Title: Mango

Disclaimer: The characters and settings in this story do not belong to me, but to the amazing Hilari Bell.

Word Count: 5,709

Warning: The word mango is used 25 times in this story. Also? This story makes no believable sense whatsoever. Work with me here.

Summary: Michael and Fisk get stranded on an island and eat a lot of mango. Weird events ensue.

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"Well this wasn't in the plan."

"Really? I thought maybe you just wanted us to have a vacation."

"The sarcasm is very helpful Fisk, thank you."

Michael stared at his surroundings. The island hadn't looked so large from the ship, but up close the dense forest towered over them and the shore appeared to stretch for miles in either direction. He sighed.

"What do you suppose our chances of ever getting off this island are?"

Fisk stopped squeezing the water from his clothes and looked thoughtful. "Well, we certainly aren't going to get help from the scum that dropped us here. A ship might pass by and take pity on us if we set up a big enough fire and are very, very lucky. Other than that, your sister is expecting us to meet her within in the month. After two or three without hearing from us, she might start to search, but I doubt she could find us out here."

He stopped, blinking, and gave Michael a deprecating smile. "I don't know what depresses me more: our chances of rescue or that fact that literally no one else aside from Katherine will even notice our absence."

After that they spent most of the afternoon in glum silence. The damn pirates had taken everything but the shirts on their backs, even their shoes, before dumping them half a mile out from the island. The last thing Michael heard before being thrown overboard was the cheerful grunt of a man placing a bet on how long they would survive.

He is really going to miss those boots.

The hectic swim to shore had been made even more difficult by the fact that Fisk's ability to stay above water was sadly lacking. Michael had to practically drag him until the water was shallow enough to touch the bottom. He was never playing poker with a pirate again.

Eventually their clothes dried and they explored a bit, discovering dozens of mango trees not an hour away from the beach. Michael's mood rose after getting to see the look on his squire's face as Fisk first bit into the fruit. The man had never tasted mango before and took to it immediately. They also gathered firewood for the coming night, Fisk tossing twigs at the back of Michael's head as they worked and giving the knight an innocent look every time he glanced back.

"I think I saw a monkey in that tree, there. Throwing sticks, what a nasty critter…"

The dutiful stick collecting devolved a bit after that and ended with Michael whacking at Fisk with a palm frond as he chased him back towards the shore. The sun was just touching the ocean on the horizon and Fisk made quick work of the fire, before lounging in the sand next to Michael.

"I suppose 'tis not so awful," Michael said, crossing his ankles in the sand. "Food's not bad, the view is to die for," he nudged Fisk, "And I can't complain about the company."

His squire smiled fondly when he turned to grin at him. "Yeah," Fisk agreed and leaned in casually to press his lips against Michael's. It was quick, just a soft touch, like they had done it a hundred times before, and Fisk was pulling back and returning his focus to the sunset before Michael had even processed the kiss.

Wind whistled through the palm trees overhead as he stared blankly at Fisk, waiting for the world to make sense again. The moment stretched until Michael felt dizzy and he realized he had been holding his breath. He choked while sucking in a lungful of air and Fisk laid a hand on his shoulder, saying, "Alright there? C'mon, breathe. I don't want to be stuck as the only living person on this island."

Michael coughed until his throat cleared, nodding in response, and then, before he could lose his nerve, blurted, "What was that?"

It became clear that he was going to have to get more specific when Fisk's eyebrows furrowed. "What was what?"

"That thing with you just did! With your lips!"

"Are you, perhaps, referencing when I smiled, Michael?" Fisk asked, sounding amused even as the confusion still painted his face. "I do it every so often, you know. It generally means I'm happy."

"No – what? Seriously?" Michael boggled at him. "We're not going to talk about this?"

Patiently, Fisk said, "Talk about what, Michael?"

