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colourful, hills

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The Blind Leading The Blind...

I don't know where the muses take me, I only know that I like it!


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X-Men Fic - Charlotte Francine Xavier, Part Eight
colourful, hills
blind_author
Title: Charlotte Francine Xavier
Rating: R/NC-17.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and am making no profit from their use, more's the pity.
Warnings: Genderbend, violence, disturbing images, references to the Holocaust, references to past child abuse and graphic sex in this chapter.  I delve into the darker implications of telepathy here, so please heed the rating – both of the fic overall and of the individual chapters.
Parings: Erik/always-a-girl!Charles
Summary: Written for a kinkmeme prompt that wanted to see the events of the movie if Charles had been a woman.  This story will also wander into psychic-bond trope territory, as well as being a shameless fix-it fic.  Just so everything’s clear up front…
 
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
 
Part Eight
 
Holy Ground
 
“To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.”
-Stephen Covey
 
--
 
Charlotte is half-expecting to hit Erik's mind like a freight train.  For her telepathy to be so sudden and overwhelming Erik will immediately tell her to get out of his head and maybe even get his clothes and leave, depending on how unsettled he is.
 
Instead, it's surprisingly gentle.  Their minds touch – a bright starburst of relief and joy after the effort it took to contain herself – and slide together, merging smoothly and almost seamlessly, like two different metals being melted into an alloy. 
 
It's like nothing Charlotte's ever known before.  Usually she's aware of surface emotions, actual thoughts if she concentrates, and she can probe minds for specific memories.  But this is...different.  Similar to the connection Charlotte maintains when they're speaking telepathically, but deeper somehow, her own emotions and sensations flowing into Erik as effortlessly as his usually do into her.
 
For a moment, she and Erik simply stare at each other, eyes wide and breath sticking in their throats as they try to adjust.  Charlotte's fingers curl around Erik's biceps, reflexively seeking some kind of anchor, and she feels the ghost of pressure on her own arms.
 
She's feeling what Erik's feeling.  And not just pain or intense emotions, but everything he’s feeling.
 
The realisation passes to Erik as soon as it settles in her mind, and she feels his answering stir of curiosity.  He cups her face in one of his hands, dragging his thumb along the line of her jaw, and she knows the instant Erik feels the caress on his own skin.
 
For a moment, Charlotte's worried – non-telepathic minds aren't really built for this kind of dual sensation, and maybe she should stop this before she hurts Erik?
 
But she feels refusal/rejection/indignation from Erik at the prospect; the mental equivalent of 'don't you dare'.  Then he slips a hand down her body and Charlotte forgets to be cautious as long fingers deliberately trace teasing circles around her clitoris.
 
She can distinguish a flash of surprised pleasure from Erik at how wet she is, but then his fingers are moving again and Charlotte's coherency splinters away.  It's almost surreal how well Erik plays her body, how he seems to know all the places and touches that feel best to her – but of course he knows what feels good; he feels the echo in his own body.
 
Charlotte stares blindly at the ceiling, floating high on Erik's satisfaction/affection/lust/pleasure, basking in the sensation of being connected so deeply to him she can feel every thought and impulse that flashes through his mind.
 
Right now, there's a definite impression of smugness, along with a brief snapshot of what she looks like; hair tangled around her shoulders, cheeks flushed and mouth open, eyes unfocused and pupils so dilated her irises have been reduced to thin blue rings.  And there's an undercurrent of wonder as well, awe and reverence and...
 
This really is a first for you, isn't it? Erik's thoughts whisper.
 
Charlotte's affirmation seeps across their connection – she never trusted herself enough, never trusted anyone else enough.
 
Erik's fingers still at that thought, with shock and a flutter of fear, the apprehension he always feels whenever Charlotte mentions how much she trusts him.  For a moment, Charlotte worries that she's spoiled the mood, but then there's a burst of determination from Erik, strangely intense, as though he's vowing to deserve something, and his head dips so he can apply his mouth to her breast and Charlotte loses her train of thought again.
 
