William Boyd, Ph.D. (professor_boyd) wrote,
William Boyd, Ph.D.
professor_boyd

vignettes

Several lotruni ficlets/vignettes, written by request over the past two years. Some canon, some a bit spoilery, some from the sin, au, and future paris -verses, collected here now, and I'll be eta'ing over time as I find others, I'm sure—Laura

“Losing my religion,” Billy muses, staring at the track listing on one of the many Cds Dominic sits organizing. “What’s that mean?”

“It’s American,” Dominic explains. “Southern, I think. Means losing your temper.”

Billy nods. “So what do you say when you have nothing to lose? If you’ve not got a religion. If you don’t, you know, believe.”

“You must believe in something, Billy,” Dominic smiles. “You teach philosophy.”

Billy ponders this for a moment. “I believe in us. D’you think that’s enough?”

Dominic reaches and brings Billy down to the floor beside him. “It’s always been enough for me.”

:::

It’s their last night in Paris, and while he should feel as tired as Dominic, sleeping peacefully beside him, Billy’s not managed more than a few hours’ rest, and that only with effort. His body is tired from all the walking they’ve done, and the other sport besides, but his mind races with thoughts of having to return to Baskerville, and worse, having to keep himself from reaching for Dominic when he sees him on campus until they are safe in Billy’s office, or, better, back in Billy’s house.

Billy does not want to leave Paris, and he believes that if he suggested they just ... remain here, Dominic would not fight him.

Billy turns in the bed to face Dominic, stroking his hand over Dominic’s shoulder, and is startled when Dominic’s eyes open and his face splits in a wide grin. “Chiontach—you weren’t sleeping?”

“I was until you weren’t,” Dominic murmurs, moving closer. “’s the matter?”

“I don’t want to go back,” Billy says, his voice carrying more than just a traveller’s resistance to returning home. He leaves the words out there, then, just on the table between them, while Billy waits, holding his breath a little. Dominic presses his lips against Billy’s slowly, heavily, his body almost as awake now as his mind.

“Dom,” Billy whispers, and Dominic moves again, until Billy gives up on the idea of speaking. He makes to roll again to his back, but Dominic catches his arm, keeps him still, and then lets his hand slide down Billy’s side and over his hip, drifting to curl around Billy’s cock gently. Billy takes a deep breah, and Dominic shakes his head in the darkness, shushing him while his fingers trail up and down Billy’s shaft.

Billy gives in, just exhales and closes his eyes and surrenders to the patter of kisses Dominic leaves on his lips, his face, his throat and neck. Dominic smells and tastes sweet, like their late evening feast of Sauternes and pastry, and the new, soft brown leather cuff around his left wrist brushes against Billy’s shoulder as he reaches with his free hand in between Billy’s pillow and his neck, fingers looking to thread in Billy’s hair. He tugs at the strands gently, and Billy opens his eyes again, his breathing going shallow.

“Dominic—”

Another kiss, this time deeper, stronger in tandem with Dominic’s strokes over Billy’s cock, and Billy shivers, feeling the spiky chill run up and down his back just before his own hand clenches on Dominic bicep and his body tenses. Dominic’s still shushing him, but kindly, when Billy comes, less with his earlier abandon and more with relief; less with exhaustion than with peace.

“Chiontach,” Billy sighs when he feels strong enough to speak again. He brushes his fingers over Dominic’s lips to keep from being hushed one last time, and Dominic’s kisses his fingertips before he returns to cleaning them both up. “Chiontach, I think I—I just—thank you—”

“Go to sleep, Billy,” Dominic whispers. “Please, just rest.” Billy doesn’t have the will to fight it anymore, and in seconds he’s asleep again, but deeply so. Dominic waits him out long minutes before he’s rising from the bed to take up the hotel stationery and a pen at the table.

Dominic has a poem to write, and the sunrise will see it finished.

:::

Sometimes it is Billy who whispers secrets into Dominic’s skin in the middle of the night. Sometimes he turns over in his sleep already speaking, already reaching for Dominic and tangling them in the sheets until neither knows where the other begins and ends.

