”

“What if they are still drugged, shouldn't we at least know more about what they are doing to them? Otherwise we might end up stumbling across humans in the nest that believe to be happy to be there.”

“I believe you will be able to take them out. We can then help them afterwards.”

“Of course...” Charles bit his lip. Something was nagging at his mind.

“What is it?”

“I'm just thinking, if this is as big a nest as we think it is, there might be freshly turned vampires or – humans with mutations they will turn. Maybe even volunteers.”

Moira frowned. “Do you really think someone would volunteer to be turned into a monster?”

Charles pressed his lips together. His throat tightened and it suddenly seemed hard to speak.

“Did you ever meet someone like that?”

“No,” he lied, his voice staying steady, devoid of all feeling. “But not everyone with a mutation is happy about it or feels like fitting in. Some might already see themselves as – monsters, and if they're gullible...”

“Well, once they are turned, they become the enemy. There is nothing we can do for them. As for those not yet turned, if there is someone like that there, they will be, as the victims, our last concern. Unless they try to attack. Then they leave us no choice.”

Charles only nodded and tried to put the conversation back on track. “So who else will be there when I go in gathering information?”

“Alex and Darwin will come along. They already know the place and can share their knowledge with you.”

“What about – it's not exactly Logan's kind of mission.”

“No. That's why I wanted to talk to you first. I thought of re-pairing you with Angel for this one. She is patient and good at observing and should things go south, she can assist your escape.”

It was the logical choice, the reasonable thing to do, the perfect out for his dilemma of putting distance between himself and Logan to keep Logan safe. And then Charles didn't have to worry about Logan demanding an explanation when Charles went to face Erik alone. Or that he would follow him.

It didn't mean Logan and he couldn't sleep with each other, or see each other outside work, he tried to tell himself.

Charles took a deep breath. Suddenly there was a knock on the door.

Moira frowned, but then called for the person to enter.

Charles knew who it was before the door opened and Logan stepped in. He licked his lips as he turned his head to look at him, guilty and with a sinking feeling of defeat. Whenever had Charles made the right decision anyway?

”I need to leave.”

An odd mix of relieve and dread settles into Charles' stomach as he finally says the words.

He has thought them since he has woken up under the table, veiled by the thick grey blankets Erik had put up on top. Erik is still beside him, still holding on to his hand, which he has pulled up to his face. His lips are pressed against Charles' skin, cold yet twitching form time to time. It's the only sign that he is alive in some way, because there is no breath or pulse for Charles to feel.

Erik opens his eyes as Charles speaks, roused from his rest that was unlike sleep and more like a rigour. He turns his head to look at Charles and his eyes look dark and forbidding in the gloom.

Charles swallows but repeats his words again. “I need to leave.”

Erik's hold tightens around Charles' hand, then suddenly loosens his grip and fluidly sits up. “Are you feeling better again?”

Guardedly, Charles looks at Erik. “Yes, I'm better. Thank you.” Charles roles and shifts until he's sitting too and the low space under the table becomes suddenly cramped.

Erik is still holding on to his hand and he's leaning forward, his head close to Charles'.

“I'll have to contact my friends, they'll be worried.” He avoids looking directly at Erik as he draws his hand back, relieved Erik lets go without holding him back. Also when he has to push past Erik to get out from under the table, Erik makes no move to hold him back.

Once Charles is out Erik follows.

“So you'll let me leave?” Charles tries to keep some distance but Erik is drifting closer. He tenses, sure that now he'll regret not leaving when he'd had the chance. His breaths are shallow, his palms get sweaty and he can feel his heart beating wildly against his chest. His fear presented to Erik on a golden platter.

Erik stops at arm's length.

Charles presses his lips together. He doesn't stand much of a chance like this, but he will fight for his freedom. He nearly jumps as Erik's fingers brush against his hand, a light caress that still sends a tingling sensation up Charles' arm.

Erik looks thoughtful, a small frown creasing his forehead. “I can't keep you here, I can't take you with me...”

Charles holds his breath as Erik moves that little bit closer that brings him right into Charles' personal space. He closes his eyes and an expression like bliss crosses Erik's face. It's strange how Charles presence seems to effect Erik just as much as he does Charles.

“I will have to wait for nightfall, but you can leave now.”

Relieve washes through Charles, leaving him dizzy. Erik shudders. His fingers brush against Charles' hand and tentatively Charles takes them.

“I - good. Thank you. I really – thank you. Will you - are you going to be alright?” Charles has no idea why he still asks. He should just leave.

Erik's fingers curl around Charles' and he pulls the hand closer. “Yes.”

Charles can't help noticing Erik's skin feeling cold, and him looking paler and drawn in the bright light of the room. He looks almost like he did when he found him - starved.

“You need more blood again?”

Erik nods, his lips part. White teeth flash, incisors sharp, lengthening. “Would you - ?”

“No!” The answer is nearly shouted, comes more vehemently than Charles wants it to be. But he can't do this, not again. He pulls back his hand. The memory is still fresh of how surprisingly delicious it had felt to be bitten by Erik. How Erik had been so careful and the initial pain quickly was replaced by lust, how he had – the mere thought rattles Charles, just as does the flash of hurt showing on Erik's face. He takes a deep breath and says, ”I'm sorry, I can't.”

Erik only nods, his expression closes up though there is some emotion left in his eyes he can't wipe away entirely.

It is that which makes Charles hesitate.

He looks around, then spots the paper chocolate wrapper, crumpled on the floor. Briskly he goes and picks it up. He takes an abandoned pen from one of the tables and writes down his address, before he offers the paper to Erik.

This is such a bad idea, but he can't help it, can't stop himself for reaching out to the lost creature. 'He's a victim, like the others. He probably didn't deserve having to live like this.'

“Here. If you need something, some help or – well, just in case. This is my address.” 'What am I doing? He is a vampire,one of the monsters. You don't tell a vampire where you live, hoping he comes over for tea!'

Erik looks at the paper, then at Charles' face. Yet the hesitation shushes the protests in Charles' mind and he waits, still holding out the paper until Erik takes it.

“Thank you.”

Charles can only nod before he turns around and walks away. He doesn't say another word, doesn't look back, just goes quickly, leaving Erik behind.

It's gotten dark outside, Charles has hardly noticed. It had been raining the whole day and he had the lamp beside his couch turned on the whole time. He goes to fetch a fresh can of tea before he curls up again, wrapped in a blanket. He picks up his book and continues reading, settling in for another quiet evening.

Suddenly the doorbell goes off , startling him. He puts the book down, still reluctant to get up, wondering if this means he's finally forgiven. It's been a week since he last talked to any of the other hunters.

What if they decide they don't want him as part of the team anymore. He can't go back to his previous life. Not since he knows what's lurking out there. He's biting at his lower lip, trying not to think that he probably deserved it though, after what he'd done. Not that he told anyone about 'the vampire', but that doesn't undo his actions. Finally he gets up. Letting them wait outside in the rain won't endear him to them.

On the way to the door he worries about the impression he's giving. Dressed for comfort in sweatpants, t-shirt and a large blue cardigan he doesn't give the right impression of remorse he should be feeling. Yet there is nothing to be done about that now.

'They told me to stay put, I did. Or did they find out what really happened?' It has started to feel unreal, except for the moments when he lies awake in bed, or wakes from a dream – nightmare – about 'the vampire'.

'But what's done is done. It won't help anyone when they refuse to let me come back. Perhaps they just want to check up on me and see if I have learned my lessons in following orders.'

He feels composed again as he opens the door, and has the feeling slip away right there. A gust of wind blows raindrops against his face, but that's not why he suddenly feels cold. His hand on the doorknob tightens.

The vampire - Erik waits patiently, standing silently on Charles' porch, an umbrella hovering above him, the only thing that seems to be moving as the wind tugs at it. Charles barely realises Erik isn't holding on to it though. It merely floats above him.

Charles still doesn't know what to say. It's not like he has forgotten that he gave Erik his address, though he has tried to forget. And now Erik is here, standing on his doorstep, waiting to... Charles gaze falls down on the threshold, that last barrier between them. As long as he doesn't invite Erik in, it's alright.

Charles licks his lips nervously, and regrets it almost right away. He feels incredibly self-conscious of all the things Erik surely must notice about him. His racing pulse, the smell of adrenaline and fear. 'He can't come in. He can't even reach inside to drag you out.'

Slowly he looks up again. It seems past time to say anything in greeting, though Erik doesn't look annoyed, but as if he's got all the time in the world, which in a sense he has. He seems better, healthier – 'can a vampire look healthy?' Gone are the ragged clothes. He wears jeans, a white shirt, the collar standing open and a brown leather jacket. He looks – normal. Just like any old acquaintance might loo, just dropping by... Charles gaze falls on the floating umbrella, remembering Erik wanting to show him what he could do. Is that the reason for him to show up here?

“You can float things? You wanted to show me that?”

The smile appearing on Erik's lips doesn't go unnoticed by Charles, as is the way his eyes light up.

“I hope I didn't interrupt anything important.” Erik's voice sounds smoother, the words flowing more easily.

“No, I was just – home, reading.” Charles looks from Erik's smile to the umbrella and back again. “Why are you – I mean, you didn't really just come here to show me – that.“ Charles gestures weakly at the umbrella.

“Maybe.”

Charles blinks surprised. He hadn't expected that answer. “That's crazy.”

Erik's expression grows closed, and Charles wishes he could take the words back.

“I didn't mean to offend you. It's a really groovy mutation,” he finishes lamely.

Erik doesn't look appeased. “You probably hoped to not see me again.”

It is only partly true.“I was worried what would happen if I saw you again, but I'm glad to see you looking well. I've been - ” It probably wasn't a good idea to tell him he'd been dreaming about him. “- wondering how you are doing.”

Erik's expression softens and he raises his hand to touch Charles, but then draws it back, unable to reach him standing inside the house. “I've been thinking about you too.”

Charles already rakes his mind as to what to say to that, but gladly Erik continues. “But of course you wonder why I really came.”

“I said I'd help you if you need something, I still mean it, as long as it's not endangering anyone.”

Erik raises an eyebrow but seems to think about Charles' words then smiles sardonic. “I can't say it's not – dangerous. But I'm under the impression that you and – your people are used to taking risks, and I guess vampires don't fall under the category of 'anyone'?”

“You know why I was there that day. We had come to kill the vampires that were killing humans and I was to get any of their victims that were still alive, out. I didn't expect...”

“To find a vampire locked up in one of the cells.”Erik appears calm. “Do you think you made a mistake?”

“You tell me. Am I going to regret saving you, my friend?”

“I hope not.” The rain nearly drowns out Erik's words, and Charles wonders if he misheard. The next words are spoken louder though.“You might be interested to know that the vampire who controlled the Get you attacked is not destroyed yet. He's still weakened from loosing so many of his Get, but he'll be out for revenge soon. If you want to kill him you should strike now.” Then like merely an afterthought he ads. “I will help you.”

Charles isn't sure what he's more surprised to hear. The insight on the vampire nest they raided or Erik's offer to help – help kill his own kind.

“Is he the one who locked you up?” The question is probably foolish when the answer seems so obvious but Charles can't hear even an echo from Erik's thoughts. All he has to go by are his words.

Erik grows completely still again, and Charles finds himself blinking and searching out the raindrops dripping from the umbrella with his gaze to make sure not everything around him has frozen. Finally Erik lowers his gaze. “Yes.”

Charles finds himself reaching out. Before he can think he touches Erik's shoulder. He is still standing inside the threshold of his home, but Erik could grab him now and drag him out.

But all Erik does is look startled at Charles' hand. A tremble runs through his body, he looks up, and shifts the umbrella with only the flick of a finger, so Charles' outstretched arm doesn't get wet.
Emboldened Charles squeezes Erik's shoulder. Erik's expression flickers with something so human as surprise that it makes Charles wonder for the first time about who Erik had been before he turned into a vampire and what that makes him now. More than simply a monster.

“Thank you for offering that information.” Even if Erik isn't sharing it selflessly, even if it's out of some feeling of revenge. Charles can understand the motivation and there is anger burning in the pit of his stomach at the memory of Erik locked in that cell, of the other cells that once had held living humans and that he only found death inside.

“Some deserted him after your raid, he still has some of the Get left, but before he can call everyone back, you have to strike. He moved back into the crypts at the cemetery two nights ago, so there isn't much time. I will come...”

“You can't come with us, my friends, they won't understand, they'll never take help from...”

“A vampire.” Erik nods. “I understand. But I have a plan. You will go in as a diversion, and while he is distracted I will sneak in and kill him.”

“But what if they mistake you – I mean, the other hunters, if they find you there they will try and kill you...”

Erik looks strangely at him, then at his hand still resting on Erik's shoulder. He moves slowly but finally covers Charles' hand with his own. It's cold from the weather and Charles feels the sudden urge to invite Erik in, to get him out of the cold – that he surely doesn't feel.

“I'll get out after it's done. There are more secret passages like the one we took out.” He smiles up at Charles. “You don't need to worry about me - my friend.”

Charles takes a shaky breath. “We will have to discuss details.”

They are allies now, friends? To go through with Erik's plan he will have to trust him. This is going against everything Charles has come to believe is true about vampires, but, he realises, Erik has trusted Charles from the moment they met and had done nothing that would indicate Charles couldn't do the same. Charles' feels light-headed, yet it's not from fear, as he opens his mouth. “Please come on in.”

The doorbell rang and startled Charles looked up. His hands were shaking slightly as he set the teacup down.

The idea of Erik after that many years standing at his door again seemed even more surreal than it had all those years ago. Would he bother knocking when he now was intent on killing – or hurting – Charles?

For a moment Charles just sat there, unsure if he wanted to find out the truth. Then he reached out for whoever was at his door with his mind.

He was quick at the door, pulling it open. “Logan!” Charles felt almost giddy with relieve.

Logan stepped into the apartment as Charles moved back. “I missed you,” Logan said instead of a greeting.

Charles blinked surprised. “We're supposed to take the night off, to be ready for tomorrow night.”

“Not missed you at work.” Logan put his hands on Charles' shoulders and leant down to kiss him. Charles closed his eyes for a moment, revelling in the warmth of Logan's mouth. Finally Logan drew back, keeping his eyes on Charles, searching his face. He pushed a strand of hair back from Charles' face before he buried his fingers in Charles' hair. “You had me worried you didn't want to see me. You seemed - distant when you slipped out after the meeting about the Hellfire Club.”

Charles shook his head. “I only thought it would be better to, you know, save up our energy. I figured neither of us would get much rest if we spent the night together.”

“I promise I'll let you sleep.”

“How come you think you have any say in this?” Charles stepped closer again, wrapping his arms around Logan and pushing his hands into the back pockets of his jeans to better squeeze his ass. He felt Logan's laugh rumble through his chest.

“I thought so. We've already established that you can do anything you want to me – so if you don't send me marching back out your door, I must assume - ” Logan bent down to kiss Charles again, leaving him with a content sigh on his lips as he drew back. “That this is exactly what you want.”

“Well, it is still early, and it would be a waste of energy to send you back to your own place – and I do have a large couch...”

Logan made a displeased sound but leant closer and brushed his mouth against Charles' ear, making him shiver. “You're really going to ban me to sleep on the couch.”

“Only if you snore. But I meant, we could sit down and - “ Charles shrugged. “Talk, kiss... something like that.”

“Mhmmm, can you elaborate on the 'something like that'.”

“I thought we just see where things went.”

“So you're open for suggestions?”

Charles smirked. “Very much so. And I hope you are too, because I would like to suggest that you take off your jacket.”

Logan grinned, slid out of the worn leather jacket and hung it on a hook behind Charles.

“And since you're at it, why don't you take your shirt off as well.”

“Shouldn't we take turns with these ideas?” But Logan was already unbuttoning his shirt.

“An interesting proposal, but as long as mine are as brilliant as this, we're good, don't you think?” Charles' started undoing Logan's belt.

Logan suddenly pulled him close. He looked Charles in the eyes before he murmured against his lips. “I want you.”

As Charles lips parted to form an answer any sound was swallowed by Logan pressing his mouth against Charles', yet Charles' voice still caressed along Logan's mind. 'I'm glad you came.'

Chapter Text

Charles' head throbs and he is glad to finally get out from Professor Morgan's house and into the fresh night air. The meeting with his fellow hunters has gone as expected – not smoothly. Though he had been officially forgiven for the mess-up he created by disappearing during the last raid, not all was forgiven. At least Christina unexpectedly freezing the water in his glass was more to provoke a reaction from him and less out of spite.

But it was hard giving information without letting on where he knew about the vampire returning to the lair they had raided, that he was vulnerable now and that they should attack. Even though Charles had spent several nights before with Erik, who gave him all the information he had and tried to help him come up with ideas as to how Charles might know about it all.

Yet while it had seemed logical in theory, once he found himself second-guessed and his reasoning questioned, the constructed story started to unravel. In the end Charles had, with guiltily stuttering heart, planted suggestions all evening, that would make everyone in the group, including the Professor, not only believe his words but make it seem like some of what Charles knew as facts from Erik appear as educated guesses in their own minds.

It leaves him feeling both miserable and relieved that now at least everyone is convinced they should check up on the vampire lair on the cemetery again. He hadn't wanted to push the planning forward any further though, unless his carefully constructed suggestions come crashing down like a house of cards.

He has declined the offer of a lift home. It is late already, but checking his watch he decides he should be able to catch one of the last running underground trains. Maybe the fresh air during the the walk to the closest station will help ease away the tension droning through his muscles and mind.

Lost in thoughts Charles still catches the sudden sound of footsteps behind him. Instinctively he reaches for the stake under his jacket when he hears a familiar voice call his name. He breaths a sigh of relief and spares a thought at the irony, that the is glad to have a vampire appear right behind him – and who, at the moment, he is more happy to see than the people he calls friends. Smiling, he turns around.

“Erik, I thought you wanted to meet me at home.”

Erik comes towards him, wearing a grey coat. It's probably just to better blend into a crowd, for Erik has told him he feels no cold. “I'm sorry, it was getting late and I wanted to make sure everything went alright.”

Charles nods, pinching the bridge of his nose.”Yes, we didn't get as far with planning as I'd hoped. But it's not so easy to convince them, and I... I'm sorry, I think I'm too tired to explain.” Though the truth is simpler. Charles is feeling guilty about manipulating his friends' minds. Even if he meant no harm and it was for a good reason.”I'll head home now and we can talk tomorrow night.”

He turns away to leave, but Erik's hand on his shoulder stops him.

“Erik, please...” Charles starts to protest, but before he can finish Erik steps up to him, a shy yet eager smile on his lips.

“Let me take you home then.”

“What?”

Instead of an explanation Erik slides an arm around Charles. “Put your arms around my neck.” As Charles still shows reluctance to do so, he ads, “Trust me, please.”

Charles has invited Erik into his home, so for Erik' asking him to trust him seems rather redundant. He's shown very clearly how much he does, hasn't he? “Okay, so wha-” Charles' voice dies in a shocked gasp as they suddenly float up into the air.

Instinctively, Charles tightens his hold on Erik's neck, his eyes growing wide as they quickly reach the height of the closest buildings.

“I won't let you fall.”

It's a promise Charles can believe in, yet it takes several anxious moments during which Charles' wildly beating heart slows down a bit, to adjust to the strange feeling. Erik's arm seems secure enough around him, still he takes his time before he dares to turn his head to look.

He notices the way Erik keeps one arm outstretched, palm up and slowly appreciates how smooth their ascension is. Then he peers down at the street beneath them, illuminated by the street lights and his pulse quickens again. With a start Charles suddenly realises how he seems to miss the pull of gravity, feeling perfectly safe pressed against Erik's body. Whatever Erik is doing, it seems to be more than simply flying.

“Erik, this is amazing!”

Erik doesn't answer the praise but his expression says he's drinking in Charles' words. He spins them gently through the air, and they spiral further upwards.

“I thought your mutation was telekinesis, but this – It's something else, isn't it?”

“I can manipulate metals, and magnetic fields.”

“Incredible!” Charles can only fathom the amount of possibilities this gives Erik – as well as the power Erik commands. He should be scared by it, or worried, but in that moment all he really can think is how marvellous it is to float through the night with Erik.

Charles looks up at Erik's face and all he sees there is his smile, tentative yet real.

Charles shifts his arms so he is less clinging to him and can more comfortably rest against Erik. Suddenly he doesn't want to head home, not just yet. “Maybe we could do a detour on the way to my place, across the Thames?”

“I thought you were tired?” Erik sounds almost teasing.

“Erik, you – we are flying. Sleeping is the last thing I want to do right now!”

Erik's arm around his body tightens and hidden by the night they glide across the city, sparkling like a precious gem beneath them.

As they land in front of Charles' house Charles is shivering yet his cheeks are flushed. Neither does he think twice about Erik using his powers to unlock the door for him, when he's trembling too much to fish the key's out of his jacket-pocket. Nor is he worried about Erik simply stepping across the threshold into his home, following Charles into the living room.

“Erik, this was wonderful. Thank you!” He stutters between chattering teeth.

“Why didn't you say how cold you felt? I would have given you my coat!”

“But it was billowing around you. Looked - a cape.” The 'like' was swallowed by another heavy shiver.

“A cape?”

“You know, like Dracula.” Charles spreads his arms to mimic the capes worn by the vampires of movie-imagery. He laughs at Erik's confused expression but then huddles in on himself as he is seized by another bout of cold running deep through his body.

Erik still has his hand on Charles' back, only now moving it so he can brush back the windswept hair from Charles' forehead, then gently urges him to sit down on the couch and pulls a blanket across Charles' shoulders.

“Thank you, but, I'll better make myself some tea.”

“No. You stay here, I will do that.”

Charles watches as Erik disappears through the door leading towards the kitchen. He contemplates following, wondering if a vampire knows how to make tea. But then Erik has been human once, maybe even drinking tea or making tea for family, friends, or maybe even a lover.

Charles frowns, then pulls up his socked feet, and wriggles around until they are under the blanket, then pulls a pillow closer, hugging it. He tries to listen, but Erik doesn't make much noise when he moves. He didn't even bother turning on the light in the kitchen, so Charles can see neither Erik nor his shadow moving around in the other room. Charles lets his head sink forward and closes his eyes, only for a moment...

Next he knows, Erik is gently shaking him awake by the shoulder.

“Oh, sorry, I must have nodded off.”

“Here.”Erik presents him with a steaming cup of black tea with milk. “Milk, no sugar.”

Charles smiles. “You remembered.”

“I've seen you make it this way.” It sounds like Erik is uncertain, though it's hard for Charles to guess why. His shields are down enough so he should be able to pick surface thoughts from Erik if he were human, but there is just a low level buzz coming from him. So Charles concentrates on the tea.

“Thank you, this is lovely.” Charles takes the cup, curling his cold fingers around it, revelling in the warmth. “Can I offer you something?” The words are out before he can think about them. His shocked expression must make it clear to Erik, that he didn't intend to offer the only thing Erik might want.

Yet Erik isn't angry, or so Charles hopes. He merely observes him, face unreadable, then he asks calmly. “Can I stay a little while?”

“Of course.” Quickly Charles buries his face in the mug of tea, though the heat rising with embarrassment is doing a good job in warming him from the inside, before he even takes the first sip.

Erik sits down beside him on the couch. Neither of them speak for a while, but Charles finds himself slowly relaxing again, glad Erik didn't leave offended . His gaze is drawn to Erik, along with his curiosity.

He knows Erik has to drink human blood, but he's not sure if he is ready to hear the answer if Erik kills when he feeds. Though Charles has experienced how in control Erik is, even while starved, so maybe he doesn't. Maybe he doesn't even enjoy it. Charles throws a look sideways at Erik.

Would he enjoy drinking from Charles, if he were to offer his blood?

The last of the cold is banished as Charles is reminded how exciting it had felt to have Erik drink from him. There had been pain too, but it seems dismiss-able. And it's not the first time he's thinking about the arousal he'd felt when Erik was sucking his blood, it's only the first time while Erik is present.

Erik suddenly shifts towards Charles. His gaze is intent on him, slowly caressing over Charles' face and down to his neck.

A pleasant shiver runs down Charles' spine and he moves, turning towards Erik.

Erik's skin is still pale, but otherwise he looks very much human and less like a monster – and very handsome. Charles' gaze moves from the grey eyes to the wide mouth, and his mind suddenly comes up with a series of ideas involving that mouth... His breathing quickens.

This is crazy.

But if Erik feeds from him, he doesn't have to drink from anyone else. Someone less willing. It's only reasonable.

Charles puts down his empty cup, movements calm and composed. But behind the façade it's like he has swallowed a swarm of moths that flutter excitedly in his belly. He can only hope not to singe his wings if he comes to close to the candle flame. Carefully he picks his words.

“What I said, what if I mean it. What if I tell you, you can drink from me?” What if Erik will reject Charles' offer? Still Charles meets Erik's gaze, prepared for acceptance or rejection – or at least he tries to be.

Erik's eyes widen and Charles can easily read on his face how the question startles him.

“Don't tease me Charles.” There is a harsh edge in Erik's voice. “You don't – I'm not expecting any such offer. You invited me in, you... “ Erik slowly reaches out, as if afraid Charles will pull back, and takes Charles' hand in his, holding it gently. “You call me friend, that is – “ For a moment his grip tightens, then he lets go, though he keeps his hand on Charles'. “It is enough.”

Nervously Charles licks his lips. It would be easy to call it off now. Erik gives him a perfect out, but he doesn't want that, what he wants is only dawning on him slowly. And maybe it is just wishful thinking, but it's like Erik is saying the last bit only to himself, truly wishing for more.

Charles pushes back the blanket from his lap and sits up. Trying not to think about what he's about to do for sure then he will realise what he is about to do is less daring but very foolish, he straddles Erik's lap, free hand braced on Erik's shoulder. He searches Erik's face for a reaction that will tell him if Erik is disgusted by the bold move, merely interested in him as – food, or...

Erik keeps absolutely still, then lets go of Charles' hand.

Charles presses his lips together, preparing to be pushed back, but instead finds Erik putting his hands around his waist.

“Charles?” Hope or disbelieve and maybe both resonate in his voice.

Charles leans closer, tilting his head, his lips almost touching Erik's but then he hesitates. Can Erik even feel pleasure from a kiss?

Erik makes a small noise, a gasp for air, as if he's trying to breath in Charles without daring to move closer. Charles presses his lips against Erik's finding his mouth already parted, like he's just waiting for him and boldly Charles deepens the kiss, sliding his tongue into Erik's mouth.

Erik pulls him closer, no longer content to merely hold on to Charles. His hands slide along Charles' back, pulling his shirt out of his trousers, yet his hands stay bunching up the fabric in his hands, not moving further.

“Erik, touch me, please.”

“My hands are cold.”

“I feel hot enough to warm them.”

Still tentative Erik's hands explore underneath Charles' shirt. They are cold yet their touch feels like burning against Charles' hot skin. Erik moans into Charles' mouth, the sound so hot and arousing Charles looses the last of his inhibitions. He rocks against Erik's body, rubbing his growing erection against him.

Suddenly Erik goes rigid and pushes Charles away.

Charles blinks, surprised. All he sees is Erik's face turned away, all he feels are Erik's hands no longer pulling him close, but keeping him at a distance. His pulse races, and his heavy breathing seems to be all the sound filling the living room. Something went wrong, but what? Erik was enjoying this, the way he kissed him and held him, so why did he stop?

“Erik?” Charles cups Erik's face in his hands, skin pale and cool to touch, and though he can't force him, Erik turns his head back towards Charles under his guiding touch.

His eyes are closed, his mouth looks odd, as he presses his lips together. Charles brushes his thumb across Erik's mouth and Erik's eyes suddenly snap open, his gaze wild and intense. He bares his teeth, white fangs glistening, long and pointed.

Charles holds his breath but presses his thumb against one of the fangs, rubbing along it, feeling its needle-sharp tip that easily pierces his skin.

A shiver runs through Erik as warm blood wells up from Charles' finger. Tentatively Charles moves it deeper into Erik's mouth and presses it against Erik's tongue. Suddenly Erik's lips closes around it. He sucks at the wound. There is pain and something - something else, tingling along Charles' nerves, sending a promising shiver through his body. Charles gasps as Erik's tongue slides along his thumb and Erik's hands come up to capture Charles' hand and keep it in place.

He looks blissful, slowly lapping up the drops of blood oozing out and down over Charles' thumb, helping the flow along by sucking at it now and again. Charles watches him intently, fascinated and aroused.

“You can bite me, my wrist or, wherever you prefer.” Charles' voice is reduced to a husky whisper.

Erik looks dazedly at Charles. “Wherever?”

Charles nods boldly.

Erik chases another drop of blood with his tongue and Charles bites his lip, trying to stifle the moan that wells up in his throat.

“You taste amazing.”

Charles blushes, aroused and pleased. But he's startled by Erik's next words, uttered softly.

“Can I just hold on to you for now?”

The shiver running through Charles' body is warm and tingling and unexpected. “Yes – yes of course.”

Erik sighs and his hold on Charles tightens as he pulls him closer and buries his face at Charles' neck. Charles feels Erik breath in, inhaling his scent and the warm pulse of his blood underneath his skin.

Charles sinks forward, resting against Erik and after a moment closes his eyes and it almost feels like they are floating high up above the River Thames again.

The club was loud to all of Charles' senses. The music was pulsing across his skin and the lights flashing on and off made his eyes water at first. People were dancing, standing around, talking - and thinking. Most of it was happy thoughts, bordering on ecstatic – or drunk. He leant on Angel's shoulder to steady himself, still mindful to put his weight only on the part covered by a black top and not her wings currently moulded to her body. He took a moment to adjusted his shields to the crowd. Angel looked at him, a question in her brown eyes, but Charles only gave her a little nod. He was fine.

As discussed before, the two of them made their way from the entrance down the stairs to the main floor of the club.

Every step brought them deeper into the pulsing chaos, but it also became easier to filter out the mundane thoughts that surrounded him so they became background noise. This way it would be easier to single out different minds for closer inspection while keeping tap on the mass of brains as well, though unless someone experienced some thought flavoured by strong emotions, he wouldn't be distracted by them. Unlike the sight of Logan already sitting at the bar, which Charles found very distracting.

The jeans he wore were sitting tight across his arse, and though Charles had been sure nothing could compare to Logan's body naked, the black shirt stretching tightly across his back and arms was doing a damn fine job in convincing him otherwise.

Feeling cheeky, Charles quickly whispered into Logan's mind. ''That shirt is looking good on you, but it will even look better on my bedroom floor.'

He could see the slight tremor running through Logan's shoulders before he got an amused answer. 'You're lucky I already know you can do better with your mouth.'

'So is this a yes?'

As he only got some positive amusement as answer Charles' sent an image of Logan on Charles bed, still wearing that jeans and shirt, though both were unbuttoned and pushed aside, while Charles was already naked, straddling Logan...

Logan grabbed his glass and downed its contents in one go.

Angel suddenly pinched his arm. “Charles? Hey Charles, are you zoned out?”

Charles blinked and smiled guiltily. “Well – a little I guess. Sorry, it is quite overwhelming.” In her mind he added. 'So far I only sense that everyone is pretty much happy here. And – ah, there are Darwin and Alex.' He guided Angel's attention to where the two were leaning against one of the tall tables in one corner, out of the way of the dance floor but with still a good view of the whole area.

Carefully he picked out everyone's mind, so he could talk to them all at once. 'Okay, this is it. As discussed. I’ll head for a quiet – more quiet spot. If you find something suspicious, alert me. What will you think of really hard to get my attention?'

A chorus of 'Pink fluffy unicorn' answered this and Charles grinned.

“You only picked that to annoy Logan.”

“What makes you say that? Maybe he secretly adores them.”

Angel frowned, then replied dryly. “You would have to mess with my mind to make me believe that.” She steered Charles towards one side of the room, where the crowd wasn't that thick and Charles could find a likely place to stand and observe.

“I'll look around a bit if you don't mind.” She tilted her head in a way he had come to associate with her trying to think loud for him. I guess I'll take the high ground. The image of the gallery stretching along two thirds of the high walls of the room made it clear what she meant.

Charles smiled. “Good.” Silently Charles found he agreed with Moira. Angel would be a good choice for a partner for him. She appeared neither intimidated nor dismissive of his powers but made an effort.

Angel left, yet returned shortly after to press a drink into his hand. “So you look a little less like a wallflower hoping to be picked up.”

“Hey, do I look like a wallflower in this?”

Angel dropped her gaze to Charles' tight black trousers, then grinned. “A sexy wallflower.”

Charles smirked. “Don't worry, I can be very persuasive if I don't want people talking to me.” He tapped his forehead and winked.

Angel smiled and nodded, then headed out into the crowd again.

Charles followed her progress for a while, then let his gaze wander over to Logan who had turned so he was leaning against the bar but could watch the dance floor. Charles realised the shiny black wall behind the bar was doing a poor job reflecting the room, as built in light-effects sent the impression of sparks in yellow, copper and blood-red across its surface. Hellfire indeed.

Slowly Charles opened up his mind. He wasn't looking for vampire minds, not yet. He knew they were there, unnoticed by humans. But first he wanted to see if he could find out what made the humans so pliable that they followed the vampires willingly to literal slaughter. He looked for minds that tasted – different – drugged or docile. It wasn't easy with alcohol flowing. When he finally thought he was on to something he had to find out the drugs that made the particular mind a befuddled mess were self-inflicted.

He hadn't thought he would find some clue of what the vampire's were doing right away, yet stumbling upon no hint, was a little frustrating. The drink Angel brought him wasn't bound to make it better, it having zero alcohol in it.

His gaze wandered to the bar and Logan. He didn't have to worry about getting drunk, not with his mutation dealing with any 'poison' entering his body and looked like he was enjoying a glass of whiskey.

'Got anything suspicious yet?'

'One vampire passed me by pretty close. Could smell it. Otherwise, spotted someone who looks suspicious to me. Not sure yet. Have you picked them out?'

'No. I tried to see if there are any humans they might have drugged to lead away. None so far.'

'Maybe they only do it once a week, every other day... We should concentrate on finding out how many vampires there really are.'

'You're right.'

'Wait, there - Angel!'

Charles saw Logan sit up straighter, his gaze directed towards the stairs leading to the gallery. Angel was coming down them. Outwardly she appeared calm but as soon as Charles touched her mind he was hit by a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.

'Angel, are you okay?'

She almost stopped and moved her head to look at him, before she descended the final steps and pushed forward onto the dance-floor.

'Yes. Yes, I'm all right. There is a cluster of five vampires up there.'

'Did they notice you?'

'It felt like they were checking me out or something. I thought it safer to beat it. I'll just hide out here on the dance floor, but you should check up there. They have some sort of VIP rooms, mirrored glass-walls and doors so I couldn't see in. The vampires where coming from one of the rooms.'

'Will do.'

Charles emptied his glass and put it aside on a narrow table. It was time he focused on the main agenda of the night's mission before one of his team got hurt. He narrowed his focus, the mixed noise of the music and people bled back, became one pulsing mass, like a heartbeat – in sync with his heartbeat and amidst that homogeneous mass the vampires flared up like discordant static.

He swallowed at the number he could make out and it nearly threw him off. There were seven down on this level. Angel encountered five more up on the gallery and those might not be all. If something were to happen now, they would be outnumbered. He raised his gaze, preparing to scan the gallery.

The darkness up there was illuminated by the flashing lights from the dance floor and the installation that made the glossy black railing leading around the raised level glow with a copper halo.

It wasn't much to see by but enough to make out the woman looking down at the crowd. She looked cold and composed standing like enthroned atop the writhing masses beneath her. Her skin was pale, hair a pale blonde and the pants and top she wore completely white. The clubs colourful lights washed over her, turning her whole figure blue, yellow, red, copper before a slow pale light slid over her that made her clothes sparkle. Charles felt a chill down his back as he watched her.

Then another figure detached itself from the shadows and stepped up to her.

Charles gasped and his concentration faltered as he recognised Erik.

The minds and music around him crashed into him in a loud crescendo, the vampire minds drowned out by the exciting beat of human minds partying.

Charles hardly noticed, his focus narrowed down on Erik.

It look like Erik was smiling as he moved so he stood close to the vampire in white, then raised his arm. Charles couldn't see but he was sure Erik was touching her. Something in his stomach twisted. She said something and Erik laughed.

Charles throat felt suddenly tight. He took a step forward and bumped into someone. “I'm sorry, I - “ The girl turned to look at Charles and smiled, her eyes staying distant and cold.

“It's okay.” She moved on, leaving Charles who had to force himself to stay still and not grab her and push a stake into her unbeating heart. It would help no one if he acted rashly and blew their cover, no matter how rattled and helpless he suddenly felt.

As he looked up Erik and the other vampire were still there, looking down at the crowd, at their prey, and if they spotted him, if Erik spotted him...

Erik knew what Charles was – and as soon as he saw him, so would every vampire here know. They would realise quickly that they had come for them. This could turn into a trap for him – for his team. Any chance at taking out the vampire-club without heavy losses might be gone for good. He needed to get everyone of his team out.

He cast his thoughts toward Logan, who he knew was sitting at the bar.

'Logan. They know. We have to get out.' Charles reeled back. It was like his mental voice was dying down before he could make contact with Logan.

What the hell? Charles touched his forehead, trying to amplify his concentration. He heard a crystal-like laugh before something cold brushed against his mind, catching and quenching the tendrils of thoughts he cast out.

Charles looked up towards the landing. Erik and the white vampire where now leaning against the railing and looked down – at him. She smiled and touched a finger to her temple, almost like a salute.

For a moment Charles couldn't move, shocked. She was a telepath, a vampire telepath. Someone who could block Charles' own powers. And Erik was with her – or she was with Erik. Sick and dizzy Charles stumbled back, the urge to duck and hide growing until his shoulder hit a wall. He flinched at the pain, that was more a memory from his jarred shoulder that was as good as healed. But it was enough to drive some sense back into him. He tore his gaze away and started shoving through the crowd, making his way over to the bar and Logan.

He needed to warn him. They had to get everyone out before it was too late.

There was no probing at his mind, regardless he pulled up his shields, making sure they were sleek and tight, determined not to let her get even a glimpse of his thoughts. Finally, after way too long, he reached Logan. He meant to grab him but suddenly hesitated. What if she could she control non-vampires, could she turn everyone against him? Cold dread pooled low in Charles' gut, but before he could hesitate he dug his fingers into Logan's biceps and shook him. He knew him better, knew his mind better, however good she was, he had that over her.

“Hey,” Logan grunted annoyed as he nearly spilled his drink but stopped as he saw it was Charles suddenly commanding his attention. His expression changed quickly and he put down his drink.

“Charles?” Worry and concern resonated in the one word.

Charles gritted his teeth, trying to shove the information at Logan, but despite the physical contact the white vampire still managed to block him. Charles' gaze fell on his hand touching Logan's shirt and he pulled away to grab Logan's bare hand instead. Suddenly Logan winced.

“Sorry,” Charles said sounding more relieved as he felt Logan's mind, bright and warm against his, again. He stretched out his shield to cover Logan's mind as well. 'They know we are here. They know what I am, we have to get everyone out. I can't reach them. They have – someone like me.' The thought was still chilling enough that he couldn't fully voice it.

To his relieve Logan didn't ask further, he covered Charles' hand with his and squeezed it, before letting go, though Charles still held on to him. He got up and cast his gaze about, seeing better across the crowd than Charles.

“Angel is on the dance floor, Alex is chatting with someone close to the entrance. Can't see Darwin, I'll look for him. You get Angel and Alex, then we'll meet outside.”

'Be careful. No idea if she can control us.' He wanted to say more, but he had to let go of Logan's hand. As he slipped away he had trouble keeping the shield up for Logan as well, finally feeling it snap as Logan was lost to his sight, though he still could get a vague impression of where Logan was. Too late he realised he should have told Logan about Erik. He would do that later, once they got out. He would tell him everything.

Charles pulled his focus back and searched the dance floor for Angel, finally managing to spot her. Determined he headed into the dancing crowd.

People shoved at him and he got hit by flailing limbs as he tried to get to Angel, the progress painstakingly slow. He tried to suggest to the people to move out of the way, but found the vampire telepath was still on to him, blocking his thoughts.

Charles pressed his lips together firmly. He needed to keep her attention on him, make sure the others could get out. He finally was able to slide up to Angel. He caught her surprised expression as he leant close to talk into her ear. “Abort! We need to get out. Get Alex, he is chatting with someone close to the exit. We meet outside.”

“Okay.” She made her way dancing through the crowd much easier than Charles had.

Charles looked around, trying to spot Logan or Darwin.

“Hey, you dancing or what?”

He couldn't make out who said it, but started to dance, reluctantly, but following Angels example he found it easier to move in the crowd while keeping to their rhythm. He turned and gyrated slowly. He saw Angel drag Alex outside. Another turn and he thought he saw Darwin heading out, but wasn't sure. His gaze was drawn up to the gallery where the vampire telepath and Erik had been and found it empty.

Where where they? The only reassurance he had was that he still seemed to be the centre of the telepath's attention, as any suggestion or coherent thought was squashed.

He switched tactics, closed his eyes and swaying to the rhythm of the music pulsing around him, let his mind roll across the crowd. He tasted irritation but found he could stretch out his awareness unhindered. The unfamiliar minds of the humans where like a swirling sea of colourful emotions. He couldn't find Logan's familiar mind among them. He had to assume that he'd made it out with the others.

His mouth went dry as he realised the static buzz of vampire minds in the room had grown. He counted fifteen now amidst the crowd of humans on the dance floor level alone.

Suddenly a hand caught his arm in a strong grip and pulled him out of the dancing crowd. Charles stumbled along, his eyes snapped open and he found himself face to face with - “Erik!”

With his free left he reached for the stake hidden underneath his unbuttoned waistcoat, as he was shoved against the wall. He opted for a blind stab, but Erik caught his hand and pushed it up beside Charles' head. Cold fingers squeezed painfully hard around his hand, but Charles refused to let go of his weapon. Even as his eyes started watering from pain and his hand started to feel numb, he would not let go.

“So good of you to come, Charles. I hoped I would see you here.” Holding on to Charles like that Erik couldn't use his hands either, but he didn't need to. He looked at the stake in Charles' hand, then pushed his body against Charles and leant close to brush his lips against Charles' cheek. “You always liked to shove something into me, but as you will recall, it wasn't a wooden stake.”

Charles gritted his teeth, ignoring the heat the words brought to his face that stemmed from shame and anger, mostly. “That was when I still were to naïve and blind and believed you weren't a monster.”

“Oh, yes, I know how quick you are to judge.”

“That – I never... You killed people I knew and respected. People I cared for... “ Charles' voice died, his throat suddenly tight refusing to let any sounds past.

Erik hissed as he drew a sharp breath through fanged teeth. The sound achingly familiar from every time when Erik had bit Charles. Charles tensed, trying to ignore the tendrils of warmth that tightened in his belly. He tried to focus on the cold and pain of Erik trapping him.

“I'm sorry I didn't let you turn me into your tame, pet vampire but tried to defend myself.” Erik's voice was grim with sarcasm. “I'm sorry I tried to protect you!”

“Protect me!?” Charles chocked out the words in disgust. “Is that what you told yourself to ease your conscience? Oh, right, I forgot. You have none!”

“I was worried what would happen to you. You said yourself, no one would understand – I thought you did, I thought you wanted the same.”

“You never cared! You killed Raven!”

Erik blinked, startled. “I - killed? I would never...”

Charles wasn't surprised Erik didn't agree with him. “You turned her! You turned her into one of the monsters I hunt. This made her as good as dead to me.” Voicing the words was as bad as stabbing himself with the stake in his trembling hand. The pain squeezing his heart drowned out anything else he felt. All he knew was that Erik was responsible for all the pain in his life, all the loss he had experienced – and that Erik had let go of his hands. Charles reacted without thinking. He swung up his right fist and hit Erik hard in the face.

Despite the impact Erik's head only jerked to the side before he turned it back towards Charles, looking stunned but not hurt by the blow. Charles' felt more pain from the blow, his hand sore and throbbing, than Erik! It made Charles seething angry. “I should have killed you! I should have burned you in that cell or dragged you out into the sunlight.” He was shaking, the threats as irrational as they were full of venom from the finally unleashed grief wedged deep within him. Still he managed to pull his left hand close. The grip on the stake weak, yet he pressed the pointed tip up against Erik's heart.

Satisfied he watched Erik's eyes widen. Without any momentum he wouldn't be able to push the stake home, Charles knew, they both knew, but for a moment Charles felt like he could do it.

Erik's expression hardened. Much too easily he took hold of Charles wrists again and pinned them back against the wall, out of harms way. The stake fell from useless fingers and clattered to the ground. “Is that why you locked me up?”

Charles snorted, angry at his own helplessness, at his inability to do what he should. He should avenge his little sister, yet losing Erik wouldn't bring her back. It made him feel sick of himself that he was even thinking of killing Erik as a loss. “I must have been crazy thinking it was enough to lock you away.”

“Raven was the one who let me out.”

The simple words were like a blow to the guts.

Where is she now? Can I see her? The thoughts faded away unheard. Charles knew he couldn't bear seeing her changed, didn't want having to face the monster and trying to find his lost sister in an unfamiliar yet familiar face.

“Being back in that cell again was worse than the first time. At times I imagined I heard you just outside the door and I wondered, and hoped, that any moment now you would open it. I would have forgiven you, if only you opened it. Even after years. But you never came for me.” Something in Erik's expression changed. Up close Charles could see it clearly, the spark that had kept Charles wondering how human Erik still was, that had kept him believing Erik wasn't a monster, the little softening in his eyes that spoke of emotions Erik was still capable of feeling.

“What do you want of me?” Charles gritted out, trying to drown out the small voice that asked if it maybe wasn't too late after all.

“I came here intent on making you feel what I endured.” Erik let go of Charles' right hand. He leant heavily against Charles, and almost gently closed his cold fingers around Charles' throat, caressing over the soft skin there, before he shifted his grip to take a hold of Charles' chin, making sure he couldn't turn his face away. “Then seeing you again I realised, that's not what I want. But you tell me all the time that we are enemies, that you hate me, that you want to destroy me – so if this is what you believe – I'm ready to play your game. Let's see how you like that. I won't be your pet vampire any longer, but the monster you want me to be...”

Charles raced up the stairs of the club, stumbled, his knee connecting hard with the metal stairs underneath. But he didn't stop. He hardly was aware of the pain. All he felt was his mouth still burning from Erik's cold lips pressed against his in a fervent kiss.

Chapter Text

Charles pushed out of the pulsing crowd, into the street. People were still queuing up to get into the club, but he spared them no glance. Instead he started running down the next alley. He couldn't form a coherent thought. All he knew was he had to get away, the scene of what just happened replaying in his mind mixed in with the burning realisation that there was a vampire telepath who could block him.

“Charles! Charles!”

He didn't stop or turn around, the hurrying footsteps and muttered cursing behind him hardly registering. “Charles! What the hell?”

His lungs were burning, his breathing came in raspy gasps and he tasted fear and blood in his mouth.

'Damn, stop, just STOP, fuck, don't make me … PINK FLUFFY UNICORN!'

The words lit up like a beacon to Charles and he stumbled and finally came to a halt.

“Charles, are you okay.” Relieve and concern had Logan's voice shaking. He took hold of Charles' arm and gently spun him around so he could look at him. “Fuck - Charles!” Logan's warm hands suddenly were at the collar of Charles' shirt, pulling it aside.

Charles tried to twist free, pushing at Logan's hands, pulling up his shoulders to hide the bite marks low on his neck. “No, it's okay. I'm okay.”

Logan didn't let go. “You're not okay. You got bitten! What the hell happened in there?”

“It's nothing, just a scratch. You won't...” Charles stopped himself before he could shove the command into Logan's mind. He didn't deserve this. He put his slightly trembling hands over Logan's. “Please, don't tell anyone at headquarters. I'm alright. I could get away, before – nothing happened. I can't afford to go into quarantine over this. The NIB can't afford it.”

Logan looked sceptical.

“They have a telepath, Logan. A vampire telepath. I have no idea if I can block her. But knowing what she is, I might be able to come up with something to shut her down. But I can't do that when the doctors prick me with needles to do one pointless blood test after the other and lock me up for fear I will start to bite people.”

“But, are you sure...”

“I've been bitten before – back in England. I was careless, a vampire got – too close. I didn't turn then. This time he merely scratched me, so yes, I'm very sure I'm alright.”

Finally, Logan let go of the collar and pulled Charles into a close hug, pressing a kiss against his forehead. “Damn, I was worried. We were worried. Everyone got out except you...”

For a moment Charles simply savoured the warmth of Logan's embrace. He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relieve, while grabbing a fistful of Logan's shirt and burying his head against his neck – until he suddenly heard several footsteps approaching. He pushed back from Logan and tugged at his collar, making sure it covered his neck. Logan let go, looked down at him and gave him a curt nod before he turned to the rest of their team coming down the alley towards them.

Instinctively Charles touched their minds, to his relieve finding he could reach them again.

“What the hell happened? Angel said she was almost cornered by five vampires, Logan said they found us out?” Alex was looking between Angel and Logan before his expectant gaze focused on Charles. He was nervously playing with a stake, twirling it around, before pushing it back into the sleeve of his leather jacket only to let it slide back into his hand again.

“We should better save this for when we are somewhere more private. We can't get back in there, not tonight at least, Charles?”

Charles nodded at Darwin's words, then cleared his throat. “Let's head back to base. Darwin, Alex and Angel go first. Logan and I will follow.”

Alex shook his head. “This is fucked up. Nothing happened last time we were here.” But Darwin pulled him along.

Angel moved closer to Charles. “Are you alright. Why didn't you think a warning at us?”

“I'm fine, I... I'll explain later. We might get overheard.” Charles touched his head briefly in explanation.

Expressions of worry and shock danced across Angel's face, before she nodded and hurried after Darwin and Alex. He followed their minds until he was sure they were safely back at the car.

'Let's head back.'

'Is this wise. Won't we be overheard?'

'I've put shield around both of us.'

Logan put his hand on Charles' shoulder and kept it there while they walked back towards the mouth of the alley, keeping a wary eye on the sprawling building of the club.

'So what exactly happened? She the one who bit you?'

'Logan...' Charles couldn't even start coming up with what to tell Logan. He knew what he should tell him, but with how the encounter had ended tonight... He reached up to touch the place where Erik had sunk his fangs into Charles' flesh. No blood was oozing out – luckily – or he might have had a harder time convincing Logan to not report it, but the skin felt tender. He shivered as his fingertips grazed the mark the sensation having little to do with pain. He was glad the darkness hid his flushing cheeks.

'It's okay, we can talk later.

They made it back to the car parked several streets away from the club, without incident. Wordlessly, Charles got into the passenger side and fastened the seatbelt but Logan didn't start the car right away. He turned towards Charles and turned on the light inside the car.

“Look at me, Charles.”

He did as he was told, albeit reluctantly. “We have to get back, or the others will get worried.”

“We will, and I won't tell about this, but I want you to let me have a closer look at that bite mark.”

Charles closed his eyes for a moment, but then turned to face Logan, tilted his head to the side and pulled the collar away, exposing his neck. He still kept his gaze lowered, avoiding to look Logan in the eyes.

Logan searched his face, but then gently put his hand atop Charles' and leant a little closer. “Before we head in you should better wash up a little, put on a fresh shirt. The bite-wounds seem to have closed up already.” Logan's thumb brushed across the two marks, hardly touching them yet it made Charles' twitch and tense up. “Does it hurt?”

“No.” Charles swallowed, trying to get the husky tone in his voice under control. “It's just a bit sore...”

Suddenly Logan moved forward , cupping Charles' face in his hand he pressed a warm kiss against his lips. Charles hesitated, thinking of Erik's mouth against his, as his lips parted and Logan sucked at his lower lip, the kiss slow and full of warmth and just as much gentleness as passion.

“I'm glad you're alright.”

Charles nodded. He tried to concentrate on Logan's face, the warmth and concern in his brown eyes. “It's okay, I'm okay. I wasn't sure you had made it out and I wanted to make sure you did...”

“Don't worry about me next time. I'm damn hard to kill.”

A choked laugh escaped Charles. One thing that Logan and Erik seemed to have in common, if nothing else.

“We really should go now.”

Logan finally pulled back and started the car.

Charles licked his lips, not sure if the prickling he felt was from Logan's warm kiss or the memory of Erik's cold lips.

The silence in the meeting room was dense.

Moira had stood up and walked over to the windows and looked out past the half-drawn blinds. Charles was glad he was given a little breather after being the focus of everyone’s attention as he opened the meeting with the reason of why he had everyone abort the seemingly simple mission of gathering intelligence this night.

Absently he tugged at the top button of his fresh shirt, before Logan's booted foot poked his thigh under the large table, reminded him to stop. Charles threw Logan a grateful look and let his hand drop. He reached for the cup of tea in front of him instead.

