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The Man on the Train

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Nate barely looks up from his paper when someone sinks down into the seat beside him.

He has to physically force his mouth to remain closed when he realizes who it is.

Nate has noticed him a few times. Maybe more than a few. His short cropped blonde hair is always visible above the crowd, black framed glasses doing nothing to hide the neon blue of his eyes, messenger bag slung casually over broad shoulders, the strap falling across his chest just so as to make obvious the sharp cut of his pectorals, coffee clutched in one large, elegant hand. No ring.

Look, he’s easy to notice, okay? Like Thor trying to blend in with regular people by wearing Clark Kent’s nerdy glasses.

Nate is tall enough he doesn’t fit well in the seats, but with the legs on this guy it’s almost impossible. Nate kind of assumed that’s why he always stands, even though he gets on the train early enough that there are occasionally still a few seats available. Either that, or he’s sized Nate up and decided the two of them won’t fit in one seat together.

The seat next to Nate is always one of the last available, given his own size. People always seem to choose the smallest potential seatmates first, which makes sense.

Now, he’s sitting with his knees wedged up against the seat in front of them, bag on his lap, right arm flush against Nate’s left, staring straight ahead. Nate keeps his paper up in front of his face, surreptitiously watching Nerd Thor occasionally sip his coffee. He can just see a copy of Wired sticking out the front pocket of the bag on his lap, and Nate knows he must look hopelessly old fashioned and out of date with his hard copy newspaper rattling around his head. In point of fact, he’s found it’s the most effective way to keep people at bay. Staring at a phone, even with earbuds in his ears, just doesn’t do as much to dissuade his fellow commuters from attempting to engage. But he feels like a ridiculously conspicuous Luddite every time he turns an unwieldy page and the paper knocks and clatters and creases.

Nerd Thor grimaces, almost imperceptibly, and Nate can see he’s trying to adjust his legs, to no avail. They’re wedged in tight against the hard plastic of the seat ahead of them, with nowhere to go. Instinctively, Nate shifts over to his right, up against the window, and pulls both knees together and away from his seat mate, creating a little more space. He catches Nerd Thor’s eye and jerks his head slightly, indicating with a quick glance the now-open area between their respective right and left knees. The guy seems to hesitate, but then moves his right leg over. It’s just a few inches, but it’s enough for him to get his knee un-wedged and straighten it just a bit, slide his foot under the seat in front of Nate. He spreads his legs further, moving his left knee out to the very edge of the seat back where his left foot can slide into the aisle, then he nods at Nate and his eyes focus forward again.

As they approach L’Enfant Plaza, Nerd Thor adjusts the strap of his messenger bag; this must be his stop. When the train jerks he stands and exits without a word or a backward glance, but as he turns and walks back past the window outside the train, their eyes meet and catch. Nate feels a jolt of electricity, one he knows he didn’t imagine.

 

+ + +

 

For a few weeks, Nate watches him come aboard at Stadium-Armory and exit at L’Enfant Plaza. Every day he stands, sipping his coffee and only holding on as the train slows into a station or speeds out of one. In between stations he stands with a wide, steady stance, swaying gently with the rocking of the train.

Nate looks at him, but he doesn’t look back.

Nate wonders where he might work near his stop. He doesn’t seem like a HUD guy, or a Smithsonian guy. Something about the way he carries himself makes Nate think it’s something more like the FAA, or even likelier, Homeland Security.

 

+ + +

 

The next time Nerd Thor slides in next to him, Nate sees him coming and automatically pulls his knees over against the wall of the train. The guy moves his right leg without hesitation this time, foot sliding over farther under the seat ahead of Nate than it did, the first time. He nods, meeting Nate’s eye briefly, then stares straight ahead and sips his coffee until he slides silently out of his seat and out the doors at L’Enfant Plaza. Nate watches him drop his coffee cup into a garbage bin on the platform, watches the pull of his khakis across his ass as he strides away.

 

+ + +

 

It happens sporadically, as time goes by.

In May, Nerd Thor sneezes in the seat beside him and his knee jerks with the reflex, slides momentarily against Nate’s. Nate murmurs bless you.

