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The Excessively Intimate Bond of Best Bros

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The room was quiet, dark, their only illumination coming from the lamp by the nightstand. Twilight had long settled, leaving the bustling metropolis in dimmed coloration, the fluorescence of artificial light burning into the retinas of those without modulations to assist their sight patterns. Outside the window, the streets sang, croaked, pregnant with all sorts of night-going folks, all having not yet retired to their respective homes. Working the red districts, flashing skin for quick grist, bumping off redhots and the opposition with hardly a second glance given to the charred corpses. It was in such a night, such a town, that two young artists honed their skills. Two young men, brought together by fate, drawn into the same quarters, the same mattress. On the floor, pocketed, worn trousers had been discarded, their owner pressed onto his back, an arm over his eyes. The sounds of the city streets were muted behind the glass, the sounds filling the room being only the creak of the mattress beneath his back and the groans falling from his lips.

Simply put, the scene was excessively intimate. Especially when it was one shared between a pair of mere chums, self-proclaimed "bros", and nothing more.

"Hey," a low, smooth voice called, the man giving his fleshy thigh a gentle squeeze. How Strider could always manage to sound so incredibly unattached from the situation was anyone's guess. Something prodded against his lips. "In your mouth. Double-time, bro."

His thighs had been pried apart, a warm body pressed between them. Jake could hear his heartbeat pounding in his ears, only hushed when he gave a thick swallow to ease himself. A pair of gloved hands worked on the space within them, Jake's jaw clenching in retaliation to the foreign, lingering touches. "Must you be so fucking pushy?" griped the man beneath him, shifting once more in discomfort. Shift. Shift. Dirk gave no comment, only prodding the rag against his lips once again. "Don't I get a three count?"

Yeah, no. Dirk's silent reply contained everything he had to know. Instead of speaking (y'know, like a normal fucking human being), Jake's chin was seized, turned towards him, mouth pushed open by exposed fingertips, and the cloth was pushed in. Wonderful conversation. As fulfilling as any could hope. When Dirk was in his zone, there wasn't a word that could be murmured to pull him back down to reality. Even from his own partner in crime.

There was a whine that rang from the man, muffled by the towel that had been shoved into his yap, resulting in a sound that worked mainly at the back of his throat. Maybe he was a bit grateful for that piece of cloth. It saved him from Dirk poking fun at him for making such a pathetic sound in rapture of an action that the pair had lived through on numerous occasions since their teenage years. It took everything in him not to writhe, to clench his fists and soldier through. Not even a three count. What an asshole.

Dirk, meanwhile, was focused. Jake peered at him from under the crook of his elbow, the way that his unnaturally golden eyes had honed on to the space where metal met flesh. His hands were swift, deft in their task, moving with the same amount of cool confidence as when he wielded the handle of a blade. The sharp curve of his snout was facing low, hair tied back in order to keep the lightly colored wisps from obstructing his view. He had to be careful. The last thing that either man would need would be a mechanical mishap leaving Jake out of order for another few days. He had already spent his last mission limping through on the unhinged limb. Dirk was the one whose eagle-eyed gaze had caught onto the crippling in his gait, forcing him to the wall for a field inspection.

The result was another late night, mechanic's hands between Jake's legs and more reworking on the prosthetic limb than what Jake deemed at all necessary, the only covering available for the patient being a well-placed towel eclipsing his family jewels. The worst of the shooting pain was through. The first bolt always was the worst as his nerves readjusted to the synthetic replacement. The springs groaned as Dirk moved, trying to get the others in as swiftly as he could. Jake appreciated his mindfulness in that regard. It was well-known between the two how much Jake despised being put in such a position, wasting their supplies in order to repair the parts of him that would never return. He felt a bare palm press against his knee. A glance was brought downwards, noting that Dirk had removed a glove, his thumb brushing soothing circles over his dark skin. A breath was exhaled slowly, and he closed his eyes again.

Again, the whole situation was excessively intimate. Others would likely look upon with suspicious glances, how close Dirk insisted on drawing himself for the task, how naturally Jake seemed to fall onto his back when that gloved hand touched his chest. The touches always seemed to linger a moment longer than what was needed, the eye contact held until it bordered on too much, which resulted usually in Jake pulling away in a forced yawn or Dirk suddenly catching a cough.

