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No warning from either of us

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The office is opulent, earth-colored, unnecessary. Ronan doesn't need to be here, in his father's plush armchair, at his rustic mahogany desk, using his state of the art computer – these items are invariably connected to his father in his mind, although as acting head of the company they might as well be his. Still, it feels off to appropriate them in this manner, even if Niall Lynch would welcome it. It would show a certain commitment to the business side of things that had so far been wanting.

Ronan prefers the "procuring" side of things.

His father has no direct need for an office either: he conducts most of his business through Declan or via phone. His clients, too, send proxies. It's not necessary to impress them with the grandeur of a historic home. But Niall Lynch is a charmer and a show-off, and signing off deals in back alleys or the front rooms of five-star hotels would lack the personal touch. When he said it, both options sounded equally distasteful.

Ronan can think of better ways to spend his time, but it has fallen to him to hold down the fort while his father is out "hunting for new treasures," as he puts it to his clients. It's not all bad; it gives him authority over Declan, for one thing.

"There you are," he says, and hands Ronan a notepad. If it bothers him that Ronan is late, he doesn't say anything. "You have a call in half an hour."

"Why don't you take it?"

Declan can try to hide it all he likes behind that stuck-up air of his, but it ticks him off that Ronan, not he, is the heir apparent of their little family business. Declan must be wondering what he could possibly have done to antagonize their father. Hasn't he always been a good soldier and done what was asked of him?

Seems like he's been so good at his job he ought to keep doing it, even if it meant deferring to Ronan. Surely he couldn't imagine Ronan in his position, being a liaison between Niall and his customers, taking calls, and sweetening business deals.

Reluctantly, Declan had to swallow his pride and agree.

That pleased Ronan to no end.

"He specifically asked for you," Declan says from the door, for once not envying Ronan his post.

There's only a time and a date on the pad, no name, no identifying information, but Ronan is sure it can only be Kavinsky. A week ago, he had been in the process of finalizing a deal when Ronan snagged it from under his nose, offering the better conditions. No doubt Kavinsky had been throwing a fit after all the hours he had spent buttering up the client.

It's not the first time this has happened. Their rivalry is a reenactment of their high school days when they would race each other for bragging rights. These days it's not their bodies they place on the line, but their respective businesses. All for the thrill of it. Ronan remembers angry fucks in public restrooms, hour-long romps during and after conventions they both attended, even making out in an elevator that one time. They couldn't care any less.

He ought to tell Declan to put Kavinsky down fifteen minutes later as a rule, but that would imply Ronan is hoping for a next time, expecting it. It's safer not to expect anything from Kavinsky, even though he knows how to deliver. That's how you get hooked on him, that's how he plays it. It's a calculated game. The moment Ronan starts having expectations, it's over.

Crossing his feet on the desk, Ronan thinks he should have taken Chainsaw along. At least she could have kept him company while he doodles on the sketchpad. He has some ideas on how to expand the Barns and has yet to decide whether to wait for his father to return before implementing them.

Kavinsky, as usual, conveniently ignores the time. Instead of calling, he sends a text, seventeen minutes late. u online?

Instead of answering, Ronan sets his program from "Invisible" to "Away."

No five seconds later, he gets an invitation for a video chat.

"Lynch, you bastard," Kavinsky says amiably. He's sitting on a bed, and from the anonymous quality of his background, Ronan surmises it must be a hotel room. A single print of something done in brushstrokes adorns the beige wall behind him.

"Still angry I snatched that commission?" Smirking, Ronan cracks his knuckles. "Let's hear it."

"Oh, that." Kavinsky laughs quietly. His dress shirt is unbuttoned and he tugs the ends of his undone tie from side to side. Ronan is entranced by the sliver of skin his eyes latch on. "Water under the bridge. I'll just steal yours next time. No big deal."

Ronan arches an eyebrow. He's not sure he likes that nonchalance. He would have expected some kind of reaction, not this sweeping the whole story under the rug.

"I'm in Tokyo right now. New opportunities. I got you to thank for that. If you hadn't taken that other deal off my hands, I wouldn't have checked out this one."

Ronan could feel his smug expression slip. "You've found a better opportunity."

"Sure did," Kavinsky says, running a hand through his hair. It's damp and loose, falling freely over his finger. "Much better conditions. And the benefits," he makes an approving sound and flaps his collar. "Let's just say the Japanese know how to sweeten a deal."

"That's why you're calling? To tell me you're not mad?"

"Babe, could I ever be mad at you?"

"Wouldn't be the first time."

Kavinsky grins brightly. "You want me mad, so I'm not giving you that satisfaction." His fingers busy themselves on his fly. Irritatingly, Ronan's mouth waters. "I'd rather give you something else."

"I don't need your charity," Ronan scoffs.

"But you want it." Kavinsky bites his tongue as he takes out his cock. It's flushed and ready and he strokes it very slowly, more interested in Ronan's reaction than in getting off it seems.

If he thinks this is turning on Ronan... he is absolutely right. Fuck. He can feel his own erection straining against his pants.

He's also acutely aware of the sun streaming through the tall windows behind him, and Declan not too far away. One wrong sound and he might come barging in. From the soft orange light of Kavinsky's hotel room, Ronan can guess that it's nighttime in Tokyo, even if he didn't know that the time difference is more than ten hours.

Not that Kavinsky cares about Ronan's circumstances. "Come on, babe, join me."

