Who: Kong and Sean What: Conversation and Small Steps When: November 12th, early evening Where: Outside and Inside Sean’s Wagon Rating: Mild Status: Complete
Sean sat on the steps of his wagon as he sipped a small glass of whiskey and looked up at the stars as they began to appear in the night sky. It was Sunday and he hadn’t started his shows yet. Perhaps another week as he was giving Jack plenty of time to create a banner for him. The spirit medium wore an unbuttoned dress shirt and trousers, his feet were bare - a luxury he normally kept for time inside and near bedtime.
The expanse above was vast, unending. Graveyard of shimmering stars eager to be watched, worshiped, followed. Kong had not forgotten those balls of light, though the constellations had taken a different shape in the eye of his mind. No longer could he experience Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper, Scorpio. Twinklings in his mind took the shapes of old deities, hopes and dreams. Things better left in the past where they belong.
Slowly he moved, quiet yet graceful. Bare feet pressed upon tender earth and waving grass. There was little wind that particular evening but the flutter of his clothes, that ebony hair told a tale otherwise that might seem oddly ethereal to those without the knowledge. Nearly a star himself he glowed without realizing it. From side to side his stick would wave in an effort to offer a bit of security as his feet carried him toward the area where his wagon awaited.
Voices, peals of laughter, the death of the Carnival was like music in his ears carried by the little tufts of air.
A familiar presence was felt even though it was not far and Kong stilled, pausing in stride to determine who exactly was there.
“What keeps you from your slumber?” It was a playful question posed though he expected no answer. Eyes were covered by a black strip of cloth, a blindfold, and his head canted to the side as if to listen to a voice no one else could hear.
Sean liked the quieting of the night. But he did see spirits milling about, but more so at the parameter of the carnival. He had closed the ‘door’, thus they stayed silent though their eyes still spoke to him.
Then he saw someone move in the flowing darkness. Then Sean smiled softly at the familiar voice.
“Nothing per say. The night is beautiful.” He spoke softly and sipped his drink. “How are you?”
Tone said much more than words needed to at times; Kong was good at knowing when to keep moving along and when someone needed to be loaned a bit of silent strength. Was this one of those moments? Perhaps. Or Perhaps not. Only time would tell. Those he conversed with were few and those precious beings he held dear to him. “Mm, I agree.” The night was beautiful in so many ways.
At the question Kong turned himself more toward Sean though any other movement had ceased beyond his hand lifting the walking stick, pressing the tip into the ground so as not to upturn anything or anyone whom might get the urge to walk past.
Shoulders would roll backward, bringing him to his full height. Ebony tresses tickled and danced across his skin. “I have been better, and I have been worse,” Kong offered, “But right now is good.”
There were few people in the Carnival Sean confided in or let his guard down. Kong was one of them to a degree. He offered a little and let the rest fall into place. There was no need to show off or put on airs around the other man.
He watched Kong as he grew still. There was something mesmerizing watching him even now with the light as little as it was. He admired him in some ways.
“Likewise. I am glad right now is good. Would you like something to drink or a chair to sit on?”
Likewise, Kong saw no need to compete for airs with Sean. Once the initial ritual for greeting had come and gone, and he had grown used to the other, things seemed to work for themselves in the construct of the friendship. Few earned his attention, fewer had him coming back though he said nothing to such a point. He figured it was obvious regardless of words spoken or not.
“You are very kind,” came the reply. Before he moved, a hand lifted. Lithe fingers extended, palm up to the sudden light breeze. A leaf danced into his hand and carefully digits would close around it as if it were the most delicate thing in the world.
Slowly he wandered toward Sean, allowing his walking stick to settle in a lean nearby. The leaf was extended to his friend, he offered a warm smile. “It is the little things that matter sometimes. Your kindness is never forgotten, my friend.”
Simplicity was something Sean liked. Sometimes there was a depth to the simplicity like nature. He quite liked the friendship he had with Kong. And he was curious about people from different lands and just how the other man was with the air.
“Thank you,” he breathed. Then Sean watched Kong’s hand - amazed by the quiet grace. There was such an ease that the spirit medium wished he had.
Shifting to sit more upright, Sean watched Kong as he approached him. He sat down his glass and carefully took the leaf. Smiling, he sighed. “They are. Likewise, friend.” Sean pulled over a small stool from the stoop of his wagon and sat it down beside the wagon.
