Shadow of the Templar Lacunae: High Fidelity, Chapter 50.3

On timeline: during High Fidelity, in the middle of chapter 50
Spoilers for: everything up to High Fidelity, mid-chapter 50—does this surprise anyone? No? Moving on!
Warnings: porn, unrelieved cuteness, and also I think I am so deep

One of the many scenes in High Fidelity that faded to black, albeit probably the most important!



      Jeremy tucked his bare feet neatly against the backs of his thighs to avoid losing a leg on the doorframe. "So, how—"


      "I was only—"

      Simon kicked open the bedroom door. "Later."


      The door flew back and hit the wall with a too-solid thud, not that Simon cared. Lily's architecture was by turns beautiful and ridiculous, and the bedroom that Jeremy had pointed Simon to was definitely on the ridiculous side: a fat octagonal room with a tall, spindly conical roof plopped on top, like a stop sign wearing a wizard's pointy hat. There was a ceiling fan nearly hidden in the shadowed recesses of the stupid ceiling, though, stirring the air and keeping it moving, and the bed was a massive thing hewn from polished oak planks as thick as Simon's forearm, and Simon decided that he could forgive the room its goofy shape.

      He grabbed Jeremy's hips in both hands and hefted him. Jeremy's arms broke away from Simon's waist, falling free, and before Jeremy could grab anything else Simon heaved him up and over, onto the bed. Jeremy landed with reasonable grace on his ass in the center of the bed, already laughing, and before he'd had time to bounce twice Simon had skirted the bed's footboard and fallen half on top of him, laughing a little himself. "So, anyway, hi," Simon said, and kissed the hell out of Jeremy just because he could.

      Jeremy made a single, vague sound of surprise and then lunged up into the kiss with undisguised appreciation, catching at Simon's shoulders with both hands. Simon eventually got a hand on the bed by Jeremy's side and pushed himself up, breaking the kiss long enough to catch his breath. He was still grinning a little—couldn't help it—and Jeremy's answering crooked smile had a little eye-catching flash of pink in the center, and Simon just went for it, sucking Jeremy's lower lip into his mouth before he realized what it was he was lunging for. Not that Jeremy seemed to mind much. Simon huffed out a thick breath and broke the kiss again. "You look better," he said.

      "I should hope so," said Jeremy. "So—"

      "Later," Simon said, grabbing up the kiss from where he'd left it.

      Jeremy subsided, politely enough. He was radiating heat like a furnace, his sun-baked skin giving off enough warmth to make Simon start sweating again. Fan or no fan, it was warm in here, and the heat left Simon disinclined to exert himself any more than necessary. The kiss drifted into a lazy place, Jeremy shifting underneath Simon and purring out a faint, pleased sound. Simon scraped off one shoe, then the other. Jeremy's fingers curled around two handfuls of fabric, popping Simon's t-shirt free of his jeans; a breath of moving air ghosted across the bared small of Simon's back. He shivered, then ducked and let Jeremy fiddle the t-shirt off over his head. "I like this idea you had," Simon said, pulling his hands free.

      "I had?" Jeremy asked, raising his eyebrows as he cast Simon's shirt off the side of the bed. "Pardon me, but I'm not certain that any of this could exactly be called 'my idea'."

      "Well, in the first place, I only meant the idea of getting me out of my t-shirt," said Simon, "and in the second place, I can stop if you want, I mean, I didn't realize you weren't in the mood—"

      "Oh, shut up," Jeremy said, almost smirking as he dragged Simon back down.

      Simon wasn't about to let himself be silenced, not even like that. "—and in the third place," he mumbled against Jeremy's lips, "it totally was your idea, actually."

      "Was it? Silly me, I didn't realize that I was wearing the 'please manhandle me immediately' trousers today," said Jeremy, giving up and letting his head fall back to the mattress.

      "Okay, that's a goddamned lie, you can't not know how low those pants hang," Simon said. "But, seriously? Your idea. If you hadn't attacked me in that air-conditioning vent back in Tahoe, none of this would have ever happened."

