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one night hang out

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“I don’t normally do this,” said Lem.

 

“Okay,” said Fero, leaning up to kiss him again.

 

Lem sank into the kiss for a moment, his hands curling in the fabric of Fero’s t-shirt to pull Fero closer. He broke off again, breathing heavily, his cheeks flushed.

 

“I mean, not that doing this kind of thing a lot is a bad thing, if you- everybody has different, uh- what I mean is that I, uh-”

 

Fero gave up on kissing Lem for the moment, instead focusing his attention on the underside of Lem’s jaw. “We can stop if you want?”

 

Lem’s breath hitched. “I- No, that’s- this is… this is good.”

 

“Great,” said Fero, “Maybe you should open the door though?”

 

Lem blinked, letting go of Fero’s t-shirt to fumble in his pocket for his keys. Fero nipped lightly at his neck, grinning as Lem dropped his keys. He leaned back against the wall, watching as Lem picked them up. He didn’t normally do this either - normally on a night like this he’d be getting work done in the quiet of after people had left the office for the day, or puttering around his small balcony garden before bed, but Throndir had insisted he take a break.

 

“The work will still be here if you take a night off,” Throndir had said, “And you’ll be no use during the presentation if you spend the night before stressing about it. Take a break, think about something fun.”

 

“Thinking about how the community can prevent invasive species is fun,” said Fero.

 

Lem had made him reconsider that, a little. Not that he would be telling Throndir that. Not that he would be telling Throndir about any of this, probably, considering he had met Lem when Lem had accused Fero of stealing his usb out of his pocket. Fero had frowned up at him and reached into Lem’s pocket, pulling out the usb drive there. Lem had immediately gone bright pink, and stammered his way through an apology and then a drink offer, and how could Fero say no to that?

 

He found it equally difficult to say no to the second drink, or when Lem had shifted closer to him, or when Lem had mumbled an offer of a change in locations. He was yet to regret any of it.

 

The door clicked open and Lem turned back towards him, face flushed. Fero grinned, stepping into Lem’s personal space and pushing him backwards, further into the apartment. They kissed, easily sinking into their earlier rhythm. Lem sighed into his mouth, melting against Fero and letting Fero feel the length of him. Fero could feel the ache in him beginning, the flicker of a more insistent heat.

 

“Housemates?” mumbled Fero against Lem’s lips.

 

“One, out at a conference until after the weekend,” said Lem.

 

“Bedroom?” said Fero, “Or couch, if you don’t wanna- I’m cool with whatever.”

 

Lem leant back, cheeks flushed and eyes dark. Fero curled his toes in his shoes to stop himself from immediately pulling Lem back in, although he wasn’t quite able to stop his hands flexing in the fabric of Lem’s jacket.

 

“I- the bedroom is down the hall,” said Lem, “If you- I mean, I’m, uh, cool with whatever too, obviously.”

 

“Obviously,” said Fero, “Lead the way.”

 

He followed Lem down the hall. As they reached the bedroom doorway, Fero reached out, sticking his hands in Lem’s back pockets. Lem squeaked, making Fero laugh.

 

Lem huffed. “ Well .”

 

“I was feeling nostalgic for our first meeting,” said Fero.

 

“That was three hours ago,” said Lem.

 

“Really?” said Fero, “Wow, time flies, anyway, are you ever going to take your jacket off or what?”

 

Lem flushed again, shrugging out of his jacket, the colour on his cheeks deepening as Fero openly stared at him. Under ordinary circumstances he probably would have at least tried to be subtle but, really, they were probably never going to see each other after this, so there was no need to bother about that.

 

Fero wrapped a hand around Lem’s arm, feeling the muscles flex. “What’d you say you do again?”

 

“I’m a librarian,” said Lem, “Were you not listening to me at all?”

 

Fero let go of him, folding his arms across his chest. “Of course I was, and- hey, what do I do?”

 

“You-” Lem pressed his lips together. “Government- something… nature, uh, preservation? Of birds?”

 

Fero considered that for a moment. “Yeah, close enough.”

