quantumarchangel: (Veda)
Fandom: Gundam 00
Type: Alternate Universe. Romantic.
Rating: Teen (mild language)
Word count: 9252
Summary: A chilly morning in Dublin finds Regene Regetta waking to a new and fascinating adventure. Lyle wants to sleep, but Regene wants to see the snow.

-

Read more )The days had been getting colder recently, the nights growing longer; a change indicative of the progression of the seasons. Regene had known this principle to be factual, but nothing quite set such a notion into one’s mind as firsthand experience. He had gained quite a bit of that in recent months, not just the change of seasons from fall to winter but many other kinds. Social interactions, very human things that seemed commonplace yet were completely alien to someone who had never truly engaged with humanity as a whole. Only in controlled situations, environments sterile of the distractions of motion and excess and the general din of life rushing all around. His time aboard the Ptolemy had not prepared him for life on the surface, nor had Veda’s limitless databases given him the skills he needed to truly live among humans as one of them.
 
His programming had not made up for his lack of experience and Regene soon enough found himself lost even with those he had come to call his peers. He was an outdated relic of a war-torn time and now that his mission was completed he had become an unnecessary existence. An alarming realization for someone to make, yet he was not keen to simply fade away into the Supercomputer from whence he was created. There was more to life than a mission completed, and thusly he sought out a new purpose in himself. He sought out Celestial Being, or more precisely he sought out Tieria Erde.
 
The humans who made up the small remaining faction of Celestial Being may have welcomed him with acceptance and trust, yet Regene felt isolated, utterly alone when he was not in the company of his genetic twin. Too long had he spent with his own race, divided by duty and the will of one of their own gone mad. This sentiment remained hidden – his feelings of loneliness – from all save Tieria, because it was only he whom Regene trusted fully. Only he who Regene felt safe with, comforted by the second voice that offered inquisitive conversation inside his head. No one else made Regene feel as at ease as Tieria did.
 
No. Perhaps there was one more. A man who had suffered long and lost much as all the others had, he seemed no different at first glance. But shallow words and flippant, passive-aggressive ideologies presented outright defended a vulnerable and wanton soul underneath. It was this vulnerability that Regene first exploited in gaining his window of opportunity towards seeking out his kin, and the man had been left hurt once the deed was done. That was where it should have ended; with a game and a victory in achieving his own desires. But he found something in Lyle Dylandy that he hadn’t expected, and the night they danced still played in his memory from time to time. The conversation which bordered on flirtatious, yet never crossed the carefully laid boundaries of mutual anonymity, the surprisingly pleasant feeling of a hand joined with his, another resting upon his hip, the warm and gently calloused flesh adding a curious sensation to the silken alabaster of his own extremity. The ill practiced, slightly clumsy way he guided him across the floor in time with the music, and the quiet, mildly intoxicated laughs and little confessions they shared.
 
Those memories invaded him slowly, like a sickness, a hidden intruder slipping past his defenses undetected. He hadn’t noticed at first the way their eyes would catch each other’s gazes from across a room completely by accident, the avoidance that had become intrigue and the charmed embarrassment that followed. He had become the vulnerable one without ever realizing and soon, without his consent, his heart would quicken its pace the instance the Innovade’s eyes would catch and hold that ocean-colored glance.
 
The first time Lyle kissed him, it almost felt as though Regene had truly found enlightenment. A misunderstanding during a visit to the surface left Lyle a sopping mess of good Guinness and tipsy, unwelcome emotions in a pub in east Dublin, but that was not where it had ended. Heightened emotions led them out into the rain and Lyle gave chase as they argued in the cold night air over past mistakes and new follies. The kiss had come suddenly and was rougher than first intended, but with brick at his back and cold rain against his face mingled with the deep, sensual taste of tobacco and stout upon lips and tongue, Regene had never felt more at one with himself as he had in that moment. Emotions he had not once before been made to feel and a need that he did not understand washed over him, and he rode the wave of endorphins they brought. There was nothing and no one else then, only them and their feelings truly realized.
 
It was no wonder, then, what came shortly after.
 
“Stay with me.” Lyle approached him one day in the hanger while returning from a routine training mission; a test of the new servo system implemented into the Cherudim Repair by none other than Regene himself. But this was not a conversation with intent to critique the Innovade’s mechanical workmanship – rather it was something else entirely. “Come back with me to Dublin.” With a constant state of world peace achieved, those of Celestial Being had been put on an indefinite standby, one each member was taking full advantage of. Some were using this opportunity to return home, others to make a home of their own. Some chose to remain onboard the Ptolemy, many having found dear friends amongst their ranks and some were simply staying with family. But Regene had nowhere to go, nowhere but to his twin. That very twin who had been approached with the same request by his own most precious person, Neil Dylandy. What other option had Regene left?
 
The room was chilly as Regene woke that early winter morning. The sky was dark with overcast beyond the window and the Innovade passively thought to check the bedside clock for the time, but soon enough the thought was dismissed. It didn’t matter if the sun was just coming up over the horizon of the city-scape or if it was mid-afternoon. The sheets were warm and the bed was comfortable, and so he couldn’t be bothered. Groggily, he shifted back against the warm body behind him and he was granted a small welcome in the form of muscled arms sliding around his waist, drawing him closer. A second head joined his on his pillow, just a little bigger than his own. The tip of a nose buried itself in aubergine waves and a tender kiss was pressed to his crown with a soft mutter of “G’mornin’”, which received a little-pleased hum in return.
 
