Author's Note: It just needed to be written. Sometimes plot bunnies are harmless and fluffy and simply sit there twitching their cute little noses until you write the story. Sometimes they contract rabies, take a flying leap off your desk, and imbed their surprisingly sharp little fangs into your flesh. This was of the latter variety. (A word to the wise: you really, REALLY, REALLY don't want to see a rabid dragon. It's not good for your health, y'know.)

Warnings: My Karril-muse was a little frisky, and you know what that means. Slash, an Iezu's very inappropriate sense of humor, and one seriously pissed-off loremaster.

A.N.2: I don't really know how to categorize this. It starts with unabashed crack humor, then devolves into some weird half-humor half-sarcasm thing that I can't even find a definition for. There's a bit of smut, and some more bizarre stuff, then it slowly recovers and edges back into humor. Then it goes all weird and angsty (my Damien-muse was feeling a little under the weather) then it gets so fluffy you could choke on it, with a last little hit of humor at the end. One of my odder pieces, definitely.

A.N.3: Number five turned into a bit of a songfic, strangely enough. Oh well. Song drabble, maybe? Eh, who cares. I think it turned out quite well.

Five Times Damien "Accidentally" Kissed Gerald Tarrant -

#1: Near-Death Experience

When the roof of the tunnel caved in on top of him, Damien was pretty certain that was the end of that. Not many people survived an earthquake and a cave-in rolled into one nice tidy disaster. So when Damien found himself facing a rather bright light and a face from his dreams, it was rather logical to jump to the conclusion that the being in front of him was an angel.

"Can you walk?" the angel asked, shoving a fallen support beam out of the way.

Damien shook off the haze and staggered to his feet. The 'angel' was in fact Gerald Tarrant: so much for that theory. Less of an angel, more of a mind-meltingly hot demon prince. Quickly shaking off that line of thought, Damien gingerly took a few steps.

"Seems like it."

At that precise moment another tremor heaved through the ground, throwing them both against the wall, hard enough to rattle their skulls. Somehow, in reaching out to steady him, Damien wound up with the adept in his arms - and their lips touching in what, if he hadn't known better, he might have termed a kiss.

For just a heartbeat they were frozen like that, their lips pressed together, the sensation sinking into them - then Gerald seemed to regain his wits and wrenched himself backward so fast he almost tripped, his face a mask of shock as he braced himself against the tunnel wall, his grey eyes wide. His normally smooth voice was rough with shock.

"How hard did you hit your head?"

#2: Sleep Deprived

The second time Damien kissed Gerald was on board the Golden Glory. He figured it had to be some kind of bizarre reverse-engineered survival instinct, because there was no way in hell that the urge made sense any other way. Either that, or he was actually turning suicidal.

After the first incident, they had firmly established that it had been only an accident, nothing more. Not anything to dwell on. Certainly nothing to lie awake at night, brooding over... no, nothing like that at all.

This time, Damien had just suffered through a nine-hour nightmare-a-thon. Couple that with the fact that they were passing through a patch of very rough weather, and it was fairly obvious that he was sorely in need of a good night's sleep.

He was on deck with Gerald, arguing, when a particularly rough wave struck the ship. The force of it sent even the cat-footed Neocount reeling. Instinctively, Damien caught the other man and pulled him against his own sturdier frame - and as Gerald twisted against his hold, their lips met for the second time.

This time, Damien wasn't in danger of imminent death. This time, he could appreciate the fact that kissing Gerald Tarrant was absolute bliss.

The Hunter's lips were ice cold but oh so soft and sweet, and they burned like fire against his own. Gerald's lean body was surprisingly pliant in his arms, lithe and unresisting. As if in a dream their mouths moved together in perfect harmony, sweet and passionate - then another wave rocked the ship, and they were jolted harshly back into reality.

Damien all but flung the Hunter away from him, his face going crimson. What the hell was wrong with him? He wasn't even bisexual, for God's sake. He was perfectly straight, and there was absolutely no reason that kissing Gerald Tarrant should have felt so good.

