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Half Baked

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Sunday was sultry, thick with the promise of rain. Otabek’s aircon was a piece of shit. About a hundred years old, it sat in the window, lazily redistributing the same swampy air through its sad fan blades over and over again. Yuri had bitched about it every day since he’d arrived in Kazakhstan, but all Otabek ever said was, “I know.” Yuri hadn’t known. If he’d known his friend lived in a fucking steam room, he wouldn’t have bothered coming.

But at least the flat was Otabek’s. Small, dirty, and stocked with handed-down furniture that might have been made of toothpicks, but it was Otabek’s alone. His first apartment alone, he’d said. In America and Canada, he’d always had roommates. But he was home again, and he was an adult now. Way more of an adult than Yuri, who’d never lived anywhere except Moscow and St. Petersburg—and, for half a second, Japan.

It had been scalding since the day he’d landed in Almaty. Record-breaking temperatures, the television news had said, affecting the entire region. It was Yuri’s first time in Kazakhstan. He’d come to see Otabek, his friend—to see where Otabek lived, where he’d grown up. What kind of place was it that made someone like Otabek Altin? A fucking oven, that’s what kind.

Otabek had picked him up at the airport with an apology for the weather. The heat wave was due to break soon. Rain was expected any day. That was three days ago now, and the clouds had yet to give up their burden.

Yuri sprawled on Otabek’s threadbare corduroy sofa: legs splayed, arms thrown out to each side, damp hair pushed away from the nape of his neck and up over the back of the seat, spreading himself out as much as physically possible and baring to the air as much skin as he could get away with. He’d already stripped down to his loosest pair of shorts and his thinnest tee. Taking off any more clothes felt inappropriate in someone else’s home, especially when the someone else wasn’t taking off any of his. This wasn’t Hasetsu, after all.

The someone else came back from the kitchen with a pair of ice lollies, one in each hand. “Strawberry or pineapple?”

“Strawberry,” Yuri sighed, arching away from the sofa, his shirt sticking to his skin like it was glued on.

Otabek handed him the red ice pop and sat down next to him. The ice pops were already melting. Yuri licked up the melty bits, sweeping them away before they could drip onto his fingers. Otabek licked the drops off his own hand, then started on his own ice pop. They were going to get headaches from eating them too fast, but it was that or be covered in sticky fruit syrup. Or lap them up out of a bowl.

“Mmf,” Yuri said.

“Hmm,” Otabek agreed.

Otabek’s hair lay flat against his head. It was long; he needed a haircut. The stretched-out neck of his grey sleeveless shirt was dark with sweat. That was smart, not having any sleeves. Yuri was probably leaving pit stains on his own shirt. The ice pop was spilling onto his shirt, too, faster than he could lick the dripping juice away. He lifted the shirt’s hem and sucked on the spots where the ice pop had dripped. They tasted like strawberry and cotton and felt dry on his tongue.

The TV showed the start screen for Call of Duty, which they’d been playing earlier. The controllers were sitting on the coffee table, one of its legs a millimeter shorter than the others, next to one of Yuri’s bare feet. The other foot hung off the end of the sofa, the better to catch even the slightest hint of a breeze.

Yuri finished his ice pop first, licking the stickiness from his fingers and sucking on the empty stick until it lost its lingering coolness and flavor and just tasted like spit and wood. He kept it in his mouth, gnawing on it, shifting it around.

Otabek finished his own a few minutes later, also licking the drops off his fingers one by one. He put his stick on the coffee table and leaned back on the sofa.

“We could go to a movie,” Otabek said. “Use their aircon for a while.”

Yuri hmmed around his ice pop stick. It was an okay idea, except for how it would mean peeling himself off of the sofa and going outside.

Next to him, Otabek rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck. He had nice shoulders, nice arms. He should be wearing sleeveless shirts all the time. His gym shorts were white, or probably had been white once, but now they were dull grey. His legs were spread like Yuri’s were, stretching the shorts across his thighs. They were nice thighs, thick and muscular, framing the outline of his dick, just barely visible under the fabric. He wasn’t wearing underwear. That was smart, too. Yuri probably shouldn’t have been wearing any either. His own dick felt sweaty and uncomfortable in his briefs, no matter how he sat or adjusted himself. Not like Otabek’s dick, swinging free between his thighs, probably feeling just fine.

