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do i owe each kiss to lip and cheek

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It’s the summer after their sophomore year, more normal than any Gorgug has experienced so far at the Aguefort Adventuring Academy, which, to be fair, was only the one and he’d been touring with his best friend’s rock band after killing their ex-vice-principal-who-was-also-an-evil-dragon-lord, and he’s currently sitting across from his girlfriend in Basrar’s Soda Fountain. It’s so… high school that Gorgug can’t help but smile into the sundae they’re splitting. 

 

Zelda nudges his knee with her’s, looking up at him through her fringe. “Hey.”

 

“Hey.”

 

“I really like your smile,” she mumbles, eyes darting back down to the sticky linoleum table in front of them. “It’s, uh, it makes you look, er, really good.”

 

Gorgug blushes a deep green, staring more intently into the sundae. “I like your smile too.”

 

“Wow, um,” Zelda says. Gorgug can tell her hands are fiddling with the edges of her sweater, and she’d just been telling him earlier that day how she wished she wouldn’t do that because it destroys them, so he reaches out underneath the table and takes her hand in his, threading their fingers together.

 

His eyes dart up and catch Zelda staring at him wide-eyed, a deep blush on her cheeks. They’ve done more than hand holding before, obviously, but only ever very interrupted, rushed kisses here and there, and Gorgug honestly loves the way his heart feels full when he catches her looking at him like this. Usually, they spend their time together listening to music and doing homework in either the Thistlespring home or out by the bloodrush field at school, or going on dates to Basrar’s and the movie theater. One time, a few weeks ago right before the school year ended, Gorgug had driven them out to the beach and they’d spent the day at the ocean, just the two of them.

 

“Do you maybe want to, like, go to my house after?” Zelda asks, immediately smushing in a, “But if you don’t want to that’s okay it-really-isn’t-a-big-deal-I-just-thought-I-mean-it’s-whatever,” and Gorgug squeezes her hand.

 

“Yeah, I’d love to. I’ll just call my parents?”

 

“Oh, um, of course.” Zelda looks like she didn’t expect him to say yes and she blushes even more, eyes darting from him to the table to the wall to him again.

 

“I’ll just, um, go and do that, I guess,” Gorgug says and extricates his hand from hers, pushing himself up from the table and taking his crystal out in one smooth motion. Or, he tries to make it smooth, but he had another growth spurt only a few weeks ago and he stumbles over his feet as he gets up, his knee banging on the table.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“Yes, yeah, I’m fine, I’m just going to go stand over here. To make this call.”

 

“Al—Alright.” 

 

Gorgug tries to regain his composure and steps away from the booth, leaning against the wall beside the jukebox.

 

The Thistlesprings pick up on the first ring. “Well, hey, bud, how’s your date goin’?

 

“Good, good, really good. Um, Dad, I was wondering if I could go over to Zelda’s afterward?”

 

“I don’t see how that’s a problem so long as her folks are okay with it.” 

 

Gorgug has to bite his tongue to not add an “oh they definitely will be.” They don’t spend a lot of time at Zelda’s house, because every time Gorgug stops there to pick Zelda up or drop her off, her parents are weird. Which, like, Gorgug can handle weird. He’s weird, his family is weird. Literally none of his friends could be described as normal in any stretch of the word. But Zelda’s parents are weird in a you-make-me-feel-really-uncomfortable way, which, again, most people make Gorgug feel uncomfortable. Zelda realizes this, though, and he’s noticed that she usually suggests anywhere but her house to hang out at. That being said, he’s not too uncomfortable to not spend time with her there, and he knows that the Donovans will always have him over.

 

“I think she already asked them,” Gorgug says instead.

 

He can practically hear his parents’ smiles over the crystal, and his mom says, “Well, that’s just great, sweetie. You let us know when you’ll be home, don’t feel like you have to come back for dinner.”

 

“Okay, thanks mom.”

 

“We love you a whole lot, bud.”

 

“I love you guys too.” He hangs up before he changes his mind and asks them to make up some excuse. 

