WARNING:this chapter contains graphic description of sexual acts. Moreover, as mentioned in the main warning, one of the characters involved is 17, which may be below the age of consent for some countries.
There’s no respite from the heat, not even at night, when it seems to rise from the very ground. All over the city, from the poorest shack to the imperial palace, people huff and curse the weather while the air remains resolutely humid and still.
Up in his room, behind the stone walls of his new lodgings, Jared lies in his bed with all the sheets pushed down at his feet, his face toward the open window and a thin layer of sweat already covering his skin, the refreshing effect of his bath already lost.
He has been tossing and turning for hours now and he’s seriously starting to contemplate doing away with his shift when the door to his room quietly opens.
Jared’s hand reflexively moves to the dagger beneath his pillow even as he turns, only to fall away when he sees Jensen standing gingerly on the doorway.
“Hey…” he says, frowning a little. “What’s the matter?”
Jensen is looking straight at him, that’s all he can tell in the dark. “I just…heard you tossing and turning,” he whispers, half-nodding back to his own bed in the anteroom.
“You can’t sleep?” Jared sits up in his bed. “Come in, if you want.”
Jensen does, closing the door behind him just as quietly. Jared watches him closely as he crosses the room – the way his shoulders hunch as if he were carrying a great weight, the uncertainty written clearly in every line of his body even as he leans against the wall and looks out on the city, his handsome face caught between moonlight and shadow.
For a while, both men are too wrapped up in their own thoughts to speak. Silence stretches between them, heavy and awkward and not at all like the ones they used to share back before the trial.
They haven’t been this close outside of duty in a long time.
Jared knows he should not delude himself – Jensen just came here because his room has no windows, he’ll never be troubled enough to want to talk to him, he should be relieved about their distance… but he can’t help himself. He’ll take what he can get.
Not surprisingly, it’s Jensen who speaks first. “You are risking a lot because of me, sir.”
It’s not a question, but Jared answers anyway. “I wouldn’t say that. You are risking your very life…”
“So are you,” he cuts him off, turning around to face him. “I’m a danger to you. We had ample proof of that.”
Jared huffs, annoyed. “I told you not to worry about Lord de Morgaine, I can deal with him.”
“He means to ruin you. He’ll have no peace until he succeeds.”
“As I said, I can deal with him.”
Jensen crosses his arms over his chest, his eyes sharp and stubborn. “Why did you argue in my favour at the trial? Any sane man would have immediately distanced himself from me. I know Lord de Morgaine advised you so.”
Jared would like nothing more than dismiss his concerns, tell him he was sure they would win and the whole farce would stop – but that would be lying and Jensen would know. He looks away.
“The night we met…” he says carefully. “I promised I’d protect you until you found a safe place. Unless you have, there’s no use in arguing.” The mere thought of Jensen leaving is most definitely not making cold sweat run down his spine, nor making his heart beat faster.
The younger man keeps staring at him, an unreadable expression on his face. “What makes you think I must be worth protecting, sir Jared?”
Startled, Jared abruptly stands and crosses the space between them, stopping right in front of him. “What on Earth are you talking about? Of course you are!”
Jensen looks away. “When you found me, you thought I was a favoured son,” he almost spits the words, full of venom. “You thought my family put me there to protect me when you attacked the city, but that’s not true. I had been locked in that room for months before your people came.”
In his mind’s eye, Jared suddenly sees Jensen’s scarred back. An old flogging, but not too old… “Was that all they did?” he asks, his voice dangerously low.
Jensen looks startled, but only for a moment. “You mean my back? That was just my father trying to beat my sin out of me. They locked me beside the chapel so I could repent and be purified.”
“Your sin?” Jared repeats angrily, disbelievingly.
Jensen glares. “It’s not only my religion that makes me dangerous to you!” He hisses. “If de Morgaine and his idiot squire find out about me, they won’t just ruin you: they’ll send you to the gallows for sodomy! I was already condemned by my own family, I’m all the proof they’ll ever need!”
It takes a couple of seconds for his words to sink in. “Are you saying that you are… that you…”
“Yes, I am.” Jensen replies calmly, almost proudly.
Jared stares, gaping, a thousand thoughts flittering through his mind. “Why are you telling me all this?” he finally blurts out and, despite his desire to gain the younger man’s trust, his first instinct is to grab him and yell at him for being so careless, how does he know he can trust Jared?
A sharp intake of breath. “Because…” he whispers, smiling sadly. “…I am in love with you.”
All Jared’s thoughts grind suddenly to a halt. He keeps opening and closing his mouth, speechless and completely thunderstruck.
Jensen looks away. “I know you keep a dagger under your pillow,” he says, still in that low, resigned voice. “You can’t denounce me and you can’t keep me in your service after this. So just…kill me. I’d rather die by your hand than be your ruin.”
