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In Your Many Arms I Feel Safe

Chapter Text

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Billy shivered and tried not be sick as the gag in his mouth meant that all of the vomit would end up in his lungs instead of on the floor of the SUV if he were to throw up.

This is a dream. This is a dream. This is a dream. This is…

Repeated in Billy’s head over and over and over again. But it wasn’t. He was sitting at the back of a moving car, sandwiched between two burly and worryingly calm men, trying to guess where they were heading.

Billy’s eyes were glued on the back of the head of a man sitting on the front passenger’s seat who was still wearing his smart looking navy blue blazer from their date.

“You should be honoured, Billy.” The man said and turned to Billy, the car slowing down and tilting from side to side as the terrain became increasingly more uneven. The look in Billy’s dates eyes had gone from a friendly to a scarily manic.

Billy really had only agreed to go on a date with Greg because it had been eons that anyone had asked him to one. To be fair, he had not had much interest to get acquainted with Greg, but a promise of a free meal and perhaps a quick roll in the hay after a long dry spell had been two reasons good enough to suffer through an evening in his company.

“Fufgf yuu.” Billy spat through the gag and the smile on Greg’s face became only more unhinged.

“Take the gag of.” Greg said to the other goon. “Even if he starts to scream no one will hear it.”

“Fuck you.” Billy spat again when the gag came off. “Why the fuck should I be honoured, hmm? What are you, human trafficker, serial killer, or are you planning to steal my kidneys?” Billy hissed venomously, but it was just a show. He was scared beyond belief.

“No, darling.” Greg grinned. “Nothing so common or low.” He reached over and ran his hand across Billy’s cheek and the bound man withdrew in disgust. “You have the honour of being our sacrifice.”

“A- A what?” Billy whispered, suddenly feeling ill.

“A sacrifice that will bring us power, Billy. They require blood, He requires blood.”

“What.” Billy croaked. “You are Satanists.”

“No, Billy.” Greg smiled, his eyes glazing over in a manner that was nothing more than utterly deranged. “Those gods are false, there is no God, or Devil, or Allah, Buddha, Poseidon or Ra. No… Billy. I’m talking about the true gods, The Great Old Ones.”

Billy had barely any time to feel ill or even panic after the way the man had uttered his words with almost feverish reverence before the car slowed down and finally stopped. They were somewhere deep in the woods of New England, having driven from New York for hours through the night. He was left in the car by himself for few minutes to stew in his terror and then the door was yanked open and Billy was dragged out by the goons between whom he had been sitting. The men had changed from their regular clothes to dark robes and so had Greg. There were other people there as well, waiting by a group of cars parked nearby.

“Let us go, brothers and sisters.” Greg said and held out his arms. “Let us awaken Him.”

“Awaken Him.” The cultists echoed and Billy’s legs nearly buckled.

The group was then off and they marched onwards in a single file along a narrow path towards some place even deeper in the woods, the early morning light making the forest almost beautiful. The terrain became increasingly uneven and finally the path they had been following disappeared altogether, but the people seemed to know their destination and they pushed onward through the undergrowth.

Then the terrain started to slope downwards after a while and something felt off. Billy could feel it, there was just something… wrong.

It hit him after a moment; it was quiet.

The woods around them were quiet beyond what could be naturally expected, there were no birds singing or wind rustling the branches of the trees. Even the sounds made by the people trekking towards that something were muted and dull.

“No.” Billy whispered suddenly and stopped, the men leading him grabbing him more tightly. “No, no, no, nonoo…”

Greg looked at him with a cold, terrifying smile, his eyes devoid of all reason and sanity. “Rejoice, Billy. He will devour you, you will be His forever. His, Billy. His.”

This time Billy’s legs buckled under him, but the men holding him just grabbed him more firmly and started to half drag, half carry him along and they finally arrived at a shore of a small, perfectly round and perfectly still lake.

Billy felt sick as he gazed at the unnaturally unmoving surface of the lake. It should have been beautiful, the small body of water, but the way the grey overcast sky reflected from it made it look like a giant, dead-white eye.

Billy’s hindbrain was screaming at him; imploring him to not get near the water.

Instead of walking near the water, the group headed towards two large boulders that were leaning against one another near the shore, looking like massive tombstones, or teeth as they jutted out from the ground at an odd angle.

There was a small opening between the large pieces of rock and the procession advanced towards what was an entrance to a cave. They pushed past hanging moss and roots, and other vegetation, and into the mouth of a cave.

The air of wrongness and of something else simply increased and Billy made an involuntary whimper when they started to decent somewhere deep and dark. Small stones scattered over the floor of the cave scraped against the tips of his shoes as he was dragged down the winding tunnel.

It came pitch black as the morning light behind them receded further and further, and the only sounds were their breathing and footsteps. Some of the cultists lit LED torches to light their way and after a while the regular stone of the walls changed into sleek and black, like volcanic glass, looking stone. The abnormal looking rock reflected the light back at them, making the small passage appear far larger, with an endless stretch of watchful darkness over their heads.

The deeper they went, the longer they walked, the air was filled with a wet, seaweed like smell, that shouldn’t have been there as they were a long way inland, but still it was. Then, beneath the sound of their feet, came the echoes of water lapping against stone, like small waves upon a shore. The air became cool, damp and humid, and in the narrowness of the stone passageway it felt as if one was trying to breathe in treacle.

Abruptly the passage opened out into a large cavern. The men dragging Billy stopped as did some of the people, while others fanned out about them. Billy could hear them rustling in the dark, the beams of their torches dancing in the darkness and then light flooded the room along with the chugging of a generator. There were bright yellow work-lights in the cavern but they looked off in the cavernous space, their light bouncing off the walls and from the glinting floor in a distorted manner.

It was only then that Billy properly looked around. He found that the cavern reminded him of an amphitheatre. Half of the room was underwater, the other half exposed rock rising above the water in a gently sloping inverted crescent. The colour of the rock truly stood out in the light, glimmering black, the water a void that merely reflected the light jarringly back into their eyes. Obsidian, Billy thought about the rock, though it was nothing but a guess.

At the water's edge was a raised platform of stone, the only seemingly smooth and even surface in the dark cavernous space, hewn from the same glass-like stone that glinted around Billy. But the elevated piece of rock was carved and polished to such a smoothness that it didn’t glint in the light, it’s even surface seemingly absorbing all the light that fell on it. It was like a block of concentrated darkness, pure and utter darkness. Billy wasn’t surprised to be led there by his captors as the stone tables purpose was painfully obvious.

It was an altar, and he a sacrifice.

He vaguely remembered having had a fleeting thought of empathy towards the sacrificial animals when being told about them by the tourist guide when visiting Parthenon in Athens. Now he was like a sacred ox being led to the altar of Pallas Athena, being led to be bled.

“Please,” Billy whispered desperately as he was led to the altar. “Please no.”

No one answered to his plea and he was stripped of his clothes and the sheer overpowering terror he felt prevented him from feeling self-conscious or embarrassed by the involuntary nudity.

Motioning with his hand, Greg, who seemed to be somehow in charge, indicated he should face the water. The surface lapped at the rocky shore, the shifting reflections making it hard to recognise where the water ended, and the platform started. The muted sound of the water lapping at stone was almost soothing, allowing Billy for a short moment to concentrate to something else than the bruising grip keeping him still, almost ignore the sound of people setting up equipment behind him.

Billy was forced on to the altar and pushed down on his knees.

The men holding him put their hands on his shoulders and kept him still as two other cult members approached with restraints in their hands. They pulled Billy’s arms behind his back, then strapped them together, wrist to wrist and elbow to elbow, forcing his shoulders back and chest to expand. The restraints were heavy and made of reinforced cloth that even someone much stronger than Billy could not break. Heavy manacles were snapped around his bound wrists, the snaps loud in the still air. Then one of the men tying him kicked Billy’s legs apart, kneeling to attach a wide cuff about his left ankle, then the right, the same material as the arm restraints. Finally, a thick, reinforced metal bar was attached to the cuffs to make sure his legs stayed spread open and as a final act humiliation a gag was put on his mouth.

Billy felt sick and he started to shiver almost uncontrollably when Greg neared with a large knife.

“Pleaff.” Billy tried to speak through the gag as Greg neared. “Pleaff let me go.”

Of course the plea was in vain, even Billy himself knew that.

This had to be it.

He’d be cut open like a sacrificial lamb to give whatever monster the cultist worshipped its blood. But instead of gutting him or slicing open his neck Greg simply made a tiny nick on his left forefinger to draw out a drop of blood that fell on the dark stone beneath Billy.

“Waste not, want not.” Greg whispered in his ear. “And I’m sure He will have much more inventive ways of tormenting you. The tomes say that He can make the agony last for eons.”

Greg withdrew and the cultists left him alone after that, shuffling, clanging, setting up something behind Billy. The bright lights shut off abruptly, torches, actual ones with fire this time, having been set up to take their places. They were hardly more efficient, but the reflection on the water was warmer, kinder on the eyes, not that it made the horror of the situation any easier for Billy to bear. He stared at the flicker and play of the light on the little ripples for what felt like an eternity, not knowing whether hours or mere minutes had passed.

Billy was finally roused from his horrified stupor by the smell of incense, heavy and cloying, making him feel even more ill than he already was. The cultists were now chanting in some incomprehensible strange language behind him. They started softly but rose louder and louder, their voices mixing to create a cacophonous hymn. The sound echoed off the cavern’s far wall, too black, or too far to see, and it returned to him as a warped reverberation. It was the echo that hurt Billy’s ears and caused a strange buzzing to fill his head. As if he had been knocked unconscious and was only now waking up. Neither the cadence of the words nor the words themselves reminded him of anything, made any sense. Yet his skin was soon covered in goose bumps despite the humid atmosphere.

