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A Well Respected Man

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It was all Felix's fault. If not for him and his stupid, insatiable boyfriend, none of it would have happened. That's Ferdinand's story anyway, and he was sticking to it.

It started innocently enough. While Felix was not exactly the sociable type, Ferdinand had been determined to make friends with him regardless after he'd been hired on at Black Eagle Security.

It had been difficult but after finally finding a shared interest in historical weaponry (and the latest season of Real Housewives of Enbarr, though Ferdinand was sworn to secrecy on that), the two had become habitual lunch partners over time.

It was a typical day like any other. They’d been making light conversation, and complaining about difficult clients over lunch at Felix’s desk. Their phones had been sitting side by side, and being nearly the same model, Ferdinand could hardly be blamed for accidentally mistaking Felix's for his own.

Just his luck that the screen lit up with a text as soon as he picked it up. Not only that, but the sender's attached picture was included in the notification.

It took a second to register, but as soon as he realized what exactly he was looking at, Ferdinand felt his face burn hotly as his jaw dropped. Felix, ever the observant one, immediately swiped the phone out of Ferdinand’s hand. Looking at the screen, he too flushed a bright shade of red before furiously shoving his phone back in his pocket. "I've told that idiot a million times, not while I'm working!" He hissed.

Ferdinand could only smile awkwardly and pretend he hadn't just seen Sylvain Gautier's fully erect dick splashed across Felix's screen. "U-um. My apologies, I did not realize I grabbed the wrong phone."

Felix only scowled, stabbing at his salad violently with his fork. "Unbelievable! I swear, when I get home, that fool is in for it!"

Judging from the picture he’d just sent, Ferdinand was pretty sure that had been Sylvain’s intent. However, he wisely chose to stay quiet about the matter, and politely changed the subject.

Still. Ferdinand wondered if Felix would be so prickly about it if Ferdinand hadn't been the first one to see the picture. Judging by how Felix refused to make eye contact with him for the next few days, he’s pretty sure he knew the answer.

Eventually he put it out of his mind. There were other things to worry about, such as the giant stack of client files his boss dropped on his desk a week later.

"You'll have these done by Monday, won't you von Aegir? After all, you are such a dedicated worker, a little extra responsibility wouldn't phase you, would it?" Mr. von Vestra had asked with that self-satisfied smirk of his.

When he first started working at the office a few years ago, Ferdinand would have argued with him about how much work he already had on his plate, only for von Vestra to gleefully give him more. At this point in time however, Ferdinand was on to his game. Despite all his boss's best efforts to persuade him to quit, Ferdinand refused to give in, instead offering a chipper "Consider it done sir! Not a problem for me!" Alongside a big smile, if only because he knew von Vestra hated it.

Why the man wanted him gone so badly, he had no idea. Despite Ferdinand’s every attempt to be friendly, von Vestra seemed determined to give him nothing but grief in return. Ferdinand had nearly ripped his hair out trying to figure out what it was he might have said, or what perceived slight he might have given von Vestra upon their first meeting to make him loathe Ferdinand so much. Nothing came to mind.

The only possible reason he could think of was that his father used to work for the company years and years ago. Ferdinand was not so ignorant as to think the familial connection had nothing to do with his own initial hiring, but it wasn’t as though he did not work hard for his position! If anything, he always tried to go above and beyond in order to silence any rumours of nepotism and prove he was worthy of his station.

Von Vestra wanted those files done by Monday? Fine. Ferdinand finished by Saturday afternoon, fueled by the thought of how much it would bother the utter troll of a man. Sure, he'd come in to work on a weekend, and had pulled a near all-nighter to accomplish it, but picturing his boss's sour look when he realized Ferdinand had overcome his little challenge was worth it.

It wasn’t as though he had much else going on in his life anyway. If his surly boss thought Ferdinand would be sour about losing part of his weekend, he was sorely mistaken.

He was so proud of himself he sent von Vestra a short text announcing the completion of his task before he promptly passed out on his couch from exhaustion.

He could have gladly stayed there until Monday morning, but the ringtone of his cellphone brought him back to the waking world. Stifling a yawn, he read Dorothea’s name over the caller ID and swiped the “answer” button on the screen.

“Hello?”

“Ferdie! So glad you picked up! I have some news for you.”