 

He stepped forward again, tugging Lem down into a kiss and tangling his fingers in Lem’s long hair, encouraged by the soft sound Lem made into his mouth. Lem shuffled backwards, leading them both towards the bed as Fero worked on peeling off Lem’s shirt and running his hands along as much of the newly-bared skin as he could reach.

 

Lem shivered, his hands sliding down Fero’s back to curl at the bottom of Fero’s shirt. He pulled back, opening his mouth to speak.

 

“Yeah,” said Fero, cutting him off, “Yeah, you can-”

 

Lem pulled Fero’s shirt up before he could finish, his hands resting on Fero’s waist, burning hot on his bare skin..

 

“I, uh, I’ll do the binder though,” said Fero, “it’s- I know the trick to it, so it’ll be faster this way.”

 

Lem wet his lips and Fero felt his gaze pulled to Lem’s mouth.

 

“Right,” said Lem, “What should I…”

 

“Just enjoy the show,” said Fero.

 

He stepped back slightly, wriggling out of his binder as quickly as possible. Not his most sexy performance, but in this case, speed was probably preferable. When he turned his attention back to Lem, Lem was staring at him, his mouth slightly open. Fero grinned, and Lem quickly shut his mouth, crossing his legs. Fero laughed.

 

“Well, I just- I mean I,” stuttered Lem, “I mean, I said I don’t really- and you just-”

 

“Dude, it’s fine,” said Fero, pushing at Lem’s knee so he could more easily sit on his lap. 

 

Lem lifted a hand, his fingers just brushing Fero’s chest before he met Fero’s gaze. Fero laughed again, putting his hand over Lem’s and pressing Lem’s hand onto his chest. Lem gasped, shifting in a way that brought back the flicker of heat into Fero’s body.

 

Lem’s fingers flexed on his chest, his finger brushing over Fero’s nipple. Fero bit his lip, arching his chest towards Lem, encouraging his touch. Lem followed his lead, his fingers teasing over Fero’s nipple, ducking his head to tease over Fero’s chest with his tongue.

 

Fero dug his nails into Lem’s shoulders, pushing him back on the bed and tugging Lem up so he could kiss him again. Lem shifted under him, letting out a moan as Fero rocked against him. Fero grinned against his lips, grinding down again, more purposefully this time, and was rewarded by a louder moan followed by the dark flush of Lem’s cheeks.

 

“I-” began Lem.

 

“No, you don’t do this a lot, I get it,” said Fero, “Also, you think I’m like, mind-blowingly hot, obviously.”

 

“I- well, that is, I, uh-”

 

Fero laughed. “This only proves the mind-blowingly part.”

 

Lem scowled. “I- You know you- obviously you think I’m- that I’m mind-blowing hot as well. So there.”

 

So there ?” said Fero.

 

Lem flushed, his fingers twitching against Fero’s sides. “Well, I, uh- yes. So there.”

 

Fero tilted his head, looking down at Lem. “Well. Can’t argue with that, I guess.”

 

He bent down to kiss Lem again, letting himself get caught up in the heat of it, the slow-building rhythm of their bodies, the flex of Lem’s muscles under his hands, Lem’s slow tracing along the waistband of Fero’s pants-

 

“Wait,” said Lem, pulling back, “So you agree?”

 

Fero blinked. “Agree with what?”

 

“That I’m-” Lem’s cheeks flushed. “That you think I’m mind blowingly hot.”

 

Fero shrugged. “Sure.”

 

“So… I win,” said Lem.

 

Fero straightened, leaning back to rest his hand just above the fly of Lem’s pants.

 

“It’s not about winning,” said Fero.

 

He slowly traced a finger along the bulge in Lem’s pants. Lem shuddered, his hands clutching at Fero’s sides, stoking the fire inside Fero once again.

 

“It’s about finding a way to work together,” finished Fero.

 

Lem blinked. “What?”

 

“Nothing,” said Fero, “For this work presentation tomorrow, I have to- whatever, it so doesn’t matter right now.”

 

He pressed the heel of his hand down, grinning at Lem’s choked-off whine before he reached for the fastening of Lem’s pants. Lem arched his hips, momentarily pushing Fero off his lap as he kicked off his pants. Again, Fero let his eyes linger on Lem more than he would have normally let himself in this situation, feeling a thrill as Lem’s blush spread down his chest.