On a sweltering day in the middle of the endless march of July, Nate can feel the damp heat between them where their arms press together.

In September, Nate watches him pass the only other empty seat in the car, next to a woman with a toddler on her lap, to sit down and shove his right foot under the seat in front of Nate. It’s possible that his choice means something positive, or it’s possible he simply finds Nate less objectionable than a small child, as seat partners go. Nate wishes he knew which it was.

On a slushy, windy, freezing December morning, their heavy overcoats are so bulky their shoulders can barely squeeze together in the seats, and they have to move in tandem, adjusting as they go, to find the right fit. Nate tries a smile as they finally settle in. The corner of Nerd Thor’s mouth ticks up just slightly in acknowledgement, before he turns his face forward and sips the coffee clutched in his leather-gloved hands.

 

+ + +

 

Nate starts sitting closer to the front, as close as he can get to the door where Nerd Thor almost always boards, and leaving his messenger bag in the outside seat until the train pulls in at Stadium-Armory. He hates being rude, has never been one to be discourteous or put his own comfort ahead of others; he’s heretofore always slid over into the window seat and held his bag in his lap as soon as he boards at Capitol Heights, leaving the aisle seat empty and available. But the train is effectively full by the time it gets to Stadium-Armory, and even though it’s typically one of the last to go, the seat next to Nate is still almost always taken by then. He needs to up his odds.

So he keeps his bag in the seat, lets people stare daggers at him while he pretends not to notice, hidden behind his newspaper. Most people won’t actually ask him to move it, he’s found. Sigh, roll their eyes, pointedly clear their throats, stand in the aisle or take a seat two rows back then grumble loudly to their disinterested fellow passengers about selfish assholes who think they deserve two seats on a full train – yes. But ask him to move it? Most of the time, no.

The first time he tries it, he moves the bag too early. A girl with her eyes glued to her iPhone shoves through the door ahead of Nerd Thor and flops down next to Nate. Next few times, same thing.

Nate becomes more strategic, trying to time it perfectly so that he moves the bag at just the right moment. Too soon, and someone else can snag the seat, but too late, and Nerd Thor will see him move it, as if Nate’s moving it for him, like Nate’s a school kid saving seats at a D.A.R.E. assembly.

He gets better and better at it. By the time the snow has thawed and spring has sprung in earnest, Nerd Thor is sitting next to him 2 or 3 days out of 5, an outcome with which Nate is inordinately pleased.

Nate has only heard his voice once, when the train lurched to an unexpected halt and he accidentally elbowed Nate in the upper arm in his haste to grab the bar in front of them. He barely made eye contact as he ground out a clipped, throaty excuse me.

 

+ + +

 

One morning, Nate is deep into a scathing email exchange with someone at the Attorney General’s office who doesn’t seem to understand what the words Urgent and Confidential mean, when his attention is slowly pulled away from his phone by the creeping feeling of someone looming.

Nerd Thor is standing over him, smirking. Nate’s eyes fly to the window, to the Stadium-Armory signs slipping out of sight as the train pulls from the station, then to his bag still on the seat beside him. When he looks up again, Nerd Thor raises his eyebrows expectantly.

Nate hurriedly pulls his bag into his lap and slides his knees to one side. His email drama forgotten, he stares blankly out the window, hoping he’s not blushing.

Weeks go by, and they still don’t speak.

 

+ + +

 

As the train pulls into L’Enfant, Nerd Thor doesn’t make a move. Nate waits half a beat, watching, but he’s still staring straight ahead, sipping his coffee.

People shuffle around them, moving toward the doors, and Nate hears the hiss-sigh of the airlock opening. He wonders if his seat mate has slipped into one of those early morning brain fogs that Nate sometimes experiences on the train, where he’s lost track of where he is and how far he has to go.

Although - it would be more accurate to say, one of those fogs Nate sometimes used to experience. These days, he’s surprisingly focused and aware of his surroundings on the train. He also has never jumped out of bed with as much enthusiasm in the mornings as he has these past few months, but that’s neither here nor there.

“Uh,” Nate jerks his head, eyes wide in a question, “isn’t this you?”

