Notes: Time for a story aside. Jonah and Garrett, yay! Honestly, I went into this hoping that I’d be able to write something R-rated, or maybe X-rated as this is Garrett we’re talking about, but then things shifted and I wrote aftermath and prelude, but nothing of sexual substance. I will get to that, though! Next time, I swear, I’ll do our boys proud. As it is, though, you get the parents, not the lovers.
Title: The Academy
Part Seven: Parental Interlude, or: Timing Is Everything
The pulse of the call signal was a vague, far off noise as Garrett arched his neck, baring it to the slide of Jonah’s teeth, harmlessly tracing smooth muscle before they dug delicately into the meat of his shoulder. Garrett hummed his pleasure, smiling to himself; he couldn’t get Jonah to bite him very often, usually only letting it happen during the afterglow once he was sure he had control of himself, but it felt exquisite every time he did it. Garrett’s feet moved restlessly against Jonah’s legs, hooking into the back of his knees before sliding low across his long, long calves, then back up.
“You can’t possibly be ready to go yet,” Jonah mumbled, turning the bite into a kiss. “You just came, darlin’.”
“Mm, so did you,” Garrett said with a grin, focusing for a moment on the slick trace of Jonah’s come, wet between his thighs. One more mark, one more lingering reminder of their love making, and the best thing was, there was no rush to clean it up. Garrett adored Cody, he loved him so much that some psychologists would surely say it was an unhealthy attachment, but he also loved the fact that he and Jonah could take their time with each other now without having to worry about being interrupted, or showing Cody something he didn’t need to see.
Speaking of Cody, though…anyone else would have stopped calling by now. Unless it was bad news. “We should get that.”
“The comm, Jonah,” Garrett said, nodding his head at the signal alert.
“The…oh, shit, thought that was just my ears still ringing,” Jonah said, extricating himself from Garrett’s legs and reaching for the comm.
Jonah rolled his eyes. “Been answerin’ comms for a long time, darlin’, but thank you.”
“Jackass,” Garrett said playfully, then quieted as Jonah looked at the call’s origin address before he answered the comm.
“Cody? We weren’t expecting a call from you tonight. What’s happening?”
There’s a pause, and then—“Nothing,” Cody said, but he didn’t sound like himself. His voice was tight and a little clipped, like his whole body was tensed against something. Jonah frowned at the comm, and Garrett had to fight back the instinctive flutter of worry that suddenly appeared in his chest.
“What’s wrong, bucko? Why are you upset?”
“I’m not, really. It’s just…it’s been a rough night here,” Cody said. He seemed uncertain, unhappy, and that meant conflict. Cody could handle all sorts of adversity without blinking an eye, but he hated it when the people he lived with fought. The only time he and Jonah had ever gone after each other had been when Cody had decided to attend the Academy, and the aftershocks of their argument had left him numb and shocky.
“Quad mates going after each other again?” Garrett asked, trying to narrow it down.
Cody laughed weakly. “Yeah, they were.” No prevarication there, no attempt to explain or justify it...it must have been a bad fight then, bad enough that Cody didn’t want to dwell on it. “I just…I don’t know, I wanted to hear you guys. I don’t have a real reason, I just miss you. It’s fine, though. I’m fine.”
The kid was just like Jonah sometimes. Jonah opened his mouth, probably about to try and drag all the details out of Cody, but Garrett cut him off. “Of course it’s fine, you don’t have to have a reason to call us. Do you have time to listen to us ramble about what we’ve been doing this past week?”
There was a gentle exhale, a sign of relaxation, and Garrett smiled with relief when Cody said, “I’ve got time.” If he had time for comfort, time for something that would have bored him under almost any other circumstances, then Cody needed the reassurance. Garrett was glad Cody was so comfortable with them, glad that even now that he was figuratively on his own, he still reached for them when he had a problem or was upset. It spoke to the health of their relationships, the love and trust between a son and his occasionally very odd fathers.
“Well, you got our package, right?”
Close enough to a yes. “People think that color sand is a joke, but I swear, I gathered it myself off of one of the natural beaches here. Pink was probable the least ludicrous color I could send you, they range anywhere from shimmery white to neon orange, which is where we went yesterday. We couldn’t stay very long, though; your dad said his eyes hurt after only an hour.”