 

Gorgug really is okay with going over to Zelda’s, it’s just new people, a new place, and the fact that those new people are his girlfriend’s parents, and it’s all a little overwhelming to him. He knows that Zelda gets it, and that she’ll be okay with him bailing at any time, and that’s only one of the many reasons why he likes her so much. 

 

He gives Zelda a thumbs up as he sits down again across from her, this time only bumping his wrist into the table. She looks even more relieved, her shoulders relaxing just slightly, and Gorgug realizes that he’s spent enough time with her, watched her closely enough, to recognize the intricacies of her body language. It makes his brain short circuit for a second so he decides to take a big enough bite of ice cream that he has something else to focus on.

 

“Ow,” he mumbles around the spoon as a brain freeze hits him.

 

Zelda giggles, her cute one where her nose scrunches up, shoulders relaxing even more. She reaches out and takes the spoon out of his mouth, as gentle as she always is when she’s not destroying dragons, lifting it to her own lips and finishing the small amount of ice cream left on it.

 

Gorgug blinks, feeling his brain once again pull up short, before blushing even harder than before. Zelda, for her part, tries to maintain eye contact with him but breaks quickly, ducking down to stare intently at her lap. Her movement lets Gorgug watch her more intently than he’d let himself otherwise, tracing his eyes over the planes of her face and the sweep of her hair. He thinks, for more than the first time, that Zelda Donovan is the most beautiful person he’s ever seen.

 

“What?” Zelda asks, like she wasn’t the one who just took a spoon out of Gorgug’s mouth.

 

“I, uh, I… Do you want to go soon?” Gorgug tries, really hard, to save face, but he’s pretty sure she sees right through him.

 

“Oh, um, sure, just let me—You’re done right?”

 

“Yeah, go ahead.”

 

Zelda pulls the dish towards her and scoops the rest of the sundae into her mouth. She’d explained, a while ago, how she needs more food than the average satyr because of her whole thing with the god of wine and ecstasy. Gorgug honestly hadn’t had any issue with it even before she brought it up, he knew he ate more than his fair share of food and, well, what was any different between them? They were both teenage barbarians, and rages take a lot out of a person.

 

They leave soon after, and Gorgug drives them in the Hangvan to Zelda’s house. When they get there, he takes a second to breathe in her driveway.

 

“Hey, uh, you don’t have to come over if you don’t want to.”

 

“No, no! I want to, I just…”

 

“My parents aren’t technically home, if that makes you feel any better.” Zelda blanches, “I should’ve told you that sooner, I’m so sorry. Your parents should know.”

 

“Er, well.” Gorgug knew that the Thistlesprings knew that Zelda’s parents being absent actually decreased the likelihood of them… doing anything, he just didn’t want to let Zelda in on that little fact. “I’ll just shoot them a quick message. It’ll be fine.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yeah, of course.”

 

“Okay, then, um, follow me?”

 

Zelda waits for him at the front of the van, taking his hand and pulling him into her house. He’s been inside before, on more than one occasion, but the overall normalcy of it still surprises him. The walls are a light green in the entry hall, pictures of baby Zelda and old photos from her parents’ high school years arranged on the walls in neat little rows. Coats are lined up on a rack by the door and there’s a sizable weapons holder shoved in amongst hoof-covers (boots? Gorgug is never sure what they are called) and Gorgug feels the last of the tension leave his body. Zelda’s house isn’t too different from his own, except for the fact that it’s Zelda’s, and Gorgug likes Zelda. It isn’t hard to feel comfortable in a place that she obviously feels relaxed in.

 

“Do you want water or anything?” Zelda asks, hand slipping from his to once again fiddle with the hem of her sweatshirt.

 

“No, I’m all good. Ice cream.” He does a little weird finger guns thing to go with ‘ice cream’ and it immediately makes him cringe but Zelda snorts adorably, hoodie-covered hand rising up to cover her mouth as her nose scrunches up and oh.

 

“Come on,” Zelda says, still giggling, clopping a few steps away before pausing to wait for him. “Do you want to maybe watch a movie?”

 

“Yeah, sure,” Gorgug follows her, taking her hand once again in his. “All we get at the tree is Gnome-flix.”

