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Khun stared at the sign. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Bam fidgeted nervously next to him and Khun was suddenly hyper-aware of his presence. “Do you... Do you think it’s a joke?”

The sign read, in clear black letters against a white background:

To pass this floor, it is very simple. You must have sex with the other individual in the room with you. If you do not, you will be unable to leave this room and no provisions will be provided.

Essentially—fuck or starve to death.

Khun looked around. They were in a small, neat room. There was wood paneling on the wall, a plush deep blue rug underfoot, and then, pushed right into a nook in the wall, was a wide, low-lying bed.

Maybe it was the shock of the situation, maybe it was the way he could feel Bam staring at him, but the only thing he could focus on was how impractical it was that the sheets were white.

“Khun,” Bam said softly behind him, his voice uncertain and Khun’s back tingled, like a shiver running down his spine. He gritted his teeth, irritated at his reaction to his name.

“I’m thinking,” he said to Bam. It wasn’t normally something he needed to warn for, or even ask for quiet for, but something about this situation left him on edge.

Ignoring the anxious shape of Bam in his peripheral vision, he revisited:

The moment before. The sum total of them, him, Bam, Rak, Hockney, Elaine, Shibisu, Endorssi, Anaak, Ran, and Hatz. The waiting room they were milling around in. It was a strange place to start a test, not a field, not a stadium, no place to fight. It was decorated like a spa, with soothing music playing, gentle lighting, tasteful furniture and well-tended plants. Khun had sat down next to Bam, not trusting their environment, and then there has been a crackle, electricity tingling along his skin, just like teleporting between floors.

And then of course, getting dropped unceremoniously into the room together. They had both immediately slid into defensive stances, Khun’s lighthouse spinning around him, thorns spitting behind Bam.

But it was a bedroom. Just a bedroom.

Before even then, Khun had researched this test. It was, of course, illegal to disseminate information of floor tests. For all of the tower’s bullshit, destiny and family lines and more, it at least pretended to be a meritocracy, at least when it came to climbing it. Any knowledge about future tests was strictly controlled.

That wasn’t to say Khun didn’t have his ways. There were certain channels, digital back alleyways, and a whole new world of information opened up. Most of it was still sparse, paranoid, of course, and Khun was just the same. Still, to someone who knew what they were looking at, even the barest of details could give the edge that meant life or death.

For this floor though, the 69th, there had been more information than normal, but at the same time, it was less descriptive than what he was used to. It was as if people wanted to talk about it, but more than anything, they wanted to joke about it. Some of what they said now made horrible, perfect sense:

be careful! it plays with your emotions

It’s more a psychological test, than anything else...

The physical part of it isn’t that challenging.

Haha it was pretty fun actually

It tore apart my entire team. Now at least three people try to kill me on sight :(

Khun still wasn’t sure how the last person managed to mess up that badly, even with the new context. Although—he did consider what Endorssi would try to do to him once they got out of this. And then he also considered that he wasn’t fucking scared of Endorssi.

He turned to Bam and Bam’s eyes flew wide at his expression. He didn’t know Bam could read him that well. Still—he wanted to give Bam the option, as much as he could in this situation.

“It’s—all the research I did suggests that this is more of a psychological test than a physically one,” he admitted wryly, finger-combing through his hair. “And sex—sex with a random teammate has the ability to disrupt group dynamics in a powerful way.”

Bam’s throat bobbed and there was something mesmerizing about that movement and Khun wanted to smack himself. Bam hadn’t asked for this, for him, and here Khun was, already objectifying his damn throat.

“Well.” Bam’s voice seemed to crash through the room, but maybe Khun was just that much more aware of him. He met Bam’s eyes and he looked scared, and nervous, but there was another emotion that Khun couldn’t read. “I—“ Bam started then stopped. He licked his lips and Khun really was a lost cause, wasn’t he? Just the idea of Bam and sex in the same mental space and all of these tiny gestures were shivering through him.

Bam laughed nervously. “I, uh. I don’t really know how to say this.” At the admission, it was like every single cell in Khun’s body stood up, anticipating and eager. It was all Khun could do to not physically perk up like a dog called to dinner. Bam’s smile was tight and anxious but there was something genuine to it. “I guess I’m glad it’s you?”

All the air disappeared from the room. Khun’s head felt light, felt like it was spinning and he couldn’t find the words to—

“I trust you.”

The air returned but Khun was still uncertain, unsure what Bam actually meant. Did that mean he wanted Khun? Or did it mean Khun was the least of the evils available?

He grasped at the facade of—“Bam, we need to be clear about the expectations for this. That’s the only way to navigate this.”

For some reason, Bam’s smile widened and he let out a little huff, but the fondness seemed almost sad. “Yeah, that’s, um, that’s why I trust you.”

That’s why, huh? The fact that he knew Khun wouldn’t make it about feelings or love or any of that bullshit. The gravity returned to the room, centering in the middle of his chest like a heavy pit.

“Okay,” he said, his own voice steady, and he started rattling off all the elements that came to mind. “Does just an orgasm count or does it have to be penetration? If penetration, then how do two woman pass? Not relevant! Most likely penetration, it would have the biggest emotional impact. Can it be just once? Is emotionally intimacy required? How is proof of orgasm provi—“

“I’m a virgin.”

Khun froze.

“I’ve never—“ He looked at Bam, who was scratching his head nervously, his face pink. Khun had never seen Bam blush before. “I’ve never done anything like this before. So please—“ He looked straight into Khun’s eyes. “Take good care of me.”

