Belatrix posted this to the list, inspiring Executrix to write Backup Disk in response. Two completely different views of the same incident…
At first, I’m not sure he’s even aware that I’m here. He doesn’t move at all, just stays bent over his circuit board in an attitude of intense concentration. He gets like that, sometimes: so absorbed in his work that it’s like nothing else exists for him. I envy him that, a little. There are times when I’d like to be able to tune out the universe.
At any rate, I stand there for a moment, undecided whether to interrupt him or just quietly turn around and leave the computer bay. But before I can make up my mind, he turns his head and looks at me. He winces slightly as he does so and absently rubs his hand against his neck.
I feel a stab of sympathy. Especially as he’s only altering these circuits because I asked him to, and here I’ve come down to heap still more work on him.
“Have you been down here all day?” I ask. Come to think of it, I don’t recall having seen him since lunch…
“Yes. This is taking rather longer than I expected.” Oddly enough, there’s no accusation in his voice. “Did you want something?”
“I was going to ask you to run some calibrations on the sensors, but I think it can wait until tomorrow. You look worn out.”
He simply smiles a little and says, “I’m so glad you are concerned for my welfare. As it happens, for once I agree with you.”
“You mean you are worn out?”
“I mean the sensors can wait until tomorrow.” He turns back to his work bench, wincing a little again as he does so.
“It’s not good for your back, sitting hunched over like that.” Why couldn’t we have stumbled on a super alien spaceship equipped with ergonomic chairs?
He merely gives me a dismissive grunt, but it’s quite clear that it’s bothering him. Without really stopping to think about it, I step up behind his chair and begin massaging his shoulders.
He makes a little noise of surprise and almost starts to pull away, but after a moment he lets himself relax into it. I continue to knead him, slipping my hands under the collar of his tunic to rub at the back of his neck. His flesh is warm and smooth, and very pleasant to my touch. He rolls his head a little and moans.
I feel a wonderful sense of contentment stealing over me. All the fighting, all the strife, all of it suddenly seems worth it, just for this one intimate moment of peace.
I lean in a little, digging into his muscles, and find myself breathing in the warm, masculine scent of him. Peaceful contentment gives way to a feeling of wistfulness. I fantasise for a moment about what it might be like to let my hands roam lower, to stroke his chest and tease at his nipples and pull him to me close…
Well, I’m sure his reaction to that would pretty well ruin the mood. So I concentrate on the back rub, on this particular brand of pleasure that he’ll actually allow me to give him. Poor man, his muscles are terribly tight: not just the neck and shoulders, from the feel of things, but his whole back. What he needs is a proper lying-down massage. Without even really thinking about it, I find myself telling him so.
He pulls away and turns to face me. “Are you offering?”
Well, I don’t know that I was intending to offer… Not that I wouldn’t be delighted to. Probably too delighted.
“Well, I have been told my technique is quite good,” I hear myself say.
He stares at me for a moment with that quietly appraising look of his, and finally says, “All right.”
And so I find myself, a few minutes later, in Avon’s cabin with a bottle of massage oil in my hands and a shirtless Avon face-down on the bed in front of me. It’s a good thing I am a stalwart rebel leader, strong of will and stout of heart, because this would be far too much temptation for any lesser man.
And I’ll just keep right on telling myself that, because I’m here to help my computer tech with his back problems, not to make a pass at a man who’s never given me any sign of interest and would probably make me very, very much regret trying anything he didn’t want me to.
I tip some oil out onto my hands and get to work.
My technique is good, even if it might be immodest of me to say so. I have fragmented memories of learning, long ago, from an old lover: a man with beautiful hands and a slow, dazzling smile. For a moment, I find myself in the distant past again, my hands on his sturdy brown back as he offers suggestions on my technique, and I bend, briefly, to kiss the nape of his neck in grateful acknowledgement. The memories come like this, sometimes, vivid and overwhelming.
Then, abruptly, I’m back in the present, and it’s Avon beneath me, Avon’s pale flesh yielding itself under my kneading hands. Avon lying here, his eyes closed, his body bonelessly relaxed, his back turned to me in a complete and touching trust. A sweet, painful mixture of tenderness and lust rises in me suddenly, and I feel an incredible desire to bend down—just a few fatal inches—and kiss the top of his head. I barely stop myself in time.
