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He’s early to catch the last train of the night.

The sign on the platform tells him he’ll have to wait for seven minutes.  He sighs, thinks a word a gentleman should never say out loud, and leans his cello case against the purple-tiled wall.  Seven minutes standing in the soaked, heavy clothes and sodden black boots.  If he’d just worn modern clothes to his late-night rehearsals like a normal person…But Graf has chosen not to be normal, because it feels better to practice in fancy lace-up boots and a long black tailcoat and all the trappings that come along with such clothes.  He can’t explain it, but one day he went to the practice room in his regular, modern clothes, and he couldn’t play a single note.  Not one.

The platforms are empty, both his and the one across the way.  They are devoid of any trash, any crumpled copies of the free newspapers that tend to collect by the end of the day, any sign of life.  Who would be out this late in the rain?  Graf dislikes silence and emptiness.  The only time calm and quiet soothe him is when he has his cello tucked between his legs, the bow quivering in his hand, ready for the moment when that silence leads him over an edge in his mind and into the music he plays.  On the platform, it’s eerie.  His mess of a mind will start playing tricks on him; in fact, it’s already begun.  Six minutes.  Only one minute has passed.  One minute, or an eternity?  He hears footsteps on the stairs leading down to the platform.  He picks up his cello and moves farther from the entrance, unsure whether the footsteps are even real at all.

When the person appears, he doesn’t help Graf’s uncertainty, because he is…attractive.  He has a head of blonde curls to match Graf’s own, gathered together and tied back into a ponytail.  Water plasters a few wisps of hair onto his forehead.  Graf follows this down, past a penetrating stare and a beautiful jawline, and down further to his clothes.  He wears black jeans, tight in the crotch (no gentleman in a tailcoat should take notice of this, but Graf always does) and ripped at the knee, and—the top of him.  Graf is taken aback.  The stranger wears a white dress shirt with a neat black bowtie, and a jacket that fits him just right. 

He’s been an atheist for a while now, but he realizes he shouldn’t have left God behind, because apparently angels are real.

He can’t look at the stranger.  Won’t do it.  He is too beautiful and too frightening at once.  The people Graf normally meets are the type of people that ease one’s loneliness at night only to make one lonelier in the morning.  So Graf looks away.  He fiddles with the cello case.  The display seems stuck at six minutes.  The station remains undisturbed but for the stranger’s footsteps.

Graf picks up the case and walks down the platform too fast.  He doesn’t care that he looks stupid.  He doesn’t care that the stranger is getting a fine view of his backside.  He doesn’t care that the stranger might be thinking about his backside—oh, hell.  Graf feels an erection stirring right there on the platform.  It seems strange to have one without a gleaming wooden body to press against.  To have one in the presence of this man, who startles him so inexplicably and who might very well be an angel…Graf enjoys romantic notions as greedily as he enjoys his hair being tugged and his legs shoved apart, but to feel so strongly about a stranger on a subway platform is too much.

The footfalls stop.  Graf turns around to make sure the man doesn’t intend to keep following him.  They lock eyes.  They stay that way.

The train whirrs into the station, whipping up a wind that makes Graf shiver in his wet clothes.  He takes a seat in a vacant train car.  He’s never seen this line so empty before, especially not on the last train of the night.  But the emptiness is somewhat relieving, for it means the stranger’s boarded a different car.  It’s relieving, but it’s…It’s…

Disappointing.  Graf longs for the beautiful man, his perfect posture, his strong shoulders and lean legs, even the pale skin Graf saw through the rips in the pants’ knees and thighs.  He longs for someone he will never see again.  He longs harder and harder as the train continues its whirring through stations and picks up no one.  Why hadn’t he stared more on the platform?  Now he’ll have to find a space in his imagination for the stranger, and it’s already too full inside his head.  His disappointment burns in his chest.  His longing burns between his legs.

So he’ll do the thing he shouldn’t do.  He begins to undo his trousers, tensing as his hand brushes against his erection.  If anyone gets on the train, he’ll stop.  He’s a gentleman, after all.  Of sorts.

He’s already biting his lip and panting at the first stroke, imagining the stranger’s hands, imagining what his hair might smell like, imagining their lips coming together in a sweet kiss which the beautiful man will interrupt by pushing Graf’s head down, allowing Graf to nip at his neck and try to tug the buttons of his shirt undone with his teeth, to press his lips to the bare chest under--

The train comes to a stop so sudden it slams Graf hard against the back of his seat.  The lights flicker once and then go out.  The train is silent and still.  This has never happened before in all of Graf’s time in Vienna, and he waits for an announcement from the train operator.  None comes.

