by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ)
“She’s not even pretty,” Faruk said, and popped another candied nut into his mouth. “Ugh. Yes she is.”
He was speaking to no one in particular, of course, save for a tray of little pastries, some cheese-stuffed dates, and the bowl of candied nuts he’d settled himself next to. They were such excellent listeners and absolutely the finest companions he could hope for at such a wretched excuse for a ball as the one at which he’d found himself trapped.
“Even if she’s a good dancer, he’s not,” he muttered to himself. Faruk’s eyes were fixed on the dance floor, watching couples in their bright colors spin and shift past one another to the trills and soft beats of the music. On a better night he would be enjoying time off the dance floor much more; there were so many outfits to criticize, hairstyles to gawk at, and dance partners to gossip about. But tonight he’d shaken off all usual party partners to keep to himself at the edge of it all, watching only one pair as they danced.
“It’s like he’s got bricks tied to his feet,” Faruk said as his eyes traced the length of Evren’s long legs as they moved in the steps of the dance. “And he’s got no rhythm whatsoever.” He bit the tips of his fingers and tasted sugar and salt as he watched Evren’s hips. Faruk knew exactly what sort of rhythm the man could operate with.
“One would think if he knew I was coming to this wretched affair he’d at least–” Faruk cut himself off with a sigh. He didn’t even know how he wanted that sentence to end. Instead, he reached along the table to snag one of the pastries. Everyone was so concerned with seeing and being seen at these sort of things (and keeping that which could be seen trim) that the elaborate spreads of food at these events often went entirely neglected. More for Faruk, then, as he was more concerned with how he was wasting his life than the span of his waist.
Halfway through his reach Faruk extended his gaze a little further than the end of the refreshments table and realized he was not quite as alone as he thought he was. Just beyond the plate of little fig cookies stood one of the house guards. He was so large and broad that Faruk felt completely idiotic that he hadn’t noticed him before — but it was the job of the security at parties such as this to blend in the background, so he could hardly be blamed for overlooking him. Even though he was roughly the size of a house, tall and broad-shouldered, with a sharp nose and a long braid of thick, dark hair coming halfway down his back.
“Hm,” Faruk said, and completed his reach to his pastry goal. He was just a guard, after all. Might as well be a statue. They were only supposed to interact with the guests in any way at the hosts’ request, or in the event of obvious danger. Faruk licked honey off of his fingers. Whatever did it matter that he heard? Who would he even tell, and why would he care?
“The guest of honor, you see,” Faruk said, and he saw the slightest twitch in one of the guard’s eyebrows to know he recognized he was being spoken to, now. “He’s an utter prig.”
The guard didn’t move a muscle, keeping himself in his steady stance, hands clasped in front of him. “We know each other, of course,” Faruk continued. “And I don’t mean in the way that half the people here claim to be the closest of friends, I mean we know each other.” He pursed his lips and glared out to the dance floor. He couldn’t see Evran anymore. He must have tired himself out from all the swinging about he did of his slender little dance partner. “We knew each other.”
Faruk bit his lip. It was ridiculous, spouting this to a member of the help, but simply put, he’d had no one else to talk to about the whole awful business. His family wanted to ignore it entirely. His friends… Faruk’s friends weren’t the sort of friends you did much confiding in, lest you wanted your every detail whispered across rooms such as the one he stood in. He’d just had nothing to do but stew about it, to let his anger cover over any of the hurt.
“We spent two years knowing each other,” Faruk said, and his voice faltered and went softer as he continued. “That makes it sound nothing but sordid. It was… it was more than that.” His hand reflexively hovered over the bowl of nuts again, but his appetite had suddenly left him. “I thought it was something more. I thought… I thought we might escape all of this.” He gestured out at the ballroom and all its glittering inhabitants.
He let out a huff of breath. That was enough of that. “And then what?” Faruk said. “And then he tells me he’s getting married!” He clenched up his fists. “‘Oh, Faruk, lovely time I had making you fall in love with me, but now I’ve got family and title to think of, have a nice life, see you at the next soiree.'” The guard still had not moved an inch. “And now I have to come here and see him with his arm around that, that…” He let out a harsh breath and let his fingers relax. “That perfectly lovely woman for whom none of this is to blame.
