“It’s Hoban, isn’t it?”
Wash drew up short, clutching the bath towel and sleep clothes in his hands to his chest. His rival, a young man with dark, curly hair who insisted on calling himself Mr. Universe, was peering intently at him from his across the corridor that led to the head. Wash shifted his weight, squaring his shoulders. “Where’d you hear that, Yitzchak?”
Mr. Universe glared daggers at Wash. “Oh, try to understand, I’ve got my little ways of getting information.” He approached languidly, his body swaying easily.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Wash demanded. He was older, and bigger, and wasn’t going to let the fact that he was dressed in only a bathrobe, clutching his shower goods in his arms, give Mr. Universe the high ground.
Mr. Universe shrugged smoothly, his body performing the motion as though he were gliding underwater. “Nothing. Not a thing. Not really. Just noting that everybody has a breaking point. Even the great ace pilot Hoban Washburn.”
Wash shrugged the words off. “Good luck with that, then.” He proceeded to ignore Mr. Universe, pushing the door to the head open. He didn’t have to turn to know he was being followed. At first, he pretended to not notice the company. He set his things down on one of the benches, shrugging out of his bathrobe. He hung it on a peg beside the showerhead, glancing over his shoulder.
He found Mr. Universe watching him. Wash turned the hot water on, stepping into the stream after a few seconds. “You’re wasting your time,” he said.
When Mr. Universe spoke again, his voice was louder than Wash had expected. “I want this icky animosity between us to stop. Flitter flutter away, gone.”
Wash’s eyes flew open as he spun around. Mr. Universe was standing just outside the spray of water, much closer than he’d been initially. Wash took a reflexive step backward. “You’re cheating,” Wash plainly stated. “I don’t think there’s much to be said about that.”
“You can’t possibly be jealous,” Mr. Universe replied, his voice almost purring. “Everyone in the school knows you’re a much, much better pilot than me.”
“That’s because I am,” Wash pointed out.
“I think you’re forgetting one very important thing,” Mr. Universe said. He was impossibly close now; his clothes were starting to spot from stray spray.
“What’s that?” Wash asked, struggling to keep his tone even and his eyes on the other man.
“How very, very powerful what I know can make you.” He reached out and Wash instinctively flinched backward, expecting a strike. None came, and instead Mr. Universe twisted the shower knob, so the water shut off. When it was dry, he stepped forward again, into Wash’s private space.
“Oh?” Wash asked, lifting his chin, trying to remain in control of the situation. “And how’s that?”
Mr. Universe’s smile was thin and wicked. “Think about it, Washburn,” he said, raising a finger to swirl through the flattened hair on Wash’s chest. “If I can change my scores here, to say I’m the best pilot, and convince the rest of our lovely staff and advisors of the same, imagine what else I can do,” he gestured with his other hand, “out there.”
Wash’s focus had shifted. Before, he’d been intent on Mr. Universe’s right eye in what he considered to be a confrontational look. The advent of a hand on his wet chest, however, had distracted him, and now he was looking at the long, slender fingers of a typist as they splayed out against his paler flesh. “Um,” he began, “you could take over the world?”
Mr. Universe laughed and the sound was infectious. Wash found himself laughing too. “The universe, silly. And, I could,” Mr. Universe said, his tone suddenly sober. He looked up through his dark lashes at Wash, directing his attention back to his face. “Could be a real benefit to you, too, when you’re out in the ‘verse on your lonesome.”
Wash swallowed hard because his body was starting to react to Mr. Universe in ways that it really shouldn’t. “Why even be top of the class?” Wash asked, hoping his voice didn’t sound as strained as he felt. “Why risk it?”
Mr. Universe laughed again. It was a deep, warm laugh and Wash was surprised at the way it made his stomach roll. “Hacking into the system is what’s fun,” he said and kissed the air sensuously. “Love to make love to the system. This academy has one of the highest security systems in the Core,” he mused, letting his hands run over Wash’s chest again. “Getting in and getting to the top is like foreplay, baby. They can try and try to keep me out, but no one can stop me.” He flashed his bright teeth at Wash. “That’s the power I can give you.”
Wash backed up again, until he collided with the cold temperature dials on the shower. He drew up short, all too aware of the warm hands on his cold skin. “Why offer it to me, then? Just because I know you’re hacking?”
The smirk that spread across Mr. Universe’s lips made Wash’s cock twitch in a way he couldn’t explain. “Maybe ‘cause you keep falling in love with me?” he teased, kissing at the air again as he advanced. “It’s not the kill, Hoban,” he crooned, “it’s the chase; cat and mouse. You didn’t play, and I want you to.”
Wash was on the balls of his feet, tensed to the very tip of his toes. Mr. Universe’s hands were tracing concentric circles around his nipples now, and he was having a hard time trying to decide if he wanted to squirm away, or pull him closer. “So, I’m thinking that I’m playing now,” he thickly said.
Mr. Universe rewarded him with another brilliant smile. His hands trailing lower, down to the thicker thatch of hair below Wash’s navel. “Is that so?”
Wash let out a low groan against his will. His eyes fell to half-mast. “We can’t do this in here,” he warned.
Mr. Universe actually had the audacity to look down, and there he scrutinized Wash’s half-erect cock. He laughed again, that warm velvet laugh, and Wash wanted to shove him on his knees and force his cock into his mouth, so he could feel that laughter around him.
“Is that an invitation back to your barrack?” Mr. Universe asked.
Wash writhed against the shower dials as Mr. Universe’s fingers slowly crept lower. “I’m thinking that it was, yes.” He nodded, trying to focus. “In fact, I’m pretty sure, yes. That’s what it is.” He arched his toes more, trying to bring his length up to the hand.
Clicking his tongue chidingly, Mr. Universe backed off. “And mum’s the word?”
Wash nodded slowly, feeling as though he was drowning in a vat of warm honey. “Yeah. Mum. And you’ll make me all powerful.”
Mr. Universe nodded, reaching out to gently pull Wash to him, and out of the shower stall, by his cock. Wash was led obediently. “That’s Mr. Universe, all right. Making men and women all powerful since 2488,” Mr. Universe purred. “You’ve hit upon my motto, Hoban, or what would be my motto, if I ever stuck to one.”