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The birds and the bees

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Sex is weird in the past. He knows it theoretically since he's actually got a job to do and doesn't have time to fool around- no matter what Ramse keeps ribbing him about. The first time he came back Ramse asked him about everything- especially Dr. Railly- what did she look like, what did she smell like, what kind of food was there in 2015. Ramse seems into her, like he is with most women. Of course he doesn't have a chance with her, but that seems to mean he thinks he's got to hassle Cole into sleeping with her for him. It's something to laugh about at least, in the dark, in the cold, on the long nights before missions he might not come back from.

Cole spends a lot of time in the past feeling jealous about central heating and delivery food- things that Cassie takes for granted. She doesn't even have to worry about the power shutting off or the winter cold. Even when she's outside in the cold she's got a coat that isn't patched and stolen and reeking of the sweat of the ten previous owners. He imagines she has sex with her boyfriend or the doctor in Haiti- no one cries like that about just a friend, just a coworker, but he doesn't bother her about it. Not talking about things is an artform in his time.

They finish a night of research- and delivery pizza- with plans to head out on recon in the morning. He'd rather go tonight and break in, but Cassie seems against that sort of thing and Katerina told him he's got a bit longer than the regular six hours tonight because they're testing something on the core and also she wants him to find out more about the 12 Monkeys. Cole leans back in his chair, balancing it on two feet for a long moment and feels his back crack. Some old injuries pull and he grits his teeth in pain. When he opens his eyes Cassie is watching him. Back home he'd know the look, know what to say to it, but here he's not so sure. Cassie has a boyfriend- the guy keeps helping them, anyway, whatever is going on between them- and people are weird in the past about sex. He knows that. It's not like his time where you take what you can get because people die all the time before you get to have sex with them and besides it's better than being cold at night.

The chair legs hit the floor kindof hard and Cassie looks away, blushing. He tugs on the bottom of his sweater to cover his stomach.

“When are you going to...” Cassie makes a gesture with one hand, sortof waving it, and then tucks loose hair behind her ear. “Splinter out?”

Cole shrugs. “Dr. Jones said she wanted to run some tests. We've got somewhere to be in the morning.” He points out. Cole figures he has til noon, maybe.

Cassie chews her lip and looks around the crowded bookshop with it's papered up windows. She sleeps upstairs and there's only the one bed. Cole knows it theoretically, like with the sex, but he's never seen it. He eyes the sofa and even as ratty and stained as the burgundy fabric is it looks a hell of a lot better than the cot he has waiting for him at home in the bunker. It looks soft. There's a crochet throw over the back of it too.

He looks back to Cassie and catches her watching him again. “If you don't mind?” He nods towards the sofa and wonders if he's going to be able to sleep unarmed. It'll be the first time in years.

“Yeah.” Cassie looks startled, seeming to only just realize she's stuck with him overnight. She pushes up from the table with another glance at the papers and the pizza box, heading for the sofa and pulling the pillows down with nervous hands, fluffing things. “Sorry, yeah, you can sleep here. I wasn't thinking about guests, you know, sorry-”

Cole snorts, watching her fuss about the sofa. “It's better than anything at home.” He admits and gets up, crumping the pizza box and heading for the garbage can in the back of the shop. Cassie is living in an abandoned shop but no one wants rodents. He stuffs the box into the garbage and checks the back door locks, just in case. He turns back from peering out the window at the empty alley to find Cassie digging in one of the cupboards- she comes out with a toothbrush, muttering to herself.

“Sorry, there's no toothpaste- I've got some upstairs.”

It's a luxory in his time. Usually he just makes do with a shot of grain alcohol and rubbing his teeth with a rag. Cassie looks him up and down, embarassed again.

“I don't have any pajamas either.” She admits.

Cole ducks his head at the thought, smiling. “Cassie, I don't have any at home.” She's gawking at him when he looks up- picturing something from the look on her face. “I mean, you just sleep in your clothes. It's too cold for uh- you know. And besides what if there's an ambush in the night?” They're both blushing now and he's also sortof wondering if she sleeps naked, in this nice, warm, safe past they're in. Ramse is going to die when he hears this.

She shuts the door to the cabinet with a bit more of a bang than she means to and looks him up and down again. This time Cole feels a bit more like picking at his dirty nails, than getting naked.

“How about showers? Do they have those in the future?” Cassie asks, slyly.

“Like with hot water?” He says a little bit more eagerly than he means to and catches her grinning.

“And conditioner, even.” She jokes.