Angel was the first to speak. “So, they have a telepath that is more powerful than Charles?”

“Damn, that puts a damper on things.” Alex' muttered words were still loud enough so everyone could hear them.

Charles stiffened. “I'm not sure yet if she is more powerful. She managed to block me but I wasn't prepared. I managed to shield Logan once I reached him and was able to touch him. I also got a sense of – displeasure from her when I stopped trying to send specific thoughts, I was able to hear the crowd and get a sense of where the vampires are. So I don't think she can block me completely. But she is powerful.”

“But you can't stay close enough to touch us in a fight!”

“Maybe that won't be necessary. So far we know for sure she can cut off telepathic communications. But we have other means to keep contact, we don't need Charles for that. Sorry, Charles...”

He shrugged. “It's okay, Angel, you're right.”

“I don't want to raise alarm, but couldn't it be that this vampire telepath is the reason for the humans following the vampires so willingly? What if it's no drug as we first thought but simply her controlling them.” Darwin finally butted in.

Charles gritted his teeth. That had been what he had started to wonder too.

“So we have a telepath, but he can't control vampires. Yet the vampires have a telepath, and she can control us!?” Alex yelped as Darwin hit him in the shin under the table. “Hey, it's true, isn't it?”

“Charles?” Logan was sitting two chairs down but he leant closer and by putting an arm across the empty seat between them, had his hand close enough to touch Charles' shoulder.

He knew what Logan was hinting at, but Charles wasn't ready yet to tell – especially if he wasn't sure what to tell. A freak occurrence that let him take charge of one vampire's mind wasn't enough to suddenly turn him into 'Lord of the Undead'.

Moira suddenly turned away from the window. “Charles, do you think you can find out more about that telepath vampire and how to counteract her powers without having her pick your mind? Or worse, planting some sort of command?”

“I think if she could do that, she would have already done so.” Though could he really be sure. Erik might have told her not to do it.

Suddenly Logan interjected. “You broke her hold as soon as you touched me, right, and she couldn't stop you from shielding me from her. So if I were to make an educated guess, I'd say Charles is stronger. And maybe it's only a lack of possibility at trying to control vampires. Maybe he could find a way if only he got the chance to try it more often. ”

Charles frowned at Logan, suppressing the urge to hit Logan's leg under the table.

“We can't afford to trust a 'maybe' though, Howlett. And we can't risk bringing a vampire in for Charles to practice with.”

Logan grunted but didn't say more.

Charles didn't want them giving Logan's stupid words any more thought, so he made sure they would focus on something else by saying: “But the vampire telepath is only one of our problems. I counted fifteen vampires down amidst the people on the dance floor, and Angel mentioned back rooms I never got round to check, so there might be even more. And we have no clue what these vampires' powers are. They might be worse.”

“How could they be worse?”

“Teleportation, shapeshifting... Think of a vampire that could look like any of us.” It was the first time Charles even considered the possibility that Raven might be here, with Erik. Erik had told him that she had freed him, so...

“I would smell the difference.”

Charles still felt somewhat annoyed with Logan. “Would you? In the middle of a fight, with vampires around us. Think of me running up to you, would you trust your nose and sink a stake right through my heart? Could you do that?”

Logan frowned. Charles? “I think I'd know the difference between you, and a vampire pretending to be you.”

Charles didn't answer Logan's mental question but crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“So we still need to find out the exact number of vampire's and how dangerous they are.” Sadly Moira's assessment was spot on.

“Why don't we patrol the club's area more? Try to take out one after the other?” Angel asked.

“No. We can't risk alerting them that we know about them.”

“You mean, any more than we already did?” Darwin sounded doubtful.

Moira shook her head. “I need to think about that. I want your reports about tonight before you leave.”

Alex groaned but nodded.

“Charles, we need a plan what to do about that vampire telepath. Maybe we will have to take it out before we can attack. Any ideas on how to achieve that and, even if they seem totally harebrained, I want to see them on my desk.”

Charles nodded. “Understood.” Though his mind was not on the vampire telepath but on Erik – and that Erik had her on his side. As long as Erik wanted to play this game of his with Charles, there was too much attention on him and whatever he did. Charles rubbed his forehead. Now if he could turn this to his advantage...

Moira nodded. “Dismissed.”

Charles decided to drop that thought for now. He stood up and gathered his teacup before heading out of the room. He didn't need to check, because he felt Logan's physical presence right behind himself. Following him closely.

“Charles?”

Charles still opted to ignore him. He should be more grateful for Logan keeping his mouth shut about the bite mark, but surely he must see the reason behind that. And it wasn't for him to force Charles' hand in revealing anything about their first encounter with Erik.

Startled, Charles discerned Logan was no longer behind him. He nearly turned around but then simply made his way to his desk and settled down.

What followed was mainly silence and the sound of busy typing, as the five of them wrote up their reports. Alex and Darwin were the first to leave.

Charles had hoped to finish his report and send it on to Moira so he could head home before Logan was done, avoiding a confrontation he was sure would come one way or another. Logan had to be tired of Charles avoiding telling him things after all. But constructing a report that left out one key fact, namely Erik, and having it still make sense, was not so easy.

He looked up when he realised him was the only one left typing. He saw Angel shut down her computer, and when he threw a sideways glance at Logan's desk, he realised Logan must have finished his report some time ago, yet he hadn't left yet. He had the computer shut down and was simply sitting there, arms crossed in front of his chest, waiting.

Reluctantly Charles focused back on the report, finally reading through it and finding it should pass muster. If Moira noticed and questioned the vague parts, he could always bring up fatigue and the shock of finding the vampires having a telepath as his excuse. Maybe he could come up with a more solid explanation to tie up loose ends tomorrow.

He saved the report and sent the link to Moira, then he logged off and shut down the computer.

“I think you should tell them. Tell Moira at least.” Logan suddenly said.

Charles gritted his teeth. No need to ask what Logan was referring to. “It was a one time occurrence, something I couldn't recreate.”

“It's something you didn't have the opportunity yet to explore more.” Logan stood up and walked around to Charles' desk. Before Charles could get up, Logan leant down, hands on the armrests, trapping Charles and forcing him to look at Logan.

“Charles! Even if we disagree and you're mad at me right now, I'm on your side. What I said still stands. I'll help you with that vampire.” Logan studied Charles' face. “You weren't just thrown because you encountered a vampire who's also a telepath. Was he there? Was – Erik – there?”

Charles froze, all colour draining from his face. How did Logan know the name? He'd avoided mentioning it. Charles pushed himself out of the chair, forcing Logan to back up. Charles grabbed his keys and phone from the desk drawer and turned to leave.

“So Erik was there and he was the one that bit you.”

Charles whirled around and stalked back to Logan, getting only so close he could could speak low enough so they wouldn't be overheard yet he didn't have to crane his neck to look up at Logan. “You have no idea what has happened,” he hissed. “So you have no right to talk about it.”

Logan stayed calm. “I won't pressure you into talking about it. You nearly told me more than I guess you would have liked to when you were on pain-meds last week. But I want you to know you can trust me.”

Charles frowned, trying to remember what he'd said to Logan then. They had been on the drive home and Charles had been rambling. Had he mentioned Erik?

He nearly missed Logan raise his hand and reach for him, catching a strand of Charles' hair and letting it slide between his fingers. “I won't judge you.”

“Generous of you, in any case, you have no right to do that anyway.”

Logan kept a tight reign on his composure yet Charles could feel the frustration rolling off him. “If you try to push me away because you think you need to keep me safe, it won't work. “

“What if I'm not that noble and this is simply me being an arsehole.”

Logan snorted. “Yes, sure.”

Charles was annoyed yet Logan's words also left a warm buzz inside him, that intensified as Logan bridged that last distance between them and kissed him.

Charles drew back. They were at work, and though the office room they were in was empty there were still people in the building. Charles registered someone in the joint kitchen, making coffee and Moira was only down the corridor, reading through their reports.

“We're at work.” Charles protest breathed against Logan's mouth.

From up close Charles could see the amused spark in Logan's eyes. “Mhm. Let me take you home then.”

With every breath Logan's scent filled more of Charles, leaving him almost throw his resolve overboard. “I think I better be alone tonight. I need to think about what happened, and come up with some strategy against the vampire telepath.”

“Okay... but let me at least accompany you.”

Charles was torn between relieve and wanting to protest but then he nodded and leant that little bit forward to bring their lips together again, allowing himself one long moment to melt into Logan's warm kiss and forget about the world around them.

Charles parked his car in the usual spot and turned off the engine. He had insisted driving back home in his own car – just as Logan had insisted coming along. So he waited for Logan's car to pull into an empty space several cars over from his. Meanwhile he first swept the surroundings bathed in night and electric lights with his gaze, before doing a more thorough sweep with his mind.

The area was free of any blank static of a vampire's mind, yet Charles there was a vague unease plaguing him. Absently he tugged at his shirt-collar, prodding at the bite marks with a finger.

Finally he saw Logan get out of his car and come over. With a sigh Charles got out himself, not without throwing a suspicious look up into the night sky, and locked his own car.

“You really don't need to do this.”

Logan grunted. “I do. Or I'll pace up and down my flat until I know you're home safe. Also I hope you're no longer mad at me so I get a good night kiss.”

Charles shook his head, but he at least smiled as they finally reach the building and headed inside. They got into the elevator. Logan watching him as Charles shifted from one foot to the other unable to hold still, but he refrained from commenting.

Finally they reached the door to Charles' apartment.

“Okay, I safely reached my doorstep. You can rest easy now.”

Logan's hand brushed through Charles' hair, then he caressed Charles' cheek. “I will leave if you need to be alone tonight. But you don't have to be.”

“Logan...” He had thought he would tell Logan about Erik, he had been sure he would, but now he just couldn't.

“I'm not pressuring you for answers. But I'm here to listen to you. You don't have to sort this out on your own, okay.”

Charles closed his eyes for a moment then nodded. “I'll think about it. Good night, Logan.” He turned to open the door but Logan's hand on his shoulder gently held him back.

“Hey, what about my good night kiss?”

Charles gave a half-hearted laugh, but grabbed hold of Logan's shirt, the fabric feeling silken soft underneath his fingers. Logan leant closer, mouth parting, then suddenly Charles' attention was drawn along the corridor. It was empty, but Charles couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he suddenly had. It wasn't a feeling of being watched, merely like something, some present, lurking. He put a hand to his temple but found nothing unusual. Finally he lowered his hand and pulled at his collar, the buttoned up shirt chafing against the bite-marks.

Logan had followed his gaze, stilled and tensed as Charles searched for any minds, now he looked questioning at him. “What's wrong?”

“Nothing... I seem a little jumpy tonight... come inside for a moment.” He unlocked the door and let Logan inside, closing it behind himself.

“Before I jump to conclusions,is this you changing your mind or are we still doing the good night kiss part?”

“I still need to be alone, but – I hope my lips can convey how grateful I am that you understand.”

Logan chuckled, warm amusement shining in his brown eyes.

Charles' breathing hitched and pulled Logan close, this time nothing distracting him from kissing him. Logan's arms came up around him leaning in as they shared a slow kiss. Logan was warm and alive and Erik – He pushed that thought aside, buried his fingers in Logan's hair and deepened their kiss, drinking in all the warmth and passion and desire.

Finally, much to soon, Logan drew back, breathing harshly. “We better stop this, if you want me to leave.”

Charles hesitated but then let his arms sink. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat before he attempted an answer. “We'll see each other tomorrow at work.”

Logan nodded, then slowly withdrew. “Good night Charles. Get some rest.” He had his hand on the doorknob when he turned back. “And you can call me any time – for whatever reason.”

Charles nodded, then leant back against the wall and covered his face with his hands after the door clicked shut behind Logan.

He stayed like this for quite some time before he got himself to move. He hesitated before he entered the large living-room/kitchen area, gaze drawn to the large windows he so enjoyed, giving him a beautiful view of the outside. But for the first time he was feeling tense at the thought of someone – Erik - able to look in.

He didn't hit the light switch but made his way over to the kitchen and rummaged in one of the cupboards until he located the porcelain sugar-bowl. It was a family heir-loom, with twines of blue flowers framing pictures of birds. Raven had loved the ghastly thing.

He opened it and fished out a key, then went over to the locked cupboard standing against one wall. He unlocked it and the double doors swung open. Charles stared inside, then picked up two of the stakes laying neatly inside. He weighed them in his hand, then took them over to the table in front of his couch and put them down. Two more trips to the cabinet and the stakes were joined by a knife and a gun, loaded with silver bullets. He locked the cabinet again, then went back to the couch and sat down, eyeing the collection before him.

He picked up the gun, checked if it was loaded then aimed it at the nearest wall.

He held his breath.

If Erik were to show up, could he do it? Could he be fast enough so Erik couldn't stop the bullet?Could he pull the trigger at all?

Could he shoot Raven?

His vision blurred and he gasped for breath, letting his hand sink. The gun made a loud sound as he put it back down.

He rubbed a hand across his eyes, blinked, then wiped his cheeks with his sleeves. He'd dealt with his loss, he'd moved on. Why did it get to him so much Erik mentioning Raven? Because it was her who freed him? Or simply because he'd thought – hoped – to never hear from her again.

 


“Raven, you can't seriously believe that?” Charles is shocked. He tried to keep her away from what he does, hunting vampires, but he warned her of the dangers, told her about the monsters. To keep her safe. And now -

“But what other explanation is there? There are no vampires who were only human first. All of them are mutants. And most mutants power grow stronger once they are turned.”

“This is not a next step in evolution. This is – like a virus, that only effects mutants.”

“But Erik says...”

“Don't listen to Erik. Actually, don't talk to Erik at all. I shouldn't have allowed you to meet him in the first place, I'm sorry.”

“But you're talking to Erik!”

“He's a vampire! … and I'm a vampire hunter, that's different.”

“No. The difference is that you're a hypocrite! You want to tell me I can't talk to him but you are fucking the vampire – and I've seen the bite marks on your neck!”

 

With shaking fingers Charles unbuttoned his shirt and leant back. He rubbed against the itching mark at his neck. She had been right in a way, he should never have gotten close to Erik himself. He pressed his thumb against the healing wounds until the odd pleasurable sensation touching it brought was replaced with a sudden stab of pain.

The relieve was only short-lived though. As the pain subsided it was replaced by the ghost of Erik's lips on his neck, sucking at Charles' flesh. As if he had gotten under his skin somehow and Charles was unable to shake him off.

 

He can't struggle with Erik holding him in place. Yet he tries to turn his head and raise his shoulders as Erik leans in, fangs glistening. The sound of Erik's amused chuckle runs along Charles' neck sending little shivers down his spine. Suddenly he moves so quickly Charles arches up in surprise as Erik's fangs sink into his flesh. He becomes keenly aware of Erik's body pressing against his, the way Erik sucks in air through his nose to take in his scent the way he sucks at the tiny wounds, hot blood staining Charles' skin, before Erik gulps down.

Sweet pleasure mixes with bitter remorse and Charles groans, pushing, struggling shouting only one word in his mind: NO!

Times seems to almost slow down as Erik sucks once more and swallows, then laps at the wound and raises his head.

The music around them seems suddenly loud to Charles' ears, he tastes cold displeasure, but knows it's not his own thought.

Erik gazes at him intently, his grey eyes almost glowing silvery pale in the flashing lights. He licks his lips, his expression ecstatic. “You still taste amazing, Charles. Soon, Charles… I'm sure we'll meet again soon.” Before Charles knows what to make of this Erik moves and kisses him on the mouth.

 

Charles stared out of the window, weapons ready, yet not feeling at all prepared for a next encounter with Erik.

Chapter Text

Charles pushed the stake home. The fabric tore easily under the sharp and hard wood, as did the skin, before it encountered more resistance, digging under the ribs into solid flesh. Charles grunted and gave the stake a twist with both hands, making sure it dug deep into the heart. For a moment the expression of shock and pain seemed frozen on the vampire's face, then the monster's body seemed to evaporate, turned into dust, which the breeze from the riverside took up and blew away.

Charles staggered to his feet and wiped the stake at his trousers before putting it away. He checked to make sure the vampire's severed arm had disappeared too, before he turned away and made his way over to Logan. He was still on his back on the ground, not moving. For an irrational moment a sliver of fear flashed through him.

“Logan? You okay?”

A groan was all the answer he got.

Charles sank down on his knees beside Logan, the street lamps on the riverside park walk illuminating the gruesome sight. For a moment Charles' heart clenched, as he saw Logan's half melted face. His right shoulder and arm seemed to fare the same, though it was hard to tell with the tattered clothes hiding part of the damage done.

Charles blinked, and realised to his relieve that the flesh was already knitting itself back together. Charles slid easily into Logan's mind. He found a red hot whirlwind of anger and pain, leaving no room for coherent thought. He tried to get Logan to relax, not daring to touch him, he let his thoughts caress gently against his mind. 'You're going to be alright, you’re going to be fine...

Logan's gaze from his good eye focused on him, and Charles ventured a tight smile. “Vampire is dead, was easy to get her with only one arm left.” He tried to joke but it didn't come out just right. He startled as Logan's uninjured hand bumped against Charles' leg, and he carefully took it in his. Logan's fingers closed around his and his grip tightened, while they both waited silently for his body to heal himself from the acid the vampire had sprayed him with, melting his flesh away down to his adamantium coated bones.

A shudder ran through Logan's body, as the skin on his face knitted itself back together. Carefully Charles reached out and touched Logan's restored face, slowly stroking his thumb across the skin under Logan's fully healed right eye. He let out the breath he hadn't been aware he'd been holding as Logan moved into the touch.

“Fuck that hurt.”

Charles shook his head, a weak grin on his lips. “You know, normally people would duck if a vampire was spitting some weird smoking liquid at them, nut run on right into it. Come on, lets head back to headquarters.” With Charles' help Logan sat up and got back on his feet.

“Well, still managed to cut off its arm.”

Charles found he could hardly argue with that. The last worry for Logan gone, he relaxed into the buzz of contentment, knowing there was one less monster killing innocents out there. It wouldn't last. Back at headquarters they would be faced with the problem of how to take on the vampires at the Hellfire Club, but until then they had been able to do something useful. And they had all needed that after yesterday's débâcle.

They started heading back out of the Riverside Park to where they had parked the car. Disapprovingly, Logan brushed a hand over his ruined leather-jacket and shirt, finally shrugging out of the former and starting to unbutton the second.

Charles raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps you should wait with getting naked until we are back at the car, “ he smirked, “or in my bedroom.”

Logan threw him a sideways glance. “Is this an invitation?”

“Might be.”

“Well I planned to keep on my undershirt – for now. So there is still enough fabric left to peel me out of.”

Charles chuckled and gave Logan's arse a short pet and squeeze. “I can work with that. Now since you're still weak, I'm driving.”

“What? In your dream, Chuck!”

“Chuck?”

“Yes.”

“No.” Charles shook his head.

“Okay, but I'm driving.”

“You're still recovering.”

“I'm fully healed, but I never recovered from the experience of you driving.”

“Okay... then first one to the car gets to drive.” Charles dashed off, slipping into Logan's mind to freeze him into place.

“Charles! That's not...” The string of growled profanities from Logan's mouth was lost in the growing distance between Charles and him.

Logan steered the car down the driveway to NIB's headquarters' garage.

Charles lounged in the passenger seat, nevertheless a smug and overall satisfied smile on his lips. He'd made it to the car first, letting go of Logan only once he reached it. But as it turned out Logan had very good arguments as to why Charles shouldn't drive. Like Charles being exhausted, a little wobbly on his feet and generally floating in the aftermath of an orgasm - all thanks to Logan and his very skilful mouth. So Charles had ended up very happily giving in to Logan, content to just lounge in the seat and let Logan do the driving. He could hardly call Logan up on cheating after all.

Charles pulled the electronic key out of the glove compartment and typed in the code. He was just about to put it back, when he looked up and realised the garage door hadn't moved.

Logan looked between him and the gate. Charles shrugged and tried again. The key-pad on the electronic-key made the usual beeping noises as its buttons where pushed, then – nothing.

“Perhaps the mechanism is down? I'll call in to see how long repairs will be and if we should leave the car in the driveway or park somewhere else.”

Logan nodded and kept the car running, waiting for instructions.

Charles called the main office, but the phone went to the 'currently no service' message right away. He called Moira's mobile next, but it was down as well.

Logan and Charles exchanged a worried look.

“I'll try to talk to Moira directly.” With an uneasy feel gnawing at the pit of his stomach, Charles' touched his fingers and concentrated on the humans in the building in front of him. He felt somewhat relieved as he brushed past active minds, agitated but not screaming out in pain or terror, until he finally got to Moira.

'Moira?'

'Oh, Charles, good you're back. We're stuck inside here. All electricity is down and the doors won't open. We are still trying to figure out what happened.'

'What - when did this happen?'

'About one hour ago.'

'Do you think it's some sort of attack?'

'I don't know. No one can get in here, so the target can't be us directly. Everything is powered down, so there is no getting intel from here. Most of the teams are still dispatched.'

Charles frowned. She was right. No vampire could get into headquarters, because it wasn't a public place. Moira lived in the building for that reason alone. It was hers to call home, so without a direct invitation from her, no vampire could enter the place. And it was also the reason why the head of NIB wasn't a mutant. Because even if the vampires caught her, they couldn't turn her and thus turn her against the whole organisation and get them inside. So if the target wasn't inside...

'With communication down... no one can call in for backup or report anything.'

'That's why we concentrate on getting that up first, never mind the doors. Though the way they are fused shut is freakish. They aren't electronic, but still won't budge.'

Something about that was nagging at Charles' mind. 'You said every electrical device inside is down?'

'Yes. It all went at once. From the coffee-makers to the computers. Hank suspects it might have been some sort of electromagnetic pulse, though he thinks for it to have this effect, several chargers would have had to be place inside of the building. Which is unlikely – and we haven't found anything of the sort anyway.'

Charles balled his hands to fists. He knew exactly who was behind this. 'Okay. We'll stay here and warn any teams coming in. I'll keep in touch.'

'Good.'

“What’s going on, is everything alright Charles?”

Charles just shook his head. Nothing was alright.

He had no idea where to start searching, but he slowly cast out his mind, looking for a buzzing blank spot amidst the human minds. There was nothing on street level, so he went down into the cellars. It was always more tedious, sifting through a place that was shielded by earth and concrete. It always left the impression with him, that he had to plough and dig, though he was sure that was at least partly only in his imagination.

Finding nothing he drew back. Vampires preferred the darkness, so through sewers and cellars underground would be the perfect way to creep up on them – except the first time Erik had attacked him here it had been from above. Charles didn't bother with the floors on the surrounding buildings but went to the sky instead. Scanning the dark vastness above them for something, anything...

The sudden metallic taste of blood at the back of his throat made him think of running through the cold night air – and he almost missed it. There was a vampire, on the roof of the building opposite of NIB. And it was Erik. Charles was sure of that.

He had his seatbelt unbuckled, got out of the car and ran up the ramp leading to the garage's entrance. He looked up towards the roof of he next building, up into the dark sky, glowing orange by the reflection of thousand of city-lights. He needed to get up there, he needed to stop Erik.

“Charles, what's going on?” Logan's hand on his shoulder brought him back.

Charles tore his gaze away and looked at Logan. Nervously he licked his lips, while studying the face of his work-partner, lover?... Logan hadn't asked for anything Charles wasn't ready to give. He'd simply been there when he needed him. He'd kept his mouth shut when Charles asked him to, even if that went against all regulations of the NIB. Logan trusted him, he could at least do the same, couldn't he?

And a treacherous little voice in his mind told him, he could always alter Logan's memories, if need be.

“Logan...” Charles swallowed. “NIB is locked down. All the doors are locked, all electronic devices shut down because – because of Erik. The vampire who attacked me that night. He – it's a long story, only – it's my mistake. I was young and – naïve. When we met I first thought him to be human, because the other vampires had locked him up. Turned out he wasn't, but he seemed different than the other vampires. He helped us track down and kill the rest of the vampires who imprisoned him. For a time I started to believe not all vampires were monsters but then - “ Charles shook his head, he couldn't go into details now. “Turned out I was wrong, so I locked him back up. Unfortunately he got free and now he is here.”

Logan had been listening intently, his expression turning from worried to grim.

Charles reached out for Logan's mind, wanting to know and yet not wanting to find out what he was thinking. “I should have told you sooner, but – it's not exactly the easiest story to tell. Being the only vampire hunter foolish enough to believe there could be another side to the monsters.”

Logan shook his head. Charles' body stiffened under the gesture. Well, what had he expected? Under the circumstances he had thought ending things with Logan would be better anyway. Nevertheless the thought left a bitter after-taste in his mouth.

Logan's grip on Charles shoulder tightened and suddenly he pulled him close.

“What is this Erik up to now? Are you the target?”

Charles inhaled, taking in the scent of Logan, a mix of sweat and cigars and he shuddered with relieve. “I don't know. He can't get into headquarters but he's practically turned us deaf and blind. If they try to attack our teams now, we won't hear of it or be able to send backup.”

Finally Logan detached himself from Charles, yet still kept his hands gripping Charles' shoulders. “What do you intend to do?”

“I know where he is. I need to get up onto that roof. I need to try and stop him.”

“Okay. That's an office building, only way up there is through the front door, but I guess you'll have no trouble charming the security. You said he shut down electric devices in our building, so I'd say we're safer if we take the stairs up instead of any elevator.”

“Logan, no! As you might remember, he can control metal. He can stop you or throw you around by the flick of a finger. I'll go alone.”

“The hell you will. I'll come with you. I can at least distract him so you can get into his head again and stop him.”

Charles hadn't thought about what he would do once he got to Erik, but Logan made it sound so simple. He hadn't been able to do anything of the sorts at the club, yet hadn't even tried then. The fact that there was another telepath – a vampire telepath – who meddled with Charles' attempts at reaching his team, having completely unsettled him.

Still he shook his head. “No. If you're there, I'll worry about you and get distracted.”

Logan looked like he wanted to protest, then he huffed. “I can't do just nothing.”

“Someone needs to stay here, try and reach the other teams by phone, let them know what's going on. They should come here in case there is an attack. And they'll need someone to organise the incoming teams.”

“What if it’s a trap?”

“We'll still stand a better chance together here, than with all of them spread out across the city.”

Logan seemed ready to argue the point further, but then shook his head. “Alright.”

Charles gave him a tight smile and stepped back. “Thank you.” With that he headed across the street to the building opposite NIB headquarters.

Getting the security guard to let him in was easy. He considered Logan's words, but Erik probably was concentrating solely on the NIB building, so he wouldn't pay any heed to the elevator here. Picking speed over any low-risk precautions, Charles got in and rode up to the top floor. Nervously he was playing with the master-key he had gotten off the security guard.

As the elevator passed the floor-levels one after the other, Charles became aware that he still lacked a proper plan. Logan's reaction to his confession (even if it had left out certain important facts) had come as a relief. But now he needed to focus. His goal had to be to distract Erik, so he would give up control of NIB headquarters.

Erik hadn't tried to kill him at their second meeting, he seemed more intent to play with him. So he could use that, let Erik chase after him. For a crazy moment he wondered, if Erik didn't want him dead, would he save him, if Charles were to jump off the roof? A crazy stunt like that sure would shake his concentration.

Charles looked at the mirror in the elevator and stared at his reflection looking pale, with shadows under his eyes from sleeping badly last night. He brushed back his hair with a hand and thought of Logan's fingers, gently tugging at his hair, his warm mouth on his... He closed his eyes.

“Okay, so I'm not that desperate yet.”

The elevator doors opened and Charles flinched.

He gritted his teeth. He needed to be calmer when he was to face Erik. He couldn't let him get the upper hand again. He got out, took a moment to get his bearings and then quickly jogged up the last few stairs until he reached the door leading to the roof.

Charles still didn't feel any better prepared but there was no time to think up a proper plan. Headquarters was under lock down for an hour already. He would simply have to improvise.

Charles unlocked the door and carefully peered out before easing it open and slipping out onto the roof. It was a green roof, with plants growing in large areas, divided by small paths. Here and there someone had set up benches and sunshades, now closed up for the night. He couldn't see Erik yet, so Charles did a quick sweep and found him on the opposite side from where he had come onto the roof. He took out the knife he carried and dropped it on the ground along with his belt, watch and phone and finally his jacket. Best to carry as little metal as possible about himself. The stake he carried would have to do.

Thoughtfully, he looked at the heap. Logan had been right, Charles needed a distraction to get close to Erik.

The low succulent plants growing on the roof where all set in a mix of large stoned gravel and earth. Charles picked one of the palm sized stones up and weighed it in his hand, before he carefully started moving around the walls surrounding the roof-exit. There wasn't much in the way of hiding space except for the benches and several vents jutting out of the roof.

Then he spotted Erik. He stood facing the NIB building arms outstretched towards it. He had his back to Charles, and was wearing that cape again, the fabric falling from his shoulders. It should have looked ridiculous, yet the sight only made Charles grit his teeth.

Charles tried to pick up something from Erik's mind. He dared close his eyes for a moment to concentrate better and amidst the blank droning there was a flash of satisfaction, and something deeper, tasting like anticipation. Charles didn't linger, nor did he puzzle about what Erik might be waiting for. Satisfied Erik was distracted he gripped the stone in his hand a little tighter, took aim then threw it in the direction where he had left his knife with the other things containing metal. The stone bounced off the metal roof of the staircase. Charles winced at the sound it made, though it was exactly what he had hoped for.

Erik shortly turned his head in the direction of the sound, ready to dismiss it, yet something seemed to catch his attention. He half turned, reaching out with one arm. Charles jumped up and ran towards Erik, stake grasped tightly in his hand.

Alerted by the sounds his boots made on the roof Erik suddenly whipped around.

Fuelled by grim determination Charles launched himself at Erik, feet first. The kick landed solidly in Erik's stomach. As Charles dropped and rolled, he had the satisfaction of seeing Erik at least stumble back from the impact.

Charles let momentum take him back on his feet. Not waiting for Erik to react, he threw all his weight forward, barrelling into Erik's chest. His hand was gripping the stake tightly yet otherwise ignored in his hand.

Erik tried to get a grip on Charles. As cold hands closed around Charles' arms Charles pulled back, trying to twist free and suddenly both of them toppled to the ground. They rolled, Charles panting, while Erik's struggle stayed completely silent. Charles fought stubbornly to not be buried under Erik, instinct taking over as the hours of training with Logan kicked in. He'd have no chance if Erik managed to pin him down. Suddenly Erik stopped struggling, freezing underneath Charles.

Charles gasped for breath, each lungful of air he sucked in accompanied by breathless wheezing. His mind tried to catch up with what had happened, until he realised he had the stake pressed right under Erik's ribcage, the tip already digging into Erik's flesh, ready to be pushed that last bit straight into Erik's heart. His left hand covered his right, stabilising the stake.

He should feel triumphant or at least relieved. It could be over, right here and now. All he had to do was to shift his weight and push forward that last bit.

Erik looked up at him in the same wide eyed shock Charles felt. Then, slowly, as if exhaling air, Erik's body went limp underneath Charles. Yet Erik's eyes stayed open, gaze locked on Charles, searching his face.

“You said you should have killed me, Charles, but you couldn't. What about now, are you prepared to kill the monster?”

Charles couldn't answer instead he tried to concentrate on the names and faces of those killed because of Erik, those Erik had killed. Yet instead the images kept blurring, even Raven's face, shifting to be replaced by Erik's eyes. “I came here to stop you.” Charles gritted out defiantly.

“Then do it.” Erik didn't sound angry or spiteful, but calm.

Charles took a deep breath, ready to plunge the stake that last bit forward, tensing to use all his weight to drive the the hard wooden point home. Yet his shoulders started shaking, his fingers lost their grip as the strength seemed to drain from his muscles.

Still Erik kept utterly still underneath him.

Charles gritted his teeth, then growled in frustration. Bitter tears welled up, his throat grew tight and something seemed to squeeze around his chest as a burning ache seized him.

“You don't want to kill me.” Erik's voice was a mere whisper, soft yet warm.

Charles laughs, a harsh rasping sound. “I should do it, by all that is sane I should.” But perhaps as he had dragged Erik from that cell, he had left all sanity and reason behind, locked up in there instead. Still in all that bleak realisation there was a small bit of triumph. “And so should you, right Erik. I locked you back up. You hate me for that. I kill your kind. That makes us enemies, but what do you do? Instead of killing me you play with me, like some toothless dog.”

With a jerk he pulled back the stake. He was still shaking. Anger mixed with a strange sort of amusement born out of despair boiled inside him and replaced the cold coiling fear in his stomach, threatening to bubble up in a wild laugh.

Erik's eyes grew hard and angry, yet there was something else in his expression too, something that said Charles had hit a raw point. He grabbed Charles' unresisting hands, pushed them aside and sat up. Charles rocked back, but Erik's hands kept him from sliding of his lap or leaning back.

“You're wrong. I never wanted you dead, I always wanted you to join me.” Erik's face was close. Close enough for him to bite him, close enough for a kiss.

Charles huffed. “You had ample opportunity for that. But you always asked me, you always asked for my permission...” Suddenly realisation dawned. The reason as to why Erik had asked in the first place – the same reason why Charles feared to face Raven now. It made for a bitter-sweet triumph.

“Because you need me to have you turn me willingly. You need me to agree. Because you know otherwise I would hate you for eternity for forcing me. And whatever it is that is keeping me from wanting to kill you now, I might not have such qualms once you turned me into a monster like yourself.”

Erik bared his sharp fangs in a silent snarl.

Charles only smiled.

Suddenly the sound of someone running towards them caught his attention.

Erik's head whipped around, and he hissed. Suddenly he moved, pushing Charles off him so he landed on the ground. He tried to roll to his feet only to find himself trapped underneath Erik straddling him. Erik who now looked amused, hand outstretched towards Logan, who was frozen halfway on his way to them, claws drawn looking ready to cut Erik to bits.

Logan was pushing against the invisible force holding him, muscles vibrating he fought hard, gritting his teeth.

'Charles, you okay?'

''Damn it, Logan, I told you not to follow me.'

'I keep him distracted, try to reach the stake. You can get it.'

Charles looked around. The stake had fallen from his hand as Erik pushed him down, but it was lying close. Charles stared at it. He could reach it – but what good would it do in his hand?

“Erik, stop! Let Logan go!”

“He's rather annoying, isn't he? Showing up wherever you are, driving you around...” Erik frowned, as if he was puzzling about something.

Charles' heart rate picked up. Erik had been watching him, yet not too closely or he would know already. “We work together.”

That sentence failed to have the desired effect.

“Is that all you do?” Erik's words were sharp and unpleasant.

“Fuck you, it's none of your business what I do – or with who.” Charles cursed himself already, remorse mixing with dread as Erik's face turned into an impassive mask, only his eyes showing his fury. He started moving his outstretched arm, dragging Logan along.

“Erik, what the hell are you doing? Erik, stop!”

But Erik didn't. Instead he suddenly grabbed Charles at the front of his shirt and, rising to his feet as if gravity was only a unproven theory, pulled Charles along. Charles grabbed Erik's hand, tried to twist free, uncaring of the ripping sound his shirt made.

“Have you told him about us? Do you think he would come to your rescue if he knew? Do you think he would get into your bed if he knew?” Erik's voice was trembling with anger held barely in check. “Maybe he'd think you to be a liability, Charles.” Erik splayed his fingers and slowly Logan was pushed, towards the edge of the roof. “He'd think you no different than me – worse even. A monster that is betraying his own kind. This is what you refuse to see, Charles. They would never accept you.”

Charles stared Logan, who was still fighting, still struggling though it was clearly useless.

“No!” It came out a lot weaker than Charles had meant for.

'Charles, get away from him! You know that drop won't kill me, just get away while he is busy with me.'

Charles gritted his teeth. He knew what Logan said was true, and he also knew that it still would hurt like hell when Logan's body hit the pavement. And he couldn't allow Erik to try and take something else from him, not without fighting back.

He stopped pulling away and lunged forward, reaching for Erik's head with his hands and Erik's mind with his own at the same time.

His fingers touched cold skin, and he seemed to plunge into vast emptiness. There was a moment of panic that he had been wrong, that he couldn't do it, then he noticed he was already there in the odd vibrating greyness that was a vampire's mind – Erik's mind. There was a realisation there, but it flitted past so quickly, Charles couldn't hold on to it and didn't dare chase after. Instead he relaxed, reached into the vibrations and felt himself close around them, containing them, shaping them.

'Stop!'

Charles blinked, before he slowly opened his eyes fully. The world around him swam into a blurring double focus, as he looked through Erik's eyes and his own.

Erik stood frozen, arm still outstretched, yet Logan was kept right where he was, on the edge of the roof, held up only by Erik's powers. And Charles could feel it, tingling along his hands, and then he knew what to do. Erik moved his hand, or rather, Charles' moved Erik's hand, and pulled Logan back from the edge until he was well away from the rim of the roof, then he let him go.

He made Erik drop his arm, yet didn't let go of Erik's mind. He was only beginning to grasp what it was he was holding onto there in Erik's mind. The grey mist turned into small solid slivers of something that once shifted together the right way would make sense.

The droning from Erik's mind filled Charles, resounding in his body and his own mind. He didn't understand it all yet, but he could learn, by simply touching. Suddenly Charles' legs threatened to give but Erik's arm around him kept him upright. A moment he wondered how and when he had put that there, before he became distracted by something forming in the corner of Erik's awareness

“Charles, get back from him!”

Charles turned his head, Erik's head and the grey vastness became replaced by colours. Night colours, pulsing colours, black and grey and electric orange but also vivid greens from the roof around them, all the shades of red and blue to beige from Logan's skin, with blood pulsing red underneath. He could smell it, sweet, delicious...alive.

“Charles! We can finish this.” Logan raised his claws, ready to strike and take Erik's head clean off.

Erik's hand jerked as Charles thought to take control of Logan's metal claws. Charles slowly shook his head as he realised what he was doing. He let go of that thought, of Erik's powers. It seemed to take forever and yet just a heartbeat to pull free enough of Erik's mind to find his own voice.

“No, Logan. I can't. I can't let you do this.” His voice sounded tinny and distant in Charles' ears.

“What's he doing to you? Charles, we have to kill him!”

Charles shook his head head again, more vehemently this time, and it made the world tilt a little, before it slid back into place. “No.” He squeezed his eyes shut and as he opened them once more he could see clearer and his voice grew more firm. “Logan, please. We can't kill him. He's the only one who knows where my sister is.”

Logan looked stunned. “Your sister?”

“She wanted to be turned into a vampire.”

Logan's gaze moved from Charles to Erik, then he seemed to be taking in the whole picture and his lips formed a thin line as he pressed them together. Reluctantly, he let his arm sink, though leaving the claws still drawn.

“What do you want to do?”

“I can't – I can't go in his mind and take that information about Raven. Not yet.” Charles couldn't and he didn't want to. But Logan didn't need to know, all Charles needed for Logan was a reason not to kill Erik.

“But you’re controlling him.”

“Yes.” Yet it was harder, trying to be himself again, detaching himself of Erik and still keeping a tight reign on him. He became aware that all that was keeping him upright right now was Erik's arm around his waist. “But, I think my control is already slipping.”

At that Logan raised his arms again.

“No. I'll let him leave. For now.”

“What!”

“I think I have an idea how vampires' minds work now, but...”

“You can't let him go!”

“I can't hold him like this forever.” He turned his head back to Erik, looked into the grey eyes, saw Erik look back - and let go.

Erik scrambled back as if he'd been burnt by sunlight.

Charles' body dropped, while for a moment Charles had the odd sensation of floating, as if his mind was stretched out, hanging there between Erik and himself.

He heard Logan curse as he lunged forward. Instead of hitting the ground something cushioned Charles' fall.

Charles looked up at Logan's face. He could feel his arms, his hands, his whole body. He felt cold. But it didn't matter, something still was wrong. No matter how hard he tried to focus, his vision stayed void of colours, everything was grey and then suddenly turned black.

Chapter Text

There was blood, warm and delicious gushing against his lips, filling his mouth, drowning out his senses. He heard it pulsing from the wound, smelled and tasted it as it was engulfing him. Everything was grey, except the stream of life filling him up, red and beautiful.

Greedily he gulped it down, yet something wasn't right, his throat felt tight, he couldn't swallow. There was too much blood and he was choking. But he couldn't turn away, the blood kept coming, pouring into his mouth, clogging his throat, hot, sweet and suffocating him.

Hacking and coughing Charles woke up. There were hands, helping him so he could roll to his side, while he struggled to get whatever was in his throat out. He heard a soft murmur, then something cool, hard and wet was pressed against his lips. A glass of water.

Charles reached for hit, his fingers encountered a familiar hand that helped him to slowly take one sip after the other.

The water purged his throat from whatever had lodged itself there. Yet he still had the disconcerting impression of tasting blood.

“Charles?” Please be alright. He's woken up, that's good. No need to call the Doctors. Please be alright. He might still need medical attention. If they see that bite mark, damn, I shouldn't have agreed to this, I should have killed that vampire. Was Charles even himself, when he said not to kill it? What hold does that monster have on him? His sister? He has a sister? He never mentioned her. Why? There must be a reason he's not telling me more. Please, just be alright.

Logan's thoughts came rushing in on Charles. His shields were down. He raised an arm, trying to hold it back, fragments, words, all crowding his mind, though the gesture was futile.

“Charles, you okay?” Logan's concern only grew, pressing in on him even more, raw and unchecked.

Charles made a choking noise as he tried to twist away from Logan, his thoughts, his touch on his arm light but still oppressing. “Logan, can't – thoughts, too much!”

Logan drew back. Not with his mind, but at least physically. His hands were no longer on Charles, and breaking the physical contact helped a little. Slowly Logan backed away, while Charles curled up on himself, grasping his head in his hands, as if it were that simple to push everything back into place. But it was like his mind had shifted just that little bit out of tune.

“Should I leave?”

“No, stop - thinking.”

Charles groaned as he was hit by another wave of confusion and irritation, then slowly the thoughts quietened down to a monotonous stream of one thought, repeated over and over again. White wall, white wall, white wall... It was crude, yet effective. The one thought like white noise easy to tune out. It also helped Charles to focus, so the the thoughts of people beyond the medical room couldn't push in on him.

He heaved a shaking sigh of relieve and turned his focus inward to his shields. Yet as he tried to pull them up as he was used to, once erected they slid away again. He was shaking, panic threatened to well up. His hands gripped the examination table he lay on as he willed himself to calm down and examine the problem at hand. Some prodding and probing left him with the realisation that his shields' foundation was no longer solid, but a shifting, sluggish mass.

Tears of frustration stung in his eyes and the emotion clogged his throat. Something had gone wrong when he took over Erik, or the moment he broke their connection – he wasn't sure when it had happened, but he was certain Erik was to blame. He should never have attempted that level of controlling Erik, but simply planted the command in his head and let him obey. He shouldn't have gone that deep, not let himself be sucked into Erik's mind, so different, vibrating, fluctuating. His own mind felt a bit like it now, like an echo of Erik's mind was still resonating inside him.

He breathed in sharply. So he needed to make his shields less rigid but attuned to the movement of his mind.

His gasp of relieve distracted Logan. Though he valiantly tried to keep his focus on the mind-numbing whiteness of the wall other thoughts escaped him. Charles tensed as they were pushing against his newly erected shields that bent, then shifted into place again, pushing Logan's thoughts back.

Charles sighed in relieve, yet he hardly could resist the urge to absently prod at the walls, once more safely erected around his mind, still unsure if they would hold.

He tried to distract himself, finally fully taking in his surroundings. The medical room he was in was empty, except for him and Logan, he wasn't hooked up to any machines and he was surprised to find he was still wearing all his clothes. Maybe he hadn't been unconscious long enough yet and with the chaos Erik had cause... He looked towards the only source of information with him in the room.

Logan stood with his back to him, staring at the wall. He was still wearing the same clothes he had when they came back to headquarters - and when he had followed Charles onto the roof...

“Logan. It's – I'm okay again.” His own voice sounded raspy to him.

Logan turned around. His expression didn't give much away, though he looked more guarded. It reminded Charles of when they first met. They had both been seizing each other up, unsure what to expect of that partner they hadn't asked for, both preferring to work alone.

Logan crossed his arms in front of his chest.

The gesture had cold dread spread in Charles' gut and he pushed himself up into a sitting position. Everything seemed to be a little shaky still and he wished he could stay lying own for a little while longer, but that didn't appear to be an option.

Logan watched him, his expression expectant. Apparently Charles wasn't the only one who hoped to get some answers. Up until now Logan had been nothing but patient, trusting Charles to tell him what he needed to know. Charles could hardly blame him if he couldn't go along with that any longer.

Yet it would be easy to slip into Logan's mind and erase the memory of what had happened on that roof tonight.

“What happened, after I blacked out?”

“I brought you back to headquarters. Everything is working again, though there is still enough chaos out there.” With a nod he indicated beyond the door to the examination room. “I told them you found the vampire responsible for this, we faced him down on the roof – and you got knocked out during the fight, right before the vampire decide to flee.”

Despite everything he hadn't expected Logan to lie for him. Redirect questions to Charles, so he could answer for himself maybe, leave out details, yes, but not lie like this. “Logan - thank you.”

“I guessed everything else would get you examined and they would have found...” He tapped his neck, indicating the bite mark on Charles' neck. The two punctured wounds were fading slowly but would still come up in a thorough examination of his body.

Charles nodded numbly.

“So, he – the vampire - Erik ran for it. Whatever you did at least freaked him out – or was there another reason he left?”

So Erik had chosen to flee – or at least, to retreat. He was relieved. He tried to tell himself, it was because Erik had decide to leave without causing more trouble, though it felt more like relieve for his escape. Out loud Charles simply said: “I think your assessment pretty much covers what happened.”

Logan's frown deepened. “You let him go. And you asked me to let him go.”

“I know.”

Logan took a deep breath. “So that was really you?

“Who else should have – wait, did you think he was controlling me?”

“He - or that vampire telepath you spoke of.”

Charles shook his head. “No. He was alone. And I – I was the one controlling him, not the other way 'round.”

“You didn't faint the first time you did it.”

“No, but I didn't go as deep or stay there as long. I was completely in control of him. I could feel his powers, I could use them. It was different...” Charles stopped himself from saying more. Different from how he had controlled Logan, was what he meant to say, but he was sure that wouldn't come over well.

Logan didn't comment.

Nervously, Charles licked his lips. Logan had lied for him, broken pretty much every rule there was. “Logan, I know you didn't have to do what I asked of you, and I'm really grateful that you did.”

“Why?”

Charles blinked.

“You don't own me an explanation, Charles, but I'm going to ask anyway - only this once. Why did you want to let him escape?”

Charles studied Logan's face. There was that treacherous little thought again; he could erase, or better yet, change Logan's memory. Logan had even given him a perfect alternative story, in what he had already told everyone had happened. But Logan had trusted him enough to let Erik go. Charles lowered his gaze, fearing something of his thoughts might show in his face. His hair flopped forward, hiding his expression. He closed his eyes but instead of dark dotted with lights all he could see was grey and red.

Logan sighed, then he moved. Charles could hear him, but still couldn't get himself to face Logan.

“I'll go and tell them you're awake and okay.”

Charles stared at the ground, his head felt heavy and he struggled to lift it. He heard the door being opened, then the sound of the world beyond, a world filled with people, sloshed into the room before the door was closed again with a final sounding click. Finally Charles managed to raise his head and stared at the empty room, the closed door, suddenly certain the he had just missed out on something important.

“I'm going to ask anyway, only this once”

Charles heart was racing. He slid off the table and swayed precariously, only the grip on the table keeping him upright. With a deep breath he pushed himself away, letting momentum carry him forward to the door.

But what was he doing? He couldn't go chasing after Logan through headquarters. With shaking hands he gripped the doorknob, head resting against the wall beside the door.

He'd been such a fool. Had he really thought Logan's patience with him would stretch endlessly? That he would wait forever for Charles to give him some answers at last?

He reached out for Logan's mind, still shaky on his telepathic feet as well. Logan wasn't right outside the door and Charles had to pass other minds in his search for him. Light-headedness settled in along with the sense of stretching out his mind, long and thin. He was sure, if he pushed just a little further his mind would disconnect from his body, like when one was dislocating a joint. Only there would be no muscles or tendons holding it all together.

Charles gritted his teeth. Usually he had no trouble reaching this far and further. It was Erik's fault. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to concentrate. The sharp taste of blood filled the back of his throat, in his mind's eye everything was grey with angry streaks of red. He gasped, panic threatening, then he brushed Logan's familiar mind.

'Logan! I shouldn't – can we... can you come with me to my place. I - we can talk there.

There was no answer, instead he got the image of Logan flinching away from him. Shaking his head as if to dismiss an irritating bug.

Charles drew back quickly. As he opened his eyes his vision was blurred. He let go of the doorknob, but still kept leaning against the wall to make sure he stayed upright. Then suddenly he hit the door hard. He welcomed the pain that shot through his fist as a distraction. Logan had every right to push Charles back now. Charles had kept him in the dark and pretty much demanded of him to trust him, trust his decisions... Though he could hardly be trusted around Erik. He couldn't kill Erik, he'd let him escape, despite having him under his control he'd done nothing to truly stop him.

Slowly Charles slid down onto the ground beside the door, his back against the wall.

He closed his eyes but all he saw was the cursed grey and red again, pulsing behind his eyelids. So he stared at the floor.

Had he taken damage when he'd touched Erik's mind for too long? Charles shivered. His shields were back up but he felt weaker. It had been a triumph, for a moment everything seemed possible – and now, Erik had fled, Charles couldn't control his telepathy, everything seemed frayed, raw shifting, and Logan … Logan had left.

Charles swallowed and tried to think reasonable. Perhaps he was merely suffering from exhaustion. Despite what he'd told Logan, he hadn't been able to think everything through he'd done while in Erik's mind. Everything had happened so fast, so his actions had been impulsive at best. He would react differently, if he had time to plot and plan... maybe. And about Logan seeking to distance himself from him, that was something Charles should be glad of. That way he no longer needed to worry about Logan. It was for the best.

Now he had to get up and go out that room, find Moira, tell her he was okay but needed some rest. He would sleep and tomorrow he'd come up with a way to tell her that he'd been able to control a vampire's mind. It seemed a step towards dealing with the Hellfire club after all.

Undoubtedly Erik had retreated for now, back to the club or whatever dark hole he spent the day in. Licking his wounded pride – feeding from someone. Charles cringed at that last thought.

But Erik would be back – at least Logan would be safe if he was no longer with Charles. He replayed in his mind how Erik had Logan suspended at the edge of the rooftop, a small push away from the deep drop.

A hot urge ran through him, to drag Logan back into his arms and hold on to him – not let him go.

He couldn't face thinking about it any more. Using the wall at his back, Charles pulled himself up on his feet. He made sure his clothes weren't too wrinkled and askew, and his collar was buttoned. Then he brushed his hair back and finally opened the door. He could hear voices, the whole place was thrumming with tension.

He checked his shields, but they were holding. Still it was hard to focus, and he asked the first person he came across, about where Moira was. It took him some time to track her down, and after he did, he wasn't sure if his explanation was making much sense. He got sidetracked as she asked him about Logan. She said Logan had wanted to check up on him? Charles hadn't seen him, was convinced he hadn't meant to come back. So he only nodded vaguely and excused himself as more people wanted to talk to the head of NIB about damage reports.

He headed straight down to the garage where he had parked his car. Driving in his current state wasn't the most brilliant idea, but facing the millions of minds of strange people on public transport was more intimidating. And he needed to get home.

“Always choose the lesser of two evils.” He intoned monotonously as he pushed the button on the key to unlock his car.

He spotted the figure leaning on the hood of the car too late.

“Is that what you think you’re doing?”

“Logan...”

“You can't drive like this.”

“I can't stay here like this.”

“That's why I'm driving.”

“You don't have to.” Charles was confused and at a loss for words. Wasn't Logan trying to get as much distance between them as possible?

“But I want to.”

“Why?”

For an endless seeming moment there was no response, then Logan pushed himself away from the car and walked over to Charles. Instinct told him to back away, but he crushed that notion - plus he very likely would just stumble and fall down if he'd tried. He had managed to walk all the way down here but as soon as he stood still, his legs seemed to think it was a valid conclusion that he no longer needed them and they could quit working. It was mere stubbornness that kept him upright, looking up at Logan's face.

“Why didn't you let him drop me like I told you. I would have survived it.”

Charles huffed, an attempt at a numerous smile twisting his lips. “Still would have hurt like hell, right.”

“I'm used to it.”

“But I'm not. I don't want to see you get hurt. And if you still want that explanation, about what happened, I'm going to give it to you. I don't expect you to understand, but you trusted me and deserve to know.”

For a moment Logan looked at him oddly, then suddenly leant down and kissed him. It was only short, almost chaste, a press of warm lips against his. But Charles reached out to grab Logan. He might still lose him over this, but for now, for a little while longer, he would hold on to him.

