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Sequel to Going Down, Suspension. For tzikeh.

Second Story
by shalott

He's well aware this has to stop. Once a mistake, twice an indiscretion, by now it's very nearly a betrayal. He misses Jean even more desperately now, both her warm understanding and the enforced honesty of living with another telepath. Which, as he knows very well, is protection more than limitation. Truth will out, and this one fairly strains at its limited bonds.

And yet... he is waiting.

The telephone rings, twice, then goes silent. Signal and invitation all in one, and no persuasion could be half so fatal as the silent emptiness of his bedroom and the unsought knowledge that all he needs to do is reach. He draws a harsh, half-sobbing breath. He already knows this will not be one of the nights when he holds back.

He hadn't given in immediately. The first night the telephone rang, he listened, stoic and silent, told himself Erik would soon give up, and picked up his book. Half a week went by before it rang again. Then two days. Four days after that, and he abruptly understood that the calls were not some crude attempt to harass him into temptation. That Erik was simply calling every time he—he and Mystique—

It broke him with ease. As Erik had known it would.

So now he sets aside his book and turns off the light, as slowly as he can bring himself to go, lets darkness cover his eyes as he reaches out to the man who would destroy everything he's built, everything he believes. He makes himself think of this in the moment, each time he yields, a small punishment.

And then Erik's mind is opening to him in fierce, glad welcome, and everything else fades into inconsequence. It isn't the physical pleasure, although his body has been starved for sensation for so long that every borrowed caress is painfully sweet. It is, as it has always been, the deceptively simple truth that Erik wants him, with the same passionate hunger he brings to all he does. That Erik loves him, past all anger and dispute.

The moment when that ceased to be enough seems so very far away now.

Please, he whispers into the corners of Erik's mind, shuddering as Erik touches him, rubbing a thumb gently across his—her—no, his—nipple. It is surprisingly easy, he's found, to dip lightly, to take the surface sensations and nothing else. As easy, in fact, as betraying every principle and all sense of judgement he owns.

And though he cannot help but wonder what she thinks of all this, lying in his body in his lover's arms, he doesn't try to find out. Let her look to her own protection, even if the thought makes him cringe with the petty enviousness of it.

In an amused voice as clear as spoken, Erik says, Charles, are you thinking? Let us not have that, now, and he arches helplessly to Erik's mouth, closing his eyes to better see him looking up with that sly smile, shadows painting his white hair with blue and grey, broad square-fingered hands holding down Charles' thighs.

He inhales a stuttering breath—warm air, dry, the faint tang of metal on the tongue. Erik moves his legs apart and settles in possessively, thumbs stroking along his hipbones with hard pressure. Shall I? he asks, lips warm against Charles' ear. There is a cool breeze coming in through the open window, the last damp breath after a late summer thunderstorm.

Yes, he says, a plea more than an answer. His hands are prickly and hot, clenching on sheets that shouldn't be clean. Yes.

And Erik is moving, through her, into him, with him, until he is gasping for breath, shuddering in his cool, empty bed, Erik's arms corded and rigid under his hands. Urgent as always, but for once not desperate, and Erik is going to take his time tonight.

Terrifying, that Erik has grown so sure of him. He cannot even alter the pace Erik is setting; all he can do is lie imprisoned in the shell Mystique has built for him and yield to every slow and deliberate thrust, surrender over and over and know far too intimately just how greatly that pleases Erik.

Erik, he whispers, half pleading, knowing even as he speaks that this is another surrender, and perhaps that is even why he does it. I can't bear this for long

Ah, Charles, how absurd you are. Such triumph in him. Erik eases slowly back in and leans over to nuzzle his throat, nip lightly at his mouth. We both know you can bear this for hours on end. A memory of Jerusalem, a dusty golden evening, sweet liquored coffee on the tongue, the day's heat and noise slowly fading outside the mosquito netting draped thickly over the bed, the Song of Songs whispered in Hebrew against his skin.

Erik smiles as they remember, a slow, pleased curving. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine, he murmurs, pressing deeper, beginning the slow, steady rhythm he loves to use. His voice is a little huskier, worn by the years, but the claim hasn't changed, nor the intensity with which he presses it.

Tears close his throat, burning, and he does not answer, because acquiescence is impossible, yet he can't bring himself to refuse. Perhaps it is even true, and ownership can transcend all their differences. But they have been down this road before, the two of them, and he cannot quite believe it. The danger is how badly he wishes he could.

He hadn't even known he was lonely.

= End =

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