Ferdinand stretched his arm out as he sat up, willing the tiredness out of his body. “Oh? Do tell!”

"Guess who got the leading role in next season's new soap opera?"

His face lit up. She’d been over the moon about auditioning for the role last time he saw her, he was glad to hear she’d gotten what she wanted. "Oh Dory! You did?"

"Nope! So get dressed, we're going out tonight to party my misery away. I'll meet you at your place in an hour."

His heart sank. "Oh no… oh Dorothea, I am so sorry. You truly deserved that role."

"Oh, I'm aware! But whatever, it is what it is. Just be a good wingman tonight so I can at least get fucked in a good way for once."

As ladylike as ever, that one. She hung up on him, and seeing as how she was usually early, Ferdinand dragged himself off the couch to get ready for her arrival.



--



The club was a typical hook-up bar that Ferdinand wouldn’t dare step into on his own. Dorothea however, was having the time of her life sweet-talking men and women into buying a never ending supply of drinks for the both of them throughout the evening.

Eventually she found a pretty girl to focus her interest on, and Ferdinand took it as his cue to leave her to it. The dance floor seemed inviting enough, and he was never one to pass up a chance to show off a bit.

Letting the beat of the music guide him, he let himself unwind as his body swayed to the rhythm. It wasn’t long before he felt a firm dance partner sidling up against his back and putting hands on his hips. No one he recognized, but handsome enough to convince Ferdinand to take him up on his offer of a drink while he introduced himself as William.

One drink turned into two, which turned into four, and after confirming Dorothea was good to go her own way for the night, Ferdinand wound up in the back seat of a taxi with his mouth on the man’s neck, and William’s hand palming over his crotch.

The rest of the night progressed as expected, and come morning, Ferdinand was well fucked, well rested, and had a new number in his phone for whenever he was feeling a little bored and frisky.

All in all, it was a good night.



--



By the first day of the new month, von Vestra had doubled Ferdinand’s workload when he wasn’t looking, Bernadetta needed help smoothing things over with a particularly nasty client, and no one had done any preparations for Petra’s upcoming birthday that Friday. Naturally, Ferdinand took it upon himself to try and calm the chaos.

Thankfully, Bernadetta’s client was no challenge for Ferdinand’s charms. He sat beside her, smiling brightly as the client ranted about the cost of labour. Bernadetta was shaking in her seat from nerves, but Ferdinand knew how to handle big personalities such as this. Hell, after living with his father for so long, this was practically a cakewalk.

He managed to placate the man with sweet words in between explanations, compliments for bringing such matters to their attention, and fluffing up his ego enough so that the idiot ended up eating out of Ferdinand’s palm, so much that he finished the call by agreeing to update his current package with all the extra cost benefits.

The man thanked Ferdinand at the end of the conversation, promising to call him by name if he needed more help. To his credit, Ferdinand kept smiling and laughing right up until the phone was back in it’s charging dock.

“What an ass,” he muttered after hanging up. Beside him, Bernadetta looked slightly calmer at least.

“Thanks Ferdie… I’m sorry I bothered you with this but when he started yelling at me, I just…”

Ferdinand waves his hand, smiling gently at her. “Not at all! You did what any reasonable person would do, and I absolutely will not stand idly by while a sweet person like you is verbally harassed! The least I can do is take over for you. I am only sorry I could not properly tell him off for being so rude to you.”

“I-It’s ok! You were great, thanks again.”

“You’re welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a birthday party to plan!”

Confident that Bernadetta would be alright for the time being, he stood up and left her desk, already mentally going over a list of bakeries to call, only to look up and find von Vestra staring him down from across the office.

Oh god, had he been watching him while he took Bernadetta’s call for her?

Swallowing nervously, Ferdinand pasted an awkward smile on his face, nodded to von Vestra, and kept walking. Hopefully the man didn’t say anything to Bernadetta. Ferdinand might be used to von Vestra’s mind games, but Bernadetta was a sweet girl who was only trying to do her best. She didn’t deserve to be reprimanded over nothing important.

Thankfully, it seemed like von Vestra had other things to worry about. He shut himself away in his office and was barely seen for the rest of the day.

Ferdinand managed to order a cake from a highly rated Brigidian specialty place, arranged for decorations to be brought in, and made sure to let everyone know to sign the birthday card in the break room when they could.

