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Finally at Home in His Shell

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~~~~ 1992, Queens, New York ~~~~
It's late and it's cold. Sweet smoke hangs heavy in the air. The blankets came out a while ago, about the time one of Drama's hand-me-down porn tapes went into the VCR. Vince and Eric are over on the couch, eyes locked on the flickering TV.

Turtle's mesmerized too. He absently crushes what's left of their joint as a blonde with tits the size of basketballs gets up out of bed to answer her door. Naked. It's a cable guy.

Make that two of 'em.

The blonde's phone rings, and she goes off to answer it. The dark-haired cable guy watches her go, then turns to his red-headed friend and starts taking off the man's clothes.

It gets very quiet in the Chase basement, which is weird as hell. Turtle expects to hear anti-gay crap spilling out of Vin's mouth, but the low rustling and mumbling and snickering of the two on the couch stops cold. Turtle can't even hear them breathing anymore, and he kinda holds his breath too as the guy pushes the now-naked redhead to his knees and pulls out his own enormous cock. It's fucking huge. He's got to be a freak of nature or somethin'. No way that monster's normal, right? Turtle turns toward Vince for a laugh, but Vin's still staring at the screen, slack-faced and fascinated. E doesn't notice him either; he's too busy staring at Vin.

Now Turtle's afraid to breathe, but he's got to, right? He turns back to the screen and tries to ignore whatever weirdness is happening over on the couch. The brunette's got his pants open now and is slapping his cock on the other guy's cheek. Turtle gets it – knock, knock, open up! – and the guy does; he just opens wide and takes that monster dick into his mouth. He really seems to get into it, going deep and sloppy, his drool coating everything. Turtle can see his throat muscles working as he swallows around the thing, and that really seems to drive the brunette wild, makes him buck and thrust. It looks like it feels incredible, and Turtle's hand is buried in his shorts, working his own (normal-sized!) dick in time to the cheesy music.

He's really close when a crash comes from over by the couch. E knocked over a TV table when he got up, and now he's mopping soda off the rug with paper napkins. Vince is staring at him instead of helping, and Turtle can't figure out why E even got up in the first place. Vin says something too low for Turtle to make out, and E throws the sopping napkins at him, right in the face, and runs off up the stairs.

Vince picks the wet paper off his face and tosses it casually to the floor, attention already back on the TV.

Turtle's just started moving his hand on his dick again when Vin says, "You ever think about what it'd be like?"

There's no way Vince is asking about that, except there's nothing else for him to be asking about, really. It surprises honesty out of Turtle, and he says, "Well, I am now," with a nervous chuckle.

Vince lets out a loud huff of air and laughs right along with him. He kills the sound and pats the couch next to him. Says, "Get over here, Turtle," his voice kinda low.

Turtle stares. At the couch, not at Vin. He's on automatic when he stands up and crosses the room, but as soon as he gets there, it all goes hyper-real.

Vin gets weird, after. Can't send him home fast enough, even though he usually crashes there on Saturday nights.

