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It starts with a kiss. It always does, now that Sandalphon thinks about it.

Specifically, it always goes like this: somehow, he ends up in the same room with Lucio, alone, and somehow their eyes lock and their lips touch and their hands end up blindly searching for each other underneath their clothes. Lucio always kisses him with the hunger of a man deprived of something he’s only tasted once before, and Sandalphon always kisses him back with the urgency of a man who came close to tasting the same thing, only to have it ripped from his hands. 

They never exchange any words as they stumble into Lucio’s cabin and onto the bed, their clothes littering a path on the floor. They rarely speak during the act, at least not with their mouths. Their bodies communicate in the language of the physical, giving and receiving and pressing against each other in desperate pursuit of the same heat. Afterwards, they don’t speak at all. Sandalphon only stares at the ceiling, dozens of thoughts swirling in his mind, while Lucio sleeps at his side.

The first time, Sandalphon had regretted it so much he nearly threw up. But then he found himself in Lucio’s bed again only a few nights later, taking him in between his legs with a breathy moan. As he clung onto Lucio’s shoulders, panting into the heated space between them, he realized he couldn’t deny what his body wanted.

What he wanted.

“This doesn’t mean anything,” Sandalphon had said the third night as he peeled his shirt off and dragged Lucio down on top of him.

“But all things mean something, no matter how menial they may seem,” Lucio replied, as cryptic as he was dense. He settled between Sandalphon’s thighs and pushed into him, breathing out softly as Sandalphon’s warmth took him in easily.

Sandalphon’s breath caught in his throat; he felt so full. Every inch of Lucio’s heated length rubbed pleasantly inside of him. “T-that’s not what I meant,” he breathed out. His eyes closed and he arched his neck back, briefly losing himself as Lucio begun a steady pace. “I meant—I don’t—I don’t have feelings for you.”

The words sounded cruel, a result of Sandalphon never having been good at articulating himself. He nearly regretted them, but Lucio only smiled, and pushed in so deep Sandalphon choked on his own moan. “I’m well aware, Sandy, but there’s no need for such things. So long as you want this, so long as this is by your own will, I will not hesitate in lavishing your body with my own.”

Sandalphon regained his wits long enough to voice the only question in his mind. “Why?”

Lucio paused for a moment, as did his hips. His smile faded slightly, before he returned it with one that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I’m not so sure of that myself, but I don’t believe it matters.”

But it does matter, Sandalphon wanted to say. He never voiced it, not when Lucio drowned out his thoughts with hard, but not rough, thrusts, and Sandalphon could do nothing but melt into the hot pleasure that followed.

That had been last month. He’s lost track of the number of times they’ve done this since then, each night blurring into the next like a haze. That doesn’t mean he’ll stop, though. He doesn’t want to.

So here he is again, in Lucio’s cabin—it’s always Lucio’s cabin—pressed up against the wall as Lucio greedily kisses the air from his lungs. Sandalphon loses his fingers in soft, white hair, slightly damp from their time at the beach. A hand dips past the hem of Sandalphon’s waistband to gently rub against his wet sex, and Sandalphon gasps softly into Lucio’s mouth.

“You’ve become like this so soon, Sandy?” Lucio quips as he pries himself from Sandalphon’s lips. “My, my, I’m flattered.”

Sandalphon glares. “Stop talking.”

And so Lucio does. He carries Sandalphon to the bed, gently lays him onto the covers, and undresses him with quick hands. Normally, Lucio would insist on foreplay, but he’s just as impatient as Sandalphon is right now, so he wastes no time in pushing his trunks down enough to free his hardened cock.

Sandalphon eyes it, his mouth suddenly dry. Despite taking its considerable girth numerous times, seeing it always runs a shiver of excitement down his spine. Spreading his legs, he reaches out with an eager hand and wraps his fingers around it. Slowly, he strokes it, guiding the tip to rub against his soft, pink folds.

Lucio watches him intently, hunger evident in the dilating of his star-white pupils. He lets Sandalphon ease the tip inside before snapping his hips forward, filling Sandalphon up completely and robbing a moan from his lungs.

“A-ah…!” Sandalphon’s back arches instinctively as Lucio sets a hard, steady pace. Fortunately, Sandalphon is past the point of needing to adjust; his body remembers Lucio’s shape, the curve of his cock that hits Sandalphon in all the right places, rubs him in all the right ways. He takes Lucio in greedily, hungrily, arousal trickling out of him with every thrust.

