Disclaimer: They aren't mine. Have a marvel-ous time attempting to sue me.

Warnings: Clash of postcolonial sociopolitical philosophies and a wee bit of m/m. 

Thank you: To my beta and those kind souls who encouraged me after my initial foray in this fandom.  I'm digging this like you can't believe.

by Lucrecia Borgia

“I won’t room with anyone but Charles.”

“You’ll sleep wherever we decide you’ll sleep. On--or in--the cold, hard ground if you don’t shut the hell up.” Wolverine was not patient.

“All that feral intimidation doesn’t work with me, Logan. Why don’t you be a dear and fetch me a cup of coffee?” Magneto was all civil veneer.

Xavier, sitting in the doorway watching the exchange, found his lips curling slightly at the nonplussed attitude. Logan was not used to dismissal.

Now Wolverine hovered near the bookcase Magneto was perusing. A deliberate drawing of claws near the larger man’s jaw accompanied Wolverine’s suggestion. “Why don’t you just shut your mouth?”

Magneto remained casual. Turning his head and pointedly looking down his nose at the shorter man, he replied “Why don’t you just kiss my ass?”

Wolverine paused, then locked eyes with Xavier, who shook his head toward the door. Weighing his options with a narrowing of his eyes, Logan left the room with a final glance at Magneto.

Magneto air-kissed him, and Wolverine slammed the door.

Magneto continued browsing the library. Xavier had amassed an impressive, diverse collection. Magnus smiled as he ran his fingers over the tops of the books. They were marked with hundreds, if not thousands, of torn scraps of paper serving as bookmarks. Many of the scraps had scribbled notes, in a variety of languages, comparing that work or   passage with another, refuting or supporting an idea or theory. The books themselves were shelved in impeccable order, by topic and author. The spines were broken but otherwise the books were in pristine condition. The library at the X-mansion was not an accessory showcase for Architectural Digest or visiting dignitaries. Charles read these books, thought about these books, for himself. Their order helped him in his own identity, and were not marks of prestige. Magneto compared the condition of Charles’ books to his own. He scribbled in margins, dog-eared pages and failed to keep any real order. Still, Magnus noted, they shared a common use for literature. It was a tool, no less dispensable than Charles’ chair.

Privately, Magnus doubted anyone but Charles ever visited the place on a regular basis. The house was huge and crowded--though he couldn’t logically understand why he couldn’t have his own room--but he knew few of its residents used this facility.   They were more than eager to develop their bodies, to work themselves nearly to death in the Danger  Room, but few developed the discipline for a strong, flexible mind. Hank did, Magnus conceded. Storm, Jean perhaps when she was indulging the qualities Charles found more attractive in her. Secretly, he often wondered if Logan was more astute than the bullying facade he presented. Less secretly, he rejected the idea. X-teams were always busy, and when visitors did stay at the compound, there was an atmosphere of urgency that prevented the stillness now enveloping the library. Few people realized the necessity of that stillness as a prerequisite for action. He absently wondered if Charles were ever lonely.

“Of course I am.”

Magneto was startled out of his reverie. Of course Charles was reading his mind.

“Of course I am. “

Of course Charles didn’t trust him.

“Of course I don’t.” Charles gave in to the small smile that had been tugging at his mouth since Magnus arrived earlier that day. He would only stay a short while, while preparing for a trial in New York later that week. Magnus had not done anything, this time, though he sheltered one who did. He was only tangentially involved, but his very presence turned the trial of one mutant attacking one human into a media circus. Magnus’ life had been threatened, and Charles offered the relative safety of his home.

“What do you think I’m going to do? Infiltrate the X-men, kill Logan, destroy,” Magnus put his hand to his chest for melodramatic effect as he lowered his voice, “. . your dream?”

“It’s happened before,” Charles responded dryly.

“So?” Magnus was genuinely confused.

So was Charles. “So? So you might do it again?”

“I told you I wouldn’t.”

Magnus really thought it was that easy. “You’ve lied before,” Charles said incredulously.

“I’m not now.” Magnus held the same tone. The issue seemed so simple to both of them, they both shook their heads.

