Part the First
Slouching against the door, Sven studied Lance silently. Thoughtfully, he leaned in, savoring the tension rising in the lean form before him. “Wanna fuck?”
Lance shuddered, slid a knife-sharp glance through him, and nodded.
Sven loved it when a plan worked properly.
Or nearly perfectly; he was not entirely expecting Lance to launch himself at him, nor was he expecting the hot, hard kiss that descended upon his lips. He recovered well, he thought, reeling backward only a step before bringing his hands up to fist in Lance’s wavy hair.
It only needed one more element to fall into place ... Sven took over control of the kiss, sucking on Lance’s tongue, pulling the taste of mint and meat and metal from his mouth.
The essence of a good tactician was flexibility. Sven was an extraordinary tactician. He used his hold on Lance’s head to pull him closer.
Things could progress quite well here as well as in his room. Better, actually. If he was right, just about...
The door opened behind him, and Hunk stepped into the room, taking in the tableau before him. Sven saw him shatter, saw a fragile skin of a barrier harden Hunk’s face in place of the second of devastation. At the sound of Hunk calling his name, Lance wrenched free of Sven’s arms.
Despite the way he’d wiped the pain away from his face, Hunk’s voice was soft, uncertain, hurt.
Lance trembled at the sound of it, and stared at the floor, unwilling to face Sven, unable to look at Hunk.
Huge brown eyes flicked from Lance to the dark haired shadow hovering behind him. Sven quickly pulled his features into an expression of shock.
And then, after a calculated instant, into one of dawning suspicion. “Lance?”
Everything was perfectly, wonderfully balanced. Anyway this would turn out, he couldn’t lose.
Then Pidge walked in.
Sven knew, in that instant, he should have made the time to research his teammates more thoroughly.
However, it was too late for such thoughts now; the plan, which had been working quite well up until this point, was slipping away, almost past his ability to salvage it.
And maybe it would be better altogether if he didn’t try.
Pidge blinked at the scene in front of him; the set of Hunk’s shoulders, Sven’s look of innocence and the way Lance avoided everyone’s gaze told a tale he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to hear.
“What’s going on?” he asked warily, wondering all the while if he should run for Coran or Keith, someone with a level head, to prevent someone’s blood from being spilt all over the carpet.
On the other hand, perhaps he had over-calculated the nature of Pidge’s sudden intrusion on his exquisitely balanced scene. Sven allowed confusion to color his face. “I’m not... quite sure.” A calculated flicker of eyes ranging between Hunk and Lance.
Pidge studied Lance, then Sven, and lastly, Hunk. He didn’t feel like being the voice of reason. Or calling for a voice of reason. Sven looked just a bit too innocent to be believed.
“Lance?” he asked instead, and was amazed when Lance shivered and ducked his head without answering.
Pidge had opened his mouth and was about to ask Hunk, when Lance found his voice.
“It’s my fault,” he whispered, and turned his back on them all, huddling inside his leather jacket, shoulders hunched.
He didn’t know what had happened to him. He didn’t know why he suddenly... He cared about Hunk. He thought, maybe, he loved Hunk. And still... He’d had some sort of sick fascination with Sven since the first moment he laid eyes on him. Sven had been a spot of black stillness in the seething mass of confusion that was the first day of classes for the Academy. He’d drawn eyes then, and had always drawn Lance in, helplessly, hopelessly, like a black hole he’d unsuspectingly gotten caught by.
Apparently not even his joy with Hunk or his common sense could keep him from Sven. Two stupid words and he was all over Sven like a cat in heat.
Sven felt a thrill of elation at Lance’s words, but hid it well. He’s even admitting it! he thought gleefully, but then paused. This is too easy.
Pidge was carefully watching Hunk’s reaction to Lance’s statement. The big man’s shoulders tensed, then slumped. When he turned around, his back to his lover, Pidge could see that Hunk’s face was a careful mask, but his brown eyes swam with tears.
Pidge felt his heart break for the pain in that regard, and reached out to lay a hand on one muscled arm.
Sven’s lips twitched ever so slightly.
He so loved it when a plan came together. This worked even better than he thought it would. Pidge was as delightfully oblivious as the rest of them. He’d thought he’d only see the echoes of the success of his plan, rather than watch it unfold before him.
Lance deserved everything he got.
Hunk would do better with Pidge at his side, anyway.
Out the corner of his eye, Lance saw Pidge touch Hunk on the arm, then had to close his eyes. My fault, he reminded himself, feeling the pain he’d wrought well up inside him.
Pidge shot a worried glance at Sven and Lance, hoping frantically that someone else would say something, to break the silence that had descended so thickly on the room.
But the spell formed by Lance’s words was too strong, and his hand fell away from Hunk’s arm. Knowing that it wouldn’t help any, but needing to do something—or maybe just needing to escape the thick tension—he said, “I’m going to get Keith,” and not-quite ran out the door.
Hunk blankly watched as Pidge fled. He’d known, always, that he’d never be enough for anyone. He’d learned to hide behind his mask, to never let anyone in-because when they left him, as they always did, they took a part of him with them.
His dad left after he was born.
His mom told him and his brother to sit and wait for her on a bench at the zoo. Security found them the next day.
His brother was adopted, and when Hunk ran away to find him, his brother hugged him, settled him on the couch—and called the police to take him back.
And now. Lance.
Much more and there would be nothing left of him.
Just the mask.
Sven went very, very still at the mention of Keith. The boy still thought his captain was the be-all and end-all of goodness and righteous, that he could do no wrong, that he would make everything right.
And, upon occasion, Keith was able to live up to that belief. Pidge hadn’t quite figured out yet that Keith was a man, just like the rest of them, that he was human.
But still, despite all that, despite Lance’s free admission of guilt, Sven wasn’t sure that his captain wouldn’t discover all. Keith wasn’t a tactician, or a strategist, but he had a damned good understanding of human nature.
So he watched Pidge go, and wanted to call the boy back and fill his ears with half-truths, but did not.
Time to move things along, just a little bit faster.
Hunk and Lance were too caught up in their own internal drama to see what was right before their eyes. But he wasn’t quite ready to watch Keith’s reaction.
He let his lips tighten in anger; he straightened even more, taking on a rigid, outraged aspect. Letting his eyes rake both Lance and Hunk, he shook his head, knowing Lance could just barely see the movement. “You clearly need to talk.” He stalked to the door, outrage rippling off of him.