She's just thinking she should muster herself to return the favour (though is it a really a favour when she'll feel everything she does to Erik and vice versa?), when Erik shifts downward again, hands sliding beneath her legs and across the backs of her knees.  It seems ridiculous – it's her knees, for god's sake! – but the gentle caress over that tender skin makes her shiver and twitch.  Erik feels that incongruous flicker of pleasure and smirks at her, pressing a kiss to the inside of her thigh before draping her legs over his shoulders in a business-like manner.
 
A snapshot of what Erik plans to do dances through her head, and usually she would be quite happy to just lie back and enjoy, but right now she's impatient and desperate and she just wants Erik in her!
 
Come on, Erik! she demands, frustrated lust pouring across their connection.  I'm wet, you're hard – what are you waiting for?
 
There's no structured reply from Erik, just amusement and satisfaction as his tongue spears into her and the breath punches out of her lungs.  There are no teasing licks or kisses, just blunt pressure and delicious penetration, making Charlotte's toes curl and her body convulse.  Or at least, convulse as much as it can – Erik's pressing her hips into the mattress, holding her in place.
 
Be patient, Erik chides through the thrumming, tangled maelstrom of their minds.  I'm rather enjoying this.
 
Some small, still-sane part of Charlotte's brain thinks that it's very unfair Erik can construct coherent sentences while she's probably sending a nonsensical stream of want/Erik!/lust/desire/please!
 
She has a vague feeling she should be more energetic about this – should do something other than just lie here – but just the fact that her telepathy isn't restrained makes her feel relaxed, pliant in a way she's never been before.  Like unclenching a muscle you didn't even realise was tense, and she just wants to luxuriate in it.
 
And she doesn't think Erik will object.  Beneath the satisfaction and the reflections of Charlotte's pleasure swirling through him, there's a strange desperation, a deep-seated need to make this good for her.
 
I like the idea of making you come with my mouth, Erik breathes across the link.
 
Next time next time next time, she babbles.
 
Fortunately, he draws back for a moment, long enough for Charlotte to regain her breath and wrestle her mind into spitting out something approaching an actual sentence.
 
A warning of If I come, you'll come, is the most she can manage.
 
Really, she suspects the shared pleasure alone might have pushed them both over the edge already, if not for the fact that she can sense the way it feels slightly surreal to Erik, his mind struggling to process the phantom sensations.
 
At least she knows why he can be so coherent.  And this time she doesn't wonder if she should stop, because even through Erik's slight disorientation she can feel the way his mind is practically clinging to hers, revelling in their connection.
 
Charlotte only just remembers that there are condoms in her purse, and that one would be useful right now.  Erik picks up on that thought and starts glancing vaguely about the room, his pupils so enormously dilated he looks as if he’s been drugged.
 
I can get them, Charlotte tells him, grateful that some of her usual self-possession has been restored now that Erik’s head is no longer between her legs.
 
She makes an attempt at standing under her own power, her limbs feeling decidedly wobbly and her inner thighs already sticky.  She manages to gain her feet – just – and walks unsteadily across the room to rifle through her purse and wonder where the hell she left those condoms.
 
Charlotte hasn’t bothered to cover herself up (why would she?) and Erik’s appreciation/lust/want roll over her like a wave of heat from a furnace.  But it’s scattered through with flashes of something deeper and infinitely more complex, sparkles of affection/tenderness/admiration, tinged with darker, savage whispers of protectiveness/possessiveness/fury when her scars catch the light as she straightens.
 
For a moment, Charlotte is almost afraid to turn around.  It’s ridiculous, she knows it is – this is hardly her first time, and Erik’s already seen her naked.
 
But it’s struck her, just in this moment, exactly how naked she really is.  Sex, for her, is usually a tangled skein of deception and concealment; her scars covered by projection, her telepathy severely limited, the very essence of who she is locked away safe and secure.
 
Except now her scars are on clear display, her telepathy is dancing between them, and she is bare and exposed in a way she’s never been before in her life.
 
That moment of trepidation transmits clearly to Erik, who sits up in the bed, expression beginning to harden.  But Charlotte determinedly drowns her brief bout of nerves with a flood of trust and desire before – feeling a bit mischievous – she hefts the condom in her hand.
 