“Why? Even if I was hatching some diabolical plan, by all accounts I am alone in this endeavor and surrounded by an elite organization intent on destroying me.”

“Yes, poor powerless Magneto.”

“Well, four walls wouldn’t stop me anyway.”

“Now who’s sounding feral?”

“Feral, no. Adolescent, yes.” Magnus struck a petulant-teenager pose: hips thrust out, shoulders slumped, jaw set at an angle. “Why can’t I have my own room?”

Charles laughed at the posture. Magnus probably didn’t look adolescent in adolescence, he mused. The precise reasons for that--terror, premature responsibility and forced labor--sobered him somewhat, but Magnus still looked ridiculous. The square shoulders didn’t do for slouching, and tailored trousers pulled tight with Magnus’ hands fisted in the pockets. The glacier-blue eyes were sparkling; his question hung in brightly in the  air. “I like having you where I can see you.”


A day later, the men sat in the same library, each angrily thrusting a volume of Shakespeare at the other.  Xavier had a leatherbound edition of the complete works, while Magnus held a worn paperback copy of Hamlet.

“Get. Thee. To. A. Nunnery,” Charles carefully enunciated. “A nunnery, not to hell. Hamlet was tacitly attempting to take Ophelia out of the fray by removing her from Elsinore altogether.” Xavier heard his own voice, sing-songing with conviction on every four or five syllables. “He no longer trusted himself, and he didn’t trust the court or his family.  He wanted her safe. He loved her. There was method to his madness.”

“Wrong scene, Charles, and of course there was method. No one’s disputing that. All I’m saying is his method, his love, for her was manipulative and selfish. We both know ‘nunnery’ was parlance for ‘brothel . .”

“We also know it was also parlance for ‘convent,'" Xavier interrupted.

“It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter whether Hamlet’s command--get thee!, not 'please go'; get thee!--was spiriting Ophelia off to a convent or damning her to a brothel! He wanted her out! He wanted her away from him! That’s all that mattered.”

Magnus’ voice had risen in the penultimate statement, and the atmosphere was awkwardly broken by an aborted knock on the open library door. Wolverine, who had taken to lurking near Charles while Magneto was a guest, shifted his weight from one firmly placed foot to another. Xavier, his back to the door, retained eye contact with Magnus, who briefly looked up to see the visitor. Without turning around, Xavier asked “Yes, Logan?”

“You have a visitor. This reporter says he has an interview with you. He’s waiting outside the gates. Whatcha want me to tell him?”

“Send him in. We arranged this weeks ago.”

Logan nodded and made a point of closing the door on his way out.

“I’ll wait upstairs,” Magnus muttered. Although his presence in Charles’ school was hardly a secret, neither one of them wanted an excess of publicity surrounding the arrangement. Still, Magnus was reluctant to leave. He hadn’t read Hamlet in a long while, and was thoroughly enjoying sparring with someone who took the language of  guilt, fear and love as seriously as he did. 

Xavier was also enjoying the discussion. He could usually anticipate Magnus’ argument--as a trained psychologist, he recognized fear-based responses. But the facility and surety with which he negotiated his defenses and Xavier’s own arguments left Xavier examining his own positions. They rarely changed each other’s minds, but the discourse  strengthened both defenses. “We aren’t done here, Magnus.”

“We never are, Charles.”


Magneto’s timing could not have been worse. It was hours later, and he assumed the reporter had gone. He was from one of the glossy magazines both Magnus and Charles loathed. These magazines had been doing shallow pictorials on successful mutants lately, and this trendy interest sparked discussion earlier.

Magneto read “successful mutants” to mean wealthy, accepted and nonthreatening, apolitical. These lifestyle magazines wanted to showcase mutants as integrating into human society, accepting the values and hierarchies imposed from without. Humanity was the goal towards which mutants like Charles were thought to approach. ‘See?’ these features  asked, ‘They can be just like us!’

