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now is here, here is now

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the first thing Envar registers as he drifts back towards consciousness is pain, mostly concentrated around his left arm, but also scattered around other parts of his body. he groans and finds his throat is dry — parched. he opens his eyes.

at first he thinks he’s still on the Exodar; then he sees the opening in the side of the room. this isn’t the Exodar — it’s a building of some kind, or at least it’s a structure of some kind. the longer he looks at it the more apparent it becomes that it’s less a full building than a sketch of a building, or something that used to be a building but maybe was abandoned a hundred years ago.

his groan caught the attention of some of the other people in the room — “room” — and one of them, a tall, bare-faced man in a priest’s robe, hurries over to him.

“you’re awake,” the man says. “Light be praised.”

“where am I?” Envar asks, and then, more urgently: “where’s Astai?” he tries to sit up, but the man puts a hand on his shoulder and pushes him gently but firmly back down.

“rest easy, friend,” he says. “you’re safe here. my name is Zalduun. what do you remember?”

Envar struggles to organize the jumble of images that come, suddenly, rushing back to him. “we were on the Exodar, on our way to...a new home. I was walking to my station...then nothing. I don’t know.” he looks at Zalduun. “what happened?”

“we crashed,” Zalduun says simply. “the Exodar itself is at the far end of the large island next to this one, but there are parts of it scattered all over. and...survivors. you were found and brought in three days ago. your arm is broken, but it’s healing. you seemed to have experienced some head trauma, which might explain the memory loss. we’ve done the best we can with these limited facilities. what was your occupation?”

“I’m a mage,” Envar says. “how many survivors? have you found a man named Astai? my lover; he’s a shaman, shorter than me, with two chin-tendrils. and a horrible moustache.” I was trying to get him to shave.

Zalduun frowns slightly. “I don’t recognize the name, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been found. everything is in chaos now, as you can imagine. once we located the Exodar itself, some of our people headed west to establish a waystation at the center of the larger island from which they could distribute resources more easily; there was an Exarch leading them, Menelaous — he’d been caught in his quarters during the crash and ended up here. the best thing would probably be to head there — they will have, I hope, a slightly more accurate view of the situation than we do. your arm is recovering; between your natural healing ability and the magic I put into the binding, you should have full use of it by tomorrow.”

under other circumstances — if Astai were there, say — he would stay to help; they clearly desperately need it, between the survivors who need medical care, the overworked botanist trying frantically to come up with local alternatives to the medicines they don’t have access to, and the Vindicator trying to marshal those who are well enough to build slightly more permanent shelters. as it is, he stays long enough for his arm to heal, a day and a night, using the Naaru’s gift to help Zalduun and his staff, such as it is. he’ll remember the other survivors — and, especially, the ones who don’t survive — for the rest of his life. many of them will make it through to the other side, but few of them will be as lucky as he has been, coming out essentially unscathed. how could everything have gone so wrong?

when he wakes the next morning, Zalduun examines him and pronounces him as fit as can be expected.

“thank you,” Envar says; he adds, feeling a little foolish — he’s never understood religion the way Astai does — “Light bless you.”

“and you,” Zalduun says. he places an encouraging hand on Envar’s shoulder. “I hope that you find the one you’re looking for.”

“thank you,” Envar says again, then takes his leave.

Azure Watch is only slightly less chaotic than the crash site, and no-one there has seen or heard of Astai. the same is true when he gets to the Exodar, but he does manage to find a makeshift “survivors bureau”, where he puts his name down, and leaves a message in case Astai does show up.

his search gets cut short, then, because he gets drafted into helping a group of other mages providing magical support for some of the repair crews. it’s exhausting work; by the end of each day, he can barely muster the energy to eat a small dinner before collapsing on the pallet set aside for him in one of the makeshift dormitories.

days become weeks: the repairs seem like they’re never going to end. obvviously he’d known before they left Draenor that the ship was big, but he hadn’t really registered just how big it was. now that he has to put it back together, he’s a little overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

exhausted though he is, he finds time, somehow, to check at the survivors bureau every day on his way to the communal kitchen after work. by the end of the second week there’s still been no news of Astai, but as he arrives at the survivors bureau at the end of his fifteenth workday, the woman staffing the desk, A’asha, looks up from the piece of paper she’s consulting with another man.

“Envar! I was waiting for you to come in,” she says, and his exhaustion immediately vanishes.

“is there news?” he asks; his heart is pounding suddenly. “please, tell me there’s something. has Astai been here?”

“yes!” she says, and his heart skips a beat.

where is he?” without registering the fact that he moved, he finds himself standing at the desk, leaning awkwardly over it to try to see the record book in front of her. “sorry,” he apologizes belatedly to the man A’asha had been helping. “I’ll be out of your way in just a minute.” the man gives him a brief, understanding smile.

“I told him to come back here at the end of the work day,” she says. “I knew you’d be here; I just didn’t know when.”

“so...I just wait...?”

she shrugs apologetically. “sorry — this seemed like the fastest way to get the two of you to connect.”

“you’re probably right,” he says, deflating a little.

“you can sit over in the waiting area,” she says. “I’m sure he’ll be here soon.”

so he sits down in one of the uncomfortable makeshift chairs in the corner by the door to the survivors bureau. he can barely force himself to sit still. Astai is here. Astai is here. Astai is here. he’s alive.

he closes his eyes, trying to distract himself and get his heart to stop racing, and of course that’s when someone speaks to him.


he’d know that voice anywhere. he opens his eys. Astai is standing in front of him, looking a bit the worse for wear, but definitely alive, horrible moustache and all.

