Shadow of the Templar Lacunae: Double Down, Chapter 13.5

On timeline: during Double Down, close to the end of chapter 13
Spoilers for: everything up to Double Down, chapter 13, oddly enough
Warnings: cockity dick cock cock, also known as 'porn', concerted punchy-type violence, a few assorted curse words, you know, the usual

Chapter 13 of Double Down originally faded to black—this is what would have happened if it hadn't.



      "Fine," Simon said with exaggerated reluctance, cracking his knuckles. "I'll just beat hell out of you for a while before we go, then?"

      "Or something like that," Jeremy said, heading for the mat room and stepping out of his shoes as he went.


      Still grinning a little, Simon watched Jeremy go, his stomach rolling once in what was either anticipation or hunger. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled and fell again; his pulse slowed as the world evolved into high focus around him. Simon flexed his fingers, once, gently. Suddenly it was so bright—this was a bad idea. This was a tremendously bad idea. He thought he probably ought to be more bothered by it than he was.

      Leaving his shoes neatly lined up by the door to the mat room, Jeremy flicked on the lights and stepped onto the mats. "Well?" Jeremy asked, his eternal smile gone crooked, like a promise. He stripped off his jacket and let it fall in the corner.

      "Yeah," Simon said, shaking his head slightly and dismissing his train of thought. Three running steps' worth of detour brought him to the saferoom door; Simon slapped the main room lights off with one hand and thumbed the lock shut with the other. Relative safety thus assured, Simon picked his way back towards the light that spilled from the mat room. "And hey, just so you know, I'm completely willing to stop kicking your ass if you beg pretty."

      Jeremy, fingers interlaced, was stretching his arms up above his head when Simon stepped into the room. The muscles in his arms and chest stood out in sharp relief for a moment. "Really," Jeremy said, letting his arms drop and shaking his hands. "I'll have to remember that."

      "Assuming you can," said Simon. He stepped on the back of one sneaker and then the other, leaving them in a jumble by the door. "I mean, I hear massive head trauma really plays hell with memory functions."

      Jeremy only laughed. Simon took that to mean that he'd won and stripped off his own jacket, dropping it on top of Jeremy's. "Ready?"

      "Shall we?" Jeremy rose onto his toes, held the pose for a moment, then dropped again. His shoulders squared.

      "Yeah, let's—" Simon broke off there, leading off with a quick right jab. Jeremy twitched to the side; the blow roared an inch past Jeremy's ear and Simon snapped it back. "—do that," Simon finished, grinning.

      Half a second later he coughed out a surprised breath as Jeremy's knuckles flicked under his guard and dug lightly into his stomach. "If you insist," said Jeremy, his smile seraphic.

      "Hey!" Irritated, Simon fell back a step. "Hitting below the belt is cheating, Archer."

      "Mm. If you didn't like that, then you definitely won't like anything else I'm about to do." Jeremy dropped his hands and spread them wide. "But since you insist that I cheated..."

      Stepping into the opening Simon struck for Jeremy's chin, pulling the blow at the last moment. His knuckles skated up along Jeremy's jaw, leaving Simon immensely aware of the subtle bite of stubble left there by the long, long day; Jeremy swayed away, then seized Simon's wrist in both hands and dove past Simon, dragging Simon's arm back with him.

      Jeremy's momentum jerked Simon halfway around and threw him off-balance, and suddenly Jeremy was up in his face, crowding him, driving an elbow into his belly—Simon reeled backwards, brought up short by Jeremy's grip on his wrist. Half a second later Simon was on his face on the mats, not entirely sure how it had happened but definitely short of breath. Slamming his hands down Simon shoved himself to his feet. "Okay, fine," he said, cracking his knuckles. "Just for that, I'm not gonna go easy on you any more."

      "Oh, I see, that was easy," Jeremy said, raising both eyebrows. Unwilling to stand still he prowled a few steps to one side; Simon slid to face him, alert now. They circled each other warily for several seconds. "I suppose you'd like me to start begging about now?" Jeremy finally asked.

