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06 September 2013 @ 06:24 am
FIC: Dinner Date  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Dinner Date
Part: 1/1
Rating: PG
Configuration: Bobby/Vian
Warnings: /
Word Count: 6.600
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Bobby, Vian
Summary: Reluctantly, Bobby has agreed to a date with Vian, hoping the young Dracon will be the generous sugar daddy Bobby so desperately needs...
Feedback: Yes, please!

Nervously, Bobby walked up and down the narrow alley between the garbage containers of his housing estate. He had been so very sure this was a good idea, so convinced it was better than all his options, it had just seemed the next logical step.

Only now, it felt like a perfect way to get neck-deep into trouble.

For what seemed to him like the hundredth time, he checked his watch. Still a few minutes early. Why was time always creeping so slowly when one was waiting for something to happen?

With a tiny, angry sound, Bobby opened his pack of cigarettes and lit himself yet another one. This was his third one since he had walked outside, quite a lot considering that he had been pacing up and down for less than ten minutes now, and proper cigarettes were damnably expensive. But on the other hand, this WAS a situation to be nervous about, and waste a little bit of money on. After all, he was maybe meeting up with the man who’d pay his rent for the rest of his life, or at least the next few years coming. Or he might end up in slavery, just like Wayne, he reminded himself grimly.

It still beat working at the factory by a long mile, Bobby told himself with a deep, bone-weary sigh.

It all had started on that fateful day when the recruiter of the stockfish factory had come to their school, extolling the virtues of company life, of a regular work schedule and health- and retirement plans. Quite to his own surprise, it had been even worse than Bobby had imagined. When the recruiter had come to the point that he started scaring the other kids with tales of misery and homelessness in case they didn’t immediately see the wisdom of working at the factory, Bobby had finally snapped.
He couldn’t recall the exact words, but he had been rather graphic in his expletives, and quite frank in his opinion about the recruiter, the factory or the life of commoners in Bellingham in general. Naturally, the recruiter had used this as an opportunity to show the other kids someone who would NEVER make it in his glorious enterprise, because doing so required manners and a modicum of good breeding, neither of which Bobby obviously possessed.

To make a long story short, Bobby had turned his back on the recruiter in mid-sentence, leaving the class and slamming the door shut so hard the small inset glass window fell out and shattered on the gray linoleum floor.

If he had ever had a remote trace of a chance to find a job at the factory, now he had blown it in the most flamboyant way possible.

He could almost feel his teacher and the recruiter share a long, ‘This one was no good from the beginning’ look between the two of them. Bobby had been so angry he could have thrown up.

But he hadn’t, and instead had sneaked into his mother’s bedroom and stole her last bottle of vodka out from under her. Then he had slunk down to the garbage cans, smoked a few, drank most of the vodka and felt miserable for himself.

It was then that he found the small business card in the backpocket of his jeans. It was a plain simple card, empty except for a local free-call number, and a four-letter word: Vian.

Vian Dracon, son of Phoenix Knight Yaden Dracon. One of the most powerful telekinetics known to humanity; a half-alien poised to become a Phoenix Knight as soon as he was old enough.

And a dastardly cute guy who had flirted so shamelessly with him that Bobby still felt a nervous tingle every time he thought about it. He wouldn’t exactly dare to call it butterflies, but the image was awfully close. Way too close for his liking.

But whatever sort of insects he was feeling in his belly, Bobby was sure of two things: Vian was a noble and consequentially rich as shit, and he wasn’t as creepy evil as most nobles. Not that Bobby knew any of the highborn, but still. Vian seemed nice.

So maybe Bobby would never be a super-talented stockfish fileter, or a respected quality controller, but he still was damn pretty himself. If nothing else, he’d make a gorgeous companion to some rotten-rich noble, and if that meant sex, in the case of Vian Dracon that was a definite plus. Who could resist a guy with two tails, anyway? If getting a grip on his life meant getting a sugar daddy, Vian definitely seemed as good as they could possibly come.

In the end, Bobby had poured down the remaining vodka right there on one of the garbage containers and called the number on the business card. Almost instantly, a woman had picked up on the other end, who had very politely asked him to wait for a moment while she re-routed the call to Squire Vian.

When Vian picked up the call only seconds later, Bobby had initially assumed that Vian was on Espen. But of course, he was on P2, currently, and only the call was being re-routed through some sort of psionic portal so they could have a near instantaneous interstellar communication. This blatant display of wealth only reconfirmed Bobby’s conviction that there had to be some nice way of making money here.

Vian himself had been pleasantly surprised by Bobby’s call, and after a short while had agreed to a date later this week. He’d choose a place for dinner, and he’d pick up Bobby at seven in front of his home.

