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The Only Difference Between Science and Screwing Around

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Podfic Length: 42:22

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It was the fifteenth ring on Beverley’s phone, but I’d be damned if I was hanging up now. I checked the time—again. One hour and thirty-seven minutes since it’d happened. I was going to die.

Halfway through ring number sixteen, goddess that she was, Beverley answered.

“Hi Peter. What do you need?”

I did, in fact, need something—but I couldn’t help a defensive response. “What makes you think I need something?”

I could practically hear her eyes roll. “What do you need?”

“OK, I admit it, you’re right. Save me, Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope—”

"I can hang the phone back up. We’re having a nice time over here—"

“Please don’t!” It came out embarrassingly like a yelp. “It’s, uh, pretty urgent.”

“Fine. What is?”

I took a very deep breath, lined up all the words so I wouldn’t chicken out in the middle, and began to spit it out. “So I was at the Goblin Market’s club night or whatever they call it, and I was just following up about this thing Nightingale mentioned about a magical brothel owner because I thought she might know something about the Faceless Man, you know, because he had that catgirl thing going on and he probably wanted to know the competition—”

Beverley made a noise that made my already considerable anxiety much worse. “You’re not talking about Madame X, are you?”


“You didn’t try to talk to her, did you?” It was the same tone someone might use to ask you didn’t try to stick a fork in an outlet, did you?

I almost said I’m not that clueless, but it would have been setting myself up. “No, I was talking to one of the men who worked for her, but she came over, and she clearly thought I was so handsome I would distract potential clients from her people,” I laughed, aiming for self-deprecating but charming, “and she said if you have further questions perhaps you should buy some of his time. So I said, oh I’m just trying to get a feel for things, and she was like oh you want a feel for things, do you and then she blew something in my face. Some dust or something.”

Beverley’s voice was thick with amusement. “And…?”

“And I’m feeling some things now.”

“Oh? What kind of things?”

I narrowed my eyes, uselessly. “You know what happened, don’t you?”

“I do—but you have to say it.”

Well, there’d been no way I was getting away with not having to say it. “I’m at the call-your-doctor stage of a Viagra commercial and I have an irresistible urge to have sex with literally everyone I see.”

Beverley had clearly been holding it in, but now she howled with laughter. Normally I love hearing Beverley laugh, even when it’s at me, but I was feeling quite humorless at the moment. I listened to her whoop.

“What’s so funny, Bev?” a voice said. “That’s Peter, right?”

I froze in terror. “Is that Lesley?” I demanded. “Is Lesley over at your place?”

Beverley responded to Lesley instead of me. “Peter’s been a naughty boy. He crashed Madame X’s party and now—”

“I will give you everything I own if you don’t tell Lesley,” I said.

Perhaps luckily, since that’s probably a magically binding contract with someone like Beverley, she completely ignored me. “And now he’s, and I quote, ‘at the call-your-doctor stage of a Viagra commercial, and—’”

I pulled the phone away from my head for a moment so I didn’t have to hear the rest. It didn’t really work. Lesley’s laughter roared out of the speaker.

When I returned the phone to my ear, I caught a third person from Beverley’s end asking, “—you being so mean to Peter?”

Oh, this was not cool. “What is Zach doing there?!” My voice came out embarrassingly high-pitched.

“Blue balls is no joke!” Zach insisted.

This made the two women laugh harder. Lesley’s laugh was getting higher and higher pitched herself as she ran out of air.

“It’s not just blue balls,” I protested. “It’s a fucking magic curse! Magic blue balls!”

In my defense, I had lost control of the conversation a long time ago.

“Sorry, Peter, we’re busy tonight,” Beverley said with relish, and hung up.

In my current state, it was not a good idea to imagine what busy could mean. Or maybe it was an excellent idea? I put down the phone and considered it further.

