daemon_angelus: (fate extra | saber nero [ y/y ])
[personal profile] daemon_angelus
a lot of solky stuff wouldn't have come to fruition without [livejournal.com profile] celticheavens and her constant encouragement, support, feedback and just being there and replying to/sound-boarding all the random hype that comes out of my mouth regarding my OTP (no really - I talk about them a lot) -- so as usual, THIS PIECE IS DEDICATED TO [livejournal.com profile] celticheavens (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ especially because 1) SHE LEGIT CAME UP WITH THAT HAPPY RESOLUTION that I literally couldn't see when I was crying my eyes out discussing the premise/setting of this AU with her; 2) I think she's been a rather big stylistic influence for this one (in terms of vocaulary and imagery used) so (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

I've always liked the word 'chiaroscuro' and what it means (from wikipedia: The underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it) - I've also always wanted to write something worthy of having that word as its title and I'm glad I think I've finally achieved that (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ also that underlined phrase is my summary right there lol

the fundamental idea/premise for this piece was sparked by a scene near the end of Ed Sheeran's Shape of You MV - the underground boxing/fight scene - and while it's treated a little comically in the original mv, my mind of course had to take a realistic (darker) turn, and coupled with looping 30 Seconds to Mars' Hurricane - this happened (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ I've been doing a lot of modern AUs for solky recently

a-and no, this isn't my excuse to stick a tribal tattoo on shirtless!sol what are you talking about

to be honest, I got fatigued towards the end of this (this whole thing was written over something like 3 days almost nonstop besides trying to reasonably function at work lol) but I just had to get it out of my system before it consumed me (throwing homophobic slurs at my OTP is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to write) so... I may revisit this in future; a lot of the scenes and emotional tension that [livejournal.com profile] celticheavens and I managed to touch upon isn't included here (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

I also don't know if it's something to be proud of but my first real nsfw content (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧


so, warnings: language, explicit content (some graphic violence, sexual mentions), mature themes







The first time they meet
Sol has his hands in his jeans pockets, an old vintage jacket he had won off some guy at a bar that no longer registers thrown on to keep out the chilly remnants of winter in the night air -
He's trailing some distance behind
A nonchalant swagger in his gait masking
How sharp gold eyes are following every change in the demeanor of the suited man
Who's walking between him and the other lithe blond male in front - who has a single high ponytail reaching down to the middle of the back of a dark blue blazer -

Can I help you, Jerry?

It's a sudden but calculated move, Sol recognises
When the blond man turns around abruptly in the glow of the next street light, to address the man who'd been between them - already long aware that he was being tailed -
(Sol had heard this Jerry fellow mutter something vicious under his breath about two blocks ago, something about the blond man and his, well, unnatural sexuality - and of course that would set off alarms in Sol's head although he's still not too sure why he would bother in the first place - he suspects the pretty blond man isn't a stranger to such occurrences too - )

Because he sees the firm tangent running tersely through the polite smile the blond man is giving this Jerry fellow (who seems to be a colleague, unfortunately) -
Even gives Sol a nod of acknowledgement past Jerry's shoulder so the latter wouldn't try anything drastic in front of a stranger, a witness
(Jerry's too busy being flustered with guilt at being caught, hurriedly glancing over - Sol decides he's a coward and flashes his canines slightly in a mock-sly-too-friendly grin because of course everyone present knows what Jerry is up to) -

Sol doesn't even know, doesn't care to know what Jerry had said in response to the blond man's question (something about spreadsheets due next week - utter bullcrap - before he shuffles away, awkwardly and red-faced - )
Is much more intrigued by the electricity swirling in bright, unwavering cerulean eyes
(and how he'd shut another guy up, made him leave with just a couple of civil words in a calm even tone - didn't even need to throw a punch or get his knuckles bloodied - the only way Sol knows how - )

The blond man lets out a small, relieved sigh - the tension holding up his slender frame finally loosening as he lets his shoulders sink a little (he looks almost fragile under the harsh glare of the street lamp, long blond hair gleaming with an almost unreal light; like he'd stepped out of a fairy tale without his white horse - )

By the time Sol realises he's thinking about nonsense, the other man had already thanked him for being there and looking out for him anyway - a slight tilt of his head, elegant and sincere - and Sol grumbles out something along the lines of shouldn't even have bothered because what else was he supposed to say? No problem and let me know if you ever need help again 'cause who you gonna call -

The blond man is gone by the time Sol pulls himself out of his thoughts again.

