"You should paint me." Ty's voice was a lazy drawl, but Zane could hear the undercurrent of mischief in it. He turned away from the canvas he was working on and stared at Ty.
"Every other time I've suggested that, you've rolled your eyes at me."
Ty smirked, and Zane realised he was hiding something behind his back.
"It's different this time."
Zane tried his best to look exasperated as he sighed, but he knew Ty could see right through him. He rinsed out the brush he'd been using and put it down, standing up and reaching up to tug at Ty's arm.
"Alright, then. What're you hiding?"
With a grin and a flourish, Ty held out a kit of body-safe paints. Zane sucked in a sharp breath as his mind was flooded with fragmented images; Ty's broad back covered in sharp lines and soft colours, Ty lying face-down on the bed as Zane's brush traced his muscles. He bit his lip and reached out and grabbed the box in an attempt to quell the trembling in his fingers. He loved how even after all this time, Ty still managed to surprise him with gestures that were so thoughtful, unexpected, and almost painfully erotic all at once.
Ty pulled his t-shirt over his head and Zane's mouth went dry. "C'mon, baby. Give me a tattoo." Ty grinned, totally guileless and open, and Zane bit his lip so he wouldn't say anything stupid or sappy. And then he remembered that he was well within his rights to do so.
"You're amazing, you know that?" Zane ran a finger along Ty's shoulder, and Ty grinned. He grabbed the stool Zane usually used to hold things while he was working and swung it smoothly around in one hand. He sat heavily on it, his back towards Zane, and turned to smirk over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I know. Now get to work!" He clapped twice, goading Zane on. Zane chuckled, reaching out to stroke down Ty's spine. For a moment he just stared at the expanse of skin in front of him, marred with faded old scars and a couple of fresh bruises. He felt Ty shiver under his fingers and chuckled quietly.
The brushes in the kit were cheap plastic, but the paints were surprisingly decent. Zane rinsed his good brushes out thoroughly as he chewed on his lower lip, lost in thought and planning out his design. It wasn't as if any of this was actually going to be permanent, but that didn't mean he was going to be slapdash about it. He closed his eyes, fingers tracing the contours and valleys of muscle and bone of Ty's back. He heard Ty suck in a sharp breath and Zane's heart pounded through his entire body.
"You feeling this too?" He whispered quietly, and Ty snorted out of a soft laugh. At that point Zane was struck with an idea. He dipped into the paints, mixing a deep rich violet colour. Starting on Ty's left shoulder blade, he traced out the general shape of an orchid blossom.
He worked steadily, pulling in shadows and highlights and watching the flowers bloom across Ty's upper back. Every so often, Ty would gasp or sigh or squirm as Zane's brush crossed a particularly sensitive spot. Whether he was doing it intentionally or not, Zane had no idea, but the sounds coming out of his lover were making him almost painfully aroused. As was the strange tenderness of the whole moment.
At one point Ty turned his neck, trying to look over his shoulder. Gently, Zane stroked his cheek and turned his face away.
"Not 'til I'm done, okay?"
He saw Ty's jaw twitch as he swallowed and nodded. He didn't have a snappy reply, which in and of itself spoke volumes to the state Ty was in.
As Zane finished the orchids, he cleaned his brushes again and dipped into another colour. Over the centre of Ty's spine, he laid out the eight points of a compass, followed by a thick brass anchor.
He fell into a trance, intent and focused, letting his hand guide him. In broad strokes all across Ty's back he painted their history, stories intertwined in pictures. Aside from the orchid, the anchor, and the compass, Zane had worked in the glorious foliage of the mountains of West Virginia, a castle in Scotland, a life preserver, a tiger with one floppy ear... He let all the love he felt for Ty, all the fond frustration and the amusement and the devotion, guide his hand.
The whole process was incredibly intimate, in a way Zane hadn't been expecting. The urgent desire he'd felt earlier had shifted into something else as they'd sat there, something slow and simmering but still very much there. He sat back, staring at his work, his heart pounding heavily in his chest. He'd poured his heart and soul out into this transient canvas, and now he was almost terrified to see how Ty would react. It wasn't like Ty didn't already know the depths of Zane's feelings, but seeing it in tangible form like this felt different somehow.
He brushed his fingers over Ty's nape, tips stroking up into his hair. Ty shuddered and laughed quietly. "No paint up there, please." Zane grinned and stood up, brushing himself off and putting his tools away. He leaned over Ty and kissed the top of his head.
"I think I'm done. Want to see?"
"Hell, yeah!" Ty jumped up off the stool and ran into the bathroom before Zane even had time to orient himself. He followed Ty, who was standing in front of the mirror and contorting himself into a series of increasingly absurd postures as he tried to take in the whole of his back. As silly as he looked, Zane still wanted to jump him. Instead, he coughed out a laugh.
"How about I take a picture instead?"
Ty huffed and nodded, nudging Zane out of the way and heading into the bedroom. Zane made an inquisitive noise and Ty shrugged, making the painting ripple.
"Light's better in here," he muttered as Zane followed him. He stood next to the window, in a shaft of dusty golden sunlight. Zane got his phone out and snapped a few photos in quick succession.
Eagerly, Ty scrambled over as Zane sat on the bed and brushed his thumb across the screen, flipping through the photos until one caught his attention and held it. Ty's back -- and Zane's masterpiece -- was front and centre, highlighted by the warm afternoon sun. Ty was glancing over his shoulder at the camera, his expression somehow somewhere between coy and thoughtful. The image made Zane's breath hitch.
"It's..." Ty murmured, running one finger over the screen. "Fuck, Zane. Seems a shame that it's not permanent..." He didn't say anything else, but the look on his face made it plain that he could see everything Zane had put into it, could read all the emotions painted across his back.
Zane smiled, cupping Ty's cheek and coaxing him into a gentle kiss. "We got the photos. And I can do it again..." he said softly against Ty's lips. "I kind of want to print that one out though."
Ty reached up then, wrapping his arms around Zane and running his fingers through Zane's hair. Zane moaned, and as he parted his lips Ty's tongue delved into his mouth. They revelled in the kiss for a moment before Zane grabbed Ty around the waist and tried to manhandle him flat onto the bed.
Gasping, Ty sat up, his eyes wide. "The paint! The sheets!"
Zane groaned quietly and smiled, releasing his hold on his ridiculous, fastidious lover. "Alright then, how about you let me wash it off you? And then you let me get you dirty all over again?"
"I think I can work with that..." A slow smile crept across Ty's face, and Zane had to suppress the urge to knock him to the bed and kiss it off him. Ty stood up and stepped out of his sweatpants, leaving Zane to follow him eagerly to the shower.