Upon the sound of laughter, Felix glances up from his work of measuring the logs that will, hopefully, come to make up one of the walls for the cabin they’re building.
He sees Nea doubled over in laughter, her cackling echoing across the camp and alerting the others of their friends' arrival from a trial. From the way the girl is laughing, along with Adam chuckling with much more restraint and Zarina huffing and scowling, it's not hard to figure out which of them managed to escape and who ended up sacrificed.
Except when it comes to one person.
Ace is grinning brightly, the same smile that never seems to leave his face no matter what the Entity throws their way, withstanding being impaled by hooks, chainsaws and swords alike without letting it affect his mood. He's telling a story or a joke, and from the way he mimes running face first into something, Felix would guess it's about the Blight.
Nea howls with laughter, smacking Ace in the arm and wheezing a “Stop it I can't breathe—” and Felix can see Ace's smile widening even further, knowing there's nothing the man enjoys more than getting a laugh out of the others in the midst of all the doom and gloom surrounding them.
Well. Almost nothing.
Ace's eyes meet his and something in his expression shifts, and then he's giving a still sulking Zarina one last encouraging pat on the back and making his way over to Felix.
“How's Guggenheim coming along?” Ace asks, insisting on calling their collective project of the small log cabin the next marvel of modern architecture.
“It's progressing,” Felix says, taking in the foundation they've managed to put together so far. “Jake found another handful of nails for the roof in a trial. Going to be exciting to see how it turns out.”
“Mm-hm,” Ace says, and Felix takes it as a sign to continue, Ace seeming content to listen to him prattle on about a new notch technique him and Bill came up with for the corners of the build.
When Felix finally finishes, Ace raises a mischievous eyebrow.
“Need some more wood for that?” the man inquires with a grin.
Felix huffs a quiet laugh, grabbing Ace by his wrist and dragging him into the woods like they're a pair of teenagers, not caring in the slightest that knowing glances are on their retreating backs.
And despite being held captive against his will by an otherworldly being, Felix has never felt so free.
He finds a spot that's as good as any, leaning against a tree and pulling Ace against him, his lips eagerly finding the gambler’s and knocking his questionably tacky hat off in the process.
Ace doesn't seem to care about his cap falling somewhere on the muddy ground, happily kissing him back and wasting no time to slide his sneaky hands under Felix's shirt to run over his back. Like everything else about Ace, his hands are warm and inviting, and Felix feels some of the tension he didn't even know he had fade away as he melts into the touch.
Words bubble up in his throat, feelings that he doesn't quite know how to define, the warmth spreading through his chest his only hint to what his body is trying to convey. He swallows the feelings down in favor in licking into Ace's mouth, not wanting to ruin the good thing they have going. Trying to tell himself that after a lifetime of responsibilities, commitment is the last thing he needs.
It doesn't stop the possessive thoughts from surfacing when he grabs a handful of ass and is rewarded with an impatient groan against his mouth.
Helping Ace out of his clothes is like second nature, even if the other insists on wearing the horrendous horseshoe belt buckle that Felix always gets stuck on. That happens even now, and Ace's grin against his lips when Felix curses and tugs on the garment impatiently is just enough proof that he's doing it on purpose.
“In a hurry to get somewhere?” Ace asks with a sickly sweet voice, effortlessly unbuttoning Felix’s own shirt. Felix bites at his bottom lip in retaliation as he stupid buckle finally gives way and lets him undo the belt, Ace chuckling at his impatience.
There's only so many ways to be intimate in a dark forest, and Felix is pretty certain they've gone through them all by now. Still, he's far from bored when he slides down on his knees and shoves Ace’s hard cock down his throat, followed by two oiled-up fingers into his lover’s ass after he fumbles to locate the vial of oil in Ace's discarded pants.
And if someone would have told him a year ago that he'd be giving a blowjob and ruining his expensive suit pants on the forest floor where anyone could walk by and see them, Felix would probably have sued them for slander.
…And then went home and jerked off to the mental image.
The startled moan when he swallows around the length in his mouth is like music to his ears, but that could just be because he hasn’t heard any real music in what has to be months at this point. He moves his hand experimentally inside his lover until a jolt and hitch of breath tell him he's located the right spot, a weird sense of pride blooming in his chest over having reduced Ace into a panting mess in mere seconds.