“I can’t decide if I showed up here because I’m cowardly or spiteful,” Faruk said, voice soft again with thoughtfulness. “The first because I don’t have the spine to make the statement of not making an appearance, and the second because I want him to have to look at my face and remember.” He let out a humorless little laugh. “In either case, I’m certainly a fool. And I’m hardly drawing attention to myself, hiding by the wall, stuffing my face, and talking to… to… you.”
The guard said nothing. Barely batted an eyelash. “Ugh,” Faruk said. “Disgusting. The least I could do is find a drink to throw in his beautiful face. Cause a scene.” He laughed a little again. “Of course, a waste of a drink, which I could use.” He hadn’t seen anyone floating by with a tray of glasses in ages. He was completely forgotten. He ate another nut. They didn’t even taste good anymore, he thought as he ate two more.
“It seems to me,” came a deep, clear voice from his left, “that you’re not really angry at him.”
The guard hadn’t moved and his eyes were still trained frontward, but there was no one else who could have spoken. How dare you, was the first thought that crossed Faruk’s mind, but he didn’t bring it to voice because he couldn’t settle on why he was outraged. That a servant would speak to him, or that a stranger would presume to know his feelings? “I beg your pardon?” he said, instead.
“You want to be angry at him, because he hurt you,” the guard said. “But you’re really angry at yourself.”
“I beg your pardon,” Faruk said as blood flushed to his face. He wasn’t supposed to be speaking at all, let alone speaking this… this… whatever it was.
“You’re angry at him some, for certain,” the guard continued. “And with good reason. Sounds like he didn’t end things gracefully.” He still hadn’t moved from his position at attention. “You’re mad at yourself because you think it’s your fault, that you let him manipulate you. You’re worried you’re just weak.”
Faruk’s face was burning and he was blinking rapidly. “Just who do you think you are?”
The guard’s eyes cut over then, meeting Faruk’s for just long enough. “My name’s Azad,” he said, and then went back to looking forward. “And I’m employed by the person you may or may not be angry at.”
Faruk felt all the heat in his face drain out as rapidly as it had bloomed there. “Had you… seen us?”
“Maybe,” the guard — Azad — said. “I’ve seen your face before, but I’ve seen most of the faces here before. And I’ve seen the kinds of things you folks get up to.” The corner of his mouth turned up a little bit. “You’re not the first person I’ve heard seething by the snacks.” He glanced over again. His eyes were striking, the color of strong tea. “You’re just the first one who felt like directing it at me.”
“I’m…” Faruk dropped his eyes. Sorry, yes, of course he was, for being such a fool. “I’m sure it’s nothing of interest to you, anyway.”
“Of course not,” Azad said, holding himself steady and still. “I’m just a guard.”
Faruk fell silent for a while, nervously biting at his sweet-tipped fingers. “You’re not wrong,” he said after a while. “But you’re not right, either.” Azad stayed silent, but his thick brows lifted a little. “Of course I’m angry at myself. For being here, for falling in love, for not just being the good little boy mummy and daddy wanted, all of those wonderful things.” He pointed one of his faintly sticky fingers at Azad. If anyone looked, he’d just look like he was berating the help, a fine sport at parties like this. “But I’m also angry at him, because he hasn’t the decency to be angry himself.”
“You sure?” Azad said.
“Disgustingly so,” Faruk said, sounding tired. He was tired, of all of this. Of all of this. “I’ve seen him happy. When I look at him out there, with her, he’s happy. He doesn’t have to worry about me anymore. About hiding, about the people who’d be upset, about hurting anyone else.” Evran was the heir to his name, where Faruk was the fourth child in his family; he could get away with roughly anything, which was far less satisfying than it seemed. “He just had to hurt me.”
“Do you want to hurt him back?” Azad asked.
“No,” Faruk said, then laughed. “Yes, terribly. But no. Only in a petty way. Like if I’d found a way to sabotage the stitching in his trousers so they tore open on the dance floor.” He sighed. “Oh, hell, he’d probably make that seem charming.”
