Jorge was waiting by the gate for his partner to show up for the last patrol before landfall. It was a miserable day, exactly the kind of day that needed a kaiju to really seal the deal. Normally the coast was warm and beautiful this time of year, but today the whole beach was nothing but gray. The ocean damp clung to Jorge’s clothes and skin and the sand and sea and sky met in a swirl of fog. They were lucky to have radar and also lucky that kaijus were fucking loud, because even with both of those things it would be hard to know the kaiju was there until it was right on top of them.
Jorge was looking at the ocean side of the wall, out toward what used to be a pretty nice part of town. Occasionally he forgot himself and thought about the town of Ocean Heights the way it used to be when he was a kid: the boardwalk, the fish taco place his family went to at least once a week, the grocery store parking lot where he and his friends skateboarded, the houses all jammed on top of each other because beach real estate was precious.
Now all of that was gone, the houses mostly destroyed, and those that were still standing were in such disrepair that no one had bothered to raze them.
“Oh, fuck me.”
Jorge didn’t even have to turn around to recognize Williams. Just what Jorge needed. He would have known that voice anywhere. “You’re on last patrol with me?”
“Let’s get this over with,” Williams said, striding out of the gate.
The thing that pissed Jorge off the most about Williams was how hot he was. He moved through the rubble of Ocean Heights like a jungle cat, light on his feet even in his full tactical gear. He reminded Jorge of one of the join-the-military commercials from before the kaiju rose up, all bright eyes and flashing smile and glowing dark skin, exactly the kind of guy Jorge always went for, a military recruitment poster wet dream. It was too bad Williams was such an asshole. He never missed a chance to tell people how he’d been drafted, how this was the last place he wanted to be.
“Why the fuck do we bother running this last patrol? Anyone who’s still out here has a deathwish.”
“Shut up and do your job, Williams.”
“This isn’t my job. This is the bullshit I got drafted for.”
“Shut up and do the bullshit you got drafted for, then,” Jorge said.
Their objective was to sweep their section of the wall and make sure that the area was totally clear of civilians before landfall. The civilians who still lived by the wall ten years into the war knew exactly what the first alarm meant, but there were still kids who snuck out and didn’t hear it.
Jorge had been stationed here for two years now, and even with how little the current landscape resembled the town from his childhood, he knew the houses well. Most of them were heartbreakers, houses that people had been living in right up until the first landfall. You’d walk in and see ten-year-old breakfast dishes still in the sink, chairs pulled out from the table, lives interrupted. A lot of the people who’d lived here hadn’t ever come back after the first landfall. Mostly Jorge was familiar enough with the houses that he could just ignore them, go about the work.
Within the first two hours of the patrol they’d cleared most of their sector. Williams could get shit done effectively enough if he just shut up and did it, but of course it couldn’t last.
“Have you ever found a civilian on one of these patrols?”
“Not me personally. Guys do find them, though.”
Williams peered into an apartment, poked around, and then popped back out. “How many? How often?”
“Jameson found a kid right before last landfall. You can talk to him when we get back.”
“If we get back,” Williams said. “We’re just out here like sitting ducks.”
“We’ll be back behind the wall before landfall,” Jorge said.
“And then what? Do you really think the wall is going to keep holding? It’s a fucking joke, Gutiérrez. I don’t get why we don’t just all evacuate inland. The kaiju can have the fucking coast for all I care.”
“Just because you don’t care about the coast doesn’t mean this isn’t home for a lot of people, Williams.”
“So I’m supposed to die so some rich people can keep their ocean view? Fuck that.”
This wasn’t a rich town, but Jorge figured there wasn’t much point explaining that to Williams, who was just lashing out for the sake of lashing out. Instead of responding, he led the way to the next house. This one looked perfectly normal on the first floor, and then after that the house just stopped. A kaiju had grabbed the top of the house and ripped it off with its claws.
“You take the left,” Jorge said. “I’ll get the bedrooms.”
“Whatever,” Williams said. Absurdly, Jorge was starting to find the constant complaining to be a turn-on.
Jorge knew this particular house well. He’d wondered before if the owners were on vacation when the first kaiju made landfall. It was obviously not a wealthy person’s house; the TVs had to be thirty years old, so ancient the looters hadn’t even bothered to lift them. But for all that, the house looked well-loved. It had been put away neatly, everything perfectly in its place, all the beds made. There was something weirdly peaceful about it, the idea that there was still this bit of normalcy in the world, like the people who’d lived here might come back and put a new roof on and keep living here someday, if the kaiju were ever gone.
