A shared moment between two brothers. Lafe and Bran Montaign are original characters (c) Tendai & Niko, respectively. Contains mild incest, hence the X warning. Written as an experimentation wit...
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All characters, situations, and writing contained here are original works (c) S. Browning and N. Wilde and may not be used in any manner without express written permission from the aformentioned.
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The sun doesn't fall normally at this hour - rather, it falls in even bars, cut into sections by the slats of wooden shades drawn down over the windows. The shades were drawn for the purpose of keeping the dim gold light out, it would seem that they have decided to shirk their duty. Rather than keeping the room immersed in cool darkness, the uneven slats of shadow that the shades do toss over the room seem instead to enhance the bars of light tossed between them.
It's evening - the light is too soft to be afternoon, too dark to be early morning. There's the sense of languidness about the scene that is set, the feeling at five o'clock when the world is starting to shut down and people return to their families. The world is winding down, time is slowing just a bit and there is the sense of moving in slow motion. Even the light is sluggish in the way it shifts as the sun goes down, engaging in a silent protest at having to disappear by sliding as slow as it can across the room and the things within.
The even, clean bars of fading sunlight fall over two figures on a bed. Both asleep, one curved within the embrace of the other. The sheet has been pulled down by moving feet, or shoved by a frustrated hand, sometime during the time between falling asleep and this moment. It's tangled around two sets of ankles, clinging with the tenacity of a barbed vine. The room is too warm for covers, the sunlight and the natural heat of the city make sheets something less than a necessity. It was firmly wrapped around the two bodies breathing evenly in bed at the commencement of the nap, but now? Discarded around their feet, wrapped around ankles and begging for some sort of attention. Wake up! the tangled bedding says. It's time to wake up, now that the rest of the world is falling into that semi-somnolent state of evening. There are things to be done, plans to make and carry out; wake up!
There isn't a response from the two people twined together in the midst of the chaos of kicked-away sheets.
Even the sunlight is trying to call the two sleepers to life; a child who, angry that it has to go to bed, is determined that no one else will sleep. Like a thief's fingers sneaking into a tempting pocket, muted gold nudges its way across faces, traces out the clean lines of nose and chin and sharp cheekbones, tosses them all into contrast with elegant shadow-play. It curves itself over the broad sweep of shoulders of the figure closest to the windows, plays against sharp bone and softer muscle, defines the curve of lower back in that place where upper body starts to become lower and the lines of the physical are just slightly blurred. The meeting point of soft and hard, all there in that dip at the lower back.
That place, filled with the mixed mystery and reality of the body, is the first to move. Muscles twitch as if they're trying to remember how to work again after such a long, heavy sleep. The movement travels - first a tremor in that dip of the lower back, a brief spasm of motion. It fades and the observing sunlight might wonder if it were just a trick of light and shadow, could it wonder such things. But no, soon enough that movement is followed by another, as the muscles to either side that sweep up the back of the person closest to the window shift and twitch.
Movement at this hour, in this state, is a thing of subtlety. Muscles move under skin, slow and uncertain about the enroaching state of wakefulness. Should I go back to sleep? the body asks as the mind starts to come awake, and receives only a quiet sigh in reply. This is a time to take things slowly - one must move slowly or else sleep will be scared away like a frightened animal. And so the movements of the sleeper closest to the window are slow, languid, tired. Arm lifts, and fingers grip at a sheet that's not there before simply replacing smooth cotton with smooth skin and curving closer to the smaller sleeper who seems to be still lost in whatever dreams he might be having. Fingers, callused by work and labor, splay out against stomach and grip just slightly. Mine, the position says. And on the face of the one doing the holding, though the eyes are still closed, is an expression of quiet, sleepy possession.
The next movement is less subtle, an inward curve of larger body around smaller. Possession meets protectiveness and they mix together, twine into one being brought to life by two bodies. One asleep, one caught between sleep and wakefulness; one large, one smaller. When there isn't any way to curve closer around the younger boy, the older seems content to nuzzle sleep-lax lips up against a tangle of dark hair and breathe as though the smell is the most perfect thing he's ever experienced. Warm skin, so warm that the sunlight doesn't have any hope of competing with it and sinks obligingly behind a cloud for just a few minutes.
