by green papaya
That morning, Klaus Xam woke from a dream in which he returned to his mother’s home to watch a concert in her garden. The herbs and flowers had come to life and sang and danced to melancholy songs, and his mother had gifted him with the tea set that had been passed down in her family for generations. It took him a long moment to realize that he was lying in bed in Crystallia, not Vementis; that his mother had been dead these past three years; and that the tea set had been lost, sold by his brother along with the rest of his mother’s belongings.
He lay there with his blankets half thrown off, listening to the rhythmic ticking of the bamboo plant that his daughter Bee had transfigured into a clock for him. What a strange dream to have. It left him with a clinging sadness, but he brushed it off after a few minutes and sat up, blinking bleary and crusted eyes. There was no point in dwelling on what had already passed.
Although the morning light streaming through the open window was still bright and fresh, the day was already warm and scented with the herbs growing in a row of pots underneath the windowsill. Other plants grew in pots along the walls and in the corners of the room, each with a different purpose: a snake plant for purification, golden mai flowers for renewal and invigoration, bamboo for steady health. Their branches and leaves spread like lacework against the light blue paint of the bedroom walls.
Klaus patted the spot next to him. It was cold, but before he could wonder where Sylvester was, his husband came through the door with two cups of tea.
He smiled and accepted the cup that Sylvester offered him. “It must be true that old people don’t need a lot of sleep. When did you wake up?”
“An hour or so ago. I didn’t sleep very well.”
It was rare for Sylvester to sleep well. He didn’t understand the concept of rest, always driven by the need to accomplish something no matter what it was. That was the most likely culprit as to why, at the age of forty-six, he already had a full head of gray hair.
Klaus sipped the tea carefully, inhaling the earthy scent of roasted rice, before taking Sylvester’s hand and drawing him down next to him. Their scars and calluses, earned from long days working in the shed that doubled as their potions lab, overlapped as he squeezed Sylvester’s hand.
“You’re supposed to take the opportunity when there are no children in the house to rest, not keep working yourself to exhaustion.”
Sylvester sighed deeply. “Don’t bring it up. I’m working so I can forget that Bee’s all the way in Mokbon with that awful family of her mother’s, and Odette is wasting her summer at the Academy because of first love or whatever it is you called it.”
“You’re such a hardhearted old man. Haven’t you ever had a first love?”
Sylvester waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “You’re the only person I’ve ever been in love with, and I’m pleased to say that it has only helped me improve upon myself, not become less discerning.”
Klaus’ heart fluttered at Sylvester’s casual admission, but he still smacked his arm and said, “You’ve only improved because I had the patience to endure this sort of mean-spirited behavior. Odette is a young person experiencing what most young people go through, and just because you can’t remember what that was like doesn’t mean it’s foolish.”
Curiosity lit up Sylvester’s face. “Does that mean you had a first love too? Wait. Was it me?”
Klaus sputtered and set his empty tea cup on the night stand. “Don’t be ridiculous, old man. I was twenty-six when I met you. I already had my first love long ago.”
Sylvester’s face fell. “Oh. Was it that friend of your father’s?”
Klaus suddenly felt too hot, even in his thin cotton pajamas. He had a vivid recollection of drunkenly telling Sylvester about his father’s friend and how he had been the first of the older men whom Klaus kept finding himself attracted to. That had been when he confessed to Sylvester, too, back when he was only a student assistant.
He hit Sylvester’s arm again. “Why are you bringing that kind of thing up first thing in the morning?”
Sylvester rubbed his arm, smiling in a way that was utterly unrepentant. “I thought sharing intimate details like that was what married couples were supposed to do?”
Klaus scowled. “We’re done sharing for now. Let’s talk instead about what work we need to finish today.”
“If you insist. The potion for the Highgarden son’s consumption should be done fermenting this afternoon, and…there was something else I’m forgetting.”
“The brew Mallory Astamond wants to help with her husband’s indigestion.”
Sylvester wrinkled his brow. “Didn’t we give her one last month?”
“We did, but she says she needs something stronger. If you ask me, Gregor Astamond just needs to eat more fruit and vegetables, but they pay very well.”
“What a use of our magic,” Sylvester muttered. He heaved a final sigh. “Well, food first, and then work. Come join me in the kitchen soon, darling.” He stood up, collecting Klaus’ empty teacup, and departed the room.