It was not the first time Yuri had thought about Otabek’s thighs this visit. Or his dick. The apartment was small, it was hard not to notice these things. Like Otabek walking around with only a small towel around his hips after a shower, something that happened at least twice a day in this heat. He was modest enough to go into the bedroom to change clothes, but not modest enough to close the door. So Yuri had … seen things. Just glimpses, out of the corner of his eye, not like he was looking on purpose. Though he could have looked on purpose, maybe he even should have—Otabek was his friend, but he was also his competition, after all. It would be normal to check him out. Responsible, even. Even in the off season, Yuri was still a champion athlete.

“You want to fool around?” he asked.

He didn’t regret the words instantly. It took two seconds. That was how long his half-baked brain needed to process what he’d said. His stomach turned itself inside out, and his heart took flight from his body. The air got, impossibly, even hotter. It was burning him alive, starting with his face, which felt like it might burst into flames. Otabek’s was slack with surprise, and probably disgust, probably he was trying to figure out the best way to get this fucking freak of nature out of his flat and on a plane back to Russia as soon as possible.

“Just kidding,” Yuri said on a forced, painful laugh, sitting up straight on the sofa, at the exact moment that Otabek said, “Sure.”

They stared at each other, wide-eyed and mute.

“Did—”

“What—”

They fell silent again, still staring. Neither moved.

Otabek swallowed. “Did you,” he began, quietly, “want to?”

Just kidding, Yuri had said. Sure, Otabek had said. Sure.

“Sure,” Yuri said. He closed his mouth before saying anything ruinous.

Otabek didn’t say anything. Then he swallowed again, like it hurt him. “Okay.”

They kept staring. The cheap aircon fan whirred.

“Um,” Yuri said, frozen in place. “How—how do we start?”

Otabek shifted and sat up a little straighter. He looked at Yuri for a long moment. “Can I … kiss you?”

Yuri’s gaze went immediately to Otabek’s mouth. He wet his own lips. The strawberry flavor lingered. “Yeah.” He didn’t like how his voice sounded, all whisper-like, so he said it again. “Yeah.” That time it sounded too loud in the quiet room. He tried not to cringe.

Otabek shifted again, scooting closer to him. Yuri’s flyaway heart had returned to his chest and was now beating against his ribcage, hard and fast. Otabek’s eyes locked with Yuri’s, moved lower, and then moved up again. He reached with one hand, slow, and ran two fingers through the loose hair that had fallen into Yuri’s face. He pushed the hair behind Yuri’s ear, fingers just brushing against skin. Then he leaned in more and closed his eyes. Yuri closed his eyes, too. He knew how this worked.

Oh. Oh, but he’d had no idea. Otabek’s lips, softer than they had any right to be, met his cautiously, tentatively, like they were asking permission. Yuri parted his own lips in welcome, but Otabek didn’t try to put his tongue inside. Just the gentle press of plush, warm lips against Yuri’s own, slightly damp and tasting of pineapple. Yuri felt it down to his toes. He’d never known how sensitive the skin of his lips was, never even thought about it, never realized how easily such a touch could set his heart racing. Impatient, he pushed back, licking at Otabek’s lower lip. Otabek made a sound, a sigh halfway to becoming a moan. Yuri felt it against his own mouth.

Their position was awkward, side by side on the sofa with their necks craned. Was that normal? It never looked this awkward or uncomfortable in movies. And there was too much distance. Yuri wanted closer, he wanted inside Otabek’s mouth, under his clothes. He did what felt natural and, without breaking the kiss, climbed half on top of Otabek, clutching his shoulders. A shift, hands on his hips, and they were lying across the sofa, Otabek on his back, Yuri over him.

With gravity on his side, Yuri pushed his mouth against Otabek’s, and it opened more, letting him slip his tongue in. The taste of pineapple was stronger here. It was good. Maybe Yuri should have had that ice pop instead. He sought out the flavor and Otabek let him.

