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It Takes Two to Tango, Love

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"Can you dance?"

Thorns stops, the tip of his gel pen bursting out uncontained black ink on the piece of paper. He looks up at the questioner through his bangs, asking uninterestingly.

"Did you ask if me I can dance?"

Elysium rubs his hands together, blowing them with a short puff of breath. He nods and answers, "Yes, can you dance?"

Thorns looks at him properly with no bangs obscuring his vision, trying to pick any sort of clue on his face. Alas, Elysium still looks revoltingly positive like usual with that charming smile of his, though his pale skin is blossoming with red spots. Someone must had tampered with the base's temperature system, it's obvious as he registers how Elysium seems to shiver underneath his thick jacket. Elysium appears to be waiting diligently for his answer, so Thorns says, "Yes."

Momentarily, Elysium's eyes sparkle, he leans forward.

"What kind of dance?"

Once again, Thorns tries to search for any sign as to why Elysium is suddenly interested in something others usually don't seek out from him. He can only make out pure curiousity, relenting him to answer,

"Flamenco."

Elysium blinks, then he nods and hums, "Religious dancing, get it. Other than that?"

Thorns fails to reveal the wrapping Elysium's stapling on his current thoughts. "I tapered in ballroom dancing."

"But you can dance?" He chirps, almost entirely leaning into his space. Thorns doesn't lean back as he analyses his close face.

"Yes, I can dance. I've stated that just now." He answers patiently before paying back his attention to the paper, which is now spoiled with a tiny lake of ink. He furrows, fisting the writing material to ball it up.

"That's great!" Elysium grins, Thorns ignores the literal blinding ray of light as he throws the balled paper behind him without looking.

He begins to search for a blank paper among the pile of jumble on his desk, he nitpicks between the stack of coloured papers and is going to pinch out an oil paper when Elysium grabs his hand.

Thorns freezes, he stares at the slender fingers digging into his pulse before looking up. Elysium has his mischievous face on as he grins, "Dance with me."

Thorns flits his gaze back at his grabbed wrist before meeting Elysium's warm eyes.

"I have work to do." He states as a matter of fact.

"Doctor can wait!" Elysium reasons, Thorns doesn't know how a vanguard working in communications can keep track of his randomly-changing work schedule. Dating him, perhaps.

Thorns contemplates this. Logically, it's better to finish his work, but Elysium will pester him non-stop. Also, Elysium can change his mind as easy as solving an extreme Sudoku in 2 minutes so it won't matter anyways.

He sighs, caving in seems to be the best answer, "Fine." 

Elysium's eyes widen, but before Thorns can register the dopey smile on his face, he's yanked forward from his chair.

He stumbles a bit, catching Elysium's shoulder to balance himself on instinct. He keeps himself upright as Elysium navigates them from the desk to the corner of the small room, where the window panels stand, frosted over with icicles. He glimpses outside, watching the land that is washed in white. The humming of the engines can be heard clearly down here, so does the mechanical system doing its job as the ship moves across uneven terrains.

He looks back at Elysium, who's watching him intently, "Well?" He quips.

Elysium hesitates, he averts his gaze to stare at his feet. He taps a finger on his waist, "Um," He starts, Thorns pinches his thumb and index finger on his shoulder, delivering a warning sign for him to be honest. "I actually don't know how to dance."

Thorns stares at him, Elysium shrieks, "Why are you looking at me like that?!"

He shakes his head, feeling Elysium's long feathers brushing his right cheek. "No, it's actually quite surprising. I've seen you in battle, and you have mastered coordinated footprints. It's hard to imagine that you can't pull off anything that involves rhythmical movements."

He adds as Elysium gives him an unreadable expression, "Do you expect me to say something else?"

Elysium immediately fidgets, he denies slowly, "No. Just that - I expected you to say that as a Liberi, I should be a pro at dancing. You know. We birds love to dance and all that party stuff."

Thorns raises an eyebrow, so that's what's about. The palm that is gripping Elysium's shoulder is moved so it'll settle on his waist instead, Elysium questionably looks at him, his muscles pinching in.

"Put your arms around my shoulders," Elysium reluctantly does as he says. Thorns nods in approval, and taking a step forward, he states with a chilly tone that asks for no objection, "I'll lead."

Elysium doesn't say anything as he follows his steps, they slowly make their way to the middle of the room. It's more like shuffling as Elysium awkwardly tries to avoid his feet. Thorns knows it'll bite him in the end, and as expected, Elysium delivers a painful jab as he steps on his toes.

