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neon dreams

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Beyond the filmy sheen of the curtains, the neon sign of the White Springs Motor Inn flashes red and white, bleeding the flickering color across the bedspread clutched under Holden’s chin. The window is cracked open to allow the arid, Utah breeze and the distant hum of big rigs on the highway into the motel room. The quiet of the desert looms like the vacuum of space, the absence of anything safe or structural offering either freedom or terror. 

Holden has been awake for nearly an hour since Bill hung up with Nancy, and the room fell silent, allowing the gaping solitude of this motel and the stretch of empty highway beyond it to yawn wider and wider. He’s gotten used to falling asleep to the low, gravelly cadence of Bill’s voice muttering the little details of their day over the telephone line, and the smell of cigarette smoke lingering until the open window aerates the room; but tonight, he can’t sleep, and his eyes are open, watching the NO VACANCY sign blink off and on outside his window. 

Red. White. Red. White. Over and over, burning across the back of his eyelids even when he presses them shut. The flashing tempo matches the pace of his blood, red and burning in its own regard, trapped beneath the weight of the blankets and his trembling skin. 

Out here in the desert, detached from the dense population and familiar tastes of home, the cognitive dissonance between his morals and the blossoming needs rooted deep in his belly echoes louder and louder into the solitude. Creeping shame keeps him in line when they’re together in the BSU basement, and his thoughts run a little too far before slamming into the hot fist of humiliation, the idea that someone at the Bureau could see the furtive fantasies wrestling around inside his brain. He can push off the thoughts even when Bill’s gaze lingers on him, hazy yet intense in a way that makes his blood both boil and chill. 

He’s good at pretending when it comes to most people, but not to Bill; and Bill might be the only one who could possibly glimpse what criminal daydreams Holden’s mind has attached him to. The idea that Bill might have a clue as to what goes on inside his head frightens him to a point of paralytic terror while also igniting a fire in his veins that doesn’t go out until he soothes it with the eager touch of his hand. 

He’s tested the limits when they’re on the road, saving this strange, lurching need developing beneath his breastbone for moments when he can write it off as something else. When he’s far from home, he can quietly pretend that he’s horny and missing Debbie even as he leaves the bathroom door just slightly cracked, or wanders into the motel room in only his towel, post-shower when his skin is still wet and Bill can’t help but notice. More than once, he’s laid in bed exactly as he is now, hips writhing against the inadequate press of the mattress and the torturous weight of his underwear before slipping his hand under the fabric to the touch himself to completion, relieving the desperate need tearing at his insides for a little while. It always comes back, fierce and hungry like a starved animal gnawing at scraps for sustenance.

Bill has never once indicated that he recognizes what Holden is doing. He keeps his eyes to himself when Holden sashays across the room in his towel; even when Holden muffles his moans into the sheets and freezes when he hears Bill stir in the bed across from him, they always wake up the following morning and go on as if nothing happened. 

Earlier tonight, they had a drink with some of the cops from the precinct. They gave their opinion on a case over cheap whiskey, and at some point, Bill’s hand had touched the middle of his back. That’s all. One little stroke of Bill’s palm against his spine had triggered this bubbling need that now revolts against the trap of his briefs, forcing a cold sweat to the back of his neck, and a churning, delirious haze across his brain. Desperation clouds his judgment the way it always does. He’ll touch himself, and after he comes, he’ll feel ashamed, terrified at the illicit fantasies that had gotten him hard. Tomorrow, the fear will be gone and he’ll feel confident again, eager to push the boundaries; but here, wrapped up in the blankets with Bill lying not ten feet away, his chest is locked in a trembling battling between need and sanity. 

Holden presses his eyes shut against the red blare of neon. He can still glimpse it flashing behind the sheen of his eyelids, and it melds into the dull roar of arousal trampling the back of his mind. His cock twitches against his underwear, begging for the stroke of his hand. All he can think about is Bill touching him, his breath hot against Holden’s ear as he whispers something benign, yet so arousing - because it’s him, because it’s his voice, because that low, attentive whisper that he uses on the phone with Nancy is all Holden wants directed at him. 

Holden pushes the sheets back carefully, and props himself up on his elbow. He casts a quick glance over his shoulder at Bill’s form draped in the sheets. He has his back turned to Holden, but he seems to be breathing steadily. 

Holden’s heart pounds as he reaches over to grab a handful of kleenex from the  box on the nightstand. Tucking the sheets over his shoulder, he delves his trembling fingers down to peel back his pajama pants and underwear just far enough to free his aching cock. The breath catches in the back of his throat as his fingers graze his twitching length, inciting a fresh stampede in his veins. 

Clutching the tissues in one hand, he braces his fingers around his cock with the other. His body cries out with a pang of eviscerating need at the first caress of his palm, and he buries his mouth in the pillow to gag the sound of pleasure charging up from his chest. Behind the clench of his eyelids, fantasy swarms in a drug-like haze, snippets of memory and conjured images melding into a heady blur of desire. He thinks of Bill’s hand against his lower back, how the weight of it had settled comfortably for a second too long, and then his mind takes that fragment of sensation and elongates it, until Bill’s hand is vividly dipping lower, pushing away fabric to grasp his backside, fingers delving into him. First one, then two, then three, splitting him open.

Holden rubs harder at his pulsing cock as the fantasy weaves further and further from reality, spiraling into fevered, desperate mania. His hips buck against the stroke of his hand, and the faint groan of the bed springs interrupts the runaway scream of his thoughts. He stills, biting into the pillow. His breath surges hot into the fabric of the pillowcase as his ears strain, trying to pick up any sound of movement behind him. When several seconds of silence greet him, he shoves aside the sting of panic to continue his eager stroking. 

The verge of pleasure rushes quickly towards him, and Holden backs off. He pants into the pillow, squeezing back the fringe of tingles wandering down his chest and into his belly. The need is acutely desperate, but he wants to make it last if he can. Tomorrow morning they’ll be back on a plane headed for Virginia, and he won’t have another chance at this sick self-indulgence until they pick up their next road school assignment. He could finish himself in seconds if he wanted with the fantasies crowding behind his eyelids, but he loves the building, burning ache between his thighs, the way his body screams with need while the bare brush of his fingers keeps him wavering on the verge of satisfaction. It would be even better if it was Bill’s hand.  

Holden burrows his face deeper into the pillow as the thought hits him hard in the chest. A moan builds in the back of his throat, and he stamps it out into the downy fabric. But as his mouth comes up from the pillow, his head light and swimming with lack of oxygen, he draws in a shaky, raspy breath that echoes through the room far louder than he’d intended. 

Holden clamps his mouth shut. His whole body freezes as the bed behind him creaks beneath Bill’s weight. His fingers curl taut around his cock, holding back the wave of need crashing against his groin. He’s so close to coming that he’s dizzy with it, but the sound of Bill moving behind him shoves it back with a cold slice of panic. 

“Holden?” 

Holden presses his eyes shut as a thrill of horror washes down his spine. 

“Are you okay?” Bill’s voice cuts drowsily through the darkness, raspy and soft with sleep. 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Holden says, immediately regretting speaking. He doesn’t sound fine. He sounds hoarse and completely wrecked with need, the words shaking helplessly from his mouth while pleasure curls fiercely in his belly. 

The quiet squeal of bed springs brings Holden’s panicked gaze careening over his shoulder. Red light washes the room in split-second intervals, illuminating Bill’s confused scowl as he sits up, and throws back the bed sheets. 

Holden scrambles to grab at his underwear and pajama pants as Bill rises to his feet. 

“What are you doing?” Bill asks. 

Panic screams through Holden’s mind. His pants and underwear are tangled up in each other, and he can’t seem to get them back up over his swollen dick. The seconds unravel both excruciatingly slow and impossibly fast as Bill crosses the room. 