Charles licked his lips and set the glass down on the coffee table in front of him. It was empty. The other glass there still hadn't been touched, the ice cubes slowly melting in the honey coloured liquid. His vision blurred slightly and he blinked. Perhaps he shouldn't have drunk the whiskey so fast, yet he had needed it, every drop of it, to make it through the recount of his first encounter with Erik and what had happened then.

Luckily, his shields were holding, not one of Logan's thought's during Charles confession filtering through.

And there had been a lot to confess. Charles had started with how he had found Erik imprisoned by – other – vampires, how Erik had asked to drink from him and Charles had let him. About Erik taking care of him, hiding away down in the National Gallery, about the little things that made him think Erik wasn't evil, wasn't a monster and how he had finally invited him to his home. He could hardly look at Logan when he told about that, but he had heard the grunt of pure disbelieve.

He had needed the whiskey to get past that.

But he had still gone on, telling about how Erik became an ally, though he never told his fellow hunters where he got some of the information about vampire lairs from. It all leading to, when one of them found out about Erik and his involvement, Erik killing him, believing it was the only way to protect them.

And he told about Raven too, who had become more and more fascinated with Erik's idea that their mutations where just a stepping stone to 'evolve' into vampires. Of how they had quarrelled and how she had left one night, disappeared and Charles never hearing from her since. He ended it with telling Logan how he finally came to his senses – enough at least to realise he couldn't go on like this – and locked Erik up.

The only thing he hadn't gone into detail about, was the exact nature of his relationship with Erik.

“Maybe he'd think you to be a liability, Charles.” Erik splayed his fingers and slowly Logan was pushed, towards the edge of the roof. “He'd think you no different than me – worse even. A monster that is betraying his own kind. This is what you refuse to see, Charles. They would never accept you.”

Charles kept his gaze on the glasses, his empty and Logan's still full.

Logan had yet to say anything, though by the sound of it, he was still pacing the room. Charles reached for the bottle and poured himself another glass. Before he could reach for it, both glasses were suddenly snatched away. He looked up at Logan. Their gazes met. Charles wanted to look away, but couldn't. He tried to decipher the frown creasing Logan's forehead, the way he had pulled his eyebrows together, his lips pressed to a firm line and how his nostrils flared.

”He'd think you no different than me – worse even.”

Charles felt cold. Suddenly Logan huffed. Charles tensed as his throat grew tight. Then Logan downed first Charles' glass and then his own, before putting both down. The sound of glass on glass loud in the otherwise silent apartment. Then Logan started pacing again.

Charles licked his lips. They still tasted of alcohol. Nothing of Logan's warm kiss from the parking garage seemed to linger.

Angrily, he grabbed the bottle and took a swig from it.

Logan stopped pacing and watched him again.

“You shouldn't drink. You were unconscious.”

“Yes, though it seems like the least of the things I shouldn't do or shouldn't have done.” Nevertheless he put the bottle down, if only because there was the chance that his shields would slip and he would find out, raw and unfiltered, what Logan thought of him now.

“I'm still trying to understand how you could let him fool you for so long.”

“Fool me?”

“He had you convinced he was a good – not a monster, had he not?”

Had Erik really just played it all? Slowly Charles shook his head. “I think that's why he had me convinced. Because he didn't play anything. In some respects we wanted the same thing.”

Logan's expressions darkened, but Charles felt the whatever damage was done already. He could only offer the truth and hope Logan would understand – or at least accept it. “For a time we had common enemies, and – I guess – after being locked in by his own kind it was easier to trust a human than another vampire. Maybe he simply wanted company. There were some things, times, when we talked, he was – . He didn't try to fool me. We argued about things, he never took my point just to lull me in, and he never threatened me to make me take his side.” Charles stared into empty space. For a moment he remembered, sitting together with Erik on the couch in Charles' living room in his house in London, just talking. Oddly the memory still seemed so ordinary and - sane.

Charles put a hand on his own shoulder, digging his fingers into the tense muscles there, before he moved on, past the collar of his shirt, seeking out the healing bite mark. Absently he prodded at the tender skin.

Suddenly he was aware of Logan watching him sharply. Charles' hand stilled and he pulled it back, letting it drop on his lap. Logan came over and Charles' pulse quickening, unsure of what he would do. Then Logan grabbed the bottle from the table and retreated to the armchair opposite Charles.

“Were you in love with him?”

The question came unexpected. Charles hadn't gone into details about his relationship with Erik, hadn’t even mentioned them sleeping together and even if Logan picked up on it, he would have expected a question like, 'did you sleep with each other?' or a more blunt 'did you fuck?'. But this was a different question entirely.

Charles didn't know how to answer. He finally looked away, then rubbed both hands across his face and dragged them through his hair, pushing it back. He'd decided Logan deserved the truth, whatever it was. Charles took a deep breath. “I don't know.”

He looked up. Logan seemed unconvinced.

Charles shook his head. “I honestly don't know, I didn't think about it. It was crazy enough sleeping with a vampire...”

He hadn't intended to say it, but he just blurted out the words.

Logan pressed his lips together more firmly and swallowed visibly. “So the only reason you didn't want me to kill him, is because he is the only one who knows where your sister is now?”

Charles really needed that whiskey now, but Logan kept a tight grip on the bottle. “I think you gathered by now that it's more complicated than that.”

“Don't you think it were better if you were free of him? By all you told me, he betrayed you. However you look at it, he knew what you are, what you do and he still did kill people who trusted you – who you trusted. Perhaps he thought he could cut you off, corner you, so he could get you under his control.”

Charles shivered. It sounded plausible – and thus all the more bitter and painful. Yet part of him wanted to believe, Erik didn't have such a plan, not at first at least. “He couldn't kill me. He – can't - kill me. On the roof he could have easily done it, but he can't go through with it.”

“Just like you can't kill him?”

Charles laughed, a short and bitter sound. “We're at the perfect stalemate, right.” He reached for one of the empty glasses and held it out for Logan to fill it.

“Charles...”

Did he sound worried, annoyed, frustrated? Charles couldn't tell, all he could do was to wait for Logan to make up his mind already and leave him – or stay.

Finally Logan shook his head, leant over the table and poured some whiskey into Charles' glass, though not filling it up completely. “Getting drunk won't help.”

“I know.” Staying sober had no appeal either at the moment. Yet he didn't down the whisky right away but stared at the glass. Unbidden he thought of Erik and how he had commented that Charles' blood tasted different when he was drunk.

Charles holds on to Erik's shoulders, sure he will slip off Erik's lap as the world sways and spins. As Erik sucks a mouthful of blood from where he's bitten Charles' neck the world seems to tilt. Charles laughs breathlessly. “You make me feel all floaty!”

Erik laps at the wound, making Charles squirm. “I think that's not me but comes from what you drank. I can taste the alcohol in your blood.”

“Really? Do you taste what I drank too?”

“No. You simply taste – different.”

Charles frowns. “Good different or bad different?”

Erik's eyes sparkle mischievously. “I think I need to taste you again so I can tell.”

“Please, yes.” Charles offers his neck eagerly and leans closer. Erik's lips are warm from Charles' blood as they touch his neck and yet make him shiver. Then he feels Erik suck at the punctured wound again, and arousal overlays Charles' drunkenness, making him even more giddy.

“You have to be careful, or you get drunk from the alcohol in my blood. Can't have you crashing against lampposts while flying.”

Erik lifts his head and licks the blood from his lips as he looks Charles in the eyes. “I always get drunk from your blood.”

Charles shivered, then emptied the glass in his hands.

“Next time I get the chance I will kill him.” Logan said matter of factly.

Charles stiffened. Charles kept his gaze on the empty glass in his hand. Silence stretched between them. Just because he was incapable of doing the sane thing didn't mean that Logan had to do the same. Though Charles couldn't see himself letting Logan, or anyone, kill Erik. Not after tonight. However much he hated Erik for what he'd done, he didn't want him dead. Was Logan right to ask that question. Had he been in love with Erik? Was he...?

Charles raised the glass to his lips only to realise it was empty. He looked up at Logan, who shook his head.

Frustrated Charles set his glass down and crossed his arms in front of him. “What will happen now?”

“I told you.”

Charles shook his head. “No, I mean, will you tell Moira?”

“No.”

“Then – tell her you want another partner to work with?

“No.”

With a frustrated sigh Charles stood up and headed over for the kitchen area.

“What are you doing?” Warily Logan followed him with his gaze.

“Making tea, since you're hogging my whisky and I need something to drink!” Charles busied himself with filling the water kettle and setting out a mug. Keeping his hands busy with the familiar tasks helped calm him a little.

He had his back to Logan, still he heard him get up. Undecided he prodded at his shields. He wanted to reach out for Logan yet was afraid to find out what he was thinking, so he was left tracking his progress with his ears.

Charles heard Logan put down the bottle on the kitchen-counter, then he could feel Logan's body at his back. He wasn't pressing against him, but was standing close. Then Logan put his hands onto Charles' waist and the physical contact brought along the flash of a thought. Logan ready to pull back, but wanting to put his arms around Charles and pull him close.

Charles felt a need for contact and he leant back, closing his eyes as Logan rested his chin on top of his head for a moment and his arms slid the rest of the way around him, holding him close.

He hadn't believed, hadn't dared hope Logan would still trust him after this, let alone, want anything more from Charles, but the warmth of his body was drowning the fear of loosing Logan – as a friend, someone who would listen to him talk and even more patiently for Charles' silence.

“So you still trust me, despite... everything I did.”

“I can't say I understand what went on there between that... that vampire and you. But he's wrong. I don't think you're a monster or that you would betray the NIB.”

“You heard...” Charles took a deep breath. Of course Logan had heard it. He had been immobilised by Erik, not rendered deaf. “How can you be so sure that I ain’t? I know I can't kill Erik, probably... probably not even if he killed you.”

Charles felt Logan tense, then relax.

“He'd have a tough time trying that.”

“I wouldn't - can't let you kill him.”

“I already guessed that. Would you hate me if I were to kill him?”

Charles looked down, studying Logan's arms wrapped around him. The idea was painful. “I don't know. Are you still sure I'm not a monster?”

“Yes. If you were, you would have already wiped my memories of what happened. Not gone and told me about your past.”

Charles wanted to believe that, but couldn't. Yet maybe it was enough if Logan thought so, for now. He touched Logan's arm and let his fingertips run over the muscles there.

Logan made a content sound and pressed his lips to Charles' hair.

Charles probably didn't deserve him, yet he would allow himself this selfishness, for a little bit longer at least.

The water had finished boiling. “You sure I can't get some more whiskey?”

“Yes. I shouldn't have let you have that second glass, probably not even the first.”

Charles huffed but went about making himself that cup of tea, pleasantly hampered by Logan, who seemed not inclined to let go of him yet.

He finally did when Charles was ready to carry the cup to the couch and Charles regretted it. He looked back over his shoulder to where Logan had stepped aside to let him pass. Logan's expression was still more earnest than usual, but by the set of his shoulders Charles' guess was he felt more relaxed. And then Logan trailed him to the couch, easing the unsettling feeling that had started to rise in Charles again as Logan had let go.

As he sat back down, Logan didn't take the seat opposite him again but dropped down right beside him. He only waited for Charles to sip his tea and put the cup down on the table, before he put his hand on top of Charles' head, playing with his hair. “You haven't told me how controlling his mind went. Do you think you could do it again, or is it too dangerous?”

Charles avidly leant into the touch. “His – a vampire's mind is very different. I wouldn't want having to try right now.”

“Want to tell me about it?”

“I'm not sure I can put it in words. It's like I looked at vampire minds like I would look at human ones all the time. But it's like you take a microscope and look through it first at skin cells and then try and use it to look at an entire finger. Of course you can't see a thing then. Plus, and this I'm not sure of but it seems plausible, I think the shape of a vampire's mind is even more attuned to its mutation. So I don't think I could get into more than one vampire's mind at a time. And it takes time to – adjust.”

“You hadn't tried getting into Erik's mind before. When you – thought he was a friend.”

“I never believed it was possible, and it didn't seem necessary.”

“Do you think you could alter his memory, or plant an order?”

Charles looked over at Logan. “Like what?”

“Make him forget about you, so he'll leave you in peace, maybe.”

“I might be able to make him do something even after I release his mind, but to do something that big- I'm not sure if that could work, I wouldn't know how or where to begin.” Though for a moment a wild thought rose up. He remembered the look on Erik's face and him saying: 'I would have forgiven you, if only you came back and opened that door.'

“You alright?”

“I guess I will be. It's been overwhelming controlling E-a vampire's mind. And my shields still feel shaky.”

“That why you didn't try to contact me back at headquarters and just left?”

Charles frowned. “I tried to, after you left, but you brushed me off and after that I didn't want to find out what you were thinking.”

“Sorry. I felt you for a moment but – just your presence, not words. “ He pressed a kiss to Charles temple.

Suddenly anxious, Charles only half felt it though. “You didn't hear me? You didn't hear what I said in your mind?”

“No? Is everything alright?”

Charles only shook his head and turned so he sat facing Logan. His hand was shaking as he touched his temple. “May I...”

“Of course.” Logan watched him worriedly, though he didn't seem afraid his eyes speaking more of concern for Charles.

Charles licked his lips then lowered his shields and reached for Logan's mind. For a moment he was relieved to slip in easily enough, he could hear Logan's thoughts, slipping against him. 'Can you hear me?'

Alarmed he saw Logan flinch a little, then frown uncertainly.

Some of the panic must have shown on Charles' face, cause Logan reached out for his free hand and pulled it up to his face. Charles first instinct was to pull back. He didn't want to hurt Logan.

“It's okay, Charles, just try what you have to.”

Logan's skin felt hot. The simple touch should have been more than enough for Charles to let his thoughts seep into Logan's mind without having to even think about it. But by the way Logan's muscles twitched and he tried not to screw up his face in pain, everything was going wrong. Yet he still kept Charles' hand in place against his skin.

Charles closed his eyes, trying, willing himself to be heard, to see what was going wrong, yet all he could see was grey streaked with red, pulsing, flowing towards him, filling his mind...

With a gasp Charles reared back, eyes wide open.

Logan let go of him. His brow was beaded in sweat. “Charles?”

Charles only shook his head, leaning back, away from Logan, afraid to hurt him more. “Something is wrong, something is wrong...”

Logan caught him with a hand on his shoulder. “Charles, stop. Stop, look at me!”

His shields were back up, he couldn't hear Logan... and probably couldn't accidentally hurt him. He let out a shuddering breath.

“Okay Charles, I don't know what went wrong there, but I guess with what happened today, you getting into a vampire's mind, passing out – and you topping it off with alcohol, it's only natural for your telepathy to act up a little, right?”

Charles stared at Logan, taking in his words, clinging to them. He was probably right, he had to be. “Maybe – yes.”

“So we get some rest and then we can try this again tomorrow.”

“Yes. It was stupid to even try this right now.” He should have let it rest, sleep over it, let his mind process everything first. Maybe tomorrow he would look at what he was doing and see right away what was off. It had been the same with his shields after all. And he had those working again. He ignored the small voice whispering 'working differently'.

“Mhm. So let's call it a night and get to bed.” Logan squeezed his shoulder, before he let go and got to his feet, waiting for Charles to do the same.

Charles paused. “You staying here?”

Logan shrugged. “Unless you want me to leave. Though if you rather – I can stay on the couch.”

Charles got up. “No. Please stay.” He reached for Logan, putting his hands at the back of his neck and pulling him down. “Please stay with me.” The words got swallowed as they kissed.

Charles turns off the TV and leans back, glancing at Erik beside him on the couch. He'd come to his place right after dark. They talked, watched a movie – like this was just normal friends hanging out. Or - a date.

Charles' gaze falls on Erik's chest. It doesn't move, of course, since Erik doesn’t need to breath, except when he wants to speak. He is absolutely still. It should be frightening, but Charles finds himself fascinated.

He looks up at Erik. He is watching him through half lidded eyes. His lips are parted and Charles can get a glimpse of sharp fangs.

Charles pushes himself onto his knees, so he can lean over Erik. He puts his hands on Erik's shoulders and then slides them down until he can grip the open collar of Erik's shirt. Erik looks up at him still with that uncertainty he shows when Charles get close, like he expects Charles to jolt back any time.

“My offer still stands. You can drink from me.”

“Charles...” Erik presses his lips together.

“Why do you hesitate? You told me you like the way I taste.”

“That's why!” Erik's gaze flickers to Charles' neck, then back up to his eyes. “I'm not sure I can stop.”

Charles laughs, fearless – or crazily reckless. “You stopped when you were hungry and weak. And you don't want to hurt me, so you will stop.”

Erik cups Charles' cheek in his hand and Charles leans into the touch.

But it's not enough. Charles shifts, leaning back and pulling Erik along on top of himself.

Erik lets himself be pulled along but once on top of Charles is bracing himself on his arms. Charles only takes a moment to settle comfortably, before he tugs at Erik's shirt. He tilts his head to the side, exposing his neck.

“What more do I have to do to seduce a vampire?” Heat rises up from Charles' chest, across his neck and face as he blushes. Despite how nonchalant the words come across his lips – it still feels like a confession.

Erik gasps, but still keeps himself pushed up on his arms.

Charles searches Erik's face and what he glimpses there gives him courage. So he adds more softly. “I'm not joking. I'm serious about wanting to seduce you.” He licks his lips, then adds. “I want you, Erik.”

Erik still hesitates, and for a moment Charles isn't sure if he will withdraw, but then he sinks down on top of him, pressing his body against Charles who lets go of Erik's shirt and wraps his arms around him. Erik buries his face at Charles' neck, rubbing his nose along his throat, inhaling.

Charles' heartbeat quickens and Erik gasps. “You have – you have already seduced me.” The words are whispered against Charles' skin, making him shiver.

Any moment now' he thinks, but Erik is taking his time. His lips linger against Charles, chasing his pulse, a gentle caress at first then he presses a first kiss against his hot skin, followed by more, growing in intensity. He feels Erik's tongue, wet yet oddly cool. He sucks at his neck and Charles' leg twitches involuntarily and he hits Erik in the side.

“Sorry.”

Erik hesitates. “You want me to stop?”

“No, no! For hitting you.”

Now Erik raises his head and looks confused at Charles, who only then realises that Erik hadn’t even noticed, lost in the taste and feel of Charles' neck and the promise of hot blood running just under the surface of his skin.

Charles laughs. “Sorry. You didn't feel a thing? Please, don't stop.”

Erik smiles, almost shyly. “I feel you. And how you like what I do.”

Charles grins. “Yes.”

“It's like your skin is teasing me, it's hot against my mouth.” He kisses Charles' neck again.

Charles can feel the press of sharp fangs and gasps, yet Erik only carefully suckles at the tender skin, making Charles squirm, craving more.

“Nnnhhh, you're the one teasing me!” Charles wraps his legs around Erik, entrapping him against his body.

“You like that.” Erik repeats in wonder, as if he can't quite wrap his mind around the idea.

“Yes. And I trust you. You won't hurt me.”

Erik raises his head to look at Charles again.“You're so beautiful.”

Charles is rendered speechless for a moment, then laughs, unsure. “No need to flatter me, you already have me on my back.”

“I'm not - I'm only telling the truth.” Erik leans down. His hand moves along Charles' arm.“Beautiful, intoxicating...” The words are whispered against Charles' skin and raise goosebumps all over his body. He tenses then quickly tries to relax as Erik's fangs brush his neck.

There is a flicker of doubt. He's about to let a vampire bite him. Then Erik's fingers entwine with his and they clasp their hands together. Charles moans as Erik's fangs pierce his skin. Suddenly he feels wet warmth there, as blood rushes from the wound, then Erik sucks, gulps, drinks from him and Charles arches up against the weight on top of him, pulling Erik even closer, wanting him to feel his arousal, to let him to know how much he wants him.

Charles opened his eyes. The world around him was grey, or so he thought at first. Then he noticed the low pulsing around him. He was surrounded by it, it quickened, like an ecstatic drumbeat. He looked around and noticed the grey was pierced by flashes of red, like strobe lights going on and off, on and off. It was hypnotising, it was beautiful. He reached out his hand and it slid into the red light. It was pulsing warm against his fingers, warm and wet. He touched his lips, they were wet too. When he drew back his hand again he found it smeared with blood. He stared as it was dripping from his hand onto the grey ground. There was something he should do, but he could only look on as the blood dripped from his fingers to pool at his feet.

An insistent sound, loud beeping, penetrated the grey. He opened his eyes, feeling disoriented. There was someone beside him in bed - Logan - and he currently had rolled away from Charles and bent down towards the ground, where he had dropped his clothes last night.

The light filtering in past the drawn curtain told Charles that it was already morning, though the sun didn't seem that far up. Charles moved and put his arm across Logan as he rolled back up onto the bed, his mobile phone in hand, squinting at the screen.

Suddenly Logan tensed. Charles looked up alarmed and found Logan still staring grimly at his phone.

“Logan? What's wrong?”

“Angel, she didn't return to headquarters – she's missing.”

Chapter Text

Charles was glad he'd brought the torch along. The lights at the City Hall subway station were kept well maintained, though the station was no longer used as such. But about 100 years ago what had been deemed as sufficient lighting for a subway station clearly had been very different from today.

When Angel had been here last night, all that illuminated the place must have been the diffused light from street lamps, filtered in by the skylights above.

Charles looked up to where thick blocks of glass were set in the ceiling. Currently daylight was filtering through them, causing the black iron frames between the glass-stones to paint a pattern on the ground. Slowly Charles shone the cone of light from his torch across the crème and green tiles, searching for anything out of the ordinary, anything that would hint at what had happened in here.

The sound of heavy footsteps coming down the narrow stairs caught his attention and moments later Logan caught up with him.

“Anything?”

“The security guard wasn't here last night, but she gave her colleague a call and he remembers seeing someone matching Angel's description passing by. Though neither noticed her going in here or any signs of someone breaking.”

Charles shrugged. “I think I've spotted two possible ways for her to slip in while flying. Would work for any vampire that could jump high or crawl up walls as well.”

“Or fly.”

Charles deliberately didn't respond to that.

But Logan didn't intend to let it go. “You don't think Erik might be behind this? He's been at the Hellfire Club, he's probably seen Angel there with you – and he can fly.”

“But as you remember, he was at the roof the time Angel sent her last text. So it couldn't have been him.” At least he couldn't have been the vampire Angel had spotted and followed.

She shouldn't even have been doing that. It was her night off. But of course she would check on anything raising her suspicion. Any of them would have done the same. And she'd reported it in before she followed it. Normally that would have meant someone would be dispatched as backup. But with Erik shutting down headquarters physically as well as electronically, any messages sent their way had either gotten lost or only reached headquarters way after they had been sent.

Charles guess was, that Angel had been in such a hurry to follow the vampire she'd seen, that she hadn't bothered checking if the message had gone through. Or she might have noticed something being wrong and tried to call.

At least Hank had been able to analyse the message's time and point of origin. Which was, as her message had read, indeed at the old City Hall subway station.

“He still could have been involved in her disappearance. Maybe the attack on headquarters was only meant as a distraction.”

“I'll ask him next time I see him.” Charles bit out and headed for the stairs leading down to the actual platform level. He'd been thinking the same and his gut churned at the thought.

Logan followed him. “It's not your fault. I just think we need to keep every scenario in mind.”

Logan had every right to be suspicious. Charles stopped on the stairs for a moment to wait for him to catch up, though he didn't turn around. “But it feels like it is.”

Logan stopped beside him and shortly squeezed his shoulder. “Let's see what we can find out.” It almost sounded like an apology, though Charles guessed he should be the one to apologise. Again and again. Most of all for not learning from his mistakes.

Instead he shook himself and followed Logan down onto the narrow platform. Bigger skylights structured the vaulted ceiling here, letting more daylight in. In between hung brass chandeliers, bathing the glass tiles in a yellowish light.

The platform was curved inward, allowing a view down into the dark narrow tunnel on either side.

“Perfect underground network for vampires – except for the skylights here. Makes it unusable for them during the day at least. If Angel was chasing one, it could have gone either way.”

“They still use this as a loop for trains to turn, so unless the vampire didn't want to run headlong into an upcoming train, I guess it would have gone this way.” Logan indicated the tunnel to the right.

Charles shone his light up the roof of the narrow tunnel, trying to estimate the tunnel's height to that of a subway train. “Not if it crawled along the top of the tunnel.” He shook his head. “But Angel wouldn't have been able to fly through such a narrow gap. We would have heard, if there had been an accident.”

“Whichever route it took, both lead back to the main underground system – and there are lot of maintenance tunnels and areas.” Logan didn't need to say more.

Charles nervously licked his lips. This was what he was here for after all. He went back to the stairs and sat down there. He shifted, trying to get comfortable, resting his back against the wall so he wouldn't topple over, trying to stall the inevitable a little bit longer.

Everything had happened so quickly in the morning. After Logan had received the message, they had headed back to headquarters. There had been no time for Charles to test his telepathy on Logan – or in any other way. The shields were still in place and holding, that's all he knew for sure.

If they hadn't been so distracted he might have given the dream he'd had more thought. Tried to analyse it and what it might mean for his telepathy. But he had only pushed it aside and had already half forgotten about it once they had reached headquarters. Now he remembered, uneasiness welling up.

He tried to quench it and tell himself what he was about to do was easy. He only had to try and see if he could find Angel in the tunnels. He knew her mind, so he should be able to recognise it among all the others travelling through the subway system.

Yet what if he still had trouble reaching further than he had been able to last night? They could work around him not being able to talk to Angel's mind, but what if he couldn't locate her, because...

“Do you want me anywhere else?”

Logan's words jerked him out of the downward spiral of thoughts. “No. It's okay.” There was nothing for it. Determined Charles lowered his shields, then reached out. Tentatively, he touched Logan's mind, merely acknowledging his presence, not daring to try more. He kept his gaze locked on one of the shiny tiles on the opposite wall. Then he pushed himself away trying to reach further into the network of tunnels. An unexpected jolt ran through him, as a train passed in a tunnel running parallel to them, filled with minds, filled with people. They passed swiftly enough yet Charles reached back, finding himself securely anchored. He let out a breath he hadn't been aware he was holding and tried again. He was more prepared for the next train he passed in his search, blanking out the minds, concentrating on finding the familiar signature of Angel.

How far could she have gotten?

Charles closed his eyes. A silent gasp passed his lips as he was overwhelmed by a rushing sensation, as if something sucked him along or he himself were sitting in a train. He came to an abrupt halt, spinning dizzily and disoriented. He had no idea where he was, or how far away from his body it was. Everything around him was filled with empty shadows. He was ready to try and call out for Angel, when suddenly he became aware of another presence. Something that wasn't Angel, something dark and feral, and it had noticed him. Knew him. 'Charles.' The whisper rubbed against his mind, was in his mind, caressing him.

Charles tried to twist away, panic rising up in him. Yet he didn't know were he was, how to get back.

The metallic taste of blood filled the back of his throat. The dark shadows bled away, there was a grey wall, no ceiling. He tried to raise his hands. Someone gasped his name.

'Charles...' “Charles?”

Charles' eyes snapped open. His lungs were burning and he sucked in deep breaths, then started coughing.

Logan was beside him, his hands on his shoulders steadying him. “Charles you okay? I thought you stopped breathing there for, well, don't know. Scared the shit out of me.” His voice was rough with worry

“Sorry...” Charles pressed out between coughs. “I'm okay. I didn't find her. I don't think she's in any of the tunnels. I could feel the people riding on the trains, but no one else.”

Logan looked grim, but nodded and squeezed his shoulders. He waited for Charles to breath normally and sit up straighter, before he stood up again, his gaze drawn towards the tracks.

Charles watched him, without taking any real notice. Something – someone had just pulled his mind away. It hadn't been Angel, though there had been something familiar about it. The way it said his name.

Charles balled his hands to fists. It couldn't be, there was no sane explanation for it.

The sound of an approaching train finally caught his attention. Reluctantly he pushed himself up on his feet and tried to focus on the problem at hand. “The trains are coming through here every what – 10 minutes? If no one noticed and reported anything, whatever happened here must have happened quickly.” The train passed through, the carts mostly empty.

Just as the train had gone, Logan suddenly stepped up to the edge of the platform and jumped down.

“Logan?” Charles rushed to the edge seeing Logan crouch down and examine something on the opposite wall, close to the ground.

“Shine your light here.”

Charles did. He frowned, trying to make something out while the torchlight only seemed to emphasise the dark shadows.

Logan huffed. “She fought something here, spitting acid on this wall...” Logan stayed crouched beside the tracks, letting his own torch run across the dark walls and ground there. Charles did the same, then he started walking along the platform, giving the area around the tracks a thorough examination.

“Here. I think there is another spot here. Could mean multiple attackers.”

“Or one very fast one.” Logan came over, then suddenly bent down and picked something up. He held it for Charles to see. It was a wooden stake.

“You think she used it?”

“Hard to say with all the dust on the ground.” Logan sniffed at the stake, then actually licked it.

Charles screwed up his face. “Remind me not to kiss you before you have washed that down – preferably with alcohol.”

Logan looked at him, eyebrow raised. He opened his mouth to reply and then shook his head.

Charles gritted his teeth. “You can say it.”

“Say what?” Logan's reply was gruff. He continued to search along the tracks.

“That I did worse...”

“There wasn't any on it.” A few steps along Logan stopped again. “Now this explains why no one could reach her on the phone and Hank couldn't rack her by GPS.”

“Did you find it?”

“What's left of it.” Logan stepped aside to let Charles take a look. At first he wasn't sure what he was looking at. There only seemed to be some debris on the ground. Then the torchlight got reflected by a smooth splitter that once must have been part of a phone-screen.

“It can't have fallen out of her pocket. It would never end up looking that smashed. This was done on purpose.”

“Someone didn't want us to know where she is.” Logan sounded actually happy about it. But Charles felt the same. It meant chances where good that Angel really was still alive.

Charles looked at where the pieces lay, and then let the light shine on the wall above it. “Can you get a closer look, it seems like something might have gotten smashed against those bricks there.”

Logan turned towards the wall and let his fingers run over it. “I think you're right.”

“It could have been thrown from up here against the wall – with quite some force. I can't imagine seven a vampire holding on to Angel while she tries to get free and do that. So either she was unconscious at the time or there were two attackers. Since so far we haven't found any blood.” It wasn't much of a clue as to what had happened to Angel, but it was at least something. They knew she had been here, she had been fighting – without much doubt – a vampire, probably more than one, and said vampires had taken her phone and smashed it. They wouldn't do that if they had killed her. So she most likely had been taken away – alive. That was the important part. She had to be alive.

So now they needed to find her – they had to find her. But what vampires had taken her? Was this merely a coincidence? Charles remembered her being spooked by a group of vampires at the Hellfire club. Was it them? Maybe they lured her in here, set a trap. Could she be at the Hellfire Club, held captive there?

How were they to get the answers they needed, and get them in time?

Charles knew the answer already.

Angel had known the risk she was taking with hunting vampires. It was her choice. Yet things might have been different if Erik hadn't attacked headquarters last night. And that made it Charles responsibility.

Erik wouldn't kill him. But that didn't mean he would give him answers. Unless...

Suddenly a glaring light hit the tunnel walls and the tracks below. The sound of another oncoming train was loud and drowned out Charles shout. “Logan!”

He saw Logan's lips move but couldn't hear his cursing.

One moment Charles was looking down at Logan, shocked, arm outstretched as if he could will him to get up from the tracks, the next he was knocked on his back as something heavy landed on top of him.

The train rattled by.

“That was close.” Logan's voice brushed against his ear in a gust of hot breath. “I'm lucky you make for a comfortable landing.”

Charles hit Logan's arm, angry, relieved and – mostly relieved, really. His heart was racing and he felt suddenly out of breath. Though the last bit might just be Logan's body squeezing the air out of him.

Logan grinned down at him. “I mean it. Makes me want to stay like this some more.”

“Logan – you're heavy.”

“Is that all you have to say to me?” Logan's lips brushed against Charles' and for a distracting moment that chased away any discomfort. The cold floor at his back became less important than the warm body on top of him. Charles wrapped his arms around Logan.

“This isn't the right place and time, Logan.” Despite his words he pulled him down, hunting for another kiss.

“Yes, but having nearly gotten run over by a subway train – I thought I might get away with it.”

“You're too cocky for your own good.”

“Determined.” Teasingly Logan licked at Charles' lips before drawing back a little.

Charles growled in annoyance. “Stubborn!”

Logan smirked. “You like stubborn.”

“No. I just like you.” One hand at the back of Logan's neck he craned up his head. As his mouth met Logan's, he returned the kiss more than willingly, his hand cradling Charles' head gently.

Charles was right about this not being the right place, but at that moment they both needed this. They clung to each other, the heat of their mouths and bodies mashed together chasing the dark away for at least a short moment.

Even though Charles' mind and control on his telepathy was a mess, Logan and their shared kiss was like an anchor.

Logan drew back, only enough to look down at Charles, studying his face. Having his intent gaze on him, made Charles smile and feel himself filled with warmth. Logan's trust and what he was feeling for Charles had to be enough, to get him through what Charles had planned. It had to be enough to get Charles through.

Charles smiled. He couldn't kill Erik, but he could use him. Before he could go into depth of how crazy the idea was, he nudged Logan down for another long kiss, drowning out the madness in the wet heat of Logan's mouth and slow strokes of his tongue.

Finally they broke apart and Logan buried his nose in Charles hair. “You're right, we should stop now.”

Charles sighed, tightened his hold on Logan for a moment longer, before he loosened his grip. “Mhm... let's get back to headquarters first and see what we can do about tracking Angel. Then we might be able to continue this in my bed tomorrow morning.”

Logan laughed, a low sound that rumbled through his chest. “You sound like a man with a plan. I like that.”

Charles smiled, though his thoughts took a different turn. A plan you might not like.

Charles was sure even someone without telepathy would pick up on the tension permeating the inside of the car.

“I shouldn't have let you drive me here.”

Logan turned towards him. “We're a team, we work together on this.”

Charles shook his head. “I can do this on my own and it's better if I'm not distracted by having to worry about you.”

“Charles, I'm the one who can fucking survive anything. You're just - “

“What? A laughable excuse for a vampire hunter whose mutation does shit against vampires?”Charles spat out the words angrily. “And who now can't even...” He gestured to his head, trying to ignore the headache that was pulsing there low and deep, just on the verge of becoming really painful. He had tried the whole afternoon to regain his control and be able to project his thoughts into another human mind. Logan's mind that is. The best he had been able to come up with in the end, was to project images. But every time he'd tried to simply 'talk' to him, the words turned into a low buzz in Logan's head, unrecognisable to him at best, indiscernible at worst.

Reading his thoughts had been turned into a gamble, where he couldn't hear the simplest thoughts directed at him while other background thoughts were blaring loudly, everything becoming one garbled mess.

“I never said that – and you know I never thought that either!”

“Then don't think I need your protection here. Because believe me, with Erik involved, I will be way more safe in there than you are.”

Logan all but growled. “He's not the only vampire in there.”

“But he doesn't intend to kill me, and he won't allow anyone else to kill me.”

“What makes you think he can protect you against the other vampires?”

“Because he's a stubborn idiot.”

“Well so am I.” With that, Logan got out of the car.

Charles cursed. When Erik saw Logan with him, he sure wouldn't be more inclined to help them in finding Angel. And it would be harder for Charles to agree to whatever Erik might want in exchange. Time to try and be reasonable.

Charles allowed himself a moment to calm himself, taking deep breaths, before he slowly unbuckled his seatbelt, his movements deliberately slow and controlled. Finally he felt his pulse slowing. Then he slid out of the car and closed the door without force, unlike he would have done mere moments before.

He looked at Logan who had pulled out a cigar and lit it. Probably his way to calm himself down.

“Logan, if you go in there with me I'm not sure if I can protect you from their telepath, especially now.”

Logan narrowed his gaze. “You told Moira that since you were able to control one vampire you would be able to break her control.”

“I believe I will be able to break her control, but I don't know for sure.” Actually there wasn't sure about much anymore. “And if you are there with me, I will spend most of the time worrying about you and I can't afford any distraction from the plan.” He was feeling guilty for trying to guilt-trip Logan into staying outside, though only for a moment.

“You might not need saving from the vampires...but – maybe from yourself.”

Charles tensed. “What's that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you're so intent on saving Angel that you'll loose focus on what it will cost.”

“It's for me to decide what I'm willing to pay, isn't it?”

Logan gave a long sigh. “Yes it is. And currently there doesn't seem much you would consider too high a price, and that's worrying me. And you seem not afraid at all – and that's scaring me.”

Maybe he should be frightened more. To begin with, he should be terrified that his telepathy wasn't working as it should be. Instead he got dreams and impressions that, if he was completely honest with himself, seemed more like things Erik might experience. Yet maybe he was scared, at least enough to refuse to think clearly of what that might mean.

“What if - Erik isn't here?” Logan still sounded reluctant to say his name.

“He is.”

Logan startled at the matter of fact way Charles said it. Charles wasn't sure if it was himself being cocky – but in his gut he knew, Erik would be there. And he wouldn't think of it as anything else. Just a gut feeling.

“Fine, since I can't stop you, we'll do this.”

Exasperate Charles shook his head. “That wasn't even the discussion to begin with.” He looked at Logan, cigar in his mouth, arms crossed in front of his chest. He should be glad, he knew, that Logan wanted to stick with him, despite everything.

“Okay, Logan, but if something goes wrong, you leave. You get yourself out of there and not risk getting hurt or captured.”

“I hope you plan on taking your own advice.”

“I plan on getting this done.” He didn't know what else to say. And if things were reversed, well he wouldn't just stand back and let Logan walk into a den full of vampires. He closed the car-door and walked around it.

At first Logan looked curious then he shifted from one foot to the other as Charles walked up to him. He took the cigar from his mouth, though he didn't intend to say anything. He finally tensed as Charles reached out for him. As his fingers touched the bare skin at Logan's neck a thought flashed up. Loud enough to make Charles wince. That Charles might order him to stay in the car and wait. Not surprising, except for Logan still thinking him capable of that and the bitter tang of fear that thought was laced with. But neither was there time to explore or rather, ask about it, nor was it was Charles intended to do. Instead he leaned up and pressed his lips against Logan's. He stayed like this for a moment, until he felt the tension drain from Logan and his lips part, though the worry that Charles may ban him to the car was still there.

Charles tightened his shields, though it made his headache pulse more angrily.

Finally Charles drew back, still keeping his hand were it was though, his thumb caressing over Logan's neck. “I should do it, you know...” He searched Logan's eyes, locked on his, then reluctantly let his hand sink. “Let's go.”

He heard Logan lock the car and then follow behind, as he strode out of the side alley and towards the club. The lights were brighter here, the pale white light from the street lamps mingling with the flickering orange and yellow of the club's neon sign.

Charles took a deep breath as he strode past the line that had formed, right up to the bouncers. He didn't allow himself to think, no time to get worried. Instead he reached out for the bouncers' minds.
He'd decided to not try for subtle. All he wanted was to simply blank his and Logan's presence out and waltz straight in.

His mental grip on them was slipping before he could even find the right purchase. As if he couldn’t quite understand what it was he was meant to hold on to, as if the human thoughts were too...smooth.

“Hey, what do you think you're doing?” One of the bouncers reached for him.

He felt Logan's agitation.

Charles pushed harder, freezing the man, but he knew it wouldn't do, a storm of anger was brewing up in him. Panicking Charles pushed and pushed trying to shove it back, quieten and suffocate it, while trying to press both men's awareness of them back.

He heard them groan and threw a quick glance over his shoulder.

One was clutching his head and the other had his hands over his eyes. Charles couldn't hear what they were saying over the rushing of blood in his ears. He hurried on through the open door of the club, giving just one last mental push to make sure – no, hoping this would make them forget and not come after them. He shuddered as he finally let go of them.

“Charles!” He was already halfway down the stairs to the dance floor when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He turned towards Logan, who closed his mouth, keeping whatever he had meant to say to himself, but steered Charles further along and towards the less cowded quiet end of the bar. Charles ended with his back to it while Logan was standing in front of him, blocking his vision – or shielding him.

“What the hell happened there Charles?” He bent down, whispering the words close to his ear.

“I overdid it.”

“You weren't doing that bad when you practised back at headquarters.”

Charles didn't know how to begin how to answer that and it was harder to concentrate, what with the soft buzzing that had started in his head as soon as they had set foot in the club. He tried to look past Logan, who caught on quickly. He turned around, still staying half in front of Charles, scanning the crowd.

“What can I get you, Charles?”

Charles froze as he heard Erik's voice coming from behind him. This was why he was here, but he'd hoped to at least see him coming, to have some moments to prepare? He schooled his expression as best he could, then slowly turned around.

Erik standing behind the bar, leaning up against it, wearing a dark shirt. Charles realised he was staring at it to avoid looking up at Erik's eyes, when he noticed the flashing strobe lights coming from above the dance floor, let the fabric shimmer dark green. He finally forced himself to look up into Erik's face.

Erik was watching him with something like anticipation..

He heard a low growl from Logan. It was all the warning he gave as his hand moved for one of the stakes hidden underneath his jacket. Charles put his hand on Logan's arm to stop him, but Erik was faster. He simply flicked a finger toward the bigger man and Logan froze. Charles could feel the surge of sudden hot anger mixed with bitter panic from Logan.

“Stop it, Erik!” Charles tasted blood at the back of his throat, felt Erik's mind, clear, vibrating metal, singing out to him. He narrowed his gaze. “Stop it, or I'll do it.”

For a moment Charles was sure he heard something like, 'yes, do it', coming from Erik. But neither had he been able to hear clear words from Erik's mind so far, nor did it make much sense. And then Erik eased back his control and Logan sucked in a shuddering breath beside him.

Logan moved closer to Charles, so their bodies were touching. Charles wasn't sure what Logan was planning on doing next, so he just said. “Let me handle this.” He didn't wait or turn to look if Logan was agreeing, but kept his eyes on Erik.

“So nothing I can get you Charles? Or are you here to offer me something?” Erik smiled, flashing sharp teeth.

Logan tensed, one hand curled around Charles' hip, out of Erik's sight.

“Yes. Maybe I am – in exchange for some answers.” Charles stated with a calm he didn't exactly feel.

“Charles!” Logan hissed surprised. Charles wanted to reach out for Logan's mind, but then stopped himself. What had Logan expected him to do? He didn't have anything else to negotiate with, and he didn't want to try and play some game of which the outcome would be the same. They had no time for that. Angel had no time for that.

But at least Erik looked no less surprised. His smile faltered and confusion shone in his grey eyes.

It wouldn't do letting Erik think about it. “Angel, a fellow hunter, was taken by vampires at the time you locked down headquarters. Was that the plan all along?” Unwittingly Charles leant a little closer, trying to get an impression from Erik's mind to determine the truth of what he might give as an answer.

Erik frowned and shook his head. “Not my plan, no.” Then he smiled. “I wanted you to see what I could do. I knew you would come.”

“And you saw what I can do.” Charles pressed his lips together. He couldn't let himself get distracted. “But you say,not your plan, but someone took the opportunity.”

Erik's gaze flickered towards the raised platform around the dance floor, where Charles had spotted him with the vampire telepath the last time.

Charles moved his hand, putting it on top of Logan's at his hip. He needed the contact to make sure he got through. He didn't let his expression show anything though, as he carefully checked if he could still get through to Logan. But nothing was blocking him – except his own shaky ability. He simply pushed the image of the telepathic vampire forward, along with an image of Logan watching Charles back. It was crude, compared to simple words, but the only way he dared to do this right now.

Logan turned his head, without loosing contact with Charles, scanning the club's upper floor. Charles only got a vague impression that there was nothing to see.

What he got from Erik was a lot stronger though. His focus was entirely on Charles, at what he might offer.

“So do you know anything worth my time – and my offer, or not?” He said it as if he had other options, as if he didn't need any of the information Erik could give him.

“What are you willing to give me?” Erik sounded eager.

“Tell me what happened to Angel and I'll let you have a taste of my blood. Tell me where she is now and you can have more.” Erik could hear his heart beating rapidly for sure and must realise the cool exterior was nothing more than a façade.

Erik suddenly pushed himself up on the bar and slid over it in one fluid movement, landing right beside Charles, jostling him so his hand slid off Logan's.

“What's your – friend – saying to this?”

“Don't try to distract from my question. Or don't you know anything worthwhile for me after all?” He tried to send something like calming thoughts to Logan, but knew without having to turn around, that he wasn't getting through.

“Alright – if you can't wait for this.” Erik, hands on Charles' hips, suddenly pulled him away from Logan.

“Get away from him!” Logan hissed, one hand on Charles' shoulder, the other outstretched towards Erik, claws drawn.

Erik's expression hardens, his eyes no longer eager but annoyed as his gaze flickers to Logan's hand on Charles' shoulder. “Careful, don't scratch yourself with those.”

Logan withdrew his outstretched hand, though not of his own accord. Charles could feel Erik using his powers, and smell the blood as Logan's claws pierce the skin at his own face.

“Erik!” He gave the word a little pull and felt Erik grow rigid for a moment, causing him to loose control of the metal in Logan's body, before he relaxed his hold on him again.

Charles turned his head and caught Logan's eyes with his. He didn't need to read Logan's thoughts to see how painful all this was to him. To see Charles like this, with Erik. To not be able to follow instinct, not try and destroy the vampire in front of him. “Logan...” Charles tried to wrap all he couldn't say into the name and finally Logan's shoulders relaxed slightly.

Erik heard it too. His grip on Charles tightened, almost painfully and he closed in on his neck.

“No! I want the information first.” Charles fingers grabbed on to Erik's hair, tugging his head away, while he gave him a mental push. Erik jerked back, eyes wide. Charles smiled. He was getting better at this. “And maybe you want to hurry, before I find a way to simply take it.”

Erik looked stubborn, arrogant and still couldn't hide that flash of uncertainty and excitement. Then he shrugged. “You will understand that I can't entirely trust you, since you have already betrayed me once.”

Charles pressed his lips together and swallowed down every reply that burnt on his tongue.

“Angel, she was the one who was here with you in the club?”

Charles nodded.

“Hm. Emma showed an interest in her. I told her what I planned to do with your precious headquarters and she seemed to think it a perfect opportunity. So Emma has her now, and intends to turn her.”

“Emma?”

“You met her. She is like you.” Erik chuckled. “Almost. I think - “ But then Erik shook his head, apparently done with revealing information he wasn't asked for.

“Where is Angel now?”Charles demanded to know instead.

“Let's see if you uphold your part of the bargain first, before I tell you more.”

So Erik knew where she was. Charles swallowed, then wordlessly tilted his head to the side, exposing his neck. He should feel nothing but anger or fear, yet instead a pleasurable coil of anticipation seemed to uncurl low in his belly.

Erik looked past him and for a moment Charles thought Emma was watching, before he realised the smug smile on his face was reserved for Logan. Charles simply wanted to get this over with but Erik had other plans. His cool finger caressed along Charles neck, raising goosebumps and only by biting his lips did Charles manage not to gasp.

He failed once Erik's lips brushed against his skin, the touch achingly familiar and a lot more gentle than the last time. As if now that Erik had him here willingly, he was going to make the most of it.

His hands grabbed onto Erik's shirt, the fabric soft like silk and cool to touch, warming only where Erik's body was pressed close enough to Charles.

For a moment Charles wondered how odd this must look, for anyone watching. Though they might think they were only kissing, with Logan the jealous best friend or something. They probably appeared not much different than any other couple making up after a fight.

Only they weren't, this was nothing but a trade. Erik's information against Charles' blood.

The moment Erik sunk his teeth in Charles' neck nevertheless came unexpected. Charles gasped and pressed himself closer against Erik's body. Desire shot through him, as if this was the only thing that could turn him on like this. Quick and without hesitation or room for thoughts. He didn't care that he was moaning now, that Logan could hear, maybe even smell his arousal, all he could care was Erik's mouth on his neck, sucking gently and the heat that suddenly ran through his body, filling him with life, making him feel alive, the sweet smell of blood, the taste as it filled his mouth, Charles' blood, his blood...

Charles pushed himself away from Erik, shocked at the blur of thoughts. He hadn't even noticed that he'd slipped into Erik's mind.

Erik looked at him, dazed, his lips still red from Charles' blood. Slowly he licked them and involuntarily, Charles mimicked the gesture, then shuddered.

Erik's gaze zoned in on Charles' neck and he tried to lean in closer again.

“No. Enough! This is all I promised you in return.”

Surprisingly, Erik stopped, though he looked at Charles with a smug smirk. “Would you rather bleed all over your shirt. There are some others in here whose attention might not be that welcome to you.”

Startled Charles reached for his neck and found the punctured marks still bleeding. His fingers came away smeared red. Reluctantly he tilted his head to the side though this time he tensed as Erik leant in and his tongue lapped at the marks, his saliva helping close the wound, before he moved back only to catch Charles' hand and lick the bloodied fingers clean, his expression one of pure bliss. Charles hand was shaking, but he didn't draw it back.

“It would have been a waste.”

“We got what we came for Charles, let's leave.” Logan's hand on his shoulder felt strange, surreal, as he tried to tug Charles back.

Charles found himself reluctant to leave. “I guess...”

“What will you give me if I can tell you where she is now?”

Charles frowned. “She isn't here?”

“This is Emma's club, but this is more for – entertainment. She has another place for more serious business. One less exposed.”

“Where?”

Erik shook his head. “Oh no, this time, we do it the other way round. You will get the information after you let me drink from you – like you used to.”

Logan's anger was lapping at Charles shields now, hot and roaring, though it wasn't loud enough compared to the pull Charles' felt from Erik. He was sure the image he got, of himself, naked, sprawled in front of Erik, Erik sinking his teeth into his thigh, making him moan was from Erik's mind. He felt dazed, and also suddenly sure he could dip into Erik's mind and find whatever he needed, if he could get a little closer, have a little more time to explore. It was a very seductive whisper echoing throughout his mind.

Charles took a deep breath, and shook his head, trying to clear it. He suddenly realised that his headache was gone.

“It's not like you aren't enjoying it too.”

He should walk away. They could find Angel with the information they had. But could they find her fast enough. Before she got turned?

“And maybe, if I like what you have to offer, I will even help.”

“We don't need your help!”

“That's for Charles to decide, isn't it, Charles?”

Charles took a deep breath. “Logan, wait outside.”

“Charles, I'm not leaving you.”

“Please.” Charles turned and looked up at Logan. “I told you this was for me to decide. And though we might find her now, it would take time and we might be too late.” He gritted his teeth. “And Erik might decide to warn the vampire who took her.”

Logan glared at Erik, but then suddenly bent down and kissed Charles full on the lips, causing Erik to hiss. Logan didn't move away right then but softly brushed his mouth against Charles' ear. “Whatever happens, please come back. Please, don't run off where I can't follow.”

Charles throat felt tight and all he managed was a tense smile and curt nod before he turned towards Erik, who glared at Logan. Charles tried to ignore that as well as the worry gnawing at his stomach.

With cool confidence he didn't feel he asked. “So I guess you don't want to do this here.”

Erik reached out a hand. Charles took it and followed him.

Chapter Text

Logan

Logan checked his wristwatch then glared impatiently out of the window of his car. Finally he opened the door and got out, locking the car behind him, and walked down the alley towards the club. On his way he made sure to check in the dark corner behind the dumpster in the alley, just in case... in case that - . He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, rebuking himself for letting Charles leave with the vampire. He should have at least stayed in the club, hell, he should have followed Charles.

But Charles had been so hell-bent on doing this, getting information on Angel’s whereabouts. He understood why Charles might feel responsible, though Logan didn't think he was. Even after what he'd told him about his past involving the vampire – Erik.

It only made him worry more. What hold did that vampire have on Charles? That was, he hadn’t been that concerned, until he'd seen Charles' reaction to him tonight.

Logan stopped at the edge of the alley and stared towards the club's entrance. “I hope you know what you're doing, Chuck.”

Maybe he should check the club's back entrance, maybe Charles would come out there. Though the picture his mind painted was of a lot more grim scenario. Charles getting tossed out like a rag-doll, drained and - lifeless. “No!” He started walking away from the club's entrance, towards the alley at it's back, but then stopped.

While he was checking the back Charles might come out the front, and what if he reached the car and Logan wasn't there? Yet if he came out back he might need help. There was no way of knowing what Erik would do to him, how much he would drain him – Logan tried hard not to think about what exactly Erik might do to Charles.

The most worrying thought was that Erik might not let Charles leave at all.

Logan started to run. He would be quick, checking the back and then return to the car.

He found the back entrance, some dumpsters he checked inside and in-between – and the back-door. Without reproach Logan tried to open it, ready to slip back inside, but found it locked. One long metal claw slid out between the knuckles of his balled fist, ready to crack open the lock, before he stopped himself. There was still the chance that Charles would come out while Logan was blindly searching for him inside.

