BY : WonderMint
Category: Final Fantasy XIV > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 870
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy FFXIV: ARR is owned by Square Enix and based on the creation of Hironobu Sakaguchi. May they ever walk in the light of the crystal. I own no right to the characters and settings herein and seek no profit therefrom.

A/N: This is an experiment in style and aesthetics. It runs completely counter to my usual style, which is very concerned with minutia and the heavy space between moments. As a result this is rather shorter and lighter than I usually write, though hopefully still fun(?).

I am coding this as a one-shot for now. They do get up to more shenanigans, as the end should make clear. As an experiment, however, I believe it stands on its own. I will only be expanding the story if I can continue in a similar style, and it is not a high priority. Merely a break between other, tenser, more graphic... yes, perhaps you know the ones... projects. Plural. Yes, you heard me. I spin on many wheels at once, and you are about to be pelted with a whole mess of yarn.

Critiques and comments are always appreciated.


Once upon a time they had been friends. But they didn't talk much anymore.

Ser Aymeric and Lord Haurchefant had many interests that seemed to align. But it took more than mere patriotism and a genuine desire to do good to become as close as they had, even in a land so beset by fear and intrigue. When Aymeric had finally won promotion as the Lord Commander, above men with more years and higher titles than he, he had felt adrift in a sea of enemies, danger circling like the wings of a cloud of wyrms. He had expected none to celebrate his position other than a few trusted comrades. But it had been Haurchefant who had stopped by the Congregation and offered to drink to his success, genuine joy reflected in clear blue eyes, a grin that was always a little too broad to be entirely appropriate.

Aymeric had taken him up on the offer, and since then they had been as friends.

Lord Haurchefant had something of a reputation as the black sheep of House Foretemps. Bastard child, loose cannon, spoiled by his father but kept at a distance by necessity, relegated to the backwater of Camp Dragonhead to deal with the sinful world, mired in its filth. No glory, no succession, very little recognition. And much like the stoic knight, he had taken to the situation with no bitterness, only love for his family and country, a genuine desire to serve and help where he could, even when the recipients of his kindness were unclean in the eyes of his countrymen.

In a way, they were too different to truly be friends.

In a way, that was true, even now. Haurchefant was red, hot, quick to act and quick to defend. The candy-sweet blue of his hair and eyes didn't even properly mask the intensity he held, too electric was he, too volatile and vibrant. His masculine features and strong countenance seemed unyielding, but in truth he was a dancer. He would give his enemy no ground, no quarter, because all of it was moving beneath his own feet. Lord Haurchefant was the tempest alive, the spirit of loyalty given wings and breath. He would never fail his friends because he simply cared too much.

It was difficult sometimes for Ser Aymeric to bear, though often he suspected that the lord was holding back, shying away from expressing himself fully though he seemed ever to live out-loud.

He himself was blue, cold, slow to retaliate and logical in his reactions. His hair was black like stone glass, gentle waves falling carelessly around his face in his one concession to softness. His eyes, they were not soft, nor warm. They were sharp and cold as steel, the truest indicator of the danger he posed to his opponents. He was steady and full of grace. Strong but lithe, every movement considered, every swing of his longsword hitting home. Slicing, rending, cutting down without mercy. Honorable, true, but tempering the idealism in his heart with the cold quench of reality. In the end, his aims were the same as Haurchefant's. But they could not have been more different.

It simply didn't matter. Perhaps they were too different to have been friends... or perhaps they were too different not to be. Whether it was their differences or their similarities, though, they trusted one-another. Well enough to know when words were necessary, and when they were not.

Finding his diplomatic duties much expanded, his natural charisma and steely resolve put to use for more than bolstering morale and negotiating for funds, it seemed only natural that Ser Aymeric would make Camp Dragonhead his home away from home whenever the need arose. Haurchefant always welcomed him with open arms, perhaps with too much enthusiasm. Perhaps. But his sincerity, his loyalty, were unquestionable. So when the lord had offered him the permanent use of his guest room—not one of the small cells in the general living area, but a bed in his personal quarters, only a door away from his own—Aymeric found himself unable to refuse his kindness.

