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His Feet Can't Touch The Ground

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“Move, move, could you move?” Elliot demands, poking Luke repeatedly in the wing.

“Sleeping,” Luke mutters, thumping his face back down into his pillow.

“Yes, yes, that’s lovely, now move,” Elliot says.

Eventually, Luke gathers enough coordination to lift both the arm that was wrapped over Elliot’s waist and then the wing that was draped over the top.

Thank you,” Elliot says and hops out of bed. It’s cold without him, but Luke doesn’t want to grumble. It’s not as if Elliot has any obligation to share his bed or anything, especially as they’re not… well. Especially as they’re not doing anything.

“Where are you going?” Luke asks, watching as Elliot dresses at lightning speed. He closes his eyes when it looks as though Elliot is about to become completely naked, of course, but that doesn’t stop him imagining it. He’s fairly sure that’s allowed.

“Lessons!” Elliot says. “Advanced Contract Negotiation starts in five minutes and if I’m late, Serene will partner up with that troll Gabby Henshaw, which will only hurt her, since Gabby doesn’t understand half the theory or any of the practical applications.”

“Why didn’t you get up earlier, then?” Luke asks. He thinks that’s a fairly reasonable question, but the look Elliot shoots him implies that he disagrees.

Luke flops over onto his back and drapes his arm over his face. He supposes that he should get up too, but he’s warm and comfortable and his bed smells of Elliot, so he’s not really in any rush.

Elliot’s whirlwind of activity takes him to the door, where he stops, one hand on the handle. “I’ll see you at lunch?” he asks, like a slightly uncertain order.

“Field trip all day,” Luke reminds him. Elliot definitely knows about that, because he was bitching all yesterday that Serene would have to miss her afternoon classes to attend. “I’ll see you tonight?” His is just uncertain, no order to it at all.

“Unless I get a better offer,” Elliot says cheerfully and lets himself out of Luke’s room.


The walk in the Forgiving Forest takes a good few hours. (Elliot calls it the ‘Forbidden Forest’, which Luke doesn’t understand but hasn’t asked about.)

Luke and Serene start off discussing strategy, but end up playing ‘spot the squirrel’ within half an hour. It’s nice; Luke hasn’t been spending as much time with her as usual, lately, and he’s missed her.

She looks vaguely horrified, when he tries to articulate that.

“Please, Luke,” she says, holding up a hand to stop him. “That is very charming, but we both know I don’t possess the necessary eloquence to return your sentiment and will only offend you with my feminine bluntness, if I make the attempt.”

“Sure, good point,” says Luke, who long ago learnt not to argue. “How’s Golden?”

Serene’s expression goes positively dreamy for a moment before her face clouds over and she frowns. “I worry for him,” she confesses, lowering her voice. “He is very… ambitious. The other gentlemen look at him askance.”

“Do they?” Luke asks. Mostly the boy elves he’s met have seemed bored. He suspects a lot of them might have some ambition of their own, but he doesn’t want to break Serene’s brain too much all at once.

“It’s not just that,” Serene whispers, eyes darting this way and that.

“No?” Luke asks. He wishes Elliot were here. Not that Elliot would be any help in this conversation but just because… well, he likes it when Elliot’s here, to be honest.

“He keeps suggesting… Well, not suggesting, he would never be so brazen, but implying through action that perhaps we might be intimate.” Serene instantly looks around again as though worried she’ll be overheard.

Luke chokes on fresh air. “And that’s bad?” he hazards.

“Yes,” says Serene, followed immediately by, “i>No. No, it is wonderful and tempting and that’s dreadful, of course.”

“Of course,” Luke agrees. “Because you’re worried that if you, um, if you sleep with him, you’re disrespecting him?” Luke might not listen all that much in Cultural Studies, but Serene is his best friend, so he pays attention to her.

“Exactly,” Serene says, sounding relieved. “I knew you’d understand. Perhaps you could talk to him?” she adds hopefully.

“M-me?” Luke asks. This seems like a bad idea. He’s not sure why, but he knows he’s right.

“Yes!” says Serene, warming to the idea. “You’re in no hurry to tarnish your purity - ” Luke chokes “ - and I know that Elliot is a minx, so you must be putting up remarkable restraint to resist him - ” Luke trips over a log “ - honestly, Luke, your chastity does you credit.”

