A/N: I do not have a beta, and I am posting with my iPad, which is challenging because I have to manually code every paragraph, italics, etc. I apologize in advance for mistakes and repeated uploads as I try to make this work. Otherwise, I love my iPad!********************************Those Blue EyesErik Lehnsherr, clad in his gray trench coat and hat, strode down a narrow and shady alleyway, his worn shoes barely making a sound in the dirt. He glanced around inconspicuously as he progressed, clearly searching for a place unfamiliar to him. His blue-green eyes gleamed with satisfaction as they caught a faded sign with black letters: "Bart's Leathers." Without further ado, Erik opened the door to the windowless shop and ventured inside.A tall, thin man with dirty blond hair and brown eyes greeted him. "What can I help you with?""I was told you do some special work on the side," Erik informed him meaningfully, breathing in the smell of all the leather products that now surrounded him."Yes, that," the leather man said, a bit hesitant."I'd like to see it for myself," Erik prodded. "Do you have samples?""Yes, well...they might take some time to get together," the blond man admitted.Erik smiled, pleased. "Take your time."The man looked at him askance, but not getting an explanation, left through another door. Erik took a moment to take inventory, the man's metal belt buckle bright in his mind. Concentrating, he could sense a few other metal pieces moving around another room. More people, then. He had to keep tabs on all of them.Erik strode behind the counter, perusing all the paper documents he could find, the mail, the notepads, the receipts, looking for any link to the government. His frown deepened as his search continued. Abruptly he straightened everything out and hurried back to his original spot, sensing the metal buckle approaching again."Why don't you come back with me," the man invited, coming into view.Erik gave a short nod and followed him, unsurprised to find the back room full of guns, knives, and strange looking electrical devices."We're a fully stocked facility, as you can see," the man said, gesturing around to the various weapons and other things that Erik was unsure of the use of."I don't need details, but what is your business?""Freeing," said Erik, carefully gaging the man's reaction. If the man had a tie to the mutant enslavement enforcer Shaw, as he was told, something as illegal as that would surely pique the man's interest in him."Ah, well. That'll cost you extra. Those implanted, power suppressing chips are not easy to deactivate. The proper device is very hard to get a hold of and we only have a few of them.""Money is no object," said Erik, knowing that was poor bargaining form. Good thing, then, he was less interested in bargaining and more interested as coming across as a troublemaker."In that case, why don't we go ahead and settle up. I can have the items delivered, if you wish. More discreet that way," the man offered."No need. Just passing through," said Erik, still intently studying the man's reactions. "I wanted to make sure you'd be able to supply my future operations.""I will do my best to meet your needs.""Thank you, Mr. - ""Oh, I'm afraid none of us uses names. Professional courtesy, you know," the man chided.Erik gave a short nod. "I'll be seeing you.""Whenever is convenient," the man agreed easily.Erik turned and left the shop. He walked briskly down the rest of the alley, quickly glancing behind him every so often to make sure he wasn't being followed. To his disappointment, he wasn't.Fuck, Erik thought. He didn't take the bait. Another dead end. He would hang around for a day or two to make sure, but after months going on years of playing detective, he doubted he was wrong. It seemed his goal of avenging his parent's deaths would be delayed yet again. Shaw was a slippery bastard as well as a senseless murderer.Erik entered the first bar he came to, inundated with the smell of smoke the moment he opened the door. He ordered a German beer and sat down at a small table with it, picking up the paper and reading it for appearances. It only commanded half of his attention, however. With the other half, he searched for someone at least moderately attractive who he might be able to pick up. At least then, the night night not be completely wasted.No one immediately caught his eye, but the night was young, so he decided to wait, refocusing on the paper in front of him. The main headline read "World Slave Council Debates Sterilization and Reinstating Death Penalty."Today the WSC convened again, discussing the highly controversial topics of sterilization and reinstating the death penalty, which has not been in practice