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The sky rumbled.

 

Thunderstorms were always exciting in Ala Mhigo, Aza mused from his perch at Aymeric’s window, arms crossed on the sill and staring out at the Lochs. Like everything Ala Mhigan, thunderstorms were unbridled and passionate, the sky roaring and crashing as if Ramuh himself was storming through the clouds. During these times everyone, including the wildlife, took any cover they could, not willing to tempt fate by being an easy target.

 

It was perfect weather for Ixion to appear. Aza’s tail flicked in interest, his ears swivelling forwards as he eyed the lip of the Ala Mhigan Quarter’s wall. It would be easy enough to free Rations from the stables and simply fly into that wild storm, chasing after any scent of Ixion, and hunting that great beast down. Last time Ixion slipped away from him, but Aza was certain that this time…

 

“Getting restless, are we?”

 

Reluctantly, Aza turned his gaze away from the inviting horizon and smiled at Aymeric, who seemed to be fresh from the ablutions, judging by his damp hair and the pleasing smell of soap.

 

“Just imagining an exciting adventure,” Aza confessed, shifting around so he was leaning against the windowsill, letting his gaze travel up and down Aymeric’s body. He was in casualwear, meaning… “Oh, staying in today?”

 

“One of the perks of my current role, is that I am able to work from the comfort of my quarters from time to time,” Aymeric admitted, inclining his head towards a desk shoved into the corner of the room. Despite it being the quarters of one of the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance’s troops, the room was small and sparse – not that Aymeric seemed to mind. He had a bed, and a place to shift through his paperwork – that was enough for him.

 

Aza eyed the desk. It was buried under a mountain of parchment. All about supplies, troop rotations and correspondences with the Ishgardian Republic. From what Aza understood from Aymeric’s… not-complaining, the politicians were beginning to grumble about the strain on Ishgard’s economy from funding this foray into Ala Mhigo. As far as they were concerned, Ala Mhigo was liberated and therefore they could withdraw their support, so that they could focus on stabilising their economy and policies from the upheaval of the social coup. They didn’t seem to think about the inevitable Garlean retaliation and what that would mean for them, if they didn’t maintain their forces here.

 

“Doesn’t seem very comfortable,” Aza pointed out, “Looks more like a logistical hell.”

 

Aymeric’s answering smile was wry, “It is, but it’s a necessary evil. As a representative of the Temple Knights and Lord Commander of Ishgardian forces, I need to account for everything militarily.”

 

It sounded dreadfully dull, in Aza’s opinion.

 

“Surely it can loiter there for another hour or so?” Aza suggested, “No offence, but you look like you’ve just crawled out from a Gold Saucer weekend.”

 

Aymeric looked adorably puzzled for a moment, before clarity dawned, “Surely I don’t look that bad?”

 

“You do. Absolutely dreadful. Almost gave me a fright when I saw you,” Aza purred, tone wicked, “Your handsome face is all but hidden behind those dark circles of yours. Therefore, I suggest some, mm, rest and recuperation, before you tackle the parchment monster currently devouring your desk.”

 

“Is this the ‘exciting adventure’ you were fantasising about earlier?” Aymeric asked dryly, quickly catching onto Aza’s intentions. It was why he was visiting his quarters, after all, “Invading my rooms to seduce me into my bed?”

 

“Oh no, I was fantasising about something else,” Aza pushed off the window sill, let his hips give the slightest swagger as his tail flicked from side to side, “But that does sound like a nice alternative.”

 

Aymeric sighed and lifted a hand to rub the bridge of his nose. Aza wasn’t exaggerating – he did look tired. While Aza had the luxury of being just a lowly adventurer despite his successes, Aymeric was forever mired in the exhausting work of politics and military organisation. Aza could happily skip off into the wilderness for a week to avoid difficult work, whereas Aymeric was doomed to it.

 

“Although… if that’s too strenuous,” Aza added, voice gentling, “How about a simple catnap instead? Catching an hour or so can do wonders for the tired mind.”

