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Sequel to Secrets of The Days
The Sound of Water
what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed...
—T. S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"
Jason left his car parked on the shoulder and climbed out onto the jutting rocks. The steady noise of traffic faded into the sharp whistle of the wind where it scraped through cracks in the granite. His eyes were gritty with three hours on the road, three hours trying to get away from his thoughts, and rock crumbled beneath his clenched fingers and went rattling over the side as he hunched down on the edge of the cliffside.
He'd hated the Chief's idea from the start. Bad enough that the Spectrans had the reality simulator at all. To actually let Mark fall into their hands for interrogation, just to try and feed them fake data—it hadn't been worth the risk. And Mark knew it too, but he had to play the fucking hero again,
he thought savagely, throwing another loose stone out into the bottomless sky.
Of course Mark couldn't say no, Mark the golden boy, so that left Jason to be the one who disobeyed orders. As usual. At least for once the Chief couldn't ream him out for it. If he hadn't taken the team in ahead of schedule and gotten Mark out of there when he had, the mission would have gone from fucked-up to catastrophic.
Because Zoltar had been one step ahead, as usual. Federation Intelligence hadn't gotten lucky—he'd let
them find out about the simulator. But not about the other half of the interrogation technique: the drugs they pumped into your system to make your mind work with the device. And when the Chief obliged by handing over the G-Force commander, Zoltar had fed Mark a brilliant little simulation that made him think the mission was already over and he was back home, his own mind generating the settings, the conversations, the people, all according to what he expected to see.
If we hadn't got there when we did, Mark would've given them everything, not just my first name.
And then he went tense all over, his shoulders hunched, as he involuntarily remembered the other things Mark had
given away—not to the Spectrans, but to him.
While Princess and Keyop went to blow the base reactor, he'd gone after Mark himself, and found Zoltar in the control room, laughing at his own cleverness with fifty of his best friends. It had taken an effort of will to stay hidden when he realized what was happening, but he knew he couldn't take on that many all at once, not with Mark a helpless, unconscious hostage less than five feet away from them.
So he'd heard Zoltar tell his men to direct the simulation into a sexual fantasy to soften Mark's brain up further, joking with them that they were probably about to learn more about the Swan than they wanted to. He'd gritted his teeth and sat quiet, signaling Princess in code to let her know he needed a diversion. Having a wet dream in front of the Spectrans would embarrass Mark hideously, but it wouldn't do any real damage—or so Jason had thought.
It didn't help now to know that there hadn't been an alternative—that jumping out would just have gotten them into deadlier trouble. It still left him trapped in this impossible situation.
It's not my fault!
His hands clenched. I didn't want this. I didn't want to know.
Mark was the commander he respected. The annoyingly perfect twit that he frequently wanted to slug. His best friend, closer than a brother. Someone he trusted completely. Someone he would die for.
And Mark was in love with him.
At least Zoltar had left the room before the fun got started—as soon as Mark had mumbled, "Jason?" and traded a few words that made it clear he thought he was speaking to his second, Zoltar had rejoiced at this first sign of success and rushed off to give thanks to his deity in some bizarre Spectran ritual for which Jason was devoutly grateful. Only the guards—now dead—had seen the way Mark moved, heard the eager, passionate sounds he'd made, the name he'd cried out in climax. Only the guards, and the Condor, and only the Condor was still alive to remember.
It's not my fault
, he thought again, desperately. It's not my problem.
But the excuses collapsed hollowly in the face of the unwanted memory of the look on Mark's face when Jason had finally pulled him out. As if the world had just fallen out from under him. As if he wanted to be put right back in.
If it hadn't been for that, Jason knew he could have handled it—could have convinced himself that it was some reaction to the drugs, some perverted feature built into the machine. Of course he couldn't make it that easy,
he thought bitterly, anger churning in his gut. Anger, and fear. There was something terrifying about being wanted so badly, about the naked, helpless need in Mark's eyes that told him he already had what he'd never asked for and didn't want.
How the fuck could he do this to me?
He stood abruptly, letting the wind chill his overheated skin. That wasn't fair, and he knew it. If it were that simple, he could just do his best to forget that he knew. It wasn't Mark's fault that there was a question of what to do. It wasn't Mark's fault that Jason was a sick pervert who had gotten off on the whole thing.
But there had been something unpleasantly satisfying about seeing Mark so desperate, so submissive. Mark moaning under his body, taking everything he wanted to give, yielding, begging—
Jason jerked and shot back to his car, scrambling over the rocks, ignoring the rough edges that scraped his hands. He peeled out into traffic, spraying gravel and torn weeds everywhere, and ignored the furious blaring of the other drivers' horns. His hands were white-knuckled on the steering wheel, and the accelerator nearly touched the floor before he got himself under enough control to slow down.
