Tensile Strength

i wasnt originally planning on writing a sequel to ASMR, but i also didnt expect anyone to, like, actually read that one LMAO. so i kind of went apeshit on this

you want wrestling? you want choking? you want some weird Sweet Voice play and benrey getting railed into the fucking ground? i got u

[← back]

[→ part 3: Pavlovian Reflex]

Gordon Freeman turns off his TV, zones out in a scalding shower until the hot water runs out, and lies awake in his bed for a solid 24 hours having what might be described as a Crisis. The Crisis is as follows: in a month’s time, he’s initiated the resonance cascade, had his arm forcibly removed, fought an eldritch abomination, had his arm forcibly reattached, and jerked off with the same eldritch abomination that had just been trying to kill him not a few weeks before. It’s a lot to take in.

Of all those things, the last one probably shouldn’t be occupying the most of his processing power, but occupy it does. Embarrassment has sunk deep into his bones, and processing it fulfills much the same self-destructive urge as picking at a scab. Gordon turns himself to lie face-down and groans into his pillow, hoping that it will help. Something about it makes him feel a little better.

Gordon would consider himself a fairly open-minded person, if asked. (He is almost never asked this.) A latent bisexuality, which in retrospect was more latent than he realized, isn’t that scary. It would explain some of the more questionable observations some of his exes had made in the past, anyway. He’s downright comfortable with that in comparison to, like, literally everything else. The more distressing thing is the who, rather than the what. Fucking Benrey. He jerked off to fucking Benrey clowning on him non-stop. He told Benrey to beg for him and—

He groans again, hoping for a moment that the earth will split open and swallow him whole. It doesn’t. Gordon remains distressingly alive and un-swallowed.

They’re— they were barely friends. If anything, they were enemy combatants under a brief détente. It doesn’t matter that he was starting to look forward to playing Street Fighter with him every day, or that he sort of liked it when Benrey would talk him to sleep every night. That has nothing to do with anything. Anyway, the point is, this is not a Done Thing. This is not what Gordon Freeman does with his friends/enemies/frenemies. Hell, it’s not even what he does with people who are actively having sex with him. Which there are plenty of. So goddamn many. They’re just, you know, on a break.

Gordon makes a valiant attempt to convince himself of this. These are all rational, logical points. You could assemble a lovely little proof out of them and turn it in for a nice grade. Unfortunately, they’re all thwarted by one tiny, inconsequential thing: he liked it. He really, really liked it. And he kind of wants to do it again. Even though thinking about those horrible words coming out of his mouth makes him want to pull his hair out.

More frightening is the realization that he could do it again. That, in fact, he has been invited to, in so many words. Gordon’s not totally goddamn clueless. He’s heard of subtext before. That doesn’t mean he has to like it, he thinks aggressively. If he just keeps thinking it, maybe that strange, electric thrill in the pit of his stomach will buzz off.

Instead of continuing to ruminate over his Crisis, Gordon does what he does best in times of stress. He distracts himself. He’s gotten some novel ideas off of YouTube for crafting a new Rube Goldberg machine, one with pulleys and levers and a clever use of a lazy Susan, and that should take his mind off of Benrey for a few hours. Gordon keeps a reference video playing on his PS3 while he works. Just his luck. He’s spent so much time wishing that Benrey would get off his back for good, but now the guy’s gone and infected his fucking mind.

Despite all this, it works. It’s easy for Gordon to get fully absorbed in plotting and rearranging and delicately tuning these complicated little machines, and his work starts to sprawl over the better part of his living room. Dominoes, rubber balls, carefully-placed strings and cups, he’s got it all. The first few preliminary runs seem to go alright, and he’s resetting everything for the final go when he hears a notification chime.

It startles him so goddamn bad that he stumbles into the dominoes, and the rubber balls, and the carefully-placed strings and cups, and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket. He picks himself up, surveys the destruction, and retreats into bed to yell swears into a pillow until he feels less like murdering someone.

When he’s gotten the worst of it out of his system, he goes back to his PS3 to check what it was, although he’s got a pretty good guess. That MIT education’s coming in clutch. As he expects, it’s Benrey, messaging him a string of ‘B’s. Gordon pinches the bridge of his nose and grabs his headset.

“Benrey, I am going to fucking kill you, you know that?” he says without any preamble.


“I was— I was working on something! Why did you just send me the letter ‘B’?”


This isn’t helping. “Turn your webcam on, asshole. I’ll show you.”

Benrey does as much. The webcam on his end appears to be pointed at the ceiling. “is this one of your… uhhh… sad man machines again. depression shit. sad lil’ guy machines. why don’t you come over or whatever instead of doing that shit,” he tells Gordon.

“Could a guy with depression do this?" Gordon steps out of the way of his own webcam to show the ruined remains of his Rube Goldberg machine, which at this point is less “machine” than “refuse scattered across his entire living room”.

Benrey, for once, doesn’t say anything. It is possibly the most devastating response Gordon has received in his entire life.

“I’m coming over now,” Gordon says after an extended silence, defeated.

He closes the video chat, examines the wreckage, and decides that this is not his problem right now. This is Tomorrow Gordon’s problem. Instead, he eyeballs his current threads and realizes that grey sweatpants and an old T-shirt with a physics pun on it are not exactly acceptable date-wear. (So this is a date now. Or something like it, anyway.) Whatever it is, Gordon makes the tactical decision to stand in front of his closet for half an hour and agonize over his choices.

The suit is obviously out. That’s for interviews and awards ceremonies and other things that Gordon hasn’t actually participated in for far too long. He shoves it to the back, where it acquires a few more sad wrinkles.

The Hawaiian shirts are a no-go, too. Not the right ‘vibe’ or whatever. Gordon mostly got one as a joke, and then his friends and family decided that was his Thing and so he should get half a dozen more as gifts. Next.

T-shirts? Why does he own so many goddamn orange T-shirts?

This is stupid. It’s not like he has to impress. It’s just Benrey, and Street Fighter, and possibly making out or sucking his dick or something. The subtext. Gordon takes a deep breath and wills the butterflies in his stomach to go the fuck away. He can just… wing this. Like last time, and like every other time he’s interacted with Benrey before. He can be normal about this.

Gordon slings on a hoodie, then goes to wind up the cable of his favorite fightpad with sweaty hands. The rote motion is mildly soothing. He doesn’t want to make too many assumptions about what “playing Street Fighter” actually means, so, better safe than sorry, he thinks as he jams it into his pocket and heads out for real. Over an hour later. (That’s not a helpful thought.)

He’s sweating bullets while he follows the printed-out directions, and not just from the heat. Gordon tugs his hood tighter over his head. Being ‘outside’ is alien to him at this point, and he can’t shake the feeling that he’s being watched. It’s not paranoia if they’re actually out to get you, he tells himself. God, maybe he should’ve shaved his face. Or worn sunglasses. Without the comfort of his gun-hand, or any weapons to speak of, Gordon feels distressingly vulnerable.

A low-flying plane crosses overhead, and he ducks into an alley and presses himself flat against a wall before he can even think about it. Jesus. What’s his fucking problem? It passes without incident, but Gordon stays there for a moment to marshal his heart rate back to normal.

Somehow, he manages to make it the rest of the way in one piece, though he’s still stiff as a board when he raps on Benrey’s door. Gordon almost has a hard time believing this is the right place. Something doesn’t sit right with him about Benrey living like a normal person, in an apartment, or in any physical plane whatsoever. It would be less weird for him to live in the sewers. Like a Ninja Turtle.

Benrey opens it only after he knocks, and knocks, and then knocks again a few minutes later. “look what the fuckin' cat dragged in,” he says, eying Gordon critically.

