Tonight, the Addict has invited the Artist to his room, and he's got a little dinner set up, using the cleared-off vanity for a table. From the dispensers, he's gotten coq au vin prepared in the original Burgundy style, with a bottle of Pinot Noir and tarte tatin for dessert. There will be no chicken nuggets on his watch.
He's wearing a thin dress that might well be little more than a lacy slip, calf-length, in black satin. His hair is tied back in a ribbon. "Thank you for coming to see me tonight," he says. "I wasn't feeling like being around a lot of people."
The Artist gives him the warmest of smiles, one that's only ever between the both of them. "I thought I wouldn't care," he admits, "But it's been... awkward. So many of them know each other. So many of them are warm, good people. And yet, it's just not like how it is with you. With you, I feel... I remember how it was in Prosperity. I... you just... crept in under my skin. I don't understand it." It's that pure Martin charm!
He's in a nice shirt and jeans today, and his hair is smooth and shiny, for he's remembered to make himself pretty for his date. "And you look lovely, as always. Did you want to wear dresses in Prosperity, too? They really suit you."
The Addict answers that warm smile with one of his own, and he ducks his head, humbled by the Artist's presence. Always. He takes him by the hand and leads him toward the vanity. "It feels like being the new kid," he says, "and there's so much speculation about what it all means. Sometimes I just want to not think too hard about it. Not that it's not important. It is. I just..." He looks at Arthur again. "I'd rather spend some time with you."
He pulls out the vanity bench for Arthur. He himself will sit on the edge of the bed. "I think Martin had that kind of inkling drilled out of him by his father. He was given the fire and brimstone sermons from a young age. I'm not sure if he would've had the same tendency if he'd been allowed."
"What do you want me to call you now?" Arthur sits down, and then picks up his form. "And I agree. I don't think there's a point to all the speculation... it's like a yawning chasm of unreality's just beyond my grasp, and I don't want to grasp it. I want to paint. I want to be with you. I want to see all the new things, even if they frighten me, even if it's just little by little."
He doesn't say it in the manner of one who's infatuated: his fondness for Martin is sort of a comfortable kind of thing, intense when they make love or when he's drawing or painting the other young man; but in many other ways more of a matter-of-fact thing. They /click/, in their odd way.
"I like Martin," the Addict says. "It's as good a name as any, and it's the only one I know, so..." He shrugs a shoulder amiably. "If you ever have another name you want to be called, just tell me." He pours a glass of wine for each of them from the bottle. "I think about what it all means, but mostly I'm trying to figure out what it all is. They're used to the place, though. They're ready for the bigger questions besides 'what does this button do.'"
He raises his glass, considers it, then says, "To us. May we never lose what we have, no matter what other lives we might lead." He takes a drink, then says, "and may we never be brothers."
"So what if we are? We can't have children." Arthur doesn't seem to get why it'd be a big deal, but when has he ever cared about such things? But he lifts his glass anyway. "I don't think I'll get tired of you, no matter who passes us by, or who we might dally with. They have nothing to do with you." Another small, radiant smile. "I don't need to ask questions," he adds softly, maybe reassuringly, "Or answer them. Here, we're ageless. We can do whatever we like. We can fuck as much as we want, drink as much as we want, do whatever we want, and it's all new tomorrow. I know some of the others find that monotonous, but that's what I sold my soul for in Prosperity."
The Addict's eyes widen, scandalized. "We'd be brothers," he says with a quiet laugh. As taken as he is with Arthur, he doesn't get too bent about it. "I can't imagine getting tired of you. You're brilliant, you're beautiful. I always have fun when we're together." He tucks into his coq au vin, though he's far more interested in Arthur than his fine food. The swearing brings a touch of pink to his cheeks. "There are others out there with different ambitions. I understand them, but I don't know. There's something to be said for being safe and provided for. I think without you, though, I'd be going crazy."
The Artist states quite tranquilly, "I hope to always be here," for Martin and in general, it seems; the prospect doesn't daunt him in the slightest. Then again, he hasn't lived through lifetimes of horror. He had the best ending, riding off into the sunset with his lover. "And I am happy to be your distraction, even if I think you should find others as well. As pleasant as you are, I must share you with the world-- in art, and in the flesh."
He begins to eat, quite enjoying the food after a moment's thought about it; he is not exactly the sybarite that Martin is, but there is great pleasure in great food eaten alongside great company! "I don't care about your ambitions, if you even have any, but I'm sure we'll have great fun."
"Other friends?" Martin says. "I have other friends, so that's nothing to worry about. If you mean..." He glances down, poking at his food with his fork. "I don't know if I'm ready for other lovers. I still wake up looking for Fleur. I don't know if I could go through that kind of loss again. Besides, I don't think any of the others see me that way." He smiles a little. "You know, though, that I'd never try to put a leash on you. You're free to do whatever pleases you, always."
The Artist's smile is wicked. "You could put a leash on me," he purrs, "If you like." How can he help it when Martin lines it right up for him? "But don't worry about all of it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But I do know that if I see you that way, others eventually will. My eye for beauty is always true." He raises his glass to Martin, this time. "Your heart is like clearest crystal. Your passion drowns me perfectly."
