Your union always contains an edge of desperation, a need to consume and be consumed that surpasses mere physical desire. It’s as if every time is the first and the last, as if you have never touched before and may never touch again, or at any moment you will be ripped apart for good. If force alone could meld your bodies into one, you would have fused inseparably long ago. This goes beyond pleasure; this is one soul trapped in two bodies, the broken halves dashing themselves against their heavy confines to finally reunite.
Or: I Don’t Always Write Assholes (But Mostly I Do)
Thought I’d give new folks the TL;DR overview of the characters I sporadically write about. More in their respective tags, of course.
Remr: Tiefling scientist with poor impulse control. Huge fucking nerd. Has no social skills but somehow managed to help save the world. Just so gay and nerdy. Find her in the DnD tag.
Dhashi: Lolita aasimar magical girl who believes good always triumphs over evil. Leaves a trail of glitter everywhere she goes. Died but came back. Very cute. Very positive. Very annoying. Find her in the DnD tag.
Mage: Asshole pirate queen with too much time on her hands. Always trying to destroy the good guys. Enjoys arson and petty vandalism. Kinda half-monster maybe? Find her in the Mage tag.
Tanim: Rich asshole who loves drugs, alcohol, and sex with strangers. Falls in love with Daren. High class angst with a side of sadomasochism. Find him in the Tanim and Daren tag.
Daren: Mentally unstable asshole. Falls in love with Tanim. Less angst, more monotone sarcasm and completely serious threats of violence. Really really likes knives. Find him in the Tanim and Daren tag.
“Just admit it, it was terrible,”
Tanim rolled his eyes as they turned down the alley. “It wasn’t terrible. You’re being too critical. When did you become an expert in opera, anyway?” Beside him, Daren snorted out cigarette smoke and derision. “I don’t have to be an expert to know when someone’s flat the entire time,” he retorted, eliciting a sigh from his partner. “Oh, you just didn’t like-”
“Don’t shout or fight,” a rough voice interrupted, “just give me your wallet.” Tanim had just enough time to register the gun barrel pressed to his temple before Daren moved. With a spray of blood, their would-be thief slumped to the cement with throat neatly cut. Casually, as if from long habit, Daren reached out and wiped his small knife clean on Tanim’s tie.
“Hey!” Tanim snatched the silk fabric away with a glare. “This is a six hundred dollar tie.”
Daren clapped him on the shoulder as he walked past. “Club soda, dear.”
Tomorrow, he thinks as he pours another glass. Tomorrow he will go dry.
Tomorrow, he thinks as he swallows another pill. Tomorrow he will get clean.
Tomorrow, he thinks as he sucks off another stranger. Tomorrow he will become celibate.
Tomorrow, he thinks as he drinks; tomorrow, as he injects; tomorrow, as he whores himself out. Tomorrow.
A dark stage. Tanim stares down into the glass in his hand, gives the amber liquid an idle swirl while I sought you in the last sip of laudanum, he muses aloud. From the darkness behind him, the snik snik and spark of a lighter. The flame catches, burns a small spot in the darkness to reveal Daren as he lights the cigarette poised on his lips, closes the lighter with a metallic snap. Tanim, oblivious, continues. I sought you in brothels and fight rings, and Daren, pacing, wreathed in smoke, they say madness is repeating the same action yet expecting a different result. I sought you nightly like a man possessed, Tanim finishes the drink in one long swallow, as if parched, yet you evaded me. That is not quite true, however. Tanim lifts his head, eyes searching, seeing nothing. The hand holding his glass shakes slightly less than his voice. I prayed to you; you did not reply. I prostrated myself before you; you turned your back. I courted you like a lover and yet you denied me time and time again. Daren drops the cigarette, madness is repeating the same action despite knowing you shall never produce a different result, leaves it burning in the background while he moves closer. I loved you most dearly of all hence we enter this dance again yet you are fickle, o death not because we hope to change the ending and I have winced in the light of so many unwanted dawns but because we know we cannot. Tanim, with a sigh, Can this be the end now? Can I be done? Come, fifth sword, and cut down this hanging man. I am so tired. Daren steps into the candlelight, lays a gentle hand on his jaw. Hello, brother, softly. Did I keep you waiting overlong? Tanim’s weak smile, oh sweet relief, oh final mercy. Never. They kiss. The gleam of the blade in Daren’s hand is the last movement seen before the stage goes completely dark. The glass hits the floor, shatters. The cigarette burns itself out.
Halfway through his omelette, Tanim noticed Daren’s food remained untouched. This wasn’t unusual – toast had a frequent fate of going cold and stale on Daren’s plate – but the man usually at least poked at it a bit. Instead, he seemed to be staring at the table, a thoughtful expression subtly altering his otherwise impassive face. Going back to his food, Tanim asked in idle curiosity, “What are you thinking about?”
“Whether I could use this spoon to scoop out someone’s eye,” Daren reached forward and took up the spoon resting by Tanim’s coffee cup. He didn’t seem to notice the sudden jump of Tanim’s eyebrows, nor the forkful of egg that hovered frozen in the air halfway to the man’s mouth. Turning the spoon over in his hand, Daren added conversationally, “I think I could. You’d have to go in from the side, kind of angle down like an ice cream scoop. Though I guess it’d be easier with one of those grapefruit spoons, since they’re serrated on the edge. With a regular spoon like this you might have a little trouble with the optic nerve. Do you think it’d be soft enough to–”
“Just,” Tanim laid his hand over Daren’s with a sigh, “stop.” He reclaimed the spoon and set it back down on the table where it belonged. “This is why we don’t eat out more often.” With that he turned back to his omelette, very pointedly ignoring the startled looks of the other diners around them. Daren, immune to the stares of others, merely shrugged and took a bite of cooling toast. “You asked.” To their apparently paralyzed waitress, unfortunate enough to have overheard the entire conversation, he indicated his coffee and said, “I’ll have another cup.”