“What's that?” Cole asks and she laughs.
~~

It turns out that conditioner is for your hair. And that hot water can come out of a pipe in the wall. And soap doesn't have to be grainy and worth more than it's weight in gold.

Cassie shows him around the bathroom while the shower runs to get hot. Cole took one look at the clear water and wanted to get in as soon as it started coming out, but Cassie tugged him back with a hand on his sleeve and a laugh. She shows him the green bar of soap that smells like nothing he's run across in thirty years, and the milky liquid in the soft plastic bottles. The whole time she keeps appologizing for the state of the bathroom, like a few mismatched towels and broken tiles are an actual crime.

She leaves him just as the room is getting sweaty and shuts the door. Cole strips off quickly and gets in the shower, nearly yelping from the heat at first. He drinks the water- he doesn't care what Cassie or anyone else would think about it, it's hot and clean. Cole scrubs with the soap, rubs it everywhere until even Ramse won't recognize him, and then remembers the conditioner and fiddles with the catch on the lid a long moment until it opens, spilling across his hands. He starts smearing it on his head before he remembers the cord holding his hair out of his face- it's hopelessly tangled by the time he tries to pick at it.

He rinses and stands under the water for a long time, just feeling it. Cassie eventually knocks at the door to ask if he's ok and Cole decides he should probably get out. He wonders how hard it will be to talk Cassie into letting him have a shower every time he visits.

Out of the shower, swaddled in towels he studies himself in the mirror- He's still scruffy, still has long brown hair, though it's darker now. He's fit in a lean way, like Ramse and everyone else in the future.

“You alright?” Cassie asks from outside the door, tapping her nails on it.

“Yeah.” Cole admits, rubbing his hand on the mirror to clear the fog. He opens the door without thinking and Cassie's eyes get pretty big in her face. “What?”

“Uh.” Cassie says. “Uh. Your hair?” She finally guesses and makes eye contact to see if that was the right answer.

“My hair what?” Cole says, because he's not stupid and he raises an eyebrow at her.

“It's... Still up.” Cassie says defensivly. Cole touches it, feeling the knotted bunch where the tie snarled. The rest of it hangs lankly around his face and shoulders, dripping. “You didn't brush it?” He shrugs.

“I don't have a brush.” He points out. Cassie is determindly only staring at his face now. Cole looks back in the mirror and wonders how much a mess he must look like in this time.

“There's one in the drawer.” Cassie tells him, leaning on the door. “But that snarl looks pretty bad.”

“I forgot I'd tied it back.” Cole tells her. He can probably work it loose once it dries. “I'll fix it in the morning. If I can't I'll get Ramse to cut it off.” She makes a noise at that, studying him. Women are always weird about hair, like it won't grow anymore.

“I've got some scissors somewhere, maybe I can get the tie loose.” Cassie says. “Get the brush.” And then she's gone back down the hall. Cole studies himself in the mirror, shrugs, and then starts going through the drawers like she said. There is a wealth of toothpaste, and something called floss. There is a brush with wide teeth, packets of something small and brightly colored, and bottles of nail polish. He squishes one of the packets and wonders what it is. He guesses it's candy from the colors. He'll ask.

Cole finds Cassie in the bedroom and feels weird about being in her space, fidgets in the door while she digs around in stacked cardboard boxes before coming out with a small pair of shears. She jumps a bit when she turns and sees him there.

“Hey.” Cassie says and starts flipping the comforter back on the bed and straightening pillows nervously, just like with the sofa.

“You don't have to do this.” Cole tells her and she twitches, touching her own hair.

“I couldn't imagine leaving mine like that.” Cassie says and settles on the bed, still blushing. She pats the space in front of herself, for him to sit.

“I'm not a woman.” Cole points out, amused, and sits. He hands over the brush and feels Cassie messing with his hair, starting to work the tie loose.

“What is this thing?” She asks after a minute of picking at it. He shrugs and feels some part of her hand brush across his left shoulder.

“Old leather shoelace, I think.” He guesses. Cassie fights with it and finally there's the snickt of the scissors- his hair falls loose around his shoulders again, wet and cold, and he shivers. Her fingers follow the fall of his hair, nails gently bringing up a rise of goosebumps. She starts brushing in earnest, carefully picking out snarls. Cole doesn't think he's ever had his hair brushed before. Maybe when he was little, he guesses but can't recall. Ramse doesn't do it, that's for damn sure.

“So there's no hot showers in the future? Or hair ties?” Cassie finally asks, fingers busy.

“Not even delivery pizza.” He jokes back, lulled a bit at all the attention. “I've never seen that much soap before, either.”

