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In the Silence of this Now

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It's four in the morning when Dave gets home from the gig. He's feeling pretty pale for the world right now, from how well the set went. A lot of good, or ironically bad, music, a good vibe, people who appreciated it, and the manager scheduling him in for three months from now.

He doesn't know what was with the time-traveling, though. That tick-tock wouldn't have been his turntables, and clocks and metronomes have never been his favorite way of keeping time. And he swore off serious time travel after the game ended.

He would have remembered going that far back in time if any of his alternate past selves had done it. And it wasn't Aradia's kind of move. Which leaves a future him.

That's...a little disquieting, actually, because that means that it's now his responsibility to make the time loop stable, and he meant to stop making temporocausal mincemeat of his life, once he didn't have to.

He'll get there eventually, he figures, so he finishes putting away the coffins and the cables and the vinyls and everything before he heads towards the shower, walking through the bedroom, where Tavros is lying on his stomach in bed, reading by the light of the fairy-shaped lamp on his bedside table.

"Morning," Dave says.

Tavros hums in greeting, then, as Dave passes the foot of the bed, sniffs at the air. Tucks a finger between the pages of the book and rolls over, sitting up to give Dave a look of confusion. "Did you time travel tonight?"

"Yeah. Not sure how."

Tavros is wearing a plain black shirt that's gone worn and small, that shows off the breadth and muscle of his shoulders and arms even though his posture is terrible.

"When to?"

"Not sure." Which they both know is a lie that stinks so much Terezi, on the other side of the city, is probably cackling about the smell of red onions. "Couple hundred sweeps ago, or close enough that I wouldn't have had to doctor the photo finish."

Tavros frowns vaguely, slides out of bed and comes to stand in front of him, then leans in to sniff at his neck, hands falling to rest on Dave's hips to hold him close.

"Did you meet another troll? Because you smell like," his tongue darts out, brushes quick against Dave's skin and leaves a patch of coldwet behind, "me, but it's not,"

"Almost there, Sherlock." Dave brings one hand up to card his fingers in the hair at the nape of Tavros's neck, then leaves his palm there, at the base of his skull.

Tavros stiffens. "You met the Summoner."


"That's really, uh." Tavros pauses, strokes at Dave's hip. "I wish I'd been there."

"I would've brought you with except I was a little preoccupied by wanting to get home, not having my timetables, possible execution in the evening, the usual antiheroic dilemmas."

Tavros snickers. "I think you mean to say you were preoccupied by whether or not you were going to, to hit that, hard enough to reach hive plate."

"There might be other fish in the sea, but that one was this big." Dave doesn't move his hands.

"And you caught it?" Tavros's voice is strange, a little thick.

"Old fisherman like me, he's got a catch and release program on anything that isn't better than the one that didn't get away ‘cause he already had a time machine."

Tavros kisses his neck, and Dave suddenly remembers Tavros saying, years ago, after Dave showed him Disney's Little Mermaid and Tavros spent most of it in tears, It's, uh, romantic to use water metaphors, or shades of purple, to uh, describe your lover, especially if they're landdwellers, because it means that to you they're...

"I can smell him on you," Tavros says softly. "He's, like me. But different."


"Was it good?"

"He's good at keeping a steady beat. Metronome dick." He tilts his head to lick at the upper curve of Tavros's ear. "Kept sliding me out of temporal line, even if it was useful at the time."

"At a whole lot of times," Tavros corrects, sounding like he's grinning.


Tavros bites him then, sharp carnivore teeth pressing against his skin, light enough to only bruise.

"It's a crying shame," Dave continues, heartbeat picking up, "that he knew how to look through my head but not how to stop me from time-traveling," and Tavros's hands on his hips tighten as he pulls his mouth away from Dave's neck to kiss him, tasting of Alternian ebasotelle-flavored fang polish, somewhere between mint and melted wax.

Dave doesn't so much hear Tavros as feel him, after that, a series of jumbled impressions:

Inquisition caution desire, first; then a memory of Dave sliding slick onto him as Tavros rides along in his thoughts, overwhelmed by the intimacy of being allowed in his thinkpan for the first time; a flickering whisper of want him to feel this too and a later Dave gasping, hot and desperate and coming untouched as he lets Tavros control him, fucking his mind and his body both.

Dave isn't sure the yes ever reaches his tongue or if Tavros reads it from his thoughts.

Tavros pulls away, meets his eyes. There's a moment of Showerprep?flushedscentmark-Summoner-mine-markyouasmineagain and an inquisitive skim of Dave's evaluation of his own body before Tavros thinks Territorialrough/Dave=humansoft->Showeryes at him and disentangles their thoughts.