“Astai.” he’s on his feet in an instant. “I was worried — I thought you —”

“I landed up north; when I woke up I wandered around and ended up with the Silverpine,” Astai says. “things were a little hectic, and there was the part where we had to figure out how to communicate before I could actually ask them for help. so...I guess I speak some Ursine now? I came here as soon as I could.”

they stare at each other for a second, and then — he’s not sure which of them moved first — they’re kissing. he hadn’t realized how much tension had been building up in his body since he woke up in the Ammen Vale, but now that Astai’s here, he feels like he could melt.

Astai’s moustache is scragglier than it was before the crash. when they finally stop to breathe, Envar says, “you need to shave.”

Astai laughs, and it sounds like paradise.


fuck, Envar — ’Vaar —” Astai says, and Envar smiles, his mouth full of Astai’s cock. they’re in the makeshift “apartment” they managed to get, off the Vault of Lights — just a single room with a large pile of blankets as a bed, but it’s private, and it’s theirs. at the moment, Envar is on his knees, looking up at Astai, who’s always handsome, of course, but especially when he’s naked and hard, and especially now that he’s shaved his moustache. his chin-tendrils are twitching with pleasure, and Envar allows himself a moment to appreciate the view before taking all of Astai in his mouth.

“fuck, your mouth is so good,” Astai says, his hand on the back of Envar’s head curling into a fist in Envar’s hair. Envar tilts his head slightly to get a better angle so he can get as much of Astai’s cock as possible down his throat; Astai hisses with pleasure. “Envar.”

the next time Envar pulls away to breathe, Astai, sounding a little breathless himself, says, “I want to fuck you. can I?”

please,” Envar says. it’ll be the first time since their reunion — they’ve only had the apartment for two days. “I’ve been thinking about this since I woke up at the crash site.”

“and here I thought you missed my scintillating personality,” Astai says with a laugh. “it turns out you just missed my dick.”

“yes,” Envar agrees in mock seriousness. “having had you in me, no-one else could ever satisfy me.” they both laugh.

Envar rummages in the small pile of stuff next to the pile of blankets and retrieves a small bottle of the oil they use as lubricant. “do you want to —?”

“lie back,” Astai says, taking the bottle from him. Envar does as he’s told, spreading his legs to Astai will have easy access. Astai spills some oil on his fingers and reaches down to trace a circle around Envar’s hole.

“don’t tease,” Envar says, exasperated but smiling, and Astai obliges by slipping a finger in. “ah...”

one finger is quickly joined by a second, sliding in and out. it’s Envar’s turn to hiss this time as Astai wiggles them in preparation for adding a third. “good?”

yes,” Envar says, impatient.

“good.” Astai’s fingers push all the way into him, then pull out altogether. Astai drips some more oil on his hand and then directly onto his cock, which twitches in anticipation; Envar’s echoes the movement. “ready?”

“as I’ll ever be,” Envar says.

“slow and steady,” Astai says. he carefully lines himself up, the head of his dick pressing against Envar, who does his best to relax. then, carefully, Astai presses into him.

it’s just the head, initially, but it still burns; Envar hisses again, this time not entirely with pleasure.

“slow and steady,” Astai repeats. “fuck, ’Vaar, you’re tight.”

“yeah, well,” Envar says through gritted teeth, “that’s what happens when you go this long with no practice.”

“I’m not going to last long at this rate,” Astai says. “where do you want me to finish?” Envar knows Astai’s trying to distract him with conversation, and he appreciates it.

“all over me,” Envar says. “I want to see how far you’ll shoot.”

“works for me,” Astai says. “ready for some more?”

“yes,” Envar says, bracing himself. carefully, Astai pushes further in.

“I’m about halfway,” he says. Envar nods, closing his eyes and resting his head back on the pillow. “still good?”

“yes,” Envar says. it burns less now, although it’s still a little painful; he’s starting to get used to it. “I’m getting there. you can go a little further.”

Astai nods and, carefully, slides further in. “you feel so good, ’Vaar. so warm, so tight...” he reaches out to grab Envar’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “can I —?” Envar nods, and with an involuntary grunt Astai pushes the rest of the way in. “fuck. just say when.”

Envar gives himself a moment to adjust to Astai’s full length, then says, “okay. slow and steady.”

Astai starts, then, slowly and carefully, to fuck him in earnest, pulling back and then thrusting in again. Envar winces slightly and Astai slows down even more, concerned, but Envar shakes his head, “no, it’s fine, you can go a little faster.”

so he does. he slowly picks up the pace until his balls are slapping lightly against Envar’s ass with every thrust. Envar’s past the pain now and into pleasure; he can feel his cock, which had softened, hardening again. he starts to jack himself off in time to Astai’s thrusts.

it only takes about two minutes before Astai says, “fuck, I’m close already — I’m going to —” he pulls out quickly, with what in other contexts would be an unpleasant squelching sound, leans over Envar, and then his breath catches and he’s drenching Envar’s chest and stomach with cum. that’s enough to push Envar over the edge, too — that, and Astai’s encouragement: “come on, ’Vaar, you look so good on your back, covered in my cum, you’re so beautiful, cum for me —”

so he does.

fuck,” Astai says breathlessly, once Envar has finished adding his cum to Astai’s pooling at his navel, and turns to half-lie-down-half-collapse on the blankets next to Envar.

“I’m all wet,” Envar says, and Astai laughs.

“I’ll get you something for that, hold on.” Astai gets up on his knees and shuffles awkwardly over to the small pile of dirty clothes on the other side of the room and fishes out a shirt. “this’ll do.”

after Envar cleans himself up, he turns to see Astai staring at him, smiling. “what?”

“I love you, you know,” Astai says.

“I love you, too,” Envar says.

“good,” Astai says, and kisses him, soft and slow. “now roll over so we can cuddle for real.”