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Everything in moderation (even moderation)

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Even after literal centuries of practise, Nicky wouldn’t consider Greek one of the languages that are his strong suit. His pronunciation is abysmal according to Andy, and perfectly passable, don’t listen to her, according to Joe. The truth, Nicky suspects, as always, is bound to lie somewhere in the middle.

He has no problems with the cashier at least, who can clearly tell he’s a tourist, but that’s not a suspicious thing to be, so… fine. If anything, she seems to be appreciative of his efforts. She’s in the process of scanning the last item he put down when he spots the freezer full of colorful popsicles, sitting right next to the till. On a whim, he slides it open and takes one out, adds it to his other purchases. 

It’s bright green inside the clear plastic packaging, flat and rounded at the top. Too broad to resemble anything that might be… actually suggestive. Rips it open right there, after he hands over the money, paying cash as usual. 

Turns out green means it’s vaguely melon-flavored, which isn’t half bad; the color red probably reserved for something like cherry or strawberry. This is very childish, Nicky thinks as he’s leaving the little store, no doubt about that, and stupid, which doesn’t make him feel any less gleeful about it. 

Joe is waiting outside, leaning against the edge of the empty fountain dominating the tiny plaza, which is decently busy despite the stifling heat. Got the sunglasses on he bought at a gas station six days ago, and a powder blue t-shirt; hunched over a bit, scribbling into his notebook. Physically, he blends in a lot better than Nicky does, almost looks like he belongs at first glance, even though it’s not true. Nicky stops, just under the shade of the building behind him, and takes a moment to simply stand there and observe him.

Can feel that familiar mix of emotion well up inside of him, proprietary and proud at the same time. Mine, he thinks, even if nobody else here has any idea. This man is mine. He belongs to me and I to him. It’s not an insecure thought. There’s no darkness to it. Nobody around them knows, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fact. 

The overall mood has been a strange one, these last couple of weeks, in the aftermath of… well, everything. A lot of things seem different now, retroactively. The future seems to have a different shine to it as well. Nicky’s been fluctuating between feeling lighter than he has in years and missing Booker terribly. Joe’s still quietly fuming about the betrayal, but that’s only to be expected. He doesn’t forgive easily, never has. 

Also, Nicky realizes suddenly, Joe’s already clocked him. It’s a bit harder to tell behind the dark shades, but he’s staring right at Nicky, notebook closed and forgotten in his lap. Nicky smiles, apologetic, and starts moving towards him. Only then remembers he’s still holding the popsicle in one hand. 

Joe raises a single, pointed eyebrow as he ambles closer, shoving his sunglasses on top of his head before crossing his arms in front of his chest, notebook still in one hand. Knows what Nicky is doing the second he slides the popsicle back into his mouth, because of course he does. Not like this is the first time Nicky’s decided to try something like this, either. 

“I wasn’t aware you left the hotel hungry,” Joe says, low and amused, in the same tone he sometimes says, “Haven’t quite satisfied you yet, it seems” when they go for a second round in bed. 

Nicky shrugs. Sucks the popsicle deeper into his mouth, tasting mostly of water and weak, artificial melon flavor. It’s still pretty cold, despite how hot it is outside. Joe’s eyes have gone dark, watching him intently, but he’s immobile otherwise, keeping his shoulders relaxed. 

"In any case," Nicky says, cheerful, like they’re just continuing an existing conversation. "I still need some shaving cream. They didn’t have that in there, sadly.” 

When he hands over the white plastic bag with their purchases, Joe takes it from him without a word, not even looking at what their hands are doing, eyes still glued to Nicky’s face. Nicky bites back a grin and sucks the popsicle back into his mouth, hollowing his cheeks a bit. 

“Any good?” Joe asks.

“Mh-hmm,” Nicky says, swallowing some melon-flavored slush and then licks over his lower lip. “Fine. Could be a bit better, I think.”

“How so?”

