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Three steps too late, Hermann realizes he should have knocked before entering the quarters he shares with Newton.

He hears Newton’s soft intake of breath as they make eye contact and watches his friend’s lips part, the bottom one swollen from being bitten.

Newton’s hand is still wrapped loosely around his cock, and though Hermann tries not to let his eyes wander, he cannot help but notice the shiny, dusky pink slickness of the head.

He feels his own cock twitch on his pants and very studiously looks Newton in the eye.

Newton suddenly reanimates and lets out a strained laugh, breaking eye contact and tucking himself haphazardly back into his trousers. Newton hits the spacebar on his laptop, and Hermann notices only in the sudden silence that pornographic sounds had been issuing forth from the device.

“Sorry, man,” Newton says. His shirt is unbuttoned, revealing his tattoos and the deep flush that extends from his inked collarbones to the tops of his cheeks. “I heard you leave. Thought you were gone for the morning.”

Hermann blinks. “My–” he begins, and his voice sounds rough. He clears his throat. “My apologies. I woke from a dream with an idea that seemed groundbreaking,” he explains, “though it quickly proved to be fruitless. I’ve returned for an extra hour of sleep.”

Newton swallows and glances downward and back up again. “Good dream?” He raises his eyebrows.

Hermann’s heart thunders in his chest. He forcibly reminds himself that Newton is horrid at pretending not to know something, which means he certainly doesn’t know he’s the reason for Hermann’s erection.

Newton might be uncomfortable if he did know. No heterosexual man – and Newton has never given any indication of being anything other than such – wants to discover that the male friend they live with is sexually attracted to them.

“As if you don’t awaken with an erection, Newton,” Hermann says finally, in what he hopes to be an imperious tone.

Newton licks his bottom lip. “Maybe, um…” he says.

Newton doesn’t continue.

Hermann wills his breathing to remain steady. “Yes?”

Newton shrugs casually. “Maybe we could give each other a hand,” he says. “Just two friends… you know, helping each other out.”

Hermann’s cock throbs hard in his pants. “Do you mean to say…” he begins, but finds he cannot articulate what Newton seems to be suggesting.

Newton holds up his hands with his palms to Hermann. “Nothing untoward,” he says. “Like I said, just two bros. We’re basically soldiers in war time. What do you think goes on between dudes on the front lines?”

Hermann scoffs. “We’re not soldiers, Newton.”

Newton frowns. “I’m just saying, Hermann, that obviously we don’t have to do anything, but if we did, it wouldn’t have to be gay.”

Hermann feels something sink inside his torso, but a rush of blood in his ears spurs him onward. He cannot deny that he wants this.

How many times has he watched Newton half-clothed, cursing the soft lines of his colorful body? How many times has he brought himself to completion while imagining Newton’s hand around him?

If Hermann agrees to this and things go well, they could make this an occasional indulgence. Hermann could relieve his own one-sided sexual tension, and Newton would be none the wiser.

Hermann narrows his eyes as if Newton is imposing upon his good will. “Very well,” he says dryly.

Newton’s eyes widen, but he slides to the right on their small couch to make room for Hermann.

Newton presses the spacebar on his laptop again. On the screen, a slim blond man is receiving oral sex from a ginger woman, while a muscular, dark-haired man grips her hips and takes her from behind.

Hermann undoes his trousers with shaking fingers. He can see by peripheral vision that Newton has his right hand around himself again.

A moment later, Newton’s left hand rests tentatively on Hermann’s right thigh and slides slightly upward. “You sure about this, dude?” Newton says seriously.

Hermann nods, then realizes Newton isn’t looking at him. “Yes,” he says.

Hermann gasps when Newton’s hand comes around him and squeezes. A moment later there is the sudden wetness of cold lubricant, and Hermann closes his eyes. “Gott.”

“Sorry,” Newt says shakily.

“Not at all,” Hermann breathes. Newton’s hand pumps over Hermann’s cock once, twice, before Hermann opens his eyes to see the redhead now fucking the blond with abandon on the screen. He places his right hand on Newton’s belly and slides it downward until he bumps up against Newton’s cock, which is already slippery with lube.

On the screen, the blond lies on his back, his head and shoulders halfway off the bed while the ginger woman rides him authoritatively. Meanwhile, the brunet kisses her neck while she moans and pumps his cock.

Hermann mimics her rhythm and gets a deep groan of approval from the other man.

“Fuck. Nobody’s touched me in so long,” Newton pants, and Hermann gives an answering squeeze. “It feels good. “

Newton sweeps his thumb in circles over the head of Hermann’s cock, and it’s good, it’s so good, it’s far too good for what this is supposed to be. “Yes,” Hermann grunts.

They wank each other for a few minutes, quiet broken only by heavy breathing and moans from the laptop. Hermann closes his eyes and imagines pinning Newton to his mattress and sucking a bruise into his neck. He chances a glance at Newton and is surprised to see he’s looking back, pupils blown so wide with arousal that there’s only a thin ring of green. Newton swallows and turns back to the screen, and after a moment Hermann follows suit.

In the time Hermann’s attention has wandered, the brunet has moved to stand next to the bed. Now, the blond opens his mouth and swallows the other man’s cock. Hermann watches, entranced, as the brunet thrusts slowly into the blond’s throat. The outline of the brunet’s cock is visible from the outside, and the brunet rubs the blond’s neck in firm strokes, pleasuring himself, tracing out his own hardness through the other man’s flesh.

Hermann hears Newton whimper and speeds up his strokes, and Newton matches him.

Newton tumbles over the edge first, and Hermann follows a moment later, spilling all over Newton’s hand and his own dress shirt.

Hermann wants to curl into Newton’s side and listen to his heartbeat. He wants to rest his forehead against Newton’s. He wants to kiss him.

He does none of these things. He suspects Newton would consider them “untoward.”

“Sorry,” Newt says, his chest heaving. “I didn’t realize that was gonna get kinda gay there at the end. I hope it wasn’t too much of a turn-off.”

Hermann tucks himself into his pants. “Sex is sex,” he says, and forces himself to remember that Newton wouldn’t have sought something like that out. Of course he didn’t know it would ‘get kinda gay.’

Newton giggles and bumps his shoulder into Hermann’s. “And not-sex is not-sex, right?”

Hermann feels something sink again inside him, something heavier this time. He forces himself to inhale and makes his way to his bunk for the extra hour of sleep he’d planned for. “Of course,” he replies.

He closes his eyes.