“Good morning, Lyle…” A mutter soon followed and with a little sigh crimson eyes closed once more. There they lay, this human and his Innovade, wrapped in warmth, shielded from the chill that had taken the small downtown apartment some time during the night. Regene felt himself fade in and out of sleep more than once, perfectly lulled by the cozy state and the rhythmic breathing in his ear. But ultimately he was brought to wakefulness by another sound entirely; that smooth, semi-deep voice that was Lyle’s.
 
“Would you look at that…” His words came softly, barely more than a husked murmur as not to disturb his dozing partner, yet in spite of his efforts Regene was drawn from slumber.
 
“What is it?” the Innovade queried, his own voice just a little raspy from sleep, something he immediately sought to correct with a gentle clearing of his throat. For whatever reason, Lyle seemed to take amusement in this, and he let out a quiet chuckle before nuzzling his cheek into Regene’s ear.
 
“Look,” he said, and a hand came to take a gentle yet insistent hold of his shoulder under the blankets to gain his attention. It emerged a moment later from the warm confines and pointed in the direction of the window. He really was like an excited kid, Regene thought as lashes lifted and his eyes followed Lyle’s gesture out beyond the window. At first, he didn’t understand what was so exciting; it was raining. That wasn’t all that uncommon. This was Ireland, after all. Lyle was making a fuss about nothing.
 
Regene was perfectly happy to ignore him and go back to sleep – he let his eyes drift closed and with a little sigh he nuzzled the side of his face into the pillow. It was then that a thought occurred to him; it was too cold for rain. His eyes opened once again and he curiously observed the spectacle outside. Little droplets that were falling from the sky too slow to be made of liquid water were dancing in the light breeze, sparse at first, but soon enough their numbers accumulated into a light flurry. Regene watched with eyes transfixed in wonder as he beheld this small marvel.
 
Eventually he moved to leave the bed. He wanted to see more, to get a better look at the snow coming down. He squirmed to get out of Lyle’s arms and, with a little chuckle of amusement and a kiss planted against the Innovade’s cheek, the man released him. Lyle watched as Regene climbed out of bed, hardly bothered by the disturbance in temperature from blankets being drawn back and his personal little bed warmer leaving him to scurry over to the window. The Irishman simply snorted at the scene – Regene rushing over and pressing his hands against the window with all the glee of a kid on Christmas morning – and he pulled the covers back around himself to seal in the rapidly escaping heat.
 
Unaware that he was being watched – or perhaps he didn’t really much care – the Innovade gazed in total awe at the scene before him. The streets outside had become slick already with wetness, the tops of buildings and even the alleyway below their fifth story window were all being bombarded by a gentle shower of wispy puffs of ice. Weight shifted and Regene stood on tip-toes to get a slightly better vantage point, all the while a delicate little smile played upon his features and his eyes were wide with delight. He knew the science behind snow, the basic principles that governed just how and when, the where’s, and why’s. It was rudimentary, simple facts of weather in particular regions of the planet during winter time. But that knowledge didn’t hold a candle to seeing it in person. It was a thrilling new experience, one he wanted to take full advantage of.
 
So it was when Lyle called to him, asked him if this was his first snow, Regene turned his head in the direction of the bed and he smiled brilliantly for him.
 
“It’s pretty,” he stated with a breathless voice filled with enthusiasm. Lyle had to laugh at that – there were times in which this strange and fascinating being could be so very childlike. Lyle wouldn’t say he became human in these instances. Regene was already human to him, no matter what the truth may have been. But in these moments of excitement and new discovery the innocence that lay hidden deep in the Innovade’s core shone through and Lyle reminded himself how lucky he was that he could show Regene all the beautiful things in the world. Regene deserved to know about all the beautiful things in the world he was created to protect – Lyle felt that way down into his very being. A life borne of war and conflict such as Regene – hell, such as any of the Innovade’s – deserved to experience something other than the evils of humanity. Things like love and affection, nights spent cuddled on the couch. Human contact. A good book. Smiles and laughter, and especially snowy winter mornings. They had a right to all of it and more, and right then Regene’s sincere smile aimed his direction touched Lyle in a way he’d never thought possible since Anew’s passing.
 
Without even realizing it, that joyful expression was returned with a gentle one, lips quirking softly in a sweet look of affection. Lyle was a kind man, Regene thought. It was just that he didn’t want to allow anyone else to know it. Their mutual gaze held for what could have been but a moment, of a long series of passing seconds between them. Neither felt bothered, too deeply engrossed in the unique color of the other’s eyes, the feelings of warmth and fluttered pounding in their chests, the chemicals rushing through their brains that only heightened the charming sensation. For Lyle, seeing Regene like this he knew it to be Anew’s legacy. Though she had been created for wicked means, she had loved this world and all of her kin. Somehow he just knew, even though she never said a word of it to him. She would have wanted him to be happy, and Regene, too.
 
With this thought firmly fixed in his mind, the man held a hand out to the Innovade he felt great pride to call his lover and beckoned him with a come hither gesture and a widening of his smile. He hadn’t expected resistance – he didn’t know why he hadn’t. It was just so like Regene to show playful opposition – but as soon as the silent request for his return to the warmth of the bed was made the Innovade’s head shook. “I want to watch,” he expressed, his tone having taken a playful, somewhat whiny note. Lyle almost laughed in response. Regene was playing with him, he knew. A game. It was always a game and more often than not his lover was the victor.
 
