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Three Times Three

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They spill into the vestibule all at once, and, turning on her heel, Agatha slams the door against the crowd with as much force as she can muster. The frame shakes, and, pushing her hair from her face, she grins delightedly. “Think they’ll leave us alone now?”

“No,” says Gil, glancing back at the curtains to be certain that they’re shut before stripping out of his coat and slinging it at the stand in the corner. “Not for a while.”

“At least the show was good.” Agatha moves to shrug out of her cloak before Tarvek stops her, undoing the golden clasp and slipping it from her shoulders.

“It was spectacular,” he agrees. “The choice they made with the elephant clank and the trumpeters was bold, but it certainly paid off. As much as I do enjoy the Mechanikopera, it can hardly hold a candle to a company of this calib--”

He breaks off because Gil has just wrapped both arms around his chest from behind, leaning his chin on his shoulder.

“What are you doing?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Er. I mean. Why are you doing this now?”

“Wasn’t it dull enough that you dragged me to the opera in the first place?”

“Oh, shut up,” Tarvek tries to snap. The effect is rather ruined when Gil bites down on his earlobe and his voice tips into a startled squeak.

“Much better.” One of his hands drifts down, splaying over Tarvek’s waistcoat. “Agatha, care to assist me?”

She looks between them with eyes like a lioness. “Gladly.” She smiles gently, and she leans up to nuzzle his nose gently, and then she kisses him and there is nothing gentle about it. It is fierce and hungry and demanding, and so is she. His shock is drowned in an instant, and he yields to her, yields to both of them as he clutches helplessly at Agatha’s arms and lets Gil take his weight.

He regains himself -- not entirely, but enough, at least -- and tips his head down to kiss her back, reaching up to cradle the back of her head, hands in her hair, and making little appreciative noises against her mouth. She kisses him harder in response, hungry and almost gleeful, while behind him Gil’s mouth finds his throat, his jaw, the shell of his ear. A sudden rush of affection hits him, and it’s almost as overwhelming as the kiss or the desire or the strange headiness of being trapped between them. It’s still strange sometimes, how very in love he is -- and how the centers of his universe can be kissing him stupid in the foyer of a Paris townhouse.

She slows after a while, but the kiss is still consuming. Tarvek’s attention is still entirely on her mouth, and he barely notices when her opera-gloved hands slide up from his collar to his face. Even when she does break away, it’s slow and incomplete, and she goes back and back again, and again he yields.

She finally drops back down, and she looks up at him with a smile on her face and her eyes a little hooded. Her hand on his cheek drops to toy at his cravat, and the hand that Gil has over his stomach wanders toward his waistband. “Um,” says Tarvek.

They both stop moving and stare at him. Agatha lets go of his cravat. “You don’t want to --”

“No, no!” She looks worried, and he reaches for her shoulder. “No -- I mean yes -- I mean...” Face burning red, he pinches the bridge of his nose and tries to think straight. “If you’re going to. Um. Finish what you started last night. I’m all for that.”

“Oh, good!” She digs her hand back into his cravat, gives a sharp nod over his shoulder to Gil, and then tugs.

Tarvek flings out a hand, and she stops. “Here, though?”

“Can’t see why not,” says Gil, fiddling with the buttons on his waistcoat.

"There are people outside. Reporters."

"They can't hear us."

"Are you planning on seducing me here, standing up, in all our clothes? ...Let's go upstairs," he adds, before Gil can answer that question.

Agatha nods. "In a bit?" she asks, stepping close. She curls a hand around his neck, and the other presses flat over Gil's, their fingers spread intertwined against his stomach.

"Um," says Tarvek again, simply because words have become very difficult all of a sudden with their hands all over him. They're still fully dressed, he and Gil in cravats and stiff collars and Agatha laced into an elaborate off-shoulder confection of deep bronze silk, and there's a cadre of journalists outside their door.

Instead he summons up every ounce of self-control gained from a decade and a half of training and spins out of their embrace. Gil tugs at his shirt, and Agatha blows her bangs out of her flushed face, and he grabs each of them by the hand and leads them toward the staircase.

"Aren't we the ones meant to be doing the seducing?" asks Agatha, but they both come without protest, stumbling together up the stairs and laughing as they drag each other toward the biggest bedroom.