 

Lem reached for him, pulling him closer, and Fero let himself be pulled, standing in-between Lem’s spread legs. He bent over Lem, pressing him flat on the bed, his arms braced either side of Lem. Lem clutched his back, letting out a whine into the kiss as Fero’s body brushed against his erection.

 

Fero straightened, pulling off his pants and underwear in one quick movement. Lem’s hands were back on him in an instant, pulling Fero down onto the bed with him. Fero straddled one of Lem’s legs, biting his lip to quiet himself as he felt the slick slide of Lem against his hip.

 

“I- this okay?” managed Fero.

 

“Yes, absolutely, yes, just- please-” said Lem.

 

Lem reached for him, his movements a little clumsy as he brought their mouths together. Fero began to rock his hips, the friction of it striking through him, combining with the jolt of heat from feeling Lem’s desperation.

 

He slid a hand between them to touch himself, moaning into Lem’s mouth. Lem’s gaze dropped between them, his eyes widening.

 

Lem wet his lips. “I- can I-?”

 

Fero leant back to give Lem room. “Yeah, yes -”

 

Fero pulled Lem’s hand towards it, guiding him into the right angle that made Fero shudder and grab at Lem’s shoulder to hold himself up. Lem, for all his earlier clumsiness, was a quick study, each stroke of his finger adding to the throb of heat inside Fero’s body. He rocked his hips against Lem’s hand, feeling a thrill at the shudder that went through Lem’s body at the friction.

 

He bent to kiss Lem again, the movement changing the angle Lem was touching him, hitting him deeper than before. Fero moaned, feeling Lem speed up the motion of his hand. He felt himself scrape at the edge, and distantly he heard his own voice, pleading with Lem, begging for release.

 

“Yes,” said Lem, his ragged tone matching Fero’s, “Yes, yes, whatever you need, tell me, tell me, tell me-”

 

He brought his other hand up to tease over Fero’s chest again, sending spikes of heat through Fero. Fero bucked his hips sharply at the sensation, feeling the fire overtake him completely as he clutched at Lem’s shoulder, feeling the waves of heat wash over him.

 

Dimly, he felt Lem twitch against him, mumbling a question above Fero’s head. Fero blinked up at him, taking in Lem’s red-bitten lips, his pupils blown wide. Lem shifted his hips, his cock still hard and leaking against Fero’s hip.

 

“Yeah,” said Fero, reaching for him.

 

Lem let out a groan as Fero wrapped a hand around him, squeezing his eyes shut and then opening them wide, watching open mouthed as Fero worked him. Fero grinned, speeding up the motion, delighting as Lem’s flush darkened, his body trembling.

 

Fero stretched up to kiss him, tangling his free hand in Lem’s hair. Lem moaned, his head butting against Fero’s hand, and Fero tugged his hair. Lem’s responding moan was even louder than before, thrusting up into Fero’s grip.

 

“I-” said Lem, “I’m-”

 

Fero kissed him again, feeling the pulse of wet heat against his hip as Lem’s came. They curled around each other, heedless of the mess, kissing slowly as Lem came back to himself.

 

“Uh,” said Fero, “do you have…?”

 

“Mmm? Oh, right.”

 

Lem leaned over the side of the bed, rummaging around for a moment before passing a handful of tissues to Fero.

 

“So,” said Fero, cleaning himself off.

 

Lem blushed and focussed his attention on the fast corner of the room. “Uh. So.”

 

“So you said your housemate wasn’t home until later this week,” said Fero.

 

“Yes,” said Lem slowly, “Why?”

 

“So,” said Fero, “Do you want to hang out in the morning? Since we’ve got the place to ourselves.”

 

Lem frowned. “Hang out?”

 

“Yeah,” said Fero, “hang out, y’know, like… this.”

 

“Do I- oh. Oh! Well, I. Uh, that is, yes, but I have- I suppose it sounds like a bit of a line but I do have work tomorrow,” said Lem.

