All characters are trademarked and copyrighted to Marvel Comics. They are used without permission and no money is being made on this work.
Continuing where ‘Toronto' left off, I bring you the next installment of my Angel/Northstar arc. If only they didn't seem to work so well together I could focus on other things, but like, they seem to fit together (and speak incredibly poetically, which got sort of creepy while I wrote, but they just refused to speak like normal people:). Truly bizarre.
Um. Rated NC-17 for m/m sex. Oh, and crude humour, which I blame entirely on my own perverted mind. I think in slash. It can get terrifying. Feedback would be gobbled up, teeth gnashing and all that jazz, at [email protected] .
There was something terrifying about the morning after. I never knew what to think. The things said at night, when sleep was too close and the anxiety had long since faded away, weren't always the same as those few hurried words uttered in the morning. I had hopes when I woke that morning for something better than what I had done in the past, but the terror made it hard for me to think.
I had spent the night with Jean-Paul Beaubier. Me. Him. *Together.*
I was lying on my stomach when the sun awoke me, shining directly into my eyes, passed the thin barrier of my eyelids. The first sight I saw was him, lying on his back with one arm arched over his head and the other trapped under my body. His mouth was opened slightly, quiet wheezing escaping from dry lips, and the white sheets had pooled around his legs, leaving his body bare in the morning sun.
I wanted to touch him, to taste him in my mouth again and feel that power sex gave me, that instant high, that complete sense of bliss. The blood pooled between my legs, and I was glad I was on my stomach, the friction between my body and the sheets just perfect. Now, all he had to do was wake up and realise he didn't want me anymore.
It was all right. I had taken worse rejection.
I closed my eyes again, trying to fall back asleep and delay the inevitable. Who was I fooling? Not him, that I knew. I hadn't meant to tell him the real reason I ran away, the fact that ... that Betsy had died. I didn't want a pity fuck, but I got one anyway.
I nearly screamed at myself when I felt tears form along the rims of my eyes, threatening to spill out onto my cheeks. Damn it. It had been six months. Six months of blaming myself. Six months of trying to forget. Six months of just wanting it all to go away. And in the end all I could do was turn on heel and run away from everything I ever knew. I was a coward.
And then *he* showed up. I saw him for blocks before he noticed me, walking on the opposite side of the street liked he owned it, but I never dreamed he'd speak to me. He wasn't known for being friendly. I had heard reports from various sources on how temperamental and unpleasant he could be. Why couldn't he have just shown that part to me?
Damn it. I wasn't going to cry. Not now, not when he was lying there beside me, on the precipice of awareness and ready to catch the poor, pathetic Angel crying because nobody loved him. But God, I wanted to sob. I wanted to grab him and tell him that those words I said last night were true, that I wanted this to be more, that I could be happy if he wanted me to be.
I'd love you, Jean-Paul, I would.
And then he would die. I sobbed into the sheets, trying to muffle the sounds and not wake someone who slept so beautifully. They always died. Candy, Betsy, Cameron ... even Jean, Jean had died, too. They always left me.
Jean-Paul shifted on the bed, the elegant fingers brushing away his dark hair from his broad forehead, the mouth opening and closing before the azure eyes did the same thing. I buried my face in the bed. He wasn't allowed to see this.
I didn't answer him, I couldn't without betraying that somehow between now and then my charade had crumbled into nothing. His hand settled on my back, between my wings, and stayed there, saying nothing more and unmoving save for the gentle pressure his fingers applied to my skin.
In time, I moved away from him and stood up, walking immediately to the window so I could let the sight of the sky in the morning ease some of the weight in my heart. Water lifted and fell with the wind, waves rolling into the harbour storeys below my window.
"Do you regret?" Jean-Paul asked quietly, standing so close behind me that I could feel the heat from his body against my skin. "Because I don't, Warren, not one second of it. I am glad that you stayed. Will you come back to bed?"
"I don't need your pity," I muttered, one arm wrapped across my chest, the other pressed the cold of the glass.
"And I do not need yours. Last night you were willing to give me your love. It is that I want from you and nothing else. In turn, that is what you will get from me." Jean-Paul paused and touched his hand to my back again, the same spot, his palm so incredibly hot. "I do not give that easily. No one has ever asked for it, and I have never offered it."
"You barely know me."
"I knew you last night." And he was behind me, pressing his lips to the base of my neck, his fingers curling into my belly and holding me tightly against his chest. "And you knew me. We are not the men so many people think we are. Stop trying to believe what they say."
I bowed my head, daring to press my fingers atop his, to feel the heat and the strength in those elegant hands. Immediately, his lips pressed the length of neck I had exposed, open and wet and firm, drinking me alive. "But I am that man."
"Don't be absurd. You are no more the playboy than I am the hot-blooded stud," Jean-Paul whispered, so near to me his teeth grazed my ear as he spoke. "We are just two men who are lonely and who have found some peace with each other."
