shake downs like these get old (shadow_shimmer) wrote,
shake downs like these get old

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FIC: (NBA Slash) Proving Ground - Eddie/Melo NC-17

Author: shadow_shimmer
Title: Proving Ground
Rating: NC-17
Fandom: NBA (Denver Nuggets)
Pairing: Carmelo Anthony/Eddie Najera (Implied Najera/Nash)
Disclaimer: The people may be real, this isn't.
Notes: Stephen King said something once about every writer eventually having a "target reader," or something to that effect. Y'know, someone that the author considers when they're writing. "Will soandso like this? Will this make sense to them?" Over the past year and a half, horizon_greene has become that kind of person for me. 9 out of 10 times, I write with her in mind. Then, of course, she very patiently picks her way through it and corrects all of my "its" and "it's" and "let's" and "lets" and my very, very random punctuation. Anyway. Thank you, dear.

It’s not blood; it’s tears and that’s okay with me. Everything’s okay with me, suddenly. I just played a game that lasted forever against I guy I wanted to prove something to and I’m exhausted but hyped too, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that winning like that isn’t sexual because we’re guys out there and we can turn any conquest sexual, y’know? And while I’m thinking about it, I may have something to prove to Melo too.

Something about superstars and teammates and growing up, but none of that makes sense.

Proving Ground

It takes a minute before everything sinks in because I don’t know the last time I was this tired. All I do know, right now, is that the floor of the court feels cold and wet against my cheek and Melo feels hot against my side and that it’s gonna take a fucking truck to haul me out of here.

When Melo starts hitting my arm and my back things begin to make sense. “We won,” he’s telling me, laughing. “We won, baby.”

Really? I think. Did we? After all of that? All the sweat and tears and blood?

“We won,” he says again, pulling on my arm now like he’s not gonna leave unless I scrape myself off of this filthy floor and go with him. But something furry and gold is dragging me away from him and I’m still too stunned to protest when Rocky grabs me in his paws and, finally, gets me up.

I watch Melo get helped off the court by the trainers and I follow a minute later after smiling for the cameras and nodding at the microphones. Nobody really ever wants to interview me and that’s fine. I know it’s a combination of the fact that I never make the game-saving shot and an uncertainty among the sportscasters about whether I speak English well enough to make any sense in an interview. I don’t know why that should matter, though, because they’re always rushing off to interview Kenyon and Melo. And even though English is supposedly their first and only language, I never understand a goddamn thing they’re saying.

Karl is talking to us in the locker room, ignoring those same cameras and microphones that followed me from the arena, telling us all kinds of motivational crap and he’s terrible at it.

“You played like you meant it,” he says. “Maybe our karma’s changing.”

Thanks, I think. Way to inspire. The only way it would have been better is if he’d made up a word or two, but he’s gotten a little better about that. He catches my eye over a lady reporter’s head and then looks at Melo, who’s leaning against his locker with his eyes closed.

There’s fresh cotton in his nose and bruises darkening the skin on his cheeks.

I get what Karl’s saying to me. You kicked him, Eddie; you take care of him. He likes you more than me anyway.

Which is, of course, true. Melo and Karl don’t get along. I mean, shit, Karl did an interview in the Post a week or so back and called Melo fat of all things. So, yeah, Karl would be the last person Melo would ever go to for help and that’s part of the reason the Nuggets play so inconsistently. We aren’t a family. We’re just a bunch of guys who don’t really know or trust each other and who get together three times a week to play ball.

That won’t ever win us a championship. And it leaves me to take the baby superstar home and put him to bed.

He looks like a boxer with his face swollen like it is and he sounds like one too, breathing hard and rough through his mouth when I finally get over next to him.

That’s hot, kind of, Melo breathing like that in my direction, but I can’t really afford to pay much attention to it. Like I couldn’t really just lay there in front of an arena full of fans and get a hard on because, yeah, we won, but Melo was laying next to me and that was almost better than winning.

“Let me drive you home, man,” I tell him, putting a hand on his arm and pointing him toward the exit. I doubt he can see by this point.

