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Space Invader

Chapter Text

“No Gabi, not fucking was, fucking is. Fucking meaning I am your fucking husband until death do us fucking part!” Nigel sucked in air and smoke, hoping the acrid taste of the nicotine would stop him from throwing his phone. This would be the fourth one in a month that Gabi had caused him to break.

“No Nigel, fucking was. I put the divorce papers in your goddamn bag when you left,” Gabi sounded tired, maybe bored.

“And wasn’t that a pleasant fucking surprise. Almost as nice as finding out my bitch wife was fucking that fucking cocksucking boy!” He grabbed onto the balcony railing, trying not to bite his cigarette in half. He snarled at the sunny California day, this fucking country with its fucking weather and its fucking outdoor smoking laws.

“Why do you want a bitch wife, Nigel? A wife who can’t fucking stand you? Sign the goddamn papers.” Nigel took a moment to carefully kick his cheap metal patio chair while he thought of an answer. There really wasn’t a new argument, so he relied on the tried and true one that had been failing him for weeks.

“Til death Gabi, until fucking death. When I come back, I’m going to set those divorce papers on fire and cram them down the cocksucker’s throat. Do you hear me? Do you hear me darling Gabi?”

Nigel waited for a response. Taking another drag on the cigarette, he let smoke leach in and pushed the rage out. Another deep breath of smoke and fresh fucking air and Nigel was ready to be less of a bastard.

“Gabi, gorgeous, I’m fucking sorry. You know how I can fucking get. I can’t lose you. I can’t fucking lose you.” She had him begging like a bitch, but apparently that was her new type.


Nigel looked at the phone. The call had ended two minutes ago.

“FUCKING BITCH!” Nigel hurled the phone off the balcony. Darko would have to get him another one. Right now he had business to attend to. He blew out of the apartment hoping the Serbs would try to fuck him again, he could use some violence tonight.

Nigel came home with bloody knuckles, a nostril lined with coke, and a giggling woman who kept grabbing his dick too hard through his pants. She’d have to do, however, he needed to get off.

“Where’s the bed, baby?”

God, her voice was annoying.

“We don’t need a bed,” Nigel snatched at her legs, yanking the woman up to his hips and pushing her against the wall.

There were rules about this sort of thing. Fucking a woman in your bed when you’re fucking married was disrespectful. Nigel wasn’t about to dishonor Gabi by bringing some random woman into his bed. The wall, that was different. The wall didn’t count for shit. It just meant the night had gone well and he needed to blow off a little steam. Surely Gabi wouldn’t begrudge him the wall, not when she’d humiliated him with that disgusting little boy with the puffer fish lips.

Nigel was sending Whatsherface out the door with a firm slap on the ass the promise that he would do whatever the fuck FaceTime was with her later. She giggled and started to tell him her SnapChat name as he shut the door in her face. He stood for a moment stretching his neck and flexing his fingers. He was still amped.

That’s when he noticed someone had fucked up his balcony.

The chairs he kicked to death were now neatly tucked under the patio table. There was something sitting on the table, a small indiscriminate stack. He edged closer, putting his hand on the spotless glass door – had someone fucking cleaned his balcony door?

There, next to the ashtray, which had been emptied, was a stack of books. Nigel whipped his head around – no one was outside. He picked up the books – Getting Past Your Breakup, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, and Anger Management for Everyone.

“What the fucking fuck?” Nigel slammed the books back on the table, they scattered to the floor. He didn’t need this shit. He needed his fucking wife back. And of course he was fucking angry, his beautiful angel was fucking a greasy little American that thought her music was ‘like totally inspiring”. What a little fucker. What Nigel needed, was a way back to Gabi, a way out his godforsaken country where everyone smiled and the sun was always fucking shining like an asshole. What he really needed was to beat the ever-loving shit out of the smartass that left this bullshit on his balcony.


With no response and no one to yell at, Nigel pulled his last cigarette from the pack and lit it. He’d regret the decision in the morning when the nicotine cravings clawed at his throat, but he needed to get his head right.

His boot caught the corner of the anger management book as he stormed inside, sending it flying into the kitchen. He picked it up to throw it out, but paused. Gabi was always screaming at him about his temper. About his fucking crazy behavior.

Fuck it, he was up anyway.

He poured himself a tall glass of vodka and sat on his bed with the book. He fell asleep on chapter 4.

The blaring of his new burner phone woke him up.

“Ce,” Nigel croaked into the phone, vodka and sleep making his voice thick.

“Jesus Fuck, Nigel get your shit together, you should have been here an hour ago.” Darko sounded pissed.

“I…what time is it?” He was buying time, jumping into last night’s jeans and searching for his boots. This wasn't his first blackout drunk, but damned if he wasn't starting to feel them more in his old age.

“Fucking six, asshole. The goddamn Turks are going to be here in 20 minutes, do you think you could show up for the fucking sale, your majesty?”

“Shit, I’m on my–” He spotted the small stack on his balcony table as he was tugging on his left boot. “Motherfucker.”

“What the fuck did you just call me?”

“Fuck off, we might have a problem.” Nigel approached the balcony slowly. This time the stack was much smaller, neatly held in place under Nigel’s freshly emptied ashtray. Nigel sneered as he flipped through several anti-smoking pamphlets. So this fucker had a sense of humor, did he? Under the pamphlets was one DVD, a porno he’d never heard of featuring a big-breasted blonde. He laughed, in spite of himself.


“The fuck, Nigel? I think I’d rather be a motherfucker than cute.” Nigel shook his head, he had forgotten about the phone.

“Fuck off, man, I think I might have a problem.”

Chapter Text

“So, someone is leaving you presents on your balcony?” Darko was clearly not taking this seriously. “Nigel, do you have a fairy godmother?”

The Turks had come and gone without incident and now, with a beer in his hand, Nigel had time to worry about the Balcony Fucker.

“Someone is fucking breaking into my balcony, nenorocitule,” Nigel stubbed out a cigarette. “It could be the cops or a fucking rival.”

“The pigs want you to quit smoking and work on your anger? American police are fucking weird.” Darko slumped on the couch in the warehouse office, lazily dragging his finger through the rest of the coke before sucking on the digit.

“Remember all the guns and product that I store in my safe little suburban apartment? You really think this is cute?”

“Look, why don’t you make another request tonight and see what happens?” Darko offered, coke thrumming in his system. “I’ll wait around outside in the carpark and see what happens.”

“Another fucking request? Like what? Leave me alone?” Nigel chucked his empty into the corner of the warehouse, it broke with a satisfying tinkling sound.

“You could. Me? I’d ask for a blow job,” At Nigel’s look, Darko shrugged. “What? You already got porno! Might as well see if it is your fairy godmother.”

Nigel wished he’d saved the bottle to throw at Darko’s smirking face.

“Hey!” Darko laughed, sitting up suddenly. “What if it’s the blonde from the porno? Fucking descending from on high like a big-titted angel to suck your dick and help with your anger.”

Nigel nudged his cackling friend with his foot. Hard. Some might have called it a kick. Darko was too fucking high and too fucking amused to care. He lay on the concrete wheezing out more laughs.

“How much of this shit did you do?”

“Enough to make you fucking funny.”

“Get the fuck up and get some goddamn coffee. You’re going to find out who the Balcony Fucker is tonight. Grab some plastic bags too, we’re going to need to clean up when I’m done with them.”

“Ok, but what if I’m right? What if it’s some big titted Samaritan who just wants you to come and quit smoking?”

Nigel smiled.

“Then you toss me a rubber and keep the plastic bags.”

Nigel sat in the warehouse, tapping his foot. There was nothing on TV, everyone else had gone home and he was left with shadows, stale coffee, and the few remaining packages of product tucked into furniture crates around the building.

He didn’t like waiting around for shit, but Darko was right – whoever was fucking with him probably wouldn’t show up unless they thought Nigel was out. So he sat, and kept reading the anger management book. He didn’t even know why he had brought it with him, but he needed to do something while he waited. Chapter six wasn’t so fucking bad, he never thought about the way people respond to screaming.

Sure, it fucking worked on the little cocksuckers who worked for him, but all it did was inspire fear. If he wanted someone, like his bitch wife who he would die for, to hear him, really fucking hear the problem, he’d have to think of another way to express himself.

Christ, he hoped Darko called him soon, he was starting to sound like a fucking asshole.

He had just gotten to the chapter about picturing his anger like a red balloon floating away when his phone rang. He mentally popped the balloon and let anger wash down over him.

“Tell me you have something.”

All he heard was laughing on the other end of the line.

Nenorocitule, you told me you’d sober up!”

“I’m – I swear, I’m fuckin straight, man. Get back here, I gotta…you have to see it to fucking–” And then Darko was lost to another wave of laughter.

Nigel felt his skin prickle with rage. His ears started to ring as he prepared to unleash an onslaught of Romanian curses so vile it would drive the coke out of Darko’s bloodstream. As he opened his mouth, he paused. Would this really get him what he fucking wanted? He just wanted to fucking know about the Balcony Fucker. Maybe he should redirect Darko.

Where the fuck had that come from?

Nigel looked down at the open book in his lap and sneered, throwing it across the room.

“Did you fucking get something or not?”

“Oh, I did. It’s all on my phone, man. You’re gonna fucking shit. It’s incredible.” The laughter continued.

“I’ll be there in 15 fucking minutes, you better have something for me.” Nigel ended the call and grabbed his jacket. He was halfway out the door before he paused.

“Fuck it.”

He crossed the warehouse in long strides and grabbed the tattered book, shoving into his jacket so the boys watching the door wouldn’t see it as he left.

Darko was waiting by Nigel’s apartment door, silently chuckling and watching something on his phone. Nigel’s irritation was building toward violence.

“Alright, I’m here,” He put his hand out. “Give me the fucking phone.”

Darko pulled back.

“No way, man. First I want to see exactly what present you have waiting this time.”

Nigel shoved Darko away from the door, he cursed as the lock stuck. When it finally gave, Nigel flung the plywood open, listening with satisfaction as it bashed into the wall. He made a beeline for the balcony, tossing the anger management book on the sofa. Darko noted the book and raised an eyebrow.

“I think it’s helping you.”

Nigel pivoted.

“I will hang you off the balcony by your fucking cock if you don’t shut up.”

“Ok, ok, maybe read another few chapters.”

Nigel noted his Balcony door and window had been cleaned again. Neat little prick. He purposely stuck his hand on the glass, smudging the shiny surface as he opened the door.

Under his freshly cleaned ashtray was a small pile of objects and a note.

A fucking note.

Dear Nigel,

I hope this helps you. I know it’s hard being new. I have trouble making friends too, so I hope this makes you feel better. Have you considered that you curse too much? Yelling and cursing makes social interactions difficult, even if you don’t mean them to be. You don’t always curse. You were really nice when you helped Mrs. Keller in with her groceries last week, you only cursed when you dropped her milk.

If you’d like, I can help you with your cursing. I work on social interactions frequently and I’m getting much better.

I hope you like the cookies, you didn’t specify a brand so I picked out my favorites.


Adam Raki, 4 A

“He’s right, you do curse too much,” offered Darko from over his shoulder. Nigel snarled, causing Darko to dance backwards and safely out of range.

Under the note was a box of chocolate dipped graham crackers. Not really cookies, but what the hell. Nigel had asked for a snack and Balcony Fucker’s name, and this asshole had accepted the challenge. He was either as crazy as Nigel, or fucking stupid.

“Ok, now, I think you should see the video.”

Darko held up his phone and hit play. The image shook as Darko giggled, forcing Nigel to snatch the phone. Shot from the parking lot, Nigel watched as a small figure in an enormous white suit emerged onto the roof of the building. It attached itself onto something that looked like a fucking pulley system and began lowering itself off the edge of the building. Nigel could hear Darko’s muttered what the fuck on the recording as he tracked the process of the figure, zooming in.

“Wait for it.” Darko snickered.

As the camera re-focused, Nigel saw the figure, a blurry man in…was that a fucking spacesuit?

“A cosmonaut!” Darko barked, laughing. “Your balcony fucker is a goddamn cosmonaut!”

Nigel watched as Adam Raki, cat burglar and fucking cosmonaut, rappelled down to his balcony, carefully emptied the ashtray into a bag he brought, wiped it down, and then lovingly placed his gifts in a neat little stack. Then, the weirdo pulled out a squeegee and some spray, setting about cleaning off the balcony glass. Nigel couldn’t see his face, just a mass of brown curls and a huge white spacesuit. Clearly, this fucker was batty.

“I think it’s about time I meet this fucking cosmonaut, don’t you?”

Darko cocked his head.

“You go get the spaceman, I’ll go get the plastic bags.”

Nigel nodded and they separated. He raced up the flight of stairs towards the roof, banging a fist on 4A. Nigel reached around his back, grip firm on the Glock secured in his waistband. When the door swung open he froze.

“Hi Nigel! Did you come to visit?”

Adam Raki was a fucking angel. Small of stature and lithe of limb, he looked like a stiff wind would knock him over. Nigel felt an immediate urge to fold his arms around the man and keep him safe.

Then, there was his fucking face. Better fucking men than Nigel would have come the moment Adam fucking Raki pulled his lush bottom lip between his teeth and smiled. Nigel felt his cock give a distinct twitch, asking if his plans had changed.


Huge blue eyes flitted over Nigel’s face, never landing in one spot for too long. Nigel fought the urge to sink his hands into the chocolate curls that were swept off the angel’s face and force those cerulean eyes to meet his. Fuck, he had to fight the urge not to fall upon the kid and hump his leg.

“Hey Nigel, I got the shit, ready to send our little cosmonaut into space? Nigel?” Darko trailed off as he approached. Eyes darting from Nigel to Adam, Darko scoffed.

“Hello, I’m Adam. Are you Nigel’s friend?” The kid was pretty, Darko could see that, but he was starting to worry that Nigel was petrified where he stood.

“I know, you’re the cosmonaut. Nice to meet you.” He took Adam’s hand for a firm shake, noting that the kid never quite made eye contact.

“M-my name is Adam.” The young man corrected gently.

“Sure thing, Cosmo. Sure thing.” Darko thumped Nigel in the chest, making the gawping man snap his mouth shut with an audible click. Well, at least he was alive.

“Ok, well, I can see we’re working with that other scenario,” Darko tucked the plastic bags under his arm and dug into his wallet. Producing a condom, he flipped it at Nigel, the foil packet smacking his chest and falling to the floor. “You two have a nice visit. I’ll talk to you later, Nigel.” He nodded. “Cosmo.”

“Adam. My name is Adam,” he called after Darko’s retreating form. Was the man laughing?

“I don’t understand. Will you two be having sex later? Was he your boyfriend? I thought you were married to Gabi? Can you still come in for a visit?” Nigel was staring at his mouth, and Adam began to wonder if he’d done something wrong. He had so hoped to make a friend. “Nigel?”

Adam touched Nigel’s shoulder, a tentative, fleeting pressure. It was enough. Heat shot through Nigel’s arm and straight to his cock. He had rebooted and his mind replacing his plans for tearing Adam Raki apart with visions of him bending this beautiful little cosmonaut over every surface in his apartment. He smiled, slow and toothy.

“It’s fine darling, I can certainly come in for a visit.”

Chapter Text

Apparently, the space suit was just the tip of the iceberg. Adam Raki was a stone cold fox with a space obsession. The room smelled like a library, Nigel knew because he used to deal behind the stacks in Bucharest. Not a bad place for a business, really – quiet, cool, and no fucking librarian was going to mess with a 17-year-old brute with a curled lip and a neck tattoo. He missed that gig.

The small apartment was crammed with books that Nigel would have reviled at school: Words like Cosmos, Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Theoretical printed on their spines. The only book that looked his speed was some weird fucking kids tale about a raccoon. So his blue-eyed beauty was some sort of genius? That explained why he was so odd. The smart ones always were.

The only things in the room that didn’t have 8-syllable words or stars attached to them were a few measly pictures. Adam and an older man with the same bright blue eyes – his father, it had to be. Another picture of Adam and a pretty brunette with a tight smile – that could be a problem or a sister, maybe? The final picture showed an older black man with his arm slung around Adam’s shoulders.

“So, I’m going to go out on a fucking limb and say you fucking like space.”

“Yes! I work at the observatory. I’ve always liked space. Do you?”

Nigel closed in, his face inches from Adam’s.

“I’ve always preferred earthly pursuits, but I’m sure you could convince me to take a fucking interest, gorgeous.” He licked his lips and tried to catch this beauty’s eye.

Adam tilted his head, eyes flicking all over Nigel’s face, like he was assessing some bizarre problem.

“Oh! You’re thirsty. I forgot to offer you a beverage,” Adam was in the kitchen before Nigel could blink. “I got distracted and forgot the steps. Always offer your friend a beverage. I have water, sarsaparilla, 2 percent milk, and coke.”

Nigel had done the lean. He had done the lean, with sexy eyes and lip licking. That always fucking worked. What the fuck was happening?

“I don’t suppose you have anything stronger?”


“Beer? Whiskey? Vodka?”

“Oh! Oh no, I don’t react well to alcohol.”

“Who does? Isn’t that the fucking point, darling?” Nigel winked.

The kid looked up from his refrigerator, his face crestfallen.

“Adam, my name is Adam Raki.”

“I know, Adam. How could I forget the man who airlifts me porn and cookies?”

“Oh, OK.”

Adam still seemed tense. If Nigel was getting laid he’d have to do something to save this.

“A sassprill- whatever the fuck that second thing was? I’ll take that.” Nigel settled on Adam’s couch and waited for his host to return. Adam emerged from the kitchenette with two bottles and two frosted mugs, arranged just so on a tray. Nigel smiled at this odd little beauty and his fussy ways.

“Sarsaparilla is my favorite. People think it’s root beer, but it’s not. The taste is better, root beer bothers me.”

Nigel took a sip, the fizzy sugar water tasted exactly like fucking root beer.

“Oh wow, there’s a big fucking difference.”

Adam’s whole face lit up. Nigel grinned and leaned toward the younger man again.

“Both are made from the same roots, but root beer usually adds flavors like nutmeg and vanilla. I find that displeasing. Did you know that sarsaparilla was originally made into a drink in the Central Americas? The people their believed that it had medicinal values, they used it to treat syphilis.”

Nigel leaned back, this fucking kid with the “come fuck me” lips that spewed weirdo trivia was going to kill him.

“That’s interesting, darling, uh, Adam. But I think we should maybe talk about why I’m here.” Nigel softly laid a hand on Adam’s thigh. Adam stared at it, then laid a hand on Nigel’s thigh.

Here we go.

“Harlan said that Europeans are more physically intimate with each other when expressing friendship. He was stationed in Germany, he knows all sorts of interesting things about Europeans. I’m still working on physical interactions with friends, so please tell me if I’m making you uncomfortable.”

