Bane of my Existence

Pairing: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
 
Category: AU still have powers, humour, sarcasm, crack
 
Rating: PG13
 
Summary: Charles and Erik live on the same floor. Erik is a cranky bastard, Charles is a chatterbox and Alex is damned sure they're both agents of secret government organisations. And that Erik is going to kill Charles, if Alex doesn't intervene.
 
Notes: Written for Karmitrickster for the Marvel Trumps Hate 2018 charity challenge.
 
Thank you for your donation to a worthy cause and I hope you enjoy this story :)
 
Thank you to Dee for checking it over and leaving 99+ comments in my google doc - anything from comma changes to laughing her arse off. Cheers ;)
 
Word count: 5,791

Alex holds his breath for a moment, standing still in front of Lehnsherr's door, listening to the beams of the building making it creak. Fucking Lehnsherr, why can't he keep his temper under control? And why does Charles, who is normally so easy to get along with, have to goad him on? It's been like this for months, since Charles moved in.

There's no shouting from Lehnsherr's apartment anymore and Alex wonders if maybe they've finally killed each other? Maybe Lehnsherr finally lost that little scrap of control and killed Charles? And who has to explain it all to Raven? She'll want revenge, and she'll come after Lehnsherr.

It'll be a bloodbath!

It's gone completely quiet. The building isn't creaking and he can't hear neither Lehnsherr, nor Charles. Alex is torn between knocking on the door and continuing down to Hank's place two floors below, where he'd been heading. Wonderful, they've finally killed each other. Everyone will see, that Alex has been right all along. He doesn't care if Lehnsherr goes the way of the dodo, but Charles is nice and doesn't deserve to get killed by a maniac like Lehnsherr.

Deciding that he can't take on the psycho on his own, and since he's heading to Hank's place anyway, he'll tell him what the problem is and they can both investigate.

Taking the stairs down two at a time, Alex stops in front of the apartment and knocks on the door before throwing it open. Hank's used to his coming and going - and Alex needs someone to share his worries with. Because there might have been a murder.

Scratch that, there has been murder.

"Alex?" Hank says in a surprised, slightly higher than normal pitch.

He's freshly out of the shower, it seems, his fur standing on end and just a towel around his trim waist. For a moment, Alex forgets his mission because damn, Hank barely wears anything but slightly baggy jeans and t-shirts on most days. And he's been hiding this underneath?

"I eh-" Alex loses track of what he's trying to say. Hank's apartment is always really neat, the only exception is the large table in front of the window. Here he's got more than a few of his projects laid out. Beats Alex what he's currently working on and he won't be asking either, because then Hank will spend the next half hour explaining it to him, and he still won't be any closer to understanding any of it. It's not that Alex considers himself stupid, it's just that Hank is so damned smart. Alex gets sidetracked by the TV playing off to the side. Seems Hank is a true sci-fi geek - because he's got old Star Trek reruns on. Then he shakes his head, trying to get back on track. He allows himself another look at Hank, just one last up-and-down look because, even though this is Hank, Alex isn't dead.

Hank might be colouring a bit behind the blue fur, but he doesn't seem half as embarrassed as Alex would have expected. Or he doesn't get to show it because Alex suddenly realizes why he's here in the first place.

"I think Lehnsherr finally killed Charles," he blurts out.

Hank, clutching the towel around his waist, stares at him. "Come again?"

"They've been yelling at each other for ages, and now it's suddenly suspiciously quiet up there," Alex explains. Come on, Hank's a genius, he has to be able to keep up.

"Alex," Hank says with a sigh, letting go of the towel with one hand to squeeze the bridge of his nose. "I thought we were past the stage of you cooking up strange stories. You heard Charles the last time, he said they were just having heated debates on mutant rights and that there is nothing for you to worry about."

"But Charles," Alex tries.

"And the time before that when you thought Charles was a secret government agent?"

"He's not normal!" Alex tries to argue. He isn't. Charles is insanely smart, charming, good looking. There has to be a catch there.