since eliminating all adult mutants in the Mutant Holocaust fifteen years ago. William Stryker, a supporter of both causes, cited many instances of violence and crime from mutants who proved to be more difficult than usual to safeguard humanity from. He urged the Council to "Open your eyes and realize that mutants are a ticking time bomb, a threat that needs to be wiped out completely. Enslaving them all is not enough. We will never be able to rest easy until no more mutants walk the earth." Those opposing him believe that to go to these extremes are inhumane, and without evidence of any significant uprising, completely unnecessary.Erik nearly snorted at the idea that the WSC was concerned about being inhumane."I know," said a voice behind him. "Ridiculous, innit?"Erik turned his head to look at the speaker, a blond haired, blue eyed man of average build. Seeing Erik's acknowledgment, he needed no further encouragement to take the seat across from him. So much for finding an attractive partner. "That WSC doesn't care about mutants or humans. It only cares about money. If Stryker can get his cause passed, his military division will have access to all the funds he can dream of. If it doesn't, then those opposing it will be happy because their investments are protected."Erik set down his paper, finding the man only mildly more interesting. Seeing this, the man continued."If the government was really acting in the interests of the people, they wouldn't have just killed the adults during the Holocaust. They should have wiped out the lot of them instead of enslaving all the young survivors. But no, they had to find an excuse to keep taxing us, so here we are, years later, the problem still on our hands and our money out of our hands!""I don't trust the government either," Erik admitted. "They make lethal mistakes. I know for a fact that humans got mistaken for mutants and were slaughtered with the rest of them!""Incompetent fools," the man chimed in."They should never have mass murdered the mutants like they did. They should have gone slower, gave them all trials - ""You sound pro mutant," the other man mused suspiciously."I'm not pro mutant. I'm not anti mutant. I'm anti government, especially fools like Shaw," Erik ground out. In this case, only Shaw, but he had no wish to make his vendetta so obvious."You can't refuse to not be for or against. It's either, or," the man insisted."I have no reason to choose a side. I understand the danger they present, but I have also never witnessed them doing anything other than attempt to protect their families," argued Erik. He could certainly understand that. He wished, more than once, that he could do more than sense metal. Then, maybe he would have been able to stop the bullets that killed his parents as he was forced to watch."So you've had a lot of contact with them, then? Never did much myself. Can't afford it, obviously, and wouldn't anyway. It's like playing with fire, yanno.""No, I've barely had any close contact," said Erik. "That's why I haven't formed an opinion. I don't believe what the government says."As the other man continued to debate with Erik, he gave up the idea of picking someone up. He sat tensely, his hands gripping his armrests. The topic of discussion darkened his mood considerably, driving away what charm he possessed to win anyone over. As soon as he could, Erik made an excuse and left, leaving money for his drink. He strode out in an angry haze, not paying attention to where he was going.He shifted his focus from his musings to his surroundings in attempt to ease his mind, aware again of the crunch, crunch of gravel beneath his feet, the cool evening air, and the darkening of the sky. He glanced at the street sign - Cass, it said. He frowned, pulling his rumpled map from his pocket. It was heavily marked with red ink, little x's made here and there. All the places he'd inquired about Shaw and had hit a dead end. He searched for Cass. It wouldn't do to get lost, and waste even more time. Finding it, he decided to go back to his hotel. The crinkling of the paper was really loud in the relative quiet, and he glanced around, wondering if he'd caught anyone's attention.A worn red and blue wooden sign caught his eye: Exotic Pleasures. Reading between the lines, he realized it was one of those brothels which offered enslaved mutants. Like he'd told the man at the bar, he'd never had close contact with a real mutant. He'd seen, them, sure, but never for very long, and certainly not in this setting. He paused by the wooden blue and red door, considering the windowless building thoughtfully. Here was his chance to find out for himself what they were like. He had the money, plenty of