Set My Pace

by Yuriaredaku (祐里あれ抱く)
illustrated by erli

“You know, if you’d just wear black, we’d have to do laundry a whole lot less!”

“We’ve been over this,” Adric said, roughly dragging his sweaty dirt-stained shirt off and throwing it on the ground with a damp smack, followed quickly thereafter by his mud-encrusted boots and trousers. The air on his bare skin is hardly refreshing – what little breeze there is just highlights how sticky and covered in muck he is. This summer has been a humid one, full of sudden cloudbursts that have toppled trees and left roads washed out. Road that had to be cleared if one were to travel a day’s hike from one village to the next.

“It doesn’t make sense! Why would anyone choose a white uniform? Do your employers wish to showcase sweat stains?” Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Leo nudge Adric’s discarded shirt with grimace. “Also, this one-size-fits-all thing is ridiculous. Your shoulders are too broad for this thing, you’re already ripping the seams.”

“Black is too hot for the summer,” Adric argues half-heartedly, carefully stepping over the rocks and into the lake. The blessedly cool water laps around his ankles, the sudden difference in temperature making him shiver. With a shout, he dives in, the waters closing around his head and cutting off the rest of Leo’s rant.

The water muffles everything – the pungent, earthy scent of fresh mud, the burn of the sun on his skin, pulling all sound back to echo as if from a great distance. He pulls his arms and legs in, and then pushes out, lazily breaking the surface of the water to suck in air, before twisting back down into the water, eyes opening to take in the shifting light, and a few scrubby green plants gamely clinging to the sandy bottom. More plants, and probably fish, lurked in the deeper waters, but he has little interest in going far. He hunts about for a bit, bobbing to the surface for air and then back to down just for the fun of it, before heading back to the shallows.

His mood much improved, Adric swims back to the rocky outcrop with long lazy strokes, dipping under the water and popping up again with a grin on his face.

Leo, having perched his skinny ass on a rock right by the shoreline, stares at him grumpily. “Now you’re just showing off.”

“Don’t be a snot,” Adric says, letting his feet find the bottom and scrubbing roughly at his face and armpits. “You’d be in here too, if you’d helped at all in moving that tree.”

“I’m a scout, not a grunt. I made sure we didn’t get ambushed.”

“Nobody’s going to ambush us for clearing the road.”

“You don’t know that! This is why I’m the brains, and you’re the brawn.”

Adric crosses his arms and straightens his back, meeting Leo’s gaze squarely. “As the more educated member of this party, I resent that.”

They stare at each other for a few seconds before Leo looks away, eyes falling to Adric’s abandoned shirt. “I should burn this,” he says thoughtfully, reaching out to pick it up with pinched fingers.

“Don’t you dare,” Adric says, making waves as he take a quick step forward. “I am not doing the rest of this patrol shirtless!”

Of course, this only seems to encourage him, a slow grin spreading across his face.

“Oy! You want to ogle me shirtless, you can do it right now,” Adric tells him, plowing forward until he’s close enough to snatch the shirt from Leo’s hands. “You promised your weird wouldn’t compromise my professionalism.”

“You’re playing around in the water,” Leo says, dipping his fingers in the lake and flicking drops at him.

“I’m washing! This shirt!” Adric exclaims, pointedly wringing the garment out.

“Stop that, you’re just stretching it out in weird places.”

Adric hands the shirt back without a fuss when Leo holds out a hand, leaving his rocky perch and shuffle closer to the water to purposefully scrub at the fabric. “Next time we should just roll you around in the mud so the shirt gets stained evenly – hey! I’m being serious here!” he protests, hiding behind the shirt as Adric sends a splash of water his direction. “If you want to be a pansy about it, you can just take the shirt off first.”

“It’s always about getting me shirtless, isn’t it?”

“Yes. And I take my duties very seriously.” Leo lowers the shirt enough to wink at him, before holding the shirt back up to examine his work with narrowed eyes. Behind him, Adric notices that his pants have already been rinsed, and most of the mud scraped from his boots. His pack, which he had haphazardly tossed aside, has been propped up next to Leo’s smaller backpack.

