Elegant monsters are monsters still, and Gansey has always known that the more honorable beast was the one who didn’t pretend to be anything but what it was. Lustful and bloodthirsty.
He is a liar ; he cannot stop.
Blue calls on the phone. He can’t sleep. Blue calls on the phone. He grips his thighs so tightly they bruise, trying not to take himself in hand after she hangs up, every single time. He tears at his own hair and thinks of the shapely curve of her legs.
He is going out of his mind, and he can’t show it. Can’t disrupt the balance they’ve found with his selfishness.
He’s alone in Monmouth, Ronan off at the Barns and Noah… off in the ether. He paces for as long as he can stand, trying to ignore the sizzling desire and the fear and the everything he’s feeling.
He paces for as long as he can stand, and when he cannot stand it a second longer, a step more, he gets his keys and ignores that he’s still in his wireframes and pajamas in favor of going to her.
Her. The Pig. Both Excalibur and Nimue. A monument to the half-mythic figure Ronan liked to soliloquy about, Gansey On Fire, the side of himself he could no longer afford to let loose with any real frequency. Adam did not need his reckless self, unthinking of consequences and feelings. Ronan did not need a partner in crime, someone lax on the leash. Blue did not need someone selfish enough to throw themselves onto the sword that was her lovely mouth just for the pleasure of a few seconds’ touch.
No one needed
Gansey the Boy,
so that boy was suffocating beneath the layers of
Gansey the Scholar, Gansey the Disapprover,
Gansey the King.
He sped through the streets of Henrietta with his hands whiteknuckled on the steering wheel; street racing was all Ronan’s domain but this wasn’t racing. This was fleeing, madly speeding past his own demons. Leaving everything behind except his bones and the Pig, two bodies melting into one at speeds of over a hundred miles an hour.
He wasn’t racing and so he avoided the usual hotspots for Aglionby students and their fast plastic cars, avoided having to face anyone who might notice the fire in his eyes, the flush high and hectic in his cheeks, the innate otherness of this particular iteration of him.
He wasn’t looking out for trouble, and so he was surprised when trouble found him.
Kavinsky had replaced his dreamt-up moon-white Evo with a newer-model one the color of blood, bought off a lot and not dragged into existence via extensive trial and error combined with more pills than a mid-sized pharmacy kept stocked. In the rear view mirror it was an ugly thing, more visceral than its predecessor had been. Gansey clutched his steering wheel tighter and bit the inside of his cheeks bloody to keep in the wildish war-whoop that wanted to escape.
Kavinsky veered around to the right lane, rolled his window down so he could bellow out of it. "Dickyyyyyy!” He shouted, grinning with all his teeth. They’d left Henrietta behind and found themselves on a dark stretch of highway, illuminating the wasted countryside full of kudzu and emptiness. No man’s land. Nobody but them for miles.
It was, Gansey reflected, not the best situation to be in.
Kavinsky evidently disagreed, or maybe agreed— it was hard to tell, because he swerved deliberately until Gansey had to slam on the brakes and turn the wheel desperately to control the spin as he was flung from the road, fishtailing wildly on the uneven ground as the Mitsu’s wheels screamed rubber murder against the blacktop where it was doing its own mad skidding dance.
Gansey flung himself from the car with his blood up, roaring in his ears. Maybe he was roaring too. He couldn’t tell, with his face white and cold in his fury, his fists clenched. He didn’t know how he got from the Pig to the Mitsubishi. He didn’t remember stalking across the dark ground that separated them, only what he did when he got there.
Ronan had taught him to fight, when they were younger and more reckless. When they both craved the taste of blood in their mouths and didn’t know how to suppress the urge to make it happen. Ronan had never perfected it; Gansey had, and as a result he’d been frothing for a good fight for years, it felt like. And now here was Kavinsky, laughing with all his teeth as he staggered out of his own car, practically drunk with it.
Gansey felt like all of him was an exposed nerve. He hit Kavinsky the way Ronan once had, a right cross that broke the skin of his knuckles on one of Kavinsky’s high cheekbones.
