Chapter 1: Boundaries with sex: Kira/Odo
It’s like brokering a trade agreement. Like negotiating with Starfleet. This isn’t what a relationship should be, Odo thinks. Kira is his friend, and it shouldn’t be awkward telling her that sex was not something he did.
It was, as a matter of fact, not awkward. He explained, she accepted, and they moved on.
Chapter 2: Romance without Sex: Carter/Mary Jane
Carter used to think he was broken. He used to think there was something wrong with him because sex was not a thing he did. Dating Mary Jane? That was new and different. She’d been his best friend for years, and he loved her. She knew he didn’t like sex, and never pushed it. Most people assumed that, because they were close, they were doing more than kissing.
Carter enjoyed knowing they were wrong.
Chapter 3: Mixed-orientation pairing: Charles/Margaret
Charles disdained sex. Intercourse was never the foremost thing on his mind, and he felt it was beneath him to consider such vulgar, common acts. Margaret knew and understood this, better than anyone else.
Maybe he was in love. Maybe love was about finding someone who understood you and cared about you even after they saw your bad side.
But Margaret never fell in love. She used her sensuality as a weapon, a means to an end. Love was not for her, just as sex was not for Charles. In that sense, they were made for each other.
Chapter 4: Mixed asexual-spectrum pairing: Maine/Wash
Maine comes to the conclusion that he and Wash are the only freelancers who haven’t had sex with anyone else on the MoI after one drunken team night in Carolina’s cramped quarters. He knows, of course, that North and York have “fooled around”, as Wash puts it, and that Wyoming and Florida are practically married already. He knows that York has A Thing for Carolina, and that South and Connie are more than friends.
What he hasn’t realised before was that any time a freelancer is attracted to another, the standard protocol is to proposition them and immediately jump into bed.
Maine isn’t asexual, per se, not like Wash. It’s just that his sensory issues make intimate contact repulsive. He can’t understand how some people can just leap into bed, and he tells Wash as much when they leave the team night together, his hands flying as he tries to make sense of all his conclusions and sign them coherently.
Wash laughs and signs back, “I know. They’re all crazy, Maine. You and me are the last hope.”
Maine feels very, very lucky to be dating such a wonderful person.
Chapter 5: Romantic but nonsexual bedsharing: Sam/Sybil
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch took off his boots and piled several blankets on top of himself. Beside him, Lady Sybil Ramkin rolled over to wrap an arm about his waist.
“How was your day, dear?” Vimes asked sleepily.
“Oh, the usual,” Sybil replied. “Poor little Gregory is still sick, but he’s getting better. What about you?”
“Oh, fine, fine,” said Vimes. “We arrested three people today.”
“That’s good to hear,” Sybil said, and, ritual completed, they settled down for sleep.
Chapter 6: Kissing in a nonsexual context: Childermass/Norrell
It’s just a quick kiss, a brush of Childermass’ lips against his own. Nevertheless, it sends a frisson down Norrell’s spine, and he revels in the strange sensation.
They don’t kiss a lot. It’s mostly sleeping together, Childermass’ arm around Norrell’s waist, Norrell’s head tucked under Childermass’ chin. They are never incautious, they always make sure to maintain the utmost propriety. But with the soft, gentle kisses they share all too infrequently, Norrell knows how much Childermass truly cares.
Chapter 7: Nudity in a nonsexual context: Sheppard/McKay
Rodney’s already asleep when John returns from the post-mission briefing with Elizabeth. John doesn’t want to wake him; none of them have been getting enough sleep, but he can’t remove his shirt (which is starting to chafe on the new stitches in his shoulder) without help.
“Rodney,” he says, shaking the scientist by the shoulder, “Rodney, I need help.”
“Hmgrbl,” Rodney replies, but sits up. “What’s gone wrong now?”
“Can’t get my shirt off,” John says, and feels guilty for rousing Rodney for such a small thing.
“Lieutenant Colonel in the US air force, could’ve been in MENSA, can’t take his own damn shirt off,” Rodney grouses, but helps John maneuver around the injured shoulder and remove the shirt. “Oh, wow. I didn’t think it was that bad.”
“Neither did I,” John says tightly, against the stabbing pain. “Sorry I woke you.”
“Any time,” Rodney says, and means it.
Chapter 8: Day 8: Boundaries with romance - Wyoming/Florida
"I'm not in love with you," Florida says suddenly, out of nowhere.
Wyoming doesn't look up. "I didn't think you were," he replies, expertly reassembling his sniper rifle. "You're a Romantic, not a romantic."
Florida snorts. "I will never be in love with you."
"I know," Wyoming says. "Why are you telling me this?"
"I'm aromantic," Florida says. "I don't like romance, especially in my own relationships."
"You read romance novels, Butch," Wyoming says, before he can stop himself, because he's long suspected Florida's cynical attitude toward love wasn't the broken heart York always claimed.
That gets a real laugh out of Florida, full-bodied and infectious. "I hate them. I don't mind reading about it, but not in the real world. Not between you and me, is what I'm saying, Reginald."
