by Kimyō Tabibito (奇妙 旅人)
“I will serve the people and the land and uphold my bonds to the kingdom in the names of our gods.” Alain’s voice echoed through the temple, loud and clear. There was no tremor in his voice, no quiver, nor uncertainty. His face was calm, broad features composed into a steady gaze, a serene expression on full lips.
Four priests, in simple robes and with gentle smiles, stood before Alain. Each had a hand around the simple crown, guiding it to his head. Donatien watched them place it on his short, dark coiled twists of hair. He watched the weight of the crown, and all it entailed, truly settle on Alain like a mantle as his shoulders dropped almost imperceptibly. There was a moment of solemnity and stillness before a wave of camera flashes lit up the sanctuary, reporters jockeying to get the best angle of their dauphin becoming king.
There were more pretty words, the four voices of the priests blending together as they bid Alain to rise, cheers as he was presented to the gentility as their king. Alain’s smile did not reach his eyes and Donatien’s heart broke as he watched his lover, his prince — no, his king — touch the black band around his shoulder. Though makeup hid the bags under Alain’s eyes, Donatien knew all too well they were there.
No time for comfort — the procession called. The coronation party. A pall of subdued mourning for both the previous King and Queen hung over the whole affair. Donatien was not there to comfort Alain on a personal level, being there in his official capacity as king’s counsel, his first public appearance in his new role. Though his title and his sword may have been strictly ceremonial at the coronation, his skill in managing the king’s affairs — making life as simple and straightforward for the king as possible — was not. He ran interference with those trying to seek Alain’s attention, redirecting half of them to other conversation targets entirely. Alain charmed and assured the remaining supplicants and assured of his readiness to step into his mother’s position. He smiled handsomely, humble and clever as ever as years of training for this very moment came into play.
Occasionally, less-than-polite whispers made their way to Donatien’s ears as he directed traffic about the room. Considering the gossip was about him, it was no doubt deliberate that he could hear it so well. “His lover, moved into the royal wing.” “The bastard child of Plamondon? I thought…he was an advisor?”
The night drew to a close and, relieved of his duty, Donatien returned to his new room in the royal wing. He waited up as long as he could, waited for Alain to come to him, but sleep claimed him after an exhausting day. His alarm blared him awake to a risen sun and an empty bed.
For the next two weeks he only saw Alain in a professional capacity. The third week permitted a stolen touch or kiss once or twice. A soft, “I miss you.” Donatien watched lines of deep concern and awesome responsibility etch themselves into Alain’s face while his lover kept himself from Donatien’s side.
Finally, Donatien had enough of watching his king work and worry himself to death. One evening he swept into Alain’s office just after supper and placed his hands on the desk. “Alain.” He waited for a response. And waited. And waited. “Alain.” His voice snapped out, sharp. Alain’s head jerked up.
“Donatien I need to–”
“Rest. You need to rest.” He reached out on impulse and pressed the power button on Alain’s monitor, hands coming back to rest on slender hips. “Enough of this. You can take a moment to breathe, I promise.” Donatien did not say, “Your mother had time to breathe.” That would be cruel, unnecessary, but it was still on the tip of his tongue. “Get up.”
A small smile tugged at the corners of Donatien’s mouth as he watched Alain’s spine stiffen. Good. Listen to me. “Get up, Alain. Come with me.” Donatien had never hesitated to order Alain about as a crown prince, and he was not going to balk now that Alain was the king.
“You turned off my computer, you shit.” Alain did not move, but his lips were twitching, and he was still sitting at attention.
“I am, perhaps, the only person in this gods-damn kingdom who will tell you not to work yourself to the bone. And I only turned off your screen, so stop fussing and start getting up. Do not make me say it again or I’m walking out of this office.”
Alain wavered and then pushed himself to his feet. “Donatien…” The hesitance in Alain’s voice was new and layered with tense grief. Donatien reached out to touch Alain gently, all too aware of the black band still looped around Alain’s arm.
“If it is too soon, Alain, if you need space, use your words. Don’t just ignore me. Unless you’d rather we end this.” The words were thick and heavy on his tongue, but he was willing to allow that Alain might feel this relationship too much. Alain’s silence sent throbs through Donatien’s heart and he drew back, but Alain caught his shoulder.
They stood there in silence; Alain’s hand clenched on Donatien’s shoulder, and Donatien’s hand rested lightly over the black band on Alain’s arm. He didn’t dare breathe as he watched Alain’s thoughts catch up to what he wanted to put into words.
“Never,” Alain said, voice unexpectedly tight and high. “I didn’t fight with… I didn’t fight to get you here just to discard you. I just…. forgot. I forgot how to be us before I was crowned. Now I don’t know how to take off the damn thing.” Donatien opened his mouth to point out that Alain was not currently wearing a crown but Alain cut him off before Donatien could even begin snarking. “You know what I mean!”
