The Question

By SimplyElymas


Susan Kay owneth. Not I.


Reza asks Nadir and Erik where babies come from. Erik spits tea with lemon all over Nadir. Nadir is displeased. Implied slash.

Author's Note

Oh my God, I'm sorry about this one. I was almost going to have Christine asking, but she's not that much of an airhead, hence this Persia!fic.

It was a briskly cold, unremarkable evening in the Persian winter. Nadir Khan, happily settled onto his favorite divan, enjoyed the warmth of the inside, stoking the brazier occasionally. Erik, persistent in his ways, looked almost ridiculous in comparison, lighting a samovar and sitting there in a specially made Western armchair, wearing his tailored suit. Reza was propped happily in his wheelchair at Erik's side, occasionally coughing lightly. Every time, Nadir would jump, and Erik would sneer. What the daroga failed to notice was the way Erik kept slipping the coughing child tea with honey.

It was a competely unremarkable evening.

"Erik, where do babies come from?"

Erik spit Russian tea all over Nadir.

Nadir did not even have time to glare at Erik before he registered the question and sat there shocked, tea with lemon soaking warmly into his fine robes. "Well…" he managed to squeak.

"That's a silly question, Reza," Erik snapped.

"No 's not! I want to know! What's so wrong about wanting to know?" Reza looked indignant and betrayed, his face, pale for a Persian boy, wrinkling unbecomingly in the flickering light.

"Nothi – nothing, Reza," Nadir replied awkwardly. "It's just a bit hard to explain. Why don't you ask one of the enuchs?"

"I did, father, I asked Farshid and he said he lacked the necessary equipment. Then he went red and walked off, and I couldn't follow him, and Firoozeh would wheel me any farther, and I want to know, father."

Erik looked accusingly at his friend. "Didn't you ever teach him anything? Don't children watch sometimes, in at the window of the harems?"

"What do you mean?" Reza piped shrilly.

"Ah," Nadir began defensively, but Erik cut him off.

"Oh, I see. How sweet, daroga, you wanted to maintain the boy's innocence." Nadir muttered something, his cheeks rapidly turning red, but Erik blazed forth. "Reza, a child is conceived when a man penetrates a woman with his manhood."

"What's a manhood?"

"Reza –"

"Is it the equipment Farshid lacks?"

"No! Yes. Stop laughing, Erik, it's not funny."

"I wasn't laughing, Khan." Erik's sharply angled body seemed to get even sharper, his fingers like claws in the firelight. "I'm not one to laugh at what I can never have."

"You haven't got a manhood either?"


"That's not funny." Erik gritted through his teeth, and stalked, catlike, from the room. Nadir watched him go, his clear blue eyes at once amused and also something else. Fascinated?

"Oh, I see!" Reza realized happily.

"Brilliant," the daroga muttered, half to himself. "That's another milestone he's stolen…"


"Yes, Reza?"

"What about when a man loves another man?"

Nadir did not have any tea in his mouth, and Erik wasn't there, but if he had, and Erik had been there, he would have spit it out all over Erik.

"That doesn't happen, Reza."

"Yes it does," replied the boy innocently. "I saw two of the guards, just yesterday – didn't you know about that, father? I knew about that."

"It's not allowed, Reza…The Prophet says, it's not allowed…"

"Could Erik be my other father, one day, father?"

"It's not allowed, Reza," said the daroga of Mazenderan, and left his son by the flickering brazier, still completely in the dark.