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Minty Fresh

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                Jehan wants to scream all the way home. The February weather is depressing as hell, and that, coupled with being stuck in the trench-like clusters of gray buildings and endless sea of black winter coats, makes him shrink into himself, makes his heart stutter against his rib cage. He runs out of the office as soon as he can—damn editors’ meetings, he loathes them—and heads down into the subterranean hell that is the train station. The wind—fuck this city, why does it become a wind-tunnel for five months of the year—whips down the high collar tucked around his throat and he swears under his breath, pulling it back up tight and shoving his hands into the deep pockets of his coat as he enters the station. He thanks a god he doesn’t believe in that he had the presence of mind to load money onto his card last weekend before shoving it into the slot in the turnstile and waiting for the machine to spit it back out at him.

                His entire body practically vibrates with pent-up aggravation as he stands on the platform, waiting for the train to scream into the station. The brightly colored posters plastering the station’s walls and the low, incessant hum around him that seems to build with each passing moment certainly don’t help. His fingers itch for a cigarette but noooo, he can’t, he promised Courfeyrac that he wouldn’t do that anymore because “every cigarette takes eleven minutes off your life, Jehan, and I’d like all those minutes, please”. With a squeal of metal and a rush of air that smells like oil and rot, his train arrives, and he stumbles aboard alongside the rest of the mass huddled behind the yellow line.

                The ride passes in its usual blur and he leans slightly with the movement of the car, his arm slung around a pole as he pokes away at the emails that have accumulated on his phone throughout the day. They’re nothing important and that just sends another spike of irritation through him, fucking waste of his time. He feels like a hornet, all short-tempered and mean, and his body-language reflects this, the tight posture a warning to stay the fuck away or I will sting you. Inadvertently, he catch snippets of hundreds of cell phone conversations, mostly parents checking on their kids or students checking up with other students. “Hi, Mark. Did you finish your homework? And feed Charlie? Mmhm.” “Dude, are you grabbin’ the keg on the way back or do I need to? I’m on the train, brah, how’m I gonna do that?” “How was the trombone instructor, Casey?” “No, Liz, I’m on the E line and it’s running slow as fuck; tell Coach I’ll be there ASAP.” “I don’t think so, Andrew. In a million years, you certainly are not getting my permission.” “Hey, Flan-man, did Wallace assign any more trig today?” The train leaves the tunnel behind with a jarring thud, plunging into the darkness devoid of synthetic lighting, and he straightens a little, thumbing out a text to Courfeyrac, be home soon. just got out of the tunnel.

                The reply is almost instantaneous. You ok thre babe? You’re doingg your e. e. cummings thng again.

                Jehan’s mouth tips up in an almost-smile at Courfeyrac’s characteristic lazy spelling before letting the half-grin fall. tired. editors are a bunch of superficial ignoramuses.

                Again, it’s only moments before his phone pings softly. Aw, I’m sorrry you had a shit day bb. You want me to run you a bath? Might hlp you relax a lttle bit.

                Just imagining sinking into the warm tub when he gets home makes a shiver run up his spine, my god if you did I’d probably sell you my soul or write an epic poem in your honor or something drastic. Seconds after he hits “SEND”, he thinks better of it and adds, that would be lovely.

                ALright I’ll get ond that asap. Alsom, I am very proud of you for dealing with yourpetty shitty bosses like an adiult so they’ll keep puhblishign your pretty words.

                thanks, love. i should be home in about ten.

                See you thebn. xxxx

                He’s almost right; it’s twelve minutes before his station is announced over the all-too-familiar two-tone bell proclaiming the arrival of the train at the platform. The trek to the front door of their building is treacherous, and he slips on the sidewalk twice before making it to the safety of the rough outdoor carpet, cursing himself under his breath for forgetting how the walkways always turn into ice rinks in the winter. The doorman—Usher, and isn’t that just too perfect?—nods and greets him with the customary, “You have a good night now, Jean.”

                Once he’s stumbled from the elevator, Jehan shuffles down the hallway and sags against his front door, wonders if maybe he can just fall asleep there. Part of him thinks that he probably could; his first year of university, he fell asleep leaned up against a shelf in the library. (There are pictures. Bahorel is a menace and really should be stopped.) Eventually he picks himself up enough to slide his key into the lock and open the door, kicking off his shoes on the cat-shaped mat just inside the threshold. “Hey,” he calls to the sound of the radiator in the otherwise silent apartment. “‘M home.”