Hunk went rigid at the sound of Sven’s voice, and he turned, slow anger starting to seethe in his eyes.
Lance simply shuddered once more, Sven’s voice trickling like liquid fire down his spine. He waited for the ring of Sven’s boots against the floor, but it never came.
Instead, there came another voice that stopped the slow burn in him and fanned him into leaping flame. Hunk growled, and Lance’s every muscle sang with the sound.
Sven, about to take a step, paused. He’d never heard that particular tone before; had, in fact, rather considered Hunk something of a gentle, not very bright giant. It was something he was forced to reconsider in a flash.
“I don’t believe that you didn’t know what was going on. You had your hands all over him as well! Are you trying to break us apart?”
Sven let his very real anger rise at Hunk’s words, the challenge, and Hunk’s braced body blocking his way out. “You think I would have touched him, had I known he was yours?”
Lance’s head snapped up at Hunk’s growl, outrage overcoming shame at the way the two of them talked about him as if he wasn’t even there. Before he could say anything, another, cooler voice interrupted them all.
Keith was leaning against the door, just barely visible to the side of Hunk’s bulk. “What the hell is going on here?” He never raised his voice, he never uncrossed his arms.
But he managed to be more threatening than Hunk at his raging worst, or Sven at his iciest best.
Hunk managed to swallow his rage, Keith’s calm blanketing the room and muffling every strong emotion. Just beyond his captain, he could sense Pidge, peeking around Keith, eyes big and round behind his glasses.
Sven forced himself icy cool, trying not to let Keith’s presence deter him from the course he’d plotted.
Lance merely closed his eyes, hanging his head once more. Keith’s presence only had the effect of intensifying his guilt. Keith would not have been tempted, he berated himself. Keith would have stood strong...
Keith studied the scene before him, feeling Pidge’s horrified curiosity behind him. He’d not thought that Hunk and Lance could have lasted together for much time at all-but this, in front him, just didn’t quite fit. With any of them.
Suddenly the tension completely unwound from Keith. Dark eyes pinned Sven in place, and Keith shook his head. “Sven... I ordered you stop drugging people with your aphrodisiacs. None of us follow your beliefs-you’re just as wrong forcing them on us as Doom trying to force their government on Arus.”
Sven growled as his plan fell apart before his eyes. Dropping his mask as useless, he pouted. “They need to be tested! It’s time; they’ve been together with the proper duration and depth of feeling ...”
Keith snorted. “You are just lucky I read up on some of your customs, and bailed your ass out, or you never would have made it through the Academy. Wearing pheromones, indeed.”
Sven’s pout intensified, as he crossed his arms defensively. “Just because you happen to be immune...”
Keith sighed. “Look. Quit it. They need time and space, and you will give it to them. No helpful pushes. No nudging. No testing. And, above all, leave Lance alone! We need him functional, not going crazy from conflicting lustful signals from his body.”
Sven pouted more, but when Keith’s expression didn’t change, sighed as well. “Fine.”
“What is this, grade school?”
“I know you. Swear, now, and properly.”
Resigned, Sven turned so that he was facing both Hunk and Lance.
Lost in confusion, Lance swiveled his gaze from Keith’s relaxed pose, to Sven’s determined features... “Pheromones?” fell from his lips before he could even stop himself. Then, a feeling of great relief building inside him, he looked at Hunk.
Hunk was quite clearly livid. There was a vein throbbing in his forehead, and the big hands were clenched into fists like rocks. “Pheromones?” he roared. Before Lance could even blink, Hunk’s hands were locked around Sven’s throat, and Sven’s cheeks were turning bright red.
“Hunk!” Lance leapt at Hunk and Sven, trying in vain to pry thick fingers away from a pale throat. “Hunk, stop...”
Hunk obviously wanted to continue throttling Sven, but eventually gave way, growling. As soon as Sven was released, he fell to the floor in a gasping heap, and Lance buried his face against Hunk’s broad chest. Suddenly, his strange attraction, all the out of place feelings he had for the tall Swede—it all made sense. He wrapped his arms tightly around Hunk, and squeezed. It’s not my fault! he thought, drowning in a relief so sudden that it felt like it had drained all his strength away.
Keith sighed and knelt next to Sven. “Tactician you may be. But you have to work on your strategies. Or had you thought the part about the Tester always being a wanderer? In case you didn’t notice, there’s nowhere for you to go here. Not without giving up your place in the Alliance.”
Sven panted, sucking in the sweet air. “Don’t need... lecture... now. Practical... demonstration was... quite enough.” Sagging against a convenient wall, he coughed, irritated tissues spasming.
Keith leaned in, rubbing Sven’s back. Looking up, a smile grew on his face at the way Hunk cradled Lance; at the way the two of them almost melded together. “Hunk. Thank you for not killing Sven. I’d hate to think who would end up flying Blue if he wasn’t here. Though. I was fond of his normal voice.”
Hunk simply glared, still cradling Lance in his arms. “I don’t care. The Princess can fly Blue for all I care.” He sharpened the focus of his glower to Sven alone, not even flinching at the sight of the broad bruises encircling his neck. “Stay away from me. Stay away from us.”
Hearing that, Lance found that they were still a half a centimeter too far apart, and hauled himself closer.
Hunk closed his eyes, dismissing everything and everyone around them, and laid his cheek against Lance’s hair.
Behind them, Pidge sagged against the doorway, grinning hugely. His bright eyes sought out Keith, worshipping him mutely as he helped Sven to stand. I knew Keith would make it all better, he thought with satisfaction. I knew it.
Keith rolled his eyes. “Hunk.”
Keith hauled Sven up, half wrapping an arm around his waist as he started coughing again, violently. He spared a smirk for Pidge—but the obvious adoration was painful to bear; he didn’t want to disappoint Pidge, but the way Pidge felt, it would happen and probably sooner rather than later ... However, he had few more immediate problems, now.
Sven stepped out of Keith’s support, feeling his captain at his back as he straightened up. “You have been tested, and blessed. May what lies between you grow stronger, may death be only a pause in what you are.” Sven closed his eyes, and focused-the one small bit of magic, besides his inner sight, that he was granted.
“Now nothing will touch what lies between you but what you yourselves allow. Not one of those touched by my blessing on their union has broken apart. I hope that you are not the first.”
Stepping back, Sven coughed violently. Shaking, he leaned against Keith. “I don’t remember the last one being this bad.”
Keith braced himself, and sighed. “That’s because the last ones knocked you unconscious.”
“Ah. That would be why I don’t remember.”
