Langley's not expecting the letter when it arrives. Uncle Dimitri's never been one for written communication, after all. He usually prefers to deliver news in person. Fracturing the sky and coming down in a light cone with his wings well spread out and his tunic whirling in the wind, while Metatron announces his arrival with much fanfare, this thundering voice echoing everywhere, deafening whichever poor unfortunate soul might be there to witness the event.
(He's got a thing for theatrics, uncle Dimitri, like all angels. Shannen says Langley must have taken after him. Langley disagrees. He's not a theatrics kind of guy and whoever says otherwise is obviously lying.)
Anyway, apparently, this time uncle Dimitri decided it might be better to keep things low profile. So there's no sky breaking above Langley's head and no angel choir and no Metatron screaming “behold angel Dimitri, the warrior angel, leader of armies, slayer of fiends”, and all the other voices in uncle Dimitri's pretty long resume. There's no uncle Dimitri appearing out of nowhere through the clouds, no light of God making his alabaster skin glisten, no delicate rain of spotless white feathers twirling in the air, no skirt of his tunic embarrassingly getting blown up unveiling his naked bottom half (back when he was nothing but a child in kindergarten, that made for an irresistible laughing occasion for all his friends and classmates; Langley still feels like crying every time he thinks about it, he believes he's been scarred for life).
This time it's just a letter appearing out of nowhere in mid-air, in a puff of cold blue fire.
The rolled up parchment, held together by a silk golden ribbon tied up in a pretty bow around a small olive branch (typical uncle Dimitri style, this one) floats in the air for less than a second, and then lands on Celes' naked tummy. Celes is still sleeping and, bothered by the sudden alien presence on himself, he whines and turns around, without waking up.
Langley is already awake, instead, and he witness the whole even with his eyes wide open, eyebrows raised in such a pronounced half-moon they're almost brushing his hairline.
He reaches out, retrieving the parchment and looking at it for a few seconds, unable to imagine what could be inside of it. This is probably the first time uncle Dimitri has ever written him a message. He doesn't know if this means what he's got to tell him is more or less important than it'd be if he had decided to show up with full pomp and circumstance.
He's about to undo the bow and unroll the parchment when Shannen's voice surprisingly stops him.
“Think hard and long whether you actually wanna do that,” he says, “Last time a letter arrived, it was my father's, and that didn't end well.”
Langley chuckles, relaxing against the header of the bed and catching the opportunity to put the scroll down and forget about it for a moment. “Right,” he says, “You never said: did or did they not manage to rebuild the mansion where it was?”
“Nope,” Shannen grins. Smiles of any kind are so rare on his lips Langley feels his chest swell with joy at the mere sight of it. “Celes' fire doesn't wanna stop burning.”
“It doesn't spread either, though, right?” Langley asks, chuckling softly.
“Exactly,” Shannen nods, “It's contained in a magic circle. It burns within the circle, so the land outside the radius is safe, but it doesn't seem like it's gonna go out, ever.”
“That's why it's called eternal fire,” Celes yawns and stretches, turning on his back. The sheets slide off his body, showing it in all its pale glory under the morning light, seeping in through the half closed white curtains of his room in the Summer Palace. His sun-kissed thighs, so smooth and soft, almost glisten, and Langley stops pretending he's not thinking about the scroll anymore, and starts not thinking about it for real. “It's supposed to be burning forever. I didn't think you'd want to set foot on that property again.”
“And I don't,” Shannen confirms, nodding.
“Then why are we wondering if we're ever going to be able to build on top of it again?”
“We weren't, my dear,” Langley smiles peacefully as he turns on his side, placing an arm around Celes' waist to pull him in for a soft kiss, “I was just asking out of curiosity. I didn't mean anything with it. Actually,” he smirks, “I didn't even mean to wake you up, I know you must be exhausted. Even though I can't say I'm exactly disappointed that I can finally look at my reflection in the deep of your golden eyes again.”
“Ugh, please,” Shannen rolls his eyes, collapsing on the bed with his hands pressed against his face in distress, “Disgusting.”
