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Just wait until I catch my breath

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Graham stares at the man on the street. He is always there, sometimes sitting, sometimes leaning against the wall. Graham tilts his head back, let’s the liquor slide down his throat. 

He knows what he is. What he does. Yet he doesn’t ever go down there to question him, take him away. Yet every night when he sees him wait, for someone, something stirs in him. A pulling force.

Oftentimes he gets an invitation from a wanderer across the street, coming over, offering him money for a night of comfort. The man never refuses, crumpling the bills under his jacket and tilting his head to get his customer to follow him. 

Where does he carry out his rendezvous? 

Graham has to know. Tonight. He sets his glass on the table and heads downstairs. At the lobby, he stands and stares. The man is standing tonight, body bowed away from the wall. 

 

Graham heads closer, until he stands on the edge of the sidewalk. The man’s figure casts a faded shadow on the ground, orange glow spilling over him, outlining him. His right hand is stuffed deep into his pocket, while his left arm curls behind him. 

Mysterious. 

 

Graham wets his bottom lip nervously. He coughs, and the man lifts his head. 

He is instantly ashamed at the shock that shoots straight down south. The man’s face is shaped perfectly, high cheekbones, sharp jawline with growing stubble, and the sharpest, darkest eyes, softened by the way the corners are downturned. 

Graham really wants to trace the kohl lining his eyes. 

 

“Yes?” 

“I’ve watched you now. For several days.”

The man doesn’t move, only turns his head slightly, arching one eyebrow. 

“I’ve felt the presence of another’s gaze on me mate.” He jerks his head at him. “What’d you want?” 

Graham looks at him, the way his body curls in the cold, the thin frame only seen through the curve of small shoulders. “To offer you a place to stay, for the night.”

The man coughs, the harsh breath fogging the air in front of them. “Are you not afraid of what I’d do?” 

“No.” Graham says, smiling slightly. “For some reason I’m not.” 

Dark eyes scrutinise him, and Graham finds himself drowning. It takes a few seconds, but the man nods. “Lead the way.” 

Graham starts back to his apartment, turning to glance back at the man. “What’s your name?” 

“Killian Jones.” 

Gorgeous. 

“Graham Humbert.” 

 

**

 

Killian stands awkwardly at the entrance. The dark leather coat tight around his frame. 

He watches Graham kick his boots off into a corner. A dog comes scrambling out, panting and excited, it circles Killian’s legs and woofs once. Killian can’t help smiling, lowering himself to scratch the dog’s head lightly.

Graham ushers the dog away, and leads Killian further into the house. 

“Fridge is there”, he points, “take anything you want. You can take the bed for tonight.”

Then he hands him a folded towel. “Bathroom’s to the right.” He smiles at Killian, and the man begins to wonder what exactly he did to deserve any of this. 

He thanks Graham, but doesn’t move from his spot. The other ends up leading him up to the shower and pushing him in. 

 

When he comes back out, it’s dark completely, save for the glow of moonlight from the open balcony. 

Killian runs the towel over his hair, body warm and soothed from the first warm shower he had in days.

He assumes that Graham has slept, by the way his body lies motionless on the couch, heaped under a mass of blankets. 

There’s a wrapped sandwich on the table, which Killian takes and consumes gratefully. Egg and cucumber. He crushes the wrapper into the bin and drops the towel into the laundry basket by the side. 

With a last glance at the couch, he turns and heads to the bedroom. 

 

**

 

In the morning, Graham wakes from the alarm clock ringing in his room. He groans into the cushion, and forces himself up to turn it off. 

When he enters, he finds the room empty. He runs a hand behind his neck. Did he not invite Killian up here the night before? The sheets were tucked perfectly, like it had never been slept in. 

He leans down to smell the pillow. No, Killian definitely stayed the night. There was a musky smell that lingered on the covers, and not one he recognised. Like a dream, Killian’s eyes linger at the back of Graham’s mind. 

He has a job at the station today, but perhaps, at night, he can see him again. 

 

**

 

He sees him again, walking up the street to rest heavily against his usual spot. 

Graham watches. Today he seems alert, observant, as he looks up and down the street. He is obviously waiting on someone today. 

