Chapter 1: Morning
Something was different on this morning. Maybe it was the sunlight which went through the curtains, the blanket or the pillow on which Paco woke up on this morning. For the young Mexican, it was more likely the other person next to him in bed which gave him this good feeling. Srash and him had their second date last evening and everything went well, besides the bar fight started by some jerks who wanted to talk smack about the shark whose been there with his macho-boyfriend Paco, who couldn't let this happen by letting his fists talk for him. The thanks for this act of nobility was a black eye with some scratches, which were nothing compared to the pride he felt when he beat them up; although Srash had to pay for some broken glasses in the end.
Srash was lying on his back, eyes closed and seemed to be deeply relaxed. Last night was nice, it was easy to read out of his satisfied face. Although none of them were eager to fight in a bar, it had the after effect of bringing them closer together since Srash took Paco back to his home and gave him a bag of ice for his injured eye. While the Latin American was still bragging with his victory and pressing the ice on his eye, he couldn't keep himself from flirting at the shark's direction.
"Come on, Tiburón, can you take your shirt off?", Paco begged Srash. "Promise that my eye won't hurt so much." His begs were heard when the tall man pulled his shirt over his head, revealing his chest which let Paco indeed, feel less hurt. So they spent the rest of the evening on his couch, talking a bit before Srash invited Paco to sleep in his bed. "No need for you to sleep on the couch.", he simply said, which got no back talk.
Carefully, Paco moved himself out of the bed, stood with both feet on the blue carpet floor and sneaked in his shorts and shirt out of the bedroom over to the living room and kitchen. There wasn’t much to see last night, partly because he had a black eye, which was still a bit swollen, and also because his attention was directed at Srash.
The first view of the room was normal, too normal if you think about who was living here, yet this could also be the exact reason for why it was like this. Everything seemed so plain and simple, nothing really caught his attention.
<Spartanic, efficient, inconspicuous. For a meta-being, a very practical way to life> The synthetic voice in Paco's head commented with this view, who felt slightly uncomfortable with that.
"It feels so impersonal." Paco returned as his head went over to the shelf right beside him. A few books were standing there, nothing that would interest him since the mexican was never fond of reading, but the pictures made him indeed a little bit curious. Except Srash, who was in most of them, younger but still recognizable. Everybody else in them was unknown to Paco. What Paco also noticed was, that in some photos, Srash was next to a really tall shark man with pale white skin and black-red eyes who held him once on his arm or shoulders. Probably his father, although there was no similarity between Srash and his father; somehow, Paco couldn't stop himself from making a comparison between Srash's father and his own, who had kicked him out of his house after he was condemned to seven months in prison. In fact, there was no real similarity between the two males. Another thing he noticed was that none of the pictures showed someone who could be the mother of his boyfriend. Not that it bothered him directly, because Paco didn't know his native mother.
"Paco, what are you doing there?" Like he's been struck by lightning Paco shrugged as Srash was suddenly standing in the doorway watching him with a suspicious glare in his green eyes. It maybe had been a bit uncomfortable but on second thought Paco did nothing wrong from his point of view, "Was just looking at the pictures, Tiburón." Srash just smiled in response to this statement showing some of his sharp teeth as he scratched his stomach.
Srash was about seven-feet-tall with light blue skin, black hair, green eyes and pointy ears. His sharp teeth gave him the resemblance of a shark, which Paco found very alluring.
<I detect an increased heart beat as well as an increase in your pupil diameter> As rare as Paco agreed with the voice in his head, this time, it was right. In those black and green checkered boxers, Srash looked incredible in combination with his loose black hairs.
"Are you hungry? I Could make you some pancakes." The shark suggested at the Mexican, who seemed to be in his own thoughts for a minute. In that minute, Paco could swear that he forgot that the two knew each other for about half a year and only had two dates so far. Having this strange feeling for a couple seconds after Paco answered Srash's suggestion with a nod, the usually reckless macho was excited to have some pancakes. And if the Mexican was honest, the day couldn't have started better.
Chapter 2: The taste on his lips
What can go wrong when two guys spend watching a basketball game of teams they don't know? Not that much although one might shut off the damn phone.
Just as Srash left the grocery store with a plastic bag in his hand, a sky blue cabriolet passed him by. It was Paco's car, that's what he recognized immediately by looking at the driver, even if it was just for a mere moment and just enough for them to give each other a small smile. Two weeks have passed since their last date and since then the two tried to see at least once a day which may not sound so hard, but Paco’s job made it here and then a bit complicated. As so called hueso callejón, or alley bone, the young Mexican was constantly busy making errands for his gang, the Fuego Muertos. Therefore he had not much time to take care of his relationship with the shark, who showed lots of sympathy and always said that whatever they couldn’t do during the day, they could still do during the evening. They often met at the local bar, diner or at one of their homes.
Srash thought it was funny that Paco cleaned up his home just for him, which he obviously rarely did.
