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Strange

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When Reese asks, a flat note of desperation in his voice, Harold simply stares at him, at first. The idea’s never even occurred to him.  It rarely ever does, of course; he’s gone years without sex, not much noticing the lack. Not that he doesn’t enjoy it, but it’s one of too many interesting things to do with too little time to do them in; too many things to build, too many thoughts to explore, too many books to read, and sexual encounters are so frequently awkward and time-consuming to arrange. It was one of the very pleasurable aspects of finally being in a committed relationship. 

Which, he supposes, this is: until death do them part, from the day they met.

Of course, he hasn’t the least interest in John sexually, and can’t help an internal wince at the discomfort likely to be associated with the mechanics, but those don’t really seem to have much weight, comparably. He says, still bemused, “Oh, certainly. Where — ” He looks around the library, a little helplessly: on the couch? On the twin air mattress in the back —    

Harold,” John breathes out, in raw gratitude, and he’s sliding to his knees and fumbling, astonishingly clumsy, for Harold’s pants. Harold rests his hands rather blankly on John’s head as John — oh. 

Harold’s thoughts fork into a dozen parallel tracks as John sucks his cock with passionate eagerness. The vague relief of there’s no discomfort involved after all and a mildly surprised this is very nice and the practical how very convenient this will be and the simple mechanics of saying yes, john, yes at the appropriate intervals, and withholding his climax the right length of time to communicate enthusiasm. 

But climbing above all of that is the rising swell of affection, of tenderness: dear John, and the startled realization of how very much John evidently wanted this. 

Harold strokes John’s head gently. There won’t be any need to lie to John. They won’t talk about it. Harold will ask John to come home with him tonight and henceforth. He’ll say I love you with perfect sincerity, because not quite this way hasn’t the least meaning. They’ll have sex, they’ll share a bed. Harold finds he’s very much looking forward to that; there’s a particular lonely corner of 4am that he’s seen too many times, and he’s glad to think that now he’ll be able to roll over and see John beside him, reach out and feel the rise and fall of his chest. 

They’ll be — happy. And that, of all things, is by far the strangest to contemplate.