Character(s): Josh, Sam
Category(s): Romance, Slash
Summary: Sam, Josh, and lightning.
The dark was like a liquid. It spread slowly across the room, gradually claiming an inch at a time, seeping into the corners, slipping along the floor, climbing across the bed. Rendering Sam comfortingly blind.
He lay on his side, his head resting on an arm, knees bent slightly. By himself, but not alone. His own breathing fell into rhythm with his companion, in and out until he felt lightheaded from the deepening breaths.
Outside, a feathery rain had begun to fall, the drops whispering to him; a cleansing ritual that Sam could imagine against his flushed skin. Checking fleetingly over his shoulder, he rose naked from the soft sheets and moved in front of the window, teasing the curtain away from the glass.
There where shadows outside; some shifting past the building, others swaying gracefully in place. There was another shadow in here, on the bed, featureless and unmoving. Sam placed his hands on the window, palms flat against the black sky.
A flash of distant lightning broke the darkness into shards above the row of townhouses across the street. In that fraction of time it illuminated a densely clouded night. Heavy, bloated clouds hovered low in the sky.
An incoherent sound signaled that Josh was awakening, and Sam was momentarily afraid that he'd caused that. But as he fingered the latch on the window and soundlessly slid it open, he heard the hollow bellow of thunder, somewhere to the west. Close enough that he assumed that was what had disturbed his lover as well.
"Uuuhhh, hey, Sam," Josh mumbled groggily. "It's only drizzling. Not worth... mmm." He stretched himself out across the bed, buried beneath a double layer of covers, where Sam had thrown them back. "C'mon, c'mon," he beckoned, practically asleep again.
Sam checked the sky once more and felt satisfied by the quickening flashes. "It's coming, Josh. I'm coming." He stepped across the room, and eased back into bed, leaving himself uncovered.
The humidity poured through the open window, dampening Sam's exposed skin. He knew if Josh woke up before the brunt of the storm hit, he'd complain about the oppressive air, but looking to his left, Sam determined the older man had fallen back into a shallow sleep, buying him some time.
Some time with his storm.
He loved the duality of them; their life-giving properties, as well as their fierce, exciting danger. They never ceased to exhilarate him, never frightened him unless he was caught in one on the water.
It was rare that he was able to feel the power of thunder vibrate through his body. Rarer still to have a clear view of a night sky that afforded him a spectacular show of clashing swords of lightning.
But he could always have the rain, and get as close to it as he needed, just by opening a window. His semi-monthly cleaning woman would tsk at the water stains that curled through the curtains, but he wouldn't let her wash them, knowing that during the next downpour they'd only be subject to another soaking.
The thunder came faster, closer. At a nearly indiscernible pace, the bulk of the storm was lumbering nearer, and Sam turned on his side, his back to Josh, face to the illuminated window.
He felt an arm slide across him, then a body press close. "Oh, Saaam. You had to open it? Shit!" Josh groaned, rolling away and kicking the covers back.
"It's coming, Josh," Sam assured him. He couldn't count the flashes anymore, and he felt mildly vindicated when the next barrage of thunder brought Josh back against his body with a start.
"It's too hot."
"No; any minute now."
The pressure in the room shifted, and the sound of a driving rain exploded outside the window.
Sam smiled, and nestled back into Josh. "I told you."
For a few minutes, he watched the volatile storm quaking just a few feet away, then turned himself around to rest securely in Josh's arms. "It's the first really big -- "
"It's still hot."
"It's the first big one, and man it's big," Sam breathed with satisfaction. "Ten more minutes, the temperature will drop another fifteen degrees, and we'll be pulling the sheets up to our chins. Blankets, even."
Josh sighed into Sam's hair, and pulled him closer.
"That wind, Josh. We'll lose power, you know we will. Do you? Do you remember if I turned off the computer?"
Josh quietly assured him that they were battened down, he'd double checked everything himself.
"The storm drains are already overflowing, I bet." Sam tipped his head back to look up at Josh's still features. "Worms." They both scrunched their faces in disgust.
