Notes: What am I doing!?! We’re getting close to some pretty exciting action, I think, but I’ve got to get the set-up just right. Ten is so exasperating, oh my god, and Kyle shows up and the family has a cameo…this one has lots going on. I hope you have fun with it.
Title: The Academy
Part Twenty-Five: What Happens In The Infirmary, Stays In The Infirmary
Soft. That was Cody’s first impression of Ten’s lips pressed to his, that they were soft and full. Warm. That came next, a sense of temperature, so warm compared to Cody’s own lips, which still felt numb from shock and painkillers. These impressions, and the dozens of others that flowed after them blended into a single, incredible experience as Ten kissed him, eager and insistent, the way ze was with everything else that mattered to hir. They broke apart to breathe for a moment before Ten leaned in again, hir hands fastened tight to the front of Cody’s shirt as ze levered hirself closer, tighter against him. Cody reached out instinctively to hold Ten back, then hissed when he suddenly, painfully remembered his dislocated collarbone.
“Idiot,” Ten muttered in between kisses, and proprietarily drew Cody’s good arm around hir waist. Holding on was better, Cody could hitch Ten closer, settle hir so that they were so tight against each other that there were no secrets, nothing hidden about Cody’s slow, sedative-fighting rise to arousal, or the fact that Ten was hard against his stomach.
Ten—whoa, Ten was hard. Cody had known that technically this was a possibility, quad assignments were sorted by sex after all, gender notwithstanding, and even though he’d never been with another boy—Lacey was the beginning and end of Cody’s sexual experiences—the fact that Ten had a penis was not looking like a problem for Cody’s libido. Right now it didn’t matter what Ten had, the fact was that Ten was in Cody’s lap, kissing him like there was no tomorrow and maybe there wouldn’t be, they’d almost died today, and Cody had never felt this way about anyone before, like they were more than a friend or a crush, like the could be everything, and Ten was Ten and ze was what Cody wanted, and he was getting so close to coming now, his breath hitching, Ten grinding and kissing and—
Ten’s weight was gone in an instant, yanked off the bed by an infuriated nurse. “This is an infirmary!” she yelled, looking between the two of them like she didn’t know who to pick on first. “You—” looked like she chose Ten— “are not helping your friend by getting him all riled up, and you—” now it was Cody’s turn— “are on bed rest for the next twelve hours, and that doesn’t include any level of sexual contact! Honestly, do neither of you have any sense whatsoever?” She glared at Ten, who glared right back, completely unembarrassed at being caught out.
Cody wasn’t so resilient. His erection wilted, and he felt all that newly-released blood flood straight into his cheeks. He probably looked like he was on fire. Cody groaned and tilted his head up toward the ceiling, trying to get a handle on his mortification.
“Now you’ve upset him,” Ten huffed at the nurse. “I think you should leave.”
“This is my patient, not your boyfriend at the moment, Cadet, and if anyone is leaving it’s you. In fact, I think Cadet Helms needs some rest right now. So say goodbye, and leave.”
“I’m not saying goodbye with you watching.”
“Well I’m not leaving, because if I do you might just crawl into his bed again and I’d have to write you up for insubordination,” the nurse snapped. “You have two minutes, and I’ll be right over here the whole time.”
Cody didn’t look down until he felt Ten’s hands cup his cheeks. “Are you okay?” Ten asked.
“I’m…” Cody didn’t quite know what to say. Yes? No? That he didn’t want to stop, but didn’t have any clue what continuing would mean? That he’d almost come in his pants, that he had no idea what Ten wanted out of him? “Sure,” he settled on.
“Good,” Ten said. Ze didn’t look unruffled, or unsure, or any of the things Cody felt right now. How was that possible? Ten brought their heads almost close enough to touch, and Cody’s breath caught in his throat, his eyes fell shut of their own accord, and then…
“I know who tried to kill you,” Ten whispered.
“Wh-what?” That was not what Cody had been expecting.
“I’m still working out exactly how they did it but once I do, I’ll tell you everything, I promise,” Ten said. “Not in here—too many people could be watching,” ze added sourly. “When I have something solid. And I expect you to tell me how you slowed us down, I thought all our bones would be broken for sure.”
“You—but what about—” Cody waved his good hand inarticulately between the two of them.
“What, that? We can talk about it later,” Ten said dismissively. “There are more important things to figure out right now. I’ll come and get you in the morning, all right?” Hir tone was brisk but hir hands were gentle, still cupping Cody’s face like ze’d forgotten they were there.
“Ten…” Coming around to the reality that absolutely nothing was going to be figured out tonight, Cody sighed. “Fine. See you in the morning.”
“Fine, good. Okay.” Ten nodded but didn’t step away.
“Cadet St. Florian,” the nurse warned from the door.
“I’m coming, do you not see my feet moving in the direction of your stupid demands?” Ten asked, finally letting go of Cody and walking—backwards—toward the exit. “And I was counting, and you promised me two minutes and there are still thirty-two seconds left, if you’re not going to even try to be accurate then you should use a timer, you—” The door shut on Ten’s complaints, and the sudden silence felt almost eerie. Ten took up so much space when ze was here, everything seemed to retract once ze was gone.
