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It isn’t that Kraglin likes it when this happens. Not exactly.

It sure would make him a bit of an asshole if he did. He don’t like seeing the captain in pain, whether it’s cursing up a creatively exotic streak after stubbing a toe on the nav console, or laid out all bruised purple and bleeding from a gutshot after a job gone bad.

But this? Well, this is different, and Kraglin’s gotta act fast.

On a regular day, a sick or hurt Yondu is pretty much like a cornered animal, and just as likely to snap. If a man values his hide or any dangly bit of his anatomy, he gives Yondu his space and lets him piss and moan his way through his latest hurt.

Kraglin knows all this. It’s a first mate thing, to know stuff about the captain, and it doesn’t hurt to know the limits when you’re the one getting some nookie-nookie with the captain, either.

They might get to fucking once or twice a week, share the bed for the night. Though sharing’s a creative term. Yondu doesn’t share the bed per se. He’ll go to war over the warmest blanket and he’ll bite if Kraglin farts in his sleep. But the part that comes before the bed-sharing is what matters, and on a good night they’re both too exhausted and fucked-out to worry about fighting over the linens.

All the same, Kraglin reckons he knows more about the captain’s trouble spots than anyone, maybe even the ship’s medic himself. Ravagers aren’t keen on meticulous medical records, so Kraglin’s brain is the closest thing Yondu has to an actual medical history.

He can recognize the tell in Yondu’s gait that meant he’s hiding a limp, and even from a distance he knows if today’s limp is from Yondu’s bad knee or from that time he broke his foot and the bones healed a bit weird because getting Yondu to stay the flark off his foot was an exercise in futility.

So, that tell in Yondu’s posture when he stands on the bridge, the way his head stands a little too stiffly on his neck and his skin goes that particular shade of pukey blue and his breathing gets a little too sharp? Yeah. Kraglin knows.

And like so many of the first mate’s duties that are unspoken, he knows he’d better find an excuse to get Yondu off the bridge and somewhere dark and quiet, right stat now.

“Cap’n?” He keeps his voice low, gives Yondu time to react, slow and sluggish through what Kraglin knows are vicious pulses scrambling his brain. Dragging his eyeballs over to look at Kraglin looks like it takes a monumental effort. Kraglin tries his damnest not to look sympathetic. “Tullk says he found something in the haul from last job he wants to talk to you about. Got time now? S’probably no big thing.”

He wants to help Yondu out of the chair. In a perfect world, he would. But the bridge is full of eyes and ears and while the crew ain’t the smartest bunch, they’d pick up on something if he lays it on too thick. So he waits for Yondu to look as though he’s deliberating, just knowing how that sluggish nod is Yondu-speak for ‘fuckin’ thank ya, Kraglin, took you long enough’ and falls in step behind his captain as they exit the bridge.

Let the crew think they’re sneaking off for some nookie. Better than thinking he’s shuffling the captain off the bridge because he isn’t feeling well.

And the thing is, they ain’t wrong either way

***

He and the captain might get to mess around and blow off steam every once in a while, but that don’t mean Kraglin’s got any sort of special privileges when it came to knowing Yondu. Not when Yondu treats personal information like lifeblood: messy, alarming in large quantities, and best kept in his innards.

If Kraglin knows anything about the captain’s complicated medical history, it’s certainly not because Yondu sat him down over tea and went over stuff. Everything Kraglin knows, he learned by chance, by overhearing something at the right time, or by having the dubious luck of being there in person when something happens to Yondu.

It’s hard to deny what causes that occasional nagging pain in Yondu’s back when Kraglin was there to witness that Badoon kicking him in the kidneys during the bar fight on Beltane IX. At least Kraglin got to massage him better, after.

So it was only dumb luck, if you could call it such, that Kraglin woke up after a rousing round of bed-sharing three months ago, to find the captain on his knees in the washroom, heaving away like his reputation depended on it. Which Kraglin had seen before after one too many cups of rotgut. But this was something else.

After he’d dragged Yondu back to his feet and watched him crawl into bed, mashing his palms into his eyes and making noises disturbingly close to whimpers, he’d waited and watched, and once Yondu had gathered enough coherence, he’d muttered something about Star-damned headaches.

If Kraglin was a bit more of a scientific sort, he’d have remembered the term migraines. That was the doc’s word, according to Yondu. Along with the doc’s diagnosis of “Ain’t much to be done. Wait it out, don’t stare at lights and try not to puke on anything important.”

