omnicat: (for Darker than Black)
Omnicat ([personal profile] omnicat) wrote2017-06-24 07:09 pm

FIC: The First Rule of Amber [Darker than Black, Amber x Hei]

Title: The First Rule of Amber
Author: Omnicat
Spoilers & Desirable Foreknowledge: Tensai Okamura & co’s Darker than Black: the Black Contractor anime.
Warnings: Talk of sex, but no actual sex.
Characters & Relationships: Amber x Hei
Summary: It doesn’t make sense. It won’t make sense until it’s too late – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good in the meantime. // 1500 words
Author’s Note: This, my friends, is the H Tent. So simple, yet so charming. Enjoy!

The First Rule of Amber

"It’s called an H Tent. I got it from the future. It’s gonna be all the rage in about twenty years time."

"Since when does your power –"

"Shush, you’re thinking too much. Enjoy the moment, Hei."

"Enjoy... watching you... set up a tent?"

"For starters."

Hei obediently stood back to let Amber do her thing. The odd shape of the tent (undoubtedly where it got its name) seemed like it would make setting it up a hassle, but it turned out to be surprisingly simple. Looked like they really had it together in the future.

"So the world’s still standing, twenty years from now?" he asked.

Amber made a sound like a quiz show buzzer. "Wrong question."

He would’ve liked to think her good mood was all the answer he needed, but A) haha, if only, and B) his first mistake, were he to assume that, would be to believe she really had just randomly plucked this tent from the future in the first place.

The first rule of Amber, and enjoying Amber’s company: don’t worry if it makes no sense. She does that.

"Ta da," she said when she was done, posing like a salesperson peddling her wares and everything. "Go on, clap."

She was so strange. A woman who wasn’t a woman, twice as alien as many Contractors who were barely half as good at passing for human; a mistress of the cryptic, of misdirection and obfuscation; a better judge of character and motive and everything that made people people than probably any human Hei had ever met; callously, ruthlessly pragmatic, but always ready with a smile. He would never understand her.

Luckily, she didn’t ask him to understand. Amber just wanted him to be hers.

Hei gave her her applause. "Now what?"

"We get in."

So they got in, Hei spread out in one leg of the ‘H’ and Amber in the other.

"I don’t suppose the right question is ‘why is the tent bright pink’?"

"Hm. It’s not wrong, per se, but I’m not the manufacturer, so I’m not the best person to ask, am I?"

"Alright, then how about ‘why did you choose a bright pink tent’?"

"Because it was the only color they had," Amber said simply. She shifted onto her side and stretched her arm towards him, wriggling her fingers expectantly. Hei dutifully held her hand. "Guess who these tents are marketed to?"

Hei looked around at the canvas walls. "Parents with siblings who hate each other?"

"Good one. But no."

"Restless sleepers? I’d never hit Pai in the face again if we slept in something like this," he mused. "Too bad we might as well put a neon-lit target on our backs if we slept in a bright pink tent."

Amber shook her head with a fond smile. "You’re thinking too rationally."

"Now there’s a sentence I never expected to hear from a Contractor."

"Just trying to give you a hint. Take another guess."

Out of ideas, Hei rolled onto his belly and maneuvered himself through the connecting space towards Amber. She never passed up an opportunity to get him from ‘lying on his back’ to ‘naked beneath her’; surely she wouldn’t mind him skipping the foreplay.

But she pressed a finger to his lips when he closed in for a kiss and shook her head, eyes twinkling. "Guess."

Hei made a face and cocked his head. Come on.

"No. Guess."

Sighing, he flopped down, resting his head on Amber’s stomach. "Parents who want to be supportive of their child’s relationship by inviting the boyfriend or girlfriend along, but also ensure there’s no premature funny business going on that would lead to a teen pregnancy ending in the fifteen-year-old mother’s death because the birth canal wasn’t fully developed yet, causing the girl’s father to have an aneurysm at the funeral, and the sixteen-year-old father gets kicked out of the house and has to support himself and the newborn – which has a rare genetic disease, by the way – as a gay-for-pay male prostitute while living in a crack house run by an evil grandmother with a hundred tattoos who beats him with a leather belt if he doesn’t bring in enough money?"

