Gift Recipient: frstelf
Summary: A petty lover’s quarrel. Just a petty lover’s quarrel? I suppose. Famine/Pollution. Implied Famine/Pestilence. Pestilence/DEATH, if you squint.
Author's notes: Many thanks to my beta. Any mistakes herein are mine and mine only. These characters belong to Messrs. Gaiman and Pratchett. I hope this fulfils the prompt of “cute and/or hot”. Please don’t kill me if it doesn’t! I myself think that it’s too sweet/fluffy, and perhaps a bit too exposition-based. Enjoy!
The newscaster tried to look suitably grave as she announced that more than a third of America’s corn crop had been devastated by an unknown disease. “Scientists are baffled as this virus is unlike any known plant virus seen before.” The screen cut to a field of clearly withering corn as farmers milled around helplessly. “Experts estimate that more than half of this year’s crop will be decimated.”
At this, a low, sardonic chuckle broke out of the dark-haired man who was watching the program. “More than half, indeed,” he murmured. On the table, the screen of a sleekly slim laptop glowed with the news that China’s rice crop had, too, succumbed to an unknown pathogen, and as a result, more than half of China’s rural population would starve, as would several of the countries that depended on China for their rice.
“What’s so funny?” enquired an oily voice softly from behind the tall, thin man. The owner of the voice handed the thin Horseman a cup of tea, black.1 Wrapping his arms around Famine and resting his chin on the cropped black hair of his colleague, Pollution glanced at the screen of the laptop. Instantly, his dreamy near-smile suddenly hardened into a sneer. “Can’t forget him, can you?” Pollution spat in disgust, standing up fully.
“You know it’s not that,” said Famine slowly. Taking a deep breath, he continued, “It was simply time.”
“Time? For what?”
Famine sighed. He knew that he would be getting a headache soon. They had gone through this early on in their relationship when Pollution had found out that Pestilence had been more than a colleague to Famine, but Famine thought that Pollution had already gotten over it. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t appreciated that last century of peace, so why couldn’t somebody give him another century or so? “Look – this was just Pestilence’s gift to me on a professional level.” Famine was lying through his teeth now – perhaps he would be able to avert this confrontation before it truly started. While some of the pathogens he had used in the past had indeed been professional gifts, Famine knew that the viruses he had just released did not belong in that category. They had been given to him on the last anniversary of his personal relationship with the retired Horseman.
Pollution gazed levelly at Famine for a long moment. “You’re lying.” Pollution paused, as though daring Famine to contradict. “On top of everything, you’re lying.” The pale eyes looked away, and in the same movement, Pollution left.
Outside, acid rain started to fall.2
Famine bit the inside of his cheek. His lips were set in a thin line of what he told himself was only annoyance. The older Horseman had waited nearly a week for Pollution to turn up like he always did – except this time Pollution never did. Famine had seen reports of oil spills in the Pacific and toxic waste being dumped into rivers in South Asia, but he could tell that Pollution’s heart hadn’t really been in it. He had tracked Pollution all over the globe for the past two years, leaving Newtrition Corp. in the control of one of his vice-presidents.3 By now he was getting slightly desperate for news of the younger Horseman.
It was almost an accident, the way Famine had found Pollution. He had tracked the pale youth to a stream that was congested with dead fish, debris, a dead fowl or two and algae - a morass of algae. It seemed a little too peaceful though. Famine thought that Pollution had probably moved on, when from next to his foot a voice said, “Fertilizer runoff. Causes an explosion in algae growth, which eventually leads to the death of animals that live in the water as their oxygen supply is depleted, especially at night.” Famine looked down to find Pollution, almost hidden in the long grass. He noticed that the chicken farm on the other bank of the stream – yes, he could feel it – definitely harboured two hens with bird flu. Even though Pollution’s colouring should have been in stark contrast to the green grass, he seemed to blend in well, as though he was part of the environment.
Famine sat down awkwardly, grass rustling around him noisily. Pollution’s face swam in and out of view as the grass swayed in the wind. After a while, Pollution’s voice drifted over, “Why are you here?”
Famine was taken aback for a moment as he searched for the, well, right thing to say. Turning over several answers in his head, Famine at last said, “Probably because I love you.”
“That’s nice to hear.” There was a rather long silence, which Famine took as a good sign. However, he was still taken by surprise when a lithe form straddled him, one pale hand fluttering momentarily at the front of his pants before pulling itself up to rest with the other on his chest, pushing him down with an unexpected amount of force. The pale eyes bore searchingly into his own dark ones. Seemingly satisfied, Pollution sat up, and made to get up.
