The faces blurred, a mishmash of blonds and brunettes, smiling and dour, blue eyes and brown. None of them seemed real, none attainable, a sea of possibilities that left him stranded on the shore. Didn’t that defy the whole purpose of the service? To give him what he desired for the duration of time he was able to afford? How was he supposed to find the one person capable of convincing him in person that he was the center of their world when none of them could break through this simple barrier?
Percival scrubbed at his eyes before refocusing on the screen. Picking one shouldn’t have been so hard, but the urge to walk out and forget this place even existed was growing. The notion had been rubbish from the start, and if he had any balls at all, he’d just come clean to the people in his life and go about finding someone like other people did. At the very least, he could shuttle the needs that strangled him to the background and live a life of pretense. His existence might be hollow, but it would be better than admitting he couldn’t find a fantasy in the one place guaranteed to supply it.
“Well? See anyone you fancy?”
Her silken tone was meant to coax camaraderie, but Percival had to struggle not to stiffen at the sound of it. Frankly, Morgana, the owner of Squires, terrified him. It wasn’t her beauty that made her a legend in underground circles. It was her killer instinct, the way she could always see straight through someone. It had worked to eliminate most of her competition, as she spotted their weaknesses and acted accordingly. She’d strived to make her company the premier escort service in the country, providing partners both platonic and sexual to anyone who could afford them.
But it was due to that same reputation Percival had ultimately chosen Squires. He could barely acknowledge his desires to himself. More than anything, he needed Morgana and her uncanny ability to create the perfect, albeit temporary, match by finding the one person who could give Percival exactly what he needed the most.
“There’s so many,” he said in lieu of a real answer.
Morgana chuckled. “The better to please our clients.” Her musky perfume grew stronger, clouding his head, as she stepped up behind him and reached forward to cover his broad hand on the mouse. For a moment, he wondered if she was trying to seduce him, but that couldn’t be it. She had read his application request. She knew more about him than his GP. “Perhaps…” Her voice trailed off as she manipulated the cursor on the screen, her fingers light but powerful where they moved above his. Percival couldn’t keep up as she closed and opened text boxes and windows, taking him out of the general database she’d had him perusing until a single picture filled the screen. Only then did she release the mouse and step back. “What do you think?”
He couldn’t. The man staring back at him had stolen what little voice he had.
Brown eyes met Percival’s in a keen stare, laugh lines creasing the long features at the corners of his full mouth in spite of the dark beard he wore. The man was caught in mid-laugh, somewhere outside beneath a gray London sky, naked from the waist up to reveal a smooth chest, coppery nipples, and an angular grace that suggested here was someone accustomed to twisting out of embraces and situations until he was actually caught.
Percival’s cock was hard long before his gaze could drift down to the narrow hips and tight ass.
“His name is Gwaine,” Morgana said as if Percival had expressed his approval. “Normally, he would be outside the price range you’ve requested. Not just because of his many talents, but really, due to his absolute fearlessness to try anything.” Her head tipped down, her breath tickling at his ear. “And I do mean anything.”
Blood pounded in his ears. Anything. No fears. It sounded too good to be true. Percival’s fantasies weren’t extreme—it only took a quick Google search to find porn depicting them—but they were so far beyond the more vanilla stories his mates had always told at parties or what he overheard at the gym that he felt like a freak for craving them so badly.
He swallowed against the dryness of his throat. “I can’t pay more than what I said.” That was a lie, but if nothing else, he refused to be conned into handing over more money than he already was.
“You won’t have to. For you, I’ll make an exception.”
Alarms pealed inside his head. As difficult as it was to look away from the mesmerizing Gwaine, Percival swung around to stare at her. “Why would you do that?”
Morgana lifted a slim shoulder, but no innocence lurked within her blue eyes. “Because I hate to lose a potentially happy customer. Gwaine is the only one you saw that interested you, am I right?”
He hated to admit it. It put him in an even more vulnerable position. “I’m sure I could find someone else more within my budget.”
“You’ll only waste both of our time. You’re not going to want anyone more than you want Gwaine. Trust me. I haven’t lasted so long in this business without knowing my client base very well.” Her gaze pointedly dropped to his crotch, where his erection strained against his jeans. Her scarlet mouth tipped into a smile. “Do we have a deal?”
