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Lemony Eggnog
"Mostly," Part 2.1 (SFW, hurt/comfortish)
Tue Sep 4, 2018 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 himself for having them, and literally, in that his preoccupation had made him careless in the field. On the sixth day, failing to duck under cover at a crucial moment had earned him a beating from a Stu with momentum-based superpowers, and he had the bruises to show for it. He had thought and imagined, fretted and planned, and after three particularly restless nights with an overactive brain and sore ribs waking him up at every turn, his eyes were shadowed and bloodshot.

To compensate, he had made an effort to wear freshly laundered clothes that weren’t wrinkled, and between missions he’d gotten his hair cut back to a faded crew with long fringe in the front, which the stylist had laughingly called “Gibbs hair.” Whatever the joke was, he liked the result: it made him look more like his old self, before all the bad things had happened and he’d stopped caring about his appearance.

He arrived bursting with talk, but Thoth refused to listen to anything he had to say until they had gone through their normal routine of mental discipline. Derik gave in with ill grace, but afterward, he had to admit it was a good thing to do. It put them back on familiar footing, and Derik felt less jittery with nerves and exhaustion.

He gingerly stretched and pulled out his stool. Even with a mat, the Generic Surface was hard, and the stool had the added benefit of putting him at eye-level with a seated Thoth.

“Now,” Thoth said when he was settled, “we may continue our discussion from last time.” The look in his eyes turned cold. “You must have realized, as I have, that to pursue a romantic experiment between us is both madness and folly.”

Shocked and hurt, Derik almost played right into it with a furious retort, but instinct made him dart out with his empathic sense, and he tasted the anguish behind Thoth’s words before the Astartes could fully conceal it.

“Don’t do that,” Derik said softly. “You don’t mean it.”

“It is the truth,” he replied.

Derik gave a frustrated groan and rubbed his hands over his face. “Thoth, please. I see through you. You told me how you feel; you can’t take it back, and I don’t want you to. What are you afraid of?”

His eyes flashed angrily at the word. “I am not afraid.”

“All right, not afraid. Anxious. Tormented. Whatever you want to call it: I have felt it. And last time you spoke as though you thought there was something wrong with you. I hope you have realized that’s not true.”

“It is.” Thoth blinked, startled by the vehemence of his own admission, and said more quietly, “Not in the way you mean, I think, but it is.” He sighed and shifted in place as though physically uncomfortable.

Derik knew he must be very upset indeed. His irritation evaporated. “Tell me, brother. Please.”

Thoth thought a moment, and then, not meeting Derik’s eye, he said, “You must understand that Astartes warriors do not feel the way I feel, regardless of inclination. It is impossible, except, perhaps, under the influence of Chaos. Or bad fanfiction, which is somehow worse. Much worse.” His lip curled, and his fists clenched. “I cannot become like the depraved excuses for Astartes in those stories. I must not.”

“And you won’t!” Derik got up and came to stand before him, placing one hand on his shoulder.

Thoth tensed and twisted away further, fighting a muscular urge to strike out.

“Oh, my friend.” Derik stepped back with his hands raised in a submissive gesture. “I do understand. How long did it take me to stop fearing I might become that other man with a face like mine?”

Thoth’s eyes flicked toward him. “Do you not still fear it?”

“Yes, and that’s the point. As you keep reminding me, fearing a thing does not make it true. You must trust yourself.”

The Marine jerked his head in negation. “I cannot. Blindly seeking my pleasure would lead down a path of destruction.”

“Then trust me.” Derik dropped into a crouch, trying to find Thoth’s eyes again. “I’ll show you the way. I will not let you fall.”

“You do not know what you are saying.”

“Yes, I do. I’ve had yonks to think about it, and this—us—we can work. Will you please look at me?”

Slowly, Thoth turned his head until he made eye contact.

In full view so it wasn’t startling, Derik reached out and took his hand. “It won’t be conventional,” he said. “It won’t be easy. There may well be pain and strife. But it will be worth it, because you make me feel almost whole again.” His throat constricted, and he roughly forced out the rest of the words. “I need you in my life. So I’ll have all of you. Every inch. Every fault. Every step of the way.”

