The evening's paperwork had been correctly annotated, initialised, categorised, labelled and sorted into their proper binders in their proper cabinets, or else sent away by messenger to trembling recipients in Ankh-Morpork and lands beyond. Empty teapots had been ghosted away to the kitchens and one last cup of tea stood gently steaming just by his lordship's hand.
The Patrician sat practically motionless behind his desk, reading the last of the late evening's reports. Drumknott had extinguished all the lamps in the wall sconces – the only lights now being his desk lamp and his lordship's – and everything on his own desk was finished, folded and arranged in its strict grid, ready to be activated again at a moment's notice.
Before reaching out to his desk lamp, Drumknott asked: ”Will there be anything else, sir?”
Lord Vetinari soundlessly moved one hand to his teacup, hooking one long finger around its ear and feeling its weight, then taking a sip. ”No, thank you, Drumknott.”
The Patrician's secretary stood up, his chair not daring to make a single noise, and bowed. ”Very well, my lord. Good night.”
”Good night, Drumknott.”
Another bow, a smart, straight turn. Three steps to the doors, three brisk steps in which to hope he'd read the signs right; hands on the door handles, but no time to even start pressing them down before hope was rewarded. The soft, mellifluous voice from the desk said:
”Will there be anything else, sir?”
Drumknott held on to the door handles for only a moment, feeling the solid coolness of the brass. Then he took his key chain from his pockets and locked the doors. Smoothly pocketed the keys again and let his hands fall to his sides, straightened his back, squared his shoulders and turned around.
The figure behind the desk, sharp and sleek as a sword in the middle of the night, no, sharper, and just past the middle of the night, when you've started to relax and you're no longer expecting it, so you're looking at the two halves of your body for several minutes before you're wondering what happened to you, met his gaze with eyes gone dark as a treacle mine at midnight, though midnight had already passed.
”Yes,” Drumknott said, his voice soft as the paw of a leopard.
He took one step away from the door and the Patrician lowered his eyelids a fraction, those long dark lashes cutting their gazes apart, and Drumknott stopped, savouring the moment. Vetinari waited, patiently, in his own moment-savouring, and Drumknott knew he would wait for hours if it was required. Nonetheless, when he took two steps closer to his lordship's desk, it was easy to notice – to him it was easy to notice, to anyone else it would have been invisible – an even keener attention igniting the lines of the Patrician's silhouette. Attentive. Entirely alert. Ready for a word, a gesture, or something even smaller, any direction coming.
Something smaller, then. Drumknott lifted an eyebrow and tilted his head, minimally. At once, Lord Vetinari's shoulders relaxed even more and folded back, his chin lifting, stretching his long slender neck. His eyes were still lowered. Drumknott nodded, a hairswidth, receiving the shadow of a smile in return.
Leisurely, Drumknott strolled the rest of the way across the room and walked round the desk. Vetinari didn't move, sitting perfectly still even as Drumknott put his foot to one of the wheeled legs of the chair, pushing it away from the desk and swivelling it, stopping it with the same foot when the Patrician had swung round to face him. Or rather, face his chest.
He let more moments pass, standing confidently, considering, while Vetinari waited expectantly. Then Drumknott said:
”Sit on your hands. Close your eyes.”
Vetinari obeyed immediately.
”Good. Do you remember your safeword?”
”Yes sir. Cinnamon.”
”Good. Tilt your head back a little more.”
The command was swiftly followed and Drumknott reached out with one hand and undid the top button of the Patrician's high collar. Let his hand fall back again, and watched the result of his efforts. Vetinari's breath was as calm as ever, but his pulse, just visible above the straight edge of the black collar, had sped up a fraction, perhaps three or four additional beats per minute. Drumknott waited a while longer before he reached out and undid the second button, this time taking a step back afterwards, to keep watching.
It had been quite a while since they had taken it slow. And while the time they'd used his stopwatch, for instance, was very memorable, right now, he intended to enjoy every second of this.
He took the step back towards the chair. Stood waiting, watching, again, before he undid the third and fourth buttons, aiding the fabric a little in parting. The skin under the collar was slightly flushed, from having been covered all day and all evening. The sight of it made him undo two more of the tightly spaced buttons. Vetinari's face was still, relaxed in the hint of a smile that had found it earlier, but his breathing was slightly more visible now along the long, exposed line of his throat. Drumknott knew it was a favour from the tyrant to show him that – if he wanted to, he could just as easily appear not to be breathing at all – and he was grateful. But that also meant it was time for the evening's first surprise.
