This is a whimsical story I wrote in response to a prompt calling for the thoughts of things that might not usually be sentient. I chose to bring Andy’s moustache to life.
I have edited the story slightly from the original to try and lift it out of the roleplay universe it was written for. The place names would have had little meaning to the casual reader. It remains, however, one of the silliest things I have ever written.
Andy’s moustache gained a form of sentience the day it found itself nestled against Evelyn Kincade’s breast. Though not sure what formed the softness beneath his sparse form, he appreciated the warmth. And then the world tilted as the face that wore him jerked upwards, warmth of a different sort tickling his roots. Breath whistled past, ruffling the light hairs of his person, and the mouth him beneath opened, stammered and uttered an apology.
Had the experimental gas released into Evelyn’s lab that day—rendering Andy and Evelyn unconscious for a time—imbued him with the ability to think, or had he merely extruded enough of himself across the boy’s upper lip to come into being? Either way, Justice remembered that as the day of his birth.
He would not gain his name for another year and many adventures awaited him along the way.
The boy’s face kept him warm, he could not deny that. Andy blushed a lot, more than the other faces Justice observed, and during long sessions in the training yard the skin beneath him alternately heated and cooled, the warmth followed by the tickle of sweat. Though initially refreshing, sweat itched as it dried and the moustache could do nothing but wait patiently for the boy to bathe. Thankfully he did, quite frequently.
Andy ate all manner of interesting foods, detritus of which often found its way into the soft hairs of Justice’s existence. The boy favoured two things above all others: roasted meat of any sort—the juice of which flavored his moustache—and cookies. Justice lacked the strength of being to retain cookie crumbs for long, but each brush with the morsels of sweetness encouraged him to strive for a greater presence.
Justice perceived the boy would also like for him to be more visible. Andy peered at and poked him every time they bathed. Sometimes he spoke. His tone usually encouraged but sometimes it did not. Then that curious warmth would colour the boy’s cheeks and the pair would gaze at the mirror, feeling somehow inadequate.
They shared other common interests, one of which seemed to elude them in much the same manner as a thicker and more luxurious growth. Andy had a friend, Erick, and the blonde haired boy did things with his lips which left Andy and his moustache quietly jealous. After listening patiently to every tale, Andy finally took Justice hunting for a feminine pair of lips. The moustache would swear he grew, just a little, in anticipation.
The lips they found tasted of onions, not entirely unpleasant, but not nearly as nice as roasted meat and cookies. Justice would willing admit he enjoyed tickling the kitchen maid and she seemed to respond well, inviting the boy to grope things the moustache could only dream of touching. His day would come.
Andy had the ability to remain still for very long periods of time. The boy did not sleep during these periods of stillness, he simply existed. Sometimes he daydreamed and Justice followed along on his flights of fancy. Sometimes he brooded, and Justice fell in with him as both lamented that which they did not have. Justice thought about the other patches of hair on the boy’s body and wished he could be that full; Andy brought to mind people he admired and wished to be more like them.
More often, though, they indulged in dreams of purpose and greatness, feelings of inferiority fleeing before a sense of self. They were who they were and for the most part, they were happy with that.
Their quest for lips to tickle led them to Evelyn’s sister, Blythe. The moustache fell for the girl after the first kiss—a glimpse of scarlet lingerie, clinging damply to full curves, reignited his dreams of exploring more of a woman than her lips, sweet as they might be. His chance came the night Andy scaled the drainpipe.
The boy spent time preparing for this momentous event and Justice wavered between frustration and gratitude. The talk with Andy’s brother proved very instructive. Patrick spoke of things the pair had only glimpsed in their flights of fancy and while Andy’s face warmed, Justice almost curled in anticipation.
Then came one of the most frightening events in the life of any young moustache: Andy picked up a razor. Lacking a voice to scream, Justice tried to withdraw into his follicles, to no avail. He tried to tremble and a finger poked at him, smoothing his sparse strands into stillness. The moustache lay in stunned silence as the razor approached, skirted and missed him entirely. Did he imagine the screams of the barest stubble that had previously crept along the boy’s jaw? Probably.
Luckily, his fortitude would be rewarded that very night. Andy climbed the side of the Kincade house, slithered through a window and introduced his moustache to more than Blythe’s lips. Much more.