"I came here to die," I said suddenly, not sure why I had to say it, just that if I didn't then it became a secret. "I came here to blow my brains out in some alleyway and fuck up my face so badly no one would ever recognise me."
"Then it is a good thing I found you," Jean-Paul said quietly, "isn't it?"
I didn't answer, moving back to the bed with his arms still around my waist. Somehow, he knew when to move so the sheer action of walking didn't seem clumsy. I lay down first, crawling up to the headboard and I paused to look at him.
Jean-Paul narrowed his eyes. "Promise me you will not kill yourself."
"Obviously I won't. I would have done it already."
"Then promise me you will not even think about it, and if you do, promise me you will speak to me instead of being a typical man and shutting me out until I find you in the tub with your wrists slashed. All right?"
I nodded mutely, and Jean-Paul decided that was enough of a promise. I meant it, mostly, and I hadn't dwelled on my original intention since he'd picked me up on Yonge Street. Well, maybe I had dwelled but not brooded or obsessed, which was better in the long run. "Are you waiting for me to say it out loud? All right. I agree. No blades to the veins for me."
"Actually," Jean-Paul said with a coy smile, "now I'm just admiring your splendour. It's been a while since I last had a beautiful man in my bed ..."
"It's technically my bed," I interrupted with a laugh.
"You Americans are so possessive," Jean-Paul commented with mock distain, waving away my quip with an elegant hand. "As I was saying, it's been a while since I've been able to admire a gorgeous man without the fear that I would lose my gonads for it. Give me a moment here to take it all in."
I blushed fiercely, watching those cool eyes drift over my body like they were gentle hands. A smirk crossed his lips, sensual and wanton, but still he stood there unmoving, and I flushed deeply, horrified at the terrible colour my skin had turned.
"Are you going to do something?"
Jean-Paul laughed. "You Americans are also impatient."
"And you Canadians are far too easy-going."
"Part of our charm," Jean-Paul said casually, taking slow and casual steps to the bed then he paused, annoyed, when a knock sounded on the door. Shaking his head, he moved to pounce again but the knocking insisted. "Do you want me to get it or should you?"
"You're up," I said with a smirk.
"We both are," Jean-Paul replied, grabbing the towel I had discarded last night and tying it around his waist, giving his hips a quick seductive shimmy before walking to the door. "This better be good." He opened it. "Good morning."
"Um," the young man said awkwardly, "I have breakfast for Mr. Worthington."
"I'm starving," I said from the bed, already sliding on a pair of pants for the sake of the kid. "Let him in. I had forgotten I ordered it. I was planning on having a lazy day in bed, but that idea seems to have been shot."
"And don't you love it?" Jean-Paul replied, walking passed me and going into the bathroom, sparing me a glance that was both amused and ... grateful, I thought, grateful that I had not denied him and tried to pretend the boy had the wrong room.
I searched for my wallet and pulled a crisp hundred dollar bill, folding it slightly as not to make it obvious. "Good morning, Marius. Wonderful day, isn't it?" Marius nodded, blinking slightly. "I take it you won't mention this to anyone else?"
"No, sir," Marius vowed solemnly. "That is Northstar, right?"
I nodded with a half-hidden smile.
"Could I have his autograph?"
Jean-Paul paused behind me, a pair of loose-hanging sweat pants draped over his slender hips as he meticulously brushed his hair. "Autograph? Me?"
Marius nodded earnestly. "Oh, yes."
"I should hang around with you more often," Jean-Paul said in my ear, winking again in that feline way he had, slow and unrushed and sexy as hell. "All right, fame and fortune, let this be your calling card."
Jean-Paul scribbled his name and a quote that I couldn't read his handwriting was so terrible on the back of a napkin, his letters more crooked and exaggerated than I had expected. With a grand gesture, he offered the token to Marius, who took it with repeated thanks.
On his way out, I gave Marius the tip and waved goodbye merrily, placing a ‘do not disturb' sign on the door as I shut it softly, clicking the lock. I turned around slowly to see Jean-Paul already divvying up the food at the desk.
"I'm starving," he announced, picking up a strawberry from the fruit bowl and slowly, deliberately, biting into it with a smile. I simply laughed and shook my head, sitting next to him and kissing those deliciously pouty red lips simply because I could. "That's more like it, Mr. Worthington."
"You'll have to forgive me," I responded, "I'm rusty."
"Not nearly as rusty as me," Jean-Paul confessed with a languid smile, stretching those long, pale legs so they brushed ever so slightly against mine. "Now, if my PR department does not attempt to castrate me, I'll be all the more happy."
"That's probably the only reason I'm glad mutants aren't nearly as accepted stateside, none of that nonsense. Back in the day, when I was still young ..."
"Because you're ever so old," Jean-Paul interrupted lightly, pausing mid-way through slicing a bagel.
"Absolutely ancient," I agreed, "but as I was saying, when I was still young and concerned with such things, I did my duty, dated the brunette rich girl from a better family than mine, and make no mistake, I loved her, but I can't help but think we got together in the first place just because it was expected."
"And this man of yours ...?"
