Chapter 1: Spark
Finn isn’t the bad one; he’s the good one. Finn knows this because his mom and Puck’s mom both tell them that. He’s not supposed to be the one tossing rocks at Puck’s window in the middle of the night, but there he is anyway, the tiny rocks tick tick ticking against the glass. When Puck finally pushes the window up, Finn doesn't wait for him to say anything.
“Puck,” Finn whispers, his breath like smoke in the cold. “Puck, I made a fire. Puck, you have to come see!”
“Where?” Puck hisses back, looking around.
“Come down. I’ll take you there,” Finn says, stepping back so he’s hidden from the road, behind the tree outside Puck’s window. “Wear a hat!”
Puck steps back and his window slides shut. After a minute or two passes, the door opens, and Puck comes out, wearing a jacket and his hat. “Ok,” Puck says quietly as he reaches Finn.
“I brought my bike,” Finn says, indicating where he hid it in the bushes, just in case somebody looked out the windows. “You can sit on the handlebars.”
“Cool,” Puck says. “I thought we were gonna do a fire tomorrow night.”
Finn’s face feels extra hot in the cold air. “I couldn’t wait, so I did a practice one. I didn’t want to mess it up when we did ours.”
“Oh, ok.” Puck shrugs and climbs on the handlebars. Finn starts peddling down the street to towards the really run-down part near Robb park. He parks in front of the middle house in a row of three empty houses, one of them with an eviction notice on the front and the other two just old and falling apart. The shed behind the middle house is still burning steadily.
“See?” Finn says breathlessly.
“Cool,” Puck says. “You think it’s gonna spread before anyone calls it in?”
“I don’t know,” Finn says. They both stand by Finn’s bike, silently watching the shed burn for a while. Everything is so quiet, with only the crackling fire and the occasional sound of the interstate when the wind shifts. “Can I tell you something and you don’t think I’m awful?”
“I never think that,” Puck says.
“I wanted to do one of the houses,” Finn confesses. “The only reason I didn’t was ‘cause you weren’t here with me.”
“Yeah?” Puck doesn’t say anything else for about a minute. “Do you still want to?”
Finn nods. “Yeah. We shouldn’t, though. But I want to.”
“We could,” Puck says, looking around them. “I’m here, so I can make sure no one’s coming.”
“I stashed the lighter fluid under the porch.”
Puck elbows him. “Go get it.”
Finn leaves his bike with Puck, getting down on his hands and knees to crawl under the house’s small front porch and get the lighter fluid and box of long matches he’d hidden under there after lighting up the shed. He doesn’t even bother to brush the dirt and leaves off his clothes before bringing the matches and lighter fluid back to Puck.
“Here,” Finn says, handing Puck the lighter fluid.
“Me spread it, you light it?”
“Is that ok?”
Puck shrugs. “Sure. Which one?”
“Do any of them have stuff in them?” Finn asks.
“I’ll check,” Puck says, jogging up to the front window of the closest one. He turns around and shakes his head at Finn.
“We should probably burn one without stuff in it. We don’t wanna burn somebody’s stuff, right?”
“Ok. So this one,” Puck says, popping the lid on the lighter fluid and starting to squirt it out. Finn watches him, his mouth a little dry from breathing heavily. Puck squirts the lighter fluid as he walks, making a zig-zag pattern on the walls. When he goes around the corner, he squirts some up on the edge of the roof and then dodges the lighter fluid that splashes back down.
“Don’t get it on you,” Finn says.
“You wouldn’t light me,” Puck says with a laugh as he continues around the house, disappearing for a couple of minutes before he comes back around the other side. “Ok!”
“Maybe I should do one side, and you can do the other,” Finn says. “I got to do the shed all by myself.”
“It’s ok, I can just watch you if you want,” Puck says.
Puck nods. “Yeah.”
“Ok. Cool,” Finn says. He steps close to the house, pulling out one of the long matches. He looks back over his shoulder at Puck. “Are you watching?”
“I’m watching,” Puck says, nodding.
Finn strikes the match and tosses it towards the house. It catches the lighter fluid, a sheet of flame immediately rolling up one side of the house. Finn leaps backwards as the fire races along the trail of lighter fluid Puck sprayed on the walls.
“You think it’s gonna go fast?” Puck asks.
Finn looks at Puck. The flickering fire is reflected in his eyes. “Yeah,” Finn says. “We should probably go.”
“No one’s had time to call yet,” Puck says. “We could go hide in the trees down the street.”