“Mm. Ar’ight,” he mumbles and lets me steer him outside. He’s wearing a turtleneck sweater that should look ridiculous on him, especially as beat up as he is, but he looks good in it and it’s soft under my hand and I like the way it slides over the muscles in his arm.

The cold helps me forget about that, which I’m thankful for. Even though it isn’t as cold as it should be, it’s cold enough that I can see our breath, and as overheated as we still are from the game it feels like a fucking freezer.

Melo shivers and doesn’t try to hide it.

I head toward my Mercedes, beep the alarm and open the door for Melo who starts to get in and then stops. “Man, what the fuck,” he says, pulling a dangerous looking toy tank out of the front seat. I shrug and clear off the rest of the seat and then the floor, tossing a Happy Meal box into the trash can next to the car.

“Just sit,” I tell him and wait while he folds himself in, making a big deal out of not having enough leg room until I have to reach over his lap and find the button that slides the seat back. It’s only my imagination, I’m sure, that sees him let his legs fall apart when I’m leaning over him because he keeps complaining about being cramped and suggesting that we take his Range Rover.

Only, “I wouldn’t trust you to drive it,” he tells me. Whatever. He is taller than me, but just by about an inch. He can survive a twenty minute ride in my car, I’m sure. Even if it is a mess and even if the leather does smell like my wife and my kids and two years worth of spilled groceries and fast food catastrophes.

He gets more animated the further we get from the Pepsi Center, talking, wiggling a little with the music and hitting the dashboard occasionally.

“Three fucking OTs, Eddie,” he says to me, fingers inching toward the radio. “Against the Suns, man, against the MVP.”

I can’t help but laugh at the kid. “I know. And it was all you, Melo. All you.”

He grins at me. That shoe-selling grin, and punches my arm. “Fuck yeah it was.”

“Doesn’t mean you can touch my music,” I say, swatting at his hand.

“Bitch,” he says and shuts his eyes. In the red glow from the stop-light I can see dark spots marring the white of his sweater. I stop in the middle of changing the CD and reach for the glove box instead. The great thing about kids: there are always napkins around when you need them.

Melo doesn’t stop me when I tilt his head back and press the napkins to his nose. He just flinches a little and I think that Wendy’s yellow really, really, isn’t his color. Not against the black of the bruises, especially.

Some asshole honks when the light turns green and ruins the, um, moment, I guess, and Melo takes the napkins from me and I go back to driving. Slower than before.

“Sorry,” I tell him. “ ‘Bout kicking you.”

He makes some sort of noise under the napkins and waves a hand at me. Like, never mind, or something.

“Not your fault,” he mumbles. “Nash had a hold of you. Pulling you around.”

That’s true, I think, as I pull into Melo’s neighborhood. Still feel guilty as all hell, though. It happened fast, but I remember Melo taking the shot and then Steve grabbing me like he’d forgotten we were on the basketball court and something soft hitting my foot. Then, of course, there was Melo and Shawn in a pile on the floor and there was blood and the gut-wrenching fear that I’d killed Carmelo Anthony.

A rabbit runs in front of the car and I jerk the wheel to avoid it, sending Melo crashing into the door.

“Jesus, Eddie,” he says, only it sounds more like “Jethus, Erddie,” under the mumble.

“Sorry,” I say again, and park the car on the street. I wait for him to get out and go inside but he just sits with his head laid back on the head rest.

“Don’ think I kin stan’ up,” he says, finally, pawing at the door.

He could be acting, but I know that for a while, during the game, he didn’t even know who he was, so I’m willing to bet if he’s saying he can’t stand up then he probably can’t.

“Right,” I say, and get out, walking over to his side of the car and opening his door. It’s almost funny the way he falls out onto me. Almost, because even if I wouldn’t call him fat, he’s got some weight on me, and he almost takes us both out. And wouldn’t that be fun. Me and Melo, laying in the dirty snow on his driveway.

Vayamos,” I tell him. “I can’t carry you.”

Grunting and breathing like it hurts, he uses me to support himself as he stands, and then I walk him to the door. Having him hold onto me like that and me having to put my arm around him where that damn sweater is riding up above his waist makes my breathing harder. His skin is still a little too warm and a little damp from the shower and from pain.

