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the tiger is out

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There comes a point where your wife of twelve years sits next to you on your couch and the only thing she says to you all night is that she likes it so much that you never feel the need to change it up and she’s so glad you’ll always be together, and it sounds like your eulogy.

The next day, Eddie wakes feeling like a ghost. Maybe he’s been a ghost for a while now.

He walks to his bathroom, sits down on the toilet, pees. Stretches for exactly ten minutes, carefully avoiding catching his own gaze in the mirror. Sits back on the toilet and takes his morning shit. Like every morning for at least the last five years. 

(If it’s a good day. On worse days his morning shit won’t come until after he has showered. On bad days the morning shit doesn’t happen before he has to leave for his commute and then he will sit in his car for the next hour, all tense and careful, and that will throw him off at least until the afternoon. 

Bad days don’t come often, he doesn’t carefully monitor his fluid and food intake for nothing.)

He showers efficiently, combs and gels his hair, brushes his teeth.

Eddie goes back into their shared bedroom, dresses silently and practiced while Myra’s still in the ensuite. Walks into the kitchen and grabs the meal-prepped green smoothie (with added protein) for his commute along with the meal prepped chicken salad (low-fat dressing on the side) for lunch. Prepares his one cup of caffeine-reduced coffee while Myra’s getting dressed. Cleans up after himself and puts on his shoes in the five minutes it takes her to appear, every day like clockwork, so he can kiss her cheek goodbye.

It is a consciously optimized routine. He doesn’t need to spare one thought about it. 

Today’s a good day (according to the morning shits) and so Eddie’s steering his Escalade towards downtown with just the regular amount of tension in his body. He flips through the newest episode of Business Insurance and Connected Insurance and Agency Nation Sound. Today, none of them catch his interest, so he drives in silence. 

(This isn’t unusual. Most days he will use his commute to stay informed, but he also relishes the complete, head-emptying focus on driving on the days none of his favored podcasts has something new to tell him. 

He never listens to the radio; the incessant, stupid babbling of most hosts gets on his nerves and used to activate the shittalking part of his brain. Myra had pointedly asked him to refrain from “swearing at the radio” in her presence early in the relationship and Eddie, who hadn’t been aware that was something he did, immediately stopped completely, deeply mortified of such a childish and silly habit.)

At work, nothing unusual happens. Eddie’s very good at his job, which means that there is hardly any real challenge left. He will probably get promoted again sometime in the near future, but at his level, all that will really change is a couple of digits on the paycheck and maybe finally his own assistant. 

At around five, most of his colleagues are preparing to leave. Eddie’s still working, concentrating on putting the final touches on the project he’s dedicated the last two hours to. Outside his open office doors, he can hear them bustling around, making small talk.

“Come on, Dave, it’s just one round!”, Eddie can hear Johnson plead. He’s not really listening, so he misses most of Dave’s explanation why he can’t go out tonight. Something something the wife’s mad about this or that?

Without even really registering his mute annoyance, Eddie gets up to quietly close his office doors. The last thing he hears is Johnson again, still not giving up. “Man, she doesn’t let you do anything, does she? Come on bro, live a little!”

Eddie rounds back to his chair, sits down. 

(live a little.)

His colleagues quickly learned that they don’t need to ask him about after-work drinks. When he first started here, he was still living with his mother, and she was already bad enough he couldn’t stay out any longer than necessary. 

When living with his mom morphed seamlessly into living with his wife (there had been, in fact, half a year of overlap Eddie takes care of never recalling in too much detail), his apologies changed. “Have to take care of her” turned into “just got engaged” turned into “just got married” turned into “not tonight, she’s waiting with dinner” and then, suddenly, he stopped needing to come up with excuses because no one bothered to keep asking.

(live a little.)

Eddie realizes he’s been staring at his monitor for the past thirty minutes and all he’s accomplished is moving around the same bit of data from one page in his report to another and then back to its original placement.

(live a little.)

The office has cleared out. It’s Thursday, most of his colleagues are either going out for drinks and god knows what else or leaving early to spend the night with their families, girlfriends, or mistresses. 

LIVE A LITTLE. 

Usually, Eddie stays until seven on Thursdays, taking advantage of the empty office. But now it feels like his brain is slowly being overtaken by one of those monkey toys banging its cymbals together.

LIVE A LITTLE. LIVE A LITTLE. LIVE A LITTLE.

It echoes in his ear. He can’t turn it off.

LIVE! A! LITTLE!

