Asch is enjoying a quiet night in the Keterburg Inn. He had gotten the room for much cheaper than he expected, something about a screaming ghost, which was of course nonsense. He hadn't run into his moron replica and its posse, or even a trace, a mention of them, at all today, which is a nice change of pace. He has a good book, a tall candle, and nothing to do the rest of the evening. Yes, he could have gotten a fonstone light, but he prefers the soft flickering of a candle late at night, at least for pleasure reading. Sure, tomorrow he'd have to move on, but Ginji had been delayed when getting supplies, so he has to spend the night here anyway. He might as well do the relaxing that he couldn't when that idiot was around.

Luke is happy. He had been almost sure Guy was hinting at something special when he suggested that they break off from the group for a bit, get Noelle to drop them off at Belkend for the checkups Lady Suzanne had been requesting. The requests were nothing new, but they were usually to busy to oblige. But this time Guy had been insistent that the rest of the group could get along without them for a few days, in order to assuage Lady Suzanne's fears. It would have seemed totally innocent, but Luke knew something that the rest of them didn't. It was approaching the one year anniversary of when Luke not-quite-accidentally slipped up and let loose that he liked Guy, of them trying out being something more than just very close friends.

The drop-off was done, farewells said, and meet-up plans arranged. The checkups went quickly, both pronounced to have clean bills of health, and then they had the rest of the few days to themselves.

The inn was tidy, respectable. Guy had gone ahead of him, ostensibly to book a room for them and get to sleep, while Luke wandered the shopping district for a little while. When he deemed the time sufficient, or rather, when the suspense would have killed him to wait any longer, he headed back to the inn.

He had expected Guy still awake, possibly even expected the flowers in the vase, clearly the same as the ones he admired at home. He had not at all expected the candles or the small fontech machine in the corner, playing a soft melody. After allowing himself the thought that Guy is a hopeless romantic, he reminds himself that he loves it, despite his common protests to the contrary. Guy had to know that, to continue on in the way he does.

Climbing onto the bed to join Guy, Luke leans over to kiss him, slow and soft. A thank you for all this, this vacation, this getaway, this setup. When it ends, he only pulls away a little.

"You remember too," he says. Guy grins lazily at him.

"Of course. Your clumsy adorableness is impossible to forget," Guy chuckles. At that, Luke grins too, sheepishly.

Luke and Guy lay there, just looking at each other a while longer, but it soon becomes evident that Guy wants to say something, but has no idea how to begin. He smiles again, almost apologetically, like he's going to break something, and he knows it.

Luke only becomes more curious as to what he's going to say, and tries his best to look encouraging. It must have worked, at least somewhat, because Guy gathers up his wits and begins.

"I know we talked a bit back about this... and if you're not ready... no pressure... but if you're waiting because you don't think I'm ready... I just wanted to tell you I- I'm ready to-" Luke understands and cuts him off before his rambling can get anymore incoherent.

"You're trying to say you wanna sleep with me in a 'more-than-just-two-friends-sharing-a-bed' way, yes?" Luke says, amusedly. Guy looks at once relieved and terrified

"Yes! No... well sorta. If you're ready..." He looks back up at Luke, who is enjoying this role reversal far too much.

"If this is how I look in that state of 'adorable clumsiness' you like so much, I think I'm beginning to see the appeal," he says, cheekily.

Luke had made up his mind already, and he had just been waiting for Guy to bring it up again. Guy had his physical intimacy issues, still occasionally shying back when Luke got too bold. He wasn't sure if that was because he looked a bit, just a bit mind you, girlish, or Guy's still vaguely lingering issues with the fon Fabre family. But he hadn't wanted to shove Guy into a quick decision about something so significant, so he had waited until Guy had come back to it of his own accord. He is pleased to no describable degree that it happened so soon, but after realizing that this train of thought had gone on far too long without giving Guy a real answer, Luke decides to give him a proper answer. In the form of leaning up and practically tackling Guy into a kiss, more insistent and needier that the last one, pressed closer, sliding his left hand up along Guy's neck to caress his hair, then tug him closer yet.

When he pulls back, grinning triumphantly, Guy opens his mouth to affirm the answer verbally, but Luke never even lets him speak.

"Of course that's a 'yes'. What kind of 'no' would it be?"

"A really cruel one," Guy said, before returning the grin and grabbing Luke's arm to kiss his way up it. Luke shifted it a little, getting a displeased sound from Guy, which he more than made up for by using the new angle to begin in on Guy's neck. The contrast of Guy's warm skin and the cold metal dangling from his collar was delectable.