“Min wiv me.”

I translate that as ‘Come in with me,’ and I don’t argue. Knowing Melo, he’d probably fall down in the kitchen and crack his head open if I didn’t see him safely into bed.

And? I want to. I want to be as close to him when he’s like this - needy and young and hurt - for as long as I can.

Maybe some of his magic will rub off on me along with the tears and the blood.

As I’m thinking that, about a thousand things happen at once. Apparently, Melo’s keys are in the pocket of his pants on the side of him that’s up on me and he’s not in a hurry to get them, concentrating instead on just staying upright.

With him balancing on one of my arms and bracing himself against the doorjamb with the other, I have time to think, fuck it, before digging in his pocket for his keys. Which is when his balance goes and then the keys and my hand are trapped between us.

Maybe I move or maybe he moves but then my hand isn’t just trapped between us somewhere in the region of his thigh and my side but it’s somewhere else because now he’s facing me and my hand is on me, which is familiar, but it’s also on him which is weird and hot and his face is inches and then less from mine and then not even that.

Kissing him is the worst idea I’ve ever had and that’s not because he’s Carmelo Anthony and a teammate or because my hand’s on his dick but because earlier in the night I kicked the shit out of his face.

“Ow,” he says against my lips, without moving, like he doesn’t care. Or, he could just be distracted because he’s trying to do so many things at once: stay on his feet, get a hand under my shirt and rub up against me like I’m the first person to have a hand on his dick in months.

It’s not an open-mouth kiss; it’s just hard, and so I worry when I feel wet on my face. I worry that he’s bleeding and that I’m swallowing it but we’ve shuffled - or I’ve been pushed? - back up on his door and there’s no getting away from him.

Which, I decide after concluding that Melo wouldn’t mind if he came in his pants on his doorstep, is not how we’re going to play this game.

“Shit,” I say, pushing him back. “Don’t.” Not here, I mean, but I don’t say it.

Getting my hand out of his pants with the keys I unlock the door and let him push me inside.

While I’m wiping a hand over my face and trying to see whether it comes away red, Melo slumps onto the wall of the hallway and ducks his head.

It’s not blood; it’s tears and that’s okay with me. Everything’s okay with me, suddenly. I just played a game that lasted forever against I guy I wanted to prove something to and I’m exhausted but hyped too, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that winning like that isn’t sexual because we’re guys out there and we can turn any conquest sexual, y’know? And while I’m thinking about it, I may have something to prove to Melo too.

Something about superstars and teammates and growing up, but none of that makes sense. What does, though? What makes sense is the way he folds himself to me when I get to him, when I push him up against that wall. What makes sense is the way he goes after my face and neck even though he can’t breathe and I know it has to hurt like a motherfucker every time he licks or bites me.

And it makes sense that he’d want to lick me like he is, somehow. Wanting to taste me, because I want to do the same to him.

I don’t know if he’s ready for it, but I shove my hand back down his pants anyway and he just makes a kind of gravelly, choking sound and he’s breathing through his mouth but it sounds so hard for him that I worry - but only until he grabs at my jeans, awkwardly fisting me and then comes on my hand, not breathing at all.

“God,” I say, into his neck, mouthing at his braids. “Easy, man. Breathe.”


We don’t move until I’m sure that he can, and even then it’s not easy because I’m shaky and sticky and wired and freaked out because I came in my pants for Melo when all he did was cop a feel through my jeans, and I’m not sure that I can pass that off as after-game libido.

His bedroom is big and vaguely impersonal and when I try to put him on the bed he slithers out of my grip and flops onto a beanbag chair.

“Ice?” I ask him. I’m not going to force it on him if he doesn’t want it. He knows what’s best and I’m not his dad or his big brother or his coach. I’m just a guy who comes off the bench and rebounds for him sometimes. I’m just the guy who plays in his shadow. And that fucking shadow gets longer and darker every game.

Strange that the bitterness isn’t gone; that the sex didn’t ease it.

“Mmkay,” he says, pointing back toward the kitchen.

Not bothering to turn on a light - thankful for the bright high country moon - I make my way back into the kitchen to fill a towel with ice.