…what the fuck?

“This…this is good,” Nigel was getting confused. Did the fucking cosmonaut really want a friend? “So…you want to be friends?”

“Yes.” Adam nodded. “I thought we would be good friends after I found out about you.”

Nigel’s fingers sunk into Adam’s leg. Found out about him? Fuck. He was going to have to kill this little beauty. He forced himself to loosen his grip on Adam’s thigh and shifted so he could grab his Glock.

“What did you find out?”

“You’re Nigel Balaur, you moved here about a month ago, you always help Mrs. Keller with her groceries, you smoke at least 9 cigarettes a day, and you are very loud when you talk to Gabi.”

Nigel laughed. Fair enough.

“So…not that I’m complaining gorgeous, but why did you decide to descend onto my balcony?”

Adam fiddled with the sleeves of his sweater. Nigel had the immediate impulse to gather the kid up in his arms and warm him. Instead, he rubbed small circles on Adam’s thigh.

“I-I like your shirts.”

Was that a fucking line? Should he counter with they’d look better on your bedroom floor? This kid was throwing him all sorts of bizarre signals.

“On Friday, you wore my favorite shirt, with the galaxies on it.”

He’d knicked that shirt from a Goodwill bin three days after he landed in this godforsaken country. God bless America.

“You like that one, do you?” Nigel leaned in, sliding his hand to Adam’s knee.

“I just said I did.” The kid looked confused. “I think you have problems listening, Nigel.”

This fucking tease, what the hell were they playing at here?

“Don’t worry, I have problems listening too. I only hear what people say, it’s hard for me to understand emotional subtleties and lies. It’s one of the things we could work on together.”

“Work on?”

Adam leapt from the sofa and moved over to his small desk.

“Yes, I think we could help each other out. We can run social scenarios, and practice interactions. I’ve made a list of your social problems that we can work on as well as a list of my shortcomings that you can help me with.”

Nigel closed his eyes. He was not getting laid. He was getting etiquette lessons from a beautiful little cosmonaut cock tease. Excellent.


“Yes?” Adam sat next to Nigel, clasping his notepad.

What the fuck is wrong with you? Was poised on his tongue. But Nigel stopped. What had that fucking book said? Something about considering what you say? Nigel thought. Even the beautiful fucking odd duck fluttering his hands over his knees probably didn’t want to be called wrong.

“What…what makes you different, darling?”

“What?” Adam’s whole body went stiff for a second, before he started to rock, lightly.

“You scale tall buildings dressed like a cosmonaut. Fucking leave presents for the loud Romanian who yells on his balcony. Most people would just make a noise complaint.”

“I know what it’s like to lose control. Sometimes things get to be too much and I...I can’t handle it. Overstimulation makes me confused and I start to yell and rock. I don’t curse though.”

“So, you’re part Romanian, huh?” Nigel tried with a smile.

“No. I’m American.” Adam sounded confused.

Nigel laughed, this kid couldn’t be for real.

“O-ooh, you were joking,” Adam’s head dipped down, his cheeks tinted a light pink. God, he was fucking beautiful. The rocking was back, his fingers beating out staccato rhythms on his knees.

“Hey, hey…come on darling,” Nigel lowered his voice. He tried for soothing. “You jumped off the edge of a building, dressed like a fucking cosmonaut. I can’t possibly be that scary.”

He was, but there was no way the kid knew that already.

“I-I have Asperger’s Syndrome,” Adam wouldn’t even turn his head to Nigel now.

“You’re going to have to give me more, Adam. That sounds scary, but I honestly don’t know if that means your fucking dick is going to fall off or your contagious or what.”

“My mind isn’t like yours.”

“Yeah, no shit.”

Adam made a frustrated noise and continued rocking. Nigel caught one of Adam’s hands, which caused the boy to freeze. He thought about Chapter 3 in his anger book, Adam’s anger book, tone and message were important.

“Just explain it to me, using small fucking words, ok? I just want to understand.”

Adam lifted his eyes, and for a moment, Nigel’s heart stopped. Maybe it wasn’t that the kid was shy. Maybe Adam fucking Raki didn’t make eye contact because those baby blues could kill a man.

“I am on the autism spectrum,” Adam’s monotone voice drilled through what was obviously a very well-rehearsed speech. “It means that I can’t understand people very well. It’s hard for me to understand metaphors or read facial expressions. When I like a topic, I talk too much…”

Well that explained the fucking sarsaparilla lesson.

“…And my voice is monotone and people think I’m weird. I hate eye contact. And I have problems with tastes and textures. I usually eat the same thing and stick to a strict routine. If things are wrong, or my routine changes, or I get overstimulated I start to break down and yell or hyperventilate. Sometimes I rock or tap out little patterns to stop myself.”

Nigel was quiet. He looked at this sweet, lonely kid and for once in his stupid miserable life, didn’t let his dick do the talking.

Chapter fucking Three – Tone and Message. Nigel smiled.

“That sounds really fucked,” Nigel didn’t know what else to say. “But you’re not weird or off-putting. Darko once got drunk at a wedding and fucked an ice sculpture. If people will still fucking talk to him, you shouldn’t have any fucking problems making friends. God Gabi was pissed about that ice sculpture, it cost me a fucking fortune too.”

“D-darko? Was that your friend from earlier?”

“Yeah. Ugly fuck, isn’t he?”

“He’s not as attractive as you, but I found him handsome.”

Nigel froze. His dick launched its 900th protest that the kid did in fact want to fuck and they should do something about that.

Adam fiddled with the notepad and Nigel leaned in to see what was written on it. In bold letters at the top was written NIGEL’S FLAWS. The Romanian raised an eyebrow at that.

“So...” Nigel cleared his throat. “What do you think we can help each other with, if we’re fucking friends?”

“Here’s a list of your flaws. The main ones I thought about working on were violence, anger, cursing, smoking, and,” Adam was scribbling on the paper, “not listening.”

Nigel felt his anger bubbling behind his eyes. He pictured that fucking red balloon again.

“What flaws do you think I should work on?”

“Making lists of people’s flaws.”

“O-oh. I’ve made you mad.” Adam started to move.

“Yeah, you did, but I’m picturing that fucking red balloon and it’s floating away right now. Give me one fucking minute and I’ll be fine.”

Adam beamed and patted Nigel’s shoulder.

“Y-you read the book! I thought the red balloon exercise was weird. I think it was too metaphoric to work for me, but I’m glad it’s helping. You haven’t thrown your phone or hit any walls since you’ve been here!”

Nigel had a sneaking suspicion the delicate hand on his shoulder had a lot more to do with his elevated mood than some imaginary fucking balloon.

“Well, I guess you have helped me, Cosmo.”

Adam looked at his hands.

“Why did you call me that? Your friend called me that earlier.”

“Cosmo? It’s just because you’re my goddamn cosmonaut, in that fucking space suit.”


“Haven’t you ever had a nickname before?”

“Sure. Retard, weirdo, dumbass.”

“Fuck me. Not all fucking nicknames are mean, Adam. When you have friends, you get nicknames. Darko’s real name is fucking Phillip, for fuck’s sake.”

Adam watched Nigel’s hands intently.

“So, we’re friends?

“You bring me porn and cookies, of course we’re friends.”

Adam smiled, and shyly glanced up. Nigel’s heart and dick gave simultaneous throbs.

“Then it’s ok for you to call me Cosmo.”

“Great, darling. Wonderful.”

Nigel felt a vibration in his pants. He was almost positive it wasn’t his dick. He pulled out his phone and checked it.

Time to pull out and clean up, I need you for a meet in 30.

Fucking Darko.

“I’ve got to go, Cosmo. But uh, when are we going to meet to work on improving ourselves?”

Adam flipped the page of the notebook. There was a complicated graph on the next page.

“I’ve made a time table based on when I hear you yelling in your apartment. I thought we could work on my oddness and your anger during these times?”

Nigel didn’t even bother to look at the chart, he just winked.

“It’s a date.”

Chapter Text


“Nigel, I’m not sure calling Gabi that is going to win her back.” Adam glanced down at the repairing relationships book in his lap. “It says here that yelling and cursing can often make a romantic partner more upset.”


Adam tensed slightly, but he’d become used to Nigel’s angry timbre and quickly shook it off.

“Remember your tone. Tone is important.”

Nigel took a deep breath. He needed a fucking cigarette, but Adam would just launch into a speech about healthy lungs or some other annoying shit he didn’t need right now. He was trying to picture his red balloon of anger, but right now, he just wanted to fucking pop it with a lit Davidoff.

“Ok, how’s this: I’m going to find Cocksucker Charlie and make Gabi watch as I rip off his head and shove it up his pussy ass.”

Adam blinked, unimpressed.

“The tone is much better, but the content is horrible. You can’t just threaten violence and expect people to listen. It’s rude and upsetting. Also, unless Gabi is a lesbian, I don’t think Charlie has a vagina, Nigel. In all likelihood, he has a penis.”

“Which he is sticking in MY FUCKING WIFE.”

“Tone.” Adam corrected. Nigel started pacing the room to keep from screaming. “And you sleep with other women, so it seems fair that Gabi sleeps with other men, right?”

“I don’t- not in a bed-” Nigel waved his hands near Adam’s face. He knew it was a mistake when Adam recoiled. He backed off to give Adam breathing room. “It’s different when you’re a man and it’s not in your bed.”

“I don’t think that’s true.” Adam was rocking now, a response to Nigel’s pacing and agitation. Nigel forced himself to think about that red fucking balloon, imagining that motherfucker floating off into the sky.

“I was faithful. I was fucking faithful unless I was high, or drunk, or out with Darko.” His voice was even as he approached Adam, hands outstretched.

Adam made a fussy little noise and kept rocking. Nigel sighed.

“Alright Cosmo, you got me. I’m a fucking shitbag.” He flopped on the couch next to Adam, resting a hand on the younger man’s thigh. Adam stopped rocking, seemed to relax as Nigel did. “This is fucking hopeless.”

A small hand covered Nigel’s.

“No, you’re making great improvements. You only called Gabi a bitch 8 times! And you didn’t punch any holes in the wall this time, I think your next conversation with her will be much better. She might not even hang up.”

Nigel laughed, leaning his head against Adam’s shoulder.

“Well, isn’t that fucking encouraging.”

“I think so. Your anger is much better, Nigel. Now, we just have to work on your cursing, smoking, and drinking.”

Nigel rolled his eyes and got up, pulling a crumpled pack of smokes from his pocket and heading to the balcony.

“Well, that should be a fucking breeze, gorgeous.”

“That was a terrible fucking call! FUCKING STUPID FUCKING SHITFUCK!”

Nigel laughed, falling helplessly on Adam. Fuck had become Adam’s favorite curse to use in their rehearsals. He said it reminded him of Nigel.

“I- That was good, Cosmo, but maybe let’s try something a little more general.” Adam muted the Dodgers game and turned, full attention on Nigel.

“Like what?”

“Can you fucking believe that call?” Nigel watched as Adam made a note, he tried not to smile. “That opens up the floor for the person you’re talking to. It asks for their opinion.”

“When in doubt, ask for someone’s opinion.” Adam rattled off the rule Nigel had given him.

“Exactly, darling. Now, when’s the only time you don’t volunteer an opinion first?”

“With my boss or a girl I want to have sex with.” Nigel raised an eyebrow. Adam sighed. “And whatever I do, don’t correct them unless it’s life or death.”

“Goddamn right. If it’s your boss or a prime piece of tail, make sure you agree with whatever they say.”

Lately, Nigel had been agreeing to a lot: Cutting down to four cigarettes per day (more like 8, but Adam didn’t need to know about what he did at the warehouse), breathing exercises, picturing red fucking balloons instead of hitting people. Goddamn Adam – blue eyes, soft curls, and plush lips should be fucking outlawed.

“And don’t curse with them, only with friends and men at bars.”

Nigel nodded, that was a rule Adam had given to him.

“Want to try the scenario again?”

“Yes, but I have to go. It’s time for my shower.”

“I could go with you, practice the scenario while you shower.”

Fuck it, why not ask?

Adam looked like he was considering, which made Nigel’s ears start to buzz.

“No thank you. We can just try it again when you get back.”

“Fuck. I forgot all about the fucking warehouse.” Darko had worked out some incredible deal with a group of fucking Russians. Nigel hated Russians, he always ended up bleeding after dealing with them. But the money was fucking obscene and Darko had assured him that these guys were legit.

“I wrote it down. I won’t see you for a few days, right?”

Nigel paused. The thought of missing out on Adam fucking Raki’s smile for 48 hours was un-fucking-acceptable.

“Cosmo, how would you feel about having dinner at the fucking warehouse?” The Russians wouldn’t be there until 10 at the earliest. Adam could come and have dinner there at 7 without ever meeting them.

“I-I have to have dinner at 7.”

“I know, darling. But what if you had your mac n cheese at the warehouse with me?” Darko would be there too, he’d never hear the end of it, but fuck Darko, it would be worth it.

“You want me to bring dinner to the warehouse?”

“No, just show up. I’ll have your Amy’s mac n cheese in the freezer.” Nigel didn’t mention that he’d stocked the fridge with sarsaparilla already, Darko giggling every time Nigel pulled a bottle from the fridge.

“Do you masturbate to the pornography I gave you?”

Nigel hadn’t blushed in decades, but he could feel fire creeping up his neck as he stared blankly at Adam. The bitter taste of nicotine flooded his mouth and he realized, belatedly, he had bitten the filter off of his cigarette.


“Regular masturbation helps to improve mood. Some studies even believe it can lead to improved health, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, and elevating serotonin levels in the brain. I think it’s a good supplement to your anger exercises.”

A hiccupping gasp filled the room. Darko was choking on air in the tiny warehouse office, face red and eyes shining.

“Darko?” Adam looked over at the wheezing man with concern.

Adam brought Darko a glass of water from the kitchenette. While the boy’s back was turned, Nigel made as many nonverbal death gestures as he could. Darko continued to convulse with laughter.

“Was the video not to your taste? I have others I could lend you.”

Nigel was so focused on trying to kill Darko with his mind that it took a minute to realize Adam had asked him a question. Darko, sucked in air and gulped down some water. He sent Nigel a sly look before turning to Adam with innocent eyes. Nigel considered going for his fucking gun.

Red balloon. Red fucking balloon. Red fucking balloon tied around Darko’s stupid fucking throat.

“I don’t think that blonde is his type, Cosmo,” Darko said with a serious face and dancing eyes.

“Nenorocitule…” Nigel stopped himself, taking Darko’s bait would only make this worse. Somehow. Adam turned to Nigel, face as impassive as ever as he tried to be helpful.

“I might be able to find you a better video. What type of woman do you usually masturbate to?”

Darko, offering Nigel a shit-eating grin from over the younger man’s shoulder, pointed at Adam. Nigel glared, but both men went back to poker faces when Adam turned to look quizzically at Darko.

“I like brunettes, with curly hair and big blue eyes,” Nigel mumbled. It had been a dog’s age since anything but the thought of Adam’s sweet smile had brought him off. Adam turned back around and caught Nigel’s eye for a breath. It was almost enough to distract from Darko, who clasped his hands to his heart, heaved a mighty sigh, and fluttered his eyelashes.

“I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you, Gabi,” The fucked up thing was, Nigel kind of meant it. He and Adam had talked about the importance of sincerity when talking with loved ones.

“That was always the problem, Nigel. Whatever you wanted, when you wanted it. And god help the person who didn’t give it to you. If you had fucking listened to me once…”

Nigel glared at the phone. Hadn’t he just apologized for this? Couldn’t she just accept his apology? He paused, took three deep breaths and before he knew it he could see that fucking balloon floating before his eyes.

“That’s why I love Charlie, he cares what I want.”

Red balloon. Red balloon. Red balloon.

“I’m glad that little coc-, uh, Charlie makes you feel heard.” Christ, he sounded like a pussy. Adam fucking Raki, cosmonaut and all around weirdo had blinked his pretty blue eyes and turned Nigel into a goddamn bitch. He lit a Davidoff and looked skyward toward Adam’s balcony. He wondered if his Cosmo was home yet.

“What?” Gabi sounded like she was paying attention for the first time in months. Maybe Adam was on to something here.

“I…I just wanted you to know that I know I fucked this up. And that I’m fucking attempting to make some fucking changes.”

“Nigel.” Her voice was soft. She hadn’t said his name like that in fucking ages.


He spun. Adam waved from the doorway.

“I knocked but, you didn’t answer,” Adam tugged at his sleeve. He still felt uncomfortable using the key Nigel gave him, but Nigel felt better knowing his little cosmonaut wasn’t lowering himself down the side of a building whenever he needed to talk to him. “Are you busy? We can work later if you’re busy.”

Nigel beamed, his heart adopting the funny little staccato rhythm it had apparently assigned to Adam. Faintly, he could hear Gabi’s voice calling his name. He looked down, he hadn’t realized he’d lowered the phone.

“No Cosmo, you’re right on time. Let me just,” He gestured to the phone. Adam nodded, he walked to the fridge to pull out a sarsaparilla and a frosted mug, before moving to his usual spot on Nigel’s couch. Nigel watched Adam’s fastidious little movements with a small smile still pulling at the corner of his mouth. He stubbed out the Davidoff.

Gabi was still calling his name. He raised the phone.

“Nigel? Are you ok?” Gabi sounded worried.

“I’m fine gorgeous, but I have to go. I’ll talk to you soon,”

“Nigel, I-”

He had already hung up.

Chapter Text

At 6:45PM, Adam walked past the armed guards who were stationed outside the warehouse. They didn’t bat an eye at the familiar figure in the over-sized sweater who had been visiting every night for weeks, just smiled and nodded. If they didn’t, Nigel would make them pay.

Adam had memorized the way to Nigel and Darko’s office, through the maze of shipping crates that masked the product they really sold. Adam knew it was drugs, but he also knew he had never had so many friends before and maybe it was ok to let one bad thing go in the face of all the good things that had come his way.

“Hey Cosmo!” Ralph, the one-eyed leader of what Nigel called his ‘negotiators’, waved from a sofa in a corner of the warehouse. He was watching women’s volleyball with a few other guys, all of whom waved. Nigel explained that everyone at the warehouse would call him Cosmo, because it was safer than anyone knowing his name.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” The words still felt strange on his tongue, but Nigel said it made him sound like less of a robot.

“Nothing much, what’s up with you, man?” Eddie, Ralph’s second in command looked away from the TV, trying to catch Adam’s eyes.

“Same shit, different day.” That earned Adam a rumble of approval, followed by some I hear that’s and ain’t that the fuckin’ truth’s. Adam smiled. He and Nigel had worked hard on not sounding like a weirdo. Nigel explained that people were like computers, you just had to put in the right entry, and you’d get what you wanted.