Not as though he minded, of course.
 
“It’s cold,” Lyle argued, attempting to bring logic into the conversation. But Regene couldn’t be persuaded, for again he refused. The man shot his lover a grumpy little pout, which was ignored. Regene had his attentions fully focused on the gentle flurry of delicate glimmering white outside. Frustrating. Regene would be a real pain in the posterior if he weren’t so cute. Or perhaps that was the very reason he was so cute to Lyle; his attitude, his sass, the way he played with him like he was a child's toy. But he never played with Lyle’s trust. Never again. Lyle trusted him with his heart, knowing that in his games the Innovade would handle it gently and never break it. Knowledge of this fact gave him patience when his lover chose to be a little selfish. What was more, he found it endearing. Endearing, and a distinct turn on. In that instance, there was nothing that Lyle wanted to do more than take the shapely entirety of that skinny arse of Regene’s into one big palm and whisper some sensual nothings into his ear with a husked voice.
 
The idea caused a momentary smirk, one short-lived and quick to fade and with it the urge to guide a tender moment into the realms of foreplay.  Even so, with that feeling’s absence Lyle still wanted Regene’s body close to his. In turn, Lyle tried a different approach. “Come over here and warm me up.” The request was a little more demanding, sounded a little presumptuous with the way his voice changed just a touch. To anyone else he would have sounded like a grade A asshole right then, but Regene knew that was just his own personal charm seeping through. Take it as one would, the Innovade adored it. It matched his sass perfectly, complemented it. It was then that Lyle gained the attention of his lover.
 
Still very much standing on his toes, his hands pressed to frosted glass, Regene turned to look at the man laying cozy and expectant in their shared bed. The childlike wonderment had not left his eyes, though the beaming grin had faded into something less than serious, but not entirely joyful. There was a cuteness to his expression that was not unlike something out of a 21st-century film – an attractive young female lead using her wiles and adorable doe-eyed look to gain something from her male counterpart. Regene seemed to have that expression down perfectly. One had to wonder where he got it; Veda’s initial programming? Or was it picked up along the way as a more definite personality had developed? Whatever the case was, Lyle found himself victim to that look now.
 
“I want to go see it.” The request sounded preposterous right then. It was cold out and Lyle was comfortable and it was just too early. The man could not resist the urge as a flippant little laugh escaped him. Regene was unfazed by the response, and again he made the same request. “Let’s go look!” There was a distinct expression of ‘we’ in that statement. Right then Lyle didn’t want ‘we’ to go out in the snow. He wanted ‘we’ to stay right where they had been; in bed, cuddled tightly together where he could enjoy the feeling of Regene’s body against his and spare himself the red, dripping nose and feet that would be cold the rest of the day. So for the first time in what was a very long while, he denied his spoiled lover what he wanted. Not with words, but with a lack of them, the lack of immediate movement to do anything at all. He peered up at the Innovade from his spot under the covers and offered him a gentle expression, one that he and his twin very much had in common. He knew this because he had seen him use it on Tieria; a look that was both asking and tender and could sway the hearts of both women and men – and, as it would turn out, Innovades.
 
“Regene…” he pleaded, his voice wanting as to appeal to his lover’s kinder side. He really didn’t want to go out in the snow. He wanted to stay warm and dry and ignore his brother and his lover’s twin the rest of the day, along with the whole world. Or at least until after 8am. But Regene wouldn’t take no for an answer. He shifted his weight from the balls of his feet to the pads of his feet as he lowered himself to stand proper and he turned just enough to face Lyle at a more direct angle. What followed was a frown, a hand on his narrow hip.
 
“I want to go outside,” he said again and Lyle tried not to sigh as much as he released a shallow breath from his mouth.
 
Regene.” He tried again, a little more stern this time, a little more needy. Regene moved again, facing him head on this time. Both hands upon hips, his frown deepening into a bratty pout.
 
Lyle,” he returned and instantly the man knew the conversation was over. Words would do nothing here, only action. So it was with great mirth and a mischievous look Lyle shoved the covers off of himself and climbed out of bed. This seemed to surprise the Innovade, who hadn’t expected any real repercussion to putting on a display like a brat. Lyle was complaining about the cold – he hadn’t imagined the man would choose to venture from the confines of the covers. And when Lyle rushed him with two, three hurried steps his way and reached for him his reaction was immediate. A scurry of steps backward with Lyle in hot pursuit, a yelp laced with laughter, smiles shared between them both.
 
“No!” came a loud squeak from Regene as his lover caught him in his retreat and swept the Innovade off his feet and into his arms with a gruff little “C’mere!”. Prize in hand, Lyle carried his kicking and laughing lover back toward the bed, receiving both little squeaks and hands batting at his face and shoulders as it was demanded he put Regene down. The Innovade’s complaints were silenced by a wet kiss pressed to his neck, proceeded by a few more thereafter. Stupid giggles followed them to the bed, where Lyle crawled back onto the firm yet plush surface on his knees, Regene held to his chest. And when he was laid down it was with loving kisses peppered against his face and neck, any which drifted toward his lips were easily returned. It was exhilarating, this feeling. Lyle was honestly sure he had never felt this way in his entire life, as clichéd and tired as it sounded out loud. When Regene smiled like he was then, when his body was pressed against the Irishman’s own with his legs wrapped around his hips as they were, Lyle felt truly on top of the world.
 