"Charles is a very smart man - I ought to know because I feel slightly stupid sometimes when we have conversations on genetics, but he's in a wheelchair, Alex, I doubt the government would have a fieldagent in a wheelchair," Hank says with a small sigh. He gestures for Alex to sit down on the couch while he enters his bedroom.

Alex, for a moment, considers following him. Then again, he's got another mission. "It's the 21st century, Hank, the government will employ any spy who can do the job and the Prof is crazy smart and a telepath. That's what the agents are these days, Hank. Not everyone is a flashy Bond type."

Hank comes back out, now wearing a pair of jeans and white t-shirt - his fur still all over the place.

Alex wonders if he brushes it. Like you brush a cat or a dog.

"He's not an agent, Alex, and even if he was, what would that be to us?"

"Maybe Lehnsherr is a foreign agent, who is a danger to us all?" Alex argues. He's been mulling over this for a while. Why Hank won't believe him is beyond Alex' understanding.

"Lehnsherr lived here for ages before Charles moved in," Hank argues. "He was always quiet and minded his own business before. Charles just refuses to allow him to be a hermit and tends to drag him out of his hideaway - and apparently discussing mutant rights is the thing that works. Give it a rest, Alex. They argue, but from what I can tell, they're on friendly terms."

"Hank, my man," Alex says with a sigh. "Just… trust me on this, okay? Can we at least go check? I don't want to walk in on a murder scene on my own. Besides, regarding Lehnsherr? Ever hear about sleeper agents?"

Hank makes a face. "So that's why you want me along - when Lehnsherr yells at us, you'll be hiding behind me."

Alex doesn't pout, but he knows it comes close. If Hank would only listen. "I'll make it up to you, Hank, I promise."

Hank sighs deeply and Alex knows he's got him. They enter the hallway and Alex pats him on the shoulder. The fur feels soft under the thin cotton.

"It's just, I don't trust Lehnsherr," he says, trying to explain. "Since Charles moved in he's been acting so differently - like someone threw a switch."

Secretly, Alex thinks Lehnsherr knows the government is on to him and that Charles is the agent keeping an eye on him. It all began that fateful day, less than two days after Charles had moved in and he'd been attacked by Lehnsherr right from the start.

 


Charles would tell you that this was not at all how it all started.

Moving back to the States after years of studying in Britain, Charles had been happy to find an apartment in a highrise where most of the tenants were mutants. It was nice and it meant no one would think twice about having a telepath living next door.

Or he'd hoped so. Even mutants had a habit of disliking telepaths, which, if you asked Charles, was kind of steep. They were, after all, fellow mutants.

The highrise had good elevators, the apartment was big enough that he could keep everything he needed, could navigate it and it saved him the commute from Westchester when he was teaching at Columbia. Besides, Raven would be worried he'd become a recluse if he stayed out in the old, drafty mansion.

Speaking of recluses. He'd barely been moved in for one day before at least three people had warned him about Erik Lehnsherr. Which Charles found very silly. Erik Lehnsherr was not a weirdo (Sean), a serial killer (Alex) or a villain set on conquering the world (Alex again). He was a cantankerous bastard, Charles realized quickly, after meeting the man. A bastard with a lot of bad habits that, while Charles was a patient man, grated even on him.

Their first meeting had been… interesting.

"Ah, Erik Lehnsherr, I take it?" Charles said, fishing in his bag for his key. He'd checked out the names on the apartments on either side of his, as well as the ones across the hallway. Couldn't hurt to stay on top of who he had as neighbours.

The man looked a bit like a deer caught in the headlights, but he eyed Charles for a moment, then inclined his head. So, the silent type. Charles could work with that.

"I'm Charles Xavier," he said, holding out his hand, wondering if the man knew about Charles being a telepath, and if so, would he shake hands? Most people wouldn't, fearing that Charles could read them if they did touched skin.

Stupid superstition, if you asked Charles, like he needed to touch anyone in order to read their thoughts.

