I felt that, as Winter Knight, I deserved more respect than this.
The Accords conference took place in a opulent, fancy hotel in the middle of January, when the snow was still falling. It'd been as boring as every Accords meeting. I was there to police or something. Mostly, I just ended up standing in the corner with Fix, talking shop while Lily and Maeve spit verbal acid at each other, Ivy wrote notes in colorful magic marker, and Marcone made everyone nervous. Even Lara was side-eyeing the Baron and his polite smile, which had barely left his face since the meeting started.
I wasn't bothered. After this long, Marcone barely freaked me out. I was used to him.
As the meeting came to a close, Hendricks appeared from wherever he'd been lurking and said, "Baron requests a meeting with you, Knight." Using my title seemed to physically pain him.
"What's Johnny need me for this time?" I asked flippantly.
"Private matters." He passed me a slip of paper. "Go here. He'll meet you when he gets away from the meeting."
I appreciated an excuse to escape the boredom of supernatural politics and left immediately, heading for the hotel room written on the paper. It was, predictably, the suite at the very top of the building. It covered the entire floor and was bigger than my apartment by a large degree. There was a bed that was whatever was bigger than King Size, a big-screen, a full kitchen that had an actual pantry, and an inset floor with a giant bathtub that overlooked Chicago.
The bathtub threw me a moment, before I wandered over and saw it had little jets in the shell of it. So, a jacuzzi. It wasn't running, but the water was hot enough to steam the air.
So, once again I was reminded how ridiculously wealthy Marcone was. Great.
I hung around the suite for a while, waiting. The conference downstairs had to have wrapped by now. Yet Marcone was still a no-show. I started to get annoyed. Reluctantly so or not, I was the Winter Knight and I didn't appreciate being left hanging.
I raided his pantry, noshing on some Ritz crackers I unearthed, happily spreading crumbs all over the plush carpeting. I also got comfy, kicking off my shoes and leaving my ornate Knightly cloak in a heap on the floor. I would have popped open a few beers or drank a few Cokes, but there were none in Marcone's fridge.
Eventually, I wandered out of the room and found two goons standing guard at the door. "Hey! Where the hell is he?"
They looked at me wordlessly.
"Sorry, lemme try that again." I cleared my throat. "The Knight of Winter requests the Free-holding Lord and Baron of Chicago hurry his ass up. I got better things to do. Also, I'm going to wreck the room if he isn't here post-haste."
Still no response. Hell's bells, you'd think John cut out their tongues or something. Not likely-- that was more the Nickleheads' gig.
I sighed and wandered back into the room. I managed to watch the TV for ten minutes before the high-tech plasma screen shorted out. Then I was just as bored as I had been at the conference.
I paced a loop around the room, seriously considering just leaving. It'd annoy Marcone, which was a fun bonus. He always assumed any Chicagoan would obey him. That was normally true too, but I wasn't just a subject of Chicago anymore. I had dual-citizenship with Winter. He couldn't touch me without sparking an incident.
But in truth, I didn't want to leave and head back to Faerie. Since becoming the Knight, cold didn't hurt me, but it never stopped being unpleasant. I couldn't remember the last time I felt warm.
Oh, speaking of warm...
I plodded over to the jacuzzi and examined it more carefully. It was several feet across, still temptingly hot, and had a lot of fun buttons along the side. I'd never been in one, but it seemed safe enough. It might've even been big enough for my tall frame to relax in.
Marcone still wasn't around and I was caring less and less. Standing over the heated pool, I could feel just how brittle and cold I felt. I wanted a little relief.
And, in the process, I'd likely break the jacuzzi and Marcone would have to pony up for it. Win-win scenario.
I found a fluffy towel in the closet and stripped off my clothes, actually taking the time to fold them and set them within arm's reach of of the tub. I took one quick look around-- because if Marcone wanted to embarrass the hell out of me, now would be the time to walk in-- but I was still alone.
So I slipped into the water. Not my brightest decision, but no where near my worst either. I counted that as a win.
The water felt amazing. It loosened my magic, washed it away from me, and replaced it with a soothing heat that was already starting to seep into me. I hadn't even settled on the curved seat of the tub before I was groaning happily.
For a brief moment, it was too much, the heat combating the Winter magic that chilled my bones. It hurt, stinging and prickly as the water tried to leeched that cold out me. I shivered hard, then shut my eyes and slipped all the way under the water.
A few seconds, and I resurfaced, flushed and relaxed, the pain gone, the heat surrounding me like a balm to all my aches and pains.
I drifted to underwater seat and rested on it lightly, mostly just floating in the water, suspended. I hitched one arm up to lay across the rim to anchor myself against floating away, and my hand landed on the buttons that operated the tub.
