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Take the A Train

Chapter Text

Despite being on her second cup of coffee, Toast was bleary, and the wait for the subway, the claustrophobic crush of the rush of commuters, and her heavy book bag tipped her usual morning apathy into full-blown antipathy. As she elbowed her way into the subway car, she glanced around for an empty seat. Only one, and when she looked up, it was obvious why.

The guy in the seat next to the empty one looked like he could be the lovechild of a metalhead and a professional wrestler. Not the sort of man anyone would want to run into in a darkened alley - or a decently-lit subway car, given how many people decided not to risk squeezing into the seat. But Toast was irritated instead of scared. She stared coolly at him: huge, in ragged black jeans and a concert t-shirt, with tattoos up and down his muscular arms, and piercings in his ears, eyebrow, and - and Toast had to blink to make sure her eyes weren’t lying to her - his cheeks. The silver studs gleamed in the light with each of his slow breaths. The people around him gave him a wide berth, with a couple dirty looks at his manspreading and generally inconvenient long legs. Not that he noticed. Asshole had the audacity to be asleep through it all, relaxed like he was at home and not a huge lump in the middle of a crowded train.

“Excuse me,” she said pointedly, which he either didn’t hear or just blew off. “Hey. Dude.”

Even if she’d been in a good mood, she wouldn’t have let it slide. Figuring that she’d given him enough of a warning, Toast plopped down in the seat. And then shoved her bag between them.

One eye opened and gave her a sideways glance. The guy made a low noise and -

Fell back asleep.

She nudged his leg over a little more as she made made herself comfortable. That prompted a grumble, and Toast put on her best resting bitch face, but her seat partner fell asleep again. So she stuck in her headphones and took another sip of that ambrosia known as dark-brewed coffee, and opened one of her textbooks.

Engrossed in civil law, she barely noticed the rest of her commute into the city. The guy next to her kept quiet and mostly still, only shifting his arms every once in awhile as he stirred, and he was warm against her side, which wasn’t terrible considering the subway’s inability to control the AC.

As her stop approached, she stuffed her things back into the safety of her bag. Suddenly the guy next to her jerked awake and Toast just barely held onto her coffee.

“Hey, watch it!” she said as she juggled her things.

He looked down at her - surprise, confusion, then a smirk spread across his face. “Didn’t see you there. Sorry.”

“You would’ve noticed if I spilled my coffee on your lap.”

“Hey, what stop is next?”

“110th.”

He yawned and raised his arms over his head. “Thanks. Saved my life.”

Bit of an accent there. British? No, not exactly. Australian?

Grabbing the bar above them, he pulled himself up and then smoothly swung by her. Toast watched him, allowing mild interest to spread across. Nice looking tattoos, anyway. She had a couple on her arms and was constantly plotting out another one, and although she couldn’t match his amount of piercings, the ones in her ears and the one in her nose attracted a fair amount of attention, especially in the stuffy setting of an Ivy League school. It was with a bit of envy that she watched him saunter out when the train stopped and the doors opened. And still that irritation, for being able to swagger around as easily as he did. And maybe a bit of attraction? Nah. She was just tired. Instantly his empty seat was claimed by a guy who started blasting music on his cellphone. Because of course it would be.

Chapter Text

The next morning was unexceptional. Day after that, too. But the following morning he was back and so was the space next to him. Toast dropped into the seat and prodded his knee back into his territory.

“Sorry,” he said, voice raw and rough. “Long night at work.”

Australian, definitely. They grew them big down under. “Just don’t fall asleep on me.”

“Mm. I’d crush ya.”

“I’d murder ya.”

The guy chuckled and closed his eyes again. Toast took the opportunity to study him. She had to spend too much time craning her neck to look up at people. But this guy - This guy was big. Everywhere. Brobdingnagian to her Lilliputian. Long legs, muscled arms across his wide chest… And a broad, square jaw, smoothly shaven. Unbidden, the voice of her grannie Keep leapt into her thoughts, divulging her age-attested wisdom on romances by singing the filthy, jaunty tune: Sit on my face and tell me that you love me…

Not appropriate thoughts for a morning commute. Trying to tamp down that impure fantasy, she took a closer look at his ink: the long curl of a snake looped around one arm, skulls of various sizes and species adorned other. Another low chuckle made her look up - she’d been caught staring - but Toast nonchalantly met his gaze.

Bouncer was the first thing that came to mind. Security for a rock band. Motorcycle gang leader, forced onto mass transit while his bike was in the shop. “With those tattoos and piercings… and that outfit… you’re a dental hygienist.”

There was a moment of silence as he gawked down at her, then he snorted. “You fucking kidding me? Come on. Look at me: Manicurist.”

“That was my second guess,” she deadpanned.

His grin was wide and his white teeth flashed; even without the bodywork he’d be imposing, a beast of a man. Toast gave herself a mental pat on the back for eliciting a smile. And a mental pat for him, too, for getting the joke. Not everyone - and especially not every guy - got her attempts at humor.

He turned slightly to look down at her. “Sweater, big ass book, old backpack,” he observed aloud. “Yeah, definitely a ninja”

This time Toast returned his grin. “Wow. Nailed it on your first try.”

“Course I did,” he said with a proud nod.

Earbuds went in and Toast opened up her big ass book. Her seatmate went back to sleep, and just like before, when she started to pack up he jolted awake.

“Stop?” he asked her as the train started to slow.

“110th.”

“Fuck yeah.”

She watched him pull himself up to his feet. Big hands curled around the bar. Muscles in his arms flexed. Shirt pulled tight across that chest. And there - were those nipple rings? Toast managed to direct her attention back to her bag before he caught her staring again. Or blushing.

As soon as she was above ground again, Toast texted her roommate an update in her best Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin impression. Her cellphone was desperate to fix the spelling:

oi ee’s a big buggah
by crikey i reckon ee’s a 25er
check out that plumage!
good for attractin a sheila!

“So maybe you’re a little glad you ran into him again,” Capable teased over the phone.

“Makes the commute a little interesting,” Toast allowed.

Chapter Text

She didn’t look for him, but he was easy enough to spot, even when he wasn’t on her subway car. Not that she joined him when she saw him in a different car. Though one time their eyes met through one of the windows as the subway car slowly passed her and they sort of nodded to each other. Ships passing in the night, she told Capable later. Subway cars passing in the morning.

“So how was Crocodile Dundee today?” Capable asked over dinner. “Did you ask him to show you his knife?”

“That’s a harmful stereotype, Capes. Besides, his name is Blast HardCheese.”

Capable giggled as she picked up on the Mystery Science Theater reference. Riffing on movies was a staple in their apartment. She came up with another ridiculous name, “Not Crunch ButtSteak?”

“Maybe it’s Rip SteakFace.”

“Big McLargeHuge,” they recited together.

In the morning, Capable sleepily waved goodbye to Toast. “Have fun on your date!”

Some date, Toast thought, rolling her eyes. But maybe there was a part of her looking forward to her commute. She twirled one of her braids around her finger as she waited on the platform for the train, ruminating on her next move. There was no way she’d actively seek him out, but if they ended up sharing a car, she might make her way over. Maybe.

Dating had never been her forte. If she was going to be brutally honest, men in general were not her forte. School kept her busy as hell and she was on a kick-ass roller derby team on the weekend. Her friends took up another big chunk of time and when they went out, they went in a cluster: a roving no-boys-allowed club. Not that she didn’t eke out a little spare time. She just hadn’t been able to find someone who fit in that. Who was worth fitting in there.

