On Learning

by Phail

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/119984.html)

This is the companion piece to Counting Off. It works out better if you read that first, but it’s not required.

Relationships suck.

Nick learned this pretty quickly, dating Jamie. It was like his best friend had turned into a completely different creature. And it wasn’t Jamie’s fault entirely, not with–well, if he was going to tell the story, starting at the beginning was probably a better way to do things. Things always made a lot more sense with back story, right? Right.

It had started, as far as Nick could remember, when he was some-possibly-preteen-years-old and had discovered jacking off. He, being the fabulous and benevolent friend that he was, had decided that he had to demonstrate this remarkable wonder to his best friend in the world: Jamie.

He could remember the whole incident more clearly than recent memories, for some reason.

It had happened right about the same time they’d begun growing hairs Down There. He only remembered the timing because he could remember how when Jeremy McGovern in their class bragged about it, the light of interest had lit up Jamie’s eyes in a way that made Nick–well, not relevant, never mind.

The end result was that Nick had decided then and there that he needed to tell Jamie all about playing with himself. And show him, because if Jamie was that interested in down-there-hair, he’d be even more interested in playing with himself. Or with Nick. Hopefully with Nick.

It hadn’t taken a lot of careful planning; they had plenty of time alone together at that age. Having graduated from babysitters, they had two (glorious) alone-hours between when they got home from school and when Nick’s parents got home. Normally they would spend the time watching TV or playing outside, but that afternoon when they got to Nick’s house, he had an entirely different plan in mind.

Jamie, for his part, had seemed interested in the really cool awesome thing that Nick had to show him, so Nick left him sitting on the couch in the living room and went to dig out the Playboy magazines that his dad hid under the bed. Never mind that Nick had been ready to do it just thinking about showing it to Jamie.

It was when he settled down next to Jamie on the couch, magazines pressing against the tent that he made in his shorts, that was clearest in his mind. Jamie turning and looking at him with a big grin, then laughing and saying, “Your dad has these too?”

The whole thing had gone downhill from there, Nick hastily trying to explain that this wasn’t the cool thing, that there was something more. But Jamie would hear nothing of it and had opened the February issue, turned to his favorite article, and insisted that Nick read it.

Plan ruined, Nick had blurted out, “But I wanted to show you about playing with your…”

Jamie had just laughed again, making Nick’s cheeks color a little. “You mean jacking off?” he had asked, obviously a scholar on the subject that Nick had merely stumbled upon. Nick’s cheeks had felt like they must be burning off his face–not that Jamie noticed, especially with Nick being so permanently suntanned at that age.

“I. Yeah. Jacking… off. Yeah.” Nick’s mind had raced, he could still feel the landslide of shame and regret burying him alive, making it impossible to breathe, much less think. Still, he tried anyway to think of something to make it better–make this go away. “Hey, want to play soccer?”

“Yeah!” Jamie had exclaimed, Playboy forgotten, already running for his shoes by the door. Nick’s blush faded, and the landslide turned out to be nothing more than a giant bucket of water poured over his head. Both the blush and oppressive feeling weren’t gone entirely, merely replaced by something else: the only thing he’d accomplished was wondering exactly how long Jamie had known about jacking off.

From there on out, those sort of exchanges had set the tone for their relationship. Jamie blissfully ignorant, and Nick pining away unrequited.

In sixth grade, when they entered middle school, Jamie joined the soccer team. Nick joined the soccer team, too. He also joined band, because his parents wanted him to (tradition, they said) and because he wanted to, surprising everyone by choosing to play clarinet instead of sax or one of the brasses. He was the only boy who played any of the woodwinds, and he sort of liked both the distinction and the chance to shatter everyone’s expectations.

Jamie had asked a couple times why Nick even bothered–juggling two after-school activities wasn’t easy by any means, especially during soccer season; Nick had thanked the higher powers many times that their school’s soccer team wasn’t any good–and Nick tried to explain, but it was like a fish trying to explain the need for water to a bird.

Sure, the bird might say, I guess it’s fun to bathe in? But Jamie didn’t breathe water, and Nick did. He gave up trying to explain when Jamie got that zoned-out look after Nick started talking about how it felt right to him in a way that soccer didn’t.

On reflection, Nick decided that the differences between them were at their starkest in middle school. Nick was just figuring out that he didn’t like girls, at least not the way Jamie did. Or so Nick had thought, anyway. Jamie would agree when the other guys made some comment, although he never made independent comments of his own, and he never even paid any attention to girls when it was just him and Nick. In a way, it was disappointing, but Nick backed off because he had been too afraid to say anything at that age.

What had really hurt, his best friend’s questionable sexuality aside, was that Jamie never once even noticed that Nick was queer. He didn’t advertise, sure, but Jamie was Nick’s best friend–surely he could’ve noticed at some point that Nick never dated girls, never made comments about girls, never anything. But he didn’t, which (in hindsight, much to Nick’s annoyance) meant that Jamie’s disregard of the fact that Nick was queerer than a troop of male strippers in pleather and high heels had started a lot earlier than Nick had remembered.

