May I kiss you?
These four words replayed again and again in his mind, turning his stomach not in an unpleasant way.
Pato never considered himself as a sexual creature. He had no notion of romantic love, if "love" at all. Yes, he knew he was capable of "loving" someone as he did, often even, he loved his friends, his charges, he loved animals, but the notion of romantic love had always been an abstract notion he thought he would never understand. He just couldn't feel it.
Correction: He just never felt it.
He remembered his first kiss. He was sixteen. He had been living in Seleny for four years, working with the Grumpy Boars. He couldn't remember her name, everyone called her Mona, since she was a beauty, but most of them called every girl of fertile age "Bella" or "Mona". Was it... Sonia? Sofia? Sofonia? Something that started with "So". She was older than him by a few years, and she was a skilled archer. She had trying to flirt with him a few times before she gave up and just stood in front of him, arms crossed.
"Kiss me, idiot." she had ordered. He leaned on her and she just grabbed his head and sucked on his face. She had moaned in frustration when he just stood there letting her have her way, and he realized he had better start to pretend he was a little bit into it before she decided to knee him or punch him. Mona was the kind of girl who knew what she wanted and went for it. If she wanted Pato, Pato had to oblige.
He hugged her and mimicked her moves, but after a while she just broke the kiss and sighed.
"You're a lousy kisser." she had said, and walked away.
About a year later Rodrigo, his leader, had decided that he had to “become a man", and brought him to a brothel. "Do you prefer a girl or a boy, sweetheart" the madam had asked. When he shrugged, Rodrigo had growled in frustration and asked for both, then he sat on a chair outside the room and told him to not come out until he had done something with at least one of them. They had been kind and patient to him. They went on explaining and teaching him, and he got good results according their comments, but he suspected money talked for them.
"Kiss him." she had told him at a certain point, and that was his second kiss ever. He thought that was better than his first try, but kissing still did nothing for him, like any sexual activity in general.
And that was pretty much how his story went: "Kiss me.", "I want to kiss you.", "Why don't you kiss me?", "I don't kiss.", "Do I have to kiss you?", time after time he had always accepted the offers of sex anyone gave him, in part because he wanted to be... "kind" to them, give them what they wanted from him, in part because a little part of him still was... curious? No, that's not true. He was looking for something, but not out of curiosity. He craved a connection, not to understand what was this entire "sex thing" all about but to find a link, a contact that wasn't just rubbing bodies and lips, something that could touch him in a deep place, there, inside his chest without using a sharp blade.
Then Nino came.
"May I kiss you?" he had asked.
No one had asked for his permission before. They had always demanded it, took it outright, or asked for instruction.
And then those lips brushed his, his smooth skin over his beard, tickling and something broke in his chest, like a sore muscle in his soul he didn't know he had which was now painfully awake after an exercise he wasn't used to. There wasn't anything sexual in that kiss, just an overflowing emotion of care and gratitude and... love? Was it? Did he feel it? Yet despite the intrinsic chastity of that kiss Pato felt for the first time another need, more physical, more... need.
The world had disappeared around them as the kiss had grown in intensity on Pato's side. When Nino broke it he was suddenly brought down to the ground and for a second he looked at him, ashamed and afraid he got carried away. Nino had smiled to him and asked if he wanted to go to his room.
He had just nodded, not trusting his voice.
Discovering Nino was something he had never thought he could experience. As he touched, explored, held that body he didn't care of anything other than how Nino felt in his arms, on his lips, under his skin. That sore muscle that had awakened in his soul started to warm up and feel strong and powerful. Still, he didn't trust it yet to carry all the weight he was supposed to carry. He felt overloaded, overpowered by that little elf that was almost half the size and weight he was. He lay defeated, surrendered, he didn't care what to do to keep Nino with him, he just know that never leaving him was leaving him too soon.
But Nino left the morning after. "Things to do, people to see... I'll be back, don't worry." he had said with a wink before he left giving him a quick peck on the lips. And now Pato was there, moping around, unable to concentrate on his task, barely paying attention to Tomas' bitching about el puto elfo and how he disapproved of Pato spending the night with him.
"You don't get it, Tomas." he said shaking his head, "He's... different."
The Antivan scoundrel cringed and glared at him. "Yeah I can tell."
Pato rolled his eyes. That was not what he meant. "He's just... he asked me..."
"I know. That's usually how it works with you." Tomas crossed his arms and scowled.
"No, he... really asked. He made me feel..." he paused searching for a word he couldn't find. "He made me feel." he said eventually.
"Too much information." grunted Tomas.
"Not that, Tomas." Pato scoffed and patted his chest, "Here. I feel him here."
Tomas raised his hands and shook his head: "Look, I don't care where you felt or feel him. Just get a hold of yourself and concentrate on your job. I need my armario not a lovesick seven feet tall puppy."
Pato sighed and straightened up, wearing his "work frown" and started scanning the room for troubles.
Or for a dashing caramel-skinned elf to appear...