Çrom and Lotus fornicated in near-silence, with what Çrom considered to be acceptable – perhaps even greater-than-average – athleticism on his part. Still, it was clear from the start that he was outmatched and probably destined to be a disappointment. Not because of any real failings in his own stamina or technique, but because Lotus was practically feral.
Çrom had long since settled for being an adequate lover, insofar as the whole concept even interested him anymore. Oh, he had always and would always enjoy sex – that was more or less a built-in feature, certainly of him and almost universally of his species. And one of the main benefits of his curse seemed to be that he hovered, physiologically and psychologically, around the optimal point for the human male libido.
Nnal may have believed that keeping Çrom alive until recreational sex had worn down into repetitive, tortuous monotony was the greatest act of cruelty He could commit. And that might have been true, but Çrom was fairly confident by now that the life-span of the urverse wasn’t going to be enough time for this to happen. Sex was, in fact, one of the activities about which he had been most obstinate.
He’d made it a point to try most of the generally practiced variants – humans were not, for all their obsession and often downright obnoxious pride, all that creative when it came to pleasuring one another – and quite a few of the variants occupying the shadier ends of the taboo spectrum, as well as a number of human-compatible variants common to assorted other sentient species. He did this at least often enough that the whole thing didn’t fade into forgetfulness for him. Other stuff that he may or may not have done in his life could have been things he was remembering wrong, or things that he’d heard about Çrom Skelliglyph doing but that he had not actually done. This did not apply to the Slumsville Sludgepump.
There were people, he knew, who didn’t consider the act of sex to be all that interesting or exciting, let alone necessary to their general wellbeing. A not-inconsiderable number of humans actually felt that way. Sometimes he envied them, and at other times simply couldn’t understand just what the Hell their deal was. No, he very much enjoyed it. It was just that sometimes, when he was least expecting it, recreational sex became something more serious. And that was when it got painful.
Of course, the same could be said for friendships, long-term professional relationships, even conversations. You could never be too careful. So although he never quite managed to achieve true and lasting celibacy, let alone asexuality, he could sometimes go for lifetimes without indulging, and lifetimes more with a “take it or leave it” sense about it. Especially when he was crawling out of one of those horrible slip-ups when he let himself feel anything serious for his fellow beings.
Maybe, he reflected as Lotus snarled and twisted around him, he should have been more wary of that happening here. But the time to worry about that had probably been before spending half the night talking with her about life and death and everything in between, all while looking through her crazed and filthy exterior and being ever more fascinated by what he saw beneath. And he didn’t mean her naked body, although that was an unexpected bonus.
As always, however, these regrets were rather vague and half-hearted things, a wistful acknowledgement that it was too late. In fact, any misgivings he had about getting too close to the Black Lotus occurred on about the same level as his misgivings about floor-sex in a filthy hovel cluttered with witch props. Maybe he could have planned it all out better … but it would be fine as long as they didn’t knock over the stew pot.
Çrom conceded that he probably wasn’t as phenomenal as he should have been, considering the time he’d had to practice. People always expected him to be a master at pretty much everything, since he could have spent a hundred years doing nothing but that thing. And sex was usually right at the top of that list, because sex was right at the top of most lists that humans made. Still, he liked to think he got the job done. After a while, at least, Lotus dismounted with a happy growl and nestled beside him in the tangled mess of her nest and his clothes, and didn’t seem inclined to complain or try again. Çrom, for his part, lay and enjoyed the unique but not unpleasant combination of scents she’d ground onto his skin, and tried to disguise how out of breath he was.
“Do you ever feel uncomfortable about how much older you are than your sexual partners?” Lotus asked after they’d laid together for a couple of minutes with neither of them – or so Çrom firmly believed – quite daring to drift off to sleep in the other’s presence. Not out of distrust, as such, but they were both quite aware of the nature of their relationship so far and Lotus was probably as interested and wary as he was about what the next stage in its development would be.
He thought about it. Of course he’d expected some sort of questions or commentary regarding sex to follow their little performance, and as far as questions went this was a reasonable one – and, he was pleased to note, didn’t necessarily reflect poorly on his abilities.
“To be honest, I stopped worrying about that after I outlived my first human civilisation,” he replied. “I do my best to stay within the moral and legal frameworks of wherever I happen to be spending the most time, and I find that settles into my behaviour pretty naturally. Same as the shift in language and dialect, really. Xidh remains stable, for the most part, but human languages have long since taught me the futility of getting too attached.”
“Hmm,” she was lying quite still, pressed to him but not clinging or stroking or anything else. There was still, he could tell now that they were in skin-contact, an undercurrent of tension running through her. He strongly suspected that as soon as he showed signs of wanting another go-round, she would take him to school without hesitation. “I was going to drug you,” she told him, “and perform these acts on you before beginning to work through some death experiments. Fortunately, our conversation lent me a certain affection for you, as well as making it clear that I would not need to coerce you.”
“Yay for conversation,” Çrom said feebly.
“Do you reproduce, or has immortality also left you sterile?”
This was also a common enough question he was asked, although – quaint and traditional as he supposed it was – he was more accustomed to having to field it before having sex. “I … haven’t really paid much attention to it,” he admitted honestly. “I know that sounds bad, but-”
“But so is watching your children die.”
“Yes,” there didn’t seem to be much to say after that, so he let the silence extend for a minute or two. “It actually gets a bit awkward when I start thinking about how much of my genetic material might have propagated through the species by now,” he went on lightly.
“You may have just fucked your great-great-great-great-granddaughter,” Lotus concluded with absolutely merciless directness.
“That, I generally try not to think about while mid-coitus,” Çrom said.
“Wait,” Çrom pushed himself up on one elbow and eyed her suspiciously. “Were you thinking about it?”
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark. Be gentle with me, it’s my first public attempt at an on-screen sex scene.