“Yeah. Hop on,” Finn says, sitting on his bike and waiting for Puck to climb back up onto the handlebars. Puck does, tapping Finn’s hand with his when he’s settled. Finn pedals them over to the treeline, tipping his bike onto its side once they’ve both off it. They hunker down, low enough to be hidden from the road, and watch the flames reach higher and higher into the sky.
“That’s so cool,” Puck says quietly, grabbing Finn’s hand a moment later. Finn lets Puck’s fingers slide between his.
“Yeah,” Finn says. “It’s beautiful.”
Chapter 2: Burn
They don’t do it often, and after the first few fires, they figure out they need to be careful about spacing it out and varying what they burn. Their first fires were all too obviously arson, and Puck says they need to make sure they don’t get caught. Finn acts like he already knew that, like duh, Puck, but honestly he hadn’t even thought about that part, really. Burning is the good part, and Finn doesn’t think much past that.
The last fire was almost six months ago, so when Puck grabs Finn by the sleeve outside Finn’s 10th grade math class, he knows why.
“It’s time?” Finn asks, knowing how hopeful he sounds.
“Yeah,” Puck says as he nods. “Tonight.”
“Golf course off Allentown. Grass is all brown and dead, even out there. It’ll go up nice.”
“I’ll come get you after Mom’s asleep,” Finn says, his breathing already starting to speed up. Something’s going to burn soon.
“Cool. Wear long pants, even as hot as it’s been,” Puck says. “Just in case.”
“Don’t want to get burned,” Finn agrees, giving Puck a big grin.
“At least not suspiciously.”
“Not where anybody can see.”
Sitting through the rest of the school day after that is almost impossible. Finn feels like he’s going to vibrate out of his seat. He looks across the room in English class, to Puck’s alphabetically-assigned seat, and sees that Puck is tapping his pencil on top of his closed book, staring out the window. After a minute or so, Puck turns and sees Finn, and he smirks a little as he stares back at Finn. They maintain eye contact until Ms. Thomas says Finn’s name.
“Huh?” Finn says.
“The thematic elements of these chapters, are they the same or different as the previous ones?” she says.
Finn’s mouth is so dry that he has to lick his lips before he can answer. “Different?” He cuts his eyes over to Puck again. Puck’s giving him an almost-hidden thumbs up.
When the final bell rings, Finn immediately finds Puck, pulling him into a space between two sets of lockers so nobody can overhear them. “Waiting sucks,” he whispers to Puck. “I want to do it now.”
“Too much light now,” Puck says, squirming a little in the small space.
“Yeah, but I still want to,” Finn says. “Don’t you?”
“Yeah. I do. Just not to get caught, so we can do more, you know?”
“But you like it, right?” Finn asks, suddenly needing Puck to reassure him that he’s not a freak or something.
“Yeah. I like it,” Puck says, leaning in closer as he answers.
“You don’t think I’m, like, fucked up or something, right?”
“Huh?” Puck looks confused. “If you’re fucked up, I’m fucked up. We’re not fucked up.”
“Ok. I just, you know, I worry sometimes. That it’s fucked up,” Finn says. “That I’m fucked up.”
“You’re not fucked up. Promise.”
“Ok. Pick you up at midnight-ish?”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Finn does his homework as soon as he gets home, and then he tries to kill time until his mom goes to bed. He must not be too suspicious-acting, because she goes to bed at 11 like normal. At just after midnight, Finn slips out of the back door with his backpack and hops on his bike, riding it to Puck’s. He doesn’t have to throw rocks at Puck’s window tonight. The lamp is still on and Finn can see Puck’s silhouette in the window. Puck waves once, then disappears and the lamp goes out about a minute before Puck comes outside.
“Got everything?” Puck asks.
“Yeah,” Finn says, jerking his head towards his backpack.
Puck can’t really sit on the handlebars anymore, since they’re both too big for that, so he rides his skateboard next to Finn’s bike as they head towards the golf course of Allentown. Like most weeknights in Lima, the streets are otherwise empty, quiet enough that Finn can hear the gasoline sloshing in the small canister inside his backpack. Finn lets Puck lead him to the right spot along the edge of the golf course, bordered by a few feet of sand on three sides and, farther away, one of the golf course’s ponds.
“See? It’ll look good,” Puck says.
“Yeah,” Finn says. “I bet it reflects in the pond, too.”
“Where do we want to watch from? We should get there before you light it.”
“Let’s go down by the sand over there,” Finn says, pointing at a spot a little farther down.
Puck nods, holding out his hand. “I know it’s dry, but we can make sure it gets started.” Finn puts the canister of gasoline in Puck’s hand. Puck grins and steps out into the grass, pouring gas around until he rejoins Finn on the sand. “There.”