      The pupils of Jeremy's eyes dilated just the tiniest bit. "Oh," he said. "My apologies. I didn't realize we were speaking in such broad terms."

      "Yep, sure are."

      "In that case, I'd have to admit that on the whole, I don't regret it."

      "On the whole," Simon said, rolling his eyes.

      Jeremy pursed his lips, considering this. "I'll concede the point," he said. "There is no 'on the whole' about it. I absolutely, one hundred percent do not regret throwing myself on you in the vent. It would have taken a man with much more self-control than I to resist the temptation."

      "Okay, that's better." Simon swooped down to nip at the pink divot of new flesh in the center of Jeremy's lower lip, since it was there and all. "So I was tempting, huh? Good to know."

      "Are you fishing for compliments, Simon?"

      "Hell, yes."

      "Ah, well, in that case." Jeremy laughed under his breath and put one sun-browned hand on Simon's chest, leaving behind a smeared ghostly handprint in the sweat. "How could I not be tempted by an overgrown, overconfident American with a handgun larger than my head—"


      "—this big, handsome, sullen brute of a fellow who thought he was so tough, and so clever—"

      "—I think I'm starting to regret this fishing expedition—"

      "—and he didn't like me very much," Jeremy said, laying those fingers lightly over Simon's lips. "But it was blazingly obvious that that didn't matter."

      "I don't want to hear this, do I?" said Simon, his voice only lightly muffled by Jeremy's spread fingers.

      "Because I knew that if the chance ever came and I found a quiet moment in which to put my hands into his pants, he would resist for all of about two seconds and then maul me," Jeremy finished. "And, do you know, I was right?"

      "Okay, I was wrong, I do want to hear this," Simon said, propping himself up on his elbows. "Why were you so sure, smart guy?"

      Jeremy's little smile faded to a small, skewed quirk of a thing. "Believe me, Simon, you're not terribly subtle."

      "So you've said," Simon said. "No, come on, why?"

      "You kept... circling me, I suppose." Jeremy's hand traced back over Simon's cheek to tweak lightly at his ear. "Always watching me, always popping in to jab at me before moving away again—if you simply hadn't liked me, you'd have ignored me whenever you could. As it were, you couldn't ignore me for five seconds at a time."

      "Maybe I was just jollying you along, keeping you sweet, managing the team's resources, did you ever think of that—"

      "Not sporting a bulge in your trousers like you were."

      "—excuse me?"

      Jeremy contrived to shrug one shoulder. "Well, you do wear them very tight, Simon."

      "You're making that part up," Simon said loftily. "I didn't actually pop a boner for you for hours."

      "Until the vent?"

      "Right, about then."

      "Because I certainly recall that one." Jeremy laughed a little, then shut his eyes, a small smile still playing about his mouth. "But, to step back a bit, on the whole I'm not sorry that I... had this idea, so to speak." Jeremy's eyes drifted about halfway open. "You can be an awful prick, it's true, but by and large I feel that the benefits have outweighed the drawbacks."

      Simon rolled his eyes. "Yeah, okay, how about we stop calling me a prick now," he said, and to ensure that this directive was followed, he picked up the kiss again, running the tip of his tongue along Jeremy's lower lip. Jeremy's mouth tasted like it always did—like something dark and spicy, lightly smoky, like nothing else on earth except Jeremy—and for a few minutes Simon lost himself in it, until the backhanded romance in Jeremy's last statement had had ample time to fade from his consciousness. A mountain breeze made the curtains flutter and drew cool fingers through the sweat standing on Simon's skin. Simon's shiver broke the meandering kiss and for a moment they just looked at each other, eyes half-shut, mouths parted as if to speak. "Yeah," Simon finally said, looking away.

      "Mm," said Jeremy, and that was that.

      Simon dove back into the kiss and pushed his hand under himself, groping blindly for his belt. He wanted to get out of his jeans (even without taking anything else into account, it was way too hot to be wearing denim right now) but there wasn't any real urgency in it. They had all day—they had days—Simon very firmly stopped himself from having the next thought in that line of reasoning and wriggled around until he managed to nudge his belt loose. The rest was probably going to be difficult in this position. "Sec," Simon said, rolling off Jeremy and sprawling out his back, grabbing for his fly.

