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Nor Youth Nor Age

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Affenlight had chosen to walk to the college that morning, the spring air cool and fresh, the distance just long enough to give him time to reflect on the seminar topic. It was a familiar enough subject, the philosophy of his beloved Emerson and the historical context of the time, but the years between now and his Harvard seminars were numerous enough to let him worry about being rusty. Which was why he’d taken Robertson’s biography with him to bed the previous evening, still turning pages even while Owen nestled against him, read over his shoulder for a few moments, and then pulled the comforter over his head with a sigh. Affenlight would doubtless make it up to him later. And besides, the walk itself would make O happy, for all he looked at the aging Audi with despair.

By the time Affenlight left the college, though, the typical rains of Wisconsin Aprils had begun. He buttoned his coat and walked faster, books hopefully secure and dry in his briefcase. Unlocking the front door, the coat was speckled with water, but only his hair seemed really wet. He set down his briefcase and hung up his coat as Contango padded over and nosed his hand. If only he could shake himself dry as easily as the dog.

“Owen?”

He could hardly fail to notice the structure that had sprung up since his departure just three or four hours ago. Owen was usually the one to dismantle the towers of books and papers that accumulated by the couch whenever Affenlight was caught up in research. At best, he sat by and watched with patient, if bemused, interest while Affenlight worked on construction projects in the back yard. Not that this was made from wood and steel, but still…

The couch had disappeared under a roof of linen supported by book stacks and couch cushions. Affenlight wondered for a moment if Owen had somehow wound up babysitting the kids from along the street, but he doubted anyone would ask, or that O would ever say yes. Despite Owen’s talents for looking after his full-grown Affenlight, and occasionally the junior Affenlight and assorted friends too, childcare was never something he aspired to master.

Affenlight scratched the back of Contango’s neck and walked over to pull aside the flap of what might have been the door of this makeshift Bedouin tent. “O?”

Inside, beneath thick odors of marijuana and bookbinding glue, was a carpet of pillows and cushions from their bedroom, the giant plush sperm whale Pella had once given him as a slightly mocking birthday gift (O had unearthed it in an old packing box and diligently restored it to a clean, bright blue), Owen’s bookbinding set, and Owen himself, looking as studious as anyone ever really could, given the circumstances. “Guert! Come in. How was your class?”

Affenlight crouched down. “Is this a pillow fort?”

“Indeed it is, and I grant you permission to enter. But no shoes, please, and other clothing is strictly optional.”

Affenlight digested this and sat down on the coffee table to remove his shoes and socks. “The class was fine. I’m almost certain no one did the reading, but students are getting better at bullshitting their way through things.”

“Online reading guides,” Owen said, closing his book and examining the way the new cover fit. “Transcendentalism in bullet form.”

“In my day we had to pay the upperclassmen for old papers.”

“The scholastic economy isn’t what it used to be.”

Owen, satisfied with his work, gathered up his materials and put them safely to one side as Affenlight ducked under the sheet, lying down among the cushions. “When I said we had too many in bed, this wasn’t exactly what I meant.” He’d quickly come to appreciate Owen’s preferences when it came to their bedroom, including plush comforters and even the cushions, but a little could go a long way. Particularly where giant whales were concerned.

“It’s a dull, rainy day, one of many in these parts, and sometimes dull, rainy days call for extreme measures. Isn’t it cozy?”

Given Owen’s penchant for turning off any and all heating systems, Affenlight had to admit that it was. “But we could just be in bed, if it’s warmth you want.”

“Guert, for a writer and scholar, you have very little imagination on occasion.” Owen looked him up and down. “Although you undoubtedly make up for it with an excess of clothing.”

Affenlight smiled, parting Owen’s t-shirt and sweatpants to lay a hand on the hot skin of his hip. “That’s the way it is, is it?” He settled his head down against the cushions, bumpy but soft. Whatever remained of O’s pot in the air was probably making it even easier to relax and close his eyes. “Tell me Pella’s away.”

“Pella’s away,” Owen said dutifully, wriggling out of his t-shirt. “The Harpooners have a game in Green Bay. Ra-ra-ra and all that.”

“We should go more often.” Once he’d known the names of everyone on the team, attended every game. But then that had been when Owen was playing, or while O was in Tokyo and Pella would drag Affenlight along to the ballpark just to get him out of the house.

“This Saturday, maybe, if they’re not rained out.”

