Fandom: RL!Damned/Xenosaga. Now better known as, Enlightenment.
Warnings: NC-17. Yep. I said it.
Word Count: 2324.
Characters: Alan and Nigel.
Notes: One themed line is stolen from a work of psyches.
Summary: Παντα ρει. Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers / All entities move and nothing remains still / Everything changes and nothing remains still... and... you cannot step twice into the same stream / We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not. --Everything exists in a state of flux. Time, meaning, and emotion are no different.
It was night by the time he got home.
The door was pushed open gently; Alan was tired, and lacked the energy to do anything else. Travel exhausted him, gave him hours of sleep in comparison to his regular few, and it pushed him off balance. He didn’t like it. Couldn’t stand it, even as it was necessary. But he was back now. He was home. This was fact, yes, but to Alan--
As things were, disjointed and weary, thoughts did not come as linear. Life came in a series of snapshots. What was happening between them was unknown to him. Memory, as had been proven, was fallible and flawed. Unable to be trusted at the best of times; actively a hindrance in others.
He found Nigel in the corner, crouched to face the wall and shaking. There was floral in the air and blood on his mind.
They were laying in the bed, his arms around the other man and Nigel’s head pressed under his chin. There was a murmur about time. Time and solitude and stagnation. And Alan could not understand. He knew exactly what Nigel meant.
There was the feel of moisture against his cheeks but it was not his--it came from Nigel’s eyes as Alan kissed him softly, and Alan wondered, not for the first time, if he was killing the man with his kindness. Choking him with his love.
There was a habit in the motion, a familiarity in his tongue dragging across the other’s collarbone. Nigel made a sound like a whimper, breath hitched, and tensed. Alan did not have to glance up to know that the man was still crying.
If looked at, Alan might be called a sadist or selfish, to move in ways that apparently caused pain. There was a gentleness that graced his actions, but he never relented, always moved forward. If they called him a sadist, he’d more be the opposite if given to truth. Shouldn’t it hurt to have the one you care for cry at your touch? Shouldn’t it destroy for the one you wish to please to make sounds of mourning instead of ones close to joy? Neither sadist nor masochist, selfish or selfless, Alan moved only in need. For Nigel needed to be loved; needed to be broken in order to continue. He was only a servant in that respect--he acted on another’s unconscious will.
They were both naked to each other, neither revealing nor hiding their emotions or secrets. Some things did not have to be said. Something things did not need to be questioned. Some were held close, and that was understood. Alan was fully dressed, the other opposite, and there was an untried habit in the way Alan licked over the tip before closing his mouth around him. There was a kind of death in the way Nigel shook and gave no sound. Alan reached upward, one hand stroking over Nigel’s stomach like one would soothe a startled animal, the other finding one of Nigel’s hands, and without prelude, intertwining their fingers and holding on. Alan found a talent for taking all of the other into his mouth and Nigel found relief in the way of hands bound together, the place where numbers used to be pressing like there was nothing else.
It was Nigel who reached first, grasped the front of Alan’s shirt while looking somewhere off to the side. Alan blinked at him in question, and Nigel only tugged. Alan moved slowly, allowed the shirt to slip off and fall to the floor, and when Nigel’s hands reached hesitantly for the buttons of Alan’s pants, Alan caught the hands instead, grasped them and pressed them against his lips as if in worship, then reached to undo buttons and zipper himself. The pants slid to the floor, and Alan shivered once, slipped into the bed against the other and kissed the back of his neck.
The fact of flesh touching was always an overwhelm, and here it was no different. There was nothing more lips touching like, Alan’s hands cupping the sides of Nigel’s face, but still, shoulder to calve, they were pressed against, heat mingling and mixing in the way of motions; gasps given when lengths brushed against each other, sensitive flesh pressing and shifting against like. Still, nothing was done, but that simple act of affection, and it was too much, far too much. Alan touched close, graced the sun.
