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They’re lying together on Marco’s bed, curled up comfortably, just relaxing semi-drowsily after yet another long and tiring day, when Jean murmurs, “Do you wanna do it guy style?”

It takes a moment for Marco to interpret that. “Guy style?” and maybe there’s a little too much incredulous laughter in his voice, because—“ow!” Marco touches the sore spot on his shoulder where Jean bit him through his undershirt as Jean draws back and glowers at him with resentful eyes. “I mean...you want to?”

Jean’s gaze goes shifty, avoiding his; Jean’s thumb taps a restless tattoo against his hip. “We’ve already done it the other way. So.”

Marco’s breath catches; his chest tightens, that dreamy contentment blown into a nervous thrill of excitement. Sure, he wants, but he wasn’t expecting, and—he looks at the tense set of Jean’s mouth and realizes that he’d better pull himself together before Jean takes back the suggestion. “Yeah.” The word comes out low and throaty, a little rougher than he’d expected; he licks his lips, then smiles as he sees Jean focus on them, eyes widening a little, briefly distracted. “We could do that.”

They lie still like that for a few moments, the idea hovering in the space between them. Marco figures that they’re each waiting for the other to make the next move.

“So, um, were you thinking that—”

“Do you want to be the—”

They both stop and stare at each other; Jean’s cheeks flush, and Marco can feel the heat rise in his own face. This is quite possibly the most awkward that they’ve ever been. And Marco finds it funny suddenly, and charming, and that familiar but still astonishing happiness blooms inside him all over again, the overwhelmingly deep, heart-shaking affection that he has for Jean, the purely incredible joy of being together. He pulls Jean into a close, one-armed hug and murmurs against his hair, “You can do me, if you want to.”

Jean breathes out a low ha of agreement, sounding grateful, although he still doesn’t seem to relax all the way. He squirms out of the embrace, shifts to brush his mouth fleetingly against Marco’s, then rolls aside to bang open the nightstand drawer and start digging for the oil. Marco hooks an arm around him and rolls him back. “Hey!” Jean protests.

“Kiss me first,” Marco instructs, and Jean looks scandalized.

“I just did!”

“Well, again!” So yes, he’s totally fine with doing this, but he’s still pretty nervous—this is new and strange and kind of a big thing, and it would be nice not to just fling themselves into it. Jean makes a cross sound, but his lips are warm and yielding, unexpectedly gentle as they press against Marco’s. He nibbles on Marco’s lower lip as he slowly shifts his weight forward, and Marco lets himself be tipped over onto his back, Jean draping himself in a heavy sprawl across Marco’s chest as his mouth travels along Marco’s cheek and down onto his throat. Jean’s not that big on kissing—he can get swept up in it, but it’s usually not where he first goes to—but this is fine, this is really nice, the ghost touch of Jean’s barely parted lips, here, here, there, the long, languid trail that Jean’s tongue traces and the shiver of breath on that damp skin, the way Jean’s cheek grazes against Marco’s as Jean nuzzles at his ear, then up into his hair. Marco curls his fingers at the back of Jean’s neck, scratches his nails gently through the short undercut, and Jean rumbles happily against him; Marco can feel the vibration, can feel how Jean’s chest and stomach shift against him with every breath, and he’s already warm, not just with the body heat that’s trapped between them.

Jean mouths at his earlobe, brief suction, equally brief tug and pinch of teeth, then shifts position, one leg nudging in between Marco’s as he eases over and down just a little. Sliding a hand up into the short sleeve of Marco’s shirt, he splays his fingers against the muscles of Marco’s upper arm, kneading at them as he lips and licks along Marco’s collarbone, only traveling a short distance until he reaches the limit of the shirt’s collar. He pushes himself up then, his thigh almost-but-not-quite-accidentally sliding against Marco’s groin as he rocks forward and then back. Grinning, he tugs the shirt up, baring Marco’s stomach. “Shirt off.”