      "Yeah, you know what, I think I'd—" Simon burst forward from a standing stop. Jeremy fell back, but not far enough; Simon's outflung arm neatly clotheslined him. Simon snapped his arm in, yanking Jeremy back against his chest, one arm tightly around Jeremy's neck. Jeremy's fingers slapped against Simon's forearm, a heartbeat too late. "—like that," Simon said, tightening his arm, pleased with himself. "I'll understand if you're too short of breath, though."

      Coughing, Jeremy tested Simon's grip, once. "Oh, please," he said—it sounded more like sarcasm than begging to Simon's finely-honed senses—and then both of Jeremy's elbows shot back into Simon's gut at the same moment that Jeremy kicked back at Simon's shin. Simon barked out a breath that ruffled Jeremy's hair but held grimly on, somewhat less pleased.

      Thwarted, Jeremy snaked a hand back between them—Simon had barely a second's warning before that hand closed (warningly? promisingly?) on his balls. Simon yelped and hurriedly pitched Jeremy away. "That is definitely cheating," he said, breathlessly aggravated.

      "And?" Jeremy said, now a good five feet away and annoyingly serene.

      "... and I am not surprised at all that you did it," Simon said, after a bare second of hesitation. "In fact, the only thing that surprises me is that you didn't do something like that sooner."

      Jeremy rolled one shoulder in a loose shrug. "I suppose I could have tried headbutting you in the nose, instead, but for some reason I'm loath to actually damage your handsome face."

      "Ouch. Yeah, don't do that, and also, shut up." With an annoyed grumble Simon grabbed the waistband of his jeans and resettled them, making some room.

      Jeremy glanced down, then back up, his smile going flat-out predatory; slowly, deliberately, he ran two splayed fingers up along the front of his own pants, rearranging a discreet bulge that was suddenly very hard to ignore.

      Simon's next breath felt a little thick in his throat. "You wanna maybe stop playing with yourself and come at me already?" he rasped, his pulse speeding.

      "I suspect it would be my pleasure, Simon." Jeremy was purring now, standing loose and hipsprung, flexing his fingers at his sides. One hand blurred away from his side and prodded Simon's shoulder; Simon grabbed for it, only managing to catch a handful of fingers, which Jeremy easily twisted free even as his other hand prodded Simon's hip.

      Simon huffed out a breath and caught Jeremy square in the chest with his next shot, making Jeremy cough and sending him skittering back a handful of paces. "That's what you get," Simon said, beckoning to him.

      "Oh, by all means, show me what I'll get—" Jeremy darted forward with such unnerving speed that Simon lost his cool and leaped back, only catching himself once it was too late. Jeremy's only response was a widening of that oddly feral smile before they collided; the heel of one hand drove up into Simon's chin—fortunately, only hard enough to click Simon's teeth together—and two fingers of his other hand found their way under the waistband of Simon's jeans—

      Grabbing Jeremy's shoulders Simon threw him across the room, putting enough muscle into it that Jeremy reeled into the far wall. The top button of his jeans was undone and he didn't have enough time to redo it before Jeremy rebounded and lunged for him again—moving purely on instinct Simon struck for the moving target.

      Jeremy threw himself over backwards before the blow could connect, somewhat to Simon's relief. Simon's fist shot out into empty air three feet above Jeremy's head; Jeremy dropped like a stone, catching himself on his outstretched hands even as one foot shot out into the space between Simon's own. Simon barely had a heartbeat to say "Hey!" before Jeremy's foot twisted to the side, hooked behind Simon's ankle, and yanked it forward. Simon went down.


      Breathing hard, Simon fell back, plucking at his t-shirt. It was translucent, damp with sweat. He didn't know how long they'd been at it, but he wasn't making any goddamned headway—"What's the matter?" he asked, flicking his wet hair out of his eyes. "Can't stand toe to toe with a real man?"

