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25 November 2007 @ 11:17 pm
Chapter 18!  
Chapter: 18
Claimer: Our gay boys :D
Rating: PG-13ish
Warnings: Yaoi, language, prostitutes :D;
Beta: yomimashou

Julian adjusted the pile of paperwork in front of him, looking over the time frame once again as he tried to ignore his growing irritation with working with Dragomir. He wondered momentarily why he’d decided to put in the extra time to work as Dragomir’s defense in his upcoming hearing, and he reminded himself for the millionth time that day that he was doing it for Niles. Everything was for Niles. Dragomir couldn’t very well defend himself, after all, and Julian had to get him out to make Niles happy again.

Julian stole a quick glance at Niles, smiling softly with fondness, before turning back to Dragomir, his eyes narrowing. “Look, we only have two weeks to get this in order! Are you sure you don’t remember anything else?” Julian pestered once again. He too had been present when the girl, Helene, had revealed the key factor that would prove Dragomir’s innocence, but he needed to make sure he remembered everything. Niles’s happiness and therefore his own rested on this little piece of information, after all.

“I told you all I can remember!” Dragomir snarled. He was getting tired of hearing Julian say the same things over and over again, and was beginning to suspect that Julian, despite what he’d said, really didn’t have any experience in defense at all. “She just said that she heard someone else turn her in, and that she knew the voice.”

“Did she say who?” Julian asked, leaning forward to look at Dragomir through the bars that separated their tables. He really was quite unattractive, Julian noted, wondering why Niles liked him at all. And so brutish, too, he thought.

“No, damnit! You were there! Stop asking stupid questions!” Dragomir yelled, folding his arms and scooting back as he clenched his teeth to keep from saying more. After all, Dragomir didn’t want to fight with Julian in front of Niles, and just the thought of the other softened his expression slightly.

“They’re not 'stupid' questions,” Julian said, perturbed, and rolled his eyes. He followed Dragomir’s gaze to Niles, where it had shifted, then looked away quickly, feeling too jealous to observe. “I think…that we’ll have Niles as a witness to comment on your character,” Julian said, trying to sound offhanded as he changing the subject entirely. “Do you think you’ll be able to handle that, Niles? I’ll help you prepare something, if you like,” Julian said softly, his voice shifting from the one he used only when addressing animals.

Niles brightened at the mention of his name, and nodded quickly. "Oh, yes, I want to do anything I can!" he replied eagerly. "Though...it'd be good if you could help me...I don't know that I'd do very well on my own..." He offered a weak smile. "But I'm sure that I can do it, if you help me..." In complete honesty, the idea of standing up in front of the court-martial was extremely daunting, and Niles was terrified of messing things up. Though the whole situation was looking a little brighter since Julian had agreed to act as Dragomir's defense counsellor, Niles still worried about everything that could go wrong. He still found himself unable to eat much of anything besides water and white bread, and he had been disturbed to find that his weight had dropped to only ninety-nine pounds. He had been recently found himself less able to muster up energy, but the thought of the possibility of Dragomir soon being freed filled him with hope, and he had made it his goal to do everything he could to make sure that happened. Since Julian had started having defense-counsel meetings with Dragomir, Niles has always been present, and though he figured he wasn't much help, he wanted to do all that he could, all the same.

However, it did seem a little worrisome that Dragomir and Julian were always fighting. Whenever they got into a disagreement, tempers always seemed to flare, and Niles did the best that he could to soothe everyone. After all, they had to be productive; they had so little time! And Niles hated to see his best friend and his boyfriend so up in arms against each other. He knew it must only be the stress, but still.

Rising from his seat, he made his way over to the bars that separated he and Julian from Dragomir, reaching through and placing a slender hand on the table on Dragomir's side. "Dragomir, it's all right...he's only trying to help. We're going to get you out, so don't be upset, okay?" He offered a hopeful smile. "I love you, and everything's going to be okay."