“Mm.” Marco catches at the sides of the shirt, and before he’s even gotten it up as far as his chest Jean has dived down to bury his face in Marco’s abs. Marco inhales sharply, wriggles, partly because he’s ridiculously ticklish (they both are, actually), partly to help shimmy the shirt up his back, past his shoulders, and off. He rolls his hips as well, arching upward, and Jean hums again with satisfaction, digs his nails not unpleasantly into Marco’s sides as he looks up the length of Marco’s torso to meet his gaze. Jean always has intense eyes—even when he’s at his most relaxed, half awake and lazy, there’s a smolder in them, and when they’re sharp like this, cuttingly intent, hot as the noonday sun, it makes Marco’s heart race. He bites his lip, and sees the tiny crinkles at the corners of those eyes as Jean smiles. Jean slides upward, rubbing his face along Marco’s stomach, catlike, and Marco’s already hard, his erection trapped and dragging against Jean’s chest. Gasping, he scrabbles at Jean’s shoulders until his fingers catch in the fabric of Jean’s shirt—he pulls at it until it rolls inside out and off. Jean emerges with his hair wild, sits up with a toss of his head, smirking, and he looks so good, slim, sleek-muscled, the breadth of his shoulders tapering down to his narrow waist, the taut curves of his bared chest, the dark peaks of his nipples. He shoves a hand down inside Marco’s boxers, not even—argh—touching Marco’s dick, just raking his fingers teasingly along the outside of Marco’s thigh, and Marco grabs for his waistband himself, starts wrestling the shorts down with a huff of irritation.

Jean gets out of the way, even helps him at the last, yanking the shorts past Marco’s feet and then tossing them over his shoulder with a wicked grin. Leaning forward again, Jean palms Marco’s erection, and a stuttering sigh escapes him. “Better?” Jean murmurs—not just that easy grip, the slight squeeze that compels all his attention, Marco realizes dimly, but everything. All of this.

“Mmhmm,” he manages. Jean raises his eyebrows, and when he goes for the drawer, this time Marco doesn’t stop him.

“Are you sure we know what we’re doing?” Jean mutters as he searches. “I mean, it was Reiner.” Under his breath, he adds, “I can’t believe you’d get your information from him.”

“It’s not like I asked.” He’d been rising fourteen, fascinated, confused, a little scared, definitely already noticing his attraction to males (and most especially to Jean) and having absolutely no idea what to do about it. Of course he was going to listen when some of the other boys started talking. “I think Tom started it. Or Mylius. I don’t really remember.” He shrugs a little, trying not to dwell on the thoughts of people who are gone. “Anyway, it’s just common sense, isn’t it? Take things really slowly, use lots of, of lubrication.” The frank word feels strange in his mouth, in this situation, like he should be talking about maneuver gear maintenance, not about something so intimate. His stomach is aflutter with anxiety again; he concentrates on the shift of the mattress as Jean climbs back over to kneel between his legs, on the brush of Jean’s thighs against his before he bends and raises his knees, moves them farther apart to make more room—on how brave Jean must have been that first time, letting Marco enter him right on the heels of the terrible shock of discovering that his body wasn’t what he’d thought it was. The discomfort shifts from Marco’s stomach to the sudden ache in his heart. He has to reach out and touch Jean—runs his hand slowly down along Jean’s shoulder, traces the ridge of Jean’s clavicle with his thumb. Looking up, he sees Jean watching him, studying his face, and Marco starts as their eyes meet, then smiles. “I’m good,” he says, before Jean can ask.

“You want this?” Jean’s voice is low; his left hand cradles Marco’s hip, fingers stroking distractedly, while the other twiddles with the bottle, turning it, thumbing the corked opening. Marco rubs along Jean’s forearm, gently, then puts his hand over the one on his hip and tangles their fingers together, stilling that restless movement.

“I do.” He loves Jean. Trusts him. Wants to be good for Jean, the way Jean was so, so good for him. He holds onto that even as he releases Jean’s hand with a little squeeze. "It’s going to be fine. Just—just take it slow, yeah?”

“Mm.” Jean’s attention shifts, and Marco doesn’t know whether what he’s feeling is relief because he doesn’t have to hold onto his smile any longer or the sinking realization that yes, this is coming now. Blowing out a deep breath, he scrubs his hands through his hair as Jean messes around with the oil, swearing softly as he spills a little. Marco sees the glisten on his fingers catching light before Jean’s hand disappears between his legs and—

Touches him. He jumps in spite of himself, and Jean puts his free hand on Marco’s thigh, holding him or holding him down, he’s not sure. The tip of Jean’s finger probes, prods, presses in—it’s not—this is—

“Okay?” Jean murmurs.

No. Or maybe? “Ha...y-yeah,” he manages. It’s strange and uncomfortable and he can’t seem to relax, doesn’t know what to do with the rest of his body while Jean fingers him. His stomach muscles clench as Jean’s finger squirms, slides deeper, and a choked sound escapes through his teeth. “Just! Go s-slow....”

“That’s like the third time you’ve said that.” The words are abrupt but quiet—not angry? It’s hard to think. Jean is quick and impatient by nature, but this—it’s not. Marco’s gaze skates across Jean’s face, catches only a blurred impression of its expression, but even so he reads the concern there, and it loosens some of the constriction in his chest.