Azad was quiet for a while. Faruk began to think he should leave the snacks alone and find whoever had a tray of drinks so that he could take the whole thing. He was, though, feeling better, in the oddest, aching way. “You know, if you wanted to cause trouble, maybe make a little scandal, mess up the party, I have a few ideas.”
“Oh, do you?” Faruk said, and then he saw the look on Azad’s face, eyebrows arched, mouth crooked, eyes just shy of leering. A little giggle shocked its way out of him. “Do you now?”
“I might,” Azad said.
“It’d certainly draw attention,” Faruk said, as a different heat blossomed in his cheeks. He was terrible handsome, now that Faruk truly took his time to look. Taller than him by half a head at least, and broad enough to wrap arms around him and still have reach to spare. His features were square and masculine, all of him just strong. In short, he was everything the lean, lithe, beautiful Evran was not. “You’d certainly lose your post.”
“I never said I was a satisfied employee,” Azad said, a little smirk on his lips. “You interested?”
The thought was wild. Even if they didn’t get caught, even if nothing was exposed, it was still a scandal, just a more private one. Faruk had never done anything of the sort; he’d had his dalliances, especially the brief ones, but he’d never gone so far as to seduce the help. Of course, he was hardly the one doing the seducing here…
“I think I rather am,” Faruk said, and popped one more nut in his mouth, crunching it between his teeth. “The food isn’t good, anyway, and the music is boring.”
Azad’s mouth curved in a smile as his eyes went heavy-lidded. The look he gave Faruk made him sway a little on his knees. Am I really? part of him kept asking, while a much larger part of him responded, Yes! “There’s a little alcove, just behind a curtain, just along that wall,” Azad said, and tilted his head to indicate direction. “Be there in five minutes.”
The hairs on the back of Faruk’s neck stood on end. “Yes,” he said, and let out a breath as Azad turned and walked off in a direction that was not the one he’d pointed him in. Clandestine meetings were far more fun when you were hoping to get caught than genuinely hoping to hide all evidence.
He took a long stroll through the ballroom, letting himself be seen. He finally caught the attention of someone carrying drinks and swiped a glass, draining it dry in a few gulps and setting it back on the tray before the servant could even step away. He nodded a few greetings, deliberately ignored some rivals, and even engaged in a bit of small talk before finding the mentioned curtain and slipping behind it.
It was a dull little corner, likely concealed from the party specifically for the crime of being so dull. Faruk leaned against a small shelf that could have been holding a floral arrangement, or a vase, or anything at all if Evren’s house had any sense of interior design. He was doing it a great decorative honor by sitting on it.
Faruk’s heart leapt as he saw the curtain shift a minute or so later, and Azad slip beneath it. He filled the small space to overwhelming. Faruk could feel the heat coming from his body, could smell him. He gasped a little as Azad put his hand beneath his chin and tilted his head up.
“You too good to kiss me?” he asked, his voice a low rumble. Faruk let out a breathless laugh.
“Oh, of course I am,” he said, and then leaned up to crush his mouth against Azad’s. He felt him laugh as he opened his mouth to kiss him back. Azad’s hand brushed along Faruk’s throat, and for one brief second Faruk wondered if this was a horrible mistake, if he might clamp his fingers tight and choke him, but then Azad was tracing the backs of his knuckles up beneath Faruk’s chin, petting him like a cat. He had nothing to fear, here.
“You taste good,” Azad said against his lips, and it made shivers run up and down Faruk’s back. Evren had never been one for talking… “Sweet. Like honey.” He tilted Faruk’s head so he could kiss along his neck, coming to bite at his ear, tugging one of the rings there with his teeth. “Bet you taste good everywhere,” Azad growled into his ear, and Faruk gasped and bit his lip around a little whimper. “And I bet you can make more noise than that.”
“Yes,” Faruk said, and laughed again, feeling giddy. “I rather think I can.” He’d had much more practice in keeping quiet than anything, but now he wanted to yowl like a stray until every head turned.