He ended up having to stay late at the office again to catch up on the mountains of paperwork von Vestra had left in his care, but no matter. Again, he took it as a challenge. If he ever hoped to become even close to CEO someday, he would simply need to get used to living at work after all.

It wasn’t all a waste at least. The office was technically closer to William’s apartment anyway.

Sure enough, his phone vibrated with a text from William just as Ferdinand was finishing up the last document on his to-do list. Figuring he could use a little stress relief, Ferdinand sent an emoji-filled agreement to meet up as soon as he left.

After shutting down his laptop, he gathered up his things and headed out toward the elevator. As he walked past the empty desks and cubicles, he noticed the lights on from underneath von Vestra’s doorway.

Curious. His boss was known to stay late, true, but not usually this late.

Well, whatever. Ferdinand shrugged and went on his way. Perhaps von Vestra was staying late to come up with new plans to torture him throughout the week. It wouldn’t surprise him in the least.

Not wanting to waste any more time or effort on thoughts of his boss, Ferdinand left, eager to relax, unwind, and get his brains fucked out until the early morning.



--



The rest of the week passed rather uneventfully. The only thing of note was that Ferdinand noticed von Vestra’s office lights on every evening before he left for the night. He’d been tempted to ask him about it, but the door was always closed, and Ferdinand was perhaps a little afraid of inviting more work to be piled onto himself by inviting undue attention.

Still, he was pleasantly surprised to see von Vestra had managed to find the time to sign Petra’s card at least, even if he didn’t actually show up to the party. It ended up being a smashing success as far as office birthdays went. The cake was delicious and beautifully decorated, and Petra was delighted by the little party hats a few of her coworkers had decided to wear.

Being a Friday afternoon, the office wasn’t exactly their most productive. Still, everyone was in good spirits. Caspar and Ashe helped with the party clean up, and if everyone decided to leave half an hour early, no one said anything.

Von Vestra was still holed up in his office, so it wasn’t like he would even notice.

For his part, Ferdinand was excited for the evening for once. William had invited him out to dinner that night, a rarity in their newfound relationship which still mainly consisted of simple booty calls.

It wasn’t as though Ferdinand minded the pure physicality of their relationship. After all, what else could he expect from a club hookup? Still, he enjoyed William’s company, and liked to think the reverse was also true. And yes, he might be busy with his work often, but that didn’t mean Ferdinand didn’t have dreams of actual romance too. He was always a little jealous when coworkers would get a bouquet of flowers from their partners, or talk about dinner dates and cozy nights in.

So hearing William wanted to just spend time with him for the sake of having Ferdinand’s company, well… it was exciting!

Exciting enough that he rushed home to get ready for his date, and forgot his phone on his desk at work.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it,” He mumbled under his breath as he rode the elevator back up to his floor.

He’d just finished styling his hair to perfection and pulling on his nicest outfit when he’d realized his mistake. It was a little awkward coming in and walking past Jeritza at the security desk while he was all dressed up for a night out. At least the security guard didn’t say anything and let him in without question.

Still. What a hassle. At least he’d planned everything early, so it wasn’t like he’d be late. He just needed to grab his phone, and maybe he could meet up with William early.

Thoughts of the two of them taking a romantic walk around the park on their way to dinner filled Ferdinand’s head as he rushed over to his desk. Sure enough, his phone was exactly where he’d left it next to his monitor.

Mission accomplished, Ferdinand started back through the empty office toward the elevator. He was almost there when he heard a loud thumping noise coming from the Department head’s office. Stopping suddenly, Ferdinand turned his head and was shocked to find von Vestra’s door open for once, and his boss’s head in his hands.

He should keep going. He was almost to the elevator and von Vestra had not seen him yet. He should just keep walking and leave well enough alone.

He should, and yet… he rapped his knuckles lightly over the heavy wood door, instantly drawing von Vestra’s attention. “Sir? Are you alright?” Ferdinand asked gently.

“Von Aegir,” his boss murmured in a rare moment of surprise. Quickly, his features hardened into his usual indifferent mask. “It’s late. Shouldn’t you be at home singing to birds, or whatever it is you overly positive people do?”

Ferdinand rolled his eyes. “Well if you must know I was on my way to-” he paused as he finally took notice of the deep shadows and bags under von Vestra’s weary eyes. “Uh. Nevermind. Suffice to say, I forgot my phone here before leaving today.”

