“He’s deteriorating. Rapidly.” Dr. Strickland gravely explains to Horace, one of the senior guards and the only person in the entire headquarters besides the doctor who does not seem to be on the brink of losing his shit.
The doctor grimaces as Horace sniffs loudly, rubbing at his reddened eyes. He can’t believe this is happening. And out of nowhere. Geoffrey McCullum has a the most impressive body count out of all the guards. Dying in his sleep is definitely not how anyone would imagine him going.
“I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do but wait it out. Make him comfortable.” Strickland adds, raising a hand as if he means to comfort the other man, but he changes his mind halfway.
“What are you even doing here, then?” An annoyed Johnson demands from behind Horace, who turns to glare at the rookie.
“Go back inside,” the older guard orders and stares at Johnson until the rookie goes back inside McCullum’s room. To Strickland, Horace offers: “Sorry about that… the boy is really messed up by what’s happening. We all are.”
It is very late, way past five in the morning, and Thoreau Strickland has already stayed longer than he expected to. He is about to excuse himself when he hears the sound of hurried footsteps coming from the narrow stairway at the end of the hall followed by one or two voices calling out that whoever was coming up is not supposed to go there.
When Jonathan Reid appears at the end of the hall, Strickland immediately inquires:
“What are you doing here, Dr. Reid?”
If Reid was going to come anyway, what was the point of having the Strickland leave the hospital in the first place? The director arches an eyebrow, irritated, but Reid ignores his question in favour of asking:
“Is he there?”
He is looking at Horace when he asks, but it’s Strickland who replies:
“It’s not like he has anywhere to go, is it? Oi! Reid!”
Ever since Strickland took over the hospital direction, he is unused to being ignored. Nothing he could have said or done would have stopped Jonathan, however, as he rushes past Horace and him to enter McCullum’s room.
With an aggravated huff, Strickland follows him inside with Horace at his heels. He stops by the doorway, though, unable to comprehend what he is seeing straight away.
The guards inside the room shoot confused glances at Strickland and Horace as Jonathan sits on the bed next to the McCullum’s sleeping form. Jonathan does not have his suitcase or any instruments with him. But he moves with such certainty that no one dares stop him. That is, of course, until he decides to do the strangest thing, reaching for McCullum’s throat as if he is going to feel for his pulse, but the touch just lingers there for an instant as Jonathan stares into the hunter’s relaxed face with a concerned look in his eyes.
Murmurs erupt from around the room as Jonathan’s long pale fingers run through the week-old beard across the hunter’s strong jawline until he has his face cradled in the palm of his hand.
Beside Horace, Johnson asks:
“What is he doing?” Horace, in turn, looks at Strickland for an answer. The older doctor just shakes his head in disbelief.
Jonathan takes a deep breath. He sure hopes this works.
Decided to make it a worthy attempt, Jonathan leans over the hunter and presses his lips to Geoffrey’s.
He hear the gasps and outraged exclamations that surface around the room, but does not register them, overcome with how soft Geoffrey’s lips feel against his, how easily they part under pressure for the kiss to be more than a peck. Jonathan moves his chin, thumb digging into the man’s cheek, and is about to deepen the kiss when more than a few pairs of strong hands pull his off and away.
Next thing he knows, his back hits the wall on the far end of the room with a heavy thud. Around him, the guards demand to know what the hell he thinks he’s doing, molesting their dying leader. They yell at Jonathan, at Strickland, at each other, but Jonathan hears nothing.
He is distracted, after all, by the tiny movements on Geoffrey’s face, a confused expression forming as his eyes open for the first time in a week. It is the first time since he fell asleep that anything other than oblivious peacefulness has appeared on the man’s face and even though the emotions he sees there (confusion, astonishment) are not the most positive, Jonathan will take what he can get.
“Look!” Johnson calls out.
Breathless with relief, Jonathan smiles.
Geoffrey McCullum, taken aback for the commotion around him — he can’t recall a time anyone was this happy to see him awake — slowly moves to lay on his side for a second, face twisting into a pained grimace.
“Jonathan?” He calls, but Jonathan does not dare move as the guards rush to their leader’s side. “Fuck, my head…”
For the following minutes, the men whisper in rushed tones as they try to make Geoffrey more comfortable, helping him sit up, bringing him water. Jonathan stays put against the wall enjoying the waves of relief and incredulity that wash over him as the sky outside slowly becomes brighter.
It worked. He can’t believe it worked.
Geoffrey drinks greedy gulps of water from a glass as Strickland checks on him, remarking how completely astounding everything was.
“I could feel myself dying.” Geoffrey says after he finishes his water, voice rough from disuse. He looks around the room dazedly. “What day is it?”
“Saturday, sir.” Horace responds. “It’s been a week since you fell asleep.”
“Shut the fucking window…” Geoffrey orders as the rising sun threatens to reach Jonathan across the room. Their eyes meet, then, and for an endless moment, they just stare at each other.
Stubborn as he cannot help but be, Geoffrey stands up and bats his men’s hands away as they reach out to support him. Then, step by torturing slow step, he approaches Jonathan.
It’s like he’s dreaming again, unable to move as he takes in the image of Geoffrey. Awake. Walking around and swearing like a sailor. Have the hunter’s eyes always been this beautiful? They seem to eclipse everything else that is in the room, the entire world and the sun in the sky; Jonathan can barely think.
“Leave us alone.” McCullum barks when he is close enough to touch, dead-serious eyes never leaving Jonathan’s face.
Jonathan finds himself relaxing against the wall, posture going open and pliant. He wants to reach out, but worries that the guards will jump on him if he dares move at all.