Blindly, I continue with the massage, trying to make my touch as impersonal as possible, trying to think of the body below me as so much anonymous flesh, not as belonging to the man who challenges me on the flight deck, who gazes at me sometimes with those fathomless dark eyes and leaves me consumed to know what he’s thinking, who insults me and then smiles at me with that same beautifully formed mouth…
Obviously this isn’t working. I’m only becoming more and more painfully aroused. Damn, if only Avon would stop making those little pleasure-noises…
All right. Enough of this. Just another couple of minutes—a sheer indulgence, I admit, because no matter how tormented this is making me, I still don’t want to stop, knowing that I’ll probably never have the chance to touch him again. Just another couple of minutes, and I’ll declare the massage done with and go back to my cabin and masturbate until I explode.
Striving for control, I reach clumsily for the bottle of massage oil, slicking one last coating onto my hands. All right, here we go, one final deep dig at those neck muscles to work out the last of the kinks, and I can make a strategic retreat.
I slide my oil-covered hands onto his shoulders… And somehow, I slip. Oily hands skid right off Avon’s skin as I overbalance and pitch forward, catching myself against the mattress with my hands, and ending up with my lower body pressed firmly against Avon’s.
And my erection pressed firmly—very firmly—into his thigh. Damn.
He raises his shoulders and whips his head around as I regain my balance and pull back from him. Surprise flashes across his face, quickly replaced with a scowl. “If this is all some clumsy attempt at a seduction, Blake, I shall be most annoyed.”
It’s hard to tell whether he’s more irritated by the idea that I’d attempt to seduce him, or at my supposed clumsiness, but it’s quite clear that the contempt in his voice is aimed at both. I find myself growing a little angry at the implication: damn it, I wouldn’t set out to seduce him, but if I had, I’d have done a proper job of it.
“I came here with the intention of giving you a massage. Nothing more than that.” But, of course, the evidence suggests otherwise, doesn’t it? So, reluctantly, I add, “I admit, my thoughts might have become a bit impure…”
“Demonstrably.” His voice is dryly mocking.
“If I’ve made you uncomfortable, Avon, I apologise.”
“Uncomfortable? It turns out I have been lying half-naked on a bed while a man with a…” He casts a significant glance at the offending portion of my anatomy. “…substantial erection… fondles me over half my body. What possible reason could I have for being uncomfortable?”
“Some people enjoy it,” I say, a little too defensively.
“Doubtless. But I strongly suspect that most of them are women.”
“I said I’m sorry, Avon. What else do you want?”
“Well, now, a little honesty might be nice.”
“Honesty? You want honesty?” My voices rises, my sexual frustration rapidly being replaced by frustration of a somewhat different sort. “All right, then. The honest truth is that, as you are now doubtless aware—assuming you hadn’t already long since figured it out—I am a homosexual. Queer as a three-credit note. And, yes, I am attracted to you. And I came here to give you a back rub. Period.”
“Thank you,” he says mildly. For the honesty, I presume, not for the back rub.
Well, I knew this was a terrible idea when I started, didn’t I? I feel as disgusted with myself as I do with him. “And now that I’ve thoroughly embarrassed both of us…” I begin to get up from the bed, hoping—probably in vain, I know—that we’ll be just able to forget about this tomorrow.
“I’m not embarrassed. I am wondering why you seem to be leaving without finishing what you ostensibly came here to do.”
I freeze in mid-movement. “You want me to continue?” I can hear the incredulity in my own voice. “I thought you didn’t like being fondled by a man with a ‘substantial erection’.”
“I have not yet decided whether I like it or not. It is a… novel experience for me.”
For possibly the first time ever, Avon has effectively succeeded in rendering me speechless.
The bastard just smiles at my disconcertedness as he sits up and flexes his neck muscles experimentally. “Then again,” he continues in an overly casual tone, “perhaps the massage has served its purpose. That does feel considerably better.” A pause, during which I simply gape at him like the idiot he so often accuses me of being. He looks at me through dark lashes. “I was thinking of offering to return the favour.”
“You want to give me a back rub?” I admit, he’s thoroughly confused me now. But then, I often think he enjoys confusing me.
“Oh, I’m sure my technique is far less practised than yours. I am, after all, quite new at this. Still I suspect I am capable of performing adequately.”
“Avon… You’re sending me some very mixed signals here.”
He gives me an enigmatic smile. “Yes. Shall we?”
Well, hell, I can’t resist an offer like that, no matter how strongly the rational side of my brain is telling me that this is almost certainly a very bad idea. So I just look at him for a moment, granting him the opportunity to change his mind, to tell me he was only joking. He doesn’t, of course. And so I take my shirt off and I calmly lie down on his bed.
