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always keep your heart locked tight

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Barabas was hiding. He was a grown man who’d never hidden anything from anyone, so he was currently disappointed with himself, but nevertheless he was hiding. It was Kate’s big day, so amidst the people from the Pack, the Masters of the Death, the Witches, the Mercs and all Kate’s other weird friends, there was enough chaos to make the hiding easy.
So he sipped his fruit juice and watched the goings-on from a safe distance, in a calm corner of the festivities.

“Legs bothering you?” Derek asked out of nowhere.

Damn wolf and his annoying ability to sneak up on everyone. Barabas should have been used to it by now, after all this time working with Kate, but he’d never liked being snuck up on. “My Lyc-v works the same as yours,” Barabas grumbled. “So no, the legs aren’t bothering me anymore.”

“Uhuh,” was all Derek said. He let the silence stretch out between them.

It wouldn’t work. Barabas was a skilled lawyer. He would sing the 'No Comment Song' to himself if he had to. He grew up with Aunt B, who used to wield the uncomfortable silence like a precision knife. Derek’s spy tricks had nothing on her. He’d just keep sipping his fruit juice until Derek got bored.

“Oh, hi Christopher,” Derek said.

Barabas turned around on his chair so fast he nearly toppled over. His drink spilled on the ground. So much for shifter reflexes.

Christopher was nowhere in sight, but Derek was grinning like a lunatic. His smile transformed his face from looming danger to handsome madman, but Barabas refused to step back. “Fuck you,” he said. Derek just kept smiling. Frankly, it was disturbing. Better to pretend nothing was going on. Barabas picked up his empty bottle from the grass.

Derek pointed at where Kate and Curran were dancing in the middle of the crowd. Kate hadn’t stopped smiling the entire evening. For once not her murder smile either. “It must be nice, to be that happy,” Derek said.

Barabas nodded. He’d smack himself if he was his own client, but in theory, he’d still not commented.

Derek snorted. “You’re acting ridiculous,” he said. “Pull yourself together and go talk with him. He’s up on the roof of the gazebo at the back.”

Barabas gnashed his teeth. “What do you know, you’re barely twenty years old,” he said, turning around. But Derek had disappeared into the darkness again. Screw him, screw the wolves, and screw talking altogether.

“No comment,” he said to himself. “It’s not that hard, Barabas. No comment.”

He looked at his empty glass, and then at the gazebo, which was conveniently on the far opposite side of the party terrain. He couldn’t see Christopher, but he could imagine him well enough. He shouldn’t be spending an evening like this alone. They were still friends, they could still spend an evening together. Even if he now grew wings and fangs and turned out to be a god. Of terror. Had been Roland’s right hand, a Master of the Death, and was a certified genius.

They could still... Talk.

Barabas sighed. He shouldn’t have let it become this awkward. Just get it all out in the open right after Chris fixed his own brains. Not let everything between them fester like this. He could go to Christopher, try to get some of the easiness between them back, and if it backfired, he could blame it on the circumstances later. Nobody ever acted sanely during a wedding after all.


Barabas climbed the gazebo carefully—it wouldn't do to show up disheveled, now that he'd done the effort and was wearing a nice suit—balancing two bottles of juice, in order not to show up empty-handed. He needed something to do with his hands in case they got stuck in an awkward silence. There had been many of those lately, when before, being quiet together had been one of Barabas' favorite things.

The gazebo was a nice hide-out. Great view of the partying people and the surrounding woods, but far enough removed it was its own quiet little bubble. Even for Barabas' enhanced shifter hearing, the sounds of the party were buffeted.

He spotted Christopher immediately, a dark, tall figure looking over the crowd. He was backlit, and standing there like that, he seemed to come straight out of one of Barabas' dreams. He'd been dreaming of Christopher altogether too much lately. Mostly of him flying across a battlefield and being shot out of the air, with Barabas unable to save him. But also way too many dreams where Christopher would show up in his bedroom and crawl into bed with him, only this time not to cuddle innocently.

