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Sestriere

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Joseph had ample time to consider how he had ended up alone in a car with Caesar, soon to be alone in a cabin with Caesar, during the drive. He couldn’t remember who first suggested the skiing trip, but all their friends either declined to go or backed out at the last minute, a fact he was not made aware of until he was facing Caesar in an otherwise empty car several hours earlier. Some getaway to do what they hadn’t gotten to at St. Moritz, whoever it was offered. Regardless, he was going to make the most of this trip, even if he’d never skied. He’d been promised easy trails, anyways.

What he was now using his time in the silent, hours long drive to think about was how this was shaping up to be like one of the bad romance novels that lined Suzie Q’s shelves. Trapped alone during a snowstorm in a cabin with a kindly blond hunk. He almost groaned out loud at the thought being printed on the inside cover of some cheesy book. It’s not like it was the first time he had thought it, either. He’d developed some feelings for Caesar, to be sure, in that way you do when someone almost sacrifices their life on your behalf. He really did not want to dig into the intricacies of his feelings at that moment, however, and so turned his attention back outside the window.

He was surprised how far they’d driven. Snow-capped mountains lined each side of the valley they had slowly puttered out of. The sky was perfectly clear, and the sun pierced through the high-altitude air. They were high enough up to see the small, quaint houses dotting the valley below them.

“Hey, Caesar,” said Joseph, turning back to face the driver’s seat. He received a hum in response. “I thought we were doing cross-country.”

“Well, we are across the country,” he said, keeping his eyes trained on the winding road.

“You asshole, you know I mean cross-country skiing.”

Caesar barked a laugh. “We’re only hours away from the Alps and you thought it was going to be cross-country?”

“That’s what you promised, yes.”

“It’s easy. I’ll teach you,” said Caesar, the issue hardly resolved. “There’s a map in the glovebox. We’re heading to Sestriere. It’s right on the border of France and Italy.”

“I can find it, thank you,” said Joseph, snatching the map from under the dashboard. As he unfolded the crinkling paper, he reasoned that it was pretty stupid of him not to realize what a skiing trip normally entailed. Even worse, he had trusted what Caesar said. This must be an elaborate plan to humiliate him, where Caesar always wanted the upper hand. He let out a puff of breath from behind the map. If Caesar had to cook up a plan like this to best him, instead of just during their sparring matches, he must know he’s getting better than him. That’s the reasoning behind this, he nodded definitely.

The map’s title claimed to show all the best ski resorts in the Alps. Sestriere was a small town on the west border of Italy, just like the rest of the small towns there. Joseph didn’t know they were going to a resort like some tourists. He didn’t know a lot about this trip before shoving a hastily packed bag into the car next to several pairs of skis.

Sestriere soon came into view, their arrival preceded by several signs. Instead of driving into town, however, Caesar took a sharp right onto a much less-used highway. Joseph watched the town disappear as he looked over his shoulder.

“Not staying in town?” he asked.

“No, too touristy. We rented a place a little way out.”

Caesar seemed like a man after his own heart. Before long a small, rickety cabin appeared over the mounds of snow. Joseph realized how high up they had gotten when his feet sank into the snow to his knees, compared to the warm sun in Venice just a few hours ago. The pair both shoved their shoulders into opposite sides of the back seat, scuffling a little over who could carry the most into the cabin. Either way, they only had to make one trip each and barely fit through the door with the weight on their shoulders.

Joseph took a look around the cabin. It was just as small on the inside, with a kitchen on the left open to the main spacious room. A few doors, leading to a bathroom and bedrooms, he supposed, were closed along the walls. Joseph shuddered as he felt the cold of the stone floor travel through his boots. He moved to start a fire in the equally small stove in the corner of the room while Caesar began to unpack. By the time he turned back around after spurring the cold wood to life, Caesar had their food rations stowed away. He had slung his bag back over his shoulder, and was peeking into the rooms that lined the entryway. He stepped into one, and Joseph heard a soft thump followed by the strained creaking of bed springs.

“I’m claiming this room,” called Caesar, unseen.

Joseph rose to his feet from the stove and stuck his head through the open door. He held onto the door frame with one hand, leaning into the room. Caesar had an arm draped over his eyes, the rest of his limbs spread-eagled onto the bed.

“You’re not sleeping yet, are you, Caesar?” he feigned a pout. “Let’s break in those skis. I’ve been sitting so long I’m dying to stretch my legs.”

Caesar let out a fake groan before rolling off the mattress onto his feet.

“Get dressed,” he said simply as he passed Joseph in the doorway.

