Fandom: Deltora Quest
Pairing: Doom x Dain
A/N: I actually really, really don't like this pairing. True story. This was requested by my good friend Hija who draws me pretty pretty fanart. I would never have written this of my own volition but, well, there you are.
Warnings: age gaps.

"A relationship between two species of organisms in which the individuals of one species adversely affect those of the other and are unaffected themselves."

As the cold, cold hand fastens around his throat, Doom's vision whites out and all he can see is the boy he thought as sweet and fragile as spun sugar—

When Dain leans against him at the campfire he stares down at him blankly and the boy stares back, with a soft smile and big, dark eyes. He's about eleven and for once he looks it in spite of what horrors he's witnessed. Dain is an odd creature. There is wildness about him, though he never acts out or raises his voice; an age and weight to him that is just plain unusual for a boy his age. Or perhaps, more likely, it is the fact that Doom has grown too used to keeping others effortlessly at arm's length. Dain simply doesn't seem to fear him. As Dain nestles closer, Doom feels a tug in his chest and half-remembers something (a gentle embrace, a warm, slight weight in his arms) before it fades out of his mind again.

It was a long walk back to the mountain hideout, and after a few hours of talking with the other Resistance members the boy is so exhausted that he can barely keep his eyes open. His weight is sinking to the floor so slowly that Doom scarcely notices until the boy finally lies down on his side, tucking his head down against the man's thigh to sleep. It's an intimate gesture which sends unfamiliar heat into his cheeks. Jinks snorts and Doom shoots him a glare.

"Is there a problem?" he asks venomously, and the acrobat pretends to choke on his bread to avoid any further confrontation.

Dain is worse when they're alone, in that he knows Doom will allow him closer. Perhaps it's that he lost his parents so young, and was isolated for so much of his childhood. Is that why he seems to crave affection? In that case, why can't Doom take it for what it is without twisting it further?

He isn't a child any more, that much is clear. His limbs are growing long and slender and his voice is still soft, but deeper and clearer (his face, strangely, says the same; smooth and almost effeminate, with large eyes and heavy lashes). With adolescence comes a range of concepts Doom isn't sure he wants to go into with Dain. Funnily enough, though, Dain never says a word about intimacy; he just cluelessly encourages it, lying with his knees up and his legs apart when they talk by the fire, cheek rested infuriatingly on his inner thigh.

One night when Dain falls asleep with his back pressed to Doom's chest, the older man wraps an arm over him and leans his face against his neck amidst his soft, dark hair. He doesn't initiate. He doesn't touch him, even though he aches to. He just breathes and tries to filter past the lingering scents of pine needles and smoke from the campfire to find something that is Dain and Dain only. Then the boy stirs and wriggles back against him just so, and he rolls him away by his shoulder, standing up and moving away.

He's part of a higher cause now. He can't want anything any more. Even if he could, Dain seems too fragile a thing for him to take for himself. The only thing worse than resisting continual temptation is giving way to it and having the object of one's desires crumble into dust.

—and it's perhaps now that he's glad, because as much as Dain knew about him, as much as his fondness for the boy (the monster) blinded him, he never quite gave him everything.

(So why, wonders Doom as he fades from consciousness, does it feel like he's taken it all anyway?)