Sunlight dappled the emerald grass in pools of liquid gold. Birds sang sweetly; songs of life and love.
Serge had been returned to his true form and it seemed that the whole world was rejoicing. Or, at least, the glowing green sanctuary that was Hermit's Hideaway. Not to mention a certain lead of the Magical Dreamers!
Nikki smiled softly, watching his restored lover conversing earnestly with Draggy. The tiny dragon-kit was thrilled to have so many "frrriends" in one place -- it was kinda a shame they would have to leave soon. But the miniature cavegirl Leah, space alien Starky, and that weird Turnip-thing Poshul had tugged out of the soil just recently ought to be plenty of company for Draggy. The kit wasn't overly-demanding, but, rather, was eager and affectionate -- sort of like a big lap-dog. Sweet. No wonder he and Serge got along so well!
Nikki's smile faded somewhat. What he wouldn't give to wrap Serge up in safety and keep him here along with all the other innocents from their party. But that wasn't feasible -- Serge was the leader, the catalyst, the main player in this arcane drama unfolding before their confused eyes. It wouldn't be possible to keep him from his destiny, and to attempt to do so would probably feel more like a cage to the plucky young man than a haven.
Maybe Nikki was just over-reacting to the fact that he had finally gotten his Serge back. For weeks he had not known whether his beloved lived or had been murdered by that ruthless bastard, Lynx. Everything had happened so fast, and no one knew exactly what had gone down in Fort Draconia.
It had been the worst time in Nikki's life -- even worse than when his mother had died and left him alone with nothing but the knowledge of a younger sister he had never seen, and no idea where his father might be.
That had shattered Nikki's world. But losing Serge had... had almost killed him. He had gone into seclusion, seeing no one, eating barely enough to sustain human life, able to count each dying day that passed only through the growing of the ache in his chest. He had felt hollow, empty. Without Serge, life had not seemed worth living. Nikki had been dully surprised by his own acute agony. He hadn't known he could feel emotions so deeply, had never felt that way before. He hoped to never feel that way again.
But then, when he had been lying on his bed, for want of a better word, "languishing", and had heard that familiar tenor husk outside his door, calling his name.... Once he had been shaken from the certainty that it was a dream by violent pounding, and the more forceful cry of, "Nikki!" and had thrown open the door to confront a pair of sparkling cerulean eyes set in a hauntingly beautiful face... when the powerful arms ringing him in an almost bruising embrace had convinced him that this was no ghost before him... when he had wrapped his arms around Serge in return, in a grip more of feverish shock than tearful reunion....
Well, that had not erased the pain entirely. He still got a cold chill in his heart when he thought back to that all-too-recent anguish. The pain would never entirely go away, but he didn't think he wanted it to. While it still hurt, he needed this reminder of how it had felt to live without Serge in order to more fully appreciate the time they had together now. This was why part of him wanted to wrap Serge up in gauze and keep him from facing the dangers of the cruel world -- both worlds....
But doing that would stifle Serge and destroy a lot of what Nikki so desperately loved about him -- his indomitable spirit; his unfailing desire to do the right thing, even when he wasn't quite sure what was right or wrong anymore.
Nikki raised vibrant violet eyes to the leaf-spotted sky. Serge had changed since being trapped in Lynx's body. Not in any big ways, and he hadn't distanced himself from Nikki, that the other boy could tell.... But that ready, mischievous smile came less often now, less readily. Serge spent more time in introspective silence. His gaze was darker, and he held Nikki now with the same muted desperation that Nikki had felt upon Serge's return.
Serge had tried to fill Nikki in on everything that had happened to him, all he had done while in Lynx's body -- on this world and Nikki's home world -- but there was so much and it was so hard to explain to someone else things that even Serge, who had lived through them and done them, did not fully understand. Nikki regretted with everything in him every minute of time he and Serge had lost. It would have been difficult, heartbreaking, having to deal with seeing Serge trapped in Lynx's body, not knowing whether he would ever get his true body back.... But they would still have been *together*! Instead of Nikki half-convinced his lover was dead, suffering for the supposed loss, and Serge too ashamed and afraid of rejection to come find Nikki even after he had regained the ability to travel between worlds again. Knowing how Serge had felt hurt Nikki almost as much as the memory of his own pain. He could only imagine how horrible it had been for Serge, thinking he had to spend the rest of his life in an unfamiliar, demi-human body. His love had been through so much, and there had been nothing Nikki could do to help. He had been--
"Whatcha thinkin' about?"
Nikki started slightly as a lean male form plopped on the lawn next to him with a contented huff, then glanced over to catch those amazing blue eyes, which were twinkling with good humor. "Wh-whu--?"