Slowly, Percival swiveled his chair back, trapped immediately by Gwaine’s joyous visage. He looked absolutely carefree, the type to leap off the edge of a cliff for the sheer fun of it. Nothing about Percival’s life had ever been so unstructured, not from his rigid working-class home as he grew up, to the rules he’d endured serving in the British Army. Leaving after nine years should’ve finally unleashed him, but then Elyan had recommended him for his current position, an opportunity he could hardly pass up, and now he was bound more than ever.
From the computer screen, Gwaine’s gaze beckoned him closer. What have you got to lose? he seemed to taunt.
Everything, if anyone ever found out. It was safer to pick up a stranger.
A stranger who might laugh at what you want? Those eyes bored into him. This is a selfish world we live in, mate. If you don’t take a chance on yourself, nobody else will.
His whole life, he’d been jealous of those who could throw such caution to the wind.
“All right,” he heard himself say. The stasis that had locked his muscles lifted, tossing him into a whirlpool of excitement. He was doing this. With Gwaine. A guarantee that for at least four hours, he could have everything he ever wanted. So unreal. “I’ll take him.”
* * *
“Other than that, the night is yours,” Morgana had said as she slid his confirmation card across her desk. “Enjoy.”
Enjoy. He couldn’t even breathe as he paced around the hotel room. This had wiped out his savings from the last six months, and he’d have to volunteer for double duty for weeks to come to cover what he was charging to his credit card tonight. To maintain as much discretion as possible, he’d checked into the Hilton near Terminal 5 at Heathrow, away from the hubbub of central London where he might be more easily spotted. The hope was that the staff saw too many faces on a daily basis to remember him. Paranoid, sure, but he wasn’t going to these lengths to have his regular life disrupted when it was all over.
It came with a price tag, though. Over four hundred pounds for the soundproofed one bedroom suite with dinner and breakfast. Add in the cost of the car he’d hired to pick Gwaine up and take him home again, and his eyes started to pound thinking about how empty his bank account was going to be afterward.
Dinner from the well-reviewed Indian restaurant in the hotel waited on a table in the corner for Gwaine’s arrival, the smells driving Percival’s stomach to growl in anticipation. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to actually eat anything, or if Gwaine even liked Indian, but he wanted it there, just in case, too integral to the night’s possibilities to risk omitting.
A knock at the door jolted him to a halt, though his pulse chose that moment to steer into overdrive. It was time. Only a few steps away from having it all. Taking a deep breath did nothing to calm his racing heart, but smoothing down his shirtfront to present a cleaner, more in control image, at least helped him believe he looked like he knew what he was doing.
“Relax,” he muttered as he strode across the room. “You can do this.”
That resolve lasted only as long as it took to answer the door. Because all the air whooshed from his lungs at the sight of Gwaine lounging against the jamb.
He was even more gorgeous in person. Rather than the faded jeans he’d worn in the photograph, Gwaine sported black leather trousers that molded over his slim hips like a second skin, the strokeable material cupping a mouth-watering bulge that left Percival’s brain stuttering. A matching silk shirt hung loose, open only enough to hint at the pale, perfect flesh it hid from public consumption.
The man was a walking ad for debauchery. The playful glint in his eye only added to the effect, as did the sly curve of his mouth as his dark eyes swept up Percival’s body.
“Well, well, well,” Gwaine said. Before Percival could stop him, he reached out and ran his fingertips down the placket of Percival’s shirt. The fabric might separate their skin from direct contact, but the trail of heat he left behind seared its way straight to Percival’s cock. “This night just gets better and better.”
Percival jerked back, his heart hammering against his ribs. Though he scraped his knuckles against the wall in his haste, he kept his features even, or as calm as he could manage anyway. “Come in.”
Gwaine didn’t walk. He swaggered. Percival’s gaze dropped to the roll of Gwaine’s ass he brushed past, and he swallowed against the urge to tear the leather away and fill his hands by spreading those cheeks as far as they could go.
Stopping at the food, Gwaine lifted the closest lid to peer beneath it. “If there’s a show, too, I just might’ve died and gone to heaven.”