So, it wasn’t just blissful ignorance: Jamie was willfully clueless of Nick’s sexuality, and with it the fact that Nick was absolutely head-over-heels for Jamie.

It didn’t evidence itself much in middle school, mainly because of the whole not-the-best-of-friends thing that happened during that time, but by the time Nick had learned to channel the jealousy and frustration it was abundantly clear. There were too many examples to go into everything, but some were harder memories than others.

Like the Truth or Dare game. Nick knew their ages, for this one, because it had happened at Jamie’s sixteenth birthday party.

Nick’s parents, being the fine and upstanding type who preferred that their children get drunk on-premises rather than trying underhanded methods to get alcohol, had given Jamie a case of beer as part of his birthday present and had vacated, leaving the fifteen-to-seventeen year olds to wreak havoc upon the estate.

So, they’d been a bit tipsy. Even if they hadn’t, the game probably would’ve come up, but since they were and the game came up it was the most off-the-wall game of Truth or Dare that Nick had ever participated in. (And still was, come to think of it.)

Most of the game wasn’t relevant or worth repeating, being the sort of you-had-to-be-there funny, but there were two things that stuck in Nick’s mind.

The first was Amy Andrews-Scott deciding that she wanted to know if Stephanie Wilson masturbated. (Truth was pretty dangerous, during this game.) It seemed like all was fine, when Stephanie had blushed and admitted and then Amy had had the balls to ask how often, and if she could watch sometime. All the guys had proceeded to cause a ruckus after that, wanting to also see, etcetera, and by the time it was Nick’s turn again he had had the most brilliant idea ever. Nick, being drunk off his gourd and probably his coconuts as well, had decided to pose the same questions to Jamie. (Who had chosen truth, having thus far gotten off pretty easy for being the birthday boy.)

“I already know you jack off,” he began, giggling a little because he’d totally thought that this was the most genius thing ever, what better way to find out if Jamie was interested? “But, how often?” He giggled again, unable to contain it completely. “And can I watch sometime?”

Jamie’s answer had been twice a day, and no, without meeting Nick’s eyes and with a heat in his cheeks like the fires of hell itself.

The second was when Nick chose dare, which he’d been choosing all along so it wasn’t really a monument, but this was after Nick had asked Jamie about jacking off, and he had gotten dared to kiss Jamie.

The boys had all made gagging faces, and half of the girls had been interested while the other half had acted like such things were below their scope of paying attention.

“With tongue?” he’d asked, and the girl who’d dared him had just looked at him and then said, “Duh!

Nick’s kiss had fueled his jack-off fantasies for months afterward, for all it had been an awkward, teeth-bumping, not at all sexy thing. It was more the fact that he’d kissed Jamie, and Jamie had (sort of) kissed back. A little, anyway.

But it was after that when Nick learned that a little didn’t count with Jamie. So what if he’d kissed back? (Jamie had yelled, later, and slammed the door in Nick’s face.)

Nick had decided at that point to branch out a little, because it wasn’t a challenge. Not if he had time to think constantly about that kiss, and about Jamie. So his parents bought him a bass, and he went to lessons, and he stayed on soccer team and in marching band.

And life went on, and Jamie became even more willfully oblivious to Nick’s crush.

Sometime in eleventh grade, Nick decided that he’d had enough of it. He could put his frustration into music, or he could get laid. So, being the intelligent being that he was, the next time one of the guys in band hit on him he responded and ended up spending the night learning exactly what he’d be missing with Jamie.

It felt good, physically, but it didn’t make things go away. It didn’t make things better, certainly not the time that Nick tried to make Jamie jealous by way of using the poor Band Boy whose name he would not reveal for the safety of said closeted Band Boy.

The jealousy stunt–that was another spectacular failure, and a success at the same time. Because Jamie got jealous, but he wouldn’t say it was over the sex. He wouldn’t even hint at it, wouldn’t mention that he’d seen Nick and Band Boy making out under the bleachers (just the way Nick had planned). Instead, Jamie had focused on the fact that Nick was playing soccer with him less and hanging out less and if he wanted to do other stuff, that was fine, but Jamie wished that Nick would at least give him advance warning instead of standing him up.

So. Nick recalled buying a guitar right around that time, because bass was nice but he sort of wanted to learn something new. Things with Jamie got rocky enough for a few months that he actually had time, instead of stretching himself so thin that he felt like he might break from it.

That was most of high school: Nick lusting, Jamie first being oblivious and then outright avoiding when that wasn’t an option. He needed to find something better, something that Jamie couldn’t just ignore. The only question was, what? And, really, all he had to do to figure out what was to go back to the start.

Things came full circle, finally (finally!) when Nick returned to his original plan: masturbation. Only, now he had the experience and the knowledge of Jamie to make the whole thing work–he hoped. Part of him was still afraid that if he just started masturbating for Jamie, he’d alienate his best friend and cause all sorts of problems, but–well, that was all inner monologue anyway and sort of pointless. He wanted it to work, and was afraid it might not.

