~There’s something in you, child
A mystery that I can’t define
But it blows my mind
I’m walking on air… with you~
Sly was used to the cold, having settled down deep inside his bones well enough by now given all the years he’d been here, all his years of servitude under Viking’s thumb, under the crack of his whip, no questions asked, no hesitation, nothing less than emotionless brutality to get the job done.
It helped that he got along well with most of the other guys, even the younger boys, which was a feat in and of itself given how downright cocky and immature they could be.
And he got along with one of the kids better than just okay, enough so that he’d almost consider suggesting to Viking that they be partnered together if they’d ever not been stuck together every time the boy was in town, but they had, Viking’s intuition or his selfishness or his inability to give a fuck, who the fuck really cared? Maybe it was because they both got the job done, usually with time to spare and with little cleanup and never anything coming close to a fuck-up, and they both shut up about it afterward.
Still, Sly knew that wanting things was dangerous, wanting someone even more so. When that want turned into dependence and then inevitably into something resembling longing , need , desperation , shit would really start hitting the fan.
There was no room in this business for anyone other than Viking. Hell, there was no room in the world for anyone other than Viking.
And yet, somehow, Sly started to believe that maybe there was.
And it was completely Mustang and Dexter’s fault.
The cold, he concluded, was tolerable even as ice seeped into his boots and the bitter ass wind native to Kehoe in particular tried to blow his coat right off his fucking person. He spoke up, wondering whether he’d be better off just keeping his mouth shut. It didn’t do any good to want things and it especially didn’t do any good to tell people you wanted things.
“Can I ask ye something?”
Mustang took a drag on his cigarette before stamping it out on the blacktop. He peered up at Sly with interest and the latter held his gaze, displaying as little emotion as he could manage. “Shoot.”
Sly blew out a harsh, steadying breath. He stamped his feet, acting like the cold was getting to him more than it was. “How did ye approach Dexter?”
The look of warning in Mustang’s eyes was nearly overpowered by his amusement. “‘Bout what?”
Mustang knew . Sly had caught him and the kid months back, fumbling in the backseat, Dexter’s shit-eating grin an acknowledgment that he knew Sly would be the last person on this Earth to care about who Mustang stuck his dick in. Mustang, on the other hand, hadn’t been so sure, but Sly’s complete lack of surprise or interest convinced him well enough after a week or so. “Ye know, about...” How the bloody hell should he explain it?
Mustang smirked, the bastard. “You just want to get into Bone’s pants or you want something else?”
Sly knew what he wanted, he’d bloody well thought about it for long enough. As much as he might have wanted to be in a maid’s position a time or two, he felt more genuine affection for the boy than anything else. He wouldn’t have put himself through all this if it was just for a quick fuck. He certainly wasn’t about to put Bone through all this if his intentions weren’t pure, or at least, as pure as they could get.
“I want...,” he broke off, shut his eyes then peered out at the other man and wondered if he would take him seriously, if he wouldn’t just feed him bullshit. “At least… I think I want what ye and Dexter have.” Best not to sound too sure. Best not to hope too much, given Bone had never shown the slightest bit of interest in him other than as a parter and as a friend, and maybe even with the latter being grudging on Bone’s part. He was too old, really, to gamble with this sort of thing. Bone was the best partner he’d ever had and he’d never forgive himself if - by his actions - he lost him. Sure, the boy was full of himself most of the time, but he was easy to talk to and run ideas by and Sly trusted him more than was probably considered sane. Not to mention, he made Sly laugh so bloody hard at times. “Truth is, I’ve got no freaking clue if he’s into johns or not.”
Mustang started laughing. “Yeah, I don't think so. Too much of a pussy chaser that one.”
Sly’s heart sank. It was one thing for him to suspect Bone’s disinterest, it was quite another to have it repeated back to him. “And Dexter never was?”
“Hell no. Chick magnet, sure, but he’s as gay as they come. Always has been, or so he brags.” Mustang paused, shot a glance toward the entryway which still posed no movement, then turned his full attention back toward Sly. Seventy-five percent of their job, of their life was waiting, it seemed, so it helped when there were guys you didn’t hate and conversations you didn’t want to dig your way out of. “I tried relationships with broads for most of my life, and I hadn’t been with too many guys before Dex, but when I met him, I knew he was the only one for me.”
