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fic: Two For The Road

Title: Two For The Road
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: X-Men: First Class (AU)
Pairing: Erik/Charles UST
Rating: R
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1770
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: There’s a strange sense of familiarity about all this, though Erik knows it’s just the déjà vu that comes from being so tired. He watches the road unfurl ahead of them, mile after mile of it, feels his eyelids becoming heavy…
A/N: Third in the Patterns of Light series. Heartfelt thanks to [personal profile] kalypso for invaluable beta suggestions, and to everyone at ushobwri, dofp_marathon and #xmentales for help and encouragement.

“Let me drive,” Xavier says, as Erik opens the car door with his powers.

He has got to be fucking kidding.

“Look,” Xavier says, with an air of patient reasonableness that makes Erik want to punch his ridiculous nose, right on the freckles, “you’re tired, and you’ve been driving all morning. You know I’m not going to run away. Why don’t you let me take the wheel for an hour or so, and you can nap?”

They’ve just had a pit stop for hamburgers and more terrible coffee at another roadside diner, but the coffee doesn’t seem to be working and Erik’s too tired to argue. The thought of closing his eyes is damn near irresistible, though MacTaggert will have his hide if anything goes wrong.

“Seriously,” Xavier says, “if you’re as tired as you look you’re going to run us off the road.”

Erik’s not sure if the picture in his mind is his own imagination or Xavier’s – a mass of twisted metal and shattered glass. It barely seems to matter whose mental image it is; Xavier is right about this, the way he was about breakfast.

“Do you ever get tired of being right all the time?” Erik says, but there’s no heat in it.

Xavier sighs theatrically. “It’s such a burden,” he says, and grins.

“Get in the car,” Erik says, rolling his eyes.

Usually he hates being driven by anyone else, but Xavier is a surprisingly good driver, if a somewhat eccentric one, occasionally muttering encouragement to the car as if to a restive horse. There’s a strange sense of familiarity about all this, though Erik knows it’s just the déjà vu that comes from being so tired. He watches the road unfurl ahead of them, mile after mile of it, feels his eyelids becoming heavy…

He’s not sure what wakes him – the loud bang or the sudden jolt of the car stopping, or both together.

Xavier is swearing under his breath and saying “No, no, come on, come on!” He’s obviously talking to the car again.

As if that’s going to make any difference to the black smoke pouring out from under the hood.

“Fuck!” Erik jerks open the passenger door and stumbles out of the car. “Get out of there, Xavier.”

Xavier’s still muttering at the car. Last thing Erik heard, being a telepath didn’t include being able to bend motor vehicles to your will.

Now,” Erik says grimly, and pulls Xavier out of the car, dragging him to the far side of the road. If that thing explodes…

But it doesn’t. They stand and watch till there’s no more smoke, then approach the car gingerly.

“Fuck,” Erik says, reeling back from the heat still coming off the metal. “How far is it to the nearest town?”

Xavier puts his fingers to his temple and frowns with concentration. “About eight miles, I'd say.”

Eight miles turns out to be more like ten, all of them uphill. Even with Erik using his powers to shift the car, it’s a long and tiring slog. He should never have let Xavier drive; the guy’s sense of direction is clearly lousy.

“I have a perfectly adequate sense of direction,” Xavier huffs.

“Oh yeah?” Erik says. “So why are we halfway up a mountain in the middle of fucking nowhere?”

He knows he’s exaggerating, but the effort of continually focusing his powers is making him cranky.

“I took the route from your head,” Xavier says. “Usually that works just fine, but this time –”

Of all the stupid, arrogant… “You didn’t check it against the map?”

“No,” Xavier admits, embarrassed. “I didn’t. I think you must have been falling asleep faster than I realized.”

Erik concentrates very hard on not picking Xavier up by his belt buckle and throwing him into what looks a very promising patch of poison ivy. He’s so distracted with rage that he barely registers the metal pumps of the gas station a quarter of a mile away, telling him they’ve reached what passes for civilization around here.

Whoever named this town has a warped sense of humour, Erik thinks, glaring at the sign that reads WELCOME TO SPEEDWELL. Nothing moves fast around here; even the gas station’s mechanic is slow and creaky, as if he needs oiling like the rust-heaps waiting for his attention.

At least the gas station has a payphone. Erik calls the number MacTaggert gave him for emergencies.

“We’re stuck,” he says without preamble.

“As in…?” She sounds wary, understandably so.

“As in, the rental car broke down and there’s nowhere to hire one,” Erik says.

“Can’t you fix it?” She’s rattled, or she wouldn’t ask.

“I’m a metallokinetic, not a fucking engineer,” Erik snaps. “I’ve already pushed it ten miles. Get someone out here to pick us up. Please,” he adds, through gritted teeth.

MacTaggert doesn’t even reprimand him for speaking to her like that. Must be a four-alarm fire up there in DC right now.

“I’ll see what I can do,” she says tightly. “Where’s Xavier?”

“He’s here,” Erik says. “Want me to put him on?”

He hands the receiver to Xavier without waiting for an answer; he doesn’t trust himself not to snap at her again.

“Agent MacTaggert,” Xavier says. There’s just a touch of strain in his usual infuriating smoothness.

