Cody arrived in front of his new apartment on a drizzly spring day, with rain that felt more like snow misting around through the air.
It was fortunate, really, that he’d barely brought anything with him. All of his belongings had fit in the back of the old Jimmy that he’d inherited when he turned sixteen - two years ago, now - keeping the boxes safe from the weather.
He’d learned how to pack quickly and efficiently almost as soon as he’d learned how to walk. The family had moved frequently through the years, each time his father got a new assignment. He had no sentimental possessions, really.
Nothing but what he needed.
Mostly, it was his gear.
He parked in the small lot that, apparently, belonged to his new apartment building. He’d never seen the building. He’d agreed to a lease sight unseen on the recommendation of the staff at the ball club.
They were used to helping new guys get set up in town, especially guys who hadn’t lived close by before. Cody’d lived on the other side of the country before the draft, before he’d gotten grabbed up in an early round and, summarily, ordered to attend spring training in March - which had gone well enough - and assigned to a farm team.
It was what he’d expected. What he’d hoped for, all through the last three years of highschool.
He could have tried to go to college. His mother had wanted that, when he’d started talking about his plans. But scholarships were hard to swing for baseball, especially for catchers, it had felt like, when Cody looked at his options.
And, besides, he knew the family didn’t exactly have the funds to send him and all his brothers to school. Money had always been tight. Rex had already turned eighteen - they’d been born within a year of each other - and the first set of twins - Waxer and Boil - weren’t far behind him….
He’d entered the draft, instead of applying for colleges, worked a deadend job through the fall and winter while keeping up with his practices, and now he was on the East Coast, opening his door in front of a square apartment building, looking up the side of it at little balconies holding empty flower pots, plastic furniture, and unused grills.
He felt itchy behind the eyes. Flying across the country hadn’t been possible - not with all his stuff to haul along - and he’d made the trip before by car, though not all on his own. He’d made it in a few days, with large portions of the middle nothing but a blur.
Cody scrubbed at his face, went around to grab some of his boxes, and made his way towards the building.
His apartment was on the third floor, allegedly. He knocked when he got to the right number, just in case his roommate - someone he’d never met - was in there already. The front office had paired him up with some other guy, an outfielder who’d played for the club last year, too.
A woman he’d never met - she’d called herself Mon Mothma on the phone - had told him that the guy - named Kit Fisto, apparently - would show him around. “He knows what we expect,” she’d assured him.
No one came to the door.
Cody shifted the boxes to one hip and used his new key to open it, stepping into the apartment. It smelled a little bit like old pizza and beer. The kitchen and living room were one connected sprawl, with a few couches haphazardly arranged and no table.
He looked around, kicked the door shut with his heel, and walked down the hall. There were a few rooms off the main hall, two of them with the doors open. He found the bathroom - small, smelling of mildew - and a bedroom.
It came furnished, as advertised. There was a bed, a nightstand, and a lamp. He put his boxes on the bed and looked out the window into a row of straggly trees. Beyond the trees, he could see a gas station.
His stomach rumbled just looking at it. He sighed, went downstairs, trampled through the trees, and bought himself a sandwich. He brought it back to the apartment, found the door to the balcony, and sat outside in the drizzling rain to eat it.
In all, he’d lived in shittier places, he decided.
Cody got his stuff inside.
It didn’t take long.
He had everything unpacked before noon and still hadn’t seen his roommate. He called home, sitting on one of the couches after brushing off some crumbs with a frown, and let his mother know he’d made it, finally.
He texted a few of his brothers, after, and then sat there, bouncing a leg up and down. He’d moved plenty of new places, but usually there were ten other people running around, making as much noise as physically possible.
Sitting in an empty apartment, listening to a clock tick from somewhere, made him feel itchy.
“Okay,” he said to no one, and pushed to his feet. Technically, he’d been supposed to learn his way around town with this Fisto guy, but Cody was an old hand at learning new cities. He grabbed a jacket - he’d unpacked it - pulled it on, and went back out.
