Malcolm hissed down at Jamie: “What the fuck were you doing?”
“Screaming into my mobile. You asked me to strip the hide off Brown and I was fucking obediently explaining what it was going to feel like when I had the lines of his speech tattooed on his fucking scrotum-- ow! shit.”
“Mr MacDonald, stop moving or it’ll keep hurting,” nurse said, but Malcolm could see a smile on the corner of her mouth.
“You were so fucking busy screaming that you missed the lorry bearing down on you.”
“Twas the fucking fog. Like trying to squint through the cigar smoke in Tom’s office.”
“You weren’t fucking looking.”
Jamie grimaced. “Of course I wasn’t fucking looking.”
And now he had a splint on his left leg, a high-tech thing made of plastic that held him from knee to ankle, and the only decent set of trousers he owned (in Malcolm’s opinion) had been cut to shreds to give the hospital staff access. He was making jokes non-stop for the benefit of the hospital staff, but he’d fractured his fucking tibia and been thrown onto the lorry’s bonnet like a rag doll and was bruised to hell and back. Malcolm could see the strain on his face, easing slowly as the drugs began to take effect. Stingy doses of painkiller, never enough. He reached down and took Jamie’s hand in his, the one without the IV in it. Precautionary fucking measures. His fingers were clammy, sticky, and clinging to Malcolm’s like a proverbial fucked limpet.
“Don’t,” Malcolm said. “Don’t. The fucking bollocking can wait. Even if it’s that twat Alistair Brown.”
“But he was so fuckin’ terrified by the idea that a tattooist would do a man’s bawbag. The very mention of it made him keen like a baby. Fucking sweet.”
“You’re a psycho, you know that?” Malcolm sat down on the chair the nurse pulled up for him and wrapped both hands around Jamie’s wee one. Not wee, really. Bitten nails, scarred knuckles. Jamie truly had broken a man’s face in once while Malcolm had watched. The fuck had been beating his girlfriend in an alley; Malcolm had kicked him one before helping her away. His sister, making the last of her dating mistakes before escaping to uni; Jamie’d always been nearly as protective of her as Malcolm was.
The start of a beautiful career in synchronized mayhem, that had been.
“Jamie, darling,” Malcolm said, quietly. “Don’t do this to me, yeah? No fucking stupid mistakes. Now, a reporter does you in with a curb-stomping, I’d say you had that coming. But not this blundering in front of lorries shite. Got me? Kill you myself if you try this again.”
“We had a table booked at St John’s will go to waste.”
“Oh, listen to you. Toff.”
“I’ll go on my own if you don’t shut your gob.” But of course he wouldn’t. He would be here until they released Jamie from A&E, and the little shite knew it. Which was good, because otherwise Malcolm would have to break something to make it clear.
A bruised, battered, splinted, but healing Jamie had been home for a couple of days now. Malcolm had fussed over him quite enough, in his opinion, and it was time for Jamie to get back to work terrorizing politicians and journalists indiscriminately. Jamie didn’t agree; he felt the pair of them should head to points Mediterranean or perhaps Caribbean. Malcolm couldn’t, not at the moment. Too much work with his partner and most trusted confidante off. Soon, though, he swore to Jamie. Soon. They were in bed, lights off, and Jamie was fussing a bit.
“What you always say,” he said, and it stung Malcolm’s conscience.
“I mean it, Jamie. I do. You scared me. Want to spend some time on holiday with you. Read, relax, talk.”
“Talking about the thing? You’ve been putting me off.”
“We talk about it now, if you want to.”
Jamie kissed him, all sloppy teeth and spit. “So long as you swear we have a proper talk tomorrow then I’m good. Sam’s been waiting for an answer.”
Malcolm’s toes curled with embarrassment, but Jamie was right. They none of them were getting younger, and it was time to do it or decide not to. “Yeah. Tomorrow. Swear it.”