                Courfeyrac appears from around the corner, looking suitably lazy in his worn t-shirt and sweatpants, and stops up short. “Holy hell. You look like crap.” Jehan is winter-pale, almost to the point of pallid, and his eyes are ringed with pale purple circles like he hasn’t slept in days. His single syllabic conversation sounds tired, too, exhausted even. “Oh, my god, come here,” he mutters. It only takes Jehan four steps until his socked toes hit his boyfriend’s bare feet and he collapses against his shoulder with a sigh. Courfeyrac’s fingertips reach up to soothe the tension built up at his temples. Jehan’s eyes flutter closed as his head tips forward to rest on his boyfriend’s as the dark-haired man’s fingers stroke at his forehead. He hears Courfeyrac call his name and his eyes snap open, only just then realizing that they’ve somehow fallen shut. From the look of concern on the other’s face, it’s not the first time that he’s called Jehan’s name.

                “Sorry,” he murmurs, swaying a little bit as he steps away from Courf before catching himself. “Sorry. Tired.”

                The dark-haired man practically shoves him through the living room and into the bedroom. “Gimme your coat, you giant dork. Strip. Go bathe,” he growls gently. “Also, please don’t drown,” he adds with a squeeze of Jehan’s hand.

                The tiled floor of the bathroom is frigid against the soles of his feet as he trips towards the deep bathtub that is pretty much the sole reason they chose this apartment, leaving a trail of clothing pooling on the floor behind him. The water is steaming still—he seriously owes Courfeyrac—and smells like…

                “Are these mint leaves?”

                “Yeah,” Courf shouts back from the main room. “Internet said it’d wake you up and reenergize you!”

                “Oh. Um, thank you?” He’s suspicious until he sinks into the tub with a soft sloshing sound and then his suspicion is replaced almost instantly by delight. Jehan really, really doesn’t mean to, but he can’t help it; he moans just on the edge of pornographically, eyes drifting shut in blissful ecstasy, “Fuck. Okay, you win! You’re the most perfect man in the universe! I adore you!”

                He can hear Courf’s dumb hee-haw donkey-laugh through the open doorway, “Oh, you adore me?”

                “Adore?” he calls, leaning back against the edge of the tub. “Yes. And more. I have the most wonderful boyfriend a man could ever wish for! He is the funniest, sweetest, most lovely creature on this green earth!”

                “Aw, you flatterer.”

                Jehan smiles to himself as he relaxes slowly, letting his bones go liquid in the soothing warmth until he hears footfalls on the floor and peers up at the open doorway.

                Courfeyrac leans against the doorjamb, smiling fondly down at his boyfriend. With the worst of the haggard exhaustion gone from his features, Jehan’s face is beautiful: clear, pale eyes, a spatter of freckles across his nose and cheekbones, and the kind of pouty, soft mouth that looks like it belongs to a porn star, not a poet whose heavy wool winter coat is a violent violet color rather than the traditional black. “You’re my favorite for so many fucking reasons I can’t even list them all.”

                He chokes out a laugh, not meaning to and immediately regretting it because he can see it in his boyfriend’s face like it’s written there in thick, dark permanent marker, that Courf really does love him.

                The man in question quirks one dark brow at him. “Is this terrible and sappy and gross? Should we just go fuck?”

                “No!” he yelps, standing up too-quickly and sending water all over the floor beside the tub. “No, I mean, yeah, obviously, let’s fuck, but, um, later. For now, please just keep talking, you’re so friggin’ adorable. Please.”

                “Shut up, Prouvaire,” he absolutely-does-not-whine, throwing a towel at his boyfriend’s head. “I’m not adorable.”

                “Uh-huh,” Jehan smirks as he rubs the towel roughly through his hair before wrapping it around his waist. Courfeyrac scrunches up his nose in a scowl and surges forward to kiss him because he’s ridiculous and Benoit de Courfeyrac is many things but adorable is not one of them. He drops his towel, ignoring the catcall Courf gives him and flopping on top of the covers. It’s only seconds before his boyfriend lands on his back with a cackle before grabbing his shoulders and bodily flipping him over and announcing, “Pinned ya.”

                “Lion King quotes. In bed; seriously?”

                “Shut up,” he growls, crowding into Jehan’s space to latch onto his neck with teeth and tongue. The cool touch of Courfeyrac’s lips against his heated skin feel like a brush of open flame, and his hips jerk forward of their own accord. The lithe poet mewls and raises his hips, insistent, bottom lip pushed out in a pout that only makes Courfeyrac laugh. “You are so fucking spoiled, you know that, Prouvaire?” Jehan chokes out something in reply, but it’s barely audible and peppered with so many archaic curses against the dark-haired man’s parentage that he doubts it’s even a coherent sentence. “Ooh, the mouth on you,” he notes conversationally.

