At times like this, Guy almost wished he were still a servant in the fon Fabre household. It wasn't something he'd ever expected to feel; despite his friendship with Luke, there were many things to dislike about those years. But at least as a servant, while he was sometimes forced to attend parties, he might have been part of the furniture for all the attention anyone other than Luke and Natalia paid him. And he would definitely never have been surrounded by women eying him in far too predatory a fashion, as though he were the main course at a feast and they were starving.
He was trying to be polite, as suited his current position as a noble in the court of Malkuth. Trying to make small talk and probably managing it better than Luke usually had. But they were standing so close, invading his personal space, and he was sure one of them was going to touch him sooner or later. As much as he'd tried to work on his fear, particularly now that he knew its origin, he still wasn't sure he could keep from freaking out in front of everyone when that happened.
Just when he was sure it was about to happen, while he was trying to brace himself, he heard a voice just behind him.
Sorry, ladies. I'm going to have to borrow him for awhile.
Guy glanced back, straight into the very blue eyes of Emperor Peony. For a moment, he wasn't sure if his knees felt weak from relief or from the force of his smile. Despite Peony's casual manner and jokes, he had an amazing smile, the kind that could make a person feel like he was the absolute center of his attention. Even now, as he took the opportunity to extricate himself from the women and followed Peony, Guy found it hard to believe a man like that could be directing those smiles at him.
Thanks, Your Majesty.
Think nothing of it. But you're going to have to learn to handle them yourself.
I've been trying, but they're just so pushy. Guy probably sounded as sheepish as he felt. He knew Peony was right and sometimes he thought he could even manage it. But then he found himself faced with the reality of the situation and his instincts took over.
Maybe I could handle it if it were just one of them at a time. And maybe he couldn't, but he'd at least have a better chance. Several women at once was simply too overwhelming.
Peony nodded in a manner that suggested he was only sort of listening and took hold of Guy's elbow, steering him toward the tall man standing absolutely alone near one of the walls. Despite his service to the country and friendship with the Emperor, most of the Malkuth nobility still gave the man known as the Necromancer a wide berth. Truthfully, Guy thought Jade encouraged it, and nights like tonight, he couldn't blame him.
Rather than waiting for the Emperor to speak, Jade nodded at them both as soon as they were within speaking distance.
I see His Majesty has dragged you to another one of these events, Guy.
You should know. You delivered the invitation yourself! Which was a large part of why he was here at all, as Jade knew very well. With a regular messenger, Guy felt free to ignore it, preferring to spend his time researching fon machinery instead of attending parties. But Jade was far more stubborn, refusing to be ignored or put off with vague promises or excuses, which was probably why Peony sent him in the first place.
Ah, yes. I had forgotten. He didn't even bother to try to sound sincere, but then Jade rarely did. They were all used to it by now.
Ignoring their conversation entirely, Peony spoke up.
We're taking a break from all this. Care to join us?
Your Majesty, you have guests. You really shouldn't just go off somewhere and ignore them.
As expected, Peony dismissed the lecture with a wave of his hand.
They'll keep. There are enough of them that they can entertain themselves for awhile.
It wasn't a style of governance that Guy had ever seen before or expected and he still found it hard to get used to. What kind of Emperor threw a party for the nobility and then left partway through, without a word to anyone? Yet the odd thing was that it seemed to work. Emperor Peony was strange and everyone knew it, but he was respected far more than one might expect. Certainly he was a good Emperor, one who truly cared for his people, but Guy had spent enough time around nobility that he would have expected His Majesty's eccentricities to distract all attention from that fact. He was still puzzled as to why they somehow did not, but he'd learned to accept it.
Jade sighed theatrically at Peony's response, but made no further protest.
Very well. But we'll use one of the guest rooms, not Your Majesty's chambers.
Hey, there's nothing wrong with my chambers. Peony protested, but Guy knew they'd go along with Jade's wishes.
No one tried to stop them as they left the ballroom. Guy stole glances at the two of them as they walked down the nearly deserted hallway, seeking an unused guest room. This had been going on for months now, but he still didn't quite understand how he fit into this relationship. Of course he'd known that Emperor Peony and his Colonel had an understanding; that was obvious to everyone within moments of seeing them together. (Well, all right, not everyone, but the exceptions were oblivious to that sort of thing in general.) And Jade and Guy had become close in their journeys with Luke, forming a connection that began with shared interests and proceeded to become something else. But he'd somehow never expected the two to be combined like this. At best, he'd supposed they'd both continue their relationships with Jade separately.