      "No, probably not, assuming you mean yourself." In comparison Jeremy was composed and barely sweating at all, although his own t-shirt had been wrenched free of the waistband of his pants and his hair was mussed, an effect which Simon was openly proud of. "In my defense, you are something of an ape—" Simon's left hit Jeremy's upraised arm, and Jeremy pivoted, blunting Simon's right against the jutting bone of his hip.

      "Ape," Simon said dismissively, falling back again. His knuckles ached. His breath hissed through his teeth.

      Jeremy displayed his bare forearms for a fraction of a second, then scrubbed a palm over his hip. His splayed fingers came dangerously close to the bulge outlined against the front of his pants, no longer discreet at all. "I'll have such bruises tomorrow."

      "Yeah, yeah, cry me a river," Simon said. "Gets me so hot—" He struck again.


      The room echoed with the sounds of flat blows and hissing breath. Simon's t-shirt, which had been damp, was now wringing wet, and his ribs ached from a snap-kick which Jeremy hadn't bothered to blunt at all; a red patch on Jeremy's cheekbone threatened to be a bruise tomorrow, he was favoring one leg slightly, and now he was sweating, as well. The top button of Simon's jeans was still undone and it was almost a relief, because his dick was already hard enough to throb and pushing at the rest of those buttons like it had a mind of its own.

      Barely thinking, Simon lunged again. He struck with all his strength purely by instinct, anticipating the next five seconds with a mindless pleasure that made him bare his teeth: clouting Jeremy upside the head, knocking him to the mats, pinning him down while he was still stunned and helpless... Jeremy whipped back and the killer blow swung harmlessly past his cheek, rendering Simon's mental slideshow moot.

      For a moment Simon's arm was outstretched and Jeremy ducked up under it, driving two knuckles into the bundle of nerves high up on the inside of Simon's arm. Simon roared in pain and renewed fury and snatched at Jeremy's shoulder, almost getting it, rewarded with the sound of ripping seams as Jeremy twisted free.

      The neckline of Jeremy's t-shirt now gaped open halfway to his arm, revealing the damp contours of one collarbone. Jeremy barely spared it a glance, his tongue flicking out to touch the curve of his upper lip. It might have been a smile if his eyes hadn't been glittering like that.

      Not apologizing—not caring enough to apologize—Simon charged him again. Jeremy huffed out something that almost sounded like a laugh and threw himself forward into the lunge, ducking at the last moment and slipping past Simon's hip, his fingers trailing over Simon's stomach in passing; Simon spun around just as Jeremy slapped at the wall and plunged the room into darkness.

      Simon had a bare second in which to cast wildly about for Jeremy in the blackness before Jeremy slammed into him, hitting him low and knocking him off his feet. Simon hit the mats hard enough to knock the air out of his lungs and Jeremy crashed down onto him a moment later, straddling Simon, the weight of him pressing the hard edges of buttons into Simon's nearly-painful erection as he dragged Simon's t-shirt up with one hand and neatly clawed open his jeans with the other—"Do I win, then?" Jeremy asked, his voice husky.

      "Christ," Simon hissed, grabbing for him. One hand came up with a handful of Jeremy's ass and the other clamped onto his bicep, fingers digging into the taut muscle. It was like holding on to a live wire—"No," Simon finally choked out.

      Jeremy fell still, breathing hard. "No?"

      "I meant you don't win!" Simon said, all in a rush. "Fuck don't stop!"

      "If you say so," Jeremy breathed. His hand snaked into Simon's undone jeans and closed on him through the fabric of his underwear.

      Simon bucked up under Jeremy hard enough to knock his knees out from under him. Jeremy collapsed on top of Simon, laughing breathlessly, one hand still trapped between them—"Off," Simon snapped, grabbing a double handful of the back of Jeremy's torn t-shirt and demonstrating his perfect willingness to tear it the rest of the way off.