On his way home, Srash was thinking about how the last few months went. Since he was released from Belle Reve eight months ago, he did his best and kept a low profile by not going back to his old life as junior criminal as well as broke contact with everyone he worked with back then. Thankfully, he prepared himself financially for such a situation as the mailman brought a special delivery for him every month with an envelope full of money. It might be the last remain of that time.
Paco shouldn’t know about these things, even if his crime record might not be the best, there was some kind of major difference between an errand boy of a small town gang and a bank robber with enough physical strength to break arms without problems. He wasn’t afraid of Paco breaking up with him if he knew, it would be more assumable that it would impress the tanned man with the red bandana so much that his boyfriend was such a reckless guy, that he’d probably ask him to join his gang. And with his experience it might not be a bad idea but on second thought, Srash might also bring himself back onto the radar of those who captured him two years ago. And going right back to prison was the last thing the shark wanted.
Back at his home, a small house at the other end of El Paso, in a rather poorer region, Srash bypassed the pictures which Paco looked at recently and had to halt for a moment. Of all the pictures, he especially liked the one of his father and himself standing there as if they were the greatest. It was taken right after their first joint robbery, a father-son-moment so to speak. For the shark, it was the start of a very certain way of life, one which left its marks on him. He smiled before storing his groceries in the fridge and cupboards after this short nostalgic moment.
Around seven o’clock in the evening, the doorbell called him to the front door. Already expecting who it was, Srash dimmed the lights and made a checking look through the living room, everything was prepared. Paco had some beer with him, something from Annies and, as always, that bragging and manly smile which Srash kissed the second Paco entered. His lips were soft, warm and very nice to kiss. The strong glare in his brown eyes was very attractive.
“Make yourself at home.” Srash said welcoming after closing the door. While there, Paco had immediately noticed the romantic atmosphere with the dimmed light and everything, which he promptly commented on, “Pretty gay, don’t you think?” Frowning, Srash sighed and responded, “Says the guy with the obviously not straight beer in his hand.” Eyes on the six pack which Paco placed on the kitchen counter, he made a pouty face before Srash came behind him and started to rub his shoulders.
“How was your day?”
“It was okay, Tiburón. You know how it is: I get the package, deliver it and I don’t dare to take a look inside.”
Paco liked it when his boyfriend touched his shoulders, yet he preferred it when his hands didn’t move further down, definitely not between his shoulder blades.
“Game’s about to start.” Paco reminded Tiburón who, even if he wasn’t a big fan of basketball, let himself go along with the others excitement for the game. If there was one thing the Mexican liked about his taller boyfriend, it was his readiness to just do what he wanted. This gave him a feeling of freedom. Doing whatever he liked to do was great. He knew that he was the greatest in the other’s eyes and that no one else could keep up with the amount of respect Paco had for Tiburón and that he was not afraid of demonstrating that respect with his fists if someone dared to mistreat him.
Both Srash and Paco made themselves comfortable on the small couch, each of them opened a bottle of beer as the game started. They didn’t know any of the teams who were playing tonight but Srash had at least made himself familiar with some of the sport’s basics. As for Paco, he seemed to be totally clueless as well about the game and probably just liked to watch it, which was okay for the shark right next to him. How he watched the game with those excited eyes, almost jumped from the couch when one of them scored and sometimes choked on his beer brought an amused smile onto Srash’s face. Yes, that was his boyfriend.
By the end of the first half, one team obviously had the lead while the other one was way behind them. Paco laughed with his third beer almost empty while Srash still had his second, which he drank very slowly. “Why do you drink so slow?” The Mexican wanted to know.
“I rarely drink beer and to be honest, I don’t like it as much as you think.” Srash answered before he took another sip of the bitter and slightly sweet beer. Indeed, the taste wasn’t really appealing to him, but that’s been ignored for Paco’s sake. Then, his partner went silent, put the beer bottle on the table and directed his sight on Srash who felt a bit nervous then.
“You watching the game because I want to?”
“Partly. I was never really a fan of sports and didn’t want to be the fun brake, you know?”
Paco sighed, showed his usual smile and then suddenly punched Srash’s shoulder.
“Tiburón, ya don’t have to say yes to everything I wanna do. Okay, I love it that you don’t hold me on a leash and just lemme do what I want but you really don’t have to do it all the time, ya know?”
As serious as he wanted to make it sound, Srash couldn’t do anything else than start to laugh which caused confusion on Paco’s side. How the shark’s sharp teeth lightened up in this laugh was interesting and nice to see.
“Sorry but this totally didn’t sound like you, Paco!” Srash explained his reaction with some smaller giggled in-between.
<I agree, this way of speaking does not follow your common pattern>
“Thanks for your support, amigo.”
Paco moved closer to Srash, took his hand and kissed it, “I’m serious. You don’t have to say yes to everything I wanna do,” he demanded and ignored the game still going on.
On this demand, Srash returned with his lips dangerously close to his boyfriend’s, “But Paco, that’s why I love you! ‘Cause you just do what you-” He didn’t come further in his sentence because his partner took the bait and kissed him.
