Claimer: All characters are ours :D;
Warnings: Yaoi, yuri, angst, in-denial-pedophilia XD;
Cecile grasped her skirts and lifted them above her knees as she raced through the palace. She didn't care what she looked like or what people thought about her right now, all she cared about was getting to Lucette's room. She skidded around a corner and down the corridor, rushing through her own room to the small attached room that was Lucette's bedroom. There, she found a doctor and two of her handmaids clustered around the bed. She bit her lip and elbowed her way through, worry clenching her stomach. This was something she knew came along with Lucette's job as her double, but she could never get used tot the thought that, at any point, her best friend could be killed, and it would be indirectly her fault.
Tears stung the corners of her eyes as she dropped to her knees beside the bed. Lucette's arm was wrapped in bloody bandages, but, besides that, she seemed to be unharmed. Still, it was a horrible thought that Lucette had been hurt in her stead, and she clasped her double's hand in her own. "Oh, god, Lucy...what happened?"
“Majesty…” Lucette said weakly, turning so she could look at her queen through bleary eyes. Her arm was throbbing painfully, and she found it very difficult to think beyond the pain. Still, she did her best to answer the question posed. “There was a gunshot…” she murmured looking down at her heavily bandaged arm. “I’m so glad it was me and not you, my lady…”
One of the other attendants turned to Cecile and managed to smile weakly. “The man missed, luckily, and they managed to apprehend him and take him in for questioning, majesty.”
“Your majesty, the doctor says she’s going to be alright.” The other handmaid present chimed in.
“Yes, don’t worry about me…” Lucette said softly, hoping she sounded confident enough. The last thing she wanted was for Cecile to be distracted from her work worrying about her; she’d been acting as her double because Cecile was very busy right now, and she would hate for the Queen to get behind in her work because her double had received a petty injury.
Cecile shook her head, rubbing Lucette's hand. "I can't not worry about you, Lucy, come on. You know I can't." She sighed. "If you're going to be all right, then can the doctor leave? I don't want to have them breathing down our necks." She turned to the doctor and her maids. "Shoo, you can go sit right outside, if you want. I want to talk to Lucette." The maids and the doctor bowed and left the room, and Cecile watched as the shut the door behind them before turning back to Lucette.
"Oh, god, Lucy...I hate this. I wish you didn't look like me, so you wouldn't have to get hurt for me...it's so...stupid!" She hated when things like this happened; this certainly wasn't the first time. Lucette got beaten, shot, stabbed, and god knew what else for her, and she wished there was something she could do to make it up. She knew it would be socially inappropriate, but she didn't care. Society was stupid, and she only put up with it so she or Lucette didn't get assassinated.
Rising from her knees, she perched on the edge of the bed and brushed a stray curl out of Lucette's face. "Is there anything I can get you? Tea or something?"
“No, I don’t need anything.” Lucette smiled softly up at Cecile, glad that she was here. It didn’t matter to her what she had to endure to protect Cecile; the fact that her queen valued her as a friend meant more to her than any other reward or compensation. “Just stay with me for a little while…unless you have to get back to work…” Lucette said slowly, hoping she didn’t sound too disheartened. She would be fine if Cecile had something else she needed to be doing. The fact that she had come to see her was more then enough as it was. “And Cecile?” Lucette smiled, holding on to Cecile’s arm so she couldn’t leave just yet, “I’m happy to do what I have to for you, no matter what.”
Cecile smiled softly. "Of course I'll stay. The stupid board of advisors can wait." She made an uncaring gesture, then leaned over a little, wiping a smudge of dirt from Lucette's face with her thumb. Lucette's words made her blush, and she shook her head. "You're crazy, Lucy. You know that?" She shook her head warmly, then slid her hand down the side of Lucette's pale cheek. It was soft, softer than hers, even, since hers had been marred by fencing accidents and layers of makeup. "I wish there was something I could do for you in return."