Owen turned him over onto his back, straddled his hips and got down to the business of unbuttoning his shirt. Affenlight smoothed his hands down Owen’s thighs and then tugged the sweatpants down as far as they’d go for the moment, stroking Owen’s belly, reaching to appreciate the lack of underwear and the slight hardness that was already there. “What’s got you so worked up today?”

“You. Always you.” Owen pushed the shirt back and Affenlight lifted his shoulders, letting the shirt be pulled away completely before O cupped Affenlight’s cheek and kissed him.

Even after all the months they’d spent together, Affenlight had a tendency to laughingly dismiss Owen’s sexual interest in him as much as he enjoyed it. Who got worked up over the body of a man in his sixties who, while not being the worst example of men his age, was hardly the match for any of Owen’s athletic contemporaries? But Owen seemed to do just that, night after night, and occasionally day after day. If Affenlight ever needed an ego boost, all he ever needed to do was look at the brilliant, beautiful young man curled against him in bed, or looking up happily from his desk whenever Affenlight returned home. Or kissing him now, Affenlight’s arms around him, forever eager to get O out of his clothes. Owen always seemed like such a naturally confident, lithe creature in the nude, as though even his smartest clothes were unnecessary, as though he might happily wander around their house naked, Pella and heat permitting.

Pressed against Affenlight while they kissed, a pleasant, soft-skinned weight, Owen let out a frustrated sigh and pulled away to unloop that irritatingly bulky belt and jerk down the slacks, stopping to admire the much greater bulk in the front of Affenlight’s shorts before getting rid of those too. Affenlight cast an arm around to find a cushion he could wedge behind his head, just so he could see Owen better, see that lovely, slender body as O finally took his sweatpants all the way off and went back to straddling Affenlight, a hand on his own growing erection, the other, finally, working Affenlight’s too.

They’d had sex on the couch before – intense, wonderful sex the day Owen had returned from Tokyo – but this seemed like an entirely different world, a niche carved out of time and space where nothing could disturb them. Even Contango usually knew when it was best to leave them alone.

Affenlight watched him, seeing the rapid rise and fall of his own chest no matter how badly he wanted to remain as calm and composed as Owen apparently was, physical evidence of his arousal notwithstanding.

Owen shifted so their penises rubbed together, lifting his gaze to smile at Affenlight, at the sweat Affenlight could feel prickling on his brow. “Now who’s getting worked up?” he said.

“This?” Affenlight cleared his throat. “This is just my doctor-mandated cardio. I should be wearing a heart-rate monitor.”

Owen cocked his head to one side, splaying his fingers against Affenlight’s sternum. “Only you could think that was dirty talk.”

“Sorry.”

“Fortunately I think you’re entirely too adorable, tiger.”

“Says the man who just built a pillow fort.”

Owen leaned forward and kissed him again. “Not a stately pleasure-dome?”

“Never has that phrase seemed so sordid.” Although perhaps he had previously been incorrect to view Coleridge as having less of an innuendo-fueled mind than the average freshperson. Melville, the bane of bored students, certainly had enough homoeroticism dripping from his pages. “Come here, Kubla Khan.”

Mischievous interest in his eyes, Owen moved up his body, settling his knees beneath Affenlight’s shoulders, long fingers stroking still-damp hair. Affenlight only had to flick out his tongue against the tip of Owen’s penis for O to get the idea.

He kept his hands against O’s hips, but there was no real danger of Owen choking him no matter how good it might feel. It felt good from the other side too, the taste of Owen, the pressure and movement of him, the way Owen could, if he wanted, just fuck Affenlight’s mouth with abandon. But Owen just kept his hands in Affenlight’s hair and kept his movements gentle, sliding between Affenlight’s lips, filling up his mouth.

Gradually, Affenlight let go of him, one hand moving to take care of the ache between his own legs. Not to come yet, no, but just to touch, to feel skin against his skin even if it wasn’t Owen’s yet.

He would have been happy enough for O to stay where he was, perhaps even move with a little more force and speed, and spill out over Affenlight’s tongue, down his throat. But Owen eased out of his mouth, catching his breath. “You like that?” Owen asked.

Affenlight nodded. “Although I’m not sure it’s the easiest position.”

“Mm.” Owen took off his glasses, carefully folding them and putting them with his book while Affenlight stroked him. “We’ll have to work something out.” He tipped up the plush whale, squinting. “I was so prepared… Ah.” He scooted back a little, weight on his knees rather than Affenlight’s belly, and laid the tube of lubricant on Affenlight’s chest while he tore open a foil wrapper.