Well, okay, Michael could take a hint, even if Fisk claimed he was particularly dense when it came to most things. They weren't discussing it. He could do that, definitely, except for the part where he was burning with curiosity as to why his squire would kiss him, and how he could act like it hadn't happened, and when were they going to repe – er, actually, just those first two things.

"Alright, have it your way," he told Fisk, graciously. Michael settled himself further into the sand, glad the weather seemed nice enough to spend the night in the open.

Fisk hunkered down beside him, purposefully jostling against him as he rolled to find a comfortable position. "You, Noble Sir, are ridiculous. Try to refrain from drinking the salt water from now on; I think you've scrambled your brain."

Michael did not deign him with a reply.

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The second day they located a decent water source, a good place to set up some shelter, and more mango. When the ramshackle cover had been built, Michael, being the more capable hunter of the duo, sharpened some sticks and went fishing.

He returned to a less than warm welcome.

"You smell bloody awful. What have you been doing?"

Michael ignored the insult and held up his prize triumphantly. "I, my dear squire, have caught us crab for dinner. How does a bit of meat sound to go with our mango?"

The look of delight on Fisk's face had Michael resisting the urge to smirk hugely. 'Twas not a noble expression. "I take it back, you're amazing and you smell like a bed of roses," announced Fisk swiftly.

"One more compliment like that and I might even let you have the bigger one."

"Darling, sweetheart, light of my life, have I told you how radiant and dashing you looked striding around the island without a shirt on all day?"

Michael snorted. "Someone's desperate. Pouring it on a little thick, aren't we?"

"Only the best for you," quipped Fisk cheerily and moved to help Michael clear a spot to lay the crabs and start a fire.

The strong scent of fish and sweat invaded Michael's nose as he stood up and he made a face. "Gods, I do smell horrible."

Fisk laughed and stepped forward to kiss him lightly, saying, "I'll get this started, you go rinse off. Deal?"

Head spinning, Michael let Fisk shoo him towards the river, echoing, "Deal," as he went.

They didn't talk about that one either.

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"YO HO YO HO A PIRATES LIFE FOR MEEEEEE!" belted Fisk, swaying dangerously as he pranced along the beach.

"This is hilarious. How have I never seen you drunk before?" Michael asked, snagging Fisk as he passed by and pulling the man to the ground. Fisk flopped gracelessly onto his stomach, spilling some rum as he did so, and made a muffled sound that Michael took to mean "I don't know".

Preposterous as it was, they had actually found honest to god buried treasure when Fisk accidentally stepped through the trap door camouflaged on island ground. The wood was rotted and looked to have been undisturbed for at least a decade. Fisk spent the afternoon alternately grumbling about his sore ankle and about the fact that they now had more money than they could ever spend and nothing to spend it on. He was just starting in again on the injustices the world dealt them when Michael found the rum stash hidden behind the bursting treasure chest. Getting drunk wasn't usually an option for them, seeing as you generally had to have funds to procure enough alcohol for that, but until now Michael had never understood just how much of a shame that really was.

Drunken Fisk was unlike anything Michael would have imagined him being. The man was boisterous and energetic, singing ballads and reciting lines from plays and books of poetry he had read. He even acted out an entire scene from a play that Michael had never heard of before, performing every character himself and doing a damn good job of it, even while wasted. It was entrancing to watch him fall into the roles. He made it look effortless to change his face, voice, and mannerisms and Michael couldn't stop staring. The knight would pay good money to get Fisk in this state more often, even if his squire did seem unable to stop calling him 'Mike'.

Of course, then the scene ended and Fisk started up on the pirate shanty and only stopped now that his face was buried in the sand.

"Roll over, squire. You'll suffocate yourself."

Fisk did so, and eyed him blearily. "How come yer so –," he waved his arms vaguely, searching for words, "put together?"

"Someone had to be sober in case our rescue ship arrived. I'd hate for them to decide we weren't worth taking aboard in an inebriated state and leave us here."