Toast’s bag was heavy on her shoulder and the big book in her hand rested awkwardly on her hip, but she barely registered either, brain too busy churning through… Well, not fantasies, really. Considerations. It was entirely possible that they had nothing in common other than use of the train - something they shared with approximately everyone else in the city.

When her train arrived and she stepped on, there he was, resplendent in all of his his dive bar finery. No seat for him this morning; he was leaning against one of the poles, fiddling with his phone. As Toast squeezed her way into the car, he straightened a bit. When he shifted over, everyone else made room for him.

“So how’s the manicurist business treating you?” Said totally deadpan. She waited - not with bated breath, but with a guarded anticipation. Ball was in his court.

“Manicurist? Nah.” Definitely had nipple piercings. Toast prevented let her gaze from dropping any lower as she wondered where else there might be studs. He scoffed, a low rumbling sound. “I’m a kindergarten teacher. Can’t you tell?”

It was a silly joke, but he’d still gotten it. And bounced it back to her. “Course,” she said with a pensive nod. “You teach kids to count by using your piercings, don’t you?”

“Huge hit at parent-teacher conferences.”

“I bet.”

“You like them?” He asked with a smirk.

And with that bold step into flirtation territory, she forfeited her chance at plausible deniability. But she was fine with that.Toast pretended to consider as she let her gaze linger. He had blue eyes. Not exactly pretty - that wasn't the right word for them. But appealing. Interesting. And the longer she stared the more she realized there was something incredibly attractive about him - those eyes deep set, broad jaw, strong nose. The smirk disappeared and he started to look a little nervous, fidgeting and darting his eyes, so Toast completed her survey. “Yeah. I do.”

A grin at that. Smug grin. But it didn’t last - He yawned.

Toast observed dryly, “And you teach at night because they’re insomniacs.”

“Hey, nightschool is a thing.”

When a seat opened up, she motioned to it. "You fall over and you'll take us all down with you." He dropped hard into it and as they rearrange themselves to make room, Toast ended up standing between his legs.

“You sure a ninja like you doesn’t need it?”

“New job,” she said, and drew herself up to her full, impressive height. “NBA All-Star.”

“Shoulda guessed.” His sleepy eyes returned her gaze. She heated up a little under that, her sweater suddenly much too stifling. She debated pulling it off - while balancing her bag and book, it would be more awkward than provocative. Not that her buddy from Down Under would notice: he’d fallen asleep again, arms crossed over that big chest. Slow, steady breaths. His face relaxed a little in sleep - but only a little. His dark brows were drawn and his mouth in a frown. Like the other times she’d seen him, he was decked out in full badass splendor: black jeans with ripped knees, concert t-shirt with a skull on the front, and faded flannel shirt tied around his hips.

As the train continued uptown, Toast realized that she’d been able to study in relative peace and quiet. She pushed her long braids back behind her ear and glanced around the train - Still crowded. But not a single cat-call the entire way up. As unfair as it was that it was his presense shielding her from harassment, she still appreciated it.

When they got to his stop, she knocked her knee against his. "Come on, mate. Here's your stop."

He grumbled and didn't open his eyes. She took stock of her options: a whack with her book was a possibility. But this guy hadn’t done anything to warrant that - in fact, he was sort of… Charming, she thought, then hurriedly dismissed that before she daydreamed again. There had to be a happy medium between a smack and a Sleeping Beauty-esque kiss. She bent over instead to shake his shoulder - which was hard as a rock under her fingers - and straightened again when he stirred. “If you miss your stop, it won’t be my fault,” she said as he grumbled again.

“Some bedside manners,” he groused as he dug his knuckles into his eyes.

"Would you rather keep going uptown?"

He rose too quickly for her to back up; they were practically chest to chest. Or rather, his chest to her shoulder. He gave her another grin as he slid by her toward the door. “Thanks, babe."

Toast’s eyes snapped up to him in a glare. “You’re welcome, dick.”

The door closed on his surprised face.

Toast put her headphones in and opened her book, like it was possible to do any studying at all in the two minutes she had before her stop. She stared at the pages anyway.

Getting her hopes up had been a waste of time after all.

Chapter Text

It was one of those punishing mornings: spilled her coffee, sweater had a stain, and even with her umbrella and rain coat, Toast got drenched during her dash to the subway.

And jumped down the stairs just in time to see the rear lights of the train shrinking into the dark tunnel.

Irritated, she shook water out of her hair and sweater and stuffed her umbrella into a plastic bag before banishing it to the bottom of her backpack. Trying to study was a lost cause, but she gamely opened her book and stared at words. She’d always had scholarly inclinations, pulling in good grades her entire academic career; somehow, however, the past week had proved to be a challenge. It wasn’t that the work had gotten harder… More like somehow rust had formed on her steel trap of a brain.

Toast decided to blame it on the weather. Or maybe the series of shitty dinners that she and Capable had to suffer through on their tiny budget. Their friend Dag said that Mercury was in retrograde; even though Toast banished astrology into the same chumbucket as ouija boards, there was some satisfaction at cursing at the sky.

When another train finally approached the station, she snapped her book closed. As her eyes followed the procession of cars, they snagged on the tall, big, dark form of Mr. Outback himself, the erstwhile star of some late-night fantasies before he’d been demoted to theoretical punching bag during her roller derby trainings. And he looked up at exactly the same time the car went passed her.

His lips parted a bit - maybe even the start of a grin - but Toast just stared back cooly. And didn’t bother trying to get in the same subway car as him.

She had tried to explain it to Capable. But then only partially through the diatribe, Toast had stopped. Protesting too much, she thought to herself. Admitting that his throw-away remark had jabbed in some soft, unprotected part of her would have come hand-in-hand with admitting that he’d uncovered that soft, unprotected part. Which was stupid. It wasn’t like they had anything, just some conversations. Funny conversations. Fun conversations.

Staring at her book, she was so determined to actually read the page - despite the damp state of her socks and the lack-of-caffeine headache building between her eyes - that she didn’t glance up at the commotion at the next stop.

The conductor’s voice crackled through loudspeaker, “Don’t hold the doors!”

And then a barking, “Then fucking keep them open!”

Loud.

Australian.

It was easy enough to follow the action: a hooligan shoving the doors open, squeezing his impressive bulk through the other commuters, big boots stomping down to where she was standing, and -

She looked up from her book. And up, and up, and up to the flash of his teeth, the flash of all those piercings, and the flash of his blue eyes. God-fucking-dammit it wasn’t fair that he was so gorgeous. If only telling her hormones to calm the fuck down actually managed to do something.

“Hey!” he said.

Toast didn’t return his grin. “My favorite dick,” she said dryly before returning to her reading.

He laughed, a sound way too loud for the sleepy subway car, and Toast’s lips quirked up in reply.

“Heh, no shit?”

She snapped the book shut. “Would I lie to you about dicks?”

Another gruff chuckle at that. “New job, huh? You’re what, a… a… Proctologist?”

“Urologist. But I have a lot of experience with assholes, too.”

This time his laugh tapered off and when Toast glanced up, his grin had started to fade.

“What?” he demanded. Her stare didn’t waver even when he pulled himself up to his impressive height of gigantic. Just kept waiting until there was something of a look of worry in his otherwise frightening expression. She felt like maybe she was able to get a read on him, despite all those piercings. It sounded like bravado when he asked with a leer, “See something you like?”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” she replied. And then, icy enough to cut through the stifling air of the cramped car, “Babe.”

