The only requirements are that your piece or section of a series must be 2K in length and be some twist on the picture provided. If the prompt requirements change I'll let you know. If you have any questions, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week's prompt was a picture, provided below:
This is a M/M one-shot. I hope you like it!
Linnaeus walked through a network of tunnels on sub-level one of the Farenian Military Ship. Three and a half years into their mission in space and they still hadn’t completed their interplanetary training. Four years of exploring part of the universe’s millions of galaxies and planets were mandatory before any student could graduate. Be they dreams of life as a soldier, captaining a ship, both, or studying the universe and its many wonders, every student had to know the basics.
Today’s on-ship exercise involved being submerged in a 12 by 12 tank of water-like substance. Liquid that only existed on the planet Hedvar. Due to the planet’s chemical make-up, once a foreign element such as oxygen or carbon dioxide was introduced to the liquid, it would immediately change into a thick, almost inescapable gel. Only true Hedvaris could keep the gel from forming as the epidermis, or outermost layers of cells in their skin prevented the chemical change in their water.
Being as it was a test of strength, each student was required to jump into the tank, allow the gel to form, then hold their breath while climbing their way out of the tank in one minute flat. It took every muscle Linnaeus had to work his way to the surface, even being genetically half of a stronger, alien species—his mother was from a long line of Dooyen warriors whose athleticism and fight more than surpassed any human’s.
Still, when his body was compressed from every side, urging him to let out what precious air filled his lungs, he’d struggled. But he’d made it to the top before the minute mark. He’d passed his test for the day. He was made to be a captain, a soldier, and a leader of a crew and he knew it.
His lover, Greff, a full-blooded human, hadn’t been as lucky. Once in the tank, after the gel took shape, Greff had panicked. He was a biology student, terrified of the strength and fit tests, and he didn’t want to fight after graduation as a combat crew soldier on a ship. He wanted to study alien ecology when they were done. He wanted to travel with Linnaeus’s crew and document alien life forms in their natural environments. He was smart, handsome, large, and completely adorable to Linnaeus.
But to be on a ship as a biologist, to not be separated from each other after school, Greff had to pass his strength and fit exams like the others. So Linnaeus continued his search for Greff in the ship’s storage sub-level, to coax his lover back into the tank to take the test over. He’d received permission from their instructor to do so. They had an hour to be back in the tank or Greff would fail.
“Greff? It’s Linn. Where are you?” Linnaeus scoured every login screen with his pitch black eyes. Greff’s ID wasn’t on any of them. His com wasn’t on either. Linnaeus had beeped him too many times to count. He began to worry.
Most of the rooms were storage that hadn’t seen interaction in decades. But the last room on the left was familiar to Linnaeus. It was the very room they had given their virginity to each other after a drunken celebration for Greff’s birthday three years ago.
Greff had been so much happier then. He’d been bright eyed, untroubled. He hadn’t doubted his abilities or his future or theirs. He’d been a model student, a passionate lover, and had a confidence every man dreamed of. These days he wasn’t the same person. He questioned himself in his field, in his heart, and as a lover. He didn’t think he had what it took to make his dreams come true.
Linnaeus knew Greff was wrong. He had it. He just had to hold onto it.
Linnaeus’s smile widened. He saw Greff’s name on the login screen. He put his hand to the shimmering square, and waited for his prints to register. Within seconds the door whooshed open, revealing Greff seated in the middle of the room. In a chair, Greff covered his face with his hands. His bare back was flawless and naturally muscled like his father and four brothers. Greff was just a big man all around.
His thick thighs were splayed apart. Heavy boots rested on the ground. Linnaeus always loved how powerful Greff looked in his strength kit. No shirt. Tight black pants. Those boots. No one but Greff would question his strength abilities on looks alone.
Greff’s back muscles bunched. He sat up, eyes trained on Linn. “How did you know I was here?”
“Not the point. I chased you to the elevator, remember? You shut the door on me.” Linn leaned in the doorway, eyes fixated on his lover. “Why did you do that?”
“It wasn’t about you. I’m sorry if you felt I did it on purpose. I just needed to get away.” Greff raked his nails over the black stubble on his head. He hid his piercing green eyes from Linn.
“It wasn’t about me? You saw me standing there. You chose to continue down here without me, Greff.” Needing to know the real problem, Linn kept his distance, hovering in the doorway. “Do you care if you pass your strength exams? You know they’ll send you back to the station so you can board for Earth if you don’t make it to graduation. It’s like you don’t care anymore.”
Linn pushed his dark bangs away from his forehead to give Greff the full impact of his eyes. His lover’s pitiful stare spoke volumes, but not enough to make Linn give up on him. “Do you care at all about us? Or have you thought about letting me go?”
“Are you kidding me?” Greff got his feet. His head thwacked against the overhead lamp. “Fuck.” He rubbed the back of his skull. His eyes closed in pain. Linn rushed to his side.
“Are you okay?” Linn delicately ran his fingers over the back of Greff’s head.