Lucette shook her head softly and smiled, closing her eyes. “You already have so much to do…Don’t think of trying to do anything more for me; you always do more then enough.” Lucette opened her eyes again and looked up into Cecile’s. Lucette’s most pronounced flaw was her eyes; they were no where near as beautiful as Cecile’s. “I do what I can to make things easier for you, and doing that gives me satisfaction enough in and of itself.”
Cecile shook her head with a scoff. "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't do anything for you." She looked down into Lucette's eyes, admiring how they shone with sincerity. She never understood why people said Lucette was plainer than her, in her opinion, they looked just the same. Actually, if anything, she was sure Lucette was prettier, she was the gentle, soft one, unlike Cecile, with her fencing and unorthodox manners. Still, that was not the point; the fact that Lucette was being a martyr was the point. Cecile shook her head again. "Well, I don't care that you like it. I hate it, I hate that my best friend almost gets killed every time she goes out in public because of me. I couldn't bear it if something happened to you..." Tears sprung to her eyes again, and she wiped them away on the back of her hand.
“Don’t cry, majesty.” Lucette smiled, trying to sound cheerful and reassuring. “Whatever concern you feel for me, others, I’m sure, don’t feel the same. The fact you care what happens to me is all I need to keep going.” She gave Cecile’s hand a light squeeze. “If something were to happen to you, all of Gallia would fall into chaos…I’d do anything to protect you, and what you’ve done for the country.” Lucette’s voice was resolved with a determination it didn’t usually possess, and she laughed lightly to lighten the mood. With her arm still hurting the way it did, she didn’t want things to start to sound too grave. “Besides, I’ve lasted this long…odds are I’ll be alright for a while longer for you at least, lady.”
Cecile managed a smile. "I wish you wouldn't have to call me that. It makes it seem like you don't know me at all." She hated it all, hated the formalities and the rules and that Lucette was sentenced to a life of fear and most likely death for her sake. She wished she could just rule the way she liked and change the rules, but no, that wasn't within her power. Still, she understood Lucettes's point and that this was the way it had to be, and so she shook her head. "You're going to live longer than me, Lucy. No matter what they do to try to protect me, I'm going to die in a fun way, you bet your life." She scrunched up her nose. "But I'd have to have an heir first...and I'd hate that, it'd be no fun at all. So let's not die for a while, okay?" She smiled; lightening the mood had made her feel so much better.
The first thing Niles felt was pain, even before he realized what was going on. His back hurt, and his chest hurt, and his arms and shoulders hurt, and his right hand hurt, and he didn't want to wake up if all there was to wake up to was pain. Slowly, however, everything came back to him, and he started awake, sitting bolt upright. The last thing he remembered was falling unconscious on Donavan's floor...and then seeing Dragomir... but now, he was in his own room, and all of his injuries were bound and taken care of. Slowly, it sunk in: somehow, he had made it out alive.
The next thing that he realized was that Dragomir was sitting beside him. He looked over at him, expecting to feel comforted by his presence, but, instead, a disturbing sense of fear clutched him. Even if he had made it out alive, that didn't change what Donavan had said about Dragomir. His mind buzzed with confusion and questions, but he couldn't speak. He just stared at Dragomir, feeling frightened and vulnerable.
Dragomir had been close to nodding off when Niles awoke with a start, and he immediately leaned forward, inhaling sharply and feeling hot tears of relief rush to his eyes. It had been two days since Dragomir had gotten Niles back to his manner, and Dragomir hadn’t left his side since for fear that Niles would wake during his absence. Dragomir had called a doctor immediately after he’d managed to cover the distance on foot, and all of Niles's wounds had been seen too with the utmost expedience, but it still didn’t seem like enough. Dragomir blamed himself for what had happened, and wanted so badly for Niles to wake up so that he could hold him and make sure everything would be alright. But now that Niles was awake, Dragomir scarcely knew what to do. Niles’s eyes shown with fear, and Dragomir could hardly take it. He opened and shut his moth, swallowing hard, and extended a shaky hand, hoping to touch and confirm for himself that Niles would be alright. “Niles…” He gulped, uncertain of what else to say or do. “You’re safe now…” Dragomir's voice was barely above a whisper as he reached forward gently to touch Niles's cheek.
