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Feral Love

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There was an eerie quiet deep in the woods at night.

Gnarled black trees with twisting exposed roots loomed over the path Adam was treading on. Thick clouds had blocked the full moon in the sky so the forest floor was only dimly lit. The narrow path winding through the woods to the flat clearing was barely recognisable, overgrown with vine and brush. It did not bother Adam much, though, for he knew the path like the back of his hand, his eyes could see perfectly in the dark.

Adam kept a steady pace towards the wide clearing where the constellations in the starry sky were unobstructed, his ringed tail held low, almost tucked between his legs. Whenever he felt lonely and sad, he used to go there, watching the wild raccoons, looking at the sky. It felt like he was back on the bench in Central Park, with his dad sitting by his side. A light breeze played in the leaves of the trees, causing them to move as if they were alive. Catching a whiff of spicy pipe tobacco smoke in the air, Adam's nose itched unpleasantly.

Alerted, Adam's slightly rounded ears twitched in anxious anticipation. In the distance, he could see the outline of a man, holding a rolled cigarette casually between his lips, white puffs of smoke drifted all around. He was sitting at Adam's usual spot, at the hollow tree log lying sadly in the middle of the clearing.

Adam squinted his eyes, he could see the unkempt ashen hair clearer now, and the rough sandy furs protruding in all direction at the base of the familiar elongated, tufted black ears of a caracal. Adam visibly relaxed. The man kept his gaze fixed at the grey ball of fur at his feet, yet his huge ears had turned towards Adam's footsteps long before his feet stepped out from behind tall grass at the clearing's edge. Upon seeing Adam, he threw what was left of the cigarette on the ground and smashed it with his foot, a wide grin spread over his lips, revealing the points of his sharp canine teeth.

" should not be feeding wild animals." Adam frowned, pointing at the piece of probably stale bread in the raccoon's paws. The taller man, amused, stood and shooed the raccoon away. "What are you doing here, Nigel?"

“Hello, gorgeous.” Nigel walked up to Adam, leaned in and planted a playful kiss on his lips. "Missed me much?"

Adam smiled tentatively back, his blue eyes habitually shifted to stare at a spot in the air behind the man's torso. Nigel proceeded to drape himself all over Adam like a big cat, rubbing his stubbled chin repeatedly on the crook of his mate's neck with relaxed face and closed eyes, busy marking his territory.

"Nigel, Stop it!" Adam couldn't help but giggled quietly. He felt rough stubbles grating on his skin, and attempted to pull away from the grasp, but it only encouraged Nigel to hug him tighter. "You told me you won't be back until next Sunday."

"The deal went smoother than I expected." Nigel shrugged, he released Adam reluctantly after giving him a pet on the head. He turned to pick up the ragged bags beside him, skilfully avoided elaborating on the subject. “Let's go home, love, I am starving.”

A bright streak of light suddenly flashed across the night sky behind Nigel, Adam's eyes brightened. "A meteor!"

Nigel turned around, just in time to see the light disappearing at the top of the trees. "Hmm, a shooting star? Did you make a wish?"

"It is illogical to assume stars can fulfil someone's wish." Adam straightened and answered seriously. "Shooting stars look like stars that quickly shoot across the sky, but they are not stars. A shooting star is really a small piece of rock or dust that hits Earth's atmosphere from space. It moves so fast that it heats up and glows as it moves through the atmosphere. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere before they reach the ground. However, once in a while a meteor is large enough than some of it survives and reaches Earth's surface. Then it is called a meteorite. Thomas, who used to work with me at the Observatory, once told me that he found a sample of...mmph—"

"Ah— I fucking miss you," Nigel purred as he distracted Adam with a particularly sloppy kiss. "Adam darling."

The meteorite sample.

Adam remembered that particular talk he had with Thomas two years ago. Thomas was an astronomy enthusiast, he was the only one at work who had the patience talking with Adam in length about space and telescopes. The day was Thomas's last day working at the Observatory, he casually mentioned to Adam about the meteorite sample he found in an antique store before their lunch break.

