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by beetle
Rated: GC · Novel · Sci-fi · #2033906
The future is absolute shit. Detective Declan Buchanan knows this first-hand. . . .
Summary: The future is absolute shit. Detective Declan Buchanan knows this first-hand. Enter a one night-stand with ties to him that Buchanan can't ignore or ever, ever forget.

Also note that BadSkippy (http://archiveofourown.org/users/badskippy/pseuds/badskippy) is now coauthor, thanks to a COMPENDIOUS knowledge of science-y stuff that makes my brain hurt, but is essential for the story. Thank you, BadSkippy.


I opened my gritty eyes and stared up at the threedy, which was still playing on mute, projected on my ceiling. As usual, it took me about five seconds to process who I was, where I was, and when I was.

Blinking, I tried to recall any nightmares I may have had, and couldn’t. I was merely left with the strong suspicion that I hadn’t slept well. Par for the course. The doctors had claimed that Second-Timers don’t dream during their REM cycles . . . that we simply float around in a formless void until it’s time to go wakey-bye.

Horseshit. Just because Second-Timers don’t remember their dreams and nightmares doesn’t mean we don’t have them.

(I’ll tell you what isn’t horseshit, though. Third-Timers? Don’t even need REM sleep, anymore. And Fourth-Timers don’t need sleep period, or so it’s been rumored. As for Fifth- and higher, that info’s classified like nobody’s business. Nobody’s, except of course, the premiere families of Earth-That-Is, who have the money and pull to keep getting Reconstituted. The rest of us plebes live our banal, Hellish two or three lives then stay dead.)

Rubbing my sore eyes, I rolled over and encountered another body in my bed. Some blond who’d followed me home from the bar last night. He’d been seemingly fascinated with my maudlin, boring-ass stories of Earth-That-Was and I’d been fascinated by his whirling, rainbow eyes and tight ass. But even I’ll admit it was mostly the eyes, for me. (You can tell I was still largely what the kids these days call a turista in this time. Still wide-eyed like I’m fresh out of stasis. Shit like genetic modified irises still enthralled me.)

Not that the rest of the blond’s package hadn’t been as nice. He’d had the kind of perfectly-tanned, perfectly-toned body that hinted at more gen-mods or at least expensive elective surgeries. And who, on the trash heap that was Earth-That-Is, had that kind of scratch?

No, even in my fog of inebriation, I’d recognized that the blond had belonged at a cop dive like Maloney’s like I belonged at a Martian-themed rave. But who was I to turn away someone—anyone—who could stave off the loneliness? Especially when he was so, as the kids these days say, epically groinable?

I’d been sipping whiskey alone and doing nothing more scintillating than mentally tabulating how (for the millionth time) many probably decades I was looking at for the rest of my, ahem, service, to the government of Earth. I knew that for what I owed, I was looking at . . . at least three quarters of a Third-Time, assuming I didn’t slab-out early in my Second-Time.

Which, considering that I was a vice detective in New New York City, was a lot to assume.

At any rate, I was staring into my future, and getting more and more drunk, and more and more depressed, when the blond sidled up to me out of nowhere in his suicidally tight jeans and shifting, rainbow shirt, and initiated small talk. One thing had led to another and before I could blink, it seemed, we were back at my shitty flat, doing damage to my shitty Murphy bed.

It’d been . . . memorable. Energetic, freaky, and memorable. The best I’ve had since waking up in my Second-Time. Maybe even the best ever.

Not that I was thinking of it in those terms, then. In fact, I was doing my best not to think of it at all. One night was one night. That was that. Never mind that he’d curled up in my arms around what passed for dawn in these latter, murky, polluted days. Never mind that he’d fallen asleep that way, the finger stroking my bicep slowly drifting to a gentle stop.

Never mind that I’d fallen asleep soon after, holding him as if he was a fragile piece of crystal—he definitely was not breakable . . . unlike my poor Murphy bed—just never mind that, please and thank you.

Well, I thought grimly, with the faint beginnings of a headache. At least whatever nightmares I had weren’t as bad as they have been, lately. Must not’ve been too harum-scarum if the blond is still here. Usually, the flailing and yelling scares ‘em spang outta bed. Either I’m finally evening out or this kid’s got ice-water in his veins.

And as if my thoughts about him woke him, the blond suddenly yawned and stretched, rolling over so he was facing me. His rainbow eyes were squinting at me and he was smiling like he hadn’t seen a rainy day in his life.

He probably hadn’t.

But it was the kind of smile I hadn’t seen since . . . since First-Time around, and it did funny things to the lump of flesh, blood, wires, and alloy that was ticking in my chest and passed for a heart.