Catch! she tells him cheekily, grinning brightly as she tosses the little plastic packet across the room.
 
Erik doesn’t even bother making a grab for it, just watches as it sails through the air to land on the floor, not even on the bed and almost against the wall.
 
I take it baseball was not your thing, Erik comments with a soft prickle of amusement.
 
Charlotte settles for a non-verbal flash of disgruntlement/frustration/embarrassment as she moves to pick up the condom.
 
But she’s not as humiliated she would have expected, given the way she can feel how Erik’s amusement is underpinned with affection and curiosity, the sharp wonder of a child exploring a new facet of the world for the first time.
 
Flickers of memory and half-formed sensations tell Charlotte that Erik’s previous experiences with sex have been hasty, impersonal and business-like.  If he wanted sex, he went to a pub, picked someone up for the night, left as soon as it was over and never saw them again.  If he needed to seduce information out of someone, he did, and never thought anything else about it.  And when he was younger, fresh from the horrors of Shaw and without family or friends or any means of supporting himself in his quest for revenge, sex was the means to food and a warm bed for the night.
 
No one has ever grinned and thrown a condom at him from across the room.  No one has ever been playful with him.
 
It’s reassuring to know that this is new territory for both of them.
 
She tosses the condom at him again, just to be perverse, and Erik catches it easily – one-handed, too, the bloody show-off.
 
She can tell Erik picks up on that thought by the way his lips quirk and the amusement/affection/tenderness from his mind re-doubles in strength.  He fits it on his cock with practised motions, and by the time Charlotte reaches the bed again he’s ready for her.
 
The rapport between them means she knows what he wants – what they both want – and she straddles his hips as Erik lies back and urges her on top of him.  Their hands entwine, Charlotte bracing herself against Erik’s arm (the clenching muscle making the inked numbers twitch and ripple) as she reaches between them to hold him steady and sinks down.
 
Charlotte bites her lip at the tight, pleasure/pain stretch of Erik filling her, thick and long and yes yes yes/feels so good.
 
She’s not sure who’s thought that is, and she doesn’t care.  Her fingers and Erik’s are locked together almost painfully, and she uses them to steady herself as she begins to move, riding Erik slowly.  She keeps a steady pace, savouring each exquisite slide of penetration and withdrawal; the deep, satisfying pleasure of Erik’s cock moving inside her contrasting deliciously with hot sparks of ecstasy when she grinds her clit over his pubic bone.
 
Erik’s not passive, of course (Charlotte doesn’t think he could ever be passive, doubts he has it in him).  He rises to meet her on each downward plunge, and in that moment when he’s as deeply imbedded as he can possibly be, he twitches and swivels his hips minutely, tiny movements that nevertheless send pleasure singing along Charlotte’s nerves and drag soft whimpers and moans from her throat.
 
She wants this to last, wants to be able to savour it, but Charlotte suspects they won’t make it past the ten minute mark.  She’ll be very surprised if they do, really.
 
Because it isn’t enough that she’s contending with her own pleasure, she’s also dealing with Erik’s.  It’s a little more distant than when they were caressing each other; she doesn’t actually have a penis, and her body is rather struggling to translate the sensations, and the best it can do seems to be a phantom sensation of rhythmic, gliding pressure along her clitoris.  Erik seems to be in a similar situation – she can feel his mind puzzling over the feeling of being penetrated where there is no corresponding opening in his body.
 
Perhaps it should be surreal, disorienting, but it’s exactly the opposite.  Because beyond the sometimes-strange sensations, it’s connection of the kind Charlotte has never even allowed herself to dream about.  And she doesn’t need to worry about Erik anymore, not when she can feel his awe and wonder and look at her, look at her, look at the way her mouth opens when you move like that, look at the way she’s staring at you, like she can’t believe how lucky she is, like she doesn’t know how wonderful, how fantastically impossible she is-
 
A particularly hard buck from Erik makes Charlotte gasp and lurch forward, losing her grip on Erik’s hands and only just managing to catch herself with her arms braced on either side of his head.
 