“Good,” Azad said, and slipped his hands beneath Faruk’s buttocks to properly hoist him onto the shelf he’d been leaning on. He settled onto his knees and Faruk let out a groan. Azad grinned up at him, showing teeth. “That’s good. Let them hear you.”
Azad began to undo his trousers and Faruk instinctively brought his hand to his mouth to cover the sound he made. He laughed, then, and let his hand slide along Azad’s dark, thick hair. His hand curled around Azad’s braid just as Azad’s strong fingers slipped around Faruk’s cock and drew it into the open.
“Oh,” Faruk said, soft and breathless as Azad stroked him once, and then he said it louder. “Oh.”
“Let’s see if you’re just as sweet,” Azad said, and then leaned forward to let his lips close around the tip of Faruk’s cock. Faruk let out a shout as Azad quickly sucked him to the root, his mouth hot and wet and capable of such filthy things. Faruk’s cock jerked in his mouth as he imagined someone pulling back the curtain. He could hear the music and people laughing so close. He let out another groan.
Azad’s lips slid along his length and his tongue teased beneath his foreskin. Faruk felt the scrape of stubble against his skin and hissed breath as he gripped onto the shelf beneath him. Evren kept himself so smooth, so clean-shaven; it was nothing like this. Faruk twisted his fingers in Azad’s braid and imagined what Azad might look like beneath his guard’s uniform, with his broad muscles and thick hair.
Faruk grabbed Azad’s shoulder and pulled, tugging on him until he let his mouth come off of his cock with a wet noise. He kept pulling until Azad rose to his feet again. “Change your mind?” Azad said, his voice rougher and sounding slightly out of breath. “Want to stop?”
“It’s not enough,” Faruk said as he pulled Azad into another kiss. His lips were plush and Faruk could taste himself on them. He kept one hand clenched in Azad’s shirt as the other went downwards, finding his cock to squeeze it through fabric. Faruk broke from the kiss to let his forehead rest against Azad’s chest as he bit his lip. Of course he was big, everything about him was big. For a moment Faruk could only think of being far from here, behind closed doors, stretched out on a bed with Azad and all of his weight and scent and cock bearing down on him.
“Not enough,” Azad said, brushing a hand over Faruk’s back as he leaned in to kiss the shell of his ear. It was just one gentle touch, and it made Faruk shiver all over. “So what if they saw you getting sucked off by a servant,” he purred against Faruk’s ear before kissing his throat. “Half the people out there probably have that planned for later tonight.” Faruk felt him grin against his skin. “But if he was fucking you…”
“Oh, god, yes,” Faruk said, and clutched at both of Azad’s shoulders as he kissed him again, panting as he bit at his lips. Azad laughed against his mouth and reached down to stroke his cock lazily.
“I had a feeling,” he said, and reached into his pocket to withdraw a small bottle of oil. “Made a stop by the kitchens on the way.”
Faruk let out a breathless laugh as his fingers curled around to stroke the sweat-damp skin of the back of Azad’s neck. “Aren’t you clever?”
“I know you’re very surprised,” Azad said, then kissed him one more time before letting go of Faruk’s cock to grab at his hip. “Turn around.”
Faruk turned so he was gripping the shelf instead of sitting on it, and grabbed it tight as Azad kept hold of his hip and rubbed his still-clothed cock against his ass. He could hear the clinking of glasses beyond the curtain as Azad leaned over him to kiss the nape of his neck, his mouth soft for a moment before it turned to a nip of teeth that made Faruk gasp.
“Any minute now,” Azad said as slick fingers brushed over Faruk’s balls, “someone could pull back that curtain and see you.” One broad fingertip trailed around the edge of him in teasing circles before just slipping inside. “See me.” Faruk gasped and keened as Azad slowly worked his finger into him. Evren’s fingers were thin and delicate, long and sweet, but nothing at all like this, this heady fullness. “What will they think?”