Except, of course, they couldn’t. Magneto saw no reason why he had to prove anything, least of all his own worth, to a group of people responsible for nothing but the practical and psychological destruction of his own people. Outside theodd success like Charles there were no mutants featured in the glossy magazine advertisements, dictating a standard ofbeauty many mutants couldn’t simulate. The only mutants were those serving hors devours to the ubiquitous glamorous crowds. ‘Why crash the party,’ Magneto asked, ‘when you can burn the house?’

Xavier was more temperate. He appreciated Magnus’ argument to a greater degree than either of them expected. Xavier resented the trite treatment of mutants, but realized the lack of a grand, bigoted narrative. These magazines, the media in general, were simply propagating a status quo that largely went unstated. Xavier believed in the innate clarity of  mind in human beings. Not goodness, or generosity, but logic and empathy. Because he exuded these characteristics himself to such a charismatic extent, he was rarely disappointed. Xavier realized he lived a privileged life, and his work on mutant rights was largely a result of that privilege, but his faith in progress could not be deterred.

The more mutants featured in these popular magazines, the more accepted mutants would become. Overt, radical political statements preach to the converted or alienate those already alienated. By insinuating the mutant identity in the status quo, mutants could become a part of it. The institutionalized bigotry which now defined the status quo would change once mutant identity was absorbed. Western democratic principles, though often betrayed, were solid and admirable, viable and working. He didn’t understand why Magnus wanted to abandon those principles. Xavier wanted  to strengthen them, hold them accoutable.

With these arguments in mind, Magnus let his mind wander as he went downstairs to the library where the interview was conducted. Was still being conducted, he realized too late. The young man was shaking Xavier’s hand, saying what a pleasure it was to meet him, when Magneto strode in.

Magnus was immediately recognizable. His shock of white hair distinguished him from anyone else, and he had a peculiar manner of holding himself, arrogant without being haughty. Most photographs the reporter was familiar with were of Magneto’s scowling face, of his body encased in the red lycra that had become a trademark of terror. Seeing   Magnus in worn, loose-fitting trousers and black cotton t-shirt temporarily stilled the writer. Magnus, startled, extended his hand. He became far more an ambiguous figure, and the writer, shortly introduced by Xavier as Joshua Alvaraz, hated him on sight.

“Everything you just told me was a lie, Xavier,” he said to Charles, avoiding Magnus’ hand. “You aren’t anything but a radical like your friend.”

“His life was threatened, and he is a fellow mutant. Of course, if I can help, I will. You know better than to think I support his ambitions.” Xavier was used to this sort of attitude.

“His life was threatened for a reason. He’s a psychotic killer. He,” Alvaraz nodded toward the curiously silent Magnus, “got off on technicalities but everyone knows he’s guilty of murder. I hate people like him. Everything he talks about has to be mutants. I mean, we’re all for equality, but he goes too far, and so do you.”

Xavier didn’t know how to respond. He glanced quickly at Magnus, sure he would respond to the twisted concept of taking equality too far. However, Magnus hadn’t removed his disinterested gaze from Alvaraz. He blinked.

Alvaraz took out the small camera he carried with him. He and Xavier had arranged for a photographer to come to the manse next week, but Alvaraz took some preliminary shots of the grounds and library for reference. Emboldened by Magneto’s silence, he now took out the camera and attempted to take a photograph. “’Genocidal Murderer at Rest’,” he  sarcastically sneered as a caption as he raised the camera to his face.

Magneto, amused and stunned at the audacity, threw the camera across the room. His hands remained at his sides, where they rested after the reporter failed to shake his hand. Alvaraz, not understanding what just happened, looked at his smashed camera, then back at the man in front of him.

Magneto winked in the same manner he dismissed Logan days before. “Metal,” he shrugged.

Alvaraz, incensed, quickly realized his disadvantage against Magneto and lashed out at Xavier. The reporter hit him, hard enough to make the wheelchair wobble and Xavier to recoil in shock, if not actual pain. Alvaraz started to shake, his body unable to contain his hate. His voice reached a high, shrieking volume. “You fucking freak! I hate you! Stay  the fuck away from me! I hope you all fucking die!”