He hadn't known, hadn't wanted to know, that there was any part of him that could find the idea appealing. And the worst of it was, it meant he could do it. It meant he couldn't simply ignore Mark's pain and tell himself there was nothing he could do. It meant he could give Mark what he wanted, and it wouldn't even be hard.
He barely saw the road in front of him, sitting in the same lane on autopilot instead of moving steadily forward through traffic the way he usually did. The miles slid away, carrying him back into the city, then out of it again. Past Queens, past Nassau, the highway dwindled into a four-lane road lined with strip malls and stop lights. He wasn't entirely aware he'd made a decision until he was already at the drug store counter with a clerk smirking at him knowingly. The expression on his face wiped the grin from the man's mouth, and he paid with a sense of grim resignation.
Back on the road, he kept heading east, towards the small airfield in Suffolk.
Mark put down his book as the engine got close enough for him to recognize the distinctive growling sound of Jason's car. If there was something wrong, he'd have signaled me,
he thought, checking his wristband with a quick tap just to make sure it was on and working. Getting up, he opened the door and watched Jason park and climb out of the car. Oddly, Jason just stood there watching him for a few moments before shoving his hands in his pockets and coming up the walkway.
"Hey," Mark said. "Something wrong, or is this just a social visit?"
Jason said, "Do you have to interrogate me on the doorstep?"
His eyebrows going up, Mark stepped out of the doorway and waved him on in. Jason prowled inside—that was the only word for it, his brows drawn together into a frown as he paced around the living room. Puzzled, Mark went to get two Cokes out of the fridge. Not that he minded having Jason here—he'd been on the verge of going back to Center Neptune just to find some company, still feeling a little edgy from the aftereffects of the mission, even though the drugs had cleared out of his system.
He came back to the living room and handed Jason the soda. "So..." he prompted.
Jason looked down at the soda can, drank off about half of it in a single pull, then put it down on the coffee table. He reached out and took the other can out of Mark's hands and put it down too. Utterly confused now, Mark stared at him blankly. Then Jason stepped closer.
A sudden alarm went off in his head, and he took a step back instinctively. Jason kept advancing, and he kept backing up until he came up against his futon. "Jase?" he said, trying to lean away without falling over as Jason closed the last remaining space between them. "What are you doing?"
Jason casually reached up and shoved him; the slow, deliberate assault threw him off where a direct attack would have triggered every reflex. The frame banged against the wall as he fell onto the mattress flailing. He pushed himself up, then had to stop because Jason had climbed onto him, straddling his legs and pinning them down with his weight. It was a little too much like things he didn't let himself think about except late at night, when his self-control was worn thin. "Hey! Get off—" He stopped at the look in Jason's eyes, the hectic, glittering expression.
Jason said, "I know."
Fear. He had to swallow to speak. "Know what?"
said Jason's eyes.
For a moment longer, his mind resisted comprehension. "You—you know," he whispered finally, defeated.
He went numb. So many times, lying alone in the dark, his body sated and heavy and his mind curling in on itself with shame, he'd unwillingly imagined this moment. All resistance drained out of him. "I'm sorry," he said, inadequately, preparing himself for a blow. Any revenge Jason wanted—it was no less than he deserved.
"Are you." A strange note in Jason's voice now, mocking, and Mark tensed involuntarily, staring at the predatory gleam in his eyes. And he was still
coming closer—Mark's elbows slipped, laying him out flat, and then Jason's mouth was on his, hot and demanding and perfect.
Panic ruined his control but gave him the strength to shove Jason off—he made it halfway off the bed before Jason grabbed his arm and hauled him back, rolling him over and covering him. His wrists gripped by one broad hand, Mark struggled and thrashed, his breath coming in short desperate bursts. Jason was lying full on top of him now, the heat of his body like a brand.
"You can't," Mark panted. "You can't—you don't want—"
Jason nuzzled his neck, lips trailing up over his jaw, to his ear. "What the fuck do you know about what I want?" he said, and Mark squeezed his eyes shut in terror and longing.
"Please," he whispered, his voice cracking. "I can't take this." I can't take this if you're trying to punish me. I can't take this if it's not going to happen.
Jason laughed, an unsteady, triumphant sound. "The hell you can't. You're going to take it. You're going to take everything." He forced a thigh between Mark's legs, levered them apart and tucked himself between. His hips thrust shallowly, rubbing their groins together.
Mark could feel the outline of Jason's erection against his body, understood in a blinding rush that Jason really meant this, was really going to— One terror submerged into another, and he trembled. "I don't—I haven't, I don't know—" he said, pleading.