Snorting, Fisk patted his leg roughly in what he probably thought was a comforting tap. "Rescue ship, right. You just keep thinking those happy thoughts, baby. I'm going for a dip."

Then he peeled off his clothes and ran screaming into the ocean, leaving Michael to wonder which nickname bothered him more: Mike or baby?"

He didn't have long to worry about it, though, before Fisk was pounding back towards him, dripping and grinning like a madman.

Michael managed to gulp, "Wait, Fisk – " before being tackled backwards, wind knocked out of him and 150 pounds of soaking wet squire on top of him.

"C'mon, Mike. Water's brilliant."

"No, it's not. It's freezing."

Fisk frowned. "You haven't even tried it."

"I beg to differ." Michael gestured at his now damp body as best he could while still being pinned down. "You're going to have sand in all the wrong places in the morning, you know."

Fisk just grinned and leaned his head down onto Michael's chest, murmuring, "Spoilsport."

Awareness of Fisk's nudity trickled into Michael's brain and he said, lightly, "Planning on getting up anytime soon, Fisk? Imagine what our rescuers would think if they found us in such a risqué position?"

Fisk sighed, face still mashed against the grain of Michael's tunic, and he whispered, "I like it here."

"On top of me?"

"Idiot. Here, on the island."

This was not what Michael was expecting to hear, especially not spoken in such a wistful tone, and he suddenly felt confused. They wanted to get rescued, didn't they? It wasn't like they could just live out here, fishing and hunting and drinking and swimming, just the two of them, endlessly… They had to get back to their families, jobs, lives, right? Only, their families had essentially turned them out, they didn't have friends to speak of, really, aside from each other, and their job as a knight and squire was a similar to being a couple of traveling beggars, but with less benefits. In fact, outside of Fisk, Michael didn't have a life. He should probably be more troubled by that.

Michael lifted his arms to circle Fisk's back and Fisk sighed again, sounding content. Speaking in the direct tones of a man made fearless by rum, the squire said, "Can we stay?"

And, yeah, they were miles and oceans away from civilization, but Fisk was happy and Michael was happy and the knight didn't have any control over if they were ever going to be found anyway. Michael barely hesitated with his reply.

"We can stay."

The look of joy on Fisk's face was almost painful in its drunken honesty and Michael really shouldn't have been surprised to find himself being kissed firmly, Fisk cupping his jaw and smiling into his mouth. It was over as quickly as the others, his squire rolling onto his back and laughing brightly at the stars, while Michael tried to pinpoint exactly when having Fisk kiss him had become almost natural.

Fisk didn't say anything about it when he recovered from his hangover and Michael began to wonder if he was suffering from some sort of mental breakdown. Having only been on the island a few days seemed much too soon for him to be losing his mind, but what did he know about it?

.

This idea was dropped almost immediately.

It was long overdue that Michael taught Fisk how to swim properly and having all the time in the world and an ocean at their fingertips gave them ample opportunity. Fisk was a fast learner, though he grumbled about Michael's teaching methods on principle and had a habit of grabbing at Michael when he felt even slightly unsteady.

The fifth or sixth time he did it, Michael laughed and said, "'Tis a shame True isn't here. He at least can manage to stay afloat without holding on to me."

Fisk's affronted look was followed by a wave of water, but Michael ducked under and grabbed at the skin behind Fisk's knee, knowing the other man was especially sensitive. He got kicked for his efforts, but when he popped back up, Fisk just gripped his shoulders and grinned at him. Apparently the kick made them even. Michael was unconsciously tracing the drops of water tracking down his squire's face with his eyes , feeling stupidly pleased, when Fisk's expression changed from mirth to shock to uncertainty so fast 'twas almost comical.

"Um, I – ah, Michael," he stuttered.

The fingers on his shoulders were digging in and Michael asked, "What? Is there a shark behind me? Something got your toes?"

"N-no, what? No. I just thought maybe you… might have something you wanted to share with the class here? You know, in relation to what has occurred between us quite recently? Because I don't really know what's going on."

