Moritz wakes--pressing his hips hard into the mattress, cries muffled by his pillow--to a hazy impression of pale skin and a cocky grin. Melchior's essay hasn't helped at all. If anything, it's made things worse. Now he has even more vivid dreams, those drawings and explanations just giving his stupid mind more to work with.
It's perfectly natural, Melchior says. But if that were true, it wouldn't be so furtive, hidden away behind closed doors and under the covers.
"Moritz?" his mother says through the door. "Is everything okay?"
"Fine," he calls back, voice cracking. "Just a nightmare."
His mother clucks disapprovingly but moves on. His parents think he's too old for nightmares, but he'd rather they think that then know the truth.
It's not natural, what's in that essay. And even if it was, it's not always breasts and curves Moritz is dreaming about. Sometimes his dreams are darker, with sharper angles and flatter chests.
It's not natural and he doesn't know what to do. This isn't something Melchior can help him with.
He thinks, for a split second what it would mean if Melchior could help him with this, with his nimble hands and clever mouth, and he pushes his hips down before he can stop himself.
Forcibly, he stills himself with a groan and flops over onto his back, pulling his pillow over his face. He's already dreading falling back asleep and waking up again. He sends up a silent prayer. Please, please, let him sleep without dreams.
"Moritz?" his mother says, opening the door.
"Sorry," he mumbles. "Everything's fine."
He hears the door shut. He can't believe he got away with that, that the mark of shame wasn't somehow visible on his face. Relief spreads through his chest, making it a little easier to breathe. He can do this. He'll be fine.
He stumbles over a greeting to Frau Gabor and trips twice on his way up the stairs. Melchior might not be able to help with all of this, but he has no one else to turn to and the situation is desperate. He's already missed school today and he hasn't slept at all.
But now that he's here, he doesn't know what to say, and in the face of Melchior's raised eyebrows and joking tone, he loses his composure. The words rush out of him faster than he can think and even if his cheeks are flushed so hot he's sure the room is getting warmer, he manages at least not to say anything about the appearance of boys in his dreams as well as girls.
It's Melchior who takes the conversation there after all.
"I imagine," he says, leaning back in his chair like it's nothing at all, and then he's up, moving to stand behind Moritz.
"Melchi," he gasps out, trembling hard as Melchior's hands skim over his shoulders, down his arms.
"Trust me," Melchior says, and grabs Moritz's hands.
Moritz closes his eyes and lets Melchior map out the planes of his body with his own hands.
"What are you so ashamed of?" Melchior asks, running their hands slowly up his thigh.
Moritz shakes his head, a small whimper escaping his lips as Melchior's pinky barely brushes his cock, so hard now and straining against the fabric of his trousers.
"It's a natural impulse," he continues. "It's not like we have to be taught to masturbate--not most of us, at least."
Moritz turns his head towards Melchior and opens his eyes just in time to catch his sardonic smile.
"Melchi," he says, pulling his hand away. Melchior lets his hand go, but continues to trace the line of his cock.
"Just surrender yourself," Melchior says with a wicked squeeze that has him arching up with a moan. "Close your eyes and imagine."
He's skeptical, but Melchior is sliding a hand down his trousers and Moritz feels himself give in. He thinks about his dreams, tries to remember them--Melchior's hands, gentle on his face, turning his head to kiss him. Melchior leaning over him intently, pressing him into the bed.
"How does it feel, when I touch you?" Melchior asks. His hand is stroking Moritz faster, a rough slide that's too dry and slightly painful. Moritz wouldn't stop him for the world.
"It feels," he stutters out between pants. He can't finish. He doesn't have the words to describe this--he's never been as good with words as Melchior and even the words in the essay don't seem to quite fit. They're too clinical for these sensations that shiver down his spine and make his toes curl.
"It feels nice, doesn't it?" He doesn't wait for an answer, picking up speed and adding a clever twist of his wrist. Moritz's hands feel too hot where he's clutching the chair. "It feels natural."
Then Melchior's running his thumb over the head of his cock and Moritz cries out loudly. Melchior laughs, loud and bright, and wraps his hand back around his cock, pumping only a few more times before Moritz is coming, covering his hand and the inside of his trousers with sticky wetness.
