“Oh shit,” Rirdan said. “The Krixin Resort is opening to the public for a week next month.”
Devere leaned into the room from the galley. “Shit, really?” he asked. The Krixin Resort was always filled with rich idiots, which would be reason enough to hit it, but Devere’s old partner, M’ŋary, had a key to a physical safe in the Member Resources office, which Devere had managed to get a hold of before abandoning their old ship.
“Ah, never mind,” Rirdan said.
“What? What never mind?” Devere asked. He wiped his hands on his apron and went into the main room. “The Krixin Resort could buy us a planet. I told you about the safe, right?”
Dardan grunted affirmatively. “That’s why I said something.” He tapped a claw against the outside of the screen. “But it’s not open to the public, there’s fine print.”
“We can fake fine print,” Devere said. He leaned over Rirdan to look at the screen. “What’s it even– Oh.” There was a big “couples only” banner, which Devere didn’t think counted as “fine” print.
“So forget it,” Rirdan said. He clicked away from the tab. “We’ll have to find another way.”
Devere frowned. “Now hold on,” he said. “This could work.”
Rirdan swiveled around in the chair. It had taken Devere some time to learn ghakir facial expressions, but that one had been one of the first: incredulity. Or disgust. Usually the same thing, in Devere’s experience with Rirdan. “How could it work? We’re not a couple.”
Devere rolled his eyes. “Rirdan, we’re criminals. We just lie.”
“You get your eyes checked lately?” Rirdan asked. “You’re a tiny, squishy human, and I’m a big fucking ghakir.”
Devere crossed his arms. “Are you saying we couldn’t fall in love?”
Rirdan rolled his eyes, a human habit he picked up to make it clear to Devere how ridiculous he thought he was. “What’s the first question you’d ask any ghakir/human couple?”
“Oh,” Devere said. “‘How do you have sex?'”
Rirdan was more than twice Devere’s height, and probably four or five times his weight. He was one of the smaller ghakirs Devere had ever seen in real life. Even sitting at the computer terminal, hunched over to see because he insisted he didn’t need visual correctives and had to get right up next to the screen, he was as tall as Devere was. Sometimes, he exercised his vetoes over Devere’s plans by picking him up and walking away from whatever Devere was trying to do.
Which wasn’t even mentioning the teeth, talons, or armor plates. They were useful in a criminal partner, especially when Devere wrote bluff checks he couldn’t pass, but posed some minor logistical problems for a lover without armor themselves. Ghakirs were the largest sentients in the galactic community, unless you counted hives, and humans were at the small end of average. How a ghakir and a human would have sex was a question worth asking, even before you got into foreplay and genitals and length of coitus.
“I can’t keep that story straight,” Rirdan said. “I have no idea how a ghakir and a human would fuck. And you’ll make up a buncha shit and forget to tell me, and we’ll be made. Can you finish dinner? I’m starving.”
Devere walked back into the mess. “The Krixin Resort, though,” he muttered. He picked up the one knife they had and thought about the last time the gravity generator failed. Grav generators were expensive as hell, and the ship needed a new one. He chopped the rest of the meat, then minced the vegetables.
There had to have been other humans and ghakirs who’d had sex. It was a big galaxy. But if no one had posted it anywhere, that wouldn’t help, and they only paid for the standard porn webs for the ship. There had to be some xeno with a size kink out there offering human/ghakir porn, but niche shit like that would cost a lot. If he was planetside, it’d be easy to steal someone’s access, but that didn’t help either; if they changed course to the system the Krixin was in, there’d be no time to stop planetside to steal porn. Getting through atmo in this ship, or getting through customs without it, would take days they’d barely have. And stealing the access would take time, too.
No, that was a stupid plan. He dumped all the veggies into the skillet, then scraped the meat off the cutting board into its marinade. But it had been fifteen years since the last time the Krixin Resort let non-members in, and Devere would never be able to afford the kind of forgeries it’d take to get membership without the money from the Krixin safe. And he wasn’t exactly a galactic-level crook; he shared a failing two-room ship with a giant alien monster. He didn’t have another payoff even half the size of the Krixin safe on his radar, let alone with a goddamn key, location, and floor plan.
He tossed the vegetables in the skillet, and manually stirred the pieces that got stuck. He’d be so screwed if the grav went out again right now, and Rirdan would think I told you so so loud it’d give even psychically deaf Devere a headache. There had to be a way to make this couples’ retreat thing work.
Rirdan was right, though; even if folks didn’t ask how they did it, they’d ask once they had a few drinks in them, and the Krixin was a notorious drinking club. It was the only place in the galaxy with a whole rack of those alcohol neutralizers. That shit usually lived in hospitals, or one or two in trillionaires’ homes. And Devere would embellish a cover, he couldn’t help himself. The first job they worked together, Rirdan threatened to rip one of his arms off if he did that again without warning him. He’d never made good on that threat, because despite being a ghakir, he was basically a pussycat. He did get pissy, though, and that meant he’d passive-aggressively leave the toilet dilated for his giant ass and Devere would fall in and get stuck. And apart from that, Rirdan put up with Devere better than anyone else except M’ŋary, who was either dead or in a very unpleasant prison on a high-grav planet. Either way, she wouldn’t be eager to take him back after he stole her safe key.
