“Come on, it’s just a picture~”
“You know I don’t like taking pictures, Oli…”
“It’ll be fine, I promise~”
Icarus let out a small sigh and nodded. “Fine...just for you, though.”
Oliver smiled widely and raised their phone up, opening the camera and doing a peace symbol with their fingers and winking, while Icarus looked into the camera, a small smile at his lips, eyes flickering to a light shade of red for a moment as the camera snapped. Oliver giggled and leaned backwards against Icarus, smiling still. “Thanks hun~”
Icarus nodded and smiled. “Of course~”
They were sitting in Oliver’s living room together, boxes of Icarus’ things sitting around them. They were moving in together, and they settled on Oliver’s house, since Icarus’ house was too far away from their workplace and was smaller than Oliver’s. He didn’t mind, though. Anywhere would be just fine if Oliver was there as well.
Oliver stood up and bounced on their heels for a moment before looking down at Icarus. “You hungry?”
“Maybe a little bit…” Icarus sat up and smiled.
“Well, I can make whatever you want~” they smiled and bounced a little again.
“How about we change it up~” Icarus stood up and looked down at Oliver a bit. “I cook and you relax, alright?”
Oliver’s face turned a bit red. “I-I’m the cook here, dummy!”
“But you’ve been cooking every meal, and you’ve been moving around a lot. You need to sit down and just relax, okay hun?”
Oliver looked like they were gonna protest for a moment before shrugging and walking into the kitchen. “Whatever you say~”
Icarus smiled and walked past them, opening a few cabinets and pulling out some boxed food to cook, while Oliver sat against the counter, smiling a bit as they watched Icarus do his thing. Icarus grabbed a box of butter noodles and a pot, putting it to boil as he turned and stepped over to the fridge. Oliver watched him with a small smile on their face, crossing their arms across their chest and tapping their foot quietly against the tile floor.
Oliver sat against the walls of a large transport truck, their head lowered to the ground, snoring quietly. All around them stood and sat a lot of freshly recruited soldiers of various builds, sizes, and colors, from a lot of different colony worlds. Oliver didn’t seem to fit in very well with everyone else inside; they were small, skinny, and pale, not someone you’d expect to become a soldier one day.
The truck came to a stop and everyone began to file out, while Oliver was still asleep against the wall. They felt a soft tap on their shoulder that awoke them quickly, and they looked up in a tired confusion at a man with long, black and red hair, with stunning blue eyes. He smiled and offered his hand down to Oliver. “Come on, bud, we gotta go. You don’t wanna get stuck in one of these during a transfer, trust me.” His voice carried a slight germanic, effeminate tone to it.
Oliver took his hand and pulled themselves up to their feet, wobbling a bit as the blood in their legs drained back down. “Thank you...what’s your name?” they asked, fixing their messy hair a bit and patting the dust off of their uniform.
“Icarus. Icarus Krueger. You?” he replied, smiling.
“Oliver. Oliver Veskar.”
Oliver hugged Icarus from behind and buried their face into his shoulder, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He smelled like old cinnamon and lavenders, and that made Oliver smile and giggle a bit.
Icarus looked out of the corner of his eye and chuckled a bit as he cooked. “What is it, hun?” he asked through his chuckling.
“You smell like an old man…” Oliver mumbled, giggling again.
Icarus let out a small, fake scoff. “I do not smell like an old geezer, hun…”
“Not an old geezer…” they mumbled again. “Like some uptown old guy with money in his bank and a few mistresses~”
Icarus chuckled again. “Oh, I’m an uptown guy now?” He shook his head and smiled. “Then I guess you’re my uptown girl, huh?~”
Oliver blushed hard and let out a louder giggle. “I guess so, mon amour~”
Icarus smiled a small bit, his eyes flickering between a few colors. “Oh, mon amour, que ferais-je sans toi, me serrant par derrière avec tant de désir?~”
Oliver blushed harder and stammered over their words. “J-Je ne sa-savais pas que tu aimais être t-tenu par derrière, gr-gros tyran~”
Icarus smirked and turned around, grabbing Oliver’s shoulders and smiling, showing off his sharp teeth. “Ne m'oblige pas à utiliser ces dents~”
Oliver blushed harder and looked up into Icarus’ red, shining eyes. “F-Fucking bet~”
Icarus smirked and let go of Oliver. “Later, my love~ I’ve got something planned for after we eat, then I can eat you, okay?”
