Jay Tintenfisch had no idea what to expect when he stepped through the portal with Asta.
The rush of soaring winds was intense, and he was a mess of flailing limbs, panting frantically and trying not to scream. He was falling without any end in sight, and his stomach flipped over itself at least five times. He wasn’t sure if he was going to puke or die or both.
Asta was right there at his side, wrapping his long arms around Jay as he whispered sweetly in his ear, “I got you, Jay. Just hang on.”
Jay shivered at the tease of Asta’s warm breath, and he scrambled to hold on as tightly as he could. This had been the most insane evening of his entire life, and it was far from over.
Finding out the old gods were real and that one wanted to use Jay for a diabolical experiment was more than enough to make anyone feel a bit crazy. Watching Azaethoth the Lesser eat spaghetti right in front of him was a trip all on its own. Then there was the added insanity of his missing roommate, Ted Sturm, being engaged to the King of the Asra, the ruler of the magical world of Xenon.
Jay had certainly missed a lot while he’d been trapped in a magical sleep, but the one stunning revelation he was having the most trouble dealing with was how hot his damn cat was.
Okay, Asta wasn’t technically a cat.
He was an Asra, which was more of a cat monster to be precise, and he was a prince. He was also the one responsible for Jay’s magical sleep.
But he was hot.
Like, really hot.
Bright eyes, legs for days, thick black hair, and a sly smile with those sharp pointed teeth that made Jay’s loins clench in the most bizarre and primal way, and…
Fuck, this was weird.
It had to be a little weird, right?
Jay thought he’d just taken in a funny little stray cat that needed a good home, and he’d actually had literal royalty playing with catnip, begging for treats, always demanding snuggles, sleeping in his bed…
That royalty had been in the same room with Jay when he was feeling particularly lonely—oh, for the love of all the gods.
Jay had masturbated with a cat sleeping at the foot of his bed who was definitely not a cat, and the current level of weird had hit an epic tier of embarrassment from which there could be no recovery.
He hoped this portal plummeted him headfirst into a very hard rock.
Jay found himself instead in a very lush bedroom with glowing walls made of purple stone, a giant canopy bed covered in plushies, and a large media pit like a house from the seventies would have packed full of more plushies and cozy blankets. The glow from the walls was dim, and it took Jay a few seconds for his eyes to adjust so he could take it all in.
There were posters plastered in colorful collages on the walls around the bed featuring everything from boy bands to anime. The bedding itself was a noisy print of bright cartoon skulls and candy, the air smelled of spicy incense, and there were literal piles of books strewn across the floor.
If Jay didn’t know any better, he would have said this was a messy teenager’s room and not an Asran prince.
Then again, he supposed he had no idea what any prince’s room would look like and maybe they were all like this.
“Take a deep breath,” Asta soothed as he adjusted Jay’s glasses. He smiled, rubbing his hands slowly over Jay’s back. “You okay?”
“I… I’ve never been through a portal before,” Jay confessed. He was standing in front of Asta, wobbling a little and clinging to his chest. He had to tilt his head up to meet Asta’s gaze because of how tall he was, and the fact Asta was naked had not been lost on him.
Very hot, very naked Asta.
Shit, shit, shit.
“If you gotta spew,” Asta warned, “just tell me and I will totally open another portal in the floor.”
“Thanks.” Jay managed a smile and hoped Asta couldn’t see how hard he was blushing right now. “I, uh… Where’s Ted? Where are we?”
“Right. Well. We’re in Xenon, and we’re in the coolest room ever. Mine, of course.” Asta pushed his round sunglasses up onto his forehead. “I thought you might get sick, so I figured it would be better to let you chill out here first instead of going all spew-zilla when you see ol’ Cat Kicker.”
“Oh, thank you. Yeah, I have a little bit of trouble with motion sickness.”
“I know.” Asta grinned. “I remember when you and Ted watched that horror movie, the shaky cam one? You totally puked.”
“Ugh, that was awful.” Jay cringed. “Yeah, I can’t watch anything like that or, well, you know.” He didn’t want to mention what else Asta knew. “Can I… sit down?”
“Yeah, totally!” Asta flew over to the bed, shoving the army of plushies and pillows off onto the floor as he dove across the blankets. His sunglasses flew off and landed somewhere with the plushies. He rolled over onto his side, smacking the empty space he’d created.
