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“Need a hand?”

Tendo Choi ducked out from under the control panel in the LOCCENT and eyed Dr. Newton Geiszler. Newt smiled in what he hoped was a friendly sort of way. Tendo evaluated him with a raised eyebrow, then said, “Sure, if you know your way around electrical systems.”

“I do, actually. Sort of. I mean I’m familiar with the basic principles. Not with this particular system, but I’m sure it would fall into place once I was introduced to it.”

“Not necessarily,” Tendo said. “This thing was designed by a German, manufactured in Taiwan, installed by the Russians and the manual is in Chinese. So everyone was jury-rigging as they went. Sometimes you do what seems logical and something wholly unexpected – and unwanted – happens.”

“Sounds like fun,” Newt said, sitting down on the cold, metal floor next to Tendo. “I speak German and Chinese, is that helpful?”

Tendo ducked under the control panel again and emerged with a thick manual, which he flipped into Newt’s lap. “Page 55. Tell me what it says about resetting the intercom systems. Mice got into the wiring; even though we’ve fixed all the wires, it’s still giving us an error message. I’m going to check the fuse then manually reboot it.”

Newt squinted at the faded page. “Ok … Open the fuse box labeled R4.”

Tendo laid on his back, a small flashlight held in one hand, and scooted back under the panel. “Got it,” he said.

Newt peered into the shadows at him. “Why is the fuse box up under there?”

“It was supposed to be on the outside. Russians installed the panel backwards.”

“Lovely. You need one of my head lamps. Alright; locate fuses … right 2, down 4 and down 5. Geeze, really?”

“Sounds about right. That would be these right here.” Tendo yanked at the first fuse.

An alarm bellowed above them and the blast doors in the central command area slammed shut. Tendo and Newt stared at them, then at each other. Tendo shined the flashlight back at the fuse box. “Backwards, and upside down.”

“Crap!” Newt turned the manual upside down. “That would mean you pulled … This one.” He turned it around again to read the labels. “The … biochemical security system.”

Tendo flopped flat onto his back and laughed, a good, long, full throated laugh. Newt watched him with worry in his eyes. “Tendo?” he said at last. “You’re kinda freaking me out, man. Are we going to die or something?”

“No,” Tendo said, sitting up. “Nope, no dying today. But those doors aren’t gonna open for …” He consulted the manual. “Four hours.”

Newt paled, eyes wide behind his glasses. “What?! No – no way, I have experiments going, I have PLANS! Plans that involve eating! And – and – “

“Gotta let those plans go now, friend,” Tendo said. “See if you can get one of the science type techs to do what you gotta do for your experiments. We can still talk to the great big world, you know. Command’s got a restroom, and after last time, I hid a stash.”

Newt frowned. “Last time?”

“Yup. This is not the first time I’ve gotten trapped up here.” He stood up and unhooked a panel from the wall, in which was a cardboard box with two liter bottles of water, dried fruit, jerky and an unopened package of nuts.

Newt eyed the box. “How long’s that been in there?”

“Three weeks,” Tendo said. “We’re still getting the bugs worked out of this station.”

Over the next hour, Newt and Tendo compared musical taste, and queued up artists that, in their opinion, the other HAD to hear. Tendo nodded along to Jimi Hendrix while Newt explained to a tech on the other end of the line, in excruciating detail, what to do with the experiments in the lab. When he was satisfied, he slid down onto the floor next to Tendo.

“Well, it’s either going to go alright or it won’t,” he said. “It’s not like I can do anything else from here.”

“There you go,” Tendo said. “That’s the right attitude. Look at it this way, we just bought ourselves four hours to relax. I don’t know what you’ve been up to, but I’ve been in this room for the past ten hours, and for untold numbers of hours earlier this week. The way I see it, this is God’s way of telling me, Tendo, you are going to take a break whether you like it or not.”

Newt shrugged. “I guess so.” He picked at his fingernails. “So. Since we’re stuck here, might as well get to know each other.”

Tendo shrugged in return. “If you like. I read your file – MIT, teaching, academy, hating on Gottlieb.”