Which would be today, in about one minute less since he checked his watch the last time.

Bobby looked at the remains of the cigarette in his hand, exasperated. How could time move to fast in one regard and so slow in another?

But at least now, it was late enough so he could walk out from between the containers and to the front entrance, with as little chance of meeting anyone he knew as possible. He really wasn’t in the mood to have anyone comment on his current outfit.

Not that he was dressed much different to usual, with his skintight dark jeans, an equally tight sleeveless green shirt with a high collar and long earrings. But he looked quite posh for a weekday afternoon, and quite skimpy considering the faint drizzle that was buffed through the street by strong gusts of wind.

But Vian had asked him to dress for warm weather, and who was he not to do exactly what his future sugar daddy wanted of him? So, warm weather clothes it was. Though by now, Bobby would have killed to have thought about bringing at least some sort of sweater.

Bobby was just thinking about lighting another cigarette when he heard a weird, soft sound from the house’s front door. Turning around, he found Vian standing there, who currently seemed more startled by the miserable weather than anything else.

The powerful psion and Phoenix Knight-to-be gave the cutest annoyed yelp and flipped up the hood of his black sweatshirt, forcing his cat-like ears to point straight forward underneath. Only then he noticed he wasn't alone, and smiled at Bobby, his canines showing.

“Hi,” he grimaced at the weather, then appreciatively started looking Bobby up and down. “How can you look so gorgeous despite this... rain?”

The remark was so guileless that Bobby couldn’t help but smile in reply. “Habit, I guess. It’s not particularly bad weather for this place.”

Vian shook himself in a gesture of pure disgust. “Rain that’s not falling straight down is making my skin crawl. Or better, my fur. It’s making me twitchy all over. Are you ready?”

“I’ve just been waiting for you.” Bobby replied. “Ready what for?”

“To go somewhere properly nice for a date,” Vian said with a wriggled eyebrow and a smile that showed off his long canines again. “Are you ready for port?”

Again, Bobby had to suppress a satisfied grin. If Vian was willing to spend a small fortune for a port to dinner, he was exactly the right person to support Bobby at least for a while.

“I’ve never been ported before,” Bobby replied. “Do I have to do anything special?”

“Nothing, just relax.” Gently, Vian took Bobby’s hand, still smiling.

With his slightly inhuman features looking out from under his hood, his large ears forcing the upper rim of the hood into a perfectly straight line, he looked almost frighteningly dashing, Bobby realized. This was a guy he wouldn’t mind staring at for quite a long time, noble or not.

All of a sudden, something tilted, slid over them, and then the sun was shining. The smell of rotting fish was replaced by the scent of warm rocks and flowers, the restless wind by a gentle breeze, and the crisp cool air by a balmy summer evening.

Blinking, Bobby looked around, not quite sure what to make of the lovely sunset that presented him over some sort of harbor. The whole sky was filled with red and pinks and purples and orange, a riot of color so very unlike the slate gray of Bellingham. Also unlike Bellingham, this port was filled with slender ships with white sails and surrounded by stately buildings in pastel colors and gently drooping palm trees.

“Oh. My. GOD.” Bobby whispered.

“Is everything alright?” Vian inquired immediately. “Are you okay?”

“What? No, this is WONDERFUL!” Struggling to find the words to express how fascinated and awed he was, Bobby looked at his companion. “Thank you.” he finally replied, and acting entirely on instinct, placed a tiny kiss on Vian’s cheek.

Visibly taken aback, Vian blinked, then his ears started struggling against the hood he was still wearing. With another slightly annoyed grunt, he swiped it off, holding down his ears with both his hands until the restless twitching subsided.

“Sorry,” he said, sounding mortified. “They sometimes do that.”

“It’s okay,” Bobby replied, positively charmed. “A bit weird, but very sweet.”

In reply, Vian seriously just shrugged and looked down on his hands. If Bobby hadn’t known better, he could have sworn he saw him blush. But it probably was just the light of the sunset.

"So, where are we?" Bobby asked, once again looking at the scenery with the clear intent of cherishing every single second of this. "Are we still on Espen?"

"Yes, we're just a few thousand miles south of Bellingham, in Port St. Anna. My sister was here during the 'Zombie Pirates of Espen', and she suggested the restaurant for tonight."

"Lady Myriam?" Bobby asked curiously. "I saw the movie, but I really don't remember a Phoenix Knight showing up - it's 'Captain Teagan and the Zombie Pirates of Espen', after all."

"Ah, well, you know,..." Vian started, his ears defensively pointing backwards. "I am not sure how much I can say without getting both of us in trouble. But it IS a beautiful restaurant."