Luke gives serious consideration to unfurling his wings and flying away.

“Wait,” says Serene, “why are you whimpering?”


Luke bursts into his room with what he thinks is a remarkable level of reserve considering, “Serene congratulated me on being chaste!”

Elliot is lying on Luke’s bed, which is excellent. He’s surrounded by library books, which is much less excellent.

“That’s nice,” he says, marking off a passage in one of the books. Luke’s fairly sure you can lose your library card for that kind of behaviour.

“Chaste!” Luke says. He flicks the back of Elliot’s head to make him pay attention.

“Ow,” says Elliot. “Why must you be so rough with me? I’m very delicate. Also, why are you pouting? You’re not exactly… unchaste.”

“That’s not the point,” Luke says. He drops his bag on the floor, kicks off his boots and pulls off his socks. His feet are aching, so he sinks down into the chair by the bed and starts to massage his toes. “Why aren’t you chasing me?”

Elliot’s mouth twitches. “That’s not what that… never mind. And also, what?” He sits up.

Luke can feel himself blushing, but he ignores it. “Why aren’t you… Why am I still chaste? We’ve been doing whatever we’re doing for six weeks now and according to Serene you’re a minx.”

“A minx, huh?” Elliot asks, looking pleased. “Also, so? What’s your point, exactly?”

“Ugh,” says Luke and flops back into his chair. He can’t say so why haven’t you tried to sleep with me? He just can’t. Especially not as that answer might be that Elliot doesn’t really want to. Luke would prefer to wait as long as possible to find that out.

“You’re always so cranky when you go on field trips,” Elliot says, turning back to his books. “I blame all that nature. It can’t be good for you.”


“Mm,” says Elliot, because Elliot always has to make noise, even when they’re kissing. “Mm, you taste… woody?”

It’s exactly twenty-seven minutes and three chapters of Elliot’s book later. Luke has been very patient.

“Loganberries,” Luke says. “Lots of them in the forest.”

“Oddly deliciously,” Elliot says and goes back to exploring Luke’s mouth with his tongue.

They’re lying on their sides on top of Luke’s bedcovers. It’s chilly but Elliot feels like a furnace, all the vibrating energy of him pressed against Luke’s chest and thighs.

Their hips are carefully set apart, the way they always are, the distance Elliot seems to put in place instinctively, no matter how long or hard they kiss.

Luke knows he should be grateful; he wouldn’t want a boyfriend who pressured him. But he would like a boyfriend who wanted him. Even if it was just a little bit.

“Hey,” Luke says, turning his head to try to get a little air, not much but just enough to talk. Elliot however doesn’t seem interested in talking, Elliot is interested in kissing Luke’s chin instead and then his jaw.

By the time Elliot’s lips find Luke’s throat, Luke can’t remember what it was he wanted to say, anyway.

“Mm?” Elliot asks eventually. Luke’s skin is stinging. He really, really hopes that there’s a mark.

“Hm?” Luke asks, dazed.

Elliot laughs, just a touch meanly and sits up, pushing himself up onto his hands so he’s leaning over Luke. “Come on,” he says, “you interrupted our very important kissing schedule. It must have been important.”

Luke blinks up at Elliot. He shouldn’t be attractive - his hair is a state, his eyes are slightly too far apart, and there’s a permanent line between them from all his dismissive scowls.

Luke is so attracted to him.

Luke also can’t say hey, what if we had sex? He just… can’t. Elliot’s done this before. Multiple times. If he wanted to, surely he would have said.

“Nothing,” Luke says, and tries to smile casually. “Sorry. Pretend I didn’t interrupt the kissing schedule?”

“Deal,” Elliot says, after careful consideration. He lowers himself back toward Luke, but stops, lips just short of Luke’s. When he looks up, his expression is surprisingly gentle. “If there’s something you don’t like or - ”

“No,” Luke says firmly. “It’s definitely not that.” He pulls Elliot down on top of him and they kiss and kiss.

Luke has been getting better about not just clinging nervously to Elliot’s shoulders. He can confidently rub his hands down Elliot’s spine now, grab at his t-shirt and occasionally put his hands on skin.

