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 The Boba Fetts didn’t do their fucking job. There were like forty of them, tall and small, young and old, and none of them seemed very eager to assassinate Techie, who’s been practically begging for it, albeit wordlessly. He reached the point where he’d have paid actual money to be put out of his misery.

The line moved an inch.

When he purchased his ticket online, he thought that maybe he could avoid this, getting close and personal with his fellow Star Wars fans, but here he was, sandwiched between two Imperial officers. It would’ve been a wet dream come true any other day, but he wasn’t particularly feeling like it while balancing his tablet, laptop, and prints. He also needed to concentrate on not throwing up. Those uniforms seemed expensive. Would’ve been a shame to ruin them.

He should’ve worn one himself. He was so fucking out of place. He looked like he was auditioning for a Wes Anderson movie, but that’s what happened whenever he made an attempt to look decent. He washed his hair, he put on slacks and loafers and a bunny-print shirt, and then promptly ruined the impression by steeping himself in sunscreen. He was dripping with it. Also, he was wearing shades: round, pink-tainted - they used to be his mother’s, and they didn’t fucking help, he was squinting like hell. The california sun burned with the power of two. He should’ve gone for the Poncho Luke look.

The line moved another inch.

“This is ridiculous!” someone yelled. If there was anything Techie hated more than a crowd, it was an angry crowd. He flinched, and looked back behind his hunched shoulders. All he could catch was a glimpse of bottle-blond hair and a towering figure, then he averted his gaze, trying to disappear. “What’s taking so long? We’re waiting for the prequels to come out again, or what?”

Techie chuckled, despite himself. Miraculously, the line moved three full inches.

 

--

 

Thank fuck the table assigned to him was in the farthest corner of the artist alley, right next to the fire exit. Secluded, safe. Bad for business, probably. He didn’t feel like giving a shit when he booked it.

He built an effective barricade from his artworks, huge prints and tiny wire-figurines, and carefully added a price tag to each and every item. He frowned at the last print, the latest. He guessed it was okay. People always likened him to a concept artist; his drawings told stories - epic sagas, most of the time. He loved to loose himself in the details, sketching star destroyers and blaster-duels, big-scale fight scenes, beloved characters in peril, droids which didn’t exist canonically, and the Death Star was a recurring theme. The print in his hands was colorful, eerie, an army of stormtroopers marching through red-gold mist; a powerful piece, maybe, he worked on it when his mind was - well, not in a good place, and it showed, and it worked. Maybe. Got a thousand plus notes, that’s something.

Once he was done with the display, he set up his laptop and the tablet. He noticed he didn’t have a chair, but decided that he wouldn’t bother. No need to fuss about it. He could stand, although he almost had to double over to reach the glowing keypad.

He cracked the organizer’s wi-fi password and helped himself to their 5.2 mbps connection, which was pathetic, but still better than the public one. He’d just get some work done, and pretend that he was at home. Maybe people won’t talk to him if they saw that he was visibly busy.

He was setting up a proxy server when he heard a loud thud and a half-whispered “finafuckingly” from the table next to him. He glanced over, then he did a double-take. Shitting hell, it was Shouty Guy from earlier. And Shouty Guy was hot, now that he could properly see him: tall and muscular, his biceps almost ripping his sleeves apart as he was balancing two boxes on his shoulders. Yummy-yummy beefcake, an intrusive thought suggested, which Techie promptly ignored. He tried to turn back to the screen; God, he tried; but the guy caught his last fleeting glance sliding off his wide chest, and he stared back.

His gaze was pretty fucking intense.

“Hey,” he spat. “Nice to meet you, I’m Matt.” He sounded like there was more to that sentence, but he clenched his jaw shut, and frowned. He had huge glasses. They suited him. He looked weird, in a way which was dangerously endearing.

“Techie,” Techie managed, addressing Matt’s forehead. “Like, um. Hi. That’s what I’m called. The uh, Techie part. Of the sentence.”

“I guess we’re neighbours,” Matt grinned. He measured Techie again, and the awkward grin widened.

“I guess,” Techie mumbled. “Definitely. Yes.”

“Could you keep an eye on my stuff? I still have some shit in my car, so I could like, use a favor.” He sounded defiant, like he dared Techie to turn him down, like he expected him to laugh at him or something.

“Yes. Of course,” Techie said, shuffling on his feet, and added: “Okay.”

Matt gave him a cringy thumbs up, and turned on his heels, saying:

“Nice buns, by the way.”

Techie tensed, his ass giving a hopeful little wiggle without his consent. He means my shirt, he realised. He wanted to collapse. To climb under his desk never to be found again.

 

--

 

He more or less composed himself by the time Matt returned. He was carrying two folding chairs and a gym bag.

“Here we go,” Matt grunted as he dropped them. He took a deep breath, and looked around. They had fifteen minutes until the artist alley would open to the public, but the place already seemed packed. “What a disaster,” Matt commented, and peered at Techie. “Can I come over?”

“Sorry?”

“To look at your art. If you don’t mind.”

“No. Yes. Why not.”  He bit his lips, and fixed his gaze on one of the wire-figurines, a tauntaun. He was happy that Matt asked for permission; it’s common decency, it doesn’t make him awesome or anything, he reminded himself, but a bashful smile kept tugging at the corner of his mouth nevertheless.

“You get frustrated when people comment on your works, right?” Matt mused, eyeing an Executor print. Techie nodded, but Matt didn’t seem to notice, he just went on. “I’m good at reading people. Sort of like I could wield the Force.” He wiggled his fingers, still keeping his eyes on the fanarts. “I’ve seen these before. Everyone uses these as Facebook covers and Twitter banners and what have you. They should credit you.”

Techie shrugged.

“Awfully low prices,” Matt continued. “You must’ve worked hours upon hours and spent years and years perfecting your skill. Good work deserves reward. You have every right to demand it. Add a zero here and there.” He looked at him, unblinking. “Am I being an asshole? I have asshole-y tendencies, research shows.”

Techie blinked, and shook his head.

“No, I. I will take it as a compliment. You think my work is, uh, valuable. That’s not bad.”

Matt grinned again.

“So it’s an okay first impression. Sweet. We’re getting somewhere. Imagine what would’ve happened if I bought an apple pie and everything, gave you the full welcome to the neighborhood treatment.” His voice was very low, rumbling, deep. Techie had a hard time not getting lost in it. He still had the presence of mind to raise his hand, and point at the direction of Matt’s other neighbor, a mousy little guy selling plushies and tees. He wanted to say what about him, he wanted to find out whether Matt was actually fucking flirting with him or if he was just like, being a general delight, but then they got interrupted.

“There you are!” a man dressed as an X-wing pilot poked Matt, and glanced at Techie. “Hey, welcome to Resistance Center, everything okay?” His nametag read Black Leader.

“I’m fine, thanks,” Techie said. It sounded like a one-liner, a too-often repeated slogan. Black Leader smiled at him, lots of white, even teeth, and turned to Matt.

“Where’s our ray of sunshine?”

“I’m not her fucking babysitter.”

“You were supposed to come together,” Black Leader said, his tone very steady.

“Well,” Matt said, adjusting his glasses, “it took her forever to get ready, so.”

“So you just left her?”

“She can take a bus. It’s not that far.”

“I’m going to get her,” Black Leader sighed, and started walking away. He pointed an accusing finger at Matt. “Not cool, bro. Not cool.”

“I’m not her driver either!” Matt yelled after him, and turned to Techie, fuming. “A fifteen year old can ride a bus alone, right?”

“I guess,” Techie said, shoulders tense.

“And they have the mental capacity to understand sentences like “hurry the fuck up, we’re gonna be late,” right?”

“I don’t know. I don’t hang out with teens, exactly.”

“No family?”

“None.”

“Huh. You’re lucky.”

Techie never looked at it this way. Aunt Madeline was dead - that was nice. His parents were dead - not nice. Killed in a car accident. He was present. He was twelve. He went through the details so many times that now they seemed nothing but facts. Still, he was wearing his mother’s sunglasses and his father’s belt. That probably said something about him.

“Where were we?” Matt asked, leaning against the table, careful not to disturb the display.

I think you were trying to get into my pants.

“We’re opening in ten,” Techie said, and Matt jumped.

“Fuck me,” he hissed, and hurried to his table. He bent over, black jeans clinging to his powerful thighs.

Don’t mind if I do.

“You want a chair?” Matt asked. “I’ve got two chairs and no fucking room.”

“That’d be, uh, very nice of you? Thanks. Thank you.”

Matt put up the chair for him, and presented it, bowing, like it was a throne or something. Techie went along with it, and sat down with all the elegance he could muster, swallowing back a smile.

 

--

 

It wasn’t going well. Techie planned on returning the visit once Matt was finished, to check out his work and chat a little before all hell broke loose, but Matt was still fussing around when people started pouring in. Techie focused all his attention on turning invisible, and he pretty much ignored Matt.

Maybe he wasn’t right about him, anyway. Maybe Matt was just trying to be nice, and Techie and his dirty mind got the wrong impression.

He fucked around upgrading the firewall and selling stuff. He wasn’t here to get laid, welcomed as it would be, he was here to make some extra money and then unleash his inner fanboy and spend all of it on merch.

About half an hour spent being actively unhappy with himself, he noticed a girl dressed as Padmé lingering by his table. It was the Geonosis costume, the non-sexy version, white, simple, complete with a cape. Techie was still mad at himself for being too cowardly to cosplay. She didn’t seem to notice him; she was watching Matt, waiting for his current customers to leave, then she stepped closer.

“This was low,” she said, dropping her heavy duffle bag to the ground. “Even from you.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Matt grunted. The girl crossed her arms in front of her chest. She looked kinda scary.

“Apology not accepted. Where’s my chair?”

Techie tensed. Oh fuck.

“Left it at the hotel,” Matt deadpanned. “Sorry.”

“Whatever. I’m gonna check out hall C.”

“Like hell. It’s your turn.”

“I’ve just arrived!” the girl said, spreading her arms. Techie saw Matt tensing up.

“That lightsaber belongs to me,” he said, voice almost shrill. The girl looked at the lightsaber clasped to her exposed belt with feign innocence, like she just noticed it was there.

“Finder’s keepers.”

“Give it back,” Matt gritted, reaching for it. The girl got alarmingly close to Techie’s table as she started retreating.

“You don’t need it, you’ve been disqualified,” she spluttered, and made for the fire exist. Matt jumped over his table, and chased after her, shouting.

