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Sailing at Midnight

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Over time, Lord Haurchefant de Fortemps had become used to certain things.  The constant snow and cold was a good example- he’d learned to appreciate its beauty, and respect its deadly nature.  He couldn’t say he enjoyed it, particularly, but it no longer bothered him, as it was simply something that was now a permanent fixture in his life.  He’d formed his life around it, adapted to the fact that things had changed, and had gone ahead knowing that certain concessions would often have to be made.  Similarly, he’d become used to being a commander, the leader of Camp Dragonhead instead of a knight under someone else’s charge.  He now had men under his charge, and he took his responsibilities very seriously.  All he’d wanted was to be a knight, and once he’d become one, he’d started to realize that perhaps he truly had found his place in life.

He’d also become used to the adventurers that came and went from the camp.  He was courteous and welcoming, because in such a harsh land, who could afford not to be?  He didn’t hold to the beliefs of his countrymen that outsiders were something to be loathed, and besides, he’d learned a great deal from most of them.  He’d learned, for example, that getting attached to one wasn’t necessarily a spectacular idea, but with his good looks and charm, he didn’t find himself lacking for company if he truly wanted it for a night.  They always seemed to move on, however, especially the more delicate-seeming miqo’te, and though he missed them, he was content to let them live their own lives as he lived his.

What he wasn’t used to, he thought dryly as he stared up at the ceiling of his bedroom, was being unable to sleep for a gorgeous pair of eyes- ye gods, those eyes.  They were the kind a man could gladly drown in, could gaze into for hours at a time… and yet they belonged to an adventurer-

a male adventurer.

Haurchefant considered himself a man who appreciated beauty in all forms, whether it was the former meadows of Coerthas or the way the blanket of stars at night made the ice and snow glow softly- whether it was an elezen woman or a hyur who’d caught his attention, as well.  One thing he’d never considered, however, was taking a man to bed.  It just had never occurred to him.

Now he couldn’t stop thinking about it, and it was rapidly becoming frustrating.

It wasn’t that he hadn’t seen lovely men before.  He had, and he’d appreciated them on a purely superficial level… if not, he thought wryly, with a bit of envy at times.  After all, who wouldn’t envy a man like Ser Aymeric, Lord Commander of the Temple Knights?  Aymeric was positively blessed in that department, with his midnight-dark hair and sapphire blue eyes, and yet Haurchefant had not once considered trying to seduce him.  It was simply as alien a concept to him as growing wings and flying.

This particular adventurer, however, had made a rather remarkable entrance.  He’d saved Haurchefant’s oldest and dearest friend, Lord Francel, from being executed for heresy- and he’d done so without batting an eyelash.  He was an outsider, but his sense of justice was admirable, and Haurchefant could more than appreciate that.  He had to admit, however, that he’d been a bit wary of the adventurer at first, as he was a bit wary of all of them.  He welcomed them, yes, and accepted their aid when offered, but that didn’t necessarily mean he trusted them.  Being kind did not necessarily need to lead to being foolish, after all.

This particular adventurer had needed access to the Stone Vigil as well, and Haurchefant had thought it over for awhile before granting his request.  Far be it from him to allow the adventurer and his friends to recover something that was rightly theirs (or so they said), and if they could clear the place of the dragons that inhabited it, so much the better.  He’d shrugged and watched them go, and had gone on with his duties… and yet.

He’d been settling in for the night, relaxing and allowing himself a fantasy or two, intending on taking care of himself, as it were- and every woman he pictured ended up looking back at him with that adventurer’s eyes… and then becoming the adventurer himself.  Haurchefant could admit that the rest of him was certainly not hard to look at either, but he was absolutely baffled as to why, when he realized what was happening, his body reacted even more earnestly than it had before.  Just thinking about having him in his arms, in his bed, made him almost unbearably aroused- and he was so flustered by it that he’d had to stop and think it over.

That hadn’t drawn him to any earth-shattering conclusions, of course, save the fact that this particular adventurer had something the others didn’t, he just didn’t know what it was.

Very well.  He could allow this fantasy, he thought.  It wasn’t like he’d be seeing him again any time soon, if ever… and what harm could his own thoughts do him?

He’d gone on with his life as though not much had changed, though he found himself often gazing into the distance when he was outside and wondering how the adventurer fared.  He knew they’d recovered the airship, but not much else.  Things were normal for a little while after that, with Haurchefant even taking a couple of new lovers to bed- female, of course- and he’d just begun to forget those amazing eyes (and the man attached to them) when they appeared in front of him once more, out of nowhere.