The only thing that could spoil a moment like this was a curious older brother poking his head in and making commentary about his love life, and thankfully at this hour of the morning all was quiet on the Neil front. There was no telling what Tieria would be doing this early, however, and if he were truthful to himself the man was far more fearful of the uptight Innovade than he was anxious over a sibling dispute. Lyle fought well to keep that in the back of his mind, and with those soft crimson eyes looking up at him through thick, black lashes it was a battle easily won. Regene would have his full attention this morn.
 
After a little more sleep, he decided. It was still too early.
 
Lyle shifted upon the bed, taking his lover with him as he came to rest on his side, fully intending to get a few more hours shut-eye. Yet as was almost always the case when he got these ideas of fancy in his head, Regene was there to remind him just who was in charge. The moment his eyelids began to get heavy he was being nudged – his shoulder, his chest, and soon a hand came up to cup his cheek. Little whiny pleas came soon after, and kisses not long succeeding that. Lyle was forced back into wakefulness, wholly unable to keep it together. As soon as the butterfly kisses began his mouth quirked into a large, involuntary grin, which only seemed to urge his lover on. Soon there were chuckles and returned kisses, mutters of “Please” and of his name, wishes to go out and see the blanketing white which had begun to fall on the city, all the while the Irishman tried not to squirm or laugh. A failing effort, wholly wasted, and he was better for it.
 
“Okay, okay!” he finally gave in. By then the Innovade was practically on top of him, slim, lengthy legs about his person, one draped over his hip while one intertwined with his own. His face was flushed from Regene’s touches, from his own elevated heartbeat and the chilly air around, and when hands came up to capture that pretty aubergine adorned head still with all the gentle might he could muster in his excited state Lyle saw within Regene’s eyes something that made his heart instantly melt; love. As they settled in a calming silence, but a fleeting moment, Lyle couldn’t help it as this look his lover graced him with took hold of him in a way that truly surprised him. His heart fluttered in his chest, his lungs became momentarily breathless. A compulsion took him and Lyle leaned forward, pressed a kiss to those petal soft lips with a gentle vigor – a touch easily accepted and returned. In the end, this man could not deny his angel anything. “Okay.” The words were muttered just brushing warm pink petals, breath ghosting over the pillowy expanse. Blossoms that smiled with due excitement as the touch faded and Lyle moved back to look at him once more.
 
There was a satisfaction in the way Regene set his gaze on his sniper. A smarmy, yet devilishly charming expression of which the innocence therein could not be denied. It struck something in Lyle, and in turn, Regene, for in moments the two were laughing again, though only mildly subdued from before. This laughter was short lived, but the smiles that lingered in its wake were not. The Innovade shifted slightly toward his lover, foreheads nudged in unison, a hum in return, then silence. Two seconds, three. More. “Regene?” The Innovade’s body curled close to his, head tucked under Lyle’s chin.
 
“It’s cold…”
 
“Regene…” Exasperation.
 
Another game, was it? Lyle wanted to groan – his angel was having fun being defiant yet again.
 
Lyle.” The tone again; it said it all. A smirk curled Lyle’s lips and exposed pearly teeth in a show of playful wickedness. Hands shot up to the angel’s sides, fingertips attacking ribs. A yelp, squeaks, and laughter echoed off the walls of their small bedroom in surprise of this tickle assault. Springs squealed their protest as the innovade flailed and sniper held him, first to tease, then to comfort. Kisses began again, bodies moved together in tandem. Arms embraced, holding firm.
 
Suddenly getting out of bed felt like an arduous task.
 
-
 
“It’s pretty…”
 
The delicate crystals of white which fell from the sky had draped the city in their gentle hue, leaving a mark upon the all it touched. It was one of which Regene had not experienced before, one of exquisite frailty, for this pristine white would not remain pure for long. Destined to become tainted, muddied by the turning up of imperfections by cars, human traffic decorating this flawlessness with soiled feet. This made it all the more meaningful for the Innovade. As he stood there on the sidewalk outside of their building wide-eyed in wonder, he felt his heart flutter with excitement.
 
Lyle could not help but take pleasure in his lover's joy, the way his eyes shone with childlike intrigue, the way the chill of the morning showed its effects on Regene’s person. Pale perfection kissed by the blush that colored those high cheekbones and the tip of his nose. Lyle so wanted to press his lips to that nose, nuzzle it tenderly with Eskimo kisses, but for now he was contented to simply watch and enjoy the subtle warmth of the angel's hand through the layers of their gloves and that beautiful expression. These times, few and far between when something perfectly average and unimpressive could create such emotion in his Innovade, were some of the best memories to date. To see someone once thought of as machinatious and cruel so perfectly at peace with his guard down; it was mesmerizing. His angel could be so human.
 
No. Regene was human, and so was Tieria. Moments like this proved it.
 
A slender hand moved from its place at the angel's side, held out with palm flat and fingers outstretched toward the sky. The man observed as Regene’s eyes followed the snowflakes as they drifted towards earth, and moved his hand accordingly. One by one, the little crystals landed on soft leather, graced the surface of treated beige material only a fleeting instant before fading away. Garnet gazed down at that which remained, the minute specks of liquid. This, too, was heartwarming – Lyle recalled a time long in the past, one of innocence and the joy of the approaching holiday. So very long ago – Amy had only been a baby then – when he and Neil had been close.
 
