Baze hated his ears. Especially since the last adventure Chirrut had talked him into going on—sneaking into the kyber crystal caves? What had Baze been thinking, agreeing to that?
He sighed. He’d been thinking he couldn’t say no to that smile of Chirrut’s, the one that lit his dark brown eyes as he cocked his head and waited for Baze to give in.
Which he always did, because Chirrut knew exactly how to play him, even better than the guzheng, the strings of which he plucked so expertly.
Baze rubbed his bald head, swearing under his breath as the monk droned on at the head of the classroom. His scalp was bristly stubs against his palm, a stark reminder of Master Allar’s disappointed face as he told Baze to kneel and then produced the scissors and razor.
“Cheer up,” Chirrut said, nudging him. “You look very dashing with no hair.”
Baze slanted a glare at him. Chirrut grinned back, his own shaved scalp pale against the golden brown of his face, utterly unrepentant.
“It’s easy for you,” Baze muttered. “At least you make bald look good.”
Chirrut’s smile slipped. “And you don’t?”
“Shut up,” Baze said. “Trying to learn here.”
Chirrut’s eyes were thoughtful but he didn’t say anything else.
After class, it was dinnertime. Baze bore the teasing stoically, pretending he didn’t notice or care as one acolyte asked if he could tie a string to his ankle and take him up on a windy hill.
“Oh, I get it!” Chirrut said loudly, leaning across Baze to grab a roll from the basket down the table. “It’s because he has big ears, right? So funny, Baze, aren’t they?” He was warm and heavy in Baze’s lap as he groped for the bread until Baze scowled down at him and retrieved the basket himself.
“Can you get radio transmissions on those?” someone else asked.
“Yes,” Chirrut said before Baze could answer. “And word is, you’re a little bitch.”
The table dissolved in laughter and Chirrut grinned triumphantly around his mouthful of bread.
Master Allar clapped his hands sharply, bringing their attention up. “Free period before bed,” he announced, and the students cheered. “Don’t make me regret it!” he called over the whoops and shouts.
Chirrut’s hand snaked around Baze’s wrist and he tugged. “Come with me.”
Baze rose and followed him through the dining hall. Chirrut moved quickly between the tables, dodging rowdy acolytes and ducking out a side door. He led Baze down the cool stone hall, sandstone arches curving high above their heads, and out another door, this one leading outside.
The sun had almost set, twilight creeping over the city at their feet and the nip in the air making Baze shiver. They were in one of the gardens—Master T’ron’s, Baze realized, the head healer—full of the herbs he used to make his foul brews.
But Chirrut wasn’t stopping. Fingers still loosely bracketing Baze’s wrist, he hurried through the rows of carefully staked herbs to the gate on the far side. It opened on a narrow alley between the stone buildings.
Chirrut seemed to know exactly where he was going, pulling impatiently on Baze’s arm when he tried to balk.
“I want to show you something,” Chirrut said, glancing over his shoulder. “We’ll be back before last bells.”
Baze sighed and followed him down the narrow alley to a set of shallow stone steps recessed against the building. They were worn with age, the risers eroded from exposure to the elements, little more than dips and grooves.
Chirrut’s feet were nimble as he darted up the steps, Baze not far behind.
They came out onto a terrace, a waist-high parapet surrounding it. It was the roof of the apothecary, Baze realized.
Chirrut was already pulling open the door of the little shed at the far end of the roof, muttering to himself as he dragged things out. He turned and shoved an armful of pillows at Baze, who nearly dropped them in surprise.
“What in the seven hells—”
Chirrut grinned at him over the pile of cushions. “I come up here sometimes. Master T’ron doesn’t care. Put those down over by the wall.”
Baze obeyed as Chirrut pulled a thin foam mat out and shook it open. He laid it down by the wall as well and piled the pillows on top.
“Come on,” he said, beckoning.
Baze sat down on the mat, his back against the wall, and Chirrut flopped beside him.
“Look,” he said, bumping Baze’s shoulder.
NaJedha loomed above them, swirling browns and grays streaking the face of the huge planet Jedha orbited, and Baze clutched his knees, tipping his head back to rest it on the stone.
“Makes you feel small, doesn’t it?” Chirrut murmured. He was warm and solid against Baze’s side, a steadying anchor.
Baze closed his eyes. “Did you just want to show me NaJedha? You know we could see that from our window, right?”
Chirrut sighed and went to his knees. Before Baze could react, he’d swung a leg over Baze’s lap to straddle him, and Baze froze in place.
It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought about it, of course. Chirrut was impossible not to think about, with his dark eyes and infectious smile, his irrepressible humor and the way his long hands looked wrapped around a weapon when they sparred.
But it had never even occurred to Baze to say something. Chirrut was like a star in orbit—glittering, untouchable, to be admired but never reached for. Baze was too far below him, too slow, too direct, too… plodding. He would never shine like Chirrut. As well expect a diamond to fall in love with a lump of dirt.
“Has anyone ever told you you think too loud?” Chirrut said.
Baze shook his head mutely. Chirrut was heavy on top of him, too warm and close and he was resting his hands on Baze’s shoulders and leaning in—
“What are you doing,” Baze managed.
Chirrut rolled his eyes and leaned even closer. His breath was sweet and warm as their noses brushed, but Chirrut didn’t close the gap to kiss him. Instead, he brought a hand up and tugged gently on Baze’s ear.
Baze recoiled fast, jerking his head out of Chirrut’s grip. “Don’t.”
There was sadness on Chirrut’s face. “You hate them that much?”