      "I'll have to—" Jeremy shut up and wriggled his hand out of Simon's jeans long enough to strip his t-shirt off over his head. The faint light from the narrow casement windows skittered over his sweat-slick skin. Jeremy fell again, wedging his hand back between them.

      "Off," Simon insisted again, hooking both thumbs into the waistband of Jeremy's pants and giving them a downwards shove.

      Jeremy's breath exploded from him in a sharp bark of laughter. "I'm rather trying," he said, his knuckles thumping up along the length of Simon's cock as he grappled blindly with the buttons of his own pants. "And you're not helping, no matter what you think."

      "Shut up and take them off," Simon said, yanking downwards again. A stitch gave with a soft pop and Jeremy hissed out an oath under his breath, but Simon didn't care: the last button popped open, the waistband gave, and the pants slid down a couple of inches.

      Jeremy eeled out of his pants without bothering to climb off Simon—the motion was heavy and liquid and made Simon growl under his breath and clutch at whatever he could catch. Jeremy tossed his pants aside. "These too, I assume?" he asked, grinding his hips down against Simon's.

      Simon's eyes fought to close. For a moment he couldn't figure out what Jeremy was talking about—not that it ever mattered what Jeremy was talking about—especially not when he was rubbing up against Simon like that—but eventually it dawned on him. "Take them off for you," he offered, his voice thick, scraping up a grip on the slender band of Jeremy's underwear.

      "I think you've done quite enough damage to my wardrobe for one night," Jeremy said. His hands dropped to Simon's waist and ran all the way up, tracing arcs of heat through the sheen of sweat and gathering up Simon's rumpled t-shirt on the way; eventually the damp fabric bunching up around Simon's neck got to be too obnoxious. Simon reluctantly let go of Jeremy long enough to yank his t-shirt up and off over his head. "Better," Jeremy purred.

      "Yeah—" Simon's agreement broke off there as Jeremy rolled up against him. The heat of him was astonishing, his skin damp to the touch, the muscle underneath as hard as rock; Jeremy bit Simon's collarbone, the sudden shock making Simon hunch his shoulders. "Fuck," Simon croaked, grabbing Jeremy's upper arms, trying to reassert some measure of control and utterly failing, and suddenly it was all just a little too much and Simon cracked up. "Christ but I need to get out of these jeans so fucking bad," he said, breathless with laughter, with everything.

      Jeremy laughed along with him, soft and low in his throat. "Shall I get them for you?" he asked, rising up onto his knees and hooking one finger into Simon's beltloop. The light from the casement windows fell in wide, ragged bluish stripes across his face and chest.

      Still snickering a little, Simon paused long enough to catch his breath and enjoy the view, putting both hands on Jeremy's thighs. "Yeah, okay, do that," he said, pressing his shoulders back against the mat and raising his hips up into the arc of Jeremy's widespread legs.

      Jeremy stripped Simon's jeans down to his thighs with one deft yank, then reached behind himself and yanked them down as much further as he could. Dropping back onto the mat with a whoof of displaced air Simon scrubbed his legs together, managing to work his jeans the rest of the way off without undue acrobatics. His socks got lost somewhere in the legs of his jeans along the way. Simon most assuredly did not care.

      "And these?" Jeremy asked, sliding two curled fingers under the waistband of Simon's underwear.

      "You first," Simon said, and closing both fists around handfuls of soft material he yanked Jeremy's tiny briefs straight down.

      They didn't go far, not with Jeremy's legs spread like they were. Suddenly Jeremy was wearing only a twisted rope of fabric, stretched low and tight across his hipbones and trapping his cock down in the groove that ran between his hip and his thigh; Jeremy hissed out a little sound and rapidly shimmied his hips, his cock popping free. "A little warning," he said, his own voice thick, and dropping full-length onto Simon again Jeremy kicked his rolled-up briefs off and away.

      "That's no fun," Simon rasped, clutching at Jeremy. The weight of him on top of Simon was maddening—"Do mine," Simon added, bucking up under Jeremy.