“S-Sorry. Nerves.” Blinking, he focuses a more clearly on Jean and manages to offer up a grin, even though it’s probably weak. “I’m okay. Really, I—”

And before he can finish, Jean pushes his leg down flat, clambers over him to lie against his side—carefully, because he’s still got his finger inside Marco, and even in spite that caution Marco tenses at the change of angle. Jean slides his other arm behind Marco’s neck, presses his face against Marco’s shoulder.

“I’m going to take care of you,” he says, his voice low and rough, tender in the way that Jean’s tender, secretly, awkwardly, intensely, and Marco’s heart stops short—then slams back into life, beating so hard that he trembles with it, or maybe it’s love that shakes him. With a near soundless gasp, he twists toward Jean, kisses Jean’s hair, hard, to keep from crying. “You tell me when you’re ready for more. Okay?”

He nods, makes a muffled noise of assent. And when Jean’s finger starts moving again, it’s better. Maybe he’s just getting used to it, but he thinks it’s that he feels safe, ridiculously, wonderfully safe, and if his throat is still a little tight, the rest of him is starting to yield, his muscles unlocking, his body softening, opening more and more as Jean works into him. Jean holds him through it, places occasional, seemingly random kisses on his chest, his throat, his chin, plucking at his attention, punctuating the shifting rhythms of that penetration: slower, stronger, deeper.

“Does it feel good when I do this?” Jean wonders at one point, withdrawing his finger entirely to circle around Marco’s entrance and then slipping it back inside. Marco sighs, giving before that steady, searching pressure.

“It feels—” He looks into Jean’s eyes, the pupils dark moons now, ringed with smoky amber. “It feels like you.” Smiling, he tilts his head to bring his face closer to Jean’s and closes his own eyes. “I like it.”

Jean huffs, possibly annoyed but not entirely displeased. “I’m out of hands,” he murmurs, a note of dry amusement in his voice. “But you could touch yourself, if you wanted.” And he does, a very slow stroking, an idle roll of his thumb about the head, just enough to keep his body’s interest, because he doesn’t want to come like this.

He wants....

“Okay,” he breathes. “More.

And a little later, with two fingers buried deep within him, “Jean—”

“Just a sec.”

He opens his eyes to see Jean pushing himself up on one arm, grimacing a little. “Sorry, cramp,” he mutters as he flexes his wrist, his fingers curling up inside of Marco. Marco stiffens, sucks in a startled breath, a totally unexpected sensation prickling through him, and Jean’s eyes widen. “Sorry!” he says again, starting to pull back, and Marco flails out and grabs for him.

Wait...wait.” The feeling has faded; he has no idea what it was, but it definitely wasn’t—bad. Kind of the opposite. Marco swallows, letting go and lying back. “Can you...do that again?”

“What did I do?” Frowning, Jean shifts his fingers experimentally, questing, and Marco shakes his head. It’s frustrating, because he isn’t even sure where or how or what—until Jean’s fingers brush—something—a barely perceptible echo of that earlier jolt skirls through him, and he gasps.

“There! Up....” Jean’s fingers press in more firmly, yes! right there, and he arches, his fists clenching in the sheets as his back leaves the bed.

“Marco?”

“It’s good! It’s good, it’s good, it’s good.” Sparks race up his spine, along his nerves, as Jean focuses on that place, rubbing over it slowly, cautiously. “Harder—” he begs, and writhes, panting, as the pressure increases, as that searing pleasure intensifies, pulsing through him. “Ah!

“Oh my god.” Jean’s mouth has fallen open, a soundless, incredulous laugh, as he stares at Marco with something like amazement, even a flicker of awe. “Look at you,” he whispers at last, and his voice has dropped to a breathy growl, hungry, even predatory. He runs his tongue along his lower lip, bites at its curve as his gaze heats to an almost frightening ferocity. He shifts back over to kneel between Marco’s legs again, then leans forward above him, braced on one arm as the other hand continues to move, confident now, even aggressive, grinding up inside him, not fast but relentless, Jean’s eyes devouring every shudder, every breath that catches in Marco’s chest, every convulsive twist of his hips as he responds helplessly to that stimulation. He’s a mess and he knows it, he’s coming apart, and for an instant he wishes that Jean was still wearing his shirt, because it would give him something to grab, to tug at and claw into. His hands rise instead to slide over Jean’s smooth skin, the firmness of his muscles; one clamps onto Jean’s supporting arm finally, while the other presses hard against his own mouth, stifling a cry. His arms are shaking, his legs are shaking, he feels his eyes roll up but he’s not seeing anyway, just stars, stars, white hot and larger than life, bursting behind his eyelids, inside his head as a terrible broken noise rips out of him and he quakes—how is he coming like this—but he is, he is, and it takes a long while of riding out those fading shocks, of easing down from the dizzying height of that rush, before he realizes that Jean’s fingers are gone from inside him.

