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“Women like your fiancée?” Alfred cringed at the sharpness of his own words. What on Earth had possessed him to ask about Drummond’s fiancée?
He stared down at his feet, instantly regretting his outburst. Drummond is my friend; the engagement should be exciting news. Yet when Drummond first mentioned it on the steps the other day, it felt as though a royal guard’s horse had kicked him in the chest.

Why do I feel this way? He has been wondering for a while now. It was all very confusing, just a few words from Drummond’s mouth had him on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

“Sorry. You don’t want to hear about that do you.” Drummond’s voice pulled Alfred from his thoughts. Dejected blue eyes slowly looked up from under his furrowed brows and was met by serious pair staring back at him, accompanied by a faintly bitter smile.
Alfred could see Drummond’s lips moving, but he couldn’t hear anything over his own heart hammering in his chest; something about a debate? All the feelings surging through him may cause him to faint. Or cry… Or both. Is it possible to faint and cry simultaneously?

“Goodbye, Alfred”. He certainly heard that part. The tone of Drummond’s voice made his insides turn as he was left alone in the room.

 


When he was sure that Drummond wasn’t coming back, Alfred made his way into a sitting room and let himself fall carelessly on a sofa. His eyes to close for a moment as he took a deep breath, holding back the tears that were threatening to spill down his face.  
He felt… well he didn’t know how to describe it. Sad seemed like a much too simple word… Empty perhaps? Shattered?
He began thinking back on the time he’d spent with Drummond, his warm eyes and welcoming smile… Although, he wasn’t at all warm and welcoming when I saw him earlier.
Alfred let out a quiet sigh as he lay down with his head on the arm rest, staring up at the extravagant chandelier dangling from the ceiling.

Alfred wasn’t concerned by their dispute, he was far more worried about why it happened in the first place… why had he suddenly been overcome with such dreadful emotions.
He knew that he enjoyed Drummond’s company, they usually ended up exchanging friendly glances and cheeky smiles whenever they spoke. In fact, it was probably what he looked forward to the most. Any day he got to see Drummond was a very, very good day… except today, of course.
He began to ponder over their recent conversations. The mere thought of his friend’s engagement struck his heart like a shard of ice, bringing back the tears he was trying so hard to hold back.
His friend… it didn’t feel quite right. Drummond isn’t just a friend. He is… more. More than a friend?

Alfred sat up abruptly as horror washed over his face. Oh… God. No. He wasn’t… like… like THAT, was he? How could he be? He is from a very respectable family. He did extensive bible studies while growing up, attended church frequently… after wracking his brain for a few minutes, he finally concluded that he couldn’t find any other explanation for his feelings.
Is this how I’m supposed to feel around women? The fairer sex had never really made him feel anything, but he’s well-read enough to have an idea of what it meant be like. It’s meant to feel like this.  

He couldn’t recall a specific moment that these feelings had appeared, or any actions he’d taken that could have lead him down this sinful path. Alfred reluctantly admitted to himself that he has always been a bit… different. He has looked at men in the past, but at the time he had managed to convince himself that it wasn’t anything uncouth. There had never any feelings, nothing like what he was experiencing now.

He began to chew nervously on his bottom lip as the train of thought continued.
Alfred couldn’t help but compile a list in his head of the people that could never, ever find out that he had these abhorrent feelings.
The queen, of course, it would bring such shame upon her majesty. No one in the palace. Not even the servants, he knew they loved nothing more than some scandalous gossip to distract them from their dreary lives.
His father, especially not his father. He would surely disown him and kick him out on to the streets.   
And Edward… the object of his affection. Or was it affliction?  His mind whispers that his feelings are wrong and sinful, but his heart is screaming that its right.

He wondered if Drummond had realised it before even he did. Is that why he was so cold to him earlier? Perhaps he could tell that something was wrong with me, something repulsive, and didn’t want to be associated with me anymore.
Earlier Drummond had assumed that Alfred didn’t talk about his engagement, he must know that something is going on. That he’s jealous of Florence. Feeling completely overwhelmed and confused by his own mind, he laid back down and grumbled sarcastically to himself “Wonderful”.

 


Drummond was glad that today’s debate dragged on for longer than expected, it was the only thing distracting him from picturing the pained expression he saw in Alfred’s eyes earlier. Pain that he had caused. But now that it was over, he found himself walking aimlessly around the streets while his mind raced.

Why did Alfred have to look at me with those sad puppy eyes? Just thinking about it made his heart clench in agony. It filled him with an overwhelming desire to wrap his arms around Alfred in a comforting embrace, pull him close and- Oh… That’s not a normal thing to think about a man, is it?

Even so, he finds himself thinking about it quite often. He didn’t mean to be so harsh towards Alfred… He has just been feeling out of sorts lately. The woman he’s set to marry is very beautiful, so he’s been told, yet the only person on his mind is Lord Alfred Paget.
A sense of crushing guilt was building up in his chest. He had been so rude to his friend, all because of his own nonsensical feelings. Alfred probably thinks I am most strange.
It was obvious that Alfred didn’t enjoy talking about his fiancée, and was visibly upset when he’d first found out… But Drummond was far too preoccupied with his own feelings to even consider why that might be.

Eventually he arrived back at him home and poured himself 3 fingers of whiskey, before heading to his office and descending into his brown leather chair. Some alcohol should help him sleep, hopefully it can relieve the ache residing in his chest.

He looked down into his now empty glass, and allowed some hope to creep into his mind. The Prime Minister mentioned that he had matters to discuss with the Queen tomorrow, which means he will get to see Alfred again. He leans back against the chair, a small smile appearing on his lips as he considered the best way to apologise to his… friend? Yes, friend.
My beautiful, charming, and absolutely exquisite… friend.

Chapter Text

Drummond quickly dressed himself as the early morning light shone through the windows. Today he was accompanying the Prime Minister to the palace, so he spent some extra time fixing his hair and making himself as presentable as possible.
I must look excellent today; I am going to be seeing Alfre- err… the Queen!
Quite right, he must look proper for her majesty.

“Here are the documents outlining the agenda of the next debate” Sir Robert Peel handed him a small stack of papers from the other side of the carriage. “Look over them tonight. The debate is not for a while, but we must prepare ourselves nonetheless. Those bloody Whigs have been most argumentative recently”.

Drummond felt rather disinterested in politics this morning, likely because his mind is completely consumed by thoughts of a certain gentleman. As the carriage pulled up outside the palace, his heart speed up a bit. He felt nervous about seeing Alfred again, especially after yesterday’s unpleasant exchange.

Anxiety continued to build up in his chest as they walked through the palace corridors, until finally they found Queen Victoria.

“Welcome Prime Minister, I trust you are quite well”. The Queen started leading them towards a separate room, the two gentlemen following at a respectable distance.

“Indeed, I am your majesty. You seem to be in high spirits yourself”.

“You are correct Sir Robert. I heard you were quite successful at the debate yesterday, I must congratulate you - and Mr. Drummond, of course. I am sure that you contributed.”

“Thank you, ma’am”. Drummond bowed his head as the Queen sent a radiant smile in his direction.

Sir Robert began discussing politics with the Queen, droning on and on about Scottish corn… or something, he wasn’t really paying much attention. As they entered a new room, he glanced back to see a guard closing the doors behind them.  

“Is something the matter, Mr. Drummond?” The Queen must’ve noticed the odd expression that has arisen on his face.  

“Oh… No ma’am, I was just wondering where Lord Alfred is today”.  

“Lord Alfred?” She raised an eyebrow at him.

“It’s just that… he usually joins us for these discussions. So, I was curious as to why he is absent”. His body tightened, does she think it’s strange that I’m enquiring about Alfred?

“Oh yes! Of course. I’m afraid Lord Alfred has taken ill, so he is unable to join us today”.
Ill? Drummond suddenly felt a strange combination of worry and disappointment, and it showed.

“Do not be concerned Mr. Drummond, I have been assured that it is nothing serious. I believe that he simply requires some rest”.

His face relaxed, there goes the worry – but the disappointment remained. He’d stayed up most of the night thinking of what he would like to say to Alfred. How long will it be until I have business at the palace again?
The Queen and Prime Minister continued their talk for some time, while Drummond stood there and listened. At least he tried to.

Once the meeting had been wrapped up, he had some spare time to loiter around the palace and be alone with his thoughts. His mind had been thrown into turmoil recently, questioning whether his fondness of Alfred was as innocent as he’d like to believe. He tried to be reserved with himself about the issue but in his heart, he already knew the answer.

He gazed out a nearby window, and couldn’t help but notice his favourite lord wandering around aimlessly in the garden.

 


Alfred is rather pleased that he managed to get excused from the meeting with the Prime Minister. He smirked to himself as he imagined the exhilarating discussion they must be having. Taking a walk of the garden is much more enjoyable; the fresh air, beautiful flowers… no Drummond The mere thought of him made his heart tremble as he recalled the cold expression on his face yesterday.
I can’t avoid him forever… We will have to see each other eventually. But I’m sure that Edward has noticed my… improper behaviour. What am I supposed to do?
He released a small sigh as he began fiddling with his cravat, suddenly feeling very suffocated.

Drummond strides purposefully towards Alfred, his stoic posture attempting to conceal the nervous wreck within. Alfred hasn’t noticed him yet, although he was getting quite close. Drummond couldn’t help smiling as he thought about adorable Alfred looked right now, his slender fingers playing with the material around his neck.
“Lord Alfred!” Drummond tried to use a cheery voice, but it to came out louder than intended.  
Alfred jumped as he yelped in surprise, quickly turning towards the sudden sound.

“Oh! Drummond… You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that”. His hands awkwardly shifted back to his sides.

“My apologies, but I had no intention of startling you Lord Alfred. I believe you were just… distracted” Drummond glanced down at Alfred’s cravat, which is now loose and messy around that gorgeous neck. “The Queen mentioned that you were ill, so I was rather surprised to find you walking around outside”. 

Damn it. Alfred silently scolded himself for being so careless, but he wouldn’t dare admit that he had lied to the Queen. He looked down at the gravel path, not wanting Drummond to see the guilt on his face. “Yes, I… I have heard that fresh air can beneficial to your health, so I decided to take a walk”.

“And has it alleviated your condition?” 

“Quite so. I feel much better now”

“I’m delighted to hear it”. He summoned his warmest smile as he took a step closer to Alfred, so that he stood next to him. Sparkling blue eyes emerged from under a cover of golden lashes as they flicked over to him, and he instantly forgot the speech he’d formulated last night.

“Ah…” He suddenly regretted moving so close. How am I supposed to focus like this? Come on. Say. Words. “Alfred, I… I want to apologise for my behaviour yesterday, it was most unpleasant. I was in a horrible mood, but I shouldn’t have directed it at you. I’m very sorry”. His eyes were sincere and remorseful, and so lovely that Alfred had become lost in them and forgotten that it was his turn to speak.

“Oh.” Drummond doesn’t hate me?  “Do not give it another thought… I acted a bit out of sorts myself”. Alfred had already gotten over their quarrel, that wasn’t the reason he tried to evade him this morning. He was worried that Edward would have figured how why he acted so oddly around him. After thinking about his own feelings, he had thought it was best to keep some distance between them. But since he was already here…
“Would you care to take a walk with me? I found the most fascinating plant over there”.

Drummond smiled contently. That wasn’t too hard. He begun following Alfred enthusiastically as they moved towards a more secluded part of the garden.

Chapter Text

Alfred abruptly came to a halt as his eyes searched the mass of neatly arranged plants. “There it is! Can you see?”

Drummond looked over and saw the plant Alfred was talking about, although it looked very plain and ordinary to him. Frankly, it was more like a weed. “You think that is fascinating?” A small laugh escaped as he recalled the words Alfred had used to lure him over here.    

“The night flowering silene… It hides its flowers during the day, and reveals them at night when we cannot see it. I find it fascinating, as we too tend to hide our true selves from the sight of others”. Alfred glanced to the side assumedly to see that Drummond was already staring at him, and only just noticed that he looks particularly handsome today.

“Alfred, may I?” Drummond extended his hand towards him, eliciting a rather confused expression.

“What? What are y-” Alfred’s words got stuck in his throat as the distance between them vanished in an instant.  

Drummond’s face was right in front of his, hands moving up towards him. Alfred felt panic surge through him What is he doing? Why is he so close to me?
His body froze as he felt warm fingertips brush against his jaw, then gently moving over the fabric of his shirt to trail lightly around his neck.

“This has been bothering me for a while now”, Drummond explained his actions as he begun adjusted Alfred’s cravat.

Oh. Of course, that’s what he’s doing. What else would he be doing... hah.
Being so close made Alfred’s heart race. His skin heated up under Drummonds touch, and indecent thoughts began to creep their way in to his mind.
Alfred noticed that the hands on his neck had stopped moving, but they did not leave him.
He is definitely lingering, he thought before looking up to search his companions face.

Drummond had suddenly become aware of just how close together they were, and it took him a moment to remember how to breathe. His thoughts were overcome by the delicate skin that his fingers were so close to touching, separated only by a thin layer of clothing.
His intentions were innocent, he truly wanted to help fix Alfred’s appearance. But now that he was here… innocent was the last word he’d use to describe what was going on in his mind.   
“Alfred…” he said the name very tenderly as his eyes rose from Alfred’s neck, his heart jumping when he saw that those beautiful blue irises were already focused on him.  

Alfred’s body tingled when Drummond whispered his name. Is this really happening?   
He allowed his eyes to fall shut as he instinctively tilted he head up towards his partner.  
Should I be doing this? Does he have these strange feelings as well?
After a few moments, Alfred thought that he might die of anticipation. He allowed himself to lean a little further forward, timidly searching for the other man’s lips.  

“Alfred?”

His eyes quickly shot open to see that Drummond had taken a few steps back, and was giving him a confused look.

“Ahhrrr...” A strangled sound escaped his throat as he tried to make sense of what had just happened. I thought he was going to… that we were…
A crushing sense of dread arose in him. Drummond had rejected him… of course.
Why did I expect anything else? I’m clearly delusional.  

“Are you alright? Your eyes were closed, and you had a strange expression on your face… I thought you were going to sneeze”.

Oh my god. Alfred’s jaw dropped at Drummond’s words. A hot rush of embarrassment began coursing through him as he imagined just how ridiculous he must have looked standing there like that. He felt himself beginning to blush furiously. I have to leave. Right now.  
“I-I… I should ah, go. I err... work, to do”. Alfred spun on his heels and swiftly begun his retreat back to the palace, silently cursing himself for being so idiotic and praying that Drummond hadn’t noticed the mortified expression on his face.

Drummond was shocked that he was leaving so suddenly. Is he still feeling unwell? No, I must have freaked him out by touching him… Why did I touch him like that? 
“Lord Alfred! Should I walk with you?” He begun to chase the blonde man that was quickly escaping across the lawn, desperate to ask why he was rushing off so abruptly, but gave up the pursuit when he realised that he would have to run like a fool to catch up.

~~~

Back home, Drummond sat in his study once more. He was thinking about his exchange with Alfred today, it was unimaginably strange. But… it felt incredible being so close to him.
Remembering those heavenly blue eyes looking back at him almost made his heart leap out of his chest. But those beautiful eyes had run away from him… was it the way he had touched him? He was admiring Alfred’s face the entire time, he didn’t seem displeased by the closeness. Which was strange in itself, any normal man would have found that sort of behaviour most inappropriate.

He thought back to Alfred’s expression, his embarrassed face, how quickly the blonde man had fled the scene…. And suddenly the entire universe made sense. The emotional reaction to his engagement, not minding how Drummond had touched him. It all meant that… that Alfred feels the same way he does! How did he not see this earlier? Thinking back, it was kind of obvious... but he’d been far too afraid to let himself believe such a thing, just in case he was mistaken. 

Excited by the sudden epiphany, he started to go over today’s events once more. He rested his chin on the palm of his hand and allowed his mind to wander. He wasn’t scheduled to visit the palace again for a few days, the wait is going to be torturous. Thankfully, he had an abundance of pleasant memories to keep him company until then. Alfred’s beautiful face, the warm sensation that grew in his chest when their eyes met. Eyes… Alfred has such stunning eyes, and he looked so adorable when he stood there with them clos- wait. 

Did Alfred think I was going to… kiss him? Did he want me to kiss him?! Oh god.  

His hand dropped and let his head fall forwards, smacking roughly against the wooden desk. That was going to hurt tomorrow, but it doesn’t matter right now. He was too busy thinking about what could have happened with Alfred… Damn it.  
I’m an idiot.

~~~

Alfred was pacing anxiously around his room, hands tugging at his sleeves. What have I done?
If Drummond hadn’t already figured out that he was… different, he would certainly know now.
But then again… he didn’t seem offended by what had happened, in fact he seemed completely oblivious to the situation. Alfred scowled at himself.
“I thought you were going to sneeze”? Is he an idiot or something?
No… he isn’t. Naïve at best, but definitely not an idiot.

He let himself fall face-first on to his bed, head turning sideways to stare sadly out the window. He must know.

His mind was suddenly convinced that Drummond was feigning ignorance, to save them the awkwardness of having to tell Alfred that he wasn’t interested. Feeling hollow and defeated, he shifted so that he could hide under his duvet.  

He was supposed to be unwell, after all.

Chapter Text

Alfred was sitting in front of a smouldering fire, holding hands with Edward. It felt so warm… even more so as his partners thumb gently stroked the back of his hand. His mind felt at ease, and he leant to the side to rest his head on Edward’s sturdy shoulder. Tap, tap, tap. What was that?  
He turned his head to see a small grey rabbit staring at him, whiskers twitching. The rabbit suddenly whacked its foot a few times against the floor boards.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.  
He recognised it. It was the pet rabbit he had as a child. How did Mr. Flops get in here? Why was he here? Alfred looked inquisitively at the fluffy animal, as it suddenly opened its tiny rabbit mouth - “Lord Paget!!”.

“AH!” Alfred shouted out in freight, jumping so high that he almost fell off his bed. That dream was so… weird. The disturbing image of that rabbit shouting his name was seared into his mind. What could that mean? A louder tapping noise pulled him away from his thoughts, and he realised it was someone knocking on his door.

“Are you alright, m’lord?!” The servant on the other side of the door was quite worried after hearing him call out.