She can’t even catch her breath before there are fingers in her hair and Erik is drawing her into a deep kiss.  He’s still inside her, but for a moment neither of them moves, enjoying the play of lips and tongue, and the affection/tenderness/desire that wells between them makes Charlotte’s chest ache.
 
Then Erik decides to suck on her lower lip, which makes Charlotte shiver and clench around him, and it suddenly becomes imperative that she start moving again right now.  But she remains draped over him, shuddering as each shift and writhe drags her sensitive nipples over his chest hair, Erik’s hand on her hip to guide her.
 
Before she was perfectly content to go slow, but now Charlotte finds all she wants is faster!/harder!/more!  Erik is driving into her so violently each thrust wrings a desperate cry from her, and he’s mouthing at her neck and collarbones, lips forming the syllables of her name over and again, like a man praying for redemption or salvation.
 
Every muscle in Charlotte’s body is tensing, and she’s not sure whether she’s close to orgasm and simply dragging Erik along or if it’s the other way around.  She clutches wildly at Erik’s shoulders – or is that Erik clutching at her shoulders? – and Erik bucks up one more time and holds himself there as a calloused thumb brushes across her clitoris-
 
Then there’s nothing, just blind pleasure and satisfaction and release, orgasm reverberating through her and Erik like sound in an echo chamber, amplifying again and again and then fading out with thrumming aftershocks.
 
--
 
Charlotte’s usually quite alert after sex; the restrictions she puts on her telepathy ensure it.  And without them – without the need to watch herself so closely, alert for even the slightest slip-up – she feels herself sinking into a peaceful lassitude that makes her understand why people use the term ‘afterglow’.
 
She’s vaguely aware of Erik rising and disposing of the condom in the en-suite bathroom, but only vaguely.  She feels a curl of pleased satisfaction from him as he returns, a flash of what she looks like – hair tangled in a wild halo around her head, eyes closed and skin glistening with sweat, looking thoroughly debauched – along with a hint of smugness and awe and did I really do that?
 
You know very well you did, she tells him, trying for stern but not entirely certain how well she’s pulling it off in her current state.
 
Erik’s thoughts are dimmer now, fading out slightly against the background mental activity of the others in the mansion.  Reluctantly, Charlotte forces herself to draw further away from his mind, giving both of their brains a rest after the confusing sensory workout she just put them through.
 
Which is why the touch of the cool cloth between her legs comes as such a surprise.  She yelps, her whole body jolting, and she might have ended up kicking Erik in the face if he hadn’t had a firm grip on the leg closest to him, holding her open.
 
“I didn’t think it was actually possible to startle you,” he muses, voice deep and husky as he gently, tenderly, cleansed away the sticky residue on her inner thighs.
 
Take it as a compliment, Charlotte thinks at him, her eyes drooping closed again.  You’ve utterly exhausted me
 
She can feel a soft wave of amusement at that, and then Erik seems to hesitate, as though not quite sure what comes next.
 
Not opening her eyes, Charlotte makes a vague grab for him, gets hold of his elbow and tugs pointedly.  Come here.
 
There’s a bit of wiggling and shifting involved, but eventually she and Erik end up under the covers; Charlotte feeling relaxed and sated enough to sleep for a month, and Erik tense and wary.
 
Charlotte knows why – Erik’s memories of prolonged physical contact aren’t pleasant – and the knowledge makes something in her ache dully.
 
Go to sleep, she suggests, rolling towards him.  She doesn’t hug him – she doubts Erik would be comfortable enough to sleep like that – and instead settles for laying one hand on top of his beneath the covers, curling her fingers around his palm.
 
Some of the tension bleeds out of Erik’s body and Charlotte sighs quietly, content with his slight relaxation and the knowledge that he’s not going to leave.  She expands her telepathy again, listening to the ebb and flow of all the minds scattered throughout the mansion, the white noise lulling her to sleep.
 