Oliver chuckled nervously and leaned against the counter again, hands in their lap. “O-Of course, hun.”
Oliver grunted as they hit the mud, the breath knocked from their lungs. The large soldier above him grinned; he was powerfully built, tall and muscular, with tattoos trailing across his chest like roots on a tree. He took a step back and laughed. “You already done, pretty boy?!”
Oliver groaned and rolled over, beginning to push up from the ground, their muscles aching and screaming in protest. The soldiers crowded around the two of them cheered and yelled in support of the large brute, and Oliver’s head spun with dizziness and the scent of blood dripping from their forehead. They pushed up to their feet and turned around, raising their fists a small bit while wobbling a bit. The soldier laughed and took large steps towards Oliver, whistling to himself.
Suddenly, Icarus came from behind the soldier and wrapped an arm around his neck, dragging all his weight downwards to bring the brute down to the floor. The soldier fought back, trying to stay upright, but Icarus’ powerful arms proved too much for him to handle, and they both fell backwards into the mud. Icarus rolled over just in time not to get crushed, and instantly got on top of the soldier and began to beat his fists into his chin, not showing any restraint. The crowd went silent as the soldier tried to block his hits, but Icarus broke through each time. After a moment, a duo of men from the crowd ran over and pulled him off of the soldier, tossing him back a bit as they helped the soldier up to his feet.
Icarus panted for a few moments before turning around, walking towards Oliver and wrapping an arm around their shoulder, breathing heavily. “Let’s go get you cleaned up… come on.” He started to walk Oliver away, towards the shower barracks. They nodded and walked along with Icarus, their breath shaky and shallow. Icarus pulled them closer to him and muttered under his breath in a soothing tone, his voice hot against Oliver’s ears . “It’s okay, you don’t have to shake anymore. You don’t have to act strong right now, it’s okay. I’m here.”
Oliver nodded as they entered the shower, and Icarus walked them to the one farthest from the door, their footsteps wet and short against the tiled floor. “Do you need me to help you get undressed, or do you think you can do it yourself?”
“I...I don’t know if I…” Oliver muttered, reaching down to lift up their shirt. Their muscles screamed out again, and they gave a sharp inhale and groaned through gritted teeth.
Icarus grabbed the bottom of their shirt. “You don’t have to, I can get this for you.” He started to pull up Oliver’s shirt, slowly, his hand grazing Oliver’s pale, soft skin. They slowly raised their arms so Icarus could pull it up over their head, and he tossed it to the floor a bit away from them. He leaned in and wrapped his arm around Oliver’s shoulders again. “What about your pants? Do you think you can get those off either?”
Oliver shook their head and wobbled a bit on their feet as Icarus ran a hand down to their belt and undid it fairly easily, pulling it through its loops and tossing it over with the shirt. He stepped in front of Oliver and used both hands to slide down their underwear and pants at the same time, dropping them and helping them step through the pant legs before reaching down and tossing them to the side. Icarus looked Oliver up and down and nodded. “I don’t see a lot of really bad bruises or anything from your neck down...just moreover your head and a few bruises around your chest and stomach…” he took a step closer and looked down at Oliver, tilting their head up to look at him, eyes still that piercing blue color. “Are you comfortable with me helping you shower?” he whispered, his breath warm and soothing on Oliver’s skin.
Oliver nodded and closed their eyes as Icarus helped them move into the shower stall, not undressing himself as he cranked the water over to warm and grabbed a bar of soap and a wash rag. The water seemed to burn Oliver for a moment before they got less tense and relaxed a small bit, muscles loosening as Icarus ran the soapy rag over their body.
Icarus leaned in next to Oliver's head and mumbled over the running water. "Am I being too rough?"
"No...not at all…" Oliver muttered back. Their heart was racing, mind filled with new fantasies and thoughts that they never even thought they would imagine. They moved their hand down over their groin as their cheeks ran red with blush.
"You seem...really flustered." Icarus said nervously, water dripping from his hair onto Oliver's shoulder. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I...I don't know…" they said quietly, tensing up again. They didn't really know how to feel with all these new emotions hitting their heart like a freight train.
