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Lemony Eggnog
"Mostly," Part 1 (SFW)
Mon Sep 3, 2018 4:13pm
2601:241:102:47d0:614f:586a:1ccf:df7b

Over the two years Derik and Thoth had known each other, they had settled into a routine. They met in Response Center 2112r weekly, give or take: less often if the Duty interfered, more often if they had the chance or if one of them called for it. Their meetings had a comfortable pattern. First Thoth would lead them in meditation and lofty mental exercises, and then Derik would share a chapter of a book, a poem, or a song. They both expanded their canon knowledge in this way. Often they would discuss the piece afterward, which led to long, rambling conversations about life, the universe, and everything.

The room had slowly altered to reflect the needs of its users. There had once been a console, but then Tom had decided it would be clever to hack his way into it to alert his partner to a pending mission. Thoth had done the Duty, then promptly returned and torn the entire system out of the wall. Building Maintenance had patched the damage with concrit, but hadn’t bothered with especially good concrit, so now that wall was covered with curtains of swirled midnight and cerulean blue velveteen.

Thoth didn’t need much in the way of physical comforts, but he and Derik both had mats to sit on. When not in use, they were stored in a tall cabinet against the bare side wall, along with a pair of metal drinking bowls, a few tea tins and liquor bottles, and the occult paraphernalia of Derik’s psychic education. He was only an empath, and only a receiver at that, but Thoth still occasionally tested him for other manifestations of subtle powers, or engaged him in uses of his own vastly greater abilities. The room smelled of the incense and aromatic oils that had permeated the curtains, and the sweat of two men concentrating hard in a small, enclosed space.

Derik sometimes came here just to practice music without the distractions of his partner, her dragon, and the minis that shared his response center. Several of his instruments, nearly all rescues from badfic, had migrated here and not found their way back. Most were kept in the RC’s closet along with such things as spare strings, reeds, resin, and polish, but his favorite guitar lived on a stand in the back corner next to a small writing desk full of sheet music from multiple continua. He’d also acquired a three-legged, padded stool to sit on when he played, or just when he got fed up with the floor.

Today, Derik had sung a tune of his own making. He maintained that he was not a composer, and he was still reserved about singing, but his confidence that it wouldn’t turn him into a basement-dwelling madman had grown such that he was using his voice now as often as anything else. He had to admit, it felt good, and he was smiling as he returned his guitar to its stand.

“You performed that very well, brother,” said Thoth, sitting in his usual cross-legged position with his back to the RC door. As always for their sessions together, he wore a blue robe and, somewhat ironically, an enormous pair of sweatpants as a precaution against the Narrative Laws of Comedy.

“Thank you! I think the refrain still needs a little polish, but on the whole . . . ” Derik trailed off, suddenly feeling Thoth’s gaze on him. He turned. “What? What is it?”

“There is . . . something you should know.” The Astartes was looking at him with an unusually open and intense expression in his green eyes. An invitation?

Derik wasn’t sure what he would find, if anything, but he opened his mind. He couldn’t see auras like Thoth did, but after a lot of hard work, he had learned to separate the sensations of external emotions from his own in order to interpret them. He was instantly taken aback by what he felt, rolling off his friend in slow but powerful waves. There was no mistaking that heat, that ache, which rooted deep in the pit of the stomach and radiated outward. Derik’s breath hitched in his throat.

“But . . . I thought your conditioning did away with all that.”

“Mostly,” said Thoth, and Derik recalled that he had always included that word when the subject of his asexuality came up. “And it has been a very long time since then. The conditioning has, perhaps, faded.”

Derik’s head turned minutely back and forth as he processed what was he was being told. “Starting when?”

“Recently. In the last two months or so.”

“I had no idea.” Derik sank back onto his seat and pushed his long hair off his face. “Two months?” He couldn’t believe it—neither that this was happening, nor that he’d been blind to it, nor that his friend had hidden something of such import from him for so long.