It was the implant that was the trouble. ‘Course it was, even Kraglin could have guessed that. Can’t have something hard-wired into your brain like that without it causing some hurt. Getting tech and flesh to play nice was more of an art than a science.

The implant was filled with delicate little chips and circuits that went deep inside Yondu’s brain and nerves. The thing was surrounded by a ring of thick scar tissue. It controlled a Stars-damned arrow made of active yaka. Of course it had to hurt. Kraglin just hadn’t realized exactly how much it hurt, how much pain Yondu dealt with when nobody was looking.

The pain was worse than being shot or stabbed. And there were times when the unrelenting ache got so bad, Yondu was lucky if he could tell which way was up and drag himself to the toilet to throw up.

Kraglin only knew this because, in a rare moment of vulnerability, Yondu had actually told him. Maybe he knew on some level that Kraglin was about to come in handy. Until then, Kraglin came in handy however else he could.

Painkillers did nothing. Yondu gulped down everything Kraglin brought him from doc’s stores, including the ones not meant for Centaurians, nor for bipeds, nor for anyone still interested in staying, y’know, alive.

Every which kind of physical treatment didn’t do much, either. Things went funny and unpredictable when the misfiring nerves didn’t know what the hell they were doing themselves.

Once, he’d tried massaging the pain away, only for Yondu to weakly slap his hands away: the added pressure made his eyes feel like they were on fire. A heat pack on the base of the implant made Yondu queasier. An ice pack helped for all of two minutes, before sending pins and needles prickling up and down Yondu’s legs and making him want to piss himself.

There was booze, too, which Kraglin didn’t approve of. It didn’t really work as a treatment, so much as it made Yondu forget about the migraine for a few hours and replaced it with the queasy pulse of a hangover. But that shit, Yondu could deal with.

Trading one hurt for another was a lousy negotiating tactic, but Yondu’d never been great at the art of negotiation when it came to his own body. Kraglin could attest to that.

***

The solution, like so many scientific discoveries, appeared by accident.

Unlike most scientific discoveries, it appeared while Kraglin was balls deep in slick blue silk.

Exhausted, in pain, and out of options, Yondu had requested a fuck. The idea was to distract from the unrelenting pain of the headache, and while Kraglin wasn’t keen on taking advantage of a man while he was down, he was less keen on leaving his captain unsatisfied.

The slap of bony hip against sweaty blue flesh was gentler than usual, demurely obscene in the silence of the room. Yondu normally growled a good game in bed but Kraglin wasn’t sure if this was even working as a distraction.

He got Yondu there eventually, and when his captain was finished curling and gasping around him, the distraction seemed to have worked.

Yondu was… calm. Relaxed, panting softly, until it seemed to occur to him that his head should still be killing him, except it wasn’t. He carefully slapped his palm against his forehead, maybe to make sure Kraglin hadn’t fucked it right off of him.

“What the hell,” Yondu muttered. Cautiously he relaxed, unfurled his limbs, waiting for the punch line.

Kraglin, sitting on the sweaty sheets with his long gangly legs curled under him, watched the discovery with glee. He tried not to make his grin too self-satisfied. “I guess nookie helps, huh Cap’n?”

That was the day Kraglin added “magical healing dick” to the (otherwise sparse) qualifications list on his resume.

***

If Kraglin minds being treated like a walking medicine cabinet, he sure as hell can’t muster up the energy to be all offended-like about it. If orgasm helps with Yondu’s headaches, who’s he to argue with science?

He kind of likes it too, the way Yondu just lets him do this, lets him take over the moment he picks up that something’s not right. Makes a man feel appreciated, being able to help like that.

The walk to the captain’s quarters is long. There’s no talking, just clipped little breaths from Yondu as he strides, stiff all over and squinting from the lights spilling through the grungy hallways. When they’re sure, really sure there’s no crew around to see, Yondu gives in to temptation and mashes his palm against the side of his head, stumbling sideways into the bony pillar that is Kraglin. And because he’s nothing if not an opportunist, Kraglin takes the opportunity in question to loop a muscled arm over his shoulders and take some of Yondu’s precious energy away from worrying about walking straight. The scene could almost be mistaken for a scene after a wild night in Contraxia.

“Just a bit more, Cap’n. Almost there.” Yondu’s reply is a sharp little exhalation and a roll of his stiff neck that brings his implant, the source of all this trouble, closer to Kraglin’s face. It creeps him out sometimes, that implant. He pictures it going inside the captain’s skull, plugging into the gooey bits, getting itself all tangled up with the nerves endings until the nerves themselves don’t know what’s what. You won’t catch Kraglin plugging something like that in his skull, no siree.