Hands eventually started to move in their motion, less thought and something more intuitive. Fingers brushed pale skin, nails grazing flushed points against a chest, skirted downward over ribs and brushed lovingly over hips, to find a place unknown by any other--to take in hand gently as lips closed over a taut neck.
There was a shuddering present, uneven breaths of air, and bodies pressed against each other, seeking something that had never been found.
“I dreamt a dream last night,” Nigel had said, curled in Alan’s arms after they had moved to the bedroom. The question was obvious, and Nigel answered after a moment, tone as bland as something dying. “You told me you loved me, then went away.” Mimicking reality, but it hadn’t been meant in the way Nigel spoke. Alan had his yearly trip to the university, and Nigel-- “I shouldn’t have expected anything,” he said, and there were wounds there, vivid and raw. “I shouldn’t have thought--” Nigel rambled and Alan couldn’t stand it; shifted to cover his mouth with his hand, then nudged his head against the other in affection as Nigel started to cry. Kissed him slowly and gently as not to frighten. And still Nigel cried. And there had existed ways, Alan thought, of making this less painful.
There were unsaid agreements, gasps and nods, and despite words having not passed at all throughout this time, when Alan shifted away to reach to the end stand, Nigel reached up and grabbed him suddenly, arms tighter than one would have expected. “Don’t say that again,” spoken clearly, as if nothing had been happening in the past moments. “Don’t tell me that if you’re going to leave.” Something died in Alan’s chest at that; something fluttered in new birth. He remained quiet. He kept to silence.
Muscles were tense at the start but loosened soon enough. Nigel never denied Alan anything, and his body would not be any different. Sheathed inside another, Alan held on to Nigel tightly and shuddered, not daring to move. There was the quietest whimper above his head that was pressed against the other’s chest--he looked up in alarm at the sound, but viewed there was less discomfort and more loss. Nigel shifted and Alan hissed through his teeth at the sensation--around his waist legs wrapped around, and Alan stared downward. It was uncharacteristic of this one to be so forward, and he wondered what was inside of Nigel’s mind, playing to press at details. “Please,” came the word, said on the verge of tears and nearly a whisper. Alan never denied Nigel anything; he could only consent.
There was need in the motions beneath him; fingers curled and grasping, knees cocked and entangled, lips reaching upward. Alan lowered his head to meet him, pressed into him and swallowed the moan from Nigel’s lips. There was a kind of death in this, he finally realized, as a part of him had already known. Nigel had given up and this-- This was only the closeness left to offer.
Motions had shifted to erratic and back, slowing to relax before picking up in momentum. A few times now this pattern had held, but here Alan shook, body at its limits and beyond them, and Nigel clutched him forcefully, mouth moving in words but vocal chords silent. A pattern, something in him reminded. A different kind of communication was present when this one hit an overwhelm. But that was meaningless now, wasn’t it? Connection mangled between black and white, and this was only what was left. This, and--
Nigel came and Alan couldn’t be sure if there were further tears against his face. He halted all motions, stifled the building in his lower stomach, and again placed both hands against the other’s cheeks. “I love you,” he gave without waver, eyes intent in their gaze. It was the first thing Alan had said since stepping through the door. The last thing said before he left it. There was protest, and to that, Alan shifted, pulled out to push back inward, and Nigel inhaled. “I love you,” was the repeat, solid and stable, and Nigel’s breath picked up, became off balance. Alan kissed his forehead, touched lips to each fluttering eyelid, cheekbone, jaw line, nose--a chaste brush against lips. “I love you.” Gentler, less fierce. Alan moved again, slower, sweeter, and continued to murmur quiet affections; did not keep to silence, did not grace stillness. His methods were of a man in worship, and Nigel, exhausted, had no methods to defend against the onslaught. The younger came again before Alan did--a burst of light behind the eyes, life a breeze upon the air.