      Apparently unwilling to wait, Jeremy scooted over and settled up against Simon's side. One arm dropped across Simon's chest, but all in all he seemed more interested in the ongoing lazy making out than in helping Simon with his pants. Leaning distractedly into the kiss Simon fumbled open the buttons and wriggled out of his jeans, a task made more difficult not by Jeremy (for once) but by the sweat-damp fabric clinging to his skin for all that it was worth. Still, eventually Simon peeled himself free and kicked off his jeans with unalloyed relief. "Okay, scoot over, up up up," he said, shoving Jeremy over until he could sprawl out properly, spread out over most of the mattress, under the fan, with a pillow jammed under his head.

      Jeremy took the rearrangement well enough. Curling up next to Simon Jeremy trailed his fingers down along Simon's chest, drawing long lines in the sheen of sweat there. Simon idly watched him do it. There were still patches of yellowing bruise and slight discolored places, here and there on Jeremy's body—not to mention the pink triangle of new skin in the center of his lower lip, which had been a nasty, bloody split a week ago. The long cut on his cheek was almost gone, not even pink any more, just a tan stroke two shades lighter than the skin around it. His hair had been cut short to hide the burn damage, shorter than Simon had ever seen it (not that this prevented it from being perfect, but that was to be expected, really). The tan laid a light blanket of disguising color over the lingering damage, making Simon look even more ghostly in comparison. Jeremy laid a hand lightly on Simon's bared stomach and Simon discovered that he could make himself disappear into the sheets just by looking at that hand and letting his eyes unfocus.

      The tall ceiling receded up into heavy shadows. The fan worked overtime to dispel the heat. Eventually Simon blew out a long breath and curled his arm around Jeremy's shoulders. "Whoof. Okay."

      "Oh, may I go on, truly?" Jeremy asked, his voice arch. He dropped a leg over Simon's without further ado, blanketing Simon with the silky folds of his loose pants—trust Jeremy to own pajama pants too fancy to sleep in—and leaned in to run his tongue up along Simon's bare shoulder. Simon snickered and hauled Jeremy over, pulling Jeremy up on top of him and getting a couple of good handfuls of sun-browned skin. He traded them for a different couple of handfuls a minute later, while Jeremy's mouth worked its way up and down along the side of Simon's throat, leaving Simon's skin wet and tingling in its wake.

      They spent an entertaining while getting all tangled together, working up another decent sweat, and finally Simon reached down to grab himself a handful of Jeremy's ass; Jeremy reared up, gave Simon a wide-eyed look that might have been surprised, inquiring, or just mocking, and promptly flattened his hand out over the shape clearly outlined against the front of Simon's underwear. Simon coughed out a "Ha!" that was half an explosive breath and half a laugh and pushed demandingly up against that hand, refusing to relent until he'd gotten Jeremy's palm traveling back and forth, just how he liked it. "Better," Simon said, wiggling his thumb under the drawstring of Jeremy's froofy pajama pants and pulling them away from Jeremy's hip. "Heads up, tan line check!"

      "Best of luck," Jeremy said offhandedly, tilting his hip neatly free of the raised drawstring and revealing no tan line at all that Simon could see.

      "Huh." Simon caught the drawstring and tugged it free, then shoved at Jeremy's pants until they fell to the tops of his thighs. Rolling over onto his side (and conveniently shoving up into Jeremy's stroking hand, which curled obliging fingers over Simon's balls) Simon stripped the pants down to Jeremy's knees. Jeremy kicked them the rest of the way off without further ado. The expanses of browned skin thus revealed bore no trace of any tan lines, not even in the shape of ridiculous microbikini swim trunks (which Simon naturally assumed that Jeremy would wear, albeit without any kind of actual evidence to support this theory). "Huh," Simon said again, hooking his chin over Jeremy's shoulder and squinting down the length of his spine. "I think I like the idea that I'm getting."

      "And that idea is... what, precisely?" Jeremy asked, pressing his palm down.