Kavinsky kept laughing, but punched Gansey back, sloppily and with too much force, like no one had ever taught him to fight. Like he’d learned from shitty examples. It hurt but made it easy to twist Kavinsky’s arm behind his back until a little extra force would’ve separated joint from socket with the satisfying crack that Gansey remembered from a fight he’d seen between Declan and Ronan, after Niall had died.
(Declan had groaned, thin and low, an animal noise; it was disturbingly similar to the sound that Ronan made when he was furtively getting himself off in the next bed over. Gansey thought maybe that was why the wires had crossed in his brain, why he got achingly hard every time he remembered the event afterward.)
Kavinsky kept laughing. Gansey let him go like he’d been burnt, hard in his soft pajama pants that suddenly felt as abrasive as sandpaper.
He didn’t want to touch; he wanted to be touched. He set his jaw.
Kavinsky looked at him like he’d found something precious and astounding without even intending to. Giddy, nearly— his usual nastiness taking on an edge of amused awe. It was terrible. It made Gansey feel literally on fire.
He couldn’t help how he reacted to it; Kavinsky had made a career of being hideously attractive to youthful social exiles living on the knife’s edge that separated self destructive tendencies and self destructing. He knew how he looked. He knew how he sounded. He knew, as he ran his tongue lasciviously over his teeth while his eyes seared into Gansey’s overheated skin, everything.
“That how it is, Dick?” It was a purr, for all that Kavinsky’s septum had deviated from cocaine usage by the time he’d been fifteen, leaving him permanently nasally. Permanently sneering. This was… not that.
Gansey’s hands were sweating. He remembered a story of temptation— once attributed to Glendower but later shown to have been grafted from an earlier story of a French king-that-ought’ve-been, something with blood and horses and— and Kavinsky tucked his fingers into the front of both his boxer briefs and pajama pants to haul Gansey forward with them, close enough to count each of his eyelashes.
He swallowed thickly.
“Yeah,” Kavinsky went on, as if Gansey had replied in words and not Morse-coded blinks. “That’s how it is.” He grinned, not entirely unfriendly but absolutely wolfish.
Gansey swallowed again, and Kavinsky leaned in like he might kiss him. It was almost an absurd thought, Kavinsky kissing him like, like he thought about kissing Jane— kissing Blue— and just as Gansey had wrapped his mind around the image Kavinsky ducked down to breathe against his neck instead, lips hovering over his trembling flesh, teeth entirely too close to his jugular.
It was more intimate than a kiss. It was terrible. Gansey was horrified. He was disturbed.
He was twisting his hands into Kavinsky’s tee shirt and pulling him closer.
“Get off me,” he snarled even as he threw his head back, exposing more skin for Kavinsky to menace, to breathe on, and god he’d known that he was, in the popular vernacular, fucked up, but this was reaching new heights.
He thought vaguely of a line from one of Ronan’s favorite songs (that was to say, dire and worrisome and full of crashing guitar and raw-throated screams) anyone will do tonight.
Kavinsky wasn’t giving up the advantage he’d gained, anyway— he bore Gansey down into the backseat of the Evo with the practiced grace of someone who’d lain more than his fair share of broad-shouldered Aglionby students out for ruination. Gansey bit his own lips and snarled furiously like a feral cat the whole time even as he writhed and pushed his hips up for friction. He would rather die than admit that he wanted this, wanted Kavinsky, but just as much he’d rather kill Kavinsky than tell him to stop.
For the first time in months there was no Blue in his mind— for the first time in years there was no worry twisting his gut and no Glendower chasing every other train of thought in his head— there was only Kavinsky’s hands and Kavinsky’s mouth, which had descended in all its toothsome, wicked glory to bite at his jaw, his sternum— even his triceps, flexed from how he was bracing himself against the door.
“Talk so fuckin’ fancy and all you wanna do is give it up, huh, fuck,” Kavinsky was muttering, so pleased, and Gansey swore viciously at him, insulting his mother and his homeland and his stupid fucking baseball cap that was still on his head, turned around backwards like he was living in an episode of Friends, so gauche it made Gansey’s teeth ache.
Kavinsky pulled back to grin, the light from the dash tinting him red. He was the devil above Gansey, bright-eyed and victorious. Gansey groaned, half-horrified and wholly-aroused.