They parted with a gasp for air, Otabek’s head falling back against the couch cushions. Yuri saw his face clearly for the first time since Otabek had kissed him. His cheeks were flushed, his mouth open, lips swollen and wet. Yuri wondered what his own face looked like.

Then Otabek leaned up and pulled Yuri back down and they were kissing again, even better than before. Otabek wasn’t holding back with him anymore, Yuri could tell. His hands were on Yuri’s back, over the shirt but drifting lower, teasing at the hem like he was about to lift it and put his hands on Yuri’s bare skin. Yuri took his own hands out of Otabek’s hair and braced himself to sit up, preparing to suggest they take off their shirts, but the motion put his butt directly on Otabek’s groin, eliciting a groan from Otabek and a gasp from Yuri as he felt Otabek’s dick hard beneath him. He ground his ass down experimentally. Otabek grabbed his hips, trying to hold him still.

Yuri,” he breathed.

“You like that?” Yuri smirked and moved again, and Otabek released a pitiful moan.

“Yeah,” he said, sounding pained.

Fuck, he was so hot. Yuri was hard, too, had been since the first kiss. He grabbed the hem of his own shirt and pulled it over his head, tossing it aside. He got Otabek’s next, moving off his lap just enough to let Otabek lift up so the shirt could be peeled off.

It was not the first time he’d seen Otabek without a shirt; on this trip he’d seen Otabek in nothing but a towel every day. But seeing from this angle was new. His chest was more developed than Yuri’s, he had actual pecs where Yuri didn’t, at least not yet. He’d watched Otabek bench-press at the gym—even on a sort-of holiday, even during the off season, they still had to keep up. Yuri couldn’t bench press as much, so whenever Otabek was lifting he’d show off by plopping down on a mat and bending himself into as many different stretches as he could. A year with Lilia had paid off. He might still be skinny, but dammit, he was flexible.

Otabek’s abs, though. His abs were to die for, as he’d heard Mila say once about a boy she liked. Looking at them now, perfect and damp with sweat, Yuri thought he really might die. He wanted to lick them, to dip the tip of his tongue into Otabek’s navel, to rub his cheek against the line of dark hair that got thicker as it grew downward to the band of Otabek’s shorts, already low on his hips thanks to Yuri’s focused grinding.

Slowly, like in a dream or something, Yuri put both hands on Otabek’s bare chest, up near his collarbones to start. Then he dragged them down, incrementally, touching as much skin as he could. Otabek’s nipples brushed against his palms. His abs were smooth ridges under Yuri’s fingertips. The sweat made him slightly sticky.

“Kiss me,” Otabek said, taking Yuri by the arms and pulling him down again.

They kissed filthy, tongues and teeth. Yuri couldn’t get enough. He bit Otabek’s lips, held them between his own, sought out every last pineapple-flavored corner of Otabek’s mouth. Otabek’s teeth were smooth and sharp by turns, his tongue delicious. He drew back enough to bite Otabek’s chin, to suck at the stubble along his jaw.

Otabek’s hands stroked over Yuri’s back, his shoulders, his arms, his neck; ran through his sweaty hair and pulled it back whenever loose strands got caught in their kisses. He squeezed Yuri close, holding him so tight that for a moment Yuri couldn’t even breathe. They moved together, Yuri down, Otabek up to meet him, the friction so close to perfect.

Otabek grabbed his ass, grinding their cocks together, and moaned. “Can we,” he said, pausing to breathe deep for a moment, “get these shorts off?”

Yuri sat up again so fast he was dizzy, hands under the waist of his shorts almost before Otabek could finish the question. He struggled to pull them down, at least enough to get his dick out, without moving off of Otabek. If he just shoved—

But Otabek was sitting up too, encouraging Yuri off his lap with one hand while the other went to his own shorts. Yuri scooted, sat upright on the sofa, and dragged his shorts and underpants together down his legs. Next to him, Otabek wriggled out of his own shorts, nearly kicking Yuri in the head in the process.

