From X-Men: rEvolution

CN: emotional crisis, rape mention, intense and complicated intimacy (physical and emotional).

Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Hive, Jamie


"I don't think I'm ready for a lot more, yet." (Set shortly after "Relaxing")


<PRV> VL 403 {Geekhaus} - East Village

It hasn't been all that long since Flicker fled the living room, but in the whirling freefall of his thoughts it feels considerably longer. Curled up on his bed, he's dragged his pillow over his head -- little though it helps to quiet things, for him or for Hive. Acutely aware that the telepath can still hear him he has been trying unsuccessfully to calm the racing; his mind careens erratically between disjointed snapshots of memories. A soft foam ball gripped between his fingers. Slick wet tile against his back and a crushing grip bruising his wrists. A thin dark-haired woman weeding a garden full of brilliant red and purple flowers. His breaths have been more strained, thin and whistling with each exhale, and he is also trying not to pay much mind to the odd sense of comfort that comes with the light-headedness, the slightly darker tones that wash over his vision.

Jamie lies curled on his side in Dusk's bed, blanket pulled up to his chin despite the heat, tears streaming from his eyes as he breathes slow and deep. His bleary vision is fixed on the bedroom door. He did not lock it behind him. He could just walk out. He could keep walking. His mind carefully skirts the temptation to picture the rooftop, but considers Avenue A instead, so busy with trucks and cabs even on a holiday. He could just keep walking. Maybe if he doesn't look --

His thoughts seize up, rendered abruptly blank. The disruption is brief, though, and Jamie does not even seem aware that it happened. His focus returns to the door. He imagines the door is locked from the outside, hears the click of the bolt in his mind and relaxes into the familiar sensation of helplessness. << But...Flicker! >> His panic returns and he sits up, reaching to check for the quicksilver pulse of the teleporter's unique nervous system. << -- hasn't eaten since yesterday -- Hive will take care of him -- he needs me -- that's pretty arrogant -- just go! >> His body refuses to obey. He squeezes his eyes shut and whispers, "Get up, Number One."

He rolls out of bed and stalks to the door, and hesitating on the knob, half expecting to find it locked, but it opens. Out into the living room, keeping his head down, he fetches one one of the bowls cooling on the coffee table. Shuffles to the other bedroom door. Knocks on it, even this somewhat quiet and diffident.

Flicker curls further in on himself at the sound of the knock, gripping his pillow tighter. He sits up in the next moment, though, struggling for a deeper breath. His attempt at a "-- Come in," just comes out rasped and barely audible. In the wake of this he blinks to the door, pulls it ajar, flits back to the bed to sit on its edge, leaning forward with his elbow resting on his knee.

Able to sense Flicker's power activating, Jamie is not surprised when the door opens without intervening sounds of movement. Still, he hesitates again before stepping inside and closing the door behind himself. It takes him another moment to identify the likely cause of the labored breathing. He sets the bowl on the desk, and kneels down before Flicker. "Do you have an inhaler?" he asks, his voice soft but urgent, his eyes already casting around the room for a likely place to keep one.

Flicker's hand starts to reach toward Jamie, but pulls back, curling tight against his knee instead. He starts to try to speak again, with as little success as before. Swallows, nods, gestures towards the drawers in his nightstand.

Jamie's breath, unhindered by asthma, catches all the same when Flicker reaches for him. The intensity of his yearning is physically painful. << What hell is wrong with me? The man is having a medical emergency. >> He checks the drawers indicated and fishes out the emergency inhaler. Shaking it probably harder than entirely necessary, he uncaps it before pressing it into Flicker's hand.

Flicker's hand is not quite steady as he takes the inhaler. Draws in a quick puff. Waits for a minute, his breathing easing somewhat, draws in another breath off it. His cheeks tint lightly pink when he looks up again. The panic, the chaotic jumble of memories, haven't subsided, but they're joined now by a trickle of relief. He reaches out, presses the inhaler back into Jamie's hand. Doesn't draw his hand back, this time. "Thanks." Quiet and still a little rough, the word at least comes out coherently now.

