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Sean's arm is going to itch like mad in a few days. It still stings a little, but it's nothing he can't handle. He sighs. He just needs time. Time to think, and to be away from it all, and to sort feelings out. He wishes he could say the tattoo was a poor idea -- something that's only going to drag up memories of things left unsaid -- but he's got good memories, too, and that counts for a lot. He looks into his glass and swirls the soda around, the carbonation fizzing and hissing as he does. He takes a drink, the slightly bitter taste of club soda giving him an excuse to wince a bit.

"My God. What are you doing here?"

Sean spins, startled. He knew, he really should have known. And maybe he did. Maybe that's why he was here in the first place. He could have gone anywhere tonight, could have picked some anonymous stranger up in a bar and gotten fucked into oblivion. He's not really in the mood for all the extra things the Establishment club in New York offers, but he's here anyway. He locks eyes with the man at his side. "Pierce," he says, softly, clamping down on the instinct to follow it with ...Master.

"Are you here on business?" Pierce asks. His eyes rake over Sean with an almost needy expression, one that he doesn't even bother trying to cover. It's been three years and more since they've seen each other. It's as if no time at all has passed.

"Not really," Sean murmurs. "Seeing some friends."

"Can I buy you a drink?" Pierce asks.

Sean holds up his glass. "I've already got one."

"Can I buy your company, then?"

Sean frowns at that. "What are you talking about?"

Pierce shakes his head. "Sorry. My attempt at being flippant." He sits down next to Sean at the bar, and when Sean raises no objection, orders a drink for himself. Brandy. He swirls it in his hand for a few moments, but doesn't drink. He looks back over at Sean. "It's been some time, Sean."

"Yes."

"Not long enough?"

Sean shakes his head. "Stop. Please."

"Stop what? I don't understand."

But Sean doesn't understand, either, which is precisely the problem. "Look... I shouldn't have come here. I should have known I'd run into you. I only thought..." He slides off his bar stool and tosses a few bills on the counter. "I should go."

Pierce reaches out and takes Sean's arm. "Please don't," he asks, softly. "I've missed you."

That hurts. Badly. It shouldn't, but it does. Sean doesn't even think he should believe Pierce, but Pierce sounds sincere. Damn him. "I think you've forgotten how things ended between us," Sean says, trying to make his voice sound light and completely failing. "You left me with the impression you never wanted to see me again."

"I was hurt. I was angry." His voice drops. "I was wrong."

Sean hesitates. This is a bad idea. This is not going to get him anywhere. He looks into Pierce's eyes, and realizes he truly doesn't trust this man anymore. And all the same, he's tempted. This is what Pierce looks like when he's making an offer. This is something he could have for the night, to take his mind off everything else.

"Would you care to go somewhere more quiet?" Pierce asks.

No. He shouldn't. He knows better.

"All right."


"Can I get you something?" Pierce asks. He hovers briefly by the bar in his hotel suite, watching as Sean paces across the room, back and forth, full of twitchy, nervous energy.

"No, thank you," Sean answers.

"Fine." Pierce crosses the room and leans up against the back of the couch. He crosses his arms over his chest and watches Sean pace. "You're nervous," he observes lightly.

"I'm not."

"Of course you are. Stop moving."

Sean comes to an instant halt in front of Pierce, eyes a bit wild and more than a bit uncertain. Pierce simply stares at him for a few moments, gaze locked tight to Sean's. Sean doesn't look away, but he twitches more, obviously edgy, obviously ill-at-ease. Pierce keeps staring at him, looking placid and calm and secure. Neither one speaks for a while, but eventually the silence has to be broken.

Sean breaks first. "What am I doing here?" he asks. The question is directed more to Pierce than to himself. Pierce's mouth quirks up at the corners, but he says nothing, and his gaze remains serene. Sean sighs heavily and shakes his head, finally taking his eyes from Pierce's.

"What would you like to be doing here?" Pierce asks.

Sean raises an eyebrow. "Since when do you ask what I want?"

"I'm not your master anymore, Sean. We're simply..." His voice trails off.

"Simply what?" Sean snaps. "Friends? We haven't spoken in years, and we parted rather badly. Acquaintances, perhaps? Strangers?"

"And that's what you were doing downstairs in the first place, Sean -- looking for a stranger." Pierce is quite sure of himself now. Sean grits his teeth and looks away again. Pierce goes on. "What's troubling you? Hmm? A fight with a lover? A broken heart?"

"No," Sean whispers, "neither."

"What, then? Tell me."

Sean's eyes come up and focus steadily on Pierce. "Have you had much to drink tonight?"

"The brandy would have been my first."

And he barely touched it. Sean takes a deep breath. "Why did you invite me here?"

Pierce is caught uncomfortably off-guard by the question. Sean never questioned him. "Because I wanted to," he answers. It's the only answer he's got, so he hopes Sean won't keep pushing.

His hopes are futile. "Why did you want to?" Sean presses on.

