Thank you to my dahling reviewers! I hope you like this :3

Warning: Strong language

After a few moments there's laughter, and someone hoots and another girl catcalls. Erik's sure he hears another person say, "Oh, it's them, that's fucking hilarious." He doesn't want to think about what that implies. He'd thought he was under the radar, beneath any gossip or rumors. He and Charles do spend a lot of time together, but Charles is his roommate, for God's sake. It's normal.

Charles is as red-faced as Erik has ever seen him, and he's smiling good-naturedly like he always does but Erik can see the slight tinge of panic in his roommate's eyes. He contemplates running away for what feels like the hundredth time.

Lisa isn't looking too pleased with how things have turned out, but she gives in to the calls of approval around her and gets up. "Okay, I'll show you where the closet is," she says, and Erik follows Charles to the door. He wishes he'd had that drink now. If they were drunk, dead, out-cold drunk, this wouldn't be so bad. He might even have been able to forget about it the next morning.

It's cold and unfortunately very tiny inside the closet. Erik catches one last glimpse of light, of bright blue walls and a snatch of giggles, before the door closes. He can hear Charles breathe, a steady, in-out rhythm, and they're way too close to be appropriate. But then, Erik decides, there's really nothing appropriate about this at all.

"I'll try to find a light." Charles's voice is dismembered in the darkness, and Erik swears that he feels air slide lightly across his own face as he speaks. It's far too pleasant to be comfortable. He shifts awkwardly as Charles feels around the walls for the switch.

"Say something," Charles says after maybe thirty seconds of black, dusty silence. Erik sighs; Charles is panicking. Of course, Charles has been in situations like this before, but Erik assumes he's never had to do this with another guy. And definitely not Erik himself.

"What do you want me to say?" Erik winces as his voice comes out cold and sharp. He dries his palms on his jeans.

There's a rustling sound. "I'm so sorry," Charles rushes out. Erik wishes he could see his face. He can imagine it, though - forlorn and nervous with his teeth digging into his bottom lip, eyes huge.

"It's fine," Erik replies curtly. He tries to sound less formidable. "I mean, you know. I'm not angry."

He thinks he can actually feel the worry melt out of Charles. "Good." And then Charles clears his throat. "Do you mind if I move forward a bit?" he asks, and Erik freezes. "It's just - there's a nail sticking out of the wall on this side."

Shit. "Go ahead," Erik manages. The step that Charles takes brings them almost flush against each other. Erik is so supremely fucked that there really isn't any question anymore.

He doesn't think about it, he very definitely does not think about it. They're touching almost all the way up their bodies, and it's completely stupid but Erik imagines it. Calves, thighs, crotches (though those are a bit spread out, thank God), stomachs, chests. And Charles's hair is tickling Erik's nose. It should worry him that that last part doesn't even bother him the slightest bit.

Charles smells like alcohol. "You're drunk," Erik accuses half-heartedly, trying to sound normal and not painfully not-aroused.

"'M not."

He almost chuckles. "How did you manage to drink that much beer in such a short period of time?"

"You should like beer more," Charles mumbles. This time, Erik is certain that the puffs of air on his neck are from Charles. "Your people invented it, after all."

"There are so many things wrong with that sentence I won't even dignify it with a response," Erik says, smiling despite himself.

Charles looks up then, and he's grinning as well. His teeth are bright white, only a few scant inches from Erik's mouth, as he is sharply aware.

He's not sure who starts the kiss, but Erik is the one who breaks it off. Charles's lips are on his for two glorious, short seconds. His mouth is hot and soft and pliant, and Erik's hands migrate up to rest on Charles's hips in the tiny interval that they're locked together.

He stops abruptly.

"Erik -" Charles blurts out, interrupting Erik's terrified whatwasthatohgod.

"I," says Erik. "I don't -" Don't what? he asks himself. He's gone from determinedly flaccid to half-hard just from that two second kiss. Jesus Christ. He' sure Charles can feel it, too, the way he's still standing too goddamn close.

Fuck, he's really done it now. Really gone and screwed everything over. Sometimes he really hates himself.

They're both waiting for the other to go on, but Charles has never been very good at waiting. "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry -" he begins frantically, and his voice has the same consternation that Erik heard before.

And Erik's really confused, because Charles is apologizing. Still apologizing, the words spilling out faster and more frightened as Erik stays silent.

If it had been a normal argument, Charles would have been touching him by now. He'd be patting Erik's shoulder, or squeezing his arm. But this is different.

"Charles," Erik says, forcing his voice to sound like a human. It's difficult when his throat is bone-dry from swallowing too many times, and his jaw aches from clenching his teeth together.