Gazing at the roof of their little hideaway, Affenlight began to appreciate just what it meant for O to have fenced off this six-by-six piece of their living room, filling it with comfort and warmth and all the smells Affenlight most associated with both. Returning to the womb, almost, although that maternal imagery had very little relevance where current activities were concerned. Still, it had been a long time since they’d made love anywhere but under the blankets of their own bed, and lying here naked yet warm promised more of the same when summer came in a month or two.

He obediently lifted up, letting Owen slip a pillow under him, and bent his legs to ready himself for the attentions of Owen’s fingers. How long since the motel now? He’d grown calmer since, it had all become easier, but the thrill, emotional and physical, of Owen moving inside him never seemed to change.

“You never have to ask,” he said.

Owen glanced up at him, eyebrows raised. “Consent is always very important, Guert.”

Affenlight smiled. He felt delightfully aroused, delightfully sleepy. Damn pot smoke. “That’s not what I meant. I mean… you always know what I want.”

“To be fair, you do want this the majority of the time.” Owen rolled on the condom, spreading another thick layer of lubricant Affenlight barely thought was necessary. “And you usually make it abundantly clear when you want to fuck me, Mr. Alpha Male.”

It was truly wonderful to think about all the nights and mornings he’d taken Owen, or let Owen fuck himself on his cock. That stiffened him still further as Owen pressed his thighs back and apart. Seeing Owen push inside him was one of his greatest pleasures, much as it was psychological, and Owen knew it too, took it slower than necessary, smiled while Affenlight groaned and finally let his head fall back as O settled in to the steady business of fucking him.

There was little better than feeling each one of Owen’s thrusts throughout his entire body, the pure hardness of him filling Affenlight up, making heat swell inside him, tingles down his spine. Perhaps if he’d started making love this way at Owen’s age or younger he’d be jaded by now, unimpressed, unastonished by Owen and all the things Owen never failed to awaken in his body. Perhaps. But he was intent on ensuring that O never, ever felt that way.

“Hey,” Owen said, pressing down against him, mouth by his throat. “Nice in here, isn’t it?”

Affenlight smiled, hooking his legs around Owen’s slender hips. “The fort or me?”

“Hard to tell.” Owen slid his arms under Affenlight’s shoulders, holding him tightly as they kissed. “I was writing this morning, but mostly I was thinking about you. And getting away from this dismal Wisconsin spring.”

“I’m glad I beat out the weather.”

“I’ll reevaluate tomorrow.”

He’d once thought it would be more than enough just to be in the same room with Owen, or even in the same ballpark, the idea of even touching him being beyond hoping. But they’d gone from a handshake to a kiss within hours, to making love a few weeks later, and now to this, to the easy familiarity of sex and holding each other and never having to wonder when he might see Owen again. Back before Owen returned from Tokyo and decided to stay, when their relationship was tentative, or when Affenlight felt half-dead after his heart attack, it had been easy to think that perhaps the sex was unnecessary, that perhaps all he really needed from Owen was presence and conversation and a teasing smile. But this, being so close to O that he could feel him deep inside, had become something more than he’d ever imagined.

Affenlight stroked Owen’s hair, kissing him even if they were both growing a little short of breath. Owen was getting better at prolonging this, his movements relaxed enough to make sure he could last while still doing just enough to make Affenlight really feel it, the steady rub against his prostate, the growing heat with a sweetly inevitable outcome.

“I love how hard you are when I’m fucking you,” Owen murmured. His belly slid along Affenlight’s length on every thrust. “You’re a goddamn porn star, Guert.”

“Mm.” Affenlight reached down to cup Owen’s ass, that smoothly round flesh, the movement of him picking up just a little. “Getting close?”

Owen bowed his head, swallowed. “Yeah… Do you want to…?”

“I want to feel you come in me.” Which, good as it was to see Owen ecstatic with orgasm, was mostly psychological too, with a condom in the way of actually feeling Owen spurt out inside him. He’d suggested trying it bareback, both of them rigorously clean of STDs, but Owen had frowned and told him that, however appealing his ass might be, it wasn’t worth risking a bacterial infection and a week or two with no sex at all. Which was such a generally unerotic thought that Affenlight hadn’t protested or asked again.