At this point, Jared knows he should say something, anything, but the words won’t come. Too many revelations, too many feelings at war inside him – relief, anger, happiness, fear, desire, they send his mind spinning, caught in the middle of a battle he can’t win.
So, he does the only thing he can: he shuts his mind and lets his instincts take over.
Jensen’s back hits the wall with a thud, then Jared’s mouth descends on his in a searing kiss.
“Don’t you...ever...say that...again” Jared mutters, capturing and re-capturing those tempting lips, never leaving him enough time to answer. “I could never hurt you.”
“Jared...” Jensen looks up at him, eyes wide, red cheeks and bruised lips – it’s all he sees before being dragged down for another hungry kiss.
He doesn’t have time to wonder if he’s dreaming: Jensen pulls him closer, he can feel his firm body against his own, under his hands. It’s still not close enough, their shifts are still between them – a maddening, unbearable barrier.
Jared grabs a handful of cloth and starts pulling up, barely resisting the urge to tear it off. Always quick on the uptake, Jensen raises his arms and drags the offending garment off, letting it fall on the ground as he offers his naked body to Jared’s gaze, unashamed and unafraid.
Jared unconsciously licks his lips, his eyes never leaving the gorgeous sight before him as he reaches for his own shift.
This time, his lover is faster than him, his lovely hands expertly tugging it off him then settling back on his skin, exploring and caressing.
Jared moans and kisses him again, whispering half a promise against his neck: “The things I’m going to do to you...”
At the very back of his mind, Jared knows he should stop, they ought to talk about this and what it means for them, but then Jensen squeezes Jared’s buttocks and moans one word: “Please...”
In that single word, Jared is completely and utterly lost. Jensen’s back hits the wall again, then Jared is pressing against him, his mouth kissing and licking every inch of his neck, and he instinctively spreads legs and bucks his hips, seeking more contact, more friction, more anything.
All thoughts of stopping melt away. Jared’s whole world narrows down to Jensen’s body and Jensen’s soft moans and their bodies’ uneven, frantic pace.
It’s all too much and not enough, but he is beyond caring, beyond thinking: he is just a chaotic mess of feeling and want.
Then it comes – that half sob, half moan followed by a sharp intake of breath as Jensen falls apart against him.
That little sound is enough to make him lose control: one last thrust and he’s coming, his semen and Jensen’s mixing over their skin like an indelible mark.
Then, there’s no other sound but their laboured breathing as they simply stand there by the window. Jared feels Jensen lean forward, resting his forehead against his shoulder, and, without thinking, he starts caressing the back of his head. “I love you too. Love you so much. You know that, right?” he murmurs.
Jensen’s answer is just a nod, but Jared can feel him smile. It makes his knees tremble even more.
Without another word, he lets his hand fall to Jensen’s shoulder, simply guiding him toward the bed and gently pushing him to lie
down when he hesitates.
The moment Jensen finally lays down, a contented sigh escapes from his lips and he somehow manages to stretch horizontally, like an oversized cat.
Jared catches himself staring and instinctively averts his eyes before realizing it’s a little too late to be coy.
Jensen is looking up at him, his eyes dancing with mirth. “Like what you see?” he asks, more happy than seductive.
Jared let his eyes wander, unabashedly admiring the lithe body before him. “Very much”
“Then why don’t you join me?”
“You know, technically speaking, this is still my bed,” he teases as he lays down beside him.
“ ‘m not going to move,” Jensen replies, refusing to be baited. “Too comfortable.”
Jared turns on his side, watching him. “I don’t want you to move…” His fingertips gently brush Jensen’s chest, making him shiver. “You look different…”
“Yes. Less guarded.”
“It’s just… it’s good to know where I stand. Hiding everything all the time…it gets tiring.”
“I know.” Jared says, leaning down to kiss his shoulder. “I still can’t believe you told me. How did you know I wouldn’t...” he trails off, unwilling to let those words sully their newfound peace.
“I wasn’t planning to tell you at all...” Jensen hesitates for a split second before resolving to continue. “I suspected something, but I had nothing to go on – half the time I was convinced it was just wishful thinking.”
“Really?” Jared asks, trying for nonchalant curiosity and failing. “What made you suspect?”
“The way you reacted when I told you about those rumours. It just didn’t fit.”
Jared nods slowly. “I remember. You said it was a terrible thing to say and I thought...well, it makes sense you would,” he adds grimly, his fingertips lovingly caressing Jensen’s cheek.
“Yes. But it was just a suspicion, I couldn’t act on that. Then I heard about de Morgaine... I was terrified he’d find out about my past and use me against you. I couldn’t let it happen.” There’s a determined edge in his voice.
The thought of what Jensen might have done to protect him sends a chill down his spine. “I’m glad you came to talk to me,” he whispers.
“I owed you as much.”