Serge wrinkled his nose in a cute little smile. "I was just wondering why you looked so serious. What's got you so down?"
Nikki blinked. He could hardly say "you" when Serge had phrased his question that way -- the likelihood was high that Serge would take such a brief answer entirely wrong. And while he still felt helpless to protect his lover and his uselessness during Serge's "exile" still rankled, he had to admit that the boy's eyes and face had lightened, and he appeared more relaxed now than he had in a while. This place *was* good for Serge, and being around companions whose needs were so much more simple, whose desires were easily fulfilled, was also a good thing. No need for Nikki to bring the mood down unnecessarily.
"I was... thinking about this world's Nikki," he offered, wondering internally where the hell *that* had come from. Not that he hadn't felt more than a little curiosity when Serge had mentioned the liberation of Marbule Isle... but that had certainly been far from his mind now!
"Un!" Serge nodded. "You're the luckier of the two, Nikki. The Fargo in this world is a complete prick!"
Nikki laughed at Serge's vehement assertion, though he did feel more than a little sorry for his other self. In his world he knew Fargo was his father, but had not told the pirate; who seemed to think his son and daughter were dead. The other Nikki -- according to Serge -- hadn't known Fargo was his father while Fargo himself had known, but had kept Nikki in the dark and held him simply as a commodity. Serge was right; the other Nikki's father was a total prick.
"Maybe you'd better watch out, Nikki," Serge said, tone still light but now more serious. "The other Fargo let it slip while the other Nikki was giving his concert for Marbule that Nikki was his son. Soon's he can, your father's probably going to hunt you down!"
"You think so?" Nikki blinked. He wouldn't have expected it of Fargo... but, then, the pirate captain really was a decent man, even if he *was* a little rough around the edges. A small, soft smile curved his sensual lips. "I... I don't think I'd mind.... But he'll have to wait -- he's back on my world and I'm here!"
Nikki gave Serge a sharp glance as he caught the vague, distracted tone. The younger boy was staring raptly at his mouth, his own lips slightly parted, his eyes dark with desire.
Nikki felt a surge of warmth and a wash of answering passion. He so treasured these rare moments when he caught Serge looking at him with such obvious hunger. He knew he wanted Serge but with their complete and utter lack of opportunities -- or anything approaching privacy -- sometimes he wasn't as sure as he would like to be that Serge wanted him in return. It wasn't that Nikki didn't believe in Serge, but actual proof was always prized. Stolen glances like this one reaffirmed to Nikki that he and Serge were indeed a Couple, and meant to be together... even if they had no real chances to exercise their relationship right now. Sometimes Nikki just wanted to grab that Teleporter and....
Unable to help himself, he leaned closer, his own lips parting. He wanted nothing more than to explore those full, gorgeous lips. Stolen kisses were few and far between and sometimes the hunger grew too strong to resist.
Serge's beautiful cerulean eyes flashed at him, heated and intense, lids flickering down, pupils dilating. Nikki swore he could almost already taste the sweet warmth of Serge's breath. There were only a couple of inches separating their mouths -- space easily breached....
"Sergey! Nikki! Look-um!"
The two young men broke guiltily apart, eyes darting toward the source of the cheerful, childish shout. Nikki blinked.
"Look-um! Me-um is like Karsh-um!!"
Serge burst out laughing. Leah was riding Draggy around in circles, bouncing on his back, waving her axe in the air. Nikki supposed if you employed a great stretch of the imagination, the little cavegirl might possibly, very vaguely resemble the Dragoon Deva. Though he didn't think Karsh himself would be very pleased by the impersonation.
"Are you sure Draggy is strong enough for that, Leah?" Serge called, voice rich with amusement, but not without a touch of concern. Serge always took such good care of all his companions -- he had a heart big enough for two worlds!
"Don't worrrry!" the dragon-kit himself replied. "Draggy is strrrong!"
That sweet little smile curled the corners of Serge's mouth. Gods, he was beautiful! "All right, then!"
Nikki's hand crawled through the thick grass to twine with Serge's lean fingers, as unobtrusively as possible. Serge's hand clenched in return. They could so seldom touch -- they had to grasp every chance, no matter how small or fleeting.
"Sergey! Come and play with us!"
Nikki's mouth turned down, but he could hardly speak out to deny this request made to his lover. Even though he *wanted* to hog all of Serge's time now that Serge had finally come back to him.... Well, it wouldn't make him look good, nor would it make Serge any happier. With a heavy internal sigh he moved to release Serge's hand.