He had thought nothing of it at the time, well used to the oddness of everything Haurchefant did and said, finding himself having grown to trust his intent unquestionably.

But he had to admit now that refusing the offer would have been the only way to avoid this present outcome. He, himself, had been quite unable.

They almost never spoke anymore. They conversed politely at dinner in the common room, over neutral topics. Politics, house intrigue, the movements of the Dragonstar. Haurchefant's pet adventurer, frequently. They greeted each other with warm formality whenever he arrived at Camp Dragonhead, or when Haurchefant made occasional visit to the Congregation with business from House Foretemps. But they never spoke of personal matters, no commiseration over a drink, no discussion long into the night, staying awake longer than the embers in the fireplace. Not anymore.

It had begun very simply. One night, weary from yet another journey through the snow, chocobo-sore and feeling as if he would never be warm again, he had dropped his sword and armor by Haurchefant's guest bed—now his bed, familiar and cozy—and collapsed into a dreamless sleep.

He was awoken by the feeling of being watched. He had been a warrior for too long not to notice, though he wasn't sure what it was that had alerted him. Was it the too-soft sound of his breath? A stirring in the air, always moving a little more than he expected because he sometimes forgot to close the door to his room? Perhaps it was just the unnatural quiet displayed by the man, a man who seemed to need to put every single thought in his mind into boisterous words. Regardless, he knew he was being watched by Haurchefant, though he made no movement, lying still on his back and keeping his breathing deep and even, feeling no anxiety at the knowledge. Only curiosity.

Long minutes passed, the knight growing comfortable again in the warmth of their shared sanctuary, relaxing into the feather-soft mattress enough to feel that he was knocking on the door to sleep. It was hard to say how long it took, perhaps half a bell. But eventually the other man moved. Just not in the direction Aymeric had expected.

He moved quietly, but not so quietly that he seemed to be trying to hide his presence. And with no fuss and nary a single word, the lord climbed beneath the thick duvet to settle at his side, holding to the edge and occupying as little of the bed as he could manage.

And that was it. At first Aymeric didn't even move to give him more space, refusing to admit that he was aware of him. But he was, he felt positively bathed in the other man's presence, unable now to even ponder returning to slumber. Finally he rolled away from the intruder and curled on his side, keeping his movements clumsy and sighing as if in sleep, and Haurchefant seemed to relax, just a little.

When morning came around, sleep having apparently visited him at some point, the bed was once again his alone. He tried to put it out of his mind. Haurchefant had been a true friend to him, and so he had no problem making such a concession. Whatever it was that made him need his company or his warmth, didn't matter in the end. He would speak of it when he was ready, and until then he would not deny him the comfort.

So when it happened a second time the following night, he didn't even wake until he felt a body moving beside him, and when he did he rolled over automatically. The arm that wound around his waist didn't really bother him, nor the warmth of the man's chest pressing against his bare back. It was comfortable. Cozy. Welcoming. And he found he missed it when he woke again, having fallen asleep nearly immediately and resting soundly throughout the night.

It didn't happen every night that he slept there, coming and going occasionally through the Coerthan frost. Not at first. But around the fourth or fifth time, he began to expect it, even if Haurchefant had already been asleep in his own room when he had arrived.

He left the door open ever after that, no longer thinking there was any reason for it to be closed.

It didn't take long for the man to stop vanishing before he awoke, and they gradually abandoned the pretense of secrecy, by slow degrees. And one night, Haurchefant came to him as he was easing into the blankets, and the raven-haired knight simply scooted aside to make room for him, without so much as a questioning glance. It felt natural to wrap an arm around him, no longer facing away, no longer pretending not to notice. And when the other man's fingers traced slowly up his arm, looking intently into his eyes as if gauging his reaction, he made no move to resist. Rather he registered the sensations, cataloging them with detached curiosity, nearly amusement. He made no speculation as to the reason his heart seemed to beat a little faster, or why it was that Haurchefant would trace his stomach and chest with light fingertips, lips silent and unyielding. It was only natural for the knight to embrace him tight when he had finished his short exploration, and fall asleep with his face nestled into morning-bright hair.