And his customer appears soon, a sharply dressed man with a handsome face. He speaks to Killian, who nods. There’s the usual slipping of bills, but today’s customer is eager, and from where Graham stands, the man crowds Killian against the wall. Killian tilts his head back and lets the man kiss him. 

Then he grabs the man’s arm, pulling away from the kiss and tugging him down the street. Graham gets a glance at his face. He looks the same as always, beautiful and tired.

Graham watches them until they’re out of sight, then he watches nothing, and drinks straight from the bottle. 

 

It’s a little past twelve midnight when there’s a knock on his door. He stands up, puzzled, and when he opens the door a fraction his eyes widen. 

“Killian?” He opens the door wider and lets the man step through. 

Killian steps past him, running a hand over his dog’s fur in greeting. The canine is excited as always.

“I–” Graham steps forward, arm circling the other’s shoulders to pull him down into a quick hug. 

“Say nothing. Stay if you want.” Then he goes over to his spot on the balcony, pours two glass of scotch and hands one to him. Killian takes it without a word and they sit. 

Killian watches the dark street, and Graham watches him. He wonders what he is thinking about. Possibly about himself, standing there every night. From the corner of his eyes he sees Killian drink, and his tongue darting out to lick the remaining liquid from his lips. 

He wills himself not to move, for he is afraid if he moves, it is to crash his own lips into Killian’s. The man has a charm about him, maybe it is the mystery, the jobs. Or maybe it is that face of his. 

 

He looks back at the street. “Do you ever like them?” 

Killian turns his gaze sharply at Graham. 

“The people who pay you. Do you ever like them?” 

Killian’s eyes avert back to the street. “Sometimes.” His voice is soft, carrying an unfamiliar accent along with it. “They never stay. It’s not worth getting attached.” 

Graham sets his glass on the table and frowns. “Don’t you believe in love?”

“Love only brings sorrow mate. Besides, who’ll ever love a sinner?”

“A sinner?”

“I’m selling myself”, he says with as much dignity as he can afford. His cheeks colour slightly, only seen in the moonlight. “It’s not exactly a saintly thing to do.” 

Graham reaches over unconsciously. Killian sees the movement, and surprisingly, leans to the side so that Graham can trace his hand over Killian’s shoulder, down to his elbow. 

It’s unspoken, but they both know. Graham gets off his seat, and kneels in front of Killian, whose expression is one of surprised vulnerability. Graham rests his hands on Killian’s leather-clad knees and pushes himself into the space between his legs. 

Killian obliges without another word, thighs spreading in familiarity, not because it was Graham, but because it was habit.

His breath comes in soft pants, and when Graham runs his hands up Killian’s thighs to grasp his waist, Killian’s hand moves up to stroke behind Graham’s neck. 

“I don’t think you’re incapable of love.” Graham murmurs before he leans up to kiss Killian. Killian exhales heavily into the kiss, body relaxing as Graham lifts himself up and sits half on Killian. 

Killian’s own hand grips Graham’s waist, supporting the other on his thighs. 

 

“Please.” 

 

Graham leans away from Killian. He kisses his the slight indentation between his collarbones, then stands and guides him onto the bed. Killian goes easily, back flat on the sheets, the same sheets he slept on the previous night. 

Graham peels the coat off Killian’s shoulders, leaving him in a dark shirt, clasped only up to his breastbone. 

“Tell me if I hurt you.” Graham says as he begins to unclasp his vest. 

Killian wants to scoff. Hurt him? Did he forget what he does for a living? Well, it seems to come back to him when he’s pulling Killian’s pants down his thighs. He stops and sits back on his legs. “That man...your, customer, did he...?”

Killian shakes his head surprised. Pulling Graham down for an open-mouthed kiss, he gasps, “no, I jerked him off. I took him, but no, I haven’t– no one’s fucked me. Yet.” 

Graham nods, and lets Killian get the rest of his clothes off as he takes his own off. Nude, Graham covers Killian’s body wit his own, lips pressing onto Killian’s lips, then his cheek, then his jaw. 

Killian can only gasp breathlessly. Of all his bed partners, no one had ever kissed him like that before. Tenderly. Gently. Usually he had to do the work.