Glancing out the window, he realised that he had slept through the night and well in to the next day. Alfred groaned as he rolled out of bed and stumbled towards the door, not at all caring about his messy appearance. He partially opened in to glare in annoyance at the person that had so rudely disturbed him. “Yes? What do you want?”

“Umm... it’s quite late in the afternoon m’lord. The Queen instructed me to check on you… I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to wake you”. The servant paused as he lowered his head, awaiting a response. He soon realised he wasn’t going to get one, and carried on. 
“Pardon me, m’lord… but would you like me to call a physician? The Queen is quite concerned for your health, as her majesty hasn’t seen you for nearly two days now”.

Alfred gave the servant a quizzical look. He wasn’t even sick… not really. Yesterday he had lied to avoid Drummond, and today he had simply over slept. But he couldn’t admit to that, the Queen would be furious with him.  
“Do as you please” he grumbled as he forcefully closed the door and locked it, before falling back on his bed with an exasperated sigh. I miss Mr. Flops.


~~~ 

 

“Tell me Sir Robert, how is your wife? Quite well I hope”. The Queen smiled perfectly as she spoke.  

Drummond was already bored out of his mind, and couldn’t help but wonder how much quicker things would get done if it weren’t for all these pleasantries. It was very surprising that they were called back to the palace so soon, apparently the Queen had decided to continue the conversation from yesterday. He was thrilled to be in the same building as Alfred again, although the elusive Lord Paget was yet again nowhere to be seen. He silently resisted the urge to roll his eyes as the Queen and Peel continued with their pointless small talk.  

“She is very well, your majesty” Peel bowed his head for a moment. “And what of his royal highness. Will he be joining our conversation today?”

“I’m afraid my husband has another matter to attend to today. He shared his ideas on the matter with me last night, so I called you back here to discuss them. He believes that we- Oh, excuse me Sir Robert”. Victoria turned to face the servant that was scurrying towards them as he stopped awkwardly in the doorway. “What news?”

“Your Majesty” the servant bent forward as he bowed dramatically. “I have just come from Lord Paget’s chambers”. Drummond eyed the servant curiously at the mention of Alfred’s name.

“And, how is he?” 

The servant’s head remained tilted down respectfully, not daring to look upon the Queen.
“He appeared quite unwell, your majesty. Lord Paget was still sleeping when I arrived at his chambers, and it was most difficult to rouse him. I believe I even heard him cry out in pain, ma’am!” he paused to take a breath, clearly exhausted from running around the palace all morning. “He has agreed to see a physician”.

“Oh my!” Victoria bought a hand to her mouth, shocked by the horrible description. “Indeed, he must see a physician immediately! Make the arrangements”. The servant boy gave another quick bow, and quickly withdrew out of the room.  

Victoria looked around to see both gentleman with rather shocked expressions on their faces.
“It is concerning news, but we must carry on with our duties. Please follow me, Gentleman. I had a room prepared for our meeting”.

The three of them walked down a long corridor. Drummond slowly allowed himself to fall further and further behind the Queen and Prime Minister, who were too engaged in conversation to notice, before subtly drifting off in another direction.


~~~ 


Drummond stood with his arms crossed, impatiently tapping his finger against his arm. What is taking him so long?
Just as he was about to lose his temper, he saw a servant walk briskly towards him.

“Apologies, Mr. Drummond. It took me awhile to find what you requested”. He handed over a small plate, covered by an elegant napkin.

“Thank you.” Drummond wasted no time as he hurried off to Alfred’s chambers. I hope he likes it.


It’s been several minutes since he reached Alfred’s door, but he hasn’t yet been able to build up the courage to knock. After loitering for a while longer, he finally manages to gently tap his knuckles against the wood. He hears some movement from inside, and feels himself getting very nervous. His heart hammered in his chest as he anxiously watches the door handle move.

Alfred was incredibly surprised when he peeked out the door, he was sure it would be another servant the Queen had sent to harass him. He opened it wider to address the surprise visitor.
“… Drummond?” his voice was still deep and groggy from sleep.  

Drummond was worried that his eyes would pop out of his head. It was as though the door to heaven had opened before him, and he was being greeted by god’s most divine angel.   
His eyes slowly traced over Alfred’s body. His hair was very dishevelled, loose golden strands resting gently against his smooth, porcelain face. Radiant blue eyes were still half lidded below fluttering golden lashes, his head tilted slightly to the left in what Drummond assumed was confusion.  
His attention moved downwards, noticing that Alfred was only wearing an under shirt. Half of it was loosely tucked in to his breeches, the rest cascading freely at his side. The top two buttons were undone, allowing Drummond to get an eyeful of his chest. He looks so incredibly… beddable.

“Do you need something?” Alfred raised his hand and gently ran it through his hair as he glanced down the hall, much to sleepy to notice the way Drummond was ogling him. 

The sound of Alfred’s sleep riddled voice was like a siren’s call, melting his brain into a small puddle of adoration. I love you. Drummond realised just how close he was to saying that out loud, and a strangled groan escaped from his throat. It was clearly audible, as it lured Alfred’s gaze back to his face.

“Are you alright, Drummond?”  

His voice sounded normal again, thank god. Drummond started to compose himself by forcing his lungs to take a deep breath, feeling that he was about to pass out from lack of oxygen.

Alfred raised an eyebrow as he continued to observe the man fumbling awkwardly in his doorway.

“Mm…. I-I... mhhhm” Drummond coughed in an attempt to spur is voice into working. 
“I heard you were still unwell… Alfred” he swallowed roughly, “S-so… I wanted to, umm. To…”
What am I doing again?  

The blonde wasn’t paying much attention to the jumbled mess spilling from Drummond’s mouth, but he did take notice of what he was holding. “What is that?”

Oh! That’s right! “It’s for you!” Drummond felt the nervous flutter of butterflies in his chest as he offered up his gift to the man in front of him. 

“For me…?” Alfred was very curious now.

“Yes! I know that you enjoy sweet food, so I brought you some dessert. I was hoping that… it might make you feel better”.

Alfred gently took the plate from him, and lifted off the napkin. A gentle smile graced his lips as he looked at the lovely piece of chocolate cake.  

Drummond watched anxiously as Alfred took a step back into his room, desperately searching for approval in his facial expression. Does he like it? Is he happy?  
Alfred gave him a very inviting look, silently asking him to come inside. He was more than willing to oblige, and in just a few seconds the door was locked behind them.

 

~~~

 

Alfred was amazed at how fast Drummond moved as he rush into the room. He barely managed to put the plate down on a table, before the familiar sound of his door locking caused him to turn back around. “Dru-” he was cut off by a hand pushing on his shoulder, and he soon found himself pinned up against the wall. His heart racing as he saw Drummond leaning over him.   

“Edward - What are you doing!” Alfred placed his hands on the other man’s chest, pushing weakly in a feigned attempt to free himself.

“I’m sorry than I’m an idiot sometimes”. Drummond looked down at him longingly, hoping that he would grasp the meaning of his words.

Alfred was incredibly perplexed by the situation. What is the world is going on?
Surprise and confusion were written all over his face.

“Yesterday… when we were together in the garden. I was an idiot, please forgive me.”

Light blush dusted Alfred’s cheeks as he recalled yesterday’s embarrassing encounter. 

If there was ever a time for bravery, it was right now. Drummond took a deep breath in an attempt to prepare himself, moved his face closer and whispered “Alfred, yesterday did you…” his heart feels ready to explode “did you want me to… kiss you?” His whole body tensed as soon as the words came out, every doubt he has ever had poured into his heart at once.

Alfred was equally as shocked and caught completely off guard by the blatant question. He was absolutely horrified, hearing his desires being articulated for the very first time. “… w-what?”

“Please… tell me. All you have to say is yes”. He loosened his grip and put some space between them, the last thing he wanted was to make Alfred feel pressured.
“Or no, if that’s the case… And I will leave”. Drummond was so conflicted by emotion, he had placed all his hope this moment. He was fairly confident that Alfred felt the same way… but it’s damn near impossible to silence that nagging voice in his head, the one that keeps chanting 'you were wrong'.

“yes”

“Yes?” Drummond locked eyes with the man he had trapped between himself and the wall, praying that he hadn’t imagined that barely audible squeak.  

“Yes. I… I wanted that”. Alfred looked down, he couldn’t believe that he was admitting to this. Tears started to build up in his eyes as he was suddenly confronted with the feelings he’d been suppressing for so long.  

Drummond’s hand moved up and gently caressed Alfred’s face. He tilts it up so that he could gaze in to watering blue eyes, watching quietly as a single tear escaped. “Alfred…”
His thumb ran along Alfred’s cheek, wiping the tear from his face. “I wanted that too. I still do”.

Alfred’s drew in a ragged breath at the declaration, the emotion in those adoring brown eyes were making his knees weak. He began repeating his actions from yesterday, tilting his chin up while his eyes fluttered closed. Then he waited…  

It wasn’t long before he felt Drummond’s lips hesitantly push against his own, the sensation causing Alfred’s heart to overflow with happiness. He leaned into the kiss, noticing that Drummond’s body was lightly trembling as they slowly moved their lips together.
But as soon as it had started, his mouth was alone again as Drummond pulled away.
That wasn’t nearly enough.
Alfred’s hand flew up and grabbed the collar of his shirt, tugged on it as he tried to pull those incredible lips back towards him.  

Drummond felt ecstatic as Alfred’s slender hands began pulling him back for more, he released a quite giggle before their lips came together for a second time. They moved with more confidence, then Alfred bit Drummond’s lip and slid it through his teeth. The sensation ignited a fire in his heart that caused him to push his body forcefully up against Alfred, shoving him flat against the wall. A hand instinctively clamped on to Alfred’s waist, causing the blonde’s lips to part as he moaned in to their kiss. Drummond took the opportunity to gently run his tongue along the inside of Alfred’s lips, before pushing it into the other man’s mouth. The action was returned, and their tongues began moving roughly against each other, desperate for as much contact as possible.

One of Alfred’s legs raised up and wrapped around his partners waist, evoking a moan from them both as he forced their hips together. Drummond removed his hand from Alfred’s face and used it to grab on to his leg and pull it tighter around him. He felt very thankful for the wall they were up against, doubting that either of them would be able to stand on their own right now.

Alfred began to shift underneath him, and Drummond suddenly felt the blonde’s erection pressing against his thigh. Their lips broke apart as Alfred pushed his head back against the wall and let out an explicit, high pitched moan as his grinded his cock against Drummond’s hips. The sexual noise sent chills through Drummond’s body as he listened his partners shallow and ragged breaths.

Alfred’s free hand started clawing desperately at Drummond’s back, trying to pull him even closer, his body aching for more. Drummond leaned down and tenderly kissed his lips once more, before pushing Alfred’s leg down and pulling away.

“Edward…” Alfred whimpered softly, pulled him back with the grip he still had on his collar. “I don’t want to stop”.

The pure, unrestrained lust in his voice almost made Drummond choke. “I-I know… but this isn’t the time or place. The Prime Minister would have noticed my absence by now”.

Alfred sighed, reluctantly releasing the clothing bunched up in his hand and correcting his posture.
“You know, I’m not actually unwell” he blushed and looked down at his hands as he rubbed them together “Actually… I suppose I was a little lovesick”.

The timid admission caused a bright smile to spread on Drummond’s face as he continued to fix his clothing. “But I was worried nonetheless” His eyes once again inspected Alfred, who somehow looked even more beautiful than before.

“Well then…” Alfred moved over to the door and held it open. He flashed Drummond a coy smile as he left “until next time, Drummond”.

Once the door closed behind him, Drummond quickly looked around to make sure no one had seen him leaving Alfred’s room. He lingered in the corridor for a few moments, giving the terribly obvious situation in his pants some time to resolve itself.
As soon as he was decent, Drummond started making his way back to where he was supposed to be.
He was half expecting to wake up soon and discover that this was merely a dream, it certainly seemed far too spectacular to be real.

He quickly regretted leaving Alfred when they had been enjoying each other so much, but it was the best thing to do. The Prime Minister will certainly be wondering where he had disappeared to. But most importantly… He knew it wouldn’t have been long before the last of his resolve shattered, and he would have taken Alfred completely.

 
~~~


It has been some time since Drummond had left, but Alfred’s heart was still racing as he thought about what had just happened between them. He couldn’t help feeling a bit embarrassed by his behaviour, he had completely forgot himself when he felt Drummond’s body push up against him.
Blush spread over his face as he recalled the lewd moan that came out of him earlier; he didn’t know that he was even capable of producing such an obscene noise.   

God, I was so indecent.

Alfred remembered the abandoned piece of cake sitting in his room and took it to his bed. He sat with his back up against the pillows, smiling to himself as he began to savour its immaculate flavour.

But that man certainly knows what I like.  

Chapter Text

It was another bleak and cloudy day in London, but Alfred felt so sensational that he could have sworn the sun was shining brighter than it ever has before.
He was nervous to sleep last night, worried that he would awake to find that Edward coming to his room was a dream… Or that he had finally gone mad and imagined the entire thing.
Blue eyes once again moved to the silver plate sitting on his table. It was no longer holding a piece of cake, but it was physical evidence reminding him that it was not a fantasy. It was real.

Alfred quickly dressed himself, gazing into the mirror as he tied his cravat. While looking at the reflection, he was surprised to see a smile lingering on his face. He can’t remember a time he felt this happy, the last time he smiled when he was alone.
He began walking briskly through the palace corridors, feeling a tad of guilt for abandoning his Queen. But it was certainly worth it.

Victoria gasped when she saw her equerry enter the room “Lord Alfred!”. The servant standing in the room also looked quite surprised, it was the same one that had pestered him yesterday.

“Your majesty” Alfred performed a rather extravagant bow.

“Lord Alfred, I wasn’t expecting to see you. In fact, I was about to enquire about a physician for you”.

“I appreciate your concern Ma’am, but that won’t be necessary. I feel much better today”.

“Are you quite sure? This servant here told me the most horrific tale yesterday. My, it almost sounded as though you were about to expire!”

Alfred shot the servant a scornful look, causing the boy to flinch “I am sure that he exaggerated”. What an obtrusive young man! “If you don’t mind Ma’am, I’d quite like to resume my work. I am sure that I have much to catch up on after my absence”.  

“Certainly, Lord Alfred. But please do be careful, until you are sure you’ve fully recovered” she nodded her head softly “You are free to go”.

Alfred bowed once more before heading off towards his office. He chuckled quietly to himself as he pictured that servants terrified face, he was almost literally trembling in his boots.
He deserved it. Punishment was certainly necessary for waking me from that wonderful dream.

 
~~~


Victoria and Albert had decided to go for a ride in the afternoon. Alfred was happy to accompany them; the fresh air was very rejuvenating after being cooped up in his room for two days. He was pleased to be outside on his horse, even though he has been left alone for quite some time. The Queen had requested some… privacy.

The horse walked around as it pleased while Alfred sat on its back and watched the grey clouds float by. Even on such a dreary day, he couldn’t keep the goofy smile off his face as he thought about Edward. His mind was much more settled after their intimate encounter, all the confusion he had felt was now a thing of the past. It felt as though he could finally accept the way he was, no matter how ‘wrong’ it is. The way Edward made him feel… he simply did not know how could it be wrong.

“Lord Alfred! We have returned” Victoria and Prince Albert rode up to him, a wide smile planted firmly on the queen’s face.  

“Welcome back, Your Majesty. I trust you had a pleasant time with his royal highness” Alfred felt a tickling jealousy grow in his chest as he wondered how long it may be until he can be alone with Edward again.

“Yes, it was most enjoyable” she gave her husband a knowing look before prompting her horse to carry on.

The three of them rode leisurely back to the palace, trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before going back to the paperwork that surely awaited them inside.

“Lord Alfred, I’m planning to take a trip to Scotland soon. I was not sure if you would be recovered in time” Victoria looked over to him expectantly “But you are clearly quite well. Of course, I expect you to accompany me”.   

“I would be delighted, Ma’am”. He’d never turn down an opportunity to escape London. The palace was lovely and all, but it was also very… stressful. A trip to Scotland would be most relaxing.

Prince Albert spoke up, finally having something to contribute to the conversation “We leave in three days. I do hope you are capable of catching up on your work in such a short time, Lord Alfred”.

“I’m sure I will manage, your royal highness” Alfred sent him a confident smile.  


~~~ 

Drummond sat in his office at home, trying desperately to push away the thought of Alfred’s legs wrapping around his waist. He is supposed to be reading the documents that the Prime Minister had given him, but they were so long and monotonous that his mind couldn’t stop wandering.

He imagined ripping off Alfred’s clothes and leaving hungry kisses all over his new lover’s body.
Can I call him my lover? It certainly feels as though he is.
He wanted to make Alfred quiver, to hear him moaning as he did yesterday. If the option was available, he would have stayed in that room with Alfred until the end of time itself. Kissing him, touching him, savouring every little sound he made as he licked down his chest, his stomach and then his hips. Pulling off his pants and moving his mouth down to su-

“Drummond!” The booming voice of Sir Robert Peel cutting through the silence of his home almost gave him a heart attack.

“S-Sir Robert! I wasn’t expecting you” Drummond shifted awkwardly in his seat, thankful that the hardness in his pants was concealed underneath his desk.

“The door was unlocked, so I let myself in” Robert laughed cautiously “I hope you don’t mind. I needed to catch you before you retired for the night”.

Drummond was a bit surprised to hear that the Prime Minister of England had essentially broken into his home, and quickly made a mental note to always double check that his door was locked.
“That’s quite aright, Sir. What is it that you need?”

“Well, I’ve been notified that the royal household is taking a trip to Scotland. It is customary for the Queen to have some political counsel while abroad, but I am much too busy with parliament to even consider it! I’ve come to ask if you would go in my stead. I’m sure there won’t be much for you to do, but it is always better to be prepared.”

Scotland sounds quite nice, it would be a wonderful break from all this dull work.
Drummond’s eyes looked down fretfully at the large stack of papers on his desk.
Wait… the royal household? But that means… Alfred!

“YES!” Drummond shouted as he jumped to his feet, catching the Prime Minister by surprise.

“Oh!” Robert laughed in amusement as his secretary’s excitement. “You must really love Scotland, Drummond”.  

“Yes, Sir! I have always been quite taken by… Scotland”.

