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April 11th, 2017, 19:08


“Jesus, Jordi, where the hell did you find that?”

“It’s fucking Vegas, Aiden, you can buy shit like this at the corner store.” Jordi grinned at him, twirling the flogger in one hand. It was pitch black and made of real leather, unsurprising given Jordi’s taste for the finer things. All the same, Aiden could nearly smell the cheap plastic of the flogger Damien had used on him once, and he eyed it with suspicion.

“I thought we’d agreed on no hitting,” he said warily, setting his beer down on the counter. They’d been together in Las Vegas for less than two hours and already Jordi was coming back up to the room with sex toys. Not that he objected to sex toys, in theory, but he’d been hoping to finish unpacking first.

“Yeah, we did.” Aiden blinked at the easy agreement, then blinked again when Jordi held out a hand imperiously. “Give me your arm. Listen, I’ve been paying attention—don’t look at me like that, you’re the fucking dunce in this relationship—I’ve been paying attention and you don’t like heavy impacts. I smack you on the shoulder or flick you in the neck and you don’t give a shit, but if I socked you, you’d get all mad.”

“I know this comes as a surprise, Jordi, but people generally don’t like getting punched,” Aiden said, holding out his arm anyways. He was pretty sure he knew where this conversation was going, but he could never be positive with Jordi.

“Shut up, you know what I mean. So, you don’t like heavy stuff, that means no whipping, no paddling, no spanking. You said you don’t like flogging either, but Brenks didn’t even teach you how to safeword, so he probably shoved the thing up your ass or something, right? Right. Just tell me if this a hard no still.”

Aiden choked on a laugh, then hissed as Jordi brought the flogger down on his arm with a whistling crack. It… didn’t hurt as much as he’d been anticipating, a sharp bright note of pain that faded quickly and left only faint red marks behind. Jordi was watching him intently as he flexed his hand. Maybe Damien had hit harder. Or maybe Aiden hadn’t been in the right headspace to remember what Damien had been doing—he certainly couldn’t remember the exact sequence of events that had led to him pinning the man with his arm nearly broken.

Jordi set the flogger down, then smoothed one palm up over the skin of Aiden’s arm, rubbing the welts until they disappeared completely. Something about the touch helped ease the tight ball of anger and hurt in his chest, pulling at the threads of it until it unraveled.

The flogger didn’t hurt any more than Jordi’s teeth and nails did—less, honestly. It wasn’t like the hard impact of flesh on flesh and the bone-deep bruises that would follow, and it didn’t carry the acidic taste of fear and resentment that Aiden remembered. After a couple more seconds of consideration, he nodded slowly.

“It’s not a no,” he said, holding up a finger before Jordi could get too excited, “but it’s not a yes either. I’m not sure. It just feels different when you do it.”

“I’ll take that.” Jordi gave his arm a final once over, then let it go. He grabbed the flogger—and the plastic bag it had emerged from—on his way back to the bedroom, whistling cheerfully. His bags had already been unpacked by the time Aiden had gotten to the resort and valeted the car he’d driven from Salt Lake City. This had been something spur of the moment, Jordi calling him up at two in the morning to ask him if he wanted a vacation, then telling him where to go when Aiden had said yes.

It wasn’t a vacation, not really—Jordi had a job and Aiden had one of the small-fry buyers in the same vicinity—but it was as close as they were getting. A couple weeks in Vegas with only a few spats of violence and as much time as he could want with Jordi. Which might not be as much time as they had, depending on how often Jordi was going to be an ass, but Aiden was willing to take the risk.

Things had been… not nice, but comfortable for the last few months. It wasn’t like they travelled together; Jordi had global mobility and picked up jobs in groups when he stopped over in a city, so he had a lot of scheduling issues, while Aiden’s work was tied directly with the movement of traffickers across the nation and couldn’t be planned that far in advance. But sometimes they would end up in the same city together for a couple nights, and things would be good. He could sleep again.

Sometimes things didn’t work out, and he couldn’t, but that was a risk they took. ‘Commitment’ was as foreign a notion as ‘staying safe’ in their line of work. Casual, easy, no-strings-attached, that was how you did it.