Giving the door an angry kick, he turned around and headed back to the car. There he leant against the hood, fished out another cigar and lit it. Blowing smoke into the cool night air he stared ahead, thinking – as loud and intense as he could. Maybe that wasn't the best idea if there was that vampire telepath around, but he needed to know Charles was okay. He needed Charles to know that he was waiting for him. Charles – I know you think you have to do this, but be careful. Angel wouldn't want you to sacrifice yourself for her. Be safe. Come back, please. I'll be here. I'll be waiting. Charles. Let me help you. Even if you can't answer me, I hope you can hear me. I'll be here for you. And if this picture thing works both ways and you can't hear my words but if I think of something...how about a pink fluffy unicorn?

He tried hard to conjure up a picture. It turned out more plump pony-shaped than a graceful horse, but had a shaggy pink coat and pink sparkling horn. He tried to hold on to the ridiculous image as long as possible without closing his eyes.

Then he just crossed his arms in front of his chest and continued staring blankly in the direction of the club. Every ten minutes he would walk towards the club and check the alley with the club's back entrance. Just in case Charles came out – just in case he needed help.

He lost count how often he did it, too often. And always with the same result. So on his umpteenth walk back to the car, he almost missed the sound of shuffling feet behind him. He stopped, and slowly turned around, prepared to see only some drunk from the club, not wanting to get his hopes up.

Logan's heart clenched in relieve and worry. It was Charles, and he was slowly staggering towards him. His clothes were in disarray, as if he just didn't have enough energy left to bother with buttoning up his shirt properly. Though clearly he was feeling cold, as one hand was grasping tightly at the lapels of his jacket, holding it close around his neck.

The look in Charles' eyes was distant as he kept moving forward sluggishly, as if each step was an act of willpower.

“Charles...”

At the sound of his name Charles' gaze finally focused on Logan. He pressed his lips together though and avoided eye-contact.

Logan kicked himself mentally and rushed forward. Charles froze and Logan barely dared to touch him.

“What the hell did he do to you?” It came out more harshly than intended and Logan didn't really need to ask. Logan's nose was telling him exactly what had happened. Charles smelled of sex and blood – though there seemed hardly any left in him.

He could see a bite-mark high on Charles' neck. Logan couldn't help himself, he had to see how bad it was. He gently pulled Charles' hands away, so the jacket fell open, revealing a lot more. “Fuck... did he do all those. Please tell me he didn't let anyone else...”

Charles winced, tugging at his left arm in Logan's grip.

“Charles, I'm sorry, I didn't – just let me help you.” Logan let go, catching a glimpse of another angry mark on Charles' wrist.

Charles staggered back and Logan rushed forward to catch Charles from falling, touching him more carefully this time. The sparsely buttoned shirt gaped open revealing punctured wounds on Charles' chest as well.

Logan cursed angrily. “Bastard!” Where else? Where else had that vampire dared to chew up Charles like he was some old bone. Questions burned on his lips. Why had Charles let him do this? How could he have agreed to this – torture?

He wanted to storm back into the club and rip Erik to shreds. Even knowing he wouldn't get far. He shuddered, then gently pushed an arm under Charles' shoulder, steadying him. “Let me help you, Charles. I'll get you back to my car and... you’re safe now.”

Charles still didn't say anything, all the slow dragging walk towards the car – nothing. Logan nearly tore off the door of the passenger side as he opened it forcefully, easing Charles into the seat and buckling him up while Charles closed his eyes, head lolling back. His breathing was laboured and he was pale and cold.

“Charles I – I should take you back to headquarters. You need - “

Suddenly Charles' eyes snapped open, the blue in them intense, almost like glowing, the only colour left in the pale face, and his hand shot up to grip Logan's arm. “No! You take me back home. And I'll give you the address. Logan, I know where they keep Angel. I know exactly where. You can tell headquarters that. I only need a little rest. And then we come up with a plan to get her out.”

Charles took a shuddering breath and closed his eyes, clearly exhausted, though he still kept his hold on Logan's arm.

“Okay. Whatever you say.” He pressed his fingers to Charles neck to check his pulse. Charles flinched away. “Charles, I'm not going to hurt you. I just need to see if you're okay.” It was a farce. Charles clearly wasn't okay, his pulse fluttering weakly against Logan's touch.

“I know. I know. I will be. Just take me home - please.”

Carefully Logan detached himself from Charles' hand and closed the door, then went round the car to get in himself. He shouldn't do this. He shouldn't listen to Charles. This was madness.

But as he started the car and drove off, he kept looking at Charles, looking pale and – fragile. He'd never seen him like this before and it scared Logan. What could he do? If he took Charles to a hospital, the marks on his body would raise too many questions he couldn't provide answers for and in the end it would alert the NIB all the same. What he should do, was take him to headquarters, where they could take care of him. Though Charles being quarantined would be the least that would happen to them. Yet doing neither meant risking Charles' life.

“You're not.”

“What?”

“Not risking my life. Just take me home.”

“Charles, did you...” Logan felt a spark of relieve. Had Charles just read his mind, was his telepathy back to normal again? But Charles didn't answer and Logan reached over to put a hand on Charles' chest to check that he was still breathing.

“Okay, we'll try this your way first.”

Logan was doubting the wisdom of his actions again as soon as they reached Charles' apartment and Charles didn't even protest, as Logan pulled him out of the car and hoisted him up in his arms. Once in the elevator he buried his face in Charles' hair, murmuring over and over “Stay with me, Charles, stay with me, okay. I got you back home, now you keep up your end of the bargain and be okay...” He wanted to ram his claws into the nearest wall and shred it to pieces – or rather he would like to do that to Erik.

But he wasn't here, yet Charles was. So he simply pulled him a little tighter against his body.

It cost him what little patience he had left to find the keys in Charles jacket-pocket, open the apartment door and push in. He shoved the door close with a foot, before he carried Charles into the living room, settling Charles down on the couch. There were two folded blankets and Logan used both, draping one around Charles' shoulders and the other over his lap to contain what warmth was left in his body.

Logan allowed himself a short moment to press his lips against Charles' hair, then went to raid the fridge. Coming back with a glass of orange juice, he stopped for a moment to look down at the pale, still form. The sight made him tense with barely contained anger again.

Charles suddenly furrowed his brow and started to toss his head from side to side, a soft distress gasp coming across his lips.

Feeling guilty Logan quickly knelt down beside Charles. “I'm sorry. That was stupid of me. Come on Chuck, make me think happy thoughts. Wake up for me. You need to drink something.” Logan tried to gently shake Charles' shoulder, unable to fully suppress the worry of what if Charles didn't wake up. “Charles, please, I'll let you rest after you drank this. But you have to wake up now.”

Suddenly Charles jolted awake and he sat up straight, nearly startling Logan in spilling the juice.

“How long?”

“Charles, what?” Logan took a guess. “I just got you home, we've been here five minutes maybe.”

With a shudder running through his body Charles slumped back against the couch. “Oh – good, okay, no, I must...” Charles licked his lips.

“You must drink this.” Sternly, Logan put the glass against Charles' lips.

Charles tried to push Logan's arm back. “No, we have to get Angel...”

“First you drink this, then you can tell me where she is.” Logan kept firm and finally Charles did reach out for the glass and tilted it back, while Logan still kept a hand on it. About the time the glass was half empty, Charles seemed to realise how thirsty he was and gulped down the rest greedily.

Logan took the empty glass from him and got up. Charles followed him with his gaze.

“I'm going to bring you another one. You need it, you've lost...” Logan looked at Charles and tried not to let his gaze dart to the bite marks, or where he knew they were, now hidden under the thick fabric of the blankets. Determinedly, he went to fetch that refill.

“I know where she is, I know the address and the exact location in the house she is held. And how best to get in there.”

“Good.” Probably he should be more excited about the prospect of being able to have a definite chance at getting Angel back in time, but he wasn't sure he could deal with the price they – Charles - had had to pay.

“I saw it. I need a pen and paper to draw it.”

“You – saw it?”

“Erik had been there. He showed it to me; in his head.”

Logan froze. This wasn't right. Charles wasn't supposed to be able to - what had Erik done to him? Or that vampire telepath? What if it was a trap?

Charles looked at him, despite the clearly visible exhaustion, for a moment his gaze was piercingly sharp, his eyes like two Arctic pools. “I know you don't trust Erik, but please Logan, you can keep trusting me.”

Since he didn't know what to reply to that, Logan opted for the safer thing to say. “So your telepathy is back to normal again?”

Charles closed his eyes, suddenly looking pained. “No. You're just thinking loudly.”

Logan frowned. He was sure he wasn't projecting his thoughts – though he was agitated. He took a deep breath and held out the glass. “You drink this and I'll get you the pen and paper.”

“Thank you.” Charles reached for the glass, but Logan didn't let go until Charles had both hands cradled securely around it. And even then did he check to see if Charles was doing okay, as he went to fetch something to write for him.

Charles drank the second glass just as eagerly and then kept it cradled against himself, eyes closed. Reluctantly Logan sat down next to him. Again, Charles didn't stir. For a moment Logan's gaze brushed across the well visible bite mark high up on Charles' neck. It would be hardest to conceal. It was like Erik meant to claim Charles in a way that was hard to hide.

Logan gritted his teeth, then struggled to reign in his thoughts, before he reached out and gently tugged Charles' hair behind his ear.

Charles mumbled something unintelligible.

“You don't have to do this right now, Charles.”

Charles grunted but finally opened his eyes. “No, no, I have to. Angel can't wait.”

Logan watched as Charles struggled to sit up straighter and finally couldn't stand it any longer. He gently put his hands on Charles' arm. “Let me help you, please.”

Logan felt incredibly relieved as Charles nodded and wasn't sure if the feeling wasn't actually what was seeping past Charles' shields. Or maybe that was only wishful thinking on Logan's part. He took the glass from Charles' fingers and set it down, then moved behind him, so he could wrap his arms around his body and keep him upright. Finally he put the notepad and pen into Charles' lap.

Charles shivered, and Logan made sure the blanket was tugged well around his shoulders. “You cold?”

Charles shook his head. “Not really. But you're warm.” Charles pressed his back into Logan's body, then took up the pen and started writing down the address and then drawing what looked like floor plans. Logan watched him over his shoulder. At first he thought Charles was only mumbling to himself to jog his memory, but then he realised he was adding information to what he was drawing.

“The upper floor isn't barred against light, so if we go there by daylight, we have a good chance to get safe just by going there. This corridor here is what we have to be careful off, no idea where exactly it leads to. But Angel is held here, that's far enough away, if we're quick. I think this should be treated purely as a rescue mission. So basically a small team that can go in and out quickly.” Finally the drawing was done, still Charles was trying to come up with plans and working on who would be best suited for the raid though his voice was reduced to a worn out whisper.

Logan gently plucked pen and paper out of Charles' hands. “I got it from here. You did – you did more than you had to do already. More than anyone else would have been willing to do.” He pressed a kiss to Charles' temple. “Let me handle this from here on.”

“But I have to...”

“You have to rest now. You're no help if you faint from exhaustion. “

It was telling enough that Charles didn't protest. He only struggled for a moment to keep upright by himself, then he slumped back against Logan, who indulged himself for a moment by pulling Charles a little closer. He tried to ignore the smell Erik had left on him, but his chest felt suddenly tight.

“You're going to be okay. You're going to be okay, Chuck.”

A moment later Charles' hand suddenly touched Logan's arm, squeezing it as if to reassure him. “I'm sorry...”

“Don't be. You did what – what you had to do. Whatever happens...” I love you.

Charles showed no reaction that he'd heard Logan's thoughts and Logan didn't want to dwell on it. Carefully he got up, despite Charles making a gruff protesting sound. “You need to sleep.” He pulled him up and after a few staggering steps lifted Charles into his arms again to carry him to his bedroom. Charles seemed half asleep as Logan settled him down on the bed. He wanted to take him into the bathroom and wash him, clean of any remaining scents and traces from Erik, but Charles needed to sleep more. So Logan contented himself with stripping Charles of his clothes and throwing those into the washing.

He still cringed as he laid more and more of the punctured wounds of Erik's fangs bare, red and angry standing out in stark contrast to Charles' pale skin. There were the ones at his neck, wrist and on his chest. And more at his waist and a fainter one beside his bellybutton, like Erik had tried to bite him there, but hadn't fully bitten down – or maybe Charles had stopped him? As he pulled down Charles' trousers, another bite, high up on his thigh was revealed.

Logan felt the urge to touch it, rub his thumb over it and erase it from Charles' skin. He remembered how Charles had clearly felt pleasure when Erik bit him the first time in the club and... Resolutely, he pulled the blanket over Charles' sleeping form and stepped back. He had to do something, or he would go crazy. So he headed back downstairs to fill Charles' glass with more orange juice, then took Charles' phone and brought both back up to the bedroom, putting it all down on the bedside table.

He sat down on the bed and bent down, to brush his lips against Charles' forehead. “I'll take the information back to headquarters. We'll find a way to get Angel out. You don't need to worry about that. I'll be back to check on you as soon as I can.” His gaze caught on the marks on Charles' neck and he couldn't stop himself but had to touch it.

The skin there felt hot and slightly raised. Charles flinched in his sleep and his head rolled to the side, away from Logan's touch.

Logan stood up, and after one last glance at Charles, left. They needed to get Angel back safe now. Charles had done enough.


Charles

Charles has turned off the torch, standing in absolute darkness, so to not attract attention. He had closed his eyes, but the urge to open them itches behind his eyelids. Even if he won't see more when he does and it will only drive him crazy. So he keeps them shut. His back is pressed against the wall, as he listens, with his ears and his mind, for any sounds that might tell him of the presence of a vampire closing in on his current location.

He knows there is a system of corridors, locked doors and cells around him. He's been here before, if on a different mission. The last time he had been looking for victims, and found Erik instead. Which has led him back here again, to find the one vampire that had locked up Erik and kill him.

That is, the other hunters are going to kill him, he is only here to make sure they aren't ambushed from behind.

Soft steps sound in the dark. They come closer, seem to pass, then stop, before they head in his direction with more determination.

Charles tightens his grip on the stake, hidden at his side, while he holds the torch in front of him. He will take the vampire by surprise.

Even breaths. He can do this.

The steps are closing in, the vampire is right in front of him.

The torchlight flares up, its cold beam of light hitting a pale face, as Charles plunges the stake forward and upward – and freezes.

“Erik!” It comes out as a gasp.

“Charles...” Erik looks down at the stake Charles holds between them, the tip nearly touching Erik below the ribs. He keeps absolutely still, frozen like a statue.

“I'm sorry, I thought - “ Charles lowers the hand and stuffs the stake back into the loop at his belt. “Why are you here? I thought you meant to help take out the vampire! You said you would take care of him before any of my friends would reach his chamber. Now they are still fighting him. What went wrong?”

“That's not Sebastian.”

“What?”

“He noticed you coming, so he sent one of his vampires to pose as him, so he could slip away.”

“Are you sure?”

Erik's eyes looked eerily pale and cold in the torchlight. “He is the one who turned me, Charles, I am sure.”

“I'm sorry, Erik. But ...” He checked up on what was happening in the main chamber of the crypt, but before he could figure out the flashes of images from five different pair of eyes, Erik's cold hand closed around his wrist.

“I need you Charles. You've got to help me.”

“To do what? I mean, of course I will.”

“You have to find Sebastian.”

“But he could be anywhere.”

“No. He's in here. You can locate vampire's minds. Find him.” Erik looks determined, his mouth set in a grim line.

“But I don't know how. Yes, I can find any vampire hiding here, but I won't know if it's him.”

“Don't worry, if it's not him and they don't have the sense to run, I will take care of them.”

“That's not what I meant, but- “ If Erik wants that vampire dead so badly, well Charles won't argue with him. And if he thinks he can take him on by himself - “But, you don't have to do this alone, Erik.”

Erik looks at him oddly.

Charles licks his lips, unsure what Erik's expression means, unable to know what he's thinking.

As Erik's hand unexpectedly touches his he, nearly jerks back before he lets Erik take it.

“Turn off the light. You tell me where you feel a vampire hiding and I'll take us there through the corridors.

Charles hesitates. Once he turns off the light he won't see a thing again, he won't see anyone attacking. He looks at Erik. But he doesn't have to. They can do this together. Charles turns off the light and fumbles to hang the torch from his belt in the dark using only one hand.

Erik lets go off him suddenly. Charles only feels him step close before he takes the torch out of his hands and moments later he feels its weight dangling from his belt. Then Erik takes his hand again.

“Where to?”

Charles takes a deep breath, trying to exhale silently, then closes his eyes and touches his fingers to his forehead in concentration. Carefully he spreads out his awareness.

“There are... “ Charles gasps alarmed, “several vampires heading to that main chamber where we thought he is. We have to help them, they're going to be outnumbered.”

“No.” Erik's hold on his hand tightens. “We have to find Sebastian.”

“But...”

“Charles, you promised.”

Charles grits his teeth and only sends a short warning, so the others will know of the coming attack. He still wants to rush to help them, but as long as they don't get rid of the main vampire controlling the rest, it will continue to pose a threat. Singular vampires were a lot easier to take out and a lot less likely to get a chance to turn other mutants, while one with a following or Get as Erik had called it, would continue to pick out powerful mutants to turn them into powerful vampires that were hard to kill.

“Closest vampire to us is ahead and to the right. It's not moving.”

Erik tugs gently at his hand to get Charles to take some hesitant steps forward, then pulls him along, navigating the dark corridors with ease. As they come along the vampire it happens so quickly, Charles has hardly time to reach for his stake as Erik lets go of his hand. He can't see what Erik does, only feels the buzz of Erik's mind and that of the other vampire and then suddenly it's gone and Erik takes his hand again, asking in grim determination. “Where is the next one, Charles?”

There are more vampires after this one. Charles is dizzy, loosing all sense of direction as he tells Erik where to find the next vampire. He feels lost in the dark tunnels, like nothing else exists but Erik and him and the threat lurking around the corner. The place feels vast, though he's sure they haven't gotten really far and tracked back through corridors more than once. But he trusts Erik to find their way, just as Erik trusts him to find that one vampire he needs to kill.

 

Eight years later he follows Erik again through dark corridors. But he knows Erik for the monster he is, he no longer trusts him blindly. At least he hopes so. He does this not for Erik, not for himself but purely for the information Erik is willing to give him.

He tries to ignore how Erik's hand feels so achingly familiar in his, how his grip isn't hard and cold but loose enough that he could pull free any time. Is Erik so sure of himself or just wants to keep up an illusion that Charles is here on his own free will; that Charles wants this?

One thing has changed for sure. Whenever he blinks, Charles sees a flash of grey, outlines of the corridor they are heading down. It’s disconcerting at first, until he realises that whenever he closes his eyes he sees what Erik sees. So he closes them for good, and lets the world around him comes into focus in different shades of grey and black.

Suddenly a door opens to one side, a shape steps out pulsing blue and a warmer purple. It pulls something along, pulsing red, though it's sluggish, nearly drained. Shocked, Charles realises it's not something but a someone. His vision sharpens and he sees the vampire with its human victim clearer. A human mind brushes his, dulled down to a weak glow.

“Nice catch there, Lehnsherr. Want to share?”

Erik turns, something vividly pulsing red flares up as he looks behind himself and pulls Charles closer. Charles' eyes snap open as he realises it's himself he's seen, blood pulsing through his own body, warm and alive. Erik hisses at the other vampire and she shrinks back with an angry snarled “Fuck you.”, then Erik strides down the corridor again, his grip a little tighter on Charles' hand.

Charles' heart is racing and he doesn't try to see his surroundings through Erik again. He just stumbles along, suddenly cold, as he wonders how many humans are down here, how many are drained of life, right now, while he is here, not stopping any of it from happening.

How many had Erik killed already since he's come here – since he's freed himself?

Suddenly Erik stops, a door is opened and Charles is pulled inside. For a moment he stands in darkness, then a small light flares up.

He blinks as his sight adjusts, then looks around the room they entered, trying to give his mind something to do, so it doesn't dwell on anything outside of it. There are no windows, of course. But there is a bed. Erik doesn't need to sleep but CHarles knows vampires need to rest and they most often do it during the day, when they can't venture outside anyway. The floor would do just for that purpose, but there are habits, ingrained habits, human habits... He once had believed that, if those still existed, it would mean there could be more remaining human aspects to the creatures too.

There is also a cupboard with clothes and that ridiculous cape hanging from a hook in the wall.

Charles stares at it.

He only looks away as he realises that Erik seems to be waiting. He finds him standing two paces away, simply looking at Charles.

Nervously, Charles licks his lips. “Well then, lets get this over with.”

Erik shakes his head. “You could just take the information from my head.” He smiles, pleased and points to his head as if in an invitation. “You already showed me you can get in there and control me, it wouldn't take you that long to figure out how to get what you want to know, right.”

Charles opens his mouth, but doesn't know what to answer. He could do it... could he do it? It would also mean he is breaking a promise. A promise he gave a vampire! And what about the help Erik promised in freeing Angel?

Erik moves so swiftly Charles blinks surprised as he suddenly stands in front of him. He touches Charles' lips with cool fingers.

Charles wants to turn his head away, grit his teeth, push Erik away but then he looks him in the eyes. “Do you want me to? So that she, Emma, never knows you betrayed her? What will she do to you if she finds out? What will she say about you offering to help us.”

“Are you worried about me?”

“No. All I'm worried about, is what you're planning to do and if it will backfire on my team, as it did before. How many of my people will die so you can get what you want?”

“Ah, I see. You are still upset about that. You think it could have been done without any sacrifices?
I was willing to kill fellow vampires to stop Sebastian.”

“Because you're just as selfish as he was.”

Anger sparked in Erik's eyes. “You have no idea, Charles. I want vampires to thrive. We can't do this while those who are just a step away to become even more powerful vampires are out there hunting us.”

“Is that why you – befriended me? So I would convince every vampire hunter out there to stop what they are doing? To let you turn them?”

“I – I want you by my side, Charles. Not just because you're a telepath, not just for what you can do – but...” Erik reaches out, his finger nearly touch Charles' face before Charles steps back.

“I won't do it. I won't join you on your crazy scheme to turn the world into a vampire nation where humans are preyed upon.”

“I know I can't force you. I can only hope one day you will see things my way, that you will see the future as I do. Where we can step out of the shadows and no longer have to hide.”

As much as the idea filled him with horror, there is also a part of Charles that understands Erik's reasoning. Would he think the same if he were a vampire, if he could look deeper into a vampires mind and fully understand it? He hopes that day will never come. He doesn't want to understand the monsters, and see the world their way.

He takes another step back, needing to make sure Erik can't touch him.

Erik's expression twists into a cold smirk. “I won't stop you, if you want to leave and abandon your friend. That, after all, is what you're good at Charles. Leaving those who love you behind. Turning your back on them.”

Charles freezes, heart clenching. Is Erik talking of Raven – or himself?

If he leaves now, Angel will have to pay the price. But he can't - he has to remind himself that he didn't promise Erik to let him turn him, in exchange for the informaton. All he agreed on was giving Erik his blood and – sex.

“What if I learn to control you first – and change your mind?”

Erik smiles. “If you know my mind, you will see things my way.”

Charles grits his teeth. He doesn't have time for an argument. He closes his eyes, trying to collect himself and instead of black he sees through Erik's eyes again. A bitter smile comes to his lips. Oh he does see things Erik's way, just not like Erik expects him to.

Erik's words are only meant to taunt him. He shouldn't care what Emma will do to Erik if she finds out he betrayed her. Maybe he hopes for a reason to fight her, plans to replace her all along, though if he wants a telepath on his side, why not make sure she is. Or maybe Erik is just a stubborn fool...

If he backs out now, Angel will be turned. He doesn't have to do much to give them a good chance to rescue her.

Opening his eyes he takes a deliberate step forward. Erik is watching him, not moving until Charles has stepped right up to him. “I have no time to argue with you. So you can have more of my blood and take it any way you want, if you tell me exactly where Angel is and any information we will need to get her out.”

“And you will have that, as I promised.” Erik takes one of Charles' hands and pulls it up, pressing a kiss against his wrist, that makes Charles fight hard to suppress a shiver. “But I believe 'any way I want' will be very much exactly as you enjoy it.”

Charles was pulled from restless dreams. It took him a moment to realises the large figure hunched over him was Logan, his face lit only by the bedside lamp. His hand gently touched Charles' forehead, but Charles wanted to turn away, curl up on his side and go back to sleep.

“Charles, you need to get up for a bit. I've got something to eat and drink downstairs.”

He remembered Logan had been visiting and feeding him soup sometime in the afternoon. It was dark outside now, but it couldn't have been that long ago. “What time is it?”

“It's past midnight.”

Charles mind took a moment to catch up on that. “I slept... another eight hours?” That realisation shook him awake.

Logan helped him sit up and though it hadn't bothered him before, he couldn't help resenting the way Logan had to help him like he were some invalid. He refused to let Logan just wrap him in blankets and carry him downstairs. Instead he directed him to his closet to get him sweatpants and a shirt.

As he slowly struggled to put these on, he was well aware of Logan watching him while at the same time trying to avoid looking at his chest, neck or thighs – anywhere Erik had left marks on his body. Logan kept his expression blank, but Charles could taste the anger rolling off Logan.

Another reason to walk by himself. He didn't want to touch Logan and have that anger battering against his shields.

Charles made it as far as the door to his bedroom before he had to concede and let Logan help him. He tensed, preparing for the worst, only to find Logan's anger subside once he touched Charles.

Still exhausted Charles finally slumped down on a chair at his kitchen counter and Logan shoved a plate in front of him, onto which he had emptied a takeaway container. It was something unidentifiable containing chicken and vegetables, but Charles didn't care, suddenly feeling ravenous.

“I'm sorry I didn't check in on you earlier. But - you were right, Charles.”

Uncomprehendingly, Charles looked up from his food. “Right?”

“The address you got from him. We went there, we got her out. Angel is safe.”

“What?!” Charles suddenly sat up straighter, suddenly feeling dizzy.

“Easy, Chuck. It's okay. I know you probably wanted to be there yourself, but time was essential, you said so yourself.”

“But, what about the vampire telepath?”

“We were lucky. She wasn't there.”

Something seemed not right about that, but Charles couldn't put his finger on it. He continued eating, though his attention wasn't on the food, barely registering its taste. If Emma had plans for Angel as Erik had told him, why wouldn't she be there herself? Erik had hinted that house of hers was where she preferred to be during daytime instead of the club, so why hadn't she been there?

He should be glad they got Angel out and she was safe, but something was off about the whole thing. He skewered the last of the broccoli on his fork then just shoved it around on his plate.

“If you're finished you should get back to bed and sleep some more. I've told them, well, I hinted that you went to great lengths to pry the information of Angel's whereabouts from a vampire's mind. We can talk later about what we're going to tell them. And how to make sure no one will notice the marks.”

Charles finally looked up and nodded, his mind still on the puzzle of the missing vampire telepath, and it took some time for Logan's words and bitter undertone to sink in.

Charles licked his lips. “Thank you Logan. I know this – last night, wasn't easy for you. And you still stuck with me, despite...” His gaze fell on his wrist and the bite-mark there.

Logan noticed his gaze. He took Charles' hand, turned it so he could look at the punctured wound, still red against his pale skin. “Did it hurt?”

Charles answered hesitantly. “The bite itself, yes. Though it turns pleasurable while – when the vampire drinks from it. It scared me the first time it happened, then I actually enjoyed it. Now I'm just - it makes me feel helpless. I can't control it.” He stares at Logan's fingers, expecting him to draw back.

“Thank you for being honest with me, Charles.” He slowly lifts Charles' hand up and bends down, pressing his lips against the bite mark. All the time watching Charles, intent to draw back should he show any sign of discomfort.

Charles' fingers touched Logan's cheek lightly. Something hot and wet was stinging in his eyes.

Logan suddenly bent down and kissed his cheek. “Get some rest now. I'll have to go to headquarters, but I'll be back as soon as I can. But if you need anything, you call me, yes?”

Charles nodded, his throat feeling tight. “Yes.” It came out a mere whisper, but Logan smiled warmly at him.

Later on Charles lay in bed, wanting to sleep and yet unable to, simply staring into the darkness. He hadn't lied to Logan, he simply hadn't told him the whole truth.


The first bite at his wrist has been painful, the moment when teeth pierced flesh, but the hot lust that
spreads through Charles' body quickly makes him forget that initial pain. It's Charles who moves first, pushing Erik back onto the bed and climbing onto his lap. His fingers shake as he unbuttons his own shirt and pulls it off. Not because he's afraid, but because he wants this, needs this.

Erik watches him, licking the blood from his lips. He looks smug and it makes Charles grit his teeth.

He should leave, just to wipe that expression from Erik's face, but there are too many reasons why he can't do that. So he grabs Erik's shirt and leans down, pressing his lips against Erik's, plundering his mouth, disregarding the sharp fangs scraping against his tongue as he licks deep into Erik’s mouth. The sudden surprise in Erik's widening eyes has to be satisfaction enough.

It should taste bitter, after all that has happened, their shared kiss shouldn't make him crave more. He pulls back, but Erik's hands capture his face. He doesn't say a word, just looks at him with the hint of bewilderment and wonder that has been Charles' downfall all those years ago.

Breathing suddenly feels painful.

Cool fingers trace his face. He moves his head away to the side, but the touch is insistent, gentle, pulling him in. Erik traces along Charles' mouth, wet from their kiss and Charles' lips part. It's just the tip of Erik's fingers first, then he pushes two into Charles' mouth. Charles closes his eyes and sucks at them, sliding his tongue along and between Erik's digits, obscenely concentrated on getting them warm and wet.

“Don't leave.”

Charles is sure he can hear a similar echoed 'Don't leave me.' from Erik's mind.

Panic wells up in him. He stops and draws back. If Erik thinks this is all it takes for Charles to forget all that Erik has done, he's wrong. “I will uphold my end of the bargain, don't worry.” The words come out bitter and resentful.

Underneath him Erik freezes. He pulls back his hands, only to suddenly grip Charles' hips tightly. “Of course. And you promised me more than just your blood.”

A blush creeps up from his chest, hot embarrassment showing plainly on his face, still Charles doesn't look away from Erik. “I can't stop my body from being aroused by you drinking my blood, so you get that too.”

“You used to love it, Charles. And I want you to not resist it. I want to feel you come alive with it. That's what you promised me.” Erik's tongue flicks out between sharp fangs, as if drawn by the blood rushing through Charles' body.

It's little consolation that at least Erik still believes he could stay cool and distant, though he knows, there is no turning away from the fact that this won't leave him unaffected – the only question was how deep. But it's what he promised Erik. Before he can ponder about it he pushes his thumb between Erik's lips and rubs it along the hard teeth until finally pricking himself on it with the twist of his wrist. He paints Erik's lips red with the blood oozing from his finger.

“If you don't keep your side, if – if you warn Emma and we're too late, I will find a way into your mind and make you hate this.”

Erik actually smiles. “I'll make sure you get her back.” Slowly he drags his tongue across his lips, licking it clean of Charles' blood.“Now tell me, where do you want me to sink in my teeth and suck your blood from your body?”

Charles swallows as he remembers nights Erik whispered exactly that question intimately against his ear. He could lie, and Erik would know, and he couldn't risk that – at least he is telling himself that is the reason. Stubbornly he tries to hide the truth form himself. That he wants this, he truly craves this, Erik's touch and his mouth burning cold on his hot skin when he drinks from him, drowning him in arousal. Charles' grip tightens on Erik's shirt.

“My chest, inside of my thighs, I want to feel your teeth and have you drink from me there.”

Suddenly Charles is flipped on his back, with Erik between his legs, leaning over him. “Wherever you wish. But first, lets get rid of your clothes.”

The shirt Charles has dropped on the ground already, is soon joined by the rest of his clothes. Erik is working quickly, not bothering about teasing Charles by stripping him slowly, but wanting him naked and aroused in front of him. His eyes bore into Charles, his lips move soundlessly, but Charles is sure he can hear him.

'So beautiful, mine, alive, warm, delicious - and he came back for me after all.'

Charles pushes himself up on his arms. He doesn't want to hear Erik's thoughts, not these thoughts, and tries to draw back his mind, but with every touch, every lick and kiss, Erik's mind presses into him, crystal clear. Charles can't hide from them. Once he would have been thrilled about it, would have wanted to share this with Erik, now it only means it will be harder to detach himself from what Erik makes him feel, harder to ignore.

Erik buries his face against Charles' stomach, inhaling deeply. Erik remembers the first time he held Charles like this, and so does Charles.

Their bodies had been wet from the shower, he'd pulled Erik along into the bedroom and they shared fervent kisses, before they tumbled onto the bed. Erik hadn't been wearing any clothes and Charles had felt his naked body pressed against his.

Charles tugs at Erik's shirt – and Erik complies, quickly shedding it. Charles trembles. He missed this, missed Erik's cool hands on his heated skin, the way he slowly explores his body with his mouth, chasing his racing pulse, nibbling teasing then suddenly biting down to draw blood.

He sinks back down onto the bed, moaning softly as he arches up, greedily offering himself. Every bite leaves him more aroused yet wanting still more.

'Please!' He's only thinking it but Erik can hear him, and he can feel Erik's exhilaration.

Charles moans and twitches uncontrollably as Erik's teeth pierce the sensitive skin at his thighs. His hands tighten on the sheets as his pleasure rolls out like a wave, crashing into Erik's mind and Erik sucks at the wound harder. Charles drowns in the sensation, finds it mirrored in Erik's mind and is sucked into the maelstrom that is Erik's hunger.

“Erik...”

Erik stops drinking and drags his tongue across the wound, making Charles whine in protest. Erik looks up at him. “What do you want, Charles? What do you need me to do?”

“I need...” For a moment he hates himself for this, for wanting this, but he can't stop himself, not now.

He nearly misses as Erik moves, only registering as his voice comes like a whispered breath against his ear. “I know you want more, you can't hide what your body needs. Now tell me. Do you want to fuck me? I've never let anyone else do that. Does that excite you Charles.” His hand wanders down Charles' body, touching his cock and Charles moves wantonly into the touch.

“Or would you like me to fuck you?”

Charles closes his eyes and simply presses the image of what he craves into Erik's mind. Erik makes a content sound, but still presses on, slowly stroking Charles, stoking up his arousal. “I want to hear it, Charles.” 'I need to hear you admit it.' Erik licks along Charles' neck, mimicry of their loving teasing encounters years ago, when Charles would laugh and then demand Erik to bite him, fuck him...

Charles grips Erik's shoulders, hard enough to leave bruises if he were human. The familiarity hurts more than the humiliation of still wanting this. “I want you inside of me. I want you to bite me while you fuck me!”

Erik suddenly kisses him, slow and tender. And he can feel it in Erik's mind too, a strange affectionate warmth. It leaves Charles dizzy and gasping for breath, tears stinging in his eyes, as Erik finally draws back.

Charles stares at the ceiling, trying not to think.

When Erik moves back onto the bed again he is naked, and Charles can't help but look. He hasn't changed, not physically his gaze wanders up to Erik's face and the way Erik is looking at him, slowly taking in Charles' own body sprawled out in front of him...

He could pretend this is a memory, as long as he keeps out of Erik's mind. But he can feel Erik's thoughts drawing him in, though they aren't touching yet and he can't keep them out. He hears Erik taking stock of the small changes in Charles' appearance. He's more defined, having gained more muscles from training. Erik's gaze lingers on his broad shoulders, before it slides down, noting a bit more body hair, but the same amount of freckles, and the arms, despite his work, for the most part sun-touched and warm. All of Charles, warm and eager welcoming...

Reluctantly, Charles reaches out his arms and Erik moves into them. He feels Erik’s own growing erection press against his body and spreads his legs wider, lifting up his hips, as he feels Erik's fingers, slick with lube, slip into the cleft at his arse and push probing against his hole.

Erik's head is pressed against his chest, listening to Charles' speeding up heartbeat as he slowly spreads him open with his fingers, sliding them in and out of Charles' body until his breath comes in hitched gasps.

Erik presses a kiss over Charles' heart, then withdraws his fingers from him. He spreads more lube from a bottle he dropped onto the bed onto his cock, before he pushes into Charles.

Charles gasps as he is slowly stretched around Erik's cock, feels the pleasure reverberate through Erik, yet it's not enough. He wants more and wraps his arms around Erik to pull him closer. Erik resists only for a moment, enraptured looking down at Charles, before he buries his face against Charles' neck. There is no pain this time, only pleasure, as Erik sinks his teeth into him.

Charles tightens his hold, and wraps his legs around Erik, and they rock together in a bizarre rhythm composed by the way Erik thrusts into him and sucks his blood. Erik no longer feels cool but warm. Charles slides his hands along Erik's back, possessively pulling him closer as he himself arches up as Erik's teeth pierce his neck afresh. He doesn't care about the marks he leaves, can only think about wanting to press his own cock against Erik's body, needing the friction.

But even there Erik complies. He pushes his hand between their bodies and wraps it around Charles' cock, squeezing and stroking him just as he needs it.

Charles' vision behind closed eyes blurs to sparks of colour, bright red, magenta an purple and everything is permeated by a metallic hum that prickles along his skin and through his bones.

He's loosing himself in their mingled lust and as orgasm hits he's moaning Erik’s name while he hears echoes of his own in Erik's mind.

Charles curled up in bed, face buried deeply in the pillow and closed his eyes, trying to bury the memory. But with the dull ache coming from Erik's bites on his body, he couldn't bury the truth.

The next time Charles woke, he was feeling nauseous. He didn't know if it was only remnants of a forgotten dream but he thought he was choking on blood. Awake, the metallic taste didn't disappear from the back of his throat and his stomach rebelled. He made it stumbling to the bathroom to empty his stomach of the earlier eaten food.

Cold and shaking he stayed on the floor in front of the toilet seat for a moment, before he pulled himself back to his feet. He just reached out to flush away the unsavoury mess when in the bright glare of the bathroom lights, something caught his eye. In the vomit now filling the toilet bowl were streaks of red blood.

With shaking fingers Charles flushed it all down.

His heart was racing and he was shivering. Should he call Logan? But what could he say? He had no idea what was happening to him. Perhaps there was a simple explanation. He staggered to the wash basin and looked himself in the mirror.

Perhaps Erik had bit the inside of his mouth or scratched him with his teeth while kissing, and Charles hadn't noticed swallowing his own blood. Though he couldn't find any sore spot in his mouth as he checked with his tongue. Perhaps he'd just imagined it – perhaps he was just loosing his mind. A harsh laugh escaped his throat. It seemed like the most likely explanation.

He rinsed his mouth and slowly walked back into his bedroom.

A cool draft blew across his face. Charles stopped, wondering why the window was open and was just about to walk over and close it when he noticed the dark silhouette standing on the windowsill, backlit by the orange city lights.

“Erik!” Charles gasped before he could even make out clearly who it was. But he knew. He simply knew.

“Hush Charles, all is well – actually, it's perfect.” Erik jumped from the windowsill, landing light-footed in Charles' bedroom.

Charles stood there frozen in shock, one thought running through his mind. 'I didn't invite him – how, he can't! I didn't invite him in!'

Chapter Text

Charles took the corner onto the stairs at a neck-breaking speed, barely managing to grip the railing to pivot himself around. His throat was burning from vomiting just minutes before and his harsh panicked breaths.

Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Erik come out of his bedroom, following him intently. He ignored Erik calling his name, though the sound flashed through his whole body. Instead he just flung himself forward down the stairs, adrenalin coursing through his body, making him reach the living room floor without falling. His gaze swept the dark room quickly, but he couldn't remember having any weapons lying around. But he recalled the stake still in the inside pocket of his jacket.

He couldn't hear Erik behind him, but didn't dare look and simply raced for the hall, hoping Logan had hung left his jacket there. Momentum carried him forward as he didn't dare slow down, simply letting his body hit the door to come to a stop. He whirled around, ignoring the dull ache in his shoulder, and made a grab for the jacket that was indeed there, only to have it pulled out of his hand by an invisible force.

Panic made his throat tight. He groped for the door handle, but the door was locked and the key wasn't in the lock.

Charles' fingers searched along the wall until they hit the light switch. He wanted to at least see the coming attack. Erik stood at the end of the hallway with Charles' leather jacket in his hand.

“Charles, don't be foolish. You can't run away.” Erik threw the jacket aside and walked towards Charles only to come to a sudden halt about two meters away from him. He shook his head, as if suddenly dizzy and took a step back.

Realisation hit Charles, and he started laughing, a breathless broken sound. Exhaustion finally caught up with him and he slid down onto the floor. Absently, he caressed the wooden floor Logan and he had varnished with buck-thorn oil not so long ago.

He pulled his legs up and put his arms around them, glad he was still wearing the sweatpants and shirt and didn't have to sit here on the floor in front of Erik naked. Even if Erik couldn't come closer.

There still was a vampire in his home, his throat was still burning and he felt dizzy, but his situation looked a little less dire in that moment. “You're right, I can't run away. But turns out I don't need to. I only need to wait for daylight.”

Erik looked irritated and tried to take a step forward again. He gritted his teeth and for a moment alarm rose in Charles, but then Erik jerked back, a shiver running through his body. “Charles, you don't have to be scared of me. I don't mean to harm you, on the contrary, I'm here to help you.”

Charles pressed his lips together. He couldn't claim he hadn't been scared, as Erik had stepped into his bedroom. Though it was not fear of Erik, but fear that everything he had thought was safe from Erik's influence was really not. “You kept your word, that's all the help I required from you.”

Charles itched to ask Erik why Emma hadn't been at the house, and how he could be here, but he didn't want to talk to Erik. As the adrenalin was slowly draining from his body, fatigue and the remnants of having thrown up made him feel light-headed.

“Charles, be reasonable. You need me.”

“No.” Charles lied as anger sparked in his chest. “And you know what would be fucking reasonable? If I would drive a stake under your ribs and right into your heart. So don't tell me to be reasonable!”

Erik frowned at Charles' shouting. “You don't mean that.”

Charles tilted his head forward, so his forehead rested on his arms, braced on his knees. Perhaps if he ignored Erik, he would simply leave. What was the time anyway, and when was sun up? That would solve the problem of Erik's presence – one way or another.

'Do you remember. You told me, I was no longer alone.'

Charles stiffened as Erik's thoughts suddenly brushed against his mind. Feverishly he pulled up his shields, but found them already up and securely in place. Nevertheless, Erik's thoughts kept coming, and he couldn't shut them out.

'The night you freed me, you told me: “You're no longer alone.” Do you remember, Charles?'

A chill ran through Charles as he feverishly checked for any cracks or holes in his shields, that would explain how he could hear Erik. He pressed his lips together to prevent the whimper that welled up in his throat from escaping. This was worse than Erik entering his home. Only slowly did he raise his head, trying to breath steadily through his nose and keep his panicked thoughts in check. 'What did you do? What did you do to me?' “Tell me!” The words came out a rough bellowed shout.

For a moment all Erik did was stare back, then he reached out a hand. “Come here and let me explain.”

“No!”

“You're cold. You need to get your strength back.”

“All good reasons to stay away from you, don't you think?”

Erik hesitated. “I am aware that I should have taken less blood from you, but as you will remember, both of us lost our restraint last night.”

Involuntarily, Charles bit his lips and closed his eyes, trying not to follow the memories Erik's words evoked in him.

“If I had wanted to harm you, I would have slipped into your bedroom while you were asleep. But I want to talk to you. I -” Deliberately, Erik took several steps backward. “Please, Charles.”

Charles blinked, surprised. He could stay sitting here and wait until Erik had to leave, and know nothing about how Erik had managed to get in here. Or if this meant he could get into any place now, or any place Charles went. But for sure Erik could come back here any night, and unless Charles was prepared to soak his whole home with buck-thorn oil... Yet even if Erik acted all patient now, that might change. Unbidden, Logan's words came back to him. What if Erik decided he'd had enough and brought someone along to 'convince' Charles to come and talk to him. An innocent human or maybe even Logan. What if Erik hurt them before Charles could stop him?

Could he really risk ignoring Erik?

“Will you leave?”

“Charles...”

“No, Erik, if I agree to talk to you, I want you to answer all my questions, and then I want you to leave.”

“All right, agreed.”

For a moment Charles closed his eyes. He should question why Erik was so willing to accept his conditions, but he was too exhausted.

Charles took a deep breath, that only marginally was calming. There were a million reasons why this was a bad idea. When he opened his eyes, Erik was still waiting, looking intently at him.

Moving slowly, Charles pushed himself up, and, steadying himself against the wall, got back to his feet. Erik was poised to reach out for him, even if he didn't come any closer. But Charles ignored him. His vision swam in front of his eyes, yet after a moment he felt steady enough to move forward. Goosebumps rose on the back of his neck as he stepped toward Erik.

“Let me help you.”

Stubbornly, Charles still didn't acknowledge Erik's offer. Erik looked at a loss as Charles didn't reach for him to steady himself, but rather pushed passed him, staggering slightly, and headed for the couch. It took Erik a moment, but then he stayed hovering close, ready to grab hold of Charles should he fall, though not touching. But he didn't need to make physical contact for Charles to be acutely aware of Erik's presence.

Charles gritted his teeth and was rather relieved when he could put his hand on the backrest of the couch and drop down on the soft cushions. Before he could settle himself properly, Erik had pulled one of the blankets on top of him.

“See Charles, I'm not here to harm you. You don't have to fear me, you don't have to fear this.”

“What 'this'? What do you mean?”

Startled Charles found Erik's fingers pressed against his lips. The touch was cool but to his surprise Charles felt himself relaxing.

“First, can I get you something?”

Charles meant to say no, but his throat was scratchy and his mouth parched. “Some orange juice maybe.”

Erik was in Charles' kitchen almost the moment he'd finished the sentence. He only took a short look around, before opening the fridge and coming back with a container of orange juice. Charles stared at it pointedly, then at Erik. “A glass would be nice.”

Erik didn't seem at all offended, but instead looked at Charles and the container for a moment, as if puzzling what Charles meant, then was off again to the kitchen to return with a glass.

The first time Erik took care of him after drinking his blood came to his mind... but he couldn't allow the memories to cloud his judgement. He knew what Erik was now – and he had to find out what had happened to him. He poured himself a glass then took some small sips, careful not to upset his stomach again.

Erik sat down right beside him, turned so he was facing him. One up-drawn knee was casually touching Charles' leg. Charles looked down at the knee. After several heartbeats he realised there was the urge to touch it, to touch Erik. Not like he had experienced it before, purely for pleasure, or because he was a sentimental fool whose judgement still was clouded by once sweet memories. It was more a strange, subconscious need.

“Charles...” Slowly Erik reached out his hand.

“Don't...” For a moment Charles panicked, his whole body tensing up. Erik's mind was already a constant hum in his head and all he needed to do was to focus a little to be able to read Erik's thoughts. He didn't want Erik to touch him and the connection growing stronger. There was a chance Erik's mind would overwhelm him and he would loose himself in it. And he didn't want to find out what that need in him did mean.

He only looked up after a few moments as Erik didn't protest. Erik sat there, unmoving, his hand still raised but not touching Charles. As realisation as to why hit Charles, a brittle laugh escaped his mouth. “So this has actually gotten easier.” Too easy.

Charles looked into Erik's eyes. Erik couldn't move, but he was fully aware and returned the gaze. Charles wondered if he could do this to other vampires now, too. If so, he could stop any that tried to attack. It would be so easy. All he had to do was to freeze them on the spot, then walk up to them and thrust the stake home.

Charles tugged the blanket closer around himself as Erik's gaze grew harder. Had he projected his thoughts? “You don't agree – of course you don't. It feels terrible, being helpless.”

Charles could stop Erik from moving at all, but the same wasn't true for his thoughts. 'You know exactly that I know how that feels. Locked up, with no means to escape - ' There was a flash of a memory. Grey streaked darkness, the constant hunger gnawing at his intestines and at his mind, the mere whispered 'please come back' echoing in the darkness and through his head. It left no place for any other sound in the desolation.

Charles reared back, the control he had of Erik slipping from his grasp. But Erik did nothing but kept looking at Charles. Only slowly, so Charles could actually draw back if he wanted to, Erik took hold of his hand.

The touch brought back memories, not of last night, but of a much longer ago. And then he realised that nothing else happened. Erik's presence in his mind didn't grow, didn't suffocate him, and the odd need for the touch was simply satisfied, leaving him - for the first time since Erik entered his home - calm.

Erik pulled Charles hand up to his face and pressed the wrist against his lips.

A deep shiver ran through Charles' body. Erik didn't do anything more, yet the touch seemed to pull them both closer together. Charles had the eerie impression as if his mind was rubbing up against Erik's, revelling in the touch. Or was this just the sweet pulsing he got from Erik's mind, synchronised with Charles' heartbeat?

Charles' fingers curled and he caressed Erik's face. A sigh went through Erik's whole body and Charles was keenly aware of how calm how – at peace Erik suddenly seemed to be.

It only added to the myriad questions burning in Charles' mind.

Erik frowned and tilted his head so his ear was pressed against Charles' wrist. “You still need time to recover from the blood loss.”

Charles' fingers touched Erik's hair.

He shouldn't, this wasn't right, he only allowed Erik so close because he needed answers. So he should start asking them, instead of getting distracted.

Charles licked his lips. “Why wasn't Emma at her house to stop us from taking Angel back?”

“I promised I would help, Charles, in exchange for what you've given me that night.”

Charles shuddered at the mentioning, but he tried to ignore that and pushed on. “Did you kill her?”

He could feel Erik's surprise so clearly it made him cringe. “Kill her? No. That would have been a terrible waste. She is rather reasonable and completely agreed that giving Angel back for now was the best course of action.”

“For now? You won't get her back! And why? Why abduct her at all to – hand her back afterwards? What have you planned?”

“There was no plan to let her leave. It all turned out to be a rather fortunate coincidence. You coming to me to ask for help in getting her back, willingly offering yourself. It was all falling perfectly into place.”

The cold Charles felt wasn't from Erik's touch. “What did you do?!” Alarm choked his voice into a rough whisper.

Erik smiled.

Charles surged forward, gripped Erik's shirt in his fists. “What did you do to me?” Charles yelled.

Erik put his hands on top of Charles, tugging gently, though Charles refused to let go. “Nothing, I did nothing. You did it all yourself. You're so powerful you managed to find a way into my mind and we shared it, we shared it all while I drank your blood. You must know it already, feel it, this link between us you created.”

Numbly, Charles stared at Erik. His fingers lost their grip but instead of letting them slip down Erik pulled them up to his mouth again and kissed them. He looked so hopeful, so excited.

“No...”

“Hush Charles, it's alright.”

“No, nonononono.” Charles drew back, and though Erik let go of his hands he caught him around the waist as Charles moved too far and nearly fell off the couch. Instead of getting away he got pulled closer. He ended up with his hands on Erik's shoulders, trying to keep some last semblance of distance to him. Though it seemed a ridiculous effort, if what Erik told him was true. That they were linked on a far deeper level – which made it possible for Erik to enter Charles' home. Was it connected to the taste of blood in Charles' mouth, that seemed all to real, even after he woke up and the horrible dreams – all of it?

“Is that – why I dream of drinking blood? Is that you?”

It wasn't just the expression on Erik's face that betrayed him, but also the curiosity and fascination blooming in his mind.

Startled, Charles stared at Erik. “You don't really know what is happening with this -” He stopped himself from saying 'bond', it sounds far too intimate, too final. “Link.”

“I know that I feel you even if you aren't close. It's like you are there, at the back of my mind. You should talk to Emma, she has heard stories about that sort of thing and she might be able to answer some of our questions.”

Charles shook his head. “And why would she help.”

“Because she agrees with me, we need you on our side.”

“Is that why she let Angel go? To lull me in, to try and convince me to help you?”

“Not to lull you in, but to show you that she can be reasonable. There is much at stake. Do you know how the number of vampires has dwindled in New York since your little organisation has started hunting us professionally?”

Charles gritted his teeth. “You kill people!”

“Vampires have existed for thousand of years, and yet humans still exist and grow in number.”

Charles twisted his arm free, and turned so he could face Erik, gripping the backrest of the couch to stop himself from falling. “You don't just simply kill them, you abduct them, you torture them while feeding from them. Remember, I've been in the minds of your victims!”

“You can change that. Help me shape a new world...”

“You're out of your mind!”

'I know it must be much to take in. But think about it. Think what this bond between us can mean. What we can achieve together, to ensure vampires can do more than survive, that mutants see this as a natural next step, if humans give their blood willingly...

“Stop!” Charles surged to his feet, and ignoring the dizziness that came with the sudden movement, staggered away. He needed some distance between himself and Erik, but some mere steps wasn't enough. “Get out!”

Erik had risen to his feet and started to come after Charles.