 

Zelda leads him past the kitchen and a closed door, which she’d previously described to Gorgug as the “rage room.” They slip into her living area, which is populated by a small couch that Gorgug probably couldn’t lie fully on and a distinctly paternal-looking chair shoved in the corner. There are more pictures on the wall here, and Gorgug notices some of the artwork Zelda had quietly shown him underneath the lunch table proudly hanging up and signed.

 

“Hey, I love this one,” he says, pointing to a graphite pencil drawing of a drum set. His drum set.

 

That earns him a blush, “Erm, thanks. My, uh, my mom really liked it too. She, uh, hung it up.”

 

“Your art deserves to be shown off.”

 

Zelda breaths out a startled laugh, covering her face with her free hand, cheeks flushing even darker. “You deserve to be shown off.”

 

“What?”

 

“What?”

 

Now it’s Gorgug’s turn to flush, scratching self consciously at the back of his neck. “So, um, about that movie?”

 

Zelda’s face looks practically on fire now and she gladly tugs him to the couch, flicking the tv on and pulling up the menu. He lets her flick through movies, watching the way her brow scrunches up in concentration as she reads the titles. He wants to smooth it out with his thumb. She pulls up some recent B-horror, looking to him for confirmation, and Gorgug has to school his expression back into something that isn’t complete and total admiration for the girl next to him.

 

The movie starts. It’s some slasher flick about a crazed barbarian which is, one, painfully stereotypical, and two, boring after you’ve been face-to-face with the real thing, and it only manages to hold Gorgug’s attention for a few minutes before his gaze is drifting back to Zelda. He’s startled slightly when he finds her already watching him, chewing on her lip like she’s thinking really hard about something.

 

Her eyes go wide when he catches her staring and she ducks to turn away before rethinking and turning back to him. Gorgug wants to say something but he can’t figure out what. Zelda looks slightly distressed but also determined, her mouth drawn in at the corners in that way he’s come to recognize means she’s about to step out of her comfort zone.

 

“Can I kiss you?” Zelda asks, hem twisting under her fingers.

 

Gorgug wonders if he’ll ever be able to breath again. “Yeah.”

 

She twists to face him more fully, legs folded behind her on the couch, and then her hand is on his face, thumb smoothing over his cheekbone. It isn’t their first kiss, not by a long shot, but it still isn’t an entirely normal occurrence for them yet, either. Gorgug is careful to keep his tusks out of the way, letting Zelda lead them sweetly, and their lips meet softly like the feel of her hair on Gorgug’s hand when he reaches up to cup the back of her head. She pulls back for a moment, breath fanning out over Gorgug’s lips and eyes opening to stare directly into Gorgug’s. Someone on the tv screams. Zelda kisses Gorgug again.

 

It’s nice to have Zelda so close to him. Gorgug still isn’t sure how he feels about kissing as a practice. He’s interested in it as an abstract thought, but if it were anyone but Zelda (or Ragh, his brain supplies extremely unhelpfully) he probably wouldn’t want to actually do it. Which is normal? He’s pretty sure it’s normal, pretty sure everyone else never imagines kissing random hot people. No one imagines that, right? It’s probably just Fig being Fig again. And Fabian being Fabian. And occasionally Kristen being Kristen, when her and Tracker are taking a break.

 

But that’s a little too much thinking to be doing when Zelda hesitantly moves to sit in Gorgug’s lap after the angle gets too uncomfortable to maintain any longer. She kisses him slightly harder and Gorgug follows her lead, hands holding her waist loosely over her hoodie.

 

Zelda’s not as slim as Gorgug is, and he lets himself revel in the way his hands slot into the soft fat at her sides. He wonders what the skin there feels like, wonders if he can slide his hand under her sweatshirt to find out.

 

His breath stutters as Zelda’s teeth catch at his bottom lip, pulling on it tenderly as she keeps her hands gently cupping both sides of his face. She pulls back, “I really like you, Gorgug.”

 

“I don’t want to have sex,” he blurts out, instead of something weird like ‘I love you.’

 

She sits back more fully, her warmth no longer directly washing over Gorgug’s face. He feels himself lean forward a little bit, chasing after her subconsciously. 

 

“I, um, don’t want to either,” she says, quietly, all of her previous confidence gone.