“Ready?” Finn asks, pulling the box of matches out of his backpack.
“Yeah,” Puck says, watching Finn closely.
“Ok,” Finn says. He lights one of the long matches and tosses it away from him. When it gets close to the grass, the gasoline catches, then the grass is quickly engulfed in spreading fire. Finn reaches for Puck’s hand.
“Next time we should start it with a cigarette, or leave a butt or two,” Puck says.
Finn’s breath catches a little at ‘next time’, just like it always does. “You’re so smart about this stuff.”
“It’s going to burn this whole patch,” Puck says, squeezing Finn’s hand.
“Yeah,” Finn says, a little breathlessly. “It’s like the whole thing is made out of fire.”
“I’ll try to find us something even bigger for next time,” Puck promises.
“Do you ever want to start one yourself?” Finn asks. He turns to watch Puck’s face watching the fire. Puck’s face is bathed in golden light.
“I like watching you start them,” Puck says simply.
“I like it when you watch me,” Finn admits. “That feels more fucked up than the fire part, a little.”
Puck shakes his head silently, staying quiet a little longer as the fire burns. “It’s like you start them for me.”
“I do,” Finn says, holding Puck’s hand tighter.
“Look,” Puck says breathlessly. “I think it’s going to jump over the sand there.”
Finn watches as the popping sparks hop over the sand, and then the fire looks like it really is leaping across the sand to the grass beyond it. The burning grass smells better than the buildings usually do, almost like a campfire, and before Finn really processes what he’s doing, his free hand is on Puck’s face, turning it towards him. Their faces are maybe only an inch apart, both of them breathing heavily.
“Finn,” Puck says softly.
“Do you… is this…?”
Finn nods. “Yeah. I think so.”
“Ok. Good,” Puck says, then kisses Finn. Finn keeps holding on to Puck’s hand, his other hand still on Puck’s face, and the light and heat from the fire flickers against their cheeks while they kiss. Puck seems to kiss Finn a little harder as it gets warmer, and he squeezes Finn’s hand.
Eventually, Finn hears sirens in the far distance, and he pulls away from Puck, sighing. “We should either go or hide better,” he says.
“You should sneak me into your house,” Puck says. “They’d totally believe I just couldn’t sleep and skateboarded over.”
“Yeah,” Finn says. He’s still holding Puck’s hand, so he pulls Puck towards the hidden bike and skateboard.
Puck looks over his shoulder as he picks up his skateboard. “I think the fire got a little bigger than we planned,” he says with a grin.
“It’s so pretty,” Finn says, giving the broad field of fire one long last look before letting go of Puck’s hand and sitting on the bike. “Ready?”
“Yeah, we’d better go,” Puck says as he nods.
Finn sighs and reluctantly starts pedaling towards his house. They have to pull off the road and crouch behind a bush when the fire truck passes, but they don’t see another vehicle the rest of the way. Finn leans his bike against the side of the house and, then he and Puck quietly sneak in through the back door and up the stairs to Finn’s room. Finn shuts the door and locks it.
“That was…” Finn shakes his head, not entirely sure how to describe how he’s feeling. Starting a fire is always exhilarating, but it feels even more special tonight. Lighting a fire for Puck and then kissing him, that’s something new, but at the same time, it’s also something that feels completely right, like it’s what they should have been doing the whole time.
“I know,” Puck says, putting his face against Finn’s hair and taking a deep breath. “I can still smell the fire on you.”
“You have ash on your neck,” Finn says, pressing his face to the side of Puck’s neck to smell him, too. He darts his tongue out to taste the salt and char flavor of Puck’s skin. “You taste like a fire.”
“You like it,” Puck says, lifting his head and pressing their lips together again. Finn flicks his tongue against Puck’s lips; they taste like smoke, too. Puck opens his mouth, and he puts both arms around Finn, pulling him in closer. Finn runs his fingertips along Puck’s sides, sliding his hands up the back of Puck’s shirt to press against his back. Puck leans back against the wall, still kissing Finn hard.
Finn runs his hands all up and down Puck’s back. With their bodies together, he can smell the smoke on both of them, the faint chemical gasoline scent on Puck’s shirt. This is what they should have been doing after every fire. This is what they need to keep doing after every fire. Puck pulls back a little and tilts his head towards Finn’s bed, eyebrow raised questioningly. Finn nods and starts walking them towards the bed.
Puck pulls off his shirt and tosses it on the bed before he lies down, grabbing Finn’s hands and pulling him down too. “Take your shirt off.”