      Simon put a hand on Jeremy's hip and grandly pushed him over onto his back. Exposing the rest of him still didn't reveal any tan lines, not even in places where Simon would have expected them. "Damn, you're a braver man than I," Simon said, shaking his head. "Some things in life really do not need to be experienced, like sunburned junk."

      "The trick is not to burn it, you know," Jeremy said, sanguine under Simon's scrutiny.

      "Easy for you to say." Simon held up one hand for Jeremy's inspection. "I mean, I'm not Dave, who actively bursts into flames when he's exposed to sunlight, but some of us don't have your natural advantages."

      Jeremy stretched his arms up over his head, humming out a faint and purring sound. "Are we actually going to have this conversation now?"

      "... nah, put your hand back on my dick," Simon said, and fell on him again.

      Somewhere in the middle of the raucous groping scuffle that followed, Jeremy stuck both his thumbs under the waistband of Simon's underwear and managed to peel them about halfway down. Simon decided that he liked this idea—sure, he wasn't exactly desperate just yet, but all the same he was starting to feel a little goal-oriented—and he broke off the snickering kiss in favor of wrestling those the rest of the way off. Now that they were both naked, every little touch meant that they stuck together, too damp with sweat to slide freely, not yet wet enough with it to make things slippery. It was nice, in a weird and too-hot kind of way: it lent every little contact, no matter how incidental, the weight of importance. It also made Simon catch Jeremy up in a bearhug to keep Jeremy's squirming from ripping swathes of skin off the fronts of his thighs. "I hope you've got some kind of stuff around," Simon said. "Because I can't remember if I brought anything, and even if I did, it's out in the main room, which I would totally get lost trying to find right now."

      "Really, Simon, I knew you'd be coming," Jeremy said reprovingly. "You might have slightly more faith in me." He pushed at Simon's chest and Simon reluctantly let him go, the two of them coming apart with a definite peeling sensation. It felt odd—like ripping himself naked off a leather car seat—and Simon winced and scratched absently at his chest.

      Landing on his stomach Jeremy eeled over to the side of the bed and pulled open the drawer of the nightstand. Simon reached over and put his hand on Jeremy's ass, since it was right there and all, looking good in the midday sunlight. Looking very good, actually—without really thinking about it much, Simon slithered over and rested his chin on Jeremy's butt, watching him poke around in the drawer. "I know you already found the stuff," Simon said comfortably. "You're just showing off your ass, now."

      The clattering from the drawer barely paused. "Am I?" Jeremy said. "How very nice of you to let me know."

      "No point in denying it," Simon said, patting Jeremy's butt fondly. "Because that is just the kind of show-off you are."

      "And I suppose you would know, at that." Jeremy continued to shuffle the contents of the drawer around. Simon put up with it for about five more seconds before giving in to an undeniable urge—"Waow!" Jeremy cried, his head jerking up and both feet thumping reflexively against Simon's ribs.

      "Sorry," Simon said, not meaning it at all, admiring the neat oval of dents that his teeth had left on Jeremy's ass. "But, you know, that's what you get, and also, that was a great sound, maybe I ought to bite you more often."

      Jeremy snorted. Still, now that Simon had made his point, Jeremy's hand flicked out of the drawer long enough to drop a blue-wrapped condom on the bed, then returned to stir the drawer's contents about some more. Simon considered biting Jeremy again, maybe giving him a matching ring of bitemarks on the other side, but a glance to his right distracted him from this idea: the dresser pushed up against one of the other walls of the octagon had a huge oval mirror behind it, tilted just low enough to show the near side of the bed. Simon's eyes narrowed as he considered his brand-new options.

      "There we are," Jeremy said, plucking a small bottle out of the nightstand. He started to roll back over, to come back to where he'd left Simon, but Simon put a hand on Jeremy's ass and pinned him none too gently to the bed just where he was. Jeremy subsided with a startled little sound, then glanced back over his shoulder. "... yes?"

      "Stay right there," Simon said. "I've got an idea."

      "Oh, dear."