Jorge’s own family had only lived in Ocean Heights for a couple of years when Jorge was in elementary school, before his dad had gotten stationed further up the coast. They’d lived on base. It hadn’t ever felt like Ocean Heights was his hometown or anything; he wasn’t sure what it would feel like to have such a place, as often as he’d moved around his entire life. But defending this stretch of coast nevertheless felt personal. He knew it here.
It didn’t take long to clear the house, but when Jorge headed back toward the door Williams was blocking the exit.
“What’s the point of any of this?” Williams said. “If we find a kid in one of these houses, so what? We save the kind from dying this landfall just so they can get crushed in the next one? Or best case they grow up to be a soldier like you and then die?”
“Shut up, Williams.”
Williams laughed. “The point is, there is no point. There’s no way to win against the kaiju.”
Really late at night when Jorge couldn’t sleep he sometimes got into a thought spiral that sounded almost exactly like this, a relentless drumming of they were never going to win, they weren’t smart enough, they weren’t strong enough. It felt like Williams had taken that spiral out of his brain and spoken it aloud, with all the mocking hopelessness Jorge could conjure up in his worst moments.
“Shut up, Williams,” Jorge hissed. Without intending to, Jorge had gotten up in Williams’ face.
“Nah, I don’t think I want to. I think you know I’m right. Sooner or later the wall’s going to fall and the whole coast with it and we’ll all be fucked. We’re nothing but sea-monster fodder out here, no matter what they tell you.”
“Just fucking stop it,” Jorge said, slamming Williams back against the hallway and holding him there.
For an entire moment Williams was silent, breathing heavily in surprise, and then he surged forward and smashed his mouth into Jorge’s. Williams was kissing him, and Jorge didn’t even think to hesitate before he kissed back. Jorge was apoplectic with rage and frustration, putting everything into his kiss, making it vicious. It tasted like blood when Williams kissed with his mouth open but that didn’t seem to be slowing him down any.
Williams broke for air and said, “I knew it. I knew you were down to fuck.”
“You really can’t shut up,” Jorge said. He could feel Williams’ hard dick even through the layers of their uniforms and Jorge rutted against him, getting his leg between Williams’ for some friction.
“I could think of a way you could make me shut up,” Williams said.
“No,” Jorge decided. “I’m going to fuck you.”
Williams groaned. “Yeah, all right. Come on, Gutiérrez, let’s go.”
Jorge didn’t need to hear that twice. They both started pulling off their tactical gear, just enough to get their dicks out, so their body armor wouldn’t be in the way. Williams finished stripping even faster than Jorge. Williams’ dick, jutting hard against his stomach, was as gorgeous as the rest of him, long and uncut and already leaking pre-come. Jorge said, “Turn around. Brace on the wall.”
Williams’ dick twitched. “There we go,” Williams said, turning around. He spread his legs wide and shoved his ass away from the wall and oh, his ass was better than Jorge would have ever imagined. Williams was pure muscle, his ass tight and high, and Jorge got both his hands on it, spreading Williams’ cheeks wide.
When Jorge had thought about fucking Williams—and of course he had, he had eyes and a libido—he’d fantasized about taking it slow, working Williams open with his tongue and his fingers, bringing him to the edge and keeping him there, then fucking into him until he was begging for Jorge to touch his dick, begging to come while he was skewered on Jorge’s dick, while Jorge fucked him until he was wrecked.
In the real world, this needed to be fast.
“Stay still,” Jorge said. He pressed his index finger against Williams’ hole.
Williams pushed back against Jorge’s hand easily. “Is that really all you’ve got, Gutiérrez?”
“You’re such an asshole.”
“And clearly it’s working for you,” Williams said. “Give me another finger.”
Jorge slid out and pushed his middle finger in too, meeting resistance at the ring of muscle at Williams’ opening. He fucked past it and into Williams, pistoning his fingers.
Williams got into it. He stopped moving against Jorge’s hand and instead pushed his ass even higher and said, breathing heavy, “That’s it, like that, fuck yes, right there. Keep going that hard.” He reached back to grab Jorge’s hand off his ass and put it on his dick.
Jorge wrapped his fingers around Williams’ dick and gave two fast tugs. “You better not fucking come before I’m in you.”