And if driving over four hundred miles for a weekend getaway wasn’t any of those things, well, Jordi hadn’t said shit about it, so Aiden wasn’t about to either. Even if he had noticed that this suite had a balcony so he could smoke when Jordi hated anything with potential access points like that. Maybe they were both playing this game, never giving voice to things so that they didn’t run the risk of ruining it.

Or maybe he was overthinking. It could go either way.

Fuck it. They weren’t in Vegas so he could spend the whole time trying to decipher Jordi’s motives. That was just asking for a headache, and there were a lot more things he could be having fun doing to get a headache that size. Aiden downed the rest of his beer and set the bottle next to the sink. He’d finish unpacking and then see what Jordi had in mind for the evening—the man was practically vibrating with excitement, so ‘casual exploration of toys’ wasn’t the only thing up his sleeve.

Sure enough, Jordi was fussing over something with the mattress. Aiden leaned over to get a look, then shook his head and continued on to his bag, pulling out the rest of his clothes; he’d already grabbed his laptop and set it in the front room, but he hadn’t bothered to do more than that. Jordi would have a plan for where to put their guns, so he’d wanted to wait before getting serious when it came to unpacking.

“You’re going to love this,” Jordi said, finally bouncing back from the mattress. ‘This’ was apparently wrist and ankle cuffs run up under the mattress, with enough slack that they could actually fit around the king-sized mattress. Most of the time, Jordi used rope or various pieces of clothing. It was definitely a change.

“Getting awful serious. Flogger, cuffs… what’s next, you got a chastity belt too?” Aiden grinned at the look Jordi gave him, then hefted the bag of guns and raised his eyebrows. Jordi jerked his head towards the dresser, which was already fairly well stocked when Aiden started opening drawers. He stowed his own guns away, frowning a little at the buildup in the slide of his pistol, then dumped the bag next to the dresser. “So, why are we in Vegas?”

“Got a guy I need to kill, I told you. Jesus, you need to get your ears cleaned or something, you’re going deaf already.” Jordi ambled over, making a disgusted noise at the state of Aiden’s guns.

“Uh-huh. But you’re pulling out all the stops, which means this isn’t just a job thing. I just want to know why Vegas specifically.” He lifted his hands up in surrender and stepped away from the dresser. It wasn’t that he didn’t clean his guns—Aiden tried to set aside time for it whenever he could. It was that he didn’t clean them after every single job like Jordi did, so they performed a little worse, and that deeply offended the fixer. Not really anything that Aiden noticed, not unless he’d skipped several weeks and they started jamming, but Jordi was the one who liked to do most of his jobs from half a mile away. Less room for error, probably.

Jordi made another noise of great disdain as he checked the pistol himself, then spun on one heel and grabbed Aiden by the front of his t-shirt. Aiden let himself be dragged forward, rolling his eyes as Jordi slipped a hand into one of his back pockets. It would have been a lie to say that he wasn’t enjoying this.

“So! Why Vegas. Now there’s a story and a half—you really want to hear all this? Just warning you, it’s long and most of it involves people dying, but it’s not like I’m against talking about it, I just don’t know if you want to hear it.  But you know what? You asked, and I don’t really care about your feelings on the matter, so it all started when—”

Aiden kissed him, because that was the only way to get Jordi to shut up and he was pretty sure that was what Jordi was angling for in the first place. From the way Jordi’s lips curved in a smile against his, he’d guessed right.

The hand in his pocket squeezed as Aiden broke off the kiss and hooked two fingers in one of Jordi’s belt loops. “You’re diverting. Come on, give me the real reason. You have family here or something?”

That was a terrifying thought—Aiden had always thought that Jordi emerged from seafoam or something equally arcane, some demigod of violence. Jordi just… didn’t seem like the kind of guy to have a family. He was so removed from everything and everyone else. What kind of people would raise a kid like that?

From the disgusted noise Jordi made, he found the idea equally abhorrent. “Ugh, no. You’re the worst. Nah, it’s simple: who the fuck is going actually believe that you’re here? I mean, come on, there’s got to be at least three impersonators who do stripteases in your hat, literally everyone here looks almost exactly the same as you do, and all the pretty lights are so goddamn distracting that no one would look at you twice anyways. So you don’t have to be paranoid and shit. I mean, be a little paranoid, that’s just healthy, but don’t be… you know.”

