It was two AM, and Sykkuno was exhausted. His body was running on Monster and little else, and his chat was full of people yelling at him to go to bed.
It wasn't his best stream. Not that he was ever really good at Among Us. Corpse said he was, but Sykkuno just got lucky a lot of the time.
His views shot up when he got on an impostor streak, but after quickly losing four times in a row to Toast's sharp deductions and then once to an unlucky vent glitch, his confidence – if you could call it that – started to ebb.
He was bad at being a crewmate today, too. He ran around the map aimlessly, barely keeping track of what he was doing or where he was going. All his energy went into talking for the sake of his audience, and it was a struggle.
When the voting screen came up, Sykkuno couldn't even tell who was newly dead. He listened to the rush of voices and accusations, trying to figure out what was going on.
“Sykkuno's being awfully quiet,” Rae noted.
The sound of his name jerked him to full attention. “Wh-what?”
“He misses his boyfriend,” Sean said dismissively. “He's been quiet all night.”
“Aw, Sykkuno! Is that true? Do you miss him?”
Sykkuno put his hand in front of his mouth to hide the nervous smile. “What do you mean? I-I'm quiet because it's late, that's all. You guys, I swear.”
“Sure, Sykkuno. We believe you.”
“What? No, really, I'm just – I do miss him, but – he's not, he's not my...”
“You didn't see anything at all last round?” Toast prodded, saving him from his nervous stuttering. “You didn't see the body when you ran by?”
“I didn't see any body. I was just, you know, doing my tasks...”
“Um,” Sykkuno said. “Um, I think I did oxygen, and then trash...you guys, I really don't remember.”
“Kinda sus,” Sean said, and there was a chorus of agreement.
Lily spoke up, her little voice barely making it into his headphones beneath all the other loud raucous players. “I believe you, Sykkuno.”
“Thanks, Lily. If you guys want to vote me out, that's fine. I don't have anything to offer.”
“What, you want to die?”
“Yeah. I mean it's like, why even bother?”
“That's the saddest thing I ever heard,” Charlie broke in. “Jeeze, guys, someone message Corpse already.”
“No, no, don't do that. It's late. I thought we were ending soon anyway.”
“He's online,” Rae said. “Message him, Sykkuno.”
“No, what, we're in the middle of a game!”
“Message him after the game,” she suggested.
“Yeah!” Lily cheered. “Ask him why he didn't want to play with us.”
“You guys, he's not – we don't like, message privately and stuff, we're just...”
His chat was going nuts. Sykkuno put his hand over his mouth again. Off mic, he told his viewers, “Well, maybe I'll say hi or something. I don't know. You guys are crazy.”
The lobby started arguing again, and Sykkuno breathed a sigh of relief. The game finally ended when Charlie stabbed him at the reactor, and Sykkuno said his goodbyes to his friends and his viewers before ending the stream.
Sykkuno couldn't stop thinking about what Rae had said.
He could do it. He could. Nothing was stopping him. They were friends now, he was pretty sure. He couldn't tell. Did Corpse really even like him? Someone had said he was shy, that he wanted to talk to Sykkuno more but didn't want to initiate it. Maybe they were just confusing shy with introverted.
Corpse was still online. Maybe he was busy. Probably he was busy. He was famous, after all. He had other things to do, other people to stream with. Other friends. Maybe even a girlfriend. Cute and dark and bold, everything Sykkuno wasn't.
Sykkuno stopped dead. That thought had hurt worse than he expected. And he had no idea where it had come from. Corpse was just his friend – or maybe a good acquaintance – they'd never even met – Corpse didn't want to meet anyone. He'd made that clear. Sykkuno respected that.
Just say hi. That's not weird. Why are you nervous?
Before he could talk himself out of it, he clicked on Corpse's name and wrote, hey corpse! We missed you today!
He sipped his energy drink and waited for a reply, wondering what they could chat about, wondering if this could ever be a regular thing or if their 'friendship' existed only in the game, like coworkers, or something.
Just when Sykkuno was about to accept that Corpse was probably too busy to answer, a jaunty tune started ringing in his headphones.
Corpse was calling him.