Having politely refused Thomas's offer of treating him to lunch at the new restaurant in town, Adam sat down alone at the small corner cafe where he had lunch every day.

"Hello, Adam." The waitress, Emily, greeted Adam with a bright smile, she handed Adam the menu. "Sorry but we have sold out of macaroni and cheese."

Adam took the menu from Emily hesitantly, his ears flattened, brows frowned in distress. A man was sitting at the nearby table, watching him with intense interest, his pair of unusually large ears perked up.

"If you don't mind the bite I already took," The strange man said to Adam, "you can have my macaroni and cheese."

Adam raised his eyes and looked at the stranger, then looked around unsurely. "Are you talking to me?"

"Yes, I'm fucking talking to you." The man chuckled low, he slide into the seat opposite Adam in one swift motion, taking his plate with him. He placed it in the middle of Adam's table. "I said, you can have my macaroni and cheese."

Macaroni and cheese was the cheapest option in the menu, and it was not particularly good, anyway.

"No...Nonono. It is your macaroni and cheese, I should not take it from you." Adam shook his head, but his eyes darted between the menu and the plate, he paused to reconsider. "Maybe...maybe we can share?"

The man was visibly taken back, he stared at Adam's face, his huge ears rotated back but not flattened.

"I will pay you back for my half." Adam tried again.

The man shook his head in disbelief, with a snort, he took up a fork and split the cheesy content on the plate in half, before handing the utensil to Adam. "Bon Appétit."

Adam took the fork gladly and put down the menu he was holding up as shield. His eyes darted rapidly as he took in the man before him. He was the most beautiful man Adam had ever seen. His distinguishing ears were long, narrow and tipped with long tufts of black hair. There were strands of ashen hair falling over his deeply set eyes, with his high cheekbones and thin lips, he was like some kind of majestic animal.

"Thank you...oh," Adam remembered his social mannerisms, he held out his hand awkwardly. "My name is Adam."

The man tried to hold Adam's gaze, the eye contact was brief, but the blue colour of the smaller man's eyes was incredible. He took Adam's hand firmly in his. "Nigel."

"Nice to meet you, Nigel." Adam smiled tentatively, his posture slightly relaxed. He took a neat bite of macaroni and cheese and chewed thoughtfully. "Um...Are you French?"

It took Nigel ten seconds to contemplate what the fuck Adam was talking about.

The second time Adam saw Nigel, it happened on a cold weekend afternoon.

Adam was sitting on the steps of the porch, it was his usual people watching hour.

Nigel, wearing a long, black overcoat at least one size larger than it should be, appeared from around the street corner. Recognising his distinctive ears, Adam stood up, trying to confirm if it was really him.

It was a pleasant surprise, Adam suppressed a grin.

"Nigel?" Nigel was keeping his head down, his shoulders slouched. Adam tilted his head, he was not sure if Nigel had heard him. He raised his voice and called to him again. "Um, Nigel?"

The taller man looked behind his back with a pained wince, before meeting Adam's eyes with a nod.

"Nice to meet you again, Nigel. What are you doing..." When Nigel got closer, Adam stopped dead mid-sentence. His eyes stared at the blood on Nigel's face in fear. "Are you alright?"

"Adam...Fuck!" The limping man collapsed as his legs gave out from beneath him. Adam hurried to support him, slipping an arm around his back, his fingers clutching on the thick wool fabric of Nigel's coat with white knuckles. He felt the beginning of a panic attack and took long deep breaths in an effort to keep it at bay. When he finally managed to drag Nigel on to his large bed, he was on the verge of fainting. His face was washed white with dread as he saw the blood stained white shirt under the coat.

Nigel was panting liked a wounded animal, he began ripping open what was left of his shirt with a silver folding knife like he had done it a thousand times before. The long slash wound on his side was deep, very deep, and bleeding freely. No regular man could have survived something like it, Adam's head felt all scrambled, his overloaded mind wanted desperately to retreat.