I laughed, putting my hand to my face as I poured myself a cup of coffee. "God, I forgot I said that last night. Maybe we can pretend I never opened my big mouth? It's one of those terribly obvious things that *no one* figured out."
Jean-Paul spit juice over his lap, choking viciously as he fought for words. "Iceman?!"
"Oh, no! Not at all!" I laughed merrily at the smirk Jean-Paul gave me before wiping off the juice off his – *my* – pants. I had hoped maybe that was the change of subject I wanted, but Jean-Paul was still looking at me, his eyes maliciously greeting mine. "Cameron Hodge ..."
Jean-Paul laughed, shaking his head. "Please tell this was before he turned into that giant, angst ridden spider who tried to take over Genosha? Not that I doubt you like them leggy," and Jean-Paul, as if to illustrate his point, stretched out those long, gorgeous legs of his again and laid them in my lap. "Of course, I knew he was gay."
"Of course," I repeated, grabbing hold of his feet and running my thumb nail down the centre of the right one. Those feets darted under his body before I even realised the weight was gone from my lap. "I was barely sixteen when I was with him. He was a dangerous lure. He *knew* about my wings, so I didn't have to be careful with him."
"But he was a psychopath," Jean-Paul pointed out, gesturing to the bagels idly with his knife, and I nodded, trying hard not to smirk when he nearly poked his own eye out. Jean-Paul smeared the cream cheese on the bagels, making sure the spread was absolutely even.
God, and I thought I was the only one that picky. A man after my own heart ...
"Good point, but I didn't realise that until way after the fact. And besides," I added with a mischievous grin, "you wouldn't know it by looking at him, but the man had a sexual instinct that puts even me to shame."
"You are almost too humble." Jean-Paul placed the bagel in front of me then took a bite of his own, grinning like a cat after cream. There was something fiercely passionate about him, it was what drew me to him in the first place and what held me here now. "So, Warren, when are you going to show me some more of that sexual instinct?"
I looked up, hunger in my eyes, and Jean-Paul grinned, lifting his eyebrows and laughing lightly. Pale skin and cool blue eyes, black hair that refused gravity and lifted in spikes, and those ears, those wonderfully pointed ears, I was enthralled, so I can't really say for sure if I wasn't the one who went for him first, just that suddenly our bodies came together, greeting intimately and getting reacquainted. Breakfast was forgotten as we tumbled to the bed, tripping over each other in our zeal to rid our bodies of pants. With a yelp, I tripped over him and flopped onto the mattress, laughing when he pounced on me from behind, untwisting my legs from my trousers and tossing them to the carpet.
"The blue is very appetising," Jean-Paul said in my ear, his lips pressed to the base of my neck and sucking deeply as his fingers went to my wings, always to the wings. I arched under him, held down by his weight, the rubbing of the sheets almost too much for me to take. "Like the sky, always beautiful."
"You're comparing me to the sky?" I mumbled, my arms laid straight over my head, my fists twisted in the sheets as Jean-Paul sat on my lower back and held me between his legs as he seduced my wings with his nimble fingers. "Well, that's ... new."
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" He asked lightly, his tongue trailing a hot path beneath my shoulder blades, hands sliding down my sides and gripping me so tightly I could feel every press and stroke, no matter how slight.
Then the blasted phone rang, and Jean-Paul collapsed on my back, muttering about mood killers and curses I dragged with me from America. I started laughing as he leaned over to pick up the phone, tapping me playfully on the cheek to draw silence. I only laughed harder.
Jean-Paul raised an eyebrow in response to the voice on the other end and promptly clamped his hand over my mouth. I twisted my head to fully look at him, but our positioning made it awkward, and I could only lie there limply.
"Oui. He is here."
Jean-Paul all but shoved the phone at me, giving me no clue at to who it was and returning to the task at hand. I bit back the moan those talented hands drew as he bent down to kiss my shoulder, one then the other, letting his lips draw him across my back.
"Bobby?!" Jean-Paul laughed against my ribs, a quarter of a foot below my shoulder, into in the crevice between arm and body. I tried to bat him away with my free hand, but he would have none of that. Instead, I set to ignoring him, but the more he moved on me, the more flesh he licked, the more muscle he rubbed, I knew I couldn't, not for long, not when Jean-Paul somehow knew every place I loved to be touched . "How did you find me?"
Even over the phone, I could tell Bobby was annoyed. "You certainly didn't make it easy for us. If I hadn't stolen your credit card a few months ago, I would have been royally pissed at all the plane hopping. As it is, I'm only mildly cheesed off. And who the hell was that who answered the phone?"
Those hands were near some very naughty spots, stroking and pushing their way under my body and drawing a shudder from my wings. The heat from him, that hot length of his desire was cradled between my buttocks as his hands gripped my hips, sliding between skin and sheet to touch my erection.
Shit. And I was supposed to be able to talk?
But Bobby's voice was trying hard to bring me back from places I didn't want to leave, glorious places filled with tongues and hands and naked Northstars. Was he even still talking? Why could I seem to hear nothing but Jean-Paul's breath in my ear.