Joseph clambered into his gear easily, considering his packing was less than adequate for a ski trip. Caesar took a little longer before following Joseph outside, skis and poles in hand. He gave Joseph a succinct explanation of downhill skiing while he fastened himself into his own skis. Joseph, after a moment of struggle and refusing any of Caesar’s help, was standing again, heavily leaning on his poles.

“Well, you’re not sinking,” said Caesar. “Go ahead.”

Joseph gave Caesar a scowl, but didn’t challenge him. He began to push off lightly with his poles, before Caesar reached forward, immediately stopping him.

“No, you have to bend your knees. And push your ass out a little.”

Joseph complied, to which Caesar snickered behind him.

“You look like you’re taking a shit,” he said, his voice suddenly closer to Joseph’s back.

Joseph didn’t turn around, and he jumped when he felt Caesar’s gloved hands along his legs. He urged them into place, before pressing their backs together. This is way too much like one of those novels, he thought, Caesar pulling his back up into position. He felt Caesar pull away, before a hand returned to his back to give him a forceful push. No, normally the love interest in those novels is pleasant, Joseph thought as he began to careen down the mountain. He heard Caesar take off behind him, by the sound of his voice staying just as loud as he shouted instructions. Joseph’s knees had locked up–not bent again–as he went, but he wasn’t about to back down from a challenge. He’d gone through a lot tougher in just the past couple months than being stuck on some skis. However, the trees below the cabin were quickly coming closer.

He heard a shout to bail out, but something sent him tumbling head over heels before he could even put together the string of words. He came to a skidding stop just before the line of trees began. His ass and shoulders were completely buried in the snow, the skis attached to his feet sticking up at comical angles. Caesar shortly pulled up in front of him, braking his skis to send a purposeful spray of snow into Joseph’s face.

“You’re really bad,” he said plainly, definitely triumphantly. Joseph glowered at him from under the melting coat of snow that covered his face. He reached a hand up, the intent for Caesar to help him up. Caesar took hold of his wrist, and Joseph quickly pulled him down beside him. Caesar fell deep into the snow, his forearms pushed out to break the fall merely sinking into the snow with the rest of him. Joseph shoved a swift handful of snow down the exposed neck of his coat. Caesar let out a shout, quickly scrambling to his feet. Joseph tried to follow, but Caesar had the experience in skis on him, and he only slid backwards a ways. As Joseph struggled to stand, he was met with a second faceful of snow.

“Snowballs?” he screeched. “What are you, twelve?”

He successfully pushed himself into a wobbly standing position, scooping up snow as he rose. He let a snowball fly, hitting Caesar squarely in the chest. He cackled before a snowball hit him in the left shoulder, sending a shock through him.

“That was hamon, you piece of shit!”

“Please, I would never misuse hamon like that,” yelled Caesar, dodging another volley.

Joseph managed to get his feet moving, and he caught up to Caesar in a tackle that almost pulled them both back down to the ground. Instead, Caesar’s face twisted a little as Joseph grabbed at his chest. Joseph backed off quickly, a little comically with the skis under him.

“Shit,” he declared. “Does it still hurt?”

“No, just a little sore,” Caesar brushed off his concern.

Joseph clenched his jaw, unconvinced. Caesar had returned to his training almost as soon as he could stand, nowhere near as intensely, but long before anyone had recommended he should. Joseph hadn’t sparred with him since the fight, but the bandages wrapped all around his chest in the hospital gave him a good idea of the wounds he’d suffered. Hell, he had almost been crushed. Along with Caesar probably wrecking his body again by pushing it too hard, too soon, Joseph was well aware of how he’d been doing mentally after the fight. He could hear his sleep talking echoing into his room louder than ever before, almost always panicked. Caesar often trudged through the house at night as well, and jumped much more easily. Caesar would never bring it up with Joseph, though, so he held out a placating hand.

“How about we go easy on each other?” said Joseph.

Caesar gave him a smile, not tinged with a sneer for once. They set off again, Caesar leading them down gradual slopes. Joseph was hardly leaning on his poles after a few runs. The sun, already having traveled far across the sky during their drive, dipped down low over the edge of the mountains. The pair unstrapped their skis and began the trip back up to the cabin, back in high spirits.

Chapter Text

The door slammed shut behind Joseph and Caesar as they busted inside, away from the wind. They had given up on skiing for the day too late before the snowstorm rolled in. Skis and poles clattered to the floor as they both clambered to stoke the fire in the small stove. Joseph groaned as he removed his gloves, flexing his frosted metal hand. He held it towards the glowing embers, and Caesar snatched his hand away as he turned from the pile of firewood.

