Title: Pranksters of Kinloch Hold: The Joy of Kissing
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anders ♂, Alim ‘Fen’Din’ Surana ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Unexpected licking, terrible comparisons
Notes: Elfhole does not understand why anyone, ever, would want to put their mouth on someone else.
Anders was leaned over a book, reading slowly, the quill in one hand sketching something described but not depicted in the text. He missed the footsteps behind them, registering them only long enough to determine they weren’t heavy enough to be templar boots, so the first hint of company he had was the flicker of tongue against his cheek. He smiled and finished the line he was drawing, already speaking, before he looked up.
"Mmm, hey, did you sha—" He blinked. That wasn’t Karl. That wasn’t Karl at all. "Andraste’s drippy knickers, elfhole! What are you— That’s my face!"
"Of course it is." Surana stared at the ceiling, a contemplative look on his face, as if he were trying to decide something.
"You just walked up and licked my face. That’s… not something you do. That’s not even really something anyone does." Anders squinted at the elf in confusion. "Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to tell me what the piss you’re doing?"
"Oh, I… It’s nothing important. I was just curious." Surana shook his head and smiled at Anders. "You taste interesting. Not like my hand. I’m still deciding if I like that taste."
"What… Why does it matter what I taste like?" Anders’s quill rested, leaking, on the half-finished drawing, but his mind was just not on his work any longer.
Surana shrugged and rocked back on his heels, studying the fall of light against the stone wall, like he tended to, whether he was paying attention or not. "After all the time Karl spends with his tongue on you, I wondered if you tasted good. I like things that taste good."
"You could have tried asking him or any of the other, what, forty people here who have had their tongues on me, recently!" Anders blinked and finally set his quill back on the rest, so he could get up, rubbing his inky hand across his forehead, not for the first time, that afternoon.
"But, that wouldn’t have told me much. They don’t like the things I like, necessarily. ‘Good’ is very subjective. Very personal," Surana explained, as if it made perfect sense — which it did, to him.
"Personal? So’s walking up and licking people’s faces!"
"I didn’t think you’d mind." Surana looked at Anders, inquisitively.
"It’s the kind of thing you ask before you do," Anders pointed out.
"Karl doesn’t ask you," Surana pointed out.
"Yeah, but I kind of expect it from Karl. Not that, but things like it. I thought you were him, for a second. Thought he’d shaved off that stupid beard." Anders shook his head and stepped back, crouching on the bench he’d been sitting on, not quite sitting on the edge of the table. "I don’t expect it from you."
"I thought we were as close, you and I, as you and him."
"We are! It’s just… different. You’re not him. You’re not even interested in the other half of what goes on between me and him — except apparently you are. When did that happen?" Anders was having trouble with the idea of Surana taking an interest in what was, for him, at least something sexual.
Surana sat on the edge of a half-height map-case. "I look out for you. I see what the two of you do, even if I don’t understand it. And you… I can’t understand it. I don’t have what I need to understand what you feel. But, I thought maybe I could understand what he tasted. Why he likes to open his mouth to you. The whole thing’s just bizarre to me. I know what tongues taste like. I have one. I tried licking my hand, but that didn’t answer the question, really. So, I figured perhaps it was something about you. That you were particularly delicious. I know you’re not the only ones who kiss, but you were the only one I thought I could … well … taste."
"Okay, that’s fair. Licking me is a pretty common entertainment around here," Anders joked. "But, it’s not really about the taste. It’s about the things you can’t feel. And Maker, but I have tried. I can’t fix it, elfhole. Wynne can’t fix it."
"It’s not broken. That’s why you can’t fix it. I’m just dead, roundear. It’s not that important." Surana shrugged and watched the walls again. One day, he’d understand them, and they’d part for him. "I’m just trying to … It’s a thing. People do it. And it bothers me, because even when I read about it, there’s not enough on the page. There’s nothing there. I know the words, but they don’t have proper meanings. They’re abstracts. I’m just… I don’t understand, and I want to, because you usually look so happy — you. Specifically you. I trust your judgement. And you have this thing, and it makes you happy, and I don’t really want it, but it bothers me that I can’t even understand why you want it, why it makes you happy."
"I’m stuck," Anders admitted, trying to rub the drying ink off his fingers. "If you want me to kiss you, I’ll do it. I’ll teach you how it’s done, but I know you’re not going to get the same thing out of it that I do — or that anybody else does. I mean, look at it this way, it’s something people do despite the taste of the inside of their mouths, when they wake up. People actually kiss in the morning. So, it’s not a taste thing."
"That sounds horrible. Why would you put more foulness into your mouth?" Surana looked completely grossed out.
"Because it’s not about the taste. It’s about the sensation. A good taste is nice, when you can get it, but most of the time, it’s the taste of the inside of your mouth times two, compounded by whatever else they’ve had in their mouth, lately. Which, really, isn’t that good, a lot of the time. Like I said, elfhole, it’s really not about the taste." Anders rubbed his face again, trying to figure out how to explain the point of kissing — at least kissing — to a man who lacked the capacity for the pleasures of touch and had no desire for physical closeness except when he didn’t mean to be heard. Or when he was wasted out of his mind. "I’m going to make some really bad comparisons and hope they help."
"I’m always in favour of you abusing language for your own ends and mine." Surana flicked a hand and a skeletal mouse scurried out from a bookcase and settled on his foot.
"Imagine something you really like to eat. I don’t know what kind of pleasure you get from food, but I know you get it. We’re not writ the same way around. My food pleasures are… elsewhere, I think. But, think of that feeling. Not the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth, but something you wouldn’t mind having a couple times a day."
Surana nodded. "That’s not hard."
"Now, imagine that you could get that sensation from touch, instead of just from taste. That you could have it if someone rubbed their finger across your lips."
"That entire concept bothers me on some deep level, but I can almost see the appeal. People are much more distressing than food."
"People are fucking horrifying, and may you never come to know them like I know them." A brittle smile crossed Anders’s face. "Now, imagine that someone else can feel the same sort of thing, so you kiss, and find out that it’s even better. Not amazing, but just really, solidly good. The kind of thing that can make you smile."
"Like tripping Ser Desmond on the stairs," Surana breathed, eyes alight with mischief.
Anders covered his mouth with the back of his hand, to hold back a laugh. "Different kind of smile. Frozen custard smile."
"Oh, I like that kind of smile." Surana watched the wall again, eyes tracing patterns no one else seemed to follow. "You can say that, because you can see my face. Can you tell me what goes with other things, if you watch me? If I respond like I want to, instead of how I’m expected to, can you translate that into things I don’t know?"
"I have no idea, but I have the sense that’s something we’re going to want to try privately, first. I doubt you want to be making faces like that where people are watching, and I know I’m going to have answers nobody should hear over supper."