Newt nodded. “Yeah, that about sums it up. Except for the hating part. I don’t hate him. We just drive each other nuts. It’s weird – if we communicated only by the written word, we’d get along great. He’s just so … FINICKY.”

Tendo nodded. “My wife’s like that. Likes everything just so.”

“That how your hair stays in place?”

“Naw, that’s my own secret,” Tendo grinned. “So once we save the world, what’s your plan?”

“Don’t have one,” Newt said. “You?”

“Montana. My family has a farm up there, massive place. My brother runs a motorcycle shop in town. Allison loves horses; she’s good with them. I figure I’ll fix bikes, she’ll fix horses, and we can ride off together into the sunset.” He waved a hand as if gesturing to the horizon.

Newt grinned. “Sounds like a nice life. Kinda boring, but nice.”

“Boring, huh? Well Mr. No Plan, what would be your ideal?”

Newt thought a minute. “University lecture circuit would be awesome; I could see more of the world, figure out where I want to be. Then probably teach someplace, get a position in some city with an awesome music scene, people I can connect with. And a research facility on the very bleeding edge of technology. Get a chance to work with some really amazing stuff, like tissue and circuit integration, cybernetics, genetic manipulation.”

“Could you make me into a cyborg?” Tendo asked.

“Dude,” Newt grinned, “I could totally make you into a cyborg. Can I? Got a screwdriver?”

“Phillips or flathead?”

“Phillips.”

“Naw, we’re all out.”

Newt chuckled and stretched, his neck popping. “So. Relax for four hours. I don’t know if I can. I mean, it’s not exactly a great place to take a nap.”

“Remind me to add ‘sleeping bag’ to the cache.”

“Mkay. So, like, what do you normally do for relaxation? Because you’re clearly better at it than me. Seeing as how you’re not the one whose joints sound like breakfast cereal.” He arched his back, and his spine went snap-crackle-pop.

“Lots of ways,” Tendo said. “Tea. Stretching. Cuddling Allison, cuddling our cat when Allison’s out. Meditation. Reading. What, don’t you do anything besides toil in the lab?”

“I spent so many years existing almost exclusively in a lab of some kind, I think for awhile I forgot there was anything else.” Newt laid his head back against the wall of the console. “Probably going to be that way for some years more. Assuming we have the good fortune of surviving at all.”

“Can’t put your life on hold waiting for something to change,” Tendo said. “Live in the now. It’s all we’ve got.”

“Guess so,” Newt said, looking especially somber.

“How about physical stuff? Running, sports, lifting weights – “

“I do what I have to do to not be a total lard-ass,” Newt said, “but I hate exercise. It’s incredibly boring. Mind numbing.”

“Audio books?”

“They are the only things that make it even remotely bearable.”

“C’mon,” Tendo said, “there must be some physical activity you enjoy. Swimming. Boxing. Wild, Kinky sex.”

Newt barked a laugh. “Ha. Yeah. You can talk, you’re married. It’s been … a long time.”

“Pshaw, you’re an attractive guy. There’s gotta be some girl into you.”

Newt shook his head. “Not here. Not yet, anyway.”

“Well, a guy then.” Seeing the surprised look on Newt’s face, he held up his hands. “No judgment here, man. I mean, have you seen Raleigh’s abs? Son. Of. A. Bitch.”

Newt relaxed by an iota. “I didn’t know you swung that way.”

Tendo gave him a smoldering look. “Oh honey. I swing every way.”

Newt’s chuckle was a little more nervous. “Ah. Gotcha. That’s. Uh. But you’re married?”

Tendo nodded. “Yup. But Allison and I have an agreement. We do whatever and whoever we’d like to do. But we come home to each other. She has my heart and I have hers, that’s what’s important to us.”

Newt took a moment to digest this. “Don’t you get jealous?”

Tendo shook his head. “Naw. It’s not in my nature, and she keeps a reality check on her possessiveness.”

“Not worried about STDs?”

Tendo’s eyes lit up. “You don’t know? Part of the medical check they give before we can come work at the Shatterdomes is an STD test. If you have one, you can’t work here. They know full well people are gonna fuck to relieve stress. The last thing they want is a chlamydia epidemic or something. And the girls can get shots, or IUDs, if they want them. Don’t even have to remember a pill.”