Whatever Moira’s saying seems to go on for a long time. Xavier says “Mm” once and “Uhuh” twice. Erik scowls: how come MacTaggert has so much more to say to the witness than to her own officer? He remembers Xavier – was it only this morning? – laughing at him and saying “Obviously you’ve never got on the wrong side of Agent MacTaggert.”

Erik lights his last cigarette. He could get some more while Xavier’s talking – or listening, rather – but he doesn’t want to risk it. Turn your back for half a minute and something could come out of nowhere, the way that red devil did yesterday. Erik’s not about to get a spike through his heart if he can avoid it, or lose MacTaggert her precious witness.

Because there’s no way Shaw isn’t going to put everything he has into hunting Xavier down. And even if they get as far as court and somehow manage to put Shaw behind bars… after a betrayal like that, where will Xavier go? Shaw’s network is powerful and far-reaching; it’s no wonder Xavier’s sceptical about what Witness Protection can offer. He must know, better than most, what Shaw and his people are capable of, after his time inside the organization.

Erik thinks about that big crooked house covered in vines, surrounded by trees so vast their roots have long since broken up the sidewalks. A house built on slavery and cruelty, reproducing that history in new forms. New Orleans is full of haunted houses, or so people claim – and even if ghosts aren’t real, it’s easy enough to believe that those old cruelties saturate the walls. He can imagine Shaw’s glee in choosing a mansion soaked in blood, the perfect setting for his particular brand of vice.

Did Xavier not care about Shaw’s crimes, until the CIA moved to stop him? Did he know what Shaw was, choose to share his life as well as his bed? No use asking MacTaggert: Erik knows he has to work as much as possible in the dark. If he were captured by the enemy, whatever he knew could put others at risk, especially from an organization with a powerful telepath like Emma Frost. No amount of training in withstanding torture would keep the CIA’s secrets safe from someone who could rip them right out of your head.

How Xavier kept those secrets safe from Emma Frost is one of those things Erik will never understand about telepaths. He can’t imagine how Xavier kept everything secret from Shaw, either, never letting anything show even in bed…

He shouldn’t be thinking about Xavier’s relation with Shaw, but he can’t stop himself; his mind keeps going back to it, probing it like a broken tooth.

Xavier’s certainly not innocent now; he’d be no use as a witness if he was. Had he ever been? Erik has a vision of him like Bluebeard’s wife, opening the door of the bloody chamber to stumble upon its secrets. You’re too old to believe in fairytales, Lehnsherr, he tells himself; the question is, why do you even want to? Xavier’s story is irrelevant to Erik’s mission; Bluebeard’s wife or Lady Macbeth, Erik’s task is to deliver him to MacTaggert in one piece and ready to testify.

Still, it’s a mystery to Erik what could have attracted Xavier to Shaw in the first place – the guy makes Erik’s flesh crawl. Though maybe it’s just the obvious: wealth and power, and all the luxuries they can buy, the yacht and the Hellfire casino and the fucking mansion, with a cellar full of vintage wine. Erik’s seen the labels, and he knows there are bottles there that cost more than he takes home each month after taxes. If you’re going to be a whore, might as well sell to the highest bidder, right?

Why Shaw wanted Xavier is easy to see – too easy for Erik’s peace of mind. Pale creamy skin begging to be marked, a body that somehow manages to be both slight and strong, sinfully red lips that ought to be wrapped around somebody’s cock, those deceptively innocent blue eyes… And then there’s Xavier’s ass, which Erik probably shouldn’t be staring at as intently as he is, the curve of it making his palms itch to reach out and grab –

A slow flush creeps up Xavier’s neck, and Erik realizes he must be broadcasting his thoughts again.

“No, I don’t anticipate that being a problem,” Xavier says.

He sounds cool, unruffled, and Erik’s caught off balance by a powerful urge to grab him and kiss the back of his neck where the colour burns, feel the heat of that flushed skin under his tongue.

Don’t. Xavier’s voice in his head is shaky, a sharp contrast to his smug self-assurance on the phone. Erik, please –

Erik drops his cigarette and stubs it out, coughing. His throat is tight and his eyes are stinging; he knows, absolutely, that it’s Xavier’s fault, without knowing how.

“Thank you,” Xavier says into the receiver. “I’ll tell him. Unless you want to – OK. Goodbye, Agent MacTaggert.”

He hangs up and says, without turning round, “She’s sending someone to fetch us, but they won’t be here till morning. We’d better find somewhere to stay.”

Great. Another night watching Xavier sleep naked. Just what Erik needed to make his shitty life complete.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/147390.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Okay, so I just caught up on this series and DAMN. *fans self* The UST is sizzling.
*bites fist*
Xavier is such a damn tease. *g*
I don't think Erik stands a chance once Xavier decides he wants him. :)
Apr. 9th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)

thank you very much - I'm glad you are enjoying it! I hope there will be more soon.

and no, I don't think Erik stands a chance of resisting Charles either. *grins*
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
This is perfect. I love the characterisation and all the snarky things going in in Erik's head.
Apr. 11th, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! *beams* I'm very glad you enjoyed it - I am having fun writing this series.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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