Today though. Today he’s going to prove to himself, even if not to anyone else, that he’s not chaste.

He puts his hands on Elliot’s backside.

Elliot makes a startled squawking noise and bites Luke’s bottom lip. Hard.

“Ouch,” Luke says, automatically jerking away. His forehead connects with Elliot’s with a resounding thump and Elliot falls off the bed.


“Look, I’m sorry,” Elliot says, for what has to be the tenth time.

Usually, Luke would revel in the novelty and make him repeat it a few more times, but usually Luke isn’t dying of mortification.

Well, okay, he actually often is, but at least it usually isn’t sex-related.

“It’s fine,” Luke says, miserably hunched around his knees.

“Clearly it’s not,” says Elliot. “You are literally hiding in a cave of wings. A cave, Luke. Of wings. That’s not the action of a man who is fine.”

Luke flutters one wing, thinks about lowering it to let Elliot in, then remembers how Elliot lay on the floor and laughed, and does no such thing.

“Luke,” Elliot says softly, and starts to stroke the tips of Luke’s feathers.

Luke shivers.

“Stop it,” he says, hunching a little more.

“Actually stop it, or oh, no, Elliot stop it, please don’t stop?” Elliot asks. But he does stop, while he asks.

“What does the second one mean?” Luke asks, grudgingly interested. “Or, wait, no, it sounds sexual. Is it sexual?”

“It’s sexual,” Elliot says. “Because I’m very sexy.” He laughs, but it’s a little uncertain. “Right?”

Reluctantly, Luke lowers one wing. He peaks at Elliot over the very tips of his feathers, waiting to see if he’s going to laugh again.

Elliot has a bruise in the middle of his forehead, which he’s really impressively not complaining about. His clothes are rumpled and his lips are still flushed and Luke has a second to think I did that, before Elliot scoots in against his side, tucking himself under a wing like it belongs to him.

“Hello,” Elliot says. “Are you done sulking?”

Luke thinks about it.

Clearly he thinks too long, because Elliot starts sighing at him. “Look, I’m sorry I bit you, okay? I was just surprised by the ass-grabbing. You can see my point, right?”

“Yes,” Luke sighs, and goes back to hiding in his wing cave. This time, Elliot’s inside it with him, and he has to admit that’s quite a bit nicer.

“Please don’t make me guess at your feelings?” Elliot begs. “If you do, you’ll prove every one of Serene’s terrible masculine stereotypes right, you know.”

“I don’t want you to guess,” Luke says, “I’m just embarrassed.” He puts his head on Elliot’s shoulder, since it’s right there and that always makes him feel better.

“Oh,” Elliot says softly and squirms an arm around behind Luke’s back. “Come on. Tell me. Seize the moment. Win the… battle thing.”

“What?” Luke asks, laughing into Elliot’s neck.

Elliot shivers and tightens his arm around him. “I don’t know! It’s a war metaphor!”

I’m so fond of you, Luke thinks. It makes it easier to say, “I thought maybe we could have sex,” without exploding with embarrassment.

Elliot is quiet for so long that Luke starts to reconsider exploding as an option. Then Elliot says, “Fuck!” like an explosion of his own.

“No?” Luke asks, squinting at him sideways. He decides that looking at him with one eye is a valid life plan and leaves the other free to plot his escape.

Elliot twists around, knocking free a few feathers, which float down around them uncertainly. “Yes!” he says. “Obviously yes. Of course yes, but I just… What?”

“I, um.” Luke very bravely looks at him out of both eyes. For once in his life, Elliot isn’t broadcasting every emotion possible on his face.

“Look,” says Elliot. “Ugh, this is awkward and I can’t believe you’re making me say it, but I’m okay with waiting. If that’s what you want. Which I thought it was?” He looks a little betrayed as if his selfless gesture has been cruelly overlooked.

“It… was,” Luke says. Not consciously, but maybe he was relieved that Elliot hadn’t wanted to jump straight into nakedness. “Now though.”

Elliot’s eyes go very big. “We can have sex?” he asks.

There’s nothing Luke can do but smile helplessly. “We can have sex,” he says. He laughs, overwhelmed with relief, when Elliot pounces and knocks him backwards onto the bed.


Kissing Elliot is nothing new, although it still feels startling, every time.

