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sleep with the lights on

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"Are you alright?" Moon bent closer over River, squinting at the top of his head. He didn't think there was any blood in River's hair, but in this dim light it was hard to tell.

"I'm fine," River growled, swiping half-heartedly at him. "Stop poking."

He probably was fine - Raksura had hard heads. And it wasn't as if Moon actually cared about River, or anything.

But it was probably Moon's fault that the groundlings had thought the two Raksura were lurking outside the village wall because they were trying to work out how to rob them, and definitely Moon's fault that he hadn't seen the giant spear-thing one of the groundlings had tried to stab him with. River had had to push him out of the way, and gotten hit over the head himself for his trouble.

It was also probably Moon's fault that they were locked up inside this underground groundling prison. He just hadn't seen that giant net coming. It had been steel mesh, too, too thick for claws to rip through - Moon thought that that kind of behaviour was just unfair.

Possibly, the groundlings had thought it equally unfair when their two supposed groundling thieves had shapeshifted into flying lizard people, with claws. But surely they could have realised that if the Raksura had really wanted to break into their village, they could have just flown over the wall?

It was all just a giant misunderstanding, really. And when someone came back to let them out of prison, Moon was definitely going to tell them so.

He was sure they were coming back soon. Any moment now...

River sighed dramatically and pulled away from Moon's inspection, flopping backwards onto the straw pallet in the corner of the room. He hadn't actually said anything to Moon yet, but there was a definite air of criticism emanating from that side of the room.

Moon fidgeted.

The critical silence grew heavier.

"I'm sorry, alright?" he snapped. "I didn't think they'd be able to see us in the dark."

River was silent just long enough to demonstrate what admirable self-restraint he had. "I thought you said you knew these groundlings?"

"I said I thought I knew what species they were!" Moon winced and looked down. "Obviously, I was wrong."

River snorted, but didn't dignify that with a response.

"We'll just have to wait until they let us out. Or until Jade finds us." Moon hoped he sounded confident.

"You mean, until Jade finds us and rips my head off for letting you get captured by groundlings?"

"I wouldn't let her do that," Moon said firmly. She wouldn't actually try to kill River, he was sure.

Fairly sure.

River snorted again. "Okay. Well, I'm going to sleep."

That seemed like a reasonable decision to Moon. It wasn't like there was anything else to do in here.

He eyed the pallet. It was obviously elderly, more a vaguely rectangular pile of straw than a proper mattress, but it looked marginally more comfortable than the floor.

"Good idea," he said to River, walking the two steps over to his side of the room. "Move over."

River made another dramatic noise, but after a moment he shifted over to make room for Moon, curling up comfortably into Moon's side.



He woke some time later with a crick in his neck and River snoring into his shoulder. It was full daylight now, but irritatingly their pallet was just outside the small patch of bright sunlight falling onto the floor. It wasn't as if the room was cold, but the sun looked like it would feel nice.

Moon rolled over and stretched, looking over hopefully at the locked prison door, but there was still no sign of the groundlings who'd imprisoned them. He sighed, heavily. River made a grumbling noise and tried to burrow back under his shoulder, grimacing at the light.

Moon managed to escape him, rolling out from underneath him and springing to his feet in one smooth motion. Mostly smooth. That groundling with the spear-thing had hit him pretty hard in the ribs the night before.

Two paces took him to the door, two more to the left hand wall, and four more to get to the far side. There were no sounds he could hear outside, no scents that weren't drowned out by the combination of sweaty Raksura and mouldy straw trapped in a small enclosed space all night. Moon hissed to himself and paced out the circuit of the room again.

An indeterminable time later, River rolled over, propping himself up on one elbow to stare at Moon. He definitely looked better now, apart from the straw in his hair. But the paleness and the general impression of a recent head injury were gone.

"Are you going to keep pacing until Jade comes?" he demanded, irritably.

Moon hissed at him. If he'd been in his other form, his tail would be lashing. "Maybe. What are you going to do about it?"

River rolled his eyes and lay back down. So he wasn't going to fight Moon. That was vaguely disappointing.

Moon was bored, and he didn't really like being stuck in enclosed spaces. He just wanted to get out of here, to move, to do something.

"Are you just going to lie there until Jade comes?" Moon demanded finally, hoping he could goad River into doing something more interesting than just lying on the ground.

"It looks like it, doesn't it?" River stretched lazily, apparently fully committed to being as annoying as possible. "What do you want me to do? I could walk round and round in very small circles too, but I don't think there's room."