Handing him the towel, a minute later, I think I see more moisture on his face but he covers up before I can get a good look.

“Hey,” I say, crouching next to him, thinking it’s over. We got what we needed. “I’m gonna-”

“No,” he says, not moving. “Tell me about the game.”

Wondering briefly where Lala is and why the house doesn’t really seem to have much of her in it, I slide to the floor next to him and start talking, knowing that I should call my wife; knowing that this is all kinds of fucked up.

I start talking anyway. I’m a dad; although, like I already assured myself, not Melo’s, so I can tell a pretty good story if I have to. Fairy tales, even. And it’s not hard to make the game - and by extension, Melo’s life - into one. A fairy tale.

Kid from Baltimore. No dad. No hope. Makes it big in the NBA. Beats the big bad white MVP.

My baby superstar.

“ . . . Then Nash grabs me and you fall and I kick you. And everyone thinks you’re hurt bad. Out for the game.” I’m making it dramatic now and I can tell he likes it. He keeps tapping his feet and wiggling. “But you’re not. Karl tells you to get back in, and even though you can’t see, you go, right?”

“Yeah.” He grabs my knee. The bad one. I couldn’t care less.

“Then you make the shot, man. Over Marion. And it’s done.”

He takes the ice off of his face and looks at me with the grin. “Fuck yeah,” he says and I know he’s thrilled but his eyes are still wet and I can’t stop myself.

I don’t want to.

My hand on his face hurts him but he doesn’t move away; he doesn’t even look away, not as I wipe away his tears, not as I run my thumb over his lips. Suddenly, he’s not under my hand anymore, he’s pushing himself up and toward me and then he’s kissing me. It’s not the best kiss, not even as good as the ones earlier, outside, because this one is more deliberate and awkward and I can hear him kind of growling in the back of his throat from the pain of it.

Leaning away from him, I break the kiss and try to anchor myself in the here and now by grabbing the cold towel as I watch Melo sit back and grimace a little, rubbing his hands over his forehead.

“Hurts,” he says, like he didn’t just do what we both know he did.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is all about loneliness and adrenaline and that despite the blood and the pain (or because of it?) he wants a victory fuck and I’m the only warm body available.

I should care. I should really, really care. I’m the grown-up; I’m the one who’s done this before and had it all blow up. I’m supposed to look out for the kid, not get in his pants. Hell, he doesn’t know what he’s asking for. He can’t.

So, I should care. I should care about my job - my career - I should care about Melo and his state of mind (because how the hell is his ADD ass gonna concentrate on the game when he’s worried about his girl and me and what the hell it all means?) and I should care about my wife.

I don’t though. Not right now.

“Gotta get this sweater off,” I tell him, willing to let him dictate what happens next. “You’ve bled on it.”

Shrugging, he lays passive as I pull it over his head. “I can get another one,” he says with all the concern of a very rich and very young boy.

When I grope him a little during the whole sweater-taking-off thing, I don’t feel too bad. It’s just my hands on his waist and then on his chest. So many people touch him like this every day that it’s not new and he can pretend, if he wants, that I’m just another trainer paid to keep him healthy.

“Up,” I tell, him. “On the bed,” pulling at his arm. I need him standing so I can get his pants off, and I need him to get in bed on his own accord because I can’t have him passing out on me somewhere else. I mean, there’s no fucking way I can move him if he’s dead weight. That’s my only motivation. Really.

I’m taking care of him, not taking advantage of him, I tell myself. But that’s a hard lie to swallow, even for me, because even after he’s stood up and then fallen back onto the bed in that slithery, boneless way he has, and he’s laying there, practically under me, he looks so fucking young and innocent. Even after what we already did. Even though I can still smell him on me.

There’s only, what? Maybe six years between us? But that’s six years of uncertainty, bad trades, lost friends (lovers) - Steve you bastard - and loud, demanding kids. That’s six years of living on the bench and working for a living. That’s six years of being known as the “second Mexican player in the NBA” and nothing else. That’s six years of knee problems and back problems and self-doubt and salary cuts.