Niles panicked when Dragomir reached toward him, and immediately lowered his eyes, flinching away in fear. He knew Dragomir wouldn't hurt him, at least he thought he did, but then again, there was so much that he didn't know about Dragomir... And besides it all, he couldn’t help but just feel afraid, afraid of anyone, of contact with anyone. His eyes flickered back up to Dragomir for a moment, then away again. He didn't know what to do, or why he was acting this way, but he was just so afraid... He tried to talk again, but, again, he could think of nothing to say, and he didn't think he had the strength to speak, anyway.
Dragomir jerked his hand back quickly, his heart sinking rapidly and almost seeming to shatter. If Niles flinched away, Dragomir didn’t want to hurt him, but even so, Dragomir didn’t know if he could stand not being able to touch Niles… He needed so much to feel like he could do something to comfort him and to try and help him after what had happened, but he didn’t have any idea how to begin or what he could possibly hope to do for him. Dragomir bit his lip and looked down at the cuts on his hand. He hadn’t let the doctor work on his injuries; they were of course minor compared to Niles’s, and Dragomir refused to take time away from attention that could be given to Niles. Slowly, Dragomir clenched his hand into a fist and looked up at Niles as he leaned a little closer, unsure of his voice and whether he could speak above a whisper. “Are-are you hungry or th-thirsty at all…?” His voice shook and he ran his hand nervously through his hair. “Do you need anything?”
Niles met Dragomir's eyes again and managed not to look away, but a pathetic look of helplessness penetrated his features instead. His mouth was dry, and, though he still felt shaky, he figured some water might make him feel a little better. He opened his mouth and tried to say it, but his voice cracked and he stopped, instead mouthing he word hopelessly on the off chance that Dragomir might understand. It was so kind of Dragomir to be taking care of him this way, and it eased the fear a little, though not completely.
Dragomir hesitated for a minute, not really sure what it was that Niles wanted, then remembered the untouched tray of food Niles’s servants had brought up for him. He got up slowly and walked on shaky legs over to where they’d left it and returned to Niles’s bedside, placing the tray close enough so that Niles could reach without having to move much. “It’s not very fresh… I’ll make sure you get something else soon…” Dragomir didn’t want to leave Niles right now, but he was certain some of the servants would be by again shortly, and for now he hoped Niles would be all right. “The soup might still be a little warm… They brought it up a few hours ago…” Dragomir chewed at his lip and looked down again, finding it very difficult to keep a hold of himself seeing Niles in such a condition.
Dragomir hesitated for a moment before he looked up again. Niles would probably like to know what had happened, as difficult as it was for Dragomir to talk about it. “You’ve been out for two days… After…after I got to you, I fought Donavan.” Dragomir wiped at his eyes with his sleeve and tried to keep himself composed. He was sure he’d do more good for Niles if he could keep himself together. “He got away… And I carried you back here… The servants helped, and we got a doctor…” Dragomir paused for a long time before concluding what little he could manage to relate to Niles. “The doctor said you’d be all right.” The tears spilled from Dragomir’s eyes and he wiped at his face feverishly. Even if Niles’s body would recover, would Niles? “I-I’m sorry…” Dragomir croaked, apologizing both for his tears and for everything that had happened.
Niles located a glass of water on the tray, and, with shaking hands, tried in vain to lift it. He realized that all of the fingers in his right hand were broken, and his left hand didn't appear to be strong enough to lift the glass without help. Giving Dragomir another helpless look, he resigned himself back to listening to what the other was saying. Slowly, he began to realize that seeing Dragomir so badly affected hurt him more than even the fear had, and the frightened feeling began to subside a little. Gathering up his courage, he looked Dragomir in the eye again and reached out, just barely touching him on the shoulder before once again shying away and diverting his eyes. He didn't think he could manage much more now, and he hoped maybe that would be enough to make Dragomir stop crying.