“There’s some flavors I enjoy more,” Nicky says slyly. “One particular one comes to mind.” 

Joe snorts at that, caught of guard, whole face lighting up with amusement.

Nicky holds out the popsicle like an offering, says “Would you like to try?” as innocently as humanly possible.

“No, thank you,” Joe says, slowly shaking his head at the same time. He looks like he’s caught between amusement and exasperation, like he can’t quite believe Nicky decided to do this right now, but he can’t seem to tear his eyes away at the same time. 

They’re probably going to have sex later, once they get back, and they both know it. Joe’s already thinking about it, and they’re both well aware of that, too. Well, Nicky thinks, satisfied little feeling warming him from the inside out, no surprise there. 

That was the point, after all. 

There’s no hurry or unease to any of it; hasn’t been for a long, long time. Sleeping with Joe is… well, it’s not everything, naturally, it’s not the most important part, not by a long shot, but it’s bliss nonetheless, and what’s more, it’s fun, too. 

Almost feels like an accomplishment sometimes, like a game or a dance they’re good at, like something that belongs to the two of them exclusively. God knows, Nicky has hated his own body in the past, hated its stubborn refusal to just give up and let things be and die, because it felt like a fucking failure at times, like another betrayal. He’s been in agony and he’s felt completely numb, but one of the things that he’ll always be grateful for is the fact that if nothing else, it’s given him this, the ability to be close to Joe in that way. 

The novelty has worn off, of course, but it’s not the novelty that keeps anybody coming back, anyway. Novelty never sustains anything. 

In the past, they’ve gone through long stretches of time not being together like that at all. Not because they weren’t together, but just because… well. Sometimes you see things and you do things and then it just seems obscene. All that flesh and blood and pain, all that hate, all that destruction. All that indifference. 

On the other side of that coin, there are periods of time when they both get really… interested again. When they can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other for days on end. For a long while, every single time it happened, Nicky half-expected it to be the last one. 

Surely, this couldn’t be fucking sustainable. Surely, they had to have gotten extraordinarily lucky, surely they’d never have another week like this, all wrapped up in each other, making love like nothing else even mattered anymore, like everything was, in fact, brand new. At some point, surely somebody was bound to get sick and tired of something.  

Apparently Joe’s never had the same concerns, or if he’s had them at some point, he’s always denied it. Maybe there’s been some moments of doubt, because that would only make sense, Nicky wouldn’t hold it against him, but if they ever existed, Nicky doesn’t know about them. 

And he’s asked. 

The details don’t even matter anymore, not really – sure, at their very core, they both have… preferences, and they both have some things they dislike, but by now they’ve tried everything they’ve ever wanted to try; some things just for the novelty of it, curiosity getting the better of them. A lot of it has worked out, some of it hasn’t. 

The details aren’t important. Joe is what’s important. If it’s not with him, Nicky thinks, then what is even the point? Joe, who’s still leaning against the fountain right in front of him, head cocked to the side a bit, expression turned soft, because he clearly noticed Nicky going off on a mental tangent. 

Fuck, Nicky thinks, blinking himself back to reality, but he looks good. 

He can see the tendons in Joe’s arms, muscles bunching where he’s keeping them crossed in front of his chest, fabric of his t-shirt stretching around his chest and shoulders. He already seems more tan than the day they arrived, despite the fact that they’ve not been outside all that much. Joe with his dark eyes and his beautiful face, solid and safe, hard muscles and warm skin and clever hands. Everything about him is achingly, wonderfully familiar. 

The only constant that actually matters. 

Nicky playfully narrows his eyes at him, and Joe has the audacity to laugh. 

“Your frozen water’s melting,” he says then, nodding at Nicky’s hand, where the popsicle has started to drip, one rivulet slowly making its way down the back of his hand, over his knuckles. 

“Always so very observant,” Nicky says, which causes Joe to uncross his arms and spread them wide, indicating a bow, at your service. 