But Celes chuckles, leaving a soft kiss on Langley's chest. He'd usually make faces and whine about such cheesy words too, but the hardships they just miraculously managed to push behind their backs make him ache for softness, somehow – what with almost losing his mother and the whole of the Lands to some crazy lady burning with a comically non-specific desire of vengeance that forced four Lands to unite to save the Seer's life, and having to face said crazy lady almost alone, though supported by the magic of the Lands, after having performed a life-threatening blood ritual to tie the armies of light to both of his boyfriends (something Langley still has to come to term with, actually). That's a list of things that would make anyone beg for some sweetness, Langley thinks.
(Anyone but Shannen, of course. He finds sweetness repellent like most people happen to do with cockroaches.)
“It's okay,” Celes says, “I wasn't sleepy anymore. I thought we could have breakfast and then go visit my mother.”
“You heard what the High Priest said, Cee,” Shannen reminds him, “She needs some space. She's fine, dude, come on. You have to learn to let go of her petticoat.”
“I almost lost her, Shan.”
“Yeah but that was a month ago,” Shannen rolls his eyes, trying to be patient. He's always trying to be patient, with Celes, and Langley's a little jealous of that. Shannen never treats him with the same regard he uses with Celes, he doesn't really know why. Something inside their boyfriend makes Shannen feel like he should be particularly careful with him. Which is always nice to see (Shannen being kind with someone else is always a rare sight worth witnessing), but still makes him wonder what does he have that's so different from what Celes has that doesn't force the same kind of emotional response from Shannen. “You've seen her, you've talked to her,” he goes on, reasonably, “She told you she's fine. She's trying to get back in contact with her magic. You know Seers need space and solitude to do that.”
“I didn't need—”
“You ran away,” Shannen insists, “We had to chase you through the forest. And when we found you, you were different.” He gives in to a little smile, stroking Celes' leg with his knuckles. “She's okay, Cee. She's gonna be great.”
“Actually, I've never seen your mother being anything less than great,” Langley agrees, “Even while she was asleep,” that's the term they use, asleep, never unconscious. It sounds softer, somehow. More respectful.
(Langley suddenly wonders if Shannen's softness towards Celes might be motivated by him being a Seer. Not because of his title, of course, Shannen doesn't care about titles. But because of the quality of his magic. Because of the way it seems able to envelope the whole of the universe in a hug, protecting it. You don't handle the person cradling the fate of reality in his arms any less than with extreme care.)
“You're right,” Celes surrenders, letting himself go back against the pillows and sighing deeply, an arm resting on his forehead, his pale blonde hair scattered everywhere on the pillows, the red ends sharp like bloody arrow tips against sheets as white as snow. He looks like a painting, a work of art. Is that his magic too? Or is it simply the beauty at his core? “I'm trying to deal with this but I'm not as good as I'd like.” His lips curl in an apologetic smile Langley really feels like kissing. “I'm a pathetic mama's boy.”
“Nothing of you is pathetic,” Langley whispers under his breath. Something in his voice has changed and both Shannen and Celes notice it. They turn to look at him and Langley can see awareness reflect in their eyes – Shannen groans, a mix of bother and resignation in that throaty sound, while Celes swallows, his lips tense, his eyes fixed on him.
Langley moves closer to them both, aching for closeness as if the warmth emanating from their bodies was his only form of sustenance. He slips one of his legs between Celes', moving his knee upwards to make him part them. It's a slow movement, a prayer more than a demand, and Celes answers to it accordingly, gracing him with permission, like a proper deity would. His right leg moves upward a little, and Shannen instinctively moves closer, offering his arm, around which Celes' leg ends up hooking.
“You're never satisfied, are you?” Shannen asks.
Langley smirks, as he starts moving downward, his lips already glued to Celes' milky skin. “Never,” he answers, his words blowing hot breath against the softness of Celes' tummy.
“At least don't get too much of it,” Shannen says with half a scolding voice, “He hasn't had breakfast yet. He might be weak.”
“I'll be fine,” Celes breath out, almost shaking with anticipation. Langley smiles, because now he knows Celes waits for his sharp kisses eagerly, every time he feels inclined to give them to him. At first he was embarrassed to talk about it, he didn't feel comfortable with the way he liked it and he wasn't sure Langley would have liked to hear it from him. Langley couldn't blame him for it – he himself didn't cope well with his quarter vampire self, back then. But the way Celes accepts and enjoys being bitten changed a lot of things. For the first time he actually started wondering if there could be a chance that thing too could be considered natural. If a person like Celes, pure and so above him sometimes looking at him hurt his eyes, could like it, maybe it could be okay. Maybe Langley didn't have to feel ashamed about it.