The touch had been brief, but it was enough. A slight shiver ran down Dragomir’s spine, but his tears subsided and he wiped his face a final time before getting to his feet and taking the glass into his hands. Dragomir held it to Niles’s lips, tilting it slowly for him, and when Niles had finished, Dragomir dabbed lightly at the corners of Niles’s mouth with a napkin. Dragomir pulled his chair as close to the bed as it could and took his seat again, wordlessly trying to look into Niles’s eyes. After a few minutes, Dragomir lowered his eyes and dropped his hand onto the bed, as close to Niles as he thought might be permissible. “Whatever you need...I’ll be right here for you…” Dragomir’s tongue felt swollen in his mouth and it was difficult for him to speak. After what Niles had suffered alone, Dragomir hardly felt he had the right to tell him, but he said it anyway and his voice didn’t waver. “I love you.”
As those three words left Dragomir's mouth, Niles' eyes widened, and he was thrown once more into confusion. Long ago, he had given up any hope that Dragomir loved him, and, though he hadn't consciously thought about it since the time he passed out on the hard wood floor with his arms and legs bound, it had still been at the back of his mind, aching painfully. But now, now Dragomir was saying it was true, and he couldn't believe it. Did he mean it? Certainly he couldn't lie in such an unwavering way, and he had sought eye contact, even if Niles had shied away... The thought was overwhelming, and Niles certainly was overwhelmed; he was filled with a good feeling for the first time since he woke up. He couldn't say what the feeling was, but it was good, and suddenly, he felt hot tears streaming down his face. Looking Dragomir in the eye again, he cried, sobbing silent tears and feeling closer to happy than he thought might be possible for him anymore.
Niles’s tears brought more to Dragomir’s eyes; his heart ached to the point of bursting whenever he looked a how badly Niles had been injured, and to see Niles cry once again broke down any reserve of strength of will Dragomir had left. He wanted to do something for Niles, but he didn’t know what he could do, what Niles could take, and if Niles could even stand to accept anything form him, after all that had happened. Dragomir knew it was his fault that something so terrible had happened to Niles, and he hated himself bitterly. He blamed his brash involvement with the Berceuse Malheureuse in his youth, his terrible history with Donavan, and the fact that he’d brought Niles into it all when they’d fallen in love. Perhaps it was better if Niles no longer wanted anything to do with him. But whatever Niles wanted, Dragomir would not leave his side, not ever again. Dragomir was determined to protect Niles from all the evils he’d brought into his life, and even if Niles rejected his love, it was still there, and Dragomir would never abandon it. Feeling almost desperate, Dragomir reached forward again and warped his hand lightly around Niles’s left. That was all that he would try. If Niles pulled away again, Dragomir would resign himself to guard him from afar. For his part in the pain he’d caused Niles, this was already more then he deserved anyway.
Niles stared at Dragomir, confusion playing across his features. Dragomir's hand was warm against his cold skin; he hadn't noticed that his hand was cold until Dragomir had touched it. Looking at Dragomir for another second, he collapsed against him, weeping silently into his shoulder. His body shook with his sobbing, and he clutched Dragomir's jacket weakly with his left hand. He knew Dragomir wouldn't hurt him, Dragomir would protect him...after all, he knew, no matter what Dragomir had done in his past, he would always love him. He lay limply against Dragomir, crying. Though he was still terrified of the outside world, at least he would have Dragomir to protect him.
Dragomir’s eyes went wide with surprise when Niles fell against him, but he recovered quickly and his tears started again, though this time, they were tears of relief. The fact that Niles could still trust him after everything meant the world to Dragomir, and he didn’t think he’d ever let Niles go. He hesitated for a moment before lightly wrapping his arms around Niles’s waist. He knew he had to avoid any of Niles’s injuries, and they were so pervasive it made embracing difficult. Still, Dragomir would never do anything that would hurt him, and he gently pressed a soft kiss to Niles’s forehead. Niles felt cold in his arms, and Dragomir pulled at a blanket, drawing it up around Niles a bit more as he sniffed back the last of his tears.
