Inferences and Innuendo Series
Club Doom
by Lenore

Summary: Blair's need to explore his sense of self-identity brings him back to Club Doom. Needless to say, things do not go well.

Warnings: Rated R, violence, m/m, attempted non-con.

Blair stepped through the battered metal door, and the noise hit him in the face, palpably, like a hard slap. The music was so loud it had overrun the boundaries of sound to become almost a physical presence, something he could touch, something that could touch him in return. It felt like hands, stopping him in his tracks, trying to turn him around and push him back the way he had come.

Or perhaps, that was all just his imagination.

He left the shelter of the doorway and moved across the dance floor toward the bar. Gyrating bodies collided with him no matter how hard he tried to avoid them. He almost got whacked in the head by one particularly enthusiastic girl. He never understood how people could dance to this hard, driving, guitar-laden stuff, but they seemed to manage it. He pushed his way quickly through the crowd to avoid more flailing arms.

He didn't quite know why he'd come back here. The last time had left him with anything but pleasant memories. In fact, this place had surfaced in more than a few nightmares. Not just garden variety bad dreams either, but serious sweat-soaking, oxygen-depriving nocturnal terror. It was Lash's stalking ground, after all, where he'd come trolling for victims, in search of an identity to steal, to take by force. For Blair, every corner of the club whispered the psychopath's name. Some taints just didn't fade.

But maybe there was something in the essence of the place that drew questors to it. Blair had come looking for something, too. Not so very different from what Lash had wanted, as profoundly disconcerting as that was. They both needed answers to the same important questions: Who am I?... What am I doing?

Lash had never been able to figure out those things for himself. Blair wasn't so sure he'd made much headway, either.

He circled the bar like it was a parking lot until he finally found an opening. He settled on a stool, ordered a beer and paid for it. The bartender smiled at the large tip. It seemed a good idea to keep the guy happy; Blair planned on being there a while. He took a sip, fidgeted nervously, twirled a strand of hair around his finger. He glanced around the crowded room, trying to be discreet. It was no use. Everyone else was looking for something, too. For someone. There was no one in the club who wasn't wired for connection, who wasn't instantly aware of the least little spark of contact. Everywhere he turned, he could feel their eyes on him, returning his gaze. He was always quick to look away.

It was none of them. He was certain of that. They were not who he was searching for.

He took another swallow. There. He had finally admitted it. He was looking for someone too, just like all the other people at the club, with the same pathetic combination of desperation and hopefulness. He didn't know who his someone would turn out to be, but he hoped the encounter would help him chart the truth about himself. He wasn't sure how he expected this to happen. The process of self-discovery was hardly clear cut. He just hoped to know the answer when he found it.

He continued to scan the room and drink his beer. Nothing. No one. Not even the slightest disturbance in the force, he thought wryly. He ordered another beer. He fidgeted more restlessly, to the obvious annoyance of the sullen boy-child slouching on the stool next to him. He ignored the kid's pointed glances and looked at his watch instead. By Club Doom standards, it was early yet. He sipped his second beer, more slowly than the first. He hunkered down, ready for the long haul, all night, if that's what it took. He had other places he could go, other things he should be doing. But there was nothing more important.

An hour passed. A girl with brilliant blue hair asked him to dance. When she spoke, light reflected off the gold stud in her tongue, and the piercing gave her a slight lisp. Jail bait, he could tell, and politely declined her offer. She walked away with the boy he'd been annoying with his restlessness. He figured they were even now.

Another hour ticked by. He sighed heavily and tried to smooth the wrinkles out of his shirt with both hands. It was silk and didn't stand up well to life's little stresses, things like sitting down or standing up or moving around or breathing. It was finicky, but that was part of its appeal. In the end, it was its impracticality that made it a dress-up outfit.

And he'd wanted to be dressed up for this, in a perversely self-conscious way. When he'd first put on the shirt earlier that evening, he'd stood in front of the mirror in his room, looking at it from every angle. Unwrinkled, it had seemed like the perfect thing--as far as he could discern what the perfect thing might be in these circumstances. He'd never really dressed with the idea of attracting attention before. Making a good impression, sure. But that was a more active thing somehow, in a guy-gets-girl kind of way. Whenever he dressed to go clubbing, he tried to imagine how a woman would react when he made his move on her, what would run through her mind, whether she would see geeky chic when she looked at him or just a geek.