Jay had to look away from the dramatic display, and he stared at the ceiling. “So, uh, are you always naked?”
“You didn’t care when I was a cat,” Asta teased.
“Yes, ‘cause you were a cat!”
“Okay, fine. You twisted my arm.” Asta groaned as if he was in great pain. “There. Happy?”
Jay hesitantly glanced over to see Asta was wearing a pair of pink shorts that barely qualified as clothing. He tried to pretend he didn’t notice how the stretchy fabric hugged Asta’s cocks—yup, cocks, because there were most definitely two of them.
“Thank you.” Jay sat on the edge of the mattress, and he kept his head turned to remove the temptation of gawking.
“You’re lucky I like you,” Asta declared. “I usually bitch a whole lot more before agreeing to put on clothes.”
Jay laughed. “Yeah?”
“Definitely. Bitching is like half my personality.” Asta scooted closer. “Can I get you anything? Drink? Something to nibble on? Bucket?”
“No, no, I’m feeling okay.” Jay took a deep breath. “It’s just a lot to take in. I’m sitting in your bed, a bed here in Xenon, because you’re an Asran prince and not a cat.”
“I can still meow for you if you’d like.” Asta was now pressed right up against Jay’s back, lightly pawing at his shoulders. “You can totally feed me too.”
“N-no, that’s okay.” Jay laughed nervously.
“You ready to go see Cat Kicker? Or you still wanna chill for a minute?”
“Why do you keep calling Ted that? Did he really kick you?” Jay frowned. “Because I find that really hard to believe.”
“He absolutely did.” Asta sniffed defiantly. “You should have kicked him. As in, kicked him right out of the apartment.”
“Hey, the apartment is Ted’s!” Jay scolded. “He didn’t have to let me keep you, you know. He did it because he’s a nice person.”
“Nice? Ugh. He’s so gross,” Asta whined as he curled around Jay’s hip until he could put his head in his lap.
Jay laughed, shyly reaching down to pet Asta’s hair. When Asta was Mr. Twigs the cat, he would demand affection this very same way. “He is a very nice guy, and you know, you weren’t exactly that nice to him.”
“Me?” Asta gasped.
“I figured you were just doing normal cat stuff, but now knowing you were totally not a cat means you did all that crap on purpose.”
“Lies. Wicked, wicked lies.” Asta closed his eyes, leaning into Jay’s hand with a grin.
“You puked in his shoes.”
“I had indigestion.”
“You left a dead mouse on his pillow!”
Jay snorted, and he ran his fingers through Asta’s hair, scratching his nails lightly against his scalp. He swore Asta was purring. “Hmm, I think you might have been jealous of Ted.”
“What?” Asta’s eyes snapped open.
“I think you were jealous.” Jay smirked. “You always seemed to get really fussy when Ted and I hung out together.”
“You’re crazy,” Asta drawled. “I mean, you’re still way boneable, but I’m afraid you’ve lost major points in sanity. Have you seen me?” He gestured to himself. “There is no possible dimension in the entire multiverse in which I am jealous of Cat Kicker.”
“Hmm. Except this one.” Jay grinned.
“Also. Boneable? Seriously? Is that even a word?”
“It is now.” Asta caught Jay’s hand to hold against his cheek so he could nuzzle it.
“You think I’m…” Jay’s cheeks burned as he realized the word was meant as a compliment. “That I’m… that?”
“Oh.” Asta winked as he slid his tongue over the points of his sharp top teeth. “Very.”
“I… uh….” Jay fidgeted with his glasses. “I…
“What’s wrong, Jay?” Asta batted his lashes. “Cat got your tongue?” He grinned, quickly adding before Jay could reply, “I mean, I don’t yet, but maybe later.”
“I think we should go see Ted now. Look, I, uh, that’s, very, very nice of you to say stuff like that, but uh—”
“Uh, stuff like what?” Asta surged upward until his nose bumped Jay’s.
Jay tipped backward against the bed to escape the sudden close proximity, and he barely had a second to process what was happening before Asta was on top of him. Asta had just been in his lap lounging happily, and now he had Jay pinned with a hungry smile.