I blindly pushed a few buttons until a jet opened up right into the small of my back and I let out an embarrassing, strangled moan. I sank further into the water, down until my shoulders were submerged, and felt the knots in my back melt under the jet's attention. I drifted down, off the seat, and tipped my head back as I floated. With my face tilted skyward, the water came up to my temples, covering my ears, which made the noises I was making muffled. That worked well; I couldn't hear my pathetically happy groaning, so I wasn't self-conscious about it, and I just enjoyed the way the water undid all my tension and hurts.
Without sound, floating suspended in the water and my body went lax, time slipped away from me. I didn't think about the Accords or Maeve's habit of snapping her fingers at me like I was her pet to be called or about Winter at all. It was insulating, blocking out the world around me and wrapping me up in a soothing warmth where no one would reach me.
Vanilla mortals were spoiled rotten on hot water, I'm telling you.
My body was completely loose. My arms drifted aimlessly through the water, my back bent and tilted as my hip drifted. My legs were too long to stretch out completely, but I bent my knees just a little and that was enough. I had no connection to anything, totally ungrounded, and was enjoying the hell out of it.
I couldn't even make myself care when my eyes opened a crack and I saw Marcone sitting on the floor next to the tub, watching me with a bemused gleam to his green eyes. His mouth was curved into a crescent of a smile as he sat there, his suit jacket gone, tie undone, and sleeves rolled up to his elbows.
It took a few seconds for the thought oh hey, Marcone's finally here to cross my mind, and even then it was like the thought was slow as molasses, like the rest of me. Because of that, I didn't startle or react to the fact that Marcone had been watching me make use of his jacuzzi for an unknown amount of time. I just arched my back, swung my arms, and lifted my head from the water.
Once my ass was back on the seat, I turned to him. "What took you so long?" I asked. I was going to angry and annoyed, but was too fucking zen for it and it came out like an uncaring question.
Marcone smiled. "Oh, don't pretend you minded. I don't think I've ever seen you so complaisant in our long relationship."
"Mm," I hummed, oddly agreeable. My head felt too heavy to hold up alone, so I rested my neck against the lip of the tub. "You left me waiting."
"I was held up. The Lady Maeve wanted to make me a deal." He leaned over, propped up on one hand, practically reclining next to me.
"Anything fun?" I didn't actually care, but I was using his jacuzzi, so I figured civil conversation was on the menu.
"Maeve wanted some first born children to temporarily take into her Court. In returned, I could have use of her Knight."
I chuckled drowsily. "Did you tell her to go fuck herself?"
Marcone snorted. "Perhaps not so vulgarly."
I hummed again, eyes shutting. I didn't need to worry about that deal. Maeve could have offered Marcone all the power of Winter and he would have said no. No kids was his rule. Never children.
"Now then," Marcone murmured. "What do I do with a Knight naked in my hotel suite?"
Uh. My eyes popped open, a little wakefulness coming back to me. "I... left my swim trunks at home?"
Marcone's gaze slipped away from my face and down my body. "Clearly."
"I was waiting over an hour."
"Well, I'm glad you found some way to occupy yourself in my absence." He wasn't looking me in the face either.
If I wasn't all pink and rosy from the heat, I would've flushed. "Hey, my eyes are up here!"
"You have an uncanny talent for stating the obvious." His hand was cool when it touched my shoulder, inducing a languid shiver from me. I opened my mouth to tell him off for his wandering eyes. I didn't get the chance to; his hand slid up my neck, cupped my jaw, and moved me into the perfect position to lean down and press his mouth against mine.
I gave in so easily, so heat-drunk and relaxed. It meant nothing to let his tongue swipe over my lower lip, to open my mouth and let him lick inside, tasting like expresso and warmth. It was one of those monumentally bad ideas, letting him cup my head and kiss me so sweet and so soft, but it fit right in with the dreamy relaxation I was feeling. I pushed back against his tongue just to incite him to kiss me deeper, taking my face in both of his hands and mapping my mouth thoroughly and relentlessly.
He let go of me and I wasn't ready for it. I slipped into the water for a moment before getting my footing and pushing back up. In just that time, he managed to strip off his shirt and shoes. As I rubbed water from my eyes, the rest of his clothes vanished and hello, John Marcone was naked.
No wonder they called him the Baron. Yowza.
Before I became the Knight, it would have bothered me that I was getting an eyeful of naked male Free-Holding Lord. Then I was mounted by Queen Mab on the stone table for all of Winter to see. I'd had a few horizons broadened. Came with the territory.
