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First things first, if you open this and it's formatted like a gnome without opposable thumbs did it, it's because LJ and I have been in a full-scale Format war all week. I can't touch anything in the editor because it erases the ENTIRE POST. AND I CREYY, "LJ, PLEASE, BABY, GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE." But I'm unworthy, apparently.

Two, this is dedicated and written for and revised by [livejournal.com profile] everhaunting. Everyone, EH held my hand through this fic, THAT WAS CURSED, (there are dead pens and tattered notebooks in its wake), and kissed my booboo's and listened to me complain and ramble, much like I'm doing now, because she is A MOTHERFUCKING CHAMP. ILY, BB.


The Finest
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ofvanity
Pairing: Alex Summers/Charles Xavier
Words: ~12750 (total)
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Intercrural sex, ideologically sensitive themes.
Disclaimer: X-Men does not belong to me.
Author's Note: As to so far, this is all I have to say about this fandom, it follows the movie verse, including anything the writer's may have said about how they arranged this verse for the characters.

-

Charles was falling asleep when he first heard it. It was a small, pleasured sigh ghosting over the room. It’s been a long day, a long flight and lately, all his traveling turned him into something between jet lagged and narcoleptic and he’s been trying to sleep for almost an hour now. But the sigh is sweet in his ear and unfamiliar enough that it startles him so he scrolls through the minds nearest to him, searching for the source.

Erik, in his room down the hall, is asleep and dreaming restlessly. Angel and Raven are in the lounge, discussing polite trivialities. Hank is in his lab, too far away to be anything but a dulled presence. Sean is in the kitchen, building an intricate sandwich. Armando is getting ready for bed, choosing pajamas. The guards are all milling about mindlessly or enjoying some sort of work break.

Charles withdraws, thinking he imagined it until he hears it again, a small breath and the warmth of water rushing down his back. He follows the sated feeling to its source and recognizes that someone is showering. He doesn’t understand for a moment who would be so content in a shower but then it manifests. Alex.

He’s so quiet, Charles thinks. This is the first he’s heard Alex’s thought without seeking him out. Why hadn’t I noticed that?

Everyone else in the facility is loud in their thoughts, unabashed and completely open. Alex is quiet, like gentle wind rustling the leaves of a tree. This is the first time he had projected and it is involuntary. Charles feels his sudden gratitude and relief. His mouth tastes the pasta they had for dinner and he can smell the peppermint scented shampoo Alex using, the pull of comfort across his back.

Before he can feel like an intruder, Charles falls asleep with waves of heat down his back and a full stomach.

-

Charles wakes the next morning and wanders around the facility, feeling well rested and loose-limbed. As he heads for the kitchen, he finds Raven in the lounge, reading and absently filing her nails. Charles kisses her forehead chastely in greeting. She murmurs her affection in return. Everyone else is asleep and Erik is getting showered. They have to meet Moira today and Charles has always been an early riser.

He’s almost surprised when he finds Alex in the kitchen, but then he remembers the wash of heat and genuine gratitude in his chest and ops for embarrassed instead. Alex barely glances at him before returning to the paper set before him. Charles watches his gaze linger on the date before turning to the cover page article. Before he can stop himself, he says, “You should eat something,” then realizes he’s skipped pleasantries all together.

Alex doesn’t seem to mind, turning the page absently, “I already did.”

“Oh,” Charles says. He rounds the table to head for the refrigerator, “Right, of course, you can help yourself to any and all food and no one will stop you.”

Alex’s mind is low, under the steady rustle of paper and Charles can only hear half-inaudible murmurs without dipping below the surface. He stands at the open fridge, feeling the whispered press and shuffle of newspaper until the flutter of wings shakes him out of it. He reaches for a yogurt carton as Angel strides in, wings contracting loudly and bright thoughts spreading across the floor. They exchange greetings as she grabs an apple at the table before heading to the sink and rinsing it.

Charles stares down at his yogurt and almost involuntarily, listens to the silent hum of Alex reading to himself: a news article about smoking and health studies. He eats thoughtfully and leaves Alex be, making small talk with Angel until she breaks into a series of sneezes.

“Bless you,” Charles offers nonchalantly and she thanks him just as carelessly. He’s tossing out the empty carton when he picks up a string of swear words from Alex, —missed that, wasn’t I supposed to offer a tissue, right? Is that too much? Does she think I’m rude? Did the Professor bless her?

Charles rings out, “You’re quite welcome, Angel.”

She probably doesn’t hear him, having already walked out of the room, but Alex’s shoulders sag with relief and his thoughts revert to thrumming.