The bed, hung with heavy violet canopies, is much smaller than the one they have in the Castle. It could fit three people comfortably if one of those people did not have shoulders wide as Gil's. As it is... well, they’ll manage.

Agatha sits to unbutton her boots, and Gil kicks his shoes off. By the time Tarvek has undone his laces, they’re both back on their feet, and he looks up at them from the bed with a boot in one hand. Gil smirks at him, and Agatha tilts his chin up with one finger. “Well, Prince, now that we have you, we’re going to--”

“Have you.”

Agatha rolls her eyes. “Gil, stop it. Now. Tarvek.” There’s an edge of an order creeping into her voice. “How would you like to be seduced?”

“Uh,” says Tarvek.

He can think of a lot of possibilities, and he’s reached one of the many that ends with his face buried between Agatha’s legs before a sudden sound jolts him out of his... invigorating hypotheses.

Behind Agatha, Gil chuckles, a deep throaty sound as he pulls his shirt over his shoulders. “Good luck getting an answer out of him,” he tells her, gathering shirt and waistcoat and cravat and coat and tossing them onto a chair. When Agatha turns to give him a sharp look, he grins and slides his arms around her waist, pulling her toward him and leaning down to nuzzle her hair. “We’ll just have to think it up ourselves.”

“You mean I’ll have to.” She rolls her eyes, but there’s a fondness in her voice, and she covers Gil’s hands with her own. “And besides, we can ask him again. Tarvek?”

“I...” He feels his face flush, looking at the two of them, wrapped up in each other and staring down at him. Agatha looks eager and a little anticipatory; Gil, hungry and a bit smug, and his hands have come to rest at one hip and across her stomach. The stiff silk of her skirts rustles against his legs when he moves, and she reaches up and back to lay a hand along the side of his face.

“Tarvek?” she asks again, and he decides.

“I...I’d like both of you.”

“Both of us?”

“Yes.” His whole face is burning. “Both at once.”

“Oh,” says Agatha, a pleased little edge to her voice. Gil gives a smug chuckle behind her. “Oh.”
She recovers herself for a moment, face flushing pink, and then she runs a hand down his face, over his mouth. She swipes her thumb across his lower lip, slow and lingering, and when she runs it again over both this time, Tarvek’s lips burn, already sensitive. He wants to kiss her -- no, he wants to be kissed, wants her to kiss him again like she did in the vestibule but this time with no possibility of letting go. He wants her ruthless and he wants Gil gentle and he’s stunned by how quickly they’ve done this to him, how easily they can turn him warm and needy and unable to see anything but them. He always is.

He reaches for her then, letting his hands come to rest at the curve of her hips, fingertips brushing against Gil’s there. She makes a sound of approval, and he chances his luck further, pressing his forehead against her stomach where the steel of her corset is rigid beneath her silks. Tucked against her, he halts for a moment and breathes her in, trying to get himself under control, to keep from needing as urgently as he is beginning to.

As he slows himself, Agatha reaches up to stroke his hair and trail a finger down from his ear to his neck. What interrupts him, though, is Gil.

“Sturmvoraus. We have a problem, here.”

Tarvek lifts his head. “Problem? I was enjoying myself.”

“But don’t you think our lady is overdressed?”


The opera gown is elaborate, and Gil isn’t about to let Tarvek forget that the layers and hidden fastenings and voluminous undergarments are entirely his fault. For Tarvek’s part, he maintains, as he always has, that removing the clothes is part of the fun -- although he’s rethinking the wisdom of the row of tiny buttons all along one side, really.

For her part, Agatha tries very hard not to laugh at either of them too much as they untie and untuck and unbutton. She finally manages to step out of the dress and her petticoats, and she bats Gil’s hands away when he tries to unhook her corset. When she moves to undo the first few closures herself, Gil shrugs, and a look of mischief crosses his face before he ducks down to bury his face in her cleavage.

She squeaks and flails and hits Tarvek in the arm, and Gil overbalances, and the three of them end up on the bed, laughing, Gil still draped over Agatha’s chest. He nuzzles at her breasts again, and Tarvek traces out the curve of her shoulder with his lips. She reaches up to pull him closer, and when she kisses him Gil finally gets to work on the hooks of her corset. Tilting her head and tangling her hand into Tarvek’s hair, she kisses him with a lazy, slow intent, feeling him melt against her body, pliant and wanting.