 

“Okay.” Gorgug says, and then, when she doesn’t kiss him again, “Sorry.”

 

“You don’t have to be sorry! I’m just gah,” Zelda rubbed a hand over her face, cheeks dark. “I didn’t mean for you—”

 

“No, no, I didn’t—”

 

“You know I only don’t wear pants ‘cause I’m, uh, covered in fur—”

 

“I just wanted to make sure—”

 

They both stop, look at each other, and break out into laughter. It’s nervous, sure, but exhilarating too and Gorgug’s heart feels light and bubbly when Zelda dissolves into giggles against his chest. Gorgug doesn’t move his hands from her waist, squeezing happily when her laughter crosses a line into breathless wheezing. He waits for her to sober up, a soft smile tipping the corners of his mouth, and when Zelda finally stops laughing he leans forward and pecks her on the nose, just to see her snort again.

 

She’s smiling, looking down at Gorgug’s chest instead of meeting his eyes. “I’m sorry. I don’t want you to think that’s the reason I, erm, invited you over.”

 

“Oh, I didn’t. I just… wanted to make sure.” Gorgug swipes his thumbs over her sides, trying to telepathically get Zelda to look up at him.

 

“Okay. Good.” Gorgug’s mindmeld seems to work because Zelda darts up to meet his gaze and leans forward quickly, pressing a kiss to his mouth before pulling back again.

 

“Is it still okay if we, um, keep kissing?” Gorgug asks.

 

“Yes, I’d like to. If that’s okay with you.”

 

“It’s more than okay with me.” 

 

Gorgug’s the one who kisses Zelda first this time, pulling her to him by his hold on her waist. It’s kind of hard to negotiate his tusks while still putting force, putting emotion into the kiss, but he manages and Zelda melts into his grasp. Zelda tucks his hair behind his ears and tips his chin up to meet her at a better angle. Gorgug gladly follows, gladly lets Zelda take control once again.

 

They kiss for a while, long enough that Gorgug is vaguely aware that at least two of the main characters in the movie are dead by the time he pulls back, lips still brushing Zelda’s as he murmurs, “Can I, um, can you take your hoodie off?”

 

Zelda pauses, considers, kisses Gorgug once more for one long, heartbreaking second, and then whispers, “Only if you do too.” Gorgug immediately goes to pull back and shed his hoodie, but Zelda halts him with hands on his arms. “Let me.”

 

He does.

 

His arms get stuck slightly (growth spurt) but she manages to get it off in a timely manner. Gorgug’s shirt gets folded in the hoodie and pulls up with it but she just tugs it back down and Gorgug’s heart is filled with so much love for her that it makes him feel like he might cry. When he tries, Zelda’s hoodie gets lodged on her horns, bunching up under her chin as Gorgug struggles to undo the tangles. He can hear her muffled, surprised laughter, though, so he doesn’t try and hide his grin when he finally tugs it over her head.

 

Zelda sees his smile and immediately starts kissing him again. This time, when Gorgug’s hands go to her sides, he lets them push her shirt up just a bit, so that he can feel the skin there. It’s soft and he tangles his fingers in the remnant fur lightly coating her lower sides.

 

He’s only allowed to get away with it for a second before Zelda’s pulling back. “I’m—I know it’s weird for, well, non-satyrs.”

 

“I like it,” Gorgug answers honestly. “Not in, like, a weird way but… it’s you and I like you.”

 

“Wow,” Zelda says, a bit breathlessly.

 

Gorgug tilts his head up, kisses Zelda’s cheek, and says it again, because he has to make sure she knows. “I like you.” Kisses her nose, “I like you.” Her forehead. “I like you.” Her other cheek. “I like you.” Her neck. “I like you.” And then her lips, “I like you.”

 

He can feel Zelda’s breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps, and she mumbles out another, “Wow,” as soon as he pulls back from the final kiss.

 

“You’re… really awesome. I hope you know that.”

 

“Ha,” Zelda makes an aborted laughing sound, slumping forward against Gorgug. “You are really—Gosh, um, you’re amazing.”