Gordon should say something in his defense, but nothing comes out. Benrey’s not wearing his helmet. Or his uniform. The effect is so jarring that he can only stand there, mouth hanging open a bit. It’s not like it was easy to tell from the picture he’d sent earlier, okay? There was a lot of blue, and a lot of skin, but not much above that nasty little smirk. And now there’s… hair. Black and shaggy and on the shorter side, covered by a ratty beanie. He looks like a human, and it throws Gordon for a loop.

He also doesn’t look like he’s showered today, either. Why the hell was he stressing out so much about what to wear when Benrey’s standing there in a gamer T-shirt and grey sweatpants. They could’ve matched.

“yo gordo, you got like all day to check me out. you gonna get in here or what.”

“I wasn’t checking you out,” Gordon says on instinct. But he follows Benrey inside anyway, into the jaws of the valley of death. Otherwise known as “Benrey’s shitty apartment”.

He’s not exaggerating, either. There’s a mattress on the floor, no bedframe. Sheets tangled in a pile. (Okay, Gordon can’t fault Benrey for that one, since he doesn’t remember the last time he made his bed, either.) A shitty gaming setup on a Rubbermaid tote with “BENRY” scrawled on the side. And empty bottles of Bacardi in a graveyard on top of his fridge.

The place is kind of messy, but not, like, gross. There was clearly an attempt at cleaning up before Gordon showed up - he’s got a bin packed full of empty energy drink cans, and there’s a bunch of slightly-wet dishes drying on his counter. Gordon’s flattered by the effort, weirdly enough. His standards are at rock-fucking-bottom right now.

Suddenly, there’s a hand waving in front of his face. Gordon blinks.

“earth to gordon,” Benrey says. “what’s— uhhh— what’s your deal. you good?”

“Uh,” he says eloquently. It takes a physical effort to reroute his brain away from hyper-observation and bring himself back to, you know, the conversation.

Benrey groans at him, “jesus. just— sit down or something, goddamn,” and when the command fails to get through to Gordon fast enough, he grabs Gordon by the shoulder and steers him towards an ugly brown couch. Then he pushes Gordon until he sits. “fuckin’, stay there. chill out.”

“Okay.” He’s surprisingly okay with this. He lets himself sink into the couch and stares at a Daikatana poster. Why does he even have that?

“we got uhhh drinks,” Benrey calls out from next to his fridge. “sips. drink some sodas and calm down maybe.”

Gordon doesn’t know how well that will work, chemically-speaking, but it’s a nice gesture. “Like what?”

“the— i got the— drinks. monster. blue raspberry. purple guava. frost. red flavor. yellow flavor. uhhh… orange flavor. lemon-lime. dr. pepper. diet freshy. the red one—”

“You already said that,” Gordon interrupts, a familiar irritation creeping between his temples. Somehow, this is helping. This is his comfort zone: Benrey bugging the shit out of him. “Just— just pick one for me, I don’t care.”

“nice. heads up.”

That’s all the warning he gets before a can of Monster Energy Drink™ hurtles toward him. Gordon yelps and ducks - he’s dead certain it’s going to clock him right in the goddamn head and kill him instantly - but his right hand flies up of its own accord, intercepting it. “Oh my god,” he wheezes, staring at his hand, “what is wrong with you?!”

Benrey just looks at him appraisingly. “sick catch bro. poggers.”

The adrenaline recedes back from wherever it came - he’s a physicist, not a physician, alright - and as it does, Gordon can’t help but laugh. He’s been wound tighter and tighter like a neurotic little spring these past few hours, so even a little relief is enough to make him go full fucking Looney Tunes, apparently.

To Gordon’s surprise, Benrey actually turns on his TV to play Street Fighter. To his even greater surprise, Benrey pulls out a racing wheel. It’s Hot Wheels branded. Then he drops next to Gordon on the couch like a stone. Their legs brush together, and Gordon does his best to pretend like he’s not focused on it in the slightest.

“No. Bullshit. You do not use that when you’re fighting me.” Gordon folds his arms in disbelief.

“think i’m lyin’? think i’m telling fibs? why don’t you fight me and find out. unless you’re scared. lil’… chicken shit. baby ass.”

“No, you know what? Fine. I can’t wait to see this. Because I know for a fact that you’re fucking with me,” he scoffs. Trying to play El Fuerte and all his run-stop bullshit with that thing? Absolutely not. He’s going to rub Benrey’s face in it, and it is going to feel great.

He quickly finds out, however, that Benrey isn’t bullshitting when he wipes the floor with Gordon’s Ryu. Gordon stares at his controller in utter betrayal.

“you’re playing, uhhh, kinda shit, bro,” he says. That stupid grin on his face makes Gordon squeeze his fightpad until the plastic squeaks.

“I cannot believe this. I’m refusing to believe it,” Gordon complains, leaning back. “I’m just— I know I’m playing like shit right now, okay. Don’t rub it in.” He sets his controller in his lap and wipes his sweaty hands on his jeans. They’re shaking. It’s bad enough that Benrey notices, his eyebrows drawn together.

Then he looks back up at Gordon. Gordon deliberately doesn’t look at him, until Benrey starts snapping his fingers in front of his face. “hey. heyyy. hellooo. look— look over here.”

Gordon listens, for some stupid reason. “Don’t do that, I’m not a dog,” he starts to bitch, but he’s hit by a blue beam of Black Mesa Sweet Voice before he can finish. It tastes like Powerade. It untangles the big, thorny knot of anxiety that’s been tangled up in his chest all day. And it makes him cough a little when some of it goes down the wrong way.

“calm down. why you all fuckin’, worked up or whatever. it’s just a game.”

He melts into the couch cushions, muscles vaguely sore from all the tension that’s just been leached from them, and lets gravity lean him into Benrey a bit. Enough that their sides are pressed together from shoulder to hip. He’s warmer than Gordon expects. “Whoa,” he breathes, “that’s so weird. It always feels weird when you do that. You should bottle this stuff and sell it.”

“no way. it’s… uhhh, trade secret. NDA. patent.” Benrey rubs his thumb over his knuckles. Now it seems like it’s his turn to stare pointedly at the screen, while Gordon scans his face and wrinkles his eyebrows in confusion. Like Benrey’s the nervous one this time. Huh.

Gordon shifts his leg and bumps their knees together, then leaves it there. Just out of curiosity. In response, Benrey pushes back, just a little.

The moment’s interrupted by a notification chime, making Gordon flinch. He doesn’t know whether or not to feel disappointed by that.

“oh hey. that’s tommy. you wanna rob some banks with him?” Benrey asks, sitting up straight.

Gordon squints at the TV. It’s an invite to play Payday 2. “I didn’t know you guys hung out. Or, uh, played games or whatever.”

“yeah tommy’s cool. we’re friends. we’re always going to the… soda store. together. and hanging out.”

“The soda store.” He takes a deep breath and lets it out through his nose. This isn’t a battle worth picking, so he’s going to let it slide. “Cool. Well, why not, I guess. You guys’ll have to show me what to do, though. I’ve never played it before.”

Thankfully, it’s not that hard for him to get a hang of it. And it’s not just Tommy on the other end - he’s wrangled together the rest of the science crew, too. Gordon can hear the smile in Tommy’s voice when he announces, “Mr. Freeman! Hey, guys, it’s Mr. Freeman!”, and it’s infectious. It’s good to hear from them all again, he thinks. He might even go so far as to say he missed them. At least now that he’s not having to shepherd them through Black Mesa, anyway. Shepherding them through a video game is much less stressful.

“Hahah, hey, oh my god! Benrey’s got a knife! Help!” Gordon crows, laughing harder than he has in weeks while Benrey cackles and chases him around the map. This is… this is fun. He’s having fun.