“They did!” Jonah protested, playing along. Garrett kissed his husband’s shoulder in thanks.
“Yes, yes, your poor retinas, they’ll never recover,” he teased. “The science of it all is quite interesting, actually. The beaches look this way due to a combination of coral degradation, bacterial sea life and unique silicates that washed out of the mountains millennia ago that have a mirror effect, which is part of the reason the colors are so damn bright. It’s fascinating, it really is.”
“And you could go on and on and on about it,” Jonah said. Garrett made a dismissive sound.
“I know how to keep science interesting,” he said. Jonah snorted. “I do!”
“Yesterday you talked for three hours—three!—about the effect of dual suns on a developing planet, what the benefits were when considering terraforming, how the biological diurnal cycle of humanity has adapted…”
“And it was all brilliant, and you said so, so you can’t go lying to your son now and pretend to be put upon, because you are the luckiest man on this planet.”
“True,” Jonah said after a moment, and Garrett had to stop himself from kissing him again, because now wasn’t the time. Damn it.
They talked about their activities, the things they’d seen, batting the conversation back and forth like pros until, very softly, Cody started to snore. Jonah looked tenderly at the comm, all his love and longing for his son evident on his face. “Sleep well,” he murmured, then ended the connection.
They lay in their messy bed in complete silence for a moment. “I miss him,” Jonah said at last, still staring at the comm.
“The feeling seems to be mutual.”
“I know he needs this, I know it’s good for him, but there’s times I’d give anything to have him back home with us, where I know he’s safe.”
This was an old conversation, the kind that didn’t go anywhere except down due to Garrett and Jonah’s different, and equally firm, opinions on the subject. Garrett didn’t say anything, just ran his hand through Jonah’s hair—it was growing out again, almost long enough to touch his shoulders, and Garrett loved playing with it. He petted and stroked until Jonah disengaged from the comm and looked over at Garrett.
“You really think this roommate of his is gonna be a help to him?”
“Symone says Tiennan is desperate for a friend, and Cody is just about the friendliest human being in the universe,” Garrett replied. “I think once they get used to each other, they’ll get along like a house on fire.”
“Oh, that was only the first day, Tiennan hasn’t started any fires since then,” Garrett grinned. “Cody doesn’t mind hir experiments, and Tiennan would be a fool not to realize what a good thing ze has in Cody. He’s not alone, Jonah, even if he feels that way sometimes. Things will get better for Cody, I know they will.” Jonah didn’t look convinced. “This is the first time he’s called us feeling out of sorts in two months, isn’t it? Not since he got homesick the first night he was there.”
Jonah reached out for Garrett and pulled him close, and Garrett went willingly. “I’m never gonna stop worrying,” Jonah said into Garrett’s hair, quietly, like he was ashamed.
“Neither will I,” Garrett said. “And that’s fine. Hell, Miles still worries about me and I haven’t lived with him for decades. It’s natural to worry. It will get easier to bear, though.”
“Can’t imagine my mother ever worries much about me or Cody these days.”
Oh, if that topic wasn’t an emotional minefield…they didn’t talk much about Jonah’s family, mostly because Jonah resented the fuck out of them and Garrett wanted nothing to do with them, but Jonah had brought it up, and Garrett wouldn’t run from a challenge. “Maybe not. But she’s never been someone worth emulating or wasting thought on, from everything I know about her. We have the freedom of ignoring her, and I love that.” He kissed Jonah’s chest, rested his cheek against the steady rhythm of his heart. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Take a bath with me.” The mood wasn’t going to be recaptured in bed, not after spending an hour on the comm with Cody, but Garrett has high hopes for round two in a different location. After all, they were on what amounted to a honeymoon, and if he couldn’t give rein to his libido at a time like this, when could he?
Jonah didn’t speak for a long time, and Garrett resigned himself to bathing alone. Then Jonah said, “Okay,” and Garrett buried his grin of triumph in Jonah’s chest.
He felt it, of course. “I swear, you live on smug,” Jonah grumbled as he slid away and out of bed.
“It’s a fetching emotion on me,” Garrett said coyly, stretching his arms above his head and kicking the covers off, beautifully bare. He watched Jonah’s eyes linger and darken, and felt his own body respond.
“That’s…yeah,” Jonah said. “You…”
Garrett could render his husband almost speechless after ten years of marriage. I’ve still got it.