Jack knew about the guy next door. He knew that he lived in a spacious condo with a circulating host of roommates and partners. In the month since he’d moved in, he had seen at least ten come and go. Some stayed for a night. Some a couple days. A few had been staying there since before he even arrived. It was... a weird kind of living space, but he was not one to judge.
Jack had only met the tenant twice. Once, when he stepped into the complex’s garden for a cigarette, the fawn spotted him on his balcony. Or rather, he was spotted. Chiron had called down to him to say hello. He was a naga, tail draped over the floor or the balcony. If he stretched out, he could have scooped Jack up easily. Thankfully, he didn’t. He wore nothing but a thin blue robe that accented his bright blue eyes. Long, dark hair was twisted into a braid over his shoulder.
The interaction was... nice. Until Chiron was called back inside by a female voice. Jack did his best to shake off a jealous blush. Of course he was straight. No one that attractive would bother showing interest in him.
Round two. There was definitely interest. Jack was getting his mail when he felt a hand brush his shoulder. He turned with a start to see Chiron grinning at him.
“Hey,” said the naga. “We’ve been neighbours for what, like three weeks? A month? I feel like I never see you.”
“I work nights,” Jack replied, smiling back. “Makes making friends kind of hard.”
“Where do you work?” he asked. Jack scooted our of the way to let the other into his mailbox. But Chiron seemed to have no interest in that. His eyes were fixed intently on the fawn, looking him over with… appreciation? Attraction? Jack couldn’t place it.
“Midnight shift at a coffee shop. Open 24/7. It’s kinda shit, but pays pretty well. Might be up for a management position in a few weeks.”
“Congrats!” Chiron said enthusiastically. He placed a hand on the other’s shoulder gently. Jack felt himself blush. “You ever get a night off?”
“Um… y-yeah, for sure. I get Saturdays off.”
“Okay, great. I’m having a get together this Saturday with a few friends. Here’s my number,” He handed Jack a slip of paper. That was pre-prepared wasn’t it? That had to mean something. “Text me if you can make it. Or if you need anything, of course.” The naga smiled widely, showing off a few sharp, gleaming incisors. “If your busy schedule allows, I’d love for you to come by.” Jack nodded, eyes wide.
“Yeah, I- wow, this is so kind of you. Yeah I’ll try to make it for sure!” Fuck, that was too eager. “I mean, I’ll do my best.” Chiron chuckled and ran a hand through his hair.
“Let me know either way. I hope we can become good friends.”
Which led him to tonight. Standing at his door, mustering up the courage to walk the five feet over to Chiron’s place. He had changed his shirt four times, taken two showers, styled his hair three different ways. It was now or never.
Jack took the plunge, sucking in a breath before exiting and knocking on Chiron’s door. It was answered by a short woman with dark hair and bright red eyes.
“Oh! Hi, you’re one of his… roommates,” Jack stammered. “I-I brought you guys some wine. I hope that’s okay.”
The woman grinned kindly and took the bottle.
“Jack, right? Yes that’s so sweet of you! Chiron’s been telling us all night about his new friend. Come on in, don’t be shy.”
He’s been talking about me? Jack thought. He stepped over the threshold and followed the woman inside. The condo was lit with candles. It was warm and stylishly decorated. Cloth wall hangings, little decorative vases and ornaments on shelves.
“I’m Geri,” said the women. “Bathroom is there. Bedrooms through there. And here,” they reached an adjoined kitchen and living area. “Here is the party.” The place was cozy. A huge sectional couch was in the living room with piles of pillows and blankets on the floor. A television screen was playing some 90s rerun. Geri went to the counter in the kitchen to open the wine. “Chiron, your friend is here,” she called.
The naga lifted his head. He’d been engaged in some deep conversation with a young man, but at the sight of Jack, his face broke into an excited smile.
“You made it!” He navigated over the pillows easily and pulled Jack into a hug.
“Yeah! I mean I said I would.”
“I know, but I was worried you’d bail,” Chiron said, pulling back to look the fawn over. “You look amazing.”
“And he brought wine,” Geri chimed, passing a glass to each of them. “You’ve got good taste, Chi.” Jack laughed, ducking his head.
“God, you guys are all too nice,” he said.
“You have no idea,” Chiron said. “Here, let me introduce you around.”
In a moment, Jack was swept off his feet. He met the three others living in Chiron’s condo: Geri, Pat, and Nicholas. His ex-boyfriend Adrian was also there with a new boyfriend, Cory. For a moment, Jack felt a sting of jealousy. But then, of course, the exes were absolutely civil and kind to one another. Cory and Adrian were delightful. Jack was immediately put at ease.
The evening was spent in pleasant, engaging conversation. Jack learned about Pat’s graduate studies and Cory’s job as an elementary school teacher. The group was… perfect. He never once felt out of place. And Chiron was at his side the entire night, pouring his wine, resting his hand on his knee. It was… it was so nice.
“Cory and I are gonna head home,” Adrian said, late into the night. “We’ve got brunch plans with my brother in the morning.”
“Oh, boo!” Chiron wailed, throwing a pillow at the pair. “Well fine then. Have some mimosas for me.”