But the first time he tried it, he couldn’t help thinking ‘gotcha’ when Jamie muttered his helpless little “Dude”. It would work out fine, he knew after that, he just had to be persistent. Not give up, because if Jamie didn’t yell and scream holy bloody murder the first time it wasn’t likely that he would the second. It was, however, quite likely that his plan would work–eventually.

And it did. It worked beautifully.

Which pretty much brought them to where they were now: it was two weeks after Jamie had agreed to be Nick’s boyfriend, and it still felt like nothing was different. Sure, they messed around, but the basic facts were the same. Jamie was closeted and afraid, while Nick was In Love and happy to tell anyone who cared all about it. That had been the original plan, anyway. It had been reduced to ‘the people of whom Jamie approves’, which was no one, which meant that Nick was closeted just as firmly as Jamie.

“I have never before in my life been in the fucking closet,” Nick said, purposefully keeping his voice low because they were doing this at Jamie’s house. (The rule was no [more] messing around at Jamie’s, lest Jamie’s parents find out.)

“We can’t all be f–” Jamie started, but cut off, and Nick almost walked out then and there. Fags. Jamie didn’t use it around Nick, but he’d used it plenty of other times. The way he didn’t meet Nick’s gaze told him that easy enough. “Look, you’re arty, it’s accepted. Berklee is totally the place–”

“What the hell does this have to do with whether or not it’s accepted? You think it was accepted in middle school when I was the only guy who played clarinet? You think–”

“I’m not as brave as you!” Jamie said. Well, he yelled it, to be truthful. Nick winced, looking over his shoulder at the door–locked, as usual. But Jamie’s mom was just the type to ask if everything was okay, which meant Nick would be leaving soon, because everything wasn’t okay and he wasn’t going to lie about it anymore.

“Let me be brave for you,” he murmured, standing up from the little chair leaning over the bed where Jamie sat to press a little kiss against his boyfriend’s dry lips. Chaste, no tongue, because he didn’t want to get it bitten off and Jamie was in that mood. “If you don’t… I can’t do this, Jamie. I’m sorry.”

“You’re selfish,” Jamie muttered, like a sullen child. That was how he acted about this entire thing: childish. And that was Nick letting his anger get the best of him.

“If you say so,” he said with a shrug, pointedly not meeting Jamie’s eyes. He straightened up and walked toward the door just in time for the knock from Jamie’s mom.

“Is everything–” she began, cutting off when Nick opened the door. He didn’t bother forcing a smile.

“Not really, but it’s Jamie’s deal, so I’m going to let him work it out,” he said, more than he’d meant to and probably fuel to the fire of Nick-hate burning in Jamie. “Bye.”

He left without another word, spending the rest of the afternoon playing first on his kit and then, once his parents were home, his practice pad. Guitar so wasn’t the thing for aggression, but drums worked nicely.

“I told my parents,” Nick said, cradling his head against Jamie’s chest. The words were more of a murmur, really, the sort of breathy confession that one whispered across pillows after sex.

No matter how soft the words were, they didn’t prevent Jamie from tensing up underneath Nick, didn’t prevent Jamie’s heartbeat from suddenly speeding up, and didn’t stop Jamie from holding his breath. Nick knew that Jamie wanted to push him off, so he pushed himself up with one hand and stared down at his boyfriend. “Look, you can hide all you want–my parents even agreed not to tell yours or give any clues or anything–but I can’t. I can’t, Jamie.”

He held his breath once the words were out, knowing they were the truth but not knowing how Jamie would react to hearing it laid out so plainly. Jamie might not have noticed it before, but it really killed Nick to squirrel things away. He could feel them festering beneath the surface until they came bubbling up in this great crescendo of emotion, usually the particularly destructive type. He’d done it so long for Jamie and he just couldn’t anymore.

It was very selfish of him, just as Jamie had said. The whole thing had been very selfish of him, the carefully planned seduction of his best friend despite all of the reasons his best friend didn’t want to do it. But Jamie hadn’t screamed holy bloody murder, and Nick had known if he didn’t get it out before they went to their respective colleges, he never would. So he’d done it, in the only fit of true selfishness that he’d ever had in his whole goddamn life, and now he was paying for it.

Just when Nick was thinking maybe this wasn’t Meant To Be, maybe it would be better if they stayed friends (like they could go back to being just friends, now that they’d done–everything), Jamie squirmed out from between Nick’s arm and body and began putting on his clothes.

“Going home?” Nick asked, trying not to put venom into the words but knowing they must be laced with it anyway.

“Yes,” Jamie said, simply. He sounded a bit like a kicked puppy, and Nick wondered just how hard he’d inadvertently kicked this time. “Just–tell me one thing?”

“Yeah?” Nick said, probably too eagerly. He’d tell Jamie anything, everything, if Jamie asked. He’d walk on asphalt in the summer barefoot, he’d– a million other things that he didn’t get to think of, because Jamie’s response was pretty quick this time.

