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Hates Children and Animals

Chapter 11.

It was his last Thursday. He'd opened the back door in the absence of a dustpan, sweeping out three years of neglect. Rising from his crouch by the fridge, Anders turned.

Garrett was just standing there.

Anders didn't drop the broom. He heard Garrett swallow. Hard. 'The front door was locked. I thought I would check out back.'

'Lirene must be out at lunch.'

'I brought you...' The crack of a can, hiss of cola. Garrett pushed the offering across the bench and made to seat himself in the usual spot, between sink and full length cabinet. A plastic bag held up. 'Sandwiches.'

'I can't.'

'Just wanted to talk to you, Anders. Make sure you're okay. I've been missing our evenings.'

'I have, too.'

If only Garrett had looked angry, annoyed. Instead he looked lost. 'Why have you been avoiding me?'

He couldn't do this. 'Because I told you the truth.'

'Not all of it,' Garrett countered, almost smiling.

'Because I want you.'

The can was sweating. Garrett pressed his knuckles against the bench, considered the tiny carrier bag looped over his fingers, and he was suddenly too huge for the room, awkward and huge, and dressed so well. Or maybe the room was too small for him, for them. Anders fought against the urge to relieve Garrett of his embarrassment.

He deserves it. After what he made me feel, he deserves it. Except Garrett didn't deserve any of it. Anders had quite happily built his own fantasies without Garrett's participation.

'I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I like your company, a lot. Look, I'd never jump you or anything, I can behave myself, but it got too difficult for me. I can't really afford it now. Can you just go?' Tiredly. Laden with ennui. He used to be good at this before he started to care. Maybe that was Kristoff's fault. First time he'd let loyalty mean something more than the moment.

The knuckles cracked, and the fist thumped the bench. Cola frothed and overflowed. Anders looked at Garrett's hands. He knew how to take a punch.

'Tell me more,' Garret said roughly.

Anders' throat hurt. 'It hasn't been all this time. Honest. Just recently, since you were hurt. I was so worried, and realised that I just... I'm sorry. I'm out of control. I've never felt like this before. It's nothing you did, it's just me.'

'I don't see what the problem is.'

Anders wanted to glare. Too scared to raise his eyes. 'Because I want you.'

Almost a sneer, if limp around the edges. 'Is that all?'

It would break his heart when Garrett laughed at him. Because Garrett mattered for some reason Anders couldn't fathom. Because Garrett cared about him, listened to him, even though they disagreed. Garrett was more than Karl's genial patience and constant advice, more than Kristoff's dependency, more than turgid relief shot into the palm of a hand.

'Because I—' Anders felt his own eyes flash, angry. So Garrett wanted to hear more, did he? 'Because I lust after your fucking eyebrows. Because I could draw the curve of them in my sleep. Because I've spent the last month of nights fantasising about my dick splitting your arse. Because you're becoming more important to me than my freedom—'

'I don't want you to go.'

Quiet. Calm, now. Garrett was wearing his corporate face, blank, unreadable as newspaper photographs. He stepped closer.

Anders felt strangely let down.

'Is it really just the sex bothering you, that you thought it would bother me?'

So steady. Anders hunted for the truth. The eyes resisted him.

'It's been years since I've wanted anyone,' Anders said, unsteadily. A bubble of anxiety rising from his belly, waiting to burst in his chest. A thread drawn tight behind his eyes, waiting to snap. 'I don't know why I'm feeling like this.'

Garrett took his hand. The pain increasing. 'I haven't been with that many men. I thought I was being obvious. Chivalrous, even.'

'Pardon?'

'It can't all be sucking a fellow off after a sidelong nod and wink at the latrines, right? Especially when it kept going years after adolescence, even, when I might've been young enough and daft enough to make the excuse that, oh, it was army, the only women were prostitutes, and how much better it was with a willing lad to lend,' Garrett lifted his hand, palm upwards, Anders unable to resist. Warm hands. Warm lips pressed against his palm, just slightly chapped. The beard. 'A hand.' Garrett kissed his knuckles next. A gust of frustrated breath. 'It's been a while for me, too. For anyone. Not since mum died, I just lost the urge. Maker, I asked you, Anders! I asked you out. Repeatedly. We flirted. And you said yes, then you cut me off, and now you tell me you do want me, but...Tell me what I did wrong?'