---

Get up

Acid in his words - low and callous - the tattoo on his back burns like its carved from blackened magma - golden eyes piercing and unfeeling all at once -

Feels the dull ache of the remaining embers in his blood - he's not running on adrenaline anymore - barely a scratch anywhere while his "opponent" squirms in pain at his feet -

He kicks the guy in the ribs for good measure - the noisy disgusting crowd parting in the middle from where he slides through the concrete floor - a dizzying haze of sweat blood drugs alcohol - a cacophony of chants and boos and whistles -

- Dragon! Dragon! Dragon! -

That's not my name, Sol thinks

But then, no one here in the underground ring would know

(Ice in his heart - that there's no one left in this world who cares otherwise anyway)

---

Sol comes to learn that the blond man's name is Ky
He tells him so two weeks after the incident with Jerry
When Sol had been staring - glaring - perplexedly at different brands of instant mac and cheese boxes at the nearby convenience store
And Ky had come up next to him with a soft but wry smile on his lips
Saying something about how Sol really shouldn't be considering eating these things (Sol picks up the hint of a French accent in the vowels and 'r's of Ky's words - )
Sol also learns that Ky lives in the much classier apartment complex two streets down, and he'd just popped by to get some antacids after a particularly heavy company-sponsored dinner -

When Ky bids him goodbye just before exiting the store (Sol ends up getting a pricier packet of mac and cheese that requires actual cooking in a pot) - Sol still can't figure out why Ky would even come up and speak to him in the first place; he didn't think he'd made any solid kind of first impression -

Has to pull himself out of his thoughts again before he notices the slightest quirk of his own lips when Ky had said see you around then -

Sol.

---

The 'boss' had warned him that tonight's fight would be a slight challenge - his opponent young, cocky and full of himself but supposedly armed with sharper reactions and quicker on his feet than Sol - who was known more for his muscled bulk and ferocity -

He'd heard of the boy - hard not to; he'd been boasting about being a dragon slayer for the past week - the audience was also split more in the kid's favour over Sol's tonight - because they liked to get drunk on shallow double-edged youthful idealism and enthusiasm - get high on watching someone else's blood spilled and years shaved off - just out for a quick booze a quick hit a quick fuck -

Sol just thinks it'd be nice to go home (or rather, whatever passed for home in the last four years) with the extra cash once he beat the kid's face in.

The bass to Eye of the Tiger reverberates hollowly in Sol's 'locker room' - and Sol has to willfully stop himself from cringing and rolling his eyes at the kid's choice of theme song - sighs, stretches to his full height, cocks his head from side to side before heading out -

To rapturous cheers - like a bunch of hyenas - the dark ink of his tribal tattoo distinct even under where light intersects with shadow - an abstract winged dragon stretching its wings to the undulations of his shoulder blades and twists of his waist as he walks - (the boss had forced him to get it - appeals to the audience, gives you an edge he'd said - Sol thinks it's more of a brand than anything else) -

- then something short circuits in Sol's brain when he steps into the fight area - because the kid is already there - shirtless too, in gaudy boxing shorts and shoes because he probably fashions himself after Muhammad Ali, egging on the crowd with raised arms, shouting out his own proclaimed victory  -

And all Sol sees is his short blond hair, fair skin and stark ice blue eyes. (They're nothing like Ky's - but the similarity in shade still catches Sol off guard - )

The next thing he knows, Sol's been slugged in the face - jaw aching, blood in his mouth from a bad cut on his lip because he hadn't been quick enough to clench his teeth tight godfuckdammit -

The kid dances on his toes once, twice - lets loose another hook from his left - except it stops short halfway to Sol's other cheek because he'd caught the damn kid's wrist with barely a look, drags him close - stunned and off balance - and snarls right in his face -

"Sorry, kid, but that's all you're getting out of me tonight - "

It ends up being a lie but Sol returns home victorious anyway - nursing two bruised ribs, a split lip, cuts in his back from some idiot who decided smashing a beer bottle near the ring had been a brilliant idea - slipshod bandages around his arms and legs that he'd tied hastily with just one hand and his teeth -

It hurts to even lie down to sleep.