Somehow the words themselves were without reason, not just gibberish, but without sanity.

The light began to flicker again, the torches guttering as if in a strong breeze. The tiny waves lapping at the rocks grew larger, water rising higher and higher until it touched the altar itself and little droplets of water landing on Billy’s shivering skin. One by one, the torches went out, leaving them in utter blackness.

Then the chant ended.

The sudden silence was so jarring that Billy opened his eyes, when had he even closed them? There was nothing but darkness. The sound of the water had vanished as the waves slapping against stone had stilled. The breeze also had disappeared, the air calm and still. Even the people were breathless, not a sound of air entering or leaving lungs to be perceived. All was still.

With a great thump the lights came back on. The electric ones, making several people cry out in surprise.

“Steady!” Greg ordered with a hoarse shout. “No one move!”

The generator whined, revving up higher and higher. The lights vibrated, their bases clicking against the obsidian cavern floor as some great unseen force rocked them. Billy made a horrified sound and ducked his head, or at least he tried to, as the sound grew deafening, culminating with what sounded like gunshots, as each of the halogen lightbulb burst, the glass raining on the floor of the cavern like stardust.

Once more they were plunged into darkness, the cult members fumbling in the dark. Someone shouted for some light, and both the electric and burning torches were lit. In the same moment, the water that had been so still and serene for a moment exploded into a frothing mass of movement.

Shadows. Tentacles.

Billy screamed in muted terror and jerked back, but the restraints kept him from doing more than feebly rocking in place. There were gasps and outcries behind him as the mass of limbs grew and grew and grew, filling the cave, fading into the darkness. The tentacles were innumerable, varying in size with some as thick as a bus, others slimmer than a finger, and everything in between. They were dark grey with a strangely golden sheen. Some were equipped with soft-looking suckers while others had rows upon rows of small, wickedly sharp hooks or teeth pushing out of the dark blackish-grey shimmering skin. Considering the size of the tentacles and how they seemed to be made of muscle alone, the hooks could probably rip flesh from bone like it was tissue paper.

There was a sound, or Billy thought there was a sound. It rang painfully in his ears, making his eyes blurry. Could a sound affect his vision? Someone gasped behind him. Something metallic clattered to the ground, a torch perhaps. The noise was apparently affecting everyone and strength of it was getting stronger, louder, making Billy feel dizzy and nauseous. It was as if a vice was squeezing his head, his whole body.

“Oh Mighty One!” Someone shouted. Greg; Billy managed to think. “Long have you lain forgotten, but we humble mortals summon you here today! We lowly worshippers of you bring to you an offering! A willing sacrifice to lie before you as yours to do with as you please! We ask for nothing more than your blessing in return, your power granted unto us as we work to restore order and the belief in true gods to the world in your name!”

 

In my name?

 

The words were not heard, but ripped Billy’s mind. Pulled from him like a blade from someone’s side. He couldn’t not think them, couldn’t do more than gasp as the gravity, thought, whatever it was faded away and his mind was his own once more.

“Yes, Ancient One!” Greg shouted, even his voice wavering. “We seek order and power! In your name, in the name of the Outer God of Eons, we will take this world and rid it of chaos and strife! Rid it of all the false gods that are. There will be no more struggle, no more pain, only order through your will and want, oh Eternal One!”

 

I require no sacrifice.

 

The words crawled inside Billy mind like they had always been there, his thoughts and not. Alien and other, but completely, utterly his own.

 

If it is order and power you seek, create them yourself.

 

“Please, we are in need of order, in need of guidance! This world is in tatters and heading for ruin. We need your help, but…” Greg’s eyes darted to Billy. “But we have read of the rites, that a sacrifice must be given. He is our willing offering to you, Your Greatness. Oh Powerful One, we beg of you, take him as our sacrifice, make us worthy of your name!”

 

Willing?

 

There was doubt behind the words that again pressed against Billy’s mind unyieldingly, and then there was a hot, smooth point of contact against his head as everything stopped once more. Blinking, stunned by the sudden lack of pressure inside his own head, he tried focusing. When his eyes stopped watering, Billy realised that one tentacle had left the huge frothing mass and was touching him. It was smooth, dark grey but glimmering with golden sheen like the other appendages, and no thicker than two fingers, the tip directly in the middle of his forehead.

Billy reared back instinctively, but his binds kept him still.

But then a different sensation filled him. A gentle and calming pressure, like a summer’s breeze that caressed his thoughts inside his mind. ‘You are not willing’ welled up in his thoughts, as gentle as a whisper this time, and then the presence was gone. A moment later, the tentacle withdrew. For a brief, insane instant Billy almost missed it, tilting minutely forward to follow that warm, careful touch.

Like an amassing storm, the many limbed god shifted to hover above Billy and the worshippers. Since he was about to die, he let himself wonder what was going to happen now. He wasn’t sure if he was to be eaten, or killed, or if he would undergo something equally horrific that he could not even fathom. However, the god had been so careful for such a powerful creature that Billy thought it wasn’t interested in causing pain for pain’s sake. The contact hadn’t been aggressive or malevolent, but maybe it was just his terrified mind playing tricks on him, trying to calm him before the inevitable.

The roiling mass of countless tentacles obscured his view completely as it expanded, shooting out all around him. Billy was so bound that it was almost impossible for him to turn his head, but the sounds were clear enough.

Horrifying.

Shouting, screams, even gunshots, the horrible, ripping sound of tendons breaking, the squelching of flesh torn from bone, and the crunch of shattered bodies broken in a crushing grip. Not a single part of the creature touched Billy, however, the great being merely floated before and around him, immense and incomprehensible.

“What are you doing?!” Greg screamed and from the corner of his eye Billy could see as one thick, tree trunk-like appendage wrapped around his waist and dragged him out of his line of sight. “You’re supposed to help us! You’re a-” Then there was a gruesome and nauseating wet gurgle and Billy could feel how tentacles slithered up his sides. This had to be it, Billy thought, he would be wrenched to pieces just like the others. Instead of being pulverised, small tentacles however pressed against his ears and somehow blocked off all the sickening sounds around him.

One tentacle yet again pressed against his forehead and Billy once more felt, rather than heard, gentle words in his head.

 

Keep your eyes closed, little one.

 

It wasn’t even an order, more like a gentle advise, but Billy did as asked and closed his eyes gratefully as he didn’t want to witness the horrific butchery all around him.

Perhaps they had botched the summoning, Billy thought. Perhaps this god never granted wishes. Perhaps it was enraged that they had dared to ask, or summon it at all, and it had killed them for disturbing it.

Finally, after what felt like eons, the tentacles covering his ears withdrew, and for a moment there was nothing but utter silence. The frenzied, deadly movements of the creature, god, whatever it was, abated, and sounds of splashes met Billy’s ears. The great being still writhed above him, the countless tentacles swaying about like seaweed, and something once more splashed into the dark water that spread before Billy..

Again and again, thought Billy, but he could not see what. It was many heavy pieces that hit the water one after the other and then he realised it. The creature, this god was cleaning up after itself. ‘Remember to hoover under the sofa’, Billy suddenly thought.

It was such a ridiculous thought, and so convinced was he that he would soon die, that a hysterical giggle slipped from Billy’s lips. The sound was muffled by the gag, but not completely. He froze as the air changed and he knew, though it had no eyes, that the god was focused on him once more.

Billy braced himself for it, for being torn apart like the others, but couldn’t find it in him to be afraid any longer. There was nothing that he could do; therefore it was pointless to be afraid. At least it would be quick. Yet, the first touch of an arm-sized tentacle was soft and gentle, curious in how it curled itself around his arm, then higher up around his shoulder until it reached his neck. Exploring him, investigating, and warm on his chilled skin. So very warm; he sighed and closed his eyes.

It really was ridiculous, but it had been so long since anyone had offered such a tender touch...

As if a spell had been broken, more tentacles investigated his bare skin. The smaller, lither ones explored his chest and stomach, one even curiously poking his bellybutton, tickling him. Another larger tentacle roamed over his back tracing up and down the groove of his spine, then sliding down over the curve of his arse as the little ones studies his cock and balls. Billy tensed and shuddered, making a small involuntary cry and the being seemed to notice his discomfort and moved the tentacles onward, one moving back to study his back while two others examined his thighs and feet. Yet again one of the smallest tentacles curiously prodded Billy, his toes this time, sliding between them. The curious prodding went on and though the touch itself was light, barely there, behind it he could sense a great weight.

When the tentacles roaming over his legs encountered the cuffs and the metal bar used to lock his legs in place, they wrapped around it. Billy could feel the moment the limb flexed. Where it had only seconds ago been soft and unthreatening, now the flesh turned iron-hard as it crushed the metal into non-existence, breaking it in the way a child would squeeze a piece of putty out of form. He swayed, overbalancing without the bar holding him in position as his legs had gone numb, ankles jerking outward before he could stop himself. The tentacle shifted from the bar about his legs and tightened around his waist. A shiver of fear shot through Billy for a moment. This thing broke reinforced metal as though it was nothing. It probably wouldn’t even notice when it took him apart. But, peculiar as it seemed, there was another aspect to the touch; steadying him, holding him up.

A larger tentacle wrapped around his midsection more firmly and gentle suckers attached themselves curiously to his skin. Billy shuddered and, without really meaning to, pressed a little into the contact. It was so warm. Warm and soft in the cool, damp cave, and it still didn’t hurt at all.