The first cooling breeze dusted Sam's skin with goosebumps, which Josh smoothed away with a distracted hand. Craning his neck every so often to look over his shoulder, Sam noticed the rain was coming down in a nearly solid wall. Even the vicious wind couldn't steer it from its downward course.
A crash of excruciatingly loud thunder made both men start, then laugh at themselves self-consciously. The arm around Sam's back squeezed him tighter, while Josh's other hand rested on his shoulder, sheltering Sam in a secure embrace.
"So, you're awake now?" Sam said into Josh's neck.
Another blaze of lightning lit the window, multiple, over-layered cracks of thunder following quickly behind.
"Uh," Josh mumbled. "I'm awake. Jesus."
They lay entranced by the cacophony and the violent discharge of lightning while the rain spattered against the ledge.
Sam struggled free from Josh's arms, and began climbing over him. "I need to see," he explained, as he settled on his right side, facing the window and Josh. He threw his left leg over Josh's, and propped himself up on an elbow.
Another loud report drowned his words, and he waited for the echo of it to dissipate before he spoke again. "Mmm, ozone. I swear, the air is charged. Can you feel it?" He grazed his fingers teasingly over Josh's bare stomach, and watched the muscles jump involuntarily.
"I'm glad you're finally enjoying yourself," Josh told him, as he captured Sam's hand and brought it to his mouth for a soft kiss.
A burst of light made Sam's pupil's contract, and he looked briefly away from the source. "Whatta ya mean 'finally'?" he asked with a slender edge to his voice.
Josh didn't answer right away, waiting for the inevitable roar to roll over the city. When there was nothing left to hear except the rain pouring from the sky, he turned his body towards Sam. "After.... Well, I can tell you didn't really enjoy yourself earlier." He kept hold of Sam's hand, examining it in the murky light.
"Why would you say that?"
"You've been a little quiet, Sam. And... I could tell."
"No," Sam disagreed weakly. "It was fine."
The awkward lack of response from Josh was punctuated by new roiling sounds outside the open window. Sam's hand pulled out of Josh's and he set it palm down on the other man's chest. Smoothing it over the light spray of soft fur, he toyed with a few strands, pulling ever so gently on them.
"You can tell me, you know. I mean, I don't know why you think you can't," Josh finally said. His own hand touched Sam's temple briefly before falling back to his hip.
A flare of lightning streaked through the sky, the inevitable blast of thunder rushing to keep up. Sam didn't think the rain could fall any faster, or any harder. But the intensity wasn't lessening, and he shivered when a fresh gust of chill air excited his flesh.
"I wish I knew what you were thinking." Josh was complaining, but kept his voice just above the din outside, so Sam had to tilt his head down to catch the words.
"I'm not thinking about anything, Josh. I'm listening." Sam swept his hand in the direction of the storm. "It's so cool, and I just...." His expression was reflective. "I love it."
Thunder ruptured the night, and they both jumped, looking at each other nervously. "It's fine," Sam nuzzled into Josh's ear.
"I know." Josh pressed his knuckles to Sam's chin, directing him to look up. "Actually, I don't know. Something's not fine. I noticed earlier."
The fingers against Josh's chest stilled. "I'm sorry I gave any impression that I'm not, uh, that I wasn't, that tonight wasn't.... It was great, Josh. Always great."
Sam put his mouth to Josh's, firm and affirming. Pulling back slightly, he registered Josh's troubled look, and kissed him again more softly.
They kissed, they touched, the sounds of their breathing obscured by the deafening torrents of rain that gnashed at the window.
"Mmm," Josh groaned quietly. "Are you glad I came over?" he asked after Sam freed his mouth to speak.
"Interrupting your dinner and -- "
"Josh. I'm glad you came. I'm especially glad you stayed." Sam stared out the window, watching the storm grow more hysterical.
"Hm. Well, okay. I guess, if something was wrong, you'd tell me about it. If it was something that had to do with me, I mean. Right?"
Sighing, Sam pulled back, resting on his shoulder. He allowed his mind to dwell on the thoughts that had been rustling through his head more frequently lately. Josh yawned loudly, throwing his arms over his head, and arched his back above the mattress in a exaggerated stretch.
Plowing through the night, the wind rattled the glass of the half-opened window, until Sam considered getting up to close it. The curtains whipped around the sash, still too dry to be weighted down.