“Ah, Peter! You’re just in time—I borrowed some mice from a colleague to test part of the sample you brought in”

Doctor Walid was bustling around one of the labs at University Hospital, filled with scientific zeal. He’d set up a research station on one of the long, tall counters that protruded from the wall, lined with shaky-looking metal stools. There was a big cage divided into four sections with mice in them, a few open books, and a smallish computer screen filled with a wall of text. Stacks of journals with names like Frontline Gastroenterology littered the whole room.

When I first got magic-Spanish-flied, I fortunately had the presence of mind to get some of the powder off my face, into a plastic bag, and delivered to Doctor Walid. The full effects hadn’t hit at that point—just a low-grade arousal which, to be perfectly honest, I’d attributed to the atmosphere at the party. Unfortunately, Doctor Walid had given me a dry Scottish version of "Damn it, Peter, I'm a gastroenterologist, not a TV forensics lab," and told me to come back in three hours.

Accordingly I’d gone back to the Folly, tried to deal with things in the privacy of my room, had no luck, called Beverley—with even less less luck—and, in despair, grabbed my loosest joggers and headed back to University College Hospital.

So here I was, uncomfortably spotlighted under the fluorescents, feeling bad for mice.

Doctor Walid chivvied the first mouse into a corner, did a efficiently gentle impression of a claw machine with a rubber-gloved hand, and applied a rodent-sized faceful of powder before releasing the mouse back into the comparative wild. We watched it skitter around its cage. Was it my imagination, or was it starting to skitter faster?

Doctor Walid took a break from mouse-watching to study me. “How are you feeling, Peter?”

I glanced up, to find a pen twiddling between his fingers above a notebook spread open to a invitingly blank page. “Comparatively?” I hedged.

He raised his eyebrows. “You didn’t tell me much about what’s going on.”

“No, I don’t suppose I did.” My eyes shifted guiltily away and back to the mouse.

Just in time to see it start vigorously humping the water dispenser.

Doctor Walid followed my gaze, and replaced whatever he’d been about to say with an efficient “Ah.”

No point being cagey now. “Well,” I pointed at the mouse. “That’s about the size of it.” I couldn’t help an embarrassed grin. The whole thing was pretty ridiculous, when you thought about it.

He cleared his throat. “I suppose that makes sense, given who dosed you.” He sat up straighter, wrote down a few words, then added a few more. He underlined something.

I watched him write until I couldn’t bear it any more. “Have you managed to find anything out yet?”

He tapped his pen. “Not much, unfortunately. It does appear to be non-toxic, and it’s organic in origin. I believe it’s plant matter—probably a pollen of some kind.”

“Are you kidding me. You’re telling me I got sex pollened?”

“‘Sex pollen?’ You’ve heard about something like this before?”

“...No. I—nope. Afraid not!” Not outside of fiction, anyway.

Doctor Walid gave me a suspicious look, but let it slide for a different humiliating line of inquiry. “You’ve tried masturbating, I assume?”


“To what end?” he asked, scribbling more notes.

“To no end.”

He shot me a pointed look, as if to say Peter, we’re discussing medical matters here. “Have you tried having sex with someone else, then?”

“Tried, sure, but failed.”

“Ah, so you couldn’t come from that either?”

“No! She wouldn’t let me come over!”

Walid tried to hide a laugh, but was cut short by the whining coming from the cage. The mouse, who had moved on from the water dispenser to the floor, was working itself into a fury. Until, in a moment that would be permanently shelved in my nightmare factory, its dick exploded.

I fell off my stool.

After a long pause, in which his eyebrows arched higher than I would have thought possible, Walid made a note in his notebook and circled it.

I levered myself shakily and painfully off the floor. Bits of mouse...tissue...were plastered on the bars of the cage and on the surface of the counter. There was a fair amount of blood. The mouse itself had keeled over, its legs twitching a bit.

Instead of helping me, Walid had collared two more mice. Very carefully scraping the last of the pollen sample up with his gloved fingertips, he applied it to Mouse B before releasing them both into Mouse C's cage section.