The word met his ears and he was humbled by such a title. Patiently he waited for the stool to be placed and only then would he allow himself to sit, to relax. He had no intention of interrupting Sean’s night, he wouldn’t linger any longer than needed knowing his own wagon was mere steps away from where they sat.
Weariness from the day began to creep into his bones. Hands would settle upon his lap and Kong shifted a touch in the clothes he wore. Western garb was so fitted, he felt more confined and it had taken a while to get used to. He was sure they looked fine on someone like Sean, but he kept that to himself.
Once the stairs creaked to signal that the other had settled Kong relaxed a touch more trying to convince himself that his presence was not burdensome.
“What is on your mind? You seem a bit restless.”
Friends, companions who were quiet and respectful - Sean valued them. And Kong was quite unique and Sean was fascinated by him, but was respectful in return to the other man’s heritage and blindness. No one should be pitied or dealt with as if an invalid.
Sean held onto the leaf, bringing it up to his nose for a moment to take in the scent. But soon he lowered his hand to bring his attention back to Kong. The medium liked the clothing he had seen the other man in before - flowing robes which seemed to suit what he could do. Sean wondered if the other man was uncomfortable.
“Do I?” Sean blinked, continuing to speak softly and gently. “One of the rare readings were the spirit and the patron’s stories were quite sorrowful. But it is all right.”
Energy was an odd thing. Kong would never begin to try to seem as if he understood what Sean experienced or went through; such a burden was not for his shoulders to carry though he would have if given the chance. They both seemed to tote their own fates. Kong was sure that if he were overstepping that his friend would make it known, after all everyone had their own boundaries to respect and he was still learning his own.
“I am sorry to hear of their woes,” came the soft reply. Hands would fall to his lap and Kong sat as still and silently as a statue. The night was speaking to him in ways he was sure very few others would ever know or experience.
Rare was the man who could appreciate companionable silence. While the end of the day drew to a close and the moon hung ripe and full in the sky, Kong decided he would stay until his friend was ready to part ways.
Sean never pushed when it came to others. And especially so, he had found with Kong. But perhaps it was still frightening to be so far from home and what the other man was accustomed. But he would be his friend and help him when needed.
He hummed softly as he gently held the leaf in his hands. Sean wondered what Kong sensed about the world around him, not thinking that he himself was sensed in a different way.
His eyes went over to Kong, seeing how he sat there. It was almost as if the man was in deep conversation with someone or something he couldn’t perceive. But it was all right. It must be similar to how he himself was with spirits. “There is no need to be sorry. Yet I thank you for listening.”
They had a lot more in common than perhaps either of them realized. Sean had this nurturing aura that surrounded him and Kong found himself drawn explicitly toward it as a moth would a flame. He wouldn’t have had a good reason why, if asked, only that it felt right being around the other.
A nod would come. Kong lifted his head and turned to look over at Sean as if he could actually see him. “I would always listen if you spoke.” As he would the wind, the sky, the earth.
Ebony tresses billowed lightly, slipping across skin. A hand would lift to brush the strands away absently.
Many people felt uneasy once they learned what Sean could do. The spirits, the dead - were something to fear as death was unknown. But he knew. And it was both good and bad. One had to be careful with the living.
There was that gentleness, yet that exotic intrigue that Sean thought of as he was in Kong’s presence. He hoped it was some sort of superficial novelty. It wasn’t. He really liked the other man’s company.
Sean smiled and bowed his head a little. “Thank you,” he whispered. Then he looked over at the other man, watching Kong’s hair billow and that hand move so smoothly.
Life had its challenges. Why wallow in misery when you could wallow with someone else? He was no one to judge anyone for anything. Higher powers than him made those decisions. He did not fear death, either.
“For what?” Came the soft reply, curious. No thanks was needed for being a friend and doing what one should.
Intrigued, his interest was fixed solely upon the other man. There was only an inch of height difference between them but he felt smaller suddenly, not in a bad way.
Sean was mostly at peace with what he did, what he could do. But there were times in the past where he was not so. His arms and ankles said such. But he was thankful for where he was physically and in life.
“For always listening.” He spoke just as softly as he leaned a little forward, resting his elbows on his knees with his hands still holding the leaf.
In the dim light, Sean focused on Kong’s face - still quite intrigued by someone who looked so different and so lovely in his mind.
Thankfully Kong could not see the scars, not that he would have pried as to their origin. It wasn’t his place to inquire as such, nor would he want his friend to feel invaded. Privacy was a blessing in most circumstances.
