A pale pink flush spread across the pearly grey sky as dawn approached and began to stir the world back in to wakefulness. A gentle breeze rippled the balmy air and carried the sudden chirruping of birds straight through the open window. Edward groaned, vaguely aware of the disturbance and rolled over in his sleep, sprawling over the bed.
Sprawling over the bed.
He opened his eyes, frowning at Richard’s absence. He raised his head to peer at the pillows on the King’s side of the bed, looking for an indent, or a strand of red-brown hair that might indicate he’d actually come to bed.
Edward rolled back to his side of the bed and swung out of it. He sighed, pulling his boots on to his bare feet. He moved around to the chest at the end of the bed, raised the lid, and pulled one of Richard’s dressing gowns out of it. He shrugged it on and tied the belt as he went off in search of the absent King. The logical place would be the last place he left him- the council chambers, promising to follow Edward up to bed in a just a few more minutes. He walked quickly, and arrived at the council chamber in a matter of minutes.
Two Cheshire Archers stood outside the door. “’bout time someone came to drag him to bed,” the one on the left said; Aumerle slowed.
“Has his majesty been here all night?”
“No, he went to the library round about midnight, then to holler at some poor sod for ink and parchment round about half one,” the archer pulled a face. “I tell your grace, there’s not a one of us that wouldn’t stick an arrow in Bolingbroke’s eye if he asked, so why-,”
“I’m sorry, do you mind-?” Aumerle interrupted. He liked Richard’s guards: on the whole they were personable, and they were all prepared to die to keep his lover safe, so that was a point in their favour. But they were also lax on formalities with a tendency to keep chattering on if they were allowed to start off, and Edward’s concern was for Richard, not the opinions his bodyguards had of the mess they’d all landed themselves in to. The guard nodded and stepped to the side.
“Of course, your grace, apologies,” he said, and pushed the door open. Edward slipped inside.
The council chambers were spacious, hung with tapestries. A large, oblong table occupied the middle, and a few strides back from the head, there was a dais. At the centre of the dais, the throne- with a candelabra resting on the seat, illuminating the area around it.
Sitting on the floor with his back resting against the left leg of the throne, surrounded by pages upon pages of parchment and a several leather-bound books, was Richard. He had a book resting on his knee, and was leafing through it, staring at the pages but clearly not reading. Tension rolled from him in waves, as it had been since he had agreed to return to Windsor with Henry and negotiate some sort- coming to terms between the two of them. Three days of talks since then, with Richard and Henry failing even to move away from being on the brink of losing their respective Plantagenet tempers and going for each other’s throats. No wonder Richard looked so drawn and tired. He sat on the second step of the dais, and put his hand gently on Richard’s outstretched leg. “It’s past four in the morning, Majesty” he said; Richard looked down at him and half sighed.
“Less than three hours, then.”
“We can postpone, There’s no point doing this while you’re sleep deprived.”
“There’s no point doing this at all. I’ll say, Henry can have Lancaster, if he goes back to France and stays there until I tell him to come back, he’ll say he’s not going anywhere and if I don’t want to lose my head then I’ll agree to do whatever he says from now on-,”
“That’s not what he’s saying, and you know it-,”
“But it is! It’s a reversion to the way things were under the appellants and I won’t- I would rather die than-,” He exhaled, running a hand through his hair. “It’s prerogative,” he said.
“I know,” Edward said patiently.
“I am the King.”
“I know,” Edward said,
“I was looking for-trying to think of-,” He gestured a hand over the mess. “I don’t want to be at war with our cousin. I never wanted- I’d have made it up to him, in time, if he’d only stayed in France-.”
“But he didn’t stay in France, and you’re going to need to make Lancaster up to him now. You’re going ” Edward said. It was the first time he had given Richard any other opinion other than unswerving support in this whole affair. “You’re going to have to bend a little. Give up a little of your control.”
Richard met his gaze, briefly, then lowered his eyes to the floor. “I don’t know if I can,” he said softly. “I don’t know how I give up control and still remain in power.”
Edward reached up and took his hand. “Does your majesty trust me?” he asked.
“Oh, my darling Aumerle.” Richard leaned forward and caressed Edward’s cheek, smiling with self-depreciation. “Haven’t you been paying attention? I’m a paranoid narcissistic incapable of trusting anyone.”
“Hm,” Edward said, unimpressed by the deflection. He caught Richard’s hand and stood, raising him to his feet and reaching up to cup his cheek. “You’re tired,” he said, “If we’re not going to postpone today’s talks, then you’ve no time to sleep. Which means we need to do something else to refresh you a little.”
