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there you go pulling me right back in

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Sometimes, Joe wondered what he’d done in his first life to get so… lucky. Or unlucky, depending on when you asked.

Most of the time, it was the former- he was blessed with life, with family, with good food and good love. With Nicky.

Days like today, though? Today it was the latter. Today many people had died. Today Joe was sad and quiet, and unable to provide even the barest hint of a smile. Children died today because Joe hadn’t been fast enough in getting on top of that bomb, because… 

Andy and Nile, bless them, were being very kind about it. They were talking about everything but the mission, even going so far as to turn the football game on and try to draw Joe into it. They’d turned it off once he made it clear that he wanted to sit on the window seat and mope. 

The Buenos Aires skyline stared back at him, mocking him with its beauty. Any other day his fingers would be itching for his sketchbook, dying to capture the golden sunset and the peaks and falls of the building. 

A cool finger brushed along his neck, and Joe tilted his head back to look at Nicky. 

“I want to go for a walk. It’s a warm night.” Nicky didn’t phrase it like a question, and Joe was grateful for it. No questions meant he didn’t have to think about it, didn’t have the opportunity to say no. 

They walked down to the street below the apartment, and through the streets hand in hand until Nicky turned them into a large park where it was a little quieter. It was warm, and the sky was gold and pink and purple by increments as the sun set. 

Joe sighed- the fresh air was doing him good, but every time he tried to open his mouth and talk to his husband- to Nicky, the one person it was supposed to be easy to talk to- his voice died in his throat.

And Nicky noticed. Of course, he noticed. So he turned to Joe and said “remember when I learned to use a scope?”

Joe blinked- He was sort of expecting Nicky to avoid talking about work, and part of him wanted to change the topic, but he found himself nodding.

“World war two,” he finally croaked, then grimaced- his throat was still sore from earlier. Standard fare for getting blown up without dying. Even his body was punishing him for not being fast enough.

“I loved it,” Nicky sighed, “I loved watching your back, even though I wasn’t good at it.”

Joe opened his mouth to object, because Nicky was a terrifyingly skilled sniper, but Nicky hushed him. “You rest your voice, let me be the storyteller for once.”

Obediently, Joe closed his mouth. Nicky hummed and swung their joined hands back and forth as they made circles around the park. “I was terrible at it, but you were determined to help me. You spent weeks learning how to calculate trajectory so you could help guide my shots.” 

Nicky leaned up to kiss his cheek. “My spotter of choice, watching me when I should be watching you.”

“You get too focused,” Joe said, waving his free hand around. “You kept getting ambushed in the sniper’s nest, someone had to protect you.”

“And that’s always you.”

“Always,” Joe echoed softly, glancing down and kicking a rock. Nicky squeezed his hand. “I wouldn’t want anyone else there with me. My eyes and ears.” 

He kissed Joe softly. “My heart.”

Joe sighed, ducking his head. Nicky dropped his hand so he could cup Joe’s face and sweep his thumbs over his beard and cheeks.

“You shouldn’t frown so,” Nicky muttered, and Joe managed a tiny smile. “Worried I’ll get wrinkles?”

“Ah, I’ll love you even when you become a shriveled old prune,” Nicky joked, and Joe chuckled. Nicky pressed their foreheads together. “But what I meant is, you shouldn’t frown so when your mouth is clearly so well suited to smiling.”

Joe’s laugh was bitter, and Nicky reached up to kiss his forehead. “What troubles you so, my heart?”

“I wasn’t fast enough,” Joe whispered, “those kids- that warehouse came down on top of them-”

“You couldn’t have stopped that-”

“I was right there!” Joe snapped, clenching his fists and moving out of Nicky’s reach. “I was- I could’ve- the bomb was right there, and I could’ve done something, but I hesitated because I knew it was going to hurt if I jumped on top of that bomb and-”

“And nothing.” Nicky grabbed his arm and chin, forcing Joe to look him in the eye. “You are not a bad person for wishing to spare yourself pain, my love.”

“I can take it,” Joe muttered, voice hollow. “I can deal with pain. Any pain except yours.” 

“I would never say you couldn’t.” Nicky sighed, leading him over to a bench and sitting them both down. “Joe- Yusuf. Even if you’d planted yourself on that bomb it would’ve blown through you. Those children, God rest their souls, would’ve still died. The only difference would be that I would have been arrested for refusing to leave a crime scene because I would’ve been so terrified while looking for you that Andy wouldn’t have been able to drag me away.”

“You were still terrified,” Joe muttered, and Nicky sighed leaning forward to rest his forehead against Joe’s heartbeat. “I was. I always am when you’re bleeding.”

Joe’s chest felt tight because he knew that fear. He knew that moment of what if this time it doesn’t stop.

Joe swallowed thickly. He held Nicky a little tighter. 