It was late at night and he was up doing paperwork, figuring the more he got done the less he’d have to fuss with when the sun came up, when the door opened and in stumbled a half-frozen adventurer.  He jumped up, surprised, and hurried around his desk to offer aid- and to close the door before they all froze… and then he’d looked up at him, and Haurchefant’s heart had nearly stopped.

“Well, this is an unexpected surprise,” he finally managed to say.  “Welcome back, my friend.  Is aught amiss?”

The adventurer blinked up at him and shook his head, slowly pushing his hood back.  “No,” he said quietly.  “… yes, but- that isn’t why I’m here.”

Haurchefant led him to the fire and sat down next to him.  Another thing he’d realized, perhaps just in the moment, was that the adventurer spoke with a lilting accent that he could have easily listened to for days on end.  He couldn’t place it, but it was more than appealing, and Haurchefant realized, to his chagrin, that the thoughts and fantasies he’d thought himself rid of were going to be making an earnest return.

Those thoughts all vanished when he took in the sorrow in those beautiful eyes, the pinched look around his mouth, the weariness he seemed to exude.  He was beyond exhaustion, it seemed, and that more than anything made Haurchefant’s mind up to help him once more.

“Come,” he said, rising and smiling at the adventurer.  “Let’s discuss it over dinner- we’ll go to my chambers so we aren’t bothered.  You look like you could use a hot meal, and I’ve enough to do that you can sleep there undisturbed.”

He didn’t dare admit to himself that what he hoped would happen was sharing more than just conversation.  It was one thing to offer comfort when needed and another entirely to simply take advantage of a situation, and Haurchefant wasn’t a man who would stoop to such lows.

Once settled in with food and drink, and behind a closed and locked door, the adventurer seemed to relax a little.  He told Haurchefant of what they’d done since recovering the airship, of how they’d wound up infiltrating an Imperial stronghold to rescue the friends that had gone missing since before he’d first come to Camp Dragonhead.  Haurchefant listened intently, focusing more on his words than on the accent that shaped him (for which he was rather proud of himself), and he found himself sitting back in dismay when hearing that one of those friends had either betrayed them or was possessed.

The adventurer sat quietly for a little while, looking into his mug of hot chocolate, and then slowly lifted his eyes to Haurchefant’s.  “I needed… a moment away,” he finished quietly.  “I didn’t know where else to turn.”

Haurchefant could certainly understand that, especially after all he’d been through.  He smiled warmly and nodded.  “Have no fear, my friend,” he said.  “Camp Dragonhead may ever be a refuge for you, after the service you have done us- and me personally in aiding Lord Francel.”

“Thank you, my lord,” the adventurer replied softly.

“Call me by my name,” Haurchefant said gently.  “There’s no need to stand on formality with me, especially when it it just us two.”  He’d always been rather prideful and possessive of his title, mostly because his father had fought hard to allow him the use of it, but he never really felt the need for it when it was his friends speaking to him- and, despite barely knowing him, he did consider this adventurer a friend for all he’d done.

The adventurer studied him, then smiled faintly and nodded.  Haurchefant was used to him being a man of few words- in fact, he was rather certain this was the most he’d ever said to him at one given time- and he accepted the smile and the nod for what they were.  He could see the weariness in his eyes and rose, prepared to re-make the bed for him so he could get some rest.

“Ah, no,” the adventurer said, startled and rising from the couch.  “I couldn’t possibly put you out of your room-”

Haurchefant glanced back at him with a smile.  “Have no worries therein, my friend,” he said.  “I’ve enough paperwork and reports to keep me awake the rest of the night, and I fear if I don’t tend them they’ll come back to haunt me in the morning.  This is not uncommon.  I tend to sleep whenever I’ve the time to do so.”

He bit his lip, looking somewhat hesitant, before nodding.  “Then let me help,” he said, starting forward.  His foot caught on the rug beneath the couch and table, however, and his eyes widened before he went sprawling- and the mug he’d held shattered on the floor.

Haurchefant’s eyes widened as well and he hurried over to him.  “Dear me- are you all right?” he asked, kneeling in front of him as the adventurer swiftly gathered himself.

“I’m fine,” he replied hastily.  “My apologies, I’m simply tired-  I’ll take care of this.”

“No need,” Haurchefant said, and he realized then that they’d both reached for the same shard of pottery when his hand landed atop the adventurer’s.  Those beautiful eyes flew up to meet his own, and before he could draw back, the adventurer leaned forward and touched their lips together.  Haurchefant’s heart nearly stopped.