It seems like a really long walk home with his jaw stiff and his throat sore and his cock still hard enough to damage nails.

~~~~ 2007, Hollywood Hills ~~~~
Arnold's legs are working, chasing rabbits (or bitches) through a grassy meadow someplace. He's stretched out on the couch with his head in Turtle's lap, and Turtle's absently scratching his massive forehead.

Damn, it must be nice to be a dog, Turtle thinks as he changes the channel for the 512th time, wishing he could curl up on the couch and sleep too. No way that's happening tonight though, not with whatever was in that trail mix Vince bought singing through his veins and making everything too much. Too bright, too loud… it's all too warm and too fast and too… intense.

He can't even jerk off. Barbie… Brenda? Whatever the fuck her name is – she's in the corner of the living room, picking through Vince's CDs, and she's made it extremely clear how she feels about Turtle losing any of his clothes.

He sighs loudly. The only one who cares is Arnold, who burrows his nose into Turtle's crotch. Turtle yanks his head up by his collar. Arnold gives his neck a long, sleepy lick, and fuck if that doesn't feel entirely too fucking good.

Turtle shoves the bewildered Rottweiler off the couch and surreptitiously adjusts his cock, looking up just in time to catch Barbie's disgusted eyes on his apparently not-so-subtle hand.

He's saved from whatever scathing thing she's about to say when Eric appears on the stairs, shirt half undone, pale and unsteady. "Bekkie." E makes a half-hearted backwards pointing gesture when she looks up at him. "Vince," E's voice cracks a bit on Vince's name, "Vince is looking for you upstairs."

She nearly knocks Eric over racing up the stairs.

Eric makes his unsteady way over to the couch. He doesn't see Arnold and trips over the dog, landing hard in Turtle's lap. E doesn't move right away; he stares up at Turtle, eyes bright and dilated from the drugs, pale skin flushed pink, his chest heaving. Turtle can't help but watch back; Eric looks completely fucking edible, and there's no way he's missing the hard lump of Turtle's dick digging into his back.

E just keeps staring, face as still as stone, while Turtle's eyes skim down the line of his body. They stutter on the bite mark on E's collarbone and stumble over the open buttons at the top of his jeans before coming to rest solidly on the tent E's dick is making just below. Turtle wants badly to reach out and just take. He feels invited even, but he knows how fucked up he is right now so he wrenches his eyes back up to E's face instead.

E's still staring at him, but he's panting now and his eyes widen when Turtle's reach his. He sucks in a quick breath and jumps to his feet, landing on Arnold's side and slipping to the floor in a tumble of black fur, pale skin and low growling.

Arnold wanders off in disgust. Turtle can't see E anymore from his position on the couch but decides it's safer not to move right now. "You okay down there, E?"

He hears the dull thud of Eric dropping the rest of the way to the floor, giving in to gravity. "Great. Just… Great." His voice is laced with something darker than his usual sarcasm when he adds, "Fucking trail mix."

"Don't I know it." Turtle sits up carefully, finding a place for his feet before trying to stand. Deliberately casual, he says, "I think I got something that'll help mellow us out."

Eric curls around in on himself, showing no sign he's planning to get up off the floor, like, ever.

Turtle heads for the kitchen to find his stash.

~~~~ 2011, Beverly Hills ~~~~
Turtle knocks, but nobody answers. All things considered, that doesn't really surprise him, so he tries the door and lets himself in when he finds it unlocked.

It's dark in the house, like no one's thought to turn on the lights even though sunset was a couple of hours ago. There's paper and packing foam scattered around the living room, half-filled boxes stacked on top of taped-up ones from the moving company. The job looks mostly done. The place already feels empty.

He stands at the base of the staircase and listens, eventually hearing a muffled crash from the second floor. Low curses follow it, and he tracks them up the stairs, moving slowly in the dim light, tapping the envelope he's holding nervously against his thigh with every step.

"Who the FUCK is that?" Ari bellows out from inside the room Turtle's about to pass. He ducks his head in instead, then right back out to avoid the picture frame Ari throws at him.

"Woah! Ari, it's just me. Just Turtle," he's using his best talk the-the-tripper down voice, keeping it calm and soothing.

Ari breaks something else. "What the fuck do you want, Turtle?" Ari's scowling, red face pops out into the hall, practically glowing in the pale light, mottled and full of rage.

Not that Turtle blames him; the man's still dressed from the funeral.

"You here for sloppy seconds, you little cunt?" Ari splashes him with his drink, then throws the glass at the wall next to Turtle's head. "Think your fucking cocksucking ass-spelunking golden-boy didn't fuck me hard enough on his own when he fired me?"

Turtle squeaks, "What? No, Ari!" He holds his hands up out in front of him. "I can't believe Vince did that, Ari. I swear, this has nothing to do with him!"

"Then what. The Fuck. Do you want. Asshole?"