I watched with a sense of doomed inevitability because anything was better than focusing on my crotch.

Walid stepped back, dusting off his hands, and leaned against the counter next to me, gaze intently fixed on the mice. It felt as though urinal rules were in effect, although I couldn’t tell if it was that or genuine scientific single-mindedness.

Either way, it was convenient, because although I’d been doing pretty well keeping it tamped down, it was getting harder by the minute. I really wanted to have sex with Doctor Walid.

A sentence I never thought I’d find myself thinking, but there we were.

The mice, meanwhile, were going at it like rabbits. Despite their tiny size, every movement of their little hindquarters was very clear.

I bit the inside of my cheek and stared into space a foot over the cage. I am not turned on by mice having sex. I am NOT turned on by mice having sex. It’s just that sex is happening right in front of me, and I’m not involved, like the universe is taunting me, all this is a cosmic joke—

Abruptly, the mice separated. Mouse C scurried over to the water dish, and Mouse B—

“Oh, come on! That is not fair!” I practically wailed. Mouse B had collapsed onto its side, limbs completely still. “My choices are to have my dick fall off or die? Why does no one with magic have a sense of proportion?”

“I wouldn’t dispute your conclusion there, but I doubt it’s actually dead.” Walid once again had his hand in the mouse cage, this time to feel up Mouse B. “No, it’s asleep. Quite deeply, too.”

I deflated—but only metaphorically. “Oh. Good.”

Walid scribbled another line or two in his lab notebook. “So, as hypothesized, you need to have partnered sex with someone to end the effect. Now the only question is what constitutes sex in the, er, eyes of the spell.”

“I don’t think that’s the only question here. For starters, it really didn’t take long before that mouse’s dick—”

“And balls. The entire external genitalia, it looks like.”

“You’re enjoying this!”

Doctor Walid got through his entire next sentence of “Peter, I always enjoy investigating phenomena I’ve never seen before,” entirely straight-faced before he cracked, an ear-to-ear grin appearing on his face.

I had to admit, it would have been hilarious if it were happening to anyone but me. For example, Zach. At least he wasn’t laughing. “Can you at least tell me how long I have before my ‘entire external genitalia’ decides to become even more external?”

Though still grinning, Walid took pity on me. “That mouse got proportionally a much higher dose than you. You probably have at least another hour.” He looked from me, to the mouse, and back again. “Probably.”

In the year I’d known Doctor Walid, he’d trained me not to expect unmerited precision from experimental results. But really? “I guess I’d better hurry up then.”

“I do wonder why masturbating didn’t do the trick,” he mused, missing my point entirely. “My hypothesis for that would be either the magic can detect when someone else is involved—which seems needlessly complicated—or that the magic is working off a particular definition of sex or else you simply have to be in contact with a mucus membrane.” He paused here and his face lit up with inspiration. I had just enough time to hope before he added, instead of anything useful, “If it's to sell escort services, of course they'd want something you can't do at home. For maximum data, we should try a handjob first, so we can compare it with—”

“Given my deadline, I’m just going to just go with what the mice say works.” I was already weighing the pros and cons of downloading Tindr vs calling every one of my ex-girlfriends in alphabetical order.

Fuck it, I’d sworn to never touch Grindr again, but it would be faster than either. Back on the phone it went.

I reached for my phone. The phone that was in the pocket of the jeans on the floor of my room. “Fuck.”

Doctor Walid sighed. “No. Judging by everything you've said, a handjob won’t take long, so for the sake of experimental completeness, testing multiple methods is important. And if you want me to be your lab partner here, you're going to have to adhere to certain stipulations. I need hard data, and I can hardly make the mice have oral sex."

This had the same effect on my turned-on brain that magic did on a turned-on phone. “What?”

“I mean, really, how would I even set that up? I have no idea what if anything could entice mice to experiment with oral.”

What?” It bore repeating. “I—what? Are you suggesting—um. ...Sure.”

“I’ve done stranger things for science.”