“I know…I love you too.” Dragomir smiled slightly, relieved for the distraction from Julian and extremely grateful for Niles’s ever-comforting manner. He took Niles’s hand in his and noticed immediately how thin he’d become; Dragomir could easily feel all the bones of his wrist, and his skin was cold. Niles did not look healthy at all, and though Dragomir could tell that Niles had thinned by the way Niles’s clothes hung over his frame, he hadn’t realized just how much weight Niles had lost. It pained Dragomir to see Niles so unwell, no doubt because of him, and he longed to do something to help him. “Niles,” he murmured, “please take care of yourself…”

Julian watched the exchange enviously, longing to hold Niles’s hand himself and hear such tender words from Niles. He didn’t hear what Dragomir had breathed to Niles, and was beginning to feel quite left out, so he folded his arms again and cleared his throat to get their attention. “I’ve been reviewing the facts…” He paused to sound more dramatic. “And I think we may be able to blackmail Colonel Lawley.”

Niles nodded slowly to Dragomir, feeling comfortable with his hand in Dragomir's large, warm one. "I'm trying...but everything will be all right once you get out, so don't worry." He smiled encouragingly before Julian's announcement caught his attention. "What?" he asked, surprised, turning back to Julian but not withdrawing from the warmth of Dragomir's hand. "But how...? And...how would that help?" He was confused by the proposition, and hoped Julian would elaborate, or at least explain to him, because he was slow. He looked up to Dragomir, to see if he understood any better.

Dragomir looked over Niles once more worriedly, praying that what Niles said was true and that he would be out soon, if for no other reason than to take care of Niles. He took his eyes away from Niles and furrowed his brow at Julian, both curious and a little appalled by the concept of blackmail and any sort of dealings with the Colonel. He noted a smug smile emerge on Julian’s face found himself thoroughly mistrusting Julian’s latest idea.

“Well,” Julian began with a sense of satisfaction at having distracted the two of them from each other, “it can be a part of Dragomir’s alibi.” Julian nodded knowingly at their still confused faces and went on. “You see, we both saw him return, and he had to have come directly from the location where he met Helene because of the distance. The court will ask us why we where at headquarters so late, and, of course, the last thing the Colonel wants if for us to reveal that little bit of information.” Julian gulped, remembering the death threat. In a court, he knew he’d be safe…and after that…he shuddered slightly and tried not to think about it. He’d already told himself that he was willing to make any sacrifice necessary for Niles, after all. “Niles…I think the Colonel will allow us to gloss over review of that moment and hurry the trial forward, which will make his accusations seem exceedingly weak. But should it not go according to plan…would you be willing to testify against him?” Julian knew it was a lot to ask, but he was confident the Colonel wouldn’t allow things to go that far. Still, if he thought Niles would be too weak to speak up, Julian’s case would rely on Niles’s ability to say what had happened.

Niles paled at the proposition, looking at Julian semi-disbelievingly. He had already pushed any memories of the horrible experience far from his mind, locked them away from recall, and Julian's mentioning of it sent a jolt of fear through his body. "But--" he started weakly, realizing that he was physically shaking, "But, Julian-- He said, if you ever said anything--" He couldn't bring himself to repeat the threat, and bit his lip, swallowing and trying to regain any fraction of his composure. "I don't know if I could-- I've never been able to--" He cut off as a sudden realization hit him. No matter how frightened he was of the Colonel, no matter how much he had always been, had always submitted to all of his torture and punishment, nothing compared to the need to get Dragomir out. He would, he realized, be beaten, cut up, raped, if need be, a hundred times over if it would allow Dragomir to be freed. Setting his jaw, he looked back to Julian with determination. "I will do anything I need to in order for Dragomir to be free."