They stared at each other warily for a minute, then Gerald straightened his collar. "Clearly, I need to reduce the nightmares for a while." he said, his tone cold and acerbic. "Lack of sleep appears to have addled your mind." With that, he whirled and vanished belowdecks, leaving one very confused priest behind.

#3: Live To Fight Another Day

The third time, Damien was a touch more in possession of his faculties, but not by much. Having escaped death by a hairsbreadth when Gerald triggered the landslide to cut off their pursuers, he was so high on adrenalin that he got reckless. Dragging the Hunter forcibly back onto the ledge, he pulled him up onto safe ground - and right into a kiss.

It was a lot harder this time: harder, and more passionate. Their mouths were open, devouring: their tongues slid together fiercely, dueling for dominance. Gerald's fingers dug into Damien's biceps, clutching almost painfully. In return, his hands closed about the Hunter's slim waist, pressing them forcefully together. Gerald's tongue was searingly cold and the sweetness of his mouth was undercut with the sharp edge of blood, but Damien couldn't stop himself from drowning in that kiss.

Damien found himself pinning Gerald against the hard rock, using the advantage of his size to hold the lithe adept. The Hunter was twisting in his embrace, but it was clear he wasn't really trying to get away: he could easily have used coldfire or some other fae-power to kill Damien in a heartbeat. The priest slid his hands down the sleekly muscular arms and caught hold of slender wrists, pinning Gerald entirely as he ravaged the adept's mouth. Gerald moaned low in his throat, arching up against him, practically daring him to continue.

Damien probably would have if another tremor hadn't chosen that moment to literally shake some sense into him. He wrenched away, panting, shaking from head to foot. What the hell had he been thinking?

Gerald's grey eyes snapped open, the haze of desire lifting - and being replaced with cold fury when he saw the look on Damien's face. Winding his slender fingers into Damien's collar he yanked the priest close and snarled, "Touch me again and your head will be parting company from your shoulders, is that clear?"

Without waiting for an answer Gerald released him and stalked away along the ledge, looking for a good place to climb. Damien stood frozen for a moment, stunned. What the hell was going on? He hadn't meant to kiss the adept, of course, but it had certainly seemed as if Gerald was enjoying himself. At least, if the way he'd been moaning and writhing against Damien was any indication.

His adrenalin high was fading, though, and he felt suddenly exhausted. Shrugging mentally, he followed Gerald. After all, the kiss had only been an accident: he had no intentions of it happening ever again.

#4: When I Wake Up, Vryce, You're Dead

The fourth time, only a quirk of fate kept Damien from serious bodily harm.

Gerald had sacrificed himself to destroy Calesta, but the Iezu mothership had brought him back. Somehow, the brief period of death had severed his bond to the Unnamed: his powers seemed to draw directly on the dark fae itself now, rather than being mediated through the Unnamed. This was the furthest thing from Damien's mind, though, when he raced forward to catch the Hunter and hold the swaying adept upright.

Gerald all but collapsed against him, his silver eyes glazed with exhaustion and the lingering exhileration of such a powerful Working. In that moment, with his defenses down and still glowing with his triumph, Gerald looked more beautiful than anything Damien had ever seen before. His rational mind shut down, leaving only his instincts.

Throwing caution to the winds Damien kissed the adept again. Once more, he felt the other man respond. The kiss was slow and sensual, both of them too tired and too relieved to manage anything harsher. They lingered thus, breathing each other's breaths, lips just brushing: it felt insanely right, but all too soon Damien remembered his previous resolutions. No. I'm straight, I don't want this, he's just trying to manipulate me...

Gerald's mouth slipped from his, and the golden head fell against Damien's shoulder. He could feel the adept's cold breath on his skin, and heard Gerald's slightly slurred whisper.

"When I regain consciousness, Vryce, you are dead." he murmured, exhaustion rendering his voice soft and almost tender, then he promptly passed out in Damien's arms.

#5: When You Wake Up, Vryce, You're Dead

The fifth time, it really wasn't Damien fault.