The train screeched to a stop and when the doors squeaked open more people got on. There was shoving all around them, but Toast didn’t move closer to Aussie McAusserson - even though it might have made more room for a guy with three briefcases, each of which banged against Toast’s back.

“Three fucking briefcases -” “Three damn briefcases?”

They’d both spun around to growl at the guy - Who paled and meeped something apologetic and then slammed into approximately every other person in the car as he put as much distance as he could between himself and the dangerous duo of Toast and Vegemite Manwich. Doors squeaked again as they closed and the train started up, and when she and the big dude turned back, they snickered together.

“So still sore about that?” he asked. “Babe? Thought you were too cool to be pissed.”

And that was the end of their moment. “Yeah, no, a backhanded compliment is not the same as an apology.”

He snorted and rubbed a big hand over his broad jaw. “Sorry.”

It came easily enough. A little rough, but that was just his voice. His low voice. Rumbling voice. It vibrated through those unprotected soft parts. No fight from him about having to apologize, and that look of chagrin seemed to become more pronounced. Toast warmed a bit as she nodded. “All right,” she said.

It came easily enough.

“Piss off a ninja-basketball-star-urologist-whatever the fuck? Even I might not win that one.”

At the next stop, two people got up, leaving enough room for Toast and him to sit. Somehow choosing to sit side by side was different than the other more coinicidental times she squished in next to him. A big step in their relationship, Toast thought sarcastically to herself, a joke that maybe hit a little too close to home. Still, it was stupid to pass up an opportunity to sit down.

"Wanna sit?" She asked and he huffed impatiently. She mumbled more to herself than him, "It's a date."

Toast slid neatly onto the seat and then with a thump, he dropped down beside her. Hard thigh against hers, her shoulder against his arm, and all of his body warm, like her own portable heater. He was in a leather jacket again and these jeans had tears that spanned across his knees, held together by safety pins and optimism. The spikes in his ears and on his belt made him literally prickly. A “do not touch” sign wouldn’t be much clearer. The dark shadows under his eyes didn’t help alleviate the menacing aura. Not that Toast was frightened. Though her stomach and heart were doing some Olympic-quality acrobatics.

The train suddenly screeched to a stop, sliding Toast against the wall of muscle that was her seat partner. After a few seconds of irritated sighs and complaints from everyone else on the train, the conductor came back on, apologizing for the inconvenience. No explanation, no timeline, and as the seconds ticked by, no movement.

Toast and man-mountain groaned in unison.

“Fuck it; going to sleep,” he said and stretched out his legs. “Wake me before my stop.”

“Pretty sure it’s my turn to take a nap,” she replied with a grumble.

That wicked grin returned. “Can sleep on me. Won’t even mind if you drool.”

“Chivalry is alive and well in the subway system.”

She still had her book on her lap, but Toast had never been the coy type. So instead of pretending to study, she set an alarm on her phone and flicked through her music to find something relaxing. Not expecting to sleep, which she never did on the subway, she could at least relax for a bit. As she slipped one of the ear buds in, he stirred.

“Anything good?”

“Not doom metal or whatever Blood Ceremony is,” she told him as she read the band name off his shirt. And didn’t get hypnotized by his nipple rings.

Down at the other end of the car - which still wasn’t moving - a baby began to scream.

“Has to be better than that,” he grumbled.

“We’re sharing headphones now?” she asked, the question rhetorical since she passed him the other bud. Holy shit were his hands huge. But she kept a completely straight face when his fingers brushed hers. “So is this like third-base for commuters?”

He grunted as though he was unimpressed, but she thought his cheeks looked a little pinker. How much American slang did he know? “Thanks,” he said as he jammed it into his ear.

The train started up again, slowly rocking as it chugged down the tracks. Toast’s eyes got heavier and her chin nodded down to her chest. Warm, with something to lean on, and the Lunachicks thrumming along in her left ear…

The chime of her alarm interrupted the song. Blinking her eyes clear, she saw the train pull into a stop - Still in midtown. Still had time. She didn’t need to move her head from where it lay against the shoulder of her commuter buddy. He’d slumped over a little too, his face so close to hers that when she looked up, her eyes fell on the lines of his lips. The piercings there… What did it feel like to kiss them? Toast swallowed hard, but her innards were still doing a ridiculous amount of cartwheels. Totally crazy - she hadn’t even had coffee yet.

“Few more stops,” she told him and his sigh of relief tickled her forehead. When she shifted away, he made a low noise of displeasure.

“Go back to sleep then.”

Maybe she wasn’t too close for comfort. Toast damped her grin into a soft chuckle and leaned back against his arm. Totally crazy, she thought again. There were a thousand reasons she shouldn’t be, but despite them all, she was more than a little pleased. Possibly even happy.

As they started pulling into his stop, she tugged her headphones free. “All right, end of the line for you.”

He heaved himself up; she collected her stuff and stood too, offering her seat to a young woman and her daughter.

When he stretched, Toast got a fleeting glimpse of his muscled stomach. She swallowed hard again and managed not to croak when she asked, “Good nap?”

He nodded and glanced down at her. “Good date, yeah?”

“Not bad,” she said with a shrug. This time she didn’t stop herself from grinning. “Location could have been better, but you can’t expect much for $2.75.”

“So where’s my kiss goodnight?”

“For one, it’s nine in the morning.”

The doors shuddered opened and he started to take a step out - she grabbed his sleeve. But even hoisting herself up to her tiptoes, she couldn’t reach him, and he just sort of gawked at her as she bounced up to try to get closer. But then she caught one of his jacket’s lapels and he bent down -

“Don’t hold the doors!” the conductor yelled over the loudspeaker.

He shoved the doors wide open and swooped down, and she brushed her lips over his. Toast gave him a soft shove and her metalhead clomped backward onto the platform. She gave him a wave as they pulled away.

As soon as she was above ground again, she texted her roommate: hey, ever hear of a band called blood ceremony?

Chapter Text

It was Capable who planted the seed - Toast’s roommate was texting about the world’s sweetest barista who never managed to get her order right, and Toast rolled her eyes and thought about how if some guy fucked up her order more than once, she’d blacklist the joint. Dudes were not worth suffering through bad coffee, cuteness by damned. But after hearing about Capable’s breakfast adventure, even though it turned into a fiasco, Toast’s stomach started voicing its own opinions about stopping for coffee.

Bagel and coffee in hand, Toast made her way to the subway. When her train pulled up, she watched the cars go by until - yep, there was her guy. He was sitting down but had turned to look out the window. Eyes met and she raised her coffee in a sort of wave/salute and he grinned back. After that exchange, she basically had to get on the same car as him.

There really wasn’t enough room on the seats for her, but he slid over and made just enough space for her to wiggle into. Once again their legs were pressed against each other and his big ass arm was pressed against her side. Toast gave him an elbow nudge and he shifted around, moving that big arm to the back of her seat. Practically around her shoulders. Which meant of course that she could snuggle into his side now, if she wanted to continue the pattern of increasing intimacy.

Instead she pulled out her bagel.

“What d’ya got?” he asked and peered suspiciously at her as she unwrapped it.

“What’s it look like?” she replied. “Breakfast of champions.”

He grimaced, piercings glinting as he pulled a face of supreme disgust. “Got anything good in there?”

“Come on, you can’t be a New Yorker and not like bagels. Admit that out loud and you’ll get deported.”

“Had one once. Sucked.”