Sykkuno scrambled to accept. God, it was a video chat. A video chat with Corpse. Sykkuno had never, ever thought – never suspected, wasn't ready – he looked horrible today, not that it even mattered -
The screen popped up. It was dark. Like maybe Corpse had taped over his webcam. Probably he had. Except – a hand flashed into view, pale and bright against the blackness, and Sykkuno realized that Corpse had leaned up to tilt his camera down away from his face. What he thought was a black void was Corpse's black jacket. Now he could see a desk, plain grey, and the back of a gaming chair – also black, with neon green stitching. He could see the light from the computer screen shining off black buttons, running down the centre of Corpse's jacket. But it was the hands that caught his attention.
Long fingers, silver rings, chipped black polish.
“Sykkuno,” Corpse rumbled, in that voice as smooth as butter. “How are you doing?”
“I – oh, hello, hi. I, ah, just finished streaming.”
“I know,” Corpse said, like they spoke this way all the time. “I was watching.”
“You were?” Sykkuno felt himself reddening. He hoped Corpse couldn't see in the poor lighting. “Oh, um, why didn't you join?”
“Just didn't feel like it. I was busy.”
“But you had time to watch?”
Corpse chuckled. “I was popping in and out. It was a rough day, you know?”
“Oh,” Sykkuno said timidly. “Like, mentally?”
“I hope you feel better now.”
“A little,” Corpse said. “Or a lot. Watching you helped.”
“Did it? Oh, that's awesome. I don't get how, but I'm happy. I'm not the best streamer. If I had known you were watching I would have tried to be funnier, or something.”
“I always like to watch your streams, Sykkuno. Even if I was there.”
“Really? But why? I mean, sometimes I like to watch clips and stuff. I like seeing other people's reactions.”
“I do too.”
Sykkuno was nervous. God, why was he so nervous? “Rae's funny,” Sykkuno said, for the sake of saying something. “I like watching her get so mad after I've killed her or tricked her. Not, ah, not that it happens a lot. She's such a good player.”
“I like Rae too.”
“Oh,” Sykkuno said. “Oh, um, well, she's very pretty. That's not weird, is it? I just mean, objectively, she's pretty.”
Corpse's fingers bent and flexed. “Not my type.”
“Not E-girl enough for you?”
“Something like that.” Corpse reached for something off screen. A glass of something dark.
“Is that wine?”
Corpse laughed. “No. Alcohol doesn't agree with the stuff I'm taking. It's cranberry juice.” He lifted the glass to his mouth, and Sykkuno caught a glance of his pale throat. He was wearing a silver chain with a pendant that dropped beneath the collar of his shirt.
It was strangely intimate. Strange, because it was just his throat. Strange, because Sykkuno's eyes stuck to the Adam's apple there as it bobbed when Corpse swallowed.
The glass wobbled.
“Your hands are shaking,” Sykkuno said, and then immediately wanted to slap himself. “Uh – um, I mean, that was stupid, I don't mean to – you probably don't want me to point that out.”
“It's okay.” The glass was set down. Corpse laid his hands flat on the desk. “That happens a lot when I get nervous.”
“Are you nervous right now?”
A beat of silence. Corpse folded his hands together. “Yeah,” he finally said. “I don't...I don't do this much.”
“Talk to people? Or, I guess you mean, showing your...well, not your face, but...even just, being on camera, that's pretty new for you.”
“I don't mind. Not with you.”
“I don't mind either,” Sykkuno said, foolishly. “I, um, I like your hands. Your rings are, ah, they're cool.”
“People keep saying they like my hands,” Corpse said, sounding kind of like he was talking to himself on a stream. “It sounds – different – coming from you.”
“What do you mean? In a good way?”
“In a very good way.” Corpse picked up the glass again and drank deep.
Sykkuno was rattled, restless, and he didn't know why. He found himself stammering and struggling for words. “I like cranberry juice,” was what ended up coming out of his mouth – which, what the hell, brain? “It always stains my lips, though.”
Wow. It was seventh grade all over again.
“Does it?” Corpse swallowed again, even though he'd already put down the glass. “You – you have nice lips.”
Sykkuno's heart started to thump in his throat. “I do?”
“Yeah. That's...that's probably a weird thing to say, isn't it?”
“No. I don't know. I mean, I don't mind it. I – I kinda, um. Thank you.”
“I like watching you.”
“I like watching you too, Corpse. I, um. I love watching your streams, too. Listening.”
“Do you watch Rae, too? Or Poki?”