“I . . . did not wish to tell you until I was certain.” Until this point, Thoth’s expression hadn’t wavered, but a slight flick of his eyes betrayed his anxiety.

“Certain?”

“Certain it would not go away. Certain it was . . . real. Yes.”

The full import of Thoth’s admission began to sink in. This wasn’t him telling Derik something strange that had happened during a mission, or sounding him about a perplexing interaction with other members of Headquarters. It was altogether more deep and more immediate.

“You are, then.” Derik’s throat had gone dry, so the words came out half-voiced. “You’re telling me . . . you want me.”

Thoth gave him a pained look that might have signified anything from irritation to pity. “Who else?”

“Oh, my friend,” Derik said, shaking his head. He didn’t know what to think, how to feel. “This is so sudden. And I’m not—you know I’m not—inclined that way.”

“Yes,” said Thoth, and he had closed himself off again so that the word was without inflection. “However, I thought it best to make you aware of the situation so that you may judge for yourself whether you wish to continue our association with this knowledge.” He rose to his feet, the slow unfolding of his massive frame always unexpectedly graceful. “I will leave you to think on it . . . brother.”

He turned and reached for the door. Derik almost let him go, mind and heart racing, but at the last second before Thoth turned the handle, Derik jumped up and put a hand on his friend’s forearm.

“Thoth, wait. Don’t be ridiculous—of course I want to continue! How could you believe otherwise?”

Thoth fell into one of his long silences, choosing his words. “This occurrence is . . . unexpected. Unnatural. Dangerous. Perhaps you would not wish to expose yourself to such a thing.”

“‘Thing’?” Derik scoffed, hearing the two-pronged meaning of the word even if it wasn’t intended. “Don’t say that. And how dare you imply that I would ever reject you for such a stupid reason? You should know me better by now.”

Thoth didn’t reply, and his face was set in the stony mask more typical of the early days of their friendship.

Despairing, feeling as though something precious was slipping away, Derik shook his head. “Don’t you understand? You are . . . ” He took a breath, sighed. “So many things to me. My brother. My mentor. My confidant. My greatest friend.” He tightened his grip on Thoth’s arm. “I’m closer to no one, not even my partner. Nothing can change that.”

“Perhaps,” Thoth said softly. “In which case, I could not become more than that to you, even if I were another mortal. As you said yourself, you are not inclined that way.”

“Mostly,” said Derik, and he had the satisfaction of seeing Thoth blink in surprise. “I was a dragonrider, and I was young once. I experimented.” He made a decision. On the end of another deep breath, he said, “For you, I would do it again, if you wish it.”

Thoth stood silently peering down at him for a long moment. He took his hand off the door handle and raised it to Derik’s face, using one broad thumb with utmost gentleness to stroke his unscarred cheek. It was such an incongruous gesture, and Derik felt his breath flutter in his chest.

His expression must have read as concerned, because Thoth abruptly pulled his hand back. “I do not desire your pity, or your condescension.”

“You haven’t got either!” Derik reached out and caught Thoth’s hand, clasping it tightly between his palms. “Read me, brother. Feel what I feel. I beg you.” Emphasizing his words, he pressed Thoth’s hand against his chest, over his pounding heart.

Standing like that, with the heat of Astartes blood radiating through his shirt into his flesh, Derik knew he wasn’t pretending his interest. And as he knew it, Thoth knew it, too. As his mental barriers lowered, his face softened, and a gleam of what might have been hope came into his eyes.

Derik smiled. “I only fear that I’m no match for you, in any regard.”

Thoth nodded slowly, never breaking his gaze. “The difficulty is . . . a practical one. Practical difficulties have practical solutions, for those willing to seek them. But let us not rush ahead. You are certain you want this?” His deep voice dropped to near inaudibility. “Me?” Psychic or not, some things needed to be said out loud.

“Yes,” Derik said, leaning forward into his touch. “More certain every second.”

A small smile twitched at the corners of Thoth’s mouth. “Your emotions still overrule you, brother. Have I taught you nothing?”