“Niles,” Dragomir said slowly, getting to his feet and moving a little closer to the bars and to Niles. He could see the determination set in Niles’s features, but the whole idea worried him; the last thing wanted was for Niles to be put into any danger, and Dragomir was angry at Julian for even suggestion such a proposition. He turned quickly to Julian, narrowing his eyes. “No, we can’t do that,” he said lowly. “I don’t want either of you to be put into a position where that bastard would have any reason to go after you.” He put his other hand over Niles’s and looked back at him concernedly. “I’m we can figure something else out, some way to keep you from having to testify…”

Niles shook his head quickly with a set expression. "No, Dragomir, we have to do it this way. Don't you see? This will give you a solid alibi, and even if he denies it, if I testify...well, it will make him seem like a fairly bad prosecutor, won't it?" He smiled to hide the fear that was still squirming in his stomach. "I have to do this, Dragomir. I don't care what happens to me or what he does to me. As long as you get out, I'll be happy." He lifted Dragomir's hand and placed it against his face, resting his cheek against the warm skin. "Please...I trust Julian to do the best thing to get you out. That's what means the most to me, so don't worry about anything that happens to me."

Julian swallowed, touched to the core by Niles’s unwavering dedication to Dragomir and the love in his eyes and voice. “Yes,” he said slowly, with a sad smile. Niles was truly the most amazing person he knew, and Julian admired his devotion and wished he could inspire such feelings, as well. “The Colonel won’t be able to do anything in court, and if everything goes according to plan, then you’ll be out, Dragomir, and I know you can protect Niles.” As much as he hated to admit it, Dragomir could surely defend Niles…he wouldn’t have left Niles the way Julian had when it had all happened.

Dragomir chewed at his lip, mulling over the idea as he looked at Niles, savoring the feel of his skin and longing to hold him unimpeded by bars. He wanted to get out, but not at the cost of Niles’s safety… Though, both he and Julian had certainly made very valid points…It would indeed give him a very solid alibi, and it would certainly make the Colonel’s argument, at least from a moral standpoint extremely weak… If Niles could be protected, if Julian was certain that he would be released soon enough to be there for Niles and defend him, the perhaps it could work. But still, Dragomir didn’t want Niles to have to recall such painful thoughts… “Only if it’s absolutely necessary…” Dragomir relented at last.

Niles smiled, looking up into Dragomir's eyes. "Don't worry, everything will be fine, you'll see. We'll get you out, no matter what." He wanted so badly for Dragomir to hold him again, to kiss him again, but he knew that now it was so difficult to get close...it was just another reason that he had to get Dragomir out as soon as possible. With a final wistful look at Dragomir, he glanced back at Julian. "Do you think we ought to question people, or talk to the Colonel, or anyone? Do we need witnesses...? Besides you and me, I mean...?"

“Yes…” Julian said thoughtfully, wringing his hands. “Well…I think we need to talk to some of the other prostitutes,” Julian said after a few minutes pause, blushing at the very idea of it. He couldn’t imagine someone as respectable as himself ever even entering a foul, lowlife place such as a brothel, but he knew that a prostitute was their best option for a witness. After all, surely someone else had overheard who had ratted on Helene, and at the very least, they could testify to say that they’d seen her worried and hiding, or something. It was their best chance for some more substantial evidence, and Julian was willing to sacrifice his dignity to help Niles.

“What?” Dragomir asked, stunned. He surprised himself by laughing lowly, at the very thought. “You’ve got to be kidding.” The idea was a good one, he had to admit, but he couldn’t picture Niles or Julian entering a brothel. Quite frankly, he was opposed to the idea. “Isn’t there anyone else you could talk to, or something?” he asked, furrowing his brow and looking at Niles with concern. Julian could talk to whomever he pleased, but Dragomir hoped that at the very least, he wouldn’t take Niles with him.