Holden’s panicked wrestling with his clothes comes to a dead halt as Bill grabs the corner of the sheet and yanks it back. A wash of cool, night air seeps across Holden’s skin as the weight of the blanket lifts, and he’s left cowering beneath Bill’s glare, half-undressed, his cock writhing in his trembling fist. He lies perfectly still, waiting for the moment to shatter when he wakes up and realizes it was all a terrified dream conjured by his bolting conscience.

But the seconds stretch on, and Holden can feel Bill’s gaze scorching down his arched, quivering back and across the swell of his bare ass. 

“Fucking Christ.” Bill says. 

Holden draws in a shuddering breath. His face is burning so hot that it might burst into flame. He’d created this scenario more than a dozen times without Bill falling victim to the ruse, but he’d stepped too close to the line this time. Creeping his eyelids open, he glances over his shoulder to see Bill standing over him, his face etched with disbelief. 

“It’s the middle of the night.” Bill says, “You can’t do this when you’re at home? Jesus, Holden.” 

Holden swipes a hand down to grab the corner of the sheet, and pull it back over himself. 

“Sorry, it just came over me.” 

Bill turns away, rubbing a hand over his mouth. But he doesn’t walk away, or get mad. He just stands there, breathing heavily into his palm, his brow furrowed against the image that’s likely burned across his brain. 

A sudden burst of confidence swells Holden’s chest. He’d expected a more visceral reaction, but Bill seems just as shocked as Holden that he’s finally been caught in the act, if not slightly aroused by it. Maybe in the dark his mind is feverishly filling in the gaps of silence, praying that his desires aren’t entirely unrequited, but he’s gotten pretty good at reading Bill - even his silences - in the past year. He doesn’t look angry or even disgusted, but paralyzed by something potent that grips Holden’s own chest. 

Bill’s eyelids slip open, and he glances down at Holden past hooded eyelids. His hand drifts from his mouth, and he swallows hard. 

“Are you going to stand there and watch me finish?” Holden whispers, the question quavering from his mouth with false indignance. 

Letting go of the sheets, he rolls onto his back, and allows his cock to slip back into view, writhing in needy agony against his belly. 

Bill draws in a shuddering breath. His gaze is focused on Holden’s cock, illuminated in the neon wash of red. 

“I don’t mind if you do.” Holden says, the admittance slipping past his lips before he can wonder at the intelligence of it. 

“Fuck, Holden, that’s-” Bill begins, his voice choking off as Holden’s fingers wander down to push against the swollen head of his cock. 

“What?” Holden murmurs. “Fucked up? Wrong?” 

“Yes.” Bill says, sharply, “You should stop.” 

“I don’t want to.” Holden says, biting at his lower lip as he wraps his fingers around his cock. “Do you?” 

Bill’s jaw clenches as he sinks to the edge of the mattress. His head tilts down, and he focuses on his fingers wrapped around a handful of the sheets for a moment before he glances back up. His eyes are glazed with apparent need beneath the red-white wash of light, a consuming gaze that Holden had never imagined would actually be directed at him. He’d fantasized about it enough times, but the truth gleaming in Bill’s eyes now hits him hard in the chest with unexpected weight. 

Holden’s blood surges hotter as Bill’s hand uncurls from the sheets to grasp him by the knee. His fingers dig past fabric and into bone, producing a dull ache that ripples down Holden’s leg. 

Holden sucks in a tremulous breath as Bill’s gaze seethes across his bare skin. Curling his fingers tighter around his cock, he drags his hand up and down a few times to encourage the need clamping hard through his belly. A groan pushes at the back of his throat as the stroking reignites the intense pleasure he’d pushed himself to only minutes earlier. 

“God-” Bill mutters, shifting closer. “Holden…”

His gaze is trained on Holden’s hard, pink cock spilling in and out of the clutch of his hand. His breath hitches in the back of his throat before hastening into a muted gasp. He yanks the sheet back from Holden’s thighs, and grabs at the bunched fabric of his pajama pants. 

“Take these off.” He says, his voice trembling around the guttural command. 

Holden’s heart races as he removes his hand from his cock long enough to wrestle the pants and underwear from his ankles. As he kicks them away, Bill’s hand reclaims his knee, pushing his legs open against the sheets. 

Holden mutes a gasp beneath the clench of his jaw. His legs fall open against Bill’s nudging, displaying an unobstructed view of his cock flexing across his belly. 

“Go on.” Bill says, his palm rubbing down Holden’s inner thigh. 

Tingles sweep from underneath the calloused grip of his hand, and plunge into Holden’s groin, causing his cock to twitch harder with unrepentant need. Holden moans as he reaches down to grab onto his cock, rubbing fiercely at the pulsing, aching length. 

“Oh God…” Holden whines, his head tilting back against the pillow and his eyes slamming shut against the intense wave of arousal that cuts through him. His cock bolts against the caress, producing a little stream of pre-cum that he can all but feel being squeezed from his roiling, throbbing depths. 

Bill’s grasp tightens down on his thigh, and Holden can feel the bruises blooming beneath his fingertips. He focuses on the faint shaft of pain colliding with the hot bursts of pleasure ripping through his middle, enjoying the way they both make his blood sing and his cock pulse. He wants to beg Bill to touch him, but the pleasure is already climbing through his chest and belly, rushing towards a quick, explosive finish. Just the weight of Bill’s gaze on him is enough to trigger the orgasm lurking in his belly. 

Holden slips his eyes open as his hand strokes faster, the caress growing feverish and sloppy as pleasure churns up through his groin and belly. 

Bill is watching him closely, his mouth half-open in a shock and pleasure. Gasping breaths rasp from his chest, his shoulders jolting with every exhilarated inhale. He shifts closer as Holden’s pleasure races towards its pinnacle. A frown of concentration furrows his brow, and he licks his lips, quick and hungry like an animal assessing its prey. 

Holden doesn’t have a chance to let that thread of thought evolve into something stronger. The orgasm erupts up through his stomach and chest, landing hard in his groin where the tightly spooled need unravels into long, aching spasms of pleasure. Holden gasps and lurches against the grip of his hand, hips shuddering and writhing as cum jets from his cock, across his belly and chest. He keeps rubbing hard and fast, milking every last hot, rippling convulsion from his insides until he lapses against the sheets, gasping hard and dizzy from the force of the orgasm. 

As he sinks down against the sheets, his fingers wet and limp against his softening dick, Bill’s hand retreats from his thigh. 

Holden’s eyelids flutter open to see Bill rising from the edge of the bed. His head is swimming with the aftershocks of pleasure, and every inch of him feels melted and helpless like wet, boiled noodles. He can’t move, can only whimper in pleasure as his fingers slide slickly across his sensitive, spent cock. 

Bill mutters a curse, squeezing a hand against the back of his neck. He walks in a tight circle before coming back to the edge of the bed. His brow is set with a scowl, but his eyes aren’t angry. Holden can see that he’s hard beneath his boxers, his cock rocking in needy throes against the fabric. 

“Did you like that?” Holden whispers, his voice shaking. 

Bill’s mouth purses into a hard line as he watches Holden use the handful kleenexes to wipe the cum from his belly and chest. 

Holden discards the damp tissues, and gathers his trembling body up from the sheets. Casting Bill a tremulous gaze, he whispers it again, “Did you like it, Bill?” 

Bill swallows hard, and glances away. “Fuck, Holden.” 

“I liked it.” Holden presses. “I’ve thought about it a lot, actually.” 

“Jesus, stop.” Bill whispers. “Do you hear yourself?” 

“Yes. Are you going to go back to bed like that?” Holden asks, motioning to Bill’s obvious erection.

Bill shakes his head. “You don’t have any fucking shame, do you?”

“I don’t think you should go back to bed like that.” Holden murmurs, ignoring the forced anger in Bill’s voice. “I could watch you like you watched me, or …” 

“Or what?” Bill’s gaze cuts back to him, flaming with need and a bit of horror. 

“I could do it for you.”

Bill’s eyelids slip shut, and he presses a hand to his forehead. Holden can see the conflict rage across his tense expression for a long moment before he breaks into a stride to the bed. Holden scrambles back against the sheets as Bill crawls onto the bed, and between his thighs, hands claiming Holden’s cheek and hip to push him onto his back. 