It wasn’t as if Jay was physically trapped. Asta’s hands were framing his shoulders on the bed, and the only part of their bodies that was actually touching was Asta’s hip pressing against Jay’s where he was leaning over him.
Still, Jay couldn’t move, frozen by the unexpected thrill and a wave of anxiety.
He also had no idea what to do with his hands. He had them hovering in front of Asta’s chest, but he was afraid to touch him. He didn’t know what the rules were on touching royal cat people, though Asta was making it pretty clear that he probably wouldn’t mind.
“You mean, the stuff like me saying you’re way boneable?” Asta asked. “Or maybe like you have the most bodacious fucking eyelashes I’ve ever seen? And that it would be an absolute privilege to dick you down right now?”
Jay’s eyes widened, and he panicked.
No one as hot as Asta ever hit on him, especially this aggressively, and he had no clue how to respond except to escape as quickly as possible.
He tucked his arms down by his sides and pointed his feet out, sliding his entire body forward so he slipped out from underneath Asta and off the bed. He managed to land feet first in a crouch and then bounce up, whirling around to face a fairly surprised Asta.
“Huh.” Asta licked his lips. “I guess that’s a yes?”
“L-Look, this is, uh, very nice and all, but, but, but—”
“But what?” Asta stretched out across the bed on his back, tucking his arms up behind his head in a particularly provocative pose. “Do you like me?”
“Yes, I, I guess so—”
“What’s the problem?” Asta complained as he rolled around, wiggling enticingly. “I’m gorgeous, you’re gorgeous, and we can make some very, very gorgeous sounds together if we take off all these stupid clothes—”
“I’ve never had sex before, okay?” Jay shouted.
Asta fell off the bed.
Jay hadn’t meant to raise his voice, but he didn’t know how else to get through to Asta. He winced at how hard Asta hit the ground, mumbling, “Sorry.”
“No, wait.” Asta pushed himself up onto his knees. “What about that guy? Your ex? The one with the bad breath?”
“Bryce?” Jay made a face.
“You told Ted all about how awful he was in bed!”
“Okay, first of all—” Jay planted his hands on his hips. “—it’s extremely rude that you have all this crazy insider information because you were my damn cat!”
“How is it my fault that you decided to have personal private conversations in front of me?” Asta crawled back up on the bed.
“Because you were pretending to be a fucking cat!” Jay fumed. “No one thinks what they say with their fucking pet hanging around is going to come back and bite them in the ass!”
“I mean, if you’re asking me to bite you—”
“Shut up! Just, just listen! I was lying, okay? I lied about Bryce!”
“Okay, you have my attention.”
Jay sighed miserably. “We only went on three dates, and he dumped me when I wouldn’t sleep with him. Okay? I was too embarrassed to tell Ted the truth, so… I just… I lied.” He wrung his hands together. “I’ve never been very good with people. Being Silenced makes me enough of a freak, and then all the stuff I liked growing up made me an even bigger freak ‘cause it was super nerdy, and so, sex, uh, it just… never happened for me.”
“Well.” Asta stood. “On behalf of the entire Asran royal family and the kingdom of Xenon, may I please say that I hope Bryce chips his front teeth on a rusty urinal. That’s a way big dick move on his part, and well, I guess I was kinda putting some dick moves on you too.” He offered his hand out to take Jay’s. “Also, side note, you’re super hot when you’re mad.”
“Is that your way of apologizing?” Jay eyed Asta’s hand suspiciously.
“Yes. Is it working?”
“Only a little.” Jay slowly reached for Asta’s hand.
“I’m sorry,” Asta said with surprising seriousness. “You’re right about my being a cat being kinda unfair too. I had all that time to get to know you and figure out what a totally awesome babe you are.” A little smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “While you were denied the joy of getting to know my epic awesomeness because I was a cat—”
“Okay, I think we’re done now.” Jay rolled his eyes.
“Hey, come on.” Asta laughed, giving Jay’s hand a playful tug. “All I’m asking you is for a teeny tiny chance here.”
“A chance to what?” Jay frowned.
“To maybe get to know me, so you’ll think I’m as awesome as I know you are?”
“Right.” Jay narrowed his eyes. “And then we take off all our clothes and make the sounds or whatever?”
“That was my plan, yeah.”