And with that they settled to sleep, Jamie facing away and Malcolm curled around him. He’d been feeling protective, pointlessly and uselessly so, since Jamie’d been hit. But Jamie seemed to appreciate it however useless it was, in the aftermath, so Malcolm let himself fuss. Terrifying to think he’d almost lost him. They’d been together how long? Fuck. Almost twenty years. Known each other longer, of course, but hadn’t twigged to liking cock, either one of them, for ages. Funny thing, sexuality was. He’d known and hadn’t known and hadn’t let himself think about it for years.
Malcolm drifted on the edge of sleep. Jamie was snoring in his arms. Good, good. Snoring, twitching. Malcolm thought about what he and Sam had proposed. Was he ready for a kid? Sam wanted one for herself and partner, one for them. A bit of a long project, but she was up for it. Jamie wanted him to be the donor. What a mind-warping idea it was.
Sleep, dreams, a pleasant walk through rain-wet Glasgow streets with his father. And then Malcolm came awake: Jamie was thrashing in his arms, crying out. He kicked with his broken leg and whimpered. Malcolm took him by the shoulders and pinned him down until his eyes came open.
“Hey, laddie, hey hey. It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m here. I’ve got you.”
“Malc,” Jamie said. “You here?”
“Yeah, yeah, got you. What was that about?”
“Dreaming. Nightmare. Shit.”
“Tell me, love. Tell me.”
“Flying in the air and landing on the windscreen. Over and over. Only this time I died, was fucking dead on the street. Jesus, Malc. I was dead.”
Malcolm had nothing to say to that. All he could do was hold Jamie close and cuddle him, pet his hair. He pulled Jamie down against his chest and stroked his back, held him tight and refused to let go. Eventually Jamie’s heartbeat slowed down and Malcolm released him. Jamie wiped at his face.
“Jesus Christ. Proper nightmare. Haven’t had one of those since leaving seminary.”
“Want me to make you a cuppa?”
“Nah. Just hold me, yeah? Hug me.”
And kiss him, apparently, which Malcolm was fine with. Kisses in the darkness, in the quiet of the night, bodies pressed together. Malcolm could feel Jamie hardening against him, which ordinarily he’d take as invitation for a grope and an obscene suggestion, but he was leaving that up to Jamie tonight. Sore leg, sore body, upset mind-- might be the last thing he wanted.
But Jamie’s hand found its way down to Malcolm’s prick, lying dormant in his pants, and coaxed it into awareness. The kisses turned carnal, and Malcolm let himself feel it. Yeah, he’d let himself have sex with Jamie now, no matter how tired he was, how late it was. Whatever Jamie wanted. Whatever made him feel better. Struggle out of his boxers, help Jamie out of his, over the annoyance of the splint on his leg. Lights out, so Malcolm didn’t have to see the livid bruises all over him, from where he’d hit and rolled.
A twinge of fear made him shiver, but Malcolm pushed past. Jamie wanted one thing from him right now.
“Face down, darling,” Malcolm said. “Yeah, no fucking acrobatics tonight, just gonna fuck you, yeah, gonna slide my cock up your arse.”
“Do you ever fucking shut up?”
“Never and you know it.”
Nonetheless he shut his mouth and got down to business. He helped Jamie arrange himself so his broken leg was bent comfortably, propped on a pillow, and his arse was pointed up and spread out beautifully for him. Bollocks and hard cock, a hairy arse, none of your waxed-bare twink shite for Malcolm. He got his thumb greased up and worked in. Jamie grunted and wriggled. Yeah, this would do him, this would do him and Jamie both. Thumb moving, easing him open, teasing him.
“Are you ever gonna fuck me, Malc?”
“You gagging for it yet?”
“Been gagging since you first spread my arse cheeks. Get it up me, assuming you can still get it up.”
“Cocky boy, with all that banter. Think you’re funny.”
But it was good to hear, because it meant Jamie was feeling okay for real. Thumb out, condom fumbled with and eventually rolled onto his eager cock. Had been a while since they’d found the time, and if he were honest Malcolm would admit he was gagging for it too. He made himself stay patient, though. More slick on himself, generously, because he liked it slippery, liked easy movement.
