Mystique had left Charles a tray with food, plus some books and
magazines to read. She had also emptied his bedpan and washed it for
him. Charles hated not being able to relieve himself on his own. It
made him feel so powerless, which he disliked strongly.
He politely thanked her for her help, but Mystique didn't say
It was clear that she didn't like doing it; probably she just did
because she had promised Erik. She was a very reticent woman.
Charles couldn't help wondering if she was like that when she
with Erik and others and the thought made his blood
Erik returned around 9:00 PM. He went straight to his bedroom to
check on Charles. The telepath or ex telepath was maybe a
word lay sideways in the bed, seemingly still. Perhaps he was
asleep. Erik noticed the food tray and the pile of magazines on the
bedside table, and realized Mystique must have checked on him, like
she promised. He could always trust her.
Should he wake Charles up? Yes. He had been sleeping far too much
lately, and besides they needed to talk. He bent down and gently
shook the other man's bare shoulder. He was mindful that Charles
still hurting, and couldn't take any rough treatment.
Charles slowly opened his eyes. He turned his head to see who had
woken him up, and hoped it wasn't Mystique.
But it was Erik. When Charles saw his old friend he suddenly felt
much happier, and that made it easier to wake up.
"You can sleep later," Erik said. "Now I want you
" Charles murmured sleepily and twitched his eyes.
"Nine," Erik announced. "Not quite bedtime yet. Come on
now. I have
bought you something."
Charles raised his head and noticed that Erik had actually brought a
bag inside. Curiosity took over and he suddenly felt much more
alert. "What have you bought, Erik?" he asked smiling, and
into a sitting position.
Erik smiled secretively and handed the bag to Charles. "Look and
Charles expectantly pulled out the object the bag contained and
started laughing when he saw what Erik had bought him. It was a T-
shirt with the text: "BRAINSTORMING CAN LEAVE YOUR HEAD IN
WHIRL" and under that a joke image of a man whose head spun like
Erik laughed too. "Do you like it?" he asked. "I saw it
in a shop
window and thought of you."
"That was very sweet of you, Erik," Charles replied. "It
He carefully studied the garment for another moment and then let it
sink to his lap.
"Has Raven checked on you?" Erik asked.
"Yes, she was here a few hours ago."
"Good. Have you slept much?"
"A whole lot. But my chest hurts, especially when I breathe."
"You have a broken rib," Erik explained. "I would need to
you and check on your injuries. Can I do it now?" he asked.
Erik started to pull the cover away from Charles' body to have a
look at him, but his old friend held it back and looked slightly
" Erik said pleadingly. "I have seen you naked.
"I suppose you have. Quite a few times, I might add
and allowed Erik to expose his body. He had looked at his own
injuries during the day, and had to admit they looked quite nasty.
And he did feel a little modest when Erik pulled the cover away to
look at him, despite that or maybe because Erik was an ex
Erik regarded his friend's body carefully. Some of his bruises
started to fade, and the cigarette burn marks also looked better.
Erik didn't know if Charles himself knew he'd been tortured
that, but he didn't hope so.
He removed the bandage around Charles' head to look at the wound
his temple. The swelling was still there, of course, but the wound
itself looked a lot better.
"Is your head hurting?" Erik asked.
"There's a dull ache every now and then, but nothing
"That is good. I'm quite sure you sustained a concussion, but
apparently it was mild. It just seems to have affected your
Charles sighed sadly. "Just
" he murmured. "The words
and "telepathy" don't go together
Erik cupped his hands around his friend's head. "Yes,
do. You could have lain here brain-dead. You should be happy. You
"I have been a telepath all my life. It is no easy
"I know that it isn't, but at least you're alive. Be
happy for that.
I remember when you lost your legs. At first it seemed like you
wouldn't function without them, but you did."
"I still have my legs. They just don't work," Charles
"Exactly. You're healing quickly otherwise," Erik said
his hand on Charles' unfeeling thigh. "I wouldn't
Charles noticed in spite of being unable to feel it the
gesture. A couple of inches more, and Erik would brush his sex. He
wondered if Erik was doing it on purpose, or if it appeared natural
to him. Charles squirmed, starting to feel awkward. Despite his
handicap, he still had the same needs as everyone else, and Erik
*was* an ex lover; someone he had once desired very much.
"Is there anything more you wish?" Erik asked after a while.
Do you think I might take a bath?"
wondered. "I'm feeling very
Erik grinned, and Charles hoped that his choice of words had not
"Yes, of course, I understand you," Erik said and passed his
over Charles' thigh, almost like a caress. "I'll help
He left the bed and entered the adjacent bathroom to prepare Charles
a bath. He ran water into his large bathtub, and waited till it was
almost full. The water was hot, but not too hot just like
preferred it. Erik knew a whole lot of his old friend's
When the bath was done Erik went back inside to bring Charles. The
telepath was still in the same position as before, although he had
considered pulling up the sheets to cover himself up. He wasn't
to feeling exposed, and didn't really like the feeling. But since
was going into the tub now, it didn't matter.