“You’ll burn up your arm if you heat it up like that,” he said simply. He began to rub the metal palm between his still gloved hands, trying to generate some friction. He moved to bend the finger joints back and forth to loosen them up. Joseph found himself transfixed by the repetitive touches, staring at his hand between them as they both remained crouched. Caesar began to circle his thumb around Joseph’s palm, before sinking to a kneeling position to give his legs some rest. Joseph, in a sudden jolt back to reality by the movement, stood up abruptly, yanking his hand from the other’s grip.

“Food,” he announced unceremoniously, marching towards the kitchen.

Once behind the safety of the counter, Joseph flexed his hand experimentally. It moved without stammering. It had been nice, even if he couldn’t actually feel the touch. Not wanting to risk a look at Caesar to gauge if he had thought the same, he ducked into some cupboards. He dug into the back of the cupboard, realizing they would have to go shopping soon. Not tonight, he thought, based on the snow whirling past the darkening windows. He placed a partially-empty box of pasta on the counter, before squandering the fridge as well. He slapped a package of factory cheese on the counter victoriously, along with some meager butter, milk, and flour supplies.

“Caesar, get in here,” Joseph called.

Caesar stood from the now-roaring fire in the stove to walk to the kitchen. He eyed what Joseph had pulled together with dismay.

“Mac and cheese,” he declared. Caesar gave him a look of mock disgust.

“You’re making a mockery of pasta,” he said, walking past Joseph to turn on the gas stove anyhow.

 

“It’s just like pasta with alfredo,” he said, filling a pot to put on the stove.
Caesar took a seat at the table as Joseph made a show of whisking together the ingredients. Before long, he returned with a dish of pasta with poorly-melted squares of cheese on top. He ladled some onto each of their plates and dug into his plate with unrestrained vigor.

“It’s definitely awful,” said Caesar thoughtfully after a moment. “But it tastes good.”

Joseph let out a joyous noise around his mouthful of food. The two ate in silence, as their hunger took over. It crossed Joseph’s mind that two big guys could have definitely planned to pack more food, considering their appetites. He disregarded the thought for when they would go shopping later. Caesar took their dishes to the sink after they had scraped their plates. Joseph returned to the fire, collapsing onto a couch. Caesar joined him soon after, kicking his legs out of the way to make room. The pair pushed at each other, kicking their legs together that would have hurt anyone less brawny before settling into the couch as the darkness of night began to press around the cabin.

Joseph wasn’t sure what caused it, whether he had laughed too loud at a joke, or had gotten a bit too close, but when he wasn’t looking, he felt a hand slip onto his thigh. He jerked away, a bit too harshly, he realized, as Caesar pulled his hand back with equal force.

“I’m sorry, I misread,” Caesar began a string of immediate apology. “I just thought with this past week–and tonight, that–”

Joseph cut him off, feeling uncomfortable with Caesar’s sudden babbling.

“No, it’s not that. I’m fine with–that,” he stuttered. “I’ve just…”

Joseph placed his hand over his face, allowing the cool metal to calm his thoughts a little.

“I do like you, Caesar. It just surprised me, because I could never really tell if you felt the same. I guess it was obvious from me though.”

He let out a pitiful huff of a laugh, trying to defuse the heavy atmosphere.

“And I’ve never actually… been with a guy before,” he added with embarrassment, almost out of the corner of his mouth. When he dared to look up again, Caesar was hovering close, over his chest. He resisted the instinct to jump again.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked. Joseph nodded dumbly.

He met his lips with force, before the two settled back in each other’s arms. Caesar’s lips were strong, but soft, as he dragged his hands up to Joseph’s shoulders. Joseph felt himself being pushed backwards, and lunged forwards, their lips still locked, to keep the upper hand. He let out a smug smile, before feeling Caesar’s tongue drag across his bottom lip. Joseph responded sloppily, trying to reciprocate. Caesar pulled back first, panting out “bedroom.”

They hurried to the bedroom, hands still moving along each other. Caesar pushed Joseph onto the bed, where he crawled on his back onto the pillows. With their moment of separation, Joseph had a moment to take in the scene. His head was spinning, but he could see Caesar outlined in the doorway from the glow of the fireplace. His chest heaved out relief that he didn’t know he was holding. Caesar scrambled onto the bed, placing himself between Joseph’s legs. He pulled him back into a messy kiss, Joseph’s lack of experience obvious as their tongues hammered together. Caesar reached behind him to pull Joseph’s shirt off, and they separated a moment as Joseph raised his arms and the shirt landed in the corner. He urged Caesar to do the same, running his hands up his chest. Before Caesar’s shirt hit the floor, they were back in an embrace, mouths moving together. Caesar reached down to palm at Joseph’s clothed erection, causing him to let out a quiet moan. Caesar ducked his head downwards to follow, pushing himself back to be eye level with his hips.

