Sunlight was streaming in the large window in the king's chambers in Akielos, and Laurent woke to the sensation of something sticky pulling at the fine hair on his leg. He scrubbed his eyes and opened them slowly to see Damen, still sleeping, curled around a pillow with his back pressed against Laurent's front. They were both still naked, and the sheet had slipped off them to hang from the edge of the bed.
Laurent flushed, fully awake, as he realized what the stickiness was. They had been too tired to care about cleaning up last night, and the oil and evidence of their lovemaking must have dripped out of Damen and onto Laurent as they slept.
Just a little peek , Laurent told himself, leaning back, away from Damen so that the could part his lover's cheeks gently and look.
He was still so loose, Laurent realized. It would be so easy to push forward, to slip inside.
Damen mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like Laurent's name, and he snatched his hand away as though burned.
It was wrong. He knew it was wrong. Damen was asleep; he had no way to tell Laurent whether he wanted it or not. It would be so, so wrong.
Laurent hesitated, remembering what Damen had said the night before, as he had showed Laurent carefully and painstakingly how to prepare him for the first time.
“I've never done it this way with anyone before,” Damen had said.
“Neither have I,” Laurent had admitted.
“I want to be your first and your only,” Damen had answered.
“You will be,” Laurent had promised.
And later, when after several slow, gentle pushes Laurent was finally completely inside his lover, Damen had looked straight into his eyes and said Stay inside me forever and Laurent's entire body had flushed red and he had come immediately, and Damen had laughed through Laurent's flurry of embarrassed apologies and wrapped his arms around him.
Laurent had slipped out of him, embarrassed about how fast it had ended, but Damen had reached between them and gently, lazily stroked him back to hardness while they whispered ridiculous things to each other, and when Laurent pressed back inside, faster the second time, Damen had demanded he move, and this time they came almost together, Laurent following Damen over the edge.
Cleaning up had seemed unimportant. “We're kings. It's beneath us,” Laurent had decided, to which Damen had sleepily replied “I'm beneath you,” and they both collapsed into bright, exhausted laughter.
Now, faced with Damen's still-loosened hole and muffled snores, Laurent leaned forward, settling a hand on Damen's shoulder.
"Damen," he whispered.
In reply came another mumbled a word that might have been his name, and Damen leaned back, pressing himself flush against Laurent.
Against part of Laurent that was now very much awake and very close to Damen's oiled and loosened entrance.
He was pretty sure this was wrong by Akielon standards. Veretian standards were more flexible, but there was something about the straightforward morality of Damen's culture that Laurent was growing to admire. It was certainly easier to tell right from wrong when he looked through the lens of Akielon morality than it was through Veretian. Laurent liked that, sometimes. It was nice, sometimes, to let things be simple. To let the straightforward answer just be the answer.
An Akielon would not do what Laurent had to admit to himself that he had already decided to do. Laurent knew this.
He stroked a hand down the long expanse of Damen's back, fingers shaking as they traversed the evidence of his former malice. He wished he wasn't still the person who had ordered it, wasn't still a person who understood how it felt to watch Damen shaking and bleeding under the lash and say only more. Again.
Laurent wanted, and he took.
The push into Damen's body was easy, slow. He was still as open as he looked and Laurent realized when as he felt himself bottom out that he hadn't even used any oil this time.
Laurent tried to ignore the sharp spike of guilt that came with the rush of pleasure at the first roll of his hips. Damen was as warm and perfect as he had been the night before, and Laurent needed more.
The first few thrusts were gentle, but as Laurent realized that he was apparently not going to wake Damen, he let himself move faster, push deeper.
He leaned forward and let his lips brush the back of Damen's neck, on a tiny patch of unscarred skin close to his ear.
"You are everything," Laurent whispered as he came, and the words were unplanned and without the double and triple meanings his words normally carried.
Damen began to shift as if waking, and Laurent froze, still softening inside him.
Damen yawned and his eyes blinked slowly open, turning his head to look over his shoulder at Laurent, his eyes warm and soft.