Everything stilled then, all the tentacles froze, and Billy felt his breath hitching, thinking that this was it; this was the moment when he died as the creature stopped curiously investigating him and would squeeze him into pulp. Though he waited, the hold of the tentacle on him didn’t harden. The limbs didn’t tear at him. The huge ones filled with razor-sharp hooks floated at the edge of his vision, but came no closer. A host of thin, smaller ones did. They slithered onto his body, his legs, his waist, wrapping over his shoulders so that the tips tickled his chest and caressed the hair on his chest curiously. They continued down his bound arms, the tiniest threading through his fingers, warm and soft. He let his fingers relax and little tentacles curled over them, tickling his palms, the webs between his fingers. It should have not felt good or pleasant, but for some unfathomable reason it did.

The small tentacles wriggled their way between the straps restraining his arms. At first Billy thought the creature was just curious about the strong material and wanting to explore it in the same tactile manner it had studied his body, but then they broke the cloth as easily as they had the metal bar, the sturdy material ripping like a piece of paper. Billy flailed again, his centre of gravity rapidly shifting once more with his arms no longer behind his back. Though his legs and arms were free, Billy chose to remain kneeling on the polished stone altar, the tentacles supporting him having loosened their hold a tad but not gone.

A lithe tentacle, with a similar kind of golden sheen as the first, wrapped around Billy’s head. It tugged at the gag muzzling him, pulling it free and letting it fall into the water. Then the great being was in his mind once more, floating inside him and he was inescapably not alone. Billy crumbled like a puppet with its strings cut into the waiting tentacles while thoughts that he knew were not his own sprung into his mind, thoughts that told him to rest and sleep.

 

 

The firelight was flickering when he came back slowly, feeling groggy and sweetly relaxed all over. The bed he was lying on was lumpy, but soft and pleasantly warm. Whoever he was in bed with liked to snuggle, and Billy hummed, pleased to feel the arms around his shoulders and waist, under his head and wrapped around his legs. All over. So many, holding him tightly. Far too many than there should have been.

What the hell had he done with Greg, well, with Greg and many other people as well?

Yawning, he opened his eyes, ready to face whoever he had bedded. The first thing he saw was dark skin. Lots and lots of dark grey flesh with a strange, golden sheen to it, and then his memories returned with full force.

Billy just stared numbly at the slightly shifting coils obscuring his field of vision and keeping him pleasantly toasty, even though he was as naked as the day he was born. They were huge, easily as thick as his waist, and he was lying on them. Dozens of them, maybe hundreds, separating him from the cold stone floor of the cave. The smaller ones splayed loosely over his shoulders, his chest, his legs; like a living blanket. They weren’t squeezing, just there. They stretched out behind him into the water where the waves splashed, louder than they’d been just on stone.

He pushed the first few tentacles off of him, finding it surprisingly easy as they made no effort to hold on. They went gently, simply sliding away, and all at once Billy remembered what had happened in the cave. What was this creature? What had it done to him?

With him?

“You are awake, good.” A voice said, this time an actual voice and not a presence inside Billy’s mind.

Billy turned towards the voice, the quick movement making him dizzy in his groggy state. For a moment he couldn’t believe his own eyes. Walking from the black waves was a pale, golden Adonis. He was every waking wet dream Billy had ever had and even more, muscles massive, firm and perfect, legs thick as tree trunks, and shoulders broader than a wheightlifters’s. He looked young, around Billy’s age, maybe thirty at a push, the short golden hair plastered to his scalp with water, the same water that was running down his chiselled muscles in pale rivulets, making Billy’s eyes trail helplessly down his unbelievable body. The god - because who else could it have been - had high cheekbones, a strong jaw, dimples, and pink, soft looking, lips. He was a big man, tall and broad and… proportional.

Very proportional.

Billy swallowed thickly.

The tentacles were still there, hovering around the man, but the weird part was that the tentacles weren’t attached to the man in any way. They stretched towards him, larger than life and dark grey, with that same golden sheen the god’s skin had, but they seemed to fade into the shadows than actually touch the man’s skin.

“I felt your exhaustion,” The god said as it walked out of the water entirely. “I thought it best to put you to sleep for few hours.”

He spoke in a manner that was more appropriate for a chat about the weather at the watercooler, rather than for… Well, whatever this was.

Billy swallowed again, barely hearing the words, still staring at how hung the man - god, whatever he or it - was.

“You,” Billy whispered. “You are…” His words petered out.

“Old.” The man answered.

Nodding helplessly at the not helpful answer, Billy was becoming all the more aware of his nudity by the moment. His body was starting to feel the cold and dampness as the adrenalin in him dissipated.

Billy was still sitting on the living bedding of warm tentacles but pushed himself up to his knees when the god strode closer. He was close enough now that Billy could see how brilliantly blue those eyes were. Like the sky on July night deep and clear.

“Are you going to eat me?” Billy asked tremulously.

The golden god smiled in an amused manner, the dimples on his cheeks deepening a bit, and knelt before him.

“And why would I do that, little one?”

Billy simply shivered.

The man stretched out his frankly massive arms and drew Billy in so that their torsos were flush, Billy dwarfed against the bulk of the man, his large hands on the smaller man’s hip and nape. The tentacles scraped over the stone, then they as well were touching him, caressing, exploring again.

“You are freezing.” The god hummed.

“Why… Why aren’t you…”

“Why aren’t I hurting you?” The god huffed and his large palm gently stroked Billy. “Because I am not a being of… darkness. Yes, I do live in the vast darkness of the outerness, in that what is and is not, but I am not like most of my kin. I do not relish in destruction and decay, nor do I require subservient supplicants to worship me.”

Shuddering again, Billy let himself touch the body he was leaning so heavily against. It was as hard as it had looked, but shockingly and deliciously warm in the coolness of the cave. More so than the tentacles still lazily, almost lovingly, tracing his skin. The being hummed his approval, pulling Billy closer as even more tentacles wrapped about them both, holding them together.

It was madness, but in the hold of this… eldritch god Billy felt comfortable and… safe. This being had ripped people to pieces with the same tentacles that now held him and yet Billy felt safe.

“I see why you wanted this form,” The avatar hummed, looking at Billy with soft interest as he traced his fingers along Billy’s jaw.

“What…” Billy squeaked and melted against the powerful body. “What are you?”

“Currently, I am what you wished me to be.” The man pulled back further, blue eyes confused. “Does this form not please you?”

“Oh, no,” Billy replied shakily “Your form is very pleasing. Only,” He glanced pointedly at the tentacle tracing a path over his collarbone, “Well…”

The god huffed in a way that conveyed annoyance that had been brewing for several millennia.

“The ones who came before named me god. Named me terror and darkness, they shaped their own reality in my name, thinking that they were doing my will. You…” He smiled, suddenly more beautiful than any man Billy had ever met. “You were so different. You were without expectations, without judgement, your mind so beautiful after all those awful grovelling maggots.”

“Beautiful?” Billy whispered and finally allowed his hands to wander, marvelling at the soft skin under his hands.

“Yes.” The being answered.

If only he could have someone in his life who would look at him and hold him like this being did, a perfect boyfriend, Billy thought.

“Even your name is beautiful, William.” The tentacled god continued and snapped the man in his lap out of his daydreaming.

Billy was about to ask how this man knew his name, but considering he had seen into his mind, figuring out his name was probably not that difficult for him.

“You can call me Billy.” Billy whispered and to be polite he decided to find out the beings name.

“How should I call you; I mean… What is your name?”

“You are the first one to ask that in an about half a billion years.” The being smiled at him, easy and happy, and almost boyish in its enthusiasm.

The sound that came out of his mouth was too much for Billy’s mind to comprehend. His entire body convulsed and it felt as if his brain was going to liquefy and drip out of his ears. Billy had just about enough cognitive functions remaining that he understood to slap his hand against the man’s mouth, cutting him off, after which he slumped against the beings broad chest and drooled over the god’s manhole cover sized pec.

“Forgive me.” The man said worriedly and held Billy tenderly. “You lesser beings have a hard time in bearing the weight of the words of my kind.”

“Tha-” Billy mumbled against the warm chest and blinked owlishly as his brain rebooted. “That’s quite a mouthful of a name.”

The man holding him laughed. There had been some concepts there Billy had halfway understood - maybe an ‘t’ and something almost like ‘y’ at the end - before his brain had threatened to perform an unscheduled self-liquefaction.

“Maybe,” Billy said as his higher brain functions returned properly, and he pulled back so that he could see the beings face, considering for a moment. “Maybe I could call you Teddy.”

The being regarded him with a contemplative expression, but at last nodded.

“A name from you, my chosen one, is more than acceptable. Teddy it shall be.”

“Chosen one?” Billy squeaked.

“You seem to wish me to be your chosen one.” The bei-, no Teddy, said.

“I… I mean, I didn’t, I…”

“Or do you prefer the term ‘boyfriend’? I might not be perfect, but I would strive to be worthy of your attention.”

“I… I, uhmm… I.” Billy uttered and stared at the man in whose lap he was sitting. “Maybe… We could go and have a coffee together…”

“You must introduce me to this ‘coffee’; it seems that you drink it quite a lot. Other things of this world intrigue me as well, you could show me what life as a human is like.” Teddy murmured and Billy’s eyes drifted to the man’s soft looking lips. “You humans are so very fragile.” He continued. “Especially parts like these.” Teddy said and ran his thumb along Billy’s lower lip.

Billy didn’t even have time to respond before they were kissing, Teddy’s body chasing away the last feelings of cold, the tentacles carefully roaming over his back. He whimpered as the being’s tongue slipped into his mouth and licked deep, as if trying to map every last square millimetre of his mouth. Whimpering, Billy gasped and shuddered as the god took.