it, from his inheritance. Decision made, he shoved one hand in a pocket, and used the other one to push open the creaky door, the wood rough against his calloused palm.Warm air greeted him, chasing away the chill in his bones. Erik tried to shut the door, but it wouldn't latch until he shoved at it firmly with his shoulder. A strange mix of smoke, flowers, and perfume filled his nostrils, and he blinked his eyes in the bright light, taking in his surroundings. He was in a short hallway of some sort. Further down, he could see a long lineup of people - mutants - chained to a wall. He dithered a moment longer, glancing between the mutants, a few of which were now staring at him in interest, and the door. A pretty blond, scantily clad in white, caught his eye as he glanced back uncertainly. She smiled at him and beckoned him forward encouragingly.Erik shoved his other hand in his pocket, his discomfort easing. While he'd been in brothels before, the prostitutes had certainly never been chained and it had thrown him for a moment."Hey sugar, aren't you a handsome one?" Blondie smirked seductively as Erik strode out of the hallway and into easy earshot."Emma, wait your turn," chided a male voice behind Erik.Erik spun around and faced a short, fat, bald man wearing a gaudy blue and red shirt, "Exotic Pleasures" lettered across the front, and black jeans barely held up by a belt. Erik thought the whole effect was rather hideous."Name's Pilas," said the man, smiling. His breath stank of smoke. "Haven't seen you before, are you new in town?""Just passing through," explained Erik."Ever been with a mutant?" asked Pilas."No," admitted Erik."We have quite a lineup here for you then! Most of the mutations are inhibited by those wonderful chips, but we do have a few here with some interesting physical ones if you're into that sort of thing."Erik shifted and glanced away, rethinking his desire to be there."Why don't I just introduce you to all of them?" Pilas said hurriedly. He didn't want to lose this client. The ones that usually came here were a bit seedy and Erik wasn't, he could tell. Despite his worn appearance, he clearly came from money. Pilas was trying to attract more respectable clientèle from the upper class. If Erik had a good time, he might spread the word.Erik gave a short nod, and Pilas led him to the start of the line. Emma once again encouraged him to pick her, and he gave her a brief smile, undecided. He eyed the other mutants as they were introduced, some eager, some refusing to face them, clearly not wanting to be there. None of them caught Erik's interest. They now were near the end of the line. Maybe he'd just pick Emma. At least she was pretty and willing.A short one with dark hair glanced at him reluctantly as they came near. In that brief instant, their gazes met, Erik's breath catching in his throat, the mutant's big blue eyes drawing him in, shock reverberating in his being. Clearly startled too, the mutant did a double take, and they stared at each other, oblivious to Pilas rattling on about another mutant. Gazes locked, Erik tried to speak, but realized he wasn't breathing, taking in the mutant fully, dressed in tight, white jeans and shirt, a reflection of the strange, boyish innocence he projected that was jarringly out of place in their current surroundings. An unnameable, unfamiliar feeling welled up in Erik, and he forced himself to breathe."Ah, this one," said Pilas, finally realizing where Erik's attention had drifted to. "He's not the most eager of them, truth be told. I save him for the ones who like things rough. He will never do anything unless ordered and forced to. Emma will give you a better time.""This one," insisted Erik, finally able to speak, not swayed by the owner's description of him. He turned away from him, and paid up at the counter by the hallway while the dark haired one was led away. "What is his name?" asked Erik as their transaction was completed.Pilas gave him a wry look. "We don't know," he admitted, annoyance clear in his tone. "He doesn't speak, and he never smiles, and nothing we've tried will persuade him to. So we let our customers call him whatever they like while they're with him. We just call him the stubborn one, and everyone knows who we mean."Erik just nodded and let himself be led into a back room, barely taking in the blue and red decor on the walls as they wove through a few brightly lit hallways, passing several doors. He wondered, vaguely, at what he was doing. He'd never been into men before, and he already knew the mutant wasn't willing, so why did he pick him anyway? He certainly had no plans on forcing him. The owner left him alone at the door. Erik entered, closing it behind