Erwann loped into the train station, two scarves wrapped tight around his neck to make up for how thin his spare jacket was. A patrolling station agent helped him read the irrationally confusing arrival and departure boards, directing him to the track he needed. The sun hadn't yet finished rising, so there weren't many others loitering around; it hadn't been too hard for Erwann to claim an empty bench of his own, sitting down to wait.
Ten or so minutes later he spotted a train curving around the bend, heading into the station. Erwann stood, excited even though he'd lost feeling in his toes not long after he'd first sat down. They'd moved on to tingling in that painful way of theirs, making it hard for him to keep still without wobbling.
As the train docked and its doors opened, an exodus of dark-coated travelers flooded the platform, each looking like nearly identical to the person next to them, to the point where it was impossible to distinguish anyone specific from a distance.
Deciding that he'd had enough of waiting, Erwann climbed up onto his bench and stood. He pulled his phone out and switched on the screen, selecting the number that rested atop his favorites list.
"I don't see you," he whined into the receiver as soon as it'd connected. It must've been some sort of magic phrase, because Ismaël appeared through the doors and stepped onto the platform as if he'd been summoned before Erwann had even finished his complaining. "Ismaël," he yelled, into the phone and out onto the platform, raising a hand. Ismaël looked in his direction and shook his head as he stuffed something into his pocket. Erwann's phone beeped into his ear a few times, the call disconnected. He continued to stand on the bench until Ismaël finally reached him.
"People are watching, get down," Ismaël chastised, pointing at the ground as he spoke. He sounded tired. Erwann looked around and suddenly noticed that there were people staring his way as they walked past. He never noticed things like that, but Ismaël always did.
Erwann stepped down, pecking Ismaël on either side of his face as he brought his arms up to wrap around him. "Sorry," he said it into Ismaël's neck as he hugged him. "You're back," he added cheerfully, pressing his nose into the skin of Ismaël's cheek, trying to leech some of Ismaël's warmth into his own body.
Ismaël squeezed Erwann around the middle — once — before he stepped back, moving away. "I am," he agreed. Erwann slid their fingers together and Ismaël allowed him that, at least. They left the station holding hands.
"You took my jacket," Erwann complained as they made their way home. The sun had cleared the horizon and people were making their way onto the streets and through the roads, going off to work, school. He tried to grab Ismaël's duffle to carry it for him, but the other man resisted, holding it out of Erwann's reach.
"I did, yes." Ismaël agreed, lightly swinging their arms between them.
"You took my jacket and yours." Erwann made sure to stress that particular detail. "I had no jacket beside this one. It's snowed four times while you were gone."
Ismaël hummed in thought, but didn't apologize. He let Erwann's hand fall from his so that he could slide it underneath Erwann's jacket and sweater, his woolen gloves scratching the skin of Erwann's back.
"Shit," Ismaël frowned, yanking his hand back out from under Erwann's clothes. He tugged his glove off and slid it under the layers Erwann wore again. "You are cold, I could feel it even with them on. Fuck."
He pulled Erwann into his side, straightened the length of his spine so that he stood at his full height, enabling himself to hook his chin over Erwann's head, holding their bodies together. Ismaël shouldered his bag so that he could flag down a taxi, herding Erwann into the backseat once one stopped for them. Ismaël told the driver their address distractedly, more focused with his continued efforts to crowd into Erwann's space.
"I should get this cold more often," Erwann joked. He was already feeling better, if not slightly tired, body slowly warming in the heated cabin of the cab. The feeling in his face was slow to return, letting him know just how low his body temperature must've dropped.
"Stop," Ismaël commanded. "Jesus, you're shivering." Erwann could feel that himself, hadn't needed it pointed out to him, but he kept that sharp thought to himself, instead choosing to enjoy Ismaël practically crawling into his lap; Erwann's own, personal source of warmth.
The cab stopped in front of their apartment and Ismaël tossed a few notes to the driver. Erwann took the opportunity to finally claim hold of Ismaël bag as they stood on the curb, waiting for Ismaël to collect his change.
Ismaël kept Erwann close to him in the elevator, the two of them stepping on one another's heels while they walked down the hallway, bodies twisted sideways so that they could get through their narrow front door at the same time.