For weeks, Adam had been working on putting in the right entries, and what he got back were smiles and friendly words. And if Nigel had threatened every living soul in that warehouse to be nice on pain of death, well, Adam didn’t need to know that part.

The real test was when Adam went out to a bar with coworkers. He and Nigel practiced for hours, making sure Adam understood the noise, the distractions, and the topics of conversation that were bar appropriate. Darko and Ralph had even acted as background noise, during one dinner, staging a loud argument over the Dodgers so Adam would be prepared for sudden angry voices.

When the day came, Adam had stayed for two rounds with his coworkers. He drank a club soda while everyone else drank beer, but he kept up with the conversation and stayed relaxed. When the noise from a baseball game started to overwhelm him, Adam told the group that he had a date – just like Nigel had told him to. It wasn’t a lie, he went straight to Nigel to eat chocolate covered graham crackers and discuss what had happened. Adam made some of his coworkers laugh, and they invited him to join their bowling league. Nigel assured him these were all good signs.

There had even been a girl there, Amy. She had shared cheese fries with Adam. He ended up not liking the texture of the potatoes and only eating one, and she had teased him about being a foodie. Nigel had been very interested in Amy, asking what she looked like, what Adam thought of her, how she had touched him. He had felt a little ache, knowing that Nigel was still so interested in other women, but Adam firmly pressed that feeling down as he tapped out a rhythm on his arm.

For his part, Adam had taught Nigel how to remain calm. Well, calm for Nigel. They practiced breathing, pausing, releasing anger like a red balloon, and redirecting a conversation. Adam sent Nigel on errands: Returning things at the store, talking to Darko on the phone without cursing, and shopping at grocery stores on Saturday mornings for Mrs. Keller, when moms and kids flooded the aisles. There had be a few blow ups, but Nigel was a quick learner and found that a smile and a wink got him further than a glare in most situations. It seemed to be working. Adam hadn’t heard any screaming calls to Gabi in three weeks. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time Nigel mentioned talking to her.

On the nights when Nigel didn’t have to stay at the warehouse, and they needed a break from their self-improvement lessons, Nigel and Adam went for drives. Adam was adamant that they couldn’t sneak into the Observatory during off hours, so Nigel packed them into his car and drove until the city lights were dim and the night hung thick and luminous above them. Under the stars, Nigel let Adam practice for his tours, asking common questions or interrupting Adam mid-sentence so that the boy could prepare for what Nigel deemed “the shit show that is working with the public”.

After a few rounds of inane questions, Nigel would get tired of playing a tourist, sitting on the ground with his back against his old Ford. He’d open up his arms and Adam would go, nestling between Nigel’s splayed legs and leaning his back against the older man’s chest.

“Tell me a story, Cosmo.” Nigel would whisper and they would sit under the heavens, Nigel’s chin propped on Adam’s shoulder as he listened to the younger man explain the galaxy. It was close and comfortable, and Adam found himself wondering if this was how all European men sat together when out, or it was just convenient for stargazing. Sometimes, when Adam had talked himself out, Nigel would tell stories about Romania, his childhood as a bag boy for the major players in Bucharest, the places he would take Gabi, the food he ate back home and the faces he imagined Adam would make if he had to eat it.

Eventually the chill would seep from the ground into their bodies, driving them to the car and back home. These nights were an interruption to his routine, but Adam found he didn’t mind. He liked having a friend. He like having someone who would listen when he talked. He liked the heat he felt whenever he pressed close to Nigel. He knew it was wrong to feel sexually aroused on these nights out, Nigel was married and all the people Nigel had brought home to have sex with (though not on his bed, which Nigel insisted was sound logic over Adam’s vehement objections) were women. So Adam ignored the low heat creeping in his belly whenever he felt Nigel’s breath on his skin or heard the wet stretch of Nigel’s mouth when he smiled by Adam’s ear. It was OK to be friends. It was enough.

Now, as Adam opened the office door, he flashed a big smile, waving at Darko and scanning the room for Nigel.

“Hello gorgeous,” Nigel murmured from behind. Adam blushed as he always did when Nigel was this close.

“Hey Cosmo? Tell Nigel to work on your wardrobe next. You look like you’re in your fucking grandpa’s clothes.” Darko was smiling and Adam looked to Nigel. He was pretty sure Darko was teasing him. Nigel nudged him, this is what they had been working on.

“Fuck your mother, Darko!”

Darko frowned and shook his head.

“Too far, man, don’t bring up anyone’s mother unless you’re angry. Try again, Cosmo.”

Adam’s eyes widened for a moment.

“I’m sorry Darko.” He paused, mentally scanning the list of phrases Nigel had taught him. “Um, F-fuck you, you fucking fuck!”

Darko grinned wide and Nigel let out a loud bark of laughter, wrapping an arm around Adam.

“That’s great, man.”

“Adam fucking Raki, I’ll drag you to the gutter yet.” Nigel paused. “Not the actual gutter, darling –”

“I know, you just mean you’ll turn me into an, uh, a-asshole like you.”

This time, Darko nearly fell out of his chair laughing. Adam beamed, darting his eyes up toward Nigel, who smiled wide. The arm around Adam’s shoulder squeezed, dragging him into Nigel’s chest as the Romanian pressed his smile into Adam’s chocolate curls. It wasn’t a kiss if his mouth was busy smiling, Nigel assured himself. Though Darko’s raised eyebrow made a good argument that Nigel was, in fact, full of shit.

Either way, Adam didn’t seem to mind, winding his arm around Nigel’s waist and squeezing.

“Can we have dinner now? I’m already five minutes late.”

“Five fucking minutes? My god, darling, are you alright?” Nigel spoke into Adam’s hair, not quite ready to give up the scent of the kid’s shampoo or the press of his body.

“Stop teasing me,” Adam squirmed and Nigel immediately released him. Adam was mildly surprised to note he missed the closeness of Nigel’s touch.

“Sorry, gorgeous.” Nigel smiled again, softer this time. He watched as Adam wandered over to the office’s fridge and pulled a frozen macaroni and cheese out. Nigel had started stocking them in the office a month ago, Darko had noted the addition to his vodka bottles with a smirk. As for Nigel’s frequent drives or the very apparent fact that his balls were as blue as Adam’s fucking eyes, Darko hadn’t said a fucking word about that, either. “Hey, after dinner do you want to take a drive, maybe tell me more about that fucking crap nebula.”

“Crab nebula.”

“Same thing.”

Adam furrowed his brows.

“No, it’s not, Nigel. The Crab Nebula is a supernova–”

Darko stood.

“Well, I wish I had someone to offer me an astrology lesson, but I guess I’ll have to settle for blow jobs and blow at the club. See you later, Cosmo.”

“I think you mean astronomy, Darko. I don’t study astrology. U-unless you’re teasing me?” Adam fidgets with his sleeve, wishing Nigel would put his arm around him again.

Darko smiles, and ducks his head.

“You’ve gotta forgive me, kid. It’s just…well Nigel never takes me driving anymore.”

“Futu-ţi morţii tăi!” Nigel hurled a can of soda at Darko, which the laughing man easily ducked.

“That’s a good one, Nigel, teach him that.” Darko grabbed Adam’s shoulders, using him as a shield. Adam squirmed slightly, but allowed the hold. “I think you need to work on curbing his outbursts a little more, Cosmo.”

He ran out the door before Nigel could find another projectile. Adam moved to the microwave, dinner was late and he was getting anxious.

“Was he teasing you or me?”

“Me, darling. Always me.” Nigel’s lips twisted. It looked like a smile to Adam, but something wasn’t right, maybe Nigel’s tone? “Eat up, Cosmo, we’ve got places to be.”

Chapter Text

Two slugs to the chest would have killed a normal man, but Nigel was too mean to die. That was Darko’s working theory as he rushed toward his prone friend. Of course, it helped that Nigel’s cell caught one the bullets, pissant .22s couldn’t pierce metal for shit, but damn did they ricochet if they got in a body. By the time Darko and Ralph had driven the interlopers away, Nigel was already on his hands and knees, blood oozing from his shirt. He collapsed, and rolled onto his back. As he lay bleeding on the concrete, Nigel lifted his eyes to Darko.

“Never fucking again with the Russians, you cunt.” The smell of fetid dock water and copper were filling the air around them.

Darko nodded, shoving his jacket onto Nigel’s chest and applying pressure. Fuck, there was a lot of blood. He looked up to see Ralph on the phone, calling for an ambulance as he loaded the shit and the rest of the guys into the transport. Darko waved them off. No sense everyone being here when the pigs came.

“Russians are officially fucking out.”

Nigel shifted, blood was pooling around his hair.

“If I, fuck, IF…Adam gets my share ok? You make sure he gets it and you make fucking sure no one knows where he lives or his real fucking name.”

“Fuck you, man. You die, I’m going to start dating him.”

Nigel laughed. His face was turning grey.

“He wouldn’t fucking date you, you’re too fucking ugly.” He coughed. “Take my wallet and piece and call 911.”

“It’s already done, man.”

“Then get the fuck out of here. Check on Adam, I was supposed to stop by tonight.”

Darko heard sirens.

“Fucking stay alive, Nigel. Ok? You can’t die without fucking Cosmo at least once. Do you know how fucking pathetic that would be?”

Nigel didn’t respond, his eyes rolling back into his head. Darko started chest compressions.

When the ambulance and the cop cars pulled up, Darko took off. American cops were too fat to run for more than a few blocks, so it wasn’t hard to lose them. He snaked his way back to the dock. Nigel was gone, so at least they had bothered taking him to the hospital instead of just throwing a sheet over him and calling the coroner.

Now, he just had to figure out what to say to fucking Adam.

Adam had taken the news like the odd little champ he was. Darko explained that Nigel had been shot and was in the hospital. Adam had blinked, processing the news with a stone face that left Darko wondering if he understood what the fuck he had said.

Then, the rocking started, and suddenly Darko had an understanding of just why Nigel seemed so fucking gentle with the kid.

“Cosmo. What are you doing, man?”

The rocking continued and now his hands were beating out weird little rhythms as Adam rubbed his own scrawny arms.


“I-I’m s-sorry. This is upsetting. I don’t m-mean to be w-weird. I-” Adam’s breathing wasn’t right.

Fuck, if Nigel lived, he was going to kill him.

“Is-is Nigel alive?” The question was soft.

“Yeah! Fuck Cosmo, he’s fine. Just fucking fine.” Christ, Darko hoped he wasn’t lying. “Did you think it was serious, man? It’s cool, he uh, he just couldn’t come over tonight.”

Adam paused in his rocking to scrunch up his nose.

“Getting shot is serious, Darko. They wouldn’t keep him in the hospital if it wasn’t.”

“Yeah, uh, I guess. But he was fine when I left him, talking about you, man, and wanting to make sure you knew he didn’t stand you up.”

“We were going to work on small talk again. A-and learning when to shut the fuck up.” Adam’s voice was so fragile, his fingers flying as they beat out patterns on his sleeves.

“Oh, well thank god, someone needs to tell that nenorocitule when to shut the fuck up,” Darko laughed lamely. Adam didn’t even respond. “Did you eat, Cosmo? Need me to get you something?”

“I-I’d like to see Nigel, please.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’ll have him call you in the morning.”

“NO,” Adam’s voice made Darko jump. “N-NO! I w-want to see him now.”

Adam bit his lip and looked down.


Darko knew this was a terrible idea. Adam could barely stay in the warehouse when it got loud, let alone in a busy emergency room admitting area.

“There’s going to be cops, man. And loud fucking noises. And smells. Are you fucking sure? He’s fine like I told you, he’ll call.”

“I remember hospitals, Darko. I want to go.”

Darko studied the boy, he had almost settled into stillness. He nodded his head once in Adam’s direction.

“Well, what the fuck are we waiting for? Let’s fucking go.”

Adam smiled and ran into his bedroom, saying something about reading material for Nigel and a sweater.

Jesus, Mary mother-of-god he hoped Nigel was still fucking alive.

“Cosmo? I need you to do me a favor,” Darko glanced to the passenger seat of his Challenger. The kid was rocking, probably because he’d missed two red lights as they traversed the city.


“If anyone asks, I need you to say that Nigel was mugged, OK?” His voice sounded strange, pleading.

“Was he mugged, Darko?” Still staring straight ahead. Still clutching a small stack of books and rocking. Fucking Cosmo.


“I don’t like to lie.”

“I know, Cosmo, I know. And I’m sorry to fucking ask you to. But it’s not really a lie. Someone stole from him and shot him.”

Adam nodded.

“I wish you and Nigel would stop trafficking drugs, I worry about you both.”


“Yes, Darko, you’re my friend too.”

Darko scrunched his brow and looked at the kid riding shotgun. He really meant that. He cared about what happened to them. Hell, half the time Nigel and Darko didn’t even care what happened to them.

What the fuck were they doing hanging out with this kid?

Darko reached out a hand and hesitatingly put it on Adam’s knee.

“Thanks, man”

Nigel looked really fucking dead. Grey and drawn with tubes coming out of his chest and monitors beeping. He turned to Adam, who was trailing him into the room. He wanted to push him back. Take him home and put him to bed. Bring him back when Nigel didn’t look like a fucking corpse.

He would have, if a cop hadn’t stepped in front of him.

“What are you doing?”

“That’s my brother, Nigel. He uh, didn’t come back from his walk tonight and I was fucking worried. I called all the hospitals and here he is.” The pig still blocked his path and it was starting to piss him off. Darko glared at the man’s double chin. “Why didn’t the cops notify me? Too busy working out?”

“Watch it.” A pudgy finger jabbed at Darko’s chest. “He was brought in with no ID, just a gunshot wound to the chest.”

“He was mugged?” Darko tried to look surprised. Adam was shifting behind him, getting anxious as the PA system blared another announcement.

“On the docks, at that hour?” The cop scoffed. Adam started rocking.

“H-he was mugged.” Adam said. “That’s why he didn’t come over tonight.”

The cop craned his head to look around Darko.


“What the fuck do you care? Can we see my brother or not?”

“Yeah, sure. But we ran a blood panel on him, and when it comes back dirty, I’m going to want to talk to you two.”

“I’ll be waiting, darling.” Darko brushed past the cop, making space for Adam in the room. The kid went immediately to Nigel, stacking books about anger and relationships on Nigel’s bedside table. When the books were arranged at the perfect angle, Adam touched a tentative hand to the stripper tattoo on Nigel’s neck.

Nigel stirred and slurred something in Romanian. It sounded like fuck off, but Darko couldn’t be sure.


Nigel moved again, leaning into Adam’s hand, his eyes shifting but not quite opening. Adam held still, giving him time to come around. It took five minutes for Nigel to fight toward consciousness, Adam gently stroking his neck as he waited.

The first thing Nigel did when he saw Adam was glance at the clock.

“What the fuck, Darko? It’s nearly 3, he should be fucking sleeping. Are you ok, Adam? Nervous?”

“I am highly uncomfortable here and would like to go home.”

Nigel glared toward Darko and tried to rise, but Adam caught Nigel’s chin with his hand, pulling him back.

“I asked him to bring me. I wanted to make sure you were ok. I’ll go sleep now.”

Nigel nodded.

“Go get your rest, Cosmo.”

“Ok, I’ll come visit tomorrow, but not for too long. I don’t like the smells here.”

Nigel leaned his head down heavily, letting Adam catch the weight of him.

“You don’t have to come back, Cosmo. You can call me. Or I can call you.”

He was fading. It was amazing he’d been conscious this long.

“I-I want to see you. I’ll come back.” Adam was starting to rock again.

A nurse poked her head into the room, Darko took a moment to appreciate her tits in the uniform. She rolled her eyes and brushed past. Nice round ass on her, too.

“You’re blood panel came back clean. If it’s alright with you, I’ll tell the officers and they’ll probably leave you alone for the night.”

Nigel nodded, thanking the nurse politely as she left. Adam smiled softly.

Darko gaped.

Nigel. Nigel fucking Balaur didn’t have a drug in his system? Not even fucking coke. He was in the goddamn Twilight Zone. Nothing showing up on a blood panel meant Nigel had been clean for fucking days, weeks, maybe.

Nigel raised an eyebrow when he caught Darko’s wide eyes.

“Fucking what?”

“Nothing man, I’m just trying to figure out how your dumbass got shot stone cold sober.”

Darko idled the Challenger in front of Adam’s building. He wanted to offer Adam some words of comfort, but fuck if he knew what to say.

“He uh, probably won’t get arrested.”

Adam nodded, then turned to Darko.

“D-do you need a hug?”

Darko blinked.


“It’s been a long, emotionally and physically trying day. Sometimes, people need hugs after that.” Adam was tugging aggressively on the sleeve of his sweater. Darko wished, for the millionth time, that Nigel was here to fucking fix it.

“No, Cosmo. I’m good.”

“Good. I didn’t want to hug you.”


Not that he wanted the kid for himself, but what the fuck? He had been nice to the kid, eaten his goddamn mac n cheese 4 nights a week. He’d even helped with his cursing. He didn’t warrant a fucking hug?

“We’re friends, but I’m not comfortable with physical intimacy with you. So I’m glad you don’t need a hug.”

Darko nodded. Well then, fuck.



“Nigel’s going to be fine.”

“Thank you, Darko.”

With that, Adam jumped out of the car and disappeared into the building.

Darko finally understood just how whipped Nigel was. While his friend laid in a hospital, with big-titted nurses leaning over him and shitty TV, Darko had become the new fucking Nigel.

He made sure the office was stocked with mac n cheese. He answered calls from Adam at precisely 5:07 every afternoon to check on Nigel. He picked up Adam at 6 every fucking day to drive him out to visit with Nigel. He occasionally ran scenarios with Adam when they got home, biting his cheek until it bled to keep from saying something shitty and sarcastic when Adam acted like a fucking weirdo.

But the worst fucking part was it wasn’t appreciated. Adam spent hours telling him that Nigel did things differently, better. Nigel didn’t smoke in the apartment. Nigel had frosted mugs. Nigel wouldn’t mime blowing his brains out when Adam talked too much.

Nigel called eight times a day with questions about Adam’s activities, criticisms about what Darko was doing, and threats about what would happen if precious fucking Cosmo wasn’t glowingly happy the next time he came to the hospital for a visit.

Honestly, they could both go fuck themselves. Or each other. Something. Fuck, he needed a drink.

Nigel was maybe a week away from getting released. The second he did, Darko was going to toss his friend some lube and lock him in a room with Adam. He couldn’t fucking take this anymore.