                Slowly—agonizingly slowly—he works his way down, biting into the spot where Jehan’s neck joins up with his shoulder and earning himself a whine from deep in the poet’s chest. (After a second, he realizes that most likely it was never supposed to reach his ears because Jehan flushes and clenches his teeth.) He leaves an imperfect line of bruises along the prominent collarbones, only reluctantly letting go of the muscles in Jehan’s upper arms when he can’t reach them anymore, instead scrapping short nails down over his boyfriend’s ribcage. Jehan takes the chance to clutch at Courfeyrac’s shoulders, catching a grin from the dark-haired man as he shoves Jehan’s legs back up over his head, hands clenching down against his straining quads, and then he’s gone, Jehan whipping his head back and gasping out a broken string of swears because fucking hell. That tongue. That fucking tongue is both a miracle from heaven and a curse from the deepest depths of hell. As Courfeyrac’s tongue glides up and down, and then begins to flicker lightly against the very sensitive skin there, Jehan realizes that Courfeyrac is giggling.

                With his tongue in Jehan’s ass.

                Jehan tosses his head back and rubs himself against the sheets, struggling to generate some momentum with his hips that will force Courfeyrac pay attention to what he needs to be doing. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work, and he just feels another vibration of Courfeyrac’s laughter against his skin. “No…oh, god, what the…Courf, love, what…”

                “You taste...minty...fresh,” he splutters between giggles, looking up fleetingly from between Jehan’s legs and then—thankfuckinggod—dropping back down. Jehan chokes on a laugh that’s too-breathy and almost a sob, swears softly, and grabs two handfuls of thick curls, maneuvering his boyfriend right where he wants him most. Courfeyrac loves that, but Jehan can still feel a slight tremor of laughter from his throat.

                “Oh, god...you’re the one that...put me in a fucking peppermint bath in the first place, oh, fuck, Courf, Courf, please—” Jehan trails off, his hands in a death-grip of Courfeyrac’s curls and shoving with a complete lack of shame into his boyfriend’s face as Courfeyrac laughs a little but doesn’t stop, his tongue still curling and teasing and making Jehan writhe.

                “No...it’s good...fucking intoxicating...just…Feuilly’s mint truffles....never gonna be the same again,” Courfeyrac manages in between brushes of his tongue and chuckles and, oh, Jehan loves him and wishes that he’d just shut the fuck up and never, never, wants him to stop. He winds his legs around his stupid dark-haired boyfriend, squeezes him tight, rakes his nails down through Courfeyrac’s hair, touching whatever of him he can reach from the absolutely shitty angle.

                “Don’t stop,” Jehan says softly and—in that moment—Courfeyrac’s struck by how weirdly vulnerable he sounds, considering that in actuality Jehan’s about as vulnerable as a tiger with a switchblade. In response, though, he finally—finally—settles to his task, literally purring into Jehan’s flesh, serious on making it good. He makes it very good, increases the pace bit by agonizing bit until Jehan is almost out of his mind, head thrown back as he thrashes against the pillows, his words—all his pretty words—long gone, collapsing into stammered syllables. Jehan is flushed from cheeks to sternum, and he’s moaning like he’s in pain, but also like he’s really enjoying it, wet and open when Courfeyrac carefully replaces his tongue with a finger and plants a soft open-mouthed kiss on Jehan’s hipbone before swallowing him down in one fluid, well-practiced motion.

                Jehan wails, a choked noise that cracks and dies in his throat, eyes falling shut as Courfeyrac strokes and sucks, one hand clamping down possessively on Jehan’s hip, inside and outside and everywhere until he’s lost, can’t tell what feels good where, because it’s stun-gun electricity racing up his spine and jolting his brain, body rush after body rush, everywhere, shooting white and blue neurons off behind his eyelids, until Courfeyrac takes him deep, down into his throat and sucks as hard as he can with just the barest hint of teeth, and then his eyes fly open to see Courfeyrac looking up at him from his cock, his eyes full something that’s mushy and soft and tender as Jehan arches up against him, coming down his throat and crying out loudly as he shakes apart underneath him. Courfeyrac’s eyes drift shut as he pulls back, swallowing thickly, but Jehan doesn’t miss the little smile that flits across his lips.