He felt his leg (the one of flesh and bone) being pushed upwards, forcing Jake to turn partially onto his side in order to give his friend a better angle in his repairs. The gag had been removed, freeing up Jake's lips for casual conversation while kept in such a vulnerable position. His instincts, honed from his years of constant backwards glances and time in the heat of combat, always told him it was a poor choice to allow someone to get him into a position where he could easily be put in danger. If someone had a foul plan in their heads, it could easily be hatched when Jake left himself so readily open for a blade to the gut or a hand wrapped around his throat. He never felt that fear with Dirk. It was their silent form of trust, the deepness of their dependency, a detail that went unmentioned but painfully obvious in its intensity.

Fingers trailed low, dancing over the exposed flesh of Jake's inner thigh, causing a gentle shiver to course through him. There was a shift given by Jake, but not one noting the touch as unwelcome. Jake admired the well-defined muscles as they ceased shifting behind the pale, exposed skin of his arm, stilling in their motion as his attention turned elsewhere. His tongue darted over his lips. Jake replicated the motion. The curious hand continued in its journey, thumb running beneath the towel covering Jake for a brief instant before the Boy Wonder himself realized how his own heart pounded, knocking him out of the strange train of thought. He gulped, eyes snapping open to give a confused look to the man on his hips. "Erm. Dirk." A cough. Clearing the throat, aha. "What are you doing?"

Dirk seemed momentarily struck. His hand slipped back, the peculiar haziness in his burning eyes seeming to lift. He was cool. It's all cool. "Nothin'," came the short, curt reply, then he returned to his duties. Another layer of mystery to the bond they shared, an added unmentionable that would go ignored for the next three years. The brunet sighed, head leaning back on the pillows as he let the momentary awkwardness fade back into the routine. The rough fingers moved back to the neutral zone of Jake's knee, and he continued in his work.

Another few minutes passed in silence, the only sound meeting Jake's ears being the buzz of city life beyond the wall of the inn. His gaze wandered around the room, to the man before him, then right on back to the translucent surface of the window.

"Move your knee," Dirk ordered, voice smooth and deep and so much more controlled than Jake's could be. There was a lack of tenderness in his tone, but the caring was still there, even if both would never let the words fall willingly. Jake complied, raising the mechanical limb and giving the foot a rotation with only a bit of extra effort. The blond examined the motion of the joint, and Jake noted the hint of pride that lined his expression. "That's it," he murmured, letting his covered palm rub the back of the metallic thigh. He took pride in his creations. It was clear. The clearest bit of Dirk that Jake could see then, in the enigma of the man that he so readily served. "Must've knocked a wire loose. Jake, how many times do I have to tell you that this ain't shit to mess with? This thing isn't some toy. It's--"

"I know, I know, I'm going to get my dumb ass killed out there," Jake interrupted, rolling his eyes. "Please, spare me the spiel. I've heard it a thousand times now."

"Make it a thousand and one, then. Maybe then it might actually get through that thick fuckin' skull."

The man only laughed, a hearty, boisterous thing, scooting away from Dirk in order to get himself righted into a sitting position. He knew Dirk only did it because, despite his aloof and rough demeanor, he had the man compromised. It was all out of caring, something that Jake seemed to give off so easily where Dirk so often struggled. Jake never seemed to be bothered by it, though. He knew it was there, even if Dirk found it hard to display as openly. His hand playfully shoved Dirk's shoulder, earning a grunt in reply. "Yes, yes, of course. In the morrow. I must say, I'm plumb exhausted!" Dirk seemed to agree with the idea. A nod was given, and Jake continued. "You take the bed tonight. The rug calls."

This led to another long, passionate debate on why Jake ought to be the one sleeping on the mattress, returned by the man in question with his insisting on Dirk's dainty feet needing the extra padding. Dirk wanted Jake on the bed. Jake wanted Dirk on the bed. The end result was a compromise, both boys lined up under the sheets, backs to each other to avoid further mishaps. Their isolated positioning failed to hold for the rest of the night. In sleep they shifted, resulting in a tangle of limbs and man, close-pressed and toeing that line of intimacy that their friendship seemed to so often park its caboose. A morning spent with lingering touches and too-long gazes. Of forced yawning and feigning coughs. Of intimacy that bordered on excessive.