“No, that would be why most of you ‘Testers’ are clinically insane.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be keeping up your ‘captain’s wall’?”
“Why bother? I’m holding you up after you mortally insult two other pilots; I don’t think I can look much worse in their eyes.”
“You did keep me from properly finishing my blessing.”
“You were the one stupid enough to do it in a public place. This flashy stuff is going to kill you one of these days.”
Pidge’s eyes were wide, ping-ponging between them. “Ah... how long have you known each other?”
Keith shook his head at Pidge. “Too long.” Half-dragging, half-leading Sven to the door, he said warningly, “Next time, you know, I’m not going to save your butt. If he’s as big as Hunk, you will deserve it out of your own idiocy.”
Sven only coughed.
Pidge moved aside to let them pass through the door, but his eyes were locked on Hunk’s back again, and he realized he could read that wide expanse almost as easily as he could a computer screen. Where before he’d been strung tight with tension and anger, now Hunk was almost relaxed, the muscles no longer stiff and unyielding.
He could see Lance’s hands curling into the fabric of Hunk’s vest, the long fingers clenching tightly.
The sudden sense that he was intruding made him back out silently, and ease the door shut behind him.
He looked down the corridor, at the two dark-haired figures retreating from him, Sven’s voice gradually strengthening as they walked.
With a shrug, he started to follow them. With any luck, he’d be able to satisfy his curiosity about how old they were...
And maybe ask Sven—secretly, of course!—where to find some of those aphrodisiacs...
Sven coughed, rubbing at his throat. Smiling slightly, he shook his head at Pidge. “It’s not going to help.”
Pidge frowned. “But ...”
“Keith’s... I’ve been trying to find an aphrodisiac that will work on him for years. You can’t imagine how frustrating it is. He acts the same no matter what I dose him with or what I dose myself with. If I had one that worked, I would have used it a long time ago.”
Pidge sighed. “He’s not ever going to see me as more than a kid. At least he sees you as an equal.”
Sven shook his head. “He’s pulled me out of too many scrapes to consider me that.”
From across the room, Keith’s amused voice froze them in place. “Did either of you ever consider just asking? You might be surprised…”
The laughter-filled voice was cut off by the click of the infirmary door closing.
In rising speculation, Sven and Pidge stared at each other, grins slowly growing.
They began planning.
Part the Second
Sven was pretty sure that this time he had it. He’d checked, double-checked, triple checked, and tested Pheromone 66 on a pair of rather unsuspecting and very surprised lab rats. He’d splashed a bit of the mixture on himself, and Old Tom, the big, ugly, evil cat who more or less ran the place and raped anything that moved -- including small vehicles -- had followed him around for two days, rubbing up against his leg and acting like a fluffy little kitten instead of the hell beast that he was. And that hadn’t even been with the use of the complementing aphrodisiac he’d cooked up.
This had to work on Keith.
Sven sprayed a bit of the pheromone on himself and palmed the little vial containing the aphrodisiac he planned to slip in Keith’s coffee. He checked himself in the mirror, brushed an errant lock into place, and grinned. He looked good, if he did say so himself. Sven opened the door and stepped out, eyes lit by a light that would have been insanity if he hadn’t had the certificate proving that he was in perfect mental health. He looked down the busy corridor and dropped into an arrogant stroll, back straight but limbs loose and limber, and headed for the cafeteria, leaving a trail of lust behind him.
Sven watched Keith carefully, watched as Keith swallowed a mouthful of his doctored coffee, ate a bite of his aphrodisiac-laced sandwich. Any minute now, he should begin to look flushed, eyes dilated in lust.
Any minute now.
“Excuse me.” A hand tapped Sven on the shoulder and he waved the person away; he had no time to bother with insignificant flies. “Excuse me,” the person said again, and then Sven was yanked around to face the lust-flushed expression of an upper-classman. He was kind of cute, Sven couldn’t help but notice, but whatever physical charm he might have had was certainly outweighed by his rudeness.
“Yes?” Sven said, in his chilliest voice.
“I love you,” the boy said, and he moved forward as if to kiss Sven, who managed to dodge just in time, getting his lunch all over the back of his clothes in the process.
“Who are you?” Sven pushed his chair between their two bodies.
“I love you!” the boy cried again. “You’re mine! Only mine!” He lunged across the chair and Sven let him go by, then grabbed his lunch tray and slammed it into the back of the boy’s head. The boy collapsed with a groan and Sven turned away, considering the matter closed; he had far more important issues to deal with than some crazed youth professing undying love.
Issues that looked exactly the same now as they did when this minor fracas started.
“Sven,” Keith said calmly. “People are staring. What did you do?”
“Why do you assume I had something to do with this?”
“Because you only get attacked by lust-crazed suitors after you’ve dosed yourself with another one of those weird aphrodisiacs of yours.” Keith took a sip of his coffee and sighed. “I thought this tasted funny. You spiked my food again, didn’t you.”
Sven opened his mouth to protest, then decided it wasn’t worth the effort. “Yeah. So. Is it working?”
Keith looked down, then at Sven and shook his head. “Nope. Unless the only thing this one does is make my coffee taste like there’s chocolate in it.”
“Johnny!” The high-pitched cry drowned out any response Sven might have made and he turned just in time to see a very irate girl bearing down on him. “You! What did you do to him?!”
“He attacked me--” Sven began, but it was already too late.
The girl’s fist made a loud chunk as it connected with his nose. Through the haze of pain, Sven saw her wind up for another blow and he braced himself as well as he could, knowing from long experience that it’d be over sooner if he didn’t dodge. She caught him in the eye this time, and inwardly he sighed, knowing that he was going to have one hell of a black eye tomorrow. He fell to one side, his ears ringing and, damn it, who was this girl?
“Miss?” Keith’s voice sounded far away and Sven squinted his good eye, trying to force the spinning world into a cohesive whole. “Don’t you think that’s enough?”
“He did something to my Johnny,” the girl hissed and Sven suddenly wished he hadn’t made the world quite so clear as he had a perfect view of the girl’s rising foot heading straight for his crotch.
“Yes, and don’t you think you should get him to the infirmary? He might have a concussion.”
The girl stopped in mid-swing and Sven let out a small sigh of relief. She turned away and in her distraction, Keith bent down and hauled Sven upright.
“Time to leave,” Keith said and Sven just nodded his agreement, which made Keith frown. “Stop that. You’re bleeding on my shirt.”