Nicky switches the popsicle to his other hand after that, makes it a point to lick the back of his knuckles clean. Joe is grinning now, shaking his head at the ridiculousness of it all, but it’s working like a charm at the same time, Nicky can tell. Joe thinking he’s being ridiculous and Joe being turned on are not mutually exclusive. Still, Joe’s schooling his face back into a carefully unimpressed expression.

“Shaving cream, you said?” 

“Correct,” Nicky says.

“Let’s find a different store, then,” Joe says, pushing away from the fountain. 

He brushes past Nicky, too gentle to be an actual shoulder bump, but very deliberately at the same time. Nicky stands there for a moment, smiling to himself. The popsicle has really started melting now, hanging on to its little wooden stick for dear life, so all Nicky has to do is point it downwards and what is left slides off easily and falls to the ground. Considers throwing the stick into the empty fountain, because there’s already some trash in there, plastic packaging and shopping bags and what looks like a single, solitary shoe… but in the end, he can’t bring himself to do it.

Decides to keep it until he finds a garbage can or something.

“Nico,” Joe says behind him, and when Nicky turns around, he’s standing there expectantly, sunglasses back on, their white shopping bag dangling from one hand, most of his weight on one leg, because he’s always been good at keeping his balance, at being prepared. 

“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Nicky says. “Coming.”

They wander around aimlessly for a while after that. 

There’s no place to be and nothing to do, at least not right now. Not the first time they’ve been here, but the last time… well. Public transportation definitely hadn’t been a thing yet. 

They’ve just turned into a narrow, deserted alley, because it seems like a shortcut back to the main street of the district, when all of a sudden Nicky is being pushed backwards. 

Joe doesn’t put a lot of force behind it, but it’s insistent enough, so Nicky lets himself be pushed up against the nearest wall without protest. Lets Joe crowd close, one arm braced on the wall right next to Nicky’s head, focus entirely on him, not paying a lot of attention to their surroundings anymore, since they’re a lot more secluded area this time around. 

Joe doesn’t quite say, so that’s the way it is going to be today, huh? out loud, but he’s very obviously thinking it. Looms a bit taller than usual, braced like this, so Nicky just lets himself sink back against the wall, blinking up at him lazily, probably failing spectacularly at looking innocent. It’s always a rush, even after all of this time. Can’t help but stare at Joe’s mouth – resists the temptation to just tip his head up for a kiss. It’s not like Joe’d ever deny him. 

“Now, I am definitely not complaining,” Joe murmurs, voice pitched low, then stops himself from saying something else and just adds, “...but.”

“I’m fine,” Nicky says, fingers curling into the fabric of Joe’s t-shirt, right over his hip, just because he can, because it feels nice, everything warm from his body heat. “It’s just… I don’t know. I’ll be fine.”

Booker, out. Andy, bleeding. The memory of Quynh, dragged back to the surface, kicking and screaming. The laboratory. And at the same time, Nile – fresh-faced and hopeful and ready to take on the world. The undeniable proof that they’ve actually done something, managed to take their surplus of time and shape it into something that might have actually made an impact. 

Joe does kiss him then, quick and sure. Stays close for a few long seconds afterwards, pushing their foreheads together. Nicky breathes out slowly, feels something inside of him quiet down and settle. 

“You’ll be fine,” Joe says, not a question, but a declaration. Smiles at him, eyes gone soft. 

“I will,” Nicky says resolutely. “Yes.” Gives Joe’s t-shirt one last, decisive tug, and then he can’t help but say, “Might feel a lot better if you got me another one of those-”

“Oh, what are you talking about,” Joe says, exasperated. “That wasn’t even gelato!”

“Well, no, of course not, that is the entire point-”

“Come on, now,” Joe says, pretending not to listen any more. “Let’s go.”

Doesn’t even wait for an answer, just starts nudging him along, first with a hand on Nicky’s shoulder, then at the small of his back, towards the sound of traffic and other people, and pretends to ignore Nicky, who’s laughing at him all the while. 

