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these, our bodies, possessed by light

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and the days
were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple
to slice into pieces.
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
we’re inconsolable.
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.

from Scheherazade, Richard Siken

 

“Hurt that boy,” Yok says, “and I’ll kill you.”

“Right, yes,” Kinn says, dying inside. He’d hoped that the interlude earlier with Tay and Time had been the protective mama part of the evening, and he blames Porsche for this; if he hadn’t left their private table for sufficiently long that Kinn had naturally concluded he was supposed to be following him for a nice spot of semi-public sex, he wouldn’t be in this situation now.

“I know people,” she says and points her wine glass at him in a way that may or may not be meant to be menacing, but given it’s full of red wine certainly does pose an existential threat to Kinn’s pale grey shirt. “I have connections. Don’t hurt that boy.”

“I understand,” Kinn says politely. It might even be true. He’s almost sure she knows who he is, given that his early intrusion into her bar hadn’t exactly been subtle, but there’s always newcomers out there who think taking down the Theerapanyakuls would be a quick way to the top. It’s almost possible she could know somebody stupid enough to come after Kinn.

“And I’m still waiting for my investment!” she says.

He should probably do that. He’s no low-class mafia not to follow through on a deal; and Tankhun spends enough money in the place to have it safely in profit, given he fancies himself as a hardcore partier now and yet it’s the only bar in the city he’ll actually visit.

And Porsche will be pleased if he does. And somewhere in between getting kneed in the balls on a boat and announcing to his father, brother and half the bodyguards that he’s in love with Porsche, Porsche’s happiness has gone from being something he likes to something he needs; and more than that, being the one behind it, the one who creates it. He’s got an idea for Porsche’s birthday now, but Songkran isn’t so far away.

Yok leans into his space and Kinn tenses automatically, but all she does is pat his cheek fondly and he relaxes. It’s nice. He sees why Porsche leans on her, what she brings to his life that he lost in a car crash when he was barely old enough to look after himself and really shouldn’t have been the one left to look after his brother. “You’re a good boy,” she coos at him.

Kinn really, really isn’t. But he can be good enough to Porsche to keep her happy.

“Have you seen him?” he says instead. She waves over towards the public bar and he catches her hand to kiss it - Porsche’s move - rewarded by her fluting laugh, and a quick escape from the splash zone of her red wine.

The bar is very much not where Porsche had said he was going, but Kinn forgives him when he rounds the corner and sees him behind the bar. His shirt is loose and open most of the way down his chest, showing off miles of taut muscle, and his face is alive with laughter and happiness as he moves smoothly through making a cocktail. He looks much more at home here than he ever did buttoned up with Kinn’s family crest on his lapel; more than anywhere in the Theerapanyakul compound apart from maybe the pool and Kinn’s bed. Kinn is captivated, even when he sees he’s far from Porsche’s only fan in front of the bar; a group of admiring women in skin-tight dresses are all but drooling on a line of stools, ringside seats, and Kinn flicks another of his own shirt buttons undone before he saunters up to the bar.

“Hey,” Porsche says, and the push inside Kinn to possess slackens when he sees how Porsche looks even happier to see him, transparently radiant and in love. This is Porsche’s place, his people, and Kinn doesn’t want him to be uncomfortable, but when he beckons softly, no more than any arrogant rich man might to get served by a bartender, Porsche is the one to lean over the bar and grab his jacket to pull him in for a kiss. Although Kinn will admit he’s the one who turns it slow and showy, nipping at Porsche’s full bottom lip and leaving it swollen and pink, not the affectionate peck Porsche might have intended. He ignores the hum of rising shock behind him; he’s used to having the attention on him.

Porsche looks bright-eyed and well-kissed when Kinn lets him go. “I missed you,” Kinn says lightly. He hooks a stool with his ankle and sits, avoiding the sticky spills of liquor on the bar.

“Mm,” Porsche says. He puts a glass in front of Kinn and pours into it from the cocktail shaker he’s holding - so it seems Kinn got here just in time - then adds a small circle of dried orange. “I wanted to make you something good.”