Even after he had disappeared from sight, Klaus sat in bed and listened to him clattering around in the kitchen just down the hallway. Sylvester had only started cooking after he and Klaus married, and even five years after the fact he could hardly make a cup of tea without setting up a racket. Klaus fondly listened to him cursing and banging pots around before swinging his legs out of bed, ready to join his husband in the day’s rhythm.
Klaus took his time washing up and watering the plants before going to the kitchen, savoring the quiet that reigned in Milk Thistle Cottage now that both his daughters were away. When he went to the kitchen, he found that Sylvester had done more than make tea. He was stirring a pot of rice porridge on the stove, where a pan of dried sausages was already sizzling away. The table was set with plates, bowls, chopsticks, and a platter of sliced papaya and mango. Sylvester had rolled his sleeves up and swept his long gray hair behind his ear, the picture of diligence.
“Look at you,” Klaus said. “The only thing you used to cook on that stove were the potions that wouldn’t fit in the shed.”
Sylvester grinned. “Even an old man like me can learn new tricks.”
“Is that so? I wonder who that might be thanks to.”
Klaus took a seat at the table, eating papaya as he sorted through the letters that had come for them. There were the usual letters of admiration for Sylvester and his potions work—“As if I only stir the pots,” Klaus muttered—orders from potions stores that wanted to stock Sylvester’s patented brews, and requests from people to make personalized ointments and tinctures.
There was also a letter from Bee gushing about how wonderfully pretty and smart her mother was and how much she was enjoying her time in Mokbon, and one from Odette assuring Klaus and Sylvester that she was learning ever so much by staying the summer at Appleyard and Haysmith’s Academy for the Wise Arts and that she would come see them the week before term started.
“You’ll be happy to hear that Bee is doing well in Mokbon,” he called out to Sylvester. “Apparently Selena gave her cousins a, ah, stern lecture about treating her nicely and they haven’t said a single word to her since.”
“She should have done that from the beginning,” Sylvester said, voice dark with the familiar grievance. “She left Bee alone with those horrid people for years and didn’t even know what they were doing!”
Klaus made a noise of agreement. He hadn’t been there when Bee’s mother deposited her on Sylvester’s doorstep, but from what he could gather the girl had been shunned and looked down upon by her mother’s family. Something to do with her parents being unmarried and her father being Vinhese, even if he was a famous potions master. Klaus made a note to send Bee a package with her favorite dried fruit and guava chili jam so she would have something to comfort her even if her mother couldn’t be there to protect her.
“Time to eat,” Sylvester announced, bringing the porridge and a plate of the still sizzling sausages to the table. He also set down a freshly made pot of rice, the grains perfectly fluffed and steaming in gentle puffs.
Klaus bowed his head over the food to give thanks before picking up his chopsticks. He placed a sausage on top of a heaping spoonful of the porridge and ate it in one bite, sighing with satisfaction at the way the mildness of the porridge contrasted perfectly with the grease and spiciness of the sausage.
Sylvester pushed the sausages closer to him. “Here. Old men like me shouldn’t eat so much grease.”
Klaus added more sausages to his bowl of porridge, but not without a sudden suspicion. The sausages were Sylvester’s favorite food, and he never sacrificed his food willingly. “You’re being very solicitous. Are you trying to make sure I’m in a good mood before you tell me something you did?”
“I’m taken aback, Klaus. Do I need a reason to do something nice for my husband?”
Klaus narrowed his eyes. “Not always, but often enough.”
“It’s nothing in particular—”
“Sylvester Ran, tell me right now what you’re hiding.”
Sylvester, looking very put upon, said, “All right, well, it’s nothing very big. It’s just that Florian Machemont is coming over in the afternoon. He has a new contract he wants to look over with me.”
The food soured in Klaus’ mouth. Florian Machemont owned a popular potions shop in downtown Carnelian, a few miles from Milk Thistle Cottage. Carnelian was Crystallia’s largest city and its capital, so Florian, like other shopowners in the bustling downtown district, helped customers every day who ranged from the average magic student to a visiting foreign dignitary.
He was a convenient middle man, but Klaus despised his greediness and condescension. He always had something rude to say to them, particularly Klaus, and he was forever trying to convince Sylvester to raise the prices on his potions.