Niles's tears slowly subsided, but he still pressed his face against Dragomir's chest, desperate for comfort, for protection. He felt Dragomir wrap a blanket around his shoulders, and only then did he realize that his body was shaking slightly. Time passed, and, after a while, Niles drew back, looking at Dragomir with the same look of pathetic helplessness. He wasn't strong enough to do anything on his own; he couldn't find it within himself to try, and so, with that look, he tried to convey that he was placing his life in Dragomir's hands. He knew it was so much, too much to ask, when he had already caused Dragomir so much trouble, but he was terribly frightened of the outside world, of people, and he didn't think he could bear it without someone there to take care of him.
Dragomir felt he understood the look and nodded slowly. Stepping out of his shoes, he moved the tray aside and got carefully on top of the bed next to Niles. “I’ll help you with whatever you need...” He murmured, reaching again for Niles hand. “Anything…anything I can do for you, I will.” Dragomir scooted slightly closer and kissed him briefly on the cheek before pulling away to look into his eyes. “Niles…do you want to eat something?”
Niles was relieved that Dragomir would take care of him, he knew he could never make it on his own. With Dragomir's protection, surely he would be safe. He felt comforted by the thought, and relaxed slightly, though he was still shivering and weak. At Dragomir's question, he hesitated a moment, then nodded slightly. Perhaps if he ate a little, he could regain even a tiny bit of his strength. He looked at Dragomir hopefully, in unwavering trust.
Dragomir smiled slightly; it was good Niles was willing to eat. It had been a few days since he’d had anything after all, and Dragomir hoped the food would help him to feel a little better. Dragomir wouldn’t rush him, but he hoped Niles would speak soon…it would comfort him immensely to hear the sound of Niles’s voice again. Dragomir released Niles’s hand with a light squeeze and reached forward, carefully lifting the bowl of soup and bracing it against his chest as he recovered the spoon as well, and sat back. Dragomir wanted him to start with the soup first because he knew it would be easy for Niles to eat, and though it was only lukewarm, Dragomir hoped it would be alright for Niles, because it at least meant that he wouldn’t burn himself eating something too hot. Gingerly, Dragomir spooned up a small amount and held it to Niles’s lips.
Niles opened his mouth just enough to allow the spoon inside. He closed his mouth around it and swallowed the liquid slowly, letting it sooth his sore throat. His stomach churned slightly with the food after being empty for so long, but once it calmed, he suddenly felt very hungry. He looked at Dragomir again, hoping to convey what he felt. He knew it was hard to communicate without speaking, but he couldn't find the strength or whatever it took to use his voice. It seemed to have completely fled him, and he didn't have the courage to try and find it.
Dragomir bit his lip and scooped up a slightly larger spoonful, hoping he had understood what Niles wanted correctly. When Niles again accepted the spoon and swallowed the soup, Dragomir smiled lightly and refilled the spoon, eager to make whatever difference he could.
It took them a while to get through the bowl, and when it was empty, Dragomir looked to Niles again. “Are…are you still hungry?” Dragomir swallowed anxiously. Niles still hadn’t spoken, and Dragomir was beginning to worry that something more was wrong. He couldn't yet bring himself to ask about Niles's injuries, but he knew he would have to soon to make sure everything was taken care of.
Niles shook his head slowly. The soup had been filling enough, and he didn't want to upset his stomach or make himself sick. His wounds were beginning to ache, however, and so, looking pitifully at Dragomir, he whimpered softly, which was the most noise he could make. Hopefully, Dragomir could bring him some sort of painkiller, should he understand.
Dragomir set the tray aside, placing it on the floor out of the way. Niles’s whimper made his stomach clench with worry and he immediately took Niles’s hand in his again and moved as close as he thought Niles could tolerate. “D-dose it hurt…?” Dragomir asked slowly, “…Your back?” When Niles nodded, Dragomir looked down and tried to think of something he could do to help Niles. “I’ll call the servants. They can bring something to numb it…” He turned back to him and ran his hand through his hair.