“Huh,” Newt said. “From a psychological and medical perspective, it makes a lot of sense.”

“Yup,” Tendo said. He stretched his arms up above his head, and let his arm fall onto Newt’s shoulder. He played with the hair at the back of Newt’s head and said, “So what I’m laying out here really bluntly is that there’s no reason not to. You know. If I run to your taste. I don’t know if you’re into guys or not.”

Newt turned red cleared his throat. He didn’t pull away from Tendo’s hand in his hair, though. “Ohhhh, wow, uh, I think this is the first time a guy’s ever come on to me. I. Uh. I dunno. I don’t usually do the casual sex thing. Or the guy-on-guy thing. Not that you’re not attractive, it’s just out of my realm of experience so - ”

“Whoa there, chatterbox.” Tendo wasn’t perturbed. “Doesn’t have to be sex, per se. I’m laid back, got no agenda, just have time to kill and you’re cute enough.”

“Oh,” Newt said, bristling. “I’m cute enough. GEE THANKS. I’ve been waiting all my life for someone to say I was cute enough.” His cheeks colored.

Tendo had the good graces to look sheepish as he chuckled. “Sorry. Shall I try again?”

“You better,” Newt huffed, crossing his arms.

Tendo grinned and scooted closer to him, purring in his ear. “What I meant to say was, you’re appealing to me. You’re smaller than me, which I like. I enjoy looking at you – pretty eyes, soft mouth, clever hands. You’re passionate. Magnetic. Brilliant, of course. And colorful, once you roll your sleeves up.”

Newt had been paying rapt attention to Tendo, eagerly soaking up the flattery. Now he stretched out his arms. “You like ‘em?”

“I do.” Tendo traced a finger over the lines, and Newt felt goosebumps raise on his forearms. “They go all the way up your arms?”

Newt swallowed. “And then some.”

Tendo tugged at Newt’s collar with a finger, peeking at the hint of color beneath it. “You ought to walk around shirtless all the time. We’ll introduce you to new people as the décor.”

Newt laughed. “Yeah, because that won’t bother anyone. Truth be told, not many people have seen me shirtless.”

“The world’s loss.” He rubbed the tight muscles at the base of Newt’s neck. “Hey, I know what would relax you. I could give you a back massage.”

This appealed to Newt, though he was hesitant to accept. “You know how to do that well?”

“I do.” Tendo rubbed his hands together, friction warming them, and started on Newt’s shoulders, gradually rubbing the knots away. Newt scooted to face away from him, and Tendo closed the slight space between them, sitting cross-legged, finding the cords of tight muscle beneath Newt’s shirt and pressing them with knuckles and the pads of his fingers, encouraging them to loosen.

“This’d be easier without your shirt, you know. And I could see your tats.” When Newt looked over his shoulder, Tendo added, “Whatever you’re comfortable with, man. You don’t want to be touched, that’s fine. You do … that’s fine too. Real fine.”

Newt tugged off his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. He shrugged off the white work shirt, and, with a moment’s hesitation, the white undershirt.

Tendo whistled. “Holy cow … I had no idea.” He tilted his head to look over Newt’s back, and ran his hand over the raised lines. Newt shuddered, a warm pleasure fluttering through his body at the touch. Tendo raised his eyebrows. “Good shudder or bad shudder?”

“Good,” Newt answered, his throat tight. His craving for touch only increased the more Tendo worked his back.

“It’s ok to enjoy being touched,” Tendo said, leaning in so Newt would feel the breath on the back of his neck. “I enjoy being touched. So does the vast majority of the rest of the human population. In many ways our connections to each other are what make us human.” He worked his way up Newt’s spine, over his shoulders blades. He did, in fact, know what he was doing.

Newt’s head swam. Things like this just didn’t happen to him. Tendo was handsome, and COOL, genuinely so, and had a zen that Newt couldn’t even approach. He leaned into Tendo’s hands, and wasn’t surprised to find Tendo’s arms circling around him, feeling his sides, his chest, exploring him. Newt’s body reacted wonderfully, sending ripples of pleasure through him, making him ache for more. Feeling him shiver, Tendo pressed his face into the crook of Newt’s neck and smiled against him. “Relax, little scientist, I won’t hurt you.”

