Erik had never particularly liked Darcy.
He remembers reading the book and thinking, right from the first mention of this Mr Darcy, that he'd be a dick. By the time he got halfway, he thought, yeah, fully fledged asshole right there. Erik would know, he was one.
But what really cemented this opinion, and Erik can remember it quite vividly even to this day, was that bit when Darcy's confessing everything in probably the most appalling way Erik ever had the misfortune to see or read and he said--Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?- to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?-that's when Erik knew. Darcy was a motherfucker.
And even if he might have redeemed himself, made all the other chicks-including Mama, apparently-swoon and sigh, Erik could never really forgive him. The worst part was not knowing why exactly he was annoyed, whether it was because of what he said, or because Darcy had gone and ruined everything. Gone and fallen in love.
Most of all Erik remembers thinking that that wasn't going to be a problem for him at least; it wasn't like he was going to recklessly fall in love and forget all the rules.
Charles lets out this helpless little sound, a whimper and a moan lost together before he wrenches his mouth away, lips infuriatingly red and shiny. It's his eyes that really get Erik like a punch in the gut, steely-blue like he's sitting under a mid-winter sky.
'Don't you think this is a little fast?' Charles asks, slightly breathless, though he doesn't look like he wants Erik to stop.
'Shut up,' Erik says, because this is entirely his fault. Then he yanks him back and kisses the corner of his mouth, before diving back in, sucking his lower lip and enjoying the way Charles wriggles against him. It's the furthest thing from the truth, telling Charles to shut it, because Erik admits, in a moment of honesty, that he loves Charles' voice just as much as he loves him. But kissing Charles brings a rush to his skin in the way that it tingles and hums as if to say, finally, finally you foolish coward, isn't this what you've been waiting for?
'It's just,' Charles manages, only because Erik has moved down to mouthing his jaw. 'Most people go out on dates, get to know eac-oh,' Charles' body arches in a graceful curve when Erik bites down, sucks a mark and soothes the sting with his tongue. And then Charles continues on, gasping but still talking. 'People get to know each other, maybe even see a movie. I mean, you're supposed to woo me, Erik,' he says, a hint of indignation in his tone.
'God, you're the mouthiest kid I've ever met.' Erik mutters, pulling him up and wrestling with his shirt.
'Now is really not the time to call me 'kid', considering you're about to deflower me,' Charles says, voice muffled but rather prim-and-proper-sounding while his face is momentarily obscured when Erik pulls Charles' shirt over his head. God, he even sounds like a heroine from a Mills and Boon novel.
'This is all your fault,' Erik tells him as he removes his own clothing, and then reaches over to his dresser and rummages though the top drawer until he finally unearths a tube of slick and condoms.
'How is it my fault?' Charles asks suspiciously in between quick, shallow kisses once Erik has him pressed back against the bed. He can feel Charles shift so that Erik's thigh is between his legs, Erik's hand a hot, possessive brand against Charles' hip.
He can't help but pull back and just admire Charles, finally see him in a way that he's never been allowed to, in a way that Erik thought he never would. He's a maze of never-ending moon-kissed skin, sharp and soft in a way that's hard to foresee. There's a patch of freckles hidden across the span of his ribs. Erik finds that his collarbone is sensitive, considering the way he shudders every time Erik purposely rubs his thumb across the sharp jutting bone.
He leans forward, brushes his annoyingly floppy hair to the side, watches the way Charles smiles hesitantly at him with bitten-red lips and wonders, how the hell did he get here?
'You went and seduced me with Pride and Prejudice,' he says at last, and it sounds so foolish even to his ears. But all that matters is Charles' laugh, bright and real in a way Erik has never realised it could be, how he is flushed and panting, and the way he whimpers when Erik finally coats his fingers with lube and presses one in, then two and three. It's a fascinating thing, seeing Charles mumble random things, seeing how flexible he is, the way he throws a leg over Erik's shoulder and takes the Lord's name in vain a lot.
What's not fascinating is learning how pushy Charles can get.
'Come on, come on, I'm ready,' Charles says impatiently.
'Don't push me,' Erik growls. 'You're ready when I say you're ready, and you've never done this before.'