Billy doesn’t speak German, and feels like he can never hope to, considering his age and how long it’s been since he attempted to learn another language. These things come harder with every passing year, and he has no grounding in the way he would a romance language like Italian or Spanish. Even the small German phrases he’s managed to memorize are grammatically imperfect, and though Dominic tolerates them with smiles and laughter, it frustrates Billy to know that he will really never be able to communicate with Dominic in the language that sounds just right coming from Dominic’s mouth.

But Billy cannot in good conscience allow Dominic to have all the fun. It is a tiny thrill for him to use what he does know—French, and more than a little of it—and murmur in Dominic’s ear just before he pushes inside Dominic’s sleepy, yielding body. That thrill expands when Dominic strains to comprehend his words just as his taut muscles strain to meet Billy’s thrusts.

“Say again,” Dominic whispers, eyes still closed and hands drifting up and down Billy’s back in the dark. “One more time.”

“Le premiere fois,” Billy sighs, slowing his pace to lean down and brush kisses over Dominic’s forehead and eyelids, “qu’en mon joyeaux bouge … je pris un baiser a ta levre en feu …”

“There was more—“ Dominic’s words are cut off by his own sigh, his own deep inhale as his hips rise. Billy laughs, just a little, and moves again, just to hear that sound again.

“Quand tu t’en allas décoiffée et rouge,” Billy continues, softer now, lower, arching his back when Dominic’s blunt fingernails plunge into his skin. “Je restai tout pale et je crus en Dieu.”

“Dieu,” Dominic smiles. “I know that one.” Billy nods and laughs again, stilling himself and resting almost completely inside Dominic, waiting for him to need more.

“Tell me,” Dominic says, his thumb tracing the line of Billy’s lips. Billy takes Dominic’s hand, kisses it, draws the skin up until it is red and warm, until Dominic’s legs wrap around his waist, pulling him closer.

“The first time in my joyful hovel,” Billy translates, believing the words considerably less interesting in his own tired burr, “I stole a kiss from your fiery lips …”

Dominic reaches again for him, and his lips redefine fiery, redefine everything. It takes Billy a full minute to recover and find his pace again, both in speech and movement. “When you went off disheveled and—so close now, chiontach, I can feel you—disheveled and, and flushed—“

“Billy, don’t stop, please—“

Billy swallows, takes a hard breath. “I stayed there,” he whispers, “and believed in God.”

Dominic’s face crumples in emotion, and Billy ducks his head again for another kiss before he’s moving again, listening now for Dominic’s cries to go wilder. And when they do, Billy’s eyes fall shut and he pushes one last time, feeling Dominic shake beneath him.

It’s over, and yet never over, not as long as Dominic continues to stroke his long fingers through Billy’s hair while Billy rests still mostly across his body. “What’s that from?” Dominic asks, his voice terribly clear in the night’s silence.

Billy clicks his tongue. “Would you believe me if I said I made it up?”

Dominic laughs. “No.”

“And you’d be right not to. It’s Victor Hugo, chiontach, from Les Miserables. Book Eleven.” Billy yawns widely, rolling to his side next to Dominic. “Christ, you take everything I have.”

“I don’t think you actually know any French, Billy,” Dominic says, but he is still smiling. “Bar what you’ve read in that book.”

“You might be on to something there.”

A moment’s quiet, and then Billy’s eyes open again to face Dominic’s gentle smile.

“I was joking,” Dominic says softly, and Billy smiles, too.

“Sleep, chiontach. Or you’ll have no energy to wake me in German.”

:::

Dominic’s arms are folded across his chest, the colour high in his cheeks as he tries not to turn this into an argument. Billy’s seated comfortably on the floor in the corner of the bookshop, avoiding Dominic’s eyes as he continues to feed cookies to the mass of black and grey fur its owners call a dog.

“We talked about this,” Dominic says gently. “It’s not that I don’t want to, Billy; it’s my allergies. I never had pets—”

“This is not a pet,” Billy murmurs, breaking another cookie in half and holding it aloft, grinning when the dog rises up on its back legs. “This is Arthur, and a more magnificent specimen you’re unlikely to find.”