      Jeremy's knees hit the mat to either side of Simon, but he didn't fall. He never fell unless he wanted to—Jeremy's little smile was brilliant. "Do your what?" he asked, resting the palm of one hand ever so lightly on the bulge that tented out the front of Simon's underwear.

      "Do my that," Simon said, jerking his hips up again.

      "Oh, your that," said Jeremy, laughing a little. "I've never been able to resist your that—" Hooking two fingers in the waistband Jeremy lifted it up and away with exaggerated care, then started peeling Simon free of his sweat-soaked underwear.

      Simon rolled his eyes and knocked Jeremy out of the way with his forearm, yanking his shorts down to the point where he could kick them free. "Little faster, maybe," he said, and then he was naked on the sparring mats at work and this terrible, terrible idea probably would have started to bother him if Jeremy hadn't chosen just that moment to grab his cock in one hand and give it a single, blessed, hard squeeze. Simon didn't even try to bite back the throttled groan that Jeremy's hand startled out of him.

      "See if you can reach my jacket," Jeremy breathed, tugging once at Simon's cock to point him in the right direction.

      Hissing, Simon swept his hand blindly across the mats above his head until his fingers touched leather. "That? Not a handle," he muttered, his outstretched fingers scrabbling at Jeremy's jacket until he found enough purchase to drag it over.

      "Really?" Jeremy leaned down and bit Simon's jaw, trading one hand for the other on Simon's cock in order to fish blindly around inside his jacket. "But I find it so convenient—"

      "I've got an idea," Simon gritted out. "Let's not refer to my dick as 'convenient'."

      Jeremy stilled, the parking-lot lights glinting off his little flash of smile. "Well, it is the closest one to hand—"

      Simon grabbed Jeremy's own cock and bore down on it until he could feel Jeremy's rapidly-speeding pulse under his fingers. "This is the closest, if you want to get technical."

      "Nnf." Jeremy curled forward over Simon's fist, his mouth falling open. For the moment forgetting his jacket and his similar grip on Simon alike Jeremy pushed his hips forward in a silent demand; for the moment Simon indulged him, giving Jeremy's cock one rough jerk, then another. "Nnn," said Jeremy, the little sound cracking once in the middle.

      "Weren't you looking for something?" Simon asked, tugging Jeremy's cock in the general direction of his jacket, on the floor.

      Jeremy's eyes drifted open, suddenly a deep and drowning black in the night. The expected riposte went unsaid; instead Jeremy flicked his hand free of his jacket, producing a couple of familiar shapes like a magic trick. The metal tube fell onto Simon's chest, and Jeremy bit down on the condom wrapper and ripped it open with a sudden, feral flash of teeth.

      "Trade you," Simon said thickly, fumbling for the tube.

      "No need," Jeremy said, his own voice equally choked as he spat the wrapper out. The wrapper fluttered to the mats beside them. The condom itself vanished somewhere between Jeremy's flickering fingers with a faint, wet sound, and Simon lost track of it in the darkness—Jeremy's hand dropped and something blood-warm and wet engulfed the head of Simon's cock. Simon swallowed an oath and bucked up into Jeremy's hand, forcing himself up into the condom by main strength even as he forced Jeremy's fingers apart. "See?" Jeremy said, giving Simon another of those rough squeezes, the touch only slightly diffused by the thin latex between them.

      "Y—" Simon stopped and cleared his dry throat. "Yeah gotcha okay here already," he said, shoving the tube into Jeremy's hands.

      Jeremy thumbed off the top of the tube and broke off the plastic cap underneath. A moment later the tube fell, discarded and empty, and Jeremy flexed his slickened fingers thoughtfully. Simon, not particularly interested in anyone's lengthy internal debate right now, nudged the flat of his cock against Jeremy's wrist to remind Jeremy what he should be doing with that stuff—it didn't work. It never worked, not even now, when Jeremy was demonstrably as far gone as Simon was—with a thin flash of smile no longer than a heartbeat Jeremy's hands flashed down, one curling around his own balls and lifting them out of the way, the other, the slick one, darting back behind them—Jeremy drove two fingers into himself with enough force to make his mouth fall open. Something clicked in the back of his throat, but that was all.