When he didn’t react, the adventurer drew back, cringing.  “Gods, what’s gotten into me?  Please, I beg your forgiveness, I didn’t mean…”

“No,” Haurchefant said, his thoughts tumbling over themselves and rendering him nearly unable to speak.  “No, it’s all right, you’ve nothing to apologize for, I mean…” He trailed off, captivated once more by his eyes- this time, by the look in them more than their beauty.

The second time their lips met was no different in the first for the way it jolted Haurchefant all the way to his toes, but he handled it far better.  He slowly sat back from his crouch as the adventurer cautiously moved closer, lifted a trembling hand to rest on his shoulder.  Haurchefant carefully settled his hands on the adventurer’s waist, which seemed to draw him closer yet, and when the kiss broke they were both breathing hard and staring at each other from far closer than Haurchefant had ever been to any man.  His heart was beating so hard he wouldn’t have been surprised if the adventurer could hear it, and luckily, his armor hid the rest of his reaction.

“I came back here because of something I saw in you,” the adventurer said softly- his voice was barely audible.  “I’d hoped you wouldn’t mind my presence, and just being around you seems to settle me.”

That’s funny, Haurchefant thought absently, because the adventurer unsettled him just as much- though not in a bad way.  He swallowed and nodded, still gazing into his lovely eyes.  “Stay, as it suits you,” he breathed back.  “I’ve no reservations.”

That wasn’t entirely true.  Part of this was wholly unknown to him, and though he wasn’t adverse to new experiences, he did not want to seem like a blushing virgin.  He had his pride to think about, after all.

When the adventurer smiled at him, though, all of that vanished like ice during the spring thaws.  He drew him close and kissed him again, and this time, something settled into place that felt a great deal like comfort.

It wasn’t long before the adventurer gently urged him up, and strong, capable hands swiftly found the buckles and clasps of his armor.  He realized absently that he was doing the same, and it wasn’t long at all until their armor- and their undershirts- was in a pile and forgotten as they sought a more comfortable place to rest.  Haurchefant found himself looking down at the adventurer, who lay on his bed and smiled up at him with a gentle sweetness that he’d never seen before, and he smiled back before the urge to kiss him again became too much.  He found he craved the taste of the adventurer’s mouth, the way he kissed him back that spoke of equals instead of one submitting to the other, the way his arms looped around him and held tight.

This was far different from any other encounter he’d had.

He was used to lovers of all sorts, from playful to utterly submissive to those who fought with him for dominance as passion overtook them.  He realized that he’d never lay with anyone he considered a friend, and that added an entirely new layer to the experience that he’d never thought possible.

It was sometime around then that Haurchefant tripped over the thought that it was a man in his bed, and what did he know about pleasing men? Nothing at all, that stopped him cold in his tracks as his mouth sought the adventurer’s neck.

The adventurer let out a soft sigh and tangled his hand in Haurchefant’s hair, urging him onward, but when he didn’t move he blinked and shifted to peer up at him.  “Are you all right?” he asked quietly.

“Yes… I think,” Haurchefant replied sheepishly.  “You’ll have to forgive me.  I haven’t ever, ah…”

So much, he thought wryly, for his pride.

The adventurer smiled and drew him down for another long kiss.  “Treat me like any of your other lovers,” he murmured.  “It’s not that different.”

Haurchefant paused, then shrugged internally.  He could do that.  He was a very skilled lover, this he knew, and if it truly wasn’t that different… well, he could do what they had done to him, right?

He returned to what he’d been doing, which was slowly kissing a trail down the adventurer’s neck.  The adventurer sighed softly in pleasure and titled his head sideways, urging him onward, and he grew more confident as he continued.  He nipped gently at soft skin, took his time to find the spots that would make him gasp- one beneath his jaw, one near his shoulder, and certainly more to come- and returned to them as he explored.  He noted that his breath was becoming somewhat uneven, and he took that as a good sign.

He let one hand slowly drift down his chest, taking in all the differences- and similarities.  His skin was soft and smooth, save where the ridges of scar tissue marred it… and Haurchefant realized, a bit absently, that he had many of those.  He trailed his fingers lightly along his ribcage, over his flat, toned stomach, and then shifted down to follow that trail with his mouth.  He learned that the adventurer very much liked it when he traced the scars with his tongue, hands tangling in his silver hair as he did so- and learned that teasingly grazing his teeth over a stiffened nipple would make his back arch a bit.

