A.N.: Okay, I want to make it clear to everyone reading this that this particular chapter is rated 'M' as it contains, well, you know what. I won't censor my work; it is what it is.
At dinner the crew always gathered in the galley near the kitchen's entrance. They would wait like starving wolves for the chefs to throw them a bone or two, often fighting amongst themselves as to who got a bigger portion of food. Dinner was a strenuous ordeal on Whitebeard's flagship, an ordeal that everyone partook in.
Marco watched Ace as he climbed down from the tallest mast on the ship and went below deck. He himself went past the hatch that led down into the underbelly of the vessel and instead headed to the ship's stern. He got up on the gunwale at the very back of the ship, cast one last fleeting glance over his shoulder for onlookers, and then jumped leisurely off the ledge towards the ocean below.
The waves were coming up to meet him fast but Marco was well into his transformation before that would happen. He straightened out his body as he plummeted, expanding his wings and pulling up before impact, his tail feathers skimming the surface of the water.
It had been a while since he'd flown in broad daylight over the ocean. He liked the way the sun reflected off the surface and bounced back at him, coating him in a layer of heat.
But it wasn't enough to just simply be bathed in sunlight. Marco needed something more.
As he reached the island and landed in the clearing he recognized that he would need a distraction in order to keep himself from doing something reckless and regrettable. He walked the island's borders, memorizing every tree root and pebble in a vain attempt to forget about the past few days. The sun was still high in the sky, filtering down through the treetops. It was during his second time around the island when Marco felt it.
An unmistakable presence.
He hid in the trees, keeping his distance. His haki told him exactly where the boy was at all times and he used the knowledge to his advantage. He didn't trust himself to be in the same vicinity as Ace.
He was afraid. Afraid he'd jump on the boy if he let out a single stray spark.
His attraction to fire was at an all time high. He wouldn't be able to control himself if there was a blaze of even minuscule proportions. Ace was safe as long as he kept his distance.
The sun set and with it the presence faded away. Marco supposed Ace had returned to the Moby Dick. He knew the boy was searching for the bird. He'd seen him go off in the distance every night in the same direction and figured out that the bird most likely made its nest on the nearest island.
Tension enveloped Marco like a thick woolly blanket as he pondered how close Ace had been. As soon as it became time, darkness clinging to the world around him, Marco shed his clothes and leapt headlong into his burning nest, floundering in the ashes and seizing the flames around him. The fire whispered comfort and clung to his form, but it soon became apparent that Marco wanted to be elsewhere and the fire became merely a hollow blaze around him. It didn't hold a shred of its normal appeal and enticement.
He barely registered how he put on his jacket and took to the sky. The flight back to the Moby Dick was a blur of water and air, meaningless things. The only thing he knew in all its entirety was the flame he was following in the distance, a beacon in the night.
He landed on that fire, rubbed his face all over the body it was attached to and felt himself swell with pleasure. The tension that had him consumed in misery all day melted off of him and he relaxed, at last wilting in Ace's arms.
Through a haze of contentedness, he heard Ace's deep voice, speaking to him gently.
"I'm sorry I scared you away last night," he was saying. "I crossed the line."
Marco continued to place himself as close to Ace as possible, all the while thinking, I crossed that line long ago. It should be me apologizing.
As he snuggled closer to Ace, he caught bits and pieces of what the other was muttering. The words rolled past him but the feelings stuck to his feathers; joy, excitement, pleasure. In his hyperactive state Marco had to strain his senses to hear the words spoken to him.
"It must be wonderful to be a bird. To go wherever you want," Ace mumbled, body pressed up against Marco's chest. "I like where I am right now but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to fly above everything. They say birds are the freest of creatures."
Marco shuddered, knowing that Ace deserved to have his desires met after all he'd put the boy through. When the boy found out, as he doubtlessly would eventually, Marco wanted Ace to have a few fond memories of their time together during this masquerade.
I'll show you what it's like this time, Marco thought with resolve, to live freer than anyone.
He tore himself away from Ace's hands, an immediate sense of disappointment dampening Ace's fire. Marco dipped his head, flattened his body to the wooden planks and stretched out his wing, reaching around behind Ace. He curled the wing inwards, bringing with it Ace's willing body.
Ace understood immediately and eagerly climbed onto Marco's broad back, wrapping his thick arms around Marco's lithe neck. He settled his body along the length of the bird, the tips of his toes nearly reaching where Marco's tail feathers began. Only when he was sure he could handle Ace's mass on his back without the other slipping off, Marco rose, beating his wings to test Ace's bravery.
