Arthur passed out. When he came round a second later he found he was sobbing for his mother. Coughing and hiccuping his way to a stop, he sniffled and reached into his dressing gown pocket for his handkerchief. It wasn't there.
"Arthur." Someone handed him a handkerchief and he blew his nose.
"Is all of space this cold?" He began to shake.
"You're going into shock." Something draped across Arthur's shoulders and Ford appeared in front of him.
"Ford, I can't move. Are we in some sort of stasis field?"
"No, you're in shock."
"Right. Is there a fish for that too?"
Ford didn't answer, but tucked what turned out to be a blanket close around Arthur. Pressing Arthur's hands together, he chafed them. They began to tingle with the friction and warm a little.
"So I'm in shock."
"Because my planet blew up."
"Yes." Pulling Arthur's hands open again, Ford rubbed the palms.
"I think I need a cup of tea. For the shock. Where's the kettle or the replicator or the room service button?" Arthur looked round the room and he wrinkled his nose. "You know, it's a bit ripe in here."
"There's no tea, Arthur. Just try to relax, OK?"
"I must say, space travel is a bit of a bore."
"Yeah, well..." Ford moved his hands under the blanket to Arthur's upper arms. "I tend to agree with you." He began untying the belt of the dressing gown and Arthur finally realised that something not quite usual was going on.
"What are you doing?"
Ford looked puzzled. "I'm untying the belt of your dressing gown."
Pulling the gown open a little way, Ford slipped his arms inside and rubbed Arthur's sides and back through his pyjamas. "You need to get warm. You're in shock."
"So you keep saying." It was warming, though. Experimentally, Arthur flexed one arm and found he could now move it. As a test, he swung it around Ford's shoulder. It worked. Now the other one. Success. Reflexively, he hugged himself closer to Ford. He was shaking less now and his cheek rested against Ford's jaw and neck. Sniffing a little, he noticed a spicy smell, exotic and definitely not a natural human scent. It was true, then. Ford was an alien. Taking a bigger whiff, Arthur realised, embarrassingly, that it was actually his own aftershave.
Still, Ford's skin was hotter than any human's would be and smoother too. Arthur moved his cheek a bit. Slick, almost. It felt nice. Really nice. Ford's hands were still stroking his back and that was nice too. Dreamily, Arthur found himself nuzzling Ford's neck. Here we go, his body said. Finally something familiar. Go to it.
"Ford?" Arthur was being pushed back down onto the mattress. "Ford, all this...the spaceship...the destruction of the earth..." The blanket was being tugged out from under him. "...the beer..." Ford shucked his jacket. "Was it just an elaborate plan to seduce me?"
"Shut up, Arthur," Ford said and stretched out on top of him, pulling the blanket over top them both.
Arthur shifted slightly under Ford's sudden weight. Ford was warm, solid, a bit bony, a little soft, and very much alive on top of him. Arthur strained gratefully toward the warmth and stifled a moan. Unsure as he was of Ford's intentions, it wouldn't do at all to moan in this situation. But the human (human? well...) contact was so very welcome.
"You know, I used to do this with Linda, my old girlfriend, you remember her, Ford, she owned that furniture shop. and she bought me this electric blanket and in the winter we'd..." Arthur then recalled that the electric blanket, the furniture shop, and Linda had all been blasted into their component molecules, and he began shivering again.
Ford muttered something that sounded like "impossible Earthman" and rummaged about in a nearby pile of Dentrassi bedding. He spread another blanket over Arthur, crept in under it himself, and climbed on top of Arthur again.
"Don't think, Arthur," he said quietly, his mouth at Arthur's ear. "Just relax."
A tingle spread from Ford's breath to Arthur's ear and raised the hairs on the back of his neck in a disarmingly pleasant manner.
Arthur tried to go limp, letting his arms and body sink into the mattress. Ford was gently breathing, a little more rapidly than seemed normal, against his neck. One of Ford's legs was sturdily lodged between his own. The heat coming off the other man was impressive.
Arthur flinched suddenly and then relaxed as Ford began kneading his arms. Quiet waves of pleasure flowed along his neglected muscles. It had been far too long since anyone had touched him.
Ford shifted a little to reach more of his shoulders, and his thigh brushed against Arthur's groin. That was when Arthur realised he had the beginnings of an erection.
"Um, Ford. Listen. Thanks and all, but I think I'm quite warm now. You can get off me."
With no warning whatsoever, Ford gripped Arthur's shoulders and thrust his hips intensely, pressing a trousers-sheathed hardness against Arthur's thigh. Arthur gasped.
"Do you want me to?"
Ford didn't wait for a reply, but rocked his hips again in a way that made Arthur's penis look around itself in a vaguely assertive manner. Arthur gasped again, less in surprise this time than before.