Reflexively, Turtle thrusts the envelope out in front of him. "Here. Lloyd said…" and Turtle has to gulp in some courage to finish in the face of Ari's scowl, "Lloyd said you need to sign these before tomorrow or the deal falls apart."

Ari takes the envelope from his hands, his face blatantly skeptical.

All in a rush, Turtle adds, "And I… DJ Yo and I, we really want to work with you." This had been a fuckload easier in his head.

Ari's eyes narrow. "I thought you'd rather hire a shit-eating gutter pimp to be her agent than me?"

"That was before."

Ari slams the packet hard into Turtle's chest, pushing him backwards into the wall. "I don't want your fucking sympathy!" Ari's right in Turtle's face and his breath reeks of scotch.

"That's…" Turtle takes a steadying breath – so much easier in his head. "That's not what this is, Ari." He meets Ari's eyes squarely. "Things have changed, and I want to work with you."

Ari mumbles, "Stupid cunt-sucking son of a dago whore…" but he takes the envelope.

~~~~ 2014, Westwood, California ~~~~
Sarah's awkward. She's not huge, or anything. And it's not that Turtle can't handle her, but she keeps shifting around on his shoulder, moving but not quite awake, and he doesn't want to drop her.

He also doesn't want her to puke in his A Rod Custom Trekkers, and that's way more likely to happen than him dropping her.

They're almost to the front door when he feels her stomach start to contract violently and swings her down. Pulling her hair back, he points her face at the bushes and holds her up while she hurls toward the plants. He steadies her when she's finally done.

She squints at him, like she's trying to figure out which one of him to talk to. She jabs her index finger into the air on his left and says "Turtle?"

Turtle takes a minute to wish he could remember his 21st birthday party. Doesn't seem real likely she's gonna remember hers, either.

"Sarah?" He catches her hand in his and redirects her attention to the one of him that actually exists. "You doing okay?"

"Tut-tle!" Sarah lets out a loud hiccup and looks around, whipping her head back and forth. He catches her before she can do more than stumble a bit, so he gets the full force of her glare directly in his face. She pokes him in the chest, hard. "Why am I in my father's driveway, shell-boy?" She's got that Gold death-tone down, but her continuing hiccups kinda ruin the effect.

He's saved from having to answer by the front door flinging open. Light spills out onto the path, spotlighting Sarah slumped in his arms. Hastily, Turtle stands her up, but she slips on her puke and he has to catch her again.

Ari clears his throat.

Loudly.

Turtle scoops Sarah the rest of the way up and takes her into the house, brushing sideways against her father so he doesn't smack her head on the doorjamb. He's setting her gently down when the door snicks shut behind them, the small sound loud in the quiet house.

Ari's death-tone is working fine. "What the fuck is going on here?"

Sarah wipes at her suddenly wet face and flees, pushing off Turtle and racing clumsily up the stairs.

Ari stares after her long after she's out of sight. Even after they both flinch at the sound of an upstairs door slamming.

Turtle scrubs his hands over his face and ventures, "I wasn't even there for most of it, Ari." His hands smell like her puke.

Ari spins on him like he's just remembered Turtle's even there. "Tell me what you know, you useless reptile…"

He throws up his hands, "Enough, Ari. It's been a long night, and I…" Ari's staring at him now, and Turtle can't… "I'm gonna go get cleaned up. I'll tell you about it in a few if you've got any beer." Ari's jaw is sliding toward the floor, but Turtle doesn't wait to watch the man's reaction. He heads left down the hall, straight toward the guest bathroom.

He stops short for a moment once inside. She'd never have picked this wallpaper, but the towels are still pure Mrs. Ari. Three years gone and she's still here.

He shakes it off, soaks a washcloth in hot water and scrubs at his face. He hears Ari on the stairs while he's sudsing his hands, trying to make sure all Sarah's puke is out from under his fingernails. He sits on the toilet lid for a moment when he's done, wishing he could still get away with casually carrying weed around in his pocket.

