Charles rolled the wheelchair down the hall towards the kitchen, smiling to himself at the sound of laughter audible even from his study. Whatever was going on had been happening for the better part of ten minutes. Though tempted to borrow Raven for a quick peek, he’d resisted to go find out for himself.

When he rolled into the kitchen, Charles blinked a few times and then chuckled, joining the general fray of good humor. Hank was dressed as Santa, the red of his velvet suit clashing horribly with his blue fur. Raven had transformed herself into an actual elf, complete with pointy hat, and Erik was bedecked with all manner of glass and metal tree ornaments even with nothing to hold them in place. The kids, their first official class at the academy, were hollering out various requests like, “Empire State Building!” and “Eiffel Tower!” and several metal filaments shaped together to form whatever was being asked for in turn. Seven of the kids had no homes to return to over the holidays, or at all, so they were all trying to make things as festive as possible.

No child should have to face being alone and unwanted at any time, Charles had said firmly to his friends a few weeks earlier, but especially at Christmas.

It really hadn’t taken any persuasion, although this was... unexpected.

Erik caught his gaze, blue eyes twinkling from across the room. “And there he is, the man of the hour.”

Seven pairs of eyes turned his way, all beseeching, and Charles blinked a couple of times before saying, “Um, hello?”

He was immediately swarmed by the children shrieking for stories and let out a laugh. “All right, all right. Into the living room with you savages, I’ll be along directly. Go on!”

Once they were gone, the decorations and metal shifted from midair and on Erik to the table. Raven morphed back into her usual blue self and Hank immediately started pulling off the Santa suit.

Smiling broadly, Charles asked, “And what brought all this on? Not that I’m complaining.”

Erik walked over to him and bent to kiss him; first on the lips and then the top of his head as he straightened back up. “It’s been snowing for hours, Charles. We had to do something to keep them occupied.”

“Sean and Alex can’t make it back from the city,” Raven continued. “They called a couple of hours ago while you were on the phone with Moira. All the roads are blocked.”

Startled, Charles looked out the kitchen window where he saw the heavy snow coming down even in the dark. “My goodness. Well, thank you so much for revving them up for story time. I appreciate that.”

Erik chuckled, a warm sound that did evil things to Charles’ newly returned libido. “You are very welcome. Try and keep them busy for at least an hour while we finish wrapping presents.”

Charles shook his head fondly and said, “Very well. Hank. You can help.”

Hank sighed. “I have an experiment at a delicate stage, Professor.”

“You always do. Come along,” Charles ordered, wheeling around and heading for the living room.

The months following the disastrous confrontation on a Cuban beach had been terrifically difficult for everyone. Charles had been too engrossed in his purely physical recovery to ease the tension between his friends. It was entirely likely that if Erik had left with the other mutants that day, instead of bringing him to a hospital, the divide would have been uncrossable and permanent. Thankfully, his feelings for Charles had outweighed the need to continue his vendetta against the purely human. Now, almost six months after that day, they were all one team.

On a purely selfish level, Charles was still desperately glad that Erik had stayed and gotten him to a hospital so quickly. The doctors had said several times that if he'd been much longer without treatment, he would have definitely been paralyzed. Permanently.

Charles decided on Dickens, which was a classic at any time but especially Christmas. He not only did the voices slightly different for each character, but used his powers to subtly convey the mood of the book. Every child, even the two thirteen year old twins who were already vicious little things like all teenagers, was thoroughly captivated by A Christmas Carol. It was closer to three hours later that he finished and he was relieved that even though the story had enthused them all, they were no longer bordering on hyperactive.

“All right, everyone. Hot cocoa and then bedtime! Santa needs time to come and drop of your presents, but he won’t if you’re still awake,” Raven said from the doorway.

Charles smiled at her over the groans of the children and added, “That’s entirely correct. And if you don’t want your presents, I know I want mine.”

They all filed out of the living room and back to the kitchen where the hot cocoa had already been made and Hank was pouring into mugs. Erik had disappeared somewhere, but Charles could vaguely sense him lurking. There was a general air of smugness to the sense of him which had Charles smiling; as did the children’s antics as they were ‘forced’ to go to bed early. He let Raven and Hank herd them to the dormitory on the second floor and rolled towards the bedroom that he and Erik shared on the first.