“You are welcome.” Tone was soft, as if the words were for Sean only. He could feel the other’s gaze upon him and color would flood into ivory cheeks.
A soft breath and Kong turned away, looking down at his lap.
It was likewise with Sean, but regarding Kong’s heritage. He dared not pry, but was curious about that far off place. Perhaps there were times where he could discuss such.
A gentle smile spread across Sean’s face. He liked Kong’s voice and was wonderful. Then he arched an eyebrow as he barely saw the color reach the other man’s cheeks.
Then Sean flinched a little. “I...hope I haven’t offended, Kong.” He gentled laid the leaf on the lip of his wagon beside where he sat.
Shaking his head, once more Kong would glance up and over at his friend. “I do not think it is in you to do such a thing to anyone.” There had been no offense at all, only a moment that had taken Kong by surprise. Something inside him had stirred for the briefest of moments; it was rare that he felt such a way when around someone else, though when he did he often did his best to conceal it and snuff it out before anything had the chance to grow.
That small smile came back, slowly creeping over full lips.
Leaning a little forward, Sean nodded. “Good, good.” He looked over at Kong, looking where the other man’s veiled eyes were. There was a peaceful calm he thought. It was good, lovely. Kind. For now, friendship was the most treasured thing Sean could ask for.
“...I would like to say,” Sean hesitated as he spoke softly. “...that a smile suits you as well as your stoicness.”
There it was again, that color. It began as a subtle pink in the apples of cheeks and then it began to brighten a touch. Along with that hue came a bit of heat, and then the stirring inside of him. Distractions. Distractions. Kong bit at his bottom lip in a manner that might be interpreted in a variety of ways though it wasn’t without its appreciation for the comment.
He had never seen Sean display any sort of attraction toward anyone, men or women, in the time he had known the other man. Who was to say there was anything more in that statement other than just a friendly observation? That was the worst part about Kong, he overanalyzed everything.
“Thank you,” came soft words. Though he wanted to look down he made himself continue to face the direction Sean’s voice had come from. “That means a lot coming from you.”
For a man who had no idea what he even looked like, Kong took the compliment as a good sign.
The words were out of friendship. He hoped it was all right. But he feared he had been too open, too forward. Breathing deeply through his nose, color began to show in the apples of his cheeks.
Even in the safe confines of Zion Mystique, the spirit medium had refrained from showing attraction to anyone while in a public setting. He knew the danger and did not want to endanger the other person. But he did like Kong.
“You’re quite welcome.” came in a whisper. Sean bowed his head, fearing he had been too forward.
Had they not been in the open, out where prying eyes and loose tongues would find them, Kong may have protested more or even moved to reach for his friend. As it was, he couldn’t bring himself to put Sean’s honor where others could break it down. So he sat silently, hair billowing around his shoulders as if he were standing atop a hill in a forested vale in the height of spring rather than next to a wagon on a stool in a place he didn’t know.
“It means a lot coming from you,” he assured his friend quietly.
Sean wanted to touch Kong’s hand or if feelings were mutual, touch his face. But it was too much of a risk out in the open and perhaps equally alone. There was that fear and insecurity that Sean rarely let show. His eyes lifted and he watched Kong’s hair. Beautiful and mesmerizing.
“I am humbled.” he nodded.
Butterflies fluttered around in his abdomen. Kong breathed in the night air and exhaled slowly so as to refocus. Something was there - he could feel the energy between them, the heaviness. Something that would have to wait for a better opportunity.
Calculating the proximity of where he was in relation to his friend, a hand would slide over only to briefly pat Sean’s forearm. “You should not be,” he murmured. “You deserve the world if that is what your heart seeks.”
And then he drew away, not wanting speculation to start. The last thing he wanted was to bring any more bad energy to Sean’s doorstep on account of foolishness.
Sean at more thoughts which made his heart flutter a little in chis chest. But he wrinkled his nose and focused. A deep breath and he sighed.
Then he stilled as he watched Kong place a hand on his forearm. He did not flinch, inwardly happy at the touch, but also hoped no one was watching. His eyes darted about for a moment before returning to the other man’s face. “You deserve the world as well…” His voice was soft, almost thready as he tempered how he felt.
He made a point not to linger or to give the impression to any onlookers that they were more than a couple of friends sitting outside. Though part of him had wanted to.
He did not get close to people in general unless he had to. It was nice being that near to someone for a change on his own terms.
“Thank you. I should let you get back to your night. I feel as if I have interrupted.”