Was it the beer, he tasted? If so, why did it taste so good all of a sudden? Was it because of Paco? Probably, since Srash couldn’t stop kissing him then. It continued, the good taste continuing until the Mexican touched the shark’s chest; even with the shirt on, he could feel how soft his skin was below the fabric. This favor was returned from the shark by moving his hand up his tattooed right arm. The television was still running, the game continued but neither of them paid attention as Paco had his hands on Srash’s shoulders and pressed him carefully into a lying position, which wasn’t denied from his sharp toothed friend. He leaned back into the couch, pulled his tanned boyfriend onto his lap and gave him another kiss.
“Now it’s official,” Paco mumbled between the kiss.
“What do you mean?,” Srash asked dumbfounded, massaging Paco’s neck softly.
“We’re gay for each other, Tiburón.”
They laughed, kissed and hugged.
“You’re an idiot.”
“I am your idiot.”
Later they were sitting or lying on the couch, maybe a mixture of both, as they continued watching the game as well as sharing a beer. Srash got used to its taste as a result of him thinking of his boyfriend whenever he took a sip of it now.
“Wanna go to Annie’s later after the game?”
“Sure, I could use a burger later.”
One hour later the game was over but for some reason, neither of the two were eager to get up from the couch and their embrace. Until Paco’s phone rang and he was forced to shift a bit to get it out of his pocket, “Felipé, what’s up? What? Now?! No it’s….it’s a bit inapprops right now. Dios no, yo no te digo!”
According to how he sounded, it was to assume that it had to with something of the gang with the small assumption that Paco hadn’t told anyone so far that he’s got a boyfriend; if one would look at the shark, it was understandable, “Fine, I’ll be there in half an hour, cabrón.” The Mexican finally said before he hung up, “Sorry but I gotta go. An important delivery to Downtown.”
In a bit of a hurry, Paco stood up from the couch and went to the front door as all of a sudden, Srash followed him, “Take me with you.”
Surprised, Paco pulled his eyebrows together and turned around to Srash. Was he serious about that?
<According to the sound of his voice as well as the posture he’s presenting, yes>
The voice in his head came which didn’t help the Mexican to relax. This wasn’t about to be a cruise also no drive to the cinema like on their first date but instead a delivery for the Fuego Muertos. Okay, they were dangerous on very rare occasions, but when it came to Srash, his boyfriend, the macho inside him couldn’t just say yes to this idea.
And then, the shark wanted something from the other one, “Paco, look at me. Very closely. You really think, I couldn’t take care of myself?”
Of all questions, why did it has to be this one!?
“I don’t but-”, Paco wanted to insist but Srash was faster than him.
“No buts, I’m coming with you.” And he passed him through the door to the car standing at the sidewalk.
Could he blame him for it? This was probably his kind of payback for the game and beer. And, on second thought, he wasn’t alone on the ride, which would ease the Mexican up on this late night delivery.
Chapter 3: Delivery and Pizza
A delivery, pizza with your boyfriend and thinking about how a realtionship might continue. Talking about having a good evening.
On the ride to the Downtown of El Paso, Paco realized how pleasant it was when Tiburón was sitting right next to him in the car. Although this was a job for the gang, Srash’s company made the whole thing way more relaxing and not as tense as it usually was when he drove to the city. Taking in the street lights and the music from the radio, it was almost like a date. He could remember their last one pretty well; a nice evening with Paco having an ice bag on his black eye while Srash was nagging at him because he hadn’t put up a fight with those jerks at the bar who called him a freak, monster and a bunch of other names. He didn’t care about that since they dared to talk smack about his boyfriend, a crime that only had one appropriate punishment!
Back then, when he was younger, up until now as he was close to become an adult his fists were always the best weapon to make his point clear when somebody didn’t show the proper respect to those who were close to the tanned Mexican with the red bandana when he was around. Tonight however wasn’t about him, it was about the one guy he loved.
<Your feelings for Srash have a negative influence on your readiness for violence. There is an increase of 11% within the past three weeks>
Paco heard this report in his mind but, again, he didn’t really care about that and felt like this was nothing to worry about, “Amigo, if you were in my position, you would react the same as I did.”
Some anger was in his mental voice this time, shown outside his head by gripping the wheel a bit tighter. <Such interactions are not part of my program>
Srash enjoyed the ride even if the seat felt like it was too small for him. But like the last time, he sat in Paco’s blue cabriolet. He had to get used to it. The closer they got to the city, the brighter it got around them, especially the sky scrapers looking way more illuminated as they did from far away. Really much couldn’t be said about this city, as she never seemed to be attractive enough for making business there in the past as it was the case now. That El Paso might be a good hideout was something, Srash noticed after his time in Belle Reve. But he preferred going to stay in his home area as it was smaller and even more unsuspecting.