He rechecks his mental block to keep his fon-slots from accidentally transmitting any of this to Asch, or receiving anything from him for that matter. He doesn't want anything to interrupt them or break the mood. He and Guy don't get chances like this very often, and he is determined that nothing will ruin this. But with that secured, his attention is needed urgently in other areas, like finding that spot behind Guy's ear that made him moan when Luke nipped it.

Asch is well into chapter sixteen of his book, and well on his way to being lulled to sleep by the quiet and the candlelight, when he feels something snap. He has only a moment of alertness to register that he isn't in any physical pain, and that none of his bones had broken before he feels like he is being dragged through something cottony.

He doesn't know how, but this has to be his replica's fault. It is so dead the next time he sees it. It always managed to ruin whatever he was trying to do, while hardly even breaking a sweat.

As his senses return to him, he realizes that he now feels... well, rather nice, if sore. Warm, or pleasantly buzzed even. There are, however, by far too many seventh fonons concentrated around him, and though it feels nice and adds to the high, they could be dangerous in these high levels, especially around him, so he dissipates them. And he really needs the rest of his senses back sooner than later to assess the situation.

They slowly returned, one by one. It still smells of candle, only more strongly than before. His mouth doesn't taste funny, so that discounts drugging. His vision clears, and that couldn't possibly be right, because Guy is right in his face, calling his name. No, not his name, he realizes, anger mounting again.

"Luke, Luke, are you OK? Score, what if I did something wrong..." Guy sounds worried.

"What the fuck." Asch growled, mustering a glare. Guy starts and scrambles backwards.

How had Guy gotten to his room? And... undressed? All except that ridiculous collar. But before he can process that, and the implications thereof, he realizes that he isn't in his room. Or rather that he himself isn't here in this room that isn't his. Not unless Guy had given him a haircut and a makeover in the two seconds he had passed out for.

The left hand that instinctively reaches up questioningly when he goes to examine to the not-his hair seals the idea. The replica is left handed.

He is in the replica's body, naked, in bed with Guy, who was also naked, burning off the last traces of an orgasm with his still rising anger.

He does not appreciate this. He considers screaming at Guy, but there is someone infinitely more worthy of his attention and ire just coming to his senses, in a much slower, more panicked way back in Asch's room. And Asch's body.

Projecting his anger forcefully across at the moron, since whatever it had done to cause this had left them almost completely open to each other, he feels the replica cringe, to his satisfaction.

Some of that dies, however, when the thing starts babbling incoherently at him. It seems to have no idea what it had done to them itself, and trust the thing to mess up this monumentally on pure coincidence. It takes some kind of skill to screw up on this magnitude without carefully orchestrating it.

But now the replica is panicking about his disappeared lover- Score, that it was Guy was just so-, and Guy had started nattering at him worriedly about returning Luke, 'Now, if he pleases.' in that vaguely pleasantly threatening tone.

He wrenches the idiot's attention away from his ever sinking spiral of panic, and directs it to Guy, through his eyes, showing him to be quite safe, but also quite annoyed.

Now fix this, he commands it. But it has no idea how, and it's so open to him, he's drawn in as it's mind rambles on. One moment he and Guy were, and it was good, so good, and he was keeping it closed, so none of this bothered HIM, and but, it, everything reached fever pitch at once, inside and outside, and it felt like an explosion, breaking, there they were, coming down from his shared ecstasy to a more literal ecstasy.

Asch tries to extract himself from the thing's thoughts to analyze them more clearly. Wait, had it said outside? Those fonons he had dispersed with barely a thought... A dangerous thing, but why had they been they there, they should have siphoned off safely to him at that slow rate of accumulation?

Then it hits him, the thing had closed him off entirely, like the moron it is. Not just thoughts, communications, and feelings, but fonon flow as well. Everything. Of course it didn't know that they needed to be able to pass fonons back and forth to prevent an accidental hyperresonance when such wild feelings were involved. He was just thankful some kind of safety mechanism had stepped in before it had gone too far. Even if it was an extremely irritating one.

It cringes again and again at his angry thoughts, probably hitting it as if Asch were shouting at the top of his lungs and throwing things. Which is probably what he would be doing if he were in the same room with it. It had wanted to do something right, it had thought ahead for once, had tried it's best to not bother Asch. Its best is never enough. It always makes things worse.

Score, the thing is depressive. It's even taken to referring to itself as a thing. Asch is glad he hadn't have to deal with this much insight into it's head on a regular basis.

Shut up and focus on fixing this, he asserts over the idiot's laments.

"Shut up and let us focus on fixing this. You'll get your moron back." He adds aloud, for Guy's benefit.

It is awkward and slow, and feels like something between trying to get by someone in a tiny tunnel and trying to actually pass through someone, and for a terrifying moment he is unsure of who or where he is, but they get back into their own bodies.