Even when Elliot just bumps a kiss to Luke’s mouth before bustling off to class or to yell at a teacher, Luke has to take a moment to stop and convince himself that yes, that really happened.

There’s no denying it’s happening right now, though. Elliot is kissing him everywhere. There are little red bruises on Luke’s collarbone and his neck and he’s pretty sure there’s even one on his jaw.

Elliot,” he says, because of course Elliot bites, when he’s given free rein. Of course he does.

Elliot lifts his head. There’s red hair in his eyes and red smudges all around his lips. “Yes, what?” he asks. Hilariously, he’s wearing exactly the same expression that he wears when someone interrupts him in the middle of his homework.

“I was just… take your shirt off?” Luke asks.

“Oh,” Elliot says, the corner of his mouth curling up into a smirk. “All right. As long as you do, too.”

That seems eminently fair, if a little overwhelming. Luke struggles up onto his elbows immediately, so he can do it before he gets too nervous.

Elliot waits for him to go first, the cheat, but it’s worth the wait, when Elliot takes hold of the back of his shirt, pulls, and reveals an expanse of lovely, pale chest, all for Luke alone to see.

Luke clutches at his own t-shirt, which is sitting crumpled in his lap.

“You’ve seen me like this before,” Elliot says, arms twitching like he wants to lay them across his chest. His nipples are small and pink and growing harder the longer Luke looks at them. “Swimming and, uh, things.”

“Yes,” Luke agrees. He should probably stop staring at Elliot’s chest. He doesn’t stop staring at Elliot’s chest. Well, he does, but only so he can stare at Elliot’s stomach, with its dip of belly button and smattering of hairs leading into his trousers.

“Luke!” Elliot says.

Luke looks up.

“Better,” Elliot says and nods. He reaches out for Luke, who moves back in against him immediately.

They both groan when their chests touch for the first time, and Elliot’s hands come up to grip at Luke’s hips.

“Oh, that feels good,” Elliot says, kissing across Luke’s shoulders and down his sternum.

Luke strokes everywhere he can reach, while Elliot kisses him. The skin on his back is drier than it is on the front and it’s softer at his sides, softest where it meets his underarms.

Elliot laughs, shivering. “That tickles,” he says, but it clearly isn’t a complaint, not like it usually would be.

Luke is so hard that the pressure of his trousers on his dick really hurts. It’s Elliot’s mouth and his skin and his laugh that’s done that to him. He’s not sure how he’s going to cope when he sees the rest of Elliot.

It occurs to Luke that he wants to be on top, wants Elliot pinned under him, and then that happens. He’s not sure how. He definitely didn’t move enough. He just tweaked his centre of gravity slightly and then they were… all right, they might have flown a little.

Elliot blinks up at him from on his back on the mattress. It’s a good look on him.

“Cheating,” Elliot says, eyes a little dazed.

“You think it’s hot,” says Luke, realising it’s true as he says it.

“Oh, shut up and come here,” says Elliot, reaching up for him. He slides his hands behind Luke’s neck then drags them down, clearly aiming for his back. He gets wings instead. His fingers slide through the very fine, downy feathers that top of Luke’s spine then over the place where Luke’s wings fuse to his ribs.

Luke moans so loudly it feels as though it’s ripped from his throat.

“What?” Elliot asks, freezing. “Did that hurt… Did that…? Oh, that didn’t hurt, did it?” He’s looking at Luke closely.

Luke can’t do anything but shake his head. His body feels as though it’s been lit up. It did hurt, just a little, in the same satisfying sort of way as scratching a long-ignored itch.

“Like this?” Elliot asks, rubbing his fingers firmly down the place where skin becomes feathers and feathers become skin. He’s not cautious about it. He’s very clearly conducting an experiment.

Luke moans again and hangs his head down. His bones feel as if they’re turning to jelly.

“And then… the down,” he says, feeling himself blushing, but ignoring it.

Elliot finds the tiny feathers without needing to look, as though he already knows how to map Luke’s wings. “Here,” he says. It’s not a question.

“Yes, there,” Luke says anyway. A touch that simple shouldn’t be undoing him, but it feels as though it’s connected directly to his dick. “Elliot. Elliot.”

