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The wine was sour and strong and laced with narcotics, but since the latter two did nothing to Mentor, they couldn't ignore the taste. Still, they kept drinking because overturning their bejeweled glass would be rude. The throng moving around in languid, narcotic-slowed paces kept throwing glances at them. Mentor towered by a full head and shoulders over most people spilled in the ballroom.

They knew, however, that their height was not the only thing, and not the primary thing, that was attracting glances to them. Their attire, carefully chosen for the goal of drawing attention, was the skimpiest in the whole building: gilded open high heels (that were killing their legs), tight white stockings with twisting fire pattern, a very short skirt, also gilded (that looked more like a wide belt), and a vest sewn from glittery half-transparent triangles. This particular attire meant that Mentor couldn’t even wear their bodyglove underneath, but it didn’t look like their scars or the metal left arm with an engraved lion passant with a ruby eye and ruby tongue were driving anyone away. In the past hour they had received eight not very subtle proposals. They had refused them all as politely as was possible—which somehow drew even more attention to them.

Their charge would have enjoyed it, both the attention and Mentor’s discomfort. Mentor had brought it upon themselves: they had laid mission parameters that put their charge away from attention—for the purpose of honing the skills other than seduction and charm.

Mentor noticed a red head moving at the other side of the ballroom near the windows, and excused themselves from a guest who was starting to lean on them rather indecently. Mentor moved with ease between the guests, most of them uncoordinated from drinks.

Mentor stepped onto the broad balcony, checking it visually, psychically, and through sound triangulation, but nobody was there except for Mentor’s charge.

Rimanah was dressed identically to Mentor, but psi-emitters were woven into the fabric of his clothes, allowing him to deflect attention if he so wished, without taxing his mental abilities too much. His back was hunched, hands resting on the banister.

Mentor projected a cone of silence over them, and Rimanah startled. Mentor was ready to chastise him for not paying attention to his surroundings—but words died in their throat when Rimanah turned to them.

They knew that glazed-over look in his eyes, the wet shine and rhythmic shift of the blades in the diaphragm of his iris.

“You didn’t have to seduce him,” Mentor admonished, but they kept their tone gentle. They touched Rimanah’s left shoulder, flesh rather than mental, unlike Mentor’s own, brushing a finger over the tattoo of the lion statant. Soon it would be lion passant and then rampant. Mentor had no doubt in Rimanah’s abilities or determination, or his ambition, for that matter. It would be sad to end his training, but it didn’t mean any other aspect of their relationship had to be ended with it.

Rimanah sighed—a soft, fluttering sound. “It was faster and easier than anything else, and his mental barriers did not hold in that state.”

“But it was unsatisfying.” Mentor didn’t even need to connect to their charge psychically to know that.

Rimanah’s lips curled in distaste. “Entirely. We have the routes of tomorrow’s escort, but that is the only satisfying thing.”

Mentor offered him a smile, stroking the lion tattoo. “Well done.”

An answering smile flittered over Rimanah’s lips.

Mentor ran a hand up their charge’s muscular shoulder, to his neck over the cool fabric of the vest, up the neck cables. Brushed his cheek with his knuckles, smooth and gleaming in the light falling through the windows from the ballroom.

Anyone could walk in on them here and witness the show of the night, but Mentor did not care, and Rimanah quite enjoyed having an audience. So Mentor tilted his face up and pressed a kiss to his lips.

Rimanah sighed, and his lips parted as they always did for a kiss. Mentor slid their tongue into his soft mouth—and pulled back, frowning.

“What’s wrong, Mentor?”

Mentor licked their own lips. “They should have chosen a different vintage to go along with Fortune.”

Rimanah laughed. Mentor liked how his eyes narrowed when he laughed. There were certain advantages to their not wearing armor tonight: a full helm did not allow to witness that beautiful sight. “I think they spent all of their fortune on the drug.”

Mentor bit his bottom lip in retaliation for the awful word play, and it only made Rimanah shake with another burst of silent laughter.

Mentor used the opportunity to resume kissing, licking into Rimanah’s mouth. Rimanah wrapped his arms around him, moaning softly. Mentor kissed him until there was no trace of that sour taste, only him, clean and warm.