When they returned to Jaggonath, Karril insisted on putting them all up in the guest wing of his temple while he organized a lavish victory celebration. Damien had been avoiding Gerald on the trip back: though the Hunter graciously hadn't pressed the issue once he woke up, Damien wasn't going to push his luck. It would have been inexcusably rude not to attend a celebration in their own honor, though, so both Damien and Gerald would be at the dance. Little did they know the mischief that the Iezu of Pleasure had planned.

Word of the threat posed by Calesta had leaked out during Gerald and Damien's desperate race to stop him, and the entire population of Jaggonath was celebrating his defeat. Quite a lot of them turned up at the Temple of Pleasure for the party. After their race against death, the chance to relax and unwind was a welcome one to the party of adventurers.

Damien continued to avoid Gerald as much as possible: he hadn't even seen the adept since the start of the party. Instead he'd been drinking like a fish and dancing with any woman that offered, in a vain attempt to wash away the image of tousled golden hair and silver eyes lidded with desire. So far, his efforts were proving entirely futile.

Ditching his latest partner, a brunette with an impressive figure and entirely too little clothing, Damien snagged another drink and downed half of it in one go. Ciani melted out of the crowd and joined him. She was beaming, her hair loose from its clasps and tumbling down over her shoulders, giving her a disheveled and untamed look. She smiled coyly at him, clearly well into her cups. "Hey, Damien! Enjoying the party so far?"

"Not bad." Damien admitted, grinning in spite of himself. Something about the alcohol was making him feel remarkably relaxed and a little light-headed, like he was floating. It was a very pleasant sensation.

He glanced around - and felt his jaw drop. Nearby, Gerald Tarrant was currently dancing with three women at once. They were all dark-haired and stunningly beautiful, and quite blatantly enchanted by the fair-haired adept's silken charms. It wasn't the fact that Gerald had attracted such an entourage that startled Damien, though. It was the way the Hunter was dancing.

Damien had thought that Gerald would be out of his depth at this party. He had once been the Neocount of Merentha, so he would be used to ballroom dancing, but that was hardly the style here. Clearly, though, Damien had once again underestimated the adept.

Gerald moved with the feral grace of a panther, sleek and swift and wrapped in an aura of omnipresent danger. His flaxen hair, normally caught back in a gold clasp, was loose: it tumbled down over his shoulders like woven silk, a few strands of gold falling rakishly over his eyes. His natural grace served him very well indeed on the dance floor: he seemed to flow through the air, his motions perfectly matching the pulsating beat of the music. He danced with total abandon, and the sheer sensuality of his movements made Damien's mouth go dry and his heart start pounding. Seeing the girls pressed in around him though, cooing with delight and practically pawing at him in lust, sent a razor of jealously plunging into Damien's chest. In a single swift movement he downed the remainder of his drink in one swallow and tossed the goblet, muttered some excuse to Ciani and set out through the crowd toward Gerald.

The song was just winding down as Damien pushed his way through the throng and tapped Gerald lightly on the shoulder. "Mind if I cut in?"

The adept turned, and a wicked smile lit up his face even as the girls shot Damien pouting looks. "Think you can keep up, Reverend?" Gerald purred tauntingly, moving closer to Damien, the look in his silver eyes one of total recklessness. Damien smirked, resting his hands boldly on the Hunter's waist.

"Try me."

A new song was beginning, a swift, dark-toned melody that wrapped around them like a dark cloak. Gerald was smiling wickedly as he moved closer, practically molding himself to Damien as they moved in time to the music, bodies brushing tantalizingly as he breathed, "I had no idea that you were so reckless, Vryce."

The only hope in this endless night

Is to follow you through

Through the shadows of the deepest blue,

Away from the light

I hear your voice is calling me: "Don't be afraid"

But there's something deep inside of me

Forcing me to turn away

Damien grinned, trailing his hands down to Gerald's hips and drawing them even closer as he said with a hint of a growl in his voice, "I had no idea you were such a good dancer, Gerald."

Take my hand, don't turn away,

I need you to stay

I know a place where the light and the dark

Can become as one

This loneliness is killing me

Is there a place we both can live?