His body was taking a long time to recover from the bullet, but it was recovering. Every day, Charles had more sensation below the waist and while it wasn’t enough to walk yet, they had hopes that one day it would. The surgeons and spinal experts had all said that the amount of feeling he’d so far regained was already a miracle and Charles was determined to prove them all that he would walk again. Of course, if this was the best he got, if he really was confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life, Charles considered the sacrifice worth it. His legs for keeping Erik in his life and from waging war with humanity.

Small price, he silently repeated for about the thousandth time.

The door was open only a crack, which was unusual, and Charles pushed it open the rest of the way calling out, “I hope you’re decent because I… oh my.”

Numerous candles flickered all over the room and a fire had been kindled, lending added warmth to the light. A thick rug had been put before the fire, as had many pillows and blankets, forming a kind of nest. A bottle of wine and two wine glasses stood nearby on a tray.

Erik hopped up from the floor and turned to him with a small smile. “I am decent, but only for you.”

Charles smiled back at him and said, “I beg to differ, my friend. You are a thoroughly decent man regardless of my benefit.”

Erik’s mood dimmed, but only momentarily. He cleared his throat and said, “I thought we’d spend the night together. Raven and Hank are officially on duty all night. No interruptions and no emergencies unless the world is literally falling apart.”

Charles closed the door and rolled further into the room. “Is that so?”

“It is,” Erik said firmly. “I haven’t had you to myself in weeks.”

Charles wanted to protest, but the sorry fact was that it was true. Between running the school, dealing with Moira and the CIA while keeping them from finding out where they were, and scheduling rescue missions for vulnerable mutants, he hardly had two minutes to himself, let alone to spend with Erik. He gave his lover and apologetic smile and said, “I’ve been neglecting you shockingly.”

Erik walked over to him.“You can make it up to me.”

Charles lifted his arms as Erik bent down, wrapping them around his neck as he slid arms under Charles to pick him up. The other man's strength still astounded and aroused him and Charles pressed his lips to the curve of Erik's throat.

Erik gently lowered him to the nest of bedding and then followed him down, taking Charles' mouth in a long, slow kiss. Charles hummed in pure pleasure, opening his mouth and sliding his tongue against Erik's. One of Erik's hands rubbed over his abs as he deepened the kiss hungrily.

Charles didn't have to be a telepath to know exactly what his lover wanted and found himself on the same page. He broke the kiss and said, “Fuck me, love. Take me until I can't do anything but feel you coming in me.”

Erik shuddered, his arousal ratcheting even higher at the dirty word. It amused Charles that the other man had this pristine image of him; he'd been known to turn the air blue back in university.

“How do you want me?” Charles asked, rubbing Erik through his pants.

Erik's pupils expanded and his breathing quickened at the caress. “I want you on your back so I can see you, but we shouldn't yet. Not until you're better. Let me undress you and then turn on your side.”

Charles nodded and let him do the work. At first he'd thought Erik insisted on taking such good care of him out of guilt for the ricochet and refused to let him do anything. Once he'd realized that it was because he was so grateful that Charles was still alive at all, he'd relented.

Erik undressed himself first, taking his time and revealing skin at his own damnably slow pace. Charles bit his lip in anticipation as he watched and felt himself begin to harden, the connection between them new enough to make him sigh in pleasure. This, the sharing of his heart along with his body, was something Erik hadn't shared with anyone else and he treasured every moment. He finally stood nude before Charles, his cock mostly hard and jutting out from his body.

Kneeling, Erik's hands gently roamed over Charles as he unbuttoned the dress shirt and then caressed his chest. It was a lot more defined that it had been before the bullet and Charles was somewhat proud of how he'd adapted to his changed circumstances.

“Schön,” Erik murmured, bending to kiss across his chest. He lingered on a nipple, sucking and then biting it sharply.