“Right. Asta.” Jay took a deep, cleansing breath. “If and when I become interested in any of that, you’ll be the first to know.”
“Wait. Seriously? That’s it?”
“Yeah?” Asta quirked his brows.
“You’re not… mad at me?” Jay cringed.
“Never.” Asta kissed Jay’s hand sweetly. “Hey, I’m horny, but I’m not a creep, okay?”
“Thank you.” Jay didn’t want to let go of Asta’s hand, surprisingly touched by the sudden reversal of Asta’s aggressive flirting. “That, that means a lot to me. Really.”
“Hey. I’m really just happy you’re here.” Asta’s smile was downright bashful. “I was, you know, kinda worried about you. Not just because of the saving the world bit, but because you are really awesome. I… I really do like you, Jay. I’ve met a lot of mortals, but trust me when I say that you are one of a kind.”
“Yeah?” Jay blushed. “Wow. That’s so sweet—”
“Plus, now you’ve been in my bed, and you know how super comfy it is. You’ll be back for sure.”
Jay couldn’t help but laugh again. “Wow, you are super stubborn, aren’t you?”
“Me? What?” Asta grinned. “Maybe just a tiny bit.”
“If you’re done trying to get into my pants, can we go see Ted now?”
“I will never be done trying to get into your pants, but yes, we can go.” Asta kept a hold of Jay’s hand, and he swept his other arm around Jay’s waist to draw him in close. “Hang on tight.”
Jay hugged Asta’s neck, and he tried to tell himself that it was just because moving through portals was still mildly terrifying. He knew it was also because he really did want to be close to Asta, and he closed his eyes in preparation of the gross falling feeling.
But nothing happened.
He peeked up at Asta. “What is it?”
“One quick question.” Asta batted his eyes. “Would you believe me if I told you I was a virgin too and I wanted to give myself to you tonight?”
“Nice try, though.”
“Thanks! Told you I wasn’t gonna stop trying.” Asta winked, and the room vanished.
Jay’s stomach flipped like he was in a car and had just gone over a big bump in the road, and it was thankfully brief. He was standing outside a massive castle—holy fuck, it was a castle—by a steaming pool illuminated by glowing eels with a beautiful night sky glittering above them.
There was so much to take in, and it was this moment that Jay truly knew he was in another world.
The stars were countless, streaking across the inky black in violet swirls, and the castle had a lush lavender glow. There was a forest off in the distance of glowing white trees, a sprawling city, and…
The Xenon bridge was a sparkling behemoth structure arching from one side of the sky to the other as far as Jay could see, and he could feel his eyes getting hot, overwhelmed by the sheer awe of seeing something so sacred in person.
“That’s… that’s the bridge. That’s it. That’s the bridge to Zebulon.” Jay gasped. “Holy crap, it’s right there!”
“Yeah, but it kinda loses the fanciness once you’ve seen it a few dozen times,” Ted teased.
“Ted?” Jay whirled around, seeing Ted in the glowing pool with a short, broad man. “Holy shit!”
“Hey!” Ted waved. “Welcome to Xenon, Jay!”
“I believe introductions are in order.” The broad man snapped his fingers.
Jay was suddenly standing in the pool wearing purple swimming trunks with neon green dinosaurs. He was too excited to be self conscious about being shirtless, and he surged forward to hug Ted. “Hey! You’re okay!”
“Hey! Yeah! I’m fucking great!” Ted hugged Jay tight, crushing him against his chest. “You! What about you? Are you okay?”
“Great,” Jay wheezed.
“Asta got you here all safe and sound?”
“Yup. Very safe. Very sound.” Jay had forgotten what an intense hugger Ted was, and he swore Ted had only grown since he’d seen him last. He patted Ted’s back for mercy. “You can let go now.”
“Right, sorry.” Ted grinned sheepishly. “Wow, so, uh, hi!”
“Hi!” Jay laughed. “I’m sure you already know, but uh, I had a long magical nap, missed a ton of super crazy stuff, and well, once I was all caught up, I asked Asta to bring me here so I could see you.”
“Yeah! I heard you got to meet Starkiller!”
“Oh, right! Sloane!”
The broad man loudly cleared his throat.
“My apologies.” Ted chuckled, turning toward the man as he said, “Jay, I’d like you to meet Grell.”