“Oh, we’re stopping?” said Joseph breathlessly.

“Well, you’re getting pretty hard down here,” said Caesar, mouthing at him through his pants. Joseph let a tense breath out through his nose as Caesar unzipped his pants and removed his cock. He licked a slow line up from the base of it, keeping his eyes locked on Joseph. Joseph leaned back against the headboard as he tongued at the base of the head. Caesar took the head into his mouth, using his hand to pump his shaft beneath him, making Joseph let out a gasp. He hummed a little in amusement as he pushed his head further down onto his dick. He sucked him further into his mouth and hollowed his cheeks, using his hand to rub against where he couldn’t reach at the base. He expertly laved his tongue around the head, and Joseph bucked his hips up, moaning. He hummed again in annoyance as he moved his free hand to hold Joseph’s hips in place. Joseph’s hand laced through his hair, resting a moment before tightening.

“Fuck, Caesar,” he gasped. “I’m gonna come if you keep doing that.”

Caesar pulled his lips off him, sitting up smugly. He removed his own length from his pants, giving it a few lazy pumps. Joseph balked a little.

“Um, I’ve never…”

“–Been with a guy,” finished Caesar. “It’s alright, you don’t have to.”

“No way,” said Joseph, firmly planting his shoulders at Caesar’s hips. “Don’t let me off that easy. I’ve got to pay you back.”

Joseph took the base of Caesar’s cock in his hand, tentatively taking the head into his mouth. His eyes flicked up to Caesar’s, trying to gauge what he liked. He followed Caesar’s example, wagging his tongue under the head. He got a satisfied grunt after he took him a little deeper, spurring Joseph on. What he lacked in experience he made up in enthusiasm, bobbing his head with messy strokes. Caesar’s hand fell into his hair, brushing it back from his forehead. Joseph felt warmth bubble up in his chest at the caring gesture. Caesar began to let out heavy, if measured, breaths as Joseph tried to pick up the pace. He mimicked Caesar by using his hand to jerk him off at the same time with vigor. Caesar placed a hand on his cheek as he gazed into green eyes.

Soon enough, he pulled Joseph off, coaxing him into a kneeling position. Caesar scooted his hips forward, close enough to take both of their lengths in his hand. The collected slick on both of their cocks made Caesar’s pulls with his hand and thrusts frictionless. Joseph noticed he was bigger than Caesar as he was right up next to them, but any snide comments were cut off by a particularly hard thrust from Caesar.

“Fuck,” Joseph groaned, letting his hips bob involuntarily. Slick sounds filled the room along with panting as Caesar sped his hand. Joseph was overtaken by the feeling, letting his head fall to Caesar’s neck. He left lazy kisses there, punctuated by moans. His hips jutted erratically into Caesar’s hand, and the only warning he gave before coming was a weak groan as he trembled. Caesar gave him a few more lazy pumps, drawing the last of his orgasm out, before returning to himself with haste.

Joseph crumpled on the bed in front of him in his post-orgasm haze. Caesar took in the sweat glistening off his bare chest from the dim, warm light of the fire. He let out quick, regular breaths as he stilled, his arm falling over his eyes. He had left the cooling streaks of come on his stomach, over the trail of brown hair leading to his crotch. Caesar let himself fall over the edge after a couple minutes, coming into his hand. He searched in the half-dark of the room for something to wipe his hand off on, before rising to the bed again and cleaning Joseph’s stomach. Joseph peeked out from under his arm at the touch.

Caesar climbed to the head of the bed, under the covers, and Joseph followed. He gripped his arms around Caesar’s shoulders, still awestruck that he had ended up with a simple crush so quickly. In a moment of soft vulnerability, Joseph pulled his hand back to brush messy yellow hair off of Caesar’s forehead. Caesar looked back with only sincerity, and Joseph felt his chest fill with warmth.

“You know,” he said, still high off his orgasm and open defenselessness. “I’ve never done this before.”

“You said,” responded Caesar with a soft chuckle.

“No, I mean with anyone.”

Caesar’s brows drew together. “What about all that talk about girlfriends?”

Joseph scoffed. “I don’t just sleep with someone I just met. No offense.”

Caesar gave Joseph’s chin a shove with the heel of his hand, mostly hindered by their tangled forms.

“You sure do talk a big game,” Caesar continued. “But you definitely fuck like a virgin.”

“Guess I just need practice, then.”