“I’m sorry,” Joe sighed, “I’m sorry I-” I’m sorry I’m not strong enough, I’m sorry I can't be happy all the time, I’m sorry I keep scaring you.

What came out was “I’m sorry you’re stuck with me.”

Nicky picked up his head, looking offended. “Stuck with you?”

Joe winced, then looked away. “I mean, it is a little true. We didn’t exactly choose to get thrown into this together-”

“What are you saying?”

Nicky sounded angry, and Joe held up his hands. “I’m just pointing out that maybe if we didn’t become immortal at the same time-”

“No.”

“Nicky-”

“No!” Nicky grabbed his wrists hard enough that it hurt a little, and Joe winced, finally looking at him. “Nicky-”

“I would choose you,” Nicky said, furious and righteous. “I would choose you every time, for a day or a hundred days or a million years. I would take you for an hour than live a life without you.” 

Joe shook his head, and Nicky sighed, leaning forward to press their foreheads together again,

“Yusuf,” Nicky sighed, “what have I done? What on earth makes you think that you aren’t worthy of my love?”

“Nothing,” Joe shook his head frantically. “Absolutely nothing. You’re so kind, Nicky, you- you’re perfect. Fierce and loyal and kind and amazing and I’m-”

“Gentle,” Nicky interrupted, moving into Joe’s lap and kissing his nose. He kisses his brow next “and wise.” 

“Nicky-”

“You call me kind,” Nicky said, voice soft. “But you- You see the good in everyone, my love. You make beauty out of the mundane. You are the light which guides me, the air I breathe and if I am perfect- which I’m not- then it’s because I am with you.”

“But I-” Joe inhaled shakily, hiding his face in Nicky’s chest. “I can’t- what if I can’t-”

“Then I will help you.” Nicky declared fiercely. “There is nothing you could do or not do that would make me leave you. If I am truly stuck with you instead of blessed by you, then you’re stuck with me.”

Nicky tugged on his curls until he could kiss Joe, biting at his lips and holding Joe in place until Joe was dizzy from lack of oxygen, from the force of Nicky’s love.

Nicky pulled back, looking smug and beautiful.

“Take me home,” Joe breathed, and Nicky nodded once, dragging him off the bench and running home, hand in hand with him.

They made it to the stairwell of their apartment before Joe had to kiss him again, dragging Nicky close so that Nicky was pinning him against the wall. Nicky kissed him hard enough that their teeth knocked together, and the spark of sensation made Joe shiver. 

Nicky slid a leg between his, and Joe whined against his mouth, pulling back and knocking his head against the wall.

“Not here-” Joe managed, and Nicky sucked a bruise onto his neck.

“Not here,” he agreed, “I’m just taking the edge off. Because when we get up there you have to explain to Nile and Andy.”

Joe groaned, too turned on to think much less string words together. 

“You have to explain to them,” Nicky continued because Nicky was a monster, “You have to explain that you feel better now, that you’re sorry for worrying them, that you love them, all while knowing that as soon as we get into our room I’m going to put my mouth on you, worship you the way you deserve.”

Joe let out a weak sob, and Nicky smiled, bumping their noses together. “I want to hear that again, want to make you feel so good that you cry with it. Will you let me? Let me make you feel good, baby, please.”

Joe nodded again, trying to breathe. Nicky chuckled and reached down to squeeze him through his pants. Joe gasped sharply, squirming against him. “Nicky-”

“Keep it together for five minutes, my love,” Nicky said. “You can be good for me, I know it.”

Joe shivered as Nicky released him. He wanted Nicky to touch him. He wanted to not think. 

Andy and Nile looked up when they came in. Nile gave him a bright smile. “Hey! Feeling better?”

Joe’s returning smile was hopefully convincing enough, he felt like his pants were about to rip from how hard his cock was. “Better, yeah. I’m sorry I worried you.”

Nicky’s arms slid around his waist, and he pressed his proud smile into Joe’s shoulder.

“I made dinner,” Nile gestured to the kitchen. “My mom’s jambalaya. It’ll be ready soon if you’re hungry.”

Joe’s heart sped in his chest- surely Nicky wouldn’t make him sit through a dinner? He was sure Nile’s food would be delicious, but he was going to lose his goddamn mind.

“Not hungry,” Joe squeaked, then cleared his throat. “But, uh- you can save me some for later. It sounds great.”

“We’re going to go lay down for a while.” Nicky saved him, sounding bemused. 

“You’re going to have sex,” Andy said without looking away from the tv. “Don’t pussyfoot around it, the kid’s 26.”

Joe blushed, and Nile giggled a bit. “Alright, alright, get out of here, both of you.”

Nicky grinned and dragged Joe away to their room, kicking the door shut behind him and jumping at Joe, wrapping his legs around Joe’s waist and laughing into his mouth. 

