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Hell Spawn (Bringing Up Baby)

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Raihan shut the door behind him, leaning against it as he slowly sank down and buried his head in his arms.

“Fuck,” he whispered, hand moving to his pocket, hoping against hope that he’d just imagined the entire last couple of—

He touched cool metal and cursed again, hands running through his hair in agitation.

I need someone to take care of Eternatus for a while. Leon has us scheduled to go to Alola for some matches with the Trial Leaders there and…well, obviously customs isn’t going to let me bring a lot of our Pokémon, but I also don’t want Leon to feel like he has to be around it for my sake. You’re the only person I could think of that I could trust it with.

And that had been that. There wasn’t any way he could say no, because Gloria was right. He was the only one qualified to take on a poisonous dragon and he definitely wasn’t going to subject his best friend to having to spend a work vacation looking over his shoulder.

The fact that Leon had called and shakily thanked him for agreeing had clinched the deal.

It had been a nightmare the past few days, with Raihan trying and failing to establish any kind of rapport with the hell beast. The first day, Raihan had dithered for ages as to whether or not Eternatus was going to stay in the Pokéball for a solid two weeks. It wasn’t fair to keep it locked up, but he wasn’t above saying to hell with fairness.

They had been the only ones in the gym, where no one would be immediately hurt if the dragon started raging. His gym was a fortress and it would stand strong long enough for a warning to sound across the city. It didn’t do much to ease his fears, but it was better than his flat in the main plaza, where hundreds of thousands of people could potentially be affected if he failed to keep it calm.

He took a deep breath and drew his arm back, whipping it as far as he could to give the massive creature space as its form took shape past the glare of it materializing before him. Growing and growing and growing and for a moment he was staring down at Leon’s unconscious face and the bloody bandages around his torso before he was rushed into surgery. He was staying over in Spikemuth being clung to by Marnie as Piers woke up from another nightmare, trying to assure them both that they were safe, that he would stand between the siblings and anything that would dare come for them. He was staring at Rose’s tired, resigned face as he was carried far away—a monster of terror and pain to some of them, a being of dignity and leadership to others, and the only father figure some of them had known. The inevitable feeling of betrayal that had followed his choices had wounded them all deeply, and Raihan pushed back against the mental barrage.

It immediately screamed, and while Raihan knew it was a greeting, all the training in the world couldn’t stop him from flinching. It glanced around for its trainer, and the sense of confusion was palpable when it didn’t see Gloria, but a complete stranger holding its Pokéball.

Trained dragons didn’t generally have a problem with transfers of power like that beyond maybe some initial pushing of the boundaries to make sure their current caretaker wasn’t a pushover.

Eternatus was nothing like most dragons. It was something of a miracle that he managed to avoid being disintegrated to ash and blood those first few hours.

“This is my city,” he growled when he finally managed to tire it out enough that it couldn’t stop him from using a Gigantamaxed Duraludon to pin it under its weight. He wrenched the dragon down by its helm spikes to meet his eye despite how small he felt next to its behemoth body. “My people. My hoard. Got it? You break my city, I break you. I didn’t live through Rose’s reign of terror to be bested by some overgrown Wyrm.”

Even after it had calmed down enough for him to explain where Gloria was and when she would be coming back, it still didn’t like him. And while he wasn’t exactly proud of it, the feeling was entirely mutual. It wasn’t Eternatus’ fault that it had been bred for destructive purposes and unleashed the moment it hatched without any training or guidance. Unfortunately, knowing that didn’t make things any easier. He still had no idea why it had chosen Gloria, but it was very clear to him that it had only chosen Gloria.

“Rotom, call Piers for me, would you?” He muttered, taking out the Pokéball and staring at it. A goddamn Luxury Ball. Their new Champion was either a genius or a madwoman. Possibly both.

It rung a few times before he heard the call connect.

“Wotcher, Raihan,” came Piers’ tired voice over the phone.

“I need to come over,” Raihan blurted before he could think better of it. They almost never hung out in Spikemuth, a preference Piers never deigned to explain, but it was the safest place he could think of. He’d never felt more grateful for the singer’s vehement rejection of Dynamaxing than right then.

“Uh, okay? Should I get dressed any type of way or…”

“Nah, just…uh, probably something heavily armored if you’ve got it.”

“What the hell did you do?” Piers immediately sounded more alert.

“Why do you assume I did anything? Look, I’ll be over as soon as I call a taxi, okay?”

Piers was silent for a moment before groaning. Raihan could hear the rustle of sheets, and if the situation wasn’t so nerve-wracking, he’d be salivating at the thought of him in bed, hair a mess and—

“Fine, fine, I’m getting up.”

Raihan squinted at his phone. “It’s past noon.”

“And I had a jam session with my mates till about three hours ago, let me live.”

“I’ll buy you one of those nasty whipped frappuccino things you like on the way,” Raihan bribed, already pulling up the app and making a face at the photos of the sugary nightmares Piers favored.

“…extra shot of espresso and I’ll see you in twenty.”

 

/////

 

They both stared at the Pokéball for a long while.

Piers had been mostly silent through the explanation of what happened, only asking a clarification question now and again.

“So, I suppose we let it out?” He finally asked, nodding to himself. “Get it used to being in unfamiliar places. Glad we’re in an abandoned part of town.” His arms were folded tightly against himself in a way that had Raihan wanting to reach out and comfort him. Having small friend crushes was one thing, but falling arse over tits in love?

Drove him mental if he thought about it for too long.

“Okay,” he said, psyching himself up. “Alright, stand at my left and don’t bring out any Pokémon unless I tell you. If anything goes wrong, you get the fuck out of here and start evacuation, you understand?” He looked at Piers, knowing it was futile. There was no way Piers would just leave like he should, but he had to at least say it.

The singer nodded, coming to stand at his side. Raihan gritted his teeth and tossed the Pokéball again, hoping they could avoid a repeat of the last time now that it at least knew who he was.

Oh,” Piers breathed next to him as the light solidified into the skeletal form of the poison dragon.

It took in its new surroundings, but didn’t immediately grow distressed, which Raihan was hesitant to call progress. At least it meant they weren’t about to be burned to crisps. It shrank back, the life orb between its ribs pulsing quicker like it wasn’t sure if it wanted to attack or not. Raihan stared it down, a warning on his tongue before he realized its focus wasn’t on him. He glanced to the side to find Piers staring back, equally fascinated as the Pokémon before him.

He threw out a hand to stop the singer when he took a half step towards the beast.