Gerald laughed softly, leaning forward to murmur in Damien's ear, his lips just brushing the priest's sweat-slicked skin. "Perhaps neither of us know the other as well as we thought."

You're the dancer in the dark

You're the child of the light

You're the sinner of all time

You're the saint with wings so white

You're the distant shape in the night

You're all the innocence left alive

You're like tainted sun

You're the star shining bright

Damien's heart was beating far too fast to be accounted for by the dancing alone. Having Gerald so close yet still just out of reach, writhing against him yet tantalizingly aloof, never quite touching, never quite allowing that contact...

Damn it all to hell, ran through Damien's alcohol-addled mind. There was something more at work as well, something that was making him dizzy and short of breath and had produced that strange light-headed feeling, but he was too drunk to notice. He was also too drunk to know what a tremendously bad idea it was to lean forward and catch Gerald's mouth in a searing kiss.

You're the dancer in the dark

You're the child of the light

You're the sinner of all time

You're the saint with wings so white

You're the distant shape in the night

You're all the innocence left alive

You're like tainted sun

You're the star shining bright...

Gerald returned the kiss with equal passion. They were forced to part for air, already short of breath from dancing, but this time they swooped back together, eager for more. Gerald's silver eyes were blazing with a mixture of hunger and something far more emotional as they kissed fiercely, eagerly, their passion only heightened by the edge of danger in what they were doing.

Then something in the lust-induced fog in Damien's mind cleared, and realization crashed over him like an icy wave. He was kissing Gerald. Again. Shit.

He pulled back, fear washing through him as reason fought with emotion. "Damn. Gerald - we shouldn't-"

Gerald stiffened in his arms, something cold creeping into his pale eyes, but Damien never received the full force of his wrath. At that moment a tremendous wave of dizziness washed over him, and he staggered. He was distantly aware of Gerald's voice, concerned, then darkness claimed him.

And One Time He Planned To: a.k.a., The Morning After

Damien woke up in his own bed with a throbbing head, a churning stomach, and the distinct sensation that he'd fucked up yet again.

He lay there for a moment, wondering what had happened this time. The night before swam back into his mind in fragments: the party, drinking, dancing, more drinking, dragging Gerald out into the throng for more dancing... and the kiss. Ye Gods, the Kiss.

Damien sat bolt upright in bed and mentally dove for the fae. Sure enough, he found traces of some sort of herbal concoction in his bloodstream. "Goddamn Iezu spiked my drink!" he swore, dragging himself out of bed and stumbling to the connecting bathroom.

Having purged his system of the remaining drugs through a mixture of Working and the simple expedient of puking his guts out, Damien took a precious moment to think. Really think. This made a grand total of five times that he'd kissed Gerald, supposedly by accident. That was a hell of a lot of accidents. His ironclad denial crumbling rapidly under the weight of overwhelming evidence, Damien finally faced up to the truth.

He kept kissing Gerald 'in the heat of the moment' because deep down, he really wanted to kiss Gerald. And do a whole lot more to the golden-haired adept. Over and over again. But there was more to it than that: what had started as a simple physical lust had grown into something far more complex over the course of their journey. Damien wasn't sure yet just what to call it, but he definitely wanted to find out.

His previous method of experimentation wasn't fair to Gerald, though. He dimly remembered a sight from last night, viewed through a haze of alcohol: Gerald's lovely silver eyes, bright with hope, then dimming with disappointment and hurt. At last, Damien realized what he should have seen all along: Gerald's strange reactions weren't due to an ambivalence of emotion. He was trying to protect himself, for fear of getting hurt - because for him, as well as for Damien, this had moved beyond mere lust and into a far more dangerous realm. Damien didn't ever want to see that look of suffering on Gerald's face again, and he sure as Hell didn't want to be the cause of it. It was high time he set things right.

He managed to piece himself back together somewhat and set out for Gerald's room. He was waylaid only feet from his own door, however, when Ciani appeared out of nowhere and blocked his path, hands on her hips and emerald eyes flashing angrily.

"Ah, morning, Cee." he said, smiling unconvincingly.