"You don't know what?" He said, voice warm with concern and...something else.
"Come on, talk to me…"
Oliver turned around and looked up at Icarus, face red and eyes watering. "T...Thank you...so much…"
"Thank me for what? I'm just being a nice guy to someone who needs help…"
"Just...thank you...I…" they stammered over their words again, heart pounding at a million miles an hour with the force of a kick drum. "I...I.."
Icarus put his hands on their shoulders and smiled softly. "You…?"
"I...lo…" they closed their eyes and buried their head into Icarus' chest, wrapping their arms around his back, taking in the smell of washed away mud and soap and wet clothes and the feeling of being alive again and being where they belonged, before muttering.
"I love you."
Icarus froze for a moment and dropped the soap and rag. "You...you what?"
"I love you…" they muttered again, hugging him tighter. "I love you, you...you big dummy…"
Icarus stayed frozen for a moment before wrapping his arms around their back and hugging back tightly. "I…I've never had anyone say that to me like...like that…"
"Well...I just...did...for the first time…too...heh…"
Icarus pulled away slightly and looked down at Oliver as they looked up at him, face red still, smiling like an idiot. "I...love you too, Oliver…" he leaned down until he hovered just a few inches from Oliver's lips before pulling them into a soft, short kiss, his lips tasting like blood and sweat and soap. And it tasted like a luxury dessert to Oliver.
Oliver sat comfortably in the passenger's seat of Icarus' car as they rolled down the tightly packed highways of Kodar. A heavy metal song played over the radio as the speedometer on the car read 75 miles per hour, then slowly climbed up to 80. Icarus drummed his hands against the steering wheel and bobbed his head back and forth with the beat. Oliver sat with their legs up to their chest, enjoying the music and the ride.
Icarus turned down the radio and smiled over at Oliver. "It's gonna be a bit till we get there, if you wanna take a nap or something hun."
Oliver shook their head and smiled back. "I'll be fine, love. I wanna make sure you don't...I dunno...kill the two of us going 80 down the highway~"
He chuckled in response and smirked. “I promise I won’t kill the two of us, at least not yet, anyways…~”
Oliver let out a small giggle and looked out the passenger side window. Giant buildings and other cars disappeared behind as they moved, faster than most anyone else. They smiled and rested their head against the window, closing their eyes and taking a deep, happy breath.
Oliver leapt down into the trenchline, rifle gripped tightly in their gloves hands. The rain pounded onto their head, their gas mask fogging up with each breath they took. The ARWG’s tanks rolled over the line nearby, rain soaked Enforcers ahead of them. Oliver moved quickly down the long trenches, rifle raised, ignoring most of the radio chatter in their headset. An explosion went off further on in the trench and Oliver moved faster.
An ESF soldier, dressed in all white combat armor, came around the corner and raised their rifle, squeezing off a round and blowing off Oliver’s hat. They raised their rifle and fired a burst into their chest, blue blood spraying upwards into the air as they collapsed into the mud. Oliver reached down and picked their hat up, putting it back on before rushing over the dead soldier and around a corner. Another soldier came in front of them, rifle raised again. Oliver raised their leg and delivered a powerful kick into their chest, sending them tumbling backwards into the wood reinforced mud wall, before firing another burst into their chest, watching them slump against the ground. They climbed over the wall and jumped into another trench, ARWG soldiers fighting in close quarters with ESF soldiers.
Suddenly, their headset crackled with the panicked voice of their section commander coming over the waves. “ALL ARWG FORCES, FALL BACK! ESF BOMBERS HAVE BEEN SPOTTED, I REPEAT, ESF BOMBERS HAVE BEEN SPOTTED!” Up in the air, a squadron of massive ESF bombers began to descend onto them, shining silver in the cold air, engines roaring as their bomb bays began to open.
As their fellow soldiers began to run back towards their artillery line, Oliver jumped up with them, listening to the sickening scream and crack of bombs hitting their tanks and the mud, men getting sent tumbling through the air if they weren’t disintegrated by the bombers to begin with. The heat from the bombs slamming into the cold, wet mud sent Oliver sideways a bit as they ran, rifle still held tight against them. They saw Icarus ahead, shotgun in hand, running as fast as he could.
