"Another," he murmured, because a tan, bleached brunette Duo lived beside him, lying about scars and flirting as if it was just another symptom of breathing.
There were options, he reminded himself as his glass was refilled. He should help Duo get to his war, his space colony, get back to Heero - who would never love him, never appreciate him, who would lead him happily down a suicide mission with no apologies. It was what Duo knew, despite the gaps in his memory that his scars hinted at; Moist loved him so Moist should do what was best for him.
So Moist wanted to pin him to the narrow bed and taste the sweat in his clavicles, because that was better for Duo than a renegade war.
He sighed. Duo and Ponder, talking about dimensions. Once upon a time, it had happened, right before him on a Sunday dinner, just another afternoon. Now it was -- Reality. Duo could leave.
And Moist should help him. If he loved him. Which he did, which he had.
“I’m sorry, Postmaster?” the Patrician asked mildly, aligning some paperwork with the edge of his blotter. “What is it you’ll be taking?”
Moist drew a breath that was meant to calm him but only made him feel like a rather small bird puffing its feathers up to scare off a herd of wild horses.
“Whatever corrupt, dangerous, morally questionable, or otherwise unemployable position you’d like to throw my way this month, Patrician,” Moist said. His hair was a bit off. Hat hair combined with Morporkian weather combined with the fact that he hadn’t slept too well for going on three months.
“I see,” Vetinari mused, leaning back in his chair and glancing up at Moist for the first time. “And the reason you think I might have unexpected career opportunities for you?”
“You had your haunted Post, I fixed it. You had your three ringed - and I do mean three ringed, Patrician, I believe the waiting room currently has a dunk tank and a daily Pie In The Face performance - joke of a mint, and I fixed that too. And, despite my best attempts to the contrary, I managed to make sure this blight of a city successfully collected taxes for the fist time since the concept of taxes came to be.”
He drew a low breath.
“Now tell me what it is you’d like me to very nearly get myself killed for this time.”
Slowly, so slowly that it must have taken incredible facial muscle definition and endurance, Vetinari arched one eyebrow. Then the other.
“Rufus?” he said mildly, “Do we have any employment opportunities for the Postmaster?”
Drumknott very carefully leafed through his ever present stack of papers and he was about to say something very droll like it appears not, Patrician or Nothing that suits his skill set, Patrician or possibly I’ll have the viper pit prepared, Patrician.
But before he could so much as arrange his expression into one of pretentious disdain the sky above the distant spires of the UU...broke.
Or, perhaps that wasn’t the right would. They inverted. And tore a bit. There was a moment when Moist was willing to bet it oozed and all of that was followed by a light so brilliantly white it left purple outlines dancing across his vision.
“Ah....wizards?” he hazarded after ten thoughtful seconds of silence.
Somedays, Moist wonders if there’s any going back to criminality for him. He’s a tendency to wake up covered in the deceptively long and heavy limbs of his husband, occasionally with The Hair effectively nesting him in place. There’s little to hear besides the gently snoring dogs and the not so gently snoring spouse and the ocean. And the birds. Maybe it’s because of this that he tends to wake slowly, lazily, stumbles over nothing until someone (Duo) boils water and shoves tea into his hands.
Once upon a time, Moist woke in the middle of the night each time Commander Vimes so much as said his name half way across the city. He’s gone soft, he figures, prodding his own stomach thoughtfully, staring at the bare beams of Home. He’s grey hair, now, a little, and a bit of softness around the middle and, and, oh, he has Duo. He’s had Duo for so long now he can’t really remember Before.
He closed his eyes. Adora. Ponder. Duo. It was early and perhaps the lack of caffeine made him sentimental. He leaned over, kissing one of Duo’s eyelids and thought, This is a forever kind of thing, because Anoia liked him well enough, for as much good as that did them, and the cosmos really couldn’t give a damn one way or another, which wasn’t a bad place to be, and Moist was a slippery bastard and this, this, this was a weighted die, a stacked deck. They couldn’t lose.
He carded his hand through Duo’s bangs, grinning when he barely stirred, hair everywhere, perfect, and caught his breath. Still, this made him catch his breath, Duo hair down and sheet marked, murmuring in his sleep. Moist stood, stretched, and padded out to the deck, whistling for the dogs to follow.
Just another glorious da-
*There is no footnote. Only TBC...
Here, it was proving far less straight forward. Vimes had nodded in a halfway cordial way last week. One of Duo's friends had bashed his skull. Little things like that made it hard to tell where you stood with people. Or monsters*.
