“I researched,” says Adam, “Like I said I would.”

Nigel is lying stretched out on the couch, Adam fully on top of him. Adam had asked, the first time they lay this way, if he was going to hurt Nigel with his weight. Nigel had just laughed hard enough that he clearly had no problem getting a full lungful of air, even with Adam’s head resting on his chest.

Now it’s how they spend most of their nights. It’s how they had been three days ago, when Adam had announced his intention to research how two men have sex.

“Did you,” says Nigel. His hands are stroking lightly over Adam’s back. Adam swallows, grateful for the fact that he’s already hiding his face in Nigel’s shirt. Nigel has never brought up the topic of sex, not once. When Adam had asked him if he wanted to have sex with Adam, he’d said yes, in a tone of voice that Adam had no problem at all identifying as lascivious. And when Adam had said he would do some research, he’d just laughed in the way that Adam knows is supposed to be loving and not mean, and said he would wait patiently for the final report.

The final report doesn’t exactly feel final, to Adam. It’s more like an uncomfortable jumble of thoughts in his mind, a bizarre mix of clinical-sounding informational sites and pornography. He can hear himself tremble as he draws a breath in.

“The idea of having to choose sexual positions makes me nervous,” he blurts out. “I’ve only ever had sex with women, and they always expected that I would want to penetrate them, so I did. But if two men are having penetrative sex, they have to choose which person does what. And I don’t– I don’t–“

Adam breaks off. He’s not sure what will happen if he says I watched a lot of pornography where a larger man penetrated a smaller man, and I masturbated to the idea of you penetrating me, but it’s not anything to do with my sexuality that my genetics made me shorter than you or that I don’t need to work out like you do, because I work with telescopes and you work with gangsters.

“Hey,” says Nigel, his hand gripping Adam’s back slightly tighter. “Hey, sweetheart, it’s okay. We’re not going to do anything you don’t want to, okay?”

It’s not the right thing to say, but then, Nigel couldn’t have been expected to know what to say, since Adam hadn’t said what he was thinking. Which he usually does, but this seems so important and he doesn’t want to get it wrong and it’s all he can do to force out “I do want to!” Which doesn’t capture what he wants to say at all, but at least it’s something.

He feels more than hears Nigel’s response, a pleased rumble in his chest, and relaxes slightly. “I do want to,” he continues. “And I think that for our first time, we should do sixty-nine. Where we both perform oral sex on each other at the same time. That way, we don’t have to choose who does what or who goes first. It’s very equal.”

“You want to sixty-nine because it’s equal?” Nigel says, sounding like he’s never said the word before, which he probably hasn’t. His hand strokes over Adam’s face, swiping his thumb over Adam’s lower lip. “Not because you want me to swallow your big hard cock down at the same time as you use this pretty mouth on me?”

That, apparently, is the right thing to say. The awkwardness disappears and arousal hits Adam all at once, humming through his belly, and he raises his head to look at Nigel. Nigel keeps hold of his jaw, thumb resting at the corner of his mouth. “That too,” says Adam, and Nigel grins.

Nigel brings him to the bedroom. Cuddling on the couch is very nice, but Nigel knows by now that Adam won’t fall asleep there, and he clearly intuits that Adam won’t want to have sex there, at least not the first time. Nigel’s bedroom is surprisingly nice, and has only gotten tidier since Adam started spending some nights there.

They stand on front of the bed, and Nigel watches as Adam takes off his clothes. He always watches like that, even when they’re just falling asleep, with naked hunger and adoration in his gaze. Adam doesn’t mind being watched, and tonight he even tries to slow down the process, dragging each piece of fabric along his skin carefully. He’s distracted by the varying textures, how the coarser material of his work pants contrasts with the soft cotton of his shirt, and ends up getting a little bit lost in it, absent-mindedly rubbing the fabrics over himself before he can remove them.

Nigel’s hands are on his shoulders the moment they’re exposed to the air, as Adam is still slowly tugging down the waistband of his briefs. Nigel’s callused hands grip his skin just shy of too hard as he growls, “Are you teasing me?”