Nigel was curled in Alan’s arms, eyes blank and staring. There was a murmur about time. Time and solitude and stagnation. And Alan could not understand. He knew exactly what Nigel meant. “I didn’t want--” Him to say it. He had said it before. Alan’s arms tucked around the other further, and Nigel exhaled. Alan gave only a repeat, and Nigel held on to him, as if letting go would be setting him free. Let him have a selfish love this time--if he had the mind for it, he would break anything that came between them, lay traps for reality’s needs that forced them apart. Killed Alan so Nigel would never know if he was going to leave. But he didn’t have the mind for it, he didn’t have the strength to hold on that fiercely. “…I love you, too,” was all he could give, and Alan received it gracefully, even as he knew he was near useless to console. Loss was loss, real or perceived.
It was Alan who was asleep and Nigel who claimed wakefulness. Alan was a light sleeper and yet he didn’t wake when Nigel graced fingertips over his skin, moved up to trace cheeks and feel the faint lines still around eyes. Lines and swelling--Alan wasn’t sleeping even more than usual. So this, then, was good. Nigel’s hands hovered there, shook. This was good, then; this-- He began to cry again without realizing, wet hitting the hand touching the other’s cheek.
Alan reached up to cup Nigel’s cheek, the other hand holding the hand against his face. After a moment, he pulled the other down against him. Held him, and only wondered when Nigel had begun to feel so small. Nigel shuddered, and Alan hugged him, waited aware until he fell asleep.
“I dreamt a dream last night,” Nigel had said, curled in Alan’s arms. “You told me you loved me, then went away.” And there had existed ways, Alan had thought, of making this less painful.
“I have to go.”
“I’ve already put it off for a few months now. It’s best to just get it over and done with, then we don’t have to think about it for awhile.”
“It’s fine. Really. I’ll be back soon, and anyway. There exist ways of making this less painful.” Said with a smile, given as humor, Alan had spoken. “I’ll be back soon. I love you.”
And Nigel waited.
You cannot lie or give promises to children or animals. They don’t understand the concepts, cannot accept the values behind them. Time halts in waiting. Life passes by.
The sun creaked over the blinds as birds began their daily song, and Alan’s arms remained wrapped around the other, chin touching the crown of Nigel’s hair as the elder contemplated silently. Minutes and moments passed uncounted, and the slight shifts in Nigel’s motions prompted Alan to relax his hold minutely. Nigel stilled at that, and muttered into Alan’s chest. “…Not a dream, then.”
Time had regulated without Alan realizing. Past, present, future becoming more linear. His fingers lightly tapped a rhythm on Nigel’s spine, making the man tense briefly. “Not a dream,” Alan gave simply.
Nigel’s hand came up to brush over Alan’s chest--the motion made Alan shift and arch. Nigel seemed to only contemplate without noticing, blindly ignorant or pretending to. “I wonder….”
Alan reached to catch Nigel’s hands with his own. “Not a dream,” Alan repeated, then moved a hand to comb through Nigel’s hair. “I’m not going anywhere.”
You said that last time. Went unsaid.
He slid his hand to the back of Nigel’s head and pulled downward, stopping before their lips met. “I love you,” Alan said, and Nigel trembled silently. “And if I leave… I’ll always come back.”
There was a beat held out, of stillness and silence, and then Nigel curled into Alan without a word. The concept foreign and uncomplicated, and yet still unable to be trusted. And yet….
Alan’s hands played over Nigel’s spine and Nigel thought he might be able to place the beat.
“Come back,” the man spoke into Alan’s skin. Came to a decision. “Come back, then.” Nigel lifted his head to look in Alan’s direction, face red even as he nodded in a kind of agreement. “Come back, and I’ll say, ‘welcome home.’”
The corner of Alan’s lips twitched upward--he smothered it, and nodded in return. “So… Last night, I would have said… ‘I’m home.’”
Alan, who found it too cute for any words to detail, gathered the other in a hug and held. Nigel acquiesced to this and closed his eyes.
The sun shone. Bright and warm. Nigel slowly relaxed, let himself fall back into sleep. Alan pet his hair slowly, content and quiet.
It was day, when they came back to who they were, shifting movements of the night a dialogue of mourning and need, nihilism and death, apologies and forgiveness. Moments lost and then regained. Aspects lost and then renewed.