Moist’s ankles rested on Arnold’s back, who was curled happily at his feet in the lazy dawning light. There were still fine points of dew clinging desperately to blades of grass and the planks of their wide front porch. In the lee of the house, Zwerg and his mother were sharing a breakfast of something recently alive but not, unfortunately, recently human. Or, Moist corrected himself belated, not recently one human in particular.
“Quis custodiet ipos illegitimis?” he asked the dog, chewing on his cuticles. Beside him, a few scattered drawings littered the floor, in particular an impressive forgery of an Ankh-Morpokian death warrant sealed with something incredibly like Vetinari’s writ and seal.
“No one,” he muttered, huffing out a sigh. “Trust me. I would know.”
*and not in the slightly prolonged fashion employed Watch coppers everywhere.
**who happened to be people with distressing frequency.
Moist sat on a few innocent looking crates which, in all likelihood, contained some sort of alloy that was capable of collapsing stars, and stared out at the incredible emptiness of the desert. Well. Probably empty. It probably contained a lot of bones and secret military installations*.
'So, that old lover of yours, you know, the one that kills people with his eyes. And his muscles. Yeah, that one,' just didn't sound like a good opener, Moist decided, leaning back on the baking wood. There was probably an easier way to broach the subject, but apparently a few years of marriage hadn't presented Duo with an appropriate opener, so the possibility that one would suddenly reveal itself seemed slim. For lack of something better, Moist sagged back under the endless sun and sighed. Quatre had been less than helpful, keeping one eye on Duo and the other boy and the other on Moist for entirety of their cordial, nice conversation, during which the younger man had kindly pointed out all the ways that Moist could die in the base. It was thoughtful, really. Moist mopped the sweat off his forehead and sighed.
Just another day in a war torn, alternate dimension populated entirely by teenagers with gigantic Armageddon machines. One day, hopefully soon, he'd be used to this.
*which is to say, that they all look like they'd enjoy killing you, but don't worry, they've got all the time in the world to go about it.
**which, strangely enough, would also be interested in killing you. Funny things, deserts.
The pug looked up at him mournfully, grunting enthusiastically around a mouthful of polymer. With one eye, at least. The other was listing blissfully off in the direction of the shoreline. Moist sighed to himself, and gingerly patted the mutt’s head. It took all kinds, he reasoned. All misanthropic, cross-eyed kinds.
The fire was something of a show, a picture out of a book entitled “Romance: an Expert’s Guide”. There was firelight, a thick blanket spread on the sand, a few books. There was even a bartered for few bottle of local ale laying innocently on the blanket. Plans had been laid in motion already. All there was for Moist to do was lay back on the comforter and wait.
He hummed to himself, eyes closed, and looked up at the sparkling night sky. The tune was familiar and had been sung across the multiverse to celebrate the achievement of an individual’s ability to survive another few hundred days around a given lightsource.
“...and you smell like one too,” he finished, grinning wickedly and cracking his eyes open at the sound of someone approaching. It was probably damn stupid. It might get killed, or at least impressively maimed, but Moist couldn’t help feel a little of the old reckless adrenaline rise up in his veins.
Self-preservation was for the weak of heart, wasn’t it?
Moist laughed against Duo's mouth, pushing his boxers down onto the stand and fumbling with his own belt.
"You forgot silver tongued," Moist prompted letting Duo slip barefoot onto the sand, letting a hand trail up the smooth skin on the inside of his leg. Moist crouched, slipping a hand behind Duo's knee, pressing a kiss against his hip bone.
"Mmm...and honest...and..." Moist continued to kiss down, slowly. "...selfless..."
There was, logically, moments that tied Moist's smooth departure from Summerfell to his less than smooth, panting, fumbling entrance into his own house, twenty feet ahead of the dogs and sweaty from a sprint. Logically, those moments existed, but perhaps they belong to someone else. Someone that routinely went running in parkas, hiking boots and enjoyed whimpering while he did so. Slamming the door behind him, Moist dragged his Mr Robinson box in front of the door and sat down on it, letting his head fall onto his hands.
"Duo?" he called weakly, not looking up. "I. I just had a baby."
He blinked. "It was a boy."
Eventually, they make it to the hut, Moist still half carrying, half dragging and half kissing Duo through the doorway. There's barely enough doorway to contain the extent of it. The Average Canine Family, which had gotten used to their seat of power in the center of the bed, sluggishly evacuated the bed with Moist's loud, sharp whistle.
"Look what you've done," he said, spinning Duo back against the bed, "The wolf-dogs have gotten Ideas."