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 You and Me {Falin & Sterling}

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Menel

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Location : Nespa, France

PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:02 pm

"Falin."

Sterling stood up and Falin felt suddenly tongue-tied. It was one thing to see the other man on a screen and quite another to see him in person. The living, breathing version was... There weren't words to describe the way the sunlight glinted off of Sterling's hair. Sterling's forearms were bare as they shook hands and it made Falin conscious of his own... but there was no time for that now as Sterling welcomed him with words that made him laugh.

"Nice to meet you yes." Falin's handshake was warm and firm. Professional though it lingered around the edges just a little bit. He felt the urge suddenly to hug Sterling, to squelch the months of longing that had built up but he didn't. Instead he motioned toward the table. "Please sit down."

He took the chance to do so himself, sitting down and fingering the menu. He didn't look at it though, instead watching Sterling as he did so. It made him uncomfortable to have so many people behind him, but he ignored the sensation of being watched. The worry that one of them would attack him and focused on the other man. The softness of his shirt and his brown eyes. He found himself smiling softly.

"So, do you want to hear about the match?"

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-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.



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Laven

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:52 am

If he was disappointed that all he got from Falin was a handshake Sterling didn't show it. Instead using both hands to clasp the one Falin had offered and squeezing warmly. When Falin waved for him to sit Sterling did so, leaning his elbow on the table and propping his chin up with his hand once again. He was taking in the sight of the other man as much as he was being taken in himself. Raven black hair, midnight blue eyes… Falin was striking. Sterling had noticed that the first time they had videoed each other but the flat view of the computer screen was nothing compared to the real life man. Sterling had to stop himself from reaching over to steal the hand that was fidgeting with the menu. He could see in every line of Falin’s body that the other man was uncomfortable, and while Sterling himself was nervous he was unsure exactly what had Falin so badly on edge. But in case it was public displays of affection Sterling felt it best to proceed with caution.

"So, do you want to hear about the match?"

Sterling blinked and nodded automatically, shifting in his seat so that he was facing Falin fully. "Of course I do. I assume you did marvelously but it's much better to hear it from the source than simply indulge my imagination." He noticed movement out of the corner of his eye and turned his head to smile graciously at the wait staff that had come to their table as they spoke.

“A wine to start your meal, gentlemen?” Sterling glanced at Falin to see if the other man objected before tipping his head in agreement.

“The prosecco, please.” When the server nodded and moved away Sterling turned his attention back to Falin, gesturing for the other man to begin speaking.

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Menel

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:11 am

Falin watched the waiter with more caution than was deserved, and nodded at the offer of wine. He didn't usually drink but at places like this it was almost rude to turn down what was meant to go with their food. Dark eyes watched the waiter as he disappeared back among the other people, and Falin almost missed Sterling's polite motion for him to continue. Still, the thought of his match made a smile rise to his lips and a slight glow come to his gaze that even his discomfort with the way their table was situated could not dull.

"I wish you could have seen it." If he'd known about this date he would have arranged it, the matches were interesting to see at least the first time. Particularly live and in person. "It wasn't a ranked match, but a display I think I mentioned that?"

He tilted his head but didn't really stop talking. When he spoke there was a light accent to his words. Something indefinable that made his words rounded and beautiful. It wasn't exactly French though he was from France, but rather a mingling of accents that was so light that it was hard to say that his was any one thing. Now with them together it was a little easier to hear at the edges of his words. It wasn't really his accent though that was clearest. It was how much he loved what he did.

Falin spoke of points and the rapartee. The way that they had battled one another, describing the whole thing so that though Sterling hadn't been there it was nearly drawn out for him. There was some technical speak in there, but for the most part he made the scene for Sterling.

The swordsman laughed lightly at the end of it, suddenly seeming totally at ease; reaching across the table and touching Sterling's hand gently with careful casualness.
"I am probably boring you with the details but it is rare that I have a match so interesting even if I did not allow a single point to my opponent. I hope you do not mind?"

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-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.



You know it's true.
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Laven

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:57 am

Sterling was content to listen to Falin describe the event to him. With his head tipped to the side and his chin resting on his palm he looked like the ever curious student that he had been as a young man. Now he was still learning, though instead of facts and figures it was the way Falin spoke, the way he moved his body and the tone of his voice resonated in the open air around them. The technical side of swordplay did not hold much interest to Sterling, but the way Falin was so enthusiastic about the subject made the professor smile. He could see the way Falin spoke mirrored in his writing. See why he excelled at ancient warfare when the subjects came up. This man knew how to see every angle in a fight. Provided it was a martial one.