Sly didn’t know whether to feel more impressed or skeptical. Mustang’s pride was starting to get a bit too much under his skin, enough to amp up his jealousy and impending disappointment. “Yer honestly telling me it was love at first sight?”
Mustang sighed in what could only be described as too fucking satisfied and pleased for his own good. “For him too.”
Impressed it was then. “Lucky bastards.”
Mustang smirked, though it quickly shifted into a wistful smile. “When you’ve been a hopeless fucking romantic for as long as I have and you’ve waited this fucking long to find the real thing, you’ll know it when you see it. And you’ll get up the balls to go after it and make sure it stays yours.”
“Amen to that then,” Sly said under his breath, definitely too damn amazed to let anything other than jealousy consume him.
After two fucking hours crammed into the same tight space as his oftentimes insufferable partner, Sly reminded himself that he should be grateful for the time to himself. Not even an hour had passed since Viking had called to inform them that plans had changed and they would be staying the night. Separate rooms, of course.
Not even an hour and already Sly was missing the know-it-all boy who talked a mile a minute and always had a trick or a joke or some half-cocked idea up his sleeve. Maybe it was the goddamn infuriating silence, the fact that there wasn’t a bar within decent walking distance, even that they were stuck here , in this small ass town with only one fucking diner that served no pie, trapped in a sparse, filthy room with walls so paper thin the cold air just seemed to blow right through them.
Of course, Bone wasn’t probably minding. Bone was most likely watching TV or flipping through those dirty magazines of his and definitely not thinking about poor old bloody Sly.
He surveyed the room for probably about the twentieth fucking time, fingering the peeling welcome placard, ignoring the dark stains on the carpet, paranoia directing him toward the closed curtains far too often as if they would miraculously open of their own fucking accord.
Again, too fucking quiet.
Sly was a man of few words and Bone a man of many; he didn’t mind, he enjoyed the sound of Bone’s voice, enjoyed how he boasted and preened and laughed at his own genius. Biggest narcissist that ever walked the earth, not to mention that sex was on the kid’s brain twenty-four seven to boot, but Sly loved his youthfulness and his enthusiasm, his optimism and his lust for life, even, at times, his blatant overconfidence.
He’d lost that a fuck of a long time ago.
Sly wondered if Bone ever listened to himself talk, really listened. Sure, he had the charm and ease that could only be boasted from spending hours practicing in front of a mirror, unless not and he was more of a god than Sly believed. Sly suspected that the rehearsed renditions of tricks and jokes and tales fit for long hours of waiting around were the exact same ones he told to everyone else, word for word, identical pauses and intonations and expressions, yet lovestruck fool that Sly was, he liked to believe that Bone reserved the best versions for his ears alone.
A knock on the door and Sly rasped out, “Yeah?”
Bone slipped in, barely opening the door enough for him to slide inside before shutting and locking it. His white, starched shirt was wrinkled beyond decency and his sleeves were rolled up, hair mussed and Sly suffered through a long second of mouth-watering need before hands ran through it and Sly realized his partner looked more sexually frustrated than gratified. “Have you seen my wallet?”
Sly would have laughed at the panic in his voice, instead his heart plummeted to the dingy, questionably squishy motel room carpet. “No,” he managed to respond, hand clenching around the sheets before forcibly, discreetly smoothing them back out. He hadn’t moved from the bed, not even as his partner started pacing the room, barely having moved from the door. “Bone?” He asked, softly though confidently. “Ye really need to get laid tonight?” It was a thinly veiled plea, Sly knew, yet he wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep his feelings, longings, fucking cravings for his partner hidden before he would stupidly blurt them out.
And that was when he saw the itch under Bone’s skin, the restlessness and desperation… not for a slow and steady fuck or a quick and steamy blow job, but the certainty that he would be occupied for those minutes, that he wouldn’t be alone.
A hundred nights a year in motels. Alone. In need of companionship.
No home at the end of the night. No familiarity. Nothing to look forward to other than a quick lay in the morning or at night or whenever, a hit of gratification and a boost of usefulness.
How the fuck could he have missed it? The overconfidence, the exaggerated swagger, the extensive build-up to every single one of his fucking stories like the moment he finished and shut up that was that and there was nothing left to discuss.
“Stay,” Sly offered, patting the spot beside him on his bed, the only bed in the room. Bone glanced over at him in trepidation but not panic, in barely disguised disbelief but not the slightest ounce of mistrust, and for once he didn’t speak. “Ye know I won’t bite,” Sly teased, brows raising in expectation, daring for Bone to make the next move.
