Caressing the Marble and Stone
by Janete
April 2001

Disclaimer:  If they were ours, there'd be more leather.

Spoilers:  hah!  (um, no)

Summary: And when Sam gets that feeling...

Rating: NC-17

Authors' note: Boy, did this *ever* get out of hand.

Warning: Gratuitous pop culture references.

Acknowledgments: We love you, readers, oh yes we do...

Title snitched from Joy Division's "In a Lonely Place"

Feedback:  Yes, dammit!,,


Jane:  I was digging through my folder of potential sigs (all in a
pile, waiting for the mood to strike me), and something about this
one made me think of Ric & Shatty:

    Safety first!  When riding a bicycle, wear a helmet.
    When engaging in sex, wear a condom.
    When watching TV, wear both.

Te: Heee! God, that couch of theirs sees a lot of action...

Jane: You think it's bad now, just wait until Sam decides to come
jump on them.  (Mmmm... Sam... *homerdrool*)

Te: *nnngh* Sam because he *knows* about them, or thinks he does,
and is having all these feelings (all this lust) that thoughts of
Tabitha aren't even reaching anymore. Times when it seems his
control is down to the barest shreds because he wants so *badly*.

And he thinks, maybe, he might know what he wants.

Catches himself thinking about it in the shower.  What it must feel
like to be held down, to fight against someone who can hold their
own, or even beat you.  Nothing like wrestling with a girl, he thinks,
none of that need to be careful and gentle.  More of a risk.  And on
some level just *visceral*, the stomach-jolt that comes with his
thoughts of muscle on top of him, of rough-haired legs around and
between his own.

And comes at the thought of it.  Grip tight around the base of his
cock somehow dirty and essentially *good* at once.  Something
that Ric would tease him about if he caught Sam like this, though
he'd hardly be the first guy in X-Force to get caught with his pants
around his knees.  Or just naked.  Wet and slick and somehow -- in
spite of the orgasm -- still *aching* for it.

Weird moment to both fear and love the meaning of the phrase
"sexual peak," but it just sends him into thoughts about what it
would be like with another man.

No immediate need to be gentle, or talk, though he doesn't mind...
It's just that right now, more than anything else, what he wants is
to be doing it *again* with some guy.

Or not really any guy, he's not... he doesn't. He'd like to know the
person.  Trust them with his body and the visceral shame that no
amount of no-nonsense lecturing on the Facts of Life from Dom
can keep from heating his face. Jesus. Jesus.

Well, at least he's only half-hard, and whatever Shatterstar's
watching on TV is bound to kill it. No more pornography during
the day is the rule, and everyone either laughed or blushed when
Cable said it, except for Rictor, who spat out his water and *stared*
at Shatterstar. Shock turning into something else as the look was
shared and held.

And, so maybe Sam has another reason for wanting to be near
Shatterstar, to let himself get used to the idea of talking about this
*thing* with him. It's not like Ric and Shatty've announced
themselves or anything. It's just... it's in the way the rest of the
talks about the two of them *as* a them, in the nods and glances
and the way Feral is even meaner than usual. There ought to be
something that fixes hurts like hers, but Sam doesn't know what it

He isn't even really sure how to start this conversation.  Because
Shatterstar's the least familiar person in X-Force to him.  Sort of
Mike-from-Mars-ish in a way that makes Sam want to *grok* things
and then laugh at the look on Shatty's face while he ponders that
one.  Or maybe the look on Cable's, since as far as Sam can tell, pop
culture references still leave the man entirely behind.  They've got
him brushed up on "The Wizard of Oz" and "Star Wars," but he's a
little too much of a snob for pulp sci-fi, and anyway their lives are
enough like a bad (well, any, really) Heinlein novel for reading it to
be just that much more disturbing.

Sam has a moment in the hall when he wonders which bimbo Ric is,
then, if Shatty's Mike-from-Mars.  Before it occurs to him that *he's*
the wide-eyed blond come begging on the doorstep.  And comes
into the den still trying to swallow his half-embarrassed laughter,
meaning to somehow incorporate himself into the process of
television watching.

Rictor's out for the afternoon, and Shatterstar's so intensely focused
on the current episode of television-judge-solves-trailer-trash
problems that he doesn't look up.  Sam goes to sit, but he twists to
stare at the girl confronting whoever's wronged her, because for
more than a second it looks just like Tabitha.  For thinking that
alone he should feel guilty, but something about that strung-out
insistence on herself is just so undeniably *her*.  And he ends up
not sitting down at all, just crouched in front of the couch with his
hands between his knees, staring.  So that when he finally turns to
talk to Shatterstar he just stays there, low and looking up into
Shatty's silver-paleness.

Mane of hair tied up in a somehow practical top-knot. It's looks
less... touchable this way, and Sam wonders if he ever lets it down
when Ric isn't around. A sort of gentle privacy in that thought,
something that makes him react in almost the same way as he
would to a smallish, cute, begging dog.

Thinks they should have a dog. And maybe a couple of those
weirdly independent cats that have never felt quite pet-like to him.
They would probably suit Dom, and maybe Shatterstar, too.