Their covers worked best when they both knew all the details, or they were based on the truth. For a long job, like a week cleaning out the Krixin Resort, it’d be easier to stick to the truth. Could they say they were an asexual couple, who stayed together for romance? No, Devere was awful at pretending to be ace; he always forgot to not check people out. Plus, it was a toss-up if anyone would believe they actually liked each other enough for that.
Devere tipped the meat into the pan. The marinade sizzled as it came in contact with the metal. “What if we just had sex,” he muttered. “Don’t have to figure out porn, don’t risk making shit up, people would definitely believe you’d stay with someone who’s good in bed…” He stirred the meat and veggies. “Would have to have sex. Have to reconfigure the beds again…. But there would be plenty of time on the way there…”
From the other room, Rirdan shouted, “Why do you have time for muttering when my dinner’s still not done?”
Devere yelled, “Fuck off, I’m thinking!”
“Pull the other three!”
“Fuck you!” Devere said. The meat was barely cooked, which was how they both liked it. When they went to ghakir restaurants, waiters would refuse to serve Devere until he explained no, human restaurants had the same warning, he knew, it was fine. So he turned off the heat and yelled to Rirdan, “It’s done, you big lizard!”
“Finally,” Rirdan grumbled, which was loud enough to carry into the mess from the other room. Even on ships and stations bigger than this bucket, Rirdan’s voice carried for rooms and rooms.
“Hey,” Devere said, divvying up the food as Rirdan walked into the room, “what if we just had sex?”
Rirdan smashed his leg into the table trying to sit down. “What?”
Devere slid Rirdan’s bowl across the table to him, and plucked a fork from the used sani container he kept his silverware in. He said, “We wouldn’t have to keep our stories straight if we just did it once. Then when someone asks how it even works, we could just tell them.”
Rirdan stared at him as he sat down and uncapped his water bottle. He didn’t even look at the food he’d been so into. “I wish,” Rirdan said, “I could say that was your stupidest idea.”
“When’s the next time we’ll have any shot at the Krixin Resort?” Devere asked.
Rirdan looked down at his bowl, finally, and speared a chunk of meat with his claws. “I guess half a quarter ton of latinum is more than the million creds I said would be enough to fuck an alien.” Devere laughed. Rirdan asked, “Are we close enough to get there in time?”
“Yeah, it’s just a boring route from here,” Devere said. The food was probably cool enough by now for him to eat. He took a bite, and immediately let it fall out of his mouth back onto his plate. Every damn time, he burned his tongue.
Rirdan grunted. Devere rolled his eyes. “Whatever, sorry,” he said, because Rirdan always told him how gross it was to see half-masticated food in a human’s mouth. “It was hot.”
Rirdan shrugged and said, “Well, you are disgusting, but I just realized we’ll have to reconfigure the other room again.”
Devere sighed. “Yeah.”
When they finished eating, Devere changed their course and cycled their ship IDs to a clean set, while Rirdan cleared off the dishes and put them in the sani. If they’d had any leftovers, he would have cleaned those up too, stuck them in the cooler or whatever, but Devere found it exhausting to make enough food to have leftovers when he already had to feed a ghakir.
He went back to the main room, where Rirdan was at the terminal, reserving them a spot at the Krixin Resort Couples’ Special Retreat. “Guess I shouldn’t use one of your married aliases,” he said as Devere crossed the room.
“Unless that paperwork says I’m married to a male ghakir,” Devere said.
“Shockingly,” Rirdan said, “we don’t have anything like that prepared.”
“Just make sure we’re bourgie enough to fit in at Krixin,” Devere said, unmooring the bed segment he’d been using.
“Don’t tell me how to do my job,” Rirdan growled, like always. He looked over at Devere, who was piling his bedding out of the way. “Are we doing that now?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, do you have other plans?”
Reservations made and fake credit history sent, Rirdan got up to help reconfigure the room. The only way to get a bed big enough for both of them was to use all the bed segments at once, perpendicular to the terminal wall. Which was almost as different from the configuration they’d been using as it could get. It involved ceiling work, which Rirdan could at least do without much effort.
They had to shove all the furniture that wasn’t built-in into the mess, which meant another prayer that the grav didn’t fail while all that shit was unmoored.
“I can’t wait,” Devere said, bracing a segment while Rirdan tried to get the first two to catch together right, “to fix this piece of shit’s gravity generator.”
“What, you’re not going to just buy a new one and junk this junk?” Rirdan asked.
“Hell no,” Devere said. The segments Rirdan was wrestling with finally clicked. Devere almost fell over when Rirdan grabbed the segment he was bracing, to slide it into place. “It takes too much time and money to gut a new ship for smuggling. And new ships have to be fucking convinced to accept rotating IDs.”
“It’s almost like they don’t want us to commit crimes,” Rirdan said. This segment clicked into place right away.
Devere grinned. “So you’re gonna buy a ship, huh?”
“Not unless you’re kicking me out,” Rirdan said. “I’d have to find someone else who can do manual nav routes. You convinced me.” He reached up to slide the ceiling lock into place.