Jamie relaxes gradually as Flicker's breathing quiets, sitting back onto his heels. His fingers close gently around the other man's hand, his skin soft and cool. A quiet solace blooms amidst the wreckage of his dark thoughts. "No problem." Something in the back of his mind finds this reply utterly hysterical, recalling how he almost failed to get out of bed or open his door. He looks into Flicker's eyes and draws another involuntary breath, his heart fluttering faster in his chest. << Oh no, no, no. We're not -- this is just -- trauma. >> "I don't know if you still want it," he says finally. Pauses. Blushes. "But. I brought your food."

Flicker closes his eyes, pulls in another long breath. The color in his cheeks deepens abruptly at Jamie's words; the rush of desire that rises in him comes nearly in tandem. Fast on its heels, a wave of disappointment so thick it nearly takes his breath again. His eyes skipping over to the curry. "Oh -- right. Food." His fingers tighten around Jamie's. "You need it, too."

Jamie stares raptly at Flicker, his determination wavering. << Is that so wrong, though? I guess it is in his book, no matter what. >> He definitely has no appetite for food at the moment, his stomach twisting into knots. "Yeah. Maybe later, but..." His eyes drop to their joined hands. << He loves me. He won't stop loving me over asking. >> It does little to quell his fear, but when he speaks again he manages to keep his voice level, if hardly more than a whisper, "Do you want -- me?"

This time Flicker's breath does catch, quiet and hitched in his throat. He drops his head forward, resting it against Jamie's. There's a panic spiking in him, sharp and overpowering, and he has to fight through it to get to the love and need that lie beneath. "I --" << Don't say it don't say it, >> battles within him with an echo of Hive's voice, << You really think your God wants you to be this fucking miserable forever, little bird? >> << God help me. >> "I do." Unlike Jamie's, his voice does waver. In his mind there's a loud << -- but -- >> clamoring to get out. He swallows it back down, squeezing Jamie's hand harder.

Jamie pulls unconsciously toward Flicker when their foreheads touch, hope and anxiety alike surging in him as he waits. Somewhere along the way, he started holding his breath, but at the wavering answer he lets it out, long and shivering. << Oh, thank God I wasn't just -- what, projecting? >> His memory conjures up fits and snatches of Messer's voice, telling him Flicker only saw Hive or Matt in him, that he pitied him, that he wanted to use him... The tightening of the hand against his own slams his attention back down into his body, which sings with fierce desire. He lifts his other hand to touch Flicker's cheek, fingertips tracing down to the line of his jaw. "I -- I want you." He tilts his head back, a soft whimper escaping his lips just before he presses them to Flicker's, the thrill of the contact bright and electric in his mind.

<< Oh no oh no oh no >> runs in a panicked stream over Flicker's thoughts. He doesn't pull back; he turns his head very slightly, his breath coming out slow and tremulous at the brush of fingertips to his cheek. A shiver runs through him, a fierce and elated thrill that doesn't fade beneath his continued mental, << Can't do this don't do this not right. >>

What actually slips out from him, though, is a very softly whispered, "Please." Somewhere between the desire and the guilt, the need and the panic, he isn't quite certain what he's even asking for.

-- until Jamie's lips are on his and it suddenly snaps into clear focus. He is tentative only for the space of a breath before tugging Jamie closer, pressing inexpertly into the kiss with a bright swell of hunger.

The space of that breath is long enough for Jamie's mind to spin out in a dozen panicked directions. << Am I doing this right? Does he not like it? When was the last time I even kissed -- >> His doubts retreat when Flicker pulls him close, and his touch grows more confident, his body recalling what his frazzled mind cannot. He raises himself to kneel upright, setting the inhaler aside to wrap an arm around Flicker's waist, fitting them together as though they'd been made to do just that. When he pulls back it's only by inches, his eyes level with Flicker's now, pupils dilated, skin flushed, breath coming fast. Even on his knees he sways just a little, dizzy with pleasure. "Oh, Flicker." The words come out faint and breathy, and if he had anything else to say, it's forgotten as he leans in for another kiss before he's quite caught his breath.

