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They don't get kicked out of the Arby's parking lot, not precisely. They are not even asked nicely to leave; it's just that the staff start watching them, and that's a very good reason to go.

"I have to go back to the station," Cecil says reluctantly. "The broadcast isn't over."

"Come over afterwards," Carlos tells him, and gives him the address of the house he's been sharing, the one that's empty now, except for him and the houseplants that nobody remembers having bought, the ones that may have come with the house or from the aether.

He stops by the Walgreens that's not haunted, where they're so thankful that he's alive that they give him his condoms on the house, with a wink that says that Cecil is oversharing on the radio again. Carlos is just going to have to get used to that, because he knows the chances of Cecil stopping are very slim.

Carlos half expects Cecil to be waiting on his doorstep, but he's not there. Instead, Carlos lets himself in, turning on the lights one by one as he makes his way to the kitchen to wait. He makes coffee and he doesn't even know why, maybe just so the house will smell like it, comforting and grounding. When it's done, he pours himself some and turns off the coffee maker; he takes two sips and then the doorbell rings and Carlos almost upsets the cup. He walks back to the door, flicking off the kitchen light, and he lets Cecil in.

There aren't any words, because why would there be any words? They understand each other, him and Cecil. They know what this is; they know that even if it is comfort sex, it's not just that. No one will stammer awkwardly in the morning, and no one will regret, not for the slightest instant. No one will play it off, and no one will deny it. This is happening, and it means something, something that can't be taken back.

In the bedroom they kiss slowly, undressing each other piece by piece. Carlos runs his hand over the flat of Cecil's stomach as he sucks on Cecil's neck, biting him lightly. He's probably leaving a hickey and he doesn't care; in all honesty it's probably exactly the opposite. He feels like he's been Cecil's for a long time, marked out by the town that way, his fate determined by Cecil's words, even if Cecil never realized. He wants to make Cecil his, if for no other reason than simple greed, the need to take and have and mark.

Carlos's back hits the mattress, and he pulls Cecil down on top of him; they're moving faster now, kissing harder. Cecil pushes his legs apart, bending down and taking Carlos's cock into his mouth, and Carlos moans, putting his hand lightly on the back of Cecil's neck, his thumb rubbing absent circles. Cecil sucks him until Carlos is writhing on the bed, so close but not there, at overload but still needing so much.

Cecil lets him go, eventually, moving up his body and kissing him again, and Carlos ruts against his hip, wanting it so badly. Cecil reaches for the supplies on the nightstand, slicks up his fingers; Carlos spreads his legs wider, begging for it even though his words are gone. When Cecil finally opens him up and pushes inside, Carlos shuts his eyes, unable to deal with all of it, unable to handle it for one more second. He grabs Cecil and pulls him down, kissing him as hard as he can, harder, thankful that he can do it, thankful that he got the chance, so thankful that everything didn't have to end today.

He finally breaks away from Cecil's lips, though he doesn't want to. Cecil's eyes are dark and sharp, piercing, like he can see all the way through Carlos, and all Carlos wants in that moment is to be what Cecil wants to see. He hooks his legs around Cecil's waist, unwilling and unable to let him go, even for an instant. Cecil moves hard and deep inside of him, fucking him just right, just how he needs it, just how he always knew that it would be. He comes and it's like a cliché, it's like fireworks, it's like seeing stars, and then Cecil is coming with him, and it's everything, everything it needs to be, so many things.

They make a half-hearted attempt to clean up and fall asleep, holding on to each other like they'll lose themselves in a dream. Hygiene doesn't matter much, because Cecil wakes him up in the middle of the night and takes him all over again, and then Carlos wakes him up at sunrise, because there's nothing but the two of them, nothing beyond this bed, nothing at all.

When they're done, Cecil lays his hand over the bandages covering the wounds on Carlos's chest. There are tons of them and they bled everywhere, but none of them are very deep, not dangerously so. Carlos doesn't think about what happened; that there's a city of tiny people that he probably pissed off really badly by stepping all over them, that's just typical Night Vale. That someone died to protect him, someone he didn't even like, that idea's even bigger than the idea that he almost died himself, somehow much harder to handle.

"Would you like to go on a date?" Cecil asks, out of nowhere.

Carlos is pretty sure that when you make love with someone all night long because you couldn't think about anything else when you were actively dying, you are pretty much at liberty to skip the dating process and just call it a relationship. He doesn't tell Cecil this; Cecil strikes him as more traditional than that. "When?"

"Are you free Friday night? The broadcast ends early." Cecil frowns. "Unless you have somewhere else to be. I know your work is very important."

Carlos wants to tell Cecil what nobody in Night Vale- nobody who's really in Night Vale- knows. He wants to tell him that the grant money is gone, has been gone for weeks, that his colleagues have left or are leaving, that his sabbatical is almost up and the university wants him to come back. He wants him to know that he's being forced to choose, Night Vale or home, the home he's accustomed to.

More than anything, he wants to tell Cecil that it's already been decided, and the outcome is not what Carlos would have ever expected. Night Vale is home now; he's been sucked into its strange vortex, slotted in like he was always supposed to be there.

"Sounds great," Carlos says instead, kissing him to seal it, a motion that's purely sentimental but probably has some Night Vale meaning that Carlos isn't aware of- for all he knows it's an actual pact now. Doesn't matter. There's no way he's going back on it. There's no going back at all.