"Sorry!" He screeches, Thorns curtly replies, pain spiking his nerves. "It's fine."

He continues the dance, he does his best to influence Elysium's movements by directing him by the waist. But he keeps being rigid and steps on his feet as if he's gifted naturally for that.

Left foot. "Ah, sorry!"

Right foot. "Dear Terra!"

Left and right feet. "Ow! I'm sorry, Thorns! Is your head okay?!"

Thorns closes his eyes, "Yes." His forehead throbs dully, he pushes the pain away and opens his eyes. Elysium appears to be panicking as he looks at him guiltily, he seems to detect the intensity of the pain he's giving, which might be a good thing.

He breaths out, "This is a bad idea. I'm sorry for taking your time. I can make it up to you -" He starts to remove his arm from his shoulder, but Thorns catches it.

"You're not going anywhere," he forces the arm to be slung around his shoulder, "like you said, you're already taking my time," tightens his grip on Elysium's waist, "and I will like to see it finished." He drags Elysium through a flurry of quick steps. Elysium holds back a protest as Thorns ensures that he doesn't have the opportunity to back out.

"Stop looking down. Look up." He commands, Elysium quickly looks up, then he blushes lightly before averting his gaze from his face.

"Look at me." Thorns drops his voice an octave low, Elysium's reddening cheeks are now approaching a stronger shade as he looks at him.

Thorns lets himself to drink in the sight, as people know, Elysium can rarely get embarrassed. This is the same Operator that performs a pole dance while being drunk off his ass and also the same one that motivates everyone in battle, even the most hard-headed ones. But, right now, his smooth skin contrasts incredibly with his red face as he struggles to meet his demands.

Thorns doesn't let him quit as he slows their movement, ingraining this in the other's head. 

Elysium exclaims loudly, probably trying to find a silver lining somewhere or calm his feelings. "If you don't stop giving me that look, I'll seriously think that we're going to have sex in here."

Thorns quips, "Don't you want to?"

Elysium chokes, he coughs a few times before sputtering, "No, no - I mean, anyone can walk in - Argh! Just stop giving me those bedroom eyes."

"This is my usual face." They both are approaching the windows once again.

Elysium thinks a bit, he meets his eyes, and there's his notable air of confidence as he says. "There's a difference, actually."

"Entertain me."

He plays with the end of his low ponytail, "For a start, you usually have this emotionless look, like a mackerel." He stops there, and Thorns convinces him to continue,

"Like Executor?"

Elysium instantly blanches, "No! Not like Executor! He has nice eyes, you have nice eyes. What am I - anyways, the point still stands. You look uninterested in most things, but when you look at your potions," his voice softens, and the crinkle on his eyelines smooth out, "you just have this look."

Thorns squeezes his waist, Elysium squeaks in response. He lessens the hold and mutters weakly, "Huh."

Their figures reflect hazily on the ice-stained panels, Elysium's silver part of hair catches a ray of light, making it shimmer in the dim lighting of the confined space. Thorns trails his features, getting himself captivated willingly as the red part dips into a darker shade. Elysium doesn't know the influence he holds over him, as even the usual upturn of his lips can make him addicted on tasting the freedom inside him. Corals decorate his eyes, carrying charisma and showcasing the high intelligence he's gifted with.

Thorns lazes their steps, he starts, "What happened?"

Elysium, who's regarding him with a peaceful expression, drops his head onto his shoulder. The action making Thorns to support his weight fully as they embrace each other.

He muffles, "Remember that party last week?"

He nods, knowing Elysium can feel it.

His warm breath puffs his neck, "Well, you're not there, right. If you want to know, I've been coaxed into a dancing battle against Hellagur."

He pauses, then knocks his head against his collar, delivering an accidental sloppy kiss on the skin there.

"That old man's got moves. He danced as if he's not as old as he looks."

Now, that's interesting to imagine. Thorns tries to project an image of the ever graceful Hellagur twerking, that doesn't cope well with his EQ, sadly. 

"What did he dance to?"

Elysium hitches a short laugh, almost like a hyena when he's supposed to be a bird. "You won't believe it. Street dancing."

"I believe it, he is fit to do that. Unlike you." Now, he can imagine Hellagur twerking, he adds a backflip to that imagination thread.

Elysium settles his chin on the top of his head, Thorns closes his eyes as his nose is pressed against his warm Adam's Apple. He senses Elysium nosing his crown, his arms going lax around him. Thorns pulls him slowly, flushing him, and begins to put featherlight kisses along his collarbone.

Elysium sighs, he seems to melt gently as he grumbles. "I always dislike conventional images."

