Vorstag was standing in the doorway of Breezehome, a large bowl cradled in one arm, stirring batter absentmindedly. He stared, unseeing, over the heads of Sofie and her friends Mila and Lars as they played in front of the house. Sirius was missing, had been gone for three whole days. It was not unusual for his husband to be called away or to go wandering, but he usually he told Vorstag where he was going. He was so busy worrying he didn’t even notice he was stirring an empty bowl, having tilted it so far over that all the batter had dripped onto the ground. The children stared at him.
“Uh, Daddy, maybe you should go lay down…” Sofie began, then Vorstag dropped the bowl entirely as Sirius entered through the city gates, bedraggled but smiling, a sheaf of parchment clutched in his hand. He hugged Sofie and planted a sloppy kiss on Vorstag’s lips.
“Hello, my loves. It’s good to be home. Is it time to eat?”
“Not yet,” Vorstag said, looking down at the spilled batter, which Meeko was now licking off the cobblestones. “Where have you been?”
“Later, later.” The Dragonborn stuffed the parchment into a drawer and rumpled his daughter’s hair. “I think I’ll go take a bath.”
“I’ll come with you,” Vorstag said quickly, glancing over at Lydia, who nodded to him and took over the cooking duties. There was nothing Vorstag loathed more than Whiterun’s public bath, but he wasn’t about to let Sirius go alone. It wasn’t a bad place; in fact, it was rather pretty… The inside was similar to the Temple of Kynareth, a lovely painting of the Gildergreen taking up an entire wall, clear water trickling quietly into the pool. But the people stared. A lot. Sirius wasn’t shy about his body and ignored the looks he got, but Vorstag hated seeing the way the women (and some of the men) ogled his husband like a piece of meat. He also hated the mutterings he heard when they settled into the bath together, sitting close and washing each other’s backs.
“Why he married such a…” “look at the size of his …” “I’d really like to show him my…” “a waste, don’t you think…?”
But today the bathhouse was abandoned, and the two husbands were able to bathe and lounge at their ease, the warm water and the closeness of Sirius washing away the last of Vorstag’s worries. He snuggled close, Sirius’ arm around his shoulders. “Will you tell me now? Where you went?”
“I didn’t want to talk in front of Sofie until we decided,” Sirius answered, also happy to be reunited with his lover. “I went to everyone I could think of, looking for a bigger house for us. And I mean everyone, everywhere. I went to Ivarstead, Rorikstead, Riverwood, Dawnstar, Morthal, Solitude… anyplace I thought someone could direct me to a good house or even - and I was getting desperate at this point - land where I could build a house.”
Vorstag snickered. Sirius was good at smithing and whittling, but the idea of him building a house was just too ridiculous - he didn’t have the patience. “Did you have any luck?”
“Not until I finally dragged my arse back to Falkreath. I was having an ale in the tavern and grousing about my problems to old Lod the smith when someone overheard me and said the Jarl had a manor for sale. I went to see Siddgeir and he said it was true. I could’ve killed him. He sat there grinning at me saying he thought I wasn’t interested because I hadn’t asked about it when he sent Rayya to me, and I was ready to punch his lights out. He didn’t even mention a house last time I was there. I felt like an idiot, stammering that I didn’t need a second Housecarl because I didn’t have a fucking house, and he let me go on and then shame-walk out of there, and the whole time there’s this big-ass deserted manor right on the lake. For the love of Azura.”
“Rayya did mention he’s…. hard to get along with,” Vorstag said delicately. But the prospect of a new home - a manor, even! - was exciting. “Did you buy it?”
“Not yet. I wanted to take you to see it first. Given Siddgeir’s knack for over-exaggeration, it could be shit. I figured I’d come home, see what you thought, and we’d take a little trip. Y’know, fresh air, change of scenery, stretch our legs…”
“Have sex without being overheard?” Vorstag purred in Sirius’ ear.
“Oh, yeah, well, the thought had crossed my mind…”
“Sounds good to me…. and while we have the place to ourselves, why don’t we…” he whispered into Sirius’ ear, the Dragonborn’s smile widening.
“I think we can manage that, you naughty boy…”