Daniel de Silva had lost weight, having no appetite. He’d spent most of the past eleven days in bed, trying to forget, hating himself for doing what was right instead of doing what he really wanted to do. He’d been down that path before, though, and knew it wouldn’t end well.
Archie had no idea what it would be like, the quiet whispers – sometimes not so quiet – the sideways glances, the knowing smirks. Sure, at first Archie wouldn’t care, but eventually the cutting remarks and hostile stares would take their toll. It would go one of several ways.
There’d be a fight of some sort, over something silly and stupid, but that would give Archie the excuse he would need to leave.
Or, the things about Daniel, which Archie once found endearing, would suddenly become an irritation. Archie would want him to change, Daniel would refuse, and that would be that. Archie would leave.
The worst would be that Archie would simply stop coming around. They’d see less and less of each other, over a period of time, until eventually there’d be no more visits and they’d go on with their separate lives.
Daniel splashed some water on his face, and examined his reflection in the mirror. He hardly recognized himself, beard growing in heavy, the dark rings under his eyes proof of sleepless nights.
Why was he doing this to himself? He’d long ago come to the decision to never fall in love. Friendship and fucking were all he had to offer, and all he needed in return.
Then he’d met Archie Curtis.
Daniel had often brought himself off imagining a strong, tall, Viking warrior capturing him and taking him to his bed. When Lady Armstrong had introduced him to Archie, it took every ounce of self-control to hide the effect Archie had on him. It was as if Daniel was seeing his fantasy Viking come to life. Archie was a prime specimen of a fighter, his injury doing nothing to diminish his commanding presence.
Unfortunately, Daniel could tell that Archie had been less than impressed with him. Oh, Archie was polite enough, able to tolerate him, but no more. He knew the other men in attendance didn’t like him, but that was normal. He’d long ago stopped caring about what others thought of him. But with Archie, it had been different. The look of distaste which had flashed across Archie’s face had hurt Daniel more than he’d been willing to admit.
When they’d needed to come up with a plausible excuse for setting off the storeroom alarm, Daniel had jumped at the chance to have his Viking in his arms, or, rather, his Viking’s cock in his mouth. He wasn’t even sure if Archie liked men, and at that point, he didn’t care. Daniel’s first sight of Archie’s thick, beautiful cock had taken his breath away – no fantasy could compare! All thoughts of men with shotguns, blackmail, and mirrors had left him as he began to lick and suck Archie’s erection. Archie tasted clean and smelled of leather, Archie’s gloved hand touching the side of Daniel’s face. Daniel’s hands roamed over Archie’s thighs, digging in, encouraging Archie’s thrusts as he fucked Daniel’s mouth.
As soon as Archie had come, though, Daniel felt ashamed at what he’d done to the man. He deserved Archie’s scorn, but hearing Archie call him a prancing pansy the next day had cut him deep. Knowing Archie despised him, though, hadn’t kept Daniel from dropping to his knees a second time to worship that impressive cock.
Archie wasn’t the first man Daniel had sucked off who had despised him; most men of Archie’s class could rarely admit that they were queer, and even as they enjoyed Daniel’s talented mouth, they hated him because they enjoyed it. Daniel had become a good judge of people, working out who would react with violence and who would react with words. Words he could take; violence, as he’d learned first-hand, could be deadly.
Except somehow, Daniel had completely missed the mark in judging Archie. Archie, it turned out, hadn’t despised Daniel at all.
Quite the opposite had been true, in fact.
At first, knowing Archie was as interested in him as he was in Archie had added excitement to what he’d thought would be a dismal mission of finding sexually explicit photographs that the Armstrongs used to blackmail their guests. He wasn’t sure when his feelings towards Archie had changed, when he’d gone from a physical attraction to – wanting more. He knew something was different when he’d come into the library and had caught Archie reading his book of poems. Daniel had felt more exposed at that moment than he’d ever felt being naked. He could only attribute letting his guard down to be a result of his near-death experience in the cave, and the fact that it was Archie who had come to his rescue. How could he not fall for his Berserker warrior who’d killed in order to protect him?