"Warren? Warren? Who was it?"
For the love of God Bobby, shut up ... oh ... fuck this battle ...
I gave up.
"Could you call me back?" I asked with a groan, feeling the mouth back upon my back and sucking the base of my wing, the tongue stroking the feathers as the hands moved to clutch me firmly. Fingers and body and mouth, all at once. I was seeing stars.
"Christ, Warren, what the hell is wrong with you?"
"Call me back, god dammit! Ten minutes! Five! I don't care! But call me the fuck back!" I slammed the receiver down on the table, knocking the whole phone to the bed. Jean-Paul sucked with more enthusiasm as his hands worked my erection, using the friction of the sheets to draw a cry from my lips as he rocked his hips against me, hard and hot and perfect. Sprawled like this, having him overpower me, I buried my face against the mattress and hoped I received no noise complaints because I was screaming and grunting, practically screeching like a fucking bird.
Jean-Paul dropped one hand even lower to rub that delicious spot where thigh met pelvis, his palm creating an incredible heat as his fingers touched me between my legs, in the spot that hadn't been touched for years. I grimaced and bit the sheets and came with a muffled roar, feeling his body go rigid and the wetness of his release hit the back of my legs. With a groan, he collapsed on my back, and we lay there panting until the phone rang again.
"Hello?" I mumbled weakly.
"You fucking better have a good explanation for hanging up on me! We're at the airport, Warren, come and get us. Now." Bobby tried to sound menacing, and perhaps five minutes ago I would have felt the slightest bit of remorse for driving him to that, but I was too sated and happy to pay any mind to his screaming. "Warren? Got it? Pearson Airport, terminal two. We're waiting."
And Bobby hung up on me. I laughed into the sheets, feeling the weight lift off my back and pull me to my feet into a deep kiss, a kiss I returned as I wrapped my arms around his chest and lifted my fingers to his hair. Jean-Paul pulled back slightly and grinned merrily.
"Bobby might," I muttered, drawing another sweet kiss from his lips, "but I don't."
"Do you remember what he said?" I nodded solemnly, and Jean-Paul laughed lowly, nipping at my ear lobe as he ran his hand across my chest, tweaking a nipple. "Then I suppose you must go pick him up, but first, shower!"
Grabbing my wrist and pulling me into the bathroom with the enthusiasm of a child, I laughed and thought that maybe this really was love.
But I knew I was happy with him.
"Do you want me to hang back?" Jean-Paul asked as I locked the rental car, leaning against the silver chrome and looking around. He was dressed attractively, a relaxed pair of jeans and a black sweater, and I smiled as a group of women did a double take as they passed, openly appreciating his beauty. "Warren?"
"I'm not ashamed of what we have," I replied quietly, flicking a strand of hair from my eyes so I could better see those deep, intense blue eyes that watched me so intently. "And besides, you're really the only explanation I have for hanging up on Bobby."
Jean-Paul nodded and followed me into the airport, saying very little but smiling whenever our eyes met. A change, I realised, from when I had first seen him. Then, on the corner of Yonge and Dundas, he didn't smile at all, and those gorgeously intense cerulean eyes were devoid of anything but the dark mask of loneliness. He had come alive for me, I understood, and I for him.
"You're beautiful," I murmured softly, drawing an abashed smirk from his lips. He was so free with them, those little nuances his mouth took on when his tongue could not find the words. A man so elegantly spoken, his accent strong with his French Canadian heritage, his words always passionate and clear when he spoke to me, and I could barely find the words to tell him how utterly grateful I was to him, for making me smile again, for making me laugh again, for giving me a reason to fear death instead of long for it.
My head snapped away from my ... Jesus, from my *lover*, and to the caller of the name, Bobby, waving his hand in the air to draw my attention. Hank stood behind him, six newspapers clutched in his over-sized fists, face made a semblance of normal by the image inducer.
"Bobby, Hank," I said calmly, "you know Jean-Paul Beaubier."
"Northstar," Bobby muttered, those wide eyes looking at him first then turning to me then back again, him and me, me and him, and I blushed brightly as Bobby's jaw dropped to his knees. "Oh my *God*."
"It is a pleasure to meet both of you," Jean-Paul said warmly, giving me a huge grin before shaking Hank's hand firmly. Bobby, in his stupor, wasn't responding to the smile, but Northstar grabbed his hand anyway, giving it a quick flick of the wrist. "Perhaps we should move to the car, drive into town and have lunch?"
"Fabulous idea! I'm simply famished," Hank replied, immediately beginning to walk, and Jean-Paul kept Hank's pace, letting me deal with Bobby, who didn't look like he remembered how to move his legs.
"Bobby," I began slowly.
"That was him on the phone," he said quietly, his hand to his head. "You and he ..."
I blushed again, running my fingers sheepishly through my hair as my eyes dared to look at him. This was easier in concept, a piece of cake in my brain, but in person, seeing Bobby's utter look of surprise, I found myself stuttering. "Yeah, him and me. I didn't expect it. It just ... happened."
