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your touch, your skin (where do i begin)

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Goosebumps infiltrated his skin when Wilhelm felt the sweet exhales pressed into the crook between his neck and shoulder. The shaky exhales—between both him and the warmth of the figure leaning into him—were loud enough to rival the intensity of the surrounding silence. 

Soft lips brushed against his neck, trailing the same ache pulsing in Wilhelm’s heart, and leading up till they ghosted by the corner of his own. Dips of light touches danced at his shoulder blades, and Wilhelm felt a smile twitch the corner of his mouth. He knew what that whisper of a touch meant. 

Simon didn’t have to say it, never. Wilhelm understood him anyway, always. 

He let his own hands move from their limp hold at the curve of a waist, and led them down down downwards. The two were close, closer than before (if that was even possible) and Wilhelm still wasn’t satisfied. 

More , his mind murmured, the need sticking in the canals of his brain like honey.

Like a moth drawn to open flame, Wilhelm angled his face, eyelids still fluttered close, and let the wisps of need lead him to where he craved the most amongst others about Simon. His ears snagged at a stuttered inhale from Simon as his olfactory senses picked up the achingly familiar scent of drugstore shampoo. 

Feathery curls tuned a soft symphony at the bridge of Wilhelm’s nose, his lips and the side of his face as he pressed closer into its curly nest. Simon’s breathing turned quicker, noisier as the taller boy dotted the smallest kiss on his earlobe, as their hips danced erratically against each other. 

A prickle of amusement thrummed around Wilhelm’s veins. He vaguely remembered the same quickening of breath in the yellow light from a fish tank, somewhere in a cosy room in Bjärstad. 

More , Wilhelm thought, his lips leading down and mimicking his love’s earlier actions.

His lips mapped out similar goosebumps on bronze skin and his nose breathing in the real scent of Simon—his sweat, the fading smell of soap and maybe a deodorant, and something else

Somewhere amongst the crevices of his mind between the noise and the silence, Wilhelm faintly remembered the old tale he once read: a saint so consumed by her love for a deity, she had renounced her life of luxury in favour of living as an ascetic. She had spent the rest of her life singing ballads in her deity’s name and calling out his name in fervour. 

It was said that she never died, but her soul had been immersed into an idol of the god, so her spirit would live on forever in harmony with her love. 

Wilhelm felt like the saint now, lost in the feeling of his mind reciting a single name over and over again, like an earnest prayer. His lips which pressed kiss after kiss on a bumpy shoulder felt akin to an offering, a token of devotion. 

More . Wilhelm didn’t want to stop feeling the warmth of a smaller hand on his neck, holding him oh so gentle, like he was supposed to be handled with care (he felt like he didn’t deserve that). 

Simon’s hand slid down slow, down to Wilhelm’s chest and grazed at the rapid thump thump thump of his heart. Through a light part in his vision, he spotted a small quirk on the shorter boy’s lips. Wilhelm closed his eyes again.

Finally, finally , a pair of lips slid against Wilhelm’s. Lips like treacle folded in sync with his own, dancing a simple but complicated number. An audible smack sounded as their mouths stopped and pulled together, stirring something urgent in Wilhelm. 

More . His hips moved in tandem with Simon’s, and along with their beating hearts. 

Fingers laced into the spaces of his own, silk-like and comforting as Simon tightened his grip around Wilhelm’s hand. The taller boy brought their joined hands— basking in the shared toasty warmth—to the crook of his neck. 

More . A thumb rubbed soothing circles into the back of his palm. 

We've all the time, the repeated thumb movements seemed to lovingly whisper.

Wilhelm wanted to open his mouth to murmur that name, to feel it fall from his lips and into the space (or lack of) between them. He wanted to feel the erratic split-step of his heart when a pair of sweet hickory eyes would blink up at him.

Wilhelm opened his mouth in prayer and preparation. Simon

Except that, no sound came out. Instead of the melody of the twin syllables that Wilhelm craved to hear, all he did hear was its voiceless apparition. And something else—a louder intrusion, demanding Wilhelm’s attention. He stiffened. 

The earlier sugary ache in his chest was quickly replaced by a foreboding tightness, forcing him to gasp in. His eyelids shook as they separated open, and immediately blinked at the sting of the winter morning.  

Soon enough, gone was the endearingly artificial smell of blossoms from soft curls. Gone were the accompanying inhales and exhales along with his, till his own measured breathing reached his ears. 

The loud intrusion took centre stage, erasing any and all traces of Simon from Wilhelm’s phantom arms. Vacuuming, the Palace staff . His groggy, disembodied brain supplied. Which would mean that– 

It had all been a dream.  

Wilhelm brought up a hand and rubbed at his eyes, and he swore that he could still feel the dance of Simon’s fingertips on the back of his palm. He turned his head and blinked blearily at the light streaming from the window—one of the cleaning staff members had probably opened the curtains a bit. A small itch began under his skin at the thought, and Wilhelm got up. 

His bed was a mess. Clothes strewn here, books open face-down there. His room was a mess.

(“I pity the people who have been assigned to clean your room, Wille,” Erik always used to tease, his face alit with amusement)

The boy in the bed sat up, letting his sleep-addled brain read the blurred lines between what was real and not. As the morning light woke him up more, bit by bit, the phantom warmth from another body started to fade, bit by bit. 

Then all at once, the ghost of Simon’s lips, his touch, the heat from his skin, all of them evaporated away. And as the January chill coupled with the kiss of the sun through the window bit at his exposed skin, the realisation sunk down on Wilhelm. 

Simon had been a dream.