It took Terrence an embarrassingly long time to think of it.
He wanted to want Ethan. He owed Ethan everything – his life, his new home, his chance at realizing Janine's dream. Ethan was an attractive man, particularly with the beard; Ethan clearly wanted Terrence; Terrence was hardly spoiled for choice in sexual partners on Athos. It made sense.
But he couldn't find the desire within himself; had felt little desire for anyone since Janine’s death.
He asked at dinner, thinking little of it. Ethan had halfway agreed when he caught himself.
“What do you need tyramine for?”
Terrence couldn’t read Ethan’s face. Was that concern? Suspicion? Other people had strange ideas about privacy, about sole ownership of their thoughts, as if their thoughts were somehow rare or precious. Terrence understood that not at all. Still, he rushed to reassure.
“I wouldn’t go into your mind at all,” he said, because other people bizarrely thought there was some split between mind and body, “just borrow your lust for a bit.”
Now Ethan looked horrified. He pushed himself back from the table as if to distance himself from the thought. Terrence’s heart sank; distance was the exact opposite of his goal.
Ethan’s voice was hesitant, soft. “Have I given you any cause to believe I need that from you?”
“Because I don’t,” Ethan continued hurriedly. “I don’t need anything from you. I’m just happy to have you here, in my life and in my home, helping me raise my son. That’s all I want from you – with you – if that’s all you ever want with me.”
Terrence wasn’t sure where he went wrong. His chest felt tight. Still, Ethan clearly needed soothing. “All right,” he ventured. “I know.” It wasn't enough.
“I’m happy to be here with you, like this. Family.”