Oct. 22nd, 2011 07:34 pm
ofvanity: (bang.)
[personal profile] ofvanity
Author[livejournal.com profile] ofvanity
Pairing: Tom Conrad/Sean Van Vleet
Words: 1500~
Rating: R
Warnings: Obscure religious references, wing!kink.
Disclaimer: I am not a crook, I don't own these boys, I am the poorest person in the poor club.
Author's Note: For [livejournal.com profile] mindscomeloose, this turned out a lot shorter than I intended, but I was pleased with the product and so, here we are, Empires bandom. I came out of retirement for this. Beta'd, trimmed, mowed, sexed up by [livejournal.com profile] everhaunting, we are perfect soulmates until the end of time. <3

Sean doesn’t always remember how he met Tom.

He remembers the fall, sometimes, the tumble of limbs and the wind cutting at his skin. Other times, he remembers landing on pavement and the sticky smell of his blood when he had his first human injury. He spent so much time trying to calculate the moment he fell, the moment he decided this path for himself—or the moment someone else decided for him. It tore apart his new human body, all the contemplation, until he decided to move on.

He shook in the cold and shaved when his stubble grew. He crushed cranberries in his hands and sucked the juice from his fingertips. He stopped flexing his wings—they were left overs, a carcass in the desert before a vulture picks it—when he was nervous. Sean took the L train, he got a job, he bought coffee and read Charles Dickens to sleep.

Sean was given a gift in humanity. Life was beautiful upstairs but Sean wanted something else and everyone up there might pity him but Sean is happy here. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, and other times, Sean can’t remember.

Tom might have been on the train one day, carrying a Gibson and tuning it by ear. He could have drawn Sean in by the whimper of his guitar strings when they broke. His eyes could have flicked up, clouded in smoke with his lips pursed around a cigarette. Tom could have been angry and reckless; there could have been open wounds on his knuckles and darkness in him. Sean could have saved him.

Dressed his wounds and followed him to a concert hall. He could have watched Tom play sullen chords ripped open and gripping. Sean would have been at the back of the club after his set and Tom’s mouth would have—raises heat in every nerve of his body, warm and breathing damp enough to thaw Sean’s skin. Tom’s tongue flicks out across his collarbone and at the bumps of his ribs, gnawing gently at his skin. Sean is losing his mind to the laving of Tom’s tongue at his navel, arching into his mouth urgently.

They could have met in a church. Sean falling soundlessly at peace and the ground would have bent to receive him, to catch him. Tom would have been at a pew across the street, a worn rosary in one hand, a cigarette in the other. He wouldn’t pray—not for Sean, not for himself—he would have been waiting. Sitting on polished oak, faithful despite himself.

Sean wouldn’t have left him waiting. He would take the church steps two at a time and slide into the pew next to him. He would overshoot until he bumped into Tom, shoulders and thighs and knees meeting messily. Sean’s wings would be tucked away and Tom would set the rosary down on the back of the pew in front of them. Tom would have leaned back and reached his hand over—across flesh with bated breath. His fingertips skimming gently over the slope of his shoulder blades at the empty space where Sean’s wings sprout out, sending shudders through him. He nuzzles warm kisses at the knot of bone where Sean’s skull meets his spine, and palms slide flat down Sean’s back, tight at his hipbones, possessive.

They met at a hospital maybe. Fluorescent white lights blinded Sean when he woke up there. The transition to humanity was abrupt and he missed it. There’s a bandage wide around his torso like he has broken his ribs. Sean can see his hands but he can’t feel them and he’s heard of drugs, of morphine and pain but he isn’t sure he enjoys it.

The curtain opens and Tom is there, mouth parted in fear and his hands are bandaged, looking at Sean as though they’ve shared some significant experience. He speaks in a low voice with clear blue eyes and when Sean asks about his hands, Tom hides them in his pockets. When he asks about Sean’s ribs, Sean pulls a shirt on over his head. They wait for his painkiller prescription together and Tom asks him to keep it quiet from the cops.

