With wine-warm lips he woke his lover past midnight, long after the lamps had sputtered out. Silent but for the rustling of linen, he buried hands in thick, honey-gold hair, smiling with drunken sweetness, teeth scraping his lower lip when Anders’ eyelids fluttered. Anders saw only black, but in the haze of almost-sleep, he felt the fervent length of Theron’s slim legs on either side of his thighs. One kiss to his cheek, a little clumsy, mouth too open, teeth bumping his jaw, and Anders startled to consciousness, jarred by the percussive thundering of his heart. Shapes formed as his pupils grew. Theron was a messy blur of pallor and darkness, no definition in his carefully crafted tattoos, just shadow patterns on his skin. Anders cupped both cheeks with long hands, caressing each earlobe between middle and forefingers. Catlike, Theron tilted into Anders’ touch; his skin was afire.
“Love?” Anders asked.
The noise Theron made was more agreement than answer. He put his lips to Anders’ palm and tasted the thick pad of flesh by his thumb. He pinched it between his teeth and laughed deep in his throat when Anders pulled his hand away.
“Love, did you drink the entire wine cellar?”
Theron shook his head, bumped noses with him, and found his lips despite the dark. Theron’s mouth was sharply sweet, the heavy flavor of fermented grapes heady when his tongue met Anders’. Annoyed already with the motion, Ser Pounce-a-Lot dropped to the floor and padded to the hearth, flopping with a huff that would have been audible had either Theron or Anders been listening.
“Only half.” Theron lowered the rest of his weight and in the same motion sat up, removing his hands from Anders’ hair. Half-lit by moonlight, Anders could see that he was naked, his chest rising perceptibly with short, fast breath, his cock stiff and turgid. The pale scars that peppered his skin caught the cool light and flared like beacons. Anders raised a hand and stroked the one at his hip. It was indented just enough for his thumb to dip into it.
“After a bottle…” Theron paused, absently pulling the sheet off of Anders’ body, hindered where it met his weight. For one wine-addled moment this perplexed him, and he studied the sheet in his hand until Anders gently lifted him by the hips and eased him off. Unbothered, Theron took the spot that Pounce had vacated, dropping to his back with a stretch and a smile, his eyes never leaving Anders.
“After a bottle?” Anders asked, and tossed the sheet off the bed.
“After a bottle, I decided I wanted you.” Theron eyed Anders with the lazy desire of the drunk—wanting, but not sure the effort was worth it.
“I decided I wanted you a lot,” Theron said, and again he clambered over Anders’, his cock settling into the junction between Anders’ hip and thigh. His tongue muffled Anders’ next question, so Anders stroked his sweaty temple with his thumb and drew him closer. The wine-sweet burn of Theron’s mouth left Anders needy, chasing his lips when they parted. He rocked his hips against him, hardly aware of his own movement as his stiffening cock slid over Theron’s sweat-slick stomach.
“I decided I wanted to have you.” Theron pressed his lips to Anders’ chin; the Keep was so quiet that they both heard the rasp of his stubble. Anders felt that sound in his spine, shuddering down in an ache that broke his rhythm, taking him from slow rocking to an unintended shove. He met Theron’s half-lidded eyes in the darkness, and then closed the distance to his lips. There was no question, no words, just the spreading of his thighs in an eager, implicit yes.
A blind grope led Anders’ hand to the shiny trinket box on the nightstand. It was small, polished to high luster. He guided it into Theron’s hand; all anxious adoration at the sight of Theron’s parted lips.
“Not yet.” Theron tucked the box away. He pressed his palm to Anders’ and laced their fingers. With an eager grunt Theron jammed Anders’ hand into his pillow, above his head. Theron leaned over him, his open mouth hot on Anders’ shoulder, and Anders slid his calves over Theron’s thighs, resting them on either side of his bony hips.
“It’s almost morning,” Anders said. “The sun is rising.”
“Let it.” Theron sunk his teeth lightly into Anders’ neck, placing a tender kiss to his reddened throat. “I bolted the door.” His words were muffled but the shiver and tension they planted deep in Anders’ belly was powerful. He found Theron’s lips again and bit the bottom one, dizzy with ardent desire. He crossed his legs behind Theron, holding his rolling hips, cupping his chin to meet his eyes.
“You can wake me in the middle of the night all you want, but don’t expect me to last until morning.”
A wide grin spread over Theron’s face and he laughed, nudging his nose into Anders’ cheek as he rested their foreheads together. “I thought you’d say no,” he said, sounding boyish and unsure.
“When have I ever said no to you, love?” Anders trailed his fingers down Theron’s sweat-damp spine, then up again, the ridges perfect and familiar.
“There was always a danger that you might start.”
Anders hooked his knuckle under Theron’s chin and tilted it up. “Not tonight, but if you wake me in the middle of the night without the promise of sex, there’d better be a fire somewhere.”
A half smile, a snort of a giggle, and Theron was moving down Anders’ body, the trail he left with tongue-dampened lips cooling quickly. He pushed his palm to one of Anders’ thighs, easing it aside as he placed an absent kiss on Anders’ belly button, settling himself down contentedly between his thighs.