He was pleasantly startled when Serge would not let him draw his hand away, instead clasping his fingers in a tighter grip, and in a laughingly pleasant voice pleaded fatigue.
"But, Sergey-" Leah bounced down off of Draggy, her cute little face entreating.
Just at that moment, the former Deva, master of this small island, Radius, emerged from his treehouse and announced that the evening meal was ready.
So, Nikki had to let go off Serge's hand after all. But he made sure to press their thighs together under the table the entire time they ate; a solid line of warmth.
"So, when are you leaving, Serge-kun?" Radius questioned as they tucked away the dinner he had prepared. "Are you feeling well enough to continue?"
Serge nodded slowly, his expression thoughtful. "I'm fully recovered, I think, Radius-san. Maybe we can leave tomorrow."
The old man nodded sagely. "Sou ka. I'm not trying to rush you on your way, of course. I just wondered how many supplies I should get in Termina tomorrow."
Serge smiled sweetly. Nikki couldn't drag his gaze away. "Does that mean you're not coming with us, Radius-san?"
Radius bowed his bald head slightly. "I would be honored to accompany you, Serge-kun. But these younglings need food and provisions if they are to remain here."
"Aa." Serge nodded. "Well, I'm not even sure where we're going next, anyway."
"Can I--" Nikki cut himself off, biting his lower lip.
"Nani?" Serge turned to his lover, face colored with curiosity. "Where did you want to go?"
Nikki cast his gaze down. "It's not my place to ask, but.... I was wondering if I might go visit this world's Nikki. I want to learn the Marbule mage's song."
Serge's face softened into the lovely smile. "Sou, sou! Well, we'll do that, then!" He bobbed a quick nod, then something odd flashed over his face. He looked almost... uncomfortable. "Etou...."
Nikki raised his eyes, his gaze warm and affectionate. "Arigatou, Serge!"
Serge smiled, looking bemused and a little bedazzled. At the head of the table, Radius gave the two boys a sharp look from under bushy eyebrows, then he shook his head minutely, stifling an indulgent smile. It was about time Serge found someone, and it was to be hoped that after the boy who had grown up in Arni Village had fulfilled his destiny, he would be able to settle down and live a long, peaceful life with the pretty lead of the Magical Dreamers. Radius felt a little sorry for Leena, but not much. She and Serge had never been suited, and she could always travel the short distance to Termina in search of a husband. Radius was fond of Serge -- even if the boy had seemed to make a habit out of getting into trouble most of his young life -- and he wanted to see him happy, even if it was with another man. After all, Radius knew what Karsh and Dario had used to get up to, and he had to admit that when he had been a much younger man; around Serge's age; he'd had a few thoughts about Garai, even if he'd never acted on them. Boys were boys, and if some boys liked other boys instead of girls... well, Radius had no problems with that.
"I think I'll go for a walk," Nikki spoke up, shooting Serge a steamy look. Radius was mildly surprised that the air between the two didn't kindle into flames. Though Serge's face certainly grew fiery! "Thank you for the meal, Radius-san," Nikki said politely as he rose.
Radius smiled vaguely and nodded, then turned to the smaller members of the party who were crowded around the table. It looked as though everyone was done eating. "Leah-chan, Starky-san, will you help me clear the table?" Radius requested as the tall, slender rock star quietly left the treehouse.
"I'll help," Serge offered, finally dragging his gaze away from Nikki's ass as the older youth disappeared from view.
Radius hid another smile. Ah, hormones. Well, he was planning to help Serge out with that. "No, no. You did the dishes yesterday evening, Serge-kun." He turned to the other chibi companions. "Turnip-san, will you fill the sink? And Draggy-kun, please warm the water for us."
"It ist my pleasure."
Radius stood, supervising the proceedings. It wasn't more than a minute after his last sentence that Serge was gone. Radius smiled fondly.
The old man moved to help Leah clear up the plates she had dropped, trying to think how to keep the chibis from searching out Serge once they were finished with their current chores. After all, with everything he had been through lately, with all he had ahead of him, the least Radius could do was to help Serge grasp for every fleeting moment of happiness. Because who knew what might happen the next day.
Serge stretched widely, then scrubbed the sleep from his eyes. It had felt wonderful to wake this morning pressed up against Nikki, his head tucked under his lover's chin, but that also meant he'd had Leah curled as closely behind him, and Draggy sleeping on his legs. So he'd woken up contented but stiff. It was nice that Hermit's Hideaway was so short on beds that he could share with Nikki without raising comment, but he was about ready to leave. Leah kicked in her sleep, and Draggy snored.
