Published: November 14, 2018
Warnings: Some flirting, talk of lap dance.
Blurb: Wage and Sundae catch up over some routine maintenance. Spoilers for Grieve in Blood.
Sundae ran a hand through his hair, staring at the immense pile of sludge in front of them. This was, by far, his least favorite part of his job. Everything about the Haven cheered him immensely, from the populace, environment, structure, the safety - it was all lovely... except this. But it was a worthy price to pay to keep the entire thing moving smoothly.
To his left stood Wage, relaxed, leaning on one foot. He seemed so much more amused at the mess they had to clean up. For a second, Sundae almost envied that about him. It was hard to look on this positively.
Wage strode over to the edge of the cliff, grabbing a shovel. "You gonna go in the pit?"
"You can," Sundae deftly told him, although he did pick up a bucket.
Bracing himself, Wage slid down the side of the hole, stopping himself before he dipped into the sludge. Calmly, as they'd done this a dozen times before, he dug the shovel into the goo. It bubbled aimlessly as he brought the shovel around, dumping it into the bucket. Sundae didn't flinch, even when the weight pulled at his arms. Neither spoke as Wage shovelled a few more scoops into the bucket.
"So," he began, as Sundae pulled the bucket back and poured the goo into the incinerator.
"So?" he prompted, holding the bucket back out.
Wage grinned over the next shovelful. "How'd the raid on the Overseers go?"
"Oh, that." Sundae glanced down into the goo. They probably wouldn't be here long enough for him to tell the full story, but he could certainly give a shortened version. "Didn't go as expected, but obviously, I'm still alive. Came close, though."
"Jubilee got the drop on me. I don't know when he got so - good? But it was a real challenge. I would've probably been captured if Morning Star hadn't interfered."
"Wow, sounds like it was intense! I should've come."
Sundae blinked, moving the next batch away. Something about the idea of Wage coming to a battlefield tugged at things inside of him that he wasn't sure he was ready to scrutinize yet. "It was quite dangerous. It was probably better you didn't. Had something happened to me, someone would have had to tend to the Haven."
"Mm, sure." Wage's grin was still on his face. "I guess that's fair. Did Morning Star succeed?"
Did he? Sundae honestly hadn't been that aware of his plan in the first place. At most he'd cobbled together an idea that Morning Star was going to fight the Overseers, and that'd been good enough for Sundae. Any excuse to take a cheap shot at them, he'd take. Unfortunately, no Overseers had been overthrown during the battle, nor did anything really change - except Morning Star's invitation. Hmm.
"I'm not really that sure?" he finally answered. "We didn't kill anyone, or permanently maim them. Morning Star received an invitation to join the Overseers."
"Think he'll take it?"
"It could go either way at this point. It'll be a while before we have any confirmation, though. He's still badly shaken after the entire ordeal."
Wage's smile grew a few inches. "Wanna take bets?"
Sundae frowned. "You know I don't like bets."
"Yeah, but I do! C'mon, Sundae. We don't have to bet anything serious."
He sighed, watching Wage scoop up the very last bit of goo. It was deposited into the bucket without a second thought. "Fine."
"Sweet! Okay, I'm betting that Morning Star will take the invite - and if I win... you have to eat some of the waste."
Sundae's head snapped up from the goo, "What?"
"Yeah! It won't kill you!" Wage paused, smile fading slightly, "Wait, it won't, right?"
"It won't, but that's not the point!" Sundae pointed into the bucket, "I'm not going to eat this!"
"That's disgusting! It'd be eating my own Magninium residue, that's horrible!"
Wage leaned forwards, reaching into the bucket, "Watch, it's not that gross."
"What are you - Wage, no!"
Sundae watched helplessly, jaw open, as the other scooped up a handful of the residue, stared at it for a few seconds, and then shoved the entire palmful into his mouth. He rested a finger over his mouth as he chewed thoughtfully, humming. Sundae stared. Wage paused to swallow.
"See?" his brilliant grin returned.
"No!" Sundae threw the bucket to the ground. "That is repulsive! You just - just because you ate it doesn't mean I will!"
"Awww, come on-"
"Fine, fine. If I win my bet, then you have toooo..." Wage trailed off, glancing around the area as if it held ideas or answers for him.
Scowling, Sundae followed his stare. They were located in the woods deep behind the main administration building of the Haven. Back here, there was nothing but machinery and badlands, where they'd set up massive structures that served as emergency generators for the Haven in case Sundae was temporarily compromised.