<< Did I mess this up? I don't know what I'm doing what am I doing -- >> Flicker's own anxiety doesn't have long to blossom, in the space between kisses. << -- oh. Doing this. >> He's almost surprised by the intensity of his delight when their lips meet again. He tugs Jamie up onto the bed beside him, hand curling into the other man's shirt.

Jamie does not need much encouragement to scramble up onto the bed, not caring in the least if he is ungraceful in his giddy enthusiasm. The hand that had been cupping Flicker's cheek slides up to comb through the man's newly regrown hair. << This is amazing -- he's amazing. >> He wants to tell Flicker as much, but doesn't want to break away again. Instead he just arches his back, humming his appreciation, which is now quite apparent even without his voice.

<< What comes next what do I do -- >> There's a vague but persistent worry in Flicker's mind that Jamie might laugh at him if he asks this question. Instead he lies back, gently pulling the other man along with him as he settles onto the mattress. His hand traces up over Jamie's shirt -- for a moment as his fingers run over the shield pattern printed on the chest something twists in him, sharp and painful. His fingers knit into the fabric, and he sinks into the kiss with a renewed intensity.

Jamie rolls on top, breathless as he curls his hand around to cup the back of Flicker's neck. Perhaps he senses something of Flicker's tension without consciously registering why. << Has he ever done this before? Other than -- >> His mind flashes to a dull-eyed, muscular guard. He pulls away again, reluctant, planting smaller, conciliatory kisses on the other man's cheeks and propping himself up. "Are you okay?" His free hand slides down to settle at the waistband of Flicker's pajamas. "We can go slow." His fingers rub slow and gentle. "You can tell me what feels good." He bends to kiss Flicker's neck, slow and sensual.

Flicker's eyes are wider, his cheeks flushed and his breathing quicker. << No, >> surfaces immediately in his mind, << Not okay what are we doing. >> He tips his head back, lets himself focus on the feel of Jamie's mouth against his neck, lets the warm flood of pleasure that lights his skin push back the reflexive objection. "This feels good. This feels -- amazing. You --" The red in his cheeks darkens. << Does he want this? Want me? >> He's suddenly acutely aware of the extensive webbing of scars he bears, of his missing arm. "You really want -- this?"

Jamie nuzzles Flicker's neck languidly, trying to ignore his anxiety. << Maybe he's just going along because he's worried about me. >> Flicker's answer pushes this back, though. His smile is shy, and he blushes. "Oh! Good, I -- want you to feel good." His hand traces back up, fingertips caressing along the other man's collarbone. "And I want this --" His voice softens, and he lays his head on Flicker's chest. "-- want you." He pulls back and looks down at Flicker, eyes full of wonder, his voice small, but with shyness now and not uncertainty. "You are amazing."

Flicker curls his arm up around Jamie, hand running against the other man's back. He lifts his head, dots slow and gentle kisses to the line of Jamie's jaw. << ... wants me. >> There's a sense of wonder as he turns this thought over. "I..." He's struggling to reconcile the idea that he is /amazing/ with what he actually /feels/ -- broken, clumsy; there's a persistently stirring memory, thick and threatening to drown him, of a much rougher set of hands on him. It takes deliberate effort to push it back, focus on the gentle touches in this moment. "You do. This does. Feel..." He buries his face against Jamie's neck, brushes a kiss to its base. "I love you," he says, and this, at least, comes with a strong surge of warmth that lends his next kiss more surety.

Jamie bites back the noise his body wants to make, but it comes out anyway, as a soft moan, when Flicker kisses his neck. The words that follow take his breath away -- nevermind that Flicker's said them before, nevermind that Jamie's always believed him -- his mind awash with warmth and joy, his heart fluttering in his chest. << Have I ever felt like this before? >> A cursory search of his not inconsiderable experience with intimacy -- cellmates who sought and gave comfort, guards trading for favors and those who just took, boyfriends and tricks from a barely-remembered life before Prometheus -- can find no comparison. << Do I make him feel that way, too? >> He leans into the kiss, hard and eager, his hands plucking at Flicker's shirt. "I love you," he echoes when their lips finally part.

