demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
[personal profile] demeter918
Title: "Their Beaten Path"

Author: [personal profile] demeter918

Disclaimer: All rights and privileges to Wild Rock are trademarks and property of Kazusa Takashima and associated parties. The author claims no legal responsibility for problems associated with using this work.

Series: Wild Rock for those curious what this series is about.

Character/Pairing: Selem/Yuni, Yuuen/Emba

Warnings: Spoilers for the series

Notes: Written for white aster at the 2008 Yuletide Exchange.

Someday, I'll organize all my fics by date, but I doubt that!




Yuni is thinking this is a fairly bad idea.

No one is speaking. It's like a mating dance with nobody interested in mating.

There are those of his tribe who are subtly armed in the background, he's pretty sure Selem's tribe is of the same, and the only sounds on the forest shore are the trilling of some stupid birds. They don't seem to realize that it's dusk and this is the time for humans and their dances. Keep up with that, and the next thing he knows, they'd be keeping them as pets or something crazy like that. Yuni shakes the thought out of his head. This isn't the time to wonder about something strange.

He wonders whether he should bring out their offering of fish and then it occurs to him to wonder if the forest tribe would have anything to offer in return. Perhaps this would only flash start the tension if they are not prepared.

That would be very bad, he thinks. Perhaps even fatal. Arrow-through-the-heart-fatal. Yuni tries to remember if he has his funeral pyre made up yet.

Then Emba steps forward and offers a fat deer, skin brushed with animal lard and glistening in the little bit of sunlight left to the day. He lays it flat, neck broken at an angle and it tilts toward the water. Yuuen blushes, delicately, and Yuni wants to smile (but he won't, no, he can't smile, but he'll accept this homage to his son by offering their own.) He nods and flicks a hand and his elder son brings forth one of the larger water crocodiles and a pile of fresh fish that are stacked on a mat of woven water reeds. He hopes the East Forest tribe notices the tight weave and intricate dance of colors.

He eyes Emba and sees how proudly the boy stands at the front of his tribe; already, it seems, Selem has stepped down. Yuni feels a profound sense of relief. It is obvious that everyone respects Emba and his new role as tribal leader. If Yuuen can prove himself on hunts, he will be accepted into their tribe with few problems. Hopefully.

(He has seen his son on hunts, and they are not always successful.)

The two groups stand somewhat awkwardly, side by side. But then Yuuen laughs and Emba cracks a small smile. This breaks the ice that is thickening between the two. They start hesitant attempts at mingling and the success blooms a small bouquet of warmth in Yuni's stomach. He sees Yuuli, the heir to his seat, blush like a red berry. The cause of the blush is a dark-haired woman from the East Forest tribe and her pleasant eyes and healthy features come together to form a gentle smile and quick, expressive hands. He can already tell his son is smitten. That is beyond good; he has been looking for someone to bear children for Yuuli.

And now.

Now, Yuni considers Selem.

Or he would, if the man was around.

He sees neither hide nor hair of the man and he allows the celebration to get well underway. Soon, a bonfire starts and people move closer to dance around the edges. The potent salamander nectar, brewed fresh that morning, begins it's work as the warm tendrils snake around eyes and limbs, reaching each and every person. The children are drawn into a hypnotic dance of their own, feet pitter-pattering in time to the beat of drums and wooden flutes.

Emba and Yuuen take positions in the dance of intertwined trees, back to one another on the south side of the growing fire. It is an intricate group of steps that push and pull them apart before they meet together on the other edge, faces inches apart, hips and stomach flush against each other, fingers twisted in an unbreakable hold. The soft happiness in Yuuen's face quirks a a look of such care on Emba's face that Yuni has to turn away, wants to give them privacy in a sudden flood of embarrassment for catching his son in such an intimate moment.

The gathering is in full swing and Yuni knows he is no longer needed (if that could be wholly true). He takes steps away from the music and people and it peters out as he heads further and further along the wet shore. The woods heavily line the water, but for the first time, they offer promise and protection rather than unknown dangers and hostility.

There is a half-moon to guide his steps and he looks out at its silvery reflection on the water. The sound of water lapping at the edges of the sand fills him with a sense of quiet peace. It's a calm, clear night, perfect for the party to last into the early hours of dawn. Perhaps even into morrow's eve, Yuni thinks, if the revelers are sufficiently doused with salamander nectar.

