A Gift For: strobelighted
Characters/Pairings: Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, Raven and mentions of the other students
Length: 2800+ words
Summary: - On a snowy day in January, 1963, Charles and Erik drink coffee, watch the students play in the snow and share embarrassing stories about losing their virginity. Or at least Charles does. Erik? Ah, there lies a story...
Author note - heartfelt gratitude to afrocurl for beta duties (and sarky comments that made me laugh out loud and grammar wrangling and kink hitting and-) Without her, this story would be less than it is.
I must also thank strobelighted for being generous enough to let me play 'outside' the prompts. I want to write the bodyswap! story but didn't have time, but it's on my todo list.
Thanks also to the mods, for being generous in giving me extra time when needed. It is much appreciated!
Given how Charles claimed that he knew 'everything' about Erik, he should have known of that one, insignificant detail. It was, after all, no idle boast, it was the truth; his telepathy was that powerful.
However, as Charles had not examined too minutely his knowledge of Erik, it was understandable. A decision Charles took as much out of respect for the other man as a desire to discover Erik's secrets through interacting and observing the man. To build up a friendship with him.
It was a decision that seemed to benefit both of them. While Charles would be the first to admit that being a telepath meant that surprises were few and far between (thanks to being able to read peoples minds) there was a lot to be said for letting others do the work.
As for what Erik gained, Charles could only guess, but from what he could gather, Erik had grown to call him a friend and ally. And for that Charles was grateful.
It was as Charles was bed-ridden, recuperating from the gun-shot wound he had earned on a Cuban beach that he found out that Erik could still surprise him.
He was propped up against pillows and smothered in blankets, in the main living room of the mansion. Staring out at the crisp winter wonderland of the estate and watching the children (if they could still be called that after everything they had experienced) engage in what seemed to be either a training exercise or a snowball fight. Not that it mattered, he could feel the waves of happypleasurejoy emanating from them, his only disappointment being that he couldn't be out there with them.
It was as Charles was smiling over Hank's gleeful bounding through the snow: a bright blue streak of fur breaking up the whiteness of the landscape, that he felt the gentle press of another mind in the vicinity.
"Please come in, Erik!" he called out, turning his head slightly towards the door.
As Charles turned back to the scene outside the window, Erik appeared in his line of sight. Dressed comfortably (and quite delectably if the stray thoughts he picked up from Raven and Angel, at breakfast, were anything to go by) in tailored, dark grey woolen trousers and a black turtleneck jumper. In his hands were two steaming mugs of coffee.
"And you bring gifts as well, how wonderful!" Charles exclaimed, holding his hands out to take one of the mugs from Erik.
"It is a little too early for scotch, Charles, so I thought you may prefer coffee." Erik noted dryly as he handed over the steaming beverage.
The comment prompted a laugh out of Charles. "Despite what Raven may insinuate, I am not that much of a lush.” He purposefully ignored the wave of amusement from Erik. “Although I need not remind you that it is six o'clock somewhere in the world, right now." he said. "Europe is six hours ahead after all,"
"I find I am quite content being on American time." Erik noted as he waved a hand to bring his favourite overstuffed, metal studded chair over to where Charles was seated. It lifted off the hardwood floor without a sound, moving through the air as if by it's own volition to land just by Charles' chair with a feather soft thud.
"So, what are we going to talk about today then?" Erik asked as he seated himself in his repositioned chair.
Charles sipped at his coffee and pondered the matter for a few moments before replying. These conversations he had with Erik were the highlight of his days during his seeming never-ending convalescing. They meant as much as their regular chess matches. Moments to enjoy the camaraderie on offer.
"Well, that's a very good question," he noted. "We can't talk about how the children's training is progressing because we've-"
"Discussed that one again and again. Due to the weather, there is not much we can add to that one," Erik replied.
"Other than I think we should really stop referring to them as 'children', Erik," Charles noted as he cocked his head in thought.
“The way they gallivant around in the ice and cold makes a mockery of that suggestion, Charles” Erik pointed out gruffly. "Another topic, please,"
"The paperwork for the school is still somewhere in the bowels of the New York State bureaucracy, so we won't be seeing those for a while." Charles said. He glanced towards Erik. "As is the paperwork for your residency and teaching credentials."
"That does not surprise me," Erik noted. "Bureaucracy is the same the world over."
"And we've settled upon the curriculum, so that's off the agenda. For the moment." Charles said
"For the moment," Erik echoed.
"Politics is not a suitable subject for daytime discussion, so that one is out as well." Charles continued. "So, I think all that remains is the sharing of embarrassing stories from our pasts."