The guy barely looks over.

“Not today,” he says. “Meeting.”

“Ah,” Nate says stupidly, and goes back to his paper. He feels oddly tense with each approaching stop, mind spinning ridiculous tales about where Nerd Thor might be going, with whom and to what purpose.

Smithsonian, Federal Triangle and Metro Center come and go, and Nerd Thor remains, still as a statue. When they pass McPherson Square Nate is forced to surrender his fantasy that maybe Nerd Thor is a secret agent being summoned by the President himself.

At Foggy Bottom-GWU, Nate clears his throat.

“This is me.”

Nerd Thor nods, stands back and out of the way to let Nate slide past. Their messenger bags hook and drag momentarily against one another, then pull free awkwardly as Nate moves toward the doors. He stands there, waiting for the doors to open, and in the glass he can see the reflection of the man standing behind him. He looks back over his shoulder, surprised.

“Me, too,” Nerd Thor shrugs and adjusts the strap of his bag. Nate just nods, but he feels the back of his neck burning as the doors open and he steps out onto the platform.

He’s dying to look back, to see where the guy is headed, but he refuses to be that obvious. So he just keeps walking, just like every other day. He strolls slowly, taking his time in case anyone of note should walk past him at a faster pace, but no one does. He walks down 23rd Street NW, stops off at Casey’s in Columbia Plaza for a Chai Latte and an Omelet wrap, eats as he walks and tosses his trash outside the doors of the Harry S. Truman building as he’s walking in.

He vaguely hopes that maybe the change in Nerd Thor’s schedule will somehow put them on the same Eastbound train this evening. Nate has tried leaving at different times, but he’s never seen the guy after work. Only in the mornings.

 

+ + +

 

Nerd Thor takes a sip of his coffee and makes a sputtering sound, scrunching up his face.

What the fuck, he mutters under his breath, and Nate looks over, eyebrows high.

“Got the wrong coffee?” He asks, conversationally, like they chat all the time or something. “It’s happened to me before; it’s a rude awakening when it’s not what you’re expecting.”

Nerd Thor takes the lid off his cup, sniffs, then holds it out at Nate.

“Any ideas?”

Nate takes a sniff, and smiles.

“That’s Chai,” he says. The guy stares back at him blankly. “Tea.”

“Tea,” he almost sneers. “Might as well have stayed in England.”

Before Nate can process what that might mean, he’s raising an eyebrow at Nate.

“You like this stuff?” He holds it out, an offering.

“Uh, yeah,” Nate nods, folding his paper and reaching awkwardly around the bag in his lap.  He takes the cup with one hand and the lid with the other; the fingers of both their hands brush in the exchange. “Yeah, thanks.” He knows he’s probably grinning stupidly, so he hurries to pop on the lid and take a sip.

It’s not until after he’s taken a few slugs that he wonders if Nerd Thor will think it’s odd that he’d drink directly from the same lid as a virtual stranger on public transportation.

Oh well, too late now.

He sips quietly, feeling somehow indebted, like he’s not held up his end of the exchange. He’s mostly done with his paper, close enough anyway, so he holds it out, like maybe that’s a fair trade for the latte.

“Paper?”

Nerd Thor looks at him for a beat, then takes it without a word. He flips it open to the sports section and scans the page slowly.

 

+ + +

 

In July, he disappears suddenly. Nate tries not to panic.

It’s just so pathetic - it’s summer and everyone takes vacation, but also, Nate doesn’t even know this guy. Why should he care if he ever sees him again, really? Aside from the fact that he wouldn’t be able to collect any new details to add to his ever-increasing spank bank of Nerd Thor fantasies.

It’s definitely, definitely pathetic - but he can’t help thinking shit, the guy could get a new job, or move so he takes a different train, and Nate will have no way of finding him.

For someone who Nate has spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about, he sure doesn’t have much to go on.

He runs through what he knows in his head.