Toast took a bite - still warm and the cream cheese smooth - and probably chewed it with too much relish, but whatever. He was wrong and bagels were delicious. She took a sip of her coffee and watched him out of the corner of her eye. He was probably raised on some unholy combination of protein shakes and beer. Like always he was in his biker-meets-rocker gear, flannel shirt rolled up to his elbows to display his forearms and tattoos.

“Where’d you get this debacle of a bagel?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Dunkin Donuts.”

“And there’s your problem. What are you, a transplant from Ohio?”

Another grimace. Funny, the expression didn’t seem to detract from his handsomeness.

“Ten bucks says you’ll love it. Here.” She tore a piece off and offered it to him. She was getting cream cheese all over her fingers, but that always was a danger with eating bagels. Besides, she thought as he tentatively accepted it, maybe she could get him to lick her clean. Talk about getting ahead of herself. Toast kept her face blandly disinterested and swallowed back some inappropriate urges along with a sip of scalding coffee.

“Not bad,” he allowed and Toast didn’t stop herself from gloating.

“Thought so.” She gave him the rest of the half a bagel and dug into hers, and a companionable silence feel as they ate. It’d been a long time that she’d been attracted to anyone. Toast pondered that as she ate and admitted to herself that more than that, it’d be a long time since she’d been affected by anyone. She looked back up at him - her bad ass subway rocker who was now rubbing his face clean with his shirt, lifting it up so she could see his wow, absolutely fantastic stomach muscles. Shirt wasn’t quite high enough for her to see his nipple rings, unfortunately. But those abs and the surprising cuteness of his bellybutton were a nice enough show.

“Thirsty,” he announced.

Me too, she thought. “Magic word?”

There was that wolfish grin, teeth and piercings flashing in the low subway light. He leaned forward, warm and big as a mountain that she’d like to climb. Her eyes flickered over all those rings and studs then back to his blue eyes. “Please?” he asked, smug as hell.

“Next time we go dutch.”

She passed him her coffee and he took a swig - and then erupted in sputtered coughing. Snickering she took back the cup before it was spilled all over the already-not-pristine subway floor.

No sugar, no milk, and apparently not what he’d be expecting. “Too much for you to handle, big boy?”

He swiped at his mouth with sleeve. “No way,” he wheezed. “Just how I like my women.”

Toast tilted her head as she considered him, her grin sharp. “Black and bitter?”

“Strong enough to kick my ass.”

Score one point for the metalhead. Her eyebrows rose and her mouth might have hung open for half a second before she groaned and shook her head. And went back to eating the last bit of her bagel before he could accuse her of blushing.

When his stop came up, he swung himself up as usual with that strange grace of his. “Hey,” he said, “thanks for brekkie.” He leaned down and she tilted her face up as one of his huge hands cupped her chin.

The first time she’d kissed him it’d been too fast to take much note of anything other than the warmth of his mouth against hers. But now Toast was aware of everything, each sense piqued: the taste of coffee on his lips, the feel of the piercings rolling against her skin, the smoky scent of him - the wet lick of his tongue at the corner of her mouth -

“Cream cheese,” he said with another grin

She was definitely gaping now. “Bye, babe,” she managed to mutter before he sauntered off the train. The two guys sitting across from her gave her wide-eyed stares. She sipped her coffee and stared back with a smirk.

Chapter Text

The roller derby game had been awesome. And brutal. Her team came home with the win, and Toast came home in a wrist splint. Bruised everywhere, it even felt like her damn hair hurt. Maybe she’d chop off her braids, wear it short for a while.

Things hadn’t really improved the following morning. Capable tried to convince Toast to take the day off - it was Friday anyway, she pointed out, and with Toast’s track record, she could afford to skip one class. Toast, lying flat on her back in her bed, almost agreed with her. But stubbornly she got up, took some asprin with her orange juice, and had Capable help get her into her clothes.

“I’ll stay home with you,” Capable cajoled futilely.

“What about your barista? Ow, fuck me. Anyway, he’ll miss you.”

Because Capable was a great roommate and friend, she refrained from pointing out that maybe Toast was the one worried about missing her man. Had Capable said it, Toast would've denied it until hell froze over.

“Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’ll take it easy all weekend,” Toast promised as Capable helped gather Toast’s books. “Won’t even get out of bed.”

Capable did not looked convinced.

Not exactly limping, but without her normal speed, Toast hauled her weary ass to the subway. Waiting for the train, she started berating herself for not taking Capable’s advice. It was stupid to go to class feeling so shitty - she wouldn’t get anything done. And suffering through the long commute to school just for her Aussie mate…

When she finally got on the train, she looked around (which, ow, fucking hurt her neck) and found him.

Who looked just as beat-up as her.

In fact, even worse. Tall, dark, and pierced had turned into tall, dark, and bruised. His cheek studs were gone, replaced by a nasty shiner. It was probably weird that there was something even hot about that. A smudge on his neck looked looked dried blood which may have continued on his shirt - black concert tee, as usual. Between the battle scars and death metal outfit, he was getting even more suspicious looks from their fellow commuters. He was sitting but rose when she came over.

“You should see the other guy,” they said together.

The fucking pair of them, Toast thought with a wry shake of her head. Who looked worse off? In spite of it all, for the first time that morning, she felt something close to good. The aspirin was probably kicking in, she decided. She waved him back down with her wrist-splinted arm. "Rough night at the rodeo?"

"This?" he motioned at the black eye. "Chef’s a fuckwit."

"A fight with frying pans?"

He grunted and leaned back, but there was the start of a grin there. “How ‘bout you? New job?”

“Roller derby,” she corrected him. A cool brag; if she puffed up at all, her ribs would ache. “The dangers and joys of being a jammer.”

“Should’ve guessed. Shine as fuck.” A full on grin now, which looked different without all the jewelry. Still nice, even with the split lip. But she barely had time to admire it before it turned into a pained grimace. There were scrapes on his knuckles, too; Toast stared at his big hands until she almost toppled over. He started to stand again. “You sit. Come on.”

“Sit,” she commanded and he dropped back down, surprised by obedient.

“Come on,” he said again, voice gruff. “You look like shit. But still hot,” he added quickly.

“Hot shit? Thanks, I guess.”

He grunted and looked down at his cross his arms, an attempt to cover up the fact that he was blushing. “Hey,” he said suddenly to the guy sitting next to him, who startled and hurriedly pulled off his headphones. “Get up. She needs to sit.”

“It’s ok,” she told them both. “I got a seat.”

The other guy scooted away a bit but her big burly Bruce just continued to scowl. Her shoulder hurt too much to gracefully swing her bag down and the splint on her wrist meant she couldn’t brace herself at all with that arm, but she still managed to do it: pull off her backpack, turn around, and plant her tired ass onto the astonished Aussie’s lap. Fortunately he caught her before she slid off. And not just caught, but pulled her closer (and they both hissed a bit in pain) and wrapped his arms around her (both of them grumbling as elbows got jammed into sore soft parts). And then sighed into her hair.

“This would be way better if I didn’t feel like I got hit by a truck,” she said. She leaned her head back against his chest to look up at him. “How you feeling?”

“Ace.”

She closed her eyes and snuggled a bit closer. His nipple rings had escaped unscathed; she could feel one against her shoulder. Rubbing it with a shrug made him squeeze his big arms more tightly around her. “Ace means good?”

“Fucking fantastic,” he explained. “Now go the fuck to sleep.”