"Can you even see me from there?" The angle of the laptop's camera would be obscuring everything from the waist down. Yet he's opening his pants as quietly as he can all the same.

Kavinsky lets his head roll back and groans deeply. "I can see your face. Works for me."

Ronan grits his teeth. Kavinsky must have had three shots too many to be talking like that. He envies him that edge.

It's strange to have Kavinsky banished on a nineteen-inch screen, like a genie in a translucent bottle. It doesn't do him justice. He's so much larger than life, because what is life to him?

His eyes are dark, glittering, intense, when he opens them again, and it's like Ronan has to do his bidding. He should have known something like this would happen, should have prepared, because when does Kavinsky ever spurn the opportunity for sex? Even on the phone, when he has no way of seeing Ronan's cheeks burn, his lewd comments are a string around Ronan's neck, restricting his air supply, or possibly around his dick, keeping the blood right where it is. For the fun of it.

As it is, Ronan doesn't have lube at hand, or lotion. There's none in his father's desk drawers – he's both relieved and disappointed – so he spits into his palm.

Shit, he thinks as he grips his erection. Part of him hates that Kavinsky can reduce him to this. Another part is enjoying itself. Traitor.

"That's it, touch yourself," Kavinsky moans, and for a moment his stream is buffering. What a turnoff. He's watching Kavinsky's hips stutter in slow motion, then then screen explodes into shards of rainbow-colored pixels before the connection reestablishes itself.

Kavinsky's eyes are trained on his, never flinching, never wavering, never betraying anything but arousal. Ronan is swept up in it, carried on the current of his mirroring desire, and fuck, he wouldn't even care if Declan were to barge into his study at this moment.

"Lynch," Kavinsky grits out, and it makes Ronan's skin prickle as if Kavinsky had breathed his name over his damp skin, mouth hot with it, ready to press a searing kiss to his neck, and God, he hates how much he wants Kavinsky here with him, able to press him into the armchair, make it topple over, so they'd both fall to the floor. Even if he'd punch him in the face right after, in this moment he wants to feel Kavinsky's skin on his, his hand around his cock, squeezing just a little too tight for Ronan's liking, the way he does. It's been too long.

Kavinsky's dress shirt slips down his shoulders as he's jerking himself, and he's pushed his pants further down. The flush spreading on his ghostly pale skin suits him, splotchy though it is, bedecking his chest and face. It's not a bad look on him. Part of him wishes he weren't as preoccupied with his own pleasure to pay more attention to Kavinsky's. He could gain the upper hand so easily if he weren't so prone to playing his games.

It's easy to let your guard down if your opponent does it first. Still, he can't help getting into this, watching Kavinsky get off with such enthusiasm and imagining what it would be like if he were here, right in front Ronan, face level with his cock.

"What are you waiting for?" Ronan snarls, so ready his balls are throbbing, but not about to let Kavinsky win this.

Kavinsky lets out a breathless laugh. "For you to beg me to come." Wishful thinking on his part. Ronan does not believe for a second he'd actually hold out that long.

"Good luck with that," Ronan says and sinks into the heat of his release. It spatters his suit, his tie, but he couldn't care less – he's not going to meet anyone important today.

Kavinsky grins, breathless, wild, working himself through his own release. It hits his dress shirt, his bare stomach, his hand, and Ronan's tongue runs over his teeth. He can almost taste him. He wants to taste him. How long until he returns? Right now, it feels like a lifetime.

Ten minutes from now he's going to hate himself for feeling this way, to notice Kavinsky's absence this deeply, to miss him on a molecular level.

"Not bad, Lynch." Kavinsky is licking his fingers. Ronan has watched quite a lot of porn, but even the most debauched of videos have nothing on Kavinsky. Possibly because he hits that much closer to home.

"Was that all you wanted to discuss?" Ronan asks, way out of breath. He grimaces.

Kavinsky makes a show of thinking with his middle finger in his mouth. "Guess so. We can postpone the rest until we meet in person."

Fuck. Heat rolls over his skin, and he notices that he has no barrier left. They were all incinerated. Still, he manages to say, "You wish."

Kavinsky's laugh is breathless and insubstantial. "So do you. Don't pretend otherwise."

"I have to go now," Ronan says, "I've got more important meetings to attend."

A lie, Kavinsky knows it, but he doesn't call him out on it. "Fair enough. I'm beat. I'm going to dream of this, of you beneath me, breathing out my name. It's going to be such a restful night."

"Sounds like you're being delirious."

"Can you blame me?" Kavinsky stops licking his fingers in favor of biting his knuckle.

"Whatever. I don't care. Fuck right off." Ronan snaps the laptop shut before Kavinsky can say anything more. He has stored enough of his voice in his ear canal to last him for another month; hopefully, Kavinsky will be busy far longer than that.

Reaching for some tissues from the drawers, Ronan wonders if he should ask Declan for some actual work. It might help clear his head. Declan might get suspicious as to why Ronan would willingly offer to help him out, but there's no way for him to know.

Ronan presses his head into the backrest. He needs another moment to decide. He feels like having a nap, he feels like dreaming, like going to Cabeswater, but can't risk it. What if Kavinsky shows up there as well? What would he do then? He's a lot more vulnerable in the dream than he is in waking life.

Ronan gets up out of the chair. He'll get some water to cool down, and after that he'll decide what to do next. He's not going to let Kavinsky throw him off.