Charles is tempted to ask how long he was in jail, how much of that time was in solitary, how long he’s been alone, but Erik’s shoes and magnetism come twisting down the stairs and he is distracted.

-

“I expect more from you.” Alex.

Russia is loud and cold without Erik squeezing his knee the entire plane ride.

-

Hank is the first he hears—a strong course of scenarios and theories with numbers tumbling between them like a double helix collapsing. Sean’s thoughts are fumbled, gathering coherency in hot flashes of anger and pity. Raven’s voice is shaken and forlorn but the strongest, the steadiest. Armando and Angel are both gone, the facility is wrecked.

Alex is silent when he looks for him but when he ushers into his mind, the hum is racing, thoughts strung together in a half-hearted rush and silent vibration. Before it starts to give Charles a headache, he withdraws.

-

Things settle at the mansion. Initially, everyone has a somber recognition of what living in the mansion means but by the first night, Charles is too distracted to worry. Erik’s commentary and anger are growing increasingly alarming. Raven is lulling about the house in her blue form and Alex’s power needs to be honed before it’s too late. All of their powers do.

Charles has to expect that Shaw has experience fighting alongside a telepath and thereby, against them. He’s always been careful about his power; the human mind is so susceptible to injury and Charles is adamant about retaining some morality. He wanders at times, careful in his tracks—how cast his mind must be for all the others to fit so delicately together or drift in one after the other. Or maybe he’s the one that drifts, a mental suitcase packed with his bare essentials: memory and an anchor to his physical body.

He spends so much time traveling, where is his home? Where can he rest without the need to enter another’s mind? Who else would treat his thoughts as delicately, when most people don’t realize how flippantly they abuse their own?

Erik provides distraction and Raven when Erik is unavailable. There is never a dull moment in the house, only quiet ones. Brushing past Alex in the hall and reaching out for the rich timbre hum of his mind. There are louder moments that punch out when they’re triggered. Eating banana bread stirs nostalgia and swimming makes Alex jovial and light-hearted. Charles can’t help but catalog, suitcase in hand.

At the end of the first week at the mansion, Charles wanders absently through the house, psyching himself to up to visit his father’s study on the third floor. Technically speaking, he’s been psyching himself up for years. It’s been a long time since the house has been inhabited it shows. The third floor is empty of bedrooms, dust collecting on bed posts and bookshelves.

He’s not expecting it but isn’t deterred when he opens the door to the steady thrum of Alex’s mind as he sorts through them casually. Alex is sitting on the floor, back to a bookshelf and books layered and spread eagle on his lap. He glances up when Charles strides in, “Evening, Prof.”

“Alex,” Charles greets, entering the room.

The room is decorated in dark wood and leather chairs with warm light. Two before the desk, one behind it; three walls covered in bookshelves while the fourth contains wide and tall windows. The curtains are pulled back, reflecting the room from the dark beyond the glass. As a child, Charles came here often, to watch the night sky and try to collect his head. He doesn’t mind Alex being here, the surface ripple of his mind is oddly soothing.

It’s past eleven, nearly midnight, and Charles can see the circles under Alex’s eyes, has seen them all week, and figures Alex has been making a habit of this. He’s wearing pajamas, though, a t-shirt and dark bottoms, so someone must think he’s asleep and in bed. Otherwise, he would only have himself to convince.

“I’m sorry about the mess—oh shit, is it okay for me to be here?” Charles can hear the panic behind his eyes, “I just assumed it’d be okay—Erik said it was okay and Raven—“

Charles holds up a hand to silence him and the panic falls away. “It’s alright, Alex, the room is not restricted. Though, in future matters, I’d prefer if you consulted me rather than Erik. He does not speak for me.”

“Oh.” Alex frowns and then perks at the idea of remembering a social cue, “Sorry!”

“It’s quite alright. Honestly,” Charles perches himself at the edge of the desk. “Though, it is a bit late, perhaps you—“

“Go to bed?” Alex interrupts unapologetically. “I think I’ve spent enough time being told when to sleep and when to wake, Professor.”

Charles hears the thrum sharpen with something akin to indignation and decides to drop the argument all together. “Right, of course, you are welcome to stay,” he picks up a book from the desk, brushing dust off the spine the title and author in French.

“Won’t I be getting in the way?” Alex gestures to his temples.

Charles shrugs, setting the book down. “No, I don’t make it a habit of rooting around in people’s thoughts. Sometimes people project their thoughts, but I can block them. I can block you if you like.”

“Doesn’t putting extra effort in ignoring me tire you out?”

“It can,” Charles replies.