With an apologetic smile, Vian gestured down the paved path they were standing on, leading further down towards the harbor. When he also offered his arm, Bobby nodded as graciously as he possibly could and followed him down towards the first buildings.

"So are you seriously telling me that the 'Zombie Pirates' have actually happened?" it burst out of Bobby after a few steps. "I mean - I thought it was all fabrication. Things like that don't happen here. We're on Espen, after all."

"Uh - " Vian replied with a pained grin, hesitating. "Can we leave it at 'it was a lot weirder in reality', please? I really don't want to get in trouble with the PR team again."

At this evasive and yet very honest answer, Bobby laughed out loud. Damn, this alien was charming.

"It's okay, I won't ask again." Still smiling, Bobby tossed his hair over one shoulder, a move that never failed to capture the attention of any vaguely interested male. "But those things in the movies in general - they do really happen?"

Vian nodded with an odd mix of glee and exhaustion. "It's usually much messier in reality, and way weirder. They have to tone it down for the movies so people still believe it."

"Really? That is kind of hard to believe."

"Exactly." Grinning, Vian suddenly stopped, the low sun setting glowing highlights onto the furry tips of his ears and the downy fuzz on his cheeks and upper arms. "So... How hungry are you? We could take the quick path to the restaurant, or take the scenic route and stroll through the harbor for a while."

Bobby realized he wasn't entirely sure what Vian had just asked him. The golden sunlight had caught in Vian's phoenix amulet that nestled on his furry chest, and it had taken a surprising amount of willpower not to reach out and feel the white fur it was resting on. There had been something about a 'scenic route', though, and whatever that entailed exactly, it was perfectly fine with Bobby tonight.

"Scenic route sounds lovely," he replied, hoping that Vian didn't notice how distracted he was. "I don't know - maybe we start with a small drink somewhere else before moving to the restaurant?"

For a heartbeat, Vian's ears pointed in two different directions, but he caught himself instantly.

"Sure, if you want to." Again offering his arm to Bobby, he added: "Everything that allows me to spend some more time in such gorgeous company."

"Flatterer," Bobby replied, smiling. "As if there isn't a whole busload of fans waiting to throw themselves at your feet where ever you turn up."

"Uh..." Vian sounded rather creeped out by the idea. "Well, not everywhere. And, you know, there's a good reason I try to stay as far away from them as I can."

"No challenge?" Bobby suggested, somewhat trying to figure out what his potential sugar daddy was looking for. "Or just not good enough?"

"What? No!" For a moment, Vian was searching for words, his ears pointing back and a little upwards in what looked like sincere determination. "I think it's just that they scare me. You know, they know so much about me, and I know nothing about them. It would be, like, kinda starting a relationship at two different points in time. It would really creep me out, and I don't think it could work."

Oddly enough, Bobby believed him every word he said.

"That's really sweet," he said before he could think better of it. "I take it you were not insulted by the fact that I had no clue who you were when we first met?"

"No, not at all. It was nice, you know? I knew a bit more about you than you about me, and you were so... torn between running away and kicking me."

Bobby had to laugh at the description. "Was it that obvious?"

"To me it was," Vian shrugged. "You were cautious, and alert, but you were not afraid. It was pretty cool."

"I was so afraid I could hardly think," Bobby replied, only half joking. "I mean, do you have any idea what it means to a commoner finding a noble standing in his hallway?"

"Oh I do, believe me," Vian replied, once again sounding entirely credible. "That's why I thought you were so impressive, you just didn't take any shit from me. And that's why I decided to give you my card. I'm not usually this forward." Again, his ears were drooping a little, giving his expression an entirely boyish, shy and yet playful cast.

Bobby needed a heartbeat to stop stare at this picture-perfect image of 'adorable' and get his mind into thinking mode again.

"Do you actually have any idea that your ears are totally giving away everything that you feel?" he asked, incredulous.

Vian nodded self-consciously. "They do that. And my tail's not better. But at least it's not - " Vian stopped with a mangled sound and grabbed his ears with both hands, holding them tight until another wave of violent twitching subsided. "Sorry. I'm sorry. It's getting worse when I am excited. And when someone talks about my ears. Me and my ears are kind of sensitive."

"I can see..." Bobby replied, silently startled by the odd, fluttering sensation he was feeling in his chest. Maybe he had agreed to this date with entirely jaded motives, but right now, there was only one thing he could think of. "Would you mind if asked for a favor?"

"Of course not," Vian replied instantly. "I mean, not as long as it's not going to get us in trouble."

