The blond lay, face-down, on the bed, chin pillowed on his lower arms. His hair, worn longer than that of most people he knew, was white, silky, and lying in a careless sprawl across the sheets and his pale, scar-lined back, and his eyes were half-lidded. The mattress dipped slightly as his partner lay down next to him, ruby-red fur brushing softly against bare skin.
Slowly, the part-raev, part-wyvern ran his fingers up along the human’s spine, his muzzle pressing against the side of the younger man’s neck. “When are you going to talk to me, Roxeen?” His voice was soft, holding as little edge as he could manage. Sometimes there was no telling what the blond would take as an attack, and he didn’t want to drive him off again.
“Since when don’t I talk to you?” came the mumbled reply.
A blunt claw traced one of the lines from close to the pale man’s bony shoulder to the area of his waist, pushing some of the hair covering it aside. “I understand you want to keep a brave face in front of the kids, but…”
“Alej, for fuck’s sake…” Roxeen shifted away, only a fraction of an inch but still noticeably. “It’s not just about the girls. It’s the past. If I can let it go, why can’t you? You didn’t even know me then.”
For a moment, Ale!van lay still, his breath washing over his boyfriend’s skin, his hand lying across the small of the man’s back. Then that hand moved up again, giving the blond’s cheek a backhanded caress before grasping his arms and pressing them down into the mattress. He held on only long enough for the man to attempt to pull loose, the motion having a slightly desperate edge to it, and then he let go, sliding his arm downward for a soothing embrace. “Because you haven’t let it go.”
For a moment, the tension in Roxeen’s body remained, and Ale!van knew that if the blond chose to speak then, what would come spilling out would be anger. But he stayed silent, and then he melted into the embrace with a sigh. “Asshole.”
The part-raev chuckled, and nuzzled under his partner’s hair to nip lightly at an ear. “That’s what you like about me.” He knew he was treading on thin ice, here, but he was so close to finally getting his partner to open up about his past – really open up – and he didn’t want to lose the chance. What he could find out through his own research would just never quite match Roxeen’s image of what had happened. And Roxeen’s perception of events was what was going to affect Roxeen, not what he could read if he pulled old files at the department or looked at old news articles.
His hands slid up the man’s back as he shifted, pulling his knees up under him as he did so, putting him comfortably straddled across the blond’s thighs. The body under his fingers had little padding between bone and skin, and his fingers slid along the smooth, raised stripes that remained as a ghastly keepsake to forever remind their bearer of how they’d gotten there. With a sigh, he pressed down with the heels of his hands, intending to drive out the tension he’d introduced by bringing up the subject. Almost subconsciously, he let his hands follow those lines, as though they were directions etched into his partner’s skin. “Why…?”
The blond groaned, either from the attention or in response to the question. “Because, Alej, I was sick of being told I should act more like a victim five fucking minutes after I got out of there. Not my idea of fun. I’d rather not talk about it.”
“I was more thinking about why did he…?”
“He’s a crazy fucker. Threatened me. I wouldn’t do what he wanted, so he had to do it or look weak.” The human man sighed. “Yes, it hurt, but I’m fine.”
Blunt claws traced the lines, now, slowly, tenderly. “I didn’t say you weren’t. Though I’d thought that was why…?”
“Nah. That was traumatic. This was… Why do we have to talk about this?”
“We don’t have to.” Ale!van’s hand ran down the man’s arm, and gently extracted his right hand from under his elbow. Near-faded scars ran across the palm, and fresher surgical scars, as well as a number of smaller ones, graced the back of it. “These have a story, too? We could talk about them.”
“Punched a wall when the girls’ father walked out on me, you know that, along with all the surgery. And he bit me. Palms are old. Barbed wire. They go with the cat scratches on my chest.” The blond rolled his eyes. “It’s not the first time you see me naked, Alej. Why’re you being so fucking nosy?”