An angry plea. Garrett's shoulders slumped. He still held Anders' hand.

And what Garrett said was not surprising. Anders knew he had always known, somewhere he'd been stubbornly ignoring. Building walls of false guilt as yet another fantasy to keep himself at a safe distance. Chantry dogma never left him alone. Sin, fault, guilt. Always his. Anders' chest felt like it was ripping apart from the inside, his pulse drumming against the inside of his skull as if against a cracked glass just waiting for the last nudge to fall apart. Giddy, but not relieved. He felt worse.

They studied each other in silence.

'You're right. It's not the sex.' Barely a rasp.

Garrett's mouth opened slightly in response, but he said nothing. Tense.

'I would hurt you. It's who I am. Someone else who would leave you. Because I always leave. I can't do that to you.'

The honesty didn't hurt any less. Garrett let go of his hand and rubbed his own mouth.

'I'm sorry.'

'Well, that's that, then.' Garrett turned away. 'See you. Oh, wait. I won't.'

'—I really am sorry about our evenings. I wish I wasn't who I am. You're my best friend right now, I'm so sorry.'

'It's not your fault.'

'Yes it is.'

That beautiful freckled paw stopped on the doorframe, sliding. 'Can't we just continue, if you're not comfortable? Being friends?'

'Not—not right now.' Maker, why was this so hard? 'I'm leaving.'

Garrett startled. 'Do you have to? If I'd promise to not be hurt, whatever you did?'

Anders felt his heart knot.

'I don't want your promises. I can't give you any in return. Can you really imagine a life with me being anything close to normal? I'm a time bomb, Garrett. A ruin. If anyone knew I was alive, I'd be hunted. Extradited to Ferelden and jailed, if they didn't just put me up for the penalty here. And that's just what I am, without who I am coming into it.'

Garrett's shoulders straightened.

'That letter you wrote to Kristoff's wife. The one you let me read, the first one. How many drafts did it take?'

A heartfelt apology to a woman for not being able to be who she wanted, who she'd fallen in love with, an honest exposition of personal fears and hopes for finding a place of mutual comfort. Playing a role not his own. It had been the easiest letter he'd ever written, and Anders could barely remember what it contained before he'd let Kristoff sign his name. 'Less than fifteen.'

Garrett turned from the door, his hand sliding off the frame. Voice low, sultry. 'Everything you said in that letter, Anders. I can live with that as long as you can. It's no real reason to run.' He stepped closer, a shift of hip, tilt of head.

It was painfully obvious Garrett was trying to look sexy.

It shouldn't be working, as obvious as it was. Anders' mouth was bone dry. His cock, already thick just from seeing Garrett, wanted to fill.

'Garrett, no.'

'We would be so good together. The sex would be great, I can tell just looking at you. Your hands. Your fingers. The shape of your jaw.'

In all his fantasies, Anders hadn't even thought about Garrett's voice. A gross omission with hindsight. Horror. Lust. A swamping wave of loneliness. His cock was possessed, it was the only logical answer.

'Don't do this to me, Garrett. Don't play with me. I can't resist.'

'I'm not playing. I'm trying to stop you taking away what we both want just because you want to play the martyr. You're right, I don't want us to be friends either. I don't want to be a Karl for you, your favourite hot water bottle, well treated when needed and shelved when not. I want it to be dangerous, Anders. I want us to have sex. I want to feel like I'm risking everything just to have another day with you, because risk is worth it, a reward just as great as the fear - and it will be so worth it, can't you tell? I wish I'd just made it clear earlier so we could have got on with it. What should I have done? Ripped my clothes off and asked for an examination?'

Anders felt like he was watching Garrett's heart break in reverse.