“Did you just admit I was right about something?” Devere asked. “Computer,” he said, though the voice function on this ship hadn’t worked since he drunkenly shot a hole in the hull, “make a note of the date so I can commemorate this–”
Rirdan hip-checked Devere’s shoulder, knocking the breath out of him. “You know more than me about one thing,” Rirdan said. “Don’t get too excited.”
Devere rubbed his shoulder. “So I’m stuck with you, is what you’re saying.”
Rirdan slid the last ceiling panel into position. He had to pound on it to get it to latch. “Well, you can’t be too upset about it,” Rirdan said. “Since you just convinced me to fuck you.”
“You are a means to an end, big guy.” Devere grabbed a chair from the mess and started hauling it back across the main room. “Even if I was xeno,” he said, “someone three times my size wouldn’t be my first pick.”
Rirdan shoved another bed segment into place and said, “Are you trying to say you’re not xeno?”
“I’m not,” Devere said. He locked the chair into a mooring slot.
“You’ve fucked every shenarr you’ve ever met,” Rirdan said. He waved Devere over to help him maneuver the last bed segment into place.
“Shenarr don’t count,” Devere said. “They’re basically human.” He bend down to lock the bed segments into the floor.
“They have four extra joints and glow-in-the-dark horns,” Rirdan said. “I’m no biologist, but they don’t look human to me.” He tossed their bundles of bedding onto their new giant bed. “You just like being bigger than them.”
“Everyone likes feeling big,” Devere said. He went back to the mess to get more of the furniture back.
“I only fuck people who are bigger than me,” Rirdan said. “Don’t be anthropocentric, asshole.”
“I don’t think that’s even anthropocentric, I was just talking bullshit,” Devere admitted. “Get your lounger out of the way.”
“But I don’t know where I’m going to put it,” Rirdan said.
“I don’t care, it’s in the way,” Devere said. “Just move it for now.”
Finally, the room was rearranged. Everything was moored down and accessible, and they had managed not to pinch any fingers or toes or claws in anything. Rirdan made the bed on his own, after pushing Devere off the pile of bedding onto the floor. Then, he stripped off his shirt.
“Oh, fuck,” Devere said. “Are we doing this now?”
“Why else would we reconfigure the room?” Rirdan asked.
“To get it out of the way!” Devere said, getting to his feet.
“Well I want to get this out of the way,” Rirdan said. “I know if I have time to think about it, it’ll get weird.”
Devere thought about spending the next two or three days in a room they’d reconfigured so they could have sex, sharing a bed, and not doing it. Rirdan was right; the longer they put it off, the weirder it would get. It’d turn into a whole thing. “Ugh,” he said, and unzipped his jumpsuit. “Fine.”
“This was your idea,” Rirdan grumbled, bracing himself against the wall so he could pull off his pants. His claws left marks on the panels, but if Devere cared about that, he shouldn’t have moved in with a ghakir in the first place. It did make the ship look lived-in, and not just grungy.
They’d seen each other in their underwear before, of course. It was only a two-room ship, really, since the engine room wasn’t livable space and the control console only had a little nook and a bench, with not even a door. But Devere had never been pulling off his jumpsuit, while Rirdan was down to his jockey shorts, because they were going to have sex.
Rirdan was not built like a bodybuilder. He was built like a monster, which is to say, an alien, because he was one. Humans sometimes called ghakirs “lizards”, but the lizard they had the most in common with was probably Godzilla. They had thick necks and a hunched over posture. Devere wouldn’t have called ghakirs in general attractive, but he knew Rirdan, and it wasn’t hard to think of things about his friend that were appealing. His rumbly voice was very expressive, once you got the hang of it. How much he looked like an old human when he squinted at text he couldn’t make out because he really needed vision correction.
Now that they were undressed and about to have sex, Devere found himself staring at Rirdan’s thighs. Like any ghakir’s, they were thick, to support all the bulk of those shoulders and head and armor plates. Unlike his back and arms, his legs were not armored at all. His thighs seemed extra naked, because of that.
Also, obviously, the bulge in his shorts was enormous. Maybe not proportionally, because Devere had only ever seen the one ghakir naked, but Rirdan was three times Devere’s size. Devere could have easily worn Rirdan’s underwear as a hat, and only fill out the front.
Rirdan stripped off his underwear and sat on the bed. Was this a stupid idea? Couldn’t be that stupid, or Rirdan wouldn’t have agreed to it. Devere finished pulling off his jumpsuit and skivvies, and sat down across from Rirdan. “So what do ghakirs do for foreplay?” he asked. “‘Cause I don’t know how well ‘making out’ is gonna work.”
“Scratching each other’s armor with our claws doesn’t seem too promising, either,” Rirdan said.
At least it seems physically possible,” Devere said. “I really don’t know how kissing you would work.”
“Ugh,” Rirdan said. “That’s so weird. It’d be a total turn-off anyway.”
“Well the threat of being ripped apart doesn’t exactly do it for me,” Devere said.
