“Tell me again,” Damen says against Laurent’s ear, “about how I am going to leave you for Nikandros?”
“That is not,” says Laurent, “what I said.”
Damen tightens his hand and tugs. Laurent makes a noise straight from the practice ring, the bitten-back groan of sudden exertion.
Laurent is sprawled between Damen’s legs, half-sitting with his back to Damen’s chest and his head thrown back against Damen’s shoulder. His hair is darkened with sweat, lying against his face and neck in ribbons. One of Damen’s arms is across his chest, holding him in place. The hand of the other is wrapped around Laurent’s cock; when Damen looks down their bodies, vaguely dizzy, all he can think is that his fingers look both huge and very brown against Laurent’s skin in the light of the oil lamp.
This will be the third round of pleasure that Damen has dragged from Laurent’s body tonight. The deep and uneven flush of Laurent’s skin from cheeks to knees, laid out like a picture under Damen’s admiring gaze, makes Damen feel off balance and rash. He wants to do things like rub his rough evening chin against the tenderness of Laurent’s inner thighs, or drag his blunt nails across Laurent’s shoulders: not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to mark it.
“What did you say, then?” Damen murmurs.
Laurent after two rounds has lost almost all of his tension. It has been wrung from him like water from a rag. One of his arms passes in front of Damen’s neck then reaches up and back, his fingers buried in Damen’s hair. Laurent’s other palm is flat against the bedclothes. Its tendons stand out like newly raised earthworks, betraying the effort it is taking him to keep it that way as Laurent struggles visibly to find the thrashing end of the conversational rope.
“He knew you in childhood,” Laurent says thinly. “He-–ah,” as Damen makes deliberate circles with his thumb at Laurent’s tip, spreading the fluid there. “Nobody knows you better.”
“He knew the man I was. Naive. Quick to judge.” Damen crooks his neck to kiss somewhere on Laurent’s face, low on his cheek. Wherever he can reach.
Sometimes he thinks he could open his mouth and take Laurent wholly into it, body and soul, rip him lovingly to shreds. There is so much tenderness in Damen, but so much violent need as well, waiting to stretch its legs in these deep furtive hours of the night.
Damen says, “I’m someone else now. And that man is entirely yours.”
A shudder, and Laurent’s fingers tighten in Damen’s hair. Damen relents and finds a true rhythm, pulling firmly on the upstroke, letting his grasp loosen and fingertips tease on the way back down. Laurent’s hand on the sheet claws into a white and rigid arch, then flattens again. His hips move, restless, trying to rise, pushing back against where Damen himself would probably be stirring again if he hadn’t so recently spilled all over Laurent’s lips and chin and the elegant line of his neck.
“Say that again,” Laurent says. His voice is sand on hot metal.
Laurent swears, low and wild, and then gives a sweet sobbing breath as Damen works him firmly.
“Nobody else’s,” Damen says, unrelenting. “You have ruined me. I don’t want anyone else. I am yours.”
Laurent says, “Damen,” furious, like a curse.
Damen drags his teeth across Laurent’s neck. The iron muscles of Laurent’s stomach, under that patchy pink, ripple and convulse. He comes apart like a glass vase, spiderwebbed with spreading cracks but still holding its shape.
Damen gathers all the strength of his arms and holds him down, whispering hot nonsense, milking him through it. Laurent’s heart slams against Damen through Laurent’s own ribs and spine. It is fearsome and intoxicating. It is almost beyond the reach of words, feeling Laurent trapped and willingly shattered against him like this.
Once Laurent has subsided into a battle with his own breathing, Damen wipes his hand on the sheet and huffs an almost-laugh into Laurent’s hair.
“Laurent. You can’t honestly think-–”
“No,” Laurent says. He is almost boneless now. He sags against Damen, a damp warm weight, letting himself be held. Satisfaction spreads across his face like dye through cloth. “But it was worth the pretence, don’t you think?”