Bobby looked at me with a suspicious frown. "But you're straight."
"Not exactly," I mumbled, "and could you keep your voice down?"
Bobby looked nearly frantic, his eyebrows forming a line of complete perplexity. "But you're ... you're ... you're a playboy! If it has breasts and two legs, you're in bed and fucking like a bunny. I mean, *come on,* Warren, that was one of the few givens in my life. Hank, scientist. Scott, leader. Warren, *straight*."
"Bobby, we'll talk about this later, just not here. People are staring at us," I hissed, wanting to hit the guy and shut him up. I wasn't embarrassed about who I was, but I hadn't expected this from Bobby. Of them all, I thought he'd be the only one who understood. "What's your problem, Bobby?"
Bobby blinked. "Are you happy?"
"I am," I replied earnestly, hoping to god he'd just drop this and walk with me back to the car. "Bobby, when Betsy died, I wanted to die with her, and I came here to run away, to forget, to lose myself in the city. I'm sorry if I've shattered everything you ever thought about me, but I *am* happy. He made me smile again."
Bobby took a deep breath then nodded slowly, closing his eyes briefly before opening them again to *glare* at me. "If you *ever* run off like that again without telling anyone, especially when you've been that depressed for that long, I'm going to fucking slaughter you. Do you hear me? If you *ever* do that again, Hank and I are going to rip your balls off and feed them to the nearest squirrel."
"Squirrels aren't carnivores,"I said quietly, scratching the back of my neck and smiling weakly.
"Fine, Wolverine then," Bobby replied with a reluctant smirk, pointing his finger at me as if it was somehow threatening. He jabbed me in the centre of my chest before picking up his bags, shoving them at me. "Since you've been such a dick, you carry these."
I nodded. It was the least I could do.
Standing in line to get into a restaurant always caused my mind to wander. People idly chatted, trying to ignore their hunger and impatience, and I just couldn't bear to let my mind simmer in dull conversation. My short attention span had, from a very young age, caused people to call me flighty. In retrospect, that label always made me laugh.
Abruptly drawn out of my daydreaming, I turned to see that Hank had been abandoned by Jean-Paul and Bobby, both of whom had all but begged to be allowed to roam. I suppose there were people with even shorter attentive ranges than me. "Yeah?"
"I am filled with joy to see you smile again," he offered simply, hands spread as if that said everything he meant to say, and it did. I took his hand and shook it firmly, laughing when he dragged me into a hug. "Though the illustrious Robert Drake has assured me he told you that if such a stunt is attempted again, you, dear friend, shall be castrated."
"I'm sorry, Hank. I just had to leave before I snapped. I should have said something, but ... I never could find the words to describe what's in my head," I said quietly, our hands still clasped and ready to shake. "I am so sorry."
"All that matters is that you are alive and well, and dare I say, happy. Though, I must admit, your choice of companions is a bit of a shock."
"It is," I agreed, "but he is unlike anyone I have ever known. I'm afraid of what he brings out in me, a happiness that I'm still not sure should be in my heart, and I'm even more afraid of the strength of this feeling. And Hank?" Beast arched a blue eyebrow, probably reacting to the huge grin that was on my face. "I'm afraid I might give old Slim a heart attack when he finds out the news."
"Remind me to bring my camera."
Jean-Paul was fretting. I was trying to ignore him as he moved from one food option to the next, analysing then dismissing the choice, but he was just so demanding of attention. The way he moved, the way he would stop and remain perfectly still before tilting his head slightly and focussing those blue eyes on the options, it was all so drawing of attention.
"What?" He asked with a smile, responding to the grin I couldn't shake.
"I have never seen anyone so indecisive over food in my life."
"Says the man who can't make up his mind either!" Jean-Paul laughed, swaggering up to the next section and scrutinising the options. "Tell me, how do you feel about fish?"
"You're the one going to be kissing me later on. I'm just giving you the chance to save yourself the moment of repulsion if you're really don't like it." Jean-Paul shook his head. "No, no fish. *I* don't like fish. Steak!"
The woman at the fish counter was grinning, trying hard to hid it but not hard enough, because she leaned forward and laughed lightly, catching my eyes. "You guys are really cute together, you know that?"
"Thanks," I said quietly. Jean-Paul had moved onto hassling Bobby, who was trying to very hard to ignore every comment Jean-Paul dropped on the topic of his orientation. It was cruel, perhaps, but maybe he would be the one to finally shake Bobby out of his dream. If he was straight, I would eat every silk tie I owned.
And I owned a lot of silk ties.
"Warren, get him to leave me alone," Bobby murmured as he ducked behind an arrangement of French rolls. I merely smiled and crossed my arms over my chest. "Warren, please, come on. You know I'm not gay."
"Hey, my gaydar might not be as finely tuned as his, but ..."
