A continuation of something I didn’t actually think anyone would read. Enjoy, nerds.
The sol had come. Plans for travel were set, dates agreed upon, alternate sleep spaces arranged for in case of an…unfavorable outcome. The meeting was upon us, and I had never been more afraid in all of my zir-cycles, Tormund-mine. I could only hope that upon our imminent and violent ends that we would find ourselves together once more in the dead lands of the tenth realm.
“Rex, sweetheart, you’re white. Like, my lily-white ass white. I’ve gotta say, I find myself worried when my big, bad-ass, warrior-raised, significant other is worried.”
“I am not-”
“Listen here, asshole, you don’t lie to me! And you had better not try, you big fucking mood ring!”
I had chosen not to respond to your, colorful, exclamations. You were visibly tense, and excitable in your fear. The only color you seemed to possess were the faint outlines of the inked replica of my personal markings atop your shoulders and neck, which were also white in that moment.
“Tormund-mine. Nearest my hearts, I am worried yes, but you should not concern yourself with my own misgivings.”
“Misgivings? That’s the word you’re going with? Riddle me this, R’Xniir, are the misgivings towards me, or the reactions your parents will have to me? When were you going to share these ‘misgivings’, before or after your daddy-boy complex kicked in and their disapproval meant you breaking up with me?!”
“Only six cycles and you have already caused your partner to be so angered? To have such doubts in you? I had thought we had raised you better, R’Xniir.”
“Warm winters, Duir’nt, Dair’nt.”
“Warm winters, errant-egg. Bring your other inside, he appears frozen stiff. Did you not counsel him on the climate, or think to prepare him at all?”
I was scolded by Dair’nt as Duir’nt led you inside with a firm grip on your shoulder. You were dwarfed by his four meter stature, large even among our kind. You had looked backwards to me, angry and pleading both. I could do nothing, with Dair’nt demanding to know how they had raised such a mistake in my raising that they had produced a Glortarn capable of such neglect. I assure you, my future desires for communication and openness stemmed solely from this event.
“Be seated here, please. The rocks are heated most centrally in this den by the subterranean hot springs.”
“Thanking you kindly, Sir. It was a mite bit chilly outside.”
“I will speak with R’Xniir on this matter. His oversigght will not be repeated.”
“I don’t think that’s necessary, Sir. Your husband seems to have him well in hand at the moment.”
“You may address us as our hatchlings do. I am Duir’nt and my other is Dair’nt. Second and first sire, respectively.”
“Are you sure? It seems a bit like jumping the gun, don’t you think?”
“I do not, think of us as your own sires henceforth. In all of his zir-cycles, R’Xniir has never brought a partner home to us. Never. You are special to him, and therefore to us, and we want to acknowledge and encourage the trust and faith he has shown in us.”
“You have to realize how rare it is to find parents so accepting, even now-a-days.”
“T’Xrein and myself have always strived for an open and safe home to raise our clutch in, especially after their Beir’nl left.”
“I didn’t think Glortarn left bindings? Something about souls and changes in hormones and base physiology?”
“If the bind is even, equal, and loving, then such a thing is impossible. Unfortunately, Y’meir faded from our bond of her own choosing. T’Xrein and I have tried to fill the void left by their brood-bearer, but we can never really know how well a job we have done as ‘Nt.”
“…I think you’ve done a wonderful job.”
“Thank you, Tormund, that warms my hearts to hear. Now! Do you require nourishment? We do not usually receive human guests, unless Slaa’rn has returned with a bedmate.”
By this moment, I had escaped Dair’nt and his disapppointed ranting. I stood for a moment in the archway between dens while you two conversed, glad to see you comfortable and warm and open with someone besides myself. Duir’nt was charmed even then, and you would never lose his regard, of this I felt assured. You had not even noticed that by this point in our visit that he had covered you in a homespun blanket, placed a mug of warm spiced aitle milk in your hand, and had nested you closer into his glittering side. Truly, there was no end to his sire-fussing.
“Duir’nt, I love you with all of my three hearts.”
“The pot is on the warming stone. Prepare it yourself.”
