Tell Me No

by Lightning Bird

WARNING: Yes, this is slash. No, I can't believe I wrote it on my own. This was written a few months ago as a gift for Aneko-Kitana. It's very mild stuff, but if slash is not your cup of java, please don't read it. The characters are not mine, just the situation, and this has no connection to my Fusion Fall stories.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

From the private journal of Mandark, Master of Darkness:

I cannot bear this any longer.

The intensity of his focus and innocence every time he glances my way has driven me past reason. I have exhausted all my excuses to be near him, to consult him, to spend a few more moments in his presence, hoping beyond hope that he'll have pity and look my way. Has he noticed this need of mine to be near him? Does he know the power of his accent? Of his eyes? Does he know what he's reduced me to simply by looking over his shoulder at me and smiling? I like to tell myself it was a smile. At least he didn't look displeased to see me when I spoke to him yesterday.

I'm to meet with him this afternoon.

I don't know if I'll be able to survive until then . . . or after.

This uncertainty is unbearable and I cannot endure any longer. I have to know. Not knowing is an agony greater than knowing. If he rejects me, I will at least know that I've tried. If he doesn't . . . If he accepts me . . . I don't know what I'll do.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

"Dexter?"

"Down here!"

Ever alert for stray experiments wandering about or robots or toasters gone bad, Mandark made his way through the vast laboratory, following the last echo of Dexter's voice. He was familiar with the place, though Dexter tended to change things around in his laboratory fairly often and caution was always called for. With the dawn of sixth grade and classes endured together and being forced into one another's company almost constantly at school, something of a truce had sprung up between them. While their intense rivalry had not been laid to rest - it was far too useful in keeping the pair of them focused on their inventions to abandon - the nature of their competition had changed to something a bit milder, so that it was nothing unusual for them to consult with each other. That Mandark had been consulting Dexter more and more often had not been commented upon by either party.

As expected, the redhead was close by his work station, but the view he presented was unprecedented and sent a jolt through Mandark's body like electricity. He stopped in his tracks, speechless.

Rump in the air, skinny legs weighed down by those unwieldy boots and dangling a foot above the floor, Dexter bent inside the housing for his gravitic pulse engine. He was struggling to reach something as evidenced by a series of annoyed little grunts rising up from inside the housing. Mandark swallowed, torn between the desire to see what Dexter was doing and the desire to stare. He opted to take in the view, knowing he may never get so golden an opportunity again.

With a long grunt and a few kicks for leverage, Dexter's feet hit the floor and the rest of him appeared. He staggered a few steps to regain his balance. Turning to Mandark with a wry look, he displayed a large wrench.

"Dropped it," he explained with a self-conscious smile, setting his glasses back in place and fixing his disheveled appearance. Mandark rather wished Dexter wouldn't tug at his clothes so casually.

"What was it you wanted to speak to me about?" asked Dexter, ignoring his guest's reaction as he brushed close by Mandark on his way back to his work station.

Mandark closed his eyes, trying hard to slow his heart. He had not been this close to Dexter in some time, and the effect the younger boy had upon him was as stimulating as it was frustrating.

"I . . . I . . ."

He broke off as Dexter pulled one of those elbow-length purple gloves from his hand. It struck Mandark that he had rarely seen Dexter's hands outside of those gloves. His hands were small - everything about the other boy was small except for his ego - and his fingers were long and slim. Why did he hide his hands in gloves? Was it just so he could reveal their delicate beauty to Mandark at this moment? To tease him? He knew Dexter played the piano, though he had never had the glorious pleasure of hearing him. From what his sources (namely one DeeDee) had told him, he played very well indeed.

"I . . ."

Dexter scratched his nose.

Immediately Mandark's over stimulated imagination took wing. He could envisage those slender fingers - free of gloves - dancing across a piano keyboard, Dexter's slight form moving with the music, the intensity and concentration in those blue eyes (for in this fantasy, Dexter did not wear his glasses) as he played for Mandark and Mandark alone -

"Mandark?"

He twitched, jerking back to the here-and-now. Blinking rapidly, he realized Dexter was right in front of him, looking up with confusion and a touch of worry.

"Are you all right?"

Mandark stared at him, his heart hammering at being so close and being the center of Dexter's concern. A little frown creased the younger boy's brow as he searched Mandark's expression for answers and the little crease in his brow riveted him in place. It just wasn't fair. Was there nothing about this boy that wasn't adorable?

"Do you need to sit down?" He gestured to the rolling chair at his work station.

He shook his head and found his voice. "Tell me, Dexter, are we alone down here?"

"Yes. DeeDee is at dance class and Computress is running a full diagnostic. She won't be available until tonight."

Relief filled Mandark. "Good."

Eyes full of curiosity, Dexter wondered, "Why?"

"I . . . I wanted to speak to you alone." His breaths were coming faster now. It was now or never.

"Is something wrong, Mandark?" He drew closer, close enough to touch. His Russian accent seemed to thicken a bit as he inquired, "What can I do to help?"

Depending on the point of view, it was either the exactly right thing to ask . . . or exactly wrong.

"Dexter," he panted, gripping the boy's upper arms with both hands. "Dexter, I -"

The younger boy's alarm was growing at this unexpected reaction. "What is it? Mandark! Talk to me! What's wrong! Tell me what you need!"