Langley lowers his head between Celes' legs, ignoring his already hardening cock to concentrate on the perfect smoothness of his inner thigh. He flicks his tongue out and licks his skin, reveling in the fact that he still tastes like them because of the night they spent together. Shannen's taste stuck to his skin even though there's no trace of come anymore, and it's the same for his own. Langley's tongue travels up and down, following those traces to draw wet circles that make Celes moan in pleasure and arch his back in a shiver.
“Don't tease...” Celes whimpers.
As if following an order, Shannen hits Langley on his nape. It's not meant to cause any pain, and Langley actually laughs about it.
“He said don't tease,” Shannen repeats, and Langley laughs again.
“Okay, okay, my beautiful boys,” he says, baring his fangs, “I'll stop teasing.”
His canines dive inside Celes' flesh as if he was made of butter. His senses heightened, Langley even hears the little popping sound his skin makes as it's pierced by their pointy ends. And then he can listen to no other sound that isn't the roar of Celes' blood pumping from his veins into his mouth.
He drinks from him hungrily, trying to sate a thirst that's never going to be fully satisfied, because it's not a thirst for blood alone. He might want blood, but Celes' blood he doesn't simply want, he craves it, like oxygen. And there's a difference, because something you want, you can do without, if you try real hard. But something you crave, you need to have all the time. You don't simply get oxygen enough to be satisfied, oxygen enough to stop needing to breathe at some point. You always, constantly need to breathe. And he always, constantly needs Celes' blood in his system.
Celes moans, and that makes Shannen move closer as if answering to some sort of silent primal call. Langley watches with the corner of his eyes as Shannen lifts a hand and places it right on top of Celes’ tummy, feeling it tremble lightly in all its softness underneath his palm with every shaky breath he draws as Langley’s venom passes through the two twin circular wounds in his thigh and starts coursing through his veins. The venom turns the bite pleasant, makes pain irrelevant. It’s what Celes likes best, because it numbs out every feeling that isn’t purely pleasing.
Back when Manila was still asleep, Celes used to ask for bites all the time. He would spend the entirety of his day crying by his mother’s bedside and then he would crawl in his bed late at night, and he would find Langley and Shannen waiting for him, and every night he nested up on Langley’s lap, he made himself small like a doll between his arms and he would ask for a kiss, and Langley would always know he didn’t mean a proper kiss. It was in the way Celes asked for it, pleading and needy, two things he almost never is.
He needed that to feel good in a moment in which almost nothing else worked. And Langley’s been happy to be a vampire for the first time, when he understood that, because a nature he had always refused made him able to help one of the people he loves the most in his life feel better.
He knows Shannen doesn’t really understand that. That he feels as though sucking Celes’ blood was a violation. But at the same time Langley knows he’s fascinated by it, and that’s what he reads in his eyes now that he’s staring at Celes and he lets his hand travel upwards along the curve of his stomach first – Celes turned into a boy years ago, at this point, but his body held onto softness for dear life, and since Celes never changed that, despite having the means to do so, Langley believes this is exactly the kind of boy Celes always wanted to be, sharp where it counted, and soft where it felt good – before climbing up the flat line of his chest.
His fingers move above his nipples as if tripping over them, twisting them to the side, making them bounce back in place and then holding them, his thumb and index fingers rubbing against their swelling tips. They’re still oversensitive and they probably will always be. They believed it to be a consequence of the change, at first, but all parts of Celes are invested by this consequence, his dick, his lips, his skin, every single part of him. So perhaps it was never a consequence, it was always just Celes, as if he had been built by a cosmological will for pleasure and pleasure alone.
“Lang,” Shannen says. In the utter silence of the room, only broken every now and then by Celes’ whimpers, Shannen’s voice sounds as loud as thunder. Langley stops sucking, parts from Celes’ thigh and licks the wounds clean, before looking up at him. He finds him deep in contemplation, as it often happens when they’re having sex. Shannen rarely participates actively in anything sexual if he’s not forced by the circumstances (meaning, if he’s not horny; which rarely ever happens), but he’s always watching. He likes to watch, and every time he does he stares at Celes as if he couldn’t even believe two people like them could put their hands on him and get away with it unpunished.
