"One more word and you're spending the night in the dungeon." Ray brandished his whip for emphasis but Florian calmly took it out of his hand and set it on the nightstand beside the tray of healing salves and ointments.
"This house doesn't have a dungeon. Now be still, I have to treat that cut." Florian smiled sweetly and set about cleaning and dressing the long, messy cut across Ray's thigh. He'd already tended the lesser scrapes on Ray's hands and his knee. There would be bruises by morning without a doubt, but he'd been lucky once again and managed to avoid any serious harm.
"Then I'll buy a house that has one and I'll toss you in it." Ray glared for a moment, thoroughly annoyed by Florian's smile. "I'm not quitting," Ray declared, looking towards Laila for support. She just shook her head and gathered up the tray of first aid supplies.
"I'm not getting in the middle of this," she said, heading for the door. "See you bright and early for breakfast." She closed the door, cutting off Ray's annoyed retort.
"That's it, I'm tossing her in the new dungeon too." He caught Florian's wrist and pulled the blond down so their faces were mere inches apart. "Where would you like your dungeon? Germany? Switzerland? Egypt, perhaps?"
"You're not buying another house, Ray. You already have three. Four if you count this one." Florian shifted, stretching out beside his lover and resting his head on one of many silk pillows. He traced a finger lightly along the edge of a small scratch on Ray's chin.
"This is your house. I'm your guest here, remember?" Ray's eyes softened at the memory of bringing Florian here for the first time and presenting the house keys secured with a bow. It was an over-the-top gesture even for Ray, but the expression on Florian's face - and the three days they spent christening the bedroom - more than justified the expense.
"That's another reason you can't toss me in a dungeon." Florian snuggled closer.
"What about the maze? I could lock you up in there and come in only to torment you." Ray ran his hand gently through Florian's hair. It was long enough to be tied back now, but Ray preferred it down. He was always stealing Florian's hair ties.
"Leave my maze alone." Florian closed his eyes, luxuriating in the feel of Ray's hands gently toying with his hair. He loved it when Ray would lie quietly beside him, just touching him. Quiet times like this were rare and Florian treasured them.
The maze was one of the reasons Ray had purchased this remote Italian villa for Florian. It was moderately sized but filled with little alcoves holding benches, fountains and even a wide wooden swing. In the center was an oasis complete with small pool and a set of cushioned chaises shaded by trees. A starburst mosaic of brilliant bits of colored tile decorated the bottom of the pool with the pattern continuing out to where the tall hedges formed a perfect square around the little sanctuary. In the sunlight, the water of the pool caught and reflected the colors of the tiles up onto anyone in the water. It had a magical effect and Florian never tired of dragging Ray into the water to play with the light and color.
The forecast predicted glorious sun all week and Florian fully intended to drag Ray away from his endless papers and books. He'd arranged for lunch by the pool and a day of nothing but time spent together. He didn't care if Ray read or drowsed away the time, but he'd be damned if he'd let the man get a single bit of work done.
After all, it was his house.
Filled with determination, Florian reached over and toyed with the buttons on Ray's shirt. He and Laila had already helped him out of his dirty cloak and torn suit. Really, considering the size of the Wellington's guard dogs and the thicket of bushes that surrounded the place, it was a wonder Ray got away with so few injuries. And all for a ridiculous ruby, no bigger than at least five he had sitting in the safe downstairs.
Florian had to find the younger man another hobby.
Smiling, Florian's fingers danced along the row of buttons, moving downwards, then up, and back down again. He repeated this until he had Ray's full attention. There was a question in the brunet's eyes, but Florian wasn't about to answer it yet.
Instead, he slid the topmost button through its hole and separated the cloth. Another slow down up down and he ended at the second button. It unfastened as easily as the first. As did the third, and fourth, and fifth.
By now Ray was smiling, relaxed and waiting for whatever might happen next. Florian had no hesitation in leading when he wanted to. Usually they both preferred for Ray to guide their intimacies, but tonight Florian had a plan with the goal of tomorrow as a day of play with his lover. When he was determined, Florian rarely failed to achieve his goals.
The shirt was completely unfastened now and the cloth slid oh-so-slowly apart across the warmth of Ray's cotton-clad chest. A bit of shifting and pulling and the silk shirt was tossed, unheeded to the floor. The sleeveless cotton undershirt could stay for now.
The torn pants were already gone, tossed aside to allow Florian to assess the damage. It was the third pair to suffer in as many months and Florian was beginning to wonder if Noir's little excursions weren't costing more than they were gaining.
Setting that thought aside, Florian gave his complete attention to his lover. It was hard to imagine they'd been together for seven years already, and nearly five of those as a couple. Not that they could be indiscreet, of course, but those who mattered had known about and supported the relationship almost from the beginning.
"You're thinking too hard." Ray gave Florian's hair a playful tug. "If I have to rest, so do you."
"What if I don't want to rest?" Florian wondered aloud, frowning a little as he shifted, moving over the familiar planes of Ray's body. Florian was mindful of Ray's injuries, but there were plenty of places that weren't scratched or bruised and he wanted to touch - and taste - all of them.