The Captain’s quarters are a blissful haven when they finally stumble through. Kraglin takes a moment to lock the door, dim the lights, and adjust the temperature controls to cool.

“We’ll get you sorted out, Cap’n.” Not the most romantic of preludes, but hey. Kraglin ain’t no poet. Despite that, his voice drops to a honey-tinged timbre, fitting the mood oddly well.

Someone peeking in right about now could be forgiven for thinking this is just business as usual, first mate getting the sickly captain to bed and that’s that, at least until Kraglin peels the well-worn leather coat from Yondu’s shoulders. It’s tinged with more care and less passion than how they usually do this, but this here’s a medical situation.

Doesn’t mean that Kraglin can’t enjoy it, just a tad. When they do it like this, he gets to undress Yondu. Gets to undo the buttons, one by one. Can almost pretend they’re being all tender-like, instead of him taking over by necessity because Yondu’s doing his damnest not to throw up on his first mate from the steady pulse of the migraine in his skull.

Kraglin must be a romantic at heart, he reckons. Not that Kraglin would know romance if it smacked him in the face. If it did, he’d probably wipe it off and keep walking.

Yondu’s shirt is off, displaying every bump and dip of his scarred blue flesh. There’s no objection when Kraglin treats himself to palmfuls of muscle and chunk, the skin deceptively soft between the raised valleys of scars. There’s no objection either when Kraglin fluffs a few pillows and helps Yondu lie down, red eyes narrowing to exhausted slits.

It’s all trusting, is what it is. The trust is what makes Kraglin eager to please, eager to prove himself. Eager to bare it all, and it ain’t a metaphor. His fingertips snag on the zipper as he peels the jumpsuit from his body, figuring the decent thing to do is to strip himself bare before asking the same vulnerability from Yondu.

Most times they rut, there isn’t enough time for talking, let alone breathing. It’s all sweat and teeth and clothes getting wedged in the ceiling grating and a fiery bundle of blue riding Kraglin’s cock until they’re both late for next shift.

Yondu lies, arms passively unfurled over the pelt topping the bed, letting Kraglin unbutton and slide off his pants and underwear and pretending not to know Kraglin’s enjoying this, beyond what the steady bob of the purple-pink cock is currently implying. It paints a wet trail on the bed as Kraglin crawls on his belly and settles between thick blue thighs.

“I got you,” Kraglin says. He stops short of adding, “I’mma take care of you,” because that’ll earn him a swift whistling-through no matter how much Yondu’s head aches.

There was a time when Kraglin first did this, burrowing between plush thighs for the first time and getting an extremely practical lesson in Centaurian anatomy. It wasn’t the weirdest set the universe had to offer, and it wasn’t the weirdest set Kraglin had ever fooled around with either. The tender slit between his captain’s thighs seemed made for Kraglin’s lanky fingers and long cock.

Yondu’s halfway interested, the folds plumping slightly, moisture trailing on the glossy flesh. He doesn’t resist when bony hands pry his thighs apart so Kraglin can gather some slick on his fingertips and start twisting them in.

There’s no clit at the apex of the folds, not like what some folks with innies got. But Kraglin knows to press his fingers in and curl them up until he feels the raised bumps right there on the inside wall, like rough little pearls coated in slick. Probably there to get a nice rubbing from whatever equipment Centaurian females are packing. Probably. Doesn’t matter to Kraglin. He knows how to make those little bumps twitch merrily with what he’s got.

Sometimes, when he works his jaw like he’s trying to unhinge it and swallow Yondu’s crotch, he can even get his tongue deep enough, wiggle it around just right. It’s like he’s licking a live wire, the way it makes Yondu writhe around like it hurts to stay still. He doesn’t go for that today, chasing a quick dirty end to the finish line instead of a fancy scenic route, though he does treat himself to a quick lap of the salty-sweet slick while his fingers work back and forth.

It doesn’t take long to get Yondu to open up, wet and loose around Kraglin’s fingers, enough that he can slip three in right now and curl them just right and tickle away. Yondu’s panting, legs falling apart and hips rutting in tiny little circles. It’s lovely how honest he is in his reactions, when he’s in no state to hide anything.

Kraglin hides a smile against the rasp of a scar, pressing his mouth all sloppy against Yondu’s belly until his lips hit the edge of a raised flap of skin, the edge of Yondu’s carrier-pouch.