“I think I shall find this body very enjoyable.”

Billy had no idea whether Teddy was referring to his own or Billy’s body. He really didn’t care as the kiss had been by far the best of his life.

“I think we should get dressed.” Billy finally uttered and stared at his… well, at his boyfriend apparently. Who was also an eldritch tentacle god?

Teddy looked down at their bodies and, for a moment. “Yes, this body seems to be uncomfortably sensitive to the elements.”

Before Billy could say anything more one the tentacles was bringing his discarded clothes to him and he gratefully received them and started to put them on.

“What about you?” Billy asked as he stared at the naked hunk in front of him, licking his lips unconsciously.

Glancing at the water, Teddy merely stared as tentacles slipped under the dark water. Billy was once more struck with their lack of contact with the man. With anything. They moved at Teddy’s will despite the lack of nervous system attachment. Now, at his command, they yanked some clothing out from the water and brought them to Teddy, miraculously dry of water and blood. Billy tried to avoid thinking of the fact that those clothes were taken from dead bodies and he turned away from the blond for a moment to give him some privacy, though Billy felt that he wasn’t really concerned of such things.

“Is this an acceptable outfit for a human male?” Teddy asked.

Billy turned back and his brain short-circuited, not from any eldritch utterances, however. The dark-grey t-shirt Teddy was wearing was practically bursting from its seams, the short sleeves barely able to contain those god-sized - literally - biceps, and the cloth stretched so tightly over his enormous chest that it would probably tear to shreds if he would do anything more than breathe lightly. Then Billy’s gaze slid lower over the god’s midriff, his wonderfully cut abs that even through the stretched cloth were visible, and he made an involuntary small noise at the back of his throat. The jeans were a similar kind of story, as Teddy had found a pair that looked like they were painted on, the dark material of them stretched to a tearing point just like the shirt he wore, and then there was the bulge.

When once in a blue moon Billy bothered to go to the gym he always discreetly ogled at the guys in their skin-tight exercise clothes, especially what they had to offer down there, but what his eyes were now looking at put a whole new definition on the term big.

“You look very hung. No, I mean,” He croaked, blushing severely. “Human. You look very human and good and…” His words petered out in a mortified manner.

Teddy smiled knowingly and held out his arm, beckoning Billy closer. “I wish to see the sun, shall we?”

Billy nodded shakily and took a step closer and the large man grabbed his hand gently. As they walked towards the mouth of the passage out, the tentacles made way and started to disappear. Not withdrawing, rather going out of existence like mist before the rising sun. Teddy grabbed a discarded torch from the floor and gave it to Billy who clicked it on, and they walked out holding hands.

Once they were out Teddy stopped and breathed in, drawing in such a lungful’s of air, that even Billy started to feel lightheaded. They walked away from the cave’s entrance and put a good distance between them and the lake and the cave. Finally, the blond stopped and turned back towards the lake, frowning.

“I’ve never really realised why people who have asked things from me and worshipped me, have done it in such miserable places. I hate those damp, gloomy caves, I’d much prefer a sunny meadow over a wet hole in the ground. Even the incantations they’ve used are ugly and discordant, ugh. I never really even wanted to answer to their summons, but it was like having someone poking a finger at my side, not painful but irritating.”

Teddy sighed and shook his head, flicking his wrist and huge tentacles, bigger than Billy had yet seen, shot through the ground all around the lake like redwoods. Billy made a frightened sound, but the other man wrapped his arm around him protectively.

“It’s just me.” Teddy murmured and they watched as the massive tentacles dragged the whole lake, the boulders, trees, everything around the lake down into the earth. Water frothed and breaking tree trunks vailed and finally the roaring of sifting earth ended, and a large, muddy pit remained.

“There we go.” Teddy said, sounding pleased.

Billy could suddenly breathe free. The oppressing and foreboding feeling of wrongness that had surrounded the place was gone, like it had never even been there.

“It wasn’t me who made this place feel like it did.” The blond said as he surveyed the aftermath of his impromptu landscaping. “The people who created this place left it tainted with their dark magic, but now it is gone.”

“Do you live here, I mean…” Billy stared down towards the old lakebed. “Is your body down there? The real you?”

“This is real me.” Teddy replied and glanced at him with a smile. “Or rather this body is a version of me that I can manifest on this planet without disturbing it too much. But to answer your question; no, my body is not in that cave. I merely used a portal to bring my smallest tentacles into this realm.”

“The smallest?” Billy squeaked because the redwood sized tentacles most definitely had not been small.

“Mhmm.” Teddy hummed. “My body is quite large.”

“How large?” Billy asked as he glanced up at Teddy.

“About a…” Teddy tilted his hand from side to side. “A size of a large nebula.”

Billy stared up at the blond numbly and then he stared at the muddy lakebed and then he again stared at Teddy.

“Well,” He said softly. “I’ve always had a thing for bigger guys.”

Teddy just smiled brightly and slid his arm around Billy’s waist.

“Now,” He said and looked down at Billy, a very human sparkle in his eyes. “I want to experience this world with you, I want to experience you.”

“I think…” Billy said as he gazed up at Teddy. “I think I want the same thing.”

Teddy nodded and let go of Billy’s waist and instead grabbed his hand into his large one, and they walked quietly towards the direction where the cars apparently were.

Billy had no idea how things were going to go, but at least he now had a boyfriend. Even if he was a nebula sized ancient tentacle-god. They would just have to see how things would fold out.

But before any of that Billy needed a large cup of coffee, black like the depths of unknown where the Great OId Ones dwelled.

 

Chapter Text

///\\\

 

Billy took a final sip from his mug and poured rest of his coffee down the sink, preparing to leave for work, when a familiar tingly feeling crept up his backside; Teddy had once again manifested one of his smaller tentacles to roam over his boyfriend’s arse.

“Oi!” Billy yelped and swatted at the overly eager appendage when it tried to slither into his trousers. “Keep your extremities to yourself, I need to get to work.”

“But Billyyyy.” Came a pitiful whine from the bedroom. “I want to snuggle you.”

Billy huffed fondly and walked back to the bedroom where his boyfriend/ancient tentacle-god was sitting on the edge of the bed, his blond hair mussed from sleep, and looking decidedly adorable for someone built like the proverbial brickhouse, the swell of his muscles evident even under the soft, blue t-shirt he was wearing. Teddy really was enormous, shoulders broad, his abdomen thick with muscle and biceps huge. And then there were his legs; Teddy’s thighs were the sort of ones that made Billy want the blond to sit on his face and crush his skull with them.

Teddy really was a prime slab of beef, but not in the awful, overly ripped like a dedicated gym rat kind of way, nor in the bloated way of someone on steroids. No, Teddy was just big, muscular, broad and… sturdy looking, perfect in Billy’s opinion.

“Come back to bed.” Teddy grumbled and couple of grey tentacles popped into existence, trying to pull Billy into the large man’s lap.

“As much as I would like to,” Billy chuckled. “But I need to get to work.”

There was a deep rumble emanating from Teddy’s throat, like two vast boulders grinding against each other. “Whoever came up with this concept of ‘work’, I think I should have a few choice words with them.”

“You do that.” Billy snorted. “But in the meanwhile, you can practice your cooking, and do remember to only eat the inside bits of eggs when making an omelette.”

Billy could still vividly remember the horrified look of the nice lady selling eggs at the farmer’s market when they had bought a dozen eggs and Teddy had simply popped one into his mouth, shell and all, happily munching away. ‘He needs calcium’ Billy had uttered and steered Teddy quickly away from the egg stall and the traumatised looking vendor.

“Well how was I supposed to know that you can’t eat eggshells.” Teddy said and stood up, towering over Billy in all his muscled glory. “I mean, you can eat apples without peeling them, but you can’t do same thing with oranges or eggs. It’s absurd.”

The blond shook his head like he was the one in the right and everyone else was crazy.

“Yes, it is, my eldritch tentacle monster.” Billy smiled and reached up to place a kiss on Teddy’s lips. “Are you going to the library again?” He asked as he headed to the door with Teddy on his heels.

“Yes.” He nodded. “I find the books of this world to be immensely interesting and educational.”

Teddy had become an avid reader in the weeks he had been with Billy, first reading through all of his boyfriend’s books and now systematically educating himself in the local library, and with the speed he could read he would soon have to move to the main branch of the Brooklyn Library and then to the New York Public Library on Manhattan instead of their local little branch, or he would soon run out of fresh reading material.

“Well, I’m off.” Billy said. “Have a wonderful day.”

“I’m counting the seconds.” Teddy murmured and pulled Billy into yet another kiss, licking his way into Billy’s mouth in a way that always left him slightly breathless. “And believe me, for a being such as I, to whom a millennium is a blink of an eye, the hours you are away from me feel like eons.”

“Ditto.” Billy said hoarsely and placed a final quick peck on Teddy’s lips.

When Billy was finally on his way to work, he couldn’t help himself from grinning madly. The past weeks with Teddy had been weird and wonderful, and by far the best ones of Billy’s life. The eldritch god was adorable in his enthusiasm about, well… everything. Billy shook his head fondly and headed for the subway entrance.

 

 

Nine hours later Billy was walking back towards his building, feeling drained and a bit weary, but still with a small spring in his step as he had something to look forward to; that something being his wonderful boyfriend. He’d never lived together with any of his previous flings, so he did not have any reference points, but he was hard pressed to belief that anyone could have been so wonderful and interesting as Teddy to live with.

