D. Chesterton's Best Friends Series, Episode 40: Charles/Erik
The massive receiver dish moved—almost imperceptibly at first, but for each millimeter the mountain of steel pivoted, it was as if the entire earth tilted, lurched, moved. The moment was ecstatic, life changing, and then over.
Nearly a mile away, on the manicured lawns of the Xavier mansion, Erik Lensherr slowly lowered his arms, tears streaming down his handsome face. The effort had been at once excruciatingly painful and exhilarating.
"You did it, Erik!" thrilled Charles. "I knew you could!"
"No, Charles," his friend replied. "We did it."
Charles laughed, and patted Erik's lower back fondly before pulling his hand away in mock disgust.
"Erik! You're drenched!"
Erik looked distastefully at the thin gray fabric of his training romper. It was indeed soaked through with sweat. "My apologies, Charles, but I did just move a thousand tons of metal with my mind. I doubt anyone in 500 miles will be watching satellite TV tonight, which we have here in the 60s."
Charles laughed again, and gripped Erik's shoulder. "Of course, I'm only teasing. I think that's enough for today. Come, you must simply be dying for a steam!"
Erik grinned back at Charles. "You have no idea!"
Reclining in the wet heat of the sauna, Charles and Erik could hardly make out the shape of each other through the steam, though they sat scarcely an arms length apart. The modesty imposed by the room’s atmosphere was hardly necessary—the young men were as close as sailors, bonded by battle and bunks. And, in any case, each wore a towel wrapped about his waste, with the separating folds exposing nothing less decent than a sliver of Charles’ muscular thigh.
“I’m so …” Charles began, and then trailed off into a sheepish mutter.
“Proud of me?” Finished Erik. “I don’t need telepathy to know what you’re thinking, Charles. I never have. The sentiment is appreciated, but hardly deserved.”
“Erik!” admonished Charles. “Did you not see what you accomplished today? You were marvelous!”
“Me? ‘Marvelous’? Charles, I was but an instrument, and a broken instrument at that. You did the work. You … you reached inside of me, and grasped the instrument. You made it work. I did nothing at all. I felt like I was dreaming.”
Charles’ deep blush, thankfully, was hidden by the steam. “It was a pleasure. I would do it a thousand times for you, Erik.”
Smiling, Erik reached out to squeeze his friend’s bare shoulder. In the thick haze of the steam, however, he clumsily missed Charles’ arm altogether, his hand ending up in the shorter man’s face, two fingers pushing inadvertently into a mouth in the midst of shaping another sentence.
Erik gasped in surprise, and then chuckled as he withdrew the fingers from Charles’ lips with a pop.
“Apologies. I can shift mountains, but I can’t seem to control my own hands. It’s been a long day.”
“It has,” agreed Charles. “And I’ve pushed you too hard. You must be exhausted.”
“Oh, I’m fine. But … well, I am exhausted as well.” Erik leaned forward with a groan.
“Here,” offered Charles, and slid down the damp bench next to his friend. Reaching across Erik’s broad back with one hand, he gripped the older man’s shoulders, squeezing the knotted muscles gently.
“Aaah,” sighed Erik, perceptibly relaxing under the kneading fingers. “Aaaaaah.”
The steam seemed to fill the room more completely, its warmth penetrating the two warrior poets totally. It became a chamber of utter relaxation and privacy.
And yet the cedar door of the sauna creaked as it was pushed tentatively open, startling Erik from his place of relaxation. “Wha? Hello?” He stammered.
Charles continued to press and squeeze the shoulders, his mind already having instinctively reached out and identified the newcomer. “It’s only a student, Erik. Come in, come in. There’s always room for one more, Mr. Potter.”
His anxiety at sharing the sauna with his professors already dissipating, Harry tucked his wand into the knotted waistband of his towel, and pushed his damp hair away from his scarred forehead. It had been a long and difficult day of training, and the steam room promised relaxation and stimulating conversation with his teachers.
“’Allo, professors!” he called, and stepped into the warm air.