But tonight, he had dressed with the idea of drawing his mysterious someone to him, a receptive kind of vibe. Even passive, if he allowed himself to use that word, which he tried really hard not to. He was nervous and unsettled already. He felt pretty sure this encounter was going to be a guy-gets-him kind of thing. And that was a whole new world to contend with. He wasn't ready to think about what it meant. He wasn't prepared to apply adjectives.

He ordered more beers and continued to wait. In the third hour, boredom set in. There was nothing less interesting than manufacturing excuses for why he didn't want to dance or flirt or talk or give any of the not-the-one people who approached him the time of day. It was both tedious and pointless. He might as well be at home. With Jim, a part of him whispered, although he tried not to listen to that voice.

He had pretty much made up his mind to take off when he happened to look up and see someone pushing his way through the throng of dancers, almost as if it were the parting of the Red Sea or some other epic crowd moment. Every hair on the back of his arms stood on end. He finally understood what he had come looking for. Trouble. No wonder he had been drawn to Club Doom. This was certainly the place to find it.

His brand of trouble had arrived in the form of a tall, well-built Marine, sporting a buzz cut and a crisply pressed uniform. He was the real deal. Blair could tell from recent experience. He carried himself the same way... He cut that thought off at the knees. He wasn't quite ready to face the truth about why he'd come looking for trouble. He felt a flash of fear, big time second thoughts about the whole enterprise. Just keep your head down. Don't stare. Finish your beer and go.

It was a sensible plan, but a very influential part of him was feeling brazen that night. There was no fighting it, not even with terror. The more he tried not to look, the more his eyes kept returning to the dark haired man who was now sitting at the opposite end of the bar. Blair thought he was being smooth, managing to look away every time the Marine happened to glance in his direction. But the other man was observant and stealthy. The guy looked away, a ruse to draw him out, apparently, because he quickly looked back and caught him staring. Blair swallowed hard. Busted.

He expected to see many things in the Marine's dark eyes: hostility, rejection, disgust. He wasn't prepared for a smile. Or a spark. But that's what he found. He was sure of it.

Until the man got up and threw down some money to cover his tab. Then the bottom fell out of his daydreams, and he felt an overwhelming disappointment, the kind that left a bitter taste. He went back to his beer, newly miserable.

"Hey," a soft voice said, right at his ear.

He jumped and sloshed his drink.

The man laughed. "Sorry about that."

Blair's heart pounded. The Marine sat down next to him.

"Can I buy you another?" the man offered.

" don't have to--"

The guy shook his head. "But I want to." He waved over the bartender and ordered them both another round.

"Thanks, man."

"Hey, I owe ya," he said genially. When he smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkled. Like someone else Blair knew. Again, he tried not to think about that.

"So what brings you out tonight?" the man asked.

Blair blushed. He couldn't very well say you did. "Um...I guess I just needed to get away for a little bit. You know how that is."

The man nodded. "Sure do. That's why I'm here. It gets old being on the base all the time."

"I can imagine."

"So what about you? Where are you getting away from?"

"I'm...uh, well, I'm a grad student over at the university."

The Marine raised an eyebrow. "College boy, huh?"

"Well, yeah, I know..." Blair broke off, flustered.

The guy smiled at him and raised his glass. "Here's to higher education, then."

Blair returned the smile, relieved, grateful. He chinked his glass against the Marine's. "And to the people who safeguard democracy for all of us."

The Marine smiled even more broadly, and they both drank. When they set their glasses down, the man leaned back a little to take a good, long, appraising look at him. Blair blushed deeply, but he couldn't look away. Up close, the man was even more amazing, all severe angles and hard planes that somehow added up to a pure male beauty. Blair stared at him hungrily. It could end at any moment. He might not pass this test. The man could walk away. He wanted to remember as much of him as possible.

"So do you come here often, Blue Eyes?" the Marine asked him.

