AN: Written for a "topical homosexuality meets drug use" prompt. God I love livejournal. Also the song playing in the beginning is called "Grizzly Bear" by Jack Scott, and the song at the end is "Somebody Groovy" by The Mamas and the Papas, for your companion listening pleasure. Feedback is the best thing in my liifeee.
Erik was not a telepath. He was also, in point of fact, not an idiot, and he didn't need Charles's mutation to see that the younger man was anxious, downright restless even. This was understandable, considering they'd spent nine hours in the car that day only to be rebuffed in Albany and then hopelessly lost in the Palisades for a large portion of the drive. (Charles's fault, Erik reminded himself smugly. He'd never let him behind the wheel or near a map with more than four marks on it ever again). But they were reaching the end of their recruiting trip.
Manhattan was their last stop, this Armando they were to stalk cabs for tomorrow was their last prospect, and Erik had never seen Charles quite so…inward.
It annoyed him, though if he had been asked why, he wouldn't have been able to say. Peace and quiet was usually rich personal currency.
"What's the matter?" he asked, trying his best for careless curiosity as he sipped at a plastic cup of water and watched Charles actually fold his socks before depositing them in the motel's single bureau.
"What? Oh. Nothing. Nothing, just-tired."
Erik folded his arms, and noted the other's refusal to meet his eyes. "You know, I hope to Christ you never get on the CIA's bad side. That poker face of yours would crack like an eggshell under interrogation."
Charles slammed his suitcase shut with the gusto of someone who was decidedly not tired, and whirled around to face him, mouth taut with annoyance. "For someone who sets his own privacy at such a high premium, you really give very little regard-"
Something in Erik's face stopped Charles mid-vent, and made him take a step closer. "Oh. Erik…I'm sorry. That's not fair. I just…wanted more, from this trip. I had such high hopes, you would say unreasonably high, I suppose, but after using Cerebro…touching all those minds…we've a rather paltry band to boast of."
Erik shrugged and laid a hand companionably on Charles's shoulder, ignoring-yet-not the way the wool under his fingers drew him like metal. "And that paltry band is ready to die for each other, I can see it in them as well as you can. I can't believe I'm saying this, but you need to relax. You can't…control…everything."
Charles huffed a laugh at this, but was still obviously tense. "Trust me, my friend…I am more than aware. I wonder, though…"
And then he turned pink, and recoiled, so abruptly that Erik's patience reached its apex, and he gripped where his hand had previously only lain. "Spit it out, damnit. What could-"
"I want to go out. Erik, I want to go out. But I'm…wondering if you'd like to go with me. To where I'd want to go. Even though I know you've gone. To places. Before. In Berlin and Sevki and…"
Suddenly, Erik understood. There was only one thing he did in hunting cities, other than find, fight, kill…and that was fuck. And Berlin especially was not a place to fuck girls. At least, that had never been his inclination. It had certainly not been his inclination these last few weeks…
But he'd never imagined-there was Moira, after all, and Raven was full of stories…
Struggling against the current wave of adrenaline, Erik swallowed hard, and fought again for his casual tone. "You'd have done well to ask me a few days ago, I think. As it is, please tell me you plan on changing out of that ridiculous sweater."
This time, Charles's laugh was free. "Naturally."
xxx xxx xxx
One hour and a few deft subway lines later, at Charles's direction, saw them on Christopher Street. This was, as the telepath had told him silently on the train over, Manhattan's underground homosexual community, and the venues his telepathic violation had mapped so far called to mind 'an American sort of cabaret.' Erik had outright laughed at this, a bitter sound out of context in the silent subway car, and he did not regret the laughter when they finally turned onto the main drag.
Cabaret in Berlin was dark. Ugly. Deviant in more than the soft ways. He'd known a few pink-triangle marked in Auschwitz, emcees and known faggots who had haunted the same rubble night after night, having a last bit of fun before the Nazis found them and took them away.
And after the war it had got worse...what were once places of joy (if of a barbed, German sort) turned then into drug-soaked dens, ragged taffeta and tear-streaked eyeliner stages, despair painted with a clown's face because the show would always, always, go on, and that was all the victory anyone could muster anymore.
This American deviance was...different. There was more light, for one. Colored light everywhere. Neon signs and fake gas lamps and cigarette embers, all illuminating a squalid ostentation. The men huddled together on street corners and outside of bars looked part spy, part salesmen, part strange birds of paradise. They held their heads high, they wore silk shirts and kept their hair as good as (well...as good as Charles's hair, now that he thought on it), and the tension in their backs bespoke of intelligence; it spoke of self-interest, rather than outright fear.
"Let's go here. I sense the most minds in this one."
Erik nodded wordlessly, and then blinked at the sight of Charles's hand in his, of Charles...Charles Xavier in a pair of tight jeans he'd never have guessed were at the bottom of all those chinos in the drawer, jeans and a royal blue T-shirt with fashion pockets and a suede brown jacket...Charles squeezing him, and pulling him towards a none-too-subtle door guard whose post was a place called "The Crater," if the emblem was any indication.
"Good evening," the telepath intoned, flashing the large man his brightest smile. He may as well have been smiling at the brick beyond the frown.