It didn't need the test. Ace didn't have any second thoughts to suddenly jump off. Content, Marco leapt into the air, feeling the instant fast pull of gravity on his much heavier form. But Marco was strong, stronger than any other bird, and soon he was soaring above the ocean waves, leaving the ship behind in his wake. Ace's awe at being airborne fuelled his wings and he cast ephemeral looks over his shoulder at the youth's enraptured face cast in a blue luminosity.
Marco could have stayed in the clouds with Ace forever, but much to his disappointment Ace was slipping to one side as he'd feared he might, throwing off his balance and dragging them into a dangerous flight pattern without realizing it. He spotted the island below him and found his clearing with his sharp eyes. He would have to land and adjust Ace on his back. It would be easier if he could explain to him that it was hard to fly straight with him leaning to one side and that he didn't want to get lost by flying out of sight of the Moby Dick.
But he couldn't merely explain using words. He would have to settle for landing and hope that Ace would understand his prodding to situate himself on the centre of his body. It was all he could do, really.
He dug his talons into the rock as he touched down a few feet from his nest, the smell of smoke strong in his sensitive nose. But before he could turn his head and adjust Ace, the other had jumped off his back to land on the ground beside him, laughing boisterously. He was all lit up, red fire secreting from his body as he shimmied about Marco, too excited to stand still.
In between laughs Marco thought he heard words of thanks and praise come from Ace's rosy lips. But he couldn't be sure; his mind was foggy, akin to a drunkard's. All he could see was Ace's feelings dancing in from of him: bliss, ecstasy and elation.
But then, all too suddenly, there was an eerie silence.
Marco watched, frozen in place, as Ace went around his nest and picked up articles of cloth, namely his pants and sash. He toed Marco's sandals next, the gold adornment of a belt that he wore and then looked up at the phoenix before him, questioning.
Underneath that questioning, Marco knew, was an epiphany.
Marco held still, stood his ground, as Ace strode briskly up to him. He tried to read Ace's expression and the language of Ace's fire, but found he was so flustered that he couldn't make out a single emotion.
Any sense he might've been able to find in those few seconds was utterly broken as Ace reached up, grabbed Marco's head in his hands and brought him down to place a firm kiss on the join where beak became feather.
The hold Marco had on his phoenix form vanished without so much as a whisper and he gained human features, Ace's lips attached now to a distinctly human cheek. They were oddly moist given his Devil Fruit abilities and they moved against his skin, gently sucking as Ace pulled back to look Marco in the eyes.
The look on Ace's face told Marco that nothing needed to be said. His hands found their way to Marco's jacket, the sole piece of clothing that he wore and he unzipped it, exposing Marco's pirate mark. Fingertips laced with flames traced the mark and Marco welled up with a strong sense of relief, gleefully jubilant at the acceptance that lingered in Ace's touches.
He pulled Ace to him, half-naked bodies pressing against one another.
They kissed lightly at first, gentle pecks on the lips until Marco found that Ace's tongue seared heat into him in the best possible way. He set out to work on massaging the insides of Ace's mouth, tempting the other's tongue to interact with him. Ace was more than complaisant; he insisted more from Marco, grabbing onto the phoenix's strong shoulders and thrusting his lower body against its significant other. Through all of Ace's wriggling Marco became numbly aware that his jacket was no longer sitting atop his shoulders. The only reason he hadn't been sentient of his naked state in the chilly night air was because of Ace's hot conflagrations, rippling across the rocks around them. He felt no embarrassment, only a slight irritation that Ace still wore clothes in front of him.
Rather than completely undo the mess that was Ace's oversized belt, Marco simply loosened the buckle a few notches and let gravity go to work. Ace's baggy shorts slid off of him like water, the other stepping out of them and kicking the trivial fabric aside.
Marco felt Ace's arousal firsthand against his own. He let his hands stray down to cup Ace's buttocks, kneading the firm muscles there in his palms before experimentally parting the two fleshy globes from one another. With an impossibly low groan, Ace could only grip Marco's shoulders to keep himself from falling over as he acknowledged that Marco obviously had experienced hands that knew how to touch him in the best possible way.
Ace found himself being first picked up and then lowered onto the rocky ground, the firm and obstinate earth creating dents in his back. Marco's tongue left his lips aching, trailing fervent kisses downward. He spent ample time caressing not just pert nipples but the masculine ridges along Ace's muscular chest, tongue delving into every crease on Ace's body.
With astonishing alertness to the situation, Ace realized he didn't want foreplay, at least not tonight. He pushed against Marco's forehead, pushing him down further until blue flames licked appreciatively at his excited member. Marco eagerly licked at the engorged head, delighted that such a hot entity could be leaking wet fluids so freely.