Niles blushed at the thought, but if Julian thought that that was what they had to do to get Dragomir out, he'd do it. "Think about it, Dragomir," he said reasonably. "Someone might have seen or recognized who ratted out the girl...we have to question all the others who were there. We need as much evidence as we can get that you're innocent, right?" He hated to oppose Dragomir so much, it really didn't feel right at all, but he wanted what would get Dragomir out, and he knew he had to do it, not matter what. "Please understand...I want to do whatever I can to prove that you're innocent, so that you can get out..." He looked up to Dragomir pleadingly, hoping he would understand.

Dragomir chewed at his lip again, sucking at the place where it had cracked to keep it from bleeding. He was grateful that Niles was so willing to help, but he couldn’t help but be worried. Now that’d he’d seen Julian in a fight, he didn’t trust him with Niles’s safety in the slightest. “It makes sense…” he said carefully. “But I don’t like the idea very much. How convinced would anyone be if I have a prostitute for a witness?” He said rather more despairingly than he’d intended. “And I don’t want either of you to get into any trouble...”

“Evidence is evidence,” Julian said pragmatically, slightly perturbed by Dragomir’s opposition to each of his ideas. At least Niles was consistently on his side… “We’ll stay out of Berceuse Malheureuse territory, too. The military has all the prostitutes that worked with Helene under the strictest observation and care, so it won’t be any problem to do an interview.” Julian nodded knowingly and smiled slightly at Niles, grateful for his support.

“Fine,” Dragomir sighed, giving in yet again. He wasn’t in a position where he could protest much, anyway. He leaned against the bars and slipped his arm gently around Niles’s waist. “Just be careful…” he said softly, looking into Niles’s eyes but addressing Julian as well.

Niles leaned against the bars, sighing slightly, glad to be in Dragomir's embrace, no matter how difficult because of the bars. "Don't worry, Dragomir, we'll be careful. The military is seeing to the other prostitutes' safety...it shouldn't be dangerous." He looked up into Dragomir's eyes comfortingly. "No matter what, we'll get you out."


Donavan pressed Faustino’s shoulder and shook him slightly to rouse him. It was earlier than Faustino usually got up, but Donavan had something very special planned that day. “Faustino,” he said softly, “It’s time to get up. We’re going on a little walk.” He waited till Faustino opened his eyes blinkingly before standing and moving outside the room to wait for him to get dressed. Faustino was always very well-behaved, and so Donavan knew he wouldn’t have to wait long.

Faustino blinked as he was aroused by Donavan from his sleep. "...Donavan?" he asked sleepily, sitting up and yawning. "What is it...?" When Donavan announced that it was time for him to get up, he nodded and got out of bed, making his way semi-somnambulantly to his wardrobe. Stretching a little, he chose an outfit, a dashing jacket of burgundy and gold that Donavan had bought him, and dressed efficiently but carefully, not forgetting to grab the matching hat from his shelf before making his way out to where Donavan awaited him. "Sorry to make you wait! I'm ready!" he announced with a cheerful smile, now fully awake.

“Excellent,” Donavan said, taking Faustino by the hand after a moment spent admiring his wardrobe selection. He found red a fitting color for the day, and smirked. ”I have something important planned for us today.” He said, leading Faustino downstairs. We have to walk a little ways first, so we’re not going to eat just yet.” Donavan had decided, after some deliberation, that just in case, it was better to start the day with an empty stomach in preparation for what was to come. “But once we’ve finished all that we need to do, I’ll take you out to eat.” He smiled sweetly. “How does that sound?”

Faustino brightened. "Oh, really? Wow, that's so nice of you! Thank you, Donavan," he chirped excitedly. He was still somewhat getting used to being spoiled all the time, and he never forgot to thank Donavan excessively and be extremely grateful, but he had also learned to stop protesting when Donavan did something nice for him. And besides, he liked spending time with Donavan, no matter what.

They came to the door, and Faustino let Donavan lead him outside and down the street, completely trusting of wherever he was taking him. Donavan's hand around his gave him a sense of security, and even when they began to get to the edges of where Faustino had any sense of direction, he didn't worry. Donavan always knew what he was doing.