 

Now Gorgug is the one blushing, kissing the top of Zelda’s head because he doesn’t know what to say in response to that. Zelda snuggles closer, burrowing her head into his neck. Gorgug wraps his arms around her, holding her securely against him. She’s soft and warm and he sighs happily at how comfortable he is with her.

 

There’s a loud scream from the tv and Zelda eeps, jumping slightly. Gorgug just laughs and pulls her closer to him and thinks privately, but not for the first time, that he is in love with Zelda Donovan.





 

When Gorgug makes out in his van for the first time, he’s sweaty and uncomfortably hot and definitely more than a little gross to look at, touching aside.

 

It’s still the summer before junior year, about two month after that one ice cream date with Zelda, and in that time he’s started to realize he likes Ragh too. Well, more than started. He talked it over with Jawbone, a scary discussion about polyamory and complex relationships that left Gorgug confused but confident. And then Zelda, who was nothing but kind and understanding and happy for him. And then, finally, Ragh, who’d said ‘bro’ one too many times and promptly kissed Gorgug directly on the mouth. And now he has two pairs of hands to hold instead of one. Well, that might only work if Gorgug had four arms. He doesn’t. Would Adaine make him extra? Which, wait, no. That’s another thing he’s talked about with Jawbone: how allowing yourself to change and rushing or forcing that change for the sake of others were two entirely different things, and how the first is good and healthy and the last is decidedly not.

 

They’ve only been together for a month, and the three of them are still trying to find their rhythm around each other. But, Gorgug loves Zelda, and he likes Ragh, and he’s confident in all of their abilities to communicate with each other and form a ‘happy, healthy relationship based on love and mutual trust’ (Jawbone’s words, not his).

 

It’s bloodrush camp week, meaning Gorthalax has them on the field from nine to three every day. Gorgug, who’d been convinced to join the school band that year, is glad to only have to worry about familiar moves and plays instead of the complicated and new drills and notes and techniques that had flooded his head at band camp the week prior. That doesn’t make the workouts themselves any easier, though, and Gorgug is sweating buckets under the unrepentant Solisian sun.

 

At least Fabian and Ragh and their other teammates look just as miserable as Gorgug feels, their grey Owl Bears t-shirts soaked through from sweat and water dumped over their heads. They do one more practice play, Gorgug having to block Ragh to protect Fabian’s dart around with the ball. Gorgug’s hair is wet and hanging down in his face and he’s constantly blinking sweat from his eyes. It’s gross and he can feel the sun burning his back but he slams into Ragh anyway, using his height to block Ragh’s view of Fabian even as Ragh wins the strength contest and knocks Gorgug to the ground.

 

They win the play. Gorgug writes off the flush in Ragh’s face as a growing sunburn.

 

Gorthalax let them go early, saying something about how there’s a heat advisory and that they should all go home and rest for tomorrow. A whole team of sweaty, smelly boys clamber into the locker room, Gorgug knows that he probably would have fainted from the disgusting B.O. smell if he wasn’t both used to and contributing to it. He changes quickly, still not comfortable enough to do anything more than a quick rinse off in the locker room, and waits for Ragh by the door. 

 

That week they’ve set up a system. Gorgug shows up at Ragh’s house thirty minutes before practice starts, talks to his mom while he waits for Ragh to get up, and then drives them both to practice in the Hangvan. Then, afterwards, Gorgug takes Ragh back to the Thistlespring tree, where Zelda will meet them and they spend the rest of the day hanging out. Gorgug has practice with The Cig Figs today, like he does most Thursdays, so he’s just going to take Ragh back to his house, and he’s more than a little disappointed that he won’t be able to spend time with his partners.

 

His eyes automatically gravitate to who he’s waiting for, leaving Gorgug to duck and blush and stare adamantly at a locker to avoid watching Ragh unabashedly shower. There’s absolutely nothing hot about it, other than the literal heat, but it’s still Ragh and Gorgug can’t help but flush even though he stops looking as soon as he realizes.

 

Fabian wolf whistles as he leaves, clapping Ragh on the shoulder, and Ragh laughs loudly, the sound echoing through the tiled room. Gorgug blushes more, ducking and trying to hide it behind his sheet of hair. He fiddles absentmindedly with a locker handle, a habit he picked up from spending so much time with Zelda.