Holden moans as Bill’s mouth comes down on top of his, stroking hard and graceless with untethered need. His tongue pushes past Holden’s compliant lips, and strokes across teeth and against his palate. The wet, curling heat fills Holden’s mouth with the faint taste of cigarettes. This close, he can smell Bill’s aftershave and soap lingering from the shower just a few hours before. These little details sink into his mind, filling in the gaps in his fantasies, giving them life and color, validating every throbbing need he’s ever tried to push down. Bill is good at kissing, taking his mouth and stroking it open, sweeping his tongue across Holden’s, hanging onto his lower lip as teeth come out to nip gently against soft, trembling skin. His hand strokes Holden’s cheek while it pins him back against the pillow, inciting both a tremble of gentility and dominance that makes Holden’s groin jolt with fresh arousal. 

Holden is gasping breathlessly when Bill’s mouth lifts. His forehead rests against Holden’s, allowing the hot rush of his breath to surge across Holden’s cheeks. 

Holden opens his eyes to glimpse Bill’s in the semi-darkness. The neon strobe flashes on endlessly, coloring the pale blue of Bill’s eyes with bright red that matches the needs lurching between their quaking bodies. 

He reaches down to tug his boxers away from his erection, and Holden’s gaze dives down to take in the swollen, pulsing length erupting from the fabric. He mutes a groan behind the hard press of his teeth across his lower lip. His chest pounds with need, and his hands long to reach out and touch; but he doesn’t know if Bill would allow it just yet, or where this night is headed. 

Bill strips the boxers below his knees, and kicks them free of his ankles. Crowding between Holden’s thighs, he reaches down to take himself in a trembling, yet firm hand. A groan spills up his throat, and he presses his eyes shut, grinding his forehead down against Holden’s. 

“Fuck …” He mutters, his voice coarser this time, twisted with swelling pleasure. 

Holden’s gaze bounces between Bill’s strained expression of pleasure and his cock twitching in his fist. He grabs onto the sheets because he needs something to ground himself, to imprint this moment alongside something tangible, something to prove to his deliriously swimming brain that this is real, this is happening, this is a moment in time that can’t be reversed or forgotten. 

“Oh God-” Bill groans, his breath bursting in a staggered groan across Holden’s cheeks. His hand strokes down his cock, slow and steady to manage the need crushing against every pore and fiber. 

“Yes.” Holden whispers, encouraging the stroke of Bill’s hand. “That’s good.” 

Bill’s mouth slips open in a trembling gasp that ripples down his arm and into his fist. Red and white light plasters the blunt edges of his knuckles and the red swell of his cock jutting past the embrace of his hand. His hips lurch into the steady caress, thighs pushing up against Holden’s as the need intensifies. 

“God, Bill …” Holden moans, pushing his mouth against Bill’s cheek. His breath surges hot across Bill’s cheek and ear as he rises up from the pillow. “So hot … you’re getting me hard again.” 

Bill’s head slips down into the cradle of Holden’s neck, his mouth branding hot against the ridge of his collarbone. A groan stretches from the back of his throat, a strangled curse mixed into the mangled sounds of need. His fist jerks harder, pushing need to the verge of explosion. 

Holden turns his mouth against Bill’s neck, branding a hot kiss against perspiring skin. He closes his eyes, absorbing every tremble and thrust of Bill’s body coming apart against him. He can feel need wrapping slowly around his groin, blood rushing back south even as his body still aches in recovery of his orgasm. The flesh twitches, sensitive and nearly painful, throbbing, getting harder by the second as Bill’s weight leans harder into him, and his breaths grow faster and raspier with mounting pleasure. 

“Oh God … oh fuck-” Bill moans just before his body seizes against Holden. 

Holden leans back to watch as Bill hunches over him, every inch of him trembling as the first hot, wet spurt of cum spills across his belly. Bill braces a hand against the headboard as his hips lose their consistent thrusting and devolve into jagged, sloppy ruts of orgasm that have his cock jolting in and out of his grip, directing the abundant rain of his cum across Holden’s chest and belly. 

Holden gasps in satisfaction, watching Bill’s face twist with orgasm and his body lurch helplessly through the throes of pleasure. The hot dribble of Bill’s cum gushing across his skin feels differently from his own, as if it’s writing itself into wet, milky lines across his flesh, leaving behind the latent impression of this moment that can’t be washed away with soap and water. 

Bill breathes hard as he comes out of it, his body going still and slightly trembling between Holden’s thighs. He leans against the headboard, pushing his forehead into his bicep while the gasping pace of his breathing slows. 

Holden lays perfectly still, every muscle in his body drawn tensely as he awaits Bill’s reaction. Is this when the anger comes? After its all said and done and neither of them can take it back, will he try to blame Holden for all of it? Holden does feel responsible, and he’s flushing even now thinking about how forward he had been, delusional in a state of sexual frenzy and forcing Bill to admit that he’d liked it. 

Bill leans back against his heels. For a moment, his hands hover over Holden’s thighs as if he doesn’t know where he should put them down. He puts them in his lap instead, his fingers curling into fists. 

“Bill-” Holden begins, saying his name before he can even conjure a statement that might mitigate what’s just happened. 

“Don’t.” Bill says, quietly. “Just go clean yourself up.” 

He crawls out from between Holden’s legs, and waves a finger at the bathroom. 

Holden grabs another handful of kleenex to dab away the worst of it before dragging his trembling limbs out of the bed. He stumbles to the bathroom, and pulls the door shut behind himself. His reflection in the mirror displays a gaudy, flushed mess, his hair in sweaty disarray, his belly marked with remnants of release, his cheeks bright red with wasted need. 

Holden uses a washcloth and hand soap to wipe himself down. When he’s done, he leaves the cloth hanging over the edge of the sink to dry, thinking it will still be there in the morning after they’ve slept off this delirious high and forced themselves to believe this encounter was a one-time fling, a moment of frenetic, lustful insanity. 

When he emerges from the bathroom, Bill is sitting on the edge of his own bed, his elbows braced against his knees as he feverishly smokes a cigarette.  

“Bill, I-”

“Don’t say you’re fucking sorry.” Bill says, lifting his head to shoot him a glare. “We’ll both know its a lie.” 

Holden nods. “Okay. Or we could just not talk about it.” 

“That’s better.” 

Holden glances away, his gaze catching on the scene outside the window - no vacancy blaring out into the night, illuminating the empty strip of asphalt through this small, desert town, and the flat stretch of land beyond that seems to run on forever until it meets with the distant, blue outline of the mountains. The tiny motel crouches just off the interstate, far enough away from reality or anything grounding to convince himself that he can live with it being just one night. He wants to laugh out loud because that too is a lie, but he can’t ask for anymore when Bill looks like he’s about to come apart at the seams. 

They both crawl back into bed, and silence settles across the motel room. The breeze shifts through the open window, bringing in the summer smell of the mountains, but Bill’s aftershave is branded across the back of Holden’s mind as red and bright as the neon scorching the back of his eyelids. He doesn’t fall asleep for a long time listening to Bill’s breathing, and reliving those brief moments of pleasure in his head. He’s exhausted but half-hard when he finally drifts to sleep, pleasure following him into his dreams where Bill touches him and he touches back, and things don’t end with separate beds. 

Chapter Text

The week after Utah, they’re back out West, and Bill is starting to hate the infinite stretch of interstate cutting through russet, desert scenes and the clear, blue sky bulging in an endless, vacant dome overtop of them. It takes two hours to get anywhere, and gas is expensive as hell out in these remote areas of Nevada. Holden changes the radio station every time a commercial comes on or a channel dips out of range, forcing Bill to sit through what feels like hours of static and fractured bits of radio chatter before finally settling on a station that suits his specific tastes. 