“I’m not afraid of getting hurt,” Newt chuffed.

“Then what are you afraid of?” Tendo asked.

Newt swallowed, trying not to think about the hands now roaming his body openly. Or rather, trying to think about anything else. “Uh. Guess. I’m afraid of what everyone is afraid of. Rejection. Being alone. Being foolish.”

“So being hurt emotionally. Make you a deal,” Tendo said. He started kissing Newt’s shoulder, then the back of his neck, down his spine, and in between kisses he said, “What happens in the LOCCENT stays in the LOCCENT. Whatever you want to do or say, go for it. No one else will ever hear a word of it, and I won’t ever bring it up – you want to talk about it again, you bring it up.”

“You’re that good of a secret keeper,” Newt said, skeptically.

“Yes,” Tendo said, with an assurance that left Newt in no doubt that the man had been on the receiving end of many other confessions. He wasn’t surprised; Tendo was such a laid back fellow, so competent, so reliable; Newt imagined he could handle anything, and remain unruffled, with his hair not a touch out of place.

“Ok,” Newt said. “I, uh. I swear the same. Mutual confidence.”

“Mutual confidence is sexy as hell.” He pulled Newt backwards into his lap, and Newt let him. Tendo’s body was warm, and hard with muscle. Newt was certain Tendo could feel his racing pulse and breath. Tendo nuzzled his neck, playfully lighting little kisses on his skin. “You first.”

Newt caught his breath and cast around for something to tell, something defining, a piece of the puzzle that made up his persona. “I’m manic depressive bipolar.”

He felt Tendo nod. “I can see that. You can be kinda hyper.”

“Oh,” Newt said, “you guys have no idea. Really no idea at all. You haven’t seen me manic. It’s scary, even for me. And on the other side, the depressive … Let’s leave that dark pit where it belongs, boarded up with a ‘No Trespassing’ sign on it.”

“Yes, let’s. So you take your medication?”

Newt nodded. “It’s the only religion I have.”

“That’s two confidences, then. Me, I grew up bouncing among the religions of my family. Allison’s Catholic; technically I’m a crappy Catholic, but I think He knows I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got.” He shook the rosary on his wrist.

Newt blinked a few times, digesting this. “You don’t find bisexuality and Catholicism to be at odds with each other?”

“Naw. There’s only one line in the Bible directly about homosexuality, and it’s in one of those stupid books with the laws about selling your daughter into slavery and what to charge for someone wanting to sleep with your wife’s handmaiden. Hardly relevant. Besides,” he said, nipping Newt’s ear, “crappy Catholic.”

Newt made a little noise and wriggled against Tendo. He loved it when people messed with his ears. They were so sensitive, and it felt so good, and then Tendo sucked on his earlobe and Newt practically melted, giving up all pretense at not being completely sold on making out. He turned in Tendo’s lap and pressed their mouths together, sloppy and awkward as first kisses almost always are. Tendo cupped his jaw and kissed him back. They explored each other’s mouths, finding a rhythm, seeing what made the other one gasp and moan for more. Newt marveled at how different it felt to kiss a man – the strength of his jaw, the press of muscles, and yet how similar. Tendo’s tongue slipped into Newt’s mouth, and Newt melded up against him, aching to be closer, to touch more.

“I like your noises,” Tendo said against his mouth.

“Good thing,” Newt said.

“A vocal one, huh?”

“Can’t hardly help it. Is this place soundproof?”

“Yes indeed it is.”

Newt chuckled darkly and moved to Tendo’s neck, nipping and raking with his teeth, feeling the faintest brush of stubble against his mouth. Newt adjusted in his lap, and straddled him, getting as close as he could. He was hard, almost painfully so, and could feel plainly that Tendo was too. Tendo practically purred and said with a hoarse rasp, “Oh shit yes.”

“Agreed.”

“You ever been with another man?” Tendo asked.

“No,” Newt said. “I’ve never even kissed one. God, I’ve wanted to, though.” He tugged at Tendo’s bow tie, and in the end Tendo had to help him with the knot. He pulled back and began unbuttoning Tendo’s shirt, one button at a time.

