The Stains Beneath Our Skin {mxm}

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Ice

Casper swallowed around the tight thickness jammed up in his throat and stubbed the burnt-out cigarette into the bench. Cain still hadn’t said another word, but shit, there was no way he could walk away from him tonight if he at least didn’t try his best. He might as well still be the stranger – Casper didn’t know a damn thing about him – but something about the way he felt...

“It’s—“ The word hardly came out, a broken shell of itself. Casper coughed and tried again. “It was yes, by the way. I’d like to. Go on a date with you. If—Like, if you still—“

“Casper—“

No—No, I get it if you don’t. I mean it’s fucked, right? No one—“

Casper.

Stern enough to startle him out of his babbling, but the instinctive flinch up to his face ... only softness. Vast, tragic, like Casper wasn’t just this fucked up little ghoul he’d seen twice in his fucking life. And when Casper met his eyes, somehow, he smiled.

Like the sun.

“I still want to,” Cain murmured, resting his hand on the back of the bench just beside Casper. Not touching. That was nice. “It doesn’t make a difference to me. I want to take you on a date, and I want to get to know you. There’s...” the smile quirked higher at one corner, a glint in his eyes, “...there’s something special about you, Casper. I want to find out what it is.”

Oh.

Nothing else to say really.

“Thank you.” The whisper was all he could manage. A shiver ran through him, down his spine, and Casper pulled his coat closed against a fresh gale. Cain sat serene with the wind rippling through his thin shirt and sending out tendrils of his soft hair as if he sat beneath the sea. A smile crept onto Casper’s lips watching him. No one had any right looking that serene in this weather. “That sounds really, really good. Thank you.”

“Truly my pleasure.”

Hadn’t he said he wasn’t going to go falling into eyes like forty minutes ago? An hour? The wind had gotten a lot colder, and perhaps some of the tapestry spread below them had dimmed.

His fingers were fucking numb. Another shiver wracked him. A deeper one, at least. All his muscles were already taut against the cold. Not even a hint of warmth beneath his coat for him to jam his fingers into.

“Are you cold?” Cain asked. Still sitting there like it wasn’t biting at sub-zero.

“Fucking freezing. Aren’t you?”

“Mm.” A frown drew Cain’s brows together and he rubbed his hand over his jaw. “No, I’m alright.”

Call him crazy but that was weird. Probably showed on his face too because Cain started up out of his slouch. “Oh, this is where I offer you my coat or—“ His hand closed on nothing at his collar and a deep grimace settled across his lips. “I’m not wearing one, am I?”

Casper shook his head.

“That’s weird, isn’t it?”

A grin pulling at his mouth, Casper nodded. “I’ll settle for body warmth if it’s on offer.”

A flicker ran through his face, a cryptic pool of emotion, and it fell back into the grimace. “I’d love to but...” A sigh. “Here—“ he held out his hand, the sleeves already rolled back to bare his strong forearm to the cold—“touch.”

What a fucking weirdo. Did Cain want to touch him or not? Indulge him. That was a nice forearm. Perfect, even, just like the rest of him.

Perfect. Did you actually just think that? Casper reached out and brushed his—

“What the fuck?”

Casper pulled off his fingerless glove and closed his hand over Cain’s arm. It wasn’t just the cold, it was freezing. Just how it seemed it would be like gripping those cold marble statues that looked like real life. Casper’s heart pounded. Like he hung on to death.

“See?” A weak question, poor attempt at levity. “I’ll just make you colder.”

“Alright—“ Casper released his arm and held up his hands—“I’m doing this straight away – are you a vampire?”

Shocked laughter burst from Cain’s lips. He slumped back against the bench and shook his head. “No, I’m not a vampire.”

That was a little disappointing. Vampires would have made his life more interesting. Casper lowered his hands, nodding slowly. “I suppose there was enough garlic in your Chinese...”

On some stupid little impulse, Casper whipped his hands back up, two fingers together in the shape of a cross in Cain’s face. “Cristo!”

Cain flinched back from the hands shoved in his face, and as Casper spoke, voice hoarse with laughter, a breathtaking smile suffused Cain’s whole face.

The kiss he pressed to Casper’s fingers felt like the first touch of snow.

It hung in the air between them. Casper’s hands drifted down to his lap, and his heart pounded so hard he couldn’t breathe. Cain’s eyes held all the simmering heat that was missing from his skin, beautiful and entrancing and Casper drowned in them.

Cain slid his fingers through the side of his hair and kissed him. His lips were cold and heart-rending soft, and Casper melted beneath them as if he were ice left out in the baking sun.

If the peck had been a snowflake, this was a blizzard, and Casper wanted it to sweep him away forever.

But he made himself stop. Just short of where that ache would pull him up into Cain’s lap, straddling his hips and taking it the only direction he knew how – filth. Cain’s hand didn’t move from his hair and the other slipped beneath his scarf to press against his neck, like a shard of ice against his skin, and it was so gorgeously pure he couldn’t bear to ruin it.

His heart kept pounding even when he pulled back. Jackhammer against his ribs. Cain’s breath drifted across his lips as cold as the wind whipping around them and his eyes...

“I’m sorry,” Cain whispered. His hand still cradled Casper’s head, thumb rubbing soft just above his ear. It felt so nice he wanted to cry. “I couldn’t bear not to.”

“It’s okay.” And it was. His hands, he realised, were still wound up in Cain’s shirt, and he didn’t really wanted to let go. “So ... not a vampire?”

Cain laughed, the same bright, shocked laughter as before. His fingers pressed deeper against Casper’s skin and then, with a snowflake kiss against the tip of his nose, drew away.

“Not a vampire,” he promised.

“I’m reserving judgement until I see you in the light.”

“Very well, a daytime date then. I think I have an idea...”

Casper nodded, smiling. A daytime date sounded even better than an evening one. No drinks or sitting fancy for evening meals. Just ... a regular day.

“You’re not a zombie, are you?”

“Not a zombie either.”

“Not any kind of dead?”

“Very much alive, I believe.”

“Some kind of ice-aspected mythological creature?”

Cain laughed, easy and relaxed just like the smile on his lips, and spread his arms along the back of the bench. “At least mostly human, I like to think.”

Somehow it didn’t seem like he meant that the same way Casper thought about himself. Not with that cold-blooded flesh. Maybe his life was about to get a bit more interesting...

“You aren’t going to tell me then?”

The back of his knuckles brushed along Casper’s jaw, chill. “Another time. It’s a very long story, and you—“ he sat up and stretched his arms above his head—“You are far too cold to stay up here any longer.”

As much as he wanted to deny it, stay here forever, he really couldn’t feel a single extremity anymore, and maybe this ache in his body wasn’t just the cold. The inside of his elbow itched. Soon it’d creep into his veins and he’d start to sweat.

Better to leave before he fell apart. Hopefully, Cain really meant he wanted to see him again.

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