Derik smiled back. “You have taught me how to control them when I want to. Right now, I don’t want to.”

He pressed forward again. Thoth moved his hand around Derik’s shoulder, bent down, and tilted his head just so. Their lips met.

With the physical connection came a sharper, clearer sharing of feelings. Thoth’s attraction to Derik was like a landmass built up slowly over eons, finally breaching the surface of the waves that had buried it. It was subtle, but inexorable, and Derik thrilled to be the object of such power. The only feeling that had ever been more potent was—

Derik slammed his barriers back into place, and they both stepped back.

“I’m sorry,” Derik said quickly. He had caught a frisson of trepidation just before the connection cut off. “It’s not you, not you at all. It’s—shards, it’s what it always is.” He pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead and dug his fingers into his hair. He felt his anger rising and struggled to tamp it down again, repeating the first Enumeration in his mind.

“I understand,” Thoth said, but not without a hint of injury. “I recognize the signs in your aura.” He gave Derik a moment to collect himself, then said, “We will continue this discussion next time.”

Derik’s head snapped up. “What? No, I—”

“Yes. This . . . ‘experiment’ is as good a word as any. If we are to embark on this experiment together, there is much to consider. You must consider your needs and your safety. And I . . . I must consider whether I truly wish to become what this may make of me. It may not be worth the pain for either of us.”

Derik knew that if the two of them couldn’t live with pain, they would both have died long before they met. He knew that Thoth was one of the people in his life who made it bearable—better than bearable. Occasionally, even wonderful. And he didn’t give a shriveled fig for his safety.

He couldn’t muster the words to say all this, and he didn’t know if Thoth was still reading his aura. He said: “I won’t change my mind, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“I know you believe so. You are a stubborn man. It is sometimes quite irksome . . . and endearing.” Tentatively, he extended his hand, and when Derik took it without hesitation he pressed his lips together in a grim smile. “You would leap into a fire, knowing you would burn. So I tell you: Go home, brother. Consider long and well. I am patient. I can wait.”

“Patience isn’t always a virtue,” Derik muttered, frowning down at their feet. He hated that his psyche still was not proof against intrusive thoughts of the past and the attendant soul-deep agony of his loss; that he could be so rapidly chilled, as though someone had thrown a bucket of ice over him. He wanted the fire back.

But, he recognized that leaping into this would end up burning both of them. There was indeed much to consider.

He looked up to meet Thoth’s eyes again. “You’re right. We can’t go off half-cocked, as it were.”

No response to the admittedly tasteless joke.

Derik shook his head. “All right, don’t laugh. The point is, I’ll do as you say, because you’re smarter than I am. We will go—and when we meet again, we will make a plan.”

“As you say.” Thoth inclined his head. “Until then.”

He turned toward the door, but Derik was still holding his hand and didn’t let go.

“Brother?”

“Once more,” Derik said, turning up his chin. “Please. So you know there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Thoth hesitated, and Derik thought he might refuse. Just before he resigned himself to give up, though, Thoth responded, “As you wish,” and leaned down, supporting Derik’s back with his off-hand.

Derik was careful to keep his empathic sense locked down and simply focused on the physical sensation of the kiss. It was odd—Thoth’s mouth was over-sized, and his own was distorted by scar tissue. It was awkward, with the ten-inch height difference between them. It was, frankly, underwhelming.

Part of the problem, he realized with a twinge of compassion, was that Thoth had no idea what to do beyond the basic act of touching lip to lip. It was a skill he had not practiced for millennia, no exaggeration, and he was stock-still, stiff, barely even breathing.

Derik was out of practice himself, but at least the instinct was still there. With both hands, he reached up to stroke the smooth-shaven sides of Thoth’s head. His scalp felt warmer than the rest of him, and with hands like heating pads, that was saying something. Derik felt Thoth’s fingers clench into his jacket at the unfamiliar, too-familiar touch and was reminded of the Astartes’ sheer strength. One wrong move, and Derik’s life could be in very real jeopardy.

