Footsteps to Favor

by Torino Koji

I.

In the land of Ingertry, in the capital of Gweyir, the royal family of the Mistcrown had ruled for nearly a thousand years.  Ingertry was a land of mixed peoples, where war had ravished the edges of the land, taking earlier Kings and Queens.  The current King was Dormyar, who had only been King for the last hundred years, as power had coalesced at the close of the war with Durum to the northeast.  It had also resulted in, especially among frontier towns between Durum and Ingertry, several new immigrants to the strange foreign lands.  Fowke, knight to the King, was one of those immigrants.

Fowke was large, even for a hobgoblin.  He stood well over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a strong barrel chest.  He had dark vermillion, lightly furred skin, dark hair and severe sideburns, large tusks that protruded over his upper lip.  He had been a knight in Ingretry since he had come there as a young adult, and his exposure to the natural magical energy of elves had slowed his aging considerably.  Now, he was returning to Ingertry after spending several years abroad as emissary for the King.  Upon his return to the palace from the docksides, Fowke found himself almost immediately whisked into the waiting chambers for the audience room.  There were no specific orders or commands, just abandonment by the harried looking page who insisted that Fowke needed to come at once, no don’t bother with ceremony.  Fowke was feeling worn and unwashed, as he arrived in the waiting chambers.  He’d had every intention of returning to the palace and doing more than merely setting his things down on the low cot in his primary rooms but when the King wished to see someone, the King got his way.

When the inner door opened to reveal the audience room, Fowke let himself in past the steward, shifting his sword at his side slightly before bowing to the King.  It was only him, and one of the royal children, who was petulant and pointedly refusing to look in Fowke’s direction, especially as the King descended from his throne and came to greet Fowke.

It was strange, even after all these years later, to greet him.  When Fowke had first arrived in Ingertry, it had been after facing Dormyar in battle.  They had stood each other down, having wounded each other.  So, on his arrival, things had been tense, understandably.  Now, they were like old friends — or as much like old friends as a King might be with his knight.

“Fair returns, Fowke,” Dormyar said, clasping a hand on Fowke’s forearm and gripping his shoulder with the other.  Fowke nodded, his face stoic but content.  He had missed Ingertry, and its strange royal family that he had become so close to over such a long life.  “I trust things were not too much a hardship while you were abroad?”

“No, your grace,” Fowke assured, low rumbling voice and kind acceptance of his place in this.  Even if Dormyar was casual with him, the steward and Dormyar’s child were still there, and Fowke did not think that the urgency of his call had to do with catching up on a diplomatic mission.

“Good, good,” Dormyar said, nodding, clearly fumbling with the next bit.  Fowke didn’t make it easy for him; he did not ask or prompt, simply waited.  Eventually, the King released his touch and looked to his steward.  “You are dismissed.  I will call for you when our business is complete.”

The steward murmured an assent as he stepped out of the chambers, but Fowke remained focused on the King until they were alone.  Or, very nearly.  Fowke’s gaze turned to the young elf standing by the throne.  It had been some years since he had seen any of the nine royal children, and he was struggling to place this one against the recollection he had of them all.  So, when Dormyar retreated toward the throne and said, “You remember Elas, yes?” Fowke could only nod.

Elas was just over five feet tall, with olive skin and long hair the color of clay and old copper, too deep and dark to be called properly fiery.  He was lean and erect, confident, with bright eyes and, like all his elven brethren, expressive ears that would twitch and shift with his various moods.  Fowke recalled a fiery youth, just growing up, at home for holidays and major festivals in the city and the rest of the time out in the country with the Lady-mother.  Had it been half Elas’s life since Fowke had seen the child?  Now, Elas was grown, a trace of youthful fat still in the jaws but quickly narrowing to the classical point that Dormyar’s children all bore as they ascended into their maturity.  Fowke admired the elfling discreetly.

“Elas was recently appointed Named Prince,” Dormyar continued, and Fowke took a moment to reconcile that with himself.  Named Prince was the title given to the third son.  Fowke had no doubts on the sincerity of the appointment, but his eyes coasted over Elas’s body.  When he looked up, he found the prince staring at him.  There was a timbre to that gaze that demanded Fowke say something, to object, to point out the historical flaw in that appointment.  After all, there were six other princesses, and half a century ago, Elas had been among them.  Well, half a century ago, Elas’s two older brothers hadn’t been appointed their titles, either.  Fowke said nothing, because things changed, and the royal family knew themselves and their children more than Fowke himself did.

Dormyar had been saying something, but Fowke’s attention had been on Elas.  Fowke returned his focus to the king just as Dormyar was saying, “So I thought, this appointment might lay with you.  All the trust I’ve had in you these years — and, given that you know the Prince, there seemed no one better to be his guard than you.”

“I could think of plenty better,” Elas grumbled.

Fowke was prone to agree.  “With all due respect, your grace,” he said, shaking his head a little.  “The Prince has lived away from the palace so long, and I have spent many years abroad.  There must be someone else that would be a better choice to guard him?”

“None that I trust as much as you to assure that Elas stays true to his appointment.”

Ah — there it was.

“I do not need a guard,” Elas began, turning to face both his father and Fowke.  Fowke was watching him again, even as father and son fell into an argument about some of Elas’s recent behavior, slipping out of the castle and being generally disrespectful of his station.  This lasted several minutes, until Elas swore in a most undignified manner and stamped toward the door.  Unthinkingly, Fowke reached out and grabbed the prince by his arm.  A quiet stillness fell over the room.  Elas looked up at Fowke with shocked eyes and Fowke looked down at Elas with a stern commitment to a post the hobgoblin had not yet accepted.  Something crackled in the air between them, a suggestion that bled heat through Fowke’s chest and caused Elas’s ears to quiver with nerves.  Dormyar didn’t seem to notice the bead of tension that had suddenly developed between prince and knight.  He saw Fowke’s instant response and restraint and Elas’s immediate calm, such as it appeared from the outside, and was pleased with the outcome.

“You will start tonight,” Dormyar proclaimed.  There was no way to broach an argument with that.  He was, after all, the King of Ingertry.  “I trust you, Fowke, to take care of my son.”

Fowke released Elas’s arm, a lingering brush, before he bowed to the king.  “Yes, your grace.”

II.

Days passed, then weeks.  There were burbling little fights — if one could call Elas’s rudeness and stubbornness and Fowke’s placid indifference to his mood a fight.

The moonlight slid in through the window, lighting across the floor and illuminating the sheer curtains around Elas’s bed.  He laid in the middle of it, stripped and sprawled, staring at the ceiling above him.  There was enough warmth, from the balmy day and from the fire that had been lit earlier while the temperature came down, that Elas’s nakedness might be explained by that alone.  Except–

Except that Elas clearly wasn’t thinking about the balmy, coastal warmth of Gweyir.  The breeze buffeted his bed curtains every once in a while, and Elas squirmed in the bed, thinking about something other than the occasional cool breath sliding over his body.

He slid his hands, slowly, from his hips up to his tits and back down.  This went on for several long moments, his mind wandering over all the possibilities of bodies that might share this bed with him.  What a world, to be a third son, to have no cares in the world on his use to the family line.  He could think about just about anyone, as he laid there, hands wandering over his flesh and exciting more and more warmth under his skin.

On the next pass, Elas’s fingers delved between his legs.  He wasn’t wet, quite yet, but he could certainly find the immediacy and warmth starting to buzz through him when he ran his fingers gently over his cunt and found the molten core.  He sighed, arching and squirming slightly.  Slowly, his mind was starting to produce more concrete thoughts and figures, starting to focus more and more on the desire that would make his body find all the spectacular, sparkling pleasure.

In his minds’ eye, Knight Fowke towered over him, hulking and dark, velvety, impossibly broad.  The hobgoblin’s stoic, controlled expression which Elas had never noticed or known before this latest introduction.  The sheer size of his hands.  Fowke was hardly the largest man that had been within the palace walls, but he was, most assuredly, larger than Elas was.

A steady, sweet pleasure started to coalesce in Elas.  He could feel a bit of the slick wetness now.  But he still drew his fingers back to spit on them, before smearing that across his clit and pussy.

Elas had never been with a hobgoblin before.  He didn’t know the first thing about them.  He had been with a variety of men: humans, elves, half blood sorts of all kinds.  But Fowke was larger than all of those, and a complete unknown in regards to what he would be like in bed.  Maybe that was what inspired Elas so much.  The mystery, leaving everything up to his imagination: what that board chest would look like outside of armor or clothes, what those hands would feel like on pliant elven flesh, what his cock would look like.

The very thought of it made Elas moan.  He shifted his hand slightly, teasing the fingertips of two fingers into his increasingly wet cunt.  His other hand came up to his chest, grabbing roughly, squeezing, pinching the nipple.  Fowke’s hands would be so much coarser than his own, hardened by years with that longsword he wore on his hip, and whatever other weapons he’d learned to use over the years.  In his mind’s eye, Fowke was as quiet and stoic as he had been in front of the King, that slight frown on his face even as Elas showed him his body.  Nothing was going to move him to noise, not even the pleasure of fucking a Prince of the Mistcrown.

He pulled his fingers out and rubbed at his clit, finding it hot and gently swollen.  With a whine, Elas pinched the lovely little nub between two fingers and stroked a little bit, like it was more cock than it really was.  It was a tease of a touch.  The filthy, unwinding fantasy involved thick fingers plunged deep, scissoring inside of him, a rough thumb swarming over his clit.  Elas gave up that pinched stroke to bring his hand up, spit on his fingers again, and then focus on a rub instead.

“F-fuck,” Elas gasped.  The breeze rolled over him, ruffling the curtains, sending shivers over his whole body.  His nipples were so hard they almost hurt.  His mind was running away from him now, a blurry fantasy of getting his new guard to do unspeakable things to his body.  Every single thought chewed through him, desperate need and arousal building as he kept rubbing his clit.  As the pleasure mounted towards the first plateau, Elas let himself be raucous and needy about it, gasping and cursing toward the ceiling, rubbing his fingers faster, faster.

There — the plateau.  Pleasure crested up and then lingered, drawn out like a toffee.  Elas groaned softly.  He turned over onto his belly and grabbed his pillow, shoving it under his hips for a different friction.  Now, the thought in his head had Fowke’s large, rough hands on his hips, grabbing him, yanking him back roughly.  The thought in his head was about that strange, mysterious cock plunging into him from behind.  He squirmed and wiggled his hips, cool breeze over warm skin as he found a good angle on the pillow.  He let that be the only friction for a moment, letting the plateau draw out and his aching need increase.

When he brought his hand back, it was twisted gently over his back, plunging into his cunt from behind.  He tilted his head forward and cried out into the pillow, needy, desperate, wishing it was something more than only his own fingers.  That, coupled with rubbing against the pillow, started to build the heat again, dragging him slowly towards the next peak.  He gasped and moaned, a growing cacophony of pleasure as his fantasy unraveled into complete impossibilities: Fowke being impossibly huge, too much to take, a shivering line of tension holding him in place so that all he could do was struggle and take.

Elas came with a noisy shriek muffled in the pillow.  His hips jolted, his pussy clenching around his fingers.  The pleasure wound through him, unraveling steadily in the aftermath.  Slowly, he collapsed; who cared that he was naked?  It was his room.

III.

Elas stood on the balcony off the library, overlooking the palace guards running drills in the courtyard below.  He was purposefully indulgent about the whole thing, giving his entirely unwarranted and unnecessary opinion on everything from the training regime to the make-up of the guards to the finest details of their armor.  None of it mattered.  He hardly knew what he was talking about.

Fowke couldn’t keep his eyes off him.  This was Elas in prime form, to be sure, full of vim and vigor, a ridiculous playfulness that half invited Fowke to be part of the joke and mostly made Fowke want to look at him.  Every time he did, there was a continuous mental offering of the elfling in a self-compromising state.  It had been vulgar of him to watch.  He ought to be apologetic.  But Fowke couldn’t bring himself to that, not yet anyway.

“I think I could do better than most of them,” Elas said, looking at Fowke as he said it, searching for some concern or rise out of him.

“Do you even have a suit of armor, my lord?” Fowke asked, matching the pithy insinuation with one of his own.  Elas seemed to fluff up like a bird getting air under its feathers, offended by having his teasing tone matched in such a way.

“Of course I do,” Elas protested.  Fowke had known that, of course, because all of the royal family had armor.  It was ceremonial, but that didn’t make it not a suit of armor.  Just because Ingertry hadn’t been to war in years didn’t mean that Elas wasn’t also trained and properly outfitted.  Fowke looked him over, eyes a little heavy.  He wondered if Elas could feel that look, even as the elfling pointedly looked away and down at the training guards again. Did Elas realize what had happened?  Or was it only Fowke that knew, that had that vision of Elas’s body, strewn under the moonlight in his bed, seared into the less respectful parts of his mind.

In the end, Elas left the balcony and headed back inside — but Fowke was just behind him, as he was for everything in these long days.  They walked through the halls.  Elas seemed to have no particular place in mind, just letting his feet carry him.  Fowke kept close, a few steps behind Elas’s left shoulder, even as Elas tried to take tight turns and obscure passages to get away.  In the end, they ended up in the library once more, where Elas just began slamming about.