Though he hesitated just a bit, he continued further downward before daring to sit back and look at him.  The adventurer had one arm flung across his eyes, and the other hand gripped the blankets beneath him.  His face was flushed, his lips parted, breath coming in short, soft pants.  That was equally flattering and arousing, and Haurchefant smiled as he leaned down to kiss him.  The adventurer immediately wound both arms around him and kissed him back, and one subtle shift of his hips made Haurchefant moan faintly into the kiss.  He was so hard it nearly hurt, and this was absolutely unlike anything he’d ever imagined- even when he dared let himself try.

The adventurer made a breathless sound and pressed his hips up again, then turned those gorgeous eyes- even more so as lust-darkened as they were- to him, silently begging him for more.  Haurchefant had never been one to deny a lover such a request, and though he was suddenly nervous, he was equally determined.  He shifted a little, gliding one hand down his stomach, and the adventurer made another sound when he paused… and then his hand was pressed directly against the bulge in his soft trousers, and the sound he made then went straight to Haurchefant’s own.

Being familiar enough with his own body and knowing what he liked led Haurchefant to boldly continue, judging his skill based on the reactions he got.  The adventurer held on tighter, shuddering and spreading his legs a little more- and Haurchefant suddenly felt dizzy with the need to touch him, to taste him.  The last of his hesitation fell away as he drew back and teasingly traced the skin right beneath the adventurer’s waistband, and when the adventurer whimpered and breathed his name, he could do nothing else but give him what he wanted.  He drew the trousers down over his hips and cast them aside in favor of staring in wonder at the young man- his age, or thereabouts- beneath him.

Haurchefant simply watched him for a few breaths, taking in everything about him, before slowly setting to work.  He loved the way the adventurer’s hips jerked when he touched him, speaking to how incredibly aroused he was, and that made him feel far more comfortable- and more bold- than before.  He was doing everything the right way, or at least enough that it didn’t matter, and he wanted to do more.  He trailed his fingertips hesitantly along the length of him and looked up to see him covering his face with his hands.  He smiled, immediately and thoroughly charmed, and leaned up to nudge at his hands with his nose.  The adventurer moved them hesitantly and Haurchefant gave him a long, slow kiss.

“Are you shy?” he asked softly, making certain the only teasing note in his voice was one of fondness, of gentle encouragement.

The adventurer was trembling all over, one hand clutching Haurchefant’s shoulder, the other his arm.  “No… maybe,” he finally admitted, his voice low and breathy.  “Afraid of falling to pieces as you touch me, I fear.  I… have been attracted to you for awhile now, and this is nothing like I fantasized about- it’s far… far better.”  He licked his lips and looked hazily up at him, hips moving a little as Haurchefant stroked him lightly.  “It’s been a long time, also.”

Haurchefant felt his heart warming at the quiet confessions, and he leaned down to kiss him again.  “Have no fear,” he murmured.  “Even should you fall apart early, I’m convinced we’ve all night to see what might happen.”

Those seemed to be the perfect words, because the adventurer drew a hand to his face and kissed him hard before laying back, surrendering himself entirely.  Haurchefant ignored the aching need between his own legs in favor of giving this sweet adventurer everything he could, and he shifted down further before he lost his nerve.  He gently wrapped his hand around the length of him and leaned down to tentatively brush his tongue against the tip, and he was rewarded with a muffled cry.  This, he thought, was not so difficult nor daunting as he’d originally feared- mostly because, aside from being so aroused he could barely see straight, he truly wanted to do this.  He’d thought it might have been a bit awkward to see another man in such a state, but really, it wasn’t at all.  The adventurer was spectacularly built, having been blessed with a body that practically demanded worship, and Haurchefant was ever one to give in to such demands.

He proceeded slowly, tonguing the slit in the tip and tasting salty-sweet fluid before taking a few inches into his mouth.  He knew that sort of pleasure to be especially intense, and he didn’t want to add to the adventurer’s fears of finishing early- nor, he thought, did he want this to end soon.  He was careful and controlled as he took a couple more inches in, then a couple more.  This was one of his own favorite pleasures, and giving it to someone he’d been dreaming of for months was more than a turn-on for him.  The adventurer reached down with a shaking hand to stroke Haurchefant’s hair, silently encouraging him, begging for more… and Haurchefant obliged.  He drew back and teased the tip a bit before going down further yet, then let go entirely to trace his tongue up the vein on the underside, earning himself a low, shaky growl.  This, he thought, was absolute bliss.