“Alright, we should almost at the meeting point,” Paco informed his co-driver after he got into the night’s traffic and came slowly forward in it. Whenever they were standing at a traffic light the shark felt like he was being watched. Last time, it was the same and he managed to simply ignore them because his boyfriend next to him was far more interesting than these strangers staring at him. Too bad that they had to drive to the city, as it was very lit between them back in his home, a thing he noticed immediately as he felt the difference in the warmth and softness on Paco’s skin, not as tensed as usual and definitely not as tough and adamant as the shark’s. Honestly, it was the first time that the shark envied a non-meta for his limited body; his father always told him that he was special and should be proud of his genes. His skin almost like sand paper, rough and unpleasant, could scratch someone by the slightest touch. This was indeed one of the first things, Paco noticed on his boyfriend when they got closer and made him hold back in the beginning until he found and got fond of, the softer parts on his chest, stomach, neck, arms and hands. After he made that discovery, Paco was always eager to treat those areas with attention whenever he could.
Paco drove the car into a parking house, up to the fourth floor and stopped. “They should come in a few minutes and get the package,” the Mexican assured and leaned back while the shark looked around from his seat.
Moments like this, the waiting for the customer, were always the most tense for a hueso callegon, as no one could tell how it might end for him in cases where they don’t act as how it was agreed before. The worst thing that could happen is, that the cops could already be waiting for him around the next corner and catch him the moment he hands over the package. Luckily for him, this never happened but instead did happen to the other party who hadn’t played fair two or three times. Which he had heard from other gang members who ran into a rigged game.
But as always he played the cool and tough guy, leaned a bit over to Srash and stroked his pointy ear with a finger and laughed as it twitched from the surprise, “Stop it….you know that I’m ticklish there..” Srash nagged then with a playfully annoyed glare at Paco who obviously showed no sign of guilt on his smirking face.
“I know, Tiburón. But that’s why I’m doing it!” Giggling, they started to joke around in the car until the shark’s ear twitched because it caught a car getting close.
“Got to be them.” Paco swallowed his breath as he stepped out of the car and got the package out of the trunk. Same procedure as always: don’t look into the package, just give it to the receiver whose been standing about twenty meters outside of his car. The Mexican took a deep breath as he was handing over the package to the man in the suit, waited a brief moment before he got rolled up dollar bills.
“Good evening.” Was all the other man said before he got back into his car and was on his way. Paco gasped relieved when he was back in the car.
He started the engine as Srash’s hand was now on his leg with a motivating look from his green eyes, “Well this went nicely.”
“Dios, that it did, Tiburón.” He agreed with a bit of tension in his voice, which faded as he was asking the shark, if he should take him home now.
The evening was still young, so they could definitely do something, other couples would do on such evenings. “What do you think about pizza?”
“Sure thing, if you pay.” Nodding the shark accepted this term, but not without giving a condition in return, “Next time, you pay.”
Later in the pizzeria, the two of them sat at a table surrounded by people glared over to them every now and them, mostly because of Srash who drew the attention to himself with his appearance. Somehow it was amusing that they were looking at him as if he was some kind of fearsome or interesting thing, while Paco just had this kind and tough expression in his face which got all of his attention, especially when they were eating their pizzas.
Paco seemed to be very into watching the shark eating his slice or rather how his teeth just went through the dough like a hot knife through butter.
“If you keep staring at me like that, your pizza’s gonna get cold.”, Srash mentioned in Paco’s direction and pointed at his pizza, which he paid for.
Immediately the Mexican took a slice and started to eat, munching it in a few bites and explaining himself, “You know, Srash, when I look at you I…..sometimes forget myself a bit...”
<Like you forgot your money>, has been added sarcastically from the voice in his head, which has been answered by Paco rolling his eyes. During their dinner, the two lovers could relax at least with Srash ignoring all the eyes staring at him as he only paid attention to Paco whose leg went along his leg under the table as they were talking and joking the whole time. Could this be called a date? If so, it would have been their third date, which took a certain ending in the usual case. With this thought confronted, did the Mexican shook his head and kept eating, not wanting to think about such things right now.
“You’ve got something on your cheek, Paco,” Srash said and placed a finger on the spot, which has been covered with tomato sauce on the others cheek. “Thanks, Tiburón.”
“You know, I like this nickname.”
“Really? ‘Cause it came from the others after they saw you for the first time.” “Really?”
“Totally, Tiburón! Some of us were amazed that a shark on two legs just walked through Georgetown like it was nothing special.” Srash smiled as a reaction to this statement, since it gave him a feeling of belonging to something, a feeling which he was looking for after his time in prison.
The shark paid for his and Paco’s meal, followed him to the parking lot from which they didn’t leave immediately but instead smooched Paco who stood a bit on his toes with Srash cupping his face with his hands.
“Sorry about tonight, Srash. I am really an idiot.” He apologized with a look into those green eyes of the shark, whose arms closed around him and pressed the Mexican closer to him.
“You’re my idiot, Paco.”
“Come on, Tiburón. Lemme get you home, okay?”
At Srash’s house Paco stopped the car, “I got to bring the cash back to the boss.”
The Mexican said before saying good bye or rather good bye kissing the shark who then left his cabriolet, “Can I come over for lunch later?”
Already suspecting, what his tanned boyfriend had in mind with this question, the taller male brought it to an end, “Sure, if you bring bacon and eggs.” Embarrassed Paco looked at him, nodded and drove away.
