It started, fittingly enough, with the SuperPAC.
Jon had planned for a simple monetary transfer, to be treated with all due ethics before, during, and after. Then he saw the sum involved (the legally unlimited and unregulated sum!), and tried to lick the check. At last Stephen took his hands, and there was a rush of emerald-green light and Trevor Potter intoning what could not be real legalese in the background, and then....
And then Jon didn't care any more.
He didn't wait for Stephen to make it back to the privacy of the office. He barely waited for Stephen to get out of view of the audience after the credits had rolled. There in the middle of the hall, in full view of a long row of cubicles with a dozen staffers plus at least three dogs, Jon grabbed Stephen by the lapels and hauled him into a wet, confident kiss.
"Hngruh," said Stephen, when Jon let him go. Someone started clapping; Stephen whipped his head around. "Who is that? You're fired!"
"I am?" asked Trevor Potter.
"You're not," decided Jon. "You came with the SuperPAC, right? Well, I like you, so I'm keeping you."
And he nearly tore Stephen's jacket as he yanked the man back down, the better to maul his neck.
There was a reason he hadn't done this before, right? Was it a good reason? Couldn't have been. All those throaty, panting noises Stephen was making were worth shattering at least twenty standards for.
Their first time together was everything Stephen had dreamed of.
Which was weird, because he hadn't realized Jon was capable of being everything he had dreamed of. Stephen liked him and all, and wouldn't have objected to sex with the man as a general rule, but he knew Jon had this fetish for being reasonable and understanding that was seriously at odds with Stephen's normal fantasies. Plus he was, let's be fair, tending toward the decrepit.
And tonight, none of it came up. Tonight, Jon shoved Stephen around, manhandled him, and got in a couple of honest-to-goodness bites without bothering to confirm that that was on Stephen's kink list, all with the athleticism of a much younger man.
Stephen adored it.
"How come you never did that before?" he asked afterward, flat on his back in bed while Jon toweled himself off.
Jon shrugged. "Had a reason," he said, unconcerned. "Let's see...uh...something about wanting you to be more honest with yourself first, and knock it off with the whole 'blaming the gays for everything' schtick? Especially when we all know you're not hiring from Rentboy.com for their production skills."
"Julian is a very competent camera operator," said Stephen stiffly.
"Uh-huh." Jon ruffled Stephen's hair, as one would with a dog that had just done something endearingly stupid. "Gonna go grab some chips and beer. You want anything?"
It was Stephen's own kitchen Jon was planning to plunder, but he relaxed anyway. "Bring me Doritos!"
Left alone for the moment, Stephen dug out his phone, which had somehow ended up under the bed between a spare cord to a TV he no longer owned and, ooh, a ball gag he had never taken out of the packaging. (They would have to fix that later.) His call was picked up on the second ring.
"Hi, Trevor? Before I ask anything else, is it illegal for both me and Jon to use the same lawyer now?"
"No, Stephen, you're in the clear on that," said the greatest lawyer in the history of lawyerdom.
"Oh, good! Then I can ask the main thing, which is: how illegal is it to have sex with my SuperPAC director? Hypothetically speaking, I mean."
"Depends," said Trevor, sounding solemn and understanding and not at all like he was about to crack up. Or at least, that was how Stephen chose to perceive him. "How coordinated was the sex?"
Stephen rubbed his hip, and winced at the bruise developing there from when Jon had shoved him into the bedpost. "Not very."
"Then congratulations, you have the full blessing of the United States Supreme Court. Have fun."
For a while, the fun came easy. It helped that Jon's apartment was only two floors above Stephen's, so they didn't have to work at it to coordinate their non-coordination.
"These are amazing," moaned Stephen, as Jon pushed him face-first into the silkiest sheets he'd ever felt. "Must have cost you a fortune."
"All the better to ravish you on, my dear," purred Jon, and tried to rip Stephen's shirt off.
The operative word there being "tried". Newfound strength or not, Jon was still no match for the well-sewn thread of Stephen's buttons. Before he could be embarrassed about it, Stephen rolled over on his back and pulled Jon in for a cuddle. "Here, do 'em from the front."
Jon smirked, all roguish smile and tumbling-tousled hair and piercing green eyes. "How about if we just not bother with the shirt," he said, before hiking it up Stephen's torso and moving down to Stephen's pants.
Today's bruise came from banging the crown of his head against the headboard. Jon used teeth.