Christopher didn't give a sign that he knew Barabas was there, but he didn't seem surprised either when Barabas leaned against the balustrade next to him. They stood on the roof in silence for a while, looking over the crowd.

Lately all their silences felt charged. Tonight even more so, but that was Barabas’ fault. The ceremony had gotten to him. Kate and Curran had looked so stupidly happy. They’d smelled so stupidly happy. Barabas had probably smelled like jealousy.

He sighed. "Hi," he said. "Enjoying the evening?"

Christopher hummed. "It's good to celebrate while we still can." He'd lost most of his innocent optimism by regaining his brain, but Barabas couldn't blame him for that. Even in the middle of a wedding, it was hard to forget they were at the brim of a war, a war they probably wouldn't win.

But Barabas understanding didn't necessarily mean he knew how to respond. “Want a drink?” he asked, holding up one of the bottles of juice.

Christopher smiled and turned to him. "Thanks, that would be nice," he said, but Barabas wasn't listening. He hadn't really seen Christopher in his suit before, being busy with the wedding preparations and some last minute crises the vholv hadn't counted on. Probably for the best, because Christopher in his suit was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. The soft light of the evening sun made his hair and skin look like gold contrasting the dark blue of his fitted pants and vest. He wasn't wearing a tie, but the slate gray of his shirt almost matched his eyes.

Barabas mouth watered.

"You look nice," he managed to get out, licking his lips.

Christopher smiled again but didn't say anything, just kept looking at him. Barabas avoided his eyes, passed him the bottle of juice instead and turned to watch the dancing crowd again.

From the corner of his eye, he could see Christopher take a long jug from the bottle, lips moist, throat bobbing. Barabas wanted to bite him, right there, taste his skin and sweat. Open the collar of his shirt and lick the line of his collarbone. Bury his nose in Christopher's neck and just breathe in.

Barabas wanted so much. But he couldn't.

He swallowed and took a sip from his own bottle to chase away the thoughts. He needed to get a hold of himself.

“Do drinks count?” Christopher eventually broke the silence.

“Count as what?” Barabas asked.

“Shapeshifters share food to express interest and intent. I was wondering if drinks counted for Clan Bouda.”

Barabas dropped his drink, bottle falling into the grass below. He wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He didn't want to have this conversation. Everything was so messed up.

Sure, food sharing was a thing, but it didn't work that way with sick people, people from your clan who you'd grown up with and took care of. It all depended on context. Only Barabas had made Christopher so much food when he was still recovering from being captive, and Christopher had made Barabas so much food once they moved in together—it had all gotten mixed up. His head knew it couldn't mean anything, Christopher wasn't in his right mind, wasn't a shapeshifter. But his heart, his heart had ignored all the warning signs.

And here Christopher was, the new Christopher, asking whether drinks counted. It was simply too much.

So Barabas mentally sang himself the "No Comment Song", and stubbornly turned towards the dancing crowd below again, pretending to be mesmerized.

They stood there silently together, watching over the crowd. Barabas was very aware of how close Christopher was standing, the soft sound of his breaths, the way his long fingers were grasping the balustrade. Christopher had lovely fingers, long and strong, veins showing through the skin on the back of his hand. Christopher sighed almost inaudibly.

Barabas was so focused on Christopher's every movement, all his senses turned up to eleven, he nearly jumped over the balustrade. Instead he tried to focus on the dancers below. Unfortunately Christopher didn’t disappear. Instead Barabas could hear the minute shifting of his legs, the way the silk of his shirt rustled under his vest, his slow, deep breaths. His smell. Christopher had always smelled like the herbs he carried around, like dusty books and the curry he liked to cook with. Today, the only thing Barabas could smell was the fabric of his suit, and the smell of his skin underneath it. He smelled nice and Barabas couldn't help but breathe in extra deeply.

He wanted to roll around in that smell and it took everything in him to not press himself against Christopher. He just wanted.

Christopher didn’t seem to notice Barabas inner turmoil and sighed once more. “Barabas, I…” Christopher said, but stopped there. He sounded like... Okay, so Barabas had no idea what exactly he sounded like, but it wasn't his normal soft, kind voice. A little throaty, a little hesitant. It sent shivers down Barabas' back.