Finally, Billy rounded the corner and came across a very peculiar sight; Teddy was standing in front of their building, holding a cat in his hands as he stared into the feline’s eyes.

“Uhmm, Teddy?” Billy asked as he walked to his boyfriend and the cat.

“Oh! Hello, beloved.” Teddy noticed him and smiled. “I met this cat.”

“I can see that.” Billy said as he took in the scene.

Teddy simply stared at the cat and the orange tabby stared back at him, while Billy stared at them.

“I like you.” Teddy finally said to the cat.

“I also find you quite agreeable, old sport.” The cat replied in a crisp British accent.

Billy’s legs nearly buckled.

“But if you don’t mind, I have a meeting at half five, so I do must be on my way.”

“Yes of course.” Teddy nodded understandingly and gently placed the cat on the ground.

“Cheerio.” It said and trotted away, tail whisking as it went.

“What a lovely fellow.” Teddy said and turned to Billy. “So, how was your day?”

“Good, good…” Billy squeaked. “Uhm,” He tried and then closed his mouth, only to open it again and then closing it. “Do… all cats… talk?”

“No, of course not.” Teddy chuckled. “Only those who are Messengers of the Eons can speak.”

Billy hummed and nodded, as if Teddy’s words made any sense. He had at one point stopped asking explanations to all of the weird and peculiar things Teddy said, because the explanations still quite often led to bouts of horrifying existential doubt on Billy’s part.

As in; eldritch gods lurked at the edge of existence - his boyfriend being one of them - and a bunch of weird cults worshipped them, some cats could talk, and so forth… Billy just shrugged and shook his head.

“I bought us dinner.” Billy held out the tote bag in his free arm and Teddy grabbed it.

“Oooh.” The blond smiled. “Shushi.”

Billy had quickly learned that his boyfriend absolutely adored seafood, so he tried make it so that they had it as often as possible, even though fresh fish was somewhat expensive. But the look of enjoyment on Teddy’s face was worth the cost.

Teddy held the door open for him and they climbed the stairs up to Billy’s, well, their tiny third floor flat. It wasn’t much, really, the flat; one bedroom, kitchen and living room one open space, small hall, and even smaller bathroom with a shower so small that Teddy barely fitted in. The flat was in decent shape, though, so that meant that the rent was - as far as Billy was concerned - fucking astronomical.

When they settled on the sofa with their food Teddy wrapped his large arm around Billy’s waist and dug into his food with his free hand. Billy had very quickly found out that his eldritch boyfriend was very tactile person, like it was an almost physical need for him to gently touch the other man, roam his hands, and even sometimes tentacles, over Billy’s body, not that he minded it one bit.

“How was your day.” Teddy asked when Billy pushed away his portion and leaned against his boyfriend’s side.

Billy made a weary sigh. “Long.” He mumbled and made a content sound when the blond scooped him into his strong arms and dragged him into his warm lap.

“Why do you work for those people if you don’t like it?”

“I need the money.” Billy mumbled.

From the corner of his eye Billy could see how Teddy frowned. The tentacle-god sometimes had very hard time in understanding some very basic concepts, money, its value, and its acquisition being one of them.

“Can’t you ask for more?”

Billy snorted. “I could, but I wouldn’t get more.”

“But you work very hard, I can feel your tiredness every time you come back from work.”

“Yeah, well…” Billy sighed. “Welcome to the system we live in. We at the bottom do the heavy lifting and those on the top get the profit.”

“Sounds very unfair.” Teddy said seriously.

“Why do you think I’m voting for Bernie Sanders this time as well?” Billy laughed and went to grab his laptop from his bag, returning to the sofa and logging into his online bank account.

“This is how much I earn.” Billy said, pointing to the information on the screen once he had the right page open. “This is the rent I have to pay, electricity bill, insurance, the money I’m paying back for my student debt, and so forth. This is how much I now have.”

Teddy looked at the screen with a frown, and Billy himself tried not to think how small the amount of money on his account was, especially when considering that the next payday was a couple of weeks away.

“I’m sorry.” Teddy finally said and turned to Billy with an almost stricken expression. “I’ve been a very poor chosen one to you. I haven’t provided for you sufficiently, I’ve allowed you to bear the responsibility on your own.”

“It’s fine.” Billy said softly. “It’s not like you could get a proper job, what with you not actually existing, and we really need to sort that out, get you some kind of official papers. Even though I have no bloody idea how to get them.”

“Well,” Teddy hummed. “It’s about time that I do my share.” And with that he pressed his large hand on the screen of the laptop, causing the image to distort and flicker nastily.

Billy made an alarmed sound, but Teddy had already pulled back his hand.

“Is that enough?” The blond asked.

“What do you mea-” Billy’s sentence was cut short when he saw his accounts balance.

Billy blinked several times.

Five million dollars.

Teddy had somehow added five million dollars to his account.

“Ted- You can’t do that.” Billy croaked after a long stretch of silence. “The bank… The bank will think I’m laundering money, or I’m a terrorist, or… or…”

“It’s fine.” Teddy murmured and pressed a kiss on Billy’s cheek.

“But… but.” Billy uttered.

“It’s fine, I made sure of it.” Teddy said again and scooped Billy in his arms once more. “Just tell me when you need more.” He murmured like he was offering a refill to a cup of coffee.

Billy started to cry.

“What’s wrong, my beloved?” Teddy asked worriedly.

“Nothing, Teddy. Nothing at all.” Billy sniffed and laughed wetly. Teddy couldn’t probably even comprehend the feeling of relief Billy felt, to him money more or less was meaningless.

“I… I think I’m going to pay off my student loan debt.”

Teddy just nodded, and he happily nuzzled his face into Billy’s hair.

“Let’s go for a walk.” Billy said after a while. “I think I need some fresh air.”

Once they were outside Teddy grabbed his hand and they headed towards Prospect Park as Billy needed to clear his head. When they reached the park they simply chose one of the numerous paths and just aimlessly meandered amongst the greenery hand in hand.

The sun was slowly setting, and the late summer’s muggy day was giving way for a cool, pleasant evening when they sat down on a bench in a quieter part of the park, Teddy’s arm immediately curling around Billy’s shoulders. The smaller man leaned against the other, still lost in thought, until finally he spoke.

“It’s a lot of money.” Billy said quietly. “I’m going to give a lot of it away to charity, would you mind that?”

“Of course not.” Teddy said softly. “You can do whatever you want with it, and the fact that you want to help other people with it just makes me so proud.”

Billy didn’t say anything, he just reached up to place a gentle kiss on the blond’s lips.

“I’ve studied you humans.” Teddy said after a while. “Now that I’ve been here, and on and off in the past few millennia. Your past and your current condition, it is… not pretty. All that killing and fighting, greed, lust of power… you are not held in high regard by most other beings of this universe. My kind especially think you to be meaningless, and nothing but a verminous race of insects.”

“Probably rightly so.” Billy said and stared into the distance.

“But you humans are young.” Teddy said and gently took Billy’s head between his large, warm hands, locking his eyes with him. “So very young, but I think you can learn, can better yourself. People like you are the reason why I am hopeful.”

“I’m not that special.” Billy mumbled.

“Yes, you are.” The blond said almost reverently. “So very special.” Teddy leaned down to press his forehead against Billy’s, their breaths mingling.

The tender moment was cut short by an empty styrofoam cup being flung at them, accompanied by a snide remark and a cruel laughter.

“Fucking fags.”

Billy tensed, and he could feel how Teddy stiffened as well.

There was a group of four men standing nearby, one of them obviously having thrown the cup and the three others grinning in a nasty manner. The man who had thrown the cup was obviously the leader of the little group, wearing a tank top with words ‘big bad wolf’ printed on it. He and the others looked like the characteristic dude-bros Billy despised, the leader especially looking like he had injected himself with all the steroids his dealer had managed to provide him with. Big, sure, but in a swollen and unappealing way, chemically induced way.

“Queer fags like you are the reason why this country is a mess.” The man in his stupid shirt said aggressively. “You perverts should be put down like fucking animals.”

Billy stared at the men numbly. Hell, the world wasn’t perfect, but still it made him shudder that there were still people like this around, spewing forth their crap.

Teddy quietly stood up and Billy followed. He could feel the tension in the blond, Teddy was absolutely bristling.

“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” Teddy said, his voice deceptively neutral.

The cup-thrower scoffed. “Yeah, and what are you going to do about it, cocksucker.”

“I think I’m going to teach you a lesson.” Teddy said, his words now laced with a dangerous note.

The group of men laughed, as if Teddy had said something amusing and the leader took a step closer. “Yeah? Come at me, fag, and I’ll teach your pansy ass a lesson.” He said confidently, thinking so probably because of his size being about the same as Teddy’s, and because of his cronies at his side.

Teddy himself took a step closer and Billy tried to hold him back. “Don’t, Teddy. It’s not worth it.” He said pleadingly.

“Yeah, that’s right.” The guy sneered. “Be a good little boy and do as your twink boyfriend asks. Better yet,” He licked his lips lasciviously and grabbed his crotch, looking at Billy. “Give him to me and I’ll show your slut how a real man does it.”

Billy could feel it; how the air changed, how that had pushed Teddy over the edge.

“Please don’t hurt them.” Billy whispered and tucked Teddy’s head down so that he could look him in the eyes.

“I won’t.” Teddy growled. “But I will put some fear of god into them.” His lips curled into a menacing grin. “Just not towards the god they know.”

 

You’ll be safe, darling.