Jordi waved a hand vaguely, attempting to encompass the whole of Aiden’s frustrations with surveillance. It shouldn’t have been surprising, but it was somehow—he’d never really looked at his own safeguards as something Jordi would recognize, much less try and work around. It was like the balcony, something minor that Jordi was doing without thinking, unaware or uncaring of how much it actually meant to Aiden.

Maybe it shouldn’t mean that much. Maybe he was reading into things again, assigning ulterior motives where there weren’t any.

Aiden pushed the thoughts away, pulling Jordi close to kiss him again. There wasn’t any reason to overthink it. This was the first time they’d gotten to see each other in over a month, and he was going to enjoy the chance to indulge a little. He got another squeeze for his efforts, then Jordi started steering him back towards the bed, exchanging lazy open-mouthed kisses until Aiden’s legs hit the edge of the mattress.

Jordi’s hand slid out of his pocket as Aiden let himself fall backwards, grabbing the hem of his shirt as he did. He yanked the whole thing off, tossing it across the room and starting in on his pants; above him, Jordi was shedding clothes just as fast, dumping his suit jacket on the floor along with his shirt and undershirt. By the time Jordi had his pants shoved down his thighs, Aiden had already kicked off his shoes and jeans and was impatiently reaching for Jordi again, trying to drag him down to the bed too.

Jordi came easily, shoving Aiden up further as he tangled his fingers in dark brown hair. If their kisses earlier had been sweet, this one was anything but—Jordi’s teeth caught his lower lip as Aiden groaned, hooking a leg over the other man’s hip. It wasn’t like this every time they first got together again, Jordi biting his way into Aiden’s mouth as Aiden raked blunt nails over his skin, but most times? Most times they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other, frantic grabbing and half-desperate rutting. Sometimes, they didn’t even make it to the bed.

Aiden would feel worse about it if he didn’t know they had weeks to take it slow once they had it out of their systems.

“Fuck, I bet you’re tighter than a nun,” Jordi breathed, nipping at Aiden’s jaw as he rolled their hips together.

“That’s disgusting,” Aiden said, though he couldn’t work up any real outrage. He was too busy hooking an arm around Jordi’s shoulders, hauling him closer as his other hand reached down between them. No lube, but that was fine—Jordi wouldn’t mind it a little rough.

“You like it.” Jordi kissed him again, thrusting his tongue into Aiden’s mouth before he could protest. Not that he wanted to, except as a token argument against Jordi’s awful sense of humor. It was one of the things that was growing on him.

He grunted as Jordi hauled his hips up higher, hand jostled where it was wrapped around their cocks. With each roll of Jordi’s hips, the heat between them ramped up higher, precome slicking over Aiden’s fingers as he stroked them hard and fast. Jordi kept throwing him off rhythm, kissing him like he never wanted to breathe again and rutting into Aiden’s hand like it had been years since he was touched last, not just a month.

It made him feel wanted. It made him feel powerful.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Aiden gasped against Jordi’s lips, his hand tightening around them both as his back arched. Already, lighting was firing through his nerves, heat pooling in his gut as his muscles tensed in anticipation.

Jordi groaned, their cocks rocking together as he jerked his hips. The hand in Aiden’s hair tightened, dragging his head back as Jordi pressed into him, his other hand raking nails over the curve of Aiden’s ass.

It was too much, too fast, Jordi not even kissing him anymore because he was too focused on grinding as his rhythm faltered; Aiden moaned as he came, his fingers squeezing them both tight. Jordi was only seconds behind him, shuddering as his hips stilled and he collapsed on top of him, burying his face in Aiden’s neck as he gasped softly.

For a few seconds, Aiden could barely remember how to breathe. Eventually he pulled his hand free, dragging his come-stained fingers against the covers. The housekeeping staff had probably seen worse.

It was embarrassing, how quickly they’d managed to get lost in each other like that, but at least he wasn’t alone—if Aiden was going to nearly come in his pants like a teenager, Jordi would be right there with him. The thought made him smile as he wrapped his arms more firmly around Jordi’s neck, ignoring the sticky mess pressed between them for the moment.

“Ugh,” said Jordi, untangling his fingers from Aiden’s hair and shifting his hands down to firmly squeeze Aiden’s thighs. Despite his noise of distaste, he made no move to climb off, instead pressing his face into Aiden’s neck and mouthing at the skin there.