“It’s okay,” Piers murmured to him, and he turned wide eyes on him. “I think…I think it’s…sensin’ me? Is that the right word? I dunno mate, but I can tell it’s doing somethin’ and it isn’t a hostile feeling.”

“Still have to let it come to us,” Raihan said, taking one of Piers’ hands in his to put it out towards the dragon. Long fingers squeezed his and he had to fight back the heady blush that threatened to work its way onto his face. “Like you do with your Zigzagoons. Go ahead.”

He’d never actually seen Piers in action with them before, so when he started making soft crooning and whistling noises at the massive hell beast, he almost burst out laughing.

He stopped wanting to laugh when Eternatus started swaying towards them.

“Are you bloody kidding me?”

Piers laughed delightedly when it eventually pushed right up to his hand, making low thrumming sounds. “Oh, this is brilliant, Raihan! Pretty beastie, comin’ right to me. Ah—”

He immediately moved towards them at the surprised noise Piers had made, but the singer threw a hand out to pause him. A look of concentration furrowed his brow.

“It’s upset, Raihan. I can feel it. It’s like its emotions are mine, but I know they aren’t.”

Raihan’s mouth dropped open. “Is…is it fucking talking to you?”

Piers looked over at him and nodded hesitantly. “Maybe? I’m getting…impressions? Sort of. Kabu was telling me about this, about the time he met the Groudon of Hoenn. Sonia theorized that even non-Psychic type legendary Pokémon have a certain level of communication ability. C’mere, see if you can feel it.”

He skirted around the massive head, keeping eye contact as he went, before placing his hand over Piers’. He sucked in a sharp breath, a voice in his mind as clear as day and it was afraid fear fear fearsomuchfearwhenwoulditstopwhereisgloriawhereismyfriendmyfavoritetreasure—

“I can hear it,” he choked out, meeting Piers’ wide eyes with his own. “But an actual voice. It’s not really speaking language, per se, but that’s how my mind is translating it, I guess?”

“Might be your training with other dragons,” Piers murmured, his hand stroking at the rib closest to him. “I’m only getting vague impressions of emotions.”

“Possibly,” Raihan said distantly, watching as the creature started to calm a little now that Piers was stroking its ribs and letting it push harder at his hand. “It’s really scared. Not even of us, just in general. I’ve never seen a dragon be scared of anything other than other dragons. They’ll even get snappy at fairies, which…yeah, not smart, but they aren’t used to being less than the toughest thing in the room.”

Piers started up with the soft noises of encouragement again and Raihan watched in disbelief when it started trilling back at him. The eerie echoes of it sent shivers up his spine.

“Wait, remember how you said that it had only just hatched when Rose set it loose?”

“Yeah?” He agreed, keeping an eye on the claws that were creeping towards the singer, letting out a tense breath when they only brushed back and forth against Piers’ legs, a self-soothing gesture he’d seen Haxorus do with their armor blades.

“Well, that was less than a year ago. And you said that dragons don’t age very quickly. Even by normal standards…”

They both turned to stare at each other as the implications caught up to them.

“It’s a baby,” Raihan breathed, turning back to stare at the behemoth before him. “It’s a bloody hatchling!”

“A hatchling whose parental unit just vanished as far as it knew.”

“And I’ve been treating it like I would an unruly adult dragon, no wonder it hates me!”

“What?” Piers looked at him sharply. “What do you mean, it hates you?”

“I mean that for the past three days, it has tried to kill me, eat me, and then settled for ignoring me. In that order.”

“But it came right to me, you saw!” Piers said, shushing the dragon when it hissed in distress.

“Fuck all if I know why! Not that you aren’t great, but it wouldn’t even interact with my Pokémon!”

Piers turned back to it, rubbing his fingers between its eyes. “I can’t keep it here though, there’s no way the city will sanction it staying even in this part of town and my gym isn’t big enough for it to be comfortable.”

Raihan took his hand away from the beast, having received a vivid mental picture of what would happen to him should he not remove it immediately. He scrubbed a hand over his face and furrowed his brow when Eternatus started rumbling in contentment. It was fucking purring, of course it was. He couldn’t blame it, he’d be purring if he had Piers’ hands on him like that, but for fuck’s sake, who was the dragon trainer here?

“So come stay with me.” He blinked, wondering if he had actually said that out loud. The incredulous look on Piers’ face confirmed that he had, in fact, done exactly that.

“Stay with you,” Piers repeated slowly, like the words would make more sense if he spoke them too. “As in, your flat in Hammerlocke. For two weeks.”

Raihan scowled, looking away. “I mean, it makes sense. Marnie is perfectly capable of taking care of things here, and we’re not that far apart if she needs something. Not like we haven’t camped or roomed together before.”

He was prepared to offer just about anything now that he’d said it. The thought of Piers staying in his home was…

“Okay.”

Raihan looked back in surprise. A pretty blush was spreading over Piers’ face as he frowned. Raihan wanted to run his thumb over the lines between his eyes, smooth them out and replace the frown with one of the soft smiles that never failed to make anyone who knew Piers want to see it over and over again.

“Okay?” He clarified, and the singer nodded.

“You’re right, and I don’t want you to have to deal with this alone. Let me get my stuff and we’ll get goin’, yeah?”

He’d honestly expected more of a fight, but he wasn’t one to look a gift Mudsdale in the mouth.

They returned the dragon to its Pokéball, both breathing a sigh of relief before heading back towards Piers’ flat. He waited outside while the singer gathered a bag and told Marnie where he’d be. He eyed the small backpack dubiously when the other returned, wondering if Piers would allow him to take him shopping as a thank you or if that was firmly out of bounds.

They were quiet throughout the taxi ride, and Raihan couldn’t help but keep stealing little glances at Piers every time he turned to look out the window. He was going to see him every day for almost two weeks, and he could feel the giddiness rising in him as that sunk in. Two weeks of being within arm’s reach when they weren’t working. Two weeks he had to show the singer the new restaurants that had opened since he’d last ventured into Hammerlocke for more than a train ride. Two weeks to work up the courage to maybe, possibly ask him out when this was all done.

He could do this.

 

/////

 

He could not do this.

Piers sighed contentedly as he put down his fork, tipping back in the seat and not caring one bit that there were dozens of haughty, offended eyes on him as he did. From his ripped-up clothes to his messy hair to his lax posture, Piers did not fit in with the soft lit décor and snobbish cuisine he couldn’t pronounce.

Raihan had never been more in love with him.

“Alright, I’ll give you this one. M’not one for fancy food but that was amazing.”

“Told you,” he said, trying to hide the way he had to cross his legs to keep himself firmly in check. “Next time you should try something confit.”