“Stop,” Fowke said, low and firm about it, a respect to the space more than his charge.

“I can and will.  It’s mine.  What do you know about it?”

It shouldn’t have been something that upset him, but there was a dark insinuation that Fowke didn’t know a thing about books or reading, that he had no education, or at least none that made him capable of doing more than wielding his weaponry.  Fowke let himself be overcome by it.  He walked up to Elas and grabbed him before the prince could grab another book, turning him around.  “Can’t you just behave?”

“You can’t talk to me like that–“

Fowke didn’t let him finish.  Was it the warmth of skin, the memory of all that writhing and noise, or just the general frustration with such a difficult charge?  None of it, or all of it, mattered.  With his hand still on Elas’s wrist, Fowke turned the prince and shoved his back against the shelves.

“I’m not talking to you, I’m telling you,” Fowke snarled.  “Unless that show the other night was about wanting to be put in your place, I suggest you consider behaving.”  Elas inhaled sharply as Fowke crowded into his space.  It was the closest they had stood to each other in the weeks that Fowke had been watching over him.  Fowke was very aware of how much taller and broader he was than the elfling, how easy it would be to force this issue into something else.  He took his hand off Elas’s wrist and blocked any potential retreat with the bulk of his body and his hands pressed to the shelf near Elas’s shoulders.  Elas’s face was a mask of performed confusion as they stared at each other for a moment.  Fowke’s voice finally rumbled, bassy and full, as he leaned in just a little closer.  “Maybe you should think about who’s standing outside your door before you go investigating yourself.”  Elas’s gaze deferred and then returned to him, and Fowke didn’t think the prince realized just how dark and full-blown his eyes had become.  How could he?  “Anyone could have been there, Elas.  It wasn’t even very late.  Or was that a free show?”

“How– How dare you –?”

“I don’t think you’ve earned very much outrage, considering how noisy you were in the first place.”

Elas’s ears drooped dramatically, his face going all red.  Fowke’s mouth curled in the slightest smirk, but he didn’t laugh even though he was ready to.  Instead, he stood there a moment, and then stepped back.  Elas remained frozen against the shelf, until Fowke gave a few feet of space, then peeled himself away, trying to regain some composure, and forget how it had felt to be pushed into the wall like that.

IV.

There was no time off, now.  In previous appointments under the King, Fowke had days away from the palace.  Now, it was every day, from sunup until Elas was asleep, and Fowke could feel the edges of it beginning to strain on him.  After their last confrontation, Fowke found that he couldn’t stop thinking about it, about everything: not just the scene that he had witnessed, but about the way that Elas’s eyes had gotten large and his ears had drooped with nervous expression.  He couldn’t stop thinking about the soft fragrance of his skin, which Fowke had been growing more attuned to with every day he had spent around the young elfling prince.

It was early.  The sun wouldn’t be up for an hour or two more.  

Fowke wasn’t thinking specifically of the scene he had witnessed that night, Elas shivering in his bed or humping the pillow, or about how beautifully Elas had flushed, olive skin going dusky with sweet embarrassment.  Instead, it was a winding, wandering thought of what else would inspire that flush on Elas’s skin, on how Fowke might be able to control the noisiness that he now knew Elas was capable of.  He sat up in his bed, back to the wall, and pushed his pants down far enough to free his hips.  His cock was perking out of its sheath, the ridges starting to fill out with arousal.  He waited until his cock had fully emerged from the sheath, and then slowly wrapped his hand around it, stroking, every bump and ridge and angle of his cock fit against his rough palm.  He leaned forward and spat down onto his cock, smearing it along the shaft, then leaned back again, closing his eyes.  In his minds eye, he could see Elas.  Not squirming on the bed but pinned and docile against a wall, so sweet and pliant, easily picked up.  He could ignore his own rough hand and think about Elas’s long, graceful fingers wrapping around the thick meat.  Would he be able to wrap them all the way around?  Fowke thought so; he thought they would fit very nicely.

Precum dripped from the tip.  He smeared it across the head, down the shaft a little — it would be so good to have a mouth on him, to feel hot suction pulling at the head.  And he could see that, in the fantasy.  Elas licking, sucking, being so sweetly tamed.  Certainly not like how he was in real life.  Fowke grunted, sighed, as the pleasure mounted.  He could feel the knot starting to grow now, slipping out of the sheath with every moment that it grew more hot and full.  He could happily think of what it would look like tied to a narrow-bodied little elf.  Just the thought of it had his hips hitching slightly, a desperate seeking for another body’s warmth and familiarity.

“Shit,” he whispered, aware that the walls were thin in the servant quarters, and it was early.  He didn’t want to rouse anyone with his mouth turning to filth.  With eyes closed and hand busy, Fowke whispered the things he longed to say into those pretty, expressive ears: “That’s it, darling boy.  Take my cock.  Perfect.  That’s it — deeper, now.  Deeper.”

He wasn’t going to last very long like this.  Thinking of how he would deconstruct Elas, a thing only possible in his dreams, was going to move things along more rapidly than things had gone in years.  Ever?  Fowke didn’t think he’d ever felt this aroused, this desperate, for another person’s flesh.  And every new and thrilling thought of Elas bending to his will just brought him closer and closer until —

He cried out, and there was no helping that noise.  A desperate, needful groan toward the ceiling.  His cock twitched and he came, thick ropes making a mess up his chest and onto the blankets.  Oh, that would be a pain to clean up.

~

The day passed without note, and night came.  Elas sat on his bed, looking at the servant that he had called into his rooms.  It was late and the servant looked tired, but attentive.

“Come closer,” Elas said, looking at the young man.  A human, which was rare enough in the royal household.  The servant came closer, and Elas, removing his own clothes, gestured for the servant to do so as well.  That gesture brought a single moment of hesitation, before the servant did as he was told without words.  He folded his uniform and then folded Elas’s clothes as well.  Once the clothes were set aside, Elas drew the young man close, running a length of fabric he was holding over the servant’s fair skin.  “Lay down,” he murmured to the servant.  Elas liked the look of him.  “I’m going to tie your hands above your head.  No touching.”

The servant nodded, climbing into the bed.  Even if he looked hesitant and nervous, the arousal was clear, growing, bleeding into flushed cheeks and dilated eyes.  Elas purred, waiting for the servant to sprawl on the bed.  Once he was settled, Elas straddled his waist.  It was the best way to bundle his wrists and tie them together, and to grind his hips back against the servant’s cock.  Just that simple, single touch had the servant moaning softly.  Elas did it again, rubbed and squirmed against him, letting the other man feel how wet his cunt was already.  Elas hoped that looking down at the servant would purge thoughts of Fowke from his mind.  This human was strong but lean, narrow in the shoulders as well as the hips, his cock plain even if it was lovely.  It slipped and nudged beautifully against his cunt, teasing about slipping in, and then up against his clit.

“Do you want to be inside me?” Elas whispered, smirking a little bit.

“Yes,” the servant whispered back.  Elas kept teasing, his smirk growing.

“Yes what?”

“Yes, sir.  Yes, my Prince.”

That was good enough for him.  Elas lifted up slightly, reaching down to hold the servant’s cock steady as he sank on him.  Gentle at first, slow, getting used to him.  It took a moment, sinking bit by bit, inch by inch, until he’d taken as much as he could.  Elas paused once he’d taken all he could, breathing roughly.  The servant strained gently against the fabric binding his wrists, drawn down to his chest right now even as he seemed to remember he wasn’t supposed to touch.

“Say it,” Elas commanded, staying still for now as he watched those straining shoulders and forearms.

“Sit,” the servant whispered.  “Take all of it.  I…let me fuck –“

“Filthy mouth.”  But Elas laughed and smiled, shifting his hips a little and, with the last moment of effort, sat all the way down.  It was so much, filling, wonderfully too much.  Hardly the first time that Elas had taken a cock, but it was always beautifully exhausting each time he did this.  Beneath him, the servant swore again, trying desperately to keep quiet.  Elas wasn’t trying nearly as much.  He was noisy, panting and moaning, as he started to bounce.  He stared down at the servant, putting his face to memory.

But when he closed his eyes, it wasn’t this young human beneath him.  Instead, it was his broad, strong guard, those stern, stoic hobgoblin eyes going dark with arousal, the temptation of tusks sticking out of his mouth.  There was no servant when Elas closed his eyes, even though he was riding him desperately.  Only Fowke.

“Gods,” Elas gasped, riding harder, more desperately.

“Yes,” the servant agreed.  

Even with the clearly different voice, Elas couldn’t stop thinking about Fowke.  His deep rumble, how it had felt to have him whispering in his ear.  Elas brought a hand up to pinch and squeeze his chest, showing himself off to the servant — to the mental image of Fowke beneath him — as the other hand slid down to rub his clit.  This was everything he was missing, when he didn’t have someone here to please him: the doubled pleasure of cock and fingers, the overstimulation building rapidly in him.

“Make me cum,” he commanded.  “Make me cum, and then you can — then you can –“

The servant’s fingers joined his, even though he’d been told not to touch, and Elas appreciated the disregard.  It was just what he needed.  How quick it was, to go from base arousal to that highest peak.  No plateau, nothing but blasting into his orgasm.  Elas shrieked with pleasure, shaking, riding through it as he gasped and praised the man beneath him.  Or, at least, the man that was in his mind underneath him.  Did the name slip?  If it did, the servant didn’t stop.  He kept fucking, kept going deep, kept rubbing Elas’s clit even when it became too much for Elas to bear.  The young man beneath him had more stamina than he was expecting.  With his eyes closed, Elas could imagine this was the stamina of a hobgoblin that was older even than he, older than a hobgoblin had any right to be, through the grace and blessing of contact with elves.  Elas could imagine that each deep thrust was with that mysterious cock, that every brush of thumb on clit was from rougher hands.  He was clay under this attention.

“Do it,” Elas said, without making it a quiet begging moment.  His body shivered and shook, seeking his pleasure and the pleasure of the cock he rode.  “Do it!”

“Yes, my Prince!”

It wasn’t immediate, but apparently Elas’s desperation and the heated pleasure of the moment was enough to make it relatively quick.  Elas’s pleasure didn’t crest a second time, but he did whimper as he felt the first gush.  The servant seemed to realize where he was, and he pulled out of Elas even as he kept coming.  It made a mess across Elas’s slim hips.  After several ropes of cum splashed on him, the servant seemed to collapse, and Elas was left cool and overwhelmed and still aroused.  He was quiet, for a moment, before he rose from the young man, untying his hands deftly without really looking at him.  “Draw me a bath, and then you can go.”

“Yes, my Prince.”

V.

Months went by and in the time that Fowke had been watching Elas, the two of them had a number of small verbal skirmishes, their personalities — or at least Elas’s personality — clashing.  Most of these arguments started from nothing, went nowhere, and resulted in a simmering tension that had, at times, caused more of these confrontations to arise.  There was no clear and clever solution, it seemed.  Their quieter moments did not lend to this unspoken, confrontational tension any more than the explosions that happened.  It seemed it was just how it was going to be.

That day was yet another spike pressing in.  Elas was thinking of all the things that had happened since Fowke had been made his personal guard, and had decided that things were better before and every bit of frustration, of anguish, of confusion was because of Fowke.  Things had been better, easier, when the hobgoblin wasn’t there.  And now?  Now, Elas couldn’t sleep at night without thinking of Fowke’s eyes on him, all that he had seen and the timbre of his voice.  He couldn’t go a moment without thinking of the warmth of his shadow and the heaviness of his broad hands.  He’d become absolutely mindless in trying to imagine what his knight looked like in a state of undress.  He was haunted by the man in entirely new ways, and that was his fault as well.

“You’ve been staring again,” Fowke said.

Elas was quiet for a moment.  They were alone in the parlor of his rooms, the door open to the hallway that most people in the household used.  It was broad daylight.  Elas hated him so much he could spit.  

Instead, watching Fowke sitting in the corner and looking out the window like he wasn’t always attentive to Elas’s every movement, every breath, Elas said, “Come here.”  It wasn’t a question.  Fowke wasn’t sure he wanted to know what the game was this time, but he rose from his spot and came over to Elas’s chair.  He towered over the elf while Elas sat, not looking at him.  Fowke had patience.  He would let Elas decide, as always, what this was becoming.  Whether it was a quieter or more barbed moment, it was up to Elas to decide.  Finally, Elas said, “Get on your knees.”

He’d lost some of the whining shock of being called out for various filthy behaviors.  It was all prim command now.  Fowke avoided smirking, but it was close.  He knelt at Elas’s thigh, looking up at him with a gaze laced with curiosity.  How would this go?  Slowly, Elas looked at him.  He looked at Fowke’s broad face, his magnanimous features, that constant expression of trust as well as frustration that Elas put on him simply by existing.  Elas rather liked that he vexxed Fowke.  At least he did something that Fowke seemed incapable of predicting.  Elas ran his fingers over Fowke’s hair, down the side of his face, and under his chin.  He did it again, and again, and then he ran his thumb over Fowke’s mouth.