“King Grell,” the man corrected. “Ruler of Xenon and the Asra, amateur haberdasher, and last year’s World of Warcraft PVP champion.”
“Horde or Alliance?” Jay blurted out.
“Horde,” Grell replied without hesitation. “Obviously.”
“Oh! Well, it’s, it’s very nice to meet you.” Jay hadn’t actually expected such a quick response, but maybe cat people really did like to play MMO’s.
“A pleasure,” Grell purred.
Ted settled down in the water, floating back until he reached Grell who then wrapped his arms around him. They looked very happy together, and the sight made Jay’s heart flutter.
He’d never known Ted to date since he’d had a bad breakup with that redhead guy whose name Jay was having trouble remembering right that second. He wasn’t too concerned that he couldn’t think of it—with the mental overload he’d experienced in the last few hours, he was lucky he knew his own damn name.
“Wow.” Jay grinned.
“What?” Ted quirked his brows.
“Just, you know.” Jay shrugged. “Never seen you look so happy before.”
“Totally gross, isn’t it?” Asta groaned loudly from where he had taken up a perch on the side of the pool.
Jay didn’t mean to look. He really didn’t. He already knew Asta was wearing those ridiculous pink shorts, but no.
Asta had changed.
Asta was now wearing a tiny black speedo that barely contained his parts, and Jay jerked back around to stammer at Ted, “S-so, uh, when’s the wedding?”
“Dunno. Don’t fuckin’ care.” Ted stroked Grell’s forearm. “Just one fuckin’ day at a time. It’s been nice. Like, really nice.”
“Meh.” Grell shrugged. “Can’t complain. Won’t do any good if I did. He doesn’t listen well, this one.”
Ted laughed. “Shut the fuck up.”
“And so disrespectful.”
Ted beamed up at Grell, and Grell gazed at him with equal adoration.
“Okay,” Jay said, “yeah, they’re a little gross.”
“See?” Asta snorted. “Told you.”
“Oh, shush you.” Grell grinned, and Jay could definitely see the family resemblance in that wicked smile. “One day you’ll find someone to be perfectly gross with too, and then I’ll poke fun at you, you little imp.”
Asta made a loud retching sound.
“Yup. That’s gonna be you someday.” Ted smirked. “You and the love of your life.”
“I don’t gag, Cat Kicker.” Asta was looking at Jay when he said it.
Jay didn’t know how he knew, but he just did.
“This thread of discussion is officially over now,” Grell drawled. “While I certainly appreciate inappropriate conversations and even encourage them, I’m drawing the line at discussing my son’s anything.”
“You were the one saying how gross I was gonna be!” Asta cackled. “I’m just trying to live up to your expectations.”
Grell wrinkled his nose and sighed. “Oh, where did I go wrong?”
“I can give you a list,” Ted teased.
“Eat a dick, Cat Kicker,” Asta snapped.
“I’ll be sure to gobble up two big ones later,” Ted taunted. “You know, your Dad’s.”
“Fucking! You! Cat Kicker! Ew!” Asta groaned in deep disgust and sputtered, “All of my hate!”
“Play nice, children,” Grell scolded with a smile.
“Tell your nasty future husband to quit it!”
“The gobbling or discussing said gobbling? Because while I can do one, I can definitely not do the other.”
Jay sunk into the water while the others playfully bantered back and forth. It was fun to listen in, but it was also a little isolating. He was still having a lot of trouble adjusting to everything, and he didn’t feel like he fit in with their dynamic. He had nothing to add to any discussion about sex, and he was worried that the wrong comment would out his own lack of experience.
Plus, he really hated not having a shirt on.
Ted, always perceptive of Jay’s mood, didn’t take long to notice something was wrong. “Hey, Jay? You okay?”
“What? No. I’m fine.” Jay shook his head. “Just, uh, tired. Which probably sounds crazy because I’ve been sleeping for a really long time, but uh, you know. Just. Just so tired right now.”
“It’s a fucking a lot,” Ted agreed. “I get it.”
“It doesn’t help that you two are being extra disgusting right now.” Asta sneered. “Jay, let me know when you wanna bounce.”
“Bounce?” Jay frowned at Asta, keeping his eyes focused on his to avoid peeking anywhere else. “Where?”