“That’s an authentic and licensed battle ready black series Anakin Skywalker FX lightsaber!”

“It’s Luke’s!” the girl peeped, and slammed the heavy door in Matt’s face. He punched it with both fists.

“Anakin made it, so it’s technically his!” he yelled, hitting the unyielding steel. “Know your trivia, thief!”

Techie turned away the same way one averts his gaze when faced with a casual catastrophe, not my business. Still, he couldn’t help but notice that some of the stuff Matt was selling fell to the floor. He crouched down, and started picking up the pieces. The clamour in the hall and Matt’s curses seemed distant.

The splattered models were delicate little things: miniature TIE-fighters hovering in a magnetic field, glowing lightsabers on keychains, mouse droids going around in circles. He put them on his palm, gently, his heart sinking when he noticed that some of them were broken.

“Sorry for the scene,” Matt muttered behind him, guilty. “Lost my cool there for a minute.”

“I think they are…”

“Don’t worry about those. I’ve got a dozen. It’s fine.” Matt didn’t sound very convincing. Techie got to his feet, and put the models down to Matt’s table, arranging them into neat lines.

“Do you accept comments?” he mumbled, touching an AT-AT with the tip of his little finger.

“When it’s not constructive criticism, yeah.”

“They’re magical.”

“This one’s my favourite,” Matt said, pressing closer to reach for a model. He smelled very nice and his warm weight was kinda comforting. He pulled back, presenting Sheev Palpatine tumbling over his chair in an endless circle. “I call it the Perpetual Palpatine.”

Techie chuckled, a small, helpless sound.

“So cool! Can I, ah. Is it for sale?”

“Keep it,” Matt said, putting it on Techie’s palm. Their fingers brushed. Techie looked him in the eye, and blinked away quickly.

“I can’t possibly accept it.”

“It’s a gift,” Matt told him. Techie wrinkled his nose, and glanced at his own stand.

“Well then, uh. At least accept a gift in return. Was there uh, anything you liked?”

“You know I love your art.” Matt was quite close again. It was rather unfortunate, because there were so many people around, and some of them seemed interested in checking out their table. Techie flushed, and pulled back a bit.

“Erhm, w-which one you like best?”

“The one with the collapsing stars and the Executor,” Matt replied right away. “I insist on buying you something in addition to His Dark Excellency.”  

“You really don’t have to-”

“I want to.”

Techie nodded, curt, and fled to his stand, cradling the Perpetual Palpatine in his hands. He got the print, and his shoulders dropped with relief when he noticed that a customer started chatting with Matt. He let out a slow breath. Getting half-hard just because a cute guy was standing close was utterly pathetic, and if Matt’s kindness had anything to do with it, that was even worse.

He dropped to the chair, and waited a few seconds, wishing that the color would drain from his cheeks. He was still flustered when Matt’s customer left, so he just kinda poked Matt’s elbow with the rolled-up print, mumbling “here.”

“Awesome, thanks!” Matt grinned goofily, his whole face lighting up. His gaze lingered on Techie’s taut lips before he’d turn to the print. “I’ve always wanted a star destroyer just for myself, haha.”  

“You’d probably need a co-commander,” Techie noted. “Not to uh, mention the crew. These things are like. Huge.”

“You’re hired,” Matt saluted with the print, and carefully put it away. “Could you erhm, man the bridge for a bit?” he asked, tentative.

Techie wasn’t sure whether Matt was asking a favor IRL or if it was just roleplay, so he nodded.

“You rock,” Matt told him, grabbing his wallet. “I’ll make it up for you.”

Techie flushed again.

“Okay,” he mumbled.

 

--

 

It was hell. A panel must have recently ended because people were pouring in in waves, and Techie had to interact with them. His polite smile lasted three minutes, then it completely melted off, leaving place to his resting panic face. His eyes were killing him, his feet hurt since he had no time for sitting while darting between his table and Matt’s, and he kinda wanted to die and be dead. He also had some unsavory thoughts of the ways Matt could make him up for this .

There was a small lull after what must’ve been a full hour of torture, and Techie grabbed his eye drops and made an attempt to look absolutely disgusting while he applied it, so no one would come near him. A stormtrooper took it as a challenge, and stepped to him as he was blinking away burning tears and sobbing.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said through a very realistic vocoder, “I’m looking for Matt?”

“I’m filling in for him,” Techie sniffed. God fucking help me, he thought.

“Right,” the stormtrooper said, but didn’t take his cue to fuck off when Techie tipped his head back again. “I’m actually investigating a complaint. Several complaints. Like, five.”

“Y-yeah?”

“Reportedly, he caused quite a scene?”

“I’d,” Techie mumbled. “I have the right to remain silent.”

The stormtrooper laughed at that, and Techie frowned. It wasn’t a joke.

“It’s nothing serious,” the stormtrooper assured with a last manly giggle. “He never done anything illegal, so far, but he’s kinda notorious of his temper. Got kicked out of duel matches and everything.”

“I can handle temper,” Techie said, voice cold and surprisingly controlled. He preferred a temper to the alternative, to Aunt Madeline’s terrible calmness and the slow smile of amusement as she watched Techie wheezing and whimpering in pain.

“That’s cool,” the stormtrooper replied. “But y’know, if anything gets… weird, you can ask for a table reassignment or talk to Black Leader, he’s an awesome guy, he’ll see what’s to be done.”

Techie hummed something vaguely affirmative. The stormtrooper turned to Matt’s table, then back to Techie, and asked:

“Have you seen a Padmé? About this tall, let’s-save-Obi-Wan clothes?”

“No, sorry,” Techie said, just to be petty.

 

--

 

“I’m laden with loot!” Matt announced as he presented a handful of paper bags and a stuffed Darth Vader backpack. Techie was sitting cross-legged on a chair which was pointedly turned away from the general public, so he had to look back over his shoulders to see him.

Matt looked fantastic. He was radiant with glee, sporting a Dark Side of the Death Star shirt and an orange hoodie, unzipped. Techie was still mad at him, but not… really.

“Thanks for looking after my stuff,” Matt said, like he sensed what he was thinking about. “Like, sis’ promised she’d do it, but whatever. Was she around?”

“Nope.”

“Typical. Anyway, any time you wanna go, I’ll return the favor. No problem.”

“What’s it like? Out there.”

“Huh,” Matt let out a shaky breath, and adjusted his glasses. “It’s everything . I wish we could check it out together, I’m so curious how would you like it, haha. It’s amazing. Is there a panel you’re interested in? We could like, compare schedules.”

“Ah,” Techie muttered, “no, I- the panels will be uploaded on the YouTube channel, so I’ll just… check them out later. At home.” Eating dill pickle chips in my underwear, he thought. Happy and comfortable. At last.

“What about the games?”

“That’s why I’m here,” Techie admitted. He was dying to test the unreleased versions. “That, and selling shit. Is there an uhm, big line?”

“Yeah,” Matt shrugged. “But if I blackmail Rea or ask her very nicely, we can wait in line together, sucks less.”

Techie tugged a stray lock behind his ear; he always did that when he was nervous.

“That’d be cool,” he said, and Matt smirked at him again like he hung the stars. Techie still hasn’t figured out what did he do to deserve such brilliant smiles.

“Got these for you,” Matt said, and handed over two small packages. They were giftwrapped.

“You shouldn’t have,” Techie mumbled. Matt wanted to say something to that, but a slave Leia interrupted:

“Hi, sorry, are you the seller?”

“Coming,” Matt snapped, shooting an apologetic gaze at Techie. He didn’t mind; he would’ve died out of utter mortification if he had to open the gifts in front of him. He carefully removed the galaxy-print paper and his heart jumped.

The first present was a bowtie in the shape of a TIE/LN starfighter; it was super cute, and Techie appreciated the pun. It looked hand-made and perfect. The next item was clothing as well: socks with an adorable Imperial logo print and actual fucking sock garters. Techie’s eyes watered. It had nothing to do with his severe allergies.

The Leia came over to his table, so he tried to collect himself, and failed miserably. He still managed to sell a ‘Cloud City in Flames’ print with quivering lips, and after she was gone, Techie went to Matt’s table on unsure legs. Matt was with his back to him, putting away the cash Techie set aside for him. Techie didn’t hug him, he just kinda collapsed on him in a friendly manner.

“Thank you,” he mumbled into his neck, and started to pull back, but Matt laid his hands on his arm, keeping him in place.

“Thank you for the print. It’s gonna look so good above my bed.”

“Yeah?” he dropped his voice in a way which he hoped was suggestive, and whispered: “bathroom?”

“Uh, okay? You do that, I’ll keep an eye on your stuff.”

Techie meant to suggest a handjob in the bathroom, since they were hugging and talking about Matt’s bed, but. Maybe he should’ve been more forward. He just nodded and stepped back, humiliated and embarrassed in equal measures, as usual.

 

--

 

He washed his hands in a sort of haze. Was Matt even into him? Who would be? Apart from people with niche fetishes and/or questionable taste. He just couldn’t fucking tell, although he felt like he knew a lot about Matt already. He certainly catalogued the beautiful moles on his face and the seductive curl of his hair falling to his nape. Among other things.

He walked back through the artist alley, shoulders slumped, quickening his steps when he heard someone yell his name in recognition.

When he reached their table, Matt looked at him in a way which almost made Techie head back to the bathroom.

“Missis here is looking for you.”

The little lady in a May the 4th tank top wanted to know whether he sold anything Jedi-thematic, because his art was “rather lovely.”

“Not much of a Force-fan,” Techie confessed, and the little lady hummed.

“I might come back later nevertheless. Your work is really gorgeous.”

“Thank you,” Techie managed to grit out, and collapsed on the chair as she trotted away. He was fed up with everybody and their mother being here. He rubbed his temples. Matt was busy with buyers. Again. He had no right to demand his attention, but. Fuck.

He glanced at the gifts, fearing that they’ve disappeared, that they were too good to have, but no, they were there. Techie wished the bowtie wouldn’t clash with his silly shirt so he could put it right on, or maybe the socks. It would’ve seem desperate. Well, he’ll certainly wear them once he gets home; and he imagined wearing nothing but them, and going down on Matt like that, you liked them so much, huh, Matt would ask, sliding his big fucking fingers into Techie’s slick little--

“Not much of a Force-fan, huh?” Matt asked, and Techie jumped, dragged out of his daydream.

“Mm, yes, no, why?” he stuttered, and Matt narrowed his eyes at him.