Prick in one hand, the other braced against Jamie’s arse, push, there it was, the pressure and the moment of yielding and the slide, in a bit, out again, in deeper, watching the muscles in Jamie’s back and arse tighten as he pushed, relax when he eased out. He watched his cock where it entered Jamie, watched it move, fucking amazing sight, fucking amazing feeling. His lover, his partner, his fucking right hand man, here under him, letting him inside. Letting him in all the way.
He’d never get over this. Or find the words for it. So much feeling. A universe of feeling.
“Good?” was all he said.
“Oh, yeah. Malc. Yeah.” And the rest of whatever Jamie said was incoherent, the usual moaning gabble you got from him when you penetrated him. The man liked having his arse fucked. And his cock sucked, but everybody liked that. Liked it or was lying about not liking it, in Malcolm’s opinion.
He let himself lie down all the way on top of Jamie, hands on his shoulders, cock as deep in as he could go in this position. He lay there for a bit, letting himself feel it, letting Jamie feel his weight, his lips against the back of his neck, his breath. His voice in Jamie’s ear again, whispering obscene endearments. Malcolm let himself sing the praises of Jamie’s arse, tight and hot and entirely his property, his field to plow, his furrow in which to sow his seed, his–
“Getting fucking Biblical, Malc,” Jamie said, but there was a certain strain in his voice.
“Rut yourself against the bed for me, yeah, like that, fuck yourself on me.”
“Hurts,” Jamie said. “Pulled muscles. Sorry.”
“Hey, laddie, I’m sorry, hey, no problem, let me do all the work, okay? Yeah, I’ll do it all.”
Happy to do it, happy to fuck his partner long and slow, letting him feel it, letting him enjoy it. Jamie loved this and Malcolm loved indulging him. He kept it slow until he couldn’t bear waiting any longer, until the urge to come was obsessing him. Faster, then, harder, against Jamie’s prone body, until he was there, until it was on him. Orgasm, union with the universe and with Jamie, emptying himself, until he was bereft and grief-stricken.
He rolled off Jamie and sprawled on his back, boneless and fucking useless, no help for Jamie who was tugging himself off now, coming with supreme carelessness on the sheets. In a moment he’d rouse himself, in a moment he’d do what he needed to do to clean himself up. Right now all he could do was think about how much he loved Jamie, how willing he was to do anything he wanted. He might have lost him. Jamie might be gone. Fuck. He’d have been shattered. It could happen yet.
Malcolm felt his eyes sting, there in the dark where Jamie couldn’t see it.
They were at the west edge of nowhere, in Cornwall, in a cottage owned by a friend of a friend. It wasn’t the Mediterranean, but Malcolm had managed to tear himself away and that was a triumph all on its own. It was the height of summer, but English summer, and that meant rain and weather that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be for the first few days of their holiday. Rain and moments of sun, flowers running riot in the front garden, a sweet scent in the air that wasn’t petrol and stale Tube. Was a bit of a treat to get away from the city, he had to admit. Away from politicians. Jamie was running mad all cooped up with no one to shout at, but Malcolm was happy enough sitting in the front room with a stack of books on the history of the Italian city-states, with their friend’s friend’s moggy curled up on his lap.
The cat was a calico, with all the temper her coat promised, but she’d taken to him instantly. She hated Jamie unless he had a tin of cat meat in hand, in which case he was tolerated instead of scratched. Malcolm, though, Malcolm could do no wrong, so he had the furball purring on top of him, keeping him warm through the rainy squalls and the quite ridiculous history of the de Medici.
He scratched the beast’s chin and contemplated the window. Looked almost sunny out there. Strike that, very sunny. They were in for a nice day, maybe. Or a nice five minutes. The path to the lane would be still be muddy, of course. Fucked if he was going out wading through wet grass just to pick up the local paper. Fucked if he was going to look at a single word of a single headline for anything less urgent than nuclear war.