"I--" Pierce stops. "Whim, perhaps. Nostalgia, possibly."

"No desire to renew our relationship?"

"No," Pierce answers immediately.

"Good." Sean glares at him for a moment. "I don't have any such desire, either."

"Ah, something we're agreed on. That's a good sign."

Sean stands perfectly still for a few moments. He could move, back away, turn on his heel and walk out of here. He could do that, if he does it now. He doesn't have to stay. He doesn't have to do this. He doesn't have to be here.

"It's a start," Sean says. "What else do you think we might be agreed on?"

Pierce eyes him for a few moments before coming off the couch and stepping very deliberately into Sean's space. Sean doesn't back off, but doesn't respond, either. Pierce is only a few short inches away. Their eyes are very intent on each other, blue eyes on green, and there's still a breath between them, just enough space that they could stop and back off and nothing would have happened.

And then Sean blinks.

There's a fist in Sean's shirt, and lips crushing his, brutally, a kiss that makes him cry out in pain as teeth clack together before Pierce bites down on his lower lip, hard. Sean moans, and kisses back, tongue thrusting out to wrestle with Pierce's.

Pierce breaks the kiss off immediately. "Hands behind your back," he hisses. His hand is still fisted in Sean's shirt, and Sean winces as he puts his hands behind his back and encloses his right wrist in his left hand. It's too easy to be like this, even though he would have sworn he didn't want it, even though he thought he was long since over this, even though he hasn't wanted to put someone in charge of him for three years now. It's all happening so fast he doesn't quite know how to deal with it, so he does what comes naturally -- what really shouldn't come naturally, but still does. He looks into Pierce's eyes, and he gives a tiny nod.

Pierce half-spins and shoves Sean over the back of the couch. Sean hits hard, with a soft explosion of air, and then stays completely still as Pierce reaches around and unbuckles Sean's belt, gets Sean's pants shoved down over his hips.

"Hold still," Pierce whispers. "Stay right there, Sean." And he disappears.

Sean. Using his name. Sean is grateful for that; he didn't expect that from Pierce, the tiny, slight distance it puts between today and their former roles. He stays locked in position, hands behind his back, bent over, pants down. He's hard, and there's an awful feeling of guilt and dissatisfaction that twists in him for a few seconds. He pushes it aside when he hears Pierce's soft footsteps behind him. This will do for now. It's not what he wants, but it'll do for now.

Two fingers shove into him, rough and fast. Sean bites down hard on his lower lip and muffles his cry. He hears Pierce's breathing pick up behind him -- Pierce always loved those soft, faintly gagged noises Sean made -- and then Pierce is there, cock pushing into him, hard. Sean moans brokenly before remembering to close off the sound. Fuck, that's good -- that's what he's doing here, getting the edge taken off, getting a good, fast, rough fuck to take his mind off everything, off the elf, the hobbit, the elfmaiden and the king, transported back to a time when it was spy vs. spy and he didn't have to think so fucking hard all the time, didn't have to wonder, didn't have regrets. Back when things were new and easy and it was all about champagne and fast drives in the middle of the night and rough, quiet fucks when Pierce demanded them.

It's so easy falling back into that time. So incredibly easy, despite what their past really looks like, despite the way things ended. Right now they're in limbo, in a world with no clocks and no calendars, where time has no meaning and the only thing either of them knows is that they're fucking amazing together.

Pierce doesn't touch Sean, doesn't have to. The only trigger Sean needs is Pierce leaning over him, lips tickling the edge of his ear, and the words, "Come for me."

Only one word is missing, and Sean wants it, suddenly desperately wants it. He pushes back, struggling a bit, and Pierce knows -- knows -- what Sean is looking for. He shakes his head at first. "You don't want it that way," he whispers.

"Please."

"Oh, for God's sake, Sean, you don't want it that way--"

"Pierce--"

Pierce tucks his head into Sean's shoulder and shudders against him for a moment. "Come for me, lad," he says, and both men groan, coming nearly in unison, completely wrapped up in their remembered past.

Pierce collapses onto Sean's back, and Sean grunts at the feeling of Pierce's weight. He comes back to himself slowly, but still too fast for his comfort.

What the fuck did I just do?

He shifts a little, and Pierce pulls back immediately. Sean struggles to stand upright, to get his clothes in order, and turns around so he can lean back on the couch, catching his breath. Pierce is heading off to the bathroom, naked and clearly unconcerned about it, to dispose of the condom and clean up a bit.

What the fuck did we just do?

There's a sound of running water, briefly, and after a bit, Pierce comes back out, drying his hands on a towel. He raises an eyebrow at Sean. "Still here?" he asks.

"Apparently."

Pierce simply looks at him. Sean looks away.

"I think you'd better go. Don't you?"

Sean nods. "Yeah."

He leaves Pierce's suite, and catches an elevator back downstairs. His arm aches, the elvish "nine" searing him more than a little, and he tilts his head back against the elevator wall as he descends back into the present.