The train sits as though the world has ended.  Nothing moves, nothing stirs.  Except the footsteps.

Graf can smell the stranger coming from the car behind him.  He smells like soap.  He sits down next to Graf.

“May I be of service?”

Even at such a low volume his voice is stunning.  Graf thinks of soft, sweet things.

Oh God yes, Graf tries to say.  He makes an embarrassing half-breath, half-whine instead.

“It’s all right.”  Graf can hear the stranger’s smile in his voice.  “You don’t have to talk.  Just please, tell me if you wish for me to join you.  If you don’t, I will offer you my apologies and I won’t bother you again.”

Graf contemplates yes, or a more empathetic fuck yes, because fuck being a gentleman or anything else except sitting here vulnerably in front of this man, more vulnerably than in any of his most passionate fantasies, but what slips out of his mouth is “Please.”

The stranger takes Graf’s hair in his fist, combing through the waves.  “Imagine how strange it was coming down the stairs so late and finding a man who looked so much like I do.”  His hands are big and strong and they’re handling Graf like he’s valuable.  “Do you often expose yourself in public places?”

The question should have sounded accusatory, but there is amusement in the stranger’s soft voice.  His hand is now playing with Graf’s open zipper.  Graf is impressed by the way he can keep his hand so close to his cock, yet not even brush against it. 

“No,” he says.  “No, no, not at all, but when I saw you, I just—”

The stranger is wearing gloves and his gloved fingers wrap suddenly, firmly, around Graf’s cock.  Graf lets out an Oh! and his head falls back so sharply it bumps the wall behind him.  The stranger loosens his grip and takes Graf’s cock between two fingers.  It feels as though he is weighing it, thinking of its worth, and Graf closes his eyes and waits.

“This isn’t what I was expecting.”

The sweet feeling of shame makes Graf blush every time and so he does; he blushes in the way that makes his cock pulse and he bites his lip hard so his body doesn’t ruin this before he even has the chance to enjoy it.  “I know.  It’s—I’m sorry, it’s—”

“Small?” the stranger says pleasantly, and Graf nods his head, which, with all his hair still caught up in the stranger’s fist, stings his scalp and makes him moan involuntarily.  “I don’t think it’s small, really…it’s just that your legs are so long that one might think…”

The stranger rubs his thumb in soft circles over the tip of Graf’s cock.

“You were thinking about—”

“Of course.”  The stranger pulls Graf’s leg across his lap, exposing Graf further.  “And you’re just right.  You’re exactly how I’d want you to be.”

The stranger now lets the fingers of his other hand trail across Graf’s lips.  They are strong and slightly sweet-smelling, with calloused fingertips.  Graf wonders if he plays an instrument too, but the callouses are different than his own.  He sticks his tongue out and laps at the fingers.  Bold, but Graf often gets what he wants through boldness.

Good,” the stranger sighs.  With Graf’s legs still spread across his lap, he wraps his left arm around Graf’s waist.  Graf’s cock is arcing toward his stomach, so urgently aroused he is at this point, and the stranger says “Good,” again when he takes it.  The glove provides just the right amount of friction and the stranger, despite his angelic appearance, is not gentle.

Graf answers him with a moan, and then another and another as he fills his mouth with sound to make up for the fact that there’s nothing else to fill it.  And how he wishes there were. 

“I’ve never seen a mouth open so wide.”  The stranger’s voice is warm.  “I imagine you do wonderful things with it.”  And Graf is not too distracted to form the image in his mind—the stranger taking him by the hair and thrusting his cock into his open mouth, laughing at Graf’s gagging noise and then marveling at how well he recovers.  In his head the stranger fucks his face mercilessly, and yet his hands are gentle.  On the train Graf is starting to taste this imaginary cock.  His mouth waters.

The stranger’s fingertips circle the tip of his cock again and when they wrap back around him he can feel that they’re damp.  “I don’t think you’ll take long,” the stranger says, chuckling, and Graf shakes his head wildly in agreement.  No, no he won’t, and how embarrassing, and how freeing, for the stranger to see him and know this about him and completely defile him in his gentlemanly outfit which must be terribly rumpled by now. 

The stranger spits delicately into his glove and returns his hand to Graf’s cock; the slickness on his skin makes his eyes widen and his legs start kicking the seat in front of him of their own accord.