"It's obvious." Thorns whispers as his lips are pressed against his skin.

It's true, Elysium is nonchalant when it comes to likeability. Whether in battle or not, he lets everyone have their fair share of spotlight, he's open-minded just like that. He tells him that years of travelling and exploring unknown lands will eventually turn him into a person that accepts everyone. When he contracted Oripathy, that only made his desire for equality thirstier. And Thorns will be lying if he says that isn't lowkey attractive.

They dance in circles, Elysium is now fully leaning onto him, giving Thorns freer access to his neck.

"Hey, Thorns." Elysium says, his voice husky and tired.

"Yes?"

"Why do you like my neck so much, exactly?" 

Thorns stops, the fact that Elysium is pointing it out doesn't sit well with him.

"I like every inch of you." He answers instead, continuing to pepper his neck.

Elysium frustratingly groans, "Yes, yes, I know that. But whenever you decide to go all intimate on me, you always attack my neck first."

It's unfortunate that Elysium's the first one to know it, which means it's too late for Thorns to change it.

He thinks for a moment, then he says bluntly, "Biology."

Elysium unlatches his head from his shoulder, not allowing Thorns to assault his neck. He pouts, "Seriously?"

He really thinks.

"It's the first thing for me to do, as if it's instinct. I want to latch something, keep you grounded."

"Uhuh. Possessive much?"

"It appears to be more of a domination thing, to be frank."

Elysium has that humiliated look again, he plops his head back and whines.

"Stop being so smooth, dammit."

Knowingly, Thorns's heart skips a beat, he stares at him and feels a wave of adoration for this man.

"You smell like the sea."

Elysium turns his head to look at him, he chirps, "The sea?"

Thorns opens his mouth, only to close it again. He remembers that this is the person he gives permission to see his biggest fears, and the jewels he keeps from everyone's sight. He feels his walls crumbling, and says.

"You're a seabird, the only one on this ship. And the only one that smells like the sea. It's dizzying, and I like it."

Elysium doesn't give him the judgemental look everyone has when he sprouts something weird, he's the type to understand the depth of someone's words and equally returns a worthy reaction.

Elysium smiles, vulnerable and full of warmth.

"Thorns, you just don't know how smooth you can be."

Also, because this is Elysium he's talking about, he adds voluntarily.

"Is that why the Feline operators keep sniffing me?"

Thorns rolls his eyes. Elysium is undeniably smart, but he can be dumb at times.

"Cats eat birds, I hope you remember that."

He makes a noise of squawking protest before nestling into the crook of his neck.

They are swaying now, there's no concrete steps or movements, just Elysium trusting Thorns not letting them both fall.

"Doesn't your neck hurt?" He stares at how awkward the bend Elysium's performing. Thorns knows their heights clash a bit with each other, and can be a disadvantage at times.

"Yeah. But I love it here." He laughs, his voice charming and bringing tinkles in the air.

"You'll have a sore neck tomorrow."

"Know that too. Am I not a genius?"

Thorns doesn't answer, and they both stay silent. If only he can't feel Elysium's thick eyelashes blinking on his nape, he'd have thought the other man has fallen asleep. That's one thing he learned about him when their relationship was still platonic. Elysium's a bundle of energy, he lets it out with his friendliness and motivational speeches, but there are times when he shuts down. He'll distance himself from others and have no one for company, the energy he has will seep out slowly like ice melting into liquid form.

Thorns knows about the side effects of Oripathy - one of it being the change of coping. Something tells him that Elysium wasn't like this before he joined Rhodes Island, and he's struggling trying to maintain the psychological changes he's experiencing.

He won't ever tell him, but he's glad that Elysium finds him a worthy shoulder to lean on.

A hum resounds in his ear, melodical and sweet. Thorns spins them around, once, twice. Elysium keeps humming underneath his breath, stopping to say quickly.

"We need a tune to dance to, Thorns." 

Thorns doesn't give an answer, he knows that Elysium knows what he's thinking.

"You've stopped stepping on my feet."

"What - oh - you're right!"

Elysium glows, the scent of sea, home, whafts strongly from him, carrying Thorns in a current abstracting love and warmth.

Thorns offers his beating heart, ready to love this man fully.

"Thank you, Elysium."

Elysium says it back, a sentence that is simple yet resounding.

"You're welcome."

They dance in the dingy office with Elysium humming a familiar, nostalgic song. As light snowflakes twirl down in the blank landscape outside and the glasses telling them a story;  this won't last long - however, Thorns will try to grasp the dying sunlight with all his might.