Lehnsherr looked like he was considering his options, but he finally stepped forward to shake Charles’ hand. The man was tall, bordering on skinny, at least with the clothes he was currently wearing. Maybe... yes, lean, that was a good description. He looked healthy enough, just damned tall and damned fine looking.

Not to mention, Charles barely got an inkling of his mind when they touched. Such good, strong, natural mental defenses. Nice hands too. Nice, big hands. Strong.

Charles was intrigued. Very intrigued. Most people he met had to be coached to block - and Charles appreciated it when someone was able to do so. It left him having to do less to keep from reading someone's innermost thoughts.

"Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?" Charles asked, trying not to make it sound like the come-on it probably was.

Lehnsherr shook his head. "No thanks."

And that could very well have been the end of it. And it wouldn't have surprised Charles if it had been - because everyone he from his floor, warned him that Erik Lehnsherr was a man best left alone, a man who preferred his solitary life.

However, somehow it didn't turn out that way. Within the span of a few weeks, Charles felt as if he'd always known Erik. Their encounters moved from the hallway to their apartments, conversations turned to discussion turned to, on occasion, shouting matches. Not once did Charles feel intimidated by Erik, though. Their debates would run high and hot, but there was nothing menacing about Erik, just passion about mutants and their rights.

Granted, on occasion their debates would get so loud that Logan, who lived on the other side of Erik's apartment, would come bang on the door, telling them to keep it down. Like he was one to complain - he had a constant stream of kids coming to his door, and they were by no means quiet. It wasn't completely wrong when Alex called Logan's apartment a halfway house for mutant kids. It wasn't too far from the truth.

Charles had realized somewhere along the line, that Logan would always keep his door open for a kid who needed roof over the head - even just for one night. And it seemed to be general knowledge among the younger mutant population of New York that, if in need, Logan's door was never locked.

He both admired and shook his head at this. He understood the necessity of a safe haven for kids, especially mutant ones. However, any of those kids could be a threat to not only Logan, but the other kids as well. At least Charles could vet people, but Logan couldn't be sure if the kids would just rob him blind and leave in the dead of night. Or, well, that was what he'd thought until he'd realized that where he would lean on his telepathy if in doubt, Logan relied on his instincts, his keen sense of smell and his, apparently, nearly century long learned skills of understanding people.

It may also explain why Logan and he, due to their gifts, were the only people openly engaging with Erik. Granted, Logan did so in his own gruff way, but Erik seemed to not mind, and Charles… well, Charles could know if Erik truly minded him budding in and keeping him company as often as he did. He could touch Erik's mind and know if the discussions they had were as enjoyable to Erik as they were to him. But that would be cheating, and quite frankly, not very ethical. To tell the truth, Charles actually enjoyed the energy flaring between them whey they had their discussions.

This attitude always cracked Raven up when Charles mentioned it. "You just like a challenge, Charles, admit it - it wouldn't be any fun if you didn't have to find out how he feels about you the old fashioned way," she'd say.

She wasn't entirely wrong, but not quite right either. He had a fairly good idea of how Erik felt about their interactions, about him. Annoyance was very high on that list because it was roughly how Charles felt about Erik.

Quite frankly, Erik Lehnsherr was, as Charles told Raven, Alex and anyone who'd listen, the bane of his existence.

The man was opinionated, gruff and would not budge, no matter how reasonable Charles' arguments were. And Charles felt they were indeed very reasonable.

Like when they debated the use of suppressants. How Charles knew what they felt like, how much he hated the way they impacted him, but how he also understood how sometimes you couldn't control your gift, and while in a perfect world you would learn to, it did not happen instantly, and in the interim the mutant in question could burn down a house, kill someone, kill themselves. So, to him, suppressants should be seen as a tool to help, not a way to oppress mutants.

He still hadn't managed to convince Erik of this. The man just would not budge.

Erik also complained about humans. A lot. The humans at his workplace, the humans on the street, the humans on the subway. They all made life unbearable -- to Erik Lehnsherr, at least.