“Marco,” Jean breathes. Marco looks up at him and has to blink water out of his swimming eyes. Oh god, he’s crying. He sniffles a little, then smiles reassurance at Jean. He can only imagine what a wreck he must look like, all tears and sweat, his hair stuck to his forehead, his body a limp, helpless sprawl, still flushed and burning, his stomach smeared with the fluid leaking from his throbbing, still-hard dick. He’s not quite sure from Jean’s expression what he thinks about it all. Surprise? Concern? Something else?

“I’m okay,” he says. He hardly even recognizes his own voice, it’s so broken and ragged and strange, and then he has to reach up abruptly, pull Jean down against his chest, bury himself in that embrace until he can compose himself. Jean holds him as he shivers, Jean’s clean hand stroking through his hair, until at last he sighs, relaxing as the storm of emotion fades. “Thanks,” he murmurs, loosening his death grip.

“Mm.” Pushing himself up again, Jean looks down at Marco, and his mouth curves in a familiar, devilish—devastating—smile. “You want to try three?”

Three? Oh. The stretching. Three fingers would be careful, sensible, of course, but—

“I want you now.” The words spill out of him; he can almost see them strike Jean, rake through him like sparks blown through a dry field, setting him alight. Jean’s lips part in surprise, then curl to bare his teeth in an almost feral grin.

“Yeah.” That low sound goes right to the pit of Marco’s stomach, roils the liquid heat gathering there. “Okay.

As Jean pulls away to strip off his shorts, Marco hurriedly wipes his eyes, then covers his face with his hands, trying to calm his still-jittering heart, to loosen the knots of anticipation twisting tight in his gut. Pointless, maybe—in a few moments he’s probably just going to be back in the exact same state—but he needs to find that stability, just for an instant. A still point in the arc of the swing, a place to stand before he leaps again. He hears the hssh-slap of oil-slicked skin on skin, and when it stops he lowers his hands, inhales deeply. Lifting his head, he watches as Jean settles between his legs again, one hand on his readied dick—and Marco starts, lurches up to a half-sitting position.

“Wait! Wait a minute.” Jean pauses, a little frown creasing his brow. “I thought you were going to use your, um, real....” He makes a vague gesture, lacking the words for a moment, and cringes as Jean instantly bristles.

That?” Jean spits. His voice cracks, and it just seems to upset him more. His shoulders lift, hunching with tension. “Why would I—it’s—it’s nothing.” Marco hates hearing that vicious edge of loathing when Jean talks about his own body. It’s not bad, certainly not as weird and appalling as Jean seems to think it is—all right, yes, there was a brief shock the first time Marco saw it, but it was just surprise and a bit of perplexity because it, well, it is different. He’d thought Jean trusted his acceptance of that difference; he’d even thought Jean was starting to accept it himself, because they’d been intimate more than once since then and Jean had seemed okay, if still a little skittish—but apparently not, and Marco knows he needs to tread so very carefully here if he doesn’t want Jean to either blow up or shut down on him.

“I mean, you said that time that it didn’t feel right,” he says, as gently as he can. “If we’re going to...shouldn’t it....” This is really hard. “Shouldn’t it be something that feels right to you?”

“It’ll be fine.” Jean ducks his head and maybe unclenches the tiniest bit. He’s still glaring, but not at Marco, and not quite as fiercely—a flat, half-lidded look, more defensive than anything else—and so Marco persists, because he really wants to sort this all out before they go any further.

“But will you come okay? If it’s not real?”

Jean’s gaze snaps up again, hot and angry, and Marco flinches from it. “Marco.” Jean puts a hand on his own chest, fingers spread, clawed against the skin. “None of this is real. On some level, it’s all just appearances.” His face twists—it’s not anger after all, no, it’s misery, and along with that a terrible, growing resignation. “If that bothers you—”

“No! No, no.” Marco reaches out to Jean, tries to catch hold of that hand, and Jean jerks it away. It’s reflexive, Marco thinks, but the refusal still cuts him. The silence between them is clumsy and injured, and Marco just wants to make it better, but he doesn’t know how.

“I’ll come just fine,” Jean mutters at last. “I’ve done it before. Stop worrying about me.”

“I just,” oh, it hurts so badly, seeing Jean in pain like this, and Marco has to fight the lump in his throat before he’s able to get out, “I want this to be good for you.”