“Um,” Sykkuno said. “Not...not really, no. We talk sometimes. A lot. They're nice.” He suddenly wondered if there was more to the question. “Poki likes to tease me, and I know people were saying stuff, but it was just for fun. She's...not my type.”
Corpse's hands were restless. He put one over the other, like he wanted to hold them in place. “What about Toast?”
“Toast?” Sykkuno was startled. “No. I – what? I guess I watch him sometimes. Like, trying to learn tips. He's a good player.”
“Is he your type?” Corpse pressed.
Sykkuno wasn't stupid. He knew what Corpse was asking. And Sykkuno had never, ever given the answer to anyone. Not to his family – not to his friends – barely even to himself. The words stuck in his throat and his head spun as he tried to find the courage in him to answer.
“Corpse,” he managed. “Corpse, I...”
Corpse leaned forward. “Hey,” he said softly, his voice so smooth that it made Sykkuno shiver. “That was...wow, that was dense of me.”
“No,” Sykkuno said, shaking his head. “It's fine. It was just a question.”
“I know I don't have the right to ask you personal things. I mean, I don't even show my face. I know what it's like to not want intrusive questions. You don't owe me anything. It's just that I...”
He trailed off.
“It's just that you what?” Sykkuno asked him.
“Fuck,” Corpse said, and Sykkuno had never heard him sound so shaky before. “Maybe, I was jealous.”
“Jealous? Of me – and Toast?”
Corpse's knuckles whitened briefly. “Yeah. Maybe.”
“Are you – are you saying, that you're also – ” Sykkuno realized what he just said – what he just admitted to – and bit his tongue.
A soft, quick inhalation. Corpse's bracelet rattled as his hands shook more. “Yes.”
“A-and...you were jealous because – ”
“I like you, Sykkuno,” Corpse said. “I like you a lot.”
“Oh.” Sykkuno swallowed hard. Blood rushed through his veins, swirling his thoughts like a vortex, a powerful surge of something pulsing through him. Corpse's voice was making the hairs on his arms stand up. The deep bass sound was thrilling, but nowhere near as thrilling as hearing those words come out of Corpse's mouth.
“God,” Corpse said thickly. “I feel like I'm going to throw up.”
“No, no, don't do that. Don't be nervous. I – I like you too, Corpse.”
“Even though you don't know what I look like?”
“I don't care,” Sykkuno said, and he honestly didn't. “Your – your voice, and your hands, they're beautiful. And your laugh. And...you're kind, and sweet, and gentle.”
“I'm not always gentle.”
Sykkuno flushed. “I, um, I guess not. I mean, I've heard your music.”
Corpse laughed. “You're blushing,” he said, sounding delighted.
“I do that sometimes.”
“You're cute,” Corpse said. “You...don't know how cute you are, do you?”
If it was possible to blush harder, Sykkuno did so. He felt his ears burning and knew they were probably turning red too. “You've only seen my face. There's, ah, a lot more to me than that.”
He immediately clapped his hand over his mouth.
“Yeah, I guess you're right,” Corpse said. The hands disappeared from view. “Did you want to show me more?”
This had never happened to him. God, it felt so weird, so intimate, so – so exciting. “What do you want to see?”
Sykkuno swallowed. “Yeah.”
“You could...” Corpse started. “You could take off your shirt. If you want.”
“I could,” Sykkuno said. “Will you...would you...”
“Return the favour?”
Corpse appeared to think about it. His hands fluttered back to the desk, tapping, restless.
“You don't have to,” Sykkuno hastened to say. “You really don't have to. I can – I can use my imagination.”
The hands went to the buttons on his jacket. Sykkuno's breath caught in his throat. Corpse's fingers were shaky, but dextrous. Once the buttons were undone, he slung the jacket off. And beneath that, he had a collared black long-sleeve shirt. Also buttoned.
Corpse undid the top two buttons, revealing a deep V of his chest – and then he stopped. “Your turn.”
Sykkuno wasn't particularly self-conscious, not usually, but he was scared of not living up to Corpse's expectations. “Okay,” he said nervously. “Okay. Right.” And before he could change his mind, he pulled his T-shirt over his head.
“Oh shit.” Corpse inhaled. “Shit, Sykkuno.”
“What? What's wrong?”
