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Laughing Fit

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Falling in love is a solemn business.

Or at least it was for Galacian Asha'Techk and Matthew Kee. In the act of tip-toeing toward a mutual affection, Clan Techie and Matt, well they were straight-up serious about it.

There were smiles, of course. Shy, secret, fleeting, lip-biting, hopeful. There were nervous giggles too, skittery things that escaped when hands accidentally touched or one caught the other staring.

Mostly though, Matt and Techie expressed their newfound sentiments so very earnestly.

Matt brought Techie little things, trinkets and tiny single-purpose tools, presenting each with solemn silence. Techie made tiny wire figures, mostly long-haired men presenting flowers, when he noticed Matt liked those best.

Over time these small expressions of their affection did much to encourage the growth of it. And so affection became devotion, devotion turned to passion, and passion, well that became love.

It was with love that these two men began the second chapter of their story, and that chapter is when they started to laugh.

*

First, however, there was the nearly dying.

This bit of unpleasantness occurred because Techie snorts like a swamp pig when he belly laughs. No seriously, he makes a huge, guttural, chesty sound that emphatically should not fit inside the body of such a slim man.

So surprising was the bigness of this sound, that Matt nearly choked to death the first time he heard it, no lie. He'd been nursing the bitter syrup meant to help his cold, and apparently the face he made as he took each tiny sip eventually became too much for Techie.

Perched cross-legged at the foot of Matt's bed—this was before they moved in together—Gala had been striving to distract Mattie from his miseries but the faces, holy fuck Mattie's faces. Techie tried not to laugh because Matt was a miserable sore-throated mess and that's not funny, but by his fourth sip and its following convulsive grimace Techie lost his shit and laughed so hard he fell over, rolling around on Mattie's bed and laughing until he honked. Or oinked. Or—

—whatever that sound was, it so surprised Matt that he swallowed that syrup sideways and straight down his windpipe. He then coughed so hard he's pretty sure mucus came out his eyes, but that actually was fine in the end because 1) he survived and 2) Matt now had a mission.

Mission Make Techie Laugh.

It was a tough mission that, because neither Matt nor Gala are particularly light-hearted. They're not grim, but there's a somberness to their souls that suits them. And suits them to each other.

So Techie doesn't laugh easily and Matt doesn't have much of the clown in him, but that turned out to be fine, because laugh-honking was just one manifestation of their giddy joy and together and over time they found others.

There was the jaw-dropped kind of joy, the sort a man experiences when his beautiful beau meets him for dinner in a summery dress that leaves his slim arms bare but for dozens of chattering bracelets, his long legs showy with strappy sandals, long, bright hair braided softly back.

Every time, every time Mattie sees Techie this way he giggles his way through their dinner, or their walk, hand again and again pressed over his grinning mouth, the other holding tight to Techie.

To be honest it goes much the same way when Matt dresses for his sweetheart, only he's regal in formal makeup, high boots and head dress. To be honest only once has he worn his Naboo-inspired outfit out, but he will again he's sure.

It's just that they can't have anything to do when he does because that one time he did Techie was useless for anything. They never made it beyond the Cylinian Gardens that night because all Techie wanted to do was parade round and round through the fancy evening crowd, every now and again leaning his chest to Mattie's chest, looking up, up, up and making high, happy sounds.

Soft and sweet are not the only joys they know of course. Alongside the more innocent pleasures, there's a low, evil-laugh kind of delight they share when getting their payback on.

This wicked laughter is a splash of warm breath against each other's palms—"Shhh! Someone'll hear!"—like that time they vandalized Orann Loww's workstation. Of course Matt's horrible boss up and decided to quit the Accord before he and Techie ever had a chance to make her station catch fire, but oh they'd laughed like deranged hornagaunts at the time of the sabotage, don't you doubt it.

Then there are the giggles exchanged when they feed one another sticky messy things, when Mattie makes salacious little drawings on Techie's soft belly, when Techie perfectly imitates Brigadier Hux's posh voice. And while they'll find many more ways than even these to make a joyful noise, there was one they discovered early in their relationship and it will stay with them all their long lives together.

They tickle.

