Charles was a wreck. Buried under blankets and fast asleep, his bed was covered in used up tissues. The top of his forehead peeked out from under the covers and his nose looked red. He was wearing that ratty old Oxford t shirt of his and sprawled on his chest was a copy of Utopia. Charles’ abysmal taste in literature shouldn’t have been so endearing. It absolutely was.
Erik sat down in the chair next to Charles’ bed and reached for his hand. It felt warm and feverish. His pulse was unsteady, worryingly so. Erik traced the lines of his hand and reassured himself that nothing was going to take Charles away from him. Not after everything. He held his hand and pressed a kiss to the center of his palm.
“I won’t lose you, not like this. Get up, you stubborn old fool.”
Some one knocked hesitantly and Erik turned around. Beast was standing in the doorway and he looked very uncomfortable. His eyes shifted to their hands.
“Sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt… whatever this is.”
He didn’t sound sorry at all and Erik didn’t give a damn. He glared at him.
“You should have called me sooner.”
“I wouldn’t have called you at all if it were up to me. Charles asked for you.”
“That’s because I’m wanted here. Unlike you.”
“He’s been like this for a week, if you’re not going to help then get out.”
Erik laid one last kiss on Charles’ hand knowing full well how uncomfortable it made Beast. Good.
“I’ll be back in a moment, dear. Don’t get into any more trouble while I’m gone.”
When Charles woke up his room was filled with daisies. Metal daisies. The ones to his left looked suspiciously like his staircase bannisters. They were beautiful and delicate. They seemed to burst with life and joy. Hope.
Charles smiled. After all these years, Erik never ceased to surprise him.
The door to his room opened and Erik entered carrying a metal tray filled with food. He froze when he realized that Charles was awake. He had been caught doing something thoughtful and now he’d never live it down.
As if to undermine the sweetness of the gesture, he closed the door behind him forcefully to shut out any impertinent people disturbing Charles’ rest. The fact that he was disturbing Charles’ rest didn’t seem to bother him at all.
“Here. Eat.” he placed the metal tray down on the bed and upon closer observation it was a bit of everything. Pumpernickel bread and warm butter. Apple slices. Earl grey tea. Best of all, was the soup. Good lord, it was heavenly. Hearty, warmth and soothing. It seeped into all the crevices of his soul. Charles was going to marry Erik and then divorce him for the soup.
His throat was swollen and he could barely speak but luckily he had other ways of communicating.
where did you get this?
Erik looked anywhere but at Charles.
“It’s my mother’s recipe actually. Rosoe. She used to make it for me.”
Just when he thought he couldn’t adore him any more he’d go and do something like this.
Charles sent him a wave of gratitude and understanding mixed with the ever present fondness that belonged solely to Erik.
Erik smiled in that uncertain way of his. He still didn’t trust happiness, not even after all this time.
Well that just wouldn’t do at all.
He put on his best come hither face. It may have been more effective if he hadn’t sneezed.
Erik laughed, which is all he really wanted in the first place. The man had such a dear laugh.
“Insatiable as ever.”
sit with me
Erik eventually gave in. Charles looked unbearably smug about it. It was a good look on him. No one had the right to look that good when they were ill, it was unbelievable. Unbearable and unbelievable. Just like everything else about him. He couldn’t wait to kiss the smugness off him. A hundred times. A thousand.
Erik cleared a path for himself amidst the pile of tissues, cough drops and scattered books. Took his rightful place on the left side of the bed. He belonged here.
The irritating smile had turned into something gentle and content. Charles knew it too.
If Erik held onto his hand more tightly than usual neither of them mentioned it.
The thing is he could really lay claim to anything. Not to Charles or his bed. Not to any part of him. Not so long as he was Magneto. Charles welcomed him into his home but he could never stay. Never tell him the words that had been burning up in his chest since 1964.
So they lived like this. No man’s land.
“We can’t keep doing this you know. Sneaking around.”
Charles hummed thoughtfully and sipped his tea.
“I can’t climb up your balcony anymore, I have arthritis. Someone is bound to notice one of these days.”
darling, you have many fine qualities but subtlety is not among them.
Erik sat up abruptly.
“All of them?”
every last one. especially after this morning.
Erik glared in a valiant attempt to conceal his anxiety.
“You were supposed to be asleep.”
taking advantage of me in my weakened state? how thrilling
“You are hardly an invalid and it was merely a kiss. On your hand, need I remind you.”
yes, very gallant and very chaste. very disappointing. next time you should kiss me on my-
Charles smiled at him and it was the sun coming up in the morning. It was beautiful. It was the most obnoxious thing he had ever seen in his life. Erik kissed him.
you’ll get sick
“Kiss me back this instant or I swear to god I’ll steal all your cough syrup.”
Charles obliged. Quickly and with enthusiasm.
For the sake of the cough syrup.
Having thoroughly conquered that smug smile, Erik pulled back with a smug smile of his own. Charles looked dazed and delighted. His best look yet. There was another look Erik was partial to but he’d wait until the fever had passed.
He held Charles tightly against his chest. In sickness and in health and all that. Erik really wouldn’t know he had never bothered with that sort of thing. Perhaps he should.
“I think I like you like this.”
don’t be disgusting, i’m a mess
“You.” He punctuated the word with a kiss.“are the most beautiful goddamn person I have ever seen. You are the best person I have ever met. I don’t give a damn about your cold, you absolute idiot.”
that was -
Erik shifted uncomfortably. There was a reason he prefered not to express himself. Ever.
“That was something.”
Yes. Yes, you certainly are something.
The intimacy of the moment was almost intolerable. He had to act quickly before he did something foolish. Run. Move to Barcelona. Propose.
“Right well. Is there anything else you need?”
Charles held onto him tighter as if he knew what he was thinking.
i know it’s kinda late but!! i finally got a picture with my hero a few nights ago! i managed to get all my stuff to him thanks to evan and when my turn came to speak i thanked him as i’d come from italy for the show and couldn’t have been happier to be alive. i meant to move on but he got really excited and asked me where in italy i was from and when i said rome his eyes lit up and he started talking about how he had never played here and how much he wanted to and kept going on about it with the most genuine grin ever and oh my god i’m still shaking. i thanked him for all he’d done for me so far and asked him if he could design my first tattoo and he made the terrified face every dad would make and made me turn around so he could draw on my back. i told him about how it’s been tough but i’m getting better and i wanted this tattoo to be the sign of the beginning of a new era and he smiled and nodded a lot and paused for a second so i moved and messed up his signature but when i tried to apologize he was the sweetest person and wouldn’t let me. the mom of a friend i met there then managed to snap a picture of us talking and one of us together but when i looked at it it was really blurry so i crossed my fingers and went back to tell frank and he was super nice, made me come over and grabbed my phone from my hands to take a selfie and oh god i love this guy so much just look at his fucking face