"Oi! Serge!" Nikki waved at him across the dew-scattered surface of the lawn, where he and Leah were doing something arcane with lapfuls of small white blossoms.
Serge grinned and loped over, joining them in a patch of warm sunlight. As soon as he sat, Leah plopped into his lap and strung a ring of flowers around his neck. "Pretty!" she declared, planting a soft kiss on his cheek.
Nikki smirked, eyes gleaming. Shedding petals, he rose onto his knees and leaned forward to place a garland atop Serge's dark head. "Beautiful," he husked, claiming his own kiss -- a brush of moist parted lips over the opposite golden-hued cheek, lingering for a flicker of tongue, a brief taste.
Serge's face flamed, but Leah was blissfully oblivious, chattering away in her primitive speech as she strung together more blossoms.
"You look like a virgin bride," Nikki said, the corners of his lush mouth curling in a smug grin, his dusky violet eyes conveying unspoken thoughts with remarkable clarity.
Serge glared balefully. "We know that's not possible -- on either level!" he retorted.
Nikki's smirk if anything grew more smug. "That's true. But you still look--"
"Urusai!" Serge interrupted. His face was burning up to the tips of his ears. He knew Nikki was just teasing, but still!
"Sergey!" Leah tilted her head up, raising wide green eyes. "Me-um want to-um come with you-um!"
"Oh?" Serge questioned, patting Leah's golden head absently. He was watching Nikki brush a small white bloom softly across his lush, violet-shaded lips with a seductive, almost challenging expression.
"Me-um want to fight-um some monsters!" Leah declared forcefully. "Get-um some exercise-um! It-um boring here-um!"
"Oh. Okay." Serge was too busy staring at Nikki to pay much heed to their diminutive companion.
"Yay!" Leah burst off Serge's lap in a flurry of petals. "Me-um go get-um axe! We-um leave-um soon!"
"A-aa." Serge licked dry lips as the little cavegirl darted off. Last night was too long ago, but the memories recent enough to stir him to quick passion now, and he wished vainly for another chance to indulge. But they had been lucky to get those two stolen hours yesterday evening.
"Where's *your* garland?" Serge husked, rising to his knees and moving fluidly closer to Nikki, who was now playing coy, peering at him through red-stained bangs. "Don't you want to be hand-fasted under the blue sky and green leaves?"
Nikki's heavy-lidded eyes flew wide, even as Serge wrapped his arms around bony shoulders. "Do you mean that?" he gasped, voice slightly throttled.
Serge paused in the act of leaning forward to claim those lovely, pouting lips. "Of course." He tilted his head. "There's no one here to witness it, but it would still be binding."
"Y-you're not joking...." Nikki sounded breathless, his eyes still rounded and startled.
Serge gave pause for a moment's thought. He had been half playfully teasing, but he *did* mean what he had said. Maybe it was too much too soon -- he wasn't sure whether Nikki was thinking in terms of "forever" as he was -- but it was how he felt. Things were too intense right now to prevaricate, and he was all too aware that every day could be his last.
Nikki was staring at him, mouth lax, face blank. Serge's heart sank. Maybe he had pushed past what Nikki was willing to accept. With a sick feeling of rejection, Serge moved to pull back. "G-gomen. I--"
"No!" Nikki's eyes snapped back into focus and powerful arms quickly ringed Serge's waist, tugging him forward. "No, please, Serge, I just...." He faltered, not finding the words he sought. "I was just.... I didn't expect...."
Serge smiled faintly, knowing tears were beginning to spark at the corners of his eyes. "It's how I feel. It's what I want. We were apart for so long. I don't want that to happen again. If anything.... If anything were to... happen to me... I want something solid. Something I can hold onto."
"Nothing is going to happen!" Nikki declared fiercely, his arms tightening further. "I... I won't let anything happen!"
Serge smiled a bit weakly. He knew how Nikki felt, but....
"Can we?" Nikki asked breathlessly. "Do you really want to?"
Serge nodded. The emotion of love was new to him, and he was finding it bitter-sweet, so intertwined was it with all the turmoil in his life and with the uncertainty that sometimes arose between he and Nikki, but he knew it could be better, and he wouldn't give it up for the world. It was as though he had always been incomplete, without knowing it, and finding Nikki had unexpectedly rendered him whole. He wanted something that was binding -- something that said "forever". If Nikki felt the same way he did....
"Here." Serge released his embrace and carefully pulled the garland from about his neck. He strung it over Nikki's head with hands that trembled a little. "Leah made this, but she gave it to me, so it's mine. I'd make one of my own, but we don't have time before she comes back."