“I think,” Faruk said, in between shaking breaths as Azad fucked him with just his finger, “they’ll be jealous.” Azad laughed, and the sound of it made Faruk’s skin thrill. “No one else at this party is having nearly as much — ah!–” Azad urged another finger inside him and Faruk twisted his hips to get more “–fun.”
“Much better than dancing,” Azad said, and Faruk laughed as he groaned, Azad’s fantastic fingers twisting inside him, making him stretched and slick. When was the last time he’d laughed so much during this? He and Evren had always been so fraught, so intense. Everything about this made him feel wild and free.
“Much,” he gasped, then made a sound of loss as Azad pulled his fingers from him.
“Don’t sound so sad,” Azad said as Faruk heard the sound of clothing shifting, the sound of slick skin against skin. “It’s time for us to dance.”
He gripped hold of Faruk’s hips tight, lifting him a little until Faruk stayed balanced on the balls of his feet, hands tight on the shelf to keep him steady. Faruk made a sound as the head of Azad’s cock slowly pressed inside of him, and in that moment he wanted to be silent. If anyone caught them now, it would all have to stop.
“God, yes,” Faruk choked out softly as Azad’s cock filled him up, slow enough to make it easy, slow enough that it made Faruk desperate for more. Evren had been big enough, certainly, but not like this, not in a way that made Faruk forget about everything but the perfect feeling of being fucked.
“You feel so good,” Azad growled as he worked his hips in a slow rhythm, shallow thrusts that kept Faruk from ever being too empty for too long. Azad laughed a little. “Better than I thought.”
Faruk let out a sharp laugh. “How dare you,” he said, at last. “I’m fantastic.”
“You are,” Azad said, and found the angle that was just right, the one that made Faruk see stars. “Always thought the nobility was full of tight-asses. Guess I was right.”
Faruk’s laugh was wild and breathless, and he gripped hard at the shelf to give him purchase to rock back against each of Azad’s thrusts. He was supposed to be making noise now, supposed to be calling the attention of the whole assembled mass, but all he could do was shudder and gasp, stopping only to hiss a ‘yes.’
“I’m going to make you come,” Azad said, and Faruk’s spine arched as he wrapped still-slick fingers around his cock. “Leave your mark on this stupid party.”
“God, yes, please,” Faruk said, bending further at the waist to nearly rest his head against where his hands gripped the shelf. “It’s so stupid,” he said, and he could feel Azad’s laughter inside of him. That was all it took, just that humming feeling and a few strokes more of Azad’s beautiful, strong fingers, and Faruk was coming. He let out a shout as his cock spurted into Azad’s hand and spattered on the floor, but bit his lip to tamp down the end of it. He took two deep breaths to slow his head’s spinning and said, “I’m so glad I came.”
“Shit, I like you,” Azad said, and grabbed his hips with both hands as he fucked him hard, bringing him up onto the tips of his toes before he let out a long groan with his release.
Faruk’s legs were shaking and his back was aching by the time Azad gently pulled his softening cock out. He kept his hands steady on Faruk’s hips and let him ease back down to standing on his whole of his feet. Azad slipped a hand around Faruk’s waist and up to his chest, slowly straightening him up to bring him to lean back against his chest. Faruk could feel his heart pounding. He closed his eyes and just listened to that, and their breath, and nothing else at all.
“Oh,” he said, after a while, after Azad had started stroking his stomach beneath his shirt. “We seem to have failed to create a scandal.” The curtain had not budged, and Faruk heard not the slightest suspicious voice beyond it.
“Yeah, well,” Azad said. “You do feel better, though, don’t you?”
Faruk took in a deep, slow breath. “Yes,” he said. “I rather do.” Evren didn’t seem to matter so much now, not with strong arms wrapped around him and the memory of laughter on his lips. “However.”
“Hm?” Azad said, and Faruk turned his head and tilted it up to look up at him.
“There is still the matter that you’re dissatisfied with your employment,” Faruk said. “And it occurs to me I might be in the need of a bodyguard.”
“A bodyguard,” Azad said. “A personal bodyguard?”
“Very personal,” Faruk said.
“I’m hired,” Azad said, and Faruk was smiling again as he leaned down to kiss him.