“What are you –?”

“Stop it,” Elas said, that same low command.  Fowke rolled his eyes.  He hadn’t been doing anything in the first place, just asked what the prince was doing, but that seemed to be enough to rouse his anger with him, and Fowke was in a precarious location, at least physically.

“Yes, my lord.”  This was maybe a bit more cheeky and teasing than it needed to be.  But Fowke could see how the title made Elas squirm a little.  Then there were fingers in his mouth, long, slim, pressed against his lips and teeth and tongue.  Elas wasn’t demanding, specifically, but his fingers were insistent.  Fowke looked up at Elas as the first two breached into his mouth.  He kept his gaze as he wrapped his tongue around them and drew them in, a languid gesture that Elas had not asked for but was nonetheless demanding.

“Fowke,” Elas began, and then said nothing.  The words turned into his shivering breath as he watched Fowke take those fingers all the way to the last knuckle, watched Fowke hollow his cheeks slightly as he sucked and licked, watched Fowke watching him.

After a few moments, Fowke pulled back.  His mouth wasn’t quite a smirk, but his words were.  “Is this what you asked for, my lord?”

Elas could say nothing.  The flush that had worked under his skin had robbed him of his speech for a moment, or the sight of Fowke had, or realizing his own miscalculated stupidity.  Fowke remained on his knees for a moment and then, slowly, retreated on them.  When he was out of reach, he stood, and returned to where he’d been sitting.  The taste of Elas’s fingers, a fine salve to keep his skin soft, lingered against Fowke’s tongue.

VI.

The next time, Elas found someone that was a little closer in physique.  Not as tall, not quite as broad, younger.  But the half-orc was a member of the guard, a much lower rank than Fowke.  A basic soldier, with rough hands and tusks.  He would do, with the feverish need that was starting to consume Elas’s every waking thought.  Elas arranged his companion on the bed, head toward the baseboard.  He lashed the man to the bed with rope, ignoring him as he murmured filth — about how Elas had to tie him down or he wouldn’t get his way, about how good the elfling prince would feel, a litany of fictional tropes that the soldier clearly thought this was about.  It was, in a way.  What other fantasy could it be, besides fulfilling the idea of master and servant?  When he released the soldier’s cock, he was met with a thick, well-veined thing, the same husky green as the rest of the man’s skin.  The narrow head led into a thick shaft, and Elas looked at it for a long time.  He ran his delicate fingers over it, knelt between splayed, tied up legs and licked it.  The soldier stopped his litany of what he would do if he were free, and let out a soft groan at the attention.  Elas had the feeling he was a fairly quiet man, when it actually came down to it.

For several minutes, Elas licked and sucked, stroked, teased.  He couldn’t open his mouth wide enough to take the soldier very deep, but the half-orc didn’t seem to mind that.  There was certainly a lot of pleasant, heavy breathing with every bit that Elas could focus on.  When he thought the half-orc’s cock was wet enough, from his spit and the precum starting to pearl at the tip, Elas climbed up, going all the way to the soldier’s face and presenting himself, reaching down to spread his pussy.  Sucking cock had made him slick.  The soldier strained his head up slightly, and Elas settled to meet him, light weight nothing but a passing concern as he flattened himself to that seeking tongue and those gently scraping teeth and tusks.

Elas groaned noisily.  It covered the slight creak of the door.  He didn’t notice at first.  He was enraptured in the pleasure of the man beneath him, eyes closed so he could think of a squatter nose and longer tongue, sharper teeth and more persistent lips.  Elas didn’t know if Fowke would be better at this than the half-orc beneath him, who was admittedly very good, but that was the fun of a fantasy.  He could imagine however he wanted.  A slight shift that demanded he open his eyes to right himself let him see what had happened: the door cracked open, the moonlight reaching just far enough to illuminate Fowke, standing there in his house clothes and not his armor, broad and imposing and watching.  Elas’s stomach clenched.  The man beneath him groaned into his cunt; he must have gushed, just a little, at the sight of his imposing hobgoblin bodyguard.

Elas kept his eyes locked on Fowke, and Fowke kept his eyes locked on Elas.  After several beautifully agonizing moments of riding the soldier’s face, Elas lifted up on shaking thighs and moved down.  The half-orc’s cock was still hard, stiff and thick and tempting.  Elas settled so that he could smear himself over it, wetting it with slick and spit, all while watching Fowke in the doorway.  Would Fowke’s cock be like this?  Thick, veiny, the narrow head and broad shaft.  Would he stretch and plug Elas?  The moonlight let Elas know that his guard was there, but Elas could make out little of the details in the shadows he stood in.  Probably for the best.  His own body, meanwhile, was beautifully on display.  Perked nipples and lean, flexed stomach, legs spread to show off how he slipped and slid over that dripping, needy cock.

“My Prince,” the soldier hissed, bucking his hips.  Elas squeaked as the head and first inch shifted just right to shove into him.  “Oh — fuck, you’re tight.”

Elas flushed.  His ears perked up, a slight quiver in them.  Was he?  He felt beautifully aroused, slick and warm, but he supposed he was smaller than the half-orc — and even smaller still than Fowke, still watching.  If he was tight for this cock, what would it be like for someone like Fowke?

Another inch.  Another.  By the middle of the shaft, Elas was panting and shaking, really feeling that stretch.  He rubbed at his clit, the pleasure easing some of the wonderful discomfort of being stuffed full.  A subtle movement in the shadows by the door.  Fowke had settled his shoulder against the door frame.  Elas watched him, the slight movement of a strong arm in those deeper shadows.  Elas’s ears quivered again.  Was Fowke –?

The soldier pushed up the last two inches.  Elas cried out, belly flexing, as it hit so deep inside him it was almost painful.  His eyes danced with stars, his thighs trembled.  And then the soldier pulled back, as much as he could while strapped to the posts of the bed and flat on the bed, and did it again.  Again.  Impossibly building in speed as Elas held on through the shivering, blinding onslaught against his pussy.  He’d lost control of the situation slightly.  As opposed to the human servant he’d had in his bed, this soldier seemed to know exactly what he wanted, and had taken the invitation into Elas’s bed as a sign that Elas was handing over something of himself.  Elas would have taken control back, but every move was lighting electricity through him, sparking against pleasant nerves inside of him, making him gasp and moan with each thrust and stroke.  He was going to cum.  He was going to shatter apart.  That thick cock inside him was going to drive him mad — and Fowke’s eyes on him, that subtle movement in the shadows that suggested his pleasure as well.

“Oh, fuck,” Elas gasped, squirmed, shivering, shaking.  He rubbed at his clit and, with every thrust, he felt his composure fraying.  “Oh fuck, fuck, oh, gods –”  The rapture of the moment suddenly crested and broke.  Elas wailed as he clenched around the thick cock inside him, as the soldier kept fucking, hard, hard, harder still.  It shoved and battered his insides, overwhelming and spectacularly too much.  His body wasn’t built for this beautiful brutality, but it still accepted it.  He was so tight around that thrusting, eager cock that he could feel the twitching intensity growing.

“My Prince,” the soldier gasped and groaned.  He shoved harder, ignoring Elas’s shivering, whining noises.  “Almost –“

“Wait,” Elas gasped, but it was too late.  That twitching turned into a grinding thrust, and Elas could feel thick ropes of cum filing him up and getting pushed out with the continued thrusts.  He groaned, looking at Fowke in the doorway, still standing there and watching him.  The aftermath lasted longer than he was expecting, a shivering desperation that made his thighs weak.  Beneath him, the soldier heaved for breath.  Slowly, Elas unwound himself, untied the ropes, and released the soldier.  There was no need for command.  The soldier saw how tired and worn through Elas was, and he did not attempt anything other than a brief touch on one slender arm before he got up to start dressing.

When Elas looked over at the door, Fowke’s silhouette was gone.

VII.

One day, Elas did manage to slip Fowke.  It was foolish.  Fowke shouldn’t have let it happen.  But Fowke had to give Elas the benefit of the situation: it wasn’t so much that he had lost Fowke in the process of things so much as he had realized the timing of Fowke’s attention and slipped out before anyone could stop him.

When he found the young prince, Fowke was stormy and frustrated.  This was a danger to both of them.  To Elas, because he was young and foolish and didn’t necessarily know the dangers of the world, what could be enacted against him because he was the King’s son — not that Fowke thought he was naive, so much as these situations simply hadn’t been present in his life, and if anyone knew one of the princes was simply wandering through Gweyir with no guardian, things could go poorly very quickly.  And danger for Fowke, because this was his single charge.  This was what kept him in the good grace of a man who had once almost killed him on the battlefield.  If he failed at this, there would be no more missions abroad.  There would simply be nothing.

“Get here,” he snarled as he came up on Elas in one of the city greens.  He’d been watching a game happen between some children, clearly fascinated, but the insistent and angry tone seemed to be just what he needed to be called back to himself.  Fowke didn’t think anyone had ever spoken to Elas quite like that, and that’s why it worked so well.

They didn’t get very far.  Fowke took Elas out of the green, and then detoured them into a dark alley.  He pressed the elf into the wall, a hand on his sternum, as he glowered down at him.  “Is this a game to you?” he demanded.  “Some trial to see who breaks first?”

“I just wanted to go for a walk,” Elas protested, all awash in picturesque innocence.

“Is that what it is every time?  Just a walk?  Just a question?”  Fowke shook his head.  “You’re acting like nothing more than a spoiled brat — but I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything else from someone like you.”  Elas’s eyes were large, almost wounded.  But there was also a faint pink, high on his cheekbones.  Embarrassment?  Something else?  Fowke lifted a brow at him, his hand sliding from sternum to collarbone with no extra pressure.  He could feel, like this, the way that Elas’s breath and heartbeat fluttered.  “Normally, a brat just needs to be put in their place,” Fowke said.  “I don’t think you’ve been put in place a day in your life.”

“That’s unfair,” Elas protested, but his voice was breathy, consumed by an unspoken tension.

Fowke leaned down to him, their foreheads nearly touching.  “Don’t do something like this again, or I’ll show you how I treat a brat instead of a charge.”

VIII.

As always, Fowke sat outside of Elas’s room.  He was unobtrusive, like most nights, tucked into a corner that gave him good views of the hallway and of Elas’s door.  This was how the prince — wrapped in a dressing gown — found him, sitting and reading.

“Fowke,” Elas said, prim and forward.  “I need you to join me.”

Fowke looked up at Elas, dark eyes considering the ruse.  Elas did his best to stand tall and true.  He didn’t have to request the attendance of the men he normally slept with.  But Fowke might, very well, just tell him no.  

He didn’t.  He closed the book and set it down, and then followed Elas back into the room.  The elf sat on the end of his bed, watching Fowke for a moment.  Neither of them spoke, and Fowke wondered if Elas was trying to push and get him to break and speak first.  He was sure they both knew that wouldn’t happen — especially given some of Elas’s previous insistence that Fowke should be more conscious of his place in things.  It was a game, then, waiting to see how long the elfling would take to speak up.

“Get on your knees,” Elas finally said.  It wasn’t quite what Fowke was expecting from this, but he didn’t complain.  He stepped toward the bed, close enough that Elas might reach out and touch but not quite close enough for anything else.  He knelt, eyes never leaving the prince, though the ridge of his brow did raise slightly in unspoken question.  Elas stayed there, pinned under Fowke’s gaze and trying to regain his control and fortitude.  After a few breathless moments, Elas stood from the bed, moving around to the trunk he kept at the end of his bed.  Fowke did not move, watching the prince as he shuffled about and got what he wanted out of his things.  He realized that he’d never watched this part of the preparation, the part where he got his things together and decided what he wanted to do with the partner he’d brought back.  Of course he kept some things in reserve, a set of supplies.  Fowke just hadn’t thought about that specifically, having almost always come into his knowledge of the goings on in Elas’s room once things were settled and starting.

Elas returned to the bed holding a coil of rope.  He set it on the edge of the bed and turned to Fowke, unwinding the tie of the robe and letting it fall away to reveal his naked skin beneath.  Fowke drank him in, the swell of breasts, the soft stomach, the narrow hips and long, lean legs.  So many nights spent dreaming of that sweet, lovely body.  Fowke watched Elas carefully and quietly, letting the young man decide how to proceed.  His continued silence seemed to be a point of frustration for Elas.  With exasperation, he dropped the robe and put his hands on his hips.  Others, clearly, had ached to touch him; Fowke did as well, but he was practiced in controlling himself, and he wasn’t about to lose that practice at the sight of flesh.

“Get up on the bed,” Elas finally said, obviously flustered that he wasn’t getting his way as easily as he normally did.  Fowke smirked, just a little, and did as he was told.  He sat next to the rope and then picked it up, handing it to the prince.  Elas held onto it for a moment, then stamped a foot slightly.

“Was there something else, my lord?”

“Take your clothes off!”

“Now,” Fowke began, even as he started to loosen the neckline of his shirt, “that doesn’t seem like the way to ask for what you want.  Would you like to try again?  Tell me what it is you want from me?”