And then they were naked, sitting side by side, bare-assed on the sofa. Yuri had never been naked with anyone before, aside from in Japan, and that was different. That had been in the baths, where naked was just naked and there was nothing sexy about it, and anyway he’d been too exhausted after working his tail off all day to get a hard-on. Not a problem now—his dick was standing at attention, practically hitting his stomach, wet at the tip.

Otabek wasn’t having any issues, either. Yuri stared at his cock. He’d never seen another guy’s cock outside of porn. Sure, some guys walked around locker rooms with their dicks hanging out, but never like this. Never hard, thick, dark with blood, erect between Otabek’s strong thighs, the head of it glistening with more than sweat. Yuri’s mouth watered. Never seen one besides his own, never touched one besides his own, never felt one in his mouth—at all. But he’d thought about it. What if he dropped to his knees now, spread Otabek’s thighs apart, and—

What if he was terrible at it? Porn made it look easy, but Yuri wasn’t stupid, and Otabek wasn’t small. What if he choked or gagged or something? What if Otabek laughed at him? What if he was so bad that Otabek never talked to him again?

But he wanted it. Wanted it in his mouth, heavy on his tongue—to hold that part of Otabek, that most sensitive, vulnerable part, inside him in some way. To taste his heat, his sweat, his come. To hear him pant and moan, to make him pant and moan.

He’d been staring too long. When he looked at Otabek’s face again, it was red, his lips parted and eyes wide. Otabek was staring at Yuri’s dick. Then he met Yuri’s eyes.

“You’re really hot,” Yuri rasped.

Otabek opened his mouth more, like he was surprised or something. Then he shut it, swallowed, and licked his lips. “You,” he said, “are the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.”

Something twisted beneath Yuri’s ribs. Leave it to Otabek, who hadn’t said a word to him the first or the second time they’d met, who’d later rolled up to Yuri on a gleaming motorcycle like he was Yuri’s destiny—and somehow Yuri heard it again now, eyes of a soldier, as clear as if Otabek had spoken it aloud here in this sweltering living room in Kazakhstan—to just say things like that, things that made Yuri feel like he could conquer the world.

There were so many things he wanted to do—to mouth between Otabek’s legs and lick the shiny head of his cock; to take Otabek’s cock in his hand, the soft, fragile skin over the steel beneath, and feel out the ways they were the same and the ways they were different; to lie on top of him, to lie under him, to weigh him down and be weighed down in turn. He moved toward Otabek again, still not knowing what he was going to do, and they fell naturally back into their previous position, Otabek on his back, Yuri on top, but now with much more skin.

Ah,” Yuri gasped as his weight settled on Otabek, chest to chest, thigh to thigh, groin to groin. His leg was between Otabek’s legs, Otabek’s leg was between Yuri’s legs, they fit together like a blade into its skate guard, secure, like they were made for each other, made for this. Yuri rocked against Otabek, shifted a few centimeters for a better angle, and—oh yes, that was Otabek’s dick sliding against his own, that was Otabek’s sack his own balls were pressed against, those were Otabek’s pubes brushing his thighs and his cock, those were Otabek’s hands cupping his ass and pulling him down to better grind against him. That was Otabek’s bare throat, at face level, in the perfect location for Yuri to bite and suck. The skin was salty, rough and raspy where the line of Otabek’s stubble began. Yuri stretched and Otabek turned his head, and then they were kissing again, like before, sloppy wet and dirty, grinding against each other in a slow rhythm Otabek had set. Yuri could practically see the steam rising from their bodies into the already heat-thick air.

Otabek broke the kiss to suck at Yuri’s neck, still rolling his hips up at the same steady pace. Yuri gasped as Otabek bit his ear—not hard, just a nip, an apologetic flick of the tongue, but it somehow made his dick even harder. He lost the rhythm for a moment, hips stuttering as his body sought the orgasm that suddenly seemed tantalizingly close. He hadn’t even touched himself! Otabek soothed him, hands stroking down his back and up again, combing through his hair, tilting his head for another sweet kiss. One hand stayed in Yuri’s hair while the other traveled down once more, holding onto Yuri’s ass and grinding up against him, hard.