Leaning against him had been one thing - sitting up on his lap was a different situation entirely. It’d been half out of desire, half out of desperation that she basically collapsed on him, but Toast was damn pleased with it. If she wasn’t a walking, talking, flirting bruise, she would have brought her knees up, tucked herself completely into him. He was big enough - a huge, hard, warm chest behind her, his strong jaw resting against her forehead, one wide palm on her arm and the other on her thigh. She was wrapped up in him - the most comfortable she’d ever been on the subway.

Well, there was soreness radiating through every muscle; even so, Toast didn’t want to move. But when he shifted under her and made a low grumbling noise, she raised her head.

“Hey, owe you breakfast,” he said.

“Mm. Not today.” Her eyes fluttered closed again. “Feel too crappy.”

"So come home with me."

She was too weary for her eyes to fly open at that invitation. She was about to turn down that date, too, when he continued, "Got some ice packs. Or just sleep it off. Feel better if you were there."

Well then.

She stayed on his lap as the train rocked and rolled its way uptown. This time it was her big dude who kept track of the stops and as they approached his, he jostled her awake. She groaned a few choice curses at that disturbance. He released her and Toast climbed to her feet so he could get by. Skipping school? A tempting idea. Very tempting. She’d never played the truant, but some devil on her shoulder dared her to do it.

He held the door open, giving her one more chance. “Come home with me. Bad ass like you, you can wag school.”

Clearly she needed to put some more research into Australian slang, though she was fairly certain she could translate that. She tilted her chin to look up at his face. “I don’t even know your name. Unless you really are a Dick.”

There was that sharp grin again. “Slit.”

“Toast.” She paused for a beat. “And if you say you want a slice of that -”

“Bit of brekkie after all, yeah?”

“No eating in bed.”

“Got to leave something for our next date.” He was still holding the doors open, despite the conductor’s furious demand to let them go.

One second was all it took for her to make up her mind. Toast grabbed her bag, and ducked under his arm and off the train. The doors closed, the train took off, and she and Slit were left together on the platform. It cricked her neck to keep looking up at him, but his pleased grin was worth it. Maybe her heart was pounding a little, maybe her palms were a little sweaty, maybe she was as flushed as him, maybe she had been completely right in ignoring Capable’s advice.

Onwards and upwards.

With the sky clouded over, it wasn’t that bright outside, but Toast and Slit still blinked and rubbed at their eyes. Matching headaches, how adorable. Clearly he couldn’t wait to get home - he took off, long legs making him stride away. Like hell she was going to run after him.

“Hey big boy,” she called, “forgetting something?”

“Short legs,” he said with a snort. When she glared, he held up his hands placatingly. “Come on. Give you a lift.”

She had to climb onto a bench and he had to bend down, but Toast got onto the massive wall that was his back. Took a bit of adjustment - and some swearing from both parties. But despite that, he picked her up and carried her like she was weightless. Her bag too was swept up and then looped over his arm like it was light as air instead of a backpack full of textbooks.

“Whole other story up here,” she joked, admiring the view from her new height. Both the street and her beast of burden under her. Nice shoulders indeed. She rested her chin on him, sinking against his soft leather jacket. He huffed a laugh and hoisted her up a little higher. “Ow, watch the knees. Banged them both.”

“Watch the ribs,” he said in return.

“Having my legs around you - This was way hotter when I imagined it.” A grunt of pain followed that tease.

Another chuckle from her mountain of man meat. Her eyes started to close as he walked them down the street, a brisk pace but steady. Slit, she thought to himself. A strange name for a strange dude, which was probably why it suited him. She contemplated that as she - well, not quite dozed, but definitely let her mind drift. She thought again about how long it’d been since she’d been with someone. And how terrible she was with dating. But somehow, whatever it was she was doing with Slit, it seemed right.

They came to a stop in front of big brick building; he jiggled her to a more cognizant state as he started to search his pockets for his keys. After he let her back down, Toast reclaimed her bag and pulled out her cellphone. A short apology email to her professor… And then a short message to Capable: part explanation, part boast.

Capable’s reply came back almost immediately, complete with a series of shocked emojis.

“I have a strict curfew set by my roommate,” she told him as he shoved open the front door. “She’s calling the cops if I’m not home by midnight.”

“Gives us all fucking day,” he observed. He grin over his shoulder at her, then rubbed a hand over his puffy lower lip.

“For all sorts of debauchery,” she agreed. She listed their options as they climbed the stairs - pre-war building with no elevator, of course. “Sleeping on the couch, taking more painkillers, maybe getting an ice pack.”

“New York City girls are wild.”

They stomped up the stairs - five goddamn flights - and eventually made it to his apartment. She peered around his bulk for a first glance into his place, half expecting it to be some sort of leather bondage fetish dungeon or maybe full of mounted kangaroo heads. She was too weary to snark about it so she just followed him in, shucking her shoes by the door and dragging her bag and weary ass behind him into a bedroom. Small and primarily decorated with concert posters and clothes draped everywhere.

He fell face-first onto the mattress and then made a big fuss as pulled the blankets out from under him, groaning and swearing like a sailor. Toast added her own chorus of weary fucks as she struggled out of her sweater. When she flopped in beside him, they both turned to face each other.

“The hottest shit,” he pronounced.

“Talking about me, you, or these luxury digs?”

His dark brows came down as he frowned. “Didn’t think you’d be coming over or I woulda cleaned. Fuck. Swear I was going to do laundry this weekend. Hold on - The guy below us has a vacuum -”

“Hey.” She stopped him with a hand on his arm and Slit lay back down beside her. “No worries, mate.”

Her fingers trailed up his arm to his bicep, then slid down his chest. very fortunate indeed that his nipple rings had survived whatever battle he’d gotten into the night before. She flashed him another grin and then scooted down a little to loop her arm around his waist. The smile stayed on her lips as Toast closed her eyes. One hell of a day already - skipping school to sleep with a stud she’d picked off of the subway.

Even if their sleeping together wasn’t a euphemism.

Chapter Text

“Slit! Slit! You won’t fucking believe what happened! I texted you and called like ten fucking times but you didn’t pick up. So she came back in today, right? And - ow, fuck me! The fuck? Whose little shoes are these? Hey, Slit -”

Toast groaned and buried deeper into the blankets, like they’d somehow be able to muffle out the incredibly excited - and incredibly loud - voice of whoever the hell had just banged into the apartment and was stamping down the hall. Despite being tired, despite being irritated at the rude awakening, despite being really damn comfortable half underneath her sleeping partner, Toast couldn’t help but be curious about the interloper. Roommate, had to be. An accent - not American, not Australian. English?

“Oh fuck - Is this subway girl? Slit, you fucker!”

“Fuck off, Nux!”

Slit launched into a sitting position and hurled the pillow at the bedroom door. She had a good view of him now: a tall, similarly shaved young man was holding one of her shoes.

“The hell happened to you? Both of you? You guys bond over getting the shit kicked out of you on the subway? That’s you, right? You’re the girl from the subway!”

“That would be me,” she said wearily and sat up, tugging her shirt back down over her stomach. Good thing she hadn’t obeyed the inclination to strip before she got into bed with Slit, who was now practically growling behind her. The roommate wasn’t scandalized - In fact, he looked positively delighted. Toast nudged Slit back with her elbow and then raised her eyebrow at the roommate. “Unless he charms other commuters.”

The roommate - Nux - scoffed. “Pretty sure everyone else in the city thinks he’s a right bastard. Slit’s been mad about you, though! Hey - what’s your name? Want to go on a double date?”

“Nux, swear to fucking god that if you don’t get the fuck out of here I’m going to punch out every fucking tooth in that fucking big mouth of yours and wear them as fucking jewlery.”

