We'd had to stop using magic after the last spell Nightingale had cast - nothing very complicated - had brought two of the fae soldiers down on us almost immediately. They could sense it, it was obvious, and those flint spears might not be technologically advanced, but they were sharp enough. I'd taken a cut across my shoulderblade that hurt like hell, but there was no time to worry about how deep it was; I could still use my left arm. That would have to be good enough.
We just had to get back to the Roman road. It couldn't be more than two hundred metres away, but in the thick forest of the Wyldewood, we weren't moving quickly. And of course they had to know where we were headed. I wasn't sure how exactly this group of fae related to the ones I'd met in Herefordshire, but they were certainly the same...species? Could I call them that? Dr Walid would disapprove, but he wasn't here. It was just me and Nightingale.
Our luck ran out about five metres short of the road - four of them, all at once. I wasn't sure how Nightingale would do, without magic, but I just didn't have time to worry about it. One of them was doing his best to get that sharp flint spear in my guts, and I wasn't that confident in my Metvest. I threw my upper torso backwards and hit a treetrunk hard, but the spear missed, and that's what counted. I'd have gone for my taser but there wasn't time; I had one of Hugh's staves to hand, though, and at the next slash I countered head-on. The thing about flint is that it shatters. It makes it easy to work and it makes it easy to break, and when it encountered the oak and iron of my staff, this one just shattered right off the spear, turning it into a big stick. And a big stick - I could deal with that.
It wasn't that easy, of course - the guy, or maybe it was a woman, impossible to tell under that scale armour, was fast and determined and had a mouthful of sharp teeth. I went low and took - him, let's say him, down with a shoulder against his chest; we went down into the dirt and bracken. He didn't have the right angle to hit me with the spearshaft like he wanted, and I whacked his arm as hard as I could as I rolled away, with the iron-capped end. He howled. I stomped on his knee as I got up, and added a kick to the ribs for good measure; all that got me was a bruised foot, because slate armour, remember? But some things are instinctual. I stomped on the other arm instead. You're probably wondering why I didn't just whack him in the head with my trusty staff. I'm a trained policeman, and hitting people in the head is serious business. A kick to the ribs or a broken arm is one thing; if you hit them in the head, properly, they might not wake up. You can't know until it's done. And we aim to arrest people, not kill them.
When I looked towards Nightingale, I was already moving, adrenalin still pumping; I'd taken down that one but that'd left him with three of them. But what I saw made me draw up so sharply I nearly tripped over my own two feet. I'd seen Nightingale fight before, you see, but with magic; I'd never seen him in a physical fight, not a serious one. When he fights with magic, he makes it look effortless, despite the destruction. Now - it wasn't effortless, not nearly. There was sweat on his brow and his hair was in disarray, and he'd sustained a tragic slice across his sleeve that even Molly might not be able to repair, though there wasn't any blood that I could see. But he was efficient, and he was brutal. He used his cane like it was an extension of his arm, and it was obvious his training hadn't emphasised duty of care as much as mine had; he fetched one of them a blow to the head with the silver-topped end that left blood on the shining metal, and kicked up dirt into the face of the one who was just getting to his knees, then stamped hard on his back. The last one made a good effort, but Nightingale got behind him - he was fast, faster than he really had a right to be at his physical age, still less his real one - and bent one arm backwards at the same time as he kicked the fae's feet out from under him. There was a sickening snap and he finished it with a solid blow between the shoulderblades. None of them were getting up any time soon.
Of course, he'd been a soldier, once. I supposed that sort of training didn't go away, either.
I'm a bit ashamed to say I just stood there staring. Nightingale fought fast, and dirty, and it was probably the adrenalin talking - I hope it was the adrenalin talking - but it was a bit of a turn-on. He whipped towards me, and was visibly relieved, I assume to see me standing there; then he frowned. "If you're quite done taking in the show."
"Didn't want to get in your way," I said, a bit shakily, but I was moving again; he took a firm grip on my elbow and practically dragged me towards the road, or, rather, the clearing in the trees, which would turn into the road once we got far enough down it. I didn't need the encouragement; I was happy to leg it as fast as I could. And - I hate to admit it - the grip on my elbow wasn't really helping the whole turn-on thing.