It took Michael a minute, but something in Fisk's face made him realize that he was referencing the fleeting kisses that had passed between them. The man must be trying to give him the option of talking about it, although this was a strange time to bring it up.

He opened his mouth to answer when it occurred to him that he didn't have a clue what to say. After thinking for a moment, he finally settled with, "No, I think we're doing fine as we are," and hoped Fisk understood that this meant he was okay with the whole 'not talking about it' thing they had going on.

His squire looked startled, but relented with an uncertain, "Okay…" and they swam back to shore together, Fisk only reaching for support twice.

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Things continued in a similar fashion for the next few weeks.

Michael got lost looking for food one morning and Fisk kissed him in happy relief when he came stumbling back into their makeshift camp half a day later.

Fisk had a run-in with some ivy and suffered the itching for two days before Michael found herbs to relieve the rash. He was repaid for his doctoring with a peck on the cheek.

Fisk finally managed to swim out to a nearby reef and back without any assistance and he practically tackled Michael upon his victorious return. They were laughing, euphoric, and Michael isn't exactly sure who started it that time, but the kiss involved a lot more teeth than usual and not just because they couldn't stop smiling.

When they woke up, when they were swimming, when they were drunk… Michael lost track of the number of times their lips met.

However, it became apparent that living on the island for an extended period of time was not quite as amazing as they had originally thought. Michael was getting quite sick of eating fish and mango three times a day, not to mention the sunburns, their lack of extra clothing, and one particularly frightening incident when Fisk caught a fever and Michael was beside himself with worry that the squire wouldn't get better. No doctor was a big downside.

Still, it wasn't like they were staying by choice, so they kept on, trying to make the best of the situation.

Then the ship arrived.

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Captain Sigmund "call me Sid" Paddington was a jolly, keen-eyed sailor who claimed to be in his mid-fifties, but moved like a man two decades younger. His crew was already docked and setting out what looked like hundreds of empty crates when Michael and Fisk crashed out of the forest (having encountered a rather unfortunately large wasp nest) only a couple hundred feet away. There was a short moment where the sailors handling the crates and the two stranded men just gaped at each other in amazement. The stalemate ended when someone shouted for Sid and he came forward to ask them who they were.

Habit had Michael answering his usual "knight in search of good deeds along with faithful squire" and there was another short silence before Fisk slapped a hand to his face in exasperation and Sid burst into belly-aching chuckles. Things went astonishingly smoothly from there.

Fisk explained their situation in as little detail as possible, always on the defensive his squire, and Sid offered them safe travel to Newport if they were willing to pull their weight. Just like that, Michael and Fisk had a ride back to civilization.

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The hitch in their luck came when the two of them discovered just what was going to be put in to the crates. Apparently the mango on this particular island was worth its weight in silver.

"'Tis a secret not many know," explained one of the sailors working alongside Fisk and Michael as they carried the now full crates back towards the ship. "These here mangos are used in a bunch of… questionable activities by those who are rich enough to afford them." He laughed. "If only they knew how many there actually are growing on this island. 'Tis information not given out lightly."

"Why?" asked Michael. "What does the mango do?"

"You won't believe me even if I tell you."

Growing slightly worried, Michael insisted.

"Nobody quite knows why, but something about them makes people much more affectionate than usual," he told them awkwardly.

Confused, Michael was going to ask for clarification when a female sailor walked up and said, "Carl, you great wimp. It isn't so randy a description as to make you embarrassed." She turns towards Michael and Fisk and says, conspiratorially, "What Carl here is trying to say, is that the mango makes people kiss someone when they're feeling especially happy. What's more, the person won't even realize they've done anything afterwards. I 'eard some rich lord put it in his servants' food in an attempt to steal some kisses from the prettier maids. Only it backfired cause the servants weren't never particularly happy around their lecherous lord!"

She walked off with another crate, still cackling at the story. Michael was frozen.