His technique isn’t skilled, but his hands are warm, and strong, and just as deft and sure as I would have expected them to be. They glide over my back, kneading my flesh, now gently, now firmly, now with long, slow strokes… Oh, this was a bad idea. No matter how I try to lie here and tell myself that this back rub is nothing more than a back rub, it’s impossible not to imagine those hands caressing me in quite another context. Even harder than when it was I who was touching him. I’m harder than when I was touching him, too, and every time he kneads deeply into my muscles and the force pushes me against the bed, the friction against my groin becomes sweetly unbearable. I take a deep breath and strive for some detachment, but it’s incredibly difficult when his hands are stroking down my sides, and the heat from his body is radiating into me, and his breath is tickling hot and sweet against the back of my neck.
Very close against the back of my neck, actually. Almost as if he’s doing it deliberately. And the provocative way his hands are moving… No, I’m not imagining that, either. He is doing it deliberately. I’m not sure why I’m surprised. Why the hell did I think he was doing this? Not interest in me, no matter what he might have seemed to imply. He’s already made his sexual preferences quite clear. What, then? As a demonstration that he doesn’t feel threatened by my sexuality, perhaps? Well, yes, maybe that is what I was thinking. And maybe I’m as naïve as he’s always telling me I am. Because it seems quite clear to me now what’s going on here: I’ve handed Avon a weapon, and he’s testing it to see just what it will do to me. For all his protestations about me, Avon is possibly the most manipulative man I’ve ever met, and if I don’t put a stop to this right now, there’s no question that he’ll be using it against me on the flight deck next.
So I twist around, angrily, prepared to deliver some scathing rebuke that will let him know that I understand just exactly what he’s up to and that it bloody well won’t work on me.
And then, as he pulls back, looking surprised, I notice something. Well, it would be hard not to notice, with those tight leather trousers he’s wearing.
He’s every bit as aroused by this as I am.
The angry words never reach my lips, and instead I smile, and move my eyes slowly from his groin to his face. “I thought you weren’t interested in men.”
He looks puzzled… Puzzled and almost a little frightened, though maybe the latter is just my imagination. “I’m not.”
“But you’re interested in me.”
A smile touches his face, half-amused, half-embarrassed as he glances down at himself. “It would seem pointless to deny it.” The troubled look in his eyes doesn’t change.
He seems more desirable to me than ever right now, with his hair tousled and that slightly lost look in his eyes, and his desire for me so evident beneath his remaining clothing. I sit up slowly and look him full in the eyes. “You were enjoying touching me.”
His lips part as if he’s about to say something, but nothing comes out.
“It’s all right, Avon,” I say gently. I reach out and capture his hands by the wrists, pulling them slowly to me, drawing his palms flat against my chest. He doesn’t resist, simply sits there staring at his own hands as if he’s never seen them before. “You can touch me.” I release his wrists, allowing him the freedom to do as he wills.
He doesn’t move, though his breathing seems to be getting faster, and that confused look in his eyes is growing deeper. “I won’t hurt you,” I want to say, but of course I know better than that. The worst possible thing I could do right now would be to suggest that he might be afraid of me. Even if he is. So I sit there quietly, and he sits there quietly except for his raspy breathing, and after a moment he begins to move his hands. Very slowly, very tentatively, he strokes them across my chest, down my sides. It’s a clumsy, uncertain touch on a comparatively non-erogenous part of my body, and, god help me, it is very possibly the most erotic sensation I’ve ever experienced.
Involuntarily, I make a little gasping noise, and he looks up at me and takes his hands away. He doesn’t seem to know what to do with them, though, and makes a couple of odd, helpless gestures before finally resting them on his lap. “Blake…”
It’s strange, seeing him at such a loss for words. I wonder just when he found himself losing control of the situation? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I like it.
I reach out and touch his face very carefully, no sudden moves, as if he were a wild animal I’m afraid to startle. Not too far from the truth, maybe. He lets me stroke his cheek lightly, uncharacteristically passive, as if he’s afraid to do anything one way or another until he’s got the situation sorted out.
Well, that’s a luxury I’m not going to give him. I lean in and kiss him, gently working my lips against his. There are times when I’ve found myself obsessing over those lips, wondering what it would be like to do just what I’m doing now. In my fantasies, of course, he is always kissing me back, working his lips against mine, drawing my tongue into him… And yet, the reality of kissing him now, his lips still and uncertain and very much closed, is infinitely more satisfying than the most wanton of my fantasies. And when, at last, he responds, his lips moving the tiniest fraction against mine, it’s nearly as electric as an orgasm.