“Who was that?” Sven held tightly to Keith’s hand, trusting him completely, his head tilted up in a vain attempt to stop his nose from bleeding.
“Captain of the women’s boxing team.”
“One of these days you’re going to get killed for this shit -- stairs coming up -- and you’ll deserve it.”
“It’s my sacred duty --” Sven began and then stopped with a whumpf as he ran into Keith’s back.
“Sacred duty nothing. You’re just insane.”
“Am not. And I’ve got a certificate saying so and everything.”
Keith snorted and Sven risked lowering his head just enough to see the exasperated expression on his face, before a pair of larger hands wrapped themselves around his shoulders and the all too familiar voice of the Academy physician filled his ears.
“Looks like another one of your experiments got out of hand again, eh Sven?” The doc stripped him with the efficiency of long practice and shoved him under the safety shower.
“Well, how was I to know that there was going to be a couple in love around?” Sven cast a baleful eye at Keith, who just smirked as he watched Sven get scrubbed down. “It wouldn’t have happened if Keith would just tell me which planet he’s from.”
“Never going to happen. I happen to like being able to control my lust, thank you.” Keith turned to doc. “When can I pick him up?”
“Oh we should have him all patched up by supper time.” Sven yelped as the doc gently probed his nose. “Lucky for him his nose is just bruised, not broken.”
“It still hurts!”
“Thank you. I’ll come by and pick him up then.” Keith bowed, slightly, and turned to leave. “Behave yourself, Sven,” he called over his shoulder.
“Well. I hope you’ve finally gotten it into your head that playing around with pheromones is a dangerous hobby.”
“Yes sir,” Sven said, not really listening. He was pretty sure he knew where he’d gone wrong this time, and what he needed to do to correct his mistake.
After all. Sixty-seventh time’s the charm.
Keith made sure the bathroom door was well and truly locked before he stripped down and got into the shower. He made the water as cold as he could and yet he still had to jerk off twice before his arousal being painful and started being manageable.
He still had to jerk off a third time before he stopped being hard.
“Damn Tester,” he muttered into the spray. He turned the hot water on and ran his hands through his hair. It had been close today; if that boy hadn’t managed to pull Sven’s attention away, Keith was positive he would have given in. And then where would he be? Seventeen years of training wasted, all for a quick moment of physical gratification and then Sven would be off on his next challenge.
He shook his head, pushed his hair out of his eyes. Well. There was no reason to think of this as a negative experience. As the monks always sad, adversity breeds resolve, and if Keith could keep to his oath in the face of Sven and his pheromones then he could handle anything.
What was seven more years of celibacy, after all?
Keith leaned his forehead against the warm tiles of the shower and tried not to cry.
Part the Third
Keith knelt in the middle of the circle, his breath even, his mind clear. He stared across at his Master and let himself feel no impatience at being kept waiting so long, even though his knees were starting to cramp. What was earthly pain, after all, but yet another tie to the Wheel of Suffering.
“You have returned to us, child. And what have you learned from the Outside?”
“Patience, Master, and strength.”
“And what have you taught?”
“And have you fulfilled your oath?”
The old man nodded and closed his eyes. Keith felt a tingle pass through his body, and he kept his breathing easy. The old man opened his eyes. “Yes. You have, haven’t you.” He smiled, kind and gentle, and Keith wasn’t fooled for an instant. “You must have had your patience tried quite often.”
“Adversity breeds resolve, Master.”
“And now that you know the truth? Now that you have been told that your purpose was to watch this Tester, to keep him alive? What do you feel?”
“Nothing, Master, except I am pleased you thought me worthy enough of so honored a task.”
“You’ve learned how to speak and say nothing, haven’t you boy.”
“I don’t know what you mean, Master.”
“Of course you don’t.” The old man stood and clapped his hands, and the single light that had been shining down on Keith vanished and the normal lighting of his master’s house returned. “Well. You have proven yourself to be an apt pupil, boy. It is indeed an honor to invest you with the rank of Ninth Uenin.”
“Thank you, Master.” Keith stood, carefully, and stretched out his legs. “And what commands do you give me now?”
“Oh we’ll think of something, don’t you fear.” The old man clapped him on the shoulder. “We’ll contact you on Arus. All you really need to do now is keep an eye on that Tester.”
“Yes, Master.” Keith bowed his head, slightly and coughed. “Um. Master. About the celibacy...”
The old man cackled. “Want to see if those Testers are really everything they’re cracked up to be, eh? Don’t worry, there’s no shame in admitting that; I wondered the same thing with the first Tester I watched over.” He nudged Keith in the ribs and waggled his bushy eyebrows, and Keith really wished he wouldn’t do that because it was all really rather embarrassing. “Well, you’ve proven that you can resist his drugs, and if you can resist those you can probably resist anything that’s thrown out you. So, go on. Get laid. Just be sure you use a condom, eh? Can’t have you catching some nasty venereal disease, right?”
“Master, I didn’t mean--”
“Of course you did, boy!” The old man grinned and Keith just knew that the next time the High Council met the old man was going to gleefully tell them all about his horny young pupil.
Ah well. Adversity breeds resolve, after all. And right now, he was fully resolved to go forth and get laid.
What he hadn’t counted on was on just how complete the belief was in his celibacy and control. Nor did he count on the fact that after having 24 years of restraint, of just watching as other people danced around each other – he didn’t know what to do. How to entice.
How to give in.
Sven would have been the best choice, the one he really wanted to have as his first time – but Sven had, seemingly, given up.
Which, come to think of it, was rather nerve-wracking – because if Sven wasn’t chasing him, then that was a Sven thinking of Testing some poor unsuspecting couple…
But there wasn’t really anyone on Arus that Sven was in constant enough contact with that seemed to be in a stable enough relationship for him to be Testing…
Keith buried his head in his hands. He just wanted to finally see what the big deal was all about.
Pidge stared at the vials that lined Sven’s wall in rapt fascination. He’d never seen so many chemicals before—certainly never quite so many black-market ones gathered together in one place. But.
“Are you sure this is absolutely necessary?” he asked Sven. “I mean, he did say we should just ask him.”
“With Keith,” Sven said, tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrated, on very carefully allowing only two drops of some shimmering green liquid to fall into the beaker he had bubbling over the Bunsen burner, “I’ve found that it’s best to do things big. And that there’s no such thing as overkill.”
“And so this drug—”
“Pheromone number two hundred seventy six.”
“Whatever. So you think that this is going to work?”