"Let's go in now," Erik said and bent down to pick
Charles up. "Put
your arms around my neck."
Charles did what he was told and wound his arms around Erik's
Erik lifted him up slowly and gently, knowing that Charles' body
sore and couldn't stand hasty movements. He carried his old
into his large, luxurious bathroom and carefully lowered him into
the hot water.
Charles sighed in pleasure when the water engulfed his body. He
leaned his head back against the wall and slowly relaxed. He was
glad that Erik remembered how he wanted his baths, and thought that
his old friend maybe still cared for him, after all.
After closing his eyes he suddenly felt a soft, damp sponge on his
skin, and discovered that Erik was washing him.
" Charles objected weakly. "I can do that myself,
Erik silenced him by placing his finger over his lips.
"But I *like* doing it," he said. "And I'm sure you
Charles did, although he couldn't help feeling a little awkward
well. Erik often used to give him sponge-baths when they were young,
and remembered exactly what Charles liked, but they weren't
anymore, and Charles had gotten used to cleaning himself.
His arms, shoulders and chest went well, even if Erik made sure to
rub his nipples on purpose, but when Erik's hand disappeared
the water, to wash his belly and lower, it started to feel
uncomfortable. Charles thought whether he should let Erik do this;
it felt good, sure, but Charles wanted to avoid getting an erection
in the tub. He couldn't help laughing when Erik pulled the sponge
over his crotch.
"If I weren't feeling so lousy, I might even get excited!"
Erik leaned out until their faces were only centimetres apart. "I
wouldn't mind it," he replied. "I like touching you,
Charles. I like
your body. I always have. You're very sexy, do you know that?"
Charles laughed again. Sexy? He really didn't think of himself in
those terms, and no one at the school probably did either. Of course
it surprised him, but it pleased him too, to know that Erik still
"In fact I'd love to join you
"Do it," Charles suggested spontaneously.
"I'm sorry, I can't. I mustn't wet my hair this late.
But I'll be
happy to give you this sponge-bath. Shall I continue?"
Charles nodded. "Do so."
Erik continued to rub Charles' skin with the sponge slowly
blissfully, until the movements became caresses. Erik smiled at
Charles' reaction when he pulled it over his sex, and wondered
had caused Charles to become so modest. Years in celibacy, perhaps?
That was one probable cause.
But suddenly Charles twitched and recoiled from the touch with a
pained expression. Erik knew immediately. He had probably brushed a
wound or a bruise.
"I'm sorry," he said at once and pulled his hand back.
"No, it's alright," Charles sighed with a forced smile.
couldn't know. Don't worry."
"Did it hurt much?"
"No, it just burned a little."
" Erik began and placed his hand on Charles'
The telepath's eyes met Erik's.
"Do you know who did this to you?" he asked seriously. He had
asked that before, but it was time now. "Answer me, Charles. Do
"No," Charles replied. "I don't know. They really
There was no time to see
I don't know, Erik. I don't
even know how
many they were."
"How did it happen?"
"I was on my way home from a mutant/human co-existence lecture at
Washington," Charles began. When I was headed to my car in my
wheelchair, someone struck my head from behind, and after that I
don't remember anything, for which I'm happy. I know that
people hate me, but
"Were you there alone?" Erik exclaimed angrily.
Charles winked in surprise. "Yes."
"Why was none of your "X-men" with you? Cyclops? Storm?
How could they let you go by yourself?"
"I used to be able to handle myself," Charles replied
indignantly. "I didn't know I was going to be attacked
"I still think it was irresponsible to let you travel alone,"
you nearly died. Have you thought about
"It's a little difficult not to."
Erik reached out his hand and gently stroked Charles' cheek with
"If you knew who it was, you would tell me, wouldn't
you?" he asked.
"Yes, of course," replied Charles. "Why?"
"I just wanted to be sure. So, do you think you're done
"I think I am," Charles said with a little smile.
Deep inside, he was a little disappointed in Erik for not joining
him in the tub. It wouldn't be wrong to see Erik naked again, he
thought. He hadn't done that for over 20 years.
Erik tucked up his sleeves, but he still got water on his clothes
when he lifted Charles up from the bathtub and wrapped his body into
a large, soft yellow towel. He placed his friend on a bench and
carefully started drying him off. Charles's skin was beautiful
it wasn't full of bruises and burn marks.