Thoth’s eyes squeezed shut; his mouth pressed into a thin line; his fingers tightened around Derik’s hand. After a moment, he opened up again and raised one eyebrow a hair. “How long did you spend composing that little speech, Harper?”

Derik cleared his throat. “Ahuh, well . . .” He sat back on his heels and ducked his head, rubbing the back of his neck. “I did have nine days and most of nine nights; there were alternatives . . .”

“It was very good. I believe it has had the effect you desired. . . . It would be more correct to ask for your permission to kiss you again, would it not?”

With what he thought was a heroic effort of will, Derik managed to hide his bemusement as he raised his head. “No—because you already have it.”

“Then . . . let us attempt this.” He widened the circle of his legs and guided Derik to kneel there, which effectively eradicated the height difference. His hands rested around Derik’s waist. “Is that all right?” he rumbled.

“More than all right.” He laid one arm over Thoth’s shoulder and with his opposite hand stroked Thoth’s cheek where it had turned pink again. “So, then.” He had to ask. “You do still want this broken shell of a mortal man?”

“Do not disparage yourself,” Thoth said, peering solemnly at him. “This is madness, and folly, but if you will have all of me, I will have all of you. Every scar. Every hurt that will not heal. Every step of the way.”

Derik’s heart leaped and his eyes prickled. He laughed. “Shards, man. That really does work.”

“Indeed.” Thoth’s arms slid up around Derik’s back, pulling him in.

Just as Derik tilted his head to seal the kiss, Thoth squeezed his ribs in just the wrong place, and he hissed in pain and self-recrimination. “Oh, shaffit!” He should’ve seen this coming.

Thoth immediately removed his arms to his sides. His expression was pure stone, but a tidal wave of dread rolled off him. “I apologize if I have—”

“Nononono, it’s all right, it was my own fault,” Derik assured him, gripping Thoth’s shoulder and reinforcing his own psychic shields. “Shards and shells. I should have told you, but . . .” He shrugged and settled back onto the floor, gingerly massaging his bruised bones. He hadn’t wanted to talk about it, and he hadn’t been given an opportunity anyway.

Thoth grimaced; he knew. “You may tell me now, then. I did intend to inquire about your altered appearance, as well. Is there a connection?”

It was tempting to claim the haircut was simply because he’d felt like a change, but there was no putting one over on an Athanaean telepath, so he told the whole truth: he had been an idiot, it had gotten him into trouble, and he had spruced himself up so he’d look less like death warmed over for this crucial encounter.

“I didn’t want to distract you with any completely unnecessary concerns for my health,” he finished wryly.

“I see. In that case, you failed.”

“Rub it in, why don’t you,” Derik groused, turning his head in irritation; but he realized he might have focused on the wrong thing. He turned back, searching Thoth’s face for an answer.

Gazing steadily at him, the Marine said, “You will always fail at that.”

“Oh.” Derik had to look down. A silly smile was trying to take over his face. It was extremely undignified for a man his age.

“However,” Thoth added, “I approve of this haircut. It suits you handsomely.” He raised a hand from his thigh, but stopped. “I may touch you?”

“You really don’t have to ask,” Derik said. “Where is this coming from?”

“I am given to understand that enthusiastic consent is a necessary component of healthy romantic relations.”

Derik blinked. “You read some relationship how-to book, didn’t you? I assume this was before you decided to try and run me off?”

No answer, which was answer enough.

“Thoth . . .” Derik chuckled and shook his head in amazement. “My dear Thoth. You’re not wrong, and I appreciate that you feel the need for caution, but don’t let it ruin a perfectly good moment. Go on.” He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees.

Thoth hesitated a moment longer, as though he hadn’t understood, but he got past it and lightly brushed the back of one finger against the short fuzz over Derik’s left ear. “Quite different,” he remarked.

“I used to keep it like this all the time,” Derik said, his eyes fluttering to a close. “Easier to manage short hair with a helmet. Don’t stop,” he added when he felt Thoth’s hand move away. His scalp was still unused to being mostly exposed. Every stimulus was new and delightful.

“As you wish.” Thoth explored the gradient texture of the fade, eventually using his whole hand to rub up and down the back of Derik’s head and neck.

Derik sighed. “That’s nice.”

  • 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
      • 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
      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 ... more
      • "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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