Haurchefant had always wondered how his lovers managed with him, and he was quickly learning that it wasn’t as difficult as he’d thought.  What spurred him onward was the simple need to make his partner feel as amazing as he could- the sounds he made, the hand in his hair, the way he shifted and trembled all encouraged him further.  He lost track of time as he worked, and what caught him out of his concentration was that gentle hand suddenly on his shoulder, pushing him back.  He looked up to see the adventurer propped up on one arm, looking at him with wide, glassy eyes.

“I c-can’t last,” he managed.  “I thought, if… if you don’t…”

Haurchefant smiled.  The poor dear was so overcome that he could barely speak.

That spoke of success more than anything else.

He returned to his task, this time focusing his attention on the sensitive tip, and it was just a few breaths more before the adventurer made the most amazing sound… and then Haurchefant felt him throbbing in his hand, against his tongue, and hot liquid pulsed into his mouth.  He closed his eyes and focused on breathing evenly, swallowing carefully, and he managed- mostly.  He waited until the adventurer was boneless against the mattress, audibly panting, and only then did he draw back and wipe the excess from the corners of his mouth.

He didn’t know why he’d never thought of doing this before, but now that he had, he knew he’d rarely think of anything else- or anyone else.  He moved back up over him and smiled to see his hands hiding his face again, but as soon as the adventurer felt him move he quickly reached for him, wrapped his arms around him and drew him down for a long, hard kiss.

Haurchefant found himself eased onto his back in short time, the adventurer seemingly equally determined to please.  He gave in as warm hands skimmed down his chest and sides and that wonderfully hot mouth pressed kisses to his neck, his collarbone, and then lower yet.  He gasped and closed his eyes tight as the adventurer drew a stiffened nipple between his lips and sucked softly on it- something else he hadn’t really considered would feel good that felt amazing.  At that point he was so worked up all he could do was beg quietly, and the adventurer took pity on him, answering his every whimper with a warm, wet kiss to his skin, with callused fingers drawing lower yet on his body.

The sensation of the pressure on his aching erection vanishing made him sigh in relief, and he lifted his hips and then bent his knees to help the adventurer rid him of his own trousers.  It didn’t occur to him to be nervous or shy at that point, and he bit his lip hard when his lover took him in hand.  The adventurer stroked him gently, hand sliding carefully over skin slicked with desire, and then leaned down to give him the same treatment he’d given prior-

and oh-

Haurchefant had to put both hands over his mouth to keep himself quiet.  The pleasure was so intense that he found himself curling his toes and arching his back helplessly.  The adventurer’s hands were warm on his hips, keeping him still as he worked, and he was certain he’d never felt anything as amazing as his mouth.  He tried to focus on breathing evenly, on relaxing, but he was as taut as a bowstring and unable to calm his racing heartbeat.  Just focusing on giving pleasure had worked him up to this point, and he knew there was no way he’d last longer than a few more breaths.

He managed to gasp out a warning and the adventurer immediately slowed, movements becoming languid and almost lazy.  That was amazing in and of itself, and the inferno inside him slowly subsided a bit.  He closed his eyes tight, knowing that even this wouldn’t last, but it helped… and by the time the inferno had built back up, the adventurer was trying in earnest to make him climax.

With a gasp, Haurchefant felt himself losing control, and he arched as it all coalesced and exploded outward.  He’d never come this hard, of that he was certain, and it felt like it was going on forever- like each heartbeat took a wonderful eternity, like the wet heat wrapped around him was the only thing keeping him grounded.

After, the adventurer slowly let him slip from between his lips and moved up to kiss him again.  Haurchefant pulled him close and held him against his body, feeling as drained as though he’d been in combat the entire day.  The adventurer nestled against him, tucking his head under his chin and sighing softly, and Haurchefant held him close.

“Thank you,” the adventurer finally whispered softly.  “I feel… like I can breathe again.”

Those words warmed something deep inside him all over again, and Haurchefant held him closer.  “I hope you will always come here when you’re in need of solace,” he murmured.  “Not just because of that, of this, but…”

The adventurer chuckled softly, wearily.  “Have no doubt, this is at the top of my list,” he replied, his words slurred with fatigue.  “You are someone special indeed, Haurchefant.”

Haurchefant blushed.  “I don’t know about that,” he murmured, and then those gorgeous eyes were trained on his and he was speechless.

“I do,” the adventurer said softly.  He smiled and kissed him lightly, then settled back down.  “Sweet dreams… perhaps, when we wake…”

“Without question,” Haurchefant replied contentedly, and he closed his eyes.  He opened them briefly when he remembered the paperwork downstairs that still needed his attention, but he sighed and dismissed it, closing his eyes again.

He already had what was most important to him in that moment right there in his arms.