Barabas turned towards Christopher, still not knowing what to say. Christopher was looking at him, face open and unsure. In all their time together, even when Christopher wasn't really Christopher yet, he'd never really looked unsure. Christopher's fingers flexed as if to reach for him and Barabas couldn't hold himself in anymore.

He reached back.

Christopher's suit was soft between his fingers where he pulled Christopher down to kiss him. He braced his hands on Christopher's chest, touched his lips with his own slowly, slid his tongue over Christopher's bottom lip. Chris took a quick, shocked breath. Somehow the feeling of it against his lips traveled down to Barabas' toes. Christopher kissed him back, softly and slowly, like he couldn't believe this was happening. Barabas could relate. "You can touch me," he said between kisses when Christopher's hands stayed hovering over his hips.

Christopher's hands stayed by his side for a moment before he hesitantly wrapped his arms around Barabas' back, pulling him closer. Barabas slid his hands over Chris' shoulders and arms, pressed their chests together. Christopher was still a little too thin, not a gram of fat on his body, but he felt sturdy and warm under Barabas' hands. Christopher's hand slid down Barabas' back to end up resting right above his tailbone.

Barabas broke off the kiss, nosed down Christopher's jawline and buried his nose into his neck, breathing him in, filling his nose with the scent that was just Chris, Chris, Chris.

He smelled like his.

Barabas couldn't control himself and licked that throat, bit softly on Christopher's chin, and then kissed him some more, tongues and lips teeth exploring each other.

When they finally broke apart again, they were both breathing a little heavier.

"No comment, " Barabas said. Christopher grinned. He'd never looked more beautiful, the sunlight lightening the blond of his hair, his usually serious face morphed into the happiest expression Barabas' had ever seen on his face. He hadn't realized Christopher had never really looked happy before.

Barabas wanted to make Christopher look like that always. How could he resist a face like that? Surely no one could.

So he kissed him again, adding a little bite to it. He just needed to taste him. His fingers made his way to Christopher's collar. He wanted to bury his nose in his skin, where the top of his shirt was slightly open. He didn't want to stop kissing Christopher, but his fingers were having trouble with getting the button open, so eventually he had to. Christopher kept stroking his back, fingers finding their way under his shirt, causing shivers running down his skin. Everything was too distracting. Finally Barabas got the top two buttons open and immediately pressed his mouth to all that glorious bare skin.

He'd had dreams about this. About Christopher's bare shoulder when he was wearing his favorite too large comfortable shirt, tempting him while walking through the house. About Christopher coming out of the shower, still a little wet, only a towel wrapped around his hips. About Christopher dressed in old pajama's, bringing him tea when he was working too late, leaning over his shoulder, warm and comfortable against his back.

But this was better, this time, Barabas got to bare his skin himself. He got to lick and smell and bite and kiss and touch all that glorious skin, and he was heady with the power. He would never get enough.

Christopher's hands had now firmly made their way under his shirt, the tops of his fingers moving a little under the waistband of his pants, while he kept pulling him closer. His cock was hard against Barabas' hip, the heat noticeable through two layers of cloth. He groaned a little and pushed his thigh between Barabas' legs, Christopher's hands pulling Barabas even closer against it, searching for the pressure he needed.

It was a lot.

Barabas wanted more of it. More skin, more hot kisses, more of Christopher.

The vest and the shirt were too complicated to quickly pull off and Barabas wasn't entirely sure he wanted to. There was something about Christopher in a suit, looking professional and slightly disheveled, that got Barabas' motor running.

Plus, they were on a roof. He didn't think anyone would come looking for them, but you never knew. Barabas hesitated, maybe they should move to somewhere more private. But if they'd stop they would probably talk, and he still didn't want to do that. For once in his life, he just wanted to live in the moment and not overthink something he wanted.

Still, it would probably be fair to Christopher to make him aware that most shapeshifters below them could probably smell and or hear them if they really wanted to.