Until then, he stood, watching as Adam rushed into Nigel’s room, fussing with flowers and chattering about his day. Nigel placed his book on the nightstand and watched Cosmo as he buzzed around the room, not even bothering to look at his best fucking friend who had been taking care of his weirdo not-boyfriend for the better part of a month. Darko was getting blackout fucking drunk tonight.

“Why the fuck are you fucking hovering?”

Oh, had his majesty finally fucking noticed Darko existed? Should he fucking curtsy?

“Oh! Darko got you a present! I wanted to get more flowers, but he said these would be better.” Adam smiled at Darko, and for a fleeting moment, Darko didn’t want to strangle them both.

Giving Nigel a toothy smile, Darko stepped away from the door and pulled his hand around the doorjamb. A bundle of red balloons floated into the room. Nigel glared at him, then laughed.

“You’re so fucking lucky I’m high.”

“You’re not supposed to be high, Nigel.” Adam was fussing with the blankets around Nigel’s bare chest. Apparently they weren’t turned down evenly.

“On meds, gorgeous. On meds.” Nigel had the most ridiculous expression on his face. Darko was tempted to take a fucking picture to show the boys.

Adam digested this new information and stopped. He made a small fussy noise.

“Medications are ok, but I’ve added dealing drugs to the list of flaws we need to work on.” Adam said matter-of-factly as he perched on chair by Nigel’s bed.

“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST MAN!” Darko whipped his head outside, checking for witnesses.

Nigel reached an IV-clad hand over to Adam. Cosmo studied it a moment before taking it, fingers gingerly avoiding the needle and tubing.

“Can we talk about this later, gorgeous? Like when I don’t have a tube in my fucking cock?”

“OK, but it’s on the list.”

Nigel just smiled and looked at their hands.

Adam was sitting on a crate in the warehouse while Nigel explained something using loud profanity and flailing hand gestures. Darko watched them from the office. Adam would occasionally catch Nigel’s left arm and gently move it back to the sling, wary of the stitches that were still healing in Nigel’s chest. Nigel would smile, toothy and wide, and move his arm again, trying to entice Adam to touch him. It was a pretty pathetic move, but the kid either didn’t notice or didn’t mind, catching Nigel’s fugitive hand and tenderly tucking it away again.

Whatever the fuck Cosmo had done to his friend, Darko could kiss him. Though Nigel would probably kill him for even thinking that.

He always knew Nigel had a bit of a cock sucker in him. He remembered a boy with pretty hazel eyes in Bucharest who Nigel doted on. Gustaf played violin, terribly, on a street corner. But fucking Nigel, he made Darko stop and listen every time Gustaf was out with his cap on the ground, torturing his violin for pocket change.
It didn’t take long before Gustaf’s cap was under Nigel’s bed and the boys on the crew started rumbling about being led around by a faggot. Nigel had savagely beaten anyone who questioned Gustaf or what they did together and Darko had backed him up. Who cared if Nigel liked a bit of cock? Who did it hurt? It didn’t take long before the boy was an accepted part of the group.

When Gustaf overdosed, things had gone to shit. Darko had found Nigel cradling his dead lover and murmuring apologies, still half high on whatever killed the boy. It took hours to talk Nigel into releasing the foul smelling corpse, and longer to convince him that they couldn’t call the cops or have a big funeral. In the end, he’d sworn to Nigel that he buried Gustaf in the park, which was half true, the body was in at the bottom of the lake in IOR Park, weighted down with that fucking violin and several kilos of the tainted shit that killed him and fucked up Nigel.

With Gustaf gone, Nigel became a ball of manic energy. Losing himself in mountains of coke and pussy, starting brutal fights with every person who breathed near him. Darko dreaded taking him on jobs.

Darko thought Gabi had finally pulled Nigel from the brink. At least she could actually play her fucking cello. But the marriage and fighting just made Nigel colder, and his outbursts crueler. By the time he killed a group of people in full view of a security camera, Darko had begun to fucking sweat what the fuck Nigel would do next. He started getting Nigel high and laid whenever they went out, just to make sure he wouldn’t cause any fucking problems. It worked, until Gabi met that fucking fish-faced boy and fancied herself in love.

Then all hell broke loose. Again.

Darko was so lost in thought he didn’t hear the phone until the machine picked up.

“You’ve reached International Shipping. For an appointment, leave a message after the tone.”

“Hello, Nigel? Nigel, pick up.”

Darko abandoned his perch by the window and dove for the phone.

“Hello, Gabi? It’s Darko.”

“Darko, thank god. Where is Nigel?”

Darko’s eyes shifted to the window again.

“He’s fine, Gabi, just really fucking busy.”

He could hear her breathing, hear the wheels turning from thousands of miles away.

“It’s been weeks, Darko. I haven’t heard from him. I tried calling his phone and it’s not working.”

Darko took the phone toward the window, making sure Adam wasn’t leading Nigel back to the office yet. It was 6:50, he had maybe 10 minutes to get her off the phone.

“You know him and burners. He had to get a new one last week. Sorry, I don’t know the number.”

He could hear tuning in the background. Why the fuck was she calling from work?

“Is he high or fucking someone?”

Darko sighed. He wasn’t going to waste his time picturing a red balloon for this.

“Does it fucking matter? Look, you’ll get your fucking divorce soon. So just sit tight and you and fucking Charlie can run off and get married and have a hundred fish-faced babies, ok?”

“Fuck you Darko, I want to know what’s going on. He sounded different when he called me last time.”

“Gabi, he’ll call you when he fucking calls you. I’ll let him know you left a message, ok? Until then, don’t fucking tie up my business line.”

He hung up, erasing the number from the phone’s caller ID, and walked over to the machine on Nigel’s desk. Darko pressed delete as Adam opened the office door. Adam smiled in greeting as he went to his usual spot on the sofa, Nigel was too busy subtly staring at Adam’s ass to question why Darko was standing over his desk.
Darko made a mental note to move the machine to his desk after Adam and Nigel left for the night. Just in case.

“There you fuckers are! I was starting to think you fucking ditched me for a drive. What’s for dinner tonight, Cosmo? Mac n cheese or mac n cheese?”

Chapter Text

         Adam spent his morning reviewing Nigel’s flaws, as was his habit. He thoughtfully crunched bran cereal as he looked at his list. He was pleased with the progress Nigel had made on his anger. It had been weeks since Nigel hit a wall or jumped a person in front of Adam, which was really quite good for him. Nigel was also becoming a good listener. He could quote facts about planets and star systems from memory with only a few mistakes. Adam had begun to suspect the mistakes were fake, because he would smile wide whenever Adam corrected him and give him a tight hug.

         Nigel’s improvements seemed to be paying off with Gabi too. Adam hadn’t heard Nigel screaming at Gabi in over a month. He had stopped talking about her too, so Adam assumed they were getting along. Adam was curious, of course, but he didn’t like the way the corner of Nigel’s mouth curled when he talked about his beautiful Gabi, it made his stomach hurt. 

         He frowned at the thought. He didn’t have time for this. He needed to leave for work in 45 minutes. He turned back to his list.

         Nigel’s biggest flaw was still drug trafficking. Adam had done a dark web search and the penalties for drug trafficking in California were steep. Nigel could be locked away for life. Clearly, this was a flaw Adam needed to address quickly. The only problem was Nigel didn’t see an issue with his occupation.

         Maybe it was Darko. Maybe Nigel wanted to work with his friend. Adam understood. He always had more fun when he worked with Luke and Amy on projects at work. They thought he was funny and smart, Amy even asked Adam to go to a movie with her and a group of friends. He had almost gone, even told Nigel about the prospect, but a few hours before he was scheduled to go, he called Nigel to go over a few social cues and found that his best friend was sick. Adam cancelled his plans with Amy and spent the night sitting next to Nigel on the couch, feeding him tea and graham crackers and snuggling close to keep him warm. By Adam’s bedtime, Nigel sounded much better. Amy had forgiven him the next day when she heard about his sick friend, offering a rain check. Nigel had told him that meant she was still interested, in what he didn’t specify. 

         Adam shook his head. He was working with Amy this morning on a tracking logarithm, maybe he’d ask her about being interested.

         For now, he had to think of a way to convince Darko to give up the drug trade. If he did that, he was sure Nigel would agree to stop too. Adam opened up his laptop and went to the dark web. He searched good jobs for former drug dealers. The most frequent option listed was wet work, that didn’t sound appealing. Apparently a lot of kitchens would hire sous chefs that had criminal backgrounds. Nigel had told Adam once that Darko was a magician with a knife, so that might be a good fit. Then Adam remembered the first time Nigel had made dinner for him, and the resultant microwave fire.

         He bit his lip. Maybe not. 

         Finally, he saw an entry about private security companies. Apparently, people would hire former criminals as consultants for security systems, advisers for security transports, and private bodyguards. If Nigel and Darko joined a company, it seemed like they would have to start out as bodyguards. Adam didn’t like that concept, Nigel could be shot again. But, if they started a consulting firm, Nigel would just have to look at building layouts and find weak spots. Adam knew he was good at that. Darko could talk to clients, he was always setting up meetings and negotiating prices. Adam felt a little thrill roll through him. This was a good plan.

         He grabbed his cell phone and called Darko.

         “Are you fucking sure about this, Cosmo?” Darko was leaning next to Adam, squinting at the computer. Adam had taken three days to carefully create a spread sheet with all sorts of business projections. It looked like gibberish, but the only column Darko needed to understand was the one that read profit.

         “Yes. I ran the figures twice.” Adam tapped lightly on the desk, waiting for Darko’s opinion. “You’d need a couple hundred thousand for seed money, but you could keep the same personnel and warehouse space. I’ve made a list of potential clients, if you booked two in your first four months, you’d make the profit I have estimated here.”

         Darko leaned in. Not fucking bad. It wasn’t drug money, but it also came with fewer people to bribe or shoot.

         Hell, he could even work regular fucking hours, if he wanted to. Maybe even have a family and not fucking worry about them getting kidnapped or killed. For a moment he had an absurd vision of Nigel and Adam babysitting his kids when he and his wife wanted a date night. They’d come home to find their kids had learned how to say ‘motherfucker’ and the basics of string theory. He smiled at the image. It was a stupid fucking dream, but he fucking wanted it.

         There was just one angry, loud-mouthed problem.

         “So, you want me to pitch this to Nigel? Because he’s not going to be happy with a pay cut.”

         “This is only projections for the first year. If you and Nigel do well, you will book more clients. More clients mean more money. I thought you should start by pitching your security services to the Gramaldi Shipping Company.

         Darko laughed.

         “You want us to offer security on the docks? The docks where Nigel was fucking shot?”

         Adam nodded.

         “Clearly they need better security. They have drug deals and shootings occurring on their property.”

         This fucking kid. Darko wrapped his arm around Adam and ruffled his neat fucking curls. 

         “Let’s give it a fucking shot, Cosmo. If Nigel agrees, I’ll talk to Ralph.”

         Adam beamed, eyes fixed on Darko’s left ear. Darko smiled too, he’d never seen a way out before that seemed so possible. He’d always thought he’d die next to Nigel, bloody and forgotten.

         The door to the office banged open. Nigel stormed to his desk, a litany of Romanian curses about Serbian traders spewing from him.

         Nigel looked up and finally noticed Darko and Adam. He stilled and Darko knew, in that moment he wasn’t going to die next to Nigel, he was going to die because of Nigel.

         Nigel froze.

         Darko was leaning over his desk with his arm wrapped around Adam, hand in the chocolate curls that smelled like minty soap. Nigel’s fucking Adam. Both of them grinning at each other like fucking assholes. Bile rose in his throat, burning and making his stomach churn. Darko moved like lightning, up and away from Adam the second they made eye contact. His impulse was still to put Darko’s head through the wall, the price for touching his Adam should be blood.  

         Adam looked up and offered Nigel that big fucking smile, completely oblivious to the rage boiling behind Nigel’s eyes. Nigel took a breath. Then three more. Darko seemed to visibly relax as he watched Nigel put conscious effort into deep inhales and exhales.

         “You’re here early, Cosmo.” Nigel’s voice was even, but cold. Darko opened his mouth, then shut it.

         “I needed to talk to Darko about something.” Adam was rocking just a little in his chair and Nigel knew the kid had finally picked up on his anger. Jesus, he was a fucking shit. He mentally filled his red balloon and sent it flying.

         “What the fuck did you need to talk to Darko about?” His voice was lighter, the ice melting from his tone.

         “I needed a shipment of coke.”

         Nigel’s mouth fell open, lit cigarette dropping from his lip. It ignited a small patch of carpet and Nigel cursed as he stomped on the tiny smoldering mess.

         “T-that was a joke.” Adam offered. Darko smiled at him, still looking a little wide eyed and panicked. Nigel offered a small quirk of his lips. Adam thought it was a smile, but it could have been a snarl. “I-I wanted to talk to Darko about a business opportunity.”

         This snapped Nigel’s head up. Adam held his hand up.

         “I-I don’t like you getting shot. The hospital is stressful for me and you are grumpy and snap at me when you do your physical therapy. I thought it would better if you didn’t get shot again.”

         “I’m not a fucking fan of it either, darling, but it’s a part of the job.”

         “I know. So I want you to get a new job. Darko too.”

         Darko flinched at the mention of his name, as though he’d rather everyone forgot he was in the room.

         “So…what? What is this new job?”

         Adam ran through the security company idea, he was so fucking excited. Nigel knew he should be listening when his Cosmo was trying to explain something, but he kept thinking about fucking Darko. Why had Adam wanted to tell Darko first? Why hadn’t he talked to Nigel about this grand fucking plan last night? Something ugly and cold clenched in Nigel’s stomach.

         “So, before you talked to me, you wanted to talk to the fucking brains of the operation?”

         Darko looked up to the sky, Adam cocked his head, confused.


         “You fucking heard me.”

         Adam stood. He was clearly uncomfortable, but he went to Nigel anyway. Watching Cosmo gingerly lay a hand on his shoulder and squeeze, Nigel felt guilt swell in his chest.

         “I d-didn’t think you’d w-want to switch jobs unless Darko wanted to switch.” Adam wouldn’t look up at him, but the delicate fingers remained on Nigel’s shoulder, squeezing gently and rubbing. “I j-just wanted to make sure Darko would say yes.”

         “It’s a good fucking plan, Nigel,” Darko sounded very far away. “He’s got a lot of figures and the money isn’t bad.”

         Nigel knew it was irrational, but he hated that Adam had planned this all out with fucking Darko. Did Cosmo really think he wouldn’t have said yes to anything Adam wanted? Jesus, hadn’t he already fucking stopped snorting blow and started breathing like an asthmatic whenever he felt pissed? But fucking Adam, he just had to go to Darko first. Fucking Darko, the reasonable fucking one. After everything, Adam still didn’t trust him to make a good fucking decision. 

         Fuck this.

         “I’m glad your plan is so fucking good.” He shrugged the small hand off his shoulder. “I hope you and Darko are fucking happy together.”

         “Nigel? J-just look at the plan.”

         “I don’t need a plan. I have a job. What I need is a new fucking partner, since Darko’s decided to go pussy on me.”

         “Ce pusca mea! Nu te mai comporta ca un măgar și ascultă pe Adam,” Darko hissed. “El te iubeste.” 

         Nigel wouldn’t meet Darko’s stare. He felt his face go hot, his chest was clenching. Christ, he wished that was true. Little sparks pricked at his temples, it was the feeling he always got before shit went sideways.

         “Ma doare-n cot!”


         Adam was rubbing his arms and Nigel felt like a piece of shit.

         “I’m getting the fuck out of here.” Nigel grabbed his keys, aggressively knocking into Darko’s shoulder as he headed for the exit. Adam bit his lip when the door slammed. Darko let out a heavy breath.

         “I-I should have asked h-him f-first. I-I hurt his feelings.”

         “It’s OK man, I promise. Give him fifteen fucking minutes and he’ll come back. Looking at his fucking feet and mumbling like a kid.”

         The door opened. Nigel’s shoulders were still tense, but he was visibly calmer, eyes on his feet.

         “Do…do you need a ride home, Cosmo?” Nigel’s voice was soft. He glanced up at his darling. Adam smiled just a bit and nodded.

         They walked to the car in silence, the sounds of Darko’s laughter echoing through the warehouse.

         “Why would I take some fucking security job? Get fucking beat up and have to take a piss test once a month for my trouble? Fucking no, Adam.”

         They had bickered all the way home from the warehouse. Usually Adam would drop a subject that got Nigel agitated, giving him time to calm down and reflect. But Adam wouldn’t let this go. He and fucking Darko had decided apparently and Nigel was just supposed to be fucking grateful to be included.  

         He put a cigarette in his mouth, it was his fucking apartment and he would smoke if he wanted to. Adam scrunched his nose. Nigel sighed, leaving the cigarette unlit in his mouth.

         “You can’t sell drugs forever. You’re not very good at it, you got shot.” Nigel whirled at that, glaring at Adam. “A-and it’s wrong. P-people die from taking drugs, Nigel.”

         Hazel eyes flashed in Nigel’s mind.

         An open palm slapped the wall by Adam’s head. Nigel hadn’t done anything like that in weeks. Adam flinched away, then began to rock lightly. Nigel immediately held his hands up in supplication, a tinge of guilt in his chest.

         “B-Be reasonable. If you want to show Gabi you’ve changed, you have to a-actually change,” Adam was calming, but his voice still sounded fragile. Nigel brought a hand softly to Adam’s arm, lightly rubbing. Adam’s rocking slowed. “You’ve worked so hard. You taught me to curse. You only hit people when they really deserve it. I just thought the job would be the next logical step. It pays well. Darko liked the idea. It was reasonable.”

         Adam kept his eyes down and his head tucked, trying to control the panic that still fluttered softly in his chest.

         “I-if you’re in an office looking at security cameras, it’s much less likely that you’ll get shot.” Adam’s voice was quiet and soft. His cheeks were still flushed scarlet. Nigel wanted to keep Adam safe from the world, from himself.

         “Are you saying I’m not being fucking reasonable, Adam?” Nigel tried to keep his tone light, poking softly at the smaller man’s belly, hoping for a laugh.

         “N-no Nigel, you’re the most f-fucking unreasonable fucking fucker I fucking know,” Adam paused, chancing a quick glance at Nigel’s warm brown eyes. “Fuck.”

         Nigel froze, anger and guilt forgotten, cigarette dangling precariously from his gaping mouth.

         “Did you? Was that another fucking joke, Cosmo?” Nigel’s grin was wide and his eyes danced.

         “Fuck yes.” Adam tried, huffing a small laugh and hoping he’d read Nigel’s face correctly. Something changed in Nigel’s expression. It seemed to soften, but his eyes were burning. Adam couldn’t place the emotion and it made him nervous. He watched as Nigel tossed his unlit cigarette on the table and took a step toward Adam.  