      For his part Simon managed to emit only a faint croaking sound. Without really thinking about it he lunged halfway up and grabbed for Jeremy with both hands, uncertain whether he was trying to make Jeremy stop that and get on with things or just trying to get in on what was going on; he caught Jeremy's cock in one hand and his wrist in the other, mostly by luck.

      "Gnh!" Jeremy hunched his shoulders, curling bonelessly forward over the tangle of their hands. His cock jumped eagerly into Simon's right hand, leaving a small wet smear printed against the inside of Simon's wrist; the tendons in his wrist flexed inside Simon's grip.

      "Okay enough Jesus now," Simon rasped, using his twin grips on Jeremy to drag him forward. Jeremy's fingers popped out of him with a low sucking sound that made Simon forget to breathe for a moment, and Jeremy's eyes snapped open and, eventually, focused; he twitched his wrist free of Simon's grip and caught Simon's cock, what was left of the slick stuff smearing haphazardly down the length of the condom before Jeremy eeled up to land straddling Simon's hips and pushed Simon's cock upright and drove down

      Simon's breath roared out of him. Blind to everything but that heat and that pressure he grabbed both of Jeremy's hips and forced him down even as Simon slammed upwards, burying himself to the hilt. Jeremy's hands slapped at Simon's chest, clawing up a scattering of little raised, red lines, and that stung like fuck and Simon didn't care

      For a long moment it was all mindless reaction, the two of them nearly working at cross-purposes as they both strove for immediate gratification. Simon pulled halfway out of Jeremy and slammed back in again, barely aware of Jeremy writhing atop him or of Jeremy's hands seeking purchase; Jeremy barked out a harsh, tearing sound and shoved Simon back down, one forearm like iron across Simon's chest. Simon was trapped and still for a heartbeat's worth of time and Jeremy took full advantage of it, slamming his hips forward, rolling them back. Helpless not to, Simon fell willingly into Jeremy's wake—the sudden, powerful rhythm that evolved out of the thrashing managed to startle them both before it swept them away.

      It was like being able to read his thoughts—like being two halves of a single entity with only one thing on its mind—like Jeremy's skin broadcast his every move half a heartbeat before he made it—Simon groaned and let his mind go, his fingers digging into Jeremy's hips hard enough that his hands were already aching, not that he cared. "Fuck, Jeremy," he croaked, barely aware he was speaking at all.

      "Yes, Simon," Jeremy breathed, "that's the nn idea—" and he threw himself upright and caught his own cock in both hands. Simon choked on his next breath and drove up into Jeremy again—Jeremy rolled forward as sinuous as a snake, absorbing the thrust, letting it drive him forward into his own interlaced hands—Simon dragged himself halfway free as he fell back onto the mats—Jeremy's hands bore down for a single, arresting second, the palm of his hand scrubbing lightning-fast over the head of his cock—Simon used his grip on Jeremy's hips to slam him back down—Jeremy groaned out a helpless "nnnnnahGodSimon" and took Simon as deep as he could—faster and harder and harder and faster and Simon was dimly aware that without the faint drag of the latex he'd have already come—

      "You first," Simon managed to grate out, eventually.

      "Think so," Jeremy hissed, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, and just like that his natural grace took on a thin and bleeding edge of frenzy, his hands almost brutal on himself—a bare handful of seconds later he arched his spine and threw his head to one side and choked out an amazing, familiar throttled sound, his cock exploding within the tight interlace of his fingers and splattering a pattern of heat over Simon's chest.