“Mm . . . g’morning,” he murmured in a sleepy English accent, leaning over to kiss me. Unlike mine, his morning breath tasted like citrus and mint. Genetic modifications, indeed.

After allowing the kiss for a few seconds, I rolled away from him, sitting up and swinging my feet to the floor. The threedy followed my position to center on the wall in front of me. It was barely past eight, according to the threedy’s digital clock.

“I have to get ready for work,” I lied gruffly as the blond’s warm, gentle hands settled on my back sliding up and down, down and up.

“Not just yet,” he insisted, kissing the center of my back. I shivered.

“Sorry, kiddo, but this ride’s closed for the day.”

One deceptively fine, but strong hand snaked around my waist, to my groin. “This says otherwise,” the blond noted, stroking and stroking, lazy and sure. His hand felt so soft, but his grip was almost punishing. “This says you’re ready to turn this little tryst into a four-peat.”

“Listen, kid—”

“The name’s Irving,” he breathed in my ear, like a tropical breeze. “And I’ll wager all the cred in my bank accounts that I’m older than you by a bloody long shot, butch.”

I snorted, then groaned, bucking helplessly up into his grip. “Gen-mods and surgery can do a lot, kid, but no one older than me would’ve sat through my Earth-That-Was bullshit, let alone come home with me.” It was hard to admit, but then I’ve never been able to lie to myself. And it was almost as tough to lie to someone who was kind enough to stroke me off even as I was being a prick. “Only a Firstie would be charmed enough by tales of the distant past to follow me home based on the strength of that.”

A breathy, sexy laugh, and so help me, but Englishmen have always turned my crank. “Call it nostalgia? Meeting you was like old home week. Getting fucked by you was the icing on the cake.”

“Is that what last night was?” I grunted, my eyes fluttering shut as I gritted my teeth. “Icing?”

The blond—Irving—kissed his way up my neck. “Last night was the best night anyone’s given me in a very long time. Since my First-Time, actually.” Irving sighed and stopped stroking and kissing to wrap his arms around my neck. “Don’t let’s end it until we absolutely have to, butch, eh?”

I closed my eyes again on the garish display of the threedy and tried to think. I really didn’t have to be to the station till ten. . . .

And what harm could extending last night by one more, quick, dirty screw, possibly do? When was I ever likely to get it this good again?

Never . . . that’s when, a plain, implacable voice said from the back of my brain. And it was louder and more convincing than I was comfortable with admitting.

But I figured it was right: What was the harm in indulging just this once?

“Fuck it,” I muttered, turning to catch Irving in my arms, kissing him hard as I bore him back down to my bed. He gave that throaty chuckle again, which turned into a purr as he wrapped his arms tight around my neck and his legs tight around my hips. He ground up against me, as hard as I was, and for a while, that was enough, just that, while looking into his changeable eyes.

Finally he laughed and kissed me, slick and obscene and just the way I liked. I palmed the cheeks of his ass hard enough to bruise and when he moaned, I let the moan break the kiss.

“How old are you?” I demanded, looking down into his whirling, multicolored eyes again. They were—and I’d noticed this last night, despite being three sheets to the wind—far too old for his barely-legal face. “And what Time are you on?”

Irving grinned, slow and sly. “Guess, Detective.”

Frowning, I pushed his legs up and out, high and wide, and made myself at home between his thighs. Irving’s breathing was light and fast with anticipation, his whirling eyes dilated and wide.

“Second-Time?” I guessed uncertainly as I licked two of my fingers and pushed them into him. He was still pretty slick from last night, still breathtakingly tight and hot. I scissored my fingers carefully, till he was moaning and humping air. “You can’t be more than Second-Time.”

Irving giggled at that, his slick muscles clenching around and clutching at me. I swore and removed them as gingerly as I could, not wanting to hurt him. Or at least I’d thought I hadn’t wanted to hurt him, because as soon as my fingers were free, I was replacing them with something considerably larger. I took his virgin-tight ass in one hard thrust that made him hiss in a pained gasp, and groan long and loud. I did some hissing of my own at the flutter of his muscles around me and the bright, hot flash of pain as his nails dug into my nape and neck.

“Oh, Detective,” he sighed happily, arching up to meet me. “While I’m flattered that . . . you think I possess the . . . joie de vivre . . . of a man in his second lifetime . . . I must demur. Guess again.”

I opened eyes I hadn’t been aware of closing and found myself staring at the recessed wall behind the Murphy bed. Then I looked down at Irving, who’d closed his eyes and was biting his lip as I put my back into fucking him.