Perhaps that was something to think about later.

Thoth didn’t pull away, so Derik continued the motion, drawing his hands down slowly over Thoth’s ears and cheeks until they rested along his jaw. Like the rest of him, his face was heavily boned and thick with hard muscle, courtesy of the super-engineered growth hormones that went into the making of a Space Marine. The only softness to it was in his generously proportioned lips.

With that thought, Derik opened his mouth, just a little, and pulled Thoth’s upper lip into the gap, which it filled pleasantly.

Thoth made a low rumble in his throat: a hum of surprise or the start of a moan, Derik wasn’t sure. Either way, he broke it off there and withdrew altogether. He looked at Derik with inscrutable eyes. A light flush colored his pale cheeks a shade of rose.

“There, now,” Derik said, his voice roughened around the edges. “That was a kiss worth the name.”

No answer.

Derik grew concerned. “Are you all right with what I did?”

A curt nod. “Are you?”

Relief set loose a giddy laugh. “Yes! Trust me, please. This is real. I promise you.”

“I will not hold you to any promise that comes with so little thought as to the consequences,” Thoth said sternly. Before Derik could protest, he added, “But I thank you for the intent behind it. And for . . . ” Lost for words, he made a helpless gesture toward Derik.

He understood, and nodded.

Before things could get any more awkward, they left the room and went their separate ways, until next time.



A/N: So, what do you think, my lovelies? Convinced yet? Need more? Just feel like making a fool of yourself with mindless judgements? Let me know!