He stepped back, leading Richard down the steps. “I love you,” he said, “I’m going to get you through this if it kills me. Or if I have to kill Henry. Either Henry, though preferably Percy-senior. I might have to fight your archers for it, they’re all for putting arrows in your other cousin-,”
The small of Richard’s back hit the edge of the table.
He started, having been so preoccupied with listening to Edward’s words, and watching his lips, that he hadn’t noticed his cousin steering him back. Edward ran his hands down his side and came to rest on his arse. “Ned, you know there’s nothing I like more than rolling about between the sheets with you but that’s hardly going to solve-,”
“I think it might,” Edward interrupted.
Richard frowned, staring down at him. Edward’s lips quirked, and he brushed a strand of hair from Richard’s forehead, tucking it neatly behind his ear. His fingertips lightly brushed Richard’s neck as he drew his arm back, and Richard shivered, shifting his stance slightly so he was leaning back over the table. Just a little, just a fraction of an angle. “Well, if you think the two of us fucking will help-,”
“Oh, not the two of us.”
“Proposing orgies now, that’s new for you-,”
“Actually, I’m just proposing me fucking you. You lie back and let me have my way with you.”
Richard exhaled in understanding and leant forward, smiling wryly as he rested his forehead against the top of Edward’s head. “You mean, I lie back and practice giving up control.”
“That’s the idea.” Edward agreed.
“Here?” Richard asked.
Edward hesitated. Whilst there was something appealing about the prospect of having Richard on the table (or dragging him back up the dais and having him over the throne- but he would never dare suggest that, not to Richard at any rate, definitely not whilst sober and in the middle of an argument about exactly what Richard’s throne was worth) there were more important things to worry about- Richard’s lack of sleep, for a start, not just tonight but most nights, lately: if Edward could wear him out enough to get him to doze off, he would rather Richard be somewhere comfortable he could stay for a while. Clearing up in here afterwards would be impractical, and the last thing they needed was to be caught all dishevelled in the corridors. And last- though probably most important- Edward intended to give his King a good, hard fuck. Since he wasn’t in the habit of carrying small vials of oil around with him, it would be necessary to use the one in the King’s top draw- so they might as well make use of Richard’s bed as well.. “No,” he said, “Let’s go back to your chambers. You go back to your chambers, and I’ll go and tell Henry we’re not meeting today.”
“But we ha-.”
“No,” Edward said firmly, “We’re having sex, then you’re going to sleep. Then you’re going to have a bath. Then we’re going to discuss a strategy for moving forward and you can go back to trying to kill our cousin with looks tomorrow.”
Richard stared at him. For a moment, Edward thought he had over-reached, that the King was going to snap back to himself and draw himself up in outrage at being told what he was going to do. Instead, a slightly sad smile spread across his face. “You know,” he said softly, “you sound a little like Anne.”
Bolingbroke wasn’t best pleased to be woken at five in the morning to be told he could sleep in, the day’s meeting was cancelled. He conceded, however, that as they weren’t making any progress anyway, they might as well take a break and see if Edward could talk Richard in to a greater willingness to compromise. “Or do something with your tongue, at any rate,” Bolingbroke snorted, flashing a derisive glance over him, and Edward half considered telling him exactly how he was planning to persuade Richard to compromise, purely out of spite.
Instead he bowed slightly, bid his cousin good night, and went back to Richard. “No one enters,” he told the guards as he entered the King’s Chamber- then shut the door firmly on the outside world.
Richard had already stripped down to his shirt, and placed his crown somewhere out of sight. He sat in the middle of the bed, pulling nervously at a loose thread on the covers. “If you want me to stop at any point,” Edward said. “say ‘stop’, and I will.” He approached the bed. Richard smiled briefly.
“Other than that, I’m in charge,” Edward untied the belt of his dressing gown and pulled it free, straightening it out between his hands. “You do what I tell you. Now, turn around, and cross your wrists behind your back.”
What? Richard stared, wondering what had got in to his cousin all of a sudden- where this boldness had come from. His couldn’t help but fix his eyes on the length of silk Aumerle was playing with- he had a very good idea of what his cousin intended to do and he wasn’t sure-
“Richard,” Aumerle said, the hint of a warning in his tone.