Von Vestra nodded. “I see. Well. Don’t let me stop you from your evening.” He turned back to his computer screen.

Ferdinand shifted awkwardly on his feet. He’d worn his nicest heeled boots, but they were not exactly the most comfortable. “R-right. Well…” He started to turn away, then thought better of it. “Mr. von Vestra, my apologies for interrupting you, but… you seem troubled. Is there anything I can help you with?”

Von Vestra scoffed. “While your concern is noted, I have no need of your brown-nosing right now, von Aegir. I’m in the middle of trying to fix an extraordinarily vexing problem, and I don’t have the time to give you all the attention you are so constantly in need of. I can handle my own problems just fine.”

Ferdinand put his hands on his hips and glared back at him. Maybe it was the boots and outfit giving him a surge of confidence, but he’d decided enough was enough. “Yes, that’s right, I dropped in here before a date with my boyfriend-” a lie, but who’s counting? “-just to bother you for attention. Is that truly what you think of me? That I am here to suck up to you? I only came over here because I saw you looked like death passed over and thought perhaps something had happened to you! Clearly I was wrong to waste my concern!”

He turned to leave, but surprisingly von Vestra reached out a hand and leaned forward. “Stop. I-” he sighed.

“You’re right. I’m sorry, it’s been...well. It’s been a long week.” He pushed his dark hair back in frustration, and that’s when Ferdinand realized just how serious the situation must truly be. Von Vestra was not the type to show any kind of weakness or fatigue if he could help it, especially to those working beneath him.

“Obviously what I’m about to tell you is confidential but…” he shook his head and glared down at his keyboard before looking back to Ferdinand.

“There was a problem earlier this week,” von Vestra explained. “An information leak regarding an error in one of our top client’s security systems. The person behind the leak is attempting to extort us for an exorbitant amount of money. If the situation isn’t handled before their deadline on Monday, Edelgard…” he stopped and cleared his throat. “-Ms. von Hresvelg will have to deal with not only a large media storm and resulting fallout, but also a potential lawsuit. It could very well cost her and the company dearly. I myself will most definitely be fired, but compared to what Ms. von Hresvelg will have to deal with…”

Von Vestra looked worn down to the bone. Ferdinand felt his heart strings being plucked at like a harp. He knew his boss and the CEO were extremely close friends. The idea of Edelgard von Hresvelg’s name being muddied over something this would definitely be a critical blow to von Vestra.

“Are you sure there is nothing I can do to help?” Ferdinand asked, genuinely concerned.

“Unless you can figure out what piece of human garbage is making this play, or help me find a way to fix the error, then I think not.” Von Vestra pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be here for awhile. Go home, Ferdinand. This doesn’t concern you, and your boyfriend is probably waiting.”

It’s an opening to leave. A parting gift, Ferdinand realized. It’s the nicest thing his boss has probably ever done for him. He should just take him up on it. Especially after all the crap he’d had to deal with due to von Vestra’s inexplicable distaste for him. After all the late nights, lost weekends, short lunches, clipped insults…

It would serve him right to leave him in the lurch and end his career. Just desserts for his rotten attitude toward him over the years.

But… despite how much the man infuriated Ferdinand, he knew von Vestra was not really a bad man. Their department’s numbers were better than they had been in ages since von Vestra took over, and he knew the man did actually care about the other employees working under him. Why else let Bernadetta have the cubicle with the highest walls, or make sure there was a separate minifridge in the break room for Linhardt’s gluten-free food? And other than Petra’s birthday, von Vestra always made sure to make at least a short appearance for staff celebrations.

Maybe he had some sort of grudge against Ferdinand, but it didn’t mean he should lose his job. Making up his mind, Ferdinand set his mouth into a stern line and pulled up William’s number on his phone. Despite how much he didn’t want to cancel, he sent him a quick text explaining that he would not be able to make it to dinner that night and that they would have to postpone.

Without a word, he left von Vestra’s office. Instead of heading to the elevator, Ferdinand marched over to his work station, and grabbed his laptop from his desk..

Von Vestra stared at him in shock as Ferdinand walked back inside his office and set his laptop down on the opposite side of his desk. His boss’s eyes were wide as he searched Ferdinand’s face, no doubt expecting him to change his mind at any moment.

