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  1. Charles supposed it was sheer chance that he caught sight of Professor Lehnsherr sitting out by the lake on his hourly roam through the empty halls in a fit of restlessness. He’d seen the man earlier during lunch in the Great Hall, but instead of indulging Charles in a game of Wizarding Chess or a discussion on one of his lectures, Erik had disappeared to his chambers for a good portion of the afternoon.
  2. Curious, Charles turned to go back to his dormitory and fetch a scarf, hat, and gloves before heading down towards the lake.
  3. Trudging through the snow, Charles hovered for a moment, wringing his hands together.
  4. “It’s a bit chilly out, Professor,” he began hesitantly, catching the tense brooding posture in the man’s back. Erik straightened, glancing up at Charles as if just noticing his presence.
  5. “Hm? I suppose…” He began, bringing his palm down to dig cold-reddened fingers into the snow and push it about. “I must have been a bit lost in my thoughts.”
  6. Charles took it as an invitation to join him, sitting beside the older man and resting his arms on his knees. “You’ve always done that, thoug,.” he teased, “Since I was a first year and you were a fifth year.”
  7. Erik grinned at the memory, flicking a bit of snow up onto Charles’ arm and earning a huff of indignation. “You were a very small first year, if I recall. Downright titchy," the man shot back, smirking. Charles brushed the snow from his arm, curling his shoulders up to his jawline and scooting closer to his professor. Erik didn’t move, allowing the action and instead bringing his hands up to utter a warming charm into his palms, sighing in relief as the biting cold was soothed away.
  8. “If I recall, you were a very grumpy fifth year,” Charles returned snidely, giving a dramatic pause and then a look of false realization. “You know, I don’t think you’ve changed a bit!”
  9. Erik stifled what could have been an exhale of a laugh, pressing his heated palms to his cheeks and closing his eyes. “Hmm, for that, I should take two points from Ravenclaw.” He mused, looking up in time to catch the scandalized look on Charles’ face and grin wickedly at it.
  10. “You wouldn’t dare.,” Charles accused, his horror turning into humored irritation when he caught sight of the curl to Erik’s lips. “You utter bastard. I can’t fathom why you teach Defense Against the Dark Arts- you’re cruel enough to be something we should defend against!" Regardless, Charles gave the older man a shove in an attempt to push him into the snow. Erik barely budged, chuckling lowly and grabbing Charles’ hand before he could try again.
  11. Instead of trying to pry his hand from Erik’s grip, Charles’ arm went lax, wrist moving so that their hands were clasped. Erik, though somewhat surprised, went with the movement to twine their fingers together. Charles pulled Erik’s hand close to him, bringing his warm knuckles to his cold cheek.
  12. “Charles…” Erik said lowly. Charles looked up through his lashes, lips pursing.
  13. “I’m not asking much, just this – this is my last year, and I'm in my last year, here.”
  14. Erik pried his hand free, despite the look of pained regret on his face. “I know…” he said quietly, turning to gaze back at the lake. Charles let him, falling silent for a moment before he managed to think of something to talk about.
  15. “What were you thinking about, earlier?” He asked softly. Erik looked to the teen and then back to the lake.
  16. “My childhood… before my parents died. We used to go sledding in the winter at my grandmother’s home.”
  17. Interested, Charles scooted closer. “Sledding?”
  18. “It’s a Muggle thing.”
  19. Charles laughed, shaking his head. “I know it’s a Muggle thing – but I’ve never done it. You slide on the snow? It sounds silly, how can that be fun? Surely Quidditch proves a more exciting endeavor..." He pressed against Erik’s side, humming in delight at the warmth that practically radiated from the older man.
  20. Erik shifted, a grin coming to his face. “Would you like to try?”
  21. Startled, Charles tilted his head to better see Erik’s face from his vantage point. “Yes but… I don’t have the slightest idea how.” As Charles spoke, Erik stood and gestured for him to follow.