“She said she might have a friend for you, but I’ll tell her you’re spoken for.” Nux chirped, tossing the shoe back and forth thoughtfully, undisturbed by the threat. “Because she asked me out! Best fucking day in my life, mate! She came in again and she was so fucking gorgeous and she didn’t even care that I spilt like all of her fucking coffee on the counter. So how about tomorrow night?”

Toast put a restraining hand on Slit’s hard, bulging bicep. Mm. “If I say yes, will you go away?”

“On my honor,” Nux vowed, palm over her shoe like he was swearing on a bible.

“See you tomorrow night.” She waved and groped for the blanket as she turned around to snuggle against Slit’s chest.

“Fuck yeah! This is going to be so fucking awesome! I gotta text her. She gave me her number! Ok, going to text her. Shit, what if she changes her mind? No, she wouldn’t. Right?”

“Now you will fuck off?” Slit demanded in exasperation. His big arm curled around her. “I’m fucking busy over here.”

“She was a fast machine / she kept her motor clean / she was the best damn woman I’d ever seen,” Nux sang, grinning again. “You guys want this pillow back? Here - Enjoy! She had the sightless eyes / telling me no lies -”

“Nux you fucking rat bastard!”

Nux slammed the door closed before the pillow hit it, but she could still hear him in the hallway. “Knocking me out with those American thighs!”

“I’m going to kill him,” Slit growled.

“Not now. Too loud.”

He laughed and unwound her arms from around his middle. “Be right back, babe. No murder - promise. You hungry? Owe you a meal, right?”

She was hungry too, and if she wanted to take another painkiller, it was a good idea to have something in her stomach. Slit stood up and, aware of her eyes on him, stretched his arms above his head to show off everything. Very impressive indeed, until he hissed in pain and slouched back down, hand on his ribs. She would have applauded to show her appreciation but she was already drifting back to sleep. Bed was cozy even without the pillow, and warm, and sort of smelled like him - the comforting scent of a guy, a little musky, a little woody, a little dark. Maybe he needed to change his sheets more often - she added the little bit of criticism to herself in an attempt to stem the flow of mush.

Finally she shuffled her way out of the bedroom. On the bathroom sink was a bottle of aspirin. She took two and shuffled back out again, this time looking over her surroundings with a critical eye. The whole apartment was messy, but not a disaster. There wasn’t enough in the place to make it too cluttered. Not much on the walls, not much in terms of furniture. Nux must’ve hightailed back to wherever he’d come from because there were only two pairs of shoes at the door: her tiny ones and Slit’s massive combat boots. Good. Nux was way too fucking chipper for her to deal with with her headache. Hopefully by Saturday, she and her irritable Aussie would be recovered enough to manage Nux’s exclamation-point laden conversations.

She was making herself comfortable in Slit’s bed again when he stomped back in. “Check this shit out,” he said proudly as he shoved a tupperware container toward her.

“Soup?”

“That’s what you’re supposed to have when you’re feeling shitty, right?”

Accepting it, she sniffed it carefully. Smelled good. “Thanks babe.”

“Wild rice and vegetables. You one of those vegetarians?”

“Only sometimes.” She wiggled over and he dropped down next to her and wrapped his arm comfortably around her waist. She brought the spoon tentatively to her mouth. “Mm. This is good.”

“Course it fucking is,” he rumbled sleepily against her hip. “Next time I’ll make it with chicken.”

“Wait.” She didn’t quite spill her soup all over her cuddly man-beast, but surprise did make her start. “You made this?”

“Hell yeah. Like I told ya - work in a kitchen.”

What he’d claimed that morning on the subway was that he’d gotten in a fight with a chef. And even that she’d dismissed at their usual teasing bullshit. Toast had another spoonful to keep her mouth occupied so it wasn’t just hanging open. Shock and awe. So much for all her wild theories about his occupation. Toast chuckled and shook her head. Unable to resist a little more mocking, she asked, “So where’s your restaurant? Rikers?”

“Fuck that. I’d set off the metal detector just by looking at it.”

“Obviously. All right, second guess: the Four Seasons. I can picture it now, you in all white with a huge chef’s cap on, speaking French to all the guests…”

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi and shit.”

“Oh wow, so seductive.”

Her shirt had gotten hiked up a bit during their shifting - just a little, but it was enough for him to press his lips against her skin. And then bite. More rolling around after that, but his lip split again, and the make-out session was put on hold while they got ice packs and paper towels.

“You really a cook?” she asked as she helped pat away the blood. “Or just an exceptionally good bullshitter?”

He looked affronted by her suspicion. “I’m the fucking best,” he boasted from under the ice pack.

“At both?”

He snorted a laugh. “Best at everything,” he replied, smirking down at her.

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

His low laugh soothed away her annoyance. She felt him curl one of her braids around his fingers before he cupped the back of her head with his huge hand. Tilting her face up to him, he asked, “That so?”

“Mm.”

His lips brushed over her throat, mouth dragging deliciously over her sensitive skin. Some of her aches and pains disappeared at that feathery touch. Might have been even better if he’d still been wearing his lip ring…

“Feeling any better?” she asked as she moved her hands over his chest. Soothingly. Reassuringly. Just to make sure everything was alright under that tight t-shirt.

“Dunno,” he said with another grunt. He moved over her, arms on either side of her so she got a great view of his expansive of chest, strong jaw, and wickedly grinning lips. “Might have to spend a couple more hours in here just to make sure.”

“Right, right. I knew when I first saw you that your life motto was ‘better safe than sorry.’” She tugged on a nipple ring. “‘Nother kiss. Come on.”

Slow kisses, slow touches - they had to hold back as they moved gingerly over bruises and scrapes, Her stupid wrist brace made it hard for her to properly grope him. Annoyance built up like another headache. She wanted him hard, unrelenting, rough and growling and teeth and those piercings - but while her crotch region was certainly enthusiastic, the rest of her was begging to go back to sleep.

Maybe she’d just stay in bed forever.

When she woke up again, it sort of felt like she had been in bed forever. The ice packs had gotten soft and useless, the aspirin had started to wear off, Nux was back and singing another song about American women, and everything in the world outside of the warm bed and hot bedmate was shitty. But she couldn’t spend all night there. “Hey,” she muttered as she tried to reach for her phone again. Tried and failed - Slit had her in a good grip. “Oi. It’s getting dark and I need to get home.”

“Got until midnight,” he replied with a yawn and didn’t move.

But a harder tug on his nipple ring finally got his attention. After claiming her phone and checking her messages and the time, she slithered out of his grasp and ungracefully plopped onto the floor. Slit’s big hand patted her head. The weight of it was sort of nice, so Toast stayed splayed out on the floor as she went through a silent debate of her next course of action.

Option one: she could stay with Slit until her Capable-enforced curfew. Fucking tempting, even though she still felt sort of shitty, still achy and tired, and now after napping for so long, sort of gross. And yet - a damn good date. Toast stood and stretched, got a few satisfying cracks out of it, then rested her hands on her hips as she surveyed her holdings. Option two: go home and get out of her itchy and constraining bra. Besides, what would Dag say about this new dependency on Australian beefcakes? As a vag- and vegetarian, her friend would definitely not approve. And there were ten thousand texts from her roommate Capable, who’d had her own boy adventure that morning. Toast scanned them but didn’t have the energy to read them in full. But she texted a couple of thumbs-up back and promised to listen to the whole tale later.

Sisters before misters. Chicks before dicks. Ovaries before brovaries. Friends before mens. Posses before Aussies.