“Did you,” Kinn says, but there’s a squirming little pleasure in it; he knows he’s smiling, stupid smiling, indulgent: mainly because Porsche is smiling back in the way that means Kinn is being soft. He thinks about Porsche all the time, when they’re together and when they’re not, when he really should be thinking about other things, and it’s always good to find out he’s on Porsche’s mind as well. He likes that Porsche wants to please him.

He makes a show of picking up his drink and holding eye contact with Porsche while he takes his first sip. It’s not like the skilled, sophisticated old fashioned Porsche had made for him the first time he came to the bar; it’s sweeter, more layered, with a sharp citrus tang when he swallows.

“Scotch,” he says. “Gin. Mandarin. Lime?”

“And a black tea and honey syrup,” Porsche says, grinning. “Do you like it?”

“Very much,” Kinn murmurs, and this time he’s the one to tug Porsche over the bar and down to him, sharing the complex flavours of the new cocktail, the smokiness of the scotch against the nicotine taste of Porsche’s tongue.

He pulls away from the kiss and takes another drink, longer, making sure his throat works as he swallows and his lips stay glossy. Porsche’s gaze drops to Kinn’s mouth and stays there; Kinn blinks up at him with calculated ignorance of what he wants and Porsche leans in again helplessly, licks at Kinn’s lips. Kinn is getting hard in his pants and he lets Porsche see him shift on the stool, widening his stance and showing off the twitching bulge there.

“Do you have other customers?” he says sweetly.

Porsche’s eyes sharpen. “I’m not working. I told you, I wanted to make you something.” He comes out from behind the bar and Kinn allows himself one glance at their audience, Porsche’s hopeful girls, savouring the confirmation of his specialness.

He picks up his drink, dangling the heavy crystal tumbler from his fingers so he doesn’t warm the cocktail, and takes Porsche’s hand, wondering how much he can get away with. He wants to fuck Porsche here, wants to overwrite a thousand nights of inconsequential women with his mouth and hands and cock; he wants all those girls to see their pretty stud bartender being used properly, by someone who knows how to give him what he doesn’t know how to ask for, and regret that they wasted their chance to get their hands on what belongs to Kinn now.

Porsche tucks his nose up to Kinn’s hair and kisses his temple, then leads Kinn out towards the back, keeping their fingers intertwined the whole time; he’s learning.

Porsche’s destination is familiar. “This is where we met,” Kinn says, and pulls Porsche in by their joined hands for a heady kiss, wanting the reminder of how much has changed since then, what they are to each other now. Sometimes that night doesn’t feel quite real: the meeting with Don, taking out the operator who’d been cheating him, the chase through Bangkok. And then Porsche, magnificent and deeply, deeply irritating; just a pretty face then, a great body and an irreverent attitude and the ability to save Kinn’s life.

“And look at us now,” Porsche says. He lets Kinn’s hand go to fish in his pockets, taking out a cigarette and lighting it. Kinn finishes off his drink and leaves it on the side, steps up to Porsche and leans into him for Porsche to shotgun his first drag into Kinn’s mouth, breathing in deep.

Being behind the scenes of a bar is somewhat entertaining. Kinn only usually sees the facade of anywhere he goes, polished and immaculate, nothing in the way that could possibly discomfit somebody very rich and very dangerous. He wanders around the room inspecting the stock and the mousetraps and the staff memos on a pinboard in the corner. Porsche sits on a drum of beer and smokes his cigarette, watching him do it.

He leans back on his hands once he’s finished it, with the carelessness of someone who’s done it often and knows exactly how to fit ass, hands, and weight distribution onto a not very big cask. Kinn stalks up to him with the carelessness of someone who’s done it often and knows exactly how to approach a man he expects to have naked and ass-up for him in short order, and sees it working: Porsche fronts up to him from his relaxed posture, bares his throat, spreads his legs.

