John and James, at last alone in their holiday bedroom, both strip, the tension between them palpable, everpresent in the air.
Naked together for the first time in over a month; partly the fault of their daughter bed crashing regularly and partly due to the wearing of soft pyjamas as a symptom of grief. The striped brushed cotton fabric cushioning them against the reality of their bed at home missing a partner, a companion, a lover.
James watches as a left hand is clenched into a fist, shaken out as if its owner is readying for a race. John’s breathing is in sighs, licking his lips in anticipation at the sight of James’s heavy cock, but with saltwater welling in the corner of his eyes. James can see his beloved wants this, that he needs this, but his resolve is delicate, hanging on the merest hint of a spider’s thread, straw to break the back of a Bactrian, the edge of some Sheffield steelware.
James dares to speak into the sacred silence.
“John.” And moves forward onto the bed, to kneel upon the covers, hoping that he doesn’t startle his counterpart, praying they continue their duet.
John settles too, sitting down on the edge of the bed, hard, slightly too hard, over-determined. Another heavy sigh, this one shaking on the outward breath.
“John–“ James offers again, softer.
“I’m fine. Just– I’m fine.”
“You don’t have to….” James starts to wonder if he’s pushed too hard, if John isn’t ready, if neither of them are ready.
“Oh god, James!” John turns blinking away tears, the hint of a wet track tracing down a cheek in the dim light. Don’t mollycoddle me. I want to. And we can… here… Just let us try. Enough talking!”
They let silence fall again, and each of them moves until they are lying side by side on top of the covers.
For a minute although it feels longer, stretched in the darkness, they just stay acclimatising, neither of them daring to make the first move.
It’s John who finally turns, the fingers of a gentle hand exploring James’s chest, first, finding nipples, teasing with little pinches. Causing James to gasp with startled pleasure.
The intrepid hand quickly moves down, forging a path down the insides of arms, nails scratching biceps that are still firm, the inside of wrists, eliciting more gasps, and a gentle hum from James.
A memory rises up in him of almost the same scenario, both of them squeezed into a cot in the still, shimmering afternoon heat of Afghanistan. A rare quiet moment of solitude for the pair. Jame’s now weakened left arm holding the compact form of John from slipping off the narrow bunk. They’re not naked here, but John’s hand still finds ways of exciting nerve endings through the fabric of James’s uniform teeshirt. The remembrance is vivid and feels real, solid; long kept by James as a shining jewel in his recollections, something he had considered would never be revisited in reality. And he is thankful for a moment to the universe that brought them back together, until he’s brought slamming back into the present by the touch of a warm hand around his cock.