 

Teddy hadn’t spoken to Billy in this way - straight to his mind - since the day they had met, so he was surprised, but the gentleness and care in the words made Billy relax, but a thing that even more made him sure that he’d be safe was the fact that he trusted Teddy implicitly, always felt safe with him. The blond then withdrew from Billy and squared his shoulders, and then like a switch had been turned, the entire world around them changed.

It was still the Prospect Park around them, but in the same time it wasn’t. The forms of everything were… off. Everything looked wrong and twisted. The trees around them that had a second ago been green and lush were now bare and rotten, their trunks twisted and gnarled. The soil under their feet had turned damp and ash-like, almost like wet bone meal. Even the air felt nasty and spoilt, a smell of rot and dank heavy and cloying.

The light, or rather the lack of it was a thing that made the world around them even more nightmarish. It wasn’t light as such, more like a someone’s poor attempt to mimic light, a twisted and sickening version of what was supposed to be sunlight. The worst part however were the shadows around them, like a swirling, roiling wall about them made of smoke or ink, and if Billy wouldn’t have known that he was safe in this nightmarish Cabinet of Dr Caligari -kind of world, where the forms were twisted and tortured, wrong, he would have tried to find some hole to hide himself in.

“What the fuck.” One of the harassers croaked, all of his bravado gone. “Wh- What is this place.”

The man in his stupid tank top, the one who had only moments ago behaved like he owned the world, now looked scared, his eyes blown in terror. He took steps back towards his toadies, the four men pressing together and cowering in fear as their eyes looked for a way out.

“You really should be more careful with what you say.” Teddy said and slowly stalked towards the men, his entire being, despite his still human appearance, giving off an aura of menace and power.

The four men took steps back instinctively.

“I might have forgiven your unkind words and your somewhat vulgar behaviour,” Teddy said as he prowled closer, an image of a vengeful god if there ever had been one. “But the fact that you dare to insinuate that you would be ever worthy to touch my chosen one, that… angers me.”

One of the men blindly sprinted away from the group, but his escape was immediately cut short by a horrifying sight; from the wall of blackness, from every side, out came tentacles. Not the sleek ones, or the ones with small suction cups, though. No, these were the ones with sharp razors on them, thick and deadly, and even Billy shivered when he saw them.

Before any of the harassers could do more than whimper in terror the tentacles wrapped about them tightly, but in the way that the sharp hooks did not pierce them. The leader of the little group however was not ensnared by the deadly appendages, he still stood free, frozen in terror, as his mates feebly wriggled in the unyielding hold of the tentacles, sniffling and crying pitifully. Teddy slowly walked closer to his main target and once he was there, he lifted the man by his throat like he weighed nothing.

“You really shouldn’t insult people you don’t know.” Teddy growled and gazed at the man, looked at him like he could see into his soul. “Those people, you see,” He grinned menacingly. “Might not be people at all. There are in this universe much, much worse things than humans. Older things, greater things,” Teddy grabbed the man’s shirt’s front in his free hand, looking at it, and then again at the man in his hold. “Little wolf.”

“Please.” The man pleaded weakly, tears running down his cheeks.

“I am one of those things,” Teddy’s expression was one of pure horror, a grin so evil that even Billy shuddered. “A thing that eats little pups like you in their millions. I wonder…” He continued and chuckled mercilessly, bringing the man’s face close to his. “How would you taste?” With that he obscenely licked a long stripe up the man’s cheek, his prey making a terrified whine.

Billy was in one part horrified, one part exhilarated, by the brutal show of power.

“Mhmm.” Teddy rumbled deep in his throat, the growl most definitely not human. “You taste wonderful, little wolf. Should I eat you? Should I?”

Teddy’s voice grew louder and harder, until it boomed from everywhere and nowhere at once; terrifying in its power.

“Should I eat you and your friends!? Take you to the dark halls of nothingness and leave your bodies hanging on hooks, leave your souls and mangled bodies to rot and tenderise for eons until I would consume your pitiful flesh! Should I then make you anew, give your wretched bodies life once more, and then rip the meat off your bodies away again, and again, and again, until your existence would be nothing more than an endless realm of terror and pain. An endless cycle going on and on, until there would be nothing left of your souls than an endless, mindless howl in the dark…

The men were now crying incoherently.

“Or should I,” Teddy suddenly whispered. “Let you go? Would you swear that you would never again hurt or abuse anyone, not with your deeds, nor with your words? Would you do that if I were to let you go?”

The men were nodding frantically. “Yes, please.” They croaked wetly. “We promise.”

Teddy contemplated their answer for a moment. “Very well, I believe you. But,” Billy could see how Teddy’s hold on the throat of the man he was still effortlessly holding up tightened, and how in a similar way the tentacles on the other three tightened their grip. “If you go against your word… I will know, and I shall make you regret your betrayal.”

Then, just as abruptly as previously, the world around them changed and everything went back to normal. The tentacles disappeared, and Teddy let go of the man in his hold, the four crumbling down on to the ground in a sorry state, their eyes blown and watery as they looked around them. The trees once more were alive and green, the sound of birds and cars could be heard, the city around them continued to go about its business as if nothing had happened. Teddy stood there, looking at them with a displeased expression, but the worst of his wrath had seemingly been quenched.

“Boo.” Teddy growled, and the four men scrambled up and sprinted away in fear, and Billy couldn’t help but notice that there were wet spots on the ground where two of the men had been.

Billy took some hesitant steps towards his boyfriend and carefully took hold of Teddy’s hand, the larger man turning towards him.

“Was that… real?” Billy asked hesitantly.

“My tentacles were real, but everything else was just an illusion.”

“Well,” Billy huffed. “As illusions go, that was very convincing.”

“I… I’m sorry if I made you afraid.” Teddy said quietly, looking remorseful. “I might have gone a tad too far.”

“Perhaps a bit,” Billy said and snaked his arms around Teddy, the other man tenderly embracing him back. “But it sure made them revaluate their attitudes.”

“Hopefully.” Teddy murmured into Billy’s hair.

“I was just a bit afraid when you did that.” Billy mumbled into Teddy’s chest. “But then I remembered that it was you, and I always feel safe with you.”

Teddy withdrew so that he could look down at the man in his arms, his expression awed. “You feel safe with me?” He asked softly.

“I do.” Billy said tenderly and reached up to place his hand on Teddy’s cheek.

“No one’s ever said anything like that to me.” The blond whispered.

“Haven’t I said that you before?”

“No, you haven’t.”

Billy was quiet for a moment, then bringing his both hands to cradle Teddy’s head between them. “Of course I feel safe with you. I… I mean, it’s been only few weeks but with you I feel safe. How could I not? You are kind and gentle, you’re honest, you… you are just… you. How could anyone not feel safe with someone like you?”

“Billy.” Teddy croaked and suddenly tears welled in his beautiful eyes. “Billy…” He buried his face in the crook of Billy’s neck, who was suddenly at a loss as what to do. So, he did what felt natural and just held the blond as tightly as he could, pulling their bodies flush together.

Billy pressed into the touch, his eyes squeezed closed, fingers came up to curl into the back of Teddy’s shirt under his jacket. He clung to him, craning into the firm embrace of the blond and hoping that he felt as good as Billy did. He pressed his face into Teddy’s neck as he felt the strength of the solid warm arms around him and Billy felt completely, and irrevocably safe. He was safe here. He was with Teddy... he was safe…

After a while Teddy’s soft crying ceased and Billy pulled back so that he could see the other man’s face.

“Hi,” Billy said gently and wiped the wetness away from Teddy’s cheeks, feeling a bit weepy himself also. “My beautiful tentacle-monster.”

Teddy just stared at him, his expression just as awed as previously, and he brought his hand to caress Billy’s cheek. “My beautiful little human.”

Billy just chuckled softly and reached up to press a kiss on Teddy’s lips.

 

The walk back to their street was a quiet one. Not that Billy needed words, just walking hand in hand with Teddy was more than enough. It was more than enough actually because none of the people Billy had been with had been so comfortable with this kind of openness, PDAs having been a big issue for many of them. But Teddy seemed to be just fine with them, probably because he didn’t have the same kind of hang-ups of getting harassed as most people tended to, Billy included.

Teddy didn’t really have to be afraid as he could deal with pretty much anything, what had happened in the park being a perfect example of that. Luckily the tentacle-god hadn’t dealt with the fuckers in a permanent manner. Billy knew perfectly well how easily the blond could have literally torn the men to bits, but the fact that he had just scared the shit out of them made him glad. No one, not even an awful bigot deserved to be punished with such finality.

Though, he wasn’t so forgiving as to feel particularly sorry for the cultist whom Teddy had squashed in the cave the day they had first met. Well, he had been, but after Teddy had told him what he had seen, seen in their minds, all of the horrible things done by them, Billy’s remorse and troubles concerning their gory death had diminished significantly.

About a half a block from their building Billy finally spoke, wanting to get some clarity on a matter that had nagged him since the park.

“You… uhmm. You threatened to…” Billy cleared his throat. “You threatened to eat those guys, and I just wondered if… If you meant it?”

Teddy looked at him with a small smile. “No, I did not.”

Billy sighed in relief. “Good, I was afraid that my boyfriend eats people.”

Teddy suddenly started to whistle, and Billy didn’t have to be a mind reader to see that the blond was deflecting.

“You haven’t eaten any people, Teddy?”

Teddy rubbed his neck, looking a bit red on the cheeks. “There was this one time.” He mumbled. “But I swear it was an accident!” He piped up. “I was minding my own business, trying to get this little planetoid to settle on a pretty orbit around a nearby star when a portal opened right in front of one of my mouths.”

Billy just stared at his boyfriend, really wanting to hear the rest.