Rirdan reached out and ran the tip of a claw down Devere’s thigh. “Aw, I’d never rip you apart,” Rirdan said. “It’d be so much more satisfying to space you.”
Devere snorted. Rirdan’s claw traced a line up his other thigh, and when it grew close to his hip bone, Devere shivered. It was a lot like someone running their nails over his skin, or the very tips of their fingers. Not his first choice in foreplay activities, but doable. “Yeah,” he said, “this could get me going. What about you?”
Rirdan frowned. Not that it had that much in common with a human frown, but his eyes looked pissed as hell to Devere, which he’d learned actually meant Rirdan was thinking. He ran all three of his claws up Devere’s side and across his chest. Devere’s breath caught when they almost, but didn’t quite, run over his nipples. He felt them tighten in response. “Well?” he demanded, because this had turned into a long silence and it was hard to be so far out on the line like this.
“I don’t know,” Rirdan said. “It’s not as satisfying to be this careful.”
“Ugh,” Devere said. He looked down at his own nails, short and uneven. He wasn’t sure Rirdan would even notice them against his plates. But reciprocation was probably the way to go if Rirdan was going to get anything out of this.
He gave scratching Rirdan’s shoulder plate a shot anyway. Rirdan snorted, the vibration of which Devere could feel in the bones of his hand, still on Rirdan’s shoulder. “Come on,” he said, “you don’t even have real claws.”
That was true, but it also reminded Devere of the first time they’d had an argument about who could destroy something more effectively. He’d given up on his hands and nails, and cracked the thing open with his teeth and spat it out. Rirdan had been surprised his jaw was that strong. He couldn’t crack a decent-sized jawbreaker unless it had an uneven surface he could wedge a tooth into.
So Devere got up on his knees and bit into the shoulder plate his nails had been so ineffective on. Or rather, bit against it, since even a human couldn’t open their mouth that far. There was give when he applied a good deal of pressure, but it was like biting very thick leather or rather hard plastic. It wasn’t that pleasant, but it wasn’t awful, either.
And Rirdan’s hands twitched, and he groaned a rumble against Devere’s teeth. Devere pressed a kiss against the plate, and leaned back to ask, “That’ll work for you?”
“Yeah, I can work with that,” Rirdan said. So Devere climbed up on Rirdan’s leg, carefully straddled him so he could reach a few plates easily without kneeing Rirdan in the junk, and leveraged his teeth against his partner’s armor.
Rirdan touched him lightly, running his claws up and down Devere’s body, across his back, and tentatively up his neck to Devere’s scalp. Rirdan had the harder job, Devere thought, because he had to be gentle and careful, and Devere was actively trying to exert as much force as possible. If he clamped down with his teeth when Rirdan’s claws trailed across the nape of his neck, Rirdan was in basically no danger, whereas if Rirdan forgot he was touching a squishy, armor-less human, he could easily shred Devere to a useless and bloody mess.
But Rirdan was very careful, and his low groans reverberated through Devere’s body, and even if Devere was drooling a little and his teeth hurt, it didn’t take that long until he was hard and grinding down onto Rirdan’s thigh. He couldn’t really see, pressed against Rirdan’s shoulder, but he thought the warmth pressing against his left knee was physical evidence Rirdan was into it too.
Devere had never made a close study of it, but he knew ghakirs’ dicks functioned basically the same as humans’, even though they looked fucking weird. Apparently penises were an effective solution to reproduction, because they evolved multiple times on Earth, and showed up on other species across the galaxy as well. Which was convenient, if you happened to be one of those species.
He leaned back to take a look at what he was dealing with. Rirdan’s dick was, of course, at least as long as Devere’s forearm. It was such a bright pink it was practically fluorescent, especially compared to the dull mud color of his armor. It had what Devere would call a knot about three-quarters of the way down the shaft. All of that, he’d known and been sort of prepared for.
Devere tapped a finger on the head of Rirdan’s dick, well back from the tip. “The fuck is this?” he asked, even though he was pretty sure he knew.
“What do you mean? It’s a urethra,” Rirdan said. “You have one, don’t you?” He pushed Devere back a little and looked down at Devere’s dick. “Oh. Weird.”
“‘Oh, weird,’ that’s all you have to say?” Devere demanded.
“Well it’s not very sexy if I say you look like you’re missing a chunk of your dick,” Rirdan said.
Devere glared at him a moment, then started chuckling. He collapsed onto Rirdan’s chest, laughing. “This isn’t going to work, is it?”
“It was working fine before you started questioning my junk,” Rirdan grumbled. “First you talk me into fucking you, then you give me a split drip.”
“I don’t know what that means but it sounds disgusting,” Devere said. He looked up at Rirdan’s face. “Really?”
“There’s a lot of shit I’ve faked for you,” Rirdan said, “but I can honestly say I’ve never faked a hard-on, for you or anyone else.”
Devere looked down, at the massive dick still pressed against his leg, barely wilted by the interruption. “Oh,” he said. “Yeah, I guess.” He reached down to run his fingers down it. Rirdan let out the tiniest growl, almost a sigh. Devere scraped his teeth against his chest plate. “So,” he said, “you don’t need a firm touch here?” He tapped the head of Rirdan’s dick.
