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Miranda can always tell as soon as he walks in.

She doesn't say anything; they have a routine and they stick to it. Unless there's something going on, some intrigue or emergency, their evenings are much the same each time. Tea, a simple meal, catching up on news. A discussion of whatever book she's reading at the moment, if it's not too late.

Sometimes even if it is. Events here don't depend on a schedule; they unfold with the inevitability of long-ingrained habit.

Miranda rides him silently on nights like this, sometimes with her teeth clenched around her hand to stifle her gasps and moans. He never has any trouble getting hard for her, as if his cock knows how important their pact is, always has been.

Nights like this, it's finishing that's the problem.

"You're not spent," she says, as if she wasn't expecting that ever since he staggered through her door. She's always gentler of his feelings than she needs to be; the raw edge of shame for wanting this has long ago been roughened by life and he never had much in the first place. "Let me fix that for you."

It used to be just her fingers, first fumbling their way and then with purpose later on. Now she keeps oils on hand, and in the bottom drawer of her chest--

He'll look later, because she's a beautiful sight in her own right with her leather harness and gleaming cock. It suits her, makes him want to kiss her giddy and forgive everything he's afraid to assign blame for to both of them.

Not yet, though. Now he turns over, and waits.

She's generous with the oil; it's been a while.

"James," he can hear in Thomas's reverent voice. "James, you're--"

He arches up towards the firm pressure pushing, pushing at him, then twisting to get the right angle and moans at the stretch as it enters him. It's slow, steady, pinning him in place and that was it, that was the feeling he needed, he was almost--

"Breathe, James." Thomas's voice is kind, in contrast with the relentless press of the cock that's opening James up in ways he didn't know his body could and stealing all the breath from his lungs.

Doing all that and making him want to beg for more at the same time.

"I can't-- I don't--" he gasps, but he doesn't even know what he's trying to say. He knows what he wants though, and that's everything Thomas can give him. "Don't stop."

Thomas chuckles, and strokes a warm hand down his back. "Bravest man I know," he says with sincerity, even though it's ridiculous. There's a hitch in his breath that's the only clue he's clinging on to his control every bit as tightly as James. "Almost-- let me--"

Thomas shifts, pushes a little and James groans at the rush of pleasure that thrums along his nerve endings. He's not-- his body can't, doesn't feel things like that, he has no idea where that came from. Thomas pulls back, breathing heavily against James's back, and does it again, sets James's senses on fire, and he doesn't care if he burns with it, he just needs more, more--

"More," he gasps, and Miranda obliges, still silent, fucking him like her life depends on it. His eyes prickle, because he's close, so close and all he needs to do is surrender to it.

He ruts hard against the bed, painfully because he's been hard for hours and Christ, even coming is going to hurt now but he has to, has to--

When he comes back to himself Miranda is stroking his forehead. He tucks himself against her shoulder and closes his eyes. He can still feel Thomas's presence, as if they somehow summoned him up out of their own flesh, their own coupling.

In a little while they will get up, wash, and find some nightclothes. Then they will sleep in this bed, together but alone.

In a little while. But not just yet.