  1. His name is Brad Colbert. Nate saw the address label on his Wired magazine just a few weeks ago, but he couldn’t catch the address without being obvious. He wonders if it’s pronounced Col-bert, like Bert and Ernie, or Col-bear, like Stephen. Judging a book by its cover, Nate’s money is on Bert and Ernie.
  2. His coffee comes from Mia’s Coffeehouse. Nate saw the receipt one day, when Brad dug into his pocket for his phone and the receipt came out with it. Nate looked it up online, it’s between Lincoln Park and Kingman Park.
  3. Based on his coffee shop and his station of origin, he has a vague idea where Brad lives.
  4. Based on a single occasion when Brad pulled the top off his coffee to blow it cool, he drinks it black. The question of sugar is as yet undetermined.
  5. He has a tattoo of some kind on his lower back, and it’s big. Once, his jacket snagged on something as he spun to exit his seat. His shirt was wrenched free from the back of his pants, and as he bent to stand Nate could see the ink there on the briefly exposed strip of skin, bright and indistinguishable and spanning the breadth of his back.
  6. His interests seem to include baseball, basketball, the stock market, technology, and the military-industrial complex. This is all based solely on Nate’s careful and surreptitious observations of the sections and articles he chooses to read whenever Nate shares his paper, and of what he does with his phone when he actually gets it out. He also sometimes plays solitaire or word games, and Nate has never seen him on any social media apps. Nor found him on any, when he tried to look him up.
  7. Mostly, he just stares straight ahead and drinks his coffee.
  8. There is no eight. Seven’s all he’s got.

Without Brad there next to him, keeping his senses on high alert, Nate spends his commute with his mind adrift, vaguely imagining ways he could contrive to find Brad, if he never shows up on the train again. Like calling up every Brad Colbert in the greater DC Metro area, and introducing himself as that guy you sit next to on the train, sometimes.

That’s pretty much his only idea, so far.

 

+ + +

 

When Nate looks up to see Brad staring down at him, the words you’re back are out of his mouth before he can stop them. It’s been six weeks, he was starting to give up hope.

He tries not to blush when Brad grins at him in a way that feels vaguely predatory. A little shiver of heat runs through his chest.

“I’m back.” Brad confirms, sliding in as Nate pulls his bag into his lap.

Brad looks tan, his hair a brighter blonde like he’s been in the sun. The purpley shadows that sometimes dig themselves into the skin under his eyes have disappeared.

Nate practically has to sit on his hands, he’s itching so bad to reach out and touch.

“Business or pleasure?” Nate asks, and Brad gives him a look, startled.

“Your trip,” Nate continues, and Brad nods.

“Both. Was traveling for work, then went home for a few weeks.”

“And home is…” Nate studies his face, narrowing his eyes, then guesses, “Florida?”

Brad looks affronted.

Fuck no,” he snorts, “California.”

Nate can’t help but laugh at his outrage.

“My most sincere apologies, I didn’t mean to offend,” Nate says, all wide eyes and exaggerated earnestness, and slaps the sports page against Brad’s shoulder.

Brad gives him a warning look, but there’s a smile at the corner of his mouth, and his eyes are full of something that certainly doesn’t look like anger.

Interesting.

He takes the paper and shakes it open. He sips his coffee and blatantly ignores the way Nate’s staring at him.

When the train pulls into L’Enfant Plaza Brad doesn’t appear to notice.

“Another meeting?” Nate’s voice is all nonchalant indifference. Brad keeps his eye on the paper.

“Just want to finish this article. I can take the long way.”

“The long way to where?” Nate takes a page out of Brad’s book and stares at his business pages, nothing to see here.

“Pentagon.”

Of fucking course. L’Enfant Plaza is just where he changes trains, it’s not the end of the line.

“Shocking,” Nate says appraisingly, trying the smart-ass angle again, and he gets a snorting laugh in reward.

At Foggy Bottom Brad stands without being asked. As Nate’s sliding past him the train jolts just enough for Brad to sway a little unsteadily, and Nate’s arm is up suddenly, hand pressed firm against Brad’s chest, holding him up. His breath catches in his throat.

“You good?” Nate murmurs, barely audible past the pounding of blood in his own ears.

“Better now,” Brad says, eyes hot on Nate’s face, and Nate can feel the flush of blood rushing up his neck and into his cheeks.