More than close; they had been brothers then, not merely in name or biology, but relation. There had been comradery, friendship, love. In those days, they had been happy to be the same, to share in all they had. Neil had been his mirror, and he Neil’s. That had been acceptable, wanted in those days. A form of amusement, a way to toy with others and confuse their father in order to escape punishment for any way they had aggravated their mother. A morning of waking surprise, for it had snowed the previous night, and was still snowing then. The whole of their little borough in the suburbs of Dublin had been blanketed and the twins could not have hoped to quell their excitement.
 
While the boys had donned their winter coats and rushed into the frozen Wonderland that had come into being as they slept cozy in their beds, their mother had hung back, watching her sons enjoy themselves. She had been tired from the days of minding her boys, as well as the newer addition to their family. Lyndsay stood at the back door, peering out the decorative window within, Amy in her arms while she rocked the bundled infant absently. Both Lyle and Neil had their fun that morning; throwing hastily constructed snowballs at one another, horse playing and chasing each other about. Yet no memory of that day struck him so profoundly as the recollection of one seemingly meaningless instance. Eventually, their mother had called the boys inside, wanting help setting the table for breakfast, and as good little boys did they came quickly. While Neil had rushed past the woman, announcing that he would set out the plates and cutlery, Lyle paused to greet his mother and sister. He recalled that Amy had not been looking at him as she often did as any person approached – she was always fascinated in the twins in particular, for their similarities confused and intrigued her. At that time her large green eyes had been aimed skyward, toward the falling white. A chubby little hand which had thus been holding onto Lyndsay’s sweater reached towards these delicate flakes, then soon aimlessly swatting at them, for she lacked the dexterity and spatial awareness necessary to catch them. Little frustrated gurgles were heard, her face squishing into a confused expression as they either eluded her or melted at her touch.
 
That moment stuck out to Lyle now, the feeling of déjà vu reverberating inside his mind. His heart quickened briefly and with its return to an even, gentle rhythm a peace came over him. Regene reminded him of his sister – he realized this now. It was eye opening, for he felt such protectiveness towards this Innovade, one who needed no protection.
 
Needed none, yet his gallantry was appreciated. Cherished. It made him feel special.
 
“Hey,” he called, quiet so as not to break this peace that had settled between them. Regene turned to look at him, his gaze questioning. “Why don’t you try to catch a few on your tongue?” The Innovade’s expression shifted from that of query to that of incredulous amusement. Who knew what he was thinking then, truly – Regene was a mystery in of himself – yet still he sought to appease his lover. Head turned forward once more, chin tilted upwards and lips which smiled their private little smirk parted and his tongue extended. Through some effort Regene managed to catch a few snowflakes, a sight that drew Lyle’s mouth into a fond smile reflexively
 
It wasn’t long, however, before the angel sought to offer his own input, as he so often did. “That was pointless.” The statement came with a pout, which was only complimented more vividly by his blush. In turn, the man chuckled and that pout was immediately aimed at him. “It doesn’t taste like anything,” the Innovade informed, as if he were trying to argue a point of some logic. Lyle, of course, knew the truth; a game. It was all just part of the game.
 
“It’s not supposed to,” he reasoned in response. The childish expression faded, becoming soft upon the angel's visage.
 
“I know…” A vampent coo, breathy with exhale. Auburn brows quirked.
 
So he admits it, Lyle mused though he said nothing aloud. Rather he was satisfied with the exchange of knowing, playful smirks and jovial feelings in the air. Silence, comfortable and calming, came between them, fractured only by the faint sounds of cars in the distance, people wandering the city streets just out of view and the crisp ring of winter air around them – like a soft and constant breeze. This quiet lengthened but did not drag, so relaxed they were, yet even so Lyle felt the need to speak. To explain, perhaps. Regene was so beautifully naïve, after all. “It’s sentimental,” he offered, and suddenly the Innovade felt he understood. Slowly he turned to face his sniper and he addressed him with a curiosity outdone only by his sincerity.
 
“From your childhood?” He should have seen this coming, Lyle figured. Everything in his life seemed to trace back to that time in some way or another. It could be both aggravating and insulting, frustration rampant from a time in which he recalled his desperate attempts to discern himself from his twin whom everyone seemed to favor over himself. But in this case, looking back to his past, that was perfectly fine. He was safe speaking of his childhood with Regene, for even though this angel knew his twin well, loved Neil like a brother, he loved Lyle best. A comparison where the younger brother came out on top. Regene was so good to him without ever knowing it.
 
“Yeah,” the man replied, a sigh on his breath and a faded smile on his lips. “From my childhood.” Ocean-colored eyes slipped closed, his head dipped just a little, involuntary, as if his subconscious told him he should be ashamed of his own feelings he had harbored for his sibling so many years where he vehemently denied he ever could. The long curls of his hair fell into his face, tickled cheekbones, his chin, and soon there was a new sensation to go with it, one that caused sea blue oculi to open in mild surprise. A feeling of subtle heat, of leather and palm which cupped his cheek tenderly. Of warm breath of a lover leaned close, and soon a forehead nudging his. Comforting.
 
“With Neil?” Unsurprising as it was that Regene would have guessed such a thing, but Lyle still felt his pulse flutter in his gut in the moment. Be it the way it was asked, or merely the question itself, it meant something to him, and his body reacted. A hand came up to rest upon that which cupped his cheek, grasped it in a gentle hold, and he nuzzled into that palm, nodding.
 