“I bet I could change your mind,” he teased. Techie shivered, but he tried to look nonchalant.

“Is that so?” he peeped. Matt leaned against his table, maybe just a bit too casual to look natural.

“They didn’t do it justice, is all. The Force has so much undiscovered potential,” he explained. “Take mind-reading. Why didn’t they make them telepaths? Surface emotions my ass. Let ‘em know every fucking secret you have.”

“That’d be unethical,” Techie noted.

“Where’s the fun otherwise?” Matt raked his fingers through his hair, and ruffled it up with sudden determination. He stepped closer. “I have this OC,” he said. “He’s called Kylo Ren. He can read minds. He’s fucking awesome.”

“Uh-huh?”

“He has a lightsaber which looks like a sword,” Matt went on. “The kyber crystal is cracked so the blade is unstable and dangerous looking. When he’s fighting, he’s toying with the enemy. If they hurt him, good, pain just gives him more power.”

“Sort of like the hydra of Lerna,” Techie supplied. Matt looked confused.

“No, not like a hydra. He doesn’t grow heads or… He’s human. He’s Darth Vader’s grandson.”

“Oh, like Jacen Solo?”

“Not like Jacen Solo. Jacen sucked balls.”

Techie took a deep breath.

“So what is he like?” he asked, a bit exasperated. Matt looked lost in thought, rubbing his chin and everything. Techie noticed a potential buyer eyeing his prints,  but he didn’t want to interrupt Matt’s musings.

“He’s the best,” Matt concluded. “Like Darth Vader, but even cooler. He’s very tormented and complex, and he has very unique powers. He also kills Han, because fuck that guy.”

“They say you shouldn’t overpower an OC,” Techie told him, and frankly, he meant it as a filler, a general observation which was supposed to keep the conversation going, but Matt looked at him like he slapped him on his birthday.

“Excuse me,” the buyer chimed in, “did you make these wire sculptures yourself?”

“Um, yes, actually,” Techie said without paying any attention. Matt turned away. Fuck. He was pissed.

“Do you use a 3D modelling software, or do you plan on paper?”

“Software,” Techie mumbled, and he wanted to ask for a minute and talk to Matt, but Matt just grabbed his chair, threw it against the wall with a loud clutter, and off he went, never looking back.

 

--

 

“What are you doing here?”

“Hiding?”

Techie was curled up under his table, munching on comfort snacks. He put up a sign which read “back in 10.” It was a fucking lie. Rea was watching him, head tilted. She was wearing and X-wing pilot helmet, too big for her.

“Did Matt do something?” she asked. Techie swallowed audibly, and mumbled.

“No, he didn’t. He didn’t do anything.”

“Uh-huh,” Rea said, and looked over her shoulder. “That chair looks… mangled.”

“I don’t give a- I don’t care if he’s throwing furniture.”

He finished his Reese’s in blessed silence. Meanwhile, Rea fixed the chair. She sat down as Techie rolled the wrapping into a ball and tossed it to the wall.

“When you’re ready to talk, talk,” Rea said, not looking at him.

Techie didn’t feel like making friends with a kid. He was in his very late twenties. He had a job. He almost payed taxes once.

“Sorry, uh, I’d rather not,” he said. “But don’t blame Matt. Okay?”

“Mm.”

“I know what’s he like,” Techie went on as he got to his feet. “I, huh, I’m okay with it.”

Rea looked him in the eye. Fuck, he hated eye-contact.

“What’s he like?”

He’s like me.

Techie made a noncommittal sound, got his laptop and his tablet, and crouched to the ground again.

 

--

 

He loved drawing. It made time irrelevant. It was like opening up a different dimension and nestling there.

He was drawing Kylo Ren. He tried to understand, and understanding usually came to him visually. He imagined Kylo like Matt, but with long, dark hair, vicious and robust, a catastrophe waiting to happen. He was worried Matt would be offended, so he only allowed a glimpse of Kylo’s forlorn face, concealing it with the mask he was pulling off. He dressed him in a torn cowl, burnt in battle, and robes which floated around in the wintry breeze. His lightsaber was ignited, spitting plasma and being a major pain in the ass to draw.

He was detailing the pines in the background when Rea jumped up, and pretty muched parkoured off from the face of Earth. It was a pity, because she filled in for Techie, and her sudden absence meant that he’d have to deal with the buyer who was standing at his table.

He peeked up. It was Matt. A very miserable Matt.

“Forgive me,” he said, then he added: “What were you doing under the table?”

“Chilling. It’s okay.”

Matt shook his head, his curls bouncing. It was very distractive.

“No, it’s not. I’ve been thinking. Could we, erhm. Talk someplace else?”

“Yeah,” Techie nodded, and saved the draft without showing Matt. He closed the laptop, and looked around. “Umm. Our stuff…?”

“Right,” mumbled Matt, and barked at their mousy neighbor: “You!”

Poor guy jumped to attention.

“Yes!”

“Keep an eye on our tables, will you? Thanks.” With that, he grabbed Techie’s arm (gently, gently) and pulled him after him. Techie looked back at their display. He hoped that Rea would be back.

Matt led him out of the artist alley.  Techie liked the touch of his huge hand, soft as a caress. The noise of the main hall hit him in the chest, but Matt was there with him, so it wasn’t as fucking horrible as it could have been. Techie had a fleeting thought of keeping close to the apex predator - of survival; but when Matt turned to face him, he looked humbled and scared.

“There?” he indicated a stairway on the other side, and Techie nodded. There was a screening of The People vs George Lucas, so they had to fight their way through a pretty agitated crowd. They climbed the stairs, and then Matt stopped at the flight. They were above the loud mass of people, above the world.

“Um,” Matt said. “Do you want to sit?”

“What is it?”

Matt rubbed his neck, glancing away.

“I just,” he muttered. “There’s been a misunderstanding. Like. I kept replaying our conversation in my head, and you didn’t mean Kylo was lame, did you? You meant that all Force-sensitives suck. Equally. Right?”

“The Jedi suck more than the Sith,” Techie confirmed, “but I don’t think Kylo sucks at all.”

“You don’t?”

“No,” Techie told him.  He sat down, and Matt followed suit, reluctantly. They gazed down into the abyss. “I mean. If, uh, if you’re going to introduce magic to a sci-fi series, or ah, a space opera, why not go all the way? Make your characters powerful. As powerful as you want. As long as they’re not invincible.” He hoped Kylo wasn’t invincible.

“Exactly!” Matt said, a bit louder than needed. “Exactly. That’s my point. Although the Force is nothing like magic, but anyway. Do you have an OC?”

The question was unexpected. Techie tensed.

“I guess?” he said. “It was an accident. But I kind of have.”

“Tell me about him. Her. Them?”

Techie rubbed his knees, and glanced at Matt. He looked eager to hear him. Strands of his hair fell over his forehead, and Techie very much wanted to comb them back with his fingers.

“I don’t really have a backstory for him,” Techie admitted. “It took me uh, about a year to even come up with a name.”

“And what is he called?”

“General Hux.”

“Oh, as in Brendol Hux in The Secret Academy?”

“Yeah. I made them related ‘cause I liked Arkanis,” Techie shrugged. Matt grinned at him; finally, he was smiling again.

“That planet is sick.”

“Yeah. Anyway, his first name is Armitage. And he’s a general - uh, I already told you that. He’s very young. Thirty-four. And scary.” He wasn’t sure how he felt about Hux. He just sorta happened: whenever he wanted to add a man of military posture and a high rank, he added him, so Hux was standing on the bridge of Star Destroyers, gave speeches to thousands of stormtroopers, shattered planets, marched to battle with two blasters in hand, snarling, and when he was fighting, he fighted dirty. He looked like Techie, leaner, shoulders wider, haircut respectable. It was an easy solution, since reference was always at hand.

“Sounds like my kind of freak,” Matt commented.

“I guess you could say that he’s overpowered as well,” Techie admitted. “He’s made general at such a young age, to start with. He’s um, he has a star destroyer, and he’s in charge of um, the stormtroopers, and huh, building a superweapon. I’m not sure whether he’s a scientist or an engineer or… both. And he’s a perfectionist, so he’s… good at everything. A man of uhm, remarkable ability. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise, would it?”

“It wouldn’t,” Matt assured him as he inched closer. Techie pretended he didn’t notice. Their knees were touching.

“Same way,” he babbled, “if you’re Darth Vader’s grandson, you can’t be lame, right? And with the Force and everything - being the chosen one, or I don’t know, very good at what you do, like, you can’t just be… ‘ah, Yoda could beat him.’ If he was alive, that is.”

Matt hummed. It sounded like a purr.

“Do you think they would like each other?”

“Yoda and-?”

“Hux and Kylo Ren.”

“Ah,” Techie blinked. No way in fucking hell. “Maybe uh, after they’ve spent some time together, and got to know each other, or Kylo proved himself or - something like that, huh. The General doesn’t really have a high opinion of the Force? So he um, might not be impressed easily. But maybe Kylo could do it, if it was more of… of his personal… charms.”

“Could they be friends?” Matt asked, sounding defeated. Techie squirmed closer. How the fuck had Matt such an intoxicating smell? Was it his shampoo? Was it detergent? Clean cotton and fresh apples and something else - did they even make products with those?

“The General doesn’t have friends,” Techie told him, “he has lovers.”

Matt looked shocked for a moment, and Techie’s stomach dropped. For once, he didn’t mean it as... Fuck. Why was Hux such a slut.

“Would you,” Matt strutted, “would you play RP with me sometime? I mean, while we’re at it, haha. I have a blog.”

“Um. Sure? I haven’t really done it before, but- yeah.”

“Darklordkyloren,” Matt said. “The vowels are numbers.”

“Darklordkyloren,” Techie repeated. “Okay.”

Matt was very flushed. He cleared his throat, and looked away, worrying his lips. Techie wondered whether he was going to kiss him. He looked like he was gathering courage to do… something. Techie tilted his head in a way which he hoped was inviting. Matt met his eyes, and glanced away immediately. Cleared his throat again.

“Wrong approach,” Matt concluded, and stood up. He reached for Techie. “Can I impress you?”

You did so by existing.

“Uhm?” Techie accepted his hand, and let him pull him up. They were chest to chest.