 

Aymeric lowered his hand and glanced between his desk and Aza himself, clearly tempted by the idea, “Well, if it is only for an hour or so…”

 

“Mmhmm, and I’ll keep my hands to myself as well,” Aza said cheerfully, shooing Aymeric in the direction of his bed. It was a simple thing, enough for two bodies to fit snugly together, and a decent mattress to boot. Aza had been living in the stables the past week with Rations, so it would be nice to sleep on a bed for once. “C’mon, off you go. Into bed with you.”

 

It took a few more shoos, but eventually Aymeric obediently shuffled to bed. Still dressed, pity, but Aza was pleased all the same as he tucked himself against Aymeric’s side, all curled up and contented, and listened to the storm outside. The wanderlust had faded, somewhat – he felt a pang of disappointment that he may miss Ixion, but there was no regret on where he was now. Time between himself and Aymeric were scarce these days, and Aza would happily bask in what few hours he could snatch.

 

“Just an hour,” Aymeric said, voice already fuzzy with drowsiness, “Promise to wake me up, Aza.”

 

“I promise,” Aza said easily, discreetly crossing his fingers and nuzzling his cheek against Aymeric’s shoulder, “Just one hour.”

 

Aymeric drifted to sleep very soon after that. Aza shifted about until his cheek rested on his partner’s chest, listening to his breathing and heartbeat. Ah, how he loved this man, he thought to himself fondly, smoothing his hand over Aymeric’s stomach, where the scar from his thankfully failed assassination attempt was.

 

Even though he had seen it many times before, Aza curiously lifted up the hem of Aymeric’s shirt. There, a thin and pale short line just beneath his diaphragm. Honestly, he was lucky the blade hadn’t gone half an inch higher. Thank goodness for incompetent assassins, he supposed.

 

“Though, it would be better if there had been no assassin at all,” he murmured to himself, letting the hem drop. The part of him that was Fray grumbled that revenge on the assassin’s audacity had been denied to them, and Aza held that dark, ugly feeling for a moment, turning it over and over until it smoothed into something sharp and needling before burying it deep. That would be a useful emotion to burn up later.

 

Feeling too restless to really nap, or even doze, Aza amused himself by propping his head on an upturned palm and unashamedly studying Aymeric up close. Such dark circles… should he be working this hard? While Aza understood that things were, to put it bluntly, a massive clusterfuck after Doma and Ala Mhigo’s near simultaneous liberations, surely there wasn’t enough to make Aymeric so busy? As far as Aza understood it, they were sitting here on their hands until Ala Mhigo could pull itself back together long enough to form a government and a functioning national army. What happens after that, Aza didn’t know, but he was certain it was going to involve some amazing, dangerous battle in a- a volcano, or a thunderdome, or something.

 

Or maybe an alternative reality? It’s been a while since he fought in a pocket dimension of some kind, and that had been interesting – even if that Ascian, what’s his face, had the ugliest side burns he had ever seen.

 

Aza’s nose wrinkled at the memory, and he let his hand drift down to fiddle with a lock of Aymeric’s hair. Speaking of, the Ascians had been curiously absent lately. He didn’t much care for it. But alas, he couldn’t do anything about it. While the Ascians slithered in the darkness somewhere, Aza would have to keep his gaze focused on the horizon for Imperial banners or other budding Primal threats. Once they revealed themselves with another of their annoying schemes, Aza could act decisively and hopefully kill off some others.

 

Fray purred, low and deep, at the thought. Mm, yes, that did sound very nice indeed. There was a vicious satisfaction in watching Ascians wail in fear as their long-evaded mortality came rushing at them. A nice, heady feeling of control and strength at crushing something supposedly ‘eternal’. It was like besting a Primal, only ten times better. Primals were just delusional constructs of Aether, nothing real, but Ascians…

 

“You’re purring,” Aymeric murmured suddenly.

 

“Oh,” Aza coughed in embarrassment, hurriedly tucking away those dark, hungry thoughts to enjoy another time. “Sorry, did I wake you?”