By the time Turtle opens the door again, Ari's standing right outside it. He sniffs and takes in the towels wadded on the floor but doesn't say a word, just hands Turtle an open bottle of beer.

Turtle takes a long slug as Ari leads him down the hall. He doesn't wait for an invitation, just parks his ass on the only comfortable couch in the room. Ari blinks at him for a second, then slides onto the cushion next to him, taking a slow pull from his own bottle, showing absolutely no respect for Turtle's personal space.

When he surfaces again, Ari asks, "What the fuck happened to wolf-boy?"

"Taylor?" Turtle takes another sip. "He left."

Ari turns on him, making an agitated come-on-you-fucker gesture with his free hand.

Turtle swallows hard. "Vince came by to wish her a happy birthday."

Ari starts to mumble darkly under his breath, but Turtle can't make out what he's saying. Not that he really needs to.

"She was happy to see him. Everybody was. All really excited, like always," Turtle rolls his eyes, "and when Vince left, he took half the party with him."

Ari's staring at him, just inches away, "Including that fuck-head Lautner?"

Turtle nods. He starts to say, "She started knocking 'em back right aft…" but shuts up when Ari's fist smashes into the cushion next to his ear.

"He left." Ari's voice is tight. Controlled. "He left my baby alone on her 21st birthday to tag along with Vince's fucking pussy patrol?" Ari's burning with anger. Turtle can feel it in the heat all along his left side where the couch has slid them together. Can see it in Ari's white knuckled grip on his beer.

"Tiny-testicled fucker's gonna burn in hell before he ever plays Richard fucking Zeeman!" Turtle swears he can hear the bottle creaking in Ari's hand. "And if Vincent fucking cum-snorkeling Chase thinks I can't hurt him anymore, then he should just finish his fucking Kool-aid!"

He peels Ari's fingers off the bottle. Sets it and his own empty on the coffee table as he stands. Saying, "I think we could both use something stronger right now," he opens the cabinet next to the window and, pulling out Ari's good scotch, pours three fingers each into a pair of glasses.

"Why?" Ari snaps as he takes his glass, one finger down before he adds, "you got an ex-client fucking with your daughter's life too?"

"Nah," Turtle says as he sinks back in next to Ari, "but he's flat-out refusing to work with DJ Yo Shimmy, and Samantha says it's gonna cost her the movie."

"Fuck." Ari slams his now-empty glass down on the table. "I…" he looks at Turtle out of the corner of his eye and relents, "all right, we worked hard on that deal." He sinks back into his seat, the weight of his movement sliding Turtle down with him. "The role was fucking perfect for that skinny little bitch of yours."

"Not mine anymore," Turtle denies. "I'm out of the business, remember?" He elbows Ari gently, "Another 'doomed West Hollywood eatery – this one with soup'?"

"Stupid fucking investment."

Turtle huffs out a half-laugh. "You would know. Hey," his voice is serious again when he continues, "how was she?"

Turning to face Turtle, Ari's face softens. "Asleep." He looks up toward the ceiling. "Asleep on her side with a waste basket below her and a bottle of water on the nightstand." He sighs, expression lost somewhere a million nights ago. "She wouldn't let me cover her up. Kept throwing the blanket off. I could barely get her shoes off…"

"Ssssh, it'll be okay." Turtle's hand gives Ari's thigh a reassuring squeeze. "Things'll be better in the morning." When did he put his hand on Ari's thigh? It feels so warm and alive under his palm. Electric, even through the fabric. He looks at the sip of scotch left in his glass and sets it very deliberately down on the table.

He starts to pull his hand away, but Ari stops him and covers it with the heat of his own. The play button in Turtle's brain clicks on of its own accord and words start to come out of his mouth, "She'll, um, she'll let you in. You're a good dad, and she needs you, you know…" What he knows is that he's babbling. "What with everything… and it's been so long now and…"

Ari's rubbing his thumb over Turtle's wrist, a slow, firm back-and-forth. The scotch has filled Turtle's veins with golden fire, and it sparks along his side and under his palm, hot and liquid in every place they're touching. "…And, she'll…"

"Turtle?"