(But it hurts more when he thinks of how Ky would react if he ever found out Sol had punched the crap out of a kid who kinda looked like him.)

---

You're joking

Sol's eyebrow runs into his headband (holds and hides a metal plate there and no, there weren't any flimsy things like rules prohibiting stuff like that where he 'worked') as he raises it at the owner of the local neighbourhood gym-cum-amateur-boxing-club - a middle aged man who probably had aspirations of becoming pro once but like many others and many things, life didn't exactly go the way of his dreams -

The owner sighs and shrugs a little, thinning hair and growing belly all too obvious under the amber light - what can I do, health and safety came by and said I need to refurbish the place else they'll shut it down permanently -

But why do we have to go some fancy ass place to work out while you're shut? Sol asks, annoyance bleeding into his tone as he studies the shiny laminated name card of the temporary gym lifestyle fitness centre in his hand -

Take it or leave it - and Sol wonders exactly how high up is this person from the lifestyle fitness centre that Rick is, maybe not really most likely, fucking on the weekends -

But that's how Sol finds himself in the nicest smelling gym he'd ever stepped into in his life (it makes him slightly nauseous and I swear to god, I will punch the next person who tries to get me to sign up for beginner Pilates packages, man or woman - )

"Sol?"

"For the last time, I am not interested in your goddamn novice yoga bullshit - "

"Don't worry, I ended up having to swap sessions with Sharon from work because I couldn't handle the Pilates classes here too."

Sol doesn't dare to breathe (he hasn't felt his heart skip a beat like this since the last time some fucker actually, literally, got him in the chest with an elbow - )

Sol's brain fizzles back online - "Ky?" - and now he feels even more out of place in the modern clean glossy too-much-glass reception area of the gym - lifestyle fitness centre. The spotlights dotting the ceiling burn the back of his neck - the black strokes of his tattoo never felt more damning than they did now, already barely concealed by his dark grey tank top -

When Ky laughs, Sol almost forgets about the rising bile in his throat (that he truly doesn't belong in a place and among people like this - that he'd beat the living daylights out of a kid who looked like Ky just four nights ago) - a clear mellifluous sound - like stars winking back - an amused smile on Ky's lips and a twinkle in cerulean eyes -

"Bonjour" and -

"It's nice to see you again, Sol"

(Sol decides he'll take it even if Ky's lying)

---

The first time Sol skips a scheduled fight -

- is the first time Ky asks him out - just to grab some dinner together - after an evening workout.

---

The boss isn't too pleased - but the occasional break does bring Sol's odds back down against the other fighters, helps the ring rack in more when he ends up winning (as he usually does) - except the boss always arranges for Sol to take a couple more hits than was strictly necessary before he's allowed to unfurl his wings claws and fangs at his opponent and drag them through the mud -

---

The first time he sees the cracks - of two worlds that he never wants colliding - is when he shows up at Ky's doorstep the next day after a particularly brutal fight (fucking boss had allowed the other guy to have a knife) with gauze taped onto one cheek, bandages around his neck and knuckles - more hidden under his jeans and jacket -

"Oh my god, what happened?"

- blood pain wounds and bruises had always been as much a part of his life as morning coffee at the diner round the block - so he hadn't really thought that much about it until Ky's exclamation -

And any agony he'd felt when he'd got cut in the shoulder last night doesn't even compare to seeing the sheer worry eating away at Ky's features.

---

He's not too sure how to resolve the whole thing (had to lie to Ky and tell him he'd had a minor accident on his motorcycle - punching the wall when he'd reached the ring later that night seems trivial to the kind of guilt burning his insides - )

So he lets off steam in the only way he knows how -

And the guy on the other side that night  - armed with a modified taser - doesn't even stand a chance.

---

In a weird twist of fate (maybe the universe's way of saying maybe, just maybe, this thing with Ky could work - ) the ring is closed for about a month because boss has to take an urgent trip out of the country -

Huh. Sol wonders absently if that's why the past ten or so fights had been particularly harsh - to up the stakes and bring in more bets - all sorts of assorted small to medium hand weapons - for everyone else but Sol, of course - and he thought he'd even heard that boss had ordered in an electrified fence that never turns up thank fucking god -

"Sol?"