Gordon’s heart does something funny whenever he hears Benrey laugh. It’s kind of nice. Makes him a little light-headed. And Benrey keeps glancing over at him, not-so-subtly, like he’s checking to see if Gordon’s laughing, too. Gordon’s ears prickle. If he didn’t know better, he’d say that he…

Oh no. Absolutely not. The thought is so dizzying that Gordon can’t even fully think it, and he worries he might pass out. You mean, you didn’t like the guy whose dick you’ve been thinking about sucking for the past 24 hours?, the rational part of his mind reminds him. Well, he didn’t go to MIT to master in “emotional intelligence”. The thought is so distracting that he leaves his character standing stock-still, and swiftly proceeds to get merked by a squad of riot cops.

“Are you goddamn kidding me?!” Bubby snaps at him, loud and staticky. “There’s no fucking way we’re getting over there to help you, Gordon!”

“It’s— It’s okay, Mr. Freeman! We’ll save you!”

“No we won’t!”

Gordon shakes his head to clear it. Benrey’s smirking at him while he shoots, not even looking at the screen but getting headshot after headshot anyway. “gordon freeman fail compilation,” he starts, but he’s abruptly cut off by a stream of Black Mesa Sweet Voice, first yellow then fading to blue. Benrey’s face twists, then he claps a hand to his mouth as if to force it back in.

Did he— did he not mean to do that?

“Hey, uh, Tommy, you can translate Sweet Voice for me, right?” Gordon asks slowly.

Over the din of the game and of Benrey loudly speaking over him, “that’s confidential, he doesn’t have the credentials,” Gordon just barely hears Tommy agree.

“What’s yellow to blue supposed to mean?”

“Oh! Yellow to blue means— means I want to—”

“kill you,” Benrey yells before he can finish. Gordon raises his eyebrows.

Their mission ends with a mass wipe, no thanks to Benrey drowning out Tommy every time he attempted to speak afterward (and trying to set Bubby on fire when he complained). Gordon’s the one who decides to call it there. He sets his controller down once they’ve said their goodbyes.

“What the hell was that about?” he asks at last.


Gordon pinches the bridge of his nose. “Don’t play dumb. You got all fucking weird when I asked Tommy about the Sweet Voice thing, and—”

“you wanna— uhhh— wanna taste it?”

He blinks, caught off-guard. “That isn’t what I asked,” he starts, but it’s not like he has much choice in the matter, since Benrey’s beaming bright fucking yellow at him instead of listening to him. Tastes like lemon-lime. Gordon wants to be irritated, but it’s hard when the urge to laugh is bubbling up in his chest.

“That’s— ah ha— God, why am I—” He claps a hand over his mouth to try to make it stop. Then he mumbles, “How are you— hahah— doing this?”

Benrey grins at him, all sharp teeth. “that’s for me to know and for you to, uhhh, not know.”

“Ha ha, okay, turn this shit off.” He doesn’t, though. In fact, he does it again, and Gordon’s laughing so hard his stomach’s starting to hurt. “C’mon, that’s— ahahaha— that’s not funny— hahah, fuck, Benrey, knock it off!” Benrey ignores him, leaning forward with his hands on his knees, and his eyes flicker minutely where they’re fixated on Gordon.

“F— fucking, hahah ahaha, seriously, I can’t,” he can’t even finish that sentence because he’s gasping for breath, it’s not even— it’s not even funny, why is he laughing at this? Why won’t Benrey make this shit stop? Why is Benrey— he’s staring, his fingers digging little trenches into his sweatpants. Gordon’s stomach jolts in an entirely different way. Finally, Gordon gives up on trying to speak and just starts smacking Benrey’s shoulder with a closed fist.

“huh? whu— yeah. okay.” There’s another beam of blue, and the uncontrollable urge dissipates as quickly as it came on.

Residual laughter still spills out of him as flops backward and pants for breath, though. Benrey’s eyes don’t leave him. “How— how many do you— does the Sweet Voice do anything else?”

“i got so many flavors. like a fuckin’… coke freestyle machine. mix ‘n’ match.”

Gordon takes a deep breath and sits up at last. When he does, he realizes that Benrey’s a lot closer than he expected. Personal space, my guy. But that’s a thought that doesn’t quite make it out as words. “Yeah? You got orange soda?” he suggests instead.

Benrey blinks at him. “what? yeah, aight,” he says at last. The next bit of Sweet Voice is a fluorescent orange. Like Fanta. It’s even kind of fizzy on his tongue. Gordon wipes the remains from the corner of his mouth, and licks the last of it off his hand. Less fizzy. Benrey’s eyes are wide as dinner plates. His own eyes, however, start to droop.

“Oh, I remember this one,” Gordon says with a yawn. “S’nice. I thought it’d be a different color, though.”

“what color’s it supposed to have?”

The way he asks it, it almost sounds genuine. But this is Benrey he’s talking about. Gordon doesn’t even know if that word’s in his vocabulary. “What, sleeping? I dunno, blue, or something. Like how you’re supposed to sleep better in a… a blue room.”

Benrey shrugs. “like i would know.”

“You— you don’t know? Benrey, do you… do you, like, sleep? Ever?” He rubs at his eyes. “Fuck, man, hit me with something else. I’m gonna pass out any second now.”

Back to blue. He’s not sure how much more Sweet Voice he can take - his brain’s starting to feel worn out, emotions wrung from it like an old sponge. Benrey frowns at him, puzzled. “huh? what— why would i. boring.”

“That’s— you know, that’s what every human does? Right?”

He shrugs again. Gordon presses his knuckles to his head in frustration.

“God, you really aren’t human, are you. Stupid question,” he mutters to himself. Then, at a normal volume, he asks, “What the hell were you doing every time we went to sleep, then?”

“uhhh you know. just chillin’. making sure you guys didn’t get eaten by peeper puppies or whatever. i saved your ass so many times, you just didn’t see it. didn’t even thank me or nothin’.”

“Yeah, okay. Sure.”

So, what, was Benrey just watching him sleep the whole time? For hours? That’s definitely weird. But it’s the kind of weird he’s grown accustomed to. Just a few weeks ago, he imagines this newfound knowledge would have made him uncomfortable, but now it reminds him of getting to sleep in his own bed for once. And waking up to Benrey’s voice at the other end of the line, right where he left him.

He shakes himself mentally. Now he’s turning into the weird one, and he doesn’t like that shit at all.

“What about red? Is that, like, cherry? Strawberry?” Gordon asks, in an effort to move past it.

Benrey shakes his head. “nah. not doin’ that one.”

“Uh, okay. Why?”

“it’s just gonna make you mad.”

Gordon frowns. “Right, and when has that ever stopped you before?”

“’s like… cheating or whatever,” he mumbles, rubbing the back of his neck. “it’s lame. it’s not like doing it myself.”

Somehow, that makes more sense than most of the things Benrey’s said or done today. Gordon’s frown softens into something a little more understanding. It’s, like, kindergartner logic. Benrey’s been pulling his pigtails. Because he likes you, dumbass. Well, it’s one thing to be vaguely aware of that, and it’s another to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

“Alright, not that one, then,” Gordon concedes. “Why don’t you surprise me. Freestyle it, or whatever.”

Benrey works his jaw from side to side, like he’s chewing on a thought. Then he shifts closer, their legs knocking together. He’s got a hand drumming a rhythm on his knee, just a centimeter away from Gordon’s knee, and all the hairs on Gordon’s skin stand up straight in electric anticipation. As before, the distant, vague knowledge that he came over here to smash hits much differently in practice than in theory, and it keeps him rooted in place, board-stiff.

There’s hands on his face, suddenly, tilting his jaw and lightly clapping the side of his face. “open up, bitch, here comes the fuckin’ uhhh train. into the station. choo choo,” Benrey says.

“What the fuck are you ever saying—”

He’s cut off by Benrey leaning in to shoot a beam of Sweet Voice directly into his mouth, red fading to teal. Almost immediately, Gordon’s suffused by a strange itch. Like somebody’s turned on a motor inside of him that’s driving him to go, go, go: his fingers start to drum restlessly against his knee, too, and his legs tremble with the urge to stand up and move.

