Reaching Earth through hyperspace wi-fi.
(This is a headcanon/sketch/ficlet/whatever-blog for the Wraith of Hive Ebonstar, because I can. The ongoing adventures of the Hive can be found here. Though this isn't a dedicated ask blog, questions are accepted should there be any. No promises as to coherency, though. )
Today’s offering is a collection of shorter headcanons about how romance and relationships work with Wraith. Under a cut, because not everyone wants to read about these things, though they’re not really “not safe for work” or anything like that.
@ Do Wraith kiss? Yes, they do, and quite often in some cases, though unlike humans, kissing is not a socially ingrained behavior in Wraith. While kissing is a common way to show affection in many earth cultures, there are several cultures where kissing was first introduced by settlers from other cultures. This is largely the case with the Wraith. Their teeth are not well suited for such actions, and they did not originally use it as a way to show affection. As they are telepathic, physical ways to show affection have never been common among them, though there are some (one of which is discussed further down this list). However, Wraith also adapt easily, and curiosity and a lot of time on their hands eventually led to experimentation. At this stage, kissing is something most Wraith are well aware of, and many enjoy doing, but it lacks the impact it has in human culture where children learn to show familial affection through kissing very early, and even “romantic” kissing, as much as kids know of romance, in kindergarden age, pecking each other sweetly on the lips.
That said, though kissing is not a culturally taught behavior among Wraith, it is one many of them enjoy a lot, and considering how long they can go without having to breathe, it’s something they’ve gotten very good at over the years. At least as long as they mind their teeth, but hey, at least they heal fast.
@ As a general rule, Wraith are fairly casual about physical intimacy. The hive-bonds between the Wraith of a Hive create a deeper sense of intimacy than anything physical could, and sex is generally considered a pleasant pastime once the work-cycle is over and there is free time to be considered. The “friends with benefit” concept is common, especially among male Wraith as the ratio of male to female is so high that most males never really get a chance to even court a Queen, much less win her attention. Sex is also widely believed to help strengthen hive-bonds. There are few rules that govern who is a suitable sex partner, and the only real taboos are inbreeding and non-consensual encounters, though some clans are stricter about these than others. Most Wraith are, if not hedonistic, then quite passionate, especially about pleasurable activities. After all, there is no point living for millennia if they can’t enjoy themselves doing so.
In general, they view sex much like some of them view eating; it’s not a necessity (unless it is for procreation), but it’s enjoyable and possible, so why not?
@ For all that Wraith are casual about sex, and about touching in general, and for all that the fact that they are telepathically connected means they have no sense of personal space to speak of, they still have certain actions normally reserved for pairs in a committed relationship. One of which is holding hands, which is something that often confuses humans, as holding hands tends to be a fairly innocent and casually romantic gesture to them. Typically in humans, holding hands is one of the first things children and teenagers do.
Wraith see it a little differently. Though Wraith are extremely resilient creatures and have few physical weaknesses, one of those weaknesses is the fact that if their feeding hand is injured and they haven’t recently fed, healing the damage is a slow and painful process. Until the hand heals, they can’t feed and make themselves heal faster, which means that damage to the feeding hand is unusually disabling to them. A Wraith seeking to hurt another of his kin without seriously damaging them will target the feeding hand for maximum inconvenience and pain. Hands are also one of the few areas of the Wraith body to have as many nerve endings as humans do, so they’re sensitive.
As such, Wraith do not normally allow others to casually touch their feeding hands. In fact, any touch to another’s feeding hand could be seen as a threat, and touching ones feeding hand to another’s non-feeding hand or offering it up for touch is a declaration of trust. To actually hold hands the way humans do is something only close friends or lovers would do. Using their feeding hands, lovers occasionally lace their fingers together, feeding organs touching, which is a far more intimate thing to Wraith than something like kissing is.
For this reason, tattoos on the feeding hand is rare, and usually only done by a tattoo artist who is close to the wearer. Wisp’s hand tattoo was done by Frost, as an example. Abyss has the fingers on both hands tattooed, and they have to be constantly re-touched due to the skin there being worn out faster, but the only one he trusts to do it is Howl. Also, Abyss is hardly a good example.
(That time in canon when Todd offered to shake Carter’s hand, he was doing so knowing very well the offer would be turned down. Had he thought for a moment there was a chance she’d do it, he probably wouldn’t have offered. Probably. He’s tricky, that one. Her reluctance was also completely unfounded, as Wraith cannot, in fact, suck the life out of someone’s hand. At least not efficiently. Though he could possibly have stabbed her in the hand with the feeding organ’s proboscis, injecting enzyme. That would be rude, however, and a completely unacceptable way to treat a Queen, human or not. )
@ Mate-bonds between two Wraith are a promise of exclusivity, which is why such bonds are almost exclusively between males. Queens are generally polyamorous by necessity; to create a strong Hive, her offspring will need to have genetic variety. Males may be polyamorous as well, but there is no need for them to be. Typically, males favoured by a Queen and belonging to her hive-core might develop relationships with each other as well as the Queen. Relationships between Queens are very rare, though mostly because Queens themselves are rare, and also because they’re far more territorial than males in many ways, and often do not get along with each other unless they’re blood-kin. There are females who are not Queens, though they’re even rarer than Queens, and occasionally, they might have relationships with Queens.
Gender is generally not an issue in how Wraith pair up, though considering the scarcity of females, most males will seek out their own gender for pleasure at some time or another. Bisexuality or pansexuality is the most common sexual orientation among Wraith males, probably because of how few females there are of their kind. Most Wraith males have a preference for females, but rarely get a chance to court a Queen, and often turn to other males in the same situation for sex. As a result of the gender ratio, it is actually more common for Wraith males to be strictly homosexual than strictly heterosexual. That said, heterosexuality is not that unusual, and is not considered in any way a reason for discrimination.
Occasionally, mated pairs will invite an outside partner to their bed, but it will always be a temporary thing, and only if both partners are in agreement.
Needless to say, long-term commitment has a different connotation to a species that could potentially live forever.
@ As a general rule, Wraith have not had a habit of taking human partners. Mostly, this is because they have never thought of humans as equals, or much more than we consider cattle. There are exceptions, of course, but such things are considered deviance by most Wraith and generally not encouraged any more than we’d condone bestiality, though with no real penalty as long as the human is a worshipper or something like that. Worshippers are generally chosen from the most impressive humans. However, these ideas are slowly changing as the Wraith have begun to see humans as more than just cattle. Unfortunately, as this is caused by the ongoing conflict between the Wraith and the Atlantis expedition, relationships between Wraith and human are not at their best.
One of the things the Wraith are most fascinated by with humans is the abundance of females, enough that females can do all the things a male can without worrying about the potential and devastating loss of a rare female. With their eyes opening to humans being far more than just cattle, the chance of inter-species relationships is definitely going to go up. Though humans and Wraith cannot naturally interbreed, there is not that much else biologically that prevents such relationships. Culturally, there are a few more obstacles.
Wraith are more likely to take a human as a temporary lover than a true partner, not only because of the perception they have of humans but also because of the difference in lifespan. Getting attached to someone who is unlikely to even reach a single century seems unwise at best.
(Also, as Wraith are beginning to learn, humans are just nice bed companions, as they’re far warmer than Wraith are.)