"I love your mouth," Christopher said, interrupting his thoughts. Like that, Barabas was lost to the fray. He kissed Christopher again, bit the spot above his collarbone he could reach, while his hand made its way down to Christopher's pants. He wasn't wearing a belt, and the button and zipper came loose easily enough, pants only barely clinging to his hips. Christopher groaned when Barabas got his hand on his cock, stroking it as best as he could in the cramped space in Christopher's underwear.

"I love your cock," Barabas said without thinking, stroking his thumb

With one last lingering kiss to that marvelous throat, Barabas disentangled himself from Christopher's arms a bit and slid down onto his knees, slowly caressing Christopher's chest while he went down. When he looked up, Christopher's hair, backlit by the setting sun, formed a halo around his head. His eyes were blown wide and his cheeks were slightly flushed. He was so beautiful. Barabas didn't feel worthy.

Christopher's fingers carded through Barabas' hair, tender and soft. Barabas swallowed. He shouldn't get emotional at a moment like this, damn it.

"Barabas," Christopher said. He didn't say anything else, but it still eased Barabas' sudden burst of feelings. They'd be alright. He hid his face in Christopher's stomach, pushing up his shirt, breathing him in again. After months of living together, Christopher's scent smelled like home and comfort and safety. Only this time, there was a definite layer of desire, and it only fueled Barabas' own desire further.

He stroked up Christopher's thighs, which were wiry but strong, and got his hands on his pants again. From this vantage point, Christopher's arousal was obvious and Barabas couldn't wait to get his mouth on that. So he didn't let himself think anymore, decided to enjoy himself and worry later, and stop with all the feelings. He pushed down Christopher's underwear a little, just enough to free his cock. Barabas had washed Christopher on more than one occasion, had helped him dress, had slept with him in the same bed. He'd seen him naked enough times for Christopher's body to have very little surprises left anymore.

But all those times had been functional and firmly non-sexual. Christopher being still fully clad in his suit, cock the only thing peeping out, was the hottest thing Barabas had ever seen. He nearly came on the spot. It was just so filthy and healthy and not at all what Barabas had expected from Christopher.

Barabas buried his nose into Christopher's crotch, pubic hair tickling his cheek, cock bumping his chin. The smell of his desire was almost too much. He bit Christopher's skin under his hipbone, and then stopped stalling. Christopher's cock wasn't overly thick, but nice and long, and Barabas licked the entire length of it, slowly, from the base all the way to the tip. He kissed Christopher under his belly-button and looked up again.

"I want to suck your cock." Barabas almost didn't recognize his own voice.

Christopher's hands were on Barabas' face immediately. One finger trailing Barabas' lips, the thumb of the other hand caressing his cheekbone. "Anything you want, Barabas," he whispered.

Barabas swallowed, kissed Christopher's cock. "I want you to fuck my mouth," he said quietly.

Christopher smiled. "You're so hot like this," he murmured. He didn't waste any more time, pushed his cock into Barabas' mouth, slowly.

Barabas couldn't control himself and immediately bopped his head, let that beautiful cock slide between his lips, over his tongue. The taste of him was delicious, like a stronger version of his smell. It was a heady taste, and Barabas just wanted more of it. Immediately. Christopher's hands were tangled in his hair, pinky fingers just under his jaw. He wasn't pushing or pulling, just kept his hands there. So Barabas made his own pace for now. Sliding Christopher's cock in and out of his mouth, taking him a little deeper every time. He used his tongue on every slide up, to really learn the shape and weight of Christopher's cock.

Once would never be enough.

When Barabas worked Christopher's cock deep enough he could bury his nose in Christopher's pubic hair, he got his hand on Christopher's hand still tangled in his hair. He pushed Christopher's hand so it pushed on Barabas' head, to make it clear what he wanted. He didn't want to think or decide, he just wanted to be overwhelmed by Christopher. By his smell, by his taste, by the feeling of his cock taking his breath.