So he does, getting up before he can think about it. “Uh, hey, what’d you— what’d you give me that time?” Gordon asks, turning his upper body from side to side, arms extended, in an effort to rid himself of this newfound burning energy. “I feel, like, itchy, but on the inside? If that makes sense? God, I went to college for how many years and I’m still saying stupid shit,” he mutters as an afterthought.

“it’s uhhh like an energy drink. gets you movin’. secret red bull recipe. the one they have in the cans is different because of the— the patent. proprietary.”

“You know what, yeah, I believe that. Why not.” He starts stretching now, and his thighs burn when he dips into some lunges. Man, was he really that out of shape? It hadn’t been that long since he was running around Black Mesa, right? Whatever. At least going through the motions is giving him some endorphins. And they seem to be relieving that itch a little, too.

Benrey reclines back on the couch and watches him. “nice form. you watch a lot of uhhh sweatin’ to the oldies? sweatin’ to the oldies 2? sweatin’ to the oldies—”

“Stop,” groans Gordon.

“3,” Benrey finishes lamely.

“Hey, so, uh, totally normal question here,” he barrels on, hoping that if he just talks louder Benrey won’t keep saying stupid shit, “but do you wanna arm wrestle? Or something? I just feel like wrestling for some reason.” Something in his gut tells him that it would be a really good idea. Burn off some of whatever’s fueling him right now.

“huh? you wanna— what, you think you can take me? good joke freeman.” He says this, but he leans forward anyway, elbows on knees.

“I dunno, man, I’m feeling pretty on top of it right now. I could punch a goddamn Vor— Vort— shit, I don’t remember what they’re called and I know they’re not called fucking Vonneguts but that’s all I can think of right now— anyway, I could punch one of those in the face and win right now. Probably.”

A moment passes, and then Benrey appears to come to a decision, clapping his hands on his thighs. “aight. let’s do this thing. just don’t start crying like a little— fuckin’— fat little baby when i win. ‘a bloo bloo bloo. i’m gordon freeman and i work out in a library. it’s not fair.’”

“I’m not going to cry, Jesus— no, you know what, shut up and fight me. Come on,” challenges Gordon. He kneels on one side of Benrey’s coffee table and readies his arm. “First to three.”

Benrey sits at the opposite end and grabs Gordon’s hand. His hand is a little bigger, calloused, and kind of sweaty. “whatcha gonna give me when i win?”

If you win,” he says, and then he blinks. That’s a charged fucking statement if he’s ever heard one. Makes his face burn. God, he can’t wait to put this fucker in his place, he thinks; to pin his arm to the table and wipe that obnoxious smirk off his face.

Pin his arm. Pin his arm behind his back. Wrestle him to the ground and squeeze until it hurts. Show him what you’re really made of and replace that smirk with something else—

That thought is so distracting that he doesn’t even notice that the game’s started and Benrey’s already got his arm pinned to the table.

“score one for benrey. are you even trying?”

“I, uh, what? Hold on, let me get a do over, I was…” Gordon really doesn’t want to say what he was doing, but he suspects that Benrey knows anyway, judging by the Look on his face.

“nuh-uh. no take-backsies bro. it’s 1-0. better get your shit together.”

The next round goes slightly better, now that he’s actually paying attention to when it starts, but Benrey’s no slouch and he wrestles Gordon’s arm flat in short order. He really does have the muscles of a security officer, huh. They’re thrown into sharper relief than usual from the effort. (And Gordon likes to think it’s a goddamn effort, too. He’s giving it all he’s got, and it’s not like he’s got skinny twigs for arms himself.)

And on the third one, when Gordon’s mentally resigned himself to losing already, Benrey’s arm gives so easily that Gordon’s knuckles smack painfully against the table. He hisses through his teeth.

“oh damn. looks like you won that one bro. we’ll have to uhhh keep going,” Benrey says, affecting casualness. It doesn’t fool Gordon. In fact, it kind of pisses him off.

“Goddamn— are you even taking this seriously? Stop messing around.” Gordon’s teeth grit in frustration. If he’s going to win, he wants it to mean something, okay? He leans forward for more leverage and tightens his grip until he swears he can feel Benrey’s bones grinding together.

Finally, it’s a fucking struggle. Sweat beads on his forehead, and he can feel a vein pulsing in his temple, but he doesn’t ease up until he’s slammed Benrey’s arm down. That felt… good. Gordon cackles from excitement.

“Last one, buddy. You ready?”

Benrey’s quiet for a moment, his ears going red. “yeah okay. buddy.”

Oh. He did say that, didn’t he. Well, fuck it, they’re already in this deep, aren’t they? No take-backsies. Their last round has him sweating and breathing harder, determined to get one over on Benrey at long fucking last, which makes it all the more crushing when Benrey takes it from him with a swiftness. Gordon looks at their hands for a long while, defeat plain on his face, but neither of them make a particular effort to let go of the other.

“looks like i win, my guy,” he grins. The way his lips curl is infuriating. “what’s my prize? you gonna give me a kiss? plant a— plant a big ol’ smackeroo? right here?” With his free hand, Benrey points to his cheek.

Under ordinary circumstances, he would be mildly creeped out. And, perhaps, shocked by the audacity, like he tends to be whenever Benrey does fucking anything. Now? He doesn’t know how much Benrey is joking, so a nervous laugh pipes out of him. (In fairness, he’s never entirely sure how much Benrey is joking, but this is different.)

"or, uhhh, not," Benrey sulks a little, after what Gordon realizes is an inordinate amount of time for him to just sit there in silence. Gordon's face burns with embarrassment. "it's whatever. we could wrestle or sumn."

"Oh, uh," he says, rubbing the back of his neck, "sure?" His thighs are still twitching from the barely-suppressed urge to move, so why not.

"ha ha dope." Benrey's on him in a heartbeat, clambering over his coffee table to pin Gordon to the ground.

His head hits the carpet with a dull thump. "A little fucking warning, man," he snaps, then he knees Benrey in the side and takes a perverse pleasure from the way he wheezes in response. They roll and roll across the floor, picking up dirt. There's an arm here— a leg there— an elbow at his throat, and an arm wrapping around his neck in a chokehold until Gordon snaps his head back and knocks their skulls together.

"ow man. that hurt."

"If you wanna play dirty, I'm playing dirty too, asshole!"

They tangle again, the rules set. Gordon snarls wordlessly and wrests Benrey off of him, flipping him onto his front and scrambling to straddle his back. Then he yanks Benrey’s right arm behind him to pin his wrist against his shoulder blades, leaning into it with his full weight. His other hand palms Benrey’s head to shove his face into the ground. Just like he imagined. Gordon’s breath comes heavy from exertion, and he lets out a laugh. That’s better.

Underneath him, Benrey’s sweating and hissing, but he’s fucking grinning, too, and he grinds almost imperceptibly into the floor. But Gordon perceives it - the slight rocking motion of his hips gives him away. He swallows past a sudden lump in his throat.

“Oh no. Oh, you’re really into this, huh,” Gordon says faintly. If he’s being honest with himself, though, the truth is that he’s the one who’s really into it. He’s the one who’s popping a stiffy in his jeans and pressing it into Benrey’s back. Instead of interrogating this, however, Gordon chooses to blunder forward without thinking too hard about it. He chooses to push a little harder, squeeze a little tighter, and Benrey makes a sound like Gordon’s never heard before.

It’s so fucking good.

“c’mon, freeman,” Benrey croaks, “you like this shit, don’t you? how long you been thinking about shoving benny-boy into the fuckin’ ground? musta been thinkin’ about it for awhile, huh.”