But Bill doesn’t argue or nitpick. He keeps conversation keenly focused on work, and work only. He asks Holden if he’s hungry or what he wants to eat. Holden says he doesn’t care. He leans his head back against the leather seat of the rental car, and opens the window to let in the dry, scorching breeze across his flushed cheeks. Bill tells him there’s AC in the car, and Holden says he likes the wind. Christ, he’s fucking infuriating. 

Bill smokes until his lungs burn and ache, and he thinks he should probably slow down before he wastes the entire pack before they reach the next gas station.

 It’s a three day road trip across this part of Nevada, lumping in multiple precincts so as not to waste airfare. It’s day one of being stuck in this car with Holden, and he already feels close to losing it, like there’s a foot on the back of his neck ready to break him at his slightest complaint. Holden is acting perfectly normal, but Bill can sense the nuance of tension rippling beneath his placid exterior, can see the curiosity beaming from behind his bright, blue eyes.

Bill clams up at the slightest hint of conversation outside of work, wondering if Holden can see any bit of the truth writhing behind his steely exterior. He’s good at reading people, and he’s probably wondering if Bill has done this before or if they both stumbled into the illicit encounter with neither intention nor experience. 

The truth is a long and complicated story, a web of lies and false promises that Bill has been repeating to himself for years - for as long as he can remember. He has every face memorized, from the first scared, desperate comrade in Army fatigues when they were both far from home to the last ill-fated hookup with a Baltimore detective the week before he and Nancy brought Brian home. 

He remembers them all because he’d promised to himself that the number would never exceed more than he can count on his two hands. He’d promised himself that it was over once he and Nancy brought a child into the relationship, once he made himself a father. He’d promised that these ugly desires were behind him. He’d promised he would be faithful to his wife. But his life is nothing more than a string of broken promises, each time shattering harder into a smaller, unrecognizable, irretrievable pieces until he wonders exactly which trespass and which man’s face it will be to permanently sever all thought of family and fatherhood. 

He had never thought it would be Holden’s face; but perhaps that’s just another lie that he’s told himself when he’s hiding from his desires, convinced he can stifle these criminal urges with his own fist. 

Bill soothes himself with the idea that neither of them had touched the other. It was a moment in time, a brief interlude of delusion. He can take it back. Not all of it, but enough. He can put a stop to it before it goes any further, and he relapses into something dangerous and addictive. Things with Nancy haven’t been great for awhile; he’d had a few understandable minutes of weakness, of his desires spilling over past his control because they haven’t been satisfied in God knows how long. 

As the road winds endlessly ahead of them, Bill repeats that thought like a mantra, burning it into his brain, and scabbing over those flinching neurons where the memory of Holden washed in neon red and drenched in milky ropes of release fires over and over again. 

That evening after the presentation, Bill drives them to the hotel. The sign jutting above boasts clean rooms and televisions, but the no vacancy sign is off and the parking lot is deserted. The sky is dark overhead, glittering with stars like a huge, black pincushion, as they walk from the office to their room at the end of the building. 

“I think I’m going to get a shower and get to bed early.” Holden says, reaching up the loosen his tie. 

“Yeah, we have an early start tomorrow.” Bill replies, keeping his gaze focused on the sidewalk and away from Holden’s throat. 

He realizes his hand is slightly trembling as he pushes the key up against the lock. They haven’t been alone in a hotel room since last week, and despite Bill’s ashamed machinations, the idea of possibility is quick to stick in the back of his mind. His throat is thick, his chest palpitating as he opens the door, and Holden breezes past him. The smell of his cologne wafts against Bill’s nostrils, adding a sharpened layer of intensity to the thoughts swimming behind his eyelids. 

He pushes the door shut behind them, and discreetly watches as Holden opens his suitcase and digs out his pajamas and toiletry bag. 

“I’ll try to be quick; save some hot water for you.” He says, shrugging out of his jacket, and tossing it across the bed.

“Thanks.” Bill says, tugging his cigarettes from his pocket. 

He focuses on the flame bursting from his lighter and the cloud of smoke billowing like a sheen between his hungry gaze and Holden’s bare forearms coming into view as he takes off his shirt. 

His forearms? Bill thinks, bewildered by the desperate train of his thoughts latching onto the most innocuous bit of Holden’s skin. But, he’s already thinking about biting the inside of Holden’s wrist, and it isn’t benign any longer. 

He lets out a breath when Holden carries his pajamas and toiletry bag into the bathroom, and shuts the door behind him. Sinking down to the edge of his bed, he takes a hard drag of his cigarette, trying to fumigate the helpless, needy shudder from his lungs.

After finishing the cigarette, Bill strips down his boxers and undershirt, and reclines back against the bed to turn on the television. He flips aimlessly through the channels, listening to the steady drum of water hitting the shower base. The walls in the motel are thin, and he can hear Holden softly humming. 

Happy as a fucking lark. Bill thinks, irritation shifting beneath the needy itch burrowing itself under his skin. He grabs onto the bit of negative energy, fostering it into something that can have a chance at battling the hunger yawning in his belly. 

By the time the water shuts off, Bill’s chest is swarming with frustration. He swings his legs over the edge of the bed, and sits there for a minute, vacillating. He’s already second-guessing his decision making skills by the time he gets up and marches to the door of the bathroom. 

He raps his knuckles against the door, and leans closer to listen for Holden’s response. 

“You almost done in there?” 

There’s a beat of silence before the doorknob twists, and Holden tugs the door open. A waft of steam surges past the five inch opening, and Holden’s gaze peeks up at him, glistening eyelashes blinking against the moisture trickling through wet, limp curls and down his forehead.

“I thought you said you would be quick.” Bill says, checking his watch. “It’s been half an hour.” 

“Sorry.” Holden says, taking a step back. “It was so hot today, and I was enjoying the water.”

The door swings open. He has a towel around his waist, but his chest is dripping with water. The rush of cold air washes goosebumps down his pale skin, rendering a tiny shudder in his belly and drawing his nipples taut. 

Bill grips the door frame, shoving down the lurching urge to grab the front of the towel and yank it away. The shivering cold wouldn’t last long under his grip, and soon Holden would be in need of another shower. 

“Bill?” Holden murmurs. 

Bill shifts his gaze to Holden’s inquisitive stare. Something hot and chaotic roils in the pit of his stomach, desire casting a long shadow over curated anger. 

“You are fucking unbelievable.” Bill says, the words trembling past his lips before he can reconsider opening what happened to discussion. 

Holden leans back against the edge of the sink, gripping the ceramic lip with trembling hands. His wide eyes are trained on Bill, thoughts swirling behind the innocent, glazed blue. He’s considering his next move, placation or provocation.

“You think I don’t know what you’ve been doing these past few months?” Bill asks, walking further into the bathroom. “You think I didn’t notice you walking around half-naked like this all the time, playing your little fucking head games?” 

“Bill, I-”

“Please, don’t try to say it wasn’t on purpose.” Bill says, scoffing harshly. “You moan like a female virgin when you’re coming.” 

Holden’s mouth slips open, and a flush rises bright red to his cheeks. 

Bill immediately regrets saying it, but the comparison lands there between them with ballooning density, irretrievable. 

“That’s right.” Bill says, his voice dropping down at his throat thickens with compounding, dizzying need. “I’ve heard every single time you’ve touched yourself in the middle of the night for the past few months, but I didn’t say anything until last week because I thought you might eventually come to your senses. What the hell is wrong with you?” 

Holden swallows hard as Bill advances, his hands curled into fists at his sides. Shrinking against the sink, he lowers his gaze to the damp tile. 

“I thought you didn’t want an apology.” He whispers. 

“I don’t. I just want you to fucking admit it.” 

“Fine.” Holden says, his gaze defiantly shooting back to Bill’s. “I did do it on purpose, but I didn’t think you would actually …” 

His voice trails off as the insinuation wanders into the conversation, lacking a proper descriptor beneath unquelled waves of shame. He’s flushing hard, his cheeks and throat aflame with it. 