Alvaraz was unable to say anymore as he felt a looming presence bump him from behind. He instinctively cowered and ran, putting himself further in the library. It only took two strides for Magneto to reach him, pivot the quivering body against his, and force it to its knees. “Don’t touch me!” Alvaraz squirmed to escape the grip Magneto had on his  neck, though the movement only forced the hold to tighten.

“Magnus,” Xavier began

With renewed struggle, Joshua Alvaraz’s wild eyes met Xavier’s, “I hate you! Shut up! Shut the fuck up!”

Xavier ignored him, instead turning his glance up to Magnus. He remained nonchalant, refusing to either meet or turn away from his friend’s stare. He quickly adjusted his grip on the young man’s neck, jerked it once, and let the body slump to the floor. Only then did Magneto’s gaze fall on Xavier; now Xavier couldn’t maintain the contact and looked at the lifeless body on his library floor.


Xavier was nearly speechless. “This man was nothing to you. He was nothing to me, nothing to anyone in this house.” He couldn’t collect his thoughts. Joshua Alvaraz’ corpse still lie on the library floor, now covered discreetly in a sheet. Hank saw to calling the authorities who now breezed through the study, unminding the order and stillness Xavier  always associated with his library.

Xavier and Magneto stood in the vestibule outside. The police, assessing the situation, determined Magneto acted in self-defense. They couldn’t risk another high-profile trial, and by all accounts the reporter was threatening the other men, leaving the professor with a bruised jaw.

Xavier was torn; he wanted justice and knew this cover-up compromised the truth, but he didn’t want to see Magneto as a murderer. He wanted, above all, to understand. “You weren’t even angry. You know he was nothing to us.”

“Then no one will miss him. He is as powerful and lethal an enemy as presidents or popes. The publicity he would have incited . .”

“Wouldn’t be half as damaging to the cause of mutant rights as you when you act like this,” Xavier finished. Though no longer in shock, he was strangely calm. They both were.

Magneto listened to Charles, understood his position. “Action is the key, though, isn’t it? This man, even if he never published another word, is part of the institutional bigotry and hatred that we both recognize as the real enemy. Nameless, because it has a million names, faceless because it has every face--this enemy can only be stopped. It can’t be changed or rehabilitated. Prejudice isn’t rehabilitated, it’s repressed. It doesn’t lead, it follows simplistic, almost scientific, patterns of least resistance. It isn’t frightening, or angry, or spectacular.” He turned his head, scanned the shelves of the library for a small book he knew would be there. Xavier followed his gaze, knowing immediately what book it rested on. Magnus intercepted Charles’ look and repeated the title. “The banality of evil.”

Magnus knew this as well as he knew his life. He knew the Nazis weren’t responsible for the murder of his family, his childhood. Hitler, Goebbels, the SS, the entire Third Reich weren’t responsible for the genocide he witnessed. That responsibility fell to the millions of people who benefited from their actions. Millions of Europeans--not just   Germans--were in a position to stop or at least question the Final Solution, the death marches, the camps, the looting, the casual murders, the early, almost silent, whispers and echoes of hatred. They did nothing. They reaped the rewards: from abandoned businesses, from occupied factories and farmland, from all the prestige that accompanies the citizens of a world power. Nazis don’t kill people, Magnus thought bitterly, people kill people. People kill children. People kill mutants.

Xavier dropped his head, sensing the depth of his friend’s conviction and having difficulty finding an argument. Magnus always forced the big picture, made him see issues and motivations that were barely visible. Xavier sensed what Alvaraz meant when he said Magnus “went too far;” he made the local global. The best tactic was to focus the issue. “He was nothing,” Xavier found himself repeating. “Your reputation precedes you, Magnus, and you frightened him. He was relaxed and pleasant with me, for hours. He had no intention of striking me, no thoughts of violence or fear at all until your specter . . . ” Xavier exhaled, unable to finish.

“ . . what? Until my specter what? Attempted to shake his hand? My specter and the body that houses it did nothing to that man. They didn’t need to. He hated me because I’m a mutant. That’s enough. Our existence justifies every fear, every violent instinct they have. It isn’t our job to placate those fears. It’s our job to stop them.” Magnus resisted the trite urge to add that Alvaraz wasn’t afraid anymore.