 

He likes the way Ragh’s laugh is so different from his own and Zelda’s. It rounds out their sounds, adding a deeper and warmer tone to their usual hushed glee. When they watch a movie or Gorgug tries to teach either of them how to play set, Ragh’s laugh cuts through all the other sounds and worms its way directly into Gorgug’s heart. Ragh is a naturally loud person, infinitely more confident than either Gorgug or Zelda, and his ready joy is only one of the many reasons why he balances them out so well.

 

Gorgug is aware how lucky he is, having two partners who get along like they do. Ragh and Zelda aren’t dating, because Ragh is gay and Zelda has never expressed any interest in having more than one romantic partner. But Gorgug knows they still hang out sometimes without him and their connection seems to be just as deep, just as important, as the bond he has with both of them, even if the nature of it is different. 

 

Thinking about Ragh’s laugh makes Gorgug think about Ragh’s mouth which naturally progresses to thinking about Ragh’s lips. They’re larger, tougher than Zelda’s, and he has tusks too. Most of the time, when they kiss, it takes a few tries to stop their tusks from bumping and getting in the way. Ragh has bigger tusks than him, and he honestly likes the way they sometimes get caught in his lips when they kiss. He understands now why Zelda has, on more than one occasion, stammered out an appeal for him to be less cautious with them.

 

He’s pulled from his thoughts when he hears Ragh’s deep voice clearing in front of him, eyes darting up to find a freshly showered and changed Ragh standing directly before him. “We ready to go, dude?” Ragh asks, shouldering his bag.

 

“Yep, yeah.”

 

“You good?”

 

“Er.”

 

Ragh goes to ruffle Gorgug’s hair before rethinking, tucking a strand behind his ear instead. Gorgug’s blush only deepens.

 

He’s pulling back just as fast as he’d reached out, starting to walk for the door with a, “C’mon bro, I’m fucking wiped,” tossed over his shoulder.

 

Gorgug hurries after him as they make their way to the van, sore legs protesting as they climb the slight hill between the bloodrush field and parking lot. It’s hot as hell outside, made infinitely worse with the brief relief he’d gotten from the cold shower, and he’s once again sweating buckets by the time they make it to the car.

 

The Hangvan starts as soon as Gorgug’s hand brushes the handle, calming ac immediately filling the van. Gorgug slumps in, grateful, resting his head on the steering wheel and trying in vain to stop sweating enough to drive them home. 

 

Thanks, Zaphriel, Gorgug thinks, in the vague direction of the van’s calming aura.

 

Awh, it’s no problem, dude. Like, I’m just vibing here, ya know, we’re all just vibing in the universe. Zaphriel immediately replies, tone making Gorgug’s eyes slip shut slightly.

 

Woah, that’s really deep.

 

The only thing that’s deep about it is how much I care about you, dude. Like, we should all try and make everyone as comfortable as possible. And if that means keeping your ac on, shoot, I’ll keep the ac on.

 

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

 

Ragh, for his part, immediately leaps into the car, chucking his bag in the backseat in a practiced, familiar fashion. If Gorgug weren’t overheating he’d probably get flustered at how Ragh acted like the van was his safe place, too. He ignores the fact that, since spring break, it historically has been. 

 

“Uh, I mean, I can’t drive, bro, but do you need me to?”

 

“What?” Gorgug laughs, startled by Ragh’s hand suddenly on his shoulder.

 

He lifts his head from the steering wheel, meeting Ragh’s lit-up, beautiful, black eyes. “I was just sayin’ I mean you don’t look too hot.”

 

“No, that’s the issue. I’m literally too hot.”

 

Ragh presses a hand to his chest sincerely, “Always, dude.”

 

That surprises another laugh out of Gorgug, which makes Ragh laugh in turn. Gorgug feels a bead of sweat drip down the side of his face. “You’re not too, uh, bad yourself.”

 

“That’s pretty fuckin’ gay, babe,” Ragh says, still serious.

 

Without missing a beat, Gorgug responds, this conversation old hat by now, “We are dating.”