It’s only then that Gordon becomes aware of three things. One: Benrey’s definitely stronger than him, like, physically. Two: Benrey has reality-bending powers beyond his comprehension. And three: If he really wanted to, he could stop Gordon at any time. Benrey must be letting him do this. He wants this. And his smart-assed question reveals a lot more than Benrey must have intended. How long has Benrey been thinking about this?

He presses closer against Benrey as he leans forward, arms shaking. This is it - this is that line he’s been thinking about crossing all fucking day - and the hand on Benrey’s head tangles into his hair, pulling his head back so he can answer for both of them and say into Benrey’s ear, “The whole goddamn time.”

“yeah? hahaha— do it then.”

His hand clenches, and Benrey hisses, but his hips rock into the ground again and Gordon’s hips roll against his muscled back in turn. The lines of his shoulder blades and spine pop delightfully against the thin, dark fabric of his T-shirt.

“Told you I was gonna,” Gordon says, flushed and heady with the knowledge that he could take this a step further. He envisions, not for the first time, pounding Benrey into the floor. Just like this. Making him make that fucking noise again. Gordon’s head swims.

“fuck yeah,” Benrey says dizzily. His free hand digs deep grooves into the carpet, and his mouth starts to run like a motor, spilling obscenities like so much thick black exhaust.

Arousal hits Gordon like a brick to the head. He pulls Benrey’s hair to crane his head upward just a little further, enough to ache, surely, and buries his face near the junction of Benrey’s neck and shoulder. He smells… weird. Kind of musky, and kind of sweaty, but strangely good. His next exhale comes out harsh and shaky. Benrey shudders against him.

He’s feeling cocky and so goddamn dumb, and he’s gripped by the irrational need to croon more lurid shit into Benrey’s ear. “Yeah? You want me to fuck you? Tell me how many times you jerked off to me. I’m pretty goddamn sure that wasn’t a one-time thing. And you’d better not lie, ‘cause I’m not stupid, Benrey. I’ll get up and leave you here like this.”

“oh— fuck— a lot,” he gasps. “shot my wad every fuckin’ night. thinkin’ about you.”

“While I was sleeping?” Gordon sounds surprised, but in retrospect, he really shouldn’t be.

“yuhh— yeah. gets boring. got nothin’ else to do. can’t even— can't even watch. like i used to.”

“I knew you were watching me sleep,” Gordon mutters to himself. “Goddamnit.” Doesn’t get his boner to ease up on him, though. He releases his hold on Benrey’s hair to push up his glasses.

Abruptly, Benrey takes advantage of his distraction to flip them around again. His coffee table rattles behind them. Gordon barely has time to blink before Benrey’s got his wrists in a vice grip, pinned just above his head. He slots his legs into the negative space of Gordon’s to crush them together for good measure.

Benrey’s heavy, and the full weight of him makes Gordon’s heart leap into his throat. And he’s hard, too, Gordon realizes. Up close and personal like this, he can feel Benrey’s dick twitching against his own. He makes a sound that he immediately regrets. Benrey’s grin ratchets up a notch, eyes wild, and saliva pools at the corner of his mouth.

“c’mon, gordonnn. why you just layin’ there. fight back a little. let's fuckin’ play.” He grinds down, and suddenly there’s Benrey’s dick and stomach rubbing against the bulge in his jeans and it’s almost suffocating. But he likes it more than he should.

“Fuck,” Gordon hisses. On second thought, it’s a bit uncomfortable - his jeans don’t have a lot of wiggle room in them and they’re rough as hell on his skin. He struggles against Benrey’s grip, not out of fear, but out of an earnest desire to win. God, Benrey’s strong, though. He’s got arms like marble sculptures, pliant-looking from the outside but hard as rock underneath.

“oh? little baby man wants me to let go?” He ducks his head down close to Gordon’s face. “try harder, friennnd.” At that, Benrey sucks in a deep breath through his nose, breathing in Gordon's scent, then licks the side of his jaw with a broad tongue. Then drags it up to his cheek.

“Fucking gross, Benrey,” Gordon snaps, a weak attempt to disguise the fact that electricity’s just lanced through his spine. It’s warm and wet and, yes, kind of gross, but it makes him wonder what it would feel like somewhere else. (On his throat. His mouth. His dick?) He rocks his hips upward in defiance, harder than he thinks he ordinarily would, and Benrey lets out a hot, humid, shuddering breath near his ear. Goosebumps pebble his skin.

“you’re all— all hard for me, shit, look at you,” Benrey taunts. “lookin’ good like this. maybe i’ll keep you here, huh. whatcha gonna do about it?”

An idea springs to mind. “If that’s what you want,” he says slowly, “you should let me get my jeans off first. Shit’s uncomfortable.”

Benrey's face goes slack with surprise, and his eyes dart to Gordon's junk. “huh,” he says. “uhhh. yeah.” He lifts a hand from Gordon's wrist and drags it down his front, where it’s broad and hot even though the fabric of his t-shirt. Gordon’s breathing goes shallow as his hand inches lower. And lower still. Then it finds the bulge in his jeans, and Gordon groans aloud as he arches into it.

Hold on. Right. Stick to the game plan. He uses his newly-free hand to shove at Benrey's shoulder and knock him onto his side. Got his ass. Benrey blinks at him, but like before, he’s got to be letting this happen - there probably isn’t much Gordon could make him do if he didn’t want to. God knows he’s had enough prior experience with that. Finally, Gordon pushes him onto his back and crawls on top of him in a reversal of their previous position, an arm at his throat.

“Gotcha,” Gordon laughs breathlessly.

Benrey's mouth splits into a toothy, ugly smile. “yeah, bro. you got me,” he drawls. His arms fall flat against the ground, palms up, in an exaggerated show of deference. When he swallows, Gordon can feel his throat bob against his arm. “you gonna… uhhh… gonna keep going? or what? you scared?”

He’s not sure what to say to that, so he just lingers there, unmoving, while they both pant and stare at one another. Keep going? Like— like with his arm? At Benrey's throat? Oh. It’s… it’s like that. Blood rushes in his ears. As a test, Gordon presses down a little harder against Benrey's windpipe, and feels Benrey's reedy laugh in response.

“yeah,” Benrey says, voice hoarse, “yeah, that’s— that's the shit, bro.”

God, he’s really doing this, huh. Gordon's still deeply uncertain about this, but the look of disappointment that crosses Benrey's face when he lifts his arm off Benrey's neck - and then the excitement that returns to it when he replaces it with his hand, a thumb at his jugular - solidifies his resolve. “I’m— okay, look, I don’t know what I’m doing here. Are you sure this is— fuck, man—”

Benrey's hips roll upward, and, well, that answers that question. “yeah. yeah. do it, c’mon, just fuckin’, go for it, you want me to fuckin’— ask nicely, god—”

“No, that’s,” Gordon interrupts, reeling. His mouth’s too dry to finish that thought. He kind of does want Benrey to ask nicely, but he thinks that might make his brain overheat and shut down. Instead, he squeezes just a little, just enough to feel skin and muscle start to give under his fingers. Benrey's grin only gets wider, baring his gums.

“squeeze harder. you won’t.”

That phrase activates something ugly in him, making his dick throb in his pants, and his other hand trembles as he scrambles to open his fly one-handedly. Gordon pushes his jeans down just enough to free his junk, sighing shakily with relief. Benrey's eyes glance down, and his pulse shoots up, and Gordon can feel it flutter under his hand.

“looks a bit shit,” Benrey says.

“Can you just shut up for once,” Gordon bitches back, knowing that he doesn’t mean it but irritated that he’s still pulling this shit when Gordon's just trying to be nice to him. He’s trying to give Benrey what he wants. He’s pissed, but he’s also so horny that he could fuck a hole in the floor, and these two factions of his brain war with each other until they come to an agreement that he should, in fact, squeeze harder.

So he does.