Jamie’s voice floated in to him from the front garden, and Malcolm could see him pacing back and forth along the flagged walk, cellphone to his ear. Some conversation that made him happy, judging by the smile, and not happy in the vicious way, judging by the set of his shoulders and the way he swaggered as he limped into the front room, treading mud.
Malcolm said, “That was Sam.”
“Yeah, was Sam.”
“She’s knocked up. You’ve got your PA up the duff. Well done.”
Malcolm flashed him two fingers. “Wasn’t even in the same county. Can’t fucking prove it.”
“DNA test’d say otherwise. Also the fucking bill from the doctor, which–”
“Wasn’t as massive as the one from the lawyer.”
“Your doing entirely.”
Malcolm grimaced. He’d had them sew it up pretty tight, so the urchin or urchins would have family no matter what happened. Street accidents, health problems, aircraft crashes, all three of them dying at the same time-- all accounted for. Jamie had accused him of being a fucking basket case about it. Jamie, the one who still had a plastic case on his leg and a stick to help him walk. Which he’d used rather effectively to threaten Reeder, but it was the idea of it, the idea of an accident-- of one moment Jamie being there and the next not. It had him spooked hard.
Malcolm would have done anything Jamie had asked, in the days after the accident, and this was what he’d asked for. So Malcolm had done it.
Sam was pregnant. Malcolm was the father. Father by remote action. He’d wanked into a tube, alone in a little cubicle with a selection of pornography of various kinds, all of which had made him a little sick to look at. Wanked into a tube, handed it over. Filled out a rather disgustingly exhaustive questionnaire about his medical history and ancestry. So much fuss around something that most punters did entirely by accident when drunk with a stranger.
An exchange of genetic material. Mating by mail. Sam and Jamie had worked it all out. There were two kids planned, and they’d granted the first to Malcolm by right of his advancing age. Didn’t want to be decrepit before the sprog was at uni, did he? He and Jamie would raise one, Sam and her girlfriend would raise the other. They’d know each other, would call each other cousin. They’d never want for a single fucking thing. No ragged trousers in the Glaswegian winters for these two. Uncle Malc, Auntie Sam. Two dads for one, two mams for the other. It was all rather hideously modern and civilized and terrifying.
What sort of dad would he make? He’d done okay with his little sister and with her kids. He was already an Uncle Malc. He hadn’t fucked up too badly with them, the times he’d had them to care for. But then, it was easy to be an uncle. Feed them ice cream, give them presents, hand them back exhausted after a day at the zoo. What happened after you handed them back? You read them bedtime stories. The Very Angry Spider and How It Saved Great Britain’s Tax Base By Making a Lot of Noise. You told them the facts of life when they asked. You worried about their education. About whether their accents would doom them. About whether explosions of rage at fucking retarded politicians who’d had every fucking advantage possible to have would warp them forever. Would he keep his temper with the bairn or would he scream?
He was doomed. Shit. It was too late now, wasn’t it. He was in. Sam was stuffed.
“You’re brooding again.”
“Are you okay, Malc?”
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“You’re not okay.”
“Am I going to have to fucking throttle you to get you to shut it?”
“Try it, you twat. You’re as skinny as a girl.”
Malcolm lunged up. The moggie leapt from his lap and yowled out her distaste. Malcolm didn’t care. He was chasing Jamie out of the room, while the cunt laughed like a fucking lunatic. Down the hall, Malcolm slipping in his stockinged feet and bouncing against the wall. Catching him, being caught by him, smashed back against the wall by him, kissed hard. Falling onto the bed, still messy and unmade from the night. Stripping Jamie’s clothes from him, kissing his bruises as they were revealed. Hauling off his own kit while Jamie watched.
He’d thought about this when wanking. Doing this, with Jamie. Their first time doing this. Hadn’t been their first time having sex; this was too complicated and too slow for how frantic they’d been that first time. They’d managed nothing more than a mutual tug while half-drunk. When they’d got around to getting into bed properly, clothes off, condoms to hand, Malcolm had almost been too impatient for it. Yeah, he liked fucking, but he’d been in such a ferment of emotion about Jamie that he’d almost been unable to manage it. Had almost come at least three times before he finally got his over-eager cock wrapped up and slicked up.