To Charles, it felt as if some of the people Erik was complaining about were probably mutants with no visible mutations. Charles commuted enough in New York to know how annoying people could be, regardless of genetic mutations or not. Mentioning to Erik that even the blue eye colour was a mutation would, of course, set Erik off like a volcano.

Occasionally, Charles could admit that he might, possibly, do that on purpose - just a little - just because getting Erik fired up like that was fun.

And payback.

Because there were other things about Erik Lehnsherr that annoyed Charles on a good day. Most of all, though, it was knocking on the door to Erik's apartment and having the man open it in nothing but a skimpy pair of boxers or a towel around his waist if Charles caught him in the middle of or after a shower.

And if it had happened just the once, Charles wouldn't have given it much thought - appreciate it, yes, but not exactly finding it too odd.

But it happened more than once, more than twice. So far, Charles had it marked down as six times, already! And Erik would be all unfazed in his half naked glory. He'd just let Charles in, let the door to the bedroom stand slightly ajar as he went in there to dry off and get dressed, while starting his conversation with Charles right off - sometimes they were in the heated argument stage even before Erik was fully dressed. And it drove Charles to distractions not knowing why Erik would do this. Did he truly not care about showing skin, did he not think Charles would care, or was tempting Charles so far from his mind that he never considered this objectionable behaviour -- at least to Charles. He was all for being comfortable in one's own skin, but all that bare skin on display for Charles to look at but not touch?

And this day was no different. Charles did his best, trying very hard not to stare or allow his attention to linger anywhere it wasn't wanted. He focused on the living room. It was less easy for Charles to navigate than his own, but now that he thought about it, Erik had moved his furniture around lately, and whether it was to make it easier for Charles to get around it, he didn't know. The outcome was a place that felt lived in, but also felt comfortable to Charles. Most homes he visited would not have wheelchairs in mind when decorating. One way or another, Erik's home had become more and more welcoming to Charles. Another thought that Charles chose to ignore, instead focusing on some of the books on Erik's shelves, while keeping up his conversation with Erik. Normally he'd be investigating every title on someone's bookshelves, but today, apparently, he a little too preoccupied to take them in.

Erik came back from the bedroom, pulling a tight turtleneck down over his head, and down into place. Not the height of haute couture, but it nevertheless looked incredibly good on the man. Especially paired with those lovely washed out jeans of his. His hair was sticking up from having been dried with the towel and Charles felt it made him far too approachable. If Erik had just been a standard annoying guy with few redeeming qualities, Charles would have had no problem focusing on their discussions only.

Damn the man for his splendid genetics and good looks.

Charles shook his head. Focus, he had to focus. "So, you're saying that there is no way you could imagine a situation where suppressants, especially collars that are less invasive, could be, if not a blessing, then a necessity for the individual themselves?"

"Charles," Erik drawled, stopping in front of him. "Wenn man dem Teufel den kleinen Finger gibt, so nimmt er die ganze Hand."

Charles swallowed hard. "Excuse me?"

Charles was a sucker for anytime Erik slipped and something came out in other languages - most days it was German, but it wasn't uncommon that Erik would slip a word here or there, sometimes French, sometimes Spanish, and sometimes languages that Charles was not familiar with at all. No matter which one, it always made Erik's voice sound even more tempting- erm, annoying.

Erik stared at him for a moment, a little surprised, like he hadn't noticed the slip himself. "I mean, you give an inch-" he trailed off, as if suddenly aware of just how much he was looming over Charles, hands on the armrests of Charles' chair.

And somewhere between one breath and the next, Charles had Erik in his lap, kissing him like there was no tomorrow.

Talk about mixed signals.


Erik would beg to differ - Charles Xavier may have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes, but he was by no means a saint.

And there were no mixed signals! If there were any, they would have come from Charles himself.

See, Erik's life had been nice and uncomplicated, and, most of all (and partly by design), empty of other people. Sure, there were the people he would nod to when passing in the hallways, but he never really spoke to any of them.

Alex and, occasionally, Hank would say hi in passing, even if Hank always looked like he thought Erik might attack him. That boy needed to seriously calm the hell down. But all in all, Erik was perfectly fine with that kind of acquaintances, the ones you only knew in passing.