That’s six years of shit Carmelo Anthony will never have to go through. Not the baby superstar. Not the boy with shiny new house and the shiny new Range Rover and the shiny celebrity fiancée. Not as long as he keeps making the game winning shot.

“Easy,” I tell him, when he starts to cough and snort a little. Standing must have given him a little vertigo, too because his eyes are unfocused and his forehead is damp.

Watching him try to maneuver out of his pants without my help is almost funny. I’m hovering over him and he’s rolling around on his bed trying to get shoes loose and pants down and I let him struggle with it for a minute.

“Want help?” I ask, putting my hands on his shoulders to stop him from moving his head so much and making his nose bleed again.

“Ermm,” he nods, without even thinking.

When he pulls my hands down to his hips, I feel a little more remorse about letting the backs of my fingers linger where they shouldn’t. But not a lot because he’s hot and half-hard again - I can see that - and I can stop this whenever I damn well please.

I don’t have to, though. He stops it for me. Dead. Cold. Whatever. By falling asleep. He won; he came; he’s done.

So me? What am I supposed to do? Go home and hope he doesn’t suffocate or choke on his own blood in his sleep? That’s dramatic, though, and I know it. I just don’t want to go.

“Hey,” I say, touching his shoulder again. Leaving my hand there. “Melo. ‘M leavin’, okay?”

He mumbles something that sounds like, “You gotta?” at me and I feel like grinning. “Nah,” I say and start thinking about a night spent on the beanbag chair when Melo just rolls over and makes room in the bed for me. I mean, I assume that’s what he’s doing and I hope like hell I’m not reading this wrong.

Stripping down to boxers, I wait for him to tell me to get out and get fucked or something, but all I hear is that rough breathing - more even now, and deeper than before - and so I lay down next to him. Not touching, but close.

The smells of fruity shampoo and expensive perfume kind of surround me. The pillow is saturated with Lala, but it’s soft and I’m too tired to move it. I wonder, as I’m falling asleep, if Lala will be able to smell me - hair gel, Right Guard and anxiety - on it when she comes back. The idea doesn’t really bother me.


Some people move a lot in their sleep. I don’t, usually. The position I fall asleep in is the one I wake up in. So I know, hours later when I wake up, that it isn’t me that’s moved.

It’s nothing to get excited over; although, I do. A little. His shin is touching the back of my leg and his forearm is up against my back, right below my neck. When I turn my head I can feel the roughness of his hair on the skin between my shoulder blades like he’s resting his head almost on my back.

The tension in my body must wake him because he moves his arm until he can run his fingers through the back of my hair and then he turns his head away from me, and I know he does, because I can feel the end of every single braid of his when it hits my skin.

I think odd and incongruous things like, he needs to get his hair re-done, and, I should get him more ice for his face, because I can’t really process what’s going on.

I’m wrapped in soft, feminine smelling sheets with Melo’s braids on my neck and his leg against mine and it’s too, too hot suddenly even though I can see the frost on the trees outside the window and a few snowflakes looking sharp and bright in the setting moonlight.

I’ve never understood how it can snow in Colorado without a cloud in the sky.

Doesn’t matter. It’s hot enough in here - in Melo’s bed - that I’ve begun to sweat, in the places where we touch, especially.

And everything is so slow; still so sleepy.

Pushing myself backwards by centimeters until I feel more of him takes more time than getting off in the bathroom or the front seat of my car would if I’d just give up on this whole fucked up crazy beautiful night and go home to my wife and kids.

The tickle is back on my neck, then. Melo’s braids. Replaced a second later by warm and wet.

Melo’s lips.

Not knowing what to do, what he wants, if he’s awake or if I’m awake, I just let him do his thing.

Until his uncertainty begins to grate, that is. I let him mouth at me and touch my shoulders and my back - muttering about muscles and then back to my hair which I’m sure is fucking everywhere right now without gel and because I haven’t gotten it cut recently, and because it grows so fast it’s so heavy and, damn.

I roll over and lay my hand in the middle of his back, holding him down. Holding him there with me for just a minute.

My Melo.

“You want some ice, man? Some painkillers?” I ask, still pushing him into the bed as I sit up.

