The avian council had adjourned for their voluntary sabbatical, and while most council members chose to follow the river south for a warmer holiday, Orien had opted to remain in the village and—of all things—clean house.
With Cole spending his day transcribing and translating at the library, Orien sets his own pace so as not to upset the ache in his ribs. He makes gradual progress, sorting through the closet next to the sitting room by lunchtime, but it’s while cleaning out the smaller closet in their bedroom that he comes across something he’d completely forgotten about.
The box is wide, not especially deep, held shut by a double-latch mechanism, but it’s the dainty carvings curling around the corners that ignite Orien’s nostalgia—avian soothsayer runes, meant to bless the owner with fertility and stamina. Orien certainly had no use for the former, and ruminating on the latter pricks his cheeks with static as he carefully unlatches the box and lifts the lid.
Inlaid among the gauzy interior lining are five wooden rods, grains sanded smooth with oil and magic; some are thicker than others, varying lengths and shapes, all possessing an identical flared base. He gently coaxes the lining aside as if it’ll tear, finding a folded strap of heavy cloth tucked beneath, meant to be tied a certain way around one of the rods and affixed across one’s pelvis.
The avian word for the devices roughly translates to “dilator,” but Orien suspects there is an equivalent in Cole’s language that wouldn’t sound quite so clinical. It’s been years since he’s used them, he realizes, tracing a claw down the thickest of the rods. He would say he doesn’t want for anything in the bedroom with his mate, but he can’t shake the sudden thoughts of introducing them.
He guides the lid shut, running the pad of his clawed finger along the edge as he considers how best to bring it up when Cole returns home. Orien hopes he will be interested; that his mate will entertain the idea at least once.
He makes progress in other corners of the house until he hears Cole’s footsteps trail through the front flap, followed by a sigh that tells Orien his mate has completed a challenging day. He rushes through the sitting room, skirting around large, plush cushions circling a low table meant for entertaining guests, and embraces Cole before either gets a word out.
“Hello, my love,” Orien murmurs into Cole’s thick, inky curls, pressing close to his mate’s round body. “Long day?”
“Too long,” Cole murmurs. When they part enough to look each other in the eyes, he asks, “What about yours? Did you get any rest?”
“I have been cleaning,” Orien says. “And I found something I want to show you.”
Curiosity weathers the exhaustion on Cole’s face as Orien leads him to the bedroom and stands next to the carved dilator case resting on a small table. He carefully unlatches it and opens the lid, stepping aside to give Cole a full view.
Cole’s brow furrows for a moment before he whispers, “Oh!” and leans over the box, his eyes wide. “These are dilators, aren’t they?”
“I am surprised you know of them,” Orien says.
“Need I remind you how I spend my time?” Cole says, winking as he straightens up. “It took two months to comb through every scroll about avian sexuality.”
Orien smiles fondly. “Was that before or after our joining?”
Cole rolls his eyes, not verbally responding as he continues peering at the open box. “May I touch one?” he asks, and at Orien’s nod, he picks up one of the dilators. It’s coincidentally the one Orien favors, which makes his throat feel thick as he watches Cole delicately turn it over in his hands.
“These are lovely. Are they antiques?” Cole continues, excitement edging his voice. “A family heirloom?”
“Not quite,” Orien says. “But they are, ah—unique. Handcrafted.”
“Oh, so they’re artisanal dilators,” Cole says, eyes narrowing playfully as he studies the rod in his hand. He strokes it with his thumb, his intentions most likely mere inspection yet the action stirs heat in Orien’s belly all the same. “Didn’t think I’d come across any in person,” Cole says, his mouth flattening into a serious, determined line—the same expression Orien has caught him wearing when he’s deep in his research.
“Perhaps I could show you how they work,” Orien says slowly, carefully, watching Cole’s face for any hint of revulsion.
He sees none; in fact, Cole nods vigorously, returning the dilator to its appointed slot. “I’m terribly interested, but I believe I should sit down to a nice meal before I attempt to cram any more knowledge in here.” He taps the side of his head, just above the arm of his glasses, before he shifts into Orien’s personal space. His arms close around Orien’s sides, stroking the feathers bunched at his lower back with welcome familiarity. “So you spent the day cleaning, did you?”
“A bit,” Orien says, stretching tension from his wings. “And your work today was… demanding, I take it?”