 


 

They don’t get back to the hotel until late in the afternoon. 

There’s been a postcard from Tripolis, cryptic in a way only Andy ever manages to be, but the motive – the emblem of the 4th Greek Infantry Division, but in a holographic design, reflective and sparkling in the sunlight – has so clearly been chosen by Nile that it makes Nicky smile just looking at it, imagining Andy’s face when she had to put a stamp on that thing. 

Joe decidedly doesn’t buy him another popsicle, but the damage has already been done, so to speak, because from then on out it feels like they’re on a low simmer, both of them even more aware of each other than they usually are. Keep finding innocuous excuses to get their hands on each other, leaning against each other when they finally sit down on a bench and eat most of the food Nicky bought at the store. 

“Aww,” Joe says, after digging into the shopping bag, and holds up two chocolate bars wrapped in green packaging. “You shouldn’t have. Didn’t you get anything for yourself?”

“One for each of us.”

“Oh, really?” Joe says, mock-surprised. “No, I don’t think so. I think I’ll have to eat both of these, because if I remember correctly… it seems you’ve had yours already?”

“Not quite,” Nicky says seriously. “If you want to be technical about it.”

They’re staring at each other now, rest of the world gone quiet, completely meaningless all of a sudden. Joe’s eyes flitting over his face, breathing gone a bit harsh. Nicky can feel him, close as they are, pressed together from shoulder to thigh, warm and strong. Knows his face has probably gone a bit pink, because now he’s thinking about it – they both are, and knowing that, being aware of the fact that Joe is thinking about it too… 

“You want to go?” Joe murmurs and all Nicky can do is nod. Can’t help but smile when Joe diligently puts both chocolate bars back into the bag, and then they’re off, they’re on their way back. 

Nicky is practically itching to take Joe’s hand the entire way, which… that might complicate things, right here, right now, and sometimes he couldn’t care less, and sometimes it’s not worth it for the sake of expediency. So he shoves both of his hands deep into his pockets instead, which earns him a quick, sideways glance from Joe. 

Nicky looks back, mouth twisting apologetically, which gets him a wink – and all of a sudden, there’s a rush of love and desire going through him that comes out of nowhere and should be absolutely ridiculous, because Joe didn’t even do anything, and yet, here Nicky is, breath hitching, running so hot it almost hurts. 

They get back to the hotel and don’t even bother waiting for the elevator, head up the three flights of stairs without a word. Joe grabs for his hand after the first one, interlacing their fingers. This should be ridiculous, Nicky keeps thinking, heartbeat hammering in his throat, this is- he doesn’t even know. 

They make it inside the room and then they’re on each other, Nicky falling backwards against the door, slamming it shut at the same time. Practically yanks Joe towards him, both hands fisted in the collar of his t-shirt. 

It’s absolutely frantic, at least by their standards, which… doesn’t happen very often. Joe manages to lock the door with their keycard without interrupting their kiss. Nicky can hear the tiny, mechanical click of the lock sliding into place; can feel Joe fumble the additional deadbolt closed. 

Then he’s done and all of his attention is entirely on Nicky. 

It’s very noticeable, like a shift in the weather, and it feels like a fucking triumph, like some wrong in the universe has finally righted itself. Nicky can’t help but bite at his mouth right away, suck at his lower lip, relishing in the familiar scratch of his beard, and suddenly they’re not just kissing, they’re making out , deep and messy and with one singular purpose in mind. Nicky’s got one arm around Joe’s shoulders and one fisted in the hair at the back of his head, Joe pushing him back against the door with clear intent now, body a hard, immovable line plastered to Nicky’s front, pinning him in place.

“Mmmmh,” Nicky manages. “What do you know… I’m feeling better already-”

Joe, who has been busy pulling Nicky’s shirt out of his pants, wraps his arm around Nicky’s waist at that to pull him even closer, his arm wedged between the door and Nicky’s body, forcing Nicky to arch his back, away from the door and into Joe, because there’s literally nowhere left to go and it’s thrilling.  

