Just Breathe

Randl took a drag on the cigarette, and let the smoke fill his lungs, and held it for a little while, then slowly exhaled. A stream of collimated gray exited in a plume that wafted to the ceiling. He tilted his chin up to watch the swirls. It was like he was taking darkness into himself when he smoked, and then expelled it through the simple act of breathing. Like life, the smoke tainted him, with every breath. But he didn’t mind. It felt good to get that little buzz from the smokie-treat, and enjoy this simple act.

He glanced over at the artist that was behind the easel, working away with his brushes and paint, trying to capture him on the canvas. He wasn’t sure exactly why the man had wanted to use him as a model, except that … his type always did. Either artists or the curious that thought they might get a taste of something dark or exotic. Or both.

Randl simply was who he was. He was not actually that bad of a guy, but he did like to live life on the edge, and he loved getting exotic tattoos. It gave him a little extra thrill, however, when someone that he was curious about took an interest in him – not for anything sexual, mind you (though that had been known to happen) but for someone to want to catch a glimpse of whatever it was that motivated him – he liked that.

He’d been photographed, sketched, drawn, painted and posed by a lot of college students and professor-types, as well as some private ‘collectors’ that thought just because they had money, they could buy his magic, his darkness, and make it their own. But they had found out you can’t just uncork a bottle and let the genie escape, and not get zapped in the process. He’d remained free and unfettered, and he loved the feeling of being worshiped through real artists. It was almost a kink.

He glanced with sultry eyes over at the boy with the long, lustrous purple hair, black strands alternating with the purple, on the right side. He was just about average in height, and slender of build, but wiry, underneath his black cotton poet’s shirt. Dark brown leather jeans clung to his hips like a second skin. His name was Wren, or that’s what he went by – perhaps his self-given artist name? He looked almost elfin, if that was the right term, with his angular features, high cheekbones and amazing eyes. He couldn’t quite see his ears, but if they’d had points, he wouldn’t have been surprised.

This young artist had done some amazing pieces that had caught attention in art circles for several reasons. Locally, at least, he was sought after by those ‘in the know’. It was almost an honor to be chosen to be one of his subjects, for those that cared about such things. Randl wasn’t so much ‘honored’ as curious what this artist would see and represent him as on the canvas.

How Randl had hooked up with Wren was another story, but they had been in one of the college campus bars, when the young man had approached Randl, and made a clumsy pass – or that’s what Randl had thought of it at the time. But after a long conversation (it lasted several hours), and catching a peek at his sketchbook when the boy had gone to the rest room, he’d found out just how good he was. Wren could see deep into people – into their natures. Perhaps even their souls, and somehow render that on the sketch, or in his paintings, so he had heard.

He looked across at Wren from where he was posing for him, and the boy glanced up, suddenly smiling.

“Almost finished,” Wren said in his midrange teen voice. “I’m just doing touch ups now, if you want to take 5. “

They’d been at it for hours, without much of a break, so Randl stretched and felt his body respond nicely to the change in position – his muscles and bones uncoiling. It felt good.

“Yeah, sure,“ Randl said, as he gave the pretty boy a little smile of appreciation.

He padded barefoot  into the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee, fixing it the way he liked it. He took a sip. It was still steaming hot, and it tasted good as it coursed down his dry throat. He didn’t think the caffeine would keep him awake too far into the night, as he was just that lucky that he could turn the buzz on and off at will. A special perk of being him.

He wandered over to the couch, and plopped down, after setting the coffee on the table beside. He looked down at himself. He rubbed his hands over his chest and tummy, and almost expected the black and ashy tattoos to smear off on his pale skin. It would be kinda sexy if it had.

Randl’s tattoo artist had done such cool work on him. It had been interesting trying to find someone with the talent and the special tools to do the work on his skin that he wanted. But it had been worth every dime. He had wondered what it might be like to have his whole body tattooed that way, but he was glad it was only his arms for now. It had been painstaking, but worth every moment of the prickly pain and long hours of waiting in that chair. Getting tattooed was a lot like smoking the cigarette: the act of getting something so sexy done to him made him want more.

He lit up another smoke, and took a long drag, the paper and tobacco hissing and crackling as the cherry red end flared to his inhalation. The smoke felt good going in, and then slowly being released. It was almost a placebo for things he felt he couldn’t do in public. So much of his life was hidden, despite his almost exhibitionist look. He gently rubbed the tight shaven sides of his head, over his ears, where he’d had his other ink done. The skin was still a little sensitive, but he loved gently smoothing his fingertips over the flesh, and tracing the still-raised edges of the piece. The sting seemed to excite him, and he grinned to himself, as his nipples grew hard, and he swallowed.  He took another drag off of his smoke, and bit his bottom lip.

When most of his coffee was gone, and the cigarette was long stubbed out, the sound of Wren’s Chuck Martin’s on the hardwood apartment floor were heard faintly scraping as he came to a stop. Randl seemed to have zoned out for a few minutes, as the blue-eyed artist smiled, “Well, it’s finished.”