“Let’s play some multiplayer shit,” Matt suggested, eyes darting between Techie’s mouth and his eyes. “You wanted to do that. If I win, uhh.” Matt didn’t finish the sentence, just squeezed his eyes shut and muttered something to himself which sounded like fuckingfuck. He turned away, but he didn’t let go of Techie’s hand. They’ve descended the stairs, and Matt asked: “don’t you sometimes wish you could say or do things your character could say or do?”

Techie imagined blowing up a star system.

“Not really. But sometimes, yeah.”

 

--

 

They were recruiting players in hall B for a Battlefront multiplayer extravaganza. Techie was very anxious to get in, hands clammy in Matt’s reassuring hold. It was going to be ten players against ten, live, testing the Blast mode before anyone in the world could get a chance.

An organizer named Jayn welcomed them with a grunt of “what team?”

“Wildcats,” Matt said while Techie mumbled “Imperials.”

“Okay, there’s still some spots free. Can I see some ID?”

Fuck.

Matt flashed his licence proudly while Techie fumbled for his IC. He felt cold sweat chilling his forehead. Jayn looked more bored than anything else, but something about her made Techie nervous. He never knew whom he could trust with his identity. Jayn took the IC and glanced at it, then her eyes widened in shock. There it was: compassion verging on pity as she looked back at Techie.

That Elliot Ryans?” she asked softly, handing the card back. Techie pocketed it, and nodded. He could feel Matt staring at him. “Shit,” Jayn said. “I’m sorry. Well, huh. You can go join the others, we’re starting in fifteen.”

“Sorry,” Techie muttered, then he added: “thanks.”

He couldn’t quite see where he was going. The place was pretty dark, and there were people there, although not too many of them.

“They should accept nicknames,” Matt complained. “Fuckers. Come on, let’s check out the consoles.”

“Yeah, okay,” Techie muttered, distraught.

“Don’t mind them. They don’t know shit.”

They do. That’s the problem.

“Matt, uh, listen-”

Techie ,” Matt turned to him. He looked pretty fucking serious, hands in his pockets. Techie wanted to intertwine their fingers again. Pretend it was casual. “You don’t have to tell me anything just because they make you, okay? I can see that the name on your IC makes you uncomfortable, so I’ll avoid the topic. You don’t owe me the story behind it. I don’t want to hear it if you don’t want to tell it. I don’t give a shit.”

“You’re giving a speech,” Techie noted. He could tell that the other players were staring. Some of them, anyway.  

“I’m telling you that I won’t let anybody ruin anything,” Matt said, on the verge of yelling, and Techie had to grab him by the sleeve of his hoodie and drag him away to a distant corner so it wouldn’t turn into a scene.

“I uh, appreciate what you’re trying to do,” he told him, “but please don’t do it.”

Matt sniffed, offended.

“Whatever.”

Techie reached out, and got hold of his wrists. Matt’s hands were still in his pockets, so it had to do. He looked at him.

“Stop it. Come crush the Rebels with me. Please?”

There was a second he worried that Matt was going to pull away.

“I’d love to kick their ass,” Matt grumbled.

Techie smiled at him, a hesitant little tug of his lips with a hint of teeth, and Matt looked - well, awed.

 

--

 

The story he didn’t tell Matt included words like car crash, foul play, orphan, and the sentence I’m pretty sure she killed them. It’s not something he ever told anybody.

The story which everybody knew was commonly referred to as the Peach Trees Massacre in the news. “Gang war” didn’t cover it, and it didn’t have the same ring.  People still made YouTube documentaries about it, and all the comments were shocked and disgusted. The massacre wasn’t even Techie’s worst day.  Still, he probably shouldn’t have binge watched the videos on it. He had been left out of the news coverage, a small courtesy thanks to the judges (fuck, he owed them his life) but the vloggers just loved him. The sole survivor. A relative. Mama’s little nephew cleared of all charges. A ghost in the machine. Someone who disappeared.

The pictures they had were of his old self: ragged hair, dirty shirt and cargo pants, puffy face, the signs of recent beatings, eyes and mouth blurred out. Victim. Fugitive. Mastermind behind the whole thing, on the loose. That theory made him feel weird.

No one had to know that he pissed himself when the police found him hiding. He was nineteen. He’s been hiding for four days. All the bodies were rotting away around him.

When he was little, he always wondered how did survivors move on. They didn’t seem like people. They were stories, and they couldn’t just tear out the terrible chapters. Seven years bared of humanity made him realise something. He discovered that despite everything, he was still eager to see how his story ended.  

 

--

 

“Shitting cunting fucktart,” Techie hissed as he navigated his stormtrooper through Jabba’s palace, barely dodging the enemy fire. Matt chuckled.

“Should’ve known you were an angry gamer,” he noted. Techie scoffed, and threw a thermal detonator into the throne room.

“If it doesn’t make me scream, it’s doing something wrong,” he mumbled. He could see from the corner of his eye that Matt blushed at that, the tips of his big ears burning bright red. We should really do something about our sexual tension situation, Techie thought sullenly. As fun as the multiplayer mode was, he kinda wished it was just the two of them and his PS4 back home. And after that - well, technically, he didn’t have a bed, but  Matt would be quite welcome in his hammock or on his bean bag chair, or hell, the floor even.

“If we win,” Matt said, “we should celebrate.”

“Uh-huh?”

Matt looked at him, timidly. Techie wished he’d look at the screen instead, but only until Matt added, “if we win, I get to kiss you.”

Techie’s heart jumped, and he felt himself shiver with nerves and anticipation.

“Would that be okay?” Matt asked, warm gaze fixed on him, and Techie nodded, his sunglasses sliding down his forehead.

“Yeah. Fuck yeah.”

“Yay,” Matt whispered, so softly Techie could barely hear him, and fistbumped the air. With his heart beating like fuck, Techie turned back to the screen, only to find that his character had fallen through a trapdoor.

They lost. Because that’s what happens when one doesn’t pay attention.

 

--

 

They made their way back to the artist alley in sombre silence, holding hands. Matt was fuming, but only subtly. Techie was proud of him, and he kept rubbing calming circles over Matt’s knuckles with his thumb. They reached their tables. The guy they left in charge looked like he might cry.

“People ih, wanted to buy your stuff, s-so I sold some.” He indicated two stacks of cash. Matt cocked his head.

“I hope the money’s all there,” he said.

“It’s all there, I swear, I-”

“He’s just messing with you,” Techie said. He squeezed Matt’s hand before he pulled back, and went to get an energy drink from his backpack.

“You can take twenty, kid,” he heard Matt saying. “You earned it.”

“Oh?” the guy sputtered. “Huh, thank you-”

“Don’t mention it.”

Techie gulped down his Monster Mixxd, stomach twisting into a knot. The guy fucked off, and then it was just the two of them, him and Matt, and the rest of the damn alley, but that didn’t really matter. He glanced down at the Perpetual Palpatine when he was finished with his drink, and he felt really hot and kinda strange, but in a good way.

Matt stepped to him. He touched his hand, which was gripping the edge of the table. Techie heard him swallowing hard. He started caressing Techie’s fingers, so lightly that it made his skin tingle, and said:

“I don't like sand, Techie. It's coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets-”

“Oh shut up,” Techie groaned, and kissed him. Warmth spread throughout his entire body as Matt opened his lips for him, finafuckingly. His taste was mind blowing, and Techie couldn’t get enough of it, licking it up like he was starving. They tipped back a little, almost falling over. Matt pressed him against the table, fingers sliding into Techie’s hair and he gasped, breathless. Matt pulled back, touching his forehead to his. Techie was dazed, knees weak and lips swollen.

“Fuck the haters,” Matt whispered. “This line fucking works.”

“I'm haunted by the kiss you’ve just given me,” Techie paraphrased, pulling Matt’s hand to his chest. “My heart is ah, beating, hoping that kiss will not become a scar…”

They smirked at each other, not quite daring to laugh just yet. Matt nuzzled closer.

“You’re better than Hayden Christensen,” he murmured.

“Is that a compliment?” Techie teased, and Matt poked his ribs.

“It’s the biggest compliment, hater.”

“I’ll take it, then,” Techie mouthed, leaning in. Matt kissed his eyelids.

 

--

 

Time passed faster with Matt draped over him as he had to deal with buyers. After a good while, Matt got bored of just standing around, and he sat down, pulling Techie into his lap. It was as nice as it was distractive. Techie was beginning to suspect that Matt was either carrying a lot of shit in his pockets, or that he had a massive cock. He really wanted to find out.

“Well, this is new,” Rea observed, and both of them jumped. She was munching on a veggie burrito, watching them with her head tilted. She was still wearing the pilot helmet.

“Where did you get Taco Bell?” Matt asked, pulling Techie closer.

“At Taco Bell,” Rea said through a mouthful of food. “There’s one nearby.”

“Could you get me a double decker taco supreme or something? Please. I’m starving.”

Rea pointed her burrito at him, accusingly. Pieces of lettuce fell to the ground.

“Would you trip over your male privilege if you went yourself?”

“I didn’t tell you to make me a sandwich,” Matt snapped, “I just asked you a favor.”

“And I said no,” Rea shrugged. “Anyway. I came to tell you that there’s a sleepover at Jess’s, so I’m staying there with Kaydel and Flynn, and he’ll drive me home tomorrow, so. Be seeing you.”

“Does mum know?”

“I’ve messaged her. Seen it, no reply.” She dropped her hotel card on Matt’s table rather unceremoniously, and smiled at Techie. “Nice meeting you.”

“You too,” Techie waved. God, he shouldn’t have waved. It looked so lame. They watched her go, and Matt said:

“Two things.”

“Yeah?”

Matt wriggled a bit in the chair, spreading his legs ever so slightly. Techie sank deeper into his engulfing embrace.

“I forgot to ask my lightsaber back,” Matt began. “Do you think that means I don’t even deserve it?”

“You do deserve it,” Techie consoled him, patting his arm which was wrapped around his stomach.

“Secondly,” Matt squeezed him playfully, “wanna come over, babe?”

Techie jumped to his feet.  

“Let’s get going,” he announced as he ran to his table. Matt laughed, and unicorns sprang into existence.

“You’re literally the cutest,” Matt said with some odd satisfaction, and stretched. Techie watched his shirt riding up a bit, and… Jesus in hell, that was an eight-pack. “I’m staying in Hilton. They say you can see the fireworks at night and shit. Like, from Disneyland. There’s a shitton of kids there, though.”

“I don’t mind kids,” Techie said. He got a Snickers from his backpack, and tossed it to Matt. “Here.”