“I thought—” His voice cracked. Percival cleared his throat and tried again. “I’d like to start with dinner.”
The devilish smile Gwaine flashed him came with a wink. “Big lad like you, I don’t doubt it.”
Percival edged deeper into the room, though he couldn’t bring himself to get too close to Gwaine just yet. “Morgana said you would’ve read my file before you got here.”
Gwaine abandoned dinner to come around the edge of the couch and flop down. He propped his feet up on the glass coffee table and stretched his arm across the cushion back, looking more at home than Percival thought he could ever feel himself. “I know everything you cared to share,” he said. “Are you going to quiz me?”
Somehow, he made quiz sound dirty, though Percival hadn’t thought of the notion at all. “I just wonder how this works. This is my first time.”
Pity flitted behind Gwaine’s eyes for the split second before he schooled his gaze back into that charm Percival was now starting to suspect was actually a mask. “So a virgin.”
His eyes widened in alarm. “No! I’ve—this isn’t—is that what it said in my file?”
Gwaine chuckled. “Relax, I just meant in regards to my services. I know you’ve been with men before. Though you’ve been fairly vanilla until now, yeah?”
“Oh. Yeah.” Mentally, he kicked himself as heat flooded his face in embarrassment. He was doing this all wrong. He was supposed to be the one in control here, and yet, he hadn’t felt this out of his depths since basic training. He closed the distance so he could perch on the end of the couch to better face Gwaine. “I’m not out in my day to day. My employers are—”
“Stop.” The playfulness vanished. “Don’t share personal details unless they’re part of the fantasy. The easier it is for you to disconnect once this is over, the better it’ll be for you. Trust me.”
“But they’re in my file.”
“Not the one I read, mate. All I know is what you want, what you’re comfortable with, and what you hope to get out of the evening. That’s how Squires insures privacy as well as it does. And I know that’s got to be your whole reasoning to hire someone like me. Because a bloke who looks like you? They should be queued up around the corner, panting to be in my shoes.” His lips quirked. “Or out of them, as the night should prove.”
He wasn’t so naive not to know that Gwaine’s compliments were meant to put him at ease, but even aware of that, Percival felt a rush of pleasure surging through his body. “What about safe words? What’s yours?”
“Camelot. So. Is supper first? Something to break the ice?”
“No.” The moment to begin was at hand. The world tunneled down to just the man in front of him as he added, “I want you to strip first. I’m going to feed you.”
In regards to kink, his fantasy wasn’t that extreme. What Percival craved more than anything else in this world was a man he could spoil rotten, one for him to take care of, to feed, to wash, to fuck to his heart’s content. One who would look up at him with complete and utter trust, willing to put everything he was into Percival’s hands. He wasn’t into the pain or humiliation that he found in a lot of the online porn that supposedly catered to his desires, and maybe it skewed a little too romantic, but all he knew was that with each morning that came where he woke up hard and disappointed from dreams that never saw it through to its fruition, he couldn’t take denying himself any longer.
Gwaine didn’t blink in the face of his instruction. Slowly, he took his feet off the table and stood, his dark gaze steady on Percival. He took his time undoing the buttons on his shirt, revealing inch after creamy inch of unmarred skin, the glimpse of a coppery nipple enough to send Percival’s taste buds flooding his mouth. Percival remained motionless, however, only allowing his eyes to flicker from movement to movement.
The sinuous slide as Gwaine let the shirt fall open. The flex of a shoulder muscle as he slid his arms out of the sleeves. The arch of his back as he leaned down to untie his boots.
When his hands lifted to remove the silver necklace he wore, Percival stopped him with a shake of his head.
“Keep it on,” he said. He’d brought a leash and collar he’d hoped to use later on, but he liked the sturdy chain Gwaine already had on better. It would still give him something to grab onto if he wanted without yielding to impulses that he might regret later indulging.
Morgana had been right about Gwaine’s obedience. He didn’t question Percival’s guidance, going straight to his fly instead.