Ferdinand responded by smiling earnestly as he shrugged off his jacket. “Let’s get this figured out, shall we?”



--



It took all night and nearly all of the next day to find a solution to their problem. Ferdinand had tied back his hair in a messy bun, and von Vestra had loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt down to his collarbone in their efforts to be slightly more comfortable during their self-inflicted crunch time. A couple take-out boxes from the chinese place down the street had kept them fed when they needed it, and the vending machine in the breakroom provided any other necessities to get through the night.

They took turns napping on the leather couch in von Vestra’s office when fatigue became too much to ignore, but otherwise, they worked tirelessly to find the problem. Ferdinand pulled a few favours to get some friends in other departments to forward him some extra information regarding their culprit, while von Vestra hounded the programming department chief over the phone to find some kind of way to find and correct the error in the new system.

Miraculously, they managed to produce some concrete results together. Thanks to his meticulous digging into various departments’ workplace drama, Ferdinand managed to find out their extortionist was simply a low level IT grunt. Apparently the whole thing started with the man attempting to get revenge on a colleague for dating a girl he’d initially had his eye on, but who did not return his affections.

With a lead on the cause of the problem, von Vestra was able to pull up some substantial evidence of the man’s tampering in no time. Within the hour, he had enough lawsuit material to make any lawyer dance their hearts out over the obvious grave they would be putting the defense in.

As a final attack, Ferdinand managed to dig up their culprit’s personal cell phone number, and watched as von Vestra graced the man with a personal call.

Ferdinand was only a little ashamed at how much satisfaction he took in the way von Vestra’s smooth voice tenderly described to their extortionist just how thoroughly he could ruin his life as he spoke to him over the phone. It was strangely hypnotic to listen to him threaten the person they’d both been cursing for the past twenty something hours without von Vestra losing an ounce of his composure.

By the end of the call, Ferdinand had to cross his legs. He blamed it on the long day and lack of sleep.

Thirty minutes later, von Vestra received a prompt email from the programming department head informing him that the new system was cleared for it’s update, and that there was now an open employment opportunity in their department if anyone was hoping to transfer over from sales.

It was like a heavy weight had been lifted from both of their shoulders. Ferdinand let out a shout of joy and slapped von Vestra on the shoulder as he laughed in relief. Shockingly, his boss let out a soft chuckle too, offering Ferdinand a small grin of his own.

“My my! The intimidating Mr. von Vestra can smile! Will wonders never cease?” Ferdinand joked as he gathered his things from von Vestra’s desk.

“Yes, well, miracles are known to happen once in awhile,” von Vestra replied cheekily, clearing off his own mess.

Empty take-out boxes and vending machine drinks cleared, they pulled on their coats and walked out to the elevator together. Ferdinand winced with every step in his boots, but at least he would be able to replace them with his fuzzy slippers as soon as he was home.

Waiting for the elevator to greet them, von Vestra cleared his throat. “Ferdinand. I… thank you. I couldn’t have solved this mess without you.” He readjusted his tie and kept his eyes firmly on his hands.

Von Vestra opened his mouth and then closed it. Then did it again. If Ferdinand didn’t know any better, he’d almost think his boss looked a little bashful. Finally, von Vestra seemed to find his courage.

“After some further reflection I also realize I may have been… a little harsh on you in the past.” At Ferdinand’s sarcastic laugh, his cheeks turned the barest hint of pink. “Yes, well… for that I am sorry. Truly. Without your help these past hours, the company could have been facing a major disaster. So I…well.” He coughed. “Thank you.”

Ferdinand smiled and tucked a stray lock of orange hair behind his ear. “Wow. That must have been painful.” He laughed at the look von Vestra shot him and waved his hand. “Still. I appreciate it. Though I could not have fixed this problem alone either. I’m glad I had your help as well. We make a good team, don’t we Mr. von Vestra?”

“Hubert.”

“Hm?” Ferdinand asked as the elevator dinged and the doors opened.

“You don’t have to call me Mr. von Vestra all the time. The others don’t. My name is Hubert.” He turned his head to meet Ferdinand’s gaze and offered another small smile.

Ferdinand returned it and stepped into the elevator with him. “Very well. If you insist, Hubert.”