“You’re my savior,” Matt bowed. Techie rolled his eyes, and started to pack, hands trembling a bit. So this was happening. Matt and him. Him and Matt. A thirty minute drive away from either a leisurely makeout session, or doing anal.

He grabbed his laptop, shooting a last glance at the open tabs.  He’s been meaning to show his Kylo art to Matt, but he wasn’t sure it was the right time. There was a chance Matt wouldn’t like it. It wasn’t even finished yet. He slammed the laptop shut.

 

--

 

It took them three turns to load the car. Matt was driving an ancient pickup truck. It beared all the characteristics of a family car, from embarrassing stickers to a forest’s worth of pine tree fresheners. They fastened their seatbelts, and Matt turned to him, one hand on the wheel.

“I hope I seduced you with all the… materialistic beauty this shit has to offer. I’m putting it in reverse, please hold on to something.”

Techie thought he was joking until the first loud thud.

“Ow.”

“I have a Chevy Camaro at home,” Matt explained, “but Rea’s not allowed in it, she threw up all over my baby when she was eleven, so I was like, hey, what’s the damage, let’s just bring dad’s fucking Ford.” Another thud. “If we don’t make it out alive I want you to know that you’re awesome and I uh, really like you. If you survive and I don’t, please make sure they play the Imperial March at my funeral.”

“Noted,” Techie nodded. He felt kinda shallow for finding Matt’s hand gripping the wheel sexy , but to his credit, Matt had rolled up his sleeves and it was a lot of skin and mean muscle. He’s never found someone’s forearm attractive before. He was doomed. He glanced at Matt. Matt caught him staring, and smiled at him, expression almost dreamy.

“Please watch the road?” Techie creaked out. Matt scoffed.

“I could drive in a blindfold,” he said, but turned his attention back to traffic. Techie told himself to ignore the mental image of Matt wearing a blindfold. And spread out on the car’s hood. Legs open. Begging for Techie’s co--

“You took the uh, I think you took the wrong - turn?” He was kinda proud of himself for having the presence of mind to notice.

“No I didn’t,” Matt objected.  

“Didn’t you want to go to Taco Bell?”

“I’m not sure that’d be a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“Um.” Matt frowned, and glanced into the rearview mirror. “Aren’t you supposed to, I don’t know, hydrate and eat berries and ananas and shit, y’know. Before .”

“Before what? Before you-? Oh. Oh. Wait, um, so like your… cum is on the menu?”

Matt let out a choked sound and jerked the wheel. The Ford skid off the road with the loudest clunk yet. He eased on the gas, muttering “fuck fuck fuck,” and started steering back into traffic. “Shit! Shit, we almost died. That would’ve been fucked up.”

“I’m sorry,” Techie squeaked, holding on for dear life on the handrail. “I didn’t know how else to put it.”

“No-no, you’re alright, babe.” Matt slammed the horn. “Fucking move! The prettiest boy I’ve ever met wants to blow me!”

Techie buried his burning face into his hands, and giggled.

 

--

 

“So this is me,” Matt announced, opening the door. The hotel room was more modest than Techie expected: two normal sized beds, clean surfaces, a lot of cream-colored shit, and the city glinting in the evening mist. Matt went ahead to drop his stuff while Techie lingered by the entrance. “So uh, that’s the view, kinda cool,” Matt indicated the windows. “And a TV, which is sweet. Uh. Minibar… I never use that. Writing table for all the poetry I’m supposed to compose or dunno.” He rubbed his nose, looking around. “Ugly and vague paintings. There’s always some ugly art around, right? Um. Mirror. Shower. Want a shower? Fuck, it’s hot, gotta turn up the AC.”

“A shower would be uh, nice,” Techie interrupted his rambling. Fuck. He was dying. He felt… big, somehow, like he could fill this room with his presence. A motherfucking outer-body experience. Matt looked at him, a bit bewildered.

“Sure, go ahead.” He rubbed his nose again, and glared at the AC unit. Techie stepped closer.

“Won’t you be, ah, joining me?” he offered, addressing Matt’s forehead. He saw his eyebrows arch up, but didn’t dare to look at his face.

“I’d love to,” Matt blurted out. “Do you? Erhm. Like. It’s not like you…” He took a deep breath, pressing his palms together. “Let me rephrase,” he said to Techie’s toes. “When I invited you over I um, was hoping for some cuddling and groping and maybe jerking off each other.”

“We can do that,” Techie cut in, voice high-pitched. “That sounds nice.”

“No,” Matt objected. “I don’t know how it happened, but here we are, and you want to have actual sex with me. That’s awesome. It’s also unexpected. So I’m freaking out a little.”

“We don’t have to have sex in the shower, or uh, anywhere. You could like, slip or something. It’s dangerous. So it’s cool if we just-”

“To hell with danger,” Matt grunted, and headed to the bathroom. Techie wanted to say something, to tell him that there was no pressure, but Matt peeled his shirt off and his mind went blank. He heard the water start and Matt hiss in pain. It was probably cold as fuck. “Anyway,” Matt shouted over the loud spray.  “I’ve never been with another guy before, so… hence my nervousness. Thought about it, though. Lots. Case in point, I want to fuck you real bad. Can I say that?”

Techie peeked in through the door. The bathroom was very white. Matt was very naked, pants and underwear abandoned on the floor. Techie got hold of the doorframe so he won’t swoon or something.

“I’m serious about no sex in the shower,” he said. Fuck, Matt had cute little moles on his perfect ass. “But um, after. Definitely. Yeah.”

“I’m going to turn around.”

“Okay.”

“I don’t have clothes on.”

“I can kinda see that, thanks?”

Matt turned. Techie stared. Then he stared some more.

“Whoa.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s…”

“Big. I know. It can be a problem.”

Techie casted a last glance at Matt’s humongous cock, which was nestled in pretty, dark hair, then he met his eyes. Matt wasn’t wearing glasses. He smiled in a way which made Techie’s heart ache.

“It’s the opposite of a problem,” he stuttered, and reached for his belt. Matt chuckled, watching him unclasp it.

“I guess you’re more experienced with penises than I am, huh?”

“You could, um, say that,” Techie nodded, dropping his pants. Matt watched him stepping out of them, his cock twitching.

“Those legs, man,” he muttered. Techie glanced down to check that they were the same as always: wobbly knees, pasty skin, light ginger hair. Ugly.

“Um. I guess.” Maybe Matt’s vision was really bad. He put his sunglasses to relative safety, then reached for the buttons of his shirt.

“Tease,” Matt grinned. He leaned against the shower’s wall, and Techie was glad to see him starting to relax, but it was like it was his turn to get nervous. His fingers just didn’t work.

“So about your experience,” Matt began. “How far did you get?”

“Very far?” Techie said, trying to look anywhere but at Matt. “Tinder and uh, Grindr. And callboys. That sort of um, fun. Yeah.”

“Are you shitting me,” Matt muttered with wonder. “You did it with sexworkers?”

Techie’s hands faltered. Was it time for the “my aunt was a mob boss” talk? Probably not. He used to sneak out. The whorehouse was just a story below. He didn’t have to pay. They knew him.

“I get checked regularly and I’m clean,” he explained, voice a bit panicked. “Kinda uh, paranoid about my health, in general.” It was not the time for the “my mob boss of an aunt used to put me on drugs” talk either. Matt nodded, and looked at Techie, considering.

“How many?”

“W-what?”

“Persons. If it’s okay to, erhm, inquire.”

Techie did some quick math as he reached the last button. All those tanned boys who thought that screwing MaMa’s nephew would make them feel more powerful, who liked to fool around off-the-clock, enjoying how miserable he was, desperate for human touch, he just wanted it so much. And then, after the trial, the guys in his hundred miles radius who banged an anonymous ginger twink in a hotel, as advertised. How lonely he felt after, but oh-so-much-better.

“Twenty-three,” he whispered. Including the threesomes and the gangbang.

Matt’s eyes were super wide.

“You’re the man of my dreams.”

“Hardly,” Techie shook his head. His shirt was hanging open, but he didn’t dare pull it off. “I’m not any good, I think. I’ve just… uh, been around.”

“We’ll make it good,” Matt told him. “It’s gonna be so fucking amazing, baby.”

Techie looked at him, heart skipping a beat.

“Can you…” he began, voice breaking. “Please call me that. Again.”

Matt smiled at him, and offered his hand.

“Baby, come here, baby.”

Twining their fingers made everything easier. Matt led him under the shower. He made no comment that Techie was still wearing his underwear and the shirt. He pulled him close, and kissed him. It was tentative, calming, although Techie could feel Matt’s cock pressing against his thigh. He whispered against his lips, “deeper,” and he could feel Matt shudder.

He ended up pressed against the slippery wall, hands roaming over Matt’s impossibly broad back, and it would’ve been so much nicer if he wasn’t uncomfortable as hell in his wet clothes sticking to his skin.

“I’m getting naked,” he told Matt, breathless, and Matt nodded.

“Can I help?”

“Yeah,” Techie mouthed. Matt was looking into his eyes as he slid his hands under Techie’s soaked shirt. Techie squeezed his eyes shut.

“You’re beautiful. I mean it,” Matt told him. “Like holy shit. Your skin is so smooth.” He rubbed his exposed shoulders. “I want to kiss every inch of you. It’s so fucking soft.”

“It’s the sunscreen,” Techie said on a small voice. “Good for the skin.” Matt’s hand ghosted over a scar, and his breath hitched.

“Does it hurt?”

“No, it’s uh. It feels good.” Joke on you, aunt Madeline. Using him as ashtray slash knife sharpener had certain advantages - years later, now that the scars healed. Matt followed the line of a cut with the tip of a finger, and the shivers it sent down Techie’s spine was the most delicious kind of sacrilege.

“One day,” Matt said, “you’ll tell me what happened. Now I only need to hear that you’re okay.”

“I’m okay,” Techie told him, and it was actually true. It was impossible to feel bad with Matt caressing him tenderly. The mood was ruined when his shirt landed with a loud splash, and he couldn’t help but giggle. Matt grinned back, although it didn’t reach his eyes this time. He didn’t look like he was sorry for him; he just looked fucking angry, and it turned out to be a turn on. “Can you, mm.”

“Anything,” Matt said, fierce.  

“Touch me.”

“Where?”

Techie wasn’t ready to utter the word nipples, so he just guided Matt’s hands there. Matt rolled them between his fingers, and Techie’s breath caught.

“Fffuck,” he gasped.

“Sensitive?”

“No shit.”

