Phirun tugged the drawstrings at his neck, fitting the hoodie tighter to his skull. Leaden skies had been threatening rain all evening, gusting winds rattling bare tree branches. Phi didn’t care, it was more for warmth than staying dry. He had always liked the rain, even growing up. As he got older, it seemed he was the only one that didn’t complain when the skies turned cloudy.

Rain stirred feelings that made Phi uncomfortable. He remembered being little, standing out in the back yard during a storm. His mother rushing out, cuffing him on the ear shouting at him to get inside. It was because of the feelings, he was sure of it. That burn he felt, deep in his loins when droplets fell on his skin.

He exclusively took baths, for that very reason. Too much shame and disgust at his inability to quell the stirrings deep inside. Soaking in the tub produced none of those feelings, and Phi liked to sit there singing aimless tunes resonating off the bathroom tiles. He lived alone, which suited his temperament and need for privacy.

Phi wasn’t a hermit by any means, just carefully compartmentalized. He imagined the packaging he’d come in would have the label “Do not shake, stir or puncture. Contents under pressure” in large block capitals. Phi laughed at the idea, increasing his pace.

A winter chill was in the air, steel razor of cold slicing through thin garments. Phi liked the chill, it made him feel alive. Warm and centered, bustling along keeping the chemical fires burning. The walk to his friends house was a good distance, but it provided opportunity to simply observe and move.

Hands clutched in the front hoodie pocket, laced shoes repeating their rhythm across dampened bricks and reflective concrete. The rain intensified, scattering leaves and scrubbing dust from the sidewalk. Phi loved how the water coated everything. Shrink-wrapped and reflective, street lights dancing in long skittering columns.

Backscatter from the drops creating a low mist, caught by headlights of passing cars. Phi shivered from the absolute joy of chaotic fury. If it was up to him he would stop and look up at the sky, letting the droplets stream down his face. But then he wouldn’t be able to hang out with Jerry, one of his best friends.

Rounding the corner, Phi ran up the stairs to the front entrance, pushing the intercom button.

“Hey man, I’m here.”

The door buzzed and Phi pushed through to the inside. Jerry lived on the bottom floor, mid-way up the hall to the left. What his apartment lacked in view it made up in price. Phi liked it there, and he and Jerry would play video games or watch movies whenever he was over.

“Hey, got a movie queued up. Dish is acting up again though.”, Jerry leaned back, sipping a beer.

Phi had tried to get Jerry to sign up to streaming services, but he wasn’t interested. Something about getting hacked and having all of his information flying out on the net. Jerry didn’t care, just as long as his TV dish was pointed at the right part of the sky.

“Looks like we’re in for a bit more rain yet. I could go upstairs and try to cover the dish, it might help.”

Jerry burped in agreement, holding out the roof key.

“Can I use this?”, Phi grabbed an empty box near the doorway. Jerry, glanced over and nodded, turning back to the television.

Phi struggled with the key at the top of the stairs. One of the bulbs had burned out in the exit sign, the survivor flashing sporadically. Phi heard the satisfying click as the key slotted home, turning the handle. It was windy up here, ten stories above the street, and dark.

Phi remembered when he helped Jerry move in, the victory celebration of pizza and beer, hooting like crazy people at pedestrians below. It was a stark contrast to the roof at night. What was once a tar-coated plain dotted with dishes and heat pumps became a foreboding field of tombstones and shadows.

He crept forward, trying to remember where the dish was, cursing his lack of a flashlight. Rain beat down, pinging off of fans and ducting with muted tones. Phi used the air conditioner units as guides, hand on one before proceeding to the next. Somehow he felt like he was inside one of his favorite online games, stalking the monster he had to slay.

Nearing the edge, street light arcing upwards casting yellow hues through the curtains of rain. Turning right, Phi stopped short. Instead of the dish, as he expected, there was a girl. She was sitting, back leaning against the duct, head tilted towards the sky with her eyes closed. Phi placed the box on the ground, inching closer.

She was shuddering involuntarily every few moments, hands clenching gravel.

“Are you okay?”

Her eyes snapped open, regarding Phi with a directness that caught him off guard.

“You.. like the rain?”

It was her tone that penetrated him to his core. A simple statement, laced with the forbidden feelings he had pushed aside for so long. Phi nodded, ashamed of how he felt. She grabbed his hand, drawing him down to her. Leaning in, her face inches from his.

“Let go. Feed with me.”

Phi relaxed. Surging relief, rising up towards the sky. He leaned back with his mouth open, ecstasy pulsing through every nerve. Holding hands, they convulsed together, rocking against the vent with each stroke. Tendrils tasting the precious droplets, waving in the air.

Intense pleasure binding them, united at last. With each wave, eggs and seeds mingled and fused.

A new generation spawned, tumbling down to the streets below.