Ever have those moments where you swear you've done something before, but you can't find evidence of it anywhere? Getting this
with the html for this story... could swear I already edited the file and typed this description, but it doesn't exist on my computer...
Oh well, it matters little. This story is wonderful and squeal-worthy. Jacquelyn originally said that it was meant as amusement for just Betsy-sama and me, but it seemed cruel NOT to share it with everyone. Fortunately, she's given us permission to post it, and so share it we shall.
Approved details on Jacob: (which are, in fact, the only details the author had in writing this story on which to base his character, so be impressed with the depth she gave him): he's a musician in a band, plays guitar, and is an ex of Nicodemus. (the "ex of Nicodemus" one being the only one of any real relevance... *grin*).
Anyway, enough of MY talk and random words, on to the story!
Every so often Nicodemus would wake up and have a very strong sense that getting out of bed would be bad. The feeling this morning was magnified. He dared not open his eyes. There was a warm, comfortable form in his arms. That could be explained. Blushing, he recalled the events leading to Naim staying late again. When they finally lay down, Nicodemus had curled around his schoolmate and fallen into a peaceful sleep.
He could not explain the arms around his midsection, or the press of a bare chest to his back. The sensation of skin against skin was overwhelming, making him wish he had thought to replace either his or Naimís shirt before bedding down. Of course, had he known he would wake to a third presence in the bed, he would have refused to lay down at all. So, he kept his eyes closed in the hopes he was dreaming.
It didnít take long for him to realize he wasnít so lucky.
"Youíre.. not behind me, right?"
"Just wanted to make sure."
Then, before either of the other two could react, Nicodemus had the person pressing against his back pinned to the bedroom floor. There was a pause while he confirmed the flat chest did indeed belong to a male. His gaze traveled upward, curious as to who would dare join him in bed. Previous near-silent company excluded. Trouble was his pause gave the pinned an opportunity to become the pinner. Which he made great use of.
"Jacob?" Nicodemus blinked.
The boy above him smiled. "Who else?"
He elected to stay quiet when he concluded there was a lack of good replies to the question. So many things he could say, so few would get him off the floor without new bruises. Which he seemed to be collecting lately.
A pair of legs slid off the bedís edge and into Nicodemusís view. He briefly wished he could see their ownerís face before remembering he didnít have to see him to know how he looked.
"Well," the boy holding him smiled. "Do we get introductions, or am I just going to keep you here all day when we could be doing something much more fun?"
There were significant pauses Jacob used Nicodemus was sure he didnít like.
"Thi-" Cough. Swallow. "Jacob, this is Naim. Naim, Jacob."
Life is pain. Delay.
"And this is my room. Itís where I sleep."
"So I gathered." A grin worthy of the Cheshire cat let Nicodemus know he was caught, but the boy was willing to play. "Do you always have such pleasant company?"
Oh, how he hated his inability to keep blushes under control. "Does Nephritti count?"
"Only if she can do this.." And the poor blushing boy found his lips covered by ones they had not felt for a long while.
As soon as the knowledge of what was happening switched to realization of it, Nicodemus scrambled away. Until the end of his leash was reached. At this point he closed his eyes and hoped with all his heart it was the quieter of his tormentors holding its end.
"Ah, Iíll take that."
A sigh trembled out. Naim had the leash. He felt a little safer.
"I have claim before you. We have a history. We. He and I. Mine. Give."
"Why are you still here?"
"Why are you?"
"Not the sex."
Had he felt safer? No, definitely mistaken.
"Nicodemus! Were you cheating on me?"
"Out!" He stood, grabbing his lead and tugging on it. "Both of you, out!"
Jacob leisurely got to his feet. He covered the distance to the door easily. Delaying his exit, he leaned over to lightly kiss Nicodemusís cheek and whisper, "Iíll be in the kitchen"
Staring at the floor, he waited until the footsteps faded down the hall.
"When I said both, you were included."