“Yeah.” Gazes met, a soft breath released from the Innovade’s nose. His angel was smiling. Not his usual smirk, not that sassy, confident, smarmy grin. It wasn’t that sweet, sincere upturn of lips borne of earnest love. The feelings, this…something different, indescribable, though if he tried the Irishman would say it was goofy. He couldn’t help but react similarly, and with disgruntled embarrassment.
 
“What?” That tone, the indignant loss he was at, the faint crack in his voice – Regene’s smile grew with his enjoyment.
 
“I’m glad.” Glad for reasons Lyle could not surely understand, not yet. Not until he and Neil had truly reconciled as brothers and could forgive each other the mistakes and grievances of the past. But the angel was pleased, because, in spite of how he felt back then, Lyle was loved. Lyle was wanted, he was needed, but most of all it proved that he had been so very wrong in the best of ways. He hadn’t been a shadow, not a mirror, but a reflection like that of a clear pond in moonlight. The same, yet different, subtle as this image was ever changing just slightly, always to come back to equilibrium in time. Two halves, yet not incomplete. Just like Regene and Tieria. “I’m happy you had someone.” The look of surprise that graced Lyle’s features elicited a spark of joy in the angel, how shocked and distinctly earnest that look was. Need took Regene, one he had slowly come to understand the meaning of in his time in this man's life. Weight shifted, forward, upward on dainty toes. Chin tilted, lips pressed to Lyle’s forehead, auburn curls tickling his skin.

I’m happy…because you had someone to love you before me…
 
Regene was unequivocally kindhearted, completely without ever meaning to be.
 
“Hey.” He addressed his lover in a murmur and nudged the reddened tip of his nose with his own. “Let’s go for a walk.” The suggestion was well received; though it was cold, the curious sense of adventure Regene held still remained rooted deep, undeterred by the frigid temperature. That was what warm blankets, hot tea, and time spent cuddled close on the couch was meant to combat, and both fully intended to battle the residual chill in this manner when it suited them. Not now. Now was for exploration and a peek into the new and unique.
 
Hands joined and Lyle began to lead, guiding the Innovade down the alley beside their building out to the main street. He had an idea in mind, a place he could take Regene that would interest him all the more now that it would be blanketed in still gathering snow. A little park off the beaten path that he and his angel knew well. They had spent much time at that little park during their more extended durations of leave since the unofficial disband and indefinite standby of Celestial Being. It was a place to go to get out of the apartment, a location either one, the other, or both went to in order to gather their thoughts. But more often than not it was Regene, and occasionally Tieria, that could be found idly rocking on one of the swings of the minimal playset there. The Dylandy boys preferred their thoughtful venues tapped with stout and gatherings of crowds they could become lost in.
 
The park was, as had been expected, partially covered in white. Only the patchy, sparse fragments of earth still resistant to accept fate lay exposed, what remained of ground heat giving off a soft mist. The swing set the Innovades favored so was lightly dusted with snow, the most of the accumulated gathering of powder atop the hollow steel bar that made up the top of the frame and the weathered rubber seats. The reaction from Regene was as anticipated, yet just as pleasant as if it were a surprise; intrigue, large eyes widened just slightly, and the angel left his side to sate that intrigue of his. Lyle’s hand was left cold, though he did not allow himself the time to feel any loss. Rather he followed Regene, the Innovade having taken to brushing the powdered snow from the swing seat of his choosing before easing himself into it. Lyle didn’t join, instead moving to stand behind his lover; knowing Regene he would want to be pushed and he would volunteer Lyle for this task.
 
The Irishman, however, wanted something a little more personal. He came to rest his body against the Innovade’s own, chest to back. His arms came up to wrap around Regene’s shoulders and his back bent just a little, shoulders hunched as he held him close. A gentle hum was heard, breathless, not unlike a sigh. Regene leaned back against his sniper, contented to simply be.
 
Or so Lyle thought.
 
Hands came up to touch, fingers threaded into the windswept curls of his hair while one gloved extremity slid closer. A smile quirked at the man’s lips, and his eyelids dipped. Lulled by his lover’s sweet touch into a false sense of security – he should have known better by now. Cold shot through his spine, stemming from his neck, from the palm of his mischievous angel. Eyes widened, a yelp burst from him that echoed through their little park and off the nearby buildings. His body reacted by reflex, instinctively repelled by the jarring sensation, and with his forms jolt the Innovade fled from his reach. Lyle hardly noticed how Regene stopped just feet away, how he turned to watch the man in his flailing, but he did note the twittering giggles and soon it was all too clear what he was laughing about.
 
Snow was discovered where that hand had made contact, the remnants that of which had been brushed from the swing seat just moments before. Lyle batted the melting powder away with haste, causing Regene to laugh all the more. Brat. He enjoyed Lyle’s suffering at the whim of his games. The glare that sprang into being which was aimed at the offender did nothing to intimidate – Lyle wasn’t as mean as he tried to appear at times, not like Neil when he wore that same expression. The result was a series of giggles once again, and that face began to change. Lyle couldn’t stay mad at his angel. Regene just had that way about him, where he could get away with anything and be forgiven.
 
This didn’t mean that his lover could not indulge in a little payback.
 