Felix keeps up the movement of his mouth and the pressure against the spot with his fingers and soon, he doesn't know whether the soft curses spilling out of Ace's mouth are Italian or Spanish, as the preferred language seems to change every day. He doesn't understand either, but he takes the noise as wordless encouragement, as if the pre leaking onto his tongue wasn't enough of an indicator.
“Cazzo, caro… fuck,” Ace whines, and when he starts trembling, Felix knows to pull away. He leans up for a kiss instead and Ace is happy to respond, hand immediately going to run through Felix's hair and eagerly licking into his mouth. And then he mutters “Let me help you with that” against his lips, voice a deep purr, before joining Felix on the dirty ground and kissing down his body while sliding his slacks down.
They've done this enough times that Felix doesn't hesitate to grab a fistful of Ace's hair and shove the man down on his cock as soon as he sucks the tip into his mouth. The encouraging groan is nice to hear nonetheless, a reassurance that the other is just as into it as he is.
Felix wouldn't mind keeping Ace's mouth on his cock until the other's jaw is sore, but Ace is impatient, especially when Felix sees his hand sneak down to touch himself and he moans long and loud around his dick.
“You ready?” Felix asks. Sometimes, he likes to push, and maybe even have Ace beg if he's lucky, but today he's in a sentimental mood and just wants to make Ace happy.
“Fuck, yeah,” Ace pulls off and breathes, and is sure as hell isn't a “please”, but it still makes Felix smile. “How do you want me?”
Felix looks around, considering the question. The ground is pretty gross, and he doesn't want either him or Ace laying on it. There's plenty of trees and rocks to do it against, but he’d rather be in a position that doesn’t require acrobatics and will just allow both of them to focus on the fucking.
Most of their clothes are strewn near a fallen tree, and Felix decides that will do the job. He reaches over, arranging the clothes over and in front of the tree, Ace watching curiously the entire time.
“Does this work for you?” Felix asks.
“I love the way you think,” Ace responds with a grin, leaning in for a quick peck before essentially bending over the log for Felix, the clothes preventing the majority of the discomfort caused by the rotting bark digging into his skin.
It still amazes Felix how easily Ace submits for him, laying himself bare in such a vulnerable position without a hint of hesitation. And then he's even wiggling his ass and looking over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow, a witty comment no doubt ready on his tongue when Felix is taking longer than he'd like.
And Felix huffs and shakes his head, giving an encouraging pat to his ass to settle him, before reaching for the oil and lathering himself up. He's not exactly sure how sanitary gun oil is, but it's the best they have and he offers a silent thank you to the surprisingly reasonable cowboy killer who lets Felix raid his workshop from time to time. They surely wouldn't have gotten as far as they have with building shelters around camp is it wasn't for the tools he's borrowed—
“Yeah sure, just jack off, it's not like there's anything better to do,” Ace's exasperated comment pulls him out of his thoughts and he realizes he's still spreading the lube over his shaft, lost in his own mind.
“Sorry, Bärchen,” Felix offers, placing an apologetic peck on his lover's neck and finally positioning himself where both of them want him to be.
And all of the snark and cockiness leaves Ace as he pushes inside of the welcoming heat, a strangled gasp escaping his lover's mouth. Felix settles for a relieved sigh, grabbing Ace by his narrow hips, so different from all the women he's been with, back in his previous life that feels like a lifetime ago.
“You feel so good,” Felix murmurs, leaving out that he doesn't only mean on his dick, but also in his arms, and, more and more every day, in his heart.
So maybe balls-deep in his lover isn't the most appropriate occasion to try to sort out his feelings, but he knows he has a little time. He's grinding shallowly, biding his time until—
“Come on, I'm not made of glass.”
—said lover decides to be a smartass and let him know it's okay to start moving.
“Suit yourself,” Felix merely offers before setting up a steady pace, relishing in the sounds he pulls from Ace when he finally gives the man what he craves.
And he'd lie if he claimed he wasn't just as into it, mouth falling open and fighting his eyes that want to slide shut from the pleasure. He refuses to give onto his body's demands, wanting to see Ace slowly come apart under him.
