Title: Love and Winter in Ocean Bluff

Author: Xanagar

Part: Six

Rating: M

For genre, disclaimer, etc. see part one.

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SIX

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And so he had fulfilled his end of the bargain. This would be his gift, his special something to the other boy this Christmas. Whether or not Casey would accept it was another matter, but there was nothing he could do now; what was done was now done. He stared at his own feet, too frightened to see what the other boy's expression might be at this point.

At first, Theo wondered if Casey was even going to say anything. Abruptly, he heard a blunt, "Theo."

He didn't answer back. He couldn't answer back.

"Theo," Casey said again, still just as firm. "Look at me."

Finally, Theo managed to murmur a faint, "No."

Then, he felt a warm hand take hold of his chin, grip him tightly, lift his head higher so that he was within eyesight of Casey. So many times had he been forced to look solely into those eyes, those eyes that were so confusing, yet so mesmerizing to him. It was antagonizing to the highest degree imaginable.

Casey said, "I want you to look at me, Theo."

Theo felt himself gasp slightly, causing his words to become muffled in his throat. He said nothing. He continued to stare. Casey eventually loosened his grip, and sighed, his expression still incredibly difficult to read. Theo wondered if this would be the part in the evening where their friendship took a dramatic turn for the worst. He waited.

"So you listened," Casey said, still holding the other boy quite still with his gaze. "I'm happy, then."

Theo search frantically for air to breathe; he found to his annoyance that even it was clouded so forcefully with the other boy's intoxicating scent. "Stop it," he said.

"Stop what?" Casey asked curiously.

"Stop doing this. This teasing. You've been doing it for days now, and I'm sick of it, don't you understand?" His voice broke once more. He struggled to hold back his tears, but to no avail. "I'm sick of this way that you've made me feel recently. Don't you know what it's doing to me?"

Casey said nothing. And then he slowly allowed his hand to fall from Theo's chin. But he did not step back, or falter. There existed then a moment where Casey contemplated what to do next. There were different paths he could take, different choices he could make now. And now they were here, waiting for someone to act. Or perhaps it was simply Casey's turn to act. Perhaps Theo had already done so in offering his gift to him. Quietly, he moved closer to the other boy and, softly, embraced him.

"Okay," he said, clutching Theo gently. "You're right; enough, now."

Theo listened, and could barely make out the sound of water as it slid out of the faucet and landed rapturously against the metal of the sink. As he stood captured in the warm body of another human being, he felt his own aching, his own pain begin to slip away, as if it were slowly dripping off of the tips of his fingers, or through the faucet and into the sink. He recalled his own loss of composure, and felt ashamed. "I'm sorry," he said, burying his head onto the nearby shoulder of his friend. "I shouted. I shouldn't have."

"It's fine."

"I just couldn't hold it in anymore." Theo reached around to Casey's back, and his arms clutched at stray fabric, as if he were afraid to let go. He said, "I thought my heart would explode."

"You shouldn't have to hold anything in," Casey said. "No one should."

Theo found himself enjoying the sound of his voice. It sounded so reassuring. "Are you mad at me?" he asked, although he felt he already knew the answer.

Casey shook his head. "No," he said. "I'm not mad at you."

"You should be," Theo said, regaining his equanimity. "I would be. In fact, I think I am. Just forget that outburst. Pretend it didn't happen."

Casey laughed faintly. "Stop talking now, okay?" Then, after a moment of silence, he added, "Your present. I still need to give it to you, yes?"

Suddenly, Theo felt the absence of warmth as Casey moved away. He began to walk past him, and just as Theo felt the need to cry out, or to ask for him to come back, to not leave him alone, he felt a firm grip on his hand, and the sensation of being pulled forward.

"Come with me," Casey said, and without another word, Theo obediently complied.

---

Casey's room looked so incredibly bare basking in the pale moonlight outside his window. Momentarily, he reminded himself that Casey didn't own many things, only what he really needed. Even the bed itself looked rather hopeless, draped in only two very thin sheets and held together by what Theo could only assume was rather unsteady framing. There weren't even any tables or chairs. A small alarm clock sat on the floor, blinked the time in bright red numbers. Next to it was the box that had been given to Casey earlier, still wrapped elaborately, and yet appearing as though it held some deep secret of some sort. The curtains had been pulled; outside, Theo could see frost gathering along the window's edges.

Casey pulled him into the room and, rather loudly, shut the door behind the two of them. Theo distantly wondered if anyone might have heard, but suddenly found himself being pulled again, this time into the direction of Casey's bed.