"Okay," Wyoming says, because this wasn't unexpected, and really, he doesn't mind. "Just let me know when you get uncomfortable."
Chapter 9: Day 9: Sex without romance (QP context) - Segundus/Childermass
Segundus is relieved, in a way. It’s easier to know that there is no romance here, that the only reason Childermass is in his bed is for the physicality of it. He’s not in love with Childermass, Childermass isn’t capable of being in love with him, and this is about trust.
For Childermass, the fact that he can trust Segundus enough to do this is something strange and unfamiliar. He knows Segundus doesn’t love him romantically, and he is grateful for that. It’s hard enough dealing with the lovestruck Stranges - he doesn’t need anyone else.
It’s a curious warmth in both of them, the trust that goes along with their peculiar exchange of emotion.
Chapter 10: Day 10: mixed orientation pairing - Charles/Margaret
Margaret has tried to love. She has tried, and tried, and even convinced herself once or twice. But she knows, deep within her, that she does not love. It is not a part of her.
It stops bothering her when she meets Charles. Charles is supercilious, smug, arrogant, aloof, and completely in control of his sexuality. They talk of everything and nothing, of love and sex and death and life. He tells her what love is like, and she tells him what sex is like. It’s easier that way. It doesn’t hurt.
Chapter 11: Day 11 - Mixed aro-spec pairing: Childermass/Norrell
It’s quite improper to have any sort of non-professional relationship with one’s man of business. Norrell is glad, therefore, that he and Childermass aren’t involved in any way. For himself, he knows he has never been in love (and suspects he never will be), and he knows Childermass feels romance but rarely.
If he sits so close to Childermass their sides are pressed flush against each other, that is of no importance. If Childermass spends the night in his room, that means nothing, so long as there is no romance there. Norrell sleeps easier knowing that.
Chapter 12: Day 12: QP bedsharing: Maine/Washington
Maine’s sensory issues don’t really allow them to be in close contact with anyone for long periods of time. It’s rare Wash can spend a night comfortable in bed with his partner, and he’ll be damned if he isn’t going to savor it.
|Are you trying to squish me?| Maine signs.
Wash squints in the early light. |No, you’re just too wiggly. Bad and naughty freelancers get sent to the PFL wiggler.|
Maine laughs, their entire body shaking from the force of it. |You wouldn’t leave me there alone with Wyo, right?|
|Of course not,| Wash signs back, grinning.
Maine leans in, pressing their forehead to Wash’s. |I liked this. We should do it again soon.|
|Yeah,| Wash agrees quietly. |ASAP.|
Chapter 13: Day 13: Kissing in a non-romantic context - SG:A team
Ronon does a lot of hugging and kissing. Either Satedans were really touchy-feely people, or Ronon was an outlier, because once the team became whole and integrated and trusted, Ronon was free with his affections. He kissed the back of Teyla’s neck when they were all cuddled together on an offworld mission, and she turned around and kissed his forehead. He kissed John’s cheek when they were at movie night, and John turned his face into Ronon’s shoulder until he stopped blushing and smiling stupidly. He kissed the top of Rodney’s head in the lab one day, and Rodney nearly slapped him before turning bright red and pointedly ignoring Zelenka’s lewd grin the rest of the day.
It was a warm, comfortable feeling, knowing that the kisses and hugs were strictly platonic, with no sexual or romantic overtones. John’s asexuality and Teyla’s monogamous relationship with Kanaan made sure of that, and Ronon enjoyed being once again able to be close to people he loved unconditionally.
Chapter 14: Day 14: "Dates" in a nonromantic context - Sullivan & Hammer
Sullivan sipped at his coffee, eyeing Hammer’s stack of history books.
“No,” she said. “Absolutely not.”
“Yes,” he said. “I paid for the coffee, you paid for the gas, we have to split the books.”
“No,” Hammer repeated, biting down on a smile.
“Oh, come on.”
She passed him one of the ones on top.
“Renaissance in France? Really?” he asked. “Not your usual taste.”
“They’re my books, Jake. Not yours. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. Eye for an eye, and all that,” she replied.
Sullivan leaned back. “Phrase doesn’t really apply here.”
The banter went back and forth, easy and free, the talk between them comfortable in the way only two people who have been through hell together can be. Hammer let down her guard, Sullivan let down his. When they were done, Sullivan would go home to his wife, Hammer to her cat. It worked for both of them, unconventional though it was.
Chapter 15: Day 15: Write an allo pairing as QP: Scotty/Uhura
She tangles her fingers in his, and they stroll casually down the corridor. They’re usually not this open with their affection, but she figures today is an exception. She’d nearly died on the last mission, and she wants to make sure she can feel her qpp safe and warm against her side as they talk and laugh and joke.
He leans against her, pressing his face into her hair, and remembers the sickening feeling of terror in the pit of his stomach when she’d told him what happened down there. He holds her hand a little tighter than usual, and they go about their usual business.
Chapter 16: Day 16: Gestures of care - Sheppard/Mitchell
John marked his place in the book and went to stand behind Cam. “You sure you don’t want to call in sick tomorrow? General Landry likes you enough to give you a sick day.”