He felt quite embarrassed by his sudden outburst. When it comes to Alfred, it seems he is completely void of any sense or logic.  

Chapter Text

Prince Ernest and Alfred stood beside each other, watching disinterestedly as two servants loaded their possessions on to the carriage. The Prince just couldn’t resist teasing them “Oh, do be careful! My luggage is most fragile”.

Alfred raised an eyebrow as he looked at Ernest, clearly amused and wanting to play along “Why Prince Ernest, what mysterious things might you have inside your trunk?”

“Oh, you know…” A cheeky smile tugged on his lips “Just a few items to keep the Duchess and I…” his eyebrows began waggling comically “entertained”. They both giggled boyishly at the suggestive comment. A horrified expression washed over the servants faces as they quickly dropped the trunk, imagining what vulgar objects might be inside.  

“Hey, I’m serious now! That was hand carved by a highly renowned German artisan, please take some care!” Once they had been properly scolded, he turned back to Alfred. Ernest’s face was deadly serious as his eyebrows wiggled once more, causing them both to resume laughing.  

 


Drummond had bumped into the Duchess of Sutherland outside the palace, and were walking over to where they would board the carriage.

“It is quite lovely for you to accompany us, Mr. Drummond” Harriet still wore black in mourning over her husband, but she put on a joyous voice to distract others from her grief.

“I am most fortunate, Duchess. The Prime Minister believed someone of a political nature should accompany the Queen to Scotland, he only regrets that he could not attend himself”.

“Well I’m glad that he sent you. I cannot imagine having to share a carriage with the Prime Minister! I believe I would expire from boredom, it seems that politics is the only thing that man ever speaks of”.

“I shall try my best not to bore you, Duchess” Drummond looked ahead and felt as though the sun had suddenly emerged, showering him with warmth as he saw Alfred for the first time in days. Although… he did feel a touch of annoyance as he saw another man standing close and laughing with his lover. Who the hell is that?

“Ah! Harriet, I’m so glad you could join us” Ernest took her dainty hand and planted a kiss atop of it. Alfred turned around to greet her as well, but instead was frozen in surprise as he looked at Drummond.

“Lord Alfred, I trust you are well” Drummond’s eyed flicked over to Ernest, before returning to Alfred’s startled face.

“Drummond, I wasn’t expecting…” he saw a servant carrying Drummond’s luggage out the corner of his eye, and finally realised what was going on “You are coming with us to Scotland?” he barely managed to hide the excitement in his voice.  

“That’s correct. I am to aid her majesty with any political matters she may face while abroad”.

Ernest felt it was his duty to stop this dull conversation from dragging on any longer “I believe the Queen is ready to leave. Shall we?” He helped Harriett into the carriage and then stepped back, allowed Alfred to enter, before climbing in himself and sitting beside the blonde gentleman.

Drummond felt jealousy rising in him once again as he watched Ernest take his place. He considered saying something… but it would be most unusual for him to insist on sitting next to Alfred. He defeatedly plopped himself down next to Harriet, who also looked displeased at the current arrangement.

Alfred was disappointed that the Prince had taken the seat next to him, but soon realised that he was much happier in this position. It thought it would be impossible to act normal if Drummond was sitting right beside him, and… it is much easier to peek at his handsome features like this.     

After several hours on the road, Drummond was feeling well and truly miserable. It was as though he was on the melancholy side of the carriage, making awkward small talk with the mourning Duchess, while Alfred and Ernest appeared to be having a wonderful time. He watched bitterly as the two men shared a lively conversation, his heart burning every time he heard Alfred laugh at one of the Prince’s moronic jokes.  

Alfred could feel those brown eyes watching him intently, but refused to meet them. If he did, he knew the he would only be able to think about the last time they were together. As time went on he found his lover’s gaze harder and harder to ignore, but he somehow manages to keep himself distracted with the conversation.

Alfred noticed that Harriet was staring solemnly out the window “Duchess, are you feeling alright?”

She turned to meet his curious blue eyes “Oh yes, I just get rather bored on these long journeys”.

“Oh, that’s a shame” Alfred smiled coyly at the man besides “But I’m sure that Prince Ernest will keep you entertained”.

Ernest spluttered as he tried to conceal his laughter, recalling the crude joke he made earlier, while Drummond rolled his eyes at their immature behaviour.    


~~~ 


When they had arrived in Scotland, Alfred thought it necessary to go inspect the room Drummond was staying in. It was quite close to his own chamber, so he could easily spare a few moments before joining the Queen for dinner. Pleased to find Drummond still inside, he quickly checked for any onlookers before going in and closing the door behind him.

“Drummond. I hope the journey wasn’t too tedious for you” He quickly closed the distance between them, painfully aware of how little time they had, but stopped in his tracks when he saw Drummond recoil away from him. “Edward… Is something troubling you?” Alfred saw the woeful expression on his face, and felt himself growing nervous.

Drummond’s heart clenched when he saw a rejected look flash across those dazzling blue eyes.
“It is nothing. I just… well” he averted his gaze “I… I wasn’t sure if you were still interested in me”.

“Wha-“. Alfred gawked at him. He’d thought that his actions the other day were enough to make his feelings clear. He walked forward and reached up tenderly to run his hand through soft brown hair. Alfred spoke playfully “You can’t get rid of me that easily”. A loving smile appeared on his face, trying to assure Drummond that his feelings held firm.

The brunette finally cracked a smile as he looked at his lover’s face “I would never try to get rid of you”. He leant forward and kissed Alfred longingly, a hand moving to the back of his head to pull him closer.

Their tongues moved together as they kissed passionately, both moaning quietly in happiness as they moved their bodies closer.
It’s been several days since they last saw each other. They had managed to distract themselves well enough with work, but after that torturous carriage ride filled with desperate glances, it was clear just how much they had missed each other.  
Alfred gasped as he felt teeth softly nibbling on his bottom lip. He gave Drummond one last kiss before pulling away, giggling a little as his partner whimpered in disappointment.

“Why would you think such a thing?” Alfred was initially worried that Drummond had changed his mind, but now it seems it was his own feelings that had been called in to question.  

“It’s quite silly…” Drummond looked away again “I felt jealous seeing you be so friendly with that German prince, and you seemed very happy talking to him. I thought… I thought that maybe…”. Saying it out loud made him realised just out petty he was being. His eyes moved back to Alfred, who was wearing a rather empathetic expression. He looked at his hair, his lips, the beautiful face he was so familiar with.
It dawned on him that he was afraid. After all this time, after wanting this for so long, he finally had it. He was so happy with Alfred, and he was terrified that someone would come along and snatch his happiness from him, regardless of how unlikely it was.  

“Edward… You know that is not true. I only care for you”. He held Drummond’s hand tightly. “I am sorry that I haven’t given you much attention. I was worried… that I wouldn’t have been able to control myself, or that my affection would be visible to others”. 

Drummond smiled warmly at charming man in front of him, he was right; as far as anyone else is concerned, they are merely colleagues. “You do not need to apologise, Alfred. You’ve done nothing wrong, it is my fault for thinking such an absurd thing. It appears I can be rather jealous”.

Alfred was taken back by the whole conversation. He hated that Edward had felt like that, but he must admit that it gave him a pleasant feeling. It showed that he cared enough about him to be jealous; the thought of Alfred being with another pained him. In their days apart, Alfred had worried that Drummond’s feelings did not go as deep as his own, but that is evidently not the case. Alfred planted a quick kiss his cheek “We should be going now. The Queen becomes most displeased when she is left waiting”.
Drummond nodded in agreement, and they quickly made their way to the dining room.

Chapter Text

The following day, the Duke of Atholl announced that he had a full day planned for his guests. Eyes struggled to stay open as they were forced to endure the most boring piece of poetry to ever exist, if you could even call it poetry. Prince Albert began clapping when the artist paused for a breath, and the other spectators quickly followed suit. It appeared that they were not applauding the performance, but rather Albert for saving them from the seemingly endless torture.

Alfred was deeply worried what other horrors the Duke may have instore for them, and his fears were realised when they were lead outside to watch a group of Atholl Highlanders play the bagpipes. They weren’t so lucky this time; there was no premature applause to bring the display to an end. By the time they wrapped up he was convinced that one of his eardrums had burst.

Next on the agenda was the tour of the residence; Blair Castle, where each decoration had a backstory that was far longer than necessary. Most of the guests were interested in hearing about the Jacobites, but even that grew dull after some time.
They now stared a framed kilt as the guide told them about its representation, the names and stories of each man that had ever worn it, where it was made and by whom.

Drummond looked up at the clock and couldn’t believe it had been four hours already, the Duke must be insane to put the Queen through this. Perhaps this is the real reason the Prime Minister had stayed in London.
The party began moving on to the next room, which was surely filled with more fascinating objects. He saw Alfred staring bleakly out a window, perhaps considering whether he should jump out it or not. Drummond couldn’t help smirking as he approached Alfred, whose lifeless eyes made it look as though the hour-long lecture on traditional dress had sucked the soul from his body. “Lord Alfred, I trust you are enjoying the entertainment”.

“This is not entertainment, Drummond” Alfred turned to him with a dramatic pained expression, and whispered quietly “I believe the Duke is trying to kill us!”.


~~~


Night eventually descended on the Scottish castle. Victoria and Albert went straight to their room, exhausted from all the dull performances the Duke had subjected them to. Ernest however, thought that they should enjoy themselves before being forced to endure whatever torturous activities were planned for tomorrow.

“Harriet, would you like some more champagne?” Ernest gracefully refilled her glass “I cannot believe my little brother has retired already, what a boring man he is”.   

Alfred didn’t really want to watch Ernest and Harriet flirt with each other all night, but he found the Prince’s efforts to save the day quite amiable “I cannot imagine why they would be so exhausted, personally I got plenty of sleep during the poetry recital”. That was a joke of course. He would never be so terribly rude, at least not when the Duke and Queen could see him.

Ernest let out a pained groan and then a chuckle “Do not mention that! I had only just managed to abolish it from my mind. My god, the Duke must be mad to think we would enjoy such a thing!”

“I would not be surprised” Alfred laughed lightly in return. “I must say, I believe this has been the most boring day of my life”.

“I agree, and I do not wish to speak of it anymore! I just want to drink this champagne, and pray that tomorrow we will be shown mercy”. Ernest picked up a new bottle and skilfully popped the cork “You have only had one drink Alfred, here I will pour you another”.

Alfred looked uncertain as Ernest poured him a drink, he just wanted this day to end. The champagne wasn’t even cold; he was sure that Ernest had snuck around and stolen it from somewhere. “Actually, I believe I should retire as well. It seems I have underestimated how tiring it is to stare at walls all day”.

Alfred glanced over at Drummond, who looked as though he was about to fall asleep in a rather uncomfortable looking arm chair. His eyes fluttered open just in time to catch Alfred’s gaze, before watching him turn around and walk away.

“Oh boo!” Ernest wobbled on his feet before falling down next to Harriet on the sofa “I hoped you’d stay up with us, but suit yourself. More champagne for me!” Ernest picked up the glass he had poured for Alfred and drank it himself. He laughed giddily, before leaning over and beginning to twirl Harriet’s hair in his fingers.

Drummond sat and watched awkwardly for a few minutes, before realising that Alfred had probably wanted him to follow. He quickly stood up and cleared his throat “Well, you two are clearly enjoying each other’s company. I’ll give you some privacy”. Ernest simply glanced at him and winked before returning his attention to the giggling Duchess.

~~~ 


He quickly made his way upstairs towards his chambers, heart jumping with joy when he saw Alfred sitting on his bed. Drummond quietly locked his door before creeping over towards him, peeking over his shoulder as Alfred slowly rubbed the material of his sleeve between his thumb and index finger.

Alfred felt a presence and turned around, jumping in fright as he realised someone hovering right behind him “Edward! Have I not told you before? Stop sneaking up on me”.  

“Hmm… I don’t think so you have told me before, Alfred” He has.
Drummond never had the intention of startling him, it’s just that he’d often wondered what Alfred did when he was alone. It seems that he gets quite lost in his thoughts, considering how easy it is to surprise him…. And he fiddles.
Drummond felt a smile appear on his face as Alfred repositioned himself on the bed to face him, looking up expectantly with pale blue eyes.

He couldn’t resist. Drummond hurled himself on top of Alfred and pushed him back so that the blonde was laying underneath him. His head lowered and forcefully pushed their lips together; one hand went up to run through golden hair, and the other downwards to grab his hip. Alfred moaned at the sudden contact, kissing back just as hard, but soon broke the kiss by turning his head.

“Edward, wait…”.

Drummond hummed in response as he trailed kissed along Alfred’s jawline. It wasn’t visible, but his skin felt slightly rough; he thought that perhaps Alfred hadn’t bothered shaving this morning.

“This… isn’t what I wanted. I thi-”

“What?” Drummond pulled back as fear and guilt rushed through him.

“No!” Alfred’s face morphed into one of horror as he realised how his words may have been interpreted, he quickly wrapped his arms around Drummond’s neck and pulled him back down “I do want this. I only meant to say that I want to have a conversation with you, before anything else”.

“Oh. Yes, you are right” He let out a heavy sigh of relief as he settled back down on top of Alfred. His fingers moved back up to continue running soft blonde strands of hair between them. “What would you like to discuss?”

“Well…” He blushed a little bit before clearing his throat, determined to speak with confidence “I’d like to know what you think of me, Edward”.

“What I think of you?” He felt Alfred shift nervously beneath him.

“Yes, that’s right” His blue eyes suddenly looked quite serious as they stared up at Drummond.

“I think that you’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. Being with you fills my heart with joy, and being away from you fills it with grief” His hand shifted down to gentle stroke his partners cheek.

“It's the same for me. I am aware that this is still a… recent development, but I have cared for you for a quite some time” Alfred swallowed nervously. “I wanted to ask you, have you ever had anything like this before? Had feelings like this for someone, I mean". 

“Well… I thought that I had cared for someone before, but now I am not sure”.

Confusion flooded in to Alfred’s eyes “What do you mean, you’re not sure?”

“It’s like… how you think something is excellent when it’s all you’ve ever known. Then you experience something far greater, it makes you realise that what you had before wasn’t really anything at all. Whatever I experienced in the past… it’s not even close to comparable. No one has ever made me feel the way you do, and I do not think anyone else ever will”.

Alfred’s arms flew up around Drummond’s back and pulled him down into a tight embrace before talking quietly to him “I haven’t had these feelings before. There has been attraction, I think… but I never felt anything” his voice started to wobble as he tried to hold back tears.  
“But now I have you, and I am experiencing things that I told myself I could never have. I thought that I would be alone and, and-mm” his mouth was now covered by Drummond's, who had heard quite enough. 

“Alfred” he tried to talk in between kisses “I will… never… leave you”.

Gradually their kisses grew deeper and more frantic, tongues intertwining roughly.

Drummond broke their mouths apart and begun peppering light kisses along Alfred’s cheek, smiling contently as Alfred’s hand ran up the back of his neck and grabbed a fistful of hair. His hands moved quickly to remove Alfred’s silver cravat, then proceeded to undo the top buttons of his shirt and push the fabric out of the way.
With the path cleared, Drummond’s head moved down as his kisses continued down Alfred’s neck to his collar bone and then back up. His mouth opened and begun sucking and nibbling on the sensitive pale skin, feeling his partners racing pulse against his lips. Alfred’s skin tasted far better than he had imagined.

Alfred let out a breathy moan and tugged lightly at Drummond’s hair, directing his mouth back towards his own. Their lips came together for another deep kiss, eventually slowing in to a string of lazy pecks. Alfred hummed happily as they held each other tightly and rubbed their noses together.

“Edward… Will you let me stay with you tonight?”

“I would like nothing more. But… would that be alright?” With his mind coming back to reality, the thought of them being discovered caused his forehead to crease.

“I don’t see why not. Everyone else has already retired… except for Ernest and Harriet, but their chambers are on the other side of the castle. There is no one around to notice, you needn’t worry”. 

Alfred had obviously already thought about this, he is a very smart man. If he says it would be okay, Drummond is certain it will be.
“Alright, you’ve managed to convince me”. He smiled playfully as he got off from the bed, pulling Alfred up with him.

They both removed their boots and stripped down to their under clothes before getting in to the bed. Alfred laid on his side and Drummond slipped in behind him, he lifted himself up for a second to let Drummond’s arm wrap around him.

Drummond softly trailed his fingers around Alfred chest. He has never shared a bed with anyone before, it was inappropriate to do such a thing before marriage… But he could never marry Alfred, so he supposed that the rules didn’t apply to them.
He listened to his partners breathing and felt the steady heart beat beneath his hand, sure that he could happily lay here like this forever. He shuffled closer to Alfred and cursed himself for being so exhausted. He could barely keep his eyes open, but other parts of his body didn’t seem interested in sleeping.   

Alfred smiled mischievously as he felt his partners hardness behind him, and teasingly pushed his ass back against it.

“Mmm... Don’t do that” Drummond really, really wanted to... but he was far too tired for that sort of thing. Instead he nuzzled his face into Alfred’s soft hair, enjoying the warmth and pleasant scent of it. He wondered how often they would get opportunities like this, it would probably be a very rare occurrence once they returned to London. He quickly pushed the thought away, not wanting to ruin the time they did have.

“Goodnight, Alfred”.

Alfred was a bit disappointed that they weren’t going to do anything, but he didn’t really have the energy for it either. He never imagined he would actually be here, in another mans bed… in Edward’s bed. Relishing in the warmth wrapped around him, he silently promises himself that he will only ever lay next to Edward; no one else.
Alfred lovingly stroked the hand against his chest before snuggling in to the pillow.

“Goodnight, Edward”.

Chapter Text

Rays of sunlight made their way on to Drummond’s face and pulled him from sleep. He grumbled quietly, not quite willing to get out of bed. His arm reached out to the side to find Alfred, but was greeted by a cold and empty space instead. Tired eyes finally open so he can look around the room. He’s gone.

Drummond’s heart sunk. He was hoping to wake up next to Alfred, and was sure that he would have looked absolutely angelic lying in his bed in the morning light. It made sense though; the servants were usually awake quite early to prepare breakfast, Alfred must had left at an ungodly hour to avoid being seen.
After waking up a bit and taking a better look around, he noticed that the room had been tidied. His discarded clothes from yesterday were sitting neatly on the small table, and every trace that Alfred was here last night had been removed. There was even a fresh glass of water sitting next to the bed. Did Alfred do this?

He imagined Alfred sneaking out under the cover of darkness, and then coming back to leave him some water. The thought was quite amusing… and very sweet.