"Raring for action," Nikki chuckled, his eyes warm and intense and focused only on the boy before him. Serge knew neither of their minds were really on the little cavegirl, but they were both all-too aware of how limited this moment in the sunlight was. "I wish we had more time...."
Serge could only agree. He had come to like or respect almost all their other companions, but sometimes they only seemed an obstacle between he and Nikki.
"So what do we have to do?" Nikki husked, his face fixed and intent only on Serge, his eyes dark with passion.
Serge tilted his head. "There's not much time. We've exchanged garlands. We both want this. The only thing left to do is seal it with a kiss."
Nikki's lush, violet-tinted lips curled up at the corners. "A bit slap-dash, ne?"
Serge shot him a mock-glare. "What isn't anymore? Are you going to kiss me or not?"
"Oh... yeah..." Nikki purred, already leaning forward.
Serge met him halfway, and their lips meshed in a kiss sweeter than all the other before -- gentle, slow, meant to convey all they could not find the words to say, and to reaffirm their shared emotions. Serge leaned closer with a little murmur, and Nikki all but tugged the smaller youth into his lap.
When they separated, it felt as though they had each lost a portion of themselves. Serge made a little sound of protest, and Nikki sighed in regret.
"Are we hand-fasted?" Nikki wanted to know.
"In my eyes we are, and that's all that matters," Serge replied, expression resolute.
"Still, it's best to make sure...." Nikki surged forward and reclaimed Serge's lips with gentle violence. Serge was not unwilling.
With a soft huff of regret and a last firm tug on Nikki's plush lower lip, Serge pulled away. Nikki sent him a heated, possessive look, and Serge felt his blood kindle to instant flame. But there was no more time, as Leah trotted toward them across the green lawn.
"We-um go now-um?!" the little cavegirl chirped cheerfully, her stone axe slung over her shoulder.
"A-aa," Serge replied, pulling away from Nikki and standing. "Heading to Marbule Island and the S.S. Zelbess."
Nikki rose gracefully to his feet and stepped closer to Serge, twining his fingers through the sturdy, gloved hand. "Thank you, Serge," he said softly. Leah bounced off, blissfully oblivious, but Serge's heart-rate tripled, and he turned at a soft tug to allow Nikki to claim a swift kiss. He knew the thanks were on several different levels.
Only here, surrounded by such innocence, could they indulge so openly. If anyone else -- Glenn, Fargo, Macha, Kid, heavens-forbid Leena -- had been around, they wouldn't be even a fraction so open about their relationship. But Leah and Draggy were too young and inexperienced to see anything wrong in the two boys kissing. Starky was from another world and didn't even know what tears were. And Turnip was a life-form even more new than NeoFio. If any of them saw and told tales to the more world-wise members of the party, Serge and Nikki could come up with convincing cover stories. There was only a little risk in their open displays here, and they had to grasp each chance as it came their way.
But now they were going to be leaving. It was not without an internal twinge, but the story had to progress.
"Hurry-um up! Hurry-um!" Leah was jumping up and down on the shore as they moved toward the boat docked with a skill that must be a credit to Nikki's nautical parentage -- from both sides. Her little face was glowing, large green eyes filled with excitement.
"We're coming!" Serge laughed, leaving the emerald swath of the lawn behind them for the grit of sand beneath his booted feet.
"Not yet we haven't," Nikki was suddenly purring in his ear, whip-cord lean arms wrapped tightly about Serge's midsection. He was risking a lot, but there was only Leah here to see them. Radius had departed at the crack of dawn, taking Turnip with him, and both Starky and Draggy were off exploring the island. There was only Leah as their audience, and as time stood still in the circle of Nikki's arms, she ceased to exist for Serge.
"Na, when do we get our honeymoon, aisuru?" Nikki wanted to know, nuzzling at Serge's ear as the younger man's lids slid down in an expression of pure pleasure and lazy passion. With abandon, he leaned back against Nikki's hard body, letting the heat burn through his veins in a rising tide of sexual stimulation.
"I--" Serge's head fell back against Nikki's shoulder as the rock star's lips caressed the side of his neck, lingering over a throbbing pulse point. "We--"
"Well?" Nikki pressed, trailing his tongue along the rim of Serge's ear in tingly-tickles of raw sensation.
"Hah!" Serge shivered in Nikki's embrace. How was he supposed to come up with a lucid answer when Nikki was making it impossible for him to *think*?! "We-- I--"
"Yah!" Both boys staggered, nearly tumbling over in the sand, as a sturdy little body hit them around the area of their kneecaps.