It was a casual question, but the guy's voice was low and charged. Blair blinked at him, befuddled. He called me Blue Eyes.

"It's been a while," he finally managed to answer.

The man leaned in to him. "Well, I guess I'm lucky you just happened to be here tonight, huh?"

The Marine was close enough for Blair to feel his breath against the side of his face. "I'm pretty sure I'm the lucky one," he said softly.

"Maybe if we play our cards right we can both be lucky."

He swallowed. His heart was pounding. "I guess so."

The man frowned for a moment. "You're not here with anybody, are you?"

He shook his head. "No, no, nothing like that."

"That's good, then. I'm glad to hear it."

"Oh, hey, my name's--" he started to say.

But the Marine interrupted. "Why don't we keep it casual, huh?"

He blinked while he processed that request. No names. It threw him a little. Women were never like that. Even if they did only want a good time, they needed it couched in the illusion of something personal. This truly was a different world.

"Uh...okay," he finally agreed.

The Marine clapped him on the back. "I'm glad you see it my way. It always eliminates a lot of complications later on. Doesn't mean we can't still get to know one another, right?"

"Sure," he said nervously.

The guy patted his arm. "Good. So what do you like to do for fun, Blue Eyes?"

"Well, kind of outdoor things, I guess. You know, camping, hiking, sports, that kind of thing."

The Marine's lips quirked into a little smile. "I was talking about more...uh, intimate kinds of fun, Blue Eyes. Know what I mean?"

Blair blushed. "Uh...yeah. I guess I do."

"You do like to have fun, don't you, baby? 'Cause you sure look like you do."

His stomach tied itself in knots. He suddenly knew he was in way over his head. This was all, so advanced. He felt incredibly stupid. When he'd imagined this, it had been a sort of youthful experimentation, a little touching, maybe even some groping, effortless, playful. Not this. Not this serious negotiation, this grown-up sexual transaction. Here's what I like. Tell me what you want. He just wasn't ready.

"Um...there's something I need to tell you," Blair said, trying to think of a way to explain, to get out of this situation gracefully.

The man narrowed his eyes. "You're not carrying anything are you?"

It took him a moment to figure out that the guy was talking about diseases, and he colored brightly. "No, nothing like that."

The Marine relaxed, and the good humor returned to his face. "Good, good. So what did you want to tell me, sweetheart?" He smiled, a little lewdly, as if he expected Blair to reel off a list of unusual sexual appetites.

"Well, it's just that--"

The Marine stretched his legs, and Blair was distracted by the front-row view of the man's long, powerful limbs. He suddenly wondered what the hell he was doing, why he was trying to talk his way out of this, why he wasn't just running for his life. The guy was a freakin' tree, for God's sake. While he was a scrubby little bush, ground cover, for crying out loud, and he had been all his life. He knew about trees. He had years of experience with them, on the playing field, in locker rooms, at fraternity houses. He understood the ways of the forest. He had long ago figured out that it was simply best to avoid the long reach of the Redwoods and the shade they cast. It was a matter of survival. No one could live without the benefit of the sun.

It was only Jim who had made him believe that trees could also be sheltering, that symbiosis was an actual possibility, not just some pretty sounding theory.

He shook his head and tried to turn off that part of his brain. He couldn't think about Jim right now. It rattled him too much, and he needed to think. The Marine pressed closer, so close it practically gave him claustrophobia. He could feel waves of energy radiating off him, a hard, male sexuality. That rattled him even more. Just remember that this guy's not Jim, the voice of reason insisted, refusing to be closed off.

"Hey, sweetheart, you still with me?" the Marine asked.

"Uh, yeah. Sure."

"Weren't you going to tell me something?"

"It's nothing. Really."

"Okay, then. So let me ask you something. I was thinking we could take off, take this party somewhere more quiet," the man said. "I know just the place. What do you say?"

There was something truly predatory in the man's gaze, and panic leaped in Blair's veins. True fear clenched his heart, enough to make his chest hurt. He's so not Jim. He's nothing like him. He was suddenly more certain of that than he had been about anything else in his whole life. He slid off the stool.

", I have to go now. Sorry. Later, man."

