Stowaway, 55

Feelings and Emotions Are Just as Important as Touching, Perhaps Even Moreso

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“Pax, I might have made a huge mistake,” Denver complained, before Pax could leave. They’d been doing inventory, and Pax had been about to go report to the captain about the food situation. But now Denver, who’d been sort of moping all day, was laying on a crate and looking at Pax sadly.

And since Pax was his friend, he sighed dramatically so Denver would understand he had better things to do, then asked, “What kind of mistake? If it’s a sexual mistake, please tell me but without the details, thank you.”

I’m interested in the details, Nate said.

That’s because you’re a pervert.

Yes? Thanks for reminding me, love.

Pax had to avoid rolling his eyes as Denver rolled onto his back, looking at the ceiling. “I shouldn’t waste your time with it, nevermind.”

Pax looked at him for a second. “Okay,” he said, turning around and going to leave.

“What? Wait, Pax!” Denver rolled off the crate and grabbed his wrist. Which really wasn’t stopping him from leaving, but Pax stopped moving.

“What?” he asked. “You said you didn’t want to tell me about it. I’m not going to stand here and press you for details about something you don’t want to talk about.”

Denver gave an exasperated sigh. “I do want to talk about it, dummy. I was doing the thing where I act like I don’t so you’ll make me talk about it so I know you’re really interested and at the same time affirming that we’re friends who care about each other.”

This time Pax did roll his eyes. “Yes, I recognized that you were doing that thing. I was doing the thing where I pretend not to care to make sure that you actually do want to talk about it and that you’re not telling me something just because you feel like you have to on account of our friendship.”

“Well,” Denver said, letting go of Pax. “I guess we crossed signals a little there.”

“I guess we did,” Pax said, gesturing Denver back over to the crate. He went and sat on one as well. “What’s wrong?”

“Louis is what’s wrong,” Denver complained, shoulders slumping.

Louis was the dragon who Denver had wanted to have sex with. And had, in fact, had sex with. Several times, most likely. “What’s wrong with him? Is he bothering you? Should I threaten him? I know a guy who kills dragons sometimes.”

“No, no!” Denver said, holding up a hand. “We don’t need to threaten him, yikes. He’s nice.”

“Nice?” Pax asked. “You said he was a jerk.” This was in fact the third time that he’d had to talk to Denver about Louis.

“He was at first. Now he’s being less of a jerk. He holds me a lot and says a lot of stuff about keeping me safe, as if I need a dragon to keep me safe. We even talk when we’re not having sex now.” Denver was blushing.

“What a novel concept,” Pax told him, tone dry. He didn’t disapprove or care about what Denver and Louis did—each other, it was each other—but at the same time, talking was also good.

“I know!” Denver said, throwing his hands up. “I think he likes me.”

“I should hope he likes you,” Pax said. “Otherwise I’d object to all the sex you two are having.”

You don’t actually know how much sex they’re having, Nate reminded Pax.

It’s a lot.

“I just…didn’t really go into this looking for him to like me? I figured we’d bang and you know, that would be pretty much that. But now I think he likes me and even worse, I think I like him too, Pax. I…” Denver looked away. “I look forward to spending time with him. I think about him sometimes when I’m working, not in a sexual way, just like ‘oh, I wonder what he’s up to,’ or ‘can’t wait to tell him about that’ and stuff. Seeing him makes me happy.”

Someone has a dragon crush, Nate teased, silently. It was, however, the sort of thing he’d have said aloud had he a voice box to use.

“It sounds like you do like him,” Pax said, smiling at Denver.

“Is that what it was like for you and Nate?” Denver asked. “I’ve never liked anyone for real before. Outside of liking them to look at and stuff.”

“It was different for me and Nate,” Pax said. “I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wished he’d go away and stop bothering me.”


“And then I’d get annoyed if he did,” Pax finished. “Being around him made me happy too. And I looked forward to seeing him, even if it was just because I was going to get annoyed about something. Nate was someone who treated me how I wanted to be treated, even if it wasn’t what I realized I wanted.”

Aww, I’m going to need to borrow your tear ducts so I can cry.

Don’t you dare, Pax warned.

We’ll see. For the record, the way he’s describing feeling about Louis is how I felt about you.

Pax bit his lip and tried not to blush.

“What should I do?” Denver asked. He sounded upset.

“Talk to him?” Pax suggested. “He probably feels similarly.”