“I have no idea what that means, but I’ll take your word for it,” Piers laughed, before suddenly pausing, looking closely at him. “Next time?”

Raihan fought not to squirm under the scrutiny. “I’m always getting asked to try new places. Guess it gives them clout if I like it, but it’s no fun eating alone. You’re always welcome to come with me.”

Piers leaned forward, elbows on the table like he knew it was making the waiter scowl. “I think we both know how bad of an idea that is. Thought the hostess was gonna have a fit before you showed me which spoon was for the soup.”

“I don’t care,” Raihan blurted, firmly choosing to ignore the ears that perked up at nearby tables. “It’s all made up bullshit anyways. Not like we’ll be thrown out for bad table etiquette.”

Piers side-eyed the waiters huddled in a group dubiously. “If you say so. Don’t wanna cause you any trouble and it’s not like bar food or the food I make at home isn’t just fine.”

Raihan grinned toothily. “If anything, them being intimidated by you means this is the first meal I haven’t had to deal with anyone bothering me in a while.”

Piers snorted, shaking his head. “Well, when you put it like that, I guess.” He raised his glass in a mock toast, smiling when Raihan tipped their glasses together before they drained the rest.

By the time they got up, the light in Hammerlocke had transferred from sun to streetlamp. Piers reached for his pocket before Raihan shook his head hurriedly. “Already got it, mate, consider it a thank you for agreeing to this.”

The singer narrowed his eyes, but nodded after a moment and followed him out. “So, do you have a plan?”

“I’m thinking we go to the Gym during the week like I normally would, but we’ll stay an extra hour or two each day to see if we can get Eternatus to relax a little. If it does, I’d be fine with it hanging out on the roof of my flat while I’m gone if you want to stay there. Weekends we can head into the Wilds if you’re up for it. Haven’t been properly camping in too long.”

“Easy enough, if it cooperates.”

“That’s a big if.”

They shared a look of exhausted camaraderie, Piers’ expression morphing to exasperated acceptance when Raihan drew out his phone and crowded in for a selfie.

“Have to commemorate the moment!” He said, a familiar argument that Piers didn’t even bother fighting at this point. “You learned about cutlery today!”

Piers burst out laughing as he’d hoped and Raihan quickly snapped up as many pictures as he could before Piers swatted him away. “It’s only learnin’ if I actually remember any of it. And I can tell you right now, it’s already gone. In fact, probably never seen a silver spoon in my life.”

“Definitely a knife though.”

“And don’t you forget it wise guy,” Piers agreed with a smirk, voice a startlingly good impression of a Unovian mobster, clearly pleased when Raihan immediately asked him to do it again for a video.

They had almost arrived to the flat before Leon called, his eyes tired but bright with happiness when he saw the both of them.

“Piers!” He exclaimed jovially, throwing his victory sign which Piers flashed back with a grin.

“What am I? Chopped liver?” Raihan gasped, mock-offended. “Leon, buddy! Chum, pal, father-of-my-unborn-children-according-to-last-week’s rag magazine, I thought we had something special! You wound me, rival-mine!”

“Oh please, like I don’t see you practically every day of the week,” Leon snickered. “This is a rare treat. What are the two of you up to? No good, of course, but I want in!”

Piers cackled and moved closer to the phone, looking both ways like he was about to impart a plan to take down the Galarian government. Knowing Piers, there was a fifty percent chance that’s exactly what it was.

“I learned how to pronounce dauphinoise today.”

Ah, good thing he hadn’t placed bets on it.

“Raihan! Remind me to shake your hand when I get back, you’ve accomplished the impossible! We’ll make a proper posh lad of him yet!”

Piers flipped him off with both hands, shaking his head. “In your dreams, Princess! You can take the pleb to the winery, but he’ll drink naught but swill!”

“Rai, please tell me you made him at least try the cabernet.”

“Ye of little faith, he had two glasses.” Raihan threw a fist up triumphantly and Leon echoed it, both of them yelling loud enough that Piers rolled his eyes and shushed them.

“Even my Yell goons know that screaming is meant to be kept to respectable hours!”

“You have never done anything respectable in your life,” Leon countered, and Raihan almost choked when Piers slithered up close to the camera and batted his eye lashes at it.

“Keep up that sweet talk, Champ. You know just what I like to hear.”

Leon’s face was indulgent, and Raihan had a moment of utterly irrational fear that he was too late. That, like always, he was doomed to come second to Leon, only this time in something that mattered even more to him than victory in battle. He breathed a quiet sigh of relief when Leon rolled his eyes instead of bantering back.

“Former Champion,” he reminded them, laughing when both of his friends pulled a face.

“And we’re allowed to be salty about it till the end times,” Raihan growled.

“Mates, if you could see how happy Gloria is right now, you wouldn’t be able to help but let it go,” Leon said, a proud grin on his face. “She’s absolutely killing it out here. It’s nice to have some time to myself, where I can just be a mentor and make sure she doesn’t run herself ragged and then come back to my room and not have to be ‘on’ anymore.”

Piers nodded. “Aye, doesn’t change the fact that we can like Gloria and be proud of her and still recognize that she’ll never be able to replace you.”

There was a quiet moment of shocked surprise before Leon looked away, clearly fighting something back and with no hat to hide himself.

“Thanks, Piers,” he finally said, visibly compartmentalizing it for later. “That means a lot to me. Actually, I wanted to talk to Raihan about something to do with the Champion anyways. Should I call back?”

“If it’s about her hell dragon, then you should know that’s why I have been bribed with fancy dinner.”

Leon howled, and Raihan grinned, feeling bold enough to wrap his arms around Piers and rest his chin on the other’s head. His heart beat a little faster when Piers didn’t pull away.

“How are things going, then, Raihan? I still can’t thank you enough for taking that on. I just…” He trailed off, glancing away guiltily before Raihan flicked the screen like he would his friend’s forehead.

“Things are fine, I’ve got Piers here to help keep it under control. Guess it recognizes a fellow spiteful spirit.”

“I’ll choose to take that as a compliment,” Piers quipped blandly.

“Gloria said it has some communication abilities. Have you tested them out yet?” Leon asked, leaning in closer and reminding Raihan of when they first started training together. Leon had always been eager to learn more about Pokémon.

“Some heads up would have been nice,” Raihan grumbled. “But yeah, Piers said he could get emotional impressions and it can actually speak in words with me. Not that it wants to. Like I said, Piers is the only one so far that it seems to like, though I haven’t tested that with anyone else yet. Could just be that it doesn’t like me specifically.”

“From what I’ve observed, you’re probably right about it only liking Piers. It never wanted to be anywhere near anyone that wasn’t Gloria.”

