Lovers and Liches (MM)
Korgulg Skulltaker is a swarthy half-orc barbarian with a hunger for battle and a lust to match. Lady Leithianel Stormsong is a beautiful elven wizard of great power and wit. Both are on an epic quest to destroy the evil Lich Voldridas and save the world from his tyranny.
Their players, Greg and Gabriel, have been friends since they were teenagers, but while they have the bravery to explore dark dungeons and slay terrible dragons at their friend’s dining room table, they can’t muster up the courage to tell one another how they feel.
Every week for the last decade, they have gathered with their friends to play games of adventure and magic together, without ever letting their real fantasies come to life. But all of that could change with just a roll of the dice.
The party discovered a posse of gnolls lurking in the well-appointed dining hall, sitting around a table and chewing on old bones. It took the rest of the night to carve through them, pick over their corpses, and find the two doors leading out of the room.
It was well past one in the morning when Barry finally glanced at his phone and realised why everyone was speaking in monotone monosyllables.
Kat left silently with a wave to Gabriel and a raised middle finger to Greg, who chuckled and returned it in the spirit it had been intended.
Barry had given up on trying to tidy his dining room table in a reasonable manner and started shoving everything into a box to deal with later.
Gabriel grabbed the cans and empty chip bowls off the table and yawned all the way to the kitchen with them. With that tiny amount of helping out completed, he gave Barry a kiss on his bald-spot in passing and walked out the door -- right into Greg, who caught him before they could both go over.
Greg's breath smelled like nacho cheese and the chemical tang of some off-brand soda, and those distractions were almost enough to counterbalance the warmth of the surprisingly firm body beneath tonight's selection from his apparently endless array of heavy metal T-shirts.
Smirking, Gabriel flattened his hands on Greg's chest and pushed him back a step. "Thanks for the rescue, Korgulg."
Greg literally bowed in the middle of the street and sleepily replied, "Any time, my lady."
A prickling heat rose up in Gabriel's face. Greg's words, tossed around as casually as usual, had knocked the air right out of him. He must have been silent for a moment too long, because Greg had a look of concern.
"Hey, you alright? Want me to give you a ride home? I know you've been working all day."
It looked as if Greg was going to hug him, or give him one of those awkward shoulder slaps straight people did instead of hugging, and Gabriel wasn't sure if he could stand it right now, so he leaned away. "Nah, I'm fine. I'll catch you next week, yeah?"
Greg winked at him. "Highlight of my week. Can't wait." They started walking to their cars when Greg called out, "I still think we could go all night like we did when we were teenagers."
"I bet you could. The rest of us would be passed out and drooling on our character sheets if we had tried to go another five minutes."
He couldn't see Greg's face from so far away in the pitch black, but he recognised the sound of the smile in his voice. "The other two might need a nap, but you can still keep up with me. Can't you?"