Kinn goes to his knees between them; which is not something he’s done often. Porsche cranes his neck down to him then, surprised, a little smile playing at the corners of his mouth that Kinn wants to see again, and Kinn slides his hands up Porsche’s lean thighs, rests one on the unfairly outrageous curve of his waist and runs the other up his back to grip the back of his neck and urge him down into a thorough, passionate kiss.

He leaves the kiss to bite at the corner of Porsche’s mouth, kiss his cheek, lick up his jaw. “I think about that night,” he says low into Porsche’s ear. “I haven’t seen you fight like that again.”

“Well, in your line of business, people shoot you,” Porsche says. He tilts his head and Kinn kisses down his throat, starts work on a nice mark; he’s not always around to kiss Porsche over bars and make very sure people know he’s taken, so he needs some insurance. He reaches between Porsche’s legs at the same time and Porsche gasps raggedly and eases his legs apart even more, letting Kinn stroke and grope the stiffening heat of his cock in his pants. “Fuck, go easy, you vampire. Anyway. You saw me fight like that the next day. Remember? When you kidnapped me. You owe me a rematch.”

Kinn doesn’t remember agreeing to that, and he files it away as a worrying tendency for Porsche to get bored after all of twenty-four hours off the bodyguard rota and installed as official boyfriend, but maybe he’ll do it: sparring with Porsche had been thrilling enough when they hated each other and he can only imagine how good it would be now, when they know each other’s bodies so much better. And even Chan had allowed that for all Porsche’s hopelessness on his initial tests, in an unarmed fight he’s one of the best in the compound.

“Perhaps I could have been nicer to you,” he murmurs, leaves the nice bruise he’s put on Porsche’s throat alone to develop and starts kissing down his chest, nudging Porsche’s shirt aside with his chin until he finds a small nipple, already hard. “Could I have got you back here like that, that first night, so hard for me like this? I bet I could. I bet I could’ve made you want me too.”

Porsche laughs, although it’s unsteady and he’d started to pulse up against Kinn’s hand when Kinn talked about how easy Porsche is for him, nudging his cock up into Kinn’s touch hungrily. “You think? You were such an asshole that night. This is my territory. This is where I fucked my girls, you know that? Maybe I’d have got you.”

“Okay,” Kinn says and sits back on his heels. Fuck but he adores Porsche; Porsche is fun, he’s always fun, and it’s so long since Kinn just had fun.

Porsche almost overbalances on the cask trying to chase his touch, his eyes flying open, dark with indignation. “Hey, Kinn!” he complains, and tries to grab Kinn’s hand and guide it back to his cock.

Kinn smirks. Porsche’s cigarette is nearly burned down, hanging forgotten from his fingers, and Kinn steals it and takes the last drag before crushing it under his heel. “Come on. You think you’d have got me? Show me, tough guy. Let me see what those girls used to get.”

“What,” Porsche whines. “Kinn, come on. Come back. I’ll let you fuck me. You want them to hear me out there? I can be loud.”

Kinn gives him a look that from Porsche’s flush successfully conveys that Porsche letting Kinn fuck him isn’t really in question, and also that’s it’s the thrill of potential discovery he likes rather than actually sharing Porsche’s noises and pleasure with an audience. “Is that it? That’s your moves?”

“No,” Porsche says slowly. “You’re serious about this? You’re being weird tonight.”

“Do you like it?” Kinn says. He takes Porsche’s hands, pulls him up and into a hug. Porsche relaxes into the embrace slowly, then all at once hugs him back with bruising force. Kinn closes his eyes and sways them a little, shamelessly just enjoying the feeling of Porsche in his arms, belonging there as his acknowledged boyfriend, out on a double date, public and accepted. “I want to know what you were like,” he says in Porsche’s ear, and Porsche sighs against him, his chest warm against Kinn’s with his own open shirt; with the blazer it's not quite his usual outfit but he’d wanted to be more casual, show Porsche he could fit into Porsche’s world the way Porsche is having to learn to fit into his. “Come on, Porsche. Play with me.”