Sandalphon looks up through his lashes. Lucio hovers over him, eyes scrunched in concentration, his lips parted to release hot, heavy breaths. Sandalphon winds his arms around Lucio’s neck and coaxes him close, enough for Lucio to lean his head against Sandalphon’s shoulder. “Does—does it feel good?” Sandalphon asks in between his gasps.

Yes,” Lucio groans out. “You always… You always feel so good…” He grips tightly onto Sandalphon’s toned thighs and spreads them wider, pushing in deeper. “Does it… Does it feel good for you too?”

The answer is beyond obvious, but Sandalphon decides to indulge him. “Yeah… It does.” He bites back a whimper as Lucio rams against a particularly sensitive spot. “A-ah, ffuck… Mmh, Lu...Luci—”

Lucio kisses him before he can finish the name. The kiss is harsh, unforgiving, accompanied with a tongue forcing itself into Sandalphon’s mouth. He bites it out of shock, hard enough for Lucio to withdraw with a pained noise, his hips stilling.

Sandalphon glares at him.

“I wasn’t going to say his name.”

“...That’s n—”

“Don’t lie to me.”

Lucio visibly falters, but he quickly forces a smile on his face; Sandalphon knows better than to believe the falsehoods it aims to present. “I would never lie to y—”

“Stop. Stop it.” Sandalphon lifts himself from the bed, pushing Lucio off of him. “Pull out, right now.”

Despite the confusion on Lucio’s face, he nonetheless obeys, carefully retracting from Sandalphon’s warmth. “Have I done something wrong?”

“I told you. I don’t plan on letting this go on if you continue to be under the wrong impression.”

“But, we already settled you don’t have feelings for me.”

Not that.” Sandalphon sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Well, yes, that, but my feelings aren’t the only ones that matter. Yours do as well, Lucio, and I won’t allow you to continue believing that I think about someone else when we do this.”

“But that’s n—”

“I said don’t lie to me,” Sandalphon snaps. Lucio recoils, but Sandalphon stands his ground; he has to, if it means breaking through Lucio’s defenses. They’ve both ignored the elephant in the room for far too long. If Lucio insists on avoiding it, then Sandalphon will take matters into his own hands.

It’s now or never.

“Listen, I know. I know the first few times we did this… I said his name.” Exhaling deeply, Sandalphon shifts to kneel and settles his hands on his lap. “I wouldn’t forget that. I simply never addressed it because I believed it would cause more grief than necessary. But by staying quiet, I hurt you more, didn’t I?”

“There’s no need to concern yourself with me,” Lucio says as he reaches for his hand.

But Sandalphon pulls back before their fingers touch, a heavy frown forming on his lips. “No. I won’t accept that. I don’t intend to use you for my own pleasure, nor let this relationship continue if you’re not willing to be honest with me.” He shuffles off the bed and begins tugging his clothes on. “Since you keep acting like nothing is wrong, there’s no point in continuing tonight. I’ll be in my cabin until you’re ready to talk.”

“Wait, Sandalphon—” Lucio clasps Sandalphon’s wrist and looks at him pleadingly. There’s a plea on his tongue, visible in the slight tremor of his jaw, but for whatever reason, he can’t bring himself to voice it.

“Go on. Say it,” Sandalphon says expectantly.

Nothing. Lucio responds with nothing but that pitiful look in his eyes.

“...As I thought,” Sandalphon scoffs. Breaking free from Lucio’s vice grip, he proceeds toward the door. “If you have nothing to say, then neither do I.”

He leaves, but he doesn’t slam the door. He closes it with the same silence Lucio insists on giving him—a finality that resounds through them both.

Sandalphon stands in the hallway for a long moment, waiting. He doesn’t know why. What exactly is he waiting for? For the door to swing open and for Lucio to take him by the arms and finally tell him what he truly feels? He knows that won’t happen. Lucio lives by misdirection; he puts up a shield in the form of a front to divert the truth he keeps hidden under his tongue.

There’s no point in forcing someone to speak when they’ve already sewn their own lips shut. 

With a sigh, he finally forces himself to walk away. He knew this had been a mistake from the beginning.

 


 

A few nights pass.