“If it kills you to hide, how did you… I mean, from me, why didn’t you just–” Jamie cut off, clamping his jaw shut. Nick could see the muscles working, see the wheels in Jamie’s head turning as he tried to think about how to phrase the question. “Why aren’t you dead from hiding how much you wanted me?”

Nick couldn’t help it. He laughed. The insanity of Jamie asking that question, of all things. Not why did Nick hide it, not how did he manage to keep it a secret, not any of that. Just why wasn’t he dead? The other questions, Nick wasn’t sure he’d be able to answer, but this? This was easy.

Arms spread wide, from the drum kit in the corner to the guitars and basses in their stands to the clarinet case that was beginning to gather dust, Nick stared at Jamie. “Where do you think I got the energy for all this? Plus soccer team. Plus hanging out with you every day. Plus schoolwork and doing fuckawesome on the SAT.”

Jamie just looked shocked. Like perhaps he hadn’t thought about it before–which, obviously he hadn’t, aside from admiring Nick’s drive and asking how Nick did it. Nick hadn’t answered at the time, had only smiled and shrugged, shaking his head just the way he was now.

“You’re amazing,” Jamie murmured, just close enough for Nick to hear the words. Not much else would’ve shut Nick up for long enough that Jamie made an easy escape, now fully dressed, but that did it. Jamie didn’t even get a bye when he left, but he didn’t seem like he wanted one.

Nick bit his lip, staring at the space his best friend-slash-boyfriend had so recently vacated. Maybe he’d play his clarinet. He hadn’t for so long, because mass amounts of energy just didn’t do well, but he thought maybe it was time he played–even if he wasn’t planning on playing again anytime soon.

Two days after Nick gave his ultimatum (and was so efficiently turned down) he was still miserable. Not just miserable, but fucking miserable, otherwise there was no way he’d be hanging around the mall doing absolutely nothing with absolutely no one. He should be at home, playing music, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to play an instrument since Jamie had left. He picked them up and they sat useless, nothing more than junk in his now idle hands. He wanted to cry (hard), wanted to scream (loudly), wanted to laugh (helplessly) at the stupidity of it all.

He’d lost Jamie; he’d lost everything. He deserved no less, really, for manipulating Jamie the way he did, but that didn’t mean he liked the way it felt. It was heartache, quite literally, because his chest hurt and the more he thought about it the harder it was to breathe.

Face in his hands, he didn’t see the person who walked over, apparently wanting this table really bad because the bastard interrupted Nick’s perfectly legitimate angst with a tap on the shoulder. Soft, like he was afraid, which he should be because Nick was totally about to–

Jamie.

Looking at Nick. Nick felt the impact of that gaze like a physical thing, having somehow forgotten the effect that Jamie had on him over the past two days. Or not expecting it, anyway. Jamie’s expression was troubled, eyebrows half-furrowed and brown eyes looking more puppy dog than ever.

Nick licked his lips. Nervous? Apprehensive, perhaps, but mostly dreading what was going to happen next. This was far too public a place for them to really break up.

“Not here,” he begged, knowing he sounded discordant. Jamie’s presence hadn’t done anything for that lump in his throat. “Please. Don’t do it here.”

“It has to be here,” Jamie said softly, barely loud enough for Nick to hear–never mind the rest of the mall’s patrons who were probably actually more interested in their own business than in Nick and Jamie. Or would be, until the yelling or crying began. And? Probably and.

“Like hell,” Nick hissed, looking away because maybe that way he could postpone the crying, if it was the inevitably that it seemed to be. “We need to–”

“It can’t be anywhere else,” Jamie said, louder now, louder than a normal speaking voice, and Nick could feel the people looking at him now. See, as his eyes darted around, taking them in, shaking his head until Jamie’s hands came up to steady him with a hand on either cheek.

“Jam–” Nick began, but didn’t get any farther, because Jamie leaned down and was suddenly close. Very close. He didn’t realize that Jamie was hesitating, not until Jamie exercised the kissability of the kissably close situation and Nick’s brain had a moment of complete shutdown due to the shock.

Jamie. Kissing him. When other people were watching. Strangers, granted. But he attracted the attention first. Purposefully, perhaps? Nick’s brain was starting to work again, slowly, as Jamie pulled away and just looked at him.

Like it was Nick’s turn to say anything? The only thing he could come up with was “You!” too loud, still hoarse as hell and trying to work this out. Weren’t they broken up? Wasn’t it over? “You, you. Me?” he struggled, shaking his head, finally giving up and asking, “What?”

And Jamie laughed. Of course. Softly, granted, but he laughed all the same and pulled away and Nick followed, half out of the seat until he realized that Jamie was going to steal a chair from another table and sit next to Nick instead of leaning over him. Right. Huh.

“What the hell?” Nick asked, voice closer to a normal speaking voice now. Jamie grinned, color in his cheeks as he played the innocent suitor and looked away, down at his shoes. “Jamie! What the hell?”