It wasn't until after a good five minutes of boneless collapse, while Jon smoked what appeared to be a joint made with a rolled-up twenty, that Stephen found the presence of mind to wonder things again. Like: maybe Stephen wasn't always the brightest tack in the barn when it came to observing other people, but weren't Jon's eye's blue? Also, was he desecrating SuperPAC cash there?
He asked the important question first. "Jon, where'd you get the twenty?"
"Legally, I don't have to tell you," said Jon. "Which means that Alicia Campbell of Akron, Ohio will never know what a sweet mellow her donation bought."
Stephen wasn't sure he liked this. Mostly because he wasn't being included. "Can I have a hit?"
"Nope. That would be improper coordination."
"You could roll me one in normal paper," huffed Stephen. "It's the least you could do, since that's coming out of what is supposed to be — according to your plans, and this should not be taken as a statement of coordination — the fund buying ads for my run for President, in the form of Herman Cain's run for President."
Jon rolled his eyes instead. "Still wouldn't be proper. Felix Matos, of Silver Springs, Maryland, funded the weed."
Stephen was pinned against his office wall, which in theory sounded really hot, but in practice was scratchy and surprisingly uncomfortable. Maybe you weren't supposed to do this on brick. "Jon, it hurts."
"Mmm," said Jon, rolling his hips against Stephen's and nipping Stephen's neck. "You like it when it hurts."
"I — okay, yes, but — but not necessarily — Jon, stop!"
There was a terrifying moment when Stephen thought, what if he really doesn't stop? Then Jon's weight was off him, Jon's hands brushing off the back of his sweater where the brick had torn at the knit. "God, babe, I'm sorry. I don't know what got into me there."
His eyes were soulful and apologetic and definitely blue. Maybe it was the light? "Aren't you here for a SuperPAC meeting anyway?" asked Stephen, who was starting to think perhaps they didn't need to have sex every time they were in the same building.
"Yeah, we finished that," said Jon with a shrug. "Made a lot of great decisions on which you have no input. At least, I think they were great. To be honest...I'm afraid I'm starting to lose my perspective on this whole unlimited-money no-strings thing."
"You could tell me what you're planning," said Stephen hopefully. He hadn't seen a dollar of that money in ages, excepting the ones he kept breathing in via Jon's secondhand smoke, and was starting to get nostalgic. "I could tell you your ideas are fantastic, and it wouldn't be coordination because we would both know I was saying it to make you feel better, regardless of my actual opinion."
Jon let out a noncommital sigh. He was kind of hugging Stephen now, which was nice. He had been all awkward about that sort of thing before, which Stephen now took to be a sign of losing control of his system for managing his deep-seated attraction to Stephen. But then, he hadn't exactly cuddled Stephen a lot recently, either...just driven Stephen crazy with lust, shoved him around to Jon's satisfaction, and then moved on to food or sleep or a joint or whatever Jon had decided came next.
Stephen flailed with his own arms for a moment, then put them around Jon's shoulders. "How come you haven't hugged me before?" he asked, with just a touch of manly pouting. "Am I doing something wrong? I haven't blamed a single natural disaster on same-sex marriage in weeks, did you notice?"
"Huh?" Jon tugged out of the embrace, blinking in irritation. The light hadn't changed, but his irises were Emerald City green. "No, I didn't notice. I'm a busy man, you know that? Show to write. Money to spend. Federal election laws to exploit. Now, are we gonna do it, or should I take off?"
Stephen's first plan was simple: Demand the money back.
The unlimited, untraceable cash was obviously too much for Jon to handle. In less than two weeks his natural warm-and-fuzzy personality had been almost totally overwritten with selfishness, self-absorption, and a lust for power and control. And since Stephen already had those traits in spades, he couldn't exactly have a boyfriend who amplified them, now could he?
...even if he had just thought the word "boyfriend" without immediately following it with "is destroying America," which meant some of Jon's nature was rubbing off on him, too.
The first plan didn't work out so well. Stephen ended up left out in the cold. Literally, because he was sitting on the roof of their building with the January frost creeping through his coat and earmuffs, waiting for Jon's zeppelin to land.
It was bright inside the observation gondola, and the silver-blue light briefly backlit Jon as he sauntered down the gangplank, in a wool coat and a new Armani suit. He approached Stephen in the dwindling light of the airship as it lifted off for whatever hangar it had come from. "What are you doing out here? Don't know if you've noticed, but baby, it's cold outside."