Raihan eyed him sharply. “And we’ll be having words about why you’ve been close enough to that thing to know that.”

Leon shrugged unabashedly. “Study first, break down later. It’s how we got through Uni and it worked just fine.”

“That is not what that phrase is supposed to—”

Piers snapped his fingers suddenly. “A video call! We should do a video call with her tomorrow so Eternatus can see her!”

Leon and Raihan both mulled that over for a moment, wondering what their lives had become. “We can definitely try,” Leon agreed. I’m not completely convinced it has eyesight like we do. But it’s worth a shot if it’s going to be out and about anyways.”

They discussed plans as they walked, until Leon looked ready to pass out between sentences. “Get some sleep, mate,” Raihan said, the sentiment echoed by Piers.

By the time the screen went dark, they were at the flat. “Be advised, I didn’t know I’d have you over, so the guest room is probably a mess. I’ll clean it in the morning, but we should probably follow our own advice and get some rest.”

Piers smiled, already knowing Raihan’s tendency to use the space as storage. “So long as the bed or the sofa is free, I don’t need much else.”

“Now if only I could get Leon and Gordie to feel the same way,” Raihan laughed, unlocking the door. “It’s like the Princess and the Pea with them.”

Piers being in his space wasn’t anything new, to an extent, but he had to be careful. One wrong move could have Piers looking at him disgustedly and never coming back. The only thing he wouldn’t be able to stand more than not telling Piers someday how much he loved him was losing Piers’ friendship entirely.

Reminding himself of that didn’t help when Piers put a gentle hand on his back, trusting him to guide their way through the darkened flat until he could flick on the lights.

“Make yourself at home,” he said, unable to keep the wistfulness completely out of his voice.

Piers looked at him for a long enough moment that Raihan nearly panicked, before he looked away and hoisted his bag higher on his shoulder. “If I’m not up when you are, come wake me. Have a feelin’ I’ll end up sleepin’ like the dead tonight after two late nights in a row.”

“Sleep well,” Raihan murmured, waiting until Piers bid him a goodnight and walked down the hallway towards the guest room to slowly sink down onto the couch and bury his face in the pillows.

Two weeks. Two weeks of this.

“Fuck,” he whispered into the dark.

 

/////

 

He stood over the bed feeling simultaneously like an intruder in his own home and more like he might combust than he had in his life.

Piers’ soft hair was splayed over the pillows, on his stomach with his bare arms half off the bed, practically diagonal from moving in his sleep. He was snoring ever so slightly, the sound endearing beyond belief and Raihan wondered if it was just this side of way too creepy to kneel down next to the bed and watch him dream a little longer.

He quickly reached out before he could convince himself it would be a good idea.

“Piers. Piers, c’mon, wake up. You’ll be cranky if you don’t eat breakfast before we have to be at the gym.”

“Sod off,” Piers mumbled into the pillow, rolling over with a sigh and not waking in the slightest. “M’sleep.”

“I know you are, that’s the problem. C’mon mate, wakey wakey!”

The singer made an incoherent noise, burrowing further into the sheets.

Raihan had no choice.

Piers shrieked as he whipped the blankets off, sitting up abruptly as it startled him into being awake and oh. Oh fu—

“Arceus’ tits, Raihan! The fuck, you barmy git?”

Naked. Oh my god he was naked fuck his entire life he was naked and he was gorgeous

“Shut your gob and give me the blanket back!”

Raihan handed it over silently while Piers wrapped himself up like a mummy and cursed him out, fuming as he pulled the blanket over his head.

“—and you’re not even listenin’ to me, are you? Did I break your brain or somethin’? It’s nothing you don’t have you wanker!”

“Uh…you don’t…wear pajamas?”

Piers looked at him like he had gone insane. Hell, maybe he had and it was time to put him out to pasture. Bloody fuck Piers’ body though, who could even blame him?

“No, I don’t wear thrice-cursed pajamas, Raihan!”

“But—but what about when Marnie has her friends over?” His brain was still scrambling to process the fact that Piers didn’t wear anything to bed. He had existed this whole time without vital information.

Piers shot him a withering glare. “We’re not so poor we don’t have doors, mate. And Marnie and her friends are good lasses who don’t go bargin’ into rooms while other people are tryin’ to kip!”

“You asked me to!”

Piers threw his hands up and Raihan nearly passed out at the sight of his chest reappearing.

“You’d better have some damn good takeout on its way. You’ll need it to distract me from kickin’ your arse if you don’t get out by the time I stand up.”

Raihan fled.

His face felt like it was on fire, and he hurriedly went to the kitchen to grab some water before he realized that he had something of a problem happening in his very respectable sleepwear thank you very much.

He leaned his head against the cool metal of the fridge, opening it to let the cold air wash over him until he could get his thoughts in order.

Day one was shaping up to be a real banger. He groaned when he heard the shower start up. Well, that was his obvious solution gone. He bit his lip, wondering if he had enough time to rub one out before Piers was done. All that hair had to take a while.

He shut the door and quickly made his way to his room, not bothering to strip and instead shoving a hand into his sweats as soon as his back hit the bed. Fuck, but Piers was beautiful. He’d known that. He’d always known that. He’d seen bits and pieces over the years, but never like that. Never so much pink gracing his skin from the warmth of the sheets, never his hair brushing against pierced nipples and the hint of a tattoo at his hip. Never his cock, perfect and mouthwatering and—

He threw a hand over his mouth, jerking himself hard until he came with a stifled sound, the slick sounds of his hand on his cock feeling over-loud in the quiet of the flat, though he could still hear the shower running.

He breathed out slowly, head tipped back against the pillow as he rode out his high. He sighed when the aftershocks faded, getting up to go clean himself up and get ready for the day. He called for Rotom to get on the takeout stat and deliberately did not think about what he’d just done and why.

That task was made slightly more difficult when Piers came down with his shirt laying over one shoulder, hair still damp and in a messy pile at the top of his head, looking like every domestic fantasy Raihan had never, ever admitted to having.

The world was a cruel, cruel place.

“Sorry about that,” Raihan said quickly, before Piers could open his mouth.

Piers shook his head, sliding into a barstool at the kitchen island. “S’alright, sorry for causin’ such a scene. Went from sleep to sixty a little too fast,” he said, laughing and nabbing one of the takeout bowls from the bag. “Oh, you got the spicy kind. My favorite!”

“Is it? I ordered two of the mild bowls, they must have mixed up the order…”

Piers made a face when he took out the other and slid it over to Raihan. “Miss me with that Wooloo food.”