“Yeah,” Finn says, pulling his shirt over his head and then kissing Puck again. Puck has his hands on Finn’s back, running them up and down lightly at first, then with more pressure as they keep kissing. Finn can still smell the smoke and gasoline on Puck.
After they kiss for a long time, Puck stops and looks at Finn, then down for a second before making eye contact with Finn again. “Do you want to, you know. Lose the jeans?”
“Yeah, you too,” Finn says, starting to wiggle out of his own jeans while tugging on Puck’s.
“I don’t have any underwear on,” Puck warns as he unzips his jeans.
“Less stuff to take off,” Finn counters.
“Yeah, ok,” Puck says with a little shrug, kicking his jeans off and then propping himself on one arm to stare at Finn. Finn stares back at him. Puck has smudges of ash on his face, and Finn runs his thumb over one.
“You still smell like the fire,” Finn says. He tugs his boxers off so they’re both equally naked.
“You get off on it, huh?” Puck says, sounding more awed than anything. “That’s so freaking cool.”
“You don’t think I’m messed up?” Finn asks.
“No,” Puck says, looking a little confused. “I think it’s hot.”
“You like it, too,” Finn says.
“Yeah,” Puck says. “And I like the way you look.”
“How do I look?” Finn asks. He runs his hands down Puck’s sides and over his ass.
Puck doesn’t answer for a few moments, chewing on his lip and looking a little sheepish before he finally blurts out a response. “Kinda beautiful.”
Puck shrugs, still looking sheepish. “Yeah.”
“So do you,” Finn says. “I like watching you while you watch the fire.” He strokes the skin on Puck’s lower back. “I like to make fires for you to look at.”
“Yeah.” Puck scoots closer to Finn and presses his face against Finn’s neck. “You smell like we’re still there.”
“Yeah, you do, too,” Finn says. He shoves one hand between his body and Puck’s to grab Puck’s dick. He looks in Puck’s eyes, their faces close together. Puck grins and reaches for Finn’s dick, closing his fingers around it before kissing Finn. They keep kissing as they start to jerk each other off. Puck still smells like fire.
“You think it’ll become some kind of Pavlov’s dog thing?” Puck mumbles against Finn’s lips as he jerks Finn off faster. “Fire and sex?”
“That’s not bad, right?” Finn asks, moving his own hand faster. “Like, it’s good, that we’re doing this. Me and you, that’s good.”
“Yeah, it’s good,” Puck says. “But we’ll have to be careful at bonfires and shit.”
“So nobody knows about us?” Finn asks. He kisses Puck in between the words, breathing deeply so he can keep smelling the smoke on Puck’s skin.
“So we don’t end up butt-naked in a pile of, like, leaves and pinecones,” Puck says, and he starts moving his hips a little, pushing his dick against Finn’s hand.
“We should do this right by a fire,” Finn says. “We’ll bring a blanket or something and set one, and we’ll stay right there and watch it and do this.”
“Yeah. Good,” Puck says, nodding a little. “It’s the fires we have to keep secret.”
“We need to get better at it, so we can do it without getting caught,” Finn says. He moves his mouth to the side of Puck’s neck, sucking on his skin.
“We’re doing pretty good so far,” Puck says, tilting his head to the side.
Finn sucks hard on a spot that tastes particularly smoky, jerking his hips up so Puck will move his hand faster. Puck lets out a noise that could be a whine or a laugh, but he does move his hand faster, his fingers gripping Finn more tightly.
“Yeah,” Finn says into Puck’s neck. “Keep doing that.”
“Are you going to come in my hand?” Puck asks. “Like, for real?”
“Yeah, ‘cause you feel so good, and you smell so good,” Finn says, pressing his nose to Puck’s neck and breathing deeply, both of them jerking each other off fast and rough.
“Awesome,” Puck says, sounding a little breathless again. “Yeah, we should do that now.”
“You should watch me,” Finn says, shifting so there’s enough space between their bodies for them both be able to look down at their hands moving on each other’s dicks. It sounds like Puck’s breath catches a little, and he nods as he looks down, his eyes on their hands. As soon as Finn is sure Puck is watching, his own eyes move back to Puck’s face, watching Puck watch him. Finn could almost swear he can still see the fire reflecting in Puck’s eyes, and that thought does make Finn come in Puck’s hand.
Puck groans a little, still watching Finn, and he pushes harder into Finn’s hand for a few moments before he starts to come, breathing fast. Finn kisses him again, and keeps kissing him as they both slump against the bed, sticky and smoky.
“That was crazy awesome,” Puck says after a minute or two.
“Yeah,” Finn says, feeling tired and happy. “I want to do that all the time.”