The look Jean turns on him this time is still guarded but softer, oddly puzzled. “Marco...this is for you.”

They’ve been talking past each other the whole time, Marco realizes, a little shock of understanding. Slowly sitting up the rest of the way, he leans forward and folds his arms around Jean, and this time Jean doesn’t resist, although he doesn’t exactly give himself up to the hug either. It’s not just that he’s embarrassed or ashamed (although he probably is that, too)—somehow Jean thinks that he’s not...enough for Marco in his natural state, that it can only be good if he’s larger, or something. It’s a little bit funny, and a little bit sad, and tremendously, overwhelmingly touching, how Jean is trying to give Marco what he thinks he wants, or needs.

As if Marco cares how big or small his penis is, or what it’s shaped like.

Pulling back slightly, Marco bows his head, stops just shy of touching his forehead to Jean’s. He tries not to touch Jean there carelessly, because the reaction can be so intense—it honestly scared him half to death the first time—and even though Jean’s assured him that it’s not bad, just powerful, it still seems manipulative, an instant way through Jean’s defenses. But Jean leans forward too, closes that distance between them, and as they come into contact, Marco feels a shiver run through Jean’s whole body.

“However you want it,” Marco murmurs. “Whatever makes you happy. That’s what I want.”

After a moment, Jean exhales, a low, shuddering breath, and his stiffness finally eases. “Like this,” he says, quietly but with conviction, and Marco nods as he draws away.

He lies back again, and as Jean resettles, eyes closed for a moment as he visibly struggles to collect himself, Marco risks a quick glance at Jean’s penis. He’d been expecting the smaller size, and maybe three fingers would be a good idea after all, but he doesn’t want to put on the brakes again; they’ll never recover from another interruption. Even like this, though, Jean’s not that big. It’ll probably be all right.

Then Jean hitches closer and leans in, one hand guiding himself as he centers the head of his erection against Marco, pushes forward, in, and—oh. Well. It’s definitely...more. Marco breaths deep into his belly, keeps his gaze fixed on Jean’s face, on that expression of almost desperate concentration as Jean enters into him; Jean, he whispers to himself, Jean. My Jean. It burns a little, aches, but it’s not awful, and he knows how to surrender to it now, to welcome that feeling of pressure and wait for the discomfort to ease—it’s not so strange, not frightening at all, and Jean does in fact go slowly, so slowly, sinking deeper in tiny increments measured by fractured gasps and moans. By the time Jean is seated fully, his legs are shaking, his whole body trembling violently. “Shit,” he rasps. “ ’M...I’m not gonna last more’n...about two seconds.”

Marco curls his hands around Jean’s hips. “Wait,” he murmurs. “Just stay like this.” He holds Jean there, thumbs stroking slow circles over his hip bones until those tremors calm, until Jean is able to unclench his jaw enough to swallow thickly. Then: “Okay,” Marco whispers. “Go.”

Jean rocks against him, tentatively at first, then more emphatically. By now Marco’s had time to adjust, and those rolling surges of contraction and expansion, of being emptied and then refilled are oddly pleasurable. He slides his hands up to Jean’s waist and tugs encouragingly, and Jean rolls his hips back to thrust in with greater force, begins to pick up his pace. Faster, sharper, until he begins to tense up, to stutter in his movements, and Marco catches his hips again, drags him to a stop, his body pressed flush against Marco’s. Jean spits a curse and glares down at him, almost vibrating with indignation and frustrated need. “What?” he half yells.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought maybe you wanted to last for more than two seconds.” Jean chokes out some inarticulate wrathful noise from between his gritted teeth, and Marco raises his eyebrows and cocks his head, smiling a little. “Yeah?”

Yes,” Jean hisses, and then mutters under his breath, “you bastard.” Marco hums in satisfaction, releases his grip to pat Jean on the thigh before running his hands back up onto Jean’s sides—and gasps, jolting as Jean drives up into him with redoubled energy, one deep, hard slam and grind before settling back into a less violent if still rather ferocious rhythm.

Despite the bad grace, Jean submits—willingly, even, Marco thinks, especially as he spends that brief anger, loses it in the focused effort of—of fucking Marco, not to be crude but there’s no other word for it, the sheer animal physicality, the way their bodies buck together and apart. It’s dizzying, exhausting, exhilarating, even for Marco, who’s not really doing any of the work; how much more so for Jean, who’s throwing himself into it with his whole being, with a fierce, determined passion that makes Marco’s pulse accelerate, makes him start to tremble himself. His thoughts haze; he can feel his self-control starting to fray. Oh god, he wants— At their next pause, which is almost as much for him as it is for Jean, Jean yields without protest and rests against him, sweat dripping as he pants for breath. His gaze searches Marco’s face, a tiny frown sketching a crease between his brows. “I’m...not getting that spot, am I,” he groans.