Raihan laughed, finally feeling a little more at ease. Alright, they just wouldn’t talk about it and it would be fine. A tried and true Galarian tactic.

“So,” Piers said when he had finished his bowl. “What will I be doin’ while you’re workin’ today?”

“Um…I hadn’t exactly thought of it.” He’d been entirely wrapped up in just wanting Piers wherever he was for as long as he could get away with it. “What do you want to do? You know how a gym works, take your pick.”

Piers thought about it, absently tugging at his necklace. “Could help with any admin work you might have. You usually do your own, yeah?”

Raihan could have kissed him. “You’d do that? That’s…I can’t ask you for that on top of helping me with Eternatus. The paperwork for my gym takes forever.”

Piers smiled at him, pushing the last traces of his food around with his spoon. “I’ve never minded it. It’s calming. Gives me time to think about my music. And if I do it, we’ll have more time to focus on other things instead of you havin’ to pull double duty.”

“You don’t have to convince me,” Raihan said with a grin. “I hate paperwork. If that takes your fancy then have at it.”

They made their way to the gym, where Raihan was immediately accosted by the triplets, each trying to speak over each other as he led them off to get started, throwing an amused smirk and an eyeroll back at Piers, who shook his head.

“Office is second floor, second door,” he quoted his usual rhyme, and Piers nodded, turning towards the stairs. Raihan watched him until he disappeared from sight, shaking himself to focus.

Right. To work.

 

/////

 

It never got less terrifying, watching Eternatus emerge into the world.

This time, it immediately zeroed in on Piers and beelined for him, its screams of greeting sending shivers up both of their spines.

“Well, that’s encouragin’,” Piers muttered when the beast started swaying in place in front of him. He reached up to pet it, the feelings enveloping him far more positive than they had been before.

“It is and it isn’t,” Raihan said, moving slowly to touch it as well and getting a sound that reminded him of bones scraping together. He held his hands up in surrender and backed off. “It’s good that it doesn’t start drama right away. It’s less good if it only wants to be around its chosen people. Especially if Gloria wants to have it out for more than matches and hanging out in Postwick.”

“Are most hatchlings like that?”

“A lot of them, yeah, though it depends on their nature. It’s something you have to train them out of early or it becomes a lot more challenging.”

“And it’s been almost a year for Eternatus,” Piers said, a bit sadly. “Is this even goin’ to work?”

Raihan nodded, confident in their ability to figure things out. “I think it will. First we’ll want it to start seeing the both of us as trustworthy figures. Right now it won’t even let me get close enough to groom or pet it, both of which are important for a dragon’s socialization.”

“Makes sense. Maybe if I do those things and then you do them with me, it will learn that it can trust you like I do.”

Raihan’s heart thundered in his chest. He knew it was just the way Piers had worded the idea, but the words made him feel like a million nonetheless. “We can start there. Dragonhide—even scales as bonelike as this one—always needs a good shine. They like to look as pretty as the treasure they hoard.”

“I remember when some of my mates stumbled on a Deino hoard in Spikemuth,” Piers said with a laugh. “No treasure or even much money to collect in our town, so it started in on the bottlecaps. Thousands and thousands and thousands of bottlecaps.”

“You didn’t…you didn’t take it from the Deino, did you?” He asked worriedly.

“’Course not. Wasn’t hurtin’ anyone to keep them, so I had everyone grab as many bags as we could find and we transferred it all back out to the Wilds when we released it. Not like I haven’t heard you rant about that thirty times at least,” Piers said, a faint smirk on his face. He wasn’t wrong that Raihan could get a little heated talking about the proper care and respect of dragons and their hoards.

This is why he’d chosen Piers, beyond the unbearable attraction.

He was kind. The sort that ran marrow deep and permeated everything the singer did. He was intelligent and capable, a natural leader despite him thinking otherwise, and generous with his care of others.

Dragons—Pokémon in general—were good at sensing inner qualities. They knew when the emotions directed at them were real or fake. It was why he knew he would have to work on his own attitude towards Eternatus if they were going to get anywhere. It wouldn’t be enough to just fake it.

Piers didn’t have to fake it. Eternatus could feel all that care directed at it, and it wanted to bask in it like any smart being would. Watching Piers practically coo at this objectively terrifying creature was an exercise in affection, in keeping it tamped down long enough to see this through.

“I’ll go get some supplies if you’re okay to wait here.”

“Sure.”

He didn’t think Piers would be in any danger from the dragon, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. He looked Eternatus in the eyes and wondered if there was something to Leon’s theory about its limited vision. “I need you to stay calm while I’m gone,” he said firmly. “He is important to me.”

Piers’ head whipped up at the corner of his eyes, but he was focused on the creature before him. He let the statement sink in, knowing Eternatus could likely sense what he meant. For the first time, it didn’t retaliate at all. Simply heaved a strange sigh and settled itself as close to the floor as it could go, head low and letting Piers continue to pet it.

Like a damn Yamper, he thought with a bit of bitterness, turning away to go get the supplies.

When he got back, it was to Piers singing softly and the hell beast practically purring and putty in his hands. Raihan was not going to be jealous of someone else’s Pokémon. “Here we go, you’ll want to start at the back and work your way towards its head. When you get to about halfway, I’ll start trying to join in and see what happens.”

Piers took the cloth and basin from him with a dubious look in his eyes. “This tiny thing for its whole body?”

Raihan nodded. “When we’re in a hurry we might get out some bigger utensils, but dragons like to be cared for thoroughly, and for long periods of time as a bonding activity. It’s important to them, that time be spent on them the way they will willingly spend any amount of time making their trainers happy. Dragons, more than any other type of Pokémon I would say, require equality and mutual care with their people.”

Piers’ eyes were soft as he looked from Raihan to Eternatus before he walked down to the end of the dragon’s form. He dipped the cloth in the basin and started slowly, making sure the dragon knew where he was and was comfortable with not being able to see him much. “I think I like that. Dark types generally are easy goin’ despite their penchant for mischief, probably out of necessity. They know they have a reputation, so any scrap of affection will do most of the time. They’ll do anythin’ and everythin’ and not ask for a thing in return.”

Raihan watched him work for a while and wondered if that wasn’t true of dark type trainers as well.

When he got halfway through the strange rib protrusions, he wandered over to try his hand at helping. Eternatus immediately sent him angry, threatening thoughts when he touched the creature, so he sent nothing but reassurance and acceptance of its ire back before he stepped away again. They would try again in a moment.

“She’s coming back,” Piers murmured, clearly a response to something Eternatus was feeling. “Raihan already explained that. You haven’t been abandoned. If you listen to him and do right by him, he’ll take good care of you till she returns. He has dragons, others like you that will welcome you in. Is that what you’re afraid of? Being alone?”