Fowke was having quite a bit of fun with Elas’s temper, ineffectual as it was.  He waited until the young man seemed like he was ready to speak, then removed his shirt, dropping it off the side of the bed.  The words died in Elas’s mouth as he stared at the breadth and build of Fowke’s chest, the rattle of scars on dark vermillion, lightly furred flesh.  He stepped a little closer and ran a finger over a scar that looked particularly vicious.  Fowke watched him quietly.  After a moment of that lingering, investigative touch, Fowke clasped Elas’s wrist gently. “Tell me what it is you want from me, my lord.”

Elas’s fingers splayed on Fowke’s chest.  He said nothing.  He pushed against him, and Fowke tilted back into the bed.  He knew what the young man wanted, just as Elas knew that he did.  This time, he would let Elas have his way.  Once it started, Fowke let it happen, watching Elas with careful, quiet eyes.  He let the elf stretch his arms above his head and lash them with the rope to the headboard.  He lifted his hips encouragingly as Elas opened and peeled down his trousers.  Here, Elas paused.  The sheath still concealed the bulk of Fowke’s cock, and it was clear that this was not the visualization that Elas was expecting, the thick thatch of fur that covered his groin.  Fowke smiled softly.  He let Elas investigate, touch, gently coax at the sheath until it opened and retracted enough to let the first few inches of his growing arousal emerge.  Then, Elas paused again, his eyes widening.

“Not what you were expecting?” Fowke could barely contain a chuckle.

“Is that going to hurt?” Elas whispered, a little choked up just looking at the first few inches, the ridges and veins conspicuous even while the hobgoblin’s cock was still mostly unaroused.

“It hasn’t hurt anyone yet,” Fowke assured.

Elas had a look on his face, for a moment, like he wanted to ask about that.  He could feel the furrow in his brows, the niggling jealousy that chewed up the back of his throat.  What did it matter?  He had fucked people, and recently — and anyway, this was just about physical release, about satisfying his curiosity and satiating the urges.  There was nothing to be jealous about.  He pulled Fowke’s trousers off the rest of the way, ignoring the weight of the knight’s eyes on him.  When they were both naked, Fowke sprawled in the bed with his arms tied above his head, Elas took a moment to admire him.  He shifted, spreading his thighs over Fowke’s broad waist.  It felt like mounting a horse, which was probably the wrong thought to be having when he was about to pleasure himself with his guard’s body.  But he was broad, and the wide stance of his thighs wouldn’t allow for any other thought.

“Don’t try to take it without making yourself ready,” Fowke advised.  If that meant sitting on his face, or fingering himself, then that was what it took.  Fowke would have preferred a more involved participation, but with his arms tied tight there was only so much he could do.  Elas looked at his groin again, the slow work of the cock emerging, and his ears drooped nervously.  Fowke clucked his tongue slightly and adjusted his shoulders and neck slightly.  “Come up here.  Sit facing my feet.  I’ll get you ready.”

“I was going to,” Elas insisted, but the flustered note in his voice said otherwise.  

Fowke longed to soothe and comfort him.  The young man knew what he wanted, but he was obviously suddenly daunted about the prospect.  Fowke gave him a gentle look, crooking his fingers above his head.  Slowly, Elas moved.  He slid forward, pressing his body against Fowke’s briefly.  The gentle warmth of his skin encouraged a hitch in Fowke’s breath, and he could feel the pronounced perk of Elas’s nipples dragging against him as he made his way slowly up.  Fowke could feel the warmth of his cunt, too, that sweet slickness that he’d been dreaming of for months.  When Elas was close enough, straddling his ribs now and still draped forward, Fowke leaned forward to run his tongue and sharp teeth gently across the tender flesh of his breast and nipple.  Elas’s breath hitched immediately.  He was still, avoiding the instinct to dart away from those sharp teeth, those tusks, that were grooving gently against skin as Fowke investigated that sweet breast, testing how reactive Elas was.

Very, Fowke realized as the elf dissolved into shivering and panting.  Fowke should have known that, having watched him.  But it was different to experience on your own, to wrap his tongue around that nipple, to rest the point of a tusk into tender flesh and let it dig a little until Elas was gasping and squirming against him.

“Stop,” Elas gasped.

Fowke did, taking his mouth off and laying back so he could look at Elas.  Elas was shaking, shivering, desperately panting as his body quaked.  Fowke watched Elas for a moment, and then cocked a brow slightly.  “Did you just –?”

“Shut up.”  Was that a gasp, a whine, a shivering command?  Elas dug his knuckles into Fowke’s chest and lifted himself, climbing the rest of the way to his face from his ribs.  He turned as he settled on Fowke’s face, knees digging against his shoulders.  Now, Fowke chuckled, leaning up to nuzzle against the sweet musk of Elas’s cunt.  His amusement dissolved into giving that attention he’d just used on a single nipple to Elas’s sensitive clit and pussy.  From this vantage point, Elas could see how Fowke’s cock slid free of the sheath, how it filled out.  He watched.  It wasn’t like anything he had ever experienced before, anything he had imagined Fowke’s cock might look like.  It was daunting, to say the least.

And then any concerns and thoughts were quickly melted away as Fowke focused on preparing him with lips and teeth and tongue.  Elas whined this time, a low noise of pleasure as he leaned forward a little, fingers digging against Fowke’s stomach.  The fur wasn’t long enough to grab, but it was soft and smooth under his fingers, warm, bristling slightly.  Every stroke of that tongue, every sigh and scrape of teeth, every groan reverberated into Elas as Fowke happily worked on his cunt.  It was almost too much, especially after the unexpected orgasm from having his nipples played with.  

But Fowke kept going, enthusiastic and intent, and Elas kept letting him, until he couldn’t any more.  He jolted away, thighs shaking, as the crest got dangerously close to a second wave.  He was practically dripping now, sensitive and strung out on the pleasure of it.  He looked down at Fowke through his legs, finding him looking content and at peace, face a mess of spit and slick.  Elas’s ears twitched and perked, excited embarrassment surging through him.  He had to look away.

He slid down from Fowke’s face, awkwardly over his shoulders and his broad chest, his thighs still quivering and quaking with each move.  He had to pause when he reached the hobgoblin’s waist, planting himself there so that his legs could gain some more strength.  Behind him, he could hear Fowke chuckle slightly.  Elas gave Fowke a swat on the thigh for that.  It only made Fowke laugh harder.

“Hush!”

“Yes, my lord,” Fowke murmured, his voice still rumbling with amusement.  It got him another swat.

They were still a moment, breathing, and Fowke thought that Elas might call a stop to it.  There would be no wounded pride from Fowke, if that was the case.  A bit of surprise was in the works here.  Elas had been so close to a second orgasm, all from mouths alone, and Fowke had lodged those sensitivities away.  But then Elas moved.  He completed the descent to Fowke’s groin, turning around so he could squirm and rub against Fowke.  Fowke held still, letting him feel the whole shape of his ridged cock.  “This might be easier if I weren’t tied down,” Fowke pointed out, that quiet tease back in his voice.

It was almost the incentive to get Elas to do more than rub and grind.  He gripped Fowke’s cock at the apex and nudged the head more intimately against his slit, but then balked.  The angle seemed off somehow, with the way that Fowke’s cock jutted out of the sheath, how the ridges rubbed and pressed.  Even with his experience, Elas suddenly doubted that he could take this.

“Elas,” Fowke murmured.  He strained his hips down into the bed slightly, trying to move away from that invitation, just enough that Elas had friction but no penetration.

The prince didn’t seem to notice.  The nerves had faded to rising pleasure as his rubbing alone had him rapturous, eyes unfocused, mouth gaping with needy breaths.  He started to roll and squirm, a suggestion of what it could be.  And it was different: what Fowke had seen before had been all about the use of the other man in Elas’s bed, but this seemed to be a pleasure that leaked into both of them.  A growing and glorious feeling that built through them both.  Elas was slow, even if he was enthusiastic.  He was panting and gasping and noisy as ever, but it was different, directionless, wonderfully desperate.

“Is it what you expected, my lord?” Fowke whispered into the space between their bodies.  Elas let out a noise, a sigh or a moan or a laugh, all at once, and shook his head.  Getting an admission out of the prince felt like a win, in some way.  Mostly Fowke stayed still, arms tied above his head, legs free.  But he brought his knees up, and Elas leaned back against his thighs.  They moved, Fowke languid and Elas increasingly hurried, finding all the right angles for the bumps and ridges to rub against him.

“Fowke,” Elas gasped, shivering, shaking, starting to quake and clench.  He whined softly and murmured the hobgoblin’s name again, and again, until he was using it in place of begging.

Fowke’s own pleasure was close, but secondary.  “Yes, my lord,” he whispered.  “Take what you need.  I’m here.  I have you.”  He let Elas go at his own pace, let him take the pleasure that he needed.  And while it was difficult, when Elas cried out and shivered over him, so temptingly close, Fowke didn’t cum.  The need for it was close, dangerously close — but that wasn’t what this evening was about.

Elas slumped back against his thighs, panting for breath.  After a minute, still hard, Fowke said, “Let me up, Elas.  You should sleep.”

Elas was quiet a moment, before he acknowledged, “You didn’t cum.”

“No,” Fowke agreed.  Elas carefully sat up, Fowke’s cock still rubbing against him.  It was a nearly impossible sort of temptation, but Fowke managed it.  “Elas,” he said, “let me up.”

There was a long bead of silence, Elas’s gaze soft and uncertain.  Clearly, Fowke had enjoyed himself.  What else was that enthusiastic attention to his body but enjoyment?  But he hadn’t cum, and Elas wasn’t sure what that meant.  Had he done poorly?  Was his body not what Fowke wanted, in the end?  He slowly eased off of Fowke, sliding up far enough to untie the ropes from his wrists.  When Fowke was free, he sat up.  Large, muscular arms wrapped around Elas, and he let himself be held for a moment.

Fowke pressed his forehead against Elas’s in a gentle, affectionate display.  Then he gently tumbled the prince into the other side of the bed and got up to dress.  “Good night, Elas.”

~

In the salon some days later, Elas’s sisters Aila and Holone were sitting, talking softly while they worked on their needlepoint.  There were times when Elas missed those smaller tasks and time filling things.  There was nothing stopping him from it, except his own self-imposed focus elsewhere, but that didn’t make him miss it any less.

Aila noticed him first, smiling a little bit, setting down the piece she was meticulously embroidering.  Elas knew, from experience, that the break would frustrate her; she’d lose the pattern for several minutes afterward, and get increasingly bothered until she got back on track again.  But he appreciated that she was willing, at least, to set it aside just at the sight of him.  Holone, the youngest of all of the siblings, looked up only briefly and then went back to her stitches.  That didn’t bother him either, since she was still learning her finer details and this seemed to be a newer piece that she was putting together.

Elas parked himself on the floor between their two seats.  It was a blessing and a curse that he was alone at the moment.  He was sure that Fowke wasn’t far, just that he hadn’t joined him in the salon, and that made it feel a bit like a weight had, while not lifted, shifted.

“You’re going to give yourself a furrow,” Holone said.

Aila went for the heavier tease.  “You’re going to hurt yourself thinking as hard as that look makes it seem.”

But it made Elas laugh, however breathlessly and worn through.  His sisters surrounded him with familiarity, and he basked in it.  It took him some time before he spoke, quiet and solemn, like he was professing a deadly illness or grave injury: “Have either of you ever had feelings for someone?”

There was a silence that followed that question that weighed more than he could describe.  He couldn’t bring himself to look at either of his sisters, too embarrassed to have even asked the question in the first place.

“That’s an awfully nebulous question,” Holone pointed out.  “I have a lot of feelings about quite a few people.”

“Most of them unpleasant,” Elas interjected.  She gave him a swat on the back of the head, but it wasn’t hard or aggressive, just that playful thing that siblings did when they were alone together.  Elas leaned into Holone’s knees slightly, letting the girls do their stitches for a moment before he attempted to speak again.  “I think I have feelings for someone.”

A quiet fell over the salon.  Elas didn’t look at either of his sisters, but he could practically hear the consideration happening behind him, the conspiring between the two of them as they all let those words settle for what they were.

“You should tell him,” Alia said.  Elas turned and looked at her sharply.

“I didn’t say it was –“

“Oh, darling,” Alia said.  Holone giggled behind him.  “You think half the house doesn’t know what you get up to?  It’s a miracle papa got you under supervision for running off and not for all the rest of it.”

Elas made an aghast noise, but Holone murmured her assent on the subject as well.

“You should tell him.  Whoever he is.  If you have feelings…”  There’s a soft noise, a sigh, and Elas looks away from Alia and into the middle distance.  The prospect of some clandestine confession that would more than likely go unreciprocated?  No, he couldn’t do that.  He was far too full of pride to do something like that.

“And if he’s someone from court,” Alia was saying, which made Elas focus back in.  He didn’t look at her — but elves had expressive ears, and she could see how his ears drooped with the knowledge that Elas’s love was not a member of the court.  “Oh.  Well…you are a third son.  Maybe papa will still be all right with it.”

