Story Notes: My friend Keiliss requested I write her a fic with Cal/Pell. This story was inspired by the following line from Fulfillments: “I’m not the same person, Cal. You do realize that, don’t you?”
Author’s Email: email@example.com
Web page: http://heartofoshun.livejournal.com/
Pairing: Cal/Pell; other characters: Caeru, Vaysh
Word count: 1,530
Disclaimer: Characters, plot and setting all belong to Storm Constantine.
Spoilers: Fulfillments of Fate and Desire
Under the gaze of an omniscient smirking moon, they stood at the top of steps leading down from the portico of the Hegalion. After the meeting where Cal first met the Hegemony, Cal, Rue and Pell had left the council chamber together. Pell felt the entire universe held its breath and observed. This was momentous.
Cal exhaled heavily and looked from Pell to Rue. “That was strange, wasn’t it? Do you think it went all right?” The unasked question: ‘Did I do well?’
“Better than all right,” Pell answered, moving to press his thigh and hip against Cal. He needed to touch him, assure himself that Cal was real.
“Oh, you’re good,” Rue admitted grudgingly.
In the space of less than three hours, Cal had managed to surprise, annoy, anger, frustrate, and delight Pell. It had been the shortest and certainly the least formal of any meeting of the Hegemony Pell had ever attended. Cal not only won the hearts of the spectators at his first meeting, but there was no doubt he had impressed the members of the Hegemony. Perhaps he had even softened part of the formidable resistance among them.
That fit entirely with Pell’s memory of the Cal he had once known. Brash, overwhelming, unpredictable. And yet, he did not know this new Cal. The old balance between them apparently had been completely turned on its head. Pell was no longer innocent or fresh and the guilt and darkness had been scoured out of Cal. Pell recalled he had worried how Cal might react to how he had changed if they ever met again. Thiede had hardened, tempered, and refined Pell, burned away the sweetness Cal had once loved. But Cal had somehow spectacularly wrought his own reforging, if not entirely without help. Pell wondered if he could be wrong: that the more things had changed, the more they had stayed the same.
Cal distracted Pell from his ruminations by squeezing his hand forcefully. Casual but alert, Cal nodded in the direction of Rue, who fidgeted and looked furtively after Velaxis who descended the steps near them, clearly anxious to leave. Temporarily appeased, yet still chilly with Pell and wary of Cal, Rue mumbled a hasty good-bye, and accepted a short embrace from each of them before turning quickly away.
Cal reached out and grabbed Rue’s arm, pulling him back, his voice simultaneously careless and caressing. “It won’t be so bad.”
“Hmm. Well, I don’t know . . .” Rue answered, shivering and shaking his head at Cal’s lazy conspiratorial smile. “We’ll see.”
Pulling loose from Cal, Rue gracefully tripped down the staircase, his tinkling laughter borne back to them on the warm, sea-scented breeze. Pell watched as Rue caught up to and immediately jumped into an animated conversation with Velaxis and others of his usual coterie of close friends and sometimes lovers.
If Immanion wanted Caeru as their Ganymede, their idealized symbol of the wantonly beautiful consort, then they could have him. Pell felt relieved. Perhaps he could more graciously tolerate Rue now that he had his Cal back. Let Immanion adulate their symbol of the perfect Tigrina. He had Cal now: nothing less than his blindingly handsome Apollo, his own personal golden sun god. Pell knew he had to hold onto him, whether Cal might bring him healing or disaster.
Vaysh lingered close by, pretending to ignore Cal and Pell while never letting them out of his sight. The exiting crowd on the long broad steps of the Hegalion had thinned to the point that only a few small, scattered groups of hara remained, respectfully allowing Pell and Cal distance and a simulation of privacy.
“Don’t pull a stunt like that again,” Cal whispered, nipping at Pell’s earlobe. Pell tried to give him an innocent questioning look, but failed completely. Cal smoothed the hair back off Pell’s cheek, leaving a cool, empty sensation when he removed his warm hand. “Don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what I mean. Sneaking off and starting that meeting without me. Were you always so manipulative?”
Offended, Pell sniffed and jutted his chin up, but could not resist stroking the tender inside of Cal’s arm, where the skin felt unimaginably soft and the muscle hard.