--Lemony

  • Aww, you guys!Lemony Eggnog, Mon Sep 3 4:00pm
    Are you waiting for little ol' me to kick things off? That's so sweet! You didn't have to do that! I'll totally start, though. Without further ado, I give you: Title: Mostly Author: Lemony Eggnog... more
    • "Mostly," Part 3 (( Link to Gdoc ))Lemony Eggnog, Fri Sep 7 11:39pm
      (( Because Part 3 is too long to break up for the Board. {= P (( Still probably SFW? Involves Astartes body-mods being kinda squicky to a guy from a planet that still has a taboo against surgery... more
      • /almost forgot to not be my usual self!<3<3<3, Sat Sep 8 9:49am
        "Have you realized yet that this is both madness and folly?" Ahh, but that makes this all the more sweet! Despite the descriptions, the body mods actually sound... beautiful? Though that may just be... more
        • Oh good, someone gets it.Lemony Eggnog, Sat Sep 8 6:54pm
          Good to know my effort is not totally wasted here. --Lemony (( I... actually can't tell if you're playing a character or just posting your real thoughts under a different name. ^_^; What's true and... more
          • ((Touche, touche))<3<3<3, Sat Sep 8 8:36pm
            I assure you there is no waste! Unless I am a trash can, omnom. ((And I just meant the general concept, there. |D I am not terribly good at this game; mostly it's the bare-bones idea (in this case... more
    • "Mostly," Part 2.2 (SFW, hurt/comfortish)Lemony Eggnog, Tue Sep 4 11:09pm
      Time passed. “Brother? . . . Derik?” “Hn?” His eyes snapped open and he started up with a sharp intake of breath. He’d almost drifted off. How pathetic. Thoth took his hand from... more
      • <3<3<3<3, Thu Sep 6 12:04pm
        Delayed gratification is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And it is better, yes!
        • |m|Lemony Eggnog, Thu Sep 6 11:44pm
          (( The horns, if you're wondering. As in, rock on! ~Neshomeh ))
    • "Mostly," Part 2.1 (SFW, hurt/comfortish)Lemony Eggnog, Tue Sep 4 11:08pm
      The Duty intervened such that it was nine days before they were able to meet in RC 2112r again. To Derik’s chagrin, he had indeed suffered from second thoughts, both figuratively, in that he despised ... more
      • Interesting work hereMotherShipper, Fri Sep 7 12:29pm
        I like how you've taken time to nail Derik and Thoth's characters. It makes the whole thing so much more believable and exciting, and I always enjoy flowery confessions of love! I think there's a... more
        • Ah, grasshopper, you have much still to learn.Lemony Eggnog, Fri Sep 7 10:28pm
          Love is a grand, life-changing thing, but it doesn't magically make everything perfect! We're dealing with one guy who isn't supposed to be having any of the feelings he's having and is pretty... more
    • "Mostly," Part 1 (SFW) — Lemony Eggnog, Mon Sep 3 4:13pm
      • "Cute."ShadowMoonDarkSun, Thu Sep 6 7:28pm
        How absolutely adorable. However, while it might but cute, it lacks all sophistication. It feels unrealistic and fake. This isn't what two men would do with one another. Or even one man. What I'm... more
        • Ahahaha oh god, you're serious.Lemony Eggnog, Thu Sep 6 11:41pm
          Oh, boy. That's not an expression of exasperated disbelief—okay, it is, but I am also addressing you as the misguided kid I assume you are. Listen, girl. It sounds like you're getting all your... more
          • You just don't understand men.ShadowMoonDarkSun, Fri Sep 7 4:21pm
            ((...And thank you for giving this alter ego some well-deserved smacks, Neshomeh.))
            • I'm sorry, I must've blinked.Lemony Eggnog, Fri Sep 7 10:06pm
              When did I fall through the rift into your home dimension, where men aren't human beings? Dare I ask what the women are like here? --Lemony (( And there's the peak snark I have so much fun... more
      • This? Badfic? Surely not!<3<3<3, Tue Sep 4 10:31am
        If this had been with any two characters - guys, girls, neither, mixed - I would have loved it just as much! Though, that IS a problem: it might be too general in its love potency! I eagerly await... more
        • Ouch!Lemony Eggnog, Tue Sep 4 10:56am
          Too general? You wound me, sir/madam/starfish. Granted, the moment one friend confesses to another that their feelings have changed CAN happen to anyone... Well, hopefully the next part will clear... more
      • That was awesoooome!!!JessamintheCreed99, Tue Sep 4 12:14am
        Omg, gay guys are like so hot, am I right?? Siriusly (lol) good stuff there, I loved it sooo much! Write more plz! <3 <3 <3
        • Thanks, I think.Lemony Eggnog, Tue Sep 4 10:40am
          I mean... sure? In the sense that all love between consenting adults is hot? But I shall write more, indeed, and hopefully make it more clear that gayness in and of itself is not the driving force... more
          • I am disturbedLordHammerfell, Fri Sep 7 10:23pm
            I find your lack of confidence saddening. You must not phrase so much of your language as questions, and I find your confused response in the face of foolishness similarly disheartening. You must be... more
            • I am confident!Lemony Eggnog, Sat Sep 8 12:32am
              Awww, you literal-minded Imperial Fist type. I was being sarcastic, darling. I'll rephrase: All expressions of love between consenting adults are hot. Good communication is hot. Consent is hot.... more
              • This is not an area of my expertise.LordHammerfell, Sat Sep 8 8:13pm
                I do not "ship," and I tend assume people involved in "shipping" lack various virtues I aspire to. I should probably stay in my depth, namely, heroism, friendship, the tragedy of the righteous... more
                • That's fair.Lemony Eggnog, Sat Sep 8 9:19pm
                  ♪It's okay to not like things.♪ And I'd tend to agree that your common-or-garden-variety shipper does tend to lack... let's go with prudence and temperance, those are virtues and also... more
                • ...Thus indicating...ShadowMoonDarkSun, Sat Sep 8 8:27pm
                  That you lack the manliness and power to be secure in your masculinity. Real men are secure enough in their maleness to not care about their desire to see men together in fiction, to watch one become ... more
                  • NoLordHammerfell, Sat Sep 8 8:56pm
                    I simply have no desire to see a man become another's "dominant mate," among other things.
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