His entire face was bright red now but his eyes were burning with determination. He looked—Khun’s stomach flipped with heat, at being asked that, at Bam looking so cute. He licked his suddenly dry lips, trying to regain his composure.

“Have you—“ His voice was embarrassingly raspy. “Have you ever kissed anyone?”

This sent a crack running through Bam’s composure, the lines of his face shifting helplessly.  “No,” Bam admitted.

The single word spiked through Khun. He was going to take Bam’s first everything, and he couldn’t even bring himself to regret it. “I’m sorry,” he croaked.

But Bam was just shaking his head. “No. No, I told you.” He took a step closer and Khun couldn’t breathe. “I trust you.”

“Okay,” Khun said, feeling lightheaded and like he was making the worst mistake of his life. He took one step closer and he was deeper in Bam’s personal space than he ever had been before. Like falling off a cliff—“I’m going to kiss you, okay?”

Bam just inhaled, his eyes going wide and Khun scrambled to explain.

“I just think that the emotional intimacy that’s likely required and—“ And he couldn’t be this cold when Bam’s eyes were golden and warm, “and I’m sorry it’s me, but I—“

He didn’t know what it meant that Bam was staring at him like that, so intently.

Khun’s voice was unbearably, helplessly soft. “I just think it would be kind of sad if you weren’t even kissed during your first time.”

“Khun—“ His name came out of Bam’s lips, like heated honey, like gold, like something hot and liquid and precious. “Okay.”

“Okay,” Khun said back, not really sure what he was saying. He slipped a hand along Bam’s jaw, feeling like a thief, their noses brushing together, Bam’s unsteady breathing hot on his lips. Bam’s gaze was lidded and Khun instructed—

“Shut your eyes.”

Maybe it would make him feel less like a criminal. Maybe when Bam wasn’t staring at him with his beautiful eyes, Khun could pretend this wasn’t what it was. Maybe maybe maybe—

But Bam just smiled at him. “You first.”

“Fine,” he said shortly, unwilling and incapable of arguing. He shut his eyes, descending into darkness, untethered and blind, and kissed Bam.

Now, Khun had thought about this more than he cared to admit. He had imagined it broken and bloody, pressing one last confession to Bam’s mouth. He had imagined it warm and easy, unfolding before a sunset, the taste of chocolate and wine hiding behind each other’s lips. He had imagined painful what-if’s after he had thought Bam died, and he had dreamed of swelling reunions after he had his turn with death.

But reality was—

The scratch of Bam’s chapped lips, the overloud noise of the air conditioner, the ruse of it all, leaning on Khun’s shoulder, reminding him was farce this all was.

And it was better than anything he had ever imagined, Bam pressing back clumsily, a hand falling to Khun’s shoulder.

He opened his eyes and the reality he returned to was irrevocably altered. The lights seemed too bright and the room small and sterile but Bam’s eyes were warm and lidded. Khun was going to make sure that no matter how this turned out, Bam was going to feel good, and Bam would know that Khun supported him however he wanted.

“I’m going to keep kissing you,” he warned lowly, pressing another kiss, already addicted to the drag.

“Okay.” Bam’s voice was breathy in a way that ran hot through Khun.

He couldn’t stop himself. “I’m going to keep kissing you, then I’m going to take all your clothes off, then I’m going to fuck you.”

Bam’s eyes went wide again, a gasp rolling through him, not saying anything.

Pressing helplessly closer, he managed—“Bam, I need you to agree.”

If after all this, it came out that Bam hadn’t even—

“Yes,” Bam nodded, his voice airy and light, “Yes, I agree.”

Khun pulled him back into another kiss and it felt like a descent into madness, letting himself fall into their kisses, letting himself lick at Bam’s lips like he was allowed, letting himself taste Bam’s mouth, teeth, soft panting breaths. There was insanity hidden in Bam’s hair, catching on Khun’s fingers as he brushed through it, and it emanated out from where Bam placed a hand in the middle of his back.

It was a burning, hungry madness, one that made clothes feel confining and overhot and he couldn’t stop touching Bam, he couldn’t stop feeling every part he had secretly mapped in careful, furtive glances. The dip between his shoulder blade, the line of his spine, the strength of his arms.

The only thing that kept him tethered to sanity was that Bam met him, kiss for kiss, touch for touch, a hand cradling the back of Khun’s head, an arm wrapped around his waist. The give and take of their mouths, how they swayed where the stood, unbalanced by the movements of their own hands.

It could have been hunger, it could have been unearned boldness, but Khun found his hands growing audacious. He smoothed lower and lower and Bam didn’t tense in his arms so he let himself lightly run a hand over Bam’s ass.

And there the tension was. But then, just as quickly, it was gone, sighing back out, and Khun focused on distracting Bam. He was learning all types of things, like how the heat and warmth of Bam’s body felt against his, but also the way Bam’s arms would tighten when Khun would suck on his tongue or nibble on his lip.

So he nipped at Bam’s mouth and ran another hand over his ass. There was a sigh and Bam was heavier in his arms in way that seem s promising. And he tried again, sucking at his tongue and actually enjoying the give of flesh under his hands. And that earned him a gasp, Bam’s head falling back as he pressed closer.

Khun was nothing of not a man who seized opportunity. Bam’s bared throat, his ass in Khun’s hands. Skin was warm and clean underneath his mouth and lips with each kiss and lick. His hands begged to squeeze, to pull Bam close, to grind against him. He compromised, kneading gently, pacing himself.

He was rewarded: a soft noise, Bam pressing against him, melting like he was trying to mold himself onto Khun. And then—this, more than anything he had experienced, was the purest form of insanity, the most divorced Khun had ever been from reality—Bam was hard.

