Now I want Charles making an indoor picnic for him and Erik when the power goes out.
No, I promise that it’s nothing wrong with the house, so don’t bother trying to find the problem, Charles said in response to the silent five-minute tirade emanating from the utility room. I checked with the power company; it’s a major storm, and the electricity’s out all over—and no, you are not going to try whatever you’re planning! The wiring in this house is far too old to have you mucking with it.
More silent grumbling—and probably audible grumbling that Charles couldn’t hear—answered him, before sulky resignation set in. Now, come on back to the study.
A few minutes later, Erik’s shadow manifested in the darkness, sliding through a patch of lesser darkness that was one of the study windows. Rain and wind beat angrily against the other side of the glass, and the rain flung what sounded like hail against the side of the house while it twisted the trees and yanked them back and forth.
It would have been the perfect prelude to a grisly, supernatural murder, Charles thought as he lit one last candle, with the dark, stormy night and the slim, deliberately-moving shape… except for the fact that the mind belonging to the shape was silently complaining about having to deal with a power outage on a Friday night at the end of a bad week, and wondering what Charles could possibly be getting up to.
"Candles, Charles?" Erik said. "We have flashlights."
"Which are hardly convivial," Charles countered.
"Why would we want—"
Telepathy meant he didn’t need to see Erik’s face to know the instant Erik registered the rest of his surroundings: quilts and comforters and pillows piled on the floor, candles in banks on nearby tables and on a silver tray set on the floor. The candlelight caught in the facets of the cut glass bottle of Scotch—the best Charles had, hoarded away for a night like tonight—and on the silver of another tray, this one piled with food.
"Since we don’t know when we’ll be getting power back," Charles said as he sank down onto one collection of pillows, "I thought we should start working our way through the perishables. I’ve got cheese, fruit, ice cream…" that was in a cooler with ice, "and of course alcohol."
"Which isn’t perishable," Erik said, and shadows or not, Charles could almost see the quirk of that eyebrow and the corner of Erik’s mouth.
"And what kind of indoor picnic would it be without too much alcohol and drunkenly making out?" Charles asked, grinning up at the vague shape that was Erik’s face.
The vagueness resolved as Erik moved closer, into the circle cast by the candlelight. He was very beautiful, Charles thought, gilding and shadow like chiaroscuro across his cheekbones and under his brows, his neck. Beautiful or not, Erik maneuvered cautiously over to Charles and sank down almost as carefully.
"I’m not used to the power being off," Erik muttered. "I’m having to reorient myself."
"Then," Charles said happily, pressing a brief welcome home kiss to Erik’s cheek, ”we should just stay in one place, shouldn’t we?”
"We should," Erik agreed, smile unmistakable from this close up.
"Good!" Charles reached for a strawberry, plump and deep, dusky red. He held it to Erik’s mouth, still parted in amusement. "Now, darling, have something to eat."