Dave blinks and only then realizes that neither of them has moved, even though the cold silence of being alone in his own head makes him as disoriented as if they'd just been torn out of an embrace.

Tavros's lips are parted, his eyes wide and surprised; Dave leans forward and kisses him again with shallow strokes of his tongue before Tavros pulls away and steps aside to let him pass.

Partway through the shower, Dave drags a hand up his neck and, without quite meaning to, presses on the place where Tavros bit him. The sudden blunt ache is what makes him realize that Tavros is still linked to him, that making him remind himself of the bruise was Tavros's way of letting him know.

Once he gets out of the shower, Dave doesn't bother to grab boxers out of the pile of them on top of his dresser, just throws the covers back on his side of the bed and slides in next to Tavros, who's putting the book away again. Dave gets a glance at the cover - fairies, looks like. One of these days he should get some ironically awful Halloween costume fairy wings, and maybe a Tinkerbell dress if he's feeling especially provocative, and see what happens.

(Probably the usual, though: Tavros goes wide-eyed and quiet, Dave teases him, Tavros opts to Be The Decider, and Dave gets crushed against some handy surface as Tavros does things to him that make him want to wear a Stetson hat ironically.)

Tavros, turning to face him, has one hand resting on the sheets; Dave draws two fingertips across the back of his palm and then Tavros is there, inside his thinkpan, insinuating himself between Dave's mind and his motions, not cutting the link so much as redirecting, control straps on a hoofbeast.

Flickerflash of Dave on his hands and knees, mounted like a beast, Tavros behind him – that's Dave's, from the sliding heat in the perspective, but then it's Tavros imagining being pressed up behind him, the long pale span of Dave's back bruising purpleyellow from his teeth.

Tavros makes him lean forward, slips out of control long enough to let Dave return his kiss – it's too fine an action; Tavros can move him but can't make him move naturally, their bodies too dissimilar – and then Dave is on his back on the bed, Tavros hovering warm above him, not kissing but breathing against each other's lips.

You could make me want anything and I'd never know, Dave thinks, and imagines, very clearly, not minding Tavros clawing his skin to ribbons during sex, or enjoying being kept naked and ready and keening hungrily for him for days.

Coldshock with an edge of heat, the memory of pain and hurt overlaid with a desire to avoid it; and then, so clearly Tavros has to be making an effort to keep it in words, Even if I could keep you, a falter, pause of memory of Dave rutting up against his hip, gagging for it, I don't need to, and then another, of Dave shaking desperate pleading as Tavros fingers him, shallow and slick, and Tavros's pride at being able to please his matesprit so sharp that Dave's chest hurts with affection in the present.

Dave answers that like it deserves: with the thought of Tavros lying down, Dave under the press of Tavros's mind, impelled to lick slow and wanting at Tavros's bulge, slip the head of it into his mouth, use his hand on what won't fit where there's a lot of that, too.

Tavros rocks him with a blast of heat and grinds down against him, grey flannel pajamas soft against Dave's bare skin but doing nothing to hide the slow-unsheathing hardness of his bone bulge.

Tavros confessed, before they ever got to sex, that the neural bypass and the sweeps of physical therapy gave him back sensation and control below the waist, but he'll never move like he did before the fall, not least because of his prosthetics, and he'll never have the same intensity of sensation that he would have had otherwise. That is so fine by Dave that the fine's monetary value could halve the US budget deficit, leading to Chinese Party planners weeping in the streets and every German in the European Central Bank quietly thanking God and the coolguy for saving them from having to be the backbone of a new peg currency Euro.

Tavros has good enough stamina that Dave sometimes likes to see how long they can go for, just Dave, slicked up and open, and Tavros fucking into him, slow and easy and taking the time to go see all the spots that the locals frequent, that comedy place down on Inch-Above-the-Knee Drive and the graffiti out on Left Buttcheek Boulevard, and those diners on Pectoral Beach where if you get the right dish he'll throw in the ironically unfaked version of Sally's routine for free.

His arms, all on their own, rise to wrap around Tavros, one of them sliding slow-careful into Tavros's hair, the other dragging lines over the ridges of his osseohumeral protrusions through his shirt.

Dave imagines sliding that hand to the front of Tavros's shirt, undoing all the buttons and pulling it off him. Visualizes all the shades of his skin under it, dark vivid near-black at the vestigial leg joins, closer to chocolate along his thorax. Tavros chirps with surprise and then Dave is in control of himself again, so he does what he imagined doing. Tavros sits back to finish taking the shirt off, lets it drop onto the bed next to them, and then stays there, kneeling between Dave's thighs, watching him.