Though Percival hadn’t lied about his experiences with men, none of them had been anything more than quickies, furtive sucks in a toilet stall, an unsatisfying handjob in the shower. Cocks in the flesh didn’t shock him, but the sensual tease Gwaine offered as he peeled away the leather trousers was beyond any expectation he’d had. Here, he was allowed to drink it all in to his heart’s content, lick his lips at the sight of the foreskin starting to stretch around Gwaine’s thickening girth, let out a long, ragged breath when Gwaine turned slightly away to expose the taut curve of his ass.
“On your knees,” Percival said before he changed his mind about the feeding part of his fantasy and just fucked Gwaine then and there.
Gwaine sank to the carpet, his chest arching outward as he automatically clasped his hands behind his back. “What would you like me to call you?”
The question took a moment to sink in. Percival was too wrapped up in how delicious Gwaine looked. “Pardon?”
“Most blokes go for the ‘Sir’ or ‘Master,’” Gwaine replied, his even voice testimony to his patience for Percival’s ignorance. “Which would you prefer?”
He knew the answer before Gwaine finished speaking. “Neither.”
“Just call me Percival. Or Perc, if you want. I don’t want the other labels.”
Gwaine’s eyes searched his for a long moment. “You want me to know it’s you,” he said quietly.
Percival nodded. Gwaine must’ve taken lessons from Morgana on how to see through to what people truly desired. He was worth every penny and more.
With Gwaine in position, Percival finally rose and crossed to the table. He rolled it to the end of the sofa so he could sit between it and Gwaine, the better to reach for dishes and set them aside once Gwaine was done. Wordlessly, he picked up the plate of appetizers and rested it on his lap.
The food he’d chosen had been very specific, dryer foods he could hold between his fingers without having to worry about dripping hot or cold sauces on anyone’s bare skin. He chose an onion bhaji now and tore off a piece of it.
“Open,” he said, holding it in front of Gwaine’s waiting mouth. His pulse boomed in his ears, but his hand was shockingly calm, none of the nerves he’d experienced over the last few hours visible to anyone watching.
Without taking his eyes off Percival, Gwaine obeyed, lips parting in dizzying reverence.
Percival slipped the nibble inside, allowing his thumb to brush gently across Gwaine’s lower lip before he withdrew. Gwaine would be spicy when Percival finally kissed him, his mouth hot from the food, his flesh relaxed and succulent from how thoroughly sated Percival planned to make him. Percival would have to make the kiss slow, to have it last as long as possible so he could drown in the tastes and sensations, burned forever on his memory.
The tip of Gwaine’s tongue appeared to swipe across that same lip after he swallowed. “Good food, good company. And here I thought I was on Santa’s naughty list this year.”
“Not because of tonight.”
“Wait. No punishment for speaking out of turn?”
The query made him pause. Though he’d remembered the safe word, he’d jumped too eagerly into the rest of it. Other rules needed to be addressed, commonalities in D/s scenes he’d discovered in his searches that Gwaine might take for granted.
“I don’t want someone who doesn’t have a mind of his own,” he said slowly. “My pleasure is your pleasure.”
Gwaine’s mouth tipped. “That’s supposed to be my line.”
“But that’s what the best relationships are.” He believed it with his whole heart, even if he’d never had the good luck to have it himself. Hesitatingly, he let his thumb brush over the line of Gwaine’s jaw, musing for the most fleeting of moments that this was real. “You must’ve been in one or two of those.”
The amusement faded, that unexpected solemnity returning. “No.”
“Because of Squires?”
“Because of a lot of things.”
“Do you like it?”
Percival hadn’t meant to ask the question. Just as Gwaine wanted to protect him from the real world that would come later, he knew Gwaine needed to protect himself. It wasn’t Percival’s business. They were playing roles here, though Gwaine had no way of knowing the part Percival adopted was the one he wanted most in his day to day. The longer Gwaine’s silence stretched, the more he wished he could take it back.
“I like that I get to meet people like you,” Gwaine said softly.
Percival blushed and broke off another piece of the bhaji. “You don’t have to flatter me. I know it’s part of the job description.”
“Neither one of us want to think of this as a job, though, now do we?”
Shaking his head, he pushed the bite into Gwaine’s unsuspecting mouth.