Jason bit him, teeth tugging lightly at the lobe of his ear, and his body quit struggling so abruptly it surprised him. Dazed, he raised his arms obediently to let Jason pull off his shirt, lifted his hips off the bed so Jason could get his jeans and boxers down. He lay passively while Jason stripped, his eyes devouring everything he'd trained himself to ignore. Like flying for the first time,
he thought suddenly, remembering the way it had felt to have the earth fall away from beneath him, to know that everything could go dangerously, wildly wrong at any moment.
A strange curling warmth built in his stomach. He closed his eyes, went pliantly into Jason's hands. They turned him over, spread him out like a feast, a sacrifice. Something wet and cold and thick pooled in the hollow of his back, and he gasped, twitching until a hand gripped his hipbone and held him still while the liquid warmed to his body. Then two fingers dipped into it and drew a slick line down, over the curve of his buttocks, and started pressing into him.
Tears wet his eyelashes, dripping straight down onto the sheets. His forehead propped against his folded arms, he had just enough room to pant, couldn't see anything but a warm red darkness. A third finger worked into him, and he spread his legs further apart. Jason made an approving, purring noise, nuzzled the back of his neck, teeth closing over the tender skin at the base. He trembled all over and fought down a sob.
"Don't," Jason said.
So he let the next sob work its way out of his throat, and the next, until he was crying openly, his whole body shaking, and Jason finally lay down on top of him. It hurt at first—he tried to resist, instinctively, until Jason's mouth settled against the warm side of his throat and started working, tongue flicking against the tendons, and his body opened like an unlocked door to let the new owner in.
Maddeningly, Jason didn't do anything, just settled into him with a casual air that claimed him more completely than any words, any other gesture. Panic welled up again. He started struggling, but he was trapped, every movement only stretching him a little, forcing the awareness of possession onto him more securely. Gasping, he went limp, pressing his face into the sheets.
"Ask me for it," Jason said.
"No," Mark said helplessly, shaking.
Jason wrapped himself more snugly around Mark's body, unyielding. "Ask me."
"Please," Mark said. "Please. Please!" His voice rose and cracked, and finally Jason was moving, driving into him with a steady implacable power. He abandoned any attempts at self-control, abandoned himself, pushing back to meet every thrust, begging for more with broken words, with his body.
Afterwards, he lay silent and shattered, breathing quick, painful bursts of warm air through the pillow. The sticky wetness beneath his belly got cold and unpleasant, but he still didn't move. The bed shifted a little when Jason got up and walked away; water started running in the bathroom a moment later, then footsteps came back towards the bed.
Mark jerked his shoulder out of Jason's tugging grip, keeping his face turned away. Tearstains made dry and itchy blotches on his skin, and he didn't want to see his ruined reflection in Jason's eyes. "Stop it," he said hoarsely, when Jason tried to turn him over again.
"Look, you idiot, you're going to be glued to the sheet in a minute," Jason said, sounding unbelievably normal. "Will you turn over and let me clean you up before we have to get it surgically removed?"
More because he was stunned by Jason's impossible calm than because he wanted to cooperate, Mark let Jason flip him over onto his back. He lay flat, staring at Jason while the damp washcloth stroked gently over his face, his chest, even easing between his legs. A memory of pleasure made him twitch, flushing, and he felt that same numb astonishment when Jason caught his eye and only smirked at him, looking pleased with himself.
Finishing, Jason got up and stretched, muscles cracking, and went back to the bathroom. He turned out the lights on his way back and climbed into the bed, lying down between Mark and the wall. "You on the wet spot?" he asked, voice drowsy and rumbling.
Mark stared up into the darkness and couldn't find his voice. In a moment, Jason's arm curled around his waist and pulled steadily until he responded, turning onto his side and letting Jason snug him back against his body so they were both tucked onto the dry half of the bed. He could feel Jason's softened cock against his buttocks, the packed solidity of muscle pressed against his back. He blinked furiously, afraid he was going to start crying again. Be careful what you wish for.
He'd wanted Jason. And now he'd gotten what he wanted, and discovered that all his fantasies didn't even come close to preparing him for this.
Jason's arm tightened sharply. "Stop thinking."
"Easy for you to say!" Mark said bitterly.
"It's not," Jason said, his voice low and suddenly weary. "It's not, but nothing either one of us comes up with right now is going to do us any good. Just go to sleep. Everything'll be just as fucked-up in the morning."
Bizarrely, that calmed him, tension unwinding from his muscles. The moment he relaxed, a yawn split his face wide, taking him by surprise. In reflex from the dozens of times they'd grabbed some sleep in the Phoenix's back room together, he murmured, "Night."
Jason squeezed him gently. "Night."
He slept, and didn't dream.
= End #