“Three weeks ago you called that dog a mangy fuck, Billy—”

“Three weeks ago the shop was still going strong.” Billy’s voice rises a little, and then he sighs, proffering the last of the biscuits to Arthur, who lounges happily next to Billy, devouring his treats. “It’s not anymore. When the owners leave he’ll have nowhere to go. They can’t take him, chiontach; they’re getting older, and so is he.” Billy gathers the dog up suddenly in a show of affection he rarely displays in public, and addresses Arthur with a broad smile. “And three weeks ago y’bit me. You’ll find I’m a forgiving man, Arthur.”

“Sometimes.” Dominic sighs and kneels down next to Billy, moving as close as he can, faintly surprised by Billy’s reluctance to release the dog and even more so by how quickly Billy leans against Dominic’s shoulder and sighs, too. “Billy,” he says, very gently. “You’re not going to be able to forgive yourself the first time you forget to feed him because you’re too busy scorching my kitchen walls trying to feed yourself.”

Billy clicks his tongue but doesn’t bristle beyond that. “Already accusing me of neglect.”

“Never.” Dominic smiles, and reaches for Arthur, who jumps happily into his lap. “Just for a minute, Arthur, or we’ll both regret it.”

“Fickle bastard,” Billy smirks at the dog, and then his mouth twists as he tries to hold down the petulance. “Chiontach, I know I’m not the most ... conscientious or, or attentive person in the world, but how else am I going t’learn, yeah?”

“Not from this mangy fuck,” Dominic laughs. “Look, we’ll give it another week, alright? If they haven’t found a home for him—”

Billy nods, rising up on his knees and taking Arthur back from Dominic.”Then you’re coming home with us, mate.”

“And if you start slacking, Billy, and leave that dog without a walk for days on end--”

Billy arches one eyebrow in challenge, looking over his shoulder as he takes the dog back to the front of the bookshop. “Yes?”

Dominic rocks back on his heels and grins broadly. “You’ll find I’m not such a forgiving man.”

:::

Oh, Billy thinks as he leans against the cool tile of the ridiculously small shower. This was a very bad idea.

Not that he’s going to say anything to Dominic. Because it was Dominic’s idea to rent the boat overnight and let them enjoy this brilliant, strangely warm day and the starlit night that’s going to follow out on the water, and Billy had nodded his assent and left Dominic to tend to the details.

And those details have been worked out to perfection, Billy knows. Dominic has set them up wonderfully with plans for an easily cooked meal in the tiny galley kitchen, and he’s even brought binoculars, a portable tape player and a bottle of wine Billy’s been dying to taste for weeks. This is a special occasion, and Billy feels like he’s making a hash out of it by running below the deck at least once an hour to, well, to almost lose his lunch of grilled mahi–mahi and then jump into the shower to cool off and calm down.

He’s never been seasick in his life, and there’s not even anything particularly harsh about the sea this afternoon. But still feels the roll and lurch of every wave in his stomach, and only by staying very still while on deck can he maintain a sense of calm. Dominic’s noticed, to be sure; he asks Billy over and over again if he’s alright, and Billy nods happily in reply. A lie, yes, but he doesn’t have the heart to beg Dominic to turn them back home.

Billy has no idea where Dominic learned to pilot a little boat, and he’ll be sure to ask him later, when he believes himself able to talk without sounding shaky. There is much Billy still doesn’t know about Dominic, even after such a long time, and as he climbs the stairs back up to the deck, Billy feels determined to have a few of his questions answered before they return to land.

He finds Dominic bathed in sunlight on the deck, twisting and turning his body in different yoga positions—asanas, Billy remembers that much from watching him once before, back at the house and in front of the fire—concentrating on his posture and deep, steady breaths. Billy watches and admires as always Dominic’s fearlessness of being watched as much as his fluidity and grace. There’s simply no way Billy would do this with even an audience of one, but Dominic just opens his eyes and smiles at Billy in between motions.

Billy gets a bit closer, itching to go and grab his camera, but instead just settling down into a deck chair and leaning forward to watch the play of muscles in Dominic’s legs and arms. Dominic’s in shorts, but he might as well be naked for the way Billy feels he could devour Dominic whole. Dominic slides himself into the beginning posture for something Billy’s learned is called The Bridge, and Billy can’t quite help smiling, because he knows how this pose ends, and he, well, he rather likes it.