The Addict laughs, scandalized again, and he says, "I will if you're not careful." His cheeks are burning, though. He's still so innocent in a lot of ways. He bows his head, smiling to himself as Arthur says his eye for beauty is true. "Right now, all I can think about is you. Waking up alone is the only problem I have here, but bringing you coffee in my pajamas is one of my favorite things." He looks up at Arthur. "If I drown you, then I'll be there to bring you back to life."
The Artist's answering smile is impossibly fond. "You are so romantic." He isn't, or at least, not in the usual sense, though he does speak frankly of how much he likes Martin. "I do love waking up to you. I'm glad you wear dresses, you know. I like the way they ride up your thighs." He takes a drink of whatever the Addict's given him-- drains the glass, even, and then sets it down, and takes another bite of food. "Before you showed up, all I really wanted was to play in peace... but I hadn't come up with something really... beautiful... in ages. It was all gray, stormy. And then the clouds cleared."
The Addict pours more wine for the Artist. "I like the way they look on your bedroom floor," he says with a sly smile. Then, more seriously, he adds, "I like the way they feel. I like the way I feel when I'm weaering them. Like I'm beautiful." He takes a bite of his coq au vin. "I hope I always inspire you. I just wish there was some way to let you know, in whatever life we end up in, that it's me, and that I adore you." He sighs quietly, then he shakes his head. "That's future-thinking. None of that tonight. Tonight, there's just me and you."
The Artist raises his newly-filled glass again. "To me and you." That's a sentiment he whole-heartedly echoes. His brilliant red eyes never waver from Martin's face. "It makes me happy to see you so free. You /are/ beautiful. Don't ever stop wearing them-- here, if nowhere else. You know we'll find each other again. If not in the next lifetime, then this one after, and again and again." He doesn't even contemplate that the Addict might never show up, or himself, lest the unthinkable happen.
It is truly unthinkable, and not something the Addict dares contemplate. "To us," he says, raising his glass. He takes a drink, then says, "Everyone here has been so nice about the dresses. I don't think I'll stop wearing them." He glances down at the scant thing he's got on, and he slyly tugs the satin up his thigh a little and gives the Artist a provcative look. He's still trying to learn how to flirt, and it's highly experimental. "If nothing else, you always have this waiting for you when you get back."
The Artist grins at him, sharp and feral in the McTavish way, at odds with the ethereality of his face. But his blood-red eyes, oh, they gleam quite infernally! "Yes. That's why I won't mind the lifetimes in-between, not when I'll wake up to you, again and again." He appreciates the legful he's been given, oh yes. Awkward attempts at flirting are the cutest!
The Addict grins and ducks his head, letting the satin slide back down his thigh. "It does make coming back here worth it," he says. "Whatever else we do, we have this." He bites his lip, then says, "I just want you to know, whatever happens, if things go wrong in one of our lives, and if we end up hurting each other..." He takes a deep breath. "I told you once I would forgive you anything. I meant it then, and I mean it now."
The Artist inclines his head, accepting that. "I can't guarantee that I won't be cruel in some other lifetime, but I will be glad to make up for it here. And I feel the same way about you. Perhaps we were made to... feel the way we did without our own volition, perhaps we're just a collection of attibutes and... whatever, but we've chosen to feel as we do, here. I don't need to think about it more deeply, when what we have here, now, already satisfies me deeply. I won't easily relinquish it."
"It's not just how Martin in Prosperity felt about Dr. McTavish," the Addict says. "That was the start of it, but everything between us here, that's us. Whoever we are. It's waking up and bringing you coffee. It's going to bed with you at night. It's getting dressed up and putting on makeup together." He grins, and he takes another bite of his dinner. "If everything else is a fantasy, this is real."
"That's what we've chosen," Arthur agrees. "Even if everyone else feels uncertain about everything here, I choose /this/. I choose /you/. /Us/." His tone is both emphatic and matter-of-fact, somehow: this is how it is, and that is that. "If you want gestures or affections from me, just tell me, please? I'm quite bad at them, even if I'm so very fond of you."
The Addict sets down his fork and takes Arthur's hand in his. "What kind of gestures do you mean?" he says. "I don't feel any lack, or like you're not affectionate. He brings Arthur's hand to his lips, placing a kiss on the knuckles. "I'm glad that you indulge me as much as you do, because I know you've got to create. It's in your blood. It's who you are. It thrills me whenever you want to draw me, because I get to be a part of that."
The Artist watches him with singular intensity. "You are, in all of existence, that which is most real to me. I haven't yet begun to create anything which matches you. It will take me lifetimes to capture you." It might sound corny, but he says it with clear and heartfelt intensity. Another man might call it love; Art doesn't necessarily use the word, but he might as well.
The Addict forgets the food, forgets the wine. He gazes at Arthur with his heart in his eyes, and he responds the only way he can. He leans in to kiss the Artist. Where words fail, action answers, with intensity and passion. He curls his fingers in those pale strands, brushing them back from Arthur's face with trembling fingertips. When he draws back for breath, he says, "Then you have me for as many lifetimes as you want. This place is Heaven as long as you're in it."
The Artist leans forward to press their foreheads together, and his hands come up to cover Martin's. "Yes." Need anything else be said. And then he shifts to kiss the Addict, this time, sweetly, intensely, slowly, deeply. He cares nothing about time, and so he takes his time, as if to discover his lover all over again.