“I had to do it somewhere public,” Jamie began, like Nick had even worked out what ‘it’ was. “I knew if I didn’t, you’d never believe me.”

“Do what?” Kiss him? Sure, they’d never kissed in public before, but that was because Jamie was–and Nick’s brain was apparently really working now, because he figured it out. Jamie must’ve noticed the sudden light of understanding in Nick’s eyes; he nodded.

And then leaned forward and kissed Nick again, with tongue. Nick laughed into the kiss, a joyous sort of thing that was cut short by Jamie’s hands on his body, his fingers sliding from Nick’s shoulders to his hands and holding and Nick broke the kiss just to stare.

Hands. He shifted his right hand, lacing his fingers with Jamie’s left, eyes wide with wonder at the spectacle. Jamie’s thumb even rubbed lightly across the back of their other hands, more of an expression of intimacy than kissing, at least to Nick. He laughed a little, not muffled now, still knowing that his face must be a painting of complete shock–because he was. He’d never expected–this. Not after Jamie left. Not even before that, although it had seemed more likely then. But after he’d left…

“You left,” Nick said, suddenly looking away from their (joined!) hands and focusing on Jamie’s face.

Jamie looked away, not down at their hands but off to the right, at the rest of the mall. “I did,” he agreed, voice soft. “I had to figure things out.”

“Oh,” Nick said. He couldn’t manage to come up with anything on the subject other than that; it had been a rather obvious answer. Clearly his mind was still not functioning at a hundred percent.

Jamie’s gaze focused on Nick’s face again, for a moment, and Nick was rewarded with a smile. He smiled back, breaking the eye contact to look down at their hands. At their knees, too, his left between Jamie’s and Jamie’s right between his. He could really get used to this, he thought, and leaned forward to let his forehead rest at the junction of Jamie’s neck and shoulder.

“I’m not going to say I won’t freak out again,” Jamie said, suddenly, breaking the silence that Nick had rather been enjoying. When he was so close as Jamie spoke, the words had a tactile quality; Nick felt like the words were a bit more real that way. “But–you… you sacrificed your happiness ’til now. I could at least sacrifice a little of my comfort.”

What did he even say to that? “Jamie…” Nothing. That was what. Nick let their hands go, sliding both arms around Jamie, pulling his friend into a tight hug. He felt like he might start crying a little, and giggled instead, because it was a happy sort of cry and he’d thought of something to say. “You watch too many soap operas.”

“After all the stunts you pulled, it’s no wonder,” Jamie murmured, tone laced with amusement. “Standing me up for a soccer date so you can neck under the bleachers with–”

Nick sat back away, putting a finger over Jamie’s lips. “Shh,” he murmured. “Don’t ruin the moment.”

“It’s already ruined!” Jamie said, laughing and looking around as he did. “We’re in the fucking mall, of all places.”

“Point,” Nick muttered, rolling his eyes. He’d sort of forgotten the other people, but obviously Jamie hadn’t. Well, it wasn’t like he could really expect a thousand dramatic changes overnight. Just the fact that he’d done this in public was enough for Nick, and thinking about it made him laugh deep in his throat and lean forward to press another kiss against Jamie’s lips. “My Jamie.”

“Only if you’re my Nick,” Jamie said, still a little awkward at the whole romance thing. Clearly he hadn’t read enough romance novels, although he certainly paid enough attention to TV soap operas.

“Of course,” he purred, grinning at the way that tone went straight to Jamie’s cock. It wasn’t that he could see a bulge, it was that Jamie got this glazed look in his eyes when he was horny and he had a shade of that look right now. Nick dared to reach between them, only getting a soft grope before Jamie knocked his hand away.

“Not here,” Jamie said. Nick almost told him that it couldn’t be anywhere but here. But Jamie was right–not here. He didn’t want to consummate their relationship in front of other people, for one, and without a bed, for another.

“Did you drive?” He stood, wincing a little as he did. Breaking the contact so suddenly wasn’t pleasant. He casually touched Jamie’s shoulder, standing behind Jamie now and letting his fingers rest gingerly on the warm fabric of one of Jamie’s endless soccer jerseys.

“No?” Jamie asked, like he wasn’t sure what the right answer was. But that was what Nick had been looking for. He leaned down, over his boyfriend, pressing a kiss against his cheek and grinning at the fact that he could. In public!

“Your momma drive you, little school boy?” Nick teased, somewhere between their normal boyish banter and something decidedly more sexual.

“Um.” Jamie looked away; Nick saw his cheeks color a bit. He looked so edible when he had that half-embarrassed, half-devil-may-care type look. “Yeah.”

Nick almost asked Jamie what he’d told his mom he was going to do, but bit his tongue on that one. Best not to push things. “So, you want I take you to your place?”

Jamie looked up at him, shock clear on his face. He’d thought that they’d fuck now? Nick shrugged.

“I thought…”

“I’d take you home and screw you silly?” Nick provided, loving the way the devil-may-care half of Jamie’s expression melted away at the tone of his voice. And the content, of course. Difficult to forget that content was as important as delivery.