Donavan led Faustino to a very remote part of town where one of his Berceuse Malheureuse lackeys met them with an automobile. Up until this point, Donavan had been very careful to keep Faustino out of all Berceuse Malheureuse affairs, but now that Faustino’s training was starting to come to a close, complete separation was no longer an option. Still, Donavan had completely screened all the men they would be dealing with that day to make sure Faustino remained as much in the dark as possible. Donavan trusted Faustino explicitly, but he still held the vaguely unrealistic goal of shielding Faustino from his less than honorable side.

Donavan opened the door for Faustino and smiled down at him reassuringly before going around to the other side and getting in. He took Faustino’s hand in his own, and then looked sharply at the driver. “Go,” he ordered before softening his voice again to turn back to Faustino. “Are you excited?” Donavan asked, unable to suppress a slightly devious grin.

"Oh, yes!" Faustino replied quickly. Donavan had never taken him anywhere in an automobile before, and he was excited to know where he was being taken. Donavan's hand was strong and secure around his own, and it made him feel as if nothing bad could ever happen to him, no matter what, not while Donavan was protecting him. He smiled up at him, hoping to convey how much he was glad to be there.

Donavan repaired his expression, making it into a serene smile as he relished the faith Faustino held in him. Tearing his gaze away, he leaned forward in his seat and asked the driver in a low voice, “I trust everything is ready?”

“A’course, Sir. Jus’as you ordered,” the man responded, his voice and accent coarse and low-class.

“Good.” Donavan nodded firmly, sitting back. They weren’t far away now: they were at a dock yard in the center of Berceuse Malheureuse territory where they would not be interfered with. In general, even the military stayed out of this area, and it was fraught with crime, gambling, drugs, and prostitution. Under normal circumstances, Donavan wouldn’t have wanted Faustino to be exposed to such an adverse location, but here was where Donavan had the most control, and he needed to exercise all of his influence if his little game for Faustino was to run smoothly.

The automobile came to a halt and the driver got out quickly to let Donavan out. Donavan pushed him aside and went around to get Faustino, opening the door for him and again taking him by the hand. Within the space of a minute, they were surrounded by five more of Donavan’s lackeys, all of them specially selected for this occasion, and they walked as a group toward a large warehouse a few yards ahead of them. As they approached, the pitiful voice of a man in desperation could be heard quite clearly above the sound of the ocean not to far away, and Donavan couldn’t suppress a chuckle. They entered the dimly lit building, and Donavan smiled down at Faustino again to reassure him; he was no doubt a little frightened by all the Berceuse Malheureuse around them; they were an admittedly rough sort, despite Donavan’s best efforts, but they were a necessary precaution.

At the far end of the warehouse, two large Berceuse Malheureuse held a man between the two of them. The smaller man was the source of the moaning and sounds of misery; he was chained and bound, and a burlap bag had been tied over his head to conceal his features, undoubtedly distorted by torture.

The man was meant to be executed, as the Berceuse Malheureuse did routinely, as an insubordinate who’d threatened Donavan’s life and taken many others, both on orders and against them, but Donavan had suspended his execution until a time when it was convenient for Faustino to watch and contribute.

“What do you think, Faustino? Are you scared?” Donavan asked gently, leading him a little closer to the distort figure of the convict. “Do you want to know what this man did?”

Since they had gotten out of the car, Faustino had been feeling fairly nervous; the surroundings were so foreign, and so frightening, and everyone around them seemed to fit in a similarly frightening manner. It reminded Faustino of the occasion in the church not long enough ago, and the horrible events that had followed, and he shuddered. He would do anything to avoid something like that happening again.

When they arrived in the warehouse, Faustino was immediately aware of the prisoner, and shrunk back behind Donavan, afraid of his howling and crying. His appearance, too, was frightening; the burlap bag over his head was disconcerting, and all the chains and ropes... It scared Faustino.