It had started all kinds of serious, actually, because here's a thing about Techie: He's skittery with words. Wearing a lifetime of little hurts like outsized armor, he can misunderstand praise as reproval and so once (just that once) he didn't hear Mattie's whisper of my skinny little blue-eyed baby as the besotted endearment it was, he heard you are small, you are weak, you are broken.

Here's a thing you need to know about Mattie: He's been too big his whole life and a big man often finds himself on the wrong end of someone else's self-esteem issues. So when someone's spoiling for a fight, Matt's learned the easiest way to short-circuit the mess that wants to follow is to apologize.

As soon as Mattie saw the effect of his words on Techie, he got out of their bed and went to his knees on the floor, chin dropping to chest. Though that was how a negation starts, that motion, the beginning of no, here it was I'm sorry, and please, and forgive.

Like just about everyone else, Techie carries far too close the burdensome baggage of his past. Fortunately Techie's a bit of a genius, in more ways than one. He can fix nearly any computerize anything; if it's got a circuit and some solder he speaks its language. It turns out, though, that Techie's also a genius at giving up.

Useless baggage, as it so happens.

So Techie got out of bed, tripped on the cuffs of pants half-undone and loose round his hips, and he got on the floor in front of Matt and because he's smaller, just a little, he could kneel lower and that was important right now, to be the smaller that he is and will always be next to this man and this is the bit where Techie gave up caring about that.

If he wanted Matt in his life—in his arms, his bed, his body—Techie couldn't damn well keep caring about the truths of their differences, not when those differences were part of what they each loved about the other.

Where another might say little and mean frail, Mattie meant fine and we fit. Where another might say skinny and mean weak, Mattie would only ever mean delicate and beautiful.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Techie said, tipping gracelessly forward on that floor, head thumping against Matt's breast bone and right there, right there then Matt would have said something solemn in return, tried to out-apologize probably, but something happened and so something else happened instead.

Techie's hair, which is quite possibly made of some sort of glim worm silk, it slipped out of the tie holding it back and a cascade of that so-soft red hair brushed against Matt's naked ribs and in reflex his body convulsed.

"Shit!" he huff-laughed, breath a warm gust against the back of Techie's head.

Matt's laughter is a ridiculous stop-start thing, like an engine trying to turn over, and when it finally does, the giggles go high in spots and breathless. Just now, with the soft whoosh of his softer hair, Techie was given the keys to this engine.

He decided instantly that he would drive that thing into the ground.

He grabbed two handfuls of flesh over Matt's ribs and didn't even have a chance to try and tickle, the unexpected ten-fingered touch was more than enough. Matt's entire grand body heaved, hands clutching round Techie's biceps, and over they went onto the chilly floor, Matt belly laughing like a hornagaunt completely kriffed on a double dose of pryodase.

"Oooooh!" he hollered, which is nothing at all like stop and so Techie didn't, he dug.

This time he got to tickle properly, fingers sliding into Matt's armpits and the engine was well and truly warmed because the man howled his laughter, clutching Techie even closer, body bucking up and into the contact, any of it, all of it, and neither remembers how they got back on to the bed, but by that time Matt had his hands up under Techie's t-shirt and every one of Techie's six feet and two inches shook with his shrieky laughter.

For twenty solid minutes they thrashed and bucked and rolled and then stripped, until Techie tried to suck at Mattie but too many nerve endings were on fire so no, nope, Mattie's cock couldn't do it and so Matt flipped Techie over and tried to get a mouthful of him but Techie's got bony knees and he nearly left an imprint of Mattie's glasses against Matt's face with one and no, nope, he couldn't do it either, so despite both being hard as borlestone nobody got off, not that way but that was fine, that was…it…was…

After all that they passed clean out and slept for hours. When they woke, Matt had an imprint of his glasses on his face.

Techie laughed himself sick.

And after all that they could, oh my they could, so they did and—

"Oh! Oh god Mattie!"

—it was very, very good.

This chapter—and the Cylinian Gardens above—are for Cylin, who makes such beautiful art and has kick-ass head canons. Thank you Cylin! P.S. This is also for FrankyOh, who just discovered the teeny tiny world of Techienician. I hope you love our sweet boys as much as we do Franky! P.S. I'll be doing this Techie thing 1 September!