”Open your mouth and show me your tongue.”
That, too, was an interesting sight and Drumknott watched it a while before he reached into his vest pocket.
Working, and so on, with one of the best students ever to graduate from the Guild of Assassins does teach one a thing or two. He was almost certain it sounded as if only two fingers went into his pocket, and that the two small bottles did not so much as graze one another when he lifted them out, held apart in three fingers.
The first bottle, upturned, made a 'pop' when the airtight lid was opened and a knowing grin flitted over the Patrician's face in the moment it took the drops to reach his tongue. Then his sable eyebrows flew up at the taste of strawberry, before he schooled his face, staying still, mouth open, strawberry nectar running over his tongue as he had not been told to swallow.
The airtight lid of the second bottle opened perfectly soundlessly, thanks to a simple but very efficient spell. Drumknott owed Ponder Stibbons a favour for that, but it was entirely worth it for the look of Vetinari's body jerking in surprise as the finely ground cinnamon settled in a mound on his tongue.
Drumknott had experimented on himself to find just the right amount of cinnamon, and then he had adjusted it based upon his expert knowledge of his lordship's taste in tea and other things. Now he waited only until the last speck of the spice had danced down from the small bottle, and then he said:
The Patrician did, which was followed by the smallest, tiniest, cough and a narrow tear trilling down from one eye. He swallowed again, to clear his throat. Then he opened his mouth and waited for permission to speak, which Drumknott gave by nodding so clearly the Assassin's senses could pick up on it. Vetinari said, not quite firmly:
”You're welcome,” Drumknott replied. He waited for Vetinari to take a few more breaths, then with both hands he skillfully undid more buttons of his lordship's very black shirt, exposing clavicle and pectorals, but stopping before revealing nipples or the end of the sternum. This, too, he watched for a while, rather up close, before leaning in and kissing the pulse thrumming under the pale skin of his throat.
As he kissed his way down, Vetinari let out a slow breath, which hitched as Drumknott licked, the sharp tip of his tongue leaving a cooling trail across lean muscle. Then Drumknott bit, and the Patrician quickly swallowed a potential noise. Drumknott moved back up to the throat, over to the other side, and bit again. Vetinari's breaths were coming quicker but under control. Drumknott went back to kissing, licking, then undoing more buttons and sliding his hand in under the black shirt. He bit down on one nipple at the exact same time as his fingers twisted the other one. Vetinari's body jerked but he stayed silent.
Drumknott licked the nipple, fondling the other, and then bit down on the pectoral muscle. Vetinari clenched his jaw and didn't make a single sound.
”Kissing you now,” Drumknott said and kissed Vetinari right on the mouth. The Patrician's mouth opened eagerly under his and pulled in his tongue, kissing him deeply. Drumknott undid the last buttons of his shirt then sat down straddling Vetinari's legs, running his hands around and up the skin of his back. They sat there for quite a while, simply kissing, before Drumknott leaned back.
”Good?” he asked.
”Yes sir,” answered the Patrician, eyes still as closed as they had been the whole time.
”Good,” Drumknott answered, brushing his lips with his own once more before standing up. He gave himself a minute or two to enjoy the dishevelled view – slightly dishevelled; he hadn't even touched the immaculately combed hair yet – and then he said:
”Stand up now, please.”
Vetinari stood up and stood still, hands, red from having been sat on, hanging calmly by his sides. Drumknott walked around him, kicking the wheeled chair out of the way, then grabbed the collar of his shirt from behind and pulled it off, dropping it on the desk. He leaned in and and kissed just between the shoulder blades, continued down along the spine, then out over the shoulder, fancifully imagining wings under his lips. Tongue wide, he licked across the cleft of the armpit, and Vetinari's breath hitched slightly. Drumknott walked back around him, licking the same place from the front, where bicep and chest lay against each other, savouring the hint of the unique taste of the Patrician's sweat.
”I have another surprise for you tonight,” he said, and there was the fragment of the smile on Vetinari's face again. ”Follow me.”
Drumknott walked to the hidden door leading to Vetinari's bedroom, knowing that the tyrant would not need to open his eyes to follow him. He opened the door, went through, held it open, then closed it behind them. Vetinari had stopped in the middle of the floor, a few steps from the narrow bed, waiting for his next instructions. His secretary brought out his second surprise from his biggest pocket.
”I borrowed something from the wizards,” he said. ”It's a blindfold. A real one. When I place it over your eyes and ears and tie it behind your head you will become blind and deaf.”