"Do you like dogs?" Which, OK, isn't the best opening gambit he's
ever come up with, but at least he's no longer just *staring*.

Slow turn to face him, face mostly that model-pretty blank, save
for the slightly quirked eyebrow. "In what way?"

"As pets. You know, to play with."

"I have never had a dog in such a manner."

Which triggers a whole flood of images that Sam simply did not
need, so he does his best to just nod. "I was thinking maybe we
could get one, sort of a team mascot."

"I find the idea of mascots rather... disturbing."

"Well, OK, not a mascot, then. Just a pet."

"Hmm. What purpose would it serve?"

"Oh, you know, it would just hang around, steal our socks to run
around with. Bark at nothing. Something we could all play with."

And Shatterstar is suddenly so deeply lost in thought that Sam
wonders if he *broke* something. Asked him to divide by zero,
count angels on a pin. It's sometimes hard to remember that
Shatterstar is at least as human as the rest of them are, if not
necessarily as... *familiar*.

The silence stretches for a while, the trailer trash girl weeping
with gratitude and grating a little on Sam's consciousness before
Shatterstar finally speaks again.

"Playing is useful."

It's not a question, so Sam doesn't offer an answer.

"I think Julio would like a dog..."

It's said so softly that Sam's startled.  Nothing like Shatterstar's
declarations on the way of the warrior or his slightly confused
observations on the mixed-up weirdness of pop culture that he
seems to *get* on a level that most of the people from this
dimension just don't.  Which may say as much about TV as it says
about Shatterstar.  But when Sam turns to look at him, there's just
this tiny, soft smile playing across Shatterstar's lips, and if Sam
wasn't sure before, he is now.

He's jealous.  And he was before, but his body-lust didn't contain
the fact that nobody's ever smiled like that for him.  And it's
something that everything in his life to this point has made him

It's a sign that he should walk away.

But instead he pulls one knee up on the couch and says in his best
Jewish accent, "True love is the greatest thing in the world.  Except
for a nice MLT -- mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich -- when
the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe.  They're so
perky.  I love that!"

Shatterstar stares at him for a moment before making the connection.
And then smiles again, though in that less intimate way that just
says that they're communicating in the same language for a change.
Speaking media, or something.  But he either doesn't make the
connection or he ignores it, because he doesn't say anything.  Just
goes back to watching television.

And Sam sits with him.  Feels the time pass easily, and falls a little
under the spell of the trailer-girl's post-verdict statement to the
camera.  Watches commercials.  Goes with it when Shatterstar slides
them into a talk show that's just starting.  The sun's low and slanting,

and it catches the soft, loose bangs Shatty's acquired recently.  Sam's
not sure whether Shatterstar actually cut his hair that way, or whether
it's just that some bits aren't long enough to fit into the pony tail
without accompanying gel, but he can see the light through it, and
he's not sure he's ever seen anything so startlingly red.

Reaches out with one hand and ends up curling his hand against
one pale cheek when Shatty turns unexpectedly into his touch.

Leaving them... there. Somehow still, and trapped in the moment.
Staring and silent until Sam swallows once, painfully, and traces
the curves and angles of Shatty's face, and back toward the curve of
his ear.

Shatty does nothing but lowers his lashes, a message Sam
desperately wants to decipher *his* way, and so he leans in for a kiss.
Soft and probably embarrassingly chaste, and the other man neither
moves nor closes his eyes.  Knot of need and frustration in Sam's
chest and he does it again, lips parted, and again, slipping his tongue
over and around the soft, closed mouth.

And backs away, palm hot and slightly damp against the heat of
Shatty's skin.

"What do you want of me, Sam?"

Pulls in a shuddering breath and tries not to feel how hard he is
already, or at least not to show it too plainly. He already knows the
answers he'll get, and he can't quite bring himself to ask. Leans in
fast, instead, tonguing at the place Shatty's lips meet, begging for
entrance, permission.  Breathing ragged through his nose, free hand
not brave enough to make this any more clear than it already is.

In the end he chokes out a moan against Shatty's lips and just...
stays there. Waits.

"I do not wish to have sex with you, Sam."

Sam shudders, just once. "I think I figured that out."

Shatty nods judiciously and sits back, easily slipping away from
Sam's touch. "Perhaps Julio would. Would you like me to ask
him? I understand these negotiations can be difficult."

Blinking and staring, and now Sam's feeling shorted out. Resolves
to be nicer to computers in the future, and at least let enemy
computers die a quick, noble death. Realizes just in time that he's
about to fall off the couch and go into hysterics, and clamps down
on it hard. For now. "Um."

"We haven't discussed monogamy yet; it is possible that he has a
different viewpoint."


"Are you unfamiliar with the concept?"

"Er... no..."

Another nod, and Shatty returns most of his attention to the screen.
At least Sam's not as hard anymore, but it's not much comfort,
really, especially since a weak, sick part of him is now recasting the
last hour's fantasies with Ric.

*I am Sam Guthrie, Homosexual Slut Mutant.*

"Ah.. that would be. Um. Great. The asking. Of Ric."