      "Shut up," said Simon, scooting over, throwing little glances at the mirror to double-check his position. Jeremy waited more or less patiently, an expectant look on his face, while Simon rolled up onto his side and got himself settled. The mirror wasn't quite long enough to show the whole bed, but it held Simon's reflection from the knees up. He caught Jeremy's hip and rolled Jeremy back against him, Jeremy's shoulders nestled against his chest, Jeremy's ass pressed back against his groin, Jeremy's tanned form caught in the mirror with Simon's larger, paler one echoing it like a frame—"There," Simon said comfortably. "That'll do."

      Jeremy started to ask—Simon could see his lips part in the mirror—but then he also caught sight of himself in the mirror and the question dissolved into a small, wry smile. "Oh," Jeremy said, relaxing back against Simon, the shape of him going languid. "Really, Simon, you could have just said."

      "Where's the fun in that?" Simon put his hand on Jeremy's thigh, watching the reflection of his pale fingers spread out over golden-brown skin. Jeremy pillowed his head on his upraised arm and watched Simon watch him, his other arm falling to drape naturally over his waist, his cock dropping down along the line of his pelvis to rest its head lightly against the mattress—"Yeah," Simon said, giving Jeremy a little squeeze. "I think I like this idea."

      Jeremy plucked the condom from the mattress where he'd dropped it and held it up. "In that case, I'll have to ask you to do this bit—"

      "Yeah," said Simon, taking it. "You wanna do the other?"

      "I expect you'd like that," Jeremy said, picking up the little bottle and popping open its cap.

      Simon couldn't help but grin, even as he tore into the condom wrapper. "Yeah, you know what, I think I would."

      Jeremy's only answer was a small and crooked smile. Simon rolled back a bit, just enough to fiddle on the condom (which was as warm as everything else in the room, for a nice change of pace). It was kind of awkward, putting on a condom one-handed without watching, but Simon knew where his dick was, so he managed. His eyes had better things to be doing, like jumping from Jeremy to Jeremy's reflection and back as Jeremy waggled his slick fingers, then drew two long, wet lines down the length of his cock (undoubtedly just for Simon's benefit)—Jeremy brought one knee to his chest, folding into a neat little package, and paused to meet Simon's eyes in the mirror.

      "Well, go on," Simon said.

      "Thank you, I think I will," said Jeremy, and without further ado he pushed his hand down between his upraised leg and the mattress, twisting the tips of two fingers into himself with an idle little flourish.

      Like so much else about Jeremy, it was a hell of a show, entirely on purpose. What little of it Simon was getting in person was great enough, with the subtle slow dip of Jeremy's fingers nearly hidden behind the curve of his body, the soft catch and release of his breath—in the mirror it was plain to see what was going on, and plain to see the look of lazy concentration on Jeremy's face, his eyes closed as if in sleep, his mouth half-open. The mirror caught the whole image and reduced it to a size where Simon could see everything at once, rather than having to pick and choose what part of Jeremy he wanted to look at. Jeremy sucked his lower lip into his mouth and Simon went still, choosing not to breathe for a few seconds just so that there would be no risk of his interrupting this little tableau.

      Of course, that was enough to interrupt it, eventually: Jeremy's eyes cracked open and he smiled ever so slightly around his caught lower lip. "I could use you here," he suggested, his voice soft, his fingers getting a little more exploratory.

      "Bet you could," Simon said, his voice gone a little rough. He caught his wrapped cock in one hand and brought it up, rolling forward until the head bumped lightly against Jeremy's still-working fingers. There was a momentary, gentle squeeze as Jeremy's knuckles came together on either side of the head of Simon's cock, and then Simon nudged his hips forward and pushed up in between those fingers, which caught him and pressed him neatly into place.

      It was a little awkward, right at first, and a frown flitted over Jeremy's face as he pushed up and worked himself back down onto Simon's cock. For his part Simon caught Jeremy's hip, ostensibly to help but also to make sure that Jeremy didn't fall off the edge of the bed, because some kinds of hilarity could ruin pretty much any setup, no matter how sweet. Of course, Simon was amply distracted, so it took him a minute to realize why this was pretty unlikely to happen; by that time Jeremy had come to rest spooned up against Simon again, with much less in the way of anything trapped between them. "Ah, there," Jeremy said, his own voice thicker now—like he had something caught in his throat, Simon could not help but think, and for a moment he wavered on the verge of snickering. Instead he indulged in a single, shallow, gentle thrust, and watched avidly as Jeremy's stomach muscles subtly bunched and relaxed again, absorbing the motion.