“You little tease!” Famine hissed, grabbing Pollution’s arm. For a moment, Famine thought that he had read Pollution’s eyes wrongly as a blank stare confronted his gaze, but in the next, hungry lips were busy marking their territory, leaving a deliciously dirty taste in Famine’s mouth. Famine suppressed his groan as he felt his prick swell against Pollution’s half-hard shaft, and pulled the boy – no, young man – closer. How could Pollution look so decadent, even while fully dressed? No matter. Clothes were shed with vicious ease as tongues, and bodies, battled for dominance. Vaguely, Famine thought that the sun was probably embarrassed to be ousted as such a voyeur – what else could explain the heat he was feeling right now?
The two Horsemen finally stopped just short of the stream, Famine panting heavily as he pinned Pollution to the ground. “Do you know how fucking long I’ve looked for you? How fucking long I…?” Famine broke off, unable to continue. Smug insolence, then dawning realization, looked back at him from Pollution’s face, and Famine almost moaned when Pollution thrust his hips upwards, causing their erections to rub together ever-so-slightly. Before Pollution could say anything, however, Famine kissed him with a ferocity that left him breathless. There was no room left for doubt as to who was in control here.
“Legs. Now,” Famine said with a guttural growl, causing a shiver to go through Pollution that was delightful to behold. Hurriedly, he grabbing Pollution’s half-raised legs roughly and hooked them over his own shoulders, keeping his eyes on Pollution’s all the while. The pucker that looked out at him from the crack of that pert arse seemed to wink almost flirtatiously at him. Refocusing on Pollution’s eyes, Famine roughly pushed one finger into Pollution’s tight hole, thin lips forming into what probably could pass for a smile when the young man’s eyes glazed over. Famine could imagine with his mind’s eye the little jerk that Pollution’s glistening cock had given on being invaded so violently, and his smile grew a little wider at the thought of it. The passage was slick, as usual, with grime and slime and other substances that varied with Pollution’s mood. Famine dug his finger in, hard, and then another finger, scissoring and stretching to the accompaniment of Pollution’s moans. Famine was hard-pressed not to moan himself.
By now Pollution was tightly wrapped around Famine, and humping any part of Famine that he could reach. Famine smiled against the skin of his lover and reached for that spot that made Pollution see stars. He knew he had found it when Pollution stopped humping him, and started backing down on his fingers instead. A high, wild and wordless keening issued from that pale mouth, but Famine knew what it meant. In one swift movement, he replaced his fingers with his erection deep in Pollution, who arched back with his eyes rolled back in his head.
Famine finally let himself utter a groan as he sank up to the hilt in Pollution; slowly withdrawing, and then thrusting in again, hard and fast; rough and strong and harsh, over and over again. At any other time, his urgency would have been a matter of concern to himself, but now it only exhilarated him. Smirking, he could tell that Pollution was excited about it too, if his shudders and quick, sharp breaths were anything to go by. The smell of sex permeated the air.4 “So. Fucking. Beautiful,” ground out Famine, each word punctuated by a savage thrust as Pollution’s nails scored tracks of blood and oil down Famine’s back. Pollution bucked against Famine, eyes closed now, and seemingly reveling in sensation. Famine watched Pollution’s hand creep downwards, with no doubts as to its final destination. But before he could even touch himself, Famine had wrapped a hand around Pollution’s pink-tinged erection and was stroking it in time to his thrusts. The other hand squeezed a buttock, making Pollution yowl. Famine licked his lips hungrily, and stopped breathing for a moment as Pollution used his hips to describe a little twist around his cock. A quick glance at Pollution’s blissed-out expression left Famine yearning for more. As if on cue, Pollution did that little thing with his hips again. Famine panted heavily as he thrust into that tight, slick hole; as the wire that seemed to hold the world together stretched and strained. The tempo he (or was it they? Famine wondered, at the back of his mind) had created built to a crescendo. Something would have to break.
It was Pollution who came first, with a high yelp that sent all the dogs in the vicinity into frenzy, constricting around Famine with such force that he could barely move. Then Famine was taken by surprise a third time when his lover pulled away from him, but he had no time to feel his loss – in one slick motion, Pollution had swallowed his erection nearly to the hilt. Famine groaned again at the feel of those talented lips and tongue swirling around his erection. The wet heat of Pollution’s mouth; the slurping sounds as Pollution sucked off his own grime; the smell of Pollution’s ejaculate – all these melded into the hazy fog that surrounded Famine’s senses. Finally deciding that he could take no more, Famine bit his lower lip and came soundlessly in Pollution’s mouth.
