Title: Bedtime Stories
Series: 100 Original Fics
Character: Fox Maharassa
Prompt: 070 - Storm
Summary: When a storm hits late at night, the boys find a few extra visitors in their bedroom.
Word Count: 2129
Date First Posted: 06-10-2009
Date Revised: 02-06-2011
Notes: Another fewchur fic, written earlier than it was posted. Probably around 2005. It's rather sappy.
Feedback: always welcome, as is constructive criticism.
Also Archived At: LJ
There had been a storm brewing all afternoon. Overcast skies and the smell of rain in the air, though it didn't hit until well and truly after the kids' bedtime. Fox and Collin kept the front door open for a while, standing against the frame watching the thunder and lightning and rain.
Fox had suggested they strip off and dance on the wet road like they'd done once before. Collin poked him in the ribs and reminded him they'd both been a lot younger and drunker back then. Fox conceded the point and, with a melodramatic sigh, walked back inside.
The men walked upstairs together, making sure all the lights were turned off on the way. A quick head poked into brightly decorated bedrooms confirmed that both girls and their boy were sound asleep. Collin kissed Fox's cheek and pushed him in the direction of their bedroom, and more importantly -- their large, soft bed.
After the normal before-bed rituals of teeth brushing and changing, Collin climbed into bed. Fox took a moment to look at the rain out of the window. Fox turned unconsciously toward the window and the source of the heavy sound of rain. The drops soothed him, punctuated with rumbles of sound and flashes of light.
It was a beautiful night.
He turned, framed by the translucent white drapes. The lightning illuminated his smile in flashes, which in turn, allowed him to see Collin's answering smile.
With a languid stride, he walked to bed and slid underneath the covers. He met his partner in the middle of the mattress. From the time they had constantly shared a single bed in their dorm, they'd never quite gotten out of the habit of tangling with each other most nights. With the sounds of the storm outside, it didn't take long for either of them to fall asleep.
When the thunder grew louder and the flashes of lightning got brighter, they barely stirred; even after a particularly loud clap of thunder. It seemed they could sleep through anything.
Oddly enough, the sound that woke Fox was far softer -- Collin had always commented on Fox's selective hearing -- a light tapping on the door. Collin stirred as Fox sleepily untangled himself from the blond and shuffled to the bedroom door. He opened it to stare down at the concerned face of his five-year-old son. The daddy instinct immediately kicked in and he woke himself up a little more.
"Rafi, you ok?"
Rafi twisted the corner of his superhero pajama shirt in small hands. "I'm scared," he said in a soft voice, his usual daredevil attitude taking a fierce backseat in the face of a loud storm.
Fox ran his hand lovingly through Rafi's thick black hair, before crouching down. "Want to sleep in here tonight, chief?"
Rafi nodded and wrapped his arms tightly around his dad's neck. Fox picked him up and carried the young boy over to bed. Collin had woken and sat up as they approached. He held his arms out and Fox passed the boy, who easily gave up clinging one father to go to the other. Collin kissed the top of Rafi's head and laid the five-year-old down next to him.
The blond pulled the covers up over Rafi, who curled into his chest. Fox slid back into bed behind his lover, spooning him, and reaching an arm across to drape over both of them.
The storm still raged on outside. Occasionally in one of the lulls in noise, a dog's mournful howl could be heard. Rafi flinched sometimes with the noise, but Collin just rubbed his back and got him through the noisy part. It wasn't until one of these loud claps that there came another tap at the door.
Fox got up on his elbows to look at the silhouette in the doorway. The two thick braids that made sleeping easy with a mass of long hair identified Nefertari easily. "'tari?"
"I went to check on Rafi and he wasn't in bed," she said.
"Yeah, he got spooked. He's in here with us."
"Oh. Ok, good," 'tari paused, almost turning to move away, but changing her mind. Fox smirked in the dark and scratched his head. He remembered back to when the girls were Rafi's age, and how 'tari was always first in during a storm.
"You wouldn't want to come in too, would you?" he asked flippantly. 'tari responded by smiling in relief and rushing towards the bed. She crawled up the mattress between her parents and slid between the sheets. Small fingers and arms looped their way around both Fox and Collin. Collin also greeted 'tari with a kiss on the head; all he could manage with a five year old splayed across his chest.
With the advent of four in the bed, Fox finally started falling asleep. It wasn't until a tree branch fell on the roof of a neighbour's shed with a loud clang, setting off their dog, that a third knock got his attention.
Realising they were going for a hat trick, Fox just shuffled over slightly and pulled the covers away from his other side. The soft footfall of light feet on carpet, followed by the bed dipping next to him as Vixen plastered herself to his other side, her head on his shoulder.
It was a shuffle to get comfortable. Five bodies in even a king-sized bed got a little cramped. Eventually, they found a comfortable way to lie, and Fox began to doze again. He could already hear Collin's steady breathing.
The children weren't so easily settled, though. At the next loud crash of thunder, Rafi jumped from his place lying over Collin's chest, waking Collin and Nefertari. 'tari gasped at being woken up abruptly, flinging her left arm. She smacked Fox in the chest who woke and turned, nearly knocking Vixen off the edge of the bed.
Fox wrapped an arm around Vixen's waist in time to save her from the floor. But now everyone was definitely awake. The rain still pounded the roof. Collin rubbed his eyes blearily.
"Is everyone alright?" His question was met with soft murmurs. They were startled, but not badly frightened.