"What is there to say that I have any such stories to share?" Erik asked, in a tone that sounded so dry to Charles that he could have dried a martini with it.
Charles snorted "My friend, everyone has an embarrassing story or five in their past." he said watching the continuing commotion outside. The snowball fight had now descended into a general free for all, with alliances being made and broken with the judicious application of frozen water against warm skin.
"The best ones seem to usually involve losing of virginity." Or at least they do with me,*he added telepathically.
A quick glance towards Erik told Charles that the other man was at least considering the idea, especially if the quirk of a smile that spread across his face was anything to go by.
"Very well then, I’ll start." Charles stated as he pushed his shoulders back into the pillows that supported him. He would tell the tale of how he lost his virginity with a woman rather than a man. Mainly because it was a belter of a story, even if he did say so himself.
That and the story of him losing his virginity with a man was not so much embarrassing as pathetic; an awkward encounter in the Bodliean library stacks didn’t make for a good story. And besides, he had no idea how Erik would take to the idea that Charles loved both women and men.
"She was a student reading History at Sommerville, with the one of the best manifestation of the MC1R recessive gene that I'd seen in a long time-" Charles began.
"And I am sure that she thanked you for pointing that out." Erik commented snidely.
Charles shrugged, color blooming into his cheeks, "Eventually she did, once I had explained that I was talking about her lovely red hair-" he trailed off, memory whisking him back to the night in question.
"Go on," Erik said as he finished off his coffee, cradling the mug in his hands.
Charles did as he was bid. By the time he had related how a bicycle pump and a policeman's helmet had entered the equation, Erik was laughing delightedly at his story.
If Charles wasn't already in love with Erik; he knew he would have fallen for his friend right then.
Not that Charles would ever do anything about it because Erik would never 'see' him like that. Not when Erik could crook a finger and any one of a number of beautiful, intelligent women would be more than happy to be with him. First in line being his beloved sister, Raven.
They were good together. Erik had helped Raven to find peace in herself and her abilities; while she gotten him to stay with them, to organize the others - especially during those long days when Charles had been laid up in hospital, unable to help anyone, least of all himself.
If Erik could not be his, then he would be honoured to call him his brother, in more ways than just as a fellow mutant.
"So, what about you then?" Charles asked, once he had finished his story. "I've told you mine, now it's time for you to tell me yours."
As soon as he said the words, Charles felt a definite difference in Erik. Something did not feel right. Erik stood up calmly, staring out of the window at their charges working together to build snowmen. Charles could have been asking Erik about the north wind blowing past the house, bringing dark clouds heavy with snow, for the response that he garnered.
Telepathically, Charles reached out to Erik to find out what was bothering his friend. Although Erik had made it clear that he did not want him in his head, Charles felt that this instance was perfectly reasonable as it was obvious to him that Erik was in some distress.
As excuses went, it was terrible but for Charles it would do - along with losing terribly at chess for the next couple of days should he be caught out.
Closing his eyes, Charles concentrated on gently brushing Erik’s mind. A tumult of thoughts and emotions burst onto Charles’ mind. Fear, regret, anger, but behind those, other emotions that Charles could sense. Nervousness, hesitation and desire.
"It doesn't have to be how you lost your virginity, Erik," Charles said, trying for levity, "Any embarrassing, story will do."
Erik pushed himself away from his chair to walk towards the window, his back towards Charles.
"That is the whole point Charles," Erik snapped, "I have no stories to share because I have had no encounters that fit your request!"
For the first time, since the moment that he had woken up in Bethesda Naval hospital to be told that he was lucky that the bullet hadn't hit his spine and that yes, he would recover fully, but it would take time. Charles didn't know what to say.
“Not even with Raven?" Charles asked incredulously. 'Officially' he did not know what had happened on the Night Before Cuba - but he was a telepath and it didn't take a PhD to realise that 'something' had happened between the sister he loved and the man he was in love with.
Not that he would hold it against Erik or Raven for that matter, they were both consenting adults. If a lot of things had been different, he would have done the very same himself.
(With hindsight, Charles would realise that one day he needed to learn how to be tactful. Perhaps there was a book he could read on the subject.)
"Raven is a beautiful, intelligent and loving young woman who is well on her way to becoming a powerful mutant in her own right." Erik commented, not taking his eyes from the tableaux outside. The snowmen were being formed into a scene of some sort. Quite what, Charles found it difficult to make out.
Charles returned his attention to the man standing at the window.