Arthur could just make out Ford's unnerving smile in the dimness, a smile that his gasp had apparently summoned. Ford moved against him minutely so that his next grinding motion brought their still-clothed cocks together for an agonising few seconds of blessed contact. Arthur's long-suppressed moan escaped, and he reached for Ford's backside, pressing him closer. Arthur's hips, delighted at the way things were progressing, raised from the mattress in a successful attempt to find their soulmates.
Ford was most helpful, grinding his hardness into Arthur's own and burying his face in Arthur's neck. He caught a bit of stubbled flesh between his teeth and worried it for a moment, and then licked away the sharpness of the bite. Arthur's resulting shiver had nothing to do with the cold, or with shock. In fact, he was beginning to sweat.
Keeping their legs entwined, Ford struggled to remove his shirt. Arthur noted that even with a man from Betelgeuse in the sleeping quarters of a spaceship hurtling through space at mindboggling speeds, clothing had a way of rendering a formerly blistering sexual encounter into a comical battle of man-against-buttons-and-zips. He was comforted by this as he shrugged out of his pyjamas.
As Ford's shirt flew to join its Dentrassi brethren littering the floor, Arthur was treated to a glimpse of Ford's hairless torso. No body hair whatsoever, apart from a bit of crisp ginger fuzz poking out of the top of his trousers (which he was now struggling to unfasten). Nothing under his arms, even. His skin, smooth and pale, had the same odd, taut look as his face, not unappealing but definitely strange. Ford was thin and wiry, small muscles just slightly developed in his chest and biceps. His belly was lean, and his nipples were large and pink, scandalously fleshy and inviting, almost indecent really, like a woman's. Arthur leaned up and caught one in his mouth.
Ford groaned and arched his back, threading his fingers through Arthur's hair with one hand while still trying to unzip his trousers with the other.
"Arthur, you're not helping."
"Really?" he murmured into Ford's chest, "I thought I was."
Arthur's hand joined Ford's as they finally worked the last of his clothes off, but his mouth remained where it was, except for the momentary, predictable wrangling with Ford's shoes. Then Arthur seized his other nipple and licked it in swooping circles until Ford writhed and fell on top of him.
The sweaty, slithery heat of Ford's nakedness against his own was enough to wring a grateful sigh from his throat. Arthur revelled in the sheer fleshiness of the experience, marvelled at Ford's taut, springy skin and wondered if his teeth would bruise it. He sank them into the meat of Ford's shoulder and was rewarded with a strangled yelp and a tightening of the fists in his hair.
Ford's sweat was distinctly slicker than human sweat, not sticky but slippery.
"Are all people from Betelgeuse so slippery? This is like hot oil wrestling."
"How would you know?" Ford asked, sliding down to tongue his navel.
"Not that I have any experience of hot oil wrestling..."
Ford delicately, maddeningly avoided his penis has he licked Arthur's belly, which jumped ticklishly. Ford's tongue was pleasantly smooth, stirring the short hairs of his abdomen and then swirling down around his balls. Arthur gibbered and clutched at Ford's head. The delicious aching tightness which had been building in his cock increased exponentially.
Ford stopped immediately and slithered back up to suck Arthur's earlobe.
Arthur whimpered and ground his pelvis against Ford, desperate for the contact. His cock was humming with blood and desire, and he realised that not only was he ignorant of Betelgeusian sexual habits, but he had no way of knowing what Ford was actually capable of. Arthur felt that if Ford didn't touch his cock soon he would not be responsible for the consequences.
"Are you trying to drive me insane?" he asked.
Ford looked up, surprised. The intense blue of his eyes shone out of the darkness.
"I'm trying to have a good time. Something at which I'm normally quite proficient," Ford replied. "Why? Are you in a hurry? Got an important appointment?"
Arthur slid his hands down to grasp Ford's bottom, the flesh smooth and pliant in his palms. He pulled Ford toward him sharply and their erections slithered against each other. Lusciousness thrummed up his spine.
"Ford, just how much of this can you take?"
Comprehension lit Ford's too-blue eyes and the disturbing smile lifted the corners of his mouth.
"More than you can, apparently," said Ford, taking both cocks in his hand and squeezing.
Arthur arched his back gratefully and moaned as Ford's hand slid slowly, maddeningly slowly, up and down their lengths. Ford's penis was an unfamiliar teasing pressure against the underside of his cock. Slickness coated both, silkening the slip-slide of Ford's fingers.
Ford's hand moved faster, but in a way that said "I've got all the time in the world." His breathing was heavy but measured against Arthur's chest, and he occasionally bucked up against Arthur's hands to remind Arthur to continue squeezing his backside. Arthur, lost in a melange of heat and wet and toe-curling pleasure, was glad to oblige.
Arthur predictably lost control of his hips at this point, and they began thrusting in a rhythm that was much faster than Ford's patient hand. Ford snorted and utterly failed to vary his pace, unless it was to move slightly more slowly.
