[fic] Digital Devil Saga, "The Princess's Pea"
Title: The Princess's Pea -- an Unfortunate Lump Under the Mattress in Your Head Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga: Heat/Gale Author: Genuine Replicaharukami Recipient: Hoof sister_coyote Rating: R Warnings: Not safe for work, set near the end of DDS1. Summary: Heat goes looking for answers, and drags Gale along as a cypher. Prompt: Heat/Gale. (Pairing order not meant to imply preferred 'top' or 'bottom.') They don't understand one another, but there's something there that doesn't really need to be put into words. Optional additional prompts: the sound of the wind, a cracked mural.
Gale's voice cuts through the irregular cadance of Heat's thoughts. His hand is on the painting; he can't reach too high like this and he's got his hand on the princess's stomach, can feel the curls of paint under his fingers. It's dry and slightly oily at the same time. He stares up at her; at her painted quiet eyes and her painted delicate unsmiling features and the beautiful curls of fictional black hair.
"Heat. Why are we here? It is pointless to return to this place." Gale continues cool, calm, in-control. It sets Heat's teeth on edge, but no worse than everything else; he doesn't pay much attention to it. "Sera will not be here. She must be headed to Sahasrara. Why should we waste time here? I do not comprehend."
Heat's fingers curl. The paint threatens to flake under his fingertips and he removes his hand from it hurriedly, punches a wall. "Dammit!" he says.
There is no crack, this time, no answers spilling out. His knuckles ache. Gale looks at him and twitches his eyebrows in silent statement.
"Not here," Heat says. "Come on."
Gale follows with growing impatience. "Heat. Where are you going. This is the wrong tower, Heat--"
"I know that," Heat snarls over his shoulder. He's not bothered to switch back between battles any more, and he's starting to show the toll that not healing is taking on him. He barely has the patience for Gale to stop and access the small karma terminal for a new mantra and data save. He leans against the wall, hooves braced on the floor, broad arms crossed over broader chest. There are gashes open in his chest, leaking slowly, and his claws are slick with blood that he takes the chance to lick off. His other head tilts blindly in Gale's general direction. "I'm trying to find something out."
Gale flips distractedly between mantras, measuring the macca balance on his tag ring with the available options. If Heat insists on continuing to drag him along without backup -- the other three are doubtless well on their way to the Karma Temple already -- it may be worth it to take the next rank up in bufu magic to deal better with the Pyro Jacks so prevalent in the area. Gale says, "Has it occurred to you that it might be more effective to inform me of your reasons so that I, too, can help find this thing out?"
"Ah," Gale says. "Because I am different from the other four of you. Did you need a second opinion without bias, then?"
"Something like that," Heat says. "--Something's wrong here."
"Yes," Gale agrees. He thinks of Lupa and Lupa's child. Mabufula it is; he places his tag ring in the slot on the terminal. "Something is terribly wrong here."
The ringing of the bells fades slowly into hearing as they climb stairs. Heat's been noticing that -- the way everything fades in as they approach. Lights go on when they get close enough to notice they need lights. The bells don't sound until they've had a chance to wonder what the hell those dangling ropes are for, and why they keep moving. Sure, this is an amusement park, but it doesn't feel like it's been made for fun. He takes the steps two at a time; behind him, Gale lopes easily after.
At the top of the stairs, he too stops and uses the terminal because he's got this feeling that things are going to change here. Things have to change here -- this is where it all started.
No, not exactly; Ground Zero was where it all started -- where is Ground Zero now? He finds he can't remember. It had to have been between Muladhara and Svadhisthana, because it was their battlefield. It doesn't matter. It eats at him anyway.
--Still. If here wasn't where it all started, here's where it all was set into motion. Here's where Serph and he tried their strength against each other, where Sera almost died, where they decided they were all comrades. For a moment the memory comes back, so visual to be almost tactile, of Sera's arms around Serph and the gentle expression on his face.
Heat throws the door open. It's time. He'll figure this thing out.
There's nothing there; the room's abandoned except for the large bed. The wind blows the curtains into the room. The door is open; the balcony beyond is empty.
Gale watches Heat, in human form again, pick his desultory way around the room. He watches Heat's hand trail on the wall, he watches Heat look under the bed, his back bent and his head low to the ground. He watches Heat go out onto the balcony.
After some minutes, he goes out and joins him there.