When he didnít hear movement, or feel any change in the pull on the leather in his hand, he looked up. Naim was sitting on the bed, looking at him in that expressionlessly expectant way only he could pull off.
"Uhm. That was Jacob."
"We know each other."
"But we're not a couple. Or anything like that. Not anymore."
His leash was pulled. Hard. He stumbled forward, only his hand on it buffering the force enough to keep him from falling straight off. Then, he was caught. Looking up, he found himself in another trap. This was one he had come to welcome over the last few days. As the small kisses traveled over his skin, he wrapped his arms around the taller boy and snuggled closer.
"Stay," he whispered.
Leaning against the wall, Jacob drummed his fingers on the corner and continued his countdown by way of lyrics. Heíd chosen some obscure bandís almost-folk song for its diminutive length. Nephritti strolled around the corner just before he reached the last line. That cat had nearly given him away last night. His eyes narrowed, matching glares with the feline. Neither blinked for several breaths. Jacob finally realized what was happening and started to laugh.
"Almost got me again, cat. Youíre too smart."
He spun on his heels and sauntered back to the occupied bedroom. An exaggerated sway to his hips letting the cat have no doubts who had won both rounds. Pushing the door open he smirked at the sight greeting him. Perfect.
Naim lay on his back, leash still held in his left hand. On the right Nicodemus had cuddled against him, one arm curled to his chest while the other reached over to tangle fingers in his living pillowís hair. The two had replaced their shirts and fallen back to sleep. He had to admit they complimented each other well. Made it all the more enjoyable for him.
Quiet enough to make a snake jealous, he mirrored Nicodemus as closely as he could. He found it to be remarkably comfortable. Instead of tangling fingers in any hair, he slipped his hand under Nicodemusí shirt and rested the back of his palm against the bandages there. Content, he let himself drift off as his bedmates had.
It was surprisingly late when the three started to stir again. Naim appeared to have been aware the longest. Jacob stretched the kinks from his muscles once he noticed he was being stared at. He smiled playfully at the lightest haired of the three before rolling over and pressing his still bare back against the crinkled shirt.
Another pair of eyes gazed at him from the direction he now faced. Similar to the ones he had just turned his back to, he noted with a touch of amusement. He stuck his tongue out and winked at Nephritti.
"Stop teasing the cat," Naim murmured.
"But itís fun," Jacob returned.
He continued making faces even after feeling the bed shift as Nicodemus started to wake.
"Whaí?" There was a pause and more mattress bouncing, "Jacob? What are- oh. Why are you still here?"
Ignoring the question, Jacob wiggled closer to Naim and gave an exaggerated sigh. Nephrittiís glare intensified.
Nicodemus sighed, "Whereís your shirt? And leave my cat alone."
"My shirt?" Jacob flashed his teeth at the feline, "Oh, itís wherever my pants are."
There was a feline sneeze of a laugh as the cat leapt back to the floor. The furred tail lazily waved as it disappeared through the door. It was a mockery of his earlier walk and made Jacob laugh. He had just been acknowledged as a worthy opponent by a cat.
"Your pants are where?" Nicodemus squeaked.
"Not sure I remember," Jacob mused allowed. "They could be over under the window. Maybe I left them out at the end of the drive? Or back in the police cruiser. The officer was extremely pleasing to the eyes."
Naim sat up exceptionally fast to help support Nicodemus when he broke into a coughing fit.
Jacob frowned, "Sorry. If Iíd known you would react that badly I would have left out the officer comment. Still, I wonít deny how cute he was."
He eyed the hint of bandages showing. "Bruised or broken?"
Still holding Nicodemus while he regained his breath, Naim answered for him. "Bruised. Get him some water."
Jacob did as he was told without any further teasing. The two were in the same position when he came back with a filled glass from the kitchen. Nicodemus gratefully accepted the cool liquid and breathed easier after a few swallows. Once he had emptied the glass he leveled his best give-me-real-answers look on his ex.
"One more time. Where are your pants?"