Donatien took hold of Alain’s wrists, grip tight. “Then let me take the crown off for you.”
Alain’s hands relaxed under his grip and Donatien could feel the assent in that movement.
“My quarters,” Donatien said, tugging to move Alain toward the door. As they made their way down the hallway, Donatien gave Alain enough slack to pull away from the snug grip at his wrist and reclaim some space for himself. Alain did not take this opportunity. They paused at the juncture of two corridors to murmur instructions to the ever-present, ever-discreet security to ensure they would not be disturbed.
Once behind closed doors, Donatien released Alain’s wrist to reach for his tie instead, pulling Alain down several inches for a slow, measured kiss. Heartbeats passed and then Alain’s lips began finally demanding more against Donatien’s, but Donatien only broke the kiss and pushed him back with both hands.
“I’m sorry,” Alain choked out as he straightened back up. His very expensive tie was now askew and slightly wrinkled from its stint as a leash. “I’m sorry I ignored you.”
Donatien reached up and pressed a finger to Alain’s lips to silence him. “We’re acclimating, you’re grieving. I’m stopping this before you do start ignoring me.”
Alain nodded in silent, almost bashful acquiescence. Donatien’s lips curled upward as his finger shifted from admonishing Alain to tracing the outline of his lips. Donatien drew his hand down Alain’s front, working fingers through his tie and tugging it off to drop carelessly to the floor. Alain’s shirt and jacket went next, buttons quickly undone before the garments were discarded on the floor, wrinkles be damned. The only thing Donatien didn’t drop casually was Alain’s black armband. That he slipped off carefully, almost reverently, and placed it on his dresser before returning to Alain.
“Hold still,” Donatien chided as Alain fidgeted under the careful undressing and uncareful piling of expensive clothing around their feet. The vulnerability of being naked while his partner was clothed must have been getting to Alain. “A few weeks surely can’t have undone all our careful training?” Donatien’s eyebrow lifted, like the top curve of a dark question mark.
“No. No, I can–”
“I don’t need an explanation, just stillness. Just breathe. You’ll know when I want answers.” Donatien stroked his fingers over Alain’s bare shoulders, down the smooth, umber expanse of his chest. When Alain didn’t respond, Donatien kept speaking. “You are safe with me, Alain.” He laid his palm flat over Alain’s heart. “You always have been, and gods willing, you always will be.”
Affirmations such as these were common in the earlier days of their relationship as they settled into roles so different from their respective public personas. It was always good to be reminded of who they were when all the masks dropped away.
“I love you, Alain.”
“I love you too.”
“You are mine.” A familiar refrain, comfortable. However, Donatien deviated from what usually came next and added, “Always mine. Even as you serve the kingdom, I am here to serve you. In this room, alone, set aside your crown, lay down your arms, and just be mine, Alain.”
His eyes softened as Alain’s breath hitched in his throat, eyes closing. A tear tracked down the planes of Alain’s face and Donatien brushed it aside with his thumb, cupping Alain’s face in his hand.
“I am yours,” Alain echoed, voice thick. “Donatien, please–”
“Shh, shh, Alain. You’ll have it, I promise. Be patient.” There was no rebuke in those gentle words — there were places where sharpness and cruelty served, but just now was not one of them. Donatien stepped away from Alain, enjoying the huff of protest Alain made. “Patience,” Donatien repeated.
Donatien stepped behind Alain and watched approvingly as Alain straightened his spine and folded his arms behind his back. It was a familiar posture indicating that Alain was waiting for Donatien to move his body and guide the scene however he wished. Donatein waited longer than need be to respond just because he could, because it pleased him to watch Alain shift into that familiar, submissive pose.
Unlocking a chest of drawers, Donatien removed several pieces of soft brown leather a few shades lighter than Alain’s skin and closer to his own tawny brown coloring. While he had ordered Alain to exude patience, Donatien himself was too impatient for the intricacies of rope bondage. In his opinion, leather with metal clasps was so much easier to deal with than hemp or silk.
Alain started when Donatien touched his skin before wrapping the lambswool lined leather cuffs around his wrists and buckling them securely closed. Relaxing, Alain moaned at the soft metallic shink of a lock closing, binding his wrists together behind his back. He shivered at the jangle of metal rings and locks as he tugged at his wrists, only to find that Donatien left him with no give.
“Down,” Donatien ordered. Alain, a good six inches taller and thus too tall for Donatien to blindfold while standing, sank to his knees. It was not at all like the graceful sweep before the priests for his coronation, but an awkward and fumbling drop. “Easy, easy.” Donatien rested a hand on Alain’s shoulder, squeezing. The thud of Alain’s knees hitting the carpet was loud enough to tell Donatien that it must have hurt.