  22. “It isn’t very complicated.,” Erik began, leading Charles towards the Whomping Willow. Charles had to jog to catch up to the man’s long strides, watching Erik procure his wand as they reached the hills just beyond the Whomping Willow, trees scattered about. Flicking his wand, Erik murmured a charm under his breath, transfiguring an old and broken tree into a long wooden contraption that Charles figured was a sled. Charles had to mentally chide himself when he nearly started in on Erik about transfiguration spells and the most effective charm to use to create such a contraption while subsequently affecting the mass of the object.
  23. Bending down, Erik picked the sled up and tucked it under his arm, motioning for Charles to follow him up a fairly steep hill. Curiosity piqued, Charles hurried after him until they were standing at the top with Erik putting the sled down and looking expectantly at Charles.
  24. “What do I do?” Charles blurted. Erik laughed.
  25. “Sit on it. Hold the rope.”
  26. “Oh…” Charles answered weakly, stepping up and awkwardly placing himself in the center of the sled. Erik adjusted the position of his body with two large hands on the teen’s hips, giving him the rope and pointing down the hill.
  27. “I’ll push you, lean left and right to steer and keep balance.”
  28. “Erik, I don’t think its that simple, surely there’s more toOO- OH!” Charles shrieked when Erik’s hand shoved forcefully at his back, sending Charles rocketing down the hill. Exhilaration was second to unmitigated terror as the trees shot by him, sled wobbling and leaning dangerously to the right before Charles remembered Erik’s instructions. He jerked his body to the left, barely registering the feel of the sled starting to leave the ground before he was twisting as it flipped out from under him. Everything became a blur of whiteness, trees, and uncontrollable rolling, his body tumbling halfway down the hill before Charles could orient himself enough to start grabbing at the snow to stop his fall.
  29. Dazed, Charles rolled onto his back to stare at the cloud-mottled winter sky and remember how to breathe. Erik’s loud laughter grew as he approached, a deep, belly-shaking sound that made Charles want to join him if he weren’t trying so hard to remember how to sit up.
  30. “I must say, that was a splendid jumble sale, Charles.” Erik teased, coming into the teen’s line of sight. Charles furrowed his brows and pursed his lips in confusion as he sat up.
  31. “What?”
  32. Erik gestured behind Charles, making him turn and see that his hat and scarf had been lost somewhere along his fall, as well as his left glove. Charles looked down at himself, realizing that his right glove was barely on his hand and that his robes had gotten caught in his elbows – tie crooked and looking worse for wear.
  33. “Jumble sale. It’s a Muggle term. In a real jumble sale, Muggles put the belongings they don't want into their yard or driveway and sell it - they get rid of everything. So when you jumble sale while sledding, it means you've lost all your stuff when you fall. My parents used to call it that...” Erik explained as he finally caught his breath from laughing. Charles scowled and narrowed his eyes, trying to understand the purpose of the term.
  34. Erik’s laughter finally died down, sobered by the fact that it was yet another joke that served no purpose in the wizarding world, and cleared his throat.
  35. “Anyway. You should try again.” He encouraged, chuckling at the pissy expression from Charles that it earned. “Trust me, Charles. It happens to be rather fun when you get the hang of it.”
  36. Charles went to cross his arms, but struggled for a second when he forgot that his robes had fallen to his elbows. He shrugged it back to his shoulders and successfully crossed his arms the second time around.
  37. Erik sighed fondly, flicking his wand and making the sled elongate from where it stuck halfway in the snow.
  38. “I’ll sit on it with you this time, yeah?” He had to contain the smug expression on his face when Charles seemed to light up at the idea, levitating the sled to himself and then summoning Charles’ belongings back to the boy. “Come on, then.”
  39. Charles stuffed his gloves back on properly and shoved his hat on his head before winding his scarf around his neck. Erik reached a hand out, clasping Charles’ snow-covered palm and pulling him to his feet. Their chests bumped for a moment and Erik gave Charles an affectionate push to the back of his head to get him moving back towards the top of the hill.
  40. This time, Erik settled himself towards the back of the sled, spreading his legs for Charles to sit between them. He locked his knees against Charles’ hips, pressing his chest against the teen’s back and grabbing the rope. Hooking his chin over a small shoulder, Erik grinned.