If I hadn’t already been under the influence of bloody sex pollen for 3 hours and oh, roughly 23 minutes, I would have a) inquired as to what and b) put up a fuss over my dick being handled as a science experiment. But if science could get me off now, I’d never knock “experimentation” again.

“All right then. Want me to go grab a stopwatch?” Incoherent I might be, but the world could pry self-deprecating humor out of my cold dead hands.

“That would be helpful, yes.”

This was clearly a game of chicken I was not going to win. “I…I wasn’t really prepared to move.”

“That’s all right,” he said, moving precariously close to me. “They’re actually,” he grabbed my side and manhandled me over, then pinned me to the counter with one arm, “right behind you.” One-handed, he pulled a stopwatch from a drawer I’d been blocking, and reached for my waistband. If I hadn’t already passed through mortification and out the other side, I quite possibly would have died at both of us staring down at the growing precome stain on the fabric. Mercifully, he didn't comment.

Instead, Doctor Walid deftly pulled down my joggers and pants with his other hand, smiled, and clicked the stopwatch next to my ear at exactly the same moment he grabbed my over-eager cock.

If I’d thought watching the mice have sex was an arousing experience (and fuck my life that I just had that thought), it was completely blown away by something actually sexual happening. My knees and my breath went wobbly, and then the awareness of everything except his hand on my cock disappeared.

It took me a minute to realize that he’d started talking to me. Standing close but not close enough for contact beyond his remarkably talented hand, smooth voice going on and on:

“It would be fascinating, really, to learn how one could get the spell to differentiate between one hand and another, if it can. Alternately, if this is predicated simply on the idea of having sex with someone else, what definition of sex applies? The person who used the pollen? The victim’s? Assuming this is all to sell escort services, perhaps it could even be tailored to sex with a specific person. Of course, we could be assuming the wrong purpose. This could just be meant as a punishment.”

I managed to focus in on him. He gave me a smile like the cat that caught the canary.

“You bastard—you’re getting off on this,” I stuttered out.

“Ideally, you’re the one getting off on this.” He didn’t deny it, though.

For one blissful moment it felt like he might be right. He was stroking me faster and experience told me that if I moved just a little bit more, if he gripped just a little bit harder, that would be it. Knees wobbling even more, I grabbed his other arm, probably gripping tighter than I should’ve but needing to steady myself and well past restraint. For the first time, I surrendered completely to the rush of sensation, and closed my eyes and thrust into his hand. I think I moaned.

And when I moaned again, it was because I’d fucking plateaued. Almost abruptly, all of that arousal hit a wall and dissipated. What hadn’t been quite enough a moment ago felt too rough, too much, and somehow off.

After all that acceleration, we’d driven past the exit and I wasn’t getting off this terrible, terrible highway now.

Letting go of his arm, I pushed at him feebly, trying to muster the breath to tell him to stop. I didn’t manage it, but he got the message and stopped at once, stepping back and looking me over with assessing eyes.

The moment his hand was off my dick, I wanted it back on. My hips jerked forward, involuntarily, but I bit down on my lip, hard, and sagged against the counter.

Walid clicked the stopwatch off. Craning my neck, I managed to see the numbers there: 00:03:47:84. “Are you all right?”

I nodded and sort of waved my hand, in the universal incoherent for “no, it’s fine.” Which was true, minus the trauma to my self-esteem at that number. It’s not your fault, it’s magic, I tried to console myself.

He flexed his other hand, let it drop to his side, and said, “Did you not come because the magic was preventing it, the way it did when you were masturbating, or because of something I was doing?”

At the words come and masturbating, I could practically feel my dick twitching. “Definitely the only reason that didn’t work was because of the magic.” My voice was still shaky, breathy; I hated that my own fucking amateur-phone-sex voice was turning me on. I hitched my clothes back up—carefully—over my stubborn erection.

“Good to know,” Walid said, the picture of wry composure. Except that he flexed his hand again before snagging his pen and writing down the results of Experimental Trial #1.