The sweetslick friction against Ford's palm, against Ford's cock, was too delicate to chafe, too intense to allow desire to recede, and too deliciously deliberate to do anything but frustrate. Every stroke was just this short of the perfect stroke, every wet tingling squeeze just this side of enough.
"Ford...Ford, please...aahh...you bastard..."
Ford laughed softly, and sat back on Arthur's thighs. His eyes gleamed madly for a moment, and then his left hand joined his right, both of them working more quickly now to the accompaniment of squashy noises which Arthur, in his lust, could barely hear.
Slip-slide, slip-slide, strong hands coated in wet silk stripped his burning cock expertly, milking him, faster, god yes, heart thudding in his throat, until Ford's thumb stumble-caught on the sensitive head, and Arthur came with a yelp and a lunge.
His skin was so hot that his semen felt cool against it, and he pulled Ford down, driving against him as the last waves of his orgasm ebbed away.
Ford's hardness was more implacable than ever against his sticky belly, and Arthur wrapped his own hand around it, principally to see the reaction on Ford's face.
His friend's expression softened into something that reminded Arthur of Ford's occasional, mournful drinking binges. He did now what he had sometimes wanted to do then. He pulled Ford's head toward him and kissed him on the mouth.
Ford's lips parted eagerly, sucking Arthur's tongue between them.
The inside of Ford's mouth was smoother than the inside of someone's mouth should have been, his tongue lithe and exuberant, twining with Arthur's own. Arthur licked along Ford's gum line, and Ford groaned into his mouth.
Arthur timed his strokes to the rhythm of the kiss, noting that though Ford's intensity was increasing exponentially, he was still moving slowly, rocking his hips in a strong but leisurely way.
A rapid pulse beat under Arthur's fingertips, contrasting urgently with the slow roll of Ford's thrusts. He remained locked to Ford's mouth, feeding on his lips, nipping at their edges and then diving in hungrily. He felt Ford's legs tighten round his hips and, smiling inwardly, he plunged his tongue deeply into Ford's mouth while simultaneously pumping hard with his fist.
Ford made a sharp, high-pitched little noise and his hips whipcracked into Arthur, who felt warm wetness seep over his hand but kept it pumping. Ford trembled all over, at last releasing his mouth and spasming continuously into Arthur's hand.
Still, amazingly, thrusting, Ford was also moaning now. He no longer appeared to be ejaculating, but he was obviously still in the throes of orgasm, writhing with screwed-shut eyes. His hands scrabbled for purchase at Arthur's shoulders. Arthur wondered how long orgasms lasted on Betelgeuse.
Ford's ecstasy showed no signs of waning when Arthur's forearm began to go numb. With dismay, he realised cramp was imminent, and brought his left hand round to take over. His right arm flopped uselessly to his side.
At last, Ford ground to a halt, and collapsed on top of Arthur in a sodden heap, panting. Either Ford's people had incredible sexual stamina or Arthur was very, very good.
Eyes closed, Arthur worked for every breath under the limp weight of the spent -- very spent -- Ford. He rested his left arm on Ford's back and, when the feeling began to return to it, lifted the right to stroke his hair, rather enjoying the wiry feel of it. One of his legs was trapped at a funny angle and when the pins and needles began prick in it, he figured it was time to shift Ford.
"Ford," he murmured, close to an ear.
"Grggleblerg." The weight went live, squirmed a little, then dead again.
Was that Betelgeusian? But he had that fish in his...best not to think too much about that.
"Ford, time to get up."
"Zarglenergnng." He didn't move.
Arthur braced himself, counted three, and heaved. Ford rolled off onto his back, taking the blankets with him. Lying bare, Arthur contemplated the residual secretions on his body. His skin seemed to be absorbing the oily slick of Ford's sweat. Maybe it would even be good for him. The splodges of semen on his belly he wiped off with the only corner of the blanket still available to him.
Reaching beyond the mattress for his discarded pyjamas, Arthur was unprepared for the arm that snaked around him and pulled him back against a still-hot chest. My God, they were spooning. Lightyears away from the smouldering ruins of his planet, stowaways hiding in a filthy room on the flagship that ordered the destruction, waiting for almost certain death upon discovery, and they were spooning. It felt really good.
"Arthur?" Ford's breath tickled Arthur's neck. "Warm now?"
"Mmm...yes." Arthur hesitated, then spoke before he lost his nerve. "Ford? Why did you rescue me when you left Earth? I mean, why me?" No answer. "Ford?"
Arthur sighed and thought he might as well try to get some sleep too. He could feel the last of the tension untwist as he drifted off. Then there was a sudden whirlwind and his pyjama bottoms blew against his face. He clawed them away, only to be hit by the jacket.
"Get up, Arthur, and get dressed." No whirlwind, just Ford, struggling into his trousers with as much grace as he had struggled out of them.
Arthur sat and began to dress. He looked at Ford out of the corner of his eye and an aftershock of pleasure shivered through him. Ford. It was the strangest thing that had happened all day.