Dominic inhales and lets his hips rise from the mat below him, lengthening his spine and torso and breathing, always breathing. Billy watches Dominic’s chest fill with air and his stomach muscles fuse and relax, and he swallows hard. And then Dominic moves his arms above his head, his back and thighs and firm, perfect ass rising higher with the motion, and Billy inhales between his teeth, absolutely loving this. Dominic seems to realize what he’s doing, but again there’s only the briefest smile from him, because Dominic takes this seriously, and even if Billy were to crawl toward him from the chair—which he’s not doing, mind you, this isn’t crawling, this is very calming lowering himself to the deck and moving to get a better view—even if Billy were to do that, Dominic wouldn’t break his posture and give in just like that.

So Billy waits for Dominic to come down from the pose before he straddles him, waits for Dominic to open his eyes before he speaks. He realizes suddenly that he’s not thought about waves or lunch or chucking up since he started watching Dominic. Therefore, in bizarre boating logic, Billy supposes, as long as he keeps his eyes on Dominic’s tanned, smooth and honestly given, honestly shared body, he should be just fine.

“Are you feeling better?” Dominic asks, his arms still high above his head and his expression gentle.

Billy nods and bends for a slow kiss. “I am. You’re beautiful, chiontach. Some of the things you’re doing would break me in half, but you make it look easy.”

“It takes practice,” Dominic says calmly, blushing and lowering his eyes. “Feel up to some dinner soon?”

Billy swallows again, purses his lips and looks out at the water for a moment before he answers.

“Maybe not just yet.”

:::

Billy doesn’t know who’s more nervous tonight, himself or Dominic. It’s like a first date, if they’re capable of such a thing after weeks of catching each other here and there, of clandestine fucking and kind words afterward that fade into the air before they sleep or rush to the next class.

Dominic is dressed well, better than Billy’s perhaps ever seen him, and Billy’s pleased smile makes Dominic grin widely in return.

“You like it?” Dominic asks, smoothing down the front of his shirt. Billy nods, and runs his hands up through Dominic’s hair, mostly unconsciously, spiking it a little.

“You’re beautiful. But you might get cold. D’you have—d’you want to borrow a sweater?”

Half an hour later, Billy stops Dominic at the threshold of the hotel restaurant, steps back just to look at him, to look at the young man who’s found him worthy of risks they aren’t even aware of yet. Billy slides the small point and shoot camera from his jacket pocket and shakes his head when Domiinic almost flinches.

“Just for me,” Billy says quietly. “Just for us.”

Billy’s not surprised when Dominic chooses to meet his eyes instead of that of the camera.

:::

Monday mornings are the work of the devil, Billy thinks. Especially when they come so early and so dark. For all his love of autumn, Billy’s not so much a fan of winter, and the darkness outside makes every aspect of morning harder. He staggers toward the kitchen in search of coffee, and has the machine gurgling before his eyes are even fully open.

The struggle begins with the cream. The pot in Billy’s refrigerator does not, to Billy’s eternal irritation, refill itself, and so he’s forced to exercise manual dexterity he simply does not have to open and pour more of the stuff. It takes forever (because the damn pot moves, Billy fucking swears it does, across the counter everytime he gets close to pouring it at the right degree of slant), and once Billy’s got a full pot, he finds that almost as much cream has spilled all over the counter. He sighs and reaches for kitchen toweling, batting at the mess distractedly, and then turns his attention to the sugar bowl, which is—shockingly, distressingly, horrifyingly—

Also empty.

Billy grinds his back teeth together and curses his previous day’s laziness in not refilling the bowl, either. He stands on his toes to reach the top cabinet and the new, unopened bag of sugar, and it falls into his hands heavily. Muffling his own oomph at the weight, Billy sets the bag on the counter and peers at it as he would a mortal enemy, sizing it up for the obstacle it’s definitely going to be.

The damn things just don’t open the way they should, ever, for Billy. He’s tried everything—scissors, fingers, teeth—and it’s always a complete disaster. But this time, really, this time it’s going to work, because he’s found the seam, and all he has to do is tug, and it will be all over bar the shouting—

Of which there is a lot, because the bag pretty well explodes on Billy, spilling sugar all over the kitchen counter and floor, in Billy’s eyes and down his chest and—oh for fuck’s sake—a bit down his old, baggy pyjama trousers too. Billy releases his complete, extensive vocabulary of expletives into the air, until finally he just sits down on the floor and gives up, hands in his air. The bag of sugar, leaning on its side and looking just as exhausted as Billy, continues to spill its contents slowly over the edge of the counter, and Billy hardly notices when the flow stops. It’s only Dominic’s very polite cough that makes him look up.