"Adam..." Nigel's voice was coarse with pain, he could hardly breathe. "Adam! Stay with me, I need your help, or I will die."

"You need to go to the hospital." Adam slide down onto the floor, covered his ears with his hands, a tear drop rolled down his face, a shaking hand grabbed his arm.

"No." Nigel swallowed. "Adam, darling, I know you are scared, but can you be brave for me?"

Adam's large blue eyes focused on the strained smile of the tired man, he murmured unsurely, "Yes."

With Adam's help and his hoard of first aid supplies, Nigel survived the vicious attack miraculously. His wound was healing slow, but it was healing. It would definitely leave an ugly scar though.

Ten days later, the two was leaning against each other on the sofa, watching a documentary about black holes, it was when Adam asked Nigel out of the blue, "How do you know where I live, Nigel?"

It probably was not a good time to elaborate on his stalking behaviour, Nigel licked his lips nervously. "I have my ways."

Adam eyed him suspiciously.

Being on the Asperger's spectrum, the mind of the younger man was wired differently, he might not be able to understand subtleties of human language well, or behave appropriately in social situations like everyone else did, but he was not dumb. Nigel knew Adam was smarter than most people around.

Not long after his relationship with Nigel began, Adam figured out Nigel's 'herb' business was in fact dealings involving illegal recreational drugs. As if on cue, someone chose that particular day to send Adam an anonymous message with a video of Nigel brutally shooting a group of people in their heads. Adam closed his laptop with trembling hands.

After the inevitable confrontation, Nigel confessed everything to Adam, his business, his murders, his urge to hunt and hurt. Adam, feeling deceived, broke into a violent meltdown, smashing everything in their shared room to pieces. Watching his mate hurting himself pained Nigel to the core, he pouted sadly as he helped Adam bandage his injured hands, expecting Adam to abandon him in fear like everybody did. Adam, however, having calmed down and taken many deep breaths, told him otherwise. He told Nigel he would stay beside him, on condition that Nigel had to promise to stay safe and out of danger. Adam knew well it was not wise to stay with the dangerous man, but somehow he just couldn't leave him alone, somehow he had found courage to accept Nigel for what he was. He even licked away Nigel's tear as the older man glared at him in disbelief.

The fact was that they both understood loneliness too uncomfortably well to let each other go.

Nigel undressed and pulled Adam into the shower upon returning from the woods.

Water dripped down Nigel's ashen hair and face onto his fury chest when he emerged from the bathroom naked. His large ears was flattened on his head in the most hilarious way. Adam giggled loud and happy, he handed Nigel a fluffy towel, as well as a relatively clean and smoke-free shirt he found in his bag.

"Your shirt is ugly." Adam commented as-a-matter-of-factly, fingers tugging at the blue fabric with colourful wiener dogs on it.

"Huh-" Nigel hummed and raised his eyebrows. "says someone who wears the same fucking thing everyday."

Adam giggled louder. Strong arms looped around Adam's shoulder and pulled him close for a brief kiss, their tails swooshing back and forth, Adam always liked feeling Nigel's rough tongue on his.

By the time their dinner was ready, it was very late. Adam handed Nigel a plate of macaroni and cheese, with the side of steamed frozen broccoli. Nigel winced, he stirred in an excessive amount of Tabasco to improve the flavour while Adam set up his laptop.

Adam placed his own plate neatly next to his computer, he pressed play on the video and started eating spoonful by spoonful methodically without looking up at Nigel.

After their evening meal, the two cuddled up in their large, soft bed.

Adam was lying on his stomach, his tail thrashing back and forth in the air. He agreed to let Nigel groom his fur, so that he could finish the last chapter of the book about quantum entanglement in peace. With narrowed eyes, Nigel licked repeatedly at the fur on Adam's ears using long, broad stokes of his tongue. His hand slipped under the soft shirt the smaller man was wearing, large palm brushed back and forth across the smooth skin on the back of the smaller man.