--



While William had been unhappy about their cancelled dinner, he at least had the courtesy of letting Ferdinand wait until Sunday night to meet him at his place. Graciously, he allowed Ferdinand to make it up to him by way of his mouth on his dick.

Truthfully, Ferdinand had hoped to simply have the rest of the weekend to himself to relax and recuperate, but he did feel bad for cancelling. Even if it was for good reason.

Monday morning, he almost wanted to groan when he walked back into the office. Hadn’t he just been there? Still, his bad mood evaporated quickly when he reached his work station and found a small bouquet of sunflowers in a vase on his desk.

His first thought was that William had sent them of course. He must have been sympathetic to Ferdinand’s long shift and sent them to cheer him up - how romantic!

There was a small note attached. Plucking it out of it’s holster eagerly, Ferdinand held it close to read the lovely, looping print.



Thank you again for your assistance this past weekend. I could not have done it without you. I realize these flowers will not make up for your lost time, however I hope they brighten your day nonetheless.

Sincerely,

Hubert.



Ferdinand gaped at the note with wide eyes. Von Vestra - Hubert, had actually given him a thank you gift? Flowers, at that! And not even funeral ones!

He almost wanted to check if there was perhaps a viper hidden among the stems. Why else give him such a nice gift if not for a ruse? Sure, Ferdinand had helped him out over the weekend, but surely von - Hubert, his name was Hubert dammit - would not get over his dislike for Ferdinand so easily?

Apparently he did if the rest of the week was any indication. Not only did Hubert not pile on stacks of extra client work on Ferdinand's desk in the morning, he also nearly gave poor Caspar an aneurysm by publicly complimenting Ferdinand on his last client contract while they were all in the breakroom together.

It was weird. Not unwelcome, but weird nonetheless.

It seemed Hubert had truly reassessed his previous judgement of Ferdinand after their long shift together. No longer did Ferdinand look up to find his boss glaring at him or making snide comments in passing. Now when he caught Hubert staring, there was no malice behind it, and if anything, Hubert seemed to be doing what he could to help lessen Ferdinand’s load by giving him fewer clients, though the ones he did get were high priority.

Eventually it became so that sometimes when Ferdinand left a little later than usual, Hubert would ride down the elevator with him and nod along while Ferdinand chatted him up about whatever things of note had happened during the day. A couple times he even walked him out to his car so that Ferdinand could finish the story he was telling, despite Hubert having a car in the underground lot while Ferdinand’s was in the regular outdoor section.

It was nice. More than nice, actually. Hubert was surprisingly funny in conversation, and a great listener. He remembered even the little things that Ferdinand would mention, and his dry wit was actually great fun to banter with now that Ferdinand knew there was no real malice behind his words.

“Are you sleeping with him?” Linhardt casually asked Ferdinand a few months after Hubert’s good mood started making itself known around the office.

“Wh-What?!” Ferdinand spluttered, nearly dropping his mug of tea. “Why would you even suggest that? I’m not- he isn’t- I-” He wasn’t sure why he was floundering for words, all he knew was that his face felt hot and he was extremely embarrassed. “I have a boyfriend!”

“Ah yes… the human dildo. Dorothea told me about him.” Linhardt yawned. “He sounds charming.”

“He is not a human dil-” Ferdinand stopped, remembering how his voice tended to carry across the office when he got shrill. “W-why would she say such a thing?”

Linhardt shrugged. “Apparently he has no personality and you only use him for sex?”

Ferdinand opened his mouth to argue, but Linhardt cut him off. “Not that I’m judging. Seems like a nice, uncomplicated deal in my opinion. But you seem the type to want more than that. You know, the whole flowers and chocolates, and poetry beside a castle sort of thing.”

Ferdinand’s ears were red, he was certain of it. “There is nothing wrong with wanting to be properly romanced I’ll have you know!”

“Yeah, I thought so.” Linhardt hummed. Paused. “So. You never answered; are you sleeping with Hubert?”

“No!” Ferdinand hissed.

“Hm. That’s a shame. If you did, he’d probably give everyone a raise.”

He finally left when Ferdinand started throwing a pile of paper clips at him.



--



Just because Hubert was being nice to him now, and just because yes, Hubert was an attractive man with an attractive voice, did not mean Ferdinand was going to fool himself with the idea that they could ever be a thing. After all, with the way he talked Hubert was most likely carrying a torch for the damn CEO of their company.