When he tried to pull away, Gwaine surprised him by leaning forward and closing his lips around the base of Percival’s thumb. Then, he sucked. Hard.
Percival groaned. Gwaine might as well have swallowed his cock for how fantastic it felt. What made it better was the light dance of his tongue as it traced along the knuckle, a tease of how much more they had to share, before he released the digit mere seconds later and sat back on his heels to finish chewing.
They didn’t speak again as Percival fed him the rest of the bhaji. A samosa disappeared right after that. When Percival instinctively cupped his hand to catch the crumbled lamb Gwaine missed, he nearly came in his pants when Gwaine bent down and licked it away from his palm. His beard prickled along Percival’s skin, softer than he’d imagined. What would it feel like against his balls? On his cock? Only time would tell.
Setting the empty plate on the table, Percival reached for the next course.
“What about you?” Gwaine asked. “Aren’t you hungry?”
Truth be told, he was a little peckish, but he shook his head anyway.
He’d chosen tandoori as a main course to keep it from getting too messy, though as he pressed each bite into Gwaine’s waiting mouth, he began to wish he’d opted for something that might drip. Then he’d have an excuse to clean it off, to taste both man and meal as one.
As it was, each time Gwaine’s tongue flicked across his skin, another jolt went through Percival’s veins, the ache in his groin growing. He lingered longer with every piece, allowing his fingertips to graze along Gwaine’s jaw, his cheek, the curve of a lip. When the night was over, he would have the topography of his features burned into muscle memory, there to retrieve whenever he might want in the future.
Gwaine’s visage remained somber throughout the meal. By the time it came for dessert, his eyes darted wherever Percival went, tracking his movements in ever-growing intensity. It was difficult not to squirm under such scrutiny. When he’d been enlisted, Percival had never liked inspection, and for all his size, he didn’t fare well when he became the center of attention. It was likely to be expected in such close quarters, in these conditions, but the insight Gwaine had already exhibited sent Percival’s thoughts racing about what he might possibly be seeing now.
“I’d like to thank you, if I may,” Gwaine said, breaking the silence.
“There’s nothing to thank me for.”
“Show my appreciation, then.”
Percival sat back. “What do you mean?”
Gwaine had eaten everything with his hands behind his back, but now they came around to rest on Percival’s knees. “May I?”
He had the feeling that when Gwaine touched him, he wouldn’t be able to deny Gwaine anything. He nodded, his chest tight in anticipation.
As deliberate as Percival had been while feeding him, Gwaine was doubly so now. He slid his palms upward, along Percival’s thighs, inching closer and closer to the thick bulge of Percival’s erection. Percival clenched his hands into fists at his sides, determined to allow himself this treat, but Gwaine surprised him by veering away from his cock, avoiding all contact to instead begin opening his shirt without untucking it first.
At some point during supper, Gwaine had got hard, and as he leaned forward, the wet tip nudged against Percival’s leg, pre-come smearing where it dragged along. “Remind me to send Santa a thank you note for letting me unwrap my Christmas present early,” Gwaine said. His voice was low, hypnotic, as silken as the graze of his fingertips whenever they slipped beneath Percival’s cotton shirt.
The muscles in his stomach went nuts as Gwaine traced along the ridges of his abs. His thighs were quivering, too, but at least those were hidden by his trousers. Though he yearned for more, he had to settle for Gwaine’s maddening pace and his dogged persistence in repeating the same seductive tempo Percival had set.
Leaving the shirt caught in his waistband, Gwaine spread the fabric open to expose his chest. The pressure against Percival’s leg increased when Gwaine stretched and flicked his tongue over the nearest nipple, drawing it into a peak he then caught between his teeth.
Percival gasped and slammed his head against the back of the couch, squeezing his eyes shut to hold back the pleasure that threatened to erupt from his skin.
Without being able to see, he could only imagine where Gwaine would go next. The obvious choice was the other nipple, but the one thing he’d learned about Gwaine in their short time together was that Gwaine preferred the less obvious. He slithered upward, his naked flesh molding atop Percival’s, to nose around in the crook of Percival’s shoulder, inhaling and biting and occasionally licking the same two inch square. All the while, his fingers danced along Percival’s body, finding new places to torment even if he never touched bare skin again.