<You’re getting predictable.>
“Oh shut up!”
Back in his darkened home, Srash directly went into the bedroom and stripped out of his clothes until only his shorts were left and crawled into his bed. But he couldn’t fall asleep, instead he looked at the ceiling and was thinking about tonight especially the part with the delivery with Paco which kept his eyes open. It was a bit intriguing, indeed, and all he had to do was join the Fire Cobras, working up in their hierarchy and then-
“No,” he stopped himself and slipped further under the blanket. No need to hesitate things, not after being relieved from prison for like seven months by now. Srash got strict orders, to not do anything criminal yet when he was with Paco in that car and felt the tension during the transaction, it was incredibly hard to follow them; if it weren’t for his father he might have disobeyed them. Sighing, Srash laid on the side, closed his eyes and tried to think of something else, like Paco coming over later for lunch, which helped him fall asleep.
Chapter 4: Reflexes
Some secrets can be kept forever a secret. But it can help bringing two idiots even closer to one another.
Until now, the day was going very nice. Srash was standing at the cash register in the grocery store, had just taken his wallet out of his pocket when all of a sudden four armed and masked robbers stood in the entrance of the store and started causing trouble, “Hand over the money and don’t anyone dare make a move!”
One of them threatened aggressively with his gun swinging around. Everybody lifted their hands, fear filled the air but Srash was unaffected from this, instead he observed the robbers and started to think. Four people, all of them armed with a pistol, one of them at the cashier threatening the employee, two were at the entrance as guard as the last one collected the money from the customers. Even if the police have been called, it would take at least ten to fifteen minutes until they arrive. If so, this situation might escalate and turn into a shooting. What should he do then? Play the hero maybe? Not exactly his preferred role, but thinking about the circumstances, it wouldn’t be harmful to do something good. But first things first, taking a deep breath and shutting everything else around him off.
“Gimme your money, fishface!”, the robber barked through his mask at the shark, waving with his gun again. Suddenly, Srash knocked him down with a swift and hard clout to his head, causing him to become unbalanced and fall backwards. Srash was fast, very fast, as he took the gun from his weakened grip, aimed at the robber near the cashier and fired. A single well aimed shot to his leg brought him down. As it happened, the other two indeed noticed what happened but were way too slow in their reaction. Now, all four of them were lying on the ground, each of them with a bullet wound in their leg while the shark pointed the gun at them, switching from one person to another.
“Could somebody call the police and an ambulance?!”, Srash requested with a raised voice; although his head boomed from the clout, the adrenaline flooding his veins compensated this issue.
Twenty minutes later, a police car and an ambulance were at the store, which took care of the robbers and the shocked customers, not to mention the one, who defused the situation with three shots and a clout. As the officer wrote down Srash’s statement, the shark noticed how the people which were in the store with him looked at him right now; no fear, no panic, but joy and satisfaction instead.
Somehow, he didn’t like this, even if it had been something pleasant, “If dad would see me like this, he might scold me until there’s no sunrise.”
Paco on the the other side was unable to be stopped from cheering as he heard what happened later. His boyfriend, who’s been stared at from everyone in the town, saved them from a robbery without hesitating! Something he’d definitely was going to brag with what’s been unwanted from Srash as they were at the Mexican’s place and made it comfortable on the old leather couch. And of course did this restrained behavior made Paco very curious ‘cause for him it was not to understand why Tiburón wasn’t full of joy when he was about to become a local hero. “Simply said: it doesn’t fit me to be the hero, Paco,” he stated with a sigh, not looking at him, “I am no hero. I simply did, what anyone would have done.”
The Mexican had to contradict this statement, “Whatcha talking there? You don’t have to be so humble about it. I mean, tell me one person who’d knock down a robber with his head and shot the others down in what? Five seconds?” Even though the shark would have wanted to agree with him on how awesome this might was, the behavior he grew up with stood against this. But when Paco looked at him with this proud glare in his brown eyes, it was hard not to feel at least some joy in it.
“One thing I’d like to know, Tiburón. Namely why you haven’t killed those robbers?” Wow, now that was a question Srash hadn’t expect to hear! Okay, Paco was a gang member and there, it was important to make clear that nobody’s gonna mess with them in their turf. Consequences would always be the same, either you’re getting an uncomfortable visit or you get six feet under. Still, Paco could be as much cool or dangerous as he wanted to look alike but Srash knew from the moment he saw him the first time, that his boyfriend never killed someone. Why? Because he is too….human.
“Why should I? It’s not like they were a real threat to me or that this was the first time someone pointed a gun at my face,” The shark answered bluntly, then suddenly realized what’s been said at the end of that sentence as the Mexican’s eyes opened widely, “Dammit.”
“Tiburón, somebody has threatened you with a gun before?” Given from how the Mexican’s voice sounded, it was clear that he was not only surprised but also worried about the Shark. Which was exactly what Srash didn’t want to happen, that Paco learned anything from his past! Now it happened and the only thing he could do was to continue what he started.