I tried to peer at the notebook, but couldn’t see anything. Subject unable to come, I imagined, despite vigorous stimulation (hand.)

Doctor Walid wrote a decisive full stop, then looked up at me again. His expression shifted from wry composure to wry concern. “You should have a sit-down, Peter.” He could maybe tell that I didn’t feel quite up the tall stools at the lab counter, and dragged over a spindly metal chair instead, applying a gentle but irresistible pressure to my shoulder and getting me to sit. It pleasantly echoed the gentle but irresistible pressure he’d started out with on my dick. I sighed.

In the time it took for me to have that thought and heave that sigh, Walid vanished and reappeared with a couple of traditionally mismatched mugs full of, unfortunately, nothing stronger than water. I realized I was thirsty, though, and took mine with a grateful nod.

“Cheers,” Walid said.

Despite everything, I laughed out loud. “Cheers, Abdul.” I downed my water in two gulps.

His mug said Gastroenterologists Do It With Guts. I looked more closely at my own. It was bright yellow, emblazoned with the unpronounceable-to-me name of some drug, and had a disconcertingly manic monster hooked up to an IV with a huge grin.

Taking more measured sips, Walid smiled back. “So, that rules out simple second-party involvement. Which leaves—of our testable hypotheses—mucus membranes or full sex.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Full sex?”

“Well, you see, Peter, when two people love each other or each other’s money very much—”

I gave him a two-fingered salute, then said “You’re a scientist, I wouldn’t’ve pegged you for someone who’d make those distinctions.”

“I didn’t say other things weren’t sex; I’m just saying there’s a difference.”

“Which is what, exactly?”

“Certainly culturally there’s a difference.”

“You and I know there’s a lot of cultural bullshit out there—doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Walid tappd his pen onto the page of notes documenting my suffering. “Shall we see what the magic thinks, then?”

I didn’t drop my mug, but it was a close thing. I set it down very shakily on the floor.

He finished his water, wanting, I suppose, to keep his mouth wet, and fuck. Here I went again.

“Track bottoms off, please.” He pushed off the counter and held his hand out for them.

“I guess? Do they need to be?” I didn’t like the thought of feeling any more exposed than I already did.

“Look at the floor on this lab, Peter. Don’t be a barbarian.”

Well, when he put it like that, I had to do the gentlemanly thing. He took them from me, folded them neatly, and with another of his smug smiles, placed them on the floor and knelt on them in front of me.

It’s not like I had stopped being hard, but damned if I didn’t actually feel more than ready to carry on with this experiment.

He was a little more tentative than he’d been with the handjob, but that just meant his mouth felt purposefully teasing. His breath ghosted hot along my thighs, before he finally pressed his lips to the base of my cock. I shivered uncontrollably, and kept shivering, as he kissed his way up.

It was almost hesitant, and I wondered if he’d done this before. I was achingly hard and dripping, so hardly in a position to be objectively gathering data, and, in retrospect, he probably hadn’t, but god I was not complaining. Especially when he started using his tongue.

He looked up at me and held my eyes when he finally opened his mouth and swallowed me down. My mind narrowed down to that, and only that, and I moaned. Instinctively I reached out to grab hold of his hair, but what was left of my brain shouted that no he was just a friend doing me a favor and that would be rude. Needing to hold on something, I gripped the metal arms of the chair hard enough to leave indents in my palms.

It was glorious and overwhelming until, horribly, it just became overwhelming again. My moan transformed into an agonized, frustrated groan.

Dr Walid sat back on his heels, wiped his mouth, and pressed a button on the stopwatch. I hadn’t even noticed him starting it. "I suppose oral sex doesn’t count as sex, then.”

"It does,” I panted, “it does the way I do it."

Walid laughed a bit, but I had the satisfaction of scoring that point. A bit of a shame he didn’t ask me to prove it, but we didn’t have the time anyway. “Yes, yes, Peter, but we’re just talking about the sex pollen here.” He cleared his throat. “So. The focus needs to be on you getting off, clearly—"

"Thank you."