This time, though, there’s something different agitating at the bottom of his eyes. Something turbid and turbulent, that makes Langley swallow as he backs away.
“You want him,” he says breathlessly. In six years, he could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times Shannen has taken Celes in front of him or otherwise. The mere thought that this could be what’s happening right now makes his heart beat faster, fueled by the hot blood roaring through his veins.
Shannen nods, his eyes a little unfocused and at the same time fixed on Celes, as if he could only see him. Celes turns to look at him and smiles, raising a hand to stroke his cheek and then losing his fingers between the long straight locks of his dark hair.
“It’s been a while,” he says, and then he simply rotates his hips, aligning himself with Shannen, turning like a pretty moon around its planet to follow in its trajectory.
Langley has no idea how it’s possible, but it’s a movement at the same time so pure and so shameless it makes him even harder. He backs away, leaving Shannen enough room to settle between Celes’ legs, and once he’s set Langley pulls Celes’ leg up, exposing his opening just in time to see the tip of Shannen’s cock, already wet with pre-come, rubbing insistently against it.
“Ahn…” Celes moans, closing his eyes and licking his lips before biting at them, “Best wake up ever…”
Langley can’t help but chuckle as he follows the lines of Celes’ body in a dry kiss that ends at the crook of his neck. “You deserve it, dearie,” he whispers against his skin, “You’ve been through so much.”
“Wasn’t that a month ago…?” Celes asks breathlessly, offering his neck for another bite as he squats down, trying to take Shannen’s cock in.
Langley smiles against his throat, tasting the salt of his skin with the tip of his tongue. “Those were Shannen’s words,” he says, “To me, what happened still gives you some credits to spend.”
“Oh, you’re so good to me,” Celes breathes out in an evanescent smile. Langley doesn’t answer: he simply parts his lips, bares his fangs again and bites him, drawing blood from him right away, sucking it hard enough to make Celes feel the roar of it too. And Celes responds eagerly, throwing his head back, cursing under his breath. “Fuck, Shannen, put it in already!” he grouches, groans, almost growls, and obeying his order Shannen just thrusts in, driving his cock all the way up inside him, forcing a broken yell out of him.
Langley instantly wraps his arms around Celes’ waist for comfort, holding him up as Shannen thrusts deeper inside him. Shannen doesn’t speak, he just buries his face against Celes’ neck, kissing and biting everywhere he can as Celes dances on his cock, swinging his hips frantically, taking him in as deep as he can and filling the room with the sounds of his pleasure – whimpers, gasps, whispers and moans. He lifts one arm and hooks it around Langley’s neck, while with the others he circles Shannen’s. Feeling connected through them, they raise their heads simultaneously and find themselves staring deep in each other’s eyes.
It’s just an instant, a spark of electricity. It crackles between them and they both stop nibbling at Celes to throw themselves at each other. They kiss hungrily above Celes’ shoulder, forgetful of the thin rivers of blood pouring out of Celes’ neck wounds and coming together in a slightly thicker stream curling and gliding between his collarbones and down his chest, pooling at his navel.
Celes watches them with heavy lidded eyes, bites at his lips hard, mesmerized by the wild movements of their tongues, and then suddenly goes stiff as Shannen’s cock, buried deeply inside his body, strokes him just the right way, milking a sudden, overwhelming orgasm out of him. He lets out a little yell and comes in hot, long shots that land on Shannen’s chest and drip down his abs, thick and sticky and translucent like resin drops.
Shannen doesn’t even notice – too lost on his own pleasure, he keeps thrusting inside Celes, letting out a few soft grunts until he trembles and finally stops moving, releasing himself within him.
Still tasting a mix of Celes and Langley on his tongue, Shannen only barely realizes he hasn’t come. He doesn’t even care about it, and in fact his body adapts to the thought right away: he softens up, tension leaving his body as if someone had torn a very tiny hole at the bottom of a dam, to let the water free in but a little rivulet.
He relaxes with his back against the headboard of the bed, filling his eyes with the sight of his boyfriends. Shannen’s covered in come, Celes is covered in blood and they’ve never looked better. And he’s thinking he wants to lick them clean, and he’s disappointed in himself for not feeling strong enough to fulfill that wish, when suddenly something catches Celes’ attention, and he exhales a little “oh”, reaching out to grab the object of his curiosity, making clear that Shannen was indeed wrong that he could suffer some consequence of his blood-drinking just because he hasn’t had breakfast yet: Langley clearly feels more spent that Celes does, because he probably couldn’t move a muscle if he wanted.