Adam thinks about it and then giggles a bit, because he had been, a little, even though it wasn’t entirely intentional. “Yes,” he says. “Did you like it?”

“Fuck.” Nigel presses close, still clothed, as Adam steps out of his briefs, and he feels too exposed and yet somehow comforted at the feeling of his cock pressing up against Nigel’s jeans. “Sweetheart, I like everything you do.”

“Good,” says Adam. It’s nothing Nigel hasn’t said before, but he still has a little bit of trouble believing it. Nigel hasn’t seen everything that Adam does, after all. There are probably parts he won’t like, once they get there.

But then, perhaps the same is true in reverse, as well. Adam knows enough about what Nigel does for a living to know that he isn’t keen to learn more. Somehow, the knowledge that there are parts of Nigel that he wouldn’t like is comforting. Maybe it will be okay, then, if neither of them can be completely perfect or normal.

Nigel is pulling off his own clothes, significantly quicker than Adam had, and Adam reaches out to spread his hands over the expanse of Nigel’s chest as it is exposed. He runs the tips of his fingers through slightly greying hairs, and feels the way his musculature tapers down in the shape of a V towards his groin.

Adam doesn’t feel intimidated at the idea of sucking a cock. He has one himself, after all, so he expects it to be more familiar territory than having sex with women was. He isn’t sure how to start this, though; how to tip over from them standing with their bodies pressed together at the foot of the bed, to the sexual activity that Adam has chosen for the night.

He swallows. “Can we lie down?”

Nigel promptly half-jumps, half-flops backwards onto the bed, holding out a hand for Adam to follow him. They curl up together just like they were going to go to sleep, with the exception of the erections pressing into each others’ thighs.

Adam likes kissing, and he’s kissed Nigel plenty. He tips his head up to meet his lips, and it feels familiar and warm and pleasant as they slide their lips together. There’s an edge to it this time, though; the feeling of going somewhere, and apparently where Adam is going is to get even harder, his cock starting to ache and leak as Nigel’s tongue sweeps softly into his mouth and Nigel’s thigh presses in between his legs.

“Yes,” Adam gasps, and presses back, thrusting into the pressure of Nigel’s firm muscle. Nigel’s tongue swipes briefly over his lips, and suddenly Adam can’t think of anything besides how that tongue would feel in between his legs.

“‘S a pity I can’t keep kissing you while we do this,” murmurs Nigel. “But I suppose some sacrifices must be made. Ready, sweetheart?”

Adam finds that he is ready, though Nigel doesn’t actually wait for an answer before he sits up and flips himself around, quickly settling himself by Adam’s groin, nuzzling into him and unhesitatingly drawing Adam’s cock into his mouth.

Adam gasps. He’s been sucked off before, but it’s been a while, and he’s forgotten how wet a mouth feels, how completely obscene and nearly ludicrous he always finds it to have someone’s lips and teeth and tongue there oh fuck Nigel is grasping the root with both hands and sucking, and Adam lets out a surprised little cry that is very nearly a curse. He’s never cursed in front of Nigel before, he realizes, not because he’s puritanical in any way but because he finds it easier to be understood when he uses precise language and curse words are imprecise so he’d never really gotten into the habit, but he thinks probably if he cursed right now Nigel would be pleased and definitely understand what he means because–

–fuck. Nigel’s hard cock is hovering in front of Adam’s face, and when he opens his eyes he realizes that he’s been basking in the exquisite feeling of Nigel’s mouth sliding up and down his length– but he’s supposed to be sucking Nigel, too. That was the whole point of this. Equal.

He feels a little jolt of guilt. Nigel has been working him for at least a minute now, with no reciprocation. Quickly, Adam leans forward and closes his mouth over Nigel’s cock. It jumps a little in his mouth, and Nigel murmurs “mmm, yeah,” encouragingly, and Adam relaxes a little. It’s only a penis, after all, and he knows what feels good. he can do this, and it will be good for Nigel and Adam at once, and their first time having sex will be a success.