“There’s no way I’ll let you go now, do you realize that?” Jared says huskily, his hand now teasing Jensen’s nipple, making him shiver.
“Mmm...might not be safe...” Jared’s fingers gently press against his lips.
“Sssh...we’ll find a way.” He shudders when a soft tongue peeks out from between his lips, gently licking his skin. “Tomorrow. We’ll think of something. Now come here.”
Except he doesn’t leave him time to do it, simply rolling over him and trapping him against the bed.
Jensen raises his head and meets his lips in a slow, deep kiss, exploring his mouth almost lazily – like a man who has all the time in the world.
Jared’s whole body trembles him pleasure. He could spend the whole night just like this, just kissing Jensen.
But there is still so much he wants to try before the night is over – things he only ever heard about, things he never thought he’d get for himself.
I can. I really can. With Jensen.
He breaks away from those tempting lips, licking and kissing his way down Jensen’s neck as his hands roam over his lithe frame.
“Jared...” his lover moans, trying to squirm beneath him.
“Sssh...” His tongue finds Jensen’s left nipple, lavishing it with the proper attention it deserves and marvelling at low, pleased sounds coming from Jensen’s throat – so arousing.
He can’t bring himself to move for a while, then his lips move lower, pressing soft kisses on Jensen’s firm stomach, on the sharp curve of his hipbones and finally, finally on the tip of his cock.
Jensen is only half-hard – Jared nervously licks his own lips, then ducks his head and takes him in his mouth. Jensen’s whole body shudders.
Jared’s small smile turns into a frown when a hand tangles in his hair, pulling him back.
“You don’t like it?” he asks. “It’s…not good?”
“It is – I mean, you just...you shouldn’t...”
“Don’t you worry about it,” Jared replies firmly, laying a sweet kiss on Jensen’s hip. “I want to. I really, really want to.”
The younger man stares. “You do?”
Jared can feel himself blushing – and how ridiculous is that – so tries for a grin. “Well, it won’t be much, I’ve never done it before…”
It’s the first time since, well, ever, that Jensen has willingly, knowingly interrupted him – such a small thing, a trifle, really. It still
makes him ridiculously happy.
“Er… not to someone else, never.”
“And now you…want to. With me.”
“Simple as that.” Jared says, smiling. “So…can I?”
Jensen swallows hard. There’s not enough light, but Jared knows he must be blushing as well. “Yes.”
Another kiss on his skin, then he takes him back in his mouth, slow and careful. It feels strange at first, but not wrong, it could never be wrong with Jensen writhing like this, sounding like this, hardening in his mouth.
If their roles were reversed, Jared couldn’t find it more arousing – it’s a slow, hot thrill.
He tries to take him deeper, but suddenly Jensen’s hands are pushing him away rather than closer.
“What’s wrong?” Jared asks worriedly, his eyes searching the younger man’s face.
Jensen’s gaze is steady and calm – not a single trace of fear.
“Do you want me to stop?”
Jensen shakes his head. “No, but…I want more than this, Jared. I want to be with you in every way.”
It takes a couple of second for his meaning to sink in. Jared can’t hold back a smile. “Might be hanged for a sheep as well as a lamb, mmm?”
Jensen kicks him in the shoulder – more like nudges him with his foot, really, but his displeasure is clear. “Don’t joke about it!”
“I’m sorry, you’re right.”
Jensen finds his gaze and holds it. “We don’t have to do it if you don’t want it.”
“Shouldn’t I be telling you that?” He ducks his head, feeling himself blush. “And it’s not really a matter of not wanting to…have you, it’s just that I’ve never done it.”
“Neither have I,” Jensen shrugs.
“I want you.” Jensen cuts him short. “I want us to have this.”
Jared swallows hard. “All right. We’ll figure it out. Er…I think we’ll need something to…” His eyes slide downwards.
Jensen rolls on his side and grabs something from the bedside table – a small bottle of oil for the lamp, Jared belatedly realizes. “This should do.”
“Good. All right.” He licks his lips nervously. “I should…start slowly. My fingers, maybe?”
“That…sounds good,” the younger man replies, handing over the vial.
Jared takes it and uncorks it. “Lay back down. No, on your back…like before.”
Jensen throws him a puzzled glance, but obeys, blushing under Jared’s scrutiny. “You are planning something, aren’t you?”
Jared smiles, uncorking the vial and pouring some oil on his hand. “Maybe. Spread your legs – yes, like that.” He bends down and takes him back in his mouth, sucking and licking.
Jensen moans, arching off the bed. “That…that’s not…” He moans again, feeling Jared’s fingers carefully explore his entrance.
“You’re a bloody genius”
Jared grins and sucks a little harder, bobbing his head while his fingers keep stroking and caressing, spreading more oil. His hands are trembling, but Jensen doesn’t notice.