“Please.” He asks, frantically. He plants his feet on the bed, legs wide. His own hand reaches down, dry as they are, he presses three fingers into himself and moans lowly. 

Graham can only watch fascinated, as Killian fingers disappear into tight heat. His hole contracts, flexing around his fingers beautifully.

 

“Stop looking”, he mutters, closing his eyes as he works himself loose, for Graham. “Do you have lube?”

The man on top of him jerks up and in the silence, Killian can hear him shuffle things in his bedside drawer, and the pop of a bottle cap opening. 

Killian opens his eyes again to watch Graham slick lube up the length of his shaft. Killian groans again, softer this time, and pulls his fingers out. He grabs at Graham’s hand and urges him to do it. 

The other presses the tip of his dick to Killian’s entrance. The head stretches through and Killian exhales sharply. 

“Did I hurt you?”

“No no, love, you would never.” Killian pulls Graham closer with one hand. “Please. I want you.”

With his plea, Graham pushes in in one swift motion, and Killian grapples for him immediately. He’s full. His heart, inside himself, everything. He can’t look at Graham, habit, but he reaches until he intertwines his fingers with Graham’s. 

The man admires the pale hand trembling in his, leaning down to kiss his hand and the exposed slopes of his neck. Killian tilts his head further up for Graham. At the same time his partner moves, and Killian thinks, fucking shit, he’s all the way in.

Graham is gentle, he moves slowly, but each time he pulls nearly all the way out, he only slots back in completely. And each time he slides in he’d kiss Killian’s lips. 

It is too much. There was too much care, too much tenderness in the way he fucked him. His other partners usually did it brutally fast, he, an object of their desperation or anger. 

Above him, Graham groans, each thrust causing Killian to hitch, warm heat tightening around Graham’s member.

He almost cries, pathetic, when Graham presses a kiss to his ear, tongue coming to lick the metal hoop of his earring, and whispers, “you’re beautiful.” 

It’s too much. 

Killian’s body moves with Graham’s, his cock bumping either of their stomachs each time Graham thrusts in. 

At one point Graham hits his prostate, and pleasure of an even higher level bursts though him. He gasps. “Yes, yes, right there.” And Graham gives it to him, hitting that spot perfectly each time. 

Killian lets out a rather high-pitched whine at some point that he will regret later, but for now he folds around Graham, arms around his neck, legs hitched up to his waist as Graham moves into him. “Graham–”.

He begins to move faster, and Killian moans helplessly at the sudden intensity of his thrusts. One of Graham’s hands comes up and pumps Killian’s cock, fast and needy. 

“Ah– Kill–”

“Yeah, just, just–”

Then Graham is spilling in him, warm and sticky and Killian lets go as well, letting his come shoot and coat them in the same stickiness. He rides out the aftershocks tiredly, and tugs Graham down for another kiss when the other man pulls out. 

Funny, he never liked kissing before. 

Graham sets to clean him up, fingers at his entrance, coaxing out his come. Killian hums contentedly and swats his hands away.

“Don’t. Just leave it in.” 

He can’t help smiling at Graham when the man leans over him again and presses a kiss to his shoulder. 

“Okay.”

 

The smile leaves Killian’s face when he realises it’s done. It’s over. He shifts to get out of the bed, out of the comfort of Graham’s warm body. He doesn’t need him to pay. Tonight the one seeking comfort is Killian himself. 

But Graham wraps an arm around Killian and draws him back to him, under the covers this time. “Stay.” 

“I don’t stay the night with my customers.” 

He instantly regrets saying that when he turns and sees the devastated look in Graham’s stupid adorable face. 

“I didn’t think I was a customer.” 

If not a customer, then what? 

“No”, Killian says as he rests his chin on Graham’s head. He feels a hand comb through his hair in comfort. “You’re not a customer.” 

He feels Graham smile against his neck. 

Killian doesn’t think he can detach from this particular man. It would take too much from him, and he’s already given out everything he has.

 

**

 

Light filters through the blinds. Killian’s eyelids press down tighter in hopes to block out the light. There was a chill, and an unfamiliar feeling of security. 