"Which means,” he said, standing, collecting his notebook, and beginning to write again, “the question is whether giving or receiving will be better."

Well. That escalated quickly.

In retrospect, the whole thing had been escalating quickly since I’d walked into the lab, but still.

I took a breath, met his eyes squarely, and said—very proud of how steady my voice was— "In my experience I come faster topping." Most of the time, anyway—but that’s what had worked for the mouse. Best to keep things simple.

Walid nodded thoughtfully, but at least had the decency not to write that particular data point down. Sudden doubts ambushed me—maybe this would be his breaking point. I couldn’t blame him if it was. He’d almost certainly never even been on the receiving end of anal sex, and he’d been the one to draw a line between that and the other things—

“We’re definitely going to need some lube. Luckily I have just the thing.”

“You have lube in your lab?” I yelped. Very loudly. “What the fuck are you doing in here?”

Walid was already rummaging around in the cabinets and drawers beneath one of the other counters, but straightened upright long enough to give me a look. “It’s medical lube, Peter. It’s intended for instruments, but it’s also intended to go in bodies and it’s certainly not going to harm you.”

I gave up. It was time to just let whatever was going to happen, happen.

“Ah, here we are.” Walid came back around the corner with a small white tube that looked unfortunately like glue. “There’s that taken care of.”

We looked at each other for a long moment. Then, as one man, Walid and I both transferred our gaze speculatively to the counter.

“I think it’s too high,” I said.

He nodded thoughtfully. We both eyed the rest of the lab. It was devoid of possibilities. The chair I’d been sitting on was much too flimsy, and the floor was, as previously mentioned, cold hard tile and not particularly comfortable.

“Perhaps we should go with the counter after all,” Walid said after a moment. “We could both stand, and I could, ah, brace myself on it.”

I pictured it.

“That sounds good,” I said eventually. My voice was hoarse.

“Then let’s get started, shall we?” He consulted his notes and gave me a concerned look. “Time is likely a factor now.”

The reminder of the potential unhappy end of my predicament was, despite the spell, a shock of cold water to the face.

“Abdul, are you sure about this?” The prospect of not having sex was agonizing, but it had to be said. “I don’t want you to feel obligated…”

He sat down on one of the stools and leaned forward, lacing his hands together. “Are you sure about this, Peter? I don’t want to take advantage of you—” I couldn’t cover a snort— “because I know you may or may not be in your right mind.”

That got another snort from me, as it deserved. He gave me a severe look, fully in doctor’s-recommendation mode.

“I wouldn’t suggest you leave the lab, for timing reasons—though I won’t stop you if you decide to—but I’m sure we could figure out how to call an escort here. You probably have some idea?”

I gave him a look of absolute betrayal. "Having sex with an escort would be negotiating with terrorists! They’re the ones who did this to me! Everyone would know!" I heaved a sigh. “It’s bad enough that Beverley and Lesley and Zach know about this."

Doctor Walid’s eyebrows rose until they threatened to disappear into his ginger hairline. "You asked Zach to...?"

"No, I didn't ask Zach! Zach was just there! Zach’s always just there!" Losing control of conversations seemed to be the only consistent thing today. “I think we’ve established that I’m fine with this.” More than fine, I added to myself. “Are you?”

He stood up and gestured with the little tube of surgical lube, wry smile back. “Well, you wouldn’t be the top of my list, but we’re in this now. So yes.”

I was briefly offended enough to consider telling him he wasn’t at the top of my list either, but it seemed unconscionably rude when about to fuck a man in the arse.

He unscrewed the top of the lube tube and squeezed a large dollop into one hand, then tossed it to me. I saw his eyes flick to the bathroom door across the lab, but clearly he decided that would be silly given what we’d just done.

Instead, Walid half-disappeared behind the counter, and bent down. From his motions, I guessed he was divesting himself of shoes, then trousers and pants. I swallowed.