When he reached it, he heard Casey tell him, "Sit down." He did so.

He watched as the other boy then knelt down in front of him and, to his surprise, pulled him into yet another kiss, this one slightly different, though. It lacked the perplexity that Theo's had contained before; no, this felt different. This felt natural.

Theo returned the kiss hesitantly; slightly unsure of what he should be doing, he leaned forward, allowing Casey unfettered access to the crevices of his lips. It was a tad disorienting at first. After all, he'd never actually kissed another man before, let alone a close friend. Casey, however, seemed to be a natural. Distantly, Theo reminded himself to ask about this later. When Casey stopped the kiss, Theo heard himself whimper slightly in protest, much to his embarrassment and, annoyingly, to Casey's interest. Theo looked up at Casey, as if to say, What now?

"You're not doing anything wrong," Casey said, reaching forward and enclosing Theo's hands in his own. "We're not doing anything wrong."

Theo watched Casey intently, then nodded. He would trust him now. "I know," he murmured. "I just don't know what to do."

"Don't do anything, then." Casey leaned forward again, placed one more kiss – this one obscured with gentleness – upon Theo's lips. "I'll do everything for both of us. Okay?"

Theo wasn't so sure about this, about submitting so completely to another human being. Would his pride allow it? At the feeling of a warm mouth nipping softly against his neck, he silently scolded Casey, his strong ways of persuasion. He grunted, pushed himself forward, so that he tilted slightly off of the bed.

"Don't move," Casey told him, causing him to shiver; he couldn't be sure if it was the other boy's warm breath, or simply the way in which his voice sounded. Theo looked up at him. He still wore the clothes R.J. had given him. He still looked utterly amazing, much to his own obliviousness regarding his looks.

"You keep looking at me," Casey said, slowly unbuttoning the buttons of Theo's vest.

Theo said, "Should I not be?"

After moving aside the last button, Casey pulled the black cloth off of Theo's back and allowed it to drop off lifelessly onto the floor as he tossed it aside. "I don't know," he responded. He then stared up into Theo's eyes as he reached for the small buttons attached to his shirt. "Do you like looking at me?"

Theo couldn't decide if such a question was meant to be sexual, or if Casey was being genuinely curious. With Casey, it was really hard to tell. Or perhaps it was just that this way of speaking to Theo, with such confidence and such neutrality to all other things, was also natural, as natural as their kissing or embracing one another.

"Yes," he finally said, allowing Casey to pull the uncomfortable Oxford off of him. "Yes, I do."

"Then don't stop." Theo watched as Casey placed his clothing to the side, next to his vest. "Keep watching me."

Even in just his undershirt, he still felt heavy, as though removing just his outer clothes weren't enough. He still felt as though he was covered in something that he needed to get off. Looking down at his own skin, he noticed the chill bumps that had begun to form, regardless of how increasingly warm his body had begun to feel. Suddenly, he realized that Casey had ceased his work, and was now standing in front of him, as if waiting for something.

"But, you didn't finish-"

Casey touched a finger to his lips, silencing him. He felt himself being pulled onto his feet, heard Casey say, "Now, undress me."

Theo stood still for a moment. He still remained in his own black pants, which had become steadily more annoying, steadily more uncomfortable. He wanted to be rid of them, and began to say something before his own hand was taken and placed on Casey's chest, causing him to forget whatever it was he was going to say. Obediently, he reached up and began to unbutton Casey's own shirt, although he had to push himself up on his toes to properly see what he was doing in the twilight of the bedroom. As each button was removed, more golden skin revealed itself, until Theo could visibly see the whole of the other boy's chest, the way each muscle appeared to be so perfectly shaped. He grabbed Casey's shoulders and slipped the shirt off, and, instinctively, was tempted to touch him, but hesitated once again. Then, he heard a laugh, saw a smile form on the other boy's face, felt his own hand being guided again to a certain spot. As his fingers reached warm outer skin, he felt himself become lazily entranced. His eyes became slightly hazy. His senses became faulty, and his head became fantastically numb.

"Don't be afraid," he heard Casey say.

He wasn't afraid. He wanted more of this, this feeling of ecstasy. This must be some kind of drug, Theo thought to himself. He felt he might soon become addicted.

Casey leaned forward and extended another kiss upon his cheek, then knelt down once again. Theo felt concentrated hands begin to unfasten his pants, and his heart began to race at a speed he could not comprehend. He still felt numb, and yet he was so profoundly aware of all things involving the two of them at that moment. Something was most certainly about to happen, and Theo had no intention of turning back now, not after all he'd been through to reach this point. He heard the sound of his belt hit the ground, and came to the realization that he was indeed naked.