“Uh, back to my room?” Asta shrugged. “Figured you could crash with me or whatever.” He raised his brows. “You’re staying here, right?”
“In Xenon?” Jay’s voice came out as a squeak. “I, I don’t know.”
“Do you have to go back now?” Ted asked worriedly. “I totally fuckin’ get it if you do, but I was kinda hoping you could hang out for a while.”
“We have perfectly clean guest rooms as well.” Grell was staring down Asta like he’d grown another head.
“Well.” Jay hesitated. “Milo did say I have another week left in my leave…”
“Fuck yeah!” Ted beamed. “Stay here! I can give you the whole fuckin’ tour. This place is seriously amazing, I wanna show you everything, man. You’re gonna love it.”
“Thanks.” Jay managed a little smile. “I think, well, yeah.” He took a deep breath. “So, tomorrow?”
“Sounds good,” Ted said as he wiggled away from Grell. He swam over to give Jay another rib crushing hug. “It’s so good to see you. Really.”
“It’s really good to see you too.” Jay hugged Ted. “I’m seriously so happy for you.”
“Thank you.” Ted smiled, and he patted Jay’s shoulder as they parted. “Go get some sleep, chill out, and we’ll see you for breakfast.” He eyed Asta. “Take him to the guest room. Got it?”
“Sorry, I don’t listen to anyone with boobs bigger than mine,” Asta said sweetly.
“Guest room.” Grell smirked.
“Sorry, I don’t listen to anyone—”
“Fine! Ugh!” Asta splashed into the water, and he hugged Jay from behind.
“Night, Jay!” Ted said cheerfully.
“Good nigh—” Jay blinked. “—t!” He was in a new room but still inside the castle judging by the purple glowing walls.
It was a bedroom half the size of Asta’s lavish quarters. There was a bed, a dresser, and a door Jay assumed led to a bathroom. He was now wearing soft pajamas, a T-shirt with a cat shooting lasers from its eyes, and fuzzy green slippers that looked like monster feet.
Asta’s arms lingered around Jay, but he did let go, saying, “So, totally boring, lame guest room. If you wanna change your mind and come to the cool room again, you let me know.”
“Th-thanks.” Jay fidgeted with his glasses.
“Hey.” Asta’s voice was softer now. “What’s wrong? Really?”
“What?” Jay stared at Asta. “What do you mean?”
“Magical having been your cat advantage.” Asta smiled. “I know when you’re upset. What was it? All that nasty sex talk? I tried to tell them they were being disgusting.”
Jay was surprised at how Asta managed to hit such a precise cause of his discomfort, but then again Asta had also just found out Jay was a virgin. Still, it was nice that Asta cared enough to have said something.
“That was part of it,” Jay replied, anxiously wringing his hands. “Thanks, by the way.”
“No problem.” Asta frowned. “What’s goin’ on?”
“Uh, I’m standing here in another world talking to my cat?” Jay flopped on the bed. “The last thing I remember was being in Sloane’s office, Azaethoth hit you, you were talking, and then… nothing. No dreams, no nothing, just darkness.” He pushed up his glasses to rub at the bridge of his nose. “I wake up and you’re there with your little glasses, and…” He sighed. “It’s a lot. I feel like I have brain whiplash.”
Asta sat beside Jay, still in his tiny black speedo, and he slid his arm around Jay’s shoulders. “Hey, I get it. You went through a huge life explosion of knowledge during the course of a single spaghetti dinner.”
“Heh. Yeah.” Jay leaned into Asta. “I always believed. I did. In the old gods, in Great Azaethoth, everything. But maybe, yeah, I did sometimes wonder. I would have my doubts, you know? And here I am, literally sitting in Xenon, and I still feel kinda unsure. Like, how can all of this be real? Am I just asleep? Am I still passed out somewhere?”
Asta’s hand slid down.
Jay yelped when Asta pinched his hip. “Hey!”
“Well, you’re definitely awake.” Asta grinned.
“Asshole!” Jay playfully smacked at Asta’s shoulder.
“Oh, awake and feisty too.” Asta easily caught Jay’s hand and held it tight, saying earnestly, “You take all the time you need. Ask all the questions you need answered. There’s no reason you have to rush into any of this yet. It’s like sex.”
Jay made a face.
