[Readers sensitive to consent issues may exercise due caution. –Ed.]
There was something splendid about the scent and feel of old books. To be surrounded by them was something he’d desired since his earliest recollections. As technology progressed, he became more and more of a throwback, spending long hours pouring over tomes that would be much ‘easier to carry’ on a ‘reader, but he loved the feel of the paper, the smell of age, the sound of the pages turning, the sensation that he was actually learning something as opposed to having it plugged into his brain without digesting it. He resented the ‘ease’ of technology, how it made people take for granted the beauty of the words on the page, how they flowed from one mind to another over the expanses of time and distance.
In another time, he would have been one of the Irish monks, keeping alive the words of the ancients despite the church’s edicts and the layman’s fears. Such an ascetic life would suit him, if he had access to words on paper. More than anything else, words were his god.
“Stop dreaming, Jonathan. We don’t have time for you to read that crap while we’re trying to catalog and scan it,” came the rude remark from his left.
Jonathan turned to look at the speaker. Biff or some equally asinine name would have suited him, but his parents, or irony, gifted him with the glorious name Arthur. Even worse, he was redheaded, the type of red that is shades closer to brown than orange or blond, bringing to mind the red dragon of Arthur’s family crest. “Why are you here if you don’t love the words?” he asked, his voice much softer then the one that accused him. He treasured his job in the great national library, even if he was forced to scan his precious books into the massive database for ‘easier’ access.
“Who said I don’t?” Arthur ground out sullenly, turning back to his stack of books. “But, we’re not paid to read them.”
Jonathan turned back to his screen, the book cradled before him. He was working on older, more fragile books, so it rested in a make-shift book rest to keep its cover propped up rather than flat. He ran a hand-held scanner over the page, his eyes between the page and the screen, to make sure the whole of the page showed up and that the character recognition software ‘read’ it correctly. He soon lost himself to the rhythm of his work again, forgetting that Arthur was there.
At least until Arthur leaned back in his chair with a loud groan. Out of the corner of his eyes, Jonathan could see Arthur stretching his arms over his head.
“Thank god that’s done,” Arthur gusted out as he pushed himself away from his desk. “I am so out of here,” he said as he stood. He looked at Jonathan, a sneer on his face. “You ever leave?” he asked.
Jonathan turned his eyes back to his monitor. “When I’m finished,” he said, his voice still much softer than the one that spoke to him. The truth was, he never tried to leave. No one forced him out and no one seemed to mind that small closet in the corner of the building that had once been short term storage for new additions was now being used for clothes and a small cot. He’d use the staff bathroom when no one else was around, to perform his daily ablations. His whole life was in the library and he saw no need to leave it if no one forced him.
There was little doubt in Arthur’s mind that Jonathan had to be some kind of freak. Under that cap of messy brown hair was a sick mind. It stared out at him every time Jonathan looked at him with those hazel eyes, eyes that looked almost gold more than any other color. It was in that soft voice with its odd accent that mocked him with every word. He couldn’t place that damn accent, either. It was just the way he said things that didn’t sound right, not like Arthur did. And he was always there, at the library. It didn’t matter when he got there, Jonathan was there, too. It didn’t matter when he left, Jonathan was there. That annoyed him more than anything else. It wasn’t natural to be in a library that much. But, Jonathan was pale, like he never saw the sun, and scrawny, as if he lived off the crap he could get out of the vending machine and occasional catered lunches. Even a freak like Jonathan should get out of the library and see something beyond the musty old books, Arthur thought as he made his way from the library to his car. He tried to push Jonathan out of his mind as he made his way home, stopping by a bar on his way.