Ahead, he sees a dark shadow that's leaning against a tree and for a moment, he wonders if its a demon. But then he sees the flash of white bone against dark skin and he realizes, with a sharp twist to his gut, that Selem has his back against a strong oak and he's puffing away at a pipe, wispy gray circles of smoke floating away like butterfly wings.

Yuni doesn't think about it. He steps on a branch, deliberate precision in every twitch of his muscles (it's like they're back at that cave) and the thin wood cracks with a loud gasp.

Selem doesn't react beyond raising a graceful hand. "Yo." Yuni notices the cracks and weathered lines on that hand.

"Hey."

"Good night."

"Yeah. It is." While well into spring, there is still a chill in the air and he feels the ache in his back. Yuni sits himself onto the grassy dirt and his bones creak to his every movement. "Couldn't stay around any longer. I'm getting too old for this."

Selem laughs. "You always acted older than you looked."

"You saying I look older than I act now?"

"Maybe." Selem lifts himself from the tree and crosses over to where Yuni is sitting. He tosses himself to the ground and Yuni takes an unabashed minute to feel envious over the fact that Selem isn't creaking or grinding or even rusting. It's a little unfair, considering Selem's the size of a bear and older, too. The years have been kinder to him than they have been to Yuni and isn't that a joke? Yuni tries not to notice the delicate bone necklace that hangs like a noose around Selem's neck.

They stare out over the lake. It's been years, decades, since they've had the chance to sit together and simply be.

"You know, Yuni..."

Yuni closes his eyes. It's also been a long time since he's heard Selem voice his name.

"I think our tribes will be happy herein out."

"Maybe they will," he replies, remembers the joy on Yuuen's face and the choice Emba had been willing to make.

That they could not.

"Emba and Yuuen have discussed combining the tribes, working in coalition rather than competition." Selem offers.

“Mmm.”

"The winters will not be so harsh with everyone together to pool food and warmth."

"Mm."

"And I've decided to jump into the water and become a woman."

"I waited for you."

Selem is expressionless at this, but he tenses and puffs a little more determinedly at his smoke pipe.

"I thought. Perhaps. No. No, I didn't wait. That's a lie."

The other man tilts his head to look up into the sky. If he could be anything, Selem is as still as the stars. "I know. Neither did I."

Yuni squints at his kneecaps. "She was a good woman."

"I heard. She died while hunting a boar, didn't she?"

Yuuen had only been seven years old. "Yes. I miss her." He waits a beat. "I know she died giving birth to Emba."

"Yeah. She was a childhood friend." Selem looks away, but the old grief still lines his eyes. "I thought she shouldn't, she'd always been a little more sickly than most, but she wanted it." His voice aches. “She'd wanted a child more than anything.”

"Yuuen was sick that year with the plague. She wanted to get him his favorite meal, and the boar gored her. Yuuen was hysterical for weeks after." Yuni knows this is slightly odd, for the two of them to speak of their wives, but it's true. He missed Yinah and he still misses Yinah. Yuni suspects it's the same for Selem. "For the good of my tribe."

"For the health of mine."

There is the sound of laughter. "We weren't quite as brave as Yuuen and Emba, were we." Yuni punches Selem lightly on the calf. "We were cowards, compared to them."

An awkward silence falls at that. Selem sits like a stone and Yuni feels the possible revival of their once-camaraderie dim and sputter with every moment that passes. He wants things to be different, he needs it to be. But he wonders if it's even likely. Things have changed in their years and he doesn't know if this is a line he can step over as easily as he once thought he might. It's not as he fantasizes. The tribes are still a force to be cautious of. Even if the two of them step down and power is handed to Yuuli and Emba, there might be those who would find their abrupt change a sign of demons.

Or maybe everyone would find it something to laugh at. Really, anything could happen.

Yuni chews on his lower lip (how long since he has been so unsure of something?) and asks Selem without looking at him, "I see you've kept my piece."

"You've kept mine."

Yuni fingers the curved pieces that hang off his wrist. "Not much of a reason to throw them away."

A silence. Then, "no?"

"No."

The air changes in a minuscule way. Yuni risks a glance over and he sees Selem touch his own memento. The movement contracts his chest and he feels the touch like a gouge to his own body. (Not unlike the time an alligator got its way and bit a chunk off his lower back.)

Selem turns to look at him and Yuni finally sees Selem in the moonlight and the first thing he sees is the way the dark eyes glitter. It is no different then those days spent at the cave and springs. They exude the same warmth. Yuni feels his throat close up and he doesn't wait, doesn't hesitate. He pushes himself forward, acutely aware of the fact that he is no longer smooth and supple, that his skin is papery dry, that he's finally tall enough to see eye-to-eye with Selem, that even the hairs on his arms have grayed with the passage of time. But he doesn't wait.