Ace's back muscles ripple with the movement of being fucked against the log, the long expanse of unmarred skin too tempting not to touch. So Felix does just that, running a hand down along Ace's spine, his touch just as firm as the pace of his hips.
“Harder,” Ace demands and Felix isn't about to deny him, and the hand on his back gets a new task when he uses it to push Ace's chest against the log, holding him in place so he can fuck into him harder. “F-fuck, don't stop,” his lover gasps in encouragement, and Felix sees him grab a fistful of one of their discarded shirts to ground himself.
It always amazes Felix just how into it Ace is. They've done this the other way around a couple of times, mostly to sate Felix's curiosity. And while he certainly enjoyed himself, Ace always makes sure of that, he never really saw the appeal of being on the receiving end.
Luckily this works much better for them both, and Felix feels his own end rapidly approaching when Ace clenches down on him and moans loudly and twists his head, leaning his cheek against the covered bark and sparing a glance up at Felix through a half-lidded eye.
There's something vulnerable about the expression that Felix doesn't get to see at any other times, buried under a carefully presented front of humor and carefreeness. It's kind of typical that Felix needs to fuck him speechless to even get a glimpse of that side of him.
So he stares right back, trying to ignore how the surprising intimacy of eye contact makes everything more intense, feeling his dick swell impossibly wider and pleasure fog his brain.
Apparently he's not alone, Ace breaking the eye contact in favor of squeezing his eyes shut and biting his lip to suppress a whine as a jolt runs up his body.
“Close?” Felix asks despite knowing the answer, already dropping his hand to wrap loosely around Ace's cock.
“So close,” Ace agrees, his body tensing up in a familiar way.
“Go ahead,” Felix encourages, momentarily pushing his own pleasure to the sidelines in favor of focusing on a steady rhythm of thrusts and a firm pump of his hand.
“F-fuck, Felix, baby—” Ace rambles as the tension builds up even further, his breath catching in his throat.
And then the tension snaps like a bowstring, Ace’s wordless shout echoing out into the woods as he comes, cock pulsing in Felix’s hand and muscles rippling around him. Felix might be kind of twisted in thinking so, but it's probably his favorite thing in the world, and he murmurs things in his native tongue that he'd never have the guts to say to Ace's face if he knew what they meant while he slowly fucks him through the orgasm.
Ace slumps down on his forearms against the tree, panting to catch his breath. Felix takes the opportunity to pull out, feeling himself close to the edge and mindful not to finish inside despite Ace always insisting he doesn't mind.
He takes his cock in hand and sets a fast pace, knowing it won't take long when he's this worked up. But Ace is immediately twisting around to face him, pulling Felix in for a kiss and a hand finding his cock, and Felix is more than happy to let him take over.
Ace's pace is slower than his own and he kisses languidly, much more gentle than usual and almost like he's trying to convey something without words. And something in Felix breaks at the gentle treatment and he spills into Ace's hand with a broken moan swallowed by the other's mouth.
When the post-orgasmic haze fades from around his mind, Felix is staring into a pair of curious brown eyes and his hand is cupping Ace's cheek in an intimate gesture while he sucks in big puffs of air in their shared breathing space. There's something vulnerable in Ace's expression again, and he wants to spill his heart, his treacherous mouth already opening to tell him—
“Wow, you came a lot,” Ace twists his face into a familiar grin instead. “Were you feeling a little pent up?”
Felix is glad for the shift in mood, managing to get back control over his thoughts and masking the near slip-up as clearing his throat.
“I'd hope not. I don't think my sex life has ever been this active,” Felix says instead, regretfully letting his hand fall from Ace's face and starting to pull on his clothes.
“I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm really not,” Ace smirks, following his lead and trying to locate his own clothing.
They finish dressing, having to cover a wayward splash of someone's cum on Ace’s pants with mud, and Felix can't help but feel disappointed that they'll be heading back to the camp right away. He knows he's getting greedy, wanting to spend more and more time alone with Ace, but he can't help it—it's easily his favorite pastime in the realm.
“Are you in a hurry to get back, or…?” Ace asks and Felix couldn't be happier that he's seemingly read his mind.