"You," whispered Mandark desperately.

Dexter blinked, stumbling over his response and going completely stupid for a moment. "Whu -What?"

"You. You're what I need, Dexter," he said. Never looking away, he slowly walked the boy backwards, using his much greater height to his advantage until he pinned Dexter against the wall. His confidence wasn't building, it was too soon for that to happen without a response, but having made the first move, Mandark used this momentum. "I am . . . so tired of being by myself."

Dexter gaped at him.

"Your sister is not what I want or need. She's lovely, yes, but she's not my peer. No one is . . . except you."

"You're lonely," whispered Dexter, his voice full of understanding and sympathy but not a hint of pity.

He slid his hands down, never loosening his hold until he clasped Dexter's wrists in his hands. His left hand touched latex. Beneath his right hand he sensed warm flesh and the flutter of a rapid pulse. In a flash Mandark realized that over all these years, he had never actually touched Dexter before.

The knowledge staggered him, and the touch seemed to burn throughout his whole being.

"Yes," he admitted.

"So am I," was the soft reply.

Slowly, deliberately, giving Dexter every chance to pull away, Mandark lifted that bare hand, feeling the weight of his fellow genius' stare as he turned the small hand in his own. His flesh thrilled to the touch. Dexter made no protest, just watched with wide blue eyes as Mandark bent his head.

"What are you doing?" breathed Dexter, a tremor in his voice.

Mandark smiled to himself, and replied, "What I've wanted to do for ages," before he pressed a gentle kiss to Dexter's palm.

Dexter's next breath hitched as he let out a small gasp. Mandark looked at him, at the torrent of emotion in the younger boy's eyes.

"Tell me no," he almost begged. He drew Dexter's arm down, pulling him closer until they were inches apart. "Tell me no and I'll stop."

No words were forthcoming and Mandark carried on with his argument. Pressing closer, he trapped Dexter against the wall, still holding his wrists. He kissed his palm again, resting his cheek against those slim fingers in something akin to a caress. Dexter was trembling. Panting. Staring up at Mandark, he swallowed, and that simple reflex was enough to drive the dark-haired boy over the brink. He went from Dexter's palm to that maddening spot right beneath his ear, kissing him, tasting him, learning the smell and feel and touch of him, taking all he could in case this moment was all he would ever have of this marvelous and beautiful boy he desired so completely.

"Tell me no, Dexter," he whispered between each caress. He pressed his lips to Dexter's throat, reveling in the heat radiating off of the pale skin. "Stop me while you can. Tell me no and I'll leave right now."

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

His back arched to press closer to the attack, his chin raised so that Mandark would not miss a square centimeter of his neck, Dexter was panting as he slowly lowered his head. He took a moment to get his bearings before he raised his eyes to face Mandark. The older boy had drawn back and was staring at him with wide, frightened eyes. He was so pale, so anxious. What was he afraid of? Was he afraid that Dexter might let him leave, or that he would make him want to stay? There was a certain charm in that fear.

Fortunately Dexter was brave enough for both of them.

Twisting free of Mandark's grip, his hand snaked up to the other boy's chest, to his throat, and then his fingers wrapped around the tie he wore and seized him in a powerful grip.

"Tell me no," Mandark whispered desperately, terrified of the simple word.

Closing his eyes, he savored the moment, committing everything - the sensation as his own body responded, the look in Mandark's dark eyes, the feel of that lean body pressed close and tight against his own, the burning touch of every kiss - to his memory forever. He slowly shook his head the tiniest bit, and his answer was everything Mandark wanted to hear.

"No."

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

Mandark stared at Dexter. He looked like a debauched angel as he opened his eyes. He gazed up at the taller boy with undisguised want and desire in his expression and when he spoke it was not in answer to Mandark's request, but a refusal of it.

"No."

He had not been rejected but welcomed.

No.

The promise it held. Loneliness, aching, longing - all banished.

No.

It was Mandark's favorite word.

No.

A simple little thing. A mere two letters, but a dizzying myriad of meanings.

He stared into those blue eyes. No one had ever looked at him that way before. No one had ever craved his touch or saw him as anything more than diabolically clever and driven. He had cultivated that aura, thinking it was what he wanted and needed.

He had been so very wrong.

And now, with a single word, Dexter had set everything aright.

He lunged at the same instant Dexter yanked him in close. Their lips met with hungry, eager delight and even though he closed his eyes, Mandark was blinded by the brilliance he so tenderly held in his hands.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

From the private journal of Dexter, Boy Genius:

Finally! Finally! All these weeks and months of wide-eyed looks and shy smiles and a hundred other ways of trying to drive him mad have paid off and Mandark has FINALLY made the first move. If I didn't know he had to be the first of us to act, I think I would have lost my mind. For a genius, it certainly took him long enough to figure out he's wild as over me as I am over him. It took me, what, ten minutes? Max?

I think he was frightened (I know I was), but I think my invitation to return tomorrow after school set him at his ease. It's an eternity away. How I'll concentrate in biology, I have no idea . . . or considering my new appreciation for that branch of science, how will I concentrate on anything but biology? The possibilities for experimentation are endless, and Einstein knows we're both willing test subjects.

I wonder how long it will take for me to get him to say 'I love you'?