He relaxes minutely for a second once there, again taking stock of the situation. He feels like himself, his own body so much more comfortable than someone else's. The conflict between his mind trying to do one thing and a body used to a different mind trying to do another is impossible to imagine until experienced.

He feels no obvious injuries, although he is sure that his spine had been stretched to it's limit, and maybe Luke's voice was used to going that high, but he would be sore and possibly raspy for at least a day. And the Inn staff would have some new and interesting 'screaming ghost' stories to tell, he was sure. It must have been the exact moment of pleasure that he had been whisked away in.

He feels at the still entirely open connection, more open than ever before, and listens to Luke explaining what had happened to them, amusing, seeing as his replica doesn't really have much of an idea of what had happened, just it's own conjectures and what it gleaned from Asch's thoughts. He looks away as it takes a turn towards the intimate when Guy starts showing Luke his gratefulness for Luke's safe return, instead of just telling.

He goes back to his book as he feels the thing flush at his amused mental reminder that they have an audience. It slowly, carefully starts blocking off the connection again, piece by piece. Asch leaves him to it, just chiding him to be mindful of the fonon flow, and showing him the part to keep open. He pretends to ignore the wave of thankfulness the thing sends him for teaching it, before it closes off the rest of the connection again altogether.

A little more than twenty minutes later, Asch finds visuals of things not his room or his book dancing before his eyes. It solidifies into Luke's view, and he is too stunned for a moment to do anything but watch the two of them. He blinks, but it's still there behind his closed eyes. Then comes the sound. Asch shivers, and can still do nothing but watch in stunned silence.

Luke asks Guy to pause, not stop, pause. He turns his attention to Asch, apologetically, reopening mental communication. I can't concentrate enough like this to close everything but keep the fonon flow open. An echo of the feeling of danger-warning Asch had sent it before returns to him. Sorry, but this way that entire section of the connection is kept open and doesn't need specific attention. If you could just ignore it? Some of Luke's need to be an active participant with Guy leaks across to Asch, despite its obvious reluctance to share what he thinks will anger Asch.

Asch gives his most put upon grumble, but acquiesces. Let the moron have his- its fun, he'd make sure it didn't blow up any more towns while doing so. He kept that last thought to himself, the thing was quite depressive enough as it is. What he does share is a hint of vague approval for being less passive.

He seizes control of the connection, and is about to push Luke out of his mind again when Guy gets impatient and starts up again. With so much of Luke's mind still in his, Asch receives a good amount of whet Luke is feeling before Luke leaves with a quick, overly cheerful if vaguely distracted thanks.

Asch knows that, if he concentrated, he could narrow the connection back down to nothing but the fonon flow. But then he'd have to go to bed, because the level of concentration required would not allow him to read, or do much of anything other than lay there. Not that he's going to get any reading done this way.

The more he tries to ignore it, the more he is enticed by his own private showing of his replica and the closest thing he has to a friend being so intimate. Luke's guilt had led him- it to confessing to Guy about letting Asch watch so that it could concentrate, participate.

While that had led to a few awkward minutes, it doesn't seem to deter either of them in the least once they get going. Score, do they get going. Either they don't mind their viewer, or they had entirely forgotten about him, likely the latter. That seemed to happen a lot with him.

At this point, turning away is a lost cause. He is entranced, and somewhat aroused, by it all. He does, however, resist the urge to open the connection further, blend himself into Luke, his- its- his sensations and feelings. His outward reason is that Luke would notice, and it would be awkward, rude- did that ever stop him doing anything before- but he knew he wouldn't be able to leave, go back to how it was before, the cold nothing, if he does. It would be hard enough as things stood now.

But as all things must, this show is drawing to a close as well. One more- and he can see the bliss in Guy's face, hear it in Luke's voice saying Guy's name. His guilt begins to return. This is private, intimate, things not meant for him, he has no place here... He nearly cringes as Guy leans in for one more kiss, and Luke closes his eyes. He has just about convinced himself to let it go, push it out of his mind and never return to any of this when his resolve is broken by two tiny things, the same thing.

Guy mouths a word to him against Luke's lips- when had the connection slipped open that far, that he could feel it- , and Luke sends him a word, bound with emotion. The same word. For both of them a question, an invitation, a thanks, a wish.

His name.


They remembered him, accepted him, wanted him there. And he wanted to be there. Why had anything else mattered? He- They would never go back to before, he knew it now, and it was fine. Good. The best damn thing that had happened in a long time.

His concentration dropped, defenses abandoned, he was carried away on his own wave of bliss, riding it back to Luke.

For the first time, he asked before borrowing Luke's body, not just snatching it away. He said his thanks, to the both of them, then did what he had wanted the entire time of watching and kissed Guy, reveling in the sensations of Luke inside and Guy outside.