~~~


Alfred finished dressing himself and made his way downstairs, feeling rather pleased by his flawless escape last night. He had been right, of course, there wasn’t a soul around to see him sneaking through the corridors at such an early hour.

It had proved very difficult to leave Drummond’s side. Mostly because he did not want to, and partially because of the strenuous effort it took to wiggle out of the arms that were holding him firmly. He hoped Drummond wouldn’t mind him leaving without saying goodbye, he just couldn’t bring himself to wake him.
He even took the liberty of tidying the room, although he didn’t need to, it was just an excuse to linger around a while longer and admire how heavenly Drummond looked as he slept.

Breakfast was quick and not all together unpleasant. Alfred thought that the Lorne sausage looked rather peculiar, although it tasted good enough. He tried his best not to look at Drummond too often, but was usually unable to stop his himself.

“Ernest”. Albert looked unimpressed with his clearly hungover brother “I do not think it was wise to drink so much, nicht wahr?”

“There is nothing wrong with having some fun, brother. You should try it sometime” Ernest swayed slightly and struggled to keep his eyes open. “Although… I am beginning to regret it now”.

Victoria stood when they were finished and everyone else followed suite. The Duke wandered over to address her “Your Majesty. I thought perhaps you would like to visit the ruins today, the history is very intriguing”.

“Actually, we wanted to see some of the countryside today. I’m sure it can be arranged”. Victoria gave the Duke a stern look that said she had already made up her mind.


~~~

It wasn’t a long trip to reach the destination, and Drummond thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. He loves forests, especially ones as wild and overgrown as this. Different types of trees and bushes were mingling together, branches and vines extending out to the road. The landscape is natural and free, the way it usually is before civilisation comes along and forces it to conform to whatever people want it to be.  

Soon they reached a shallow river and were provided with fishing equipment.
Drummond has always enjoyed fishing, his father taught him when he was very young. From the corner of his eye he can see that Alfred has decided not to join in and is instead having a conversation with Miss Coke. He was having a hard time focusing on both the task at hand and what Alfred was doing, somehow every movement he made was enchanting. It certainly didn’t help that when their eyes met every so often, Drummond’s heart stared racing as he remembered the lovely night they’d spent together. Being so caught up in his thoughts, he didn’t notice Ernest come over to speak with him.

“Is anyone there?” Ernest joked, having already said something that was completely ignored.

Drummond realised someone was speaking to him and quickly turned to face them. “Oh, my apologies your highness. Are you well?”

“I suppose I am” Ernest crouched down and splashed his face with water from the river. He wiped his face and pushed his hair back as he stood back up. “It would have been nice if we were permitted to sleep longer, ne?”  

“Indeed” Drummond looked down and thought about how lovely it would be to stay in bed with Alfred all day. “Although, I believe we should just be grateful to be doing something enjoyable. This is a godsend compared to yesterday’s activities”.

“Ja, this is true. I am thankful to be far away from those dreadful bagpipes”.   

They both laughed lightly and there was a short silence before Drummond spoke again. “How was the rest of your evening? You appeared to be having a very pleasant time with the Duchess”. 

“Ah… yes” Ernest glanced back over his shoulder at Harriet, who had joined Alfred and Wilhelmina by the side of the river, then bought his attention back to the conversation. “It was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. She is still mourning her late husband… it seems there is nothing I can do to ease her pain”.

Drummond looked over as well and caught Alfred checking out his legs. He blushed a little and quickly turned his attention back to the river. “I don’t have much knowledge on these things, your highness. I’m afraid I cannot offer any council”.

It was soon time for them to head back, Victoria insisted that her and Albert would ride back together. The Duke reluctantly agreed, and they set off.
Alfred saw Drummond enter an empty carriage and quickly hopped in after him. He sat next to Drummond and turned his head away to look out the window, while his fingers subtly move over to intertwin with Drummond’s.
Alfred glances beside him to see a surprised look and a big smile on his lover’s face. He squeezes Drummond’s hand gently before quickly moving it back to his lap as Wilhelmina enters he carriage. She sits down and smiles warming at them.

Alfred smiles back innocently “It is such a lovely day. Don’t you agree, Miss Coke?”

“I do. The scenery is absolutely breath-taking”. Wilhelmina was glad to have made friends quickly at the palace, and was especially fond of Alfred. When she first arrived at court, he had stopped her from falling over in front of the Queen and her austere aunt, he must be a very good man.

“Well, I hope you do not feel too straight-laced”. Alfred chuckled and shifted his eyes to look out the window again.   

The ride back was just as enjoyable. The forest was beautiful, although Drummond thought that the man next to him was far more pleasing to the eye. He felt fortunate to spend so much time with Alfred. He did not know whether this trip was coincidence, fate, divine intervention, or something else entirely; but he knew it was a true blessing.
When they were about half way back, someone shouted outside, but he was too lost in his daydream to know what was said. It seemed that Alfred had heard, as he suddenly sat up straight and moved his head towards the window to look up the road.

The carriage stopped.

Alfred swiftly flung the door open, jumped down on to the road and walked off. A confused looking Drummond stuck his head out of the carriage to see the Duke marching furiously towards them, followed by two guards that looked like they were about to start crying.

“The Queen is missing!” The Duke came to a halt in front of Alfred; his facial expression is a very unsettling combination of rage, terror, and self-loathing.

“She can’t have gotten far, and his royal highness is with her. I’m sure the will be found quickly”. Alfred was slightly worried of course, but it was important to remain calm in these situations. The Queen is a smart woman, all she needs to do is stay put in one spot and the someone will find her in no time. But then again… the Prince can be rather hard headed; it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he kept them going in some unknown direction out of pride.

Drummond was far from calm when he heard what was going on, and practically threw himself out of the carriage. “We should begin searching for them immediately!” The Duke nodded in agreement and the guards split off and headed in different directions. He made eye contact with Alfred before walking hastily towards to trees, and the blonde hurried behind him to catch up.

They made their way through the rugged terrain. It was uneven and littered with ditches, slopes, and ledges; all of which made it impossible to move quickly, but Drummond was managing to maintain a fast pace. Alfred, who was much more accustomed to the well-maintained paths of Buckingham Palace, was struggling to keep up.
Alfred yelped as he tripped over a rock that was concealed by plants, the sound caused Drummond to instinctively spin around and catch him without a thought.  

Drummond pushed him back on to his feet and looked at him sternly “Don’t stand where you cannot see”. He turned back around and continued through the forest.

Alfred was shocked and not sure whether that had actually happened or not, but decided to take on the advice regardless. He found it was easier said than done; the vast majority of the ground was covered in overgrown plants. It’s a bit too quiet for Alfred’s liking, but he decides against starting a conversation as he’s already short of breath.

 

After looking around for about an hour, it was decided that they should head back. Alfred was glad that he was with the human embodiment of a compass, for if it weren’t for Drummond’s keen sense of direction he would surely be lost as well. He helplessly followed his companion back through the forest until they reached a familiar looking road. They walked slowly along it slowly, both feeling miserable and thoroughly exhausted. 

“How could I have let this happen?”. Drummond ran a hand through his hair and sighed.

Alfred didn’t know if he was talking to him or just thinking aloud, the last hour has been rather confusing. He was pretty sure that Drummond was talking to himself, Alfred thought he had heard him mumbling something earlier as well. He decided to reply anyway “You didn’t let this happen, Edward. It is merely an unfortunate turn of events”.

Drummond seemed surprised that Alfred had responded. “No, I am responsible. The Prime Minister trusted me to watch over the Queen, I have failed him”.

“If the Prime Minister were here, what could he had done to prevent this from happening? Nothing, I’d wager”.

“He would have done something” Drummond could feel himself becoming irritated. He knew Alfred was probably trying to help… but he wasn’t.

“What would he have done? I do not believe he could have dissuaded the Queen”.

“He would have paid more attention, Alfred!” Drummond raised his voice in annoyance.
“We are in the wilderness of an unknown country. The landscape all looks a like, the fog is heavy, I was a fool for not considering how easily they could get lost! I should have been frequently checking that they were still with us, but you were distracting me”.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Alfred stopped walking and gave Drummond a cautious look.

Drummond stopped as well and turned to face him. “It means that you are distracting. The suggestive looks you give me, the tone you use when you speak to me, you make it completely impossible to focus”.

“Is that so?” Alfred scoffed at him. “I fail to see how it is my fault that you cannot control your own mind”.

“It is because you are always fluttering around me, like a persistent little moth!” Drummond took a step closer “If you would leave me alone for just a few minutes, I might actually be able to do my job!”.  

Alfred fought hard to resist the urge to strike him, that wouldn’t be a very gentlemanly thing to do. “Fine. I have much better things to do anyway”. He gave Drummond a spiteful look before storming off to the side of the road and disappearing into the trees.  

Alfred didn’t stray too far from the road, just enough so that he couldn’t see or hear Drummond.
He scowled at the shrubs and branches that brushed against him as he walked, trying to push them away with his hands. He noticed a small orange beetle had found its way on to the sleeve of his coat, and flicked it off in contempt. How obnoxious.

Back on the road, Drummond was horrified by what he had just said, he didn’t mean a single word of it. He was angry, and it just came out before he could stop it. It is true that Alfred’s beautiful appearance and charming personality can be distracting, but he cannot be blamed for that.  
Drummond walked slowly as he inspected the tree line, hoping that Alfred would come back to him. He didn’t come back, of course he wouldn’t after those nasty comments. I hope he doesn’t get lost.   

Chapter Text

Drummond finally arrived back at the carriage and got in. He exchanged pleasantries with Wilhelmina as they started moving again, but was becoming increasingly concerned about the vacant seat neat to him.

“Miss Coke, did Lord Alfred return?”

“Of course, we wouldn’t have left him behind” she giggled at the thought. “He is riding in another carriage, with the Duke and Prince Ernest”. She looked a bit disappointed herself.

“I see”. Drummond was relieved to know Alfred was safe, but not so much to know who he was with. He frowned and shifted his attention out the window to hide his displeasure, he hated the way Ernest spoke to Alfred so familiarly. The Prince has spent a lot of time at the palace since Albert married Victoria, so it was only natural that he would have seen Alfred often and became friends… but it still bothered him. Even though was obvious the Ernest was interested in the Duchess of Sutherland, their earlier conversation suggested that it wasn’t working out.

Once they arrived back at Blair Castle, the Duke promptly sent out multiple search parties. A thick tension hung over them; no one spoke much, and if they did it was limited to awkward small talk. Everyone was no doubt imagining the worst, the royal couple falling of a ledge, or freezing overnight in the temperate forest. They were surely also considering how such a thing would impact their own lives; jobs would be lost, many of them would have to leave the palace, and an unlucky few would possibly face punishment for their incompetence.

The Duchess of Buccleuch was taking her time to give everyone a proper scolding, explaining with certitude how she would have prevented this from happening. Anyone who dared to speak back or argue was shut down with a snarky, not-so-passive aggressive comment. Wilhelmina sat quietly and looked thoroughly embarrassed, she gave out apologetic looks to everyone that got burnt by her aunt’s fiery temperament.  

Drummond’s eyes kept drifting over to Alfred, who was talking quietly with the Duke in front of the fire place and completely ignoring the Duchess’s chastising. He looked a right mess after trudging through the forest, Drummond noticed some dirt of his clothing and a little twig stuck in his hair; nobody seemed to care though, given the dire situation.
He looked Alfred over a few times, and wondered how he had got angry at such a gorgeous creature.
Drummond’s eyes flicked back to him as often as they could, desperate to see if Alfred would look back at him, but he never did. Alfred eventually left the room without doing anything to acknowledge his existence.

Drummond sunk back in to his chair and closed his eyes, he couldn’t believe how quickly everything had gone wrong. This morning he woke up happier than he has ever felt before; now only a few hours later the Queen is missing, and Alfred hates him.
I’ve ruined everything.

 
~~~


The hours passed by, and night fell. Drummond found himself sitting hopelessly in front of crackling fire as the Duke paced around the room. Every time Drummond heard someone come in he would turn to check if it was Alfred, but it was always a guard with the same update on the Queen – nothing.

He wondered where Alfred was now, he hasn’t seen him since they got back.
Maybe he is with someone else.
Drummond quickly scolded himself for having that thought; no matter what had happened, he knew Alfred would not do that. He was most likely asleep, or perhaps he was also sitting miserably in some dull room.

The Duke finally stopped walking around and sat opposite Drummond, he picked up an elegant decanter from the floor and poured himself another brandy. “Care for a drink?”

“No, thank you” The day’s events had left a sick feeling in his stomach, he was doubtful alcohol would help at all. “Are they still searching?”

The Duke sighed and rubbed his face. “Yes. The highlanders are accustomed to the climate here, they will continue searching in to the early hours of the morning”. He turned his head and stared hopelessly into the fire for a few minutes, before breaking the silence again
“Do you think they are to be found?”

Drummond was shocked by the blatant question. Everyone was surely thinking about what fate may have met Victoria and Albert, but no one dared speak of it.

The Duke felt Drummond’s hesitation and sighed in dismay, then reworded his thoughts. “To be frank, I am not concerned about finding them... I am certain that we will. It is the condition that they will be in when we do that troubles me, the Scottish countryside can be very unforgiving”. He pours the contents of his glass down his throat and stares solemnly in to the hearth again. 

Drummond ascribed the Duke’s brazen behaviour to the five glasses of Brandy he has tossed down, but the conversation still made him uncomfortable. To be precise… it was the thought of having to take Victoria back to London in a coffin that made him uncomfortable.
“I am sure they will be found in good health”. He didn’t really believe his own words; the horrible truth was that if they were still in the forest, there was little chance of surviving the night.