The hands switched—the one that had been in Yuri’s hair stroked down to hold him at the small of his back. Otabek pushed Yuri up a bit, creating a little space between them—Yuri’s entire body protested the separation—and wrapped his other hand around Yuri’s cock.

The noise Yuri made would have been embarrassing if he’d had enough brains left in his head to feel embarrassment. His arms nearly gave out; one sort of did and he half collapsed on top of Otabek, rolling to his side just enough so he wouldn’t squash Otabek’s hand and the things it was doing to his dick. Otabek shifted, too, and adjusted his grip; Yuri’s eyes rolled back into his skull. He’d jerked off probably thousands of times—how was it so much better when it was Otabek’s hand on him? He lost himself in the pleasure of it: Otabek’s hand just this side of too rough, his pace leisurely, like he could spend all day pulling on Yuri’s cock, like it was no big deal. He lost himself completely until he felt the wet silken head of Otabek’s own cock grazing his abdomen, leaving a light trail of precome below his navel. He fumbled and reached for it, getting his fingers around it only on the second try.

“I want to do you, too,” he said.

Otabek exhaled like it had been punched out of him and gave a short thrust into Yuri’s hand. “Yes,” he breathed.

The angle wasn’t perfect. They were too close together, for one, and Otabek’s wrist, his hand still working Yuri’s cock, was in the way. Plus it was the first time Yuri had ever touched another guy’s dick. He knew how to do himself, but Otabek was Otabek, and he was circumcised. Yuri took his hand back long enough to spit into his palm, then wrapped it back around Otabek’s cock. The effect was immediate: Otabek made a keening noise and jerked, squeezing Yuri’s dick so hard it almost hurt.

The spit made it easier, let Otabek’s cock slip easily through the tight hold Yuri made with his hand. His hand. He had Otabek’s dick in his hand. Apart from being cut, it was a good length, and big enough that Yuri’s fingertips couldn’t quite reach his thumb. The skin was baby-soft to the touch.

“Harder,” Otabek said lowly. “You can do it harder.”

Yuri did it harder, hard enough that it would have been painful on his own dick, but Otabek groaned and whispered his approval, yes, yes.

The air stayed scorching hot. They panted into each other’s mouths between kisses, hands and hips still moving, out of rhythm and impossible to coordinate when it all felt so fucking good. They were sweating, bare skin plastered against bare skin, sticking here and slipping there. Otabek tasted salty—lips, cheeks, and jaw, his throat when Yuri could reach it for a lick—and his cock felt perfect in the clasp of Yuri’s hand. He paused his movement to trail his fingers over the head, spreading the precome around, tracing the shape of him, relishing the sensation. Otabek gasped, and the hand on Yuri’s cock slowed for a moment, like what Yuri was doing to him was so good it made him forget what he’d been doing to Yuri. That thought, that he was affecting Otabek this way, made Yuri even harder. Maybe he was good at this! Maybe he was just a natural talent, like with skating!

He looked down. That was his hand, bony and pale, gripping Otabek’s cock. That was his own dick, from the same familiar angle, but now the hand around him, the fingers rolling his foreskin back and over the head again and again, was Otabek’s. He’d never be able to look at Otabek’s hands again without thinking about this. He’d never be able to look at this own hands or his own dick without thinking about it.

His eyes stung. His forearm was starting to cramp. He wanted to come. He wanted to make Otabek come. He wanted to stretch this out forever. He wanted to get off and start all over again.

He lost track of time, or was so caught up in making Otabek feel good—or maybe it was the novelty of having someone else jerk him off—that his own orgasm caught him by surprise. He stifled a yell that was half ecstasy and half warning as he shot all over himself and Otabek’s hand, so hard that some of it ended up on both of their chests. He closed his eyes. Otabek kept stroking him through it, as he shot again, and again, until it was almost too much, and he was practically whimpering.

Eyes still closed, he felt Otabek shifting against him, extracting the hand that had been trapped under Yuri’s weight for the last 20 minutes as the hand on Yuri’s softening dick stilled. Fingers touched his face, peeling the sweaty hair from where it was stuck to his skin.

Yuri floated. He’d never come so hard in his life. So that was a handjob. He opened his eyes with difficulty and blinked until he could see past the stars clouding his vision.

