Title: As Time Goes By
Rating: Low Level R for Language, and implied sexual acts.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: What if Josef and Mick had met before Mick and Coraline...
"Can I buy you a drink?"
Mick looked up at the stranger standing alongside him at the bar. One hand rested on the back of Mick's bar stool.
"Sure." Mick offered a polite smile, and gestured for the man to take a seat on the stool next to his. "I'm Mick St John."
Mick's proffered hand was accepted. The stranger seemed to take a moment to regard Mick's attire. Noting the uniform he was dressed in.
"A soldier boy, hey?" The man returned Mick's smile in kind, but refrained from offering his own name.
"Yep," Mick grinned then, and sat up straighter. His chest puffed out with uniformed pride, "I ship out tomorrow morning."
"One last fling before you're gone then is it?" The man arched an eyebrow at Mick, and continued without waiting for Mick to respond. "So what are you drinking, soldier boy?"
"Bourbon, straight up, on the rocks."
A polite nod of deference, and then the bar tender was being summoned over to where they sat.
"Bourbon on the rocks, straight up, for my friend here." Mick watched as a fifty dollar note was drawn from a wallet, and placed on the bar in payment, "and a Tom Collins for myself."
It was a pointedly feminine drink for a man to order. The stranger studied Mick's expression, trying to gauge his reaction. If there was any, Mick was doing his level best to hide it.
"So," Mick heard the stranger asking him then, "you leaving behind a girlfriend?"
Mick shook his head, "No."
This time there was no hiding the taken aback expression on Mick's face. For his own part the stranger merely smiled, and nodded once more with polite deference, before continuing his questions.
"Saxophone or Mandolin?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Doesn't matter." The man trailed a dismissive hand through the air in front of him, and snorted a quick laugh at Mick's confusion. "Come for a walk?"
Mick drained the remainder of his drink, and then nodded his assent. "Sure, why not."
At that moment the man couldn't be sure if Mick was playing naïve, or if he really had no clue that he was being picked up. His question was soon answered.
Outside, as they rounded a corner to make their way along an abandoned laneway, the man found himself on the receiving end of an awkward play. Mick's body and mouth pressed clumsily against the man's own, smothering him with haphazard kisses.
For his efforts, Mick found himself picked up, and carried across the narrow street. Shoulders pinned firm against the wall on the opposite side.
"You hustling me, soldier boy?" The man leant close, drawing in Mick's scent, his own breath fanning hot against the side of Mick's face.
"No." Mick's voice came out as a strained whisper, his words tangling, "No, I…I don't know what, I mean I…didn't mean to…I'm not really like that, honest…I don't think."
"You don't think?" The man repeated back to him with a facetiously raised eyebrow. "You don't know what you are, do you, soldier boy?"
"I like girls." Mick's voice shifted determined. His expression set firm. As if he was attempting to convince himself of some known truth.
The stranger let go of Mick's shoulders, and stepped back. Still keeping close watch. Mick's relief was palpable. The man had been a lot stronger than he looked, far stronger than Mick had anticipated based on his size, and appearance. A strength that felt as if it were borne out of something inhuman, otherworldly; the sort that could send rivers of fear coursing through the veins of even the strongest of ordinary men.
"As do I." The man offered Mick a laissez faire shrug…'your point being?'…and folded his arms loosely across his chest. Legs crossed at the ankles, his body leant slightly to one side, the weight of his frame resting on a turned out hip.
And then in one fluid rush of liquid silk, he shifted back towards Mick. Mick's chin clutched between the fingers of one hand, his head turned to meet the man's penetrating gaze. The man's other hand tracing casual patterns up and down the front of Mick's shirt.
"You like girls," again the man repeated Mick's own words back to him. His tone casual, his voice matter of fact, conversational, "but you like boys too, don't you?"
Mick didn't answer. He didn't need to. The way his breathing hitched, goose bumps rising over the surface of his skin, the heightened scent of his arousal; Mick's measure had already been made.
And there was something else, something that lurked beneath the goose bumps, and ragged breath. It was the heat of rising shame. The flush faced look of a man not yet free to baulk at societies conventions.
For a moment the man was tempted to relieve Mick of the burden of humanity. And then he had to remind himself that this one was different. This one he was going to let live.
"Poor confused little soldier boy." The man chortled with wry amusement, and shifted closer. The space between them now barely perceptible, lips pressed against Mick's ear, "I know you're not a virgin, I can tell…"
"How…?" Mick's voice trailed off; couched as it was in fear, and confusion.
Was there something about him, could people see, could they tell just by looking?
The man leant back and shook his head. Eyes raised skywards, another dismissive hand trailed through the air. His face scrunched with fleeting disdain. As if the 'How' didn't matter.
"You've been fucked before, haven't you?"
"Yes," the heat of Mick's shame continued to rise, burning a path across his face and neck, "once...twice, maybe. I was just curious, it didn't mean…"
"You don't have to explain yourself to me, soldier boy." Those lips pressed once more against Mick's ear. And then a low voice whispering temptation, "Do you want me to take you to a hotel?"
The rest didn't need voicing; it was clear what was being offered.
"Yes." Mick's voice sounded small and thin in the still night air. Not small enough though that the man couldn't hear what he had just said.
"Let's go." An arched brow grin, and then Mick was being lead away. An arm drawn tight around his waist, a stranger's hip brushing against his own.
"Do you have to leave so soon?" Mick lay on his back. One arm propped behind his head, his body still humming with the thrill of residual pleasure; sticky with fluid that slicked his abdomen, and ran between his legs to form a damp patch on the sheets below, "I thought we were going to spend the night together? It's still early."
"I can't." The man shook his head. He sounded almost apologetic. As if there were something he desperately wanted, but couldn't bring himself to take.
This one was different. This one he was going to let live.
Mick watched as the stranger redressed. Hands tugged at expensive made garments, elegant fingers moved deftly over buttons, and other fastenings. A surety of movement, that was cat-like in its grace.
The refrains of a Herman Hupfeld song drifted through the open window of the hotel room.
You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
"I can't." The man repeated. And then he was gone, leaving Mick to call out after him.
"Wait, I didn't even catch your name…"
"Josef Kostan." Josef grinned at the shocked look of familiarity that had fallen across Mick's face. Coraline stood nearby, beaming smug beams of pride as she fussed over her latest quarry.
The needle of an old gramophone placed on a worn record, the scratchy sounds of a Herman Hupfeld song filled the room.
"I'm sorry," Mick stammered, his words tangling as he accepted Josef's proffered hand, "I didn't quite catch your name…"
…The last time we met.