A Matter of Taste
So, two firsts here: my first Spacedogs fic and my first time posting a fic on tumblr (it’s also on ao3). Just a teeny bit nervous just now… Here goes nothing:
“Mmm, yes darling, I’m right here.”
“No, Nigel, you taste wrong.”
“I know baby, I… wait, what did you say?”
Nigel watched as Adam pulled back from his position upon the older man’s lap, smacking his lips and wrinkling his nose in a manner that was causing a confusing mix of arousal and affront to swirl in Nigel’s gut. It was the same face he’d made when Nigel had finally convinced him to try Thai food, which was not a comparison that was doing Nigel’s ego much good. If Adam’s next move was to be violently sick and then refuse to ever let Nigel near his mouth again… well, a lot of people would be having a more painful evening than they had expected as a result.
Not Adam, of course. Never Adam. His darling was only ever to be handled with the utmost gentleness and patience. Which was why, rather than responding to the comment with a fist, as he undoubtedly would have with anyone else, Nigel forced a deep breath into his lungs and simply placed his hands around Adam’s hips, to help support him.
“What do you mean I taste wrong, darling?”
Adam was peering at his mouth with what looked like a hint of resentment. “Well, normally you taste of smoke, often of liquor, mouthwash in the mornings, whatever you ate for your previous meal, which currently seems to have involved liquorice for some reason. But always smoke and you don’t taste of that at all now.” Adam looked a little distressed and added, “I like the way you taste. I don’t like change.”
Nigel grinned, gratefully riding the relief that flooded him as he realised this would be an easy fix. He settled back against the cushions of the couch and directed a languid smile upwards. “I think you might make an exception for this, gorgeous.” At Adam’s unconvinced expression, Nigel felt in his pocket and pulled out his latest purchase. It was a metal cylinder, dark gold and about ten centimetres long, with notched caps at either end. Its shining surface was covered in intricate engravings of constellations.
“It has stars on it,” Adam remarked, holding out his hand for the device. “What is it?”
Nigel handed it over and said, “It’s an e-cig, love, an electronic cigarette. It means I can smoke without the smoke.”
Nigel shrugged. “Don’t really know how it works, other than you put juice in one end and suck on the other. Then, bingo, I get my nicotine and breathe out nice, clean steam.”
“It looks strange,” Adam commented, “like an ancient artefact and also something from a science-fiction movie.”
“We’re living in the future, sweetness.”
“That is neither true, nor possible Nigel, as you well know.” Adam turned the device around in his hands, fascinated. “Could you get another?”
“What the fuck for, Adam?” asked Nigel, perplexed. “You’re not taking it up,” he added firmly.
“No, that would be stupid. I am not addicted to nicotine, so it’s not necessary for me to find a healthier alternative to cigarettes.”
“Glad we agree on that.”
“I would like to take it apart, though, to see how it works.”
Nigel grimaced, thinking of the expense of not only getting a top of the range model but having it hand engraved with his beloved Adam’s stars. “Perhaps a slightly more basic model, if it’s just for you to mess about with, darling.”
Adam simply nodded, continuing to examine the design. Finally, he looked up, asking, “And this is why you taste of liquorice?”
“I don’t like it.”
“For fuck’s sake, darling, you’re the one who’s always telling me to quit and now you’re more bothered about a bit of artificial flavour than an improvement in my health?” By this point, Nigel was ready to declare the whole thing a failed experiment and retrieve his smokes. He had been looking forward to surprising Adam with his new toy and the proof that he did listen to Adam’s opinions on his health, and was a little upset to be met with disapproval instead.
Adam, for his part, ducked his head, seeming to understand that Nigel was becoming frustrated. He stayed that way for a few moments, then raised his eyes to Nigel’s mouth and said, “It’s just that I don’t like liquorice and…”
Nigel cut him off with a laugh, relieved for the second time in five minutes. “Darling, is that the only problem?” Adam nodded, returning his smile with a puzzled look. “Adam, they make more flavours of vapour than they do breakfast cereal. In fact, they make vapour that tastes like breakfast cereal.”
Adam brightened a little at this but then frowned, stubborn as ever, saying, “But you still won’t taste like you, Nigel.”
“Because I won’t taste of smoke?”
“But you want me to stop smoking?”
“Do you see the problem there, baby?”
“Ok, just wanted to check. How about this, then?” Nigel stood, lifting Adam with him and enjoying his laughter and light objections as he took them into their bedroom, depositing Adam on the bed before rummaging in a drawer. Producing a small bottle, Nigel crossed back to Adam and handed it to him.
It was clear glass, shaped like a miniature bottle of liquor and with an amber-coloured liquid within that encouraged the comparison. Adam tapped a finger on the rubber cap and read the label out loud, “Touchpaper. A signature vapour liquid by Lamb and Lion.” He looked up at Nigel, still with that quizzical expression that the older man always wanted to devour.
“It’s cigarette-flavoured, sweetheart. I bought it thinking I might miss the taste.”
Adam grinned, getting the idea. “So you can be healthier but also still taste like you?”
“And also sometimes of breakfast cereal?”
“Whenever you want, Adam.”
“Oh. That’s good then.”
“Is it, love?” Nigel knew the lilt of his tease was likely lost on Adam, but it was impossible to suppress.
“Oh yes. I would have missed kissing you.”
Nigel raised an eyebrow at this, asking, “You would have given me up for such a little thing?” That stung, he could admit in the privacy of his thoughts.
Except, Adam was shaking his head vehemently. “Just the kissing, Nigel. I wouldn’t give up you. We do lots of other things together than kissing.”
Nigel growled at the implication. “Yeah, we do. But I like kissing you, I don’t think I would ever give it up.”
Adam raised one shoulder in a shrug, one side of his mouth in a smile. “You are much more sentimental about things like that,” he said, simply. “But,” he continued, effectively cutting off Nigel’s protest by pulling him down to brush a kiss against his lips, “I’m glad there’s no need to stop.”