He blinks his eyes open, hand pulled out to block the light. He blinks and sniffs, turning to his other side. Then he realises. He’d stayed the night. He’d stayed the night at his house, in his bed, until the morning. 

 

Killian stares at Graham’s sleeping face. So close. He trails his hand lightly over Graham’s scruff, thumb caressing his cheek. The other man leans into the touch and exhales heavily, but otherwise makes no sign that he was awake. 

He slides out from under the covers, fully aware of Graham’s arm slipping from his waist. Killian walks about stark naked, picking up his clothes about the floor. 

It feels nice.

With early morning sunlight on his skin, his feet on carpet, a dog, slumbering just outside the door. It feels normal. And it scares him how quickly he adapts to it, like he hasn’t spent the past three years waking up on cold gravel in the darkness behind trash cans in alleyways. 

If not for his job, he would have smelt terrible, not to mention disregard any of his chances of ever being in this situation in the first place. 

He runs his hand over his face, through his hair. 

Flashbacks of the night before, Graham’s hand carding through his hair, pulling it, comes flooding into Killian head. He sighs, glancing back at Graham, whose head is the only visible thing above the blankets. 

Love is something Killian finds hard to believe in. In the life he lives, love is but a tool to help him gain leverage over his customers. 

He dresses quietly, forgoing the pants and just putting on his briefs instead. He peers down at another pair by his feet and wonders absently if maybe he wore the wrong ones. But he shrugs and just walks off to the bathroom. 

 

 

When Graham wakes, his first instinct is to pull himself out of bed. He looks around worriedly, left and right and left again, looking for him. 

Nothing living besides him and his dog. 

Did Killian leave? 

Did he expect him to want to leave? 

He leaps from the bed, pulling his clothes on as he goes. With one hand on the doorframe he leans out. 

No, Killian didn’t leave. There was water running in the bathroom. Graham sighs, body sagging slightly as he leans down to rub his dog’s head. It licks his hand sleepily. “Good morning boy.” He murmurs, smiling. 

Killian didn’t leave. What could that mean? 

 

He sneaks a look into the bathroom, but honestly modesty was not something they needed after last night. 

He’s rather shocked, but that shock is quickly warmed by a stupid, bubbling happiness that seeps into his chest. 

 

Killian rubs the makeup from his face. The concealer comes off easily, but he has to wipe the eyeliner from his lids with a tissue. He winces and blinks a couple times, leaning closer to the mirror to see clearer. 

When he’s done he closes off the tap and dries his face. 

“Good morning.” 

Killian looks behind and smiles involuntarily. Graham’s a sight in the morning, hair mussed, eyes wide but lowered, and he has a smile on him that makes him look soft. 

He stands there, by the door, leaning against the frame with his arms crossed. Killian places the towel on the sink, and clicks on his makeshift prosthetic. His smile lingers softly as he leans over Graham, the other humming contentedly as he drinks in the kiss. 

“Good morning.” He says back quietly. 

“Did you sleep well?” He asks, arm circling Killian’s back to draw him into another kiss. 

“Mm love,” Killian throws his arm around Graham neck and they both chuckle when he stumbles them back against the tub. “Good morning.” 

Graham knocks their foreheads together and smiles. “You’ve said that already.” 

When did this become more than one night? 

Graham loves this new look on Killian. Without the protective, decorative cover of dark makeup, and the jewelry taken off and placed by the sink, Killian looked younger, gentler, a slight boyishness to his otherwise brooding expression. 

Graham trails one hand down Killian’s neck, his short stubble spilling all the way down to his neck. 

“I’ve got work in an hour.” 

He glances up at him when he doesn’t reply. Killian stares straight past him, looking at nothing. 

He draws the man back when he kisses his jaw. “Killian?” 

“Hm?”

“Work.”

The man lets out a soft ‘ah’ and untangles from him. Graham moves to the sink, careful not to push the black earring hanging on the edge. He takes his toothbrush and hesitates for a second before turning to Killian. 

“You’ll stay, won’t you?” 

The other has sat on the edge of the tub when they moved, hands clasped in front of him. Now he turns his terribly gorgeous, terribly beautiful, tired face to Graham. “Do you want me to?” 

“Yes.” 

“Another night?”