“Four years ago, as I got into conflict with the law for the first time. My dad took me with him to a bank robbery in Gotham City.” Those relaxed kind of talking creeped Paco slightly, probably because it came so suddenly and he still had to swallow that bitter pill. Until a few minutes ago, Srash was just a shark on two legs with an enormous physical strength and all of a sudden, he was supposed to be a robber just the same age, he beat up dumbasses on the school ground or let thing disappear from a grocery store in his pocket? Somehow, Paco had a hard time believing that.
“You’re kidding me here, right Tiburón? I mean, you definitely hadn’t fight against Batman!” Paco joked non-believing about what Srash told him there, although the glare in his green eyes seemed to make him doubt that disbelief.
“I did not but I once fought against Aqualad, if that counts as well.” Srash returned boastful and a smirk.
<It is doubtful, that this is imagination. Voice analysis does not confirm a lie in these words> In regard to the shark’s body language, pitch and facial expression, the voice in Paco’s head took away his doubts, which did not take away the little bit of discomfort he felt then.
Paco took a deep breath, gulped and was about to say something, when Srash was faster, “I didn’t mean to tell you about this, because I was afraid of the reaction. I mean, would you date a criminal who’s also a…well….shark?”
Now the Mexican frowned before laying a hand on Srash’s shoulder, pressed his fingers into his shirt. It was hard for him to not show his fear after hearing this but how must it be for Srash? He was already some kind of an outside, no matter how much he tried to adapt with his appearance so what must it be like to be an actual threat for everybody? A known criminal who could break bones without problems? Damn, Paco realized that Srash might have a tough skin, but inside that, there was a sensitive being.
“Srash, I….I don’t know, what to say about this.” The Mexican started and immediately slapped himself in the mind, “But damn, I wouldn’t leave you because of that. Who’d do that? Only jerks and I’m not one. I’m an idiot, who also got something kept a secret from his boyfriend.”
Now it was Srash, whose been curious about what a small criminal with an ego as big as the statue of liberty could have up his sleeve to concur with a meta who has been in Belle Reve?
At first however, the shark was surprised about Paco when he undressed himself, leaving his tanned chest bare and allowed a perfect view on that tattoo on his right arm. Not to mention, that this was the first time he saw the Mexican like that. But when he stood up from the couch and showed him his back, Srash saw something that has been completely new to him. Because that thing on his back was by far no tattoo.
It looked like a black scarab, who glowed slightly red and seemed as if was implanted into Paco’s spine. What in the world was that? He didn’t knew why, but Srash felt the urge to touch this thing, what caused the Mexican to tense suddenly.
<Unknown physical contact! Activating security systems!> The scarab’s voice in Paco’s head screamed as it was touched, “The hell are you doing back there?!” His question was unanswered but instead the scarab built some kind of armor which had strong resemblance with a scarab, just in big in black with red color markings.
All of Srash’s mental warning bells rang as he saw this monstrosity standing before him. His body tensed completely, was unable to move but also screamed to escape which the shark denied with all his strength. All this time, he told himself loud and clearly, that it was Paco inside this armor and this made him resist the urge to fly. When the armored Mexican turned around and faced the shark, looked at him with these bright orange eyes, it was almost as if he saw such an armor again before.
“Paco?” The sound in the shark’s voice was scared and cautious; the fact that his entire body wasn’t shivering from the fearsome view, might come from his strength of will. For the moment, there was no answer from the other male, until he snapped out of what seemed to be a slight trance, “Tiburón? Sorry, the scarab he...he simply acted on his own!”
“He? Wait a sec, that thing in your spine thinks?”
“And talks in my head the whole time. But when you touched it, he literally lost his mind….as you can see now.”
“Yeah, I can see that. So, is that the first time this happens or-?”
“The second. On the first time, somebody was shooting at me and the scarab activated the armor to protect me.”
Now as they stood there and talked to each other, the Mexican in the black armor was less frightening than he was a few minutes ago. In fact, Srash found that his boyfriend looked hot in some way.
“Say, can you take down the armor around your head?” The shark urged what has been answered with a short shrug.
“I can try.” Paco answered then, but had actually no idea how to do it. So far, the scarab had deactivated the armor once the danger was no longer apparent, but now it seemed like that he had to take care of this issue. Might be what happen if not only the chest gets armored, but the whole body instead.
“What am I supposed to do? Help me out, amigo!” He pleaded in his mind and promptly got an answer on that request.
<This scarab has reacted on a potential threat. Self-defensive measures in order to protect the host has been activated until the threat is no longer imminent>
“Threat? Dios mios, you are kinda loco, ain’t ya? Take this damn armor down immediately!”
Instead of just the helmet, the entire armor on Paco’s body disappeared and left him there standing in the living room of his home with a bare chest and a slightly annoyed face.
“Damn Paco, you’re hot.” Srash involuntary babbled at his boyfriend’s direction.
“Thanks, Tiburón,” He returned with a smirk and laughed as the shark’s cheeks purpled and his entire face looked as if he was totally embarrassed from this. “And now, take your damn shirt off.”