“ ‘M okay,” he says, muffled by the mattress, bending into my hand the same way, kinda, that he finally bent to my body in the hall. It wasn’t a fluke, or whatever. He does that.

Laying down on him, I hear him make that growly sound again and I worry for real that he can’t breathe when he’s face down so I let him roll over and prop his head up.

There’s an awkward moment there, when the momentum’s stalled and he’s stuck between the bed and me and in a place he’s never been before and thinkin’ real, real hard about it.

I let him. And I watch him. The gray of the moonlight and the bruises under his eyes make his features more defined than I know they are. The shadows scare away the puppy fat and leave me with a stranger, almost. It bothers me because I like his softness and so I’m glad when he comes to a decision, and I let him pull me down to him. No more kissing though. I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t want to risk eating his blood, so I let him smother me in his neck which is fine with me. He’s still soft there.

His hands are on my back and then on my hips. He still doesn’t know where he wants to touch me, or if he wants to touch me at all, and he keeps coming back to my hair like it’s the only familiar thing on my body.

“Stop,” I say. “You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”

Blinking, he lets his hands fall to his sides and I pin them there, thankful for a reason to stop touching his thighs and his belly and . . .

“Do you?” I ask again.

He grins a little and shrugs. “What’s the difference?” He could mean ‘what’s the difference whether I know or not, this is your thing, you do it,’ or, ‘what’s the difference between what you and a girl would do to me?’

Christ, I think and press against his hip. He can’t ignore that.

“You want this?” I ask, going back to his neck, where I’m comfortable, liking the taste of him and the smell of him: soap on his skin and old cologne in his hair and antiseptic and Icy Hot everywhere else. I like it mixed with Lala’s smell and I get disoriented trying to separate them.

Freeing his hands from mine he puts them on my shoulders and pushes.

“You want this,” I tell him, knowing what he’s after now and letting him push me down until I slide off the edge of the bed onto my knees.

He sits up and watches, almost curiously, as I shift my weight until I’m only on my good knee. Even like that, my body’s going to hate me for doing this. Can’t stop though; can’t fight this feeling, I guess, the one that shuts down my brain and makes me feel like I’m a little stoned and a little out of control. It’s the heat in my belly and the weight between my legs and the way my hands are shaking when they touch Melo’s hips.

I lean into him, waiting for his fingers in my hair again, knowing he can’t resist, and when they’re back, I let him pull me to him. But I don’t put my mouth on him yet. I have time - and this may be my only time with Melo - and I’m gonna do it my way, until he comes to his senses and kicks me out.

My wife can tell you what I like. What my weakness is. I’m always burying my face in her tits or her cunt or her hair. It’s probably an infantile thing. Nash told me that once. Whatever. I do it, I’m doing it now. Burying my face in Melo’s crotch, with his dick on my cheek and his balls on my neck. Just fucking breathing him in, licking and nibbling and rubbing until I hear him mumble something that sounds like, “Suck it, man,” and I do.

Cocksucking isn’t a talent of mine. I don’t get to practice enough, I guess. But I like it. I like the taste and I like the pressure on my jaw and the spit on my chin and the sore throat and, goddamn, if I don’t like way Melo goes from playing with my hair to rubbing my shoulders to rubbing himself. He fingers are bumping my mouth and then they’re in my mouth and I’m gagging and Melo’s breathing is harsher and heavier than it was and I don’t care about it this time because I’m concerned with getting enough air myself. And then his fingers are gone and I can breathe a little easier but he’s pulling me away.

I move, but then I put a hand on his balls and squeeze. “Think about George Karl,” I tell him. “Think about Watson’s ears.”

At twenty-one I know he has a hair trigger and I know if he comes now he’ll be hard again before I get up, but I’m not sure he’ll want to be. Three times might be a charm, but I’m not willing to bet on it. So, not yet, baby, I think, looking at him, feeling both mean and hot by fucking with him.

“Yeah. Jesus. That’s cold, man,” he says, laying back down.

I wait for ‘get out’ to follow that, but it doesn’t, and I feel alright about getting off my knees and back up on the bed.