"I don't think so. It's a little bit personal, though," Bobby replied with a cheeky smile. Turning around so he could properly face Vian, he put on his most charming smile and asked: "Would you mind if I touched your ears?"

For a long moment, Vian's expression remained entirely unreadable. Then, almost as if despite himself, he broke into a wide smile. "I suppose it's only fair. After all, it's not as if there's many of my kind running around."

Still smiling, he bent his head and held his ears as still as possible.

"But be careful," Vian added, "they are kind of ticklish."

"Wouldn't have guessed," Bobby replied, dry as a bone. "I just want to see if they are as soft as the look."

Cautiously, Bobby reached out and touched Vian's ears, and had to suppress a borderline hysteric squee.


"Exactly as I had thought," Bobby said. "Warm and soft as a sleeping dormouse."

Vian cast him a quizzical look. "What the hell is a dormouse?"

"A small Terran rodent, some sort of mouse, famous for sleeping half of its life," Bobby recounted one of the very few school lessons he could remember. "And for being rather cute."

"Well, this is definitely the first time I have been compared to a cute, sleeping rodent." Vian smirked at Bobby and gestured to take up their walk toward the harbor. "Are they fierce?"


"Those... dormouses. Dormice?"

Bobby shrugged, laughing. "No idea. Though I really don't think so. They don't come in larger than, I don't know, an inch or something."

"Oh." Vian tried a polite smile, but his ears once again betrayed his puzzlement. "That's... cute."

"You don't like being cute, do you?" Bobby hazarded a guess.

"Not particularly, no." Again, Vian shrugged. "I guess when you're a Phoenix Squire you don't want to be cute. That might sell a lot of mugs, but it won't help my knight in combat."

"Well, from what I hear you're not harmless in combat, either," Bobby added. "So... how does it feel to have one's face on a collectible mug?"

Vian gave him a pained smile, showing his teeth. "Weird. Mostly weird. You know how your own voice feels strange when it's recorded and played back to you? It's about the same when you end up in the hands of the PR team and your face shows up in the same catalog of merchandise as all the other Phoenix Knights and their teams."

Silently, Bobby wondered if Vian really was just a nice guy or if this was a very well trained facade that he put on in public. But considering the way his ears gave away almost everything he felt, the latter option seemed really improbable. Could there be such a thing as a nice noble?

They had reached the waterfront by now, and were walking towards the harbor, arm in arm. The sun had set further, painting the sky flaming red, making the palm trees stand out as dark silhouettes. All around, the work day seemed to come to a close, shops closing and bars opening, people of all classes flocking to their respective watering holes. The air was filled with chatter and laughter, and compared to the grim atmosphere of Bellingham, it was incredible.

"Now what are you looking at?" Vian suddenly asked, the tone of his voice clearly showing that he had been silently watching Bobby for quite a while.

"I - Is it that obvious? I am trying very hard not to stare," Bobby replied. "It's very different from home."

"Is it?"

"Absolutely." Bobby smiled, gesturing towards a laughing group of sailors sitting on the rim of a large fountain, sharing a bottle of wine. "People seem happy."

"I think it's the weather where you live. I'd be crabby, too, if it were raining sideways all the time."

"True." Seeing a first opening for his game tonight, Bobby added wistfully: "Maybe I really should think about moving."

"Well, you ARE a commoner. You can go where ever you want."

"Yeah. As long as I have the money to do so." Adding a sigh, Bobby continued. "I am just about to finish school, and I don't think I'll be getting a job anywhere."

"Why not?" Vian's tone was utterly honest.

"I was never particularly fond of school, and I think it was a mutual thing. I have no real talent besides being pretty, and I really don't want to work as a fish-gutter or a whore."

"Oh." For a moment, Vian's ears drooped with a mix of concentration and concern, then they perked up again. "Your school really sucks, has anyone ever told you that?"

"No, actually not. I mean, yes, it was pretty crappy, but what do you know about it?"

"I had Wayne tested to see what he's good at, and he has a lot more talents than his school reports ever mentioned. They just didn't seem to care, and I think it's the same with you."

There was no innuendo in Vian's remark, no lewd undertones, and to his surprise, Bobby found himself slightly at a loss how to react to that. Luckily, it was Vian who continued their conversation.

"Also, school skill are overrated. I mean, do they ever teach anything really important at school, like dodging blows or defense against evil psions?"

"Not at my school, no..."

"See? And other schools are little better."

"I think most schools try to prepare people for jobs, you know, like carpenter or secretary. Most people aren't cut out to be fighters."

Vian cast him a wry glance that was as much agreement as it was disapproval. "You're right, of course. I just meant, maybe you have some super skill that no one has ever tested you for. You'll surprise all of us, one day."