Also Ferdinand had a boyfriend. Well. Sort of.

Maybe William had not asked him out on a dinner date again and they were still in the strictly physical part of their relationship. And maybe Ferdinand was a little tired of the same kind of sex over and over. And maybe he was not exactly getting the sort of satisfaction he was hoping for whenever they had their little sleepovers.

It happened to all couples, right? It was just a rough patch, they were still new enough to be working things out.

That’s what he explained to Dorothea over wine at her place. She, unfortunately, did not agree.

“Ferdie, William treats you like a dog on a leash. And you let him! And it’s not even in a sexy way. With you two it’s just kind of sad.” Ferdinand made a sound of protest but she ignored him. “He’s just so… so mediocre! You could do way better.”

She took another sip of her wine, ignoring the movie they had been attempting to watch while she propped her feet up on his lap. “Dump him. That’s my advice.”

Ferdinand flicked his fingers at her foot in response. “I’m not going to dump him. He’s sweet, he just… needs some time. He did ask me to a dinner date a few months ago! I just had to cancel on him and I think he took it badly. He’ll build back up to it, you just wait and see!” He emptied his own glass down his throat. “We’re still just having fun first.”

“Ooh yeah, missionary and doggy style on alternating weekends, how exciting.” Dorothea rolled her eyes. “You know how many times Ingrid made me cum the last time we hooked up? Three. And she didn’t even really know what she was doing that much. I got her to cum like twice as much that same night.”

Ferdinand made a face at her. “I thought I told you I don’t need to hear the details of your sex life? And that you don’t need to guess at mine!” He glared at the empty glass in his hand. “Besides, didn’t you and Ingrid break up ages ago?”

“Rude,” Dorothea muttered. “And beside the point. You’re seeing him for sex. And apparently the sex isn’t even that great, otherwise you wouldn’t be so hesitant to tell me about it. So obviously something needs to change, and it doesn’t sound like it’ll be him.”

He turned away from her and made a weak attempt to watch the movie while she refilled his glass. “It might be?” was the only response he was able to come up with.



--



He thought about Dorothea’s words all night, even after his taxi dropped him off at home. At first he was embarrassed, but after the extra drinks, he was leaning more toward spiteful.

“The sex isn’t boring!” He said out loud to no one as he stumbled through the hall and into his room. “It’s- it’s great! It’s gonna be great!”

He tripped over the clothes he’d forgotten earlier on the floor and fell awkwardly onto his bed. Groaning, he rolled himself over and started pulling off his shirt. Stupid Dorothea and her stupid reasoning. What did she know? It wasn't like she'd ever been in a relationship longer than a couple months either!

If he wanted good advice on love, he should have just asked Felix. After all, Felix could be a complete and utter asshole, and yet he’d managed to keep his claws in Sylvain for three years now!

And maybe it was the wine messing with him, but thinking about the two of them brought back the memory Ferdinand had tried so hard to forget for his friend’s sake. He was drunk, he couldn't help it.

Sylvain had looked good in his picture for Felix. He’d found just the right angle and lighting to really accentuate his body too. He must have sent a few before figuring out what made his boyfriend tick the most. And judging by the bite marks Felix always tried to hide behind high collars and long hair, they were definitely not having boring sex.

Well. If someone like Sylvain Gautier could do it, then Ferdinand von Aegir could do it even better!

That's what he told himself as he started to strip off the rest of his clothes until he was completely nude. Before he could second-guess himself, he pulled out his phone and opened up the camera app. Trying out some different poses, Ferdinand did his best to figure out the math behind the best possible pose to get his lover all riled up.

After a few practice shots, he decided to be a little cheeky and slipped his favourite zip up hoodie over his shoulders. William had mentioned he thought it looked cute on him in the past, and the black fabric made a nice contrast against Ferdinand’s naked skin.

Leaving it unzipped, he maneuvered himself around the bed, trying to find the best angle. Finally, he settled on a decent shot. His long legs were splayed out over his sheets, though his thighs pressed together to clearly frame his erection. His positioned his sweater so that the opening fell back just enough for one of his pink nipples to peek out from behind the zipper.