“You know I can’t stand him,” Klaus grumbled. “It’s not as if there aren’t a dozen other shopkeepers carrying our potions, and a dozen who would line up for the chance.”
“True enough, but Florian’s shop is popular. Besides, he was willing to sell my potions before I became famous. I don’t see the point of getting rid of him unless he does something truly out of hand.”
Klaus shook his head in disbelief. If there was something he could never understand about Sylvester, it was his willingness to tolerate terrible people. He had no affection for them, but even if it was just for business or convenience’s sake, Klaus couldn’t imagine smiling after someone told him that finding a preventative aid for one of the most prevalent and debilitating disease to afflict wizards was a mere matter of luck.
He stood up, collecting the empty dishes. “Enjoy talking to him on your own then. I’ll be in the shed so long as that man is here.”
“Of course, darling,” Sylvester said, voice mild.
Klaus washed the dishes in a sullen silence. The very least Sylvester could do was say that he understood Klaus’ dislike, instead of acting as if he was an indulgent parent allowing Klaus the freedom to be childish.
Sylvester helped him dry the dishes in equal silence. Only when they were finished did he hold out his hand and say, “I’m sorry about Machemont, Klaus. I’ll get him in and out as quickly as possible.”
The golden summer sunlight spilled through the kitchen’s window, lining Sylvester’s hair with a soft glow. He smiled at Klaus, affectionate and hesitant in the way he only was with him. Klaus’ heart leaped; in the end, he would go anywhere with Sylvester.
“If he’s not out of here within half an hour, I’m coming in to kick him out myself,” he warned, taking Sylvester’s hand.
“I promise,” Sylvester said solemnly, and Klaus returned his smile at last, taking comfort in the tight twine of their fingers.
When Klaus had arrived in Crystallia five years ago, the garden behind Sylvester’s home had immediately captured his heart. Sylvester had bought the cottage after selling his first large batch of Perennial Stone, the potion that had transformed him from just another foreigner struggling to make their fortune in Crystallia to one of the most revered potions masters in the world.
The previous owner had named the home Milk Thistle Cottage for the plant that grew abundantly on its acre of land, and Sylvester had never bothered changing the name. What he had changed was the garden: by the time Klaus came to study with him, he had already re-shaped the overgrown land around Milk Thistle Cottage into a showcase of plants from across Crystallia and other countries, including his native Vinh Rua.
The garden was divided into dozens of sections, each encased within a protective sphere that housed a spell mimicking different climates and weather. It was both a massive and intricately detailed piece of magic, and every morning Klaus and Sylvester checked the plots to see whether the climate spells needed adjustment.
The temperature had risen drastically in the tundra sphere and some of the plants were already wilting, so Klaus worked quickly to reweave the spell, reinforcing it with additional layers. The sensation of icy air embracing only his fingers while the rest of his body sweated in the summer afternoon still filled Klaus with wonder. He lingered after he finished repairing the spell, picking dead parts off the bearberries and diamond leaves.
Sylvester joined him there, giving an exaggerated shiver when he leaned over the sphere. “Aren’t you cold?”
“Not with all this sun shining on me. Besides, I’m used to this kind of temperature.”
“That’s right. It’s always this cold in Vementis, isn’t it?”
Klaus nodded. Truthfully, though, it was difficult to remember the exact feeling of the ice and wind in Vementis. He hadn’t returned since he packed his bags for Crystallia, and when he tried to recall the feeling of cold, he could only dredge up the memory of how relieved he’d been to shed his woolen coats and scarves in Crystallia.
Sylvester clicked his tongue. “I don’t know how your parents stood it there after coming from Vinh Rua. I had an option study in Vementis on a scholarship, you know, but when I heard how cold it was I immediately chose Crystallia instead.”
It was rare for Sylvester to talk about his life before coming to Crystallia. Klaus knew that he had elderly parents he still sent money to, and an indeterminate number of siblings; but what Sylvester had done in Vinh Rua, what his life as a schoolboy had been like, were still shrouded.
Curious to know more, Klaus asked, “How old were you when you came to Crystallia?”
“Let’s see…” Sylvester tipped his head back, closing his eyes in thought. “I was much younger than you when you came here. About sixteen, I think.”