Dead Like Me has been continuing to play in the next room -- volume a liiittle bit louder than when Flicker and Jamie were watching. For a time there was conversation, too, between Lucien and Hive, but that faded out some time ago. There isn't a lot of forewarning when the heavy slam of Hive's voice thuds up at Flicker's mind. << Hey, man -- >>

It's as far as Hive gets, at first. Whatever was going to come next, this overture is met immediately with a grasping hunger, Flicker stretching toward that mental presence with a panicked desperate pleading. "Please --" It comes together with that pluck at his shirt; it comes together with that thump at his mind. His back arches; he presses up into Jamie's touch, returning the kiss fiercely.

It's as far as Hive gets. The soft strangled sound he makes at Flicker's panic can't be heard over the television in the adjoining room. What Flicker can feel is the familiar enveloping warmth of Hive's mind, curling around him, slowly pressing in deep. Steady, calm, it's hard to tell at exactly what point his soft, << I'm here, >> melts into, << we're okay. >>

The chaotic rush of Flicker's feelings -- hurt and panic and need and desire all -- doesn't go away once he becomes they. Just blends in with Hive's own concern and caution and love, rushing together into something at once fiercer and less overwhelming. << We're okay, >> resonates warm and comforting within him. He chases the kiss with another, and another, punctuating the kisses with breathy words. "Please don't stop."

With his power closely attuned to Flicker, Jamie notices Hive's presence at once, though it takes him a moment to recognize it for what it is. His initial confusion is followed fast by fear -- though that subsides quickly, too. << If there were some emergency, wouldn't they tell me? >> He props himself up on one elbow, his other hand lingering on Flicker's cheek, uncertain. "Hive?" << Why are you...did I hurt him -- you? Him? >> He isn't quite panicking yet, but his nervous system is definitely primed for it.

"No -- please --" Flicker presses his cheek into Jamie's hand. He rests his own hand over it, fingers curling around Jamie's. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to --" << You didn't hurt us, >> echoes in Jamie's mind at the same time. Where just a moment before their shared mental space was a soothing comfort, now they writhe, wrestling down a spike of guilt and uncertainty << had no right >> << he didn't ask for this >> that wars with the strong pulse of desire as they look up at Jamie. "I can..." Flicker's eyes are brighter. He blinks hard, tries to push down the clawing panic that rises even before he continues, stilted, "-- can leave... him." His hand grips Jamie's tighter. "I just wanted -- please don't -- can we..." he fumbles, ultimately just trailing off into a shaky exhale.

Jamie relaxes at this reassurance, but his confusion comes back stronger than before. << Did they just...accidentally end up like this? >> "No, it's alright, I'm just surprised...and worried. Usually he -- you do this when you're upset or stressed out, and..." << Of course he's stressed out, but I thought this would help. >> Guilt twists through him when he sees the tears in Flicker's eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry," he murmurs, shifting to cradle Flicker's head against his chest and caressing the scarred line of his jaw. "He doesn't have to go. If you -- you both -- want to..." << I thought he hated me. But then, I also thought he was straight, so... >> His cheeks burn, his desire unabated beneath a haze of discomfort that he gamely tries to push aside. "I'm fine with that. Really."

"He is straight." Flicker answers the easiest part of this first, as he pulls himself back -- with a wrenching reluctance, with a spill of tears -- to disentangle his mind from Hive's. His breaths come a little more shallow, a little rapider, after the separation; he struggles not to immediately reach back out and fill the hollow ache left behind. "I'm sorry." Now softer, Flicker's words are half buried against Jamie's shirt. "I shouldn't have -- I didn't mean to -- it's a reflex, I -- I didn't mean to. To ruin..." His arm curls around the other man's waist. "I'd never done this before." When the flashes of memory come back -- a hard and stocky body bearing down on his own, his wrist crushed to the slick floor, steam shortening his breath -- it's intense enough, nearly, to turn his vision black. "...almost... almost. Never. I just wanted -- I just want."