"I have been thinking about something," Sam said, searching out Josh's eyes in the dark. "A lot, actually. And I wanted to ask you about it, only... I'm not sure. I mean, I'm not sure I want to know."
A convulsive boom detonated outside, robbing the sound from Sam's last words.
Josh leaned towards him, his expression baffled. "I didn't hear that last part."
"I said, I'm thinking I may not want to hear what you say about this, because I've been thinking about it, and trying to put it into words, and I've been, I don't know, studying your responses to things, some things, and I think I have a pretty good idea of how you'll -- "
Looking slightly exasperated, Josh dipped forward and found Sam's lips in the strobe of light that lit up the room. "Start again, Sam, but this time can you actually say something with all the words?" He grinned fondly at the shy smile Sam wore.
"Say something? Say... 'Kay. Josh." Sam drew in a deep breath, and locked his eyes on his bedmate. "You're pretty content with the way things are, right?"
"With us?" Josh's voice was a little wary. They still lay facing each other, hoping the close contact would keep the tempest at bay.
"Yes. Between us."
"I, I like, if you mean, uh. I like sleeping with you, Sam."
"Well good. That's good. Because I like sleeping with you, too."
"There it is," Josh said with an air of authority. "The 'except' that's been hanging over you. What's the problem?"
Lightning flamed just outside, and a jolt of thunder burst directly above, causing Sam and Josh to duck their heads instinctively. Josh's strong hand lay on top of Sam's head protectively, and Sam was both moved and amused by the impulsive gesture.
Taking Josh's hand from his head, Sam shifted up to a semi-sitting position, and began a lazy examination of the long, slender fingers. "Are you ever really aware of the difference?" he asked just above the squall.
"I don't know. Between this and some of your past experiences."
"Wait." Josh struggled into a position mirroring Sam, both partially on their sides, sitting up against the headboard.
"I mean with women."
"There's a difference, you know?" Josh's laugh took Sam by surprise, and he squelched the impulse to become annoyed. "Don't laugh, and don't... there's a difference, and I'm not sure if what's missing is because we're both guys, or because we're -- "
"Missing?" The smile lingering on Josh's lips faded quickly, and he rubbed his hand briskly over his forehead.
"No. Well, yes," Sam confirmed.
Josh pulled himself up higher, until he was looming over his younger friend. "If you're telling me, I mean are you about to -- "
"Sex, Josh," Sam cut in. "I'm talking about sex. And the, the thing is...." He took a deep breath. "I feel like there are ways I want to be with you, and I was wondering if you ever thought about - "
" - Uh, no, Sam. No, I haven't." The wind continued to churn away, sending tentacles of raw air into the room, finding the still-warm skin of the two lovers. "Okay, that's not true, I have. But... it's not something I'm interested in doing," Josh said.
Sam sank into the bed, his expression pensive. His eyes couldn't stay away from the spectacular show outside, lightning like a lacey web in the sky, and the rain alive and writhing now in the near gale force wind. The silky hairs on his arms prickled in response to the violence he witnessed, and the electric charge the air held.
Sliding down until he was again level with Sam, Josh hung his head a little, looking up through his eyelashes. A riot of light danced across the walls, and a ferocious crack of thunder fractured the silence between them.
"I don't want you to think that I'm, like, dissatisfied or anything, so you shouldn't feel defensive," Sam said, wrestling his gaze away from the window. Josh looked so white in the glow the storm's ambient light bathed them in.
"I'm not defensive. I'm just telling you like it is, answering your question."
"So, for you, the things we do are fine. You're not the least bit interested in exploring other - "
"Asked and answered, counselor. Move on." Josh turned onto his back, his left arm trapped between his body and Sam's, while his right hand pulled the sheet up to his waist.
"I'm not trying to get you to do something you aren't comfortable with."
"Good," Josh said. "Then we can drop it."
Sam exhaled a controlled breath, and fingered the top of Josh's boxers. "I'm just, I was hoping we could talk about it a little."
"If you want to talk, Sam, I'll listen. But if your intention is to persuade...."
"No. I really want to hear your honest feelings about it."