“Yes.” 

Graham doesn’t really know what he was agreeing to. Another night? As he had picked him up off the streets? Or another night, as more than that? 

He knew, if he were to ask, he’d scare Killian away. The man looked like he wasn’t one to be tied down. 

But there is still that nagging feeling in the back of his mind that told him that he had to say something, soon. And he does not want him to be with anyone else. But he leaves it aside and focuses on getting ready. 

 

Sometime. He’ll speak of it sometime. 

 

-

 

“Were not preachers. And most of us sure as hell ain’t saints.” 

 

-

 

When Graham got back, Killian was still around. He wasn’t shocked to find himself surprised. 

He was sat on the couch, legs kicked up and crossed at the ankles on the table in front. He was reading a book. Something thick by Edgar Allan Poe. 

Graham drops his keys in a bowl by the door. Then he steps over Killian’s legs and swings them so his feet rest in his lap. The latter closes the book, drops it on the coffee table and surges forward, entire body half resting on Graham.

He presses his lips to Killian’s briefly and senses the contentment when Killian chuckles and throws his arm around him. It seems they were both happy to see each other.

He wraps one arm loosely around Killian’s neck and draws the man close. “How was your day?” 

“Interesting. I scoured for blackmail material but couldn’t find any, so I settled for a couple books instead.” He waves his hand at the pile of slim books on the far edge of the table, Graham himself never read those, he used them more for paperweight and coasters than anything. 

“Blackmail? What did I do to deserve that?” He teases. 

“Nothing yet.” Killian smiles at him, a lopsided kind of grin. Oh, he was gorgeous.

 

Ask. 

Ask him.

 

“Mate?” 

Graham shakes his head, straying his gaze to Killian’s. He has large irises, the dark colour of his eyes making him look like all the comfort in the world. 

He barely knew him, yet there was something fierce and gentle, tired and bright, in the way this man carried himself. Soulmates don’t exist, but the concept is left to one’s imagination. Sometimes you find someone you feel indescribable comfort with, and it means something. 

Graham finds himself running his fingers through the soft hair on the back of Killian’s neck. The other rests his head on Graham’s shoulder, one arm squeezing past cushion to wrap around his side. 

 

**

 

Three days pass. Then two weeks. 

They stay together, an unspoken sort of tethering. Sometimes Killian would knock, stay the night or two, and sometimes he doesn’t. 

Graham can watch, from the balcony, when he picks up customers below. Or he can sleep early, with Killian’s furnace warmth exuding beside him on the bed. 

Killian never looks at him those nights; when he’s downstairs. He charms his customers, men and women of all ages. A smile tossed here, a wink there, a jaunt in his steps when he turns to lead them away. 

 

He watches Killian, and he feels his heart ache. 

Then one week Killian doesn’t come by. He doesn’t appear at the street opposite. 

He just disappears. 

 

**

 

Graham finds him at a bar with another man. 

He watches. Always watching. Never doing anything. 

 

**

 

“I don’t see you around these days.” 

They’re in the back alley, behind the bar. Killian’s leg is kicked back against the wall, cigarette dangling from soft lips. The earring is back, black glittering against the dim street lamp. He’s fully clad in leather again, Graham notices, black blouse buttoned halfway up his torso. 

Graham watches the smoke curl and rise. He watches Killian’s movements, eyes downcast, blinking slowly. 

 

He looked extremely tired. 

 

Graham leans against the opposite wall, not knowing what to say. What should he say? 

Killian sighs heavily once. He breathes in deeply and drags the cigarette away from his lips. Graham’s hands twitch in his pockets. He wants to hold him. 

“Will you come back?” 

There we go, back again. Killian’s eyes on him. 

“Tonight?”

“Yes.” 

He tosses the unfinished cigar on the ground and crushes it under his boot. Then he stands up straight and motions for Graham to lead the way. 

 

 

They wind up at his apartment again. 

Graham can’t stop thinking about how easily Killian moves in here. He leaves his boots by the door, walking in and slouching into the couch like always. 

Like he belonged. 

Graham worries his lower lip while he rests his weight on the arm of the couch. 

“Where have you been?” 

“Elsewhere.” 