Bill stands still, breathing in the heavy, steamed air and the scent of motel soap. He isn’t sure what he’d expected. For Holden to lie or deny? For him to beg Bill not to make him say it? That presupposition had been part of his own imagination because Holden had been confident that night, forward despite the blush of shame and the glare of horror in his eyes. 

“Now what?” Holden asks, and there’s a strain of hope in his voice.  

Bill lets out a choked laugh of disbelief. “Jesus, Holden. Don’t you feel the least bit ashamed?” 

Holden purses his lips, and glances his away. His breath hitches with a tremulous breath, and he presses his eyes shut. “Yes, but …” 

“But what?” 

“But-” Holden says, his brow furrowing as the word hangs achingly in the air. He draws in a steadying breath, and slowly swings his gaze back to Bill’s. “It was good. You have to at least admit that.” 

“No, I don’t.” Bill says, sharply. “I’m married. You’re dating a very nice girl who may want to marry you someday. It doesn’t matter how good it felt. It was wrong.” 

Holden nods, the blush on his cheeks tingeing fresh pink. “No, you’re right.” 

“Great. I’m glad we agree.” Bill’s says, spreading his hands impatiently. “Can I have the shower now?”

Holden nods. Gathering his clothes from the counter, he rushes out of the bathroom. Bill pushes the door shut behind him. 

His reflection is smudged in the steamed glass of the mirror, and he looks away before he can glimpse the conflict in his eyes. Stripping out of his boxers and undershirt, he gets into the shower and turns the water on hot, until he can barely endure the burning sting pounding across his shoulders. It feels good, like some kind of penance, or a cleansing fire to burn away the tingling hum of ugly desires. 

 

~

 

Bill endures the following day in terse silence. They exchange only the necessary conversation over breakfast the following morning before getting in the car to make the four hour drive to the next precinct. There isn’t much but sand and wind bordering the black strip of asphalt leading them to their next destination, and sincere, mind-numbing boredom grips Bill’s brain as the silence continues on over the hum of the car wheels against blacktop. It’s better than stilted conversation, so he keeps his mouth shut and his eyes on the road. 

The presentation at the precinct isn’t until six. As they roll into town, Holden suggests they stop at the diner up ahead before heading to the police station. The sign over the parking lot says Frank’s Southwest Grille. Bill quietly hopes this place has decent whiskey. 

When they trudge through the front door, they’re immediately greeted by a cheerful hostess who leads them down the row of crowded booths to a seat near the back corner. She drops off their menus with a promise that their server will be right with them. 

Bill glances over the menu briefly before flipping to the back where the drinks are listed. 

He catches Holden’s judgmental gaze, and sets the menu down with a slap. 

“What?” 

“Nothing.” Holden says, dutifully averting his gaze to the menu. 

“It’s past five o’clock.” Bill says, trying to justify his desire to get buzzed - or much worse. 

“We still have to do the presentation, that’s all.” 

“Holden, I could do it in my sleep.” Bill says, digging his cigarettes out of his pocket. He lights up, and takes a deep drag. 

“Fine.” Holden says, so quietly that Bill almost can’t hear, but in a clipped, obnoxious tone that makes Bill want slap him on his smart mouth. 

The waitress arrives a few minutes later with waters, and takes down their order. Bill asks for his whiskey, casting Holden a sharp glare. 

Holden guides the lemon slice through his water with a twirl of his straw, keeping his gaze focused on the lazy revolutions. 

Silence settles between them after the waitress leaves. The hum of conversation around them fades into white noise as Bill’s gaze wanders across the diner, to the window, to the ashtray where his cigarette is dwindling fast, trying to avoid looking directly at Holden if he can manage it. He checks his watch as the minutes stretch on. It’s only been ten minute since the waitress departed, but he can feel every excruciating second, the raw truth and needs building just beneath the surface of each shaky breath that fills his lungs. 

Finally Holden looks up from his water. 

“Are we going to do this for the rest of the trip?” He asks. 

“What?” 

“This.” 

Bill glances away at the distant jut of ruddy mountains pricking the deep blue skies. He presses his cigarette to his mouth, inhaling hard. 

“Bill.” 

He cuts a gaze to Holden, frowning against the pleading look in his eyes. 

Holden leans forward, bracing his elbows on the table. “I’ve thought about this a lot, and-”

“Don’t fucking say that.” 

Holden’s gaze drops to the faded turquoise tabletop, and he draws in a shaky breath. “I have. I just think we should talk about-”

“We talked about it. We came to an agreement.” 

“Did we?” 

“Yes.” 

Holden’s eyes narrow suspiciously as he gazes across the table at Bill. His tongue darts across his lower lip gleaming like a ripe tangerine in the golden spill of sunshine slanting through the window.

“It scares me.” He says, quietly. “But … I liked it.” 

“Stop.” Bill says, stamping his cigarette in the ashtray and jabbing a finger at him. “We are not talking about this in public.” 

“I think you liked it, too.” 

“Didn’t you hear me?” Bill says, struggling to keep his voice down as his chest burns with humiliated anger. “Just stop. I am warning you, if you-”

“What?” Holden asks, his voice dropping to a husky whisper. “What are you going to do to me, Bill?” 

Bill swallows hard. Need hits him in the chest and breaks open into a steady, sticky stream down his belly like glazing honey. He can feel his insides marinating with it, drenching every quivering need with tacky, drizzling desire. 

“Maybe it was wrong, but … I can’t stop thinking about it.” Holden says, his voice continuing on in that low, hypnotic tone. “If you think I’m so shameless, then maybe you should do something about it.” 

“What the fuck does that mean?” 

“I don’t know.” Holden says, taking a sip of his water. Bill has heard him say that before, and this tone usually implies that he does know. 

Bill’s chest surges with frustration, and he thinks about getting up, dragging Holden out of the diner, and … And what? Every tangential thought of anger dead ends into desire, his frustration melting down into something closer to twisted need. 

Before he can muster a response to the panic scorching across his brain, the waitress saunters up the table with their plates. 

“All right, here we go.” She says, sliding the plates down in front of them. “Does everything look good for you?” 

“Yes, thank you.” Holden says, his expression transitioning into a polite smile while Bill struggles to keep the disbelief off his face. 

“Please, let me know if you need anything else.” She says, casting Holden a saccharine smile. 

“Thank you.” 

As she retreats, Holden draws in a deep breath and surveys his plate. 

“This looks amazing.” He says, grabbing his fork. 

Bill picks up his own fork, but he can’t taste the first bite of juicy steak. He’s hungry in an entirely different manner, down into his bones; and he doesn’t know if he can force himself to starve until the intensity of it slacks off - if it ever does. 

 

~

 

Bill lays in bed that evening, staring into the dark ceiling overhead, and listening to his heartbeat stammer through alternating sick and needy derivatives. Holden is asleep by the sounds of his heavy breathing and the twitch of his limbs caught up in dreams. He moves around a lot when he sleeps, as if he’s constantly warding off attackers and God knows what else behind his eyelids. Bill rolls over and watches his fingers dance across the bedspread while fragments of memory - of skin glowing beneath neon red -  flash in brief, breathless intervals across the back of his mind. 

It’s been over five years since he touched another man, and he feels like an addict relapsing on his sobriety. The years of abstinence he’d prided himself in were quashed in seconds, written over by Holden’s breathless whimpers and the sight of his fingers wrapped around his pulsing cock. With need crawling up his chest and belly, it’s starting to feel like none of it mattered, like all those promises he made to himself in the middle of the night, staring up at the ceiling with dread swarming his gut and making that vow out of fear, were nothing more than the illusion of safety, a delusion he’d fed himself to keep on going through another half decade of marriage. 

He does pity Nancy, but he can’t conjure her face in the back of his mind as need churns in taut, relentless shudders through his groin, pulling him hard and sore and longing for release. 

