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A Dawning

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It was like a nest of exotic birds going home to roost. The tribe flopped one by one to the ground, leaning against and lying on top of each other, their bright-colored clothes twining around each other like so many feathers. One of the girls leaned against Claude, and he shifted, bemused. She smiled up at him, then turned and kissed the boy on her other side. Claude shifted again, not quite knowing what to think of all this.

Berger dropped down on his other side, laughing. "Hey, man, you're thinking way too much. Turn it off!" He clapped Claude on the shoulder. "I know what you need." He pulled a small pipe out from some hidden pocket and lit it up, puffing on it. The smell was odd and dark and a bit unpleasant, and Claude made a face. Berger let out the smoke he'd been holding in and laughed. "Go on!"

He handed Claude the pipe, and Claude took it and looked at it, wrinkling his nose.

"Too chicken to try?" Berger's smile was smug, and he waggled his arms in imitation of a chicken.

That was all it took — Claude scowled at him and took a drag on it. It stung his throat and made his head spin, and he blinked, letting the smoke out in an "oof" of surprise. Berger laughed and took it back, closing his eyes in pleasure as he sucked in the smoke.

"Hey, you gonna hog the whole thing?" Wolf protested, pouting. Berger rolled his eyes and passed it over. That was apparently the cue — suddenly there were other hands reaching for it, and other pipes and cigarettes coming out in answer, each sending their own thread of smoke into the sky, like the tentacles of some blue-grey octopus.

Claude looked on, bemused, and blinked through the smoke surrounding him. Someone passed him a cigarette, and he wasn't sure if it was the same stuff he'd had before or something different. It tasted just as bad at first, but he watched the others and copied them, holding the smoke in for a while , and it seemed to grow sweeter. He let it out and shook his head to clear it, immediately regretting it as the world spun around him.

"Relax, man." Berger smiled at him, eyes wide. Berger himself looked as if there wasn't an unrelaxed bone in his body. "Go with it." He took another deep breath of smoke, then held his pipe to Claude's lips. Claude sucked on it obediently.

The bright colors around him swam and mingled, and Claude blinked at them, feeling like he was in a giant aquarium. He pictured the folks around him swimming through the air, fins on their back, and laughed. The girl next to him grinned again and pushed up against him for a kiss, and he couldn't even remember her name, but she was soft in all the right places and not a bad kisser. Then she overbalanced and fell across his lap, giggling, and he laughed in answer. She rolled off and someone on the other side wrapped their arms around her, and her attention left Claude.

His right side felt cold with her gone, and he squirmed around to get more heat from the person on his left. He squinted, seeing it was still Berger, and wondered if he should apologize. Berger smiled and wrapped an arm around him, pulling him close, and Claude smiled and relaxed, feeling much warmer.

One of the cigarettes came back around to them, and Berger inhaled happily. He blinked at Claude and reached out clumsily to tap Claude's mouth with one finger. "Has anybody ever told you that you have an incredibly kissable mouth?"

Claude frowned, trying to remember. "I don't think so." He thought of each girlfriend he'd had and tried to picture each one saying that. He shook his head.

"Well, you do." Berger nodded emphatically. He brought the cigarette back up to his mouth and sucked in a deep breath. He passed the joint on to someone behind him and turned around, one hand holding Claude's head as he leaned in and pressed their lips together.

Claude blinked, startled, and opened his mouth to say something. Berger's lips moved with his, and then he could taste the smoke spinning into his mouth, mingled with the taste of Berger's tongue. He gasped, his eyes fluttering closed. He couldn't remember ever tasting anything better. Couldn't remember much of anything at all. His hands settled automatically on Berger's hips, and Berger shifted to straddle him.

Berger wasn't like that girl, wasn't soft in any of the right places, his arms and chest bone and muscle and his jaw covered in stubble. But he was one hell of a kisser. Berger thrust his tongue into Claude's mouth, stroking, then sucked Claude's tongue back into his own mouth, doing things with it that made Claude dizzily wonder what else he could do.

There was a little voice in the back of Claude's head telling him this was wrong, you didn't do this — didn't do drugs, didn't kiss another man, most definitely didn't think of more! — But it felt so good, and Berger smiled at him and they got the pipe back, and Berger leaned forward to share the smoke again, and Claude decided if he was going to try new things, this was definitely the way to do it.

He clutched Berger close as their lips met again, Berger's breath going into him, bringing the amazing sensation that could've been the smoke or could've just been his kissing. Berger's cock pressed into Claude's stomach, and it should have been horrifying — you didn't let this happen, you punched guys who tried this — but the little moans Berger was making went straight through Claude, and he was hard himself, and Berger reached down a hand and clutched him, and then Claude was groaning himself, thrusting up, needing the friction.

There were hands in his hair, and he knew they weren't Berger's, could feel the heat of Berger's hands on his cock and his chest, snaking under his clothes. Berger's mouth moved down to his neck, sucking and licking, and Claude dropped his head back with a groan. Someone kissed him, upside-down and awkward, and somehow sexier for that. He reached out to touch, not knowing who it was, or how many people, and knowing he should care, but not able to make himself do it.

Then Berger moved further down, and he cared even less. Cared about nothing but the hands and mouths on him, the wet heat of Berger's tongue moving down his chest and Berger's hands on his hips, sliding his pants down his thighs. Other hands plucked at Claude's nipples and he squirmed, and then Berger's mouth slid down over his cock, swallowing him without hesitation.

Claude cried out, arching against the hands holding him. Berger lay between his legs, petting and rolling his balls as he sucked him, and bright colors swam before Claude's eyes, and real or not, they were bright and almost hurt his eyes, and they swallowed him as deep as Berger was, and then he was coming, all the colors whiting out as he emptied himself into Berger's mouth.

He wasn't sure how long he lay there, drifting in the aftermath of the drugs and the sex. When he came back to himself a little, Berger was stretched out next to him, half on top, and Hud and Jeannie were snuggled up on the other side, and he was warm and as comfortable as you could get on a dirt path under a bridge in Central Park, and he had a moment to think, What the heck have I gotten myself into now?

And then Berger stretched and grinned and kissed him again. "Welcome to New York."