Contrary to the rumor rippling throughout the school, it had been Erik's idea.

Charles straightened his tie and smiled to himself in the full length mirror at the memory, aware that it made him look ten years younger than his 75 and happy for it...he'd be smiling a lot today.

Erik hadn't smiled. In fact, he'd been so solemn, raising himself via magnetic field in full regalia through Charles's balcony window at some ungodly small hour of the morning, that for one awful moment, the telepath had thought the Sentinels were raiding, (or that he was to be the subject of another kidnapping).

When pressed, he'd resisted, and gotten almost as angry as he had in his younger years, when they'd both been foolish and full of such fire...until Charles had looked hurt, and then he'd broken like brittle aluminum, blue eyes turning at once from fierce to houndish in the lined and sunken face.

"Don't give me that look, Charles."

"I don't know what you're referring to."

"You look like I've just told you they've cut the National Endowment for the Humanities."

"You haven't told me a damned thing, and that's the trouble."

"I will. I'm going to. Why do you think I'm here.You can't let anything rest, can you? Can't let anything just happen, you always have to know.You're like a child."

Amusement had ghosted across his features then, and set Charles at ease. He hadn't expected what happened next...even though there was no helmet. Even though he'd known this man for fifty years...it was still a surprise when Erik Lehnsherr, mutant name Magneto, ran nervous fingers through his hair...and then got down on one knee in front of the wheelchair.

"Erik...you...you had better tell me now.Because at this juncture I'm...forming some theories, and if I'm wrong..."

"When is Charles Xavier ever wrong?"

"...Don't tease me,Erik."

"You love it.You love me."

It was a statement, but a question just as surely. Charles remembered the tremor, slight and maybe even inaudible to all but he...remembered the Adam's apple bob up, then down as his oldest friend took his hand and reached into his back pocket with his free arm-

"I do. I do love you."

He'd been utterly in earnest, for it broke his heart that even after so long, and all they'd been through, Erik still couldn't see what he saw in himself...if he'd had that ability, he wouldn't have to wonder. Not even for a moment.

The ring the older man slipped onto his finger was burnished sterling, slim and masculine and tasteful and practically singing with Erik's energy. In its center gleamed a single fleck of polished onyx.

Perfection.

"And I you. For all the good it's ever done either of us. And I know you, you expect a proper gentleman, so...Charles Xavier, will you marrym-mmfrh."

Charles blushed. He really couldbe impulsive sometimes...rougheven, and that kiss had nearly knocked the other man off balance.

"Yes. Yes Erik, Yes a thousand times yes you fool...my friend...my old friend..."

"Are you ready, Professor?"

Ororo knocked politely on the doorjamb before entering and complimenting him on his tuxedo, (only a bit out of the way from his normal attire, but, well. What could he say.) She looked spectacular herself in the cornflower blue gown that had been his choice for the female wedding party, its simple lines and elegant cut making her look regal and unreal all at once...

"Storm. This...is really happening, isn't it?"

Her grin was bright like shafts of light through cloud cover. "Yes, I think so. Not getting cold feet, are you?"

"Ororo my dear, that's not even this sideof funny."

"Hah, I know. Now come on. Everyone's waiting."

xxx xxx xxx

A few days later, he would run his fingers through the fine sand of the Genoshan coast, and remember the ceremony in blurred bits. There was no priest...he had no God, and Erik derided all prophets save Death. Only Jean, with her tearful sincerity and the license for them to sign, drawn up by the Justice that morning in this newly tolerant state of New York. They were assembled in the estate's lushest garden under the same Willow tree that had served as the sight for his mother's nuptuals, or so the ancient albums told, and "they," were a very modest group of close friends and some students, all mutants. Mystique even showed, surly and naked as ever, but...pleasant, ultimately.

He'd stuttered on his vows. Half a century in the teaching profession, weeks pouring over drafts, deciding on the perfect words, and he'd stuttered, overcome and suddenly at a loss.

But Erik was eloquent and, as ever, fearless. He stood tall and looked straight at him, delivering his words to their congregation with all the gravitas of the Brotherhood and a gruffness that was his personally, and no one else's.

"We are two sides of a coin ,my friend. A coin that can't be touched with human or mutant hands. We have known this almost from the moment we met, but we have also known what it is to live for others. These years...so long... I couldn't live with you, so I stole you. I couldn't love you, so I fought you. But we're old now. And we're the most powerful mutants...beings, on this planet. And power has corrupted me into claiming you, Charles. For the rest of my life, I will allow myself the luxury and the honor of loving you, this world be damned."

"What are you thinking about?"

His husband's hand grasped his shoulder, strong and sure and now adorned with an ornate Oxford disseration ring he hadn't earned traditionally.

Charles breathed in the sea air, and resolved never, no matter what duress, torture, or future crisis that was certain to invade the territory of their peace, to forget this moment.

"You. Only you."