When Nigel starts nipping and licking at the base of his ears, Adam tightened his grip on his book, his whole body tensed. He felt rough pads of fingertips and blunt nails stroking and stretching alternately down his back.

Now totally distracted, Adam sighed, he bookmarked his page and put the thick book back on the night stand in defeat. Nigel's clever fingers passed the end of his spine and combed through the soft fur on his brushy, ringed tail all the way to the tip. Adam whimpered, his toes curled and his back arched involuntarily.

"You are fucking gorgeous." Nigel slurred with a husky, deep voice.

Adam voiced a protest. "Nigel, don't..."

“Shhhhhh.” Nigel hushed him. He kept on stroking Adam's back and tail, until a deep rumble vibrated from within Adam's chest. Thin lips grinned victoriously over the white edge of Adam's ear. Nigel darted out his tongue to lick firmly at the base of the cute ear flaps with increasing enthusiasm.

Adam shivered, he felt the man's sharp teeth nibbled randomly at his ears at all the right places to the point it almost hurt. A warmth started to fill Adam's chest, as well as his lower body.

"Nigel..." Adam, now purring louder, arched his back with pleasure. He rolled over to face Nigel, unconsciously showing his belly and throat in submission, his hands started kneading on Nigel's chest rhythmically on their own. Nigel gleefully nuzzled his nose into Adam's throat, nipping and kissing, scenting his mate.

"You smell really, really good." A low, content purr resonated from Nigel's own throat, he curled closer to Adam and gazed at him affectionately with heavily lidded eyes. His long tail swooshed behind him in delight as their bodies stayed tangled in place like a ball of warmth. "So fucking good."

"Um...Nigel?" Adam whispered, his eyes darting around as he propped his upper body on his elbow. "Do you, um– do you want sex?"

"I think I do." A low chuckle escaped Nigel's lips. "Yes, I fucking do, Adam."

The sleep shirt and soft pants Adam were wearing soon joined the ugly dog shirt on the floor.

With a predatory grin, Nigel tangled his fingers in the hair on the back of Adam’s head, tilting his face up and holding his blue gaze with narrowed eyes. His lips hovering over Adam's, barely touching.

The moment Adam moved to close the distance, Nigel jerked his head back by his hair with a growl, he bent his head and started kissing and biting roughly down Adam's chin and throat, some bites on the neck and collarbones were hard enough to bruise. The older man nibbed his way down Adam's bare chest and torso.

Trembling fingers reached out to claw at the tattoo on the side of Nigel's neck, partly wanted to push him away and partly wanted to urge him on.

Nigel enjoyed torturing his prey nice and slowly.

"No...hmm..." Nigel chuckled darkly at the whine that escaped Adam's throat the moment his mouth withdrew from the leaking, swollen cock of the smaller man.

"Not yet, darling." His sandpaper cat tongue gave the head a teasing swirl one last time.

Adam moaned as his mate flipped him over in one swift movement, straddling him from the top. He pinned him on the mattress like a predator subduing his prey. Adam's tail trapped between their bodies, unable to move.

Nigel was obsessive and sadistic by nature, he had his own issues with anger and violent outbursts, yet when it came to Adam, he had all the patience in the world. His careful fingers prepared Adam with an excessive amount of lube designed for cat hybrids. With his intimate knowledge of Adam's body, Nigel kept placing tender, wet kisses on sensitive spots down Adam's arching spine, and stroking the smooth skin gently. He felt Adam trembled lightly under his touch like a scared lamb, his heart raced in delight and his large ears perked up in anticipation.

After making sure Adam was in a more or less comfortable position on the mattress and pillows, Nigel leaned down and clamped his teeth into Adam's neck just to the point of pain, holding his mate in place.