“Can I see it? “ Randl gave himself a shake, and pushed up off the couch, coming almost nose to nose with Wren. His jeans were very low on his hips, not that Randl cared, but he gave them a tug anyway. Wren seemed to notice, as artists do, and swallowed a little, as he gestured towards the easil.  Leading the way, Wren turned the easil around, as Randl slouched into the studio area at the far end of the flat. He fidgeted a little bit as the artist took his time pulling back the sheet he had draped over top, slowly revealing the piece he’d worked so hard to produce.

Randl saw himself in profile, in a way he’d never perceived himself. Subtle textures and colors had been worked into the almost monochromatic painting, and he was almost speechless. This artist had turned him into something almost iconic, something beautiful, dark, and layered. Shadows were alive in the picture, as was the smoke that wreathed him.. Writhed about him. One could smell the smoke, taste the salt on his skin, feel the raised edges of the tattoo above his ear. Feel like they had those piercings in them, as if vicariously. He had never really seen himself in this way, nor as Wren’s piece had presented him. And there were subtleties to the piece, like around his hands, and his hips, and his ass, but especially around his mouth and lips, and … the eyes. They had an almost saurian quality, and the way he exhaled the smoke in the painting was like a dragon’s plume, exhaling the smoke before he would burn his name into the world.

This painting revealed things that made him want to reach out and touch the picture, but also, made him look at Wren in a new light.

Wren watched the play of emotions on Randl’s face, and a little smile of pleasure wrapped itself at the corners of his lips. “What do you think, then? I hope you don’t hate it…”

Randl swallowed, and ran a hand over his own flesh, and could feel his skin in a way he’d not thought of before, and he grinned, as he moved in close to Wren and gripped him by the shoulder, and squeezed. “It’s brilliant! I love it, in fact! But –  that’s not me.. I don’t know who you were painting.. “

Wren shook his head, and shushed the objections. “That is you, Ran – it’s all you. It’s the way I see you, at least. You’re  – simply – amazing. “

Randl blushed, his pale cheeks pinking up, as he bit his lower lip, and gave Wren a puzzled look. “It’s funny you should notice some of these things, though Wren..” Randl said, as he tilted his face, looking into the artist’s eyes, “You might have just stumbled onto my secret .. aren’t you worried?“

“What, that you’re a dragon-human hybrid that happens to pose very well for a painting?”

“I’m a .. what? “ Randl’s eyebrows shot up, as he blinked in surprise. “You really are an odd person, Wren. You say the funniest crap sometimes. “

Wren coughed, and chuckled, looking down. “I .. well. When I paint someone, I sort of fanticize what they might be on the inside, to make them be what they are on the outside. You seem to me to be.. well.. what I said. A dragon hybrid. “

Randl gave the young pretty artist another side-long look, almost suspicious. He’d said ‘Dragon-human hybrid’ And for a moment, he wondered if he should get dragon wings done on his back next. “Well, now that was rather clever of you. You are quite perceptive, aren’t you, Wren. I didn’t know if you actively knew what you put on the canvas, or if it was just.. Intuition.“ He took another very long look at the painting, and rubbed his chin.

Wren leaned in and gave Randl a quick peck on the cheek, while the tattooed boy was almost mesmerized by the detail on the painting. Randl reached out and gripped Wren’s wrist, with a surprising strength, and pulled him in tight against his body. The black speckles of his hand and wrist tattoo seemed almost to writhe and glow on his skin.

“You have to be careful of getting involved with a hybrid, Wren. “ Their lips were almost touching as Randl said this. Wren gulped, as if almost unbelieving of the words that had just been spoken.

Randl continued, saying in a soft almost purring voice, “I usually don’t let someone that has uncovered my secret survive for long – you just can’t trust some people. But, dragon kind likes to collect things. I think I will just have to make you mine – part of my collection, so to speak.“

Wren gulped, bit his lower lip, and wasn’t sure what to say or do next, he almost seemed like he was growing a bit faint at what his subject had just declared, but he knew the boy was being sincere.

Randl simply patted Wren’s cheek. “Don’t worry. Just breathe – it’s going to be ok. You’re just going to have to paint more –  like putting yourself into a portrait, so I can see what secrets you have hidden under all that pretty mess. Once I know more, I’ll decide whether I should keep you hidden away like all of my other little secrets.“

~Dehrynn Shepherd 

Mesh- TMP Deluxe Body (Store)
Hair- *Drot* -Ash (Store)
Hair base- AITUI TATTOO – In Beauty & In Pain (TMD)

Pants- ::GB::Bondage strap pants (Store)
Earrings, Necklace & Rings- **RE** Savage Ears Piercings, Necklace, & Elegance Male Rings (Store)
Ciggy- [NikotiN] Classic Cigarette – Nextgen (Store)

Arms & Eyes- Zibska ~ Speckles & Entii (We ❤ RP)


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