"Put on your pajamas and get into bed," Ismaël instructed as they kicked off their shoes in the entryway. "I'll make tea."
Erwann did as he'd been told, headed to their bedroom, and tossed out behind him, "It's too early for tea. Make coffee." Ismaël didn't answer, which surely meant that he had chosen to ignore Erwann as it might've anything else.
The ticking of their gas stove sparking to life and Ismaël moving about the kitchen provided a soundtrack for Erwann as he got undressed — and then redressed — and climbed into bed. Ismaël finished banging around in the cupboards just as Erwann pulled the covers up to his ears and hissed at the chill of the sheets, closing his eyes. He hoped that Ismaël would come join him soon; the bed always warmed up quicker where there were two of them inside it.
He listened as Ismaël tromped down the hallway into his own bedroom, could hear the thump of his duffle being dropped onto his mattress. Erwann tried to imagine what Ismaël must've been doing. Pulling out his phone charger, maybe. Slotting his Macbook back into it's rightful spot on his desk, plugging in his iPad, tugging out his toiletry bag. Maybe he'd gotten Erwann a gift on his trip?
The kettle started to whistle, its siren call drawing Ismaël back into the kitchen. He banged around for another minute, the snick of the kitchen's overhead light shutting off loud in their otherwise silent apartment. Their heating finally kicked on, a rush of cold, stale air before it switched over to into a warm breeze.
Ismaël appeared in the doorway to their bedroom, two cups held close to his chest, completely naked. Erwann sat up, rearranging the blankets around himself nervously. He accepted both cups so that Ismaël can get himself situated under the covers, handed Ismaël's back to him once he was ready to take hold of it again.
They drank in silence, Erwann holding a whine; Ismaël had ignored him after all, making tea against his wishes. Ismaël took Erwann's cup once he'd finished, set them both on his bedside counter. Erwann suddenly felt even more tired, and it was a blessing to lay down and burry his face into his pillow.
Ismaël fussed over him, pulled the covers back up over his shoulders. He laid down on his own pillow, two hands worth of empty space between them.
"I shouldn't have taken your jacket," Ismaël apologized. "I wanted to have yours with me, but the thought of you wearing mine freaked me out. Sorry."
Erwann gathered Ismaël between his legs, cradled him with his thighs. "I don't mind that you took mine with you," he promised. "You just need to leave me one. Leaving yours for me isn't that big of a deal, Ismaël."
Ismaël slid the hand he wasn't laying on over Erwann's forearms, his biceps, along the curve of his neck, finally stopped on Erwann's face, cupped his cheek. "It feels like it is."
"This place is closer to both our offices," Erwann offered. Their lease was up the following month and they'd decided to make sure there hadn't been anything better on the market before re-signing. "It's bigger."
Ismaël glanced over Erwann shoulder to check out the listing and tsked. "It's a one bedroom."
Erwann was tired of playing that game. "We only need one bedroom, Ismaël."
"I need my own room Erwann, you know that." Ismaël stomped across the living room and into the kitchen, yanking the refrigerator open.
"Fine," Erwann agreed bitterly. He closed the tab and opened a new search. "We'll look for a place with three bedrooms."
"Three?" Ismaël asked as he returned to the couch with a glass of water, hesitant.
"Yeah, so you can have your room, I'll have a room, and we can share the other bedroom. That's fair, right?"
Erwann slept alone in their room that night, deciding that if Ismaël was going to insist on having his own room then he might as well use it.
A week later, Ismaël came home with a rental agreement for a flat similar to listening Erwann had found, another one bedroom. It had a room that was listed as a study; the space didn't even have four walls encompassing it, just three with a maw of an opening leaking out into the rest of the open-floor plan of the living room. He hadn't looked Erwann in the eyes when he'd shown him layout.
They'd signed the lease that same day.
Erwann went out to grab an extra roll of tape from the corner store and came back with a cat.
Ismaël caught him with it as soon as he'd walked through the door, shaking his head and saying, "I don't want it."
"But he looks just like me," Erwann coaxed, used his best salesman voice. He lifted the cat so that it's little face was pressed against his own cheek.
"Then I really don't want it," Ismaël shot back, monotone.