“Nah,” Cam said. “Better save it for when I’m actually sick.”
John frowned. “Sit tight,” he said. “I’m getting you soup.”
Cam blew his nose, and complied. “John?”
“Where did you get the canned soup? I know I didn’t buy that at the PX.” Cam would definitely have remembered buying minestrone.
“Bought it,” John said shortly.
Cam smiled. John had never been good with words or feelings, especially not when the other person was vulnerable.
“Thanks, John,” he said, inhaling the steam from the microwaved bowl. “You’re the best.”
“Mmmm,” John agreed, and went back to his book.
Chapter 17: Day 17: Gestures of comfort: Stephen/Marcus
Stephen wakes up gasping for air, fingers clutching at the puckered scar where he’d been stabbed.
Marcus is shaking his shoulder, eyes wide with concern. “Stephen?”
“Just a nightmare,” Stephen says, forcing his breath to come smoothly and evenly. “Just a nightmare,” he repeats, and he grabs Marcus’ hand, anchoring himself firmly in the real world.
Marcus scoots closer and helps Stephen sit up, then curls up and puts zir head in Stephen’s lap. Ze knows Stephen likes zir hair, how long and soft it is, and ze likes when Stephen plays with it. It calms both of them down, and the tactile sensation helps ground Stephen when he has nightmares.
They stay that way for almost an hour before Stephen’s fingers still and Marcus realizes zir boyfriend has fallen asleep.
Marcus sits up carefully, and tucks the blankets more securely around Stephen. “Good night, love,” ze whispers, dropping a kiss onto Stephen’s forehead. “I’m here if you need me.”
Chapter 18: Day 18: Commitment without sex/romance/both: Sinclair/Sakai
Catherine sits up in bed, watching Jeff fumble with one of the drawers in the dark. “You know, you could turn on the lights,” she says, amused.
Sinclair jumps. “You scared me, Catherine,” he says, one hand over his heart dramatically. “I thought you were asleep.”
“No,” she says, “you woke me with all that banging around.”
“Sorry,” he returns. “I suppose the whole thing is ruined, then.”
Catherine frowns. “What whole thing?” She searches his face for clues, but he just looks tired, if slightly unkempt.
He goes down on one knee, and it’s then she sees the box in his hand. “Catherine Sakai,” he says, very seriously, “will you be my queerplatonic partner for the rest of our lives?”
She rolls out of bed and practically tackles him in a hug. “Of course, Jeff,” she whispers in his ear, smiling. “Of course.”
Chapter 19: Day 19: Outsider Perspective: Brody/Volker
Now that Young had walked in on Brody and Volker kissing, he started to notice little things. They weren’t obvious, not unless you were looking for them, but they were definitely there. The two always sat just a little too close, leaned in just a little too far over each other’s shoulders, let the backs of their hands brush when they walked together down the corridors.
As he watched them, the less sure he was that they were sleeping together. It was probably a strong friendship, maybe romantic, but they weren’t sleeping together - or if they were, there was nothing sexual involved. What was the word David had used to describe Teal’c and Carter’s relationship? Queerplatonic? Yeah, that sounded right.
When he walked in on them a second time, he had to say something. “You know,” he started awkwardly, “you don’t have to hide if you don’t want to.”
Volker’s plain astonishment and Brody’s small smile made the awkwardness worth it.
Chapter 20: Day 20: Grooming Gestures - Will/Thraun
Will and Thraun have been close since they met. There are no secrets between them, not once Will found out about Thraun’s shapechanger status. They eat meals together, sleep in the same tent, just generally take care of each other. So it’s not really a surprise that Will’s the one helping Thraun when his front paw got stabbed through with a knife, translating into a useless left hand in human form.
Thraun flinches from the cold as Will splashes water on the shapechanger’s head. He likes his hair washed - it always makes him feel like more of a person when he’s clean. But he can’t exactly do it himself with his hand still bandaged and with strict instructions from Erienne to be very careful with it.
Will scrubs his fingers over Thraun’s scalp, getting the water and soap right down to the roots. Thraun makes a soft, rumbling noise deep in his chest as Will hits the back of his neck. “Thanks,” he says quietly.
“Any time,” Will replies, and Thraun can hear the smile in his voice.
Chapter 21: Day 21: Seeing someone in an unusual or vulnerable state - Wolffe & Plo Koon
He’s surprised when he walks in and sees General Plo wearing different goggles than usual. "Sir?” he asks carefully.
“Hello, Wolffe,” his general says. “Come in, will you?”
Wolffe steps into the room. “Is everything alright, General? I mean, your goggles --”
“Yes,” General Plo says. “My eyes are tired; I needed to wear something that provides a little more moisture for them.”
“Oh,” Wolffe says, relieved. “Sorry.”
“Don’t fret, Commander,” General Plo tells him, and Wolffe can hear the smile in his voice. “You would know if something was wrong with my equipment.”
“Yes, sir,” Wolffe says, and he can’t stop the smile on his own face. “Thanks, sir.”