--
 
Erik wakes abruptly, aware that something’s changed, something’s not right – there’s pressure against his side, holding his arm immobile…
 
Then he remembers where he is, and realises what awoke him; Charlotte has rolled in her sleep so that she’s essentially snuggled up against him, his arm trapped beneath her body.  He extricates himself as carefully as he can, trying not to wake her as he rises from the bed.  Charlotte barely stirs, only rolling more fully onto her side, a sleepy mumble emerging from her lips.
 
The clock in the corner tells Erik that it’s nearly dawn, but he won’t be going back to bed.  He’s become accustomed to living on very little sleep, and he’s not about to unlearn the habit of a lifetime now.
 
It doesn’t mean he’s blind to the appeal in slipping beneath the covers with Charlotte for a little while longer, but he won’t indulge himself.  Erik practises every morning to keep his control of his power as honed as possible, and to practise, he needs the anger.  He’s not sure how sensitive Charlotte’s telepathy is while she’s sleeping, but he’s certainly not going to risk exposing her to the kind of rage he has to dredge up when he uses his power for an extended period of time.
 
And today’s practise might be longer than usual – he has a brand new source of fury, after all.
 
It’s difficult to see in the dawn twilight, but Erik can still glimpse the faint lines and shadows that trace across Charlotte’s shoulder blade, exposed to the room by the hollow Erik has left in the blankets.
 
Memory fills in the rest.  The momentary surprise at feeling thin, jagged ridges where he expected to feel only smooth skin.  The jolt of incredulity as he followed those scars, realising that they were too patterned, too deliberate to be the relics of some sort of childhood accident.  The shiver of fury as he pulled Charlotte forward and looked, and recognised the evidence of a flogging, the marks twisted and ragged where the flesh pulled at them as it grew, proof that Charlotte was still a child when they’d been inflicted.
 
God knows, he’d seen similar marks on his skin often enough – the handful of scars across the backs of his shoulders are permanent reminders of Shaw’s more efficient methods of discipline, so Erik has a good idea of how hard you have to hit a child to produce those kinds of scars.
 
He’s not entirely sure why he’s so blindly furious about this (or rather, he suspects he knows and doesn’t want to examine that thought).  He’s seen and suffered through far worse in his lifetime, after all.
 
But perhaps that’s the difference.  That was him – this is Charlotte.
 
Her breathing is starting to accelerate, as though she’s drifting up into consciousness, and Erik belatedly realises she’s probably cold.  He moves to tuck the blankets in around her back, but it’s too late – her eyes are open and blinking drowsily, startlingly blue in the half-light.
 
“What time is it?” she asks, sitting up and stretching.
 
Given that this makes the blanket pool around her waist and neither of them bothered to don clothes last night before going to sleep, Erik thinks he can be forgiven for taking a few seconds to process the question.
 
“Early,” he says simply.  “You can go back to sleep.”
 
But Charlotte’s already leaning over to the side, shifting to where she can get a clear line of sight to the clock.
 
“I slept for six and a half hours!” she proclaims, smiling broadly.  “Usually I barely make five.”
 
“You only sleep for five hours a night?” Erik clarifies, feeling his eyebrows raise – he knows the body can be trained to cope with little sleep, but he’s never met anyone who did it naturally.
 
“Usually less,” Charlotte says, running her fingers through her hair in an effort to restore some semblance of order.  “I’ve often wondered if it’s some sort of by-product of my telepathy – if the differences in my brain structure somehow result in me needing less sleep than most people.  It certainly came in handy during university, I can tell you.”
 
She smiles at him, but then small furrows appear in her forehead as her expression becomes concerned.  “Aren’t you cold?”
 
It’s true he’s completely naked and not exactly comfortable, but he’s had worse.
 
Charlotte makes an exasperated sound, clearly having picked up on that thought, and climbs out of bed to rummage on the floor for their clothes.  The first article she finds is her trousers, and she’s clothed from the waist down before Erik can really appreciate the view.
 
“Underwear, trousers, jacket,” she rattles off as she tosses each item to him.  “Can’t find your turtleneck, though – oh, wait, here it is!  And that’s my shirt, and…do you remember what happened to my bra?”
 
