Author's Note: Each "chapter" here is an individual short fic set in my Replay 'verse. Suggested reading order: 1. Replay, 2. Numbers, 3. these ficlets.

Charlie Bit Me

October 1963 (2)
At bedtime, Erik is nowhere to be seen, and when Charles flips the light on he sees that there's a pair of red silk pajamas lying folded on his side of the bed.

"Really," he says to no one in particular. "This is ridiculous."

But he puts them on anyway, and can't seem to keep himself from snickering.

As soon as he's nearly asleep, he's awoken by a finger poking rudely at his shoulder.

"Do wake up, Charles, and don't try to struggle," Erik says, and Charles can hear the grin in his voice.

"Oh Erik, please don't hurt me," Charles responds, and he can't help it, he's snickering again. "Really, Erik, don't you think you ought to cover my mouth or something? I might scream."

"...I'm not that stupid."

October 1963 (1)

"I'm really very sorry, Erik," Charles says. "Though I have to admit I don't know what you expected me to do."

Erik has a bandage wrapped around one hand and a prescription for an antibiotic crumpled in the other as he drives; his face is stony under the streetlights they pass under.

"I didn't," he manages through clenched teeth, "want you waking the house. That's all."

"Telepath," Charles reminds him, tersely. "I could wake every house in 250 miles if I wanted to, without ever opening my mouth."

Erik is silent for a few minutes, then finally says, "Did they buy the story?"

Charles doesn't think anyone in the world would have bought the story, considering that it consisted of 'Charles, here, fell out of his wheelchair and landed on my hand. With his mouth.'

"Well," he says, "no one thought of 'kidnapping', but the nurse thought it might be a 'weird sex thing.'"

This is the absolutely wrong thing to say, for Erik's thoughts immediately light up the air with want and need and pain and Charles.

Not that half of everything hasn't always been the wrong thing to say; not that three-fourths of everything won't be, now. Charles will never be quite sure what will or won't set Erik off.

'It's been a year,' Charles wants to protest. 'And we only knew each other for two damned months, and we never can you still - what is wrong with you?'

But that would be cruel, and the inside of Erik's head is cruel enough already; Charles can't bear to make it worse.

"I disabused her of the notion; she now thinks it's a dog bite, which you don't wish to report because you got it burgling someone's house. Good thing you gave an alias, isn't it? Though don't worry, I did make sure the name on the prescription is different so you'll be able to fill it. I wouldn't want you dying of infection, after all."

Charles is not entirely certain why he shouldn't want Erik to die of infection, all things considered; but he doesn't.

"Now please, take me home. I'm really very tired."

"I thought we might do some catching up," Erik answers, sounding stricken, and there's grief and guilt and he must hate me in the air, along with a nice toxic dose of well, shouldn't he?

'I don't hate you,' Charles could say, wants to say; but that's so wound up with everything else inside Erik that admitting knowing that would be tantamount to admitting knowing all the rest, and that he won't do.

So what he says instead is, "Well, I suppose we could at that," and ignores Erik's thoughts then as they tumble delightedly in the air around him. "Is Raven well?"

She won't answer any of his letters, and stopped responding to Hank's upon learning from whom Charles had finagled the address of her post-office box. Not that it could have taken much learning, given Hank is the only one she's written to begin with.

Charles catches the I shouldn't from Erik, but then Erik begins, hesitantly, to speak of Raven; little things, only, but it's enough to make Charles want to weep. And if he wanted to weep before he ever asked after her, well, it's not worth examining why.

October 1963 (2)

They never even manage to make it off the bed, for Charles drags Erik down and Erik doesn't protest, his hands roaming over the silk and then under it, so desperately, much more so than usual, anymore.

"If we're going to roleplay, we might want to try to do a little better at it next time," Charles says somewhat breathlessly, right after they've both finished.

"...I thought it went well," Erik says.

Charles makes a face, and projects it for good measure since Erik can't very well make it out in the dark like this. "You think all sex, ever, should go on right in this room."

"I like this room," Erik protests. "It's been very...accommodating."

"Well, I thought we were going somewhere. Surely you have fantasies of fucking me in some seedy hotel room?"

"...Not particularly," Erik says. "But if that's what you want - maybe next year?"

"I look forward to it." Charles runs through what Erik has just said, then adds, in horror, "Please tell me you don't think today is our anniversary."

"...You've had forty-one years to file a complaint if you didn't like it. It's a little late now," Erik says, testily.

Charles sighs. "I'm not sure why I ever thought you might be high maintenance. Really, no idea."