Kisses don’t belong in their bed. Biting, licking, tonguing, go nuts. They didn’t kiss on a good day (or on a good night, or a good middle of the afternoon in a dusty nook and/or cranny of the ship) and they certainly weren’t going to do it when jostling too sharp or talking too much threatened to make Yondu spew all over the place. Captain wasn’t keen on using his mouth, and Kraglin never got whether it was a Centaurian thing or a Yondu thing, but the important thing is that Yondu doesn’t object to him using his mouth wherever he wants.

Kraglin’s a mouthy sort of guy in more ways than one, so this suits him. He licks away at salt-sweat on Yondu’s belly and nibbles the edge of the pouch. The flap of skin is tight against Yondu’s abdominals, but not so tight if one knows how to work fingers in there, coaxing the flesh to part, to stretch until fingers can dip in a few inches into the pouch and go searching for the nubs inside.

Yondu’s panting wetly, head kicked back and pressing dents into the pillow tucked under his neck. In contrast, his body’s saying plenty, belly twitching and spine arching while Kraglin rolls peaked little nipples with his fingertips and lazily licks at a patch of breastbone, while he watches Yondu’s face tense and relax under his touch. Yondu’s slit twitches in time with the pinches on his nipples, drenching Kraglin’s other hand in clear slick.

Kraglin loves this, playing with the pouch, marveling at how Yondu’s just letting him get his fill. He loves how it leaves Yondu all twitchy and shivering all over, and he wonders if one day Yondu will let him just stick his hands in there and work him to orgasm like that, just playing with his nipples with his legs spread nice and wide. Maybe in front of a mirror, too, so Kraglin can see everything. They don’t get up to kinky shit nearly as often as he’d like.

“C’mon, sir,” Kraglin mouths away at sweaty dips of blue skin, working both hands until his wrists start to creak. “Wanna feel you fall apart, c’mon…”

The wet noises are obscenely loud in the quiet room. Yondu’s sudden grunt drowns them out. He comes in rhythmic clenches, a smooth rolling pulse that squeezes Kraglin’s fingers from the entrance of the channel to higher ground deep inside Yondu.

The tension releases all of a sudden and Yondu drops flat on the bed, breathing in quick gulps. Already, Kraglin can see the lines of tension disappearing, the pain evaporating bit by bit.

Teasing’s fun, but Kraglin knows he’s got a bigger job to do. His hand is body-warm when he slides it out of the pouch, pressing it to the bed for leverage while he folds his long legs and squeezes Yondu’s thighs, holding them apart.

“Ready, Cap’n?” It’s out of courtesy that he asks. Yondu’s never said no to anything they do here. He’s gotta know that Kraglin will stop whatever he’s doing if there’s ever so much as a hint of reluctance, but so far Yondu’s never taken him up on the offer.

The blunt head of Kraglin’s cock skids against the indigo folds a few times before slotting home. Normally this might earn him a smartass jab about his aim, but Yondu just breathes slow and deep while Kraglin opens him up all the way, angled just right to work over those little nubs on the inside wall. When he looks up to make sure everything’s still fine, Yondu throws an arm over his eyes to block out the lights. Maybe to block out the sight of Kraglin too, who knows, though he doubts he’s ugly enough to give a fella a headache. A worse one, at any rate.

It leaves Yondu’s mouth uncovered, channeling every expression there. His lips are expressive, quirking and pursing and furling under pressure from Yondu’s teeth as Kraglin pulls out and pushes forward again through the squeeze of Yondu’s innards.

“Relax, sir,” Kraglin soothes. It’s unnecessary and a tad too sentimental, but it’s also too quiet in here. He doesn’t expect a reply but he does enjoy watching Yondu’s bottom lip disappear entirely under a row of sharp teeth, while Kraglin twists his hips and drags his cock right along the twitching little bumps.

He can’t angle up and jab all crazy like a malfunctioning engine, like he normally does. They got to take it slow by necessity, because twisting around on the sheets and going at it too rough is going to hurt, and not in the good way. So instead of rutting and balancing against the headboard in a way that would make an Askavarian gymnast blush, Kraglin keeps the press of his cock gentle. He focuses on jagged teeth, now set in a soft snarl between blue lips, smirking when Yondu’s mouth quivers open the moment Kraglin pushes himself up on his knees a bit, tugging Yondu open with the drag of his cock.

Kraglin set the temperature controls to cool before they started, but already it’s muggy in there, the air hot, hotter where their bodies connect, tight all-encompassing heat. Yondu writhes, pants softly, tiny reactions Kraglin’s taken for granted during their regular sessions because things are normally too wild for him to really see the sweat breaking out on Yondu’s forehead and collarbone, the flush of navy and the tension that has nothing to do with the headache still hammering away at his skull. Bit more, and that’ll be taken care of, too.