'How do you know?' Charles asks, before he flushes a fantastic shade of tomato-paste-red and then moans rather wantonly when Erik twists his fingers just so. Charles' hand flies out, grabbing his shoulder, fingers suddenly tangling in his hair, tugging for more. Erik can't help but smirk against Charles' thigh, because goddamn, isn't that something, knowing he's the only one who's gotten this, and will be the only one, he thinks rather viciously.
'Don't you think I should be the one deciding how ready I am, Lehnsherr?' Charles says in a snotty tone, before he wriggles and pushes back on Erik's fingers, grins when Erik can't quite suppress the shudder that runs up his spine.
When Erik finally aligns his hips and presses inside, Charles shuts up, if only for a little while. After that it's a lot of God and more and come on, most of it from Charles as Erik tries to fuck him slow and steady, until he says, frustratingly, 'Is that it, Erik? Come on, put your back into it,' in a voice that really shouldn't sound as steady as it is. Which is round about the time when Erik thinks, fuck it, grips him by the knee and raises it, gives it to him faster and harder, until Charles' back arches off the bed once Erik gets his hand on his cock and strokes him a few times, until he's coming, Erik cursing and groaning right behind him.
There's a moment of utter, blissful silence.
'So,' Charles says once he's got his breath back, and he's pressed tightly against Erik's chest. Erik's arm is wrapped around Charles' waist possessively like he's a long forgotten cuddling bear finally unearthed.
'Good?' Erik asks, rubbing his forehead against the back of Charles' neck as he lifts his hand. Erik lets his fingers trail down the side of Charles' body and, because he can't stop it, needs it more than he'll admit, follows the path down to between Charles' thighs, rubs the pads of his fingers over his dripping entrance and revels in it.
'Mmm,' Charles says sleepily. 'Raven's going to be a pain,'
Honestly, of all the things.
Raven wears the smuggest of smug smiles the next morning.
Charles is already in the kitchen, mixing something in a bowl that Erik is pretty certain he's never seen before. He's wondering if Charles is possibly making muffins or egg Benedict, and if not, then maybe he should subtly hint at it, when Raven waggles her eyebrows at him and lets out a low whistle that sounds awfully filthy, coming from her.
'Well, well, Erik, you don't waste time, do you,' she says.
Charles whips around, flushing fantastically and looking indignant. 'Raven, you can't say things like that,'
She raises a brow. 'But it's OK for you to have a marathon of wild, flexible sex all night long while I'm forced to listen to it all? Thanks a lot for that, by the way,' she says, shooting Erik a dirty look. 'I'll be sending you the bill for my therapist.'
Charles waves his spatula threateningly at her and she laughs, smacks Erik's ass when he passes her by, to which Erik flips her the bird. He then corners Charles, lifts him onto the counter and kisses him quite thoroughly, just because he can, because he's allowed to.
The sound of Raven gagging in the background is also worthwhile.
For those first few weeks Erik thinks everyone knows, that all the staff at the hospital is aware of the fact that Erik and Charles are sleeping together and how he hasn't slept at his place for over a fortnight. It leaves him feeling uncomfortable and paranoid, particularly when Angel continues mooning over Charles or over the way Sean comments on his blue eyes.
Emma, of course, knows.
'You keep smiling, stop smiling, it's frightening,' Emma pleads with him one morning, and Erik tries scowling at her - except it doesn't last long. He's lost his touch.
'I can't help it,' Erik tells her, eventually, by the food cupboard in the on-call room. 'I'm just...happy to be alive,' he says gruffly.
'Dear God,' Shaw mutters from the couch and shuffles away, clearly disgusted.
It's not that he's ashamed of Charles, or that he wants to hide him, because he can't if he tried. Charles is a regular visitor at the hospital the way he always has been. It's just that it's too new, too fresh and raw, and Erik wants to nurture and protect what they have in case it's torn to shreds before they even have a chance. He doesn't want to share Charles; he's finally gotten him, and he feels too possessive over Charles to let him get too far. Their story is a decade in waiting; it's his right to keep Charles to himself.