The Irishman grinned a wicked grin, his angel gave a squeak, and the chase was on. Lyle rushed forward, Regene retreat back in hurried steps, first backward then to turn a few paces in flight. The two dashed about the small open space which was afforded them, back and forth, around and darting in between both old play equipment and terra flora. A game of tug of war, push and pull, so was it as Lyle neared and fell back in small spurts of speed from either participant at one time or another, like the rhythm of a dance. Never as one, yet in sync, the angel eluding his sniper every time, often by mere inches, with little yelps and giggles following along the way. Little cries of playful fret, little “No!”s and similar things echoing now where Lyle’s startled cry had before. The occasional handful of snow was thrown back and forth, though more often it was aimed toward the human male in an attempt to keep him at bay. Apparently, Regene didn’t wish to be tickled – he never was very good at paying his dues of recompense when his mischievous ways got the better of him.
 
Regene rushed more than once between the seats of the swing set with Lyle not far in tow, leaving chains rattling with the sudden movement. However, this time the angel stopped in his flight to shove one of those old worn rubber seats Lyles way; a means of slowing down his pursuit. It was caught easily by one hand, a simple gesture molded together with a swift duck of the head, a roll of the body back and to one side. The lovers paused in that brief instance, eyes meeting, Regene’s in surprise, Lyle’s full of playful mischief of his own. His angel was taking cheap shots now, and didn’t he love it. All for the game. The swing was tossed aside, its return momentum easily ducked as the man hurried through the space between, and the two were off again.
 
“You little brat, get back here!” the man exclaimed with a grin plastered to his face, and in return his lover spouted back—
 
“You were being sappy! It was embarrassing!”
 
“My sorry arse it was!” The Innovade laughed – Lyle knew this game all too well, being so very experienced in the ways in which he might play. Behind the comments and quips, past what seemed on the outside to be, on occasion, something altogether entirely different, there were many guidelines to their fun. Many guidelines, but only one rule; his empress would always win. True to his giving nature, combat and quarrel mostly in jest as he would, the knave always obliged this rule. He was both greedy and kind in this, for offering his angel all that he could provide for Lyle; something he’d never realized he needed until it happened. The need to nurture, to protect, and in less virtuous pursuits, to be used.
 
A latent wish to absolve himself of sins he did not readily admit to, or a fetish. Whatever the case, he didn’t know, nor did he care to look deeper. This worked for them, as his angel was as the good book said; just, loyal, and cruel. Always with the purest of intentions, though one had to wonder what Regene’s intentions were now.
 
A too sharp turn as the angel circled back put him just in reach for a brief moment and Lyle seized this opportunity, as fleeting as it was. Feet in just the right position to earth and snow, body shifting, legs tensed and a small burst of speed, arms reaching. A slender wrist was caught and the angel was dragged back against his chest in one sudden tug that caused a rather dainty gasp. Arms were around the squirming Innovade in an instant, holding him fast as he tried to wriggle away once again. Not an expressly easy task, keeping Regene still. Thin and unassuming as he appeared, his kind had strength that humans did not. The angel could break his hold if he wished it, and easily, so thusly Lyle kept his grasp fluid, his body rocking with Regene’s movements, ready to release should he desire it. But his angel didn’t want to be let go. Even when Lyle pinched at his sides once or twice, tickled as he recoiled, his cries were of joy and his attempts at escape were nothing more than play. It warmed Lyle’s heart, this, because he knew that Regene was happy.
 
Laughter began again, soft and rich at once from the sniper, twittering giggles from his angel which gained volume as Lyle buried his face into the collar of his coat and layered clothing to press a series of butterfly kisses against his neck. They settled soon enough, enjoying their closeness while laughing like a couple of children. It was a peaceful moment, a moment for just the two of them.
 
“What are you doing, Lyle Dylandy?” And just like that, the moment was over. This voice which pierced through the private sanctity of their juncture was one familiar, commanding, and just as cold as the winter air. A voice that caused his back to tense, his shoulders to stiffen, and his anus to clench in tandem. Lyle turned slowly to the side – the couple turned together – to look over his shoulder at he who stood not more than meters away with a cup of steaming liquid in his hand and a scowl on his face; Tieria Erde. Not far behind him stood Lyle’s twin, who seemed his usual playfully amused self, if not suffering a little secondhand embarrassment. Whether it be over Tieria’s reaction or the scene which had unfolded in that little park before they had been caught he didn’t know, but Neil had that look on his face, that stupid smile that always annoyed his brother. Lyle frowned lightly – just how long had these two been watching, he wondered, and just why were they here now?
 
His eyes met the combat model’s only a second before his gaze dropped – those crimson orbs were so much more intense than Regene’s. It caused a cold chill to travel down the man’s spine and he sought other mundane things of which he could focus his attention on. He noted the coffee cup in Tieria’s hand, the little cardboard tray with three more that Neil held skillfully balanced in one hand. So that was what had brought the two out of the apartment so early; a coffee run. Lyle almost smiled at that – rather his frown faded into obscurity at the prospect that he hadn’t been left out, nor had Regene. He considered that they had only decided to bring beverages back on account of Neil’s good nature, or perhaps Tieria showing a bit of secretive fondness.
 