“Shit, no,” Rirdan said. “Does that look like it has armor?”
“Well I dunno how rough you like it,” Devere said. Rirdan rolled his eyes. He pressed just a little harder on Devere’s sides with his claws, and Devere took a sharp inward breath. “That’s good,” he said, probably unnecessarily.
So they went back to it easily enough, Rirdan’s claws tracing the curves of Devere’s body, Devere scraping his teeth against Rirdan’s armor, and both of them pressing their dicks into the other’s leg. Rirdan traced delicate lines up and down Devere’s spine, and Devere shuddered and ground against Rirdan’s thigh. Every once in a while, Rirdan would press his claws harder against Devere’s skin, digging in just a little, and Devere would lose track of what he was doing and let his jaw go slack against Rirdan’s armor.
“Hey,” Rirdan said. Devere looked up at him again, wiping the drool off his chin with the back of his hand. “I wanna try something,” Rirdan said. “Turn around.”
Devere peeled his sweaty lower body off Rirdan’s thigh, and shuffled around until he was leaning back against Rirdan’s chest, still straddling one of Rirdan’s legs, because he was a little worried if he sat between Rirdan’s legs, he’d be crushed. Not really worried; it was just a concerning possibility.
Rirdan wrapped one huge arm around Devere and pulled him snugly against his front. Devere wouldn’t have said he liked being manhandled like that, but Rirdan did it enough in day-to-day life that it didn’t seem out of place while they were having sex. Then Rirdan’s other claws slid up Devere’s knee, and trailed up Devere’s thigh to his hip. Devere’s breath hitched when Rirdan’s claws trailed near his dick.
“Not that I don’t trust you,” Devere said, “but are you sure you can do this without shish-kebabing my dick?”
Rirdan made an affirmative rumble. “I’m pretty sure I’ve got it now,” he said.
“‘Pretty sure’ is not the most reassuring thing you could say right n–” Words evaporated from Devere’s mind as Rirdan drew a claw up Devere’s dick. It was a maddeningly light touch, especially compared to grinding down onto Rirdan’s giant, meaty thigh. It was also perfect, which wasn’t exactly something he would have bet on ahead of time, but he wasn’t about to complain now. “Holy shit,” he said, when Rirdan’s other claws joined the party. Rirdan’s hands were big enough that he could have a claw on each side of Devere’s dick, lightly and carefully enough that Devere wasn’t worried anymore about his dick being skewered. The closest thing Devere could think to compare it to was those weird metal spider things people at the mall used on people’s heads, except on his dick. It didn’t feel anything like any other sex he’d ever had, but there was no fucking question it was sexy.
Rirdan trailed his other claws across Devere’s chest, catching on his nipples one after another, and Devere’s hips jerked. The way Rirdan’s claws caged Devere’s dick meant that was perfectly safe; he had plenty of space to buck. Rirdan had figured this out pretty well. Devere reached down blindly and groped for Rirdan’s dick, which wasn’t hard to find. Rirdan grumbled when he did, and Devere felt it in his chest and skull. “Don’t distract me,” he rumbled, and pulled Devere’s arm back. “I can wait.”
Devere wanted to protest, but Rirdan’s claws moved in concert around Devere’s dick and along his body, and it drove any thoughts of protest right out of his head. He moaned, and pressed back against Rirdan. “You know,” he said, “if I’d known you’d be this good at this, I’d have seduced you a long time ago.”
Rirdan snorted. That, too, vibrated through Devere’s bones. “Is that what you call it,” he said. The claws not occupied with Devere’s dick trailed down along Devere’s thigh, then back up his inner thigh. Devere shuddered and arched his back when the claws brushed against his balls. He threw his arms up and back, and clung to Rirdan’s shoulders.
“Oh,” Devere said, “that’s–can you–“
Rirdan could, and did. Devere spread his legs further, and Rirdan traced gentle lines across his balls, too. Then he pressed the flat, blunt backside of a claw against the base of Devere’s dick, harder than any of his other touches, and Devere bucked against him, pressing harder against the claw.
Rirdan rubbed the backside of his claw up and down, just at the base of Devere’s dick, while the other claws on that hand brushed against Devere’s inner thigh, and his other claws circled and stroked Devere’s length, and Devere wasn’t sure he could actually come from this but he also wasn’t especially eager to stop.
Devere, after what felt like an unreasonably pleasant eternity, groaned and said, “I don’t think I can come from this.”
“So use your hands,” Rirdan said, voice rumbly. “I don’t know how much else I could do.”
“Keep talking,” Devere said, even as he carefully slotted his own hand into the gaps between Rirdan’s claws. “I can feel it in my whole fucking body–“
Rirdan laughed, a sufficiently rumbly sound to reverberate through Devere’s chest and bones. Devere moaned and ground back against him. It was awkward, to try and work his grip around Rirdan’s claws, but the contrast when he could get it to work was delicious. Rirdan murmured, low and as directly into Devere’s ear as their respective sizes allowed, “But you’re not xeno.”
“Rirdan,” Devere moaned, and Rirdan’s answering growl of, “Devere,” was what pushed him over the edge. He slumped against Rirdan’s mass. Rirdan set his claws back to running along Devere’s chest and thighs.