Alex chews his lip, thoughts stirring and slapping against each other like water. Charles thumbs through another book—but finds it is in Portuguese. I don’t mind.

Charles looks towards him but Alex is back to his book already, reading what sounds like religious theory. He grabs a third book—English this time—and sits behind the desk, resting his head on the leather to listen to Alex’s melodic thinking and staring at the pages.

-

As training picks up, the physical activity more or less wears Charles out, so he stops wandering the mansion at night. But when Erik is particularly cynical during their nightly chess game, he heads for the study to read for an hour or so and calm down before retiring to bed. Sometimes Alex is there, sometimes he isn’t. Charles tries not to look for him because usually it involves digging, but he can’t help the worry. When Alex isn’t close enough to see, Charles can hardly feel him at all, met with murmured silence across the house.

The first night of training though, after he sets the bunker aflame three times in a row, Charles seeks him out. There’s an unusual tension in his shoulders at dinner and Charles had to shut everyone out to hear the infinitesimal voice, retelling failure. He finds Alex in the study, sitting on the floor with books stacked precariously around him.

He’s reading Kant when Charles walks in but ignores him completely and pretends to skim a volume by Rousseau. From where he’s standing, Charles can see it’s in another language. He crosses the room and kicks the stack of books over so they fall away from Alex. He frowns at the books as Charles says, “You shouldn’t surround yourself with the thoughts of dead men.”

“Don’t tell me what to surround myself with,” he sets the volume down and stands, shouldering past Charles.

Charles watches the slope of his shoulders tense and asks, “Where are you going?”

“I suddenly feel like setting entire rooms on fire. Training.”

Charles goes after him into the hallways, “May I come along?”

Alex glances over his shoulder at him, “You’re a free man, Professor. You can do whatever you like.”

Alex storms down to the bunker and Charles follows after him silently. His mind isn’t even thrumming, thoughts hollowed to count the stairs and turns they take, as if to memorize the way out. They don’t meet anyone on the way down; they’re the only two awake at this point. It’s past midnight but this time Alex is still dressed in his leather jacket and jeans. He’s given up on the pretense of sleep. At the entrance, Alex stops. He cocks his hip against the doorway and Charles leans back against the adjacent wall, asking quietly, “Are you a free man?”

Alex hesitates, Charles watches his shoulders droop slowly. The hum of his mind is quiet and deep, rain pelting cement. “No,” he sighs, “No, I’m not.”

Charles tips his head back against the wall, waiting.

“This goddamn mutation.”

“You’ll get it under control, Alex. Give it time.”

Alex laughs, humorless and the thrum of his rain slows. “It’s had almost ten years, Professor. I can’t give it anymore. It took my adolescence and my social life, it took my family and it’s going to keep taking. And this—I want this, Professor. I want to get over this, to control it. I want to be teenaged and grow into a dry adulthood with taxes and a mortgage. But I can’t. It takes it all. It has taken all I have. Starting with my freedom.”

He leans his weight on the doorframe and turns to face him, sighing into the metal. From where’s he’s standing, Charles catches a whiff of vanilla on Alex’s breath. It perplexes him—as far as he knows, there is no vanilla flavored treats in the mansion—but he drops the inquiry.

“You know, your mind is quiet astounding.”

“Really,” Alex deadpans.

“When I was a child, I could hardly understand what I did and before I realized that I was reading thoughts, before I could manipulate and sculpt coherence into it, my head was a mess. It was just a tangle of people screaming at me. School was the worst. I thought I was going mad. Hence, when I learned to control it, I grew to appreciate the quiet. But it was difficult to attain, as blocking everyone exhausted me rapidly.”

“What does that have to do with me?”

“I haven’t been shutting you out.”

“I told you I didn’t mind,” Alex dismisses.

Charles leans on his side to look at him, “No, it’s more than that. I don’t have to put up blocks around you—everything you think is collected and hushed. Your mind is perpetually calm.”

Alex is silent, waiting for him to continue.

“How long were you in that jail, Alex? How long where you in solitary confinement?”

“Long enough.”

Charles casts him a look, chiding gently, That’s not going to cut it as an answer.

“I was fourteen.” Alex shrugs, eyes straying to the wall behind Charles, the ground and his palms. “Why?”

“Your thoughts are like whispers, constant enough that it’s soothing. They remind me of how people move in the darkness, in libraries and hospitals, afraid to disturb the silence.”

There’s a pause between them, filled with Alex fidgeting and scowling. “And?”

Charles shrugs, meeting his gaze, “Perhaps you’ve spent more than enough time closed off.”

“And moving around in the darkness?”