As much as he wants to, he still hesitates to go further – but then Jensen whimpers and bucks his hips, trying to push back against his hand. “Come on, Jared…”
Jared takes a deep breath and starts pushing a finger in, slow and careful. He is ready to stop at the first sign of distress, but none comes.
It’s so strange being able to explore Jensen’s body like this, inside as well as outside – strange and wonderful.
More oil is poured, another finger added and then, then Jensen gasps and shudder, his hands clenching on the sheets.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
Jared tentatively thrusts his fingers again. “Here?”
Jensen almost arches off the bed. “Yes…yes, there!”
“So…like this…” He takes him back in his mouth and thrusts his fingers a little harder, unable to look away as Jensen struggles not to move, delicious shivers wracking his body.
“I won’t last…” he moans helplessly. “Another…”
He still whines when Jared lets go of his cock to comply.
“One of these days…” he whispers hotly against his skin as his oiled fingers start moving in and out of his lover. “I’ll make you come just like this…just with my fingers and my mouth…”
Jensen swears in Greek, then reaches down and tries to pull Jared up. “Enough…Jared, now…”
Jared hesitates. “Jensen…”
“I’m ready, please, please, I want it, I want you…”
Jared moves back. “All right. All right. Perhaps you should…it would be easier if you were on your stomach. Maybe.”
As Jensen turns around, Jared finds himself staring at the scarred mess on his back, clearly visible even in the scarce light. He immediately feels his throat closing, as if the noose was already around his neck.
“Jared?” Jensen’s voice is suddenly hesitant, brittle.
Just as quickly, Jared is back in the here and now. “I’m here.” He settles back between the younger man’s thighs, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving you, not now, not ever,” He knows he’s babbling, but he can’t help it, not when he’s finally sliding into his lover’s body “I love you, I love you so much.”
Jensen shudders, his muscles instinctively resisting the intrusion – Jared can’t see his face, but he can tell he’s fighting, struggling to relax and not cry out in pain.
All he can do is force himself to stay still and breathe deeply, let Jensen’s own body set the pace as he presses kiss after kiss to his back, lips and tongue tenderly tracing his scars.
It’s a slow, agonizing journey, inch by careful inch, and Jared enjoys every second. It’s glorious, simply glorious.
Jensen lets out a slow breath, murmuring something against his pillow.
“You alright?” Jared whispers.
“Yes. Keep going.”
Jared swallows hard and obeys, drawing back a little only to slide steadily back in, again and again until he finally hits that sweet spot. Jensen gasps, his whole body shivering with pleasure.
Jared swallows hard. “No. I’ll hurt you.”
Somehow, Jensen has enough breath to snort. “You won’t.”
“Can’t…can’t risk it.” Even as he says it, though, he knows with devastating certainty that if Jensen insists, he’ll give in – he’s not strong enough to resist him, never has been.
Suddenly, inspiration strikes.
“I have an idea.” He lays one last kiss on Jensen’s scars before carefully pulling back.
“An idea, mmm?” Jensen asks, watching him as he crawls back up on the bed.
“It’s a good one” He sits down with his back against the headboard and pulls the younger man in his lap, kissing away his displeasure. “A brilliant one.”
Jensen smiles and leans in to steal another kiss. “I agree.”
There’s a bit of scrambling for the oil – the very last of it, but luckily enough for their needs – then Jensen starts lowering himself on Jared’s hard cock.
Jared shudders, muttering a curse in Polish. “So beautiful….”
This is, without a doubt, the best moment of his life – nothing has ever felt so perfect, so right. He can’t get enough of Jensen – of the way his body moves, the way he looks at him, how hot and tight he feels around him. He’d gladly let this moment stretch forever.
Then Jensen starts moving and there’s no more space for thoughts: all Jared can do is feel, kissing and caressing every inch of skin he can reach. It’s too much, too good and Jared can feel himself slipping closer and closer to the edge. It won’t be long now.
Pulling his lover in for another kiss, he wraps a hand around his cock and stroking roughly. Jensen rides him harder, a soft whimper the only warning before he comes and drags Jared over the edge with him. It’s like falling from a great height and never stopping, like standing in a fire and not being burned – it’s everything and much more.
Jensen is still the first thing he sees when opens his eyes again.
“How do you feel?”
Jensen rises his eyebrows. “Do you have to ask?”
“I’m serious. You’re not hurt, are you?”
“I’m fine. Better than fine.” He answers a little breathlessly as he moves off his lap. He moves as if to get off the bed, but Jared stops him.
“Where are you going?”
Jensen doesn’t answer, darting a nervous glance toward the door.
“No?” The eyebrows go up again.
“Stay here,” Jared says. “I want to sleep next to you.”
Jensen hesitates. “It’s too hot. There will be winter for that.”
“I don’t think I can wait that long.” He reaches out his hand toward him. “Please.”
Jensen takes it.
Then, there’s only the moonlight peeking in through the window.