         “You’ve got a dirty fucking mouth, Mr. Raki,” Nigel was closer now, his voice rougher, leaning into Adam’s space. But it wasn’t scary like before. It was nice. This wasn’t teasing. At least, it wasn’t the normal teasing pattern that Nigel had. He should have clapped Adam on the shoulder by now or ruffled his hair. Adam felt warmth pool into his chest as Nigel’s breath grazed over his face.

         “Y-you gave it to me.” Adam wanted to kiss Nigel, but that was all wrong. Nigel was his friend, like Darko and Ralph.  It must be his mind blindness. But Nigel’s signals seemed so clear. Adam’s mouth twisted in disappointment.

         “El te iubeste.” It was barely a whisper, like Nigel was talking to himself instead of Adam. Nigel’s eyes roamed Adam’s face, searching. Adam licked his lips, he felt a dull pull in his groin as he processed Nigel’s nearness.

         “I- Are you feeling…? I’m sorry, I think I should go.” Adam shrank down, trying to avoid Nigel’s close face and the arm that caged him.

         A hand stopped his progress. The gentle grip of nicotine-stained fingers raised Adam’s chin.

         “What is it, Cosmo?”

         “I-I want to go.”

         Adam’s eyes were fixed on Nigel’s third button, it caught the light every time he breathed. The fingers on Adam’s chin were stroking now, the shock of the touch made Adam look up, right into Nigel’s smiling eyes.

         “Do you really want to leave? What about what I want.”

         “W-what do you want, Nigel?”

         “I want to fucking kiss you, gorgeous. Do you want to fucking kiss me?”

Chapter Text

         Adam was trapped between a rock and a hard Romanian. Usually he hated this type of physical proximity, but Nigel’s closeness didn’t bother him. The familiar warm feeling was pooling low in Adam’s stomach. But this wasn’t right. This wasn’t what Nigel had wanted when they became friends.

         “Gabi.” Adam managed.

         Nigel licked his lips and let out a small breath. He didn’t move away.

         “Gabi doesn’t want me, darling.” Nigel’s voice was even, matter of fact. “Took me a fucking age to understand that, but I fucking get it now.”

         Adam opened his mouth. Had Nigel given up? Did something happen in their last phone call? Why hadn’t Nigel told him?

         A finger lightly pressed on Adam’s bottom lip.

         “The question we need to answer is: Do YOU want me?” Nigel’s hooded gaze was fixed on his index finger, rubbing lightly at Adam’s lip.

         Adam felt his cock filling. His breath was coming out in hot pants, coating Nigel’s finger with moist air. On a whim, Adam licked the very tip of Nigel’s forefinger as it made a lazy pass along his lip.

         Adam heard a choking sound, Nigel’s finger pushed into Adam’s mouth slightly, chasing the wet heat. Adam let his lips fall closed, the barest sucking pressure meeting Nigel’s finger.

         Nigel pulled his hand out of Adam’s mouth like he had been burned. His head fell to Adam’s shoulder, breath erratic.

         “Doamne ajută!” Nigel murmured. “Adam, please gorgeous. Don’t fuck with me on this.” 

         Adam reviewed everything that had happened. Nigel no longer wanted to be with Gabi. Nigel wanted to be with him.

         His chest burned with pride. Nigel wanted him. He didn’t mind Adam’s oddness. He listened when Adam talked. He helped Adam make friends. And he found Adam sexually arousing.

         Adam’s mouth stretched into a big smile. Nigel was still trying to take calming breaths with his forehead propped on Adam’s shoulder.

         He dropped his head, mouth against Nigel’s ear.

         “Nigel? Please kiss me.”

         Nigel’s breathing stopped. Slowly his head came up, his mouth slightly open and eyes wide. Adam recognized that face. Surprised. Nigel was surprised.  

         A hand landed on Adam’s cheek, a slight tremor in the fingers. Then Nigel was moving, pressing his mouth against Adam’s slowly. Nigel swept his tongue along the seam of Adam’s lips. The younger man opened his mouth and sucked lightly as Nigel’s tongue breached him, he tasted like smoke and beer.

         Nigel’s other hand wrapped around Adam’s waist, pulling their bodies against each other. Adam noted they were both hard, and rolled his hips lightly as he continued to lap at Nigel’s mouth. The friction caused Nigel to push into Adam, driving him into the wall. The pressure was arousing. Adam moaned against Nigel’s mouth, his hips still working against Nigel’s cock.

         When they pulled apart to breathe, Nigel pressed small kisses to Adam’s cheek between gasps.

         “Adam fucking Raki.” A stubbled chin dropped to Adam’s neck, rubbing gently.

         “N-Nigel fucking Balaur.” Adam felt more than heard the laugh against his neck.

         Nigel’s hand was moving, trailing down Adam’s heaving chest and stomach. When Adam felt the hand cup him, he bucked helplessly into it, moaning.

         “Fucking Christ, I could blow just watching you.”

         Adam was incredibly aroused, but something was wrong. His pants were getting sticky and wet, the sensation bothered him. But Nigel’s hand sent his head spinning. It was hard to focus, to communicate. When he felt Nigel’s teeth nip gently under his chin, his mind cleared for a moment.

         Adam grabbed at Nigel’s hand.

         “I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX TONIGHT” It was louder than he wanted it to be. Nigel stepped back immediately. Still close, but not touching. Adam took a breath and thought of their exercises on tone. “I-I want to have sex with you, Nigel. B-but I’m not pr-prepared. I haven’t had s-sex with a man. I n-need time to…to…”

         “To know what to expect.” Nigel finished for him. He brought a hand to Adam’s lips, lightly rubbing at the slick flesh. “Ok, Cosmo. Go do your research and we can fucking talk about… uh…fucking later.”

         “I’m so–” Nigel kissed him, firm and closed lipped. When he pulled back, he caught Adam’s gaze again.

         “Don’t you fucking dare, Cosmo. Nothing to be sorry for, not for this,” He dropped Adam’s gaze and leaned next to his ear. “Now go home. And when you jerk off, think about me sucking your cock.”

         Adam nipped at Nigel’s earlobe. Nigel leaned into the touch, laughing lightly.  

         “OK. Will you think about me?”

         This time, the laugh was louder.

         “Fuck, Adam. I haven’t thought of anyone else for months.”

         Adam furrowed his brow for a moment before his whole face lit up.

         “Brunettes with curly hair and big blue eyes!”

         “Get the fuck out of here, Cosmo!” He feinted a lunge for Adam, who yipped as he dodged and ran for the door.

         “A date with Cosmo!” Darko crowed, slapping Nigel on the back. “Oh my god, Nigel – do you think you two will go all the way? Or are you going to wait for another eight years before you make a move?”

         “Tacă-ţi dracu fleanca!” Nigel slapped Darko’s hand off of him. “Why the fuck do I let you live?” 

         “Because you need me to get laid tonight?”

         “I’m only getting laid if Adam wants t-” Nigel stopped, his face turned red. He shoved out of his chair, but Darko caught him.

         “I’ve got this Nigel. Everything will be perfect. And if it’s fucking not, I know you, you’ll charm his pants off some other way.” Darko snorted. “You remember what happened with fucking Gabi? That was a cluster-fuck of a date and she fucked you.”

         Nigel dropped his head to his hand and laughed. He had been showing off like an asshole. Pointing out all the places he was going to take her, telling her about all the fine fucking food and clothes he would get her. He hadn’t realized she was so close until his gesturing hand connected with her head. Hard.

         They spent the rest of the night at their coffee shop, curled in the window booth with a napkin full of ice pressed to Gabi’s forehead. When they finally left, Nigel took out his phone to call her a car. Gabi grabbed his hand and lowered it, telling him she’d never slept with a man who gave her a head wound before. In the morning, there was a faint mark at her hairline which Nigel kissed as she rode him.

         “No fucking bruises tonight.”

         “None? Have you gotten boring or lazy in your old age, nenorocitule?” Darko winked and dodged Nigel’s swat.  

         Darko told Nigel he needed a pop of color. Nigel was in his best black suit, with black shirt – the only clothes he owned that didn’t come from a bargain bin or have bloodstains on them. Darko said he looked sinister, suggesting a handkerchief or flower in the lapel. Nigel had flipped him off, but now he worried that maybe he did look a bit imposing for a date.

         Too late to do anything now.

         Nigel knocked.

         When Adam opened the door, Nigel’s heart stopped. His gorgeous fucking darling had dressed up for their date too. Adam wore a navy blue suit with a robin’s egg blue dress shirt. His hair was neatly combed, but his mouth was twisted into a moue as he tugged at a tie. 

         “D-do you like it?”

         Nigel touched the tie gently.

         “Do you?”

         “I don’t like things around my neck but this is my nicest outfit.” Adam continued to pull at his tie. “Is this appropriate for our date?”

         Nigel pulled Adam to his chest for a long, slow kiss. Adam felt movement at his neck, but Nigel’s tongue was distracting. When Nigel pulled back, he held Adam’s tie in his hand.

         “Perfect.” He declared.

         Adam smiled. He took the tie and retreated into his apartment to put it away properly. He emerged from his bedroom looking more relaxed. Grabbing a precisely folded paper bag off the side table as he closed the door, Adam nodded.

         “OK, I’m ready. We’ll go to dinner and then have sex.”

         Nigel frowned.

         “Wait. Cosmo, we don’t have to have sex tonight, OK?”

         “O-oh. D-did you change your mind? Because I wanted to have sex tonight. I bought lube and condoms,” Adam held up the paper bag. “But if you need more time, that’s ok. We can date until you’re comfortable.”

         Nigel chuckled and pulled Adam to him for a small kiss.

         “My fucking prepared darling.” Another kiss, slower. “We’ll have all the sex you want, Cosmo. We can skip dinner and fuck now.”

         Adam pulled away.

         “No. Then it’s not a date.” He pushed Nigel toward the parking lot. “First we eat and talk, then we have sex.”

         “Yes sir, Mr. Raki.” Nigel couldn’t keep the smile off his face.

         Nigel drove Adam to their favorite stargazing spot in the hills. There, in the clearing Nigel had specified, was an elegantly set table. Next to the table, a stack of blankets and cushions was piled high.

         On the table was a thermal container, which should hold two piping hot Amy’s mac n cheese servings. Two sarsaparillas were sitting in a champagne bucket, ice keeping them frosty. Adam leapt out of the car and ran to the table, then looked back at Nigel. 

         “Thank you.” Adam sounded breathless.

         Darko was a fucking twat, but he could deliver in a pinch.

         “I did a lot of research yesterday.” Adam said around a mouthful of noodles.

         “Oh?” Nigel had been in bed, sleeping off a late night meeting with some Serbs who wanted a big shipment.

         “Yes. Darko was very helpful.”

         Every muscle on Nigel’s body tensed at once.

         “What the fuck does that mean?” His grip on his fork was bruising. He wanted to drive it into Darko’s throat for even talking about sex with his Adam.

         Adam looked at him with an annoyed expression.

         “I went to the warehouse so I could use your printer.” Adam said as if that was the most obvious thing in the world. “Darko said you’d be mad. He also said to tell you he pointed me at the computer and left the room. And that you can’t kill him because the Serbs don’t like you.”

         Adam had taken the time to carefully mimic Darko’s cadence. Nigel rolled his neck and smiled.

         “Sorry, Cosmo. I’m an asshole.”

         “Sometimes, but you’re better now.” Adam took another bite of his food. 

         After their dinner, Nigel stood up and flexed, joints popping as he worked out the stiffness in his muscles. Adam stood too, unsure. He started for the car, when a hand pressed against his chest.

         Adam watched as Nigel moved over to the pile of blankets and cushions. Nigel pulled the arrangement over to the Ford, setting up cushions and carefully laying out the blankets. When he settled in the pile, he held his arms out. Adam was in them immediately, back pressing against Nigel’s chest as he settled into their typical stargazing position. This time, instead of resting his chin on Adam’s shoulder, he pressed a kiss to the soft spot just behind Adam’s ear.

         “Tell me a story, Cosmo.”

         Adam tried to tell Nigel about the Perseid meteor showers. A few of his colleagues had invited him to go to the desert with them in August to watch the showers. They told him he could bring his friend, and Adam was excited to show Nigel one of the most beautiful sights in the sky. But, for the first time in his life, it was difficult for him to talk about space. Nigel’s relentless nibbling of his neck left him feeling warm, yet shivering all over. The arms around him moved in long strokes, gently kneading his chest and stomach as they explored. Adam’s cock was thick in his pants, and he couldn’t remember where the name Perseid came from anymore. 


         “Yes, darling?” He tugged Adam’s earlobe between his teeth.

         ‘Are you sexually aroused?”

         A few soft puffs of breath tickled him as Nigel ghosted a laugh into his ear. Nigel’s grip on Adam’s middle tightened, pulling him flush against Nigel’s crotch.

         “Oh.” Adam wiggled against the hard cock; Nigel groaned and buried his forehead between Adam’s shoulder blades. “Can we go home and have sex now?”

         Adam was standing before he realized Nigel had started to move. Had Nigel lifted him?

         “Don’t worry about the mess, gorgeous, Darko’s got it.” Nigel didn’t mention that Darko’s date came with the promise that Nigel would personally oversee security for the next 20 shipments. He figured it would kill the mood. He ushered Adam into the car.

         Nigel practically jumped behind the driver’s seat. He turned the key, then on a whim leaned over and stole a handsy kiss from his beautiful Cosmo.

         “Your place or mine?” His smile was wolfish, his hand cupping Adam with just enough pressure to get a little noise from him.

         “Yours! It has to be yours.”

         Nigel pulled back and cocked his head.

         “Why’s that, Cosmo?”

         “You always say it only counts if you have sex in your bed. Which I still think is unsound logic,” Adam trailed off, turning his head to look out the window. “B-but, I want to count.”

         Nigel’s heart clenched. This kid. This fucking kid.

         “You count, Adam. You fucking count.”

         “Good.” Adam’s hand found Nigel’s, still resting atop the swell of his clothed cock. “Can we go now? I’m still aroused.”

Chapter Text

       “How do we decide who penetrates?”

         Nigel tripped over his own feet as Adam watched him bustle about the bed. He had wanted to change the sheets before laying his Cosmo on the bed, but now he just stared at the fitted sheets in his hand stupidly, a faint buzzing in his ears.

         “I’m sorry darling, what?”

         “In pornography, it’s almost always the bigger man who tops, but I’m not sure that’s fair.” Adam took the fitted sheet from him and stretched it over the corner of the bed. “So I wanted to know what you thought.”

         Nigel tucked in the rest of the cloth around the mattress and watched as Adam spread out the flat sheet. He hadn’t bottomed since the night he and Gustaf took E in Prague. He’d woken up sore, torn, and in a foul fucking mood. He had told Gustaf never again and he had meant it.

          “I thought I would fuck you,” Nigel started, but something uncoiled in his chest and he couldn’t stop himself from continuing. “But if you’d rather, darling, I’d be happy to let you fuck me instead.”

         Where the fuck had that come from?

         Adam considered. Pursing his lips as he carefully made hospital corners on a bed that was going to be fucking ruined within the hour.

         “I would like to penetrate you, but not tonight.” Nigel didn’t want to examine the tug of disappointment in his stomach. “I’ve been practicing prostate stimulation and I think I’d like to be penetrated tonight. If that’s ok. Please?”

         It was the please that did it. Nigel pinned Adam to the bed, lavishing wet kisses along the boy’s chin and throat. 

         “Anything, Cosmo, fucking anything you want.”

         Adam struggled to sit up. His posture was positively prim. It made Nigel’s dick throb.

         “I-if you penetrate me anally, you should search for the prostate,” Adam offered as Nigel mouthed his neck. He swatted at Nigel’s hands as they went back to his buttons. “Nigel? Stop!”

         Nigel pulled away immediately, his dick cursing him for whatever he did to spook Adam.

         “What’s wrong, gorgeous?”

         Adam frowned at him.

         “You’re supposed to pay attention, remember? You can’t listen to me and kiss my neck. It’s distracting. So listen to me, ok?”

         “Sorry Cosmo,” Nigel sat up straighter on his bed, schooling his features. Fucking Adam.

         “So when you penetrate me with your fingers, you’ll want to seek out my prostate. I’ve printed out a diagram for you to look at, but basically if you insert your fingers with your palm facing my stomach-”

         Adam dug in his pocket and produced a square of paper, unfolding it before handing it to Nigel. It was possibly the least sexy diagram he’d ever seen, though he did note that Adam had highlighted the prostate for him. 

         “Fucking Christ, Adam.” Nigel ran a hand through his hair. “I know how to fucking find a prostate, alright?”

         “It’s different than when you stimulate your own prostate,” Adam argued. “The article said that–”

         A hand fell on Adam’s thigh, squeezing lightly.

         “Darling,” Nigel said. “Do you remember the story about my angel who died?”

         “The one before Gabi. The violin player?” Adam had started to play with Nigel’s fingers, plucking at the tips gently.

         “His name was Gustaf.”

         Adam stilled.

         “Oh. I’m sorry he died.” Nigel’s smile was sad when he stole a kiss from his sweet cosmonaut. Adam pulled his lip between his teeth. “So, you have experience penetrating a man, sexually.”


         “OK, good. Then we can skip the other printout and have sex.” Adam started unbuttoning his shirt while Nigel vaguely wondered what other printout Adam had. 

         Nigel had never seen anyone fold their pants while rock hard. Yet, there was Adam, lithe little angel and complete fucking weirdo, carefully maintaining the creases of his suit pants as he neatly placed them on the dresser while sporting tented briefs. When the underwear came off, Nigel was sure Adam folded the cloth into a precise little square, but he couldn’t be sure, he was too busy staring at Adam’s gorgeous pink cock.

         For his part, Nigel’s clothes were already in a heap by the bed, he spread out naked on the sheets waiting for his fastidious cosmonaut to join him. He fisted his cock, just enough to make it presentable for Adam. He closed his eyes, relishing the slow tug and imagining Adam’s delicate fingers joining him.

         Nigel felt the bed dip beside him. He opened his eyes slightly to see Adam perched beside him, eyes wide and cock dripping.

         “You’re very thick,” Adam ran a finger up Nigel’s length. Nigel tried not to come like a virgin as Adam slowly wrapped his fingers around Nigel’s cock, squeezing gently before offering a firm tug. After a few strokes, Adam released him to toy gently with Nigel’s foreskin, tugging back the delicate flesh and running a feather soft touch over the glistening head of his cock.

         “Y-you’re not bad yourself, strălucitor,” Nigel was having real trouble remembering English. He sunk a hand in Adam’s hair and roughly tugged the boy to him for a wet sucking kiss. His hand slid down Adam’s soft stomach until it met its goal, wrapping gently around Adam’s cock.