The smoothness of Kong’s fingers was something Sean noted. But he was thankful for the other man’s discretion. But he too wanted his friend’s hand to stay.
He would never force someone to be close to him. He wanted to be with someone some day, but he was going to let it happen.
“You’re welcome,” Sean replied and then blinked. “No!” He spoke a little too loud. Then he suddenly quieted to a whisper. “...no. You were not interrupting. You are always welcome to be a part of my night.” There was feeling there, desire was shrouded.
His frame stiffened from the sudden outburst, a touch startled by it. Selfishly he was glad for the protest. Outwardly, once the sense of surprise began to fade Kong would nod and once more relax. “Alright, if that is what you would like. I would like that, too.”
Being part of someone’s night sounded promising, and far too much than he deserved. Sean needed someone who could appreciate him for all that he was. Kong wasn’t sure that person could be him.
They could always take this inside if the moment became heavier than either anticipated. There, at least, they would have some semblance of privacy to do as they pleased.
Sean held embarrassed at raising his voice. Sometimes his emotions got the best of him in those little moments. “Yes, please, as long as you would like it.”
His mind circled round on what he said and his cheeks grew pink. Maybe deep down he did halfway intend the seeming promise of something more. But things must go slowly and secretly for both their sakes.
Gently, Sean reached over and let his hand hover near Kong’s as if to offer a handshake.
Was forever too long? It weighed on those full lips, struggling to push past the supple seam. Instead he nodded and bit back any words which may have rested there opting for companionable silence.
“When you are ready to escort me home, then we shall go. Until then, I will stay and enjoy your company.” He wouldn’t bring it up again so as to ensure the purity of the evening.
He couldn’t feel that hovering appendage so instead he sat and waited for the next exchange to come.
There was that pull deep down to want to show Kong how to dance like he had seen once in a while - a quiet swaying from side to side. But his lips flattened into a straight line that bordered on a frown. Another breath.
“All right.” the spirit medium spoke.
An exhale through his nose followed as Sean stared at his unanswered hand. Pulling it away, he rested his hand on his knee before looking upward at the sky.
That was the downfall of being blind, gestures were oft lost upon those without sight. It wasn’t on purpose, merely a casualty of the war.
He had thought many times about showing someone else his dance, about showing Sean the way he moved. But he wasn’t sure they’d ever get the chance.
Hands would slip up to his own shoulders. Fingers wound into that dark, long hair and he began to brush the digits through it gently.
Some gestures were automatic and Sean chided himself for not waiting and realizing what he had done. But it was okay.
After a moment, he looked down and over at Kong. Almost instantly, he felt the way Kong moved his fingers through his long hair was intimate, beautiful.
“Has your hair always been long?” Sean asked softly, innocently.
Head was canted to the side ever so slightly, long fingers threading delicately through the pin straight tresses. Even as he combed through them they billowed with a soft breeze. The motion would cease as he was addressed, chin turning toward Sean to bring those covered eyes back to his friend.
“Yes. I have been growing it out for many years.”
Blue eyes continued to watch those slender fingers moving through the ebony strands. He smiled softly at how the hair billowed and how they stopped. A flutter in his chest happened as the other man moving to ‘look’ at him.
“It is lovely. My hair is short of the sides and back, but about as long as your fingers on the top.”
Fingers would finally tumble from his hair and fall easily to his own lap as he listened, giving all of his attention to Sean. Listening to what Sean told him about what his hair looked like, his fingers itched to touch it for himself.
“I bet it is lovely,” he murmured quietly.
“Mmm, thank you. It can be unruly when it’s humid.” Sean whispered.
Then he drew his lower lip into his mouth, biting it a little at his thought of wanting to feel Kong’s fingers in his hair. Such dangerous thinking.
The pad of his thumb pressed upon the opposite forefinger pad in an effort to give his hands something to do other than what they wanted. His chin would drop, eyes lowering to his own lap again. “Mine too,” came the reply.
Humidity was terrible on hair. Did Sean’s hair look soft? Did it shine in the sun? What color was it? All of these questions bubbles up at once and none of them had any resolve.
Kong still had no idea when what his friend looked like. It seemed too personal to inquire, to ask to touch him, touch his face to see for himself.
Sean breathed as he quietly watched Kong. He could not quite imagine how Kong perceived the world or how he could be so far from perhaps his home.
Then he decided on something that could be just fine. He looked around and saw no one else around. Carefully, he got up and stepped over to Kong. Quietly he knelt down beside him and whispered.