Christopher was a genius, so he got with the program right away. He tightened his fingers in Barabas' hair. He didn't move Barabas' head, held him still instead to move his hips forward. He didn't go very deep nor very fast, but the simple fact Christopher was taking control, taking what he wanted from Barabas, was the hottest thing he'd ever felt. Especially because Barabas' hands were tangled in the fabric of Christopher's pants, just holding on, feeling the movement of those hips.

It was everything he needed in this moment. It didn't take Christopher long to increase the speed of his hips, pushing deeper into Barabas' mouth on every thrust. His hold was firm, but both of his pinky fingers stroked Barabas jaw, which was distracting to no end.

One of his hands dropped lower, caressed Barabas throat before moving upward to his cheek, feeling his own dick through Barabas' cheek.

Barabas groaned around Christopher's dick. He couldn't do much except take it, lips wet with spit. He would definitely dream about this.

He pushed one hand between his legs, tried to open the button of his pants so he could get some relief of his own, but he was too unfocused to make it work one handed. But letting go of Christopher's hip meant really giving up all control.

Barabas opened his eyes and looked up. Christopher was smiling down at him, fingers still caressing his jaw and cheekbone. There was so much feeling and warmth in his eyes, Barabas immediately relaxed.

Christopher would take care of him.

Barabas let go of Christopher's hip, and with a moan around the cock in his mouth, managed to open his pants and release his cock.

"Yes," Christopher said. "I want you to feel good."

Barabas moaned again, the soft words making him shiver. He swallowed down Christopher's cock to make him moan in turn. His own hand was frantically tugging on his cock, other hand braced on his thigh. Christopher kept slowly fastening his pace, so Barabas tried to match his own strokes to that.

"Barabas," Christopher said, trying to get his attention. "I need to-Can I come in your mouth?"

Barabas managed to nod, gave a thumbs up for good measure. He was so close himself, he didn't want to stop now. He managed a deep breath through his nose, filled himself with the scent of Christopher's cock and skin, and completely relaxed his throat.

Christopher tightened his hand in his hair, murmured something incomprehensible and came, come spilling down Barabas' throat and mouth. The concentrated taste of him took over all of Barabas' senses, and he came soon after.

Christopher's fingers were still carding through Barabas' hair when he came to himself again. His head was cradled against Christopher's legs, still clad in his suit. Christopher himself was leaning heavily against the balustrade.

Barabas wanted to pull him down and kiss him again, maybe cuddle, but he didn't want to ruin his suit even more. So with superhuman strength, he pushed himself up to lean against the balustrade himself, legs shaking a little. Christopher turned towards Barabas a little, trailed his hands down Barabas' arms. Barabas hadn't the strength yet to put some distance between them, so instead he enjoyed the feeling.

The sun had finally set, the party was still going strong, and in the distance, Atlanta's lights lit up as if Barabas' world hadn't just been dramatically altered.

Besides him, Christopher sighed happily. "Best orgasm in years," he said.

Barabas snorted, couldn't keep it in. The tension that had crept up in his shoulders already, disappeared. He laughed. "Me too."

Christopher was smiling at him, the warm, happy smile of before. His hair was a mess, his shirt was half open and not tucked into his pants, which were creased where Barabas had grabbed him. He was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

"Can I make you dinner tomorrow?" Christopher asked. "Something fancy."

Barabas swallowed. His heart was beating like a hammer again, he was sure even Christopher could hear it. He didn't know why he was so scared of this, but he couldn't help it. Everything inside of him wanted to run away. Christopher could so easily hurt him. He wasn't sure he could survive it when that happened.

He took a deep breath, blew his bangs out of his eyes. "You made my hair floppy," he complained.

Christopher shrugged. "You're cute like this too."

"Okay," Barabas said, taking the leap. "If you wear the suit. You can make me dinner if you wear the suit." His heart was still hammering, and he pretended he didn't feel Christopher's hand tightening around his forearm in comfort.

Barabas leaned in a little closer, let his head rest on Christopher's shoulder and looked at the happy people below, still partying.

Okay, Barabas thought. They'd be okay.