“You promised!” Adam yelled, his hands on the table as he began to rock.
“I fucking know, Adam!”
“You’re a liar!”
“It was one fucking cigarette.” Nigel leaned in trying to get an arm around Adam, to bring the boy to his chest for a soothing hug.
“It’s a lie! You said you quit!” Adam’s face was scrunch and he struggled against Nigel.
“One fucking cigarette in six goddamn months Adam! One!” Nigel grumbled, still trying to reel the kid to him. “If you didn’t have a nose like a goddamn bloodhound-”
“You’d still be a liar!” Adam wheeled in Nigel’s arms, hands flailing. His palm connected solidly to Nigel’s face, snapping the Romanian’s head back.
Adam froze, mouth open and eyes wide.
“Nigel! Nigel are you alright?” Nigel found himself shoved onto the sofa with a lap full of Adam. “I didn’t mean to punch you! Please forgive me! Are you bleeding? Do you feel concussed? How many of me do you see?”
Beneath him, Adam felt Nigel shaking. His hands gripped Nigel’s face frantically, blue eyes staring into brown.
“You’re laughing? Are you punch drunk?”
Nigel wrapped his hands around Adam’s wrists, stilling them and drawing Adam’s fingers to his lips. He pressed smiling kisses to each fingertip, until Adam stilled.
“I’ve got a hard fucking head, darling. I’m more worried about damaging your hands.”
“I-I didn’t mean it! I’m so sorry, Nigel.” Adam’s breathing was still hiccuping and Nigel could feel the boy’s pulse flutter in his wrists. He yanked Adam tight to his chest and sank sideways on the couch, cocooning Adam in the warmth of his body. Nigel pressed his mouth to Adam’s curls softly, waiting as Adam relaxed muscle by muscle.
When the boy was languid in Nigel’s arms, writhing gently against Nigel’s body and sweetly sucking on the older man’s neck, Nigel drew back, eyes serious.
“We need to talk about that punch, gorgeous,” Nigel said with a wry smile.
“It was an accident! I won’t do it again!”
“Not like that you won’t,” Nigel snorted. “No man of mine is going to run around slapping people. You need to learn how to throw a proper punch.”
“In case I’m not around to protect you, Cosmo – or in case I smoke again,” Nigel winked. “I need to know you can sock someone who deserves it.”
“O-oh. Was that not good enough? It was so loud!” Adam’s brow furrowed and Nigel ducked forward for a kiss.
“Adam, you’re the best person I’ve ever met. You’re my fucking heart.” Another kiss, another soft smile. “But that was fucking terrible. Didn’t anyone teach you how to fight?”
“My Dad told me to tell an adult if I was hit,” Adam said, fingers toying with the buttons on Nigel’s shirt. “Harlan told me to run and call the police. I-I don’t want to start fights, Nigel.”
“Not start them, Cosmo. Just finish them.” Nigel nuzzled Adam’s curls. “I have to know you can protect that gorgeous face of yours. Will you learn some basics with me and Darko? Please?”
Adam pressed forward into Nigel’s arms.
“O-okay. But we have to have proper safety gear.”
It had taken three weeks to get Adam to throw a proper punch. Nigel and Darko set up a little corner in their gym, and took turns scaring away the other patrons while the other worked with Adam. Infuriatingly, Darko seemed to explain the physics of punching in a more understandable way. Apparently, just whack the shit out of it, gorgeous wasn’t a helpful note.
Two months in, Nigel was confident that Adam could beat the shit out of a stationary bag. That was wonderful, and watching Cosmo get all sweaty was always a joy, but Nigel wanted Adam to get used to sparring situations. He needed to know his darling could get at least a few good licks in, giving himself an opportunity to get away in a sticky situation.
Adam had adamantly refused to hit a person. Whether Darko’s hands or Nigel’s shaggy mug, he reviled the idea of purposely striking someone he loved. It took dozens of kisses and soft words for Nigel to get Adam to look at the boxing mitts. Adam insisted on trying them on and having both Nigel and Darko punch his hands so he could be sure they wouldn’t be hurt if he decided to spar. Once he was convinced that damage would be minimal, Adam agreed to try sparring.
“Ok, here are the rules,” Darko announced, hands on Nigel’s mitts and Adam’s gloves. “One: No hitting below the belt. Two: No kissing. Three: No touching below the belt.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, Darko.”