Nigel buried himself into Adam to the hilt, bright intense pleasure shot up his spine the moment his cock was enveloped. He involuntarily bit down hard on the back of Adam's neck, a proper bonding bite on the exact point that mated them together with a scar a year ago.

A trickle of blood slowly made its way down Adam's neck from the broken skin. The feeling of warm liquid dripping off on his skin was distracting for Adam, but not distracting enough, for his mind was eventually overwhelmed by mixed sensations and emotions that made him unable to concentrate on anything at all.

Sex always felt peculiar to Adam. Adam's smaller body was completely covered by Nigel's on the mattress, his back itches and burns from the friction of coarse chest hair and the fur of his own tail rubbing against his bare back. The ache of being stretched and fully filled by Nigel made Adam gasped. Nigel immediately tensed and stilled his hips, he licked broad strokes on Adam's skin and ears, nudged Adam's neck softly, asking for permission to move again.

"My darling Adam," Nigel cooed soothingly in his ear. "you feel so fucking good."

Nigel knew he could hurt Adam badly due to his biology as a cat hybrid. It took a while for the muscle to get used to the sensation and relax enough to continue. He was about to reach for more lube, when Adam took a breath and lowered his head further onto the mattress in utter submission.

"Are you sure?" Embarrassed, Adam grabbed a pillow and nodded into it.

A feral grin appeared on Nigel's face when he rolled his hips with a slow and timed rhythm in response. The moment Nigel's cock hit the bunch of nerves inside him, Adam yelped and tried to squirm away. A large hand immediately reached around and held him firmly in place in an almost painful grasp. Nigel angled his hips, and started slamming Adam's prostate mercilessly hard with a brutal pace. Adam buried his blushing face into the pillow, his alluring little whimpers muffled against the fabric in time with the slaps of Nigel's balls against his ass. Adam desperately wanted to rub his own painfully throbbing cock on the mattress, he reached down, wanting to touch it, but Nigel slapped his hand away and bit lightly on his skin, warning him not to do it again.

Nigel took pleasure in Adam's distress, his desperate, needy groans were ignored until fingers start clawing at the sheets in frustration. When he finally took pity on him, his callused palm grabbed the reddened cock and stroked with carefully measured pressure in time with his thrusts. The grip on Adam's torso tightened and the slamming in and out of the man soon became urgent.

Adam shuddered and opened his mouth in a silent gasp, his vision went white as he came messily against his belly in Nigel's hand. Adam clenched down on him tightly, Nigel felt the stirring of his orgasm started deep in his balls and his hips stuttered. He lost his rhythm, moving only with animal instinct. He managed to bore down hard before spillong his hot seeds deep inside Adam, uttering a guttural grunt of ecstasy like a wild cat as he was lost in satisfaction and pleasure.

For a moment, Nigel forgot about his anatomy and pulled his cock out abruptly, tiny barbs along his shaft raked the walls rough upon his withdrawal, drawing a pained cry from Adam and the smaller man's knees buckled. Nigel quickly eased them both gently down onto the mattress, his coarse tongue licked apologetically in broad wet strokes across the broken skin at back of Adam's neck.

Sated, the two rested against each other, regaining their breaths in comfortable silence, while waiting for the skin to cool and sweat to dry in the cold night air. Not bothering to clean up properly, Nigel licked his fingers clean and lazily stretches his heavy limbs. He pulled a soft blanket up to their chins, before draping himself on Adam like another weighted blanket himself. A low rumble resonated through both of their chests, vibrating deeply.

"I fucking love you, Adam Raki." Adam heard Nigel murmured, the smaller man hummed contently and gave his mate a sweep of his tail in response.

Nigel placed a possessive kiss on Adam's forehead. The two snuggled up closer to each other for the warmth, and eventually fell into a deep untroubled sleep.

The curtains were abruptly pulled aside and a bright light streamed through the room.