Elas was quiet a moment longer.  Eventually, he leaned all the way to Alia’s knee.  Holone reached out and pet his hair gently.

“You’ll be all right, darling.  You’ll be all right.”

IX.

“You called for me?”

Elas stood in Dormyar’s private offices, hands tucked behind his back.  The steward and Dormyar’s secretary stood behind him, near one of the doors that led to a hall that the staff used.  Unlike when Dormyar had assigned Fowke to his care, he didn’t seem at all perturbed about having the steward and secretary present for this conversation.  Elas wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Indeed, yes.”  Dormyar rose from his desk and came to the seats that were normally reserved for heads of state and other conversations that were formalized and unnecessarily important.  Elas had watched Dormyar use these seats, generally for matters of little consequence when he was considerably younger, and certainly had never sat in them himself.

They were both quiet a moment.  Elas, like so many times over these past months when Fowke was being particularly stoic, quickly went from stillness to fidgeting, and then finally said, “Was there something… ?”

“Elas,” Dormyar began, then seemed to fumble over himself.  In the end, he cast his gaze to the side so that he wasn’t looking at his son as he said, “Petitions for your marriage have started to come forward.  And while I know you still have some growing to do, I believe it is time to start considering the reality of this.”

Dormyar had, of course, picked the spouses of all of his children who were already wed.  Elas had watched his brothers and two of his sisters go through their courtships and betrothals.  Only his eldest brother was wed, of those four.  Elven engagements tending to be rather long-lived to ensure the compatibility of the partners, and any political arrangements attached to the marriage had to be ironed out.  Elas knew that a marriage, for him, would not be an immediate thing.

But Dormyar’s gaze slid back to him, and Elas had a sudden realization that he must have been making some sort of face, because his father sighed.  He tried to compose whatever his expression was doing.  In the end, Dormyar said, “We have had petitions from suitors, as well as fathers of suitresses.”

That truth sank in slowly.  “Oh,” Elas said, folding his hands in his lap.  Outside of the court in Ingertry, few knew that Elas was no longer the princess but had been appointed Named Prince.  How many of these suitors were expecting a wife from this arrangement?  How many of these fathers were expecting heirs in the end?  Elas could provide neither of those things.

Dormyar looked at him sympathetically, reaching a hand out to his son.  Elas took it and bent low until his forehead touched his father’s knuckles.  “I will not send you without full knowledge to your betrothed,” Dormyar promised.  “And you will always be a prince.”

“I know,” Elas murmured in agreement.  He sighed and took into his heart the knowledge that the search had begun.  “Is there anything else?”

“No,” Dormyar said, shifting his hand to cup Elas’s cheek briefly, tipping him up to look at him.  There seemed to be something on the tip of his tongue, but in the end, he didn’t say whatever it was.  

X.

The high summer festival was in full swing, and Elas, dressed down in light-weight linen, had decided it was a requirement that he be out in it.  Fowke had no objections.  The crowds were thick, loud, and enthusiastic, singing festival songs and traveling hither and thither with bubbling merriment.

It was an infectious mood.  Elas had been downtrodden in the last few weeks, but with every minute passing in the bright warmth and surrounded by his people, Fowke could see the layers of malaise strip away and leave behind so much more warmth and comfort.  Fowke was glad for it; he was starting to think that their encounter, all those weeks ago, might have marred the tenuous peace between them but perhaps it was just a case of his constant frustration with perpetual guard.  In the crowd, Elas seemed more chipper — which also meant he was having a bit of fun trying to lose Fowke, but it seemed he’d given up the attempts to do it for real, and was only teasing and playing with it.

They looked in every booth, every shop.  Played games for small prizes, sampled foods from Ingertry as well as from far off lands.  Fowke spoke about the places he had been when they came across something from anywhere he had traveled to.  Elas seemed surprised.

“What did you think I did for the King?” he asked.

“I don’t know.  I don’t pay attention to what the knights do for my father.”

Fowke couldn’t help but laugh at that.  “Whatever we’re told.  Your father noticed I did well with language, and with other cultures, even though I come from a place that was very isolated and singular in our culture.  So, he had me go to many places.”

“Where did you come from?”  Fowke gave Elas a mild look.  “I mean, I know hobgoblins come from many places, and you said that you came from somewhere, so was that in Ingertry, or somewhere else?”

“From Durum.”

A generation ago — two, in lands with shorter-lived people than many in Ingertry ended with — there was a war between the kingdom and the neighboring lands of Durum.  Durum was made almost entirely of loosely tied city-states united by a tribunal of elders and warlords.  The war had been a battle for Durum’s continued independence, their refusal to pay tribute to a foreign land and foreign king when there was already so much tension in alliance between the city-states.  The war had ended in the defeat of Ingertry, but not before the deaths and destruction of much of the countryside in their retreat.  The war was older than Elas was, though not by very much.  Fowke was one of the last remnants of that war, at least from Durum.  There were certainly many from Ingertry.  Still, when he mentioned it, Elas was quiet a moment, thoughtful.  Fowke wondered if Dormyar spoke about the war with his children, or if that was a subject that remained a whisper.

“I’m glad you’re in Ingertry now,” Elas finally said, a quiet that almost got swallowed up by the milling of the crowds around them.

They continued to drift.  As the day went on, Elas began to point at things and tell Fowke he wanted them, as if that were going to be the method that got him what he wanted.  It took a couple of these pointed gestures before Fowke finally outright refused, laughing at the presumption that he was going to buy anything for Elas just because he pointed it out.  Instead, he took to encouraging and showing Elas how to haggle over whatever trinket he was particularly enamored with.  Many of the merchants and salesfolk seemed to realize who they were talking to, and Fowke wasn’t particularly subtle in his livery from the palace, and so the haggling mostly went very smoothly.

Eventually, Elas looked to be withering under heat and exposure.  Fowke began to steer them back in the direction of the palace; they had been out for hours, after all, and Elas had done very well throughout.

“One last thing,” Fowke said, a low promise as he ushered Elas back through the crowds.  Elas complied, sun-sleepy and content. He drifted close to Fowke’s side, almost tucking into his side.  Fowke smiled down at the top of his head.  “I should have made you sit in the tavern longer.  You’re looking worn.”

“It’s a good wear,” Elas assured.

“It is,” Fowke agreed.

They approached a clothier selling at an outdoor booth.  Fowke had seen them earlier, but this was the better time: heading back to the palace and Elas gently distracted in his sleepiness.  It wasn’t hard to find a lovely length of strong silk rope, dyed a beautiful indigo.  Fowke managed to talk the merchant down from six crowns to four, and he took two lengths of the rope for the price.

Elas was watching him, looking from the rope to Fowke and back.  Fowke said nothing as he put the ropes into the bag he had been carrying for all their purchases.  If he noticed the flush on Elas’s cheeks or the way that his ears twitched and perked, he certainly didn’t say anything about it.  “Come on then,” he said.  “Let’s take you back.”

Neither of them mentioned the rope for several days.  Fowke left it in Elas’s room on that first afternoon after delivering the prince back to his rooms, and it didn’t come up again.  They went out every day of the festival, and Elas’s mood, in general, seemed to improve with more and more exposure to the city and the people and the good cheer of the holiday.

One night, as bonfires burned around the city to celebrate the close of the festivals, Elas looked at Fowke from the doorway to his room, and Fowke didn’t even have to wait to be asked.  He followed the prince into the rooms and, before anything else could happen, cupped the elfling’s jaw, tilting his head up.

“Tell me what’s bothering you.”

“Nothing,” Elas assured.  He pulled away and picked up one of the ropes.  “Come on, then, get on the bed.”

Fowke was still for a moment.  Then he shook his head.  Elas, who hadn’t been looking at him, noticed the lack of movement more than anything else.  He finally looked over at Fowke and found him simply standing there, patient and as unperturbed as any time Elas had tried to needle under his skin.

“Fowke.”

“Not this time.”

Elas looked ready to argue.  Fowke didn’t let him.  He strode up to the prince, tilting his head back and leaning down.  He kissed him, a gentle, closed-lip thing that had Elas standing there stunned for a moment.  It didn’t deepen.  Elas was too caught off guard, and Fowke seemed content for it to be nothing more than lips pressed together, a gesture of solace and comfort, before he pushed Elas off balance and onto the bed.

Fowke sank to his knees beside the bed, running his hands slowly up Elas’s legs under the robe he wore when he was prepared to have his way with someone.  It was easy to part the halves of the robe, to reveal long, graceful legs and the handsome crease of his groin.  Slowly, Fowke kissed up one thigh from knee toward the joint of his hip.  He gently pushed Elas’s legs apart, and Elas let them fall open without protest.  Fowke kept his mouth on the crease of Elas’s thigh for a moment as his hand came up the other leg, spreading them even wider, until Elas could have easily straddled a horse with how broad Fowke had parted his knees.  It put his cunt on display, the thatch of curls and the glossy pink invitation beyond them, lips spread and everything exposed.  Fowke put his hands on the insides of Elas’s thighs, the gentlest pressure there so that Elas couldn’t close his legs.

He leaned forward and began to lick and suck, began to delve against those sweet lips and the slightly swollen clit.  His focus was gentle, kind, and singular.  Over his head, Elas made a soft noise.  It wasn’t like any other time someone had done this for him.  In those cases, he could do more than squirm and sigh, could move away, could do anything besides hand himself over to the immediacy of his pleasure.  Fowke did it all with lips and tongue and the gentle scrape of sharp teeth and large tusks.  It was all heavy, needful breaths that clung to the inside of his mouth like toffee. 

The faint taste of Elas washed over Fowke.  He groaned softly, his attention growing even more pointed and focused with every passing breath.  Elas’s own breath began to stutter and rush.  Whatever his plan had been in the first place, it didn’t seem to have involved this — at least not to the quiet dedication that Fowke was supplying it.

The slowly hiking pleasure, expressing itself as the increased scent of Elas’s cunt and the addition of his own slickness with Fowke’s spit, uncurled pleasure and arousal in Fowke’s chest and belly.  He could feel his cock starting to express itself, slipping from the sheath inside his pants, but he did absolutely nothing about it.  As far as Fowke knew, the only sex that Elas had was with himself, or involved penetration.  He could have a little something different, to ease the tension that had been living in him for weeks.

Fowke pulled his mouth back, briefly, replacing his tongue with his thumb as he looked up at Elas.  Pleasure was clearly starting to vibrate through him, a beautiful climb toward that ultimate enjoyment, and Fowke’s pause seemed to be dragging it along at the pace that Elas enjoyed when he masturbated.

He leaned back in, intent on that sweet bead of a clit to tease the pleasure out of Elas rapidly.  It wasn’t that he wanted this to be over with any specific expediency; on the contrary.  But he did want Elas to be absolutely boneless by the end of this, and starting with a quick, heady orgasm was a good way to set the tone for his plans.  Elas’s soft, ragged breathing was turning into needy, rushed moans, little gasps laced with encouragement.  Fowke continued to do exactly what he was doing, buffeting Elas higher and higher, closer to that first breaking point.  When it happened, Elas cried out, back arching, thighs clutching around Fowke’s ears.  Fowke sighed gently against the mouthful of pussy he had, tongue flicking a couple times so that he could milk that sensitive movement as long as he could.

Eventually, Elas grabbed Fowke’s hair and yanked him back.  Fowke went willingly, taking deep breaths and licking his lips as he admired the way that Elas was shaking.  After a moment, he let himself into the bed.  Elas made a soft, protesting noise, but that seemed to be about being jostled more than anything else.  Fowke gave him his peace, simply joining him for now. “Let me know,” he said softly, “when you’re ready to go again.”

“Again…?”  Elas looked up at Fowke.  His eyes were bright, wanting, even as his body continued to shiver and quake.  That was enough pause, perhaps.  Fowke bundled Elas onto his lap, straddling his thigh.  He gave him just a little bit of pressure to settle again — resulting in a needy noise from the prince — and then moved his hands up to the top of Elas’s robe.  It had stayed in place remarkably well, but now Fowke peeled it open, just far enough to expose his chest, the separation below the belt still framing his crotch.  It let him kiss down Elas’s neck, his collarbone, down over the swell of his breast to a nipple.  Elas made soft noises; he could feel Fowke’s cock, but even he wasn’t sure he could handle asking for it right now, not after one orgasm just from his tongue.

Instead, as Fowke’s mouth worked against his breast, not so different from that first time together, Elas pushed and rubbed and ground against Fowke’s thigh.  Every once in a while Fowke would lift or rock his thigh up, giving Elas a little more pressure, a little more friction, something to work against.  Most of his attention was on the perked nipple and the sensitive skin of Elas’s breasts, his mouth busy and both hands cupping, kneading, even occasionally giving gentle slaps to redden the skin.

