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Five Mostly Surprising Things Sparks and Croach Like About Each Other

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He does not understand the fascination Sparks Nevada has with his uses of Earth language, particularly his unwillingness to use contractions. Croach is aware that they are a perfectly natural thing in Earth language, but they still feel like some sort of witchcraft -- slightly more dangerous than hearing Sparks Nevada poorly accent his name but less so than his constant attempts at misdesignation. This is why he does not employ them.

Correction: this is why he rarely employs them. Now he does from time to time combine his words, if only because it is an effective way of getting Sparks Nevada’s attention.

It does not take much for Croach to physically overpower Sparks Nevada, but he likes to let him feel like there is something of a struggle before the man succumbs. One night, he was being less obliging than normal. Rather than wrestle him to the mattress on their bed, chest to chest and hip to hip, he simply crouched over him, touching him with nothing but the bracketing of his thighs and one hand pressed down on his chest.

“C’mon, Croach,” Sparks said through gritted teeth, hips bucking at nothing. “Let me up.”

Croach takes no small amount of pleasure in being able to physically dominate one so resilient, but it pales in comparison to dominating his will. It is rare that he makes the attempt, which is likely why he is successful. If the man were truly breakable, he would be far less interesting. He is, instead, willing to acquiesce sometimes, when properly pushed.

So sometimes Croach makes up his mind to push. That night he said:

“I don’t think I will.”

Sparks Nevada’s eyes narrowed, but he gave a shiver, the kind Croach has learned has nothing to do with inferior human biology.


2 & 3

Sparks had to learn pretty quickly not to walk around barefoot, even in his own house, when Croach was around. To a Marjun, it was just about the dirtiest thing you could do. Now, the two of them, they were in a relationship where dirty was allowed, but there was a time and place for it, and casual-like around the dinner table wasn’t it.

One evening he was soaking his tired feet in the Mars equivalent of Epsom salts, believing Croach to be miles out of town, solving some problem for the Widow Johnson that he didn’t exactly understand, when he heard Croach come through the door anyway.

So he called out, “Naked feet.”

“What?” Croach called back. “Why?”

“Because human feet like to be naked? I don’t know. Ain’t you supposed to be dealing with some dispute about hypercattle?”

As Croach spoke, Sparks could hear his voice come closer and closer.

“It turns out the Widow Johnson is likely paranoid and most certainly in need of attention. I provided some small amount of that, promised to investigate the things about which she was perhaps unreasonably concerned, and headed home.”

Once Croach stepped into the living room, his eyes were immediately drawn to where Sparks’s feet were submerged in a few inches of water. To his credit, he didn’t look all that flustered. Probably because he’d seen Sparks’s feet on a lot of occasions by now.

“Are you injured?”

“No. Just old.”

“I do not--”

“They’re sore, Croach. That’s all. I didn’t think you’d be home, so I thought I’d let ‘em soak a bit, take the edge off.”

Croach looked at him with the kind of confusion he knew would not be voiced, just accepted. Quickly, he crossed the room and stooped down beside him, holding his hands out.

“May I?” he asked.

So Sparks raised one of his feet and waited for Croach to wrap it in the towel he’d set aside. Croach was business-like about it but also a bit slower than was strictly necessary.

Once that foot was dry, Croach lay the towel aside and held the foot directly in his two cool hands. Even after all these months, his eyes went darker than usual as he traced his fingers down the arch of Sparks’s foot.

“Tickles,” Sparks said, toes twitching.

“Would rubbing them help you?” he asked sincerely.

To which Sparks smirked and said, “That would help you, I think.”

“I am serious, Sparks Nevada.”

“You think I ain’t?”

“I am capable of behaving rationally with regard to your feet.”

“What if I don’t want you to.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“I know it turns you on to touch them,” Sparks murmured. “So let it turn you on. I’d like to see that.”

If Marjuns could blush, Croach would be blushing. At any rate, his skin took on a deeper coloration and he closed his eyes.

When Croach spoke again, his voice was almost imperceptibly shaky. Almost.

“You would like to watch me pleasure myself.”

“Not if it’s going to freak you out.”

“It will not.” Then he opened his eyes and said, “Would it trouble you to reciprocate?”

“You wanna watch me…?”

“Very much.”

Sparks took a deep breath, but he couldn’t exactly get a lot of air in.

“I can do that,” he said, taking his other foot out of the water before he lost his nerve.



For a time, Croach had assumed Sparks Nevada’s careful attention to his egg sacs was a form of overcompensation for the roughly 314 times he has designated them gross. It may yet be overcompensation, but he does not think that is all; moreover, he finds that he does not care why.

He had his first clue soon after they first coupled, when Sparks Nevada spent a full 13 minutes asking him questions about them, what they did and how they felt. They concluded that, at least in terms of sex, they were somewhat analogous to Sparks Nevada’s testicles, which is to say not central but certainly not unimportant.