“It’s all right,” Marco assures him, struggling to keep his voice from quavering, more than a little breathless himself. “This is good.” He genuinely doesn’t mind at all. He’d be overwhelmed otherwise, and he likes being able to take Jean in, not just with his body but with every one of his senses, likes being able to trace and read those shifts of tension, to guide Jean like this, urging him on, holding him close and stilling him when he gets too near the edge, drawing out the pleasure. Making him feel so much. The thought sends as shivery thrill through him, a widening ache. “Next time,” he promises when Jean still seems somewhat discontented. “But right now—”

—right now Jean’s eyes are meeting his, focusing on him as if he’s all that exists in the world, as if his satisfaction is all that matters—

—right now Jean’s dick is full and hot inside him, pulsing, needing, perfect, mine

—right now his mouth is dry, his heart is pounding, all the air has been stolen from his lungs as the sudden yearning shakes him until he hardly even knows who he is, but he knows that he’s never felt so eager, so urgent, so alive.

More. Take him further. Further.

“Right now,” he whispers, “I just want you to fuck me.”

Jean’s eyes widen, his mouth fallen open in shock—oh god, he’s gorgeous—and then he ducks his head, moans a desperate acknowledgment—it sounds like anguish, like ecstasy, and as he sinks into Marco like a drowning man, Marco doesn’t think they’ll last much longer, but still he wants to go as far as they can. Jean does try, even after Marco’s protests, shifts position a couple of times in an attempt to find that elusive place, but it’s a struggle, awkward, and when Marco finally hisses his annoyance, even Jean’s stubbornness gives out. He surrenders himself to his own body’s need—just what Marco wants to see, to feel, that driven, insistent, thoroughly heedless rutting as Jean thrusts against him, the beautiful strain showing in the corded lines of Jean’s muscles, in way his expression draws tight. Marco drops a hand to his own erection—finally, finally!—gasps as he closes his fist around it. He’s so ragingly hard that he can barely stand it; the piercing relief of his touch is almost like pain. He strokes himself erratically as he watches Jean, fighting to split his attention between the rapidly intensifying, all-consuming throb in his crotch and the sight, the sounds, all the sensations of Jean getting close, closer, he has to be so close now—

Jean’s rhythm falters, and Marco lets go of himself, lunges to clutch Jean against him once more, and Jean almost screams. “Marco!” His breath sobs through his teeth; he twists wildly against Marco’s grip, then collapses, shaking as though he’s going to shake apart. “Marco, now,” he groans, half a demand, half a frantic plea. “Now.

“Haa.” But he takes a moment more to hold Jean, to feel him burn and tremble and gasp for breath. “Mmm....” Sliding his hands down, he curves them around Jean’s butt, squeezes slowly but firmly, pulling him in as if it was physically possible for them to get any closer, while Jean makes a cracked, wretched sound deep in the back of his throat.

“Yeah,” Marco whispers, smiling, as he lets go. “Now.

“Fucker...imma...murder you.” Jean’s barely audible, more than a little deranged mutterings cut off in a grunt as he heaves himself back into motion. His rhythm is all over the place; tears leak from the corners of his screwed up eyes—he’s breaking, he’s beautiful, gasping, crying out, and Marco pumps himself hard and fast to that sight, because there’s one last thing he wants—

“Jean!” he moans, then yelps as he feels the spasms start, rolling up from deep inside him. “J-Jean!” And Jean is looking down at him as he comes hot and spurting all over his own stomach, his body jerking helplessly with orgasm, with Jean’s rough, faltering thrusts driving against him, into him—he’s coming for Jean, it’s all for Jean, because of Jean—“...oh god, Jean...”—and the next thing he knows, when that hard, bright, pulsing pleasure dims enough for him to know anything at all, is that Jean is shuddering above him, inside him, all around him, Jean is coming too, making sounds like a dying man, every limb quaking with the naked force of it, and Marco’s heart leaps so wildly at the realization that he almost feels like he could come again from joy alone.

With a last choking, high-pitched cry Jean buckles forward, thumping down onto Marco’s chest so hard it almost knocks the wind out of him. He coughs, gulps air with a strangled wheeze, and then just lies there with his arm around Jean’s shoulders and concentrates on their breathing, his, Jean’s, as it gradually starts to even out, waits for his pulse to stop trying to shake him to pieces. Waits too, with affection and just a trace of concern, for Jean to show any signs of consciousness.