“You been with many girls?” Tendo asked.

“Four. You?”

Tendo had the good graces to look abashed. “Uhhh. Somewhere between twenty and thirty.”

Newt sat up for a minute. “You don’t know?!”

“It depends on what you’re counting,” Tendo shrugged. “Does oral count? Do hand jobs count? It’s a gray area.” To Newt’s look, which was equal parts aghast and impressed, he said, “I lived in San Francisco, man!”

“Pretty sure that’s no excuse.” He finished unbuttoning Tendo’s shirt and bit his lip as he pulled it loose from his pants. “Buuuut … that means you have experience.”

“Yes,” Tendo said, taking hold of Newt’s ass to pull him firmly against him. “I do, in fact, have experience.” He ran his nails down Newt’s back, a little firmer than strictly necessary, and Newt made a noise like an engine turning over. Tendo grinned. “Like how to find out what someone likes.”

Newt stopped Tendo’s mouth with a kiss. He slid his hands under Tendo’s suspenders and slowly slipped them off his shoulders. It was something he’d imagined doing just about every time he visited the command center, and actually doing it turned him on all over again. He pulled Tendo’s shirt down his arms, and Tendo smiled as he helped tug it off. He was just in a gray tank now. Newt ran his hands down Tendo’s arms, over his chest, down his back. It was so strange, and so thrilling, to feel a man’s body beneath his own, instead of a woman’s. His body reacted with great enthusiasm, sending flutters of pleasure through him, making him gasp and his heart pound. He’d known, intellectually, that he was bisexual, but there was a great difference between the mental knowledge and the physical realization of desire. His brain sputtered and churned with emotion and realization. He was bisexual. It had been merely a well-founded hypothesis until now, never actually put to the test. He was overjoyed to have the opportunity to exercise that portion of his sexuality now – to, quite literally, experiment and find his hypothesis solid.

“God,” he gasped, “this feels so good. I had no idea I’d want it this much.”

“Mmm,” Tendo purred, “enthusiasm is infectious.”

“I’m not kidding. I mean, I wish I could show you exactly what it feels like for me. Hey, a PONS system could theoretically do that, right? I mean, the modifications necessary would be mind-boggling, but c’mon, every human invention in history eventually gets considered for sexual use. We’ve essentially invented telepathy, if only in a rough form. But there would be a massive feedback problem for present-tense full-cognizance drifting, know what I mean?”

“Newt.”

“Yeah?”

Tendo smiled up at him. “I can’t kiss you if you’re talking.”

Newt grinned back. “That is the nicest way anyone has ever told me to shut up.” Their mouths met again, both rocking against the other, feeling as much as they could of their bodies rubbing together, bare chest to bare, tattooed chest. Tendo wrapped his arms around Newt’s torso and gently lowered him to the floor of the command center.

“What’re we – oh,” Newt said, upon finding himself going backwards. He looked up, doe-eyed, at Tendo.

Tendo tilted his head at Newt’s unsure expression. “This alright, love?”

Newt nodded tensely and swallowed. “It’s just … a very vulnerable state.”

Tendo traced a finger down Newt’s chest. “What is? Say it.”

Newt shuddered. “Being on my back, half naked, with … you … on top of me, between my legs.”

Tendo’s eyes fluttered closed and his mouth opened, shivering. He rocked his hips forward, rubbing the length of his cock against Newt’s. “I like it.”

Newt laid his head back on the cold metal. “Oh God, so do I.” He raised his legs to brush against the outside of Tendo’s, moaning with each stroke.

Tendo looked down at him with a fierce glint in his eye. “Newt … Would you let me mark you?”

A line appeared between Newt’s eyes. “Mark me?”

Tendo nodded. “Leave a visible mark on you. As if I were … you know, claiming territory.” His fingers traced the outlines of Newt’s tattoos.

Newt’s voice shook in his throat. “Wow, that’s, uh, a surprisingly exciting idea.” He licked his lips in thought then said, “Yeah, sure. Go for it.”

