The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Gale/Serph. NC-17. ~1200 words.
Before the virus, the Junkyard was plagued by only one dream.

Gale jolts awake. He listens to the pound of his heart, the weak, fitful buzzing of underground lights.

By the window, Serph shifts. “You were dreaming,” he says. Before the virus, the Junkyard was plagued by only one dream. There was a security in that one unattainable thing. Not freedom to, but a freedom from. “Of what?”

Lupa. “The Junkyard,” Gale says. It’s unlike the Serph he knows to be curious.

Serph lets the threadbare sheet serving as a curtain fall. It does little to block the view of cold, stone walls and empty streets filled with empty homes. He turns, his eyes are soft, distant. Gale remembers seeing the expression before, but not on Serph’s face. “What is, ‘sorry’?”

Weight settles heavily in Gale’s chest. He sits up, his feet stirring the dust on the wooden floor and his hands clasped between his knees. He doubts he can explain something he doesn’t yet understand himself.

“We killed Lupa,” Gale says. The sweat on his palms is warm as blood. “I am sorry for that.”

Serph sits beside him, too close. Vayu stirs, made restless by the warmth of another body. It doesn’t understand comrade, or friend.

“You miss him,” Serph says, and like the memories that aren’t his, the word falls into place.

“I do not know why,” Gale says. Frustration tastes of rust on his tongue. “I did not-” and the word is wrong but it feels right “-know him.”

Serph moves suddenly, brings their mouths crushing together. He shakes with violence barely contained, not knowing why he holds back while his demon screams to retaliate.

The horrible, searing pain of teeth sinking into flesh doesn’t follow. Serph’s lips soften, his breaths warm and gentle on Gale’s face as he pulls back.

The wave of building emotions, the newer, less familiar ones than experienced in the heat of battle, slam Gale. They steal his breath and squeeze his heart. “Why?” he asks, finally, when the memory of fruit sweet on his lips fades.

Serph honestly considers the question, his face solemn as always. His voice is strong, certain, familiar, when he answers, “I miss something that I remember but have never had.”

“These are not our memories,” Gale says. Serph’s body is warm so close to his, the scent of battle clinging to his clothes, the faint trace of sweat to his skin. “They-”

“I remember it with Heat,” Serph says firmly, decisively as when he chose the Embryon’s path. He doesn’t doubt as Gale does. “You know what it is.”

A memory of nails scratching his back, long, sure fingers between his legs. Gale’s heartbeat quickens, and he nods.

He puts his mouth to Serph’s to share another kiss, lips and tongue meeting to send excitement arcing deep into his gut not entirely unlike the pleasure of feasting. Serph’s bare hand touches his thigh and it grows.

He thinks, for a moment, that it should feel wrong instead of right. But Serph is still certain, and that has been enough for Gale before. It is enough now.

“Skin to skin,” Gale says, and Serph nods and begins to help him strip. Serph is precise and methodical, fastening giving way under his deft fingers. Gale finds himself lost between past and present, false memories superimposed upon the new. Another’s smile, Serph’s eyes, the lines of Serph’s body familiar but not as muscles flex under his hands.

And then it is like the heat of battle, the joy of feeding, clothing shed until they lay together naked on the bare mattress. Nudity is not strange or unfamiliar, but it has never caused the trip of Gale’s pulse or the shallowness of his breath before.

Gale seeks a third kiss, and it melts into a fifth. Serph’s mouth barely leaves his as a callused hand pushes down his side and across his stomach, dips lower to find his cock thick. Without hesitation, Serph tugs, and Gale’s breath leaves him in an explosive rush.

“How?” Gale asks, struggling to make sense of a new craving. “Show me what he did.”

Again, Serph nods, and rolls onto his side. He pulls Gale’s arm around his waist, shifting until his back is moulded to Gale’s chest in one solid, dizzying line of heat. “Your cock,” Serph says, and Gale’s stomach lurches, the word stopping his breath in his throat, “between my legs.”

“Yes,” Gale whispers into Serph’s hair, remembering longer, thicker strands spilled over his hands, his cock buried in a tighter, wetter heat than the clench of Serph’s thighs.

The friction dances the edge of pain, but the pleasure drives him on. Serph’s voice drops into a low moan and when Gale touches the side of his face, he turns, offering up his mouth the same as he offered his body.

Serph grasps his wrist again to push his hand down, mouth leaving Gale’s long enough to say what he wants and nothing more. It takes only a few short, quick pulls on his cock to have him shaking – coming – slick warmth spilling over Gale’s hand.

Serph’s fingers lace with Gale’s, gather up the stuff as he parts his legs to rub it over Gale’s cock. A choked sound escape’s Gale’s throat at the loss, another following quickly as the rough friction melts into a slow, easy glide.

Speech lost to him, Gale rolls to his knees, grasping Serph by the waist to haul him up on all fours. Serph goes easily, body loose and fluid, and moans quietly as Gale’s cock slides between his thighs again. Gale settles along Serph’s back and slides a hand down Serph’s arm to twine their fingers together again as he loses himself to the quick, rutting pleasure of it.

He comes with a low groan muffled in the sweat-slicked flesh of Serph’s back. Serph bears all his weight as his breaths slow, and he finds himself reluctant to pick himself up.

“You dreamt of this,” Serph says in his quiet, knowing way. Gale would wonder what had betrayed him, but he’s long since come to accept Serph’s uncanny perceptiveness. It had been a large part of his reason for joining the Embryon.

Only now would he say the other part had been because he was meant to.

“You missed it as well,” Gale says, seeking reassurance. At Serph’s silent nod, he lifts himself up and settles down as he is, hand splayed on Serph’s back until he settles down as well. “It is strange to miss things that were never ours.”

“Now, they are,” Serph says, as if it is important to claim events as possessions.

Gale rubs the bridge of his nose, considering. He wishes to argue the point but can find no solid grounds, and finally says, “They are.”

It’s warm enough in the underground, with its empty, staring windows and harsh emergency lights, to remain as they are for a time. Gale turns to watch the still shadows and listens to his heart slow and sync with Serph’s steady, measured pulse.


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