Charles nods. Alex mimics him, clenching his hands like he’s trying to grasp something.

The training goes alright that night.

-

The next few days, Alex’s training sessions stabilize. He seems to be making slow buy significant improvements, which is why it comes with some surprise when he sets the bunker ablaze. Charles finds him in the library rather easily. It’s nearing two in the morning and there is a cigarette rolling between his fingers but he smiles welcomingly at Charles nonetheless. He’s standing against the glass in windows, but none of them are open and the smoke is caged and twisting around him. Charles closes the door behind him and pockets his hands, attempting to appear nonchalant.

Alex scoffs at him, “You’re not as sly as you think you are, Professor.”

Charles grins, self-deprecating, “No, I suppose not.”

“So, to what do I owe this visit? Do you want to have another heart to heart? Has my mind been silent and sullen of late?”

“I dunno, has it?” Charles moves past him to open one of the windows.

The summer breeze rolls in diluting the smoke. Alex leans over and tosses the cigarette out the open window. He stays there, leaning over and staring at the dark. Charles watches the night himself, waiting for Alex. Eventually, he talks, “I’m never going to control it,” Alex says, low and morose.

“You will, Alex. Today was just an off day.”

“My life is ‘just off’, Professor.”

“Charles.”

Alex makes a dismissive gesture, as if to say he will continue to call Charles whatever he pleases.

Before another silence befalls them, Charles says, “It’s just about learning to focus, Alex, more than it—“

Alex barks a bitter laugh, “It’s a lost cause, Professor. I’m a lost cause.”

“I refuse to accept that,” Charles returns sharply.

Alex is unfazed, “Accept what you like. My limbs feel like lead and I really can’t be around you anymore. Matter of fact, I can barely stand myself these days. I should go to bed.”

“You need to have faith, Alex. You mustn’t be so pessimistic—“

“Charles,” Alex exclaims exasperatedly, voice rising, “This is not pessimism, this is realism. I’ve told you already told you how what I have been neglected from. I can barely have functioning relationships. I’m a fucking virgin, for fuck’s sake—I can never let my guard down around my fucking self. Do you know how much of a fucking toll that takes on a person?”

Alex realizes what he’s said only once Charles’ ears turn bright pink. Despite himself, Charles asks, “You’re a virgin?”

“Oh, fuck.”

Ignoring him, Charles follows his morbid and mildly inappropriate curiosity. “As in you’ve never even…” and substitutes the remainder of his sentence with a crude hand gesture.

Alex’s cheeks flush red, mortified, “No! I mean, yeah, but. Oh, Christ. In solitary, it was fine, the plasma doesn’t hurt me.”

“With another person?”

The set of Alex’s brow furrows, suddenly stricken with grief and Charles receives an indistinct image—of blood stained palms and wild flames—screeching like electrical feedback. He withdraws, blocking any and all feeds from Alex.

Alex’s voice is barely audible after the high pitches of his memories, “No one else.”

“Can—Can you show me?”

“What?” Alex startles.

“I could help you,” Charles says, collecting himself rather quickly. ‘This could help your training, hurdling over an uncontrolled aspect of your mutation.”

Alex frowns, looking out the window again. Tentatively, he allows the block to slip and is met with Alex’s thoughts resumed to their usual rustle. They’re mostly inaudible but listening to the pattern, Charles realizes Alex is talking to himself. Alex is consciously conferring with himself, like an old friend, at a rapid fire speed. He’s weighing his options and thinking of scenarios with nothing but a flicker of gaze across the frosted glass.

Watching him, Charles forgets he’s waiting until Alex turns back to him with a new determination in his eyes, “Okay.”

-

They decide to move to the bunker to prevent as much property damage as they possibly can. The bunker lights cast a harsh glow on Alex’s face, shadows falling darkly under his eyes—and as he slides his briefs to mid thigh, under the cut of his hipbones. Charles’ mouth is dry as he watches Alex coax himself into fully hardness, jacket tossed into a heap in the corner. His bare arms and thighs are lined in fine blond hairs; the curls of his pubic hair not much darker.

It takes a bit longer than expected. Charles supposes it is because of the trepidation involved in performance anxiety. The usual pattern of thoughts turns into a trickle, most of which are obscenities and exclamations. Charles watches vigilantly for any and all physical changes.

The blush on Alex’s cheeks spreads down his neck and deepens past his bared throat and collarbones. His hand moves slowly at first, the pink head of his cock barely visible over his fist. Charles is mesmerized, watching the slow pulls and the precome spreading over Alex’ hand, his fingers glisten with it, and listening to breathy gasps Alex makes.