Charles liked the tenderness Erik was showing him, but he didn't
like to feel as helpless as he did now. Normally, he could do all
these things by himself, despite his physical handicap. At home he
had a bathroom designed for disabled persons, and could do most of
the work with his upper body. And then he had his wheelchair. He
didn't know where it was now. Probably his attacker had smashed
Erik gently rubbed him with the towel. His abused body hurt, but it
was a nice feeling as well. No one had touched him intimately for
decades, and he had to admit he liked it.
"Would you like to return to the bed?" Erik asked when he was
"Feeling clean now?"
Charles smiled. "Yes, very. It was a pleasurable experience."
"That's good. I won't leave you now, because I'm soon
turning in as
Will Erik sleep here with me? Charles thought, surprised. He
known that Erik had taken him to his own personal bedroom, but that
was obviously the case. The room was very Spartan, and nothing like
Erik's style, as Charles knew it, and therefore he had presumed
was a guest room.
Erik removed the towel and lifted Charles into his arms again to
take him back into the bedroom.
Charles didn't like the idea of Erik carrying him. He knew he was
too heavy for Erik's slender frame, and would give Erik a bad
eventually. But right now there seemed to be no choice, so he
"Is this your room?" he asked when Erik put him down on the
Erik nodded. "Why? Did you think I'd leave you here all
Charles shrugged. "It just doesn't seem like
"I don't know how long we're going to stay here,"
explained. "It seemed unnecessary trying to create a personal
atmosphere. But this is my bedroom, and right now you are in my
So that means Erik will be sleeping next to me, Charles thought. It
was a comforting thought to sleep next to someone after something
like this, but sleeping next to Erik would make it seem like they
were a couple again which they weren't, of course.
Erik laughed at Charles' hesitant face. "I have slept next to
since I brought you here, three days ago. You just haven't known,
since you have been unconscious."
Charles smiled. "It actually feels good not having to be
admitted. "That would be awful after something like this."
"I know," Erik replied and took Charles' hand in his own.
remember when we were young, and I used to have my frequent
nightmares about Auschwitz. You were always there when I woke up
screaming, and I'm grateful for that."
"Want to sleep now?" Charles asked.
Erik glanced at his wall clock and saw that it was 10:30 PM.
he said. "Let's sleep now. It's been a long day."
Erik went into the bathroom again to brush his teeth and let the
water out of the bathtub. In the meantime Charles tried to get
settled and pulled his paralysed legs into the bed. His abdomen with
the broken rib hurt, but once he had settled, he pain faded. Erik
had a comfy bed and he really liked being in it. And soon Erik would
be lying next to him
When Erik returned from the bathroom and saw Charles, he first
believed his friend was already asleep. But he wasn't. Charles
opened his eyes when he heard steps in the room, and watched just in
time to see Erik strip naked.
He wasn't sure what to say. Would Erik be sleeping naked? Next to
him? Charles was painfully aware of his own nakedness, and touching
would be inevitable.
" Erik admonished when he saw the telepath's
look. "I have always slept naked, I do it now, and I always will.
You should know that, so don't give me that look, please."
He crawled into the bed beside Charles, and pulled the quilt over
them both. Erik was really tired and wouldn't have any trouble
falling asleep tonight, unless Charles would be one, of course.
"Charles, my friend, look at me," Erik said pleadingly, and
obeyed, although his facial expression revealed that he was feeling
"I won't rape you, if you're worried about that. And this
first time we're lying naked in a bed together. You should be
at peace with the thought."
" Charles sighed. "But I've been sleeping
alone for so long
It just feels a bit strange to sleep with you again. After
we've been through
In a way Charles was pleased. What he was hoping for in the
bathroom seeing Erik naked had come true anyway. Erik
much like he did last time they were sharing a bed; one difference
was his grey pubic hair and looser skin. Otherwise he was the same.
"I would love to hold you," Erik said. "Just hold you
I would like that," Charles replied after a while.
Erik moved closer to him, and spooned against his back from behind.
Closer contact than this was impossible, and although the embrace
wasn't sexual, it was incredibly intimate. Erik carefully wrapped
his arm around Charles' waist and placed his hand on his belly.
It was a very good feeling. Charles gradually relaxed and started
breathing in rhythm with Erik. He suddenly realized how much he had
missed this; Erik and their intimate relation. He had his students,
who he loved very much, but it wasn't the same. Only Erik was his
Suddenly Erik's hand slid lower, and closed around his soft sex.
"What are you doing
?" the half-sleeping telepath
Erik whispered in his ear. "I don't
know what came into
me. I'm sorry."
He moved his hand back up and rested it against Charles' flat
The idea of stroking him was tempting, but this was enough for now.
Soon they were both soundly asleep.