“Would you like to touch my hair?” Butterflies danced in his stomach.
The feeling of presence nearing crawled over his skin. Sean’s scent was overwhelming, in a good way. He leaned backward slightly to accommodate for the new, unexpected nearness. Whispered words met his ears. Kong swallowed, emitted a breath and licked over his bottom lip.
“Yes,” came the reply. He would, but not out where others could see. Even if there were none around he was sure someone could still see them from a wagon or a perch nearby. It was too risky.
Sean looked up at Kong, watching the silent language he had learned long ago when he began to do readings. He could see the other man’s wanting to touch his hair in how he breathed and licked his lower lip. It was an amateur talent he had.
A smile softly tugged at the medium’s lips. There was hesitation, not moving and he understood having been in a similar situation in the past. Then Sean breathed deeply and cleared his throat as he knelt there for a few more moments. “I think the desert chill is beginning to settle in. Would you like to step inside my wagon and continue our conversation?”
There was always a way to cover with words.
Nodding, Kong emitted a breath of relief.
His smile began to grow. Excitement settled heavily into his chest and his heart fluttered. Hand reached to grasp his walking stick, using that as a bit of leverage to hoist himself from the stool. Standing at his full height he waited for Sean to lead.
Conversing inside would be easier for this suddenly interesting conversation.
Seeing the smile, Sean rose to stand after Kong did. The stool could stay where it was and he’d put it away later. “It’s only a few steps,” he spoke softly as he walked over to the steps of his wagon where he had been sitting.
He picked up the leaf, opened the door, and stepped up and into his wagon. Sean turned and held the door open with the hand that held the leaf and held out his free one to the other man. “There are two steps before you reach the main flooring.”
Color spread across his cheeks, excited at the idea of a private conversation. And maybe possibilities.
Waiting for the sound of footsteps, the creak and settle of wood, Kong listened. He nodded as if to say he understood and a single step, then another, would carry him closer to the wagon. Graceful and light was each footfall.
His stick pressed gently upon the wood planks that made up the stairs and one by one he ascended, finding that hand outstretched. He took the guidance with gratitude. “Thank you.”
Once inside the wagon he felt a little more secure. Waiting, so as not to disturb anything, he continued to hold onto the hand of his friends.
Sean’s wagon was modest and well kept. They stood in a small seating area with two chairs and a small table and a built in bench with a cushions. Next back was a small area to prepare small meals and keep the wagon warm. In the back was his bunk, wash basin, and storage.
With a quiet use of his magic, the magus made the sitting area seem a touch larger to easier accommodate the two men.
He watched Kong as he climbed up. Smiling, he loosely curled his fingers around the other man’s. “You’re quite welcome.” Sean eased Kong inside and closed the door behind him.
“I have a table and two chairs to your left and a cushioned bench to the right.” Then Sean breathed, liking the privacy and the feeling of Kong’s hand. There was the scent of drying tea leaves, day-old biscuits, and a bit of cologne from the bottle by Sean’s wash basin.
So many smells evolved in his vision all at once as if warring for his attention. Never had he been in the wagon of another long enough to get a feel for the intimate scents and sounds that came with each house. He was honored to be able to experience this one.
Making himself find a shred of reality again, Kong decided where to sit. He opted for the chair as Sean should have the comfort of the bench, which meant letting go of his friend to find the chair. It creaked some beneath him but held sturdy.
His stick was set aside and Kong waited to see what would happen next.
Sean was used to the scents by far, but he hoped his wagon smelled pleasant and not overwhelming. He hoped first impression were good.
Once Kong has set his stick aside, Sean breathed. He hadn’t wanted to let go of Kong’s hand. But also didn’t want to intrude.
“...would you still like to touch my hair?” Sean asked again softly.
A nod would come.
Kong inhaled, exhaling deeply, as his smile erupted again. It was perhaps a bold gesture, hopefully one that wouldn’t be taken out of context. “Yes, if you would still let me.” Hands had fallen into lap to wait, but now he was shifting, waiting for Sean to find a seat close.
Once his friend was seated the timid exploration would begin. Hands would lift, cautious at first, palms toward Sean and fingers together. The appendages would hang in the air waiting for guidance.
Sean’s smile deepened at seeing Kong smile again. Perhaps it was bold, but they were alone in his wagon. “Yes.” he breathed in a simple response.