“Yeah,” Jamie said, somewhere between husky and hoarse. Needy, all-around; Nick liked him that way.

“I’ll take you home,” he said, leaning down again, half squatting so that he could whisper the words in Jamie’s ear. For him, only. Nobody else. “On the way, there, you can tell me what you want me to do. I’ll want details, just so you know–the nitty gritty kind, with the dirtiest words you can think of. I want ‘fuck’ to sound clean.”

Nick leaned back, straightening, patting Jamie’s shoulder. This was a hell of a lot more elaborate than anything they’d done so far. More drawn out, more time for Jamie to change his mind. Nick hoped to god he wouldn’t, but if he was going to it would happen now. If it didn’t happen now… well, then it wouldn’t happen. He let his fingers slide inward, touching the bare skin of Jamie’s neck, feathering over to brush the tiny hairs at the base of Jamie’s neck. “If it sounds good, maybe we’ll give it a shot.”

The full-body shudder that engulfed Jamie was answer enough to whether Jamie thought that sounded like a good plan. When he looked at Nick again, his pupils were blown wide. Nick smiled down at him. “Don’t get overexcited. My car’s at the very back of the lot; it’s gonna be a long walk.”

“Cruel bastard,” Jamie said, falling short of sounding at all like he disapproved of Nick’s agenda.

Nick just bit Jamie’s earlobe and then motioned for Jamie to follow him.

“Where do I start?” Jamie asked on the way to the car, looking over his shoulder like someone might’ve been following them or something.

Nick reached over and slapped Jamie’s ass, just because. “Well, you could always begin with what you actually want and progress from there?”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Nick realized that the problem with that might possibly be the fact that Jamie had no idea what he wanted. Jamie looked helpless, and started to say something but just trailed off into this pitiful little ‘uh…’

“Or start with stuff we’ve done already,” Nick supplied hastily, and sort of wished that he hadn’t said all that he did just a few moments ago. Why make Jamie do things he couldn’t do? It was cruel.

“There was this time I wanted you so bad,” Jamie said, suddenly, interrupting Nick’s thoughts and making his brain come to a screeching halt.

Which, of course, sort of confused him a little, but hey. Jamie. Talking about wanting him. Maybe it was cool to be confused sometimes. “Yeah?” he said, eloquence at its finest.

“It was at school.” They were at the car now, thank god, and Jamie paused while Nick unlocked the doors but as soon as they were both in, before the seatbelts were even buckled, he kept going. “I–wouldn’t let myself, before. So now, I’ll… flesh it out, I guess.”

Nick nodded a little as he started the car to show he was listening. Jamie might need the confirmation, after all, even though Nick sure as hell didn’t. He liked listening to Jamie and always had; having his consciousness so taken up by his best friend/boyfriend wasn’t anything new. But the words, the tone? Those were almost completely unexplored, unexposed, and Nick didn’t dare interrupt that.

“It was after the–after the bleachers… thing. I was at practice, and saw you sitting on the bleachers by yourself. I didn’t know what you were doing there, then–but now. I guess you were watching me, huh?”

Nick could feel his cheeks getting a little warm. “Yeah,” he whispered. His voice sounded rough, raw, to his ears. “Keep going.”

“I thought about what it would be like to have it off with you under the bleachers,” Jamie said, the words almost coming all at once but separated just enough to be comprehensible. “I cut it off at that, though. Then. As soon as I thought it, like snip, go away. But now–I can imagine maybe what position we’d be in? And whether you’d have your legs up over my shoulders, or around my waist. Which do you think?”

Jamie, fucking him. Nick’s cock twitched, half-hardness from Jamie’s tone going toward fully hard with his words. “Waist,” he mumbled, pointedly keeping his eyes on the road. Thank god for small towns and easy driving. “Definitely waist.”

“So, your legs wrapped around my waist. We’re far under the bleachers, too, ’cause I don’t want anyone seeing us, so you can grab on to the supports pretty easy. You grip them hard, because I’m just pounding into you. I–I like the way your heels dig in to my back, like the little breathy sounds you make.”

Nick nodded. Yeah. He was quiet. He liked to hear other people, and liked to make his noise with instruments. And liked where this was going.

“I want to make you scream,” Jamie said, words almost a whisper. Louder, “I’m really giving it to you, leaning over you and gripping your hips and driving my cock into you so hard that I am going to be the one with bruises the next day. And… and I tell you. That I want to hear you, I want you to moan for me. I whisper it in your ear, yeah, I can’t really talk loud because I’m panting too hard. Because I’m fucking you too hard.”

Nick groaned. He actually made a sound that wasn’t a gasp or a little thing in the back of the throat, and he made it for Jamie.

“So you shake your head, like no, no, you can’t. But you do, you get all tense and make a sound like you just made, and I almost come from that.” Jamie’s voice sounded shaky now, shaky as Nick felt, but he liked it. Loved it. “But I don’t. I can’t, not until you scream for me. So I tell you that, and you’re still all tense, like how you get right before you’re going to come. Your head is up, kind of curled you know, eyes shut and you’re shaking it like no, no. But then you stop, and I pump into you, and your head goes back, and you scream.”