Joe grabbed him by the ass, groaning into it as their cocks bumped each other through their clothing. The dizziness came back as Joe forgot everything except Nicky, falling on the bed with his husband on top of him, straddling his lap. 

Nicky kissed him, once, twice, three times before going for Joe’s neck. Joe tugged helplessly at Nicky’s shirt, separating them long enough to pull it off and scrape his fingernails down Nicky’s back. 

Nicky groaned against him, rolling his hips and pulling back. He shoved Joe until he lay flat, reaching down to undo his pants. 

“I’m going to ride you,” Nicky muttered, “and you’re going to lay there and watch me, you’re going to watch me take what I want and give you what you need, and you’re going to have to know how much I adore you.” 

“Nicky-“ Joe choked out, and Nicky leaned down to kiss him again , rising up to lower his own pants.

“Stay here,” Nicky muttered, and Joe nodded once, not moving a muscle while Nicky got up, stripped, and grabbed the lube before straddling him again. As he reached back to stretch himself open, Nicky leaned forward to press their foreheads together once again.

“You are wise beyond measure,” Nicky muttered, “and smarter than anyone I have ever met. I certainly can’t perform calculations as quickly as you can, or recite entire art theories from memory. The ease with which you learn new things and keep up with modern mechanics and science- You astound me every day.”

Joe opened his mouth to give his usual response, that he was carrying on a proud tradition of underappreciated Islamic scientists, but what came out was a hysterical noise as Nicky kissed along Joe’s face.

“So beautiful,” Nicky sighed, “I long to capture your beauty the way you do mine. I’d sculpt you from marble if I could- or diamond. Something long-lasting and hard-”

He rolled his hips and in one fluid movement sank himself onto Joe’s cock, making them both gasp. 

Joe bucked upwards once before forcing himself to be still- this was Nicky’s show, he could lead. 

Nicky pushed Joe’s shirt up until he could scratch along the sides of his torso. “So strong. Able to protect me and our family, able to provide and thrive and care for everything around you.”

He started to love, breathing growing quicker as he bounced himself in place and grabbed Joe’s hand, kissing each finger before pressing his mouth to Joe’s palms.

“I think I like these best-” Nicky groaned, eyes fluttering shut as he lost the thought, then opening as he found it again, pressing Joe’s palm to his cheek. “Warm. You always have such warm hands- I’m always so saddened to see blood on them. Your hands were meant to be covered in charcoal, to make art and bring me pleasure, not for violence, never for violence, fuck Yusuf-”

Joe bucked his hips up once, and Nicky’s appreciative groan made him do it more, matching Nicky’s frantic rhythm. He kept his hand in place, cupping Nicky’s chin and rubbing his thumb over Nicky’s mole.

“Fuck-” Nicky hissed out again, nipping at Joe’s thumb. “You’re so- you call me perfect, but look at you, you’re so good for me, so beautiful, fuck- touch me, Yusuf please-”

Joe pushed himself upwards, hand falling from Nicky’s face to his hip while the other fisted his cock. He pressed his forehead to Nicky’s sternum, feeling the racing heartbeat and panting lungs. Thank you, thank you Allah for this man who makes everything better, who knows me better than I know myself, who makes me better.

“I love you,” Nicky whispers, clenching both hands in Joe’s hair and pulling. “I love you, and I forgive you, and I need you to come for me, now-”

Nicky’s hips stuttered as Joe choked on air, spilling inside his husband. Nicky fucked him through it, pushing his cock into Joe’s hand once, twice, three times-

“Fuck!” Nicky grunted as he spilled, dribbling globs of cum across Joe’s hand and chest. They stayed like that for a long moment, tense and twitching, until Joe collapsed backward with a groan, panting like he’d done all the work instead of Nicky. 

Nicky pulled off of him with a wet squelch and a grunt, crawling along the bed to lay on his side next to Joe. 

Joe wrapped his right arm around Nicky’s shoulders, while Nicky took his left hand and started licking it clean. 

“You know I know, right?” Joe managed after he’d caught his breath. “I know you love me? And normally I don’t doubt it, I’m just a mess tonight?”

“I know,” Nicky said, bemused and propped up on one elbow. “Sometimes I wish I could take a peek inside that beautiful brain of yours. Fight your demons.”

“My brave knight,” Joe chuckled, rolling over to kiss him gently. “Mm, do you think Nile has any jambalaya left?”

“She probably does,” Nicky kissed him again, “and it’ll still be there after we shower.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“Let me rephrase- You can go get food, I have cum leaking out of my ass, and I am going to shower and if you don’t join me then I won’t give you a blow job.”

Joe felt himself twitch in interest. “What did I do to earn that?”

“Besides existing?” Nicky grinned, “give me a great orgasm. Now come along, the sooner we get done the more jambalaya there will be.”

Nicky stood and held out a hand.

Joe, as always, followed.