Benrey gasps, a shallow and wet gurgle. His arms remain helpless at his sides. A deliberate display of affected weakness. He doesn’t make any motion to stop Gordon, instead rasping into the open air, “fuck yeah. do it. both hands, bro.”

Gordon's still hesitant to oblige, but Benrey's enthusiastic response makes it easier. When Gordon gets his other hand into the mix, Benrey's hands ball into fists, and his hips undulate in a slow wave against Gordon's, pressing them together from chest to thigh.

He squeezes harder. Both hands. “I— I don’t know when to stop,” Gordon admits, voice trembling from just how fucking hot he is for this. He likes this. Benrey underneath him. He likes the flush on Benrey's face as he mouths silent affirmations that, yeah, this is good. Gordon starts to ramble out of a combination of nerves and agonizing horniness, “I know you’re not, like, human or whatever, so I don’t even know if you need to breathe, but I don’t— I don’t wanna hurt you, Benrey, not like, permanently. That’s not fun anymore, right?”

Benrey's smile falls a little, and his eyes dart to the side. Is he embarrassed? When he tries to speak, only a thin croak comes out, so Gordon releases his grip. Benrey’s heaving breaths rattle in his chest, and it shouldn’t get Gordon hot like this, but get Gordon hot it does.

“what are you, gay or sumn?” His voice comes out low and hoarse, and something about that makes Gordon feel Weird.

“What— Jesus, we’re— Our dicks are touching, man! We’re gay! We are so fucking gay right now!”

“i dunno.” Another heavy breath, like he’s coming up for air again. “could be gayer. this is like… four outta ten. weak.”

Gordon drags a palm down his face. “Oh my god. Fucking, fine. What do you want? A seven? I don’t even know what that fucking means, Benrey.”

“gotta uhhh… go for the gold. olympic style. ten outta ten.”

Does that mean what he thinks it means? A thrill surges in him before he can actively remember that this is Benrey he’s talking to, after all, and “ten outta ten” could mean just about anything to him. That could mean, like, marriage. And he’s not sure he’s ready for that level of commitment. (Don’t rule it out, his brain betrays him by whispering in his ear, conjuring up images of Benrey in a tuxedo and flower petals in the air. Jesus Christ, why is he even thinking about this right now?)

Whatever. He can crank it up a few notches. After all, they’re well and truly In The Shit now, right? They’re doing this. He’s doing this. Gordon shoves his briefs down to his knees, and Benrey stares, agog.

“i fuckin’— knew you had a nice hog. knew it,” he breathes.

That’s weirdly flattering. “Uh, thanks?” he says, uncertain. Then he starts to do the same for Benrey.

His hands hesitate as they approach Benrey's waistband. Gordon's eyes flicker up to meet his briefly, and Benrey's mouth parts in anticipation. Gordon decides to feel him up properly, just a little. He palms the curve of Benrey's stomach, peeking out a bit where his shirt’s ridden up. Then Gordon’s thumb dips into the line of his hip. Benrey makes a sound like it’s been punched out of him.

Finally, his palm finds the stark outline of Benrey's dick, and he feels it twitch in response. That’s such a goddamn turn-on that he thinks he might actually die, blood forcibly rerouting itself away from his brain. Gordon lets out a harsh breath. Then he loosely palms around it, feeling its form, and Benrey's hips jerk up into his hand.

“fuuuck,” Benrey breathes. He’s got a hand on his face, covering his mouth.

Gordon's mouth is so, so dry. He thumbs the tip, where the fabric’s slightly damp, then pulls down Benrey's waistband. (Benrey lifts his hips encouragingly to help.) His dick looks just as good as the picture he sent. Maybe even better in the flesh. Again, Gordon's hand is hesitant to wrap around him, but he gets more confident when Benrey orders him, “c’mon, do it.” And more so when Benrey groans at his touch. Goes straight to his head.

“Christ, you’re hot,” Gordon blurts out before his brain can wrangle that thought into submission.

Benrey lets out a rumbling laugh, smug as hell. “ain’t even seen— shit— the whole fuckin’ deal, bro, lemme—” He cuts himself off to pull his shirt over his head and toss it on the floor next to him.

Gordon looks.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. He’s dusted in thick black hair and a faint sheen of sweat, and he looks bigger, somehow, without clothes to contain him. He's all sallow skin and frighteningly-human flesh that gives easily where he squeezes and blood pumping like air through a bellows, blazing-hot. Gordon slips out of his own hoodie, leaving them both bare-chested. Then he rolls his hips forward. Slowly at first. Their dicks slide together, and it's a foreign sensation, to be sure, but it's one Gordon finds that he's into. He closes his eyes, awash with sensory information and close to drowning in it.

Benrey's hand is big enough to wrap around the both of them, letting Gordon focus on thrusting in time with Benrey and squeezing his neck. Gordon leans in close, barely an inch from Benrey's face. They could kiss right now. All Gordon would have to do is lean in. But it’s kind of fun to watch Benrey strain up in an attempt to do it himself, just out of reach. He grins smugly down at Benrey.

They establish a rhythm. Gordon squeezes and releases Benrey's neck in slow waves, steadily fucking Benrey’s hand as he does. He braces himself on his other arm. It’s so fucking— it’s intimate, practically. When he thrusts into Benrey's grip, it’s like a crude facsimile of fucking the guy himself. Their mouths are still so close, but even this late into the game, Gordon's nervous about taking that step. That would cross the line into— something. Something a little too real. Right?

Never mind the fact that they’re touching dicks already. Well, whatever. They’re in the shit now anyway. Gordon ducks down to kiss him, finally. He lets go of Benrey's neck when he does, and Benrey sucks a frantic breath through his nose and it’s the most intimate thing he thinks he’s ever experienced. It borders on overwhelming. Gordon winches his eyes shut from the sudden waves of want and embarrassment that crash over him in turn.

His lips are dry and chapped and curiously pliant. But it’s not so bad, Gordon finds. Not bad at all. Gordon pulls back a bit to gauge his reaction - Benrey’s eyes are wide, almost like he’s star-struck, still blinking, mouth hanging open.

Gordon opens his mouth to say something, but fuck knows what it was going to be, because before he can even properly breathe, Benrey dives back in for more, pushing upward into Gordon’s space with arms and legs and everything he’s got. A desperate moan rips out from somewhere deep in Benrey’s chest. Gordon can feel it against his teeth, all the way through to his bones.

It’s… it’s good. Makes hunger crawl into his belly. He pushes back with an equal and opposite force.

Benrey grabs Gordon by the back of the neck to keep him there. Gordon's hand drops down to join him, fingers linking around their dicks, and Benrey gasps and lets out a bit of that good old Black Mesa Sweet Voice by accident. It tastes like peach soda, sweet and tart.

This one’s strange, he notices. The effect is intoxicating. Gordon kisses him through it, licking into Benrey's mouth for more. He’s so hungry for the remnants of that Sweet Voice, he wants to lick Benrey clean of it. Delve as far down as Benrey will let him. Static sparks across his skin. Something’s blissfully clear in his mind, now. Like a fence has been knocked down in there.

Is this too gay of him? What does this mean for them? Is he going to be able to face himself in the mirror later? All those stupid questions of the super-ego bleed away into nothing, leaving just raw id behind.

He wants. He wants to bite. He wants to dig his fingers into the soft flesh of Benrey’s stomach and leave angry marks behind. He wants to rut like some kind of base fucking creature, pitiable and vulgar. He wants Benrey to beg for it, too.

Their legs tangle, interlocking and butting against each other. There’s— there’s so much to take in— the heat and moisture of their breaths mingling, the faint prickle of stubble at the corner of Benrey’s jaw, the way his glasses bump against Benrey’s face but he doesn’t care (and Benrey doesn’t, either) because that’s not as important as pushing back, giving as good as he gets. Yanking Benrey’s hair in retaliation when sharp teeth nip at his lip. Feeling, more than seeing, Benrey’s mouth part in a wicked grin when he does.