Bobby snarled and gave me the finger, though he glanced at me lingered one second too long. Yes, Frosty, you would be honest with yourself one of these days, maybe not today but soon. Just watch us and see that it's *all right* to be yourself.
I ordered my meal, chicken, which drew the mandatory jokes from Hank and Bobby about cannibalism, which I took with great patience and many forced smiles. Eventually, they left me alone and went back to the table.
When I finally arrived, Jean-Paul was already eating, trying very hard to ignore Hank and his bowl of oysters. Hank had this thing about oysters. He knew everyone hated them so he tended to make a grand production out of eating them, slurping, speaking to them, comparing them to organs he'd dissected in school.
"Hey, is that cooked enough?" Bobby asked Jean-Paul, referring to the bloody lump of meat Jean-Paul called steak. In retort, Jean-Paul stabbed his lunch with a fork, lifted it and made it moo. Loudly. Thereby stealing my greatest, and only, steak-inspired joke. "Oh, God, you're clones."
"Non, we're both just wonderful examples of perfection in the male form. I mean, look at us," Jean-Paul gestured at me and only greatly implied himself, "we're gorgeous and witty with impeccable tastes, both in food and in lovers. You're just jealous you didn't get to me first."
Bobby and Hank shared a grin. "Clones!"
Jean-Paul smirked and put a piece of steak in his mouth, making a subtle production of the act, and I tried not to groan, flashing back to our shower together and the wondrous things his mouth had done to me. "This tastes incredibly familiar. Mmm. Taste this."
I eyed him but ate the piece of meat offered, chewing slowly as I concentrated on the taste. It was good, for one, with a slightly bitter after-flavour that only added to the ambience. "Yeah, I've tasted it before."
"Obviously you've given yourself head as well," Jean-Paul said dryly, and I choked, Lord, did I choke on everything I had in my mouth, not sure whether to laugh my hardest or slink under the table in utter humiliation.
"Oh! I can't believe you just said that!" Bobby cried, pushing away his own steak as his face took on a semblance of absolute repulsion. Hank was laughing, either at Jean-Paul, Bobby or myself, but he was laughing. Heartily. "Yuck!"
"Come now," Jean-Paul said with a grin, going in for the kill. He was absolutely merciless. "We're all superheroes here, among the most limber and flexible young stags alive. Tell me you've never performed a little auto-fellatio, and I'll call you a liar."
"You are not saying this," Bobby decided, putting his hands to his ears. "This is all a dream. I should have caught on when Warren showed up with you. This is all fake. All right, Bobbo, wake up now before it starts getting really scary."
"Warren?" Jean-Paul asked with a coy smile, and beneath the table his fingers were on my right thigh, rubbing, stroking, sending shots of pleasure straight into my groin. I bit my lip, and he cupped my crotch, the subtle smile breaking into a huge grin. "Care to share?"
I swallowed. Loudly. "I'll let my silence speak for me."
"Oh!" Bobby groaned, shaking his head, his face a strange shade of maroon from the effort he was exerting trying to ignore us. "You always were one for giving too much information, Warren! Too much!"
"Alas, my bulk does not allow for much flexibility," Hank said with a grin, laughing as Bobby's jaw dropped, utterly aghast and rapidly losing faith in humanity. We kept this up for another ten minutes until Bobby was nearly comatose.
After lunch, we saw a movie, walked around, acted normal as normal could be. Jean-Paul, on more than one occasion, took my hand and walked with it, proud to be gay, a life in him that had not been there in the beginning, and I walked with him, once even being so daring to rest my arm over his shoulders as we gazed at Lake Ontario while the sun set.
It was a gorgeous sight, the water was, but not nearly as beautiful as he was smiling.
Not even close.
Hank and Bobby had been given theirs rooms, right down the hall from mine – *ours* – and despite my pleas otherwise, they seemed hellbent on making a vacation out of it until it was time to leave. It was no use protesting. I had done them harm, now they would do me some in return. Wonderful friends, they were, and I owed them everything for having come this far to save me.
"For what?" I asked, watching Jean-Paul stand at the window and look down at the lake, seeing how the water shimmered in the moonlight and how the rich colours of the water seemed even more unreal at night. I had stared at the lake for hours for my first few nights in Toronto, completely mesmerised by the beauty. I was used to the radiance of the sky, but I had never sat and admired the sea until I came here. "Jean-Paul?"
Those cool, blue eyes turned to rest on me, his face a solemn mask, caught between deep introspection of himself and reflection of the day. "For not denying me. I ... understand it must have been hard, to tell them ... to admit ..."
"Actually," I said slowly, watching his face falter when he could not find the words and standing up to be at his side, "it was probably the easiest thing I have done in my life. I never thought, even for a moment, to hide you from them."
Jean-Paul arched a black eyebrow. "Not once?"
"No. Not once."
Jean-Paul took my hand and kissed the palm, holding it to his mouth as his eyes fluttered shut. My other hand lifted to his face, brushing my fingers through his dark hair and curling them around the back of his neck. "Will you fly with me tonight?"