“I can tell,” Joe says, low growl to his voice that makes Nicky want to tackle him to the ground and fucking prostrate himself at the same time.

“What, what do you-” he tries to ask, except he can’t finish, because Joe won’t let him; just kisses him even harder, because he can tell Nicky isn’t really serious when he keeps telling him to, “wait… do you, what do you… wait, wait… can I-”

“Can you what?” Joe murmurs right against his mouth, mocking. “Can you eat something in a very pornographic manner in public? Right in front of me? Hmm? Can you do that?”

“That does not sound like me,” Nicky says, breathless, and then he can’t help the low moan he makes when Joe works a leg between his thighs. Would never even want to. “I would never-”

“Slander, huh?” Joe says. There’s a lot of humor to his voice, but there’s real desire too, the hungry look on his face he always gets when he really, really feels like having sex.

“Slander and speculation,” Nicky agrees. He’s grinding against Joe’s thigh now, muscles tensing up at every little hint of friction. It’s not enough and it’s delicious. “And lies. I really want to put my mouth on you. Joe, can I-”

Joe’s hand is cradling the side of his neck now, thumb stroking Nicky’s jawline. Nicky thinks of biting at his thumb. Thinks about sucking on his fingers, on his tongue. Imagines what it will be like, in a minute or two, Joe’s dick in his mouth, Joe’s hands on his head, fingers combing through his hair. Joe moaning his name. 

Joe takes a deep breath, a long, shivery inhale and murmurs, “Who in the world would say no to that?” like that even matters, like Nicky really has the mental capacity to care about anybody else in the world right now. 

Almost sinks down to his knees right then and there, because why not? But Joe just grabs for his wrist again and walks backwards, pulling him towards the bed. 

They both mainly take their own clothes off, because it’s much more efficient that way, still kissing messily in between. Nicky finishes first, because he almost always does. 

Just throwing all of your things around, Joe would say, flinging them everywhere.  

He manages to wait until Joe is naked too before pushing him down onto the mattress. Joe makes an amused noise that morphs into a different kind when Nicky clambers on top of him. 

“Look at you,” he says, cradling Nicky’s face between his palms. “Beautiful as always.”

Nicky stares down at him for a long second, luxuriates in the feeling of Joe’s body under his, settles into the glorious sensation of finally having him skin to skin. All they have is fucking time and in moments like these, strangely, it still feels like it’s never going to be enough. 

Joe lifts his head up and captures his mouth again, and they get distracted for a while, until Nicky is pawing at him, mumbling, “hang on” and “I want” and then, finally, “Yusuf-” 

“Alright, alright,” Joe says, laughing against his mouth. “Don’t let me distract you.”

“Much obliged,” Nicky says, prim and proper, which makes Joe grin even wider. 

He stops grinning in no time at all, though, because Nicky finally gets to settle down between his thighs and can’t help but luxuriate in this as well. 

No artificial smell is consistent – soap, body wash, shampoo, it all comes and goes, changes over the years, the centuries. Joe, at his very core, still smells the same. It was one of the very first things Nicky ever consciously noticed about him too, because… well. They were both drenched in sweat, clothes stained with blood and other bodily fluids; had been stuck in the desert and a city under siege for weeks on end and at the time, Nicky’s first instinct was that he absolutely reeked. Knows for a fact that he didn’t smell any better himself, but of course he didn’t care about that in the slightest. 

There’s probably a very poignant metaphor in there somewhere. 

Now, Joe’s scent is as familiar as breathing, and at times like this it always manages to catch Nicky off guard, each and every time, arousal unspooling low in the pit of his stomach and gently curling around his spine. 

He takes his time. 

Nuzzles and licks at Joe’s erection, presses kisses to the jut of his hip bones, sucks a marks into the inside of his thigh, until Joe finally puts a hand in his hair, fingers scratching over his scalp. He’s never loud, exactly, but he’s always very vocal and Nicky loves hearing him like this. 