“not bad freeman,” he rasps when he pulls back. His eyes are dark, blown out with cruel intent. Gordon is struck by the sudden feeling that he’s about to be eaten alive. The way Benrey’s grinning at him doesn’t help. “didn’t think you’d be… uhhh… good at this shit.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He doesn’t get the satisfaction of an answer, because Benrey’s cackling at him and tugging him back in for another go. Gordon’s vaguely irritated, but if given the choice between bitching Benrey out and making out with him, right now, he’ll opt for the latter. At least it has higher odds of getting Benrey to knock his shit off.

Gordon breaks away to bury his face in Benrey’s shoulder as he gets close, breath coming hard and fast. “Sh— shit, Benrey, I— I think I’m gonna—”

At that, Benrey stops pumping them and squeezes, hard enough to border on painful. Gordon hisses through his teeth in surprise.

“The fuck?”

“not yet,” Benrey slurs, “you gotta— you gotta fuck me, man. you said you would. said you were gonna pound me into the mattress. what are you— uhhh— fuckin’ scared? chicken? cluck cluck.”

“Wha— Do I look scared to you?”

Benrey closes his mouth on a retort, and swallows. His throat bobs with it. Whatever he sees in Gordon's face right now is enough to make him shut up for once.

“Look, Benrey, you wanna do this? Because I— I wanna do this. I feel like I’m losing my mind, man, I—” Gordon stops to drop his head down into the crook of Benrey's shoulder again, and he inhales deeply. The musky smell is sharper and stronger and makes Gordon shiver. “I want so many fucking things right now, I feel like I’m gonna explode, and I can’t tell if it’s the just the Sweet Voice or— or what.”

“huh? yeah well. join the club.”

Gordon looks him in the eye, realization dawning. “Is this… is this how you feel all the time?”

Benrey deliberately doesn’t meet his gaze, and he shrugs. He’s a really bad liar, Gordon thinks. If this really is how Benrey feels about him all the time, well. That would explain a few things. Like why he suddenly feels like he wants to eat Benrey alive. He wets his lips and watches Benrey's eyes return to track the motion.

“Whatever you say, man. Can we at least do this on your bed or something? I don’t really wanna fuck you on the floor or whatever.”

“you could tho,” Benrey blurts out, then closes his mouth with an audible click. He lets go of their dicks anyway, and they slide over to Benrey's mattress, shuffling out of their pants on the way. (It's not a long journey. He's got it set up right next to his couch.)

Benrey doesn't give him much time to settle in before he pounces, crawling on top of Gordon. Gordon's hands can finally scrabble at Benrey's flesh like he's been wanting as Benrey straddles him, his dick flush against his ass.

“you wanna uhhh… wanna raw me bro? bareback? i’m good for it, fuckin’, clean as a— like a brand new PC. got antivirus.”

Gordon stares, taken aback. “What,” he says.

“said i’m clean as a—”

“As a brand new PC, yeah, I got that.” He wasn’t asking because he didn’t hear. Against all reason, and because something in his gut is telling him that it would be a really good idea, he agrees to this.

Benrey looms over him, casting a broad shadow as the sunlight recedes from his apartment. “yeah? yeah? fuck, dude. i’m ready. been ready. since last night even. got fuckin’— stretched out, thought you were gonna—”

He digs his fingers into Benrey’s hips, and savors the way he hisses. “Wait, you’re, uh… ready? I kind of thought there was some prep work involved,” Gordon frowns.

Above him, Benrey smirks, teeth bared wickedly. “check it out,” he says, then he reaches behind himself and starts doing… something, brow furrowed in concentration. Benrey makes a low, dark noise in his throat, and his face does something funny, and then he’s pulling out—

“Jesus Christ, Benrey.” It’s— it’s obscene, frankly, watching him show off the plug that was inside him just a moment before. Gordon genuinely doesn’t know how to react to this. His face burns like it’s been blistered in the sun. “Did you really have that in the whole time?”

“uhhh duh. not like i slipped it in while you weren’t watching, genius.” He tosses it onto his floor unceremoniously, and Gordon winces a little, watching its slick surface pick up dust and God knows what else. Benrey clearly does not give a shit about this. Instead, he grabs a tube of lube off the floor and pumps some into his hand. Then he raises his hips.

“Shit, you’re really doing this,” whispers Gordon in utter disbelief.

Benrey’s tongue peeks out through his teeth as he gives Gordon a few preparatory strokes to lube him up - not that they’re strictly necessary to get him going, since that Sweet Voice has his boner raging - and he lines his dick up to sink down on him. Gordon’s eyes pop open as wide as they’ll go. It’s slow-going, but Benrey’s tight and warm and slick and there’s sweat beading on his brow and Gordon doesn’t know what to do with his hands so they just hover there, frozen.

Eventually, after what seems like an eternity, Benrey bottoms out and lets out a truly fucking filthy sound. “fuck, gordon,” he breathes, “fuckin’— big, god.”

He’s flattering him, Gordon thinks. It’s a little disconcerting. But that’s a distant afterthought in the grand scheme of things. His fingers flex, slowly, and then find their way back to Benrey’s hips. “Oh my God.”

Benrey licks the front of his upper teeth. “s’good, huh.”

All he can do is nod furiously, glasses bouncing on his nose. It’s good, it’s so fucking good, it’s better than he ever fucking imagined when he was mindlessly spouting off fantasies and Benrey’s hardly even moving yet.

When he does, it knocks Gordon’s breath out of him. Benrey leans back, bracing himself with his arms behind him, and his broad thighs tense and flex as he works himself up and down.

“gonna… screenshot that look on your face,” says Benrey, stilted from the effort. “right click. save as ‘gordos fucked up moments’ dot png.”

Ideally, Gordon would like to tell him to stop talking, but the truth is that the shit Benrey’s saying barely registers right now. Especially when Benrey moves faster, dick bouncing in time with the motion. He bites back the sudden urge to laugh. Because, yes, it is kind of funny to see, in a distant way, but he also doesn’t want to explain why he’s laughing when he could just keep his big mouth shut and enjoy Benrey riding him like a horse and not theoretically make Benrey hop off his dick out of spite.

Gordon becomes cognizant of his own body again, and realizes that he can contribute a little. So he does, rocking upward in time with Benrey. It gets him to gasp. Something dark and self-satisfied makes its home in Gordon’s belly. He does it again just to watch Benrey’s face twist, and then again, until they’ve established an awkward rhythm.

“You look,” Gordon starts, tongue heavy in his mouth, “really good like this, dude,” because he does, and the flush that crawls up Benrey’s chest in response is gratifying.

“shit— yeah? keep… keep talkin’.”

“Really good,” he repeats. Gordon doesn’t have a lot of brain cells left to rub together to think of something better. Judging by the redness creeping into Benrey’s face, though, it works.

Instead of racking his brain for more, he opts instead to shift his legs for more leverage, knocking Benrey forward on top of him. He catches himself with an arm near Gordon’s face, blinking in surprise. Then he drops to his elbows when Gordon starts to fuck him in earnest.

“oh damn,” Benrey inhales sharply. He presses his forehead to Gordon’s. “that’s— fuck, yeah, you got this, fuck me—”

Gordon gets ahold of his ass and squeezes to make his point. “What do you think I’m doing right now?”

Benrey doesn’t answer that directly, instead winching his eyes shut and whining, “you’re always so— hhh— so mean to me n’ shit.”

“I thought you… ah, you liked that.” Benrey’s dick bobs against his stomach, fat and full and leaving a thin, slick trail between them, and that feels like it should be answer enough.

He moans aloud, voice breaking a little, and Gordon’s whole body tenses from just how hot that gets him. “yuhhh— yeah, shit. i like making you mad. but then you started being all— all nice to me too sometimes. tellin’ me you liked my voice. gay shit.”

