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In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening

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These are the three things about himself that Lance knows.

The first is that he's a coward.

The second is that he's a liar.

The third is that he doesn't care, and because he doesn't care he isn't going to change. He's going to be a coward and a liar until he dies, and he's all right with that.

He knows that he isn't a good man. And that, partially, is why he keeps going for the guys who are. It's not that he hopes that somehow their goodness will rub off on him. The reason he goes for those kinds of guys is because he knows they're safe; he doesn't get attached to those kinds of guys. Just uses 'em for sex and moves on when he gets bored.

Doesn't have to worry about breaking anybody's heart, either, 'cause he knows that those kinds of guys don't get too attached to him; he isn't the kind of guy you get attached to, at least not for these guys. He's everything they're not, untamed and unrepentant, and those kinds of guys just don't get attached to wild things. Like the stray cat that you feed, sometimes, and it lets you pet it, and when it's gone, moved on, you don't miss it 'cause it wasn't ever yours.

Anyway it's all about sex, really, just casual sex, and Lance likes casual sex. A string of bedpartners with no strings attached and Lance isn't worried about finding love because he knows that he doesn't need it, and he has more important things to do than chase vainly after love.

On the surface (and Lance doesn't like going too much beyond the surface) he's happy with his life. He knows who he is, he has lots of casual sex, and he thinks he doesn't need anything more in life.


(Sven had been easy -- easy choice, easy lay, easy everything. All Lance had had to do was sit down next to him at lunch one day, and look him in the eye and say, "So, you wanna fuck?"

A large part of why Sven had been easy had been because the thing about Sven was that 90% of the rumors about him were just that -- rumors. They always happened to the brother of a friend of a friend. And, really, Sven wasn't homicidal -- he was just quiet, and stand-offish, and well, maybe he could kill a guy with just a spoon, but then again so could Lance. Didn't mean he would, just that he could, and Lance didn't really understand why nobody else could see that.

But because they couldn't, Sven had been left alone for a long time, and Lance had quite rightly figured that all of that solitude would make Sven easy -- eager, even, in his own, understated fashion, all set to jump into bed. Lance liked to have sex without having to work too hard for it.

The other reason Sven had been easy was because Lance figured that Sven would never fall in love.)

"This isn't working," Sven says, quietly, because he is always quiet.

"What do you mean?" And Lance knows exactly Sven means, which is why he also keeps his voice quiet, because this is Arus and he can't run. So he tries to lie instead.

"This. It can't -- I can't go on like this."

"It's just sex." But Sven says nothing and so Lance says, with more force, "It's just sex."

"Not for me," Sven says and he walks away, and Lance feels something twist deep in his chest and it is definitely been one of his worst breakups ever -- mostly because he'd always been able to shrug off the end and laugh and move on, but not with Sven, so he chases after Sven. Grabs Sven, even when Sven shakes him off, because he really doesn't like this thing he's feeling, this pain.

The most annoying part is how Sven stays so calm and quiet up until the very end of Lance's whispered, hissing rant. But then Lance says something -- and he can't even remember what it had been, because he'd mostly been babbling -- and Sven grabs him and slams him up against the wall and growls out, "You came to me, you bastard. You came to me, and I kept telling you, again and again and again, and all you were doing was playing with me."

He lets Sven walk away this time, and he's stunned for a couple of days, but the thing about Lance is that he bounces back fast. He forgets about the weird, twisting pain of watching Sven walk away.

Because he doesn't care. He never cares. And he is happy.


(Keith was not easy, ever, because unlike Sven, 90% of the rumors about him were actually true, although the rumors about Keith were more along the lines of him being a hardasss and not so much along the lines of being a homicidal maniac. And so there were nothing surprising about sleeping with Keith, because in or out of the sack Keith was Keith, and Keith was as clear as a piece of glass.

So Lance always knew when Keith wanted to fuck. And he also knew where to find Keith, and what Keith liked, and what Keith liked was vanilla. And Lance could do vanilla in the dark, which was what he did. Always in the dark, always in some anonymous little room -- he'd have preferred a hotel, but they didn't have that kind of hotel on Arus -- and he always left right after.

Those were his rules, but done on Keith's terms, and Lance didn't fight them. And that, really, was the hard part about Keith because Lance didn't like rules. Rules tied you down, and Lance didn't like to be tied down. But he'd learned from Sven, and he'd learned that he had to have some kind of rules for this thing, here on Arus where there wasn't any place to run.

Anyway, Keith liked rules, and Lance liked sleeping with Keith, because even though it was vanilla sex, it was still good. Besides, for all that Keith was more difficult than any other guy he'd been with, he was also one of the easiest guys because Keith understood that it was just sex. Understood that it wasn't something more, and so he used Lance just like Lance used him, and didn't try to change him, and that was perfect for Lance.

That was how Lance knew Keith wasn't in love.)


These are the two things that Lance doesn't know.

The first is that he's not running, he's chasing.

The second is that he kind of knows that he's chasing, and he's deeply, desperately afraid of what he's going to catch.