The pressure against him sent all his remaining thoughts fizzing, static in his head. He barely stopped himself from rutting up against him, letting Bam move in small, anxious presses, listening to the little whines that spiked into whimpers when Khun sucked extra hard on his neck.

His head was spinning, unreality fully setting in and he realized with a clarity that he hadn’t had access to before: he was going to fuck Bam.

He moaned against his throat, squeezing his ass as he shoved himself against Bam’s hard-on. Bam whimpered back, clinging to Khun, hard against him and pliable in his arms.

“Bam,” he murmured against his throat, trying to claw his ability to speak back.

Bam answered, low and broken, “Khun.”

That curled through him, hot and addicting and all words briefly fled him, his body speaking instead. His greedy hands saying please, his rolling hips begging let me. And Bam answered, alive in his arms, rolling back, gasping.

But no—that’s right, they weren’t in love, this wasn’t a beautiful, private consummation of everything they had every meant to each other. This was a floor test, and Bam was being gracious enough to play along.

Head clear, Khun took a deep breath against Bam’s neck. With a delicate kiss, he pulled back. Bam stepped with him, draped and clinging. He blinked up at Khun, bleary and dazed and one of them had to keep their wits about them.

Ignoring the churning of his stomach that insisted no, no they didn’t, they could both lose their minds and it would be fine, wonderful, beautiful—he gently cupped Bam’s face. That seemed to sooth some of the confusion in those golden eyes. But still—

“Khun?” Bam’s voice was raspy, breathy, and heat throbbed in Khun, despite himself.

Managing a smile that was probably too soft, Khun told him, “The test isn’t just to kiss, Bam, remember? We have to actually—“ He swallowed. He had never been so hard in his life, but the knowledge that he would have Bam once, just this once, churned sickly in his gut.

But before he could speak, Bam was pressing closer, talking. “I don’t think that was just kissing, Khun.” His eyes were dark and hungry, but Bam had never been with anyone before, so this was probably his first real experience with lust. Khun was too smart to read into the dilation of pupils.

“It wasn’t,” Khun admitted, “It’s still not enough, though. And the bed will be more comfortable.”

Bam looked over to the piece of furniture in question, his throat bobbing, and then he was climbing on it. He settled into the middle of it, his hair lose, his lips plump and pink, and a bulge in his pants.

And he was looking at Khun expectantly. 

Khun froze. This image, this moment, Bam disheveled by his hands, waiting in a bed for him. It stung, it was so perfect. He was aware he was probably being too obvious about his feelings, just staring like he was. He knew, though, with the same certainty that he had watched Maria leave, that he was never going to get this again.

He just wanted to remember it.

“You were going to take off my clothes,” Bam reminded him.

The words shook him out of his own head. “I was. Am,” he corrected.

And then he was crawling on the bed too and Bam was leaning against the headboard, not tearing his eyes away. And like magnets, they drew closer and closer, the area between them shrinking, until Bam was directly below him, staring up at him.

But no, not magnets. Khun had crawled closer and Bam hadn’t moved. Never magnets, just Khun chasing and Bam deigning to stand still long enough to catch up.

Placing a quick kiss, he started on Bam’s shirt, ducking down to hide from those golden eye. Button by button, he revealed Bam, and this was the first time anyone had ever seen this view, their own hands undoing Bam as he laid below them. He felt like a thief again, stroking along the smooth skin, pushing his shirt open. A hand traced along his thigh and he glanced up.

Bam smiled lazily and the hand pressed fully against his leg, warm and secure. If Khun was only half as smart as he was, he might even call it possessive.

This was starting to get to his head, he realized with a creeping dread. He needed to speed this up before he lost his mind even further.

He slipped between Bam’s thighs, which got him raised eyebrows and a wiggle the was one part anxious, one part anticipatory and completely adorable. His heart clenched.

“I’m going to take your pants off, now,” he warned, his voice raspy.

Bam nodded eagerly and Khun was brutally reminded that he had never done this before, a painful shame slipping deep into him that he was taking such pleasure from being Bam’s first. Focusing on the button of his pants, he ignored Bam’s face. Bam’s stomach jumped at Khun’s touch and when Khun unzipped him, the zipper running right over the bulge of his erection, Bam gasped.

But Khun refused to let himself get distracted, to fall into the physical daydream of Bam’s easy touches and lust. Bam’s pants were pulled all the way off and then his boxers had a wet spot that made Khun’s dick throb, so the boxers were pulled all the way off, too.

And then there was Bam’s dick, resting against his stomach, pink at the head, fat, glossy at the tip with pre-cum, and the cutest thing Khun had ever seen. He wanted to memorize it, to learn it, to discover every single spot on it—what would make Bam gasp and moan and what did nothing. He wanted to know what it felt like soft in his palm, and how many strokes it would take before it started firming in his grip.

And it hurt, it fucking hurt, more than anything else, that this was all he was getting. He had never expected this much, but now that he had it, his Khun greediness bled through, questioning why he couldn’t have more, why he couldn’t have the whole world—why he couldn’t have just even one more time.

“You’re staring.” Bam sounded nervous.

Khun looked up, smiling automatically. For some reason that seemed to make Bam more uncomfortable. He didn’t know what to say, but every good lie had a grain of truth. “You have a cute dick.”

It worked, Bam’s face going red. “Dicks can’t be cute.”

“They can, actually,” Khun disagreed casually, summoning a lighthouse. At Bam’s questioning gaze, he explained, “I don’t know what type of lube they have in here, but I don’t trust it. I’d rather use my own.”