Heat is leaning on the railing, shoulders hunched, looking down. It is a long way down, made only clearer by the lack of rain. He doesn't speak; he just stands there. It should be raining, Gale thinks; it is a more artistic thought than he is used to, but there it is. He watches Heat bent over and thinks that, yes, rain would suit him more, funnelling down his face to echo the frustration through tears that are not tears, slicking his hair, dripping however far to the ground below.
Gale puts a hand on his shoulder.
Not entirely expected, Heat flings the hand off violently. He turns and glares at Gale, his eyes narrow and glittering red. The expression is hard, reminds Gale of a shield. He lets his hand hang in the air where Heat had knocked it. Eventually he lowers it again.
"I'm telling you there's something wrong here!" Heat snarls.
Heat shoves past him; Gale keeps his balance with ease, watches as Heat stalks back into the room, pulls the blankets off the bed.
Ignoring him, Heat bunches the armful of sheets up, presses his face to them.
"What are you--"
"I can smell her in this," he says. "Can't you?"
"Ah. No. Not from here."
Heat says, "She never laid in this bed, Gale!"
Technically, Heat cannot know that; Mick and Bat had Sera for some time before the Embryon managed to walk into their trap to save her. Gale says as much.
Heat spins, grabs him by the straps of his outfit, up by his shoulders. Gale quickly flicks through probabilities, decides that in this case the best option is to go limp. He does, lets Heat whisk him off his feet and throw him onto the bed. It is uncomfortably soft; that was unanticipated and is troublesome, because it will give him difficulty in bracing himself if he decides to fight back. He tenses his feet against the bed; he will not have good leverage but once he gets his feet against Heat's chest he has infinite advantage in a fight.
"Now can you smell it?" Heat half-shouts, low and threatening.
Gale wonders what it is, exactly, that Sera smells of to Heat. He says, "No."
Heat grabs the straps again; Gale twists, lifts, bends at the legs and clears them past the width of Heat's chest, the bredth of his shoulders, gets a foot one each shoulder and flicks his feet so the blades slide from their sheaths, flip out to flank Heat's neck like an honour guard.
"I am here to help you," Gale enunciates. "Heat. Calm yourself."
Eyes narrow again, Heat twists. The blades just graze his neck, starting a slow trickle of blood on one side, but he gets an elbow into the pressure point just below the side of Gale's knee, knocks his legs wide. Of the two of them, Heat has the greater body-mass and while Gale twists as well, flipping the blades closed to not catch in the bedsheets and trying to roll to get Heat on the bottom, Heat's weight catches him heavily and pins. Gale's hood has started to fall off and Heat gets a hand into it, curls fingers into Gale's slick hair and tugs, baring his throat.
It is obvious that Heat needs this, or something like this, or some substitute for something he really needs, to vent his frustration. Gale isn't sure how far Heat will go. He goes limp again, his eyes lowered to look at Heat as best as he can with his head arched back, and he waits.
The problem is that once they get to this, Heat isn't sure what to do with him. Without a doubt Gale is a comrade -- well, an ally anyway. For now; he's still not sure that Gale wouldn't rather be leader, and Heat hates following him. That's neither here or there. Gale's eyes are slits of green in his face, and Heat watches him make the decision to leave the next move in Heat's hands.
Heat's hand trembles in Gale's hair.
He's sweating; it stings the cut in his neck. Blood gathers, drips. It hits Gale's cheek, begins to trickle down to the pillow. Heat's stomach clenches. There's something wrong about getting blood on these bedsheets, he thinks, these pure white bedsheets that probably Sera's never even touched. He leans down, fast, swipes the blood off Gale's cheek.
Gale lets out a sigh and his shoulders relax.
"Gale," Heat says. He narrows his eyes. "You--"
Gale tilts his head as Heat starts to let go. Heat watches calculations flip through Gale's eyes, watches Gale come to a conclusion. He lets Gale sit up.
"Heat," Gale says, nodding at him calmly, and then he hauls back and punches Heat.
He has something almost like a memory of this, from another perspective. It's vague, it's distant, it tries to flee when he tries to grasp it. Black hair, flashing angry eyes, his own hand raising stiff to his cheek to touch the sudden stinging pain there. Her throwing herself at him and fighting like men except for the biting, and lips on lips--
No, he thinks. What is that?