Sven stepped away from the beaker and removed his gas mask. “Trust me. It’s my most potent one yet.”
Keith whistled. Maybe he’d finally get laid – it seemed as though Sven might have finally figured it out.
Rounding the corner, he stopped, a ball of ice in his belly.
Sven. Plastered flat against the wall just outside his quarters, wrapped completely around Pidge, and Pidge wrapped completely around him. Mouths meeting with obscene wet sounds, hands clawing at clothing, hips gyrating in very explicit motion.
Wasn’t exactly what he’d thought they’d do.
Expression automatically closing down, Keith cleared his throat, distantly amused at the way the two of them sprung immediately (guiltily?) apart.
“Not in the corridor. You have a perfectly fine room. Use it.” Before either of them could say anything, Keith spun on his heel and left.
So much for getting laid.
Disheveled, covered in spunk, Sven sighed. “Well. That didn’t work too well.”
Pidge shifted uneasily next to him, arm covering his eyes. “No. It didn’t.”
Sven frowned thoughtfully at the ceiling. “I guess both of us wearing number two hundred and seventy-six was a slight tactical error.”
Pidge groaned. “Keith was right—you do need to work on your strategies. I can’t believe I was... in front of Keith!”
Sven sighed bitterly. “Join the club.”
Pidge put his foot down after Pheromone number 301 got them landed in the county jail for ‘the corruption of minors’. True, he was learning a lot more about sex now than he had been before they started using Sven’s pheromones, but. “No more drugs.”
“But.” Sven looked around at his vials. “But!”
“No. More. Drugs.” Pidge turned off the Bunsen burner and gently led Sven away from his Mad Scientist™ set up. “We’re going to do this the old-fashioned way. Chocolates. Flowers. Lewd suggestions.”
“But.” Sven looked around nervously, even though it was just him and Pidge. “I’ve never done it with out my pheromones before.”
Pidge raised an eyebrow. “Really?” He grinned. “Don’t you think it’s about time you learned?”
Lance snuggled into Hunk’s embrace, glad that his lover was finally getting over what Sven had done. It helped to see Sven figuratively turning cartwheels to try to get Keith’s amorous attention, and just ending up with his disgusted exacerbation. “Heh. And they thought our relationship had problems...”
Hunk cuddled Lance, and sighed happily. “I’m glad Keith’s not being easy on Sven. He deserves some grief... I kinda feel bad for Pidge though...”
Lance snorted. “Did you see some of his bruises? And that smile? And the slink? I don’t think you have to feel sorry for Pidge at all. By the time he gets Keith in his clutches, he’ll have almost had as much ‘education’ as Sven.”
Hunk shrugged. “Don’t you have something better to talk about... other than them?” Running his hand down suggestively, Hunk waggled his eyebrows at Lance.
Laughing, Lance leaned in, more than happy to forget about everyone and everything else other than Hunk.
Keith stared at the box of cherry cordial chocolates. Thoughtfully, he shoved it over to Hunk’s place setting. If it was an aphrodisiac, Hunk would never notice. If it wasn’t, well, at least Hunk wouldn’t break out in hives at the taste of it.
Sven crossed his arms and glared at Pidge. “He gave them to Hunk!”
Pidge glared back. “Three hundred and one! You are not going back to your bad habits—that I might remind you earned us JAIL TIME—without more of a trial than that! You know him better than I do—what does he like?”
Sven opened his mouth – and then shut it. Looking stricken, he sat down. “I … don’t know.”
Pidge stared at him. Shutting his own mouth, he sat down gingerly. “So… why are you after him? Is it just because he never let you catch him? Because, really, if that’s so… that’s a pretty shitty reason to douse someone with over three hundred kinds of drugs.”
Sven growled, half-heartedly. “It’s not just that.”
Pidge looked at him.
Sven flinched. “Ok, so it’s not only that. It’s… He watches over me. Takes care of me. Saves me from permanent damage. If he’d just. If he was just a little closer… with his help, I wouldn’t get into half the trouble that I do; he’d see the flaws before they blow up in my face…”
Pidge frowned thoughtfully. “So if, say, you get Keith in bed. You go and do your duties as a Tester. I could have Keith all to myself –”
Sven snarled, twisting around and suddenly looking exactly as lethal as he was. “Keith is mine!”
Pidge stared him down, heart pounding in mingled terror and triumph, and managed to infuse his voice with all the skepticism he was capable of. “… Really?”
Sven slumped over. “No. But I want him to be.”
“You don’t even know who he is.”
“And you do?” Sven’s sneer was half-hearted at best.
“No. But I want to learn.”
Sven sagged further into his seat. “Right. So chocolates were a bust. What’s next on your list—flowers, right?”
It was huge.
It was garish.
It had Sven and Pidge written all over it.
Staring at the jungle that used to be his place at the table, Keith just shook his head, and left.
He really wasn’t that hungry.
Pidge paced. “Look, maybe we should—”
“We are not asking either of them.”
“I’m just saying—”
“Damnit.” Pidge could see Sven’s point, but really. It’s not like either of them had any experience in this ‘old-fashioned wooing’—it would be better to ask for suggestions from Lance. Or Hunk. Though… they might also take the opportunity to throw them even further off course…
“One more thing, right? Let’s do it.” Sven grabbed Pidge by the elbow and strode determinedly off.
Memory hitting him like a sledgehammer, Pidge twisted frantically, but was unable to break his grip. “I was kidding…! That’s not one of the normal ways…!”
Shuffling his feet nervously, Sven looked at Pidge, who was of no help, as bright a red as he was. Interesting, that he could still be so embarrassed, even after the incident with the fountain, scarves, and the kitchen maid’s underskirt.
Keith studied them, and sighed softly, the sheer world-weary weight of that one sound almost enough to crush Sven into silence.
Coughing nervously, he bit his lip, and then spat it out. “Wanttohavesex?”
Keith blinked. “Excuse me?”
Sven cringed. “You. Do you want. With us?” Looking down, he felt compelled to add – “Or one of us?”
Keith stared. Sniffed experimently. Looked down at his lap. Looked up at them. “No wonder you use pheromones.”
Sven went bright red, and glowered. “You could just say ‘no’ if you mean—”
“—you don’t have to drag it—what?”
“Yes. Both of you. If you want.”
Eagerly, Sven and Pidge started forward—only to rock back on their heels at Keith’s narrow-eyed glare. “Not here.”
Sven growled. “But—”
“Your quarters. I am not going to risk this being interrupted.”