Drummond watched the flames dance, considering whether it was right for him to be sitting in front of a fire place while his Queen may be freezing in the wilderness. He supposed it was okay, him freezing as well wouldn’t help the situation at all. Some more time passed, then his thoughts were interrupted by a sudden snore. He looked over to see the Duke had fallen asleep, hunched over in his chair with the near-empty decanter sitting on the floor beside him.
Perhaps the Duke was a good man after all, even after the horrendous displays he forced them to sit through. Drummond thought that perhaps this was exactly what the Duke was trying to avoid by keeping the Queen preoccupied in the castle, although he doubted that he had that much insight.

 
~~~


Drummond sulked through the corridors, today has been very trying to say the least. He had planned to wallow in misery with the Duke until the sun rose… but when the Duke fell asleep in his chair, Drummond decided that he would prefer a bed. He was doubtful that he would actually be able to sleep tonight, but at least it would be a more comfortable place to sit around doing nothing.

Drummond entered his room, pulled off his boots and draped his coat over a chair. He begun unbuttoning his shirt, but a quiet whimpering sound made him freeze. He turned around to see Alfred sleeping peacefully on his bed, and felt as though his heart just did a back flip.

Alfred was still mostly dressed, having apparently removed only his boots, coat and cravat before falling asleep. He was lying on his back, one hand resting gently on his stomach and the other was up on the pillow. His head was turned to the side, using his arm to shield his eyes from the lamp light.

Drummond watched Alfred’s chest rise and fall as he breathed, finding the motion rather hypnotic. He stared for an unknown amount of time, before thinking that it was probably quite odd to just stand there and watch him sleep. He quietly moved towards the bed and reached forwards to run his hand through Alfred’s soft golden hair, discovering that he was in fact real.   
He carefully moved on to the bed and sat cross-legged next to Alfred, continuing to lovingly stroke his head. All his stress and worry came bubbling to the surface as he admired Alfred’s face, and suddenly tears were running down his cheeks. A tear fell carelessly onto Alfred’s neck, causing him to twitch and mumble lightly.

“Alfred?” Drummond’s hand moved down from Alfred’s hair and caressed his cheek.

Alfred moved slightly as he hummed in response. Finally, his eyes fluttered open and he smiled sleepily.

Drummond couldn’t help smiling back at him. “You came back to me?” The disbelief was evident in his voice.

“Of course, I did”. Alfred sat up. When he got closer and his eyes adjusted, he was able to see Drummond’s face properly “Edward… you’re crying? Has something happened?”.

“I’m so sorry for what I said” He managed to stop the tears from falling, just hearing Alfred’s voice was enough to calm him. “I… I thought that I had lost you. Aren’t you angry with me?”.

“No. I was angry at the time, but not anymore”. Alfred wiped the wetness from Drummond’s cheeks with his palm “I know you did not mean it, because I know you”.

“Know me?”

Alfred hummed in agreement “You are very passionate, Edward. You act quickly, and those actions are often influenced by your emotions. You snapped at me because you were under a lot of stress”. He leant forward and rubs their noses together “I know you didn’t mean it. We just needed some space to sort ourselves out”.

“I believe you are right, as usual”. Drummond chuckled to himself. He lied down on his side, and Alfred did the same so that they were facing each other. “How long have you been waiting for me?”

“Oh… um” Alfred averted his eyes. It’s probably been about three hours, but he slept for two of them “I’m not sure”.

Drummond knew that he had probably been here for a while, it wasn’t like him to disregard the time. He remembered that he had planned to sit with the Duke until morning. His heart ached at the thought of Alfred hopelessly waiting for him all night, only for him to not show up… thankfully that didn’t happen. “I’m sorry for waking you, it’s quite late”.

“I’m glad you did. I was waiting to see you, after all”. Alfred smiled as he pressed their foreheads together, then moved in to kiss him.

Drummond’s arm wrapped around Alfred’s back and pulled him close as the kiss grew deeper. His body tensed as Alfred’s hips shyly rolled against him, feeling that his partner was just as excited as he was. He grabbed Alfred’s side and pushed back in the same way, causing his lover to whimper quietly against his lips.

Alfred thought about how lovely it felt when Drummond was sucking his neck last night and decided to return the favour. He broke the kiss and ducked his head down to find the skin that was exposed earlier, and cautiously ran his tongue up Drummond’s neck. The brunette hummed contently, and Alfred took it as an invitation to continue. He started mouthing at Drummond’s neck with more confidence, softly sucking on the sensitive skin and occasionally nipping at it with his teeth.

Drummond felt light headed, Alfred was driving him completely insane.
He twisted slightly to peer at the door, making sure that he had locked it when he came in. He has become very conscious of it since the day Sir Robert barged into his home and rudely interrupted his fantasy. He recalled exactly what he was thinking about at the time, and smiled mischievously when he realised that he may soon get the opportunity to actually do it.  

“Alfred”. His voice was deep and lustful. The sound of it caused Alfred to pause for moment, before making an inquisitive sound and moving his mouth up to kiss his lips again.

Drummond pulled his head back to speak, smiling amusedly as he gazed into Alfred’s eyes. “I believe that my actions… are about to be influenced by my emotions”.

Alfred opened his mouth to complain about Drummond quoting him, but quickly forgot about it when he was pushed on to his back and Drummond rolled on top of him. Lips crashed forcefully against his own and he made a surprised noise as a warm hand slipped under his shirt. His skin tingled under Drummond’s wandering fingers, and he decided he wanted more of it.
Alfred reached up and started undoing his own shirt, once Drummond noticed what he was doing he started doing the same. They eagerly watched each other as their buttons came undone and the clothing was tossed aside.

Drummond’s eyes trailed down the newly exposed skin beneath him, thinking that Alfred had a very pleasing figure. His focus moved back up to Alfred’s face to find that he was looking back at him in the same way, his expression indicated that he was having similar lustful thoughts. Alfred gaze met his and Drummond thought that he was about to drown in those alluring blue eyes, not that he would mind it. His hand gently traced up Alfred’s body, the feel of smooth and heated skin made him bite his lip. He felt Alfred shiver under his palm, and he remembered that the castle was freezing at night. 

“Are you cold? We can move under the covers”.

Without replying, Alfred gingerly pushed back the duvet and slipped under. Drummond joined him underneath it and retook his position above him, slowly lowering his body to rest their chests together. Drummond felt Alfred’s heart thumping beneath him.

Alfred sighed happily as Drummond put some of his weight on him, it made him feel safe. He wrapped one arm around Drummond’s back, and the other lifted up to caress the back of his head and guide it down. They kissed again, but this time it was rough and desperate, their mouths opened wide to fully explore each other with their tongues. After a while Alfred tugged gently on the hair that was clumped in his hand and pulled his tongue back, then begun to nibble and suck on Drummond’s bottom lip. Alfred felt his legs being pushed apart tenderly, Drummond settled himself between them and started to slowly rock his hips forward.

Alfred trailed his lips against Drummond’s cheek and moaned lewdly into his skin as Drummond rubbed their cocks together. His hand on Drummond’s back moved down to grad his hip tightly and pulled it down, trying to encourage him to use more force. His request was ignored, it seemed that Drummond’s mind had floated off into space as he continued to move clumsily.
Taking matters into his own hands, Alfred hooked a leg around his waist. He mimicked the movement of Drummond’s hips with his own, and used his leg to firmly guide his lover’s thrusts.  

Drummond groaned in pleasure and put more of his weight on Alfred. He buried his face in Alfred’s neck, breathing heavily as he took some skin in to his mouth and sucked roughly. The leg and hand on his waist moved away, and Alfred pushed him up a little bit. Before he could complain, Drummond felt a hand glide down his body, then it started pawing at his cock through the material of his pants.

“Edward… is this okay?” Alfred panted as he looked up at him, pupils blown with lust.

Drummond choked on his breath, and realised that there was no hope of him forming a coherent response. Instead he nodded in agreement, and tried his best to stay still and be patient as Alfred undid his breeches and pushed them down. Alfred’s hand wrapped around his cock and started stroking him slowly. It was the most incredible thing he has ever felt, and couldn’t stop his hips from rocking forward. Drummond buried his face into Alfred’s neck again and resumed giving it attention, he moaned repetitively as Alfred tightened his grip and quickened the pace. Drummond felt his body tense, he bit down firmly on Alfred’s neck to silence himself, and made a muffled noise as he came.

When his climax passed, Drummond was dead set on making Alfred feel the way he just did, and he knew exactly how he going to do it. He spurred his body in to moving, pushed back the blankets and began kissing Alfred’s chest. He paused to flick his tongue over his nipple and felt Alfred flinch beneath him with a whimper, then he continued to trail kisses down his stomach, being careful to avoid the mess he had made. Drummond stopped at Alfred’s hips and playfully brushed his lips against his cock though the fabric, Alfred gasped at the contact and scrunched up the sheet in his hand.

“Alfred?” He looked up, seeking permission.

“Yes”. Alfred replied straight away and delicately raised his hips in anticipation.

Drummond fumbled with his breeches and eventually managed to undo them. He freed Alfred’s hardness and looked at it for a moment; he had only ever seen his own before, but he certainly liked it. He slowly took the head into his mouth and experimented with his tongue, listening to Alfred’s quiet whimpers to find out what he enjoys the most.  

“Mmm… Edward, more… please” Alfred barely managed to get the words out as he mewled desperately.

Drummond was happy to oblige. He had no intention of making Alfred beg, not tonight at least.
He took him fully into his mouth and moved his head up and down at a steady pace. He felt Alfred’s hips twitch a few times, probably trying to stop himself from bucking up.
Alfred brought a hand up to his mouth and bit it, not trusting himself to be quiet. His other hand slid into Drummond’s hair, but was careful not to push him down.

A hand tugged roughly on Drummond’s hair, and he heard Alfred let out a fervent moan that was partially covered up by his hand. Alfred’s back arched off the bed and Drummond felt a warmth fill his mouth, he quickly swallowed it so that he could take a breath. He couldn’t decide if he liked the taste or not, but it pleased Alfred so he didn’t really care either way.

Drummond crawled back up the bed and flopped down next to Alfred, then pulled the covers back over them.

Alfred rolled over and looked at him adoringly, clearly still in a daze from his orgasm. It is probably due to all the hormones that were pumping through Alfred’s body, but in this moment he believed that Drummond looked like his own personal Greek Adonis. “That was wonderful”.

Drummond nestled against Alfred’s cheek and kissed it “You are wonderful”.

Alfred chuckled as he kissed the tip of Drummond’s nose in return. “Goodnight, Edward”.

Chapter Text

Drummond rolled over in the bed, finding his lover still sleeping tranquilly beside him. The morning sun peeked through the window, and he was captivated by how it illuminated the unkempt strands of golden hair. He thought that Alfred was like the sun; bright and warm and life-sustaining, lighting up the world and igniting his heart with burning passion.
His fingertips ghosted over Alfred’s chest, barely avoiding contact. He wasn’t ready to disturb his beloved, not when he looked so picturesque… he wanted to admire the view for just a while longer. Drummond’s loving brown eyes studied the man next to him, his attention was drawn to a large purplish love bite and several small red marks on Alfred’s neck. Oops.
His gaze moved up to see enchanting blue eyes looking back at him. “Alfred… Good morning”.

“Morning”. Alfred ran his thumb over Drummond’s lips “What time is it?”

“I’m not sure”. He took Alfred’s hand from his face and laced their fingers together “I don’t want you to leave”

“I know” He squeezed Drummond’s hand and giggled at his forlorn expression. “But I am famished, so we must get up”

After freeing his hand, Alfred stood up and inspected his discarded clothing. He hadn’t thought to bring anything with him… it’ll have to do for now. Alfred walked over to the mirror and tried to salvage his hair, but froze when he saw the bruises on his neck.

“Edward, look at what you’ve done to me!” He tilted his head to the side and leant towards the mirror to get a better look.

“I’m sorry” Drummond got up from the bed with a concerned expression “I didn’t realise that I was being so… forceful with you last night”.

“Don’t worry. I enjoyed it… and it doesn’t hurt at all” Alfred glanced over at his troubled face, then returned his attention to the mirror. “Thank god that we are made to wear such high collars. It will be hidden”.

Drummond sighed in relief. He moved over to Alfred, wrapped an arm around his waist from behind and dropped a kiss on his shoulder “Who knew that such an intolerable fashion trend would have a practical use”. 

“It may be intolerable, but I think it looks rather fetching on you” He felt Drummond smile against his skin.

“Is that so?” Drummond nuzzled into Alfred’s neck and kissed the marked skin “Hmm… I think that I prefer your neck bare”. He looked into to the mirror and caught Alfred blushing.

Alfred cleared his throat and moved to pick up his shirt “We should get dressed now”.

Alfred hated dressing in his used clothing from the day before, but it was the only sensible option. He could borrow something from Drummond, but there was no possible explanation he could give to anyone that noticed… or could have ran half naked through the corridors. Alfred accepted his fate, and focused on getting back to his chambers as soon as possible so that he could wash himself and put on something fresh.

~~~ 


Drummond walked into the hallway, and his heart almost stopped as he saw the Duke approaching. Damn it.

The Duke gestured at Drummond “Good timing, sir! I was just on my way to find you”. A confused look appeared on his face as he watched Alfred come out of the room as well “And… Lord Alfred…? What were you doing in there? And you are still dressed from yesterday”.

Alfred looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic.  
“y-yes… I couldn’t sleep from worry, and I was just going to change now”. He realised that he hadn’t actually answered the Duke’s question and continued “I ran into Mr. Drummond on my way and we came to his chambers to… have a private discussion”.

“A private discussion about what, exactly?” The Duke spoke bitterly, and was clearly not pleased by someone trying to keep secrets from him.

Alfred tried to think of a decent reply and came up blank. He had prepared a few excuses for a situation like this, but the sudden confrontation caused his mind to freeze.

Drummond noticed that Alfred was struggling and stepped up to save him from the Duke’s interrogation “It is all right, Lord Alfred. I will tell him”.  

Alfred’s dumbstruck face slowly turned to Drummond, he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

“We were discussing exactly when and how we should inform the Prime Minister of the current situation. It has been almost twenty-four hours since the Queen went missing, it is my duty to send word to Sir Robert.” Drummond paused for effect, then continued to speak confidently “Lord Alfred and I thought it was best to talk where no one might hear us, as we did not to cause alarm prematurely. And with all due respect, Duke… the Queen may have gone missing under your supervision, but we are the ones who must deal with it. It would be appreciated if you did not speak to us in such an accusatory manner”. Yeap, that sounds good.

The Duke’s face sunk at the mention of the Prime Minister, knowing that he would be the one on the receiving end of his fury, and then it crumbled completely at not-so-subtle reminder that he was to be blamed for the entire situation. “Very well, but please inform me before you take action. Good day, gentlemen” The Duke turned around and made a hasty retreat.

Alfred was shocked, and in all honesty a bit turned on after seeing Drummond assert his authority “Edward, that was incredible”.

Drummond turned and gave him a bashful smile “Politics requires a great deal of persuasion”.

“I believe you would be able to persuade me into doing just about anything” It wouldn’t be required, of course, but Alfred couldn’t resist making the suggestive comment.

“I see…” Drummond’s gaze drifted down Alfred’s body as he considered the implication. He imagined what indecent things he would have him do, then pulled his eyes away so that he could focus. “I was serious before, I will need to send word to the Prime Minister”.

“Perhaps you should give it a little more time, once a messenger is sent there is no way to stop him if the situation is resolved”.

“You’re right, Alfred… but it will take some time for the message to reach London, I do not want to leave it too late”.

Alfred took a moment to think before replying “We have enough men and resources here for a proper search, informing the Prime Minister will not help us find them. Frankly, it is really only his concern if…” He stopped himself from saying something gruesome, and searched Drummond’s face to make sure his meaning was understood. “I trust you to make the right decision. I should go now… before another prying person comes along to question us”.

Drummond nodded and then watched Alfred hurry back to his own room. It felt strange being privy to information that the Sir Robert was not, especially since it concerned the Queen’s safety. He was fearful that he would handle this incorrectly, but Alfred’s support gave him confidence and inspired him to push on. Alfred trusts me...


~~~ 

Sir Robert Peel,

It is with  my sinc  deepest regret to inform you that Her Majesty Queen Victoria and His Royal Highness Prince Albert have been lost in Scotland.

At the time this letter was sent, it has been two days since they went missing.  
Although the search continues, there is now little hope of finding  them being found alive.

We shall remain at Blair Castle to assist in anyw  the search and await your instructions.

Edward Drummond.   



Drummond scrunched up the piece of paper and tossed it aside with the others. It wasn’t easy finding the right words, but he knew that it had to be clear and concise. He isn’t going to send the message until tomorrow morning, but he wanted to start drafting it now and take the time to get it right… and honestly there wasn’t much else to do around here.
Thankfully he had managed to find a private room with a desk for him to work in, but it wasn’t quite as solitary as he had hoped.

He watched the Duke walk by the door and attempt to subtly glance inside for the third time, clearly trying to keep an eye on what he was doing. Drummond thought about how rudely the Duke had spoken to Alfred this morning, then decided that he would not hesitate to punch the man in the face if he tries to obstruct his work.  

Drummond watched the doorway, planning to give the Duke a menacing look when he passed by again, but instead he saw Wilhelmina walk in with a shy smile on her face.

“Good Afternoon, Miss Coke” Drummond sighed to himself, wondering just how these people kept managing to find him in this obscure corner of the castle.

Wilhelmina looked at the small stack of discarded papers “You are writing?”

“Yes, I am” He looked back down to the new letter he had started, hoping that she would see he was busy and leave… Instead she pulled over a chair and sat down at the desk with him. Whhhyyyyy?

He saw that she was attempting to read what he had written, and quickly scrunched it up in his hand. The sudden movement made Wilhelmina jump in her seat, then she met Drummond’s gaze.

“Umm… Have you had a pleasant day so far?”

Drummond stared at her and blinked. Is she serious? “No, not really”.
He disliked small talk enough already, but he hated it even more when there was absolutely no purpose for it. “As you can see I am quite busy, so can you please just get on with it and tell me what you want?”

“Oh… Yes, I-I… um” Wilhelmina wrung her hands together as Drummond watched in disinterest. “I… I’ve noticed that you spend a lot of time with Lord Alfred. Would you happen to know if he um… fancies anyone?”

That caught his attention. “Why would I know about that?”

“I just thought that… since you seem to be good friends, that he may have told you something… or maybe you-”.  

“I do not know. I haven’t seen nor heard anything regarding a lady, but I have no insight into what he does outside of work”.

Wilhelmina seemed to perk up a bit. “Oh! Well I suppose it is a good sign that you haven’t heard anything. My Aunt said he would be a good match for me, even though she thinks he comes off a tad disparaging at times, and he is very handsome! If you’d let me have him to myself occasionally, I think it might work out”

“Let you…? What do you mean by that?” Drummond eyed her suspiciously.

“Well you two are together so often that it is difficult for me to speak with him. Perhaps… if you made yourself sparse, we could spend more time alone and have proper conversations!”

She wants me to step aside… so that she can try to seduce Alfred? There’s not a chance in hell.
Drummond’s blood began to boil at the thought, he shot to his feet and spat at her in a venomous tone.
“He is not available”.

Wilhelmina sprung up as well and was quite alarmed by the sudden change in his demeanor “W-what…? But, but you just said that you didn’t know, y-you said tha-“

“I do not wish to discuss Lord Alfred’s personal affairs”. Drummond manoeuvred around the desk and hustled her towards the door “As I said earlier, I have work to do. I would like you to leave now”.

He ferried Wilhelmina out of the room and hastily shut the door behind her, listening for a moment as she scampered down the corridor.

Drummond sighed and rested his forehead against the door. When did he become such an emotional person? He has never had any trouble controlling himself before… at least not until recently. In the past he could easily leave his feelings behind when they were not required, now he always caught himself smiling like a fool for no reason. He had snapped at a young lady without provocation, fantasised about assaulting a Duke, and last night he had even cried for god’s sake.

He had always been told that women were inherently emotional, that it was simply the way they were… but now he thought that maybe it was love that made them that way, and perhaps he too was a victim.

Chapter Text

Later in the day, they all found themselves sitting silently around a large room. The Duchess of Buccleuch was doing some needle work and letting out occasional sighs of displeasure, as if she was trying to remind everyone that she was the only person present that was without blame.

Alfred was sitting on an extravagant sofa examining his own conscience; wondering whether it was selfish of him to feel so incredibly happy while the Queen and Prince were still missing.
Wilhelmina had sat beside him, nervously twiddling her thumbs and looking over at Alfred every now and then to admire his profile, disheartened to see that he was staring blankly in to space and most likely didn’t even realise that she was next to him.
Drummond sat in an armchair opposite them and watched attentively as Wilhelmina snuck loving glances at Alfred, pleased to see that her attention was being completely ignored. He didn’t actually know if she could be a threat or not… but until he found out, he wasn’t going to let his guard down.

Harriet was on the verge of breaking down in tears. She was very close with the Victoria, and didn’t know if she could bare losing a dear friend so soon after her husband’s tragic death. Ernest gazed at her empathetically and longed to comfort her, but the silence felt too thick to be broken.

The Duchess of Buccleuch let out a particularly loud noise and everyone’s eyes shifted over to her, then she scrunched up her face and scowled at them. Alfred thought that she looked rather like one of those wrinkly little English Bulldogs, a smirk appeared on his face and he cleared his throat to fend off the impending laughter.

The Duke suddenly burst through the door, successfully startling everyone in the room “They have been found!”

They all stared at him expectantly and awaited clarification.

They Duke paused for a moment and was confused as to why no one was saying anything, then realised that his announcement had been rather vague “In good health! My guards found them in a small hut with an elderly couple, it seems that they took refuge there overnight”

The room was filled with emotion. Harriet finally started sobbing and leant over to hug Ernest, who was laughing joyously after being told that his brother and sister-in-law were alive and well. Alfred heard Drummond sigh with relief and looked over to catch him smiling brightly, the sight gave Alfred butterflies and filled his chest with a warm tingling feeling.
After watching Harriet and Ernest embrace, Wilhelmina turned to say something lovely to Alfred just as he stood up and started walking over to Drummond.  

While everyone was celebrating, the Duchess of Buccleuch pulled herself to her feet and scuffled into the middle of the room “Excellent news!”.
She turned to glare at the people around her “It seems you all will get to keep your jobs, how fortunate. I hope that this dreadful experience will allow you to reflect on your incompetence!” Her eyes moved to relentlessly stare down the Duke, making sure that he knew that she was addressing him as well.

Ernest eased Harriet away from him and got up “And, where are they? I would like to scold my little brother for causing such worry”

The Duke looked at Ernest, relieved to have an excuse to end the unnerving eye contact with the Duchess “We were informed by a rider and a carriage was sent for them. They should be arriving shortly”.
 

When Victoria and Albert returned, everyone was waiting at the front of the castle and greeted them. At first, they were shocked to see the Queen in such a dishevelled state; wind swept hair that was matted in places, her designer shell-pink dress was crumpled and creased, there was even some mud on the hem. Drummond thought that the applause was rather odd, they were essentially congratulating the royal couple for not dying in some dirty hole… but he joined in nonetheless.

The Queen and Prince were sent to their room to be inspected by a physician. Although they did not appear harmed at all, the Duke was not going to take any more chances. The doctor checked their body temperature and heart function, took much longer that necessary to inspect a small bruise on Victoria’s leg from when he had almost fallen off her horse, and enquired about everything they had consumed. He was rather appalled to hear of the unhygienic manner in which they had cooked a fish, but decided that it wouldn’t cause any harm.

Once the physician had finally left them in peace, Victoria approached her husband “Albert, I feel guilty that we caused so much worry, especially to our dear friends”.

“Ach, do not worry ‘Toria. I think they would be happy to have a day off” Albert waved his hand in the air as if he was brushing away her concern.  

Victoria stuck her nose up at him and frowned “I would hardly say it was a day off, Albert. It is likely that we were presumed dead”.

Albert wrapped an arm around her and brushed his thumb against her cheek “But we had a good time, ne? Do not worry so much my love… We are back now, and everything is okay”

“You are right” Victoria moved closer and rested her head on Albert’s chest “We must have that fish again once we return to London, it was quite splendid”.