Tendo grinned and lowered his mouth to Newt’s neck. He bit him near the join with his shoulder, and Newt jump beneath him. He sucked hard, playing across the skin in his mouth with his tongue. Newt’s nails dug into his back. He pulled back and examined his handiwork, pleased. Newt would later see in the mirror an angry red mark just below where his collar would hit. If he left his tie loose, someone who was looking closely could glimpse it. In other words, Newt could let it be shown if he wanted to, cover it if he didn’t.

Tendo reached back, pulled up one of Newt’s knees to his hip, and began grinding harder against him with long, slow strokes that made Newt gasp and moan. “What do you want to try?” Tendo purred into his ear.

“I don’t know,” Newt said. “You’re the experienced one.”

“Right,” Tendo said, “so I’ve tried most everything. Tell me what you fantasize about.”

“This right here,” Newt said. “You on top of me, kissing me, touching me.”

That took Tendo aback for a moment, but he didn’t let it show. He gave Newt a crooked grin. “You’ve fantasized about me?”

“Yes,” Newt said, having lost all filter between his brain and mouth. “Plenty of times. God, you’re so hot, you have no idea, I’ve wanted you so bad!”

“You shoulda said something!” Tendo said.

“You’re married! It’s not exactly common knowledge that you guys are open.”

“I suppose that’s true. Do you want me to lead?”

Newt nodded, looking relieved. Tendo traced a hand over his chest, and lowered his head to Newt’s nipples. He undid their pants, rid them both of the rest of their clothing. Newt tried not to look too nervous. Tendo had no such apprehension, and took hold of Newt’s cock without reservation. He produced a bottle of lube from his pocket (“It’s actually Allison’s lip gel, it gets so dry up here my lips get crazy chapped,” he explained) and rubbed a bit of the lubricant on them both. He settled between Newt’s legs again, biting his lip and watching Newt writhe and buck and moan beneath him.

“Tell me again that you want me,” Tendo rasped.

“I want you,” Newt said, all his remaining inhibitions knocked out and left for dead. “I want you so much. I want you to order me around, and I want to watch you get turned on.”

Tendo guided Newt’s hands between them, showed him how to hold both their cocks together while Tendo rocked in and out of his grip. Newt lost all vocabulary and let his head fall back.

“What I want,” Tendo growled in his ear, “is to watch your defenses fail, to see you do more and more things you didn’t think you’d do, because you want me that bad.” He slowed down his strokes, carefully pulling back as far as he could, then sliding as far into Newt’s grasp as he could. “When you came in here a few hours ago, would you have believed you’d be having sex with me?”

“No,” Newt said. “I wouldn’t have believed you’d be down for it. And I guess … I’d have thought that I would have freaked out and stopped before now. But goddamn, this feels so good, I don’t want you to stop.” He paused, the gears in his head working. “Technically speaking, is this sex?” Tendo had to stop for a second and laugh, dropping his forehead onto Newt’s chest. “Dude! Come on! You can’t laugh at me during … this!”

“No, I’m not laughing at you, sweet thing,” Tendo said, picking his head up and kissing Newt’s mouth. “You’re just adorably naïve.”

“Inexperienced! We’re calling it inexperienced.” Newt started to sit up a little, and Tendo pushed his shoulders gently but firmly back down to the cold metal floor.

“Fine, inexperienced. Yes, this absolutely counts as sex, in my book.”

“See, I could see how under other standards it might not. I mean, it’s genital contact, but it’s not penetrative.”

“Do you think lesbians can’t have sex because they can’t penetrate each other the way a man can?” Tendo went back to stroking, probably to make it harder for Newt to talk.

“N-no,” Newt said. He’d had more to say on the matter a moment ago, but Tendo was speeding up his thrusts, and the pressure was beginning to build in Newt’s body, asking for release. He’d never been with anyone who could read him so confidently. Pleasure swept through him, taking up all his attention.

“So is this, then. I’ve gotta thank you, because it’s been one of MY fantasies for awhile now to fuck somebody up here, just take them on the cold floor regardless of the discomfort. That it’s you, adorable and brilliant and vivacious, and that I get to be your first male lover – it’s a dream come true.”