“Leo.” Adric moves forward to gently cover the other man’s hands with his own, water running in rivulets to drip off his elbows. Leo looks up at him in surprise. “Thank you,” Adric says softly.

Leo’s mouth opens – and then closes as he looks swiftly away, a blush coloring his pale cheeks.

“You did all the hard work,” he finally says, jerking his hands back and fussing with the shirt, laying it flat on the rock beside him.

Adric smiles at him. “You work hard too.”

“Not as hard as you,” Leo mutters.

“Well, I’m taking a break now!” Adric lets himself fall back into the water with a splash, and then pops up again. “You should join me.”

“I’m not dirty.”

“Come on,” Adric says, languidly smoothing the surface of the water with his hands. “It’s a hot day, you’re wearing black… the water’s nice and cool.”

But still Leo hesitates. “I don’t like swimming.”

Adric laughs. “It’s not that deep! Besides,” he adds, holding his wet arms out to Leo and moving closer. “You can hold onto me.”

“Ugh,” Leo says, but he comes easily when Adric tugs, warm arms wrapping around Adric’s neck and letting himself be pulled into the water.

“Cold!” he gasps, dry lips brushing against Adric’s. Adric chases them, pressing his wet lips against Leo’s, hot and chapped, kissing once, twice, before he can’t help himself and grins, and Leo’s lips mash against his teeth. He softens the collision with his tongue, shallow licks at first, nudging and nibbling until Leo opens up to him, tongue sliding across tongue.

Leo pulls back with a gasp and a laugh. “Let me breath,” he says, resting his head on his arms, half floating and still clinging to Adric. “Not all of us have gills.” Adric digs his feet into the loose sand, content for the moment to be a solid anchor as Leo breathes in and out. Leo’s breath is hot against the skin of Adric’s damp neck – and so is his tongue, as he licks Adric below his ear. “Salty,” he murmurs, and lifts his head again to smirk at Adric. “Can’t leave the washing to you at all.”

“I’m hopeless brute,” he agrees easily, and tightens his grip to throw them both underwater, Leo’s eye’s widening as he tries to twist away, too late.

When he emerges, Leo is glaring at him and sputtering, his hair come undone and fanning out in the water like the pale leaves of some strange vine.

“You look like a mermaid,” Adric tells him, though what he’s actually thinking is, you look beautiful.

Leo finds his feet and rises to his full height. “I will drown you,” he announces calmly, which is all the warning Adric gets before the lanky elf launches himself into the offensive.

Caught off balance, Adric just barely manages to twist to the side, but Leo is already moving in, his hips low and close to throw him – but the uneven, shifting sand makes him stumble, giving Adric an opening to grab him by the shoulders and shove them both of them under the water again. But his slippery hands can’t hold onto him, wet skin sliding over wet skin, Leo angling up and over to grapple his back as Adric comes up gasping for air, only to be toppled under again, water shooting up his nose and burning at the back of his throat when he breaks free, laughing. Splashing forward, Adric finally manages to catch Leo from behind, tightly wrapping both arms around him, one by his shoulder, the other low over his hip.

“Got you,” he says, panting.

“Not for long,” Leo promises, already wriggling, testing for a weak point.

It’s true. Leo’s tenacious and resourceful. His escape is inevitable, unless…

“Stay,” Adric suggests, pressing a wet kiss to the side of Leo’s neck. He plants another one just above it, a few wet strands of Leo’s pale hair sticking to the side of his face. Leo stills, though his body remains taunt, wired for action; still ready to finish what he’d started.

Adric loves to do this – push Leo, goad him into action and then press himself up against that tall and lanky body, his physical power that’s so easy to overlook, feel the shifting muscles and warm skin.

Adric loosens his grip on Leo’s shoulder to gently encircle his lover’s throat, water dripping over his skin and tracing wet lines down his collarbone. There’s little power in the hold – Leo could easily pull away, break free from Adric’s hand on his hip, now loosening to gently trace whorls on Leo’s upper thigh.

It’s a familiar game, Adric winding him up and then making a paper-thin bid for control, a wordless request to let him sooth the fire he’d stoked with kisses and touches.

Under his hands, Leo shivers and stays, shoulders relaxing.