“We will,” Adrian laughed. “Don’t stay up too late, guys.”
“We won’t,” Jack chimed. He was feeling a bit bleary from the wine, but ever cheerful. “It was so nice to meet you guys. We should hang out again.”
“For sure,” Cory said with a grin. “Chi will give you my number.”
The couple left. Pat was gently snoring in Nick’s lap. Conversation continued for a few more minutes until Geri pulled her roommates to their feet, insisting Nicholas take a shower before bed.
“You guys go to bed soon,” she called over her shoulder. “Chiron…” She turned and met his eyes. Something unspoken passed between them. The naga just chuckled and shook his head.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
And then they were alone.
Jack was resting comfortably in Chiron’s coils on the bed of pillows. He gently ran a finger over the scales, marveling in the way his scales caught the light.
“Are you glad you came?” Chiron asked. “Did you like them?”
“They were great,” Jack sighed. “Everyone was so nice… Adrian was just- wow. You know? And your roommates are awesome.” He paused, chewing his lip. “Hey, Chiron?”
“Are they just your roommates?” He blinked and looked over at the other. “I mean, you all seem really close. And there’s nothing wrong with it, I’m just-“
“You’re just curious.” Chiron chuckled and lifted the tip of his tail to stroke Jack’s cheek.“They’re my lovers, in a sense. They come and go when they please, using my space and my body as they like. Staying here is a kind of… release for them.” He paused. “They find me in a variety of ways. I help them unload their troubles, help them relax and let go of the outside world for a while.” Jack was blushing. The fawn nodded his understanding, but he was still a bit confused.
“So you all just like, fuck each other?” he asked. “Sorry, that was blunt. But like, do you?” Chiron laughed outright at that. His tail curled a bit tighter around Jack’s body in a comforting squeeze.
“Fucking is part of it, darling. I’ve got other ways of helping people relax .” He shrugged lightly. “I’m skilled with my hands, massaging people. And I’ve got access to a bit of magic that intrigues a lot of people.”
“You mean the hypnosis, right?” Jack asked, relaxing into the other’s warm grasp. “I know you can do it. And Adrian too, right?” Chiron nodded.
“And Geri, to an extent. But I’m the best at it, believe me.” Jack snickered at that, earning another squeeze. “My roommates like a certain lifestyle. Pat and Nick want nothing more than to just… submit for a while. And Geri likes a balance. She and I have some good fun… My point is, I have a lot of love to give, Jack. How do you feel about that?”
“I mean, when I… first met you, I thought you were straight and I didn’t stand a chance with you. But I guess knowing that is a comfort. And I mean, I think it’s… it’s kinda hot, you know?” He laughed nervously. “The whole thing… I have to admit, being hypnotized sounds like fun. But doing anything with you sounds fun.”
“Oh yeah?” Chiron smirked and crept a little closer over the pillows. “So if I kissed you, would that be fun?”
“I-I mean yeah! Yes. It would be.” Jack met the other’s eyes and smiled nervously. He took a breath, then leaned in, catching the other’s mouth. Chiron pulled him close, slipping his tongue into Jack’s mouth. The tail wove around Jack’s legs, holding him gently. Jack let out a soft moan and twisted his fingers into Chiron’s hair. This was nice. This was good. It had been so long…
“Could you do it now?” Jack asked, eyes wide. He was still so close to the other’s mouth.. “The hypnosis thing? Would you?” Chiron grinned.
“I could, little fawn… but I won’t. Not tonight.” Jack made a noise of protest. “You’re drunk. Believe me, it’s easier, and better, when you’re sober.” He kissed the fawn again tenderly, cupping his cheek. “This’ll give you some time to think it over properly. If this is what you really want… But you should know, Jack? I really want you.” His eyes glinted in the dying candlelight and Jack felt something go through him. He shivered. “I want you very much.”
“I want you too,” Jack murmured, trying to hold onto the second of bliss he’d felt. “But I understand… When can I see you again?”
“Give it a few days,” Chiron purred. “Then text me. Let me know if you’re completely infatuated with me yet.” Jack snorted and gave the other a playful shove.
“You’re cocky, aren’t you? You think after one night of kissing, I’m going to fall madly in love with you?”
“No. But I know you’ll fall in love with what you know is to come when you return to me.” There was that glint again. That tremble. “Let’s see how long you can stay away, little fawn. Until your curiosity gets the best of you. Or maybe your attraction to me will die when the sun rises. Who knows?”
“I highly doubt that. The more likely thing is I’ll be pissed at you for not fucking me tonight.”
“You’ll get over it,” Chiron said mildly. He gave the fawn another squeeze. “Do you think you’re in control of your faculties enough to get to your door? Or would you like me to carry you?” Jack almost let out another whine. He wanted nothing more than to stay snuggled up in the naga’s coils until the morning. But if they were to play a game, then he supposed this was the first rule.
“If I lied and said I was too drunk to walk, would you still carry me?” He grinned peevishly, playing with a few strands of Chiron’s hair. The naga laughed and smacked his hand.
“Yes I would. Because I’m a nice person.”
“Good. Then I’m a liar.”