Can’t help but shudder himself, at the low groan Joe makes when Nicky finally sucks him into his mouth, dick hot and heavy on his tongue, comforting and exciting at the same time. 

Sucks him off for what feels like a long time, bobbing his head until his jaw is aching and he feels dizzy with it, every other thought eradicated from his brain. 

As always, Joe is making low, harsh noises anytime Nicky is doing something he particularly likes and keeps muttering praise in between. Keeps petting at Nicky’s head as well. He’s never rough unless Nicky wants him to be, but undeniably there, a part of this, because they’re in it together and always will be. 

"Enough," Joe pants eventually. "Enough, enough, come here-" and now he’s actually tugging at Nicky’s hair, trying to pull him off. 

Nicky reluctantly obliges. Clambers up with shaky limbs and with his head swimming, feeling dazed and unsteady. Practically falls on top of Joe, one of Joe’s arms winding itself around his waist immediately, holding him close. His mouth feels slick and swollen, oversensitized. It almost stings when Joe kisses him again, crushes their mouths together carelessly, which makes it better somehow, makes him feel helplessly turned on. 

He moans at the sensation, absolutely shameless about it, because why the fuck would he even want to keep that a secret, and then makes another soft noise as Joe licks into his mouth. He’s got one leg drawn up, presses it back between Nicky’s thighs where it belongs, giving him something to rut against. Nicky rocks down, mindless and uncoordinated, relishes in the arousal shuddering up his spine. 

“Again,” Joe murmurs underneath him, lovingly pushes one hand into Nicky’s hair, damp at the temples, and says, gentle but insistent. “Again, Nico, let me see you.”

Nicky huffs a laugh, or something that might be close. Doesn’t say You’ve already seen me a million times, you know what I look like when I’m like this, out loud but Joe knows anyway, because the corner of his mouth tips up: And...?   

So Nicky rocks down again, teasing himself. Can feel the muscles in Joe’s thigh flex at the contact and let’s it all wash over him again, lets his eyes flutter shut and his mouth fall open at the sensation. 

It won’t be enough to make him come, not by a long shot, but that’s not the point anyway. 

Knows how wanton he must look, face flushed and hot, with Joe’s hand at the small of his back, digging his fingers in to guide him along. 

“Oh,” he moans eventually. “Oh- ohh fuck-” 

Joe’s free hand wanders down to his ass and grips him tight, like Nicky might be planning on going anywhere. Like there’s anywhere he’d rather be. 

“What do you want?” Nicky manages. “Should I come like this?”

“Don’t think you can,” Joe says, sounding amused, but his eyes are dark, watching him like he’s hypnotized. He’s not wrong about that, and they both know it, too. 

“Probably not,” Nicky agrees and now it’s like he can’t stop grinding down, body moving all by itself. It feels so good his eyes keep closing. 

“Probably not,” Joe says and then he flips them without warning, smooth as anything. Nicky’s body goes with the movement immediately, instinctively; lets himself be put on his back like he’s on autopilot, bedsheet blissfully cool where they’ve been unused so far. Joe is on top of him in an instant, kissing him hard for a few long seconds before he pulls back and starts kissing down his chest, role reversal, now going down on him. 

Nicky can hear his own breathing go harsh, eyes fluttering shut again once Joe actually gets his mouth on him. Sucks him down without preamble, one of his hands hooked underneath Nicky’s knee, pushing his leg up and out of the way, because he just loves doing that, loves spreading him open. 

“Fuck,” Nicky says again, other leg drawing up all by itself and Joe’s grabs for that as well, hooks it over his shoulder like an afterthought. Puts his free palm on Nicky’s stomach so Nicky can grab for his hand and hold on tight. 

He’s going to come from this in no time, and they both know it, already moving with Joe, trying to push into the amazing heat of his mouth. 