He fled. In his panic, he didn't pay particularly good attention to which way he was going. The lights and people and movement confused him. He fought his way through the crowd only to find himself at the far end of the club, on the other side from the doors. There was nothing here but some shadowy alcoves, an architectural detail leftover from the building's previous incarnation. He could make out a few couples getting it on in the darkened recesses. He spun around, unable to believe his bad luck. He was about to head off in the right direction when he bumped headlong into the Marine.

The man caught him and kept him from falling. "Hey, I was looking for you. You left in too big a hurry, Blue Eyes. We didn't get a chance to finish our conversation."

"Uh...look, man, I made a mistake. Okay? I'm sorry. I just--"

"You sure about that?"

"Yeah. Like I said, I'm sorry."

The man scrutinized him. "You know what, Blue Eyes? I don't think you know what you want."

The Marine moved closer, and he didn't back away, even though every ounce of good judgment demanded it. Something about the way the guy was looking at him froze him in place. He wanted to explain that he'd never done this before, but something prevented that, too. Pride, maybe. Or some vague realization that the guy wouldn't believe him or wouldn't care. So he just stood there and let the man crowd his space.

The Marine stared into his eyes, his gaze never wavering, and that mesmerized Blair. He couldn't look away. A dim part of him found this uncomfortably similar to the way snakes paralyzed their prey. But the rest of him was distracted by his own body. Despite his brain's indecision, he was suddenly a physical inferno, moist and hot all over, not to mention ferociously hard.

Of course, this didn't escape the Marine's notice.

"See, Blue Eyes? I told you this wasn't over. At least, one part of you doesn't seem to think so."

The man ran the back of one knuckle down the fly of his jeans. He gasped and jumped. It wasn't a particularly assertive caress, more like a tease, a prelude. But it still arced through him, leaving him shaking and needy.

The guy laughed softly. "Don't worry, sweetheart. There's more where that came from."

The Marine left his hand on Blair's crotch, not moving, not stroking, just resting it there, the broad palm completely covering his hardness. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think. He couldn't even keep his eyes open. He knew he shouldn't be doing this, but now that he'd started, he couldn't seem to stop himself.

"Is that a hint, Blue Eyes?" the man whispered.

Blair shuddered violently. The hot breath against the sensitive whorls of his ear felt as if the man had somehow reached inside him to play his nerve endings like violin strings. Every slight touch reverberated through him with acoustic accuracy.

"Do you want to be kissed?" the Marine asked. "Hmm?"

The man pressed against him, so close it was as if they were fused together. Blair could feel the heat coming off him. He could smell him. The sheer mass of the man's body hemmed him in, overwhelmed him, made it seem like the rest of the world was diminished, that this was his world now.

"I think you do want to be kissed, baby. I think you want it really, really bad."

The Marine tipped Blair's head back. The sharp angle gave him easy access, and he took control of Blair's mouth the same way he might have overrun enemy territory in the course of war. Okay, well, that answers one question, Blair absently noted, with the few neurons that weren't melted and inoperable from the sweltering caress. Being kissed by a man is nothing like kissing a woman.

"Mmm," the man murmured appreciatively against his mouth.

Something about that touched fire in Blair. He raised a hand to the man's face, stroked along the square, stubbled jaw, and started kissing him back. The man moaned again and pulled him even closer, if that was possible. The hand that lay on his penis began to squeeze and stroke. Blair couldn't help pressing his hips into the touch. He wanted more. He let go of the last guide wires of common sense and allowed himself to get lost in the astonishing sensation of being devoured.

In the back of his mind, something registered: This is what it would be like. He's the same size, same shape. All the right parts. Man touch, man smell, man tongue. Even the same spiky hair. Now I know. Now I know.

The kisses intensified, leaving him oxygen-deprived and dizzy. His world had narrowed to the realities of tongue and teeth, lip and spit. It only vaguely registered when the Marine pushed him back against the wall and laid his weight heavily across him. He was only dimly cognizant of the knee insinuated between his legs to spread them apart. The kisses were like a drug; he lost his way in them. All he could do was whimper in response and hold on for dear, sweet life.