“What have you done to my kitchen, Billy?” Dominic smiles, crouching down and tracing a finger over Billy’s sugar–spattered cheek and taking it into his mouth.

“I don’t—“ Billy throws one hand in the air. “I give. I fucking do. I just wanted coffee.”

“I could have helped you make it.”

“Oh, I’d like to think I’m capable of boiling water and pouring sugar, of all things, but clearly I’m not—“

“Clearly,” Dominic giggles. “Come on back to bed, Billy. We’ll clean this up later.”

“Can’t. Have to get moving. We’ll be late—“

“Billy,” Dominic says gently. “You do know it’s only Sunday, yes?”

“What?” Billy’s eyes go very wide, and Dominic licks his lips twice before he bursts into peals of laughter.

“It’s not funny, Dominic. Look what I’ve done in here, good Christ, it looks like there’s been a fight between two pastry chefs or something—“

“Actually, no,” Dominic laughs. “I’ve seen that. That would be tidier.”

“You’re a dead young man, Monaghan.”

Dominic leans in and licks the remaining sugar from Billy’s cheek. “I’ll make it up to you, promise.”

:::

“Einschuldensie,” Billy says, but it sounds more like Eyenskooldensee, and Dominic struggles not to let his smile widen further in amusement.

“Close,” he nods, pronouncing the word correctly again, watching Billy watch him. “See? Like that.” Billy tries again, slowly, and nails it this time, his own smile temporarily lighting up his tired face.

“I don’t think I’m meant to speak German,” Billy mutters then, darkly, staring at the little phrasebook Dominic’s given him as if it might bite. “It’s too difficult.”

“So’s philosophy,” Dominic laughs. “But here’s the thing, Billy.” It’s Billy’s turn to struggle then as Dominic murmurs a long, quiet stream of German, from which Billy can only understand bed, you, wine, tie, chair and possibly the only German word Billy can pronounce correctly, sachertorte.

While Billy tries to imagine the significance of this particular combination of words, Dominic’s hand wraps around his and squeezes. Billy allows it, welcomes it even, and opens the phrasebook again with a deep breath and a determined set of his lips. Dominic dozes off while Billy reads, waking only when Billy suddenly erupts in giggles.

“What is it?”

“Kaffee und bucht,” Billy smiles. “Not sure I need to know much else.”

:::

[from au of au version, six months on from current thread.]

The beach in Scotland is no match for the sunbaked beauty of French sand, but Billy doesn’t care, and neither, Billy thinks, does Dominic. Billy peers at him from the edge of the waves, smiling over his shoulder at the picture of Dominic slightly hunched over a book, his forehead furrowed in concentration.

It’s been three weeks since term finished—Dominic’s first term at Sydmonton University, a half hour’s train ride from Baskerville’s campus. After much discussion, Billy and Dominic had agreed that it was safest for Dominic to attend a different school. There would be no reason to hide what they were doing or thinking or feeling. Dominic still came back to Billy’s little house almost every night—spending only the odd long evening at a friend’s place near the Sydmonton campus when the trains weren’t running well, or he was exhausted—and Billy is thrilled with the progress Dominic’s made in only six months. Five, actually, considering the time it took for both of them to find the courage to get Dominic back in school.

Dominic seems thrilled as well, by his studies, by his newfound confidence, and with his new life, meshing more smoothly with Billy’s than either of them had expected.

Billy trods up the sand and settles down beside Dominic, nudging his shoulder against Dominic’s and smiling. Even with his eyes hidden behind sunglasses, he knows Dominic can see exactly what he’s thinking.

“You’ve ten weeks to read that book before you’re back at a desk,” Billy smirks, but gently. “You’re on holiday, remember? Clearly I’m not enough of a distraction.”

Dominic blushes and shakes his head. “Sorry. It’s just … it’s brilliant, Billy.”