Cody leaned his head against the wall again, one hand smoothing out the front of his open shirt where Ten had gripped so hard. His fingers brushed over the tiny inertial dampener, and he grimaced. Who knew that would come in handy so fast? Cody offered up a silent prayer of thanks for his dads, who could never know about this. They needed to focus on the work to be done in Liberty, Cody refused to become a distraction for them. His body ached with the pain of his fall and the longing that Ten had woken up in him, and Cody wiped his eyes furiously. Fuck this, he wasn’t going to act like an idiot just because he had no fucking notion of what went on in Ten’s head. Cody had things to do. He shut his eyes and concentrated on his implant.
“Cadet Helms, you should be resting.”
“I will in a minute,” he promised. “I just need to send a few messages first. To Grennson and Darrell: I’m fine, I’ll be back in the quad tomorrow. To Phil: I need to talk to you, please come and see me as soon as possible. She knows I’m in the infirmary, right?” Cody broke messaging mode to ask Hermes.
“As your sponsor, Cadet Xavera was authorized to be informed of your status. She left several messages for you, none of which are urgent.”
“Well, let her know I’m okay too, but I really need to see her.” Cody touched his false button again. “I need her help.” It was time to get a handle on this technology and start handing it out to more of his friends, because Cody would be damned if he was going to let anyone else get hurt when he might be able to prevent it. “Are there any other messages?”
“One from your cousin Yvaine, in visual. Do you wish me to play it?”
“Sure.” Cody relaxed his eyes—he’d learned the first few times he got a visual message that focusing on it too hard was a sure way to get a headache. The holo loaded a moment later, projecting a picture in his eyes of Yvaine, Renee, Claudia and his dad, all sitting around a table. A pink-fondant fairytale scene took up most of the view, with sparkling person-shaped little cakes made from a batter that responded to electrical impulses, moving them about in a dance.
“Dear Daddy and Garrett and Cody, it’s my birthday!” Yvaine shrieked happily. Those were all the immediate members of her family not in the picture, she must have sent them all the same message. “Look at my cakes! It’s the Dinky dance, remember, it’s from the Dinky play, and these ones are the little Dinkies, and these ones are the big Dinkies, and these ones…” She went on to explain exactly what the Dinkies were and what they were doing, and Cody resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Thank god he’d never been so caught up with toys when he was a kid, because while it was cute it was also a little annoying, especially when he was tired and in pain.
His annoyance melted away when Yvaine leaned in and smooched the front of the holo projector. “I can’t wait for you all to come home so we can play together! I miss you I love you, bye!” She and everyone else waved before Claudia ended the message, and Cody felt those awful, stupid tears prick his eyes again. Fuck. Fuck, he missed his family, and he’d forgotten Yvaine’s birthday, which was not good. He’d have to send her a special message, one from the neck up, so his dads couldn’t see his immobilized arm.
Cody settled down onto the bed, which wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the one in his room, and tried to fall asleep. Every time he closed his eyes, scenes from the crash replayed in his mind: Ten’s shouting and holding onto him, the terrifying soar toward the ground when he hadn’t known if the dampener was working or not, the heat of the explosion…how was he going to tell Wyl? How was he going to tell anyone, he couldn’t, then they would worry, but Wyl deserved to know…
There was a knock on his door. “Cody?”
He looked up and started when he saw Kyle. “Oh,” he muttered, trying to push up to a sitting position, but Kyle was next to him before he could get up, shaking his head.
“Take it easy,” he murmured, one warm hand resting on Cody’s good shoulder. “I heard about the accident, I just wanted to check in on you.”
The accident…right, that was how it was being spun. Now was Cody’s chance to prevaricate, to be blithe and dismissive, but when he looked up at Kyle, so expressive and concerned and here, the truth came out. Not all of it, but the part he hadn’t known how to bring up with anyone else. “My bike is gone.”
Kyle’s face fell. “Shit, I’m so sorry.”
Cody shook his head. “It’s my own fault, I was using a special fuel and I didn’t check it well enough, I—it’s—”
“I get it,” Kyle said. “I know. I’m glad you’re okay, but…it hurts, huh.”
“So much,” Cody gasped. “It was a gift, it was completely unique, and I ruined it.”
Kyle’s hand rubbed soothingly. “Don’t you think that whoever gave it to you would be more interested in you being all right, and not the bike?”
“Yes, he would, but…” Cody shrugged his shoulder helplessly, and Kyle nodded.
“I know it’s kind of a cold comfort, but the important thing is that you’re still here. Whoever gave you that bike, they love you. You’re more important to them than anything they could ever make for you, and they’ll understand, Cody. Accidents like this happen.”
It was almost like magic, how comforting Kyle could be in just a few words. “How did you find out I was here?” Cody asked once he had better control of his voice.
Kyle hesitated, then said, “I was actually here visiting another friend who had an accident today, and I heard two of the nurses mention you.”
“Who had an accident?” Cody felt tired, so tired, like he might actually be able to sleep.
“Valero. But she’ll be okay, after some Regen.”
“What happened to her?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Kyle sighed. “Get some sleep. You need the rest.”
“You leaving?” Cody’s eyes were closed by now, but he heard the faint whirr of one of the visitor’s chairs being pulled over.
“Not for a while,” Kyle promised him. “Sleep. Things will be better when you wake up.”
They couldn’t be much worse, Cody wanted to say, but he let his exhaustion pull him under before he could get the words out.
It had to get better.