When his lips began to feel bruised and swollen, the discomfort brought him back to his senses a little. He was sincerely shocked to find his shirt unbuttoned and his fly open. He froze and stopped responding. That didn't deter the Marine, who barely seemed to notice. He continued to consume his mouth and rub him through his underwear. The warm, heavy hand on his penis, stroking him through the thin layer of cotton, was both erotic and embarrassing. He couldn't believe he was doing this in public. He had no idea how it had gone so far so fast. And suddenly the whole situation seemed alarmingly familiar. The Marine's hand crept under his shirt to caress the small of his back. The hot mouth moved restlessly over his skin, reducing him to a pile of cinders. And that reminded him of something, too. He struggled to place it through the sensual fog that was closing down his brain. Unfortunately, simply remembering his own name had become something of a challenge.

After several more minutes of humid kissing, it came to him. It was the technique. He had used it himself, on any number of women. Every man had. It was one of those things no one had to teach you, that you just knew somehow, that you picked up somewhere along the way. Or perhaps it was one of those mysterious abilities carried on the Y chromosome. You were born a man, so you just instinctively knew how to overwhelm a woman with erotic sensation, how to distract her from your real purpose, how to kiss and embrace and whisper sweet words all the while you were pulling her blouse out of her waistband and unfastening her skirt. The woman would never even know what you were doing until her bra was off and your hand was stroking between her legs. Then she would freeze in shock and stare at you like you were a stranger or a criminal, like she couldn't for the life of her understand how things had gotten to this point.

That was it. That was exactly how he felt now. Only as far as this Marine is concerned, I'm the woman in this scenario. His heart stopped at the realization.

The man's hand eased inside his waistband to stroke the curve of his ass. Blair's body went rigid. The Marine started to flirt with the little dimple back there, the spot right above where his cleft began. That set off panic.

"No. Stop," he tried to say, but the words came out garbled. It was hard to talk with the Marine making a meal of his tongue.

He coiled his body and pushed. The Marine wasn't expecting that, and he stumbled back a step, his face showing his surprise even in the semi-darkness. Blair gulped air. It felt good to breathe again. But he didn't have long to enjoy it. The man's expression quickly turned to outrage, and he went numb with fear. Apparently, the guy didn't appreciate the interruption. Blair knew how that was. He hadn't always been gracious when a woman got cold feet after things were already hot and heavy between them.

It was amazing how different things seemed when the tables were turned.

"I'm sorry," he said. "But I don't want this. I don't."

"What the hell?"

"It's nothing personal. I swear. It's just that my interest is completely elsewhere. I only realized that this evening. I didn't mean to lead you on. Honestly."

The Marine shoved him back against the wall and trapped him there with an arm pressed across his windpipe. He knew he shouldn't have been surprised, but somehow, he was.

"Look, I don't care who you've got waiting for you at home, faggot. You should have thought about your boyfriend's feelings before you started coming on to me. And let's face it. He's probably used to your stepping out on him by now, if your little display tonight is any indication."

Blair's face went unbearably hot, scorched by shame. He wanted to protest that he had meant women. But he knew it would be no use. The guy thought he was gay. He thought he did this all the time. He felt vaguely guilty about how much that notion humiliated him. He had nothing against homosexuals, but, God, he didn't want to be one. Whatever fantasies he might have entertained, whatever wet dreams he'd been having lately, he had always been straight in all the ways that mattered. That's how he wanted the world to view him.

"So...what? Have you just been playing around with me, pretty boy?" the Marine demanded to know. "Huh? Is that the deal?"

"No," Blair insisted, close to tears and deeply humiliated by the display of weakness. "It's not like that, at all. You don't understand."

"Don't I? Do you think you're the only queer with a jones for this uniform? Do you think you're the only faggot looking for a real man to show him the time of his life? 'Cause you're not, baby. Believe me."

He shook his head frantically. "No! That's not me! I swear to God!"

"Isn't it? I bet you were waiting for me all night, Blue Eyes. Maybe all your life. Admit it. Your face lit up like Christmas when I walked up to the bar. And the way you were staring at me...well, let's just say I've seen that look before. The things that must have been going through your head while we were sitting there, they ought to be illegal." The man laughed dirtily. "Hell, they are illegal in forty-nine states and the District of Colombia."