While he couldn't fit his entire face in the frame, his mouth was at least visible. Ferdinand’s long hair also fell in wavy locks all around him, obviously hinting at who was modelling. On a whim, he stuck out his tongue at the last minute just to be cute and hit the capture button.

Confident that he had finally taken the perfect shot, he checked it over and quickly adjusted the lighting filters until he was satisfied it looked as good as possible. The wine from earlier was really catching up to him and he was eager to just touch himself and fall asleep, but dammit he had something to prove first!

Yawning, he pulled up the text app on his phone and quickly attached his latest picture. He hit send before he could talk himself out of it and set his phone back on the side table. Hopefully William would respond soon so that they could maybe have a little late night call with each other.

He did not. Typical. Oh well. Ferdinand knew his own body well enough by now to know how to have fun on his own.

Though the wine had muddied his thoughts a little, it had also made him feel extra needy. He let himself get right into it, immediately reaching for the little bottle of strawberry lube in the nightstand drawer.

After coating his fingers with it, he tried to picture William above him as he stroked himself, imagining the look on his face when he opened his phone and saw Ferdinand’s picture. Tried to think of the dirty things he would say as he teased his fingers over Ferdinand’s tight little hole.

He tried, but his brain apparently had other things in mind. In his mind, he kept replacing brown hair with deep black, blue eyes with pale green. He kept imagining long, bony fingers sinking into him, while a sultry and familiar voice whispered what a good boy he was being for him, opening up so nicely around him.

His fingers moved faster, and he wondered if he should dig out his favourite toy from the dresser too. It was a little bigger than William, and Ferdinand hated to admit it but he was a bit of a size queen. Not that it mattered enough to dictate who he dated, but it had been awhile since he’d felt that nice, satisfying stretch.

Then he wondered what Hubert’s dick looked like, how big it was, and more importantly, what it would look like buried inside of him; and that was the end of Ferdinand for the night. He cried out sharply as his orgasm suddenly shuddered through him, curling his toes and leaving him dizzy for a few minutes as he fell back against the sheets with a whimper.

Panting for breath, Ferdinand couldn’t help but feel a surge of guilt about what exactly he’d just fantasized about.

It was normal, right? He could fantasize about other people, even if he was technically seeing someone else, couldn’t he? As long as he never acted on it, it was fine! They were fine!

He groaned and rolled over, planting his face in his pillow. It was too much to think about. He’d see William tomorrow and ask him out to dinner himself. There. Problem solved!

He managed to drag himself out of bed long enough to clean himself up. When he was finished, he collapsed back onto the mattress and fell asleep without another thought.



--



Something was off that morning. What it was exactly, Ferdinand wasn’t sure, but he had no time to dwell on it because he was running late.

In his eagerness to try and seduce his boyfriend last night, Ferdinand had forgotten to set his morning alarm. He barely had time to get dressed and eat a quick piece of toast before he was out the door and running to his car.

Thankfully traffic was kind to him that morning and he managed to arrive at the office just on time. He was even lucky enough that the elevator was empty when he walked into it.

Seeing as how the ride up would take a few minutes, Ferdinand took his phone out of his pocket to check his messages. He’d been in such a rush that morning, he hadn’t even been able to see how William had responded to his text last night. Now seemed as good a time as any. He bit his lip lightly in anticipation, eager to see his boyfriend’s response as he opened up his texts from last night.

He stared down at the screen.

That couldn’t be right. William’s name wasn’t at the top of the most recent list.

Hubert’s was.

No. No no nono no. Not possible. Ferdinand quickly pulled up his last message to William.

There was a short mention of meeting up the past Friday, and that was it. Sent four days ago.

A pit suddenly opened up in Ferdinand’s stomach. His fingers trembled as he backed out of the conversation and opened up his last message to Hubert.

His “selfie” from last night stared back at him, in all it’s naked, perfectly filtered glory.

“No.” A checkmark underneath confirmed it had been sent at 12:32am.

No!” Another little text box announced the message had been read at 6:15am.

Ferdinand whimpered. While the reality of the situation finally sank in, three little dots had appeared on Hubert’s side of the conversation. Disappeared. Appeared again. Disappeared once more. Then at last...



My office. 9:00am. Don’t be late.



The elevator door dinged open but Ferdinand didn’t hear it. At that point he’d already fainted on his feet.