Xavier was shaking his head. “No. He wasn’t afraid of mutants, he was afraid of you. The Master of Magnetism. You justify fear and bigotry. Did you just listen to me? He was fine before you showed up.”

“Of course he was fine! You told him exactly what he wanted to hear! You acted just like a human being. Of course he was pleasant. What were we reading today, Charles? One may smile, and smile, and still be a villain?”

“No, Magnus. We were discussing leaving.” Xavier’s head shot up immediately. He didn’t mean it. He didn’t want Magnus to leave, he realized. He wanted him to consider his actions, to allow himself a greater faith in humanity. He didn’t want to discuss this body in the library with anyone else, and his students gave him a wide berth when  Magnus was around. He didn’t want Magnus to leave.

Magnus hadn’t even considered the thought. “You want me to get out?”

Xavier shook his head. He was exhausted. He smiled weakly. “I told you. I like you where I can see you. I just don’t like what I see all the time.”

Magnus closed his eyes. When they opened, they were as soft and gentle as the voice that matched Xavier’s. “Then why do you want me there?”

Xavier’s response was immediate, almost, but not quite, cutting the other man off. He leaned forward slightly. “I love you.”


Magneto uncharacteristically cooperated with Hank in quickly pleasing the authorities. They were gone within the half hour, Hank more than happy to retire to wherever it was Hank retired to. The body was gone. The library looked as pristine as it had before the reporter arrived that afternoon, a prospect that upset Xavier.

“A man is dead. Everything he could ever be is dead.”

“You love me.”

The reverberations, the implications, were similar. Magnus killed as easily and with as much conviction as Xavier loved. Neither man was sure if he spoke to the other or himself, and neither sensed it really mattered. Neither had regrets.

“You killed him, you ended his entire life, because he was . . banal.”

“Why do you love me?”

“Because you aren’t.” It was flippant, they both knew.

“Why do you love me?”

“I don’t know what else to do with you!” The anger Xavier should have felt at the death of Joshua Alvaraz surfaced. “I can’t teach you, I can’t learn from you! I can’t lead you, I can’t follow you! I can’t ignore you, I won’t be ignored BY you! You’re always a presence,” Xavier’s voice became a lament, “even when you’re gone. ” Xavier was looking at his hands, palms up in his lap. He was talking, again, to himself as much as Magnus. “You aren’t a friend. You aren’t an enemy. You don’t fit anywhere in my life. Love fits nowhere in my life.”

Magnus remained standing. He also found himself looking at Xavier’s hands. Strong, capable hands. He didn’t know to take the smooth, open palms as a plea or surrender, invitation or rebuke. He blinked. “You terrify me.”

That made Xavier look up. Magnus still stared at his hands.

“You’ve always terrified me,” Magnus continued. “You’re so clear, you love me. You have a surety that doesn’t need defense. You’re good, you’re a good man, you know that. Even your abilities. You don’t even function on this plane, Charles.” Though still focused on Xavier’s gentle hands, Magnus didn’t miss the half smile and glance down at his chair. Magnus didn’t smile, but answered the gesture. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all intangible, beyond reproach. You’re beyond reproach.
Beyond us all.”
Xavier considered that. He knew what Magnus meant; their strengths and weaknesses complemented each other. He sat in a nondescript wheelchair, while Magnus . . flew. Magnus’ mind was a tangle of dark impressions without linear or moral focus. Xavier’s entire identity was as a psi. He hadn’t thought of that identity as a clarity before. He wasn’t beyond reproach. “I’m human.”

“No.” Now Magnus looked at his friend. “You’re not.”

Xavier was silent, looked out the window of the library. He took a breath, then exhaled as he looked back to Magnus. “I know that.”


Magneto stalked to the sofa furthest from the windows. The waning afternoon light let him sit in the shadows to which he was accustomed. Xavier followed.