He’s rubbing at his forehead again and I wait a minute before he looks over at me. “I hurt,” he says. “Everywhere. And ‘m all, like, wound up.” He pushes himself all the way to the head of the bed, against the pillows. “Fix it.” A kid to the grown up. Something’s wrong. You make it better.

Right. I lay back down on top of him, rub up on him, and he has problems with it this time. Maybe he’s more awake or maybe the pain’s making him more conscious of the whole situation. Either way, he’s on his back with another guy - a big guy - on top of him and he’s got ‘second thoughts’ written all over his face even though his dick was just in my mouth and that was cool.

Wiggling around under me doesn’t help my state of mind so, “Hey,” I say. “Hold still.” Then, “Hands here.” And I put his hands on my back and go back to getting myself off on his leg and playing with him, a litttle, until he stops me, calmer now. He's relaxing into it because I told him to and that's sexy, y'know? And when he catches my eye there's a glint of the old mischievous Melo there. The Melo that wanted to get it on on the doorstep.

“This it?” he asks, spreading his legs until I’m between them. “This all there is? All you wanna do?”

“You don’t want that,” I say, because I’m a broken fucking record.

Dropping his eyes and rolling his head so I can see the veins in his neck, he just grins.

I grab his jaw and turn him back to face me,“Sabes lo que me pides? You want me to fuck you?” I ask, mimicking the motion. “That it?”

My hair’s damp and hanging in my eyes and I’m dead tired and surprised, really, that I’m asking him coherently. In any language.

He nods at me, though. Just a dip of his head before he points to the bedside table. “Condoms,” he says.

“Gonna need more than that,” I say, hoping Lala’s kinky enough to have what I need.

Gracias a Dios, I think when I find that Lala is indeed either kinky or just well prepared because along with the condoms there is a tube of KY.

While I’m hunting for that, Melo’s running his fingers up and down my back and then, with his other hand, playing gently with himself.

I have to sit back on my heels and watch him for a minute until he gets self-conscious and stops, smiling at me and ducking his head. And then I’m at a loss. He’s offering more than he should and offering it like he really knows what the hell he’s in for and it’s not a good idea but I’m not about to pass it up. The idea of getting inside him is enough to make me grit my teeth a little and forget everything else.

So I kiss him. Just on the corner of his mouth and not hard enough to make it hurt, but he turns into it and opens his mouth and then I get scared. I’m scared that this is going to get out of control. That this is going to become something bigger than we can handle because that’s happened before to me and I swore it wouldn’t ever again. A different life; a different superstar.

I could like Melo, but I don’t want to.

Kissing is a distraction, though, and I use it. Callously, maybe. But it gives me time to get the lube on my fingers and get my fingers between his legs before he grabs hold of my arms and looks at me like I’ve shot him or something. He doesn’t tell me to stop but I wish he would.

I wish like hell he’d stand up for himself and tell me to just fuck off and get my fingers out of him and my dick off of his leg and quit lookin’ at me with those big, bruised eyes and that sad mouth because I can’t do it myself. I want this.

For all the wrong reasons.

He’s everything I wanted to be and I never will be and there’s a mean, nasty but human part of me that’s always wanted to punish him for that.

There, I’ve admitted it to myself and that’s what tonight has done to me.

“Carmelo,” I start. “Look, baby –”

“Do it,” he says, handing me the condom.

Fumbling with it while he watches, I try to shut down. It’s just bodies. Just like basketball. Bodies on the court; bodies in bed.

When I go back to fingering him, I don’t look at him. I focus on trying to make him feel good and, after a minute, it works because I get the growl and then he’s arching up off the bed and getting grabby.

“ Th’ fuck?” he asks, and I don’t bother answering him because I’ve already moved on. I’m lifting one of his legs over my arm and leaning into him, still waiting (wanting) for him to tell me to stop.

Nothing. He just bares his teeth at me. The way he does when his wrist gets hacked or he comes down on his ankle wrong and shuts his eyes.

“Okay?” I ask, wanting to take it back right away.

“Mm,” he says, still looking like he wants to bite me but not so much like I’m killing him. I can help with the first part of that. I can give him parts of me to hurt in exchange. And when I push further in, I bend down to him and shove my shoulder at his face - his mouth - and wait.