Amber shook with silent laughter beneath him. "What telenovela did you get that from?"

"All of them."

"Close, but maybe a little too hot."

"Run of the mill abstinence fanatics, then. The waiting-until-marriage type."

"Closer, but any further in that direction and you start going cold."

He threw up his hands in defeat. "I give up."

"I cheated a little," Amber admitted, taking the hand closest to her face in her own and bringing it to her lips. "The tent isn’t named just for the shape. You don’t know this yet, but in Japan, ‘H’, from ‘hentai’, is a shorthand for sexiness and naughty things."

"Oh, it’s Japanese. That explains everything. Yeah, I can’t help you there."

He could feel her mouth curve into a smile against his palm. "The H Tent – two separate sleeping spaces, but still connected, so the option of joining the other person in theirs is open – is marketed to people who are ‘more than friends, but not yet lovers’."

Hei waited for her to continue. She didn’t.

"That’s all?"

She shrugged.

"I thought it was cute. People come up with the darndest things, don’t they?" Amber said with fondness in her voice. "And it’s fitting, too."

That gave him pause. "We’re not lovers?"

"Are we? Bedmates, certainly, frequently. Friends with benefits, maybe. But lovers, with all that implies? I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t think you like me at all," she said calmly.

He could feel the tip of her nose, a brush of eyelashes. Without looking away from the pink roof of the tent, he caressed her cheekbone, spent long moments letting his fingertips wander the soft skin of her cheek, round and round. Her hand cupped his the entire time.

He liked her attention well enough; liked the fact that she seemed to like his company so much. He liked the look on her face when he was inside her. He liked every bit of skin she let him touch, and the fruity smell of her hair, and the warmth of her mouth. He liked how human she could seem, with her private eccentricity and her smiles and the illusion of teasing when she couldn’t be bothered to explain something that made no sense when you experienced time in only one direction.

(He liked how human she could make him feel.)

But none of that stopped her from being what she was.

He wondered if there was supposed to be a Point to this conversation; he couldn’t imagine what it might be, if so. She thought right, but there was nothing to be said about it but the obvious.

"Contractors can be hard to like," he ended up saying in the end, out of curiosity more than anything.

"I know," Amber said, to his complete lack of surprise. Not so predictably: "You try too hard to."

Hei thought of his sister. Of Pai, and of Xing. Was there such a thing as trying too hard?

"Is that why you try so hard to make me like you?" he asked.

Whatever her reasons for that were. He tried not to think about it too much, and just enjoy... whatever it was, while he had it.

Amber pressed his palm to her cheek. "Trying isn’t hard for me at all."


The first rule of Amber: it doesn’t make sense. But maybe it doesn’t have to.

Hei turned his head to give her a bland look. "So you didn’t bring us out here to the middle of nowhere to have loud and cramped sex in the bright pink Japanese pervert tent?"

"Oh, I did," Amber said, all coquettish smiles and fluttering lashes in a matter of moments. "Just wanted to be sure you were under no illusions about the nature of the tent first."

More than friends, but not yet lovers. Who cared what some ‘Japanese salespeople twenty years from now’ thought, really. Hei would sleep in one of these things with Pai for the rest of the war if they could wrangle themselves one in camo. But Amber seemed to think Hei might care.

He liked that.

He pushed himself up on hands and knees and, careful of her long, fragrant hair fanning out around her head, clambered into her leg of the H and over her.

"Then let’s be lovers," he said plainly. Didn’t dare to try and put any emotion in it.

She looked him in the eyes and seemed, for a moment, very serious. "Does that mean we’re friends?"

Part of him wanted to say no. Who actually wanted to be friends with these psychopaths? But what good would it do? It wouldn’t magically turn them human again.

It wouldn’t even make him stop caring for them.

"Yes," Hei said.

"Alright." Smiling, Amber took his face between both hands and drew him in for a kiss. "Then let’s be lovers."

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