He concentrates on the feeling of Nigel in his mouth, trying to get the entire length of him wet with saliva so that Adam’s lips slide easily up and down. It doesn’t taste bad, but Adam hates how the mixture of pre-come and saliva gets all over the hand he’s trying to use to hold Nigel’s cock in place, slick and sticky between his fingers. He has to wriggle a little bit closer to be able to slide far enough forward that the tip nearly touches the back of his throat, and as he feels Nigel adjust his position in response.

He can’t quite feel what Nigel is doing, any more. He’s still sucking and licking and his warm palm is wrapped around Adam’s balls and it feels nice, it does, but he can hardly be expected to concentrate on it when he’s trying to position himself to get as much of Nigel in his mouth as possible. This is supposed to be equal, Adam has to make it equal, and concentrating on his own pleasure at the expense of Nigel’s would be selfish. He swallows deep and hums a little around Nigel’s cock, then glances down to try to see Nigel’s reaction and is a little disappointed that there is none, or at least none that Adam can distinguish.

Adam’s neck starts to hurt. He wishes he could just ignore it. Sex is allowed to be awkward or painful sometimes, he knows. The first girl he’d had sex with had told him matter-of-factly that it always hurt her a bit to put a penis in, at first, but to just go slow and it would feel nice after a few minutes. If she could lie still and wait for her body to adjust to a penis inside it, surely Adam should be able to enjoy himself even though his neck hurts a little. He can’t, though. He barely feels what Nigel is doing to him, and he’s afraid that maybe Nigel isn’t enjoying himself either, because Adam is too distracted by his stupid neck to suck him off properly.

Then Nigel sits up, his cock slipping out of Adam’s mouth, and Adam feels a sinking feeling in his stomach. This is going terribly. He pushes himself up to face Nigel.

“Is this working for you, darling?” Nigel’s hand is soft in Adam’s hair, smoothing over his scalp in a way that is supposed to be soothing. Adam hesitates. He hates lying, and he’s never lied to Nigel before. For that very reason, he suspects he would get away with it, if he did; Nigel would never suspect him. He could say yes.

“It’s… okay,” he hedges. It was okay, after all. It didn’t feel horrible.

“Hey.” Nigel leans in and kisses him, and it’s nice and a little comforting but it doesn’t exactly make him feel better. “Adam, darling, it wasn’t working for me either.”

Well, that really doesn’t make him feel any better.

Nigel pushes him gently down, so that Adam is lying back against the pillows. He swallows, then sighs. “It was… hard to concentrate,” he admits. “It felt really nice, but I wanted it to feel good for you too, and then…”

“Yeah.” Nigel is smiling, and if Nigel is smiling then everything must be alright. “Yeah, for me, too. Besides, I want to see you when you’re feeling good. I don’t want to be too busy trying to come myself.”

Adam smiles tentatively, and Nigel kisses him again, gently, before lying down beside him. “Plan B?” he asks. “We can just suck each other, one at a time. No penetration required.”

It’s a good idea, and the thought of being able to feel Nigel’s mouth on him again and not have to worry about anything but the sensation brings his flagging erection back to life. But the unspoken words from earlier are still knocking around in his head, and it feels important that Nigel has to know this, like it would be lying if he didn’t tell him.

“I… think I would like being penetrated,” Adam says. “I thought about it a lot. But I…” he trails off again, this time not out of diffidence but more like confusion.

He’d seen and read a lot, trying to figure out how he wanted to have sex with Nigel. Usually Adam is nothing but enthusiastic about trying to soak up knowledge about social structures. It’s useful, and it makes it easier to understand people when there are clear rules about behaviour. For the first time, though, Adam isn’t sure that he wants to understand these rules. He doesn’t want to understand why there seemed to be so much of something very like disdain towards people who wanted other people to put cocks in them. There was too much terminology, and he’d tried writing it down but it made him feel anxious every time he looked at the list of labels that he apparently had to choose from. He didn’t want a list of words. He just wanted to have sex with Nigel.

Nigel is nodding, though. He’s nodding and his hand is rubbing firmly over Adam’s thigh, the touch making him shiver and Nigel’s hand pressing gently to help Adam’s legs fall open a little bit. Adam watches him. Nigel’s head is tilted a little, and he seems to be thinking hard.

