The rain slashed through the darkened night like falling razor blades. Chauvelin winced at every icy strike, unable to defend herself dressed as she was, in the black rags of what had once been her uniform.
She had made it. It had taken weeks, months even, but she’d escaped from that stinking hellhole Robespierre had tossed her in and crossed from France to Dover. Now she was trembling from cold in the vast landscape of the Blakeney Manor grounds.
There was a knife clutched in her hand and all she’d thought about since that day in Miquelon was finding Percy and slitting her wretched throat. She was obsessed by the thought, driven by it. It was all that kept her going.
No one humiliated Chauvelin and got away with it. And if Marguerite broke down upon discovering her husband’s pathetic corpse, then that would be her punishment.
She moved through the night with barely a sound, skirting around well-trimmed hedges and slipping beneath flowered arbours. There were lights on in one wing, flickering candles that illuminated a woman’s form. She was holding a book, reading. She stared for a moment, imagining Marguerite’s sweet, deceitful face and then turned away. She hadn’t come for her.
Even though she’d only been to the Blakeney estate once, she remembered the layout well enough. On that day, being escorted through the gardens by Jessop, she’d quizzed the butler about the grandest outer wall of the house.
“That is master Percy’s wing,” the older butler had said, “and it belonged to her father before her.”
Now Chauvelin made her way there and smashed a window on the lowest floor, praying she had not been heard. With the size of the place though, she doubted it. She climbed inside, the glass catching on her thigh and dragging through the fabric and skin. She whispered a curse as she felt the warm blossoming of blood.
Once she was far enough into the room - some kind of library with a billiard table and a stuffed bear - she let her eyes adjust to the lack of moonlight. Then, unable to control her somewhat excited breathing, because she thrilled to the thought of the violence she was about to wreak - she began to creep down the hallway and climb the stairs.
As she passed by priceless vases from Asia and picture frames made from gold, she sneered at the grandeur. For a man who’d come from the gutters could never forget that such wealth and beauty was most often undeserved. Never mind that Percy, blonde and perfect as she was, looked completely at home amongst such finery.
Chauvelin knew she was incongruous to such surroundings. She was a filthy, twisted thing moving through silk and lace. She left a trail of dirt behind. She was something to be thrown out, to be cleaned up and swept away. She smeared her hands on the velvet wallpaper, wanting to ruin it. So what if she was being petty? Percy had left her to be punished by Robespierre for her failure, and punished she had been. Whippings, beatings, months in a cell with her only company being rats and her own increasing anger.
Even when she’d thought Percy was just some idiotic fop she’d wanted to lay her hands on her, but now - when she knew what a clever, conniving, arrogant man she really was - now she wanted it even more.
Chauvelin stopped and sniffed. She could smell something. It was the opposite to anything she’d ever smelt growing up in the slums of Paris. It was perfume: sweet yet oaky, floral yet leathery too. Was it meant for a man or a woman? She didn’t know. But she knew it was Percy’s. She remembered that scent like she’d just seen the man yesterday instead of nearly a year ago.
Following it like a hunting hound, she found Percy’s bedroom almost immediately. A small candle was still burning beside the four-poster bed and as Chauvelin padded across the plush carpet she was able to make out Percy’s prone form on the bed.
The Englishman was still dressed in a silk shirt and britches, but the rest of her clothes were folded on a chair. It looked like she had been undressing and had fallen asleep before finishing. She must have been very tired.
Chauvelin touched the satin bedsheets and shuddered. She supposed the pillows were filled with feathers. She’d never slept in such luxury. No wonder Percy’s skin was so smooth.
Now that she was faced with the man Chauvelin found herself frozen. She watched Percy’s chest rise and fall, the slightest hint of breasts visible. Her legs were parted, her long lashes fanning out across her cheekbones. Her hair, still tied with a ribbon, so soft that Chauvelin had to actively stop herself from touching it.
Throwing up her hands, she shook her head to clear herself of any traitorous and confusing thoughts. So Percy looked like some artist’s vision of Sleeping Beauty? So her jaw was sharp and her nose straight and her lips pink and inviting? Chauvelin bit the back of her hand and made a gargled noise.
Suddenly flashes of the times she had resorted to self-pleasure in her cell assaulted her mind: visions she had replayed over and over of Percy, her ridiculously beautiful face flushed with arousal. Yes - in amongst her dreams of murdering the man - she’d imagined that too.