“I know I’m not a human being, Magnus.” Xavier spoke in a slightly lower register than he normally used. He wasn’t trying to convince anyone, or be an example. He was saying things he didn’t think needed to  be said, not to this man, not to himself. “I never pretend I am. I’m proud being a mutant. That’s the principle of this school, of the X-Men. That principle, that pride, is more important than a featured profile in the society pages.” Xavier spoke slowly. “I. Know. That. But if one activity can augment the other, if seeing a profile of a successful mutant can allow a mutant child to hold their head higher, why would I decline? Lives like Alvaraz’ don’t hurt anyone, any cause.”

“Yes they do! How much time did your interview devote to the active campaigns for mutant rights?”

Xavier interrupted, uneasily. “This was about the house I live in, the manner I’ve chosen to furnish it.” The argument sounded trite even to him. Xavier knew the way he spent his money reflected his ethics. The mansion and the school were reflections of values people like Alvaraz refused to investigate. “It wasn’t a matter of life and death. People  like Alvaraz don’t make mutant rights an issue of life and death . .” The final rejoinder (‘you do’) was left unspoken.

“Genocide made it an issue of life and death. The hatred and violence made it an issue of life and death. How many need to die before people like Alvaraz decide to make it an issue of life and death? Ten thousand mutants? Six million Jews? One of their own kind?”

“We both pick our battles, Magnus. I don’t raise the argument everywhere, with everyone, and neither do you. I decided not to speak about the problems . .”

“You ignored the problem. The problem that defines both our lives, and thousands of deaths.”

“And if we aren’t part of the solution, we’re a part of the problem?”

“If we aren’t part of the solution, we are the problem.”

“You think,” Xavier felt his soul sink. His voice was unsteady and nearly inaudible. “I’m the problem?”

Magneto’s timbre matched Xavier’s. “I think you’re everything. You’re all I fear and all I want . .” Magnus wanted to finish, to communicate that while he didn’t fit into any part of Charles’ life, Charles, in a frightening way, was his life. But Charles, he realized belatedly, probably already knew that.

Xavier only listened to the fragment Magnus vocalized before interrupting, his voice no stronger, “You want me.”


It was a statement, not a question. It wasn’t even a revelation. Their entire lives had been leading to this; love and desire confused with death. Xavier put a hand to his friend’s brow, tracing the hairline from forehead to temple. Magnus didn’t move, barely trembling when Xavier’s soft lips followed his hands.

“Charles,” he began, still not moving away from or into the caress.

Xavier continued the whisper-soft kisses along Magnus’ brow,  his thumbs   rubbing Magnus’ cheekbones with a quiet calm that seemed to envelop both men. As Magnus shuttered his downcast stare, Xavier’s lips found his eyes. The shy intake of breath that met the gesture emboldened Xavier to lean further toward his friend, his lips now meeting Magnus’  ear.

He licked the shell, tonguing the lobe until it was slippery and warm. “Touch me,” he whispered.

It was all Magnus wanted to hear. Xavier was moved to the sofa. Whether by mutant abilities or graceful strength, he didn’t know, and didn’t care. He felt the strong forearms around his waist, hands slowly clutching and unclutching his shirt as they traveled the expanse of his back. Xavier felt square palms gently knead his shoulders, knuckles brush his spine, fingers grasp his waist. Magnus was twisted slightly toward him, and Xavier could feel the hard brush of thigh against his own hip.

Xavier couldn’t seem to remove himself from Magnus’ neck. The slight indentation behind the ear (the last spot on baby animals to dry, he remembered absently) was soft, and he could taste the salty tang of arousal permeating the clean scent Magnus always seemed to have. Xavier’s hands massaged the scalp, relishing the thick, soft hair teasing his fingers.

Xavier laved the ear once again before slowly moving his mouth, now open, down across Magnus’ arched neck. Xavier felt the quickening pulse strong near the base of his throat, and licked experimentally. Stray, coarse hair escaping Magnus’ cotton t-shirt tickled his chin, and he buried his nose in the salty spot.

At that, Magnus abruptly pulled back, and removed the shirt before Xavier had a chance to react. As the black material gave way to flushed skin and white hair, Magnus and Xavier’s eyes met for the first time since Xavier initiated the encounter. Magnus deliberately set the shirt down beside them.