"Huh?" Jamie's confusion suddenly veers off in a different direction. << But -- why would he hire a male hooker... >> But Flicker's obvious distress pushes the mystery clean from his mind, and he gathers the other man closer yet. "No, it's okay. You didn't ruin anything." He kisses the top of Flicker's head, firm and careful. << Never...anything? >> "I should have thought before I --" That guilt again, but this time eclipsed by an unfamiliar swell of protective warmth. "There's no almost. What he did to you -- it's not the same. But your body remembers, and it can keep hurting." Something stirs in his memory, and his breath comes short even though it does not fully surface. He smooths his hand down Flicker's side. "It's okay to want to feel good, with someone who cares about you. You deserve that." << You deserve so much better than me. >> "But even that can hurt, you know?"

<< I could have fought it, >> jars up hard against the memory of bruises, of the weapons hanging off the guard's belt. << I /don't/ deserve -- >> His fingers are clenching into Jamie's shirt, but he doesn't much feel the fabric anymore. Just a floating numbness from which he takes stock of his current situation -- the trickle of tears on his cheek, the hand running down his side -- with an odd detachment.

The firm grip of Hive's mind around his, /in/ his, snaps him back into his body. "Sorry," is the first thing he says again, leaning into Jamie's touch even as he leans into the renewed mental connection. "I don't deserve you. Just wanted to make you feel good and I don't even know /how/."

Jamie's hand stops at Flicker's waist, then kneads its way back up, sure and firm until it encounters the scars at his shoulder where an arm should be. He's not startled by Hive's return, nor his own sharp pang of envy, though he is surprised at the relief that muddles it. "Hey, it's alright." He presses his cheek to Flicker's head, the same way he recalled Flicker doing for him. "You deserve to be loved. I'm..." << -- too broken to do this right -- >> The thought brings a shiver of existential terror, and he shakes his head vehemently. "...out of practice. But you've taught me so much."

He hugs Flicker tighter. "You can learn, too. There isn't like, one right way to um, do sex. What feels good is different for everyone, and every...situation." A flush of embarrassment tints his cheeks pink, and he struggles for a moment, unsure if he should continue. "Even with zero experience, though? That was wonderful." The reflexive memory of Flicker's lips on his is vivid and intense with the force of his delight. "I'm not even kidding, it was better than most of the actual sex I've had." He is, in fact, not even kidding.

The desire that had been flaring hot and fierce within Flicker is losing its urgency, giving way instead to a softer sort of pleasure. He breathes slow, relaxes against Jamie. Doesn't, this time, try to fight any of the feelings that are surfacing; just sits with the uncertainty << -- is this okay? Is this enough? Does he want more? >>, the automatic twitch of discomfort as Jamie's hand runs up to his shoulder << what if he thinks it's gross >> << ...what if he doesn't >>, and, ultimately, the blissful warmth of the comforting touch.

"...Man, that's really sad." His head shakes. Just a little. "Sex is supposed to be wonderful, right? You deserve something wonderful." He presses his cheek to the already-damp shirt, smudging at the lingering traces of tears. His face is still kind of blotchily red when he pulls back to look at Jamie. "Do you still want to kiss me?" There's barely any hesitation this time before he qualifies: "-- Just that. I don't think I'm ready for a lot more, yet."

Jamie blinks. "I guess it is kind of sad." He hadn't really considered that before. "I think...a lot of guys I've been with just weren't very interested in how I felt." He bites his lower lip. "And after a while it's hard to remember that's not how it's supposed to be." His desire had never wholly left him, even if he had little attention to spare it, but as his anxiety recedes it resurfaces -- less frantic now, if still passionate. << I'm not sure what this is, but it's nice. >> At Flicker's question he smiles -- actually smiles, again. "Yes. I want that." He rolls onto his side and tugs the other man with him gently to keep them face-to-face, pressing his cheek to Flicker's and bringing their lips so close that they touch ever so lightly when he echoes, "Just that."