      Simon smacked Jeremy's thigh with one hand, trying to convey the idea that he didn't currently have words for, and then slapped both hands over his mouth. And just in time: no sooner had he done so than his last thin thread of control snapped. Simon's instinctive shout died muffled against the palm of his hand as he bucked up off the mat—Jeremy ground down against him, forcing him right back down again, and at the perfect moment added in a mind-destroying forward jerk of his hips that forced Simon's cock into him halfway to his throat—Simon bellowed out another hastily-muffled shout and came hard enough to make his mind go white.

      He came to some time later, still gasping. His hands fell away from his mouth to thump, temporarily nerveless, to the mats to either side of his head. Above him Jeremy was silent, his head bowed, his own breath coming quickly; Jeremy absently patted Simon's stomach with one hand, incidentally smearing the mess. Simon stared blindly up at the darkened ceiling, strove to think of something appropriate to say, and finally settled on a low, impressed whistle.

      Jeremy laughed at that, just a little. "I agree," he said, his voice still a little rough. "I'd get off you, but I'm rather afraid to move."

      "No hurry," Simon croaked. Outside, at the far end of the hall, one of the massive janitorial floor-polishing machines revved up; Simon's eyes snapped into focus. "Okay, hurry."

      Jeremy glanced over his shoulder at the outer door, then thrust two fingers between them to keep the condom in place as he pulled free. They separated with identical little shudders and then they were apart, Jeremy stripping the condom from Simon with something like practiced ease and stuffing it back into its wrapper.

      The slowly-advancing hum of the machine outside kicked Simon into gear. Sitting up, he cast about for his underwear and eventually found it. "Christ, I need a shower," he said, kicking his way back into his underwear, mess or no mess. It was only going to go into the hamper anyway. "And about fifty Advil."

      "Mm," Jeremy said in agreement, rising to his feet and pulling up his own underwear in the same motion. Bending down he swept his hands over the floor, came up with a pair of pants, laughed softly, and tossed them onto Simon's chest.

      Simon snorted and pulled on his jeans, then rolled to his feet and tottered for the door. He already ached like hell. "Lights," he warned, squinting his eyes half-shut in anticipation of the glare.

      The fluorescents snapped to life, one tube in the corner guttering blue and pink. Shielding his eyes with his hand, Simon turned around and winced: under the lights, the sweat mark that he'd left behind on the mat's plasticky surface was brilliantly visible, a perfect wet print of his body with two round marks to either side that had to be from Jeremy's knees. "Oh, yeah," he said, gesturing at it. "That's not suggestive at all. No one would ever guess what we'd been up to."

      Laughing just a little, Jeremy dropped his torn t-shirt onto the mat and swiped it across the sweatmark with his foot, smearing it into unrecognizability.


I see a lot of people lamenting the fact that I generally fade out on sex scenes in SotT, and frankly, I can't blame them. I mean, porn is good. We all like porn. In fact, we love porn!

So why didn't I write the sex scenes, if I love porn so much? Because I wouldn't want to skimp on it. I'd want to lavish time and space on it, get down and dirty with it, wallow in it—and in the process, drag the otherwise-headlong pace of the novels through the mud. I knew going into the project that SotT's pace was the most important thing about it, bar nothing—they're primarily action novels, after all—and in the end, I sacrificed porn for pace. I maintain that I made the right decision.

That being said, there's absolutely nothing keeping me from writing the porn. I just don't want it to bog down the main narrative. So I'll put it over here.

This is the first one of the Lacunae that I wrote. Writing it only reinforced my conviction that fading to black was the right decision, oddly. A lot of it is about the pace of the books, of course, but this particular scene is reasonably violent, and we also see both of them unabashedly enjoying that violence. If this scene had been explicitly written within Double Down, it would ultimately have detracted from Simon and Jeremy's explosive rapprochement after Rich's death—if the audience could settle back and say 'well, we've seen them have rough, violent sex before, this isn't beyond the pale', the scene would have lost most of its shock value and a large amount of its power. Not all of it, by any means, but some.