"What? You weren't imagining the two of us getting naked and sweaty together? Maybe even a little something kinky? Hmm? You weren't putting out the signals loud and clear? You weren't practically begging for it?"


"Oh, yeah. That's it, sweetheart. Beg me again. I like that." The man sucked his neck hard, leaving a mark. He whispered into his ear, "If you're a really good boy, maybe I'll take you back to base with me and introduce you to some of my friends. You'd like that, wouldn't you, baby?"

The guy squeezed his cock through his underwear, and he moaned. Amazingly, the fear hadn't taken the edge off his arousal. If anything, it had intensified it. And that appalled him.

The Marine laughed, and Blair noticed for the first time what an unpleasant sound it was. "I thought you'd get a kick out of that, sweetheart. Lots and lots of big men to stare at, to get you all turned on. And they'll love getting a hold of a sweet piece like you. I can promise you that. You'll have all the cock any faggot could possibly handle."

Vague fear turned into concrete terror. Pictures flashed furiously across his imagination. The austere interior of a Marine Corps barracks. Row after row of bunks. Throngs of men, all as big as Sequoias, gathered around him. In his mind, they pointed and laughed and made catcalls so obscene they burned his ears. He imagined himself trembling and mute with fear. He saw himself stripped, forced, passed from man to man, like a human party favor.

"I'm not gay," he said desperately, his voice breaking.

The man laughed and pressed a muscled thigh between his legs, rocking it back and forth against his erection. "Mmm-hmm. And I'm not really a Marine either." He laughed harder. "Now, it's time to finish what you started, pretty boy. You know what I want. You know what to do."

Blair shook his head wildly. "No!"

"Don't make me get rough, baby. I just want you to suck me off. Okay? Do it nice for me, and I won't hurt you."

"No, no! Please. I don't want to. I can't!"

The man tightened his grip on Blair's throat, cutting off the oxygen supply. "I don't care what you want," he said. Blair struggled to breathe. "Down on your knees!"

"No!" he gasped.

"Do it!"

"I won't!"

"Yes, you will!"

The Marine yanked his hair sharply, wrenched his neck, forced him to the floor. The answer to the question can I do this and still be the same man I was before, something he'd considered so long and so hard during the past several months, was now painfully evident. He closed his eyes against the force of the no! screaming inside his head. It was too late now.

He heard the metal sliding of the man's zipper and wished he could dial it down. He wished he could shut off his sensory awareness entirely . It would have been a small mercy to be spared the sounds and flavors and odors of his humiliation.

"Bite me, and I'll make you regret you were ever born," the Marine warned.

The shock of the situation knocked his brain sideways, and a part of him felt weirdly detached. That part wondered how many first times happened this way: a steamy flirtation with the wrong guy, a sudden loss of nerve met by a flare of rage, a forced blow job or something even worse in some darkened corner somewhere. He wondered if they cried, those other men who were stupid enough to get themselves into situations like this. He wondered if he would cry, if he would gag or puke or pass out. He wanted the answer to be no, but he couldn't be sure.

"Open your eyes," the Marine commanded.

He couldn't. Wouldn't. But the man jerked his head violently, using his hair for a handle, pulling it out from the roots. His eyes watered and flew open.

"That's better," the man said. "I want to see your face. I want to look into those pretty baby blues while you suck me."

The guy snaked a hand into his own underwear and pulled his cock free. It bobbed obscenely in Blair's face. He blinked in disbelief. It was really going to happen. All the ways he had imagined it, and never once had it included being forced to his knees by a stranger in a deserted corner of a crowded club. He would never be the same. He knew that. And somehow, he was sure that everybody else would know it, too.


Jim was a part of everybody, and Jim could never know this. There had to be nothing to know. He lunged, whipping his neck around, hyperextending it, aiming for the guy's hand where it held him. He caught the Marine by surprise and bit down hard on the vulnerable, exposed skin below his shirt cuff.

"Son of a--" The man jerked his arm away and pulled back, a reflex action. That was all the opportunity he needed. He leaped to his feet and made a break for it.