“Do I get dessert, too?” Gwaine murmured between nibbles.
“Of course,” came his automatic reply, only to get choked off when Gwaine ran his nails down Percival’s covered cock.
He held his breath as Gwaine first teased his shaft, then nimbly opened his fly so a blast of cooler air could temper his arousal. His trousers felt too tight, holding him back from spreading his legs wider and giving Gwaine full access to his balls and crack, but when he shifted so he could shove them out of the way, Gwaine caught his wrist.
“Let me serve you,” Gwaine breathed. “Please, Percival.”
The request shattered the urgency of his need to come. In its place, a calm like he hadn’t experienced all night suffused his flesh, allowing his limbs to fall slack and out of the way, his head to turn to meet Gwaine’s waiting gaze.
He meant to voice his permission, but the sight of Gwaine’s glistening lips was too tempting to ignore this time. He closed the gap and kissed him, a mere slide of his mouth over Gwaine’s, gentle and dangerous.
Gwaine was grinning when he pulled back, a light like no other Percival had seen shining in his eyes. “I’ve been waiting for that since you opened the door.”
Percival bit back the response that rose automatically to the tip of his tongue. I’ve been waiting for you all my life. It was too needy and completely inappropriate. This wasn’t even real, just a construction to sate his immediate urges.
But in that moment, in that place, it felt genuine. So he nursed the thought for himself, letting it fill him with heat and hope at least for now.
When Gwaine lifted to return to his place kneeling on the floor, Percival rested his hand on the back of his head. He had no intention of pushing Gwaine onto his cock, but after bearing Gwaine’s weight on his torso, he needed the connection.
If he noticed, Gwaine didn’t let it show. His focus was Percival’s cock as he lifted it free and cradled it in his palm. While his thumb skimmed along the side of the shaft, his other hand kneaded Percival’s balls, testing their weight, tugging more than once. Percival hummed in approval, shifting only when it was necessary to help Gwaine.
He learned very quickly exactly what Gwaine’s beard felt like on his bare prick.
His hold on Gwaine’s head tightened at the initial touch, the caress both startling and stunning. Lips ran up and down the length, hardly touching but searing with each sweep. Gwaine didn’t so much get acquainted with Percival’s cock as he did worship it. Even his hot breath was an embrace. When the tip of his tongue slid beneath the foreskin, Percival bucked upward, incapable of restraining himself any longer.
“More,” he gasped, but even that wouldn’t be enough. He knew that long before Gwaine suckled the head into his warm, greedy mouth.
This hadn’t been the plan. He had limited time, only four hours to cram a lifetime of desires into, and certain acts were more important than others. Like feeding Gwaine, that one had been vital. A blowjob could happen almost anywhere, so he’d never intended Gwaine to give him one outside of a little foreplay, but now that Gwaine had decided to feast on his cock, he had no pressing need to push him away until he was done. No other mouth had ever felt so good. He wouldn’t think about whether that was because Gwaine was that talented or he was just caught up in the moment until later when all he had left was memories and time to himself.
Gwaine needed little encouragement when Percival gently pushed him farther down the shaft. His tongue swirled along the skin, but when Percival nudged against the back of his throat, rather than lifting up as Percival anticipated, he took a deep breath through his nose, shifted his lower jaw, and swallowed the last remaining inches.
Stars exploded behind Percival’s eyes at the exquisite constriction around his cock. Few men even attempted to take all of him, and he’d never been bold enough to ask. Gwaine did so, and stayed like that for longer than it should’ve been possible, without hesitation or complaint. Percival was the one to thread his fingers through Gwaine’s hair and tug him back, though he was pretty much speechless when he met Gwaine’s smiling eyes.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t like that,” Gwaine taunted.
In lieu of an answer, Percival bent down to devour his gleaming lips in a kiss that left nothing unsaid. He bit and attacked, welcoming Gwaine’s hungry response, until his breath failed him and he was forced to withdraw.
Gwaine returned to his cock, burying his nose in Percival’s balls as he gave them the same treatment. First one, then the second found its way past his lips, his hand slowly jacking Percival’s shaft at the same time. When he groaned in satisfaction, the vibrations echoed beneath Percival’s skin, sending fresh arrays of gooseflesh racing along his arms.