I probably should have taken a moment to think about the political ramifications for Winter, or something Knightly like that. But for the moment, Winter's chill had been banished from my body and I didn't care.
Marcone slipped into the water with me, pushing me off the seat and into the smooth wall of the tub, his body pressed tight against my chest. His hands skimmed down my sides before he cupped the back of my knees, bent my legs, and hooked them around his waist. I was half-hard just from all the tension release and rocked slow and easy against him, dragging my dick along his toned abs. I always knew he worked out, but now I got to see that power up close and without the lethal danger often involved in seeing John Marcone take up arms.
He growled like a cat against my ear and tipped my hips forward and up, rutting against me hard. I could feel how much he enjoyed watching my soak, the length of his snug against my ass.
I was still totally calm and let my head fall back with a groan. When I grabbed the rim of the jacuzzi to hold myself aloft, John shifted his grip and rocked harder against me, sweet friction everywhere that counted.
"You could fuck me if you wanted," I offered casually.
John's hips stuttered against me. "I... had imagined I'd have to convince you," he ground out, sounding really turned on and on-board with the idea.
I felt a little bad, keying him up so much while I was so mellow. Except how I totally didn't. Turnabout, baby. I smiled and tightened my legs around him so his cock nestled that much more against my ass. "Sorry. I can play hard to get if you prefer."
"We can skip that, I think." If he was shooting for calm, collected Baron-Lord, he missed it a bit, which was flattering. I opened my eyes enough to see him, leaned over me, eyes dilated and dark with arousal. Wet and begging for it was a good look for him.
The upside of my boneless physical state was how easy it was. I let John tip me up in the water just a little further and he met no resistance getting his fingers in me, no slick, just stretching me where I was already nearly ready for it.
I rubbed the heel of one foot against his back. "Hey, go for it, I'm good."
"I don't think--"
"John. Come on."
Marcone took a deep breath, steeling himself somehow. Then he pushed into me in one long, endless thrust. Even as loose as I was, it was a full, cleaving sensation that shook me out of my trance. My breath caught as he bottomed out, grip on the rim tightening. "Stars, John..."
John ducked his head as he drew out gradually and fucked back into me. It was rougher this time, with my muscles coming back alive. But it was a good hurt, chasing the pleasure and mixing into something big and overwhelming, something I couldn't fight back as it snuck up my spine tore through my lethargic head. I expected a quick, easy fuck. I couldn't handle this. My back arched, my face fell under the water.
John backed away, pulling me with him until I had to let go of the tub. He shifted one hand away from where it'd been squeezing and massaging my ass and instead pressed it flat against my spine, curling me up. I resurfaced. "Stay with me, Harry," he said when I could hear again.
"Can't, oh fuck," I gasped, grabbing his arms and holding on as he kept on. He didn't have the leverage to fuck me quickly, but the little thrusts were deep and made my blood pound. "Fuck, harder."
"I can't, wait." He pulled out of me and I tried to stop him, following him as he moved. He helped, keeping my legs locked around him as he floated to the opposite side of the pool. "That's it, come here," he urged as he settled into the seat and dragged me onto him. And then onto him.
"Oh," I gasped softly. Somehow I ended up in his lap, impaled on him. I adjusted for a moment, resting my head on his shoulder. I felt hot, almost too hot. I wanted to climb out, sprawl over the cool ground, but I wanted this more.
I seized his shoulders and drew up and down, riding him hard. John mouthed against my shoulder, biting and tasting my skin until I could feel the beginnings of a wide, red mark. I didn't care, just kept working myself against him, marveling at the one-eighty he'd edged out of me, driving me crazy in such a short time.
Short indeed. I came too fast, feeling my orgasm like a punch in the gut. I went lax again in his arms, slumping against him with a thready moan. I was so spent, so tired and relaxed, I could barely support myself. I felt John take my hips in hand again and worked me on his cock, just a few shallow thrusts before he came, somehow hot enough I felt it even though I was feverishly warm.
I did nothing to help out when John shifted me, positioned me so I was half laying in his arms. He stood, swayed under the strain of holding me once I left the water, but managed to get me out.
I flopped uselessly against the tile around the tub, just trying to catch my breath. "Nngh."
"Eloquent," John muttered. He climbed out as well, sitting on the edge of the tub next to my head. I expended just enough energy to turn onto my back, looking up at him. He was attractively pink and debauched hair spiked from the water and terribly askew.
I noticed the tub was silent, the jets stopped. I winced preemptively. "Did you shut that off?"
He arched an eyebrow at me. "No."
John chuckled and put his hand in my hair, petting me affectionately. "Harry, I assure you, I do not mind."