After a while she pulls away, just slightly. “Don’t worry,” she says, her lips brushing his. “We haven’t forgotten. You might just have to wait.”

He groans and searches out her mouth again. The kiss is sweet, nearly chaste but for the press of him hard against her thigh. She nudges forward with her own leg, and he shuts his eyes at the pleasure of it, only to open them again when there’s a tug at his neck.

Agatha loosens his cravat and bares his throat, and she’s halfway done unbuttoning his waistcoat when Gil gets her free of her corset. Then she gasps and falls away from Tarvek as Gil rucks her chemise up to her shoulders and puts his mouth to work. She gasps and drags his head forward, and Tarvek, waistcoat half-off, props himself up on an elbow to watch.

“You’re single-minded tonight,” he remarks in Gil’s direction, mostly on the principle of the thing. Gil ignores him entirely.

Eventually, Agatha pushes him away, moving back until she can sit cross-legged among the pillows and take off her rumpled chemise. They both get a brief, glorious view before she drops her arms again.

Gil looks at her with wide mock-pleading eyes. “Agatha…”

She presses the chemise back against her chest, and she grins. “I will put this back on.”

“You wouldn’t.”

When she raises an eyebrow in mischief, Gil moves to grab the chemise out of her hand. Agatha ducks sideways, and Gil lands on his face in the pillows. Tarvek starts to laugh, and Agatha does too, and pretty soon Gil is chuckling along with them. The chemise ends up on the floor.

When they’ve caught their breath, Agatha sits up. She catches Gil’s eye, and then she looks pointedly at Tarvek. As Gil nods, Tarvek has a brief moment to wonder if he should have taken off his shirt before they both lunge at him. Agatha lands across his chest. “Hi,” she says brightly.

All three of them lose their remaining clothing shortly. Tarvek loses track of just how long they spend tangled together, reveling in warm skin and eager lips and wandering hands. He and Gil surround Agatha, wrapping themselves around her, and as Gil kisses her mouth and neck and shoulders Tarvek slips a hand between her thighs and strokes until she cries out and shudders between them. When she regains herself, she pulls Tarvek down over her and catches Gil by the hand.

They kiss each other dizzy, and it only stops when Agatha shifts and pulls away and rolls Tarvek onto his back. Gil shifts and catches him, and he’s propped against his chest, half-seated in his lap, surrounded by solid heat and strong arms.

He stares up at Agatha, and she catches his hands and leans in toward him to brush his lips with hers. When he moans, she hums against his mouth. Then she pulls away. “You’re good?”

It takes a moment to remember how to string words together. “Any chance I could get the two of you to seduce me faster?”

Agatha looks contemplative for a moment. “Nope!” she declares cheerfully, lifting his hands up and in until they’re nearly touching his shoulders. “You are entirely at our mercy, Prince.”

He sinks against Gil’s chest and looks back up at her, flame-golden in the lamplight. “You rule with an iron fist, my queen.”

“Only when my subjects want me to.” Her voice tinges with Madness, and Tarvek shivers as she sits back on her knees to admire them. As she does, Gil moves a little, and one arm leaves Tarvek’s torso while the other tugs him tighter against Gil’s chest. There’s a clumsy one-handed rattle of bottles and boxes, and Gil swears under his breath before letting go of Tarvek and using both hands.

Tarvek looks at Agatha, who is once again trying to suppress giggles. Finally Gil finds what he’s looking for. There’s a rustle of wrappings as Gil shifts back and, a moment after, the sound of a jar opening. Now Agatha is watching them both with interest.

Gil moves again, and one of his hands settles on Tarvek’s hip. “Ready?” he asks.

“I was ready ten minutes ago, Wulfenbach, now please just -- gk!” He cuts off into a strangled sound as Gil does as he’s told, slick fingers starting a slow exploration. Gil takes his time, and Tarvek bites his lip. He’s not going to give Gil the victory of making him whimper, not yet. Especially when he’s still teasing, still doing everything but pressing in. He shuts his eyes, breath coming ragged.

“Tarvek,” says Agatha, her voice low and sweet. “Tarvek, look at me.”