“Because,” the part-wyvern almost purred, leaning forward to breathe the words into his lover’s ear, “even if you think everything’s fine and well, I don’t believe it doesn’t affect you. And I’d rather know ahead of time. Before,” a nip to the blond’s earlobe, tugging on the twin hoops there, “it causes another falling-out.”
“Now that,” Roxeen replied, with a chuckle, “was all you. You’re a nosy bastard, you know that?”
“So you just told me.” A hot tongue caressed the skinny man’s neck, and then Ale!van withdrew, giving his partner more space. “Turn over. Let me see those cat scratches.”
“Do you get off on scars or something?” The blond complied, grinning to take the edge off his words as his grey eyes met his boyfriend’s red ones. “Don’t even think about adding another set, or I swear I’ll shoot your ass.” His hands closed around those of the man leaning over him, pulling them to his chest until the tough hide of the part-wyvern’s fingertips brushed over a set of four short, mostly-faded, paralell scars each, close to his collar bones. “No trauma there, either. Pulled cat out of the river, and she held on a bit tighter than she maybe ought. I swear, you don’t need to worry about me.”
Ale!van returned the smile, leaning down and planting a kiss on the blond’s jaw. “With both you and your daughter threatening me, I wouldn’t dare even thinking about hurting you. If I had any inclination at all in the first place. Which. I. Don’t.” He punctuated each of the final three words with another kiss, his fingers still splayed across the scars marring his partner’s chest. “I think I preferred you assuming I’d just walk out on you.”
“Well, are you?”
“In that case, I can think of better things that mouth of yours could be doing. Other than practising your interrogation skills on your boyfriend. Last I checked, having shit luck wasn’t a crime, officer.”
Ale!van laughed, tails wagging. “If I wanted you interrogated, I’d start calling in favors. You’re right, I have… better things to do.”
Soft fur brushed over skin, sending a shiver through the blond man. Moments later, it was followed by a second, stronger one, when the part-raev’s claws traced the outline of the scars he’d been directed to. He nuzzled his way down the human’s neck, tasting a hint of fresh sweat when his tongue darted out, here and there, for a half-kiss. Then he reached one set of scars, and pressed his nose against them as tenderly as a mother kissing a skinned knee. “So you played the hero…” he murmured, softly, studying the marks visible more for their texture than their color, fingertips exploring that small area of skin as though they’d never been there before. “And made a habit of it, didn’t you?”
“Only,” came the somewhat distracted answer, as long, thin fingers ran along one of the off-duty officer’s horns, “when I have to.”
“Mhmm.” It was the absent, abstract sort of agreement that could only be produced by someone with their mind on more important things. One of Ale!van’s hands ran down his lover’s side, the older man making a conscious effort not to count ribs as his fingers ran over them. His hard-won partner’s body was almost as full of hard corners as the blond’s personality, and now that they were familiar, he often found he had some kind of appreciation for both. “That all of them, then?”
“All of what?” The counter-query came a little too fast, and made the ruby-furred man’s ears prick up.
“That not enough for you?” Roxeen sounded testy, and his hand stopped the southward motion of Alej’s.
“Where, Roxeen?” He half-heartedly tried to pull his hand loose, and found the blond wouldn’t let it go so easily. “Your legs? What happened?”
“Nothing. When Dad… lost custody of me-” another one of those subjects his boyfriend would avoid or just flat out refuse to talk about “-I moved in with Mom and her new husband, who never was my biggest fan. It was a lot of stress I didn’t know how to handle. I did it myself. You know, young and stupid.”
“Oh, I know,” Ale!van purred, laying his cheek against his lover’s chest. “After all… You still are.”
The hand that had been caught by Roxeen’s hip slipped loose from the human’s grip, sliding inward for an intimate caress. “If you’re offering, love. I think we’re done with your battle scars for now.” His voice turned a little more teasing as he angled his muzzle up. “Thank you for sharing.”
“Oh, fuck you, Alej.”