"Me-um hug-um too!" Leah declared, rubbing her cheek against Serge's thigh -- dangerously close to his crotch -- and squeezing both sets of legs painfully tightly.
"Th-that's nice, Leah..." Serge stuttered, ignoring Nikki as his lover chuckled warmly behind him. "But you'd better let go now, so that we can get going."
That had evidently been the right thing to say, because Leah was seated in the boat almost before Serge had finished speaking.
"You're a jerk," Serge mumbled halfheartedly against Nikki's neck as he turned in his lover's embrace.
"But you love me anyway," Nikki smirked, before bending to claim one last heated kiss.
Serge clung to the taller boy, his knees turning to water. They were of one mind, one heart, and although no vows had been spoken aloud, they were promised to one another, for forever. Silently, Serge made a new vow to himself -- both he and Nikki would see this entire thing through alive, and would be together afterwards. Nothing could stand in their way. He refused to lose Nikki again, and he wouldn't let Nikki go through the agony of seeing him claimed by the fate Lynx had promised would be his. Somehow, they would create their own future, and they would do it *together*!
"Nikki! Let-um Sergey go-um!! We leave-um NOW-um!!"
Serge huffed out a sigh against Nikki's mouth, then drew away, even though the older boy's tongue was teasing at his tingling lips.
"Soon," he promised Nikki, in answer to his earlier question. His cerulean eyes were intense as he reached up to cup a porcelain cheek in one gloved hand, fingertips caressing one delicate cheekbone. "I swear it, aisuru. Soon!"
Nikki's gaze deepened, but their moment was over -- if they didn't get to the boat soon, Leah was going to put a hole in it!
"Here we are," Serge assured the little cavegirl as they swiftly and efficiently boarded and cast off. "But, Leah-chan, we're just heading for a big boat," he warned. "There won't be any monsters to fight there."
"That-um okay. Me-um can always find-um fight!"
Serge cast Nikki a wide-eyed look. "Uh... should we be worried?"
Nikki nodded solemnly, though his eyes were twinkling with humor... and love. "I think so."
Warm lamplight ran gentle fingers over well-defined muscles, and set fire to hair that was every shade between black and golden-red. Two pairs of violet eyes were heavy-lidded and hazy with the pleasure of creating pure music.
Serge squirmed. This *had* to have been *the* worst idea *anyone* had come up with yet in this madcap adventure!!
Well, okay, maybe not quite. But it was right up there!!
It wasn't really Nikki's fault.... He was just so beautiful.... And now there were two of them, standing in front of Serge, playing with each other....
For one of the first times in his life, Serge found himself assailed with a veritable barrage of ecchi thought bubbles. Even though there was nothing whatsoever questionable about the impromptu jam-session taking place before his eyes.... But there were *two* Nikki's, and they were *playing* together! Serge wasn't sure what he would have liked more -- to watch the two engage in some passionate bed-sports; play the part of a voyeur; or to dive right in with them, and try to figure out how to manage a heated three-way.
Serge squirmed some more. His shorts were uncomfortably tight, and he was edging ever further behind one of the dressing room chairs, trying to shield his growing hard-on from casual view. Not that there was anyone here but Leah and the two young men who were inadvertently *causing* his discomfort, but....
And, of course, neither one knew what he had in mind. They were immersed in the near-orgasmic rush of playing good music with a partner equally skilled. Serge wasn't sure whether his Nikki would be angry or would laugh if he knew what Serge was thinking now. He kind of thought it would be the latter, but he wasn't daring enough the test that theory.
"Sergey," Leah chirped from the other side of the chair, peering over its back, her big eyes round. "You-um feel okay-um?"
"H-hai," Serge faltered, knowing his face must be bright red, even if there was a great deal of blood rushing to a very different portion of his body. He was flushed and flustered, and he couldn't drag his gaze away from the magnificent spectacle before him. "Really, Leah-chan, I'm all right!"
"Okay." Leah nodded, then bobbed a bit in time with the thrilling flow of electric guitars in perfect harmony. "Nikki play-um good music," the little cavegirl remarked complacently. "Me-um like-um."
"Un." Serge bit his lower lip and tried not to draw attention to himself, even though he felt as though he was going to burst at any moment. In desperation, he focused on the music, hoping it would carry him away and cleanse him of all his ecchi thoughts.
He watched with glazed eyes, lips parted, breath coming short and sharp, as the two Nikkis swayed in time with the music and one another. Undulating to the beat, each bending over his guitar as though it were a lover, both totally wrapped up in the shared experience....
