This is a Christmas gift to my best friend, Cuppie, who requested this :) Please note it has little to no bearing on the actual plot of Tasteful and its sequels :) This takes place a few years in the future. To understand it, I guess you don't have to know what the Tasteful series is about, but I recommend it.
An Unexpected (and Unwanted) Surprise
A Tasteful series side story (or Taylor and Lo side story)
Warnings: Story contains mpreg (yep you heard right, a first for me too!), sexual content (maybe?), angst, romance, etc. Rated T for now but that may change. This is slash for those who do not know. If that is not your glass of pineapple juice, return to the refrigerator and try again.
Chapter One: Must be the Flu
Taylor groaned as he heaved into the toilet once more, his body trembling, bile in his throat, staining his taste buds. His stomach in knots, it took all he had not to fall over even though he was already on his knees, leaning against the wall and the toilet for support.
He swallowed, sure his stomach had nothing more to expel, and leaned fully against the wall, his back against it and his legs now stretched out in front of the toilet. God, that was awful. Food poisoning, maybe? Nah, unlikely. Lo cooked last night and Lo didn't mess up on things like that – he was a dog, he knew when things were bad. But if not food poisoning, then what? The flu? Odd. Taylor hadn't gotten the flu in a long time.
But it was flu season – maybe he was just sick.
Medicine would help, then. Yeah.
He swallowed and then quickly lunged back toward the toilet as bile carved into his tongue and throat. Out came the vomit and whatever remained of the food he'd consumed last night.
He ran a shaky hand across his sweaty brow, spitting out the last of the vomit in his mouth.
The voice was soft, quiet, and knuckles rapped against the door. Taylor swallowed.
Crap, he thought, because he didn't mean to wake him.
"Yeah?" he asked quietly. He didn't feel like speaking up and he knew Lo's keen sense of hearing would allow him to pick up the word easily enough. A perk of sharing DNA with a dog. Or, in some cases, a downside…
Thunderstorms forever remained a topic never to be discussed – especially if Lo woke grouchy the next day.
"Everything okay?" Lo asked.
Taylor nodded to himself though he knew Lo couldn't see him. Shakily, he pushed himself to his feet and flushed the toilet. "I'm fine," he said as he walked toward the sink to wash his hands and hopefully rinse out his mouth.
Something bittersweet entered his mouth and he scowled at the door.
"I said I'm fine."
"Yeah? Open the door."
"Open the door."
Taylor sighed – arguing with the blonde never got anyone anywhere. Shrugging to himself, he looked longingly at his toothbrush before he spun and unlocked the door, a wave of dizziness causing him to stagger slightly. The door opened to reveal Lo, dark blue eyes watching him closely, disheveled blonde bangs swishing into his face.
"You don't look fine," Lo said with a scowl.
"I'm fine," Taylor said again. "But I'd like to brush my teeth."
"You got sick."
"You heard it?" Taylor asked with a wince, because he'd been trying to be quiet so he didn't wake the blonde in the first place. It was still early, after all – nearly six in the morning, and Lo usually slept in when he could. The two had been up rather late, as well.
"I smell it now," Lo said, watching him. "So? Are you going to answer me?"
"Yes, I got sick. I'm better now. Can I please brush my teeth?"
Lo narrowed his eyes at him. "Why'd you get sick?"
"How should I know? I think I just have a cold – flu season and all that." Taylor shrugged – it really wasn't a big deal. "We have some medicine in the kitchen, I believe. I'll take some."
Lo nodded. "Okay."
Taylor nodded and offered a faint smile. "Sorry if I woke you. Go back to sleep – you look tired."
Indeed, the blonde did. The two of them had been working hard lately – following and capturing rogues, avoiding the occasional threat of death – and now it showed on the blonde's face, in the rings around his eyes and the droop of his eyelids.
Lo scrubbed a hand across his face and nodded. After a final glance over Taylor, he turned and left the entryway. Taylor waited until he heard the bedroom door open before he released a breath and got to work on brushing his teeth and ridding his mouth of that horrible taste of vomit.
Being an emotion taster was bad enough – he went through at least two toothpaste containers a week – but now he had the taste of vomit to deal with. He sighed and got to work.
He had a feeling it was going to be a long day.
"Good evening, Logan, Taylor," Corbin greeted as the two entered the library. It wasn't too often Corbin greeted them at the front entrance, but he appeared to be in the middle of re-shelving books. It almost made Taylor laugh – Corbin was anything but a loyal librarian.
The library served as a sort of headquarters for them. It had pretty much everything – a hidden kitchen, an interrogation room, bedrooms, and of course a library in front. It wasn't too often Taylor saw normal civilians walking around in search of books, though. Then again, usually he was here after hours, or locked in his room because people were 'wary' of him. Wary, worried…some thing, really.