He practically runs off the train without looking back.

 

+ + +

 

Brad shows up with a coffee in one hand and a Chai Latte in the other, hands it to Nate without preamble or explanation. Nate hands over the sports page in much the same fashion.

It becomes a thing.

Brad brings the tea, Nate brings the paper, Nate leaves his bag in the seat until Brad is standing over him so there’s nothing left to chance anymore, and Brad stays on the Blue Line and rides the long way around so that they now sit side by side each morning for 23 minutes rather than only 9.

It extends Brad’s commute by 6 minutes - Nate checked the train tables – but Brad never mentions it.

They still don’t talk much, but sometimes they discuss what’s in the news. In the course of those discussions, Nate has managed to pick up a little more info. Like, Brad is a civilian contractor, but he was formerly a Reconnaissance Marine. He is adamant about the fact that he is a former Marine, not an ex-Marine. Apparently, there are no ex-Marines.

He does something for a living that he can’t or won’t give many details about, and he’s from Southern California, and he thinks the freeways on the East Coast are shit for riding his motorcycle at a speed that makes it worthwhile. He also unleashes a truly epic string of insults when he learns Nate was in the Peace Corps, but listens intently none the less when Nate talks about what he did there, and what he does at the State Department. He seems impressed to learn that Nate speaks 4 languages, and even more so to learn that he’s competed in 5 Iron Mans, one Race Across America, and one Marathon des Sables.

“I wanted to do something so hard that no one could ever talk shit to me again,” Nate says by way of explanation, and Brad looks at him carefully, like he’s seeing something new in Nate’s face, like he just noticed Nate has a nose or something.

“I’m pretty sure that’s the reason any Marine has done anything, ever,” he says quietly, and Nate has that feeling again, like he should sit on his hands before he does something stupid like reach out and touch.

He has that feeling a lot, these days. Like, mostly every second he’s with Brad.

He also has the feeling that maybe it wouldn’t be that stupid. Because even though he has every reason to believe that Brad could probably kill him 74 different ways with one hand tied behind his back, he also thinks that whatever’s going on here, Brad might be waiting for Nate to make the first move.

The first real move.

Nate spends a lot of time considering his options where that’s concerned.

 

+ + +

 

It’s a perfect, cool, bright Saturday morning, leaves blazing brilliant red and orange, just about to fall, and Nate’s sitting at a table on the patio, cap pulled down, shades on, paper up, hiding in plain sight. Something tells him he won’t get away with it, that Brad will make him from two blocks away, but when Brad does stroll past him he doesn’t even glance his way.  He’s wearing running shorts and a sweaty t-shirt with COLBERT stenciled on the front, Clark Kent glasses replaced with Oakleys, and Nate’s breath comes a little faster.

Brad’s inside the coffee shop for 7 or 8 minutes, then he’s back out in the sun, coffee in one hand and little white pastry bag in the other. He walks past Nate again, without so much as a look.

Nate doesn’t really have a choice.

“Brad,” he doesn’t really shout, Brad’s too close for that, but he says it loudly enough to make himself heard.

Brad spins, staring blankly for a moment before he takes a step closer.

“Nate.”

Nate knows he’s grinning like a fool, but Brad knows his name. And also, Brad’s grinning back.

They look at each other silently for a little longer than is reasonable, and Nate realizes he should probably speak.

“Have somewhere to be?”

“Just headed home.” Brad holds up the coffee and the bag as Exhibits A and B.

“You live around here?” It’s a dumb thing to say, and the smirk on Brad’s face says as much.

“I do indeed. But something tells me you knew that already.”

“Guessed,” Nate corrects, and then he stands up. “I didn’t know, I guessed.”

He’s sure he’s stood next to Brad before, at some point, but he doesn’t remember it. Doesn’t remember ever being so close, face to face, and he knew Brad was tall, but Nate’s not used to looking up at very many people. It’s different; novel. Like everything about Brad, Nate finds it unrelentingly, dangerously attractive.

“Anything else you’ve guessed?” Brad asks, and his voice is rough, low. Nate bites his lip.