In the parking lot, Sean smiles because the fall has passed and the worst is over. Tom’s clear eyes soften and fog and they could have met that way, morphine mouths stretched and desperate or—close together in a kiss. Tom’s lips are dry but Sean prefers it that way, nothing between them but skin and its dying cells.

That’s something new to Sean, too, the idea of dying as a constant, renewal and endings happening at all time in his human body, the beat of his heart was deafening. Their mouths are soundless, pressed together, warm and dry until their lips part and a thrill washes over Sean at the sensation of their tongues brushing. Tom strokes at the ridges of his teeth and the roof of Sean’s mouth, licking warmth and breathing through his nose, Sean forgets.

They met on a stage, or they could have. Sean was a human one day and he stretches his throat, bearing it at the ledge of everything. There’s bass groaning and vibrating through his entire body. Tom was there, maybe. He could have been there, echoing Sean’s screams and sliding the guitar with the broken strap and strings down his thighs.

They could have been there together spinning contrived songs about darkness. Sean pressing his knuckles to piano keys and every ecstatic breath was better than the last. Tom would have pulled him back to the center of the stage with glances and knowing smirks, guitar shiny smooth in the spotlight but playing rough chords with spindly, twisted fingers. Tom’s eyes would have been manic with talent and maybe they met that way.

They could have leaned on each other after the show, feeling wasted and sweating bullets, laughing at their own hysterical exhaustion. Maybe the music started it, that sublime spark of joy whenever he looked over and Tom was right at his throat, protecting it from the hungry. The music could have started that trust between them in the darker corners of a lightless city or maybe—in that moment, he first reached out for him, the silent plead of intimacy at his mouth and between his legs.

Tom’s hands were damp with cold sweat, drifting across his back and chest in light caresses. Sean’s always felt his breathing stutter when Tom touched his bare skin, to pull apart his clothes and belt buckles. It’s cold for a second, Tom’s heat gone to properly rid the layers between them but he comes back and drapes his weight on Sean, kissing his mouth and his jaw. Tom’s knee insinuates itself between his bare thighs, sparse with dirty blond hair, rocking their hips together, a hand between them. Sean can’t remember—

They’ve met plenty of times before but Tom thinks you can never really know a person. Sean thinks he knows Tom, or that he knows he can trust Tom. Sean can press his nightmare visions and unnecessary memories in the Tom’s fingernails, the cold damp palms, and Tom will not—he will not—do the unthinkable. Not in any of the versions of their meeting.

Sean pulls his shirt over his head in January and arches his back, stretching his spine in a display of vanity and opens his wings. The fall was frightening and painful, maybe, but Sean is here now, his feet are to the ground. Tom watches them flutter open, white and tinged a dark gray at the edges, immaculate and impossible. He reaches out and traces the sharp jut of the wings arc, softer than anything he’s ever touched, somehow, maybe.

The first touch to his wings is potent, Tom’s hand rough with calluses, stroking through the feathers in awe. Sean shivers and they flex of their own accord under Tom’s hands, his lips parting to accommodate Tom’s mouth as soon as Tom licks his bottom lip. His body is new and feels foreign whenever he bathes but when they cloak themselves in the dark and strip, Tom’s fingers, his mouth, the heat of his body, it feels natural.

Sean used to look down at humanity from upstairs, wondering. He doesn’t remember much from before the fall, let alone much after it, but he fell for a reason. He had to have said something at one point, he had to have looked down at the Earth at an imperfect human world, and know he was meant to be among them. He had to have known there were trains and clear blue eyes and cow costumes. He had to.

Maybe Sean can’t remember things as well in this body, he can’t remember the reason or the fall or how he met Tom, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

Tom’s chapped lips are sweet and tangy, like cranberries, eyes bright in the spotlight and he smells like the menthol cigarettes he smokes after they have sex, and these are the things he’ll remember when the dying is constant and the revival isn’t. He’ll remember the rush of standing too close to the ledge, the intimacy of Tom’s neck, the burst of fury Tom gives him, and the piano keys and guitar strings.

Humanity is raw and isn’t always worth remembering and there had to be a reason, but Sean doesn’t always need it.

“You’re getting ash on my wings.”


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December 2011


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