Klaus could hardly wrap his mind around the idea that Sylvester had already lived more than half his life in another country before Klaus ever stepped foot away from his home. That, more than Sylvester’s gray hair or people’s malicious gossiping, made Klaus conscious of the years that separated them.
“Do you ever miss Vinh Rua?” he asked.
Sylvester shrugged. “On occasion. It’s been so long that it doesn’t quite feel like home any more. But that reminds me: I was thinking that we should—”
Florian Machemont’s bullhorn of a voice cut off Sylvester’s words. Klaus scowled at the same time that Sylvester sighed. They both turned to see Florian letting himself into the garden’s side gate, as usual not even stopping to notice the myriad of colors and scents around him.
“How did I know I’d find you two out here?” he said, beaming with all the sincerity of a fortune teller without the gift.
“Hello, Florian,” Sylvester said. “How are you?”
“Quite well. Can’t say I have any complaints. I trust I wasn’t interrupting a private moment?”
“Oh, of course not. I know you’d hate to do something like that,” Klaus said, plastering on an imitation of Sylvester’s public smile.
Sylvester frowned at him and he gave a slight shrug.
“Good, good. Well, Sylvester, I believe we have business to discuss?”
Florian’s smile was beginning to turn Klaus’ stomach, so he turned on his heels. “I’ll take a look at the rest of the spheres and then get started on the Astamonds’ order. If you need me, I’ll be in the shed.”
“Thank you, darling. I’ll see you soon.” Sylvester kissed his forehead. The tender gesture failed to comfort Klaus like it usually did, ruined as it was by Florian’s beady, sunken eyes boring into him.
He tried to ignore the crawling sensation Florian gave him, but his voice followed Klaus down the garden pathway. “It’s good to see how diligent he is. Everyone was worried that you’d been fooled by a pretty young thing looking for a free home, but it seems he’s quite dedicated to the work.”
Klaus whirled around. “You—” His throat closed up and his face burned. He couldn’t think of anything to say. Nothing seemed capable of taking the humiliation that Florian had just heaped on him and turning it back on him; it weighed down only on Klaus, making him feel as insignificant as the plants that Florian had ignored on his way in.
Sylvester’s voice was colder than the tundra as he said, “Florian, that’s enough.”
Klaus didn’t stay to hear the rest of his admonition. He stormed to the shed, yanking the door open and slamming it behind him with so much force that the walls shook. His entire body began shaking, but he made it as far as one of the work benches before burying his face in his hands and giving in, at last, to the tears.
Klaus didn’t know how long he sat in the shed, crying until the frustration had drained from his chest and left only an aching emptiness behind. He sat up on the bench, drying his eyes on a clean hand towel and looking around at the one place in the house that belonged only to him and Sylvester.
Gas stoves lined the far wall, multiple potions simmering away on their surfaces, and a neat row of work benches lined the center of the shed, stacked with books and notes and carefully bottled serpent scales and kirin feathers. Bundles of dried herbs hung from the ceiling and heavy shelves groaned with the weight of finished potions. In the afternoon sunlight, the variously colored potions in their glass bottles were liquid rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
Klaus stroked his fingers along the table where he sat. The table, worn smooth from years of use, had been there long before he arrived; it had come with the cottage when Sylvester made his purchase. Seeing it had comforted Klaus upon his arrival, and still did even now. It reminded him of the table in his mother’s kitchen, which was equally worn yet sturdy. He wondered if the table was still there, or if his brother had sold that as well.
He rarely missed Vementis. Life there had been claustrophobic, and despite his mother’s love there had always existed a gulf between them, riven by her inability to understand his restlessness and isolation. Sitting there in the shed, however, Klaus felt no less alone than he had in Vementis. The vice grip on his heart squeezed and he dashed away the tears that were forming once more, just as the door creaked open to reveal Sylvester.
“What do you want?” Klaus snapped, voice cracking. “Don’t you have something very important to discuss with Machemont?”
“I sent him away.”
“Did you now? Don’t say it was on my account. I wouldn’t want to be an inconvenience.”
Sylvester breathed deeply, the way he did whenever he was reigning in his temper. “I did it because he was a prick. And I also told him that our contract is officially terminated. After he sells the last of his current stock, there will be no more shipments of our potions.”
Klaus straightened up in shock. “You did what?”
