S. trifasciata (or The Cure for a Black Thumb)

Note: This takes place about a month after the conclusion of Back to School, Ring the Bell, but contains no spoilers.


Seb wiggled to get out of my arms. Assuming he was embarrassed by being held for so long on the sidewalk, with other mids passing us by to start their own liberty, I hugged him tighter. I don’t like him worrying about what people think of us. Plus, it usually makes him squirm against me more, which is not unpleasant.

He huffed. “Z, I just need to get your gift from the car.”

“Gift?” I let go immediately. “What’d you bring me?”

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Rub-a-Dub-Dub (Two Guys in a Tub)

Note: Takes place between You Are the Moon That Pulls Me Through the Night and The Rousing Effects of Coffee.


Zain had brought it out after dinner and set it on the coffee table in front of Seb. It was covered in pink wrapping paper with red doodles of hearts being pierced by arrows. A black ribbon tied around it held the tag in place on top. LUSH, the tag read, and SEXY FUN TIMES over another heart. Seb took one look and said, “But I didn’t get you anything!”

“You made dinner,” Zain said. “Also, this is a gift for both of us, and also also, your birthday is in four days, so consider this your pre-birthday present, and finally also, quit arguing and open it because I’m really excited to use it.” He was practically bouncing.

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Driven From Distraction

Note: Takes place about a week after Pride and Panic, when Seb and Zain have gone to Hawaii for leave. More-than-usually NSFW.


Trembles ran through my legs and arms. Carefully, I turned off the water pouring over my head and stepped out of the shower, into the chilly bathroom. A quietness filled it, broken only by drips falling off me to the floor, like icicles melting. I shivered. Merde, what have I done?

My drying-off was perfunctory at best. Rivulets of water still ran from my hair down my neck and bare torso as I wrapped the towel around my waist. Then I padded out to find Zain.

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The Early Bird Special

Note: Takes place between Ceci n’est pas une Pipe and You Are the Moon That Pulls Me Through the Night.


Searching for Seb when I get home is a well-practiced ritual, yet sometimes it surprises even me where I find him. Or what I find him doing.

One day, a few months after the move to Hawaii, I walked up behind him in the back yard, frowning. Stacks and stacks of small, round paper cartons surrounded where he crouched at the edge of a raised plant bed that was mostly dirt. He was studying it intensely enough to not notice me. As I watched, he picked up one of the cartons from the top of a stack, removed the lid, carefully shook out more dirt on top of the other dirt, and then spread it ever so gently around. It kind of… wiggled.

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Unmellow Yellow

Note: Takes place right after they first move to Hawaii.


Seb

My eyes were on Zain, not the house, as we pulled into the driveway. I’d sent him pictures, of course, but this was the first time he was seeing it in person. It fell on me to go house-hunting with my parents while he was deployed. I’d had only my gut instinct of his tastes to guide me.

He turned off the Jeep’s engine and sat back in his seat, taking in our new home. I couldn’t judge his expression.

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You Are the Moon That Pulls Me Through the Night

Note: Takes place between Ceci n’est pas une Pipe and The Rousing Effects of Coffee. Title is from a Phillip Phillips song (of course….) called Tell Me a Story.


The meter says I’m fine. I woke up in time, tested, ate the recommended amount of carbs to correct the low, and tested again. Everything textbook, just like the doctors want. Then why can’t I fall asleep now?

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A Dying Man’s Last Wish

Note: Takes place between The Rousing Effects of Coffee and When You Fall Like a Statue.


“Babe? …Baaaabbe? …BABE!”

“Zain, oh my gods, what now??” Seb asked, storming in from his studio with paint on his chin.

Zain sniffled. He tried to make it sound extra-pathetic. Then he nodded at the remote lying on the coffee table, three feet away. “Can you give me that, please?”

Seb blinked at him in disbelief.

“I’d do it myself,” explained Zain, “except I’m dying, so.”

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