“I transcribed three scrolls on Strigin nest architecture,” Cole recites, a proud but exhausted smile on his face as his nose wrinkles.
“Did you?” Orien reaches for Cole’s dominant hand and brings it to his mouth, folding stiff knuckles against his lips before he trenches the pad of his thumb between Cole’s heart and life line. “Sore?” Orien asks softly.
“Nothing that won’t right itself by morning,” Cole says, his other hand crawling between Orien’s hip to his rib cage. “And you, Councilor? I trust you paced yourself with all these organizational tasks you got yourself into.”
“I did,” Orien says, not even grimacing when Cole’s fingers lightly trace the spot on his ribs that usually aches. He leans into it, the proximity and touch stoking more warmth in his belly, something quiet and sensual already leading him into a calming mindset.
“Good.” Cole drops his hand and rocks on the tips of his toes, stealing a kiss from Orien’s jaw before he breaks away. “I’ll start dinner, then.”
“You will let me help,” Orien demands, and though his voice comes out weak he is no less sincere.
While Cole reawakens their wood-burning stove to heat a cast-iron pot, he assigns Orien to knife duty with a head of cabbage, an onion, and carrots. The kitchen is not as grand and sprawling as other Councilor homes but thankfully their culinary choreography is committed to memory—not that Orien ever minds when Cole accidentally brushes against him.
Orien knows they’re both exhausted from their days, yet he begins to feel as though they’re dancing around something more than just each other. He sneaks glances at Cole as he works, but his face lacks anything unusual, just his typical intense focus on the task before him.
As they sit down to eat, however, Orien thinks perhaps it’s not Cole but his own nervous thoughts clinging to the air that’s causing the intangible disturbance. The usually companionable silence feels tense and he can’t assemble words as to why.
“Sure you’re feeling alright?” Cole asks him, and Orien nods around a bite of stewed vegetables. “No pain?”
“No, no.” Orien smooths a hand through the dense feathers down the back of his neck, a habit he’d picked up from his mate. “Thinking too much, I suppose.”
He knows his explanation won’t settle Cole’s curiosity or worries, but thankfully he understands that Orien will talk once he’s adequately prepared. The meal continues in lighter silence, and upon finishing they scrub their dishes clean before finally retiring to the bedroom.
Orien lowers himself into their nest bed, ignoring the cloth tied around his waist as he situates himself comfortably. He stretches out as Cole removes his glasses and changes into his sleep clothes, not paying him much mind until he hears a soft thunk at the edge of the nest.
Cole folds his legs as he sits next to the dilator case, a placid look on his face. “You were thinking about these, weren’t you?” he asks, flattening his palm to the box’s lid.
“Yes,” Orien huffs, bending his taloned legs to mirror Cole’s position.
“You want to use them,” Cole says, then amends, “You want us to use them.”
Orien nods, his mouth only hanging open as he tries to elaborate.
Cole’s smile widens. “Were you afraid to ask?”
“Perhaps not for the reasons you might think,” Orien says, scowling a bit as he edges closer, sitting on his talons as he reaches for the box. “I used these quite a bit when I was younger,” he says as he unlatches the lid. “I suppose… I thought I outgrew them, or I felt I did not need them any longer when I—when we…”
Cole’s hand closes over Orien’s before he tilts the lid open. “But you found them today and wanted to give them a try?”
Orien nods. “If that… is something you are interested in, yes, but—” He sandwiches Cole’s hand between his own, squeezing and rubbing the skin between his knuckles. “I am accustomed to being on the receiving end.”
“Oh.” Cole wets his lips and gently pulls his hand away, eyes glimmering like seaweed wafting beneath a clear lake. He opens the box, eyeing the contents with renewed perspective. “Which one do you like best?”
Orien knows he shouldn’t feel ashamed, but he keeps his eyes on his hand as he touches the dilator of his choosing—not the longest of the set but undoubtedly the thickest, rounder at the base with a slight curve to the shaft.
Cole hums at his choice, and Orien can’t tell if it’s inlaid with approval or concern. All Cole says is, “Show me how it works.”
Orien reaches for the long cloth strap tucked beneath the box’s lining, letting gravity uncoil it as he holds it up. “This piece is knotted into a harness,” he says. “I still remember how to tie it if you, ah…”
“Please,” Cole says.
