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Love Like a Shipwreck

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He was lost without him, a listless ship adrift in a stormy sea, but he was lost with him too. Fabian had never felt this way before, this tangle of hopeless emotion knotted in his throat and chest. He felt sea-sick for the first time in his life, nauseous and dizzy and teetering clumsily along the edge of something incomprehensibly vast. 

 

Fabian had always been a strong, adventurous boy -- rapier in hand, grin on his face, and competition singing in his blood. Beneath all that though, he had always been a bit of a romantic. Oh he didn’t necessarily long for marriage , death was an inevitable end to the binding and all that, but he awaited jovially some gorgeous damsels to fling their arms around him, and as he grew older, a crew of beautiful muscled men joined that fantasy. And maybe one day, someone a bit more special. Equally beautiful as the lovers of the past, but steadying. A stunning weight to settle his wild spirit. An anchor if you will. 

 

Riz Gukgak was neither beautiful nor steady. 

 

Riz was a goblin. He had long, green ears - a squashed but pointy nose - and short, weedy legs. Sometimes when he blushed though, his emerald skin darkened to a tiel the exact shade of the ocean on a summer’s day. He looked kind of, not pretty — never pretty — but something deeper and hazier which made the edges of Fabian’s chest go fuzzy and salt-stung, when he looked like that. He blushed easily whenever Fabian complimented him. Fabian resolved to compliment him more often. 

 

Riz was a detective. He did not itch for a brawl like Fabian did, nor did he long for glory, but he did long for mystery, and in that longing he was somehow able to drag Fabian into more battles than even Fabian had ever thought of having. He was sharp as a harpoon, a whale-sized brain crammed into his much smaller skull, and he could be startlingly vicious when he needed to be. He fought alongside Fabian with an unmatched ferocity and focus. There was no quiet settling down when it came to Riz. His flushed cheeks from embarrassment or exertion never failed to send a thrill through Fabian’s chest, like a bolt of lightning painting stark the image of a bucking ship against towering waves. If Riz was supposed to be his anchor, he was doing a magnificently terrible job of it. 

 

Perhaps it was because Riz so definitely did not fit within Fabian’s ideal future that he was able to sneak so easily into Fabian’s heart. Curse him, he always was fantastic at stealth. 

 

Fabian loved him, that was certain. Certainly painful, but true as purest truth. It was a confusing thing, loving Riz. He was not what Fabian wanted or even needed in any capacity. But he was what he got, apparently. He was what Fabian could never let go of. 

 

He dug his fingers harder into Riz’s hair, and Riz mewled - pretty as he had no right to be - and Fabian drank in the noise like it was sweet wine and not the bitter brine of an ocean dangerous. Riz’s legs tangled round his waist like loose sails whipped by wind. His teeth nipped at Fabian’s bottom lip like thrashing rain. He pulled away for just a split second to breathe, and his skin was turquoise, and Fabian’s pulse was scattered, and oh yes he loved him, and wasn’t that just fucking terrifying (exhilarating, perfect, worth it all). 

 

“If I had known,” Riz laughed breathlessly (because Fabian had stolen his breath, stolen his breath and tucked it away for a windless day when the ocean was still and the sails were limp and the world was boring. Hah, take that oh mighty detective, oh rogue with your nimble fingers and slight of hand. You may have stolen my heart, but I’ve stolen your breath away so really we are even) “that this was all it took to make you kiss me, I would have fully died and gotten resurrected by and ancient tortoise deity a long time ago.”

 

Riz was so smart, but oh so stupid, because he should never die ever, and Fabian had been so scared, so lost lost lost bad lost without him, and said ancient tortoise deity wouldn’t have resurrected him if he had died sooner because she had been locked inside a big rock in the middle of the ocean for the last ten-thousand years, but Fabian couldn’t bring himself to verbalize any of that. He was too lost in the upward tilt of Riz’s kiss swollen lips (lost without, lost with) to say anything more than — 

 

“Shut up, The Ball.” and then dive back into the warm wet of Riz’s mouth. He would have gladly walked the plank, he thought, if the ocean was made of Riz. Oh how he would sink and drown in the blissful embrace of Riz’s being. That made sense actually, as much as anything could make sense with Riz’s nails scratching at his scalp till shivers nearly spasmed from his spine. Riz was not his anchor. He was his ocean.

 

No longer did Fabian long for windswept damsels or sweat-slicked sailors, no longer did he long for the soothing weight of a calmer love to settle about his shoulders and keep him steady on the ground. He had someone so much better, someone he didn’t want or need or had ever dreamed of. He had Riz. Riz who was as ugly and beautiful as the ocean (swirling with mud and green as emeralds), who was as wild and raging and mysterious and all-encompassing as the depths of the sea. Riz was no tool to keep him steady, he was a force all to his own, surrounding Fabian completely with heady exhilaration and glittering smiles (twisting hands, rolling hips). 

 

Fabian felt sea-sick -- love-sick -- for the first time in his life, nauseous and dizzy and teetering clumsily along the edge of something incomprehensibly vast. He was clutching Riz up against the wall, but it felt like Riz was the one buoying him up (not a weight to drag him down, a whirling surface to support him). He was floating and falling and sinking all at once, tossed about on the waves that were Riz, and he kissed hard like that was his swimming, his path to safety and shore (except he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see land again, let alone kiss it thankfully, when there was salt-water embrace his entire body, inside and out), and Riz kissed back just as hard, the relentless whoosh of water against his skin. If Fabian was a sailor -- or a pirate -- or an adventurer --  or anything like himself -- and Riz was the ocean, then love was a shipwreck. And Fabian was lost, with or without, but ever so happy to drown.