“Not at all,” he says, sitting down on the log and trying to calm his rapidly beating heart when Ace offers a boyish smile and immediately joins him and starts excitedly telling a silly story of how he once got caught at a prestigious dinner party with his pants down.
So Ace isn't usually one for deep discussion or figuring out the ‘why’s and ‘how’s of the Entity's handiwork, but Felix doesn't mind. He's earnest and lively and Felix is greedy and wants the optimistic smile directed at himself and not their companions.
Felix doesn't know how long they talk about nonsensical things. He loses track of how many times he laughs, staring way too long at the smile that never leaves Ace's face.
No matter how much he enjoys Ace's company, sitting next to him while his feelings run rampant turns out to be a special kind of torture. Felix can't help but want to be closer, and has to dig his nails into the bark to stop himself from pulling the other into an embrace and carding his hands through soft hair and murmuring sweet nothings into his ear.
It's kind of sad that he trusts this man with his life, but for some reason, doesn't trust him not to reject him.
“Can I make a humble request? You know, about the project?” Ace eventually asks, thankfully still oblivious to Felix's inner turmoil.
“Of course,” Felix says, already seeing how this will play out. Ace will suggest something half-jokingly, Felix will tease him about it, it will become a running gag between them, and then he'll eventually still go along with it because he's in way too deep with this man and can't bring himself to deny him, even if it's something stupid like building a poker room.
“We should make one of those shelters out here in the woods,” Ace says. “For… you know. Fucking.”
Yet another laugh bubbles up Felix's throat.
“A fuck hut?” Felix clarifies.
“You heard me,” Ace says, puffing up his chest a little in mock offense. “It doesn't make sense that we basically have houses now and everyone still goes out into the woods for sex.”
And he has a point. Felix has heard some suspicious sounds coming from the shelters around the campfire, but he's yet to push his luck around where everyone can hear.
“Maybe if you didn't sound like a fire alarm when you come, we wouldn't have to sneak off,” Felix offers with a smug smirk.
Still, it's a good idea, once that he's sure some of the others would appreciate too. Even if the suggestion would initially be met with embarrassment and snide comments, he's sure the couples and, hell, even the singles would appreciate the privacy.
“Maybe I'd pipe down if you didn't like it so much,” Ace shoots back with a cocky smirk.
And he's not wrong. The sex without Ace's sarcastic comments and inappropriate jokes, not to mention loud groans of pleasure, just wouldn't be the same.
“Guilty as charged,” Felix smirks, and Ace looks way too pleased with himself from the admission.
Felix realizes they could keep up the back-and-forth for hours, and he really does have tasks he should be getting back to. He was supposed to finish marking the rest of the logs for Tapp to saw, but he's been playing hooky this entire time instead.
“We should get back,” Felix finally decides, trying his best to suppress a disappointed sigh. He hates having to be the responsible one.
“Guggenheim isn't going to build itself,” Ace agrees, offering a good-natured grin.
Felix shoots back a tiny smile and starts walking in the direction of camp, when a hand on his wrist stops him.
“You alright? You seem a little… off,” Ace says, a flash of worry on his features that quickly morphs back into a carefree smile. “You know I'm good at distractions, if nothing else!”
Felix's heart throbs painfully upon seeing the moment of concern. He should have learned by now that Ace is a lot more perceptive than he lets on, and it warms his heart to know Ace cares about him, even if it's not in the same way Felix does for him.
And at the same time, he feels horrible. He promised himself to stop lying, trying to leave that part of himself behind. It's no longer lying by omission, now he's actively lying straight to Ace's face. But what choice does he have?
“I'm fine,” he lies, distracting himself from the self-loathing by taking hold of Ace's hand and pulling him closer. “Just a little stressed about the cabin.”
“Just let me know if some of the others are giving you a rough time,” Ace smiles. “And I'll drag them off for an ass-kicking—you know, at poker.”
Felix still feels terrible, but manages a smile for Ace. Despite the guilt, he allows himself to steal one last kiss before they get back to the others.
Felix is so lost in his thoughts he completely misses the way Ace's hand tightens almost desperately around the fabric his shirt, and how he has a hard time letting go when they finally pull apart.