him, taking in the large bed, the luxurious white bathroom, and various whips, rods, and other cruel looking objects around the room that he had no intention of using.Then he caught sight of the man chained to the bed and devoted all his attention to him, who, true to the owner's prediction, hadn't said one word and wasn't smiling, not even meeting Erik's eyes. There was something lost, sad, and weary in his expression, in the way he held himself, in the way he let his hair fall into his eyes without bothering to fix it. Erik cleared his throat and shifted awkwardly. "Hello," said Erik. He approached the bed like he was trying to approach a scared horse, hands slightly outstretched, steps careful and measured. It wasn't a bad analogy from the man's expression, which tensed as he grew closer. Erik sat down on the edge of the bed, locking gazes with him, attempting to keep his posture non-threatening. Then the mutant dropped his gaze to his lap, and waited in a submissive, defeated posture.Clearly he expected to be forced into it. Erik waited several minutes, hoping he would warm up to him, his heart beating faster than normal at the thought of the mutant coming out of his shell, coming onto him. He bowed his head and tried not to fidget with the silky blue comforter, focusing instead on the candles lit on a long shelf on the opposite wall, providing the primary source of light, the scent of flowers in the air that didn't quite cover the smell of smoke, and the overly bright red of the fluffy carpet beneath his feet. Unable to help himself, he occasionally glanced at the handsome mutant, hoping for an improvement.The mutant didn't relax. Erik thought he caught the mutant looking at him in the corner of his eye, sad, wistful, longing, but it was so quick he couldn't be sure. He almost seemed - lonely, as strange as that sounded, considering where he lived.Erik waited a little longer, then sighed inwardly. He had no idea why he'd thought the mutant would be willing for him when he apparently was unwilling for everyone else. Perhaps he had just imagined that the mutant felt something for him when he'd stared at him earlier. "I'm not into rape," he said. "So I'll just - go, and you can enjoy your time off."The mutant looked up at him, his eyes wide and frozen in shock and disbelief.Erik had surprised even himself with those words. He'd paid for his time, he had every right to make use of it, and it wasn't like he had any kind of love for mutants. As someone who considered his life's ultimate goal was to commit murder, he hardly considered himself a compassionate philanthropist of any sort. But there was something about this one. He just couldn't do anything to hurt him, couldn't sully that boyish, vulnerable innocence that shone from him. So he gathered himself to get up and leave the mutant in peace. He had a bit of time left, maybe he could do a quickie with one of the eager ones. Emma, perhaps.A touch on his shoulder, soft as a butterfly's wings, made him stop. He turned back to the mutant expectantly. What could he possibly want?Erik found himself locked in the mutant's gaze of pure wonder, his eyes large and intensely blue. Erik swore he felt his heart swell impossibly large. The sheer intensity of the emotion there sucked Erik in, driving everything else from his mind. The mutant eased off the bed, kneeling in front of him, chains clinking loudly with his every movement."I'm not going to force you to do anything," Erik insisted, heart thudding at the possibility of what might happen next. "I can just find someone else."The mutant's expression relaxed, now thoughtful and soft. Erik waited, scarcely breathing, unable to look away, wondering what was going through his mind. The barest hint of a smile touched the kneeling man's still weary eyes as he grasped Erik's belt and waited. For permission, Erik guessed."You want this," Erik confirmed. The mutant nodded. "Okay," Erik acquiesced, growing hard already at the realization. Having all that intensity directed at him was very arousing. And, didn't his owner say he never did anything unless ordered? The thought that this mutant was doing something out of the ordinary, just for him, warmed him in a way he wasn't used to feeling. This feeling of connection, then, it wasn't all just in his head.The mutant undid his belt and his pants, sliding everything down just enough with Erik's cooperation so he could grasp Erik's cock. Erik spread his legs wide, breathing heavier in anticipation. The mutant stroked steadily with his smaller, soft hand until Erik was fully hard and aching. His hands were gentle, almost uncertain, but clearly experienced by how effective he was in his technique. He watched Erik's