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Coriander

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“Why?” Roger snapped, fed up from the argument, “Why the hell do you do this? What part of ‘leave me alone’ is too hard to understand?”

“Because being alone doesn’t help!” Bertie yelled back, “You need people, Roger. You need your friends, even if you don’t want to admit it.”

“I don’t need to rely on anyone, I’m better off alone!”

“That isn’t true.” Bertie growled, “That isn’t true at all, Roger, why won’t you let people in?”

“Why should I?” he crossed his arms defensively, on edge.

“Because we like you?” Bertie glared, “Because we need you, damn it, you’re important to us!”

“Don’t you dare lie to me.” Roger growled, “Not about that. I’m under no illusions about what you all think of me-“

“You have no idea what we think of you!” Bertie snapped, “God damn it, Roger, it infuriates me to hear you say things like that!”

“Why?” Roger demanded, “Because of your bleeding heart, always pitying the lonely asshole? Thinking there must be some secret reason I’m a prick? Well there isn’t, I’m just a dick. So I don’t need your pity, Bertie, and I don’t need your kind words or your fu-“

“God damn it, Roger, it’s because I’m in love with you!” Bertie snapped, frustration boiling over, “I fucking love you, okay? Is that so hard to believe?” Roger had finally fallen silent, the look of anger replaced by something close to incredulity.

“Don’t...” his voice cracked, and he looked almost pained, “Don’t just say something like that.”

“It’s true.” Bertie said, not backing down, not dropping Roger’s gaze, “I love you. And, I know I’m not the ideal, but I love you so much, even if you don’t love me back.”

“Bertie, I-“

“Do you get it now?” Bertie asked, trying desperately to cling to the anger lest the regret creep in to replace it, “Do you understand how important you are?”

“I-“

“I-I understand if you want me gone, that’s fine, I would never force my feelings on you,” Bertie said, resigned but unwavering, “but I need you to see that you’re loved , dammit.”

“Shut up.” Roger said forcefully, but Bertie shook his head.

“No. Not until I make you understand-“ He didn’t get to finish his sentence, because Roger had closed the distance between in two steps, grabbing his face and forcing him to meet his gaze.

“Why do you have to make everything so fucking hard?” Roger’s teeth were bared, and Bertie opened his mouth to shoot back a scathing remark, but Roger hauled him in before he could get a word in, kissing him with enough force to steal all the breath from his lungs. He was helpless to do anything but surrender, melting into his kiss and letting his hands settle at Roger’s waist, just like he’d always dreamed of doing.

“If I find out you’re lying,” Roger growled against his lips, “I’ll throw your bones off the Bridge.”

“Does this mean...?” Bertie managed between heated kisses, dazed and disbelieving, and Roger nodded.

“I didn’t think my feelings appropriate to act on.” he said roughly, his breathing a little ragged in a way that sent Bertie’s pulse skyrocketing, “For a lot of reasons, but mostly because I didn’t think you could ever love me back. You have no reason to, I’m a reclusive asshole who takes his job too seriously and you’re the beautiful and perfect gardener that steals everyone’s hearts

“You’re impossible not to love.” Bertie breathed, the words filling him with a warmth that had him hauling Roger back in to kiss him again. He’d only had one taste of those lips but he was already addicted, “Roger, you’re incredible. I have a mental bouquet I imagine for you when I’m working. Acacia for concealed love, camellia for longing, red carnations for admiration, daffodils for unequaled love, gloxinia for love at first sight, lilies for beauty-“

“I think I get it.” Roger laughed softly, cheeks pink, “Damn it, why do you have to be so sweet?”

“Part of my charm.” he smiled, leaning in to smell his hair, and Roger huffed.

“Well cut it out.”

“No.” he grinned cheekily, and Roger’s eyelids lowered slightly, and he tilted his head up to meet his eyes.

“Then I’ll have to make you.” he said lowly, and Bertie had the sudden image of Roger with small white flowers woven into his hair. Coriander, for lust. Then his train of thought was interrupted when Roger clutched Bertie close again, reclaiming his lips and dragging him back into the thrall of his kiss. Bertie was enchanted, unable to resist succumbing to his touch. Roger was everywhere, his warmth, his scent, his touch. It was addicting, and Bertie couldn’t have held himself back if he tried.

“R- Roger .” Bertie groaned, hands grasping at his slender waist as their breaths mingled , Roger so unbelievably warm against him, “Roger, goddamn, why did we wait so long?”

“Question later, kiss me now.” Roger yanked his head down to better kiss him, gripping his face tight like he thought Bertie might pull away any moment. As if he had the strength.

“I’d kiss you forever if I could.” he slipped his arms tighter around his waist, pulling the smaller man flush against him, until there wasn’t an inch of space between them. Roger fitted to him perfectly, like he was made to be there, like Bertie was made to hold him.