"I'm starting to think you want to stick an apple in my mouth and have me for dinner," Dave says after a few moments.

Tavros grins, all sharp teeth. "And, midday snack." He lays his hands on Dave's knees and draws them up the outsides of his thighs, and Dave means to say something clever to that except Tavros slips inside his mind and sends him hotwetwarmfoodflapbulgepleasureopenyoureyesredsoredstrangealiensoftwarmclevertongue accompanied by the sensation of getting blown, and anything else Dave meant to say turns into roadkill before the advancing Abrams tank of "Make me."

Even before it's out of his mouth Tavros is inside his head, cutting him off from control of his own body. Without him doing it, he follows Tavros to the other side of the bed, straddles his still-clothed thighs, works the waistband of Tavros's pajama pants down enough work them off one prosthetic leg and bare his half-unsheathed bone bulge. Leans over, dropping one elbow on the bed for balance, opens his mouth –

Tavros's control alters, then, Dave isn't sure how it's different and it doesn't matter, does it, with Tavros's bulge here in front of him warm and smelling of salt and alien musk, and he closes that distance between his (wet, waiting) mouth and Tavros's bulge, drags his tongue across the head before pulling away briefly, letting the taste of him sink into his mouth before returning. He keeps his tongue working the sweet spots nearer the head while his hand pumps nearer the base, drawing Tavros's bulge out of its sheath, and out, and out, until he's completely exposed, and Dave pulls away for a moment to just look at him, to want to be able to swallow him all down and grieved to the core that he can't.

He smears his mouth from Tavros's base all the way to the tip, listens to Tavros's heavy breathing, comes back down to tease at him with soft little licks before taking pity on him and taking him into his mouth again in earnest.

Tavros tries to push him off, and Dave, wanting, resists, but Tavros catches his jaw and says something, and then again, and Dave blinks and

"Dave," Tavros says, hands cradling his head, "are you back?"

He tries to say something but his voice won't work right, so he coughs and this time he manages, "Yeah." Gestures to Tavros's bulge, gone blood-orange with arousal. "Didn't mind babysitting Little Nitram, though."

Tavros makes that face that's somewhere between guilty and aroused that means But that's, uh, my doing, and I'm kind of not sure I'm okay with how okay you are, about what I do to you, on a regular basis, which is at least better than saying it, so Dave pretends the look didn't happen. They've been over it before, and the occasions on which Dave wants to rehash that Adult Conversation are contained entirely by an empty set, because Adult Conversations are at this point better spent on Adult "Conversations" between their respective sets of bioports.

So Dave stretches up Tavros's body and kisses him, uses his position to press the kiss deeper into Tavros's mouth before backing off, keeping it light for a few moments before Tavros drags him back down again, and Dave rocks, slow, against Tavros's bulge.

Tavros chirps, from the sound of it instinctively, and rocks back up against him, and from there it's easy to fall into a rhythm – Tavros may be shit with words but he knows beats – slow grinding together, until he doesn't know who's moving when, just the pressure and heat of their bodies together, now and forever and since forever, since the moment they first got naked and


he's cut off from his own abilities from inside his own head, the most intimate bondage he knows. They've tried everything they could think of that didn't gross them out or scare them, and it always comes down to this, this perfect moment of now, only the two of them, because Dave can never be like this with anyone but Tavros, and he trembles, restrained and sweaty and hot with sex and Tavros's skin, kissing Tavros in this now, in the only moment of time that matters, unconnected to every other moment, kissing him and wanting him and pitying him and loving him, and he comes like an ache in his bones, dwarfed by the intensity of everything else, rocking through it as Tavros pushes up against him and spills dark orange between their bodies.

Despite the mess, Dave stays lying there, props an elbow up next to Tavros's shoulder and brushes some stray hairs off Tavros's forehead.

"You surfed the tidal wave of my orgasmic cerebral rush again, didn't you," he says, and fights to keep the idiotic fond smile off his face.

Tavros doesn't blush, but probably only by virtue of being so sex-flushed that it's not physically possible. "Yeah."

Dave wiggles a little, feeling things start to get sticky, and gets up and goes to the bathroom for something to clean them off. In the middle of getting the washcloth wet, he hears the opening salvos of snorecannon fire, but he's still too close to post-orgasmic bliss to feel more than fond irritation. Fucking hormones.

He nods coolly to himself in the mirror and listens to the clock in the bedroom tick out the time, now and then and forever.