“Hear me out!” Asta protested. “Look, you gotta start off nice and slow. You have to really ease into it. Just a little bit at a time. You can’t just take it all at once or it’s gonna suck kinda bad. But if you’re patient and let it happen naturally, well, it can be pretty awesome and you’ll really enjoy it.”
“Do you always make everything about sex?”
“No. But also maybe.” Asta winked. “Hey, I thought it was a pretty smooth analogy.”
“It was.” Jay chuckled. “And you’re right. I think, uh, I think I got overwhelmed trying to take so much at once?” He blushed at his own words and shook his head. “I haven’t had any time to, like, process all of this yet.”
“Well, you can now.” Asta squeezed Jay’s hand. “I’ll leave you alone to your processing.” He held Jay’s hand to his cheek. “I’ll come get you for breakfast, okay?”
“Thank you.” Jay held his tongue to make sure he said the right name. “Asta.”
“No problem.” Asta smiled. “You need anything, just call my name. I’ll hear you and pop right on over.”
“Really?” “I respond best if you kinda moan it, but yes.” Asta kissed Jay’s cheek. “Sleep sweet, Jay.”
Jay’s heart had decided to move into his ears and pound exclusively there, and he forgot how to use words. Asta’s lips were velvety soft, and Jay wanted to know immediately what they’d feel like pressed against his own.
Asta hadn’t pulled all the way back, hovering there just a breath away. He was still holding Jay’s hand, and he was smiling at him so adoringly.
Jay was caught in Asta’s eyes, and time itself seemed to be slowing down. The air was thick, fogged with an intensity he couldn’t identify. He didn’t know what to do. He both wanted and didn’t want to kiss Asta, and he could not bring himself to make a damn decision—
“Good night.” Asta broke the spell, still smiling as he gently took Jay’s glasses and then set them on the bedside table.
“G-Good night, Asta.” Jay slumped back into the bed, his heart continuing to pound away.
Asta stood as if to leave, but he paused to glance back at Jay. “You, uh, need me to tuck you in? Read you a story? Bedtime blowjob?”
“Good night, Asta,” Jay repeated more firmly.
“Night, Jay.” Asta winked, and his swimsuit vanished, giving Jay a spectacular view of his butt before he blinked away through a portal.
“Holy shit,” Jay breathed once he was finally alone. “So. That happened.”
He got under the blankets and hugged his pillows, his thoughts spinning for a few minutes while he tried to calm down.
The old gods were real, he was here in Xenon, and he wanted to kiss his cat.
Yeah, everything was just fine. Totally normal and fine.
Who the hell was he kidding?
Jay closed his eyes, and he tried to go to sleep. He drifted for a while, tossed and turned, but he kept waking up. He’d forget where he was and have to make sense of the weird purple glow, and then he’d remember and have to try to zonk back out.
After what felt like hours, Jay asked the empty room, “Asta? Uh… can you hear me?”
Asta appeared in an instant, kneeling beside the bed. He looked tired, but he was smiling. “Hey. What’s up? You okay?”
Jay was startled by how fast Asta had shown up, and he stammered, “Is, uh, is there a way to, uh, maybe, maybe turn down the… walls?”
“Oh. Yeah.” Asta chuckled. “You like total darkness when you sleep. Here.” He touched the wall, and the light immediately dimmed. “Maybe I forgot. Maybe I just thought it would be a good excuse to come back and see you.”
Jay snorted. “Thank you.”
“Need anything else?” Asta batted his eyes.
“No, I’m okay. Thank you. Really.” Jay hesitated. “Unless…”
“I don’t know if it would be weird to ask you.”
“Jay, I am all about weird.” Asta grinned. “Lay it on me, babycakes.”
“Could you…” Jay grimaced. “Could you maybe be a cat one last time? I… I can’t sleep. And it’s not just the lights, I mean, it’s everything, and I—“
“Hey, hey. I got you.” Asta shrunk down into a fluffy black cat. He jumped up on the bed with Jay. “I am yours to snuggle.”
“Thank you.” Jay lifted his arm, inviting Asta to lay down against his chest so he could hold him. He was instantly relaxed, and he scratched around Asta’s ears. He smiled when Asta purred.
“You know this means you’re holding me totally naked right now.”
“I’m going to sleep now.”
“Fine. Good night.”