A soft laugh puffs out of him. “That’s because I like you, dumbass,” Gordon says, gently condescending, and Benrey moans louder at that than the previous thing. Huh.

“you want— want your friend benrey on his knees? wanna bend me over? let you fuckin’— do whatever you want bro,” Benrey babbles at him.

God, yeah, he does. He slows his hips and pulls out so that Benrey can do just that. Somehow, more than anything, the sight of Benrey’s back makes his mouth water - dense muscles bunch and arch in organic waves, glistening with sweat, and he can’t help but run a hand down their crests. Benrey shudders under him.

“Jesus,” Gordon says quietly, as he pushes in again and listens to Benrey groan in response. “Is this what you were thinking about? Last night?”

Benrey makes a sound that he can only interpret as delirious assent. “not just last night,” he says, speech rapid, “all the time. fuckin’ every day. saw your dick slip and started thinkin’ about it. but the— hhhh— 3d’s better than 2d. ‘m gonna rotate this around in my mind every day now—”

“Benrey.” What the fuck is he even saying.

Underneath him, Benrey laughs, breath shaky. “wanna make me shut up? i know you do freeman. gonna have to fuck me harder if you wanna make me.”

“Is that a— hah— a challenge?”

“yea— ahh!” He trails off into a groan as Gordon takes him up on it. His hips slap against Benrey’s ass as he works himself into a steady tempo, one hand on Benrey’s hip and the other lingering on Benrey’s back. Benrey takes it so fucking well, he thinks wildly, pushing back against each thrust and whining like a little bitch.

Benrey’s shoulders dip little by little, and before Gordon knows it, he’s got his head down and his ass up and his face buried in the crook of his elbow to muffle the string of sounds he’s letting out. Jesus. He could— he could pin him again, pin his arm behind his back again. And he just knows Benrey will let him, so he takes Benrey’s free hand and twists it behind him. Their fingers link together as he pushes it up between Benrey’s shoulder blades again.

“please,” Benrey whines through his nose.

Holy shit. “Say it— say that again,” he pants.

Benrey’s a good boy and does as he says. Think about baseball, Gordon frantically tells himself, because if he comes right now he’s going to kick himself. He’s not going to get what he came here for. He wants to see it: he wants to see Benrey’s face when he comes. He’s been thinking about it the whole goddamn time, and he’s tired of relying on his lackluster imagination to fill in the gaps. And he doesn't realize he's voiced this desire aloud until Benrey drawls, "yes, siiirrrrr," at him.

Gordon lets him go again, and their limbs knock together awkwardly as he pulls out and Benrey situates himself on his back.

"that's some gay shit, gordon," he says. "what next? you want a fuckin' uhhh shotgun wedding after? gonna knock me up, gonna have to put a ring on it."

Did he pick up on that goddamn thought earlier? Gordon shakes his head like a wet dog to rid himself of it. "Stop," he groans, pulling Benrey's hips forward and pushing his thighs back so as to bend him double. Benrey licks his lips in heady anticipation. "Seriously, you know, you say something too dumb and I'm gonna go soft on you."

Actually, he's not sure he's physically capable of that right now, but what Benrey doesn't know won't hurt him. At long fucking last, he buries himself to the hilt and fixes his eyes on Benrey's face. Eyes wide. Pupils blown. Eyebrows knitted in concentration. Sweat trickling down his temple, matting his hair. Power rushes to Gordon's head.

Benrey swears aloud, a long, half-mumbled string of them, and Gordon clenches his fingers in Benrey's thighs until they leave red, angry valleys behind. Finally. He moves, and Benrey's hands find their way to his shoulders, his arms. Finally, he's wringing the words from Benrey that he's been dying to hear again - "oh god," he chokes out here, "harder," he pleads there.

Gordon's breathing is ragged, and he has to pause to fill his lungs properly before he tells Benrey, "Ask nicely."

Those hands clutch at his shoulder blades. "fuck," Benrey spits out, "please, you gotta— gotta, gotta fuck me harder, bro, i'm fuckin' gagging for it, come on come on, please. please?"

He drinks it in. Christ. This is going to give him some kind of complex. But it's so satisfying to make Benrey beg for him and do exactly what Gordon wants for a change, so he plays nice. It spurs him on to fuck Benrey faster. Harder. Skin slapping together as he gives Benrey what he wants, too.

Something fizzles and crackles. Benrey's arms flicker like a bad hologram for a moment. He's slurring, glitching out in audio and video, and distantly Gordon wonders if he should be worried. But Benrey's asking him so nicely to keep going, just like that, bend him just a little further so he can hit just the right spot.

"gonna, fuckin'," starts Benrey. One of his hands slips from Gordon's shoulders and moves to stroke himself off. That's not how Gordon wants to play this game, though. If Benrey's gonna come, like Gordon assumes, he's gonna be the one to make him. So he grabs Benrey's wrist and pins it next to his head, slipping his fingers in between Benrey's.

"Did you ask?"

Benrey snarls. "you're so… goddamn mean to me, shit, why you doin' this to me?"

"I thought we already established that— ah, fuck— you like it when I'm mean," pants Gordon.

He slams his head back against the mattress. "yeahhh," he whines, "fuck, yeah. j-just, shit, don't stop." Benrey repeats that last request over and over, squeezing Gordon's hand harder and harder as he does.

"Not gonna stop. I got you," Gordon says, and he means it. His thighs ache and burn from exhaustion, but the last thing he wants is to stop now, just before Benrey reaches the finish line. "I got you," he says again, withdrawing his hand from Benrey to stroke him off himself.

Benrey’s eyes go wide, and his fingers scrabble at Gordon’s back, and all he can say "oh fuck, gordon," repeating his name like a filthy mantra again as his face wrenches up and he spills into Gordon's hand. Oh God, he's tight, he's so fucking tight from it that Gordon's hips piston desperately as he chases his own release. He's close. He's so close.

All he gets out is a desperate shout of Benrey's name before he buries himself as deep as he can go, pumping Benrey full of come. He doesn't even have the brainpower to wonder why that's the way he's phrasing it in his head.

Then Benrey noclips through the bed.

"Oh, shit," Gordon grunts. There's suddenly a lot less of Benrey for him to lean on and he topples forward, landing on hands and knees. "Fuck, Benrey, are you okay? Do you need— how can I— Jesus, what—" He attempts to fish for a hand or something to pull Benrey up with, but all he can see is Benrey's dick clipping through his bed, and he starts to laugh uncontrollably. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like Benrey needs the help: after a moment he climbs back out of the bed and rights himself.

"yeah yeah yuk it up bro. like it's never happened to you before."

He slumps over Benrey, too exhausted to argue with that. Benrey tosses him an old t-shirt, which is, uh, kind of gross, but Gordon makes use of it anyway to wipe himself clean. Then he flops over onto the mattress. Seeing Benrey look at him like this - flushed, relaxed, self-satisfied and utterly infatuated - makes him feel weird and soft.

“you the uhhh big spoon or the little spoon?”

“Uh, I’m not sure,” he mumbles, brain struggling through molasses.

They end up sprawled loosely together, Benrey with an arm around Gordon and Gordon with an arm thrown over Benrey. He’s… he’s really comfortable to do this shit with. Soft and warm and, well, really sweaty. Still. Gordon’s not in the right mind to be fussed about it. It’s remarkably easy for him to turn his brain off and pass out on top of Benrey.

When he wakes up in the morning, light filtering through the blinds directly into his fucking eyes, he squints and glances at Benrey, mysteriously asleep for once. His mouth hangs open a little on a snore. Gordon can’t help the way the corners of his mouth turn up. Maybe he’ll feel weirder about this later, when he’s having a soul-searching moment in the mirror, but for right now? He can handle this.

This is fine.

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[→ part 3: Pavlovian Reflex]