“I mean, I want to see you again. Spend time with you. This, of course”—he waved a hand at their entwined bodies—“but…more. Damn it, Daniel, I want to be with you. You’re brave and clever and rather wonderful, and I even like your poems, and—”
Daniel’s heart had skipped a beat at the thought of being with Archie, actually being with him, not just fucking him, and for a second he could almost believe his fantasy of belonging to his Viking warrior could come true.
Then reality had come crashing down on him, and he’d shouted at Archie to stop! Daniel couldn’t, wouldn’t, believe that Archie really wanted to see him. It was the precariousness of their situation that had Archie seeing Daniel as more than he really was.
Hardly. He did what he did because it made him feel as if he was doing something of importance. He abhorred violence and would turn and run if faced with a physical fight.
Perhaps a little. He was able to think quickly on his feet to get himself out of sticky situations, one of the reasons Sir Maurice had recruited him.
No, Daniel was not wonderful, not in the cold reality of daily life in London. Daniel would only hurt Archie, be a taint on his reputation, and that, Daniel couldn’t stand.
“You may not call on me, and I don’t want to see you, and I am not going to be instrumental in your ruin, and you will not blame me for it. That’s an end to it.”
It had been the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, and it killed him inside to do it. But he knew he was right to walk away, to refuse to see Archie. At least, that was what his mind had said.
But his heart?
His heart was breaking. If someone were to take a knife and cut him open, there wouldn’t be anything there – just a hollow, empty space because he was a hollow, empty man.
How he ached for Archie! Dreaming, hoping, with every footfall outside his door that there’d be a knock, the door would open, and Archie would be standing there…
“Oh, dear God…” Daniel took a shuddering breath. How was he ever going to get through this?
He looked down, a sliver of light from the small window reflecting on the blade of the razor sitting beside the wash basin. He picked it up, examining it closely, pressing his thumb lightly against the sharp edge. He’d had friends who’d done it, given up and given in, thinking they had nothing to continue living for. He’d thought that was the coward’s way out, though. As bad as things had been at Cambridge, he’d never once considered suicide because of it. He’d not understood how anything could be so bad that he’d want to take his own life.
It would be so easy – a cut on one wrist, then the other. He’d lay back on the bed, the blood draining from his body, and just…drift off to sleep. No more pain, no more heartache, no more – anything. It’d be a mess, but he wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning it. He wouldn’t have to worry about anything at all.
Yes, now he understood.
With a deep sigh, he looked at himself in the mirror again. Holding the razor tightly in one hand, he knew what he had to do.
Daniel leaned back in the chair, pushing up his spectacles as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. He was tired, but felt better than he had all week. He’d shaven and dressed for the first time since his return to London. He’d even had some coffee and a few biscuits.
He stared at the stack of papers making a small pile on his desk, feeling a sense of accomplishment.
He’d started writing poetry after he’d left Cambridge as a way to try and make sense of his feelings. Since then, whenever the world started to close in on him, he’d turned to poetry. At first, his writing was just for himself. But a friend had chanced upon them and encouraged him to put a book together. Sales of the book had done surprisingly well.
He’d never written quite this much in such a short period of time, though. No doubt a result of his current emotional state.
The verse he was working on was giving him a bit of trouble. It was a veiled description of Archie, and he simply couldn’t get the words right. He’d been scratching out and rewriting for the past hour or so and was getting frustrated.
There was a knock on the door.
“Damn it!” he cursed, startled by the loud noise in the quiet room. Who would be calling at this time of day? His rent was paid so it couldn’t be the landlady. A message from Sir Maurice? Too soon – Sir Maurice had told him it would be at least a month before Daniel would be sent back out into the field. So who the bloody hell could it be?
He stood, then walked quickly to the door and pulled it open, ready to send whoever it was on his way.
His heart skipped a beat, and he blinked – once, twice – to be sure he was seeing properly, then grabbed the spectacles off his nose.
And standing behind Archie was Daniel’s landlady. This was not good, not good at all. His landlady was discreet, but Daniel didn’t like taking chances. He rarely entertained visitors, let alone someone of Archie’s class.
He took a step back to allow Archie to enter, then quickly closed the door, giving them some privacy from his landlady’s questioning gaze.
Daniel’s heart was pounding. He’d had the strength to turn Archie away once. He wasn’t sure he could do it again.