“So get in me already. I’m good, Gutiérrez, let’s go.”
“Condom,” Jorge said. “If you don’t have a condom I’m punching your face in.”
Williams produced a lubricated condom from his tactical vest because of course he did. Jorge rolled it on, then guided himself into Williams.
“Fuck yes,” Williams said. “Harder, I can take it.”
Jorge dug his fingers into Williams’ hips and began to pound him. He wasn’t going to last, and anyway they needed to go. He reached around and got his hand on Williams’ dick, smeared the pre-come all around the head, and then gripped him in earnest, gave him something to fuck into.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck,” Williams said. “I’m gonna come, I’m gonna–” And then he was coming all over Jorge’s hand, coming in hot spurts all over his own stomach and chest. Jorge wanted to lick it off him, kiss him after with a mouth that tasted like Williams’ come, but that was a fantasy for a different world than this, one where he could do anything other than let himself come now too, gratified that he’d been able to hold off this long.
Three years in the military meant that Jorge was used to not making noise when he came, used to life in the barracks and combat jacks and the occasional handjob at best, but Williams could tell he was coming anyway, talked him through it because Williams just could not stop talking: “That’s it, that’s fucking it, Gutiérrez, come on, come on.”
The orgasm felt like it kept on going, waves upon waves wringing themselves out of him while he dug his fingers into Williams’ sides, sure to leave bruises. When he was finally done, Jorge let himself breathe for half a second before he said, “I’m pulling out.”
“Look at you being a gentleman.”
Just because Williams was a dick didn’t mean Jorge needed to be a shitty lay. Jorge ignored him and tied the condom off.
Williams started laughing.
“What?” Jorge said.
“It’s the fucking apocalypse and you’re cleaning up your fucking condom.”
“Shut up, Williams.” Jorge found a trash can in the first bedroom down the hall and threw the condom away. Williams probably would have just thrown it in the corner, but Jorge couldn’t make himself do it. Maybe the people who’d lived here would come back sometime, and he hated the idea of treating this place like a dump, this one small piece of normalcy that remained.
In the hallway, Williams was already gearing back up.
“Let’s fuck again tomorrow, if we don’t die,” Williams said.
“I still hate you.”
“Me too,” Williams said, “but let’s fuck again anyway.”
Williams was still an asshole. Absolutely nothing about that had changed. Jorge nevertheless felt better than he had in months. He really could stand to get laid more often, and Williams was hot as hell and a good lay. He could do a hell of a lot worse.
“Fine,” Jorge said.
They finished putting back on their gear in miraculous silence.
“Come on, Williams, let’s get back,” Jorge said.
As they headed back toward the wall, Williams snuck a look at Jorge, then another.
“What?’ Jorge asked finally.
“I’m fucking you next time.”
Jorge’s whole body flushed at the thought. “Yeah, okay.”
“I’m going to wreck you,” Williams told him, and Jorge thought he was probably right.
Jorge kept catching himself looking at Williams as they finished clearing the last few houses, remembering how good he’d looked with his ass full of Jorge’s dick, come all over his chest. Williams’ lip was still split from where Jorge had bit it when they kissed, and he wanted to know if it would taste like blood if he kissed him again. Maybe he’d get to find out. Maybe they really would get to fuck tomorrow and maybe even the day after that.
They rounded the corner of rubble that marked the turn back toward the wall, and then three things happened in rapid succession: the landfall siren went off, the gate burst open, and a private beckoned them hurriedly inside, yelling, “Hurry the fuck up!”
Just as he and Williams made it up the stairs and to their stations on the wall, out of the sea-fog came the thunder and the roar of a kaiju.
Maybe there would come a day when the wall couldn’t withstand landfall, but Jorge didn’t think it would be today. Jorge thought the wall would hold. He believed it with his whole self, because he had to have something to believe in, and he believed in the power of humankind to endure, to persevere in the face of terrible odds. He believed that someday the kaiju could be beaten back, that Ocean Heights could be a town again, maybe not the way it always was, but rebuilt, something new.
And maybe Williams couldn’t believe in all that, at least not yet, but maybe there could be something he could believe in, some hope, even if it was nothing more than the hope that they’d both live long enough to fuck each other again. Jorge felt certain that they would.
But all of that needed to be put aside for now. For now, there was nothing but the battle.
Landfall had begun.