But he realized the next day what it had meant, his lonely ride to the Observatorium focusing his thoughts into places he had never expected them to tread.

His business concluded, he returned near sunset. They shared a meal and some wine, laughing easily at the short-sightedness of Astrologians, telling stories and making jokes of their short temper and single-minded focus.

And when it was time to retire, he followed Haurchefant to his quarters. And in Aymeric's bed, touches now reciprocated, but still experimental, they shared their first kiss.

There were no words. There were never any words, and there still weren't. There was only exploration, touch, taste, skin and lips and teeth.

That had been the extent of it, then. Kisses that grew slowly from tender to passionate, anxious to needy, hands sliding tentatively on bodies that did not belong to them. They were not bold enough to explore further, even though they made clear with their glances and sighs that permission had been granted. It was harder to fall asleep that night, arousal making Aymeric's blood race even as the kisses had stroked and then slowly calmed his fire. But the comfort of the other man's arms was absolute, and he awoke refreshed. But still wanting.

The next opportunity, weeks later, he no longer hesitated, and neither did Haurchefant.

Still, they spoke no words. It had become something of a game, shy glances and touches almost seeming to communicate more than speech. The knight was inexperienced, but he knew enough of his own body to know what might please the other man. It had been most natural to start with the touch of his hands, the compulsive need to explore rising within Aymeric and making him need to map the man in his arms, chart the skin that slid over dense muscle and bone, twitching beneath his sensitized fingertips and occasionally feeling him back, rising to meet him or reaching out to kiss, to suck, to hold.

Just never to speak.

Watching, though, that was allowed. He found that he loved to watch Haurchefant, his expressive face telling him everything he needed to know. His wide mouth could express every wish, every desire, without ever giving voice to his thoughts. A shy grin, almost a frown save for the slight upward curl of the very edge of his lip, flirting with the blush on his cheeks and the flutter of his lashes. An invitation. Lips parted so slightly, teeth barely visible beneath them, shining with saliva as his tongue danced silently, as if his words were evaporating into the night though his eyes were shut tightly to keep his thoughts inside. Encouragement. Mouth opened wide, as if shouting, though all that could be heard was a strangled gasp, his head thrown backward and baring his throat to pleasure and need, senseless to aught but the sliding of skin against skin. Senseless to everything except touch, and then Aymeric surrendered his sight as well, succumbing to the need to kiss the man, to keep him silent, to stroke his tongue in time with the movements of his hand until even the nails digging into his back became sweet pleasure. Every place their skin met, pleasure, and when Haurchefant finally broke with a sensual cry, Aymeric nearly followed him to the abyss, the sound shocking him to the core as though his ears had been starved.

But he had not fallen, had not succumbed, and well that he had not. Haurchefant rewarded his restraint, his lips returning to their shy smile, though his blush was less demure this time. And he had taken Aymeric's fingers into his mouth, deeply, with great relish, exploring their surface with his tongue and grumbling in approval. It too was shocking, seeming to steal the very breath from the knight's lungs, so he found that when the other man finally slipped his hand below the band of his loose drawstring pants, he had no more shock to display. He was already blushing too fiercely, already more aroused than he had thought possible as deft fingers closed around him. He had no recourse but to lay his head back and surrender, arms haphazard at his sides and fingers grasping at air as he panted and moaned plaintively. The other man seemed to know precisely what he wanted, perhaps watching him as he had been watched in turn, and it was not long before he too was lost to pleasure, lost to everything, completely lost in Haurchefant's touch.

That night they didn't immediately pull the heavy covers close, too warm already from the heat of their own bodies and the fire of their sin. But gradually the light sweat that clung to them cooled, and they could snuggle close. Languid, relaxed, comfortable.