Sven smiled, predatorily.
Keith snorted. “Come on.” Walking past them, he stalked down the corridor, Sven and Pidge following in his wake.
Part the Fourth
Before they got to Sven’s quarters, though, Pidge had a thought that was wholly unconnected with his lust.
Sven, however, was single-mindedly fixated on the acquisition of his long-time goal, and it took a few tries for Pidge to get his attention—unobtrusively, he thought.
“What?” Sven hissed, dropping back only far enough so that he and Pidge could converse quietly. He still kept both eyes riveted on Keith.
“Maybe not a good idea to have him in your room? With all those pheromones? And the aphrodisiacs...”
Sven nearly stumbled. He didn’t want to remind Keith of his many, many failures; he wanted this to be as nearly perfect as it could be.
As, apparently, did Pidge. What a bright, thoughtful lad.
“Uh, Keith?” he called out.
Keith paused in his march down the corridor, looking back over his shoulder, one dark eyebrow raised. “Yes?”
“Um... maybe you’d—we’d all—be more comfortable in your room instead?”
Keith considered that, head cocked to one side, then nodded. “You might be right.”
Pidge let out a breath and Sven shot him a grateful look. Crisis averted.
Keith led the way into his room, and when he tossed his keys onto the dresser, they skated across and fell to the floor with a clatter.
They all pretended not to notice.
Pidge studied his shoulders, and was glad indeed that he’d suggested here. If Keith was this tense and it was his room, how tense would he have been in Sven’s?
There was a book on Keith’s bed, and, incurable bookworm that he was, he couldn’t stop himself from picking it up.
What he saw shocked him almost down to his toes... well, actually, it didn’t get much past his groin.
It was The Gay Joy of Sex, 528th edition.
He looked up, and saw that Keith’s cheeks were just ever so slightly pink. “You’ve got...”
Trying to regain some kind of aplomb, Keith shrugged, then studied the toes of his boots. “Well... I just wanted to be... prepared... in case you two ever got your act together...”
Sven took the book from Pidge’s nerveless fingers, flipped through it, and placed it carefully on the bedside table. “And what did you... learn?”
Keith looked up, then frowned thoughtfully at the question. “That there are some damned uncomfortable looking positions for sex, for one. And... if they are as uncomfortable as they look... how can people enjoy sex?”
Sven couldn’t help himself; he chuckled. It was a warm sound, completely lacking mockery, so far removed from himself that even Pidge looked at him, puzzled.
That was nothing to the confusion on Keith’s face, though. In all the years they’d known each other... Keith had never heard him laugh. Not like that, anyway.
And that laugh was worth all the years of putting up with Sven and his pheromones, of guarding him from himself and the retribution his actions inevitably earned him. That husky laugh—freely given, completely uninhibited, without calculation—stirred something in him.
The feeling it created was too familiar to him, similar to the jolts he sometimes got when Sven was wearing a particularly compelling pheromone... but different, because he knew. It wasn’t so close to uncontrollable... and he knew that Pidge would have insisted they both be clean to ask him directly like that.
His cheeks heated as he stared at Sven, who was still smiling, in a strange, almost gentle way, one hand still resting on that damnable book.
Pidge was looking between them, and noticed when Keith licked his lips, saw that his captain’s dark eyes were fixed on Sven’s mouth. He grinned in relief.
Keith wasn’t quite as unapproachable or uninterested as he had always appeared.
But it was clear that one of them would have to make the first move, because just having the book broadcast that Keith was a virgin. Oh, there was no way he knew absolutely nothing about the way it worked—the book was very thorough, as Pidge knew well, and coming upon himself and Sven (not to mention Lance and Hunk) would have been an education unto itself—but he was one of those virgins who knew all about it, except for the way it worked. That was a boat that he had only recently escaped from, so he knew it well.
But luckily, Sven not only knew his pheromones and aphrodisiacs... he also knew about deflowering virgins. Gently. And in a way that left them clamoring for more.
Pidge licked his lips at the very thought, unconsciously mirroring Keith.
Sven couldn’t help but see Keith’s tongue escape his mouth to wet his lips, and just for a second, he debated using the sense that made him a Tester, just to know...
But he curbed that thought quickly. He wasn’t going to use any additional help; he’d promised Pidge, and the fact that Keith had agreed had sealed the matter. He’d do it the way everyone else did it... or he would fail miserably and wish to Hell that he had...
Wait a minute... what’s the incentive again for doing it that way?
He looked at Keith again, and could fairly see the awkwardness rolling from him.
Slowly, even as every neuron in his brain screamed at him to hurry, before Keith changed his mind, he advanced, giving his captain every opportunity to step away.
Then his hands closed on Keith’s shoulders, holding him lightly, but hopefully not enough to alarm him. Eyes locked on Keith’s, he bent in—slowly, he told himself over and over, slowly!—and kissed him.
And savored what had been so long denied him.
Keith was without a doubt a beginner at kissing, but for a change, he followed Sven’s lead. He hesitated when Sven’s tongue flickered against his lips, clearly surprised, but after a moment or two, he did open his mouth.
He didn’t taste anything at all as Sven had expected.
Sven let his hands drift up from Keith’s shoulders to thread through the long, thick hair, cradling his skull. Keith’s fingers wound themselves into the collar of his shirt, and Sven distinctly heard a whimper.
He hoped it wasn’t him, but he couldn’t be sure.
Keith was not lost yet, but he was losing himself. He had never experienced anything like this before—being a Guardian, it had been strictly prohibited. Now, every sense had come sharply alive all at once, and he was drowning in sensation. It was almost too intense, too much to bear all at once.
Almost. There was something niggling in the back of his mind, something that was demanding he pull his attention from the devastating thoroughness with which Sven was exploring his mouth...
Ah. Yes. Right. He didn’t have any excuses to hide behind any more, no Guardian’s chastity. But Sven didn’t know that; Sven only knew that he had finally, finally agreed to have sex with him.
And Sven was a Tester; he was bound to no one and nothing, only his testing. And Sven had been after him for years...
And he wanted this to be more than just once, more than just Sven slaking his desire and satisfying his curiosity and moving on.
He couldn’t stop himself from tensing, and gracelessly pulling away from Sven and the temptation he was. But then he couldn’t face the hurt and questioning that he knew he would see in Sven’s eyes, and turned away.
It wasn’t Sven who called out to him, but Pidge.
From where he stood by Keith’s dresser, Pidge clearly saw the moment when Keith’s doubts overwhelmed him, and he knew his captain would pull away from Sven even before he did it.