Lube fished out, Bam’s eyes tracked the bottle in his hand. Khun went on. “Have you ever done this before?”

Bam’s eyes flicked to his, wide.

“Fingering yourself,” Khun clarified.

And Bam hid his face in his shoulder—cute—but he did give one, tiny nod.

Khun didn’t know if he liked that or not. It would make things easier in their current situation. But the fact that Bam enjoyed doing that to himself and yet had never shown interest in Khun stung. It wasn’t an obligation, he would never obligate Bam to anything, but he couldn’t quiet the small, lonely part of him that hissed I’ll do it so good, he’ll never forget.

He took the moment to stroke Bam’s thighs, encourage them wider. They were already accommodating Khun between them, but it would only be more comfortable for Bam like this. That his skin was soft and pale had nothing to do with it. Neither did the fact that he could see every single part of Bam, his cute, fat dick, his balls, his hole, the curve of his ass.

“But you have,” Bam said abruptly.

Khun looked up.

“You’ve done this before.” There was an expression twisting on Bam’s face.

“It’s not polite to talk about previous partners in bed,”  Khun skirted around the entirely accurate accusation, opting instead to squeeze the lube onto his hands and warm it up. “I’m going to take it slow, okay?”

Bam’s head flopped back and Khun had the feeling he failed something. “Okay.”

His fingers slippery, Khun stared down at where Bam was shifting nervously, and he could even see him clenching down. He trailed one slick finger along the crease of his ass and Bam gasped.

“Let me know if I need to stop,” he murmured, unable to tear his eyes away.

Bam was so soft against his hands and Khun was going to make him feel better than he had ever felt before. Maybe Bam didn’t love him, but if he could make Bam feel so good he wanted more, Khun would take it.

He continued stroking, watching Bam relax under his finger in increments, soothing up and down on his thigh with his spare hand. After the anxious shifts transformed into something a little more eager, he started pressing gently. Not pushing in, just testing.

“Khun—“ Bam’s voice was weak and trembling. A smug smile curved on Khun’s lips and he started pushing in. A gasp rolled through Bam and Khun couldn’t stop himself.

“Feel good?” He purred, twisting and thrusting up to the first knuckle.

Bam made the sweetest noise, caught between a whimper and a gasp. And Khun’s ego flared, hot in him, so terribly pleased that Bam felt that good because of him.

“Does that feel good?” He repeated himself, helplessly greedy.

“Mmhmm,” Bam hummed, nodding and so Khun pushed even further in, twisting and thrusting. It ripped a little gasp out of Bam and Khun could see his dick twitch, precum sticky and drooling at the tip.

Khun was throbbing in his pants and he pressed a palm against himself. It was more a down boy palm than anything else, but soon he was rubbing himself to the exact rhythm of the finger dipping in and out of Bam. He bit back his heavy breathing, trying to focus on the little noises Bam was making as his finger slipped deeper and deeper. Bam was so impossibly soft and hot around his finger, and he had an arm tossed over his face, hiding and pressing his soft little noises into his own skin.

Bam peeked at him, breathless and flushed. “This feels so different from my own fingers,” he admitted.

And Khun really was losing his mind, asking, “Does it feel better?”

But Bam didn’t seem to notice the assumption in the question, am I better, do you want me, you should want me, just biting back a small moan, nodding, his eyes falling shut.

For a moment, the room just held Bam’s soft gasps, the squelch of lube, the heat of it all gathering under Khun’s collar, shrinking his clothes to something that felt unbearably confining. It was overwhelming, heady, the smell of it all, of lube and precum and sweat. Maybe it was the lack of blood in Khun’s head, but he was dizzy, scorching hot in his clothes as Bam squirmed on his finger.

“Another one,” he warned, his voice raspy, before sliding it in. Bam moaned, jerking at the sensation and Khun throbbed in his pants. Bam was so relaxed around him already, intoxicatingly tight but accepting him so easily. He was a puddle on the bed, loose limbs and soft brown hair and a heaving stomach and hips that moved in tiny jerks.

Khun was still rubbing his erection through his pants, watching his fingers disappear effortlessly in and out of Bam. Just two fingers and the noises escaping Bam were already so much throatier and Khun couldn’t help but to wonder what he’d sound like on Khun’s dick. Would he be loud, would he be frantic, would he whine and whimper—

But that was already so dangerous, even just imagining it. Half a plan had been forming in his head, but it solidified at the fleeting fantasy. Khun had a decent amount of survival instincts, but they were usually overpowered by the desire to win, to help Bam.

But now those instincts were plaintive, warning and begging that he was falling too deep, that he’d never be able to recover from this, and fuck, they were right. Even just knowing how Bam sounded with two fingers up his ass was seared into Khun’s brain. If he actually fucked Bam—he’d be lost forever.

So the plan crystallized. If he could get Bam to come, maybe that would be good enough. Maybe he wouldn’t have to fuck Bam. Khun had never understood the concept of forbidden knowledge before, but teetering on the edge of this moment with Bam, he grasped the danger of it in a way he didn’t know possible.

Ripping his hand off himself, he pinned one of Bam’s thighs flat. Bam gasped but Khun didn’t wait for the rest of his reaction, curling his fingers, petting over his prostate. A cry tore out of Bam, his back arching. 

Yeah. Yeah, Khun could work with this. Ignoring his own throbbing dick, he started massaging, stroking, thrusting, and Bam was dissolving under his hands, whimpering, crying out, his hips shifting helplessly.