He’s a few careful, slow, deep thrusts in, curling his hands around Yondu’s hips, fingers trapped in the sweaty heat of Yondu’s back against the sheets, when Yondu’s free arm stretches out, not in an urgent flail, but a tentative one until he’s clasped a handful of Kraglin’s skinny forearm. If he can’t look at him, Kraglin guesses, at least he can touch him.

“Good, Cap’n?” He settles for feeling satisfied at the tightening of Yondu’s lips and the lazy clench around Kraglin’s cock.
“Yeah, it’s good. I can tell, way you’re closin’ up around me. Makes you feel good, don’t it? Taking my cock like this, makin’ everything better. Almost like it’s magic, inn’t it?”

Yondu doesn’t exactly laugh, but his lips quirk in a smirk. Kraglin presses the palm of his hand against the blue flesh just above Yondu’s slit, compressing the wall and the nerve-rich nubs between hand and cock. Yondu writhes desperately.

“What, sir? You sayin’ I ain’t magic? This ain’t working for you, then?”

“Shut up…” It’s the first thing Yondu’s said since they got naked. There’s no sting to it. He stutters on the “shut”, almost a laugh.

Good thing Yondu’s still got that arm over his eyes, because Kraglin’s grinning like a goof, blinking sweat out of his eyes. Kraglin’s got no dancing rhythm on a good day, but he’s certainly got it where it counts. He times the push of his hips with the motions of his palm, quick and circular.

Yondu writhes, chasing and pulling away from the stab of Kraglin’s dick and the press of his hand. It looks like too much, too sensitive, too soon, but he ain’t stopping, not when Yondu’s chasing something about to burst bright in his gut. Kraglin can tell by his breaths, the hold-gasp pattern that doesn’t break even when Yondu’s arm falls from his eyes to slam on the sheets beside him, furling the fabric between shaking fingers.

“C’mon, sir,” Kraglin rasps. He snaps his hips up, can feel his own cock sliding in through Yondu’s flesh against his hand. “C’mon, come fer me, I can tell you’re close… c’mon… ”

He is. Yondu doesn’t make a sound, not even a breath, scrunching up tight like he’s still in pain while he comes in pulsing clenches around Kraglin’s cock. Kraglin keeps going, slow and steady to drag it out, letting Yondu writhe it out until he’s done, releasing the tension with a long, desperate sigh. It’s the hottest damn thing Kraglin’s ever seen.

Kraglin pushes in again, bit slower now because he knows it doesn’t take long for Yondu to get overly sensitive after this. That, and it’s kinda gratifying to watch the way Yondu’s body relaxes, bit by bit, until the tight look on his face melts away for the first time in hours.

“Jus’ gonna… finish...” Kraglin pants, thrusts, and comes with a full-body shudder, pumping Yondu full. He pulls out the moment he’s done, as much to give Yondu some space as to flop on what counts as his side of the bed, burying his goofball grin in the pillow until he’s got his dignity back.

When Kraglin comes back up, Yondu’s breathing easier, looking properly relaxed. He’s blinking at nothing in particular, rubbing the base of his implant, and since Kraglin can read his cap’n like no one’s business, he can tell it worked again, that the headache’s good and gone, that everything’s okay now.

Damn shame this don’t work on broken bones and stab wounds. Kraglin would never get a moment’s sleep, but for Cap’n, some sacrifices are worth it.

“You wanna sleep now, sir?”

The lack of answer is an answer in itself. Kraglin sits up and’s just about resigned himself to sliding out of the bed and strolling back to the bridge to deal with knowing stares when Yondu flings an arm at him again, pulling him back down to the bed. It’s awkward, and Yondu’s curled on his side facing away, but Kraglin takes the invitation for what it is, curling his bony self around Yondu and dragging a blanket up to cover goose-pimpled blue flesh.

What the hell. Lucky for them, it’s easy to disappear on a ship this big, with bodies they trust working the bridge in their absence. It can take a solid week to take a jaunty walk from one end of the Eclector to another. No one bats an eye if it takes them a few hours to pop back from a strategy meeting or from a leisurely stroll to the washroom.

Yondu settles into his arms, pliant and languid, a rare treat. Probably so happy for a moment without pain, he doesn’t care how sweet the scene looks, and Kraglin flarking loves it.

Must be magic all right.