Pulling the other chair over, he sat down and settled. Sean watched Kong and soon he bowed his head. Then he gently cradled the heels of Kong’s hands in his and brought them slowly forward.
“I am bringing your hands to the sides of my head,” Sean spoke again as he brought Kong’s hands were he described. He wanted the other man to be free to feel his hair. There was the building of trust already laid out.
Nearly shuddering at the touch, Kong inhaled. It was delicate, yet strong, those hands cradling his own. Skin smooth yet calloused in a place or two. Hands would move as guided toward the sides of Sean’s head and then to that hair.
Nodding, Kong exhaled and waited.
The skin at the sides of Sean’s head was warm, supple. He could feel it crest his wrist. Fingers dove eagerly into the hair described earlier and he found it to be as soft as he’d imagined. His heart fluttered.
“What color is it?” He inquired in the breath of a sparrow, afraid that any louder might spoil the tenderness of the moment.
Sean’s thumbs caressed the sides of Kong’s hands just slightly. He was gentle and careful.. He himself held back a sigh as the other man’s hands soon touched the sides of his head.
Closing his eyes, Sean breathed. Having someone touch his hair was a luxury since he rarely entertained physical contact outside of simple greetings and brief hand-holds with his patrons.
“...Brown...chestnut brown mostly. Some of it is a little lighter.” Sean spoke softly.
“Like the earth,” Kong murmured, voice deep and throaty, nearly a purr in the observation. A nod and lithe fingers would make their way carefully through the chestnut brown strands. He noted the length, the thickness, the texture. The scent was unique to the owner and he appreciated it wholly.
Taking his time he touched the crown, the sides, fingers would dance across the hair at the nape. Behind the ears, across the forehead.
“Yes,” Sean rasped. He could easily be enthralled at how Kong’s touched his hair. His own hands remained just below the other man’s in case they were needed. His jaw loosened as he listened to Kong.
Those lithe fingers at his nape sent an unexpected but pleasant chill down his spine. Butterflies fluttered and danced in his chest. But he breathed through how he felt, not wanting to interrupt this moment.
Head would tilt as if he were listening to something. He soaked in as much of that softness as he was able, knowing it would probably be the last time he was allowed so close to anyone.
Finally, making what he might consider a bold move, his fingers slipped down to touch the skin at Sean’s cheeks. With a small, playful grin he cupped his friend’s face. “And undoubtedly beautiful, too. What about you is not perfect?”
Sean wanted to be this close to someone. He wanted the mutual desire. But he knew it was uncomfortable with the fears and thoughts. These feelings must be natural.
As Kong’s fingers touched his cheeks, Sean lifted his head in approval and want. Then he let out a breath tinged with emotion and also happiness as the other man cupped his face. He smiled and opened his eyes at Kong’s words.
Taking his own bold move, Sean reached over and gently brushed the pads of his thumbs along the apples of Kong’s cheeks. “Likewise. You are quite perfect.” He grinned, his cheeks rising underneath Kong’s fingers.
Once more his breath hitched in his chest. That brush of his skin by tender fingers had his mouth drying and color flooding into skin to warm it. “I am far from it,” he explained, though his tone was humble.
The patient exploration continued a moment longer and then he began to draw back, wanting to give Sean space. “Thank you,” Kong began, “for letting me touch your hair and your face, to see you for the first time.”
“Then we both can be imperfect,” Sean replied with a grin. His hands slipped away as to not push anything beyond that small bold move.
Then he took another chance and briefly and lightly cupped Kong’s hands with his own. “You’re welcome,” Sean breathed, “I am thankful for you to see me, Kong.”
Sean’s palms and fingers were warm. His own skin was better for it, though he usually ran a bit colder than others did. The color in his cheeks hadn’t disappeared. Eyes would lower, as if he were looking at their combined hands.
This was new for him. Holding hands was not something he did at all; touching hands, shaking hands, that was different and part of the life here.
His eyes remained on Kong’s face, looking to see if he had overstepped. He hoped to goodness he hadn’t but he feared that he had. Those beautiful hands and fingers were soft and smooth. There was a tautness to them as well. His cheeks were warm with color. The butterflies were bold in his chest, flicking and fluttering.
“Please,” Sean breathed and paused, “Tell me if I am offending, frightening you.” He relaxed his hands, hoping to not seem like he was imprisoning Kong’s.
Shaking his head in a slow motion, finally he would lift his chin and allow those blindfolded eyes to find Sean’s. “You do not make me feel those things at all,” he confessed quietly. “The opposite, actually.” He felt wanted, needed, beautiful for once.