"Somewhere in the house. Honest, I donít remember exactly where. The only other place they might be is in the bushes."
Naim looked quietly amused. Nicodemus just closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and tried again.
"How did you get in?"
"I have mighty ninja skills you do not know of, grasshopper," Jacob grinned and sprang back when Nicodemus made a grab for him.
"Careful, little firefly, your injuries tell me you are in need of my services."
"Jacob, stop it! And hold still, dammit."
He had been bouncing around, taking ridiculous kung-fu movie poses. "You are jealous of my skill."
Finding no sympathy from Naim, Jacob finally sat down cross-legged on the floor. "What?"
"Will you give me straight answers now?" Nicodemus sounded hesitantly relieved .
Giving a smile that didnít fully reach his eyes, Jacob replied, "I could never be seriously straight after you."
When it looked like Nicodemus was about to loose all sense of composure, Naim shifted his hand around to rest on the bandage-free shoulder.
"Letís all go eat. We can find his clothes after."
The other two nodded in agreement. They were all rather hungry. There was a brief argument over what they would eat, and what was appropriate to eat considering the time, but over all things went smoothly. Until it was time to clean up.
Nicodemus gaped openly. He couldnít believe what he had just seen. Syrup was dripping off Jacobís nose while whipped cream decorated Naimís hair. There had been no warning, just hotcake topping suddenly flying through the air. He took a few steps back, nearly tripping over his cat.
"Do you know whatís going on, Nephritti?" he asked in a hushed whisper.
A slow blink was all he got before the feline sauntered off.
Sighing, Nicodemus carefully kept an eye on the airborne toppings. When it looked like the two werenít going to stop for a while he backed out of the kitchen and tried to make sense of everything. He had given up on figuring out how Jacob had made it into his room. Now he just wanted to know his secret on getting a reaction like the one happening at his table. Naim didnít have a new expression or anything, but he was returning fire as good as Jacob was giving.
Mystery of the universe. Better left unsolved.
When he thought about it, that applied to both. Deciding to give up trying to make sense of anything involving Jacob or Naim, he headed toward the bath. If the situation involved both he was totally lost, and right now a shower would be wonderful.
He retrieved a fresh, soft towel and washrag before closing the door. He thought about locking it, decided against it in case he had to go stop a fight, then thought again. The chances of Naim getting into a physical fight was less than slim. Besides, they were both big boys. They knew the consequences of fighting; he was a walking reminder. Locking the door would keep Jacob from entering, which was a lot more likely even with Naim out there. For all he knew even the Champion of Apathy could be won over by Jacobís unique charm.
Door locked, he began the meticulous process of stripping. After his ribs were free of their binding he turned the water on to warm. Now for the part he least liked. He poked the bandaging on his leg. That cut had been the most shallow, and would likely hurt least when unwrapped because it had bled so little. With a steadying breath, he began the removal process again.
By the time he was ready to tackle the worst of his wounds, the room had filled with steam. Blood stuck less to skin in high humidity and he took full advantage. Finally, he was ready to climb in. Of course the water stung his open wounds, but not nearly as bad as he thought it would. Maybe he was getting a little to used to coming home wounded. A thought for another day perhaps.
He was cautious with the soap and settled for just letting his hair get wet. His ribs were still complaining too passionately for any serious washing. Satisfied, he shut off the water and stepped onto the rug. Halfway through his drying he noticed he had missed something very important.
"Shit," he hissed with as much feeling as he could muster.
It wasnít like he had to change his clothes after the shower, but heíd like to. He had slept in those pants and napped with the shirt. Fresh gauze would make for better bandages, too. Curse his lack of foresight.
Figuring himself to be dry enough, Nicodemus wrapped the towel around to cover his important bits and faced the door. Until now he hadnít comprehended how quiet it was on the other side. Not that he expected to hear screams or the sounds of breaking glass, but one could never be too leery. He had left with airborne food in the kitchen, what would he find when he opened the door?
Only one way to find out.
