Title: To Counsel All At Will
Authors: lj user speak_me_fair and lj user alernun
Characters/Pairing: Charles Xavier, Erik Lensherr
Warnings: Mental Sex, Actual Sex, Changing Canon For The Better, What If, Nightmares, Abuse of Medieval Poetry, Dominant!Charles
Disclaimer: Fiction twice over and not ours
AN: Sooo...roleplay fic is the absolute best form of writing. Hands down. We did this improv-style over IM...it tumbled out almost exactly this way, with me as Erik and her as Charles. Literally just minor edits. I'm dying.../love everything. Gah.
'Bot for as much as ȝe ar myn em I am only to prayse,
No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;
And syþen þis note is so nys þat noȝt hit yow falles,
And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;
And if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych
Charles is used to sleep that does not quite belong to him, and, being so, ignores what he would like to claim as half but is, in reality, more five-sixths.
He ignores the basic thoughts on the cusp of exhausted somnolence that only teenage boys can possess, ignores even the slightly older Hank and Alex; Hank who can blush in dreams and Alex who — well —I really must have a word with him — Charles thinks, and smiles to himself even as he turns to his side and pulls a pillow down into his wrapping arms.
There is Raven, her mind aglow with life even on the outer surfaces; Raven who dreams of ambiguities, all for her pleasure and all of which he refuses to look upon too closely.
And then there is Erik, who wraps everything that might breathe true restoration towards his sleep into his sleep, wraps it within barbed wire and electricity and fear.
Erik, thinking himself safe, sleeps and dreams.
Charles, knowing himself neither safe nor truly sleeping, dreams too:
The snow is red with ribbons of blood, leaving a trail behind him. He makes him work with the others in the day when he fails. He knows the humiliation of having other eyes upon them...the hideously intimate, telltale lacerations...the bruises that say he is special. Specially loathed. Hurt more than the steel.
More than knives or teeth in his flesh.
He keeps his gaze in the snow, pushes the wheelbarrow, and wishes he were weak enough to faint
He hates himself.
And then, suddenly, he thinks, cold and clear and real — Truth is red and so well-read in blood and gore and truth and law —
— and his mind shouts in outrage Charles!
— and his mind cries out in desperation Erik!
— and he wakes, crying out —
"Get out of my head get out of my head get out get out get out —"
— and he wakes and bolts upright and before he is fully conscious he is gasping "Sorry so sorry so sorry —"
Erik is awake. But all he sees is red.
His heart pounds the crimson murder through him and he is up, and there are steps, he supposes, but really fury makes him fly through the darkened mansion, not capable of feeling where his feet should be hitting polished wood and strips of carpet. Down the steps. Through the door. Broken hinges. Broken throat.
No — yes—no — Charles!
The red is present still. His fingers fight a war with his id...and they come back victorious. But barely. The Other's eyes are wide sapphire. The other man, no, the Other. The Other.
Charles's flesh will be bruised tomorrow.
"What the fuck. Do you think you are doing," he grits out, ready for nothing but violence, little though he wants it.
"I was dreaming," Charles says, and what saves him is not the innocence of his wide eyes, or the open shirt of his pyjamas, exposing already-blued fingermarks on the soft and too-yielding tissue of his throat, but the slightly slurred tone of his voice, as though he were drunk. "I was. Dreaming."
He blinks, slowly, eyelashes feathering down over an impossible blue of a horizon. "Dreaming," he slur-repeats. "You were — truth an'gore, no, wrong, I don't —"
He blinks again. Charles, lost in the mindscape.
The telepath reaches out as though he were blind. "I projected, 'm sorry," he says in the same blurred and muddled voice.
And suddenly, Erik's hand is sacrilege. The bruises, already forming, are the ministrations of a wild animal.
"Kurcze." Erik swallows. He pulls back, steps slowly away...far away, against the wall. "Ah, boże ochroń...Charles. I'm sorry. But...you can't...you can't..."
He is shaking.
He is shaking and he never shakes and Charles's hand is still outstretched, and that hand with its too-white and careful fingers and the blunt trimmed nails at the fingers' ends and the one bitten thumbnail that seems such a strange imperfection in the midst of all of this, that hand is far from steady and he can't do this, he can't look, it's a dream, it's still a dream, because if Charles —
should get to his feet and waver and —
should he still put out those terrible fingers, put out his hand, stay on his feet while his face is ashy grey and his lips are too red and he looks like a bad dream, a Ritternacht —
oh God, Charles, his Charles, to look like a child's phantom, and he —
wraps those fingers around Erik's palm, curls them into his palm, and waits.
Erik wants to run.
Erik wants to stay.
Erik wants this phantom...this gentle, impossible ghost of his present, so persistent in his cautious fumbling...
Erik wants. Erik wants. Erik wants.
Erik speaks...and pulls the ghost close. Into him, into him, using both hands to grasp those spectre-clutching fingers and draw their owner near.
"I could have hurt you," he says in a terrible torn-rasping whisper. "Can't you...shut it off? Why do you w-want to see so badly...all there is to see is...it's monstrous."