         “O-oh,” Adam gasped into Nigel’s mouth. The Romanian pulled back to smile, catching Adam’s eyes as he brought his palm to his mouth for a lavish lick before wrapping the wet flesh back around Adam’s cock. The glide was smoother now, and the muscles in Adam’s stomach started to tremble.

         “N-Nig–” Adam’s mouth was working but the words were stuck somewhere in his throat. Nigel tried to release them with a soft bite to the column of Adam’s neck. The nip made Adam keen high and shove his hips into Nigel’s fist.

         Nigel rolled, tucking Adam beneath him as he reached for the bedside table and the lube. He settled between Adam’s splayed thighs, pressing kisses onto his stomach and dipping his head to press a sucking kiss to the head of Adam’s cock. Adam thrashed at the attention, making Nigel smile.

         “You ready, darling?”

         “Y-yes. J-just let me get in position.” Adam started to sit up but Nigel caught his shoulders, pressing him down.

         “You’re fine just where you are, Cosmo.” Nigel pressed a kiss to Adam’s chest, but Cosmo flinched away. “Stop, baby, I want to see that gorgeous fucking face of yours.”

         Adam pushed back against Nigel.

         “B-but this isn’t what I prepared for! I know what to do when I’m on hands and knees.”

         Adam was getting agitated, his voice was high and tight. Nigel pressed a kiss to his mouth, but Adam’s brow was still furrowed.

         “You don’t need to do anything, darling. This is easier for a first time anyway, OK?”

         Nigel moved his hand back to Adam’s cock and was surprised to find it only half hard. He looked up to see the tension pulling Adam’s body tight. His darling’s fingers were tapping furiously at his sides.

         “This isn’t what I researched. I-I just. I don’t,” breathing was becoming an issue as Adam tried desperately to quell the panic.


         Nigel abandoned the lube, shimmying up the bed to pull Adam into a tight embrace, his darling’s back flush against his chest. He didn’t restrain Adam’s rocking, but moved with him, making soft humming noises as he hooked his chin over Adam’s shoulder.

         This wasn’t what he wanted. Jesus fucking Christ, why wasn’t he paying more attention to Adam?

         “I’m fucking sorry, Cosmo. It doesn’t fucking matter.” Nigel’s voice was a purr as he moved with Adam, a reassuring pressure to help him calm.

         “I’m I’m s-sorry. I j-just wanted to be ready. A-and you felt s-so good I-I,” Adam was slowing down, muscles easing slowly.

         “You got overwhelmed,” Nigel offered. Adam bobbed his head. “And your fucking shit of a boyfriend was too busy trying to fuck you to notice, huh?”

         “N-no, I-I wanted- I want-”

         “You’ll get it, whatever you fucking want Adam.” Nigel’s arms were just a light grip now, more of an embrace than a restraint. His big hands began to run up and down Adam’s torso, soft soothing touches. “When you’re ready, you fucking tell me what to do and I’ll make it fucking happen, OK? But fucking breathe for me right now.”

         Adam curled toward Nigel, burying his face in the soft spot between Nigel’s neck and shoulder. Nigel adjusted his arms, tucking Adam closer to his body and enjoying the even breaths that brushed down his chest as his darling calmed. Nigel’s cock was still half-hard, in a holding pattern waiting for Nigel to give it the OK for action.

         But Nigel had decided that tonight wouldn’t be the night. He’d fucked up enough relationships in his life to know that sticking your cock in something didn’t make for a lasting connection. And Nigel wanted this strange little wonder to be curled next to him for as long as he could possibly manage. He pressed a few soft kisses to Adam’s curls and let his hand wander over the smaller man’s chest and sides, exploring smooth plans and cataloging freckles and moles that dotted the creamy skin. 

         Adam stirred slightly, his own hand plucking softly at Nigel’s chest hair. The hot puffs of air on Nigel’s neck were replaced by soft wet lips. They brushed his skin softly at first, but soon his darling grew bold and light touches transformed into firm sucking kisses. Nigel’s dick was fully hard now and begging for something, anything.

         As if Adam could hear the turgid flesh, delicate fingers began to trace the tip of Nigel’s foreskin, making the older man clench his jaw as a shiver ran through him. Adam’s own hard-on was back in full force, and Nigel tried not to look at the flush pink cock that was smearing small beads of precome along his stomach.

         “C-Cosmo? We don’t have to Jesus fuck do that again.” Adam’s teeth were worrying the tendon on Nigel’s neck, index finger still lightly ringing the slick tip of Nigel’s cock.

         “Wow. She dances.”

         Nigel blinked. Words. He needed to find words.

         “Who fucking does what now?”

         “Your tattoo. When I bite you here, your muscles jump and she looks like she’s dancing.”

          Nigel’s whole body was singing. He forced himself to still. He tried to ignore the delicate torture that Adam was inflicting on his all too willing cock.

         “W-we don’t have to do anything, gorgeous.” Adam lifts his hand off of Nigel’s leaking dick immediately and Nigel wanted to fucking cry.

         “I-I thought you said we could do what I wanted?” Adam tucked his head down, sucking his lower lip between his teeth.

         “I did.” Nigel was having trouble breathing. His air intake stopped all together when Adam’s hand settled back on his cock.

         “I want to have sex.” Adam’s eyes flashed up, just for a second, and the jolt of blue made Nigel’s heart leap. “I-if that’s ok with you. Please.”

         Nigel wrapped an arm tightly around Adam, pulling his darling close and burying his nose in the curls by his ear. With his free hand, Nigel found Adam’s cock and gave it a squeeze.

         “Tell me what you want, Cosmo. Anything you fucking want.”

         Adam moaned, thrusting into Nigel’s hand. His hands threaded into Nigel’s hair, pulling the older man down for kiss. Nigel pulled back a millimeter, just enough to form words.

         “Tell me, Adam. Tell me what to do.” He waited, letting Adam pant against his lips as he continued to slowly stroke his cosmonaut’s cock.

         “Y-your hands. I-I want you to p-penetrate me with your hands.” Adam wriggled free of Nigel’s grip and moved to the center of the bed. He rolled onto his hands and knees and glanced almost shyly at Nigel. “Like this, please.”

         Nigel wiped a shaking hand over his mouth, he was going to come untouched like a fucking teenager if Adam kept this shit up. He nodded, groping for the lube and positioning himself behind Adam. He reached out to run a hand over Adam’s ass, feeling the supple skin and muscle beneath his rough palm. To his delight, Adam made a small pleased noise, arching his back and pressing his ass more firmly into Nigel’s touch.

         This kid was going to kill him.

         On a whim, Nigel leaned forward and bit the cheek below his hand.

         “Oh!” Adam pressed back harder. He didn’t say stop, though. So Nigel gripped both of Adam’s cheeks and spread him wide, swiping his tongue along the pink puckered hole he found. Adam made a choking noise then let loose a filthy moan that made Nigel shiver. He wanted to devour Adam, licking and sucking with abandon until the boy was shaking beneath his voracious mouth. Adam’s moans changed in tone, it sounded like he was trying to form words. Nigel relented, tongue gently circling Adam’s rim, the barest of touches.

         “F-f-fingers! Ni-Nigel, please!”

         “Yes, sir, Mr. Raki.”

         One final firm kiss and Nigel pulled back to slick one finger. He rubbed at Adam’s crack, slowly circling his hole. He dipped the tip inside, marveling at how Adam leaned against the touch. More lube and Adam was taking the whole finger, Nigel had to press against his own cock to keep from spilling at the sight.

         Adam made a noise when the second finger entered him, a fussy little whimper as Nigel stretched him. Nigel leaned forward and pressed a sloppy kiss to the small of Adam’s back.

         “It just burns for a second, baby. Just a fucking second.” Nigel curved his fingers and pressed down, feeling for the smooth nub that would make Adam forget the burn.

         “T-THERE!” Adam wailed. His arms gave out as Nigel kept stroking, Adam’s face falling to the sheets, ass still in the air.

         “Right fucking there, huh? You going to come? Tell me before you do.” Nigel picked up the pace, adding more lube and a third finger to the stretch as he pushed against Adam’s prostate. His darling was rocking again, fucking himself against Nigel’s hand.

         “I’m I’m gonna-” The fingers drew out of Adam. He wailed. “NO! No, Nigel please!”

         “You’re going to come on my cock, ok Cosmo?” Nigel flailed for the bedside table, grabbing a condom, tearing into the packet with unsteady fingers and rolling it on. He squirted more lube onto his fingers and hissed as the cold fluid chilled his latex-clad cock. “You ready for my cock baby?”

         “P-Please! Please Nigel I need to come. I need it.”

         Nigel gripped Adam’s hips, pressing his cockhead against Adam’s slick hole.

         “Are you ready, darling? Are you ready for my c-”

         Adam shoved backwards, pushing himself onto Nigel’s cock. Nigel choked, the sensation of tight slick heat shutting down all thoughts of speech. His mouth hung open, all higher brain function dedicated to not shooting his load in the first three seconds. 

         Nigel was shaken from his stupor by bright blue eyes. Adam peered at him from over his shoulder, a small smile playing at his lips.

         “You were taking too long. Move please.”

         The command startled a laugh out of Nigel.

         “My bossy fucking darling.” Nigel pushed in and smiled at Adam’s wanton moan. “Whatever you want, Adam. Whatever you fucking want.”

         Nigel dug his fingers into Adam’s hips and pulled out slowly, dragging his cock along Adam’s prostate at a torturous pace. Snapping forward, he sunk in again, throwing his head back at the feel of Adam, at the knowledge that this beautiful fucking angel was begging him for it, trembling for his cock. Adam let his arms stretch in front of him, arching his back and pressing into each thrust. He rubbed his cheek on the sheets, keening Nigel’s name.

         “Perfect. My perfect fucking Cosmo,” Adam’s writhing and clenching seemed to pull the words from Nigel. Every thrust drew out another beautiful little whimper, Adam’s glorious ass clamping around Nigel’s cock as the pace grew more frenzied. “So fucking tight and eager. It’s never been this fucking good, baby. You take cock so fuckin beautifully.”

         “Ni-Nigel. Nigel please!” Adam was clawing at the sheets, sweat rolling down the curve of his back. Nigel leaned forward, chasing a salty rivulet with his tongue.

         “What do you need gorgeous? Tell me what you need.”

         “C-come. Pl-please make me come.”

         Nigel kissed Adam’s back before jerking up, yanking at Adam’s hips to get a better angle. As soon as Adam’s voice pitched high, Nigel slipped his hand forward to wrap around Adam’s cock, squeezing tight. Adam set a frenzied pace as he fucked himself back and forth. He had stopped moaning, his breath coming in short harried pants.

         “Come for me gorgeous,” Nigel was so close he could taste it. Adam’s breath caught and his hips began to jerk wildly. Nigel felt wet heat spurt over his knuckles as Adam’s ass clasped Nigel’s cock. He thrust one more time, vision whiting at the edges at the feel of the heat and Adam’s spasms yanking him over the edge.

         Nigel fell forward on Adam’s back. He didn’t want to crush his Cosmo, but none of his muscles seemed to work. They gasped together, letting oxygen flood their spent bodies, waiting for their brains to come back online.

         Nigel recovered first. He pulled out of Adam gingerly, taking a moment to tie off the condom and fling it toward the rubbish bin in the corner. He didn’t care if he made the shot. He didn’t care about anything other than the boy in his bed and the spinning feeling in his chest. He groped along the floor until he found a soft t-shirt, using the cloth to wipe at Adam’s prone body and clean himself off.

         Satisfied that he wouldn’t have to move for the foreseeable future, Nigel slung an arm around Adam, pulled the still panting man to his chest, and collapsed backward.

         “Fuck Adam, I don’t think I can move my fucking legs.” Nigel wanted a cigarette. Normally, he would have lit up the second he came, but he wasn’t willing to do anything that would get Adam’s weight off of him. Instead, he shook his foot, trying to dislodge the craving for nicotine.

         “Yes you can, your leg is moving right now.” Adam’s hand was tapping out soft rhythms in Nigel’s chest hair.

         “I came too fucking hard to argue technicalities with you, Cosmo.”

         Adam leaned over and kissed Nigel.

         “I really enjoyed sex with you. Can we have sex in the morning?”

         Nigel laughed.

         “Gorgeous, we can have sex all day tomorrow if you want.” Nigel delighted in the way Adam flushed at his words.

         “Great! I’ll be over at seven.”

         Adam started to get off the bed. Nigel lunged, wrapping strong arms around Adam’s middle and tugging his darling back to the warmth of his chest.

         “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” Nigel growled in Adam’s ear, pressing sucking kisses onto the column of Adam’s throat.

         “N-Nigel! Nigel stop!” Adam smacked lightly at the hands tugging him down. “I have to sleep in my bed. You know that.”

         Nigel collapsed backwards, arm over his face.

         “Are you fucking sure you can’t sleep in my bed?”

         Adam was slipping on his briefs and unfolding his pants, Nigel thought it might be the most depressing thing he’d ever seen.

         “Yes. I don’t like waking up in new environments.”

         Nigel lifted his arm slightly, eyes soft.

         “You practically fucking live here. You’re here every fucking night of the week. How is this new?”

         “I-I’m sorry. I know it’s weird.”

         “Good thing you’re fucking worth it,” Nigel stood with a groan, stretching his back before casually walking toward the door.

         “What are you doing?”

         Nigel bent over his crumbled suit pants, extracting his Davidoff’s and headed for the door.

         “I’m going to fucking bed at my boyfriend’s place, darling.” He held up the cigarettes. “And I’m going to fucking smoke on his balcony and he’s going to keep his fucking mouth shut about it because I’m being such a fucking sweetheart, right?”

         Adam scrunched his nose.


         “Fantastic, darling, let’s go.” Nigel walked toward the door.

         “You’re naked.”

         “It’s how I sleep, gorgeous. You didn’t seem to mind my cock a minute ago.” Nigel shook his hips slightly, making Adam huff out a little laugh.

         “You have to put pants on! You can’t leave the apartment naked.”

         “Why not? I bet it would make Mrs. Keller’s week.”

         Adam drew his mouth into a little moue.

         “Stop teasing! I need to get to bed.”

         “So I fuck you until I can’t walk, then you tell me I have to climb a flight of steps just so I can fucking enjoy the privilege of sleeping with you. THEN, you want me to put on fucking pants?” Nigel grumbled, as he hopped into a pair of jeans, not bothering with underwear. “There’s a limit to how much I’m willing to fucking do for you, Cosmo.”

         Adam smiled, catching Nigel’s eyes for a moment.

         “No there’s not.”

         Nigel smiled back, his chest and his cock tightening at the same time.

         “No, gorgeous, there’s not.”

Chapter Text

         Nigel heard moaning. He heard a lot of fucking moaning. He cracked one eye and looked over at Adam, who had a laptop perched on his knees, face scrunched into the most adorable studious expression as he watched what appeared to be a pool boy and a business man fucking on a lanai.

         “Adam?” His voice was sleep-rough. “Darling, are you watching fucking porn at 7:15?”

         Adam glanced away from the aggressive pounding to look at Nigel.

         “I’m sorry, should I get my headphones?”

         “No gorgeous, you should explain to me what the fuck you’re doing.” Nigel groaned as he shifted up to regard his bedmate. “You’re not even fucking jerking off.”

         “I was researching. I googled common sex acts and positions for gay men. I have a list of things I’d like to try.” Adam turned the computer so Nigel had a better view. “Is this the position you wanted me in last night?”

         Nigel was getting hard.


         “OK, we can try that now. Though you may need to hold my thighs, because I’m not sure I can keep my legs at that angle during penetration.”

         Nigel only heard three words in Adam’s sentence.

         “Try it now?”

         Adam nodded.

         “U-unless you want to go back to sleep. That’s OK too.”

         Nigel closed the laptop with a click, taking it from Adam’s knees and setting it on Adam’s dresser. The second the computer was safely away, Nigel seized Adam’s hips and tugged. Adam gave a happy little yelp as he was dragged under Nigel, already trying to lift his legs up and out.

         Nigel caught one of Adam’s flailing calves, giving it a lavish kiss before nipping at Adam’s ankle just to watch his darling squirm.

         “Trust me gorgeous, I’m up.”

         Adam pressed a kiss between Nigel’s shoulder blades. He slid three fingers in and out of Nigel’s ass. He loved the feel of the tight muscles relaxing and fluttering around his fingers, but Adam was worried about how quiet Nigel had become.

         “Nigel? Are you OK? Should I stop?”

         Ass in the air, sheet clutched between his fingers, Nigel was near mindless with pleasure. Adam had teased and tortured his prostate until he had fucked all the sound out of Nigel’s lungs. He ground his forehead into the mattress as he strained his ass higher, taking Adam’s fingers deeper, his breath coming in soft gasps.

         “Don’t you fucking dare, Cosmo. You sto-ah fuck you stop and I’ll never fucking forgive you.”          

         “You don’t mean that.”

         “I fucking might this time.”

         Adam pressed more soft kisses onto Nigel’s back and neck as his fingers worked. Nigel hadn’t experienced such tenderness…well, fucking ever. Adam’s sweet kisses and murmured praise were unraveling the Romanian just as swiftly as the firm fingers grazing his prostate. When his cock gave a violent jerk, Adam pulled his fingers out, running soothing hands over his ass and lower back. It was the fifth time the little shit had denied him a fucking orgasm and the tease wasn’t fun anymore.

         “Adam, please, I can’t do this again.” Nigel was begging, his balls hung heavy between his legs, his cockhead was purple and dripping.

         “Oh! Oh I’m sorry.” Adam kissed him again. “What should I do?”

         “Fucking fuck me already!”

         Nigel was snapped out of his frustrated stupor when a stinging slap connected with his ass.

         “T-tone is important.”

         Did fucking Adam really slap his ass and work in an anger management lesson? Jesus fucking Christ.

         “Stick your cock in me,” Nigel’s tone was softer, but still tense. As an afterthought he added, “Please, Mr. Raki.”

         Adam hummed in approval, and Nigel made a note to buy some leather cuffs. He wanted to see what else his bossy little darling would order him to do.

         “That was much better, Nigel.” Adam was still rubbing Nigel’s ass, fleeting touches to his hole teasing the penetration Nigel so desperately craved. Finally, Nigel heard the crinkle of foil. He turned in time to see Adam bite his tongue, concentrating as he rolled the condom over his length. Nigel whipped his eyes back to the sheets, before the sight of his serious darling made him come.

         Adam pressed his cock to Nigel’s ass, resting his length along the sensitive skin. Nigel couldn’t take any more teasing, he worked his hips over Adam’s cock, trying to catch the head on his rim.

         “Adam, please.”