  41. “Ready?” He breathed. Charles, snuggled in close to Erik’s body with his hands clutching the older man’s knees, nodded. Erik used one hand to push them off of the hill, instantly wrapping it back around Charles to hold the rope and steer the sled. He could feel the moment Charles stopped breathing out of tense, muffled fear – blowing out the side of his mouth to send a gust of warmth into Charles’ ear and startle him out of his fright.
  42.  The trees shot by, icy wind whipping around them as Erik leaned the both of their bodies in accordance with the balance of the sled. The end of the hill was met with a few more feet of sliding before they slowly came to a stop. Charles whipped around, turning to grin at Erik when the sled overbalanced and they slowly toppled to the side.
  43. Charles let out a gusty noise of surprise through sudden laughter, landing on top of Erik with a brilliant smile. Erik couldn’t help but return the expression, one hand rising to hold Charles in place from where he was half draped over his chest.
  44. “See? Fun.” Erik pointed out with a smirk. Charles crinkled his nose, despite his smile, and sighed dramatically.
  45. “A bit, yes.” He confessed painstakingly. Erik sat up, easing Charles off of him and pulling out his wand to resize the sled to its original shape. Charles stood, brushing snow off of his trousers and robe and watching Erik curiously.
  46. “Now you’re going to try again on your own.” Erik said, brandishing the sled. Charles’ face fell for a moment before he seemed to tell himself that such an outcome had honestly been inevitable. He followed his professor up the hill, muttering inaudibly under his breath.
  47. This time, Erik took great care in making sure that Charles was properly positioned on the sled, even going so far as to settle his hands on Charles' hips and lean his body left and right to show him how to steer it.
  48. "Ready?"
  49. "Don't push me this tiIIIME! ERIIIIK!" Charles wailed, having been given another sudden shove off of the top of the hill. He choked on icy wind and a few bits of falling snow, barely able to keep the sled steady and wobbling all over in his attempts. He reached the lower end of the hill when his eyes caught sight of a giant lump of snow up ahead, jerking the rope and leaning his body to one side in an attempt to dodge it. The sled turned too sharply and Charles hit the mound from the side, his sled and body flipping over and causing Charles to roll a few feet down the hill. He clenched his mouth shut to keep snow from getting past his lips, eyes closing to do the very same.
  50. When he finally stopped rolling, Charles didn't move - trying to get control of his heart before it thudded out of his chest. The adrenaline left him shaking, impervious to the icy snow sinking into his robes. He was half on his side and stomach, one arm over his head as he buried his face into the elbow of his other arm. A rush of giddiness hit him, and Charles had to grin into his robes, chuckling under his breath. It had been decidedly more fun the second time around - after realizing that only some bruises and aches would come of falling - and Charles giggled again.
  51. "Charles!" Erik's concerned yell came from the top of the hill. Charles huffed into his sleeve, eyes closing. Perhaps he should fake being injured and give Erik a scare? It would serve him right.
  52. "Charles!" A loud pop signified that Erik had apparated to the base of the hill - snow kicking up as he dropped down next to the teen. "Charles, answer me!" Erik sounded so distraught that Charles had to move his arm and look up, grin mischevious and cheeks flushed red. Erik's wand was hovering his body in preparation for a healing charm, the older man's free hand reaching out hesitantly.
  53. Catching Charles' smile, Erik's face dropped from abject fear to irritation. He tucked his wand back into his robes, growling, "Cheeky little fucker."
  54. Charles couldn't help but laugh, reaching up and grabbing Erik by the lapels of his robes in a fit of excitement. Erik yelped, but followed the pull downwards at the same time Charles leaned up, pressing his icy lips against Erik's wind-chapped ones. Erik froze for a painstakingly long moment before he suddenly relaxed, mouth parting and head moving just enough that their lips slotted together.
  55. Charles hummed, delighted, in the back of his throat when Erik brought a warm palm up to cup his jawline and creating a sharp contrast against the bristling coldness of the rest of his face. Erik exhaled a heated breath from his nose, sending it across Charles' cheek and warming his skin. Charles grinned into Erik's mouth, teeth scraping those wet lips before pressing another kiss to them.
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