“He’s an idiot,” he slurred to his car. “Stupid, utterly fucking stupid,” he added as his key turned in the ignition. He meant to go home, he truly did, yet the car insisted on returning to the library. It would be closed soon, but he had to know. Would that stupid Jonathan still be there, mooning over his books? “He doesn’t sleep, I bet,” Arthur told the radio as it struggled to find any station under his clumsy fingers. “Just fucking stares at those stupid books all the time. Doesn’t appreciate technology,” he declared to the red light as he waited for it to change. “How it makes everything better,” he muttered as the light turned green. He pulled into the parking lot, into his space. “Just have to show him,” he groused to the overhead light that flickered as he walked past it.
It was about five minutes before the doors were supposed to lock themselves when he pushed his way into the library. He listed to the left, his bladder demanding relief before he went much farther. He staggered slightly, heading to the staff bathroom. A few late patrons passed him, nodding slightly, as they continued out the door. He scowled down, looking at his clothing. He was still in his tunic, his uniform. Fuck. He’d forgotten about that. He’d meant to toss it into the car, leaving him in his ‘civvies’ underneath. At least no one would question his right to be here after the doors locked.
Up a floor, over to the far corner of the building from the stairs and the door, he made his way through the stacks to the staff lounge, the staff bathroom. There were public bathrooms closer, but those were shut down, closed for the night, discouraging anyone from remaining in the library by hiding within.
The sight that greeted him when he pushed open the door to the staff lounge stopped him in his tracks.
Jonathan had his shirt over his head, pulling it up enough to see who had come in. His eyes were wide and his face rapidly flushed to deep red. His chest colored, color flowing down like paint. He brought his arms down quickly, his shirt on them, in front of his chest. “What are you doing here?” he demanded, his voice much louder than he usually used, his eyes fiery under his rumpled hair.
Arthur’s mouth worked but no words were able to escape. Finally, the word ‘bathroom’ made it from his brain to his vocal cords and out his mouth.
Jonathan jerked his head over toward the door. “There, use it and get out,” he ordered.
The need to relieve himself gave way to the need to taunt Jonathan. He stepped closer, lifting his chin and smirking. “Why don’t you go home?” he asked smugly, thinking the question clever.
Jonathan gave no verbal answer, only glaring and working his shirt up his arms, trying to pull it back over his head while revealing as little as possible. He didn’t turn his back on Arthur, though, continuing to glare and blush. He started to stalk past Arthur, his head held high.
Arthur reached for Jonathan’s arm, wavering slightly even as he caught it. “Why were you getting undressed?” he demanded.
“None of your business,” Jonathan growled, his jaw working, a sign that he was grinding his teeth as he spoke. “Let me go,” he added curtly.
Arthur forced Jonathan to turn so that his body faced him. “Why are you getting undressed in the staff room?” he asked again coldly, feeling more sober than he had. Why this bothered him, though, he couldn’t have said.
“I said it’s none of your business,” Jonathan replied, refusing to meet Arthur’s gaze.
Arthur didn’t like that Jonathan wouldn’t look at him. He should look at him; they were talking. That this wasn’t what most people would consider a conversation barely intruded on his consciousness, let alone the thought that he should let Jonathan go. He didn’t listen. Those thoughts were immediately lost under the compulsion to see what Jonathan’s eyes looked like with emotion in them. He was tired of the coldness that was always in Jonathan’s eyes when he looked at him, that controlled, haughty expression. With his free hand, he reached up for Jonathan’s chin, grabbing hold of it and turning it so Jonathan was forced to look at him. Jonathan’s eyes burned as he glared at Arthur. If Arthur were inclined to poetry, he might say they were molten gold. Volcano was the word that crossed his mind, though. He’d seen a volcano eruption, once upon a time, from a ‘safe’ distance. He’d ended up with what looked like a sunburn from it. The warnings in his head that he should let Jonathan go didn’t make it through to his hand. Instead, he leaned forward. He didn’t know what he was going to do until he’d actually pressed his lips to Jonathan’s. His eyes continued to meet the golden brown ones across from him as they widened in shock.
