When You Love Someone, A Problem Is Something to Be Figured Out, Not Feared
Ezekiel had more fish on him than he’d had last time Isaac had fucked him. They were in different shapes and colours, and they covered his shoulders and upper arms, swam down his back and swirled around one leg in a big school that was clearly destined to get bigger. A few of them were outlined but most of them were coloured by now. He also had a piercing in his belly button and one in his right nipple.
The fish started to swim around him as he bounced Isaac on his lap, and Isaac couldn’t help but watch them, his dick rubbing against Ezekiel’s belly, touching the piercing now and then. They were so fascinating he didn’t notice himself getting close until he started to cum, unexpectedly splattering Ezekiel and his fish.
Ezekiel brought Isaac’s attention back, kissing him, kept bouncing him for another minute before he himself came, then let Isaac rest on his shoulder for a minute.
“What are you going to do,” Isaac asked, watching the last, cutest fish move back into place, “when you run out of space?”
“I thought about that already,” Ezekiel said. “You want to see something cool?”
Ezekiel had shown Isaac a lot of cool things already in the time they’d been friends. “Sure.”
“Here, look.” Ezekiel gestured, and the fish all fled, swimming down his body and disappearing.
“Where’d they go?” Isaac asked, really impressed now. They hadn’t just moved around, they were gone.
“They’re down here, see?” Awkwardly, he brought his foot up onto the bench, where there was a small black tattoo on his ankle in the shape of two interlocking fish. “I made a pond for them. So that when I’m completely full up, I can put them away and give Haim more canvas to work on. I was thinking it might be cool to have a bunch of crazy ocean stuff like sharks and octopuses and stuff. Or maybe birds. Hemi told me once about these super colourful birds they have where he’s from, and he showed me some drawings. It’d be cool if I could be that colourful. And since I’ll never run out of magic, I’ll never run out of space for Haim to colour.”
Something, Isaac thought, was a bit off in his voice. “You okay?” he asked, climbing off Ezekiel’s dick and standing. He stretched.
Ezekiel nodded, tapping his ankle. The fish came swarming back, settling into their places all over his body. “Yeah, of course. Everything’s fine.”
Isaac had a feeling it wasn’t. But he also had a feeling he shouldn’t push. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s go wash off?” Ezekiel’s cum was running down his leg.
Ezekiel stood, walked Isaac over to the shower, and got the water going for them. He helped Isaac wash off, not making eye contact and not just because he towered over Isaac. “How are you and Peter?” he asked, after a minute.
“We’re still not talking,” Isaac said. “I’m a little less mad at him than I was. I don’t know if he’s less mad at me.” He shrugged as Ezekiel washed his back. “He and Jacob are going to a fancy party tonight. They’ve probably left by now. Jacob said they might not be back until morning.” Isaac felt terrible that he was happy about that possibility. The room would feel so much less heavy tonight.
“I’m surprised they didn’t invite you.”
“They did, but I don’t like fancy parties and I’m not feeling up to going to the palace.”
Ezekiel nodded, turning so Isaac could wash him. “You two are perfect together, I’m sure you’ll be okay.”
“I’m sure we will too,” Isaac said, feeling dull at the idea. They’d be okay, somehow. “It’s just an argument. The thing we’re arguing about…it was bothering him for a really long time, I think. So in a way it’s good. That he said it, I mean. Instead of just sitting on it for even longer. Because now we can work it out.” Hopefully.
“Yeah,” Ezekiel said, and he sounded distant again.
“So…” Isaac asked, reaching up to do Ezekiel’s back now. “Are you and Haim dating, or…”
“Uh.” Ezekiel slumped. “I don’t really know.” He started to shake, and then suddenly he was crying.
“Woah, what’s wrong?” Isaac asked. Fuck, he hadn’t meant to make anyone cry. “Ezekiel, are you okay?”
Ezekiel nodded. “Shit, sorry,” he sniffed. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He was clearly trying to stop crying, but it took him a minute. “Sorry. I just, uh…I’ve been spending a lot of time at his place. He gives me free tattoos. We have sex. He’s really funny. I really, really like him. He’s also like my dad’s age and I think he just thinks I’m a pretty kid he can ink up and dick down and I’m…I’m afraid he’s going to get bored with me once he’s done doing that.”
“Have you shown him your fish pond?” But even as he said it, Isaac knew that wasn’t the answer.
Ezekiel shook his head miserably. “I thought it was such a cool idea when I did it. But now I think he’s going to think I’m disrespecting his work or, or worse, that I’m clingy and looking for a reason to stay when he wants me gone.”
Isaac hugged him. “It’s hard, liking someone.”
“It wasn’t this hard when I dated Ginny last year,” Ezekiel muttered, holding Isaac back.