Men at last, Andy and his moustache departed for the capitol two days later.
Their journey to the big city encompassed many firsts. The moustache found himself flecked with blood, then vomit, then ale, spicy meat, more blood, more vomit, whiskey, vomit and yet more blood. Justice decided he did not like Denerim very much. He felt Andy shared his sentiment.
They did have one interesting encounter. A moustache of the thicker and richer variety invited them for a tour aboard his man’s ship. Justice encouraged the younger man to accept the invitation, enticed by the accent, the smell of the ocean and a vague curiosity regarding the feel of thicker, more luxurious strands against his own. Unfortunately, Andy’s guardian stepped in to save them and Justice’s dreams of becoming a sailor where left at the end of the harbour.
The journey home included more blood and adventure, but less vomiting, a circumstance that pleased both the young man and his moustache. Along the way, the pair became acquainted with Linette, the woman who would eventually not only give Justice his name, but define his purpose. This shining moment did not occur on the road; sometimes things of great weight take a while to gather momentum.
Their brief return to Edgewater turned out to be one of the most tumultuous experiences of both their young lives: a night of family joy, a truly wondrous kiss and an hour of yelling that changed their course forever. Piecing together the details, Justice determined Blythe was the daughter of his young man’s guardian and the older man did not approve of the practice of scaling drainpipes. Or the placement of lips…anywhere. Andy’s heart broke and his dream died and Justice had no choice but to follow in the wake of both. They left home again, but thankfully did not return to the big city. Instead, they followed Linette to her town and there the young man briefly revisited his pattern of drinking, fighting and vomiting. Linette took them to a brothel and Andy missed the point of the excursion entirely. Instead of tickling skin with his lips, he fell sobbing into the woman’s lap.
Any ill will Justice felt towards his young man regarding the lack of kissing in the brothel evaporated when they met Olivia. The moustache echoed Andy’s interest in the young woman’s lips from the very first moment and rejoiced when they wasted little time in getting down to business. Justice acquired his first official fan. The sound of the young woman giggling at the tickle on her lips sent a heady rush of success to his follicles and the moustache tried harder than ever to please both himself and Andy by growing. Disdainful looks from Linette notwithstanding, Justice felt thicker than he ever had. Life was good.
Scarier things than razors existed in Thedas, however, and the wellbeing attained by man and moustache would not last long. It had been his foul luck to be born on to the face of a warrior rather than a priest. (Still, Andy’s choice of profession provided for more entertaining pastimes than ceaseless chanting and incense.) Fire entered their lives, first restrained to trenches which Andy proved dexterous enough to avoid, then from the mouth of a dragon.
Memories of the day he died would haunt Justice until the day he turned grey.
Andy was a brave warrior and he kept himself alive and the moustache would admit, after he recovered, that this had been a desirable outcome. Without Andy, he would not exist. But though both of them felt the heat of flames lick across the young man’s face, Justice paid the ultimate price. No amount of screaming, curling and attempts to withdraw could save him and as he shriveled from existence, only the scent of burnt hair left to remind Andy he had ever existed.
When he became aware of himself again, Justice found himself suspended in a sort of limbo. He wondered if he’d crossed the Veil, as humans were supposed to, if he would remain aware but senseless forever. The thought frightened him and he itched. A finger scratched and it was the most wonderful sensation, almost better than tickling the skin beneath Blythe’s nightdress. He was alive!
Not only did he live, but people had missed him. Andy missed him the most; Justice could sense the young man’s grief and, oddly, it comforted him. It encouraged him to grow again and he did, spurred on by daily kisses from Olivia that measured his return, and kind words from an unexpected source.
Linette not like Andy’s moustache. She thought his sparse being supercilious and affected. But she knew what he had known all along. He was a part of Andy. That day outside the curiosity shop, she not only named him as she commented on his absence, she defined him. Andy wasn’t the same without his moustache.
And so he became Justice, the moustache that made the man.
A/N: The name of Andy’s moustache is the result of many disparaging thoughts from Linette. It would be impossible to condense them here, for the purpose of this story. I will forever be amused by the memory, however. Evelyn, Blythe and Linette remain the property of their players.