Bam started making little cooing noises that almost confused Khun until he realized they were his name. He nearly made his own noise back, his dick jumping in his pants, painfully constricted. Instead, he continued, stroking against Bam’s prostate, listening to his noises, watching him squirm, flushed and gorgeous.

And even this was too much for him. Khun needed to end this. Carefully edging a third finger in, and shit Bam was so tight.

“Oh my god,” Bam moaned, his legs restless, an ankle dragging along Khun’s calf where he knelt on the bed. “Khun!”

Thrusting his fingers hard, he grabbed Bam’s dick. A cry tore out of Bam and Khun did everything he could think of—pressing his nail into the slit, hard and fast jerks, focusing on the head, his other hand three fingers deep into Bam’s ass, just massaging his prostate.

“Khun!” Bam was pressing into him, his stomach rippling, his thighs trembling, his head tossing. And then he gasped, a blatantly shocked noise. “Khun,” he whimpered, “I’m gonna come.” Bam was staring at him him, eyes round and surprised.

Bam really had never been with anyone else, huh? “Then come, Bam.” His own voice was a low rumble.

“Wait, wait,” Bam sounded panicked through his breathless gasps, “But you—“

“It’s fine, Bam,” Khun reassured him, keeping up the pace of his hands. “Trust me.”

“No—“ Bam shook his head, his eyes shut. “No, no, no—“ The word came out whiny and long as Bam came all over himself. His dick twitched in Khun’s hand with every spurt, and Khun wanted to lick him clean.

But he had made Bam come. And that was the goal. If he could get out of this without losing his head any further, than that’s what he wanted. He sat back, panting, looking around. And—

Fuck. There was no door in the walls, no keys, nothing.

“I’m sorry,” he offered, looking back to Bam. He froze. He had expected blissed out languor, or even just for Bam to be catching his breath, not the tightness of his brows, his lips thin with something that seemed like irritation.

Khun fumbled to explain. “It looks like it’ll have to be me, after all.”

Bam’s expression slid to bafflement. “What?”

“I had hoped that this would be enough.” Khun desperately wanted to run a hand through his hair but they were both filthy. “So your real first time could be with someone you want. But—“ He shrugged. “No door appeared. I’m sorry.”

Bam just stared at him, brows furrowed, lips turned down. Khun’s stomach turned. Bam didn’t want this, and didn’t want him. “I’m sorry,” he said again, his voice pathetically weak in a way he couldn’t hide.

Bam’s expression softened and fuck, Khun didn’t want to be pitied. Bam sat up, and suddenly they were right next to each other and Khun could see every detail, Bam’s sweat damp hair, his chapped lips, and eyes he could drown in, if he wasn’t careful.

“I told you,” Bam started, and the gentleness in his gaze that Khun refused to meet made him feel like a child, ignorant and hapless. “I trust you.”

Finally meeting his eyes, Khun tried to not give in to the atmosphere. “If you say so. Really, it’s a terrible deci—“

Lips pressed against his. Pulling back, Bam commanded, “Take your clothes off.”

Excuses flitted through his head, bullshit about safety and what if an attacker came appeared and and and—

Khun gave in. He unbuttoned his shirt, each button feeling like he was unraveling further and further. He pushed it off, feeling exposed in a way he never had before, Bam’s eyes flickering over his chest. And then his pants. His hands trembled as he undid the zipper and he fucking hated how Bam wouldn’t stop staring at them, at his shaking. But before he could say anything, Bam was leaning over, helping him push his pants and underwear down.

He was mercifully free from Bam’s gaze, Bam focusing instead on his pants, on slipping them off as Khun shifted to help. The cast of his eyes, Bam’s long eyelashes, the sweep of soft brown hair over a high cheekbone—Khun couldn’t speak or breath, choking on guilt and desire and fear.

And Bam was still staring downwards, his lips parting, and fuck, it was his dick, Bam was staring at where Khun was still hard. Khun looked down too. He had always been happy with his length and size, but now with Bam—he couldn’t even speak, jokingly ask, you like what you see? Shock trembled through him.

But Bam seemed to have little patience for the way Khun was floating off into space. Hands latched onto his shoulder and for a moment Khun was distantly confused, and then he was scrambling as Bam pulled him down, laying flat. Propping himself up, he stared down at Bam. Bam stared back up, his hair looking around his head, his gaze sure.

“Like this,” Bam said.

It took a moment for Khun to register what he meant and when he did—“Are you sure? It’s your first time, this isn’t the most comfor—“

“Like this,” Bam repeated, determination flaring in his eyes.

This intimacy, that he would watch Bam’s face as he fucked him—something shuddered and collapsed in Khun. He accepted his fate. He had already loved Bam with a passion and depth that was unmatched by any other feeling, that defied even sharing the same category. He didn’t know how he had thought he’d get out of this unscathed. This was just one more way he would love Bam—now, in this moment, making him feel cherished and bringing him pleasure, and in the future, keeping a respectful distance and pretending it never happened.

He dipped close to Bam, murmuring, “As you wish.”

There was a hitch in Bam’s breathing, his eyes widening and Khun kissed him. It was a long, sweet kiss, as if they were lovers, as if this was their own bed, as if they were each other’s.

Pulling back, Bam’s eyes were lidded and a hand was brushing over his shoulder. Bam deserved someone who would kiss him every day, who would cherish his first time, who would make him feel exquisite and loved and precious. And Khun may be a lying bastard and banished and weak and everything that Bam wasn’t, but he, at very least, could give Bam the first time he deserved.