“No, no…no.” Denver said. He shook his head, then stopped, then shook it again more vehemently. “No. I’m definitely not going to do that. We don’t talk about feelings and emotions and junk. That’s definitely not something we talk about. We haven’t ever decided specifically what the things we talk about are, but that’s definitely one of the things we don’t talk about.”

“Okay…” Pax said. “You know, bottling up your emotions isn’t a good idea. Emotions aren’t liquids, they’re not made to go in bottles, even metaphorical bottles that are just made of other emotions, because you can’t really contain something in something that’s made of the same something, because it all just explodes at some point and then you end up hiding in storerooms and crying because you’re too afraid to tell people you care about that you don’t want to leave the ship but you’re going to because someone you love told you that you had to. I really can’t say as I suggest any of that. It just hurts.”

Denver was looking down at his hands. “Yeah. I guess. But at the same time it’s like, just a crush, right? People get over crushes all the time and besides, Louis is going to leave once we get to Pelican Bay, so getting attached is a bad idea.”

Pax snorted. “It kind of sounds like I didn’t say what you wanted me to say, so you’re saying it yourself.”

“Kind of,” Denver agreed. “Maybe I should fuck someone else. That might make me feel better.”

“I really can’t advise that as a coping mechanism,” Pax said. “But I’m not particularly promiscuous, so it might work for you better than it would for me, admittedly.”

“I’m going to give it a shot and see what happens,” Denver said. He slid off the crate, nodding. “Thanks, Pax.”

“I’m not sure I did anything.”

Denver smiled, and hugged Pax. “You listened. Even doing that weird hand thing, I knew you were listening. Thanks.”

Pax frowned. “Weird hand thing?”

Denver looked down at Pax’s hand, where Pax was counting off his fingers with his thumb, moving his hand in and out of a fist. He hadn’t been aware he was doing that and frowned, looking at his hand for a second and willing it to stop before realizing what it was. Nate, I’m busy.

Sorry, just practicing, Nate said innocently. It’s easier when you’re not paying attention.

“It was Nate,” Pax told Denver, glaring at his hand. “You had my full attention, I promise.”

“I know.” Denver kissed Pax on the cheek. “Thanks.” And he left, leaving the two of them alone.

“Are you trying to possess me or something?” Pax asked Nate after Denver had left. “Because I’m immune to possession, you know, the ghost of a llama granted me a boon once when I saved his wife from being in a carriage accident thanks to this earthquake that had happened down the coast.”

Not trying to possess you. I just like knowing what I can do. And I figure it might come in handy on occasion if I can move you around. With your permission, of course.

“That last part sounds like something you’re doing to decide is optional at some point,” Pax said. He didn’t begrudge Nate wanting to move him around. He didn’t have a body and wanting to make a body move was one of those things that a consciousness did. And if he trusted anyone to move his body around, it was Nate.

Maybe. I’m getting a lot better.

“Yes,” Pax agreed. Now he was tapping his foot against the crate in a musical pattern, which also wasn’t him. “You are.”

Want to see something else I can do?

“Are you going to show me anyway?”

Yes. But maybe not right now if you say no. Maybe some other time that I’ll decide at a later date.

“Stop being ominous, you’re bad at it.” Pax sighed. “Let’s see.”

Feel more than see, Nate said. Though if you wanted to look, that’d be okay.

“What…” Pax frowned. He didn’t feel anything, except…

Except sudden tightness in his pants as he got hard for no reason at all. “Nate!”

Good call asking to see now instead of later when there were people, Nate said. I’m proud of that, I’ve been trying to figure it out for a few days now. Now I have more leverage for when you’re slacking in your jerking off duties.

“Great,” Pax grumbled. “Now make it go away, I need to go report to the captain.”

Pax could hear Nate’s smirk. I haven’t figured out how to put it away yet. You’ll have to handle it yourself. Speaking of which, you haven’t had your lunchtime orgasm today.

Shaking his head, Pax let out a sigh. “You’re insufferable. I’m not sure why I ever liked you.”

Really? I can list the reasons why I liked you. You want me to do it while you jerk off?

“No,” Pax said, blushing fiercely as he undid his belt. “That’s unnecessary. Let’s get this over with.”

If you approach it with that attitude, I’m making you hard again after you’re done.


But you love me anyway?

Pax sighed. “Yes, Nate. I love you anyway. In fact, the insufferablility is one of the reasons I love you in the first place.”

Pax was glad, as he spent that few minutes with his insufferable boyfriend, that unlike Denver he’d learned how to properly sit and talk about feelings and emotions and junk. They were pretty useful, as it turned out.

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