“So, this portal opened, and a human came flying through. I mean, I think it was a human, it had a red, skeletal face and it looked odd. Anyway, it just flew straight into my mouth before I could do anything, and I just reflexively bit down. It was like eating a bug, ugh.” Teddy pulled a face. “He tasted horrible, sort of rancid and off.”

“When did this happen?”

“For me it was quite recent. But from a human point of view it must have been,” Teddy hummed. “Few decades ago. I think he was a Nazi or at least something similar judging by his clothes, there had been this lot bothering me before that quite often.”

“Oh.” Billy hummed. “So… the Nazis tried to get you to…?”

“To do pretty much the same that the cultist back in the cave hoped I would do for them. You know, ‘help us take over the world in your name’, blah blah blah.” Teddy rolled his eyes and shook his head in an annoyed manner.

“Well…” Billy shrugged with a small grin. “If it only was that one time.”

“It was.” The blond chuckled.

As they neared their building someone rushed past them, bumping into Billy. Before he could even react, Teddy had snaked his thick arm around Billy’s waist, and the blond growled out a warning to the man who’d hit Billy.

“Be more careful.” Teddy’s voice was low and rumbly, protective, and it sent all sorts of wonderful sensations coursing through Billy.

“I’m sorry, I’m in bit of a hur-” Then the man recognised Billy and vice versa. “Billy, hi, it’s been a while.”

It was Jonathan, one of Billy’s neighbours from the building next to his. He’d met him and his partner Arthur a few days after moving into his flat, one of the few people in the neighbourhood Billy was actually close with, considering them as his friends. Though, he hadn’t properly seen either one in ages.

Jonathan looked tired and weary, Billy noticed instantly, his usually neat auburn hair a mess, and with a stubble on his cheeks. The shadows under his eyes were the most prominent feature on his face to give away his tiredness.

“Hi, Jon.” Billy said. “Haven’t seen you and Arthur for a while.”

“Yeah, we… we’ve been having, I mean Arthur’s been having some health problems.” Jon said tiredly.

“Nothing too bad I hope?” Billy said, but the image of the man in front of him spoke of worry caused by something much more severe than just a little sniffle.

Jon closed his eyes and swallowed thickly, like he was steadying himself. “Cancer. It’s cancer...”

Billy just instinctively reached over to place his hand on the arm of the man in front of him, at a loss as what to say.

“It’s…” Jon cleared his throat. “It’s stage four, terminal.”

“Oh Jon.” Billy whispered, and he fought hard against the tears that tried to well over.

“Arthur, he… he was just tired and had occasionally sore joints.” Jon chuckled wearily. “Wouldn’t go to the doctor, said that it was just stress, that it would go away. He… I finally practically hauled his sorry arse to see the doctor and… And it had already spread everywhere. They…” Jon’s voice broke. “They gave him five to six months at most.” He whispered. “That was three months ago, so we’ve been a bit busy.”

“Jon…” Billy whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

Jon just nodded, staring into distance for a moment. “We had a cottage booked for Christmas up in Vermont.” He said after a while. “We were supposed to go there. Arthur, he…” Jon chuckled wetly. “He finally agreed to it, even though he kept saying that going to an antiquing trip up to New England was so stereotypically gay that it was practically criminal.”

Billy as well chuckled weakly.

“But enough of me,” Jon said tiredly and looked at Teddy, and Billy pretended not to notice the wetness in his eyes. “This your friend, or…?”

“My boyfriend. Jon, meet Teddy.”

Teddy held out his hand for Jon to shake. “How do you do.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Jon shook Teddy’s hand. “You sure know how to pick them.” Jon said and glanced at Billy with a small, knowing smirk.

“Yeah, though in this case it was more like him choosing me.”

Jon just chuckled, the genuine small smile on his lips brightening his whole being.

“It was good to see you, Billy. But I need to get going, the day-nurse is leaving in ten minutes, so I need to be there to see her off.” Jon said as he glanced at his watch.

“Arthur is not in the hospital?”

“No.” Jon shook his head as he prepared to leave. “They can’t really do anything more, so at least he can be home when he…” His words petered out and he turned away.

“Jon, just one more thing.” Billy said hurriedly. “I was wondering if I, or we both could come for a visit.” Billy glanced at Teddy who just nodded.

Jon looked surprised and almost touched by Billy’s words. “That… That’d be great. We don’t get much visitors nowadays. People… they feel uncomfortable because of the, well, you know… I’m sure Arthur would like to see you. Would tomorrow around noon be good time? It’s Saturday tomorrow so I’d be home as well.”

“Yeah, that sounds good.” Billy nodded.

“Well that’s settled then, see you tomorrow.” Jon said almost gratefully and turned, hurrying down the street.

Later that evening Billy was lying on top of Teddy on their sofa, listening his steadily beating heart under his ear and a pair of strong arms holding him tightly.

“You don’t have to come tomorrow if you don’t want.”

“I’ll come with you.” Teddy said softly. “They are your friends and I want to meet them.”

“Thank you.” Billy mumbled. “Jon, he… He looked so tired and worried. I just can’t forget it.”

One of Teddy’s large hands came up to cradle the back of Billy’s neck and the smaller man sighed gratefully and relished the warmth beneath him.

 

 

Billy glanced at his watch and it showed the time to be quarter past noon, so he pressed the buzzer and a few seconds later the lock opened, and Teddy held the door open for Billy as they entered Jon’s and Arthur’s building.

“You’ve got the pastries?” Billy asked as they waited for the lift.

“Yeah.” Teddy said and held up the box in his left hand.

Jon was already waiting at the flat’s door when they got out of the lift and held the door open for them.

“I’m glad that you could make it.” Jon said and gave Billy a hug, then offering a hand to Teddy, but the blond just pulled him in a bear hug.

“Well,” Jon chuckled. “I’ve always been fond of good hugs.”

“So’s this one.” Billy cracked a smile and gently elbowed Teddy’s side. “He’s like some many-limbed hug monster.”

Teddy just huffed fondly, and Jon laughed.

Jon thanked when Teddy gave him the pastries, took them to the kitchen, and he then led them to his and Arthur’s bedroom where the latter man was resting on the bed.

Billy was shocked by how the man on the bed looked. Arthur had lost a lot of weight; his face was gaunt with a sickly pallor and he looked tired and weary. But despite this he was smiling easily when he saw Billy.

“Hi.” He said hoarsely. “It’s been a while, Billy.”

“Yeah.” Billy said and sat down on a chair next to the bed, Teddy taking the one next to his and Jon sat down on the other side of the bed.

“Arthur, meet Teddy. Teddy, meet Arthur.”

“Hello.” Teddy said gently and reached over to shake Arthurs hand.

It was only then that Billy noticed the canula on his arm, connected by a tube to a nearby machine that Billy guessed to be a morphine dispenser. There was also an oxygen bottle tucked into the corner with a nasal cannula loosely draped over it.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Arthur replied to Teddy’s greeting and then chuckled weakly when he noticed Billy staring at the morphine dispenser. “I’m on the good stuff.” He said with a wry smirk.

“How you’ve been?” Billy asked, even though realising that it was a bit of a silly question.

“Eh.” Arthur shrugged. “Not so bad, I can just stay in bed all day and during nights I have this pretty, little nurse to keep me company.” He glanced fondly at his husband.

Jon just rolled his eyes fondly and stood up. “Well, this pretty little nurse is going to get our guests some coffee, do you want any, Arthur?”

“Yeah, that’s sounds good, darling.”

Jon left after that, and once he was out of the room Arthur immediately sagged against the pillows he was propped against, his expression turning into a pained one.

“Arthur, your hurting.” Billy said quietly.

“Yeah.” The man on the bed nodded. “Don’t tell Jon, though. He’d just get worried and probably make you leave. I have bad days and good days, and this seems to be the former kind, but I wanted to see you, so shush.”

“Can’t you just increase the dosage?” Billy glanced at the morphine dispenser that had its green indicator light about a third of the way lit.

“Nah. If I start taking large amounts of it now, it won’t help with the really bad pains nearer the end.”

Billy swallowed thickly. “I… I’m not going to say that I’m sorry because it’s probably not going to help, right?”

“Good.” Arthur croaked. “I’ve had enough pity to last a lot longer than I’m actually going live, so thanks for not pitying me.”

“I’ve been a poor friend,” Billy said after a while. “I didn’t even try to contact either of you for months because I’ve been ‘busy’.”

“Don’t beat yourself too hard, I remember how busy I was when I was in my early twenties.” Arthur huffed. “Christ, that was almost twenty years ago.” He shook his head. “Let me tell you, Billy, time doesn’t fly; it speeds like a runaway rocket and the fact that you’ve been busy with your work is unfortunately a thing that we most can identify with. But if you really feel bad then I’m going to take advantage of your guilt.”

Arthur’s strained smile was a teasing one, but he then grew serious.

“When I’m dead, if you could every once in a while check that Jon is okay, that would help to ease my mind a lot.”

“Of course.” Billy said and took hold of Arthur’s hand.

“I’m not…” Arthur’s voice waivered for the first time. “I’m not afraid of death as such, could be less painful though. But… I don’t know how Jon’s going to take it, I mean… I know it’s going to be hard for him, I just don’t know how hard. And I just… Just… I don’t want to leave him. Leaving him alone is the only thing that frightens me.”

“I promise, Arthur, I’ll make su-”

It was then that Jon returned with a coffee tray and Arthur schooled his face into an almost easy expression, but Billy could see how the smile was a strained one.

Jon passed a mug full of coffee to Billy, then turning to Teddy.

“Milk or sugar, Teddy?”