Then his new neighbour had moved in and all bets had apparently been off. Charles Xavier would soon turn out to be the bane of Erik's existence, especially when one looked at how much he turned Erik's life upside down, how much he influenced Erik in a way that Erik actually liked his company - eventually. Erik was unclear about exactly why he'd started enjoying conversations with Charles, not to mention inviting him in for coffee and hour long debates. Interaction with other people outside of work had never been something he did or enjoyed, but Charles seemed to bring it out in him.

It had been bad from the start. Not only did their ideals lie in vastly different directions, but half of the shit that came out of Charles' mouth was ludicrous! Integrationist crap. The only reason he ever got as far into the discussion as he did, was because he would look up at Erik with big, honest eyes and Erik would hesitate a moment too long, and Charles would be off, bulldozering his way through Erik's watertight arguments.

And Charles had constantly thrown Erik curveballs. He shouldn't be likable at all; Erik shouldn't like him. Charles had referred to Erik, from the very beginning, as "my friend" and it bothered Erik like nothing else. Charles was so infuriatingly honest and seemed to think that the most perplexing thing in the world was the fact that not everyone would be his friend. And because of this attitude most people were steamrollered over before they even realized what was going on.

The last neighbour Erik had had, he didn't much miss, but there was one thing he and Charles had in common, and that was the really nasty habit of turning on electronic equipment during the night. The surge would always tug at Erik's subconscious, and even if he could avoid waking up fully, it did impact on his sleep.

Granted, unlike the previous neighbour, Charles actually did stop doing so when Erik, rather acidly, had mentioned it. And he'd said sorry, understanding that some things about mutations you just couldn't turn off.

This, of course, had sparked another round of debate on whether or not suppression could help at all (hell no), whether or not there shouldn't be some opportunity for people to learn to harness their skills if for nothing else than to make life easier for themselves (if possible, hell yes).

What really got under Erik's skin, though, was that Charles always smiled at him like they were the best of friends and not just neighbours with different worldviews. The way his eyes would light up, making them seem even more blue, the way he seemed to be almost thriving on the arguments with Erik rather than, at any point, being intimidated by him.

It was… an unknown thing to Erik. Mostly, when he ripped into someone, not holding back anything, people would shrink back from him. They would avoid getting into discussions with him - in real life, at least. Online was something completely different. There he had to rely heavily on sarcasm, which he did, though not as well as in real life. Besides, you couldn't see the fear in someone else's eyes on the internet, so real life discussions were definitely more fun. Mostly because apparently, having someone like Erik Lehnsherr looming over you and disagreeing with you, creeped most people out.

However, Charles Xavier was not most people.

That day was no different. Erik had only just gotten out of the shower when the knocks to his door announced he had a visitor. He'd felt Charles' wheelchair entering the floor from the elevator a good hour ago, and if Charles followed his usual plan, he would be at Erik's door shortly.

Pulling the door open, he gestured for Charles to get in while he rubbed a dry towel through his hair, listening to Charles asking him about his view on the article he'd emailed to him that same morning.

And off they were again, so much second nature to Erik by now that he had no idea how to stop it and, quite frankly, wasn't even sure that he wanted to.

Returning from his bedroom, pulling his shirt down over his head, Erik gestured, waving off Charles' usual arguments and somewhere between subconsciously trying to loom over Charles (which never worked anyway) and arguing like his life depended on it, Erik found himself so focused on Charles' eyes that he slipped language for a moment, which happened occasionally. It was one of those things that he tried to fight, but something his brain just had in such an ingrained fashion that there was no way around it. Especially idioms. If his mind didn't decide to translate it verbatim - which always ended up in some seriously deranged sentences - then it would just slip into his language of birth, which he'd done this time.

And Erik didn't realize this until he noticed the confused look on Charles' face, and his hindbrain cooed at it and felt the correct response to this should be to kiss Charles, if nothing else than in order to shut him up for good.

