AN: One-shot to get me through the writer's block. Let me know what you think! Rated M for angst, graphic sex. /words/ = Charles's thoughts.

Charles had never really liked birthdays. Maybe it was vanity (alright it was definitely vanity), but he couldn't shake the dominating significance as he saw it. Namely, that he had one less year to do all that he meant to do, needed to do, and was one year closer to frailty, to old age and to death.

The telepath smiled wryly to himself as he maneuvered his clumsy plastic wheelchair into the seventh story attic and shut the door behind him. Ah, well, at least I've done with frailty early, was the thought that crossed his mind, but it had no edge to it. It had been over a year, after all- 16 months 22 days and this morning-...yes. Over a year, and April 14th 1964 minted Charles Xavier an adapted, accomplished, 28 year old Professor, with every right to the title now that the Academy was up and running, the sanctuary for thirty-five mutant children all of whom looked up to him, loved him...

They had showered him in gifts, cake, and cards today. And although he was grateful for their devotion, he counted his blessings that he'd been expecting it. If Hank and Alex hadn't thought so loudly, (and if Sean hadn't let SURPRISEPARTY SURPRISEPARTY SURPRISEPARTY outright slip a dozen times that week), he may not have been up to summoning the appropriate joy he could sense they all expected. Gratitude was considerably less...bouncy, than outright joy.

The hearth was primed. After one or two attempts, he lit a fire, and the warm light softened the bare wood floor, the cobwebs and the empty walls. Most people would have derided the closet-like space as unfriendly and suffocating, out of place in the large and sumptuously decorated mansion. But Charles didn't care about the accoutrements. He came here for the out-of-the-way, and for the window. The seventh story was the highest, and this large picture window was the only one with a crank handle he could reach as well as a balcony. He liked to look out at the sprawling green lawns, the training grounds and the lake and the driveway full of service vehicles-the satellite dish-...he liked to watch over what he had made, especially when it was all at peace.

Some time passed, and he dozed. He was almost constantly tired. It was his natural state; busy and tired. Too busy to think, to feel...to want. He preferred it that way. He preferred living for others, wheeling through life like a supple, smiling machine for the sake of their freedom and safety. Gone was the prat Oxford grad. Soon this day would wheel into the next like any other, and the temporary unpleasantness of being reminded that he was flesh, blood, and bone, with a heart as well as a mind and a fucking chair, would pass away...Hush, sleep now. Think of tomorrow. Think of your lesson plans...

"Charles."

The telepath snapped up straight. His blue eyes opened wide just in time for him to watch instinct govern his arm as it shot straight out in front of him. The psi bolt crackled blue and dangerous, and the figure who had appeared on the balcony swore as he reeled left in mid air, dodging it by inches.

Two seconds, and then the man who called himself Magneto swung his legs over the railing, letting the hub cap he rode upwards drop to the rocks below. His expression was still not fully composed when he walked into the light,and the portion of Charles that had calmed registered pure surprise.

"Erik," he murmured in between gulps of air. "I'm sorry I...wasn't expecting...what are you doing here?"

The older mutant's jaw tightened. His brows knit together, just beneath the rim of the garish helmet.

"Nearly getting myself killed, apparently. But you're right...foolish."

He turned his back then, and attempted to call his makeshift transport back from the gravel. The sight of that silly purple cape, of those broad shoulders bared against him, sent a ripple of anger through the telepath. Impulsively, he grabbed it and tugged, made him look at him again.

"Hang on, where...I asked you a question, Erik. And bloody hell, if you're going to frighten me half to death by trespassing aerially, at what...past eleven, I damn well expect an answer!"

Magneto blinked...and then the corners of his thin lips turned upward ever so slightly. Madly, Charles found himself wanting to smile back at those lips...but that was an impulse he was not willing to concede. Not even if, for the first time in an age, warmth seeped into his chest and stayed there, as physical as the embers he had just tended...

"I wasn't sure," he said as he lowered himself to a kneeling position, "if it was important to you. You know I barely consider mine anymore. But Mystique mentioned it, and we're between missions, waiting on some intel..."

Charles couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Erik...are you here to wish me a happy birthday?"

The metal bender nodded curtly and sat on his haunches. His exhale was a little prolonged, but besides that, he was the picture of stoicism.

"Well...thank you." It was all he could manage aloud. Inside, his mind raced, and the coals in his chest burned.

It's been half a season...cerebro is finished, what could he possibly mean by this, coming here like this? Of course he's welcome, I told him so, didn't I? But then he never came...too busy terrorizing the capital and playing the revolutionary, I suppose...this is useless. I want him to leave. I don't want...

"My friend." Erik's voice was a rumbling softness.

"Yes..."

The metalbender leaned forward, pierced him with flint couched in stress lines and a square, unreadable face. "You've still got my cape."

Charles looked down at his own fist. Sure enough, it clutched a handful of the silk monstrosity...his knuckles were white with the grip...

And then his body pitched forward, and his mouth found the thin, chapped line of the other man's mouth, and he was pushing hard, kissing him like it was the last thing he would ever do, and part of him wished it would be.

Erik caught him before the chair slid out from under him, and pulled him down. His hands raked through his hair, and his tongue met the younger mutant's violently, hungrily...

There were no words. Only grunts, growls, guttural moans as they tore at each other's clothes, until Magneto was naked from the neck down, and Charles was left only in half-done tweed and tented briefs. The metal bender, who had straddled him at the first opportunity, reached for these now and tried to pull them off, but Charles went rigid, and grabbed his wrist with all the considerable strength of his forearm.

"No." he hissed, and then took them off himself, slowly and with the grace necessity had taught him.

Something clouded in Erik's eyes as he watched this act of independence, as each atrophied leg was liberated by its owner to reveal the flat, muscular stomach, the stiff, trembling cock. He lowered himself then, and claimed that cock, licking and sucking it almost tenderly until the tension drained out of the other man, and he began rocking up to meet the wet heat.

"Erik...Erik..." and then a pressure pushed him farther down, forced him deliciously to deep throat, pulled at one side of the steel-

Magneto disengaged abruptly, and looked up at Charles propped on one elbow, slender fingers still curled around the rim of his helmet.

"No."

"Take it off."

"No."

Charles held his gaze, noted the clouds behind the steel, and did not give ground. Slowly, deliberately, he pulled upwards on the barrier, watched it slide over the older man's ears and creased forehead...marveled when sleek, straight black hair was revealed, slightly matted and askew, and Erik couldn't look anymore, and it was done, on the floor beside them, tilted mundanely on its side as if it hadn't been donned for him, hadn't kept him cold and solitary and broken and out...as if it were just what it was, which was a stupid. ugly. helmet.

The telepath sighed deeply, and bent down to kiss the top of the bowed and naked head. He did not feel the tears landing irregularly on his thighs, but he knew that they were there.

Erik. Take me.

xxx xxx xxx

It was short and messy. Without art and absolutely wonderful. They both came in under ten minutes, Charles screaming his release into the floorboards and Erik's mind, Erik filling him with one more devistating thrust soon after. When it was finished, the metal bender ripped the pin from his cape and converted it into a blanket, cocooning them in it so that they were tangled, Charles pressed securely against his chest.

They stayed like that until dawn, talking silently until it was time for each of them to become machines again, one soft and smiling, the other hard, unbending, illegal, hunted. It was retreaved from the corner where it had rolled.

But for the next forty years without fail, it was thrown aside like scrap metal on April 14th, and Charles Xavier took to circling the day on transient office calendars with big black sharpie marker...as excited each year as the Xmen thought he ought to be.

END