 

“Mm,” Aymeric opened his eyes, and Aza was briefly distracted by his lovely eyelashes. This man was too handsome for his own good, it was really annoying sometimes. Able to distract Aza just by standing there – or, lying there in this case – looking all pretty. It made Aza want to bite him.

 

He very nearly did too, unconsciously dipping his head, lips parted – before he realised and hurriedly straightened up again, smiling sheepishly, “Ah, uh, no more purring from me then. Go back to sleep, I’ll try to be quieter.”

 

“What were you thinking about?” Aymeric asked after a pause, one where he just looked adorably sleepy.

 

“Mmm…” Aza pushed his previous thoughts down deeper, letting Fray stew in those for a while, and rubbed a hand behind his ear, “Well, something naughty, I guess.”

 

Aymeric let out an audible exhale, though he was smiling, so Aza supposed he was amused; “It’s always something naughty.”

 

“Well, yes, that’s a common side effect of having such an amazingly handsome partner sharing your bed,” Aza laughed, letting his hand rest on Aymeric’s chest, “Sometimes it’s enough to make me blush, and you know how shameless I can be.”

 

“Intimately,” Aymeric muttered, glancing to the side in obvious remembrance of something. His cheeks were a little pink, “I can also recall when that shamelessness almost got us caught…”

 

“Oh. Right, yeah…” Aza felt his face warm at that memory. In retrospect it was funny, Thancred catching them with their pants down – literally – in what they thought was some rarely visited corner of the Temple Knight’s headquarters – but at the time it had been so mortifying that Aza almost died from embarrassment alone. Thankfully Thancred had been… discreet, about it. Sort of.

 

“Not one of my wisest ideas,” he admitted, “Though I suppose Thancred can say he’s seen the Warrior of Light on his knees, if he wants to boast about something.”

 

“Aza…” Aymeric’s face was an adorable shade of red, but he was smiling. Aza couldn’t help but chuckle a little and bent down slightly, letting his voice drop into something low and husky.

 

“It’s something I quite enjoyed too,” he hummed, fingers drumming a slow tempo on Aymeric’s chest, “Me kneeling in front of you, your hands in my hair, fucking my mouth and-”

 

And Aymeric hushed him and pulled him down, cutting off Aza’s purred words with a very lovely, warm kiss. Aza enjoyed it immensely, and when they parted slightly flushed and breathless, he was smiling in complete satisfaction, eyes dark and tail lifted up with interest.

 

“Shameless,” Aymeric murmured, but his expression showed his want and Aza was happy to oblige.

 

“Utterly so,” Aza leant down a little, let his lips brush against Aymeric’s jaw. Then he shifted down and gave into that earlier urge to bite – gently. Aymeric sighed beneath him. It was the sweetest sound Aza had ever heard, and he pressed his forehead against Aymeric’s shoulder, breathing that clean-soap smell in and letting himself wrestle his lust under control for a moment.

 

“I really want you to fuck me,” he admitted roughly, pushing himself up and straddling Aymeric’s waist. It was a lovely sight, Lord Commander of the Temple Knights, sprawled out on the bed beneath him, cheeks flushed, eyes dark, and… “Very, very much.”

 

“Hm,” That little noise rumbled in the back of Aymeric’s throat as his hands gripped Aza’s hips, pulling slightly and coaxing the Miqo’te to rock gently against him, “Now, there’s shameless, and there’s demanding,” he murmured teasingly, his voice low and husky and hypnotising. Aza could feel his pulse pick up just from listening to it.  

 

“What if I said please?” Aza said breathlessly, gripping Aymeric’s forearms as he shifted his weight back and forth, muscles taut from the maddeningly slow pace Aymeric’s hands were forcing him to go at, “Unless you want me to beg~?”

 

Aymeric looked far too pleased with himself, “I’d never ask you to beg, Aza.”

 

Oh, that was such a big, dirty lie that Aza couldn’t stop the disbelieving laughter, “You’re such a liar,” he sniggered, leaning forwards so he ended up sprawled over Aymeric’s body instead, feeling the Elezen’s hands shift from his hips to his thighs. They were close enough to kiss, but Aza held back; “You love making me beg. Mm? Remember, oh, two weeks ago? You wouldn’t let me finish until you were absolutely certain that I was gasping for it.”