“Sir?” Johnson asks in confusion. McCullum inhales noisily as if gathering patience and insists:
“Leave.” He sounds mad, but the huskiness in his voice does very peculiar things to Jonathan’s stomach. The Ekon is almost expecting a punch when he finally recognises what he is seeing in Geoffrey’s eyes as he barks a final order, “And close the goddamn door!”
Desire. Spine melting, mind-blowing desire like Jonathan has never had directed at himself before.
Jonathan is expecting a punch, but what he gets is a kiss.
It is nothing like the one he dreamt, though. For one, he can feel so much more. He can feel every breath Geoffrey takes, hear every beat of their galloping hearts.
The kiss starts in an agonizingly slow manner as Geoffrey touches his face, rough callused fingers grazing his eyebrows, the broad expansion of his forehead, down his temples until he finds the dark hairs of Jonathan’s beard. He looks at Jonathan as though he is seeing him for the first time ever. His touch then becomes more firm as their lips press together with the sort of care that makes Jonathan weak in the knees.
Jonathan lets out a sound that can only be described as a whimper, high pitched and desperate as he opens his mouth to receive the caress. Geoffrey’s lips are dry for no more than an instant before Jonathan eagerly licks at then. Geoffrey does not let him deepen the kiss, though, instead softening the contact so that their lips meet very delicately over and over again.
Meanwhile, Jonathan finally finds it him himself to reach out and touch the hunter, long fingers exploring the man’s strong neck as he feels his pulse hammering under tantalising skin. It makes him greedy, how open Geoffrey is to his touches as he smooths his palms over broad shoulders, down the soft shirt that covers his strong chest. There, he flattens his hand just to feel where Geoffrey’s heart is fluttering like a hummingbird inside his ribcage.
It’s good to know, Jonathan thinks.
He’s not the only one affected by their intimacy.
Tired of being teased, Jonathan grabs Geoffrey around the waist and spins them around in one fluid movement, pressing the hunter against the wall so that he can kiss him like he wants. It is easier than he expected and Geoffrey lets out a low chuckle before readily parting his lips for Jonathan’s eager tongue, a satisfied purr that sends a warm shiver down the Ekon’s spine.
Geoffrey is a good kisser, but the way he just lets himself be kissed makes Jonathan’s toes curl.
Geoffrey’s scruff tickles Jonathan’s lips in the best possible way and his mouth is deliciously hot. Jonathan wants to climb inside him and never leave, feeling more alive in this moment than ever felt.
And, technically, he’s not even alive.
When Geoffrey bites his lower lip, Jonathan starts:
“Geoffrey…” but he is not sure what he is asking. Not really.
Geoffrey chuckles again, dark and low, and rests his head against the wall, looking at Jonathan through clouded stormy eyes. Jonathan licks his lips in expectation, but is still too surprised to see Geoffrey awake after the past days.
“I can’t believe it worked.”
“What worked?” Geoffrey deadpans. He’s still smiling, unhurried and indulgent, and he looks so good Jonathan has to steal a quick peck.
“The… the kiss.” Jonathan whispers against his lips. “You don’t remember that?”
“Oh, I remember the kiss, all right. But I have the impression that I missed a couple of things…” Geoffrey elaborates in between lingering kisses, hands going around Jonathan’s slim waist. “One week, I’ve been out, they said…”
“But you’re all right now.” Jonathan says in a hurry. You are all right, his mind echoes. Everything is all right.
“Yeah, that I am. I’m guessing thanks to you…” He punctuates the sentence by bringing their bodies flush together. Jonathan lets out a shaky breath as their hips align, legs moving to tangle with Geoffrey’s. “So… what happened?”
Jonathan swallows thickly. Dizzy with blooming lust, he summarises:
“Ah, you know how the story goes. A witch, a sleeping hunter, true love’s kiss…”
“True love, huh?” Geoffrey mocks him, but his eyes are soft. “I fall asleep with a new old scarf and wake up with, what?, a boyfriend?”
Jonathan blushes. Can’t help it. He has Geoffrey’s hard-on pressed against his own and it’s the word boyfriend that brings all the blood he hasn’t been drinking rushing to his face.
“If… If that’s, you know, something you want.” Jonathan stammers and Geoffrey’s lips part against his in a pleased smile, but before they go back to kissing, Jonathan asks: “A new scarf?”
“I got it from an old lady at the flea market…” Geoffrey explains, hands pressing harder on the doctor’s waist as he circles his hips in a dirty roll that makes Jonathan’s eyelids fall to half-mast. If the hunter only knew the effect he has on him…
“An old lady?” Jonathan breathlessly asks as one of the hunter’s strong thighs fits right between his legs and presses in. “White hair? Grey eyes? Singing nonsense?”
“That’s the one. You know her?” Geoffrey’s mouth slides across Jonathan’s cheek until he reaches his ear, warm breath tickling as he teases: “Should I be jealous?”
Jonathan does not remember his ears ever being this sensitive back when he was just human, but the same could be said about the rest of his body. Maybe it’s Geoffrey, the masculinity that pours out of his every pore, something Jonathan’s never experienced before, had no way of knowing it would feel this… good. This right.
“Yeah, I know her.” Jonathan grunts, hands moving to slide under the soft pyjamas Geoffrey is wearing.
Sneaky little witch, that one.
“Still can’t believe you’re okay.” Jonathan whispers as Geoffrey’s stubbly chin drags over the sensitive skin of his neck. His throat catches as he tries to articulate, “I thought, for sure...”
Geoffrey lifts his head until they are face to face again, intense blue eyes tearing into Jonathan’s soul.
“There’s a lot I can’t believe here.” Geoffrey says very seriously, but then the corner of his mouth trembles towards a self-satisfied grin and he offers: “But kiss me again, and I might start to…”
Jonathan smiles back and acquiesces. Once. Twice. Until he loses count, until there is nothing left but who they are and what they are:
Happily ever after.