When the room is suddenly dimmer, the larger one in the bed finally cracks open his eyes. Before he glances around the room, before he looks to see where the sheet went to during the nap, he looks down at the smaller one. Bran. Little brother. Perfect, perfect being, he thinks to himself. A smile comes slowly to sleep-dry lips, and he lowers his head again to rest his stubble-scarred cheek against the smoother one beneath it. There isn't anything like the heat of the sleeping body of someone a person cares about. Fire, electricity, neither of those things compare to the warmth that radiates from the blissfully unconscious Bran.
The older one - Lafe - finally lifts himself, just slightly. Props himself up on one arm, leans his head against the wall and can't help but compare the dull heat of the brick to the way Bran's face felt just a moment ago. It doesn't compare, not really. Too hard, too unforgiving, and neither of those words can be applied to the boy sleeping in ignorance of his older brother's thoughts.
Fingers, callused, brush over the smooth cheek resting next to them - the touch is fragile, like he's trying to touch silk but is afraid that his clumsy, pedestrian hands will hurt it. The feeling is much the same, though it lacks the impersonal coolness of fabric sliding between his fingers. No, Bran's cheek is warm, almost hot, after hours of laying under the thrusting fingers of sun that slipped between the blinds. Is Lafe to blame if he takes a moment to wonder that something so smooth, so /perfect/, is related to someone like him, with work-scarred hands and a number of imperfections?
The smaller one shifts. Kicks tiredly at the sheet wound around his ankle. Moans, frustrated, when the sheet doesn't slide away.
The voice is all petulant urgency, the same as it was ten years ago - right down to the emphasis. Lafe, help me, I need to get this down off the shelf. Help me, I want to go explore. Ten years without that voice has weakened his resolve - Bran could ask him to make the sun go away and he would no doubt try his hardest, if only to take that pleading tone away and see a smile replace it. Some people will say they'd do anything for someone else in a half-hearted effort to prove their love. Others will say it and mean it.
He doesn't answer the boy, the one who's still half asleep, squirming fitfully to get the sheet off of his leg. Or maybe he does, with that quiet sigh of content breath, that noise that could be mistaken for the reaction of half-sleeping muscles to the act of leaning forward tug and twist until sheet releases ankle so Bran can twist himself into a new position. Contentment seems more likely, judging by the way one rough hand drags up calf, smoothes over thigh and back, comes to rest with a quiet sort of love on one smooth-skinned shoulder.
Or is that possession, in the way that fingers curve slightly inwards into soft skin? Mine, the gesture seems to say, though who it's speaking to isn't immediately clear. To Bran, maybe. Or maybe he's just reaffirming what he already knows.
Maybe the gesture is towards the world in general. He is all too aware that outside the door, there is a world that would like nothing more than to see what he has with Bran fall to dust. A world that doesn't understand, will never understand, the kind of love that feels like the splitting of one soul into two bodies. Family relationships, the morals set by society, fall to the ground underfoot in the face of that kind of feeling. It would almost be too intense at times, but time and the regaining of confidence on both sides has given that sharp sensation a dulled edge. Boring, some might say, but the term "content" fits better, perhaps. Relaxed, comfortable silences like this one typify the relationship in the mind of the man looking down on the slowly-waking body next to him.
Bran's face is upturned now, looking with sleepy eyes at Lafe, who lets his touch slide up from shoulder to ruffle hair with quiet, satisfied affection. From there, hand slides down, fingers curving against the same cheek he was giving such close attention to only a few minutes ago.
One man bends, the other man arches up, and they meet in the middle.
Hello, lips say.
I missed you.
I dreamed about you.
I love you.
I will always be here.
Reassurances, a thousand and then more, spilling out in one kiss. Lips part, tongues meet and indulge, and the world both inside the room and outside the door fades into something entirely inconsequential. Nothing else matters, does it? One kiss, quiet and soul-deep, and the rest of the world is simply unimportant. Let the sky come falling down, let everything fall into chaos, because at a moment like this nothing like that matters.
Lips finally part, and the singular curve created splits into two bodies again, close but distinct. Cheek to cheek, rough to smooth, setting sun lifting off of bodies to paint itself on the opposite wall.
Once again, everything fades to gold light and quiet contentment - two bodies twist together once more into one figure, arms circling neck and waist respectively, throwing a singular form's shadow onto the wall.
Sun sets, shadow vanishes, and the world stays ignorant of the illegitimate bliss hidden in a dusty room.