And now she was caught, her knife ready to draw blood, but her body singing with the heat that the other man inspired in her.
“Damn you,” she said, her eyes widened as Percy yawned, awoke, and then slowly realised who was standing above her.
“Sink me!” Was the first irritating thing that came out of her mouth. The second was Chauvelin’s name on an indrawn breath. Her gaze darted from Chauvelin’s face, to her tense shoulders, to her clenched fist, to the knife glinting meanly, and then back. She didn’t try to get up or to shield herself.
Chauvelin lunged and grabbed her by the partially open collar. She pulled her up slightly and swung herself onto the bed, straddling Percy and staring her down like a predator. Percy still refused to struggle, she only covered Chauvelin’s hand on her collar with one of her own. Her lily-white fingers slipped over Chauvelin’s darker ones and they both felt something that made their eyes meet and darken. Percy bit her lip.
“I thought you were dead,” she said almost apologetically.
“I’m supposed to be,” Chauvelin’s grin was an eerie slash.
She pressed the knife to Percy’s throat, making her gasp and shifting when that made her hot all over. From the blush that stained Percy’s neck and cheeks she guessed that the other man was not unaffected.
“I’m here to pay you back,” she said, “for what you did to me.” The last time they’d met Percy had put her ring - with the symbol of the Pimpernel - onto Chauvelin’s hand and sent her tied up to meet the fate that should have been hers. That ring had branded her. Sometimes she could still feel it burning her skin.
“You’re hurt,” Percy’s free hand crept across her thigh, smearing the blood there.
Chauvelin tried to slide away from what seemed to be care, as unexpected as that was, and ended up sitting crotch to crotch. Percy’s hips bucked minutely and Chauvelin couldn’t hold back a groan as she felt herself flood with arousal. She was so wet that Percy had to feel it too, even through their layers of their clothes. Shame poured from her and fed into her rage. She tightened her grip on the other man’s shirt, nearly strangling her, and watched as fear crept into her wide brown eyes.
Was she getting off on the danger? Chauvelin was. She rocked her hips tentatively and then forcefully as Percy let out a shaky exhale, her eyelashes fluttering. Her fingers dug into Chauvelin’s leg, right where the wound was, and they both groaned.
Loosening her grip, Chauvelin tore the front of Percy’s shirt and bared her breasts. It was cold in the bedroom despite the candle and her nipples reacted to the chilly air, pebbling as Chauvelin watched.
She liked that Percy was being so quiet. One of the most frustrating things about the man was her mouth and the things that came out of it. Growling, Chauvelin bent her head and punished Percy with a bruising kiss. It took a moment or two, but the other man finally responded and let her in, their tongues meeting and breath mingling.
“You..” Percy whispered breathlessly, “you surprise me, Citizen.”
“Don’t talk.” Chauvelin covered her mouth with her hand roughly, letting her taste the dirt and rain on her skin. Then she let go and trailed that same hand down Percy’s neck, squeezing just slightly, and over each breast, pinching a nipple and smiling as Percy winced.
“Aren’t you going to kill me then?” Percy asked, still managing to be annoying even as she remained the most arousing sight Chauvelin had ever seen.
“First I’ll fuck you,” Chauvelin said, mostly to herself, “then I’ll kill you.”
“That’s a threat I haven’t heard before, I must say…” Percy smirked.
“I told you to shut up.”
Angrily, Chauvelin shoved her hand down the other man’s breeches and pressed her fingers against the soft folds that were, dizzyingly warm and wet. She stroked through them, sucking in a moan as Percy canted her hips up, wanting more. She’d imagined Percy would be merely decoration in bed too, but she was proving her wrong. In fact she’d never seen a whore as wanton as this - this legendary hero of the revolution reduced to a flushed, panting and pliable conquest.
Yes. Chauvelin would conquer the Scarlet Pimpernel in bed if nowhere else.
She removed her hand, tasting the juices that coated her fingers and then wiping them across Percy’s lips. The other man’s eyes blazed at that, her lust seemingly silencing her.
Chauvelin ground their centres together, rocking to create friction, and closed her eyes for a moment as Percy’s hands settled on her hips to coax her to go harder.
“It must be this,” she said without thinking.
“What?” Percy looked genuinely curious.
“That Marguerite sees in you. I did wonder.”