Daren’s hands clench white as he watches the dogfight taking place in the airspace above the military base. The tall windows of his office offer a prime view of the base’s landing strip and the incoming medical transport under fire from enemy aircraft. Despite the planes launched to repel the attack and guide the transport to a safe landing, the sluggish medic aircraft is clearly in trouble; dark smoke pours from one engine and its angle of approach is far too steep
“Colonel, med crews are ready to deploy when necessary,”
Daren doesn’t bother turning from the windows to acknowledge this report, only nods and continues to watch the battle taking place in his skies. When the door clicks shut, he slowly uncurls his shaking hands.
“Col St. Anthony, may I have the pleasure of introducing you to our newest Chief Flight Surgeon?” Daren held back a sigh and prepared for his tenth introduction that night. This was why he avoided military social functions; he could barely stand talking to any of these people on base, let alone after hours. Managing something that approximated a smile closely enough, considering his rank, he turned to face the speaker and their guest. “Of course.”
“Col St. Anthony, this is Dr. Rosenquist. Dr. Rosenquist, this is our esteemed Colonel.”
“St. Anthony?” The doctor held out his hand, and while Daren shook it he waited for the inevitable comment about the battle that made him a household name. Instead, though, Dr. Rosenquist only grinned and said, “I have heard you’re vicious at chess. Perhaps I could bother you for a game some day?” The comment finally snagged Daren’s attention and for the first time he actually looked at the man who gripped his hand with firm confidence. There was a curious shrewdness and humor to the gray-blue eyes staring back at him, and despite his reticence he found himself answering, “Yes, please do.”
Tanim bites back another curse as the plane rocks and swings to one side, sending half the supplies in his kit out of arms’ reach. He can hear the yelling of the pilots and the terrified questions from the rest of his team, but he has no time to glance out a window to see if they’re all doomed or not. His entire attention must remain focused on the patient in front of him and the frustratingly delicate, life-saving surgery that could not wait until landing. For anyone else the lack of steady ground would be enough to stop them from even attempting such a risky procedure, but Tanim remains determined to work until either his patient stabilizes or the plane explodes. Considering how the bloody floor beneath his knees drops and shudders, tilts and sways, Tanim can’t honestly say which might happen first.
“Thank god,” Tanim lets out a long-held breath as his patient’s bleeding finally decreases to a manageable trickle. As he ties off the last suture, the surgeon spares a brief second to glance up and through the cockpit window, where the airstrip rushes up to meet their plummeting plane. He has only enough time to feel a thrill of fear before the two collide.
“Hello, Doctor,” Daren shut the office door behind Tanim and slid home the lock. “You weren’t followed?”
“No, the building’s dead this time of night,” Tanim shrugged out of his coat, tossing it casually over the back of a chair, and came up behind Daren. He slid one arm around the man’s waist, the other over his chest, and held him close. “Hello, sir,” he murmured, pressing his lips to his lover’s neck to feel the heartbeat quickening under Daren’s skin. “Shall we play a round or two, then?”
“I would like that very much,” Daren turned in Tanim’s arms and pulled his head down for a hard, hungry kiss. After this they did not speak at all, lost in the need for mouth against mouth, skin against skin, to forget for a time their location and the illicit nature of their relationship. These clandestine meetings were not even barely enough for either of them, but all they could steal and so they made do. It was something, at least.
Tanim’s first instinct upon regaining consciousness is to locate and identify the pain, but every part of him seems to pulse with the same excruciating agony that scrambles his bleary thoughts. Giving up on any sort of diagnosis, he focuses instead on lifting his heavy eyelids. Even this is a feat, though one he accomplishes after what feels like an eternity. He can’t seem to move his head yet, though, and all he can see is a white ceiling and a dark blur at his side. When the blur moves, he just manages to make out the uniform. He tries to clear his throat but fails and instead quietly croaks, “Daren?”
“Welcome back to the land of the living,” The blur shifts and suddenly Daren comes into focus, his mouth a thin smile that does nothing to hide the worry casting shadows under his eyes. He reaches out and carefully brushes a lock of hair off Tanim’s forehead, then returns to holding Tanim’s hand. “Thought maybe we’d lost you for good.”
“Me too,” Tanim glances around, trying both to avoid the uncharacteristic concern in Daren’s eyes and to hide the pain he knows is obvious in his. “This isn’t the base ICU,” he realizes. “Where am I?”
“I had you moved to a room closer to my quarters. More privacy here,” Daren’s reply sounds careless, even distracted, but Tanim knows him too well. There is something he doesn’t want to say, something that would explain the different pains starting to define themselves; the pain of broken bones, of burned and lacerated skin, struggling lungs and a concussed brain, and beneath it all a deep, endless ache the doctor fears to identify. Instead, he takes a labored breath and asks, “How bad is it?” When Daren turns his face away, mouth set in a grim line, Tanim has his answer.
For a moment neither speaks, letting the room’s machinery fill the grim silence between them. Finally, Daren picks up something from the table next to them and holds it up for Tanim to see: a chess piece. He manages the ghost of a smile. “Want to play a round?”