“Heading home,” she said, asserting herself against the urge to flop back on the outspread hunk of punk.

He shot up with a grunt. “The fuck? Why?” He pouted - really pouted.

“All we’ve been doing is sleeping. I’m not exactly ditching you in the middle of some hot and heavy date.”

“Yeah, but I still liked it,” he grumbled. More pouting. Slit did not have puppy-dog eyes by any stretch of the imagination, and with that rebel aesthetic, he looked more ridiculous than cutesy. Still hot, however.

“So what,” she asked with a sarcastic snort, “you want to come home with me?”

Heaving a herculean sigh, he got up too. Damn he was tall, she thought again. She’d always been the shortest one in the group, but none of the women she hung out with had as many inches on her as he did. When she was feeling better, she’d climb him like a tree. They jammed their feet into their shoes and then headed back down too many fucking flights of stairs. Slit clomped behind her, apparently deciding to play the role of gentleman and walking her back to the subway. It meant they got to hold hands, but a lot of that was their dual need for them to hang onto something lest they topple over. She swiped her card at the turnstile to get into the subway, turned to get his number and maybe a kiss goodbye -

And banged into the unforgiving chest of Slit.

“You said I could come,” he said defensively as she swore and rubbed her nose.

Not a bad compromise, she decided, but she still rolled her eyes. And it did mean that she have someone to lean against as she settled down. When she looked up at him to study his interesting face again, she noticed him glaring at an old white dude, who was staring back with equal disapproval. She gotten plenty of those before - fucking old white assholes who didn’t think black girls belonged at the library, in university, or in the courthouse. Unless they were in cuffs, of course.

Could be he was just jealous of her arm candy.

It was easy to forget about that guy - and the rest of the train - when she kissed Slit again. But stretching up to his lips made her groan - and not in pleasure - so they talked instead, and his accent as he bragged his job and how he’d gone from making a souffle to punching out the head chef made the whole insane story completely ridiculous and strangely arousing. She told him about school until just thinking about the work she’d have to do became exhausting.

“So will you have a new job on Monday?” she asked.

“Nah. They need me,” he replied confidentially. She looked at him in amusement - an ego even bigger than his body.

Her apartment wasn’t too far from the subway, thankfully. And her apartment wasn’t on the fourth floor - not that a third-floor walk-up was a huge improvement, but still. Capable was at work so Toast and Slit had the place to themselves.

“Don’t know why you wanted to haul your ass all the way to Brooklyn,” she said as she dropped her coat and bag onto the couch. “This is just going to be napping, part two.”

“Rather hang with you than Nux,” he answered. He managed to do a combination of saunter/limp to one of the bookcases and picked up a photograph there. The team shot was a good one, everyone in their uniforms with their hilariously awful punned-out names. Being the shortest, Toast was the one in the front. He stared at it. “Shit - you weren’t joking about roller derby?”

“That’s my trophy right there.”

“Watched clips of it once - fucking crazy sport!” His eyes were wide - maybe the dark blue bruise made them look bigger. He stomped back to her and picked her up - ouch, but hot - and kissed her hard. “Fucking badass.”

“Maybe I am glad you followed me home,” she laughed.

“First time on the subway, couldn’t believe how big you sounded for an ankle biter. Fucking sexy with your braids everywhere.”

Her heart was pounding, moving around like he’d someone gotten it unstuck from its usual place frozen in her ribs. “You weren’t so bad yourself.”

“Sharp as hell, knew you’d crank onto me!”

“Probably because you’re the best at everything.” She made sure the compliment came out snarky, but she couldn’t stop herself from returning his grin. Heart was doing more and more complicated gymnastic routines, thumping all over the place like it was being swung around inside by his huge, sexy arms. To distract him from her blush, she narrowed her eyes and said firmly, Hey, we’re on bed rest.”

“Fuck yeah let’s get back into bed.” He didn’t put her down, instead throwing her over his shoulder. “Which room’s yours?”

“The left. Careful of my head! Last thing I need is a concussion on top of it all. Bet you think a trip to the ER is a great date option.”

“Got ya, babe.”

Ih her room he lowered her down slowly so she could appreciate the slide of his chest against hers before her feet finally touched the ground. Knees were a little wobbly, a little weak, and it was getting harder to convince herself that it was a side effect of the previous nights game. She gave him a push to get him into bed. He clomped down and the hole in his jeans over his knee got even wider - not that he noticed. His eyes were glued to her as she shimmied her way out of her shirt.

“I’m not sleeping in my bra again,” she told him with a sideways glance. “Consider yourself lucky: you get to see me in my sexy pajamas.”

Of an old t-shirt, faded with a couple of stains that no amount of laundering could get out. Hot stuff.

She could’ve turned away so all he could see was her back, but Toast faced him instead. Shirt off, and then she unhooked her bra, and then the bra was off, flung toward her bureau -

“You’re fucking shitting me! Come here!”

A smirk was her only reply to that. She grabbed her old t-shirt from off the floor and struggled into it. As she was getting into bed, Slit reached out and looped his arm around her waist, pulling her down and against him.

“Your fucking nipples are pierced.” His hand was warm on her stomach as it pushed her shirt up. When he cupped one of her breasts in his huge hands, she bit back a moan.

“Mm,” she agreed. “They fucking are.”

Turnabout was fair fucking play, so she rubbed her thumb over one of his nipple rings, too. He rolled over, trapping her between his heavy legs, and she reached up for another kiss and - fuck, her wrist was squashed under his chest and shit, she banged into ribs. They admired each others’ tattoos for a while, fingers moving gently over the ink, then to the piercings, and lightly past the bruises. The length of him was incredible. And the hardness, muscles from the shoulders down to his shins, which was far as her toes reached. Damn he was a big boy. And the length and hardness of his cock. A very big boy indeed.

“Any jewelry down here for me to look forward to?” she asked as she wiggled her pelvis closer.

He shoved down the waistband of his jeans and -

“Toast! Toast? Hey you didn’t pick up - Everything ok? Toast - Ow, what the fuck? Oh shit. That’s a huge boot. Which means… He’s here. You brought back Aussie Osbourne, didn’t you?”

Unlike Nux who burst his way into their privacy, Capable at least had the foresight to knock. Slightly better, though Toast and Slit both growled at this second interruption.

“I’m just making sure you’re ok,” Capable continued through the crack in the door. “That’s it. I won’t look at anything that’d scar me for life.”

“I’m alive, Capes.”

Her hand wiggled in their direction. “Hi. We can do introductions later. I’ll leave you two alone - promise - I just have a really quick question for Toast: ok, so I might have asked that barista out. So, assuming that your gentleman caller doesn’t mind because it’d be a huge favor for me and that’s it, can you please please please come out with us tomorrow? Double date because you’re my best friend? He has a roommate, too! Please say you’ll back me up. I don’t know if I can face him alone - he’s too beautiful. I don’t know even how I managed to ask him out.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow night. You can pick the place!”

“Nope,” Slit answered. “Tell the guy to fuck off.”

An elbow in the chest got him to shut up and roll off of her. He wheezed and glared, then pinched her on the ass in retaliation. “Sorry, Capes. I have a social calendar now and it’s full up. I have a double date planned already.” What about her “besties before testes” philosophy? Slit was grinning at her again, smug and self-satisfied, but when Capable made a sad noise on the other side of the door, Toast sighed and then relented, “All right, all right. What if I do both?”

“Sounds like bullshit to me,” Slit muttered darkly.

