by Kikuchi Makoto (菊池 誠)
illustrated by The Winter Cynic
The first few months that Johan spends in the Gravina family manor are a blur of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time while saying the wrong thing to the wrong person in the wrong place, but his uncle assures him that he’ll settle into his role in time. Serving as Young Master Hugo’s valet is an important responsibility, after all. Does Johan think he was chosen lightly? Well, then.
In some respects, his uncle is right. At least, Johan is no longer in mortal terror of being dragged from his bed in the middle of the night, unceremoniously shot in the back of the head, and tossed into a shallow grave with only a pile of lime for company, all because someone mistook his incompetence for insolence.
Not that he thinks Hugo would have allowed something like that to happen, not anymore. He’s more patient than Johan would have guessed, given his upbringing. Even kind, in his strange way. Johan can’t recall him ever once raising his voice–not even that time Johan dropped a full, steaming pot of tea on his shoulder.
…Which could be a result of his upbringing, really, but examining that thought too closely makes Johan feel unsettled and uncomfortably protective, so he lets it go.
Either way, the fact that Hugo seemed willing to overlook his mistakes had the odd effect of increasing the pressure Johan felt to stop making them.
It was the routine that saved him in the end, he thinks. When your every activity is mapped out before you set foot out of bed, and those activities are essentially the same from one day to the next, it takes a special kind of effort and creativity to go on screwing them up.
And today starts out routinely enough. Johan brings Hugo his breakfast in bed, helps him to perform his morning ablutions, and sets about the task of dressing him. Which, unfortunately, is one of those duties that continue to give him trouble.
No, that’s shifting the blame. Dressing Hugo is not the problem. The problem lies firmly with Johan, and his inability to stop sneaking glances as he works. Once or twice, he’s let his eyes linger for more than a glance, and Hugo noticed. At least, Johan thinks he noticed. He didn’t say anything, but the look he gave Johan in return seemed mildly amused and a touch smug.
Today Johan manages to get Hugo into his shirt, trousers, suspenders, and socks without even registering the spreading width of Hugo’s shoulders, the soft curve of his mouth, or the plane of his stomach.
Hugo yawns as he drops into the plush chair at his bedside, and Johan kneels to slip on his shoes and tie the laces.
He feels Hugo’s hand settle on his shoulder. It lingers before drifting lazily to Johan’s nape. Keeping his head down, Johan slides his gaze up to check Hugo’s expression. It’s watchful, in a detached way.
The hand on his neck is not an order. It’s probably not even a suggestion. But Johan thinks, maybe he could take it as permission…?
He’s thought about this countless times, usually late at night as he lies in bed and tries (and fails) to convince his body that it is not actually the least bit aroused.
Johan licks his lips and leans forward very slightly, watching for the young master’s reaction. And Hugo parts his knees wider.
Johan thinks, Yes. He reaches up to undo the button of Hugo’s trousers, which almost wrings a giddy laugh from him–he just did that button up a minute ago–but he forces it down and does his best to appear unruffled, professional.
He suspects he ought to say something. “Sir,” maybe? Or “Pardon me”? But he doesn’t trust his voice to work for him right now, so he just slides the button free and folds back the fabric of Hugo’s trousers.
The moon-pale Gravina hair that looks so fetching when it falls over Hugo’s eyes is every bit as lovely down here, just coarser and less inclined to sway in a breeze. It prickles Johan’s knuckles as he makes his hand into a loose fist and strokes a few times, slow and regular, coaxing Hugo to hardness.
It doesn’t take long, and that sends a warm rush down to Johan’s groin in turn. He bows his head, licks his lips a second time, and slides them over the head of Hugo’s cock. Bundle of nerves though he may be, Johan doesn’t think he’ll ever forget the stuttered hitch of Hugo’s breath, the way his fingers curl into the hair at Johan’s nape.
Johan slides down farther, about halfway, which is as far as he’s ever been able to go without choking. He wraps his hand around the remainder and bobs his head, settling into a rhythm as best he can. Which isn’t all that good because Hugo’s half-stifled moans, the shaky push of his hips, the way his hands card through Johan’s hair… Well, they’re distracting.
And even though Johan has enough on his mind as it is–with his jaw stretched uncomfortably wide and his mouth feeling soft and tender from Hugo’s thrusts–he needs to look up, needs to see Hugo’s face for this.
The young master’s cheeks are flushed (for the first time Johan has ever seen), head lolled back, eyes closed, lips parted around muted gasps. His expression could almost be mistaken for pain, if not for the way he moans, “Ah, that’s–yes,” when Johan presses his tongue hard against his shaft. “More like that, Johan. You feel so….” His eyes slit open to lock with Johan’s for a breath before they squeeze shut again, and his grip on Johan’s hair tightens enough to bring tears.