He blinks back to the living room of Ky's apartment - they'd just had dinner in (Ky cooks a mean roast chicken leg, he's come to realise) - Ky looking at him with his brows furrowed in concern because of course he'd spaced out in the middle of Ky talking about his day -

- frowns - decides not to overthink on his instinct this time - reaches over to touch his thumb to where Ky's forehead wrinkles - tries to smooth out the lines there - it's okay, I'm okay, as long as I'm with you - he tries to say without words -

Ky lets out a short breathless laugh - threads his fingers through Sol's as he shifts, the soft absolutely radiant smile that's unique to Ky adorning his lips again and then those gorgeous cerulean eyes - framed by long golden blond lashes - catches Sol's gaze -

God, he's beautiful -

And Sol's not really sure who moved first or how - but someone - maybe both of them - pulls and tugs the other forward - closes the stifling distance between them with Sol's arms going around Ky's waist and Ky hooking his behind Sol's neck - (Sol tries to ignore that Ky's hands are linked hovering above where the dragon's tattooed head begins) - they line up flush against each other, the scratch of their clothes suddenly becoming a real nuisance - and oh god, what's there to think of when Ky's kissing him to within an inch of his life -

- Sol ends up with his palms not-so-subtly on Ky's ass when Ky straddles his thighs, long slender limbs all arranged elegantly around Sol's bulkier, muscular frame - his long ponytail tickles Sol's neck as Ky holds his jaw in his hands - gentle, always gentle and accepting and understanding - of the fire that burns Sol from the inside-out - of the dark depths of a haunting desire he's been carrying and suppressing since he'd maybe, accidentally, seen Ky naked in the gym shower once - and even though Ky is the one looking down on him - their noses and lips barely a breath apart from each other - Sol doesn't feel threatened, his instincts far from bristling with an urge to fight -

They barely make it to the bedroom without one of them stumbling over the other and oh wow, wouldn't that be a shame - (Sol's brain has just enough senses to be relieved that he'd gone to test himself in secret for anything life-threatening before all this was currently happening because the last thing he'd want is to pass on something he'd caught somehow somewhere but probably not - to Ky and ruin his life and well-being - ) and all Sol can think of now is just losing himself in more and more of Ky's warmth and embrace -

Somehow Ky had gotten him to toss his t-shirt into a random corner of the room and lie flat onto his stomach on the bed - it hits him a bit too slowly that maybe, Ky had wanted to examine the tattoo carved into his skin all along, with its permanent blackness, and he'd been too caught up in the fleeting searing touches Ky'd been lavishing upon him - and Ky has already sat himself squarely on the back of Sol's thighs - an agile shrewdness to his movements that Sol tends to forget Ky has -

His thoughts are reduced to static when he feels Ky first trace an index finger along the head of where he knows the dragon starts, across the beginning of an outspread wing on his shoulder, then down the curve of his shoulder blade to the dip of his hip and spine - curses out godfuckingdammit into the pillow that smells of lemon and lavender when Ky replaces his finger and follows along the same path with a smooth warm tongue instead -

"It's beautiful"

What - Sol snaps his head up from where he'd been gnawing into the pillow - turns his head back and up to look at Ky -

"Your tattoo. I think... it's stunning"

- and the next breath Sol takes rattles his lungs and constricts painfully in his heart and chest - and it hurts to even breathe because what was he supposed to say to that -

(When he swallows down the intake of breath, it bores into somewhere deep, a small dark corner of his heart and soul that thinks - I don't deserve you - )

- lets out a growl and catches Ky by his waist - a surprised yelp, some leverage and assistance from gravity later - Sol traps Ky under him with his arms and legs - and Ky just smiles back at him, lopsided and earnest once he'd gotten past the initial shock -

(Sol feels like there's a spiderweb of tiny cracks in his heart - out of fear, happiness, love, he doesn't know - not sure if he wants to know, because of how much Ky has come to mean to him, how much the darkness that lies in his soul needs the light of Ky's to exist in, as, its shadow - like two parts of the same whole - )

When Ky comes, breathing his name, nails digging into (almost like he's holding on to) the black wings on his back and gasping out Sol please - He doesn't remember how he'd managed to get by so long without this in his life (Ky filled with and spilling pleasure he'd never known up till now because of and for Sol - )

(- maybe, probably, doesn't know how he'd live without Ky by his side anymore.)