~~~ 
 

While everyone else was busy fussing around the Queen, Alfred had somehow ended up sitting alone with the Duchess of Buccleuch. He doesn’t mind the old bat too much, she comes off as nasty and uptight most of the time, but he finds it rather comical… plus she is the only lady in the household that is any good at cards.

Alfred quickly got bored of listening to his own breathing and decided to have a bit of fun “Tell me Duchess, why are you not with the Queen?”

“I am far too old for all that carry on, Lord Alfred”. Her eyes shot up to him in annoyance “What’s your excuse?”

He smiled innocently, it is far too easy to agitate her “Why, I am keeping you company. It would be rather discourteous of me to leave a lady all by herself”.  

She scoffed at his remark and returned her attention to the needle work “Perhaps you should be off keeping an eye on her majesty after the last incident! She should not have been off fishing in the first place, ‘tis such a disagreeable activity for a lady”

“Do try to not be such a troglodyte, Duchess. I believe she greatly enjoyed the experience” Alfred watched in amusement as she pursed her lips defiantly. He felt a little disappointed by the lack of rebuke, but it was quickly forgotten when he saw Drummond walk past the doorway. It was only a brief glimpse, yet it made his pulse quicken and compelled him to follow.

“Actually… I think you may be right, I should find a more suitable way to occupy myself. I am sure that a strong-willed woman such as yourself won’t mind being on her own” Alfred stood up and straightened his clothing.

The Duchess muttered under her breath “thank god”

It was only just loud enough for him to hear, but also quiet enough to make someone think that they weren’t supposed to. He ignored it and left the room, turning to follow the direction that he saw Drummond walking in. Alfred thought that it was quite imprudent of him to chase after Drummond like a lovesick puppy, but didn’t care enough to stop himself.

After quickly checking a few rooms as he walked by, Alfred finally found what he had been looking for. Drummond was standing alone in front of a white marble fire place; the fire was dying but the embers still managed to cast a faint orange glow on to his face. It reminded Alfred of the how Drummond had looked last night… lit by the oil lamp, gazing down passionately from on top of him. He couldn’t stop himself from imagining what Drummond had done to him and let out a tiny squeak.  

Drummond looked over his should “Oh, Lord Alfred. What are you doing here?”

Alfred stared back at him blankly, I followed you. “I ah… I just happened to be walking by. I saw you, and wondered what you might be doing”

“What a pleasant coincidence” Drummond raised an eyebrow and smiled. He knew that this wasn’t a chance encounter, although it was indeed pleasant. He had decided not to say anything as he too was guilty of actively seeking out Alfred. “I went for a walk to get away from the commotion, then thought that I would like to burn this dreadful letter” He held up his hand to display the folded piece of paper he was holding.

Alfred glanced at the letter in displeasure and walked up to him “I think that you should. Anything that gave you so much worry deserves to be burnt”

A wide smile appeared on Drummond’s face as he laughed “It’s only paper, Alfred. It cannot deserve anything”. He heard Alfred chuckle besides him and it made his heart jump, he wished that he could listen to it forever.

“Deserving or not, you cannot burn it in this fireplace”

Drummond’s eyes flicked over to him in confusion “Why ever not?”

“I don’t think it is good enough for the task” Alfred turned to him slightly and lowered his voice “I think that the one in my chambers would be much more suitable. Don’t you agree?”

“Oh… Indeed. Now that you mention it, I can see what you mean. I will ah… meet you there shortly” Drummond wasn’t expecting that, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to say no.

Alfred took a few steps backwards and nodded with a coy smile on his face, before spinning around and leaving.

Drummond thought about how bold Alfred was becoming. Only two days ago he had snuck out of Drummond’s bed before the sun rose to avoid being seen, last night he had stayed until the morning, and now he was inviting Drummond to his room in the middle of the afternoon. Although he cherished the idea that Alfred wanted to spend more time with him, this almost seemed rash… but Alfred wouldn’t do anything to endanger them, he must know that it will be safe.  


~~~ 


Drummond had to stop himself from running as fast as his feet would carry him to Alfred’s room. He gradually made his way through the castle, stopping here and there to make it seem that he had no apparent destination. A few servants passed by and paid him no particular notice, assuming that he was just wandering around out of boredom.

It felt like eternity until he finally he saw Alfred’s door. He casually walked up to it, looked around and then quickly slipped inside.

Drummond locked the door behind him and realised that he hasn’t actually been in this room before. It was a rather odd, but he could have sworn that it smelt kind of like his bed… on second thought, it is more likely his bed that smells like Alfred.

He turned around and saw Alfred’s back. He was looking out the window while once again playing with his sleeve “Alfred, may I ask why you do that?”

Alfred wasn’t surprised this time, he had heard Drummond come in and glanced over his shoulder “Do what?”

Drummond walked over to him and ran his hand down Alfred’s arm, feeling the warm skin through his shirt “You play with fabric, like your sleeve. I see you do it often”

“Oh… I don’t do it intentionally. I suppose… One must be very still and proper in the Queen’s presence, and I am every day. Perhaps it is a way to compensate for that” He met Drummond’s inquisitive eyes and tilted his head to the side “Do you think it is strange?”

“No, I was only curious” He lightly bumped his head against Alfred’s and kissed his cheek “Nothing about you could ever be strange to me”.  

Alfred wrapped his arm around Drummond’s shoulders and pulled him in for a deep kiss, Drummond hummed into his mouth and reluctantly pulled away “There is something that I’ve been meaning to ask you. It is… rather personal”

Alfred took off his vest, sat on the edge of his bed and looked up expectantly “You can ask me anything, Edward”

“Well, I realised earlier that we have never actually talked about it” He felt Alfred watching him intently and looked down at his hands “Do you… um… find women appealing? I know that you like me, but surely it’s possible to have an interest in both”

“Oh” Alfred’s gaze faltered for a second, then returned to Drummond’s reassuring eyes “I don’t believe so. I mean… I have met a lot of women in my life, and I haven’t felt a thing beyond friendship for any of them. What about you? Do you…?”

Drummond sat down next to Alfred on the bed and took his hand “I’m not really sure… I think I am the same as you. I convinced myself that I cared for a lady once… but I now believe it was only because I knew I was supposed to. I certainly wouldn’t have called it attraction, or anything of the sort”.
He looked to the side and was caught by Alfred’s piercing blue eyes “And well… regardless of all that, I will never want anyone else anyways because I lo-” The words got stuck in Drummond’s throat as he frantically tried to decide whether he should proceed or not.

“You what?” Alfred’s eyes shifted around as he meticulously studied Drummond’s face.

Drummond swallowed roughly “Because I err… like you, a lot”. What the hell is wrong with me?

Alfred giggled “I like you too” He pushed Drummond down on to the bed and climbed on top of him, then moved his legs so that he was straddling Drummond’s hips “Haven’t we already established this?”

Drummond nodded in compliance to both his words and actions. He felt like a helpless little bug trapped in Alfred’s web… only he didn’t want to escape.

He wrapped an arm around Alfred’s waist and reached up with the other to grab the collar of his shirt and pulled him down. His eyes closed when Alfred’s lips meet his own, and opened his mouth to swirl their tongues together. Alfred sucked Drummond’s bottom lip in to his mouth, running his tongue along it and nipping playfully with his teeth. The sensation went straight to Drummond’s crotch and he let out a needy whimper.

Alfred released his lip and hovered directly above his face, then started to slowly roll his hips. He watched Drummond’s face as he moved, fascinated by the way the corner of his mouth twitched, how he scrunched his eyes and bit his own lip. Alfred tugged his shirt up and trailed his fingers along Drummond’s waist.

Drummond’s breath grew rugged as he focused on where Alfred’s hand was so close to being, every light brush of a finger made him shudder with excitement. He couldn’t even remember where he was; all he knew was that his beautiful Alfred was touching him, and he never wanted it to stop.

Alfred feathered kisses up Drummond’s jawline and to his ear, he nibbled on it before whispering seductively “Edward, I want to try what you did to me last night…”

Goosebumps spread down Drummond arms when he felt the hot breath against his ear and realised exactly what Alfred was planning on doing to him. Alfred delicately laid his hand on his cock, causing him to make a strangled noise in the back on his throat.

“Will you let me?” Alfred teasingly licked his ear, feeling rather pleased that he had managed to work Drummond up so quickly.  

“God… yes, Alfred” Drummond tried to push his hips up against the far too gentle touch, but it was difficult to move with Alfred’s weight still pinning him down. He gave up on his feeble attempts and decided to just watch as Alfred shifted down, his body tensing when he felt Alfred’s tongue slowly trail down his stomach and along his waistline. His pants were undone and pulled down in just a few seconds, and he thought that it must be a lot easier in day light when you can see properly.
The touches stopped abruptly. Drummond propped himself up on his elbows to investigate and saw a nervous look on Alfred’s face, his newly found confidence was clearly wavering.

“I um... I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do. So…” 

He gave Alfred a reassuring smile “That’s okay, I didn’t know either. I just did what felt right”.

The smile was returned, then he watched Alfred lick his lips in a very enticing way and lower his head. Drummond inhaled sharply through clenched teeth as Alfred wrapped a hand around his cock and timidly licked the tip a few times. Drummond allowed himself to let out quiet moans and whimpers to give him some reassurance, it seemed to work as Alfred soon took it into his mouth and started sucking. Still supporting himself in his elbows, Drummond watched in a trance as Alfred slowly bobbed up and down and used his hand on the part that couldn’t fit in his mouth.

He felt Alfred swallow around him, the wave of pleasure took away all his strength and he fell back flat on to the bed. “Alfred… please, more…” he pleaded desperately between fervent moans. Alfred responded with a muffled hum, the vibration of his throat caused Drummond’s hips to jerk up slightly, then Alfred begun moving faster.

Drummond felt a burning hot sensation surge through him as he panted quickly and chanted Alfred’s name. His hand reached down to cling on to Alfred’s shoulder, and couldn’t stop himself from thrusting up as he found his release.

Alfred gagged when Drummond pushed up into his throat. He pulled away and coughed a few times, causing some liquid to spill out of his mouth and run down his chin. He wasn’t sure if it was his own saliva or something else, but either way it was quite embarrassing. His hand shot up to quickly wipe it away “Ah… sorry” Alfred mumbled remorsefully.  

Drummond breathed heavily as he tried to recover from the intense orgasm, it took his brain a while to process that Alfred had spoken. “Hmm?” He saw Alfred wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Drummond sat up to see that Alfred's pale blue eyes were watering slightly and registered what he had done “Oh god! I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to do that” He ran his fingers through Alfred’s tousled hair and kissed his forehead.

"It's all right, I am fine". Alfred grinned and kissed Drummond’s nose “Edward, do you want to lie with me now?”

“Wha- Lie with you? Do you mean... I mean, I-” Drummond fumbled hopelessly over his words, he was aware that there was a way for them to do… that, even though he didn’t really know any of the details. But he doubted that he was even capable of it at the moment… no, there was no way he would be able to.

“What’s wrong, darling? I only meant that I want to hold you” He gave Drummond a confused look, worry clouding his eyes.

“Oh! Then yes, I would certainly like to do that” Drummond felt a bit foolish for his assumption, clearly his mind hadn’t yet recovered. Wait… Darling?
Drummond heart filled up with warmth as he thought of the sweet way Alfred had addressed him.

Alfred saw relief flash across Drummond face and blinked at him “What on Earth did you think I meant?”

Drummond stared dumbly at him for a moment, then averted his eyes to the corner of the room in embarrassment. Alfred was even more baffled now, he played back the words in his head and suddenly realised how it had been interpreted “Oh… Oh! N-never mind”. Initially he was quite surprised that Drummond had thought of such a thing, then he started blushing profusely as he imagined it as well. Alfred lied down on his side, Drummond pulled up his Breeches and fastened them before joined him.

Alfred felt a tad awkward after that misunderstanding, but he couldn’t just ignore it “I um… I don’t think I am ready for that”

“That’s quite all right, Alfred. I’m not ready either…” He hesitated for a moment “not yet”. The last part probably wasn’t necessary, but he wanted to make sure that Alfred didn’t think that his shocked reaction was due to a lack of interest.

Alfred nodded in understanding, then moved closer to wrap his arms around Drummond. They gazed at each other in adoration as they lay next to each other, occasionally moving in for a chaste kiss.

Chapter Text

Drummond had quickly fallen asleep on the bed and was having a wonderful dream. Most of them involved Alfred these days, and this one was no exception. They were sitting by the stream they had visited recently, Alfred was leaning on him and laughing joyously. He listened to the sound he adored so much and watched Alfred smile, hoping that he was the cause of it.
All of a sudden the ground felt like it had disappeared. It felt so strange, what was happening? The answer came quickly as he fell against something hard with a yelp.

Alfred winced at the sound of Edward smacking against the floor and immediately felt horrible for shoving him off the bed. He waited to see if he was hurt, and sighed in relief when his lover sat up and glanced around in confusion.  

Drummond saw Alfred shaking his head at him apologetically “Alfred? Wha-”

“Shh!” Alfred hushed him and gestured for him to be quiet. “Someone is at the door” He whispered, voice laced with panic. 

“What?” Drummond whispered back, his voice so low that it was barely audible.
The hair on the back on his neck stood up as a knocking sound came from the door, there was no possible excuse for this situation. He looked at Alfred for guidance, who appeared to be just as terrified as he felt. Alfred’s eyes flicked over to the window before coming back to stare at him thoughtfully. Drummond silently gasped and made a horrified face, then shook his head in defiance. He would just about anything for Alfred, but he was certainly in no rush to throw himself out of a second story window. 

Alfred rejected the idea as well, he felt guilty enough for making Edward fall only two feet on to the floor. He frantically looked around, then remembered that the simplest answer is often the right one “Get down, Edward”

Drummond obeyed without hesitation and lied down on the floor, hiding himself behind the bed as Alfred chucked some clothing at him. He felt slightly concerned by the fact that tossing him out a window was the first thing that popped into Alfred’s head… but he’s heard that it was normal for people to jump to extremes measures when panicked, and he hadn’t offered any ideas himself. Drummond rolled on to his side and peeked under the bed, silently watching Alfred’s feet approach the door. He forced himself to take slow deep breathes through his mouth to avoid making a noise, but it was hard to tell whether it was working or not over the sound of his heart thumping violently in his chest.

Alfred took a deep breathe to calm himself while he pulled up the collar of his shirt, making sure that the telling marks on his neck were hidden. He opened the door and was surprised to be met by a rather depressed looking Ernest “Oh. Ah… Your Highness”. Alfred didn’t know whether he was expected to bow in this situation or not, it wasn’t exactly common for a Duke to go around door knocking. Although this wasn’t the first time it has happened today.
He decided to play it safe and went to lower his head respectfully, but was stopped short when an index finger poked him in the chest.

“No need for formalities, Alfred. There are no strict old men here” Ernest chuckled. “Are you all right? I heard some rather concerning sounds from your room, thumping and whatnot”

“Oh, yes. I was sleeping… I’m afraid that you startled me” Alfred stated matter-of-factly, praying that he hadn’t heard Edward speaking.

Ernest gave him a once-over and laughed “Well, that certainly explains your appearance”.  

Drummond grimaced as he involuntarily listened to the conversation, it unsettled him that someone else got to see his Alfred looking all dishevelled and indecent. He recalled what he had thought about when he first saw Alfred like that, when he had brought a piece of cake to his room back at the palace… That German ass better not be thinking the same thing.

The laughter was short lived, then Ernest spoke remorsefully “I am sorry to have woke you. My brother is preoccupied, I did not know who else I could go to”.

“I see” Alfred was surprised that he thought of him as an actual friend, he had assumed that Ernest only spoke to him out of politeness and perhaps even boredom. He remembered how miserable Ernest had looked when he opened the door, and decided to enquire about it “What troubles you?”

Ernest sighed and took a few steps into the room. Alfred swiftly followed and moved in front of him, physically blocking him from getting too close to Edward’s impromptu hiding spot. Ernest apparently didn’t notice Alfred deliberately getting in his way and begun explaining “I just had a most unpleasant argument with Harriet. I believe I love her… but whenever I try to get closer, she pulls away from me. I don’t know what I should do”. He looked down dejectedly “Uncle Leopold tells me that I cannot marry her because she is too far below my station, and already once married… but I think I would like to ignore his advice”

Alfred hummed as if he was formulating a reply. Really, he was thinking about how if someone had to knock on his door, he was glad it was Ernest. People that know and trust you are much easier to deceive, and His Highness appears to be a dealing with his own form of forbidden love… if Edward happened to be discovered, there may still be a chance that he could save them.

Drummond rolled his eyes. The poor Duke of Coburg thinks he has it rough? I’d wager that he has never had to demean himself by lying on the floor like this. Bored of staring at the two motionless pairs of feet, his eyes wandered around and he was disgusted by the amount of dirt and dust beneath the bed. They expect Alfred to sleep above this filth? Unacceptable. I must have a word to the maids about proper cleaning procedures.

Alfred reasoned that the likelihood of something bad happening would continue to increase as long as Ernest was here. “Well, Ernest” Alfred spoke cautiously, not sure when exactly they had become on a first-name basis “I’m sorry to hear it, but I’m afraid that my advice may not be very helpful”

Ernest’s face dropped in disappointment as he turned to stare out the window “Ach, that’s right. I suppose you wouldn’t know much about the heart of a woman”

Alfred stared at him blankly and willed his voice to remain steady “Excuse me?”

“Mm?” Ernest’s eyes fell back to Alfred and noticed the mortified expression on his face “Oh, forgive me, I did not mean to offend you. It is just that I have never seen you with a lady”

“I assure you that I have sufficient experience, it’s just that it wouldn’t be very proper of me to parade women around the palace” Alfred attempted to laugh at his own comment (lie), but it came out as more of an anxious squeak and he cleared his throat to cover it up.
“I think that you need to give her more time. It’s plain to see that Harriet cares deeply for you, but she also cared for her husband. She is still grieving, surely you cannot expect her to re-marry so soon… Especially considering the tragic manner in which Sutherland passed”

Ernest stared at the floor and nodded in understanding. Meanwhile, Drummond was silently cursing himself for deciding to lie on his side; his arm had gone numb and it was becoming rather uncomfortable, but he couldn’t risk moving.

After receiving no reply, Alfred decided to try once more to end this conversation “As for Leopold, he is well known in the palace for giving unpopular advice and opinions. If you do indeed love her, you should not let him stand in your way”

“You are right, Alfred. I need to let Harriet move at her own pace. Love is difficult to find, I should not give up.” Ernest said with excitement, a wide grin on his face. “Thank you, my friend” He moved forward suddenly, grabbed Alfred’s shoulders before he could duck away and hugged him tightly.  

Drummond clenched his jaw and balled his hands into fists as he watched Ernest’s feet move right up to Alfred’s, wishing that he could see more than just their ankles. Rationally he knew it must only be a hug, Alfred wouldn’t just stand there silently if it was anything else, but he still found it infuriating.

Alfred pulled back after a moment, prompting Ernest to release him “I’m glad that I could help, you should go speak with her”

Ernest smiled and nodded at Alfred, then hurried off to find Harriet. The second he left the room, Alfred threw himself at the door and forcefully shut it, then sunk down on to his knees and covered his face with his hands “Finally…” he whispered to himself. There was a small thump from the other side of the room as Edward flopped gracelessly onto his back, followed by a loud sigh.

Alfred stood up and hurried over “Edward, I’m so sorry for pushing you on to the floor!” Alfred kneeled next to him and laid a hand on his cheek “I heard a knock and panicked, I didn’t realise you were actually asleep. Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

Drummond sighed again as he sat up, opening and closing his fist repeatedly to help regain feeling in it, then gave Alfred a cheeky smile “You seem very concerned. For someone who recently wanted to push me out a window, that is”

“I did not want to" Alfred pouted "answer my question”

“No, I’m not hurt” He leant forward and kissed the corner of Alfred’s mouth “Although I may have been poisoned by the filth under you bed”

“What?” Alfred questioned, then lied down on his chest and peered under the bed “Good lord! It’s revolting”

“Indeed, I am glad that you haven’t been sleeping in here” He reached out and helped Alfred up so that they were sitting together on the floor.

Alfred raised an eyebrow in amusement “It is a problem with the cleaning staff. Surely it would be the same in all the rooms?”

Drummond shrugged “Perhaps, but I still prefer to have you sleep in my bed”. He watched Alfred smile, the same intoxicating smile that he saw almost every night in his dreams, the smile that made him want to hold Alfred tight against his chest and never let him go. The possessive thoughts resurfaced once again “I cannot believe that man! I don’t care if he’s a Duke, a King, or God himself, he has no right to lay a single finger on you!”

“It was unexpected… But you shouldn’t worry about that, it was completely platonic. You must have heard what was said, he is in love with Harriet and intends to marry her”

Drummond’s eyes fell to the floor as he anxiously ran a hand through his own hair “I believe you’re charming enough to steal the heart anyone you please”

“I doubt that” Alfred snickered and then paused “But even if that were true… the only heart I’m interested in is yours, Edward”. Adoring brown eyes flicked up to stare at him, the intensity in them forced Alfred to look away. The more he said things like that, the more he realised that he had absolutely no control over his rapidly escalating feelings. At some point, being with Edward had changed from a preference into a necessity.

Drummond leant forward and rested their foreheads together. When Alfred finally looked back at him, his blue eyes seemed to be mirroring the emotion Drummond felt. There was a rush of happiness, followed by a pang of guilt for feeling insecure about their relationship.
It had happened so fast, in only a few days this had evolved from a ridiculous fantasy in his head to something real, something serious. He wondered if Alfred’s feelings might be as strong as his own, but was hesitant to believe it. When are things ever that perfect?

“The servants and guards are having a party tonight, of sorts. Care to join me?”  

Drummond was pulled from his reverie and leant back in surprise “You want to go to a party… with the servants?”

“Sure” Alfred grinned, enjoying the reaction he had gotten “I think it could be fun. You disagree?”

“No, I’ll go. I just hadn’t imagined…” Drummond stuck his nose up snobbishly and spoke in a teasing tone “that Lord Paget would be interested in attending such an uncouth event!” He laid one hand on his heart and put the back of the other against his forehead as he dramatically tossed his head to the side in anguish.  

Alfred burst into laughter and almost toppled over, but managed to put an arm out to stop himself “Edward, you should be in the theatre!”

“Only if you come with me” Drummond said mischievously as he stood. He pulled Alfred up as well, and held him close “We can do… um… Romeo and Romeo!”

Alfred snickered at the painfully unimaginative title of Drummond’s play “Imagine how the Duchess’s face would look after seeing such a display” Grumpy bulldog...   

“She would find it most objectionable” Drummond’s face contorted in what seemed like an attempt to imitate the Duchess’s displeased expression, and leant back slightly so that Alfred could see.  

Alfred laughed again and lightly shoved him away “You’re such a fool”

“Anything to make you smile” He closed the distance again and wrapped his arms around Alfred’s waist. “I should go now” Drummond rubbed their noses together, then kissed Alfred hard and slow, savouring every second of it.  

The emotion in the kiss made Alfred’s head spin. He let out a sad whimper when it ended, then dogged behind Drummond’s as he walked to the door. Alfred insisted that he checked the corridor before Drummond came out, lest they have a repeat of this morning’s awkward incident.

After being given the all-clear, Drummond walked past Alfred and briefly brushed their hands together “I’ll see you tonight. After dinner?”

Alfred didn’t reply, he just nodded and gazed affectionately at Drummond with wide blue eyes, the fleeting touch left a warm tingle in his hand as he watched Drummond walk down the corridor. He hated when they had to part ways, each time was seemingly more difficult than the last. His eyes fell to Drummond’s arse, at least I get a pleasant view.  