Otabek was still pushing hair out of his face, or maybe he was petting him. He had a look on his face like Yuri had never seen before, surprised and pleased and somehow, beneath it, tense.

Oh. That would probably be because of Otabek’s cock, which was stiff in Yuri’s unmoving hand.

“Shit,” Yuri said, his voice raspier than he expected, “sorry, let me—”

He started moving his hand again, trying remember how his own fingers worked, trying to remember the way Otabek liked it. There was more precome now, which made it easier for Otabek’s dick to slide through the tight hold.

Otabek groaned. “Yuri,” he said.

Yuri stopped immediately, staring at Otabek’s closed-eyed, slack-jawed face. “Huh?”

“No,” Otabek said, thrusting into his hand, “don’t stop, don’t stop …”

So Yuri started moving again, squeezing Otabek’s cock, speeding up a little, then slowing down, eyes locked on Otabek’s face. Yuri had never seen him so flushed before, not even after practice. The longer strands of his hair were stuck to his forehead. He’d never looked hotter, sexier—and Yuri had found him looking plenty sexy, a lot. Now he looked dazed, desperate, overwhelmed. And Yuri had done that to him. Was doing that to him.

He needed to make Otabek come, needed to see his face twisted with pleasure, to hear him at the exact moment it hit. He wanted it as bad as he’d wanted his own orgasm, craved it in his gut, in his groin, in his bones. Otabek was so cool, so collected, even in this face-melting heat—Yuri wanted to see him wrecked.

But how to rock Otabek’s world? Yuri thought about what he himself liked, but probably sticking his fingers up his best friend’s ass was a bad idea, if they could even do it on this narrow sofa. Then there were all the things he wanted to say to Otabek—some nasty, some embarrassing, all of them sincere—but that was out of the question. To say how badly he wanted to suck Otabek off, even though he’d never done it before and would probably fuck it up. To tell Otabek how long he’d been thinking about it, long before this visit, if he was being honest. To ask if things would be different between them after this. To ask if they could do it again—his own dick was starting to get interested in another round. He bit his lip again, still raw from kissing. He wasn’t going to say anything. He told himself it was because he didn’t want to turn Otabek off. That was easier than admitting he was a total pussy.

“Fuck,” he sighed, frustrated with himself. Otabek grunted and his cock twitched in Yuri’s hand. That was interesting. Still moving his arm, Yuri shifted until his mouth was right against Otabek’s ear.

“You look so fucking good right now,” he whispered. “So fucking hot.”

Otabek arched beneath him, hips rocking, and groaned.

“Do you like this?” Yuri breathed, still stroking Otabek’s cock. “You like my hand on your dick? I want to make you come.”

Otabek made a sound like he was dying. A moment later, his hand came down to cover Yuri’s. Yuri paused for a split second, unsure, but Otabek picked up the rhythm again, moving his own hand and Yuri’s in a tighter grip than before, fucking up into their joined fingers.

“Harder,” he panted. “Ah—

Yuri panted along with him. Doing it like this, it was almost like they were holding hands or some shit, but it felt good, and it felt even better to know how Otabek liked to jerk off. He looked down at their entwined fingers moving on Otabek’s cock and imprinted the feel of it into his memory, like learning new choreography. If they got to do this again, he’d be ready. He would definitely rock Otabek’s world next time.

Otabek groaned again, his grip tightening around Yuri’s almost to the point of pain—and Yuri felt it, felt Otabek’s cock get stiffer, and then he was coming, spilling over their joined hands and his own abdomen. Otabek was silent throughout except for the sound of his labored breathing. Yuri was so entranced by the sight of his cock pulsing, his come splattering, that he forgot to even look at Otabek’s face. Their hands kept moving, but slower, squeezing out the last drops. Yuri’s mouth watered and his own dick twitched. He hadn’t even been the one getting off, and it still felt like a second orgasm.

Slowly, with a deep sigh, Otabek released his hold on Yuri’s hand and his own cock. Yuri kept his hand around it, feeling it go soft and small, until it started to seem weird to still be holding his best friend’s dick. Weird and sticky. And there was nowhere to wipe off the mess of come that was congealing between his cramped fingers. Fuck, it was a million degrees in here.