“That’s so much come for someone your size,” Rirdan said, running a claw through it and tracing little come lines down Devere’s body. That was going to be gross and annoying to clean up later, but the light pressure of his claws felt too good for Devere to protest.
“That’s a pretty normal amount of come,” he said, after a glance.
Rirdan shook his head. “Humans are so weird,” he said.
“Well, it’s good to know I’m not going to drown in ghakir jizz,” Devere said. He tried to lean his head back to look at Rirdan, but he couldn’t really see more than the tip of his overslung forehead-headplate thingy. “What do you want from me?”
“What I want isn’t physically possible,” Rirdan growled, and fucking fuck when your nerdy, rational partner actually sounded like a stereotypically aggressive alien from some barely post-contact propaganda film, it was so hot. “Though…” He ran his claws along Devere’s thighs. “Your skin is pretty smooth and soft.”
“I can get the lube if you wanna fuck my thighs,” Devere offered, and Rirdan’s claws dug in to his legs just a little bit more.
“That sounds great,” Rirdan said. So Devere slithered off his lap and made his shaky-legged way to where his drawer of sex stuff had ended up. That might need moving, he thought.
Back on the bed, lube in hand, Devere settled in between Rirdan’s legs. Holy stars, his dick was big. Devere eyed the squeezetube of lube in his hand. Well, it was pretty good lube; maybe there’d be enough. He squirted a generous, messy puddle into one of his hands and closed the tube back up with his teeth.
“That’s not what I had in mind,” Rirdan said, or started to say. He cut himself off around “I” when Devere ran his lubey hand down Rirdan’s weird pink cock, groaned, and closed his eyes.
Devere’s fingers did not quite meet around the narrower parts of his cock; the knot part easily would have required both hands for a satisfying grip. Well, that was a problem for another day; all he wanted to do now was ensure Rirdan’s dick was nice and slick so they didn’t get chafed all to hell. Rirdan went as limp as a ghakir could go, and rumbled like a big cat, as Devere spread the lube around his dick.
Devere went for a second handful of lube, and said, “What, you don’t have lube?”
“Not…hands feel different,” Rirdan said. Devere supposed claws provided a pretty different handjob experience, even when they could just slot around a dick like fingers. And the flesh parts of Rirdan’s hands weren’t very meaty.
“This,” Rirdan said, and the croaky sound of his voice was as close as ghakirs came to panting, “would probably…be enough.”
“Now who’s xeno,” Devere said, grinning. “This ain’t even a good handjob.”
Rirdan bared his teeth. “Just…letting you know,” he croaked.
Devere leaned back and wiped his hands on his inner thighs, reviewing his handiwork. Rirdan’s ridiculous ghakir cock was shiny with lube and kind of looked like candy. Not that Devere had a chance in hell of getting that thing in his mouth, let alone down his throat. “So how do you want me?” he asked. “I could just climb up on your lap again,” he suggested, though he wasn’t really sure how his knees would work in that scenario.
“Turn around,” Rirdan said. Devere spun around and felt the bed shift as Rirdan moved. “Get up on your knees,” he said, and he sounded closer.
“I think we’d need more pillows for that to really work,” Devere said, but he got on his hands and knees anyway. He always felt so exposed like this, and usually it was uncomfortable. Now, with his partner the giant alien monster behind him, it just felt thrilling. Go figure.
Rirdan pressed up behind him, his balls–some of his balls? fuck if Devere knew–barely brushing Devere’s ass. “See,” he started to say, and then Rirdan grabbed him around the waist and hoisted his ass into the air a foot or so. “Oh, shit,” he said, as Rirdan slid his dick between his thighs.
Rirdan stopped. “Is this not okay?” he asked.
“It’s fine, I was just surprised,” Devere said. That was only the half of it, but the part where it was really working for him could wait, maybe be a pleasant surprise, depending on how his dick felt about it. He pressed his legs together a bit, and Rirdan growled. “Keep going,” Devere said, and he sounded choked to himself. Maybe it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise, then.
Rirdan curled over his back, and supported himself with one arm and Devere with the other, while he thrusted slower than Devere would have. The size of his cock meant there was no real way to avoid sliding against Devere’s taint and balls, and it felt a hell of a lot better than Devere remembered this side of intercrural feeling.
“Honestly,” Devere gasped, “we could have just gone straight to this.” Rirdan groaned agreement. “Except, just, my cock–“
Rirdan shifted the arm holding Devere up, so instead of supporting him under his hips, his arm ran up and across Devere’s torso, and lifted him more uniformly. That freed Devere’s arms from holding him up, and he immediately reached for his own cock again.
Part of him thought he should feel less content about being used like a goddamn stroker, maybe even, y’know, annoyed, but the rest of him was absolutely here for this, being bodily held up, Rirdan behind him and above him and around him. “I wish you could bite me,” Devere heard himself say, which, okay, but where had that come from?
Rirdan laughed, and Devere felt it in his bones. “You’re such a freak,” he said.