Live in enough different cities and you realized that, really, they were all pretty much the same. Oh, there were surface differences. Sometimes lights were arranged in new ways or the older parts of the city threw around some distinctive architecture.
But mostly it was all the same, because people were the same, and built things according to some ingrained instinct towards stop lights all jammed together and fast food restaurants. There was a dearth of strip clubs, at least as far as he could see, but he wasn’t living right next to a military base for the first time in his life.
Maybe that contributed to the rarity.
He cruised around for a bit until he ended up at his end goal: the ballpark.
It was quiet and all shut up, nothing but tall walls and a locked gate with an empty parking lot.
He’d got to town a few days before they were supposed to start playing. He parked the Jimmy across a few spaces - no one else was using them - and stepped out, folding his arms over the top of the door and staring with a tightening in his gut.
It was bigger than anywhere he’d ever played. It was official, not the big leagues, or anything, but a place where people actually paid to come and watch him, and not just because their kids went to the same school, or because they were students with nothing else to do--
Cody blew out a breath and walked up to the gates, hooking his arms through the metal rods and staring at the space beyond.
He startled - a little - at the sound of an engine breaking the quiet in the parking lot. He turned to watch a motorcycle turn in; an older model, faded red paint on the tank. It wasn’t a big machine, enough room for one person with maybe enough extra space for someone to perch on the back, if they didn’t mind getting real personal with the driver.
The driver pulled to a stop almost halfway across the parking lot from Cody’s vehicle, flipped the kickstand down, and swung off. Cody meant to glance away, but then the man lifted off his helmet and he just. Didn’t.
Cody’s first thought was that the guy didn’t look old enough to be driving the motorcycle. And he cut off any second thoughts before they had any chance to form, jerking his gaze away from the guy’s copper-y hair or--
He turned back to the gates to the park, the hair on his neck raising as he heard footsteps getting closer. He glanced to the side to find the guy approaching, blue eyes focused and hungry on the park, helmet held in one hand.
It took a moment of assessment for Cody to realize that the man had a familiar profile and another further beat before his lagging head put together why.
By the time it did, Ben Kenobi - because this was Ben Kenobi, one of the highest draft picks of the season, right-handed pitcher with a ball-busting curve that Cody had read about since the draft and seen from a distance during spring training - had leaned a shoulder against the fence, turned to him, and said, “Hey, there, I’m Ben. Didn’t mean to interrupt you. I just wanted to get a look at this place.”
He had, of all things, a faint British accent. It was utterly out of place, and Cody knew a bit about out of place accents. But that was besides the point. He blinked, taking in the fall of Ben’s hair - around his shoulders - and the dimple on his chin, and-- “It’s fine,” he said. “I was doing the same thing. I’m Cody, by the way. Cody Fett. I’m going to play here this season.”
And so are you, he didn’t add. Unless they pull you up to the Majors in two seconds.
Ben’s expression brightened a little. He stuck out a hand between them, and said, “Really? Me, too. What position do you play?”
“I catch,” Cody told him, taking his hand, strong and callused, like every pitcher he’d ever met. He watched Ben’s expression light up even further, like there was a miniature sun under his skin, a smile curving over his mouth.
And then Ben said, giving his hand a squeeze before releasing it, “That’s great. I pitch.” He looked to the side, chewed his lip, and asked, “You want to throw a few?”
Cody probably should have said ‘no.’
He knew that. And yet… And yet, they’d ended up scrambling over a fence - using a ledge on the ticket counter for a foothold - and hurrying deeper into the park. They’d both had gloves with them - some things you just took everywhere - and Ben had a few balls buried in one of the packs on his bike.
Ben set off to the left, between the backside of the stands and the closed-up concession stands. He had a little bounce in his step, looking over at Cody, who - helplessly - ended up grinning back.