 

Fero shrugged. “So do I, but I meant like… I mean, I tend to wake up pretty early, so we could... “

 

“Hang out,” said Lem.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Well, I suppose that’s… that would work,” said Lem, “Although…”

 

“Although what?”

 

“I don’t really feel all that tired,” said Lem, “if you wanted to… hang out, again, now.”

 

Fero laughed. “For a guy who doesn’t do this kind of thing you’re doing a lot of it right now.”

 

Lem huffed. “Well, it’s- I want to do it properly if I’m doing it at all.”

 

“Properly, huh?” said Fero, shifting closer to Lem, “How’s that go?”

 

“Well, I suppose I can show you,” said Lem, “If you insist.”

 

“If you insist,” said Fero, kissing him.



----



As it turned out, they didn’t have any time to hang out in the morning. Lem blinked away to his emergency back up alarm across the room blaring, telling him that he had half an hour to get out the door or risk being late.

 

He sat up, dislodging Fero when he’s been dozing across Lem’s chest. Fero frowned, blinking up at him in a way that made Lem very much want to sit back down, staff presentations be damned.

 

“What’s that noise?” said Fero.

 

“My alarm,” said Lem, stumbling across the room to turn it off, “I- we- you have to go, I have to get to work-”

 

“I thought you wanted to- holy shit, is that actually what time it is?”

 

Fero leapt out of bed, quickly pulling on his pants and trying to shove his feet into his shoes at the same time.

 

“Hey, listen, this was great, but I have this important work thing, so I kind of have to go, like, right now,” said Fero, his voice muffled where he was putting his binder back on.

 

“I mean, me too,” said Lem, pulling his shirt over his head, “But, uh, this was, um, this was nice?”

 

He heard Fero laugh, and looked up to see Fero, fully dressed, grinning at him. Lem was again struck by the feeling of regret, that they both couldn’t crawl back into bed and continue as they had the night before.

 

“Yeah,” said Fero, “it was.” He stepped towards Lem, pulling him into a too-brief kiss before he stepped back. “You should think about doing this more, you’re pretty good at it.”

 

“Thanks, I, um, so are you, as well,” managed Lem.

 

Fero laughed again. “Well, see you around, maybe.”

 

“Yeah,” said Lem, watching as Fero left the room, the sound of the front door clicking shut echoing in the hall.

 

“Oh,” said Lem to the empty room, “Oh, wait, no, I should have got his number-”

 

He stumbled to the door, only remembering half-way there that he wasn’t wearing pants and doubling back to get them, trying to get back to the front door and put them on at the same time. By the time he stepped outside, Fero was gone.

 

He was also dangerously close to being late.

 

He scrambled back to his room, patting through his jacket and pants pocket frantically until he found the usb, marked with an ‘S’ for Sea , as in Hieron High’s Enchantment Under the Sea Dance Presentation , which he was supposed to be doing in - Lem checked his phone - thirty two minutes. Shit.

 

He grabbed his bag and rushed out the door. If everything went right on the way there, he’d be fine.

 

Miraculously, he made it into the office with five minutes to spare, which he thought was a perfectly acceptable time frame. Hella raised her eyebrows at him.

 

“I’m not late!” said Lem.

 

“No- I mean, yeah, that too, but you have hickies ,” said Hella, “like, a lot of them.”

 

Lem felt his face flush, quickly ducking his head to look through his bag. “I, uh- it’s an allergic reaction.”

 

“An allergic reaction to who ,” said Hella.

 

Lem found the scarf he’d been looking for in his bag and put it on, wrapping it high around his neck. Hella looked like she was trying not to laugh.

 

“I’m cold,” said Lem, “I’m allowed to be cold.”

 

“Sure,” said Hella, “Part of the allergies, I bet.”

 

“It is,” said Lem.

 

“Uh huh,” said Hella.

 

Hadrian cleared his throat at the front of the room, saving Lem from the conversation. Lem tried not to fidget with his scarf as Hadrian went through the morning bulletin, waiting for Hadrian to get to the topic of the school dance.

 

“I believe Lem has a short presentation about this year’s theme?”