"Not long at all, I see."

When Graf comes he comes in a most ungentlemanly way, his hands grabbing the stranger's arm too intimately, his hips thrusting uselessly at the air.  His pleasure comes out of him in little whimpers; he's panting far too hard for loud sounds.

"Good."  The stranger is stroking Graf’s sweaty curls with his other hand now, smoothing them down against his head as Graf twitches and shudders.  He hasn’t moved his fist from Graf’s cock, which is still pulsing slightly; he’s just lessened the pressure.  He brushes his fingers up and down it, softly.  Graf sighs, sinking back against the seat.

He knows how to take care of me.

Good,” the stranger says again, his voice softer now.

Graf thinks he could use a cigarette.  Or a shot or two of whiskey.  Or…He straightens up in the seat.  Or…

His palm lands right where it wants to.  He can feel that the stranger is…impressive, and can feel the heat of his cock even through his jeans.  He moves his hand, aiming to undo the button, and the lights come on suddenly.

Graf blinks.  He wants to rub his eyes but doesn’t want to take his hand away.  The stranger’s hair seems wetter, and there are a few beads of sweat collecting on his strong brow, but other than that he looks strangely composed, a direct contrast to the debauched mess Graf knows he must look.  Except for his eyes.  There’s something in his eyes, something…fond?

“Let me…” Graf begins, but the man stops him with a strong hand around his wrist.

“No,” he says.  “My job is to serve.”

Now that his head is slightly clearer, Graf can tell that the beautiful man is not from around here.  “You’re a waiter?”

The stranger whips a handkerchief from his shirt pocket with a flourish and dabs at the mess on the front of Graf’s trousers, and then the bigger mess on his own hand and the sleeve of his jacket.  He tucks the handkerchief away.  Only then does he speak. 

“I’m a butler.”

“A… butler?  I didn’t know people still had butlers.”

The train lurches forward and begins to move again, slowly.  There is, inexplicably, no announcement explaining the delay and the blackout.  The butler reaches into the inner pocket of his jacket and presents Graf with an ornate business card.  Graf reads the script easily:

Bastille

Butler to Four Gentlemen.

He stares briefly at the phone number underneath.

“Keep it,” Bastille says.  “If you ever come up to Berlin, I think the gentlemen I serve will like you very much.”

Graf thinks Bastille’s being lewd, but then realizes the butler isn’t even looking at him.  Bastille is looking at his cello case.

“You must be talented,” he says, and Graf finally feels at ease.  “We could use a cellist in our group, Herr—”

“Lindorf.  Graf.”  Everything coming out of his mouth sounds jumbled, but Graf’s head is feeling clearer than it has in a long time.  It’s like Bastille’s somehow whisked years of cobwebs away from his thoughts.  “Just call me Graf.”

The familiar computerized voice fills the train, announcing the approach of Karlsplatz.  It is the last stop.  Please leave the train.

“Graf.”  Bastille reaches over.  Graf’s breath hitches in his chest, wondering if he’s going to pull his hair again.  Instead, he smooths the curls off Graf’s forehead, smiling.  “I have a feeling we’ll see each other again.”

Graf reaches to twirl one of the butler’s curls, so similar to his own, around his finger.

Exit right, the woman says.

Bastille’s out of his seat and bowing to Graf as the train slows to a stop and the doors slide open. 

“Until next time.” 

And Bastille is gone.

It takes Graf too long to get up from his seat, adjust his trousers, slip on his sodden coat (now soothing on his warm skin), and collect his cello case.  He doesn’t know where to put Bastille’s card, so he clutches it in his fist as he stands on the empty escalator.  His mind is playing tricks on him again, and he welcomes it, lets it in, as he imagines the card as a warm, strong hand, imagines the card whispering Good.  Good.  Good.

Graf lingers by the steps up to the street, his thoughts whirling so fast he hardly even notices where he is.  Not much attaches him to Vienna; it’s just the pretty, stately city where he lives, makes music, and watches his bank account dwindle.  He wonders what it would be like for him in Berlin.  He has a strange feeling he’d be able to wear whatever he liked up there with Bastille and his four gentlemen.  He has a feeling it will be good for him.  He notices his thoughts change into the future tense and smiles bigger than he has in years, so wide it hurts his cheeks and makes him want to laugh a long, loud, ungentlemanly laugh.  Yes, he has a feeling, a feeling it will make him who he is supposed to be.