It was a long moment before Jonathan was able to pull back. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he demanded, rubbing his hand over his lips. He fought to wrench his arm free of Arthur’s to no avail. He couldn’t break the other man’s grip and Arthur seemed disinclined to let him go. His eyes widened with fear as Arthur pushed him back. “What the hell…?” his question was stopped short when his back hit a wall. “Let go. You’re drunk.” Just what good that would do was beyond him, but it seemed like something he could say in this situation. Something that might pull Arthur away from whatever was going on in his head.
“No,” Arthur replied, leaning in closer, the scent of his breath belying his words. “I’m sober, very sober. You live here, don’t you?” he pressed. “Live in the library like some book mouse.”
Jonathan blinked. The absurdity of the comment was too much for him, even in this situation. He giggled. “Book mouse? What is a book mouse?”
Color creeped up Arthur’s cheeks. “You fucking know what I mean. Answer me. You live here, don’t you?”
“I don’t see why it’s any of your business,” Jonathan snarled back, annoyed at himself for laughing, for finding Arthur interesting at all. “Let go.” He had to wonder, as Arthur’s hips pressed him to the wall, if he’d have better luck coming onto the drunkard. He tried pushing, but his arms, used to carrying books, were no match against the full weight of Arthur’s body. He turned away only to have his chin grabbed and turned back.
“Don’t look away from me,” Arthur ground out.
“What do you want, then?” Jonathan demanded. “Why are you doing this?”
Arthur blinked at him. He frowned and seemed displeased with the answer that was forming in his mind and blinked again. “None of your business,” he finally said.
“None of my business?” Jonathan demanded, cursing mentally as his voice broke. He glanced down at their bodies, how Arthur had him pinned to the wall before turning a glare on the other man. “I think this is very obviously my business. Go, use the bathroom and get out.”
Arthur’s lips quirked upwards. “Don’t you ever cuss?” he asked. “Or are you really a mouse?”
“I am a man,” Jonathan said firmly, still trying to push Arthur away. “You do realize that, don’t you?” he demanded, trying to harness his anger enough to push Arthur away with it, since his strength didn’t seem to be working.
“Yeah, and?” Arthur replied. Before Jonathan had a chance to answer, Arthur bent and kissed him again.
Jonathan’s hands sought purchase but ended up slipping away off Arthur’s body. He tried pulling at the man’s tunic, but that was less effective than pushing him had been. He tried to turn his head, but that only seemed to encourage Arthur.
When Arthur’s tongue forced its way past his lips, he seriously considered biting it. With the way his luck was going, though, Arthur would like that. He was sure going limp would just serve as inducement. Fighting was obviously useless. What option was left to him, then?
In his distraction, he missed the warning signs. Arthur’s hand slipped under his shirt and pushed his pants down. Jonathan tried to climb the wall, finding gravity too difficult to overcome to get away. He tried turning his head again, but Arthur’s mouth was locked onto his. He found himself being moved, dragged across the wall into the bathroom. He squeaked in protest.
In the bathroom, Arthur stopped crushing his mouth only to turn him and bend him over the sink. “What the fuck are you doing?” Jonathan demanded, trying to keep his head from hitting the mirror.
“None of your fucking business,” Arthur snarled. He pushed and pulled until the top of Jonathan’s head was against the wall just above the sink faucet, pressed there. He pushed Jonathan’s shirt up and his pants down.
“Stop it!” Jonathan screamed. He put his hands against the wall and tried to push away. Arthur’s hips right behind his kept him from being able to move, though and the feel of the other man’s erection on his ass, even still covered, was too much for his brain to fully comprehend. He couldn’t believe this was happening, not here, not where he was safe with his books and words surrounded him.
“Shut up,” Arthur bit out. He shoved the zipper down on his pants then unbuttoned them, shifting his hips back a little to let them fall. He tried to hold back the groan that filled his throat when Jonathan’s bare ass pressed against his cock, but the sound escaped his control. It was too much, too warm, too soft, too present. He moaned, rolling his hips so that his erection slid as deeply between Jonathan’s ass cheeks as it could.