But Peony, it seemed, wouldn't hear of it. He hadn't even argued or discussed the matter, just casually swept Guy along with them one day and he'd been too startled to do anything but follow. Just like he had tonight; Peony had a way of commanding without seeming to, though he didn't always use it.
It was the Emperor who chose the room, stopping before a door like all the others and throwing it wide. That done, however, they both glanced at Jade, who signaled his approval by simply walking inside.
Since you've chosen to abandon your guests, we should get right to it. Suiting action to words, he was already removing his belt and starting on the buttons of his uniform jacket.
Guy nodded and started to follow his lead, only to pause when Peony reached out and caught Jade's hands in his.
Whoa, slow down. We have time. Taking advantage of their position, Peony leaned in and kissed him. Jade allowed it; it was the only way to describe his demeanor, but it never deterred either of his lovers. In Guy's case, that was at least partially because Jade had been the initiator of the sexual part of their relationship. In Peony's, he didn't really know, but he never seemed insulted or bothered by Jade's air of detachment.
After a brief pause to watch them, Guy resumed his task, sitting quietly on the bed and removing his boots. Jade was right; they were being rude. While the Emperor had that privilege, that still didn't mean they should prolong this any more than necessary.
He had his shirt and jacket off as well when Jade spoke again.
How nice to see that someone here has manners. But perhaps you should allow me to help you with the rest of it.
Guy paused, hands still on the waistband of his pants, and swallowed hard, but he didn't argue, merely slowly lowered them to his sides. The truth was that he found Jade's attitude, the way he managed to be both completely clinical about a task like this and yet still take his time with it, being sure to touch him just slightly more than he absolutely had to, more arousing than he liked to admit. Jade treated him more like a piece of fon machinery or a particularly difficult bit of fonic research than a lover and yet, Guy loved it.
By the time his pants were off, he was fully hard. Though they'd seen it before, he was still blushing a little at being the only one completely nude, though that didn't last long; it was hard to feel embarrassed with Jade's mouth around his dick. His eyes slid closed and he moaned; Jade sucked cock like he'd made it his primary field of study and he was beginning to wonder if his knees would give out.
He'd almost forgotten Peony was in the room until he heard his voice and felt his arms around his waist.
Mmm, that looks like fun. Mind if I join in?
Guy leaned back against him, letting his Emperor take his weight without hesitation. With these two, he never even attempted resistance. He just let them guide him where they would. With two such dominant personalities, he wouldn't win if he tried, but he didn't really want to. There was something nice about just letting go, allowing someone else to take control. And, after everything they'd been through, he trusted them.
He vaguely wondered when Peony had had time to remove the layers of his usual elaborate outfit. He'd taken it off him before and it took longer than he'd expected — he kept thinking he'd reached the final layer, only to find another underneath. But he was unquestionably naked now, all warm skin pressed up against his back without the distraction of cloth and strong arms wrapped tight that wouldn't let him fall. His eyes were still closed, but he felt the tickle of long hair as Peony turned his head, biting gently at his earlobe, then harder in a line down his neck. It would leave marks, but Guy didn't protest that either. How could he, when it felt so good?
He didn't complain when Jade backed off either, just moaned a little in disappointment when he stood up and moved away. He knew better; the one time he'd tried it, Jade had merely looked at him and raised one eyebrow. He hadn't even had to say anything to make Guy feel chastened.
Still holding him, Peony glanced up and over his shoulder at Jade.
He looks good like this, doesn't he?
Jade nodded, though Guy wasn't sure that he wouldn't have had the same appreciation in his eyes had he been looking at an unusual application of fonons.
Perhaps you could make yourself useful for once, Your Majesty, and get him ready for me?
Despite the open disrespect, Peony just laughed.
I think I'll have him help get you ready first. With a final kiss to the side of Guy's throat, he released him, then sat down on the edge of the bed.
Come here, my Jade.
Jade sighed, but he obeyed. He almost always did in the end, though sometimes he followed the letter more than the spirit of Peony's commands.
Kiss him, he directed Guy, who hurried to obey in turn. This, too, had become familiar. Peony seemed to enjoy ordering them about in the bedroom, directing them as though they were actors in a play put on for his enjoyment. It should have been strange and it was, at least a little, but Guy found he didn't mind this either, even if Jade had never seemed to particularly enjoy kissing.