"Don't pretend to be thinking about my feelings!" yelled Stephen. "If you care so much, why did you buy a zeppelin with my money?"
Jon shrugged. "Wasn't thinking about your feelings then, obviously. I was more thinking about how I really, really wanted a zeppelin."
"Well, let me tell you, mister, you are not getting any tonight!"
"Suits me. I was gonna turn in early anyway."
Defeated, Stephen followed him in. Under the lights of the elevator he scoured Jon's eyes for a flash of blue. No such luck. Which meant he had no chance to ask, and expect an honest answer, whether Jon would still want to be Stephen's boyfriend after he was restored to caring about the general welfare of America ("America" here meaning "Stephen").
Jon got off at his floor without looking back. Stephen shivered alone in the elevator and worked on Plan B.
The instant Stephen showed up, Jon knew he was in trouble. Blurting out that it was early for Valentine's Day probably didn't help.
The chase blew out of the Daily Show office and down the streets of New York, through parks and into horse-drawn carriages, past walls of graffiti and under the Report's bustling upper floors. Jon dodged old equipment and outdated props and slammed his hands against a locked door, panicking, while the tiny voice of reason locked in a corner of his brain protested, Why not just give the money back? You don't even like exploiting people! And if you really needed all those ice sculptures of your face, you could have bought them yourself!
His actual voice, firmly ignoring the voice of reason, was babbling about sharing the money and weren't they such good friends? until Stephen shushed him...and then pulled a rope that tightened around his feet and hoisted him into the air. All the blood rushed to Jon's head; Stephen caught it between his hands and moved their mouths together....
And then everything was green, bright and blinding green.
After Stephen had bounded off to do his show, one of the interns (now Stephen's interns again, and Jon had barely even gotten to know them while controlling the SuperPAC team) let Jon down and helped him to Stephen's office. His head ached like the world's most expensive hangover. Someone brought him a glass of orange juice and a couple of aspirin, and he collapsed onto the couch for a while in an attempt to doze it off.
All the money he had spent. All the ethics he had thrown out the window. Especially when it came to Stephen.
He was startled out of his half-nap by Stephen sashaying in, warm from the spotlights and grinning from the applause. "Jon! Good, you stayed! How are you feeling? Better? More able to function like a normal human being?"
"Better," agreed Jon, pulling his legs up toward his chest so Stephen could fit on the couch. He had kicked off his shoes at some point in his daze. "Stephen, you have no idea how sorry I am. I was way off the deep end there, you don't even know...I didn't hurt you or anything, did I?"
"You hurt my favorite sweater more than me," Stephen assured him, leaning against his knees. "Although you still have the ability to shred my tender heart if you're not careful."
Jon winced. "I wasn't using you or anything, I swear. Well, I was, but not like that! I do...I care about you, Stephen. A lot."
Stephen's bottom lip quivered. "That's what people always say before they break up with you!"
His hand was clutching Jon's thigh for support. Jon covered it with his own broader, furrier one. "Listen, you want to date? Really date, not just have me drag you around for sex whenever I feel like it? Then let's do it."
"Can't we do both?" pouted Stephen.
Jon giggled. "Yeah, all right."
Could humans purr? Because it sure sounded like that was what Stephen was doing, as he rubbed his face against Jon's kneecap.
"All I was gonna say is, I don't want to hide it from people," continued Jon, squeezing Stephen's hand when he stiffened. "Can you handle that? I know it's a lot to push you into all at once...would've mentioned it earlier, but I wasn't much with the long-term thinking skills then."
"Can we compromise?" asked Stephen. "Can I start by saying ambiguously romantic things in public, and work up from there?"
Just the word "compromise" coming from Stephen's mouth was a minor miracle, so Jon decided to go for it. "Sure."
"Great!" exclaimed Stephen, whose mood today was apparently even more mercurial than usual. He pulled his hand from Jon's to retrieve his phone. "Hang on while I tweet about how you're the Spider-Man to my Mary Jane."
Jon obliged, warm and fuzzy feelings multiplying in his chest. At last Stephen finished thumb-typing, hit send, and with a flick of his wrist tossed his phone across the room. Jon flinched at the crash. "Stephen! Careful with your stuff!"
"Ah, it's fine," said Stephen, pushing Jon's legs apart and climbing between them with a grin. He smelled like exertion and hair gel, and when he dove in for a kiss Jon realized how little attention he had been paying: all these weeks, he had never noticed the flecks of green in Stephen's brown eyes. "ColbertPAC can always buy me a new one."