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It's impossible to avoid the doomed truth. He's… completely infatuated.

Being under emergency lock-down at Big Rico's, as the skies of Night Vale open up to rain intersperses of flaming, dead mice… it's somehow terribly romantic. Terribly, terrifying romantic to be huddled up in a booth with the object of Cecil's affections, trembling with fear and spurts of giddiness.

Date night isn't spoiled, not at all.

Though, it would be harder to enjoy someone's company if the gorgeous sunset outside the window howled in the distance, or if Cecil needed to excuse himself for indulging a bit of juicy, spur-of-the-moment news. But it's not like he could help it! Residents just kept tapping on his bedroom windows in the middle of the night. Or left him twine-ribbon envelopes under his pillows to find. Or the cryptically riddling telepathic messages in his head while peacefully reading at his designated, sacred burial mound in his kitchenette.

Really, he didn't want people near his bed. Unless it was Night Vale's Annual Mattress Inspection and Cannibal Potluck Bloodbath at the rec center. (In that case, it was mandatory. Or punishable by hefty fine. Or ceremonial, public stoning on a Tuesday morning. It had to be Tuesday.)

Or… unless the person near/on/wrapped in the sheets of his bed was Carlos.

A dreamy sigh escapes his lips, tattooed hands folded under his chin. Cecil leans forward over the booth table to stare, and so are the vague yet menacing government agents nearby. The orangey smog of early evening does flatter Carlos' dark, fragile complexion.

Cecil's archaic, lavender-colored tattoos wind slowly, ever-so-slowly up his pale and exposed forearms.

He asks, sounding more like a chirping bird than a grown man, "So, what do you like doing for fun, Carlooo~oos?"

Carlos' eyes purposefully avoid his arms. And the window. As well as the flaming, dead rodents. They do seem taken with staring down at his Pepsi. He pushes up his thin glasses with a single hand, silver rims glinting far more brightly than… say, the edge of a teenage girl's sacrificial knife. Or her little brother's, though much smaller in size.

Inhabitants of their little, desert-sprawling town should always be ready to perform ritualistic sacrifice.

(If it was part of their home environment. Not everyone practiced black magic, and chanted gibberish, and it would be rude to assume this had to do with religious homogeneity.)

"The lab has me busy. Science never takes a break." Carlos' fingers—a shade lighter than his dark hair—restlessly shift, fiddling with his straw. He has hands better suited for composing music, dancing across ivory, slime-greased keys, instead of tinkering with beakers and seismic monitors. "The readings should be accurate," Carlos says, a touch of a frown gripping at the ends of his mouth. "I don't understand it, Cecil."

It's unfortunate. Carlos has such a beautiful, perfect smile for a beautiful, perfect man.

All those teeth.

Cecil hums sweetly, flexing an ankle under the table. "Not too busy, you know," he proclaims, voice dropping an octave. "It's good for you to take breaks every so often. Go out. Enjoy some air instead of a stuffy building. Or possibly visit a certain someone's community radio station more frequently."

He might have tried going for sensual if it didn't feel like Cecil's heart was going to ram straight through his ribcage, piercing him apart. Or, perhaps it would dissolve into a million, sonorous rays of light, erupting from his clenching throat…

"… I like being busy, I mean," Carlos says, mumbling. His thick, curly bangs hovering over his eyes. "It distracts me and keeps me focused on what I need to get done each day. But something is very wrong here, Cecil… nevermind what's happening outside. Forget about it. It's the clocks … clocks have to be real, don't they?"

Clocks, schmocks! Oh, this is not the topic of conversation Cecil wanted on their date night. Talking about science was fine! After all, Carlos was so into science and hypothesized experiments and recording every little detail and being super smart.

He just didn't want to see that tiny, pinching expression on Carlos' face.

The cold slice of pepperoni pizza across from him, with a harmonious aroma of fresh garlic and parmesan, is pushed away, gently.

One of Cecil's hands remains under his chin, fingers curling in towards him.

It's easy to forget, but they're surrounded by quietly chattering restaurant-goers who nervously glance at the flaming, diabolical sky and then at their phones. Not debating on whether or not to livetweet the event, but awaiting an official message from the Sheriff's Secret Police that the coast is most indefinitely clear.

(Not that there's a waterfront harbor anymore.)

Carlos glances at the other people, once or twice. But his attention is drawn back to Cecil who unabashedly beams.

"Is it because something else wants to distract you instead?"

The ankle under the table, covered in a gartered, plaid sock, bumps none-so-shyly to Carlos' leg. Cecil watches in amusement as those sculpted, brown cheeks heat. "I hope you're thinking about me," he adds, all-lavender eyes gazing at him, the third one dormant on his forehead for now.