Illuminated by the soft glow of candlelight, Sandalphon sits at his desk in silence, his quill deftly inscribing poetry into parchment. He wanders in a reverie of words, entranced by the scenery unfolding in his mind like strokes of a paintbrush against a canvas. Poetry is a hidden love of his—a vessel for the thoughts he can’t voice aloud.

This time, he writes of the sea as the waves of the Auguste Isles roll against the shore beyond his window. He imagines the crystal clear waters lapping at his feet, between his toes, carrying grains of sand and tiny little shells. He imagines the distant cry of gulls above, searching for unattended helpings of food, or something shiny in tourists’ hair to steal for their hoards.

He imagines Lucio standing at the edge of the shore, staring off into the horizon with the longing of someone who loved once and never again.

Quietly, he stops. He sets the quill down parallel to the parchment and rubs at his temples. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Lucio, about everything they left unsaid that night. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about that pitiful look on his face, the infuriating silence that came with.

Sandalphon isn’t in love with Lucio. He isn’t. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Lucio is a nuisance, yes, but Sandalphon cares, deep in his heart.

Whenever he looks at Lucio, Sandalphon sees himself—the useless spare in Pandemonium lashing out against the world for being left alone.

“I shouldn’t have left like that,” he mumbles to himself. “I should’ve stayed, forced him to say something, instead of just leav—”

A sharp knock at the door jolts him out of his brooding. Sandalphon stands up a little too quickly, nearling spilling the vial of ink, and strides over to answer it. He comes face-to-face with Lucio holding two fuchsia-colored drinks, smiling ever so softly. He opens his mouth before Sandalphon does.

“Would you like a passion fruit sunset?”

Sandalphon stares at him. “What?”

“A passion fruit sunset! It’s a cocktail blend of passion fruit with mango, papaya, coconut milk, and the smallest splash of rum.”

Sandalphon holds his tongue; he doesn’t want to assume that Lucio only came here to give him a drink. “...Sure.”

His smile widening a bit, Lucio hands him one of the drinks. Sandalphon accepts it with a muttered thanks and takes a tentative sip. It’s fruity, maybe a bit too sweet, but refreshing on a humid night like this. If this is Lucio’s attempt to rebuild the bridge between them, he’s on the right track.

Sandalphon glances at him expectantly. “Is that all, or…?”

“Ah, well, no…” Lucio shifts under Sandalphon’s intense gaze. “There is one thing.”

“Yes?”

“...May I come in?”

Sandalphon studies him for several, long beats. Then, he steps aside and opens the door wider. “Make yourself comfortable wherever.”

“Thank you.” Lucio steps inside and settles on the edge of the bed. Sandalphon pulls up the desk chair in front of him, crosses his legs, and looks at him while idly sipping the sweet drink.

“Well?”

Lucio closes his eyes and sighs deeply before opening them to meet Sandalphon’s scrutinizing gaze. “I would like to talk to you about the other night.”

“I’m listening.”

“First and foremost, I would like to...apologize. For lying. It hadn’t been my intention to willfully deceive you. I only wanted to avoid confronting what I had done, since I myself wasn’t sure why I had done it,” Lucio begins, cradling the drink in his lap.

“You mean kissing me like that?”

“...Yes. I suppose I was…envious. I feared you would say Lucifer’s name again, and  I reacted on impulse.”

Sandalphon can’t fault him for that. “It’s normal to feel that way when you aren’t sure where your feelings lie with someone.”

“Is it truly?” Lucio asks, a genuine curiosity in his voice.

“Yes. And just like with every other emotion, you have to learn how to handle it.”

“I’m afraid I’m still lacking in that knowledge.”

Sandalphon snorts, slightly amused. “Don’t worry. You’ll get there. I’m not exactly in complete control of my own emotions, either.”

I definitely wasn’t, all those years ago.

Lucio regards him with a small smile. “Truthfully, I admire that about you, Sandy. Even though you say you are not in full control of your emotions, you still understand them and what they mean, yes?”

“I suppose I do.”

Lucio averts his gaze toward the window overlooking the shore. Contemplation flickers in his eyes. “...You can also say I envy you, somewhat. I wish I could understand these bizarre emotions for myself. I know coveting the good fortune of another is shameful, but—”

“There’s nothing shameful about wanting to understand yourself better,” Sandalphon interjects.

Lucio falls quiet for a moment. There’s something weighing heavy on his mind, something deep and personal; Sandalphon can tell by the sudden dullness of his once bright blue eyes. Once again, he sees himself—lost in a labyrinth of questions, frustrating himself more and more with every wrong turn he takes, every mistake he makes.

