It’s a lovely thing, waking up in Erik’s bed, even if Charles’s shoulder is hurting. Erik’s awake already, and looking at him with such unguarded affection that Charles feels almost shy.
“Morning,” he says, and buries his face in Erik’s shoulder, nuzzling him.
“Morning, trouble,” Erik says, and kisses the top of his head.
“Huh,” Charles says, but he’s too happy to argue, lapped round with Erik’s tenderness and desire. His mind is full of light and warmth and his body is humming with arousal, feeling Erik’s hard-on pressing against his thigh.
It takes them a while to find a position that’s comfortable for Charles’s shoulder, but they do, Erik lying on top of him and pressing their cocks together, so good, yes, like that, just like that, rocking till the sweetness of that friction is too much to bear and they’re coming, Erik’s orgasm and his own all mixed up together in his mind.
He’d like to wake up like this every morning, though it feels too early to say that to Erik. They’re still so new together, feeling their way in this relationship. But it is one; he’s sure of that now, and the thought of that makes him want to whistle and sing.
Erik fusses over him a bit as he showers and dresses, insisting on bandaging his shoulder again, and Charles doesn’t protest, though he wouldn’t like it from anyone else. He still feels half-asleep, which he supposes is partly the after-effects of the shock.
He sits at the kitchen table while Erik fixes breakfast for them both, a proper breakfast with pancakes and blueberries and very serious coffee. Erik cooks with a kind of fierce efficiency that’s very pleasant to watch, and everything smells wonderful this morning. Charles finds he’s ravenous, which probably isn’t surprising; even the prospect of going to the police station can’t take his appetite away, though he feels uneasy about it.
If he’d known the police were going to interview them separately, he’d have been even more nervous.
Erik’s a long time giving his statement, and he looks grim when he comes out of the interview room. Charles doesn’t have time to ask him why before his own interview starts, but it’s clear from the officers’ questions that Shaw is denying the attack and accusing Erik. It’s a struggle for Charles to keep his temper, but he manages, and gives a factual account of the assault and Erik’s part in trying to protect him.
“Did you know Mr Shaw was going to be at the party?” the lieutenant asks.
“God, no,” Charles says, with a shudder, remembering the terror of that moment, the smile like a case of knives, and Shaw saying Did you really think I would let you get away?
“He wasn’t on the guest list,” the other officer says. “One of the wait staff said she’d seen him appear out of nowhere with a man dressed as a red devil, complete with a tail. She assumed it was all part of the floor show.”
“Azazel,” Charles says, feeling his stomach lurch.
“Az – what?”
“Azazel,” Charles says. “I don’t know his second name. He’s Raven’s – my sister’s – boyfriend. She got him to teleport me into the party.”
“What’s his connection with Mr Shaw?” the lieutenant asks.
“I don’t know,” he says, and then he remembers Raven saying that Azazel’s boss was some big shot who liked to travel a lot. Oh no. But that’s it, isn’t it? No need to wonder any more how Shaw knew where to find him. This is going to be tough on Raven, but he can’t let himself think about that now. “I think… maybe he works for him.”
“And do you know of any reason why Mr Shaw would want to attack you?”
Shit. He knew this was coming, but he’s not sure how to handle it.
“We had met once before,” he says carefully, “but I didn’t know him at all well.”
The phone rings in the interview room, and the lieutenant picks up the handset.
“What?” he says. “That’s not – well, OK, I guess we can allow it, if they’re willing.”
He puts the phone down and turns back to Charles.
“Shaw’s lawyer says he wants to see you,” he says.
“It’s a trap,” Erik says again.
“Possibly,” Charles says. “But I guess it’s better to find out now what he’s up to, rather than having it sprung on us later.”
Shaw’s in a maximum security isolation cell, and Charles gets a flash of what happened last night: a fire-breathing mutant prisoner attacking Shaw, who somehow absorbed the fire and blasted it back at him and the guards. It had taken five of them to subdue him, and now he’s on suppressants as well as in isolation. Normally Charles hates the idea of suppressing any mutant’s power like that, but right now he’s grateful for whatever is holding Shaw in check.
“Oh, you brought your new keeper!” Shaw says.
