Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

fic: Spurtle

Title: Spurtle
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Pairing: Erik/Charles
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1307
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: Erik can't imagine what Emma or Mystique would say if they could see the Master of Magnetism making breakfast for Professor X.
A/N: this fic is for ginbitch; happy birthday to her!


“What's this?” Erik asks, staring at the elaborately carved head and the long, slender stem.

Charles looks up from his coffee and his newspaper. No fresh reports of riots: Erik can tell that without asking, just from the set of Charles's shoulders. He looks tired, as well he might – last night was a wild one – but for the moment he's at peace. The kitchen is full of that crisp early morning light you get in October here, and the house is still quiet.

“That? Oh, it's a spurtle,” Charles says, knowing this explains precisely nothing.

He looks pleased with himself, a bit mischievous. Erik likes that look on him, though he really shouldn't – it just encourages Charles and makes him worse.

“A what?”

“For making porridge,” Charles says, grinning. “You can't make proper porridge without a spurtle.”

Erik's never tried to make porridge at all, but he very much doubts that's true.

“Truly,” Charles says, his blue eyes wide and guileless.

“Porridge,” Erik says sceptically. “Is that why the end's in the shape of a thistle?”

“Mm,” Charles says. He licks his lips, which is seriously unfair. “I like porridge. Used to have it every day in Oxford.”

Erik feels a pang of jealousy; he knows it's stupid to wish he'd shared the Oxford years with Charles, but he can't help it. They have so little time together now – and whose fault is that? he imagines Charles saying.

Charles wheels his chair over to the stove, and puts his arms around Erik's waist.

“Don't be sad,” he says. “You're here now.”

Erik doesn't know if Charles read his mind, or if his thoughts are just that obvious from his face. It doesn't seem to matter.

He leans in and kisses Charles, a slow lingering kiss that makes Charles clutch at Erik's shoulders and his hair. Erik fingers the mark he sucked into Charles's neck last night, the one that made Charles come for the second time. The body's compensation, shifting the erogenous zones upwards; Erik knew about it in theory, though nothing prepared him for the reality of it.

Charles groans and twists away, breaking the kiss. They're both breathing hard.

“The others will be down soon,” Charles says.

The young ones; sleeping late, like the teenagers they mostly are. Erik's tempted to give Charles his best come-to-bed stare and say Make them sleep longer, but he knows that casual abuse of Charles's power isn't something he should be asking for.

And there are dark shadows under Charles's eyes. Erik knows Charles is so busy taking care of the others that he doesn't always remember to look after himself, that worrying about the school and what's happening in the outside world keeps him awake – and that their wild nights leave Charles more depleted than they used to. But they can't keep their hands off each other, even now.

He kisses Charles's forehead and strokes his hair, feeling Charles relax under the gentling touch, his breathing becoming steadier.

“Tell me how to make porridge, then,” Erik says, half-joking. “Since you like it so much.”

“You don't have to do that,” Charles says apologetically. “I can make it myself.”

“I know I don't have to,” Erik says. “I'd like to.” Unexpectedly, this seems to be true.

“Oh all right,” Charles says. He rolls his eyes, as if teaching Erik to make porridge is a terrible imposition, but he's struggling to suppress a smile.

“They don't make these in metal, I suppose?” Erik says, picking up the spurtle.

“No,” Charles says, smiling openly now, “it has to be wood.”

He instructs Erik in the proper measuring out of oats, water and salt, tells him that adding milk is uncanonical but he likes it that way, and watches Erik as he heats the mixture to boiling, then stirs it over a low flame.

Erik can't imagine what Emma or Mystique would say if they could see the Master of Magnetism making breakfast for Professor X. Still, there's something oddly soothing, almost hypnotic, about the repeated stirring, and Erik finds himself humming under his breath, a tune he doesn't recognize, in time with the careful steady movement of the spurtle.

“Is that done?” he asks eventually, holding out the saucepan for Charles's inspection. He's no judge of these things but the consistency looks about right.

Charles clears his throat and says “Yes, I think so.”

His cheeks are faintly flushed. Interesting.

“I hadn't realized you liked porridge that much,” Erik says, teasing. He brushes his thumb against the head of the spurtle and Charles groans and says “Your hands”.

Ah. He thought Charles had been watching him quite closely.

“Sorry,” Erik says, grinning unrepentantly. He fetches a couple of bowls and puts them on the table, leaving Charles to decant the mixture.

“There's some golden syrup in the middle cupboard,” Charles says.

Erik gives him a look that says You have got to be kidding, but Charles doesn't blink.

“I can't believe they do this in Scotland,” Erik says, beckoning the green tin down within reach of Charles's hand. There's a picture of a lion and some bees on the side, and a slogan that sounds as if it might be Biblical.

“No, probably not,” Charles says, making a well of golden syrup in the middle of his porridge.

Erik prods suspiciously with his spoon at the pale mass in front of him. He's not sure this is at all a good idea, but he doesn't waste food and he probably never will. He carries on manfully till the plate is clean, rewarding himself by watching Charles eat.