Casey admired Theo's body, the way it appeared before him in the moonlight. "You look so beautiful," he said.

Theo smiled, listed his head lazily back and forth. He said, "You're good at this."

"There's nothing to be good at," Casey answered, standing up again and allowing Theo to once again see the full display of his upper body. "This is just natural."

There was that word again – natural. Something about it, perhaps the way it sounded within Casey's tone of voice, the meticulousness of his words as he said it, gave off an aura that pleased Theo immensely. The idea that this was all clean, that it was all completely without remorse or guilt, fascinated him and erased all of his remaining inhibitions.

"Now," Casey said, "lay down."

Theo softly sat back down on the bed, the strange foreignness of the bed sheets protruding his awareness even more. He lay down completely, and noticed how the moonlight seemed to illuminate a portion of his body. Even in this light, he agreed with Casey. He did look beautiful.

Suddenly, the weight of the bed moved, and Theo looked up to see Casey now completely naked, positioning himself over him. Quietly, he made a mental note that the other boy's lower half was just as irresistible as his upper half, if not more so. He watched Casey look at him, and there was definite protectiveness there, staring back at him.

"This will feel different," he began. "I don't know if you'll like it or not."

"It doesn't matter." Theo leaned forward, connected Casey's lips with his own in another loving kiss. He repeated himself as Casey remained unmoving. "It doesn't matter, Casey. I want you to do it, okay? No matter what it feels like."

Casey remained still for a moment. Then, he said a final, "Okay," before beginning the process of whatever it was they were about to engage themselves in. All the while, he continued to keep his gaze fixed upon Theo, allowing him to see his eyes, and the reassurance that he offered him.

Theo lay still. Then, as Casey moved over him and kissed him one final time, he felt a sudden push as something large was thrust inside of him. He let out a silent scream and reached up, gripping the other boy's back to keep him from fainting from the unimaginable pain, shaking uncontrollably from the sudden intrusion that seemed to leave his body helpless and writhing. Casey held him in place, whispered in his ear to be still and to relax, even as the smaller boy whimpered and began to claw aggressively at his back, like an animal being tortured to the brink of insanity. Once Casey had stopped moving, he waited as Theo tried desperately to adjust to the feeling of having been entered. Then, carefully, he pulled himself out, only to thrust back in again. This time, Theo did manage a clearly audible scream, but not out of pain. This was a different sound, thickly soaked in something else. Casey said to himself, Pleasure.

Theo's breathing became erratic and heavy, coming in sporadic waves whenever he could manage it. The stretching was incredible; he couldn't imagine he'd ever felt anything like this, never in the entirety of his life. He wondered if he might be bleeding, the pain was so intense. But now, as Casey began thrusting in and out in a rhythm that became ritualistic, the pain came with waves of pleasure, of undeniable motions that he loved so much, that he felt like he could endure the pain as long as he needed to if it only meant being able to feel more of this. He squeezed his eyes shut, allowed himself to submit to Casey as he slowly overtook him.

Watching the look on Theo's face, Casey leaned forward and took the other boy's mouth in his own, this time forcing his tongue in, tasting something delicious in the process. Sweat began to trickle down his chest. With every thrust, he heard a slightly audible whimper emit from the boy underneath him.

Suddenly, Theo's body began to tense up as he felt himself ready to explode. He pulled himself forward and buried himself into Casey's neck, his breathing now practically nonexistent. Then, as he felt a sudden, sharp pain on the surface of his own neck, as if he had been bitten roughly, he reached his climactic end, and gasped.

As afterglow filled his head, he fell back lifelessly onto the sheets beneath him and watched as Casey thrust into him one final, glorious time as a warm something was issued into him. He felt limp, as though he could never move again, felt Casey slowly pull out of him and begin to hold himself up before falling, exhausted, onto him. Everything suddenly became altogether quiet. The two lay quite still.

---

When Theo finally opened his eyes, Casey was already lying next to him, still naked, looking out the window and down at the streets. The twilit glow of the moon had disappeared now, as night had formally announced itself, and the only light that seemed to exist came from the alarm clock, casting an eerie red glow across the floor of the room.

Once Theo began to stir, Casey turned his head to acknowledge him. He was smiling. "Hey," he said.

Theo touched his own chest. His heart had resumed its normal pattern of beating. "Hey."