"Hello," Taylor greeted amiably, smiling at their boss. Lo grunted next to him, his version of a short 'hey'. "What's up? A job?"
"I think there might be one, but I'm not completely sure as of yet," their boss said as he led them up the staircase which led to the upper balcony, where most of the bedrooms were. They were hidden from view, though – unless one walked up the stairs, but there was a sign strictly forbade that sort of thing.
Into a room at the end of the hallway they went.
A large wooden table awaited them, two seats on one side and one on the other. Corbin sat in the one chair and Taylor and Lo sat across from him, in their usual spots.
"So what's happening?" Taylor asked, because he knew Lo wouldn't bother to ask first.
"It seems a rogue has entered the next town over."
"Of course," Taylor sighed. Always rogues. "Abilities?" Rogues weren't rogues without some sort of power.
"I am not completely sure but I assume it has something to do with breathing."
"Oh?" That was surprising. Whatever he'd been expecting, it certainly hadn't been that.
Corbin gave a shrug – a long roll of his broad shoulders. "That is all I know as of yet. I would like you to check a few bars, possibly, but I do not know if he will be there. He's new to town, so maybe you should check out some of the stores and restaurants as well."
"He is dangerous," Corbin cautioned, watching both of them. Lo sat next to Taylor with his arms folded across his chest, looking quite uninterested in the conversation. Taylor glanced back at their boss as he began to speak again. "He has already killed at least one person."
"Okay," Taylor said with a nod. "We'll be careful. Is that all?"
Corbin nodded. "Yes, that is all."
The emotion taster got to his feet and Lo did the same next to him, eager to get out of there. Taylor could taste it, a sweet yet sour taste in his mouth. Despite his necklace, if he wasn't careful, sometimes things leaked in. He didn't even need the necklace as much anymore – well, he did for the tastes, but he was really trying to control his monster half. So far it was going okay – at least, he thought so.
"Ready?" he asked the blonde.
Taylor smirked. "Alright – lead the way."
Out the library and to the car they went. The scent of a nearby restaurant hit him and suddenly it was all he could think about. His mouth salivated and he looked at Lo.
"We need to eat," he said seriously.
Lo gave him a sideways glance. "Excuse me?"
"Food," Taylor said with a scowl. "I'm starving."
Lo rolled his eyes. "You're always starving. Can it wait until we get to the next town? I'd like to get this over with."
Taylor folded his arms across his chest. "But I'm hungry." His stomach growled and it was the only thing on his mind at the moment. "We can stop on the way."
Lo stared at him and pulled away from the curb, onto the street. His gaze flickered from the road, to Taylor, and back again. "Are you okay?" he asked finally.
Taylor scowled. "I'm fine, just hungry."
"You got sick."
"It happens. Now – food!" A sudden pain laced his stomach and he felt nauseous, his hand on his stomach as he leaned forward somewhat. "On second thought…pull over!"
"What?" Lo asked.
"Pull over!" Taylor snapped, tossing a glare the blonde's way. Lo hastily pulled over and Taylor threw his door open, crashing to his knees outside the car as a wave of dizziness and nausea slammed into him.
Bile in his throat, he leaned forward and heaved out the contents of his stomach, feeling shaky, arms holding him up.
Bittersweet. Solid in his mouth.
He grimaced and stayed hunched over, feeling more bile rise, be it become of that overwhelming taste of concern, or because of whatever bug he'd managed to catch, he didn't know. He'd felt fine until now.
He expelled the food he'd eaten earlier into the grass in front of him, and felt relieved when the feeling finally started to settle. His stomach didn't feel as upset anymore. He panted for a minute, stomach muscles sore.
A hand held firm to his shoulder. He only now noticed it as fingers curved deep into his skin, to the bone, tight and bruising. Swallowing, he took a breath and looked up to find Lo staring down at him, kneeling next to him. Dark eyes watched him.
"What the hell was that?" Lo asked.
"Dunno," Taylor breathed. "But I think it's over now." He wiped what remained off his lips. "I'd like to go home now – scrub my mouth out."
Lo eyed him for a moment before he nodded and pulled Taylor to his feet, hand still firm on his shoulder. He shoved Taylor toward the car, the door still open, and then hurried around to the driver's seat.
Once in the car, Taylor startled when Lo shot his hand toward his forehead, feeling it. He scowled and swatted the blonde away. "I'm fine," he said.
"No fever," Lo murmured.
"Because I'm fine."
"That didn't look too fine to me," Lo argued, glaring at him. "We're going home, and you're going to sleep."
"I'm not tired."
"I don't care."
"We have a job to do," Taylor reminded him.
Lo's response was to keep glaring at him. When Taylor just looked back, the blonde finally sighed. "Fine – we're getting a hotel room, and then you are going to sleep."