“What is this?” Celes asks, holding the rolled up parchment in his hand.
“Ah, right,” Langley says, tilting his head, “Uncle Dimitri’s letter. I had forgotten about it.”
“How could you forget about it?” Celes frowns, carelessly undoing the bow holding the scroll closed and flattening the parchment on his lap, “Dimitri never writes to you. It must be important.”
“I was honestly thinking I could keep ignoring it for a little while,” Langley tries to say.
“But Celes is right,” Shannen replies, “If it were something stupid, your pigeon godfather would’ve come flying. That’s what he always does. The stupidest the news, the grandest he feels his entrance should be.”
“Now, now,” Langley frowns, “You’re being unfair on uncle Dimitri.”
“Last time he stopped the rain from falling and miracled a bunch of goats into singing the Hail Mary in latin just to come asking if you could pass by the vet to get the prescription for his stupid pug’s asthma drug.”
“Hezekiah doesn’t have asthma, he suffers from reverse sneezing fits, it’s different.”
“What kind of a name for a dog, anyway… he couldn’t have called him Bob like any other dog owner?”
“Lang,” Celes stops their bickering as he usually does, calling one of them with his serious voice. This time it only happens to be Langley because, while they were discussing pugs and uncle Dimitri’s talent for naming them, Celes was reading the parchment. “You should really take a look at this.”
And it seems like Langley should too.
He had honestly forgotten about the thing, and he’s not sure Celes eyes aren’t giving him just another reason to ignore its contents. He ends up taking it in his hand only because Celes is offering, and he would take basically everything from him.
He holds the parchment up and starts reading.
My dear Langley, the letter says, I owe you an apology. I know you’ve always suspected that I was never truly honest with you about your origins, but you’ve always been too polite – thank God for the respectful education I gave you – to confront me directly about it.
Well, I’m writing to you now to admit that you’ve always been right about it. You often asked me about your parents and you always believed, or at least pretended to believe, that I was telling the truth when I told you I never knew who your mother was and that your father had disappeared shortly after abandoning you with me.
That’s never been the truth. I somehow thought that believing your father was alive somewhere, even if he wasn’t with you, could’ve been of some consolation to you. I don’t know why – perhaps it’s because I’m an angel. To me, an eternal being, there’s nothing worse than death. Pretending your father had abandoned you somehow felt like a more comforting thing to admit, instead of the knowledge of his death.
Fact is, your father really isn’t dead. I believed he was – I think he really was, actually. But he isn’t anymore. He came back while the Seer was unconscious and how that happened, and the consequences it had on him, are such a complex topic I can’t honestly think to put it into words on this simple piece of paper.
Besides, I think both those mysteries, together with the mystery of his disappearance and death, would be much better told to you by him in person.
So, yes, my boy. I’m sorry I’ve lied to you. Your father never abandoned you, he died. And now he came back. And I think it’s time for you to come back to Nocturnia – to Aimatopolis. To speak a few words to him.
With all my, love, the letter comes to an end, Uncle Dimitri.
After reading it once, Langley keeps staring motionlessly at it for the longest time. His eyes can’t move, and even when they get that ability back it’s only to dart up at the beginning of the letter and read it top to bottom once again.
The words don’t make sense. Or better yet, they do, because there’s a logic behind them and uncle Dimitri’s straight to the point attitude made sure there was no way Langley could misinterpret them, but he still can’t believe it.
He lowers the parchment and lets it fall on the ground. From behind it, Shannen and Celes look at him, the first confusedly waiting for an explanation, the second eagerly anticipating his answer.
“My father is alive,” Langley says, to satisfy the first, “And I need to go talk to him,” he adds, to satisfy the second.
“What the fuck?” Shannen asks, opening his eyes wide in surprise.
Celes’ lips curl upwards in a small sympathetic smile as he reaches out for him and strokes the back of his hand. “I’ll make the arrangements right away,” he says.
He takes for granted they’ll all be going.
Langley’s grateful for it, because he would have never found the guts to ask, but that’s exactly what he wants the most right now.