Neither of them was able to talk after that. It was all friction, and sensation, and skin against hot skin. Newt’s orgasm burst upon him in a sudden, ferocious tidal wave of shuddering joy, and he made no small amount of noise and mess.

Tendo fetched a damp cloth from the bathroom and rubbed it over Newt’s stomach and cock. They laid beside each other, silently, lightly touching. A few minutes later Newt came back to himself, and realized that while he had gone flaccid, Tendo was still hard. Newt raised his eyebrows, impressed. “I didn’t think anyone could go through that and not come.”

Tendo smirked. “Endurance, patience, self control. These come with practice.”

“I DESPERATELY want the chance to practice.”

“Ohh, you’ll definitely get that. What would you like to try next?”

Newt bit his lip. “Can it be a multiple choice question?”

Tendo chuckled. “Absolutely. Dr. Geiszler, would you like to a) explore anal sex, either as the penetrative or the receptive partner; b) oral, give or receive; or c), more friction, without any kind of orifice involved?”

Newt struggled to gain control of his thoughts, blinked several times, and finally said, “Um, how about b?”

Tendo ran finger down Newt’s chest. “Try again. Tell me what you want.” He leaned in to Newt’s ear. “Be … explicit.”

Newt managed to say, “I want to go down on you.”

“Oh baby, you just made my day.”

* * * * *

Tendo’s body was a live wire. His body sang with excitement as he straightened up. He grabbed the chair he normally sat in and dragged it over; he locked the wheels so it wouldn’t go spinning away, and sat in it. Newt knelt in front of Tendo, looking up at him with such a doe-like expression that Tendo wasn’t sure if he should fuck him or take care of him.

Both, he decided.

Newt reached up and took Tendo’s cock in his hand, breath coming quick, eyes wide. He was still wearing his glasses, Tendo realized. He gently took them off Newt’s face and set them aside, and spent a few moments just touching Newt’s face, studying him without the thick glasses in the way. Newt really was an attractive fellow, he thought, though unconventionally so. He was lucky to have been the one to realize it.

Newt stroked him a few times, then uncertainly leaned in and took the head in his mouth. Tendo groaned, resisting the urge to buck his hips. The kid was just starting out. He threaded his fingers gently through Newt’s hair, touching him, encouraging him. Newt took as much in as he could, then backed off, then sucked in again, stroking the rest of the shaft with his hand.

“You don’t have to suck so hard,” Tendo said. Newt looked up at him, and Tendo smiled encouragingly. “Since you never done it before, thought you’d like some instruction.” When Newt gave a ghost of a nod, Tendo leaned his head back, closed his eyes and kept talking, feeling Newt adjust accordingly as he talked. “Don’t have to deep throat either, don’t hurt yourself. Trust me, it feels really fucking great. Careful of your teeth. Use your tongue on the underside. Oh fuck yeah, like that. Oh God! More, just like that, Newt.” He lost all manner of speech for a few minutes, lost in the glorious sensation of Newt sucking his cock, tongue flickering over the sensitive bit just under the head. He sped up, stroking harder. Tendo couldn’t help himself, he gripped Newt’s hair at the back of his head and thrust along with him, trying to stop just short of gagging him. Newt was making small sounds of arousal and pleasure again, and the vibrations of his throat thrummed against Tendo’s cock. The image before him of fucking Newt’s mouth was enough. Just before he came he pulled Newt’s head back away from him, and caught the thick fluid in a washcloth. Newt’s hand pumped him as he came, his orgasm rocking him and making him shout. He hardly ever came like that, so intense it almost hurt; he saw stars.

When he lifted his eyes back up, Newt said, “So I did alright?”

Tendo laughed. “Newt, that was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. You have the makings of a blow job prodigy.”

Newt beamed. “Thank you! It was … ok that I didn’t … swallow? Or spit for that matter. You didn’t have to stop for my sake.”

Tendo set the washcloth aside. “No one, with few exceptions, really LIKES a mouthful of jizz. Since I don’t get a big kick out of coming in someone’s mouth, there’s no reason to put them through it.” He slid off the chair and wrapped his arms around Newt, their bare bodies rubbing together. “Is there anything else you want to try?”

“Um … I’m not sure. I’m kind of mind-blown right now. I just had sex with a guy. Then I went down on him.”