Apparently, the team owners didn’t expect excited new players to break-in. There was a bar area, far down the left field line, open-air so drinkers could watch the game. A relatively low fence separated the dining area from the field, and they jumped it without hesitation. And after that….
The field was covered. But uncovering a strip along the third-base line barely took any effort. And then they were standing on the actual field, where they were actually going to play professional baseball, and--
Cody felt ebullient, chest full of some bursting, joyous emotion that surged through him as they separated by a few paces and just…tossed the ball back and forth. They didn’t push the distance, just lobbing throws, each impact against his glove a thwack that left him with an ache of satisfaction low in his gut.
“Can you believe this?” Ben asked him, catching one of Cody’s throws with an ease that said he’d been doing this just as long as Cody, tossing the ball back and forth just for the joy of doing it. He was grinning again, that wide, mad smile that lit him up like a second sun.
“Not really,” Cody told him, catching his return throw, and Ben laughed. The sound set off little shivers all down Cody’s shoulders, something that had happened before with some - some of the guys on his high school teams.
He ignored it, the same way he’d done with them.
“Hey,” he said, instead, because distracting himself usually worked well in this situation, “you want to throw a few real pitches?”
Which was how he ended up further away, crouching down without any of his gear, knowing it was not the best idea. His shorts made it a little uncomfortable to squat down - they pulled across his ass - but he could make it work.
And it was worth it, he decided, watching Ben shift sideways down the line, arms coming up all perfect. Cody’d seen him throw a pitch before. He’d taken his team very far in the highschool championships despite the fact that the rest of the team, frankly, sucked. It had been far enough for video to be available.
He threw just as fluidly in person as he had on grainy clips on YouTube, knee coming up as he shifted his weight, arm extending like poetry wrapped in a thin t-shirt. The ball smacked into Cody’s glove a breath later - not a stinging impact, Ben hadn’t whaled it at him - and he exhaled, rocking back a little, gripping the ball, tossing it back.
“What about a curve?” he called, and Ben laughed, again, but nodded.
They’d progressed to Cody signaling the pitches he wanted - and getting what he asked every time - when someone, pointedly, cleared their throat off to the right. Cody caught the pitch headed his way and then jerked, looking to the side to find a tall man leaning against the short fence, wearing a cap over a bald head.
He had dark eyes and the barest hint of an amused tilt to the corner of his mouth when he said, “Having fun, boys?”
“Uh,” Cody said, rising to his feet with prickles all down his back, wondering if he were about to get in serious trouble.
“Sorry,” Ben said, jogging up from the side, “we didn’t wreck anything. We just wanted to get on the field a little. I’m Ben Kenobi.” He stuck out his hand, his glove shoved under his other arm, a wide - but different - smile on his face.
The man eyed his hand for a moment and then straightened, reaching out and shaking. “Mace Windu,” he said, and the prickles along Cody’s back turned to ice, because of all the people to get caught by it would be his new coach-- “And I suppose it’s good to see that my new players are excited to play.” He nodded in Cody’s direction and said, “Mr. Fett. You make it across from California without any problems?”
“Yes, sir,” he said, the appellation falling automatically off of his lips, years and years of experience making it easy.
Windu - their head coach - waved a hand. “Good. Well, while I’m impressed by your enthusiasm, you’ve got the groundskeepers all in a tizzy. No one’s supposed to be on the field. Come on. If you’re so excited to get into the season, you should probably meet some of your teammates.”
Cody imagined maybe a meeting in some office at the park.
He was wrong. Instead, Mace gave them directions to some house across town and told them that - as far as he knew - the cook-out would be going all day. “Go make friends,” he said, with a shake of his head, “and stay off the field until you get permission.”
In the end, he followed Ben across town, keeping an eye on the motorcycle. They ended up at a fairly large house in some kind of gated community, driving over rolling hills and pulling into a crowded driveway. The marketing manager’s house, apparently.