Sylvester frowned. “I told you. If he ever crossed the line, I would—”
Bitter laughter burst from Klaus. “Crossed the line? Crossed your line, you mean. Has it ever occurred to you how many of my lines he’s crossed, Sylvester?”
“What are you talking about?” Sylvester’s voice never rose when he was angry. Instead, it became thin and tense, as ready to snap as a dried twig. “You wanted me to get rid of him, so I did. Why are you angry even about that?”
The words that had crammed in Klaus’ throat when he faced Florian found release now. “Oh, how very noble of you! You allowed that leech into our home in the first place. You allowed him to insult me every single time. He even insulted you, and I swallowed it all because you said that it didn’t matter. But now that you’ve decided that he’s said too much, you’ll finally send him away. How much more selfish could you be?”
For a long moment, Sylvester was as still as the ground after the first touch of frost. Klaus’ chest tightened unbearably and he doubled over, another sob heaving out of him. Now, no doubt, he would have to listen to Sylvester’s point of view, and the two of them would go back and forth until they were exhausted. Klaus didn’t know if he had the strength to reach an understanding this time.
Instead of launching into an explanation, however, Sylvester sat down next to Klaus and hugged him tightly. “Oh, darling. I’m sorry. I’ve been wrong all this time.”
Sylvester’s hand was soothing as he stroked Klaus’ hair, and despite his anger Klaus couldn’t help deriving an immense amount of relief from the familiar touch. “You’re the worst, most self-important man I’ve ever met,” he mumbled into his shoulder.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry, Klaus. I won’t let Machemont, or anyone else, say things like that to you anymore.”
Bitterness and resentment welled up in Klaus. Sylvester knew, just like everyone else who gossiped about them, what people said about Klaus. It was unfair. True, he had left Vementis of his own accord, but it wasn’t as if he had come to Sylvester unwanted—Sylvester had invited him, first to be his student, then to be his husband. And if Klaus hadn’t exactly been a wilting flower about his feelings, then Sylvester hadn’t been the hapless victim the gossips made him out to be.
He had acted as more than a teacher, taking an interest in Klaus’ wellbeing more than anyone else ever had, allowing him to be a part of his family, needing him and wanting him because he didn’t want to be alone any longer. He still needed Klaus, for all the small and large demands of life, so why was it that Klaus was made to feel like an interloper?
“I’m not some clinging admirer. I’m your damn husband, and nobody ever wants to admit that it might be because I’m worth loving.”
“Of course you are,” Sylvester said. “I’m sorry, Klaus. I haven’t been protecting you very well, have I? I didn’t think about your feelings at all and let you be hurt.”
Klaus blinked back the sudden tears. For all of Sylvester’s selfishness, he was the only person who ever took the time to understand Klaus’ feelings and rectify the things he’d done wrong by him.
“It’s not like you can stop people from gossiping,” he mumbled.
“That’s true. But I can stop them from coming over and bothering us. I’ll put up a sign: No visitors allowed. Beware of dog.”
“We don’t have a dog, old man.”
“We can get one.”
Klaus snorted. “No. Can you imagine how chaotic that would be on top of Bee and Odette? Just put ‘Beware of feral children.’”
Klaus felt Sylvester kiss the top of his head. His breath tickled Klaus’ ear as he buried his face against his neck and said, “I’ll put whatever it takes, but I promise there won’t be any more people talking badly about you.”
“And you’re going to listen to me when I tell you that someone is a prick?”
“Yes. I will try to be less of a selfish, self-important old man. You’re welcome to encourage me with constant scolding. It seems to have worked wonders on me so far.”
They both laughed. Sylvester’s open mouth brushed against Klaus’ neck and he shivered. He was sensitive there, something he was woefully reminded of when arousal prickled across his skin. “Sylvester…”
Sylvester, ever attuned to Klaus’ reactions, started kissing his neck. The kisses were innocent enough at first, just a flutter of his lips against Klaus’ skin, but they soon became wet and open mouthed. Sylvester trailed his tongue from the base of Klaus’ shoulder to the tip of his ear, where he nipped and sucked at the outer shell until Klaus was whimpering.
“This is cheating,” he gasped. “You’re using your wiles to make me not mad you anymore.”
Sylvester pulled away, blinking his large brown eyes. No matter how many gray hairs or wrinkles he lamented over, his eyes were still charming in their naivety. It was all a trick, of course, and one Klaus let him use liberally. “Weren’t you already not mad at me?”