“Would you… also like that?” Adam asks hesitantly. He’s not sure why so much feels like it’s riding on the answer. “Do you want me to penetrate you?”

Nigel takes in a tense breath and lies back beside Adam, his hand lingering on his thigh. His eyes narrow at the ceiling. Adam feels his teeth clench involuntarily.

“Yeah,” says Nigel finally. “Fuck, yes, of course I would, Adam. It’d feel good. And I want you in every way I can possibly get you. I’m…” he turns on his side, cups Adam’s face in a gentle hand, and smiles crookedly. “Shit, darling, I guess I’m just nervous. It’s not the kind of thing I…” Nigel shakes his head, but he’s smiling again.

“You’re nervous to have sex,” Adam says, “But you’re not nervous the nights you have to take a gun to work.”

“Well, I never claimed to be a logical man, sweetheart.”

It feels like a weight that he hadn’t even identified lifts from Adam’s chest. He likes that Nigel is nervous, because Adam is nervous too. He has no idea if they’re nervous for the same things, but it doesn’t matter. He’s reminded, not for the first time, that he doesn’t actually know that much about Nigel. He knows he’s a little older than Adam, and that he’s never had sex with a man before, and that he runs a seedy strip club downtown, and that he used to live in Romania. He doesn’t particularly want to know more about the club, but he does want to know more about where Nigel grew up. He resolves to ask, later. Some time when his dick isn’t thoroughly distracting him from questions of personal history.

“Okay,” says Adam, and despite his resolve it comes out as a whisper. “Will you do it to me, though? I thought about you putting your fingers in me. I’d like– if you want–“

Nigel is up and over top of him in an instant, and he growls “Fuck yes, I want,” and pushes Adam’s thighs apart again, more roughly this time. He settles in between Adam’s legs, stretching out so that his feet are hanging off the edge of the bed, and engulfs Adam’s cock in the slick heat of his mouth again.

Adam moans, and drops his head back against the pillows. He doesn’t have to do anything this time, he realizes with something approaching glee; he’s told Nigel what he wants, and now Nigel is going to give it to him. All Adam has to do is lie back and feel.

Nigel is managing to keep his mouth on Adam’s cock while he reaches into the bedside table with one hand, pulling out a pump-top bottle of lubricant. Adam’s stomach flutters with nerves, so he allows the feeling to wash through him and finds that it’s actually pleasant, in a way, being nervous. It fuels his arousal, makes him squirm and whimper a bit in a way that Nigel evaluates and clearly decides is a very good thing.

Nigel starts by just rubbing at him, from the base of his cock down over his balls and then firmly over his perineum, and Adam gasps and buck up at how good that feels, all on its own, just the firm pressure of warm fingers on his skin.

Then Nigel’s index finger slips into him, easily, slick with lube and gliding painlessly past his entrance. Adam stills, trying to categorize the sensation in his mind. It’s odd, to be sure, but in a way that makes him want more of it, just to be certain, like he needs more data points before passing judgment. Nigel glances up, and he still has the tip of Adam’s cock in his mouth as he starts thrusting his finger gently in and out and Adam forgets about gathering more data points. He forgets about everything that isn’t getting more of this.

“Good?” Nigel asks, and Adam suspects his answering nod is more of a spasm. “Yeah,” he pants, and has the presence of mind to remember that he meant to curse. “Fuck, yes, Nigel, that’s so good.”

Nigel looks immensely pleased at that, and answers the request Adam had just been about to make by adding a second finger in beside the first. It’s not much more, doesn’t even hurt like Adam had half-expected it to, but he can feel them, pressing against his insides. He’s suddenly captivated by the thought of what a cock would feel like, so much bigger, and he whines. He almost wants to ask Nigel for it, but Nigel’s mouth is still doing miraculous things to him and he would have to stop that, if he put his cock in him. So Adam just bites his lip and lies back, letting himself be completely overwhelmed. It feels like the exact opposite of a meltdown; utter freedom, letting himself go instead of losing himself.