Lucio’s past is occluded with dark, heavy clouds, and he is the one who won’t let it see the light of day.

“Lucio… What exactly is on your mind?”

Stifling a sigh, Lucio returns his attention to Sandalphon, wills himself to meet his inquisitive gaze. “Tell me, Sandalphon, are you in love with Lucifer?”

Sandalphon stiffens up a bit, caught off guard by the weighted question, but he’s long since come to terms with his heart to answer truthfully. “I am.” He observes Lucio’s unshifting expression. “...Are you in love with me?”

“I can’t say for certain,” Lucio replies, and he sounds truthful, if not a little confused. “Love remains ever a mystery to me. It’s true that I think fondly of you, yes, and would like to spend more time with you, but I don’t believe such feelings are on the same level as your feelings for Lucifer.”

“If that’s the case, then… Why pursue this kind of relationship with me?”

“If my memory serves me right, you were the one who initiated it when you kissed me that first night.”

Sandalphon sputters. “W-well, I hadn’t been thinking properly at the time. I took one look at you and all of a sudden my body moved on its own.”

“Oh.” Lucio raises a hand to his mouth in slight horror. “I apologize. I never realized it had been my beauty that bewitched y—”

“All right, that’s enough.” Sandalphon brushes him off with a frustrated wave of his hand. “Regardless of who started what, I would like for both of us to be on the same page moving forward. So, I need you to answer truthfully: do you still want this?”

“I do,” Lucio answers firmly. “It feels good, with you, and I feel less…”

“Less what?”

“...Lonely, I suppose.”

Ah. So that’s the core of all things. The reason behind Lucio’s interpersonal and intrapersonal ineptitude. Sandalphon, admittingly, should have expected as such.

“What about you, Sandy?” Lucio asks next. “Do you still wish to engage in the carnal pleasure shared between our bodies?”

“First of all, never say it like that again. Second of all, I wouldn’t be taking this seriously to this extent if I wasn’t interested. In a way…” Sandalphon inhales, preparing to admit his own truth, now that Lucio has professed his. It’s only fair. “...In a way, I also feel less lonely when I’m with you.”

Lucio smiles, and the tiny little wings on his back flutter in delight. “I’m very pleased to hear that, Sandalphon.”

With a flustered huff, Sandalphon looks away and represses a snarky comment by sipping the cocktail. Whatever it was would have gone over Lucio’s head anyway.

“...Hey, Sandy.”

Sandalphon raises a brow, but continues to avoid looking at him. “Yes?”

“Would you like to...resume from where we left off the other night?”

At that, Sandalphon turns back to him, but more out of minor annoyance than interest. “Quick to bounce back, aren’t you? I never would have pegged you to be the insatiable type, Lucio.”

Lucio smiles disarmingly. “Can you truly fault me, when you feel so wonderful and taste so sweet?”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.”

“Then what will get me somewhere?”

An idea pops into Sandalphon’s head. He’s been meaning to try something new, and here an opportunity has presented itself. Setting the drink onto the desk, he uncrosses his legs and leans forward, staring Lucio right in the eye. “Tell me, what do you say to a bit of experimentation?”

“Experimentation?”

“Of the...pleasurable kind.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be opposed, if it’s with you.”

A smirk spreads across Sandalphon’s lips, and his eyes crease in mischievous delight. “Perfect.”

 


 

Sandalphon kisses a trail of kisses down Lucio’s bare, tanned chest, his fingers flitting along his sides as he descends to settle between his legs. He drags his lips down his navel, to the tip of his cock already hard and aching for attention. He lavishes the sticky head with a few kisses, curling his tongue around it every now and then, his eyes closed as he drinks in the sound of Lucio’s hitched gasps, the sensation of his cock twitching against his lips.

“...You’re more sensitive than usual,” Sandalphon coos. He drags his tongue up the shaft, slow, meticulous. “Were those few nights that unkind to you?”

“I—” A shuddering groan, drawn out by Sandalphon teasing the slit with a feathery light fingertip. “I refrained from touching myself until I… Until I vowed to make amends with you.”

“Oh? Didn’t you touch yourself the night we stopped?”

“I—I did not.”