You,” Porsche mutters and tries to kick him, but then he grabs Kinn’s chin and kisses him, hard and fast. When they kiss he likes to have his hands on Kinn’s face or neck, intimate and close, keeping their mouths locked together, but this Porsche is restless, crowding up into Kinn and backing him up, his hands skating over Kinn’s back and hips and ass without ever really feeling him.

Being touched like an interlude on a fifteen minute smoke break isn’t exactly Kinn’s thing, but he asked for this, and there’s an excitement in experiencing it, another bit of the real Porsche slotting into place. Especially given he’s safe in the knowledge that he’ll have Porsche in bed all night, that he can indulge Porsche’s skin hunger properly later, as much as they both want.

He kisses back carefully, giving what he gets and overriding the instinct to take the lead, wrapping his arms around Porsche’s shoulders and letting himself be pressed back against the wall. Porsche pushes a thigh in between his and Kinn jerks against it automatically, rubbing his cock against the hard muscle.

“Did you talk to them?” he asks when Porsche starts kissing down his neck, and feels more than hears Porsche breathe out hard against his skin.

“Not much to say,” Porsche mumbles. He runs a hand up Kinn’s leg like he’s getting up under a skirt and Kinn obliges by hitching his leg up around his waist, the stretch a novelty. Porsche palms his ass, starts to rock his hips into Kinn’s, and Kinn has to drop the playtime for a minute and kiss him for real, kiss him like them, gripping the back of Porsche’s neck and angling him sharply in for Kinn’s mouth to own him, making him shudder and surrender.

“Did they talk to you?” he says.

Porsche laughs somewhere around his collarbone, sinking down to his knees, but it doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s very funny. Kinn tightens the leg now hooked over his shoulder and slides his hands into Porsche’s hair, stroking. Porsche looks up at him with a look of practiced desire that doesn’t reach his eyes, turns his head and bites at Kinn’s inner thigh through his trousers, his mouth hot and wet,light; he must have never left marks. “Did you talk to the help you were fucking?”

Kinn hadn’t, no. Not beyond the basics, here, there, do this, feels good. Thanks for coming over; time for you to go.

“They weren’t the help,” he says. The game isn’t seeming very fun anymore. He turns his caresses into a grip in Porsche’s hair, pulls him back, getting space to slide to his knees with him. Porsche sways into him when they’re level, shuffling his thighs in between Kinn’s, making himself small; Kinn cups Porsche’s face in his hands and Porsche follows the gentle urge of his hands in, kisses the corner of Kinn’s mouth, his arms around Kinn’s waist and clinging.

“Professionals, then,” Porsche says and Kinn rests their foreheads together, breathes the same air as him. “You’re a big tipper, right?” Porsche whispers. “Yok’d point them out to me, the girls who’d spent a lot. Big tippers, once I got them back downstairs.”

Kinn feels himself starting to simmer, a nauseous mix of temper and jealousy, tries not to let it turn his hands into claws on Porsche’s face. Violence is too close to the skin in him, and Porsche has already borne too much of Kinn’s fury that other people want him to take his anger that others have had him.

“Money and sex,” Porsche says, like it’s torn out of him. “It was one of the perks. The others wished they could do what I did.”

“The bar’s favourite guy,” Kinn says, low and furious, remembering, ”never again, they won’t touch you again,” and Porsche makes a hurt noise and kisses him savagely.

Kinn lets him, lets Porsche go wild in his arms with the abandon of someone who knows he’s finally with someone who knows him, loves him. He slides his hands around between them, finds Porsche hard in his pants, undoes them and takes Porsche in his fist, tight. “Your mouth,” Porsche says, indistinct into the hot space between kisses. “I want your mouth, Kinn, suck me,” and Kinn eases him down to his back, bends over him and swallows down his cock.

Porsche is gasping above him, sounding needy, needier than Kinn wants him. Porsche is Kinn’s and Kinn’s going to take care of him; he’s going to make sure Porsche never wants for anything ever again. Kinn reaches up for him and finds Porsche already reaching down. Their hands meet and Kinn twines their fingers on one side, resting their clasped hands on Porsche’s stomach, and with the other he draws Porsche’s hand to his head.