As the wood dissolved into the tarmac and gravel of a country road, all I could think was that if those sort of thoughts were going to occur to me, I really needed to get laid.
And that was a thought that reoccurred to me with some frequency over the next few weeks; say, any time we did boxing practice. Or – not every time, just occasionally, when I’d catch Nightingale wiping sweat off his brow or the flex of muscle in his arm when he put real effort into a punch. It was such a contrast to his usual appearance, but it had to have always been there, underneath. It was just now my brain had decided to give it that extra edge, made it a thing I wanted to see. I wasn’t stupid enough to get caught staring a second time, but the remonstrations of “Peter, focus,” were perhaps more frequent than they had been previously. I needed to get over it but the first solution that always came to mind was clearly out of the question, and taking care of the problem myself wasn’t working, either. I’d let myself think about Nightingale during, just once – and then I hadn’t been able to think about anyone else. Which really wasn’t helping matters.
And then he did catch me staring. We’d just finished up, and this time I’d managed to keep focused and even trip Nightingale up twice, which didn’t happen often; so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then, right after, he stood back and stretched, arms above his head, fingers laced together, facing just away from me. He was wearing an undershirt and slacks; the shirt was clinging to his body and I knew I really needed to stop looking, because it was neither professional nor polite to ogle your co-workers when they could catch you doing it, still less your boss. But you’d have had to physically drag me away to stop me.
Nightingale relaxed out of the stretch, and turned – and caught my eye. I don’t know what was on my face. But he looked surprised, at first, eyes widening a fraction, and then – considering.
I tried to think of something to say, maybe some reason that I needed to leave the room right this second, and I had nothing. Nightingale strolled towards me. Only it wasn’t a stroll, exactly, it was a little more like a prowl, and I absolutely needed to get out of here, if only to salvage the shreds of my dignity, but he was between me and the door.
I wasn’t sure what Nightingale wanted, why he’d walked up to me; though I got a better idea when he stopped far too close for polite comfort. But not as close as I wanted him to be, right then. He hadn’t said anything, but there was a particular sort of look in his eye – I thought I knew what, but I didn’t trust myself to interpret right now. I was going to have to try actual words, or probably this was going to get stupendously awkward very quickly. But when I tried to open my mouth and say something I merely got kissed for my troubles; not gently, either.
I grabbed him like I needed to hold onto something to stay upright. Frankly, I might have. Nightingale is very good at concentrating and he was ruthless with it. I just sort of tried to keep up, executing a half-turn – more difficult than it sounds under those conditions – and pressing him back against the wall, like the support was going to help. He tensed at that, and I thought I’d done the wrong thing, but he used his hands to pull me even closer and no, it wasn’t that; I’d done the right thing. Assuming that I was prepared to go any further with this. Then again, once you’ve found yourself in a position when you have your tongue in your boss’s mouth and your incipient erection is making the acquaintance of his thigh, there’s not a lot of places left to go.
Nightingale nipped at my lower lip and it went straight to my cock. I went to brace myself against the wall and my hand landed on his wrist instead; and he definitely liked that. So I just – went with it; pressed in, pinned his wrist against the wall, but loosely, so he could twist his arm away if he wanted. And he did want; he left it there. His other hand was currently getting friendly with my arse, and that – wasn’t bad, actually, but I wondered if – so I used my other hand to take him by his other wrist, and pin that against the wall, too. Still gently. And he let me. In fact, he bucked against me a little, and detoured to bite at my neck; I was probably going to have a bruise and I didn’t care.
I won’t say I’ve never been adventurous in bed but it’s been pretty tame really; and for some reason whenever I dated girls who owned things like handcuffs the person they ended up on was always me. So I got where Nightingale was just now, sort of, that feeling of letting go. Although it had always felt a bit silly – they’d been cheap things, I could have twisted the metal without trying too hard, and once I had just by accident. But this was a different sort of rush, feeling what it was obviously doing to him; I wasn’t really restraining him any more than those stupid toy handcuffs had restrained me. It was mental – well, sex is mostly in the brain, isn’t it? And I needed my hands back, right now, and I wanted – it was – so I leaned in as close as I could, kissed the line of his jaw, and spoke softly into his ear. “Keep them there.” And I lifted my hands away.
