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An Exchange of Rings

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*********

Greg woke up, smooth and easy. Like rising out of cool water.

His flat was cold. Not uncomfortably so; it was a prickling, awakening cold. An electric cold. Greg blinked and looked up at the ceiling of his sitting room. He was on the sofa, sprawled over it, on his back. Naked.

His blood was very warm, surging suddenly through him. Warmth in his breath, pluming from his lips. Moonlight in the window.

A flare of light and the acrid scent of a match. Greg turned his head, body still limp on the cushions. Saw Mycroft pinch the flame from the end of the match and drop it into the glass vase, which had more than berries in it now. Saw it sink in, spread to fill the spaces; a gentle, glowing blue.

Unreal. As was Mycroft, silver in the moonlight, naked as Greg. His heartbeat thundered in his ears. The flame and Mycroft’s eyes were the same dark-light, warm-cold shade.

“What is it?” Greg whispered. His voice was low and rough, creaky with sleep.

“Light enough to see by,” Mycroft answered, his voice similarly low. Long-limbed and shadowed, he looked suited to a forest, to a moonlit moor. Lust pooled low in Greg’s belly, his breath coming faster, but shallow.

There was a knife with a long handle, soaking in a clear bowl. Various roots, leaves and petals in what was surely salt water gleamed in the cool light. The sofa was itchy and warm against his skin, almost too warm. Greg could feel himself harden, had a moment of split consciousness: embarrassment for the wanton languidness that consumed him, and a pressing, itching, overwhelming desire to get Mycroft’s attention, now.

And Mycroft did look at him, his cool gaze prolonging Greg’s confusion, stoking both reactions. Sparking a strange, helpless fear when he took the knife from its bowl, stroked the blade to rid it of water.

He couldn’t move. He didn’t want to move. He licked his lips and tried to read Mycroft’s face as he walked closer.

“If I were merely human, and you were as well,” Mycroft said, sitting on the sofa, his knee so close to Greg’s thigh that electricity danced between them, “I would be called jealous. Unreasonable. And anyone who had ever touched you as I want to would find themselves quite, quite far away.” He smiled. “Perhaps someplace cold enough to cool their passion for you.”

“You are unreasonable,” Greg rasped. Mycroft took his left hand and he twitched, grew harder still. “No one’s touched me without me wanting it.”

“All the more reason.” Stroked his hand open, fingers wide, palm stretched. The knife resting like a stilled bolt of lightning on his thigh. “But thank you.”

Rush of warmth, heat in his eyes. “Don’t.”

Mycroft brought Greg’s hand to his face. Turned his mouth to the palm, kissed just under his thumb. “Aren’t you lovely.”

“Mycroft.”

“So sweet and kind.” Mycroft’s smile was secretive. He licked the pad of Greg’s thumb, bit it gently. “My question.”

“You’re not still--” Mycroft’s hand over his mouth, index finger curling in to touch his teeth. Greg’s mouth filled with saliva. Then Mycroft picked up the knife.

“Trust me?” he whispered, and sucked Greg’s thumb into his mouth. Laved it with his tongue.

So hard it very nearly hurt. Greg couldn’t get breath enough to answer. Mycroft brought Greg’s hand down, held it, palm up. Switched his grasp to the thumb and pierced it with the silver knife. So sharp Greg barely registered pain.

His blood should have looked black in the dim light, but it was red. Bright, as if it had a light of its own. Mycroft smoothed it along the blade so that it covered the entire gleaming surface, lifting Greg’s hand again when he had finished. Putting it to Greg’s mouth, that he might suck at the wound.

“Give yourself to me again,” he said, still smiling. He rubbed his stained forefinger and thumb together, the knife turned away.

The heavy iron taste of blood in his mouth. Greg felt no warmer, no colder; he didn’t feel any less or more inclined to lie back under Mycroft’s stare and beg for touch. He probed the small slit in his thumb with his tongue and let his legs fall further apart, let his back subtly arch.