Now there's flirting going on, he thinks to himself with a smidgen of pride.

"I think about you a lot," Carlos answers.

It's not a stutter; it's barely above a whisper. Carlos' voice can be like bathing in sweet, warm honey and toweling off on the fluffiest hotel towel on the planet. Grey-slate eyes meet Cecil's own. The other man uses every bit of his willpower to hold back a squeal of joy.

Carlos. CarlosCarlos. Beautiful, perfect and sexy Carlos thinks about him.

Him!

And there it is… that full, handsome smile. Teeth straight and unblemished, with no visible traces of yellowing or bloody residue. More shiny and white than the automated factory rows of porcelain soap dispensers.

He longs to run a fingertip against the surface of them, to feel the hard smoothness. Gliding in the saliva-slick as easy as you please. To feel Carlos' soft, dry lips close around a finger, suckle and nibble Cecil's human finger like it's a tasty treat. Better than dessert cream-puffs.

Maybe yank back those lips and press his own mouth against Carlos' teeth, lathing his tongue curiously against molars and incisors, memorizing their shape for later dreams. Gasp back into Carlos' mouth as beautiful, brown hands slide up Cecil's back, rumpling his featureless sweater-vest.

He could dream about taking him to his bed. Sitting and rocking between Carlos' thighs, becoming a naked, quivering mess—not literally. (Carlos wasn't ready for his true, viscous form. Baby steps.) He could knock off Carlos' glasses and tangle his hands in coiffed, black hair, and murmuring his request. Listening for a yes.

Dream about the encouraging weight of his neighbor's pliers, or his own bare fingers, crowding inside and snatching around one of those perfect teeth, digging and pulling.

Digging and pulling with monstrous strength.

The perfect, shrill noises Carlos would choke out as it happened, muffled in painful, reverent ecstasy. Warm mingling of saliva and blood smeared and collected under Cecil's fingernails, and filling up that wet cavern.

A lovely physical reminder of this scientist's existence.

Before, say, any future, town-wide mind-swipes. They were bound to happen.

"Golly," Cecil breathes out. Not just at his own fleeting mental images but he grins ridiculously to an mildly embarrassed eye-roll from Carlos. Cecil's tattoos peek out into view from his rolled-up sleeves. Living, thoughtful ink.

Restaurant-goers start filing out when the doors unbolt. The air lightens. Meaty rodent gore litters the blacktop. Billowing smoke from extinguished fire.

Of course, nothing billows quite like Carlos' immaculate lab-coat.

Before they do step outside, Cecil's upraised arm leaning against one of the double glass-doors, their lips do meet chastely. And again. They lose count of seconds or minutes, seeing as time is a fickle, damn-fear-impossible thing. They are interrupted by Rico shooing them out playfully with a rusty wrench.

It's surprisingly polite as well. Last time involved a taser.

"Tomorrow," Cecil says loudly, right outside Carlos' laboratory. At the outwardly confused look, he shakes his head, giggling. "Right, um! Sorry. Tomorrow is the three-legged, three-armed, three-headed charity race outside Night Vale High School. I need a partner and a half."

Actually in truth, one of the newest interns offered but as it turns out, being an intern at the community radio was an extremely dangerous affair (though not advertised as such), and Cecil didn't particularly feel the need to get emotionally attached to the next, gruesome death.

"You would like me to join you…?"

"Yes," Cecil says, poking the other man in the narrow, skinny chest teasingly. "I can't win without my good luck charm. And I'd really hate to lose."

Despite the cheerful look, Carlos shoots him a grim, doubtful stare.

"I'm going to regret asking what happens if you lose…"

"Oh, pfft!" Cecil's right hand waves casually. "The usual. Quick and condemning death. Execution by blow-darts seem to be highly favorable—which is WHY we have to win! I don't know about you, Carlos… but I'd sure like to come back to Big Rico's for another slice of pizza sometime."

"Can't you ask someone who is more physically fit?" Carlos mutters, eyes squinting. "Or come down with a cold and stay in… hold on, three heads?"

"Goodness gracious, you're soo cute. I'll see you bright and early at seven am!"

The scientist turns away, head lowered, muttering under his breath about 'deviled invisible clocks' as a smiling Cecil waves furiously to his back, calling out his goodbye. One of the dead mice squishes under the heel of his dress-shoe, gushing out stinking, purpling entrails.

Best date. Ever.

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WTNV isn't mine. My first attempt at my OTP and second WTNV fic! :) This is set way early on and I hope you guys love it. Please, please let me know your thoughts!