“Why’d you break up?” Isaac asked. Ginny seemed nice.
“She got bored with me. Or maybe I got bored with her. But probably she did. Everyone gets bored with me eventually.”
“I don’t believe that’s true,” Isaac asserted, hugging Ezekiel tighter. “I think you believe that right now because you’re worried Haim’s going to get bored with you.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because all week I’ve spent half the night worrying that everyone I like has a secret problem with me that they just haven’t said out loud yet.”
Ezekiel was quiet at that, and they just hugged each other under the water for a while. Isaac turned it off. “You know what I think?”
Ezekiel nodded. “You think I should talk to Haim about it and be honest about how I feel.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“That’s so hard, though.”
“Why do you think I haven’t talked to Peter all week?”
“Yeah.” Ezekiel sighed. “Thanks, Isaac. It’s so stupid. I know that’s what I need to do. I know it’s the right thing to do. But I still needed to be kicked in the ass to actually do it.”
“Just because we know we need to do something doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Isaac told him. “You’re going to be okay. You care about him and I bet he cares about you just as much. You’ll figure it out.”
“What if he breaks up with me?” Ezekiel asked, in a voice so small.
“Then you can come to my room and we’ll sit on my bed and call him names all night until you feel better,” Isaac promised.
Ezekiel looked at Isaac, and he laughed a little, just a little. “Okay. Thank you, Isaac. I’m going to go. I think Nicholas wants to talk to you.”
Isaac looked over his shoulder, saw Nicholas there in the doorway. He waved, a little awkward, and Isaac waved back. “Yeah. I’ll see you later.” He kissed Ezekiel on the cheek and patted the fish on his ass.
Ezekiel smiled, and headed out, clapping Nicholas’s shoulder on the way out. “You’re really lucky, you know,” he told Nicholas, on the way by.
“I know,” said Nicholas. He came over and leaned against the wall, looking at Isaac. “Hi.”
“Hi. I’m really sorry.”
“You haven’t done…”
“I’ve been avoiding you because of the thing with Peter,” Isaac said, looking away. He’d been avoiding a lot of people. “It was crappy of me to do that. It’s not your fault and I shouldn’t take it out on you.”
“But it is my fault, right?” Nicholas asked. “It’s me Peter’s mad at.”
Isaac shook his head. “It’s me he’s mad at. He just…” he sighed.
“Isaac, you won’t tell me what’s wrong and neither will he, and I know you guys argued about me; I was there. I get that I did something wrong, but I can’t fix it if you won’t tell me what.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Isaac insisted.
“Obviously you think that, but just as obviously Peter doesn’t.”
Goddamnit. Not telling him was just making it worse. “He doesn’t like…I don’t even think he doesn’t like you, I think he just doesn’t like the way you used to treat me when we first met. He thinks that you’re still…you know, the way that you used to be.”
“An asshole,” Nicholas said, leaning awkwardly on his elbow. “I…don’t think I’ve ever apologized to you for being such a shithead, have I?”
“I’m sure you have,” Isaac said. He didn’t remember. “It doesn’t matter. You were confused and upset.”
“That wasn’t an excuse to treat you like crap.” Nicholas shook his head aggressively. “I’m not a little kid; I should have known better than to treat another person that way. I did know better than to treat another person that way and I did it anyway. I shouldn’t have done that and I’m sorry.”
“Nicholas,” Isaac said. “You don’t need to apologize to me. And I’m sorry—I was an asshole to you too.”
“You weren’t, really.” Nicholas shut his eyes, sighing. He looked like he was hurting and that was exactly what Isaac hadn’t wanted. Isaac just wanted to touch him to make him feel better. So he reached for Nicholas’s hand, but Nicholas shrank back. “Look, I just feel bad. I know this thing with Peter is my fault, and I just…” He took a really deep breath. “If you need to not be dating me to fix it with him I’d understand.”
“What?” That stabbed Isaac right in the heart. “No. I’m not going to do that.”
Nicholas looked away. “I just don’t want to ruin your relationship with him. Maybe I never should have said anything in the lift.”
Now Isaac snatched Nicholas’s hand, pulling him closer. “Shut the fuck up, you asshole,” he said, more harshly than he should. “What the hell? You see me having a fight with someone and your solution is to break up with me? How the hell is that fair?”
“No,” Isaac said, shaking his head. “No, Nicholas. You’re not ruining my relationship with Peter. He and I aren’t about to break up over this, and neither are you and I. We’re just having a fight. I meant what I said in the lift, and everything I’ve said since then. I love you. And I know you love me too, so I’m not going to lose you over this.”