"Always," I said quietly, my lips finding his, touching upon them ever so softly before letting it deepen, drinking the sweetness of his mouth and finding myself giddy from the taste. We fit so well together, him and I, our lips had a way of melding together so that it hurt to separate. "Will you help me out of the harness?"
"Always," he repeated, his fingers unbuttoning my shirt quickly and efficiently, pushing the white cloth off my shoulders and watching it briefly as it fluttered to the floor. His hands deftly moved to the buckles of the leather harness, quickly shedding my body of the damned thing. "Birds are not meant to be caged."
I pressed my lips to his neck, addicted to his grace and his beauty, and I sucked gently on the muscled length, trailing my kisses up to his jaw and along the strong line. Jean-Paul moaned as I managed to the get his shirt off, my fingers greedily pressed upon his chest and stroking the erect nubs that pointed out so urgently.
"First flying," Jean-Paul gasped, kicking off his shoes, "then love."
I nodded, shakily stepping back from him, and he took my hand, twining our fingers together and pulling me towards the balcony. It was cool outside, but the blood was racing so quickly through my veins I barely felt it.
"Have you ever stood on the edge of the earth and looked to see what lay beyond?" I smiled and shook my head, and Jean-Paul laid another kiss on my face, my cheek this time and the touch burned it was so hot. "This is what is there, you and I, without a care in the world, happy with each other and willing to see just how far we can fly."
And we jumped, free-falling for only a few seconds before my wings flapped upwards, hissing pass my ears, and I was soaring, the wind brushing my skin as I flew into the night. Jean-Paul was next to me, grinning brilliantly as gravity lifted away and freed us from her fist.
Like last night, the sight of the city was gorgeous, dark save for the sparkles of light that interrupted the shadow. Cars moved below us, lines crisscrossing their way through town, but they were all unaware of us, Angel and Northstar, Warren and Jean-Paul, mutants and lovers.
And in love? I didn't know. Maybe. I would think about that later. Right now, I just wanted this moment of calm joy, of quiet grace, of utter peace. I wanted to feel his body against mine, to feel the blood flow and the heart beat and the strength of his body, of his muscles and of his desire. No, I could never be ashamed of wanting this man because he was beautiful, in mind and in body.
"Come with me," Jean-Paul said, tugging my arm, and I followed him as we landed atop the closest skyscraper. Jean-Paul blushed faintly as my eyes went wide, taking in the sight of the blankets and pillows and smiling to myself. "Surprise. I thought, since we are both avian, that this would be a memorable place to make love for the first time."
I couldn't find words, I didn't have to, because he kissed me firmly, sealing my mouth with his, and I returned his touches eagerly, exalting in the glide of his tongue against mine. To be kissed by him, it made my knees weak and my heart race. I had always prided myself on my ability to handle a mouth, but I had never met my equal until now, melting in his arms and all too willing to let myself go completely.
"Make love to me, Warren?" Jean-Paul murmured, severing our connection as he spoke softly into my ear, his fingers stroking their way through my hair. "Just ... love me. I have not been with a man like this in years ... I save this part of me for people who can stir life in my heart. You and I, we were such broken men until we met."
"Yet you have pieced me back together when I thought it couldn't be done," I said with great gentleness, admiring the vast honestly of his face, finding my fingers running over the high cheekbones and the arched nose and the thin lips. "I would be honoured to love you."
So he took my hand and led me to the blankets, kneeling down and waiting for me to do the same. Without letting my fingers stray from his handsome face, I sunk slowly to my knees and leaned forward, meeting his lips for that wonderful dance in which I knew every step. Slowly and with a hand on the small of his back, I dipped him down the sheets and sat between his legs.
Propping himself up on his elbows, Jean-Paul smiled a crooked grin and gasped when I pressed my lips to his belly, that fine plane too delicious to ignore. My hands went to the buttons of his jeans, popping them open one by one as my mouth worked over his stomach, kissing every muscle with great care.
Jean-Paul lifted his hips as I urged the pants down his legs, immediately kissing the indent between hip and belly, the secret part of a person that I took great joy in. A fetish, I supposed, that I loved that bit of skin so much, but the softness, the gentle slopes, I loved them all.
"In my pocket," Jean-Paul muttered, his head thrown back as he stared at the buildings, mouth parted sensually as he gasped for air. "I do not mean to imply you are ..."
"No," I said quietly, taking the small tube of lubricant and condoms from his pocket, holding them in my fist as I leaned up to kiss him. "It's better to be safe. Thank you, for caring enough to think about both of us."
He smiled and brought my mouth to his, his tongue dipping beyond my teeth and touching mine, curling around it and bringing part of me into him. I laid my arms over his head, resting on my forearms as his hands went to my pants, sliding between my legs to cup the heavy bulge.
"Always impressive," he whispered with a smile, laughing when I gasped a squeak, pushing into his palm. He took such delight in that part of me, seemed truly to love it and appreciate the delicious pain it gave me. "I want you in me, to feel that part of you become a part of me."
"You have to stop saying these things," I muttered, "or I'll come in your hand."
