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This Unspeakable Pursuit

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No one’s ever accused Oscar Wilde of resisting temptation, and he certainly isn’t going to give them a reason to do so now. He hasn’t even finished breakfast yet.

He sets his cup down and turns to Hamid. Hamid has lovely eyes: large and dark, generous lashes like the stroke of an ink-laden brush. Even better, Hamid is skilled at communicating entire paragraphs worth of discourse with a single glance, a talent Wilde admires and hopes to encourage him to cultivate.

At present, Hamid is desperately begging Wilde to not say whatever he is obviously about to say. It’s a wonderful look on him, and Wilde silently vows to give Hamid reason to wear it more often.

Wilde’s smile spreads slow and sweet as honey dripping off a spoon. He leans forward, resting his hand on his chin, close enough to Hamid that he could lower his voice to a whisper.

But he doesn’t. “That one really does need special handling, doesn’t he?”

Hamid slowly exhales through his nose. Wilde does not look away. Absolutely lovely eyes. He’s never really understood the routine dismissal of brown eyes; they hold so much depth, so much soul. Hamid’s irises are dotted with little flecks of copper that seem to flash brighter whenever he’s irritated.

Like now. The dining room has gone silent around them, and what little warmth there was has crystallized into a tense, frozen silence.

Eventually, a voice speaks up. “ That one is right in front of you.” Yesterday, there’d been rapid-fire threats and a danish flung at Wilde’s head. Today, Grizzop is notably not shouting.

Wilde is delighted. There’s just something so promising about the ones who become quieter and more controlled the angrier they get; hidden depths, still waters. That sort of thing.

“I’m in the room, my name is Grizzop, and you can either start addressing me or you can finish the mission without me.”

Wilde tries not to give himself away; his mouth twitches at the corner, but he keeps his eyes on Hamid. “Oh, he’s fun.”

Instead of a violent tirade and a projectile of some sort, there’s the scrape of a chair pushing away from the table. Wilde startles, expecting to be confronted by an angry goblin, but Grizzop is already retreating. 

Sasha’s hand darts out, grabs a croissant, and stuffs it in her mouth before leaving the table.

Wilde reaches for a croissant of his own. “Well. My aim was better than I thought if I made her lose her appetite.”

Hamid sighs and looks away. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

Wilde offers the bread basket. “It’s just so easy,” he admits, the closest he can get to an apology that wouldn’t be a lie.

Hamid selects a pastry and splits it open, begins heaping jam on it. “Are you that bored?” His motions are carefully controlled and precise. Wilde would never mention it, of course, but funnily enough, Hamid’s never more similar to his father than when they’re both irritated. “You’re antagonizing him for no reason. He and Sasha were out late last night, investigating the address you sent us to, and.” He pauses and takes a moment to clear the anger out of his voice.

Wilde waits, chin in his hand. He raises his eyebrows in encouragement.

“Grizzop is a part of the team,” Hamid says. Ah. A tactic switch. His voice now carries the painfully honest vulnerability that sends a cold chill through Wilde’s spine. “He’s been through a lot, and you treating him like that, well. It just compounds things, makes everything worse.”

There it is. Gods, he’s nothing like the elder al-Tahan now; Hamid sounds on the verge of frustrated tears. Better to dial it back before he attempts to pry and ask why Wilde is doing this, or worse, suggests a hug.

“Of course.” Wilde spoons some berries onto his plate. “I just can’t help myself sometimes.”