“You cannot be angered with me still, Duir’nt?”
“Permit me to recall, then, the past eleven cycle’s worth of transmissions to ourselves, and their contents. Tormund, Tormund, and Tormund. When the much anticipated meet was to come, I discover that my nestling has been negligent in preparations for his more susceptible partner. Reproachful in itself, I am also made aware that my nestling does not even trust his Dair’nt or his Duir’nt to be civil, much less welcoming and genial, towards him and his chosen. Have we failed you that dearly, that you have lost your faith in us? Were we so wrong in teaching you of expected patterns of behavior when dealing with a partner that you did not even offer him a coat when the subject of temperature reached you space-addled brain?!”
“Do not pout, R’Xniir. Your Duir’nt is only hurt that you believed him unable to accept you unconditionally. Make your drink and make your peace with him.”
“Dair’nt? I did not truly believe that, of either of you. I was scared, irrationally so. I do love you. You are assured of this?”
“Of course, R’Xniir. Everything will be fine. Let us warm ourselves in the gathering den, yes?”
With my Dair’nt beside me, standing with his own head yet above my own, and with one strong limb around my shoulders, I was safe. Yet a hatchling. Duir’nt would not be upset forever, and no irreparable harm had been done to our own partnership. Yourself and Duir’nt had progressed to discussing my clutch-mates. Slaa’rn and his escapades amused you greatly, the mood reflectant ink of your tattoos a vibrant green and gold as you spoke. I had hastened to nestle into Duir’nt on his unoccupied side. He did not turn to face me, but his outer casing softened as I leaned into his body and his hand toyed gently with the lines of frills atop my head. Much the same as he had in my youth. I was forgiven.
Duir’nt loved you, even then, Tormund-mine. He loved you and yearned fiercely for you to love him as well. To come to him as any hatchling would in need of support and comfort and security. I had not spoken much of my ‘Nt to you by that point, but they knew much of you. They knew that my Georgia-love of Earth did not have sires or bearers who loved beyond reason and doubt. They knew that your own had given you up after kissing Jimmy-once-yours in first grade.
You had not known it then, but Dair’nt had already seen to their ruin by your first meeting. Duir’nt could not comprehend a conditional sire. He grieved for you, then, and I believe that he had decided to love you and make you his own hatchling as soon as he knew of what had passed.
We spoke for some time in the gathering den that first evening. I stayed curled near Duir’nt, you attempted to spend time bonding physically equally between Duir’nt and Dair’nt. They were amused and charmed by your attempt, you are not an especially gregarious person by nature, outspoken only when truly comfortable with a person, always willing to listen and enter in a conversation when prompted. You soon fell asleep against me, your own 2.13 meter frame nestled completely into my own 3.4. Curled entirely into my lap, warm and full from the evening meal, Dair’nt and Duir’nt left for their own den soon after, whispering well wishes and warm nights.
The remainder of our sojourn to Glortar passed much as we had hoped for. Slaa’rn was accepting, cavalier, and brought home a different bedmate for each of the fourteen sol of our stay. Lir’nuu terrified and inspired you. I assure you, this is most everyone’s reaction to her. I am positive it stems from her position as chief interrogator for the Glortar Intergalactic Intelligence Agency. I was struck with dread upon realizing that you and Tir’lt should never have met. Two dangerously experimental engineers, too smart for anyone’s peace of mind, with no thought to whether something should be done, only whether it could be? Lix’tt, the only other Glortarn with personal experience concerning your personal projects, cried upon your first collaboration. Salt and liquid leaked from all four of his eyes, Tormund-mine.
Regardless, my clutch-mates accepted you, Dair’nt and Duir’nt adored you, and we had survived the visitation unscathed.
“Do you remember this, Rex?”
“What is ‘this’. Tormund-heart. I am preparing our luggage for our journey to Slaa’rn and Natalia’s binding.”
“The three page journal entry you wrote after our first visit to Da and Du.”
“Ah. That. Yes.”
“Yes, that. You did remember to pack my coat from HotH.4.2, right?”
“I am going to bury you in the thrice damned thing if you continue to speak of that incident, Tormund-mine.”