The noises bring him back to himself—remembering the first night Alex spent at the house, the warmth and gratitude—and becomes aware of his own erection, tenting the front of his trousers. Suddenly uncomfortable, Charles feels like he’s intruding on yet another of Alex’s private moments, until he notices the blush that has grown too deep and red on his chest, glowing through the fabric of his white shirt.

Alex barely notices it, lost in the rhythm as he rocks into his hand, the slapping sounds growing louder than the little breaths he’s puffing out. Charles steps forward, touching his arm, then hissing and retracting his hand quickly, singed by Alex’s skin. Alex snaps out of his rhythm, stilling his hand with a frown on his face. He casts Charles a look that speaks years of sexual frustration and Charles makes an obscure hand gesture.

Alex grants him permission and Charles slips into his mind seamlessly. He hits the ground running, rushing past controls, emotions, memories, and finds the energy of Alex’s mutation. He wraps himself around the core, concentrating on separating the mutation’s emotional sensors from sexual energy. Ripping through the boundaries clearly, he steps a foot out the door, hyperaware of Alex and everything that defines him in this moment: need. Not for an orgasm, but for relief.

Without true consciousness of it, Charles reaches his hand out and touches Alex’s arm, encouraged by the receding heat and the rhythm that has returned to his hips. His skin is feverishly hot, almost to the point of unbearable, but Charles can still touch him, gently skating over his arm. Alex leans into the contact and Charles glides his palm across his bicep before returning to his wrist where his hand is still working his cock.

He covers the hand with his own, slowing the strokes to pace the separation energy and Alex’s eyes fly open as Charles’ hand circles his length. Charles knew, somewhere in the dimness of his own thoughts he’s crossing a boundary, but Alex is so hungry, Charles can feel it, gripping and shaking his bones. Or Alex’s...

He’s not going to last much longer and Charles knows that, tightening his strokes with the rush of his mind’s superhighway. His free hand rucks up Alex’s shirt to touch his stomach, to touch his ribs and chest, just an inch away from painfully hot.

Alex watches him with full and curious eyes until the brush of bare skin over his waist becomes too much and he claps his hands over Charles’ shoulders and comes with a quiet, breathless gasp huffing over Charles’ cheeks. Charles strokes him through it, mind pressed against Alex’s, shoving desperately to separate the plasma and the orgasm. When both energies dissipate, he realizes his hand is hot with Alex’s come sliding between his fingers and he is breathing heavily into Charles’ neck, trying to bring him back to the ground by calling Charles’ name.

He removes his hands lets Alex lean on him for a minute, trying to collect himself. Alex offers his shirt for clean up, pulling it off to reveal a deep red flush beginning to subside. Charles cleans his hand rapidly as Alex tucks himself away and follows the hands that wipe gingerly at the come on his stomach.

Face flushed, Charles glances at him, unsure and awkward before bidding Alex goodnight.

He gets all the way to room—albeit, in a sprint—before he realizes his palms are burning from the heat of Alex’s skin.

-

The next morning, Charles scampers quietly through the house, heaving a sigh of relief to find the kitchen empty. Hank and Raven are standing at the counter, buttering bread a bit closer than necessary but the room is void of Alex and that is a success. He has not the smallest inkling of how to handle last night’s events.

Charles greets the other loudly and they snap apart. They make idle conversation as Charles buries himself in the fridge, searching for something sweet. Finding nothing that with appease him, he closes the refrigerator door and stands to find himself face to face with Alex. His mind is quieter than usual today.

He stiffens and feels the tips of his ears quickly tinge pink. Alex smiles wanly, “Morning,” he clears his throat and adds, “Charles.”

The sound of his name sounds strangely intimate after what they’ve done. He almost rescinds the invitation for familiarity but realizes that he’s being childish. At this point, they are past the first name basis. “Good morning, Alex. Sleep well?”

Alex walks towards him and Charles side steps rapidly as he breezes by. “I did. Thank you.”

The gratitude sounds polite but with Alex flexing his fingers around an apple he’s picked up, Charles feels the blush drop deep into his belly. Alex isn’t thanking him for being polite. Charles thinks of how hard he came last night, wanking desperately, in his room afterwards, with only heat and skin in mind.

“More training today?” Alex asks, eyes meeting Charles from across the room.

Charles glances at Hank and Raven, staring at each other as Raven mouths obscenely at a strawberry. His eyes revert to Alex, he is paced slowly today, almost languid, and beating out a bit louder than usual, like his thoughts are mimicking his heart beat. For that moment, Charles forgets how old Alex is, with such an adult expression, such adult expectations and eyes.

“Course.”



Part Two

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