Ace moaned loudly as Marco began to work him over frantically, throwing the back of his hand over his mouth to try and keep the embarrassingly weak and all too feminine cries from coming out. He wasn't allowed to keep his hand there for long, as Marco caught on to what he was doing and snatched the offending limb away, pinning it to Ace's side. Marco gave him a look of absolute rapture that stated he wouldn't think less of him for behaving like an animal in heat.
Especially when that was just what Marco himself felt like.
Marco continued to bring Ace painfully close to his release, stroking his balls fondly and bobbing along his veined length. Just as Ace began sputtering about his inevitable climax Marco pulled away only to wet two of his fingers to hurriedly insert them into Ace's entrance. They slid inside easily, moving past the ring of muscles that had become relaxed with the help of Marco's ministrations on his erection.
Face contorting over the pain of Marco not allowing him to let go, Ace whimpered faintly. With his fiery abilities he hardly felt the penetration in his asshole nor did he get much feeling out of Marco's fingers thrusting in and out rhythmically. He needed something bigger than fingers, even if they were deft and had found his sweet spot, eliciting from him delighted groans. Through heavily lidded eyes that saw nothing but blue and red fire mixing to make a bright violet hue Ace managed to ground out, "M-Marco. Just do it. I don't need this."
Marco's eyes narrowed more than usual to showcase his worry and Ace chuckled a bit, the sound high-pitched as he was caught up in an inferno of his own making. "I'm fire, remember? I'm my own lubricant."
Considering this for a brief instant, Marco grabbed hold of his own erection with fingers that were removed from Ace's body. He trusted Ace's judgement and positioned himself quickly, running his own dripping tip down the cleft of Ace's buttocks until locating his opening.
He pressed in, just as hard and unyielding as the rocks that dug into his knees. Eventually Ace caved with a little groan and Marco fully sheathed himself inside his own personal burning firestorm, a cheeky grin making its way to his face. He looked down at Ace and found that his grin was matched, although there was more lust than playfulness in that smile.
Deciding that he would be unable to last too long embraced by the walls of Ace's fire, Marco began to thrust so as not to waste precious time. At first Ace grunted as Marco's balls slapped at him but soon such rough sounds filtered out to be replaced by delighted cries and moans torn from his throat as Marco picked up his pace. Ace rocked up against him with each rhythmic thrust, pressing his chest to Marco's to try and get as close as he could to the one delivering his gratification. Sensing Ace's primal need for closeness, the older man lurched forward, grabbing Ace's shoulder with his teeth.
Feral as a wild beast, Marco bit down on Ace's hot skin, coaxing the fire out from inside his pores to scorch his mouth. Ace cried out as any control on his Devil Fruit abilities became void. He was completely gone, flames lapping over Marco's entire body and devouring much of their surroundings in an uncontrollable wildfire.
Marco pulled back for air, panting, "You like that?"
Wordlessly Ace nodded, not trusting himself to speak coherently.
Marco let his fingertips brush over Ace's knees, which hung over his shoulders, before resettling himself. This time he took Ace's lips hungrily and continued to supply Ace with reasons to make delicious noises, grinding his upper body against Ace's chest as he resumed pounding into him.
It didn't take long for the emotions to boil over, not with Marco's swift and sure drive.
Ace came first, mouth opened wide in a silent scream, shooting a thick white rope between their stomachs. His body locked in place and Marco found himself unable to move until the last of Ace's convulsions rocked through his core, then he finished himself off inside Ace with a mere three strokes. Marco slumped over on Ace's broad chest; both men taking ample time to catch their breath.
Marco didn't pull out, instead opting for moving Ace's legs so they wrapped around his back. Judging by the contentment he found on Ace's face it was fine by him that they would stay connected, sharing the afterglow of what had just transpired.
To Marco, this was the rebirth that his usual fire bathing could never hope to achieve. He knew he'd never go back to being alone to freshen up. And, judging by the way Ace grinned up at him with a quirkiness only he possessed, Marco could tell that Ace felt the same way.
Marco considered himself a very, very lucky blue bird.
Amongst all of these pleasant thoughts came a sudden realization as he caught sight of their surroundings. The night was oddly bright yet the stars were out of sight. "Shit," Marco abruptly grunted.
"What?" Ace asked sleepily, nuzzling his face against Marco's strong chest. He'd taken a lot out of him.
"The entire island's on fire."
"So?" Ace questioned again, somewhat irritable at being disturbed when he was trying to savour this moment they shared together. Ace was not grasping the significance of Marco's words.
Marco had to spell it out for him.
"Everyone's going to come and investigate. And our clothes are all burnt up."
A.N.: We have reached the inevitable conclusion! Thank you to everyone who reviewed and pulled me along this far – I really appreciate it! Hopefully if you liked this story you'll leave me with a word of farewell! Haha~!