Nightingale didn’t say anything, just nodded. I felt it more than saw it. And he didn’t move his hands; they stayed against the wall. Just where they were.
That got me arching my hips for the friction, and I kissed him again, let my hands run down his sides, settle at his waist; I could feel how fast he was breathing and that was as much of a turn-on as the rest of it. I wanted to get him off, wanted to see what he looked like giving it up for me, almost as badly as I wanted to come myself. I pulled back a bit to give myself the necessary room and drifted a hand sideways and down, let my knuckles graze his hard-on through his trousers. Nightingale twitched into it and kissed back a little more intensely. So much as that was possible. It took both hands to deal with his belt buckle, but once I was done with that I put my left hand back on his wrist. I just – I liked it. I could feel how rapidly his pulse was beating. He was rock-hard when I got my other hand on him; it was totally familiar and totally strange at the same time, with that little voice in my head saying do you realise you’re about to give Nightingale a hand-job, which, yeah, I did realise that. But it reminded me to kiss back around to his ear and say, still quietly, “Yes?” I was still weirdly aware of my hand pinioning his wrist, even though he could’ve broken away at any moment; I knew how strong and fast he was. That just made it hotter.
Nightingale huffed out a laugh. “Yes, Peter.” Then I swiped my thumb over the head, which was already damp, and the laugh turned into a moan.
So I tugged at him experimentally, then with a little more confidence; Nightingale bucked into it, and I moved closer, pinning his thigh with mine, so he couldn’t move more than a few centimetres. He let out a breathy little gasp, and that was – so I didn’t let up, just worked him as well as I knew how, tried to pay attention to what had him using that small range of motion, what made the tendons under my left hand flex as he clenched his wrist. But his hands never moved from where I’d put them, not an inch. He had his eyes closed, and what I would have given for a picture of him like this, coming all undone under my hands. And then he did, and it was everything I’d wanted to see, his face unexpectedly relaxing as his hips jerked, all that control and focus melting away for a few glorious seconds.
As Nightingale came down, gulping in air, I moved back, letting go of his wrist; I was belatedly aware of how hard I still was. Then he opened his eyes – his pupils were still blown wide – and smiled at me, and then I was really aware of it. He took the time to clean himself up first, got out a handkerchief and everything, and wiped my hand off, too. Then he raised my hand to his mouth and licked at my thumb, and that, that was cheating, if he kept at it there was an embarrassing risk I was just going to come in my trousers. I let him guide me back against the wall, in the hope – the assumption, actually – that he was going to return the favour. But he just kissed me for a little bit, holding his body away so I wasn’t getting any friction. It was maddening was what it was, and somehow not any less hot. Just before I was about to raise a protest at this unequal treatment, he went to his knees – not gracefully, maybe, but quick and efficient, like everything Nightingale ever did – and I think my brain shorted out a bit.
“Yes?” he said, pausing with his hands on my belt, and I may or may not have banged my head on the wall in sheer frustration.
“Yes, yes, you’re a bloody tease, you know that?”
Nightingale just chuckled, the bastard, but I forgave him entirely about ten seconds later when he swallowed me down. In retrospect his technique was pretty impressive, but I wasn’t in much of a state to pay attention; everything up until that point had gotten me wound so tight that I didn’t register much except the heat and damp of his mouth on me and then he did something entirely unfair with his tongue and that was it; I was coming so hard I think I broke something. I slid all the way down the wall in a boneless heap, just riding the buzz. Nightingale rearranged himself so he was sitting next to me, and put a hand on my thigh, a little possessively; I covered it with mine.
“I did think you’d been a little distracted lately,” Nightingale said thoughtfully. “I didn’t realise it was that.”
“I was trying not to be,” I said. “But you’re a very distracting person.”
“Since – recently,” I replied, because since I saw you take apart three people with your cane and your bare hands was probably not the best answer, even if it was the true one.
“I – see,” Nightingale said. I looked over; there was a smile playing around his lips. “Do you think you’ll be a little less distracted, from now on?”
“I don’t know,” I said. I suspected, somehow, that any chance I’d had of getting my thoughts away from this had vanished entirely. But I also suspected it wasn’t just going to be my problem, anymore. “I guess we’ll find out.”