Third?!” I asked incredulously, in a voice as small as my thrusts were hard. I’d only ever even met a couple of Third-Timers, that I knew of. “I mean, you obviously still need sleep, or you wouldn’t have—”

Like sleep,” Irving corrected, panting. He licked his bitten bottom lip. It seemed like such a good idea, I copied him. It quickly turned into something lewd and intense, even as it tasted innocently of citrus and mint. When it ended, Irving moaned again. “Like to sleep, Detective. Don’t need to. My God, I haven’t been fucked like this since the third millennium!”

The third—holy shit, how the Hell old is he?

“You’re, uh . . . you’re really freaking me out, right now, Irving,” I breathed shakily, but didn’t stop fucking him. If anything, I fucked him harder. It was that good. Too damn good to stop. “Let’s save the pillow-talk for afterwards, huh?”

“Oh, don’t stop guessing now, Detective,” Irving whispered, beaming up at me hungrily and clenching his muscles tight-tight-tight around me. “I’m past my Third-Time.”

I searched his eyes steadily, a cold shiver working its way down my spine. “Fourth.” It wasn’t a question. And I was wrong, it turns out, for Irving shook his head before throwing it back into my flat, flimsy pillow and crying out jaggedly. “But—you have to be a Fourth-Timer, if you’re not a Second or Third.”

“I . . . was a Fourth-Timer . . . once upon a millennium—yes, Detective, right there—but those halcyon days . . . are over.”

My orgasm was, despite my mental state of being extremely confused and more than slightly scared—and despite the tenor of our pillow-talk—coming on fast. Faster than it had the previous times earlier in the evening. Like I was a teenager, all of a sudden. Though, technically, parts of this body were, in fact, only seven years old.

I pinned Irving’s wrists to the bed, to either side of his head, and pushed down on him with my weight as I drove myself in and out of his willing body. I kept fucking him harder and harder, as if that would get answers out of him. “Who are you? What are you?”

Unh. Irving . . . Irving Gosse.” He moaned, eyes squinching shut as his pelvis lifted off the bed to crash against mine, meeting my thrusts with the timing of the gods. Then, when I faltered, his eyes flew open, seeking mine out. ”Don’t you dare stop now, Detective! I need—need—”

And in spite of the shock of what he’d told me—the Gosses were all Fifth-Timers or higher. He couldn’t possibly be a scion of the premiere of Earth’s premiere families, could he? Couldn’t possibly be a Gosse—my body picked its rhythm back up, driving into his body harder and harder, till sweat dripped off my face and rolled down my back and Irving was beyond telling me what he needed, and just clutching at me and moaning.

I closed my eyes and focused on staving off my orgasm for as long as possible, but I could no more control it than I could control a typhoon, It was coming. Coming. Here.

I quickly let go of one of Irving’s wrists and slipped a hand between our bodies. A moment later, he was hard and heavy in my hand. A few rough strokes and he was letting out another ragged, jagged cry that sounded almost pained. I could feel his release, hot and a lot, on my stomach, and the thought of him coming on me was enough to tip me over the edge—that and Irving’s muscle spasms around me, I should say.

I came with a grunt and a yell, still pumping my body back and forth, drawing out the climax as long as I could, till at last, utterly drained, I collapsed on top of Irving.

I lay there, stunned—too stunned to do more than try and remember how to breathe. I’d progressed to trying to remember my name—I’m Dec . . . Detective Declan Buchanan—when Irving began to squirm around beneath me. After a minute of that, I also remembered that I was not made of fairy-dust. Most of my body was genetically modified muscle and the rest of it was alloy. With all my mods and muscle, I weighed close to two-fifty, soaking wet. Which I was.

So I levered myself carefully off of Irving and rolled onto my back. Irving laughed breathlessly and followed me, cuddling up against me and pulling my still-shaking arm around his shoulders.

“I’m just starting my Seventh,” he whispered on my left peck, kissing my nipple and flicking his tongue out to tease it to hardness. I groaned, my spent, oversensitive body too limp to do more than note the sensation as pleasurable. Then I was harkening back to the little conversation we’d been having before the best orgasm of my entire existence got in the way.

“Seventh?” I asked, looking down at him. He was staring up at me, wide-eyed and alert. After a few moments he nodded.

“I’m just starting my Seventh life, actually.” He nuzzled my nipple before kissing it. In fact, you’re my Reconstitution Day gift to myself. You and this body, that is—the family was bloody scandalized, by the way.” Irving gestured down at his slim, gracefully muscled body. Then he winced. “Unh. Fuck my arse, but you pack a wallop, Detective!”