The loremaster's voice lashed like a whipcrack. "What exactly was that little scene last night all about?"

"What scene would that be?" Damien asked cautiously. Ciani glared daggers.

"The scene when you kissed Gerald Tarrant? How about that scene?"

"Ah, that one." Damien said, wincing. Oh well, better to bite the bullet now than to have to deal with this later. "Look, Cee, I've been meaning to tell you for a while - this thing between you and me, I don't think it's really working out-"

"Nice." Ciani cut him off, eyes narrowing. "Now you tell me. Have you been meaning to tell me about this since you left the rakhlands? Because I'm pretty sure that's how long this has been going on." Seeing him open his mouth, she shook her head. "Never mind, don't bother. I don't want to know. Just sort out this mess, will you?"

"Definitely." Damien said fervently, dodging the angry loremaster and fleeing toward Gerald's room. This was not a promising start to the morning.

Reaching the adept's chamber, Damien paused long enough to catch his breath and straighten his thoughts before he knocked. There was a pause, then Gerald opened the door. He was impeccably groomed, as always, but there was a slight shadow in his pale eyes that Damien hadn't seen before.

"Reverend." His voice was cold, distant, reserved. "I underestimated your metabolism. I thought it would be at least two hours before you were on your feet again."

The chill in Gerald's voice was worse than all the rest combined. He sounded just as distant as he had when they first started traveling together, when they were still enemies, not even allies. Damien swallowed hard and tried to steady his nerves.

"Gerald... we need to talk. Can I come in? Please?"

The adept's marble-cold expression softened just slightly, and he stepped back silently. Damien waited until the adept had closed the door and turned to face him again before mustering his courage and forcing himself to speak.

"First, I wanted to apologize for last night. I don't know if you talked to him, but... Karril spiked my drink. I had to Cleanse the last of it out of my system when I woke up. Some kind of herbal cocktail."

Gerald's silver eyes widened, and a strange emotion Damien couldn't place flitted across his face. "I... was not aware of that." His shoulders slumped ever so slightly, and he turned away. "I ought to know not to jump to conclusions by now..."

Damien sighed, feeling a pang of guilt shoot through him as he reached out hesitantly. "Gerald." The adept flinched when Damien touched his arm, but he didn't pull away, for which Damien was deeply grateful. "Look, I know I've been a total idiot about this all along, but I think it's time I faced the facts. This stuff that keeps happening between us... it's not just coincidence, and it's not just accidents."

Gerald spun around in a whirl of dark silk, staring at Damien in outright shock. His stoic mask dropped, and for once Damien could clearly see the emotion on his face: reluctant hope, fear, and a desperate longing that burned into the priest and left him breathless.

"What exactly are you saying?" Gerald asked softly, searching Damien's hazel eyes for an answer to the question he couldn't bear to voice.

Damien felt relief wash through him. He hadn't been wrong in his guess about Gerald's emotions after all. Gently he lifted his hand to the adept's neck and pulled Gerald closer, until they were almost touching.

"Just this." he whispered, then kissed Gerald gently on the lips.

It was radically different from the kisses they had shared in the past. The fiery, urgent passion had been banked into something much deeper and even warmer, something that Damien had never felt before in his life. Instinctively he reached out and drew Gerald into his arms, relishing the coolness of the adept's body against his own. Gerald sighed softly into his mouth, a noise of pure contentment that made Damien's heart not only flutter, but turn over entirely. They held the kiss for a long moment before they slowly drew apart, staring into each other's eyes. Damien smiled.

"Still planning on killing me?"

Gerald matched his smile, a wicked gleam dawning in his quicksilver eyes. "I'll keep it in mind." he purred, tugging Damien across the room toward the bed. The priest had no intention of resisting.

Down in the common room, Karril cackled aloud and turned to Hesseth. "Pay up, khrast, I win."

Hesseth forked over the agreed-upon amount, shaking her head. "I should have known better. Humans are far too unpredictable."

...

...

Heh heh, I should know better too. Yet, much like dear Hesseth, I don't. The song is Dancer in the Dark, by For My Pain.