Matt kissed his neck, kneading his chest.

“We should get to the ah, showering part,” Techie suggested, and Matt grunted in an affirmative fashion. Techie fumbled for the shower gel, and squirted an unnecessary amount on Matt’s back as he was still rubbing his nipples. Techie started massaging him, and Matt hummed.

“That’s good, baby. You’re so good to me.” He pressed closer, thigh sliding between Techie’s legs. “So hard for me. Fuck, your cock, Techie.”

“It’s...erect.” Techie replied. “Shit, sorry. That was terrible. Not much of a dirty talker. You’re uh, way better.”

Matt laughed. It was a dark, dangerous sound. He pulled back, guiding Techie’s hands to his chest.

“I haven’t even started,” he said with a wicked grin. Techie watched the foam dripping down his defined pecs, watched this man who looked like he just stepped out of a commercial, only even better, because he was goofy, geeky Matt, warm-hearted and passionate, and for some unfathomable reason, he found Techie sexy. He certainly couldn’t keep his hands off him.

“Would it be okay if I pulled this silly thing off?” Matt asked, tugging at the wet underwear. “Or would you…”

“Oh, no, it’s okay. Um, spoiler warning. Uncut. Average. Darker than you’d expect and… the carpet-drapes thing is… happening.”

“You’ve spoiled it,” Matt purred, and yanked the underwear down as he dropped to his knees. There was a loud bang as his knees hit the tiles, and he made a face. Not an “I’m-about-to-give-you-a-blowjob” face.

“That sounded... painful,” Techie noted.

“It was,” Matt said through gritted teeth. “Shit. I won’t get fancy ever again. Fuck. Your cock is really cute though.” He buried his face in Techie’s thigh. “Ow.”

“Told you,” Techie patted his hair half-heartedly. “No shower sex.” He curled a strand around his finger and pulled it lightly, just for good measure. Matt sighed.

“I’ll just finish washing myself and gonna wait for you in bed for a pityfuck.” True to form, he started scrubbing himself down, sitting back on his heels. Techie squatted in solidarity.

“Are you hurt?” he asked, getting worried.

“No, I’m just an idiot.” Matt squinted at the bottle of shower gel they were sharing. “Can you use it as lube? It kinda has no smell.”

“Yeah, but um, it says “for external use only,” it means you can’t.”

That’s what it means?” Matt scoffed. “Nothing is sacred anymore. Okay. Good. Do you have lube?”

“I um, didn’t bring lube to a Star Wars convention, no,” Techie admitted, passing the bottle.

“How about the sunscreen?” Matt mused. “We could-”

No .”

“Fuck. Do we have condoms at least?”

They looked at each other. There was a brief pause.

“There are uh, other ways,” Techie consoled him. “It doesn’t have to be um, penetrative.”

“Who cares when I could be fucking your petite ass,” Matt complained. “It’s very small, you know.”

“I’m aware,” Techie flushed. Matt smiled at him with a rather pained expression, then his whole face lit up.

“Wait, hold on, I’ve got this Nivea hand cream thing, very thick and kinda oily, how about that? I use it to jack off. Sometimes. Most of the time.”

“It’ not… ideal, up there, without an um, barrier, but- you just gave me an idea.”

 

--

 

They made their way to the bed, stumbling through the deepening shadows. Matt leaned on Techie, and he felt very useful for supporting his weight. Matt had the hand cream with him, carrying it like some holy relic.

They dropped to the bed, Matt exclaiming a far too convincing “yippee,” and Techie scoffed. Normally, he’d hide under the covers, but Matt made him bold, somehow. Being naked around him didn’t seem like a big deal. He looked strange without his glasses, but fucking endearing with those soulful eyes, the silly slope of his nose, the big ears and the darkish five o'clock shadow on his chin.

Matt lay back, pulling Techie above him. He straddled his hips, blushing to high heavens, and leant in for a kiss to hide it. The air was kinda chilly now that the AC was operating, but he liked how it felt against his skin. Matt’s cock brushed against his thigh, heavy and leaking.

“What’s the objective, General?” he whispered, and Techie whimpered as Matt grabbed a handful of his ass. He tried to keep his voice even.

“Our plan of action is to hah, follow the guidelines of intercrural sex, as established by uh, venerable college students.”

“Love the British accent,” Matt purred.

“Ta.”

“So, erhm. What’s the position?”

“Mm. Maybe, like… spooning?”

Matt rolled him over like he weighed nothing, and pulled him closer by a hand on his belly, so they were lying back-to-chest. It happened so swiftly as if Matt did this every day, manhandled boys to his liking. Techie moaned as Matt kissed his shoulder.

“Comfortable?”

“Y-yeah,” Techie said, and raised his leg. He could see his reflection suspended over the glinting city. It looked like he was attempting aerobics. Not attractive at all, but Matt groaned nevertheless.

“Fuck, baby. Lemme see, yeah.”

“Cream me up?” Techie suggested, and closed his eyes for a moment. He opened them again as he felt Matt’s slick fingers between his thighs. He could see his focused face mirrored on the window. Maybe they should’ve used the curtains, but oh hell. Matt looked so good like this, needy and adoring.

“God, you’re so soft. I could just pet you all day. Would you like that? I would just touch you everywhere. Here, and here,” he caressed his thighs, then his fingers slid between his cheeks, teasing. “And here.”

Ahh!”

“But back to business,” Matt grinned, and Techie could see how smug he was as he resumed spreading the cream between his legs. “Look at you. Nice and wet.” He smacked the inside of his thighs; there was no force in it, but it made a sound which had Techie moaning. “Shit,” Matt said, awed. “Are you ready for me? Should we wait a bi-”

“Now,” Techie whined, his ass bucking back. “Right now, right now-”

“Okay,” Matt said, breathless, and Techie crossed his ankles, offering up his dripping thighs like the slut he was. It felt amazing, letting go like this. He gripped the comforter as Matt pushed in, his shiney cockhead peeking through, then more of his length followed, and Techie had to close his eyes again.

“We won’t last long,” he panted.

“We won’t,” Matt said, and grunted as Techie grind back. “Fuck, shit. How does it feel?”

“Like…” Techie swallowed. “I can, um. You’re rubbing my um, scrotum , and, f-fuck, you can imagine.”

“Give me a hint,” Matt asked, rolling his hips, and Techie threw his head back.

“Shit-shit-shit-!”

“Harder?”

“Fucking pound me, yes!” he screamed, and Matt just gave it to him. His toes curled as he arched back, mouth open to a wordless yell, and Matt kept him in place, hugging his chest, cock slamming between his trembling thighs.

Techie squirmed, on the verge of tears. He reached down to grab his own cock, and gave it a yank which was on the verge of painful, but he didn’t give a shit, he jerked off furiously until Matt grabbed his wrist, taking him in hand himself. Techie rasped out a sobbing breath, and clawed at the mattress, restless. He felt like he was pinned on Matt’s huge cock, like he couldn’t take it anymore, and it wasn’t even inside him. He fucked Matt’s slippery fist, moaning again, an incoherent mess .

That was when Matt’s stomach grumbled.

“I’m sorry,” he hissed. “Fuck, I should’ve-”

“Don’t stop,” Techie hissed, head lolling back to Matt’s shoulder. “Don't stop-!”

Matt’s stomach churned again. He groaned, irritated, and squeezed Techie’s cock, hang in there. His touch made Techie come with a broken yell, thick cum shooting up to his belly.

“Beautiful,” Matt whispered, and flipped him over. Techie rolled to his back, boneless. Matt looked him over, bewildered, as he lay there, slick thighs spread and spunk all over his soft abdomen. Matt cupped his softening cock, and he gasped. “Every part of you,” Matt said, gulping for air. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”

“Please come on me,” Techie pleaded, and Matt kissed him, kissed him so hard their teeth clashed. He took himself in hand, stroking off while he sucked on Techie’s tongue.

“That’s it, that’s it,” Techie encouraged him, and then he felt his hot cum spurting over him, so much of it, until he was soaked in it.

Matt’s stomach rumbled again, but he seemed too dazed to notice, looking at his handiwork, pupils blown wide. He leant down, and started lapping it all up. Techie turned his head, blissed out and numb, his whole body singing with pleasure. He was watching their reflection, Matt cleaning him with broad strokes of his hot tongue, devoted, ruined.

“Fuck, Matt,” he said. “Shitting hell.”

Matt smiled at him, sitting back on his heels. He patted Techie’s knee lovingly, and announced:

“Now, this was podracing.”

Techie had no idea why he hadn’t kicked him out of his own hotel room after that.

 

--

 

They took a brisk shower without any major accidents, and ordered pizza from the room service. Techie was wearing a clean pair of underwear and Matt’s tee which said You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side in block letters (and Techie really didn’t.) It kept sliding down his shoulders.

“Have some pepperoni, Luigi,” Matt announced with an affected Italian accent, and handed the box to Techie, who couldn’t stop fucking smiling. There was a gorgeous guy in bed with him in nothing but tiny black briefs, they were sharing adequate pizza, and they were about to watch the 1997 version of The Empire Strikes Back . He was like, living the dream.

“Are you ready?”

Please ,” Matt grunted. “I was born ready.”

Techie hit the spacebar, and the logo of 20th Century Fox filled the screen of the TV connected to his laptop. Matt inched closer, putting an arm around Techie’s exposed shoulder. He pressed a kiss to his collarbone, and moaned when the opening crawl started playing.

“I lied, I’m not ready. Fuck, name anything nearly as iconic in cinematic history as this fucking shit, I dare you. Taa-taa-tatata-taa...‘It is a dark time for the Rebellion.’ Hell yeah.”

“Get wrecked,” Techie whispered, and stuffed his mouth full with a slice of pizza. He was glad Matt wasn’t witnessing his eating habits. The solid, big bulk of him pressed against his back felt incredible. He was still a bit lightheaded from his orgasm earlier, and letting the reassuring heat of Matt’s body sink into his bones made him positively euphoric. He kept stealing glances at him, and every fucking time, he just couldn’t believe that he was there with him, sharing this evening. Techie despised people who talked over movies, but he was willing to make an exception for Matt.

“That’s right,” Matt said with his mouth full as Luke passed out in a snowstorm, “suffer, bitch.”

Han came to the rescue, and Techie noted:

“They totally had sex in that tauntaun.”

“Ew, gross.”

Techie tipped his head back so he could look properly at Matt, whose face was painted blue by the faint light of the screen. He looked like a vision. Or a holo. A handsome one.