“Gonna let me fuck you, Dick?” It was obscene. Kavinsky’s mouth formed the words and for a second Gansey didn’t even understand them, they were so absurd.
“You— go to hell, Kavinsky—“ he wound himself up enough to say, spitting mad, furious that Kavinsky would even suggest it, would even put the thought into his head, because now it was all he could think, all he could see behind his eyelids, a loop of nonsensical pornographic fantasy that had his thighs trembling in want and his stomach heaving with nausea.
“I can stop,” Kavinsky said then, eyes glowing, grin widening, drawing backwards like really was going to go, like he really was going to leave Gansey like this, rock-hard and desperate.
“No—!” Gansey all but shouted, coming up off the seat to grasp any part of Kavinsky he could reach, realizing too late that he’d been played, Kavinsky laughing and looking more horribly satisfied than decency allowed.
“S’what I thought," he mumbled, and then he was leaning back far enough to yank down Gansey’s pants, his underwear, tossing them down onto the floorboards to join Gansey’s glasses and shirt and dignity.
He fished around beneath the passenger’s seat and came up with a half-empty tube of lube and an entire strip of condoms, which told Gansey everything he’d never wanted to know about Kavinsky, his pack of dogs, and the breadth of Kavinsky’s experience. He couldn’t find it in himself to complain much, not with Kavinsky’s fingers long and thin and clever pressing into him, covered with slick and pressing.
He’d never— he hadn’t done this, had relegated it to the rotation of silent, shameful fantasies that only came out when he was running on less than two hours of sleep and needed something to make his mind go quiet, go still.
He’d never done this, and so he was unprepared for the final act of it— for Kavinsky pressing into him not just with fingers but with his cock, and finally there was really nothing but this, but his eyes rolling back in his head and Kavinsky’s tongue in his mouth, too lewd to be called a kiss, Gansey’s legs open and folded back to his own chest, Kavinsky’s ridiculous gold chain tapping their chins with each thrust.
Gansey groaned, his mind quiet. Nothing but this. Nothing else but this.
“Fuck, fuck,” Kavinsky swore, too far gone in the mindblowing pleasure that had come not just from getting his dick wet but from conquering, from getting Richard Gansey III on his fucking back, fucking the superiority out of him, fucking everything out of him until he was nothing but a mess of heaving breaths and sweat and heat. Just a body. Just a boy. Not a king.
Not better than him.
"Gansey," he very nearly wept, closer to vulnerable than he’d been since he was six years old, no derogatory nicknames and no anger and no amusement, just Dick Gansey beneath him and he’d wanted this for so fucking long, hadn’t let himself think about it because to imagine it was to admit that it was never going to happen, but Henrietta had apparently frozen over in the night and here he was.
The aftermath of car sex was always less exciting, less glamorous, than the actual act itself. There was dried sweat making your skin stick to leather seats, aches and pains from being twisted up like a fucking pretzel and knocking into every sharp corner you could find, the knowledge of what you’d just done inescapable when the person you’d done it with was close enough you could still feel their body heat radiating, confined like a coffin.
Gansey winced as he sat up, fumbling his clothes back on. Kavinsky had wandered out to lay on his back in the road, cock hanging soft and indolent from his unzipped jeans and Gansey’s semen streaking up his stomach. A few drops had gotten onto his necklace. He was still wearing the fucking hat. He laughed, incredulous and soft, every few seconds like he couldn’t help it. He was as boneless and guileless as Gansey had ever seen him, the cat who’d gotten the canary.
He limped past, intending to leave and put this - all of this— behind him. As he passed, Kavinsky’s hand shot out viper-quick to wrap around his ankle.
“This was fun, Dicky,” he cooed, doing something oddly sexual with his thumb and the knob of Gansey’s fibula. Gansey thought that perhaps he’d suffered some sort of mental break— that Kavinsky had induced it for his own sexual gratification. His cock twitched in his pants and he winced from the overstimulation.
“Let’s do it again never,” Gansey proposed disdainfully, glaring down his nose, and shook off Kavinsky so he could walk back down to where he’d left the Pig in the dark ditchline.
Kavinsky’s answering laugh echoed, and when Gansey drove back into town he could still see him, sprawled out in the road, in his rearview mirror.