They did not speak. They would not have known what to say, or how to say it. It was too new, too forbidden, too wrong and too right. If they had spoken, they would have had to explain it, or deny it, or categorize it, or apologize for it. Better to accept without understanding, agree without asking. It might have been a fragile truce, but within the confines of Aymeric's borrowed room, the silence was not fragile at all.

When he awoke the next morning, he placed a kiss on Haurchefant's lips as he crawled over him to leave, the world without their sanctuary loud with judgmental words and shrill voices.

He did not managed to escape until nearly a bell later, though he had urgent business to attend. Even in silence, Haurchefant's tongue made a much better argument. He was surprised to find the uses to which it could be put, though all he could manage in response was a sharp gasp as he was enveloped in wet heat. Aymeric had thought to defy him, had thought to resist, but the fingers that tangled in straight blue hair rebelled, urging instead of objecting, as if communicating without words meant that he was incapable of deception. Perhaps it was so. Perhaps that was why he had been so gifted a negotiator. Perhaps his words had always lied, and only touch could be counted as truly honest.

He resolved never to touch another, then. Only to Haurchefant would he give the unvarnished truth.

And so he did, no longer fighting the sensation but welcoming it, letting the other man know with gentle tugs of his hair and trembling caresses of his long ears. Urging his tongue, urging the other man to take him, the words flashing in his mind unspoken: deeper, faster, oh dear gods don't stop--

And somehow the other man heard them anyway.

It wasn't words that tumbled from his lips at last, he was too far gone, a man untamed and uncivilized by language and convention. But that did not prevent him from giving voice to it, deep unsteady gasps and moans as his fingers seized in candy-blue hair. He thought for a moment that he had hurt the other man, unable to control himself, needing then to be buried deep in his hot mouth more than he needed his own soul. But Haurchefant was taken only by desire, his puckish grin satisfied and longing and oh-so-pleased with himself as he licked his mischievous lips.

It was infuriating. Only the fury to which it incited him was lust, not wrath.

He took the man's mouth again, took it with his own, pleased with the mewls of approval he received as he tasted the new flavor on his lover's tongue. But though he pinned the man below him, squirming with breathless moans and half-formed giggles, he could win no further purchase. Haurchefant would not allow him more than that taste. He played dirty, effortlessly turning lovemaking into war and flipping Aymeric out of bed as if they had been children wrestling in the mud. In shock, the cold of the stone floor seeping up through the threadbare rug, the knight peered up at his friend. Questioning, perched on the edge of hurt, sated but wanting to see, hear, taste more.

Lord Haurchefant would not say a word, would never say a word. He just leaned over the edge of the bed and smiled. It was somehow coy and daring at the same time, the sort of smile that, though small in form, made one's entire face tingle with the happiness it reflected, colored even Aymeric's cheeks with infectious joy. Slowly, his lips parted to reveal teeth, the tip of his wicked tongue flicking out to taste the air, to tempt him like a snake, though no words were needed. His electric blue eyes shined with a secret mirth, almost a challenge.

Then, abruptly, he turned in the bed and bundled himself back into the covers, twisted and tangled and very much ensconced. In Aymeric's bed. The bed that he would return to, at some point, when the night grew cold and his armor heavy.

And though they spake no words, the message was loud and clear: Aymeric was not allowed to return the gesture precisely because he felt the need to. Now, he would be compelled to seek the lord out again, to pin him down roughly and show him how much he needed him. There would be no opportunity for regret or reconsideration. He had been issued a challenge, one which his honor would not allow him to forget. And so they would do this again. As many times as necessary.

If there had been words, they would only have gotten in the way. This way, in the silence, the liminal expanse between words and deeds, they could see the truth of their own desires. He might have suggested aloud that it should be a one-time affair, but this way he could simply know the truth.

They both wanted more, and they would have it. They would be too busy to speak, anyhow.

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