Across the room, Holden rolls over in bed, turning his back to Bill. The sheets are down around his waist, and Bill can glimpse the curve of his spine beneath the wrinkled hem of his t-shirt. The fabric is pulled away from the waistband of his pajama pants, exposing a sliver of pale skin faintly illuminated by the pewter glow of the moon shimmering past the curtains. 

Bill presses his knuckles to his mouth, and bites down against the thin sheen of skin into bone. His cock is throbbing against his boxers, and he hasn’t been this hard in what feels like years. It’s as if Holden lit a fire in his belly, and no amount of water and damp blankets thrown over the flame can put it out. 

Closing his eyes, he draws in a deep breath, and rolls onto his back. His eyes slide open to stare through the darkness at the ceiling. His belly clenches, need roiling in surging waves. He can feel every pulse reverberating through his body, demanding release. 

Holden is breathing heavily, peacefully ten feet away, but his low, raspy whisper in the diner is shoved up against Bill’s ear. What are you going to do to me, Bill? 

Bill drags both hands over his face, clinging onto his self-control for a few more scarce seconds before kicking the sheets back. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, he sits there for a moment, glaring across the room at Holden’s lush backside cresting the bunched hem of the sheets before the decision solidifies in the back of his mind. It was already there, fully-gestated before he moved, but it’s monolithic and unavoidable now, tugging him as if magnetically across the room. 

Rising to his feet, Bill shuffles across the room to Holden’s bed. The white, powdery light of the moon slants through the window, offering just enough illumination for him to see Holden’s face turned against the pillow, his eyes shut, fully unaware. 

Bill reaches down to grasp the edge of the sheet, and gently tugs it away from Holden’s hips. The fabric slides free, and Bill tosses it aside. He crawls onto the mattress slowly, causing the bed springs to squeal and groan. 

Holden stirs, drawing in a deep, shuddering breath as the sleepy cadence of his breathing is interrupted by a confused whimper.

Bill sinks one hand into his hair, and pushes the other underneath the hem of his t-shirt. Holden’s skin is unbearably soft and warm, and his back arches against the weight of Bill’s palm crawling up his spine. He groans softly, his body squirming as sleep strips back into raw awareness. 

Bill pins his head to the pillow with a firm grip on his hair, and bends down to kiss the exposed, tender skin at his nape. The scent of him swamps Bill’s senses almost immediately, and he fights down the urge to simply bury his face in Holden’s baby-soft skin and hide from the terrible decision he's about to make.

“Don’t move.” Bill whispers, struggling to keep the tremble in his lungs out of the command. 

Holden stiffens against the sheets, but the pace of his breathing quickens into short, raspy bursts. He nods vigorously against Bill’s grip on his hair, and mewls softly as Bill’s palm shifts up against his shoulder blade. 

Bill releases Holden’s hair to drag the hem of the t-shirt slowly up Holden’s quivering spine and across his shoulders. Holden raises his arms, but Bill stops with the back of the shirt tucked inside out over his head. 

Holden mutters an impatient sound from beneath the layer of fabric. His fingers snag at the bedsheets as Bill pushes him onto his belly, but he goes compliantly. 

Pausing, Bill tracks his gaze down Holden’s bare back, and the swell of his backside beneath his flannel pajama pants, taking in the small details that are glowing in the moonlight. With the shirt over his head, he can’t see what Bill is about to do. Vulnerable and willing, he’s the perfect opportunity for Bill to indulge in his wayward desires; he’s practically begging for it. And Bill is thinking, I'm going to do it. I'm going to touch him the way I've always wanted. The thought doesn't surprise him because he's been biting it back for far too long, smothering it with the idea of blowback; right now, Bill can't think about blowback, though it’s certain to come. He’s thinking about his aching cock and needs he’s shoved down for five long years gushing out like water from an overflowing sink. 

“Bill?"  Holden’s impatient voice is muffled beneath the shirt. 

The whimpered sound of his name jolts Bill into motion. He delves his fingers underneath Holden’s pajama pants and briefs, peeling both layers of fabric away in one firm tug. Holden’s hips arch up from the sheets to accommodate, and Bill yanks the pants inside out in his haste to get them off of his ankles. 

As the pants come away, Holden’s thighs open eagerly across the sheets. His skin is flawless, milky white beneath the spill of moonlight, every inch of him quivering with need, begging Bill to touch him, to not spare one part of him the hunger building to a raw, intractable force in Bill’s veins. 

Holden’s hands flail helplessly against the sheets, arms bound up in the t-shirt covering his head. 

“Bill, please …” He moans, quietly, arching his hips up from the sheets. 

Bill grasps one ass cheek in his fist as he presses his mouth to Holden’s spine. Holden quivers and moans as he drags his mouth downward, counting the knobs of his spine sinking into a furrowed, shivering arch before swelling upward into the rise of his hips. Each kiss lands hard and graceless, his tongue slipping out to taste skin and leaving a trail of gleaming saliva in his wake. As he reaches the cleft of Holden’s backside, he stops, letting the heat of his breath spill down across his asshole. 

Holden shudders in his grasp, uttering a needy sound that wrenches the hunger open wider in Bill’s stomach. 

“Yes …” Holden rasps, arching his hips against the lingering press of Bill’s mouth. “Please, Bill, please-” 

Bill presses his eyes shut as he grazes his mouth across the top of Holden’s ass cheek. The skin is soft and delicate, every inch of him so inviting, too good to deny. He bites into the ample swell, right next to the top of the cleft, just hard enough to make Holden squeal. Holden’s hips writhe as the bite lingers, Bill’s lips closing around the bit of flesh and applying suction. 

When he lets go, Holden gasps out a shaky, exhilarated breath. “Jesus … Fuck-”

Grasping his ass cheek, Bill stretches him open and exposed. In the dim light of the room, his hole is dusky pink and taut, quivering and virginal. Holden squirms while Bill’s breath wanders down against the opening, teasing sensitive skin with the idea of something more. 

Bill presses his mouth to the top of the cleft, and slides downward, extending his tongue as he goes. 

Holden’s wiggling comes to halt.  He draws in a hitched breath just before Bill’s tongue slithers across his opening, and it turns into a sharp gasp of intense pleasure. 

“Oh God …” He moans, twitching against Bill’s grip on his ass cheeks. 

Bill holds him in place as he curls his tongue around the puckered hole, lathering saliva over trembling skin unaccustomed to this caress. Holden lies stiffly in embrace, muttering only shocked sounds of pleasure until the intensity of it begins to melt into frenzied desperation, and his hips start rocking back against Bill’s mouth. Bill lets him buck and writhe for a moment before asserting his hand against Holden’s lower back to pin him down. 

Holden’s legs crowd on either side of Bill as his squirming backside wriggles to and from the wet pressure of Bill’s tongue relentlessly pushing against him. His back arches sharply beneath Bill’s hand, and his hips thrust impatiently, shoving himself to the slick caress. Bill can hear him panting helplessly from beneath the t-shirt, managing only choked, high-pitched whimpers as pleasure stirs hotter and hotter. 

Bill lets himself sink into the tantalizing sensations, drifting further from reality, relishing the taste of Holden on his tongue, the soft, pliant quiver of his hole, the musky, heady scent of him invading Bill’s senses. He’s tender and open to every caress, unafraid of this raw intimacy breaking open suddenly between them. There’s no flinching away, no hesitation like so many other hook-ups Bill has stumbled through. His hips are crowding back against Bill’s mouth, his gasping whines filtering abundantly from beneath the t-shirt. He’s bleeding desire into the air with every breath, every shudder, imprinting this room with the indelible of expression of yes, I want this; I want more; I want you. 

Bill sucks down on puckered flesh, and pushes his tongue into the resulting quiver. Holden opens to him. He thrusts his tongue in, tasting his insides, tasting his softness. God, he tastes like relief. 

Slipping a hand underneath his arching hips, Bill finds Holden’s cock throbbing hard against the sheets. He curls his fingers around it, tugging gently, just enough to bring the need to the brink. 

Holden gasps and whines, his knees curling under himself as his whole body arches to the competing sensations of Bill’s mouth and hand stroking him. 