In hindsight, he didn’t stand a chance against that expert mouth. He tried to fend off the orgasm that surged forward the next time Gwaine deep-throated him, but he was wound too tightly, too desperate for the release, to beat it down.
He came with a shout, thrusting up as if there was any possible way he could get even deeper inside Gwaine’s mouth. Gwaine slid his hands beneath Percival’s thighs, swallowing each shot even when he slid back to catch it on his tongue. The noises of satiation that filled the room came from both of them, Percival’s interspersed with ragged sighs as his orgasm ebbed, Gwaine’s rumbles that hinted he wanted more.
Percival tugged at Gwaine’s shoulders, fingers clumsy but his intent clear. After one last suck, Gwaine released his softening cock with a wet plop where it slapped against his stomach and crawled up Percival’s body to straddle him.
But the rest of Gwaine’s gratitude was cut off by the slam of their mouths. Percival wasn’t interested in words instigated by financial obligation. It would be simpler to keep pretending if he kept up the momentum, rather than take the time to savor it and then come back.
Keeping their lips fused together, he rose to his feet, glad that Gwaine coiled his legs around his hips to stay in place. Percival grabbed his waistband to keep his trousers from slipping and tripping him up as he made his way to the bedroom.
They came off soon enough anyway.
* * *
He’d feel this night for days to come. And not just physically.
The light was on in Morgana’s office, guiding him down the darkened corridor. She sat at her desk, tapping away on her laptop, not looking anywhere but at the screen even when Gwaine leaned against the door jamb.
“Well?” she asked without breaking her rhythm.
For a split second, he debated telling her to bugger off. He had a nice bundle stowed away at First Direct. If he didn’t work for a little while, or if he chose to freelance, he could afford it.
But if he didn’t do this, she’d get someone else to do it for him, and who knew what might happen to Percival then?
Bending down, he pulled the keycard from the inside of his boot. “Don’t know what all the fuss is about.” Play it cool. Indifferent. Like Percival was just another obnoxious client and not one of the sweetest guys he’d ever met. He flipped the card at her. “The bloke’s just a grunt.”
She caught it in midair, a sly smile curving her mouth as she finally looked at him. “He’s a grunt with security clearance at Emrys Enterprises. That’s enough for me.”
Gwaine shrugged like he didn’t care. That’s what she expected, after all, even if it couldn’t be further from the truth this time. “You’re lucky I got it at all. He didn’t let up the whole time I was there.”
“But he didn’t see you copy it, right?”
He rolled his eyes. “You did not just ask me that.” His window of opportunity had been tiny, when Percival had gone to the toilet right before his time was up. It had occurred to Gwaine he could use the scene as an excuse to coax Morgana into letting him see Percival again, but if she ever got around to questioning Percival about what exactly had transpired—which she might, the witch; her spot-checks on both clients and employees were part of what kept Squires so esteemed—she’d learn soon enough he hadn’t been tied down like other D/s assignments.
Percival’s kink was caring. The poor bloke just wanted someone to cherish, but he was stuck working someplace where he wasn’t free to expose his sexuality. So Gwaine had used his phone to copy the information from his security card onto the Squires confirmation card as swiftly as he possibly could.
Said card disappeared as Morgana slipped into a desk drawer. “Which is why you’re my favorite,” she said.
Gwaine stretched, taking his time as he arched and twisted, until Morgana’s eyes gleamed as she regarded him. He was her favorite, all right, though she’d lost the charm for him ages ago. He still used it whenever necessary, and if ever a situation demanded he keep her distracted, this was it. “Mind if I take the rest of the week off, then?”
“Of course not. You’ve earned it.” Leaning back in her chair, she toyed with the buttons on her blouse, her nipples clearly peaked through the diaphanous fabric. “Why don’t I stop by your flat when I’m done here to make sure you’re taking full advantage of it?”
He affected a mock bow, the better to hide his disdain for her coy behavior. Percival’s directness had been a wet dream. “Whatever my lady wishes.”