“You're – fuck. I, uh. Wow.”
Sykkuno couldn't believe that Corpse sounded honestly impressed. He smiled and reached out to tilt his camera down, so more of him fit in the frame – so Corpse could see him from neck to waist.
“Sykkuno,” Corpse said, low and soft and breathy.
Sykkuno shivered. “Yeah.”
“You're really beautiful.”
Sykkuno stared at the slice of Corpse's chest. “So are you. I...would really like to see more of you.”
“I can – I can get my shirt open. I don't know if I want to take it off.”
“That's okay,” Sykkuno rushed to say. “I get it.”
“My arms,” Corpse said, “they – there's scars, and I'm just not – ”
“I don't mind. I want to see whatever you can show me.”
Corpse seemed to relax. “Be careful what you wish for.”
“Oh?” Goosebumps prickled across his skin. “Oh my god.”
“I was kidding,” Corpse said. “I – I think. Unless you asked. If you asked, I think I would...”
“Are we talking about the same thing, here?”
“I think so.” Corpse reached up to adjust the camera as Sykkuno had. Sykkuno's view of him tilted dizzily until he was done, and then suddenly he could see Corpse's lap – black jeans, the shape of his thighs, and a bulge where they met.
Sykkuno stared at it until he actually felt his mouth water. He was so focused that he didn't see Corpse unbuttoning his shirt the rest of the way until it fell open, showing a nice taut stomach, a trail of dark hair at his navel.
“Fuck,” he said weakly.
Corpse's stomach moved as he laughed. “I've never heard you swear before.”
“You're so fucking hot though,” Sykkuno said weakly. He swallowed. “I'm, ah, I'm getting...”
He was aware that Corpse could see him trailing a hand down his own chest, over his stomach, down between his legs. He was wearing soft track pants, baggy at the crotch, but he knew Corpse could see the outline of his growing hardness when he put his hand on it and rubbed lightly.
“I want to see it so bad.” Corpse's voice was so rough, so good. He would never make Sykkuno do anything, but something about the thought of him ordering Sykkuno to let him see was beyond thrilling. Sykkuno closed his eyes and let himself imagine it, Corpse's voice right in his ear, his breath hot on his skin, those hands on his body, touching and stroking...
It was the easiest thing in the world to slip his trackpants down. Corpse inhaled sharply at the sight of his white underwear, and then he went completely silent when that was pulled down, too.
Sykkuno had to keep his eyes closed. He'd never done this before. Never even taken a picture of himself without clothes. He could feel Corpse's eyes on him like a caress, and it gave him the courage to touch himself, just lightly at first. He didn't have a lot of experience with being watched while he did this, but it was kind of exciting.
“Corpse...” he moaned, tilting his head back. “Oh my god.”
On screen, Corpse was rubbing himself through his jeans. “Yeah. Yeah, I know, man, I know.”
“Can I see you too? You said...”
“I'm so scared.”
“I'm trying. For you.” Corpse's hands were shaking so badly now that he had a hard time undoing his belt and fly. It seemed to take forever, or maybe that was just because Sykkuno was so eager. Every second seemed like an eternity.
And then, finally, Corpse was reaching into his fly and pulling out his cock.
“Um – I – a-ah, I don't – ” Sykkuno stuttered, his eyes glued to the screen. “Th-that's, you didn't want to show that off?”
Another laugh came. Corpse leaned back, and this time Sykkuno saw, for the first time, a flash of Corpse's hair. Wavy and dark, or black. The hair between his legs was black too, and his cock was flushed dark, and thick. The light of his computer screen lit up the shiny wetness at the tip.
Sykkuno's mouth fell open. “Wow,” he breathed.
“Jesus, really?” Corpse wrapped his hand around the base, and okay, he was big. Corpse's hand looked almost small compared to it. Sykkuno couldn't help but try to imagine his own hand there instead.
“We're doing this,” Sykkuno said like it was just dawning on him. “Oh wow, th-this is really happening.”
“Yeah. Yeah, you like it?”
“Yes,” Sykkuno breathed. “Corpse...”
“Sykkuno.” He made the word into music. “Let's...come on, just...”
Sykkuno watched Corpse pleasure himself, listened to his low noises and his panting breath. He couldn't think, couldn't put the effort into putting on a show, just touched himself the way he would if he was alone – alone, with his private thoughts that nobody could ever know – nobody but him and Corpse now, and that was okay, because Corpse was opening up for him too, and this was their secret now. Their business, nobody else's.