~~~


Once the tension had lifted, the castle finally regained a peaceful and comforting atmosphere. The Duke of Atholl arranged an extravagant feast to appease the royal couple. They hadn’t blamed him at all for their misfortune, but the he wanted to be absolutely sure, and attempt to make up for the peasant food they’d been forced to eat. His physician had shared the grisly tale of the pan-fried cod.

Victoria and Albert shared their experience over dinner, gushing over the cute elderly couple and the pleasantness of a simple life. There were audible gasps of shock and amazement as the Queen told of how she darned a sock and even washed dishes. Everyone was so enthralled by the tale of a life that they have never experienced (and hoped they never did), that they paid no attention to the looks Alfred and Drummond were giving each other across the table


“How splendid” Victoria complimented as she led the group through the castle. She was slightly peeved that a marching bagpipe-band followed her around wherever she went, but she certainly didn’t want to be disrespectful towards their customs. When the Duke had announced yet another poetry reading, she secretly wished that she was back at that quaint little cottage with Albert.

Alfred dawdled behind and awaited an opportunity to sneak away. Can I really just leave? Perhaps no one will notice… even if they do, I’m sure I can come up with a reasonable excuse. He hadn’t seen Drummond since dinner. His original plan was to disappear then as well but was detained by unrelenting conversation. It would be difficult to get away without making a scene after they sit down, it had to be now. They came to a corner in the corridor and once everyone else had gone around it, Alfred stopped in his tracks. He held his breathe and waited… nothing. The voices grew quieter and more distant until finally it was silent.

He let out a breath of relief and laughed silently at himself. Why was he so nervous over such a simple thing? He had only stopped walking. It was a trick he had easily pulled several times before, but still his heart was threatening to burst out of his chest. He reasoned that it was probably because he knew where he was going, with who, and the inappropriate things they would most likely end up doing. As he doubled back through the castle, he continuously reassured himself that skipping a poetry reading was in no way implicative of anything else.
Alfred stopped abruptly and smacked himself in the head, Damn, I didn’t say where we should meet.

The sun was starting to set when Alfred finally escaped through a servant’s entrance and started following a path into the forest. Just as he was beginning to have doubts about the venture, he noticed Drummond leaning up against a tree on the edge of the path.

“Edward!” Alfred called out and approached him with an apologetic half-smile “I wasn’t sure if you would come. I ah… forgot to say where to meet me, sorry”

“I said that I would. And I know… I realised that shortly after I left” He shrugged “I figured that if I waited here, you would come by eventually” Drummond smiled. He placed a hand on Alfred’s back as an outwardly friendly greeting, then leaned forward to talk softly in his ear “I would kiss you, but this path is quite popular”

Alfred’s breath caught in his throat. For a brief moment he considered dragging Drummond into the trees and tearing his clothes off… but as tempting as it was he would like to avoid rolling around in the dirt. Plus, he has an aversion to insects; one of his elder brothers use to chase him around with horrid creatures from the garden. He grimaced at the memory, then picked up on the faint sound of music in the distance and looked down the path “Shall we?”

Chapter Text

They walked side by side along the forest path, occasionally bumping their shoulders together and letting their hands touch when there was no one walking near them. The up-beat Scottish music gradually got louder, revealing the distinct sound of bagpipes, fiddles and accordions.

When they finally reached the clearing, Alfred gawked at the people jumping and spinning around to the music without a care in the world. Most of the men were wearing traditional kilts, which was no surprise as it was worn by all the guards at the castle, a lot of the women had their hair down and flowing freely as they spun, and they ar- good lord, that man has no shoes on!
When Alfred had over-heard a group of guards talking about this gathering, he didn’t know what to expect… but he hadn’t imagined anything like this. With eyes still glued to the scene in front of him, he shuffled closer to Drummond to talk privately “These people look like they’ve gone mad”

Drummond laughed quietly and tilted his head to look at Alfred “I believe it’s called a Ceilidh. This must be how people enjoy themselves when they don’t have to worry about appearances and decorum”. He thoughtlessly raised a hand to his bottom lip and stroked it with his index finger while he watched the dancing, his inquisitive mind was trying to figure out whether there were particular steps or not. It was difficult to tell among the jumble of people, but there appeared to be some sort of pattern to it. He inspected their movements with curious eyes, but his attention was quickly drawn to a pair of men that were holding hands and dancing together. What?!
Drummond froze wide-eyed for a few seconds before anxiously inspecting the people around him. He realised that there were no strange looks, no whispers… quite frankly, nobody seemed to give a damn.

He sneaks a quick glance at Alfred out the corner of his eye; he’s watching the band. Drummond couldn’t stop himself from staring at the two men, this was unprecedented! He doubted that they were together in the same way that he was with Alfred, probably just close friends. Although he probably wouldn’t be able to tell even if they were, he had no idea what it looked like from the outside. The only potentially telling sign he knows of is the look Alfred gives him, but he’d prefer to believe that was Alfred’s own unique brand of charming. Drummond let his hand fall away from his face and made a little noise in his throat, and blue irises were quickly focused on him “Do you um, want to dance?”

Alfred hesitated, he clearly had some reservations about dancing around with reckless abandon. It was a very far cry from his usual activities; taking an afternoon stroll around Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England. “I would like to try it… but I think I will need a few drinks first” His pale eyes gestured towards the tree line where an old man was selling what appeared to be whisky. Drummond followed Alfred over to the make-shift stall and stood to the side as Alfred made his enquiries. The salesman was elderly, but his body was stocky with broad shoulders, perhaps rough living made him look older than he actually was. He sported a coarse beard of silver and grey, and a moustache stained yellow from tobacco.

While waiting, Drummond got lost in his thoughts. He wondered how Highlanders prevented their knees from getting cold, and then about how brightly Alfred’s golden hair would shine in the mid-summer sunset. He looked at the back of Alfred’s head and tried to imagine it reflecting the warm orange sunlight, then felt a flutter in his chest as a thought popped into his head. Is this… a date? He swallowed nervously and continued watching Alfred, consciously stopping his eyes from wandering anywhere inappropriate. He realised this is the first time they’ve gone out together without the royal house hold and an excessive number of guards in tow. The closest they had gotten to this in the past was when he ambushed Alfred in the garden and proceeded to be a moron. And as much as he enjoyed the time they spent together in his bedroom, he relished the idea of having Alfred all to himself in public. The pleasant tingling in his chest persisted as he mused over the idea. This is a date.

“It’s not too often we see posh gentlemen like yourself ‘round here”

Drummond jumped at the sudden voice next to him. He turned towards the noise and was met by a young man, quite a bit shorter than himself with light brown hair and eyes, unsurprisingly speaking in a Scottish accent. He seemed friendly enough. “That is not a word I would use to describe myself” he smiled wryly before glancing back towards Alfred “I hope it is all right for us to be here”

The newcomer nodded and grinned widely “Aye, anyone is welcome as long as they cause no trouble. My name’s Finlay, pleased to make your acquaintance” Finlay chugged back the rest of his drink and held his hand out, which of course Drummond was obligated to shake.  

 

Alfred tasted the drink he had been given and eyed it curiously. It didn’t really taste like anything he had tried before. It wasn’t bad, per se, but there was just something odd about it… although it was undoubtedly whisky. He looked back to the old man and questioned him “What proof is this? Grain or malt?”  

The whisky merchant barely glanced at him as he continued to pour drinks “Dinna ken”

“…okay” Alfred replied faintly, not having a clue what the man had said. Since there was nothing else available, he decided to just take the drink and hope that he got use to the peculiar taste. He dug around in his pockets and pulled out a few coins, immediate realising that he didn’t have anything small enough, and the old man certainly wouldn’t have change for this. He sighed to himself and looked over his shoulder to Drummond, who was currently shaking hands with some random guy “Edward, do you have anything smaller than a half-crown?” Drummond shook his head at him and looked as though he wanted to come over, but was dragged back into a conversation with his new friend.   

The merchant’s eyes lighted up as he gaped at the coins in Alfred’s hand. Just one of those bad boys could pay his rent for at least three weeks! “Pardon me, Sir” His accent suddenly sounded merry, filled with a new-found warmth and friendliness. He waited until Alfred met his eyes “I can’t help noticin’ you find yourself in a wee coil. How about you gimme one of those coins, and in return you and your companion can have as many drinks as ye like” He gazed up at Alfred with hopeful hazel eyes, although the long wiry hairs sticking out of his eyebrows lessened the intended effect.   

Alfred narrowed his eyes at the old man, humming thoughtfully as he played with the coin in his hand. He was being hideously over charged for sub-par whiskey, that much is obvious, but there was nothing he could do about it. If he wanted to drink, this was the deal. He was out of place here. He felt tense and self-conscious, which was a rare occurrence. A bit of alcohol would help him relax. “Agreed” he muttered “Considering the circumstances, that is the best solution”


Brown eyes were attracted to Alfred once again, and Drummond was shocked to see him about to hand over a half-crown for two cups of whisky. He pushed past the short man blabbering about his favourite hunting spots, and quickly appeared at Alfred’s side “This must be the finest whisky in all of Scotland” he said sarcastically and glared at the salesman.

Alfred summarised the situation to Drummond, then smiled sheepishly “It’s not a problem, Edward. I would rather pay this than not have anything to drink” He shrugged lightly “It doesn’t make a difference to me anyways”. Alfred tried not to notice the dirty look the old man gave him; he took no pleasure in flaunting his wealth and did his best not to, but assuring Edward was far more important to him than a stranger’s opinion.

Drummond relaxed a bit when he realised that Alfred wasn’t being unknowingly conned or manipulated, he should have known that Alfred was far too smart for that. But still, he thought that they should at least try to get as much out of this as possible. Drummond stepped forward and smacked his hand down on the wooden counter. He must have used more force than intended, given the way that both the merchant and Alfred flinched at the sound. He looked into the old man’s beady eyes and spoke, not aggressively, but sternly “We both know that a half-crown is worth all the whisky you have and more still. Fortunately for you, we have no use for several barrels of liquor and there are no other options available to us. So, in return for our very generous donation, we would also like free refills for our friend Finny over there” He tilted his head in the direction of their silent bystander.

“Finlay” He squeaked from the side.

All three of them turned to look at the young man. Drummond’s eyebrows scrunched up in confusion “What?” 

“My name, it’s Fin-lay

They all stared at him for a moment, before the old man turned his attention back to Drummond and grumbled “Aye, I s’pose that’s fair”

Alfred scoffed to himself at the use of the word fair. Oh well, there is nothing to be done. He drops the coin in to the merchant’s hand, noticing the wide smile that stretches across his face. This man probably needs the money a lot more than he does, hopefully it is spent on something practical.
He passes one of the cups to Drummond and leads him over to an area with several logs surrounding an open fire, intentionally choosing the one furthest from other people to sit on.

Drummond sat down next to him, shuffling as close as possible so that their legs and sides were pressed firmly against each other. Alfred took a sip of his drink and gave him an adorable sideways look from under his eyelashes, causing Drummond to grin with affection and make a futile attempt to move even closer.

Alfred let some of his weight lean against Drummond’s shoulder “So, what do you think of the finest whisky in all of Scotland?”