Abruptly, Eddie stands up and starts gathering all his stuff in his practical bag. But when he moves to pick up his reusable lunch container, he stares at it for a second, almost uncomprehending. 

“What the fuck am I even…,” Eddie mutters, then stops himself. Throws on his jacket, grabs his wallet, his keys. And then he flees his office like a crime scene.

Outside on the sidewalk he abruptly comes to a halt, no idea where the fuck to now.

Live a little, the monkey’s still banging. 

He can’t go into any of the bars around here because he doesn’t know which one his colleagues ended up choosing. And this is not about meeting Johnson or Dave Whatshisname or any of them and finally joining their little after-work drinks, it’s about– 

Eddie doesn’t even know what it’s about. But it feels like something suddenly has awoken in him, wild and hungry and aching.

He turns on his heels and starts walking. Live, his feet hit in a refrain on the pavement. Live, the sound of the bustling city sings. LIVE, the horn of the yellow taxi blares. He needs to LIVE he needs to BREATHE he needs to ravish and devour he needs to SURGE leaving nothing in his wake.




An indeterminate amount of time and distance later, he feels his brain quietening a little, the need to MOVE slowly leaving his body. 

Suddenly, multicolored blinking lights catch his eye. Eddie slows down. Directly in front of him is, he doesn’t even allow himself one moment to reconsider his first instinct, exactly the place he needs to be right now.

Inside, it is dimly lit and crowded for a Thursday evening at – Eddie doesn’t even know what time. The sun did set while he was pacing the streets, so it must well past eight already. He abruptly realizes he didn’t bring his phone, but the immediately following realization that Myra has to be absolutely freaking out right now feels weirdly distant, almost dispassionate. It’s kinda too late now anyway, isn’t it? Makes hardly a difference if he stays for a drink or two.

Eddie’s aimlessly wandering around, drink in hand, when he suddenly almost collides with – shit, that’s another person’s chest. 

He stops short, hand instinctively reaching out to steady himself, softly touching right below the man’s shoulder, directly above his collarbone, other hand gripping tight around his glass trying not to spill his drink.

“Sorry!”, Eddie shoots at the guy, the same automatic semi-apology/accusation he would bark at anyone getting in his way, before jerking his hand back as if burned. It’s only now that he looks up above the chest and shoulders. 

Strong jaw, covered in a dark five o’clock shadow. Kind eyes clearly fighting an amused smile behind his glasses. Dark hair swept over his forehead. Oh, that’s a face, Eddie thinks nonsensically and turns on his heel.

Around the next corner, finally in a spot where it doesn’t feel like he’s constantly in everyone’s way, he stops. Breathes. Stares at his involuntarily flexing hand. The hand which had wanted to reach out again, to touch. To GRIP and PULL and SINK his fingers into the man’s warm body–

Eddie shakes the foreign feeling off, taking a sip from his drink, and looks up. Looks up straight into that very same face to find that the man has also moved and is now staring at him. When Eddie locks eyes with him the guy smiles, open and wide, and deliberately, very slowly, winks at Eddie. 

What the fuck is happening here.

Eddie slams down his glass on the nearest surface and turns once more. It’s suddenly so very loud in his head again, a cacophony of monkey cymbals and growling and waves crashing over him. Very distantly he’s aware that his reaction is objectively incredibly disproportionate, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like something momentous is happening and he’s greedily STRAINING towards ROARING with hunger DYING to touch he is TERRIFIED he needs to get out of here he needs to hide.

He rushes towards the restroom without needing to look around, as if he already knows where it is, finding his way as usual. Slamming the doors he enters the very last stall, locking up behind him.

Ok. Breathe. He needs to breathe. His hands struggle to loosen his tie and he suddenly and violently misses the inhaler he also left in his office. With his phone, and his lunch box, and all his other useful stuff. Oh god, his phone. Myra has to be beside herself with worry and he’s not answering his cell or his office phone. She’s probably already calling hospitals and the police. What is he even doing here, running headfirst into trouble. This is not like him at all, he needs to go back and head home immediately–

The doors slam once again, momentarily letting in the noises of the crowded bar. Eddie works hard to regulate his airflow while listening to the footsteps coming closer, closer, until whoever just came in enters the stall right next to him, carefully pulling the door shut and sliding the lock in place.