Because it's worth the trouble of making porridge by hand, even worth the trouble of eating it, to see Charles licking the last vestiges of syrup from his spoon, see him looking contented as a well-fed cat basking in a patch of sunlight. Maybe it's just Erik's imagination that the shadows under Charles's eyes are less dark than they were, but he's not about to let reality spoil the moment for him.

Charles looks across the table at him and smiles, and Erik's heart contracts. He'll have to go soon, and there'll be that struggle that happens every time; it ought to get easier but if anything it gets worse. They can't live together, holding the beliefs they do, and all the arguments they've had in the last two years haven't brought them any closer to resolving that clash of ideologies. Charles long since stopped asking Erik to move back in with him and the young ones, and Erik no longer tries to reason or seduce Charles into joining him and the Brotherhood.

So this is what they have: occasional nights and mornings after. Too few and far between, but if it happened any more often he doesn't think he'd be able to leave, and he needs to leave.

He sees Charles's glance flicker to the helmet on the kitchen counter; they both know it's time...

Charles's kiss tastes milky and sweet. His arms around Erik's neck feel as trusting as a child's, but he's not a child. Old friend, adversary, lover, the brother in arms Erik will never have; the one who knows him better than anyone, and always will.

“Come again soon,” Charles says. “You know you're always welcome.”

And your students think you're a kind man, Erik thinks, but he doesn't say it. He hasn't shed a tear since they parted on the beach in Cuba, and he swore he never would, but at times like these it feels as if there's an obstruction in his throat, the size and hardness of a fist.

He presses one more quick kiss to Charles's forehead, noticing with a pang this time how Charles's hair is starting to recede. Then he turns away to put his armour on and face the world once more.


thanks to blooms84 and c_gracewood for beta wisdom and cheerleading.
this fic was inspired by Michael Fassbender's casual reference to making porridge every morning for himself and Liam Cunningham while rehearsing for their big scene together in Steve McQueen's film Hunger (2008); my thanks to kalypso_v for alerting me to the radio interview in which he told that story.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/66846.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely - simply adorable. :-)
Jan. 25th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
thank you very much! it's the first time I've tried to write post-beach XMFC fic, so I'm very glad you liked it.
Jan. 25th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
Still haven't watched the movie yet although it is in my Netflix Q. I KNOW that it would be a let down compared to your beautiful fic.

I am seeing the older renditions, McKellen and Stewart, men I adore, and imagining the bittersweet memory and regret.

I like seeing your voice change for the different 'verses but some of the things I love carry over--your power and certainty, your attention to detail, your vivid and memorable images, and something visceral and subsonic that hums in me long after reading.

I used to have a recurring fantasy of watching a man make me breakfast, at this point in my life, anyone making me breakfast. I sometimes go to Waffle House for that reason, 24 hour with kitchen fully visible to the public. Something about breakfast is more comforting and childlike and vulnerable from sleep. It is caregiving and servanthood and simplifying/Thoreau.

Their separation is heart wrenching. They are watching each other change and each change is another wedge between them and they are not ppl that have had much love in their lives. It will be a lasting loss.

I quite like this one, can you tell? lol
Thank you for writing what you feel deeply. Welcome back and thanks for soldiering past the sadness.
Jan. 25th, 2012 12:31 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I'd written most of this one before the Reichenblock hit, but I hope that's starting to shift now. this was going to be domestic fluff, but deciding I was finally going to write a post-beach fic took it in an unexpected direction. I'm very glad you liked it.
Jan. 25th, 2012 08:23 am (UTC)
That was lovely and bittersweet. I can see them in the future, post movie, like this - still friends and lovers, still loving each other, meeting occasionally, but devided by their beliefs.

Old friend, adversary, lover, the brother in arms Erik will never have; the one who knows him better than anyone, and always will.
This line is perfect. ♥
Jan. 25th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm very glad you liked it, and that line in particular. I've never tried to write post-beach fic before, so I'm happy you thought this worked.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
I get two pains from fic, the almost pleasant one that leads to glib easy tears, and the harsh sore one with no easing.

This has given me the second, which I reluctantly suppose is artistically preferable. But, y'know. OW!
Jan. 25th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
thank you - and I'm sorry about the OW! when I had the idea for this story I thought it was going to be domestic fluff, but the post-beach setting meant it didn't turn out that way at all.
Jan. 25th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely! In a sort of heartbreaking way, but that's a testament to your skill. Especially this line: And your students think you're a kind man, Erik thinks, but he doesn't say it. Painful and gorgeous. <3

(I'm assuming at some distant future date, the leaving becomes too hard, and Erik stays, or maybe they both leave, and go somewhere else and make porridge for each other forever, taking turns on alternate days.)
Jan. 25th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I'm very glad you liked this, and I like your idea of the future with them taking turns at the porridge-making...
Jan. 25th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
*sniffs* I appear to have something lodged in my throat too...
Jan. 25th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
thank you - and I'm sorry about the throat!
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:17 pm (UTC)
This is such a lovely story, if it was a picture it would be in soft colors. I really like stories about everyday life but this one also contains sadness, you can feel its subtle presence while reading. It's very good!
Jan. 26th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you liked it! I wanted to write something domestic for them, and I'm pleased you thought it worked.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


scallop voices


Powered by LiveJournal.com