Drummond chuckled at that, they seem to have made a game out of quoting each other. If he remembers correctly he was the one that started. It was last night, right before they… Drummond quickly downed some whisky before his mind could continue the thought, this wasn’t the place to think about such things. It proved to be a good distraction as well as an assault on his senses “Oh, god. This is… not very good” He frowned down at his cup in regret.

“Aye! Most common people dinna care much about quality, long as it gets you merry and there is plenty of it” Finlay smacked his palm on Drummond back as a friendly gesture, and almost makes him choke “But knowing that old clot-head, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was watered down some, the bloody crook. Thanks, by the way, I didn’t expect anyone would be buying my drinks tonight!”

Drummond clenched his jaw as Finlay sat down next to him. He really wanted to tell him to go away so that he could focus on Alfred, but that would be awfully rude. Instead, he decided that this was a good opportunity to gather more information. “So, Fin-” Finny? No. Finn… Finnel… Finlay! “Finlay. Tell us about the dancing, what are the steps?”

Steps? No need to worry bout any of that. Most folks just link arms with someone and spin around a bit, see. If you’re lucky, you may manage to grab yourself a pretty lass” Finlay looked at his new friends and noticed that they both suddenly looked very awkward. What did he say wrong? Oh, that’s it! “Oh, I’m sorry! You two gentleman are probably married, aren’t ya?”  

Alfred stared at Finlay and blinked, his face a perfect example of confusion. The way it was worded it… Alfred initially thought Finlay was asking if he was married to Edward. But he meant separately, to women. Of course. That was stupid. “No, I am not married”
Alfred sighed to himself. It was probably a wise decision to be honest, you never know who you’ll run into at a place like this. He steeled himself and continued “Edward has a fiancée, though” the words soured his mouth more than any lie, and it got even worse when Finlay erupted in to a drunken mess of smiles and congratulations. He imagines that the words probably would’ve been just as offending to Drummond’s ears, so he turned to give him an apologetic look. Alfred was surprised to see him staring blankly in to the distance, slack-jawed and motionless, almost as though he had just been slapped in the face. What a strange reaction.

Drummond finally came back to his senses, but didn’t notice the suspicion dancing in his favourite pair of blue eyes. He was far to busy mentally kicking himself to notice anything, he had actually forgotten about Florence. If Alfred hadn’t spoke for him, he probably would’ve said that he was single. Was that bad? Yeah, that was probably bad. He swallowed dryly, this felt just like when he first told Alfred about his engagement outside the House of Lords. Except this time, he was the one struggling to control his emotions. Damn Finlay! Drummond shot the young Scot a seething glare. He would have been happy to forget about Florence until they went back to London and just enjoyed spending time with Alfred. But nooo, he just had to pry into their personal business!

Drummond knew of course, that he was just reflecting his emotions on to Finlay in the form of rage. He would much prefer to do that than break down in tears at the thought of being with anyone but Alfred.

He certainly looked angry, but Alfred would wager that it was only because he didn’t want others to think he looked sad… people say that anger is much more befitting for a man. Either way, the degree of emotion being shown is quite extreme. Alfred wonders what is going on in Drummond head as he finishes his drink. Finlay, who seems to have finally noticed the tense atmosphere, opens his mouth to say something, but is cut off by Alfred abruptly jumping to his feet “I would like to try dancing now. Finlay, would you mind fetching another round of drinks?” He didn’t wait for an answer before walking off.  

Drummond smiled weakly and stood up to follow, relieved that the horrible moment was brought to an end… but when Alfred glanced back, the look on his face gave Drummond the feeling that it wasn’t quiet over yet.  

 

Chapter Text

Alfred diverted his path and strode towards the edge of the clearing. He paused to check that Edward was still following, then walked in to the forest and took shelter behind the trunk of a pine tree. Maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned it… but it felt needed, and not only for the off chance that they would run into someone they knew. While he enjoyed the bliss of ignorance, it was bothersome that they are yet to discuss the matter in the slightest. What would happen when they go back to London? Technically this whole thing had started there, but he couldn’t escape the thought that maybe this was just a temporary arrangement for Edward. Would he leave after the initial lust had run its course? Abandon him, and go back to happily marry Florence? He had looked absolutely horrified when Alfred mentioned her. What does that mean? He needed to know.  


It didn’t take long for Drummond to catch up. He walked around the tree and was greeted by a stern look “Alfred?”

“What was that?” Alfred asked.

“What do you mean?” Drummond met the questioning gaze with a blank expression. He could probably guess what this was about, but he would much rather prefer not to.

Alfred rolled his eyes and exhaled loudly. “Back there” he started picking at the bark next to him “You seemed very upset. When I mentioned your… her” The word itself was difficult to say, an untoward slap in the face from reality. 

“Oh” Drummond thought that he had covered it up well, perhaps he wouldn’t make a good actor after all. He glanced at Alfred’s hand, anxiously mutilating a tree, then back to his equally nervous face “We do not need to talk about that if you find it too unpleasant”

“It is a rather morose topic. But I…” Alfred’s gaze fell as he watched pieces of bark crumbled to the ground like rubble “You are important to me. If something is troubling you then I would like to know about it, regardless of how distressing it may be.”
Having decided to stop torturing the vegetation, he shifted to lean his shoulder against the tree and spoke softly “I thought that perhaps you are having regrets about… this” Alfred waved his hand around in the air, attempting to gesture at the invisible threads of their relationship.

Drummond gasped “No! It’s nothing like that. No, Alfred. That’s just… no”. God, why did these misunderstandings keep happening? Maybe he gives off the wrong signals, or maybe Alfred overthinks and interprets them wrong. Perhaps they both worry too much. It is certainly something they need to work on, the look that was on Alfred’s face is one that he never wishes to see again. Speaking of… Drummond notices that blue eyes are silently watching him, awaiting an explanation. “It is rather embarrassing. It seems that I enjoy being with you so much, that she completely slipped from my mind”

A gentle breeze blew through the forest as Alfred stared at him “You… forgot. That you are engaged?” Alfred watched him shuffle around awkwardly, then burst out in laughter despite the shocked look on Edward’s face. He just couldn’t help it, they are truly a pair of idiots “Well, you did say that I am distracting!”

“That you are” Drummond almost started laughing himself, but forced it away with a cough when he remembered that this was supposed to be a serious conversation. “I do not regret any of this, but I can- Alfred, stop laughing!”

Alfred clasped a hand over his mouth to contain his hysterical giggling fit. It seems that his self-control had flown out the window when he handed over a half-crown for an unlimited supply of whisky.

Drummond waited patiently as Alfred attempted to regain his composure. He glared at Alfred’s lips; quivering as they desperately tried to hold back another bout of convulsive laughter. Against all odds, Alfred finally managed to regain control of his body and nodded for him to continue. 

“As I was saying…” He paused to double check that Alfred was indeed finished, it seems so “While I certainly do not regret anything we have done, I cannot help feeling a bit guilty. This is almost…” An affair? Adultery? Drummond scowled. The words are all so vulgar, he would never degrade and insult their relationship by using those words.

Alfred knew what he was thinking and whole-heartedly agreed that none of those words should be used to describe what they have “You feel that way because you are a good man”.

Drummond opened his mouth to argue the compliment, but ultimately decided on something else “What should I do?”

Alfred glanced off in to the forest, focusing on a small shrub as if he suddenly found it quite fascinating “I do not know”

“Do you not?” Drummond pursed his lips and stepped closer “I would do whatever you tell me”

“I will not be telling you to do anything” Alfred huffed and settled back in to his spot against the tree “It is your life, Edward. Any decision regarding Florence is wholly yours” 

Drummond winced; her name sounds venomous when it comes from Alfred’s tongue. He really doesn’t want to talk about this now, when they are having such a wonderful evening.
“I think we have discussed this enough” He moved to trap Alfred against the tree, placing a hand against the bark on either side of his torso. A content smile appeared on his face when Alfred let out a little gasp of surprise at the sudden intimacy.

Alfred leaned forward to meet Edward’s lips, allowing his tongue in with no resistance and loosing himself in the now very familiar mouth, he heard a quiet moan and realised that it had come from him. In a bid to hold on to his sanity, Alfred broke the kiss and rested his head back against the tree. He would never miss the opportunity to make a witty comment, even though his mind was rapidly spiralling in to the gutter. What did he say before? Oh right “Is that so?”

“For now,” Drummond mumbled as he started kissing along Alfred’s jawline, one of his hands had moved to rest on Alfred’s side and was absently stroking above his hip. His mouth found its way to Alfred’s ear, he started gently nibbling on it as he shifted forward to firmly push their bodies together “…it isn’t terribly pressing”

The hot pants of breath and teeth sliding against his earlobe made Alfred’s whole-body shiver. He ran a hand through Edward’s hair and bit his bottom lip, preventing himself from letting out any more wanton noises. “Edwa-” Alfred inhaled sharply as the warmth against his ear moved down to lay wet open-mouthed kisses on his neck “Edward. This isn’t a good place for… this” Excellent; he had seemingly forgotten half his vocabulary as well. But more importantly, they hadn’t walked very far from the party, this is dangerous.  

“Relax, I am not going to do anything indecent to you”

After taking a moment to assess the current situation, Alfred quipped “You would call this decent?”


The kisses stopped with a sigh as Drummond nuzzled his face into Alfred’s neck “I wanted to kiss you, there was no opportunity until now. I may have gotten a bit carried away”

“A bit? You’ accosted me in a forest” Alfred chuckled and felt Drummond smile against his shoulder.

“You are the one that lured me out here” Drummond pulled away and straightened himself up. “I believe this belongs to you” He held his hand out to Alfred.

“Wha-” Alfred stared at the silky piece of blue fabric, then raised a hand to his neck to feel… skin, slightly damp from Edward’s attentions “When did you take that off me?”

Drummond innocently tilted his head to the side and shrugged “Recently”

Alfred snatched it out of his palm and began retying it, finding it much more challenging without a mirror.

“I am surprised that you did not notice, even when I was kissing your bare neck” Drummond grinned “Were you so distracted?” A blush crept across Alfred’s face, Drummond barely caught a glimpse of it before he turned away.

“You can be so irritating sometimes”

 

~~~

 


They re-joined the party and brushed Finlay off with a lame excuse about admiring nature; thankfully he wasn’t the type to analyse it too deeply, a smarter man would probably question why they had wandered off when they were already surrounded by a rather mono-culture forest. After a few more drinks and some light banter, they finally managed to convince Alfred that dancing would not be so terrible.

They took off their coats and cravats, leaving them on a log, and then Alfred found himself being dragged off by Drummond’s hand firm around his wrist “Um… Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Drummond looked back at him with excited eyes “You said that you wanted to drink, and we have. Then you said that you want to sit for a while, and we did. There are no more excuses!”

Alfred submitted as soon he saw the look on Edward’s face. How could he possibly deny him? Before he could think to protest any further he was pulled up on to the wooden platform and engulfed by the crowd of people. It didn’t seem so bad, he thought, until he felt Edward release his wrist and grab a hold of his hand. Alfred flinched, jumping away from him like a startled rabbit and then quietly hissed “What are you doing?”

Drummond chuckled at his reaction, which only made Alfred look more confused “It’s okay” he implored “trust me”. He reached out to take Alfred’s hand, and was rather pleased when he didn’t pull away again.

 

Alfred enjoyed the dancing far more than he had anticipated. He has always been fond of it, ever since he began taking lessons when he was a child. Before then even, when he used to watch extravagant dresses gracefully float around the ballroom, but this was not the sort of dancing you would see there. He had no idea what was going on with the hand holding, or how Edward knew it would be acceptable, but he didn’t really care enough to find out.
At one point they saw Finlay dancing on his own, drunkenly attempting to “Jig” as Edward called it… he was just surprised that their new friend had managed to pull himself away from the bar.

After being tossed around for a while, Alfred decided that he had done far too much spinning for one day. He stumbled getting down from the platform and almost tripped, but managed to stop himself by grabbing on to a nearby tree for balance. He looked back over his shoulder and saw Edward pulling a face and laughing at him. Wonderful. Edward probably thinks that he’s drunk, but he is not. Well… he is not drunk enough to be falling over, he is simply not accustomed to jumping in circles for twenty minutes.

 

Drummond appeared at his side “Are you alright there?” He spoke in a tone of what Alfred could only call mock-concern.

“Of course” Alfred replied as he put his weight back on his feet, a much easier task now that his head had stopped spinning. He glanced back again to see that Finlay was still dancing, thoroughly distracted by a young lady… the perfect opportunity to ditch him. He gently nudged Edward with his elbow “Shall we go for a walk?”

“I could use a break from all this noise” He looked to the side “Come this way”. He lead Alfred towards a narrow side path that he had spotted earlier. It was dark and overgrown, obviously not used often. A few stray branches were pushed out the way as they walked along it, Drummond silently giggled to himself as he heard Alfred grumbling about having his personal space invaded.

Alfred blindly followed Edward to lead the way for a while. When a particularly evil twig snagged on his sleeve and slightly tore the fabric of his shirt, he questioned “Do you even know where you’re going?”

“Not at all” Drummond would have given him a devious smile if he weren’t too busy watching where his feet were going, he carried on before Alfred could say something back “But it must lead to somewhere, otherwise there would not be a path”. He could almost feel Alfred rolling his eyes.  

 

A few minutes later that arrived at a clearing, which then opened up to a breath-taking view of the country side. Now out of the forest, they could see that the sun had just disappeared behind the horizon and was casting its final orange rays into the evening sky.

Drummond found a comfortable looking spot on the grass and sat down “I’m glad we came here” He grinned at Alfred as he walked over to join him.

He returned the smile and settled on the grass next to Drummond “To Scotland? Or here specifically?”

“Both” Drummond reached out to lay his hand on top of Alfred’s “When I’m with you, it is the happiest I’ve ever felt”

“Me too” Alfred replied. He is grateful that their conversations have become franker; while their coded exchanges are wonderful and entertaining, it can be difficult to get a clear message across. He turned away from the scenery to look at Drummond “I never want this to end”

Drummond lifted Alfred’s hand to his lips and kissed it “As far as I’m concerned, it never will. It’ll be difficult, and we have many obstacles to face, but… No matter what happens, I want to be with you”

Well then. That certainly sounded like a commitment… like the exact words Alfred had been secretly longing to hear. His pulse sped up, and immediately he was moving forward to seize Edward’s lips as his hand moved up to tangle in silky brown hair.

Drummond was surprised but only took a second to respond. He pushed back as he returned the kiss and met Alfred’s tongue, his arm closest to Alfred wrapped around his lower back. He felt Alfred shudder, and then he was almost pushed down on to the grass as Alfred began kissing him with more force and fervour. Drummond briefly wondered what had gotten into Alfred as he had never kissed him this frantically before. Perhaps it was the whisky. He also thought about how it was possible that each kiss they shared felt even more incredible than the last.

Alfred’s free hand joined the other at the back of Edward’s head in a desperate (yet futile) attempt to pull him even closer. He shifted his weight so that he was pressing on Edward’s chest, which forced Edward to put out his arm that wasn’t clinging to Alfred’s back and plant his palm firmly on the ground to prevent them from toppling over.

Alfred relented for a moment to draw back and take a breath “Edward, I love you”

Drummond opened his eyes to stare in to intense blue ones; Alfred looked a bit like a mad man, but he certainly wouldn’t say that he disliked it. He yearned to respond but his voice had abandoned him. It didn’t seem to matter though, as Alfred jumped on him again and captured his mouth even more urgently than before, and this time he was successful in pushing him down on to the grass.

Alfred was on top of him now and his kiss continued to grow more vigorous, he let out a pleading whimper as his hands released Edward’s hair and glided down his neck to grasp at the collar of his shirt.

Drummond felt Alfred’s teeth graze provocatively over his tongue, and suddenly realised that he was in fact very hard right now. He groaned into Alfred’s mouth. This had to stop, before his body is compelled to do something that definitely shouldn’t be done in an open space. He reached for Alfred’s hands and managed to pry them away from his shirt, then fought off Alfred’s tongue and reluctantly closed his mouth to deny him access. He pushed off the ground and sat up, bringing Alfred along with him.

Alfred was panting for air and almost looked offended that he had been stopped.

“I love you as well” Drummond grinned as he also struggled to catch his breath.

Alfred smiled warmly at him “You don’t need to say that because I did”

“I know. I said it because I feel it” He adjusted his hand to lace his fingers with Alfred’s “Actually… I was going to tell you earlier, in your chambers” He watched Alfred’s pale eyes fill with curiosity as they scanned his face.

“Why didn’t you?”

Drummond glanced away to look at the grass on the other side of him, and gently ran his fingers over it “Well… I was worried that it may be too soon, that it might frighten you away”. Turning back to Alfred, he gave him a sincere smile “But it seems that I was wrong”.
They gazed at each other for a long moment, then Drummond’s eyes shifted to admire the rapidly darkening sky, now a vivid blueish-purple “Do you still not know what I should do?”

Alfred’s lips curved in to a subtle frown as he made a thoughtful humming sound “If you do not go through with the marriage… her father with most likely sue you and destroy your reputation”

“Do you think so?” Drummond kept his eyes fixed on twilight sky, and almost laughed at how casually Alfred had talked about a scornful man attempting to ruin his career.

“I do” Alfred nodded and turned to him, now sounding very serious “The Marques is surely after your family’s wealth. He would not respond well if he’s told that he will not be getting it”   

Now it was Drummond’s turn to hum thoughtfully “It is still several months away, we can make a decision later”. He could tell that Alfred was about to refute his statement, so he finally tore his gaze away from the scenery and turned to face him “I just want to enjoy this” He gently squeezed Alfred’s fingers that were still intertwined with his own “For now… While we are here, at least”

“Alright” Alfred agreed, taking comfort in the fact that no matter what the future held, they would always have this. Edward leaned in to kissed him, it was very gentle and chaste compared to how Alfred was feverishly clambering all over him before, but beautiful nonetheless.  

Alfred dipped his head to the side to rest it on a sturdy shoulder and wrapped his arms around Edward’s back, now completely aware that they were indeed sharing this burden and the pain that came with it. He couldn’t see it, but he felt certain that Edward was smiling. Alfred opened his eyes and was about to pull away to say something, but instead his face fell flat when saw someone staring back at him from the tree line.