“Jean?” he murmurs at last. “Are you all right?”

“Next time,” Jean’s faint mutter is hot and rumbly against his chest, “y’get...two seconds.”

“Awwww!” Marco squishes Jean in a brief hug, goes to drop a quick kiss on his forehead and remembers just in time to divert to the top of his head instead. If Jean can make a show of being cranky like that, he’s fine; everything’s normal.

“Not that I’m actually complaining,” Jean goes on a little more steadily as he disentangles himself from Marco’s arm. “But tch....” He pushes himself up onto his knees, wiping at his eyes, and Marco groans with relief as that weight shifts away. “I thought you were trying to kill me there for a while.”

“But...it was good?” Marco asks, a bit tentative now, unsure. Jean looks somewhat blearily at him, blinks, and then his gaze sharpens as his thoughts seem to come into clearer focus. Bending forward, he leans down and in to kiss Marco lingeringly, deeply, sweetly—there is so much yes in that kiss, so much tenderly appreciative giving back, that Marco’s throat tightens and his eyes well up. He’s such a sap. He’s so in love.

Pulling back just a little, Jean sighs, his breath stirring against Marco’s lips, his eyes warm and sated and content. Then he sits up the rest of the way, glances down at his front, and discovers that in his post-orgasmic collapse he’d ended up sprawled right in the mess of Marco’s come. The expression on his face is priceless. “Eeugh. Towels.

Jean is fastidious, of course, and yes, they’re both gross. With a sigh, Marco starts to sit up and reach over, and— “Oh. Ow.” He puts a hand over his mouth, scrunches up his face as he waits for the stinging, burning twinge to fade. It doesn’t. Or at least, not much. “Mmph,” he manages at last, biting the inside of his lip. “Two seconds. Yes.”

“A little sore now?” Jean asks, dryly teasing, and when Marco gives a quick nod, he snorts, not unkindly, then climbs around him to get the towels.

Marco eventually gets himself upright long enough to clean up and retrieve his shorts. By the time he’s done, Jean is stretched out flat on his back on the bed, and Marco joins him, groaning with relief. The bed is just barely wide enough for them to lie shoulder to shoulder; Marco would roll over and pull Jean to him, but Jean’s probably too hot right now for half-naked, sweaty cuddling. Instead, he just turns his head, lets his gaze drift over Jean’s slack, tired face, his closed eyes, the lean lines of his body. He thinks Jean’s changed back to his normal state, although Jean’s shorts are just loose enough that he can’t be a hundred percent sure. His attention lingers there, and it brings his thoughts around to the question that’s been puzzling at the back of his mind. This might not be something that he should even get into, but—they should be able to talk about things, shouldn’t they?

“Can I ask you something?” Jean makes a monosyllabic sound of agreement, so at least he’s still awake. “You came,” obviously, “but you didn’t, um.” He definitely needs better words for these things. “Ejaculate?” He’d noticed it when he went to clean between his legs and found no trace of anything but the oil. And it had occurred to him then that he didn’t know if he’d ever seen Jean come like that—they’d been clothed, or mostly so, the first few times, and then it had been Jean’s real form and he hadn’t even thought about the issue, just unconsciously left it at different, and...maybe he hadn’t been paying enough attention, because how could he not know something like this when it was the person he’d been intimate with, the person he loved?

He just...wondered. Wanted to know.

“I don’t.” Jean’s eyes have opened; he stares broodingly up at the ceiling. There’s no anger in his voice, just a dull quiet, and Marco’s heart clenches painfully. He’s sorry. But before he can say anything, Jean laughs, short and sharp but surprisingly lacking in bitterness. He rolls up onto one elbow, turning to face Marco, suddenly more energized. “Do you remember that time Shadis gave the sex talk?”

“Oh god.” Marco covers his face in horror. “I’d blocked it out of my mind.”

Jean laughs again and breaks into a low-voiced imitation of their chief instructor’s bark. “So remember, you horny little maggots, if you don’t want to be half responsible for getting a fellow soldier pregnant, don’t shoot your spunk up inside the girl!” Marco cracks up helplessly—now it’s funny, but at the time he’d just wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole, and so had pretty much everyone else in the room. He’s positive that they make Shadis give the talk to new male trainees just so that his perpetually angry face springs to mind at the worst possible moment, as an extra discouragement to fooling around. Talk about a mood killer. He glances back over at Jean, who’s grinning wickedly at his reaction.