Still, there's no time to think about it because Heat's lips have pulled back from his teeth and he is snarling. Well, this will let Heat work it out, at least, as long as they can avoid going too far. Heat doesn't try to change, just slams his arm across Gale's head. Gale bites his lip as he rolls with it, using the momentum to get Heat out from between his thighs. He tastes blood, gets an elbow into the mattress, slams a foot out sideways and catches Heat in the centre of the chest.
Rocking back, Heat almost falls off the bed, then throws himself forward again, grabbing onto Gale, giving him an elbow in the side. Gale hisses, brings a knee up, gets Heat in the throat with it.
For a moment, movement stops as Heat chokes, as Heat falls halfway to the bed, propping himself up on one arm, his other grasping at his throat as if it could make him breathe better. Gale hooks his leg up in the air, kicks it out smoothly, wraps it around Heat's torso and rolls, pressing Heat back into the bed and getting a knee on each elbow to pin him down.
"Heat," Gale says again, as Heat glares up at him and coughs, a thin rattling sound. "Yield."
"I don't yield," Heat spits. If he can talk he's fine. His arms are tense under Gale but he's not trying to throw him off yet.
Gale looks down at him and nods. This is familiar, he thinks. The breath is coming short in his chest. He knows what this is. He runs his thumb along the edge of the cut in Heat's neck, smearing blood, gathering some up. He says, "Are you calmer?"
"Who'd be calm?!"
"Yes," Gale agrees. He says, "Is this a part of what you feel is wrong?"
Heat's eyes narrow so the colour between them is barely visible. "Yes," he says. "There's something weird about all of this."
There is a heat gathering in Gale's groin. Yes, he thinks. He definitely knows this. He sits back a bit, carefully, though he keeps his knees over Heat's elbows. "Can you still smell it?"
Heat looks, if anything, confused. Then he scowls. "Get off me."
"I don't smell anything."
"It's more like -- sensing," Heat says. The muscles in his arms flex under Gale's knees. "There's something about her everywhere here. But she doesn't remember. I don't remember. I don't know what the hell this place is!"
"This is the Princess's bed."
"I know that!"
"It is," Gale says, "a bed made for two."
Heat says, "What." It's not a question. He's tense, he's staring up.
"You were tearing it apart," Gale says. "What were you thinking?"
"You bastard," Heat begins. Gale expects the movement and lets Heat's arm up; he lets Heat take the swing, and catches his wrist and rolls. It still hurts, somewhat, winding him as Heat ends up on top.
He fights to keep Heat's arm from descending again.
Gale's hips roll. Yes. He knows this. "You are," he says, "getting worked up."
Over his face, Heat's fingers clench. The light around his Fireball mark is glimmering, gathering, sending veins of change over his skin. It won't be long until that arm Gale's holding off is much larger, until the clenching of fists makes blades stiffen from between Heat's fingers.
He has to get Heat off guard somehow. He is sure, without a doubt, of two possible places this is going. Throwing Heat off kilter is the key; from there things are a little more under his control.
Gale narrows his eyes. "Do you want to eat me," he says. "Heat?"
He's hungry, after all, and pissed at the reference. "Yeah," he says, and bares his teeth. Gale's hand seems to weaken for a minute, then get stronger; he doesn't have any leverage there. "I want -- I want--"
"What is it that you want?"
Something other than this. Heat wants freedom. He wants release, he wants the sight of blue skies out of the corner of his eyes, not unraining skies -- the whistle of the sound of wind without rain on it is so damn familiar and that's wrong too; when has it not been raining? But it's not familiar enough; the skies are still gray and Gale's here.
He clenches his fingers on Gale's hair, drags his head back again. The tendons in Gale's neck are tense and standing out.
He wants -- something. It tries to burst from him like a pearl from his chest, unknown and undefined, like it had tried to back in the new base. It's something like naming himself, like trying to bring himself into definition, but that's dumb too -- he's Heat, he doesn't need to be anyone else, he can't be anyone else. He wants to turn Sera around to face him (gently) and see him like that, god fucking dammit, he wants to expose himself and be recognized, he feels like he's coming undone from the inside out. His chest is hurting.
"It's hard, isn't it?" Gale asks, calm and bland.
Heat glares at him. "What the hell would you know about it?"
"More than you'd think," Gale says, and leans up.
It puts Heat's arm against his throat, and his mouth on Heat's.