He almost did. Wanted to, could feel it in his throat, a balled up yell hiding away because now so wasn’t the place. Instead, he whispered, “Good fucking god, Jamie.”

“I’m not done!” Jamie said, louder than he’d been talking with the dirty talk. “When you scream, I lose it. I scream too. I come in you, rocking in as deep as I can, and I scream and bury my face against your chest and scream again. It’s hard to even stay on my knees, after an orgasm like that–you made me come so hard, Nick. You did. So–”

“Home!” Nick said, cutting off whatever was to follow and leaning over and kissing Jamie. Hard. With teeth and tongue and every bit of want with which he’d not done anything during the entire car ride.

It was awkward, with the gear shift in the middle and the car still running, but it was damn good. Enough to make Nick think he might be able to stand the time from now until when they made it up to Nick’s bedroom.

“Was I good?” Jamie asked on the way up the stairs.

Nick stopped abruptly, turning around and just staring at his friend. How could Jamie not know if he’d been good, after that kiss? How could–it didn’t matter, he decided. Jamie needed confirmation that he was good, so Nick reached down and took Jamie’s hand and pressed it to the front of his pants. Nick’s cock was still hard, still throbbing with the so recent memory of Jamie’s voice and Jamie’s want for this, for sex with Nick, for everything. “You were amazing.”

Jamie looked uncomfortable for a moment; it took that long for Nick to place the parting words Jamie had given him two days ago. Amazing. Right. But Jamie’s discomfort passed, and he broke out into a shy smile and Nick gave him a peck on the cheek because it was just adorable.

“You are amazing,” Nick murmured. “Now come on, be amazing in my bed.”

Jamie laughed, still a little uncomfortable, but Nick was fine with that. Fine with anything, as long as Jamie stayed ready and willing to follow Nick upstairs and into Nick’s bedroom.

“I wanted to fuck you,” Nick said, closing his door and locking it. He wished he had a deadbolt, something to keep his parents out for sure if he really did end up screaming. “At the mall. I wanted nothing more than my cock to have a date with your ass.”

But now, went the unspoken continuity of Nick’s words. Now…he wanted it the other way around.

“Want you to fuck me.” Nick stripped off his shirt, getting it caught over his head for a moment and struggling in his haste and realizing that he was shaking a little, wanting this too hard and too fast. He took a few shaky breaths; he tried to calm down. “Jamie. Please. I want you to fuck me.”

“We haven’t–” Jamie began, and Nick covered his mouth. No. It didn’t matter what they had and hadn’t done.

“Condoms under the bed. Lube in the nightstand. We can do it.” Nick uncovered Jamie’s mouth, hand going to the front of Jamie’s pants instead. Cupping, squeezing; he liked the heaviness of Jamie’s cock in his hand. “I–I want you in me. I want it so bad.”

Jamie looked away a little, so Nick kissed him. Needy, demanding, he pressed Jamie back against the comforter and straddled him and let their cocks rub against each other like that. It felt good, made Nick’s breath catch in his throat and made Jamie moan into the kiss. Frottage, he was fairly sure it was called.

“Want you to bruise me,” Nick whispered, breaking the kiss for long enough to get the words out.

He loved the wetness of Jamie, the warmth and sharpness there too and the way Jamie’s hands pressed down over Nick’s ass, pulling his cheeks apart and grinding their hips together at the same time.

“I’ll scream for you,” Nick promised, even though he knew he might not. He always seemed to get deliberately quiet, the closer he got to orgasm, but godfuck for the fantasy Jamie had painted Nick would sure as hell try to be the opposite for once.

“Pants off.” Jamie talking now, a command even if it was a whispered one. “Off, Nick.”

Nick scrambled to obey, scrambled to pull down his jeans and pull Jamie’s down and press their cocks together for a glorious second. It turned into two seconds, turned into hips rocking and cocks pressing hot against Nick’s belly until Jamie said it again– “Off.” –which meant all the way. None left on, fully off, and Nick did it happily, pushed their pants off of the bed and climbed back on top of Jamie.

“Pants off,” he reported, like Jamie needed to be told. He didn’t, not with the way he was moaning, hands on Nick’s hips again, cock pressed alongside Nick’s in the most delicious way. Nick’s breath caught at the feeling, the warmth and need and Jamie; he leaned down to kiss his boyfriend again, slow and sloppy this time.

“Condom?” Jamie asked, when the kiss got so sloppy that talking was possible. It came out jumbled, at first, but he said it a few more times and Nick finally got it and moved to obey. His actions were less of a scramble this time but his hands shook as he pulled the two condoms apart, wishing maybe that he’d done this beforehand.

“Condom,” Nick said, holding it up and — involuntarily making a sound deep in his throat as Jamie’s hand came down on his ass. Open, like a. A spank. His cock throbbed.

“Lube?”