Vetinari's mouth opened and a slow breath seeped out between his lips. He nodded, twice.
”You always know,” Drumknott went on, ”you're too good. There are never surprises, not really. And there won't really be now, either. You'll know exactly where I am just by taste and smell and the air moving on your naked skin, won't you?”
”It is likely.”
”But maybe,” continued Drumknott. ”Maybe I've learnt enough from you to do at least one or maybe two things that might make you gasp for real. Do you want me to?”
”Yes,” came the instantaneous answer.
”Good.” Drumknott stood watching for a while longer, then he said: ”Open your eyes.”
Vetinari did, meeting his directly. His pupils were blown wide. He looked into Drumknott's eyes for a long time, then his gaze wandered down to the blindfold hanging from his hand, looking innocuously like nothing more than a blue scarf.
”You won't be able to hear your own voice,” Drumknott continued, ”but I will hear it. To confirm this, when I have tied on the blindfold I want you to ask me to do something you will feel. If I do not do this, I want you to safeword. All right?”
”If I want to communicate with you, unless it's easily conveyed by moving you where I want you to go, I will do so by sign language against your skin.”
Drumknott took a languid step closer and moved his free hand around to Vetinari's back. He laid his fist against the skin just below the ribs and signed: 'Take off my shoes.'
The Patrician immediately dropped to his knees and began untying the laces of Drumknott's shoes, pulling them off one after the other.
”Your socks as well, sir?”
”No. But take off yours, and your shoes and trousers.”
Very black shoes, socks and trousers were off in a matter of seconds, Vetinari remaining on his knees.
”Very good. What would you like to do now?”
A glimpse of dark eyes looking up, then looking down again. ”I would like to bury my face in your crotch for a while, sir.”
”Then that's what you're going to do. Hands remain by your side.”
A moment later, Drumknott felt the heat of breaths being drawn through the fabric of his own trousers, felt the movement of skilled lips and a nudging nose through too many layers of clothing. He moved his hips and the face buried in his crotch responded wonderfully and imaginatively. He burrowed a hand into Vetinari's hair, not guiding him, but tousling the sharp straight hairs into chaos just from the movements of his head. Drumknott lingered in the indulgence for several moments, enjoying the sensation of his very firm erection under the warmth of that face even removed by layers of cloth, but then he pulled himself together.
”That's your while,” he said, and Vetinari instantly sank back onto his heels, gaze cast down, face flushed, hair standing wildly every which way around his head.
”Do you want the blindfold now?”
”You have your safeword at any time, but is there anything you know already that is off limits tonight?”
”No.” One calming breath. ”Nothing.”
”Very good. Stand up, please.”
Vetinari did, meeting his gaze, receiving a slow, firm kiss before being told to turn around and obeying. Drumknott took the scarf in both hands, laid it snugly over the Patrician's eyes and ears, then tied it behind his head.
Most other people would have staggered at the sensation – or rather, the sudden and complete lack of sensation. The tyrant of Ankh-Morpork opened his mouth a crack, breathed out and said:
”Yes. It's working.”
Drumknott waited. After a few seconds, Vetinari said:
”Please, would you put a hand on me?”
Drumknott put his hand on the small of his back, let it rest there for a few heartbeats, then signed: 'I was hoping you would ask for something a little more composite.'
”Please, would you rake your fingernails down my back,” the Patrician said at once. He surely felt Drumknott's chuckle through the hand resting on his back, then Drumknott slid that hand up to the pale, leanly muscled shoulder, and raked his nails all the way down the pale, leanly muscled back. Vetinari let out a small sigh. Drumknott lifted both hands up to his ribs and then raked the nails of both hands down the Patrician's sides, coming to a stop at his hips where he dug his nails in and pulled the unresisting body back tight against his own, shifting so his erection, though restrained by clothing, fit in between Vetinari's buttocks, which were covered only in black silk.
Vetinari let out a slightly bigger sigh. One not entirely silent. Interesting, thought Drumknott. Perhaps a little experiment.
He reached one hand down the front of the black silk pants, avoiding the alert cock and balls, pushing two steady fingers directly against the groin. Vetinari made what could only be described as a sound. Not quite a noise, definitely a sound.
This led to a series of further experiments. Pinching the inside of the thigh from behind, rather near the top but a bit to the back, where the skin is very soft. Misdirecting by running a finger beside of the line of black hairs disappearing beneath black silk waistline, then biting an earlobe (sharply, but without leaving a visible mark). Twisting errant curls softly between gentle fingers while licking throat from behind and soothing a bitten nipple with other gentle fingers, slightly wettened from their well-sucked visit to a certain Patrician mouth.