“Yeah.” Puck rolls toward Finn, sniffing him a little. “We can hide our t-shirts so our moms don’t wash them.”
“Ok, cool,” Finn says. He drapes an arm over Puck and scooches closer to rest his forehead against Puck’s.
Puck starts laughing quietly a minute later. “On a scale of 1-10, how much more mad would our moms be about the sex than the fires?”
“Probably about an 8,” Finn says. “Both are good, though.”
“Yeah. Both are good.”
Sometimes Finn wonders how people don’t guess his and Puck’s hobby, because they both have so many scars from burns. Some are small, from a leaping spark that hit bare skin or even an intentional press of a still-hot match while they’re fooling around. Some are larger, mostly from when they were younger and would sometimes make mistakes, catching the hem of their pants on fire. They both got really good at treating burns at home without getting infections, and luckily they never burned themselves so badly they needed skin grafts or anything. Under their clothes, their bodies are maps of shiny, raised scars. Finn thinks they’re beautiful.
Nothing in their new apartment hints at what they like to do in their free time. Nobody would find a hidden stash of lighter fluid or bought-in-bulk matches. Their browser history doesn’t contain anything arson-related. They’re too good for those rookie mistakes now.
Most of the improvements to their method were Puck’s idea. He’s the one who started scrubbing their browser histories early junior year year, he’s the one who researched less-obvious propellants, and he’s the one who suggested they pursue the career that excuses the burns and the fire smell. Puck found the State Fire School program at Bowling Green. Puck directed them towards a fire department without a dedicated Arson Investigator or Fire Marshall.
Putting out fires doesn’t satisfy the urge to burn things, but at least it gives them an opportunity to work with fire, which keeps Finn’s arson itch at a lower key than it was through high school. Sometimes they even get to do controlled burns, which means a great day at work, followed by even-hotter sex when they get home.
They still set their own fires, but they’re so much better at it now.
“Hey,” Puck says as they get in their truck to head home. “You real tired, or not really?”
“I’m ok. Whatcha got in mind?” Finn asks.
“It’s been awhile,” Puck says, flicking his eyes briefly to look at the engine sitting outside the station, then back at Finn.
Finn feels himself grinning, the special one that’s only for Puck and fire. “You have a spot?”
“How many times have we heard that the old Kmart is a fire waiting to happen? Shit wiring, all the brush and pallets out back, and it’s probably got boxes of clothes from 2007 in it, too,” Puck says.
“Storm’s supposed to roll in by two or three in the morning,” Finn says. “Should keep it from spreading.”
“Might even get blamed for it. Stray lucky lightning strike,” Puck says with a wide smile.
“Let’s get something to eat and make a plan,” Finn says.
Puck nods and starts the truck. “If we time it right, we’ll get at least a little while of the whole thing going up.”
Finn leans over and kisses Puck, letting his mouth linger on Puck’s before pulling away and answering. “Can’t wait.”
“I know you can’t. Me either.”
“We’re gonna have such a good night tonight,” Finn says. He rests his hand high on Puck’s thigh as Puck puts the truck into drive. Puck grins again and pulls out on the road, shaking his head a little.
“Stop trying to distract me while I’m driving. What do you want for dinner?”
“Let’s get burgers and milkshakes.”
“Culver’s or Steak ‘N Shake?” Puck asks.
“Culver’s, because of cheese curds,” Finn says.
“Awesome.” When they stop at a redlight, Puck pushes Finn’s sleeve up enough to rub his thumb along one of Finn’s scars. “Maybe it’ll be one with a lot of sparks.”
Finn smiles at Puck. “Maybe we can keep watching from the truck,” he says, sliding his hand up higher to cup Puck’s dick through his jeans.
“How old are you again?” Puck asks jokingly. “Remember the first year we started driving?”
“Yeah, of course I do. And old enough to know what I want,” Finn says.
“Better if we don’t crash on the way to Culver’s,” Puck says, but he doesn’t move Finn’s hand as they drive the rest of the way to the restaurant and pull in to park. “Did you want to get our food to go?”
“We don’t want to get there too early, and it’s not bad to have an audience for our nice, normal evening,” Finn says, “or the nice, normal part of our evening, at least.”
“It’s nice and normal for us the entire evening,” Puck says, unlocking the doors and unfastening his seat belt.
They’re handsier during dinner than they’d usually be on any night that isn’t a fire night. Finn can’t keep himself from touching Puck’s hands while they’re reaching for food or from bumping their legs together under the table. Puck grins at him every time, and as he finishes up his shake, he puts his hand on Finn’s thigh.
“I’ve missed this,” Finn says quietly. “I like what we do at work, but I miss it being just you and me.”