“What the hell do you want?” Daniel asked in the coldest tone he could muster.
“I want to see you.”
Daniel turned his back on Archie and walked over to the desk, setting his spectacles down. He couldn’t do this facing the man, his fantasy, his Viking. “No.”
There was a moment of silence, then he felt Archie move up behind him, his breath warm on Daniel’s neck.
“Are you writing a poem?” Archie asked.
Daniel reached out and grabbed the sheet of paper he’d been writing on and turned it over so that Archie couldn’t see the words, then saw he’d been writing on the back as well.
“Oh, dear God.” Daniel quickly covered the page with a newspaper, then whirled around to face Archie.
“Since I told you that you could not visit me, why are you here?” he asked, tightening his hands into fists to keep them from shaking. If Archie didn’t leave soon, Daniel wasn’t sure how much longer he could resist falling into the man’s arms.
“This is a professional call.” Archie smiled at him. “I thought I should let you know, we’re going to be working together.”
Daniel couldn’t have heard right. “We what?”
“My uncle asked me to work with you. He says you go around unarmed, refusing to learn how to shoot and won’t carry a knife. You, yourself, have said how you abhor violence, and several times worried that I might hit you. I assume you’ve been in scrapes before and not come out of them well. You could use someone to watch your back.”
“I do not want, nor do I need, a partner. I can take care of myself quite well on my own, thank you very much.”
Archie took a step closer. “I know you don’t want a partner – my uncle said you’ve chased three off already. But he’s given me a reason to be close to you.”
“He’ll be the only one to know. That’s not going to stop the malicious gossip about you if you start spending time with me.”
“Both my uncles will understand. They’re the only ones I care about. And you.”
Archie reached his good hand out, cupping the side of Daniel’s face. “I’m not hiding anymore. Even if my uncle hadn’t given me a reason, I would have come here anyway. I want to be with you. And if you truly don’t want me, then I’ll leave you alone. But I won’t go back to the way things were. I’ve spent my life in this state of—of murkiness, as if I’ve been in one of your blasted fishponds all this time. Dark water. And I won’t put my head back under.”
“Poetry really isn’t your field, is it. I suggest you leave the metaphors to me.”
Archie’s lips tightened into a thin line, then his eyes narrowed.
“You’re right,” he said. “I’m no poet. Let’s do this the military way.”
Archie took Daniel by the wrist with his gloved hand; with his good hand, he grabbed a fistful of Daniel’s hair, holding him firmly in place. Before Daniel knew what was happening, Archie’s mouth was on his, tongue pushing inside. Hard wood made contact with his back as Archie trapped him against the wall. Archie roughly thrust a thigh between Daniel’s legs, the pressure against Daniel’s cock causing it to harden. Daniel struggled to break free, but he was no match for Archie’s superior strength and size. Knowing he was helpless against Archie’s assault only caused him to want Archie more.
It wasn’t the first time Daniel had been kissed by a man, but it was the first time he’d ever been kissed so violently, so passionately. Archie seemed to want to devour him, his tongue exploring every part of Daniel’s mouth.
Archie broke the kiss, then roughly turned Daniel around so that he was now facing the wall, his wrists wrenched up above his head and held in place by Archie’s gloved hand. With the other hand, Archie reached around and unbuttoned Daniel’s trousers, then his drawers. Daniel didn’t even have time to protest before he felt Archie’s warm hand wrap around his hard cock.
Daniel leaned his head back and to the side, baring his neck to Archie. Archie didn’t hesitate, nibbling and licking along the tender skin. Daniel couldn’t suppress a moan at the sensation of being possessed, of being taken by his Viking.
Archie’s hand worked over Daniel’s cock with slow, teasing strokes, moving up and around the head, using the wetness of leaking precome to ease his movements. Archie’s hips thrust rhythmically forward, and Daniel could feel Archie’s erection as it pressed against his arse. Daniel couldn’t keep himself from pressing back.
“Oh God, please…I want…I want you…in me…” Daniel gasped.
With surprising strength, Archie lifted Daniel up and carried him the few feet to the bed, throwing him down onto his back.
Archie began to undress, and Daniel found he could not look away, mesmerized by the sight of Archie’s body in all its beautiful nakedness.