Josh looked at Sam carefully, and covered the hand at his shorts with his own. Shivering from the rapidly cooling temperature inside and the powerful thunderstorm out, Josh pressed his leg closer to Sam, and set his mouth in a hard line. "My honest feeling is, I'm not interested in being fucked, Sam. By you, or anyone else."
The wind gnashing at the curtains picked up with a sudden fury, slapping the now sodden fabric against the walls with a satisfying smacking sound. Sam craned over Josh to try and get a look at the floor beneath the open window, speculating whether he should lay some towels.
He smiled thinly at Josh, who was watching him intently. "The streetlights are out," Sam told him, as if Josh had been wondering. This time, when he settled back against the pillows, Sam wasn't touching any part of Josh.
Josh turned towards the writer and stroked his hip with his open hand. "Hey, you can't think this has to do with you," he said. "I mean god, Sam, look at us! We're lying naked in bed together, covered in each other's scent. And to be honest if that's what you really want from me the things we do do together are plenty stimulating and satisfying for me."
"But the, the..." A labored sigh escaped Sam. "It feels like as close as we get, there's still a distance."
"And you think fucking will close it?" was Josh's retort. "I'm sorry, that really didn't come out the way I thought it would." He cupped Sam's jaw, and leaned his forehead against Sam's. "What I'm saying, Sam, is maybe it's the casualness of this relationship that's getting to you. Maybe you're finally ready to - "
Cocking his head away from Josh, Sam patted the hand on his face before pulling it away. "No, I'm pretty sure it's the fucking. Not to put too fine a point on it, Josh, but I've always, I mean, I like it. Foreplay and blowjobs are way up there, don't get me wrong." A smile crept onto Sam's face, and he arched a knowing eyebrow.
"Do I really have to tell you?"
"No," Josh told him, his nose wrinkling in the dark. "You don't. And I actually wish you wouldn't. As much as... well you're free to do whatever - or whoever - you want, Sam." Sam felt a tug of guilt at the whisper of regret in Josh's voice. "But I'm not sure I'm emotionally distant enough from you to listen to the details."
"I'm not giving you details, and I'm not sleeping with anyone else," Sam assured him, though he could sense the tensing of Josh's body. "I'm - well I don't know what I'm trying to do now."
A savage volley of thunder rattled the night, and left Sam's ears ringing. He felt the first tremor of fear, acutely aware now that the storm that was hammering the city seemed to be sustaining its intensity, stalling directly overhead. He tried to remember how silent and tranquil the night had been just a half an hour earlier, how thick and impenetrable the air had felt.
"Can I ask you something?"
Sam was startled back to the present by Josh's words, and he indicated with a brush of fingers to his chest that he was listening.
"Is this a reciprocal offer?" Josh wanted to know. "Have you thought about letting me screw you?"
Sam paused for a thoughtful moment. "I'm not sure how I feel about that."
"That's not to say... but no, actually. I just haven't thought about it."
That made Sam smile, and he tried to suppress it by letting his head fall to the pillow. "Do you want to?" he asked with a hint of interest.
"No." Josh rested beside Sam, and their fingers found each other's on top of the sheet. "I have thought about it, and tried to imagine it, and... no, Sam. I don't want to."
The room, the whole world, had been brimming with sound and the motion of light, and suddenly all was still and quiet. Sam and Josh looked at one another for clarification. Sam rose to his knees, and Josh sat up and turned to his right, facing the dark window full-on. The curtains hung limp and dripping, one edge plastered to the wall. Looking over his shoulder at Sam's startled expression, Josh opened his mouth to speak, when a spark ruptured the stillness, and an earsplitting explosion knocked Sam back down on the bed.
"Shit! God! Shit!"
Josh turned his attention to Sam, who's eyes were wide and alive. "That was amazing!" Sam yelled, climbing back to his knees. "For a second I thought we might be in the eye of a tornado, or something. Man, I can't believe where did that come from?!"
Josh shook his head, still looking shaky, throwing nervous glances behind him. "Well, I'm all for changing the subject," he said with a tight, anxious smile. "But that nearly stopped my heart."