They ran effectively, but processing so much Magninium left over a gooey, black slime. Said slime was unaffected by magic, and had to be incinerated by hand. Hence, here they were, finishing up the week's chores. Sundae scoffed and dumped the bucket onto the ground next to the pit, turning on his heel and heading back towards the building. Wage's footsteps sounded behind him as the other jogged to catch up.
"Sorry, it's just taking me a while to come up with the perfect bet," Wage remarked, tone easy, smile genuine.
"It's gotta be something to really wow you, yanno? Maybe tell me your bet first."
"My bet..." Sundae glanced at Wage from the corners of his eyes. "If Morning Star doesn't take the invite, then you have to...."
He needed to come up with something good. Shit. He was having the same issues as Wage was. The bet needed to be outlandish enough to be clearly a joke, but couldn't be disgusting or annoying enough to actually serve as a deterrence. It wasn't like they could change the course of the invitation's fate on their own.
Wage unlocked the back door of headquarters and motioned Sundae in. It closed and locked behind them both, and the sound of the padlock clicking sparked an idea.
"-You have to lock yourself in an office for a day and have to do all your work from there," Sundae barked out.
Wage leaned against a wall, raising an eyebrow. "That's your bet?"
"Yes, and I'm sticking for it."
"Alright." Wage pointed at Sundae's chest. "If I win, you have to give me a lapdance."
"Wh-" Sundae froze.
"I didn't stutter!"
"Are you - no!"
Wage grinned, leaning back against the wall once more. "What? Mine's less intrusive than yours. I have to stay cooped up in my office all day! But all you have to do is grind in my lap a little. That's much shorter and easier to do!"
"Yours is inappropriate!"
"Maybe it is!"
Sundae huffed, turning to head to his office. He was, honestly, more angry about Wage's nonchalance about his bet than the other's stupid request. His made sense! It had come to him in a strike of inspiration! How unfair.
Besides, he sincerely doubted Morning Star would take the invitation. He just seemed too skittish to want a leadership position. The idea of people looking to him for guidance seemed to scare Morning Star to a degree... then again, he'd been eager to give orders during the battle. So which was it then? Was Morning Star the shy, conflict-averse follower that the rumors said he was? Or was he just waiting for the perfect moment to strike like a cobra, building up a cute and helpless persona?
Sundae sighed, putting a hand over his forehead. He wanted to be two steps ahead of the curve to be able to accurately move the Haven out of the COR's way at every chance, but this was eluding him. The last thing he'd expected was a Blessing, and from Pyatiugolnik, of all Mags. Not only was there someone else on the Blessed tiers that he had to contend with, but it was someone with equal power to his own. If a Pya-Blessed Fragment took over the Overseers as their leader, the Haven's days were numbered.
It was stressful to think about, immensely. He just wanted to keep them all safe. Why was that so hard for anyone to respect?
...Well, he did show up out of nowhere and punched a few Overseer's lights out. Alright, they were slightly justified this time in wanting some form of revenge.
Sundae blinked. There were hands on his shoulders, attempting to massage them. He glanced over and was met with Wage's face, slightly too close to his own.
"You just kinda stood there and started sighing to yourself," Wage responded, shrugging, although he didn't remove his hands. "You're tense so I decided to help you out a little. But maybe something a bit more raunchy might bring that tension out of your-"
"-Wage!" Sundae pried the other's hands off, "What's gotten into you lately? You're never this explicit!"
He stared at the other, arms crossed, waiting for an answer. Wage stared back, eyes slightly wide. He glanced to the floor, smile still on his face, albeit somewhat plastic. An awkward silence filled the air between them. Sundae could faintly hear water drip from a sink a few rooms over. Was there no one else in the building?
"Sorry," Wage finally said after a few more minutes, not meeting Sundae's eyes, voice calmer. "I guess it just got... real for a bit there. Like, you going out to fight the Overseers and stuff. Every time you do something like that I get worried you won't come back."
"I always will, you know that," Sundae spat out robotically.
"Yeah, you always have, but like, I dunno. It's stupid, yeah, but this time just seemed especially dangerous, all things considered... like it was just you and two other people against all the Overseers."
"All of them didn't show up. We only fought... less than ten in total."
Wage glanced up, finally meeting his eyes. "Yeah, but if the battle went on long enough, you would've had to fight them all. And you said Jubilee almost managed to get you! Like, it just - fucks me up to think about it, I guess."
Sundae narrowed his eyes, "And your response is to aggressively flirt with me?"
"Well," Wage gave a high-pitched inhale, "yeah!"
"Well, how am I supposed to read into that, then?"
Silence. Wage stared at Sundae, mouth open slightly.
He frowned. "Now what?"
"How do you think you should be reading into it?"
"I don't know!" Sundae bristled, "That's why I'm asking you!"