“You’re mind-blown, and I’m just blown.”

Newt made a rude noise and reached for his pants. “It’s too cold in here to stay naked, for one.”

“I have to agree. Cold butts are no fun.” He pulled on his trousers, sneaking an admiring look at Newt’s ass. He’d very much like to have that ass up against him, he thought. He sat back down on the floor and held out a hand to Newt. “C’mere. You can keep me warm.”

Newt grinned and happily settled himself in Tendo’s lap. Their bodies warmed each other as Tendo ran his hands over the outlines of whatever tattoos weren’t pressed against him. Newt’s eyes sagged, and Tendo wrapped his arms around him, moving Newt’s head to lay against his shoulder. He absolutely adored having a brand new lover.

“What’re you going to tell Allison?” Newt asked.

“The truth. That I fucked you senseless in the LOCCENT.”

“What’s she gonna say, do you think?”

“Congratulations, most likely. Or something along those lines.” He kissed along Newt’s hairline, stroked his ear. “Maybe … you could join us sometime? If you want. I totally understand if you want to keep this contained to this event. We did say that what happened here, stayed here.”

“While I appreciate the safety and freedom of that rule … I dunno, I’d be sad if we never did this again.” He smiled as Tendo tightened his arms, snuggling him close in happiness. “As for joining you and Allison … I don’t know. I don’t know her. I’ve never been in a threesome before. Have people joined you before?”

“Only this one girl. It’s hard to find a single, bisexual girl who’s down with joining a couple. We call them ‘unicorns.’”

“So what’s a single, bisexual man who’s down with it?” Newt asked. “A Pegasus?”

“Pegasus was the name of one winged horse, not the name for all winged horses.”

“I thought I was the educated one.”

“Only in the sciences, kid. You’re lopsided. But take heart, I’m POSITIVE Allison would like you. She thinks you’re adorable.”

Newt grinned really wide. “You two have talked about me?!”

“Sure we have. Don’t look so surprised. You’re a hot little number.” He was going to add more about Newt being an acquired taste, or how it helped when he stopped talking once in a while, but decided that wasn’t necessary, or constructive.

Newt snuggled back down into Tendo’s arms, positively wallowing in the attention and affection.

* * * * *

Curled around each other, basking in afterglow, they dozed, and snacked, and kissed, and touched. They talked about dogs and cats they had known, childhood adventures, people they’d lost in the kaiju attacks. They talked about their blood families and their chosen families. They talked about books, and made promises to educate the other in what they’d missed. Newt made a solemn vow to read “Catcher in the Rye,” and to bring Tendo his copy of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” They played a ton of music. They kissed until their lips were chapped.

Shortly before the quarantine was up, they reluctantly put all their clothes back on. Tendo showed Newt how to tie a bow tie. They fixed the actual fuses that were broken in the backwards, upside down fuse box. Then the doors opened.

Hermann was there, barking at Newt about some damned thing or other. Newt was busy watching Allison Choi wrap her arms around Tendo’s neck and kiss him. His heart ached, just a little, knowing this interlude might not be repeated, if Allison didn’t approve. He wondered if Tendo smelled or tasted different to her than he ordinarily did. If he smelled and tasted a little like Newt. He tried not to stare. He settled for watching out of his peripheral vision as they talked; it was easy to fill in the lines. Allison asking if he was ok. He was. What did he do for four hours? Tendo motioned towards Newt, and leaned down to whisper in Allison’s ear. Allison looked startled, and glanced at Newt, at her husband, gave Newt the up-and-down look, then fist-bumped Tendo.

Newt’s brain exploded anew. He risked a full look at them; Allison grinned wide at him and gave him a thumbs-up. Newt felt his face flush red, and Tendo tried not to laugh.

“Are you ok?” Hermann said, appearing at his shoulder.

“Yeah,” Newt said. He chuckled, shaking his head.

“What’s so funny?”

Newt shook his head and grinned. He had all the assurance he could ask for that whatever this was with Tendo, it wouldn’t be a unique event. “Sorry, it’s confidential. And it would shock your old man sensibilities. C’mon, dude, break’s over. Back to work.”