Despite the blocky lettering and sparse label, it felt like any other lube. If it hadn’t been for the magic, I was pretty sure I’d have come at the first touch of my lube-slicked fingers on my dick. Although of course I wouldn’t be in this state in the first place if it weren’t for the magic. I was considering the nature of causality when Walid emerged round the counter, naked from the waist down.

I’m a policeman; observing people is half my job. Plus, under the circumstances, it felt almost rude not to look.

His legs were more tanned and more muscular than I would’ve expected; I wondered if he played pick-up football or hiked when back in Scotland. He also had a very nice-looking cock, as far as they went. Uncircumcised, with defined veins, emerging from a thick thatch of ginger hair...and just a bit bigger than mine. I resisted the urge to look down at my own.

I took all this in and brought my eyes back to the faint, wry smile on his face before he could make any smart remarks about my eyes are up here, Peter.

Should I kiss him? Should there be foreplay? I usually felt fairly confident on sexual etiquette—and you could get a lot of mileage out of letting the other person take the lead—but this was not a situation I’d encountered before. To put it mildly.

He put paid to this awkwardness by turning around, putting his hands on the counter, and bending forward a little. I do need an invitation, but that was a very, very clear one.

I came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. “Ready?”

Walid nodded, then, as if feeling that might not be enough, added, “Ready when you are.”

Which I was. I took hold of his hip with one hand, and slid my other between his cheeks.

He’d used a fair bit of lube on himself, but less than I would have. I let go of his hip, letting my fingers drag across his skin, and squeezed out more from the bottle—then considered and added another dollop. I stayed outside at first, letting him get used to my fingers there, felt him loosen up a little. Then I slid one finger inside.

He made a small noise and tensed up, but a moment later had relaxed again. I put my free hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. Lube slid between my fingers, and he let out a slow hiss of breath as I started to move in him, stretching him open.

A noise of my own escaped along with my breath. I was rubbing his shoulder a little harder now, in time to the movement of my fingers. He was so hot and tight and I wanted desperately to be using more than just my fingers. I added a second, feeling every inch of space between us as a massive chasm. On top of the desire, threaded through every part of my body, to be touching, there was the strangeness of this formal barrier between me and someone I was having sex with. I wanted to kiss the back of his neck—but using my mouth always felt more intimate, and I worried that would cross a boundary.

It was easy to channel that energy elsewhere, though. Three fingers now, resistance lessening with every slow push in and drag out, and I could feel the blood pulsing through my cock.

It felt like he was ready. I stepped closer, slid my hand from his shoulder down his arm, leaned forward til my chest was pressed up against him. I could feel the heat of his skin through his shirt. Into his ear, I said, “Are you ready?” My voice was rough. My dick still wasn’t touching him.

I was gratified to hear that he sounded much less composed than he had all evening; definitely not at my level, but clearly feeling something. “Only one way to find out.”

Finally—finally—I took hold of of my cock. Just pressing it up against his arse felt unbearably good. I licked my lips and guided myself up against his hole.

It took everything I had not to thrust in hard and immediately. I wanted every bit of the heat and and tightness and friction that I’d felt with my fingers right now. I bit my lip, focused on controlling my breathing and my movement, and very slowly, pushed inside.

I almost lost control right there. Sweat trickled down my neck. Walid exhaled a groan, and I felt him relax around me. Even in the overwhelming pleasure of feeling him around my cock, my dominant thought was determination not to embarrass myself. With great care, I began to move, gently, concentrating on steady movement as best I could.

Just as I’d found that steady rhythm, I lost it. It took me a moment to realize it was because Doctor Walid was thrusting back against me, rocking his hips against mine. He shifted, the angle changing, and I wanted to grab him and hold him still, but instead I looked around his shoulder to see what he was doing.

He’d let go of the counter with one hand, and had just finished wrapping his fingers around his own hard dick.