“I know. Me too,” Puck says.
“We should get a place out in the middle of nowhere. We could burn whatever we wanted out there.”
Puck laughs quietly. “At night, or people might notice the smoke.”
“So what if we want to make bonfires on our own property?” Finn says.
“We just have to keep it seasonal. Make sure we’re ‘clearing the underbrush’ or something,” Puck says. “Maybe dig a ditch around the fire. We just have to look like responsible firefighters even on our property.”
“Yeah, but we could watch it burn all the way down,” Finn says.
“You want to make that a goal for the new year?” Puck asks. “Buying some land?”
“Yeah,” Finn says. “I like that.”
“Ok. Cool.” Puck moves his hand to the top of the table and squeezes Finn’s hand. “Should we get a Redbox?”
“Yeah. Let’s see if they have that new Harrison Ford movie.”
Puck slides out of the booth, still holding Finn’s hand, and steps close as soon as Finn stands up. “We have to make sure we really watch it at some point,” he whispers.
“Tomorrow,” Finn says.
Puck nods, leading them out of the restaurant. “For now we have a plan to make,” Puck says as they get back in the truck.
They know they’ll need to actually get inside the abandoned Kmart and see what’s still in there and what the actual state of the wiring is, but they talk in abstracts about the merits of shorts circuits versus limited short circuits. If the wiring is about what they expect, and the store has enough easily-combustible materials, a few sparks should be enough to get it going. It’s possible the Kmart even still has some type of propellant inside in the stockroom or out in the shelves, which will make it even easier to guarantee the whole thing goes up.
First, they go home and change, putting on dark clothes and grabbing their gloves and Puck’s small electrical kit, something they could easily justify keeping around. They both wear their hair short now, which cuts down on the chances of leaving any DNA evidence at the scene. Finn takes a moment to push Puck against the wall and kiss him before they head back to the truck.
Puck drives them out to the Kmart with one hand on Finn’s leg, looking over at him with a grin at each stoplight. He backs the truck in under some overhanging trees, far away from any light, then cuts the engine. “We’ll wait ten to fifteen in case anyone noticed us.”
“Excited?” Finn asks.
Puck unbuckles and slides closer to Finn, his hand moving higher on Finn’s thigh. “Yeah. How long you think we can chance watching it?”
“If we start in the back, we can probably get at least 15 to 20 before someone calls it in, and then another thirty after that,” Finn says. “Best case, we can be out there for a while.”
“We both like it better when we can stay longer,” Puck says. He slides his hand up to palm Finn’s dick. “Already excited.”
“I’m ready,” Finn says.
“We should get started,” Puck says, leaning in to kiss Finn. Finn kisses back roughly before pulling away and grabbing Puck’s electrical kit and the crowbar from under the seat.
Finn pries open the door with the crowbar. They use small flashlights to look through the stockroom, and while Puck goes to work on the electrical panel, Finn drags around and arranges old wooden pallets and cardboard boxes. He finds a few boxes with paint supplies, including turpentine, which he dumps over the pallets. When he looks back at Puck, he sees Puck has managed to strip down some copper wiring. Puck touches two pieces of wire together, and a bright spark arcs between them. Finn feels almost disappointed, he realizes.
“I want to do it with a match, like we used to,” Finn confesses. “It’s enough that the wiring looks like it could have started the fire, right?”
Puck nods and touches the wires together a second time, carefully keeping the spark from igniting anything. “It’s the easy explanation.”
“You go to the door. I’ll be right behind you,” Finn says, pulling Puck to him for a quick kiss.
“You know I’ll be watching,” Puck says, shuffling backwards towards the door.
Finn waits until he’s sure Puck is by the door, then he pulls a small matchbook out of his pocket. He double-checks that he has a clear path out first, before striking a match. He watches the little flame dance for a moment before he gently tosses it away from him, simultaneously turning and bolting for the door. Finn feels heat behind him, pushing him towards the exit, and he grabs Puck on his way out of the door, pulling him away from the roiling fireball behind them. They both collapse into the sandy gravel ten yards or so from the building, Finn panting and hard.
“The whole thing’s going to go up,” Puck says, kissing Finn’s cheek and jaw. “That’s so good.”
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Finn asks. He pulls Puck against him, press his dick against Puck’s hip.
“Mmm. I love your face like this,” Puck says, kissing Finn on the lips.
“Yeah? How’s my face?” Finn asks. This isn’t the first time they’ve had this conversation, but Finn always loves it. “Tell me about my face.”
“Glowing. Like you’re having a religious experience,” Puck says, and he kisses Finn again. “It’s beautiful.”