Her chuckle followed him out, and though he longed to run and put as much distance between them as fast he could, he maintained the same lazy stroll all the way to the street.
His phone rang just as he reached the taxi rank at Paddington. Not recognizing the number wasn’t new. In his line of work, his calls were almost always strangers. “Hello?”
Percival’s soft baritone stopped him in his tracks, his blood heating up at the sound of it. Thank god he hadn’t rung while Gwaine had still been at Squires. That was one phone call he never wanted to have to explain to Morgana. “That didn’t take you long.”
“I wanted to call before I lost my nerve. I’m not interrupting something, am I?”
Gwaine’s heart twisted. His uncertainty was understandable, though completely unwarranted. Someone needed to be shot for forcing Percival to hide his true self so long he actually believed in the mask now. “I wouldn’t have left you my number if I didn’t want you to use it.” He’d scrawled it on a piece of Hilton stationery along with a quick note and stuffed it into Percival’s trousers pocket, though he hadn’t expected it to be found so soon. That meant Percival had dressed rather than luxuriate in the aftermath of his fantasy. Gwaine’s resolve strengthened. More proof he was doing the right thing. Percival deserved better than what was to come if Morgana succeeded.
“I didn’t think I was allowed to see you outside of…”
Gwaine smiled in the darkness. Percival couldn’t even call it what it was. So adorable. “You’re not. It’s against the rules for me to contact clients outside of an assignment.”
So many reasons. Because he didn’t want to think of Percival as a client. If they’d met under other circumstances, Gwaine would’ve been the one paying Percival for the privilege rather than the other way around.
But the biggest reason of all was because too much of Gwaine’s life was cutthroat and selfish, and Percival, for all his training and so-called security prowess, was a light of goodness.
“Because if Morgana’s not going to follow them, I don’t see why I have to, either.” If Percival had never called, he might never have taken this step, but he’d decided halfway through the scene he wasn’t going to let Morgana ruin this good man. If she got into Emrys like she wanted, Percival’s career was over, and Gwaine refused to have that on his conscience. “There’s things about her you should know. About why she wanted me to see you tonight instead of someone else. Can we meet tomorrow? Breakfast, maybe?”
“Now you have me worried. If it’s so important, can’t you come back here?”
“I go back to that hotel room tonight and talking will be the last thing on my mind.” Not to mention, Morgana would eat them both alive if he wasn’t in his flat when she let herself in. For now, he had to play this safe. Tell Percival what he’d done, while still playing Morgana from the inside. It might end up costing him any shot he could have with Percival, but it would be worth it if he stopped Morgana.
“So tell me over the phone.”
“No, this has to be done in person. Breakfast. My treat.” He chuckled. “And if you don’t hate me by the time you know the whole story, you can feed me lunch. Literally.”
Percival groaned. “You’re torturing me, you know that, right?”
“That’s the plan.”
But his words failed him again, his hesitance heartbreaking. Gwaine refused to leave him hanging like that.
“I know, mate,” he said softly. “That’s why I’m doing this.”
Percival’s breath came out in a long sigh. “I’ll never be able to sleep tonight.”
“Then that’ll make two of us.”
As he disconnected, his smile faded. This could still turn out horribly wrong. He might’ve made the decision to come clean, but that didn’t change the fact that he’d done this more than once before. It didn’t matter that Morgana’s targets had always seemed corrupt and dangerous, worth destroying. Once Percival knew the whole story, he could easily turn against Gwaine. He might even go to the authorities, though considering the clandestine nature of Percival’s employment, Gwaine doubted it would go that far.
The one thing he had going in his favor was that he was doing the right thing. He had no idea what Morgana’s interest in Emrys Enterprises was, but Percival might. He might even be able to use stopping Morgana to further his career. That could be enough for him to overlook Gwaine’s initial involvement and consider exploring their potential relationship.
Foil the bad guy, find true love. It sounded good, didn’t it? At least, in theory. Too bad Gwaine didn’t believe in fairy tales.
What he did believe in was his power of persuasion. The charm he was renowned for had got him into more beds, behind more doors, than any one person had the right to claim. And almost all of them for Morgana.
It had to work in his favor once a while.
Now was as good a time as any.