The kiss was anything but soft and exploring. Charles' lips were firmer than Erik had expected. All his senses narrowed down into that one point of contact at first. Then the rest filtered in. Charles' hands fisted in the back of his shirt, eyes fluttering shut. Charles' shoulders and upper arms felt amazing, even through the shirt. Erik hadn't consciously thought about how fit Charles had to be, but maybe, just maybe, the thought had twitched deep down. A man who used a manual wheelchair would have to have some serious upper body strength. And maybe this was why Erik hadn't allowed himself to think about it. Because then he'd have touched and he'd have realized that yes, Charles was damned fit under those baggy shirts.

Erik felt heat rush through his body. The kiss was the only place they were touching that wasn't covered by clothes; it was hot and heavy and passionate, like they were both simply transitioning from verbal debate to this. At least until Erik pulled back, though not by much. He was in Charles' lap, Charles' hands still fisted in his shirt, keeping him from going too far.

"I hate that you keep opening the door in next to nothing when I knock. Six times, Erik, six times!" Charles was obviously aiming for annoyed, but all it came out as was breathless.

Erik snorted. "You counted?" He hadn't, but he'd been amused at how flustered it seemed to make Charles when he did. Then he realized, since they were airing their grievances, why not? "And if that bugs you, how about your big, stupid, blue eyes?" Erik asked, knowing, as it left his mouth, how lame that had sounded.

Before Charles could answer him, Erik kissed him again. Better not let him answer that one, because holy hell, could Erik have sounded any stupider? He most certainly wasn't flushing red to the tips of his hair.


'Yes, Erik, that was stupid, but keep this up and I'll probably forget about it,' Charles replied inside his head, swiping the tip of his tongue against the roof of Erik's mouth.

Erik pulled back, trying to draw in enough breath to get the remaining two or three brain cells to work together. "Do you-" he gasped out.

"Yes, Erik. Do you think I'd let it come to this and not get into your bed, more than willingly?" Charles asked with a laugh. His voice was rough and wonderful, sounding exactly like Erik had hoped it would after a round of kissing. Question was... how would it sound when he'd been screaming Erik's name for an hour or two?

"We'll just have to see about that - I'm quite interested in what you'll sound like when I've made you scream mine a few times," Charles said, voice dropping just a little and Erik wasn't entirely sure how he managed to get to his feet, lift a laughing Charles from his wheelchair and bring him into the bedroom, to his bed.

But he did, and oh, was it going to be a glorious day.


And this is how it all ends with them in bed, in various stages of undress, with Alex staring at them from the open bedroom door. In abject horror. Because the last thing he's ever wanted is to see either of them in any state of undress, and most certainly not with Charles spread out on the bed and Lehnsherr, bare ass up, between his thighs.

"Summers?" Lehnsherr asks quietly - so quietly that Alex can hear the underlying threat. Oh boy, this is it, this means Alex is not going to survive the night. Lehnsherr will come for him, kill him. Like he's trying to suffocate Charles.

He doesn't realize that he's hyperventilating until a calming touch to his mind makes him slow down, roughly at the same time as Hank puts a paw on his shoulder, rambling on about how they do have other things to see to, and tries to pull Alex out of his stupor.

"Hank, be a dear and take Alex into the kitchen," Charles says evenly, a pinched look on his face. What little Alex can see of it, shadowed under Lehnsherr. "I believe Erik keeps a bottle of whiskey in the top left cabinet. Give Alex a glass of it, and we'll be out in a moment. I believe we have some... misunderstandings that should probably be addressed."

Alex doesn't quite take in what he's saying, but he lets Hank pull him along into the kitchen where he's sat down unceremoniously. He vaguely registers that the wheelchair in the living room rights itself and rolls in the direction of the bedroom.

"Hank, did you see? Maybe he's not going to kill Charles, maybe Charles is his handler, his boss, his-"

Hank puts the glass of whiskey down on the table and sighs deeply. "Alex-"

"No, don't you see?" Alex looks up at him, and Hank is ever so close and soft and- and kissing him, hard enough for Alex to see stars.