He closed his eyes. He felt the warmth from Garrett's hands before they even touched him, sliding along his arms, cupping his shoulders.

Anders bowed his head into the kiss and tried not to respond. A gentle kiss, with too much beard.

Whispered against his jaw. 'Let me show you, Anders. I want to touch you. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I want to get you naked. I bet you like being sucked off more than anything.'

Moaning, he rushed forward into those arms. Apparently you couldn't read a man by what he said, but you could read him by his tongue. Desperate. Anders kept moaning helplessly into the mouth. Cold as cola, still tasted a little like toothpaste. He licked at Garrett's teeth, and Garrett breathed into him, opened his mouth wider, sealed their lips together and led with his tongue. Anders had never been so fond of kissing, the intimacy of another person's mouth made disgusting by his fledgling medical training, not really made for this sort of thing, the indents and grooves and taste of their last meal; something about Garrett's mouth was unbelievably arousing. The welcome and permission, when Garrett ceded to Anders' tongue in return.

His chest was light. Agony gone. Anders cupped the bearded cheeks.

'It's softer than—' Don't say Karl's beard, idiot. 'Than I thought.'

Garrett put Anders' hand over his crotch. Kissed him again, and Anders felt Garrett's penis throb, long and hard.

'Maker. So go-oood—'

'What was that about soft.' Garrett sounded dangerous.

Oh, but this kiss was soft, Garrett shaking to deliver it so gently. Anders let his fingers curl around the covered erection. Garrett gasped and pushed against him.

Anders had only known him in the confines of this clinic, asides from a string of unbelievable stories. Even reading the articles about Garrett Hawke, the Amell bastard, were like reading someone else's fantasy. As if Garrett didn't really exist outside of Anders' own mind. The sexualised fantasies had made that disconnect worse, Garrett no more than an object of lust. Feeling Garrett's own desire burning against his palm shocked Anders like a cold plunge. Garrett's independent existence had never really been a factor.

What would Garrett like? What would he want? Anders wanted to ask him everything. Would you watch foreign movies with me?

Belt buckle. Button fly. Red underwear in the Orlesian style. Anders went breathless at the sight, the cock barely veiled. Even the veins were clear through the hugging cloth. Felt a giggle threatening.

'What? I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to bring back for you—'

Anders groaned and hugged him. Idiot. Why am I such a— And what a broad back for him to discover, shoulders made for his hands to slide over them. The muscle he'd never quite believed was there, enough of a layer of smooth skin over the top it felt like honest strength instead of vanity. The shock of Garrett's chest against his own, a heartbeat he could feel thundering.

Garrett's shirt was open, jeans to his knees, the black undervest halfway up the high ribcage. They tangled together and hit the bench, finding leverage to rut. It took the cola spilling merrily to the floor for Anders to remember where they were.

'Shouldn't do this here.'

Strained. 'I'm too scared to let you go.'

Nothing he could say to that, the eyes appealing.

Then Garrett was opening Anders' fly with brisk fingers, baring him and watching with such a grave expression on his face Anders felt like he was posed on an altar instead of a kitchenette bench of peeling pea green paint.

Garrett went to his knees.

Anders wanted to say no. Who was he kidding, no he didn't. Garrett took the band of his boxers between fingers and thumbs, stretching out and over his erection, down. Anders couldn't look away. He'd hear if Lirene came back. The locks and bars on the front door took at least thirty seconds to lever open, another ten seconds before she would come to the kitchen to made her lunchtime tea. He'd have plenty of time to—

To what? We're doing this. Here. To yell at her to go away?

Reality shocked Anders again when Garrett rubbed his cheek against his thigh. The first lick pulled all the muscles across his stomach tight, his hands closing around Garrett's nape. I'm touching him. I'm actually touching him. Don't pull his hair, you're not fifteen.

Tentative swipes. Already he was leaking so much precome Anders felt sorry for Garrett, taking that in without even a warmup. Then Garrett made a desperate, needy sound deep in his throat and opened wide.

He couldn't. He couldn't help it. His hand went to Garrett's hair.

'Ye-ss.'