Sam reached out, and secured his hands behind Josh's neck. Depositing a confident kiss on his white lips, Sam chuckled uneasily. "Don't leave me here to explain that to everyone," he warned.
They closed their arms around each other, and watched together as the wind quickened again, and the hard rain roared past the window. Lightning still ripped through the darkness, but it felt vaguer and less immediate, and the thunder wasn't so shattering.
Sam rested his cheek against Josh's, then bent his head down low, stretching out the muscles he didn't realize he'd been tensing. A soft kiss to his temple made him hum, and he looked back up at Josh.
"Am I attaching too much importance to this?"
"You tell me," Josh answered, allowing the conversation to resume.
Sam relaxed further into the other man's arms, and measured his words judiciously before he spoke. "I don't know. I just know that when we're having sex, I think about it, and it excites me."
"There's nothing wrong with that."
"Just with doing that."
Josh grumped mildly, and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. "I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it, Sam. I just don't have -- look. You said the idea turns you on? Well, it doesn't turn me on. It doesn't necessarily turn me off, but -- well, yeah, it does a little." He fidgeted with Sam's thumb, rubbing his finger over the neatly rounded nail. "And maybe I'd worry about that, if it weren't for the fact that I don't want to fuck you either," he declared. "I like what we have going on. It feels good; like, orgasmicly, overwhelmingly good. Doesn't it?"
"It really does."
"So, we agree?"
"We agree on that."
The storm was clearly burning out, the wind losing its fierceness. Josh crawled down to the bottom of the bed, and grabbed his tee-shirt with one hand, while capturing the end of the light cotton blanket with the other. He dragged the cover over them after he slipped the shirt over his head, and returned to his place beside Sam.
"So do you, do you think there's something wrong with me? For not being interested?" Josh's voice was hesitant. " 'Cause to tell you the truth, when I'm with a woman, damn! I'm fairly practiced with the foreplay, but I honestly have one thing on my mind."
Sam laughed in understanding.
"So, you think it's weird that I don't want the same thing from you?"
"Are you asking me if you're homophobic?" Sam inquired, his tone carefully measured.
Josh balked. "No. Because I'm pretty sure if you thought so, you'd tell me. So, I'm not asking. But, uh, I, you know, I suck your dick, Sam. So you wouldn't think there's a great leap to assume -- "
"See, I can't really speak to that." Sam cocked an eyebrow at Josh. "Okay, I don't know. I don't know about that, Josh. There obviously is a difference to you, and -- "
"But you understand, the idea doesn't gross me out, or anything."
Sam blinked rapidly "I'm glad."
"I think I get it."
Sam nodded slowly. "I think so. Look, the idea here is to do things that make us both feel good." He emphasized the statement by running his hand over Josh's torso; light, fluttery touches that aroused Josh's nipples. "And I'm not going to lay a guilt trip on you, and say I'm not being satisfied at all. That wad of tissues on the floor should attest to the fact that I'm having a grand old time right along with you," Sam pointed out with a wide grin. "I just thought, if the interest was mutual, it seemed like something we might investigate. Together."
"Are there other things we could do?"
"Other things you've thought about?" Josh asked again.
"I have no idea what you mean."
"Don't be dense," Josh chided, rolling his eyes. "Are you saying that you've never done anything more adventurous with a woman, that you'd like us to do?"
Sam didn't pause before he answered. "I never thought about it."
"Really?" Josh said with mild surprise. "Maybe it's time you did."
Turning his head so he could watch Josh's face, Sam smiled. "So you're saying... fucking may not be up your alley, but there are other scenarios you might be open to?"
"Well. This may take some thought." Sam's eyes were drawn to the window, and he fought a sleepy sense of completion. The wind no longer enraged the curtains, which looked exhausted but satisfied that they'd weathered the lashing they'd been given. Sam took note of the gradual graying the sky was undergoing, and could just make out the sound of awakening birds over the steady drip of the raindrops.
"Is it the kind of thing you wouldn't mind some company thinking about?" Josh asked, his voice becoming as subdued as the diminishing storm.
"I think that could get interesting."
"Good," Josh murmured into Sam's ear. " 'Cause I'm really hoping to keep you interested, Sam."
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