The pain, when his teeth sink in, makes me hiss and cuss at him in Spanish. But I like it. It makes it all feel more even, somehow. Like, if he chews a hunk out of the shoulder of my shooting arm then it’ll make up for what I’m taking from him.

“Oh Jesus,” he says into my neck, bucking up at me hard. “Oh Lord.” And it seems that Melo’s found religion.

Which is good, ‘cause I can’t stop now; not now that I’m all the way in and he’s still biting and now moving against me too. He’s not graceful. Hell, I’m not either. None of the people that watch us every day call us pretty or smooth players. We know how to use our bodies; Melo’s learning, at least. But he’ll never be pretty.

Fucking is no different. No different than the way we play. There’s nothing smooth about it. Melo’s leg is heavy on my arm and his other leg is like a vice around the back of my thighs. It’s hard to get leverage against him, so our movements are hardly synchronized, and really? It’s like we’re just using each other. It’s selfish like that. Just friction.

There’s a moment, toward the end, when Melo’s jacking himself off and I’m almost done, when I kind of desperately want to come on him - on his legs, chest, whatever. I want to see it. See the contrast. The white on dark and that, more than the way that Melo’s been praying the last few minutes, chanting “God, God, God,” over and over, or the way he feels around me, gets me off.

Pulling out feels like it always does: weird. But if I can’t come on Melo then I want to see him come, and he does with my mouth on his balls and I have to fiercely resist the urge to lick what I shouldn’t.

He’s turned me into something filthy.


Cleaning up is a group thing, which I guess isn’t all that strange since we shower together all the time; Melo must not realize that this is now a new kind of intimacy.

Which is good, I think.

“Goin’ home?” he asks as he pokes gently at his nose, frowning into the bathroom mirror and squinting at the light.

I nod, trying to be distant and then give up, pulling on his braids. “Um. You gonna be alright?”

“Y’mean my face?” he asks and then nods carefully.

I think he must be kidding but he doesn’t seem to be, so I shrug and then look back into the bedroom. “I mean, y’know.”

Looking at me in the mirror, fiddling with his toothbrush, he shrugs. “Dunno.”

He brushes and then spits and all I can smell is mint and that’s better than anything else right now. “You’re not gonna, like, say nothin’,” he says to me. Not asking.

I shake my head no and that satisfies him.

Wanting to know if it will happen again, if he’s freaking out about being gay or whatever and needing to touch him again before I leave confuses me, and I crowd him up against the counter.

“Don’t worry,” I tell him, using the coach voice. “Just bodies, right?” he nods, responding. “Sleep. Ice your face and I’ll see you at shoot around later.” Make it business. Tell him what it’s like. Don’t let him question it or you. Be the grown-up, I tell myself, which is hard. Then, Forget it. Which is harder, because, damn, Carmelo Anthony gave it up to me tonight, and that’s all about pride and proving that fucking point and getting to his soft center and making him pray, for chrissake. That’s about the dirt poor kid from Chihuahua who nobody knows - who nobody will ever know - fucking the shiny, new manufactured superstar.

My baby superstar. Who has a look on his face that tells me I’ve gotten through. He’s got his little smile and his eyes are blank but content. He’s been told what to do and he can handle that.

Neither of us brings up the issue of doing it again because, hey, it was a case of convenience. Most of the time there will be other convenient bodies - my wife, an NBA groupie, Lala - that are more appropriate.

But what if? I wonder, catching Melo in a hard, one armed hug before heading for the door. What if he comes on to me again, asking for it? What if he looks at me with those eyes and that smile and just fucking bends into me a little on the court like he does when he wants to fuck?

What if?

I don’t know.

And that’s dangerous.

More dangerous than Steve Nash, because even though Steve’s smart and quick and the MVP (A guy who would never get the words “atrocious” and “ferocious” confused, and who sometimes made me feel stupid), he never bent, never looked down and away from me and never grinned. I wasn’t the grown-up; I was the body. Steve wanted dick and I gave it to him, on occasion.

He never gave anything to me, though.

And there’s the difference. Goddamn it.


Go to the sequel Promised Land
Tags: fic, nba slash
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