"I'll suck your dick if you let me keep it," Erwann haggled. Ismaël stared at him. He got up from the dining room table and took the cat from Erwann's hands, examined it.
Once he finished inspecting, he asked, "Will you really?"
Erwann took the cat back from him and sat him onto the floor. The cat dashed deeper into their apartment, disappeared through the bathroom door. "I was thinking we could name him after a politician or something?" He guided Ismaël to the couch and got him to sit on it with minimal coaxing, a first.
Situating himself on the floor between Ismaël's knees, Erwann got to work at undoing his pants, yanked them down and off Ismaël's legs. He tossed them onto the floor behind him, letting Ismaël take off his own underwear; the shuffling of Ismaël's limbs to get out of them while remaining seated struck Erwann as oddly endearing as he watched.
He set about his task quickly, kissed the hair on Ismaël's thighs and licking the curve of his hip where it connected to his pelvis. Eventually he took Ismaël into his mouth, sucked on the head while he worked his hand along the length, spreading silva to help ensure everything was slick.
Once he had Ismaël the way he liked him, Erwann swallowed him down, his lips easily gliding against the soft skin. When Ismaël reached the back of this throat, Erwann made sure to moan, a bright spot of vibration brought into the mix.
Pulling off to catch his breath, Erwann took Ismaël back into his hand, stroked him languidly. "So, can we name him after a politician?"
"I really don't want a cat, Erwann," Ismaël said around a moan, thrusting his hips up. "I'm not being a dick; this isn't a commitment thing, I promise. I just don't want one." When he smiled — one that said he was surprised to find his words were true, that this hadn't been one of his commitment issues, and that it amused him, to realize that he was slowly getting better at sharing his life with Erwann — Erwann couldn't help but smile back.
"What if we let him stay here just until he starts to like us, and then he can be an outside cat after he remembers where we live?" Erwann hedged. He leaned in to take one, then both of Ismaël's balls into his mouth. Ismaël reached down to aid Erwann in stroking his dick, their hands tangling as they worked Ismaël together. He brought both his legs up onto the couch and planted his feet right onto the edge, hanging half of his ass over the cushion so that Erwann would be able to reach the skin behind his balls.
Ismaël palmed the back of his head, panting hard. They stared at one another, Erwann allowing himself to be pulled in again, licking around the base of Ismaël's dick.
"Alright," Ismaël agreed after he'd came. Erwann was laid flat on his back, still on the floor, trousers shoved to his thighs so that he can get at his own dick, furiously stroking it. Each time his eyelids slipped closed he forced them open again, wanting to be looking into Ismaël's when he finally came.
The cat watched both of them from where it'd been sitting on the kitchen island. "Do you see, little Moscovici?" Ismaël called out to it. "Erwann is going to let you get to used to him, so that you won't ever want to be without him. And then when you finally are, he'll let you do whatever you want. Except, what you think you want isn't that at all. You'll think being an outside cat is wonderful for a while, but then you'll realize all you want to be is inside."
He slipped off of the couch down onto the floor, standing on his knees. Ismaël walked on them until he'd been hovering over Erwann's legs. "I used to think being an outside cat was better," he admitted, laying atop of Erwann. He angled them so that Erwann's dick was pressed between their stomachs, trapped. "Living inside isn't that bad."
Erwann pushed up, thrusting up against Ismaël's skin. When he came it was with Ismaël's name on his lips. They stayed tangled together like that for a while afterwards, Ismaël stroking Erwann's chest, neither of them really feeling up to speaking.
"You never wanted to be an outside cat," Erwann decided, right before they're about to step into the shower, the two of them standing around the bathroom naked as they waited for the water to heat up. "You basically proposed to me the night after we first slept together."
"Did I?" Ismaël's asked. He crowded Erwann against the sink, kissed him lightly on the mouth before moving down to his neck. For the past year he'd been giving Erwann a hickey in the exact same spot, reworking it into his skin just before it finished its final fade from yellow back to Erwann's usual skin tone; forcing the skin bloom purple for the millionth time. "I thought I asked you to spread your love out, so that it would last a long time."
"You did," Erwann agreed, tilted his head to the side, giving Ismaël more room to work. "And I listened. I still love you, don't I?"
"You do," Ismaël murmured into his skin. "Being inside isn't all that bad."