Joe is going to make him come, he thinks, as he’s clutching at his hand- got Nicky reduced to this, a mindless, desperate bundle of nerve endings, rolling and rolling his hips, twitching at every little flicker of Joe’s tongue against the underside of his cockhead. 

“I-” Nicky pants, completely nonsensical, not even sure which language he’s using any more, and not caring in the slightest. “I’m- fuck, this is… God, Yu- so good, I’m-”

Joe hums at that, sounding satisfied, which is it, it’s over, it’s done with, this is all Nicky can take. He comes with a low, drawn out kind of noise that sounds like he’s in pain, head thrown back, holding on to Joe as he’s riding out his orgasm helplessly. 

It’s heaven, almost more than he can stand. 

He’s the one tugging at Joe’s hair now, wanting him close, and Joe obliges him, of course he does. Nicky has to kiss him again, too breathless to actually do anything justice, but Joe doesn’t seem to mind. 

Nicky can feel him, hot and hard against his own hip, fumbles to touch him even though he’s still trembling from the aftershocks. 

“What do you want,” he whispers. “Tell me what-” 

Joe just kisses him again, reaching for his hand to guide him and then they’re both fisting Joe’s dick, fingers tangling together, and it’s messy and uncoordinated and perfect. Joe starts bucking into their grip right away, panting harshly right next to Nicky’s ear. 

“I love this,” he murmurs then, urgently, sounding completely wrecked, and Nicky buries a hand in his hair again, an age old instinct to keep him close, hissing through his teeth when Joe bites down where Nicky’s neck and shoulder meet, delighted, and then Joe’s coming all over everything. 

They doze off right after, Joe rolling off of him and flopping over onto his back, still staying close enough to be pressed together shoulder to hip. 

“Just frozen water, huh?” Nicky mutters, making Joe laugh. 

 


 

Six hours later, they do it again in the shower. It’s just as ridiculous, because the shower only has a shower curtain and is barely even big enough to fit one grown man, let alone two. 

Nicky wakes up feeling sticky and overheated, even though all of the blankets have ended up on the floor anyway. Might have to turn up the air conditioning, he thinks. Knows that it is the middle of the night right away, even before the clock confirms that it’s going to be midnight in a few minutes. 

Joe is still asleep, hair an unholy mess, one arm curled over Nicky’s chest. Mumbles something incoherent when Nicky carefully sits up, familiar mix of fondness and protectiveness washing over him at the sight of Joe’s sleeping form, and gets out of bed, but he doesn’t move otherwise.

Nicky shuffles into the bathroom. 

Has had the shower running for about two minutes, water lukewarm on purpose, which feels amazing, cool and refreshing, and is busy scrubbing both hands through his hair, getting it nice and wet, when he can hear Joe come into the bathroom. 

He makes a beeline for the shower and just steps in, plasters himself to Nicky’s back and attaches his mouth to the side of Nicky’s neck, licking at the rivulets of water without even saying a word.

Fucks him like that too, later on, Nicky’s hands slipping as he’s bracing himself against the tiled wall, most of their noises muffled by the sound of running water. 

And it’s so clearly fucking this time around, driven by instinct more than anything else; not that the difference really matters, because it’s Joe and it feels fantastic, and they can if they want to, so why the fuck shouldn’t they. The entire setup makes Nicky feel wild and out of control – the dimly lit room, the heat, the late hour, just the two of them hidden away in this tiny bathroom, isolated from the world and stupid with pleasure. 

He’s moaning and fucking moaning like he can’t stop himself, both of them absolutely desperate for it for some inexplicable reason, because some nameless, archaic instinct has taken over, something snarling and feral, something that wants and wants and wants-

When Joe finally lets go of the iron grip he has on Nicky’s hip, the other arm wrapped around his torso, and reaches down to fist Nicky’s dick, Nicky pants, “Yes, fuck, please-” almost immediately. Can feel himself spasm around Joe’s dick just from that first touch, clenching down helplessly, and then he can’t stop twitching into Joe’s grip, who plants his feet and starts angling his thrusts more carefully, fuck, oh- and it’s perfect, Joe knows exactly what to do, knows exactly how to get him there, it’s fucking perfect-

Nicky’s coming before he even fully realizes it’s going to happen, Joe fucking him through it like clockwork, nice and steady, wringing every bit of pleasure from him there is. 