"That is a very kind thing to say," Bobby replied politely, not really feeling it.

"Mum always says that. 'What a pity for all those ice-skating aces born in the desert', she says."

"Your mom? I thought she died when you were just born," Bobby interjected, though he immediately added: "At least, that's what I think I remember from reading the Quest Log."

"My biological mom died, yes, but I don't remember her." With a shrug and a smile, Vian explained: "I was talking about my 'real' mom, Jennifer."

"She sounds like a smart person."

"Oh, you have no idea." Rolling his eyes, Vian grinned. "Smartest person I know, and pretty annoying. But also very cool. I think you would like her a lot."

"Possibly. If I ever meet her."

"When you meet her," Vian corrected him gently.

Not really sure what to say, Bobby just smiled and turned his head to take in the scenery. Why in all the Empire was Vian expecting him to meet his mother one day? That would feel very weird, but then again, it was a lot less weird than most things he had heard about nobles so far.

"So..." Vian asked, a little hesitant. "Do you want a drink now? Or do we go to the restaurant?"

Even after such a short time, Vian was ridiculously easy to read.

"You are hungry," Bobby noted, amused at the guilty-as-charged look he got from Vian. "That's fine with me, I am getting hungry too. So where's the restaurant?"

“It’s on the other side of the harbor,” Vian explained, pointing up the hill rising in front of them. “So, it’s still a little walk from here, unless I just hover us across.”

“You would?” Bobby felt an odd tingle of excitement. “That would be really cool.”

“I’d rather not... Humans are really fragile, and getting us over there without hurting you would be... tricky.”

“How can this be difficult to you?” Bobby asked. “I mean, I heard you kept Tiara in orbit all on your own when the N’bosoti attacked P2.”

“Yeah, that old story,” Vian replied with a dismissive gesture. “But she’s just one big chunk, that’s easy.” Taking a deep breath, he added: “I am a macrokinetic. The bigger the item and the more violent, the simpler for me. I can easier flatten a building than pass you the salt. Trying to thread a needle takes so much concentration I usually end up screaming and smashing something really big.”

“That sounds unusual...” Bobby replied, inwardly thinking that the image of the mighty psion chewing his lips in concentration while trying to thread a needle hovering in front of him was utterly cute.

“Not really, though. There’s macrokinetics and microkinetics.” Vian replied, oblivious to Bobby’s dreamy smile. “When I train, I only learn to throw bigger things faster. Microkinetics learn how to move more things at the same time, with more precision. It’s really hard to do it differently, like writing with your off-hand.”

“So you’re saying we should rather walk?” Bobby asked with a smile.

“Yes, I’d much more like it that way. Excited as I am it would be extra hard for me, and I really, really don’t want to be the guy who broke your ribs on the first date." With another guilty smile, he added: "Throwing people is only for emergencies.”

“Throwing people? A moment ago you said ‘hovering’.”

“Yeah, well. ‘Hovering’ sounds much nicer, don’t you think?”

“I think we should walk to the restaurant.” Feeling a little dispirited at the long walk on a really empty stomach, Bobby looked around and added: “Or I could ask one of the guys at the harbor if they could just put us over. What do you say?”

For a heartbeat, Vian looked quite at a loss, then he nodded. Not waiting for any other reaction, Bobby took him by his hand and pulled him towards the group of fishermen he had spotted sitting on the quay, mending their nets, seeming mostly occupied with trading gossip.

The fishermen were initially just as surprised as Vian, but with a lot of smiles and a gentle hint that Vian indeed was the son of Sir Yaden, they got their passage to the other side of the harbor.

Vian looked at the little rowboat with visible trepidation, but Bobby was in much too high spirits to let this little detail dissuade him. Just as he had before, he pulled Vian onto the boat with him and sat down, leaning against his shoulder and watching the first stars coming out in the darkening sky while he let a grizzled fisherman do the rowing.

Once on the other side of the harbor, they parted from their ferryman with many thanks on both sides, mostly due to the fact that the fisherman had some relative in a town that he insisted had been saved from assured destruction by Sir Yaden during the whole 'Zombie Pirates' affair. How many Phoenix Knights had been involved in that affair, anyway?

From the waterfront, it was only a short walk uphill until they reached the restaurant where Vian had booked a table for them. It didn't look overly posh, something that Bobby was immediately grateful for. Just a few outdoor tables under a grapevine covered pergola, covered in threadbare white linens and with a single candle in a mason jar each.

"It's nothing too fancy," Vian said, almost apologetically. "But the food is great, I am told, and the view is stunning."