Taylor sighed. It wasn't like they were going to get much work done today anyway, right? So he nodded. "Fine," he murmured. "But I'm fine."
Lo simply grunted in response and drove on. Taylor didn't argue – he suddenly didn't feel hungry anymore.
They checked into their hotel room sometime in the evening. Despite Taylor's growing hunger, Lo made him go to their room and lay down. "But I'm fine," Taylor protested as they entered the room and dropped their bags on the floor. Lo glared at him and pointed at the bed.
Taylor sighed and went over to it and sat down on it.
"Happy now?" he asked. "Can I get food now? I'm starving."
"Last time you said that, you upchucked all over the grass," Lo reminded him.
"At least it wasn't in the car, right?"
The blonde's glare had him sighing heavily.
"I'm fine, Lo. It's just some bug. We all get sick once in a while."
"You don't have a fever," Lo said. "You act fine one minute and then you're puking. I don't think that's just 'some bug'." The blonde sat next to him on the bed, giving into a long, drawn-out sigh. Flaxen hair dipped down into his pale face, shielding his dark blue eyes. Taylor sighed next to him and slowly brought his wall down, because distorted view or not, he didn't like seeing that expression on Lo's face.
Bittersweet sharpness in his mouth, along with a touch of hot anger. But why?
"You're not angry at me, are you?" he asked quietly, unable to stop the words as he looked at his boyfriend of three years.
Lo slowly shook his head. "No – I'm not."
"Stop tasting me," Lo said in his usual response when he knew Taylor was tasting his emotions.
Taylor shrugged. "Can I go get some food?"
"No." But there was a smirk in the blonde's words, and suddenly Lo's arm was around his waist, tugging him closer. Grinning at the show of contact, Taylor happily leaned into the blonde, wrapping his arms around him in return.
It was moments like this he found he really enjoyed. Lo tended to keep to himself for the most part, even though they were in a relationship. Taylor would be lying if he said he didn't often think about how things could be different, if Lo showed his affection more clearly, and more often. He'd be lying if he said he didn't sometimes long for the contact, but he would never change Lo. Lo was how he was for a reason, and while Taylor didn't exactly understand everything, he knew enough that he didn't need to keep prying. After all, it wasn't like he shared much of his own dark past.
They shared similar pasts, it seemed, even though they were very different from each other. While Taylor endured experimentations, physical torment and lack of nutrition and so much more…for five long years, he still talked to people, smiled, and laughed as much as he could.
Lo, to his knowledge, suffered emotional trauma and abuse, though Taylor was probably guessing on that. Lo rarely spoke of his childhood, and never about his actual family, except that he hated caring because of it. What that had to do with it, Taylor didn't know, but he assumed someone took Lo's trust and broke it savagely, and therefore he became guarded and reserved, snapping at those who got too close and batting others away when they tried to stay.
For a while it had been back and forth between the two of them – Taylor tried to ease his way into the blonde's life since they were forced to be roommates, and Lo tried to keep him as far away as possible. Somehow they both gave a little and became reluctant friends – on Lo's part, anyway – and then something more.
So when the physical contact moments kicked in and that fluttery taste entered his mouth, Taylor knew to cherish these moments and let them move as slowly – or as quickly – as Lo wanted. Taylor would never instigate the contact because it was more likely Lo would slink away when that happened. If the blonde instigated it, it was more likely the scene would play out and there would be no regrets.
That didn't mean Taylor didn't have urges. He just got better at fighting them down.
He came back to himself when he felt warm lips on his neck. He started chuckling. "Heh…Lo, that tick-...ow!" he said when the blonde bit down on a patch of skin.
Lo gave a breathy laughed and tugged Taylor closer.
The moment, however, was ruined when Taylor's cell phone rang. For a moment the two froze, not moving, ignoring it. Then the moment shattered and Taylor sighed, tearing away from Lo to grab it from his pocket. He flipped it open and brought it to his ear. "Yeah?" he asked, irritated.
Just five minutes – was that so much to ask?
"Taylor," came Corbin's calm voice, "hello."
"Hey," Taylor sighed. "What do you want?" He tried not to wince when Lo pulled away, losing contact.
"There is a lead on the rogue," Corbin said.
Corbin relayed the location – a café on the other side of town – and Taylor bid him goodbye and hung up, glancing at Lo, who watched him.
"Time to get to work," he said.
Lo frowned for a moment, watching him, before he shrugged and nodded. "Not gonna get sick again?"
Taylor scowled. "I told you – I'm fine," he said, getting to his feet.
Lo scoffed. "Didn't look too fine to me."
"Okay, well, I feel fine now. And we have work to do, so let's go."
Lo sighed and nodded, following after him as the emotion taster led the way out of the hotel room.
And there's the first chapter :) Like I said, it has little to no bearing on the actual plot of the series, so don't take it too seriously. Thanks for reading and please review!