---

The problem was - only Ky looked like he'd stepped out of a fairy tale story.

Sol, on the other hand, came from a world forged within brimstone and violence (dark tendrils of ruin clinging ruthlessly - never letting go and devouring any kind of light that came near - )

It hadn't been any particularly special kind of night; they'd just been walking back in a comfortable comforting silence, from the convenience store both of them have grown to be a bit more fond of -

Well, if it isn't the Dragon and wow. Fuck. Me. Sideways - He has a little boy toy with him -

Sol thinks he hears something shatter in his mind - worlds colliding - (can't think to stop the searing anger boiling his blood as a reactionary snarl twists itself into his expression - )

A flickering light above a backdoor reveals three men in the dim alleyway - the one closest to Sol had been the guy from the ring with the taser - had got the damn thing shoved right below one of his eyes - the wounds still visible and grotesque so of course he'd be feeling like a dick tonight (not that he probably wasn't on any other night) - the other two at least have the smarts to hang back, clearly not on board with this suicide ego stunt with their supposed friend -

Sol's already positioned himself between the asshat and Ky - for obvious reasons but also - so maybe hopefully Ky can't see the ferocity and viciousness that comes to him too easily (out of the corner of his eye, Sol sees the look of disdain Ky is deservedly giving the man before them, can feel the defiance radiating off his pursed lips, the thunder and lightning swirling just beyond his eyes - Sol knows, he knows that Ky wouldn't but he still can't help wondering - if Ky would ever look at him with the same expression if he found out about the ring and all that Sol has done - )

"I don't think we have any business with you gentlemen, so if you'd kindly excuse us - let's go, Sol - "

A harsh bark of laughter answers Ky's words (it takes every ounce of Sol's willpower and control not to smash the asshole's teeth in right there and then - )

'Sol'? Look at that, boys, the Dragon has a name - how cute - taser-guy takes a few steps forward, circling around Sol towards Ky - has the audacity and gall to start reaching for his face - Hey, pretty boy - the hook of his thumb and curved index finger is about a hand's length from Ky's chin - Is that what you scream when he shoves his cock up your tight little a -

There's a loud sickening crack when bone and flesh meets brick and mortar - as Sol slams the bastard against the wall of the alleyway by his throat with all his weight - taser-guy can't even howl out in pain - can only scrabble helplessly at the vice-grip around his neck - crushing his airway - starts choking with his feet lifted clear off the ground - Sol's face is distorted with rage - gold eyes flashing wildly - canines bared in an even uglier snarl than before -

"I should break your fucking windpipes - " growls out low and merciless right to the guy's face - "So you'll never be able to say such things again - " really just wants to snap off every single digit on the guy's hands and feed them to him - because how dare he - how dare this scum say those things to Ky - even tried to touch him -

He doesn't even bother if the asshole had squeaked out something like an apology or nodded in surrender - just slams his head against the wall again and shoves him to his frightened buddies before turning to leave -

(And Sol doesn't think he'll ever get the image of how Ky had looked then out of his head - lips parted from shock, brows drawn together, eyes wide - but there's not a trace of disappointment, anger or disgust in them - just questions and searching - and for some reason, that makes Sol feel sick to the core more than anything else - )

He ends up going back to his own place to sleep that night instead of Ky's like they'd initially planned -

(Sol doesn't even dare to look at Ky again before they'd parted ways.)

---

It gets harder to wake up in the evenings and go to sleep in the mornings after that (the only thing that becomes easier is the fighting and winning - )

But the hardest thing - is ignoring (not replying to) all the texts and calls Ky is leaving on his mobile.