No, it was definitely Neil’s idea, or Tieria wanting to share something with his own twin. Whatever the case may be, the younger Dylandy didn’t have time to ponder his choices, for he felt the warm body pressed back against him pull away. A disappointing feeling – his arms longed to pull the Innovade back and continue their moment lost, but Regene ignored the minute sound of distress which came from his throat as his angel trotted over towards his twin, a delicate little gazelle in those short heels of his. Immediately Tieria’s focus left Lyle and shifted to his twin, and as it did the displeasure died away and became shy questioning. There was a pause, a smile aimed towards Tieria. The two were having one of their silent conversations again, one neither man understood fully but acknowledged all the same. Words unheard, data exchanged like radio signals between these two living terminals of Veda. Regene leaned close, Tieria followed. A kiss was exchanged upon the mouth, loving and beautifully chaste all the same, and with it Tieria finally smiled in their parting. A hand was offered, and received. The two turned and began to walk in the direction of home, leaving their snipers to watch with slack jaws of puzzlement.
 
So they would just leave them there, would they? Nothing to be done for it, the men supposed. Sheepish expressions and awkward sighs gave way to a mutual look, one weary yet subdued. Their Innovades would do as they pleased, as they both knew. A shrug was offered from the younger twin, a short lived look from the elder that encompassed the very essence of the old saying ‘What will be will be’, complete with lifted brows and a sideways glance of that single eye, almost a roll. The two shifted, Lyle moving to follow his lover, yet as he neared his twin Neil shot him yet another look, this one less of acceptance and more a smarmy grin. A hand was extended his way, a gesture much like that of Regene to his twin. Lyle’s brows furrowed – Neil was teasing him, the bastard.
 
“Feck right off, you,” the younger snarked in return, a finger held up in gesture to further drive the message home. And yet that smirk which crept onto his face with Neil’s reflexive laughter told of his true feelings – there was brotherly love there, even now. Years later, far too long, after a supposed death and rebirth of his lost twin, after the tension between them for so many years and the never quite faded jealousy, that fight they got into in the pub when they were both seventeen. Wild, dumb, reckless, but there was still love here. That hand before extended to hold came to clap Lyle on the shoulder and in response the elder received a little shove.
 
“Ack! Mind the coffee, you dumb shite!”
 
“Piss off.”
 
All was right with the world. The two soon followed their Innovade lovers, close for once in quite a long while. Lyle with his hands in his pockets, Neil with his arm over his brother’s shoulder. Only for a moment, a few short paces. It fell away, and the two walked side by side once more. That was as far as they wished to be from one another – a funny thing when two decades ago they wanted nothing more than to be apart. Not anymore. They said that time heals all, and maybe while not all had been healed in their time apart and Neil’s believed death in conjunction with that time, but much had. That was just as important now.

-

 
“Patches got me chai again…” Inside the small two bedroom flat, the group had become rather cozy. The heater had been turned on high once the men walked through the door, which promised an added relief from the winter frost that followed them inside as though it seeped into their very bones. This promise lasted but a minute until Tieria had scolded them, expressing how the excess would be wasteful. An argument Neil tried to counter by pleading to Tieria’s humanity, or rather his soft heart. The attempt was thwarted as the second Innovade expressed a similar view, and Neil was forced to acquiescence and cut his losses. Lyle, on the other hand, said nothing one way or another. He knew when he was out of his league. Rather he conceded to curling up in long johns and a T-shirt on the couch, Regene in tow. A blanket covered them, wrapped around their forms and draped over their shoulders. Like this they would have to keep close, something neither held issue with. If anything, Regene wished to snuggle nearer.
 
He scooted just a little, shoulder nudging Lyle’s chest as he went. A sign, a silent demand. Lyle wrapped his arm around his angel and drew him closer. Even with Tieria’s watchful eyes on him from his place across the room, that glare the man could feel practically burning into him, he took the plunge and reveled in the boldness of this move, small though it was. The younger Innovade was just being protective, after all, and he didn’t quite trust Lyle with his twin yet. Funny that he would trust him with a Gundam, with the fate of humanity, yet not this one person. Tieria was an oddball, and for now Lyle was keen to ignore him.
 
“I thought you liked chai.”
 
“I do…” This one wasn’t any less of an oddball in retrospect. The both of them, these Dylandy boys, truly did have a thing for oddities. The man released a soft laugh from his nose, a smirk touching his lips, before he brought his coffee to them and drank deep. Regene drank his own beverage in turn and rested just a touch more weight against him.
 
Meanwhile Tieria, who stood with his back leaning against the kitchen island, watched his every move. Those crimson orbs of his narrowed just a hint, just enough to show any who happened upon his expression would note it was one of frustration and not the typical way his face tended to rest. Both the Innovades had this issue, though the younger’s stuck out a bit more dramatically. Or was it because he willed it to? Who knew?
 
Nevertheless, it was overcome by warmth and the tug of a strong arm guiding him to the taller form beside him. Neil to the rescue, as always – the Innovade lost his displeased visage first in surprise, then in demure intrigue, and as soon as that ocean-colored eye and that handsome smile were aimed his way, there was peace. A soft expression to match Neil’s own, a shy kind of look as eyes averted and Tieria allowed his body to rest against the taller man’s, his head on Neil’s shoulder. Aubergine draped against the fabric of his shirt, the outline of arm and shoulder, neck, chin, and soon auburn came to brush and caress as Neil leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to the angel’s brow. A sigh was released, eyes slipped closed. They settled in.
 
Peaceful.

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Tieria Erde | Regene Regetta

April 2017

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