“I’m fucking serious. I see anything going on that makes me uncomfortable, I’m calling this bullshit and throwing water on you both.”
He pointed to a bucket of water in one corner of the ring.
“I’m not sure that sexual touching can be accomplished with these gloves on,” Adam said, slurring slightly over his mouth guard.
“Yeah? Well don’t fucking try!”
“When did you become such a delicate fucking flower?” Nigel jabbed his friend lightly in the ribs.
“Around the time I walked in on Adam bending you over the goddamn table we eat dinner on every fucking Sunday!”
“You really should have knocked, Darko,” Adam admonished. “And I treated the table with cleaner, I promise there is no residual semen on the-”
“FUCK THIS, LET’S BOX!” Darko yelled.
By the second round, Adam was dripping with sweat. It was much harder to dance around a person than stand still and hit a bag. Nigel was clearly pulling swipes, offering little taps and encouraging Adam to swing full and hard. So far, most of Adam’s punches landed on Nigel’s mitts and forearms, where the older man promised, repeatedly, that they didn’t hurt.
Adam’s shirt felt clingy and wet, it made him uncomfortable. The texture was distracting. He pulled back from circling Nigel and clumsily yanked the shirt over his head. His body was still sweaty, but now the droplets formed little rivulets as they ran down his chest, instead of sticky wet splotches on his shirt.
Comfortable, Adam swung hard, hoping his right hook would connect well with Nigel’s mitts. Only the mitts weren’t there. Nigel had dropped them as he admired the muscles and sweat playing across his darling’s bare chest, leaving his face, specifically his nose, open to Adam’s full-bodied swing.
The crack was sickening. Adam yelped. Darko swore. Nigel’s nose squished to the side, oozing blood.
“Fucking brilliant!” Nigel crowed, swooping Adam into an awkward embrace, mitts still on his hands.
“Oh fuck, are you ok, nemernicule?” Darko’s eyes were wide.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry,” Adam chanted as he dangled in Nigel’s embrace.
“Of fucking course I’m OK!” Nigel pressed bloody kisses all over Adam. “My fucking darling just broke my nose. Look at you! You gorgeous fucking bruiser!”
Adam beamed at the praise, smiling at Darko before turning to Nigel. He leaned in for a kiss before freezing, nose wrinkling at the gore all over his boyfriend.
“Nigel,” Adam pressed at his shoulders with the gloves. “You’re getting blood on me and I think we should go to a hospital.”
“Adam,” Nigel’s tone was pleading, eyes dancing. “I want you to kiss it and make it better.”
“That does not actually aid in pain relief or healing.” Adam frowned at his mess of a boyfriend.
“But it makes me feel loved.”
Adam sighed and pecked a kiss on Nigel’s crooked nose. Nigel only winced a bit.
Nigel flopped to the floor of the ring, Adam still cradled in his arms. He flung off the mitts and softly drew Adam’s gloved hand to his hardening cock.
“I can think of another fucking place that needs a healing kiss, gorgeous.”
“I didn’t punch you in the penis, Nigel.”
“If it gets your mouth there faster, I’ll fucking let you.”
The water was cold when it hit them.
“What the fuck did I say? DO EITHER OF YOU FUCKING LISTEN?” Darko stormed out of the ring, hands waving. “Boxing is a manly fucking sport, there’s no kissing! But noooo Cosmo and fucking Nigel can’t possibly be expected to keep their hands off each other for two fucking rounds. Doesn’t matter if you’re bleeding, doesn’t matter if Darko begs you REPEATEDLY not to hump in the goddamn ring. Nooo.”
“Are you still coming to dinner tonight?” Adam called to Darko’s retreating form.
“OF COURSE I’M COMING TO DINNER! I SPENT ALL FUCKING MORNING ON THE DESSERT! Fucking insatiable twats, probably dry hump through dinner too…” Darko’s rant was lost as he slammed into the locker room.
Adam turned to Nigel, and softly kissed one of his swelling eyelids.
“We should get you to the hospital to fix your nose. And maybe pick up something to thank Darko for his help today.” Adam used Nigel’s shirt to mop up a bit more blood.
“Ok, gorgeous, let’s go to the hospital.” Nigel smiled, bloody and delighted at his darling. “But promise you’ll protect me if there’s any trouble.”