“It’s Dec. Declan Buchanan,” I said warily, my mind still buzzing and inconveniently blank. Irving glanced up at me from under his mop of fashionably shaggy hair.

“Pleased to meet you, Detective Dec.”

I sighed, looking away. “God, don’t call me that. It reminds me of Lieutenant Dan.”

Irving laughed, delighted, leaning up to kiss me on the mouth. And kiss me. And kiss me. “You’re the first person I’ve met in centuries who remembers what a movie is, let alone that particular one. You are a lovely surprise, Detective Buchanan.”

I rolled my eyes, knowing I should be hustling this ancient annoyance out of my apartment post-haste. The last thing I needed in my life was to get tangled up in any way with one of Earth’s few remaining elites. Hell, there’s even a saying about getting involved with any of the Five Families, and it goes like this: Don’t.

And I knew from personal experience what happens when one got in a Gosse’s purview. It never ended well. Sometimes, it ended up with an extra Time tacked onto two life sentences. . . .

But even as I was thinking that, I was staring at Irving’s ancient, amused, whirling eyes, brushing his hair out of his face so as to have an unobstructed view of them. I searched them, looking for hints of icy, Atlantic-blue, and found none. But still . . . it couldn’t hurt to be sure, could it?

But really, what were the chances I’d run into that Gosse after all these centuries? Even if he was still alive?

“So,” I said, when suspicion finally got the better of me. Irving smiled and leaned into my touch happily.

“So.”

“You’re a Seventh-Timer?”

“Yes.”

“And a Gosse?”

“That, too.” A winning smile. “But don’t hold it against me.”

I didn’t. Yet. Instead, I held my breath. “What year were you born?”

“2087.”

Letting out that held breath and snorting, I stopped playing with his hair and glanced over at the threedy, relieved. That Gosse would’ve been older than me, right? At least by a couple years. “I’ve got you beat, after all. I was born in ‘85.” Which not only made Irving younger than me, but it also made him unlikely to be the Irv Gosse I’d run up against all those centuries ago. This was probably just a namesake. Maybe a nephew or grandson.

“Mm. But it’s not the year of birth that counts, but how many years one has spent walking around in these delightful meat-suits.” Irving snorted, too. “After my late brother, George—who was older by five years—I’m the oldest living man in recorded history.”

I whistled quietly, impressed in spite of myself . . . then the import of what he said hit me. Never mind my massive denial, it was being driven home to me that this wasn’t just some namesake of Irv Gosse, but the man, himself.

Still staring at the threedy with eyes that stung, I let it hit me. And hit me. And hit me.

Irving was that Gosse. The man responsible for the Hell I’ll be living for at least the next six hundred years.

And I’d fucked him. Not once . . . but four times.

I bolted up and out of bed so fast, Irving squawked in indignation and gazed at me as if I’d gone mad.

“Detec—Dec? Whatever’s the matter?”

Scrubbing my face with both my hands, I shook my head. “You should go.”

Irving—Gosse—snorted again, and it somehow sounded sexy on him, despite . . . everything. “Is this about getting to work on time? Believe me, darling, when I say, I can have your Sergeant kissing your divine arse if you walk in at midnight. I’ve got a lot of pull with law enforcement.”

“Yes,” I agreed bitterly. “I know.”

A rustle of sheets and the soft pad of fully—or not—human feet, making no attempt at stealth. Then Gosse was wrapping his arms around me, making a put-out sound when I shoved him away, hard. I would’ve thought, knowing what I know, that his touch would’ve disgusted me, but . . . it didn’t.

And that was what bothered me more than anything.

I turned to look at him, half-scared at what my reaction would be to him. And I was right to be scared. Aside from the churning in my gut that was getting worse as the seconds passed, I was immediately affected by his nudity. I started to raise wood slowly, but surely as I stared at him and he stared at me. I was having the same effect on him and he clearly wasn’t ashamed of that.

He stood there, getting hard, without guilt or subterfuge, while I covered myself like a blushing virgin.

“Declan, what’s—” he began, taking a step toward me, but I held out a hand, halting him. “Is something the matter? Why’re you being so coy, now?”

“You don’t remember me, do you?” It slipped out without me meaning to say anything other than another request for him to leave. “I guess you wouldn’t, since I don’t look anything like I did when I was a Firstie. But my name doesn’t ring a bell, either, does it?”