Following Vian's gesture, Bobby had to admit that his date had a flair for understatement. A fieldstone parapet was separating the dining area from the lower hill, and below them, the harbor spread in picture postcard perfect beauty. The light breeze carried the sound of the ships and the people in the bars that lined the market place, and the still water reflected the last patches of purple that were still hanging in the sky.

"It IS stunning," Bobby admitted. "Thank you so much."

Vian just shrugged, a little shy. "You're welcome."

A tiny silence spread between them, but then the waiter brought the menu and immediately started telling them today's specials, which ended up being more than the flimsy menu was holding. It took them a little negotiation, but soon enough Bobby and Vian had decided on a decent lineup that sounded great and was approved by the waiter.

Silently, Bobby wondered that any waiter back in Bellingham would have gotten flogged for voicing his opinion on his customers' choices, but then again, they weren't in Bellingham any longer. This might still have been Espen, but it definitely was rather far from home.

Food arrived swiftly, and in copious amounts, and was so delicious that their conversation all but died down. Only when they were mostly finished, with Bobby holding his last glass of wine in his hands and pondering how to approach the important subjects of the evening did they talk again.

“So...” Bobby started when their dessert was served. “You really think I could find a decent job somewhere?”

“Sure, why not?” Vian replied, mostly concentrating on the bowl of something chocolatey in front of him.

“Because I don’t have any education worth talking off, and I really don’t want to work lying on my back.”

Vian looked up from his food, the cutest frown on his forehead. “Don’t say something like that. It feels as if you are hurting yourself when you do.”

“I will try not to,” Bobby said, silently wondering if Vian might be right. “But it’s still an honest sentiment, though.”

“Well, if you were on P2, on Tamriel, I’d say you could easily get some job as a waiter in one of the cafe’s and music bars along the beach. They’re always looking for handsome staff, and from what I can tell, the old ladies in the cafe tip ridiculously well.”

“Now do they?” Bobby smiled pensively into his coffee as if considering this for the first time. “I could move to P2, you are right. But I don’t have the cash for the trip, and definitely not enough to find me a place to stay...”

Vian nodded in agreement. “It would be nice having you closer by.”

“And I would like to live closer to you.” As Vian didn’t catch the drift after a few seconds, Bobby added: “I would need someone to sponsor me, though.”

“Yeah, that would be cool.” Vian’s ears looked as if he was racking his brain for someone who could do the job.

Why the hell did he have to be so daft, Bobby wondered. Do I really have to spell it out?

“I thought, you know, maybe YOU could sponsor me...”

“Huh?” Vian’s attention snapped back to their table, his ears instantly on high alert. “I could get you to P2 on my Guild account, sure, but... How much money would you need?”

“Not much,” Bobby replied, trying to remain as nonchalant as he possibly could. “A few hundred credits per month, for the beginning, I think?”

Vian’s ears drooped like wilting leaves, making him look utterly miserable. “Oh,” he said, softly. “I don’t have that much money.”

“Seriously?” After all that he had heard tonight, Bobby was more than willing to believe Vian. It still just didn’t make any sense. A few hundred bucks wasn’t that much, after all. Even rich commoner kids spent more on drinks in one night. “But you’re a noble, you ought to be swimming in money.”

“No...” Still looking rather embarrassed and unhappy, Vian tried to explain. “We may be famous, but we’re not rich. I’m not supposed to tell how much the emperor pays my dad, but it’s really not much. And from that, Dad pays me some pocket money as his squire.”

Of course, from all the nobles he could have picked, Bobby had to take the cash-strapped one. Mostly to stifle a hysteric laugh, Bobby took a long sip from the excellent wine. This was definitely not going as he had hoped.

“You are paying all this from your pocket money, seriously?”

Vian nodded, the tips of his ears still drooping. “I’d really love to help you, but I don’t have that money.”

There were a lot of questions on Bobby’s mind, all competing for attention. But right now, there was only one thing he really couldn’t get his head around.

“Why in all the Empire are you doing all this, then?” he asked, gesturing both at the dinner table and the view over Port St. Anna.

“Huh?” Vian seemed positively at a loss.

“I mean, you could have had me a lot cheaper, but you obviously aren’t the kind of guy pretending to be rich when you aren’t. So, what’s your game?”

“My... game?”

With everyone else, Bobby would have suspected that they were just trying to evade his question. With Vian, though, he was pretty sure he honestly wasn’t getting it.

“Do you really think I needed all this to be impressed?” Bobby tried another angle.

“What? No. I thought you were worth it.” Vian looked startled, but at least no longer completely confused, adding with a shy look: “I still do.”