“Wish you were here with me,” Corpse breathed, and Sykkuno nearly came on the spot.
“Me too. Me too, Corpse.”
“What would you do with me?”
“I...oh, wow. I...I wouldn't do anything you're not comfortable with, but...I think your jeans would be uncomfortable. I'd want you to take them off.”
“Yeah. And then...I'd get you on your bed. I'd want to touch you. You could blindfold me, if you wanted.”
Corpse grunted quietly and his hand pumped faster. Sykkuno sped up too, matching his pace.
“I would kiss you,” Corpse said, his voice ragged. “Would you like that?”
“Mmh, yes.” Sykkuno didn't know, but he imagined rough stubble, passionate lips, the taste of cranberry juice on his tongue. “What else?”
“I would...I could hold you down.”
“Yeah, you could. I'd be...I'd be helpless.”
“I would want to see what that mouth could do.” Corpse's voice dropped into a register that had Sykkuno panting. “I bet you'd be good with it. So fucking good.”
Sykkuno didn't know. He would try. For Corpse, he would try. He stared at the screen, trying to think what that would feel like in his mouth, how much pleasure it would give the faceless man. He imagined those hands in his hair, shaking, stroking – or maybe Corpse would be rough with him, tugging him closer, not letting him go. He didn't know which he wanted more.
“I'd let you...do whatever you wanted,” Sykkuno panted.
“Good. Oh, fuck.”
“Would you –” His head was spinning. “Would you return that favour, too?”
“Would you? For me?”
“For you,” Corpse groaned. “Fuck. Yes, okay, yes.”
Sykkuno swallowed thicky, thinking about wavy black hair spilling over his lap, silver rings on his hips and long fingers splayed over his skin. “God, Corpse, I'm – I'm close.”
“Yeah, me too. Come on baby, let go. Let go for me. Do it.”
His arm stuttered, his hand tightening. Sykkuno was aware that his face was screwing up, his mouth falling open, but he couldn't stop it. It felt too good. The pleasure had caught him in an iron grip and was wringing him dry, his hips thrusting up into his hand, a single word rising in his throat.
Warm wetness splashed over his fingers as Sykkuno whimpered and moaned. Corpse grunted and Sykkuno wrenched open his eyes just in time to see him leaning forward, his hand a white and silver blur against black – his chain bounced against his neck, and he was sweating, dark hair sticking to the nape of his neck and the muscles in his stomach all tight.
He was silent when he came, and Sykkuno's eyes went wide as he watched Corpse spill his load all over himself, spurting over his stomach in thick pearlescent streaks. The sight of his heaving stomach, shining with his release, was the most erotic thing Sykkuno had ever seen.
For a while they were both silent, just listening to each other breathe. And then Corpse said shakily, “Wow, man. Holy fuck.”
“That was...” Sykkuno laughed. “Wow is right.”
“You liked that?”
“I did. I'm glad you trusted me enough to show me so much. It was...”
“I'm glad you trust me too, Sykkuno.”
“Are we...doing this again? Or was this just like, an experiment?”
“I want to do it again.” God, his voice got even lower. “I want even more than what you just gave me.”
“I do too.” Sykkuno pulled his chair closer to the desk so he wasn't so exposed anymore. “Wow, I'm tired,” he said, as he suddenly realized that he could barely keep his eyes open. He felt warm and happy and sated.
Corpse laughed. “I should let you sleep.”
Sykkuno nodded, dazed. “Yeah. I...I guess I have some cleaning up to do first.”
“Me too. I should have had a towel, or something. I only have like fourteen more black shirts.” And Corpse giggled at himself, somehow sweet and wholesome, even after what they just did.
Sykkuno found himself laughing sleepily. “Can I – can I call you tomorrow? Is that okay?”
“Definitely. I'm looking forward to it.”
“Me too, Corpse.”
Sykkuno reached out and ended the call, his face still flushed warm. The sight of Corpse's hands and body was forever seared in the front of his brain. He couldn't wait to talk to him again, to hear that voice saying such filthy and sweet things to him.
Tomorrow, he reminded himself, and he didn't feel so lonely when he crawled into bed.