      "Nice," Simon said, glancing at himself in the mirror like he was trying to share the hot with that other Simon, who would totally understand. The other Simon seemed to approve, so Simon leaned down to nip at the curve of Jeremy's ear, watching himself do it—Jeremy was also watching him do it, Simon realized, and in—retaliation? reward? something—he nudged his hips forward again and watched the reaction roll upwards until it made Jeremy drop his eyes half-shut and catch his breath raggedly. Both Simons approved. "No hurry," Simon said.

      "No hurry," Jeremy agreed, his reflection giving Simon a crooked little smile accented with a faint flash of pink. He drew his knee up again, giving Simon a little more room to work.

      With an effort Simon kept it slow for a little while, drawing out the next few minutes to the accompaniment of a slow burn kindling in his gut. Jeremy closed his eyes and sucked his lower lip into his mouth and let it happen, arching to accommodate each careful little stroke and then settling back again, making soft little huffing noises in lieu of breathing, and Simon couldn't get enough of that; he put his free hand here and there, on Jeremy's hip, on his thigh, on his upper arm, all the while watching Jeremy, and himself. "I think someone put that mirror there on purpose," Simon said, nuzzling at the side of Jeremy's throat, his eyes still firmly on their reflections.

      "Not guilty," Jeremy said, slitting one eye open. His chin lifted every time Simon pushed into him, just another continuation of the motion. "Still, I believe you're right."

      Simon put his hand back on Jeremy's hip. "Aaaand while I could watch this until I die, that might be like ten minutes from now, if we don't get on with things—"

      As if summoned by Simon's hand, Jeremy's leg lifted from the bed and hooked back over both of Simon's, Jeremy reaching back to wind both arms around Simon's neck as a bonus. The tan shape of him elongated in the mirror, no longer curled forward about himself, now curved back against Simon. Simon found himself with his hand on Jeremy's upraised knee and the sudden new ability to grind up into Jeremy halfway to his throat; with Jeremy's legs spread so wide he could also see himself doing it in the mirror, which was... distracting, to say the least. Simon's hand tightened on Jeremy's knee and he spent a good minute or two committing the new image to memory, his lips roaming over the side of Jeremy's throat, the side of his face, the curve of his ear—Jeremy turned his head and they shared a semi-frantic semi-awkward sideways kiss, and then things got distracting and they both forgot about it.

      His hand was so white against Jeremy's skin—Simon reached down and grabbed Jeremy's cock, more to continue the floor show than anything else. Of course, his hand looked good there, and the reactions jerking along Jeremy's face and body and cock all looked good, too, and now Jeremy was blowing out these sharp little breaths at every thrust and Christ Simon couldn't tear his eyes away... "You ready?" he said, currently unable to recognize what a stupid question that was.

      "When you are," Jeremy said, panting it out through his little grin.

      "Gonna give us a show?"

      Jeremy's eyes dropped half-closed and he arched away from Simon, becoming a single electric curve that touched Simon only at the top and the bottom, which Simon figured was a 'yes'. Simon locked his eyes on the mirror and just let go with everything he had.

      Jeremy's leg tightened around both of Simon's, the long muscles in his thighs visibly quivering, and suddenly Simon couldn't have dislodged him if he'd tried, not that he was going to try—he tightened his hand around Jeremy's cock and fumbled for the space of two long, hard strokes before he found the assorted pieces of the rhythm he was looking for, his wrist flexing as he jerked Jeremy off, the both of them entirely on the move in the mirror. It was the hottest goddamned thing Simon had ever seen, let alone been a part of. (Although he might have been biased.) Christ, Jeremy's face alone