Oh, kami, it wasn't working! He was--
Serge stiffened and stifled a harsh gasp as the Marbule song reached its climax. His cheeks blazed with acute embarrassment. That hadn't been the only climax. He was going to have to change his shorts as soon as he got a chance -- and he hoped it would be soon!
"Serge!" Nikki was beaming all over his face, twilight eyes alight with a joy that Serge had only seen aimed at himself previously. He shook back slightly sweaty bangs and stroked his guitar lovingly. "Wasn't that rockin'?!"
Serge swallowed, throat dry, and nodded mutely. He didn't trust himself to try to speak yet, and he only hoped he didn't have any visible stain around his still bulging groin area.
"I think I can perform my level seven Tech attack now!" Nikki was saying, seemingly oblivious to Serge's discomfort. Really, Serge was more glad for that than anything else.
"That's great!" the other Nikki cheered, propping his guitar against the mirror. "Glad I could help, dude!"
"That was amazing!" Nikki said, grinning like a madman. "I hope we can jam together again some time!"
Serge was just thankful he'd already spent his load -- the mental imagery was just too compelling, and he couldn't banish the lovely, hentai pictures his mind was conjuring against his will.
"Ne, Serge?" Serge suffered a moment of panic, but Nikki was looking around the dressing room, brow creased -- not staring at his crotch. "Where's Leah?"
Shaken from his distraction, Serge glanced about as well. "I... I don't know. She was right here a minute ago...."
"Shimatta." Nikki slung his guitar over his shoulder and squared his shoulders. "We'd better go find her. The gods only know what sort of trouble she could be getting into!"
"I'll help you look," the other Nikki offered, striding to the door.
Serge moved to exit after him, moving a bit uncomfortably due to his sticky undershorts and his still not entirely flaccid state.
"You okay?" Nikki murmured in his ear as they followed the other Nikki, who began to question members of the crew as to whether they had seen a little girl with a tail and a big axe pass by recently.
"I'm fine," Serge replied, a little too quickly.
"Ho?" Nikki tilted his head, expression concerned. "You're not coming down with a fever, are you? You're all flushed!"
"Iie!" Serge shook his head. "It's nothing like that!"
Nikki opened his mouth to speak, but just then the other Nikki returned to where they stood on the deck. "I think I know where she is," he said decisively. "Yu saw her climbing the line for the lift."
"So she's on the S.S. Zelbess now?" Serge asked, grateful for the interruption. He didn't ever want Nikki knowing what had happened back in the dressing room! Sure, they were lovers and he didn't want to keep secrets from Nikki, and he thought the older boy would take it more as a compliment than anything else... but it was *humiliating*!! He hadn't lost control over himself like that since he'd been thirteen -- and it had *never* happened outside the privacy of his small bedroom!
"Let's head over there," Nikki purred smoothly. "We have to go back for our boat, anyway."
The other Nikki accompanied them as they rode the lift back to the cruise ship. Serge wasn't sure whether he was glad or not. While it was absolutely delicious to be flanked on either side by the pinnacle of male beauty... it was also more than a little disconcerting. Especially after what had just occurred.
Oh, man. He was never going to be able to live that down!
"She's not anywhere on deck," the other Nikki said, looking around. "Let's go below."
Before they reached the stairs, though, an irate bunny-girl stormed up on deck, a little blonde chibi dangling from one large paw.
Janice stamped a foot, voice shrill. "Serge! I should have known! Is this yours?!" Her sapphire eyes flashed with fury as she held up the pint-sized warrior under discussion.
"I do believe it is," Nikki drawled, voice rich with amusement. "Leah-chan, can't you stay out of trouble for ten minutes?"
"Me-um find lots of monsters to fight-um!" the girl declared cheerfully, swinging her axe and causing Janice to yelp in outrage.
"Here! Take her! Take here! She's been destroying all my best monsters!!" Janice was hopping mad. "Get her the hell off this ship!"
Nikki stepped forward to calmly collect Leah in his arms. "We're quite sorry," he said, his voice actually sounding sincere. Serge remembered the way Janice had cheated time and again against him in the Grand Slam, and he wasn't feeling so apologetic. "We're leaving now. Leah-chan, say good-bye."
"Bye-um!" Leah waved a tiny hand. "Me-um come back later-um! Fight-um more monsters-um!"
"You'd better not!" Janice declared ferociously. "Serge, you just keep that brat away from my Grand Slam!" And with that, she turned on her heel and stormed back down the stairs.
"Wow. I didn't know rabbits had fangs!" Nikki chuckled. "Leah-chan, did you have a good time?"
"Me-um had fun!" the girl piped, then squirmed to be let down. "We go-um now? Find-um more monsters to fight-um?"
