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                Corvo wasn’t one to smoke. Not really. He never joined any of the other guards to drown themselves behind bitter tasting liquor and sour tasting cigars. Never wanted to. No appeal, he always told himself. But every once in a while, maybe on a good day or a special occasion, Corvo would pull out his pipe and smoke in solitude.

                It was never much, and he only somewhat enjoyed it as he didn’t like the aftertaste or the way it made the backs of his teeth feel; dry, rough and wooden. But Wyman had pulled a ring out on Emily by surprise, the sly courier they were hiding it inside a small package pretending it was from someone else only to have Emily open it and be gifted was the silver band and small love note. They were clever, that was for sure. But he was glad it was going to be Wyman, he’d grown quite fond of them and was hoping one or the other would make the next step. Corvo had to admit, if he was given a chance, he might have stolen the trick from Wyman.

                But a man doesn’t ask a God to marry. And a God could never say yes.

                Opening the small dark stained box, Corvo gently pulled out the pipe. A gift from Jessamine all those years ago: “A good gift for a father,” she had smiled before the realization of what that implied had set in. He always smiled and thought of her when he used it. He always wondered how she might have thought of Emily and Wyman, and always hoped she’d approve of them. Except of course when Wyman decided to flirt from across the table during meetings. He could see her shoulders tensing and her thin lips going thinner and her hand balling into a fist to stop herself from throwing something over to Emily.

                He let out a soft laugh as he held the light wooden pipe in his hands with a thick layer of, now dull, lacquer and a small trim of some kind of ingot. Corvo had forgotten at this point. The soft flick of the match cast a warm light over Corvo’s tired eyes and greying hairs only to be diminished when it began to burn and eat at the tobacco in the bowl. The first breath tasted like ash. The second tasted like ash and tobacco. After the third, he could handle it.

                He watched as the smoke was swept out through the window and into the warm air outside where the sky was just starting to turn orange from night creeping in. He closed his eyes for a moment as he exhaled out, the smoke filling his senses and kissing his cheeks as the sound of feet gently tapping the floor echoed in his empty room. Lifting his head, a small smile reached his lips when the lithe figure stood before him a few feet away.

                “Hello, Corvo,” came the monotone voice of the Outsider. He seemed to glide across the floor the way he sauntered up to the ageing man. Thin hips, lean build, rather small when he wasn’t floating or standing on some piece of Void. Another puff of smoke surrounded Corvo keeping eyes locked with inky depths. With the press of two hands on his thighs to a very apparent weight sift to his lap, those inky depths were much closer than he was expecting them to stay.

                “A momentous day it seems,” the Outsider practically purred out as his hands moved from sturdy thighs to slow breathing abdomen and chest. “For one such as you never lets his guard down to be shadowed by smoke and gods.” How those perfect lips curled up into a smile.

                Corvo spoke no answer but only took another breath in with the pipe and blew the smoke out onto the deity’s face. The expression that followed on that smug face could have been amusing if the pipe weren’t missing from his hand in the next second. His heart missed a beat as he was expecting to hear a shatter on the ground, but continued as it only moved to the Outsider’s grip.

                “A man of simple pleasures you are,” he continued. He paused only to look over the pipe, fingers moving across the warm rim delicately enough to play a glass harmonica with. Corvo felt a shudder go down his back and through his chest while he watched how slowly and oh so carefully those slender fingers moved over it. His mind was slipping into places it shouldn’t.

                But a man never asks a God to bed. And a God could never bed a man.

                “Tell me Corvo,” he started again, raising the mouth piece to his lips. “Does this make the moment better? Could it just become drab or be replaced with something else that still creates that feeling? It could be the same for any other man taking a drink after some folly celebratory need. Why is this so different…”

                The Outsider’s lips closed around the end, but never fully closing the make a straight line. A gentle fullness to his lips with a small gape that allowed small trails of smoke to escape as he breathed in. The burn from the tobacco outlined his face in flickering orange and red. When he pulled the pipe away, he blew the smoke into Corvo’s face. He could have laughed. But when he leaned his head back and breathed in that cloud of smoke, he could have gotten addicted. It smelt of salt and ice and tasted of what he could only describe as the starry night sky.

                Corvo’s hand moved from the arm of the chair to grip at the Outsider’s hip as he straightened himself up and brought their chests closer and their faces closer. He could see that smirk tugging at the Outsider’s lips with the smoke still falling from them. He could see how his abysmal eyes were freckling themselves with stars and galaxies, looking deeper than they ever had. The stars moved to his cheeks and kissed them with spots of glittering silver.

                The Outsider was a sight to behold this close up when he cheeks reddened at the lack of control between the two of them. Corvo was growing older by the day and getting tired of games with the deity. And the deity had never aged a day in fifteen years, and still seemed to love to tease the man he straddled. The way his lips wandered ever close to Corvo’s only to stay and become immovable to stare into his eyes. The way he hovered the tip of the pipe closer to his own lips, gaging whether or not he could make Corvo react the same way to the smoke.

                And when ice and salt and stars made their way back to Corvo’s senses, he took the pipe from the Outsider’s hands and carefully pace the pipe down on the table near him so the tobacco could burn out. Their foreheads touched and the lips were ever so close to each other, but never actually touching. They sat there breathing in each other as slender hands moved up to cup his bearded face. Tips of noses pressed to each other and bridges of noses nuzzled close as they both inched closer to each other in this intimate need to just be close to each other.

                But a man could never ask a God to love. And a God could never love.

                Corvo moved his face to bury itself in the crook out the Outsider’s neck, taking in the scent of salt and stone, pressing his lips to the alabaster skin. He heard the soft gasp near his ear as the Outsider’s arms moved to wrap themselves around Corvo’s back and neck, pulling him closer. They sat like this, close in each other’s arms and Corvo’s face buried into the deity’s neck and him resting his face close for neither of them knew how long. The smoke from the tobacco and the two of them had long since dissipated through the open window to the fresh air, and the sky had gone from its warm oranges to its navy blues and deep purples.

                Lifting his head, Corvo pressed his lips to the underside of the Outsider’s jaw and trailed small kisses up to his lips where the two of them paused again. He could still smell the salt and ice coming off of the Outsider, and he could still smell the smoke on himself. Finally wanting to know what the deity’s lips would taste lip after a cigar, he closed the gap and felt the cool lips on his own. Soft, cold, and exactly how he remembered them being. He could feel the smile growing on his lips as he felt the smile growing on the others. Breaking the kiss only for a moment to press their foreheads together again, he locked eyes with the great expanse.

                “Would you like to stay the night?” Corvo finally spoke.

                “I thought you would never ask.”

                Corvo wasn’t sure how long it took him to get them to the bed, but it felt like it moved too quickly. Corvo’s love came in trails of darkened marks on pale skin and Outsider’s came in scratch marks across a tan back. When it was over and the Outsider’s hair was mussed and his cheeks and shoulders covered in him blushing and the stars from above, Corvo nestled behind him, locking him in with a strong arm draped over his waist.

                He could feel slender fingers drawing invisible patterns over the back of his hand and up his arms some as it lulled him to sleep. During the night the bed never shifted and neither did Corvo’s arms. When he woke in the morning, he was greeting by a pale back and a tuft of dark hair hiding beneath the blankets, but still under his arm. He was trapped in a cocoon of blanket and Corvo’s body and was nuzzling into him.

                But to Corvo, it seems this God could love. And he was enjoying every second of it.