They’d been on the field for a long time, long enough for the day to wax towards afternoon. There were sounds of people and music from the backyard, along with the smell of food cooking on a grill.
Cody’s stomach grumbled, loudly, as he stepped out of his truck, and Ben snorted a laugh beside him. Cody felt his cheeks burn, but Ben only said, “I’m famished, too. Come on. Let’s go meet the guys.”
They didn’t have to go far to meet the first of them. A tall - shirtless - man stepped out of the open garage as they walked up the driveway. He had a mess of thin braids around his head, falling forward over his shoulders and spilling everywhere, and one of the widest smiles Cody had ever seen.
He also wasn’t wearing shoes, apparently content with a pair of tight shorts. “Hey,” he called, “you more of the new guys?”
Which was how Cody ended up introduced to his roommate. Kit Fisto had apparently been at this house all day. It belonged to the marketing manager, named Ima-Gun Di.
Around a dozen guys were spread around the property, mostly in the backyard, where Kit deposited them. A tall, skinny guy was manning a huge grill - Kit introduced him as Ima-Gun himself - and there was a table loaded with food off to one side.
“I think you two are the only new recruits here right now,” Kit said, after introducing a bunch of other guys in a flurry Cody didn’t really catch. “Get some food,” he added, before wandering off to sit on a deck chair, grabbing a beer and popping it open on the way.
Cody glanced at Ben, who shrugged, and they both ended up getting a plate. Being around a bunch of unknown people was familiar territory for Cody. He nodded at people while he ate, and took a beer without comment when someone pressed it into his hands.
And he stuck a little close to Ben as the afternoon rolled out before them. Ben was the only person he knew - even if that familiarity only extended a few hours - and it was pleasant having a tiny bit of something familiar in a mess of the strange.
Apparently, Ima-Gun had a heated pool. He also had the largest radio Cody had ever seen, set up on his porch. Ben ended up wandering over to it, as the afternoon started dragging its feet towards evening.
Cody followed him, after a moment. He felt loose and relaxed - that had started sometime after his third beer - and suddenly being closer to Ben seemed like a good idea. He found Ben touching different dials with an amused expression. “Looking for a specific channel?” Cody asked him, and Ben glanced towards him with a grin.
“Not quite,” he said. He was somehow contriving to look like he was leaning against something though there was nothing to lean against, a beer bottle dangling from his long fingers and a flush across his cheeks. “Do you know, I think this is a karaoke machine?”
“What?” Cody asked, watching his mouth move. The words had mostly slid right past him.
“We should sing,” Ben said, instead of answering.
Cody blinked at him. Ben looked a little cold. There was a chill in the air. He wondered if he ought to…fix that, somehow, shook his head, and said, “I don’t think anyone wants to sing.”
“I want to sing,” Ben told him, voice suddenly prim as he turned back to the machine. A second later he pushed something and the radio stopped in the middle of a song, drawing a chorus of protests from the rest of the guys out in the yard.
“Hold on a second!” Ben called over to them, pressing more buttons. “We’re going to sing,” he declared, grabbing a microphone off a little hook. “To build team spirit!”
Someone laughed. A few more people groaned. Ben ignored them all, swaying a little - the first sign Cody had seen that he was even affected by the beers he’d drank - and started pressing buttons. “I don’t know--”
Ben ignored him, too, as the first notes of a song started to play. He took the microphone, instead, and climbed over the small brick wall setting the porch off from the rest of the yard. There was more laughter as - around the yard - the guys recognized the song.
“Everyone knows this, right?” Ben asked, swaying a little as Cody followed him over the wall. There were generalized calls of agreement, along with more laughter. Kit even pulled himself out of the pool as the first line started.
And Cody stood there, a few steps away, as…most of the guys proceeded to sing along with the opening stanza of “Put Me in, Coach.”