“No, I am still absolutely livid. You’re going to have to work harder than that.”
“Like this?” Sylvester kissed Klaus’ neck again. This time, he used teeth, sucking hard enough on the skin that Klaus winced at the pain.
“Yes, like that. Do it again,” he moaned, heat starting to pool in his stomach.
For all his lecturing ways, Sylvester was eager to listen to instruction in bed. He licked and sucked down the length of Klaus’ neck, no doubt leaving angry red marks that Klaus would be able to admire even the next morning. Klaus clutched his arms, moaning loudly to show his appreciation. He could smell Sylvester’s familiar scent—mint from his shampoo and a heady mix of herbs from his potions—and it anchored him with a fierce joy. This was his, and no matter what anyone else said, Sylvester had given it to him freely.
“Touch me,” he panted, grabbing Sylvester’s hand and guiding it to his lap. “Come on, old man, make me hard for you.”
Sylvester’s sudden blush made Klaus’ cock twitch in interest almost as much as his hand. The only time Sylvester was embarrassed by their age difference was when they were in bed, and Klaus liked seeing him squirm when he brought it up. Thankfully, Sylvester also enjoyed being made to feel like a perverted old man, so Klaus kept teasing as he rubbed at him desperately through his trousers.
“Do you want to see my cock, old man? Is that what’s getting you excited?”
Sylvester nodded desperately. “Please, I need it.”
There was something about Sylvester pawing at his crotch, a perfect picture of the pathetic and lustful old man Klaus accused him of being, that made Klaus’ entire body heat up faster than anything else. His cock swelled and he thrust his hips up, hungry for more heat and friction.
“Take it out,” he demanded. “I want to feel your hand on it.”
Klaus could have come from the pleasure of watching Sylvester fumbling with his trouser buttons in his frenzied haste, but he finally managed to undo them and draw Klaus’ cock out. His hand was firm and calloused and Klaus tipped his head back with a breathy sigh as he stroked his cock from the base up to the tip.
“How do you like my cock?”
He tilted his head back in time to see Sylvester lick his lips and say, “I love it. It’s pretty.”
Klaus huffed out a laugh. “You’re really perverted. What do you want to do with it, old man?”
“I want to taste it.”
Klaus was momentarily jarred from the pleasurable haze that had fallen over him. Sylvester rarely offered to take Klaus’ cock into his mouth. On the rare occasions that he did, he seemed to enjoy it well enough, but Klaus had always wondered if he wasn’t as fond of it as Klaus was. He studied Sylvester’s expression closely. “Are you sure?”
In answer, Sylvester slid off the bench and onto his knees between Klaus’ legs. He looked up at Klaus, his expression of want and eagerness erasing all of Klaus’ hesitation. “I am. Please, Klaus, I need it.”
Klaus groaned, his cock throbbing. “Take it then. I want to see you eating me up.”
At the first touch of Sylvester’s mouth, Klaus shuddered. How long had it been since they’d last done this? He couldn’t remember; he and Sylvester were physically affectionate with each other every day, but it was all too easy to go for a week or two at a time without being intimate. There was always something to do or something to worry about, and sometimes after a long day of chopping herbs and stirring boiling pots Klaus fell asleep as soon as he lay down in bed.
It had certainly been long enough that the sensation of being taken into Sylvester’s wet and ready mouth had Klaus panting like he’d been teased for hours already. His arms shook as pleasure rolled down his spine in a relentless wave. Sylvester moved at an interminable pace. He stopped often to lick and run his tongue along the underside of Klaus’ cock, his muffled moans still loud. He looked filthy kneeling on the floor, eyes fluttering closed and spit trailing from his swollen, stretched open lips as he swallowed Klaus’ cock.
When he’d finally taken as much as he could, he began bobbing his head up and down. The tight suction of his mouth as it traveled from the tip of Klaus’ cock down to the base made Klaus cry out and spread his legs wider. His arms were shaking too hard, so he sagged against the table and wound his fingers in Sylvester’s fine hair to steady himself.
“You dirty old man,” he panted. “I didn’t know you’d be so hungry for me.”
