||[15 May 2005|02:06am]
Of course, no time passes when he slips out to the bar and comes back with a taste of coffee (not Turkish) in his mouth and a considering look in his eyes. So Thom is asleep, sprawled across a few uncomfortable-looking tufts of grass and clashing with his environment. As usual. If Lucifer squints at him, he blurs from ridiculously striking and pretty to an effeminate eyesore, and back.
When Thom wakes up Lucifer is halfway up a nearby tree, looking almost asleep himself. There are a few thin branches below the thick one he rests on, high above the ground, but nothing very stable. Lucifer waves at him without opening his eyes.
Thom wanders across and looks up; then down, wincing, as the sun hits his face.
“Morning,” he says, though it sounds more like filler than anything else. Wariness skates around the borders of his voice.
“Morning,” Lucifer throws back, a greeting with no more depth to it than Thom’s. He glances down.
Thom chews on his lower lip and reaches up to grab the nearest branch. He hauls himself up. After a moment or so there is a loud grunt and a thud as the branch gives way and Thom lands on the ground.
“Bastard,” he says conversationally, pulling sticks out of his hair.
Lucifer flicks his wings at him, and closes his eyes again.
There is a long period full of scrambling and pulling and muffled and not-so-muffled curses as the sorcerer remembers just who it was that was trained in the physical exertion side of the family business.
Then a pause, after which Thom rises slowly through the air, glowing purple. His hair, despite any efforts extended, is messy and full of sand. His face and bare torso show the prize-wounds gained in a losing battle with the tree.
“Using the available resources,” he says, defensively, before Lucifer can say anything.
So Lucifer doesn’t say anything. He looks through the half-open laziness of his eyes at the scrapes and angry cuts and tangled hair and thinks that if Hob was pretty when his heart was broken, Thom is illogically attractive when the damage is solely on the outside.
In the silence Thom edges his way onto the branch and finds a precarious balance. He sits for a while, hands holding stiffly to the wood underneath him.
“This isn’t any fun,” he decides eventually.
“For you.” Lucifer yawns.
Thom scowls. “Climbing trees lost its appeal shortly before the onset of puberty.”
“Did you ever get past that?”
“Oh, very funny.” Thom tries to kick him, loses his grip. The expression on his face is wonderful. “Fu –”
He falls. Lucifer waits for the thud and then looks down, interested.
Thom lies on his back, looking up. “Ow.”
“Hmm.” Lucifer slides off and follows him down, albeit much more slowly. By the time his bare feet touch the ground Thom is sitting up, wincing, and eyeing the wings sulkily.
“Hardly playing fair.”
“Did you expect me to?”
“Well, no.” Thom stands up and hugs himself. It’s warm, but a morning wind off the sea adds bite to the air.
“Do you want to go back?”
Thom’s chin lifts in three-eights of a nod and then falls down a diagonal, uncomfortably. His eyes just skim the ground. It’s a layered gesture, as these things go, but Lucifer can translate the twist of one thin shoulder that says there’s going to be explaining, and I hate that and the quick flash of purple as his eyes rise and fall that says don’t you want to stay, hey, wasn’t that fun? on the surface, but is accompanied by a kick of the foot that alters the meaning to it’s about instant gratification, isn’t it, for both of us and the sheer fluid complexity of his darting body language is enough to make Lucifer’s head hurt. He’s not used to seeing so much at once.
Maybe this is why they never spoke much, at the beginning. They were learning to read.
And...hmm. Lucifer rests the lengths of his fingers along Thom’s cheekbone and ah, perfect. He can feel the uncertainty rippling under the skin and the stubborn set of the young man’s jaw that adds steel to the false vulnerability in his eyes and this is Braille under his fingertips and a faint pulse where the palm of his hand cups under and against Thom’s throat.
He realises, when Thom bites his lip again and there are patterns of confusion treading through the thin scrape on his cheek, that this is a ridiculously tender action. From the outside.
