Work Header

Candal Collection

Chapter Text


   The room is dim, lights forgotten, when Andal drags himself out of bed and into the open living space in search of…something.

   Two bright points catch his eyes immediately. Too familiar to be frightening but still unexpected enough to make the Hunter Vanguard pause.

   “How…” thick brows do a wobbling dance over dark, half-open eyes as Andal points to the Exo occupying the arm of the well-worn couch in the Hunter Vanguard’s private room. Andal’s finger traces a path from the Exo to the very much locked door across the way and back as his sleep-fogged brain tries to put everything together.  “How…did you get in here?”

   Cayde chuckles, wrestles off his last boot, and discards it alongside the pre-existing pile of armored pieces and weapon belts cluttering the space to the right of his perch. The muffled thunk of a heel impacting the floor puts an action to the twin noise that roused Andal from sleep.

   “Transmatted in. Hope you don’t mind.”

   Andal scratches at his beard and yawns until his jaw pops instead of reminding Cayde how Transmatting’s not a thing that’s allowed in the Tower. A green, glowing blur atop the far desk tells the tale of why Cayde didn’t bother knocking.

   “It’s almost three in the morning,” Andal points out.

   The Exo abandons the last of his extraneous bits- hood, scarf, and cloak folded over the back of the couch- before bare feet carry him through the darkness. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

   A light stoke of a thumb against Andal’s neck serves as apology.

   “It’s ok.” Andal realizes rather suddenly Cayde is whispering to match his own drowsily hushed tone. “Hard to sleep when you’re away anyhow.”

   He leans into that hand on his neck until the thumb travels up to smooth the plane of his cheek. Now that Cayde is back, Andal could fall asleep right here, right now, standing upright, if that lulling caress continues against his face.

   “I missed you too," Cayde rumbles in amusement when Andal's face chases the Exo's withdrawing hand in semi-conscious pursuit. "Hey, think you can stay awake long enough for a present? I brought you that thing you like.”

   Andal jerks from sleep's hold and, after drawing on the strength of a deep breath, his eyes finally flutter open in anticipation. Cayde offers the space between his wide-open arms with a lit grin.

   "Better take it before it fades away."

   The Hunter Vanguard hums at that, lips curling up dreamily as he steps forward and Cayde’s arms catch him in a warm embrace. Andal’s fingers meet at a back, center seam and he drops his head to nuzzle against the smooth collar in front of him as he inhales his ‘gift.’ The leather of Cayde’s remaining attire smells like the sun beating down on Martian sands, the acrid tang of discharged bullets, and the recycled coolants that pump through the vents of a ship. He smells like adventure and battle won and a safe return. The only positive aspect of sending Cayde away for missions are these moments of vicarious living each time the Hunter returns. Andal savors the scent of the Wilds- the noise he makes scandalous by daytime standards- and places a grateful kiss to the underside of the heavy chin above him.

   "Thank you."

   Cayde’s responding hum is thick with proposition before he whispers into the mussed curls at Andal's temple. "Anytime."

   Bared metal hands sneak up beneath Andal’s oversized shirt and the drag of cool fingers has Andal sighing into the Exo’s collar. Andal wants. Stars above- how he wants! But that desire will not fade by tomorrow evening or -if their most valiant restraint fails- until they slink off for an early lunch with not a scrap of food between them. All assuming they make it out of bed in the morning, of course. For now, Andal wants to dream of open expanses with Cayde tucked safely against him.

   “Bed?” Andal ventures and immediately clarifies to counter the rumble in Cayde’s chest. “For sleep?”

   Metal fingers against skin slip easily from hungry to soothing.

   “For sleep,” Cayde agrees without question or complaint. But with just enough air of disappointment to make the human nestled against him laugh.

   Andal squeezes the Exo in his arms. “Welcome home, Cayde.”