Nicholas hung his head, red all down to his shoulders. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “You’re right. I was being stupid. I just…I don’t want to hurt you again, Isaac.”
“I know you don’t.” Now Isaac tried to talk gently, feeling really bad about getting mad. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have freaked out like that. I don’t want to hurt you either.”
Nicholas nodded, slipping his arms around Isaac. His heart was beating strong against Isaac’s chest. “I know you don’t. You’d never want that.”
Isaac shook his head, letting Nicholas hold him. Why did all of this have to be so hard? “Neither would you. I just need to make Peter understand that. ”
“I thought about talking to him,” Nicholas muttered. “But I was afraid to make it worse.”
Isaac also didn’t think that was a good idea. “Let me talk to him first,” he said. “Once we’re not mad at each other I’m sure we can talk it out and figure something out. We all want what’s best for each other, so we’ll be okay, I’m sure of it.”
“Why are you so sure?” Nicholas asked. “I wish I was that sure.”
“I’m sure,” Isaac promised. “I’m sure, because we love each other. So we’ll work it out.”
That, as far as Isaac was concerned, was it. He and Nicholas loved each other. He and Peter loved each other. And that was what mattered. They’d figure something out. That was what people did when they loved each other. They figured it out.
And Isaac would stand here, holding Nicholas, until he’d convinced him that this didn’t have to end badly as long as nobody wanted it to. “I have to shower and go,” Nicholas said after a bit. “I promised Chester I’d help him study.”
“Sure,” said Isaac, pulling back. He tried to smile at Nicholas. He didn’t really want to be alone. “You’re a really good person and I hope you know that.”
Nicholas lowered his head. “So are you,” he said. He gave Isaac a kiss, and turned on the water.
Isaac headed out, trying not to pout as he dried off and went upstairs. Dark kept the air around him warm so he didn’t need to get dressed, and he made sure to smile when he met people in the halls. It wasn’t that he was trying to lie about how he was feeling, but he didn’t want to put everyone out by sulking everywhere.
Up in his room, he could hear Skip and Spencer, or rather just Skip, talking excitedly. “You know I bet I could have convinced him the dorm had a no-clothes policy if he’d come in. I mean, we practically do. I bet he’d have been into it.”
“Yeah,” Spencer agreed, sounding patient. “I bet he would.”
“Who would?” Isaac asked, coming into the room. There was a basket on his bed, full of bread and fruit and flowers.
Spencer and Skip were both just wearing shorts in the room that they’d clearly kept warm, or that Spencer had, judging by how the Forces were vibrating. It was a really subtle spell; Isaac almost didn’t notice. Skip was grinning from his bed, surrounded by books. He was up on his knees, facing Isaac, not hiding a boner. “Isaac, who’s Leo and how come we’ve never met him until today?”
Isaac blinked, looking from the basket to Skip and back. “I’ve only been seeing him for a bit,” Isaac said. “He’s a knight.”
“I know,” Skip said in a sigh, falling back onto his books. “He came by and dropped that off. Said he didn’t want to bug you, so he just left it with us at the gate and went. You should invite him by sometime soon.”
“Yeah, I probably will,” Isaac said, sitting on his bed. There was a little note written in big, uneven letters.
Sorry to hear you’re not doing well. I don’t want to get in your way, but I’m thinking about you. Come find me when you’re feeling up to it.
“Are his clothes always so tight?” Skip asked, holding Spencer’s hand. “Because he had armour on but his pants, like, I couldn’t decide which direction I wanted him to face more, though I knew which direction I wanted to face…”
Isaac peered up at Skip. “I thought you weren’t into sex?”
Skip rolled his eyes. Spencer was laughing beside him. “I have eyes, Isaac.”
“Hey, can you come up here and blow me or something?” Spencer asked Isaac. “Skip has to finish this theology homework and I don’t think he can with that scroll in his shorts. I’d like to give him something to jerk off to.”
Isaac laughed and got up to climb up the ladder. “Leo does have that effect on people.”
“Yeah, and I’d love to watch him make a mess of you and Spencer,” Skip agreed. “At the same time? Also I’d be happy to make out with Spencer while we watch him with Isaac, if he’s into that. Is he into that? Please tell me he’s into that, Isaac.”
“I’m sorry for him,” Spencer said, not sounding sorry. He also had a boner. “He’s having a moment. Which to be fair, Leo is hot. I’d definitely fuck him. I mean, for Skip’s sexual gratification, obviously.” He was blushing a lot and sounding a bit like Jacob. “You’re really lucky, Isaac.”
Isaac sat down beside Spencer, rubbing his leg on his way to pull Spencer’s shorts down. “I know,” he said.
He was really lucky. He had so many people who loved him, and who he loved back. And that was how Isaac knew he’d be okay.