“He’s not my keeper,” Charles says, though Shaw must know that already.
“I was talking to Mr Lehnsherr,” Shaw says, with a smile that makes Charles feel nauseous. “How does it feel to be a rich boy’s plaything?”
Charles feels Erik tense up at that. Don’t let him see he’s scored a hit, he tells Erik. You and I know what we are together, and it’s nobody else’s business. For good measure, he sends Erik an image of this morning’s lovemaking, the two of them groaning in each other’s arms.
“Strange as it may seem, I didn’t ask you here to watch you having telepathic sex,” Shaw says.
Charles could never in a million years feel dirty about anything he did with Erik, but Shaw pushes him closer to that feeling than he would have thought possible.
“What did you want, Mr Shaw?” he asks, with as much icy politeness as he can summon.
“To do you a favour,” Shaw says smoothly.
“The hell you do,” Erik says.
“What kind of favour?” Charles asks.
“You don’t want this to come to trial,” Shaw says.
“Ever heard of aggravated assault?” Shaw says, looking very pleased with himself. “Ohio’s laws are so quaint. Apparently an assault committed in an uncontrollable fit of rage is a much less serious offence. And of course the court would have to consider the reasons for my uncontrollable fit of rage. Which means everyone gets to hear about Charles Xavier being a twisted little fuck who plays at being a whore and tricks unsuspecting businessmen out of their hard-earned cash.”
“You think anyone’s going to believe that?” Erik snaps.
“Why not?” Shaw says. “It’s true, after all. I gather that Emma Frost would be only too willing to testify that your pretty boy there used his telepathy to pose as one of her staff. He’s lucky she’s not bringing a fraud charge.”
Shit. How did Emma Frost even know who Charles was? Use your brain, Xavier, the answer’s obvious: Henry must have seen that fucking magazine article and recognized him. Shaw must have done the same, mustn’t he? Charles is sure he never told him his surname.
“It’s hardly fraud if no money changes hands,” Erik says. His voice is calm, but Charles feels the betraying hum of metal in the room.
From the sickening smile on Shaw’s face, he must be feeling it too. “Do your clients know you like underage hookers?” he jeers.
“Charles is eighteen,” Erik says, and his voice is tight. “Two years over the age of consent here. Like you said, Ohio laws are quaint.”
“Oh, Charles is eighteen,” Shaw says. “But who’s to say how many others there have been, or how young they were?”
“I think you’re confusing Erik’s record with your own,” Charles says coldly. “How many of your other victims should the police be looking for?” He’s sure there must have been others, but god knows if the truth about that will ever come to light. He’s not even sure if the police will take him seriously, though he’ll have to tell them what he suspects.
“In any case,” Shaw says to Erik, apparently unruffled, “the truth by itself is enough to make you a laughing-stock or worse. You can just imagine what they’ll say, can’t you? Erik Lehnsherr? Oh yes, he’s the one who met his boyfriend when the kid was pretending to be a rentboy.”
Charles feels the surge of anger and humiliation from Erik at that, and he doesn’t know what to do. This thing between them is so new, so fragile and untested, and he’s scared of what Shaw’s words will do to them. He can’t bear it if he loses Erik, not now he’s found him again –
He must have been projecting some of that, because Erik takes his hand under the table and squeezes it tightly. Charles squeezes back, grateful for the reassurance.
“What do you think’s going to happen when the story breaks?” Shaw says to Charles. “The press will love tearing you to pieces.”
The hatred and glee coming off him are so strong that Charles almost retches. He takes a deep breath – calm, Xavier, stay calm – and says “Your lawyer thinks you’ll get at least a year in jail for this. I’d say that’s worth it.”
“Think about it,” Shaw says, and he’s not smiling any more. “Your mother’s going to hate you even more than she already does. They won’t let your sister associate with you.”
Charles thinks of Raven hugging him tight and telling him to try again with Erik, distracting his mother on his behalf, defying her and Kurt about Azazel. He laughs. “You don’t know my sister if you think that’s going to work.”
“Withdraw your testimony,” Shaw says. “Or this whole story is going to make the news. Nobody’s going to want to know you when the truth comes out. That kind of scandal never goes away.”
