My characters! Wee! No sex, obviously, but cheerful descriptions of the male body and the use there-of, so be warned.

His Lover's Body

He watches Damien sleep, stretched out on sheets far too colourful for an Elenian. Lakado does not care; he's not Elenian, and he takes joy in bright colours, and whether he knows it or not, Damien is beautiful on them. Gold against the rainbow.

He lays there, the warrior, and sleeps peacefully, his back arched lightly, muscles sliding under his skin as it rises with each breath. A tangle of tan hair winds it way down one shoulder blade and, bemused, Lakado pushes it away. Damien does not stir, and the nomad grows bold. He draws a hand along the spine, feeling the thick muscles next to it. Lakado has felt his own back, simply because he likes the feel of a body, and though the muscles are there, they are weak compared to the thick cords tied to Damien's spine.

The trailing fingers reach a scar, and absently Lakado traces it, remembering the story of it. The maker of it, Damien had told him, was banished from the Blessed Isle for striking it; an Elenian does not strike a foe from behind, not ever, but he had been in a rage after Damien had slain each of his seven brothers. Damien had been twelve in that battle.

Lakado smiles and moves his hand up to tickle a shoulder blade, then moves to one shoulder, circling the white indented scar left by an Imperial Archer. Lakado had held Damien's sword in the flames, while the warrior broke the arrow and pulled it from his shoulder, stubbornly silent and teeth gritted. Lakado had just barely managed to hand over the sword before retching in the snow.

He moves his caresses down the muscled arm - the left one; he knows the right one to be even stronger - and pauses on the nicks on the elbow and gruesome scar on his lower arm. A spear had pierced his shield there, and his arm as well. Lakado had been surprised that Elenians even used a shield, and Damien had said it was only for practice.

Leave it to Elenians, thinks Lakado, to use shields for play alone.

He traces the lines in Damien's callused palm, and he knows the knuckles to be equally thick-skinned. He had once asked when the Elenian started training their boy-warriors, and Damien had told him that he, at least, had started at four.

Lakado abandons the hand and moves to one leanly muscled hip. A few knicks mar it, the result of a swordfight with a limber Eyesgaian. Lakado has only faced a warrior of the Old Folk once, and he has no wish to do it again. That this one got close enough to mark an Elenian is testament to his skills. Lakado bends his neck and lays a soft kiss on the scars.

His hand moves down to the firm buttocks, and with a small grin he squeezes. Damien mumbles in his sleep and shifts, but Lakado ignores him. His expression sobers at the sight of the lurid mish-mash of scar tissue covering Damien's backside and the tops of his thighs.

A priest fresh from Elenium, more diligent even than Damien's pious twin, had learned of the budding relationship between devout warrior and heathen shaman, and he had doled out their god's punishment with the word and the flail.

Lakado had never seen Xavier so furious as when he stood above his fellow priest, bloody knife in hand. Damien, bleeding and scarred, was silent at his brother's feet. Lakado had helped him limp away; he did not want to know what Xavier had done to be rid of the corpse.

It had taken a month for those wounds to heal. Every day Lakado had made sure to kiss them gently and, when Damien was asleep and unaware, offer a prayer to the spirits that his lover may grow stronger for it.

And he had.

Lakado moves down his legs, leaving a last lingering kiss on the scars, and absently tickles the back of Damien's knee. The warrior twitches and turns over with a grumble. Lakado perks at the new possibilities. He considers, for a moment, the fact that he's a pervert, and decides he does not care. He plays briefly with the small, white scars on Damien's shin - too many to count, from too many battles - before moving back up.

The thighs, firm and muscled from years of horse riding, and decades of battle. The wounds from the flailing just barely peek around on the sides. The inside of those thighs is the only place Lakado can think of where Damien is soft. He touches the skin, testing it carefully, then slides his hand up slowly, grinning the grin of a well-fed shark. Damien's phallus, flaccid though it is at the moment, is after all Lakado's favourite toy. And, amazingly, even that is scarred.