He opens his eyes to find her looking down at him. It’s impossible to tear his gaze from her, and she gives him a hungry little smile and reaches forward to cup his face in her hands. “Good,” she tells him, and then she kisses him, hard and bold and unrelenting.

Tarvek moans against her mouth, soft and then louder when Gil finally eases a finger into him. Agatha pulls back at the sound. “No,” he somehow manages. “No, keep -- keep going.”

Suddenly she flows against him, pressing forward, tilting his chin upward with both hands and coming to rest against him. He clutches at her sides, desperate for something, anything to ground him against what they’re doing to him. Then Gil presses his finger farther in and he arches, crying out at the touch. Agatha presses back, rolling her body against him and dropping her head to mouth at his neck. His skin burns where she kisses him, and when he gasps she lingers at the spot, sucking and nibbling until he rocks helplessly toward her.

Gil pulls his hand away, and then he murmurs hoarse against Tarvek’s shoulder, “Good?” Tarvek nods, and then Gil’s hands are under his thighs, moving, aligning them. “Hey. We’ve got you. Relax.”

Tarvek does, and he whimpers into Agatha’s hair when Gil pushes into him. He whimpers again, louder, when Gil moves, starting a slow rock that’s nowhere near enough.

Agatha nudges his head up and back, and she kisses him gently before moving away herself. Without thinking about it, Tarvek reaches out for her, desperately trying to bring her back; she smiles and lowers his hands and then she straddles his lap.

He nearly goes cross-eyed at the realization.

Gil winces when she settles onto Tarvek’s hips, and he and Agatha both move until they’re comfortable again. Some corner of Tarvek’s brain dimly registers the shifting, but then Agatha is against him, touching him, sinking onto him, moving against him, and anything resembling a thought dissolves in an instant.

“Love you,” he manages, breath hot against her skin, and she strokes a hand through his hair as she moves.

They end up on their sides, Gil’s hands on Tarvek’s hips and Agatha’s hands on his, Tarvek still clutching desperately at Agatha, burying his head in the crook of her shoulder. They’re both moving faster now and he can hardly hear Agatha’s humming over the pounding of his own heart and he’s burning up between the two of them and he’s close, so close, he’s lost in a fury of Madness and pleasure…

Gil is saying something, babbling really, his words half-moans against Tarvek’s back, and then he’s trembling and crying out, coming hard. Tarvek gasps and rocks forward, and Agatha braces both of them, holding them in place until Gil recovers enough to pull away.

Tarvek expects to fall back, expects him to leave -- but Gil catches him instead, wraps his arms around his chest, letting him lean back. Agatha reaches up and presses a hand to his cheek, and Tarvek tilts his head up to see Gil give her an exhausted, exultant smile.

He notices Tarvek looking, then, and bends down to nuzzle the top of his head. Then Agatha starts moving again, faster still, and Tarvek sinks helplessly against Gil’s welcome chest, clutching at Agatha’s sides and breathing ragged against her shoulder. She’s moaning too, hips rolling down against his.

“Tarvek.” Her voice is full of Madness, brimming with it, her words half-humming, and when she says his name again, it spills over. So does he, desperate whimpers muffled against her skin.

When his vision clears, Gil shifts away, settling him down in the pillows. Tarvek stares up, and Agatha blinks down at him. She smiles and kisses him, his lips still tingling at the touch, and then she moves away.

He reaches out instinctively, feeling a little silly when he realizes what he’s done, and she grins again. Then she clambers over Gil, ignores his indignant little sound, and gets to her feet.

Gil catches her by the hand. “Where’re you going?”

There’s a basin, pitcher, and cloth on the end table, and she gestures toward it. Gil shakes his head, pulling her back toward him. “It wouldn’t be fair to leave you now, would it?”

She makes a happy little noise and lets him pull her back down, and Tarvek shuts his eyes and lets himself go limp against the mattress as he listens to them. Whatever Gil’s doing, Agatha is obviously enjoying it. Both of them are, really. Sleepy and warm and overcome with a sudden wave of affection, Tarvek smiles at that, and at himself, and at the certainty that in a few minutes Agatha will pull them both out of bed and to the bath. He knows that he’ll fall asleep listening to their snores. He knows that he’ll wake in the morning achy but warm and happy and wrapped up in both of them, and he knows he wouldn’t want anything else.