“And I thought,” Jean goes on, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling and making a carelessly airy gesture as he mimics his younger self, “ ‘oh, well, that should be easy enough to avoid.’ I figured it was something deliberate you had to do, or there was some special trigger or something—what, I was twelve, I’d barely started jerking it.” He stares narrowly at Marco, who has his lips clamped shut on a giggle, then relents with a mock-offended sniff, turning his eyes away.

“Anyway, I started realizing eventually,” he continues more quietly, his fingers picking at the sheet. “Mostly from hearing guys talking shit around the barracks and stuff. I just...told myself I was a late bloomer and tried to put it out of my mind as much as possible. Tried not to think about it. It was just after I...changed. So.” He shrugs awkwardly. “Before I joined up, I didn’t really have any friends I could talk about these things with, so it was just all really weird and uncomfortable.” Jean looks up at Marco again, and the way he tries to control his expression only makes him look more vulnerable. “You were the first real friend I ever had.”

Marco has to blink back tears again at that. Lifting his hand, he touches the backs of his fingers to Jean’s cheek, and Jean closes his eyes. It’s just for a moment, before Jean shifts away, clearing his throat, but Marco realizes that a moment can be so much.

Maybe he’s too greedy, but he wants all the moments. Every moment, good and bad, for the rest of their lives.

He wonders what Jean would think about that.

“All those times when we were on laundry duty were kind of a clue too,” Jean is saying with overly deliberate casualness, and Marco drags his mind back to the conversation, which apparently has returned to less emotionally fraught topics. Like the inevitability of semen. “So many gross sheets, ugh.” Flopping dramatically back down onto the mattress, Jean mutters with reverent relief, “Never again.”

“Well, maybe our gross sheets,” Marco murmurs teasingly, and Jean gives him a shove.

“I’ll make you wash them all,” he retorts. Marco pushes at him in turn, and they exchange a few more shoves and ticklishly flailing pokes before Marco starts laughing and falls back in surrender. He’s startled when Jean suddenly rolls over onto him, resting his chin on Marco’s chest.

“So it’s really every time, hm.” Jean’s eyes glint, unexpectedly calm, amused, and as Marco nods he responds with a low hum. “Inconvenient for you,” he remarks, smirking, and then rolls off again.

Seeing Jean able to talk about these things, even laugh at them, at his own ignorance, his differences, is the most amazing gift that Marco’s ever been given. The fact that Jean trusts him like this...and even better, that Jean seems so much more at ease with himself. Another thought occurs to him then; it’s kind of silly and awkward, and maybe he’s pushing it a little with all these questions, but he decides to take a chance, since things have been going so well. “So if all the other unicorns are like you, then where do baby unicorns come from?”

Jean looks at him as though he thinks Marco has either lost his mind or is teasing him again, then apparently realizes that even though Marco’s smiling, he’s serious, which he is—he honestly wants to know. “I don’t know if the others are like me. Or even if there are any others. I’ve never seen any.” Jean scowls, though not at Marco, or anything in particular, an inward-focused, moody look. “My parents are just regular, normal human beings. They don’t even know about this.” He starts in alarm and waves his hands. “I mean, not this this! The unicorn thing.” With a huff of embarrassment, Jean slumps back against the bed. “They don’t know about...either of the things. About anything.”

Oh. That’s—sad. Really sad. No wonder Jean has been so lonely all his life. And it’s also really, really strange. Marco is having trouble wrapping his mind around it. “How on earth do human parents have unicorn kids?” he wonders.

“How should I know!” Jean grumps. “Maybe the unicorn fairy brings them.” He sees the expression on Marco’s face, and his eyes narrow again. “Shut up.”

“Unicorn fairy,” Marco says, completely unable to suppress a widening grin, and Jean punches him in the side of the chest.

“Shut. Up.”

“With the little wings,” Marco makes fluttery hand gestures, his voice breaking up with barely controlled laughter, even when Jean thumps him again. “And—ow—maybe a, a rainbow?” Jean flings himself face down on the bed, smothering some high-pitched growly noise in the pillow, and as Marco looks at the back of his head, the rigid line of his shoulders, stiff with mortification, it suddenly feels like his heart is breaking open, cracking wide—not in grief, no, absolutely the opposite, because instead of having lost something, it feels like he has—has everything.

It’s so much. It’s all that he could ever want.

“I love you,” he whispers. He’s vaguely amazed that his voice barely trembles.

After a moment of startled-seeming silence, Jean twists his head around just enough to peer up at Marco with one incredulous eye. (And, Marco hopes, to breathe a little.) “Of all the times,” he mutters querulously. Then he shifts onto his side and shuffles unexpectedly closer—leans his head against Marco’s arm and closes his eyes with a sigh.

“I love you too,” he mumbles.