He slid one of his hands down and cupped Elas’s crotch, rubbing quickly to help bring him over the edge.  Elas shook on his lap as the orgasm ripped through him a second time.  He clung to Fowke, twisting and squirming on his hand, on his thigh, as Fowke chased the pleasure.  Then two fingers slid into Elas.  He braced himself.  Surely this was it.  He was feeling loose and graceless, and Fowke’s thick fingers had to push against the over-eager clutch of his muscles.  Fowke kissed up his body again, chest to shoulder to collarbone to jaw.  He tumbled Elas back into the bed, kneeling over him, and Elas spread his legs wide, as eager as he could be when the pleasure was almost too much.  Fowke’s fingers kept working, deep and just a little rough, thumb rubbing at his clit now.  Elas was gasping, desperate, shaking beneath him and anticipatory of the next act.

“Cum for me,” Fowke growled, low and so domineering that Elas practically shivered apart.  He cried out, desperate, reaching up to grab Fowke’s shoulders.  “There it is.  Good boy.”

Elas let out a broken, needy breath.  Fowke pressed him through the rush of the orgasm, over the other side to a feeling of warm, blissful overstimulation, until Elas shot a hand down to grab his wrist and stop him.

Fowke stopped.  He held his hand still inside Elas a moment longer, and then slowly pulled his fingers back.  There was a filthy noise as Elas’s slick cunt let Fowke’s fingers go.  Elas opened his eyes — when had he closed them? — and looked at Fowke, just in time to see him lifting his fingers to his mouth and carefully grooming them of the evidence of Elas’s pleasure.

XI.

This was far from the first time that Fowke had accompanied Elas to the baths in the center of the palace, but it was the first time that they had gone late at night, and the first time that Fowke had joined him in stripping out of his clothes and climbing into the water.  What had made it happen this time in place of so many others?  Elas couldn’t put his finger on it, and he wasn’t sure that Fowke could either.  Did it really matter?

The waters, kept warm by a hot spring that made the water smell faintly sulfuric, buoyed them.  The heat was enough to make Elas just a little dizzy, but he always enjoyed that.  It wasn’t the only thing making Elas dizzy.  He lounged on a low wooden bench built into the bath, watching how Fowke’s fine furred body took on the water, how the deep color turned almost black with the moisture.  Teasingly, Elas asked, “Is it just that there’s so much water, or does anything wet make you change like that?”

“You haven’t been paying attention?” Fowke teased back.

It made a flush build slowly on Elas’s cheeks, but maybe that was the heat as well.  The steam obstructed the space between them, as Fowke leaned back against the wall that held his respective bench.  These benches weren’t actually that far apart, sitting at a perfect angle to each other.  If Fowke stretched his legs out, he would have reached where Elas was stretching.  He put his arm up along the edge of the bath, and could reach Elas, could touch his shoulder, the side of his neck, the curve of his ear.  This was a wildly intimate touch that Elas wasn’t entirely sure what to do with.  His ears flicked slightly.  Fowke chuckled in a low, attentive way.  He kept touching his ear, until Elas started to breathe a little slower and heavier.

“If you keep that up…”

“Yes, my prince?”  Fowke moved his hand to the back of Elas’s neck.  Elas crossed the space between their bodies and nudged his nose against Fowke’s.  He wasn’t quite leaning over him, or prepared to settle on his thighs or lap, but he was certainly close.  This was a wildly intimate touch as well, though Fowke seemed to know exactly what to do with it.  With the one hand still on the back of Elas’s neck, Fowke took the elfling’s hand and slid it down, down, down Elas’s stomach.  Elas paused, and Fowke didn’t press.  “Should you go back to your seat?”

“Be quiet,” Elas hissed, and his hand slid the rest of the way down.  As it did, fingers sliding through the fine knot of his pubic hair and between the folds of his cunt to tease himself, still led by Fowke’s hand on his wrist, Elas leaned forward the last little bit and pressed a tentative kiss to Fowke’s mouth.  It was not the very first kiss, but it was the first time that Elas had kissed Fowke.  It was the first time he’d really kissed anyone, beyond the gentle cheek and forehead gestures of family.  The few kisses that Fowke had given him, until now, had been largely chaste, or avoided his mouth to shower that attention on other parts of his body.  But now?  

Now, Elas kissed him like he meant to.  Firm and insistent, careful of the tusks and sharp teeth when he cautiously ran his tongue into Fowke’s mouth.  Fowke was still for the first bit of the kiss, but as Elas proved that he was earnest in that insistence, Fowke responded in kind.  He licked into Elas’s mouth, letting the kiss turn into something that was slow and deep and obscene.  He kept his hands where they were, this firm insistence and almost possessiveness as the kiss turned to a certain element of filth that lay somewhere between adoration and obsession.

Elas took his free hand and gently grasped the hand behind his neck.  If Fowke would not give up the touch on his wrist, then Elas would have to find an alternative to get what he wanted.  Fowke didn’t object.  He let his hand be displaced, moved slowly down and off Elas’s body and then slowly down his own.  Elas lingered in this gentle dual touch on the strength under gentle, well-fed comfort.  He twined his fingers over Fowke’s as the touch traveled down and down.

Fowke’s cock was not exposed yet, but Elas spent a moment, his fingers laid over Fowke’s, investigating the shape of the sheath, how it felt under the water and the feeling of the cock still concealed within it.  Fowke didn’t stop kissing him; he chuckled in the kiss, and led Elas in coaxing his cock out.  “Do you want to touch it yourself?” Fowke asked in a brief, gasping moment between kisses, “Or just keep on like this?” 

Like this was tempting.  Like this let them indulge in that feeling of needing to show off, that risque moment of looking.  Would they keep touching?  Keep holding wrists?  Keep kissing?  Without letting Elas answer, Fowke guided him gently in the act of prodding back the sheath and coaxing his cock out.  All of it, slow at first, emerging like it was sentient and curious under the water.  The water distorted the look of it, making Elas think the bulges and ridges were nothing more than a ripple, except that he had seen and felt it in person.  He longed for that cock.

“Show me,” Elas murmured, half a question and half a command.  He gently shook Fowke’s hand off his wrist and took his other hand back.  He didn’t move away, just put his hands to himself, busy fingers under the water and the other hand cupping the back of his own neck.

Fowke kissed him again, and again.  That defeated the purpose of looking, but Elas’s skin felt raw and alive with a desire he’d never felt with anyone else.  Elas plunged his fingers into himself, in and out as rapidly as their proximity and the water would allow.  Fowke stroked, hand large and full of cock.  Occasionally, he would angle it, just a little, let the head rub on the back of Elas’s hand or, when they were both very daring, against those beautiful folds of his cunt, from the hole filled with graceful fingers up the furrow to his clit.  Elas moaned then, and Fowke kissed him — part to shut him up, part to drink those noises down.

“Fowke,” Elas murmured, or whined, or sighed, or moaned.  Fowke drank each one down, another kiss, another nudge.  It was so close, and so tempting.  Elas pushed another finger into himself, and then a fourth, and he made a rapturous noise into the kiss.  Fowke wrapped his other arm around him.  It made moving harder.  But Fowke was there, broad and strong, cock hard and, without his hand on it, rubbing against Elas’s belly a little.  Elas didn’t think he could take it.  He wasn’t sure it would fit.  Especially not when he felt the unfathomable bulge at the base of it, inconceivable and desperately wanted.  “Fowke –“

“I know, dear boy,” Fowke rumbled.  The timbre of those words was in every bone in Elas’s body.  “That’s it.”

He didn’t need to be told.  He came apart with Fowke’s arm wrapped around him and his cock pressed languidly against his belly.  Fowke kept moving, gently, and Elas realized for the first time that he was taking pleasure in this alongside Elas’s.  It made another shocking wave of delight and release rip through him, unspeakable and urgent.  Fowke kept moving, moving, rocking and rubbing and delighting himself in Elas’s pleasure.  He held the prince close, water-slick friction and their breaths impossible to avoid, impossible to stand against.

His orgasm was quieter than Elas’s, but messier.  He panted against his mouth, kissing him again and again, letting Elas kiss him.  And when the sensation faded, he sagged into the bench a little, and the warm water sloshed away the evidence of their pleasure.  Elas didn’t move for a long time.  He stayed on Fowke’s thighs, that strong arm wrapped around him, and let the heat of the water and the peace of their release lull him gently into a half sleep.

XII.

It was well after midnight when Fowke came into his room.  This was unusual for a number of reason: first, because Elas had, in fact, been asleep at a decent time and so Fowke wasn’t required to watch over him (though Elas knew that he did, on occasion, stay long after he’d fallen asleep and arrive long before he woke up).  Second, because there had been no other recent nighttime visits, nor mention of what they had done in the bath some weeks ago.  Nothing.  Elas woke fitfully to Fowke sitting at the edge of the bed.  In his sleep-haze, he thought it was a dream.  Fowke, dressed down to the waist, his chest broad and moving with controlled breath.  Elas liked this dream, when he had it.  He sprawled and shifted under his light blankets, leaving nothing to the imagination.

There was a coil of rope on Fowke’s lap.  His hand moved slowly up Elas’s leg, from foot to ankle to knee.  “Elas,” he murmured.  Elas shivered as his large hand slid up his thigh with only the thin fabric of the sheet keeping them apart.  “Are you awake?”

“Yes,” Elas murmured back, his voice clear now.  Even if he’d been asleep a moment before, he wasn’t any longer.  His body was alive with the possibility of what would happen, and that rope.

“May I do something for you?”

“Yes.”

And so it began.

Later, Elas would forget the exact details of this sequence of events.  He knew it started with Fowke ripping the sheet off him, the startling chill of night in his room making him shiver as much as the authoritative gesture.  Later, Elas wouldn’t be able to describe anything but good and warm and contentment.  In the moment though?  Fowke ripped the sheet off the bed and, when Elas let out a little sigh of delight, he rewarded him with a hand between his thighs.  He slipped a single finger in, just the first knuckle, and Elas felt himself gush with desire in the instant it happened.  Fowke didn’t go any deeper.  He teased that first knuckle all around the hole, coaxing and rubbing and smiling when Elas began to moan.

Then it was the rope.  Elas watched him with soft, excited eyes as Fowke unfurled all those many feet of it.  It was the soft looking silken rope that had been bought at the festival, and when it brushed Elas’s skin for the first time, he didn’t think that he’d ever felt something so good.

Fowke drew him up onto his knees with nothing but a stroke under the chin and a soft coaxing noise.  Elas went and let Fowke decide what to do with his body.  Arms behind his back.  The first knot, around his left wrist, and then ropes winding across his arms folded one on top of the other.  When his forearms were lashed together, Fowke eased him down onto his side, and then wrapped the rope around his waist twice.  Making a handle of things, as knots secured points between the loop at his waist and first one thigh, then the other.  Nothing else was restrained except for his arms, but there was a certainty and a compulsion in those loops and knots, the structure of what was painted onto his body with silken rope.

Fowke put a pillow under his chest.  It gave him just enough room to lay on his stomach without smothering into the sheet.  He turned his head and looked over his shoulder, watching how the moonlight illuminated Fowke as he took in the image he’d made of Elas: all the haughtiness, the self-assurance, the frustration at the station he’d even asked for, all of it was gone and left behind was a shivering mess of a body would couldn’t stop moving his hips.

There was a crack, firm hand striking soft flesh, and Elas gasped in shock.  “Tell me what you want,” Fowke said with grave authority, “and I will tell you if you deserve it.”

“Of course I deserve it,” Elas began, but was cut off with another hard crack across his ass.  This time he groaned.  He could feel the heat settling from two spanks.  His hands flexed slightly against his back.

“Behave,” Fowke corrected.  His fingers teased against Elas’s cunt and Elas shivered.  “Tell me what you want, and I will tell you if you deserve it.”

For a moment, Elas was quiet, thoughtful, living on a trembling precipice of pleasure.  He knew what Fowke did to him, what that mouth did, the scrape of those tusks, and now the swift, solid slaps of heavy hands on soft buttocks.  Finally, with a swallowed nervousness, he asked, “Will you keep…what you did before…?”

Fowke watched him, and Elas watched back over his shoulder.  “Spanking,” Fowke said, low and heavy like the hit.  Elas shivered and nodded.  “No,” Fowke said.  “Not yet.”

Not yet felt an awful lot like behave.  Elas turned his face and pressed it into the bed, groaning whimsically and disappointedly, a whine that he wasn’t getting his way.  Fowke laughed and teased his thick knuckles against the folds of Elas’s cunt, occasionally stopping to spread him.  His cunt, his ass.  The second made Elas blush into the sheets, a different shiver working through him.  No one had ever done anything like that to him before, and it made him gently nervous.  Wasn’t that filthy?  Wasn’t he built for the other thing?  But other men had to do things like that, Elas knew.  And the more times that Fowke touched and spread, the less nervous at the prospect he became, until it was only a passing wonder.  Something to be curious about instead of frightened.  His brain felt fuzzy, like he was sleeping again.

Fowke hit him again, a single strike, on the opposite cheek this time.  Elas jolted a little bit, but couldn’t flail away because his arms were bound.  He made a noise like an undignified bird, and Fowke soothed his hand gently over him, those same docile touches.

“Fowke,” Elas whined, low and growing desperate.

“Will you be good,” Fowke asked, “and count?”