Charles gasped, arching into the contact, even as he blushed at the compliment. Erik had taken to calling him 'beautiful' in German, as if that made it any less significant. He cupped Erik's face and pulled him up for more kissing, sighing into it and greedily taking all he wanted. They kissed for a long time, Erik stretched out beside him, and Charles' lips tingled, well-used, by the time Erik drew back.

A smile briefly touched Erik's swollen mouth and he said, “You need to not be so distracting.”

Charles smiled broadly in return and said, a bit breathlessly, “Never. Not if it gets me more of the same.”

Erik chuckled, that wicked sound, and pulled back entirely. “You will get far more than that, my friend.

Somehow, 'my friend' had become so much more between them; an endearment that never failed to skip Charles' heart. It was as though he couldn't get enough of the love on offer. It frightened him a bit, sometimes, just how much he needed Erik.

Erik swiftly divested him of the rest of his clothes, tossing them aside and immediately settling between Charles' legs. His dick had sluggishly responded to all the stimuli, emotional and physical, but was still only halfway there. Charles almost choked on a moan when Erik took him into his mouth and began lavishing attention on him there. Even though it felt muted, he felt it, the wet heat surrounding him more and more as Erik went down on him further.

It was a long, torturous rising that had Charles groaning in short order. When Erik's finger rubbed against his hole, a shudder of need cut through him and he gasped, “Yes, oh please, yes, Erik!”

Erik pulled off his shaft and reached for a bottle of oil he'd already laid close to their makeshift bed. Charles watched eagerly as Erik slicked up his fingers, wanting far more than just his fingers inside him. Erik caught his gaze and grinned, scolding, “Greedy thing. Patience, isn't that what you're always telling me?”

Charles made an impatient noise. “Elsewhere, yes. Just, fuck me!”

Erik growled in response and returned to sucking on him while his finger rubbed at Charles' opening. It wasn't longer before he felt a finger push inside, testing, and then swiftly joined by another. Erik took his time in this, too, and unfortunately Charles couldn't demand he speed up. Since he couldn't yet feel everything there, they had to be careful.

Charles moaned when Erik massaged his prostate, feeling every pass of that still-sensitive nerve cluster. Finally, two fingers became three twisting carefully inside him and Erik released Charles' now-aching cock from his mouth.

“Shift, Charles,” Erik murmured.

But Charles really wanted to kiss him and suddenly had another idea. He pushed upright and said, “No, wait. Pull me onto your lap, my legs over yours. I'll take some of the weight with my arms around you.”

Erik's eyes lit with happiness as he understood what Charles meant. It took some maneuvering, but Charles ended up in position, facing Erik, and sinking slowly onto his lover's cock as they kissed. It was messy and perfect. Charles wished that he could just ride Erik until he lost control, but that would have to wait for another day. Right now he was grateful to be able to kiss and feel and fuck and just have Erik with him in every way.

Charles' head fell back as he felt Erik's cock driving into him, molding their bodies together. His fingers dug into Erik's shoulders and he held on tight while they kissed, licking and biting at every bit of Erik he could get.

Moaning into his mouth, Erik's thrusts inside him turned ragged very quickly. Charles risked taking an arm off his shoulders to reach down and stroke himself. Orgasm hovered so close and he knew Erik was also close, felt him beginning to fray and reach for his mind instinctively. They were always in contact, but like this, the visceral need churned through them both and Charles greedily took all that Erik had to give.

Erik cried out when he came, pumping hard into Charles and then clutching to him, keeping himself buried, aided by gravity, and planting his seed so deep. Charles shuddered violently as he came, spurting between them and biting so hard on Erik's lower lip that he broke the skin and tasted blood. Their minds delved as deep as their bodies and he couldn't separate them, didn't want to.

Charles lost himself in the pleasure of Erik's mind for some time. When they at last parted, he found them lying down again and Erik's cock had long since fallen from his body. Enough time had gone by that he was somewhat cleaner, too, which meant Erik had already wiped them down. He sighed regretfully at the loss and then met Erik's gaze, which was on him avidly. Smiling, Charles murmured, “Thank you, love.”

Erik kissed him sweetly and then pulled one of the blankets over them.

Charles snuggled close and drifted to sleep to the beat of his lover's heart.