      Every thrust sent Jeremy surging up and forward before the leg hooked behind Simon's pulled him back down again—every muscle in his body was taut or trembling or both—his chest heaved as he dragged in those rapid, shallow breaths—the sound of those breaths changed, abruptly, and Simon noticed the familiar little shift and catch, and so he was ready when Jeremy's eyes flew open and his spine stiffened and his cock leaped eagerly in Simon's hand. Eyes glued to the mirror Simon worked him through it, absolutely fixated on the sight of Jeremy coming all over his own stomach, so obsessed with the little details of it that the explosion of his own orgasm utterly blindsided him—without meaning to, without realizing, Simon cried out a hopeless, helpless, distressingly naked little sound, with his mouth not an inch from Jeremy's ear. His eyes finally closed, despite everything he could do to keep them open, and Simon took those last few prolonging strokes in darkness and gasping quiet, less like a victory lap and more like stubbornly holding a pose for a few seconds too long.

      By the time Simon managed to force his eyes open again, Jeremy was relaxed and still, draped back over Simon with his eyes shut. The mess on his belly was an absurdly perfect fan shape drawn in long splattered lines—there was no denying that it was exactly what it looked like—and his cock, still mostly hard, once again fell in a neat curve into the sweat-damp crease between his thigh and his groin, succumbing to gravity. His leg still lay hooked over Simon's, his arms still up over his head, reaching back to catch Simon's neck in something that was half a hug and half a death grip. Here in a minute, Simon thought dizzily, it would be too damned hot for this.

      Still, even in the aftermath it was a hell of a pretty sight, and Simon enjoyed it for several seconds before Jeremy opened his eyes and favored him with that opaque and twisted little smile. "Well, Simon," Jeremy said, and went quiet again.

      "Yeah," Simon said, patting Jeremy's upraised knee, since it was the easiest part of him to reach. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew he ought to pull free before he got much softer, but he really couldn't bring himself to move much. It took a little twinge of unpleasant pressure to make Simon reach down and catch the base of the condom, to hold it on as he pulled free—usually his least favorite part of the whole act, except that this time Simon got to watch Jeremy shut his eyes and shiver in satiated exhaustion as his cock pulled free, briefly glistening wet in the mirror. It was... nice. Possibly even great, but Simon was too wasted to really judge these things right now.

      Simon pulled off the condom with a little wet snap and tied a knot in it, then stuffed it back into the wrapper. Jeremy reclaimed his leg, stretching it straight up for a moment before letting it fall alongside the other one; he let go of Simon a moment later, pulling his arms free and shaking them out. He was still settled back against Simon's chest, though, and it was way too hot for that, but Simon just patted Jeremy's hip and closed his eyes. "Thanks," he said.

      Even with his eyes shut he could sense Jeremy's bemusement. "You're welcome?" Jeremy said. "What brought that about?"

      "When I go back to work they're going to give me hell about this whole thing," Simon said.

      "Yes, I expect they might," Jeremy said. He sounded like he was trying not to sound confused, which was music to Simon's ears.

      "And someone—and by 'someone' I mean 'Mike'—is going to plaster my office with gay porn, as part of this process."

      "... yes?"

      Simon kissed Jeremy's bare shoulder, since it was right there and all. "And now, when he does that, I can just look at the pictures and then tell him that I've participated in gay porn hotter than that, and he will choke on his own tongue and die, and maybe it'll cut a couple of days off my penance."

      "Ah," said Jeremy, and that was that.


See, it's 50.3 because the Lacuna doesn't end the chapter, but rather, it comes in about halfway through. Bet you didn't know that this was a mathematical process.

Hooray for post-HF Simon and his willingness to be randomly, bass-ackwardsly sweet about things. Also, kissier, of which I approve, although I get kind of cranky when writing about kissing. 'Kiss': like 'nipple', one of those words that never sounds quite right to me, but for which there exists no alternative that I like better. (Ugh. I hate 'nipple'.)

This story did end up reiterating a bunch of descriptive points that I made in High Fidelity, and I blame its point-threeness for that. In the book, it fades back in right afterwards, and so I set up the scene as I found appropriate--and then in 50.3 I had to set up the scene again. And it's the same scene. So, uh, enjoy, and also, enjoy.