Rimanah pulled them closer, opening his legs, and Mentor stepped between them.

“I did well, Mentor, didn’t I?” Rimanah murmured, mouthing the mesh on Mentor’s left cheek, sending ripples of tingling sensation down to their neck.

“I said so,” they replied with amusement, running hands up and down Rimanah’s bare arms, feeling corded muscle and subdermal implants. Yes, there were certainly advantages to this attire.

“Then I deserve a treat?” His voice was small. He propped himself on the banister then hooked his legs around Mentor’s waist.

Mentor smiled, sliding arms behind his back. It was not that Rimanah couldn’t keep himself upright through the sheer power in his legs, although his flexibility could be improved further. It was that Mentor liked feeling his weight.

Behind Rimanah, there was a drop of several kilometers through a cover of clouds. There was a safety field, of course, probably designed exactly in case any patrons decided to have sex against the balcony banisters. But the force field was barely visible, just a nacreous shimmer, and so it appeared as though they were poised right over the plunge into oblivion.

Rimanah was hard, pressed to them. Keeping their left hand on Rimanah’s back, Mentor moved their right one down his spine and under his skirt.

They arched their eyebrows. “I see some part of your attire is missing.”

Rimanah giggled, the sound contrasting with his big frame, his kill and mission count. “Oh, must have left it with the Red Skulls’ boss.”

“I’d send you to fetch it,” Mentor murmured, kissing the corner of his smiling mouth, “but first I need to make sure he didn’t do any more damage.” And with that, they slid their fingers lower, stroking the slick folds.

Rimanah’s mouth fell open, his legs flexing around Mentor.

They brought their wet fingers to their mouth and licked. Nothing but Rimanah’s familiar taste, not even a trace of anyone else. They looked at their charge.

Rimanah smiled. “Only yours, my Mentor.”

“Then I shall take what is mine.”

It required some rearrangement of their position, and there was the relief of freeing themself from the confines of their tight underwear. Yet another advantage to their attire was that they could slide into Rimanah’s heat without undressing at all.

Rimanah moaned, then his thighs tightened round Mentor’s hips—and he threw his arms wide, arching over the abyss. It changed the angle, and Mentor twisted the vest on his back. “Come back here!” they ordered, and their voice crackled.

Rimanah laughed, and, wonderfully flexible, pressed himself to them again. “Have me.”

Mentor licked into that smiling mouth, slid out of his tight heat, and thrust in again. Rimanah moaned into the kiss, mouth wet. His body was overheating fast, his psi-field rippling.

Mentor kept the fast pace with ease, Rimanah’s feeble attempts to match it failing; he wrapped his arms around Mentor, breathing stuttering at their throat. Mentor’s cock, their thighs, the front of their skirt—all were soon soaked through with their combined fluids. Rimanah’s muscles contracted, and he latched onto Mentor’s neck and sneaked one hand between their bodies to grasp his own cock.

His psi-field was expanding, and Mentor pressed their lips to Rimanah’s temple. “Let go,” they ordered, both in words and in their mind, and dropped the cone of silence around them.

Rimanah came with a shout and a wave of psi-energy. Mentor rode it out, their eyes closing, the physical release just an echo of the psychic one.

The sensation that brought them back to their physical form was Rimanah trying to reposition himself and get down to the floor. Mentor opened their eyes and helped him, but kept their hands on his back. Rimanah did not seem to be inclined to move away either, resting his head under their chin. “You let everyone know what we are doing here,” Rimanah murmured. He was soft in Mentor’s arms, his body cooling down. For now.

“Hopefully, they will stop trying to charm me,” they replied. They ran their hands down Rimanah’s back, smoothing the vest.

“Hopefully,” their charge echoed, and his hands tightened around Mentor for just a moment. “You are only mine.”

Mentor did not debate it. This moment of peace wouldn’t last: the heat was coiling in both of them again, desire coursing through their psychic link, headier than laced wine. “We have hours until the next phase of the mission,” Mentor said.

Rimanah looked up, and a lazy grin spread over his lips. “Then let us not waste those hours.”