                Courfeyrac just wants to gaze at his dumb boyfriend and let him get some well-deserved rest, but said dumb boyfriend squirms out from under him and nudges him back against the bank of pillows behind him. “Commando,” Jehan murmurs as he pulls down the sweatpants that have most definitely seen better days and clambers on top of him, reaching across to snag the lube off the bedside table. “How nice. Very classy of you.” Courfeyrac is uncharacteristically silent, eyes wide and pupils blown as Jehan slicks his fingers candidly and pushes them into himself, watching Courfeyrac watching him. He grins, leans forward and hovers to kiss Courfeyrac in the ticklish spot at the corner of his mouth while he’s there. Courfeyrac moans something, a pitiful sound, and Jehan smirks against his mouth, whispers, “Inamorato,” because he is, he’s enamored with this man.

                He stays low, and close, sliding back and down a few more times before sliding his fingers out and reaching over again to fumble in the drawer for a condom. “Don’t,” Courfeyrac says, grabbing onto his wrist, thumb over the pulse there beating just under Jehan’s skin. “You’re clean, I’m clean, and I know you hate them; don’t.”

                “Sure?” he asks, leaning back to look at his boyfriend, head cocked to the side in question.

                Courfeyrac huffs and rolls his eyes affably, “Yes.” Jehan beams and he reaches back and around to grasp Courfeyrac and make sure he’s sufficiently slick, too. He kisses him, unhurried and measured as he works their bodies together, pushing and opening and pushing again until Courfeyrac slips inside him. Courfeyrac whimpers into his mouth and attempts to thrust up, and Jehan can feel his efforts, but in this position it’s Jehan who’s stronger, and he’s got Courfeyrac good. All Courfeyrac can do is lie there as Jehan works him over, twisting his hips and screwing himself silly, full-on gnashing his teeth and biting and panting and not giving Courfeyrac even one second to get his bearings, their chests close enough for the dark-haired man to feel the thin silver rings in Jehan’s nipples brushing against his skin.

                It’s not long before Jehan’s eyes go skyward, with his cheeks heating and his lower lip trembling with a whimper ripped from the back of his throat, but Courfeyrac finds it far more rewarding to watch his boyfriend rather than their textured eggshell ceiling. He finally just has to move, though, untwining his hands from where they’re holding down Courf’s, levering himself up for more support, more freedom to fuck down hard with his hips, which is where Courfeyrac’s grabby little hands go instantly, short nails raking against his ass. Jehan tries to straighten out his spine, to get himself balanced better, to let Courfeyrac see, let him watch himself sliding in and out of Jehan because he knows how much his boyfriend likes that, but Courf stops him, pulls him back down, down close again. As Jehan yields, lets gravity take over and settles onto his chest, Courfeyrac fucks up into him, whispering into his still-damp hair, “I love you, I love you, don’t ever leave, just stay, stay right here.”

                Jehan scrabbles wildly to get his mouth on Courfeyrac’s, kissing him messy and frantic, shaking his head and promising, “No, no, no, never, I’d never, not going anywhere, no.” Courfeyrac grinds up into him, and their rhythm quickly locks into a counter-synch, Jehan slamming down and Courfeyrac thrusting up, the poet hissing filthy encouragements against his boyfriend’s lips.

                Courfeyrac finally comes, his entire body tensing and then going boneless, quivering and biting down on Jehan’s lower lip as he does. Jehan, for his part, collapses on top of him, feeling well and truly fucked, sweaty and sore and fantastically filthy, purring in Courf’s ear that that was just what he wanted. It’s not just dirty talk, either; Jehan truly does love the feeling, the overwhelming sensations, the messy intimacy. Best of all, he loves the way that it makes Courfeyrac sentimental and possessive afterwards, like he’s marked Jehan as his own.

                “Mon mignon,” Jehan whispers as his heart pounds out a frantic rhythm, and smiles when he feels Courfeyrac’s arms tighten vice-like around his ribcage and Courfeyrac’s winter-chapped lips press gently against his shoulder. This endearment, this particular one, is one that only comes out in the deepest of velvet nights, when Jehan’s too exhausted and fucked-out to function en anglais. Courfeyrac moves then, scooting down the bed until he’s able to press the top of his head to the underside of Jehan’s jaw. Jehan contently wraps his arm around his boyfriend and presses a kiss into his curls.

                Later—when Courfeyrac lies fast asleep, breathing slow and even beside him, dark curls sprawling tangled over his pillowcase, one hand curled up next to his face—Jehan can’t resist the tender smile that stretches across his face.

                Yes, he leaves the cap off the toothpaste and forgets to clean out his cereal bowl before he puts it in the sink and never manages to keep track of all the socks he shoves in the laundry and forgets to take his meds more often than Jehan would like and plays piano at all hours and puts the orange juice carton back in the fridge with less than an inch of juice left in the bottom, but he’s Courfeyrac, and Jehan loves him.