Yes, the results were plain to hear. Lord Vetinari, when deprived of two of his senses, was much louder during sex.
Drumknott let his hands glide down to his lover's hips and rest there. He laid his lips to the back of his neck in a lingering kiss. Then he took a step back.
He started to undress. Slowly, meticulously, walking around the bedchamber fastidiously hanging his clothes up or laying them out properly. When he was quite naked, he came back and stood in front of Vetinari. Laid a hand on his cheek in a soft caress, which certainly didn't cause a startle, but perhaps something that was a fraction of the glint in the eye of the parent of a startle. He leaned in and kissed the soft, sharp lips. Then he put his hand at the small of the Patrician's back and nudged him towards the bed.
Vetinari knew exactly how many and how long steps he had to go, and stopped just before the hairs on his legs touched the mattress.
”How do you want me?” he asked. His speaking voice was slightly louder than usual, but just as purring and sonorous as always.
Drumknott put his hand on the Patrician's buttock and signed: 'Spreadeagled on your back.'
The direction was swiftly carried out. Drumknott double checked that the blindfold was still well in place – he had been told that staying in place until moved by the person who tied it was a solid part of the spellwork, but nevertheless … Nevertheless. He made certain, and it was staying in place.
He then proceeded to cover every exposed inch of Vetinari's skin in kisses, nibbles and caresses, from the summits of his widow's peak, ruffled now, to the creases between his toes.
A few times the Patrician tried to move under his touch, to reach out or buck his hips or squirm away where he was ticklish, and each time Drumknott promptly backed away and left him stranded and untouched, until he settled back, apologised, and waited to see if Drumknott would continue. Which Drumknott did.
Only when all his senses had luxuriated in the offered body in any way they could (the proposed hypothesis concerning his lordship's loudness vis-à-vis sensory deprivation was triumphantly holding its ground) did Drumknott let his fingers snag in the waistline of the black silk pants and pulled them down. Over hips, over pubic hairs, over very hard cock springing free, over thighs, knees, calves, feet, and thrown over his shoulder. He put his hand against skin that dipped down from thigh bone towards dark curly hairs and signed:
'On your hands and knees.'
Vetinari swiftly complied, and Drumknott left him standing there while he went about gathering what he needed. When he had everything, he climbed onto the bed to kneel by Vetinari's legs, putting his supplies down for the moment. He laid his palm on the Patrician's buttock and simply started caressing, stroking, cupping, enjoying the soft skin of one of the few even slightly round parts of the tyrant's lean body, venturing out on small forays up his back or down his thighs.
He knew Vetinari was hoping for at least one slap, but if he wanted it, he would just have to ask for it, Drumknott thought and unhurriedly carried on. Eventually, Vetinari gave in.
”Rufus. Would you please?” he asked, sounding rather controlled while not entirely hiding the desire from his voice, which was in all probability deliberate. ”Once would be enough, but if only once, could you please make it very hard? I need –”
Drumknott slapped his bottom very hard, twice in quick succession. Vetinari made his loudest moan so far and took a few deep breaths before saying, ”Thank you,” at the same time as Drumknott kissed his shoulder and pushed a now slicked finger into the cleft of his buttocks to prod questioningly against his opening. The Patrician let out a long, steady breath, relaxed his hips and thighs and spread his knees a little, and let Drumknott push inside.
The secretary's fingers had interesting callouses from all the pens he had held in his life, and he thought by now that that was one of the things that added to the stimulation of the exercise, judging by the reactions as he worked his way in slowly, adding more lubricant as needed. Another thing, of course, was that he knew how to find his lordship's prostate, and knew when to push, when to brush, when to linger, when to wait, when to tease and when to surprise.
Drumknott's other hand moving soothingly over Vetinari's back, shoulder, arm and chest, the fingering went on for quite a while. The moans, and the squirming, were simply too delicious to forego. In the end, however, he carefully pulled out all currently involved fingers and inserted the buttplug he'd bought from a seamstress he knew since she also took in some work sewing.
Vetinari was taking slightly ragged but long, controlled breaths. Drumknott scooted up the bed and laid a gentle hand on his cheek, kissing first his lower lip, then his top lip. Then he quickly lifted the blindfold from one ear and said, ”Lie down” before smoothing the blindfold – and deaffold – back in place. The Patrician's mouth opened a little more, in surprise and something approaching joy, and he sank down onto the mattress with a sigh, shifting his hips a little to accomodate his jutting cock.