“I need a shower,” he said, then coughed a little to cover how raspy his voice was.

Otabek stiffened, not in the good way. “Yeah,” he said, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the sofa where they were supposed to be. He grabbed at the pile of paper napkins from last night’s takeaway sitting in the middle of the coffee table and handed a fistful to Yuri before using his own to wipe the worst of their mess off his hands and abdomen and chest. He didn’t look at Yuri.

Yuri wiped off his own hands. Now that they’d both got off it was suddenly awkward again, him and Otabek naked and sweaty and splattered with come on the too-narrow sofa with barely a dozen words exchanged between them and Otabek not meeting his eyes. It had been good—better than good—but he didn’t know what the hell it meant. He’d never had a real friend before Otabek. Could you do this sort of thing with your friends? Could they keep doing it? Like maybe right now, in the shower? Yuri’s dick was into the idea.

He heard the sound a moment before he identified it—a rumble of thunder, low and full of promise. He turned toward the window, then lunged for it, scrambling off the sofa and nearly stumbling over his own feet. Fat drops of rain were beginning to hit the glass, slow but steady.

“It’s raining,” he said. “Beka, it’s raining!”

Only when he turned to face Otabek did he realize he was still naked. He should have felt a flush of self-consciousness, but he was too thrilled. He grabbed his shorts off the floor, ignoring his underpants, stepping into the shorts and hauling them up his legs, tying the drawstring as an afterthought.

“Let’s go!” he said. He tossed Otabek’s shorts at him. “Come on!”

Yuri slid into his shoes and was out the door before Otabek could reply, bounding down the narrow steps two at a time, a hand on the wall to balance himself. He made it down one flight before hearing the slap of feet following him down, Otabek on his heels, chasing him, catching up.

Yuri burst through the front door of Otabek’s building and onto the sidewalk. The rain was coming harder now, cool and steady, further wetting his sweaty hair and sliding down his bare chest. It wasn’t really cold, but he still shivered. His nipples were hard.

Yeah!” He jumped, splashing down in a shallow puddle that had already formed. “Woo!” His shorts were slipping, but he didn’t care. Otabek had already seen it, anyway.

Otabek had emerged behind him in similar attire: sagging shorts, untied sneakers, a barely visible streak on his naked abdomen that Yuri alone knew was come, his or Otabek’s or both. He looked puzzled but pleased, like Yuri was a cat who’d just brought him something from the garbage as a weird gift.

“Beka!” Yuri yelled. “It’s raining!” He jumped into the air, spun around twice, and landed again in the same puddle. He hiked his shorts up as the impact and extra weight of the water made them slide further down his hips. Maybe he cared a little. They were out in public on the street, after all.

He raised his arms and his face to the sky, closing his eyes, letting himself get soaked. Raindrops pelted him. He opened his mouth and caught them like snowflakes, imagining they tasted sweet even though they didn’t taste like anything at all. The rain was everywhere, all over him, like a shower, and after the relentless, seemingly endless heat of the last few days, it felt incredible. Better than sex. Well—maybe not better than sex. Now that he knew how good sex was.

He didn’t realize how close Otabek was until Otabek’s hands were on him, on his face. He startled and opened his eyes just in time to see Otabek’s close before he sealed his mouth over Yuri’s, kissing like he was starved for it.

Yuri got with the program, shoving his fingers through Otabek’s wet hair and pulling him closer. Up close again, Otabek smelled like sweat and clean rain, which kind of smelled like Lilia’s preferred brand of fabric softener. He tasted like nothing much at all, but his mouth was soft and warm and Yuri appreciated it even more now that the temperature had finally dropped and the rain on his bare skin almost—almost—brought a chill.

Otabek broke their kiss, but his hands stayed on Yuri’s face. He looked like he wanted to say something but didn’t know how to say it.

“What?”

Otabek licked a little rain from his lower lip. “I’m really glad you came,” he said.

Yuri thought his face probably looked stupid, grinning this hard, but he couldn’t do anything about it.

“Yeah,” he said. “Me too.”