Fox rubbed Vixen's arm. "Let's all try and get some sleep now, ok?"
"I can't," Nefertari said.
"Me neither," Vixen added.
Rafi's small pointed chin dug into the centre of Collin's chest. "I want a story."
This idea excited his sisters. "Yes, a story! Please?" The children and Collin all looked at the only one in the bed qualified for such a task.
Fox raised an eyebrow. "Now?"
"Yes!" they chorused.
The girls turned their doe eyes onto him, batting long lashes. Their devastating effect was muted by the light coming in from the window, but still good enough to influence him. They'd learnt from a master, of course. Collin glanced at Fox and shrugged. It was up to him.
Fox relented. He gave the blond a quirky grin. "Alright..." Fox settled his hands across his shirt-clad stomach and began.
"Once upon a time, there was a really se-- handsome prince--"
"What was his name?" asked 'tari.
"Fff.. Fo... Phoenix. Prince Phoenix. He was a sharp looking dude. All the lords and ladies around thought he was the hottest guy for miles. Everyone wanted to date him. Good-looking, charming, popular... he was a bit of a star, really.
"Lots of people wanted to be his friend, but his best friend was named... Korlon, who was a lord in his own right. In comparison, Korlon really wasn't very well liked, or a nice lord. Hot, yeah, but most couldn't get past his personality, which was rough to say the least. Folk round the kingdom called him Korlon the Abrasive, and wondered how on earth a tripping prince like Phoenix could be friends with him. Of course, Korlon had a lot of good qualities to him as well, he just never saw fit to show them to anyone else but his best friend, the prince."
Fox acknowledged the slowly simmering stare he was receiving from Collin with a wink. The blond raised an eyebrow. "I think Korlon had an image to maintain, personally," the blond put in. "A bit of nasty keeps everyone on their toes."
"You've heard this story before?" Rafi asked curiously.
"So many times I feel like I've lived it," Collin confirmed. "Anyway, most of those other royal types -- Phoenix's friends -- were too self-involved for Korlon's tastes. He didn't like and want to be liked by them anyway. Didn't bother him one way or the other."
Fox took the reigns of the storytelling again. "So Phoenix's looking for love, for his perfect partner. And he hadn't been having much luck. He dated many many lords and ladies, but he felt incomplete. No one seemed to be able to fit him as a partner should. He was only truly happy and forgot about this when he was with Korlon.
"So then, he starts to think about Korlon in that way. He weighs the pros and cons. He found many pros. Korlon was a loyal friend, and understood the prince very well. He was smart and quick-witted, and knew how to take care of himself. The overlord was also very hot, and for quite a while Phoenix had pictured what it would be like to--" The intensity of Collin's glare nearly burnt Fox's skin. He grinned. They were his kids, after all, he wasn't about to give them an adult-rated story. "--be with him."
Fox combed his fingers through Vixen's loose and gently curled hair. "He asks Korlon about it one day. What he thought about the idea. Korlon was dubious at first. He wasn't sure he believed why Phoenix wanted to be with him. He also worried a lot that it would spoil their great friendship." Collin gave Fox a soft glance.
"It took a little while to convince him, but in the end, Korlon decided to give it a go. Because he liked Phoenix a bit, too. And also, damn, Phoenix was really cute." Collin's eyes drifted to the side, gauging how much trouble it would be to pull the pillow out from underneath his shoulders and hit the other man soundly with it. Too much trouble was the answer, and he resisted the otherwise excellent idea.
"And so they started dating." His mouth opened in a large yawn at the end of the sentence, and his eyes slipped shut. "I think I'm ready for sleep now, aren't you?" There was a moment of silence.
"What happens at the end of the story?" Vixen asked. He opened one eye to find four sets of eyes glued to him with curiosity. "What happens to Korlon and Phoenix?"
Fox's glib tongue faltered in his sleepiness. In his moment's hesitation, Collin took up the story.
"They entered a civil union and lived mostly happily ever after, except for a few tiffs which are natural and healthy and result in greater joy once resolved."
The three children stared at him without blinking for a moment, processing the story. "Is that the real ending?" 'tari asked Fox slowly.
Fox gave his partner a warm glance, a smile spreading across his face slower than molasses. "That's the way they ended up," he said.
"Cool," Vixen said, smiling.
"Can we have another story?" Rafi asked, beginning the chorusing of begging once again. Collin interjected.
"Daddy needs sleep." The disappointment and eyelash batting started again, but Collin was firm. "Hey, there's no thunder anymore, so unless you want to go back to your own beds, story time is over and sleep time begins."
There wasn't much room for grumbling when Collin made a decree. It stuck. The kids settled next to their parents comfortably, lulled by the sound of rain and noticeable absence of thunder. From very far away, underlying rumblings could be heard, but now it was soothing rather than frightening. The flashes of lightning had decreased as well. The storm was moving off. They really were tired, despite the protests, and it only took a few minutes for them all to fall asleep.
Fox smiled a sleepy grin, stretching his right hand over to touch Collin's cheek. Collin took a stray finger in his mouth and bit down on it gently.
"Your next story can be about how Korlon picked Phoenix's drunken ass up off the floor of the tavern and had to drag him home when the prince had consumed a little too much ale," Collin said after kissing the digit better.
"Oh no. I'm saving that one for Rafi's 21st, and not a day before," Fox replied.
"Goodnight, Fox," the blond said, eager to sleep.
"Goodnight, Korlon," Fox replied cheekily.