“Says you,” Devere said, but his heart wasn’t really in it. Or maybe his heart was in it, and it just wasn’t his heart that was directing things at the moment.
Rirdan’s claws, curled up around Devere’s left shoulder, dug in a little bit. His other hand supporting his weight against the bed, dug its claws into the mattress, which was supposed to be self-healing foam but hadn’t really been designed with ghakir claws in mind. The mattress scored, but his other claws didn’t even break Devere’s skin. How Rirdan still had that much presence of mind, Devere didn’t know.
Rirdan groaned, his mouth brushing against the hair on top of Devere’s head, and came, his hips stuttering against Devere’s thighs. He managed to coat Devere’s thighs, balls, and cock with his hot and weirdly runny come, which actually made fantastic lube for Devere, who came for the second time just a few strokes later.
Rirdan lowered Devere to the mattress, to support his own weight, and rolled onto his side. Ghakirs couldn’t really lay on their backs on a flat mattress, and Rirdan maintained he didn’t like it anyway, so they didn’t need to retrofit any adapted segments. Devere dropped to the mattress, smearing all sorts of jizz all over the bedding, and rolled over to little spoon against Rirdan’s chest.
“Well,” Devere said, curling around Rirdan’s arm, “that answers that question. Even gave me some ideas for other ways.”
“Of course it did,” Rirdan rumbled. “Xeno freak.”
“So I think we’re all set for the Krixin Resort,” Devere said. It was actually very comfy, snuggled up against Rirdan’s chest. The armor there wasn’t too protruding, and the unarmored bits were quite warm. And even though Rirdan’s arm was draped over his chest, very little of its weight was resting on Devere, because he was close to Rirdan’s chest and far from the elbow resting on the bed. He wasn’t usually a side sleeper, but he let his eyes close. He could probably manage a nap like this.
“I fucking hope so,” Rirdan said. He curled up around Devere, bringing his legs up behind Devere’s ankles. “That was better’n I thought it’d be.” He sounded like he was sleepy, too. Well, small wonder, since he’d been so active at the end there.
“Yeah, I’d do it again,” Devere said. “I mean, if you wanted to.”
Rirdan took a deep breath, the closest he and his jaw could get to yawning. “We did already reconfigure the room. Might as well.”
“Your pillow talk needs work,” Devere murmured. “‘Might as well.'”
“Like you didn’t proposition me for a con,” Rirdan said. “Fuck off.”
Devere yawned. “Nah, I’m good here.”
Rirdan made a vague grumble, then Devere fell asleep.
The Krixin Resort, once you got into it, was a walk in the park. Devere casually palmed a small fortune’s worth of valuables. Rirdan got a number of leads from loose-tongued discussions of security arrangements, transfers of art and valuables, and movements thereof. And they faced no problems whatsoever getting into the safe, which would have embarrassed a pre-spaceflight bank with its shoddy security. Every part of the security relied on the assumption that there could be no crooks within the Krixin Resort. Which was laughable, because most of these rich society types were as much criminals as Rirdan and Devere, just on planetary or galactic scales, so it was called “business” or “politics”.
Devere didn’t bother taking up any of the threesome offers he got, or setting up any honeypots; the bed in their suite was huge and luxurious, and sex with Rirdan continued to be fucking incredible. He didn’t know if it was the novelty of cross-species sex, or of actually trusting the person he was fucking, but he hardly even thought about sex with anyone else.
They made their getaway cleanly, at least partially because not a soul suspected it was a getaway. A week luxuriating in the most exclusive resort in the galaxy, and they got a historically epic payoff out of it. This was what every small-time smuggler dreamed of. It was almost too good to be true, except he’d had to wait four fucking years for it, and he had Rirdan to cover their tracks, who was much better at it than Devere was.
Days passed, and there was no indication anyone knew anything was wrong. Apart from a rash of missing jewelry, nothing was wrong, legally; the rightful owner of the contents of that safe was dead or in jail, and the person she’d conned probably still had no idea it had been a con.
Then weeks passed. Then months. By then, most of the goods were fenced and the money safely laundered, and sequestered in ship upgrades and repairs. They kept taking minor smuggling jobs, so no one would get suspicious that they’d had a windfall or pulled off a big job, and turn on them. It wasn’t that there was no honor among thieves, just very little.
They replaced the grav generator. They upgraded the engines. They very carefully upgraded the nav coms. They got the voice function on the computer repaired, and immediately had to figure out how to turn it off because it kept turning on when they watched old tv shows. Newer models had better detection, but they also had all sorts of tracking and reporting protocols that were harder to keep turned off.
They outfitted one of the larger hidden compartments with sound and EMP blockers, which let them smuggle riskier shit more safely. Devere managed to get Rirdan to admit he needed visual correctives, and they sprung for the surgical version so his image as a scary ghakir enforcer wasn’t compromised by the more truthful “speccy nerd” look.
Devere also subscribed to a bunch of xeno porn webs and the most popular ghakir porn web. Rirdan rolled his eyes at it, but it was good for getting ideas.
It was also kind of hotter than human/human porn now that that was the kind of sex he was having. It was like when he’d dated his first boyfriend and only watched gay porn, until he realized it was starting to bore him and, for that matter, so was the boyfriend.