Nigel’s mouth slips up and down on his cock, and he’s managed to squeeze a third finger into Adam’s ass which finally hurts just a tiny bit but Adam wants it, he’s jerking his own hips back and forth just to get Nigel’s fingers rougher inside of him, and when he comes Nigel keeps his lips firmly around him until Adam is panting and sweaty and sated, staring up at the ceiling in something very like shock.

His breath sounds very loud in the silence of the bedroom. Nigel slips his fingers out of him, and that feels kind of awful, but Nigel is back up beside him in a moment and pressing kisses to the corner of Adam’s mouth.

Adam opens his mouth and he isn’t entirely sure what he’s going to say before it comes out, which turns out to be, “You have to let me do that to you.”

He realizes what he’s said in an instant, and turns towards Nigel, panicked. “I mean– I don’t mean that– it’s up to you, of course, I just–“

But Nigel just laughs and pulls him close, his very present erection pushing in between Adam’s thighs. “That good, huh?” he says.

Adam swallows, then giggles. He feels a little bit light-headed. “Yes,” he says, and Nigel kisses him, open-mouthed and filthy and still slightly tasting of–

–Adam pulls away, anxiety stabbing at his gut. Nigel had swallowed his come. He hadn’t even thought about it, hadn’t asked Adam if he wanted him to, he’d just done it, like it was assumed, like of course if you suck someone off you have to swallow their come, and for all Adam knows that probably is the rule, there are probably whole nasty words for people who refuse to swallow a partner’s semen, he–

“Adam?” Nigel is looking at him the way he does when he doesn’t know what to do with him, and that makes him feel even worse. He’s upsetting Nigel, just by being upset. “Adam. Sweetheart. If this is too much, it’s okay, we can stop, we can take a break. Just relax, darling.”

Adam pushes himself up quickly, ignoring Nigel’s half-hearted attempt to follow him. He crawls down in between Nigel’s legs, breathing hard and with a sick nervous feeling settling in that feels nothing like the pleasant nerves of before. Giving Nigel a blowjob had seemed like a pleasant prospect, before. Now he’s just desperately trying to come up with a way to either force himself to go through with it, or wiggle out of the expectation to swallow Nigel’s semen. He grasps Nigel’s cock at the root and pulls it into his mouth.

Nigel hums a bit, appreciative, but when Adam glances up he’s still frowning. Then Adam suddenly remembers some of the porn he’d watched, and grins up at Nigel. There is something he can offer, of equal value, and Nigel will want him to do that instead, and everything will be fair. “Do you want to come on my face?” says Adam, suddenly feeling rather pleased with himself.

What?” Nigel’s cock slips out of his mouth as Nigel sits up abruptly. His hand lands in Adam’s hair, not rough but not exactly gentle as he pulls him up to be level with Nigel’s face

“What?” says Adam back.

Nigel’s mouth is hanging open, and he’s staring at Adam through narrowed eyes as if he can’t figure out what to say to him. Which is ridiculous when there is nothing wrong, not any more.

“Darling,” says Nigel, his voice low and serious, “Do you want me to come on your face?”

Adam licks his lips. He doesn’t look directly into Nigel’s eyes, which he knows Nigel doesn’t mind, but he still feels like he’s being watched. It’s easier to just be honest, so he decides that maybe that will be the fastest way to get this back on track.

“Yes,” he says. “That way, I can just close my mouth and eyes, and I won’t have to swallow it, because I have a problem with textures, which is why I’m not very adventurous with food, and I usually eat the same things over and over again, and I don’t usually like things that are–“

“Adam.” Nigel’s lips are pressed together, as if he’s trying to keep something inside, and it might be anger or it might be a smile but Adam isn’t sure which. “Jesus. Adam, I know. How many times have I watched you eat that goddamn mac and cheese?”

“A lot,” admits Adam. Nigel eats mac and cheese sometimes, but more often he makes something else for himself. It’s nice, eating together, even if they don’t eat the same thing.

“Okay, so why the fuck would I expect you to suddenly want to put my jizz in your mouth, darling?”

Adam finds that he can’t come up with a response to that. “You swallowed mine,” he says faintly.

