Assassin’s Creed, as it turns out, is too much stimulation for Harry’s silly putty brain. He has trouble with the story. He has doubts there is a story, but Cisco keeps insisting, keeps pushing and pouting with his lovely mouth. Harry would be willing to agree with him, but acquiescence doesn’t bring Cisco’s wild hand gestures and licked slick lips as close as Harry’s denial.
Harry could tell himself that there was a time, before dark matter ravaged his synapses, that he filled his head with better thoughts than how Cisco’s tongue would taste. Strictly intellectual pursuits. But the Harrison’s insist honesty is of the the utmost importance, especially within the crowded dark of one’s own mind. It’s only here that he admits, if only to himself, that his head has been running the schematics of Cisco’s body for years. There’s no point in pretending it’s only his current stupidity that careened him head first into this pitiful, pining thing.
“You just need to let your brain relax,” Cisco keeps saying. He’s saying it now, sitting close enough on Harry’s second hand store couch that Harry can leech at Cisco’s body heat. “So we can cross Origins off the list of things that let your brain chill out. That’s progress. That’s good.”
Harry wants to throw the controller across the room at the old flat screen Cisco gave him. Instead he white knuckles his fingers around the smooth plastic and wonders if Cisco would feel so slip slide smooth under his palm.
A snap of fingers snaps Harry from his blood lust. He blinks to see Cisco turning on his couch, teeth glinting fluorescent white, and Harry wants them gnawing his flesh raw and red. He wants, and lets out a deep, dull boned breath.
If there was ever a time to touch the divine, feel Cisco’s heart and blood and warmth like that, that time has already died. Lived, breathed, and gurgled under the slit of Harry’s own sharpness. Most of his chances faded the first time he told Cisco he was choosing an Earth he could barely breathe on over everything Cisco offered.
Whatever non-familial shaped part that Harry occupied in Cisco’s heart withered with Harry’s last betrayal. Harry suffocated it himself.
“I have an idea,” Cisco says, one foot bouncing on the ground. “My mom taught it to me.”
Harry bristles with cruelty. He wants to bleed it all over. Snap something about Cisco’s mommy so Cisco won’t look at him quite so earnestly. But he doesn’t want to give Cisco another reason to flinch from him.
“What?” Harry asks around a mouthful of iron. It weighs his tongue against his mouth, keeping everything he should say buried deep. He saw the way Cisco cowered from him. Knows Cisco is scared of him now and knows its his own fault and knows he can’t even apologize, can’t even promise he won’t do it again, because the truth is -
“Close your eyes.”
Harry swallows. He almost does it, instantly. He’s so used to bending under Cisco. It’s weathered him smooth. Cisco doesn’t see how small he’s squeezed Harry under his thumb. There have been plenty of people telling Harry to jump over the years, but he hasn’t stumbled to do it - to make new friends, learn compassion, be better - since he failed Tess the first time.
Exhaling, Harry clenches and unclenches his fingers. “Why?”
Cisco’s only explanation is a flat stare. Harry wishes the sour press of Cisco’s mouth made it less tempting, but that’s always been Harry’s favorite flavor.
Harry closes his eyes.
“Now I want you to not think.”
“Not a problem,” Harry scoffs.
“I mean it. You need to stop thinking so damn much. It’s too much pressure. You just need to do something on instinct. Without even thinking about it all.”
Harry sucks a cold breath through his teeth. It makes them ache. He holds onto it.
“Ramon.” His voice sounds helpless and shaky and dumb because the cardboard glue holding him together is melting. It has been for a while. He needs his intelligence. He needs to think. If he just went around, ruled by the always panicked, always hungry things in his gut, he would rip the world apart. He would - “I don’t think my instincts are very trustworthy right now.”
Cisco makes a disagreeing sound and keeps speaking, child stubborn. “You have to stop overthinking. You have to give in to your instincts, Harry. Just follow those and give your brain a rest, at least until Marlize has some good news for us.”
Cisco sounds so sure it makes Harry flinch. Makes Harry’s stomach quiver, not sick but not calm.
“I don’t - ”
“Shh,” Cisco says, voice soft, falling sweet over Harry’s exposed skin. Harry vibrates under the whisper. He can feel Cisco’s breath on his neck - not really, Cisco’s not that close, rarely gets that close, but Harry has swallowed against the sensation enough that he can recall it with an inhale. “Come on, Harry. Just breathe. Just let everything go.”
Harry squeezes his eyes tighter shut. Cisco doesn’t know what he’s telling Harry to do. Cisco doesn’t know that if the copper wires coiling all of Harry’s desperation tight snap, it will be Cisco that suffers.
“Don’t think. Don’t picture anything. Don’t even imagine anything. Just let yourself feel.”