This time, it was Bobby’s turn to give a slightly embarrassed laugh. He couldn’t tell for sure, but right now it felt like the nicest, most genuine compliment he had ever heard. And there it was again, that fluttering sensation in his chest and his throat, this weird feeling as if he was in an elevator going up and down at the same time. There was no doubt about it, he was crushing on Vian, and hard at that. How utterly unprofessional.

“What did you mean with ‘you could have had me cheaper’?” Vian asked unexpectedly. “I can’t buy you, you’re a commoner.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.” Suddenly, Bobby felt jaded and slutty, soiled, even. An entirely new sensation, and an entirely unwelcome one. Just because he had only very little qualms selling himself did not give him the right to assume that everyone else was eager to buy. And now that he came to think of it, he really didn’t want Vian to think of him in this way.

“I just wanted to say that...” Bobby tried to rescue the situation, “You’re so sweet, you wouldn’t have had to do all this. I’d have just as happily shared a shrimp sandwich with you on the pier.”

“Well,” Vian replied impishly, his ears perking up. “Maybe next time?”

“Maybe.” Seeing the hint of insecurity in Vian’s eyes, Bobby immediately added: “Though I would rather like there to be a next time.”

Now, Vian broke into a full-on grin. Nodding as if they had just agreed to some sort of naughty, secret pact, he then turned back to his dessert and started scraping the last rests out of the bowl. Visibly not happy with the results, he hesitated for a heartbeat, put aside his spoon and started licking the bowl clean. His tongue sounded oddly coarse on the glass, like a cat’s, leading to all sorts of naughty ideas in Bobby’s head.

“Sorry,” Vian said once he had put down his now spotlessly clean bowl and noticed Bobby watching him. “Hope it wasn’t too embarrassing. But it was just soo good.”

“It was sweet.” Leaning back, Bobby finished the last of his wine and took another long look down at the harbor, the lights of the bars reflecting in the dark water. “Would you mind if I smoke?”

“Actually, yes.” A little sheepish, Vian tapped his nose. “I’m a lot more sensitive than a full human, and sorry to say that, but cigarettes just stink to me.”

“Oh. And here I sit, having smoked all afternoon. You could have said something.”

“Not really the way to start a date, is it?” Vian grinned. “Hey sweetheart, you look lovely, but you smell like an ashtray?”

“I’ve heard worse opening lines,” Bobby replied honestly.

“What kind of people are you hanging out with, saying things like that to you?!” Vian asked, sounding rather protective in a very chivalrous way. “I hope you left them on the spot.”

“No, I continued having my date with them.” Rolling his eyes, Bobby added: “I didn’t think I’ve had much options.”

“Seriously, you?” Looking genuinely stunned, Vian needed a moment before he broke into a wide grin. “I think we both still have a lot of ‘getting to know each other’ to do.”

“I am very much looking forward to that.” Smiling at Vian, Bobby took this as his cue to move things onwards. Gently, he touched Vian’s foot with his own, slowly working his way up his calf. “What do you say - we move somewhere more comfortable?”

“Why, are you feeling - oh, that.” Looking down at Bobby’s foot and back at Bobby again, he explained with a slightly shaky smirk on his face. “I - I don’t think I would feel comfortable if we moved this fast. Please don’t get me wrong, I think you’re gorgeous, but I really wouldn’t like it that way. You know, like using one of my groupies.”

For a long moment, Bobby was speechless, his foot remaining motionless somewhere halfway up Vian’s calf. This wasn’t just some polite means for Vian to get into Bobby’s pants, he realized with sudden clarity. Maybe somewhere along the line, it was, too, but not primarily. For Vian, this was a date. A proper date, one of the kind that ended with a serious relationship. Bobby slowly felt his world slip out from under him.

“How can you even be real?” he finally asked, causing Vian’s ears to stand askew once more.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean - you’re acting like a fairytale knight, for fuck’s sake. And the more I get to know of you, the more I think it’s not an act. I never thought guys like you could be real.”

“So... that’s a good thing?” Vian’s ears perked up ever so slightly.

“A very good thing.”

Vian looked as if he had scored a jackpot. “And it’s okay if I just walked you home once we’re finished here?”

“Will I get a goodnight kiss at least?”

“I think a kiss would be okay,” Vian replied conspiringly.

“Then I am perfectly fine.”

Bobby smiled and gently stroked Vian’s leg one last time before he put down his foot.