 

And then they’re both laughing again, the sound filling the van with a new warmth. Gorgug watches, through his laughter, how Ragh’s eyes crinkle up, how his whole body shakes. Ragh’s always done everything one hundred percent whole-heartedly, never pausing, never doubting. His happiness is like that too, all encompassing and infectious. It rocks Gorgug’s world just a little bit. 

 

Ragh’s still laughing by the time he manages to catch Gorgug staring at him, and, through his smile, says, “Dude, can I kiss you right now?”

 

“Oh, um, yeah, yes.”

 

They’re still smiling when their lips connect, making their teeth and tusks bump together a bit ridiculously and causing almost zero lip action to happen. Gorgug doesn’t really mind. He’s becoming more appreciative of kissing, and he’s starting to like these moments of sheer goofiness even more than the real hot-and-heavy thing—which, admittedly, he’s still not doing a ton of. The angle is super uncomfortable, though, with both of them turned awkwardly in their seats to meet in the middle over the console, and they only last a few seconds of smile-kissing before Ragh’s hands are at Gorgug’s shoulders and trying to lift him up.

 

“This okay?” Ragh says, their smiles dropping slightly as Gorgug tips his head to deepen the kiss.

 

Gorgug responds by getting out of the driver’s seat. With help from Ragh, he trips over the console and winds up sprawled just slightly awkwardly in his boyfriend’s lap. “I’m sorry, I’m really gross right now.”

 

“No, you’re not! Dude. Bro. Babe. You look fuckin’ hot.”

 

Gorgug flushes, the blush spreading from the tips of his ears to the top of his chest. A nervous giggle bubbles up in his chest, threatening to spill out. “You are too.”

 

“Wow, I’m touched.”

 

“Shut up,” Gorgug says around a grin, ducking down and kissing him.

 

It’s only because of the Hangvan’s ac working overtime that he can even stand to be touching Ragh, much less sitting in his lap, and Gorgug makes a note to properly thank Zaphriel later with an oil change or tuning or something. He’s kind of curled around Ragh in the seat, legs tucked up and to the side with his hands on Ragh’s shoulders, his weight mostly on where his thigh is resting crossed over Ragh’s lap. Ragh’s got a good grip on his back, and one of his hands is fisted in the collar of Gorgug’s t-shirt, tugging him back whenever Gorgug thinks about pulling away.

 

“Um, it was, uh, really… cool when you tackled me earlier,” Gorgug mumbles in between kisses.

 

Ragh huffs against his lips, “‘Cool?’”

 

“Um, yeah, neat. Very. Nice.” Gorgug winces.

 

“I’ll have to tell Zelda to try it out sometime.”

 

That has Gorgug laughing again, the still bubbly giggles in his chest from earlier manifesting in a series of cute, little snorting sounds that are suspiciously close to Zelda’s normal laugh. “You know she would.”

 

“I do,” Ragh says, smile evident in his voice. “Also, I hope you know we tell each other everything.”

 

“Oh gods.”

 

“You better be fuckin’ scared bro.” He ducks down to mouth along Gorgug’s jaw and neck, making him clutch his shoulders harder. Gorgug can’t help the choked whine that leaves his lips when Ragh darts up again and catches Gorgug’s bottom lip in his mouth. “She said you liked that one.”

 

Gorgug’s face burns a deep green, spreading to his chest and the tips of his ears. He is even more grateful for the ac now, he feels like his skin is going to burn off. “Why am I surprised?”

 

Ragh does it again. Squeezing his eyes shut against the feeling, Gorgug let himself collapse further into Ragh’s chest. It’s comfortable there, not as squishy as Zelda’s but solid, making Gorgug go boneless at the relaxing feeling of being supported so firmly. Gorgug knows that he won’t crush Ragh by falling on him—which, honestly, he won’t crush Zelda either, he’s pretty sure she has a higher strength modifier—so he doesn’t worry about supporting any of his weight.  Ragh lets out an, “Oof,” as Gorgug drops, wrapping him up more protectively in a hug. Gorgug will never get tired of Ragh’s hugs. 

 

“Only one more day left of camp,” Ragh says, happily, into Gorgug’s head.