It certainly explained several things. How could he be so stupid as to miss the signs that something wasn't right about all of those kisses? Obviously he had no way of knowing there was crazy magical mango juice at work in their bodies, but how could he have ever thought that what was going on between them had been natural? The suspicion had been there at first, but he'd just… let it go. Michael had started to like it. And now he had to face the fact that Fisk hadn't even been aware of his actions. His squire must have been dealing with the same confusion in regards to Michael's own mango-induced kisses. If what the woman said was true, then Michael had been assaulting his squire without knowing all this time as well.

Afraid of what he might find Michael turned his head slowly to get a peek at his squire's face. As expected, Fisk looked like someone just smacked him in the face with a particularly sturdy plank of wood. The second their eyes met, Fisk flinched and made a swift escape onto the ship with a full crate of mango.

Crap.

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Fisk managed to avoid Michael only until it was time to sail. At that point, he and Michael were given a quick tour of the ship and a couple hammocks to claim as their own for the next week or so, depending on how long it took to get to Newport. Sid asked about their skills and quickly set Fisk to work on inventory and sent Michael to the kitchens. Apparently they had only one person on the ship with the ability to cook something edible, and that person was also serving as the medic. Sid was beside himself with excitement when Fisk confirmed that Michael could prepare a decent tasting meal.

After that, Fisk and Michael danced around each other awkwardly. Their tasks overlapped every so often and at first Michael thought it was going to be okay. He greeted Fisk normally and Fisk teased him when he slipped on a wet patch of deck while they were scrubbing and swayed in when he was helping Michael back up like he was going to kiss him.

Two days ago that would have been normal. Two days ago, Michael didn't know about the bloody mango effect.

Now Fisk caught himself and backed off so fast he went down in a splash of soap bucket and flailing limbs. The clamor caught the attention of every other sailor on deck and soon there were several people helping Fisk back to his feet and he didn't look at Michael the rest of the day.

Fisk was obviously embarrassed by what had passed between them on the island. It was clear that they couldn't continue down the same path now that they weren't eating the mango anymore. Michael knew that; it made sense. They had both been under the influence of some outside force.

That didn't stop him from feeling hollow every time he caught sight of his squire and had to tamp down the urge to just pull him forward until there wasn't any space left between them.

.

The next mishap was entirely Michael's fault. Michael was in the kitchen galley chopping up questionable looking vegetables for the dinner slop. The other cook, affectionately called 'Cook', was currently serving his second duty as ship doctor, mending a sailor who had slipped while climbing the ramparts and had spent most of the day unconscious. Michael wasn't thinking about anything in particular, practically dozing as he went through the familiar motion of peeling potatoes. He registered Fisk appearing at his side when the squire said, "Hey Michael" softly. Without thought, he murmured "Fisk" in reply and bent sideways to collect a kiss.

Fisk breathed in sharply and Michael came to his senses, jerking back and flushing. The potato thunked onto the counter and rolled away immediately, following the sway of the ship. Michael and Fisk stared at each other until Michael choked out, "Sorry, I'm sorry," and Fisk stuttered, "N-no, no, it's fine," moving his hands awkwardly.

"I should – I have to clean the barnacles. Off the port side," his squire continued after another silence.

"Oh. Yes, uh, be careful."

Fisk nodded and exited quickly. Michael watched him go, something tight and unhappy coiled in his stomach.

It was just a fluke. They were fine. Michael forced himself to stop staring forlornly at the galley door and went in search of his wayward potato.

.

Of Michael's past experiences on ships, this was certainly the best. Clearly it wasn't hard to beat being almost killed by flogging after being kidnapped and being thrown overboard to drown or starve on an unknown island. However, Michael liked to think that even if those had been positive experiences, this ship would still take the crown. Sid was likeable and put in just as much work as his crew. As for the other sailors, most were laid back and ready for a laugh.