It was humiliating.  It wasn’t even something that had happened to him as a child.  The closest was his tutors wrapping his knuckles with a short cane or a ruler, and that was nothing like this — although he’d liked the discipline a little bit.  Fowke repeated the question, pulling Elas back by the rope around his waist and thighs, so the prince was knelt with his face down in the pillow and his hips raised.  Elas whispered, “Yes,” and then Fowke started.

His rhythm was steady, immaculate, a confirming sort of thud.  Elas counted them.  These were not as hard as the first few, which had been bracing and jarring.  These ones were about building the force and the rhythm, as if Elas were built for nothing besides being spanked with his arms tied behind his back.  Between the consistent rhythm of Fowke’s smacks and the continuously climbing count, Elas found that drifting peace coming back to him.  It was only when he realized that he’d stopped counting, and Fowke had stopped slapping, did he jar out of it. “Why did you –?”

“You need something else,” Fowke said.  His fingers, Elas realized, were nudged just under his clit, prodding gently, offering indirect stimulation that made Elas slowly start panting.  He could feel himself going hot and delirious from it.  He couldn’t grab him, couldn’t make him do what he wanted.  Couldn’t even grip the bed sheets.  It was just him, panting wet humidity into the pillow and straining back for more of that elusive tension, starting to drift again.

It wasn’t a sleepy drift this time.  Fowke played with his clit — for a long time or a short time, Elas couldn’t tell anymore — until Elas was whining and straining slightly, and then he started to smack again.  “Count.”  Elas whined.  Fowke slapped harder.  “Count.  Pick up where you left off.”

It went on like this for some time.  Every time Elas grew incoherent, malleable and sleepy, Fowke would stop and do something else to him.  Once, it was scratching the backs of his thighs.  Another time, it was kissing the line of his spine and snarling in his mother tongue against Elas’s ear.  Yet another, he flipped Elas onto his back and played with his nipples and breasts until Elas was incoherent in an entirely different way.

His hands were tingling but not numb.  They had been at this for at least thirty minutes, or perhaps for hours, and time meant nothing to his increasingly white-hot brain.  And every time, Fowke returned to the slapping and Elas’s counting.

When Elas finally reached one hundred, Fowke pressed a kiss to the small of his back.  “Tell me what you want,” Fowke whispered into his skin.  Elas could feel it more than hear it.

Elas shivered, drawn thin, warm all over.  “Your mouth,” he finally whispered.  It wasn’t the only thing he could think of, but it was the most urgent thing.  He wanted to cum.  He wanted to cum for Fowke.

“Where?”

“Anywhere.  Fowke.”

“Where, Elas?”

“My cunt,” Elas swore, the word dripping out of him like a plea.

Fowke didn’t ask him to say any more.  His mouth, still on Elas’s spine, moved down from the small of his back, over the swell of his ass, across one scratched thigh.  He hauled Elas’s legs apart by the ropes, almost impossibly wide, and Elas moaned into the bed.  He was going to smother himself in the sweet euphoria of Fowke’s attention.  Fowke’s tongue was a red hot line across the whole furrow, and Elas roared with pleasure.

That was the first orgasm.  Quick and rotten, cracking him open like a seed germinating.  He shook through it, and Fowke never stopped.  If anything, it made him more attentive.  Licking, cleaning out the shallow first half inch of him as he quivered with pleasure.  It took a little while, after that first one, to get worked up all over again.  Fowke never stopped.  His tongue and lips and teeth worked on Elas, gentle and rough and insistent in turns, until Elas’s fingers were twisting and tight, and he was panting, the fuzzy white-hot distance coming back to him.

Fowke slid his thumb in as he sucked on Elas’s clit, and that was the second one.

From there, Elas lost count.  It was that repetitious building, this slow burn, an inspiration of pleasure that caught in his chest.  His mind was a thousand miles away and his body was deliriously present, aware of ropes and fingers and tongue.  Fowke didn’t speak, or if he did Elas couldn’t understand him.  Several times, as he laid there with his ass in the air and his face down, he felt Fowke lean over him and the huge, needful line of his cock pressed against him.  But there was nothing but fingers.

Fowke’s mouth was ghosting over one still-flushed ass cheek when he asked the question again.  Elas didn’t respond, and Fowke let him be quiet this time.  He kissed inward and asked again, and Elas didn’t respond.  He traded his thumb in Elas’s cunt for three fingers and used both hands to spread Elas’s cheeks.  And then there was a tongue on Elas, on this most intimate forbidden place.

Elas moaned.  He shook and pressed his face into the bed.  He was far away, and so very present, and Fowke’s tongue was casting some sort of spell on him.  He could feel it through himself, this obscene attention while Fowke’s fingers still worked inside of him.  “I can’t,” Elas whispered, shaking, on the edge again.  “I can’t — Fowke.”

Fowke paused in his attention long enough to growl authoritatively, “You will.”

Elas came on the spot.  A gut punch of an orgasm, ripping through him like a gale as he shrieked into the bed.  Fowke didn’t stop.  He opened his mouth — there was a gentle scrape of teeth — and he pressed his tongue against Elas.  Elas whimpered, whined, could feel him just in the first half inch.  Fowke was inside him.  Fingers and tongue, a spectacular and overwhelming array.

“I want your cock.”  His mouth was moving without his mind because his mind had left hours, days, months ago.  “Fowke, please.  Please, I –“

“Not yet,” Fowke breathed into him.  Elas’s cheeks were wet.  He was crying.  From the denial or from the euphoria?  Did it matter?  “One more, and then you can rest.”

One more.  One more felt like a lifetime, it felt like an impossibility, it felt like — like —

Fowke led him to it, like a lamb to a stream.  He coaxed with all the tricks he had used for every other orgasm he’d gotten from Elas, and Elas floated, obedient and overwhelmed, to that triumphant peak.  He came crying, a long, drawn shriek and tears on his cheeks.  And then they were finished.

Fowke apologized as he got out of bed, went to the dry sink across the room, and returned with the basin and a cloth.  He set these down, then slowly untied Elas’s arms, starting from that first knot as he’d begun and carefully unwinding.  He stopped when Elas’s arms were free, partially because there were no further restrictions, and partially because Elas whipped around and threw himself at him.

It was nothing more than a kiss, and a shaking elf in his arms, and Fowke held Elas.  He didn’t shush him or offer some consolation.  He did, after several long moments of Elas finding solace simply in holding him, gently say, “If you lay down, I’ll clean you up.”

“You’re too good to me,” Elas said in the crook of Fowke’s neck.  Fowke, impossibly hard and desperate and barely holding onto that edge of control, shook his head.

“No, my prince,” he murmured.  “I only serve.”

XIII.

It was weeks before it happened again.

Elas didn’t expect it to, except that he did.  Even on those nights when he demanded Fowke come in before he fell asleep, Fowke was largely stern but gentle, refusing the attention and advances.  In another man, it might have given them a complex.

He woke one morning, as he had for so many months, to Fowke letting himself into the suite.  Slowly, he sat up, stretching luxuriously.  There was no reason to suspect that anything different would happen compared to any other morning, so he acted exactly like he had on any other morning.

He blinked, a little, when the silken rope dropped onto the bed.

“Up,” Fowke said.  His rumbling voice was full of tender joy, and Elas felt the thrill run under his skin.  Even if Fowke’s expression was still, his eyes were soft and brilliant.

“So early?” Elas murmured, yawning.  Fowke reached out and ruffled Elas’s hair, loose and slightly tangled.  It was a gesture that inspired a certain gentleness, a warmth in Elas’s chest that he wanted to chalk up to sleepiness but knew was so much more.  Elas rose from the bed, stripping out of his sleeping gown even before Fowke could ask him.  Naked, he shuffled to his dry sink, the basin and pitcher there.  Fowke followed, the rope back in hand, until he was standing behind the young prince as he brushed his hair and washed his face.

“I’m going to put this on you,” Fowke said, matter-of-factly.  Elas shivered without even thinking about it.  “Then we’ll get you dressed.”

“…Underneath?”

“Underneath.”

Elas looked over his shoulder as Fowke ran the soft rope against the back of his shoulder and neck.  He made a loop with the rope and swung it around Elas’s neck.  The first knot fell just under the dip in his collarbone.  The rope passed around his chest, under his upper arms, to his spine.  Fowke tied a new knot, and then came back, arms gentle around Elas’s body.  Like tying his arms back, Elas felt a contented lethargy begin to take him.  Rows.  A ladder, a net, of rope lines and tight knots, this snug presence that accented the features of his body.  Over, under, around his breasts, across his waist, this network of diamonds.  Fowke knelt and looped the rope between Elas’s thighs.  A well placed knot sat gently against his clit, and Elas knew this was going to be a distractible fiasco of a day.

“Fowke,” Elas murmured.

Fowke kissed the small of his back.  He tightened some of the lines and knots, tying off the end of the rope to make the net across Elas’s torso.  There was still some length left.  He wrapped and knotted it down one of Elas’s thighs as Elas sighed.

“There,” Fowke said after a moment.  He slapped Elas gently on the ass, standing up again, and leading him over to the tall dressing mirror.  He lingered behind him for a moment, admiring him, looking at how Elas squirmed from the pressure of the rope on his skin.  “Clothes, and the rest of your day.  Yes, my lord?”

“Yes,” Elas murmured, voice trembling.  “Of course.”

Fowke collected clothes for Elas, dressing him in a way that was normally the position of a servant and certainly not as familiar when it was.  Each layer hid the lines and knots of the rope, the shivering anticipation.  As the last went on, Fowke leaned down to Elas’s ear.  “If you wear it for the whole day, I’ll give you a treat.”

~

He made it more than the whole day.  From that early morning, through all of his social engagements, and past dinner.  Fowke had expected him to buckle much earlier.  There were a number of moments where he thought it was going to happen, watching Elas shift and squirm and breathe roughly through his nose.

They returned to Elas’s room, as they had so many other nights, but this time, as the door shut, Elas flung himself at Fowke.  He clung to him, dragging him down to kiss him and press himself against Fowke’s broad, firm body.  There was no hesitation from Fowke, either.  He wrapped his arms around Elas, lifting him onto his toes and kissing him hungrily.  This reward was as much for Elas as it was for him.

“You were so good,” Fowke murmured into the kiss.  Elas shivered and squirmed in his arms.  “You did so good for me.”

“I want my reward,” Elas whispered back.  He took his hands off Fowke, but those large, strong hands continued to hold him up.  It made it easier to start stripping out of his layers, especially as Fowke hoisted him higher, high enough that Elas could wrap his legs around Fowke’s waist as they moved toward the bed.

When they reached the bed, Fowke tipped Elas gently out of his arms.  Elas’s breath left him in a beautiful woosh; he wasn’t winded, just surprised.  Like this, Fowke looked like a giant; he was already a huge man in comparison to Elas, but towering over him at the edge of the bed was a brilliant thrill that ran through him.  It inspired a further urgency to strip out of his clothing, and Fowke joined him in that, stripping out of his uniform and casting it aside alongside Elas’s.

“Tell me what you want,” Fowke said.

The next noise out of Elas was gentle, rapturous.  The triumph in it made Fowke smirk.  “Fowke,” Elas whined.  He squirmed on the bed in nothing but that rope net on his body.  Fowke ran his fingers down the inside of Elas’s thigh, listened to the hitch in his breathing, and teased his fingers against the slick folds of his cunt, boxed by the rope with the knot sitting on his clit.  “Fowke!”

“Tell me what you want,” Fowke told him.  “Behave yourself and do as you’re told, brat.”

A whole body shiver moved through Elas.  He closed his eyes and tried to arch his hips up.  Fowke stood there, standing over him, waiting.  “Touch me.”

“I said ask, brat.”

Elas chewed on his lower lip, letting the fuzz rattle through his brain a little bit.  “Please touch me?”

Fowke put strong hands on him, pushing, stroking, an idle attention that was consuming but directionless.  The weight of the touch, the rasp of calluses, had Elas giving little gasps and sighs.  His breath was shivering, erratic, even from a touch that was more massage than anything overtly sexual.  It was the knowledge of what those hands did — and what they had done, in their history.

“Fowke,” Elas gasped.

“You know what to do,” Fowke said, before Elas could get a real word in edgewise.  It made the young prince shiver and sigh all the more.  A bliss sank through him, and he laid there in his ropes feeling well held and supported.  He didn’t think any of the men he’d ever tied up himself had probably felt half as cared for in much less precarious positions.

Fowke slid a single finger into him, before he could ask for it.  It was slow and gentle, crooked just so, and Elas saw blissful stars as he arched and strained in the ropes.  “Please fuck me?  Fowke…”

“Not yet,” Fowke said.

Elas kicked out, the mule stubbornness coming back to him in a flash.  Fowke took it.  He wiggled and curled his finger, rubbing that sweet spot on the roof of Elas’s pussy.  “Fowke, please,” Elas whined.  He tried to push his hips back, tried to get anything more than that single finger.  Fowke indulged him and gave him a second.  He didn’t touch anywhere but inside, and where his knuckles gently brushed the folds.  Where the ropes brushed the folds.  “Please fuck me,” Elas whispered, low, desperate.  Not a question but not an order either.  He radiated with desperation, fluttering around two fingers.