Ben turned a little as he sang, and Cody spotted his grin behind the microphone. He made eye contact with Cody, and Cody felt a jolt go down his spine right into his gut - lower - when Ben’s eyebrow bounced as he got to, “It’s a brown-eyed, handsome man.”
He lost track of the song, because there’d been something about Ben’s eyes when he said the words, something that left Cody’s head full of white noise and a tingle in his fingers. He was - distantly - aware that most of the guys cheered drunkenly when the song ended.
The only person who didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves was one of the team’s other pitchers. Kit had introduced the tall, broad man as Krell, earlier, and said something about him biting. Neither one of them had smiled when he said it.
Krell frowned; he was sitting close to the radio and leaned forward on his deck chair. He sneered, when the last notes faded away, “Hope you pitch better than you sing, kid.”
Ben glanced towards him, head tilting to the side just a little, something in his posture making Cody’s back teeth grind. Ben said, tone even, as silence fell around them, “I do alright.”
“Sure,” Krell snorted, with a roll of his eyes. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Ben turned fully to face Krell, his tone still oddly even as he said, “We can throw right now, if that’s what you want.” Someone whistled, close by; another guy laughed. Krell just narrowed his eyes and stood up - he was easily six inches taller than Ben, perhaps more, and broader than him - and then reached down to grab the glove and ball he’d apparently had by his chair.
Which was how they ended up going around the pool to where the backyard stretched to a distant fence. There was a picnic table out in the yard. Some of the guys pulled it over towards the fence, and Cody watched, feeling itchy, as they set up a few bottles.
Krell and Ben both knocked them down, hardly difficult, moving to smaller items, until some lady - Ima-Gun’s wife, apparently - came out and made them stop. Krell turned on his heel and left with a sneer, and Ben watched him go for a moment, eyes sharp.
And then he shook himself, looked back at Cody, and said, “You know, I think ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ was also on there. Let’s go see how everyone else feels about that.”
Apparently, everyone else felt very good about that. Somehow, they ended up singing songs with increasingly tenuous ties to baseball until the sun went down and guys started wandering off. Ben insisted on helping clean up some of the mess, nursing another beer, and Cody…lingered as well.
He wasn’t sure why. He just had a buzzing feeling in his bones that he didn’t want to go. Not yet.
Which was why he was still around when Kit strolled up to him and said, after gripping Cody’s chin and assessing his eyes, “Well, you’re not driving back. I’ll give you a lift tonight. We’ll come back for your car tomorrow.”
Cody winced, but didn’t argue. He only said, gesturing to one side, “What about Ben?”
“Oh, I definitely shouldn’t drive,” Ben put in, as he sprawled out onto one of the deck chairs, legs sprawled wide and-- taking another swallow of beer as though to make his point. “Maybe I can sleep out here?”
Kit made a pained sound and said, “No. Get up. I’ll take you home, too.”
“I’m not entirely sure where that is, at this point,” Ben said, looking utterly serious, and Kit groaned again.
“Fine,” he said. “You can stay at ours tonight. There’s a couch. Now finish that off. I’m taking you both running first thing in the morning.”
Kit drove a late-model Mustang.
Ben whistled at the sight of it - cherry red and all sleek, sharp lines. It was beautiful, even Cody could admit that, but it was also very small. Technically, it had a backseat, but it was full of gear. So, instead, they ended up crammed into the front.
“Cozy,” Ben rasped, after they piled into the bench seat. Cody ended up wedged into the middle; he couldn’t even complain. He was shorter than both of them by inches. Besides, he didn’t really feel the discomfort that he knew had to exist.
He was pressed all up against Ben’s long, lean body, hard muscle stretched out against him, jostling each time they hit a pothole. There was so little space, and he felt Ben’s breath on the side of his face, sometimes, felt his warmth radiating outwards, could smell sweat and beer and mustard on him and--
Cody shifted, a little, aware of a certain tightening in his pants. He drew a knee up, ignoring Kit’s protesting curse. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. Probably a mix of exhaustion and the alcohol in his blood.