""Yeah?" Ari's close. So close, and Turtle thinks he may actually be leaning into the man too.

"Shut the fuck up."

"I.." Ari's hand moves up to cup his jaw, and that finally shuts his voice up.

Ari catches Turtle's eyes with his own, and he doesn't seem at all eager to give them back. "I think I'm going to kiss you now." He seems matter-of-fact. Calm.

But Ari's nothing like calm underneath. Turtle can feel it in the slight tremble of the hand holding his chin. He can see it in the flush-covered pale of Ari's skin and in the sheen of moisture trapped in his eyes. Hell, he can sense it in the fact that Ari practically asked permission and in the way he's hesitating still, for what feels like forever, even after Turtle's given him a little nod and all but stopped breathing.

Finally, Turtle can't stand it anymore, and he moves in to catch Ari's lips with his own. Ari opens under him, soft and compliant. That should be really weird, but Turtle can't resist the way Ari just melts, so he gives in to it, twisting them both and following Ari down onto the couch. Suddenly, he's so desperate for skin that he rips the buttons off Ari's shirt, trying frantically to get contact. Ari shifts to help, making a noise under him that he can't even describe, but it goes straight to his cock, and now Ari's scrambling at his clothes, shoving Turtle's hoodie up and off, scrambling up under the soft tee to get to the skin hidden beneath.

Turtle's tee ends up trapped between them when their mouths collide again, matched this time, slick heat and tongues, messy and desperate but so open, and it's all right there. He melts back down into Ari, hoping like hell that this isn't just the scotch. Turtle feels something deep inside snick into place when he just gives in to it all: hands and tongues everywhere, shifting over skin, casting clothing aside, stroking and petting and twisting until he can't tell who's doing what anymore.

Ari flips them over and first heat, then sweet fumbling suction engulfs him. He tries to hold back, to make it last, and maybe he does – maybe he just can't tell how long he hangs there, lost in sensation, trying hard not to clutch too strongly at Ari's head – but it feels like only a moment before his orgasm bursts out of him, overtaking him completely.

The feeling's still coursing through him and his brain's still dripping out of his ears when Ari looks down at him, grin plastered wide across his face. Turtle pulls him in for a kiss, messy-hot and languid. He pulls away just enough so he can see the other man's expression then very deliberately shifts his hip so it grinds up against Ari's dick. Ari's eyes go wide, so Turtle does it again, this time rolling over and grinding Ari against his ass. It earns him a gasp, and Ari starts to push back against him.

His wallet's in his car, and Ari… it's been so long, Ari probably doesn't have anything, so Turtle just goes for it, pushing back against that hard length as Ari grinds, sliding together, sweat-slicked and perfect. He lets the rhythm of it sink into his bones, humming deep along his nerves.

It doesn't take long before Ari's shuddering over him, absolutely falling apart. Turtle turns under him again, catching him and pulling him in close. For a long while, he just strokes soothingly along Ari's heaving back and ignores the wetness leaking onto his chest. Eventually, Ari stills.

Turtle's completely convinced Ari's fallen asleep and is trying to figure out how to get a blanket over them when Ari pops up on his arms and looks down at Turtle. Dead serious, he says, "Up!" and stands, hauling Turtle to his feet.

Suddenly nervous again, Turtle starts gathering up his clothes. Most of them are torn and useless now, but he tries to struggle into them anyway. Pantsless, head halfway though his mostly-intact hoodie, he looks up to catch Ari staring at him, an unreadable expression on his face.

Shit.

Then Ari cracks up.

"I…"

"Get your ass upstairs, Turtle. I'm not throwing you out naked into the street." Ari smirks, apparently liking something about the idea even if he's not going to do it. "But I'd rather be pegged by Billy Walsh with a 18 inch iron strap-on than have my daughter find us like that on the couch."

Turtle just stares until Ari adds, "Move!" and pinches his ass.

He manages to hold his grin back until he's on the stairs, but only just.

~fin~