Playing with the other’s shirt, Srash wanted to know the reason for this playfully voiced order although it might have been a bit obvious as for why he wanted that.
“I wanna make out with you, babe.” The answer came as predictable as did the hand of the Mexican under the shark’s shirt, moving up on his pecs and giving them a soft massage, “And your shirt is in the way, that’s why.” During the massage, Paco was looking at Srash with his irresistible brown eyes and stood a bit on his toes as he kissed his neck.
“And the pants?” Srash added and played with Paco’s belt, “Wouldn’t that also be in the way?”
Paco nodded and laughed when Srash took off his shirt and continued with the belt of his pants.
“And you’re a macho.”
With those words outspoken they firstly kissed on the lips, then it went more intimate before Srash sat down on the couch with Paco on his lap, both their pants slightly open while they were sitting there caressing their naked chest and stomach. Paco didn’t bother the tough scratchy skin of his boyfriend, since it was very soft and tender on certain spots, what the shark enjoyed when he touched his soft skin, well, except his muscles of course.
“I love you, Paco.” Srash mused as he nipped on the other’s neck.
“And I love ya even more, Srash.” Paco ensured into his pointy ear, licked the lobe and pressed himself against him, enjoying the warmth and feeling of skin to skin.
“Can we go to Annie’s later?”
“Only if I don’t have to pay for yours.”
Chapter 5: Boyfriends
About six weeks later after Srash and Paco opened up to each other a bit more, their relationship was tighter than ever. Almost every day they spent together even went so far that Srash occasionally hung around with the Fuegos Muertos yet was not interested in joining them for Paco’s sake. Still did they manage to agree on him working as ‘guard’ for some of their errands; with his appearance, it was easier to keep the customers on the ground and not give them the chance to turn the table to their favor.
One good side effect about this agreement was that the Mexican and the Shark not only spend the whole day in El Paso and also were able to talk about their past during their rides through the city. Like they did today, as they were standing on the parking lot and had their lunch.
“So, how did this scarab end up in your spine?” Srash asked with the straw of his shake in his mouth slowly sipping it as Paco sighed and told that it happened during a messed up deal.
One of the customers was a cop and has been busted just the second the package with the scarab inside was about to be handed over. Then it all turned into a gun battle in which Paco tried to run away with the package crammed into his backpack, yet was hit from a ricochet shot and then the damn thing suddenly fused with his spine and pulled up that chest armor.
“After that, I started to hear the scarab’s voice in my head.”
With a raised eyebrow, Srash questioned why Paco didn’t go to the hospital with that thing. And, of course, the answer was a bit of predictable and for which Srash asked himself, why he asked in the first place.
“Yeah sure, Tiburón. Last thing I want is to end in some kind crazy laboratory and hunt for cheese in a maze!” He said then before biting in his burger and as always, his fingers were then covered with its sauce, which he licked off then nonchalantly.
Srash watched him doing it, got already a bit purple on his cheeks, as it was the shark’s version of blushing because of his blueish skin-tone. As soon as Paco noticed that greedy glare of his, he asked him if he’d like to try, what made him curious for it being a bit ‘too gay’ for the macho-Mexican with the striking chin.
“If you think, that this is fay, take a look into the glovebox, Tiburón.” Paco striked back and cleaned his fingers with the handkerchief from the paper bag. With question marks standing right on his face Srash opened the glovebox and rummaged in it until he pulled out a small box. It looked like one from a jewelry store, what doubled the shark’s heartbeat.
“Paco?! Is that a-?!” Starting the question, Srash saw that Paco was just grinning at him while nipping on his shake.
Not hesitating, he opened the box and promptly, the excitement in his face turned into speechlessness combined with sheer surprise. Inside the box there weren’t as much as he did not expect it, engagement rings, but instead a silver necklace with a shark-pendant attached to it.
“Paco, are you for real?” Srash snapped amused but also angered as he looked at the necklace.
“Ya don’t like it?” Disappointment was in Paco’s voice, as it was indeed not the most creative kind of present but it came with love and that’s what counts.
Srash sighed then put on a smile and checked the necklace again, “You know what? I’m gonna wear it now and never take it off!” He said it, then he did it.
Now that the chain was around his neck and the pendant laid on the shark’s chest, Paco laughed and mean that it suited him even more than he assumed it in the first place. Rolling his eyes, Srash pulled him closer, “Come here you stupid macho.”
A kiss in the car was always a nice thing, even better when the sunroof was down and everybody could see them. Neither Srash nor Paco cared about the potential people looking at them with weird faces because they felt way too cool and also the Mexican tended to show everybody who dared to talk smack about them what he was thinking about that. Having such a spirited boyfriend was no problem for Srash since he would do the same if someone would be as brave and make the shark angry. That being said, he was pretty allured from this macho-behavior of Paco.
“Say, would you like to make some party tonight? Going to the club, dance, drink something and maybe smooch on the dancefloor?” The Mexican suggested while he drove out the parking lot. Now with their relationship being so strong, it was as the Mexican wanted to go public with whom he was dating, what pushed his ego a lot when he got to present his amazing boyfriend to everybody else.