“No. I’m not okay. Do you think I want to let you go? By the gods, Linn, I never want to leave you. I’m just not cut out for these exams. I get so worked up beforehand. Then I fail miserably.” Greff put distance between them. “Everyone expects me to fly through it because I’m big and fit, but muscle isn’t everything. I was covered in Rondigium Gel. It was swallowing me. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see you and I freaked out. I thought to myself, this is it, Greff. You’re going to die in here. That isn’t how a soldier thinks!”
“You’re not a soldier. You’re a biologist. You don’t have to get high marks. You just have to pass the exam. Period.”
“Then how come you can do it and I can’t!” Greff whirled away, growling under his breath. “It’s a test. I’m good at tests. It isn’t fair.”
“Are you jealous of me, Greff? Do you think I’m superior to you?” Linn walked to Greff, and placed his cheek against Greff’s smooth skin. His arms encircled Greff from behind. “You study for your biology exams. Sometimes you study so much you talk about it in your sleep. You eat, breathe, and sleep biology. Me? I study to be a soldier, a captain of a ship. All of my effort goes into my captain’s training. I eat, breathe, and sleep combat and flight strategy.
“When you place all your mind on one particular thing you get what you want. In your case, maybe you need a little balance between the two. Just for now. Just until you graduate. And don’t ever think I’m trying to one up you. I love you, Greff. I’m here to support you like you support me. Help me out here.”
“What am I supposed to do, Linn? I have the body of a man and the mind of a coward. If I go back in that tank I’ll choke. I know I will.” Greff turned in Linn’s embrace to fit his chin next to his lover’s neck. “I don’t want to leave you. I love you, too.”
“Then fight your way to the top for me. I’ll be right there. Don’t give up.” Linn tilted his head back, urging Greff to kiss him. The meeting of their lips was light and tentative until Linn lifted his hand to touch Greff’s neck. He opened his mouth wider, receiving Greff’s hot tongue. Passion exploded within their hands. Gripping each other for dear life, a silent recommitment was made with their mouths and moans.
Greff was the first to break away. He touched his swollen lips before masking his eyes with a hand as if he was embarrassed. Linn pulled his fingers away, searching Greff’s green depths for the words he longed to hear.
“For me, will you try?”
“For you,” Greff breathed, “my persistent Dooyen, I’ll try.”
“All I ask.” Linn kissed Greff’s large knuckles, then led Greff out into the hall. “Ready?”
“Mm,” Greff grunted, allowing Linn to take them back to the elevator and up to the tank.
Before the elevator opened, Linn pushed up and gave Greff a kiss for good luck. “I’ll be waiting for you at the edge, right where you can see me. If you start to panic, just look up.” Linn squeezed Greff’s hand. “The key is not letting the gel set completely. When you have a half inch gap of liquid between you and the gel, kick up hard so it doesn’t set around your core muscles. You’ll blaze to the top if you keep kicking.”
Greff nodded. He took a deep breath, staring at the elevator numbers. When it reached seven, the box binged. The doors opened to reveal the tank and his peers gathered around it. Their instructor’s hawk-eyed stare did the talking.
Greff gave Linn one last look, then approached the tank intrepidly. His massive shoulders rolled as he hoisted himself onto the ladder. Every connection of boot to a new rung mirrored his ferocious heartbeat. He reached the platform. Linn settled in behind him.
Their instructor pointed to the counter on the ceiling, a holographic series of numbers hovering mid-air. “Sixty seconds once the gel takes shape. Reach the top before a minute is up and you’re gold. Ready?
Greff perched on the tank’s edge. “Go!”
His body sluiced through liquid, slowing down three-quarters into the tank. He was suspended for a split-second, surrounded by a fusion of air bubbles and water. They clung to his taut skin with one last goodbye. He kept his lips sealed and looked up. Then it began. From the sides of the tank, the gel began to form quickly, lurching towards him.
Seeing Linn’s wavering face above gave him hope. He didn’t panic. He was strong and worthy as the gel closed in. He had to do this.
An inch from his body, Greff kicked up hard. Like swimming through tar, he pumped his muscles, letting them burn. No idea how much time had passed, Greff fought not smile when he saw the surface near.
His hand pushed through gel, reaching out to greet cold air. He clamped a hand on the edge and pulled up with a gasp. He coughed. He heard the cheers from his classmates. He looked up to see fifteen seconds remaining and collapsed onto the platform.
“Good show, Greff,” his instructor called.
Greff sucked in air, hugging Linn’s legs. “Did it?”
“Did it? Are you kidding? That has to be a record…for a human.” Linn winked, then pulled Greff to his feet. “That is how you prove yourself, my sexy biologist. Balance.”
Greff shook off water, pulling Linn to his chest. “Not balance,” he husked. “It’s you. It’s always been you. You are my balance.”
Linn’s eyes hazed over. His lips opened, unable to form words. Greff seized the moment, claiming his lover’s mouth as the class erupted with another cheer.
For a completely different twist on the picture, visit my FF partner in crime, Elaina M. Roberts.
Have a great day everyone!