Eventually, I pull away from him, knowing that this has to happen slowly if it’s going to happen at all. Or, no, not quite true. It has to happen slowly if it should happen at all. It’s far too easy to imagine ripping his clothes off and letting wild passion take its fiery course, or whatever the appropriate cliché is from those romance stories Gan sometimes reads. Yes, and far too easy to imagine him hating both of us for it afterwards. The idea isn’t even tempting.
He reaches out now, and puts his hands on my upper arms, caressing them slightly, pulling me to him… and then holding me there, close but separate, as if he fears getting any nearer. His breathing is ragged.
“You’ve never been with a man?” I say, stroking his neck.
“I’m not queer, Blake.”
“In that case,” I tell him with total sincerity, “I am extremely flattered.”
I let my hand stroke up his cheek, over his hair, savouring the textures of him. Smooth skin, soft hair, the almost-invisible wrinkles around his eyes and mouth coming alive at the touch of my fingertips.
His hands are moving tentatively now, up and down my arms and onto my chest. I move slightly in rhythm with their motions, and make an encouraging noise. He glides them over my chest, with more confidence now, and I gasp slightly as his palms make their way over my nipples.
I kiss him again, and this time he responds more eagerly, his mouth slipping open at the touch of my tongue. I lick his lips from the inside and he groans faintly, the sound vibrating against my mouth. Slowly, I explore inside him, tasting him, being tasted by him, our lips and tongues moving endlessly. At some point—I’m not sure quite when—my arms go around him.
He pulls away, finally, and looks at me for a moment. His eyes are dark and wild.
“Yes, Avon?” I respond, gently, the way one talks to a lover.
He shakes his head. “What the hell are we doing?” His voice is rough, like he’s trying to sound angry and not managing it.
I take his hand in mine, brush it against my lips. “What do you want to be doing, Avon?”
He considers that a moment, his eyes locked on me as I nibble at his finger. I can see the struggle going on behind those eyes, the shifting of long-held assumptions. Poor Avon, he always did tend to overthink things.
“I want you,” he says, finally.
I feel ridiculously light-headed, suddenly, as all the blood drains from my face and rushes down to tingle through my stomach and into my groin. For an instant, my lungs don’t work.
And, then, all caution forgotten, I’m grabbing him, clasping him to me, his erection pressed into my leg, mine into his belly, and I’m kissing him, deeply and wetly, on the neck, on the face, on the mouth…
“You have me, Avon,” I swear between kisses. “You have me. You have me. I’m yours.”
He laughs slightly at that, a breathy, disbelieving sound. I know what he’s thinking: that’s it’s the other way around, that he’s just handed me the weapon, not that he could say that. He’s wrong. Right now, he has more power over me than the Federation ever did. If he asked me for the Liberator right now, I think I’d give it to him. I think I’d give him anything. I can’t say that, either, of course, but damned if some part of me doesn’t want to.
Gently, I lay him down on the bed, my guiding hands positioning him on his side, just so. For once in his life, he seems to be co-operating with me wholeheartedly, content to go where I lead him. I can still see the uncertainty in his eyes, but there’s lust there, too, beautiful lust… And maybe something more. Maybe I might dare to think that he wants this because he cares for me. Because he trusts me. And I think, for Avon, trust and love may be very nearly the same thing.
I lie down facing him and run my eyes and my hands over the length of his body. I am going to make love to this man. The thought is a marvel to me, and I repeat it to myself. I am going to make love with Avon.
Then I realise how stupid it is to be lying here thinking about it when I could be doing it. All thoughts obediently fly out of my head as I kiss him again, long and slow and deep and very much mutual. We begin exploring each other’s bodies with our hands as our tongues explore each other’s mouths, and for a long, blissful time my world consists of nothing but kissing and stroking, of him licking my ear, of me nibbling at his neck…
Anything but passive, now, he glides his hands firmly down my back, kneads at my still-clad buttocks, trails fingertips lightly along my sides, making me shiver…
My fingers steal to the waistband of his trousers and I pause there for a moment, looking into his eyes, silently asking permission. I can see no confusion there any longer, no uncertainty. We are simply two people doing something that we both very much want.
He nods his head the tiniest fraction, and I reverently undo his trousers, freeing his penis to spring forth into my touch.
It’s not as large as mine—leave it to the male ego to make such comparisons, even under these circumstances—but perfectly formed, rosy and beautiful. I strip his trousers the rest of the way off his legs, getting them out of the way, then return to stroke it gently, drinking in the silky-smooth texture of it with my fingers. He gasps.
I slide off the bed and quickly dispatch with my own trousers, then stand there a moment, letting him look at me. I can’t quite read the expression on his face, but it is not disgust or an irrational shock at discovering that his partner truly doesn’t have a vagina, and I know we’ve passed the final hurdle, that, irrevocably, this is going to happen.