“But you need more than I can give you. You need someone who can appreciate you for all that you have.” He didn’t move to break away from that hold, only stating what was in his heart and on his tongue.
Blinking slowly, Sean looked into Kong’s blindfolded eyes. It felt as if the butterflies in his chest had become one large one that embraced his heart. Words were failing him.
His eyebrowed templed with concern. How could the other man know what he needed? It had to be insecurity. Breathing, Sean gently squeezed Kong’s hands. “And yet...perhaps...I think you appreciate me. I’m the one who should be humbled and feel lacking.”
It seemed as if Sean could see right through him, could read his thoughts or see the sparkling flourish of his aura. Around them a small breeze began to dance, pushing gently at paper, clothing, their hair. Fingers would squeeze fingers in lieu of words.
“You could never be lacking,” he replied, shaking his head.
“And I do appreciate you. You are kind, thoughtful, considerate.” And he knew he could never measure up. Who wanted anything to do with a man who couldn’t even make it a whole day without falling over something?
He could read body language, hear the ways of words from his many years that encompassed sorrow, anger, happiness, peace, lack of self-esteem or self-worth. The living and the dead felt both in varying degrees. Yet the man sitting in front of him was much more vibrant. Sean stilled for a moment as he heard and felt the breeze. It must have been Kong since none of the windows or doors were open. Then he smiled as he felt the other man’s fingers squeeze his.
“You will never be lacking either,” he whispered, almost echoing.
“You are those things as well...along with peaceful and strong. I think there is a fire in you that no one sees.” Sean liked to believe in those who had trouble believing in themselves. There was something, a strength about Kong that kept him from wanting to pull away.
Those words. They came from an observer, someone who has only experienced a shred of what he was and could be, and yet Sean was having this conversation and not running for the hills or having him committed. Being with someone of the same sex in any capacity was illegal, and not accepted, in many places and yet this —
Nodding at Sean, Kong finally did pull back. Hands would slide from that comfort and lift, fingers dancing across the knot at the back of his own head that secured the blindfold. It was something he’d never shown anyone but if they were going to do anything, Sean needed to know. Needed to see.
The fabric began to slide down. Closed eyes were exposed and the black strip was set into his lap.
And then those once brown eyes fluttered open, slowly, to reveal the milky color beneath. To reveal the history and the pledge to protect what he was.
It took strength to leave one’s home, to venture out among strangers, overcome the fear of being at a perceived disadvantage. But more so - sitting with someone of the same sex and speaking such delicate yet enduring things.
Nodding in return, Sean pulled back as well and frowned a little as he let his own hand fall to his knees as Kong’s slid away. He blinked as Kong removed the blindfold and he saw those eyes open. Instead of clear with true pigment, Sean saw them - clouded and opaque. Almost instantly was that desire to pull the other man into his arms. But he resisted.
“May I….touch your face?” Sean whispered with a frown.
Shoulders would straighten. There he sat, more vulnerable than he had been in his life to a near stranger and yet he felt trust, deep and sincere. Those eyes would blink, blank and damaged, and peer in the direction Sean’s voice came from.
Nodding, Kong did his best to relax. He was nervous, but who wouldn’t be just then? For once he was glad not to be able to observe the expression on someone’s face.
Watching, he was patient and willing to take a ‘no’ for an answer. There was no reason not to trust him. There was no ill will.
Sean was nervous too, but also terribly giving.
Then after seeing the nod and hearing the ‘yes’, he edged his chair a few inches closer and reached over to softly cup Kong’s face in his hands. His thumbs would brush the other man’s cheeks. Sean continued to look into those clouded, blank, unseeing eyes.
A risky move was taken as he leaned in and spoke. “Your eyes do not define you. Please forgive me for what I am about to do next. I only want to express something.” Sean whispered softly and drew very close, his breath falling upon Kong’s cheek before lifting his chin and pressing a light kiss to Kong’s forehead.
Sean’s hands were softly trembling as they embraced Kong’s face.
There was a bit of moisture beading at the lip of his eyelid, nearly spilling over the barrier. That press of lips left warmth upon the disconnect, and his heart and soul felt more hollow in its absence. Whatever net Sean had cast, Kong had been willingly ensnared and there was no getting free. He knew it.
White eyes shimmered. His face was blank and void of emotion as he tried to process what he was going through; a mixture of emotions waged and battled for dominance.