Whatever they have, they build together. Which means making room for Charles' cheap books on his shelf, finding his trash obsessively organised and recycled. Keeping in mind when he shops that Charles likes the extra-crunchy kind of peanut butter, and Raven refuses to function unless there's Cheetos lying around somewhere.
It doesn't hit him until he finds Charles' toothbrush sitting next to his, innocent and green, boring and average, but there like it's always been there. And maybe it's daunting at first, because he's lived a solitary life, and realising that he's somehow gotten a younger sister - because they're a package deal, there's no way around that - is slightly unnerving. But it's the discovery that there are no empty places, no aches and lonely stretches of silence accompanying his existence that are perhaps the most unexpected. When he reaches over in the night, there's Charles, ever-present and warm and just there, finally.
Though, when Emma tells Erik two months later that Shaw knows, and Charles finds them in a empty room, Erik watching Shaw pensively while Shaw is lying prostrate on the bed, hands stretched to the ceiling muttering, 'I told you to be nice to him, not that kind of nice,' Erik decides there's no point in keeping quiet now. It's a good enough reason for him to finally push Charles against the vending machine the next morning and kiss him senseless, just as Angel starts her daily Love Song to Charles: The Sonnets, Volume IV.
Raven is lying on the couch, miserable and sick with a stuffy nose and an abnormally large amount of phlegm stuck in her body. God it's disgusting.
She can hear Erik yelling something from the stairs, and Charles leans over and kisses her forehead, brushes her hair out of her eyes. He doesn't look the same now. He holds himself differently, content in a way she's never seen him before. It looks good on him.
'You sure you'll be OK?' he asks, worried.
She has enough stamina to roll her eyes and nudge him with her leg. 'Yes. Honestly Charles, you don't need to worry. Go, have fun.'
He pulls a funny face at her and starts tucking the blanket around her. She sticks her tongue out in return. They're going to see Edie, and Charles is terrified, though he won't admit this to Erik. What he doesn't realise is that Erik is aware of this and finds it amusing. Neither Erik or Raven disclose this, because Charles is secretly the incarnation of Betty Crocker and it'll mean no more muffins and cookies for them once he realises they've been fucking around with his sanity.
'Alright,' Erik says, appearing in the doorway. 'I've got everything.' He walks over, ruffles Raven's hair and whips out a pack of Oreos the minute Charles turns around. 'You owe me,' he mutters and she smiles gratefully at him before stuffing them under the blanket. Charles considers it traitorous, what with him being able to bake epically good shit. 'Don't watch too much Flintstones,' which is crap because he's just as obsessed with it as she is. 'You need to be sleeping,' Erik says before he leaves.
She can hear them distantly. 'You ready for this?' Charles asks, like Erik's the one who's worried.
'Let's find out,' Erik says, clearly amused before the door slams shut.
It's two hours later, when she can't sleep, that she shuffles over to Erik's bookcase where three months ago he made space for Charles' trashy romance novels and Psychology textbooks. She's browsing through titles, fingertips trailing over wrinkled spines when she spots something.
She pulls the book out, realises it's a familiar-looking cover and when she sees the title, she knows why.
It's Pride and Prejudice. Charles' copy, the one they lost years ago, and it's been sitting here quietly, for years probably, unnoticed even now. A sharp feeling hits her in the stomach and Raven's momentarily blinded, because this was theirs, their childhood encompassed in a few dusty pages.
She opens it, notes how it's even more deteriorating than it was years ago, and scribbled in the corner is CFX just the same as the day Charles had written it years ago, lying in their hammock under the heat of a burning sun. She flips though the pages, right to the back and there it is, a sticker of a raven, flaky like someone's picked at the corners over the years, but still intact, the way she wanted it to be.
And she thinks, huh, well, isn't that funny.
More art of Nurse!Sean, Shaw and Erik talking to his mother: fassyfaceavoythere(.)tumblr(.)com/post/10486609996/le-sketchdump-i-tried-to-warn-you-from-l-r
Oh my goodness. If you have reached the end, you are one excellent mothafuckah. :D Feedback is always appreciated. I'll probably be back soon with another foolish AU and a grumpy Erik.