Baze hunched his shoulders. Chirrut leaned back so their faces weren’t so close together but he stayed in place, waiting for an answer.
“They’re my favorite thing about you,” Chirrut said, when Baze didn’t say anything.
Baze flicked his eyes up to Chirrut’s.
“I want to suck on them,” Chirrut continued, and Baze’s breath stopped. “I want to bite them, make you pant and beg and shake, pull on them while I fuck you—”
Baze slapped a hand over Chirrut’s mouth as he curled forward, heaving for air and willing his erection to subside.
Chirrut’s eyes gleamed above Baze’s hand and Baze let go and pressed his forehead to Chirrut’s shoulder, dragging in desperate lungfuls of air. Chirrut smelled like wood smoke and night jasmine, sweet and comforting, and he curved a hand over Baze’s bald scalp, fingers soft.
“I’ve wanted you for so long,” Chirrut whispered. “You drive me mad, Baze, you don’t even know—”
Baze lunged forward and caught Chirrut’s mouth in a desperate, hungry kiss. He cupped the nape of Chirrut’s neck and pulled him close, sweeping into his mouth as Chirrut moaned shakily and crowded forward, arms snaking around Baze’s neck.
“I do know,” Baze choked as he broke the kiss. Chirrut’s eyes were dazed, his lips red and kiss-swollen, and Baze leaned in and pressed another soft kiss to them. “Gods above and below, Chirrut, I can’t think about anything else—”
“You’re so beautiful,” Chirrut said. Baze shook his head reflexively, but Chirrut caught his chin to hold him still. “Every part of you, Baze.” His eyes were serious, and Baze searched them.
“You believe that.”
A smile flickered across Chirrut’s mouth and he dropped a kiss on Baze’s nose, making his eyes cross. “From the moment I first saw you. I walked into the temple and I saw you on the other side of the room, with those eyes, and that dimple in your cheek because the kid beside you had made you laugh, and your ears—” He sighed blissfully. “The sun hit them from the window behind you, and they glowed. I was a goner.”
Baze couldn’t help his laugh, despite the chagrin that he could feel staining his cheeks. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?”
Chirrut shrugged, smile widening. “I thought you didn’t feel the same way.”
“So we’re both idiots,” Baze said, unable to stop the laugh that bubbled up.
Chirrut hummed and leaned in to nip Baze’s jawline. Baze shivered and braced his hands on Chirrut’s thighs, rubbing the firm muscle. He worked his way up toward Chirrut’s groin and the bulge tenting his pants there as Chirrut took Baze’s earlobe between his teeth.
Baze stiffened with a gasp and Chirrut moaned and sucked it farther into his mouth, breath thundering in Baze’s ear as he nibbled his way along the shell.
Eyes closed, Baze groped for Chirrut’s groin again. He was rewarded with a gasp when he cupped Chirrut’s hard length through his soft linen pants, Chirrut tensing and rolling his hips into Baze’s hand.
“I d-didn’t—I don’t have anything up here,” he husked as Baze kneaded and rubbed, thumbing the head of Chirrut’s shaft where it pressed against the fabric.
“Plenty we can do without it,” Baze said. His smile was wicked as he turned his head to catch Chirrut’s mouth in another kiss. “And something to look forward to.”
Chirrut whimpered and went back to his exploration of Baze’s ear as Baze devoted his attention to working Chirrut’s pants down over his thighs. Chirrut lifted his hips and leaned so Baze could tug them off one leg, freeing his cock.
Then he settled back in Baze’s lap and switched his attention to Baze’s other ear.
Baze thought hazily that he might be drowning, pulled under by the way Chirrut worshiped him with meticulous care, hands cupping Baze’s throat and hips rolling restlessly, looking for friction.
He could help with that. Baze closed a hand around Chirrut’s shaft and was rewarded by Chirrut’s choked gasp, his spine arching and head falling back as Baze began to stroke.
Chirrut’s hands had dropped to Baze’s shoulders, balancing himself, but he slid them up at that, to grasp Baze’s ears.
Baze half-laughed as Chirrut pressed their foreheads together, his eyes unfocused, perfect teeth caught in his lower lip as he rolled into Baze’s grip.
Baze had never felt this before, the need sparking across his skin, setting him alight from the inside, ears tingling as Chirrut accidentally jerked on them when Baze twisted his wrist on an upstroke. Heat and pressure were building at the base of his spine, despite not having been touched at all yet, and he groaned and slipped a hand between them to palm himself.
He couldn’t free himself from his pants, not with the position they were in, but he had a feeling it wasn’t going to matter, as the sparks built to a showering crescendo behind his eyes and Chirrut gasped.
“Baze—Baze, I’m—” His mouth fell open and he went rigid as he came, back curving like a heron in flight, hands scrabbling helplessly at Baze’s shoulders and hips jerking.
The sight of Chirrut undone was too much for Baze’s self-control. He followed on a muffled noise as ecstasy flooded his veins, whiting out his vision as he spilled helplessly between them.
Drained, Baze sagged back against the parapet, chest heaving, Chirrut a limp weight across his torso and his breath, rapid and shallow, tickling Baze’s throat.
It took him a while to realize Chirrut was saying something, whispering it over and over into Baze’s skin like a mantra.
“So beautiful, so perfect, so mine,” he breathed. “So beautiful.” He kissed Baze’s throat. “So perfect.” He kissed the same spot.
Baze caught Chirrut’s head and tilted it up so their eyes could meet. “So yours,” he whispered, and kissed him.