Nigel felt the sunlight scorched his vision. He buried his face in the safe darkness under his pillow with a frustrated groan. "Aargh—Ce pula mea faci acolo?...Du-te dracu de curva, sa..."

"Good morning to you too, Nigel." Nigel stopped the free flowing swears dropping out of his mouth. He took a peek from under his pillow, narrowing his eyes, Adam was trying to pull away the dirty sheets from under him with all of his strength.

"Adam, baby, darling...stop...for fuck's sake..." He wrapped an arm around Adam's waist and pulled him into bed. He kept nibbling at the furry round ears until the smaller man struggled with giggles. They both ended up with their heads under the pillow, Nigel stilled and sighed contently, determined to go back to sleep.

"Nigel! Nigel! No! Wake up!" There was a glint of mischief behind Adam's downcast eyes. Nigel grunted more to himself, feebly bat Adam's hand away like he was swatting at a fly. "I need to change the sheets now, Nigel!"

"Fuck." The older man exhaled in frustration, he blinked away his sleepiness and tried to sit up, lazily looking around for his clothes.

"Today is your turn to prepare breakfast, Nigel." Adam reminded his mate of his domestic chores as he carried the sheets out of the room.

His weiner dog shirt was hanging loosely on Adan's slightly thinner frame, Nigel felt a warmth in his chest, he rolled off the bed and padded into the bathroom with a large cat's yawn.

The tufted ears on Nigel's head fluttered at the sounds of crunching cereal.

Nigel grinned at the serious expression on Adam's face when he concentrated on chewing, he took a bite at the sausage on his plate and chewed ecstatically.

"You have no more macaroni and cheese left in the fridge." Nigel took a sip of coffee from his cheap weiner dog mug, the instant coffee was heavenly too, everything tasted right with Adam around. "Would you like to go to town with me today?"

Adam nodded and beamed at his cereal.

Nigel leaned against his motorcycle in amusement as he waited patiently for Adam, whose clumsy fingers were struggling with the strap on the knee protection pads.

"Legs are the part of your body most likely to be injured but are least likely to be protected. Studies showed that eight out of ten rider casualties have leg injuries and three of these will have fractures. Fractures are more likely to be from an impact with a car than from hitting the road. It is when you hit the road that protective clothing is the most help. It can prevent or reduce the cuts, abrasions and serious skin and muscle loss from sliding across a road surface. Wearing impact protectors over your knees and shins may not prevent a fracture, but you will be more likely to have a simple closed fracture which is easier to treat than a complex fracture..." Adam's babbles were interrupted when Nigel went down on one knee, his fingers swiftly secured the gears. He then proceeded to helped Adam fasten the chin strap of the black helmet. He pecked a kiss between his eyes, wearing a feral grin.

"Um, thanks, Nigel." Adam raised his voice, worried that Nigel couldn't hear him with his helmet on. He gracelessly climbed on the passenger seat behind Nigel.

"Hold on tightly, darling.” Adam's grip on the man's leather jacket tightened. Nigel shot forward on the motorcycle, the engine purring as he accelerated.

The impact happened so fast that Nigel hadn't fully realised it had just happened. He first noticed his nose was hurting, then he noticed his motorcycle was lying flat in the middle of the road, his helmet nowhere to be found.

"Adam!" A panic rose in his throat as Nigel struggled to stand. Something hit hard at the back of his head before he could locate Adam. Then everything went black.

When Nigel came to again, he was surrounded by the sound of roaring water. There were shuffling of feet, angry shouting in Japanese, and some whimpering. The click of a gun behind his head brought him back to full consciousness.

"Get up! Now!" An accented voice commanded in English. "I Know You Are Awake."

Nigel glared in fury at the gang of Japanese men circling him like a pack of hyenas. He jumped up in a fighting stance with his cat agility, his highlighted senses surveying his surroundings. He was near the edge of a bluff overlooking a fierce waterfall, the gun he carried with him all the time was gone. There was a giant dead tree protruding out into the void, on one of the twisting branches, Adam was dangling upside down over the roaring torrent of water from a rope on his right ankle. Adam's face and his cream colour sweater were splattered in blood, his whole frame was trembling involuntarily, bruises began to form on his skin.