Elliot rears up and kisses him. It’s wet and messy and completely lacking in finesse. It might be Luke’s favourite kiss ever.

“I’m going to touch your dick now,” Elliot announces breathlessly, but he still waits for Luke to nod before he reaches for Luke’s flies.

The first thing Luke registers is relief, the next, last, only thing is Elliot’s hand wrapping around him. It’s dry and warm, a little clammy and it feels like bliss.

Luke shoves into Elliot’s hand, once, twice, three times, before he gets himself under just enough control to say, “Sorry, sorry. Can I? I want.”

“What?” asks Elliot, who’s busy staring at Luke’s dick with a wide-eyed expression, as though he’s never seen one before. Luke knows for a - jealous - fact that he’s definitely seen one before.

Luke looks down at him, shaking his hair out of his eyes so he can see him properly. “Both of us?” he asks, hoping that Elliot will know how to do that, because Luke’s forgotten how to think.

“Oh, fuck,” Elliot says eloquently and takes his other hand away from Luke’s wings to scrabble his own trousers open. As soon as he’s done, he puts his hand back on Luke’s spine and pushes him down.

Luke nearly comes just from that, from the combined, overwhelming feeling of Elliot’s hand in amongst his feathers and Elliot’s dick knocking greedily up against his.

“Shit,” Elliot says. He pushes his hips up ungracefully, and Luke’s there to meet him, shoving down against him.

This isn’t going to take long.

Luke presses himself all along Elliot, burying his face in Elliot’s neck and thrusting helplessly against it, vaguely in time with Elliot’s own thrusts.

Elliot smells like ink and old books and irritation and Luke loves it. He loves the feel of Elliot’s body against his, the soft brush of his hair, the way his fingernails are biting into Luke’s spine, and the way even his dick is impatient.

“I,” Luke gasps. “I, I really.”

“Yes, yes, it’s good for me too,” Elliot says, jerking the words out between gasps and moans that he seems to be trying to bite down.

Luke shakes his head. He kisses mindlessly at Elliot’s skin. “Love,” he manages. “I love you.”

“Oh, fuck,” Elliot says and comes, back arching, dick pulsing endlessly against Luke’s. He can’t hold his cries back this time, and it’s those as much as anything else that sends Luke over the edge, orgasm hitting him like a blow to the head from the blunt end of a spear.

He knows that his wings stretch out to their fullest extent, that he makes a noise that isn’t exactly human, that it’s only Elliot’s arms, suddenly wrapped around him that keeps him on the bed at all, but all he’s really aware of is how amazing he feels.

They both slump afterwards. They’re sticky and hot and, if Luke’s anything to go by, aching in weird places.

“That was amazing,” he slurs happily.

“Yes,” Elliot says, nothing else, no corollary, not even any complaints that Luke’s squashing him.

Luke kisses him. Elliot kisses back. It’s the quietest and most peaceful they’ve ever been together.

Of course, Elliot has to shatter the moment by sneezing.

“Feather up my nose,” he says, sniffing and batting at Luke’s wings. “Give a person a little air, oh my god.”

Luke flops onto the bed by his side. It doesn’t do much for the wing situation, since all it means is that Elliot has one on top of him instead of two around him.

Still, he seems to like it more. He rolls on top of Luke’s wing and starfishes his arms out, groaning what sounds like an appreciative groan.

Luke doesn’t want to ask. He really, really doesn’t. He’s definitely going to ask. “That was all right, right?” He stares straight up at the ceiling, but even that doesn’t stop him becoming aware of Elliot looking at him incredulously.

“No, it wasn’t all right,” Elliot sniffs. “Sex with me is never just all right. It was excellent, of course.”

Luke smiles. “Of course,” he says, happiness bubbling up inside him, filling him up.

There’s a quiet pause, which Luke spends dozing before, “I do… I do, too,” Elliot says.

“Do too what?” Luke asks, blinking his way back to consciousness.

Elliot pokes him in the rib. “Feel things,” he says. “Like… you know, like you said.”

“Oh,” Luke says. He starts to smile, letting it take over his face until Elliot mutters ugh in disgust. “Oh, you love me?”

“Shut up,” Elliot says and slides under Luke’s wing, all the way up against his side, before closing his eyes to sleep.