Bitter heat floods Johan’s mouth. He swallows, and swallows, and slides a hand up under Hugo’s shirt to stroke a thumb along the underside of his ribcage, petting his flank as he comes back down.
Hugo sinks into the chair, sated and boneless. He lets out a soft, open-mouthed sigh, and Johan tucks him back into his trousers, buttons them, straightens his clothes.
“Ah, well, if that will be all,” he says, rising to his feet and turning quickly away. He has a little difficulty walking toward the door, but he can’t linger, not when he’s–
A hand seizes his elbow, and he hears Hugo say, “I don’t remember dismissing you.”
“My apologies, sir,” Johan says, desperation rising hot in his cheeks, “but I have something to attend….” His words dissolve into a moan when Hugo reaches around to brush a hand over the front of his trousers.
“I suppose this is what’s making such stringent demands on your attention?” Hugo says, and already his voice is back to sounding calm, superior, and amused. He presses his hand down firmly, cupping and stroking Johan through the fabric of his trousers. He pushes closer to rub his cheek against Johan’s spine, right between his shoulder blades, and chuckles. “You liked it that much, did you? Having me in your mouth. Sucking me until I came.”
He trails his hand up, over Johan’s stomach, his chest, up past his throat, and traces his fingers over Johan’s swollen lips. He presses three of them inside.
They taste of salt, and Johan can feel the calluses left by long hours of filling out ledgers and practicing with knives. They don’t force his jaw wide, but his mouth still feels open and oversensitive. He moans around Hugo’s fingers when they pet his tongue.
“That’s good,” Hugo says, and pushes against his back, guiding him to the desk.
Hugo works Johan’s trousers open with his free hand and slides his fingers out of Johan’s mouth. He brings them down to wrap–strong and slick–around his cock. His strokes are slow, deliberate, and Johan leans over the desk to brace himself against the sturdy wood.
Hugo says, “Let me hear you.”
“I–I don’t think…” Johan buries his face in his crossed arms. He doesn’t know why this should embarrass him so much more than being down on his knees with a cock in his mouth, but it does, and he bites his lip as he rocks into Hugo’s hand.
Hugo stops stroking and presses close to trap Johan against the desk. “I want to hear you,” he says. He molds his body to Johan’s back, holding him still.
Johan feels himself flush even hotter. “Please,” he whispers.
“Please what?” says Hugo. His breath is warm on Johan’s nape. “Tell me what you want.”
“I…” Johan grits his teeth. The fingers of his right hand curl white-knuckled over the far edge of the desk. “I want to come. Please, I want to come in your hand, just like this.”
“That’s good,” Hugo says again, and Johan feels the pressure on his back ease just enough to give him room to move, feels Hugo’s hand resume its steady stroking. “I love your voice, the way you sound, especially now. Tell me more.”
“I’m–ah.” Johan pants, his breath moist in the cave of his arms. He can hardly think–how does Hugo expect him to talk? But he says, “I think about this, about you, when I do this to myself.”
Hugo makes a pleased humming sound low in his throat and strokes faster.
Johan shivers. “It–it makes it so much better,” he says, and the words come more easily now. He says, “But it never feels like this, never this good. No–oh god–no matter what I do, it’s never as good as–ah, Hugo, yes, like that.”
“You’re close,” Hugo says, not asking, and his voice isn’t steady anymore. “That’s right,” he says. “Good. Now.”
It’s an order Johan couldn’t refuse even if he wanted to. He comes harder than he ever has and slumps against the desk, his breaths shallow and shaky. Gradually, they even back out, and he’s able to stand on his own again, and see the mess he’s made.
“We’ll have to take care of that before it damages the wood,” Hugo says. He holds Johan’s gaze as he licks his fingers clean. “I’ll just ask Madelyn to–”
“I’ll take care of it,” Johan interjects. He doesn’t doubt for a moment that Hugo would do exactly that. After all, Johan has caught Madelyn sending appreciative glances his way, and if he’s noticed… He buttons up and smooths his wrinkled shirtfront. “I’ll go get a washcloth.”
He makes it one and a half steps before Hugo catches his tie and tugs him down into a kiss. Johan can taste himself on Hugo’s tongue. He wonders whether Hugo is thinking the same thing about him.
Hugo breaks the kiss but keeps a firm hold on Johan’s tie. “This isn’t another of your duties, you know,” he murmurs against Johan’s lips, and that foreign unsteadiness has crept back into his voice.
Johan has to stifle another giddy laugh. He smiles instead and brings their mouths back together, slow and searching. He says, “I had assumed it was an incentive.