He pressed another kiss to Bam’s mouth, brought it deeper, ran his tongue along Bam’s like they were lovers. He slid a hand along Bam’s thigh like he was allowed to touch him. And his brought his hand back between Bam’s legs, petting at the hole there like he had any right.

“Don’t.” Bam broke the kiss, ripping Khun out of the daydream he was falling into. “I’m already ready.” His face flushed. “You don’t need to do anymore.”

Khun swallowed. That’s right. This was just to past a test. Still—“You told me to take care of you.”

“Khun!” Bam complained but Khun was grabbing the lube nonetheless.

“Just let me,” he mumbled against Bam’s mouth. He wanted to do this.

Squeezing lube onto his fingers, Khun wasn’t looking when Bam whispered, “Please.”

That stole Khun’s attention, forcing him to look back up.

Bam swallowed. “Please stop putting it off.”

“No,” Khun said, “No, no, no, that’s not what I’m doing.”

And Bam was shaking his head. Feeling like an ass, Khun kissed him, tried to reassure him, ran a hand up his side, ground against him, against Bam’s soft dick as if to say, look, look how hard I am, look how much I want you.

But he hadn’t thought it through. The taste of Bam’s mouth was intoxicating, and the shape of him underneath Khun sent heat spinning through him. And how good he felt against Khun’s throbbing dick spun deeper and deeper into him with each thrust, Bam’s dick firming underneath him.

And all of a sudden, he didn’t have patience for this anymore. He had used it all up, spent it on years of longing. He pulled back, Bam gasping as he ripped away from their kiss.

Bam was half hard on his stomach, but Khun’s focus was lower. One finger, and Bam gasped. A few testing movements, then two fingers and the noise Bam made was low. He forced himself to scissor and thrust more than he had with the one, but Bam was staring at him like he wanted him and Khun didn’t have time for this shit. Three fingers, and Bam moaned, his head falling back. And that was fucking good enough. Pulling them out and wiping his hand off, he grabbed the lube.

A generous squirt on him, a generous squirt on Bam, and he leaned back over, hovering over Bam’s face, holding himself in position.

Bam’s eyes were wide and Khun told him, his head spinning, “Tell me if you want to stop.”

He felt wild, frantic, like some dog unleashed for the first time, abandoned and set free. He felt deranged, like the world had lost its logic and up was down and left was right and he waited for reality to reassert itself, for Bam to push him away.

He got kissed instead.

Khun cracked straight down the middle. He pushed in and Bam arched underneath him, hot and throbbing around him. He slid helplessly in and Bam’s eyes fell shut, the words, “Oh, god, Khun,” fell out of his mouth.

Khun pressed further, the slick heat of Bam igniting in him, moaning lowly at the feeling around him.

“Oh shit,” Bam whimpered, clutching at his back, his legs curling around Khun’s hips, clutching at his back.

Bumping all the way in, he forced himself to pause, tension curling and begging through his hips, heat coiling inside him. Bam throbbed around him, tight and hot.

And Bam’s face—he looked obliterated, his mouth hanging open, his eyes squeezed shut.

Barely capable of thought, Khun mumbled to him, “Touch yourself.”

Bam blinked at him, dazed, and he was starting squirm under Khun and that was all Khun could take.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, dropping his head to Bam’s shoulder, pulling out and shoving back in. Bam’s arms tightened around Khun but all Khun could focus on the as the clutch of Bam’s ass, his body beneath him. He tried to hold himself back, keeping to slow shoves, but Bam was gasping right in his ear and Khun had wanted this for too long.

He thrust deeper, pulling out longer and shoving harder back in. Little ahs hiccuped out of Bam with each one. But the heat of it all was overwhelming, dragging through him, sparking up his spine, searing every place the touched.

“Fuck,” Bam whimpered in his ear, hands restless on Khun’s back.

And Khun had no more control over what he did, lifting his head up to steal kiss after kiss from Bam, deep and possessive, fucking into him, losing himself to the tightness of Bam’s ass, need constricting through him, greedy and hungry and sinking tighter and tighter into him.

Not ripping away from Bam’s mouth, he started jerking him off and Bam moaned into their kiss. Khun fucked him, his hips pounding against his ass, the bed smacking into the wall, and Bam was still clinging to him. He pulled away from the kiss, shifted his angle and Bam moaned, his gaze drunk and dark, spit still hanging between their mouths.

And Bam moaned for him and moaned for him, his dick firm in Khun’s hand at his ass hot around Khun and the heat still wasn’t satisfied, twisting tighter and tighter and Khun fucked him harder and Bam moaned louder and need spun deeper and tighter and Bam was arching against him, his ankles digging into his back, his noises loud and needy. And then he dropped like someone cut a string with a long, low moan, cum dribbling hot over Khun’s knuckles, his ass clenching around Khun’s dick. Khun moaned back, fucking into him even harder, lost, wrecked, so fucking close, heat scorching inside him, greedy and clutching and tighter and he came with a groan. It happened in throbbing pulses as he ground against Bam’s ass, shuddering, collapsing, moaning.

His head spun and he let it drop into Bam’s shoulder, his dick still throbbing inside him as they panted against each other. A hand stroked Khun’s back and Khun became abruptly aware of where he was.

He pulled out and rolled off Bam, his heart still pounding as he stared at the ceiling. Bam panted next to him and Khun didn’t know how to look at him.

There was a click.

Lurching up, Khun looked around. And there it was—

A door in the left wall, cracked open.

Khun’s lips twisted. “There it is, Bam.”

Bam was silent on the bed. After a few seconds of nothing, Khun turned.

Bam hadn’t moved, his legs askew, cum puddled on his stomach, his hair wild. But his face—it terrified Khun, the unhappiness on it.