Closing eyes would cause that moisture to finally slip over the edges and cascade across unblemished skin. He opened his eyes a moment later and leaned into those strong hands, giving in.
Sean pulled his face away enough to look at Kong’s and he felt a pang of emotion as he saw the tears forming in his eyes. Another touch of beauty appeared as those white eyes shimmered with the moisture. The blankness of the other man’s face frightened Sean. Had he hurt him?
Once the tears fell, he gently wiped them away with his thumbs. Sean was oblivious to the tears falling from his own eyes.
“I have hurt you…” His voice was thready with emotion as he grimaced and still safely held Kong’s face in his hands.
There was a silent moment of beauty there shared between them, silent and raw. It was an artistic moment lost into the scatter of fleeting seconds.
As the tears were wiped free from his skin he found himself craving that touch more, nearly obsessively.
“You could not hurt anyone,” Kong assured Sean, a smile blooming in spite of the tears. Enduring the pain of a heart seemed worse than losing your sight. But worth it. “I would tell you if you had.”
Those eyes remained open, sightless, but still desperate to observe. His hands would lift and settle over Sean’s upon his face.
It was bittersweet beauty. So much not said, not acted upon waiting.
There was still a light trembling to Sean’s hands. Kong’s skin was so smooth and lovely underneath his fingers.
“All right,” he breathed and smiled back. He wanted to kiss the other man, embrace him. But even at this point in their friendship and in a private setting, Sean was still fearful.
A faint shiver went down Sean’s spine as Kong’s hands settled upon his own. “I think,” he began and paused to breathe again. “Perhaps it would be best for me to escort you to your wagon. Is that okay?”
Pulling away was a challenge but he managed. Fingers would find and lift the cloth, tying it again over his eyes. A nod would come. He didn’t feel as if this was an end to something beautiful, just a mutual conclusion; it was a piece set down, willing to be picked up again.
“Yes, thank you.” Words we’re still soft. He waited for Sean to pull away before standing, taking up his walking stick.
Sean’s hands reluctantly fell away to wipe away his own tears as he watched as Kong tied the cloth over his eyes. Perhaps they could speak like this, touch again in the future. His heart fluttered with the large butterfly that embraced it.
“You’re welcome.” His were a whisper as he rose to stand and moved away, chair in hand. Then he waited, letting the other man have space to move before stepping alongside to open the door.
He did not want to part but it was necessary and inevitable. This was a new venture for the pair of them and he wanted nothing to spoil it or to frighten each other with brazen moves. Time apart would do them both good, and it wasn’t as if they resided far away - they were only two wagons apart from each other.
Approaching the door, stick swaying from side to side, Kong stepped out into the chill. Down the few steps and to the ground, he waited for Sean to lead, an arm winding around his friend for guidance.
The fear would subside. Sean hoped it would with the new facet of their friendship. He felt shaky with emotion, excitement, and fear. But he steeled himself.
Quietly, Sean had stepped out and was careful to watch to see if Kong needed assistance exiting. He breathed back a smile as he began to lead and his friend winding an arm around him. “Two wagons this way I believe.” He took casual steps as he led the other man to his wagon.
As close as they could be in public, Kong walked proudly by Sean’s side. It wasn’t unusual, this gesture of being lead by someone - man or woman - and so he thought nothing of it as they strolled. They were nearly the same height so they matched pace quite easily, to Kong’s delight.
Finally they reached the steps of his wagon and it was then Kong pulled away. “Thank you for everything,” he murmured, nearly purring. “I will see you again soon.” That was a promise.
Sean laid a hand on Kong’s arm, a gesture that would not be unusual to reassure someone. It felt calming to lead the other man. He smiled softly to himself as he looked over at him. Slowing and coming to a stop at the steps of Kong’s wagon, he felt peaceful. “You’re very welcome.” Sean whispered, letting his hands fall to his sides. That near purr did not go unnoticed. “Likewise.” It was a wonderful promise. “Have a good night.”
“You as well, my friend.”
Around them the wind would pick up a bit. A few leaves would dance in a lazy orbit as they stood until Kong turned and broke away, ascending the few steps to his own wagon. With a glance over his shoulder he took a moment to listen to the wind before disappearing into the darkness of the abode.
Nodding quietly, Sean stilled as the wind picked up. He watched the leaves dance. He looked back over at Kong, making sure he entered his wagon without a problem. A sigh escaped his lips as he gazed at Kong for a moment more before turning and journeying back to his wagon and stepping inside for the night.