Dragomir knew the high proof alcohol the doctor had left for Niles was likely to put him to sleep, and his heart fell. Niles had already been out for so long, and seeing him asleep caused Dragomir to be gripped by the irrational fear that something might happen to him… When Dragomir had first seen Niles unconscious, he’d thought he’d lost him, and it was still difficult for Dragomir to let go of that horrible feeling. Nevertheless, Dragomir unwound his fingers from Niles’s and moved to ring the bell and call the servants. Two arrived almost immediately, and both looked relieved to see Niles sitting up. Dragomir smiled slightly at them and told them what Niles needed before they bowed hurriedly leaving the room to get the needed alcohol. Dragomir returned to Niles’s bed and sat at his side until a servant returned with a bottle and a small glass, which Dragomir accepted; filling the glass and holding it out for Niles so that he could drink the stout liquid.
Niles took a sip out of the glass that Dragomir held to his lips and scrunched his nose at the bitter flavour. Still, he felt the alcohol begin to take effect almost immediately, and his mind began to feel a little fuzzy. He took a few more sips, then moved to lay back down, feeling drowsy. However, the feeling of slipping off into darkness frightened him, and so he weakly grabbed Dragomir's wrist, tugging softly on his arm. Even if the pain dulled, he didn't want to feel alone.
Dragomir felt his heart melt and he had to work to keep from crying again. Carefully, he settled himself in, laying back next to Niles and being careful not o move the arm to which Niles weakly clung.
Dragomir hadn’t slept for more then a few hours at a time since he’d gotten Niles back to his house, for fear that something would happen—that the Berceuse Malheureuse would come for them, or that Niles would need his help—and he didn’t intend to let up his vigilant guard for a long time to come. Still, being able to lie next to Niles was a great comfort to him, and it substantially eased the ache in his heart.
Comforted by Dragomir's presence, Niles let his eyes slide shut. Though his grip was weak, he clung tightly to Dragomir's arm and moved closer to him. His warmth was comforting, and Niles felt a little less frightened as he drifted off to sleep.
It was a long time before Dragomir allowed himself to feel the pervasive sleepiness that was beginning to dull his senses, and even when he acknowledged it, he was still reluctant to let himself fall asleep. He was looking at Niles, watching him sleep, and trying not to imagine the horrors Donavan must have put him through. It forced Dragomir to look back on his own dreadful encounter with Donavan, and to remember the countless times he’d seen Donavan beat men to within an inch of their life. He shuddered as he tried to dismiss the images from his mind and focus on the here and now. Dragomir had Niles here with him, and Niles was going to get better. He had to. Dragomir would do everything he could to help him pull through, and in time, everything would be right again. Dragomir would see to it.
Perceval strode quickly through the halls on his way to Algernon’s office. As he walked, he was trying to think of some reason, some excuse or minor detail he could use as an explanation for his visit, but could think of none. He hoped Algernon wasn’t busy; he’d simply had the sudden, inexplicable urge to see him, and he felt as though he might die if he didn’t get the chance to see Algernon, even if it was only for the brief moment it would take the Commandant to inform him that he was too busy. Sighing as he dreaded that potential outcome, Perceval paused in front of the door to fix his hair, smooth his knickers, and straighten his jacket. With that completed, he took a strand of his hair and placed it over his shoulder carefully to give the illusion that he hadn’t spent nearly as much time as he had in actuality. Then, he lifted his hand and knocked lightly on the door before opening it just enough so that he could peer inside.
Much to his disgust, standing there opposite Algernon was Warrant Officer Johnston. His lip twitched with displeasure and he pushed the door the rest of the way open, taking a swift step inside and bowing lavishly to Algernon without acknowledging Johnston, before closing the door behind him. Perceval was loath to be an inconvenience to Algernon, but he couldn’t bear to stand idle while the General Commandant was forced to suffer the presence of a coquettish Warrant Officer. “Good afternoon, sir,” Perceval said as he straightened up. “I trust I’m not interrupting?”