Owen sat up, pushing Affenlight’s thighs back in a way that wouldn’t have been entirely comfortable if he hadn’t been distracted by the sudden force of Owen’s movements. More yoga, he thought, one hand on Owen’s hip as O fucked into him, really fucked him full, and cried out “Guert,” eyes tightly shut, as finally his movements slowed and he relaxed back into Affenlight’s arms.

“Love you so, so much,” Owen said dreamily. “You always feel so good.” He lay there for long enough that the aftershocks wore off and his breath returned to that steady calmness. He reached down and pulled off the condom, giving Affenlight a quick kiss before snaking down to kiss his thighs, a hand wrapped around Affenlight’s thick penis as he mouthed his balls.

Affenlight watched him for as long as he could until O finally closed his wet, hot mouth over Affenlight’s erection. Affenlight let his head fall back, his eyes close, one hand stroking Owen’s hair, feeling him move. “That’s good,” he said softly, knowing Owen didn’t need to be told. By now, O knew exactly what would get him off, as well as what would keep him right there on the edge, muscles tensed, breathing ragged.

This wasn’t one of Owen’s more malicious days, the days he’d have enough patience to truly draw things out, test every one of Affenlight’s limits until Affenlight actually begged for it. But it still lasted long enough until Affenlight arched up for more contact with O’s gorgeous tongue before spilling out in his mouth.

Affenlight liked the quiet afterward, the comfort of the cushions beneath them and Owen’s body curved against his. It would be unwise to actually sleep here, tempting as it was, given that Pella might be back at some point this evening... but they probably had a couple of hours.

He stretched out and picked up the book Owen had been binding, careful not to dislodge the drying glue. “What’s this?”

“An old Eliot the library was throwing away. I never like to see a good book go to waste.”

“George or Tom?”

“That old anti-Semite Thomas Stearns, as Judy would say.” Owen nuzzled his neck. “Besides, it gives me an opportunity to practice my crafts. It’s perfectly fine apart from the cover, and maybe a few ancient student annotations.”

Affenlight ran a finger down the spine. “Some of them might be mine.” He cleared his throat. “Here I am, an old man in a dry month, being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.”

“Dry months?” Owen chuckled. “No need to wait for rain in the Midwest, but I could read to you, if you like.”

“Eliot’s a bit heavy for the circumstances.” Affenlight set the book back down and pulled Owen’s arms tighter around himself.

Outside the fort there was a snuffling and scratching, and a black nose appeared under one of the fort’s sheet walls, rapidly followed by the head of a curious husky. “I think our walls have been breached,” Affenlight said, reaching out to scratch Contango between the ears as the dog scrambled all the way inside and plopped down on the cushions.

“I’m going to be plucking dog hair off everything all night. Isn’t it faintly indecent to be naked around a dog?”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind.”

Contango’s one blue eye blinked at him sleepily. Affenlight wondered if Owen had ever managed to get the dog stoned, but surely the smoke had dissipated by now. Contango was usually forbidden from their bedroom, mostly to save Owen’s anxieties over shedding as well as making sure they couldn’t be interrupted by more than whining at the door, but it was nice to lie here, a hand in a mass of sugar-white fur, and not think too much about getting up.

“What are you making for dinner?” Owen asked.

“What am I making?”

Owen kissed the hair at the nape of his neck. “I built an entire fort. The least you can do is make dinner.”

Affenlight swapped another look with the dog. “If the rain stops, maybe Contango and I can pick up some pizza on our evening walk.”

“Your healthy eating plan really only goes so far as whatever I make you, doesn’t it?”

“The way you like it, pizza means a tower of vegetables. I think Mrs. Carapelli’s trying to make a point.”

“A healthy, morally-sound point.” Owen sighed, stroking a finger down over Affenlight’s softened penis. “I love being inside you. But we should get up. The last thing we need is the Harpooners winning with the mercy rule and showing up here hours early. Although I imagine Mike would avoid bursting in here from prior experience.”

“I imagine so too.” All they really needed was a blanket to pull over themselves, and then Affenlight would be happy to close drowsy eyes, nestled between Owen and Contango, even if it would mean a scramble to prepare for tomorrow’s class later. “But yes, we should get up.”

He was proud of himself for actually breaking free of O’s embrace and hauling himself into a sitting position, just as there came the sound of what seemed like someone rapping at the window. Contango’s ears perked up as well. And then the dull roar of thunder made it clear. Affenlight patted the dog’s snout reassuringly and sank back down into Owen’s arms.

“Does Carapelli’s deliver?” he asked.