“If anyone would know the answer to that question you surely should. I’ve forgotten a lot about who I used to be. But I remember with absolute clarity every tiny detail about you.”
“Oh, Pell.” Cal’s voice cracked, tender and filled with promise. His glorious light hair, short and jagged, brushed against Pell’s cheek. Cal’s scent held the memory of sunlight and newly mown hay, even there, under the moon, in that city of stone. “Forgive me. Lame attempt at humor. Let’s give this a chance. It’s what we’ve yearned for so long.”
Uncertain if he dared trust this altered version of Cal, there was no question that Pell ached for him, throbbed for him, even after they had spent most of the previous night in aruna. One night would never be enough. A lifetime would not be enough. It had felt like coming home, finally being where he longed to be.
Still a diffuseness hung over it all, a distance he had never conceived of in his largely suppressed imaginings of having Cal back again. Cal still clutched his hand. He had not once released Pell’s hand since he had first taken hold of it hours earlier. He sought to remind Pell constantly of his presence, rubbing the top of his hand with his thumb or sending frissons of longing up his spine by tickling his palm with his nails. Pell suddenly understood that Cal needed reassurance as well.
Then Pell realized what had been different about their aruna. He had insisted without conscious intent that Cal take him over and over again. Pell had demanded to be reclaimed. He needed to offer himself to Cal anew, for Cal to conquer him as he first had so many years ago. Pell had craved to be soume for Cal. But, even when they were young and Pell so green, Cal always had relished both roles. He particularly delighted in manifesting the power he could wield as soume. Reflexively, Pell had denied Cal that the night before. Cal had endured his neediness with patience and generosity.
After a nervous glance around them, Pell could no longer restrain his eagerness to make everything right, to bring back the pyrotechnics of their past. Slamming Cal against a pillar, Pell brought his lips close to Cal’s ear. “Be soume for me tonight,” he murmured in what he hoped was an irresistibly seductive tone.
“Feeling aggressive, are we?” Cal’s ironic grin sent the last brittle scraps of Pell’s self-aware dignity scattering like a flock of startled birds at the crack of a gunshot. Perhaps he had miscalculated.
“What? Me aggressive?” Pell bleated, inarticulate as ever faced with Cal’s charisma. “When were you ever passive as soume? You always sucked me in and then spit me out half-dead.”
“Be serious, Pell. You used to roll off me afterwards and lie on your back with a smug, ear-to-ear smirk, glowing like a neon light. You think that wasn’t a bit unnerving?” Cal let loose a snort of a laugh. “Only you ever made me feel that way. Not even . . . well, never mind . . .”
“Shameless braggart that you are, I’m sure I’ll be forced to hear every single story.” Pell chortled, his sense of equilibrium restored for the moment at least.
Cal’s warm breath tickled Pell’s neck covering him with goosebumps. Grasping Pell’s buttocks, Cal rubbed against his erect ouana-lim. Pell hoped the shadows hid his own movement, when he ran a hand down between Cal’s legs and stroked his soume-lam through his thin, loose pants. Cal was as hot, wet, and ready as Pell was hard and frantic. Aware his thumping heart was causing his ears to throb, Pell laughed breathlessly. Oh, yes. This was definitely his Cal.
“Hey? Want me now? Want it here?” Cal drawled, his eyes half-closed and his face flushed with desire, undulating his hips against him. Pell knew him far too well to believe that he was necessarily joking.
Vaysh turned sharply at Cal’s last remark to address them in a tone that was smooth, dry, and not to be ignored. “I think not. I have transportation waiting to take both of you back to Phaonica, unless you would prefer to walk. In which case, I will walk with you.”
“What do you think, Pell? It’s never too soon for a threesome, is it?’ Cal asked, his electric violet eyes amused and mischievous. Meanwhile, Cal reached into Pell’s mind. ‘Smile, love. I’m bluffing.’
Vaysh looked at both of them, eyes wide and mouth open, the expression on his exquisite face a comic opera picture of horror and disgust. Pell all but collapsed in Cal’s arms in a spasm of dizzy giggling.
“In your dreams, Calanthe,” Vaysh snarled. A flicker of wistful empathy vanished from his face as soon as it had appeared. “Come on. Let’s go. You’re making a spectacle of yourselves.”