“Milk, please.” Teddy said and reached over to take the mug when Jon had poured the milk in.

Jon gave a mug to Arthur as well, though there was barely any coffee in it.

“Do want any of these?” Jon asked from his husband and held out the box brought by the guests.

“No thanks, better not push my luck. I don’t want to be sick in front of the guests.” He looked at Billy with a small smirk and patted the morphine tube going into his vein. “Unfortunately, this stuff doesn’t give you the munchies.” 

Billy chuckled and grabbed a cupcake from the box and Teddy took a large bear claw when they were offered a choice.

“So,” Arthur started. “A little bird told me that certain someone had met someone.” He looked at Billy and then at Teddy with a smile.

Billy took sip from his coffee and smiled. “Yeah, met this one up in New England. Found myself in a spot of bother and Teddy here helped me.”

“A knight in shining armour.” Arthur smiled and took a sip from his mug, and Billy noticed how his hand trembled when he brought the mug up to his lips. “Romantic.”

“I have to agree.” Jon said and reached over to gently hold his husband’s hand. “You seem to have quite the chemistry between you two.”

“I think we do.” Teddy said and grabbed Billy’s hand into his own.

“Mhmm.” Billy hummed. “Sometimes it feels like there’s something otherworldly in him.” Billy looked at his boyfriend with a teasing smile.

Teddy just rolled his eyes fondly and Jon and Arthur laughed.

“What kind of a cancer do you have?” Teddy suddenly blurted out.

“Teddy!” Billy hissed, feeling slightly embarrassed by the tentacle-monster’s bluntness. Teddy, bless him, wasn’t always quite up to snuff with human social graces.

“It’s okay.” Arthur said with an amused expression. “I like straightforwardness in people. That’s one reason I fell for Jon, though as of late he has developed a habit of saying that I still look fine, even though I don’t.”

“You’re still as handsome as the day we met.” Jon murmured and brushed his hand across Arthur’s cheek.

“That’s a damn lie, I look like shit. But… thanks for the compliment.”

Arthur turned back to Teddy. “But to your question,” He sighed. “The first tumour they found in my liver, then another was found in my kidneys… It had at that point metastasised and spread all over, so at this point I’m more tumour than man.” Arthur grinned wryly.

“Don’t say that.” Jon whispered, his expression stricken.

“Well, it’s true so…”

“But,” Billy said quietly. “Couldn’t they try surgery or chemo?”

“Nah.” Arthur shook his head. “Too far gone. I mean… they could have tried chemo, but the chances of it working were basically nil, and so I would have just spent the rest of my time alive feeling like shit and being sick. Well… even sicker than I’m now.”

Billy nodded mutely, trying to swallow through the tightness in his throat.

“Don’t feel bad, Billy.” Arthur said softly. “We have our time on this planet and then it is over, my time is up just a bit earlier than I planned. But I’m going to have one hell of a send-off, right, love?”

“Yes.” Jon smiled with tears in his eyes. “It’s going to be a proper shindig.”

“I expect you to be there.” Arthur said to Billy. “And no crying then, everyone will have allotted five minutes to be weepy and snotty, and then you’ll have a great time and you all will drink and dance yourself silly. Promise me that that you’ll enjoy yourself.”

“I promise.” Billy said wetly, smiling though.

There was a lull in the conversation and Jon reached over to fluff Arthur’s pillows. Billy took another sip from his mug and discreetly dried his eyes with the heel of his palm. Teddy next to him looked contemplative and deep in his thoughts, his large hand resting on Billy’s knee, the warmth comforting him.

“Would you like to get better?” Teddy suddenly asked.

Arthur looked surprised and taken back, but he then snorted. “Yes, but that’s unlikely to happen and I don’t believe that that ‘alternative medicine’ and faith healing bullshit is going to cure me so…”

“Would you allow me to heal you?” Teddy asked seriously, and Billy’s head snapped towards his boyfriend.

Jon as well was now looking at Teddy with an incredulous look on his face, his focus then sliding over to Billy, his expression conveying an almost angry ‘is he being serious’ -attitude.

Arthur’s expression was alos one of bafflement and slight annoyance.

“Well…” He said with a voice that was usually reserved for polite declining. “If you can heal me then by all means do.” There was a hint of amusement in his words now, though.

“Well then...” Teddy nodded slowly and before Billy or anyone else in the room could react, six grey tentacles with golden sheen manifested around the blond.

Jon made a horrified sound and stood up, rushing immediately to put himself between Teddy and his husband, but before he could take even a half a step, a tentacle had appeared out of thin air and gently wrapped around his waist.

“It’s easier to heal Arthur if I only have to touch him.” Teddy said softly.

“Wha-” Jon whispered. “What are you?”

Billy watched in stunned silence as his boyfriend stood up, Teddy’s eyes suddenly gloving in bright gold. He approached the bed and tentacles gently wiggled under the man lying on the bed, lifting him few inches in the air.

Arthur to his credit seemed to be fine with the proceedings, only looking slightly surprised and thoughtful. “One hell of hallucination this is.” He said and glanced around the room, his eyes locking with Jon’s. “I think it has spread to my brain.” He stated plainly.

“This will sting a bit.” Teddy said apologetically when the tentacles around Arthur tightened their hold a bit and started to glow.

“That’s fi-” Arthur whispered, his expression dazed.

The tentacles were gloving brighter and brighter and suddenly Arthur made a pained wince.

“Arthur!” Jon shouted and struggled against the tentacle holding him as the intensity of the light grew.

Billy had to close his eyes and just before he closed them he saw how Jon as well had raised his arms up to shield his eyes from the intense brightness that filled the room like a miniature sun. Billy blindly reached at Teddy in an effort to make him stop, but just as his fingers brushed against the blond’s back the light died, and the room was back to normal. Billy owlishly blinked his eyes open and saw how the tentacles lowered Arthur back on the bed, Teddy carefully pulling the morphine canula out of his arm. The moment the tentacle holding Jon still disappeared along the others he rushed to Arthur, running his hands all over him as to make sure he was not hurt.

“I’m fine,” Arthur said and reached over to hold Jon’s shoulder. “I’m fine, I’m not hurt. I… It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t…” His words petered out and he looked at Jon and then at Teddy with awe. “It doesn’t hurt.” He whispered, and tears welled in his eyes. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“It’s gone,” Teddy said gently. “All of it, and it won’t come back.”

Arthur was now openly crying against his husband’s shoulder, clutching the front of his shirt tightly as the other tenderly held him.

Jon looked at Teddy with an unreadable expression his eyes wet as well. “Thank you.” He whispered. “Thank you.” He seemed to be in some kind of shock.

Teddy simply nodded and then gently grabbed Billy by his arm, leading him out of the room as he was too stunned to do anything else than mutely stand there.

“I think they need some time.” Teddy said quietly in the hall. “Let’s go home.”

“Yea-” Billy stuttered. “Yeah, sure.”

 

 

They walked in silence back to their place, and once Billy had taken off his shoes he slumped onto the sofa, staring quietly in front of him. Teddy settled next to him, unspeaking as well, his expression unreadable.

“Was it wrong for me to do it?” He asked quietly.

Billy huffed fondly and took hold of Teddy’s hand. “Of course not. I’m just… shocked.”

Teddy’s face grew distressed.

“Not in a bad way.” Billy rushed to continue. “It’s just that… You did it so easily.” He whispered. “We humans pour billions in cancer research every year, and you just heal someone from it in seconds. I’m just… My uncle Ira had lung cancer when I was little, he just… wasted away in hospital. I remember how I hoped that some doctor would rush in with a miracle cure and heal him, and now you with a flick of a wrist healed Arthur, and I just… Sorry.”

“I’m sorry.” Teddy whispered. “I’m sorry, Billy. For not being there when your unc-”

“No, Teddy. No.” Billy said sternly. “I’m not thinking or hoping that you should have been there. What I meant was that… I’m so, so happy that you healed Arthur. Under the shock I’m just so happy.”

Teddy’s blue eyes were now locked with Billy’s amber brown ones.

“I’m happy that I met you. You with a kind, beautiful heart. You, who healed someone for the goodness of your heart, because of that alone. I’m also in shock for another reason.”

“What’s that?” The blond asked with a whisper.

“I’m in shock because of how wrong those people who have come to see you have been about you. How could they ever think that you could be evil?” Billy placed his hand on Teddy’s heart. “You could never be evil. You are just… good, Teddy. You are good and that’s it.”

“I… I wasn’t going to do anything. At first.” Teddy murmured. “But then I felt how they felt. I could feel Arthur’s physical ache, how he hurt, how he was in constant pain. But more than that I could feel how his and Jon’s hearts were breaking; Arthur was beside himself for the fear of leaving Jon, and Jon… he… he was hurting so much because he couldn’t help Arthur. So much, Billy.”

Billy was now holding Teddy’s hands in his.

“How could I not help them? I just had to, Billy. I had to.”

“And I’m glad that you did.” Billy said tenderly and pressed a soft kiss on Teddy’s lips.

The blond wrapped his arms around Billy and buried his face in the crook of the smaller man’s neck, breathing him in with deep, steady inhales. Billy did the same as he buried himself against the warmth of the man he loved.

Love? Was it love that he felt?

Billy opened his closed eyes halfway, seeing nothing but blurriness and he again closed them. Teddy’s large, warm hand settled on his nape, while his other arm pulled Billy’s legs off the floor and onto the sofa so that the blond could hold him even tighter. And as Billy with a soft sigh tucked himself into the warm lap of his tentacle-monster he knew the answer.

“Billy,” Teddy whispered. “I love you too.”