He makes to sit up as I lower myself to the bed again, but I shake my head, signalling for him to lie still, as he is now, on his back. He understands me effortlessly and complies.
I slide myself on top of him and kiss his lips, releasing them long before he wants me to, then work my way down his body, biting, kissing, nibbling. He lies still beneath me, his hands alternately caressing me and clutching at the bedsheets. And he makes noises, a wide variety of them: groans and moans and little indrawn hisses of breath. I find myself inordinately pleased by this; I had always imagined Avon as a silent, controlled bed partner, and it delights me that he can surprise me so. I reward him for each utterance, returning to nibble at his most sensitive spots again and again.
At last, I have reached my ultimate destination, my face pressed into his pubic hair as my cheek rubs against that beautiful silken cock and my fingers cradle and tease at his balls.
He lets out a particularly satisfying gasp, and this time, for his reward, I take him into my mouth.
My technique at this, at the risk of further immodesty, is also more than acceptable. It ought to be; I learned it from the same skilled and attentive teacher. And I vow to give Avon the full benefit of that learning now. I want to make this as good for him as it has ever been, as it ever could be. And so I use all the tools available to me: sucking him deep into me with my cheeks, massaging the length of his shaft and teasing his head with my tongue, fondling his balls with my fingers.
Not that I’m able to concentrate wholly on technique. So much of me is absorbed, instead, with the feeling of him inside me, the weight and the texture and the taste of him. Particularly the taste, as the first salty droplets begin to leak from him in delicious promise of more to come.
I cast my eyes up at him, and a thrill goes through me as I see that he is looking at me. How easily he could have laid his head back, closed his eyes, and pretended that this was a woman doing this to him, and I could hardly have held it against him. But instead his eyes are transfixed on me, wide and bright, as if it is the sight of me—of me—that excites him, as much as what I am doing. My own penis leaps at the thought, and suddenly I’m sucking him into me, hard, swallowing him deep into the back of my throat, urging him to come, to come in me. Yes, Avon, my lover, my lover…
I stop. I’m not sure how, but I stop.
I stare up at him, letting him see my puzzlement, my frustration. Is he so threatened by this that, having come to the very edge, he must still prevent himself from crossing it?
But he flashes me a toothy smile, looking incredibly sexy and happy and pleased, and says, “I had anticipated doing something with a bit more mutuality.”
God, I think I love this man. But that’s a thought to deal with later. For now… My mind briefly flashes through possibilities. There is so much, so much, that I would love to do with him. Images of me inside him, him inside me, the two of us taking each other in our mouths… Well, let’s not start with too much, too soon. There will be other nights for us, in that I have faith.
Carefully, I position myself over him. I kiss him, slowly. Then I reach between our bodies, capture his cock with my hand, and carefully manoeuvre my own to rub against his.
He thrusts against me, eager, and I feel a grin widening my mouth until it threatens to split my face. I fondle him, teasingly, brushing against him with my hand and my cock.
He grabs me by the hair, pulls me down into a deep, hungry kiss, crushing my body down onto his own. His tongue thrusts into my mouth as his cock thrusts into my belly, and all is wonderful, wonderful, white-hot sensation as we writhe against each other.
Then he throws back his head, convulsing under me, and I watch his face transform as he shouts out my name. And my eyes stay fixed on his face, that incredible look on his face, as his seed spurts hot and slick in the trapped space between our bodies and oh… Oh… Oh! Oh, god, Avon, yes!
It takes a while before I can breathe, or think, or do anything but lie there collapsed on his shoulder and listen to the thudding of my heart, and his. Gradually, the manic beating slows, and the room comes back into focus.
I turn over to lie cuddled against him, kissing him languidly on the cheek, because that’s the only part of him I can reach.
After a moment, he laughs, a sound that’s delighted and disbelieving at the same time.
“It’s just that this has to be the single most improbable thing that has ever happened to me.”
“More improbable than escaping from a prison ship onto an advanced alien spacecraft that just happens to be floating around derelict?” I can hear his amusement echoed in my voice.
“Considering that the first event was a necessary precondition for the second,” he smirks, “yes.”
I find myself utterly, irrationally charmed by this. “I love it when you talk techie,” I grin.
He smiles back at me. I kiss him. He pulls me close to him, cradling me against his warm, amazing body.
“I love you,” I say, without meaning to.
He laughs again, a free and beautiful sound. “You know… Somehow, I find that I don’t much mind.”
And we laugh together, and I know that it will all be all right.