He could turn around and walk right back out that door and Sly would think no less of him, wouldn’t go after him, would never speak of this again. He could tell Sly to fuck off and that he didn’t swing that way, just for good measure, and Sly would back off and never press forward again, and still he would think no less of him. It was enough just to get hitched to Bone for nearly every two man job; if he didn’t get anything more, so be it.
Bone took a trusting step forward until he was close enough to Sly for the latter to reach out and take his hands and force him down onto the bed, and yet he didn’t. Months of imagining Bone sprawled out naked on top of the covers, fingering a crisp twenty between two long and beautiful fingers, grinning up at the door in anticipation, sending chills and then warm, delicious heat through Sly’s body, and he was closer than he’d ever been and he was not going to fuck this up.
“You sure I’m not intruding, old man?”
“How many times I tell ye not to call me old man? Don’t make me upset, boy.”
The corner of Bone’s mouth twisted slightly upward and he sucked in a harsh breath, and yet after the longest fucking pause of uncertainty in which Sly could barely contain his desire, Bone finally sat down. There was space between them, barely a hand’s width apart, and it wasn’t like they’d never sat this close before, just that they’d always been working or crammed together in rentals or eating together out in public or playing mini-golf and trying to fuck up the other’s aim or some other stupid shit. And now being alone together had a whole new meaning.
There was vulnerability under Bone’s nearly always impenetrable suit of self-assuredness.
And Sly would be lying if he didn’t admit he was a bit shaky as well.
He turned from Bone, giving the boy some space, counting the calluses on his palms and urging himself not to worry at them in his anxiety. He was sure, surer of anything else that this was the right play. If Bone wanted him to just be there, then he would, but if he wanted a taste of all that Sly wanted, then he’d make sure Bone knew it wasn’t a mistake. He’d do everything in his power to convince him that tonight would be the best possible night for it; he’d make this the best possible night for them.
“You’re not fucking with me right now, right?”
Sly peered over at a Bone who was worrying at his bottom lip, who anxiously stopped once he realized Sly was openly watching him. Something had flared up inside him at Bone’s words, a flicker of something more powerful than mere anticipation. He bit the bullet. “I’m about to fuck the living daylights out of ye, if that’s what yer asking,” he affirmed teasingly, trying to defuse further tension between them, tension that shouldn’t be there in the first place if he would just get on with it.
And yet… he had to be sure. Mustang might have gone with it, might have thrown himself on Dexter, but Sly wasn’t that guy. He wouldn’t chance making the wrong move, wouldn’t chance anything when it came to Bone.
A sharp intake of breath masked as a chuckle. “Sly…”
He shifted fully until he was facing the boy, offering him a small, easygoing smile. A smile that comforted and expected nothing in return. There was still plenty of room for Bone to move, for Bone to back out. “Easy boy. You’ve got me right where ye want me, hmm? Pawing over ye like a bloody fool.” He could have imagined it but a blush seemed to spread over already youthfully glowing cheeks. “Can’t help it though, ye are pretty.”
Bone shifted, though not away from him. He looked annoyed but not uncomfortable and that spoke volumes to the older man. “Sly, look, I’m…”
And where he had bit the bullet before, he took his most daunting leap now. “Yer mine is what ye are. And I’m yers. There ain’t been no one else for years now.”
His hand cupped the back of Bone’s head and pulled the boy toward him in a loose hug, more half a hug than anything else. It was awkward and became more uncertain by the second until it was returned, until a chilled body pressed closer as if seeking warmth, until arms wound around him and Sly’s grip on the boy’s hair tightened, other hand splayed out upon Bone’s back, until finally the boy’s arms were holding onto him for dear life, until he was crushed against Sly and Sly was equally crushed against him.
Bone lowered his head, words muffled against the older man’s shoulder. “Fuck, that’s a relief.”
Sly scoffed, hand clenching against his boy’s back. “A relief for ye? Jesus fucking Christ, Bone, with all yer heroic tales of conquering the nearest fuckable maid, how the ever living hell was I supposed to believe you’d be into dicks? Ye have any idea how long I’ve been pining away at ye?”
Along with the heated breaths puffed against his shoulder, a cheeky smile also surfaced. “Pining, huh?”
“ Pining ,” he stressed. All lingering traces of embarrassment were put to bed as Bone nuzzled into his shoulder, allowing Sly to pet his hair. “Pining ‘till ma heart’s been set to burst right out of ma fucking chest.”