A thought crashed into him. “Shit, Bam, I’m sorry.” Bam looked at him passively. “I didn’t have any condoms.” It was a bit late for it now, and the thought that his cum was deep in Bam’s ass was still intoxicating in way he would never admit.

“It’s alright.” Bam looked back up at the ceiling, his voice emotionless. “I told you I trust you.”

Khun felt like he was going to throw up. Bam hated him now, he hated what they did—“Let’s just get dressed, and then we never have to think about this again, okay?”

Bam just blinked. He was silent for a long moment more before sitting up himself. He dragged a finger through the cum on his chest, making a wry face at it. “Okay.”

His agreement was still dispassionate and Khun was still terrified but he had no idea how to fix this.

But the tower was the tower, and they didn’t have time to linger. Bam wiped himself clean, they dressed, Khun combed his hair then Bam combed his, then they walked through the door. It disappeared behind them.

It was a wide, empty room. It was large enough to have a good fight in, the floor covered in cheap white tiles and the walls in a generic whitewash that could cover most blood splatters. On the far side, there were closed doors that looked different from theirs, and behind them, a hallway, one that Khun was sure led out of the testing facility.

And it was just them in it.

“This is kind of weird, right?” Bam asked next to him.

It was. “I don’t think there would be any fights, just based off my research,” Khun offered.

“I think I’d be fine if there was,” Bam said, his voice tight.

Khun couldn’t stop his automatic grimace, instead hiding behind a lighthouse and doing a few quick skims. “I think that was it.” He dismissed it, looking back out at the barren room.

A few long moments passed in silence.

“They wouldn’t have left without us, right?” Bam asked. "If everyone else finished early."

Khun scoffed. “Of course not!”

A thought occurred to him and his eyes went wide. “Bam.” Bam looked at him. “Who do you think got Rak?”

“Oh!” Bam snickered. Then, leaning towards Khun, he asked in a low voice, “Do you think he’d use his condensed form or not?”

Laughter burst out of him before he could stop it.

But then, just as quickly, the moment was over, and silence settled back on to them.

They waited. And waited. And waited.

At this point, Bam was meditating on the floor and Khun was tapping at his lighthouse. After checking his pocket, Khun frowned. “Bam, it’s been almost two hours since we started the test.”

Bam turned to him and Khun went on. “It should have only taken us an hour at most. I don’t know what’s taking everyone else so long.”

He stood up. “Stay here,” he said, “I’m going to find out more.”

Of course, once he started down the hall, Bam was right next to him. Khun didn’t even know why he tried. There was a receptionist at the end of the hall, a reptilian man with delicate reading glasses balanced on his snout.

“Yes?” He asked, not looking up at them from his paperback.

Khun scowled. “What’s the status of our teammates.”

“In progress.” He delicately turned the page, managing to not rip the paper with his claws.

Khun folded his arms. “It’s been over an hour.”

“That is correct,” the reptilian man said drily.

Khun’s mind raced. It wasn’t adding up—the arena, the time difference, none of it made sense. “We passed, right?”

“Correct.” The word was broken up into two syllables and Khun had enough sassy reptiles in his life already. But before he could do anything, the receptionist put down his book as if he remembered something. “Would you like to purchase a wipe?”

“A wipe?” Bam asked next to him.

“Of the footage,” the reptilian man explained, “50,000 credits.”

“50,000 credits!” This test was a racket! But Bam was already providing his pocket.

The reptilian man seemed mildly surprised but ran the charge anyways. “Receipt?”

“No thanks,” Bam muttered, stalking back to the stadium.

Khun followed him.

Another hour passed.

Bam was meditating on his lighthouse as Khun worked. He clicked to make his purchase.



“I got an apartment set up for us.”

“Oh?” Bam looked down.

“Yeah. It’s got a view of the lake.”

The lake was a glowing pool of water that had pink sand and it’s oysters were known to produce pearls similar to suspendium. The apartment was in one of the many highrises that circled the lake.

Khun thought some more. “Do you want to go pick our rooms?”

Bam properly turned to face him, spinning and letting his legs hang over the side. “No one else has finished yet.”

Leaning back to make better eye contact, he said, “It’s already been two hours and there’s no sign of them. If they finish before we’re back, they’ll just message us on our pockets.”

Bam still seemed uncertain so Khun gave the finishing blow:

“And we can take showers.”

“Let’s go!” Bam hopped of the lighthouse.

They went. They showered. They called the rooms with the view. They came back.

The arena was still empty.

They waited another two hours.

Finally, one of the doors at the far end of the room cracked open. They stood up straight. First Isu stumbled out of, covered in blood and clutching at his side, then Anaak followed, limping and her tail at a weird angle. They both slumped to the floor together.

Khun and Bam looked at each other.

Something was very, very wrong.

Khun jogged over and Isu wept in relief. “Khun, my love, light of my life, apple of my eye, joy of my soul!”

“That’s a bit much,” Bam muttered behind him from where he had followed.

But Isu wasn’t done. “I should have known! With your wit, you would beat the krakens and—“

“Just fucking heal us,” Anaak scowled.

“Please heal us,” Isu parroted.

Bam was very still behind him.

“What?” Khun heard himself ask.

Isu blinked. “The krakens and the maze. You know. After you escape from the room.”

Khun’s head was static. Escape... the...

“It’s not like anyone would actually think that they’d have to fuck to pass a floor test, and the lever was right behind the bed,” Isu went on cautiously. “All you had to do was lift it.”