Fucking Jamie. Oh, God, so good. Fucking Jamie in daylight, windows open to a glorious summer day, so good. Listening to him moan, to the little sounds he made as Malcolm moved. Being able to see every bit of him clearly, every inch of blue skin, the hair on his lower back, the fuzz on the backs of his thighs, the scar on his left shoulder blade from a shattered bottle swung in a bar fight, long ago. Jamie. His.
Malcolm would put up with being fucked if his partner was desperate for it, but he didn’t love it. Not the way Jamie did. Of course he’d roll over and spread his arse-cheeks for Jamie; he’d do fucking anything Jamie wanted. But Jamie didn’t ask for that more than once in a blue moon. What Jamie wanted was Malcolm’s prick up his arse, as often as possible. He was a fucking bottom. He sometimes called himself any number of degrading names about it, which he meant as a joke, none of which Malcolm would abide Jamie saying in his hearing. It was a gift Jamie gave him, every time.
Muddled thoughts, tangled up with feelings he couldn’t express. A wish that he could do it with Jamie, fuck Jamie and make a kid. He loved Sam in a different way, was happy it was Sam, yeah, he could admit that, but he wanted it to happen like this. Come and make a baby. Come and make your soulmate come and make a baby. Fucking biology. It was Jamie forever for him, and nobody else, and therefore they had to be clever. Beat biology at at its own game. Come inside Jamie, show Jamie he loved him, prove it, come into a tube, do what he fucking needed Malcolm to do, whatever it was. Because shit shit shit, life was short, and he could have lost him, lost him.
He was coming and it was wonderful and it was pointless and even so, he loved this little shit. Jamie had him wrapped around his finger.
That grief again, paralyzing him. He lay on his back, hands over his eyes, trying to sort himself out. Then there was Jamie, straddling his waist, pulling his hands away from his face, wiping the tears away. He looked almost sympathetic.
“You’re a fucking wreck, Malc.”
Why fucking argue? Couldn’t fucking argue, not like this. He swallowed and found his tongue to say: “Why me?”
“Why you what? Why do I want your skinny cock instead of all the monster ones I could have?”
“Why me the father?”
“Fucking plain as the massive nose on your whey face.”
Jamie shook his head. “Too many MacDonalds. Not enough Tuckers. World needs more Tuckers.”
“World does not–”
“Does. Needs more stupid stubborn cunts to keep the rest of us pointed the right way and paying attention to what matters instead of walking out into the fucking road.”
“I can’t fucking-- I’ll raise another mean-tempered shit like me.”
“You’ll raise a mouthy marshmallow who’ll cower in one place for three hours because a flea-ridden cat wants to sit on them.”
“Shut it, Malc. I know what I’m about. Wouldn’t have done it with you if I didn’t know it. Gonna have to trust me, you overwound skeleton. Life’s shit, yes, and people die, but there’s nothing we can do about that other than make our patch better. And you make my patch better. Stop moaning and worrying about what you can’t help. Understand me?”
Now his eyes truly stung, but Malcolm swallowed and mastered himself. “Yeah, I get it.”
“You’re going to make a lovely father once I show you how to change a nappy.”
Malcolm shoved up at him. “Changed my sister a fucking hundred times.”
“Thirty years ago. It’s easier now. We can practice on Reeder when we get back. I’ll scare him into shitting; you can change him.”
“Fuck you,” Malcolm said, with emphasis and a gesture.
“Too late, ya twat. You just did.”
At that Malcolm laughed. He was in it, yeah, but the cunt sitting on top of him was in it too. And so was the fucking cat, apparently, because she was sitting on the end of the bed licking her arse, giving exactly zero fucks.
Jamie craned around to see what Malcolm was laughing at. “Fuck. That mangy cat watched us fuck.”
“She won’t tell anyone,” said Malcolm. “Won’t tell anyone about your fucking ridiculous bleating when you take it.”