This was ridiculous. Edward couldn’t possibly think that this was the answer to straightening out the noise in Richard’s head- he needed to be getting on with- something- but then, Edward had been sweet with him, these past few days, and endearingly patient. If it would make him happy…
He turned his back to his cousin, and obediently crossed his wrists. He was aware of movement behind him, but resisted the urge to turn and look. The mattress dipped, and Richard tensed as Aumerle bound him, tying his wrists together tightly enough that getting loose would be difficult. He couldn’t help but feel a faint prickle of fear- if this was some kind of trap- some way to render him helpless when-
“You’re doing really well,” Aumerle said, raking his fingers through Richard’s hair and sweeping it over his shoulder so he could murmur in to his ear. “So good for me, darling.” Richard’s panic faded as Aumerle placed a light kiss on crook of his neck, replaced by a frission of pleasure as he leaned back in to his touch. Aumerle smiled and kissed him again. “Lie back. I want to see your face,” he said, and Richard turned at once, settling back against the pillows. It was a little uncomfortable, with his hands trapped beneath him, but before he could grow too nervous again, Aumerle was straddling him and kissing his neck again. Harder, this time. A small moan broke past his lips as Aumerle nipped at a particularly sensitive spot; he craned his head back to allow him better access to his throat. Aumerle obliged him at once, licking a strip right over Richard’s windpipe before capturing his lips in a bite. Richard moaned, arching. Edward stroked his face. His cousin was much more at ease, now, the tension had gone from his shoulders, and his arousal was growing. “You’re beautiful,” he told him, and Richard’s face lit up. Edward smiled, and pressed a kissed to his lips. “So very beautiful,” he said again, before climbing off him and leaning over to the draws on the far side of the bed. Pulling open the very top one, he retrieved the bottle of oil kept there. “Legs,” he said; Richard obediently drew them up and apart. Aumerle turned back to him, uncorking the bottle and pouring a little oil on to his index and middle fingers before pushing them inside Richard and stretching him open. Richard groaned, enjoying the sensation- Aumerle was done with it far too quickly, and Richard whined in discontent as his fingers were withdrawn. Moments later, Aumerle had lifted his legs and thrust inside him. Richard found himself awash with pleasure as his cousin fucked him in to the sheets. Aumerle slapped his flank, and Richard found he enjoyed that too. Aumerle smirked at the expression of pure bliss that spread across Richard’s face as he hit him, and did it again. “Aumerle,” Richard stuttered. “Aumerle-,”
“Do you like that, darling?” Aumerle asked him.
“It’s hardly fitting treatment for a king.”
“Oh, fuck that,” Richard gasped. “Just keep- keep going – I’m close to-“
“Only when I give you permission.” Aumerle smirked as Richard’s eyes flew wide open. “Do you think you can do that for me? Control yourself until I say otherwise?”
Richard swallowed. “I can try—”
Aumerle smiled as Richard closed his eyes and bit his lip, trying to temper down the growing wave of pleasure until he could bare it no longer and “Please!” he gasped, “Please, Aumerle, please let me come—”
“Not yet,” Aumerle told him, and Richard whined, squirming against his bonds.
“Please,” he begged.
“Alright,” Aumerle said, and Richard cried out as he arched, his muscles tensed and his vision faded. Gradually, the world began spinning back to him. He sighed, feeling wonderfully, wonderfully relaxed. He was…lying on his stomach, and Ned…Ned was rubbing the circulation back in to his shoulders, and arms. His cousin had reached his own climax, it appeared, from the stickiness on Richard’s thighs. He smiled idly in to the pillows, stretching contentedly.
“How do you feel?”
“Perfect.” He rolled on to his back, and gazed at his cousin. “Better than I have in a long time, thank you.” He smiled, reaching up to caress Edward’s cheek. Edward had such beautiful eyes. “How did you think of it?” he asked. Edward smiled, settling down alongside Richard and wrapping him in his arms.
“Truthfully?” he said. “It was a book.”
“That Bagot gave me.”
“Ah….” Richard exhaled. Edward smiled.
“I’m not quite sure if he was trying to be helpful or frighten me off you. There are some suggestions in there- anyway…I’ll show it to you sometime, if you like.”
“Yes,” Richard said, “Yes, that would be fun…” his eyes drifted shut. Edward smiled.
“It wasn’t so bad, was it?” he said. “Giving up just a little control.”
“There’s a difference between you and Henry,” Richard murmured, eyes closing drowsily. ”You took nothing I did not wish to give you.”
“We’ll discuss it when you wake up,” Edward said gently. Richard smiled, and drifted off to sleep.