“It's just the cheap stuff.” Cassie admits and he shrugs. “What else don't you have in the future?”

“Everything.” Cole admits, looking around the room through his wet fringe. He picks at the balls on the bed cover a moment. “Even in summer the creek isn't that warm, and that's the only place left to bathe.” She makes a shocked noise. “The food is however it is, burnt. Whatever you catch that day. Some days you don't catch anything.” Something crinkles under his hand and he sees the candy again. He picks it up to show her over his shoulder. “No candy.” He points out and Cassie's hands stop in his hair. After a moment he looks back and she's absolutly scarlet. “What?”

“That's uh. Not candy.” Cassie says to him.

“Oh.” It looks like it is. It's got a plastic wrapper and it's brightly colored. There's a dish of stuff like it downstairs, but the candy is hard. Cassie says it's old, but he likes to sneak it when she's not looking.

“That's uh.” Cassie pulls on his hair so he faces front again, not her. “Uh. Jesus.”

“What?” Cole wonders what he's found that's got her this surprised.

“You know, condoms.” She says like that means something.

“What's that?” He asks, squishing the package again.

“There's no... Wait.” She sounds really confused or worried or something, he's not sure. Kind of alarmed. “There's no condoms in the future? How are you guys having safe sex- How do you not get sick from sex?”

“Oh.” Cole thinks he understands what the thing is now, maybe. Vague childhood memories, finding something in a drawer his mom had been mad about. “I mean, everyone who survived just has a good immune system.” He hasn't really thought about it past that, anyway.

“What about children?”

“You pull out.” He says and she makes a choking noise.

“You know that doesn't really work that well, right?” Cassie tells him and he shrugs.

“I don't have any kids.” Cole points out, amused. “I mean, sure, I've seen it happen but it works better than nothing.” He squishes the packet again, seeing something move inside it. “How does this thing work? Do you eat it?”

Cassie reaches around his shoulder and takes the condom away from him. “It's not like the pill.”

“What's that?”

She makes the choking noise again. Cole turns on the bed and takes the condom back, peering at the package to see whats inside- Cassie grabs for it back, blushing, and for a moment they tussle over it. Eventually it occurs to both of them that he's wearing a towel that's quickly coming loose and they're on a bed and this isn't the greatest of ideas.

“I should go sleep.” Cole says stupidly, feeling weird about the whole thing. He needs to work with Cassie, needs to stop the plague, not-

“Well. I mean.” Cassie says as he starts to get up. He looks back and she's blushing again, all the way down her throat. The condom packet is crumpling between her nervous fingers. “Is Ramse going to be mad?”

That's the weird thing about the past. He knows people in the past were monogamous all the time. In the future you don't have that luxory. People die all the time, its too hard to cope with loss if all you have is one person in your life. Not that he really told her that, and he certainly didn't tell her about Ramse, not like that anyway. They're like brothers in battle, but there's a lot of cold nights when you're surviving in the apocalypse. Ramse wants Cole to tell him about fucking Cassie while they're fucking.

“How?” Cole is a bit dumbstruck, but holds onto his slipping towel with quick reflexes. “I mean, I didn't-” He feels a blush coming on, himself.

Cassie shrugs with one shoulder. “Just the way you talk about him sometimes. The way you smile when you're doing it.” Her gaze flickers up to him, and then away, and back. “I kinda figured you were a thing.”

“Yeah.” Cole admits, surprised. “Yeah, we're a thing.” Cassie nods and puts the condom aside.

“Sorry I asked then.” She says.

Cole scrubs at his face with his free hand, getting wet hair everywhere. “No, I mean- We're together but it's not like that. Not like it is now, in your time.” She finally makes eyecontact again, confused. “We're together but it's not...” He's not sure what word to use. “We're having sex with other people, too. There's no boyfriend girlfriend husband stuff in the future. You're too likely to die, it's just not done anymore.”

“Oh.” Cassie blinks at him again. “So you guys are poly.”

“Whatever that is.” Cole tells her, unsure. “I wasn't going to try anything because people in the past are weird about it, but Ramse isn't going to be mad.” Far from it.
~~

It's weird at first. They actually get naked, which makes Cole feel paranoid about an attack and not having a weapon nearby, but it's actually warm in her room and the bed is soft and he can't think of a way to ask her to do it with their clothes on as much as possible. Kissing her is nice because everything tastes of mint and they both still have all their teeth. Cassie is soft all over and doesn't have any scars- she fusses over his, kisses them, softly and looks at him with big, sad eyes that he's led such a hard life. She's shaved, which is weird- even her legs. Cole rubs his hands up and down the length and doesn't know what to make of it.

