"Ah, Stefen! You have been neglecting him!" Moondance exclaimed as he placed his hands on Vanyel's shoulders, standing behind the seated Herald.
Stefen looked taken aback, but Vanyel only rolled his eyes. "Don't listen to him, Stef. He just means I'm a bit tense."
Moondance arched his brows. "A bit? I am amazed you can move."
Vanyel frowned and half-stretched. "I'm happy with Stef the way he is. He doesn't have to rub my back." Stefen grinned, warmth filling him at his lover's words.
"Nay, you need this sort of care." Moondance said with a thin smile, beginning to knead Vanyel's shoulders. "Your position must hold at least as much stress as that of my shay'kreth'ashke. You carry so much on these shoulders."
Vanyel let out a little groan as the Healer-Adept worked on him. Moondance continued, "Wingbrother Vanyel, you have become so like my Starwind."
"Does that mean I'm allowed to make love to you?" Vanyel teased, interrupting him.
Moondance's mouth fell open in false shock, and he nearly singsonged, "only if I may cry out my beloved's name and not yours."
Vanyel allowed his head to loll back, glancing over at Stefen and smiling. "Don't worry. I'm far from interested."
Moondance planted his hands on his hips. "Even after you have seen me bare?" He said, smiling. "Then there is no accounting for your taste. Though you are quite lovely, Stefen – even the beauty-blind can make a fortunate selection."
"I pale next to the star of your beauty." Stefen said, playing the courting game as he had with Vanyel's mother.
Vanyel snorted, and Moondance gave a light laugh, before saying, "now remove your tunic, Vanyel. You do me a disservice."
Vanyel sighed, beginning to undo his tunic. Again, the Tayledras continued speaking. "You really are like my Starwind. You have the same cold reserve about you – and to think you used to fear him!"
Stefen, who was beginning to feel awkward, opened his mouth to speak. "Vanyel's not-"
Vanyel held up a finger, though he was smiling. "One moment, I'm being berated." He waved vaguely at Moondance, letting out another soft groan at the deep touch of the Tayledras's fingers. "Continue, if you must."
Moondance sighed musically. "It is the truth. You understand each other now – it is the killing, I am sure. The killing and the violence which makes one cold. I am so glad my Starwind has me to ground him, and that you now have Stefen. I worried for you, as you had no one."
"Are you finished?" Vanyel said tiredly. His eyes were closed, and his brow knitted as his shoulders were rubbed. Stefen got the impression that Moondance was more right than Vanyel felt comfortable admitting. The Bard still felt bad for not noticing how stressed Vanyel was and wished he could take over.
Moondance looked up, and his eyes, as clear and blue as a cloudless summer sky, met Stefen's.
"Stefen… I shall teach you to do this as I do. Wingbrother Vanyel, please lie on the bed." Moondance said, releasing the Herald's shoulders.
Vanyel stood with a slight wince, one Stefen echoed out of guilt and sympathy, and shed his white shirt as he went to the bed. Moondance followed, pulling himself onto the bed and motioning for Stefen.
Vanyel seemed to know how Moondance wanted him, and stretched out on his stomach with his head pillowed on his arms. Stefen, who was now on the bed as well, couldn't resist running a hand down his lover's slenderly muscular back.
Rolling his obviously sore shoulders, Vanyel smiled at Stefen's touch. Moondance gently took the Bard's hands, placing them on Vanyel's back. "Now, you have a musician's fingers, so this should be easy for you to learn. Use your knuckles and the heels of your palms, and do not be afraid to press too firmly. You must press firmly in order to make a difference." He guided Stefen's hands to a tense spot on Vanyel's back.
"Mm. Moondance gives the best massages." Vanyel said, closing his eyes again.
Moondance laughed again. "I have had more than four decades of practice."
Stefen looked at Moondance as he began to rub Vanyel's back himself, as he had seen the Tayledras do. "It always gives me a jolt that you're that old. Um. No offence meant."
Moondance smiled brightly. "None taken, I assure you. I am not oblivious to my own age. Ah, you ought to try this." He placed his hands on Vanyel again to demonstrate a technique.
After a moment, Vanyel said, "Moondance, you ought to let Stefen try."
There was a light laugh, and Moondance held up his hands so Vanyel could see them. "I am not even touching you. See, young Stefen? You already improve."
Stefen smiled. "I suppose I do."
"A musician's hands, I told you." Moondance said, sounding slightly smug. "And now that I have shown you how, you must do this for Vanyel more often."
"... I wouldn't entirely object to that." Vanyel sighed, sounding very contented indeed.