When Donavan spoke to him, Faustino moved a little closer to him, squeezing his hand. "Y-yes," he replied softly. "I'm frightened...Donavan..." He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to get a hold of himself, so that Donavan wouldn't be disappointed in him, and looked back up at him. "W-what did that man do, Donavan? What's going on?"

“He’s a murderer.” Donavan said solemnly. “And a traitor. He was trying to gather people to support himself against me. He tried to kill me and killed many other men in the attempt.”

“I did not!” The bound man howled. “I was framed! It wasn’t me! I’ve always been loyal, please!” Sobbing, he protested, “I did only what I was told to do!” It was hard for Donavan to keep himself from laughing; the man’s words were true, but he was a useless retainer, and Faustino didn’t need to know the details of his crime. At an almost imperceptible signal from Donavan, the two men at either side of the convict tightened their grasp on him to a loud wail, and kicked him to the floor at Donavan’s feet. He stepped aside slowly, dropping Faustino’s hand.

“Faustino, the world is full of awful people who will try to hurt you, to backstab you, only to plead and beg for their lives and forgiveness once you’ve caught them. Not everyone is guilty as accused, but no one is entirely innocent.” Donavan looked down at the whimpering man with disgust, hoping Faustino would make the right decision. “Sometimes it’s necessary to make an important decision. The life of a man may rest in your hands, but you must also weigh the value of your own life in the balance.” Donavan wondered what thoughts must have been running through Faustino’s mind at that moment, and smirked at the horror in his eyes. “Faustino,” he asked slowly, “what do you think should be done? I want you to pass judgment. Should this man live? He could try again someday, and he may yet succeed in taking my life, but then again, he may be innocent. What do you think? Do you want him to die?”

“No, no please! Oh god, no!” the man screamed. “Spare me! I haven’t done anything! Please!”

Faustino trembled, terrified as Donavan lay out the decision before him. He was to decide whether this wretched man was to live or die? How could he—? He couldn't— he couldn't do it. He was frightened, he wanted to hide from this horrible man, this man who had tried to kill Donavan. Then again—this man had tried to kill Donavan. That was horrible in and of itself; anyone who would try to take Donavan's life shouldn't be alive... And all of a sudden, he was filled with fresh fear, fear for Donavan's safety, fear of nameless, faceless assassins killing him in the night. Overwhelmed and emotional, tears came to his eyes, and squeezing them shut, he managed, "I don't want anyone to be alive who tried to kill Donavan! He—" He cut off, suddenly realizing what he was saying, then looked up to Donavan, fear shining in his eyes. "He should...he should die..."

Donavan nodded slowly and solemnly at Faustino. “Very well,” he said at last, a smirk spreading across his features. “An excellent choice.” He turned from Faustino to the sniveling man that lay on the floor at their feet and raised his hand slowly without a word. At the signal, a man stepped forwards, withdrawing a gun for his holster and aimed.

“No—no! Wait! How can you do this? I’m innocent! I-I was ordered to—" The gunshot exploded in Donavan’s ears, but he didn’t watch as the bullet connected with the man’s skull; he was more interested in watching Faustino’s reaction. Would he flinch away from the gore and the sound? And would he regret his decision? Months of Donavan’s work and conditioning was about to be tested, and he had every confidence that Faustino would pass.

Faustino started when the gun fired, but somehow, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the consequences of his choice. He stood, paralyzed as the blood and the gore splattered everywhere, as the body of the man fell lifeless. He was frozen to the spot, speechless; he didn't know how to feel. It was terrifying to know that he had been the one to choose this man's horrible fate, to know that if he had said the word, the man would still be alive. But more than that, it was a relief to know that the man would no longer be around, be able to hurt Donavan. Unable to speak, still in shock, he looked to Donavan for some sort of direction, an order, anything to prove to him that he had done the right thing.

