Title: A Shitty Deal
Prompts: Chocolate #17 – freedom
Spoilers: Hard yes.
Aukru’s been grinning since she allowed him to stay four nights ago. He gets it, he gets her, he understands she doesn’t do love, not in the sense he does. She’s watched him fall head over heels for boys and for girls and for every pretty face that passes him by, he’s a walking love machine, and he loves her too.
She likes that, she thinks, at least a little. She enjoys that he loves her. She enjoys the way he curls around her at night, or lets her sleep with her head on his stomach. She enjoys the way he buries his face in her shoulder as he comes. She enjoys that he never flinches when she yells at him, he gives as good as he takes.
She just doesn’t feel the same as he does. She doesn’t love him, not like that.
She’d die for him. She’d kill for him. She gave him her drop of immortality, her gift from the Nors, she brought him back to life and made sure he’d always, always be there. She’d committed to that, and in return he’d given her love.
And maybe she doesn’t feel the way he feels, but it doesn’t make it less real. It doesn’t mean they aren’t forever, whatever they are. It doesn’t mean they won’t continue to be partners until one or both of them meets their end by sword or by stone.
“What’re you thinking about?”
She’s been staring up at the ceiling for a good twenty minutes, lost in her own thoughts, and he’s been tracing the line between her scales and her skin like it’s holy the whole time.
“Nothing,” she says. It’s a lie, of course, and he’ll call her on it in a moment, but that doesn’t mean she’s not still going to try.
“Tell me,” he murmurs and that’s a problem because they don’t have secrets or lies anymore, they’re open and honest and that’s probably why they fight so much. She thinks he’s an idiot and he thinks she’s a control freak and maybe both of those things are true but neither of them care, either. They don’t care in the end.
Neither of them cares.
“I don’t want to only fuck you until you die,” she says.
He lifts his head from where he’d had it sprawled on her stomach and squints at her with sleepy brown eyes. She waits for him to be pissed, or angry, or confused, because isn’t monogamy a thing that his kind do? Isn’t he supposed to want her to himself because they’re doing whatever it is that this is? That’s what everyone else she’s tried this with has wanted.
“Until I die?” he says in annoyance. “Since when am I dying first? I thought my—” He makes a hand gesture that seems more like a jerk off motion than whatever he’s trying to say. “—life force—” Oh, he’s trying to say that. That’s not how that looks, to her at least. “—is linked to yours.”
“You’re immortal, not invulnerable,” she says. “I highly expect you to have two peg legs and a missing nose by the turn of the next century.”
He claps his hand over his nose and narrows his eyes at her. “That is unacceptable.”
“And yet so very likely.”
He scowls at her. “I’m not dying first, you’re dying first,” he says.
“If I die, you die,” she retorts.
“Well, that’s… that’s a shitty deal,” he says, but his eyes are saying he’s thankful and she’s not ready to tackle that emotion yet.
“I want to have sex with other people,” she says. “Men. Women. Others.”
He scowls at her. “Yeah? And?”
“And what?” she says. “I’m telling you how I want it to be.”
“Yeah?” he says again. “I knew that.”
She supposes that makes sense, he knows her inside and out and always has (and she knows him the same). She’s always had problems when those she gets involved with want romance, want that kind of forever, only them, rose petals and lilies, want her to wax poetic about how much she loves them and how they’re it for her, the only one.
He is, she thinks. He’s the only one that really gets her and their partnership is easy. It’s casual enough that she’s not uncomfortable, he doesn’t expect her to be romantic back at him but she doesn’t have a problem with him being romantic with her. It’s just who he is, and this is who she is too. They get that about one another.
“So you’re fine with it?” she says.
He rolls his eyes. “I told you.” He sits up a bit. “I want to be with you. Partners.”
She can’t see the correlation. “I don’t understand, what does that have to do with me sleeping with other people?”
“I want,” he says, “to be with you.”
She spends a lot of time going oh around him, she realises. He never fails to surprise her.
“I…” She huffs a few times and rolls to face him, the ship bobbing beneath them. “So you’re okay with it?”
“I’m fine with it,” he says. “We’re partners. You’re not my slave. In fact, occasionally you are my mistress.”
She considers purring at that, but garth do not purr and there’s no way she’s turning this sexual right now anyway, especially not when she’s this close to gaining a whole new level of comfort in this weird thing they’re sharing. “So you’re fine with me having sex with other people.”
“You know,” he drawls, lying on his back with his fingers laced across his bottom ribs. She’s grateful the covers are covering most of his lower body up as she’s easily distracted by his thighs. “I may also want to sleep with other people.”
She can’t decide if she finds that hard to believe. He’s a hopeless romantic that loves a person with every fiber of his being, but she isn’t sure if that means he doesn’t have sexual urges for other people while he’s in that state.
She doesn’t really understand that kind of love.
“Do you though?” she settles on and he shrugs.
“No one on the ship,” he says, “and I would prefer you didn’t sleep with anyone on our crew, either. Mostly as a respect and comfort thing.” When she gives him a questioning look he waves a hand and says, “It may complicate things, more for them than for me, and I would prefer to not have to throw someone overboard.”
“Again,” she says.
“It wasn’t particularly fun last time, no. You would think it would be? But alas.”
She rolls her eyes but a weight has lifted, this small fear that there was a part of her he’d reject. “So we’re…” Somehow, she’s the one nervous in their strange, slapdash relationship all of a sudden, the one that doesn’t want him to go.
“We’re okay,” he promises and turns his head to meet her eyes. She can always tell when he’s lying to her and he isn’t. He’s telling the truth, this is okay, it’s all okay, he’s taking her as she is.
She settles down and offers him her arm and he curls up against her side, head tucking onto her chest, up against her scales. She kisses his mop of fluffy dark hair and runs her fingertips up and down the arm he slings across her stomach. “I’m…” She’s worried he’ll hear it romantic, think she loves him in a way she doesn’t, but he looks at her with soft eyes and she settles, pressing a kiss to the spot between his eyebrows. “I’m glad you’re you. And that you… we…”
“Me too,” he says and lays his head back down on her chest. He goes quiet after that, leaving her to her thoughts, but this time she doesn’t have any to dwell on.
She just lies there and relaxes. Happy.