“Right,” Khun said, slightly dazed, “It would be ridiculous to have sex just because a sign told you to.”

But that obviously wasn’t enough, a revelation blooming on Isu’s face. “Holy shit, did you—“

“No!” Khun defended. “Like I’d do that! That sign didn’t even make sense!”

“Oh my god!” Isu was staring past him at Bam. “You guys fucked!”

Khun spun around to see Bam looking completely gobsmacked, not even trying to hide it. “Bam!” He hissed.

Bam just turned his shock and confusion onto Khun, away from the distance he had been staring into.

He spun back to Isu. “I won’t heal either of you if you tell anyone!” He snarled, pointing at them.

Instead of respecting his very menacing threat, Isu burst into laughter, Anaak snorting next to him.

“I’ll stomp your on heads!” Khun threatened. “Stop laughing! Stop it!”

With no end in sight for the idiotic cackling duo, Khun kicked Isu in his injury.

“Ow!” Isu looked betrayed.

“You want me to heal you?” Khun asked.

“Ugh, fine.” Isu slumped to the floor, melodramatic and teary-eyed.

“And you?” Khun turned to Anaak.

“Like I’d tell in the first place,” she said, “It’s humiliating enough that you fell for it.”

Khun opted to ignore that very factual assessment. “I’ll break your ribs if you mention this to anyone,” he swore to them both, summoning the firefish.

After Anaak and Isu, the rest of the team appeared in short enough order. At the sight of Endorssi, Khun realized what a moron he was. Of course a floor test wouldn’t require sex! Not when Jahad princesses existed.

There were loud complaints when everyone came back to the apartment to find the Khun and Bam had already claimed the best rooms, but Khun thought they deserved it, especially after what they had found out. He slunk into his own room, escaping the rabble, and sinking into despair.

Normally, when Khun was upset, he would internalize it, let it crystallize into something bright and sharp, something that he could cut with, something that made people bleed. But now—

Now, he wanted to scream.

All that for nothing. Kissing Bam, fucking Bam, having those memories, this new strange awkwardness between them, and for nothing.

He scowled at the pink sands of the lake, sitting on the dark wooden floor, knees tucked up to his chest. The window reached from floor to ceiling and Khun had left his lights off, the pink glow of the water tracing over his room, intermingling with the deep blue shadows that stretched around him.

The door opened, and it could only be one person. A childish part of Khun felt like he was hiding in this corner, like Bam wouldn’t notice him and would turn around and leave.

Of course that’s not what happened. Bam sat next to him.

Neither said anything. The waves of the lake crashed, distant and silent, boats bobbing along the surface, the city stretching around its shore, the highrises sleek and reflecting the light. Khun wondered if that was them, just one more pink window.

“You never said.” Bam finally spoke.

Khun wasn’t brave enough to turn to face him.

“I said,” Bam started, “That I was glad it was you. But you never said anything back.”

Khun’s mouth was very dry and fear was a pit in his stomach.

Apparently though, Bam didn’t require his participation in this conversation. “You never said it back, but if it was anyone else, you would have escaped.”

Khun looked at him finally. “I—“ He tried to come to his own defense, but words failed to materialize.

Bam shifted fully to face him, pink light painting one side of his face, along the edges of his hair, his lips. “I thought about it. If it was Rak, no. Isu, no. Hatz, no. Endorssi? No!” He laughed, shaking his head.

And Khun was trapped, because Bam was right. Anyone else, and he would have blown up the room to get out of there, he would have seen right through the sign—but it had been Bam. And he had wanted him for so long and on some level, he had decided not to question it if it meant he got Bam, even just for a moment.

“I’m sorry,” he croaked out, seeing the shape of the end beginning to form.

Bam’s eyes widened. “I knew it. I knew—“

“I’m sorry.” Khun was going to throw up. He was trapped between Bam and the door and he wanted to escape and there was no way to leave. “I can leave tomorrow. Tonight even, don’t worry about the apartment.”

“What?” Bam asked.

“You can use it for the rest of the lease,” he went on, “If you’re comfortable with it. You don’t ever have to see me again.”


“I’ll just—“ He was pressing against the wall, not sure if he was trying to slide up it to stand and walk away or brace himself against the crash of his entire world falling apart. “I’m sorry,” he repeated helplessly, “I’m sorry, I’m—“

There was a mouth against his. And oh, that was Bam, and that was Bam kissing him.

Bam pulled back, pink and blue, his eyes so kind. “I love you.”

Khun’s whole world shifted. “What?” he breathed.

Hand slipped around Khun’s jaw and Bam’s expression was pleading. “I love you, Khun.”

“I—“ Khun had no ability to process this, no pattern or method or previous event to fit it against in his head. Nothing had prepared him for this moment, for Bam, for these words.

“Please don’t leave,” Bam begged and then he was kissing him again. And Khun was weak, he always had been. He capitulated to it, pressing back.

It still didn’t feel real, despite the drag of Bam’s dry lips, despite the noise of their team shouting in the living room, but it was Bam.

Bam pulled back, just barely, staring at him like he was something precious. “I love you,” he said again, and it had the cadence of an oath.

And there was only so much Khun could do against that. If he had thought to prepare, he might have walls and guards and tricks and traps, but he was defenseless. And honestly, against Bam, he always was. “Okay,” he conceded, reality shattering around him.

But Bam was smiling, sweet and happy and relieved, unaware of the clatter of existence falling apart around them. “Okay,” Bam said, smiling right against Khun. “Okay.”

They kissed and Khun murmured, “Okay,” back like a promise and then they were giggling, silly and helpless, pink and blue.