For a moment, he fiddled with the trinket box after finding it near Anders’ knee. Once open, he placed it carefully on Anders’ stomach, ignoring the pointed look as he dipped his fingers into it and scooped. It was cool, so he worked the thick, slippery salve between his fingers to warm it, filling that lull by dragging his tongue up the underside of Anders’ stiff cock. As ever, he had a dull flash of concern that seemed to come from somebody else’s head. It murmured of shame and degradation, future regrets, but it was quiet, and grew quieter still when Anders’ breath hitched. He looked down his chest at Theron, lifting his neck only slightly, and the sight of his slack lips and flushed cheeks flooded Theron with heat.
“I love this man,” he thought, and all unwelcome thoughts fled.
Theron had long, slim fingers, and the first one was barely intrusive as he slipped it between Anders’ thighs and inside of him. He watched, silent and intent, as Anders took a long breath and let it out slow. With his free hand he loosely encircled Anders’ cock, liking the heat and weight of it. The wine had worn off just enough to make him reminiscent, and as he slid back the foreskin, exposing the swollen red head, he found himself thinking that for him, this had never gotten less exciting. The sharp gasp when he took Anders’ cock into his mouth gave him confidence that sent his heart racing, a needy ache settling in his groin.
“Careful, love.” Anders’ voice was wispy, punctuated by short breaths that were growing to gasps, halting entirely when he moaned. Theron barely heard him, enthralled by feeling the tensing and twitching of his muscles from the inside. Were it not for his body’s demands for release, growing degree by impatient degree, Theron would have been happy to study Anders as he wrung pleasure from his body, stopping only when Anders asked—no, begged—for him to do so. But that thought alone was enough to leave him urgent, and though he still stroked Anders’ cock slowly, tasting faint traces of familiar saltiness when he tongued the tip, he thrusted his fingers with a bit more speed.
When he felt confident to add another, he did, and was startled by Anders lifting a hand to push him off of his cock. “I’ll spend in half a moment, at that rate,” he said, speaking around a deep, shuddering huff of air. Anders had propped himself up on his elbows and had the jar of salve in his hand. He beckoned, and Theron removed his fingers with care, planting a hand on either side of Anders’ chest. Anders kissed his cheek, then his ear, as he guided Theron’s cock against his ass, urging him past the slight resistance.
“Did you want this before?” he whispered, and Theron nodded sharply. “You could have asked—you should have asked. I would have said yes.” Theron put his finger against Anders’ lips and shook his head, his brows knitted as he eased himself inside of Anders until his thighs got in the way. He worried his lower lip with his teeth as Anders readjusted himself, tilting his pelvis and lifting his knees, giving Theron all the room he needed for his slim hips to press flush with his ass.
Theron laid his forehead against Anders’, still and uncertain. The heat was tremendous; he could feel it in his scalp, his fingertips, his toes, as if being inside of him brought the hot rush of his blood with it. He hadn’t moved; he could hardly stand it.
“Go on; I’m ready,” Anders said, misunderstanding his hesitation. Theron fisted his hand in Anders’ hair, too tight, then released as he began to slowly rock his hips, the look of brow-furrowed concern never leaving his face. “Relax.” Anders kissed him, whisper-light, and pushed a tangled lock of hair off his brow. “It feels wonderful.”
Instinct took over. Theron found a rhythm that worked and caught it, driving his cock deep into Anders. A rough thrust made Anders groan, and Theron braced himself forward to do it again. He wanted the moans and the shudders, the tilted head and the rough grip on his thigh. It was astounding how one could have so much and still want more, and if Theron had been aware of anything other than Anders’ body and where it met his own, he might have pondered that for a while.
Anders slid his arms around Theron’s ribs, resting his hands on the small of his back. Though half-closed and unfocused, Theron’s eyes were bright in the growing light. Anders nudged his cheek with his nose and caught them just long enough for Theron to see him smile and tilt his head, welcoming the kiss when it came.
Theron spent quickly; Anders had anticipated no less for how eager he was, but before that, as Theron rocked against him, pressing his face into his neck, he felt the sweetest unexpected tense and release, finding himself spent before Theron was even halfway there.
Long moments passed as the sun rose. Theron finally curled himself onto Anders’ chest, his head resting in the crook of his shoulder, eyes fluttering closed as Anders stroked his hair. After he was convinced that the bed had stopped moving, Pounce rejoined them, padding carefully around the pillows to nestle into the red mass of Theron’s wild hair.
“Your cat is on my head again,” Theron murmured, sounding more awake than Anders had thought he would.
“He just won’t listen to reason,” Anders lamented. “Since you’re always petting him, he seems to think you like him.”
“I love the idea of you trying to reason with a cat.”
“I try to reason with you, don’t I?”
“I’m not a cat, and you don’t really.”
“I thought I’d start with someone less difficult first,” Anders said. He kissed Theron’s temple, feeling the brush of his long eyelashes on his chin.
“M’not that bad,” Theron mumbled.
“Of course not. You’re much worse.”
Theron laughed, and Anders loved the sound.