It’s quiet for a moment, both of them not making any sound, and then Eddie hears the man turning in the stall, the rustle of – not quite shedding pants, more like–

“Hello there,” the man in the other stall says, almost conversationally. The voice suspiciously sounds like it’s coming from a lower point than it’s supposed to. “Now are you gonna let me suck your dick or what?”

Eddie chokes on nothing, splutters. 

“Wait, what? ” 

“You, me, this hole right here – do I have to draw you a diagram?”

Eddie whips around, eyes searching in the dim lighting. And, sure enough, there is a hole in the wooden partition between the stalls. It’s about hip height and wide enough for maybe his fist to fit through comfortably, or rather–

Eddie isn’t stupid. He’s also not completely sheltered or a prude, no matter what his coworkers and other acquaintances may think, so rationally he recognizes what’s in front of him. It’s just so far out of the realm of possibilities he foresaw for tonight and honestly his whole life that it takes him a moment to catch up with the fact that he, Eddie Kaspbrak, somehow ended up in front of both a very real glory hole and a willing stranger offering to. Well. Perform fellatio? On him? 

“Hello? You there?”, comes from the other stall. 

Time stretches and constricts weirdly. What the actual fuck, a voice keeps repeating he recognizes in a flash of self-awareness as Edward Kaspbrak, senior risk analyst, absolutely losing his shit. What the actual fuck, what the actual fuck, what the actual fuck. People do this? For real? It’s so fucking unsanitary and unsafe and who the fuck just puts their genitals through a hole in a wall to the whims and mercy of a complete stranger–

Oh FUCK IT roars a completely different voice. LIVE A LITTLE, the monkey chimes. DEVOUR and give nothing back. DO IT. Thoughts whirl through his head, each screaming over the other. He’s never put his dick in anyone’s mouth, a small voice reminds him. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s something he deserves.

It really doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of that wall, all that matters is that they want him. Or at least part of him. 

It’ll be so good, the voice suggests, and Eddie suddenly and overwhelmingly feels his racing pulse right in his crotch. His traitorous hand starts moving towards his pants, palming himself over the fabric once, then flicking open the button.

“Listen, I’m sorry, I obviously–,” the man begins, just when Eddie starts pulling out his dick, feeling his heartbeat pulse through every part of his body. He can feel every single of his limbs acutely, a conscious presence in his body he hasn’t felt in – he’s never felt so aware of his physical manifestation, every single nerve ending making itself known.

“– got the wrong idea, I’m just gonna leave–,” it continues in the other stall, muffled noises suggesting the man’s starting to get up.

“Wait,” Eddie almost shouts, and in a fit of what feels like the final descent into temporary insanity feeds his still mostly soft dick through the hole; the small voice in the back of his head growing strong and powerful. 

(yes. YES.)

“Oh, hello there,” the man says again, but this time it sounds like a greeting between lovers, low and flirtatious. 

A warm hand gently cups around his dick and balls and it simply doesn’t matter anymore if this is the stupidest or the bravest thing Eddie’s ever done, the only thing that matters is that it’s happening. And suddenly it is quiet in Eddie’s head.

As he presses his whole body closer to the wooden partition, he feels a finger gently tracing all the way down to the ridge below his glans, leisurely circling the head of his steadily hardening dick. It feels foreign to be so intensely focused on his cock, all sensations centering and concentrating in one part of his body.

It also feels foreign to have someone interact so purposefully with his dick; the cupping hand massaging his balls softly while the other one’s starting to rhythmically massage his shaft. He can suddenly feel the man’s warm breath on the head of his dick, and then there’s a hot and wet flick of tongue right over his slit. Oh.

Eddie moans involuntarily, hips trying to buck towards the waiting mouth but instead pressing helplessly against the immovable wooden partition. 

“So needy,” the man mutters, just loud enough to hear, and laughs softly. “Don’t worry sweetheart, I got you.”

And then he sucks Eddie's half-hard dick in his mouth, all at once and as deep as the constriction of having a wall between them allows. 

In the last few years, it has started to take Eddie a long time to get to a full erection, even when he was touching himself (not that he spends all that much time trying, considering it increasingly only lead to more frustration instead of a desperately needed release of tension). It is shocking how fast his cock fattens and hardens now in a willing hot, wet mouth; quite literally so – he suddenly feels lightheaded, grateful for the solid wall he’s leaning against.

Eddie feels his dick insistently grow deeper and deeper into the man’s mouth, hitting the back of his throat, now harder than he’s been in years. The man’s maintaining suction while the noise he’s making suggests that he’s starting to choke, and then he’s forced to pull off, coughing slightly.