Fowke was slow a moment, fingers moving but with a different sort of method and madness behind them.  And it was madness; Elas was going to go mad, any second now, just like he had the night that Fowke tied his arms back and took him apart again and again.

A third finger.

“Fowke,” Elas gasped, eyes mostly closed, gently drifting.  Fowke twisted his hand, fingers still buried, and Elas groaned as the white-light fuzz in his brain intensified, as his pussy fluttered and flexed around the intrusion.  Three fingers deep and the heel of Fowke’s palm now gently rubbing against his clit, felt like utter bliss.  It dragged on like that.  Little white sparks behind his eyelids for every single subtle movement inside of him, every time that Fowke rubbed him with the heel of his palm or pressed in deep, deep, impossibly deep.  “Fowke, please.”

A fourth finger, and Elas whined with rapture and frustration.  Fowke couldn’t help but laugh, soft and gentle and kind.  Elas’s ears were pricked high and quivering slightly, his whole face a ruddy flush of desperation.

“Cum if you need to,” Fowke murmured.  “You’ve been so good.”

“Fowke, please.  Please, I just — will you fuck me, please?”

Fowke paused.  All the months of obstinate and stubborn behavior, all the weeks of dedication to Elas’s pleasure exclusively, every dripping, aching thought of this young elf giving himself up to something other than himself.  He hadn’t planned on it, perhaps ever; he had certainly thought about it, more than he cared to, but it seemed a breach of some kind.  Trust, or honor.  But didn’t that breach already exist?  He had looped and knotted this rope over this lovely body this morning.  He was four fingers deep, working the edges of Elas’s pleasure to a fever pitch.  There was no going back.  There hadn’t been for months, since he’d first caught Elas desperate and panting, fingering himself, in this very bed.  He pulled his fingers back and, ignoring Elas’s baleful noise, rolled him over onto his stomach.  Elas climbed the bed slightly, the ropes still in place, and Fowke followed, climbing in after him and draping against his back.  His cock, free and hard, nudged deliberately against Elas.  Like in the bath, they slipped and slid, impossibly close without the final moment, the final action.  He nudged Elas’s clit, rubbed, gripped the shaft and slapped against Elas’s cunt gently.  

Beneath Fowke, Elas shivered and sighed.  He could feel every ridge, rubbing against him in a way that smeared their slick together.  “Please,” Elas gasped.

The head nudged in gently.  Where Elas had thought he could feel the ridges before, now he was intimately aware of their shape, their size, how they made him up.  The first inch was a beautiful, slopping press.  And then there was so much more, ridges and an increasing thickness, the steady, hot twitch of pulse through the length of it echoing his own twitching, erratic pulse.  Elas became aware that he was making a noise, low and needy and desperate, when he felt Fowke’s hand slide gently over his throat.  He whimpered, his eyes almost crossing as another inch delved in, a particularly substantial curvature spreading him impossibly open.

“You’re doing so good,” Fowke murmured, leaning down and kissing Elas’s ear.  “You fit me so perfectly.”

Thought left Elas entirely.  He was focused entirely on Fowke, every detail of that large body over him.  Every ounce of slow movement was more than Elas could fathom at the moment, pulling, pushing, filling him so entirely that he thought he was going to lose his mind.  “Gods,” Elas whined.  He shifted his hips back to get more, if he could.  Every time that Fowke slid back a little, the ridges rubbed inside.  Elas’s low noises turned into a needy shriek as he strained against the ropes.

“That’s it,” Fowke murmured.  He gripped his hips, burying himself to the edge of the knot.  Elas shivered and sighed, noisy, needy.  That bulge, that sweet, swelling desperation, pressed on his walls without sliding in.  Fowke kept fucking, gaining in speed, force.  “You feel so good, Elas.”

“Are you going to… Will it… ?”  Elas’s breath hitched, desperate and noisy.  The words were a muddy, needy reed.  

Fowke dragged him back against him, listening to that rapturous noise coming out of Elas.  “Is this what you wanted?”  He tightened his hand just a little.  “You are doing so good for me.”

“Fowke, please,” Elas whined, shaking under him.  Fowke swore under his breath, leaning back, gripping those lean hips and the ropes across them as he shoved them both higher, higher, the gaining pleasure starting to overwhelm them.  Elas trembled around him and Fowke shifted a hand to the ropes in the middle of his back, gripping there too.  It made it easy to pin, easy to make sure that Elas kept moving.  It was the last words either of them spoke for several long moments.  The bedroom rumbled with the sounds of their feverish movements, the bed creaking as the force got almost overwhelming.  Elas turned his face into the bed, his mind blank except for the pleasure of Fowke’s movements.

When the knot slipped into him, Elas couldn’t help the shocking cascade of pleasure.  He wasn’t expecting that rapid tumble over the edge into orgasm, but it hit him like a ton of bricks anyway.  He shrieked into the blankets, felt his body try to clench around that wonderfully bulbous intrusion.  

Fowke growled, shoving forward a few more times.  “Elas,” he groaned, but it was all the warning he was even capable of giving.  He was tied in now, locked in place as the knot swelled inside Elas and his cock twitched inside that wonderful, milking tightness of Elas’s cunt.  They were a noisy couple for a moment, Fowke groaning and Elas whimpering excitedly.  Fowke thrust through it; if there was no getting apart for a few minutes, he was going to bury his release as deep into Elas as he could possibly manage.

He wrapped his arms around the elfling and, gently, tumbled them sideways.  A quiet stillness came over them while they were locked together.  Fowke ran his fingers gently over Elas’s stomach, and Elas lifted a hand to curl into Fowke’s hair as they waited.  He felt himself go soft long before they were untied, the knot relaxed enough that he could pull back.  He didn’t, yet.  Instead, he lingered inside that soft, wet heat.

Elas didn’t look at him.  “Will you stay?” he whispered.  “Until I sleep?”

“Of course, my prince.”

XV.

Elas was called to Dormyar’s reception chamber by himself.  He was permitted by the steward, but for several minutes, he was alone in the room.  His father was nowhere to be seen, nor any reason that he might have been called.  The steward left him to his devices, and Elas milled about slightly, before settling on the dias to his father’s receiving throne.  Minutes passed until the door opened again, and he was joined by Dormyar, who smiled gently at his son.

“Ah, Elas.  I apologize for the delay.  Were you waiting very long?”

“A few minutes,” Elas admitted.  He was watching his father, contemplative, trying to puzzle out what had him in such a good mood.  

“Your Lady Mother and I,” Dormyar said, “have a selection of suitors we’d like to have to court.  There’s one in particular we think is best suited for you.”  So this was it.  If his mother was speaking of having suitors to court, it was an inevitability.  Elas wrung his hands, displacing his many rings, rotating them, putting them back when he was finished with that.  Elas looked at his father, who had seemed to be waiting.  “Once he arrives, I will make a special introduction, so you can make an informed decision.” 

A decision left at Elas’s feet, when he knew that he had next to no say in this arrangement.  He could reject the proposal of this first suitor, but what did that serve, except to invite different suits?  There was a hopeless sort of weight in Elas’s chest that he wanted to carve out.  A betrothal might last years, if it was between elves.  But eventually, Elas would go away with whoever he was married to.

“Lord Father,” Elas said, looking away and then back at his father, who looked patient but expectant.  Elas felt a twinge of guilt for that.  He would not say that these past months had tamed him; they had certainly eased some of the rougher edges.  “I believe it would be prudent to retain a personal guard, regardless of how the betrothal goes.  To keep a guard, once I’m married.  And Sir Fowke is already familiar with my situation.  I would keep him on, when I –“

The words fell out of his mouth, dissolving into nothing.  Dormyar watched his son as he spoke and, when the words fumbled to an unsatisfying finish, he continued to look at him for a moment longer.

“You will be the one to offer it to him,” the King finally decided.  Elas nodded, murmuring a quiet ascent.  “It will be all right, Elas.  Whatever the outcome.”

“I hope so.”

~

The moonlight streamed in through the sheer curtains on the balcony.  Elas had been sitting outside, looking out of the city, for hours, as the sun had set and the shadows had gotten longer, the sky turning from blue to ruby tones and then to the violet-black of night.  For the most part, Fowke had left him alone to his peace and quiet.  But as the night inched toward that true black, he thought he ought to bring his prince in.

In the privacy of these rooms, on this high balcony on a corner of the palace where no one would see them, Fowke approached Elas from behind.  He ran his fingers gently over those graceful, thin shoulders, squeezing against the tension slightly.

“You’ve been quiet after you met with your father earlier,” he pointed out.

Elas heaved a huge sigh as he continued to look out at Gweyir in the dark.  There were some lamps lit outside of taverns, but the streets and many of the homes were dark at this point.  “Would you go with me?” Elas asked, soft and toward the sprawling landscape of the city instead of to Fowke.

“Are you thinking of running off again?  I thought we’d finally gotten rid of that flight of fancy.”  Though the words were light, as Fowke shifted so he could see Elas’s face he knew they had landed poorly.  He knelt down, placing his hands on Elas’s knee for a moment.  

When the young elf continued to look out at the city and not at him, Fowke lifted his hand to Elas’s cheek and turned his attention with gentle force.  Elas looked at Fowke for a long moment, reading everything he could in that expression.  He thought, over the last months, he had gotten very good at reading his hobgoblin protector, but now?  At this moment he wasn’t so sure that he knew how to interpret a single look on his face, or any he had seen prior.

“When I leave,” Elas said, though that was no more clear than before, “Would you go with me?”

“Elas, what are you talking about?  Of course I would go with you to the country estate–“

“My father found me a suitor,” Elas interjected.  He watched.  Fowke’s face was unreadable to him.  “He found me a suitor, and I’m being encouraged to entertain the courting.”  Fowke’s fingers stayed on Elas’s cheek, and Elas leaned into the warm touch.  It didn’t feel like it was frozen in shock.  This was an inevitability, wasn’t it, and when Elas left to build a household, he would have someone else to keep an eye on him.  This was always going to be a temporary solution.  Into this quiet, Elas murmured, “I told my father I wished for you to stay on as my personal guard.”

“Did you really?”  There was a note of laughter in the back of Fowke’s deep, rumbling voice.  Not teasing Elas, but an earnest sort of surprise that Elas would petition for one of Dormyar’s personal knights to become his own.  “What did he say?”

“To ask you.”

“Of course.”

Was that ascent or acknowledgement?  Elas looked at Fowke, the moonlight across him putting him into sharp contrasts.  Slowly, he lifted a hand and ran it through the scruff of his sideburns, and then up into his hair.  Fowke leaned into Elas’s touch, like he desired it more than anything else.  He went for a second pass, and then a third, before he used some gentle force to urge him up.  Fowke seemed to hardly need it, as he lifted on his knees and leaned in until their noses gently brushed.

“Would you?” Elas murmured gently.  “Would you be my guard?  My champion?”

“What would this husband of yours say to that?” Fowke asked in that same quiet voice.

Elas was quiet, thoughtful, for a moment.  He let their breathing mingle, soothing him a little bit.  He thought of the time he’d spent after speaking with his father, before returning to Fowke’s company.  It had felt lonely, to not have the shadow of his knight there.

“I hope he would be agreeable,” Elas murmured.  “And if not…we’ll wait until I find one that is.”

Fowke reached his hands up and pulled Elas out of his chair.  He sat back, drawing the elfling onto his lap.  Elas wrapped his arms around Fowke’s shoulders naturally.  “Ask me properly,” Fowke said, tender command lacing the words.  Elas sighed and tilted his head back to look at the stars high above them.

“Will you come away with me when I am married?”  Elas gripped his fingers tight into Fowke’s hair.  He leaned in and brushed their noses together.  “Will you be my paramour?”

“That might cause a stir, don’t you think?  A prince, married off and in keeping with his Knight?”  Elas didn’t disagree.  It likely would cause more than a bit of a stir, if things were more than they appeared to the masses.  But behind closed doors?  In moments like this?

“Answer me,” Elas whispered, their bodies twined together.

“I will go with you,” Fowke said.  He leaned in and kissed Elas.  “And no matter the end, you will have your Knight.”

“I will have my Knight,” Elas repeated into Fowke’s mouth.

The moon lit across them as they kissed, a memory of everything that had been in the months they had learned each other.

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3 thoughts on “Footsteps to Favor

  1. Fowke is such a good fit for Elas! He’s got an incredible well of patience to wear down all that brattiness, and show Elas that he doesn’t have to be in control to get what he wants. Honestly Elas seemed to be mostly doing… performative control? Like it was simpler to tie people down and make them acknowledge his title in bed than meet them one to one as a person. Probably a distancing measure too. I’m glad they got their happy ending, as much as the bounds of duty will let them, and WOW what a fun path they took to get there.

  2. So much tension leading up to the grand finale!!! Elas getting fucked full and Fowke whispering “You fit me so perfectly” are too good. A super sexy and I enjoyed all of it!

  3. The passage of time here is very interesting with the different life spans, and the slow burn of their relationship.

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