reactions, quietly cataloging what he liked and repeated it, the wondering, thoughtful look never quite leaving his eyes.Then he sank his mouth onto Erik's cock.Erik moaned, unable to help himself, jerking slightly at the sensation, grateful that his legs were long enough to reach the floor and balance him. Otherwise he might have fallen off the bed and embarrassed himself. He resisted the impulse to grasp the mutant's head, instead clutching at the bedspread. He didn't want him to feel forced or trapped in any way. But god, if he could just only make him suck harder, the heat, wetness, and suction, so good but not enough, torturing him. He realized he was saying this out loud when those blue eyes met his briefly, a pleased expression in them. He sucked harder, but not by much, drawing it out. Erik dug his fingers harder into the mattress, breathing hard, using all his willpower to refrain from thrusting into him, as his aching balls urged him to do. He knew he couldn't last, and he didn't, coming hard into the mutant's mouth, his vision going white. He collapsed backwards onto the bed, catching his breath. The mutant crawled up beside him, a question in his eyes."Thank you," Erik gasped out. "That was - the best I've had in a long time," he admitted.The mutant didn't smile but his eyes appeared to be. Then he looked questioning again, glancing between Erik and the bathroom."I'm not sure what you're asking," said Erik honestly. Obviously the mutant was used to some kind of routine Erik wasn't familiar with. "I'll clean myself up," he guessed. "Don't worry about it."The mutant nodded, his bright expression fading back into that defeated, blank sadness. He laid back down on the bed, putting several feet between himself and Erik, his back to him. Clearly, he thought it was over and Erik would leave him now that he'd gotten what he'd come for.Erik felt a strange, unfamiliar pain in his chest at the sight."So this is how it ends? At opposite ends of the bed, and me marching out the door? Not with me, mister."Erik scooted so he was spooning snugly behind the mutant, throwing an arm and a leg over him, holding him gently. Slowly, he felt the other man relax. Unable to help himself, Erik rubbed the shorter man's chest soothingly with his hand, reaching up and combing his hands through the silky hair. He could feel, under the shirt, what felt like scars. As much as he wanted to investigate, he felt that would be pushing too much right now.The mutant shifted so he was on his back, with Erik partly on top of him, meeting his gaze, his eyes soft. Slowly, hesitantly, he put his arm over Erik and rubbed his back lightly with that butterfly wing touch of his. Erik smiled gently, continuing to rub soothing circles with his thumb on the mutant's still tense shoulders. He clearly wasn't used to this kind of attention.Truth be told, Erik wasn't used to giving it. All of his previous sexual encounters had been completely impersonal. He had no desire to get attached or involved with anyone. Never before had he any idea what the term 'making love' meant. Now, he felt he had some idea. He wasn't sure that it was love, but there certainly was a connection between them, a silent understanding.After a few minutes, Erik started feeling uncomfortable. He was the type that liked to reciprocate in bed. Leaving things like this didn't feel right to him. "Hey," said Erik gently, awkwardly. "It's time for payback." He reached down to the top of the mutant's pants, waiting for permission, as the mutant had done.The mutant gazed at him thoughtfully, tensely, regretfully, then shook his head."Are you sure? I don't mind returning the favor," said Erik, disappointed.The mutant looked touched and apologetic but shook his head again, as if to say, thanks, but no thanks."All right," agreed Erik. He let his hand drop. After several pleasant minutes Erik got up and cleaned himself up in the bathroom, the mutant watching curiously. Erik returned to the bed and sat down when he finished. Now it was Erik's turn to gaze at him with curiosity. He knew he wouldn't get answers to his questions, but he couldn't help asking them. "Why won't you speak? Not even to say your name?"The mutant gave him a regretful look but still refused to speak.The tinkling of a bell interrupted their exchange."That's my cue to leave, isn't it?" said Erik.The mutant nodded, the regret deepening starkly on his face, weariness and blankness returning."Well," Erik said, feeling a bit awkward again. "Thank you." Erik gave a small smile, steeling himself against those eyes. He got up and left without a second glance, intending not to return, ignoring the pang in his chest at leaving the sad and lonely mutant behind.