"Oh my stars," Wage covered his face.
He slid his hands down his face, "Sundae, you are- you are one dense motherfucker, but I'd lie if I said that didn't turn me on."
"Wh- what does that have to do with this!?"
Wage's smile was back. "Hmm, wanna take a bet about it?"
"Stars above and below, no more bets," he grumbled, turning on a heel to storm off again.
Wage followed easily. "You sure? I can do something else. Like lick your boots."
"You could like, hit me with a riding crop, tell me I'm a slut-"
"I am NOT LISTENING."
"Oooh, yeah, ignore me harder baby, that gets me going."
Sundae burst into laughter, doubling over briefly. He didn't know why that had been the final crack in the dam, but it was, and it felt good to let out something. The bottleneck was opened, even if only briefly. He leaned against a wall, snickering into his shoulder, Wage drawing in close.
"See?" the other purred, "Told you you're tense. You just needed a good joke to get you relaxed again."
Sundae hid his face in an arm. It had to be the worst joke Wage ever made. Probably the nastiest, too. And he'd still laughed at it, at the sheer absurdity of the situation. Wage was good at that; good at spinning everything into a funnier, new light. He was bright to be around.
"Hey, what's that?"
Sundae pulled his arm from his face briefly. Wage's expression had melted halfway into concern, smile fading, as he took ahold of Sundae's wrist, pulling his arm close. Brushing the sleeve up the arm, Wage hissed at the sight of an ugly, red wound.
"How long have you had this? Did Jubilee do this?"
"Yes." Sundae calmly pulled the sleeve back down. "Rendgen magic. It'll heal in time. Using my own or other Fragments' magic will only worsen the healing process, so don't try to supercede me and send some healers on my tail."
He caught the concern that flashed on Wage's face before the other dropped into a more neutral tone. "Alright, I trust what you're saying. Good thing I was the one who shovelled today, yeah?"
"Yes, a good thing."
"...But you promise you'll come talk to me if it doesn't heal, right?"
Sundae raised an eyebrow. "Why would I? You don't have any expertise in healing magic."
"Well, yeah," Wage rubbed an arm, "but I worry about you. I just want to know you're going to be okay."
"Alright, then, listen." Sundae stood up straight, putting a hand on Wage's shoulder. The other stared up hopefully. "I will always be okay. Not just because I will be, but because my job, my life depends on it. If I falter, I risk the stability of thousands of lives. Therefore, even if I am visibly injured or upset, I am still okay in the end, by virtue of my dut-"
"-Sundae!" Wage almost sounded like him, in the moment, "That's not what I wanted to hear, you moron!"
He loudly huffed, "I am no moron."
"You sure act like one when it comes to any self-care," Wage muttered, pushing Sundae towards the stairs.
He glanced over his shoulder at them, "Now where are you spiriting me away towards?"
"Your BEDROOM! You're obviously sleep deprived. Go get some rest."
"I assure you, I am-"
"You can spit out your little 'okay' speech at me all you want, but I don't believe you!"
Sundae balked, "I'm telling the truth!"
"Shut it! No more talking! Only sleeps!"
Wage dragged the bedroom door shut behind them. It was a spare, guest room they used if someone stayed after hours for too long, and lacked all of the personal trappings that Sundae had grown comfortable with in his own house. Of course, Wage ignored all these details, instead stepping up towards Sundae and intimidating him into sitting. How funny. A man who had attempted to murder the Overseers followed his subordinate's wishes without a protest.
What did that say about him, he wondered?
"No, I know that look in your eyes," Wage interjected, wagging a finger in his face. "Stop it! Stop overthinking! Lie down and go to bed!"
"Wage, this is absurd. I have files I need to sort, I think I have a meeting today, and-"
"That can all be rearranged! Sleep."
The other climbed onto the bed next to him, pushing him down. Sundae huffed but followed the other's guidance, staring at Wage as he was pushed to the mattress and had blankets strewn over him. When Sundae attempted to crawl out, Wage simply threw an arm over his chest and dragged him back down. It took a few more tries before Sundae realized he had walked into a clever trap.
He grumbled. Wage didn't respond, only nestled in closer, burying his face in Sundae's chest. This was intimate in a way he didn't really expect. He didn't really... cuddle people like this.
Wage was warm, though.
Sundae stared bitterly down at the other's hair. He still wanted to get out and get back to working on keeping the Haven up-to-date, safe, and exciting, but the bed was... really warm. As was Wage. It was comforting.
He grumbled, hugging the other lightly. "Fine. You win for now."
"Oh, Sundae." he could feel Wage's smile against his chest. "I always win."