“Yeah, but what about your face? The way you look at me. The way you watch me,” Finn says. He rolls onto his back, Puck on top of him. Rocks dig into Finn’s back and elbows as Puck’s weight presses him into the gravel and sand.
“I’ve been watching you my entire life,” Puck says. “It’s just best when you look like this.”
“And I say it’s best when you’re watching me,” Finn says. Something inside the Kmart explodes, another plume of flame coming out of the open door and licking up the side of the building. The air around them is hot and dry.
“We should head to the truck,” Puck says, not taking his eyes off Finn.
“Just one more minute,” Finn says. He keeps Puck pulled against him, both of them hard now and just barely grinding against each other, bathed in orange light from the burning Kmart.
“I know what you want to do, but we need to get up,” Puck says.
Finn sighs and lets Puck push himself up first, then gets to his feet once Puck is standing. “Yeah, I know. We should head to the truck, like you said.”
“We’ll finish this at home,” Puck says, grabbing Finn’s hands and pulling him with him. “You know we will.”
“Yeah, I know,” Finn says. He takes another long look at the fire, which has now spread through enough of the building that smoke is billowing out several spots along the back and sides.
“It’s gorgeous,” Puck says, nudging Finn’s side. “Come on. We’ll get to the truck so we can watch longer.”
Finn follows Puck to the truck, still hand in hand, and slides in through the driver’s side so they don’t have to let go of each other. Someone’s bound to call the fire in soon, if they haven’t already, because the flames are definitely visible from the road. There’s no real danger of the fire spreading beyond the Kmart, not with the blacktop around it and sand-and-gravel around that, and the road passing it doesn’t have a high traffic flow, so it’s still possible nobody has noticed or cared enough to call it in.
The watch the building burn for another few minutes, Finn gradually slipping his hand out of Puck’s grip and up his leg, palming Puck’s dick through his jeans and kissing the side of his neck. Puck turns towards Finn, thrusting his hips up and kissing Finn hard. “Come on, let’s go home and fuck,” Puck says.
“Yeah,” Finn says. He keeps his hand on Puck as Puck starts the truck and drives away from the fire. Finn watches it in the rearview mirror until it’s out of sight.
“That’s going to be a nice picture in our memories, yeah?” Puck says as they get close to home.
Finn pops open the button on Puck’s jeans and slides the zipper down enough to work his hand inside. “Yeah. That was a good one.”
“Trying to make me crash?” Puck says, slowing down as he turns onto their street and then parks. “Are we going to get inside or get naked first?”
“We’re gonna do both at the same time,” Finn says.
“Don’t trip,” Puck says, turning off the truck and climbing out, jeans still unfastened.
“You don’t trip,” Finn counters. “I’ve got something to hold onto.” He gives Puck’s dick a light squeeze for emphasis.
“Don’t break my dick,” Puck says with a laugh as they slowly walk inside.
“Haven’t yet, not planning to start now.”
Puck shuts the door behind them, pulling off his shirt at the same time. “Not getting naked fast enough.”
“One of my hands is occupied!” Finn says. He moves in close to Puck, putting his face against Puck’s hair and breathing in the smell of smoke. Puck laughs, wiggling and kicking his jeans off. Once Puck is naked, Finn starts taking off his own clothes, keeping one hand on Puck at all times.
“Slowpoke,” Puck says, almost shoving Finn towards the sofa. Finn grabs Puck by the arm, trying to force it behind Puck’s back and to spin them around at the same time, so Puck is between him and the sofa. Puck laughs and pulls his arm away, grabbing Finn’s shoulder with his other hand.
“That’s how it’s gonna be?” Finn asks, laughing too, and grappling with Puck and trying to push him back onto the sofa.
“Always is,” Puck says, doing his own pushing as he keeps grinning.
Between the two of them shoving and wrestling, they miss the sofa entirely, ending up on the floor in front of it, Finn on top of Puck. “Guess this is how it’s gonna be,” Finn says.
“You like carpet burn almost as much as a real burn.”
“Yeah, and you don’t?” Finn counters. The lube, he realizes, is on the table next to the sofa, just out of easy reach. He pushes himself up on one hand, reaching out with the other for the lube bottle. Just as he snags it, Puck grabs him and flips him, grinning down at him.
“Nah, this is how it’s going to be,” Puck says.
“Then come on, do it,” Finn says, lifting his hips to grind up against Puck.
“Eager, huh?” Puck grabs the lube out of Finn’s hand and pours some out, running his hand up and down his dick a few times before positioning himself and pushing into Finn. “Yeah?”
