“I want to bum you.” Five simple words. I want to bum you. Whispered in his ear, with the smell of alcohol from Dan’s breath strong in his nose. Jones stands, tense as a bow string, his body thrumming. Is it an invitation or a promise or a threat? He hopes Dan doesn’t touch him. If he does, he’ll come undone. He’ll unravel. Dan steps away, an evil chuckle low in his throat as he staggers to the couch and he spreads his long body across it and all Jones can do is watch him, headphones around his neck, hands frozen over his decks.
And then anger replaces Jones’ paralysis as Dan settles down further. He’s already dismissed the DJ; it’s evident by his self-satisfied smirk and closed eyes. The writer has said similar things lately, in that semi-teasing voice. Jones can understand his resentment at being taken care of, and his bitterness towards the person who saw him at his weakest. But it’s been almost a year now and things have changed; it should be past and done. And yet there has been this game that Dan seems to be playing lately; suggestive, nasty words followed by too intimate-to-be-accidental touches and probing glances. It’s nothing more than a jumble of mixed messages meant to torment Jones. For years he’s tried to hide his feelings for his flatmate, squash them down and bury them deep where nobody would ever find them. And yet Dan, straight Dan who has always shagged women and pretended to not notice that sometimes Jones doesn’t, has started to make barbed wisecracks about twinks with blond hair and two-digit IQs. Comments out of context; comments that make no sense.
To the world, Dan is abrasive and abusive and rude. But not with Jones. Never with Jones. With Jones he’s always been able to unbend, find that quiet place within; the DJ’s noise and energy somehow calming the whirlwind that tornadoes through his mind constantly, a counterforce of sorts. Jones isn’t sure when this started; when Dan became mean. It hadn’t started like that; when they were young, when they were innocent.
The young DJ tried to twist away, but the goon must have been 8 stone heavier, although he was no taller, and all Jones managed was scratches on the back of the hand wrapped around his throat, cutting off his oxygen and his ability to call for help, not that anyone would have heard him over the pounding bass coming through the speakers. The thug was obviously getting frustrated as his other hand fumbled to unfasten the complicated belt buckle without much success. The man had trapped him in the shadows as he finished packing his equipment, his set done for the night. Then Jones found himself on the floor, gulping air into his starved lungs as he looked up at a man as tall as a tree, and as solid. His savior reached down and dryly commented “I’m assuming that was unwanted” as he helped him up, his voice low but smooth enough to reach the young man over the pulsing music and Jones had answered with a “not so much”. His protector walked him home on the off-chance the brute was still lurking around and the two became unlikely friends. A few months later Dan moved into Jones’ squat when his roommate kicked him out to make room for his new girlfriend and her three kids.
It had been a good friendship. The conversation was limited, mostly silent companionship with Dan’s written words and Jones’ ear-splitting mixes shared between them. They both seemed able to read between the lines and get at what the other was saying. An intuitive connection, perhaps. Somehow it worked. Jones got more popular in the clubs, Dan got more popular with Sugar Ape’s readers. It should have been good. But there were too many parties and too much free booze and drugs. There were too many idiots. And then there was Claire. Jones saw it. The sister and brother loved each other, but some kind of twisted sibling rivalry made them torment each other, poke and poke until they made each other crazy.
The tipping point came with Dan’s accident. Jones heard the whispers, the gossip that said that Dan was depressed. The rumors said he had tried to off himself. Jones had asked him a couple weeks after he came home, quietly, timidly, and Dan had growled a no, adding if he had planned on killing himself he would have gone off the roof, not out a second story window.
Dan’s eyes shoot open as the couch dips dangerously enough that he fears he’ll roll off before the weight over him settles and the world levels out and he looks up at Jones’ scowling continence, his mouth tight and eyes hard. “If anyone’s getting bummed, it’s you,” he says before leaning down to press his lips against Dan’s, their teeth clashing together as he forces entrance with his pointed tongue, not even giving him time to breathe.
Dan struggles and finally manages to turn his head away. “Jones, I …” but he can’t continue, just gasp air into his lungs.
“What? Don’t tell me you don’t want this. You don’t think I haven’t noticed you watching me lately?” He stops, waiting for Dan to say something, but when his only answer is silence and staring eyes, he eases back. “What do you want, Dan?”