Another nod. "Julio has taught me the importance of fulfilling one's
needs.  I would've thought something so vital would be more in
evidence in your culture's advertising and entertainment."

Well, that's *relatively* safe ground. "Ah, well... if everyone got
what they needed, there wouldn't be enough drama. You find more
of that sort of thing in the movies, I think."

"The limitations of weekly programming. I understand. Sometimes
we were asked to make the battles longer, and more exciting."

"Um. You don't... um. Do that now. Do you?"

"That would impractical and dangerous."

"Wasn't it impractical and dangerous then?"

"Very much so, but I've been assured that it was highly

Sam nods slightly.  This new world he seems to be living in is way
too surreal, but then, conversations with Shatty have always been
like that.  He pulls himself together, eventually, and gets up.  Goes
to his room and reads.

He doesn't think he's hiding, not really.  He learned to hide from
Nathan, who's the annually-honoured master of the art of making
oneself scarce.  He's just staying out of the way.  By the window
with whatever book his aunt gave him for Christmas.  Something
paperbacked and small enough to hold comfortably in one hand.

He's still there four hours later when Rictor comes in.  Without
knocking.  And stands in the doorway, attempting to loom and
not quite managing it.  He'd have an easier time if Sam didn't have
three inches on him.

Sam looks over and he's surprised by the swell of *want* that hits
him.  Sight and smell of this man in the doorway almost too much.
He has to pull his knees up to hide the growing hard-on in his
jeans and tries to think of something to say.

Ric says, "I had a weird conversation with 'Star."

Sam doesn't say anything.

"You kissed him."  Not a question.


"He asked me if I wanted to fuck you."

Sam flinches.  Tries to ignore the ache in his belly and between
his legs.

Rictor comes in and slams the door.  The picture of Sam's family
on the shelf beside the door falls over, and so does the desk chair.
Sam's not sure that Ric hasn't amplified the shockwave to make his

He keeps the book between them.  It's no kind of protection, but
it's a psychological barrier, at least.  And he should have expected
that Rictor would be angry.  Sam would have been, in Ric's place.
Tries to imagine what it might be like to storm into the room of
the man who just tried to seduce his lover and who's currently
sporting a hard-on for him, and comes up short.

*I am Sam's missing brain.*

Rictor bends over him, and now he does manage to loom.  "*Fuck*
you, Sam!  I love him!"

Sam whispers, "I figured.  Why I asked."

And it seems to halt Rictor there, glaring at him and breathing
through his nose. Fists clenched and ready at his sides until he
finally spins away and starts to pace Sam's room. Making it smaller,
making the air thick and unbreathable. Incredible, somehow, how
nothing at all is making the stupid, mindless *want* go anywhere.

How it all just makes him harder.

"You know, I could have expected this from that fucking bitch
Feral, but this... what the fuck is *wrong* with you, Sam?"

Almost pleading, that voice, and he can see how scared Rictor is,
how this *hits* him right where he lives. So easy to forget that
*Rictor's* the younger one, that Shatterstar isn't all-knowable even
to *him* and, oh fuck and oh God it's not fair that this is so... so *
fucked up* and all he can say is "I wanted... Ah... ah want. Still.
What you have."

Rictor in his face again. "You can't *have* it, you bastard! You get
that? Hunh?"

And Sam's looking and Rictor is looking. At him, focused entirely
on him for perhaps the first time since he walked in the room.
Staring at his crotch, at the bulge there and the red in Sam's
cheeks and.

It's maybe the moan that does it, long and low and rasping out
from deep in Sam's chest, the one that's all just Sam begging.
Begging for Ric to *look* at him again, even just like that, angry and
full of contempt, just *look* at him and see him so hard and wanting.
Like it would maybe make it easier to bear, easier to carry if Ric held
on to Sam's shame, too, and Shatterstar noted and remembered
Sam's need.

Rictor's hand on him through the jeans makes him cry out, slam his
head back against the window frame. Buck into it even as Rictor
squeezes hard -- too hard.

"You *want* this, 'mano? Hnn?" Low and dangerous, growled out
half-command, calling up vague memories of other fantasies and
oh God other men --

"*Yes*, fuck me, *please*..."

Tears at the corner of Sam's eyes, trickling down the grimace of his
face and his hands are shaking, opening his fly and pushing his
jeans down.  Briefs too, and his cock is *right* there. Hot and
obvious and seeking his abdomen. Near purple and just *aching* for
it, but when he moves to stand, turn around, kneel on the bed,
*anything*, Rictor just pushes him back into the same sprawl.

"No, you cheating fucker, you take what I *give* you."

Which is a hand around Sam's dick, jacking him rough and steady,
making him whimper with each stroke.

Pushing up into it, helplessly in rhythm, then stuttering,
shuddering out.  Holding on to the frame to keep his balance,
white knuckled and eyes wide, eyes open to Rictor's own. Anger,
and lust, and more anger as Rictor works him skillfully to a white
hot orgasm that leaves Sam shaking and still needing so damned
*much* when Rictor slams back out of the room.

Leaving Sam alone, curled in on himself. Dry-eyed and trying not
to think.