Raihan stared at the singer, something suddenly clicking. “Piers, that’s…genius! Can you bring out your Pokémon while you do this?”

“Huh, sure I guess?” He said it like a question but shrugged and reached for his belt. “Only have a bunch of Zigzagoons I’m raisin’ at the moment, though. And Obstagoon and Toxtricity of course.”

“That’s perfect.”

The moment the Pokémon hit the floor, Raihan knew he’d make the right decision. The Zigzagoons stood frozen for a moment as they realized there was something far larger than even Obstagoon in the room before they tentatively started wriggling forward to sniff at Eternatus. Piers stood ready to recall them, but the dragon let out a delighted screech and lowered its head to get a closer look at the tiny Zigzagoons.

Obstagoon and Toxtricity shared greetings with it, Obstagoon cocking his head back and forth in intrigue as he rumbled what was clearly a series of questions before he hunkered down to let the Zigzagoons run energetically back and forth between him and their new friend.

Toxtricity puffed up her chest and strummed lightly at her strings in contentment, making Eternatus eye her curiously and sway closer to listen.

“It definitely likes music,” Piers observed, and Raihan agreed. That would certainly help as a starting point for future interactions.

It also confirmed what he’d suspected. Eternatus was uncomfortable around its fellow dragons, but other types would be just fine. That was fine, he could work with that so long as it was getting enough attention and socialization.

With it well distracted, he stepped up behind the singer and tried putting his hand over Piers’, pleasantly surprised when the dragon merely gave him a warning and went back to watching the other Pokémon play. He grinned at Piers only to find the other flushing down to his neck and staring at where their hands were connected.

He slowly took the cloth, feeling a little more hopeful than he had been. “I’ll take it from here till it gets tired of me,” he said, voice low and wishing he could follow when Piers moved away, looking at him before he silently went to go join the others.

Raihan hummed under his breath as he worked, until something tentative nudged at his consciousness.

Is he mate?

He smiled, one part longing and two parts excitement that it was finally talking to him.

He could be. Right now he’s a friend. Like Gloria is your friend.

Gloriagloriagloriawhereismyfriend.

She’s coming home soon. Sometimes she won’t be able to take you with her, though she wants to. But she’ll always come back. She loves you. He moved a little further up, nearly to its neck now.

Gloriagloriahomesoon I like the small things.

The Zigzagoons?

Yes. Are they friends too?

They can be if you want them to. You’re doing great with them. Look how happy Piers is. And it was true. Piers was sitting with his Pokémon, looking peaceful as he watched how carefully Eternatus interacted with his team.

Piersisfriendwanttomakehappy thisisgood.

He could definitely relate. I know we started off badly, but I would like to be your friend too.

A rapid fire set of emotions came through before settling on interest. He stroked its neck soothingly.

Maybe.

I’ll take that. Let me know when you decide.

Want Piers now Piersisgoodfriend like when scales are clean Piersissoftverygood.

Sure thing.

Raihan laughed and called Piers over. “You’ll be glad to know the hell beast thinks you’re soft and a very good friend,” he said cheekily, handing the cloth back over.

Piers rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. “Eh, no accountin’ for taste, I suppose.”

“I agree with it,” Raihan said, twirling a piece of the singer’s hair around his finger just to see him blush again. “Soft, see.”

“You’re barmy, mate.”

“Maybe,” Raihan said, shrugging. “When you’re done with its head, we can go back to the flat and I’ll get us some food. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hungry for hours now.”

“Pizza?” Piers requested, and Raihan grinned and called for Rotom.

“Anything you want,” he said absently.

“Anythin’, huh?” Raihan looked up to find Piers looking at him with an inscrutable expression on his face.

“What?”

“Nothin’, just thinking.”

Raihan opened his mouth to ask further when Eternatus started to wriggle at the lack of attention.

“Alright, you great beastie, let’s finish this so we can all go home for the evenin’.”

Home. His chest felt warm.

Things were starting to look like they might be okay after all.

 

/////

 

As one week blended into the next, Raihan felt ready to scream.

He had finally established enough rapport with Eternatus that it could be out and about most of the time if it wanted to. The socialization was going brilliantly. The dragon liked just about every Pokémon it came across and most of the humans as well. And he saw Piers constantly.

Which was not a problem in and of itself, because he couldn’t get enough. Every morning since the first, Piers had woken up without incident, sleepily joining him downstairs for a meal before they got ready and went to the gym. Piers was a master of paperwork—and Raihan had drunkenly cried about it one of the nights they decided to get trashed, begging him to take a job at his gym so he never had to look at another tax document again—and beyond helpful between training Eternatus and working with his other dragons.

They spent the evenings talking, or eating, or with Raihan pretending to play a videogame or read while Piers worked on his music and played with their collective Pokémon. And every time they parted ways for the night, it became a little harder not to take Piers’ hand and ask if there was room for another in his bed.

Definitely not a problem, especially as he noticed Piers growing bolder with him, more likely to touch and jest than before. The more he learned about the singer, the more he thought some of that interest might be returned. If he was ever going to shoot his shot, it needed to be soon, preferably before he went mad from how unbelievably enticing Piers was just walking around his flat being himself.

No, the problem was Eternatus had a new thing it liked doing now that it had decided it was no longer afraid of him.

It was cockblocking him.

Raihan groaned when Eternatus nearly sent him flying off the building in its irritation as he undressed Piers with his eyes. They were on the roof in the little garden he kept for growing medicinal herbs—he would never understand why Flygon actually liked that shite—and Piers was looking particularly delicious laying on the bench, absorbed in a book Raihan hadn’t even finished before Piers had stolen it out from under him. Four separate occasions he’d worked up the nerve to say something to the singer. Four separate occasions Eternatus had firmly stood in his way, possessive of Piers’ focus. It was on purpose, he just knew it.

“You get both of our attention all day every day,” he hissed at the dragon. “Let me have this.”

It didn’t deign to comment, just exuded an air of smugness and continued looking at the video on his phone. They had confirmed that Eternatus didn’t have actual eyesight, though they still didn’t know if that was normal or if it had been because it hatched too early. Still, when it came to videos, there was nothing it loved more than listening to anything with Gloria in it.

He grimaced when it autoplayed a video of Eternatus facing down Leon’s team in the Championship. The fear on Leon’s face hurt as much as it had when he’d seen it live.

Sadfearangry?

Not at you. Not anymore. It wasn’t your fault.

I’m sorry.