Very good. Now I'll need you to lift your feet so I can remove these boots. Peony shook his head as he slowly undressed him from the waist down, taking his time about it.
Who designed this uniform? It's such a pain.
Jade pulled away from Guy's kiss to answer, though this exchange happened often enough that it seemed to be some sort of ritual between them.
I believe you did, Your Majesty.
Oh, you're right. Well, you look good in it. For Peony, that seemed to be all that mattered.
Guy, remove the rest of it.
Simple tasks like this almost made Guy feel like a servant again, though he'd never had to undress Luke while someone else was sucking him off. Still, it was familiar enough that he didn't find it as distracting as he might have under other circumstances. Once Jade was naked, however, he couldn't quite help taking advantage of his position behind him to rub against him. It wasn't the first time they'd expected him to wait and he could do it; of course he could. But he was so hard he ached and he couldn't help being impatient.
It was enough of a hint; Jade tugged on Peony's hair with the hand he'd tangled in it.
That's enough. I believe I made a request.
It still made Guy wince a little; you didn't order around an Emperor! But Peony just grinned and winked.
Anything for you, my Jade.
One advantage of having the Emperor as one of your lovers was that there was never a shortage of gels. They never had to worry about waste or expense and Peony didn't hesitate as he dug one out of the pile of his pants on the floor and split it open.
Hands and knees, on the bed. He didn't watch to be sure Guy obeyed; he knew he would.
The gel was cold, but Peony's fingers were warm; he only shivered a little, and that mostly from anticipation. He was more gentle about this than Jade was, but he also went faster, lacking the Necromancer's seemingly endless patience with preparations. Guy didn't mind; he was eager enough that he pushed back against his fingers right from the start, not caring if it hurt a little.
Relax, man. This won't take long.
'Not long' was, in Guy's opinion, still not short enough; by the time Peony was satisfied, he was gasping, panting with need and frustration.
There you go. He patted Guy on the ass, his tone a little smug.
He's ready for you now. Guy stayed where he was, waiting to be told if there were further instructions.
Think you could suck me off while he fucks you? Peony asked it casually, as though it were a perfectly ordinary question, and all Guy could do was nod.
Then come bend over the bed. Peony sat back on the edge again while Guy scrambled into position. He'd just barely taken his cock into his mouth when he felt Jade's hands on his hips, pulling Guy back as he thrust forward. His mouth opened in a groan as Jade slid inside him, all at once instead of taking it in stages. For a moment, it was hard to breathe, but they stayed like that until Peony reached up to stroke his hair.
Relax, he said again.
Take it slow.
So he tried again, sucking lightly, letting Jade's thrusts move his head rather than bobbing it himself. 'Take it slow', he found, while good advice, was nearly impossible to follow for long. He got too caught up in it — the rhythm, the mix of sensations. The ache of his neglected erection between his legs, bumping against the bed with each thrust, but never quite right. It went from hard to breathe to not noticing if he were, everything in him focused on just one goal.
Finally, Jade chose to grant him relief, sliding one hand over his hip to grasp his cock and start jerking it. He wasn't gentle, but Guy didn't care, any more than he cared that it only took a few strokes before he came.
It was only willpower that kept him from collapsing after that, staying where he was until first Jade, then Peony finished. By the end, Peony was essentially fucking his mouth, but Guy didn't mind. He thought he might prefer it that way.
After, they sprawled on the bed in a sweaty heap. The bed was small for three people, but Guy still might have fallen asleep right there had Jade not sat up after a minute or two.
And now, I believe we have a party awaiting our return.
Muscles protesting, Guy slowly pushed himself up with a groan.
I forgot all about it. He didn't want to go back, but he bent over and reached for his pants all the same.
Then I'd say mission accomplished.
Guy paused where he was, puzzled, but it was Peony who explained the cryptic remark.
You'll be much more relaxed now. Those women won't be a problem.
That's what this was for? He could hardly believe it.
Among other things. His Majesty does have his whims.
At that point, Peony threw a pillow at Jade and Guy tuned them out. Now that he thought about it, Peony might be right, though it wasn't much as a permanent solution.
Then thanks, I guess. He stood to leave and, after a few moments, the others joined him, Jade still trying to put his hair back in order.
Peony draped an arm over his shoulders as they started down the hall.
Believe me, it was our pleasure.