“Forever, huh?” Roger grinned like he was sharing a private joke, seizing Bertie’s lower lip between his teeth and tugging teasingly, earning him a quiet noise of absolute need.

“Roger.” Bertie wanted everything from this man, “H-How far do you want this to go tonight? Because I...” he flushed, but Roger seemed to understand what he was trying to say. He softened for a moment, pulling back slightly to look Bertie in the eyes, and Bertie felt his knees go weak. Roger was flushed and disheveled, lips reddened and eyes dark with want. He was gorgeous. And against all odds, this mystery man of the sea wanted him .

“I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give.” he said quietly, soft but full of sincerity, “A few moments ago, I thought you were unattainable. Even this kiss has been more than I ever expected.”

“Aw, you can be sweet.” Bertie couldn’t help but tease, “When you try.” Roger glared, although there was no real heat to it. Even so, it didn’t prepare Bertie for the light swat to his ass, and when he opened his mouth to gasp, Roger took the opportunity to reclaim his lips in another searing kiss. Bertie melted against him, grabbing him by the hips and yanking him close again, wanting to make him feel even a little bit of the overwhelming desire coursing through him. Roger’s tongue swiped across his bottom lip in a wordless request for access, and Bertie granted it easily, opening his mouth with a soft noise as Roger’s tongue explored his mouth with eagerness. Bertie was gone. He was so gone for this man, how could he have lived this long without having kissed him? How had he ever survived not being able to hold him?

“Roger.” he whimpered, not having the mental capacity to be embarrassed about it. Roger made a low sound of want, pulling away to press a trail of kisses from his lips to his jaw to his throat. Bertie let his head fall back with a quiet noise he refused to admit was a moan, and Roger shivered.

“I’m bad for you.” he growled against the delicate skin of his throat, all sharp eyes and hot breath, “I’m bad news, heartbreak waiting to happen. You should run while you can.”

“Never.” Bertie breathed, daring to reach up to thread his fingers through Roger’s inky hair, “Never, never ever.”

“I’ve got baggage.” Roger warned, and Bertie pressed a kiss to his head.

“So do I.” he murmured, trying so hard to maintain a clear head with Roger’s lips doing their damndest to mark his throat. Bertie shivered, imagining himself absolutely covered with bruises and hickies from Roger, of Roger proudly wearing matching marks, proof that they belonged to each other now, although Bertie had been Roger’s from day one. He accidentally tugged a little on his hair, and the sound Roger made in response went straight to Bertie’s lower regions. Roger looked a little embarrassed, but Bertie was just falling harder and harder.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to let you go once I have you.” Roger murmured, recovering easily, and Bertie felt warmth spreading through his chest at the sincere words.

“The feeling is mutual.” he grinned, “And you’ve had me since I first saw you.”

“Have I?”

“I saw how beautiful you were when you introduced yourself.” he murmured, “I was floored, all I could do for a solid minute was stare. All I could think was ‘ holy smokes ’. That’s why I was such a nervous mess during introductions. And then, you looked at me with those piercing eyes and said in that non-nonsense voice of yours that my clothes were a mess and I needed to clean myself up, and I...”

“Had a reaction?” Roger guessed, and Bertie had the grace to flush.

“Maybe.” he said, “But more than that, I knew then that I would do anything to please you.”

“Anything, hm?” Roger’s grin was slow and deliberate, his hands now wandering idly across Bertie’s chest. Bertie did his best to remain coherent, but Roger’s hands had always been so distracting.

“Anything.” he said honestly, “I maybe had a few late night fantasies.”

“Fantasies?” Roger’s eyes lit up, and he suddenly looked eerily similar to the Cheshire Cat, “Do tell.”

“T-Tell?” he stammered, “Like, tell tell? Tell you?”

“If you’d like me to help make them a reality.” Bertie nearly choked, burying his face in Roger’s shoulder to hide himself.

Roger .” he whined, and Roger laughed.

“We just made out like horny teenagers, but talking about fantasies is what gets you nervous?” Roger laughed, sounding amused, and Bertie squeezed his hips in petty retaliation.

“You are so mean.” and he loved it. Roger smiled, kissing his throat.

“Would it help if I told you one of mine?” he asked, and Bertie blinked.

“You‘ve... of me?” he pulled away to look at him, surprised, and Roger grinned.

“Of course I have. Look at you.”

“I... Ah.” he flushed, embarrassed but curious, “Th-Thank you.” he immediately blushed dark, kicking himself for saying something so dorky even as Roger laughed brightly.

“You’re sweet.” he murmured, and Bertie hugged him rather than meet his eyes, resting his chin on his head with a small grumble as his face burned.