Daniel’s hand went to his own trousers to push them off, but Archie stopped him. “Don’t. Let me do it,” he whispered.
Archie got on the bed and knelt between Daniel’s legs. Daniel lifted his hips up as Archie slowly pulled his trousers and drawers down. When they were completely off, Archie’s hands moved to Daniel’s thighs, lightly touching and caressing his way up Daniel’s body. He unbuttoned Daniel’s waistcoat, followed by his shirt, pushing the fabric to the side. His hands roamed over every part of Daniel’s chest, lingering and playing with the nipple ring, sending chills up Daniel’s spine.
“I have the desire but no experience with this kind of thing,” Archie said. “Tell me what to do.”
Daniel pointed to a small table next to the bed. “There, in that drawer…”
Archie reached over and opened the drawer, pulling out a small bottle of oil.
Daniel made to turn over onto his knees, but Archie pressed him back down.
“No, I don’t want to do it like that. I want to see your face.”
Daniel gave him a slight smile. “It will work best if I place my legs up on your shoulders, then. Pour plenty of that oil onto your fingers and cock – that thing is huge so you’re going to have to do some prep work first with your fingers. Put them inside me, one at a time. Move them around a bit and that will help loosen me up.”
Daniel clutched the white cover of the bed with his hands as he felt Archie’s finger enter him. God, how he enjoyed the feeling of having something in his arse. He closed his eyes and lost himself to the sensation, concentrating on not giving in too soon and coming. It wasn’t long before Archie had a second, then a third finger inside him. For someone without experience, Archie was doing a damn good job.
“Is that enough?” Archie asked.
Daniel swallowed hard, coming back to himself, and nodded. “Take your time so my body can adjust as you get deeper inside me, okay?”
Daniel felt the tip of Archie’s cock begin to touch up against his entrance, and he gritted his teeth, waiting for that first burn of penetration. Slowly, Archie pressed in, applying more pressure, until finally the head of his cock pushed through the tight, outer ring of muscle. Daniel’s breath hitched as his entrance was breached. Archie continued, moving deeper, pushing a little at a time, until he was fully inside.
Archie let out a low moan. “Oh my God, I never knew how good this would feel. Give me a moment. If I move, I’m going to come and I don’t want to do that yet.”
Archie stayed still, eyes closed, his breathing ragged and loud. Finally, he pulled out, then pushed back in, the slight pain causing Daniel to hiss. Daniel’s hand wrapped around his own flagging cock and quickly brought it back to life, moving up and down, keeping the same rhythm as Archie’s thrusts. Daniel’s breath became faster, shallower, as Archie’s movements picked up speed.
Daniel could feel his balls begin to tighten, and he closed his eyes. A roaring sound began in his ears; stars appeared at the edges of his vision. His back arched up off the bed and with a grunt, his orgasm washed over him, his body writhing in pleasure, white streams of come spurting onto his stomach. His arse clenched around Archie’s cock and Archie stiffened, his fingers digging hard into Daniel’s thighs, and with a shout, he came too.
Long moments passed. Slowly, Archie pulled his softening cock out of Daniel’s arse and lay down, pulling Daniel into his arms and kissing him lightly on the head.
“You were right when you said we’d fuck like the songs of angels,” Archie said.
“My Viking has captured and ravished me,” Daniel replied. “I’m yours completely now. I only hope you don’t regret what you’ve done.”
Archie sighed. “I want you, more than I’ve ever wanted anyone or anything in my life. But if you want to send me away, I’ll go. All I ask is that you do it for your sake, not mine.”
Daniel shifted, gazing up into Archie’s eyes. “I truly hoped you wouldn’t come here”–he leaned forward, kissing Archie lightly on the mouth–“but I spent every day dreaming that you would.”
Archie’s arms tightened around him. “Will you work with me then?”
Daniel paused. Perhaps working together wasn’t such a bad idea. They’d have to be careful, discreet. He couldn’t live with himself if he ruined Archie’s reputation.
“I suppose, but only on a trial basis, until we see how it works out.”
He wasn’t sure where any of this would lead, but there was one thing he was sure of – he never wanted Archie to ever let him go.
~* The End *~