         When he was finally breached, Nigel could have cried in relief. Adam’s cock was slimmer than his own, but Nigel still relished the slight burn of the stretch as Adam filled him.

         “Wow,” Adam’s voice was awestruck. “Nigel, you feel so good!”

         Nigel clenched his muscles just to hear Adam moan.

         “Fucking perfect, Adam.” Nigel praised. “Now, fuck me before I fucking scream.”

         Adam’s first thrusts were uncertain and probing as Adam figured out just what to do with the undulating man beneath him. When one thrust landed squarely on Nigel’s prostate, the Romanian cried out curling his back into a low arch and offering himself completely to Adam.

         “Fă asta din nou! Te rog. Te rog, Adam.” 

         Adam wasn’t sure what the words meant, but Nigel’s desperate movements gave him a clue. He locked onto the angle that drew the words out of Nigel and started thrusting hard and slow. He watched in awe as Nigel came apart in his hands, making soft moaning noises and meeting every thrust with a pleased whimper. The harder Adam thrust, the louder Nigel got. He kept chanting te iubesc as Adam fucked him, and the younger man made a note to ask what he meant later.

         On a whim, Adam trailed his nails from Nigel’s neck to ass, leaving pink lines on slick skin. Nigel bucked fiercely and came, spilling untouched over Adam’s sheets. Adam followed soon after, crying out softly as Nigel’s orgasm milked his cock.

         They both fell to the side panting, Adam so blissed out he barely noticed the condom still sticking to his dick. When the sensation became too much, Adam walked on unsteady legs to the bathroom. He emerged seconds later to find Nigel sprawled naked on his back, chest heaving. Adam climbed on the bed and slotted himself into Nigel’s side, hand idly tracing patterns in the sweat on Nigel’s stomach.

         “So that was edging?”                  

         “Yeah, it fucking was darling.”

         “I liked that, I liked how desperate you were for me.” Adam reached over to his notepad. He flipped past the Nigel’s Flaws list and found his newest project: Sexual Research. He put a check mark next to edging and one next to topping. Adam circled the next entry and looked up.

         “Should we try facials next?”

         Nigel looked up, still slightly out of breath.

         “What if we try role playing?”

         “I don’t think I would be good at that. I’m not very good at pretending or lying.”

         “You could do this role, trust me.” Nigel’s mouth stretched into a wide wolfish grin.

         Nigel leaned on his kitchen counter, naked with his cock in hand. He stroked lazily, keeping himself hard as he waited. Finally, he saw the puffy white legs descend into his field of vision. Nigel licked his lips, his angel in a fucking spacesuit.

         Adam wriggled out of the harness, and began placing books in a pile. A weight pressed up against him, pinning him to the table.

         “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Nigel growled.

         “I’m leaving books for my friend Nigel, he needs to work on his anger problems.”

         Nigel pressed into the bulky material of the spacesuit, finding Adam’s stiffening cock and pressing hard. Adam bent into the touch, throwing his head back on Nigel’s shoulder.

         “Books huh? You know I don’t have time to do a lot of reading.” Nigel stilled his hand, letting Adam thrust into it. “You know what I heard works for anger management? Coming.”

         Adam moaned as Nigel squeezed him through his suit. Nigel started rubbing his hard-on onto the back of Adam’s suit.


          “Yeah, this little blue-eyed cosmonaut told me coming releases saffron in yo-”    


         “Don’t correct a man with his hand on your fucking cock, darling.” Nigel purred. He added some pressure to Adam’s dick, making the boy bite his lip and shiver. “Now where was I?”

         “Serotonin.” It was a whisper as Adam focused on Nigel’s strong hand.

         “That’s right. Well apparently this sero-something helps to elevate moods. That seems much more efficient than a fucking book and red balloons, doesn’t it darling?”

         Nigel ran his teeth along the shell of Adam’s ear, just to hear him whimper.

         “Nigel?” Adam was rolling his hips into Nigel’s hand, straining for more friction.

         “What, gorgeous?” Nigel was busy sucking on Adam’s throat, working a very visible bruise onto the boy’s neck as he writhed.

         “I d-don’t want to come in the spacesuit,” even as he said it, Adam’s hips never lost their rhythm, rocking into Nigel’s hand.

         “Well then, let’s get you out of it, shall we?” Nigel released Adam’s clothed cock and dipped down, sweeping Adam into his arms. He carried his darling to the bed, tossing him in the center. “Strip, rocket-man, I’m going to make you see stars.”

         Adam scrambled to unfasten his suit.

         After some cajoling and a few more orgasms, Nigel convinced Adam that it was ok to eat dinner in bed. Adam was usually a stickler for rules, but he was tired and Nigel’s bare chest was so warm as he leaned against it, accepting little bits of macaroni Nigel forked to him. Even though this wasn’t his routine, Adam found that he wouldn’t mind adding sex and cuddling to his daily schedule.

         Nigel pressed a kiss below his ear.

         “Earth to Cosmo.”


         “It’s almost 10, don’t we need to go upstairs and get ready for bed? Maybe ruin your sheets one more time.”

         Adam stretched his neck out, inviting Nigel to nibble along the column of his throat. And suddenly his apartment seemed very far away when he had a big bed and a warm Nigel right here.

         “C-Can I stay here tonight?”

         “Sleep here?” Nigel stilled.


         Strong arms banded around Adam’s chest, hands smoothing and soothing.

         “Of course darling, but what about new fucking environments?”

         Adam worried his lip.

         “I might be upset in the morning, but it will help to have someone familiar with me when I wake up.”

         “What about work tomorrow? Do you need to get clothes? Or are you going in a fucking Spacesuit?”

         Adam blushed.

         “I-I took Monday off. I wasn’t sure if I would be sore.”

         Nigel grinned.

         “Didn’t want to limp through a tour, huh?” Fingers sunk into Adam’s sensitive middle.

         “Nigel!” Adam slapped at the hands, laughing.

         The lips were back under his ear, Adam squirmed as his cock stirred.

“Are you sore, gorgeous?”

         “A little.”

         Nigel gave Adam a playful nip.

         “Well, I guess you’re topping tonight, then.”

Chapter Text

        “I know you two are probably in the middle of wedding plans, but I could fucking use you at the warehouse,” Darko was in a snit. “Remember the warehouse? That job that gets you money so you can buy more lube?”

         “Curule! O să mă piș pe mormântul mamei tale.” 

         “My mother is alive, you fucking moron. Now let the kid up and come to fucking work. And for the love of Christ, shower first.”

         “You say one more fucking word about –”

         “One more word? Nemernicule, with the shit that kid was planning, you’ll be lucky if I stop by Christmas.”

         “What the fuck is that supposed to fucking mean? HOW DO YOU FUCKING KNOW?”

         Darko could hear Adam in the background, sleepily invoking the red balloon. He smiled.

         “He was on my computer, remember? Tell him if he wants privacy he should delete the history before he leaves. Shit, I forwarded three of the sites to the girl I’m seeing.”

         “If you want to be alive when I get there, stop fucking talking right now.”

         The phone disconnected before Darko could respond.

         Getting out of bed when Adam was warm and naked against him proved to be a goddamn challenge. Adam had coiled around Nigel’s side, leg draped over Nigel’s rapidly filling cock. As he woke, Adam shifted his leg slowly, making Nigel shudder as his cock was teased.

         “You’ve got an impressive refractory period for your age,” Adam mumbled into Nigel’s shoulder, his mouth leaving a small wet trail. Adam was hard again and pressing softly into Nigel’s hip, still half asleep as he humped.

         “You-you’re fuck fuck fuck you’re trying to say I’m old, aren’t you Cosmo?” Nigel was pulling at Adam’s hips maneuvering the squirming boy on top of him. Adam sprawled over Nigel’s chest, mouth immediately sucking along Nigel’s neck tattoo. His hands kneaded the firm fur of Nigel’s pecs while Nigel slotted them together – cock to cock.

         “As they age, i-it uh typically becomes difficult for men t-to get multiple erections in–” Nigel threaded his hand through Adam’s hair, yanking the boy to his mouth by his curls. Adam dug his fingers into Nigel’s chest hair, palms rubbing firmly against tight nipples.

         “Cosmo,” Nigel’s voice was sandpaper and smoke against Adam’s lips. “Stop fucking talking and start fucking thrusting. I’ve got to get to work.”

         He nipped Adam’s pouting lower lip and thrust up, making Adam’s blue eyes go wide. He could feel the precome dribbling on his stomach as Adam set the rhythm. Nigel was content to lay back and watch Adam drive them to orgasm, one hand lazily pulling him in for an occasional kiss while the other pressed into Adam’s ass, softly circling his hole.

         “Oh, oh.” Adam was shuddering against him, cock jerking wildly. The first spurt of come made Adam arch so beautifully, Nigel lost their frantic rhythm. He grabbed Adam’s hips and ground them down, rolling his eyes back as his own cock emptied.

         Adam was limp on top of him. Mouth languidly sucking along Nigel’s shoulder again.

         “Come on, Cosmo. I promised Darko I’d shower.” He picked up Adam and carefully carried him to the shower, avoiding the spacesuit that was still on the floor.

         By the time the shower started to warm up, Adam was rubbing himself on Nigel again and the Romanian felt his cock twitch, exhausted, but not defeated. Fuck the refractory period, he would show Adam what this old man could do.

         When Nigel pulled into the parking lot, Darko was pulling out.

         Fucking typical.

         He honked. Darko hit the brakes and rolled down a window.

         “Don’t give me your shit, Nigel. We’re out of Amy’s and I know fucking Cosmo will be by for lunch. And I’ll have to watch you insufferable twats dry hump on my sofa or some shit. And if I’m going to do that, I’m going to at least need to eat lunch first. I’ll be back in 20 minutes.” Darko lowered his sunglasses and smirked. “And stop fucking smiling like that, you look fucking ridiculous. You got laid, Nigel, you didn’t win the lotto.”

         “Fuck you, Darko.” Nigel’s smile spread wide, his eyes dancing.

         “Fuck you too, man.”

         Nigel was looking at the layout of a building, picking out possible ambush points when the door opened.

         “Did you get fucking lost? How hard is it to get mac n cheese?” Nigel bit his tongue, trying to make his scrawlings legible as he wrote on the blueprint. English was such a ridiculous fucking language.

         “It’s surprisingly difficult to get through customs.”

         Nigel dropped the pen.


         He kept his eyes down for a moment, not quite sure what would happen if he looked up. But she was there, in all her fucking glory. Gorgeous Gabi, leaning on his door, offering him a wry twist of her lips.

         “Hello Nigel.”

          He was fucking dreaming. He had come too many fucking times in two days and now he was hallucinating.

          “Not talking? Well, that explains why you haven’t phoned. Or returned my messages.”

         Nigel cocked his head, completely at a loss.

         “What messages?”

         “The ones I left with Darko.”

         That motherfucker. Nigel was finally going to kill him.

         “I didn’t get any fucking messages.” He rose and walked around his desk. Gabi pushed off the door and met him halfway. His impulse was to embrace, kiss his wife hello, but he froze.

         “Ok, well, fuck Darko.” Gabi waved her hand dismissively. “But that still doesn’t explain why my weekly phone call from my asshole husband stopped.”

         “I was,” He faltered. Busy? Shot? Dating a cosmonaut? He pictured Adam wrapped up in one of his baggy sweaters, happily drinking a sarsaparilla and promising Nigel he’d come by for lunch.

         “You were making changes, that’s what you told me.” A hand went to his hair, softly sweeping it back. “Your eyes are clear and you’re clothes aren’t dirty, so maybe that was true.”

         “I thought you weren’t coming here.” He was panicking now. He could still feel the weight of Adam’s cock on his tongue, and now Gabi was here. Beautiful blushing Gabi with her alabaster skin and stunning blue eyes. He didn’t feel guilty, but he felt sweat gather on his lower back, it was the same feeling he had before he got shot.

         “Well, I guess you’re not the only one making some changes.” She was scanning him now, taking a mental inventory of every subtle alteration. He wondered if she could see Adam’s hand in him: the relaxed slope of his shoulders, the silly galaxy print on his shirt, the fucking calm in his eyes.

“Where’s the cock sucker?” Charlie. Gabi was probably here about fucking Charlie and the divorce. It didn’t seem such a terrible thought right now.

         “Why? Did you want to hang out?” Gabi’s mouth coiled into a slow grin. Nigel laughed. He’d missed that smile.

         “Why not? I hear he’s good in the sack.” He couldn’t fucking believe he was saying this, but it felt good to tease.

         “I never said that.” Gabi raised an eyebrow. “I said he was a good listener.”

         Now, she had his full attention. She knew it too, judging by the smirk.

         “What can I say? Fucking was never our problem. It was everything you did after you came.” She stepped closer, eyes playful. A single finger traced along the buttons of his shirt. His cock started to throb, but something felt off.

         “I-uh-I’ve been working on that. I’m a great fucking listener now.”

         One finger had become the solid slide of her hand, working over his pec, rubbing over the tender spot where the bullet had struck.

         “I’m glad,” she said. “I’d hate to think I flew 16 hours to find the same fucking asshole I sent packing.”


         Fingers fell on his lips, softly rubbing.

         “Let’s see if the new Nigel can kiss like the old Nigel, huh?”

         His wife. His gorgeous fucking wife was rubbing herself on him like she did the first time he’d fucked her. His mind offered him images of her pert tits, creamy skin and wet fucking cunt. Nigel hadn’t thought about it in so fucking long, but the want was still there. The need to make Gabi scream as he fucked her into a mattress. The desperate fingers that would dig into his ass as he pumped. The small teeth that would tear at his shoulder as she clenched around him.

         “Gabi,” it was a plea, but Nigel didn’t know for what.

         Nigel took her mouth. They bumped noses as they slotted into place. He fucked her with his tongue, just the way she used to like. She pressed into it, hands threading into his hair. It was the same slow wet suction that drove him wild, the same grinding hips that made him want to cry for mercy, but it was all fucking wrong. 

         Nigel pulled away from the kiss. She still tasted of cinnamon. So fucking sweet and warm, his Gabi. She looked at him through piercing cerulean eyes and Nigel thought of the fluttering baby blues that never landed on one spot for too long, and lips that always tasted faintly of sarsaparilla and peppermint toothpaste.

         “We need to stop. I have to talk to you.”

         Gabi tilted her head to study Nigel, a smile faint on her lips.

         “You have changed.”

         The truth of her words made him tense. Jesus, he was a fucking idiot.

         “I have fucking changed, but not for you, gorgeous.” There wasn’t any malice in the words, he could never hate his beautiful Gabi. But he couldn’t love her. Not the way she needed. Not the way he needed, either.

         She pulled back slightly, eyes sad. He opened his mouth to explain, but Darko opened the door first, juggling two bags of food. Nigel jumped back like a guilty child.

         “Where the fuck was Cosmo off to in such a goddamn rush? He didn’t even call me an asshole. Was there a space emergency?” Darko finally looked up and spotted Gabi. “Oh you fucking idiot.”

         Nigel took off running. He was so fucking fucked.

Chapter Text

         Nigel arrived at his apartment wheezing, noting for not the first time that Adam’s constant haranguing about lung capacity and smokes might not be bullshit. He had run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, he had hoped the exercise would calm the adrenaline flooding his veins. The door was open and he heard Adam making angry little noises in the bedroom.

         Nigel hesitated. He had no fucking plan. No fucking excuse, really. His only play here was to throw himself on Adam’s mercy, hopefully the kid still had a soft spot for Romanian disasters.

         “Cosmo?” He kept his voice soft, tone is important.


         A glint of silver caught his eye. On the small table in the entryway sat the key to Nigel’s apartment, still attached to the cheap little Saturn keychain that he bought on a whim three days after meeting Adam. He picked up the chunk of metal and glared at it uncomprehendingly. Why wasn’t this with the rest of Adam’s keys? His vision whited. Adam hadn’t come here to fight. He’d come here to take back his things and leave.

         Nigel wanted to scream. He wanted to pound the walls and bellow that it was only a fucking kiss. It wasn’t like he put his dick in her. He realized it was wrong and he fucking stopped. Really, Adam should be fucking grateful.

         The teeth of the key bit into his palm. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths and really think. He had fucked up. Badly. It had taken months to get Adam into his fucking bed, and 10 minutes with fucking Gabi to ruin it all. Nigel put the key down. If he had any chance at making Adam understand, he couldn’t be the defensive prick that had driven Gabi into the arms of a fish-faced American. He’d have to be Adam’s Nigel. The Nigel he wanted to be.

         He found Adam in the bedroom, gathering up the few meager possessions he had left in Nigel’s home and attempting to drag them, and the spacesuit, out the door. If it was Gabi, Nigel would have grabbed her from behind and wrestled her to the bed. She would have slapped him and screamed before melting under his weight and lips. It had worked so many fucking times. More than it should have, really. Christ, he was a fucking asshole.

         But Adam, Adam wouldn’t be wrestled into submission. He wouldn’t be kissed into forgetting what had happened. Adam demanded fairness, kindness, and real evidence of change. And Nigel had changed, just not fucking enough. Now, Adam had proof of that and it terrified Nigel.

         "Cosmo, darling, I’m so sorry.“

         It was the truth. It was probably the truest thing he’d ever said, but he knew it wasn’t enough. Adam ignored him and continued to try to drag the spacesuit one handed, his other arm filled with books. His breathing was irregular, and it looked like there might be tears on his cheeks that caught the light whenever Adam twitched.

         "Adam.” Nigel reached out. He had to. He had to touch his darling and try to offer whatever pathetic excuse he could. Adam recoiled from the barest brush of Nigel’s fingers, abandoning the suit and retreating immediately to the living room. He put as much space between them as possible. Nigel felt like he’d been punched.

         "Y-you pr-promised.“

         He had. He had and he had fucking meant it. He still did.

         "I know, Cosmo.” Adam flinched at the name, his whole body was going rigid.

         "Y-you said I counted. You promised! I-I b-believed.“ Adam was facing away from him, clutching the books to his chest.

         "You’re different. You fucking count. I- I just. I had to know.”

         "I was in your bed! Y-you said it c-counted when it was in your bed!“ Adam was rocking now. He abandoned the books to rub his arms. Fuck this was not fucking good.

         "You counted, Adam. You-fuck- You were–” What? The one? The fucking love of my life? Everything I’ve ever fucking wanted and never fucking deserved? Each phrase he conjured sounded so hollow. Nigel wished he could talk to Adam about this, he always had a good answer.

         “I-I was practice!” Adam screamed slamming his fists hard on the desk. “Just like when you help me with my tours. All of this was practice for Gabi!”