Algernon smiled, hoping that Perceval's arrival would be a good excuse to rid him of Alice just as soon as they were through their business. "No, of course not, do come in. I'm sure you want to hear the plans I am currently discussing with Ms. Johnston, anyway." He noticed Alice scowl out of the corner of his eye, but when he looked to her, she was smiling sweetly again. "Now, Ms. Johnston, what were you saying?"
"The Queen is a rather rude person, with no morals whatsoever," Alice recounted dramatically. "However, she has a good taste for dress, jewelry, and fashion in general, so that would be your best bet for a gift, sir." She emphasized the last word and batted her eyelashes slightly before continuing. "If you agree with her unfounded main points, I'm sure she will be easily swayed on all others. She is ridiculously attached to her radical, feminist ideals, and knows little else of politics." She gave a flourished curtsy as she finished her speech, once again looking at Algernon with shining affection.
Algernon was not impressed; however, he was glad for the information. "Thank you, dear girl, you've been a great help," he said charmingly. "Now, my plan is to pay Her Highness a visit and bring gifts and flatter her to win her over. Then, I'll persuade her to agree to our policies and set her up for following plots. I will give you more information later. Understood?" He took on a melodious tone, smiling pleasantly. He knew he had to take Alice's recount with a grain of salt, but still, he was glad for the information, and felt confident in his plan.
Perceval smiled curtly as he listened to her finish the rest of her report. As far as he was concerned, the information sounded completely useless. He took a step closer to Algernon and regarded her through narrowed eyes. “Well Warrant Officer, if I didn’t know better, I’d wager you haven’t learned nearly as much about her as you should have after all the time the Commandant has allotted you for such a simple task. What woman wouldn’t be flattered by fashionable dress or jewelry? And obviously accepting her primary thesis will earn her trust on the other matters.” Perceval spat venomously. “Surely you’ve learned something else of value, or have you fancied yourself a guest, simply reveling in royal hospitalities?”
Alice glared hotly at Perceval; she couldn't believe that prat was insulting her, and in front of Algernon, too! Flipping her hair over her shoulder and putting on her best holier-than-thou look, she said confidently, "Well, at least the Commandant gives me such important tasks. I haven't heard any of your recent achievements." She smiled smugly before continuing. "If I weren't such a polite lady, I would go so far as to guess you spend more of your time collecting china than doing anything useful to our dear General."
Algernon wished that he could bang his head against his desk. He got the feeling he ought to step in before it escalated into a full-out catfight, but he couldn't figure out a delicate way that would minimalize the damage.
“Collecting china?” Perceval snorted. “Well, at least I have enough taste to collect finery.” He said haughtily. “And as for my services to the General, they happen to be of such importance that a mere Warrant Officer would never be trusted with the details.” Perceval crossed his arms over his chest and puffed up slightly, standing up at his full stature so that he towered over her entirely. “China,” He scoffed again. “Only the most refined gentlemen are at the liberty of patronizing a pursuit such as china collecting. The fact that you deem it an insult shows that you are a detriment to your class.”
Alice seemed to be in a mixed state of disbelief and utter amusement, and Algernon took the opportunity to end the quarrel. "If you'll excuse me, my dear Warrant Officer, I have some important business to discuss with the General." He rose and walked over to her, kissing her hand politely. "Thank you again for your services." She giggled and curtsied and left with a flounce, and Algernon rolled his eyes before turning to Perceval.
"I am sorry for her behaviour...however, your response was somewhat...unexpected." He decided to tread carefully, unsure of how to break to Perceval what he had just proudly admitted to. "You...are aware of the second connotation of the phrase 'collecting china'...?"
Perceval smiled with smug satisfaction as Algernon encouraged her to leave, and felt he had emerged entirely victorious from the spat. However, when Algernon posed the question, Perceval blinked confusedly at him and furrowed his brow. “Uhh, no, sir…” He said uneasily, wondering just what he had missed.