This evening had definitely not turned out the way he had wanted it to, he silently thought by himself. He had come to find a sugardaddy, willing to sell himself just to get some cash and a chance to escape the confines of his life.
A few hours later, he had made no progress at all in that regard. Instead, he was sitting there with butterflies in his stomach, facing a very real and very exciting prospect of having found the cutest, sexiest and most chivalrous potential boyfriend in the entire Empire.

If this is what falling in love feels like, money can kiss my ass, Bobby decided. This is priceless.

Meridaemeridae on September 6th, 2013 07:28 am (UTC)

I hope Bobby and Vian manage to get through all of Bobby's preconceptions and have a real relationship!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:07 am (UTC)

Meridaemeridae on September 6th, 2013 08:30 am (UTC)
Did I mention, EAAARS SO CUTE!!


Leesha needs a cute boy with ears. ::nodnod::
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
Can you imagine how well Sir Vian merchandise is going to sell? Headbands with articulate furry ears, clip-on tails, the whole shebang?

*puts on his Sir-Vian-ears and joins the squeeing fangirls at the movie premiere*
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
As fas as I know, we have nothing furry-eared planned for Leesha. But don't worry, he'll still get enough action.
Meridaemeridae on September 7th, 2013 07:06 am (UTC)
Well, maybe one of his pets could buy a set of Sir-Vian furry ears and get his freak on with them. MUWAHAHAHAH!!

You know, Vian is going to be absolutely horrified when he sees fake ears and tails among his merchandise!!

Is Siva going to be a phoenix knight too? Does she have ears and a tail??
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 09:45 am (UTC)
Siva has got a similar tail and ears to Vian, only she is a little less furry than him. And no, she's not going to be a Phoenix Knight, she's more the quiet and observing type.

But don't worry, she'll eventually appear as well as one of the characters. ^^
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on September 6th, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
Aww, they're so sweet. I want to give Vian all the chocolatey things in the world, *and* pet his ears. :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
Hehe. Then I did it right. ^^

So happy to have Vian join the cast as a character on his own. Thanks for commenting!
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on September 7th, 2013 07:20 am (UTC)
<3 You always do it right!

Very welcome, dear. :)
talomor on September 6th, 2013 10:45 am (UTC)
So - if his ears are that wriggly and that drop-dead adorable, then where (and why!) was he hiding his tail the whole time? Having it wriggle around in his trousers? That seems a shame...
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:16 am (UTC)
Very good point, there.

But, as this piece has been written from Bobby's point of view, he's been concentrating on his face and ears. His tail will come more into focus when they start concentrating on other sorts of entertainment... ^^

Also, Jenny has made sure his denims have a nice, non-chafing tail hole at the small of the back. So no wriggling in his trousers, at least not in the rear.
Milady OMlady_om on September 7th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
Ugh, this just desperately reminds me how badly I want a cat...

Also, I call bullshit on the knight's wages. Gimme Leesha's address and his ears will ring from my complaints. The basic rule of any enterprise: you find good people and when you do, you pay them well.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 06:22 am (UTC)
*looks at the purring cat next to him* Yeah, doesn't work without one, does it?

Well, Leesha would reply that they get more than he does, so there. Besides, the don't get much money. What they do get, though, is every ounce of benefits, reductions and gifts they can wring out of their popularity. Which makes up for quite a lot, really. Just look at the psions' guild basically working for free for Yaden and his family.

And honestly, the Phoenix Knights aren't the type of people who work for money - they just want to do the right thing, and that's something Leesha can provide them with most generously.
Meridaemeridae on September 7th, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
They can't be that badly off - Yaden bought an island and refitted a ship somehow!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 7th, 2013 09:47 am (UTC)
Uh - Ciel gave them the island for free, on the only condition he'd be able to call an emergency training session if he needed shielding from some event in Imperial City.
The Phoenix Knight tower paid the refit of the Pebble.

As I said - being a Phoenix Knight pays nicely, just not in cash. ^^
idolme922idolme922 on September 16th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
Yup... love is priceless and those ears are damn cute too! "Potential boyfriend"...yes please.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 16th, 2013 08:34 am (UTC)
You know we can't let them go separate after this. They will stay with us for quite a while to come. ^^
BerthaBlueberthablue on February 6th, 2014 10:20 am (UTC)
No money to support his pretty little boyfriend? Clearly, it's just time for Bobby to move in. Okay, maybe after one more date. Lesbian rules can apply here? Hahaha, Bobby wouldn't even need the U-Haul.

I love how they are both so sweet and awkward. Phoenix Knight or not, Vian is such a cute boy! Or... cat boy...
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 6th, 2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
Hehe, no, he'll get his own place because of the Wayne problem, you know? But they ARE sweet, no way around that.

Welcome back, dear, and thanks so much for reading an commenting! HUGS!