"Hello. You boys out for a night cap?"
Erik watched familiar fingers grace the other man's temple, and then Charles winked. "Yes. And we'll be drinking too."
All at once, the Stone Wall cracked, and matched his cordiality. "Welcome. Cover's ten dollars. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Charles paid the money (both of theirs, before Erik could even reach for his wallet), and then led him down the narrow flight of stairs directly beyond the door.
"What was all that about?" Erik asked.
"Oh, password. They change it every three days, so I had to take a peek. Not all of them operate the same way, but this one doesn't like to muck around with codes on the dance floor and washroom rendezvous...ah. Yes. See?"
Erik saw. Erik definitely saw. The stairwell had opened up into a sprawling basement room, and through the cloud of tobacco and marijuana smoke, he could see at least three couples openly kissing, two in the circle of couches to the right, one on the dance floor by the formidable juke box, which currently blared a song with a slow, sensual beat that lauded the appearance of the "grizzly bear."
"Oh, I love Jack Scott!"
Charles laughed indulgently, moved his hips to the rhythm in a way that should have been illegal, and nodded towards the bar. "Never mind, let's have at some social lubrication, shall we?"
xxx xxx xxx
Erik did not like to be outdone. And so Erik bought an entire bottle of ketel, told Charles it was about time he started drinking like a real European, and relieved the cross-dressing barman of his shaker set.
Cue the martinis, and then the shot montage. And another. And again.
Cue the brush of a shoulder once and twice, the replacement of a forelock behind an ear, zoom in on a smile.
Erik didn't see many movies. But he wondered if this was how actors felt, pushed helplessly along through a scripted scene, reaching with all their will towards the inevitable...
He wondered, as he downed his eighth shot and kept the hand that had landed on the thigh in the too-tight jeans where it lay, if they had to self-medicate to this extent in order to enjoy abandonment.
He wondered if they gave two damns...because he certainly didn't. Not when the thigh leaned up into the hand, not when the eyes smiled wider than wet red lips, and the music played.
"Thank you, Erik. Thank you s'much..."
Charles leaned forward until he was perched precariously on the bar stool, and slurred the words into his ear. Erik threw an arm across his back, and knew all his teeth showed in an answering grin. "For what?"
"For coming with me. For taking me. I'm so lonely sometimes I can't stand it...you know, though. Did you know you were really warm? You...in the water?"
Erik shuddered. "Charles-"
"You boys married then?"
They turned towards the reedy, interrupting voice at the same time, and Erik had to fight not to wrinkle his nose at the shirtless, starving, androgynous bleach blonde in turquoise bell bottoms, who was completely ignoring him and looking at Charles like he was a milk shake.
Charles raised an eyebrow, and they shared a brief glance before he addressed their interloper. "That depends, Daniel. What've you got in your hand?"
"Wow! How did you know my...I mean, um, it's purple haze. You want some? You can have some...and I guess he can too."
Erik snorted rather ungracefully at this, and watched as Charles liberated the roach from Daniel's hand. Just as he was about to light it, his skin and bones seducer reeled in his 'besotted staring' technique and re-found courage. "We like sharing, here. What're you gonna give me in return, Angel Eyes?"
"What you desire." Charles answered easily...and then lit up. His lips wrapped around the end for too long a moment, his chest rising under the thin cotton of his shirt...he held it in like a pro, and then pulled Daniel towards him, and blew the smoke into his mouth as an afterthought to a long and expert kiss.
Several things happened in an instant that felt like a hundred years. Charles's tongue worked in the boy's mouth-
Daniel's bony fingers clutched, pulled down, demanding more more moreas if he'd finally decided food was for him after all, and Charles was all he needed-
Charles, or Daniel moaned-
And Erik's fist connected with the side of Daniel's head in a blow that sent him reeling two feet back with a string of curses.
"Hey! What the hell did you do that for?"
Erik cut Charles off with a raised hand, and stepped into Daniel's space decisively, the alcohol only enhancing his reckless desire to do this...thing, this human, harm. But he didn't, because something else raged in him stronger than violence-because the climax of this lurid evening out of some film had shown him Daniel for what he was, because-
"Because you're nothing, and as far as you're concerned, I slipped him a ring the moment we met. Now fuck off."
Charles tried for anger. He really tried, Erik could see it. But the script had caught him too, and the telepath was nothing, if not an obliging chameleon. "Erik, that really wasn't necessary-"
"Shut up, Charles. Dance with me."
xxx xxx xxx
I need, somebody groovy. Someone, who's able to move me, yeah. Yeah they gotta move me like they should...
"Keep moving like that."
"S'hard...you're such a good dancer."
"I'm a good kisser too."
"You are. God you are."
Don't need, no imitation. No, can't use my imagination. Yeah, yeah...
"Charles...I want you. I don't ever want you to touch anyone else ever again."
"Is that the ketel talking, darling-ouch. You bitme!"
Oh please, please believe me. I need someone to relieve me...
"Uhmmmmm. Then make it worth my while. Touch me...yes...just there...Erik I love your name and I love you just take that and keep it and touch meI want you I want you in me-"
And when I find somebody, yeah, I'm gonna treat em good.