Algernon smirked, slightly amused, as he moved over to Perceval and draped his arms around his shoulders. "Come now, Percy, nothing to be embarrassed about. The phrase simply refers to some of the... 'important services' with which you provide me?"
Perceval unconsciously purred at the touch, but he was still rather baffled. What did china have to do with anything? He certainly didn’t collect china for Algernon… As he went over it in his head, he managed to put two and two together and blushed, looking quickly at Algernon. “You mean…?” he asked, sounding almost mortified.
Algernon nodded slowly, smirking slightly. "This, Percy..." he trailed, pressing a kiss to his lips, "is the form of 'collecting china' to which Ms. Johnston referred. Percy's pale skin painted with the embarrassed flush was tempting, but Algernon decided it would be more fun to play for a little. Drawing back quickly, he took a few steps away, returned to sit beck behind his desk. "Of course, I understand if you're embarrassed...I won't force you into something which causes you to be so mortified." He forced his expression into one of seriousness, but he was barely able to keep his smirk down as he waited for Perceval's response.
Perceval shook his head quickly and willed himself to stop blushing. “No, sir, it’s not that at all.” He declared, making his way over to stand in front of Algernon’s desk. “I’m just shocked that she’d draw such a conclusion…and that I had no idea what she was talking about.” Despite his best efforts, he was blushing again. “And to think that she’d be suspicious!” He huffed. “I don’t want us to get in trouble on my account, sir…” Perceval trailed and looked determinedly back at Algernon. “But I’m not ashamed.”
Algernon's lips curled into a smile as he rose and made his way over to Perceval. "I'm so glad to hear that," he murmured, snaking his arms around Perceval's waist and pulling him close. "I'd hate to make you ashamed." He pressed a brief kiss to Perceval's lips before taking a few steps back and perching on the edge of his desk. "I'm not worried about getting in trouble... After all, I'm untouchable." He smirked. "I doubt our Warrant Officer would ever accuse me of such things, anyway, and I do believe she was only trying to insult you." He crossed his legs and tapped his cheek thoughtfully. "Oh, Percy, I do have a favour to ask of you. Would you be so kind?"
Perceval regretted the loss of Algernon’s arms around him and his lips against his own; twice already Algernon had left abruptly after so little… Still, Perceval was willing to do whatever Algernon wanted of him. “Yes, of course sir. Anything.” Perceval smiled sweetly with an elegant bow.
Algernon noticed the slight pout on Perceval's face, and decided he had probably teased enough. Leaning forward, he grasped Perceval's slender wrist and spun him around as he stood, changing positions so that he had Perceval pinned against his desk. Bracing against his desk, he pressed up against him, leaning in to suck and bite at Perceval's neck. "I'm sorry...I have been negligent, haven't I, Percy? The favour's not too big...I need you to continue to punish Niles Christian when he returns to work." He looked up to meet Perceval's eyes. "Can you do that for me?"
Perceval let out a little noise of pleasure at the touches and tilted his head back as his eyes slid shut. At Algernon’s instructions however, Perceval opened his eyes and looked back into Algernon’s as a smirk found its way to his lips. He was quite certain that Christian would not be in a stable condition mentally, even by the time he returned, and the idea of making it all the more difficult for him, as weak-minded as he was even under normal conditions, excited Perceval greatly. “Gladly, sir.” His smirk faded into a rather sultry smile and he gingerly placed his arms around Algernon’s waist, hoping that this time, he’d continue what he’d started.
Algernon smirked. Shifting slightly, he pushed Perceval back so that he was sitting on he desk, moving to straddle his lap. He moved to kiss Perceval again, this time deepening the kiss almost immediately. He rocked his hips forward, grinding them against Perceval's and smirking when he broke out of the kiss to moan. Tugging at the collar of Perceval's jacket, he moved back to his neck, licking and sucking and kissing and biting, trailing a line of red marks down to his collarbone. "Wonderful," he murmured, looking up at Perceval for a moment. Everything was going wonderfully.