“Oh babe, you’re so good to me,” the man rasps, voice already shot. “So good. I didn’t expect you to be such a grower!”

And with that, his lips wrap around Eddie's cock once more, enthusiastically starting to bob his head back and forth, working on taking him deeper and deeper. His tongue maintains a deliberate, perfect pressure on the underside of Eddie's dick, massaging him with every movement. The strong fingers of one of his hands are carefully putting a circling pressure on the soft skin behind his balls while the other is wrapped protectively around the base of Eddie’s dick.

It abruptly occurs to Eddie that he’s been picturing the man from earlier, the handsome tall one who winked at him, on his knees in the other stall; eyes blown wide behind his glasses looking up at him, spit-shiny red lips of that crooked smile working around his cock. But there is absolutely no way of knowing if it is actually him. 

A brief surge of panic mixes confusingly with an excited, thrilled tingling deep in his belly, waves of adrenaline crashing into each other, and, like a light switch being flicked, he’s suddenly and desperately on the edge.

“Oh fuck,” Eddie pants, right hand flying down, fingers meeting the fingers already wrapped around the base of his throbbing dick. Eddie grips hard around the other man’s hand, the unyielding edge of the hole digging into his fist. 

The mouth doesn’t pull off his cock, but the man stills, tongue and lips losing their pressure, just a soft wet hot sensation while Eddie's struggling to pull himself back like trying to regain balance after slipping on icy sidewalks. It’s not enough it’s not time yet it’s just starting to get so good he needs MORE–

His breath is coming in short bursts, reaching deep into his ribcage. 

He’s never felt so alive.

Eddie's just starting to feel the ground beneath his feet again when the man’s tangling his fingers with Eddie's, barely fitting all of them through the hole around to his swollen dick, and starts softly sucking on the head of his dick again.

“Fuck, fuck, you’re so good at this, what the fuck,” Eddie hears himself chant. He’s never been vocal in bed, never making any noise above an involuntary soft groan during orgasm, never felt just so much all at once he just couldn’t help himself but gasp encouragements. With sudden clarity he wishes there was no wall between them, that he could grip the stranger’s soft dark curls with his other hand, guiding him to the exact right rhythm, pressing him closer and closer with every movement, fucking his face.

He’s just not a visual creature, he used to say, in what felt like honestly welcoming Myra’s preference for a gloomily lit bedroom. 

Now he wants to see. He imagines the tall, broad stranger on his knees in front of him, hair in disarray, glasses knocked askew. Eddie wants to wrap both of his hands around his square jaw, stubble pricking his palms. He wants to rub his dick all over his face, burning so good against the stubble, wants to watch his cock disappear between reddened lips, wants to see a quick tongue swirl around the head of his dick. 

He wants bright lights shining on both of them, starkly illuminating every single detail.

The wooden partition between them is as immovable and solid as the fact that Eddie has no way of knowing who is on the other side of it, but he just doesn’t care. 

He can hear the wet squelching noises the man’s mouth is making around his dick, seemingly trying to fit more and more of it in his mouth with every bob of his head. He’s obviously trying to take Eddie deeper and deeper, swallowing around him, but the limitations of the space make it impossible to work the full length of Eddie’s cock in his mouth. 

The stranger’s fingers slip away from Eddie's after softly petting them once, leaving Eddie’s own still wrapped around his cock, to start working his length in sync with his mouth, tongue pressing intently on the underside of his dick, stimulating his frenulum with every move.

Eddie feels more than hears him pull off with a wet pop, fingers immediately moving to tease the head of his cock, closing his hand tight around it, pumping quickly. He can feel how the hand guides his dick upwards and then, shockingly, the man’s tongue licking once, twice, over his tightly drawn balls. 

“Oh my god,” Eddie moans, hips pressing so tight against the wall he already can feel bruises blooming, straining towards the hot, spit-dripping mouth starting to suck on his balls with abandon. Is this a thing people do, he wonders with the rapidly shrinking part of his brain capable of coherent thought, is this how sex is supposed to be like?  

“Oh, oh, more, please, more!”, he begs, pressing his own hand between his lower belly and the solid wall, aching to touch and grip. He’s losing his mind, chasing what feels good, one hand massaging himself right above his dick, the other one pressed tightly against the wood. 

With a broad stroke, so exactly the right amount of pressure Eddie can feel it in his stomach, the stranger licks all the way from his balls up to the tip of his dick, tongue dipping in his slit, licking at his spilling precome. 