Donatien tugged gently at the coarse twists at the nape of Alain’s neck. “Don’t hurt yourself, Alain. That’s my job.”
Alain’s soft chuckle in response hurt Donatien’s heart almost as much as it eased his mind. It had been far too long since he’d heard Alain laugh with any kind of truth to the sound. He leaned down to press a soft kiss to Alain’s forehead before securing the blindfold around his eyes.
Joking about pain aside, Donatien had nothing so sharp planned. Nothing planned at all, beyond comforting Alain — and himself — for the evening. He pushed aside a sudden moment of fear — I don’t remember how to do this, what if I hurt him? — as he undid the buttons of his own shirt and tossed on the floor with Alain’s.
“I love you,” he repeated as he drew Alain’s head against the bare skin of his stomach. He smiled as Alain nuzzled into the softness, pressing soft kisses along Donatien’s body in gentle worship.
“I love you, Donatien.” Alain’s words whispered against his skin. It would be so easy to undress completely and allow Alain to continue such worship with his mouth, lips hot against aroused skin but no… no. Donatien pushed aside Alain’s head and tugged upward at his hair, bidding Alain to stand.
He guided him over to the bed, pushed him down over the coverlet. “Lift your hips up,” Donatien ordered with a light tap to Alain’s hips, so he could prop them up over pillows. Alain’s erection, which had started showing interest in these proceedings around the time the lock closed on his cuffs, twitched. Donatien ignored this for now.
Once Alain was settled, Donatien stripped down to a pair of shockingly pink briefs and joined him on the bed. He straddled the backs of Alain’s upper thighs and began viciously seeking out knotted muscles with lotion-slick fingers, carefully working around bound arms and wrists.
Alain gasped and arched up, held down by Donatien’s weight over his thighs, arms straining against the bonds. “Easy, here. I’ve got a better idea.” Donatien unlocked Alain’s cuffs and, stretching out over his back, urged Alain to raise his arms toward the top of the bed. There, Donatien had discreetly installed as of yet unused O-rings which were easily linked to either cuff.
For the longest time the only sound in the room was the rustle of fabric as their bodies shifted together, Donatien pressing Alain down into the mattress with his weight, and soft gasps as he worked out a knot in Alain’s lower back. Donatien didn’t have to see Alain’s cock to know Alain was aroused. He could tell by the jerk of his hips and the moment Alain’s moans dropped into a lower register.
Still, Donatien took his time, working lower and lower until his hands touched the taut skin of Alain’s ass. Some of the tension Alain had lost crept back into his shoulders, but this was anticipation, not stress. Donatien kneaded at his skin, not to relieve the tension but to exploit its resulting pain to deliberately arouse. He stroked and rubbed, hands pushing at thighs to part them wide enough so he could settle between, completely exposing Alain in the process.
Donatien’s fingers were slick with lube when they finally touched the entrance to Alain’s ass. He stroked gently, fingers pressing against Alain’s entrance but not yet fucking him. Instead, he teased Alain until his thighs trembled, until more of the tension released from Alain’s shoulders, until his breath evened out. Only then did Donatien’s finger slip into Alain’s body, slow and easy..
Looking up over the length of Alain’s back, Donatien smiled at the clutch of Alain’s hands, the hitch of his shoulders in time with his breathing. Donatien stroked his free hand up a muscled thigh, waiting for Alain’s body to adjust before giving more. A second slick finger pressed into the heat of his body, curling and rubbing just so.
“Breathe, my love,” he coaxed after curling his fingers and hearing Alain’s breath stutter. “Sweet boy, brave,” he praised, for no reason other than he wanted to and because the sentiments were true. Someone had to remind Alain he was good and brave. “Just relax. It feels good, doesn’t it?” He shifted his hand and Alain keened, so soft and sweet. “That’s it — ahh, that’s it my dear.”
Donatien’s voice was quiet, but the room was so still and the whisper carried easily. He didn’t bother to keep the moan out of his own voice as Alain opened up beautifully under his fingers, or as he pressed a third finger into Alain. He didn’t stop his own gasp as Alain’s body clenched and shuddered around his fingers and Alain finally sobbed.
“Tell me, tell me what you need Alain.” Donatien’s words come out on a harsh breath, the fingers of his free hand digging into Alain’s thigh. Donatien had no need to see Alain’s face to see the struggle those words caused him. Always so hard to share what he needed, always so reluctant to ask. “Sweet love, my good one, so strong. But it’s time to let go now and let me hold you.” He offered up more kind words, coaxing his king to give himself up for him. “Tell me, Alain. What do you need?” The order so tenderly given.