That was all.
He held onto that thought, glancing towards Ben to find Ben already watching him, head tilted to the side, curious, bottom lip caught between his teeth. His pants got a little tighter, and he blinked, rapidly, turning to focus out the windshield.
They made it back to the apartment without too much trouble, the trip a blur of smeared lights and nausea slowly growing in Cody’s gut.
The cold night air was a relief when they stopped and Ben opened the door, stepping out. He stayed close to the door, and they brushed against each other when Cody climbed out, Ben steadying him with one strong, broad hand.
Cody felt a jolt up his back and into his gut and further --
“You two sort out where you’re going to sleep,” Kit said, when they got inside. Cody had only the vaguest memories of getting up the stairs. He kept getting distracted trying to help Ben, who’d turned giggly since they got out of the car.
By the time Kit disappeared down the hall, Cody had one of Ben’s arms over his shoulders, Ben pressed so warm all against his side, still laughing a little under his breath. “My room is this way,” Cody said, or mostly thought he said, and they swayed towards it.
“It’s nice,” Ben said, when Cody shouldered them through the door. The bed was a twin. Cody considered that they were going to be a snug fit, vaguely recalling something about the couch, but--
“Hey, Cody?” Ben rasped, his voice low and thick and close to Cody’s ear.
Cody felt that warmth in his gut get hotter, his heart doing something strange inside his chest, trying to beat like he was going to sprint, instead of standing in front of his bed. And, Jesus, his pants had gotten so tight. “Yeah?” he asked, trying to ignore…all that.
He didn’t know what was wrong with him. But--
“It seems like you need some help,” Ben said, dragging Cody back to the present moment.
“What?” Cody asked, and then Ben shifted, pushing him firmly towards the mattress. He hit awkwardly and ended up sitting heavily, the mattress bouncing a little under him. “I don’t--”
The rest of the words strangled in his throat, because Ben had knelt in front of him, right there on the shitty, off-white carpet. Some of his hair fell forward into his face, sticking a bit to his cheeks, and his eyes were bright, upturned.
Cody stared down at him, distantly thinking about how he should close his mouth, and Ben put a hand on his inner thigh, pushing his leg further to the side, asking, “You going to open your pants, or what?”
Cody should have pushed him away. He knew it. He should have shoved Ben back, shoved to his feet. Maybe thrown a punch, because--what the fuck did Ben think he was doing, Cody wasn’t--
“Or, I can,” Ben said, hand sliding up Cody’s inner thigh, long fingers popping open the button on Cody’s shorts. The sound of his zipper coming down seemed very loud in the room, especially because Cody seemed to have forgotten how to breathe.
Ben made a sound. Thick. Pleased. He wasn’t looking at Cody’s face anymore. Instead, he was looking down around waist level. He was watching himself tug Cody’s shorts open, and--
God, he’d gotten hard. But that was--only natural. That was normal. Anyone would get hard if someone else knelt between their legs and opened their pants. It didn’t mean he was--gay. He wasn’t gay.
“Nice,” Ben said, and Cody should have stopped him from gripping --he should have explained that Ben had misunderstood, but-- Ben was tugging on his underwear, getting the waistband awkwardly under Cody’s balls - he lifted his hips, for some reason, helping it happen - and licking his lips.
“What are you doing?” Cody asked, breathing fast and shallow, his shirt pushed a little up his stomach, his shorts still around his hips, his cock just--sticking out, because he was so fucking hard--
“Uh,” Ben said, wrinkling his nose a little as he - for some reason - rocked back on his heels and pulled out his wallet. “Blowing you? That's okay, right?”
His cock twitched but it would, wouldn’t it? No matter who was sitting between his thighs saying something like that, it would, because--
He swore, breathless, when Ben took his open-mouthed panting and grunt as agreement, gripped him again, his foreskin had already--slid away, and then held him steady to--to roll a condom down over him. Cody blinked rapidly, hands braced back on the bed, looking at a condom on his dick.