One of his hands wraps more firmly around Eddie’s dick, sloppy with spit, broad strong fingers finding exactly the right rhythm.

“Oh, babe, you are dripping,” the man groans. He sounds absolutely wrecked, voice hoarse and fucked out. “Can you give me more? Can you – can I have more? Please? I want you so bad, you don’t even know.”

No one’s ever spoken to Eddie like that, begged for him. He’s delirious with lust. 

“Anything, anything you want,” Eddie moans. “I’ll give you anything you want, please, just–”

Absently Eddie registers movement in the other stall, clothes rustling. The hand wrapped around his dick doesn’t let go, but the rhythm gets lost, struggling to keep up.

Eddie’s so keyed up, his own hand moving down to massage the amazing spot the stranger had found behind his balls, hips bucking against his arm, pressed between his body and the wall between them, dick pulsating helplessly against too little friction.

“Just one second, babe, gimme a moment,” the stranger says hurriedly, voice tight. Eddie positively wails in response, every guard let down. He needs MORE he needs him he needs

The fingers around Eddie’s dick find their rhythm once again, spreading even more wetness, and then the hand stills, slips off. Immediately, the stranger’s other hand wraps around him from the other side, secure and gentle at once, and then he feels his dick touch against firm, hairy skin. It takes Eddie a moment to realize what is happening, to sort through the sensations filtering through the horny haze, and by then the man is already guiding his dick further, slipping between muscular cheeks.

“Oh yeah, yeah, right there,” the stranger moans, using his hand to firmly rub Eddie’s cock over his wet hole.

Eddie’s brain is on fire. His hands pressed against the wood, he desperately feels like ravaging and clawing and biting and penetrating TEARING down the wall between them and taking, taking, taking

They both moan loudly when the tip of Eddie’s cock breaches the firm ring of muscle, wet tight hole greedily sucking him in. He can feel everything; halfway convinced his dick spontaneously grew about a million new nerve endings, his focus narrows down to where his body meets the other man’s. It’s wet and tight and gripping around him in a way that’s new and so incredibly good.

The man’s hand moves out of the way, pressing closer against the wooden partition until his ass is flush against the wall, sinking himself on Eddie’s dick with vigor. 

“Oh my god,” the stranger groans, finally as fully seated as the wall will allow. 

Eddie pulls back a bit and then moves forward slowly; realizing suddenly that, for the first time in this whole encounter, now he’s the one in control. 

“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck,” Eddie chants, feet firmly on the ground, both hands pressed tightly against the wood, and starts building up a rhythm. The man in the other stall must have propped himself securely against the wall because he doesn’t budge one bit, an immovable tight wet hole for Eddie to fuck into. 

“Oh, oh, oh,” the man starts moaning in sync with Eddie’s movements. “Oh babe, yes, yes, you’re so good, yes–”

 

The doors of the restroom slam open once more with a bang.

Eddie’s just beyond caring, couldn’t stop if he tried. He keeps fucking into the tight hole, fucking against the wall, skin slapping against skin slapping against wood in an incredibly obvious rhythm. His brain is filled with a symphony of rhythmic beats, oceans crashing ashore, animalistic ROARING escaping his mouth–

“Ohh, nice, good job guys! Keep it going!”, whoever just entered shouts. 

“As you wish, my good sir!”, comes answering in an inexplicable British accent from the other stall, and it throws Eddie off for a second. 

This guy is insane. This guy is insane and Eddie wants to eat him whole.

The newcomer erupts laughing, then they can hear the door slamming once more, and they’re alone again.

“Now, where were we…?”, the insane love of his life starts saying, right as Eddie picks up his movements again, voice dissolving into moans.

“I was,” Eddie pants, “just fucking–,” he continues, “you so good–”, he’s accentuating every part of his sentence with a deliberate thrust, “–you’ll still feel it tomorrow.” 

He’s working up a punishing pace, every move hitting the wooden wall hard with his hip bones, the ragged moans from the other side serving as encouragement.

Eddie is ALIVE he is BREATHING he is ravishing and devouring he is SURGING. 

He is ROARING his orgasm into the world for everyone to hear, hips pumping his hot release deep into the other man’s body.

Suddenly and sharply the sensations get too much on his dick, so he pulls out, ears still ringing. But he doesn’t want to stop – irritatingly and surprisingly so, usually he can’t wait to get away as soon as he’s come. Eddie’s hands still itch with the need to touch, right hand finding the hole in the wall to push first two, then three fingers in the man’s fucked out, dripping hole.