This was made clear when a boy named Jaime started planting kisses on everyone in reach after winning a game of Gin during his break. The others broke out into raucous guffaws with Jaime asking, "What? What?" even as he pressed his lips on another struggling Gin player. Eventually he seemed to catch on and said, "You didn't. Sharon, you promised you wouldn't do that again!" before chasing after a giggling brown haired sailor. Carl explained later that every trip they had made so far to collect the mango had ended up with someone being slipped a bit of the magical fruit. "'Tis a prank the less mature members like to pull," he sniffed, stalking off.

So, really, it would have been great, if not for the fact that Michael still wanted to lay one on his squire and he no longer had an excuse.

.

They were only one day out of port when Michael found himself leaning on the ship rail watching the dark ocean. 'Twas late and most of the crew were asleep in the barracks, save the few on night duty. Michael should have been with them, but after an hour and a half of counting Fisk's breaths, unable to stop thinking about how easy it would be to get up, curl around his squire, and press their lips together, Michael was closer to losing his mind than resting. It wasn't until he actually found himself rising from the hammock and turning towards Fisk's that he finally gave up on sleep for the evening.

Now he was just staring at that black water and wondering when he started to hardly trust himself anymore. His thoughts were interrupted by Sid, who came to stand next to him while shouting an order up at the man on lookout.

"Shouldn't you be sleeping, mate?"

"Doesn't agree with me tonight."

"Doesn't seem to agree with you most nights, I'll wager. You been walking around like a zombie the past few days."

Michael started. He hadn't realized his lack of sleep had been noticeable to anyone besides himself. Sid eyed him knowingly. "I pay attention to my crew, Michael, which is why I'm going to risk asking you about something that is likely none of my business." He rubbed a hand across his whiskers and questioned bluntly, "What's wrong with you and Fisk?"

Michael tensed, surprised. "What do you mean?"

"You had spent over a month alone together, but when we found you, you were closer than two peas in a pod. Since then, I've barely seen you spend more than a few minutes in each other's company. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were avoiding one another."

Well, hell. Sid wasn't kidding when he said he paid attention to his crew. He hit that one right on the mark. Panicking, Michael deflected with, "Wouldn't you want some time apart if you were stuck with only one person as company for that amount of time?"

"I might. But we aren't exactly similar, you and I. I got the feeling you and Fisk were more accustomed to spending that much time together."

Michael gave him a look that he hoped conveyed his doubt at Sid's psychological abilities and Sid grinned, relenting a bit. "Alright, so I may have had a few conversations with Fisk."

Letting out a sigh, Michael ducked his head onto the railing. So much for hoping this conversation wouldn't get awkward.

Sid claps him on the shoulder briefly. "He was looking lonely and I was only hoping to get the full story on how the two of you landed on that island. And, more importantly, how you came to be known as a knight and squire."

"Is that right?" Michael huffed out a laugh. "I hope he didn't paint me as too much of a lunatic."

"Nah, just a bit headstrong. Point is, it was obvious from the way he spoke of you that you were both close. So why the distance now?"

Michael knew he could refuse to answer, tell the man to back off, but he was weary and upset. T'would be a relief to come clean about what had occurred on the island. Obviously these sailors weren't going to judge, what with the mango shenanigans earlier.

"Fisk and I ate the mango," he admitted.

"I figured as much," replied Sid. "They're the most plentiful food supply on the island."

"Well, we – that is, I grew very used to it. The kissing. I didn't realize I was doing the same, obviously, but… it was nice." He paused, glancing at Sid, but the man stood quietly waiting for Michael to continue. In a whisper, Michael revealed, "I miss it. I keep thinking about it and yesterday I kissed him just out of habit and I don't know how I'm supposed to move past this!"

He banged his fist against the wood of the ship in frustration and waited for Sid to react. After a beat, Sid asked, "Lad, what do you know about those melons?"

"What your crew has told us. They build up in your system, make you react to happiness by kissing people. Some cosmic joke by the gods, no doubt."