Charles held out his hand, fingers splayed. “Stop! Leave. You agreed to leave once we talked.” He could do more than simply tell Erik to leave, he could make him, just as easily. But the idea of touching Erik's mind, of what this might mean, a further deepening of their connection, suddenly scared him. He would only do so if he had to.

Erik did stop and took a step back. “Yes. I think we still have a lot to discuss, but I guess you need time to think about what I told you. I will leave through your bedroom window, since all your other exits are - ” Erik shook his head and for a moment Charles could get a glimpse of the revulsion Erik felt at the taint the oil left behind in the wood. Instead Erik slowly walked towards the staircase. Charles turned with him, to keep an eye on Erik as he walked past.

He lowered his hand, only then realising how the gesture he'd used did look so familiar to what Erik did when he used his powers. His mind reared back from the implications of his actions. He wished none of this had ever happened – that he'd never made all those mistakes...

Erik had just reached the top as Charles called out. “Erik!”

Erik stopped and turned. “Yes, Charles.”

The next words were hard for Charles to speak. “Raven – is she – is she here too?”

The distance between them was too big for Charles to make out any disappointment in Erik's face, but he was so sure it was there, that the only other explanation was that he felt it through whatever it was that now connected them.

“No. She stayed back in England, though she did talk about wanting to see you. She was wondering how you were. But she decided against it, after the last words you spoke to her.”

“What if I were a vampire, would you kill me? Would you kill your own sister.”

“Yes.”

Charles fought to stay steady on his feet. “Instead she sent you after me, with the intention to kill me.”

Erik smiled. “Actually, she told me she would come after me and put me back in the cell, if I dared hurt you.” With that he was suddenly gone.

Boneless, Charles sank down on his knees, staring at his hands.

Everything he'd been certain of, was suddenly less so.

Charles had waited until sunrise, curled up on the couch, before he made his way back up to his bedroom. It wasn't because he was worried that Erik hadn't kept his word and stayed lurking. He knew he was gone, felt it in his mind, a sudden emptiness being there were before he had felt Erik's mind vibrate against his.

Actually, what he feared was that, when he was in his bed in the dark alone, he would wish for Erik to come back.

Upstairs he found the window firmly closed, and crawled back into bed to sleep. The fingers of his right curled around his other wrist, as he tried to remember the pain of Erik's teeth piercing his flesh. Instead , as he finally drifted asleep, he felt himself pulled into the void in his head until he was sure to feel Erik's lips pressed against his skin as he fell asleep to bright sunshine coming in from outside.

“Hope I didn't wake you.”

Charles stopped halfway down the stairs, taking a moment to observe the scene before him. There were a pot and a pan out on the stove, a cutting board and knives on the kitchen counter as well as his kitchen scale. Logan stood amidst it all, filling a bowl with ingredients and mixing them. A smile tugged at Charles' lips. Only thing missing to complete the strange picture was Logan wearing an apron.

“No, you didn't. Since when are you here, and why didn't you wake me?” He descended the rest of the stairs and shuffled into the kitchen area.

“I checked up on you and figured you needed the sleep – and the food too, though it's not done yet.”

“Thank you, you didn't have to.” Charles was uncertain if he should tell Logan about vomiting last night. He was sure he wouldn't tell him about Erik. Not yet anyway. Not before he hadn't figured things out himself.

He stepped closer and took a look at the pot Logan had on the stove. It was soup, heavy with vegetables and smelled deliciously. He started to feel hungry and could see himself having a better chance at keeping the soup down. “Looks good.”

On an impulse Charles slid his arms around Logan and pressed his body against his back, burying his head between his shoulders and inhaling his scent.

Logan felt warm, alive and Charles' couldn't resist but splayed his fingers to fully touch the muscles on his belly, clearly defined under the dark shirt he wore, tempted to slide his fingers past the gaps left between the buttons. Logan stopped what he was doing and put a hand on top of Charles' arms, gently rubbing over them.

“Do you feel better?” Logan's question sounded innocent, maybe too innocent, or Charles was reading something into it, that had him worried. That Logan didn't mean not only his physical state.

“Mhm... right now I do.”

Carefully, Charles lowered his shields a little, trying to reach for Logan's surface thoughts. He held his breath as he carefully stretched his mind - then he could feel them. Thoughts about the recipe for the pancake stripes to go with the soup, that Charles was looking better – and smelling better, that Logan would like to abandon the food, grab Charles, put him on the counter and just kiss him until they both were dizzy, that he needed to make sure Charles ate something.

Charles heaved a sigh of relieve. He didn't delve further, but the light touch proved everything to be as it should be. He felt almost a little giddy with relieve and pressed himself closer. “I wouldn't mind a short version of that kiss you're thinking of, before eating. I did take a quick shower and even brushed my teeth!”

Logan turned around in Charles' arms. He looked at him, taking his time to study Charles' face, putting his hands on Charles' shoulders, squeezing them before he leant down.

Gingerly, their lips touched, as if both were a bit unsure as to how to proceed, but then Charles pressed his mouth closer, opening it to lick across Logan's lips. A soft groan from Logan was the answer and their kiss turned eager.

Charles moved his hand up to grasp Logan's neck, while Logan pulled him close. Logan kissed him with an intensity, as if he hadn't been too certain he would get the chance again, though finally meant to draw back. Charles caught Logan's bottom lip between his teeth, biting down just enough so Logan could feel it, gently pulling at it as he finally parted from him.

“Feels like you are a lot better again.” The effect of the kiss still resounded it his rough voice.

“Mhm.” Charles closed his eyes and put his forehead against Logan's chest. “Nevertheless I won't say 'no' to that lunch you made.”

Logan laughed. “You're the one distracting me. Why don't you sit down and I finish cooking so you can eat.”

Charles sighed, but finally let go of Logan. He settled on one of the high chairs at the kitchen counter and watched Logan cook.

When the soup was finally done, Charles was eating gingerly, despite feeling hungry after the first spoonful, but he was warily monitoring his stomach's reaction to the food. He did end up telling Logan about throwing up, though Logan seemed to chalk it up to too much food eaten too quickly, and Charles refrained from mentioning the blood. He didn't want to worry Logan any further.

“How's Angel?”

“Better. They gave her blood-transfusions to help with the blood loss. She is still at headquarters for quarantine of course, having been bitten...”

Charles didn't look up from his soup, but he could practically hear Logan deliberately directing his gaze away from the marks visible on Charles' neck and not commenting. Charles took his time, but then decided he couldn't evade the discussion, and he rather might have it while they both were distracted by food.

“I can't go back to headquarters, not until my own marks are healed. At least the visible ones.” He sounded matter of factly about it, though his mind was playing with an entirely different 'what if' - scenario. What if Erik came back, what if he planed on putting fresh marks there, once Charles was better. Though for the red blood cells to replenish themselves it would take some 12 weeks. In the past Erik had drunk from him a lot more often, but never the amount he had two nights ago.

“Moira wants to talk to you. I've told her you'll call her.”

Charles nodded. “Thank you.”

“I thought, maybe, you would like to talk to Angel too, more face to face like though.”

He should. To help Angel deal with what happened to her – and to put what it meant to be bitten by vampires into perspective again. Charles frowned down at his soup, trying to get a piece of carrot together with a pancake stripe on his spoon. Though maybe he wasn't the right person to help her after all. “Logan, how did getting her out go exactly? How many vampires were at the house and – how many did you all kill?”

Logan clearly looked surprised by Charles' sudden question. “Well, after I told Moira everything you told me, she agreed that our main goal was to get Angel out.”

“Were there any vampires guarding her?”

“No. She was locked up in a room, chained and muzzled, so she couldn't try and free herself. Kitty and I went in, cut her loose, then we made our escape. It went rather quick, thanks to you.” Logan reached across the counter to clasp Charles' free hand. “What is it Charles, what are you worried about?”

Charles hesitated. He looked at Logan's hand, then put down the spoon and brushed his fingers between Logan's knuckles. The skin was smooth there, no sign of the deadly weapons that lay underneath.

“Charles?”

This was Logan, he knew he could trust him! He probably was the only person he could truly trust – even if Erik didn't want Charles hurt, but everything else he wanted was so very different from what Charles' believed in.

“I – it seems like it went too easy.” Well Charles knew it had been. The vampires had let Angel go deliberately.

Logan huffed. “Not that easy, the vampires did fight back, but we had the advantage by knowing where we had to go. Once they realised we were there it was too late for them. Your information not only saved Angel's life but made sure no one else got hurt.” Logan turned his hand between Charles' touching the wrist of his exploring hand – touching the marks there.

Charles flinched back, while a shiver ran through his body. For a moment he thought he heard a soft hiss. Involuntarily he turned his head, expecting - but there was no one there. And anyway it was bright daylight. Then Logan withdrew his hand, and Charles wasn't certain at all, if he really had heard something. Logan looked questioning at him.

Charles pulled back his arms and crossed them in front of his chest.

“I've been thinking and the whole situation with the vampires in the club seems – off. There are too many of them, and they are – too organised. I should have tried finding all their minds but, couldn't really concentrate on that back there.”

Logan squeezed his own knuckles, tense, then suddenly asked. “Is your telepathy back to normal again?”

“My shields work fine and I scanned your surface thoughts when I came down, and that worked as well, so I'm doing better again, I guess.” Except for Erik, and Erik's mind, who he didn't seem able to shut out.

“If you like, you can test it out some more on me.”

“If you really don't mind...” Charles smiled. Perhaps touching Logan's mind, familiarising himself with a living, mutant mind again, would rid him of the traces Erik had left. Perhaps he could find a way to break the connection. There, that's what he should be focusing on.

“Actually, I was trying to flirt with you.” Logan replied gruffly.

Charles laughed, which caused Logan to smile, pleased.

“And there I thought we were already past the flirting stage and you were actually wooing me with your cooking.” Charles picked up the spoon again and finished his soup. “Which is really good, by the way.”

Logan smirked. “Who says I'm not doing both?”

 

Later they sat on the couch, Charles facing Logan who had his eyes closed and sat there completely relaxed. The trust made Charles' heart clench for a moment before he slipped into Logan's mind.

He didn't look too closely, simply tried to see if he could follow all of Logan's thoughts, and delve into memories. They spread out before him, like a field of lights and he knew all he had to do was to reach out to call them up for closer examination. A sigh of relieve escaped his lips.

'May I try and take control? I won't do anything drastic, simply command you to raise your arm.'

'Sure. Want me to try and resist you?' Not that I can, or want to. The stray thought was just as clear to Charles as what Logan thought at him deliberately.

'That's not necessary for me to see if I can do it without hurting you.

He pushed the command forward, gently. He expected having to put some more force behind it before it would work, but to his surprise it was already enough for Logan to jerk his arm up.

“Whoa - seems to work fine. I don't even notice you doing something.” Logan sounded amused as he threw him a sideways glance. “So whatever bug gave you trouble, you worked it out.”

“Mhm.” Charles eased back his control, and Logan dropped his arm again. He didn't feel like he could take any credit for it though. His best guess was that infiltrating a vampire's mind and figuring out how it worked had unbalanced his telepathy and it had simply taken time to settle back. A bit like when one was focusing ones eyes on something close-by and suddenly switched trying to observe something in the distance and ones vision would blur and refuse to focus for a few moments.

He was so lost in thoughts that he didn't notice Logan sit up and turn towards him. He regarded Charles intently.

'I want to kiss you again.'

Charles focused back on Logan with a smile. And then he suddenly felt a pull, the ghost of cold lips pressed against his, then searching out the fluttering pulse at his neck.

Charles jerked his mind away and raised his shields. Had he just imagined it, it couldn't be – Logan was still there, the hint of a question starting to form in his mind. Deliberately Charles reached out for him, put his hands on his warm shoulders and pulled himself up so he was straddling Logan's lap. Logan looked surprised, but his hands were quickly holding onto Charles' hips.

This was what he wanted. He studied Logan's face, the expression in his brown eyes, the warmth and anticipation.

“I guess you heard what I thought then.”

“I did.” Charles rejected that strange pull and ghostly touch and concentrated on Logan's warm body beneath him. He ran his hands down over Logan's arms, exploring the firm shape under his fingers.

A warm smile spread on Logan's face. “I can't read your thoughts, but do you want me to take my shirt off?”

Charles chuckled and touched his forehead against Logan's, looking him in the eyes. “Are you feeling hot already?”

“Oh, I'm sure you'll think of something to warm me up.”

Charles started unbuttoning Logan's shirt, as he reached the last button above the waistline of Logan's jeans, Charles' fingers slid past he fabric and the caressed Logan's stomach, feeling the muscles grow taut under his touch. “Now there should be another button around here, shouldn't there.” Charles hand slid under the waistband of Logan's jeans. Instead of an answer, Logan pulled Charles closer by the neck and kissed him. Charles' fingers teased along the elastic band of Logan's underpants. He wriggled his hand deeper, so it was trapped between Logan's jeans and growing erection. “Think I found it.”

“Depends on what you were looking for.”

“I think we should pull it out, it would be easier...”

Logan's breath caught in his throat.

Charles drew his hand back – and slowly pulled Logan's shirt out of his trousers, undoing the last buttons.

“You're a horrible tease!” But Logan's hands moved to his arse, squeezing it.

“Let's see if I can't change your opinion of me.” Charles pushed Logan's shirt aside and his hands went exploring over his body, He didn't have to peek into his mind to see where Logan enjoyed to be touched the most, it was obvious by the small sounds he made, the way he held his breath under Charles' touch or simply by how he squeezed and groped his arse enthusiastically.

Slowly Logan's hands slid to the hem of Charles t-shirt. “Do you mind if I take that off?”

At first Charles wanted to laugh that Logan actually asked, though the smile bled from his lips as he suddenly grew aware of why Logan might think he should ask. He drew back and took off the shirt himself, licking his lips as he searched Logan's face for a reaction, avoiding his mind. But Logan only pushed back the hair from Charles' face.

“I know you've seen them all already, but you don't mind the bites on my body?”

“Can't say that. It doesn't stop me from wanting to touch you. But I don't like seeing them on you, because it makes me think how much it cost you. And I admire you for that, Charles, that you did this for Angel.”

Charles gritted his teeth. “You know that it wasn't - just painful.”

“Yes, and I wonder how much worse that made it. If being – aroused by the bites and unable to control that reaction made it easier or actually harder. I don't think I would have agreed to it.” Logan's gaze flits down to the mark on Charles' chest and the idea of wanting to touch or kiss him there is very clear in his mind.

Charles couldn't erase the marks, but maybe he could change what he connected with them. “They are healing, so you don't have to be careful.”

“I'm not going to hurt you, Charles.”

“That's not how I meant it. I want you to touch me – everywhere. Without hesitation, just, I want to feel you with every inch of my body.”

Logan studied his face, then slid his hands up, slowly. The touch was warm, firm, yet gentle. Logan's hands caressed over his ribs, fingers splayed out and his thumbs brushed over Charles' nipples. He was keenly aware as they made contact with the tender healing flesh, sending sparks of lust coursing through his body. Next Logan's mouth was pressing hot against Charles' and he moaned into the kiss. He started to rock his hips against Logan, searching friction for his growing erection.

Everything was warm and arousing, leaving not much thought for anything apart from their bodies.

Charles unbuttoned Logan's trousers, then spread one hand over his stomach, enjoying the feel of how a gasp made Logan's muscles ripple as he pushed his other hand past the waistband and cupped Logan's firm arse.

“Where do you want this to go?” Logan asked between kissing and licking his mouth.

“Hmm...” Charles hands hardly kept still, caressing Logan's body. “I don't really feel up to fucking you – or getting fucked. I want to stay just like this, jerking us both off.”

The rumbling sound of Logan's laughter made Charles grin. “Whatever you're up to. Though I'd like to make one little change to that. I want you on my lap naked.”

“Yes!”

It took a bit of wriggling around, but Charles' sweatpants and underwear were easily discarded, and Charles finally had to get off Logan's lap so he could pull off his trousers. But Charles was watching eagerly, unable to keep his hands to himself. He was touching every bit of newly revealed inch of skin, eager to keep up the contact with Logan's warm body, not wanting to give himself an opening or distraction to get his thoughts pulled away again.

Logan was breathing heavily and finally dragged Charles back onto his bare lap, pulling him close so his belly was pressed against Logan's hardening cock. He kept his hands on Charles thighs and kissed him again, his fingers digging into muscles. It was pleasant, up to the moment Logan's thumb pressed against the healing bite wounds and Charles moaned, thrusting his hips forward, his hard cock jabbing against Logan's belly.

For a moment they were fumbling, trying to coordinate their hands as both reached out for their cocks without stopping their kissing. Finally Charles gave up with a frustrated sigh and let Logan take over, only adding his hand as Logan had them firmly in his grasp.

“Yes, Logan, just like that.” He showed Logan what felt good for him and chased after the tendrils of pleasure enveloping Logan's own mind.

He grabbed Logan's neck and pulled him in for another kiss as he came across a spark of doubt, amidst the lust and pleasure. 'Logan, I want you! No matter what I did at the club, I want you.' If he couldn't read Logan's thoughts so well again, Charles might have been the one doubting Logan, but Logan's desire for him seemed to burn even brighter, desire and – Charles realised – something a lot deeper.

But he didn't want to face complicated feelings right now, all he wanted was Logan's warmth and the pleasure he could give him. He wrapped his arms around Logan's shoulders, letting Logan keep up the steady strokes, pressing and rubbing their cocks together.

He let himself plunge into the sensation, Logan's hot, wet mouth moving against his, his hot breathing, the grunts and moans he made, hoping to drown out everything else.

Logan came with a shuddering breath, the wave of his orgasm hit Charles, but it wasn't enough to drag him over the edge. He whined frustrated and Logan made soothing sounds. “What do you need Charles?” Logan kept stroking him, coating Charles' cock in his come. Trembling Charles thrust into Logan's fist. “Just a bit, more, just – kiss my neck, please.”

“Charles?”

“Just do it!”

Logan complied, his lips ghosting against his skin, tenderly, but not enough. There was a flash of a memory of Erik, but Charles squeezed his eyes shut, reaching for Logan's mind, denying himself any other thought. “Don't – don't stop, more please. I want you to suck on my skin, leave a mark.”

“You're – you want this?”

“Yes, yes, yes!”

Logan's hot breath blew against Charles' neck and for a moment Charles tensed, but then Logan's mouth was wet against his skin while Logan's hand squeezed his cock and he moaned. Logan started sucking at his skin, right where Erik had left a mark. Charles cried out in pleasure, his fingers dug into Logan's shoulders, fingernails digging in deep enough to draw blood.

'Bite me, Logan, please.

' You can't want – I'm not a vampire!'

'I know, I only – I need this Logan, please.'

Instead of an answer Logan nuzzled his neck. A thousand thoughts seemed to swirl through his mind. His teeth grazed Charles' skin and for a frustrating moment Charles thought he wouldn’t do it, but then he bit down.

Charles felt dizzy, he whined, and suddenly jerked his hips as orgasm finally hit him. He clung to Logan, pressing himself against the warm body, not intending to let go.

Logan left in the late afternoon and Charles went to nap for a bit more, exhausted still from the sex they'd had. They hadn't talked about what happened, though there was a worried buzz of thoughts coming from Logan. He had insisted to put some antiseptic cream on Charles' neck, though he hadn’t bitten down hard enough to break his skin. His teeth would leave a bruise though.

Once night came, Charles started feeling restless. He reheated some of the leftover soup and ate it, glad his stomach showed no more signs of rebelling against the food. Then he went up to his bedroom again and looked out of the window into the darkening sky. He stared at the lights, searching out individual ones while his mind drifted off. Once he thought that he did taste blood again, but as soon as he tried to concentrate on it, the taste disappeared again and he wondered if it wasn't his imagination set on edge.

When he closed his eyes he grew more aware of the pull in his mind again, the same he had thought he could drown out by having sex with Logan. It appeared stronger now. He swayed on his feet, tempted to give in, to see where it would lead him, how deep that connection ran and what he could do with it or how he could undo it. Slowly he licked his lips, his gaze shifting to his own reflection in the window glass.

Finally he pushed himself away.

Charles opened the his wardrobe doors and he looked inside. He took out a pair of jeans and pulled them on. He choose a simple t-shirt to go with it, but then hesitated. Self-consciously, he touched his neck. The skin still felt tender where Erik had bit him, and then there was the fresh, sore mark Logan had left.

He put the t-shirt back and put on an asphalt-grey shirt, making sure the collar was up and covered a good deal of his neck. Then he added a loose green scarf.

He took a long look at himself in the mirror. He still didn't look like his old self, but maybe that was a good thing. He couldn't go back and change things he had done. He could only go forward – and that’s what he intended do. He was done sitting here waiting for things to happen, he would head out to the Hellfire club and face Erik. After all he couldn't risk him coming here again. What if Logan was here when he did show up next.

He left a note on the kitchen-counter, in case Logan decided to drop by before he was back, then grabbed his jacket. He made sure he had two stakes and a knife hidden in its inside pockets.

Then he opened the door and headed out into the night.

Chapter Text

Charles drove through the night, illuminated by yellow street lights. It never got dark, not truly. He'd spent his childhood in the countryside, away from street lamps and houses, and even there it never grew completely dark, even with clouds obscuring the moon and stars at night. There was always enough light to make out the shapes of the surroundings, vague as the might be.

True darkness could only be found underground – and it went hand in hand with a sort of madness that slowly ate away at the brain. He was familiar with it - from the minds of victims and that long night he had been with Erik down in the crypt searching for the vampire who had locked Erik up.

What Charles would have given then for the connection tying him to Erik now. To be able to see in the dark through Erik's eyes, and to link with his mind.

Charles' grip on the steering-wheel tightened. Now he wasn't sure what experience was more frightening.

He had to stop at a red light and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to relax his shoulders. The brightness from the lamps, car-lights and blinking signs penetrated his closed lids – but they didn't reach into his mind, which was -

Dark. The darkness is pressing in on Charles, it's there, no matter if he has his eyes closed or not. It's like he is breathing the dark. It's never changing, no matter how long they walk. They are turning corners again and again. Charles has long lost all sense of direction. Along with his sense of time. How long have they walked? How far? There is a limit to the extent of the crypt's tunnels, even with the vampires adding to the original structures to encompass the surrounding crypts and graves as well. Yet to Charles it seems endless. There are stairs they take, down and up and down again. Uneven steps, sometimes only two or three, then enough that surely they descend at least five meters – maybe ten. No wonder they hadn't managed to chase down all the vampires dwelling here the first time around.

Charles' hand brushes along the wall. He needs to reassure himself that there actually is something other than darkness surrounding them. His other hand, the one Erik keeps holding on to while he leads on, is sweaty. Erik doesn't seem to mind. At least he says nothing. But then Erik must be covered in worse already; blood, saliva and the dust from the vampires he killed.

Charles has stopped trying to calm his breathing and heartbeat. The vampires already know they are here and they know that they are coming for them. He senses their anger as they lay in wait and their rage when they approach.

It's a blur. Charles can't tell how many they killed already – how many Erik has killed. He can hardly do anything to help but search for where the vampires are lurking and give Erik directions. The stake in his free hand is useless and every time he whispers a warning to Erik in the dark his voice sounds loud – and he is sure the vampires can hear him too. But he can't see – can't fight – can't use his mind-tricks. If it weren't for Erik taking his hand after each kill, asking him where to head next he'd feel utterly useless. And still it's bitter-

He isn't even feeling better when his knife cuts through a tentacle that has wrapped around his ankle and pulls him away from the wall he is pressed up against. He manages to free himself, but it's Erik who destroys the invisible opponent.

Maybe this is what makes Charles so reckless in the end. They finally find Erik's captor in a well lit room, waiting for Erik like the Minotaur in the centre of the maze. Seeing the first slivers of light after the long time in darkness makes Charles' eyes water and leaves him dizzy. So he doesn't protest when Erik tells him to stay back, to hide in the shadows. Robbed of all his senses except hearing, he is left to wait – he can hear them talk, but it's too soft to make out actual words. But the sound of the other vampire's voice alone makes goosebumps rise all over Charles' body …

A car horn blared. Charles flinched and open his eyes again. The light had turned green. He wasn't sure if the angry whispers he heard were from the people in the cars behind him, as he took too long to start driving again, or the memories of a fight from long past.

The mere thought brought a surge of adrenalin. As he turned a sharp corner, the screeching tires left his heart racing and hot and cold ran in waves through his body. He forced himself to slow down and park the car at the next empty spot. He simply sat there, hands clenched tightly around the steering wheel.

Neither slow breaths nor trying to empty and calm his mind worked, as his thoughts relentlessly circled back to the memory of the confrontation, as fragmented and diffuse as it was. He'd heard Erik snarl, the creak of metal a static buzz as the air started to taste of electricity – and silence, broken only now and then by the sound of a body hitting the ground or a wall.

He had tried to reach Erik's mind, futile though it was. He even went for that other vampire's mind, trying to freeze him in place, but it's useless, he's useless. And as sudden silence falls Charles pushes away from the wall and, knife and stake in hand, he quickly slips into the room.

For a moment he stops confused, blinking at the suddenly bright electric lights on the wall – that hesitation might have cost him, but the vampire has his back to him, but Erik - Erik is pressed against the wall, an iron wrought gate pushed against him, keeping him immobilised. For a moment Charles doesn't understand. Why isn't Erik in control? Then he notices the iron trying to snake out and reach the vampire, but it is unable to reach him.

He is speaking but Charles can't make out the words he is whispering close to Erik's face. Erik's struggles get weaker, as his eyes grows vacant, as he's giving up...

Charles charges. He launches himself forward, trying to sink his weapons into the vampire's body.

The air is knocked out of him as he slams against a wall. Everything goes dark again. When he comes too, just moments later, Erik is standing in the room – alone – the stake Charles has dropped in his hand. Erik stands absolutely still. Fear tightens in Charles gut and he grits his teeth, struggling to get up and close to Erik.

Charles raked his fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes and pushed hard at the memories as if they were in someone else's head, but his own mind resisted vehemently. All of a sudden warmth pressed in on him like a large wave. His eyes flew open with a gasp.

The memory lost its edge, while his fingers tingled with warmth. His body shivered in relieve yet a deep uneasiness replaced the memory of fear at the pit of his stomach. He bit his lip, hard. “So you are there.”

He didn't expect an answer, and was sure he only imagined the gentle brush of lips against his neck, that suddenly turned into sharp pain burning pain where Logan had bit him. “Fuck!” Charles gasped, tugged at the scarf and yanked the car mirror his way so he could get a closer look. The bruise Logan had left was still there, though it looked more like a hickey than any of the teeth-marks Erik had left. The pain subsided and Charles tied his scarf back, scowling at himself in the mirror.

With sharp movements he started the car again and eased it back out into the traffic. The last traces of pain subsided. What lingered though, was the sensation of anticipation in the back of his mind.

Charles parked the car not far from the club. Erik would already know he was there, and if Logan were to come looking for some reason, he would check the club regardless of any evidence pointing in its direction. As he got out of the car the ground swayed and his knees threatened to buckle. With a firm grip on the door Charles kept himself upright and waited till the dizziness passed. “Good plan, Xavier, getting close to vampires after being sucked almost dry by one of them. Well at least I won't be all that tasty anymore.” The dry chuckle died down quickly.

Instead Charles made sure his weapons were well concealed yet easy accessible, while he hoped he wouldn't need to use them tonight. He was in no fit state to do this, neither mentally nor physically, but he couldn't back down. So he locked the car and strode over to the club entrance, displaying more confidence than he felt.

The two human bouncers gave Charles bored looks, as he headed straight for the door. Charles smiled and touched their minds. His steps faltered for a moment as he slid in far more easily than he'd expected. Their minds were clear and open to read – and tamper with. All he needed to do was tweak a memory just like so, to make it to them as if he were a regular.

They waved him through without a fuss and Charles stepped into the club.

Loud music drowned out everything, the heavy bass notes pulsed through his body while flashing lights cut through the dim atmosphere. The place looked a little less crowded than the nights before,but it was still early in the night.

Charles walked over to the bar, nudging people's minds to have them make way for him. There was no resistance, and he found himself touching mind after mind. Even of those that weren't in his way.

At the bar he suggested to a couple they had enough of standing around, talking and wanted to dance, then slid into the space they vacated. He ordered a beer, though he craved for something stronger, but he was unsteady enough on his feet as it were. Then he turned to observe the crowd.

Absently, he touched his neck, fingers sneaking under the scarf to rub over his marked. He threw a glance over his shoulder, but the two bartenders were currently occupied at the other end and there was no one there. Then why did it feel like someone was standing close to him, leaning in, breathing along his skin.

Erik.

Charles dropped his hand and tried to ignore the raised hairs at the back of his neck.

It was Erik's presence he sensed so close, and he was certain Erik was feeling him too. Charles looked around, sure Erik would show up any moment, but he didn't spot him. He turned this way and that, craned his neck even, to look over the crowd. Where was Erik?

Putting his back to the room and pulling his thoughts away from Erik, he turned to the bar and sipped his beer. This wasn't like they had intended to meet and his date was late. So he should stop behaving like it was. It was a good thing Erik didn't show up right away. He would only distract Charles from trying to find out something – sooner than later. It was enough to know Erik was here.

Charles licked his lips, then turned back to face the crowd again. Carefully, he lowered his shields and stretched out his mind. This time he only briefly acknowledged the human minds, looking for something different. He found them easily. Vampires mingled at the edge of the crowd, watching the humans – observing their 'food'.

Charles' hands clenched to fists. Their hunger was gnawing at his inside, their gaze set on their prey – humans, nothing but food to them. Charles swallowed down his anger, but concentrated on the rush of excitement that edged him on. This was clearer information than he'd ever gotten from vampires before, except recently from Erik.

Choosing one of the vampires at random, he tried to deepen the contact. Reading their surface thoughts wouldn't be enough, he needed to go deeper to be able to manipulate their thoughts. He bit his lip to suppress the resentful growl as he found himself facing the familiar haze of a vampire's mind. It – he - was no use if he couldn't control it. Charles hesitated, then reached into it and slid in. The mist solidified into slimy goo running through his mental fingers. Frustrated he tried to hold on to it, shape it, but this was just as useless.

Then he remembered, how Erik's mind had appeared like vibrating metal until he looked at it – right. He made himself stop and just linger, listening to the dripping of thoughts, running in slow patterns downwards, and up wards – and to change them all he had to do was gently reach in. The glistening strands changed under his mental hands, shaped by his will.

Charles' excited gasp was swallowed by the loud music.

He called the vampire over to him.

Goosebumps rose all over Charles' body, the fluttering feeling of adrenalin mingled with exhilaration.

He watched, as the vampire detached himself from the group and headed towards him. Charles reached out for another. The mind was different, but he could still hold on to the first vampire's mind steering it closer and gently call this one, too. It seemed to even get easier. A slow smile curved Charles' lips.

“I would stop that, if I were you.” The familiar voice of the vampire telepath, soft and yet sharp as diamonds, cut through his excitement. She wasn't speaking in his mind, but stood right next to him.

Charles' hand went for one of the weapons hidden underneath his jacket.

He let go of the two vampires, making sure they had noticed nothing and would simply circle back to where they had been standing, before turning towards her.

Strobe lights from the dance floor slid over her, painting her pale skin, hair and white clothes blue, green and pink, as if she was a blank canvas. Charles studied her for any hint of an attack. But she only gave him a distant smile and looked to where his hand, now clutching a stake, was hidden underneath his jacket.

“Since you decided to be reasonable, you won't need that.”

Perhaps he'd made a mistake. If she wanted to intimidate him, she would have taken his control of the vampires from him. So maybe she wasn't as strong as she wanted him to think. Daringly, Charles sent his mind slithering forward, only to hit a wall of sharp solid rock. He blinked. Suddenly the strobe lights hitting her skin reflected back, broken up in a myriad of little lights.

Charles stared at her skin. It had turned into something sharp and glittering like a diamond.

“Are you done yet?” Her tone was was a little sharper, betraying her annoyance.

Charles let go of the stake and lowered his arm. He shrugged his shoulders, trying to relax. “You can't blame me for trying.”

“Oh, I can – and I will, should you do anything else I don't like. But for now, I would prefer to handle this like civilized beings. My name is Emma Frost.”

“If 'being civilized' is indeed an option for you - ” It was hard to keep the scorn out of his voice. Harder still not to try and shove every vampire victim he had encountered, from those locked up like animals, to those slaughtered, into her mind. He couldn't do that – yet.

Clearly Frost disliked him even more for his undiplomatic answer, but instead of leaving, she just looked as if she had swallowed something unpleasant.

Why was she willing to bother talking to him? Charles recalled Erik's words. ”She is rather reasonable and completely agreed that giving Angel back for now was the best course of action.” What was her motive behind letting Angel leave?

Charles swallowed down his revulsion. “I'm Charles Xavier.”

“I know who you are.” The answer was as icy as to be expected, then she narrowed her eyes, and a calculating smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Erik talks a lot about you.”

The mention of Erik's name let a flush of heat race through his body. “What does he say?” The question slipped out.

The mask of control slid back onto her face, though there was some emotion still lurking in her eyes. The impression he got was one of worry, or fear even. Charles licked his lips.

“Isn't that fairly obvious to you. After all, you now can read his mind. He has all the reasons to hate you and still doesn't.” She smiled, lips tight. “If you are romantically inclined, you might want to say, that you stole his heart. ”

Her words were meant to fluster him and didn’t fail in that. Yet the warmth flooding through him must have released reserves of adrenaline, keeping him sharp and focused, allowing him to keep his expression neutral and a tight rein on his shields.

“If it were up to me, I wouldn't have taken the risk and made sure you died – and stayed dead. But, Erik tells me you are worth the risk.”

The warmth still curled around him, steadying him. “I have to thank you for being honest. Even if it means you are threatening me.”

“Shouldn't it cheer you up, that I consider you dangerous and a threat?” She slid onto the empty stool next to him, and Charles had to turn his back on the dance-floor and the other vampires, to keep facing her. She took her time to study him. “Erik is of the opinion that you are far too valuable for our cause.”

“Where is Erik?”

“Here. I'm sure he wants to see you as badly as you do him. But I thought it best if the two of us had a little chat on our own. You will have questions.”

Charles pressed his lips together for a moment. She might be able to appear as an impenetrable diamond, but she was worried about Charles' powers. So Frost had an inkling of what was happening to him He should ask his questions as long as she was willing to answer. But something about it worried him. What was her gain?

“Why would you be willing to give me answers, if you think me a threat? Just because Erik says so? He hasn't been here long, so why would you trust him?”

“I wouldn't exactly say I trust him. But I have gotten to know him and value him. Especially in these times, the right allies can tip the scale between extinction and survival.”

Was she only talking about Erik or really thought Charles could, and would - be willing to forget all the vampires had ever done, and help her?

“But you shouldn't worry about my motives. What is more important, is that bond of yours that you created with Erik.”

“I didn't...” The protest died on his lips. “What do you know about it?!”

“Let's take this discussion somewhere more quiet.”

“Lead on then.”

One moment Emma Frost's skin reflected the club's dancing lights, the next she looked solid flesh again. It happened so quickly and subtly, Charles nearly missed the change. To Charles relive she didn't head downstairs but instead they went up the metal stairs, leading to the gallery surrounding the dance-floor.

She opened a door of one of the VIP rooms Angel had described and Charles followed in. As the door fell shut behind him, the music turned into a dull throbbing, hardly noticeable. The sudden quiet was startling. Not wanting to alienate Frost, Charles reached out only for the human minds and found the soundproofing didn't extend to his telepathy. He could feel the writhing mass of people below, as well as see them. For the walls were made of glass, and though one hadn't been able to look inside, it didn't hamper the reverse view.

So one could relax on the large cushioned bench running around most of the wall and drink and party and still be amidst the crowd – or kill humans, right in their midst, without them seeing or hearing a thing. He wondered with which thrill in mind those rooms had been built.

Something must have shown on his face. “The club came with these as I bought it. A way for rich people to feel amidst and yet aloof from the crowd of commoners when partying.”

“And now you use them to eat in here,” he said tight-lipped.

“No. As you have seen for yourself, we are more discreet about that. Especially since those who hunt us have become more organised and persistent in their sniffing around. ”

Frost sat down, crossing her long legs and waited for Charles to do the same.

“Apologies, if we make your killing innocent people harder for you.” He took a seat opposite her, not at the very end of the bench so it would look like he wanted to jump up any moment, but far enough away from the round table in front of the couch, so he was free to move if he needed to.

“I'm starting to think Erik might be wrong, when he tells me that you have an open mind and will come to see the bigger picture.”

“Really, Erik thinks that?” After all Charles had done? Yet he hadn't done taken the final step and killed Erik. Had that made Erik believe in the end he could still be swayed? “What if I don't come to see 'the bigger picture'?”

“Then that could mean the end for all mutants.”

“Is that a threat?”

“No, a mere observation.” She steepled her fingers in front of her. “The world is becoming more dangerous for us. Survival has become a struggle. In the past it was mostly individual humans hunting us, now – well – who knows better of how organised the hunt for vampires has become than yourself. And I worry, that this is only the beginning. How long until science has us on an examination table, cutting us open to find a way not to exterminate us one by one but to extinct us once and for all? So far our bodies turning into dust has prevented our corpses to be examined and studied. And only fear has kept them from cutting one of us open while still alive. But for how long still? How long until humans figure out that to truly wipe out vampires, they only have to wipe out mutants?”

Charles shook his head. “That would be crazy. And it wouldn't prevent mutants from being born.”

“I guess they would find a way to test babies, and get rid of those who, after all, have the potential to be turned into vampires. What would prevent humans to eliminate what they consider a threat, at the very root?”

“Most of the world is still unaware that you even exist.”

“But you know how quickly information – and misinformation – spreads these days. I'm not saying it will happen today, or tomorrow, it simply seems something unavoidable in the future.”

Charles tried to not give Frost's words too much thought. The intention behind them was probably to throw him off balance. Maybe she wanted him to pursue the discussion and distract him from asking what he really wanted to know.

“So tell me more about that – link that has formed between me and Erik.”

“Ah, coming right to the point. Well then.” She put her hands in her lap. “First, the link hasn't just formed. It was you who created it – unintentional maybe, but nevertheless, it's your doing.”

Charles swallowed. It was something he didn't want to believe, because it made him wonder, if subconsciously he had wanted this.

“So do you have such a bond too? Since you are a telepath.”

“Oh no. That's not how it works.”

“Well, tell me how it works then.” Charles spoke slowly, trying not to snap at her.

“The link can only be created between a telepath – one that is alive - and a vampire. Perhaps I should have started with this. I have never met anyone who did this, but I always had a particular interest in the stories revolving around such bonds. I've pieced together what scarce information I could find over the centuries. There have been exaggerations in the stories here and there, but there were some things they all had in common.”

Charles leant forward slightly.

“As you have experienced yourself, vampire minds aren't easy to read. You are not the first telepath though, who tried to gain control of a vampire. Usually such an 'experiment' on the telepath's part would lead to the telepath being turned. Unless he could convince the vampire otherwise.”

So Charles hadn't been the only telepath crazy enough to let a vampire get too close. For a brief moment Charles wondered if Frost had actually tried creating a bond with a vampire and ended up getting turned instead. But he wasn't here to discuss her life from before. “How did they do that.”

Frost shrugged. “That's something I always wondered too, since it's never mentioned. I always assumed it was for a promise of more power, that the telepath and the vampire struck a deal, but if we take your example, seducing a vampire obviously works as well.”

Charles clenched his hands to fists, fighting down the urge to protest. A warm sensation ran through the muscles of his neck, helping him to relax. “So do your stories at least tell how the link is created?”

“There are different recollections on how long it does take, but they have in common that the vampire has to feed from the telepath regularly and during such a feeding the telepath has to give himself completely to the vampire so he is allowed access to his mind. A lot of the descriptions I've read were rather mystical or poetic at this point and I fear they were more second hand retellings than from someone actually experiencing it.”

Charles frowned. Erik had taken his blood often enough with Charles permission and it had been then that Charles would have been the most – willing, the most excited, about being able to read Erik's mind. Why hadn't it happened then but – now?

“Your own experience was different?”

“The first time I was able to control Erik, if only for a moment, was when he faced me for the first time after – after coming here.” Charles observed Frost's face, weighing how much he was willing to tell her. She sure wouldn't have any scruples to use the information for her gain. Yet she seemed to be the only one able to understand and explain what had happened – also because she was a telepath. “He's been drinking my blood before, but that's been some time in the past - not when it first happened.”

“Hm, so maybe something else is the real trigger. An emotional charged encounter perhaps. Though you said you didn't gain full control of Erik's mind then.”

Charles replayed what had happened, in his memories. His hand grabbed the cushioned seat as his vision blurred, the first encounter here with Erik in New York clear and seen in an odd double sight. As if his memories were overlaid with someone else's point of view. The painful admission, the warm touch of Charles' hand on Erik's face -

His surroundings came back into focus. Frost was watching him with interest, as Charles sucked in long breaths, trying to regain his composure. He checked his mental shields, before looking her in the eyes. “I think your guess might be right.”

“Hm.” The smile on Frost's lips was disconcerting.

“What happened then, apart from the telepath being able to read the minds of vampires?”

“Here some of the stories speak of them becoming some sort of monstrous entity. Though I think what that truly means is that the telepath gained the power to rule humans and vampires, day and night. Mostly it sounded to me, as if the telepath used the vampire as a puppet to gain power. It's unclear but some texts read as if the telepath could actually channel the vampire's powers. Though maybe it only meant the telepath had gained full control over the vampire and used him and his powers.” She studied Charles' face.

Charles wasn't sure what it was she was seeing. “I have no intention of – ruling – anyone.” Nor did he want to control Erik like that. Though if he could stop him from killing... A cold shiver ran down his spine. Oh, he could see temptation lurking right there. And perhaps that was the real danger. Maybe not all telepaths in the past had wanted to conquer and rule, perhaps they wanted to solely protect others from the vampires, yet they lost perspective, overwhelmed by the possibilities.

What if the vampire's mind had corrupted the telepath?

“You seem to be an exception then? You know, most telepaths aren't exactly nice. We have too much insight into what people really think. Wouldn't you agree?”

Charles refused to take the bait. “So, you told me, there are barely any records of such links. What happened. It doesn't seem as if, despite their power, they made much impact in history.”

A chuckle was the answer. “Oh, Erik hasn't told you yet?”

“Told me what?” He couldn't keep the mixture of impatience and dread resounding in his voice.

“Hm...” Frost rose to her feet. “Usually such a pair was killed – usually by other vampires, since the telepath had become a threat. And their strength had also become their weakness, so killing one of them, killed them both.”

Charles clasped his hands together, trying to see behind Frost's words without looking into her head. The warmth he'd felt pooling inside him, giving him strength, that he'd noted down as an adrenalin rush and yet might have a more outside source, had a hard time keeping the cold dread pooling at the pit of his stomach in check. “Is this a threat?”

“Erik assures me it won't be necessary to threaten you. That you won't betray us.”

So Erik really believed he would simply – what – switch sides? “What if I'm not playing along as you want me to?”

“Vampires still exist, don't they. But currently you’re the only telepath bonded to a vampire, though there were others before you. Think about that before you make a decision.” She stood up and walked to the door. Just as she opened it, she turned back around. “And no, this is not a threat but a simple observation. I'm under no illusion what killing Erik and you would cost us, but don't think I'm not going to stop you, if need be.”

Frost closed the door behind her, leaving Charles to digest the conversation. So there was no way to break the bond?

His fingers curled into his shirt covering his chest. He couldn't shut Erik out?

Charles dragged his hands through his hair, then rubbed his palms across his face.

He needed to analyse this calmly, then he would become aware of his options, surely – surely there were other options than what Frost offered. Something he could do instead of play along or die.

Charles started to shake. There had to be a way! He strengthened his mental shields, tried to shut himself in, but the more he walled off the outside he became aware of the on thing he couldn't shut away. It was as if the link with Erik became even clearer, burning inside of him, dark and tempting.

Charles dropped his shields. He opened himself up to his surroundings, trying to drown out Erik's presence in the intoxicating swirl of high spirits, lust and intoxication of the humans in the club. Their minds were pulsing along with the music, dragging Charles with them, offering to loose himself in them. Slowly Charles rose to his feet. Lips parted, he swayed slightly, his head sinking back as he let himself be swept along.

Something brushed against his mind then, slow and sleek, circling the dancing mass, aware of their heartbeat, pumping blood, rushing adrenalin, their mix the sweetest cocktail. It all was close, teasingly so, while the hunger gnawed inside, the promise to sate it for a little while was at hand – life, so sweet, so fleeting, like a fluttering pulse

It danced across his skin, lingered on the tongue, a seductive lure, making the hunger rise, clawing from the inside, blinding, sweet, absolute.

Charles' fingers curled around it, holding it back, but unable to quench it. There was more of that hunger, but he laced his fingers into it and pulled, keeping it away from the rush it so craved.

His skin prickled, touched by cutting cold as something aching and hot uncoiled inside him.

Let go!

But he didn't want to, chasing that strange sensation, tightening his grip on the minds around him.

Suddenly music, voices and laughter crashed into the room. Before Charles' eyes focused on the intruder his mind eagerly latched onto him, letting the others go. He took a step forward.

A shudder ran through Charles' body. Everything narrowed down to the grey eyes, focused on him. He barely registered Frost, standing behind Erik in the doorway, looking tight lipped and none to pleased.

You better bring him under control.

It took Charles a moment to realise the words weren't meant for him, but he was merely eavesdropping in Erik's mind. He wanted to laugh, but then Erik was coming closer and his breath hitched.

His focus was drawn to the sussuration of vibrating metal, sweeter than the purring of a cat. Charles wanted to reach out, pull it close and caress it.

The door fell shut behind Erik and with it a wall seemed to go up, dampening out the minds beyond the room. Frost's doing. The thought was like a bucket of ice water. Charles stepped back and sat down heavily.

“Charles...”

“Stay - “ The sentence was left unfinished. He didn't need to tell Erik to stay back, he could simply make him. He could alter his memories, control him, control his mutation.

Instead he let Erik come closer. “I won't leave you. I've always wanted you by my side. For you to see things the way I do.” Erik sank down on his knees in front of him. “I think now you will understand, now that you can see my mind.”

Charles gripped Erik's shirt front. “Stop.” He didn't want to understand. Erik was a vampire, a monster.

Erik put his hands on Charles' thighs. The contact sent a jolt through Charles' mind. He could taste Erik's iron will to survive, mingled with fear, determination, the cool touch of lips against his. His mouth parted, Erik's tongue met his, warm and wet. Charles moaned, or was it Erik?

As they finally parted, Erik had crawled up onto Charles' lap and Charles had his arms wrapped around Erik's body.

“We can do this together, you by my side. Your powers and mine, it's meant to be. You don't have to be afraid of me. Don't leave me behind, not again.”

Charles drew on the link between them and pressed his mind up against Erik's. He grabbed Erik by the back of his neck and pulled him down for another kiss and they both moaned at the taste of blood as Erik's teeth tore Charles' flesh.


Charles can hardly believe it's still dark outside when finally gets home and closes the door behind himself. But it is still the same night, with some hours left before dawn. Being down in the tunnels of the crypt had felt like forever. Then there was the trip to the hospital – not for his own injuries. Those hurt, but they were nothing more than bruises.

They others weren't that lucky. Christina was badly hurt. Charles had to make sure she didn't loose control of her mutation despite the pain. And once at the hospital, he had to manipulate the minds of the doctors and nurses, so they wouldn't wonder too much about her injuries, or the way the tips of her fingers would glow red and leave scorch-marks. Only after she had been sedated could he leave while the other vampire hunters would take turns in staying close. Just in case.

And Edmund – he no longer needed a hospital. He had lain on the ground like a broken rag-doll, his body twisted unnaturally, when Charles made his way back to the main crypt where the others had fought. They had left him down there. Where else to hide a dead body than in a graveyard.

He died protecting the unaware humans from death lurking among them. And no one would know.

No one but them, who would one day find the same end...

Charles shivers.

He makes his way to the bedroom and starts stripping out of his clothes, trying to think of nothing but his bed and sleep.

But every time he blinks it is as if the darkness tries to reach out to him. He wonders if things could have gone differently down there. If Erik knew more about the trap and if only he'd shared more information... But Erik nearly got killed himself.

Suddenly the doorbell rings. He doesn't want to answer but – it can only mean something went wrong at the hospital.

Charles grabs a pair of jeans and pulls them on. The doorbell sounds again. Irritated, he curses and heads for the door before he can grab a shirt.

He is greeted by a gust of cold air, that makes him shiver - and Erik.

They parted ways in the crypt and Charles had simply assumed Erik would head back to wherever he is staying during the day. But he looks as if he just crawled out from the ground, clothes still dirty and torn.

Of course Erik hasn't told him much about where he is staying during the day, but Charles simply assumed, that he's got a place where he can clean himself up, keeps a change of clothes – somewhere where he 'lives'.

Erik stares at him, unblinking yet his gaze slowly travels up and down Charles' naked chest.

“Erik, I didn't expect...”

“I didn't want to stay alone.”

Charles fall silent. He licks his lips and steps back to make room for Erik to enter. “Well, come in then.”

Erik does, briefly stopping as he draws level with Charles, giving him another up and down look, taking in every freckled detail of his naked skin. “You're cold.”

The simple observation sends Charles' pulse racing. “I meant to take a hot shower when you rang. And - “ He just points at the door and moves to close it, taking a moment with his back to Erik to collect himself.

“I couldn't have done it without you.”

Charles turns and finds Erik standing right in front of him. He should be startled, scared – but he feels neither. Instead he grabs the front of Erik's shirt and pulls him close to kiss him. It's as if Erik had been waiting for this. Suddenly his hands slide over Charles' naked body, pulling him against him.

Charles fingers blindly tug at Erik's shirt, wanting to pull it off without having to pause in their kiss. Finally he grunts in frustration and draws back, leaving Erik to look bewildered. It makes Charles smile and hesitate for a moment, before he does pull the shirt over Erik's head and drops it to the ground. He wants to run his hands across Erik's naked skin and feel him come alive under his touch, feel his body warm slowly when Erik drinks from him, the flush of life spreading under his skin, if just for a fleeting moment.

A sliver of protest tries to insert itself in his mind. That this is something he shouldn't want. He should reconsider. But then Erik leans close, pressing his face against Charles' cheek before moving down and inhaling his scent. Charles' knees feel weak and arousal overshadows any doubt and last remnants of feeling tired.

“Let's take that shower together. And then – my bed.”

They lie in bed, legs still entangled, Charles' body is covered by a sheen of sweat while Erik – well maybe it's simply Charles' imagination, but his body feels slightly warmer. His lips are stained red with Charles' blood and his features softly illuminated by yellow glow of the bedside lamp look blissful. Charles gets a soft content buzz from his mind before he withdraws with a sliver of regret. What else could he share with Erik if only … But he pushes that thought aside and rolls around so he can put his arm around Erik.

Erik is quick to snake his arm under Charles and pulls him close. Charles sighs and closes his eyes He would love nothing better than to fall asleep like this. Well maybe with the duvet spread over both of them – after another quick shower.

But even with Erik's ability to fly, he would still need to leave soon so he wouldn't be caught out in daylight, unless – Charles pushes himself up on his ellbows so he could look down at Erik's face. Erik shifted his hold on Charles, wanting to pull him down on top of himself, but as Charles' resists, he opens his eyes.

Nervously Charles licks his lips. “Erik, it'll be morning soon, so if you need to go back to where you rest during the day, you should do so now – “

Erik closes his eyes with a sigh.

“Or you could stay.”

Startled, Erik stares at Charles. “What, did you -”

Charles is sure his own heart is beating hard enough for both of them. “Do you want to spend the day here? With me.”

“Do you have a cellar...”

“No, what kind of a host would I be to expect you to hide in the cellar for the day. I mean, in here.”

Erik's gaze is drawn towards the windows. “Charles, you know I can't.”

Charles pulls himself out of Erik's arms and is out of bed and by the window before Erik can protest further. He pushes aside the heavy curtains and starts pulling on the rope for the blinds beside it. “I can't sleep when it's light outside, but since I'm up so late because of what I do, I had these installed in here.”

The blinds snap close loudly, closing seamlessly. Erik sits up in bed and watches Charles, finally tearing his gaze away to give the window his full attention. Charles lets Erik look and steps over to secure the second window likewise.

“And if you're worried about the corridor, no direct light falls from there into the bedroom. So even if I were to fully open the door, you're safe in here. You can trust me.” Charles turns around and nearly jumps back as he finds Erik standing only inches from him. But Erik is quick to pull him close against his naked body and Charles laughs, his heart still racing.

“I do trust you, Charles.” Erik presses his body close and inhales. Charles finds himself pushed back against the wall, then suddenly Erik bends down and presses his mouth against Charles chest, right over his heart. It sends Charles' pulse racing. He combs his fingers through Erik's hair looking down fondly at him.

“I thought we could take a shower before we catch some rest.”