Xavier’s hazel eyes glowed gold in the afternoon light, open nearly to squares. He couldn’t believe he was doing this. Shocked at his own arousal and intention, he wandered back to the happy juncture of chest and throat, where he could now see, if he looked closely, the staccato of the other man’s pulse.

The warm gold in Xavier’s startled gaze was matched by the icy fear in Magneto’s opaque blue orbs. As Charles’ mouth attached itself to his neck, Magnus worked on unbuttoning the other man’s shirt. He was wearing  shirtsleeves today, and Magnus welcomed the absence of buttoned cuffs. The ministrations to his neck and strong hands threading his hair  prevented Magnus from looking down, and removing the shirt proved more difficult than it should have been. Once off, Xavier’s singlet clung to his damp body.

Magnus once again moved back, this time taking the singlet in his fists and raising it above Xavier’s head. After placing it near his own discarded shirt, the men assessed each other, naked to the waist. Xavier was intimidated; his own slim, smooth, pale body could be lost in the expanse of the broad, furred chest before him. Magneto’s chest rose and fell, seeming to strengthen under the scrutiny of the other man, while Xavier retreated slightly, hunching in on himself. Magneto warmed at the desire his body kindled in his friend, at the same time realizing Xavier’s sudden self-consciousness.

He waited for Xavier’s now hesitant eyes to meet his own and frowned slightly. “I adore you.” Xavier’s smile was immediate, and Magneto took the opportunity to close the distance between them and touch Xavier’s soft, soft lips to his own.

Magnus’ lips were demanding and slightly chapped, the rough texture stimulating Xavier’s mouth to open in an invitation to moisture. Before Magnus could take advantage, Xavier slipped his own tongue into Magneto’s mouth and delicately ran it over the roof and soft palate. It was a broader, more diffuse taste than the sweat he licked near the ear and neck. It was warm, and wet and comforting, in an unusual way. Xavier pulled back to get a better angle and tasted him again, as Magneto’s startled tongue decided to tangle.

Magneto felt the soft underside of Charles’ tongue with his own, before hollowing his cheeks and sucking on it. His own tongue snaked out of their fused mouths to moisten their lips. He heard a groan, and wondered if it was his.

Magnus’ hands continued to map his friend’s body, to worship it with flat pressures and airy caresses. Magnus felt Charles’ shoulders jump as his palm found a nipple. The tight, crinkled bud was sensual on his smooth hand, and he continued to rub Charles’ chest until Charles was swaying into him; his other hand complemented the movement at Charles’ back, where relaxed muscles further stimulated Magneto’s hands.

Xavier moved his mouth back to his friend’s square jaw, and was exquisitely provoked by the raw, scratching pressure of hair on his chest. The wet trail he left on Magnus’ face and neck was cool to his touch, and he moved his long fingers from Magneto’s hair, where they were delightfully knotted, to his damp face. As his fingers slid from brow, to eye, to lips, they were captured by Magneto’s hot, hungry mouth. Magneto’s teeth scraped over two knuckles while his tongue  labored on and over and around the wet digits. Xavier anchored the heel of his hand to Magneto’s jaw and let his fingers slip in and out of his friend’s sucking mouth. “Please,” he whimpered, “Please . . please . . please.”

The wet sounds Magnus made in reply inspired Xavier to latch onto the veined juncture beneath the collarbone, and gently bite and suck.

Xavier pulled back as he sensed the flesh under his mouth growing tender and red. As he looked at the purplish swelling on Magnus’ chest, he felt the other man’s jaw tense and his fingers drop.

There was Magneto, his hair tousled and eyes heavy with arousal. There was Magneto, bare chested, glistening with his saliva, a thin thread still connecting his open mouth to Xavier’s hand, which since falling now rested on Magneto’s abdomen. There was Magneto, with Xavier’s mark on his chest.

There was Xavier, pushing and pulling into Magneto’s touch. There he was, devouring Magneto while begging to be crushed in his arms.

There was Wolverine, his mouth a tight line, his gaze at once indifferent and betrayed.

PART THE SECOND: In which too, too solid flesh would melt.