He’d never used one before. He’d never needed one before.
He’d been so focused on baseball during high school. He’d had a girlfriend or two, sure, but there’d been no time for anything like this, and none of them had ever offered, so of course he hadn’t been a pushy jerk, of course he hadn’t asked or spent time thinking about it or--
Ben leaned forward, the top of his head eclipsing Cody’s view of his dick. He cried out - the loud noise just pulled out of him - as hot wetness closed over him.
One of his arms moved automatically. His fingers curled into Ben’s hair while his hips came up off the bed. Ben choked, loud, pulling off and turning his head to the side to cough. “Sorry,” Cody told him, dazedly processing the hot pressure he’d briefly felt around the head of his cock.
“It’s fine,” Ben rasped, waving a hand, looking up at him with shining eyes and reddened cheeks. Red lips. “Just - uh - just relax. Been awhile?”
“Yeah,” Cody said, because he honestly hadn’t had the energy to jerk off on the drive across country.
“Well, we can fix that,” Ben said, and licked his lips, showy, before moving forward again. This time, Cody managed not to thrust up into his mouth. He kept his hips still, and Ben glanced up at him again, right through his eyelashes, sucking and bobbing his head while every thought fled Cody’s head.
He came with a muffled cry, biting his bottom lip hard to try to keep some of it inside. It was faster than he could remember going off in ages but the wet heat of Ben’s mouth was so much better than his hand, it didn’t even really compare.
He felt dizzy from the force of it, pleasure radiating up through his body as Ben pulled off of him. He slumped down onto one elbow, breathing hard, tingling and shivering when Ben peeled the condom off of him in a movement that seemed practiced - oh, God, Ben was gay - and said, “Hold on, I’m gonna, uh, throw this away.”
“Sure,” Cody said, and then, staring dazedly up at the ceiling, “Uh, thank you.”
Ben snorted a laugh, the door shutting behind him, because Cody didn’t have a trashcan in this room yet.
He hadn’t known he’d need one so quickly. He hadn’t thought that his - his new gay friend would want to blow him. Which was what had happened. Ben had just--wanted to do that. For some reason. And--
Cody had let him, but, honestly, who’d turn down--a blow job? Having finally experienced one, he could admit they were incredibly awesome. And it had seemed to make Ben happy. He’d seemed to like it, there’d been pleasure in his expression.
So, really, Cody had just been being a good friend.
That was all. Friends helped each other out. It didn’t mean anything about him.
He felt relief pushing back against the tightness that had tried to close around his lungs and throat, enough to struggle out of his shorts and drop them over the side of the bed. He wiped at his dick with a corner of the sheet and then tucked himself away in his underwear.
And then he flopped onto his back and, after a beat’s hesitation, rolled onto his side. He was tired. Very tired. Coming had made him more exhausted.
He stayed still when the door opened again, and heard Ben sigh after a moment. His heart beat faster when Ben climbed onto the bed. For a moment, he thought Ben might shake him, might ask Cody to return the favor; he’d have to explain, then, that Ben had made a mistake.
He liked girls. He dated girls. He wasn’t gay, and for a moment he heard, clear as though he were in the room, his father sneering--
Another sound interrupted the sour memory. Lying beside him in the dark, Ben was--moving. Just a little, his elbow brushing across Cody’s back as he--stroked himself. He was lying there, jerking off.
Cody stared at the far wall, unable to blink, listening when he should have said something to make Ben stop, but then they’d have to--discuss that Cody wasn’t gay and he was too tired for that. That was all.
He lay there and listened, until Ben made a soft, grunting sound and then relaxed against the bed. He heard Ben wipe his hand on something, felt him shift around on the bed, and then that--was it. Cody closed his eyes and real sleep didn’t take long to come for him.