“Am not.” he grumbled without heat, “I’m cool and tough.”

“Adorable”.

“Oh, tell me about this alleged fantasy.” he huffed, and Roger squeezed him lightly.

“I have this one fantasy.” he murmured, leaning in and pressing his hands to Bertie’s back, rubbing small circles in a soothing motion, “I’m on the beach, it’s stormy and rainy. I’m all alone, just lying there getting soaked. And then you show up, and you’re also soaked and absolutely stunning.”

“What happens?” Bertie whispered, eyes wide as Roger’s words set his imagination going, and Roger smirked.

“Take a wild guess.” he purred, “Hint. It involves you and me, naked in the rain, fucking like rabbits.”

Roger .” he whined, his pants now uncomfortably tight at the image. Roger had always looked stunning in the rain, soaked through and glaring at the water like it had personally offended him, black hair plastered to his forehead and thick droplets trailing down his face, his clothes clinging to his frame. Bertie had thought multiple times while watching him brood that Amphitrite herself would weep with jealousy if she ever saw Roger, as no one could ever match the raw beauty and untouchable thrall Roger exuded. The ocean itself paled in comparison to Roger in the rain.

“And that’s just one of them.” Roger grinned, reluctantly pulling him from his thoughts, and Bertie groaned a little.

“You’re a menace.” he nipped at his jaw, “And absolute menace. You’re gonna ruin me.” And he would be grateful for every second.

“Your turn.” Roger crooned, and Bertie wondered what sort of monster he’d unleashed. It wasn’t fair. No one should have this much raw sensual beauty, this much playfulness wrapped in a cloak of misanthropic thorns.

“I...” he cleared his throat, trying to emulate the low, seductive tone Roger had taken on. He wasn’t sure he was successful, “I have this one... You come into my room late at night, and I don’t get a word in, because you silence me with one look. And you start... giving me orders, all strict and no-nonsense, and... I mean, it shifts from night to night, but usually it involves you dominating me. O-Ordering me to...”

“To what?” Roger murmured, eyes heated, “Go on, say it.”

“Ordering me to f.. to take you.” his face was absolutely on fire, but it was worth it for the look of total delight on Roger’s face.

“Oh, we can definitely make that happen.” he crooned, fisting Bertie’s shirt and pulling him close until their lips were inches apart, “How about tonight?”

“Really?” he breathed, eyes wide with hope.

“If you think you can handle me.” he breathed, and Bertie wondered if it was possible to faint from sheer lust.

“I can handle you.” he said, dizzy with want, “I’ll be so good for you, Roger. Tell me what to do, I’ll do it, anything you want, it’s yours.”

“Have you always been so obedient, or am I just special?” Roger laughed fondly, and Bertie managed a huff.

“You make me want to obey you.” he said lowly, and Roger shivered, “Just the sight of you gets to me sometimes. Hearing your voice makes me want to fall to my knees and worship you.”

“Well then... how about you start by picking me up,” Roger murmured, clearly affected by Bertie’s words but much better at concealing it. Authority slipped into his tone as he recovered himself, earning a breathless shiver from Bertie, “and carrying me to the bedroom. Then you’ll sit still and be good for me while I get us ready. Sound good?”

“Yes.” Bertie all but moaned, unable to resist the urge to kiss him as he gripped him by the thighs, lifting him easily, “Yes, anything. Anything for you.”

“Good.” Roger breathed, legs automatically wrapping around his waist, and Bertie could finally feel how truly affected he was, how badly Roger wanted him. It was a heady feeling, one he wanted to chase, “You’ll have to take tomorrow off. I won’t tolerate a slack-off in bed, so you’ll really have to work if you want to fuck me.” Bertie moaned aloud at that, suddenly desperate to get the two of them to a bedroom immediately .

“I’ll be so good for you, I promise.” he peppered Roger’s face with kisses, and Roger laughed happily. It was a beautiful sound, one Bertie wished he could capture and keep forever.

“Bedroom.” Roger murmured, eyes warm and fond even with the underlying heat threatening to burn him, “Now.”

“Yes, sir.” Bertie grinned, hefting him more securely before starting towards his room as quickly as he could, mind whirling with plans and ideas even as it clouded with every press of Roger’s lips to his skin. The door to Bertie’s bedroom closed a little too loudly behind them, but neither of them heard it past the sound of breathless laughter as they fell onto the bed, wrapped up in each other.

They both took a sick day the next morning, electing to remain in bed and watch Buzzfeed: Unsolved, unwilling to leave each other’s arms even for a moment, unable to go even an hour without pulling each other in for a kiss or twelve. They didn’t leave that bed the entire day.

Kate rolled her eyes at them the next day, and Etta was visibly pleased and kept winking at them, but they didn’t mind too much.