Gosse frowned, his lovely face taking on a thoughtful look as he tried, obviously to place my face—which he never would—and my name. Finally, he sighed and looked away. “It doesn’t,” he said softly. “But let me guess . . . my family has, in some way, negatively affected your life?”

I shook my head and Gosse looked up at me, with hope in his eyes. Till I spoke. “Not your family, you son of a bitch. You.”

Those rainbow eyes widened and Gosse didn’t look especially surprised, but he did look even more unhappy. “I see,” he said. Then, wearily, softly: “I see. And what did I do to you to put that hatred in your eyes, Detective Buchanan? And when did I do it?”

I wiped my cheeks as the stinging overflowed from my eyes, relieving them momentarily before they were stinging again. “ADA Irving James Gosse . . . ‘all-duty, no mercy.’ That’s what they used to say about you when I was a rookie. And even after I made detective, that rep of yours only grew. Till you were Judge No-Mercy, and I . . . was your latest case.” I barked a rueful laugh and looked away from Gosse, who seemed to be shrinking in on himself. “I suppose you were making an example of me. Rooting out corruption on the force and giving it what-for!”

“Detective—”

“And I guess you wouldn’t remember me, after nearly two millennia and no doubt countless cases between then and now. Why remember one dirty cop when you had a whole bunch you threw to the wolves?” I felt tears run down my nose and drip on my bare feet. “Of course, it didn’t matter that we all had our reasons for going dirty. We had families, and problems that only money could solve. And our paychecks didn’t even remotely fit the bill.”

I shook my head, fighting off the headache that’d threatened half an hour ago.

“And what . . . what was your reason, Detective?” Gosse’s voice was small and strange.

I barked that awful laugh again. “Does it matter? Wrong is wrong, and reasons don’t change that. Believe me, I learned that lesson a long time ago. And you taught it to me.” I looked up after wiping my face dry and steeled myself against the physical draw I knew I’d feel when I looked at Gosse.

Under his tan, he looked pale and his rainbow eyes looked miserable.

He didn’t look anything like the Judge Gosse who’d put me in the clink for life with no possibility of parole. He looked like a sad, dumb party-kid. Lost and lonely and uncertain of himself.

Inexplicably, I wanted—

Never mind what I wanted. Fuck what I wanted.

“You should go.” I said it evenly, without a hint of the scream I could feel building from the tips of my toes and fingers, and moving ever inward.

Gosse opened his mouth as if he would say something . . . then closed it, and nodded, turning away from me to search for his clothes.

I went to my closet and pulled on a pair of sweatpants, then waited for him to finish dressing.

When he was poured back into those tight jeans and that shimmering shirt, he turned to face me, running a hand through his hair. His eyes were narrowed as if he was trying to remember something.

“A daughter,” he said finally, and I froze. “Your daughter. She was your reason, was she not?”

Shocked into answering, I nodded. “She had Singleton-Engels Syndrome. A pretty aggressive form of it. I couldn’t keep up with her medical bills and neither could my insurance.” I shrugged and turned toward the door to my flat. I meant to open it and give him the heave-ho, but I found myself fighting tears again.

I told myself all the time that I didn’t think of my Laura every minute of every day, but like I said, I’m a shit liar.

“They . . . they found a way to treat it not too long after you were incarcerated . . . the treatment was expensive, but it worked. Did she—”

“I don’t know.” I said flatly. “I was shanked in the prison shower three months after I was sentenced. I died. Next thing I know, I’m waking up in the fucking future, and it’s shit, the future is absolute shit. And because of the circumstances surrounding my First-Time, I can’t go digging into my descendants’ records. Assuming any exist, since Laura was my only blood relation when I died and she surely wasn’t too far behind me.”

“I see.”

“Do you?” I looked back at Gosse to see he was closer than I expected, and I stumbled backward as if he had the plague. His face was grim and unreadable, but for those eyes . . . there was such . . . compassion in them, that it left me breathless and near tears again. “Whatever. Doesn’t matter.”

“No . . . I don’t suppose it does,” Gosse said softly, then sighed, his shoulders slumping. But before another moment could pass, he’d straightened like a ramrod, and his manner became business-like and terse. So much so that I could see unmistakable hints of Judge Irv Gosse in him where there’d been none. “Well, I . . . shan’t trouble you further, Detective Buchanan. I apologize for . . . overstaying my dubious welcome. Good day.”

And with that, he was striding to the door and letting himself out. The door clicked discreetly shut behind him, and as soon as it did, I leaned against it and slid down to the floor, the room and the threedy gone blurry for tears that just would not, after seven years—after two millennia—be held back anymore.

TBC
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