A warm rumble. Garrett braced one hand against the bench by Anders' hip. The other closed large and tight around the base of his dick. Held tight as the mouth worked.

'Like that. Oh, Garrett. The best.'

The eyes rolled up, amused.

'Arrogant—'

He was going to come. Hearing at a distance the front door rattle. Forgetting what it meant, forgetting everything. His hand curled tight in Garrett's hair, tugging. Garrett let go of his dick and moved his hand between thighs, no fingering, just pressure. Anders felt shocked at hearing the sound of Lirene's keys hit the reception desk, a rustle of carrier bags and sensible shoes squeaking on vinyl.

'Garrett—'

He covered his own mouth just in time.

Drained in the aftermath, light headed. Anders let his head loll back lazily as Garrett licked him clean, tucked him back and zipped up. By the time Anders could pull together enough strength to look forward again, Garrett was clad, too, standing, the heel of his palm pressed against his own erection.

'Might have known you'd be a noisy fuck.'

Maybe Lirene thought it was one of the dogs. Anders did not even care. 'That was so good.' Slurred, even to himself.

Garrett wiped his mouth. 'You'll be over tonight, then.' An unashamedly smug grin.

Oh, now that wouldn't do. Anders mustered as much regret as he could, shook his head sadly, just to see the smugness fade, wariness in its place.

'Not even a locked door would keep me away.'

Relief. Garrett flicked Anders' nose sharply before leaning in and kissing him.

Semen and cola, like summers on nearly forgotten beaches. It hadn't been all bad, growing up. Excursions and sneaking away, quick trysts in the changing stalls. Anders licked into the mouth hungrily, and this time Garrett's hand curled against the small of his back, slid along his arse, pressing in over the cleft just enough to make Anders clench, imagining what tonight would be like.

Garrett rolled his hips, letting Anders feel the hard heat behind the denim. 'That's for you. Call it a bribe.'

His mouth watered. Barely a proper look at Garrett's dick, but he could be patient. Couldn't he? He could be so patient.

Lirene came in just as Garrett was stepping away. She looked at the cola puddled on the floor, at the cans and sandwiches on the table, at them.

'I thought you were cleaning up in here.'

'It was an accident.'

'A pleasure to see you again, Garrett,' a stiff little nod. Lirene would cut her own throat before gushing.

'Lirene,' Garrett said, grinning. He turned to Anders. 'At least you like dogs. Dozer's going to be all over you.'

'Garrett. It's a job, not a vocation.'

Lirene retreated eventually with her cutlery, a cup of tea and a last suspicious look. Then they were grinning at each other, their first mutual secret. Anders felt very young, wanting of all things to start a scuffle. He pushed Garrett's shoulder. 'You can get the spill. Seeing as it's your fault.'

Garrett jostled him back. 'Oh, can I. I have servants for this sort of thing.'

'Kinky.'

'Not really. More...disconcerting.'

They finished cleaning the kitchen in tandem, washed their hands at the sink together, hips touching, then sat to eat.

'What's your address? I'd hate to give Lirene inclinations towards tabloid fodder by asking her for it.'

Garrett told him. 'So you really will come over.'

It was suddenly hard to swallow. Then to speak. 'I'm sorry. About all of it. I'm not the most constant person. Like I said, I don't know what I can promise'"'

'So don't.' An easy shrug. 'You say the longest you've ever stayed somewhere is four years? You've been here just over three. We could put a bet on how long we last. With your luck, I'm sure to win.'

'What colour's your carpet?'

A puzzled look. 'Red.'

'Fire engine red?'

'More a burgundy. Except in front of the fireplace, it's got some gold through the red there.'

In his mind's eye, Garrett stretched naked on a rich backdrop, smooth muscles shifting as he spread his legs, the burgundy a perfect contrast to milky skin. And a fireplace, adding warmth to the skin. Maybe a coy look or two, eyes black with lust.

'Uh. If I come over, I'm likely never to leave.'

Anders couldn't remember if he'd ever seen Garrett look this happy before.


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