A Gift For: punahukka
Length: ~1800 words
Summary: They're probably safer in out of the storm.
It had been raining all day, the weather stormy enough that Erik didn't argue when Charles pulled the car into a motel parking lot in mid-afternoon. He still couldn't help feeling it was taking the soft option not to push on, although rain was whipping wildly across the long stretch of highway, the sky turning an ominous black.
"I could always just trust you to make sure that we don't hit any other cars," Charles said.
Erik looked at him sharply, wondering whether it was worth pointing out that it wasn't polite to respond to things people had thought but not said. "And if I can't?"
"You probably could. Given sufficient motivation."
"How certain are you?"
"I'll get us a room, then, shall I?"
"Do that," Erik said, and then wondered how he'd been manipulated so neatly into arguing that Charles ought to do what Charles had wanted to do in the first place. He made up for it by getting out of the car, when Charles clearly wanted him to stay in it.
His hat and coat did their best to shed the rain, but he was still left dripping in the motel lobby while Charles talked to the man at the front desk. He bought a pack of cigarettes from the machine in the corner, which he felt was a necessary indulgence for the sake of his temper, and turned back to watch Charles picking up the room key.
Charles had the particular expression of concentration that Erik was learning to associate with someone's mind being fogged, and the desk clerk looked more vacant than boredom alone would explain. "Charles?" he said, both a caution and a question.
Charles waited until they were outside before he answered, ducking his head against the rain. "I just didn't want him asking questions."
Erik retrieved his suitcase from the car trunk and let Charles collect his own. "And you call me paranoid."
Charles's eyes slid away from Erik's, and he did wonder why, but he wasn't about to argue about it in the rain. Their room opened onto the parking lot, and proved to contain cheap furniture and threadbare shag carpet; Charles had to put his shoulder to the door to get it to close properly, although it locked once he did.
Erik peeled off his sodden coat and hat, and then his sweater as well, draping it over the back of a chair upholstered in orange plastic. Charles followed suit, and retrieved a towel from the bathroom for his hair. He perched on the edge of one bed trying to wring out his shirt cuffs.
Erik leaned back in the chair and fished out the cigarettes from his pocket. They were dry, at least. He lit one and offered another to Charles, who took it with only a moment's hesitation.
"Usually only during exams." Charles held the cigarette a bit awkwardly, his fingers arched, and then leaned his head back as he exhaled, shaking out his damp hair into an unruly mane. Erik found that he had to look away to avoid his thoughts being clear on his face. Not that it probably did him much good.
"What questions didn't you want him to ask?" he asked. Interrogating Charles was often an effective way of distracting him from his own investigations into other people's private thoughts.
Charles took another drag on the cigarette before he answered, and looked as though he'd rather not answer at all. "I thought it would be better not to let him speculate about why we were checking into a motel together in the middle of the afternoon."
It took Erik a moment, and then he shook his head. "Is this really the kind of place you Americans go for that?"
"It's a cheap motel."
"It's a tourist motel. Full of travelling salesmen and sunburned families with their dogs. They don't rent rooms by the hour." He paused, aware that he was on unfamiliar ground himself, although for very different reasons. "Do they?"
"You know, I didn't ask."
Erik shrugged in elaborate unconcern. "Besides, why should anyone imagine anything more interesting than the truth? It's not as if you were checking in with a woman."
"If I were, I'd just say she was my wife."
Erik took a drag on his own cigarette, amused. "Is that what you usually do?"
"I've never actually checked into a hotel with a girl, believe it or not. All the girls at Oxford had their own flats, or I took them back to my place if they were still living in college."
"I suppose you have."
Erik shrugged. "Sometimes." It was an indulgence, like the cigarettes, and not one that he allowed himself often. It was too easy to get attached, to his frustration. It would have been far more convenient to have been entirely cold.
Charles's tone was light, his eyes not quite meeting Erik's, and Erik found himself suddenly losing his temper.
"Why not look and find out?" He tapped his own temple sharply. "I don't actually feel like making it easier for you to figure out what you might be able to use against me."
Charles still didn't look at him. "I haven't since I was in school," he said. "Boarding school, I mean, not Oxford." He hesitated for another moment, and then added, "I suppose I was afraid."
"Why are you telling me?" Erik said after a moment, the words coming out more harshly than he actually meant.