---

Sol dreams -

- of vivid cerulean - delicate fingers touching and ghosting along the line and bone where his jaw meets his neck - wafts of lemon and lavender - the cottony curve of the mattress hugging where his back meets the bed - soft lips against his - he closes his eyes -

- and when he opens them again, it's not to the pale blue ceiling of Ky's bedroom - rather, it's to the faces of strangers and the darkened dingy roof of the underground ring -

Fuck -

The noise all comes roaring back - shrieks, whistles, vulgar shouts and a heavy thumping bass that reverberates in Sol's skull - makes him feel even more disoriented as his head spins - has to have some random asshole in the rowdy crowd splash what feels like a mug of beer on his face before he remembers he'd been in the middle of a fight -

- the other guy is sneering out taunting words and insults as Sol drags a hand across his face, jaw clenched tightly together - slowly gets back on his feet - searching his brain yields nothing (if the other jerkass had got the better of him or if he'd been so lost in nostalgia that he'd let himself get knocked out) - he's still in the middle of getting his bearings again when -

Who's 'Ky'?

And the blood stops cold in Sol's veins (feels something akin to terror - that he'd probably said Ky's name out loud whilst unconscious - )

The vicious curl on his opponent's lips just grows all the more wider - Oh, oh - was it that pretty thing with you the other day, when Jim saw the two of you? - a mocking chortle - the guy chooses to ignore that taser-Jim had recounted the incident with a trembling voice and shaking hands - turns to address the crowd nearest to him with some sort of twisted delight on his face - Who would've thought, ah? The fearsome Dragon - just some fucked-up faggo -

Something snaps - badly -

And it's the first time boss (and five bouncers) had to keep him from beating someone close to death.

---

Sol storms back to his (kind of) home after a heated argument with boss - told him he's leaving - will wire something like ten, twenty, whatever percentage it takes from his winnings so boss doesn't come looking for him (so that nobody else in the ring gets curious about someone named Ky) -

- throws whatever sparse belongings he has strewn around the small flat into a worn duffel bag - and hails a cab to the nearest station with a train going to the next state - pretends he doesn't have to pass by the classy apartment complex about six streets down while doing so -

Because it's easier to just run on reckless abandonment - before it sours into any kind of regret and second thoughts -

- before anything irreversible happens to Ky because of him -

Throughout the whole journey, Sol manages to (somewhat) convince himself that it's for their sake, and not just his own (cowardice).

---

Four months on, Sol still wakes to warm phantom touches, the smell of lavender even though nothing in the house he's renting carries that scent, a particular shade of cerulean that's still so goddamn lucid in his mind -

He honestly has no idea what Ky is up to these days (had changed his mobile the moment he'd got off the train - what feels like a lifetime ago) -

But then, the universe is a bitch and decides to throw him a curve ball every time he thinks he's going down the right (stable, easy) path -

---

Sol had been jogging through a heavy thunderstorm back from a random odd job call he'd gotten from a nearby construction site (the townsfolk appreciated someone who could do the heavy lifting) - black t-shirt (of course; in order to hide his tattoo - ) and jeans soaked through, clinging to him like a second skin, his long dark ponytail slapping against his back as he runs -

- nearly ends up tripping and falling into a puddle when he catches sight of an all too familiar shade of golden blond at his doorstep -

- a loud crack of lightning and thunder barely registers - disbelief making his jaw go slack and his eyes go wide even as rain drips into them from his lashes - remains motionless for a few moments - until the lithe blond man seems to realise and tilts his head backwards -

Sol feels his stomach drop out (isn't sure if the feeling seizing his heart is pain or joy - maybe, probably, both - ) and he's not sure if Ky's just been waiting in the rain or if he'd actually been crying -

Sol stands stock-still, tries to hide under the shadows of his headband that he still wears out of habit - isn't sure what to think or even say - can hardly believe that it's really Ky walking towards him - and through the veil of rain, Sol notices the unnatural tension running through Ky's shoulders and forearms - the balled up fists clenched tightly at his sides - the way he's gritting his teeth, a different kind of storm brewing between his brows, fierce electricity coursing in his eyes -

He thinks he deserves it when Ky comes up and punches him right in the face.