“Right,” Orien says, holding the strap between both hands. “You will need to undress.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly do that,” Cole teases, voice light with laughter as he shimmies deeper into the nest and pushes his loose sleep pants down his hips. Naked, he ends up kneeling close enough to lean in and kiss Orien’s cheek. “Should you be having any doubts, my love, know that I want to do this,” he murmurs. “If this will make you feel good, I want to try it.”
Even with the reassurance, Orien remains nervous. He trills softly, breathing deeply as he rearranges himself to face Cole directly. “Just spread your legs there—yes, perfect.” He loops the hearty strap of cloth around each of Cole’s parted thighs, knotting it tight but, as Cole confirms, comfortable. He reaches for the dilator, wringing it with an intentional loop before adjusting it to rest comfortably between Cole’s legs. His knotwork isn’t as precise as it once was, but after a few test tugs Orien finds that it holds appropriately. He pauses to soak up the vision of his mate with a sturdy, wooden cock hanging between his legs, unable to keep the lust cleared from his features.
“How does it look?” Cole asks, his hopeful eyes pointed at Orien.
“Perfect,” Orien says. “How does it feel?”
Cole blinks but doesn’t look down. “A little strange,” he admits. “I don’t hate it.”
“And how does it look… to you?”
Cole seems to respond in slowed time, pressing his lips together as his eyes shift downward. “It’s… oh.” His eyes lock onto the new, heavy presence between his legs. “Ah,” he says, and with his eyes hooded, Orien can’t tell if it’s a good response or not. “That’s certainly something, isn’t it?” Cole finishes, his voice brushing a whisper.
“Bad?” Orien ventures, relaxing when Cole shakes his head. He reaches into the box for another secret hidden beneath the lining—a phial of oil, safe for both dilator and skin—his wings flaring behind him as he braces against one arm. “Come here, then.”
Cole closes the distance between them, sliding into Orien’s lap as Orien’s hands cup his thighs, straying over his round hips and belly.
“Now what?” Cole asks, the stiff wooden cock pressing between their bellies.
It’s utterly charming to see his usual confidence shaken. Orien’s hands rise to cup Cole’s face, bringing him forward into a slow kiss. “Now,” he murmurs, “you will fuck the Corvan councilor in his bed.”
“Our bed,” Cole chides, his smile wilting against Orien’s cheek. “Will you guide me?”
Orien uncorks the phial, spilling drops of the potent lubrication in his palm. He works it over Cole’s cock, warming it with friction before he lies back. “Prepare me however you wish,” he says, recorking the phial and setting it aside. “That oil will not dry anytime soon.”
Determination sparks through Cole’s irises—flint against rock—as he carefully eases off Orien’s lap, cupping behind his knees to bend his legs upright. He carefully loosens the loincloth covering Orien’s pelvis, stalling to stroke the fluffy down along his inner thighs.
Then he lowers himself between Orien’s spread legs, and Orien shivers all the same as his mate’s lips kiss from plume to exposed skin. Arousal unwinds, delicious and slow, as Cole demonstrates his decision to take his time. Closing his eyes, Orien breathes evenly against the teasing pecks across his lower pelvis, too aware that Cole can likely see him clenching in anticipation.
His gasp is ragged when Cole’s tongue laps over his cock; his moans are soft as Cole’s fingers gently nudge apart his folds. His legs twitch, hands clasping at his stomach and chest as his mate licks into him and draws languid loops around his cock with his tongue and clever fingers.
The first finger slips inside with ease, slickened by Orien’s excitement and Cole’s attention. Orien arches nonetheless, claws sinking into his palm to keep his hands still. Cole’s tongue flicks rhythmically over Orien’s cock as he gently thrusts his finger, soon increasing the pressure by adding another.
More moans flutter up Orien’s throat as Cole patiently works him open, making him forget this is supposed to be about preparation and build-up. Cole’s hands had not always been so experienced at bringing Orien pleasure, yet it was this exact level of unhurried attention that helped attune them to each others’ needs. As Cole had discovered through his research, avian were not accustomed to short sexual encounters; whereas he’d explained to Orien that in his own experience, humans generally leaned toward a quick and pragmatic approach to intercourse.
While Cole had learned to slow down, Orien had discovered the value of multiple pleasurable encounters over the course of a single evening.
He cards his claws through Cole’s hair, squeezing gently in warning. Cole shifts up, returning to a kneel between Orien’s parted legs with a serene, knowing smile on his face. “Ready?”