Erik honestly can’t remember what happened immediately after he glimpsed Charlotte’s scars.  He probably just dropped the bra on the spot, might have kicked it out of the way as he carried her to the bed…
 
He finds it on the floor, almost underneath the bed, and uses the metal clasps to send it floating across the room until it hovers just in front of Charlotte’s face.
 
Charlotte grins – the bright, utterly enchanted grin she always wears whenever Erik demonstrates his powers – and plucks it out the air, pulling the straps over her shoulders.  Erik can’t resist stepping close behind her, placing both hands on her shoulders as another flicker of power drives the tiny hooks through the eyelets.
 
He’s rewarded with Charlotte’s laugh, soft and low.
 
Both partially clothed now, Erik runs his fingers idly over Charlotte’s collarbones, then down to ghost across the outline of her breasts.  Charlotte sighs and leans trustingly into him, her scored back sliding over the patchwork of scars on Erik’s chest as they breathe.
 
Erik doesn’t even realise his thumb is running over one of the more prominent marks (curling around the ridge of her hip, clearly inflicted with something thin and flexible) until Charlotte lays her hand over his.
 
At first, he thinks she’s going to push him away, to pull back and tug on a shirt and leave the room, but she stays almost perfectly still, her fingers cupped around his palm, just holding it in place.
 
My stepfather, whispers through his mind, along with a flash of a man’s face, twisted into a sneer.
 
Erik can feel himself tense, but keeps his hands on her relaxed and open.
 
My telepathy was rather…raw…when I was younger, Charlotte admits.  I had trouble telling the difference between something I’d been told and something that I’d read from people’s minds.  Kurt – that was his name, Kurt Marko – always assumed I was spying on him somehow, and was less than appreciative.
 
Erik can’t see her expression, but her fingers have tightened their grip on his hand.  He memorises the face he saw in that brief flicker of memory and name Charlotte mentioned – Kurt Marko – and begins to plan exactly how he will find this man.
 
It didn’t help that I was already quite different from most girls my age.  There were expectations about my interests and behaviour that I failed to live up to, which Kurt felt reflected poorly on himself.
 
Snapshots of memory fly into Erik’s mind, so quickly he’s not sure if they’re intentional or not.  Charlotte, sitting in a classroom with other girls (all of whom look young, so painfully young, and the idea that this happened when Charlotte was that young makes Erik want to howl), not paying any attention to the instructions about sewing because the spider web just outside the window is so much more fascinating.  Charlotte, not playing with any of the girls her age because she likes collecting beetles and watching ants and trying to find worms in loose soil.  Charlotte, climbing trees to look at birds’ nests and dirtying expensive dresses and skirts.
 
Charlotte, enchanted by the world of biology and chemistry and science, when her mother and teachers told her she should be preparing to get married and have babies.
 
But she didn’t listen to them, and Erik is fiercely glad of that – that she refused to become what they said she should be.
 
Perhaps I could have stopped him, could have influenced him to leave me alone, but…  She shakes her head minutely, her hair dragging over his collarbones.  His mind was so ugly, so…poisonous, I preferred to just take the beating.
 
Erik can never truly understand what it’s like to be a telepath, but he thinks he has some kind of grasp on how truly horrible a mind would have to be for beatings that left scars to be the ‘better option’.
 
“Didn’t anyone notice?” Erik can’t keep himself from hissing.  “Your mother-”
 
Her shoulders slump in resignation, and the rest of Erik’s words fade into silence.
 
It was before Raven came along, and my mother…my mother didn’t care about me, Erik.
 
There are no accompanying flashes of emotion – Charlotte’s telepathy is heavily reined in – and Erik wonders if she’s choosing to communicate mentally because she doesn’t trust her voice.
 
It seems too much to credit.  Yes, those memories he’d seen implied that Charlotte’s mother had disapproved of her daughter’s choices, but surely she had to have loved Charlotte?  How can anyone do otherwise?
 
My mother had a child because she was expected to, and for no other reason, Charlotte continues bleakly.  My father was…fond of me, I suppose.  In the same way you’re fond of a pet – I was ‘cute’ and ‘charming’, as long as I didn’t get in his way or upset him.  And my mother viewed me rather like…well, rather like some kind of expensive porcelain doll.  Beautiful, perhaps, but with each crack, each way I differed from what was ‘normal’ or what was expected of me, my value diminished.
 