“Fuck …” He groans, wrapping his arms over his head.

 He tugs at the t-shirt tucked over his head, but Bill reaches up to bat his hands away. 

“Leave it.” He says, his voice warped with need and echoing foreignly in his own brain. 

Holden lapses against the sheets, breathing hard into the fabric of the t-shirt. 

“Okay.” He mutters, “Please, just don’t stop.” 

Grasping Holden’s bare hips, Bill drags his tongue through the slick cleft once more before stopping to let saliva gather in his mouth. Holden shudders as the first drops spill from Bill’s mouth to his cleft, drizzling down his hole and against his balls. When he’s wet and dripping with saliva, Bill drags his fingers through the slick mess, smearing it across his hole and cleft, everywhere. 

Leaning back into the touch, Holden moans, “Yes.” When Bill’s caress slides away, leaving him shivering against the sheets and slick with saliva, he begins to whimper impatiently again. 

Bill leans back on his heels to strip out of his undershirt and boxers. The fabric peels away from his swollen cock, and the first kiss of air twists his belly with sharpening anticipation. Tossing aside the boxers, he grasps his writhing cock in his fist, trying vainly to suppress the need surging through every fiber of his body. He’s so close to the edge that a few firm strokes might push him to completion, but first he wants to feel Holden’s body against him, as close as he can get without surpassing the real thing. 

 In the scarce light of the moon, Holden’s backside, slick and gleaming with saliva, arches up to meet him as Bill nudges between his thighs. His shoulders are shuddering with exhilarated breaths that ripple down the rest of his body, chased out by muted whimpers that are barely audible beneath the t-shirt. 

Bill leans over him, bracing his hand in the mattress beside his head. His cock brushes between Holden’s slick ass cheeks, and the first bare graze of contact makes Bill’s head swim with waves of coiling arousal. 

“Oh fuck …” He whispers, clenching his eyelids over the needling swarm of desire crowding his vision. 

He pushes closer, need driving with unstoppable force past lingering hesitation. His cock glides down Holden’s wet cleft, the shaft sliding over his quivering hole before his balls ram to a stop against him. 

“Ah, Bill…” Holden gasps, his hips arching back against the pressure. 

Bill draws back, letting the tip of his cock linger against the slick embrace until the wave of arousal eases. He closes his eyes, measuring his breaths, pushing the tingles down into his belly. When the threat of orgasm abates, he carefully leans forward to thrust his cock slowly between Holden’s ass cheeks. The skin is soft and warm and wet, and it’s good enough to pass as something better. 

Bill lowers his head against the surging tide of need that is quick to return with the sweet friction building between his cock and Holden’s backside.  Every inch of him is humming with arousal, so close that his belly is tingling and lurching with anticipation. Holden isn’t helping, whimpering like that, thrusting back eagerly into this desperate, pathetic mime of something more; but Bill is drawn in and helpless, and this borderline version of sex feels better than anything he’s felt in awhile, better than fucking Nancy and trying to prove to himself that it’s all he wants. It feels better than listening to Holden masturbating in the middle of the night and trying not to react out of spite. It feels better than dead lies and promises he knows he’ll break tomorrow. 

He lets himself collapse down against Holden’s body, against the tense, quivering muscles drawn taut across his back, against the outline of his head draped in the t-shirt. He buries his mouth in Holden’s neck, stamping out groans that are prodded free by the steady, aching pulse of his hips rutting down against Holden’s willing, saliva-slick backside. 

Holden gasps into the muzzle of the t-shirt, “God, yes, Bill, fuck me.” And that’s enough, too much. The dizzying, melted scorch of arousal erupts into the molten flow of pleasure, every desire he’s held back for the last week - for the last five fucking years - bolting free all at once. He pulls back to grab at his cock, rubbing the revolting pleasure into bright, quaking reality. It seizes him hard, twisting him from the inside out with long, bone-deep spasms of bliss that seem to milk every last protest from his withering body. His frustration and denial get left behind as the orgasm overwhelms him, surging through his belly and chest in pounding waves that gradually come in lower and lower until he’s leaning into Holden’s trembling shoulders, gasping hard, blinking wildly against the shrill hum of intense pleasure ringing in his ears. 

Bill pushes himself upright, bracing a hand in the mattress. His body aches in the tender aftermath, and he’s half-dizzy, his pleasure-melted brain drifting somewhere far from reality. 

Holden lays still for a long moment before slowly tugging the shirt over his head. Disheveled curls pop free of the t-shirt, and Holden drops the garment over the side of the bed.

Bill leans back as Holden sits up, and turns around to face him. His face is flushed pink and his throat is faintly damp with perspiration from being trapped under the t-shirt, but his eyes are gleaming euphoric, cobalt blue. 

“That was good.” He murmurs, shifting across the mattress to where Bill is sitting back on his heels, trembling. “So good.” 

Bill looks away. Holden’s eyes are eviscerating, peeling back the lies to expose the truth writhing underneath, glimpsing the bare, aching desires he’s struggled to keep in check for so long. The walls are shattered, the defenses torn down, and he can see it. He can see what he’s done; he can see the wreckage. Christ, he can see what comes next. 

“Look at you.” Holden murmurs, pushing between Bill’s thighs and wrapping his legs around his waist.

Bill flinches, drawing in a shaking breath as Holden’s fingers curl around his wrist, lifting his wet, release-soaked fingers into the moonlight. 

“Fuck, Bill ... “ Holden croons, dragging Bill’s hand to his mouth. “You’ve been lying to me. You dirty, fucking liar.” 

Bill’s arm stiffens against Holden’s grip, but he barely resists as Holden’s tongue pierces his plush lips to lick up and down the length of his cum-glazed index finger. A gasp pushes past the tense grip of his lungs, and he clamps his mouth shut over the rising groan. 

Holden’s eyelids slip shut over the hazy, sex-intoxicated stare as his tongue pushes against Bill’s wet fingers, lapping away the cum drizzling down his knuckles. He’s panting softly with every slick stroke of his tongue, little sounds of pleasure joining the wet smack of his lips. 

Bill bites back a groan as need hits hard in his belly, in the tender spot where pleasure had just erupted. His body flushes with a thrill of need with every slick, velvet stroke of Holden’s tongue hungrily licking up the remnants of his orgasm. 

Holden’s mouth pushes to a stop against Bill’s fingertips, and he breathes a heavy, pleased sigh across wet skin. “Mm, you taste good.” 

Bill inhales sharply as the muttered remark is followed by Holden’s parted lips taking his finger slowly inward. Holden sucks down on his index finger, the hot suction of his mouth competing against the faint bite of his teeth against Bill’s knuckle. 

“Jesus.” Bill whispers, tearing his hungry gaze from Holden’s wet, pink lips curled around his finger. “Fuck, Holden.” 

Holden sucks off of his finger, coming away panting, “God, Bill, I’m so hard. Please-”

He barely manages to finish the plea before Bill thrusts two fingers into his mouth, and pushes him back against the sheets. Holden sinks to his back compliantly as Bill rises over him, and sucks down on Bill’s fingers shoving down against his tongue. 

Bill glances down to see Holden’s cock flexing against his belly, every inch of him hard and aching with need. He’s writhing with the intensity of it, his hips rocking impatiently against the sheets, his groan vibrating from his throat and into Bill’s thrusting fingers. If his mouth wasn’t full of Bill’s fingers, he might be moaning his need, and Bill likes that, likes his desperation, the needy affirmations writing themselves in aroused trembles across every inch of his skin. He can admit that now that denial is far behind them, and their tired little game of pretending they don’t want each other is lost in the dust. 

Bill drags his fingers free of Holden’s clamped lips, and Holden lets go with a thready exhale. He gazes up at Bill through half-shut eyes that silently beg for more. 

Bill holds his hand in a cradle underneath Holden’s mouth, and instructs, “Spit.” 