It was the clearest of any of the thoughts being streamlined to him and he stroked its ribs before he turned the video off with a sigh.

Food and then packing for camping.

Likecamping bigspaces like outside quietpretty.

They had gone out the weekend before, but this time there would only be one night to camp before Gloria came back. On the one hand, it was wonderful. She would come home to a well-socialized dragon and would be able to help it reach its full potential as it grew.

On the other hand, he was going to miss the damned bugger.

And Piers would go back to Spikemuth. Things would go back to the way they were, and Raihan’s knees nearly buckled to think of it.

No more nights spent watching the telly and talking until the early hours of the morning. No more listening to Piers sing when he forgot himself. No more lunches in his office or seeing the smiles that he was only witness to because they were in such close proximity.

He didn’t want that.

When they headed out into the Wilds, it was the only thing he could think about. Eternatus was gleefully spiraling up and down, excited by the prospect of all the room it could want, Piers chuckling and nudging his arm against Raihan’s.

“We did good.”

“Couldn’t have done it without you,” Raihan said, chest aching. It wasn’t the end of the world, not even close. They had faced that quite literally. And yet it still felt like it.

“Going to miss the hell spawn?”

He nodded, walking a little faster so Piers wouldn’t see him have to swallow hard to keep the emotions down.

“I will, too. Eternatus will be glad to see the Champ though.”

They let the dragon roam as long as they could, taking turns slow cooking the curry until it was time to eat. By the time the evening was starting to set in, Raihan was determined to not let this be the last word. Their friendship was strong enough to survive some unwanted feelings, if that’s what it came down to.

He nodded to himself, psyching himself up as he set up his tent and bedroll before Piers came power walking back into their area with his arms crossed and a stormy expression on his face.

“This cheeky bastard thought it would be funny if it bloody stole my tent bag and used it as a toy!” He yelled, and Raihan blinked.

“Come again?”

“It’s completely ruined!” Piers hissed, showing him the tattered remains of fabric in his hands. “And it’s my only one!”

Raihan looked to Eternatus, confusion evident as the dragon looked on serenely at the fuming singer, who it generally loathed to anger. Almost…pleased with itself…like it had—

Oh, you perfect, magnificent creature. He thought giddily.

‘It’s alright, mate,” he said placatingly. “We can share mine for now and I’ll get you a new one when we get back.”

Piers narrowed his eyes at the dragon, finding no remorse in its demeanor, and promptly huffed an irritated breath before he stomped over to the tent and crawled inside, muttering angrily to himself.

He waited a moment for the opening to zip back up before he practically flew over to Eternatus to get in some last pets for the evening, praising it all the while.

Clever, clever dragon!

You are happyexcitednervous?

Yes! Did you do that on purpose?

Two nests last time. No happyexcitednervous only sadlonelymissing.

He grinned with his face pressed up against the dragon’s face shield. You are a treasure.

Happygladexcitedgoodgoodgoodlikethisverymuchhappy.

I’ll have to put you back in the ball. Is that alright?

Yes I want homesafe I am tired.

Rest well, you’ve earned it.

With Eternatus restored to its shelter, Raihan felt the nervous part of happyexcitednervous start getting louder. He took a deep breath and scratched his fingers down the side of his tent slightly.

“Piers, you good in there?”

“I’m dressed if that’s what you mean.”

Oh, and that was a thought. Walking in and finding out Piers also didn’t wear pajamas while camping. He hurriedly unzipped the tent and crawled in, breath catching at the sight of Piers in the warm glow of the lamplight, leaning on his elbow and scrolling the news on his phone.

“Sorry about your tent,” he whispered, not feeling sorry at all as he kneeled on his side of the bedroll. He didn’t know why he was whispering, until Piers looked over at him and something hot skittered up his spine.

“S’alright,” Piers murmured, turning his phone off and laying back against the pillow. His eyes were mesmerizing, and Raihan could feel himself shifting forward, on the cusp of something he wouldn’t be able to take back. “You really don’t have to get me a new one, I’ll be fine.”

“I’m the one who asked you to help with Eternatus, so it’s my fault anyways. It’s no trouble, tents are kind of necessary and all…Piers?”

He watched with wide eyes as Piers bit his lip and looked away for a long moment, warring with himself.

“Actually, I was…hopin’ we might…maybe we could share one when we camp. Like this.”

Heat was building low in his belly, the air between them too much and too little all at once. He wanted, he wanted and Piers was—

“Yeah?” He asked softly, slowly crawling over until he was on hands and knees over Piers, watching his face for anything that might indicate he wasn’t welcome here.

Nothing.

Instead, Piers’ lips parted and his eyes traced down Raihan’s body until they took in how hard he was getting. They flicked back up, something going heated and molten in them.

“Yeah,” he breathed, reaching up to run his hands down Raihan’s arms. “Seems a waste to have two.”

Raihan bent down until their noses were brushing, their shaky breaths barely there in the stillness, nothing but the sounds of the Wilds breaking the quiet.

He shuddered as Piers’ hands slowly crept under the hem of his tank, fingers tracing the taut muscles of his stomach lightly, his eyes closed against the pleasure of it, of Piers’ hands on him. He let their lips touch just enough that Piers made a low sound of encouragement, sliding his hands around to Raihan’s back, nails scratching just enough to make him break out into shivers.

Piers closed what little distance was left, his mouth soft against Raihan’s for all of a moment before he leaned back. It was just enough to tease before they were surging together and all bets were off.

Wet and warm and desperate each time they broke away for air before diving right back in. Fuck, the feeling of a tongue sliding along his own was everything right up until Piers pulled their hips flush, making them gasp into each other’s mouths and then that was everything. And then Raihan pushed a hand into Piers’ hair, tilting his head back so he could kiss the other’s throat and then that was everything. It didn’t stop, everything overwhelming and so good and someone had the brilliant idea to start taking off clothes and it just got better.

He tossed his sweats into the corner of the tent, Piers’ quickly joining them before he couldn’t be apart from him anymore and took his mouth in another overheated kiss. The friction of their lower bodies was electric, the two of them moaning as their skin began to grow slicker. Raihan used a hand to encircle them both, watching Piers’ eyes close in ecstasy as he jerked their cocks and got a hand under Piers’ loose shirt to roll his thumb over a pierced nipple.

The metal warmed under his touch, and Piers’ hips stuttered into his grip. He suddenly found his world tilting when Piers used his grip on Raihan’s hips to roll them over, leaning over him with fever in his eyes and hunger in the way he took in the sight of Raihan hard and panting for him.

He didn’t break eye contact as he grabbed his bag, rooting around blindly until he found what he was looking for, grinning when Raihan whispered a quiet ‘fuck yeah’ at what he had.