Percy laughed. She stopped Chauvelin’s movements with a touch to her sternum. “Wait. I have something.” When Chauvelin didn’t let her up she continued: “A french countess gave it to me as a thank you for saving her from the guillotine. Please. You’ll like it.”
“I’ll slit your throat,” Chauvelin promised. Just like the Guillotine. She’d bathe in her blood.
“As you say.” And Percy was walking to a huge carved armoire. She opened the top drawer and pulled out what looked like a harness and a long, firm…
It was Chauvelin’s turn to blush. “What is that?”
Percy brought it to her. “Think about it,” she teased. “Even Citizens of the Republic have imagination, don’t they?”
And Chauvelin knew what it was and what it was for and she imagined fucking into Percy from behind, from above, from every which way and shuddered. They undressed each other, Percy peeling off her black breeches and taking great care not to catch the wound that still bled. When they were naked Chauvelin turned the other man so that her back was against her chest and then snaked her arm around her waist to rub her dripping pussy. “Do you use it with Marguerite?” She had to ask.
“N..no,” Percy was breathless, her head flung back against Chauvelin’s shoulder. She felt exquisite inside: hot and hungry and so welcoming despite the fact that they were supposed to be mortal enemies.
“Who were you saving it for?” She bit Percy’s neck, sucking on the warm soft skin and felt a rush of ownership. She bent Percy over, pressing her down onto the bed, and kicked her legs apart.
“No one,” Percy whimpered before jolting as Chauvelin delivered a slap to her bottom that echoed throughout the room. “Oh. You.”
“Stay still.” Chauvelin left her for a moment and fastened the harness around herself before putting the dildo in place. She licked her own fingers and then stuck them inside Percy, opening her wide and groaning at the feel of her.
This was madness. It was not what she had come for. And yet…she could not stop. Not even if Marguerite were to walk in right then and see her husband being taken from behind like some common prostitute.
She shoved in and as she did she felt the harness deliver sweet pressure to her clit. That made her gasp and pull out, driving forward to feel it again. Percy was trembling beneath her, her back slick with sweat. Chauvelin reached around to stroke her as she fucked her, determined to make her come so hard that it would not merely be a little death but great one.
Percy was falling apart, her mouth open in a silent gasp as she was pounded mercilessly into the mattress. Lovemaking with Marguerite had always been gentle and slow and this was nothing like that. This was like being battered by a storm but loving the rain that stripped you clean. Chauvelin was not only the dour fanatic she had considered her to be; she was passion itself beneath that. She was the fire that Percy had ever endeavoured to walk through, only now she was consuming her.
With a garbled sound Percy stopped Chauvelin mid-thrust. “Wait,” she scrambled to change positions. Chauvelin resisted at first, not wanting to lie down and be at all submissive. But that wasn’t Percy’s plan, that wasn’t what she expected.
She climbed on top of the former Citizen and guided the dildo back inside herself. Then, tossing her head back, she placed Chauvelin’s hands on her hips - gripping so tight it was painful - and rode her.
Chauvelin admired the view, the pressure on her clit even better from this angle, and found that she was quickly building to a climax. She took control of Percy and shoved up into her almost brutally, once, twice, three more times, and then Percy cried out, shuddering through an intense orgasm.
Chauvelin waited and then thrust again, finally coming, feeling like she was exploding. When she met Percy’s eyes and the damned fool smiled at her, she felt a sweet aftershock and she cursed her silently. Now she was sated and she knew how the stupid, beautiful, brave idiot sounded when she came, how could she kill her?
Percy slid off her and unbuckled the harness, tossing it to the side. Then she lay beside her.
“You can take some of my clothes,” she offered, “if you need to leave. I understand. Or…”
Chauvelin raised an eyebrow. “Or?”
“Or you could stay. I can have someone see to your wound…I…”
“What about Marguerite?”
“She’s leaving in the morning to visit Marie and Armand for a fortnight.”
“Oh.” Chauvelin pondered it. Two weeks spent wearing the clothes of the English Aristocracy - eating their food and drinking their wine - and fucking their golden-haired hero…surely in two weeks she would be so full of it she’d be sick and then she’d do as originally planned and kill Percy in time for Marguerite’s return.
“Go to sleep,” Chauvelin said shortly. “I’ll stay.”
Percy’s smile was beatific and strangely Chauvelin felt her own mouth move to mirror it. Then, annoyed with herself, she turned on her side and glared into the dark. After a moment another body wrapped itself around hers and she heard Percy sigh.
Then they slept.