Holden swallows thickly a few times, gathering saliva against the back of his tongue before he opens his mouth to drool it into Bill’s palm. Hazy, blue eyes shift eagerly to Bill’s face, searching for approval. 

Bill takes Holden’s throbbing cock in his wet hand, smearing the pool of saliva up and down the shaft. Holden’s cock leaps against the firm grip of Bill’s fist, jolting into a wild, pulsing frenzy at the first few strokes. 

“Oh, fuck!” Holden cries, his head tilting back against the sheets. His pale throat is striped with red flushes of need, his veins bursting against the fragile sheen of flesh. The blush goes all the way down his collarbones and against the top of his chest where raspy breaths swell his ribs in broken gasps. 

Holden’s head tosses against the sheets, and his teeth gnash at his lower lip while the pleasure rises hot and fierce. His hips jut into the steady rhythm, and his belly clenches hard as Bill rubs him, unrelenting and firm, pushing the pleasure mercilessly towards the brink. 

“Fuck, yes. Yes, Bill. Jesus. Fuck.” He moans it again and again, thrusting his cock eagerly into Bill’s fist. It’s so much better than his muted whimpers in the middle of the night, the ones Bill had pretended not to hear while he was coming at the stroke of his own hand. It’s so much better now that Bill is wringing them out of him, one at a time, stroking him to the height of pleasure and being there to see it explode in wet, white gushes from his swollen cock. 

“God, yes.” Bill mutters, the choked approval lurching up his chest. He leans closer, watching Holden’s tensed expression intently while the pleasure mounts. “That’s good, Holden. Good boy.” 

Holden’s eyes pop open as the muted, raspy praise spills from Bill’s mouth. His cheeks flush deeper pink, but a faint, pleased smile tugs at his mouth in between his gasping moans. He nods eagerly, his eyes slamming shut again when Bill’s stroking intensifies. 

“Oh, oh, oh…” Any kind of reply gets lost in punctuated, desperate whimpering as Bill’s caress pushes him over the edge. 

Holden’s body seizes, going stiff for half a second before the pleasure erupts. His mouth stretches open as his hips begin to spasm, gripped by powerful pleasure. Bill keeps steadily jerking him as cum spills in long, wet streams across his belly and chest, dappling his pale skin with abundant, milky rivers of release. 

As the orgasm fades, Holden sinks down against the sheets, breathing in thready, panting gasps. 

Bill releases him, and crawls to the edge of the mattress. Grabbing a handful of tissues from the nightstand, he wipes off his hand, and braces his elbows against his knees. His head is swimming with pleasure, but everything feels sharp and clear like a cold, winter night when the freezing temperature fills your lungs and you’re chilled yet alive. It’s like he’s breathing after five long years of suffocating in silence, like he’s just now remembering what oxygen tastes like. Anger and fear strips away because his heart is beating again - no, pounding - crushing against his ribs like it could kill him, but it feels good. God, it feels good to breathe again. 

“Are you okay?” Holden chooses this moment to be gentle. 

“Fuck.” Bill mutters, rubbing a hand over his eyes. “Yeah.” 

Holden’s fingers are against his back, winding carefully down his spine. He feels every hair stand on end, a wave of tingles incited by the graze of Holden’s touch. 

“You’ve done that before, haven’t you?” Holden asks, quietly. He says it the way he carefully asks personal questions in interviews, the way he makes deranged killers talk. 

Bill thinks about lying, but it's too late for that, laughably so. He can still feel the wet suction of Holden’s mouth around his fingers. 

“Yeah.” He mutters, “I’m a dirty fucking liar.” 

He hears Holden’s tongue click as he swallows hard. “Bill, I-”

“It’s fine, Holden.” Bill says, shooting a glance over his shoulder. “You were right.” 

Holden’s gaze is cloaked in shadow yet piercing, and it feels like he sees every lie Bill has ever constructed, every promise that’s fallen by the wayside for a few moments of real satisfaction, and every face that’s come before. 

Bill had never been honest with any of those other men, but this time it’s different. He can’t fuck Holden and then walk away, absolving himself of the consequences on the plane ride home. He can’t go home to Nancy and work, pretending it was just one mistake and it’ll never happen again. Holden is there with him, on the plane, in the BSU, in every place far from home that road school takes him. There’s no running from it. 

“I need a cigarette.” Bill says. 

Holden sits among the disheveled sheets, toying absently with the hem while Bill retrieves his cigarettes and lighter from beside his empty bed. He slides the cigarette to the corner of his mouth, and brings the lighter to the tip. The rush of nicotine hits familiar and sharp, but the relief is muted by Holden’s gaze clinging to him from across the room. 

“How many times?” Holden asks. 

Bill tugs his cigarette from his mouth, and directs the stream of smoke towards his shoulder just so that he doesn’t have to look at Holden when he answers. “Ten. You make eleven.” 

“You keep track?”

“You asked.” Bill says, waving his cigarette at Holden’s surprised expression. 

Holden nods. He repeats it quietly, “Eleven.” 

“Yeah, congratulations.” 

“Ten different men?” Holden asks, curiously, his gaze darting up from the sheets to grip Bill through the shadows. 

Bill draws in a shaky breath, thinking he should end this line of questioning. He should tell Holden to fuck off, that it’s rude to ask details of someone’s sexual history. But he knows the questions will just come again later, in a less comfortable scenario, when he’s feeling less fond of Holden than he is right now. 

“Yes.” Bill says, stiffly. 

“You .. you never did it twice with the same person?” 

“No, Holden. It’s been more of a … one-night stand situation.” Bill says, impatiently, taking a drag of his cigarette. “I never meant to repeat it so many times.”

“But, you repeated it with me.” Holden says. 

Bill gazes at him through the darkness, and something terrifying shifts underneath his breastbone. That means something. He thinks, but he doesn’t want it to mean anything. He’s gotten as comfortable as he can be with corralling his homosexual encounters onto his ten fingers, counting them and calling them even, promising himself that’s all it will ever be. He’s gotten used to lying to himself, lying so much that he nearly believed it right up until he saw Holden’s cock glowing in the flash of red neon. 

“Yeah, I did.” He says, because it’s now a fact and a truth that he can’t deny. 

Holden uncurls his legs from beneath him, and swings them over the edge of the bed. Bill takes a shuffled step backwards as he rises to his feet, and crosses the space between them. 

“Would you ever … repeat it again?” Holden whispers, his eyes reaching up to hopefully grip Bill’s. 

Bill presses his cigarette to his mouth. The smoke tastes like desperation, and he thinks of lying again, to himself and to Holden. 

Choosing instead to delay the inevitable, he says, “I’m tired. It’s the middle of the night. Let’s talk about this another time.” 

Holden’s brow wrinkles at the evasive response, but he nods. “Okay, Bill.” 

He walks back to his bed, but pauses at the edge of the mattress before lying back down. 

“You should come over here.” He says, “Sleep with me tonight.” 

“Holden-”

“You said it’s a one-night stand situation.” Holden says, “So, it’s one night.” 

Bill lets out a sigh, and rubs the back of his neck. “It isn’t a good idea.” 

“Neither was the sex.” Holden says, “Come on.” 

Bill stamps out his cigarette in the ashtray, and walks slowly back to Holden’s bed. 

Holden crawls to the other side of the mattress, and holds out a hand to him in invitation. 

Bill clings onto some disintegrating idea of restraint for a moment longer before he joins Holden in the bed. As he settles down against the pillow, Holden draws the sheet over them, and snuggles closer to him. 

Holden’s hand creeps across his chest, resting over the pounding surge of Bill’s heart. His touch is gentle and warm, and it feels good, perhaps better than the raw, grotesque need Bill had carved into his saliva-slick skin. 

When Bill closes his eyes, he expects to be haunted by dread, driven to insomnia by familiar guilt, but exhaustion claims him so quickly he almost doesn’t recognize the lazy, drifting pull of it until he’s halfway under. Holden’s body is cradled warmly again him, and he feels free for the first time in a long time, breathing and alive. 

 

~the end~