“Just what the nutritionist ordered,” smirked Pollution. Famine batted ineffectually at the pale body lying heavily on top of him, and then they just lay there, in momentary peace and quiet.
Pollution was the one who broke it again, as though taking up the thread of an earlier conversation. “It was probably the SARS that did it. And the bird flu. And the polio. I mean, polio, for crying out loud! Weren’t the humans supposed to have eradicated it already?” Famine was having a little trouble keeping up. “Suppose he wanted his old job back?” A sigh. Softer now, “Suppose he wanted you back?”
Then it hit Famine. “Oh,” said Famine, his head full of platitudes. Luckily his mouth was still in control, because he said, “You know that you will always be my only love, little one.”
“Do you mean that?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.” Running his fingers through Pollution’s hair, Famine continued, almost wonderingly, “It was time; time for me to let Pestilence go.” It had taken Famine almost the whole week to think of that cheesy line5 while he waited for Pollution’s return, and the thing was, he had gradually come to realise that it was true. He had kept hoping that the love between Pestilence and himself would return, although he knew that it probably never would. Then, in those two years, Famine had gradually come to realise that it had been time to move on a long time ago. He had to just let go, and hope for the best because the one who loved him now was Pollution. “I’m sorry that I hadn’t realised the impact the recent epidemics would have on you.” Famine broke off, thinking. “But I know that I truly love you. And I would be willing to forget Pestilence for you.”
“That was an exceedingly corny statement. And I sincerely doubt that you’ll ever be able to truly forget Pestilence. I know I won’t,” said Pollution, his voice muffled in Famine’s chest. “I was jealous, initially. You and Pestilence were very good together. Then whenever I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with him, you just avoided me. But finally I figured out that just as long as I love you, it doesn’t really matter. That was when I decided to let you find me.” Pollution lifted his head slightly, looking up at Famine. “Although I do like to think that you would never want to let me go.”
Lost for words, Famine finally managed to say, “I never do.”
“That’s good enough for me.”
The late afternoon sun glowered at the two Horsemen lying completely naked in the long grass, pitying any poor soul who might inadvertently stumble upon them. “What say you to going somewhere a little more comfortable and continuing this in privacy?” Famine asked, ruffling Pollution’s hair. He loved the feel of that fine platinum-blonde hair and made excuses to touch it whenever he could, especially after their long separation. “These sticks and stones are digging into my back. And there’s that chicken farm on the opposite bank.”
“But I like having people watch us,” sniggered Pollution. “And I have a very comfortable mattress.”
“Brat,” said Famine placidly, cushioning his head with his arms. “Alright. Just until the sun sets.”
Pollution turned around to face Famine, and said, “What do you propose we do until then?”
“Oh, I can think of a few more things.” 6
Fields of dying corn flickered on a television screen before a pale hand turned the set off. There was a moment of silence, which was broken by the sound of someone setting a cup of tea down on a table.
THANK YOU, MY DEAR.
“He still remembers me, then,” said the pasty-looking man.
WE ALL DO. YOU ARE NOT UNMEMORABLE.
“Doesn’t seem like it, sometimes. But I suppose I’ll have to settle for being second-best. I know that I am happy for them – I just don’t feel it.” Pestilence turned to face Death. “You’re the only one who makes time to visit, you know.” His smile was tired, and tinged with bitterness. “Thank you.”
They sat at the table, drinking their tea quietly.
1. Pollution took his tea with sugar – lots of sugar. It was probably enough to send a small nation into shock. (back)
2. It rained especially hard on a lonely motorcycle that was black and sleek, corroding its parts to such extent that its owner probably would never be able to ride it again. If he was human, that is. (back)
3. Who had been naturally suspicious, elated, power-hungry and dead within six months due to malnutrition, according to the doctor who had done his post-mortem. After that, the company somehow managed to run itself. (back)
4. And probably the ground too. And the grass. And any poor animals that had happened to chance upon two Horsemen rutting upon the ground (back)
5. And urgh, how he hated cheese. Not only for it’s nutritional qualities, but for it’s taste, or perhaps lack thereof, as well. It was surprisingly easy to imitate, though, allowing him to create Cheeseburger MEALS™ that were eagerly snapped up by the masses.) (back)
6. A short while afterwards, Famine received an email. The sender’s email address was corrupted – Famine couldn’t read it at all. The anti-virus programs didn’t detect anything, though, so he opened it. The message was short – “I’m sure that all that lovely make-up sex was worth interrupting your century of peace, wasn’t it?” Famine promptly deleted it from his inbox and his hard drive. He even considered reformatting his laptop. A second email with a corrupted address read, “Love him well.” That one, Famine kept. (back)