The unusual group made their way back down to where Norris' borrowed boat waited. Leah scrambled aboard, obviously eager for more action.
"Thank you," Nikki said earnestly to his other self. "I really appreciate it, dude."
"Hey, it was my pleasure!" the other Nikki grinned, waving a hand.
Serge started as his Nikki shot him a steamy, amused glance. Masaka! He couldn't... *know*... could he?! How--?!
"So I guess this is where we say good-bye, ne?"
Serge's eyes flew to impossible widths as Nikki stepped forward and cupped his double's face in one hand, then leaned in to press plush, violet-tinted lips together firmly.
"Whoa! Rockin'!" The other Nikki was *grinning*! He gave Nikki a little push. "Get your boy on the boat before he falls over. Then go find a monster to practice your Tech attack on!"
"Gotcha!" Nikki laughed, eyes gleaming with mischief as he grabbed Serge by the arm and manually dragged him on board. "Take care!!"
"Oosu!" The other Nikki lifted a hand in farewell as they cast off and let the current carry them away from the S.S. Zelbess. "Good luck!!"
"Me-um wonder if there be-um another me-um anywhere," Leah mused innocently as they bobbed on the water's surface. Clearly she had seen nothing untoward in what had just occurred.
"Anything's possible," Nikki replied, still smirking smugly. "But I tend to think you're one of a kind, Leah-chan."
"Maybe-um." Leah yawned widely. "Me-um tired after fighting-um all those-um monsters. Me-um takum nap!" And without further ado, she curled up on a pack, and was soon sound asleep.
"So." Nikki turned to Serge, a downright wicked gleam in his dark eyes. "What did you think of the show, Serge?"
Serge was still more than a little thunderstruck, his jaw hanging lax, his eyes round as gil.
"I hope you enjoyed it," Nikki purred, scooting closer on the bench. "I know I sure enjoyed yours."
"NikKI~!!" Sparked back to life, Serge's voice cracked on a high note. "You--! You--!" he sputtered, unable to form any complete sentences.
Nikki gave a throaty chuckle and rested his hand over Serge's crotch. While this would normally be a pleasurable experience, just at the moment it really was not.
"Nikki, d-don't!" Serge gasped.
"Aw, poor baby." Nikki nuzzled Serge's cheek. "Did you make a mess? We need to get you out of these things!"
"Yamero!" Serge tried to knock Nikki's hands away, but he was still more than a little stunned, and he couldn't struggle too much without risking capsizing the boat. "Dame!"
"I love you too, aisuru," Nikki husked in his ear, following this declaration with a curl of his tongue, as his hands did... interesting things a bit lower.
"Ah!" Serge was melted by the tongue, the touch... but most of all by the words. Nikki was teasing, but Serge knew he meant what he had said, and this made him feel warm through, even though he was half bared to the cool sea breezes.
That reminded him....
"Nikki, we can't!"
"Mm." Nikki ignored him.
"Ooooh...." After a few breathless moments Serge rallied again. "Nikki, we... we *can't* have sex in the boat!"
A soft chuckle was his response. "Why not? Leah-chan's asleep, and you know nothing can wake her up outside of a fight...."
A rustle of clothing and the silken rasp of skin against skin.
"N-Nikki, I don't think I can...."
"Nn? Then what's this?"
"Nikki... how did you... know.... Did you see...?"
"Mm-hm. I saw. I thought it was incredibly sexy." A shiver of long painted nails over bared flesh. "I don't intend to share you, even with myself, but I just about got off on seeing you get off."
Serge buried his flushed face against Nikki's neck, clinging to his lover. "I'm so humiliated."
"It was hot," Nikki corrected. "I want to see you look like that again. And I don't care if we're in a boat with Leah-chan sleeping right behind us," he continued, voice fierce, grip possessive.
Serge moaned, tipping his head back as Nikki's lips moved over his cheek. He was allowing embarrassment to slide away and heated desire to take its place. Maybe Nikki had a point....
Maybe they could have that honeymoon sooner than he had thought. They could claim that much for themselves, couldn't they?
With the raucous screaming of gulls overhead and the loud lapping of waves against the hull, it was far cry from what he envisioned his future to be. But with Nikki's arms warm about him and their mouths sweetly fused, it was more than he could have asked of his present.
Right now, this was as good as it could get, and Serge was going to grasp every moment and hold it as his own. Not only he, but Nikki as well, deserved that much. They had to build new memories even as they worked for a better future.
And the rolling of the sea swept about one small boat, spinning it adrift in the sea; one tiny speck on the world map, but containing the entire world to its passengers.
And that was the way it should be.