“You’re the best in the entire universe, Toast! Ok, I’ll tell Nux we need to do an early date -”

“Nux?” Toast echoed in surprise and Slit barked a laugh.

With a wild grin he yelled at the door, “Tell Nux that Slit says he’s a piece of shit!”

“What?” Capable shoved into the room. “Toast, what the hell -”

“Slit means he’s amazed by the sweet serendipity of life. It’s his accent - makes him hard to understand. I’m not even sure if they speak English down there.” When Capable gaped at her, Toast added, “Slit, this is Capable, my roommate. Capable, this is Slit. Nux’s roommate.”

For all the sprawling miles of subway and the millions of people, it was apparently a small city. Capable went off to text Nux, Slit pulled Toast against him, and outside her window the sky got darker. She dozed, woke up, got her hands under Slit’s t-shirt, fell asleep again, woke up hungry. Slit made them omelets - after griping about the state of the fridge - and then carried Toast back to bed.

“Might as well spend the night,” she said casually as she helped him out of his jeans. “Subway’s a pain in the ass this late.”

“Not doing anything tomorrow either,” he answered in the same tone. His boxers had motorcycles on them. Of course they would. His wicked grin reappeared. “Unless you’re feeling better.”

Hadn’t she said something about spending all weekend in bed?

“You know, Slit, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Chapter Text

Dating a yank, especially a New York yank, was fucking insane. It was like everything was squeezed down into her tiny shape, a banger of a beaut who ran him as hard as city. Sometimes him and Nux just had to sit back and watch them, Toast and Capable, as they fucking laid down the law.

Like now, with them on a date with the whole fucking gang that Toast rolled with. He’d seen them all at her games, but it had taken time to wrangle them all in one place. The bar was all right enough, not jammed full of assholes yet, and they’d gotten a table. On one side was the girls: two blondes, a kid with a fake ID who looked like she expected the bouncer to finally give a fuck and chuck her out, Nux’s girl, and Toast with her chin in her hands and a grin on her face and her barefoot stretched out under the table and poking at his crotch. He and Nux were in chairs facing them like a fucking interview; had to impress them and be on his best behavior - hard as hell when all he wanted to do was have a root there on the table.

Toast wiggled her toes.

“So these are them,” said the one with light hair - Australian, too, but she didn’t look like she wanted to have anything in common. “What’s the appeal exactly?”

Toast and Capable looked at each other in contemplation.

“Accent,” Toast answered and Capable nodded.

“Accent.”

The group of them stared at him and Nux for their reply to that. Slit grinned lazily back and picked up his beer for a sip before he tossed back his own reply, “Green card.”

Nux snickered and elbowed him in the side. “Yeah, green card.”

The blondes chortled but all his attention was on Toast, who leaned more on the table and jiggled her foot even closer to his donger. Her smile grew sharper and dark eyes narrowed, and he knew she was about to one-up him. “That so?” she said. “Is that a marriage proposal?”

He snorted into his beer, getting it everywhere and choking to death. Nux turned red and sank down in his seat. Destroyed with a handful of words - He’d be right proud of her if he wasn’t so mortified. Sputtering and coughing, he physically couldn’t snap back, like he could even think of a damn retort. Marriage - what the fuck! A fucking hell of a shot. Marriage! Capable looked happy instead of embarrassed and she stretched her hand toward Nux. Toast, though, Toast smirked and raised her eyebrow and finally retracted her foot.

“Guess that’s a no,” she said as she climbed over her friends to get out. They laughed, even the nervous kid, and told Toast that she was destined to join their sisterhood of spinsters. “I’m going to the bathroom then to the bar. Anyone want anything?”

Slit swallowed down the rest of his beer but she was halfway down the bar before he could finally get a word out. “Fuck.”

Nux had recovered from the ordeal. He and Capable were making goopy eyes at each other like maybe they were thinking of hitching up at the bar. Slit shoved away from the table and left all of them to go after Toast.

Even from the back she was hot as hell. She was decked for the date in black dress and little black boots with heels that didn’t really make her any taller. In her fancy shit, in her school clothes all proper like, or lounging around in one of his tees, didn’t matter what she wore, she got him hard as hell. He cracked at his knuckles to keep himself from from doing something else with his hands. But a cluster of fucking idiot banker wankers got in his way before he caught her - She got to the loo and disappeared inside it.

But when she opened the door, he was right there. One step was all she got before he got his hands on her, mouth on her, pushing her back inside. He caught her before she could stumble and her hands grabbed onto his shirt, made fists in it. When her lips parted she laughed - then pulled him down for a pash.

DIdn’t matter what they did, as long as he got to do it with her. Where his hands managed to get he touched silken skin, all warm and soft - except for the muscles there. Bent down with his palms cupping her ass, he finally heaved her up onto the sink - better angle of approach for him and she got to wrap her legs around his waist and fuck was it good, with her and the music and him able to see her move in the reflection of the mirror behind her. Even in the fluorescent light her new tattoo on her shoulder never looked better and Slit arched down to get his mouth there, biting her hard enough that she gasped and groaned, get his teeth into in like he’ be able to taste it, sink into her wherever he could.

Afterward Toast pressed her forehead against his chest and her long braids swung against him. When he rubbed his face against her hair, he could smell her perfume or whatever the fuck she wore, sweet and spicy against the salt of her sweat.

“You…” she started, then pushed him away so she could hop down from the sink. “Now I have to re-do my make-up. Again.”

“You’re hot without it.”

“Mm, yes, lipstick smeared on my teeth is such a good look.” But she was grinning as she pulled her dress back to decency. Covered up marks on her neck and shoulders - tattoos and everything else. And Slit did his own adjustments, pulling his clothes carefully over his piercings.

Hey,” she said suddenly and tilted her head to listen to the music piping over the bar's speakers. “Hear that? Sounds like… Old Mother Hell.”

One of his favorite bands. “Yeah,” he said, that had to clear his throat because it felt like he was choking on beer again. “It is.”

She kicked him out and he stood at the door for a second as his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. He smirked at the guys in line then sauntered to the bar. Check in on the table: they were all watching something on one of their phones. Or mostly watching - Capable claimed his seat and was half on Nux’s - and Nux - too. He pounded back a beer - fucking parched - then ordered again. When arms wrapped around him from behind he shifted to make room and small as she was, Toast squeezed beside him. Only been a couple of minutes apart but he was leaning into her like she’d just come from the back of beyond.

She reached up to stroke his jaw, then poked gently at his lip ring. “What’s up? Ready for round two already?”

And three and four. All the way to hundred. Two hundred. Two thousand.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“No way; you have to hang out with my friends so they can fully appreciate your grandeur.”

Slit groaned. He did want to hear about their roller derby battles. And figure out where in Oz Toast’s friend was from. And tell them all about Old Mother Hell and what a wicked band they were. But being with Toast eclipsed all of that.

Toast laughed and gave him another poke. “Oh come on, you love an audience.”

“I love you.”

The song ended, the bar quieted, and Toast was staring up at him with her eyes wide. When she smiled, it was the soft one, no flashing sharpness, no smirk.

“I love you too.”

A rush went through him like a shot of booze, like a guitar riff, like everything and more. He wrapped around her and nuzzled against her ear, kissing the piercing there. “Let’s go. Back to my flat. Yours. Wherever.”

“I love you,” she said and there was that bolt again. “One more round. Then off to the subway.”

Fuck yeah. Married life with her would be the greatest fucking adventure of them all.

====

Please forgive my attempts at Australian slang!