He also did some more covert research watching classic ghakir romance stuff. Not because he thought Rirdan expected it or anything–they weren’t exactly romantic guys–but just out of curiosity.
Ghakir romances actually turned out to be way, way sappier than he expected. He was expecting, like, some pragmatic garbage. What he got was more like epic poems and drama worthy of a Shakespeare-obsessed teenager. They reminded him of the telenovelas his mom watched when he was little, but taken absolutely seriously at all times.
Turned out the way longer lifespan meant ghakirs took Real Romance very seriously. Most of them wouldn’t expect to run into that kind of relationship, but it was still this weird cultural ideal.
If he’d known all that, he might not have suggested the fake couple ruse, but it had all worked out.
It was eight months after they first changed course for the Krixin Resort. Devere was wondering if they could pick up any work in the ghakir home system, so they could justify a shopping trip, and he paused in his search.
He looked up from the console, and over at Rirdan. He was in his lounger, reading something on a tablet (without holding it way too close to his face or squinting). Devere asked, “Are we married?”
Rirdan looked over at him. “Hmm?”
“Are we fucking married?” Devere repeated. “Because I feel kind of married.”
“I guess that’s what happens when you start fucking your business partner,” Rirdan said. He gave Devere a look that he could actually tell was worried. Why would he be worried, Devere wondered. What, was he going to kick him off the ship now? That would practically be asking to get double crossed or snitched on. Not to mention he’d have to find someone else who could keep him from getting caught. And he wouldn’t be getting laid on the regular anymore? Please. Devere would rather lose an arm than Rirdan at this point.
Oh, goddammit. Duh.
“You sap,” Devere said. “I’m not complaining.” Rirdan visibly relaxed. Devere abandoned the console to crawl onto the lounger with Rirdan, something they’d only done when evaluating its suitability as sex furniture. Rirdan looked surprised, but made room for him. “Fact,” Devere said, “we could actually get married, if you wanted.”
“It would simplify some of the paperwork,” Rirdan said. He ran a claw along Devere’s jaw. God, he had such a pavlovian reaction to that now. Hard to believe it used to be halfway down the list of his favorite foreplay activities. Rirdan added thoughtfully, “Make some of it worse though.”
Devere shrugged. “Accountant’s choice, then,” he said. “Thought you might like the option.” He wished he was wearing one of those claw rings he’d bought as a sex toy; he was perfectly able to kiss Rirdan’s scaly cheek or forehead, but it’d feel more meaningful to Rirdan if he got one of those scritches ghakirs exchanged.
“Yeah,” Rirdan said. He put an arm around Devere. “Thanks.”
Well, hell, Devere thought. He leaned in and planted a kiss on Rirdan’s cheekbone. “I love you,” he said, and the shocked look Rirdan gave him made him blush. “What?” he said.
“I didn’t know you thought about it like that,” Rirdan said. His voice had gotten all rumbly again which Devere thought probably did not mean arousal in this context. He’d heard it a lot in those melodramatic romances, though.
“You stupid lizard,” Devere said. He kissed him again, this time sort of near the mouth, to soften the insult.
“How was I supposed to know, you hairless nirrak?” Rirdan demanded. He belied his strident tone by pulling Devere closer, curling his claws around his hip.
“What,” Devere said, “you think I’d fucking propose out of, what, convenience?”
“It’s why you propositioned me,” Rirdan said. “I don’t know what goes on in that fragile, unprotected, probably damaged brain of yours.” He ran a claw back and forth on Devere’s hip, not exerting enough pressure to wear at the fabric of the coveralls, but enough to remind Devere of the gestures he’d seen in his research.
“I mean, I guess I could’ve done a traditional ghakir thing, but I don’t know what that’d look like.”
Rirdan snorted. “Yeah, no thanks,” he said. “I do not want to introduce you to my family.”
Bizarrely, Devere felt a stab of offended worry at that. Or maybe it wasn’t all that bizarre, given that he’d just realized he was in love. “Why not?” he asked.
“Because that would mean talking to them,” Rirdan said, flatly. “They fucking suck.”
Devere laughed, and relaxed against Rirdan. His head actually fit pretty well under Rirdan’s chin, where there wasn’t as much armor. Probably that weak spot was meant to provide ghakirs with a less restricted visual range, but Devere found it made a great place to cuddle up.
“Although,” Rirdan said, a minute later, “they would hate it.”
“Oh, by all means, use me to annoy your shitty family,” Devere said. It wouldn’t be the first time his presence tore a family apart.
“Eh, I wouldn’t do that to you,” Rirdan said. He set down his tablet and used his now-free claws to stroke Devere’s leg. Devere shivered with pleasure, and turned his head to press his face against Rirdan’s unarmored neck.
“Well, whether or not we make it legal anywhere,” Devere said, “I’m gonna start calling you my husband.”
Rirdan rumbled an agreement, and it resonated through Devere’s body. Fuck, he was never going to get tired of that. “I love you too,” Rirdan said, so quietly Devere felt it in his neck more than he heard his voice.
He pressed a kiss to Rirdan’s neck and said, “Good.”