Newt watches the blade.
He watches the blade because to focus on anything else—the long-fingered hands, the strong, stubbled jaw, the exposed length of an elegant neck and the invitation of an open collar—will be too much so early in the morning. So he remains silent and focuses his attention, still blurred from sleep, on the glint of metal, the shape and sharpness of the razor.
Percival does this every morning. He begins with the brush and cream, rich and rose-scented with a dash of sandalwood. Despite the gentleman's instruments, there is certain efficiency of movements in the way he applies them that speaks of the habits of a soldier. It reminds Newt of Theseus.
But the brush soon makes way for the razor and any thought of his brother disappears without a trace. Newt holds his breath, watching as Percival tilts his head, exposing the length of his throat. The razor glints, so sharp it can shave sunlight, but the hand that holds it is steady. The blade angles, dips, skims across the precise lines of his jaw, guided by sure fingers that wear grace as well as skill. They are the model of proficiency, those fingers, and it’s becoming harder and harder for Newt not to think about their proficiency in… all other fields as well.
It’s a secret pleasure, to watch Percival like this. There are spells, to be sure—quicker and much more convenient, as Newt himself prefers. But he also loves everything about this, from the methods and the ritual to how Percival takes his focus and has it honed into such deadly precision with each stroke. It’s nothing short of mesmerising, and it holds Newt captive, a too-willing audience savouring every step.
The process ends too early for his liking, with a soft cloth to dry the skin, followed by a dab or two of aftershave. Only then does Percival’s gaze find Newt’s riveted eyes.
Newt looks away, buries an embarrassed smile into his pillow. Of course Percival knew that he was watching. Another small, furtive glance tells him that the older man is smiling. A second burst of embarrassment makes him laugh, skin tingling. He doesn’t turn around until Percival settles on the edge of the bed, trapping Newt in the space between his arms.
“I can teach you if you want.”
Newt smiles, shaking his head slightly. “I just like watching you,” he admits in a voice still scratchy from sleep.
“Still.” Percival leans down, caressing the light scruff on Newt’s chin with the back of one finger. “You should let me do it to you sometimes. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
It’s a thought that Newt cannot help but drown in. He imagines the blade, cool on his skin, a delightful contrast to the heat of Percival’s fingers on the base of his neck. He imagines the proximity, his lover’s intensity, all focused on him, and a shiver runs down his spine.
“Maybe on Christmas Day?” he suggests faintly.
Percival is grinning now. “I’m looking forward to it.”
And of course now that they’re this close, Newt simply has to touch. The skin is warm and smooth like silk and he simply loves how it feels under his rough fingertips, or against the tip of his nose, or on the hungry curve of his mouth. He thinks he can make love to Percival like this, his lips chasing the silkiness, tasting with quiet pleasure as Percival fills him everywhere.
“Should I shave more often?” He can hear the definite amusement in his lover’s voice.
“Please don’t,” Newt breathes out and forces himself away from the indecently smooth skin. It will drive him crazy one day, he knows this for sure.
“I thought you liked it.”
“I do,” he confesses, biting his lower lip as his face warms under Percival’s intent gaze. “Too much actually.”
Percival laughs before kissing him, gently but deeply. Newt has known happiness before, but never quite this kind. It’s both breath-taking and humbling and he’s drowning in it.
He only hopes he doesn’t make Percival late for work.