Something flickers in his eyes, some decision, a capitulation, perhaps, and Dan wraps his hands around Jones’ biceps and pulls him down. His breath hitches as he tilts his head to meet Jones this time, to slot their noses and mouths together like two puzzle pieces, and a moan rises from his throat as he surrenders. Jones melts into the kiss, losing himself in the man that has haunted his day-dreams since the moment they met, the man that he knew he could never have and was content to simply share his life with, in its limited form. He finally pulls himself away, breathing deeply as he tries to think, tries to make sense of what is happening. “Tell me.”
Dan looks away, his eyes darting around the room, anywhere but at the face that is looming over his with its tasseled hair and kiss-swollen lips. How does he confess his weaknesses, especially now? He wants to apologize for his recent unpleasantness, explain how empty his life has become and how everything important seems to have swirled away like water down a drain, but the words won’t form. It’s not depression, but it is a form of hopelessness.
Everything he has done over the last two years has gone wrong. His job, his sister. Jones. The man has been his life-line, especially after his sister couldn’t deal with his rants that spewed out with the radiating pain that flowed through every bone and muscle in his body. Every movement, every word and cough was a jarring torture that the low-dose pain killers barely touched. She had left, not even calling to check on him for more than a month after, but Jones had stayed. By the time Dan came to realize what he thought was simple gratitude on his part was something more, it was too late. And he has acted like a spoiled brat, turning it back on Jones. He wants to tell him, but all that comes out of his mouth is a sneering “I thought you preferred blonds.”
Jones doesn’t take offense at Dan’s tone. He gets it now, after all. It isn’t the first time he’s seen it. The man covers his emotions with sarcasm and vitriol. He swings his legs back to the floor and takes Dan’s hand as he rises, pulling him up with him. His expression is bemused as he says “blonds are pretty far down on my list. Give me a tall dark-eyed brunette any day.” He leads him through the curtain into the alcove that Claire had claimed as her bedroom and that her brother has been using since she left.
Turning back to face the taller man, he reaches up to push his hair out of his face and searches his eyes for any signs of drunkenness. Dan frowns and squirms as Jones studies him. “What?” he finally asks.
“Making sure you’re sober. I don’t do rape, and if you’re drunk, it’s rape,” he states. Dan’s eyes are focused and unglazed and he runs his hand down his face, exploring the contours of his cheek and the stubble across his jaw with his fingertips, indulging in the sensation. Satisfied that Dan isn’t going to shrink away from him, he starts to unbutton his shirt, only to be stopped by bigger hands folding around his.
“Jones, I’ve never...,” he stutters, not sure how to continue. Written words are his forte. Given time he could come up with a grand soliloquy, but at this moment he’s blank and unsure.
“What? Been bummed? Been with a man?” This close, Dan finds himself fascinated by the slope of Jones’ full upper lip as one corner curls up. “I know. I promise to be gentle.” Dan’s answering smile is weak, not much more than a slight upturn of his mouth, but he loosens the grip he has on Jones’ hands. Clutching Dan’s shirt, Jones pushes the material aside and presses his lips to the light freckles scattered across his chest, nuzzling his collar bone while he completes his task. They make short work of the rest of their clothes, letting them drop at their feet and Dan pulls him close. Wrapped around each other, they fall onto the bed, chest to chest with their legs entwined, their heat melding with the slide of skin so that neither notices the coolness of the room.
With a small shove, Jones encourages Dan to roll over on his stomach and he again straddles him. But unlike his first kiss on the couch, this time, when he bends over to place small kisses across the smooth skin, there is no anger, only the desire to create something good, an unforgettable first-time for the both of them. Dan has tensed up, his muscles tight under Jones’ hands. He massages and kneads his shoulders until he feels them begin to relax, and then slides lower, running his thumbs down the chain of Dan’s spine while he presses the heal of his hands into the long muscles of his back. Jones doesn’t stop until the skin beneath his fingers has blushed to a translucent pink and he can feel rumbled moans through his palms.
A small dejected sound follows him when he rolls away to pull something from the nightstand drawer but Dan’s cheeks flush when he sees the tube and a small gold square and renewed panic flashes lightening-fast through his chest. For a moment he wants to rise from the bed, but Jones lays his weight across his back and holds him down, crooning into his ear that it’s alright, that he’s going to take care of him. Dan closes his eyes when he hears the pop of the lid and flinches when he feels Jones’s hands spread across his ass, holding him open, allowing his thumbs to stroke the sensitive skin between his cheeks, but he doesn’t do anything more than run them back and forth until he feels Dan relax again.