Porsche moans above him, shocked and loud, and Kinn closes his eyes and relaxes his throat. Porsche fucks his mouth with more desperation than grace and Kinn revels in it, in overwriting this place where Porsche once fought for him with Porsche’s need for him. His own cock is hard as hell, aching, but it’s nothing compared to the feel of Porsche digging his nails into the back of Kinn’s hand as he comes, little half circles Kinn will find still there when he washes in the morning. He swallows Porsche’s come and licks him soft and pulls himself up Porsche’s body to kiss him again, making Porsche taste himself.

Porsche is limp, wrung out by more and less than pleasure, and Kinn rolls them over to rest Porsche on his chest, trying not to think about what’s probably been tracked in on the floor he’s lying on and never cleaned. “What do you want?” Porsche says sleepily, nuzzling into Kinn’s open shirt, tracing his hand lazily down to grope Kinn’s erection, and Kinn takes his hand and brings it up to his mouth, kisses his fingertips.

“Later,” he says. “It’s okay. I’ve got you, sweetheart. I’ve got you now.”

***

He puts his jacket on Porsche and gets him into the car one of the night shift bodyguards brings around before heading back into the bar to make sure Time didn’t run out on the bill. Yok is sitting at the bar with her ever-present glass of wine, haranguing one of the bartenders about something or other. Another of the bartenders is flirting with a hard-eyed girl in a short tight dress.

“Ahhh, Mr Kinn, you’re taking my boy away?” she says when he approaches, batting her lashes at him. “You have a home to go to, hmm, you don’t need my dirty old stockroom, what a pair.”

He’s abruptly not in the mood for teasing. “About that investment,” he says curtly, and she catches it instantly, straightening her back and looking him in the eye with an expression that belies the tipsy image she’d been portraying, the epitome of the bubbly bar matron. “I’ll be back next week to talk about it.”

“Fine,” she says. “I look forward to it.”

“I assume the profits aren’t too badly down now you don’t have Porsche around to keep your customers happy,” he adds, unable to resist it.

Her eyes narrow, and her voice is frostier than he’s ever heard it when she says, “I’m managing somehow. But Porsche he knows he’s always got a job waiting here. If he needs it.”

“He doesn’t,” Kinn says flatly.

“Ayyy,” she says. “Of course. You should tell your friends that. I’m sure they’ve already made another bet on how long your new love slave will last.”

He doesn’t twitch towards the gun he doesn’t have on him, but he wants to, dearly. Distantly, in the part of his brain that’s always calculating in any room with a threat, the way he was taught, he sees her register his unnatural stillness and lean back, tense, her hand inching towards the mostly-empty bottle of wine on the bar.

With an effort he summons up a smile. She thinks she’s protecting Porsche, and Porsche lets her protect him. His father taught him better than to fight an enemy on high ground. And the investment will be a better way of ensuring any of Porsche’s future employment opportunities than anything else, should it become necessary.

She relaxes slowly, although she’s still wary, and Kinn knows she’s seen too much. He won’t toast to his mother-in-law again; she won’t welcome him into her bar as nothing more than the boyfriend of a close friend.

In this business, once you’re in, it’s hard to get out.

“We understand each other,” he says, trying to make his voice easy, pleasant.

She looks at him for a long moment and then nods. “Next week, then.”

***

Porsche snuggles into him in the car, careless of the driver who forty-eight hours ago was his colleague, and Kinn stares out of the window at the lights of the city and thinks about how he can start stockpiling cash for Porsche, preferably without his father noticing the money moving around.

An insurance policy only Porsche can access, built up while Kinn can, because if ever Porsche needs it it’s going to be at a point when Kinn will be beyond giving it to him; or maybe just beyond wanting to.

“What’re you thinking about?” Porsche says, and Kinn leans down to kiss him.

“You,” he says. Porsche smiles, guileless and sweet, and Kinn strokes away the faint line of stress Porsche has been wearing on his forehead ever since Papa took away one job and gave him another. “I’m always thinking about you.”