“I got you, sweetheart, I got you,” Eddie pants encouragingly, fingering his own cum back into his hole, absolutely losing his mind at how much he relishes everything sloppy and dirty about this. He urgently wishes he could wrap his other hand around the man’s hips, fingers digging into the soft pliable layer of skin over firm muscles. Wishes he could grip the man’s dark hair, bend him back towards Eddie’s long fingers fucking rhythmically into his ass. Wishes he could bite and kiss and lick all over his broad back, his neck; move his head with a firm grip in his hair so he could lick into the man’s panting open mouth.

As it is, he has to pour every bit of that urgent desire into the one place of contact, fucking his fingers into the stranger as deep as they can get, bending to find the right spots. 

“Oh yeah, right there,” the man suddenly moans, “–thank you, thank you–,” he sobs almost, and Eddie works hard hitting the same spot with the same pressure over and over, thumb teasing around the rim. 

Eddie can hear wet, rhythmic noises from the other stall and all at once imagines the other man’s hand working around his own dick with vivid clarity. Long, strong fingers tightly gripping a rock-hard, reddened cock, spreading his own precome, moving up and down with conviction, and Eddie wants to put it in his mouth. Licking up the sticky fluid beading up, tasting salt and sweat and the unique chemical taste of cum, sucking the swollen head into his mouth, gagging on it. 

Eddie doesn’t have more than a moment to dwell on those thoughts – where the fuck did that come from – before the other man starts convulsing around his fingers, groaning and sobbing his release. Eddie keeps massaging the spot until he’s sure the stranger is over the edge, and then he pulls out his fingers.

 

His fingers absolutely covered in cum. 

It’s his own, but still–

Eddie feels his breathing pick up, the adrenaline rush crashing rapidly, reality setting in–

(what the fuck did he do. )

Eddie hurriedly wipes at his fingers and his dick perfunctorily with some wadded-up paper, tucks himself back in, and barely manages to zip up his pants. He faintly registers the other man talking, but he can’t make out any words. 

What the fuck did he do. 

He needs to get out of here he needs to LEAVE. Eddie throws the door of his stall open, crosses the restroom in a few hasty steps, rushes through the club in a straight line towards the exit, never looking back. 

The cold air outside hits him like the moment of waking. 

WHAT THE FUCK DID HE DO

He will never come here again he will never change it up again he won’t be able to forget he feels like rattling the bars of his enclosure he can’t breathe he just needs to RUN–






Two weeks later, Eddie’s back. 

He won’t ever enter the restroom again no matter what, he’ll never talk to anyone, won’t even look anyone in the eyes, just here to have one or two drinks safely and alone at the bar this time. Yes, he promised, it’s only after-work drinks. He needs to show his face sometime if he wants to get promoted, doesn’t he? And he will be home at a reasonable hour this time to sit on the couch with her. Like every Thursday. 

(If he presses his fingers to them he can still faintly feel the spots on his hips where he hit the wood hard enough to bruise.)

For the last two weeks he felt restless like a zoo animal pacing his enclosure, ready to bite anything and anyone who got too close to the bars; he needs to let this pressure OUT he needs to feel FREE (even only for a night, even only in theory) he needs to hunt and devour and–

That thing he found inside himself is so hungry and alive he fears he might die with it if he doesn’t allow it some scraps. 

He needs this. 

(Also, his mother was wrong. He discretely got tested and prescribed a course of something called PEP after a breakdown in the middle of the night after getting home, googling until the early morning hours, and visiting a clinic before going into work on Friday. When he tested negative again this morning, the doctors told him to come back in another two weeks to make sure but assured him the chances of him contracting a deadly disease are statistically very low. 

He fucked a stranger, he fucked a man raw in the ass through a hole in the wall in a dirty restroom and he's gonna be fine. Suck on that, mom.)

 

Someone sidles up to him at the bar.

Eddie doesn’t look up from his glass at first, swirling dark amber, but then the man moves a bit too close, almost imperceptible, and Eddie turns his head. 

It's him. 

An open, crooked smile, one eye a lovely wink. A sweep of dark hair and strong sideburns. Shoulders. Broad, touchable chest. Jaw.

“Oh, hello there,” the man says, in that exact cadence that Eddie’s head has replayed over and over in the last two weeks, and it sounds like finally breaking free.