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the beds were too small. it wasn't much different from the overpopulated earth. he hadn't had a bed there, only a blanket on the floor shared with the others in his unit. his family hadn't been able to keep him, they turned him over to the military right away. that was the thing with population laws, families were only supposed to have a certain number of mouths to feed.
they'd trained feelings out of him then tossed him out to the world. he wasn't supposed to think raids were wrong. that was the first issue they had with him. he'd been demoted from a pilot to engineering. then he'd gotten caught fooling around with an emissary from the artemis colony and that was it. he was let go, left lost to wander space in a pod that needed to be refueled so often he could never go far from the colony he'd been dumped on. getting back to earth wasn't something he could humor.
then the dream 127 had put out an open call for crew members. gabriel had never signed his life away so quickly. "make room for me." space was cold, the bodies of others were not. especially humans. sometimes he forgot he was one of them. the military had pumped him with so many drugs during his trainee years he never felt like one any more.
on the 127 he was engineering, soldier, clean up... whatever job they gave him to earn his keep. "you like this as much as i do." that might not be true but he let himself believe it was every time he molded his body against someone else's.
he wasn't wrong. others were far more willing too but he wasn't looking for that. he wanted the warmth that came from holding jaehwan close. he was different from the others, purer. or it was the smell of food that clung to him most of the time that made him good to embrace. "you're the only one that lets me." they both knew it was a lie with some partial truth to it.
jaehwan was the only one that let him lay in his bed without expectation of something in return. it made gabriel want it but he couldn't be the one to initiate. he didn't want their friendship to go bad if he made jaehwan uncomfortable. gabriel wasn't going to say no if jaehwan started something.
every time he got in jaehwan's bed he pushed a bit more. his hand went from resting lazily on jaehwan's waist to sliding up under his shirt, fingers splayed out on his flat stomach. jaehwan didn't push him away. it was a game of chicken where gabriel hoped there'd be no winner or loser. "you're skinny for a chef."
gabriel knew jaehwan didn't want him to leave. he would have told him to go if he wanted him gone. for all the bickering they did jaehwan enjoyed his company. it was that knowledge that made him so bold. his hand trailed up higher, finger tip brushing against a nipple. this was the furthest he'd ever explored. would jaehwan let him keep touching if he gave into the urge to pinch jaehwan's nipple?
"you were thicker before we started the journey." gabriel had seen him when they were all loading things onto the ship. jaehwan's thighs had been thicker, his arms stronger and his belly softer. a little bit of roundness against the ship crew uniform he wore. "you should eat more. how will we survive if the person who cooks for us becomes too weak to do it?"
it made absolute sense to gabriel but supplies were limited. they had no idea when they would find somewhere to dock. that was the bad part of joining an exploration journey. "do you ever think about it? earth. maybe it's possible to go back."