---

"Merci - "

Ky softly breathes out the thanks from behind the towel pressed to his face when Sol sets down what he thinks can pass for a cup of hot tea on the table - sits himself on the other end of the couch - can't help feeling a little concerned as he eyes the soaked charcoal undershirt and pants Ky still remains dressed in. At least he'd re-tied his hair into a low loose ponytail; Sol running his own towel through matted, unruly mahogany hair - subtly tugs at and checks where his jaw aches a little from where Ky had punched him -

"Why are you here anyway?" The words are spat out of his mouth before he even thinks of whether he should say anything - tossed into air between them with a harsher edge than he'd wanted -

The look Ky gives him out of the corner of his eye can only be described as scathing - Sol pretends he doesn't feel a stab of pain in his chest from that - distracts himself by studying the red raw cut on Ky's knuckles from when he'd nicked the edges of Sol's headband earlier -

"I had to call in favours from friends in the police force to find you - god I could get them fired - " Ky mumbles from behind the towel - before he sets it down on his thighs and looks Sol straight in the eye - "Why did you leave?"

Sol's lips pull back to reveal his canines when he hears the accusation in Ky's words (no matter how true or warranted they were) - but doesn't trust what's reflecting in his eyes so he covers them with his towel before he answers - "What'd you think? To keep you safe - "

Sol hears Ky curse out what is probably the French equivalent of bullshit - doesn't need to look to know there's an almost thunderous scowl on his face - "And you didn't think to ask me first? About any of it?"

"What's there to ask - "

"Do I mean so little to you? That you think you have the right to single-handedly decide whatever happens to us - " by the time Sol shifts the towel away from his face - Ky's already right next to him, the back of his fingers reaching out to ghost against Sol's cheek - and he feels like he's suffocating and drowning all at the same time -

"- When you mean everything to me?"

Well, shit, when you put it that way -

"You shouldn't - " sucks in a breath to calm his nerves - it fails and Sol lets it rattle all the way down to his bones when he exhales - "I'm not - "

"Don't make me punch you again - " and there's a quiver in Ky's voice that makes Sol think he's maybe, probably, on the verge of tears again - don't cry, not over someone like me -

"Look, I - " and it's a mistake to even look at Ky right now - to see what might be hope drawing his brows together, the same vivid cerulean eyes - always filled with gentle graceful kindness, understanding, and acceptance - even through any of the indignation he was feeling - a tiny tremble in his lip where he has his teeth pressed lightly together - he looks like he's almost pleading with -

Sol thinks he's about to break - "I - don't deserve you - "

"That is, honestly, not up to you to decide - "

- and whatever Sol has to say in reply - is lost in the soothing warmth and tender softness of Ky's lips pressed against his -

He doesn't make any move to push Ky away -

(Is so fucking thankful that Ky is as goddamn obstinate as he was.)

---

"I've never asked you this but - " a pause - there's an amused shine in Ky's eyes that Sol just raises an eyebrow in response to - "Is your family name really 'Badguy'?"

Sol snorts - "Of course not - it's just - " shifts his gaze down and away " - something I came to be known as - "

"Huh - " a small smile, touches the tip of his nose to Sol's - "Funny - that's not what I know you as - "

"Hey - " the amused twinkle returns - "What do you think about taking the name 'Kiske'?"

"What - " Did Ky just honestly suggest they get w-wed- "Where did that even - why - "

And Ky smiles this slightly goofy but absolutely luminescent smile Sol hasn't really seen before -

"Because you're coming to France - with me."

---

It's the best ploy to get past customs, Sol thinks (it's the best thing that can ever happen to him - the best way to start a brand new life - )

When he finds himself sharing half of a quaint little cottage in the French countryside with Ky - exactly like the ones he saw on the airport postcards - because Ky may have, kind of, glossed over the fact that he had been transferred to the American branch of his company for just a couple of years - had always meant to come back to live in his hometown (Sol doesn't know what to make out of the fact that he's now living on the outskirts of the very town Ky had spent his childhood, had grew up in - )

It'd taken awhile to get used to the mundane pace of life - to get rid of almost innate tendencies that jump and bristle at ghosts (that Sol sometimes sees in bars and seedier areas of the bigger cities even halfway across the world) - to convince - truly convince himself - that he'd left the name of Dragon and everything associated with it behind -

(Sol still wakes up snarling at shadows sometimes in the darkest of nights - the tattoo that never really fades still burning on his back - but then, Ky would be there next to him, half-awake and muttering bleary gibberish in his native tongue - fingers threading soothingly through his hair, nuzzling his nose against his neck - and Sol feels whatever dark tendrils ensnaring his heart loosening just that little bit and -)

Yeah, he thinks he could start from there.

---


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