Charles finally looked at him, exasperation winning out over embarrassment. "Why do you think, Erik?"
Erik felt a rush of exasperation himself, or at least he preferred to think it was exasperation rather than relief. "If you can't think of any better way of making a pass--"
Charles's mouth quirked in a crooked smile, and despite all his better instincts Erik felt an alarming desire to smile in return, as well as stirrings of more safely physical interest. "I have a whole collection of better lines. I just wasn't sure you'd appreciate them very much."
"You could try me."
"You should get out of those wet clothes," Charles said. "I'd never forgive myself if you caught your death of cold."
Erik raised an eyebrow at him. "Does that work?"
"It depends on how much they already want to take their clothes off, usually."
"All right," Erik said, and pulled the heavy curtains shut across the windows. He stubbed out his cigarette and stripped efficiently, and looked up to find that Charles had done the same and then climbed into bed. He wasn't looking for a quick and tidy exchange of favors, then.
"If you don't want to, you don't have to," Charles said. "I won't make things difficult."
"You make everything difficult," Erik said, and joined him in the shelter of the covers. For a moment it was intensely awkward, everywhere they touched feeling like an invasion of each other's space, and then arousal began to make itself felt as a pressing incentive for allowing the touch.
Charles clearly wanted to touch him, his hands investigating every inch of skin Erik had bared, and it did feel good. He bit his lip to stay silent when Charles's hand found his cock, and then worried about whether Charles knew how to be quiet himself.
I don't have to make noise for you to hear me, Charles said, and he didn't protest having Charles in his head because at the moment it felt good, too, a treacherous warmth creeping into places in him that felt like they'd always been cold. Charles demonstrated with an entirely silent dramatic moan that startled Erik into laughter for a moment. Now who's making noise?
Erik set his jaw, then, and worked at staying quiet as Charles stroked him and then stretched himself over Erik to deliver a blow job that might not have been expert but was entirely satisfying nonetheless. At the end, he was reduced to panting for breath, and gripped Charles's shoulder desperately not to make a sound when he came.
Charles propped himself up on his hands, flushed and pleased with himself, still hard and surely aching for some satisfaction for himself. "I want to fuck you," he said, "but probably--"
Erik gave him a look and silenced him with his fingers on Charles's lips. He could feel Charles's amused apology. I'm not exactly thinking straight. There were too many questions under it, whether Erik was willing to be fucked, whether if he didn't do it that night he'd ever get another chance, whether they'd even be able to face each other in the morning.
It can wait, Charles thought, an ambiguous enough answer to cover all questions for the moment. But I'm not sure I can.
Erik met his eyes, for once actually encouraging Charles to follow his thought, and Charles made a nearly inaudible noise of relief and lowered himself to thrust against Erik's hip, letting the friction of their bodies give him what he needed. It felt good, something like being fucked without requiring quite as much trust, and at the same time, he could feel the odd echo of Charles's sensations, as if he were the one pressing someone down into the sheets.
Toward the end the echo sensation rose wildly in intensity, until he couldn't tell any difference between them. He couldn't remember whose body it was that was wrung out with pleasure when the release finally came, but that was all right, because at that moment he didn't care.
Afterwards he could feel them drawing apart at once, the strength of individual sensation strange and overwhelming. He felt too aware of the cramp in his own leg and the itch of his slowly returning erection, and it took a moment before he could find a position that it seemed comfortable for them both to lie in.
Charles reached up to ruffle Erik's hair, a sweet possessive impulse that seemed infinitely more dangerous than his desire to fuck Erik into the mattress, and Erik fought the urge to bat his hand away.
"I won't if you don't want me to," Charles said, with maddening patience.
"You can," Erik said, trying not to relax too much into the touch. He couldn't afford to get attached, he told himself, even though he suspected it was too late for that. He cursed them both silently for being self-indulgent. They'd have been better off going on driving until they were both too tired to take any risks.
We're safer in out of the storm, Charles thought, and pulled the scratchy comforter up over both of them. He kissed Erik, a momentary hopeful brush of lips, and then settled with his head against Erik's shoulder, his hair still damp and cool against Erik's skin, smelling of cigarette smoke and rain.
Do you really think so? Erik thought, but if Charles heard, for once he didn't answer.