A dangerous move, to be sure, to put his flesh against Heat's mouth, but it seems to work for now. Heat's body shudders, folds down against his, and while he is biting, it is not yet enough to draw blood.
Gale lets go of Heat's arm to drag his hand into Heat's hair as well, get a grip to help control the kiss. Heat's not talking now, not fighting now, is exploring Gale's mouth like he's looking for something there. Somewhere between pleased and resigned, Gale frees one leg and hooks it around Heat's hips to drag him closer.
Heat's body is still tense, but he isn't trembling, any longer, as though he were about to fall apart. Gale rolls their hips together, murmurs vague irritation at the necessity of body armour, and hooks a thumb into the side of Heat's groin protection, dragging it down.
"What the hell are you--"
"I've done this before," Gale interrupts.
"When did you," Heat begins.
Gale refuses to let him finish that thought. "I thought you said nothing would surprise you any more."
"Shut up," Heat says.
They don't talk much. They barely undress, just get clothing down or out of the way. Heat rolls against Gale; that feels good, so he does it again. Gale drags a hand down Heat's back, presses his closer, slides the other between them.
Heat exhales heavily, has to tilt his head back to get some air as Gale's fingers close around him. "Fuck," he says. Then, as Gale's lips brush his neck, "Try it and I'll kill you." He spreads his fingers under Gale's rucked-up shirt.
"I see," Gale says non-committally, and his hand works, fast.
It's like it's setting Heat's nerves on fire. He takes hold of Gale's dick half out of self-defence, because otherwise it's like Gale's driving him, ruling him, and he hates that thought. Gale sighs against him, and his hips move, dragging the hot flesh through Heat's hand before Heat's grip firms and he picks up his own pace.
It's getting hard to breathe. Heat closes his eyes, because bizarrely that seems to make it easier -- he still draws it in great gulps though, holds it a little too long before letting it go a little too heavily. He's overheated, his skin's too sensitive and marked with red lines bleeding from his Atma without forcing change. Getting hard to think, too, like every rough shove against each other, every flex of Gale's arm -- when did his head fall to Gale's shoulder? He can feel the play of muscle on muscle under his cheek -- is numbing his mind into static.
He breathes hard, almost gulping, grits his teeth as his nerves seem to catch fire and --
-- Good, good, it's suddenly really damn good and tense and sharp and aching through him; he thinks, distractedly, he can smell salt water. And then he's sliding down from it and finding himself relaxing back into the bed as Gale groans against him, low and resonant.
Afterwards is... strange. Physically relaxed, muscles loose and feeling sated in a way Gale has stopped associating with hunger, he finds his thoughts anxious and wandering without really stopping to linger on any one thing. Sera, their mission, his lack of association with the others, vague memories, things he knows that he shouldn't. It's a little annoying, but he can't seem to keep it from happening.
A glance at Heat reveals that Heat is likely going through the same; he's staring up at the canopy with a distant frown, the tension erased from his expression.
Gale doesn't ask. That is private the way perhaps nothing else is. He gets up instead, murmurs irritation at the lack of water, cleans up as best as he can. He leaves Heat on the bed when Heat just rolls over and mutters irritably as he passes, and he goes out onto the balcony, tilts his face into the wind and exhales softly, letting it blow away excess thoughts.
The room is thick with the smell of sex, blocking out anything else. Comfortable, not really wanting to move, Heat still can't quite relax enough -- but then, he can't, he shouldn't be able to with Sera missing and the others waiting for him to finish finding himself and get his ass back there. The expression on Serph's face when Heat had insisted on going and taking Gale had been too understanding.
Pisses him off.
He gets up, uses the blankets to scrub himself down -- they're ruined anyway, and it's not like anyone else comes out to ruins like this. Not like they're coming back here, with Nirvana and Sera in front of them. He goes out to the balcony.
"Heat," Gale says. "Did you find your answers?"
"Nah," Heat says. Sahasrara rises tall in the distance. "They're not here."
"I didn't think they were likely to be."
Heat glares at him. "You really piss me off, you know that?" he says. He doesn't wait for an answer but turns. "C'mon. Let's get our asses in gear. Sera's out there."
He expects Gale to say something like I did tell you Sera wouldn't be here, after all, but he doesn't. His hand closes on Heat's shoulder once, and he nods to Heat as he takes the lead.