“Hoh, I admire your tenacity.” Sandalphon smirks lazily to himself, sliding a hand between Lucio’s thighs to slowly circle a finger around his hole. Lucio’s thighs tremble in expectation. “And somehow, I expected no different from you.”

He retrieves the vial of oil set beside the toy resting innocuously on the bed. He pops the cap off, slathers his fingers in the cool, unscented substance, and brings them to Lucio’s hole again. Carefully, he eases a finger inside; it slides in easily, the oil providing sufficient lubrication. “How does it feel?”

“S-strange, but not unfamiliar.”

“You’ve done this before?”

Lucio doesn’t grace him with an answer, but the slight downward shift of his hips reveals his body’s truth. He has done this before, which means it shouldn’t be an issue getting him to adjust. “Now, now, what did we say about being honest?” Sandalphon teases. Another finger joins the first, and he takes his time spreading the oil around, stretching Lucio out little by little with practiced fingers.

“I— Yes, ” Lucio groans out as the fingers prod deeper. “Yes, I have.”

“I figured as much. You keep rocking your hips down.” Sandalphon watches the subtle rolling of Lucio’s hips, essentially fucking onto them over and over. If he wasn’t in the mood to do so much more to him, Sandalphon would’ve opted to sit back and gleefully watch Lucio fuck himself on just fingers.

“A-ah, I apologize—”

“No. It’s...adorable.” Sandalphon’s smirk widens a little. Adding a third finger, he works him open at a slow, steady pace, coaxing more sweet noises out of Lucio’s kiss-bruised lips. The lewd sounds rush heat downward to Sandalphon’s arousal, wet and dripping between his thighs. But tonight he won’t have Lucio touch him. He’ll derive all the pleasure he needs by watching Lucio come undone underneath him.

He crawls over him, pressing their bodies close together, and leans to whisper against his ear. “I’m eager to see more. You’ll be good and show me everything, won’t you? That is, if you want me to make you feel good.”

Lucio shudders “Y-yes… Please…”

“Oh, good, you remembered your manners.” Sandalphon hooks his fingers against a particular spot. Lucio jolts sharply, and his hips roll down faster. Sandalphon finds himself inevitably transfixed to the shameless desperation exhibited by Lucio’s body. “You know, you are beautiful, but only when you’re at my mercy like this.”

Lucio whimpers; his cock twitches against his stomach.

“...Are my words having an effect on you, Lucio?”

“Y-yes…”

Sandalphon presses a deceptively soft kiss to Lucio’s flushed neck. “I’ll keep that in mind for the future then.” He sits up and withdraws his fingers, much to the displeasure of Lucio’s whine. “Patience,” is all Sandalphon says as he picks up the toy and weighs it in his hand.

It’s a silicone model with a ridged texture, decently-sized, affixed onto a series of leather straps. The color is a dark blue, simple, not jarring. He bought it last week from Shao under an oath of secrecy, or more fittingly for Sandalphon, an oath of threat. At first, he had no idea why he bought it and contemplated returning it, but then Lucio said something aggravating the next day and Sandalphon opted to keep it.

There’s just something about Lucio and the absurd things that come out of his mouth that make Sandalphon want to reduce him into a quivering mess of moans and tears.

Now he can finally put his frustrations into action.

Fastening the straps around his hips, he pours a generous amount of oil onto the toy and spreads it thoroughly with a few, quick strokes. He holds the base and looks up to find Lucio staring at it with clouded, dazed eyes. 

He really does look beautiful like this, laid out on the bed, his legs spread eagerly and his hands weakly grasping at the sheets in anticipation. His hair is a mess, courtesy of Sandalphon yanking on it when Lucio ate him out, and his cheeks are streaked with faint tears of pleasure. Dark, purplish bruises and bite marks litter his shoulders and collarbone, with a few strewn across his chest.

Sandalphon outdid himself—Lucio is a work of art.

“Are you ready for me, Lucio?”

“Y-yes… Please… Please, I…”

“You what?”

“I… I want to feel you…”

Sandalphon smiles and regards him with a half-lidded gaze, dark and heavy with burning desire. “You will.”

Nudging the slick tip against Lucio’s hole, Sandalphon grasps onto one leg and holds it steady as he begins to push the toy inside. Little by little, Lucio’s body gives way, accepting every inch with a full shudder. Sandalphon bottoms out with a quick thrust and the moan Lucio rewards him with is all but heavenly.