Casey moved closer to him, relaxed himself on his free hand. "How are you feeling?"

Theo tried to move, but quickly winced as he felt an annoying throbbing below his legs. He breathed. "I don't know. It really hurt."

"But you liked it?" Casey inquired.

"Yeah." Theo touched his shoulder; his skin was still surprisingly warm, even though it was freezing outside, and he was still completely without clothes. "You didn't have to bite me," he said, repositioning himself as best as he could, and ignoring the other boy as he laughed slightly.

"Sorry." Casey scratched his head innocently. "I guess I got carried away."

"Yeah," Theo uttered with a pinch of sarcasm. "You might have there, just at the end." Then, he smiled. "That was amazing."

"You were amazing," Casey answered.

There seemed to be a sense of innocence back in Casey now. The dominance and sexual hunger was gone and replaced by the same old casual friend that Theo knew so well. And he looked so beautiful, lying so comfortably on his bed. Theo believed he could lay like this forever, as long as Casey was here to lay with him.

"Oh," Casey said suddenly. "I nearly forgot."

Before Theo had a chance to ask, Casey had already reached over him and onto the other side of the bed. He returned with a familiar box in his arms, a smile on his face. "I said we could open it," he said.

Theo blinked unresponsively. "You're still curious as to what's in that box?"

Casey nodded sneakily. "And you can't tell me you're not, either. Especially after what we've just finished."

"I fail to see how that's relevant." Although, Theo couldn't hide that, quite suddenly, he had become unfathomably curious as to what in the hell could be in that box. "But I am slightly bemused," he added. "God only knows what R.J. intended by buying whatever is in there. Be carefully, I say."

Casey laughed. "It's not a bomb. I think we'll be fine."

"I warned you," Theo uttered as Casey began to unwrap the ominous thing, bit by bit. His eyes began to widen as the other boy reached the box's surface. Then, the lid was removed, and Theo waited as Casey merely looked inside, rather transfixed on the contents he could make out.

"Well?" Theo moved closer; he waited for Casey to say something, but he received no such answer. However, Casey did inevitably reach inside and pull out what appeared to be a small, black leather collar – the kind normally used for dogs. On it was a small, metal tag. Theo couldn't make out the words on it. "I don't get it," he said, confused. "He bought you a dog collar?"

For a moment, Casey was silent. Then, as a certain realization hit him, he answered Theo. "No," he said, coming to terms with the intentions of the gift. "No, I don't think that's it at all."

"Well, please enlighten me, because I'm obviously out of the loop," Theo said. He saw Casey smile and lean towards him. He felt himself being kissed once again, tasted the same amazing taste, smelt Casey's effortlessly beautiful smell that made him think of rivers, mountains, and all things natural. He waited, expecting to be teased once again, but in essence received the exact opposite reaction.

Casey said, "I think this is for you."

Theo was stunned. His mouth hung slightly open. "For me?"

Casey nodded. "For you."

"That's impossible. Why would he buy this for me?"

Without answering, Casey took the collar and, with the delicateness of master craftsmen, positioned the thing around Theo's neck, tightening it. He then leaned back to examine his work, and found that, to his perverse fascination, the dark leather contrasted perfectly with the dark color of the small boy's skin. He reached forward and took the tag in his hands, read it aloud. "Property of Casey," he said, causing an unmistakable red blush to climb onto the crevices of Theo's face.

"Very funny," Theo uttered, feeling that his whole body might be turning red at this point. But he made no intent to take the collar off.

Casey lay back down and wrapped an arm around Theo's waist, pulling him down with him. "I like it," he said into Theo's ear. "And I think that you like it, too."

Yes, he was right. Although Theo would never actually verbally admit it, he did like this. He liked the idea of belonging to someone, of meaning something so strong to someone. And as incredibly perverse and ridiculous as R.J.'s idea had been, apparently he had seen it, too. And perhaps so had Lily as well. Who was to say? But none of that seemed even vaguely important at the moment to Theo. The thriving pain in his chest was gone; the nervousness had disappeared to be replaced by unequivocal happiness and content. He was here now, with the person he could now say that he deeply did love – yes, love, that was what he had longed to overcome, to hide for so long. But love cannot be hidden or snuffed out. It can only burn brighter and brighter with each new commandment added to it. Casey pulled him into another embrace and began to whisper soft things into his ear, things he couldn't really make out as he began to drift off to sleep. Outside, the cold winter blanketed everything in sight. Inside, Theo felt warm.

---

End

Owari

2/19/09