A little bit of rapid analysis led him to what was probably the reason for Keith’s sudden reluctance... and a way to get around it that he was certain Sven would be perfectly willing to try.
Pidge took the few steps forward he needed to be within arms’ reach of Keith, brushing a soothing hand over Sven’s arm as he passed. “Keith... it’s all right,” he said softly, and rested one hand light against Keith’s back. “We won’t go any further than you want us to go, ok?” He glanced back at Sven, saw that he was watching them both intently, eyes hooded and face tight. “But... in case you were wondering... this isn’t just a ‘wham-bam-thank-you-Cap’n’ kind of thing. Not for me, and not for Sven.” He ran his hand up Keith’s back, and felt him shiver. That made him a little bolder, and he leaned closer, standing on tip toe (he might have gotten a growth spurt, but he was still shorter than Keith, damn it) to get his lips closer to Keith’s ear. “I’ve wanted you for a long time, you know,” he whispered, and again delighted in feeling Keith quiver, “and Sven’s wanted you for even longer. We both know what we want—you. Nothing but you. No one is saying ‘forever’, but we both care about you. And... I’d like to have the chance to do this again and again.” More daring than he’d ever been, he let his teeth graze over Keith’s earlobe...
And was shocked when Keith lurched around, grabbed him by his shirt and kissed him.
Damn, Pidge thought, dazed, and gave himself over to enjoyment.
Keith had picked up a lot in that one kiss he and Sven had shared. But still, it was better that it was him at this point, rather than Sven, because Sven had so much more experience that it was entirely possible that Keith would be overwhelmed.
Pidge still found himself overwhelmed by Sven at times, and they’d been fucking for months.
God, I can taste Sven in Keith’s mouth...
It was amazing. He leaned into Keith, arms around him, and let his fingers dig into the back of his shirt.
This was as good as Keith saying he wanted everything.
Then there was someone behind him as well as in front, and Sven’s scent surrounded him. Sven pressed into him, the hard ridge of a cock against his ass, and he melted, clinging to Keith for support.
Vaguely, he thought that at least he and Sven should have discussed what they would do in the event that Keith really did say yes, but it was far, far too late for that now. Keith’s tongue was already exploring the back of his mouth, even as Sven reached around him to touch Keith
Mmm, yes, Keith is delicious...
Sven didn’t begrudge that Pidge had provoked more of a response from Keith than he had done. Had it been anyone other than Keith, anyone other than Pidge, he knew he would have . . .
But it was Keith, who he had wanted for as long as he could remember now. It was Pidge, who was more nearly innocent than he was, more nearly Keith’s level of intimacy.
And anyway, he’d kissed Keith first. While that was a childish way of looking at it, it was the small victories that counted most.
Or so he was taught.
This, though... this wasn’t a victory. It was a dream. It wasn’t anything that a Tester would—or should—want. But he did. He wanted this so badly he could think of nothing else.
And he wanted it to be right. That was the important thing.
Breathing in the scent of Pidge’s shampoo, feeling the soft, worn fabric of Keith’s shirt, listening to their breathing grow labored as the air between them grew short, Sven closed his eyes and wondered if this would be the end of him as a Tester.
Then he wondered if he even cared.
Carefully, he coaxed Keith’s mouth from Pidge’s, and Keith’s whimper when they broke was almost music to his ears. With only the slightest nudge from him, Pidge started to nibble at the column of Keith’s throat.
Maneuvering carefully, trying not to squish Pidge between them too much, Sven angled in toward Keith for another kiss.
And it was even better than the first one.
He had never realized just how distinctive a taste Pidge had, just how much he enjoyed it, until he tasted it in Keith’s mouth, and oh gods, how he loved the feel of Pidge’s body against him, even as his hands were on Keith. Pidge had learned well, was making Sven shudder with want as the way he moved sent shockwaves through him.
Keith moaned helplessly into his mouth, his hands fluttering, first brushing Pidge, then Sven, as Pidge undulated between them. For a split second, he contemplated stopping here... but he couldn’t. Keith was willing, if nervous, was touching him, for gods’ sakes...
That’s when Sven became aware of the pressure Pidge was exerting, pushing against both him and Keith, pushing them apart. He stepped back, and he could be forgiven that it was a bit reluctantly, thinking that despite his best intentions, he’d managed to crush the boy somehow.
“Sven... why don’t you take off your clothes?”
Between the searing kiss burning up his mind and the body moving so sensuously against him, Keith was lost in a haze. Then the kiss ended, and Pidge stopped moving against him, and he opened his eyes to discover what had happened, and how to fix it.
Then Pidge said something—and it was something he could quite agree with—about Sven taking off clothing, and he managed to focus on Sven over Pidge’s shoulder.
Sven looked strangely—deliciously—disheveled and confused, hair in disarray, clothing rumpled. When he undid his shirt, Keith licked his lips, staring, not even noticing that Pidge was doing the same for him until his shirt was pulled from his shoulders.
His pants were next, and his soft-soled house shoes, and... everything, until both he and Sven were naked.
If he hadn’t been distracted by Sven’s nudity, by his hard sex, he knew he probably would have been deeply embarrassed at his own. But now he couldn’t tear his eyes away from Sven, couldn’t stop himself from wanting to reach out and touch his chest, the muscles in his arms, his bobbing erection...
Pidge was behind him now, and he could feel cloth and skin against his back as the boy pressed against him, could feel the point of his chin digging into his shoulder. He must have been mouthing words to Sven over his shoulder, because suddenly, Sven’s lingering confusion dissipated as if it had never been. Slowly, eyes heated and locked on them, Sven backed away and climbed up onto Keith’s bed.
A jolt ran through Keith as he watched Sven settle down on his bed, as if preparing for sleep, legs slightly spread... oh.
Sven was beckoning to him. To them.
Come join me.
Pidge guided him forward, step by halting step, until they stood at the edge of the bed, looking at Sven.
He could not look away from Sven’s face, the pale skin flushed with arousal, until Pidge whispered in his ear, “See what we’ve done?”
Then he could not look away from Sven’s penis, impossibly hard and red. Saliva flooded his mouth when he thought about it, that he—they—he and Pidge had done that, had made Sven that excited.
Pidge coaxed him up onto the bed, between Sven’s parted legs. He finally tore his eyes away from Sven’s penis—cock, he told himself, say it, cock!—and met his gaze again, the grey eyes luminous, almost silver, and hungry.