Afterwards, Joe bites at his neck, muttering praise and compliments, and slows all the way down for a bit. Resorts to shallow little thrusts as Nicky pushes away from the wall and leans back against him, lets his head fall back onto Joe’s shoulder to pant up at the ceiling for a second or two. 

“M’good,” he mutters then, dreamily, turning his head to nuzzle the side of Joe’s face, and Joe rasps, “yes?” and Nicky says, “yeah, yes, go for it” which is all the encouragement Joe seems to need, because he steadies himself again, holding Nicky tight, and then he’s really giving it to him, using Nicky’s body to satisfy his own needs, which makes the well-worn proprietary feeling inside Nicky’s chest glow with satisfaction for some reason, makes him shudder all over again, thinking mine and ours and anything he wants-

It doesn’t take long after that. 

“Whew,” is the first thing Joe says, later. He’s leaning heavily against the shower wall, accepting the towel Nicky hands him with a grateful nod, but instead of actually drying off, he just starts toweling his hair with it. 

The bathroom is flooded. The dingy little carpet is soaked, but at least it’s absorbed a lot of the water as well. Nicky bends down to pick it up and flings it into the shower tray with one hand, fingers of the other one firmly intertwined with Joe’s, who presses a quick kiss to his temple once he’s upright again. 

They stagger back to the bed where they collapse in a heap of limbs, still somewhat wet from the shower, but it doesn’t matter. The bedding is a complete mess anyway. 

Nicky feels sated, satisfied to his very core, body happily exhausted, but now he’s not tired anymore. 

Joe doesn’t seem to be either, eventually reaching over to turn on the bedside lamp. He looks gorgeous in the dim light, happy and practically glowing. They just lie around for a while, talking idly, trying to decide on what to do next, how to get to Tripolis, on when they should leave.

“Train, or plane, or automobile,” Joe says in a dreamy little sing song. 

“Hmmmm, yes,” Nicky says. “Or, if I may introduce an alternate suggestion-”

“Go ahead,” Joe mutters. 

“Motorbike.”

“Huh,” Joe says, intrigued, lifting his head up a bit to look at him. “That might be fun.” 

“Yes it might,” Nicky says. 

Suddenly remembers that there’s some pita bread still in the shopping bag, among other things. It’s sitting right next to the door, where Joe dropped it… well, hours ago at this point, barely even illuminated by the modest light the lamp on the nightstand produces. When Nicky starts to sit up, to go and get it, carry it over to the bed, he’s pulled back down forcefully. 

“Nobody is going to sell you a motorcycle right now,” Joe says, making Nicky snort. “Might as well stay here.”

“And starve to death.” 

“Sure," Joe says, unimpressed. “Why not.”

Nicky rolls into him, then, slings one arm over his chest and one leg over his thighs. Joe turns his head to look at him, nosing at his cheek, and gently bumps their foreheads together. 

“I can feel myself getting weaker already,” Nicky murmurs dramatically after a few seconds. “No sustenance- why do you want me to suffer?”

“Because you bear it so beautifully,” Joe says. “Stoic is the word that comes to mind.”

“Thank you,” Nicky says solemnly. “It is never easy, of course, but I try.”

Can feel Joe chuckle, chest rising and falling. His hand is in Nicky’s hair, playing with it. Nicky’s going to get up in a minute, he decides. Not like the bag is going somewhere. Not like they are either, at least not in the next few hours.

After that, it’s anybody’s guess. Who knows what’ll happen. As long as they’re together, it’ll have to be alright.