Sylvester whimpered. His face was pink and his eyes squeezed shut. He had his fingers wrapped around Klaus’ thighs, the nails digging in as he sucked and licked with a desperation that matched Klaus’ own. The thought sent a jolt through Klaus. Sylvester, who was always reserved and a little aloof, was so caught up in the pleasure of eating Klaus’ cock that he was heedless even of the loud, wet noises he was making. That was how badly he wanted Klaus: as much as Klaus wanted him.
“Sylvester,” he cried out, cock throbbing. “I’m going to come.”
Instead of pulling off like he usually did, Sylvester began teasing the tip of Klaus’ cock, flicking his tongue over it and sucking as if it were candy. He seemed determined to finish Klaus with his mouth instead of his hand, and it made Klaus’ entire body tremble with anticipation. His moans mingled with the sound of Sylvester’s eager licking in the confines of the shed.
Everything was so hot. His skin prickled all over and his nipples, which had hardened with arousal, rubbed uncomfortably against his shirt. Klaus’ head rolled back and his mind emptied itself of everything except an intense feeling of euphoria as he came, calling out for Sylvester loudly enough that anyone passing by their house could have heard.
Klaus let his hands fall from Sylvester’s hair and leaned against the edge of the table for a few moments until his breathing had evened out. He wasn’t trembling anymore, but his body felt boneless. Only the sound of Sylvester moaning made him sit up again and look down. He immediately moaned, cock stirring halfheartedly at the sight of Sylvester with come dripping from his chin, hand working up and down his flushed and swollen length.
“Klaus,” he whimpered. “I need you.”
The words alone were enough to make Klaus get down on the floor, skin heating up again as he wrapped his hand around Sylvester’s cock. It was heavy and just wide enough for Klaus to get a firm grip. He wanted to take his time feeling every inch and licking the come already leaking from the tip, but Sylvester was thrusting his hips up, his voice weak as he pleaded for Klaus to touch him.
“Tell me what a dirty old man I am, darling, please!”
“Adorable,” Klaus said, laughing. “Are you proud of that? Do you like being a pervert who enjoys eating a younger man’s cock?”
“Yes! You tasted so good, so good, I wanted more.”
“Look at this. My come is all over your face and you want more?” Klaus smeared some of the come from Sylvester’s cheek and held the finger up to his mouth. “Here. Eat it, you filthy old man.”
Sylvester leaned forward and lapped at his finger. His cock throbbed in Klaus’ hand so Klaus stroked him faster, making sure to angle his wrist the way that he liked. Sylvester’s mouth hung open, little moans and whimpers falling from it. “Klaus, Klaus, I’m going to come!”
Klaus squeezed his cock. “Let’s see it then. I think your cock would finally look impressive spurting all over my hand.”
Sylvester arched his back and came. Klaus drank it all in: Sylvester’s eyes screwed shut, his mouth slack, the thick white come dripping over Klaus’ hand and onto Sylvester’s thighs to match what was already on his face. It was perfect, and it was only for him.
He gathered Sylvester into his arms and kissed his damp forehead, murmuring soothing words to him until his breathing had evened out. Then he urged Sylvester to his feet and straightened their clothing as best as he was able. “Let’s go inside and get cleaned up,” he said.
As they walked slowly back to the cottage, Sylvester muttering complaints about his knees, Klaus said, “By the way, weren’t you going to tell me something before Machemont interrupted? You said you were thinking about something.”
“Oh, that. I was going to say that we should go to Vinh Rua together and visit my family.”
Klaus stopped in his tracks. “What?”
Sylvester waved his hands. “If you don’t want to, we don’t have to. I just thought it would be nice to take the children and go. Bee’s been back to Mokbon now, but Odette’s never visited Vinh Rua.”
“No! I think…I think I want to. But won’t your parents be shocked?”
“Oh, no. They know I’m married to you.”
Klaus squawked. “Your parents know about me and you never even told me? What’s wrong with you, old man? Don’t you have any concept of communication?” He followed Sylvester down the garden path, yelling admonitions at him. “Do you write to them about me? What have you told them?”
Laughing, Sylvester kissed his forehead. “Just that you’re my husband and the most essential person in the world to me, and that I’m sure they’ll love you as much as I do.” He took Klaus’ hand in his. “Now let’s hurry, or Mallory Astamond’s going to pound our door down to demand that brew.”
They walked the rest of the way side by side, Klaus’ hand locked in Sylvester’s and his heart full with the promise of another day for the two of them.