Dan jerks when the cold lube drips where Jones’ thumbs just were and the younger man giggles out a sorry. “I shoulda warned you.” But the giggle stops as he grows serious. Gently he slides one slick finger into the tight opening, watching Dan’s close-eyed profile where he’s laying on the pillow. At first there’s no reaction, but gradually he begins a breathy hum and opens his eyes enough to look over his shoulder at Jones, giving him silent consent to continue. Slowly, gradually, Jones goes deeper, adding more lube as he adds another finger. And then another.
When Dan starts pushing back onto his hand, Jones swings his leg over to sit back on his heels. Dan looks up at him doubtfully as he reaches for the foil. “Do we really need that?” he asks.
Jones quirks one eyebrow at Dan then looks back down as he rolls the johnny on. “I’m sure we’re both okay, but it’s the rule. I mean, if we’re ever exclusive and get tested…” He doesn’t finish the sentence, but simply looks down at Dan’s glowing skin. “God, Dan, do you even know?” Dan looks at him questioningly and rolls onto his side to see Jones better. They both grow quiet as he reaches up and pulls Jones down against him, any qualms gone as they lose themselves in their kiss as they mold their bodies together.
Jones encourages Dan to roll onto his back with his feet flat on the mattress as he slides a pillow underneath his hips and then positions himself between his knees, bracing himself over Dan. He has to stop and breath, the enormity of what they’re about to do causing his heart to expand until it feels as if it’s ready to explode. To be here, to be with Dan, is a dream become solid and he takes a moment to absorb the reality of it. Dan waits patently, studying the expressive face and startles when Jones speaks. “Not going to lie. It’s going to hurt a little. Maybe a lot. Just try to relax, yeah? Tell me if it’s too much.” Jones takes another deep breath as he balances on one hand and lines himself up before gently pushing in, staying shallow as he watches his face for signs of discomfort. Jones gasps at the tightness surrounding him even as Dan remains silent, only grimacing. He stops and braces himself on his elbows to capture Dan’s mouth again as he begins a slow rock of his hips, not going any deeper until Dan groans into his mouth as he kisses him back and arches up, asking for more.
Long fingers slide in under stubbier ones, and they remain like that, hands interwoven above Dan’s head as they become more firmly pressed together. Jones’ rhythm follows the music that is always playing in his head, something slow and simple instead of the multilayered beats that he usually experiments with. The only sound in the room is their gasps and moans, although he imagines he can hear their heartbeats echoing fast and loud. Dan slides his foot down the outside of Jones’ leg and then back up, wrapping his thigh around the slender hips, and the shift drives Jones in further and Dan’s eyes open wide as he bucks up with an “ahh”. He can feel Jones smile against his Adam’s apple. “Think we just found your spot, mate,” he quips as he puts more force into his movements.
It doesn’t take much, only a few more hard thrusts as Dan ruts up against Jones, the wiry trail leading down from his navel coarse against him and he imagines he can feel every kinky hair. His fingers tighten around Jones’ almost painfully as a low sob rises from deep within his chest. His inner muscles pulse and throb around Jones, even as he feels wet warmth surge between their bellies. Jones’ jaw clenches as he pants his own groan and he collapses as his arms begin to shake. He rolls over when he becomes aware of the raspy sounds rising from Dan as he tries to pull air back into his lungs, the weight on his chest making it difficult.
Jones carefully removes the wrecked condom and lifts himself from the bed on unsteady legs. He returns with a glass of water and a wet cloth, and hands them to Dan as he slides back onto the bed, pulling the duvet with him. They settle back down with Jones curled up against Dan, neither saying anything. And he still wonders what changed, why now.
And it comes to Jones, then; a memory of a nameless blond at the end of the night, six weeks ago, maybe eight, he’s lost count. The last track was playing when the man slipped behind his decks and pressed a popper into his hand. He didn’t know that Dan was there, that he had come to help him carry his equipment home, not until he looked up from where his hands were fisted in the messy locks as he fucked the guy’s mouth. They had locked eyes, neither blinking, and Jones had fantasized that it was Dan at his feet. He had come almost instantly, tipping his head up with his eyes closed as he arched backward. When he was able to breathe again, Dan was gone. It was jealousy. Dan had come that night to be with him and instead had watched him with another man. It makes sense now.
In a low voice, Jones says “I love you” not expecting it back, but when Dan says “we should get tested tomorrow” he smiles into Dan’s shoulder, knowing that’s Ashcroft-speak for “I love you, too.”