         “No! No, Cosmo, I –”

         “DON’T CALL ME THAT!” The kid flew at him. Adam’s fists connected with Nigel’s chest, a surprising strength in them. Nigel took a step back, holding up his hands. “My name is Adam. Not Cosmo. Not Darling. Not Gorgeous. Adam. ADAM ADAM ADAM!”

         “I know, Adam, but you’re my cosmonaut, right? I just like calling you –”

         “You’re a liar. Everything you said was a lie.” Adam moved away from him and began pacing around the table, and Nigel tensed, anticipating another hit. “Dumb Adam! DUMB DUMB DUMB ADAM! I believed you. I thought you liked me. I liked you! But you were just practicing with me! You wanted to be good for her!”

         Adam hit his head viciously with a curled fist, chanting the word dumb. Nigel wanted to cave in his own fucking skull. How could he have done this? He caught Adam’s fist and tried to pull him into a hug, anything to keep him from hitting himself again. The second Nigel’s arms closed around him, Adam screamed, thrashing violently. Nigel released him immediately, backing across the room to let Adam feel safe.

         Gradually, the thrashing moved to rocking, Adam’s screams becoming choked sobs.

         “W-were they all lying? D-does e-everyone know I was p-practice?” Adam was tripping on his words, trying suck in air and regulate his breathing. He was rocking hard now, hands rubbing at his arms in sporadic jerks. He stilled for a minute and looked up, eyes focused somewhere left of Nigel’s head. “Is Darko my friend?”

         “Of course he is, Adam. Everyone loves you - especially Darko.”

         Adam made eye contact then, and Nigel wished he hadn’t. His eyes were luminous, watery, and filled with so much pain it made Nigel physically recoil. Of all the shameful shit Nigel had heaped into his worthless life, this was by far the worst thing he’d ever done.

         “I-I d-don’t think I-I can be-believe you,” Adam wailed. Nigel reached for Adam again, wanting to squeeze the boy until every doubt and fear left him. But Adam jerked away, running for the door.

         Nigel blinked. Adam thought he was Nigel’s whore. Adam fucking Raki – who turned Darko into a nursemaid, who had a veritable fan club among the drug trafficking scum of LA, who taught Nigel that he didn’t always need to get his way, who had made Nigel want to change, to be better – thought he was just a slick hole for Nigel to fuck and forget.  

         Nigel looked at the crumpled spacesuit, Adam’s most treasured outfit. He had left it behind in a heap rather than stay for another second with Nigel. It was too much, the bone-deep fear that he’d really fucked up for good. But the worst part was the thought that he’d damaged Adam. Where would Cosmo have dinner now? Who would listen to him talk about space? What if he got upset at work and didn’t have anyone to call? With one fucking kiss he’d left Cosmo all alone again.

         He took off after Adam. He’d conned the kid into giving him a chance once, maybe he could do it again.

Chapter Text

         “Cosmo? ADAM? Open this fucking door! Darling, I want to explain. Please?” Nigel was battering on the door, wondering just how long he had before someone called the cops. This was exactly what Adam had been trying to help him with. He tried to picture his emotions filling a red balloon, but he kept seeing tears spilling out of big blue eyes.


         He stopped pounding on the door for a moment, trying desperately to come up with some strategy, some phrase that would get his cosmonaut to forgive him. In the quiet of the hallway, Nigel heard Adam’s cries. Broken, sad little sobs and frustrated screeches twisted in Nigel’s stomach.

         “Adam, please baby. Please.” He wasn’t entirely sure the boy could hear him, so he sat slumped in the hallway. Mrs. Keller peeked out of her door, offered him a sad little wave and retreated to the blaring sounds of Wheel of Fortune.

         He could hear something breaking now, he felt fear creep into his chest in tiny tendrils. He’d seen Adam lose it once, early on, smashing his head against the wall when Nigel wouldn’t stop screaming at him about being fussy. The goose egg formed quickly and Nigel had jumped him, yanking him to the ground and keeping him immobile until Adam froze. He whispered apologies to him, told Adam he shouldn’t get so upset over stupid assholes yelling at him, and pressed his face into Adam’s neck trying to help him regulate his breathing. He went over all the breathing lessons Adam had shown him, shocking himself with how much he’d picked up. Nigel had loosened his grip on Adam by inches, making sure he wouldn’t thrash again. When Adam finally calmed, he absolved Nigel with a small pout and asked for an ice pack. That night, Nigel had stayed in Adam’s apartment, smoking on the balcony and checking on the fucking love of his life every 20 minutes, like Google had told him to. When Adam woke, at 7 sharp, he smiled at Nigel and told him he smelled like smoke and sweat. Adam had offered him some bran cereal and asked if they could try working on his stress responses. Nigel choked the flavorless bran down with a smile, so fucking relieved that Cosmo had forgiven him.  

        More shattering noises.

         “Adam! Stop! Adam!” Nigel was getting frantic, on his knees hammering the door. He felt a hand grip his shoulder.

         “This is very fucking touching, but we need a better plan.”

         “Du-te-n pizda mă-tii!” He fought as Darko tugged him backwards. 

         “Este inutil, Nigel.” Darko’s hands were on Nigel’s shoulders, kneading and strong. “Doar dă-i niște timp.” 

         Nigel slumped slightly under Darko’s grip. Maybe he did need to give Adam some time. Adam always gave him time to work things out. He allowed Darko to steer him a few steps from Adam’s apartment.

        Something else shattered beyond the door. Nigel pulled away to batter at the wood grain. The hands were on him again.

         “Încetează! Nigel…Nigel. Încetează!” Darko was between him and the door pushing him back. 

         “He’s gonna fucking hurt himself,” Nigel was shoving at Darko, but his friend stood firm. Strong hands shook Nigel, rattling the panic out of his brain for a moment. Darko’s hands were on Nigel’s face, forcing eye contact.

         “I fucking know, man, but this is just making it worse. What if we broke down the door?”

         Nigel shook his head. Mrs. Keller liked him, but she liked Adam better, she’d call the cops if he did that. Plus, Adam would be fucking terrified.

         “Well, think, Curule!” Another firm shake of Darko’s hands made Nigel’s head bob.

         All Nigel could think about was Adam, destroyed beautiful Adam smashing up his apartment when he should be hitting Nigel. Fucking 12 hours ago he had his Cosmo moaning on his lap as he rubbed him through his spacesuit.

         Nigel took off running for his apartment. Darko turned to stare at his retreating back, mouth open.

         “Unde dracu te duci?” Darko was trailing after Nigel, closing ground on his retreating friend.

         “I know what to do.”

         “Are you fucking sure about this, Nigel?” Darko leaned over the edge of the building, goggling at the distance. Nigel ignored him as he shimmied into the spacesuit. It was a tight fit, and the bulk constricted his movements noticeably. Nigel had already shed his jeans and his boots just to work the goddamn suit over his hips.

         “This fucking thing is rated for 300 pounds!”

         “Yeah, but is that?” Darko nodded toward the pulley contraption Adam had rigged on the roof. “Cause that kid weighs about 100 pounds less than your fat ass.”

         “Shut up, or I’m going to throw you over the goddamn roof and you can check on him.”

         “Alright fucker, it’s your neck.” Darko bowed, gesturing off the building. Nigel attempted to sit on the swing contraption, but heard the wood splinter as he tested it against his weight.

         Darko opened his mouth, but Nigel held up a hand, he could do this. He could do this for Adam. Looping the rope around his waist, he tried to tie a knot, his fingers shaking. Darko slapped his hand away and knotted the rope eight times, pulling viciously on the binding to check his work. He met Nigel’s eyes and shrugged. Nigel moved to the ledge. Darko’s hand shot out and grabbed his shoulder.

         “Ești sigur?” 

         Nigel peered over the side of the roof, he’d have to jump. Cold slimy dread slither up his spine and pricked at his temples. Suddenly, drawing a full breath seemed impossible.


         Adam fucking needed him. Focus on Adam. Beautiful Adam, crying and breaking things because he fell in love with the scum of the fucking earth. Nigel looked at Darko and nodded. His friend wrapped the end of the rope around his arm, bracing.

         Nigel closed his eyes and took a step.

         The pulley caught his weight with a loud groan of strained metal. Eyes shut and fingers clamped, Nigel swung into the side of the building with surprising force as the pulley complained. Nigel’s heart clenched, but the damn thing held.

         “Ground control to Major Tom,” Darko called. “You fucking ok?”

         Darko was red-faced as he held the rope, eyes wide.

         “Lower me before I piss myself, dick.”

         It was only a dozen feet, but it felt like miles. Darko bitched about every inch and the diet he was going to have Adam enforce once Nigel had begged forgiveness. Nigel focused on not dying, which apparently looked a lot like hyperventilating while praying.

         “Hey nenorocitule! I’m getting really fucking tired of holding your ass.” Darko wheezed. Nigel continued to cling to the rope, swinging blindly as he dangled off the building. The rope yanked violently. “You’re at the goddamn balcony. Nigel! Open your fucking eyes, man!”

         Nigel tried to set his foot on the balcony railing but slipped, knocking over a potted plant and watching it shatter on the ground. The pulley gave. He flopped onto the balcony, splitting his lip on the stucco floor and sprawling atop pottery shards, potting soil, and the sad remnants of Adam’s zinnia, which he had excitedly told Nigel was the first plant to ever bloom in space.

         He tried to right himself, but the rope and the spacesuit conspired to keep him down and flailing, he felt like a fucking overturned turtle.

         The little shush of the balcony door drew Nigel’s attention. There stood Adam, red eyed and trembling, staring at the older man. Nigel smiled, trying not to wince when his lip tore further.

         “Hello gorgeous.”

Chapter Text

         Adam’s eyes flicked over Nigel, assessing.

         “You’re bleeding.” He disappeared back into his apartment.

         Nigel shook his head, sending shards of pottery and dirt flying.

         “What the fuck? Are you alive?” Darko peered over the edge of the roof, his voice sounded tight.

         Nigel opened his mouth to respond when he heard his darling coming back. He waved his hand at Darko, signaling him to fuck off already. Adam appeared by the door with a small first aid kit. He opened it, retrieving a cotton ball and wetting it with alcohol. Nigel sat in a daze as his little sniffling cosmonaut dabbed at the scratch on his cheek and his torn lip.

         “Why did you do this? You could have been seriously hurt.” Adam’s eyes were all over his face, body tense and trembling. Nigel took advantage of the proximity to look over his darling, he couldn’t see any bruises or marks, most of the damage must have been done in his apartment.

         “Fucking worked for you, didn’t it? You show up on my balcony in a fucking spacesuit and before I know it I’m practicing breathing exercises like a fucking pussy and praying you’ll stop by to boss me around some more.”

         Adam turned his head away.

         “I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

         Nigel sighed.

         “I know. I fucking know, Adam. But can you just let me say one thing? Then maybe help an old man up, because I’m not fucking sure I can stand in this goddamn suit.”

         Adam’s mouth formed a moue while he considered.


         “I want you to understand that I’m fucking shit. What I did was shit. You should be fucking furious. You should hit me and break my shit, maybe never speak to me again, but please – fucking please, Adam, don’t think for one second that this was practice. I love you. Darko loves you. Five fucking felons who would shoot their own mother to make a sale are back at the warehouse right fucking now hoping you’re ok and planning to kill me if you’re not. Adam fucking Raki is loved. So fucking loved.”

         Adam was gnawing on his lip, the hand that had been pressing the cotton to Nigel’s lip had stilled, riding Nigel’s jaw as he spoke.

         “I’m going to go. And if you can forgive me, I’ll be here, ready to do what you need me to do. Make another fucking list, we can work on it. If you want me to move so you’ll never see my fucking face again, I’ll do it. But I won’t leave until you promise not to hit yourself or break any more of your nice fancy space shit,” Nigel caught the hand that was still on his chin. The fine-boned wrist that flexed so beautifully when he was coming undone in Nigel’s bed. God, he would miss this fucking kid.

         He closed his eyes and pressed a kiss to Adam’s fingers, only to have them jerked back. Something twisted in Nigel’s gut, this loss would kill him. There’d be nothing fucking left for Darko to patch back together. But Nigel would do it – he would leave because it was good for Adam. It was what his Cosmo wanted.

         He opened his mouth to say goodbye and felt something on his lip. Warm wet pressure that made his ears buzz and his heart throb painfully. His eyes shot open.

         The fuzzy outline of Adam filled his field of vision as the boy pressed soft kisses onto Nigel’s battered face.

         “You taste like blood,” murmured Adam as he sucked on Nigel’s cut lip. The older man beamed.

         “Is that so, gorgeous? You taste like heaven.”

         Adam pulled back and furrowed his brow.

         “That’s silly. Heaven doesn’t have a taste.”

         “Oh yes it fucking does.” Nigel pulled Adam in for a short kiss. “Heaven tastes like sarsaparilla, mac n cheese…”

         Another kiss, longer, with more tongue. Adam was growing pliant, Nigel was getting hard.

         “And peppermint toothpaste.”

         Adam smiled, flicking his eyes up to Nigel’s for a second. His hands were tapping on Nigel’s shoulders, still a little uncertain.

         “Why did you kiss her if you love me?”

         “Because I’m a fucking asshole, darling.” Nigel tightened his grip on Adam, pulling the younger man back to his chest and settling him between his legs – their stargazing position. “I had tried to get her back for so fucking long, and I had changed so fucking much. But I knew it was wrong the second I did it, Cosmo. All this work we put in, all the hours of fucking red balloons and redirecting my fucking thoughts, it wasn’t for her. It was for you. I wanted to change for you. I’m sorry I fucked up. It won’t happen again.”

         Adam craned his neck.

         “Nobody is perfect, Nigel. You’ll fuck up again.”

         Nigel could only twist his lips in a rueful smile.

         “Yeah, I fucking will. I’m a mean motherfucker, and I smoke and I yell and I do dumb shit because I don’t fucking think. I’ll do something that will piss you off every day of my fucking life, probably. But I swear to you, I’ll never do anything that’ll make you doubt how fucking much I love you. Never again, Adam. Never fucking again.”

         Adam sucked on his bottom lip, considering.

         “OK.” He said.


         “Yes. OK.” Adam leaned his head back. “I know you do things without thinking. Darko says it’s because you’re a dumb fuck, but I think you still have problems with impulse control. You left Gabi to come see me. You memorized my lecture so you could help me practice. You lowered yourself onto my balcony even though you don’t like heights. I don’t think you’d do that if you didn’t pick me. I believe you. I-I want to believe you.”

         Adam wriggled in Nigel’s arms to look him in the eye.

         “But we need to work more on your impulse control.” Adam couldn’t read his expression, it was an odd tangle of a half-smile and lifted eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”

         Nigel scoffed. Adam’s eyes shifted to Nigel’s ear, he was nervous.

         “You’re letting me off way too easy, gorgeous. You should at least punish me a bit.”


         “Well, if it was Gabi, it’d be no sex for a month or something.”

         Adam wrinkled his nose.

         “But I like having sex with you.”

         Nigel laughed and pressed a kiss to Adam’s temple.

         “It is the fucking highlight of my day too, darling.” Nigel trailed his mouth along the side of Adam’s face, leaving wet puffs of air on Adam’s fine features. Adam turned slightly, catching Nigel’s questing mouth and sucking on his tongue. When he pulled back, Nigel felt bereft.

         “OK, then you have to quit.”

         “Quit what, Cosmo?”

         “Drugs and smoking. They’re the last two things on the list.”

         “Dealing and fucking smoking? Come on Adam, it was a fuck up, but nobody died.” Nigel leaned in again, lips pursing. A firm hand stopped his progress. He opened his eyes to find Adam’s lips an inch away, frowning seriously. This fucking kid.

         “Drugs and smoking.”

         Nigel would have agreed to sing in the Vienna Boys’ Choir if it got Adam’s mouth back. He sighed, nodding his head.

         “Drugs and motherfucking smoking. Give me three months and Darko and I will start the security company, ok?”

         Adam turned slightly in his arms, granting himself better access to Nigel.

         “Two. Darko and I already have the website ready for launch and a business plan.” Adam looked up, offering a small wave. “Hi Darko! He says we can start on the security company.”

         Nigel’s head shot up just in time to watch his best fucking friend dive back from edge of the roof. Pervy fuck. Nigel would fucking-

         Adam was mouthing just beneath Nigel’s chin, tongue drawing little shapes in his stubble. Nigel lost the ability to give a fuck about Darko or anything other than the sweet little mouth fucking plundering his throat.

         “I-I promise I’ll, oh fuck Adam right fucking there I’ll fucking burn the shit tonight if you fucking want.”

         “That’s not necessary.” Nigel wanted to cry when Adam moved his mouth away to talk. “You’ll need to unload two more shipments for seed money. Darko has the projections we worked on.”

         Nigel felt a surge of jealousy again. But Adam latched onto his earlobe and he forgot why he was so mad at Darko.

         “Fine, baby, fine. Bu-but Cosmo, I’m not sure oh fuck about the fucking smokes.”

         “I thought we’d try sublimation.”

         “You want to tie me up?” It was embarrassing how hard his cock jerked at the thought.

         “No. Well, maybe. I’ll have to do some research on that.” Nigel watched as Adam made a serious face, filing away ropes and bondage for a later Google session. Data stored, Adam moved his mouth back to Nigel’s ear. “Sublimation is the practice of redirecting bad behavior by substituting a better behavior.”

         “Like sucking your cock whenever I want a smoke?”

         Adam nodded emphatically.

         “Just like that. Though I don’t think cock sucking is practical. I have to go to work, and you’ll be busy starting the business with Darko. Maybe sex and something else pleasurable that won’t require ejaculation? How do you feel about chocolate?”

         “Adam fucking Raki, you’ll make me an angel yet.”

         “No. You’ll still be you. Just less smoky and with a significantly smaller chance of being arrested or shot.”

         Adam tried to straddle Nigel, but the spacesuit proved too bulky. He satisfied himself by sitting astride one of Nigel’s thighs, humping lightly as he felt for Nigel’s throbbing cock. The Romanian knew he had about 10 seconds before he lost all ability to do anything other than suck on Adam’s tongue and thrust against him, but something bothered him.  

         “Wait. Drugs and smoking were the last fucking things on the list? What about cursing?”

         Adam’s hand was cupping him now, rubbing Nigel’s cock through his ridiculous fucking spacesuit. His lips sucked just above the stripper on Nigel’s neck. Any blood that Nigel had left in his brain abandoned all hope of helping him form a thought.

         The warm wet pressure on his neck stopped, the spit-slick spot forming goosebumps in the cooling air. Nigel opened his eyes to find Adam’s blues inches from him, still watery, but much lighter and crinkling around the edges.

         “Cursing? I crossed that off the list months ago, Nigel. You were fucking hopeless.”

         Nigel huffed out a laugh and took his cosmonaut’s dirty fucking mouth.