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Obligatory Tea

Monday's Noon reached across the table for his brother's teacup, filling it partway. He handed it back to Dusk on a saucer and poured some tea for himself. Dusk watched flecks of tea leaf swirl patterns at the bottom of his cup, losing himself to interpretation. A triangle. A squashed sort of square. A circle, broken in half.

His brother coughed.

Dusk looked up at Noon, who held out a small tray of cakes. Dusk shook his head and quietly sipped his tea.

"I thought you wanted something to eat," said Noon, dipping a small wand into a jar of honey. He drizzled some over one of the small cakes, set the wand aside and took a bite. "Very sweet." He licked crumbs and honey from his lips.

"I'm not up for eating right now," Dusk said.

"But it's teatime; you have to eat. Besides," Noon took another bite, "You were the one who brought up Tea in the first place."

Dusk sighed, watching his brother take up the honey wand and drizzle more over a different cake. This time, however, he didn't take it for himself. He stood, rounded the table and offered it to Dusk.

"Come, brother," Noon said. "Eat."

He looked up at Noon and then at the cake in his hand. It was a beautiful confection. A light, golden square dripping amber. It glittered in the roomlight like a jewel.

Kneeling, Noon held out the cake. "Go ahead."

Dusk leaned forward and took a bite. It melted in his mouth, sliding easily down his throat. His brother held out more for him, and Dusk took another bite.

"Good?" Noon asked.

"Yes," Dusk said. He wiped the crumbs from his mouth with a napkin as Noon reached for another cake. "But please, no more."

"Just a little?" he asked, dunking a corner straight into the honey. "Tea will be over soon."

Noon broke off the dripping corner and held it out to Dusk.

"Well?" Noon asked.

Dusk opened his mouth in answer, and Noon placed the morsel of cake on his brother's tongue. But instead of chewing, Dusk found himself sucking the honey from the tip of Noon's finger.

"So you're hungry after all," Noon said.

Balancing on the edge of his chair, Dusk shook his head. "Not for food, brother. Never for food."

Noon craned his neck and Dusk bowed his head, brushing his lips against him once, twice. The third time Noon offered his tongue.

A shudder went through Dusk. The soft, sugary taste of honey. The smell of cake and tea. The heated touch of lips moving over him. His twin tasting him from the inside.

Noon rose to his feet; Dusk stood with him, their arms around each other. Noon tilted his head, coaxing Dusk to open his mouth wider, to give him more to taste. More to devour. A hand slipped inside Dusk's topcoat, gently untucking his shirt.

Gasping into the kiss, Dusk pulled away. "We can't," he said, fumbling for Noon's hands. "We can't."

"Yes, we can," he said.

Dusk made a small noise of protest but did nothing to stop Noon's actions. Hands continued to slide over him, pulling him closer. Dusk could hear his breath hitching, could feel his body responding, arching into Noon's touch. His stomach coiled.

Dusk felt his cravat unwind and his body fall back.

Looming over him, Noon asked, "Do you want more?"

The tray of cakes clattered to the floor, spilling around them. Noon reached for one, brushed it off and took a large bite. He held what was remaining in front of Dusk.

"Do you want more?" Noon repeated, sliding down Dusk's body to lie with him, dangling the cake inches from his mouth. Dusk parted his lips and Noon slipped the cake inside.

A bell tolled inside the House.

They lay there staring at each other, matching the rhythm of the other's breaths. Listening to the House stir to life. Dusk closed his eyes and swallowed the cake. Noon stroked his cheek, winding fingers through Dusk's hair. He tugged sharply, baring his brother's neck to him and said:

"Tea's over."