“I’m guessing you might like to invite me over for breakfast. Since I just happened to be in the neighborhood.”

Brad just smirks again, and jerks his head as he turns on his heel. When he walks, Nate follows.

In the middle of the next block, Brad turns abruptly and takes the front steps of a row house two at a time. Nate does the same.

Brad holds the door open, lets Nate enter first. There’s a small, tidy living room up front, with a kitchen at the rear. Nate can see a glass door and the garden beyond, out back. Nate sits on a stool at the little bar top in the tiny kitchen, and Brad serves him a cinnamon something on a paper napkin from the white pastry bag. It’s so good Nate moans a little when he tastes it.

Brad watches him unabashedly from the opposite side of the counter, side of his mouth curled up as he sips his coffee. Nate’s skin feels electrified, like anything that touches him will set off sparks. Preferably what touches him will be Brad.

He manages to swallow a few bites of his pastry, before he just can’t anymore, with this.

“Did you really get the wrong drink, that first time when you gave me that tea?”

Brad levels him with a knowing gaze.

“Did the seat beside you just happen to start becoming available just as I board the train very day?”

Nate might blush a little, but he doesn’t give a shit. He smirks right through it.

“You didn’t have any meeting in Foggy Bottom. You followed me. That’s how you knew I drink Chai.”

“You staked me out at my favorite coffee shop,” Brad counters.

“I never told you my name,” Nate shoots back, ignoring the part where Brad never told Nate his name, either.

“I’m a Recon Marine. I know a lot of things I’m not supposed to.”

And that…really shouldn’t be as hot as it is.

Nate takes another bite of his cinnamon thing, and sucks sticky, sugary goo off his finger and thumb in a manner he very much hopes is baldly provocative. It seems to work; Brad puts his coffee down and comes around to Nate’s side of the counter.

Nate swivels on his stool to face him, and Brad reaches out, takes the cap off Nate’s head and rests it on the counter. Then his hand reaches out again, finger snagging in Nate’s belt loop this time. He gives just the briefest suggestion of a tug, chin lowered and eyes raised to Nate’s face from under sandy lashes, and Nate slides to his feet, bodies almost flush. Their mouths are only inches apart, Nate’s gaze stuck on the plush pink of Brad’s lower lip so long he feels hazy, slow, almost drunk when he finally raises his eyes enough to meet Brad’s.

“Been waiting a long time for this,” Brad says, low and just for Nate. The heat is rolling off him in waves, and Nate wants to drown in them.

“Why are you still waiting?” he asks, voice breathier than he intended.

Brad’s only answer is the firm press of his mouth against Nate’s.

 

+ + +

 

Brad is slower, softer, more careful than Nate expected. He takes Nate upstairs, deliberate and quiet, walking him through the dim hallway and into the sunny bedroom, his hands on Nate’s hips and chest against his back, pushing him wherever Brad wants him to go. He turns Nate around and sits him on the wide bed, then kneels between his thighs, kissing him thoroughly, hands cradling Nate’s face gently, before he pauses to pull off Nate’s sneakers and socks. Brad grins at him, and Nate feels a rushing dizziness flood him. He’s afraid he might faint.

He pulls off Nate’s t-shirt, kisses his neck and shoulder, traces fingers down his arms to the waistband of his jeans. He unbuttons them slowly, like he thinks Nate might run, like he can’t see and feel the very obvious evidence of Nate’s supreme interest in staying right where he is.

He tugs on Nate’s zipper, then hooks his fingers under the jeans, into the elastic of Nate’s underwear, and murmurs up, jerking his head. Nate raises his hips and with one swift pull his pants are around his knees, his erection slapping and bobbing against his belly while Brad works his feet out of his jeans.

Brad nuzzles the inside of one knee, kisses Nate there, then higher, mouth open and wet against Nate’s inner thigh and his unshaved cheek stubbly and rough against Nate’s cock. Nate jerks and gasps, and Brad laughs, low and evil.

He takes his time, methodically swallowing Nate down, slowly letting the pressure build. When Nate’s hips try to buck, Brad’s hands hold them down firmly, forcing Nate to succumb to the relentless steadiness of Brad’s motions, the frustrating way that they are completely lacking in haste or urgency.