“Please,” Jonathan whimpered, sounding like he wanted so much. “Please, stop.”
Arthur grabbed Jonathan’s hair, pressing his face against the backsplash over the sinks. “I said shut up,” he said, wrenching Jonathan’s head up so he was forced to look toward the ceiling as much as his neck would allow. He caught something out of the corner of his eye and turned to face it. How convenient, a lotion dispenser on the wall in easy reach. His cock would appreciate that since Jonathan’s body didn’t oblige him by getting wet itself.
He reached over and squirted out a palmful of lotion. He bent his knees into Jonathan’s thighs to keep him still and leaned back a little, just enough to be able to slick up his dick before shoving it into Jonathan’s body. He groaned deep in his chest, drowning out, in his own head, Jonathan’s screams. All that mattered to him was his own pleasure now. He pumped into Jonathan’s body, his head falling back, his mouth open.
It wasn’t long, yet seemed like forever, before he was thrusting hard into Jonathan’s body as his body demanded more. Jonathan’s screams had dissolved into whimpers and sobbing, much easier to ignore. Arthur’s head came forward and he watched his cock slide into and out of Jonathan’s ass. He bent his knees more to allow him to see just how hard he could fuck the little book mouse before he came. Jonathan’s screams were much more satisfying this time. “You whore,” Arthur growled just before his body decided enough was enough and he came, his hips snapping forward, grinding into Jonathan’s ass.
Arthur rested on Jonathan’s back a moment before his bladder began demanding attention. He shoved away and stumbled into one of the toilet stalls, cursing his pants as they tangled around his knees and ankles.
The room shimmered and dissolved, leaving a laboratory behind.
“Well?” came the shaky question from the redheaded man in the observation room. He’d been watching, his hands pressed to the glass that kept him separated from his lover, that displayed everything to him. “Jonathan?” It didn’t occur to him to question that he would be heard through the walls, despite the lack of microphones and speakers. He hated this place, though society had deemed that the fulfillment of sexual fantasies in a ‘safe’ environment kept people from acting on those fantasies to the detriment of society.
But, why did Jonathan’s fantasy have to be that? Though, Arthur had seen it so many times, he wasn’t sure anymore if it was just a fantasy or a memory.
Jonathan’s eyes opened slowly as the connectors around his head and to the back of his neck were removed by robotic hands. His body trembled with exhaustion and overstimulation. He rolled to his side, his eyes closing again. “Arthur,” his lips formed the word, though no sound was heard.
A door opened into the room where Arthur waited. “Come with me, sir,” a doctor or nurse said. The voice was clinical, cold, unfeeling, explaining to him what had happened, what he’d seen, how to care for Jonathan now.
Arthur didn’t care. He’d heard it before, anyway. He pushed past, not even seeing if the person was male or female, not that it mattered. All that mattered was being with Jonathan again. He barged into the room where Jonathan was still lying on the examination-cum-treatment table.
“Jonathan,” he whispered, brushing back the stray locks of brown hair that had fallen over his lover’s eyes. “Jonathan, I’m here.”
Jonathan opened his eyes, the hazel a dull golden color in his exhaustion. “I…don’t want to want…”
“Hush,” Arthur whispered. “You can’t always decide what you want. I just…”
“Can’t always,” Jonathan repeated, his hand shaking as he lifted it to Arthur’s lips. “Thank you…understanding…” he mumbled as his eyes closed.
Arthur picked Jonathan up, cradling him gently, a precious treasure. He ignored the doctors or nurses as they tried to stop him, to explain to him what he already knew, what he knew better than they could. Jonathan would feel better if he woke at home. Though he may not understand nor be able to fulfill certain of his lover’s needs, he knew how to take care of him after the treatment. In their room in the corner farthest from the doors of the library, a room that used to be short term storage for new acquisitions.