"You've been reading that god awful erotica again, haven't you?" Ray teased, willing to say almost anything to see that certain sparkle in Florian's amethyst eyes.
"I only read good erotica. Besides, you're the one with the secret stash of penny dreadfuls." Florian leaned in and lightly kissed the skin just beside the cut on Ray's chin.
"And you've read every one." Ray wrapped his arms around Florian, pulling him over and down slightly so they were pressed closer, bruises be damned.
"I have not. You keep hiding them." Florian's hands were sliding up under Ray's thin cotton undershirt, exploring with light caresses as he worked the material upwards. Ray busied himself with doing the same for Florian. The blond was already in his nightclothes and the loose shirt and breeches were easily removed, especially for someone who'd had so much practice.
There was a bit of wrestling as they tumbled over and against each other, removing clothing without separating. It was a familiar game and they took advantage of busy hands to steal kisses and affectionate nips.
"Aaaahhhh!" Florian cried out as Ray caught an earlobe between his teeth and tormented it. Florian's ears were particularly sensitive, a fact that endlessly amused Ray. Florian found it less amusing that Ray's erogenous zones were all in places that one couldn't touch, even discreetly, in public. He'd spent more than one evening at the opera or at a party hopelessly distracted, and aroused with no means for release or retaliation.
Not that he didn't have occasion to repay his benefactor and lover. It had been a delightful accident that lead Florian to discover Ray's secret weakness to certain words, especially those breathed oh-so-discreetly into his ear or against his neck.
It had become a game of late to see who could withstand the torment longer. While Ray usually won the initial round, Florian was more than happy to make up for it afterwards. In fact, just two nights ago Ray had done the most interesting thing with his tongue.
Florian slid down and tried to replicate that little bit of magic. From the way Ray gasped, he must have remembered some of it correctly anyway.
Made bolder by his success, Florian continued to shift downward, mindful of Ray's injured leg. He loved the shapes and textures of Ray's body and savored the slightly salty tang of his skin.
Ray was feeling vocal tonight and the soft sounds made Florian very happy. He loved when the younger man relaxed enough to let Florian lead. He'd take over later, no doubt, but for now he was content to let Florian pleasure him.
And pleasure him he did, with teasing nips and sensuous caresses. With lips and teeth and skin Florian drew the treasured sounds from his lover. Building to a crescendo, Florian devoted every part of his mind and body to Ray, and when that breathless moment arrived, they clung together as Ray plunged over the edge, crying out his release into Florian's hair.
"I love you," Florian whispered as he gently settled beside his exhausted lover. He'd rest a moment then clean them up so Ray would sleep better. Five minutes later he was still resting.
Ray's hand lifted slowly and traced a small pattern on his back before pressing him closer. Obediently, Florian lifted his face for a kiss. He got one - lovely, long and opened mouth.
Shifting again, Florian found himself under the familiar weight of his lover. He's feared this position once, years ago, but now it was his favorite because Ray didn't press him down to confine him; instead, Ray pressed him down to cover and shelter him. Florian loved the feeling of safety he had with Ray, no matter what their situation.
And the situation now was changing. Ray was feeling playful it seemed, as he moved along Florian's body, teasing him. Florian threw his head back and presented as much of himself as possible. He loved when Ray marked him, and there would be marks judging by the way Ray was sucking on Florian's neck. Sometimes Florian was thankful for the high-necked shirts dictated by the current fashion. It saved him quite a few embarrassments.
Now, however, embarrassment was far from his immediate thoughts. Rather, he was gently urging Ray to mark him, claim him. He loved being possessed by his passionate lover. It felt almost as wonderful as their actual joining. But then, wasn't that what it was - a spiritual joining to reflect their physical one?
Ray was preparing him now and Florian urged him on, impatient for that little bit of pain that marked the beginning of their joining. He'd hated that at first too, because the pain was all his first experience had taught him. But Ray had taught him more than that - taught him how the pain was a positive, welcome experience. So now Florian craved it, for all of the wonderful things that came after, like now when Ray was pressed deep inside of him, and Florian's body cradled that of his eager lover. There was urgency now, and that wonderful hyperawareness of each other's bodies that couldn't be duplicated without the joining.
Florian threw his head back and tightened his arms around Ray, moving against him in counterpoint. They were close now, and their movements more desperate, desiring that final, perfect moment, that breathless silence before they tumbled down, back to their bodies, their breathing ragged and their skin glistening with the salt-sheen of sweat.
Ray rested on Florian for a moment, his body pressing the lighter, smaller frame fully into the soft mattress. Florian closed his eyes and savored the sensation of heat filling and surrounding him. This... this was a perfect moment.
Slowly Ray moved, sliding off to the side to collapse facedown on the mattress. Florian let him, covering them both with the blankets. He'd get up in a few minutes and bring in a warm cloth to clean them. He'd pour a fresh glass of water from the pitcher in case Ray needed it. He'd even get a couple of those books out of hiding and leave them on the dresser. But for now, he'd close his eyes for a moment and plan for tomorrow, when he'd lure Ray away from the world to their own little sanctuary, complete with a pool that didn't require swimming attire and a pair of chaises big enough to lay together, sated and drowsy, reading to each other from the penny dreadfuls.
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