Brad’s hands slide around from his hips to cradle his ass, to pull him in closer, to force more of him into Brad’s mouth, until all Nate can do is thread his fingers through Brad’s close-cropped hair and ride it out, try to remember to breathe so he doesn’t pass out in the middle of it, try not to pant and whine and moan so loudly as to embarrass himself completely.

When it’s over, Brad stands and slowly, carefully divests himself of his clothes while Nate is collapsed back on the bed, feet still on the floor, struggling to keep his heavy eyelids from closing. He doesn’t want to miss the show, his first glimpse of all that glorious skin, but he doesn’t want to open his eyes, either. As it ends up, he just blinks slowly as Brad crawls naked onto the bed, over Nate’s limp body, and leans down to kiss his neck again.

“The fucking sounds you make, Jesus Christ,” he whispers, so low against Nate’s ear, “I want to hear you make them again while I fuck you.”

Nate shivers a little and nods, he hopes not so eagerly as to seem pathetic.

“Will you let me fuck you?” Brad whispers again, completely unnecessarily. What Nate will let Brad do to him is any fucking thing Brad wants, and he’s sure that’s patently obvious at this stage. If only he could make his brain and mouth function in such a way as to allow him to speak.

Instead Nate just groans, whimpers, nods some more. Brad smirks.

“That’s the stuff,” he grins, “that’s a good start.”

Nate no longer possesses the shame required to blush.

Brad continues with his deliberate disassembly of Nate’s defenses and mental faculties, taking him apart piece by piece with his fingers and mouth and finally with his beautiful fucking cock. Nate tries to do his part, taking the initiative to suck on his own fingers to push and slide inside himself, right next to Brad’s. The way Brad groans and bites down on Nate’s thigh would appear to indicate he approves.

Then Nate wraps his slippery fingers around Brad’s cock and Brad grunts. He takes the condom from Brad’s hands when Brad produces the little foil packet, rips it with his teeth and rolls it down onto Brad, slow and careful, just the way Brad’s been with him. Brad watches the whole process, attention raptly focused on Nate’s hands, fingers gripping tightly at his own thighs.

“We’re good,” Nate says breathily once he’s finished, lying back, spreading his legs wider, hips lifting off the bed wantonly, “come on, come on.”

He bites his bottom lip against the whine that wants to come out, and Brad reaches out with a thumb to pull his lip free.

“Don’t,” he rumbles, and kisses Nate again, bringing their bodies flush, his cock rutting up into the crack of Nate’s ass.  “Want to hear you,” he pants into Nate’s ear, then Nate can feel Brad’s muscles trembling as he balances on one arm, the other hand reaching down to guide his cock into position.

“Jesus,” Nate whimpers, rolling his hips up, “go, Brad.”

“Yeah,” Brad growls, and then he’s sinking into Nate, one long smooth push, controlled and precise and perfect.

Nate comes again, long before Brad is finished with him.

When Brad finally comes, he’s sucking a dark mark into Nate’s collar bone, straining and panting, pulling at Nate’s body like he can’t get deep enough, can’t get close enough.

 

+ + +

 

Nate’s fingers thump anxiously against his thighs as the train approaches Stadium-Armory. His anxiety gets the better of him, and he pulls his messenger bag into his lap the second he lays eyes on Brad, but it’s too soon. A young woman in a suit starts to sit, and Nate almost shouts.

“No! I mean, sorry,” he looks at her apologetically. “It’s just, my. Friend. Is sitting here.”

She just shrugs and moves on down the train. Brad appears from behind her and slides into her spot, smirking.

“Hey, friend.” His voice is overtly casual.

“Shut up.” Nate rattles his newspaper pointedly, using it as a screen to hide his flushed face.

“How was your weekend?” Brad’s tone is benign as he slides a hot cup of chai around the edge of Nate’s paper. “Do anything noteworthy?”

“Nothing worth mentioning,” Nate says breezily, dropping the side of the paper to take the cup, still feigning interest in an article on the opposite page.