 

“Yes,” said Lem, patting his pants pockets and feeling a pulse of fear for a moment before he remembered he’d put the usb in his jacket pocket. “Yes, I do.”

 

Lem put the usb in the laptop Hadrian had been using, opening the powerpoint and running it. He cleared his throat, waiting for it to load.

 

“Uh, alright, yes, so, this year’s theme is-”

 

Lem looked up and took in, with growing horror, the words projected onto the screen behind him.

 

Great Lakes Invasive Species And What Boaters Can Do To Stop Them

 

“A very, uh, unique choice,” said Hadrian.

 

At the back of the room, Hella did not quite manage to muffle her laugh.

 

“I uh-” Lem quickly closed the powerpoint, “Sorry, I must have mixed it up with… something else. Anyway, it’s Enchantment Under The Sea this year, and the dance committee will be meeting in the library after school on Wednesday, if anyone wants to come along and help the kids out.”



----



Across town, in another meeting room, Fero turned the usb over in his hands, tracing a nail over the tiny ‘S’. S, as in Species , as in Great Lakes Invasive Species And What Boaters Can Do To Stop Them . It was a good thing he’d had it with him when he’d gone to the bar, if he’d had to go all the way to his apartment to get it he would really have been late.

 

Throndir gave him a thumbs up as he stood to walk to the front of the room, his expression changing to surprise as Fero loaded the presentation.

 

Fero looked up, blinking in surprise at the garish clipart of a boat. “Uh. It’s, um- well obviously boats are a big part of how we solve this issue.”

 

He stumbled through the rest of the presentation, saved mainly by the fact that he redone the slideshow so many times that he basically knew it by heart even without it there as a guide. He waited until the others were gone before he looked through the presentation on the usb he had.

 

Enchantment Under The Sea

 

Fero frowned. It was for some high school dance, but where would he have even gotten this- Lem. Lem had had a usb. He’d been so rushed he hadn’t checked, although now that he was actually looking at the usb it was most obvious that it wasn’t his. The S wasn’t even in his handwriting.

 

He heard Throndir step behind him.

 

“Before you say anything,” said Fero, “it’s not mine, I accidentally swapped it.”

 

“You accidentally swapped USBs with someone,” said Throndir, “Wait, I thought you said you actually took a break last night.”

 

“I did , that’s how this even happened ,” said Fero, “Wait- you told me to do that! This is your fault!”

 

Throndir held up his hands. “I didn’t tell you to bring your work with you, in fact I’m pretty sure I said the opposite of that.”

 

“Whatever,” said Fero, “Now I have to go find this guy again, which defeats the whole point.”

 

“What guy?” said Throndir, “What point?”

 

“It’s personal,” said Fero.

 

“Which part,” said Throndir, “The point or the guy?”

 

“Both,” said Fero, tucking the usb in his pocket, “I gotta go.”



----



“So what table were you at?” said Hella.

 

Lem frowned. The bar looked different in the daytime, not yet full of the Friday night crowd.

 

“Back here, I think,” said Lem, pointing to one of the booths at the back, “for part of it at least.”

 

“Okay,” said Hella, “You check there, and I’ll go ask the bartender if anyone handed in a USB.”

 

Lem poked around the booth. It was a useless exercise, and it wasn’t as though the presentation had been particularly long or valuable, but it was the principle of the thing. He’d worked hard on making all the slide transitions do different things and finding the right art and the right colour scheme to go along with each different idea.

 

And now it was, most likely, in the hands of some guy Lem would never see again. Lem sighed, flopping down in the booth seat. Last night he’d sat here and the presentation had been the furthest thing from his mind, and Fero had laughed, and leaned close, and-

 

“Hey,” said Hella, “I think I found something that might help.”

 

Lem turned. In Hella’s hand was an A4 paper, with a badly-photocopied drawing of a man with enormous glasses on it.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GUY?????

 

-HIS NAME IS LEM

-HE IS A LIBRARIAN

-PRETTY SURE I HAVE HIS USB

-HE HAS MY USB (VERY IMPORTANT!!!!)

 

CALL FERO!!!! (BARTENDER HAS MY NUMBER) THX

 

Lem was glad he was sitting down.