"Huh, I didn't expect that to work," Hank mutters a moment later, when he pulls away from Alex, who in turn, leans forward to follow, nearly falling off the kitchen chair he's sitting on.

"Ah, are we interrupting something?" Charles asks in that damning civil voice of his, and Alex's heart starts running fast again. Because what if-

"Alex, please," Charles raises his voice. "Neither Erik, nor I are secret government agents." Charles sighs and rolls over to the other side of the kitchen table, smiling at Lehnsherr who hands him a glass of whiskey as well, before pouring one for himself, and after a moment's thought, one for Hank. "Quite frankly," Charles carries on, "I am at a loss figuring out where you got that idea."

Alex gestures at Lehnsherr. The man is only wearing a pair of boxers, full lean body on display with a variety of scars.

Charles frowns, then looks at Erik. His gaze softens for a moment. "Erik has lead an active life - perhaps not always on the right side of the tracks, but I'm fairly sure most of those are from his youth."

Lehnsherr looks down himself, like he's seeing his body for the first time. "Yeah, I used to do street-fights as a teenager - you don't come out of that looking pretty."

"I think you look perfect," Charles says, a sappy, stupid smile on his face.

Alex makes a face of his own. Urgh. So maybe they weren't the height of international crime or government agents, but walking in on them- "So, I guess, Lehnsherr's not trying to kill you," Alex finally manages.

Lehnsherr stares at him for a moment, then starts laughing. "Kill him?" He looks at Charles with a similar look of fondness and shakes his head. "I admit that while the professor and I don't always see eye to eye, and I may feel the urge to throttle him at times, I can imagine more -- pleasant ways to spend time with him."

The cooing noise that escapes Charles is disgusting if you ask Alex.

"Erik and I may not always agree, that much is true," Charles admits. "But still, Alex, why would you think we'd kill each other? Or even just that Erik had it in for me?" He puts his hand on top of Lehnsherr's on the kitchen table, and both Alex and Hank are staring at it.

Alex dredges up enough bravery to answer that one. "I overheard Lehnsherr muttering to Logan one day that he'd strangle you the next time you shared your integrationist shit with him." See, Alex wasn't wrong, as such, because he knew that Lehnsherr had said this.

Lehnsherr stares silently at him, the his lips twitch before he starts laughing. "Summers, for fuck's sake, just because I'm ill tempered and said I'd strangle Charles doesn't mean that I'll ever actually do it. He does annoy me a lot, but I wouldn't want to be without his input and his debates - he keeps me on my toes and makes me think and consider my arguments more carefully."

Charles nods. "I admit to Erik being a constant source of vexation to me, but I think plenty of that came from the unspoken attraction between us."

"Vexation, really, Charles," Lehnsherr drawls.

There's a light to his eyes that Alex has never seen before and he prays he'll never see again. His attention is drawn back a moment later, when Hank's big hand lands on his shoulder and Alex suddenly remembers that Hank had shut him up a few minutes earlier by-

"Maybe we should get going since there's nothing sinister going on here," Alex says quickly. He wants to get out of Lehnsherr's apartment and figure out why Hank did what he did and if he might be interested in doing it again.

"Next time, just ask," Lehnsherr tell him, but his attention is obviously only partly on Alex and Hank, he's busy staring at Charles licking his lips. "And if my door is closed, don't fucking come in, you asshole. It's called breaking and entering." There's no real heat to his words, he's too busy making eyes at Charles.

Alex shakes his head, downs the whiskey, gets to his feet, downs Hank's glass of whiskey as well and grabs Hank by the arm and manages to leave the apartment without running into anything.

"Alex," Hank tries.

"No, in a moment, wait till we're back in your apartment," Alex tells him.

He's still digesting the whole Lehnsherr and Charles thing, but right now, at the forefront of his mind, he can only think of how soft Hanks's fur looks and how much he wants to know if it's the case all over the place. And how much it takes to make him blush enough for it to shine through the blue fur.

The End