Mycroft stood. Took the knife back to the table where his lantern still glowed. Even turned away, Greg could feel his bright, cool attention. Let his thumb fall from between his lips, stared again at the ceiling. “You would accept this time.”

“Oh, yes,” Mycroft said. He was back, standing between Greg’s legs. Leaning forward to support his weight on his arms, mouth mere inches from Greg’s. “Eagerly.”

A word that made Greg shudder in pleasurable anticipation. “Don’t think I dare, then.”

“Let me convince you,” Mycroft whispered, and kissed him lightly. He couldn’t move; could only hold still under the slow, tender assault, which only deepened the longer he held still. Until Mycroft was straddling him, Greg’s head tilted back and pushed into the cushions.

Mycroft sat back, thighs resting on Greg’s, so very close--

“Let me have this, then,” he said, taking Greg’s hand. Tapped his ring.

“No,” Greg said automatically, and shuddered and gasped as Mycroft slid against him, his cock hot and hard against Greg’s. His free hand curled, grabbing the cushions. His other hand grasping Mycroft’s, holding tight.

“You can have mine,” Mycroft wheedled. He was smiling. Pushed against Greg again; oh, so good, so good he couldn’t keep his eyes open. Rose to meet him, and again. “I have a use for it.”

“Oh yeah?” Greg slid his hand over Mycroft’s thigh. “Tell me, and I’ll consider it.”

Mycroft petted the back of his hand, lifted it to his mouth. Sucked his ring finger in, fast and deep. Lights in Greg’s vision and his hips bucked hard. Knocking Mycroft off-balance to rest heavily on him, skin cool as silver but for his cock, setting every nerve in his body on fire, screaming for more.

Pulled his mouth off Greg’s finger, licking and sucking. Nipping the end of it. Ring in his mouth, and Greg felt a sudden jolt of awareness at the sight of those very, very red lips. “Iron.”

Another smile, strange and secret. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Greg’s again, licked his mouth open. Pushed the ring into it. His lips were very, very warm; cooler as soon as Greg tucked the steel band into his cheek.

Mycroft thrust against him again, making his head rock back, a small gasp escaping him. HIs toes were curling. “Fuck,” Greg whispered, and felt something cool on his hand. Blinked at it, at the gold ring Mycroft was sliding onto his finger. Looked again at the painful red of Mycroft’s lips.

“You can’t want it,” he said, and rolled his hips into another thrust, hand curling around Mycroft’s wrist. The ring was cold on his finger, so cold it almost burned. It felt wonderful. He lifted it to his face, pressed it to his lips.

No answer. Mycroft busied himself sucking kisses to Greg’s throat, stroking his chest. Teasing one hard nipple and biting down on his shoulder. Didn’t ask for what he didn’t want, damn him.

Didn’t ask at all, and Greg wanted him to, wanted him to ask. Not for his ring. Let him just ask, so Greg could answer; so he wasn’t the only one obliged. Wanted Mycroft to trust him. Wanted him to fuck him, too, so much. So much--

“Yes, fine, take it,” he gasped, and raking his hand through Mycroft’s hair, clutching his hip hard. Tongued it back out from the inside of his cheek, sucked on it hard. Still wanted, with a deep, shuddering ache that broke his calm, left him frantic.

Another bite, sure to leave a mark. Mycroft put his hand to Greg’s mouth, tracing his lips with his fingertips. “If you please.”

Thought about putting it on him with his mouth. Ended up taking it carefully from between his teeth, still clutching Mycroft’s hair as he sucked hard on Greg’s shoulder. Bit back a whimper as he slid it onto Mycroft’s finger, knowing it hurt. Knowing it had to burn.

But Mycroft sat up, face flushed with triumph, and cradled Greg’s head in both hands. Kissed him hard even as he stood, ignoring Greg’s protests. Caught his hands and pulled him up, though Greg stumbled.

“Come to bed with me,” Mycroft demanded, breathless and wide-eyed. Triumph and lust and no small amount of wonder. The ring on his hand burned with cold. “Now. Please.”

Something he should be thinking of, but. “Yes,” Greg said, and let himself be led.

*********

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