“Let me,” I panted, and got my own still lube-covered hand in, gripping him tight. He let out another sharp breath, telling as a moan, and I stroked him in time to my renewed slow thrusts, up and down as my cock slid in and out of him, rubbing my fingers over the head as I buried myself to the base, sliding my whole hand down his shaft as I pulled almost all the way out but never quite.

I wound my other hand under Walid’s arm and up against his torso, palm flat on his chest, and then I started fucking Walid harder. As soon as I did, I lost control. Heat and friction enveloped my cock completely, in that moment feeling better than anything I’d ever experienced, and I groaned and buried my head in his shoulder and just fucked.

A small part of me, this whole time, had been feeling the mortification of everything, had hated how much I’d lost control. Now, finally, that part of my head shut up.

I came so hard it felt like falling apart.

It took quite some time for me to come back to awareness of anything but the shocks of the release I’d needed for so long. When I did, I was softening inside him. I should finish getting Doctor Walid off, I knew, but I couldn’t quite muster the energy.

I shifted, bracing myself on his shoulder—and felt a rush of dizziness. “Whoa.” Fumbling one-handed, I slid my—finally—soft cock out, and my knees wobbled. “I feel like I am going to pass out now,” I announced, and took a step backwards. “I am definitely Mouse B right now.”

At which point, in the footsteps of Mouse B before me, I did indeed pass out.

I woke up on the floor, my sweatpants back on (the precome stain had even dried) and my head on what was, judging by the slip-sliding feel when I moved it, a stack of medical journals. Walid was sitting in the chair next to me with the air of a man in a doctor’s waiting room, complete with magazine—except that it was another medical journal, this one titled just Gut. When he saw I was awake, he put down the journal and reached down. He came back up with his notebook, a pen, my mug, and a stopwatch. Which he clicked. “You’ve been out for two hours, twelve minutes, and roughly thirteen seconds,” he said, and passed me the mug.

He’d refilled the mug with cold water. I gulped it, set it down, and, without the sex pollen clouding my senses, was immediately assailed by all my usual thoughts, worries, and considerations flooding back like a tidal wave.

“I promise I don’t have any STIs,” I blurted out. “Usually I say so up front, I’m sorry. We didn’t even use a condom.” I’d had plenty—in the pockets of the jeans I’d meant to wear over to Beverley’s. “But I’m clear.”

“Peter, I’m your primary care physician and I have your full medical records.” Walid raised an eyebrow at me. “You get tested a lot. Is there anything you want to tell me?”

I briefly considered how mad Beverly would be if I finally got to sleep with her and gave her something. Could goddesses get STIs? I doubted it, but she’d be mad anyway. “Nope. Not a thing.”

“Well, then. In that case, all we have to do is write this up, cite my sources in Vancouver style, and submit to a reputable peer-reviewed journal. I’m sure the BMJ has something.”

“You’re fucking with me, I know you’re fucking with me. You wouldn’t.”

“Of course not.” He looked me up and down in an exaggerated fashion. “The sample size is too small.”

“Fuck you.”

The smug bastard kept smiling. “I believe you already did.”

I could feel myself blushing, which, honestly, after the events of today I shouldn’t have even been capable of anymore. Why was this my life?

“Abdul? Please, please, I will get down on my knees and beg,” whoops, bad choice of phrasing there. Good choice of phrasing? Anyway— “just never tell Nightingale about this.”

I could picture it with terrible clarity. He’d have that look he got when he saw me bastardize—that is to say brilliantly combine—two formae into a new one. He’d say something like, "Better wizards than you have lost their dicks, Peter." Molly would make spotted dick for dessert, just to drive home the point. It was unthinkable.

“Your secret’s safe with me,” he relented. “Though you did say you’d told Zach.”

Well. I would just have to deal with that later; now was the time for R&R. Maybe I’d take Walid out for a drink—god knows he’d earned it. Which reminded me.

“So,” I asked, casually, “who would be the first on your list?”