 

“I was being thorough,” Aymeric said innocently, but Aza didn’t buy it for a second. Aymeric could be a little shit when he wanted to be, “Didn’t you enjoy it?”

 

“Immensely,” Aza said without hesitation, “But still- mmph.”

 

Aymeric was getting way too good at shushing him with kisses. This one lasted only for a few seconds, but it was enough to completely derail Aza’s train of thought. What an asshole.

 

“Grnmph,” Aza finished when they parted, briefly distracted by the very satisfied look on Aymeric’s face, “You… that’s playing dirty.”

 

“Do you want me to stop?” Aymeric asked mildly, because again – little shit, “Because I suppose I can get up and finish my wo-”

 

Aza smacked a pillow over his face.

 


 

 

Two minutes later, Aza was regretting his life’s choices.

 

“You really didn’t think that through, did you?” Aymeric asked from where he was sitting on Aza’s stomach, his strong hands effectively pinning his wrists. Normally this would be a position Aza would love, but Aymeric was deliberately letting too much of his weight rest on him and his diaphragm was very loudly protesting it. Why did he fall in love with someone so heavy and tall?

 

“I never… think about things ever,” Aza said breathlessly, his face hot from their brief tussle, “And you cheat.”

 

Aymeric laughed, and Aza happily soaked up the sound.

 

“How else was I going to win?” Aymeric asked teasingly, voice warm with amusement, and he released his grip on Aza’s wrists, pressing his weight down on his knees instead to give Aza’s lungs a bit of a break. “And you bite, so…”

 

Too true. Aza just smiled innocently, his gaze flicking to the red mark on the junction between Aymeric’s neck and shoulder. That’s what he got for letting his guard down.

 

“Oh, you like it, really,” he hummed, stretching languidly beneath Aymeric and giving him his best ‘come hither’ look, “Now get down here and start kissing me already.”

 

“Hm,” Aymeric said, looking for a moment like he was going to be contrary before deciding that he was done playing around too. He shifted his weight, leaning down until his heavier body was pressing Aza against the bed – and that was a lovely sensation. He purred happily, spreading his legs to let Aymeric settle nicely between them, arms coming up and-

 

Mm. Perfect.

 

“You’re purring,” Aymeric observed quietly, pausing just shy of kissing him. Tease.

 

“No, I’m growling,” Aza huffed, trying to look pouty and failing miserably. He could feel a smile curving his lips, and he curled his fingers into Aymeric’s dark, soft hair, urging him closer, “From impatience.”

 

“Hm,” he could feel Aymeric’s smile against his mouth, “then I won’t keep you waiting.”

 

And after that, well, there really wasn’t much talking.  

 


 

 

“Mmmn…”

 

Aza reluctantly eased out a pleasant, warm sleep from the noise of heavy rainfall hitting glass. Blearily, he opened his eyes to a dark room, his internal clock telling him it was somewhere close to late evening. He made a quiet noise of dissatisfaction, and stretched, flinging an arm out-

 

To an empty bed.

 

“Hm.”

 

Something must’ve happened to call Aymeric away. Disappointed, Aza rolled into the spot the Elezen had occupied, now cold, and buried his face into his pillow. Always the part he hated, waking up alone, but it wasn’t as if they could do much about it. Aymeric was beholden to the Eorzean Alliance, and if they wanted him up and about in the late evening then, well…

 

One day he’d get his fantasy of a night with just the two of them – no duties or world ending crisis or anything interrupting them. And maybe Aymeric would be disentangled from all this politics business and this war with the Garleans and the Ascians would end happily and they could go on adventure with just the two of them and… yeah, maybe Behemoths will fly.

 

Aza closed his eyes, trying to let the rainfall lull him back to sleep. It was a nice dream, in any case. It might happen. Until then, he’ll just have to enjoy those little snatches of happiness with Aymeric when he could.

 

 

These moments were still lonely, though.  

 

And with that last thought, the rain began to ease as Aza drifted off, curled up alone in a bed made for two.