Nigel does laugh at that; he tips his head back so that it almost smacks against the headboard, and then grabs one of Adam’s hands and raises it to his mouth to kiss his knuckles. “Sweetheart, I’ve put so many goddamn substances into every single one of my orifices that I couldn’t even give you a list of them,” he says. “Do you think that means I want you to?”

Adam sits back, tucking his feet underneath his thighs so he’s cross-legged between Nigel’s splayed legs. It feels safe, despite Nigel’s neglected cock bobbing away at the edge of his vision. “No,” he says. he knows Nigel doesn’t want Adam getting involved in anything to do with his work. He’d figured it was just to protect him, but now he considers that Nigel may like having one person in his life who doesn’t see him the way his colleagues do. Nigel likes that Adam is different. “I don’t think you want that.”

Nigel’s face softens. “Good,” he says, and he takes Adam’s hands and places them gently on his own inner thighs. “Then here’s what I want right now. I’d fucking love for you to suck my cock with the most gorgeous mouth I’ve ever seen in my life. And when I’m about to come, because I could probably come just from thinking about you, Adam, I’m going to tell you so. And then you’ll take your mouth off and I’ll shoot my load wherever the hell it goes, and it’s going to feel fucking amazing because I’ll be watching you enjoy yourself while I do it. Okay?”

Adam doesn’t bother saying okay back. He just slides down again, pulling on Nigel’s legs to indicate that he wants him to slide down the bed more fully. He takes Nigel’s cock in his left hand, reaching his right down to play with his balls as he brings it to his mouth once more. He wonders whether he should bring his hand lower, if Nigel wants to be fingered like he’d fingered Adam, but he decides against it. Nigel hadn’t asked for that, after all, and he’d just detailed what he wanted pretty specifically. The idea of Adam doing something different to Nigel than what Nigel had done to him sits more comfortably with him, now that Nigel is squirming and moaning with every slick glide of his mouth. It takes effort to keep himself in position, but it doesn’t hurt, and every time he glances up he notices something new about Nigel’s reaction. His eyes are squeezed shut so tightly that in any other situation Adam would assume he was in pain, but the expression matches perfectly how Adam had felt while Nigel was pleasuring him– completely overwhelmed in all the best ways. After a little bit Adam starts to feel Nigel thighs clenching around him, squeezing rhythmically against Adam’s legs. Nigel clearly has no idea he’s doing it, and that feels good, makes Adam speed up and savour the drag of his lips against the velvety skin of Nigel’s cock.

“Fuck, I’m gonna come,” Nigel says through clenched teeth, and Adam immediately pulls off with his mouth but keeps both hands on him, pumping rhythmically and watching Nigel’s face instead, as he spills all over Adam’s hands and his own stomach.

Nigel breathes hard for a few moments, then cracks an eye open and grins up at Adam. Adam smiles back, then glances down at his semen-soaked hands.

“Go wash your hands, Adam,” says Nigel, and it’s permission, not an order. Adam scampers into the bathroom, feeling slightly chilly but strangely light, and when he returns to the bedroom Nigel is throwing a few tissues with the remainder of his semen into the garbage.

He opens his arms, inviting Adam in, and Adam goes. Nigel is warm and smells somehow like the sex they’ve just had. Adam buries his nose in Nigel’s shoulder.

“That was incredible,” comes Nigel’s voice in his ear. “And I won’t forget that you’ve promised to fuck me, and show me what all that fuss was about.” Adam shivers. He doesn’t point out that technically there was no promising involved; he’s perfectly willing to make one now. “I won’t forget either,” he says.

“Good.” Nigel rolls him easily, so they’re in their favourite position of Adam resting on top of him. Adam settles in, burrowing into his chest, and nearly misses Nigel’s sleepy murmur of, “Was that equal enough for you, sweetheart?”

Adam considers. It wasn’t equal at all, but he finds he doesn’t mind any more. “It was… equitable,” he tries. After all, they’re both here, both happy, both satisfied and loving.

“Great,” mumbles Nigel, and Adam has a strong suspicion that he doesn’t know what the word means.

He decides not to bother explaining it.