“Certainly looks unmentionable,” Brad grins, and suddenly his fingers are brushing against the purple-red bruise at Nate’s collar, his thumb pressing just enough to make Nate’s cock jerk. Nate lets out a breathy grunt, against his will.

“There it is,” Brad keeps grinning, and lets his hand come to rest on Nate’s thigh. He doesn’t say anything else.

When they both stand at Foggy Bottom so Nate can slip out, Brad’s hand wraps around his bicep.

“6:24.”

“Huh?” Nate asks, distracted by the rush of people down the aisle, and the nearness of Brad right in his face.

“The blue line leaves Pentagon at 6:24. Not sure when it gets to Foggy Bottom but I trust you’ll figure it out.”

Nate just nods dumbly.

“Ride home with me. I want to make you dinner.” He leans closer. “Then I want to make you beg.”

Nate’s afraid his legs might give out under the weight of the wave of want that crashes down on him. He sways on his feet, even though the train is at a dead stand still.

“Better go, you’ll miss your stop,” Brad instructs with a smug grin.

Nate narrows his eyes at Brad’s smirking face. The gall, honestly.

 

+ + +

 

The train gets to Foggy Bottom at 6:37. It lets them out at Stadium-Armory at 7:01.

The walk to Brad’s house, shoulders bumping and hands brushing intermittently like two shy school kids walking home together from the bus stop, takes 11 minutes.

Brad grills steak and asparagus, which they barely manage to finish before Brad is pushing Nate up the stairs ahead of him again, just like he did two days before, hands on Nate’s hips the whole way.

Nate begs, and Brad gives him everything he wants, everything he can take, almost more than he can stand but in all the very best ways. It’s after 10 pm before Nate can think again, breathe again.

He groans and winces as he rolls up to a sitting position, ass aching.

“Next time, you’re the one getting your ass reamed, Colbert.” He knows now, it’s like Bert and Ernie after all.

He hopes his voice was solid enough to sound sufficiently threatening.

Brad just grins and rolls over to bite at Nate’s hip, big hand splaying across his belly.

“Whatever you want,” he mumbles, teeth scraping along Nate’s side, hand sliding up around his neck to pull him back down into a bruising kiss. Nate loses track of time again while Brad kisses him, and kisses him some more, until suddenly it’s after 11.

“I have to go,” Nate pants into Brad’s mouth, “I’ll miss the last train.”

“There’ll be more tomorrow,” Brad breathes, “just stay.”

Nate’s brain ticks off the reasons why he shouldn’t, but his mouth doesn’t bother to give voice to any of them. All he says out loud is mmmkay, against Brad’s neck.

 

+ + +

 

The seats are all taken when they board at Stadium-Armory, later than usual, coffee and tea in hand. Nate imagines his paper on his doorstep in Capitol Heights, unopened, and thinks oh well, thinks that’s what the internet’s for.

Nate finds a spot next to a pole and wraps his hand around it. Brad positions himself half beside and half behind Nate, arm over Nate’s shoulder to grip the pole just above Nate’s hand, body angled against Nate with intent.

Nate can feel the thrum of arousal under his skin, the urge to turn into Brad and pull their bodies together, to feel the solid bulk and heat of him, like they didn’t just jerk each other off under the hot spray of the shower less than 45 minutes ago, like his lips aren’t raw and puffy from making out all night and again all morning, like he doesn’t feel a twinge in his ass for every step he takes.

He wonders if it’s possible to develop an addiction to a person, rather than to a substance. He’s wearing Brad’s shirt, Brad’s tie, Brad’s underwear, and he smells like Brad’s shampoo and Brad’s soap and Brad’s detergent. He’s not sure how he’s going to get anything done at work today, at all.

They sway and bump together as the train makes its way along, for 23 minutes, until the Foggy Bottom-GWU signs slide past the windows.

Brad leans in to put his mouth against Nate’s ear.

“Tonight?” he growls, a question they both already know the answer to.

Nate turns, gathers himself and grins up at Brad.

“You make me dinner, then I’ll make you beg?”

Brad’s smile is wide and white, and laced with heat.

“I look forward to watching you try.”