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Erik wore clothes that stayed off the neck for a reason.

“Ahh…” the thief shivered, leaning away from the touch.

“It’s your own fault,” El said, gently dabbing the cut on Erik’s neck with a rough cloth soaked in healing salve. “I told you to focus on dodging.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Erik grumbled, slouching a bit in his seat near their campfire. “Thought I saw an opening.”

El pressed the cloth against Erik’s torn skin again. “I almost ran out of mana reviving you,” he said, not directly answering, but his meaning was clear.

Erik looked away guiltily, shuddering at the touch of the cloth.

“If it had taken much longer, I could have lost you,” El went on, letting the cloth rest across his knees. “I only just learned Zing, and I’m not very good at it at all.”

Erik shifted uncomfortably in place. “It ended up okay… right?”

“This time.” El sighed, leaning in to examine the wound. “It’s nearly sealed,” he said, patting a bit more salve onto Erik’s neck.

Erik felt himself flush. Normally, he hated things touching his neck; it was a vulnerable place, of course, but it was also one of Erik’s few ticklish places. When El did it, though… he didn’t hate it as much. In fact, he kind of thought he might… like it…?

There was a certain intensity in El’s eyes as he moved closer, running his fingers over the freshly-healed skin of Erik’s neck with a look of absolute concentration, and Erik thought he felt his soul leaving his body. He was too adorable for his own good, silky hair falling into his face, and the touch felt entirely too nice.

Erik found himself leaning toward the Luminary’s touch as he inspected the healed flesh. A bit embarrassed, he started to right himself, when El reached up with his other hand, gently cupping his palm around the opposite side of Erik’s neck.

“Don’t move,” he said.

Erik could hardly hear him over the roaring in his ears. This was something straight out of his dreams, El’s hands on his neck, stroking his skin and holding him in place. Yggdrasil’s roots, he could hardly stop himself from making noises that would make El think he was some kind of pervert.

“Does it hurt?” El asked, his breath warm on Erik’s neck, and that needed to stop immediately, or they’d be in for a very awkward situation. “You keep squirming.”

Erik swallowed hard. “No, no. It’s. fine.”

El gave him a little smile. “Oh, good. I’m trying to heal you… if you hadn’t noticed.”

Erik chuckled, hoping to cover his nerves. “Maybe you should try to kiss it better,” he teased, half on autopilot.

El’s face turned buzzberry red, his mouth open as if to say something, but no sound escaped him.

ABORT.

Erik was halfway to making an excuse that probably wouldn’t fool El for a second when the Luminary—the Chosen of Yggdrasil—leaned in and pressed dry lips gently against Erik’s neck, right over where he’d been injured. So unexpected it was that the undeniably filthy sounds Erik had been holding back since the pain stopped escaped him.

“Ahh~”

El jumped back, eyes wide and blue as the sea, but before Erik could apologize, he was leaning back in, one hand holding Erik’s neck firmly in place, and kissed the same spot again.

“Nnghh~” Erik groaned, his eyes fluttering closed. “E-El…?”

“Better?” El asked. When Erik looked at him, there was a nervous smile on his lips and pink in his cheeks.

Erik felt like he’d been stunned. “Ahh, well…”

“No?” El leaned in again.

“I mean, it’s definitely… better,” Erik managed.

“Then I should stop?” El tilted his head, still blushing.

“Not what I said,” Erik said, a little too quickly.

El smiled, rising on his knees to kiss his neck again.

This was it, Erik realized. This was how he’d die.

Oh well.

—Fin