“mhm... but not now, not when your blood is racing and you are wide awake.” Erik sinks down onto his knees. The sight makes Charles gasp as Erik holds on to his hips and looks up at him, his face only inches from Charles' cock.“Before we take that shower, let me make a mess of you first.”

Charles answer is swallowed by the moan escaping his mouth.

 

Inside the bedroom it's dark as Charles wakes. He fumbles for the bedside lamp and turns it on. Erik is still beside him, but something about him is different. Charles sits up and looks down at him. He is absolutely still and for an uncomfortable moment he reminds Charles of a dead body – which he is, in a way. Then suddenly Erik's eyes open, right the moment a sound comes from downstairs.

“Someone is in your house.” Erik's word's are a mere whisper.

Charles feels wide awake all of a sudden and almost without thought reaches with his mind to check who it is. With a relieved moan he buries his face in his pillow as he brushes against the familiar mind downstairs. “It's Raven. It's my sister.” Then suddenly he sits up.

It's his sister downstairs and Erik in his bed and if she comes looking for Charles and walks in here...

Charles presses a quick kiss to the corner of Erik's mouth. “Stay here.” he says, as if Erik had an option to leave. He slides out of the bed and hurries over to the wardrobe to put on some clothes. He just grabs a t-shirt when he feels Raven's mind coming up the stairs, determined to wake her sleepy-head of a brother.

For a moment, Charles stands there, frozen. He could take over her mind and send her back down. But she forbade him, strictly forbade him, to do anything of that sort – ever. He races for the door. He could lock them in – and make Raven even more curious about what – or who – he is hiding inside. Instead he quickly slips out, closing the door firmly behind himself, just as Raven reaches the top of the stairs and spots him from the other end of the corridor.

Embarrassed, Charles holds the bunched up t-shirt in front of his genitals. “Ah, Raven, how good of you to drop by. It got late last night. Totally forgot you wanted to come over today.” Actually he wasn't even sure if it wasn't just a surprise visit by her but he wanted to be on the safe side.

Raven looks taken aback, by Charles' rambling or his appearance, Charles isn't too sure. But she is quick and looks from Charles state of undress towards the door he so quickly excited. She smirks and changes from her blue form to the pale skinned blonde appearance she wears for strangers to see. “Oh you know me, just thought I check on my brother who is so busy he can't make time for his little sister. So I have to see for myself how and who he's doing.”

She speaks loud enough so her voice will carry even through closed doors. Not that it's necessary with Erik – which she doesn't know anything about.

“Then let's go down to the kitchen and have some tea and talk.” He tries to usher her back down the stairs, but Raven is determined, standing her ground.

“Just the two of us?” She asks innocently.

Charles grits his teeth. He could deny the presence of anyone else in the house, but Raven is only waiting to call him out on it.

“What's that on your neck? A hickey?” She comes closer, focusing on the bite-mark on Charles' neck. Quickly, Charles tries to covers his neck with his hands – and the t-shirt he's still holding.

“Charles!” She screws up her face, but then something seems to catch her eye and she actually looks down to his chest, and further down, squinting at his thighs. “What the hell, those are not – they look like bites! Charles, that...that...” She then grabs the t-shirt he holds to his neck and pulls.

Charles gives up. He can't see a way out of that, without messing with her mind, so he lets his hands sink again and tries to tuck the t-shirt around his hips like he would a towel, as if that could give him some control or dignity back.

Raven stares at him, mouth agape. “Don't tell me you – you LET a vampire do this?”

“Raven, this is none of your business. And it's not they way it might seem.”

“- not what it seems? You want to tell me – I mean that thing on your neck I could believe that happened while you were fighting but, that bite down there. Fuck! I can't believe it! My brother the vampire hunter... fucking a vampire?”

“Raven! Please, not so loud, we can discuss that downstairs.”

“Wait, you aren't telling me – of course. Oh my god, Charles, he is here right now?! In your bedroom! There really is a vampire in your bedroom?! A vampire you – had – urgh – slept with?!” He can see her struggle with wanting more information and not wanting to know anything that has to do with sex and her brother.

Charles takes a deep breath. There is nothing for it now. “Yes he is. And his name is Erik. And I will explain – downstairs – in the kitchen.”

Her eyes are still wide as saucers. “I hope that explanation will be good!” The shock is still clearly visible on her face, though slowly the fear is replaced by curiosity. “He won't join us, will he?”

“It's bright day, so he'll stay in my bedroom for now.”

“Okay...” She shakes her head, but finally, slowly, starts to head back downstairs. With a sigh of relieve Charles makes to follow her, as she suddenly turns and looks very pointedly at him.

“He didn't harm me, he did nothing I didn't consent to so stop looking – that. And I won't let you talk to him. Not – right now. So can we please talk first.”

“Yes, okay, but Charles, before we talk - “

“What?!”

“Put some clothes on!”

Chapter Text

Charles stumbled out into the first daylight. Cold air greeted him. For a moment he fumbled with the zip of his jacket and tugged the collar close. The scarf he'd worn was no longer around his neck.
Erik had pulled it off, to better... Charles cut off the thought. Anyway, he must have missed it when he got his clothes back on. But he didn't want to go back again, so instead he continued to head for where he had parked the car.

With clammy fingers he fumbled for the keys. Finally he managed to grip them firmly enough to get the car-door open and slid in. The inside of the car wasn't any warmer than the outside, so Charles cowered in the seat shivering uncontrollably. Erik hadn't taken as much blood as last time, yet Charles still suffered its effects, not having fully recovered from the first – feeding.

Another violent shiver shook his body and made his teeth chatter.

Yet it didn't have to be this way. The connection he shared with Erik was quivering in anticipation.

“Charles, take what you need.”

Charles recoiled. “Stay out!” He spat out the words.

He stared at the steering wheel in front of him, tugging his hands under his armpits in an attempt to warm them. Yet there wasn't any warmth left inside of him, except...

All he needed to do was reach for the link and draw a little bit from Erik's energy. Erik had taken blood from him, it was only fair...

But what else was he letting in, what was he agreeing to? Charles squeezed his eyes shut. Down in the club, Erik had caught him in a weak moment. He had been still shocked and confused about Frost's revelations and his new found ability to control the other vampires. But now he needed to think. He couldn't let himself be distracted, if only he were less exhausted, feeling less stretched out.

Charles, I want to help you. Let me help you, please.

It was as easy as taking a deep breath. Erik was there, through the bond, and his energy was flowing into Charles. A moan of relieve crossed Charles' lips and warmth flooded his body. Only now did he realise how exhausted he'd still been these past days. As fresh energy filled him until even the last remnants of fatigue were chased away.

He relaxed, and grew more aware of Erik – and the other vampires down in the bowels of the club. Neither the walls and floors of concrete, nor closed doors made of steel between Charles and them mattered. He could pick them out as effortlessly as if he had been able to see them. He moved in, as close as he dared without disturbing them, and was amazed at how easily he could sweep the hazy mist aside to get a glimpse at the different patterns and structures of each mind. He licked his lips. Their hunger was dormant as were they, for now. But it was lurking right there under the surface, A powerful need, like a beast inside a cage, clawing to be set free, promising strength, pleasure, power, a red sea...

Charles was so close to touch it. If he could, maybe he could also dampen it - or control it...

He grew aware of being observed. Pale eyes, studying him coolly, ready to intervene. He drew back, ignoring the twinge of regret.

Charles opened his eyes, the excitement he'd felt was suddenly draining from him. What had he been about to do? The vampire's hunger, he'd thought he could control it, but it had threatened to overwhelm him, just like before.

The link with Erik. If he focused on it – but Erik felt the same hunger. He needed something else to anchor himself. He started the car, a clear destination in mind.

The garage at NIB's headquarters was quiet as Charles parked the car. So he gave himself a minute to check his appearance in the rear-view mirror. He looked better than he had a few days ago. There were still shadows under his eyes and his skin was a little paler, making his eyes stand out more. Or maybe that was because his pupils looked rather small despite the dim light. But he could explain all that away as effects from lack of sleep. The marks on his neck though were something else. There was no way, anyone wasn't going to see them for what they were right away.

But what if no one noticed?

All he needed to do was alter people's perception of him a little.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he noted a tall figure approaching. A quick brush against the person's mind was all he needed. Relieve and anticipation filled him, as he got out of the car and call out. “Logan.”

“Charles?” Logan's concern, that had flared up the moment someone upstairs had mentioned Charles' car coming in, burned brightly. Slowly it was replaced by questions, which he reigned in, then his gaze fell on Charles' neck.

Without thinking, Charles gave Logan's mind a little nudge, diverting is attention away. For just the fraction of a second Logan's expression turned blank. Panic seared up in Charles, sharp and suddenly.

“No.” He shouldn't do this, not to Logan.

Logan looked confused, but he had forgotten about seeing the bite-marks. “Charles, everything alright?”

Charles' breaths sounded harsh and loud in the empty parking garage. Logan's gaze was searching his face, but didn't stray further down than Charles' chin. There was nothing to indicate that Logan noticed that something was terribly wrong.

“Logan...” If he couldn't make himself to trust him, he might just as well turn around and leave now. Go back to the vampires... turn into a monster himself. “I went to see Erik – and the vampire telepath.”

“What, Charles? Why were you doing this? Are you alright?” Anger, concern, confusion – it was like a wave rolling out from Logan. The mixed feelings were pulling Charles down and pushing him up simultaneously. Charles withdrew that last lingering connection he'd had with Logan's mind and threw up his shields. Comforting silence engulfed him and for a moment he relaxed, before he grew aware of the susurrus coming through the connection with Erik, the gentle pull. A promise of being together, tinged with the coppery taste of blood. Charles choked and quickly adjusted the shields opening himself up to all the minds in the building above him. Minds filled with purpose, busy, concentrated, tired, amused... It couldn't suppress the connection, but it could drown it out.

Logan had taken the few steps closer, so he was standing right in front of Charles.

“I'm alright.” It sounded like an empty phrase.

Logan's nostrils flared and his gaze sharpened before it dipped down to Charles' neck. This time, Charles made no attempt to stop him or hide what he saw. Instead he held still as Logan slowly reached for the collar of Charles' jacket and pulled it aside. Right where Logan had marked him, a set of fangs had pierced his skin, the punctured wound more prominent than the bruise of teeth beneath.

Charles kept his arms hanging loosely at his side, though he wanted to reach out and touch Logan. He was close but never had seemed more distant to Charles. It made his insides clench.

Finally, Logan drew back his hand again. “Why?” His voice was rough, emotions simmering under the surface, that Charles couldn't read in only his voice but didn't dare examine otherwise.

“Logan, I needed answers. I couldn't – my telepathy was a mess, I couldn't – and Erik...” How was he going to explain about Erik entering his home without invitation and the link that was now connecting them? How could he do that, and not have Logan turn away from him?

Suddenly, Logan took his arm and steered him to the car-door. Charles stumbled along, heart racing. Logan opened it, then let go of Charles and went to the passenger side. Charles stood there staring uncomprehendingly. Usually he would have just taken a quick look at Logan's mind to see what he had planned, but...

Logan saw Charles hesitation and pointedly looked at something slightly above and behind Charles.

Of course. The security-cameras.

For a moment Charles closed his eyes a little relieved, then gave a short nod before he got into the car. Logan did the same. Both closed the doors. At first Logan just sat there and stared at his own hands, clenching and unclenching them. Charles was beginning to feel more anxious again. He was still contemplating how to start explaining what had happened, when Logan started to speak.

“I'm sorry I couldn't - I can't really help you with your telepathy giving out on you. It must have been scary. I can't imagine how I would feel if I suddenly stopped healing. It would be confusing and make me feel helpless, useless - “ Logan paused, looking lost in thought.

“... and hurt a hell lot more, for a lot longer?” Charles finished tentatively, trying to sound light, yet failing.

“Yes.” Logan didn't smile but finally looked at Charles. “Probably would have me do something -” Charles was sure Logan would say 'stupid', but then instead he ended with: “crazy. So I get it.”

Charles' mouth was dry, still his insides were in painful knots as he tried to comprehend what Logan was saying – and what he was offering. Understanding. Did he even deserve this?

“I don't like it Chuck, but I get it.”

The disliked nickname suddenly made Charles throat tight, but he still had to explain. “There were enough times I wished my powers to be something more offensive. I learned to use what I got to help as best as I can , but still - “

“Charles, you're...”

“No, let me - “ Charles took a deep breath. “I really wished to be able to read vampire minds, or even that I were able to control them. I got my wish now, but it's more terrifying than I could have imagined. I'm not sure if the price to pay isn’t going to be even worse.”

“Charles, everyone values your skills. No one at the NIB doubts you. And if they would...” The growl in Logan's voice spoke for itself. “Is that why you went to the club? To see if you can control them?”

“No. That was – the vampires where there and I simply tried if I could do it. And it worked. I figured out how to read their minds now and how to manipulate them. Not only one, though each mind is so very different...” Absently, Charles licked his lips. “But I managed to control two and make them walk towards me. They didn't notice a thing. Though Frost did – the vampire telepath. She wasn't very happy about what I'd done.” Charles pondered about their interaction. “Something tells me, maybe she wouldn't have been able to snatch them back from my control.” A thrill like tiny prickling needles rushed through Charles at the thought. And he remembered the hunger, and Frost's anger...

“Last time she managed to shield us from you though.” Logan still sounded sceptical.

“Yes, but then – “ He hadn't been linked to Erik then. “Things were different. Anyway, she was willing to explain what's happened to me.”

“And you think you can trust what she told you? Why would she willingly give up any information? That doesn't sound right.”

“Maybe I shouldn't trust her. Perhaps she didn't tell me everything, but what she told me - felt right.” Charles took a deep breath. “As to why...”

Logan's touch on his shoulder was almost tentative, though his hand felt firm and warm. “Maybe I could help you find that out.” Still tension radiated from him.

Charles held his breath, glancing at Logan's arm. It hit him. He still wanted Logan. Every way. That also meant, he wanted his trust. It was different with Erik, where he knew, through that link where when he harmed Erik he would now harm himself and the other way around.

“So they aren't trying to turn you into a vampire.”

“No. NO I don't think – no, I think that wouldn't work anymore.”

Logan's lips twitched slightly, his gaze drawn to Charles' neck. He could hear him thinking. Not for lack of trying. Fuck, he must have lost more blood again. At least he seems better.

Charles' mind brushed against Logan's to reply, then he hesitated.

“I need to hide these.” He put his hands to his neck, covering it.

“I know you won't let anyone see them, but let me at least...”

“What for?”

“To see if they are healing alright. Not getting infected-” The real reason was something else. Charles felt the almost possessive anger roll from Logan. Slowly he let his hands sink and opened the collar of his shirt. He let Logan tug it back and tilted his head to the side, letting Logan inspect his neck. Logan's intense gaze gave him goosebumps. It made him feel naked and exposed. Along the line connecting him with Erik, a wave of displeasure thrummed. It flared up as Logan's thumb brushed one of the marks. “You don't feel faint with blood-loss?”

“No.” He still needed to explain his connection with Erik – and that he could draw energy from it, from Erik, who … fed on human blood. Charles shivered and pulled his collar back. “Okay, that's enough.”

“Charles?”

“I'm not – turning into a monster because of that. I'm not – you can trust me.”

“Charles, is that what they want you to believe? To cripple your abilities? Because she is afraid of you now?” Logan gently cupped Charles' face in his hands, urging him to look at him. “I believe you.”

Charles stared at him. How could Logan believe him? Because he didn't know the full truth yet. As soon as he did, things would change. He wouldn't tell him just yet. Instead, Charles grabbed for Logan' shirt and pulled him closer. He wasn't sure if he wanted to kiss him or simply hold on to him. In the end their lips only met shortly, before Charles pushed himself out of his seat, struggling for a moment to get past the steering wheel, but then climbed into Logan's lap.

Logan's hands came around him, then his hands slid down to cup Charles' arse and pull him closer. Charles moulded himself against Logan's body, burring his face against his neck. He was fighting to keep in control. Everything he'd contained, everything that threatened to overwhelm him, his doubts and fears and needs.

So it took him a moment to realise how Logan suddenly had stiffened, how he had pulled back his head, pushing it against the neck-rest of the car-seat.

Charles drew back. He looked to the side, trying to control his expression. Not trusting his voice, he touched Logan's mind, trying to keep it brief and distant. 'I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed you would still want – this. The me was interwoven into the last word though. Charles felt unable to keep it out and he broke the connection before he would loose his composure entirely.

Confused he found Logan gripping his arms suddenly. It made it easier to slide back, and almost off Logan's lap yet made it impossible for him to reach for the door and get out.

“Charles! Fuck – I want you!” Logan struggled with finding the right words. Finally he gave a defeated sigh. “You reek of him. Thought I could ignore it, but not when you're this close.”

“Oh...” Charles suddenly felt light-headed with relieve. Of course Logan could smell the vampires on him. No, that wasn't it. He smelled Erik on him. “I wasn't thinking – I guess I should take a shower and put some fresh clothes on.” He probably should have gone home to do that, but he hadn't been thinking.

Logan grunted in agreement, but then pulled Charles back up against him. Charles looked at him surprised. Logan was still frowning, and looked uncomfortable. But then he leant down and kissed Charles in a way that left no doubt as to what he wanted.

“Just to make it clear. I want you.”

Charles laughed, a little breathless, then forced himself to open the door of the car and slide out. Logan followed him and stayed by his side. It was enough to make Charles wanting to ask if Logan wanted to join him in the shower, but Logan shook his head. “You should talk to Angel – and Moira. But I would like to make sure you are okay once you get home.”

The hot water running down his body was wonderful at first. Until he took the shower-gel and started lathering his body with it, intent to wash away any lingering scents. It stung, making him aware of every bite-mark. Not just those on his neck, though there they were the densest. But there were more on his thigh, low on his pelvis, in the crook of his arm and – though he was sure this one Erik had left because he could, a bite-mark high up on his buttocks.

Charles rested his head against the tiled wall and closed his eyes. Cleaning up wouldn't change anything. Outwardly to Logan maybe... Turning his head, he let the water hit his face.

There should be a moment of hesitation of dragging Logan into this, but Logan didn't seem intent on playing the voice of reason. Charles chuckled softly to himself.

Tentatively he reached for the link. It was still there, still as strong, welcoming him. He quickly withdrew, reaching instead for Logan – who was still waiting for him outside. Logan wasn't patient – but he was waiting patiently for Charles. Charles only lightly touched Logan's mind, but he found a stubborn certainty there. That he would stick with Charles no matter what.

Charles licked his lips, tasting noting but water. The believe was almost tangible to him. He could get through this, if Logan decided to stick with him, anchor him... he wouldn't turn into the monster.

Wrapped in a towel Charles finally got out of the shower, Logan stayed leaning against a distant wall while Charles got dressed, but he was watching him.

“A lot of those bite-marks look new.”Logan sounded almost nonchalant about it.

“I told you...”

“Yes. That's not what I mean. He bit you – but he didn't drink much of your blood?” Logan was distrustful, yet that was directed towards Erik. Charles checked. Logan was convinced that Erik had marked Charles like this on purpose. He didn't think it was meant as a 'warning' for him, to stay away from Charles, though he did think about that time he had met Erik and he had very deliberately made sure Logan saw how much Charles enjoyed being bitten by him. But no, this, Logan seemed sure, was more likely to drive a wedge between Charles and the NIB.

Charles made sure there was no one else around who could hear them. He needed to tell Logan all of it. He started fumbling with the thin scarf he'd found in his locker and wrapped around his neck.

Logan pushed away from the wall and came over to him. “Here, let me.”

Charles dropped his hands and let Logan commandeer the scarf. After tugging it this way and that Logan sighed and pulled it off Charles' neck, shaking it out and folding it more neatly than Charles had. His gaze was fixed on the fabric, though Charles knew where he truly wanted to look.

Finally Charles grabbed on to Logan's arms. He had no idea what he would do, if Logan would change his mind after what Charles was about to tell him. Logan had told him he didn't believe he was a monster because then Charles would have already altered his mind... so he couldn't do it, no matter what. Or could he? Logan wouldn't know.

Nervously, Charles licked his lips. “I still need to tell you one thing. It doesn't change anything of what I feel, but it might make you think differently.” Charles' grip on Logan's muscled arms tightened. He needed him to know. “I can't undo it. I am not even sure how it happened. But something happened – something that's connected to me suddenly being able to read vampire's minds. The real reason why Frost won't kill me – at least not yet.” He knew he wasn't making much sense, but he still tried to find the right words.

Logan waited, still patient, trusting Charles. Finally Charles raised his gaze from Logan's hands and the scarf. Looking into his face, he came to a decision. Letting go of Logan with one hand, he reached up to touch his temple, and carefully let the whole conversation with Frost, and the knowledge of the connection with Erik, trickle into Logan's mind.

Logan grunted surprised, but then he relaxed. It gave Charles hope that what he was doing was the right thing. Not daring to worry about too much, Charles let the memory run up to the point where he, left alone by Frost, opened himself up too much to the vampire's blood-lust, nearly drowning in it before Erik came to intervene. There he stopped, slowly letting go of Logan, yet forcing himself to keep an eye on him and keeping up a light connection still, leaving himself vulnerable to Logan's reaction.

For a long time, neither spoke.

“I guess I don't stand a chance against that.” Despite the bitter words, Charles still glimpsed some defiance in Logan's eyes and in his mind.

“I didn't consciously choose this, Logan. I won't lie, I would have, in the past. But now, I – I'm not sure.” The tumult of feelings came back. Part of him, that which he had thought he'd buried with his sister, craved for that connection with Erik still. Now that they no longer tried to kill each other when they met, he could almost – not forgive, but... Wistfully, he wondered if things would have turned out different, if Logan and he had gotten together before Erik had shown up.

Moving slowly, Logan resumed wrapping the scarf around Charles' neck, making sure it hid the bite-marks while still not looking like he was trying to hide something.

“You still don't think I'm a monster – or that I could turn into one?”

“You are connected to Erik, but you’re still you. What you experienced – the vampire's hunger – and you getting lost in that. That was the first time you experienced it. You're still new to reading vampire's minds, and they are other than humans – you are used to those. You will grow used to the vampires. And you will learn to control that. You don't go on a murderous rampage when I get angry. Remember when Moira told us we had to team up.”

Charles almost laughed. “You weren't that angry then.”

“See, your shields were working perfectly, so you didn't even feel it.”

Charles shook his head.

“Also you didn't jump me the moment I realised I wanted to grab you and fuck your perfect ass right there in abandoned church on the altar.”

Charles raised an eyebrow. He remembered the mission Logan was referring to. Charles had been the bait, but they'd had to work this a little differently than usual, to lure out that specific vampire. Logan had had to play pushy date to Charles, to make him appear uncomfortable, totally out of his resources in how to get away from Logan and in need for help. That's how the vampire liked to pick his victims. As knight in shining armour – except that the armour he choose had been the robes of a priest.

While outwardly appearing stressed and uncomfortable Charles had been relentlessly flirting and teasing Logan in his mind. He'd known Logan hadn't been entirely unaffected. But there had been a lot of growling and angry shouting from Logan after the vampire was dead. It had effectively distracted Charles from Logan's thoughts. “I wish I had realised that, I wouldn't have let you leave without exploring that idea of yours.”

Logan huffed. “Thought as much.” Suddenly he leant down, his lips brushing against Charles', just the ghost of a kiss. “Point is, you don't let yourself get sucked into human emotions, because you learned to do that.”

Was that really it? Was al he needed some time to learn? “What if it changes me?”

“Charles, all our experiences change us. But they are only like puzzle pieces, once added, they don't make a completely new picture. They don't turn us into completely different people.”

Charles wondered if the same was true for vampires.

Angel was sitting up in bed when Charles entered the medical room. Charles had known what to expect, having seen so many victims before, yet it was still startling when it was someone he knew looking so – different. She wore a white hospital gown, tied at her back. There were dark circles underneath her eyes, her skin looked sallow and her lips cracked. An IV-needle was stuck in her hand. The doctors must have discerned it was the better spot, after the way the crook of her arm showed bite-marks.

On the table beside her were some boxes with chocolates, more gifts, along with flowers, littered the clinical white sideboard and he wondered if someone had brought the colourful blanket spread out on top of the white sheets, from Angel's home or if it was a new present.

“Charles, Logan told me...” She shook her head, for a moment her dark hair obscured her face. When she looked up there was a smile on her face. Charles knew it wasn't entirely real. But it wasn't there for his sake, but more for hers. “Sorry, what a way to greet you. How are you?”

He read in her surface thoughts that Logan had told her what he'd told anyone else, that Charles had wrestled the information from a vampire's mind. And that it had left him exhausted. That he had given as excuse for Charles' absence.

“Better... but I really should ask you that.” He walked closer, all the while monitoring her reaction and finally pulled a chair close to sit down beside her.

“As you can see – I live. They sill got me in quarantine to make sure I won't go and turn into - well, but doctors say, vital signs are all good. And they'll soon have me back on my feet. I might develop a chocolate allergy while I'm here, as you can see. I think everyone brought something.”

“I'm sorry I couldn't come to see you sooner.”

“Charles, you have been there for me when it counted. I know that.”

“Did they already fill you in on the power down the headquarters suffered that night you were taken captive?”

The smile was replaced by a more earnest expression. “Yes. Also that they think it might have been related. That I was specifically targeted – because I was at the club.” She looked straight ahead, at the patterns in the blanket. Charles got the vague impression that they were familiar to her. “I know why you are here, Charles. So I can talk about it and you can help me feel better by...doing something … to my mind.”

“That's not the only reason I'm here, but yes, I hope there is something I can do for you?”

“No!”

The vehemence of her answer surprised him. “Angel, just hear me out. You've already been very brave and strong, but there is no need for you to torture yourself about it. I don't mean to make you forget, like we do with the human victims we find. But there are ways to make the memories less...”

“No! I don't want you in my mind.”

Charles was shocked. It took a moment for him to figure out what it might be that was bothering her – without going against Angel's words and searching her mind for the reason to her reaction. “Is it because of her, Emma Frost, the vampire telepath?”

Grim silence was the answer.

“I would never do what she did, I would never do anything against your will. You know me Angel. She and I may share similar powers, but that doesn't mean we are alike. Or that I would be careless about how I use my powers...” I am not a monster.

Charles licked his lips. “All I ask of you, is to hear me out. I will only tell you, what I could do to help you, but it is totally up to you to decide if you want that. And you don't have to make a decision now. You can ask me to come by any time, even if you say 'no' now, I simply want you to know you don't have to struggle with this alone.”

It was hard for Charles not to look and see what had her suddenly so tense about the prospect of him helping her. What Frost had done to her. Was she on the verge of panic or angry, Charles wasn't sure. So he went on, speaking calmly.

“Even if you think you have everything under control now, there might be things, smells, sounds, small things, that might trigger you to remember what happened. You know that from psychic evaluations. That’s normal. No one can completely understand what you went through, not even other victims. Everyone's story is different, and so is everyone’s struggle with it. There is no shame to that. It can also happen that you are dealing with it fine right now, but months later, it will suddenly come back to you. I want you to know, you can come to me about it any time you need.” He took a deep breath. “Now what I can do, if you want me to, is dull those memories, so you regain some distance to them, or I can find the triggers in your mind and ...”

“No!”

The protest made Charles flinch. The idea of helping Angel had been giving him a new focus. Even if he had helped in finding her, he still felt responsible for what happened to her. It was Erik's fault and Erik – Erik was his. In a way. Suddenly it struck him what the issue might be for Angel. “I won't judge – I know how it feels, to be bitten by a vampire. Not only through other peoples memories. But because I was bitten – back in England.” The lie came easy. He would fabricate a half true story if she asked for details, but for now he was satisfied to see her turn her head and look at him again.

“It's horrific that something so – brutal – violating can even feel anything but painful.”

Charles nodded. “It makes one feel even more helpless.” He waited, watching her, hoping he had said the right thing.

She looked away from him again, absently starting to play with the adhesive tape that stuck the infusion needle to the back of her hand.

It was hard, but Charles kept his silence, and his mind to himself.

The deep breath Angel took sounded loud and ominous. “Maybe...” Suddenly she grabbed her head. “No, no, can't let you into my head!” Her unfolding wings smacked him right in the face. Charles raised his arms to ward of being hit again, scrambling up from the chair and took a few steps back.

“Angel?”

But she started kicking her legs, grabbed her hair while shaking her head. A pained wailing sound escaped her mouth.

'Angel!' Despite his words, despite his promise, Charles pushed into her mind. She screamed, pushed back. He struggled to make her relax, before she hurt herself, but something didn't let her. The more he deepened the contact, the more it seemed to hurt her.

She doubled over, trying to curl.

He heard the door opening and someone rush in.

“Wait!” He threw it out as a command, not able to afford to take his time to explain.

Something was in there, inside Angel's mind, nesting, sharp and cold. He needed to find it, if he hesitated things might get ugly. Then he glimpsed it, the flicker of a familiar mind. Frost.

But it was day, the vampire-telepath couldn't be close, and this couldn't be her range, unless – maybe she could reach those she had fed from before. She could have lied to Charles telling him she had no such connection. It might be similar, yet different, to whatever had connected Erik and him.

Angrily, Charles reached for his connection to Erik, followed it back to the Hellfire Club, opening himself up through Erik, to see if he could find what Emma was doing.

He felt Erik shiver and writhe, as Charles fed from his energy, to keep his hold on Angel's mind, while another part used Erik as a stepping stone to check on Frost. He found her, dormant, not connected to Angel. Charles stared at her mind, confused while she slowly became aware of his presence.

She changed, sharp edged and glittering so he was no longer able to see her. But Charles had glimpsed enough, she wasn't controlling Angel from afar. Then how? She must have planted something in Angel's mind.

He brought his focus back to the room he and Angel were in. In the distance he heard the echo of slamming doors. He ignored it, not sure if it was here or was he hearing what Erik did? Determined he stepped up to Angel's bed. She was curled up and shaking, but the screaming had stopped. He placed his hands on top of hers and dug deeper.

The memories were fragmented. He could put them together, if he'd had more time. But he fished for only that information he needed

You'll make a formidable vampire my dear.

A pity - have to give you back – .

- come back to me. - You will come to the club. I promise you, - no more games. - make it quick – and final.

Angel's fear was spiralling up into panic, wound tight, immobilising her.

No it was Frost who was doing that.

The command was planted carefully, the memory buried deep. Deep enough so Angel would not remember it, except the part which said, that she shouldn't let Charles look into her mind.

Frost had known that he would find out once he did.

So Frost hadn't really meant to give up Angel, it was only a lie to make him comply.

He needed to get Frost's command out of Angel's head. Not only the one to not let Charles look into her mind, but the one that would make her return to be turned. But the first one had to go before, because it made Angel still fight Charles. The easiest way would be to crush it,yet that might do some damage to Angel. The other thing he could do, took more time.

He pulled everything he had together, then let part of it spread out in a simple command. 'Don't interfere.' Now sure not having to worry about anyone taking away his attention, Charles focused at the command buried in Angel’s mind. It was artfully done, singular tendrils woven together, to form a whole. He followed each and studied where it was connected to. Which thread had been the first to be woven, which last? He found it and extracted it, then picked up the next.

When he was done it was like a storm had quiet. He felt Angel relax, though she was shaking slightly.

Maybe he could wait undoing Frost's second command now, but he didn't want to risk it. Even though he felt tired. Instinctively he reached for the warmth pulsing deep inside him, the connection that was able to feed him strength. Then he delved back into Angel's mind.

Finally Frost's work had been plucked apart. Charles watched as the mental compulsion she had left faded to nothing. Carefully Charles withdrew and then stepped away from Angel's bed.

Angel sunk back into the cushions, a hand pressed against her mouth, her wings wrapped tightly around her body again. She was fully aware of what had been done to her and what might have happened. Silent tears were streaming down her face.

“It's okay now. You're safe.” He probably should stay and help her, but Charles wasn't sure he could. He needed a moment at least, alone. Charles turned around. The door to the medical room stood open. There were people, intent on rushing in, frozen in mid-motion.

He remembered hearing someone enter, remembered bidding them them to wait, not to interfere. He saw movement at the far back, whispered voices, though he couldn't hear their minds, as if the command had a certain parameter it effected. Shielding him and Angel inside and freezing everyone else.

It still took Charles a moment to realise, that there was something he should do – and he pulled back his power.

Like pressing play on a paused video, suddenly everything started moving again- People rushed in, Charles could hear their thoughts, their voices, all mixed up. He closed his eyes and touched his temple, as pressure built. He swayed.

“Chuck!” He felt Logan beside him, his hand on his elbow steering him in one direction, his mind – calmer than the others. Charles latched onto him.

“She's okay now. No... not okay. But – out of danger.”

“Okay. Let's get you somewhere you can sit down first. Somewhere quiet.”

Charles was aware of Logan glaring at people as he guided him along. Everyone took a step back, not daring to ask questions as Logan growled under his breath.

Then he realised it wasn't because of Logan.

Logan opened a door to an empty conference room and guided him through. As he closed the door behind the, Charles started to laugh.

Chapter Text

'What happened? Froze everyone! Is Angel alright? Did she turn into a vampire? Why did he do that? Did you know he could simply freeze people like that? It was ten people. No, at least twenty. Everyone who got too close was caught in it. I tried. Suddenly couldn't move. Heard from someone it was actually hard to breath. I was just walking by and got caught up in it. Did you know, have you heard, like a spider in a web, spider in a web...

“What happened?” Moira's voice snapped Charles out of the pool of whispering minds.

It was the question everyone asked – in their minds. So far no one had dared approach Charles with it. Except Logan.

Logan had listened to Charles' answer and then had gone to see Moira, before things got out of hand. Which meant, before rumours spread too far and spun out of control. The agitated whispers and speculation tugged at his mind again. He brought up his shields, until the world outside was nothing more than a soft murmur.

Charles had been grateful to be left alone for a bit. He hadn't done something like this before, froze so many people in place without even meaning to. It should have cost him, but he was feeling fine. Still he was hesitant to touch on the reason for that, the link with Erik. It had quietened down, not gone quiet, because he was aware of it without concentrating on it. Yet the steady tugging and susurration it emanated, had calmed. Or maybe he had grown used to it?

Now Charles had dropped his shields again, so he could hear Moira's thoughts. He didn't read Moira's mind on purpose, but her thoughts were rather clear, and he felt he needed that edge now. Charles pondered about shortening his answer, yet she meant to make sure, what everyone was saying fit together, so he gave her the whole story. Except for the parts involving Erik.

Moira took a few notes while he spoke, but nodded.

“Why did you freeze everyone who came closer than - “ she checked her notes, “about fifteen meters”

“I was so focused on Angel I wasn't fully aware I was doing it. I heard someone entering and I told them to stay back. That must have had a bigger effect than I had intended. I was worried that someone might interfere and subconsciously my mind held that command longer than I had intended at first. I'm sorry for the inconvenience I caused by that, but Angel was in imminent danger and I had to focus on her.”

Moira looked concerned. “What kind of danger?”

“I was worried the vampire-telepath might have done something, put a sort of safety in place. So that once I had found out what she'd done to Angel or entered her mind, Angel would be forced to hurt herself or try and get away from us. And the room she's in has a window.” He didn't need to point out that Angel could fly. “It also occurred to me, that maybe the vampire-telepath might have a way to block me from Angel's mind once I lost contact.”

“How so?”

“I thought Frost – the vampire telepath might have found a way to influence her from a longer distance away. Luckily, I seem to have been wrong about that though. The commands were simply anchored in her mind, and she had no more control of Angel.”

“Could you do something like that?”

“Yes. The trickiest part is to tie the command to a certain trigger and make it stick. It's different than when I take over someone’s mind who is right there. It also depends on what the command is. ”

“How long would that take, planting such a command? Could she do it to anyone she has a quick encounter with in the field?”

Seeing where Moira's questions went, Charles relaxed. He thought of what he'd found in Angel's mind. “No. She would need a little more time than that. My guess is, she had already started messing with Angel's mind while she held her captive. There were some indications to that.” He didn't want Moira guessing that Frost knew about them coming.

“I guess she thought giving up Angel then would dissuade us from chasing after her.” Logan added from where he was standing slightly behind Charles. “Which it did. We were glad to get out with her alive.”

Moira looked thoughtful, but finally nodded. “Charles, you know there is something else I need to ask you. Connected to Angel's rescue.”

Yes, he knew. The question had been simmering on the back of Moira's mind. Ever since Logan had told her, where Charles had gotten the information from, on where Angel was held captive. But he waited for Moira to actually ask the question.

She looked down at her notes, then pulled a file close, which had been sitting on the edge of her desk. She opened it and looked at the top sheet. They archived all records of their cases in electronic form. But servers could be hacked or could break down, so the vital information was all filed in paper as well. And some details were actually only put there.

For a moment she appeared to read what it said in that file, though Charles knew she had it all memorised, so she was only taking her time to... It was tempting to take a deeper look into her mind and see what she was thinking.

Deliberately, Charles leant back in his seat. If she only knew what Logan had told her, there was nothing to worry.

Finally she spoke. “In Logan's report it says, that you got the information as to where the vampires held Angel from a vampire?”

“Yes. If you want, I can file a more detailed report.”

“Do you think the details should be in a report?”

Did she ask him if he had something to hide or was this only about keeping Charles' new won abilities under cover for a bit longer? He studied her brown eyes for a moment, but her gaze gave nothing away.

“Maybe I should give you a run down of what happened first?” Not how, but what. He hoped she wouldn't ask too many questions about that because... He brushed Logan's mind. 'Logan, Moira isn't stupid, if she questions what I tell her, I might have to convince her to take what I tell her.'

The 'unhappy' that came from Logan was hard to miss. Charles was tempted to turn his head and look where Logan stood with his back against the wall. 'Would you have asked me if I weren't in the room?

'Maybe not, but I would have told you what I had to do afterwards.'

'You know I'll have your back.' The thought held a growl, yet was sincere. Logan wasn't happy, if Charles had to do it, but he would go along.

“Please do that.” Moira's voice drew Charles attention back.

Charles nodded, briefly checking Logan's memories of what he'd told Moira already. What he planned to say seemed to fit that version nicely. “As you probably know, we went to the Hellfire Club to see if we could find some clues to Angel's whereabouts. What Logan isn't aware of is, that I was thinking about looking for more than just clues. I haven't told anyone of this before. But I have been trying to read vampire's minds again and again. I tried to find a way in, and I finally did.”

A raised eyebrow showed Moira's surprise at the revelation, while Logan was tense and a little confused. Good. That would make it more convincing. And Moira did glance at Logan, before focusing back on Charles.

“Why didn't you report this?”

“I'm sorry, I probably should have, yet it was only sporadic glimpses now and then. Never consistent enough, so I couldn't actually make much use of it. It felt as if I was only getting lucky each time it worked and I couldn't find out what I did to recreate it. So not to give anyone a wrong impression or false ideas, I kept this to myself.”

“I can see your reasoning Charles, still you should have at least told me.”

Charles shook his head, and lowered his gaze. “I hate to disappoint.”

'You almost got me there, but now your overdoing it, Chuck.' Logan's reprimand made Charles raise his gaze again. He tried an apologetic smile instead.

“Well, that isn't entirely true.” He sighed. “I didn't want to admit that I was trying and failing to somebody else, because I didn't want to admit it to myself. But the main point is, I went into the club intent to try and pry any clues about Angel's whereabouts from the vampire's minds I could. Hoping I would get lucky again. Now I have no idea how or why it worked -” Suddenly Charles had an idea. “Well that isn't correct. I should say, I have some guesses. But they are vague. Maybe it has something to do with the vampire-telepath and me trying to break her hold on our people when we were at the club. This might have triggered something in my telepathy.”

“So did you read her mind?”

“No, she wasn't there. I guess we were lucky about that, because otherwise I'm sure she would have interfered. But I tried reading the vampires there. It seemed like I was poking and prodding at them for quite some time until – I don't know how to best describe it, but it was like something suddenly fell into place. Like I suddenly 'got it'.”

Charles focused on the real moment, last night, when he realised he could control the vampires. The excitement he'd felt. He couldn't help smiling.

“Does that mean, now you can recreate it? That now you have figured out how to read the vampire's minds?”

Charles nodded. “Yes. Yes I have. And I came in to tell you about it today, but then the thing with Angel happened.” He gave a shrug.

Moira took a deep breath. It wasn't hard to read her thoughts, how she was going through the possibilities of how to best use this new asset.

Charles wondered if he should finish his tale, though Moira basically knew the rest or could piece it together from Logan's report. Charles had been exhausted by what he'd done and needed to take some time off. He gave Logan the information and that was it, as far as Charles was concerned.

As if Moira was the one who could read thoughts, she asked. “It did tire you out though. More than when you usually use your telepathy?”

“Yes. Though, in hindsight, I think that was because I had to fumble and struggle before I got in. Now that I know how I can get in – I think I can do it more easily. As long as you don't pit me against the vampire - telepath.” Charles joked, though Moira's expression said she had thought exactly about that.

“Okay. Thank you. I will keep this out of the records – for now. I think it's an asset we can't risk getting too widely known.” She meant, she didn't want the vampires to know. And since they had one who could read thoughts – better no one else knew about the details.”

“Angel knows.” Logan cut in. “I told her what Charles did when I got her out. The rest of the team, well, you were at the briefing. I didn't tell them anything else than that we got the information, but not how.”

“Good, thank you Logan. I will talk with Angel about it.” She closed the file and pushed it aside. Then she gave Charles a critical once over. “How do you feel now?”

Charles shrugged. “Better.” And because it seemed to raise less questions he added the lie. “That – with Angel today, left me a little tired, but that's all.”

Moira nodded. “We can't exactly afford to stretch our resources thin right now, so I want every team out tonight. We need to show the vampire's we're on high alert. So I want you and Logan out there. But I will assign you light duty - not investigating an actual incident, but on patrol.”

Charles wasn't sure what he thought about that. He felt Logan's restlessness. Logan wanted to get out there and sink his claws into – well, Erik probably, but since he couldn't kill Erik, not if that might mean harming Charles – he would settle for a random vampire. Being merely on patrol made their chances of an actual kill slim. But maybe it would give Charles time to sort things out, so he nodded. “I understand.”

“Then you're dismissed, Logan.”

Charles stood up as well, as Logan opened the door, but Moira stopped him. “No, Charles, I would like to have another word with you. About something else.”

Charles looked to Logan, who threw a glance over his shoulder. He returned Charles' gaze, then gave a little nod, and closed the door behind himself. 'I'll wait right outside.

Charles turned back to Moira and sat down again.

“So, about you and Logan.”

Charles tensed, but tried to keep his tone light as he asked. “What – about us?”

“I have the feeling – no – something tells me, you have become closer than colleagues, or friends.”

Charles didn't answer.

“You know our policy. If there is something more going on between the two of you, I have to split you up.”

Panic threatened to well up and Charles quickly quenched it. He reached for his tie to Erik, and ran mental fingers along it, like caressing a purring cat. Now only the purr was nearly quiet. But he could still feel something waiting inside him. And he needed Logan to keep him balanced. Logan knew, and despite that, he still believed in him. Charles licked his lips. “Have you talked to Logan about this?”

“No, I wanted to talk to you first.”

“Good... Because there is no need to talk to Logan about it. You were mistaken. There is nothing going on between Logan and me that violates the rules. We are just friends.” And he pushed the words into Moira's mind. Moira's expression went blank. Charles worked quietly, instead of erasing that sliver of doubt, he just wore it thin, but put his words into a little loop, so that, whenever she had doubts, those words would pop up and she would believe them.

Very slowly, Moira blinked, as the words took hold. She looked confused at Charles.

“Is there anything else you wanted to talk to me about?”

She frowned, as if trying to remember something, but then shook her head. “No... no that’s all. Thank you. You're dismissed.”

Charles stood up and left.

Logan was curious and looked him up and down. “That was quick.”

Charles shrugged. “She only asked if I was sure I was feeling up to resume work again. She thought I might not want to say 'no' in your presence.” He smiled innocently. Logan didn't need to know about Moira's suspicions.

 

Logan insisted on seeing Charles home. Half-heartedly, Charles had tried to dissuade him. It wasn't that he didn't want Logan back at his place, but he was worried about what would happen once night fell. So at least he persisted on them driving separately, hinting that Logan might want to go back home before they headed back to the NIB for their nightly assignment. If he told him why he was worried, he was sure Logan would insist on sticking at Charles' place to make a stand. He could stop Erik and Logan from hurting each other, but he'd rather avoid such a scenario entirely – for as long as he could.

Yet for now there was still time until sundown, and before they had to be at the Central Park for simple patrol duty Mira had picked out for them.

Enough time for Charles to get some rest. Though currently resting was the last thing on his mind, as he and Logan stumbled into the apartment and the door closed behind them. Logan wrapped his arms around Charles from behind and pulled him close. His large hands were quick to roam under Charles' t-shirt, bunching it up along with Charles' jacket to caress his skin.

Closing his eyes, Charles let himself be pulled in, arching into the warm touch.

“You're alright?”

It took him a moment to realise Logan's words were meant as a question.

“How does it feel?”

Logan's hold on him tightened and he leant over Charles' shoulder. Briefly his lips brushed Charles' cheek, then he buried his face at his neck. Despite the scarf, Charles felt the warmth and weight anyway. He shivered, biting his lower lip, he tilted his head to the side before he realised what he was doing and heat rose to his cheeks. “I'm alright.” The words were spoken stubbornly.

“You looked ready to faint after freezing half the NIB and – well, exorcising Angel.”

Charles snorted. “Hardly half – and exorcise, really?” The wording was odd and sat not right.

“That’s what some called it at the NIB.”

“Angel was hardly possessed. She was merely manipulated by another telepath and I undid that. It's not like a demon had taken her over.” That description seemed to fit Charles better. He shivered, which prompted Logan to caress his skin, though the way his fingers traced down the path from his navel and lingered at the hem of his trousers, were not only intended to warm him.

“I'll make sure to clear that up, should anyone mention it to me. But you haven't answered my question, Chuck.”

Charles sighed in defeat. “I feel better...” He pushed himself a little back against Logan. “Or good.”

“Not hungry?”

“No – I'll eat something later.”

“You haven't eaten all day yet...”

Charles started to pay less attention to Logan's hands on his body and more to his mind – and the question he really wanted to ask, but didn't.

“Yes, I did draw energy from that – connection with Erik.”

“Does it go both ways? Does he feel what you feel?” Logan tried, but failed to keep from growling.

“So far he hasn't pulled any energy from me.” Charles wondered what that meant. Perhaps Erik hadn’t been in a situation he needed to do it. Yet the information Frost had given him – if he could trust that at all, seeing what she’d tried to do to Angel – had mainly been about the telepath gaining powers and controlling the vampire. So maybe Charles could give Erik energy, if he choose to but Erik couldn't take it by himself. Though of course Erik could feed on him the 'conventional' way. “You know pretty much the same as I do about it.”

Charles focused on the bond, just enough to be more aware, yet not allowing himself to be pulled in. Absently he put a hand on top of Logan's, holding on. “I think since Erik is more dormant at day, it might change once night comes. But...” But did Erik know what Charles was doing? Charles had been able to feel his displeasure as Logan had touched one of the bite-marks. “I don't think he knows exactly what I'm doing, but some things get across. Strong emotions...”

“Good.” The mix of smug and jealous in that one word took Charles by surprise. Though it shouldn't. Logan had been understanding and patient he also hadn't made any attempt to hide his dislike of Erik. “He leaves marks on your body.” Hurting you. “He can deal with this then.”

Suddenly he moved in front of Charles and pushed him up against the door. Sinking to his knees in front of him, he started undoing Charles' trousers.

“Logan, you don't have to...”

“Read my mind Charles. I want to – I want you. I don't want to share you. But, if this is how it is...” Logan buried his face at Charles' stomach, inhaling his scent before licking a wet trail across his skin. Charles groaned.

He was greedy, wanting Logan – and wanting Erik. But he hadn't chosen Erik. But you did, or the bond wouldn't have formed. Charles ignored that thought and buried his fingers in Logan's hair.

Logan pushed Charles' trousers and underwear down. Then he looked up, his expression one of determination, and something tender. It muted any hesitation about Logan's choice in place and time – they were both still wearing shoes for fucks sake and there was a perfectly comfortable bed upstairs. Or a couch basically just around the corner.

Logan started sucking and kissing at Charles' hips and groin, deliberately licking the marks Erik had left. Charles felt a bitter protest tingle along the bond, and oddly it gave him back some semblance of control – despite losing it.

As Logan shifted his hands, Charles' shirt dropped down, obscuring the view. Charles cursed softly and with one shaking hand tried to tug it out of the way. He ended pulling it up and over his head, so it was lodged behind his neck. Not the most comfortable but he had both his hands free again to grab Logan's hair, tug his head where he wanted it to go.

Logan glanced up, and laughed low in his throat, the sound raising goosebumps all over Charles' body. Logan liked the view he now had of Charles' naked torso. His hand slid up over Charles' body, fingers toying with one nipple. His other hand urged Charles' legs further apart, so he could spread lavishing kisses and licks on Charles' heated skin. It was tantalising to have Logan's mouth down there but not exactly where he wanted it.

Charles bit his lip, a grunt escaping his throat. “Ah – if you're going to do this, stop teasing.”

Charles felt his knees go weak as Logan looked up at him, his expression serious. He shifted his grip, so one hand held Charles' hips, the other wrapped around his growing erection, before he slowly took Charles into his mouth.

Charles closed his eyes at the suction, perfect hot and wet. Logan's tongue licked and pressed against his hard penis. It felt perfect. Charles made soft keening noises, his hips bucked forward but Logan held him in place.

“So good...Logan...don't stop.” His fingers combed through Logan's hair, encouraging as Logan sucked him.

There was the ghost of lips against his neck, a warm mouth, sharp teeth. It wasn't real, but sent a warm tremble through his body. Erik... He bit down on his lip to keep himself from calling out, his grip on Logan's hair tightened. Logan moaned, his throat contracting around Charles' cock and it sent Charles over the edge. He came in long hot spurts down Logan's throat, who swallowed it almost greedily.

Slackjawed, Charles watched Logan finally withdraw, his lips stained with Charles' come. He pressed his forehead against Charles' thigh. Whatever he'd felt moments before was gone now, leaving only Logan's breath caressing his skin. Charles gently combed his fingers through Logan's hair, trying to ignore the sense of guilt. “Let's take this somewhere more comfortable.”

“You want me to?”

The uncertainty in Logan's voice surprised Charles, and he awkwardly slid down onto his knees, trousers still pooling around his ankle, t-shirt and jacket on, yet tucked out of the way to expose his body. “Logan... I want you, I need you.” He cupped Logan's face, kissing him gently, until Logan's arm came around his body, and he pulled him close. Charles slipped into the embrace, the kiss turning more demanding as he coaxed Logan's mouth open with his tongue, sliding his hands to Logan's neck.

Logan undid the Charles' scarf. As his fingers brushed the marks, heat spread through Charles, along with agitation not his own.

“Charles!” Hearing Logan's rough voice tightened something in his belly. “Show me, please. I need you to show me. Tell me, show me, make me do what you want.”

The words and the trust thy held, were intoxicating. Trust that Charles wouldn't take this too far for Logan to handle. That he wouldn't take it too far.

“Take off my clothes... jacket and shoes.” And since he was as good as naked anyway and it made little sense to pull his trousers back on when he intended to take them off a little later, he added. “Everything.” It wasn't that Logan wouldn't do it, but he wanted Charles to take control, so he did.

The result was Logan almost whining as he couldn't get the jacket and shirt untangled, the need to do as he'd been told overwhelming. Finally, Charles was naked, his clothes scattered on the ground. He stood up and moved around Logan still on his knees, who waited for more instructions.

“Follow me to the bathroom, but you better be naked too once you get there.” He started walking away from Logan, quickly, to make it not too easy. Logan growled and cursed as he scrambled up while he tried to undress at the same time.

Upstairs, Charles headed straight for the shower and turned it on. The first spray of water to hit him was cold, but he welcomed it to tame his growing arousal. The water flowed warm though once Logan caught up with him. He was struggling to get his last sock off, yet still wore his underwear.

Charles smiled. “Almost.”

Logan's hands went to pull down his briefs, but Charles shook his head. “Just come here – touch me.” Logan huffed, but did as he was told.

“You'll want me to take that off pretty soon.”

“So sure? I'm all yours to convince me.”

Logan pushed Charles against the tiled wall with his body, hands roaming freely, stroking and caressing Charles' wet skin. Then he spun them around, so Charles could lean against Logan's body, while he kissed him, saliva mixing with water. It was exhilarating to simply focus on Logan's mouth, his hands, the soft moans and growls he made.

“Will I have to keep that on now?”

Charles' laugh quickly turned into a moan as Logan slid down against the wall to lick and suck at Charles' nipples.