"Do you know," Charles says, not letting go, "I dated this girl. Hush. Erik. Stop." His hands tighten. "In Oxford, not doing — ah, whatever Raven calls it, no, sssh, stay — I had a girlfriend, an English undergrad, she ditched Victoriana, Victorian literature, her speciality. She ditched it because she wanted to study the medieval, because oh, however foolish the stories, she loved them. Morality plays, all of it. But she loved Gawain the most, the story of the man who gave up kisses to the hunt. The man who thought he would die and still found joy in taking a couple of bloody rabbits for a kiss and a laugh and calling it all good. And until I met you, I never saw what the story meant. There's a hunter, and he turns out to be the Green Knight, and he can kill, but that's not the story. The story is...he can die, Erik, he can have his head chopped off and still demand satisfaction. But Gawain — in the end, knowing that he will die too, without any supernatural help, never being the one who carries his own head in his hand, Gawain gives it all up for the honesty of a bit of friendship and a few nights laughter and three kisses of truth and he lies, he lies, do you see, about a stupid — fucking — bit — of lace —"
The tears are hot...drip, drip, dripping onto their entwined hands like a javelin wound. Erik shakes his head...even as he leans down...even as he pulls...and runs a thumb across too-red lips.
"I'm not your — knight—" he chokes it out as though it were bile and hates himself for the saying of it, but Charles does not falter.
And then Erik makes himself a liar with a kiss.
"I'm not yours either, but —" Charles agrees, drawing back.
And this time, this time, Erik isn't certain who is kissing whom, only that it is a kiss, and it can be breathed into, and laughed into, and somehow hands can be involved, and still and still and still, it is only a kiss.
Only a kiss.
And like Bertilak and Gawain, they are both bound.
He could, if Charles would let his mouth free for longer than a second's air, laugh for joy.
He's lost in it, but for the first time in his life, he's in no hurry to ground himself. He's too busy savoring the wetness of it...Charles's soft, wet tongue in his mouth...the tears mashed between their cheeks, shed seconds ago in an ancient time...an ancient misery scabbed over with this — this oh what was this, what is this — he can't breathe and it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter...
Eventually, he moves down, and presses his own thin, chapped lips to the welts on Charles's throat, lightly — sorrysorrysorry — his hands come up beneath the silk striped pyjamas and just hold — and at some point, Charles must have found the presence of mind to climb his torso, for his thighs are a hard grip against Erik's hips, and suddenly the slender arms are demanding, tangible longing made a vice around his shoulders.
It is almost as though Charles needs him. Erik wants to laugh again, at this.
I do, though, Charles says almost apologetically, skating along the surface of his mind like a strange insect, and then, aloud, "I do."
Erik, about to protest, finds himself pushed back onto thin pillows and kissed once more, while Charles's narrow hands find their way between them, not to demand, but to discover and caress and make them both breathe out with hard and harsh surprise.
"Charles..." Erik breathes it, eyes glued to their half naked bodies, hands compelled by a field older than any magnetism down and again down to the telepath's hand around them both, to the rhythmic imperative. "Tell me what you need. Charles..."
Erik wants to hear him say it. Maybe then he'll dare believe it.
But Charles only laughs and says "You," kisses him and says "you," brings his hand up and licks it, shameless and practical at once, and leans in and says in a mangled form, while his tongue hovers over Erik's mouth in a lewd pretence at secrecy and his hand moves in twisting, deliberate gestures, "You."
And then his mind moves like the pond-skating insect over the strange fake-glass divide that Erik had never known he possessed before Charles made him see it, and it whispers You, I —
"Love," Charles breathes into his mouth, licks into his mouth, never stops his hand moving, as though there were some beat to it, some music for it, "love, love, love, you, I love you, Erik, I love you."
It is too much. Too fast, too true...and the glass shatters and his mind is opened, and he is arching upwards in mind and body both, drowning in pleasure he should know, for it is not unfamiliar, of course he should know, and yet, and yet, not like this, he does not recognize this — oh God not like this, not like this...
Charles, his Charles...
his his all his staring into him, unblinking and stern and yielding all at once; Charles crawling through the cracks and seeing, feeling...touching oh God yes that, always that, touching and to be touched, yes —
You do...you do...I love you too.
Erik comes hard between them, and the telepathy as well as Charles's body joins the seizure. For a moment, they have trapped eachother. Bound to eachother. Are eachother.
And Charles smiles, and his eyes glitter, and he brings up his messy hands to touch Erik's face, as though he cannot help himself.
But he does not laugh.
Erik looks away, looks away because he does not want to see the inevitable victory; but his head, the side of his face, traitors both, lean into Charles's left hand. The shards of his mind lie scattered, invisible on the bedspread...piercing Him in a beautiful ghost's guise as he cards through damp dark hair in a strange tenderness that seems outside his volition, and the phantom he is caressing whispers soothing words in a constant stream against his ear that are more seductive than the Erlkönig could ever be.
And how does he know? How could Charles possibly just know that these are the words he needs to hear — and maybe to say...
But it is Charles who says it first, who makes the request he never thought he would make — almost doesn't make — has no choice but to make. He relocates his bravery, and kisses the lined white forehead as he says it.
He never knows if he says it aloud, and that part, in the end, is unimportant.
I love you.
For he does.
"I am a knight, and soe are yee:
Your concell, an you will tell mee,
Forsooth keepe itt I will.
For if itt be poynt of any dread,
Perchance I may helpe att need,
Either lowd or still."