The truly unsettling aspect about her monologue is that it’s completely free of hysteria or speculation.  Charlotte’s a telepath, and if she says her mother didn’t love her, it’s isn’t extrapolation or hypothesis – it’s something she knows, something she would have felt every day she lived in this place.
 
Erik is starting to understand why Charlotte was so reluctant to return here, why she’s been so uncharacteristically quiet and hesitant – unconsciously reverting to old patterns of behaviour.  He thought knowing why Charlotte was acting like that would help, but it hasn’t; on the contrary, it’s given Erik a rather irrational urge to raze this whole miserable place to the ground, piece by piece.
 
“How long did it…go on?” he asks, and is pleased that his voice sounds level.
 
He doubts it will fool a telepath, but he always enjoys proof that he can control himself.
 
Why do you want to know?  The question is automatic, almost defensive.
 
So he can determine how painfully Kurt Marko needs to die.  But Erik doesn’t say that aloud – he doesn’t need to.
 
Charlotte grimaces, the muscles in her back contracting as though she wants to hunch in on herself but won’t let it happen.  It doesn’t matter – he’s dead now, anyway.  And it was only a few years.
 
Years.
 
Erik thinks he can be forgiven for having assumed that Charlotte is the way she is because of her family, that she was raised in the most loving, accepting environment possible.  Yet to know that she’s so trusting, so willing to believe in people’s better nature, not because of her upbringing but in spite of it…
 
It confuses him.
 
Charlotte’s been holding herself stiffly ever since the words ‘my stepfather’ rang in his head, but now she sighs and relaxes, closing her eyes and half-turning in his arms until the side of her face is pressed against his chest.  She doesn’t move for several moments, and Erik has the impression that she’s listening to his heartbeat – but that’s ridiculous because really, how could that help?
 
It’s alright, Erik, she tells him.  My childhood might have been worse than some, but it was better than others.  And I like to think that by this point, I’ve let it go…as much as I can, anyway.
 
Erik can’t really understand that, but he refrains from commenting.  Charlotte sighs softly, almost nuzzling into him, before she straightens and leans back to look into his face, smiling the bright, trusting smile she always gives Erik.
 
 “I know it’s very early, but do you want to get some breakfast?”
 
Erik usually eats after he’s practised – the bite of hunger in his belly helps keep him focused, helps remind him, helps fuel the rage his powers feed on…
 
But though Charlotte’s smile is honest her eyes are still a little wary, still guarded against the unpleasant memories this house holds for her, and Erik doesn’t want to leave her alone while she’s looking like that.
 
“Good idea,” he murmurs, then feels his mouth twist into a smirk.  “Though you might want to put a shirt on first, just in case we aren’t the only ones awake.”
 
“I’m a telepath – I’d know if they were awake,” Charlotte declares loftily.
 
But she does pull on a shirt, buttoning it up tightly against the slight morning chill.
 
Then she presses a swift dart of a kiss to Erik’s lips (and he wonders if he’ll ever get used to that, wonders if he’ll have time to get used to that), threads her fingers between his and draws him towards the door.
 
“Come on, I’m sure we can find something in the kitchen.”
 
Erik follows, telling himself he’ll practise after breakfast.
 
And that it can’t hurt to break his pattern, just this once.
 
--
 
AN: Thanks so much to ginbitch, my fabulous beta!
 
Part Nine


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Just when I was wondering what happened with you and your fic, you reappeared with two new chapters! Yay! <3

And yay again for the consummation of their love! The sex was sweet and sexy at the same time. I loved how Charlotte is active at sex, more women like her should be in charge when it comes to love making! ;) And more of her canon backstory!

I wonder what will Erik do now that they have slept together. Would he be able to continue the life he was keeping?

I have to go out now, I'll read chapter 9 after coming back! It's going to be hard!! ;D

Thanks! I love exploring how Charles' comic backstory could influence his stance on life - I mean, even considering his telepathy, how do you come out of an abusive household still believing in the good in people?

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