“If you could only ever fuck me inside a dead tauntaun,” Techie asked, “would you uh, still do it?”

“Of course,” Matt said. “It would’ve gone cold and I’d still be fucking your pretty little ass like there’s no tomorrow.” He kissed his forehead, and Techie blinked.

“Echo Base, uh, this is Rogue Two, I’ve picked up some... oddly charming yet uhm, disturbing signals?”

“Well, you asked.” Matt bit into his pizza with a smartass smirk.

 

--

 

Matt was dozing off towards the end of the movie, but Techie woke him up every time Darth Vader appeared on the screen.

“You know me so well.”

“I’m uh, trying to.”

Matt made a low sound in his throat, and kissed Techie’s neck, just a gentle peck. Techie let out a small gasp, and Matt murmured:

“You liked that?”

“It’s just, ah, my neck.”

“Mm.” Matt kissed the same spot again, just with a hint of teeth, and as Techie moaned, he started licking and sucking in earnest. His hand sneaked under Techie’s shirt, and found a peaked nipple.

“F-fuck,” Techie mouthed.

“Am I hitting all your sweet spots?” Matt asked, his breath tickling the wet, abused patch on Techie’s neck. His thumb brushed lazy circles over his chest, and Techie muttered:

“Not uh, all of them, but, maybe like sixty percent, which is - good.”

“Where else do you need me?”

Techie swallowed down, and glanced at the screen.

“You’ll miss Luke falling through a window.”

“I’ll miss you more,” Matt said, and Techie had to close his eyes for a sec.

“It’s the duel scene,” he mumbled, but Matt hit the spacebar with his toe.

“I know, and it’s fucking epic, so how about we pick up where we left off next time? And we watch it twice.” He squeezed Techie’s stomach. “I want to pay proper attention to indulging you.”

“Okay,” Techie nodded, and Matt pulled him into his lap, hands roaming over his chest. His palms were deliciously rough.

“Will you stay the night?” he asked, sleepy voice starting to get a husky edge. Techie nodded again. He should probably cancel his hotel reservation, but then again, hacking their system and deleting all evidence that he ever had any contact with them was so much easier than making a phone call.

It felt so good, sitting in the soft darkness in Matt’s lap, feeling his cock pressed against his ass through their underwear, knowing that it was him who made Matt this hard, his miserable little moans, the touch of his skin, how he rubbed against him.

Very soon, he found himself lying face down on the mattress, with Matt’s hands under his shirt, and the man grinding against his ass while nibbling on his neck. Techie was humping the bed, out of breath, desperate.

“Shit, Matt, I- I’ll have to train for your fucking cock,” he panted. “I’ll have to, ah, w-work with a plug up my ass or- Or I d-don’t know, mmm, I- I wanna be able to take it, I wanna, fuck, fuck I gotta buy one of those jumbo dildos, hah, don’t I?”

“If you do, you’ll have to send me vids of you using it,” Matt rasped. “For science.”

“Y-yeah? You uh, you’d want that?”

“Fuck yeah.” Matt licked over a lovebite he left, and grinded down harder. Techie yelped. “Hey, hey, I’ve got you, I’ve got you. Next time we meet, you gonna take my cock, and you gonna be so good, and maybe we’ll switch, and you gonna fuck me, show me how it’s done.”

“Jesus fuck!”  

“I, shit, I can’t come like this,” Matt confessed. “It’s my only clean pair of underwear - fuck I’m close, I’m so close, can I get it off-”

“Let’s get it off,” Techie agreed hurriedly, and nudged him to roll over. Matt went willingly, and once he was gloriously naked and leaning back on his elbows, Techie nestled between his spread legs. He eyed Matt’s fat cock for a moment, measuring the challenge, and then put it in his mouth with a determined expression.

It almost dislocated his jaw.

“Fuck!” Matt cried out. Techie hummed his encouragement, which made Matt’s hips buckle. Well, it was a way to go, Techie supposed, choking to death on a beautiful cock. It felt so fucking good inside his mouth, and he almost melted when Matt sank his fingers into his hair. He lapped at the shaft and pulled back to press a delicate kiss to the tip.

“Fuck, baby, your eyes,” Matt panted. “They’ve never been this blue.”

Techie looked up at him, then tentatively licked at the slit. Matt came all over his face, just how he wanted it.  

“Whoa,” Matt said with breathless wonder, Techie’s hair clutched in his fist still. “Will you look at that.”

“Lick it off me?” Techie asked, and started stroking off as Matt set to work.

 

--

 

After some well-deserved post-coital cuddling, they made their way to the bathroom. Techie washed his flushed face, and Matt made a tasteless pun about facials, which nevertheless made Techie giggle. They brushed their teeth side by side, Matt resting his hand on the small of Techie’s back, which was as unnecessary as it was sweet. He felt like he was glowing, like Matt lit up something inside him. He pulled his hair back when he leant down to spit, and he heard Matt hiss.  

“Shit, that was hot.”

Techie frowned, foam dribbling down his chin.

“What?That ?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes,” Matt singed, and pressed a kiss to his nape. “Cool tattoo, by the way.”

“Thanks,” Techie muttered, letting his hair fall back. “I kinda hate it.” 

“Regret is a bitch,” Matt shrugged.

Techie didn’t want to get it in the first place. It was the gang sign, Aunt Madeline’s monogram in a stabbed heart. She put it on her henchmen herself, and Techie guessed it was supposed to be an emotional moment with everybody else. As for him, he couldn’t stop screaming, and he remembered Caleb saying, “you suffered far worse, kid,” but that wasn’t it, that wasn’t it.

Once she was quite finished, Aunt Madeline grabbed him by the scruff, dragged him to the rotting bathroom like one would a misbehaving dog, and scrubbed off the tint and the blood. He was seventeen, but already taller than her, so she forced him to his knees, and made him put his head in the sink for better access, which was filthy and disgusting, like everything in Peach Trees, including him. He thought he’d be used to it by this point, that he’d get used to the smell at least, but it just never fucking happened.

“You should be thankful,” Aunt Madeline told him, her voice almost serene. “It’s a gift.” She poked it, experimentally. “I want it to scar and to smudge. To look fucked up. So it suits you. Say thank you.”

“T-thank you, mama, thank you so much, thank you so much-”

“Now, get up.” She grabbed his greasy hair, and pulled him to his feet. “Look in the mirror. Come on, Elliot.” He couldn’t. He couldn’t. “Come on, or I’ll gouge your eyes out.” He obeyed. He always did, in the end. He hated meeting her gaze. It gave him this weird, sinking feeling. She looked just like his mother, except she dyed her hair black. Except he looked at him like he was a bug turned on its back. “Look at you,” she said, calm and detached. “Look what I’ve made of you. You’re mama’s little fuckup.” She touched the tattoo again. “You think this is permanent? You know what I did to you? You’ll never be normal. Peach Trees could burn to the ground overnight, you could make it out alive, you could go back to live your rich white boy life, and you’d never be normal.”

Techie looked into the hotel’s mirror. He was brushing his teeth with his date. That was normal. They just had sex, and they were getting ready for bed. Normal again. He was looking at himself. He was normal.

 

--

 

Matt kissed Techie’s knuckles as they were lying in bed, legs tangled under the cozy covers. The night was a deep blue, almost indigo; it made Matt’s hair shine gold where the streetlights touched it, but it was kinda hard to see his face. Techie thought he looked sad; at any rate, he was avoiding Techie’s glance, playing with his hand instead. He brought it to his lips, and broke the silence.

“Will you have an early flight to catch?”

“Yeah.”

Matt swallowed, clutching his fingers.

“Can I drive you to the airport?”

“That’d be uh, very nice of you.” There was a brief pause. “You’re nice. To me.”

“Uh-huh,” Matt muttered. Techie inched closer. The idea was to subtly bathe in the warmth of Matt’s body, but he ended up not-so-subtly lying draped over him. Matt stroked his face, smiling at him briefly. “Listen. I’ve been avoiding the topic, but. Like. Where do you live?”

Techie leant into his palm, rubbing his face over it. Matt got the hint, and kept caressing him, fingers running over his cheekbones and the puffy circles under his dry eyes.

“I live in Hoxie, Arkansas,” Techie told him as a reward.

“Huh,” Matt mumbled, and then repeated it, relieved. “ Huh. Arkansas is just like, a three hour flight, right? I live in San Francisco, so. I guess we’re good? Fuck, I was worrying my ass off that you’re from Canada or something.”  

“Do I sound Canadian, eh?”

“No,” Matt admitted, fingers sinking into his hair. Techie shivered. Maybe it was a weird kink to have. Matt combed his hair back and looked at him in that hopeless and adoring way of his which made Techie’s heart flip. “It’s not like I wouldn’t cross the border for you,” Matt murmured. “Just so you know. I’d cross the fucking galaxy. I was going to ask you whether you’d like to be my long-distance boyfriend, but I guess it’s could-be-worse-distance boyfriend, that is, if you say yes. I can get the money for plane tickets, and I could visit you like, once a month. I hope. Or you could come visiting, I think Rea likes you and she makes mean pancakes, and mum would like you as well.”

“Fuck,” Techie said.

“I know it’s a lot,” Matt added, panicked, hand sliding down to Techie’s back. “I know I’m a lot, but-”

“No, it was ah, a happy ‘fuck’”, Techie clarified, wiggling closer. “Like a… ‘thank you’ fuck. ‘Yes’ fuck? Fuck yes. I’d… love to be your uh, thank-god-for-skype boyfriend. And your boyfriend IRL. When we meet each other.”

There was a brief pause again.

“Shouldn’t I take you to a proper date first?”

“Please don’t,” Techie begged. “I don’t like those, I mean, I’ve never been to one, b-but, for a reason.”

“So it’s video games and sex, then,” Matt concluded.

“Along those lines, yeah,” Techie nodded. He moved down a bit to get more comfortable, resting his head on Matt’s well-built chest. It felt so reassuring. Matt wrapped his arms around him, and he just listened to his heart beating. He always thought it was some bullshit cliché, that you can’t actually hear it, but there it was, the sign of precious life pulsing in Matt. He realized that if someone tried to stop it or do anything to hurt Matt, he wouldn’t fucking let them. He felt powerful like this, like someone who could master their fate, who had the power to protect what was important to them. He didn’t know yet what he was feeling exactly, or what it might mean, he just knew that Matt was important.