“I mea– ”

Killian’s gaze snaps to him. “That man at the bar. He paid me for the whole week.” He holds his gaze. “He wanted the company, his Girlfriend broke up with him.”

Graham frowns. He doesn’t know what to say. But Killian does, because his beautiful stranger sighs and runs a hand over his face. “You know what? This was a mistake. I should leave.” 

He gets up, but Graham all but pushes him back down. 

“Don’t go.” 

“Why, Graham? Why don’t you want me to leave?” He demands, posture rigid, something wild like fury shaking his frame. “Why do you make this so damn difficult?” 

“What’s difficult?” 

“You! You pick me off the street one night, do me in without so much as a tip, but then you make me stay the night, then the next, and then the next two weeks. And I’m here waiting for you to give me a hint as to what on earth you plan to do about this arrangement, but you never do, and you leave me wondering what the hell that’s supposed to mean.” He breathes harshly. 

“I’m tired Graham. I’m tired of waiting around for something I wish can happen but clearly isn’t going to, because at the end of the day I’m nothing but a whore! So forgive me if I try to move on!”

It suddenly unravels in Graham’s head. All this time, all these unexplainable feelings. Killian’s bitterness. He was waiting for Killian to say something and apparently so was Killian. 

Graham moves to his knees on the carpet. He caresses the other man’s neck with both hands. He feels Killian throat, the smooth slope of his shoulders as he draws the man into a hug. 

Killian goes easily, head resting on the cotton hood of Graham’s jacket. All that fierceness, all that confidence, all draining away so quickly. 

“You can stay.” Graham says quietly. He soothes a hand through Killian hair and strokes his back. “Stay forever. You don’t have to go.” 

He feels Killian’s breath, something soft and stuttered, come through. “I don’t want you to go.” 

It’s a promise. A statement. 

He pulls back and looks at Killian. He shifts to slip his hands around Killian’s one. It grounds the man somewhat, for he looks up at Graham, a single tear track trailing down his left cheek. 

“Don’t go. Okay?” 

Killian nods and leans forward to press a kiss to Graham’s lips. Graham exhales into it, fingers intertwining with Killian’s. He can feel the coolness of the rings on his skin, and everything suddenly feels real. 

 

He has him. 

He has Killian. And Killian has him all the same. 

 

**

 

“Why didn’t you just ask?” Killian asks, much later, body fitted neatly against Graham’s side. They were tucked into one side of the couch, Killian’s body sliding down slightly so his frame could curl into Graham’s. His head rested on Graham’s arm thrown over his shoulders. 

The television is on, some variety show announcer adding to the white noise. The pixelated screen reflect colours over them. 

Graham presses a kiss to the crown of Killian head. 

“You don’t know me Killian. I don’t know how to love, and I couldn’t just let you potentially ruin your life trying to make this work.” 

Killian shifts away so he can look at Graham properly. He presses his palm flat against the side of Graham’s face. “Well, love, how about you leave that up to me to decide?”

“Besides,” he smiles, “did you really think I’d be better off doing what I was doing?”

Graham shakes his head. He’s beautiful, he thinks. No, anywhere else was better for him than what he was doing now. 

He strokes a thumb across Killian’s check is revels in the way his dark eyelashes flutter when he blinks. They’re both smiling. And Graham realises now that pulling force within him was love. 

 

He pulls Killian forward so that he can rest his head on his shoulder. It’s muffled, but Killian hears it easily. 

 

“I love you.”

 

The one-handed, once homeless, once loveless man lets out a shaky breath. Graham can almost hear Killian’s voice crack when he replies, “I love you too.” 

 

Killian leans down to kiss Graham. It’s no longer chaste. He licks at Graham’s lips until the other man opens up beneath him. He settles on Graham’s lap. The other’s arms instinctively comes up to circle his waist without breaking their kisses. 

He’s never felt this full in his life. Funny, to think the broken could be loved. 

“You just have to know,” Killian grins pulling away breathlessly, “I’m quite demanding.”

“Then we just have to give you everything you want, don’t we?”

 

And that was when love stopped being a tool for his survival, and instead became what he lived for. 

 

 

 

end.

 

-

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” - Edgar Allan Poe

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