Sandalphon stays still for a moment, observing Lucio for any sign of discomfort. “How does it feel?”

Panting heavily, Lucio drops an arm over his face and hikes his own leg higher. “Full. I feel so full… I want more… Please… Please give me more…”

Sandalphon never thought he would live to see the day Lucio begged underneath him, but here is, reveling in it. His hips begin to move, setting a steady rhythm, neither rushed nor frantic. Sandalphon falls into the motions easily; he presses deep in the same way Lucio does to him, eliciting little cries and moans. Lucio rolls his hips to meet each thrust halfway, sucking the toy back in over and over, eager to keep it inside.

Leaning over him, Sandalphon brushes his lips against the shell of Lucio’s ear. “Tell me what you want, Lucio.”

“M-more… Mmh, I want more…”

“How do you want it?”

“H-harder—” Lucio gasps at the sharp, hard thrust. “F-faster, please—don’t stop—please don’t stop—”

“Let me see your face first.”

Whimpering, Lucio moves his arm from his face and wraps it around Sandalphon’s neck. He looks at him pleadingly, teary-eyed and with drool leaking from the corner of his mouth. “Please, please, please —!”

The honorable, poised Lucio, reduced to a whorish mess? Sandalphon’s mind buzzes with this newfound revelation. To think Lucio had this side to him all along…

Well, Sandalphon won’t pass on the chance to see more of it.

Hiking both of Lucio’s trembling legs onto his shoulders, Sandalphon angles his hips higher and bends Lucio right in half, his spine curving beautifully in the new position. He fucks him deeper, harder, the bed rocking under his aggressive pace. He glances down and shudders at the sight of the toy plunging in and out of Lucio’s loose hole, the slick sound of oil lewd and obscene.

Lucio is clearly enjoying it. He cries out louder and louder, Sandalphon’s name a desperate plea on his tongue, and he grips at the sheets so hard they nearly tear. He’s vocal, embarrassingly so, but Sandalphon can’t help but feel a burst of pride. Finally— finally he knows how to bring Lucio down from his high tower.

“A-ah, S-sandalphon, I’m—I think I’m—close—I want to—” Lucio mewls out, his words broken up by his moans.

“You want to what?”

“C-cum, please, l-let me—a-ah—let me cum—”

Sandalphon chuckles softly. He gazes down at Lucio’s hazy eyes brimming with tears. “Go on then.”

A strangled whimper, and Lucio comes undone without a single touch from Sandalphon. His eyes flutter closed, his lips part in ecstasy, and his back arches off the bed as he streaks sticky wetness all over his chest from his twitching cock. He slackens right after, his arms and legs falling heavy onto the mattress.

Sandalphon slows to a stop and drinks in the sight laid out for his eyes only: Lucio in a post-coital daze, his chest heaving up and down and his hips twitching from the pulsing aftershocks. Slowly, Sandalphon pulls out and unfastens the toy, setting it aside to be properly washed later.

“Are you al—mmh!

Sandalphon is cut off by Lucio suddenly reaching between his legs, sliding his fingers into the wetness already dripping onto his hand. He works Sandalphon fast, in the way he knows best, deliberately rubbing his palm up against Sandalphon’s clit. He manages to wring out whimpers and gasps from Sandalphon, who can do nothing but clutch Lucio’s wrist tightly to keep himself from falling over.

It feels good—better, actually. Perhaps it’s because he insisted on not touching himself while fucking the living daylights out of Lucio. It’s no surprise, then, that his climax surges strong and fast through him, knocking the wind out of his lungs and reducing him to violent trembles.

It lasts longer than usual. The waves pulse through him over and over, before dissipating into a faint buzz in the pit of his stomach. He collapses onto Lucio and shakily inhales for breath.

“You…”

Lucio smiles tiredly, wrapping an arm around him. “I thought to repay the favor.”

“A warning would’ve been nice.”

Lucio only chuckles. Sandalphon pinches him in retaliation. Still, he doesn’t reject Lucio’s silent yet obvious request to partake in the afterglow, his arms cradling Sandalphon close with the intent to not let go.

They settle comfortably under the sheets together. Tomorrow, they’ll clean up the mess and themselves, but for now, Sandalphon allows himself to accept Lucio’s generous warmth. He listens to the gentle beat of his heart, the proof that Lucio is here, with him. He isn’t alone. Lucio isn’t alone.

Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.