Drumknott put one hand on his back. He let it rest there for a while, letting Vetinari wonder or try to deduce what he would sign, and he moved around a little, placing one knee between Vetinari's spread legs, before he told him: 'Hands behind your back.' He picked up another item from his supplies and tied Vetinari's wrists together with a perfectly mundane scarf, which was not magical at all but which was soft while still being tieable into an impeccably solid knot. That done, he reached down and touched the buttplug, nudging it around a bit, eliciting the favourable result of a few more groans and wriggles.
Then he stepped away from between the Patrician's legs and put his hand under his closest shoulder, prompting him to lift it and keep turning, until he lay on his side. Drumknott made sure his arms were comfortable while quite secure, then lay down himself, facing his lordship. He kissed his lips once, then reached down and took both their achingly hard cocks in his hand.
The Patrician let out another not-silent sigh as Drumknott began to move his hand. Their cocks were lying head to toe, as it were, and he worked them slowly and deliberately, and he did it as he would do it on himself, (thinking of Vetinari,) not in any of the many ways he already knew his lover liked. As he had hoped, the novelty of the moves combined with the friction of very sensitive body parts worked wonderfully, and Vetinari let him hear a whole new enticing collection of sounds, moans and groans.
They were both very soon getting very close. Drumknott moved his arm in under Vetinari's neck and let his hand get a good grip on the knot of the blindfold. The Patrician shook his head minutely, and his secretary, his clever hands working, put their foreheads together and nodded. I know, I know, not just yet. Not yet. Not yet. I can feel you building. If I twist my hand like that and buck my hips against yours and push my knee between yours and grip harder and like this and like that and not yet, not yet, but –
He opened the knot of the blindfold as his last coherent act as Vetinari yelled and then shouted in surprise at the sound, and they both came, spurting over their stomachs and chests and Drumknott's hand, jolting and rutting and emptying themselves in waves after waves until they both fell back, boneless, exhausted.
Drumknott gave himself a handful of thudding heartbeats to catch his breath, then got up on his knees, climbed over Vetinari, untied the scarf around his wrists and dropped both scarves onto the floor. Gingerly, prodding muscles and legs as needed to ease the way, he drew out the buttplug and placed that by the foot of the bed. Climbing back over again, he helped his lover move his arms into comfortable positions and then lay back down, facing him.
The Patrician opened his eyes slowly, fuzzily. There was a small smile on his face, one reserved almost exclusively for this place. ”Rufus,” he said.
Drumknott smiled back. ”Yes, Havelock.”
”You … have an imagination.”
”Yes, I'm afraid so.”
Vetinari shook his head, as much as he managed. ”Are there … bigger ones?”
”Yes, there was quite a selection.”
”That is good to know.”
”When you are deprived of two of your senses you are rather loud.”
”I noticed. I do apologise.”
”There is no need whatsoever to apologise.” Drumknott took one of Vetinari's hands in a gentle hold. ”In fact, would you be comfortable with me some time asking you to be loud, even though you would hear yourself?”
He looked into the Patrician's amazing blue eyes, letting him think it over while his fingers stroked the hand in his. After a while, Vetinari nodded.
”We might try.”
”And if you don't like it...”
”I know.” The smile, the beautiful little smile. ”That was a very nice touch by the way. Was the second bottle spelled silent or are you even more dextrous than I know to my great satisfaction that you are?”
”Spelled, I'm afraid. In fact I owe Mister Stibbons a favour.”
”Do you now. May I watch?”
Drumknott's own smile widened a fraction. ”Of course, my love. That's half the fun.”
Vetinari stroked the hand stroking his, and Drumknott remembered the day he realised that Vetinari letting him say ”love” was his way of saying it back – so far – and his smile grew even fonder. He lay there luxuriating for several more moments before gathering courage to ask one of the few questions the answer to which he still could not begin to divine for himself –
– but he didn't have time to ask before Vetinari answered:
”Yes, stay tonight, Rufus. I would like that.”
”Then I will.”
For a single instant, Drumknott considered the absurdity of who was thanking whom, but then he made himself very comfortable next to the Patrician; one might even go so far as to say they snuggled together.
”Good night, my love,” Drumknott whispered and began drifting off. The following morning, he would never have sworn on it, but just as he was falling asleep, he was almost certain he heard – not even heard, but felt soft, sharp lips against his hair mouthing it – ”Likewise. I am sure.”