“I’m sure it is.” Billy folds the page corner down and closes Dominic’s book, pushing it to the sand. He scoots a bit further down, to Dominic’s ankles, and makes quick work of rolling Dominic’s jeans up to just below his knees. Dominic laughs, and Billy looks up, his eyes peering above the rim of the sunglasses. “Feel like a walk? There’s plenty to see that’s not in your book there. Sand and water to feel and salt in the air to taste.”

“I know,” Dominic nods, and reaches for Billy. Billy falls into the kiss happily, until Dominic tips Billy’s chin up, raising his eyebrows in what’s become a familiar gesture of are you alright?

“Never in my life been better,” Billy smiles, and they rise to walk.

:::

lotruni-sin verse; a prequel I suppose to the first thread between Billy and Dominic.

You break it, you’ve bought it.

Isn’t that what the signs say in those crap stores in seaside resorts? Thing is, Billy thinks as he spins his glass between his hands, those stores rarely contain anything worth breaking or buying. The signs exist to rattle potential customers, to make them watch their children with one eye and their wallet with the other, and they generally work. Tonight Billy thinks he should be writing the phrase on matchbooks and napkins, on his own hand and on the walls of the shitty loo. He feels like breaking something, and could use the reminder that he’s not in a position to buy.

He looks up in time to catch sight of himself in the bar’s mirror, and behind him, the boy—let’s hope he’s not really a boy; no boy belongs in here—with pretty eyes and a shirt stretched so tight across his chest and around his biceps it seems pointless dances slowly to a rhythm only he hears in the pounding music. The cuffs around his wrists are worn, a bit loose, but perfect somehow to Billy, and as if he can read Billy’s mind, he moves, lifting his arms above his head and letting the tee shirt rise, exposing a flat stomach above jeans that are at least as worn as the cuffs. He meets Billy’s eyes in the mirror, or at least seems to (it’s hard for Billy to imagine that the people moving against each other on the floor of this place can see anyone else through the smoke and beyond their own need) but he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t move any closer.

Smart boy.

Billy looks back down, tapping a matchbook absently on the bartop and thinking how best to get out of the building without indeed breaking something or someone. Half the people here are on the make, for pay or not, and the other half want to oblige them. There are young men in here who’d let Billy do a great deal to them without a fight, or at least only as much as Billy required from them, but Billy’s not been persuaded enough by any of them to go through with it, at least until—

Billy turns on the stool and faces the crowd, looking again for the dancer, but he’s disappeared, and it’s not exactly unexpected. Given up on Billy in favour of instant gratification, Billy supposes, and the disappointment pooling in Billy’s stomach turns to an odd jealousy, iced only a little by pleasure. When he stands to find the boy again, slipping into the crowd, Billy knows what he’s looking for. He gets close once or twice, his hands brushing over leather and metal buckles, but each time the dancer’s distracted by someone more vocal, more visible and maybe even a bit more violent.

Billy can be all of these things. He just hadn’t planned on it tonight.

It takes an entire song—a lifetime to one as unimpressed with club music as Billy—but it’s worth it. Because as the tempo shifts and the dancer’s arms and legs and goddamn perfect hips slow, Billy catches him finally, wraps his hands firmly around the leather–bound wrists above the dancer’s head and leans in, his voice warm enough to make the dancer melt a little against him.

“Dom,” the dancer murmurs, leaning back so Billy can see him, can see his mouth form the word. “You? What’s your name?”

“What would you like it to be?” Billy smiles—

And wakes and sits up in bed, breathing hard.

He has no memory of the dream by the time he makes his way to Shoscombe Old Place, but after a day of breaking a juice glass in the morning, several pieces of chalk in the afternoon, and an ashtray in the evening, he feels led there nonetheless, led to break and to buy.

:::

after_lotruni Paris-verse

It’s the first blackout Billy’s experienced in what must be a decade, and as he gazes over Paris from Dominic’s flat, he can’t stop smiling. The city, or at least their small part of it, has gone deathly quiet, and Billy knows most of the local residents have simply given up on the night and fallen asleep, content to wait for light real or manufactured to return in its own time. Even Dominic retired a little over two hours ago, pressing a kiss to Billy’s temple before he wandered down the hall to their bed.