Donavan smiled softly. Faustino had passed his test. His silence proved his relative strength; soon, he would come to realize the advantages of ending the lives of one’s enemies, and, with any luck, he’d come to enjoy the practice as well. Donavan took Faustino gently by the shoulder and pulled him into an embrace, kneeling to look into his eyes and offer him comfort. “You did very well, Faustino. There’s no right or wrong decision when it comes to these things, but you did exactly what I would have done, and just what I hoped you’d do.” He smiled warmly, and wiped away the few tears that stained Faustino’s cheeks. “You’ve done me a great service, and I thank you for it. You should be very proud.”

When Donavan pulled him close and complemented him, Faustino broke down completely. He had been trying hard to keep it in, but he was just so frightened, so overwhelmed, he couldn't hold it together any longer. He clutched helplessly at Donavan's shoulders, trembling with his sobs, pitifully falling limp in Donavan's arms. It felt good to be protected again, to be held close.

When he finally got somewhat of control over himself, he looked Donavan in the eye. "I'm sorry...I was just so afraid...and I was frightened that he'd try to hurt you again..."

“It’s all right now, there’s no need to be afraid. You protected me, Faustino,” Donavan murmured soothingly, lifting Faustino into his arms gently and moving away from the gruesome remains of the body. He carried Faustino out of the building and to the automobile, where the driver rushed to open the door for him. Donavan took his seat again and continued to hold Faustino during the drive back to Esparanza home.

Faustino allowed himself to be carried, to be held by Donavan throughout the ride, still recovering from the emotional overload. By the time they got home, he finally had gotten his breath back to a normal rate, but he allowed Donavan to carry him inside, anyway, because he didn't want to lose the feeling of security just yet. "Thank you...Donavan..."

Donavan nodded, placing Faustino down softly on a sofa and taking a seat next to him. “You were very brave today,” Donavan said seriously, encouraging Faustino to lean against him by pulling him gently and placing an arm around his shoulder. Then, lightening his tone with a small smile, he extracted a large bar of chocolate from his pocket that he’d gotten early that morning expressly for the purpose of cheering Faustino up. “Shall we split this to celebrate? You’ve rid the world of a horrible man, you know, and I’m very proud of you.” Donavan’s smile broadened and he split the candy intentionally unevenly, handing Faustino three-fourths of the treat.

Faustino took the chocolate, smiling weakly at Donavan. "I'm... glad you're happy with me. As long as you think I did the right thing... I know I did." He took a nibble of the piece, finally beginning to feel a little better. Donavan, after all, was proud of him, and if that was true, things couldn't be all bad.


Perceval scrambled to finish the last of his abhorrent paperwork place and the completed stack of it neatly to the corner of his desk before leaving his office in a hurry, eager to get to Algernon’s before the start of the lunch break. Perceval wasn’t hungry, but he was desperate to see Algernon, and looking forward to utilizing the extra time the midday break could afford them.

He covered the well-traveled route to Algernon’s office in good time, allowing himself a full ten minutes of primping before pressing open the door delicately and peering inside. Algernon appeared to be unoccupied, and so Perceval slipped inside, swiftly shutting the door behind him and swooping into an eloquent bow. “Good afternoon, sir,” Perceval said with a flourish as he straightened. “I hope I’m not intruding.”

Algernon smiled, rising. "Not at all, Percy. In fact, I was about to send for you." He made his way to where Perceval stood, sliding an arm around his waist and pressing a kiss to his lips. "Tomorrow, you and I are to attend a ball at the royal palace, to represent the military. What do you think of that, Percy?" He smiled, drawing away to present a large box sitting on a table. "I took the liberty of having a new dress uniform tailored to your measurements, I do hope you won't be upset?"