Nick felt even shakier than before, almost fell off the bed as he went toward the drawer in the nightstand where he kept his lube. Jamie’s hand on his back kept him from falling off, pulling him back before he could ruin the moment entirely.

He couldn’t think. He couldn’t do anything but crawl on top of Jamie again. He let his friend slide a finger down the cleft of his ass, slow and slick, right inside. His eyes fluttered shut, and his head hung loosely as he whimpered.

Jamie’s fingers. Finger, right now. Sliding in, and he lowered his shoulders, let his forehead rest against Jamie’s chest and threaded his arms under Jamie’s shoulders, fingers gripping as singular became plural.

“Fuck,” Jamie said.

He felt the word go over him like a physical thing, warmth and arousal twisting together in his belly and making him whimper a little louder. Spread his legs a little wider.

“Good.” Jamie’s voice was audible sex. Rough and amazing, like, like. Jamie.

He shivered, and Jamie’s fingers inside of him slowed. He shook, saying something incoherent, and Jamie’s fingers inside of him moved again.

“Want to switch positions?” Jamie asked.

Nick willed himself to think about it. Willed himself to say something other than incoherent ramblings, needy words that he couldn’t stop from spilling out. Yes, or no. Yes or no. Yesorno.

“No?” he asked, because he did sort of like this. Like Jamie spread out beneath him, gorgeous and amazing and Jamie.

A Jamie that laughed, albeit softly, as Nick shifted positions again. Still on top of Jamie, but ass down now, straddling with Jamie’s cock pressing along the cleft of his ass. He reached back, stroking slowly, smile spreading over his lips at the expression that Jamie made.

“Ready?” Jamie asked; Nick nodded. He took a deep breath, rolling his hips back, guiding Jamie’s cock with his hand and holding his breath as Jamie pushed inside.

It didn’t hurt, not precisely. Not at first, anyway, it was just uncomfortable. Then it started to burn, both his chest and his ass and he let his breath out and his ass still hurt and. Oh god. He was really doing it.

“Jamie,” he whispered, bending backward a little at the spine, panting softly. It didn’t hurt so bad. Not so bad. Sort of good, especially when Jamie’s fingers wrapped around his cock. Yes, that was sort of really good, sort of squeezing and pulling and yes. “Fuck me.”

“Doesn’t work too well in this position,” Jamie murmured, tone strained but amused. Strained why?

Oh yes. Cock in ass. Nick whined deep in his throat, shaking his head a little. Moving. No. Yes?

“We should change positions, Nick,” Jamie said, tone less strained. A little.

Nick shivered a little, lifting his hips, up, up, until Jamie’s cock slid out of him and then he felt empty. It had hurt but it had felt good, had felt–filling, and possibly glorious, and he gladly lay back against the pillows now, legs spread indecently as Jamie positioned himself.

“Better?” Nick asked, counting himself proud that he was speaking in good words. Just one word, but it worked.

“Mmmm,” Jamie hummed, suddenly close, leaning over Nick and — kissing again. Nick arched up against his boyfriend, kissing back eagerly, hands finding Jamie’s shoulders, the back of his neck, behind his ears, finally cupping Jamie’s cheeks as the kiss broke.

Good kiss. Nick sighed happily. “Now?”

“No,” Jamie said. Nick stared at him, wondering, but Jamie just leaned down to kiss him again. Touch, too, fingers sliding along Nick’s belly, down to his cock and Nick realized that he was only half hard.

Oh.

Nick broke the kiss, wiping his lips off with the back of his hand and looking away. All this, and he couldn’t even–couldn’t keep it up when they. Yeah.

“Hey.” Jamie turned Nick’s face back, held it there as he looked down at Nick. “It’s okay. We don’t have to do it this way.”

Nick felt the shame burning in his cheeks. He wanted to disappear. “Okay.”

“Hey, Nick. It’s okay, man.” Jamie said that, but he pulled away anyway, pulled away and left Nick cold and–

Didn’t really pull away. Just moved a little, downward, pressed a kiss right below Nick’s navel.

Oh. Again.

Nick almost said that Jamie didn’t have to, almost protested, but he didn’t really get a chance. Jamie was touching him before he could, caressing ever so gently, teasing the slit with his tongue in a way Nick hadn’t known might feel amazing. And it did, that little flick made him see stars for a second, made him arch his hips up into his friend’s apparently experienced touch.

Dear god. Gods. Creators. Powers. Anything, and everything, and he was too short-circuited to stop and wonder where Jamie might have learned. It didn’t matter where he learned; right now he had the knowledge and was using it well. Not just flicking, but sucking too, squeezing with his hand, just the barest scrape of teeth in a way that made Nick gasp.

“Want,” Nick said, incoherent. He was fine with this. Good with it. Happy to grip the short strands of Jamie’s hair and rock his hips into that heat and not worry about stopping, not worry about anything from start to finish, from the semi-timid caress to the less practiced than it might’ve been deep throating that Jamie was doing when Nick came.

He didn’t scream. It was okay.

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