Charles' hands roamed down Logan's shoulder, to his firm arse. The pushing the wet fabric to the cleft of Logan's arse so he could rub his fingers across the firm flesh.

“Wouldn't work – not for what I intend to do to you.”

“Yes? And what's that?”

“Ride you. Have your cock slide into me and feel you come.”

“Fuck, Charles!”

He could feel the lust coursing through Logan. It was tangible, like a creature writhing against Charles' mind. Intoxicating to play with it, leash it, hold it back before letting it break free.

“Yes, exactly. But not in here.” Charles sent the command into Logan's mind without voicing it out loud. He watched Logan's eyes go wide, as he let go off him and stepped back. His breathing sounded harsh, but he couldn't disobey. He got out of the shower and towelled down. At least Charles allowed him to slip out off the wet briefs. They hit the tiled floor with a wet splat, before Logan left.

Get onto the bed and lay down. You will wait for me, ready but not moving. You won't move at all, unless I tell you to. He could feel the surprise mixed with anticipation coming from Logan.

Charles got out of the shower and dried off quickly, before grabbing a bottle of lube. He leant against the tiled walls of the bath and squirted some lube onto his hand. Then he spread his buttocks with the other and started rubbing and pushing his slick fingers against his opening. The thought of having Logan's thick cock push inside him made him groan in anticipation. The sound carried into the bedroom and he felt Logan's attention from the next room rise. With a wicked smile Charles tugged at Logan's mind, letting him know, feel, what he was doing. How he worked his fingers into himself, pushing in deeper, trying to loosen himself up enough for Logan waiting on the bed.

Logan's mental protest made Charles' chuckle. He wanted to do that to Charles, stretch him slowly open with his fingers while Charles was spread out before him, spreading kisses down his back and ass... “Oh...” Charles gasped and managed to push three fingers in, his knees feeling weak.

He stayed like this, waiting for his breath to calm and his body to relax, before he pulled his hand back. He wiped his fingers on a towel, grabbed the lube for later use and then walked out of the bathroom.

Charles ran his gaze across Logan spread out on the bed. As he stepped into the bedroom, Logan's attention was on him. Though he couldn't move, he wanted to. Charles could see it in the way his muscles tensed, as if he were arching against an invisible bond tying him down. Charles licked his lips. It was tempting to simply walk over to the bed and let his hands run over the muscled arms and shoulders down his chest, following the rippling of taut muscles across Logan's belly, down the line of hair... But he made sure to stay out of Logan's limited field of vision first, circling the bed slowly.

“You look good, all for me, laid out on my bed.” Charles touched himself, taking his time, making sure the slide of skin on skin could be heard, as well as his rough breaths. He didn't hold back the small gasp when he touched his cock, sliding his hand along the slowly hardening length.

Logan's nostrils flared as he greedily sucked in air, that was heavy with his and Charles' arousal. Slowly Charles moved closer, he saw as much as felt Logan's focus on him.

He crawled onto the bed, deliberately close to Logan's hand, laying useless on the bed. He brushed his knee against it, watching Logan's face.

“Would you like me to use your hand? To touch me where and how I want.”

Logan's eyes widened, aroused yet he seemed unsure.

Charles bent down and kissed Logan's wrist, then moved up spreading more kisses along Logan's arm, feeling the tremble of muscles against his lips, and finally his shoulder. “All that strength and still here you are, unable to move unless I allow you to.”

“Yes, Charles, I'm all yours.”

Charles smiled at the rough sound of Logan's voice. He loved hearing his arousal, knowing he was the cause. “Good.” He sucked at Logan's nipples until they were hard. Logan wanted to arch up, but could only grunt with pleasure unable to move. Sweat was beading at the hollow at Logan's neck. He seemed ready to break from the intensity. Just then Charles moved down, spreading light kisses along Logan's stomach, down to Logan's hard cock, rising hard above his belly.

Before he reached it he drew back and grabbed the bottle of lube he'd dropped on the bed. He squirted a generous amount onto his hand and coated Logan's cock with it. He could feel Logan strain against his command to not move as lust built.

“Look at me. Watch.” Logan's gaze moved from Charles' face slowly down. Charles straddled him, and slowly guided Logan's cock to push past the tight ring of muscles. Despite preparing himself it still felt almost too big. His mouth fell open as he brushed against Logan's mind, drinking in his sensations of hot,tight,more,yes,so good,Charles! And he finally sank fully down.

Charles waited for his body to adjust, his gaze locked with Logan's.

Slowly, Charles rocked back and forth on Logan's cock, rising up from it before impaling himself on the thick shaft. He watched Logan's lips part as he moaned, the only thing he could do, while seeing in his mind all the things he wanted to do. Pull Charles closer, wrap him in his arms and fuck into him with wild force. Deliberately, Charles held still only clenching his ass around Logan's cock. The sound Logan made, a choked off groan, desperate and full of want, sent tingling shivers down Charles' body and his cock.

He didn't need to channel his focus like this, tightly wrapped up in Logan's mind it was easy to send the command for Logan to move the way he wanted, as it was to keep him completely still. But the anticipating gasp, the rise of need and lust in Logan along, had him make a show of pressing his fingers against his temple before he sent the order.

Logan moved his arm, and wrapped his fingers around Charles' cock, just tight enough, before he started to stroke him.

Charles found the perfect rhythm, fucking himself on Logan and letting the hand milk pleasure from his own cock. Not too fast, not too much, not yet... He kept the movement slow and languorously, letting their pleasure build and keeping it hanging in the balance, wanting to draw it out, floating endlessly in the sensation of pleasure.

“Charles – please, can't - “

Charles saw and felt Logan's need before he could put it in words. Gently he loosened his control, wrapped his fingers around Logan's wrists and pushed his hands back into the mattress, leaving him enough freedom to twist against the hold and grab fistful of sheets.

Logan's breathing still sounded harsh but slowly evened out. Charles leant forward, observing Logan's face.

“Sorry, it felt good but, too much – too intense. I'm sorry I couldn't...”

“Hush, it's okay. Do you need me to release you.”

Logan quickly shook his head. “No, please...”

“What do you need me to do then?”

There was a whirlwind of thoughts, images, ideas. Some passing almost too quickly to grasp. Charles tried to filter through them, but Logan finally took a shuddering breath and relaxed, letting go of the sheets. “I'm good.”

“You ready to let me take control again?”

“Yes, please.”

Again Charles pinned Logan's body down, making sure there was no sign of distress or panic from him. He shifted, feeling Logan's hard cock still in him. He started moving again. “Maybe I'll let you move a little, if I feel you deserve it.” He touched Logan's chest, running his fingers through the dark hair there, rubbing and toying with Logan's nipples until they were hard.

“How would you like me to move? Should I fuck myself slowly on you, or rather do it fast and rough?”

In between gasps and moans the words “Charles, fuck, yes, please,” could be made out.

“That's not an answer.” Charles chuckled breathlessly.

“Aaahh, please, however... however you want.”

The total submission felt hot inside him. “So good for me.”

Logan gasped as Charles released his hold a little and allowed him to move his head. Logan arched back his head in a grunt as Charles pushed himself up, until only the tip of Logan's cock stayed inside him then pushes himself down hard, picking up speed.

“Charles!”

It was all Logan seemed capable of saying, moaning, thinking. It was intoxicating and arousing and made Charles push them further, faster until they both came and he finally let Logan go.

Charles closed his eyes, engulfed in Logan's warm embrace, his hands caressing his body, while he kissed him, stealing the last of his breath away. They stayed entangled for a long time, Charles clinging to Logan who seemed intent to make up for not being able to touch Charles before. Yet every time Logan's fingers or mouth brushed one of the marks left by Erik, something twisted inside Charles.

Logan had left. He had been reluctant to do so, but Charles had told him that he might not get too much rest if Logan stayed. Charles then had eaten something, after some back and forth, decided to change the sheets and finally curled up in bed to sleep. When he woke again, it was already dark outside – and he was alone.

There was some disappointment in that, though he didn't want to admit it. His mind hovered close to the bond with Erik. Its whispering appeared louder, yet nothing precise came through. If he really wanted to know what Erik was doing or thinking, he would have to get closer.

Charles toyed with the idea until he finally pushed it aside.

Instead, he made himself something to eat again, though he wasn't exactly hungry. Yet the idea of accidentally pulling any more energy from Erik was even less appealing, than the large heap of noodles in front of him. Determined he attacked it with his fork, chewing and swallowing it without really tasting it. Absently he studied the fork's prongs. He pushed them against the inside of his wrist, watching as they dented his skin without piercing it.

Was Erik weakened because Charles had drained him too much?

He was almost ready to touch their link and – apologise – maybe, check on Erik. But what if Erik was feeding right now. Charles had felt the intensity of a vampire's hunger, a bottomless need and craving... Charles dropped the fork, as his throat tightened and his stomach suddenly rebelled. What if Erik was feeding on some innocent human to regain his energy? Charles pushed the plate aside. Erik's mouth filling with blood, while he sucked and swallowed, the human turning into a pale husk in his arms – because of Charles. He pressed his hand against his mouth and tried to breath. His eyes focused on the glass with water in front of him and he forced himself to look at it and study every detail, filling his mind with thoughts of the clear liquid, hard glass, the shapes of the drops clinging to it. The urge to gag slowly subsided and he managed to get up and throw the rest of the food in the trash.

Later in the bathroom he stood in the front of the mirror and tied a fresh scarf around his neck to hide the marks. Some looked more like hickeys now, after Logan had sucked on his skin, yet that might arouse suspicion of another kind. Diverting Moira's attention away from the idea that he and Logan were more than friends had to be enough. He'd rather hide the truth by more mundane ways from everyone else.

A tug at his not yet fully buttoned shirt revealed a bite mark Logan had left on his chest. It looked so different from Erik's set of teeth. Erik, where... Charles shook himself and buttoned his shirt back up.

By the time Charles and Logan entered Central Park at midnight, one hour before the gates would close, Charles still had an uneasy feeling at the pit of his stomach. They walked along one of the more well lit paths for a while in silence, before they veered off along a more smaller sparsely lit route. They only saw a handful people from afar, but most seemed to head for the park's exits.

“So has he come to visit you tonight yet?” There was no need for Logan to clarify who 'he' was.

The sudden question left Charles with a mix of guilt and tension. “No.”

Logan turned to look at him, eyebrows raised.

“Maybe I have – taken too much of his energy by freeing Angel. Or...” Or he was angry because of Logan. Or it had something to do with Frost. Though he was sure she wouldn't know about Angel yet. And that little stunt he'd pulled, when he looked in on her at the club, using Erik – she had no reason to think it was connected to Angel. Anyway, he was sure Frost couldn't cut Erik off from him.

“What are you thinking?” Logan asked softly.

Charles sighed. “That I know hardly enough to make any guesses.”

“We know I can't kill him now. I reckon, we have to make sure no-one else does either.”

Erik could take care of himself, and Charles couldn't quite wrap his mind around the idea that he should die too if Erik did. Would he simply drop dead, wither away slowly, or go in agony?

“I've been wondering, do you think this means you are immortal now, too.”

Charles stopped walking. “What?”

“It's either that, or he will die when you do from old age.” Logan had stopped as well and took in their surroundings, deliberately not looking at Charles.

Charles was rooted to the spot. Breathing was suddenly a lot harder. “I don't want to live forever.”

“I know – it sucks.” Logan suddenly started walking again, quickening his pace. But he wasn't fast enough for Charles not to catch some of his thoughts. He made to follow but stopped after a few steps. The idea wasn't something he wanted to think about – or having to deal with. Not now. Would that mean he would have to struggle forever? He shivered, staring at Logan's back.

'Logan, if – if somehow Erik's energy effects me like this, you know what that means! That I am as guilty as he is, when he feeds off humans. Logan you told me I wasn't a monster, but what else would that make me?'

Logan came to a halt. The set of his shoulders under the leather jacket was tense.

Slowly Charles walked towards him, until he stood right behind him. He slid his arms around Logan and pressed himself against his back. It was a little awkward, with the stakes concealed under his own jacket, digging uncomfortably against his ribs, but he ignored that.

It took some time before Logan started to relax, putting a hand on top of Charles'. He moved it up to Charles' wrist and took hold of it. His thumb caressed over Charles' skin. “Connected to you or not, Erik will feed. He's a vampire...” Logan's voice had dropped to a growl. He stopped to regain some composure. “You are not. You now have an edge for fighting them – for stopping more of them than before.”

“You know Frost thinks I will help them.”

“I'm not worried that you will.”

No, he wouldn't help her.

Still keeping hold of his wrist, Logan turned around to face Charles, then pulled him back close, wrapping his arms around him. Charles easily went along, resting his head against Logan's shoulder, drawing comfort from it.

“You know what I've learned over time, Chuck. Not to plan ahead too much. Doesn't do you much good, if things change suddenly. You've barely known about this link for two days now. Take your time to find out more about it. Don't judge yourself too harshly. If you're afraid, just know I'll call you out, if you do something bad.”

Then Logan added. “And learn to forgive yourself.” He spoke softly The hint of pain in his voice drew Charles in, tempting him to look at what had happened in Logan's past to have caused it. He knew nearly nothing of Logan before he joined the NIB. He'd been in his head, but there were places, memories, he hadn't looked – and wouldn't without being invited.

Charles looked up. The light was dim, but he was close enough to make out the tense expression in Logan's face.

“Thank you. I needed that.”

“Good.” Logan shifted, but Charles didn't let go and Logan settled back into the warm embrace.

Charles' smile deepened.

Logan raised an eyebrow, ready to ask, when Charles leant into him, put his hands around Logan's neck and pulled him down to kiss him. It took Logan by surprise, but he quickly grabbed Charles' jacket, tugging him close. Both moaned when they parted shortly.

It was so simple. The two of them, in the closed park in the middle of the night. No one to care, nor see.

Charles pulled himself up, wrapping his legs around Logan's waist and Logan was quick to put his hands on Charles' arse for support and push him further up. The little jostling didn't stop Charles from kissing Logan again, stroking the inside of his mouth with his tongue until Logan pushed back, making Charles gasp as he suggestively thrust his tongue in and out of Charles' mouth with sensual movements.

Suddenly Logan stopped and drew back. He was panting and his heart was racing. Logan made sure Charles wouldn't slip down, before he moved one hand to brush the hair back from Charles' face, tangling his fingers in the brown locks, before tracing his fingertips over his skin.

Charles shivered, really wanting those hands to explore other parts of his body.

“Okay – I guess that's what NIB's policy about 'no sex between team-partners' is about. It's hard to not think about ravishing you right here and now, instead of keeping a lookout for vampires.”

Unbidden, Moira's suspicions and him making sure that she didn't pursue them, popped into Charles' mind. He unwrapped his legs and slid down from Logan. “Logan I - “

“Sorry, Chuck - “ He swallowed hard, the motion drawing Charles' gaze to his neck. “Soon I wouldn't have wanted to stop.”

Charles licked his lips, distracted by the way they still tasted of Logan's saliva. It took a moment before he could answer. “Yes, I know, I mean. I - “

“Right, you wanted to say something.” Logan's attention was focused on Charles' lips. His mind came up with a number of ideas for them. Charles' lips around his cock, right here, in the dark park, sucking him off. Charles, drawn in by those thoughts, bit his lip, which in turn made Logan focus even more on those thoughts.

Logan's nostrils flared and Charles was sure he could smell his arousal. All it would take was one step closer. Then he could drop to his knees, hook his fingers in Logan's trousers, undo the button with his fingers and nuzzle the erection making the fabric strain until Logan was just begging him to set it free. He was sure he could get the zip between his lips and teeth to pull it down.

Logan's breathing hitched, his eyes widened and he groaned. “Charles, don't do this to me...”

Without meaning to he had been projecting his thoughts. “I'm sorry. I can give you the mental equivalent of a cold shower, if you want to.”

Almost reluctantly, Logan shook his head. “No, it's...” He had enjoyed those thoughts and images, and the prickling lust it brought along. He'd liked Charles having those thoughts and wanted to savour them some more, without acting on them – not now at least. “Walking it off will work, I think.”

Charles nodded, and after a few moments they both started moving, if slowly, along the path.

“Or a vampire attacking.”

“Attacking what?”

“Us, I mean, a vampire attacking would work as well as a cold shower.”

Logan snorted, but Charles could taste the amusement rolling off him. “Sure would.”

Charles stretched out his mind, partly to distract himself. “Sadly there is none in the vicinity.”

“Pity. Though there won't be much of a fight, if you can simply stop them.”

“If you'd rather have us end us working together, we just might as well fuck right here.”

“That's not what I was thinking.”

“No it wasn't. - You were thinking about my mouth wrapped around your cock.”

Logan growled. “Yes. And that I don't want to give Moira a reason to separate us. Not more than she might already have. I want to – I got used to working with you. We work well together.”

Charles still heard the 'I want to protect you.' But Logan was right. Not about the part that Moira would separate them because they slept with each other, since he had seen to that. But she might decide their skills, or rather Charles' new won abilities were better combined with someone else. “If Moira brings this up I will talk to her, and explain that we work best together. I'm sure she will listen.” And if not Charles could always make her. Absently he wrapped his arms around himself against the sudden chill.

For the most part they continue in silence, both of them having things to think about. Charles checked the perimeter with his mind from time to time, but the park was empty of vampires.

“I'd say this is mainly a waste of time.”

“I know.”

“Then why did you agree to this?”

Logan didn't answer.

“I'm fine. I ate, I slept...” He'd had no contact with Erik.

“So? You know how long it usually takes to recover from that amount of blood loss you had? You deserve a quiet night – just a walk in the park.”

“And this way Moira can keep my new skills quiet, before she decides how best to use them.”He shook his head. He hadn't thought it all through, not like Moira apparently had. At least that would mean no changes yet. She wouldn't want to draw attention to Charles, by splitting him and Logan up.

They walked on. The most exciting thing they saw was a family of mice scurrying across the path in front of them. Charles stopped and watched, until the last one had disappeared into the undergrowth.

“I guess we might as well head back.”

“Yes. It will still be dark when we get to the NIB, but late enough. You can check in on Angel if you want to, while I write a short report – and I can see you back home then. ”

Charles smiled. “Just see me home?”

“Well – you need your sleep. Though, if you want me to stay...”

It would be almost day when they finished, meaning Erik wouldn't come and surprise them. “I think I'll sleep better with you there. And we will have to do something about those lewd ideas, so you won't get distracted again next time.”

Logan snorted. “So I won't get distracted?”

“Yes, indeed.”

“Now who was that who had his legs wrapped around me and tried to kiss me senseless.”

“I simply tried to get some training lessons in. You know, how to get the upper hand with a taller opponent.”

“It it's training-lessons you want, I can give you those.”

Logan made a sudden grab for him and Charles danced out of the way, chuckling. “I'd say we keep this for my place as well. I have a soft mattress - and I can show you how quick I can have you on your back - again. ”

Logan gave him a leery grin, then sobered a little. “We should take time for some real training though. Once what you can do is out, you will probably turn into a target. You will have to fend off multiple attackers. Also if Frost gets involved, you might not be able to control all or any of the vampires attacking you.”

“Weren't you the one who told me not to plan too far ahead?”

“Being prepared and planning ahead are two different things, Chuck.”

Any vampires trying to kill him probably wouldn't go after him directly, but attack Erik. If they knew about their link. He should have asked Frost how commonly this was known. Big chance to find that out now, since he knew he wouldn't be able to be very civil around her should he have to talk to her again.

Charles' heartbeat quickened, goosebumps rose at the back of his neck and it was as something inside him tightened. Breathing was almost painful, as if something was pressing against his ribs. Suddenly everything came into focus, more sharply.

Turning slowly on the heel, his eyes searched the surrounding darkness and deeper shadows.

His breath stuttered, as he felt something akin to a caress, touching his whole body. “Erik.” The name came as a whisper. But he knew Erik could hear him, could hear his thoughts.

“Chuck, what's the matter?”

There was nothing hiding in the shadows, but he could sense Erik. He knew he was here, close-by. Charles looked up.

Chapter Text

Erik was hovering a few meters above Charles, cape billowing behind him, haloed by the purplish city-light

Charles licked his lips. “Erik - “

Slowly Erik descended, then suddenly stopped, still hovering about two meters above the ground, his gaze focused on something behind Charles. Someone. Charles' mind was on Erik, yet he spared a little to touch Logan, who was tense. There was an flash of his vision distorted, as Charles blinked. He saw Logan from above, his claws were out and he looked ready to attack. Everything was tinged in an angry pulsing red.

Charles shook his head, dizzy at the odd double focus and turned around.

Logan made a step closer, apprehension rolling off him in waves. He tried to keep his eyes on Erik, but was compelled to look at Charles. Suddenly he growled and for a moment Charles was sure he would attack Erik, who was raising a hand to stop Logan.

“Fuck.” Logan retracted the claws and lowered his arms, hands balled to fists that were trembling slightly. His gaze caught Charles', and his expression was overshadowed by devastating helplessness, before he pressed his lips together and looked up at Erik again. “Afraid to come down, vampire?”

“Charles, I came to see you.” Erik sounded perfectly calm, hiding the tension Charles could sense regardless.

“Logan... please.” Despite being sure Logan had no intention in killing Erik and thus Charles, Charles was sure he would defend himself, if Erik attacked him. And currently he wanted Erik to attack so he could take his frustration out on him. Disregarding that Erik could control the metal in Logan's very bones. Charles was neither keen on finding out what would happen if Erik got too close to Logan. Would he feel it if Erik was hurt? Nor was he eager to see Erik trying to tear Logan apart.

He caught Logan's eyes for a moment, then turned towards Erik. He still had to look up. “Why don't you come down here and we can talk.”

“I only came to talk to you!”

“I trust Logan.”

Erik snarled, but then dropped the last meters and took the few steps towards Charles. Reaching to touch Charles face, he suddenly dropped his hand though. His gaze shifted from him to Logan.

Charles felt how much Erik disliked – no, hated the fact that he was sleeping with Logan. You could see it in his face too, and with the way he looked at Charles. But he didn't say anything because he believed Charles was doing it to punish him. Charles realised that moment, that Erik was aware of a lot more what he was doing than he'd thought.

Though why Charles hadn't noticed... Almost guiltily he remembered that every time he was drawn to the link, he pushed it aside. Except when he went through Erik to see what Frost was doing. Something Erik seemed to have simply accepted. Charles searched Erik's face, suddenly apprehending that Frost might want to take out whatever Charles did on Erik. But Erik looked fine. A little pale perhaps, but otherwise not different.

But of course he wouldn't show any weakness, not in front of Logan. Or anyone. Anyone but Charles. For a moment Charles thought of the moment he had realised Erik was a vampire – and the night spent at the British Museum.

Charles took hold of Erik's hand and pulled it up to press it against his lips.

Erik held completely still, as if not daring to move. Only as Charles let go, did Erik's fingers twitch, seeking to touch Charles' lips, before dropping his hand.

“So what was it you wanted to talk to me about?” Charles finally asked.

But Erik hadn't forgotten Logan was still there. “I don't trust him.”

“Neither do I you, vampire.”

Erik looked at Charles as if he had been proven a valid point, but Charles only shook his head. “So far you have attacked Logan twice. He has little reason to trust you.”

“Don't forget he hurt you, Chuck.”

Erik hissed, baring fangs and he raised his arm again, fingers splayed. Charles could feel Erik's powers prickling across his skin, the sense of metals, the low level feel of earth's magnetic field around them, spilling into him. He put his hand on Erik's arm. Before he even had to put pressure on it to force it down, Erik let it sink on his own.

“He knows nothing!”

“I've seen how you chewed up Charles' body. Even...” Logan stopped, but Charles could hear him think that Charles had told him that it was arousing to get bitten.

“And didn't you try to leave marks of your own?” The insult hit home. Yet it was flavoured with bitterness, the knowledge that Logan had been intimate with Charles.

“Stop it, both of you!” Charles soft, yet firm voice silenced them both. He looked from Erik to Logan, only then realising that he had frozen them both. He let go, but neither spoke. Goosebumps rose all over his body, but Charles continued with a calm he didn't feel. “I'm not some bone the two of you can fight over. Apart from the fact that Logan won't fight you, because he doesn’t want to hurt me.”

Logan growled, but otherwise kept his mouth shut, so Charles looked at Erik. “What do you know? We didn't get to – talk. I'm not sure Frost told me everything, so what do you know?” He could just go into Erik's mind and pluck it out.

Erik kept looking at Logan, then back at Charles. “He has no right to know.”

“Logan already does know. I've shown him my whole conversation with Frost. As I said, I trust him.”

“Do you trust me?”

The question caught Charles by surprise. “Not so long ago you still meant to kill me.”

“After...”

“I'm sorry.” Charles was, in a way. He never should have been so cowardly to lock Erik up again. Not after he'd known how he'd suffered, being the one to have freed him. It had been exceptionally cruel... though of course, at that time, he had wanted Erik to suffer.

Through the bond he knew Erik picked up what Charles wasn't saying out loud anyway.

“Raven...”

“No!” Charles spoke the one word so loudly, Logan flinched.

Erik closed his mouth.

“I don't want you to speak of her.”

“But, she...”

“No!” He sealed Erik's lips with a finger – as well as his mind. Erik frowned, and tried to push against the command, get past it, and then gave in with gritted teeth.

Only strong emotions could turn into hate. He remembered Logan asking “Were you in love with him?”

“Does Frost know I checked on her yesterday, using our bond?”

“Yes – and no. I told her you came to check on me and sort of overdid it, 'spilling out'. She is distrustful, but I stuck with the story and she didn't accuse me outright of lying to her.”

“Didn't she know you were lying?”

Erik smiled and tapped the side of his head. “It's all you in there now, Charles. She can't see what I'm thinking.”

Charles cupped Erik's face with his hand, frowning in concentration as he took a look. Looking into Erik's mind was easy since the bond. The shields surrounding Erik's mind were so familiar Charles hadn’t even noticed they were there. They were his own. It was oddly intimate to find something so personal of his in Erik's mind like it belonged there. Charles swallowed, trying to not let it effect him and keep his voice firm. “Why didn't you tell her the truth? I thought you were – allies.”

“I wanted to know why you did it first.” Only as Erik moved his head, his mouth brushing against Charles' pulse fluttering in his wrist, did he notice he had been caressing Erik's face. Reluctantly he dropped his hand.

“And then?”

“I can't do anything you don't want me to.”

“I can't stop you from feeding. I'm not – I'm not in your head all the time.”

“You never seemed concerned with it when we met.”

“I was a stupid fool then. I learned my lesson the hard way. I'm not forgetting what you are now.”

“What I am? A monster, right. – I never forgot that you kill my kind. And now I'm yours.”

“I didn't do this on purpose. If I had any control over it, I would... if I could, I...” Charles' throat grew tight and he couldn't bring himself to say that he would undo it. Because he didn't know if it was true. “Neither of us had a choice in this.” Mine? Erik is mine?

“Charles?” Logan's voice drew Charles' attention. 'You're not a monster, never forget that. Whatever he says – you're not.'

It was getting harder to believe.

“So, is there anything Frost told you, she didn't tell to me?”

“I should ask you to give me something for the information. But then you can just take it now. On the other hand I know you also want to give me what I would ask for.” 'Charles, I want to touch you, I want to listen to your heartbeat, the rush of your blood, knowing you won't run from me. But that you're mine, always, just like I'm yours.'

The thoughts were more an intimate caress. He could communicate with everyone, but with Erik it was more familiar because - no barriers. There is nothing I could keep him out with.

“Then quit playing around and waste our time and tell him already.”

Erik bared his fangs and this time Charles, still dazed from the intimate touch of Erik's mind wasn't fast enough. Erik flicked his hand in Logan's direction. Logan was tossed through the air and hit a nearby tree.

“No! Erik!” Charles' grabbed hold of Erik's hand and mind. Erik's power lay bare before him, and he pulled it away from Logan.

Logan groaned in pain. But he shook himself and got back on his feet as Charles rushed over to him. He kept a tight hold on Erik the whole time, aware of the frustration rolling off him. Yet oddly he didn't struggle against Charles' hold. For a brief moment he wondered if it was because Erik knew he stood no chance in freeing himself or because he was actually willing to listen.

“Logan, are you alright?”

Logan snorted. “That was nothing. I've had a lot worse.” Still he leant on Charles as he put his arms on Logan. The rise of frustration coming from Erik showed it had exactly the effect Logan was hoping for.

He shouldn't play their game. He needed to decide – but there was no real choice for him. His fingers curled around Logan's biceps, while he felt Erik press against his mind like a purring cat, demanding his attention. Suddenly Erik's frustration changed to determination.

“Charles, you asked me about Frost. She wanted to read me after the bond fell into place. But she couldn't. She hadn't expected that. Then yesterday- she wanted me to inform her, if I noticed any changes. She was concerned for me, at least that's what she wanted me to think.” How eager Erik was to give up the information now, simply to draw Charles' attention back to him and away from Logan. “She told me as well, that the bond can't be broken or undone. Other vampires ended up being controlled by the telepath who bonded with them. I told her you weren't after power. Emma wasn't convinced,and offered to help me. Since she is a telepath she thought it might be worth trying, if you showed any hints of controlling me absolutely. I think she wanted to know at the earliest opportunity, if she had to kill me – kill us.”

Charles turned towards Erik, drawn by the hidden pain. Again – it was happening again. Like the cell, made to hold Erik because a vampire thought him too dangerous and a threat to his own position of power. Only this time he wasn't to be locked up but killed, this time Charles wasn't there to drag him out of the cell, this time Charles would go down with him. Charles who had himself locked him away...

Charles was halfway back to Erik, when Logan said: “Most of that we already knew. Including that now we have to make sure no vampire harms you 'cause it would kill Charles.”

“Logan. I have to talk with Erik alone now. Please, could you head back to headquarters as we discussed and - I'll see you tomorrow?”

He looked over his shoulder at Logan who wasn't happy about Charles' sudden change of mind. “Are you sure, Chuck?”

“Yes. Please.” Please don't make this harder for me as it is. Please don't make me choose.

Logan looked at Charles, then slowly walked over, wary of Erik yet also resolute. It probably helped that Erik didn't appear smug. “Just promise me to take care.” Logan cupped Charles' face in his hands and pressed their lips together, much too briefly. Charles was aware of Erik this time, watching and simply being there. “Don't let him do anything you don't want to.”

“I can't – don't you see. I can't do anything he doesn't allow me to do.” Again the voice was void any taunt.

Logan frowned, as confused as Charles felt. Then he shortly squeezed Charles' shoulder, before he stepped back and reluctantly started walking away. Charles looked after him, until he was swallowed by the dark. Then he turned towards Erik, who hadn't moved at all.

“I'm sorry, Erik.” He only said it softly, but certain Erik would hear.

“What for?”

Charles didn't quite know himself. For Logan and him, for the bond, for taking Erik's choice away, for locking him up... Charles walked up to Erik, close, but not yet touching. He wanted to, but was feeling anxious all of a sudden.

“Can we go – somewhere. Somewhere private. To talk some more.”

“Yes - “

“Not the Hellfire Club.” They said it both at the same time.

Charles drew in a hissing breath between his teeth.

Erik smiled. “We agree.”

“On something. Yes.”

“Your home then?”

Charles nodded.

“Flying will be faster.”

Charles stepped forward, maybe a little too eager, almost colliding against Erik. But before he could step back again, Erik slid an arm around him. Charles put his hands around Erik's neck.

“I won't let you drop.”

“I'm not afraid.”

Perhaps he should have said he was. It was a better explanation for his rapid beating heart. Though he was way more in control than the last time they met, he couldn't deny the effect Erik had on his body. Especially now that he was so close, the whole length of his body moulded against Erik – who started floating up.

Charles tightened his grip as gravity suddenly tugged at him, before Erik did- something. A little adjustment of his powers and Charles felt almost weightless as they floated up. The only thing he was anchored too, being Erik himself. He wondered, if this was how Erik felt now, with his mind tied to Charles. But he found himself quickly distracted by the view.

Erik went up high, the park turning into a long dark patch of nothing underneath them. Parted by a stretch of glittering lights marking streets and buildings, the Hudson River ran as a dark band parallel to it.

Amazed, Charles looked down. “Do you remember, the first time, you flew with me across the Thames?”

“I remember every moment spent with you.”

Charles knew Erik meant it. He still looked down but his mind was pulled to past memories. Finally he turned towards Erik and buried his face against Erik's neck. He revelled in the feeling of the cool skin pressed against his face.

Erik was surprised but hesitantly hugged Charles closer.

“I think I loved you, back then. That’s why I hated you so much, after...” Saying it out loud made him a little dizzy, or maybe it came from the sensation of floating.

“And now?” Erik's voice came out as a hoarse whisper.

“I should still hate you.”

“Why? You punished me already.”

Had he punished him enough? Had he even had the right to do such a thing. He'd been selfish, because otherwise he would have killed Erik for being a vampire long ago. Yet he only took action as he hurt him personally by taking his sister. “I think I no longer hate you, but only myself.”

“Why, Charles?”

“I feel like I'm on the brink of something. And either will it tear me apart or change me so much that - “ that I will turn into a monster.

“A monster?”

Erik had heard his thoughts, though he hadn't deliberately sent them his way. He shuddered.

Erik pulled his cape tighter around Charles. “What happens to you will happen to me now. So if you're torn apart...”

Erik would experience the same? He didn't seem conflicted about the whole situation as Charles was. If Charles were to break under the strain and – loose his mind, Erik wouldn't. Or would he. Was he already feeling Charles' doubts? And what if he turned into a monster and Erik became a little less of one. Could that happen. Or would they together become even worse, like Frost had said. A monster feared even by vampires?

“Would you die if I did?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know how it would happen?”

“Emma thinks, the aftershock of the bond between us being broken would cause so much damage that the brain would simply – shut down.”

“I see.”

An intimate thought was forming in Erik's mind, one he only tentatively offered Charles, who was reluctant to accept it. Erik was glad. He wouldn't want to go back to a life without Charles.

It had been easier when Erik had wanted him dead.

Outwardly there was no reaction, but inside he felt Erik recoil from their bond. It quietened down, despite their close proximity to each other. The same way it had seemed quiet to him during the day.

Part of him pondered about the possibilities. Was it possible for Erik to choose what Charles experienced through the bond, or was it more a reflex that let him withdraw when he was upset or angry? Another part was feeling guilty. But he couldn't bring himself to reach out to Erik.

Both stayed lost in their own thoughts for the rest of the time it took to reach Charles' apartment.

Erik gave the terrace a wide birth, opening the window with a flick of his wrist. As it swung open Charles contemplated that the work Logan and he had put into securing the place against vampires, pretty much redundant. It would still work against Frost and other vampires though.

Erik pulled the cape back and the cool night air hit Charles. Awkwardly he stepped onto the windowsill and turned around so he could jump into the room. Erik kept his hands on him the whole time, making sure he didn't slip. Still the whole manoeuvre made Charles feel rather clumsy, especially when Erik followed him inside, the change from floating to dropping into the room done rather gracefully, the cape sliding across the windowsill, before billowing around him when he stepped into the room.

Charles watched. He'd started to feel a restlessness ghosting along his skin. As if he were missing their connection. Before he realised what he was doing, he had his arm outstretched, beckoning Erik to come closer.

Erik pulled off his cape and dropped it on the windowsill, then came willingly into Charles' arms, pulling him into an embrace. The bond flared up again, as Erik again offered that confession. He was glad to share this with Charles.

Charles grabbed a fistful of Erik's turtle-neck, as if he could keep him from drawing back again. “It makes it fucking complicated. For both of us. And it's not fair that neither of us had a choice in this. I would lie if I'd say I would choose it. But I would also lie if I said, given the choice, I wouldn't hesitate to undo it.”

Erik's hold of him tightened to almost painful, but Charles didn't complain. They stayed like this until Charles couldn't keep still any longer and needed to shift his weight.

“Charles, will you let me listen to your heartbeat?”

Charles licked his lips. When they agreed on coming here to talk, he had somehow thought they would sit down on the couch downstairs, where chances where slimmer that the talking would turn into something else. Now he dismissed that idea.

He took off his jacket, shirt and scarf, dropping everything on the ground, then pulled off his shoes and got onto the bed. Glad he'd taken the time to change the sheets after having had sex with Logan. He pushed back a pillow so he could lie down with his head resting against the backrest of the bed.

Erik was staring at him, lips parted, gaze moving across Charles' naked skin, from bite-mark to bite-mark. Charles had a feeling that Erik's gaze lingered longer where Logan had left his marks.

“Come here.”

Erik pulled off his jacket and shoes, then made to get onto the bed.

“No! Take off your shirt too.”

A mix of confused and hopeful pulsated along their bond, as Erik pulled off the turtle-neck he wore and placed it on the chair, where he had already dropped his jacket, a lot neater than Charles.

Then he got onto the bed, and as Charles didn't say anything more, he crawled on top of him, a cool weight, pressing his cheek against Charles' chest. Charles wrapped his arms around Erik who brought his up alongside Charles and pushed them under his shoulders.

Charles relaxed, and more felt than heard Erik sigh in response.

If only they could stay like this. But as soon as they were to talk, their differences would emerge again, tearing at them.

So he simply examined their connection. As he opened himself a little to it, he noted the contentment from Erik. It was more intimate even than their naked skin touching. Slowly he pulled just a tiny amount of energy from Erik, to better understand how it worked.

Erik grunted and Charles gently rubbed a hand across Erik's back, before he tried to push something back. It seemed to fizzle out, before it reached Erik. Maybe he had to feed that hunger in Erik directly. But Charles didn't want to try this, if he didn't have to.

Instead he looked into Erik's mind, to see how he reacted. It was strange how easily Erik let it seep away, pleased, apparently.

Charles toyed with the connection some more, trying to see how much he could mute it, something that left both him and Erik edgy, up to the point where Erik lifted his head to observe Charles. He didn't say anything in protest, but there was something Charles noted. Erik's gaze shifted from his face to his neck,as if the hunger in him grew, the more Charles tried to close himself off. What he couldn't discern was if it was Erik's need for blood or his need for Charles' blood that was growing. But there seemed to be a need to make up for the loss of their connection by something else.

He'd been so intent on Erik's reaction that he almost missed his own hands, caressing along the width of Erik's back. He forced his hands to lie flat against Erik's skin, ignoring the slight tremble.

Charles bit his lip. There was something else he should try now. Perhaps he should talk it through with Erik first. But any moment he hesitated, he grew more reluctant.

Before he could change his mind he closed his eyes and opened himself completely to their bond. Everything came rushing in from Erik, like a wave, pulling him under and lifting him up. He gasped for breath.

Erik groaned, burring his face against Charles' chest. His grip on Charles' shoulder tightened.

The maelstrom of emotions and impressions swirled around them. It was a mix of memories merging, before breaking apart again. Emotions, familiar and strange tore into him. Dizzy, Charles lost his bearing, unable to discern where he ended and Erik started. All he managed to do, was to throw up a shield around them both, to contain whatever was happening.

He could feel Erik, he was Erik, down to the last fibre of his body, the control over metal and magnetic fields, sizzling along his skin and through him. He grew aware of all the metal around them, singing to them, to him.

And slowly Erik's hunger crept along, entwined in their connection, growing, feeding the monster,whispering, edging them on, tendrils sneaking into their mind. Feed me. Suddenly it was so simple and easy. Why had he hesitated, what had kept him back? All he had to do was let go, no one would stop them. No one could.

Erik's teeth sunk into his flesh. The pleisure-pain, brought back his focus. This was his, his body, his mind.

Their bond was still open but the first tidal wave had been sucked back and left them with the gentle brushes and licks of each the other washing into each other, a constant touching.

“...Charles?...Charles!? Charles!?...”

He became aware of Erik calling his name. Erik's face swam back into focus, pale and worried, his lips stained red with Charles' blood and his eyes brimming with tears.

Charles touched Erik's face.

“Charles?”

“Yes.”

“Are you … you suddenly...” Erik's gaze travelled between Charles' eyes and his mouth.

Charles realised he was smiling. “I didn't realise...” It had been frightening and yet, wonderful.

“You were everywhere.” Erik said, his voice choked. He licked his lips, realised they were still stained with blood and tried to clean them with his tongue, raising his hand to wipe them.

“No.” Charles pulled himself up and pressed his mouth against Erik's, kissing him. He shivered as Erik's sharp teeth pressed against his lips. Through Erik his own blood tasted neither metallic nor nauseating, but sweet and full of life. It was quenching a little of Erik's hunger, that was, despite being sated, not dormant now.

It was Erik who drew back first. “I thought you would - “ Erik was searching a word to describe the way Charles had permeated him, and the way he seemed to spread through him, getting carried away. Charles realised that was why Erik had bitten him. Not to sate the rising hunger, but to pull Charles back from it.

Suddenly Charles wasn't certain if it had been just Erik's hunger or if it was something new, something rising from the both of them.

Charles shivered, as the elating feeling ebbed away slowly, leaving cold dread behind. Could he even see what he was turning into, or would Erik and Logan have to pull him back. He laughed, an odd sound, bitter and choked.

Erik's hand caress his chest above his heart. It was beating frantically.

“I'm sorry,” Charles said.

“You said that before.”

“Yes. I'm sorry for being scared. For not being able to do what I should have done and locking you up instead.”

Erik's hand stilled. “You think you should have killed me?”

“It would have been less cruel.”

“I wouldn't be here then.”

“Yes, you wouldn't be tied to me and – I won't side with you or Frost. It comes down to the same. They will kill us.”

“I can still change your mind.” Erik smiled.

Charles shook his head. He put his hand on Erik's head, combing his fingers through his hair. “I'm afraid I will change yours before that happens.” He knew it, he'd felt it, he could.

Erik bent his head a little, so Charles no longer could see his face, but he still felt his emotions and thoughts clearly. It was a mix of stubborn anger and grim determination.

“I said I couldn't do anything you didn't want me to. But why won't you listen.”

“Because I can't agree with letting vampires prey on those weaker. I can't agree with what Frost plans. She – she tried to take Angel back. After we rescued her. She planted that idea in her that she would go back to her and let her turn her.”

“Would you be able to kill Angel then? Once she was turned into a vampire.”

Charles thought of the hunger the vampires felt. Thought of what Angel would be able to do. Swoop down from the air and snatch up unsuspecting humans and sink her fangs into them, only to drop them drained of blood somewhere their bodies wouldn't be found. “Yes.”

Erik shook his head. “You really think it would be so easy. If she were standing in front of you, the same person, the person you had known, talked to... you could kill her, cold-blooded?”

Charles pressed his lips together.

“I wonder if... if...” Erik struggled to say more, but snarled silently as Charles command that forbid him to mention Raven made it impossible for him to speak. Finally he gave up. “If your Logan were to be turned. Would you kill him? Or would you realise he hadn't changed that much? Is that what you've been afraid of. Why you've been so angry with me. Because you didn't want to face the truth?”

Charles throat felt tight. Even if it couldn't happen, not with Logan's healing abilities. “He can't be turned. He heals – he can't be turned.”

“Then why did you not kill me?”

Because – because with Erik he had thought him to be human first. Because he saw in him more than the monster. Charles was aware he knew little of Erik before he'd been turned, though now he could go into Erik's mind and look. But what would he find. An Erik who was so very different from the one he knew, this Erik a shadow of his human self – or someone who was not that much different, except for the hunger. And what would that imply.

Perhaps Erik was right. No. Because if he had seen Raven turned, and she'd been not that much different, he would have to rethink what he had done, all the vampires he had killed. It was easier to think that Erik was simply – different. But they kill... Driven by their hunger. Did they have a choice? The choice to starve. But he had seen what centuries of hunting had done to them. It was a game, a sport – to all? To some...

Would he ask Erik to starve, or would he just turn a blind eye on his feeding and welcome him into his arms each night.

“Charles, I don't think Emma should have done this. But I think you were wrong about – wrong too. If mutants were to fear vampires less, they might choose to be turned.”

“Choose what, Erik? To become monsters? Choose that constant craving, that hunger?”

Erik turned his head away, but Charles felt his frustration.”Go ahead. Change my mind then. You will do it sooner or later, right.”

Charles balled his hands to fists. “I won't...”

“Just as you promised not to leave me.”

“Erik...” Charles felt Erik withdraw from his side of the bond. The emptiness it left behind was physical. He can't disappear, he can't destroy the connection. Why was he suddenly so glad about that? Charles took hold of Erik's shoulders. Sullenly, Erik tried to pull away, but Charles decisively pushed him onto his back, and climbed on top of him.

“Why didn't you turn me then when you had the chance?”

Erik didn't struggle, only stared. Then ran his fingertips across Charles cheek. “I didn't want you to hate me for eternity.”

Charles closed his eyes and hung his head. They were going in circles and there was no way out. Neither of them would change their mind, How were they to go from here? Finally he slumped forward, resting his face beside Erik's, in the pillow. “Please...”

He reached for Erik through the bond, and Erik put his arms around him, pulling him close, just as the susurration in the connection intensified again. It didn't solve anything, but Charles started to relax.

They moved until they both lay on their side, legs entangled, wrapped in each other's arms. Erik had buried his face against Charles neck, listening to his heart pumping blood through his body. He could feel their connection pulse in the same rhythm.

Chapter Text

Charles sat on his bed, legs crossed, and looked out over the city, where the sky grew pale with the first light of dawn.

Phone in hand, he typed a message to Logan. 'I'm alright. Will go to sleep now, plan to not get up before 1pm.' He hesitated, not wanting to assume and at the same time in need to see Logan. He read the short message again. It did imply that he wanted to see him, right? He pushed send, then fretted. What if Logan didn't read the implied 'can you come over' into it. Charles needed him to know for sure that he wanted him here.

Finally he added. 'You can come over any time.' There. This was pretty forward.

He dropped back onto the bed and pulled the pillow close. It still smelt faintly of Erik. Curling up around it, Charles closed his eyes and quickly drifted off to sleep.


Charles' head lolls from side to side. He blinks, but everything is blurred. His body feels far away, as if his head isn't attached to it. Slowly his hand, lying next to his head, swims into focus. His long fingers are covered in blood – blood that is seeping out from a long ragged gash at his wrist. It looks like some kind of animal had mauled him. Yet he doesn't feel pain.

“Keine Angst, mein Kleiner. Alles wird wieder gut.” He remembers his mother saying, rocking him gently in his arms, after he fell and scraped both his knees, leaving them a bloody mess.

He remembers the way she smelled. The warm-sweet smell from the kitchen and baking mixed with the fresh scent of the washing-soda.

Yes, everything will be alright. He doesn't have to worry.

Strong arms suddenly pull him upwards. He wants to move, but can't. Instead he lets himself be manhandled, as if he were nothing but a doll. A broken doll. Cold fingertips brush his throat. He realises, it's his pulse they are searching. His head drops forward, and he sees the red staining his shirt, and the large tear on his other wrist too. He remembers, dimly... Something, someone attacking him...

“Finally. Though it's a good sign that your body fought to survive for so long. You will become a strong one.”

A man's voice. He has heard it before.

He wants to ask what he is talking about, but can't form the words. He feels weak, and tired. So tired. His eyes fall shut. He wants to sleep.

But strong fingers grip his neck and something wet and cold is shoved against his mouth. It tastes and smells like wet metal. His stomach churns. He wants to turn his head away, but there is no strength in him. The wet trickles onto his tongue. He gulps reflexively – again – and again, as more warm liquid floods his mouth.

With the strange warmth, slowly trickling into him, he realises how cold he is. But it doesn't reach down far enough, not yet, it's not enough.

He grips the arm in front of him. He needs more. He latches his mouth onto the liquid's source and sucks. Warm blood floods his mouth. It tastes slightly sour at the tip of his tongue, before the rich flavour runs down his throat, drowning out his senses.

Something stirs, deep within him. Slithering out of the depths. And suddenly the world explodes in pain. His whole body is taken by a seizure, limbs turn rigid as burning cold crawls along them. All the heat he greedily had gulped down suddenly turns to freezing fire in his veins. He can't breath. There is only endless pain.

He comes to in total darkness.

The sound of beating drums comes close-by.

He tries to roll onto his stomach and locate its source. It's important. His eyes hurt and he blinks as suddenly in the dark he starts to see a red shape, glowing faintly, or – no, not glowing. It's pulsing along with the drumbeat.

Sharp pain still gnaws at his inside, prominent enough to demand his attention. But instinct tells him, it will get better, once he reaches the pulsing red thing. He starts crawling, too weak to get up. The dirty stone floor under his hands hardly registers. A low hissing and groaning mixes with the drumming rhythm, but it doesn't grow louder or fainter but is a constant companion of his struggles.

Finally he reaches it, his hand touches the red pulsing thing and it feels warm and so – so alive under his hand. It gives a soft whimper, as he drags himself on top of it and for a moment he hesitates. Pain crawls through his gums and his teeth, as if they were pulled out by an invisible force. The upper incisors press sharply against his lips and he chokes.

“Good. You're awake.” The familiar voice is back. But he hisses. He doesn't want him close to his red-warm-pulsing thing.

Suddenly a cold hand grabs him at the back of his neck, clamping down like a vice. He tries to struggle, but he's to weak. There is something about that man, calling out to him. Something metal. He reaches for it and is slapped hard in the face for his trouble. The world spins for a moment but the pain is quickly fading. Unlike the gnawing pain deep inside him. This only seems to intensify. He growls.

“Now, now, Erik. Manners! I've already had my share and there is enough blood in this one left to sate your first hunger. But don't forget who is making sure you are fed instead of leaving you to fend for yourself.”

He stops struggling. It seems all he can do.

“Do you understand.”

He tries to speak, but no sound comes out.

“Breath, Erik.”

The command is bewildering, but then he does. Air fills his lungs and it seems odd, unnecessary. He hasn't been breathing until now. He didn't need to breath? He nearly chokes, but then gets out a hoarse,“Yes –“ The grip tightens and he complies.“ Yes, Sir.”

“See, Erik. It's not hard. Now you may feed.” The man lets go and he falls down, face first, hitting something soft and warm. It smells sweet and heady. He moves his mouth across it until he finds a place where the drumbeat is heavy against his lips, then he bites down.

Warm blood gushes into his mouth and he drinks, greedily. He only faintly registers the soft whimper and weak movement from the human under him, all he can care is the warm pulsing filling his mouth, the intoxicating smell clouding his nose, and the warmth spreading through him, soothing away the gnawing pain. It comes so fast some flows out of his mouth before he can gulp it down. Its running down his chin and neck. He shivers excitedly at the idea of plunging his whole body into the rich hot blood.

The hissing and groaning his gone, replaced by breathless little sounds of joy as he licks and sucks and tries to take it all in until there is no more blood trickling from the wound. He falls back and stares, feeling aware of the metal around him, singing to him in an intensity like never before.

The darkness has suddenly come alive.

Charles drifted awake, licking his lips, as if he could still taste blood on them. Warm, sweet,... he touched his lips, fingers lingering for a moment. They were only wet with his own saliva.

The dream had seemed so real.

He slowly sat up, still dazed, only slowly comprehending what this dream had been - a memory. Not his, but Erik's.

Slowly the sense of excitement drains from his body, as the reality of the scene hits home. He experienced Erik being turned, the first time he drank human blood, the first time he killed. Shaw had drained Erik, then fed him some of his blood. He remembered the voice, more from Erik's memories than when he'd encountered the vampire briefly before Erik had killed him.

Luckily the images faded quickly as dreams usually did, leaving him more with a sense of worry. Charles reached for the bond and found it like they had left it, open enough to easily touch Erik through it.

Erik stirred.

Had he been dreaming?

Charles let himself slip into Erik's mind through their link. Just like he'd done when he had been looking if Frost was controlling Angel from afar, but only slower, not using Erik as a stepping stone but Erik being his goal.

Erik's mind didn't feel like a humans would after waking from a dream. He noticed that Erik was keeping still, as if he were accepting whatever Charles would do. He could simply sift through Erik's memories and see if he found one matching his dream.

'Do you remember being turned into a vampire?'

Tension seeped through the bond, mixed with stubborn defiance.

'Yes. But I don't want to think about it.

Instinctively, Charles reached out, but his hand only touched the pillow next to himself. He sank down with a huff, then put his fists against his chest, clenching and unclenching before absently rubbing over his chest.

He suddenly noticed something change, as Erik's attention rose.

Charles hesitated, then let his hand travel from his chest, down across his belly on a slow caress, ending with only the tip of his fingers doing a swirl around his bellybutton. He closed his eyes. This wasn't his body he was touching, it felt cooler, didn't rise and fall with each breath and there was no heartbeat.

Cool fingers slid across his skin, raising goosebumps.

He nearly pulled back his hand, but then, reluctantly let it linger. Hesitantly he touched one nipple, the tips of his fingers rubbed over it and the spark of arousal that suddenly vibrated between Erik and himself took him by surprise in its intensity.

Erik was mimicking Charles' touch on his own body, against his own skin. That's why he felt as if he were caressing Erik's body while he felt both, the touching and as if he were being touched.