A test, then. He gives a wry kind of smile that could be ambiguous but his finger moves in an overtone that says so this is why I kept touching you, even though I didn’t bother to assign a motive at the time.
Thom’s eyes widen just a fraction in...comprehension. Well. And his hand shakes just a little bit as he kisses Lucifer this time because sex with someone who almost just killed you is one thing but sex when you can feel and talk and realise and be stripped of masks with every move is risk behaviour taken to a whole new level.
He keeps their faces close enough that there is no eye contact. Safer without, for now.
Thom’s thin fingers say should I be thanking you for understanding? and Lucifer smiles dangerously and kisses the base of his neck, try it and you’ll wake up alone, and eventually Thom shudders and tries to glare at him and can’t see through his own hair and even his body language is incoherency.
The devil wakes up and Thom turns from where he is sitting and smiles nervously and it only strikes Lucifer a few minutes later that the way the boy pulls at the red strands of his hair is an outright, blatant, fucking gorgeous lie.
So Thom doesn’t want to go back. So they go to the markets.
Thom lights up and turns into a boy and his fingers twitch with want it now want to see it all ooh look that’s new new new and Lucifer sighs and hands him a shirt.
“Don’t want to blind them with my paleness, right?” But Thom pulls it on and forgets to tidy his hair again and wanders away to look at the spices.
Lucifer disappears and then finds him at the end of the day, looking at knives and listening to the rapid foreign babble with the calm assurance of one with no money and a shirt that didn’t even exist until that morning.
Lucifer steps up and ignores Thom completely, flatters the stall owner in fluent colloquial speech, smiles with charm and confidence and his hands find a small steel dagger with a red stone that disappears under his splayed fingers and somehow appears again a few minutes later, as they walk away.
“Show off.” Thom eyes the dagger.
“It’s a game,” Lucifer says.
So it goes.
Thom's open, more so than ever before: not above gaping until Lucifer reminds him to shut his mouth, not above tearing down the street after something or other he sees and coming back to tease Lucifer into a race, not above smiling.
Not above blinking slowly at an old woman, wreathed in scarves, who has never seen eyes or hair his colour, and smiling through her awe and pulling a bracelet off her stall and glowing with a casual sort of smugness as he shows Lucifer later.
The devil shrugs, am I meant to be impressed, Thom? and does not quite dance on bare feet to the strange music played in the streets, but he is brown and sparkling-foreign and he manages to blend in effortlessly.
Thom gets pinker and bolder and develops a mad taste for baklava.
The things they steal become more and more ridiculous. Thom flirts outrageously; with Lucifer, with anyone, using it to make up for the fact that he sometimes thinks that he shouldn’t actually be happy. They talk, but more often they lie; and then one of them steps to the side in a clear mocking signal and all the understanding pours out in torrents. Messy, sometimes, but never uninteresting.
“Aren’t you bored yet?”
Thom, licking honey off his fingers: “Mmm. Not yet. Give it a day.”
The next day Thom finally remembers to investigate the odd building with the curved dome and they stand at the back listening to the rise-and-fall of the litanies and watching hundreds of bodies dip and curve in unison.
Lucifer sings snatches under his breath and tells Thom a long glorious rambling story about the desert and the prophets and one version of the truth behind the words. Thom listens with half his mind and counts prayers and bells until Lucifer gets bored and kisses honey from his mouth, pushed up against a pillar in a foreign god’s house.
Thom presses upwards eagerly, but he kicks Lucifer sharply in the leg and it’s so, does it count as blasphemy when it’s not my religion?
“Not mine either,” Lucifer says afterwards. “If you want to be specific.”
And the next day they’re in Florence and Lucifer steals a huge statue from a gallery and Thom falls over in the street and kills himself laughing, only partly out of mockery. When he stands up he looks younger, and he gives an odd kind of turning smile that says, simply, why?
Lucifer considers this for only a moment and then laughs, flicking Thom on the shoulder as he walks past.