Of course, they were admittedly a fractional amount more necessary to the proceedings than testicles, which may apparently be ignored if one is to be expedient. Some attention is required for egg sacs, if for no other reason than lubrication, something Sparks Nevada has come to appreciate. He no longer has to steel himself to touch them; in fact, he seems to enjoy the reaction of Croach’s body well enough to forget he ever thought them unpleasant.

Croach became fully convinced of this on a night when Sparks Nevada was exploring his body with his mouth. It was only just bearable because of Croach’s advanced abilities of self-control. Sparks Nevada’s mouth was hot and wet and at times he used his teeth in utterly devastating ways. He licked his way slowly down to Croach’s opening, already wet and sensitive. This he had done before on a dozen occasions, and he was quite good at it.

But then he did something he had never before done: that wonderful mouth moved softly but surely toward his egg sacs. Croach’s whole body went rigid with anticipation, even as he felt Sparks Nevada’s breath blow hot over that most sensitive of organs. The drag of his lips was almost too much on its own, but then he darted out his tongue experimentally.

At that, a groan came from Sparks Nevada’s chest, the rumble of which he felt through the man’s mouth. That’s when Croach’s whole body jerked to life, and it wasn’t very long before Sparks Nevada let his fingers wander back to where his mouth had been, to slip inside him. It was a distressingly short amount of time before he reached his climax, two calloused fingers inside him and a wet, hot tongue licking at his egg sacs.

“Bagropa,” he muttered.

Sparks Nevada smiled, flushed and pleased with himself. “Thought you might like that.”

“You do not have to do anything simply for my benefit.”

“One, yeah, I do. That’s how sex works. And two, I very much didn’t.”


Sparks Nevada brought Croach’s hand down to find his phallus, which was swollen and dripping. It slipped up into his grasp desperately, and he gave it only eight strokes before he felt the now-familiar rush of hot seed splash against his skin.

“Bagropa,” Sparks Nevada said between shallow breaths.

Croach only needed the basic sense of sight to be reminded of just how wet the two of them were and how sticky they would soon be if they did not wash themselves. As always, Sparks Nevada was in no hurry to leave the bed, despite the majority of the fluid having been his own.

“Has it ever occurred to you,” Croach said, “that your body is just as gross as mine?”

“Totally gross. Sex is gross. Part of why it’s fun.”

“This is a kind of fun I would like to have again.”

“I could be on board with that. You taste good. Weird, but good.”

“As do you,” he replied, then he brought up his very sticky hand and began to lick Sparks Nevada’s seed from his fingers.



He’s not sure why Croach is so obsessed with his hands. For a while, he thought maybe it was because they were so rarely not in their robot fists, but that’s not enough of a reason, not for the way Croach gets when he touches him.

He reckons it has to do with all them Marjun senses of his. Skin is apparently a different thing altogether when you have so many ways of receiving information about the world. But that’s kinda backward logic, because Croach doesn’t ever seem overwhelmed by it all. In fact, it’s just the opposite. He’s kind of like a cat -- you can pet at his skin for literally hours, and he just sits quiet, content.

This is, of course, nothing at all like how they usually relate to each other. When they’re out catching outlaws or stuck in the marshal’s station doing paperwork, they trade barbs like it’s going out of style. Hell, at home they do the same thing. About the only time they don’t is when they’re lazing around together, Sparks in his big comfy chair and Croach on the floor sitting with his back to it, gazing into the fire, Sparks’ hand resting on his head.

Or in bed. One night, they were just lying together, too tired from the day’s work to get up to any fun. Sparks let his fingers trail slow and easy over the cool skin just above where Croach’s belly button would be, if Marjuns had belly buttons.

“I would never have guessed you could be so quiet,” he murmured, tipping his head to plant a kiss on Croach’s neck.

Croach just snorted.

“I’m serious,” Sparks replied.

“I know that you are.” Croach had his eyes closed, but he was smiling kindly, just like he would if he were looking at him. “It is, rather, amusing that you believe me to be a talkative person. You are perhaps the only being in the galaxy who could ever find me so.”

“Doubt that.”

“I am, at least, naturally less prone to constant chatter than I seem to be in your presence.”

“If you say so.”

“Let me point out that it is ironic that you would accuse anyone of being quiet.”


“You can be silent at times. And even when you are not, you can be very difficult to decipher.”


“Why do you think I lie so quietly? I am listening for your hands to tell me things you are unwilling to say.”

The hell of it was Croach didn’t seem pissed at that. As in anything else, he seemed to just take Sparks for what he was and act accordingly. He hoped to never quite figure out why.

Sparks’s hand stilled.

“Not unwilling,” he said. “Just that words aren’t really my strong suit.”

“I agree,” Croach replied, slipping one of his cool hands over Sparks’s. “You speak better this way.”