Still whispering in Keith’s ear, Pidge dug into his pocket, looking for the lube that he’d taken to carrying around with him at all times. Once, he hadn’t had it, and whatever Sven had been mixing had been particularly potent, and he hadn’t been able to sit comfortably for some time afterwards.
Lessons learned the hard way stick with you.
A blush seemed to suffuse Keith’s whole body, and when he grabbed one of his captain’s hands to squirt some lube onto his fingers, he could feel it shaking.
I know just how you feel, Keith...
“But I don’t...” Keith started to speak, and even his voice trembled.
“Don’t worry,” Pidge breathed against his ear, and delighted in the way Keith’s whole body shuddered. “I’ll help you.”
He put a hand on Sven’s thigh. Sven spread his legs further apart, tilted his pelvis up a bit, and watched them through half-lidded eyes.
“Right there... see?” Pidge steered Keith’s hand, fingers liberally coated with slickness, toward the opening to Sven’s body. “One finger... yes, like that...”
Sven groaned and clenched his hands in the blankets, and Keith stilled immediately, stiffening in alarm.
Pidge chuckled in Keith’s ear as Sven groaned again, this time with impatience. “No, it’s all right,” he said, nipping at the side of Keith’s throat. “It hurts a little, but it mostly feels good. And he’s trying to tell you he wants more. Right, Sven?”
Sven nodded emphatically, muscles quivering with the effort of keeping himself still. His breath was faster, harsher than it had been just a few seconds ago, and there was a pearl of wetness in the slit of his cock. Pidge licked his lips at the sight, then remembered what he was doing.
“You see? Now... another... yes, just like that.”
This time, Sven managed to keep himself still until both of Keith’s fingers were well inside of him, and then he whimpered and started to bear down on his hand. “More,” he gasped, and twisted the covers in his fingers as if he didn’t trust himself to let go. “Please, more...”
Keith’s dark eyes slewed helplessly back and forth between them. He clearly wanted to do more to Sven, but didn’t trust his instincts without Pidge to lead.
“Work him for a minute,” Pidge ordered, and his own voice sounded a bit breathless now, too. “Open your fingers like they were a pair of scissors... yes, that’s right,” as Sven keened. “Just do that for a little bit...” He leaned forward until he was right against Keith’s ear. “If you push in a little more and twist your hand around, you can really drive him wild,” he murmured, and finished with a lick, before withdrawing slightly, and uncapping the tube again.
Keith bit his lip, looking dubious, but cautiously did what Pidge suggested. Sven thrashed and moaned as Keith’s fingers brushed his prostate. “Gods! More, please!”
Pidge’s fingers fumbled as he coated them in lube, and they skated along Keith’s sweat-slick skin.
Keith tensed again. “P-Pidge?” He craned his neck, trying to see what was happening behind him.
“Keith, I’m going to do the same thing to you... and you’ll see it only hurts a little bit, and that it feels so good. Relax...” and he pushed one finger inside Keith’s tight opening.
Sven could not look away as Keith gasped and shuddered above him. He was so ready, godsdamnit, and Keith was an erotic vision above him, flushed and sweaty, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could stand this.
Keith’s fingers jerked inside him, and he groaned, pressing himself down on them further.
He didn’t mind Pidge’s plan, really, because it didn’t matter. They both wanted Keith, and this way, they both got to have him, and that was all that mattered.
Well, that, and Keith’s fingers moving inside him, driving him further and further toward the edge, but not quite getting him there. They twitched spasmodically, reacting to what Pidge did unseen to both of them.
With any luck, they could have him again and again, and each time would be different and better...
When he opened his eyes again, Keith’s mouth was wide open, a perfect ‘O’ of astonished pleasure, and Sven somehow grinned and thought, Keith, meet your prostate.
Then Keith bowed his head, and his whole body trembled, and Sven reached out to stroke his arms, knowing that Pidge had started to enter him. “Look at me, Keith,” he whispered, and was surprised at the husky tone that left his throat. Dazed dark eyes swam up to meet his, and he smiled encouragingly and nodded.
Suddenly, Keith groaned, his eyes rolling back, and Sven’s smile widened. Almost there...
He could hear Pidge again, wordless murmurs meant for Keith’s ears alone, and Pidge’s hand wrapped around Keith’s cock, stroking up and down. He spread his legs wider, lifted his hips a bit more, and Keith’s fingers left him. He tried not to groan at the empty feeling they left behind.
Then Pidge was guiding Keith forward, directing his cock toward Sven’s opening, pressing him on with little nudges of his hips that made Keith gasp and quiver.
“Slowly,” was the only thing he heard Pidge say, and then Keith was inside him, and it was amazing.
He wrapped his legs around them both and bucked, moaning.
Keith’s mind was completely gone. Pidge had been right that it only hurt a little, but he’d never said that having someone inside you like this could feel this good. Every movement Pidge made seemed to go right to his erection, right to the pleasure centers of his brain.
And then, to be inside Sven at the same time, to feel the heat around him, clutching at him, and knowing just what Sven felt... it was completely mind-blowing.
He obeyed the pressure of the hands on his hips—drove into Sven when Pidge pulled back, and pulled back from Sven when Pidge thrust into him—and the sounds reached his ears somehow, but he couldn’t tell who was making them.
He could hear Pidge panting in his ear, could feel Sven’s chest heaving beneath his, breath stirring his hair.
How long can it last? he wondered dizzily, as the pleasure started to overpower him.
One of Pidge’s hands left his hips, but his eyes were closed. Then Sven cried out, and his muscles clenched down, rippling around him in a way that made Keith see a dazzling bright light.
He slumped forward, vaguely aware of hot stickiness on his stomach, of Pidge groaning and shuddering behind him, and then a gush of warmth inside him that made him shiver.
Pidge sprawled on top of him, surprisingly heavy, pushing him down onto Sven.
For several minutes, the only sounds were that of lungs straining to take in oxygen.
When Keith opened his eyes again, Sven was combing gentle fingers through his tangled hair. He was smiling, eyes closed, and a soft sound rather like a purr rumbled from his chest. Behind him, Keith could feel Pidge dropping light kisses across his shoulders and down his spine.
With a sigh, he closed his eyes again and settled bonelessly against Sven.
A soft snort of laughter. “In a bit.”
“C’n I be in the middle this time?”
“Maybe. We could flip for it.”
Keith smiled into Sven’s shoulder and drifted off.
December 5, 2005