Moon growled. River didn't look like he was planning on moving. And it wasn't as if he could ask River to come over here and fight him, just for entertainment. But if he had to spend any longer trapped in here, he might end up trying that option anyway.

"You could - " Moon trailed off, resigned.

"Exactly," River said, smugly. "There is absolutely nothing to do, unless you wanted to - "

He froze. Suddenly the smug look was gone, replaced by vague panic.

No. No, there was no way Moon would possibly consider that.



River was asleep again. The sun had moved, late afternoon light shining directly onto his face.

Moon looked at him - might have been staring at him for a while, if he was being honest with himself. But he definitely wasn't considering sex with River, at all. That would just be absurd.

River's groundling form was attractive, Moon supposed, but no more so than any other Raksura male. Moon hated him - well, they'd saved each other's lives a few times now, and technically Moon supposed that River was part of his faction in the court, and there had been that whole business with the giant sea monster and then the people from Kish - but apart from that, Moon definitely hated him.


So there was absolutely no explanation for why he'd suddenly started thinking about it.

Or why he couldn't stop.

Moon growled, low in his throat. This was definitely all River's fault.



River woke up when Moon put his hand on the middle of his chest. His eyes went wide, expression still sleepy and heavy-eyed, confused.

Moon shook his head and started to move away. "I'm sorry - " he began, not sure what he was saying or even really what he was apologising for.

He had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

But River was still staring at him. "Moon," he said, roughly, voice catching.

Moon drew in a startled breath and caught his scent -

And then somehow he was on top of River, hands tangling in his hair, mouth on his neck. River was clinging to him desperately.

They scrabbled at each other's clothing, fumbling at the loose ties that kept the soft Raksura trousers closed. Moon couldn't get purchase in the slick, silky fabric of River's shirt; he shifted to get his claws, and heard River moan as he felt Moon's scales against his soft groundling skin. It was mad, impossible - but apparently they were both going mad together.

Even after Moon got their clothes off, River kept shifting under him, restlessly, until Moon pinned him down at the shoulders to keep him still. River made another low desperate sound, and Moon had to bite him again, couldn't help himself. He couldn't believe how much he wanted this. How much River wanted this -

He felt River trying to buck up against him at the sudden pressure against his neck, and then felt him surrender to Moon's hold on him, giving in. Moon was stronger than River, and they both knew it.

Moon freed a hand to stroke up River's thigh to his rigid cock, like a reward, hearing River cry out again in answer. River was hot to the touch, his cock wet at the tip. Moon let his claws rest delicately at the head for a moment, the barest pressure - River wailed.

River wasn't fighting him. Somehow he'd gone soft and yielding, giving in to anything Moon wanted to do to him, and it made Moon want to bite him. He hadn't thought - he hadn't known River would be like this.

He hadn't known how much he'd like it.

River was gasping constantly now, breath ragged, grinding his cock desperately against the smooth scales on Moon's thigh. His fingers were tight on Moon's hip and shoulder, his groundling skin gone flushed and damp.

"Moon," he choked out.

Moon growled at him. "Beg me," he said, in the low rasp of his shifted form.

River clutched at him, a sudden frantic movement.

"Please - Moon - please - I need - "

Moon barely had time to touch him before he came.



Afterwards River collapsed into stunned pleasure, but he recovered more quickly than Moon expected; all of a sudden he looked awake again, pushing Moon onto his back and climbing over him with a tense, determined expression on his face.

"Let me do this," River said, fierce and urgent. He was about level with Moon's chest, at this point, and moving steadily downwards. Moon saw no reason to stop him.

River's mouth was hot and tight and absolutely wonderful. He held nothing back, maybe sensing how desperate Moon was, how close he'd gotten.

It didn't take much beyond River's mouth on him, his long careful fingers stroking the tender scales around Moon's balls with just the right amount of pressure. Moon buried his hand in River's hair, careful to keep his claws sheathed, and River moaned - and that was it, Moon was finished, shaking and crying out as he came.



River crawled back up to eye level and collapsed onto Moon's chest, radiating smugness. His mouth was red and bloody, tiny cuts on his lips from Moon's scales.

Moon wanted to do everything they'd just done all over again.

He sighed, controlling the impulse.

"This doesn't mean I like you now," he said sternly, running his fingers absently through River's hair.

"Of course not," River agreed sleepily.

"Just as long as we're clear," Moon said; but River's eyes were already closing.

Moon was starting to suspect he was fighting a battle he'd already lost.