“Please,” Orien murmurs. Goddesses condemn him if he refuses.
Cole grips his cock in one hand, still shimmering with oil as he strokes it in appraisal. He tweaks his hips into place, and the eventual press against Orien’s cunt is firm and vaguely familiar. He forces himself to meet Cole’s eyes as the blunt cockhead slips inside him.
“All good?” Cole asks.
Orien nods, flexing his talons against the nest trappings over the mattress beneath. He groans as another inch pushes inside him, emptiness supplanted by solid matter.
At that, Cole chuckles softly, a sign he’s settling into his comfort zone. He draws a hand from Orien’s knee to his hip and murmurs, “Eager to take my cock, aren’t you?”
Orien’s lidded eyes snap wide, meeting Cole’s expectant expression; he imagines Cole wants more than another nod. “Yes,” he mumbles, unable to stop himself from clenching. “Extremely.”
Cole’s gaze flickers down to the V of Orien’s legs, teeth scraping his bottom lip. “Look at you,” he says, rolling his hips as the rest of his cock is swallowed by Orien’s wet cunt. He pauses, inhaling so deep his shoulders crest, and says, “Lift your legs for me.”
It takes the sweetest patience as Cole guides Orien’s legs into position while situating himself, but Orien would gladly wait. Uncertainty still wrinkles at the corners of Cole’s eyes, and though Orien isn’t concerned with having to stop, or whether this will take an hour or until the early morning, he never wants to see his mate uncomfortable.
“Try to—ah, lean forward a bit,” he says gently, reaching for Cole’s hand to guide him. “Like this.”
Cole obeys easily, not quite tall enough to lie face to face as he brackets his elbows on either side of Orien’s chest. The shift of internal pressure makes Orien’s eyes roll back, his mouth gaping in a surprised inhale.
“Oh, did that feel good?” Cole coos, repeating the motion with a roll of his hips.
Orien gasps again, his arms closing around Cole’s shoulders as his mate settles on top of him. He tilts his head to press into Cole’s curls, inhaling the unforgotten scent of the village library, of paper and dust and ink.
“Do you like it? Having me inside you?” Cole murmurs against his chest, tilting his head to meet Orien’s eyes.
“Y-yes,” Orien whispers, groaning as Cole thrusts inside him again. “Oh, g-goddesses, yes.”
Cole hums, evenly rocking his hips. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you make such sounds before,” he says, a small, cheeky smile pushing into his round cheeks. “I’ve already decided we’ll have to do this again.”
“Please,” Orien begs, voice cracking when his mate begins fucking him harder at his behest.
“That’s it,” Cole says between heavy breaths, dipping his head to press a kiss to Orien’s collarbone. “Love seeing you come apart for me, sweetheart, just like that.”
Careful of his claws, Orien squeezes and strokes up and down Cole’s broad back. The few times he’d been fucked like this paled in comparison, though memories were often coy like that. The moment Cole seemed to lock down a rhythm that was both static and comfortable was the moment Orien felt his climax mounting, burying his desperate pleas in Cole’s scalp.
“Harder,” Orien begs. “Please.”
Instead Cole shudders to a halt, chuckling breathlessly as he kisses Orien’s throat. “Perhaps you should ride me, Councilor.”
Orien doesn’t even balk, gracefully sliding out of the way as soon as Cole pulls out. His mate’s skin is rosy all over, sweat dappling his forehead, and Orien has never loved anyone more. “My apologies,” he says, positioning himself over Cole’s hips. “It seems I have become rather insatiable.”
“Oh, I take no personal offense,” Cole says, laughing softly as Orien pecks at his lips. “Don’t hold back on my account.”
Orien rocks back onto his talons, knees digging into the nest as he grips Cole’s cock and positions himself. He clenches around nothing, desperate to be filled again, but he knows the change in position will bring a different pressure inside him. He eases down, going by feeling alone as his eyes drag up and down Cole’s body, admiring how perfect his mate looks splayed beneath him. How he’d do anything for the man that seems incapable of denying him anything.
He empties his lungs as Cole’s cock slips inside him, splitting his fingers around his own cock as he settles. His eyes lock with Cole’s, both of them breathing with open mouths, lips twitching. Then Orien slides his hands down his thighs, squeezes around the hardness inside him, and rocks his hips.
His next exhale comes out in a moan, the friction inside his cunt overwhelming. He catches Cole’s tongue dart over his lips as he watches, as he reaches out and closes his hands over Orien’s.