"For years, all I thought about was revenge." Erik began, his words so quiet that Charles very nearly did not hear them without straining. "Until I was pulled away from a watery grave in Miami."
Oh, oh Charles thought to himself.
"Love and romance were diversions for others. They could not help me find and kill Shaw,” Erik shrugged his broad shoulders, “Therefore had no place in my life." He turned around to face Charles. A range of emotions flickered over his features, moving too quickly for Charles to identify. "Then I met someone who changed me in ways that I am only now beginning to understand.
"He encouraged me to look beyond simple revenge and see what I could become." Charles could hear the shudder of Erik's breathing, the price of what this confession was costing him.
Charles wanted to push himself out of the woolen cocoon he found himself to go over and console the other man. Instead, he stayed exactly where he was; sometimes inaction was the best course of action. "What I found unnerved me. I did not fully understand what I felt..." Erik trailed off, taking faltering steps back to where Charles was seated. Erik might be a virgin, but he certainly was not uninformed.
"Not to mention, that I had no idea whether my affections would even be returned."
"And if they were returned?" Charles asked, sounding more brave in that moment than he felt. “What would you do?” Yes, he had flirted with Moira while he was falling in love with Erik. More out of habit than anything else; the act of a man afraid to accept his bisexuality, that was in the past. He had done her a disservice; one that he hoped one day to atone for.
Erik's steps came to a halt by Charles' chair, he reached out to place a hand on Charles' shoulder. With a sureness that surprised him, Charles reached up to cover that hand with his own. Because they are you know, he sent telepathically to Erik. As he looked up towards Erik, the other man leant down with a courage that both scared and humbled Charles to cover his mouth in a kiss.
As first kisses went, it was not spectacular in it’s execution (what with Erik standing over him and Charles straining to meet him part of the way) but the tenderness and affection he could feel aimed at him, more than made up for any possible shortcomings. Feelings that he reciprocated in full.
When they parted for breath, Charles looked up at Erik to see blue-grey eyes blown with passion and kiss reddened lips forming a small ‘o’ of astonishment. He was just about to ask if Erik was alright when he was rudely interrupted by the wet splat of a snowball hitting the glass of the living room window.
Both men startled at the sound, turning towards the glass to see the ‘children’ gathered together; looking in at Erik and himself. Charles reached out to gently touch their minds, to gauge what they had seen, trying not to think of zoo exhibits as he did so. Erik did not move away, the weight of his hand on Charles’ shoulder was a comfort.
Yes, they had seen everything, but instead of the anger and hatred that he was fearing to see; Charles saw nothing but support and affection for Erik and himself. Although Charles read something akin to delight from Raven.
Charles would ask her for a private word later, unless she caught up with him first. He loved Erik but he did not want to make Raven a casualty of that love; not after they had finally regained their equilibrium again after so long. No doubt after she had explained to Erik the penalties for hurting him. It was, after all, what he would do for her.
“Erik, would you like something a little ‘stronger’ than coffee?” Charles asked as he began pushing the blankets off his legs. Hank might have his own fur coat, but he could ‘hear’ how cold the others were. Playing around the in the snow was fun; being indoors would be better.
“We’re not in Kiev, Charles.” Erik noted puzzled. “It would be 6pm there now,”
I was thinking more along the lines of hot chocolate and marshmallows! Charles telepathically sent, chuckling as he did so. He caught a sense of embarrassed understanding pouring off Erik as he pushed the last blanket away to stand up; wobbling like a newborn colt as he did so. Erik caught his arm, curling his hand under Charles’ elbow in support.
“Thank you, Erik.” Charles murmured as he laid his other hand on Erik’s arm to brace himself. A thought struck Charles as he stared up at his newfound love. “You know, I will not rush you into anything that you are not completely happy with.” It had been a long time since Charles had been with a man himself, so taking it slow could only be a good idea.
Erik nodded, a small smile gracing his features at Charles words. That smile widened into something a lot more ‘dangerous’ as he asked:
“And if I did want to rush into things?” he asked, a wicked glint in his eye.
Charles’s eyes widened in surprise. It didn’t take much effort on his behalf to ‘read’ Erik’s mind at that moment. Some of the things he was thinking about Charles hadn’t even heard of, let alone considered.
“I hate to remind you that I am under doctor’s orders for strict bed rest for the next month or so,” he gently reminded Erik. “Although, nothing was said as to who I could have in my bed as I rested.” he noted with a grin. “So long as we ‘behave’!”
Erik’s laughter could be heard all the way to the kitchen, startling the rest of their ‘family’ as they made hot chocolate.