Billy has no such plans. He’s thrilled by the feeling of not knowing when the blackout, the man–made eclipse, will end. Dominic left him a candle along with his kiss, but the moment he heard Dominic’s breath go steady in sleep, Billy blew out the flame and settled back into the complete darkness. Now the only traces of light anywhere are from matches and the odd lighter (people walking home carefully in the middle of the night, their cigarettes leading the way) and every so often a beam from a wandering policeman’s torch. It’s on Billy’s mind to enjoy a cigarette himself, especially now that Dominic’s gone to bed, but he has a sudden, better idea, one that will, Billy hopes, lead him into less trouble.

He’s at the foot of their bed in minutes, ties in one hand and scarves in the other. Dominic shifts in his sleep, but Billy knows he has time enough to finish tying him down—something Billy’s not done in a while, but he still does well, to his own surprise and to both their pleasure. It’s only when he’s secured Dominic to the bedpost and pulled the sheet completely away from Dominic’s body that Billy’s overcome enough to make a sound, and in the darkness Dominic lets out an exhale of surprise.

“Billy—”

“Shh, chiontach,” Billy whispers. “Mustn’t wake the neighbours.”

Dominic takes a deep breath. “The neighbours are going to be the least of your problems if I get loose, Billy.”

“But you won’t, because you don’t want to,” Billy sighs. “And don’t worry; if the lights come back up before you come at all, I’ll let you out.” Billy straddles Dominic’s waist, smiling pleasantly and leaning down to kiss Dominic’s frowning lips. “You’re not angry, are you, really? Didn’t think so.”

“’m tired,” Dominic pouts, and Billy laughs, nuzzling deep into his neck and grazing his teeth over the skin under Dominic’s ear. “Billy.”

“Be still,” Billy smiles. “Don’t make me use my threatening voice; it’s been forever and it’ll sound all wrong.” Billy stops any further discussion then, moving in for a deep, bruising kiss before his hand finds Dominic’s cock and begins to stroke, very gently at first. Billy stays quiet for long moments, just listening for when he should move faster and when he should slow, judging everything from Dominic’s shallow breaths and the way his own body reacts to them.

“’s like an eclipse out there,” Billy whispers, his free hand sliding into Dominic’s hair and tugging the long strands of blond within the brown. “D’you remember the eclipse in my garden? No, you wouldn’t; it wasn’t a real eclipse. It just felt like one, with you above me and blocking out everything—I think ... I think time might have stopped. People used to believe that about eclipses, along with so much else that turned out to be untrue ...” Billy drops more kisses to Dominic’s face, his throat and his chest, pausing between each to look back up in Dominic’s eyes. “I remember it, though, like it was real. Sometimes I still smell and feel and taste it. It was very warm out. You were warm, like you are now, but it was because of the sun. You’d been out all day, and—this isn’t the sun, now. This is me, and you, and us. You feel this wonderful because of us.”

Billy slides down the bed, keeping his eyes on Dominic’s. They’ve both adjusted to the darkness completely now, and Billy knows Dominic can see him dart his tongue over the head of Dominic’s cock, just as Dominic must know that Billy can see him tense up and shiver.

“Chiontach,” Billy sighs before he licks a slow, wet trail up Dominic’s full, hard cock. “Only ever yours and mine and ours, hmm? I hope the lights aren’t in any hurry to come back.”

And it’s true, he’s not. Billy’s a little tired himself, punch–drunk from not sleeping and the mild excitement of the blackout, but he wouldn’t change the circumstance for the world. You can sleep when you’re dead, he tells himself as Dominic’s hips rise, pushing and thrusting and begging Billy to take him in whole. Billy swallows around Dominic’s length, humming as he pulls back and feeling his whole body relax just as Dominic’s goes perfectly taut and he comes, strangely quietly, with a look of surprise on his sleepy face.

Billy releases the ties around Dominic’s ankles while Dominic’s still distracted, but makes sure Dominic can see him unknotting the scarves around Dominic’s wrists. Billy kisses Dominic’s palms as he lowers his arms, smiling down at his exhausted lover.

“You,” Dominic murmurs, his eyes closing, “You don’t want—”

“I have everything I want, chiontach,” Billy laughs, shushing him for the last time tonight. “Everything.”
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