Perceval couldn’t conceal the large grin that spread across his features, and he practically shook with excitement. “Oh, Algernon, that’s fantastic!” Perceval just about squealed, accepting the box and looking into Algernon’s eyes amorously as he recalled the first royal ball they’d attended and how the invitation had been much the same. Perceval leaned against Algernon affectionately and cooed, “I can’t wait! Thank you so much for inviting me, sir.” Already Perceval was running through all the things he had to do to get ready for the ball, and he couldn’t wait to get started so that by the time the ball started tomorrow, he would look absolutely flawless on Algernon's arm.

Algernon placed another kiss on Perceval's cheek. "There is no one else with which I would rather spend my time, Percy, you know that," he replied, taking a step back. "However, since I won't have the pleasure of seeing you in it until tomorrow, I was so hoping that you'd try the uniform on for me? After all, we must be sure it fits you." He smirked, knowing Perceval wouldn't refuse him.

“Oh,” Perceval blushed at the mere thought of changing for Algernon now. However, he did have a point…it was imperative that for a royal ball the fit was exact, and Perceval loved to please Algernon, no matter how embarrassing. “Why yes, of course.” His blush darkened as he let his coat slide from his shoulders and folded it neatly, setting it aside atop one of Algernon’s sofas. Perceval then looked up at Algernon and smiled embarrassedly, untying his cravat and starting at the buttons of his vest. Once he’d set that aside, and his shirt was mostly undone, Perceval looked up at Algernon again, sheepishly. “Are you sure I need to try it on now? I-I can always have one of my servants tailor it, if need be.” Then, smiling and laughing shyly, he added, “After all, wouldn’t it be a nice surprise?”

Algernon shook his head. "Come now, Percy...to get my hopes up that way..." He trailed, moving over to Perceval again and drawing him into his arms, kissing him on the lips before he could protest. Deepening the kiss almost immediately, Algernon wasted no time in moving his hands to where Perceval had left off, deftly unbuttoning his shirt the rest of the way. Sliding the shirt from Perceval's shoulders, Algernon let his hands wander over the bare skin, dragging his nails lightly to leave slight marks. He soon followed with his mouth, nipping and licking his way down Perceval's chest, leaving a trail of red discolourations behind.

When he reached Perceval's waist, he pulled away slowly, moving back to be at Perceval's eye level. "...that would be just cruel, wouldn't it?" He smirked, taking a step back and secretly admiring the newly-acquired marks. "Now I've helped you along...come on, show me."

Perceval scarcely noticed Algernon finish removing his shirt; he was far too distracted by Algernon’s skilled touches. Perceval whimpered lightly when Algernon pulled away, and immediately brought his arms up around his chest without thinking. He wished Algernon hadn’t stopped where he had…leaving him with the hardest part, but he owed it to Algernon to manage. “I suppose so,” Perceval agreed, blushing all over again. He stepped out of his shoes and turned away to preserve the tiny fraction of modesty that remained to him. He slipped out of his knickers quickly and extracted the new pair from the box, pulling them on with an innocent glance back at Algernon, who was of course still watching him avidly. Then, the hardest part finished, Perceval wasted no time in dressing again in his dress uniform, pausing occasionally to make sure everything was in place and that he looked as good as he could.

Once he’d finished dressing, Perceval posed for Algernon eagerly, tossing his hair over his shoulder and moving around the room. “What do you think?” Perceval asked with an excited grin, the new outfit serving to build up his excitement for the upcoming event. The knickers, Perceval noted, were slightly tight, but he was certain that that could be owed to Algernon’s earlier help in removing his clothing, and didn’t mention it.

"Absolutely breathtaking," Algernon replied, admiring how beautiful Perceval was. "You're just so lovely, Percy... so perfect." He moved a little closer, taking a strand of Perceval's hair between his fingers and smirking. "I'm so glad you belong to me..." He kissed Perceval again, not failing to notice how tight his knickers were, and pulled away after a few moments. "Percy... you will allow me the privilege of undressing you this time?" After all Algernon put him through, Perceval deserved to be indulged.
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