“Fuck. Yeah, just like that,” Finn says, grabbing Puck’s shoulders with both hands to pull him down into a kiss. He lifts his hips against to force Puck deeper.
“Yeah, I know what you like,” Puck says almost softly as he fucks Finn even faster. Finn’s fingernails dig into Puck’s back.
“Always have,” Finn says. “Always will.”
“Mmmhmm.” Puck takes a deep breath and thrusts into Finn harder than before. “Roof’s probably collapsing now.” Finn lets out short, rough cries every time Puck moves, finally pressing his lips to the top of Puck’s shoulder.
“You smell like a bonfire,” Finn says, lightly biting at Puck’s shoulder.
“So do you. Like fire and accelerant,” Puck says.
“Fuck,” Finn says. “Put your hand on me.”
“Yeah, you like smelling that way, like smelling it on me,” Puck says, wrapping his hand around Finn’s dick and jerking him off roughly. Finn bites Puck’s shoulder again, closing his eyes so he can focus on the way Puck smells, the way his skin tastes, how his hand feels on Finn’s dick. He only lasts another few minutes before he’s coming hard, tightening around Puck and spilling into his hand. Puck thrusts into Finn just a few more times, then comes deep inside Finn before collapsing on top of him.
Finn’s happy to stay there on the floor until they fall asleep, but his phone starts to ring, then Puck’s phone. He reaches for his jeans without letting Puck off of him, dragging them over so he can get the phone out of the pocket. He puts the phone to his ear, realizing at the same time that it’s now raining hard, thunder booming nearby.
“Hudson,” Finn says.
“It’s Martin. We’ve got a four alarm, the old Kmart off Harrison, so we’re calling everyone in.”
“Yes sir, Chief,” Finn says, starting to sit up as Puck slides off him. “Lightning get it?”
“Probably so,” Martin says. “See you there, Hudson.”
“Yes sir.” Finn ends the call and grins at Puck, feeling a little smug.
“Look at you,” Puck teases. “Proud?”
“All hands on deck, huh? Even the ones that set it.”
“Now we get to see how it turned out,” Finn says. “Nice to get a chance to see it all the way down to ash.”
“In different clothes,” Puck says wryly as he stands up.
Finn stands, too, stretching a little and feeling relaxed and centered. “It’s gonna be an even better night than I expected.”
“I should take a picture of you, all smug,” Puck says.
“Yeah?” Finn asks. “You like me smug.”
Puck does snap a quick picture, then they get dressed in clean, non-smoky clothes and drive back to the station. By the time they get out to the Kmart, it’s mostly metal frame and concrete blocks and red-hot beams. Even with multiple engines on the fire, there isn’t much to be done for the building, since the rain has already dampened the worst of it. After only a few hours on scene, the Kmart is a steaming, smoking husk, and Finn’s ready to take Puck back home to fuck again.
Puck bends down, running his gloved hand through the ash, and then looks at Finn with a grin before reaching up and smudging some of the ash on Finn’s forehead. The other guys still on scene laugh, but Finn mostly has to contain the urge to wrestle Puck down into the ashes and fuck him right there in front of everybody.
“It’s not Ash Wednesday,” Finn says.
Puck shrugs, still grinning. “And I’m not Catholic.”
Finn grins back at Puck, but he doesn’t wipe the ash off his forehead. “And we should get home.”
“Oh yeah, we’re wiped,” Puck says with an exaggerated yawn.
Luckily, they’re all ready to load the ladder truck and head back to the station, and Puck and Finn sit together quietly, not trading jokes with the other guys. They stay quiet as they get out of their gear, offering a quick “see you” as they walk together to their own truck. Once the doors are shut and they’re on their way home again, Finn rests his hand on Puck’s leg.
“That was amazing,” Finn says softly.
“Yeah, it was,” Puck says, driving slowly through the mostly-empty streets. “And we’ll get to do that again before too long.”
“On our own property, as much as we want,” Finn says. “But we can still do some off-site work. You know, special occasions.”
Puck laughs. “I’ll find a list of abandoned Kmarts.”
“We’ll always be able to find something to burn,” Finn says.
Puck nods. “Something appropriately big enough for us. It’ll be good, and no one’ll guess.”
“Yeah,” Finn says. “We barely even have to hide. We could burn it all down if we wanted.”
Puck drives them home, and this time they do make it to the sofa, fucking with the smell of smoke still clinging to them, the ash on Finn’s face transferring to Puck’s so they’re both smudged with it. They fall asleep like that, intertwined and marked with ash, and they both dream about burning.
It should be noted that Patch still hates Hozier, but Rav just really likes this one song.