Cisco’s voice is too strong. Harry tries to fight it, but he falls in sync with Cisco’s words, with Cisco’s breath. He can hear their chests rise and fall in harmony. They do this, more often than not, working shoulder to shoulder in the lab or sitting knee by knee while watching movies. Their lungs flutter together. Harry gives into it now.
“That’s it.” Cisco’s words are low and encouraging and Harry sinks into the warm water praise. This is the space he wants to fill. The cozy cut where Cisco is proud of him. Where he’s doing right by the man who’s done so much right by him. “That’s good, Harry. Just breathe with me.”
Harry obeys. He breathes until Cisco is all he can hear, all he can smell. Every loopy sense in his head expands with Cisco’s voice and cologne and exhales. Harry can almost taste Cisco’s sweat and body wash on the back of his tongue. All he needs now is Cisco against his fingertips, underneath them.
“Breathe. There you go. Don’t think about anything. We’re just here, okay? Just you and me. Just breathing.”
All of the buzzing insect thoughts, white hot thin and slippery, begin to slow. They fade as Harry lets Cisco loom bright and consuming in his head.
“Now go with your gut. No thinking. What will help you relax right now? What can we do?”
Harry’s tongue swells in his mouth. Images bubble mist like and burning in his head but he can’t say them. He can’t slice open his belly the way Cisco wants him to. It will only devastate Cisco, only hurt him, and as much as Harry wants to hurt him Harry won’t, can’t -
“What do you want, Harry? Don’t think about it, just say it. What do you need? Just say it. Say what you need. Tell me - ”
“Touch you.” Harry gasps it like he’s just cut through 20,000 leagues of water. His eyes open and every pore inflames, ashamed, and he takes a deep breath in the face of Cisco’s blinking eyes.
“Uh,” Cisco says, one hand curling around his own ankle. It draws Harry’s attention. He thinks about his hand closing over the same spot, holding Cisco open and apart. There’s no spit in his mouth when he swallows. “I - sorry. I think I misheard you. We can try - ”
Harry shakes his head. It’s touched the air now. It’s alive. There’s no point in trying to kill it now.
“I need to touch. I want to touch you.” Harry presses his fingers together. “That’s the first thing I thought of that I wouldn’t have to use my brain for.”
“Oh. Well that’s - not exactly where I thought you would go with that.”
“Sorry,” Harry mumbles. He tries to scrape himself together enough to stand. It’s his cheap apartment, but his feet are screaming at him to run. Maybe he can lock himself in his room. “I shouldn’t have - it was just the first thing that came to mind.”
He tries to stand, but Cisco’s hand slides from the delicate curve of his own ankle to Harry’s knee. The touch is a breeze. Light. Calming. It freezes him.
“Harry, it’s okay. I’m not mad. I’m not freaked out. Just. Just a little surprised.”
It’s Harry’s turn to blink. His skin pulls dry tight over his bones. “Surprised,” Harry repeats, staring at Cisco’s hand on him.
How long has it been since someone’s knee even knocked against his besides Cisco’s knee? How long has it been since he felt palm heat seep through his sweats?
“A little,” Cisco reminds him, smiling cotton soft and sweet. Harry’s stomach twists. “Come on, Harry. We’re both pretty tactile guys.”
Cisco squeezes his leg and dragons somersault in his gut. His bones shake.
“Yeah.” Harry barely knows what he’s agreeing to when Cisco’s thumb starts sweeping a heart attack over Harry’s leg. “Tactile.”
“Touching is a good mindless activity,” Cisco says gently.
But then Cisco stops. Harry fights not to give in to the instincts Cisco told him to bow to and yank Cisco’s hand back. He only has a moment to ache under the empty before Cisco scoots forward, taking Harry’s arms in his hands.
“We can. If you want. If you won’t be pissed later.”
Harry will be, but not at Cisco. He knows Cisco will suffer for it. Harry will recall the skin of Cisco’s neck between his teeth and the taste of Cisco’s moans and whatever face Cisco makes when he comes and he’ll splinter under the guilt. He’s never been above manipulating those around him to get what he wants, to avoid consequences, but he doesn’t want to twist Cisco into this. He won’t.
“Cisco.” All of the things he should say dance star like away from his tongue. Dying and out of reach. Cisco is still smiling at him as soft as morning and Harry is having trouble with no. With wait or not like this, Ramon. It’s not Harry’s mush brain that's making him forget how to speak.
Cisco’s fingertips slip to the tender back of Harry’s arms and press, just a breath of pressure, and Harry thinks he may break in half. The touch and Cisco’s smile urges Harry forward. Harry’s hands tumble against Cisco’s chest for balance. Cisco lets him. Lets him fumble and slide palms over collar bones and keeps pulling him closer.