“Got you,” Adric whispers, but this time it’s a promise, kissing the side of Leo’s face as his own cock stirs and lengthens. He lets his hand drift inward from Leo’s thigh to find the growing swell of erection under the water, traces it lightly through the thin, water-soaked cloth before gently pressing back down to rub it against the heel of his hand, repeating the motion as it fills and hardens beneath his strokes.

Kisses now forgotten, Leo leans back against him as Adric strokes him in earnest, patiently tracing waves under the water until Leo’s erection is straining against the fabric, and he’s making high-pitched, abortive little pants with every touch. Adric squeezes lightly, and Leo whimpers, the sound loud against the quiet lapping of the water as Leo arches into his touch. Now achingly hard himself, Adric tries to thrust up against him, but the resistance of the water dampens his momentum, and his cock chaffs against the fabric clinging to Leo’s butt.

“I can’t believe you make fun of my shirt,” Adric growls, shoving Leo’s waistband down around his thighs impatiently, hands moving to bracket Leo’s hips and pulling him down, thrusting against the warm cleft of his ass. “These shorts of yours are obscene.”

Leo groans, tone combative, but without coherent words. When he squirms and twists in his arms, Adric loosens his grip as Leo brings them face to face, immediately going in for an unending kiss that has his lips tingling. He sets his hands on the curve of Leo’s ass, pulling them together again so cocks rub up against each other under the water, sparking pleasure, and now they’re both groaning, toes curling in the sand. They find a steady rhythm, the water tickling their waists, and Adric knows he won’t last much longer.

When Leo works his long fingers between them and wraps around both of their dicks, his touch hot and electric, it’s already too much – Adric comes with a grunt, hips jerking as he spills thickly into the water and over Leo’s hand, which stills and then releases his oversensitive cock.

When he catches his breath, Adric takes Leo’s rigid cock in his hand, rubbing his thumb over the velvety head and stroking steadily enough to set the water slapping against his arm.

“Your turn,” he whispers. “Come on, you contrary, gorgeous thing. Let me hear you, you know how sexy you sound–”

Leo shudders and tenses, cock jerking in Adric’s hand as he cries out and comes, clouding the water. Adric milks him through the aftershocks, little spurts from his softening cock that make Leo whimper and twitch.

They wash each other off slowly, hands rubbing on skin, before wading back to shore hand in hand, only losing contact with each other once they’ve emerged from the lake. Cooled by the water, the sun is now a pleasant warmth on his skin.

Adric stretches languorously, feeling clean and content. “Nap time?”

Leo smacks him lightly. “That was enough of a break. Besides, you’ll get a sunburn.”

“Says the palest elf this side of the mountain!”

“And my complexion is eternally grateful for skin charms,” Leo says cheerfully, pulling his wet hair up and pinning it back. “But since my magic is self-kind only, we’d best get you back under the trees – we’ve got six more miles to cover before we set up for the night.”

Adric lets his face crumple in disappointment. “You are a harsh taskmaster.”

Leo snorts and throws his clothes at him. “Here, your clothes are close enough to dry.”

Adric pulls his pants on halfway, and is squeezing into the shirt when Leo kneels in front of him, nimble fingers tugging up the flaps of his trousers and lacing him up, fingers lingering suggestively.

Spent as he is, Adric’s cock tries to give a feeble twitch. “Such service,” he murmurs, unwilling to look away.

Leo, still on his knees, smirks up at him. “I also do undressings,” he says, giving him a gentle pat. “And did you know, sometimes when I’m in a particularly good mood, I can undo all these laces with just my mouth?”

Adric gulps. “Fascinating,” he manages. “And what might put you in such a good mood?”

“Making camp before dark.”

Adric looks up at the sky. “Right! Let’s get moving.” He offers Leo a hand up before swiftly striding over to yank on his boots. “Don’t want to dilly-dally too long!”

“Right behind you,” Leo says, shouldering his backpack and strapping on his daggers. “Figuratively, of course. You up for a brisk pace?”

“I’m up for any pace you set,” Adric promises, hoisting his own pack and reeling his lover in for one more quick kiss. “Provided it gets us to camp before sunset.”


Read this piece’s entry in the Shousetsu Bang*Bang wiki.

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