Today we have a special Wednesday briefs. We revisit Blaze and Herman, from Perils of Forgotten Pain!
A Christmas Decision
The lights were the first thing Herman noticed. They glowed from the windows of the crumbling castle, and more hung in multi-colored, flashing drapes across the stone.
“Pretty, right?” Blaze pointed, a cold breeze ruffling his red hair. “Do you know what its for?”
“Of course not,” Herman said, voice gruff. He hadn’t even been among the King’s men a year. He had grown up on a space station, and fought on ships all his life. How was he supposed to know what strings of lights meant on Earth?
The annoyance faded at the sight of Blaze’s smile. This man, his lover, was always so positive, so happy, even while the war between the Distant Rule and those who wanted to make their lives on Earth was fought all around him.
Herman no longer wanted to fight. It was the first of his own choices he could remember making. But Blaze hadn’t decided.
“A thousand years ago, or maybe more, before people left the planet, there were holidays around this time of year.” Blaze swept out an arm, indicating the trees that dwarfed them. “It would get so cold, it would snow. And people celebrated the shortest day of the year, putting up lights and giving each other gifts.”
“Why?” Herman asked. The lights were pretty, he had to admit, sending a soft yellow radiance into the evening gloom, but he didn’t understand.
“Lots of reasons,” Blaze said, putting a hand on Herman’s shoulder. The skin on his neck prickled at his lover’s touch. “To bring hope on the darkest day of the year. To celebrate the birth of a religious icon. And there was one ceremony to celebrate a miracle after a war.” Herman sighed. He wondered if their war would ever end. “But all of it was about togetherness and bringing hope. Nowadays, the King’s armies do it to honor those lost and left behind, and to light the way for human’s life on earth again.”
Herman took put his hand on top of Blaze’s, watching the lights. A bird chittered in the trees above them, impossibly high. They had walked far from the castle, and from here he could see where half of it had fallen to the fast growing trees from Overgrowth. He wondered how long the castle had been here. Long before Overgrowth was used, surely.
Above the castle, the first star came into view. The station. His old home. His old army, the one he had betrayed for life on Earth. But because of what they had done to him—what they had turned him into—he didn’t know if he should be sad or not.
“It’s based on old traditions,” Blaze said. Soft green eyes met his, Blaze’s smile sad. “Those on the stations don’t have any?”
Herman sighed. “Not that I remember.” He shifted his weight, wishing he could feel the soft tickle of grass that Blaze liked to talk about. He stroked his lover’s face, with artificial hands built for strength and killing. He had no past, no traditions.
“Perhaps we can make our own, then,” Blaze said. He leaned up, his lips meeting Herman’s. Heat swept up Herman’s body, and he pulled Blaze closer, careful not to use too much force as he molded the other man’s body against his own.
Herman loved this, the touch, the closeness, and of course the lust that flared deep in his core when Blaze deepened the kiss, his tongue entering Herman’s mouth and winding around the other man’s. Herman gave himself into the sensations. He had been without this for so long, years, during the war.
Or maybe he hadn’t, and simply could not remember past lovers. But either way, the effect was the same.
When Blaze pulled away, their heated breaths mingled in the air between them, puffs of condensation in the frigid air. “It’s cold,” Blaze said, pushing himself against Herman, his hands winding around and stroking Herman’s back. “We should go somewhere warm, but first I want to show you something.” Herman nodded, mind fuzzy with the familiar rush of blood to his cock. He wanted Blaze. He always wanted Blaze, the man who had introduced him to the concept of making his own choices, and leaving the war behind him.
Blaze took his hand, leading him down the path that cut through the hills toward the castle where they both lived. Herman lived as a guest, watched carefully considering his background, and Blaze as a spy, who would be sent away when he was next needed.
Herman sighed, the thought chasing away lust. Blaze paused.
“Nothing,” Herman said. He couldn’t voice his worries. Blaze was a treasure, and all Herman wanted was to stay together with him, far from the war and the Distant Rule. But Blaze had his duties. Herman knew that well enough.
“C’mon,” Blaze said. “Whatever it is, what I’m going to show you will make you feel better.”
His lover took his hand, Herman wishing, not for the first time, that his metal hands could feel more. They wound their way around the castle, until lights began to glow through the trees.
Not through the trees. In the trees. Herman paused, his heart lifting, as a tree wrapped in lights came into view, piercing through the quickening darkness.
“A Christmas tree,” Blaze said. “One of the most wonderful old traditions.”
“It’s beautiful,” Herman said, and then closed his mouth, face reddening. He didn’t like to sound too shocked by what he saw on Earth. But after a life in space, everything was shocking.
“People used to give each other gifts under trees like this,” Blaze said. His eyes glowed in the light, his hair illuminated like flame. “I’ve been studying histories. Old videos, left by the people who were left behind. People would make promises for the new year, too.”
Herman tilted his head, placing a hand on Blaze’s slight shoulder.
“So, I figured it would be a good place to tell you. I’m leaving the King’s army. Well, not leaving,” Herman’s heart began to pound, “But quitting as a spy. I want to work as an explorer, finding places for people to live and re-discovering the planet.”
Herman swallowed, the scent of pine all around him. The world, the Earth, stretched before him. “What about me?”
“You’d come with me,” Blaze said, turning so that his green eyes bore into Herman’s. “If you want to, of course. It’d be a new adventure, for both of us.”
A smile broke over Herman’s features, worries about the war fading into the light of the tree and Blaze’s eyes. Those were the words he had wanted to hear from Blaze ever since he had woken up in the castle after leaving his old platoon, and the war, behind him. He leaned down, kissing his lover.
“Yes,” Herman said. “Yes.”
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