He was nearly to the edge of the dance floor when he felt a sharp tug on the hem of his shirt, and the Marine whirled him around.

"Where you going, Blue Eyes? We're not finished yet."

"Get off me!" he yelled.

The man tightened his grip and began pulling him back toward the shadows. "Not until I get what I want."

"Forget it, man. Now let go!" He screamed at the top of his lungs and struggled frantically to free himself. In a fit of desperation, he kicked and sank his teeth into the guy's hand again.

"Fucking, bitch!" The man hit him so hard across the cheek it felt like his eye was going to pop out of its socket. "Forget taking it easy on you. I'm going to have your mouth and your ass and everything else you've got, fairy. Me and my friends, just like I promised you."

"Fuck you, asshole!"

"Oh, no, trust me, college boy. It's your asshole that's going to get the workout tonight."

Blair made another wild, flailing attempt to get away, but the Marine somehow managed to wrap a thick arm around his neck, putting a choke hold on him. The man began pushing him back toward the alcove again. He went limp, becoming dead weight, resisting every step, every inch.

"Hey, man! What's going on here?" A voice behind them demanded. The Marine whirled around, still keeping Blair tightly in his grip. It was getting harder and harder for him to breathe.

"What do you want?" the guy asked the boys who were standing there.

"Professor Sandburg?" one of them said.

He recognized that voice. He knew him. A frantic hope flared inside him. He knew all three of these boys. They were on the Rainier football team. They had been in his class last semester.

"Let him go, jerk," another of the boys said.

"Mind your own business, kid."

"This is our business," the third chimed in.

"Look, I'm just having a little chat with the professor here. Nothing to concern yourselves with."

"You're strangling him," the first one pointed out.

While the students distracted the Marine, Blair planted an elbow solidly in his ribs and pulled free.

"Are you okay?" one of his students asked.

He nodded. "Thanks for the help," he managed to say.

The Marine quickly recovered from having the wind knocked out of him. Blair could tell he was calculating his options. He had the training and experience, but Blair's students were large, athletic, and had him outnumbered.

Finally, he just sneered. "Cock tease," he hissed at Blair and walked away.

Blair had never been more relieved in his life. But when he turned to face his students, it was quickly colored by humiliation. He could see them taking in the Marine's comment and the condition of his own clothes. He blushed furiously, quickly rebuttoned his shirt and pulled it down over his half open fly. The boys exchanged looks among themselves. He could sense the edge of their sympathy dulling a little. In the back of a lot of guy's minds was the certainty that a cock tease deserved whatever was coming.

"Uh...thanks again for the help, guys," he offered feebly.

"No problem," one of them said.

"Well, I guess I'll be seeing you around school," he said awkwardly, beginning to back away, ready just to get the hell out of there.

"Professor Sandburg?" another of the boys said as he was turning to go.

"Yeah, Jack?"

"Be more careful, huh?"

He colored, but nodded. "I will. You have no idea"

He thanked his students once more and quickly made his escape. He should never have returned to this locus of terrible consequences. He should never have assumed that desire would be somehow transferable. He would never make either of those mistakes again.

The night air hit him in the face as he stumbled out the door and down the steps. He had never been more grateful for the righteous cold. It helped to clear him out, wipe away the sensation of the Marine's hands on him. He lingered a little on his way to the car, gulping down fresh, frigid air, still a little sluggish from shock, until it occurred to him that the guy might have followed him and his students wouldn't be around to help. He ran. His hands shook as he tried to unlock the door. He dropped the keys. Fuck, fuck, fuck!

He finally managed to get the door open and himself inside, strapped in, the car locked up tight. He started the engine, put the Corvair in gear, and tore out of the parking lot. He wanted nothing more than to go straight home, but he couldn't, not yet. He heart was still pounding, and he stank of fear. Even if Jim was asleep when he got home, that would be enough to wake him. He headed for the university. He could go to his office for a while, sit on the sofa, maybe meditate, whatever it took to calm himself down. He could clean up in the bathroom down the hall, get the man smell off him, get it all off him.

As far as he was concerned, there was no reason Jim ever had to know.

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