Written for the prompts: “slip,” and “self-realization.”
|“You’re forgetting something, dearest.”
Martin pulls on his suit-coat and turns to look at his nude, lazily-smirking lover. Terence, laying a-sprawl, looks well-fucked and utterly content, lounging in his habitually disheveled bed.
For a long, long moment, Martin’s tempted to say fuck the conference, and just get back into bed with him.
“I’m like an elephant: I never forget anything,” he replies, only for Terence to roll his eyes.
“Is that so, darling? Then what’ve I got in my hand?”
Scanning Terence perfunctorily, eyes finally settling at crotch-level, Martin snorts. “Is that a trick question?”
Terence laughs, but doesn’t stop stroking himself. And Martin doesn’t stop staring. “The other hand, butch.” He holds out his closed right hand. “Guess what I’ve got.”
“Other than my heart? I couldn’t imagine,” slips out, earnest and mortifying, as he meets his lover’s playful, amused hazel eyes. Martin’s face flares into an uncomfortable blush and he’s tempted to look away.
But he doesn’t and Terence, for his part, doesn’t miss a beat. “Come on, be serious, butch. It’s small, shiny, and often comes in pairs.”
“My pearl earrings?” Martin deadpans, even as the realization that Terence does have his heart—as well as his mind, body, and soul—keeps happening to him. This realization leaves him nearly breathless, washed up on the shores of self-knowledge. The knowledge that he is not himself anymore, but someone subtly different . . . a change that has been happening in the ten months since he moved to London . . . since he met Terence. A change as implacable and enlightening as the sun rising.
Terence rolls his eyes. “Tosser.”
“Other than your salad what, exactly, do I toss?” Martin sits on the bed and Terence instantly crowds closer, wrapping his arms around Martin’s neck and pulling him in for a tender kiss that quite takes Martin’s breath away, and further confirms that yes . . . he is not himself anymore. Not his own, but Terence’s.
“If you’re not going to be serious, I’ll let you leave without them, and then where will you be?” Terence breathes, hmm-ing when Martin nibbles his lower lip before possessing his mouth again. And again.
“I literally can’t imagine what I could’ve forgotten that’s small enough . . . wait, is it my passport?” Martin pants when the kisses end, leaning his forehead against Terence’s as he tries to regain his composure and focus. But, as ever, both are M.I.A. when he’s in Terence’s arms. “Come to think of it, don’t recall packing it last night, and—”
Another laugh, low and sultry. “Think smaller, slightly less vital.”
“My back-up flash drives?”
“Oh, but you’re so bloody bad at this, butch.” Terence licks and pecks his way into another kiss then sits back, smiling smugly when Martin tries to follow him. He holds up his open hand and on his palm rests an unfamiliar set of keys.
After giving Martin a few seconds to wonder, Terence reaches into Martin’s vest, and deposits the keys in his shirt pocket without ever breaking gazes. His changeable hazel eyes and suddenly nervous smile are completely unguarded.
“Can’t have you sat on my doorstep like a lost puppy when I'm not here, can I, Martin?” He rests his hand on Martin’s chest, pressing firmly on the keys till they’re warm; till the shape of them is practically branded into the skin over Martin’s heart.
“I—that’s—these—to your flat?” Martin stammers, and Terence’s nervous smile turns wry and amused once more. He nods, his lips twitching as if he’d laugh but, Martin realizes, at himself. For Terence has often declared that he “doesn’t do feelings.” And yet here he is, offering Martin the keys to his flat. To his life.
Perhaps Martin’s not the only one who is not himself . . . who no longer belongs to himself. And if Terence is no longer his own, then he must—must—belong to someone else.
And if these keys are any indication, they represent more than the unlocking of Terence’s flat and life, but of his heart. And he has given them to Martin. Terence has all but said that he’s. . . .
Mine, Martin thinks, this epiphany blowing the previous one, that he is not his own—for he’d already known that, deep down, for some time . . . he’d just never recognized it consciously—out of the water. The knowledge that he not only could, but does have Terence is wreaking a pleasant sort of havoc in his mind and heart. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. What to say. All he can feel is an over-the-top elation that would have him doing back-flips, were he able. He’s mine. He belongs to me.
“That’s—th-thank you, Terence,” he whispers shakily, swallowing around the sudden lump in his throat.
“You’re very welcome . . . oh, wait—” Terence adjusts Martin’s tie minutely. “There. Now you’re perfectly pulled together, my love,” he says almost breathlessly, lashes shuttering his gaze. Then his arms are sliding around Martin’s neck once more and he pulls a still-stunned, but entirely willing Martin down on top of him. “And with just enough time for me to make you thoroughly late for your flight.”
This time, Martin’s the one who smiles. He can feel the warm, hard shape of the keys pressing between them like a promise. He may not be himself anymore—may not belong to himself, not entirely—but he’s quite okay with that. Because he’s something a lot better. He’s Terence’s. And Terence is his. “Oh, well. There’s always the next one.”