 

“Oh my god,” said Lem faintly.

 

“I guess we solved the mystery,” said Hella.

 

“Yeah,” said Lem faintly.

 

“I got his number from the bartender already,” said Hella, handing him a post-it, “They said he’s been calling all day so he must really want to USB back.”

 

“It’s probably important,” said Lem, “He’s a government… wildlife something.”

 

“So Fero is the guy who gave you the allergic reaction ,” said Hella.

 

Lem felt his face flush. “Maybe.”

 

Hella laughed, hitting him good-naturedly on the shoulder. “Well that’s two reasons to call him.”

 

Lem didn’t actually call Fero until he got home, pacing around the entirety of the empty apartment as he slowly typed out the number.

 

“Who is this?” said Fero.

 

That’s how you answer calls?” said Lem.

 

“I do when it’s an unknown number,” said Fero, “so tell me who you are or I’m hanging up.”

 

“Don’t hang up!” said Lem quickly, “It’s, um, it’s Lem, from the other night?”

 

“Oh,” said Fero. He paused. “Uh, I didn’t give you my number.”

 

“I know,” said Lem, “I got it from the bartender, because-”

 

“You do have my USB!” said Fero, “I knew it!”

 

“I do,” said Lem, “I- do you have mine?”

 

“Enchantment under the sea? Absolutely I do!” said Fero.

 

“Oh, good!” said Lem.

 

Lem opened his mouth and then shut it again.

 

“I could, uh- did you want me to bring it around now?” said Fero, “I mean, better to get this sorted out as fast as possible, right?”

 

“Sure,” said Lem, “I’m home, do you- you remember where I live?”

 

“I can figure it out,” said Fero, “I- whatever, I’ll see you in a bit, we’ll exchange the USBs, then I’ll get out of your hair. No need to hang out, or whatever.”

 

“Of course,” said Lem, “We’re both adults.”

 

Two hours later, Fero was pressing him back against the couch as Lem skimmed a hand along the inside of Fero’s shirt, teasing his fingers along the bottom of Fero’s binder. He felt Fero laugh against his mouth and leant back to look up at him.

 

“Nothing,” said Fero, “I just- I thought you didn’t want to hang out.”

 

“No, that’s what you said,” said Lem, “ I said that we were both adults. Adults can hang out.”

 

Fero nodded. “I guess you’re right.”

 

He ducked his head to nip at the skin of Lem’s neck. Lem felt his cheeks flush.

 

“Uh, Fero, make sure you don’t-”

 

Fero changed tactics, sucking a bruise on the underside of Lem’s jaw, making Lem’s thoughts turn to a very pleasant static.

 

“Don’t what?” mumbled Fero.

 

“Nothing, doesn’t matter,” said Lem.

 

Fero hummed, leaning back again, smiling as Lem followed after him. He kissed him, sweeping Lem away with it.

 

“I was thinking,” said Fero, in between slow kisses.

 

Lem hummed, pulling Fero closer. Fero shifted, their hips brushing against each other. Lem inhaled sharply.

 

“You were thinking?” managed Lem.

 

“I mean, you have my number now,” said Fero, “And I have yours.”

 

Lem nodded.

 

“So now if either one of us wanted to, y’know, hang out, later, we could arrange that,” said Fero.

 

“You don’t have to call me to do that,” said Lem, “You can ask me right now?”

 

“I meant after tonight.”

 

“Oh, well, my housemate isn’t back until Tuesday,” said Lem.

 

“That’s a long hang out,” said Fero, “I think if we tried that we’d get like, super dehydrated.”

 

Lem’s cheeks burned. “I meant- I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow. And if you, also, didn’t have to go anywhere, perhaps we could hang out in the morning, for a little while.”

 

Fero hummed. “Yeah, that sounds okay.”

 

“It sounds okay ?”

 

Fero laughed. “Well, we’ll have to wait and see how it actually is in the morning.”

 

“Right,” said Lem. He paused. “Oh, wait, so- you’ll stay?”

 

Fero’s expression softened, and he leaned down to kiss Lem again. “Sure. You’re pretty fun to hang out with, after all.”