Suddenly, an ESF bomb slammed into the mud closer than the others, the blast lifting Oliver off of their feet and into the air, their ears ringing as they slammed back into the ground, the heated up mood beginning to act like quicksand as it sucked them down into it, their legs now stuck. They faded in and out of consciousness. Their body screamed in pain as soldiers ran over them, trying to escape. They tried to grip at the mud, but to no avail, it finding its way up into their nose and throat. Their vision went blurry as they saw a figure sprinting towards them as fast as they could.
Their vision cleared up enough for a moment to see it was Icarus, who kneeled down and grabbed their arms, beginning to strain and pull as hard as he could. Their legs strained with him, their boots and socks slipping away as their muscles pulled and their bones got close to snapping, before he finally pulled them out and put them over his shoulder, turning back and running. Their vision finally went full black as the sound of friendly jets roared overhead.
They awoke to Icarus gripping their face, a panic in his voice. “Come on, Oliver...come on, please don’t...don’t do this to me…”
Oliver coughed and leaned forward a bit, realizing they were sitting against the mud walls of their artillery trench. Their vision waxed and waned in focus, and they reached a hand up to their forehead, coming back with slick, blackened blood.
Icarus let out an exasperated sigh of relief and wrapped his arms around Oliver, shaking. “Oh my God, thank you...I was...so worried…”
Oliver hugged him back and started to shake as well. The signature whine of a dropship’s engines echoed nearby.
Icarus pulled away and looked Oliver in the eyes, one of his own flickering between red and solid black, obviously broken and in need of repair. “Do you think you can walk?” They looked down at their legs and tried to flex one of them, being hit with a sudden hot flash of pain. They winced and shook their head. Icarus nodded a small bit. “I’ll carry you to the ship, then. We’re heading back up to a medical freighter. We’ll be back down here in a week or two, I bet.”
Icarus grabbed underneath Oliver’s arms and lifted them up, putting his other arm under their legs and lifting them off the ground. He began to walk them towards the ship, and Oliver noticed how ragged his uniform was. It was burned to bits, holes and bloodstains scattered everywhere. His face was caked in black soot and specks of blood, and his eye still flickered between red and solid black. They rested their head against Icarus’ chest, closing their eyes and listening to Icarus’ slow, methodical heartbeat.
Icarus stopped the car just off of the road, turning it off and smiling. “We’re here, love…” he reached over and tapped Oliver's shoulder. They were still asleep against the window, and the touch woke them up with a slight startle.
“H-Huh..?” they said sleepily, looking out the window at the beach that hugged the ocean, that stretched on for miles and miles and miles out of view. The orange sun sank slowly underneath the horizon, being swallowed by the glowing ocean.
Icarus unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his door. “We’re at the beach, sleepyhead. Come on, before the sun goes down too much.”
Oliver stretched and unbuckled, opening their door and climbing out. Icarus walked around the car and grabbed their hand, smiling as he walked them down a small embankment and onto the lower part of the beach. His eyes shone slightly in the light as they walked.
Seagulls chirped overhead, the noise dulled by the noise of water lapping against the soft sand. Icarus didn’t say a word as they walked; Oliver guessed he wanted to savor the noise like a fine wine or some poetic shit like that.
Suddenly, he stopped and smiled. He turned around to Oliver and grabbed their hands in his own, looking them in the eyes. “You wanna know why I brought you out here?”
They smiled and looked up at him. “Yeah, what is it, love?”
He let go of their hands and crouched down, reaching a hand into the soft sand and wriggling it around a bit before pulling up a box, staying on his knees. Before he could open the box, Oliver spoke.
“It’s a yes.”
Icarus looked up at them dumbfounded for a moment. “W-What?”
Oliver squatted down with him and grabbed his cheeks. “You know what I mean, dummy, it’s a yes.”
Icarus’ face started to contort in a mix of sadness and happiness and he grabbed Oliver, pulling them into a tight hug. “T...Thank you, love...that’s...that’s really nice to hear…” his voice started to shake a bit.