“I’ll take my chances,” Charles says. “I believe this interview is over. See you in court, Mr Shaw.”
He won’t, of course; telepaths have to testify by video link so they can’t tamper with the jury. But it makes a good exit line.
“Ugh,” Charles says, when they’re out in the parking lot. “I need a shower.” He buries his face in Erik’s neck, and Erik hugs him gently and kisses his hair.
“Do you think it’s true about Emma Frost?” Charles asks.
Erik’s arms tighten protectively around him. “Maybe,” he says. “She was mad at you when she found out.”
“I’m going to have to apologise to her, aren’t I?” Charles says with a groan. “And to Henry.”
“Henry’s a nice guy,” Erik says. “I think he’ll forgive you more easily than she will.”
“You met him?” Charles says, and then it hits him. “Oh. You had sex with him.”
“I did,” Erik says. “Does that bother you?”
Charles knows he shouldn’t mind, but his stomach feels all knotted up. “How was it?”
“I can’t believe you just asked me that!” Erik swats him on the backside. “He was nice and the sex was fine. I thought it’d get you out of my system. It didn’t.”
Some of the knotted feeling in Charles’s stomach goes away at that, though the way Erik’s looking down at him is making it hard to breathe.
“I wasn’t looking for this,” Erik says. “I don’t think you were either. But it’s happened.”
He hugs Charles tighter, and kisses him till Charles can hardly stand up straight.
“I want you, OK?” Erik says, when they break apart for air. “Just you.”
“I want that too,” Charles says. “Just you.” He kisses Erik again, a kiss with his whole heart in it.
“Shit,” Erik says, letting go of him abruptly. “Did I hurt your shoulder?”
“It’s OK,” Charles says. “I’m OK.”
Something’s buzzing against his side, over and over again.
“Damn,” Erik says, taking out his phone. “It’s Moira.”
“Go ahead,” Charles says. “I’ll be right here.”
“Moira, hi,” Erik says. “Yeah, he’s fine. We’re fine… What?... Are you sure?... OK, OK, I’ll be in – later. Bye.”
It’s good news – Charles can feel that much – but with an edge of uncertainty in it. “What’s happened?”
Erik looks at him as if he’s trying to read him. “We just got a big commission,” he says. “In Paris. The job’s going to take at least six months.”
Paris. He’s never been to Paris, and the thought of going there with Erik –
“I would really like you to come with me,” Erik says carefully, “but I know you’re starting grad school any day now –”
“Grad school can wait,” Charles says. He doesn’t even have to think about it. He wants to be with Erik – and if Shaw’s right about the trial, putting an ocean between him and his mother seems like a really good idea. He wouldn’t even have to put his work completely on hold; he can gather data as easily in Paris as in New York.
“Paris,” Erik says. He looks happier than Charles has ever seen him. “I like the thought of you and me in Paris.”
Charles gets a glimpse of it: an apartment that looks out into a little courtyard with acacia trees, morning sunlight flooding into the room, a plate of croissants with apricot jam, a huge old-fashioned bed with Charles naked in it…
“I like that too,” Charles says, sending Erik a few choice images of what they’ll be doing in that bed. “When can we go?”
“Soon,” Erik says roughly. He gives Charles another of those looks that make him go weak at the knees. “I promised Moira I’d be in later, but I have some things I need to take care of at home first.”
I’m going to stroke you till you’re begging me to let you come, his voice says in Charles’s head, and after you’ve come I’m going to suck your cock till you get hard again and then fuck you till you can’t remember your own name.
“Oh,” Charles says, clinging to Erik so he doesn’t fall down. “Oh yes.”
“Get in,” Erik says, opening the car doors with his powers.
Charles tumbles into the passenger seat, every cell in his body singing with anticipation. He looks at Erik’s hands on the steering-wheel and shivers with pleasure at the thought of those hands all over him, touching and teasing and driving him out of his mind in Erik’s bed, in a hotel room, in Tony Stark’s guest suite, in their bed in Paris…
All this and Paris too? Charles can’t imagine anything better than his life right now. Whatever happens with the trial and Shaw, he can’t regret what he did, not when it’s brought him this.
I’m yours, he says to Erik in his head. Take me home