"Imagine," Melchior says again. "It's that sense of surrender. That's how I know."
"You've done this before?" Moritz squeaks. His heart gives a traitorous thump at the thought of Melchior with another boy, another one of their classmates, perhaps. Hanschen, maybe.
"Naturally." Melchior's sitting back on his haunches, a satisfied look on his face.
"But," he protests. "But who with?"
"Oh," Melchior says, mouth open and surprised, and Moritz imagines those lips on his. "With no one but myself."
"Then how?" Moritz asks, helplessly. It feels good when he rubs against the bed at home, but it doesn't come anywhere close to this.
Melchior shrugs. "Was it really that different than your dreams?" he asks.
He nods, not trusting himself to speak. Melchior is silent for a moment and Moritz knows the look on his face. It's the look that says he's considering some new problem, a complication that he hasn't thought of before.
"Easily solved," he says eventually. "Come here."
"What?" Moritz says, jumping up from the chair so fast that it skids back a few inches.
"Touch me," Melchior says, rather impatiently. "Clearly the only way to figure this out is proper experimentation."
"I," Moritz starts. He can't finish. How can he tell him that he doesn't know what to do?
"It's not that difficult," Melchior says, more patiently now. "Just follow the essays. I'll show you."
He swallows nervously, mouth dry, and sits next to Melchior on the floor.
"Closer," Melchior says as he pulls his trousers down. Moritz inches closer.
"Closer," Melchior says again, beckoning for Moritz to keep moving in until he's pressed flush to Melchior's side.
"Now what?" Moritz manages to mumble out, hands picking nervously at the thighs of his trousers, which are starting to stick uncomfortably to his skin.
"Touch me," Melchior says, reaching over and grabbing Moritz's hand, wrapping it around his half-hard cock. Together, they slide their hands up and down a few times before Melchior lets go.
"Like that," he says, smiling tightly at him. His hand, now free, reaches up to tangle gently in Moritz's hair.
Moritz squeezes a little tighter and Melchior's head falls back. He can feel the first stirrings of interest and arousal at the control he has over Melchior.
"Moritz," hegrunts out.
"Does it. How does it feel?" he asks. Melchior's trembling a little. Moritz has never seen him so out of control before.
"Nice," he manages and Moritz grows bolder, remembering the way that Melchior had twisted his wrist as he'd brought Moritz to completion. It makes Melchior gasp and he can feel his fear slipping away. How could this be so wrong?
"Are you going to?" Moritz asks. He can't quite complete the question but he knows Melchior will understand.
"Close," he replies, breaths coming sharp and fast now. He's pushing his hips up into his fist, eyes dark and glazed.
Moritz licks his lips and holds back a groan of his own. He slides his other hand down into his lap, pressing down hard.
"Oh," he says, grip on Melchior tightening as pleasure courses through him. "Melchi, I can't believe."
"I know," Melchior says. Moritz's eyes flutter shut at the roughness in his voice and he's coming the second time that afternoon. His rhythm falters and he's stroking Melchior in fits and starts now.
"Wendla," Melchior says, sounding wrecked and tense, before he comes with a groan, and Moritz jerks away from him, hitting his elbow on the chair leg behind him.
He's already up by the time Melchior opens his eyes again. The pressure in his chest is back, holding his lungs tightly so he can barely breathe. The things he's been thinking of aren't the things Melchior means at all.
"Moritz?" Melchior says. "What's wrong?"
He tries to explain the strange thoughts running through his head, how daunting he still finds girls, and how much easier he is with boys, but the words won't come out right.
"I've got to go," he says, tripping over his tongue, and he doesn't chance another look back at Melchior before he's out the door. He knows Melchior's calling his name but he can't wait. He can't face him, not with thoughts of Melchior's hands and tongue and cock still clamoring at the front of his mind.
Still, as he's running home, praying his coat covers the stains on his pants, he can't help hoping that Melchior will follow him. That night, his mind betrays him again. When he closes his eyes, all he can see is Melchior, head thrown back, hips straining up, and he knows he won't be getting to sleep any time soon.