Oliver hugged him back and smiled. “I love you, hun...I...I love you so much…”
Oliver stood in the hallway of a freighter, their legs, arms, and bits of their torso and neck wrapped in medical tape. They were wearing only their uniform blue slacks and jackboots, both of which were covered in days old mud and bloodstains. They were standing outside of Icarus’ room, their chest moving rapidly up and down, their heart beating like it did oh so long ago, as they held a fist up against the door, ready to knock. They closed their eyes and took a deep breath, knocking softly on the door a few times. The door slid upwards and open, and they stood in the doorway, looking at Icarus.
He looked like he hadn’t slept in days, large dark bags under his eyes accentuating the black and red they were now. Wrappings obviously sat under his black long sleeve shirt and his pants and boots were in the same shape Oliver’s was, just a tad bit cleaner.
Oliver smiled softly and took a nervous step forward. “Bad time?” they asked, their voice quiet and nervous.
Icarus shook his head and rubbed his eyes quickly, scooting over on his bed. “No, no, you’re fine...did you need something?”
They shrugged and took a few less nervous steps into the room. “It’s lonely in the medical wing...nobody’s awake ‘cept for me...I guess I just needed a bit of company?”
Icarus nodded. “Yeah…you can close the door, I don’t mind…”
Oliver nodded and walked back to the door, pressing the panel to close it before turning back around and walking towards the bed, sitting in front of it on the floor, bringing their knees up to their chest and closing their eyes. “It’s...really quiet up here...y’know?”
Icarus nodded again. “Yeah...no artillery, no shouting, just...rumbling. That’s it.”
Oliver nodded and let out a small noise. “Yeah…”
Icarus slid off of the bed and next to Oliver, bringing his knees up to his chest as well. Oliver rested their head against his shoulder and sighed quietly, noticing that he tensed up really badly. “You alright?” they asked quietly.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine…It’s just a reaction I’ve sorta..developed. I’m fine.” Icarus said, and it became very clear to Oliver that he was lying through his teeth.
Oliver pulled away slightly and sat upright, opening their eyes and locking them with Icarus. "Really...come on, talk to me, Iccy...did I do something wrong?"
"It's...it's nothing, I promise…" he said, frowning slightly. "Just...you can put your head back...it's just a reflex."
“Did...something happen?” they asked, moving to sit in front of Icarus. He shook his head and lowered it into his knees, hiding his face. Oliver put a hand on his hand and gripped it slightly. “Come on, Iccy, talk to me…”
He looked up, eyes flickering between red and blue, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I...back on Yalisok...before I met you...I…”
“You were captured…” Oliver said quietly.
“Y-Yeah...and those…those people...they…” he closed his eyes again and began to shake again. “They...did things...really...really awful things...I...I…”
Oliver suddenly sprang forward and pulled Icarus into a tight, warm hug. They couldn’t stand to see Icarus in such pain, they had to do something. “Shh...it’ll be okay, Iccy...I promise...they aren’t around to hurt you anymore…”
Icarus wrapped his arms around Oliver and started to cry, choking on his words, going soft and limp in Oliver’s arms. “I...I’m…”
“You’re okay…” Oliver muttered. “You’re okay…”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about…” Oliver cupped Icarus’ chin and looked him in the eyes. “Trust me...it’s not your fault…”
Icarus looked him in the eyes, tears rolling aimlessly down his cheeks, and he started to sniffle a bit, trying to stop them. “Alright...y-yeah...I’m...okay…”
Oliver smiled weakly. “Yeah, you’re okay.”
“I’m positive.” They leaned in and kissed him softly, smiling before sitting down in front of him again. “Yeah...they can’t hurt you anymore, right?”
Icarus nodded a small bit. “Yeah...Yeah...they can’t…”
They smiled again. “Now, come on...do you wanna cuddle or something? It might help you get your mind off of that...island...and onto the present.”
He nodded and smiled. “That sounds...really nice, actually…”
They nodded with him and stood up, wobbling a bit before climbing onto Icarus’ bed. He climbed up and laid behind Oliver, wrapping an arm over their chest and pulling them in tight against his body. Oliver felt at home here, against Icarus, his chin resting on their head, their breaths hot and in sync with each other. The rumbling of the freighter didn’t bother them anymore, it was just background noise now, as their heartbeats stole the stage and danced with each other like a salsa dance.