 

“Hrm,” Gorgug mumbles. The previous, er, make-out-feelings are gone now, replaced by a bones-deep tiredness that comes with curling up on top of a person you know will keep you safe.

 

“Hoot growl.”

 

“I can feel you smiling.”

 

“You have to say it back, bro.”

 

Gorgug sighs, although not upset, “Hoot growl.”

 

“Fuck yes, babe. Whoo!” Ragh whoops, one of his hands leaving where it had curled protectively around Gorgug’s side to fist pump the air. The following, “Ow. Shit,” and muffled bumping sound as Ragh bangs his hand directly into the ceiling has Gorgug laughing into Ragh’s chest.

 

He keeps mumbling, expletives and ouches, as he shakes his now sore hand out, and Gorgug can’t stop laughing. It’s just so, so Ragh that Gorgug’s smiling and snickering into his t-shirt, breathing in the smell of his deodorant and body wash and sweat. “What’s so funny?” Ragh says, after he seems to have quieted the pain and Gorgug is still giggling.

 

“You.”

 

“Hey!” 

 

Pausing to think for a moment, Gorgug decides to press a kiss to Ragh’s collarbone in reply. It works, Ragh immediately pulling him closer with an, “Aw, babe.”

 

His hand goes to the back of Gorgug’s head, fingers catching as he threads through his still-damp hair. Gorgug looks up at him, only to make Ragh suck in a huge breath. “Jesus, dude, you’re fuckin’ beautiful.”

 

Gorgug blushes some more—it’s becoming a routine at this point: laugh, blush, kiss.

 

“You have the most fuckin’ gorgeous eyelashes I’ve ever seen.”

 

“Uh, thank you.”

 

“I mean it, dude. Like, shit. Hoot growl.”

 

Head tipping back, Gorgug lets out a laugh so big and bright it fills the entire car. Like Ragh’s always does.

 

Ragh’s hands tuck Gorgug’s hair behind his ears again, “Ya know you gotta say it back.”

 

“Okay, okay. Hoot growl.”

 

Instead of punching the ceiling again, Ragh leans up and kisses Gorgug. It’s warm, in a comforting way instead of a stifling one, and Gorgug doesn’t bother to try and stop their tusks from bumping. That’s part of what makes it them.

 

They kiss for a while more, sitting in the passenger’s side of the Hangvan in the parking lot above the bloodrush field. The sun streams through the windshield and Zaphriel keeps the ac running and Gorgug lets Ragh hold him as tightly as he wants to, and holds Ragh back. 

 

They only pull apart when Gorgug’s foot nudges where his crystal had dropped, to find it vibrating with a missed call from Fig. Several missed calls, actually. And multiple texts. She’d apparently even resorted to trying the old prayer chain from the first few weeks of their freshman year to message him. Whoops.

 

Ragh lets Gorgug go and he clambers back into the driver’s seat, wiping his kiss-reddened mouth ineffectually on the back of his hand as he dials Fig’s number.

 

“Hi, sorry. Got held up at practice.”

 

Fig replies immediately, not even bothering to say hi, “Don’t pull that line with me. I just got off the phone with my dad who is your coach and he said he let you guys out early. A whole hour ago.”

 

“Er.”

 

“But, and you better tell Jawbone about this because he will be so proud of me, I’m not mad at you for being late. I just got worried because I didn’t know where you were and you weren’t answering your crystal.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Gorgug sighs, “I wasn’t thinking.”

 

“It’s okay. But you better show up soon or I will drag your ass to hell myself.” Fig hangs up, leaving Gorgug staring at the crystal and trying to comprehend what had just happened.

 

“Uh, you good?” Ragh asks.

 

Gorgug blinks. “Yeah. We’re fine? Let me take you home now.”

 

“Sounds good, bro. Sorry I made you late to practice.”

 

Gorgug starts the engine, chucking his crystal into the cup holder and slinging his seatbelt on before backing out of the parking space. “Fig’s shown up later, before. Also,” his eyes dart over to look at Ragh, sitting illuminated and glowing in the afternoon sun and looking just the tiniest bit smug next to him, “totally worth it.”

 

And it is worth it. All of it.