He put the condoms to the side and uncapped the bottle, his expression rapt as he raised a brow in query.

“Yeah,” Raihan breathed in response, not caring what the question was. Anything and everything was what he wanted with the singer. He was beyond aroused when Piers stroked slick fingers over the dragon trainer’s hole, heart pounding and feeling a little dizzy when the singer’s thumb pressed against his sac. He leaned up on his elbows to watch. “Regular Braviary Scout, you are.”

Piers laughed, the sound deep in his chest and making Raihan squirm when he pushed the first finger in. “You should know I would never join somethin’ so inherently Galarian as the Braviary Scouts.”

“Mm,” Raihan agreed, panting when another finger joined the first, opening him up carefully as he fought not to rut down on them. “Too dangerous, you knowing all that knot tying anyways.”

“Oh love,” Piers said, crooking his fingers to light up Raihan’s spine as they pressed against his prostate. “I learned all that on my own.”

Raihan’s laugh turned into a keen when another finger was added, the stretch of it making him ache to be filled. Piers was looking at him like he couldn’t get enough, like no matter how close their bodies got, it wouldn’t be close enough for him. He tugged Piers down for a kiss, ran his hands through his soft hair and gathered it up into a ponytail for him, pulling lightly to make Piers whimper and finger him harder. He stole an ever-present hair tie from around the singer’s wrist and wound it in place. The smile he was graced with made his heart crash wildly against his rib cage.

This was…this was happening, he realized, his body alight with the knowledge that Piers was here, with him, touching him like that. Over him like that. Whispering sweetness and filth into his ear like that.

“Raihan,” Piers sighed when he leaned back to roll a condom on and slick himself up, head hung low and his mouth open and making the dragon trainer’s fingers itch for his phone and its camera. He wanted his name on that tongue as often as he could have it. He reached up to wrap his hands around the other’s waist, bringing him close and spreading his own legs as wide as they could go before he leaned back, feeling his face burn at how vulnerable a position it was.

“So beautiful,” Piers murmured, rubbing his cock against where Raihan was open and wanting him. “Was so glad when you called me to come help. When you asked me to stay.” He pushed in and Raihan growled deep in his throat at the feeling, wanting every inch of Piers buried in him and taking him hard.

“Didn’t want it to end,” he choked out, trembling when Piers bottomed out and let him adjust. “Having you with me has been…fuck, Piers…”

Piers moaned and drew out, sliding back in slowly to the tight heat. “Torture is what it was; you right there lookin’ at me like you might say somethin’ and havin’ to spend all night with my fingers in my arse and a hand on my cock.”

Fuck, fuck he wanted to see it so badly, could picture Piers with his teeth buried in the pillow as he fought not to make too much noise. The thrusts into him were deepening, his back arching when they started to hit his prostate with deadly accuracy, throwing his arms back to grip the pillows.

“Ah! Fucking—yes, right there, please—”

He cried out when Piers gripped his cock and the sensations intensified, the other pushing his shirt up to his chest to stroke his other hand down his neck, palm over his heart for a moment before it slid down to hold his side as an anchor, driving harder and faster and he wasn’t going to last like this, not with how Piers was gasping his name and biting his lip hard to try and ground himself.

He felt split open and seen and he gripped the pillows tighter, his pleas growing louder as Piers shoved into him over and over and over

“Sweet thing,” the other crooned, voice ragged. He pinned Raihan’s wrists against the pillows and Raihan nearly screamed when the angle rubbed his cock against the other’s stomach. “So open for me. Look at how greedy this pretty hole is, takin’ me deep like that. Wanted to have you on every surface of your flat and then start all over again ridin’ that gorgeous cock of yours.”

“Yes, yes!” He was too close, the pressure unbearable, and he ground up desperately against Piers until he was being thrown full body over the edge, coming hard against his own stomach while Piers reached down to stroke him through it. He couldn’t bite back the little wounded sounds of satisfaction escaping his throat, feeling wrung out in the best ways as he panted and watched Piers’ face slacken in pleasure as he found his own release.

White noise and static and the relative stillness outside their tent.

It felt like the world had stopped and restarted as he fought to catch his breath, Piers bracing his hands on his chest while he came down, hips still stuttering a bit before he pulled out with a heavy exhale. Raihan watched through heavily lidded eyes as the other slipped the condom off and hunted in his pack for a wet cloth, softly cleaning the mess from Raihan’s stomach and kissing him deeply when he was finished. He was so fucking in love. He pulled Piers down to lie against him, drawing a sheet over them both to protect them from the night chill that would inevitably settle in.

He squeezed and massaged at the back of the singer’s neck, making him sigh and burrow closer. “We gonna do that again before we pack up tomorrow?” He asked after a while, grinning when it made Piers laugh.

“Think I’d rather wait for a bed if it’s all the same to you.”

“Deal,” he agreed, reaching out to turn off the lamp.

The gentle touch of Piers’ fingers over his chest, sliding up to pull his face down into one more kiss was somehow more intimate than anything else.

He drifted in and out, unwilling to completely fall asleep just yet, but too exhausted to be fully awake. He was getting closer to the verge of sleep—

“Buggerin’ fuck!” Piers suddenly shouted, startling Raihan out of his light doze and scaring off every last Pokémon in the immediate area.

“Wha—”

“That hell spawn knew exactly what it was doin’!”

Raihan snorted, cackling as he rolled them onto their sides to cuddle him close, drifting off with a smile on his face to the sound of Piers promising retribution to meddling dragons everywhere.

 

/////

 

Just over a year later, the two of them watched as Leon sent a Mirror Ball flying, Eternatus shrieking and giving chase along with Gloria and half a dozen of Milo’s Wooloo. The dragon brought the ball back to Leon, expecting head scratches for its triumph. There was no fear in either of them as Leon indulged it before launching the toy again, practically outdoing the sun with how widely he smiled.

“It’s like watchin' two Yampers,” Piers snickered under his breath, and Raihan nearly upended his food laughing.

“You made that happen,” Raihan said with a grin, tugging his lover closer.

We made that happen.”

They watched as Nessa mischievously produced a Champion Ball, howling when Leon started shouting at Kabu to kill it with fire and no one at the party able to breathe when Eternatus and Hop’s Zacian immediately decided it was their new favorite toy.

Piers raised his glass and tapped it against Raihan’s. “May the wayward beastie and Leon never find out Nessa has three more of those in her bag.”

“Cheers!”

He laid back to put his head in Piers’ lap, smiling at the sounds of happiness from his friends.

It was the best kind of day.