When Falin paused and reached over to touch the hand that was resting on the table Sterling turned it palm up so that they could easily grasp each other’s fingers. His thumb brushing over the top of Falin’s hand.
“You aren’t boring me at all, Falin. Perhaps I don’t need to hear the technical details but you paint a glorious picture.” Sterling looked over to the table where the wine had already been set out for them while Falin spoke. He hadn’t even noticed the server’s return, he was so focused on the man in front of him.

“I wish I had been there. You sound like it was exhilarating for you.” Lifting his head and straightening in his seat Sterling picked up his wine glass with his unoccupied hand, lifting it in a teasing toast to Falin before taking a sip of the light and honey-sweet wine. “Besides, I have nothing so interesting to talk about involving my day. Chickens and term papers do not make for engaging storytelling.” He laughed at himself.

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Menel

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:55 pm

Falin felt a little hoped for but unexpected swell of warmth at the touch of his fingers against Sterling's. It was a feeling that lingered, their hands gently holding one another somewhere in the center of the table. As comfortable and as natural as breathing.

He had couldn't help but look a little embarrassed; knowing that he could so easily fall into talking about fencing if he wasn't careful. This time he hadn't been, and he knew that particularly the more technical aspects weren't exactly spellbinding. He was grateful that Sterling was kind enough to listen though, and genuinely seemed interested in it. Perhaps that was something he could share with the other man soon...

Already he was planning for them to spend more time together and they hadn't even made it through lunch yet.

The swordsman left the wine to sit, but watched Sterling try it with a little smile on his face. Everything that Sterling did was purposeful and graceful. He was like some fae creature had decided to spend a day as a man. Come to sit and have lunch with him here in this open-air restaurant, and who at any moment might vanish into thin air as if he had never been.


"I like hearing about your chickens."
Falin smiled softly with something close to longing. They'd talked about the animals enough that they almost felt like distant family to Falin. In a way it was a shame that he couldn't meet them. "And I honestly wish you'd tell me more about your students."

There was slight mischief hanging on the corners of his lips and eyes when he continued. "Particularly that one who turned in the paper about Roman weapons circa 100 AD." He arched one dark eyebrow. He was talking about his own paper of course.

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-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.



You know it's true.
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Laven

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:18 pm

The cheek of him! Falin’s suggestion of a new topic surprised a heartfelt laugh out of Sterling. It was a sound he didn’t hear from himself much, and the rich sound rolled through his chest and left him with his lips curled up in a warm smile that he covered with another sip of wine. The few seconds allowed for him to decide on a response, so when he set the glass down with a gentle click his face had grown thoughtful.

“Oh that one? My my, he is presumptuous. You should see the questions he sends me about the damnedest subjects!” Sterling stroked the back of Falin’s hand as he teased him, the creases in the corners of his eyes giving away his jest. “It was lucky I managed to grade his paper before I asked him out on an afternoon date. Or else I may be sorely tempted to bump his grade up based solely on his charm and good looks.”

Leaning forwards, Sterling again let his chin fall into his hand as he looked past Falin and seemed to think. “But that doesn’t tell you much about him, does it? He’s sweet. A serious fellow, but I find it to be a welcome change of pace in a student and even more welcome in a partner.” Sterling would have continued if not for the sudden return of their waiter, looking down at the two men expectantly.

“Have you decided on luncheon?”

Surprised, Sterling closed his mouth instead of continuing and looked at Falin. “I hadn’t even seen the choices for today. You?”

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Menel

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:52 pm

The teasing was well-deserved Falin knew. He really did send all sorts of odd questions to Sterling. Asking after different weapons that he didn't know very much about. There had been an entire night-long conversation over Itzpapalotl during the Aztecan course. He always remembered it with a fond smile. There was so much that he'd learned from the other man, and he suspected that he'd forced Sterling to do research on subjects that he didn't normally have to know so much about.

He felt himself flushing under the warm weight of Sterling's complements; grateful that though his complexion was pale that he hardly ever showed much color on his cheeks. Falin couldn't remember the last time someone had said such things about anything other than his fighting...

Falin jumped suddenly as the waiter appeared, fingers curling into Sterling's hand. Without thinking he pulled sharply on Sterling's fingers, rising up to his feet and trying to interpose himself between the two men. The whole table stuttered as he did, and only the polite space the waiter had left meant that everything stayed up. That and how quickly Falin moved. He was lightning, simply there as if by magic.