“Take your time, love.”
Orien nods, rocking again with a shaky gasp. He rises, thighs trembling, and sinks, again and again. He can’t stop, each movement bringing him closer, proving how easily worked up he’d gotten from being fucked by his beautiful, perfect mate.
On a whim, Orien leans forward, throwing the bulk of his balance to his palms instead of his knees. The pressure inside him shifts, not quite easing, yet his climax is lured away from beating down the door. Face to face with Cole, he sighs, leading his lower half up by his hips. This he can do. With this he can last longer, can draw out his pleasure for the most satisfying result.
As Orien continues to roll his hips, Cole cups his face, stroking Orien’s sharp cheekbones with his thumbs. “Got close, did you?”
Orien sighs, partially a laugh. “Extremely.”
“I promise this won’t be the last time,” Cole confides, tilting his head up to kiss Orien’s pointed nose. Orien’s eyes slide shut, cheeks tingling with heat as Cole’s hand slides around the side of his neck and strokes the feathers at his nape. “You look utterly gorgeous, my heart, completely undone for me. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Cole’s compliments never fail to trench his soul, but they reach a new depth as Orien continues fucking himself on Cole’s cock. The whine he lets out is raw and undignified as Cole pulls his head lower, gentle but firm, and brushes his lips to Orien’s temple. “There’s no need to draw this out, my love. I want you to fuck me as hard as you can. I want you screaming on my cock when you come.”
Orien shudders, but his hips obey as if tethered to Cole’s command alone, lower half bouncing as Cole’s cock stands upright and plunges in and out of him. Cole’s lips move against his forehead but Orien barely hears the whispers, drowned out by the crescendo of his own sounds of ecstasy, heat and pressure coiling tighter between his legs.
“That’s it,” Cole murmurs. “That’s it, darling, just like that. Let me hear you.”
Orien’s claws curl into the nest, spearing scraps of linen and silk, his wings extending involuntarily to keep his balance and rhythm steady. Cole’s fingers tighten around his nape, blunt teeth scraping his jaw.
He comes on a final, screeching cry, cunt gushing as it spasms around Cole’s thick cock. The sound from his throat reaches a pitch he can’t meet, turning into a cracked rasp that Cole swallows with a hungry kiss.
Orien’s wings drop, exhausted, but he retains enough strength to keep himself from collapsing on top of his mate. Cole’s kiss drags to the corner of his mouth, then his chin, before he releases Orien’s neck and grasps his shoulder. Only then does Orien timidly raise his hips to empty himself of Cole’s cock and roll to his side.
Cole clings to him, arm resting just above the base of his wings as he lets out a long sigh. He turns his head, places another kiss on Orien’s forehead, and says, “You made that look quite enjoyable.”
Huffing, Orien lifts his head enough to meet Cole’s half-lidded gaze. “Give me a moment to rest and I’ll certainly return the favor.”
“Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly,” Cole says, chuckling. “Not tonight, anyway. That was—well, as fun as that was, I think I’m a bit wiped out, if I’m being honest.”
With a lazy smile, Orien noses into the crook of Cole’s neck. “You were perfect.”
Cole scoffs. “You should know by now that I’m very apt at picking up new things.”
Orien smiles against Cole’s salty skin. He does know this about his mate, and while he is not surprised, he is pleased it held true for this particular occasion. “You enjoyed it, though, yes? Your role?”
“Mmm, yes. Now that I’ve both seen the sorts of expressions your face can wear, and how to put them there, I think I enjoyed it very much.”
“Good,” Orien says, afterglow quickly fading into sleepy exhaustion. He reaches down Cole’s body, pausing to rub a few warm circles on his belly before he weakly plucks the knots of the harness free. His eyes crane wider when Cole shifts beneath him. “Stay,” Orien says, lifting on one arm and pressing his palm against Cole’s chest. “Rest. I’ll take care of it.”
“You know I’m not going to argue,” Cole says, a yawn creeping into the end of his statement.
Orien finishes undoing the harness, setting the dilator aside as he carefully folds it up. Instead of returning them to the box, he closes the lid and lays them on top, so he’ll remember to clean them in the morning.
He turns back to Cole and finds him already half-asleep, a look of satisfied bliss on his face, and worms his way back into the nest alongside him, wrapping his limbs and wings around his perfect mate.