As if to spite me, Jean-Paul squeezed his fingers together and rubbed a long, hard rub in the most perfect way I could have imagined. "Would that be so awful?"
"More for you than for me." I drank of his lips again, lifting myself as he pushed my pants off my hips, running the cloth down my legs until I could kick them off. That first touch of one erection against the other is something that burns into memory, and when I lowered myself onto him and felt the *heat* of his desire for me, my world seemed to shake. "My God, I'd forgotten what it felt like."
"Like heaven," Jean-Paul murmured, licking my neck with a gentle caress of his talented tongue, but his fingers were on my back and clutching desperately. "The edge of heaven, where the mysteries of this type of love dwell, where man loves man and is not ashamed to give himself to that desire. I have really only dared to look in this place a few times, Warren, but people hate me for it, and I cannot understand why."
I looked at him, seeing that sadness I tried so hard to erase from his heart back and burning in his eyes. "I wish I could explain why people hate, but I can't." I touched my lips to his in a chaste display of affection before pressing that same touch kiss to his heart. "And I wish to god I could. Such a cruel world ..."
"Yet," Jean-Paul said, "such a happy one, too."
I smiled and he pressed a foil packet into my hand, reluctantly letting me go as I sat back and prepared myself, looking at him for what seemed the thousandth time, and each time I could barely believe my eyes, to think that this man, this beautiful creature, wanted me in return. A long body, pale white in the glint of the moon, and pale eyes that seemed to house dark shadows beneath black lashes, my heart leapt for joy whenever I beheld him.
Jean-Paul lay back when I returned to him, looking into the sky and drawing the beauty of the stars into him. Our faces met and touched, my lips near his ear and my nose taking in the scent of his hair as my arms brought his legs around my waist. He was relaxed completely beneath me, his heart beating a wild rhythm against my chest, and I pushed into him, slowly and gently, smiling at every gasp that left his mouth. I was struck with a profound sense of awe, as if it was all beginning to sink in and I was coming to gripes with myself and my place in this world. Right now, that place was deep within the body beneath me, and I was attuned to every sound he made and had the strength to ask when I didn't understand some of them. "Is that all right?"
"Perfect," he whispered in my ear, his voice soft and cracking with every word, rolling his hips and bringing me further into his heat, his heels digging into my back and holding me as tightly as he could. "Utterly perfect, mon amour."
I loved fast and wild fucking as much as the next person, especially if I knew I'd never see her again, but I loved it more when it was slow and careful, tender and loving. It rarely was, so I glorified in our union, thrusting casually as I kissed over his neck and his shoulders and his chest, drinking of his mouth, whispering his name in his ear. And the gasps he gave me in return, the sudden arches upward or the gentle squirm of his hips, they were all such pure manifestations of beauty that I became breathless atop him. I rested my head against his as our fingers twined, breathing into his mouth as he gasped into mine, until with a kiss, we reached that point of complete release and fell into each other.
In time, I moved off him and cleaned his stomach with a towel, before doing the same to my sweaty body. The night air caught up with me, and I shivered slightly, barely being allowed to blink before warm arms wrapped around me and held me tightly.
"Thank you," Jean-Paul whispered, and I looked at him, letting our eyes greet in a raw expression of feelings. With a shaking hand, I wiped away the tears then laid my head on his shoulder, content to hear the steady thump of his heart. "I do not think I will every think of Toronto the same way. It has become magical, Warren."
"You're leaving," I said quietly.
"Not yet," he replied, sitting back with me still folded in his embrace, his chest hot against my back, between the feathers of my wings. "But soon. I have an obligation to my country, to my people. A few more days, at most."
I closed my eyes, hot tears threatening to escape when I wouldn't let them. I didn't like crying so I didn't do it, I hadn't even cried when Betsy died, but now, now I felt as if I would never stop if I allowed myself to start. "I'll take what I can get."
"I'll come visit," he said, "and you'll come visit me. It will probably work to our advantage. We are men ill-suited to conventional relationships, so we will improvise. Phone. Email. Vacations in exotically warm places."
"Anywhere," I said, blinking rapidly and trying to vanquish the choke from my lips. Jean-Paul heard it and tightened his hold, leaning forward as he looked over my shoulder to the bustling city below. "Are we fools to try this?"
"Perhaps," Jean-Paul whispered, brushing his cheek against the crown of my brow, "but we would be even greater fools to deny that something between us works. I do not understand it. Others do not understand it. You, Warren, do not understand either, but it's there and it's right. Do you feel it?"
"I do," I breathed, submitting myself to his embrace and the comfortable silence that followed.
I knew then that I had lied to him before out of fear, not having the strength to be entirely honest with him because, yes, I had looked over the edge of the earth, and I had seen Jean-Paul there, but I couldn't tell him that, not yet because I was still so afraid I would lose him. I was close yet still too far; the edge was near and I would jump soon and tumble freely into my fate.
Toronto, a gorgeous city where I found the most gorgeous man in the world.