Sterling's words hung in the air around the clinking of glasses and Falin's rapid heartbeat, and uncomfortably the swordsman laughed.
"Sorry, no. Not quite ready... Where is the restroom?"

Ever polite even in the face of what likely seemed to the waiter as them nearly colliding because Falin was rising to get to the restroom the man pointed in the appropriate direction and turned away. Sterling though...

Abruptly he realized that he was still grasping the other man's hand like a lifeline; all at the wrong angles and far too firmly. Quickly he released his grasp and sat down.
"Sorry..." He didn't know what else to say, tucking his shoulder-length hair behind one ear. So flustered was he that he completely forgot about his long sleeves and their purpose. The one that lifted to tuck his hair back sliding down and revealing a long slender scar from the wrist down while he fixed his hair nervously. "I did not mean to..."

He motioned with that anxious hand toward Sterling's and had the grace to look embarrassed all over again.

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-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.



You know it's true.
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Laven

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:03 pm

As sudden and startling as the wait staff appearing had been, Falin’s reaction was even more so. Sterling was hauled to his feet without even a sound from the swordsman, his hips bumping against the table as he was being tugged behind the slightly taller man. “Fa-” he couldn’t even get the man’s name out of his mouth before Falin backtracked, going from asking for the restroom to sitting down and looking incredibly guilty while letting go of Sterling’s hand.

"Sorry..."

The word and it's brethren were almost lost to Sterling the moment he saw the thin silver scar that was running up his boyfriend's arm. A thousand questions and realizations blazed through Sterling's mind but the only one he focused on was Falin's obvious anxiety bordering on panic.

So he remained standing, leaning down to take Falin's hand and tug him back to his feet.
"Not at all, I could use a trip to the washroom myself. Come with me?" He offered Falin this easy chance to escape, the waiter's hasty response that it was a single stall only meaning the two men would have a moment of privacy. Sterling graced the confused employee with a charming smile that felt like a porcelain mask and looked back to Falin, the sincerity in his eyes pleading with Falin to take his hand and follow him.

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Menel

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:18 pm

He would never have expected it. Never have thought to conceive of Sterling offering him a hand. Looking down at him with hopeful expectation and offering him a reprieve from the staring eyes and blank expression offered by the waitstaff. He let himself be pulled to his feet, not caring what anyone thought for this moment.

All that mattered was that Sterling wasn't upset that Falin had dragged him to his feet. Or that he had nearly spilled their drinks on the floor. That he had startled the waiter, or that he had probably startled Sterling as well. The look in Sterling's eyes spoke volumes to him.


Please trust me. Please come with me.

Falin went with him, walking to the bathroom with the motions of a warrior. Certain when he was hesitant, graceful when he felt awkward. He didn't breathe until they were in the washroom. Until they were safely locked inside and he could stalk across the comfortably small space to the other side and see the door. It was just big enough that he knew he could react if someone tried to force their way inside. Big enough that they could both stand here and not feel pressed against one another.

He couldn't meet Sterling's eyes yet, his gaze settling on the other man's shoulder. The sound of his own heart was still pounding in his ears.


"I am so sorry." It was such a soft offering, but he didn't know what to say now that they were alone. Didn't know how to explain without making things worse.

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-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.



You know it's true.
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Laven

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PostSubject: Re: You and Me {Falin & Sterling}   Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:00 pm

“You don’t need to apologize to me.” Sterling glanced at the locked door over his shoulder before stepping closer to Falin and taking his hand once more. “I’m not going to ask you to explain, either. You can tell me in your own time or not at all.” With care that his firm words didn’t quite convey Sterling lifted Falin’s hand and pressed the swordsman’s knuckles to his lips. Not even a kiss, just a press of lips like a hug in their care. A comfort, for the clearly upset Falin

“What is important right now is you.” Sterling reached with delicacy to touch the side of Falin’s face, to brush some of his hair behind his ear. It would have been an intimate moment if not for the fact they were locked in a bathroom stall. “Can you get yourself under control right now?”

In reality Sterling was abuzz with unspoken questions that he knew would be foolish and cruel to ask. The scars, the sudden fight response when startled… Something had happened to Falin. Something that had left him with more than the tell-tale signs of self-harm. But it was not for Sterling to pry. No, right now he was just hoping to get the other man to collect himself so that they could get Falin somewhere he felt safer.

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