"Aye, that's true, but I might have forgotten to mention the side effect of eating these melons continually for such a long period of time."

Surprised, Michael said, "Side effect?"

Sid looked slightly uncomfortable when he told him, "You boys told me you had been eating the mango every day for about five or six weeks, right? When you eat that much of the fruit, your system starts to become immune to the effect of the mango. We know 'cause Lionel did an experiment one trip for a small bonus. We spent about four weeks having to avoid his advances every time he was pleased about something, but towards the end they didn't happen nearly as often and by week five he was in control of himself again."

"Wait, are you saying…" Michael began, trying to wrap his head around this new information.

Sid grabbed his shoulder and said seriously, "Just explaining that any kissing that went on after that four week mark was likely to have been done without the influence of the 'magical mango juice'. Something to think about." Then he clapped Michael on the back again and walked off, shouting to the lookout once more.

Dumbfounded, Michael continued to stare blankly at where Sid had been standing when he told the knight that apparently he and his squire had been kissing for over a week of their own free will. And yes, Michael had already become aware that he didn't need any help from magical objects to lock lips with Fisk, but his squire had been so awkward after they found out that he just assumed Fisk wanted to put the whole ordeal behind them. Only, he knew that he hadn't been the one to start every kissing incidence during their last days on the island. Fisk was just as guilty of that crime. Which meant…

They were both idiots.

All this time spent dancing around each other, unhappy and thinking that each of them had only acted because of the stupid mango curse, only to find out that they were apparently on the exact same page.

Michael needed to find Fisk.

.

Lucky for him, Fisk was in the cramped hall about to head back into their cabin when Michael went below deck.

"Michael?" Fisk croaked, looking groggy and disoriented. "Why aren't you sl –" but Michael couldn't help himself, couldn't wait, and he surged forward, catching Fisk's lips and cutting the sentence short.

Fisk gasped into his mouth and then froze, but Michael just backed him into the hallway wall, cupping a hand behind Fisk's head to soften the contact, and kept kissing gently. Fisk responded hesitantly for a moment and it was good, so good, until he brought a hand up and pushed Michael away.

"Who gave you a mango Mike?" said Fisk, sounding resigned.

Michael was far too giddy with his discovery to let Fisk's assumption deter him. "No mango, Fisk," he said, smiling and running his fingers through sandy hair.

"Michael – "

"Did you know," Michael started, ignoring him. "That the human body builds up immunity to the mango effects if they are consumed at a consistent rate?"

"It does?" asks Fisk, uncertainly.

"That's right."

"…and how long does it take to build up this immunity?"

"About four weeks, according to Sid," Michael explained, waiting patiently for Fisk to digest the statement. He could see the moment that Fisk realized the exact implications this knowledge and he grinned at the astonishment on his squire's face.

Fisk opened his mouth in disbelief and said, "So that means…"

"Yes."

"And we were…"

"Yes."

"And all this time…"

"Yes."

He paused, and then tentatively, "And now you want to…"

"Gods, yes," said Michael and Fisk exhaled, muttering, "That's a relief," before dragging him back in.

.

The next day Michael slept in and no one bothered him.

When he finally emerged, he headed straight for galley and was pleased to find Fisk there, chatting with Cook and munching on an apple.

"Morning," Fisk said brightly when he spotted Michael. Cook waved a hand in greeting as well.

"Good morning," Michael replied and felt himself automatically tamping down the urge to press his lips to Fisk's in greeting. That is, until it dawned on him that he no longer had to ignore such an instinct. He was allowed. The realization made him smile and he figured he made quite a sight, standing in the middle of the galley in his sleep rumpled clothes and grinning like a fool, but Fisk just said, "Come here," fondly and leaned up to kiss him, sweet and warm and brilliant.

.

Kathy laughed at them for days after they told her what happened and Fisk made Michael swear that they would NEVER divulge the experience to Judith.

.

.

.

(end)

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…I don't even know.