When Damien was sixteen a Rassian dagger had cut a little too close, and the maimed foreskin had been removed. A hair-thin white scar runs crookedly down the shaft. Damien had told him the story, blushing as he always did when 'unclean' subjects were brought up, and Lakado had made the appropriate sympathetic gestures. He had then, belatedly, kissed it better.

Lakado moves up and regards the navel. He is rather fond of Damien's navel, though why he cannot explain. He had once asked if, since everything else was the same, did Damien and Xavier have identical navels? Xavier had started an impressively improvised sermon on the privacy of the human body, and Damien had told him quite firmly to shut up about things like that.

Lakado grins and kisses the navel, moving along the ribbed abdomen. He has seen men among his own people struggling for years to gain such an abdomen.

And then there is the chest, each muscle lean but sharply defined. Lakado nuzzles his cheek against the nearly invisible fuzz there. The nomad, like most his people, has trouble growing a beard, let alone body hair beyond what covers his groin. The growth - sparse though it is compared to Lemanians or Kallians - that the Elenians experience fascinates him. He remembers waking up and seeing Damien with a vague shadow on his golden face, gaping in wonder as water and a sharp knife swept it away.

That is one of the few times he remembers seeing Damien laugh. It is easier now for the warrior to smile, but the shadow of a dour god still rests on him.

Lakado licks a nipple, because he knows Damien to like this, and sure enough his eyes flutter for a brief moment, a dazed word slipping past his lips.

Lakado smiles, watching him and absently tracing the long, wicked scar running dangerously close to the artery in Damien's right wrist. His cousin had dealt that wound in a childhood game. Lakado had been shocked that Elenian children even played with weapons. Upon reflection he really should not have been.

Damien's chest rises with each breast, and Lakado rests his head on it, closing his eyes, letting the slow rhythm carry him into his lover's heartbeat. Slow and hypnotic. Lakado smiles and lifts his head, moving past the collarbone and the deep dent marring one side. This scar, Damien had told him, came from a Feysan's double-bladed axe, and it was still bandaged when Lakado had first met him. Astride his slender Elenian horse, all flashing sword and battle-mad eyes, and his brother's hysteric chanting egging him on.

Death to all heathens. Glory is the Lord's. We are His tools, and He is our master.

Lakado had shivered then, and he shivers now. He does not believe in the jealous god of the holy island, but it scares him none the less. Damien believes in it. Damien kills for it.

The nomad shakes the thoughts away and trails his lips over Damien's Adam's apple, licking a slow trail up to the chin. Then he raises himself on his elbows and looks into Damien's face.

He had once told Damien that, to him, all Elenians looked alike. Damien had refused to share his bed for a week after that, and Lakado had been amused at the reaction. But he had been honest. Elenians with their sharp, golden features - their narrow noses, their thin lips and large, round eyes, their tan hair and lean build - they truly did all seem the same to Lakado when he first met them.

Now he can tell them apart with relative ease. Perhaps not one from another without thought, but Damien he can see from across a room.

And there, he notices, on Damien's right brow is a small, white scar. When he asked, Damien had blushed and mumbled the story. At ten he had been running to show his father a blessed stone he had found, when enthusiasm overcame him and he stumbled on the stairs, going headfirst into a niche in the wall. Lakado had laughed long and hard, and he bites back a chuckle even now.

He smiles and lowers his head gently, pressing his lips against Damien's, tasting the wine he uses to seduce Damien into his bed for another night. The lips beneath his move and clear green eyes flutter open.

Damien blinks at him, then smiles tiredly. Lakado smiles back.

"What is it?" says Damien.

Lakado knows, should he say they were in danger, enemies right outside his tent, the docile man beside him will rise within the second, sword in hand. He bites back the impulse. "I'm just watching you."

"Savage." Damien rolls to his side, nestling his face in the crook of Lakado's arm.

"Puritan," answers Lakado and smiles, lying back down. Damien's body presses against his, warm and scarred and wonderful.