“Y-you. It’s, oh gods, mercy, please, Donatien. I can’t–”
“You can, Alain, you will.” Donatien let his nails bite into Alain’s thigh, a reminder.
Alain choked on a whimper of delight and frustration as Donatien’s fingers kept moving into him, relentlessly stroking with just the right amount of pressure. Alain’s hips canted up, enough that Donatien saw his erection painfully hard, the dark head of his cock glistening. Removing his hand from Alain’s thigh, Donatien wrapped his fingers tight around the base of Alain’s cock, squeezing until Alain cried out.
“I– I need, you. Donatien, my knight,” Alain’s body had gone tense around Donatien’s fingers once more, but Donatien no longer cared. This tension, this anticipation would only lead to release. And, oh, it had been so long since Alain has called him his knight in that pleading, begging voice.
Yet, he still wanted Alain’s words. “Say it, Alain, my sweet king, my good boy.” His hand slid down from the base of cock, stroking across the head, just once, before withdrawing on Alain’s moan of pleasure.
“Don — I. You. I need you. Please.” Alain’s words were choked and halted by moans and gasps, stuttered by full body trembles. “Take me.”
It was enough. Donatien eased his fingers out of Alain, making an obscene sound all the louder for the silence in the room. “On your knees, Alain,” Donatien ordered as he stepped off the bed. It was quick work of pants and the pop of the lube cap before the bed dipped as Donatien settled back behind Alain. Alain’s ass lifted into the air, hands fisted at the headboard as he offered himself up to Donatien.
One hand went to Alain’s waist as Donatien guided his cock to Alain’s ass, pressing against the entrance teasingly for a few moments before finally thrusting into the tight heat. Alain’s body gave way as Donatien moved forward in slow, careful inches. Though he savored each sound Alain made, from the indrawn breaths to the muffled whimpers, Donatien refused to let himself rush.
Hips moved slowly as he filled Alain to the hilt, leaning over his king. One hand roughly grasped his cock and stroked before Donatien began to thrust in earnest. Donatien held his own desire on a tight leash as he felt Alain clench at his cock, the heat of his body almost overwhelming him in the moment.
“My love, my sweet, oh my love.” Loving words fell from Donatien’s mouth, praising Alain for everything he was and everything he offered to him. “My good boy, take this. Let go.” But they were both already gone.
They broke at the same time, Donatien’s own ragged gasps joining with Alain’s as he fucked his king, his lover, his friend. There wasn’t anything in the world but Alain and his body — no crown, no kingdom but what they made between them and what Donatien claimed from Alain. Donatien’s thrusting, the rough jerks of his hand over Alain’s cock, and the heat of their bodies was enough for them both.
“Oh gods, oh gods, oh please,” Alain’s voice cried out loud, echoing in the room. “I need. I need.”
Donatien’s hand closed tight around Alain’s cock as he fucked Alain deep and hard. He let go of controlling his own pleasure and groaned, moving faster, unsteady. “Yes, yes Alain, yes.”
Alain came in a rush of garbled words and offers of thanks, of love. Donatien kept fucking him, shallow movements through the clench of Alain’s orgasm around his own cock until an orgasm wracked through him as well. Even as he came, his joy and pleasure were still focused totally on Alain.
He fell forward over Alain, arms wrapped tight around his body, holding them both still as the world tilted and reoriented around them. After what felt like hours, Alain’s hips dropped to the bed, legs stretching back out. Donatien carefully moved away from his body, lying back beside him. Their breathing steadied and the world shifted upright once more.
“Love.” Alain smiled and tugged at his wrists, wanting to reach for Donatien.
“Oh, well,” Donatien said with a lazy smile. He rolled over, half onto Alain, and reached up to twist the key he’d left in the lock, popping the cuffs free from the O-ring at the headboard. Alain reached for him before he could shift away and they tangled against one another, Alain demanding kiss after kiss from Donatien.
Donatien gave them gladly, hand cupped against the back of Alain’s neck, legs tangled with his. “My good sweet boy,” he said between the kisses.
“Always with the praise.” Alain laughed and Donatien’s heart skipped in his chest at the sound. He didn’t want to go so long without hearing it again.
“Always,” Donatien said fiercely. “Someone has to keep you grounded and tell you that you are good.”
The world was at their door and Donatien was all too aware that in a matter of hours it would demand Alain’s full attention again, but the world would give him those few hours in Alain’s arms. In fact, he would demand that time for Alain and for himself. Every night if he had to, to keep Alain laughing, to keep the weight off his king’s shoulders. Just for a while, they would lay pressed together in a slick hot tangle of bodies. Alain would lay down his arms, take off the crown, and just be Donatien’s.