He eats her out while she fists his hair, listens to her scream and cry, and doesn't have to worry about someone hearing them and coming to fight. Also they don't have to be quick, like when you're sharing a room and someone else wants to go to sleep.

Finally he sits up and finds the condom in the sheets and hands it to Cassie. “Show me how you do it in the past.” He jokes and she looks baffled, before realizing what he's put in her hand. She's shaking a little and he rubs at his mouth- Cassie pushes up on one hand to kiss him, the other hand clutching at his hair- she seems like she's really into touching it. Cassie pushes him over onto his back and sits on his thighs. She rips open the package and takes out a little disk; it's soft and filmy looking in her hands. Cassie smirks down at him and catches hold of his cock with her other hand, stroking it once. She puts the disk on top of it and with her other hand she starts to smooth it down.

“You have to make sure not to tear it when it comes out of the package.” Cassie tells him, but he can hardly focus on her words. “And you want to make sure there's room at the tip. And no air bubbles.” She tells him as she works her fingers down his length.

“Jesus.” Cole mutters, hips rocking up into her hands. Cassie braces on hand on his chest to push him back down, before she leans up. He feels how hot she is for a moment, and then she starts to slide down- it feels weird with the condom but not bad. Cole rubs his hands up her thighs, grabs her hips to brace her. She gasps and squirms on the way down.

“It's been a while.” Cassie admits, but settles in his lap. She rocks gently and he groans. She leans over him to kiss, biting at the edge of his jaw, and he cups her breasts. Cassie gasps into his mouth, rocking a little harder, and Cole rolls them over. She laughs and he hikes one of her legs around his waist and starts fucking. He gets a hand between them so she has something to grind against and Cassie makes a startled noise- “Cole!” Like he's been bad.

“What?” He groans, grinding his hips against hers.

“How many-” Cassie makes a noise he likes and he grins down at her, where she's curtained by how long his hair is. “How many times are you trying to- I mean you just-”

“A lot more.” He assures her and slows the roll of his hips, stroking circles with his thumb and feeling her go tight. Her nails bite into his back briefly. “You're the one with the risk of getting pregnant, I've got to make it good for you.” He points out and she narrows her eyes at him.

“You're wearing a condom.” Cassie points out breathlessly.

“Well. Usually.” He reminds her, too used to his time. The condom makes it easier to take his time, to feel her clench on him, to see her eyes go wide and lost, to hear her breath catch in her throat. Cassie is as limp as a rag when he feels like he's there, it's his turn and he starts to pull out.

“Come on.” Cassie groans at him, hooking a calf around his thigh. “Do it.”

“Cassie- I'm not-” He wants to do it, wants to come in her, but he's never done that before. It's kinda weird, even if it feels nice. And he can't hold it off forever. He grits his teeth and groans against her throat, bites at her shoulder, thrusting. “Let me-”

“Tell me how you usually do it.” Cassie goads him, arching against him, arms around his shoulders. He can't pull away like he wants to and she's whispering in his ear, moaning faintly. “Come on, Cole, I want you to.”

It's easy to imagine it, picture it. He fucks into her hard, hips shuddering. “I want to pull out- I've got to pull out, I know how long I can last.” He mutters, feeling it getting too close, his feet and calves cramping with how much he wants it. “I'd pull out- I'd jack myself on you- paint your tits- fuck, fuck, Cassandra-” He can see it in his head, shooting his load on her, stripes on her belly and tits, even as he comes into her, feeling her clench down on him again. Cole lays there gasping for a long time, her fingers tracing down his back, before he lurches off of her in worry. The condom worked like it was supposed to, and Cassie tosses it into the garbage without a worry. He thinks about children, even though it's impossible.

“You ok?” Cassie asks, nestling into the pillows. She tugs on his arm to get him to lay down.

“Yeah.” He says nervously and touches her stomach. “You're sure?” He asks, just in case. She snorts at him and pats the other pillow.

“I'm sure. I'm a doctor.” She reminds him. He finally lays down, even though he should probably go down to the sofa and put some pants on, just in case. Cassie tucks him in and nestles up to his side. It's weird sleeping with a woman in his arms- even he and Ramse sleep back to back for protection. It's weirder sleeping unarmed and naked, but eventually he does manage to fall asleep in the too soft bed with it's warm blankets.

They have sex again in the morning- she jokes it's so he can practice putting on the condom himself- but this time he finishes the way he's used to. Even shaking and out of breath she's better looking covered in his come than he'd imagined. Ramse is going to die when he hears about this.