“Yeah, me too. I think.”
Sly’s chest tightened at Bone’s admission. “As long as I’m not some easy lay for ye. Ye gotta be sure ye want this, boy.” He knew Bone was, knew he never would have taken it this far just to get Sly off once and then have done with it; he just wanted to hear the words from the boy’s own mouth. He deserved as much.
“I do. I am.” His head tilted back, eyes so eager and pretty, eyes that Sly could honest to God drown in. Eyes that made him eager to delve down into sin; then again, he was far too old to care about that anymore. Bone’s impatience won out, hands pushing Sly away and then hungry eyes boring into him, daring Sly to drag him back. “God, Sly, I’m about to come in my goddamn pants right now.”
“Get the fuck over here then and lemme do something about it.”
And still Bone waited, waited for Sly to reach out and pull him viciously forward, crushing his mouth against Bone’s own moist, pink lips, hands tearing at Bone’s clothed chest and then maneuvering their way underneath to his soft belly to keep him close. Bone’s hands, meanwhile, were trying and failing to remove his windbreaker before moving onto Sly’s belt, seeming not to know how to get the older man out of his clothes fast enough.
Not like this . Realizing he hadn’t said it aloud to Bone, he did, pulling away for a much needed breath. “Not like this.” He grasped Bone’s frantic hands and held them still, keeping him mere inches away with a hard glare. “We’re not rushing through this. We’ve got all night.”
“Right,” Bone agreed, capturing his mouth in a soft, sweet and slow as molasses kiss the moment a satisfied Sly released him. He enjoyed Bone with purpose and with gratitude, savoring him as he would a sweet candy, his last sweet candy.
He was going to make this night last, hour by hour, minute by minute, just in case it happened to be their only one.
Sly hungrily, shamelessly eyed the display laid out before him.
Bone was resting on his belly beside him, long arms hugging his pillow, sheet slung loosely over his extreme lower back. Sly hadn’t yet forgotten about that toned, gorgeous body and those impressive, hell, enviable parts. The boy could even be described as a Greek god; indeed, that was the first description that had crossed Sly’s mind upon first glance, not to mention every glance thereafter, not that he’d ever feed Bone that much ammunition. The last thing the boy needed was another reason to puff himself up even further.
“Yer ma boy now, aren’t ye?”
Bone groaned. “Fuck, Sly, I guess I am.”
Bone gazed up at him dazedly, over-fucked and pliant and quite obviously giddy with happiness. Sly had seen him this happy before but never this content, never this blissed out or eagerly vulnerable. He seemed every bit as satisfied as Sly, which seemed a weighty feat.
It was the greatest flattery, warming the older man’s heart until it was near boiling over. He stared for a good while longer until finally, he couldn’t resist the temptation of reaching out, pulling a compliant and sweaty Bone into his arms. The boy fit against him easily, snug against him in all the right places, breath tickling and warming his skin simultaneously. Bone’s arms shifted from the cooling sheets, restlessly moving until they were sprawled haphazardly over Sly, until the latter chuckled and readjusted them more comfortably. He soaked up the sensation of Bone settling against him, his fingers tapping out an irregular beat on Sly’s upper arm before a palm smoothed across his weary skin.
Bone hadn’t cared about how old or out of shape he was. There had been no disappointment in his gaze to find Sly with a beaten body, worn down by time, wrinkled in places and scarred in others, skin drying and sagging and far, so fucking far from all the more flattering, attractive girls Bone could get his hands on. It had been dizzying at first, the thought of him compared to all those young, even middle-aged maids. He was far past middle-aged, should have been far past giving Bone any of the things he no doubt wanted.
And Bone had wanted him.
“I owe you a twenty,” Bone breathed into his collarbone, words dripping with exhaustion as he shifted against him. Sly could easily take his weight, would let himself be pinned down by it, now forever desiring that it be pressed just above his heart, sentimental, romantic fool Bone had made him into. Sly reached for the discarded sheet and pulled it over his partner, best friend, lover, boy, smoothing a thumb over his hip and enjoying Bone shiver against him.
“Rain check,” Sly promised. It’s I who owes you the twenty, boy, for making an old man feel young and appreciated again.
If Bone had his way, Sly would be a very rich man indeed and yet… he already felt like the richest man in Kehoe. Quite possibly, in fact, the world.