"Adam!" Nigel felt a burn behind his eyes as their gaze connected, there was so much fear in the blue eyes, yet Adam was trying not to let it show, he was trying to be brave for Nigel.

"What the fuck do you want, Shioda?" There was a maniacal gleam in Nigel's eye as he turned to the one in charge.

"You stole something from me. Are you going to tell me where my shipment is," The old man spoke his words in a very slow, but demanding tone, he started pacing in front of Nigel. "or am I going to have to make you?"

"I have no fucking idea what you are talking about." Without looking, the man held out his gun and a bullet was shot. It pierced through Adam's left ear, blood trickled down rapidly from the missing tip. Adam screamed, but bit his lip before he could scream more.

"The next one will go between his eyes. He will be safe if you just tell me where my shipment is as easy as that."

Nigel clenched his fists, his eyes measuring the distance between him and Adam. "I can't fucking tell you because I don't fucking know."

"If you are not going to tell then I have no choice." Nigel wrinkled his nose and hissed instinctively at the click of the gun. "Last chance."

Adam. Nigel shifted his feet and mentally prepared himself to spring.

"Too late." When the gun fired, Nigel launched off the ground, his fist connected with the man's jaw with a snap that disconnected it from the rest of his head instantly. Before his men could fire any shots, Nigel charged towards the edge of the bluff with inhuman speed, leaping into the air like an actual caracal. He took Adam in his arms and they dived off the cliff into the water.

A panic almost choked Adam as they plunged into the icy cold water - Adam couldn't swim. He felt Nigel protecting him from the impact, holding him close in a death grip. With the help of the arm looping around his neck, Adam tried hard to keep his head above water. He remembered hearing Nigel calling his name as he was separated and carried away by the current. Then everything started to blur and eventually turned black.

Adam's eyes snapped open, inhaling a sharp breath. Cold air filled his lungs and he coughed uncontrollably. His entire body hurting, Adam whimpered.

He was surrounded by darkness, curious sounds of nocturnal animals echoed in the air. Adam blinked his eyes, with his excellent night vision, Adam was sensitive to lights and movements in the dark. He could see small fishes swimming among the pebbles in the shallow water his legs were half submerged in. He and Nigel had been washed up on the shore of a lake of some sort.

Nigel's body was lying at a short distance from him, the man appeared unconscious, but one of his hands extended towards Adam, fingers clutching the tail of Adam's sweater tightly.

"Nigel!" Adam cupped Nigel's face in his hands, his body felt cold, ice cold. A panic rose within Adam, he slapped his cheek in horror."Nigel! Nigel! Wake up! Nigel!"

If Nigel had died, he had died for Adam.

"Ouch—It fucking hurts." Nigel's blonde eyelashes fluttered on his scratched cheek. Adam let out a sob of relief.

“Hello, gorgeous. Is my baby raccoon okay?” Nigel sat up with a grunt of pain. He pulled Adam down by the neck to check his bruised face and injured ear, there seemed to be no broken bones, and the bleeding had already stopped, but he realised the top one-third of Adam's ear was missing. "I'm going to kill that fucker and feed his ears to you, baby."

"I am not cannibalistic." Adam wrinkled his nose."I thought you were dead, Nigel."

"Yeah, well if I die, darling, I died for love." A manic grin appeared on Nigel's face, he bumped their soaked foreheads together. "Pretty fucking cool way to go."

Spread out seemingly endlessly before them was the most beautiful lake they had ever seen. The water reflected the night's sky, and the stars sparkled in the water. Adam felt like they were floating in space.

"It's beautiful."

Nigel nodded minutely, he planted a wet kiss on Adam's lips, then rubbed his stubbled chin on his cheek with closed eyes. "It fucking is."