“Forgot the condoms too.” Aiden’s smile widened at the derisive snort Jordi gave him. Stupid to be so happy over something like frantic, needy, just-saw-you-again sex, but he liked these little indications that Jordi was just as desperate for him as he was for Jordi. It made him feel less alone in the wash of feelings—not that they were doing this with feelings in mind.

His smile faltered at that thought. Casual, he reminded himself. If he got in too deep, he wasn’t getting back out again—Damien had taught him that much. Jordi wasn’t the kind of guy who went for committed relationships anyways. The little gestures Aiden was reading into, those could be anything. Getting his hopes up was setting himself up for failure.

Ugh,” Jordi repeated, beard tickling at Aiden’s skin. “I’m clean at least, and I know you’re not fucking anyone else.”

That stung. Aiden thumped a hand against Jordi’s shoulder, then rolled his eyes at the snicker it earned him. “Alright, off. I want a shower and a smoke, in that order. And you’re heavy Jordi, have you thought about laying off the pizza?”

“I don’t need to take this kind of shit from you, mister ‘I haven’t eaten anything other than Quinkies in the last four months’.” Despite his grumbling, Jordi pushed himself up and off, popping his back as he stood. Aiden made a face at the mess on his stomach, then rolled off the bed and started back towards the bathroom.

It was as opulent as he expected, multiple sinks and a tub massive enough to fit both of them. Aiden had to hunt a little to find the toilet, but since the shower was big enough to fuck in too, he figured that was a fair trade off. Jordi’s soaps were already scattered across the first sink and a few in the shower, though there weren’t as many as Aiden remembered from the last time they’d met up. Maybe he was running low. Idly, he wondered where Jordi even found those—they weren’t in any of the supermarkets or convenience stores Aiden usually visited.

It wasn’t that he’d been looking for them, it was just that they had very distinctive packaging.

Behind him, Jordi started up the shower and gave him an absent-minded swat on the thigh. He’d had enough forewarning that he didn’t jump, but Aiden gave Jordi a dirty look in the mirror anyways. It went ignored. Typical.

“When are we going after your guy, anyways?” he asked, pushing away from the sink. Jordi was blocking the entrance to the shower while he waited for it to heat up, so Aiden wrapped his arms around him from behind and dug his chin into Jordi’s shoulder—payback, for all the times Jordi had done it to him. It earned him a surprisingly gentle elbow to the side, but not enough of one to make him let go.

“I’m not talking about work when I’ve still got your spunk all over my stomach and my back now too,” Jordi said, testing the water again.


“Fuck off, I mean it. I’m not talking business until we’re both wet and naked and touching each other all over. Two out of three isn’t enough. Grab my bodywash, will you?” Aiden snorted but pulled away, inspecting the mostly empty bottles for the right one.

By the time he found the right one, Jordi was in the shower and rinsing off. Aiden shut the door behind himself, basking in the surge of steam for a few seconds before passing the bottle over. Jordi grabbed his wrist and dragged him under the spray, giving him a long kiss before stepping out to start soaping himself up.

“Are we wet and naked enough yet?” Aiden dragged his fingers through his hair, tipping his head back as the hot water rinsed over him. The last time he’d tried to use his own soap while staying in one of Jordi’s hotel rooms, he’d lost it. For now, he’d just use whatever fancy shit Jordi insisted on.

“Still two out of three. You’re not touching me, now are you?” Jordi grinned at him, skating his fingers down his own chest and smearing bubbles over his muscles. It was absolutely infuriating that it worked as a distraction.

His eyes narrowed, then Aiden stepped out from under the spray and grabbed the bottle of body wash. Jordi was watching him with interest and sucked his breath through his teeth in surprise when Aiden went down on his knees in front of him and started lazily soaping up his calves. Two could play at that game.

“So,” Aiden said, a smirk on his lips, “you were saying?”

“Weeeell, now that you’re listening…” Jordi dragged the words out, then buried his fingers in Aiden’s hair. He tugged just hard enough to sting and grinned at the expression Aiden gave him. “His name’s Davide de Luca, some kind of internet celeb, and he’s been a pain in my ass. Seriously, he never stays in the same place long enough for me to catch up, it’s ridiculous.”

His hands skated up the backs of Jordi’s thighs, palms pressing into the firm muscle there. It was a shame that neither of them was up for a second round so quickly, because he had a hell of a view. “Sounds frustrating.”