Yuni presses his lips (chapped, grooved with life and all the in-between) to Selem's and just holds there. This is his limit. He gives the hunting rights to Selem, gives it willingly.

And nothing happens.

A coldness settles into his limbs and it takes an enormous amount of strength to pull away. He knows he should just stand up and walk away. But what does he have to be ashamed about? He knows nothing of why he should be ashamed. He isn't ashamed. Yuni opens his eyes and Selem gazes back. And then smiles.

Before he lunges with one quick movement.

He pushes Yuni into the ground and his head slaps the dirt with a soft thud. A stick digs into the small of his back and Yuni's mouth forms an 'o' in surprise. His shoulder blades protest their treatment, but he ignores him because.

Because Selem is sniffing at his neck.

It feels like someone is touching him with a heated iron, but without the pain, without the smell of burnt flesh. Selem's tongue slips out of his mouth and laves at his pulse point. He feels his heart drop to his stomach, but in a good way. He feels like he should be throwing up, but all that happens is his cock rising so fast, he's surprised it doesn't get nauseous. More of the tongue, more of the heat, more of the rough, pebbled texture, and Yuni thinks he is about to fucking die.

He knows.

He knows on one of those distant side notes where everything collapses in a flurry of bright balls, Yuri notes that Selem even smells older now. It's a musky scent that is reminiscent of the deep woods, of dusty pelts, and cold distant winters. Yuni drinks it in, stuffs it like pipe weed down his lungs. All he wants is more and Selem provides it by pressing his teeth to Yuni's neck. The dark-haired man bites, sucks, swears against his skin. And then pulls back. Black eyes grin. "We haven't done that in a while."

He chokes a bit. "No, not for a long time." Cave. He returns the favor, presses his nose against the side of Selem's neck. The feelings rush through him like a waterfall of giddiness. It's been so long since he's touched Selem. He wonders. He wonders if this is how Yuuen feels when Emba is by him. He wonders now, how he could have spent all those years without Selem at his side?

Yuni pulls his forehead back and presses it to Selem's. Their harsh breaths intermingle in the night air and Selem's hand moves restlessly against the tight band of his skirt. Yuni grabs his hand, presses it hard over his groin and he can't help it. He mewls, just a little.

They scrabble at each other, Selem pushes the fabric back, yanks at it with a rough impatience. Yuni returns it equal fold and the two are soon stroking the others cock in a frenzied, impatient way that holds them in iron grips. Selem's hand is hot and malleable and soon Yuni loses sight of everything but the way Selem's face grimaces and slacks in time to his slick strokes. The two grind against each other, hands work frantically. Yuni feels a blinding heat rise up in him, tries to push it back, he feels his throat thicken, attempts to swallow his orgasm back, he wants more, he definitely wants more of this, he can wait, he can, he can, one more time, slow down, slow the fuck down, time, Yuni chokes, he sees Selem's eyes dilate and his hands squeeze and stroke in time to their heartbeats, and the whole world flashes gray in front of his eyes and it's like everything disappears and nothing else matters but heat, but wet, but Selem, but...

Selem collapses on top of Yuni and the two old men try not to move.

Yuni tries not to yelp when Selem moves their hands from their softening members. He rubs their hands in the dirt to clean the sticky white residue off and Yuni suddenly laughs. "We're definitely getting old, Selem. How long did that take?"

"Geezers need practice." Selem pokes him in the balls and rolls onto his back. Ha, Yuni thinks, at least Selem's out of breath too.

"Give me two hours, and I bet I can make you come harder than an alligator after it's next meal."

"Give me three, and I bet you'll be begging for it at one point."

"Make that an hour!" Yuni sits up to retort.

"Make it a half hour."

"Ten minutes!"

"You're on." Selem smirks.

Yuni pauses, swears, and the two roar with laughter, the sounds reaching the further shores of the party. They collapse back down and look at each other. The years suddenly don't matter. Time is here and now; they have a future. Their tribes have a future and their children will know love side by side with responsibility.

Selem takes Yuni's hand. (It's hard not to feel like the world is stopping for them.)

Points to the sky. "Look."

---------

Emba looks up briefly from Yuuen's dazed face, sees the two sitting in the distance, and decides that he doesn't want to know.

-fin-
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