Harry doesn’t even have the forethought to cup Cisco’s jaw, brush his knuckles over Cisco’s cheek. Every atomic kiss he saw Cisco and Cindy share started with her fingers cradling his cheeks. He always pictured kissing Cisco like that.
As he dips his head, every part of him sparking electric, one of Cisco’s hands curls around the back of his neck. Harry has one blinding, aching moment of anticipation. This is it, he thinks, this is it, this is it, he’s going to know how Cisco tastes under his tongue, he’s going to lick the sweet from Cisco’s mouth, this is it -
Until Cisco guides him into the crook of Cisco’s neck.
Harry blinks into a shadow. It disorients him for a few moments, leaving him spinning. He wonders if he’s supposed to start with the skin here. Pressing his mouth to Cisco’s pulse, dragging the tip of his tongue over the flutter. Sucking color onto Cisco’s flesh.
Then Cisco’s fingers scratch through Harry’s hair. It’s not foreplay. There’s no yank or pull and it’s not followed by any press of lips or other touches.
“I get you can’t say that you want to cuddle,” Cisco tells him, and Harry can hear the smile on his face. “But it’s cool. I know you’re a secret snuggler.”
And Harry’s dumb dumb brain finally puts it together. He wants to careen from the couch into a volcano. Cuddle. Cisco, sweet Cisco, strong hearted and beautiful and good, listened to Harry pant his most desperate want and heard that Harry wanted to hold him. Wanted to snuggle.
Harry squeezes his eyes and takes a deep, pulse shocking breath.
“I told you, Harry. It’s okay. Sometimes we just need to be touched. That’s human. It’s okay to be human.”
He wants to laugh. Maybe sob chest heaving weakness against Cisco’s skin. Anything to bleed out the hurt and ache and pain he feels. He told Cisco that he was desperate to fuck him, that it was the only thing to ease the whirlwind in his head, and Cisco interpreted the need as a quiet request for affection.
“We’re family, you know,” Cisco is telling him, still petting chills up and down Harry’s spine. “You can ask for whatever you need, whenever you need it.”
Harry curls his hand into Cisco’s t-shirt. Whatever he needs. His nose presses into Cisco’s neck and Cisco lets it happen, lets Harry press closer against his side, lets the fingers not in Harry’s hair sweep over his arm. Whatever Harry needs.
Harry needs - fuck, Harry needs, and every ache is bottomless. He needs Cisco to look at him, to not see Harry as family, to see him as more than that. He needs Cisco to need him back.
“Is this good?” Cisco asks, rubbing a palm between Harry’s shoulder blades. “Is this what you wanted?”
Harry releases Cisco’s t-shirt, slotting his fingers into the grooves of Cisco’s ribs. He feels Cisco breathe in at the same time he does.
“Yes,” Harry says, only half lying, but still deceptive enough that the familiar heartburn frays at his edges.
Cisco rests his cheek on the top of Harry’s head. “Good. A little platonic cuddle fest always makes me feel better, too.”
Then Cisco is reaching for the controller. His hands stop lighting up Harry’s insides long enough to switch the console he brought over from the game to Netflix. Harry uses Cisco’s account; still doesn’t have a bank account here, still pays his rent and groceries with cash. But Harry would probably steal Cisco’s anyway. He likes seeing what Cisco has been watching. Like they’ve been watching Cisco’s favorite cartoons together.
Harry could move. He doubts he could stammer that this isn’t what he meant. The idea of looking into Cisco’s sky smooth face and listing every dirtybadwrong way he wanted to sink his fingers into Cisco’s flesh, admit how he wanted to touch Cisco’s softest, pinkest skin, makes Harry’s stomach crease sick. But he could pretend that this is too much. That it isn’t working. Cisco would understand.
When Cisco chooses something for them, he settles back, wrapping his arm around Harry’s shoulders.
Harry is tempted to lean forward when he speaks, let his mouth brush Cisco’s pulse point. He stays where he is when he rasps, “You stopped.”
“Hmm?” Cisco doesn’t move.
“My hair,” is all Harry can grit. “You stopped.”
Cisco laughs, but it’s a kind sound. His fingers card through Harry’s hair in the next breath.
They stay like that. Harry is pressed still, contained by Cisco’s touch and his own aching shame. The thought that Cisco’s little trick actually worked flutters along with every other thing he’s trying to ignore. He’s letting go. Not thinking of his own hurt and embarrassment.
Giving in to his instincts, he presses himself closer, clutching at Cisco’s side. Cisco sighs. Holds him tighter.
Eventually, Harry stops thinking altogether.