A sigh escaped Charles lips, that turned into a small moan as he felt Erik's lips ghosting against his neck.

This was something else, something connected to the bite-marks Erik had left there.

What else could they do, given time to explore it?

Charles touched his fingers to his lips. He slowly licked them, before sliding them into his mouth, sucking on them. The duality of the experience made him dizzy, but it did nothing to drown out his growing arousal. Or was it Erik's? He was sure he'd heard him moan.

Charles licked his hand – Erik's hand? - and reached down to grasp his cock, finding Erik half hard already. He arched into Erik's touch. The way he tightened his fingers around him, was perfect. The strokes started slow, thumb rubbing teasingly across the sensitive head. Charles' hips arched off the bed. Erik thrust into his fist, greedy for him to pick up the pace of his strokes.

Charles groaned.

His hand on his chest was pushing him down. He felt his speeding up heartbeat – no heartbeat, cool fingers rubbed and tugged at his nipple, cool flesh, searing hot touch. He bit his lips, hard, tasted blood, as fangs pierced flesh.

A helpless whimper escaped his throat, the smell of arousal hung thick in the air. He wanted to come, needed to come.

“Please, Erik/Charles! Yes....yes...I'm gonna....”

He came in hot spurts across his stomach. He kept milking his cock until the last dredges of orgasm ebbed off.

The need to cover Erik's mouth in a long wet kiss tightened his chest. Tendrils of frustration slithered through the bond as the last high of their shared orgasm ebbed away. Instead he touched his mouth, caressing absently over his bottom lip, tender from biting it hard. He didn't taste blood now, only his own come.

'Next time, Charles, please...'

He also heard the stubborn whisper of a more private thought not aimed at him, mixed in with Erik's words aimed at him. You don't need Logan.

“You're wrong Erik.” Charles pressed his balled fist against his lips, tired of arguing. If Erik heard and understood, or simply didn't, Charles wasn't sure. But Erik neither objected, nor asked again.

Finally, Charles rolled out of bed to go and clean up. He could still make out Erik's presence the whole time, so when he curled up back in bed, he simply asked: 'Do you dream when you - rest?'

'No.'

'I was dreaming. But it wasn't my dream. I think it was your memory.'

'I can't hide anything from you now, Charles.'

Charles got the feeling that Erik had known about the dream he'd had, but wasn't thrilled to share the memory with him.

'Doesn't look like I can hide much from you either.'

'What is there you would like to hide from me?'

The question took Charles by surprise.

'How you feel about me? Or how you feel about Logan? Would you rather lie to me about being with him?

'No, I wouldn't. You deserve to know. Just as he does deserve to know about you – and what's going on with me. So he can decide – at least he gets to decide.'

Charles put his hands over his face, taking a deep breath, and froze. It felt so real, as if Erik was wrapping his arms around him, pressing his face against Charles' chest.

'Isn't it you who has to decide?'

'I'm selfish, Erik.'

'What do you mean?'

Charles reached through the bond and pulled Erik closer. The feeling of Erik's weight pressing down on him became even more solid and real.

“I want both of you.”

When Logan rang at his door, Charles had just gotten up. It was with a mixture of relieve and guilt he registered Logan's presence. He also took in Logan's tense eagerness to see Charles, before he opened the door with a relieved smile.

“Logan. I'm glad you had time. Though I'm sorry, I just got up and hadn't had any time to buy groceries.”

Grinning, Logan held up a large bag. “Thought you might have other things on your mind, Chuck.”

Charles laughed, brushing his hair out of his face, then after he'd closed the door behind Logan, he wrapped his arms around him from behind and hugged him. “Thank you.”

Logan turned around and bent down to kiss him. It was a chaste kiss, more an invitation for more, if Charles wanted it. Charles did melt slowly into it, just sucking gently at Logan's lip, then reluctantly drawing back. “I should take this to the kitchen.” He took the bag from Logan who grunted, but let go of the bag and took off shoes and jacket before he followed Charles.

“I'm just making tea, do you want some.”

“If you have sugar.”

Charles screwed up his nose at the thought of sugar in his tea, but put out the sugar bowl nonetheless, as well as another cup for Logan.

“You look – well. Rested.” Logan's thoughts used a different and more direct vocabulary.

Charles was glad he had the food to put away and an excuse not to look at Logan. “Erik and I talked about the bond mostly. I tried to find out some more things about it. Then of course he had to leave.”

“Of course.”

Charles didn't know what to reply to that so he said nothing.

“Did he - “ Logan shook his head. But the question shone brightly on his mind.

Charles sighed. “He bit me once. Not to drink from me but, I got a little lost when exploring the bond and that brought me back to myself.”

Logan clenched his hands to fists. His gaze slid over Charles, as if he were trying to see through the clothes. It wasn't that he didn't trust Charles' words, but – he didn't trust Erik not to mess with Charles so much, that he remembered the damage done to him incorrectly. And there was also the bitter taste of jealousy.

Charles sighed and unbuttoned his shirt. “Come here and have a look then.”

Logan's eyes widened and Charles thought he would decline, but then Logan stepped close and stopped Charles, before he could slide the shirt down his shoulders. Charles stilled, eyebrow raised in silent question. But Logan took hold of the shirt, and slowly pulled it further down, the fabric caressing over Charles' skin. He swallowed under Logan's gaze, that suddenly had turned more heated.

Logan dropped the shirt on the counter, then reached for Charles, not yet touching. “May I...?” His hand hovered over Charles' shoulder.

“Yes.”

Logan's touch was gentle, running along Charles' skin, searching out each bite-mark, even the older more faded ones. Still Charles was acutely aware when his fingers lingered on one of them, raising goosebumps all over his body. Heat started to pool low in his groin.

“Logan...” His voice was hoarse.

“Mhmmm.” Logan gently manoeuvred Charles so he faced away from him. Instinctively he braced himself on the kitchen counter. Logan's fingers slid from his neck up to grasp his hair, then he was kissing him there, little sucking kisses, making him squirm.

Charles shuddered and relaxed. Logan's mouth caressed down his skin between his shoulderblades, before he urged Charles to turn around again. He didn't give him much time to react or think though, for he was attacking Charles' chest, sucking and gently biting at his nipples. Charles moaned. “Logan... This is... ah, yes!” Keeping himself braced with one hand, he buried the other in Logan's hair.

“Good.”

Charles only noticed that Logan had opened his trousers, when he slid them down, together with Charles' underwear. Then he lifted him up on the kitchen counter. For an absurd moment Charles thought about their tea getting cold and he had to laugh. Logan looked up at him, his heated gaze turning Charles' laughter into a more breathless sound.

“You haven't laughed much these days. I miss that.”

Something tightened in Charles' chest and he couldn't respond. But Logan didn't wait for an answer anyway, instead he kissed and licked his way down from Charles' chest to his belly and...

“Oh fuck, you're not gonna... in the kitchen...fuu....” Charles' voice died again as Logan took him in one hand and the hot wet suction of his mouth engulfed him. Charles tried to buck up his hips, but Logan had his other hand firmly on Charles' hip, keeping him from moving.

All he could do was sink back and give himself to the pleasure. “Yes, please, yes...”

Too late he realised his mistake.

The bond between him and Erik was still wide open and though Erik was far away and he was still resting, he suddenly felt him, right there, with him. “Shit...” Goosebumps rose all over his body as his body was engulfed in in a possessive warm caress. He was sure he felt Erik’s mouth on his neck, his teeth pressing hard against the tender skin there. He could hardly breath but it was good, so good, pressure building inside him, as the teeth sank in and he moaned. He tried to buck up his hips, Logan sucking him was good, but not enough he wanted to fuck his mouth, bury himself deeply in the hot wet mouth. But Logan was holding him in place. He felt him. The metal in his body. Laughter bubbled up in his throat and came out in breathless little gasps.

Something was tingling along his senses, along his skin, reaching for that metal, taking hold, loosening Logan's grip yet holding him in place as Charles thrust his hips forward, fucking Logan's mouth.

Confusion rolled of Logan, something a little closer to panic, but Charles was distracted by the strange tingling of the metal he suddenly could sense, and Erik's presence so close, rubbing against him. It felt so good, so good.

He gripped Logan's hair, though Logan couldn't move anyway, but it made it easier for him to thrust in deeply. Charles bit his lips, hard, and he tasted blood. It took him right over the edge, coming, buried deep in Logan's mouth, choking him.

Only when he was done did Charles release him.

Dazedly, he watched as Logan stumbled back, staring wide-eyed at Charles as he struggled to breath. Charles' semen had spilled from Logan's mouth as he had struggled to breath and swallow. He looked spooked but there was also something else. Calling out to Charles, a delicious vulnerability. Charles flexed his hands. He felt the metal in Logan's body, it was making him dizzy.

Logan was his.

“Come here!” It wasn't a request.

“Charles...” Logan stumbled over to Charles and he pulled him down to kiss him on the mouth, tasting himself, licking and sucking at his lips.

“You've made quite a mess. But now it's my turn.”

“Charles, your eyes!” Logan choked.

Something was nagging at Charles. But he couldn't place it and his body was still tingling, almost aching, with a hunger still growing inside him. For what, he couldn't quite say. But Logan was here and he would either be a distraction or Charles would find a way to sate that hunger on him.
“Shouldn't you think more about my mouth right now.” Charles shook his legs free from his trousers and briefs, then pulled Logan along to the couch.

Logan shuddered as Charles let go of him. Charles could still feel the metal in Logan, especially when he moved. But after only two steps Logan stopped. Charles turned to look at him. He thought he would be able to see what he was sensing, the slight tremor running through Logan's body, vibrating in his metal coated bones. But outwardly Logan was still. He just felt different, or not different, but more. Charles licked his lips. “You're gorgeous.”

Logan's determined expression wavered, being replaced by one of uncertainty. “Charles, are you - “ sure? You? Alright? a jumble of words skidded through Logan's mind, but it was hard to focus on that while he felt the delicious sizzling along his skin. Charles smiled. “I want you, Logan. It felt so good to fuck your mouth. I want to make you feel good too.” The power was oozing from him, brushing against Logan's metal bones and pulling him forward. It was clumsy, and Logan stumbled with a grunt. But he was where Charles wanted him, close, so he could run his hands under Logan's shirt, trace the muscles that moved with heavy breaths.

Decidedly he pulled up the shirt. Logan moved to help, but he still had that uncertain expression on his face. “Charles, you are – what are you doing?”

Charles spread small kisses across Logan's chest, until he reached a nipple and teased it with his tongue, swivelling around it before sucking and biting it. His hand rubbed Logan through the fabric of his trousers, satisfied at the hardness he already found there. “You really have to ask?”

Logan grunted. “Charles, wait. You're - something's not right.” Logan was thrusting his hips against Charles' hand.

“You're right. You still wear too many clothes.” He manoeuvred Logan towards the couch and Logan slumped down on it. He looked up at Charles, then shook his head as if trying to clear it.

Charles dropped down on his knees, and pushed Logan's legs apart. The belt buckle and zipper were metal, but to get them to open would require more – finesse. He licked his lips then raised his hand and moved his fingers. It was as if he was touching the metal, without actually doing so. He chuckled, breathless and drunk with exhilaration, as he opened Logan's trousers.

“Charles, what the hell!” Logan tried to reach for him and meant to get up, but Charles pinned him in place. That was easy, all he had to do was push the power against Logan.

Logan gasped and struggled against the hold, but Charles knew he would be distracted soon. He leant forward and freed Logan's cock from his briefs. He gave the hard length a few leisurely strokes, before licking along it, finally taking the head into his mouth and swivelling his tongue around it.

Logan groaned. “Charles, please, wait.” The muscles in his thighs strained deliciously against Charles' hold. Soothingly, Charles rubbed over Logan's stomach, the frantic breaths made the muscles flutter under his fingers. But Logan moaned and tried to buck up as Charles slid his mouth up and down the hard length.

“Fuck... Charles...” Logan sounds frantic his arousal making his voice rough. “Please...wait,please...no...”

Charles tried to take Logan in deeper down his throat. Warmth engulfed him, a gentle caress at his neck, distracting him.

Logan finally came with a grunt, and Charles drew back, watching as the milky liquid stained his hand while he kept milking Logan's cock with. He looked up, watching Logan's body, his panting breath wrecking his chest as he sucked in air, still in the clutches of his orgasm. His eyes were closed and his head rested against the couch.

Something was wrong though.

Charles let go of Logan's cock and he moaned at the sudden loss of contact. Absently, Charles licked the come staining his hand, realising he'd missed something. Confused he reached out finding himself drawn back to the bond with Erik, that emanated a content purring warmth.

Charles climbed onto the couch, gently burying his fingers in Logan's hair. A long drawn shudder ran through Logan. He turned his head away then slumped forward. “Please, Chuck, stop.”

“Logan, what's wrong?” His hand hovered over Logan's shoulder but he didn't touch him.

Instead Charles reached for Logan's mind. Something deep inside him held him back, reluctant to let him go. It was as if pushing out of a clinging cocoon that had muffled his senses. Suddenly, he could hear Logan's frantic beating heart and feel his mind in turmoil.

'Logan, what...' Briefly, he touched Logan's head, but then drew his hand back.

Logan shook his head, as if trying to dislodge something. He glanced at Charles, without looking directly at him. He seemed spooked. Then he gritted his teeth and reached for Charles, still reluctant and ready to draw back. “How did you do that? You weren't holding me down with your mind. This felt different. And your eyes.” Logan's fingers brushed against Charles' naked knee.

What about his eyes? “I don't know, it was suddenly there. I could feel the metal inside you. Almost see it. I wanted to...” He'd done what he wanted. He'd been completely wrapped up in what he wanted. While Logan told him to stop.

“It felt...not like you.”

Charles crossed his arms in front of his chest, it was suddenly hard to breath. Erik would have no interest in sex with Logan. So what did he mean. He thought he had only tapped into Erik's ability to control metal, but now that he could think clearer he remembered the something lurking and hungry, edging him on. His throat went dry, suddenly uncertain at what had just happened. What he'd done to Logan. “Are you alright?” Charles asked in a hoarse whisper, dreading the answer.

Logan shifted, cleared his throat and sat up straighter, tugging himself away and zipping up his jeans. “Yes, just – spooked – I guess.” He didn't sound very convincing though.

Charles wanted to breach the distance between them, slide his arms around Logan and pull him close against his body, but his words held him back. It hadn't felt like me?

He hadn't wanted this to happen. Only he had – he did.

He could alter Logan's memories, make him forget the parts of them having sex he hadn't wanted. Or make him think he'd enjoyed it. Charles vaulted to his feet and quickly put some distance between Logan and himself, getting into the kitchen area. The tea had gone cold. He started to make a fresh batch.

His ears were ringing and he had to grip the teapot hard, so it wouldn't slip from his suddenly shaking hands.

He kept his back to Logan, pulled his shields up, locking himself in. Erik was there. For a moment he was ready to reach out to him and see what he'd caught from what had happened between Charles and Logan. He must at least have realised when Charles had used Erik's powers.

Charles stared at boiling water, finally pouring it onto a fresh batch of teabags.

Erik would have been as helpless to stop him as Logan had been.

He poured himself a glass of water, and sipped it, to keep the taste of bile away. Then he looked down at the heap of his clothes on the ground and put his underwear and trousers back on.

“...Charles!”

Startled, Charles turned towards Logan, still on the couch.

Logan is still here. He should have run. He would be safer...

Logan sighed. “I almost thought you'd gone deaf as well.”

After Charles stared at him uncomprehending, Logan tapped his head.

“Oh... I put my shields up. I didn't think you would, I didn't mean to...” Charles shook his head. Then he slowly took a few steps towards Logan. He shouldn't hide. Logan deserved more.

But what if he didn't like Logan's thoughts and was tempted to alter them? He couldn't trust himself right now.

“Chuck, you scared me. But - I'm not scared of you.”

“I'm – I'm glad you want to forgive me, but...”

“Why didn't you stop when I asked you to?”

“Because...” What had gone wrong? Why hadn't he stopped – why hadn't he noticed Logan wanted him to stop? “I wasn't in your head. And using E.... using Erik's powers on you was distracting and the way you felt suddenly.” He shook his head. Where these excuses, or the truth? “I didn't listen. I didn't pay enough attention to you.” He'd told Erik he was selfish. But he had to stop, before he hurt Logan – more than he'd already had. “I was caught up in – the feel of the power.” He remembered thinking Logan was his and shuddered. “I did think of altering your memory. Make you forget – or make it seem as if you'd enjoyed what had happened.” Tense, he waited for his words to sink in. For Logan to get up and leave.

“You didn't, Chuck.”

Charles snorted. “Why aren't you angry? Why don't you tell me to get the fuck away from you?”

“Come here, Chuck.”

Charles wanted to, and didn't dare to. “I don't trust myself, Logan.”

“Then let me trust you for yourself. I don't want to drive you away. You said you need me and I whatever – whoever – even yourself, tries to push me away, I'll try to stick to you harder.”

“I don't want you to get hurt.”

“Takes a lot to hurt me, Chuck. I can take it. Just don't push me away.”

Slowly, Charles walked over to the couch, then sat down on it, one leg tugged under him. He was facing Logan but not touching him. Carefully, Charles lowered his shields. He should at least face what he'd done.

There was a tension and wariness in Logan, though he tried to push it aside. It was made easier by his concern for Charles, and the stubborn decision that he wouldn't give Charles even the slightest reason to believe he was turning into one of the monsters.

Charles sucked in a breath. “May I look?”

Logan was hesitant. Not because of fear of Charles, but fear for Charles. But finally he nodded. “If you think it will help you.”

Charles raised his hand but before he touched his head, Logan captured it and pulled it close, putting his cheek into Charles' palm. “I don't believe that was you.”

Drawn in by Logan's trust Charles sank into Logan's mind and recent memories. He tensed at the odd mix of emotions, the arousal traversed and tainted by fear. Fear that Charles no longer was in control, that something had taken over, 'this isn't Charles'. There was something careless and indifferent about Charles, that was not Charles. Not as Logan saw him. It had scared Logan. Fear and revulsion churned in his belly, and Charles nearly broke the contact, as despair about what he'd done welled up.

“That wasn't you, Charles. Look at the eyes.” Logan growled.

He’d said that before. Something about Charles' eyes. He sifted through the memory, trying not to let himself be sucked in, until he saw himself, kneeling between Logan's thighs, looking up. Cold dread shot through him. The blue of his eyes seemed intense, as dark shadows blotched the white and a dark ring had formed around his iris.

Charles would have pulled back, if Logan wasn't holding on to his hand. He still tried.

“Logan, let go!”

“No!”

“How can you be such a stubborn idiot, telling me I'm not turning into a monster when I did – this! When I ...” Charles hadn't realised what he was doing until it was too late and though he remembered, it was as if a monster was staring out at Logan through those strange eyes. He tugged at his hand once more. “Logan, let go – I don't want to hurt you!”

“This wasn't you. Whatever happened, just then, doesn't mean you're suddenly turning evil! Something got out of control, but you don't have to give in to that.”

Charles shook his head. “I've warned you!” He was at a disadvantage since Logan had a grip on him already, but they had done this in training before, Charles dropped and twisted, hoping to get Logan by surprise. He used his whole weight to break Logan's hold, felt Logan's grasp of him open and his fingers slip. But he made a mistake. He thought once free, Logan would let him withdraw, but Logan suddenly surged up, pulling him back down, capturing Charles' legs between his and pinning his arms to his body, to restrict his movement.

They both fell, slid off the couch and landed on the floor between couch and couch-table.

“Fuck! Logan!” Charles tensed his muscles, trying to loosen Logan's hold on him, then tried to see if he could plant his feet firmly on the ground to get some leverage against Logan's bigger build, but the furniture limited his movements further. “Let go of me! This isn't some kind of joke! Just let the fuck go!”

He heard Logan's breath panting in his ears. “Make me!”

Charles felt Erik's alertness in him, his anger at the attack on Charles. He could use Erik's powers, and he shuddered at the thought what this might do to him. He could simply 'tell' Logan to let him go. There lay no danger in using his own power – or did there?

He wouldn't risk it.

“You're a stubborn idiot.” Slowly Charles relaxed, but Logan still kept his hold on him.

“Takes one to know one. You won't give up on yourself, Charles. Whatever that thing was, even if it was getting the better of you for a moment. It wasn't you. But I think it's like your telepathy. You control it, it doesn't control you! You just have to find a way to control it.” Logan sounded so convinced, Charles let himself be sucked into that believe.

If Logan still didn't reject him after what he'd done to him – Logan deserved for Charles to fight this. Whatever this was.

By the time Charles and Logan finally got up from the floor, the tea had gone cold again.

Chapter Text

One of the NIB's doctors just came out the door as Charles reached Angel's room. The man startled, but then gave Charles a wry grin. “Ah, back for another visit. Just let me get some safe distance away before you go in.” He laughed. It was meant as a joke, but there was also an nervous edge to his voice. Charles brushed against his mind and saw, he had been one of the people caught in his command to stop as he undid Frost's command in Angel's mind. So he forced a smile on his face. “Sorry for that mess last time. I would have given a warning, if possible.”

“Yeah, no hard feelings. She's awake. Still, the recovery from the blood loss will take some more time.”

Charles nodded, then opened the door.

Angel sat up in bed, reading a book. Her arm was still hooked up to an IV. Charles stood in the doorway for a moment, brushing against her mind, but noted nothing out of the ordinary. She simply was engrossed in reading. He knocked on the door-frame and waited for her to look up.

“Oh, hello Charles.” She put the book down.

“Hey, may I come in?”

She nodded. “Of course.”

Charles closed the door behind himself, pulled up a chair and sat down beside her bed. It was Angel who spoke first. “I guess I have to thank you for saving me – again.”

He shrugged. “Did you know what happened?”

“Not at first.” She looked at her hands still holding the book. Her knuckles whitened as she gripped it more tightly. “I didn't know why I didn't want you in my head. It simply felt like something very bad would happen. As if – as if I would loose something … precious.” She swallowed. “This is so fucked up.”

“It is – what Frost, the vampire telepath, did to you was pretty bad. There was no way you could have resisted that command.”

Angel shuddered. “Can you check if there isn't anything more left of her in my mind?”

“Of course. Though that you ask me to look, seems a good indicator that she has no more control over you.”

“Yeah, still. I have these dreams and...” She shook her head.

“What dreams?” Charles asked gently.

“I should probably call them nightmares.” Angel gave a shaky laugh, though her eyes glistened wetly, and she clearly struggled to hold back tears. “Could you just go and take a look.”

It was consolidating to know that, even though she had been violated by a telepath, she trusted him enough to ask him into her head. Or maybe she considered him the lesser evil. “If you want me to search your mind for anything left by Frost, I will probably also see glimpses of those dreams. I promise not to share what I see. And if you don't want me to, I won't even mention it to you.”

She nodded, not looking at him but still staring at the book. “Okay.”

Charles hesitated, then put his hand, palms up beside her on the bed. “Can you take my hand?”

She looked at it, then put hers in his. After a moment she gripped Charles' hand tightly. He smiled as she looked up at his face and nodded encouraging. He put the fingers against his temple, not because he needed it to concentrate, but Angel seemed to expect the familiar gesture from him.

He slid into her mind easily. He already knew he would find no more hidden commands by Frost but Angel needed him to make sure, so he did. He tried to ignore her other thoughts and memories, though he let himself be pulled towards the dream and memories of when the vampires had taken her. If he wanted to help her, he needed to know more about what had happened. She had been scared but also clung to her defiance. Stubborn. As long as she wasn't dead, she would fight.

Once she had regained consciousness, she had spit acid at the first vampire foolish enough to approach her.

There were flashes of glittering white, sharp and almost blinding, like sun on snow and Frost telling her to stop. And she had. Just like that. It wasn't like someone restraining her, but she simply had been robbed of any will to struggle and fight.

It was hard to hide what you felt and thought from a telepath. Angel wasn't sure what was worse, getting bitten and having her senses overloaded with a cocktail of fear and lust or Frost's voice whispering in her mind, making her stop fighting – making her want to comply.

'You taste delicious. It would be a pity to turn you too soon, I would like to savour your taste. You will make a wonderful vampire though. The night will be yours.

The words reappeared in Angel's dream. The setting always changed. NIBs headquarters, Angel's home, a park she liked to go to. But what happened in the dream was always the same. It was day outside until suddenly the light got sucked out, leaving everything in grey darkness. And then there was Frost, calling for her to come to her. She wanted to run or fly away, but she couldn't. Unable to stop herself she walked towards Frost who stood there, waiting, smiling, glittering despite the lack of light. Once she reached her, Frost took her hand and pulled it up to her lips as if to kiss it. But then she turned it, wrist up and opened her mouth, sharp fangs ready to pierce Angel's flesh.

That's when she woke. And then came the worst part. When after waking, she felt frozen with fear, unable to move and for a moment thought that the dream had finally become reality.

Realising he had lingered too long, Charles finally withdrew.

“There is no trace of her.”

“Good...” Then Angel repeated more firmly. “Good.”

“I will just tell you what I can do for you. The decision if you want any of that, is up to you.” Charles waited until the words registered with Angel and she looked up at him.

“I can erase the nightmare from your memory. So you won't even remember ever having the nightmare. Or I can simply make it stop now.”

“Can you - can you change it?”

“How would you like me to change it?”

Angel took a deep breath. “Can you make it so that, when I dream it again - that I can fly away. Get away for good, I mean.”

Charles smiled encouraging. He liked that idea. “Yes. But I need your help. Can you show me your best memory of flying?” If she wanted to escape by her own free will, he had to make sure it felt as real to her as possible.

She nodded and Charles slipped into her mind and went to work. It took a while, to make sure whenever the dream came up in her mind, it would change with her escaping, soaring through a brightening sky, sunlight warm on her skin and translucent wings.

When he was finished he opened his eyes to see a slight smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “Thank you.”

“You're welcome.” It felt good. This was what his telepathy was about. Helping others. Maybe he could help Erik make him see Charles' side. Erik's parents had been human, and the memory of his mother had been full of comfort and love. The dream – memory he'd shared with Erik hadn't been clear on the matter, but he hadn't been under the impression that it had been Erik’s choice to be turned. Not entirely at least.

“If you had a choice, would you ever consider becoming a vampire?”

Angel was startled by the question, a mix of disbelieve and disgust showed on her face. “No! How could you think that? I would rather be dead ,than turn into one of the monsters.”

“I'm sorry, it was simply... something I was thinking about. If any of the vampires ever had a choice.” He shook his head as he read in her mind that she didn't want to consider giving her captors a more human face, not after what had been done to her. “Sorry – just tell the doctors if you want to see me and talk some more.” Charles made his retreat quickly, once she had nodded.

What had he expected her to say. She only knew the vampires as monsters, her own experience had been traumatic, but if – if she had gotten to know Erik first, like Raven had. It was the other extreme. Raven had never seen Erik do anything horrific. Or seen any vampire kill.

When Charles returned to his desk, Logan gave him a long, questing look. Charles smiled tightly, before he sat down and turned on his computer. Time to get back to work and tonight’s assignment.

Logan had talked to Moira, hoping, no, needing a proper assignment tonight and no mere patrolling duty.

Charles' eyes skimmed the notice in his inbox. The abandoned Glenwood power plant was to be their destination. It was far enough away from the Hellfire club.

“Moira asked me to give you this.” Logan leant over the desk, holding a folded note out for Charles. 'Are you alright? You look... Something happened with Angel?'

'No, it's okay. Talking to her simply gave me a lot to think about.'
“Thank you.” He took the note, but didn't open it yet.

'Anyone – Anything else you want to talk about?'

Charles was about to say no.

“Have you taken a look at the plans of the powerplant station yet?” Logan grabbed the closest empty chair and sat down, close to Charles. Close enough so their legs were touching. Yet it wasn't noticeable. Just two partners going over the next assignment.

“No.”

“Okay. Big windows, so not so nice for vampires during the day, but with some nasty hidey holes. And a death-trap at night. Lots of rotting metal and crumbling walls. Nasty.” Logan took over Charles' mouse and opened the file attached to his inbox. 'You can just tell me what's troubling you.'

Charles knew he could. Logan would listen but not judge. 'I'm wondering – Angel told me she would rather die than being turned into a vampire. Would she feel the same if it were to happen, or would she want to live as a vampire? Have you known any vampire who was turned against his will and then asked you to kill him or her?'

Logan was surprised. He stared at the screen, but Charles could feel him wanting to turn towards Charles.

'Sorry, this probably isn't the right time.'

'It is, if that's what's bothering you right now. And I haven't. Though, I'd guess anyone who became a vampire and – somehow, didn't completely let the blood-lust take over, might kill himself. It's not as if they need someone to stake them. Walking into the sunlight sounds probably peaceful. But maybe you should ask E – a vampire that.'

Unobtrusively Charles put his hand on Logan's leg and squeezed it.

The traffic had gotten lighter, the closer they got to their destination. That Logan had agreed to Charles' driving had seemed strange at first, until Charles glimpsed the idea behind it in Logan's head. He'd thought it would distract Charles. Give him less time to brood. It made Charles smile weakly, but Logan was intent to keep Charles' thoughts from wandering off. Either with comments on his driving – that were bordering on the rude, but made Charles smile nonetheless. Or by reaching over, gently touching Charles' leg or shoulder, as if to reassure him that Logan was there for him. Or to reassure Logan himself, that Charles was still here.

It did manage to take Charles' mind from the waiting assignment at least. He wasn't worried that they couldn't get it done without Charles openly using his new won abilities. But he was worried nonetheless about facing vampires in a fight tonight.

“We have to go right, just at the next turn.”

“I know.” Charles said amused, and still nearly missed the turn, because he was suddenly aware they weren't alone anymore. He took the turn almost too late and too fast, tires screeching.

Logan beside him swore as he got thrown against the passenger side door. “What the hell. Next time I'll drive again – or I'll need to smoke to calm my nerves.”

Charles didn't answer or offer an apology. He brought the car to a stop at a strip of overgrown ground next to a high metal fence. He opened the car-door and got out, gaze searching the night sky. Logan was out of the car as well. “What is it Charles? - Fuck! Him!” Logan exclaimed just a moment before Erik dropped to the ground a few feet away from Charles.

“Charles.”

“Is everything alright?” Charles walked over to Erik. He felt his intent and wasn't surprised as Erik leant in and kissed him on the mouth. His hands worked the scarf around his neck loose and pulled it away, before burying his face at his neck for a moment, inhaling his scent. 'Yes. I missed touching you.'

“Erik...” He'd known he was there, when he and Logan had sex. He had been there afterwards, angry when Logan grabbed Charles' and held him down to make him listen – and think. He wondered what he knew about what had happened to Charles. Before Charles could ask, Erik lifted his head, looking over Charles' shoulder. “And of course, hello Logan.

“We don't have time for this.”

“Indeed, we do not. Emma wants to see you.”

Charles tensed. “Well I don't want to see her.”

“You heard him, vampire. So run back to your lair.”

Erik showed his pointy teeth in a silent snarl, then turned towards Charles. “Charles, we're not in a position to refuse her.”

Charles wasn't sure what would happen if he'd let Frost know that he knew about what she'd planned for Angel and that he'd undone it. Surely it would be wise to play along and not let her know. But Charles was in no mood for that. “She can't order me about. Logan and I are headed out to check on the abandoned Glenwood power plant. Apparently there are indications of some vampires trying to nest there.”

Erik was very still. “I see. Of course, hunting vampires is still more important to you than negotiating with them.”

Charles gritted his teeth. Erik might not like it, but he would go. “I'm a vampire hunter Erik, that's what I do. That never changed – knowing you never changed that.”

“When you're done, will you go and see Emma then?”

Saying 'I don't want to' seemed awfully childish. “What does she want?”

“She didn't tell me.” Uneasiness spread from Erik, though then he smiled. “But she doesn't want you dead – yet. If she did she would have tried to kill me, not invited you.”

Frost had lost any chance of controlling Erik, but she could still send some of her own vampires after him. He'd seen Erik kill other vampires but he'd been prepared then. What if they ambushed him? It would be better, if Charles played along. “Fine. If it's not getting too late, I'll go.”

“Good. Then I'll make sure it won't be getting too late. If there really are some vampires at Glenwood, I'm sure they slipped in without informing Emma of their presence.”

“Is she vampire queen of New York now?” Not that something like that ever had existed. Or any vampire ever tried to set itself up in such a position, trying to control the vampires in an area this large. Groups, Gets, yes, but never whole cities. But maybe that's what she wanted.

“No. But, and I agree with her, it would be better for us if we got more organised. Makes it easier if we intend to negotiate with vampire hunters.”

“You're in no position to negotiate. You're vampires. We kill you. End of story. - And you're not coming with us.” Logan had stepped between Erik and the car.

“Erik, this will never work. There is nothing she can negotiate with. She can't stop vampires to hunt humans.”

“Maybe there she will surprise you.”

Charles stared at Erik's back as he strode over to the car, walking around Logan, dangerously close. Surprisingly, Logan didn't move.

Too late, Charles realised Logan couldn't move - and he was on the brink of panicking. Images from yesterday flashed through Logan's mind. Charles cursed under his breath and jerked on Erik's powers, already rushing over to Logan.

He wasn't fast enough. Logan was free and Erik still too close to him. The metal claws slid out as Logan lunged forward, driving them right through Erik's stomach.

Charles stumbled at the sudden pain, his legs folded under him and he hit the pavement, hard. His world narrowed down to the hot tearing in his gut, as he gasped for breath. For a moment everything spun, his vision shifting to a world of red, though he had his eyes squeezed shut.

The next thing he knew, the pain was lessening and he could breath again. He was on his back, his head resting on something surprisingly soft. Not the pavement then. Before his eyes focused he became aware of cool hands caressing through his hair. Charles, you're okay, you're not harmed, everything is alright, Charles...

He looked up at Erik, pale, lips pressed together, a worried frown on his face. Then he felt the hands, rubbing his legs through his jeans, and the muttering voice – not in his head. “Chuck, please be okay. Stupid, so stupid of me, didn't think, fuck, just reacted...”

Charles looked down and saw Logan, kneeling on the ground as far away from Erik as he could get while still able to touch Charles.

At least they stopped arguing.

“Chuck!? You're awake?” Then he grunt-gasped: “That's not funny!”

“Never was asleep. Fuck that hurt.”

“I know. But you're unharmed. Look.” Erik gently pulled Charles' shirt up to reveal his pale belly. Charles craned his neck to look down and pressed his hand against his body. The skin was smooth and unmarred.

“Damn I could have sworn...” He took a shaking breath. “Well now we know how that part of the bond works.”

He suddenly jerked his leg as all too real pain shot through him where Logan touched his shin. “Ouch, that's...”

“Sorry, Chuck. You went down like a felled tree. Must have hurt your knees. Let's have a look.” Logan made to move up to Charles' waist.

“Wait.” He would not have Logan and Erik undress him right here in the street to check on his bruises. Especially with the tension between the two still running high. “Just give me a moment. I'll do that myself.”

Logan sat back, looking helpless. Erik had tensed as Logan moved. Charles looked up at him. “What about you, since they pain in my stomach has faded, am I right to assume...”

“The wound has closed already. It was nothing that would kill me – us. Though it's not as if that one didn't try.”

“Fuck you! I stopped right the moment I realised what it did to Charles!”

“Erik, don't taunt Logan like that ever again. Logan, I'm sorry. That was my fault. You wouldn't have reacted that violently, if I hadn't... if I hadn't used Erik's powers to force you...” Logan's hand squeezing his ankle stopped him. It probably was stupid mentioning it in front of Erik. Even if Erik knew.

Logan's anger cooled down, though he still looked crushed. “Chuck, I shouldn't have allowed the vampire to get the better of me like that... Should have remembered, hurting him hurts you.”

“Well, I can't say that I've been able to fully imagine how that would work either, so let's say this was testing a theory.” Charles managed a wry smile. “And as I said, I hurt you first. Payback is a bitch.” He finally struggled to sit up, though he would have loved to stay down a little longer, he wanted to put a stop to Logan's self chastising for hurting him – before Erik would do something stupid. Something else stupid.

Erik helped him to his feet, while Logan got up himself, hovering close. Too close, for Erik's taste. The snarl forming in Erik's throat was vibrating through Charles' body before it was released.

“Erik, please. Let it go already. You’re just as much to blame as Logan, and the one the most guilty is myself. So if you want to get angry, get angry at me. Both of you.” With that he pulled free and hobbled over to the car, his knee protesting. He opened the trunk, got the first aid kit out and sat against the bumper. Still ignoring Erik and Logan he undid his trousers and slid them down. His knee looked bloodied and bruised. Before he could do anything more, Erik was there, kneeling in front of him, gently clasping his leg.

“Let me...” There was a deep feral hunger n his eyes, carefully controlled and contained. Erik must have used some energy to heal himself. It seemed only fair, though the idea of Erik touching the wound made him cringe. “It will stop the bleeding, just as it does when I bite you.”

It would be better than having to deal with a bleeding wound, no matter how shallow, while hunting vampires. And having his wound licked, didn't sound very erotic, so there was that. Charles nodded. There was a brief burning as Erik's tongue touched scraped flesh, before the pain was replaced by a more pleasant tingling. It wasn't as strong as the arousal from being bitten, but a vampire's saliva obviously played a part in why getting bitten was exciting. Then Erik's hold on his knee loosened and he caressed up Charles' bare leg, fingers rubbing along the inside of his thigh.

Charles pressed his lips together but couldn't suppress the strangled sound forming deep in his throat.

“We have to go, if we want to get this done tonight!” Logan stalked past them to the passenger side of the car and got in.

Charles sucked in a shaking breath to calm himself and gently pushed Erik back. “Thank you. That – I'm feeling better.”

Erik looked up, licked his lips but got up without protest. He simply helped Charles wrap a bandage over the knee, then put the first aid kit back into the trunk while Charles did up his trousers. They probably had been lucky no one had come passing by.

With Logan on the front passenger seat, Erik slid in in the back, behind Charles.

“Are you up to driving with that knee?”

“Yes.” Charles wondered for a moment why Logan didn't argue about him driving instead. He turned his head to look at Erik behind him. If Logan were driving, Erik might feel less inclined to keep his hands – and teeth – to himself.

Charles started the car and pulled back out into the street.

The tense silence that spread through the car, was probably the best atmosphere he could hope for.

Charles parked the car at the Marina and Park, opposite the Hudson River Museum. The parking lot was empty, except for two cars parked at the far end of the lot. Their owners were nowhere in sight. Hopefully they had met here to take their dogs for a walk and not gone exploring the abandoned power plant building by night.

Charles was glad to finally get out of the confined space he'd shared with Erik and Logan. As the two men got out, it felt as if tension was finally released and they all could breath more freely again. Even if in Erik’s case, the breathing was only metaphorically.

Still Erik and Logan weren't looking at each other, their truce only fragile.

Charles tried to ignore them and took a few steps to loosen the stiffness in his bruised knee. He also had started to notice his arm hurting a little. Probably he fell on it as he collapsed. Tomorrow he might have some interesting bruises to add to the bite-marks on his body. He rubbed over his stomach, where he'd felt Logan's claws sink in. Even if they hadn't, his body remembered the wound – Erik's wound. He glanced over to Erik, who stood still, looking towards the abandoned building.

The power plant's two large chimneys rose dark into the night sky. It stood right on the edge of the river, cool and damp air blowing in with the breeze. The windows looked large and there was a lot of metal in the place. Erik felt it – and so did Charles.

“Chuck!” Logan had pulled some more weapons out of the car's trunk and held a belt with a row of stakes, for Charles to take. Each was fastened with a loop that loosened easily once one tugged on it.

Erik watched Logan.

“Thank you.” Charles slid into the belt, so it hung across his chest. “Erik, since you said you would come with us, do you want a stake as well?”

“No. I don't need that.” It wasn't clear if Erik's disdain meant he didn't need a weapon or that he had no intention of actually killing a vampire.

“I don't think it's a good idea to give him a weapon.” Logan agreed with Erik, though for entirely different reasons.

Erik snorted. “As if I needed anything to take you out.”

Charles felt Logan tense.

“Erik, if you only came here to play childish games, you might as well leave.” Charles spoke softly, but his words hit home nevertheless. Erik looked from Logan to Charles.

“I told you I would help you.”

“If they are looking they might have seen us already. I'll check if I can locate them.” Charles concentrated, and let his power roll out. It took only a moment for him to find a vampire's mind – and he'd lost it. He frowned and touched his fingers to his temple.

“What is it Chuck?”

“It's - harder.”

“Perhaps we're still too far away.”

“No, that's not it. Wait, I...” The vampire's mind flickered past again, but was gone before he could concentrate on it.

“I guess you can use me as a stepping stone to reach further. I can head in there first, and...”

“No!” Logan's growl interrupted Erik. “We won't have you warn your friends.”

“If there are any vampires here, Emma doesn't know about them. So they are not my allies, nor are they my friends.”

“It's not too far away.” Charles concentrated harder, trying to tune their growling out. The problem wasn't that he couldn't reach the vampire's mind, but... Before he could form the thought his mind brushed against it again. “There, now...” He tried to slip into the vampire's mind, unobtrusively, but the mind flickered like a candle-flame and then was gone, before he could grasp it. Charles gritted his teeth. “Okay... there is one who I think has some speed related mutation. I can't pin it.”

“Any others?”

Charles tried again, this time ignoring the elusive mind that seemed to taunt him. “Yes, two others. I could probably get them out, but that would alert the third.”

“So let's head in. Let's see if we can't catch them by surprise. Charles, you try to pin that quick one, I can take the other two.” Logan sounded almost eager.

“What do you want me to do?”

Logan stared at Erik for a moment, seizing him up, before he growled. “Make sure Charles doesn't get hurt.”

Charles heart was pounding, his breath came in short gasps. His feet hit the metal staircase he ran up, the shock reverberating in his scraped knee. One hand was on the rusty railing to pull himself up faster and to guide him. His surroundings were merely vague outlines in the darkness, illuminated dimly only by the far away city lights filtering in through the smeared and broken tall windows of the hall-like structure.

He tried to ignore the ominous creak of the metal underneath him and ran on, nearly falling as one leg went through thin air where a stair should be. Adrenaline spiked, sending his heart racing as he barely clung on to the railing, stopping the momentum that propelled him forward. He was shaking as he took a large step to bridge the gab, then, still weak in the knees, forced himself to run on.

Only as he reached the first landing, spanning one side of the large hall, had he regained some of his former speed. Lined with many windows, the light-situation was a little better here and he dared run on straight for the next staircase that would lead him up to the second floor.

Downstairs he heard a snarl and something getting smashed against a wall. He hoped it was one of the vampires and not Logan.

At the end of the landing was another staircase he ran up. Once on the second level he ran along the landing until he reached what once had been the control-room. Some shards where all that was left in the windows of the balcony-like structure, overlooking the hall.

He stumbled, as he felt the jerk that ran through Erik's arm, as something tore at it. Erik had pulled away from their bond, making sure any injury of his had only a dulled impact on Charles. Still he felt it.

Charles gripped the steal-beam, the smell of rusted metal sharp in his nose, as he fought for even breaths. He hoped Erik hadn't just gotten his arm torn off. He pushed the thought aside and crept towards the window. Though the need to act quickly was urgent, he still carefully ran his hand across what once had been a windowsill, making sure no shards of glass was sticking out. T

Then he leant out, searching the ground level for any signs of Logan and the two vampires he was fighting. The last thing he had seen was them disappearing in a hole in the ground.

For a moment he thought he saw someone crouched down there, but it didn't move and must only have been some of the rubble littering the ground. Not a dead body, or the vampires would be up here already. Logan must still have them occupied, which left...

He slid back down, his back against the metal, it's hard surface oddly comforting and concentrated, braced for any increase in pain.

'Erik, stop chasing it. Let it come to me.'

'No!'

Charles gritted his teeth. 'Erik, don't fight me on this... He felt Erik grimly trying to locate the vampire. His eyes showed him more than Charles', and he could hear it. The scrit,scrit sound as it ran, grabbing onto steel-rails and metal beams to pivot itself around, running along the web of roof-beams.

Erik, concentrate on the metal, you can feel where it touches, you can feel it move.' If Erik was only fast enough, he might be able to trap it. Then it stopped for a moment. 'Erik, now!'

Suddenly a heavy thump above him, had Charles' eyes snap open. He looked up, just in time to see a dark shadow vault over him into the narrow space of the old control-room. For a moment the vampire stood still, an awful wide grin nearly splitting her haggard face in half.

That moment was all he needed. Charles threw himself into her mind, pulling on Erik's powers. No time to explain what he needed so he just took. Metal screeched, sparks flared up, erupting in pain.

As he could see again, tears were streaming down his face, he held the vampire perfectly frozen with his mind, while six slim metal beams from the window frame had bent inward, impaling her from three sides. She stood there, grotesquely frozen.

Charles felt her shock, the slowly blooming fear. He pulled himself to his feet, the longer he waited, the more her mind threatened to drown and pull him in. Nausea crept up from the depth of his stomach.

“Charles, are you alright?” Erik landed beside him, steadying him with his hand. The contact helped, took the focus from the trapped vampire's pain, pulled it towards Erik's concern and... something warm. Dimly it made him think of home, but before the thought could fully form he pushed it aside.

“Let's finish this.” Charles gritted out. He thought Erik would let go of him, not approving of what he meant to do, but Erik kept his hands on him as he walked forward and pulled out his stake. Trapped as she was, Charles' didn't dare let go of her though. Her eyes widened as she saw the stake. He could feel her struggle – how useless it was against his hold.

Tightening his grip he pulled his arm back and thrust forward and upward, aiming the wood at her heart.

He felt her die, felt her … end.... he staggered back, slipping from Erik's grasp, just in time to turn away and throw up before the last of her dust settled.

Charles was glad he didn't have to walk down the ruined metal stairs again, his stomach still feeling queasy. So he didn't protest as Erik insisted on taking him down directly, floating them back to ground-level. He hadn't commented. Neither on him throwing up, nor on...

“Logan, you okay?” It was easier to concentrate on Logan than think about what he'd just experienced. The void that had suddenly opened up and seemed to suck the vampire's mind in - into oblivion.

“I'm fine, Chuck.”

Charles gritted his teeth and pulled Logan's jacket aside, trying to see for himself. The T-shirt Logan wore had a gash and there might be blood, but it was hard to tell in the darkness. “Sorry I wasn't of more help.”

“Not your fault that fast one suddenly dropped in. At least you got the two close enough for me to finish them off. How did you manage with that one, you said it was moving too fast to pin down?”

Not sure what he wanted to tell Logan, Charles took a deep breath. “It made a mistake, stopping for a moment when it thought it had me. And then Erik...”

Suddenly Logan's gaze snapped up. “Where the hell does he think he’s going?”

Charles turned in time to see Erik hop down through a hole in the concrete floor to the lower basement level. 'Erik?

He didn't wait for an answer, but followed Logan to the hole, peering down. Logan fumbled in one of his jacket pockets, pulling out a flash-light, trying to catch a glimpse of what was down there. They could just make out the muddy ground underneath. Charles sat down, feet dangling into the hole.

“Chuck,” Logan hissed. 'You’re not going down there.

There hadn't been an answer from Erik, but a certain urgency was coming from him. “It's okay, there's nothing dangerous down there. I'd know.” Before Logan could protest more, he jumped, landing in a crouch. His knee throbbed painful at the impact, but he ignored it and limped a few steps forward. He could make out Erik just a little ahead. They were in a large open structure, with a low ceiling. Large pipes ran along the walls. He heard Logan land behind him, then the light from his flash-light illuminated the scene.

Erik wasn't turning towards them, but he was looking at something on the ground, before slowly crouching down.

“Erik, what is it?”

“They were about to turn him.”

Charles saw him then, as the beam of light hit him. A man, skin sallow. Not quite like a vampire's, but from loss of blood. Charles realized, his natural complexion must have been darker. But now he looked more like snow-white, with raven-black hair and red lips. Startled, Charles saw they were bitten and stained with his own blood.

Erik reached out and gently brushed the man’s cheek. “Hush, it's going to be alright.”

“Hell it will.”

Logan was right, he would never make it, he had mere moments to live. “I'm sorry we didn't make it sooner.” If only Erik hadn't shown up and delayed them - they would have taken longer to defeat the fast vampire... or not managed it at all.

He closed his eyes, saw the slow throb of a weak heartbeat through Erik's eyes.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Logan's growl made him open his eyes again.

“Any moment now. I can turn him. He doesn't have to die.” Erik had torn open his wrist with his teeth, and made to crouch behind the man.

“No, Erik, you can't to this!” Charles gripped his own wrist, digging his thumb against a wound that wasn't there and felt more tingling than painful.

“Charles, it's his only chance. He doesn't have to die, but he will be reborn. It's meant to be.”

“We just killed three of the monsters. We won't have you make any more!”

“You can't just let him die, not if there is another way.” Erik made to close in on the man, but Charles pulled, froze him.

“No, Erik. I can't let you do this.”

Erik struggled against his hold, his hissing and growling silent, only heard by Charles through their bond. “Charles! You can't decide this. You can't deny him his only chance to survive.”

I'm going to die...I'm going to die... I don't want to die, please, please please, oh my God, no-no-nooo...

The thoughts were growing more feeble, like whispered words, picked up by the wind and carried away, growing too faint to hear. It wasn't that the man's life was flashing before his eyes, but there were memories, some of which he hadn't thought of in a long time. Laden with strong emotions, they were popping to the surface, in rapid succession, almost too fast for Charles to follow and comprehend. A whole life... his mother proud when he finished school, prouder still when he got his degree in marketing, his current job, he was good at it, the girl he had met just three weeks prior, the first blossoming of mutual interest, of love, the excitement of a budding relationship, his older sister's children, their laughter, when he played with them, letting them ride on his back,the smiles, the laughter, the joy, all cut off, lost... in moments...

Charles heart was beating faster. Blood rushed through his ears, he still could make out Erik's and Logan's voices, both tense, both demanding, reasoning, tight with emotions.

“Charles, I have to do it now! Time is running out!”

“Don't listen to him Chuck. You don't want him to make another vampire we have to kill in the end.”

The man's consciousness slowly crumbled, the pieces dropping away, to be irretrievably lost.

Unless...

He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't make a different choice. “Do it...,” he choked out, the words nothing more than a whisper. But it was enough. He let go of Erik.

Erik had to rip open his wrist again, since it already had started closing up. He pressed his wrist against the man's mouth. His heartbeat had stopped, it was too late, the blood trickling unnoticed between his lips, into his mouth, sliding down, deeper – rousing the hunger, like the low rolling of thunder, vibrating through the man, through Erik - through Charles.

Charles had to struggle to keep standing and not sink to his knees. There was no sense of where it came from, no direction, though it must have been from Erik's blood, that spread through the new body like a virus. Charles couldn't follow the bodily changes, except for the mind's transformed. The hunger sparked off a reaction, drawing on the man's powers. The rushing sounds of speeding up air currents, wind picked up, whistling, carrying the hunger into the deepest recesses of the man's mind. Charles held his breath, waiting that any moment now the man's memories would be swept away, but they stayed, right there, though they were overshadowed by the pressing need for blood.

He felt the man's mouth latch onto Erik's wrist, drink greedily from the blood flowing from the wound and he opened his eyes, not knowing when he had closed them before.

Erik looked back at him, eyes full of relieve, before they dropped back down on the man – the newly turned vampire. Erik was talking softly to him. “It hurts, I know, it's almost too much, but it will be over soon...”

Charles remembered the way Shaw had treated Erik once he'd been turned. This was different. Erik seemed to care... Erik did care.

“Everything will be alright... everything will be alright...”

Different language, but it were the same words Erik's mother had used.

“Just a little bit more, but then you need to stop. This won't sate you. You need warm blood. But don't worry, I'll take care of that. I'll take care of you. ”

Charles heart squeezed. Of course now he was turned he needed to feed. He remembered Erik's instant hunger he'd felt once he'd turned, how focused he had been on finding - food. Capable of only identifying the human as food.

Involuntarily Charles shivered.

'Charles, you need to drop him unconscious. He won't last long like this. I'll have to get him back to the club.'

To the club, where there was fresh blood waiting in the form of unsuspecting humans.

Hand shaking he raised it to his forehead. He felt the storm in the man's mind. It would only take very little to quieten it – forever.

The vampire went limp in Erik's arms and Charles dropped his hand. Erik cradled the unconscious form carefully as he stood up with it.

“I will fly ahead with him... Emma still wants to see you. I'll meet you at the club.”

Charles just nodded.

Erik headed for the hole they'd come through.

Finally Charles dared to look towards Logan, who had gone oddly quiet. He was no longer standing there, though Charles hadn't heard him move. Instead he sat on a block of concrete a few feet away. He still held the flash-light in his hand, illuminating the spot where they had found the victim. But he didn't look. He just sat there, body slumped forward, head bowed, looking down on the ground.