<There is a chance of 29,49 percent that Srash will agree on this> The scarab predicted, but was more or less ignored from his host, as he was waiting for his boyfriend’s answer.
As absurd as it might sound, Srash had no intention to say no to this. After all they were able to spend more time together and not only that, he felt respected from Paco because of this. For others, this might just be a way of him bragging with the shark like he was some kind of trophy, but in fact was bragging with him in his own weird romantic way.
“Sure, but I need to buy earplugs at first. My ears are very sensitive and I tend to loose orientation in loud areas.” The shark decided and also drew attention to his pointy ears and hearing. Just that second, he remembered an explosion that happened a few years ago, which not only gave him a tinnitus, but also left him without any kind of orientation for hours after.
But that memory did not make him regret that decision, it rather made him more cautious about his unique physiology and that he has to take care of that as they were parking not far away from the night club called Platinum down at El Paso’s business are. And in that gray-black suit, the shark felt like he was a bit overdressed compared to Mexican, who had not the clothes for such an occasion, at least not as fancy as his boyfriend had.
“You shouldn’t have dress up so good, Tiburón. It kinda makes me feel naked.” Paco nagged jealous when Srash stepped out of the car and got observed from him from head to toe; dios mios, he looked incredible!
Srash then just shook his head, kissed his smaller boyfriend on the forehead before showing him that he was still wearing that ridiculous pendant, as he promised it, “And you don’t look naked, just less attention attracting than me.”
<The more attention he is drawing onto him, the less people might pay attention onto your choice of clothes. Strategically efficient>
“Thanks for the help, pendejo.”
“Well then, let’s go party!” Srash said before putting the ear plugs in his ears and immediately noticed the dampened sounds. But they couldn’t help against the bass already audible from outside the club. And it was partly surprising, that the bouncer didn’t care about the shark that much, what meant that the first barrier was passed.
Inside the club, the party was lit. Everywhere, somebody was dancing, the air was warm and filled with all kind of different scents. It was a bit humid but not as much as it made breathing hard. Best thing was, that it wasn’t so crammed in there, what was noticed by Srash after he had an easy time moving through the room.
Their first stop was the bar, where Paco right away ordered a drink for himself and his boyfriend; he had mentally noted that Srash preferred sour drinks than sweet and that it didn’t had to be a strong one. As they both had their glasses and started to drink, the shark noticed that it was just like he wanted it and that he was glad that the Mexican remembered it. Only a few minutes in the club and the two already were having fun.
Some hours and drinks later, the evening became considering Paco’s eased mood, more than usual, highly amusing. With increasing alcohol level in his blood, the scarab repeatedly mentioned the decrease of his ability to make choices and lost of will power and inhibitions, clearly visible from how he was clinging to Srash on the dance floor. He didn’t want to let go of his tall and shark faced boyfriend.
“Yo’re awesm, Tibrn! Ze best dancer in the world!” Paco jabbered drunken as he looked up into the green eyes of his friend and pressed his face into the shark’s chest, nuzzling against him and almost drooling a bit on his shirt.
<Your physical condition is alarming. I highly recommend you to change the position of your body to calm down your metabolism>
Even though he heard the message from the scarab, Paco had already turned completely deaf to it, what might result from the drinks and warmth inside the club. This might have also been the reason due to Srash didn’t let him out of sight for the rest of their staying. He even held him with his hands, what let the whole thing look like an intimate hug. Much attention wasn’t drawn from them, since they had by far better things to do than looking at Srash and Paco being so close.
“Looks like the suit wasn’t that much an eye catcher, am I right, Paco?”
He muffled something Incomprehensible into his shirt, for which Srash was kinda thankful that he didn’t understand it.
“I’m flying!” Paco yelled as loud as he could while he was on Srash’s shoulder and on the way back to his car. On this walk, it was clear that nobody could drive them home, since the shark never drove a car and the Mexican was by far way too drunken to drive either. So there was only one solution left over: reclining the seats, closing the car from the inside, getting the keys out of Paco’s pants and hide them somewhere in the car and then finally, the cherry on top, getting comfortable in a car which was obviously not designed as a bed for an almost seven foot tall shark man.
After that was all done by Srash in like ten minutes, he was lying down on the ‘bed’ with Paco still clinging to him like crazy.
“I love you, Tiburón. Yer the best thing that happened to me in my whole damn life.” He drunkenly mumbled into his ear while using his shoulder as pillow.
For Srash, it was very nice to hear this from his boyfriend and he immediately returned the favor and kissed his cheek.
Since he’s been relieved from Belle Reve, he had no contact to any of the people he was together with before. Especially the silence with his father, who was still there, hurt him the most. He felt terribly alone in the beginning and just as Paco started to talk and spent time with him, some of that loneliness faded.
Suddenly, and he could swear that this really happened, but Paco grabbed his pendant and closed his hand around it with again mumbling something, which helped Srash to fall asleep.