A moment more of meditation and he was ready. Grabbing the knob with one hand and securing his towel with the other, Nicodemus let the cold air from the hall breeze over him. Standing just outside the door was the answer to the reason for silence. Well, more like leaning against the opposite wall.
Jacob was the first to speak, "Wow. Even with the purple blooming across your chest you still look-"
"Donít you dare finish that," Nicodemus let threat seep into his tone.
"Dangerous," Jacob grinned.
"Right. Thatís really what you were going to say all along." He did a very good job not limping back to his bedroom, leaving little puddles of sarcasm for his tagalongs to step in.
When the bedroom was reached he found the end of his patience, "Why, again, are you following me?"
"My, arenít we a well of questions today," Jacob again.
Nicodemus didnít bother finding a retort. Instead he focused his attention on Naim.
"Binding your ribs will be hard on your own."
Another curse, this one for Naimís ability to state the obvious he had overlooked. Not like he hadnít done it before. Or gone without.
Jacob contributed his own sense of intelligence, "Do you always shower with your collar on?"
"Yes. And the lead. I like it that way. Now both," he paused to make sure they knew he was serious. "Both of you wait out here. Anyone who enters my room before I give the okay or come out myself will end up looking worse than I. Clear?"
One nodding head and a blink he took as understanding was all the assurance he needed before entering and closing the door behind him. Looking through his clothes he picked out a loose, but comfortable outfit. Tossing the towel to land wherever, he tugged on a pair of boxers, grabbed the rest and went back to the door. He stood there staring at the doorknob, waiting for a sense of calm. He conceded it wasnít going to come. As soon as it had clicked shut his anger left him alone with the butterflies who had taken permanent residence in his stomach since he first woke. Even the reason he had suddenly become angry was a mystery now.
May as well get it over with, he told himself. Jacob and Naim were exactly how he had left them. Almost. They now had enough gauze to make him a mummy two times over. Shaking his head in defeat, he resigned himself to their care.
"Fine. But weíre doing this on the couch. I donít trust either of you in my room right now."
Using the television as a distraction, Nicodemus did his best to ignore everything else. He would have had an easier time if the antiseptic didnít sting so much. He mused about changing schools while his ribs were given the, to be honest, unneeded support. Then, while they doctored the worst of his wounds, he toyed with the idea of convincing his parents they should all travel together. He was bartering for the return of his mother after she was accidentally sold for three camels while the sphinx observed when the absence of movement brought him back to the couch and what was happening there. Which was nothing.
"Naim? Jacob?" he blinked his vision into focus.
Both sat on the floor in front of him, looking like they could have waited another several hours if needed. Knowing Naim, he could and would have waited a lot longer than that. Unless he got bored, but now he was just stalling for time.
They continued to stare at him. It was rather unnerving, really. He suppressed his urge to fidget and reached for his pants. It felt like a reverse strip show, and somehow he was given the impression heíd feel a lot less awkward taking clothes off with them watching. That was wrong. So wrong that he yelped involuntarily because he had pulled his shirt on a little too fast with more force than needed.
He was, quite abruptly, not alone on the couch anymore.
"Iím okay. Ow. Back off a little," Nicodemus glanced to either side. They may as well be hovering over him. Well, as much as either of them ever really hovered over anything. Except maybe Jacob with his music. Or obscure movies. And Naim did have a fondness for orange. He was stalling again.
"We have decided," Jacob bounced a little when he interrupted whatever Nicodemus was about to ask.
"What?" The butterflies were stirring again.
Naim spoke next, "Weíre sharing."
"Yup!" Jacob confirmed. "It was that or a battle to the death. Maybe just to first blood, though I was arguing for third blood, but you get the point."
So, they were conspiring against him? Nicodemus buried his face in his hands.
He mumbled in a last effort, "Before anything happens my kitchen better be cleaned."
"No worries," Jacob purred. "We already took care of that."
As some daytime television effort to teach children something flashed across the screen, the real battle over who kept Nicodemus started with a kiss.