“You have no fucking idea. I tried tracking him by his videos at first, but the motherfucker has them on a delay, and half his party announcements were ninja gigs five hours away from me—by the time I got there, he was dust in the wind.” The hand in his hair was petting now, thumb rubbing idly over the shell of one ear as Aiden pressed his face into Jordi’s hip, trying to avoid the drifts of suds on his stomach.

“But you’ve got a lock on him now?” he said, wrinkling his nose when soap managed to get in his mouth despite his best effort.

“I’ve got a lock on him,” Jordi said, scratching at the back of Aiden’s scalp for a second. “He’s going to be at a party in five days, an RSVP, miss-it-and-ruin-your-reputation kind of event. Fancy. So I know where he’s going to be ahead of time now, and I can actually set this up pretty instead of blowing up his fucking plane.”

Aiden barked out a laugh, then leaned back to spit more soap out of his mouth. Jordi took pity on him and shuffled back under the spray, holding his hands out to help Aiden to his feet. Once he was upright again, he leaned into Jordi’s chest, one hand braced on Jordi’s hip.

“Were you really going to blow up a plane?” he asked, obediently tipping his head forward when Jordi pushed and closing his eyes as he felt the other man start working shampoo into his hair.

“I was getting pretty goddamn close. I swear, the guy sleeps less than you do. But that’s our timeframe: five days, fancy party. I might need you do some digging for me, but I’ve got most of this wrapped up—it’s just been catching the fucker that’s been the problem. Rinse.”

He shifted under the spray, letting Jordi guide him, and squeezed his eyes shut tighter as the hot water and shampoo ran out of his hair. It was some of Jordi’s still, and it smelled like him, rich and slightly sweet. He wondered if it was another nearly empty bottle.

“So that’s five days of sweet fucking nothing for us to have fun with. And I’ve got this hotel booked for another week and a half after that. There’s a shitload of things to do here, so it’s not like we’re going to run out of entertainment before we run out of time.” Jordi finally stopped carding his fingers through Aiden’s hair and slid his hands down the muscles in his back, hands finally coming to rest at Aiden’s hips. At this angle, it was all too easy to lean in a little further and press his face into Jordi’s shoulder, the hot water pounding into the back of his neck and shoulders.

The bodywash Jordi used had that same rich-sweet smell, all the more evident because he’d just rinsed it off. It was different from the one he’d used last time, Aiden was nearly positive of that. He let his lips part, inhaled slowly, then gently bit down on the skin at Jordi’s neck, tasting honey instead of soap this time.

“You’re so fucking rowdy tonight,” Jordi said, but he didn’t sound unhappy about it.

“Only for you,” Aiden hummed in response, lips tracing a line up Jordi’s neck until he found his jaw. It didn’t take long for Jordi to turn his head and kiss him, soft and slow, neither of them paying much heed to the spray washing over them.

He didn’t know how long they stood there kissing. It could have been minutes. It could have been hours, though that wasn’t likely. Eventually, Jordi squeezed his ass and broke away, reaching past him to turn the water off; given that both of them were starting to prune by that point, it was probably for the best.

The towels were soft, plush, and entirely too comfortable. Aiden considered actually getting dressed, but the air outside was warm, the air conditioner wasn’t on too high, and Jordi showed no intentions of putting underwear on. More than likely, they’d end up naked and tangled together on the bed again anyways, so he just wrapped the towel around his waist, stopped in the living room long enough to grab the cigarettes out of the pocket of his jacket where it was slung over the back of a chair, then headed for the balcony.

He left the sliding door open a crack as he stepped out into the dry desert air and lit a cigarette, resting his elbows against the railing as he stared out into the sea of lights. The traffic had been something of a mess coming in, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. And there was an unnamable comfort to be found in looking at a city from this high up; it wasn’t a rooftop, and he hadn’t climbed here the hard way, but Aiden couldn’t help the slow curl of satisfaction in his gut. Too hot and too dry to be Chicago, but it felt like home all the same.

From behind him, the sound of the television came as Jordi found whatever channel he’d been looking for. Two weeks together, give or take, and only the one job—two, if Aiden counted his mark—to deal with. No distractions.

He took a drag on his cigarette and let himself imagine the possibilities.