“By the way,” Matt mumbled, perhaps getting uncomfortable with the silence. “Where the fuck is Hoxie?”

“It’s a two hour drive from Little Rock,” Techie explained. He sounded more drowsy than he felt, words slow and slurred. “I live on Ward Street, which is like a sleepy neighborhood of ugly gardens. You walk along the ditch and turn left when you see the depressing looking basketball loop, and there’ll be a cabin sorta thing by the dead end sign, and that’s me.”

“I’m picturing like, suburban ghost town,” Matt mused. “With some Fallout vibes.”

“You’re not wrong,” Techie said. “But there’s like, lots of families living there, because the schools are kinda good, and it’s very safe. My cabin is, uh. It’s kinda close to my family’s old house, which I uh, couldn’t afford, so there’s a new family living there.”

So. He was talking about his family. If Matt found it unexpected or weird, he didn’t show it. Techie wondered how far he can go, how much he would be able to share. He braced himself by hugging Matt closer, who resumed caressing his back.

“My tire swing is still there,” Techie said. “On the oak tree. And my father’s vegetable garden. It’s doing well. I think,” he added, “I think we were hiding, and that’s why they wanted to raise me in Hoxie. I don’t know. My mum’s family is. Uh. The Madrigals.” Something clicked in his throat, and he couldn’t go on. Matt started rocking him, very gently. It helped him remember that he was safe. He reminded himself that Mama was dead. She fell down. She was pushed.

“Are you happy there?” Matt asked. Techie thought about it.

“Yes. I think. Being there brings back the… good stuff. I uh. I drive to Little Rock twice a week, for my uh, therapy sessions, and sometimes uh, y’know, to hook up. And when I get back, I always feel good. Like a weight is lifted, when the roads get worse and my car is shaking like crazy and then I know that I am close. My therapist thinks I should move. But she’s not like, pushing me to do it.”

“I’m at my tenth therapist,” Matt confessed, and ran his fingers over Techie ribs. “Maybe it’s not them,” he mumbled into his hair. “Maybe it’s me.”

Techie chuckled, and he felt so fucking grateful that Matt was trying to joke. Maybe it was what he needed, what he missed with everyone telling him that what he went through was traumatic and life-shattering, and that of course he has issues and survivor's guilt and anxiety, and that he shouldn’t feel bad about needing meds and missing appointments. Matt started bitching about the morons who failed to treat his temper, and Techie just listened to the deep rumble of his voice until he was lulled to sleep.

 

--

 

The morning came all too quickly, and found Techie getting ready to leave, heart heavy. He tucked the Dark Side shirt into his fitted slacks, which he rolled up to show off his brand new socks. He tied his hair into a bun and put on his sunglasses to check the overall effect.

“Whoa,” Matt said as he emerged from the bathroom with a toilet bag. “Look at you, all Pinterest-ready while I’m just here in my sad, sad pants.”

“You’re more Pinterest-ready than I am,” Techie noted, and Matt scoffed as he walked behind him, pulling him into an embrace.

“Bullshit,” he said. “Fuck, you’re pretty.”

Techie wasn’t really paying attention. They might’ve been roughly the same height, but the difference in their build was very apparent with Matt pressed against his back. It stole away Techie’s breath.

“Can I treat you to breakfast?” Matt asked, nuzzling into his neck. “There’s a Starbucks downstairs.”

Techie laid his hands over Matt’s, and nodded. Facing separation was so unfair. If they had the whole day to themselves, or just a few more hours, they could go back to bed, pretend that this hotel room was the whole universe, and talk until dusk fell. Now, Techie just couldn’t find the words; there were so many things to tell, yet nothing seemed important enough to speak up. He knew that Matt would listen to anything he has to say, but he still had a hard time believing it.

 

--

 

At Starbucks, they were playing footsie under the table. Techie went for a double espresso and a doughnut, while Matt seemed dead set on devouring the entire menu. He was explaining to Techie that it was a balanced diet, and detailed the rules of workout nutrition, which sounded like a lot of trouble. Seeing how happy it made Matt to talk about it showed that it was worth it. Not to mention the amazing appearance thing.

Techie was multitasking, eating and drinking up Matt’s words and checking his workload he should get started on as soon as he got home. Opening the laptop meant that he was faced with his Kylo Ren draft, and it got harder and harder to ignore as time went by. At one hand, he should finish it first, and send it to Matt then, if ever; on the other hand, he was dying to see his reaction. Whatever it might be.

“Sugar is not the enemy,” Matt told him after taking a long sip of his mocha. “Insulin is.”

Techie looked at the Kylo draft, then at Matt, then at the clock on the screen’s corner, then at Matt again. He must’ve looked pained, because Matt set aside his drink and took his hand.

“Baby, what is it?”

“I did something,” Techie said. Matt smiled at him, encouraging; Techie started to notice that his face changed whenever he was looking at him - he glared at the poor barista for misspelling his name and looked daggers at everybody for merely existing, but his features softened whenever he turned to him, brown eyes shining.

“Did you do something bad?”

“Not… morally. Not this time, anyway, uh. It’s. Ugh.” He rubbed his eyes, the sunglasses riding up. Irritated, he pushed them to his forehead.

“Do you want me to help?”

“Just… look.” He turned the laptop to Matt. He could feel his grip tighten as Matt’s eyes widened. “It’s just a draft,” he added hastily,  and Matt shook his head, dazed. He was staring at the screen in disbelief, mouth opening to say something. What came out was an astounded how, and then he met Techie’s glance.  

“It’s Kylo Ren,” he said. “It’s him.” He pulled the laptop closer, grabbing it with both hands. “The helmet, man! I never even told you about the helmet!”

“Well, it’s uh, it makes sense, like he’d like to hide his identity, wouldn’t he, and he looks up to Vader and… And maybe he’d have to use a vocoder.”

“The fucking details,” Matt went on, and he sounded angry, but in a happy way. “When did you even have the time to do this? Did you like, wake up earlier?”

“No, I uh, I drafted it yesterday, y’know, when you… stormed off?”

Matt covered his mouth, and blinked at Techie. He was still gripping the laptop with his left.

“Fuck,” he muttered. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Don’t say that.”

“Techie, this is - Listen, I know you get overwhelmed by people praising your talent, and I don’t want to make it embarrassing for you, but just. Thank you. Fuck.” He turned back to the drawing, and giggled. “It’s him,” he announced again. “Fuck my whole life. Okay, uh. Okay. Could you send me the file?”

“Of course,” Techie said, eyes suspiciously wet. “It’s a gift.”  

“Come here,” Matt pushed back his chair. “Show me General Hux.”

“Uh… I might have a few dozen pictures.” Techie went over to sit on Matt’s lap as instructed. Matt pulled him into a bear hug, and pressed a kiss between his shoulderblades, whispering thank you again. Techie swallowed around a tightness in his throat, and wished this moment to last forever.

 

--

 

They were on their way to the airport, Techie’s heart soaring and breaking at the same time. The radio was blaring Arctic Monkeys. He was so fucked.  He just knew that cliché lovesongs will remind him of Matt from now on, not because of the exact wording of the lyrics, just this upbeat feeling, a sort of light and heat and something fuzzy. He looked over at Matt, wind and sunshine in his hair, humming along to the fucking song.

“I’m happy I met you,” he said.

“Me too, but don’t start saying goodbye or I’ll turn the car around.”

Techie chuckled,  squirming in his seat.

“You turn the car around and we don’t go to Disneyland?” he teased.

“I turn the car around and we go as far as this road goes,” Matt said. “Which is probably not the same place as both of us need to be come Monday morning. Being an adult sucks. We should’ve met in high school.”

“Never went to high school.”

“Never?”

Techie shook his head.

“Isn’t that illegal?” Matt asked. “You’re lucky. I’m glad it’s over. But I used to have a very cool Darth Vader backpack. You would’ve fallen for me right away. Unable to resist my swag.”

“Don’t you have an uh, Darth Vader backpack now?”

“It was even cooler,” Matt said wistfully. Techie leant back, watching the palm trees passing.

“Didn’t I fall for you now?” he said.

“I don’t know. Did you?”

Techie smiled, not turning to him. He closed his eyes, face turned to the wind.

“I don’t know.”

 

--

 

Matt parked the car on the top level of the John Wayne Airport’s sunbathed parking structure, and peered at Techie.

“What now?” he asked. Techie was already fed up with the finality of the whole thing. He wanted to rewind the morning, go through every second again, travel back to yesterday and make the same decisions which would lead to this exact moment, but they’d have more time and. And.

“I need to check in.”

“Do you want me there?”

Techie considered it. He took it for granted that Matt would come along with him, but now that he asked, he didn’t really want him to witness the inevitable nervous breakdown he got at airports. He didn’t want a hasty goodbye weighted with worry, but the realisation that they might need to part now made him want to curl up and cry.

“I’d rather go alone,” he decided, voice shaking as he said it. “Thank you for um, offering.”

“I know what airports are like,” Matt said, and somehow it sounded so arrogant that it made Techie chuckle.

“Can I tell you now that I’ll miss you?” he asked, head tilted. Matt turned to him, lips stretched to a smile but trembling.

“Go ahead.”

“I’ll fucking miss you.”

“I’ll fucking miss you too.”

They both laughed, helpless and broken. Matt leant in for a kiss, and Techie opened his mouth for him. He tasted of the sweetness of their shared breakfast. He ended the kiss with rubbing his nose against Techie’s, and Techie started sobbing. It was very embarrassing. Snot and everything. Matt pulled him closer, and Techie buried his face into his chest.

 

--

 

He dropped to his seat next to a couple, feeling powerless and small. He fastened his seatbelt and counted the exits. Tears were still drying on his face. He also sported a number of new hickeys, his hair was ruffled, his sunglasses smudged, and he was late. The stewardess gave him a pointed glare as she walked past him. Techie fumbled for his phone to put it on flight mode. His fingers brushed the box of the Perpetual Palpatine, and his stomach flipped. He hoped it’d be safe. He wanted to display it on his work station, or die with it in case the plane crashed, which was always an option.

He unlocked the phone, and glanced at his notifications. D4RKL0RDKYL0R3N started following him. He glanced at the stewardess’ back, and opened the app. A message was waiting for him, which turned out to be the distraction he so needed.

General, the map to Skywalker is in a droid. A BB unit.

Right into the thick of it. Just how he liked it.

Well then, he typed. If it’s on Tatooine, we’ll soon have it. He smiled with a confidence which was not his own, and hit enter.