"I--I--" Words deserted Laurent. He found he had nothing to offer, no way to explain or bargain or plead his way out of what Damen must now have realized that Laurent had done to him.
Hot tears scoured his cheeks, and Laurent pulled himself away and out of Damen.
"Hey," Damen said in a voice still fuzzy with sleep. He turned to face Laurent, who did not met his eyes. "Hey, what's whis?" He traced a wet line from Laurent's cheekbone to his lips.
"I'm--I can't," Laurent whispered. "Whatever you're going to do, just--do it. I can't. I don't have any--"
"What are you talking about?" Damen asked, and Laurent could hear that the confusion in his voice was genuine.
"What I just did," Laurent choked out. "I'm--I'm like him."
Damen did not need to ask who Laurent was referring to.
"Laurent," Damen said, wrapping his arms around Laurent and crushing him to himself, "that has never been true. Will never be true."
"Gave me what I asked you for last night? Fulfilled a fantasy I never knew I had until I fell for you?" Damen asked.
"I wasn't done," Damen said, and his tone was the one he used when commanding armies.
Laurent fell silent.
"We both know I asked you to, last night. I didn't think you would do it right away. I didn't know if you would ever do it at all. But it wasn't idle bed talk. I asked for it because I wanted it."
"Are you sure," Laurent whispered. "Because I need--"
Damen grabbed Laurent's hand and lowered it until it was between them. "I was enjoying it," Damen said. "I woke up almost at the end, and I was enjoying it. I wanted to just be still and let you do everything."
"Just because--" Laurent began, but Damen cut him off again.
"No. I'm not that complicated," he said, shaking his head. "It felt good, and it was something I've been wanting. That's all, Laurent."
Laurent forced out a slow breath.
"Let me convince you," Damen said, brushing his lips against Laurent's.
Laurent shivered against him, and Damen flipped them over so that he weight was resting on Laurent. He leaned forward and kissed Laurent again, slowly and lazily.
"I don't want to be a person who has done that," Laurent breathed against Damen's lips when the kiss ended, and something desperate in his tone made Damen pause.
"Are we still talking about this morning?" Damen asked.
"Yes and no," Laurent said. He let a hand settle on Damen's back in place of the words he couldn't bring himself to say aloud.
"It doesn't work like that," Damen said. "It happened but it's healed. You made sure of that. It's over."
"Nothing’s over for me," Laurent whispered. "I can't forget. Every time we..."
"We're not only talking about my back, either." It wasn't a question.
"No." Laurent's voice was small.
"It makes me so angry, when I think about what he did," Damen said. "And the part that I played in it."
"Damen, no." Laurent's voice was flat. "Even if Marlas had gone differently, we can't know that he never would have..."
"Maybe. But I made it easier for him."
"You can't say that," Laurent insisted. "No. I don't think about it that way."
"Then you can understand that when we're together like this, I don't see what anyone else did to you. I just see you," Damen said. "Can you see that, for me?"
"I need--" Laurent broke off. "Fuck me," he demanded.
Damen propped himself up on his elbows, taking his weight off of Laurent's chest.
"Why," he said carefully, and it was more of a statement than a question.
"I don't have to answer that."
"You do if you want me inside you."
"Not going to like the answer? Because you don't really want it right now and you think you can make me fuck you like it's some kind of punishment? Never, Laurent. Never like that." Damen said, leaning down the kiss Laurent’s collarbone.
Laurent made a noise, something between a sob and a moan, and Damen kissed him harder, knowing Laurent’s laced Veretian clothes would hide any marks.
They kissed until Laurent was breathless, the alarm softening from his limbs as Damen convinced him with his body of what he could not make him believe with his words.
"I didn't hurt you," Laurent said, later, looking up at Damen with wet eyes.
"I told you," Damen said, but there was no annoyance in his voice. "I enjoyed it. Being spoiled. Letting you do all the work."
"I haven't spoiled you very well if you haven't come," Laurent said.
"Then spoil me some more," Damen whispered, taking his weight off of Laurent and stretching out on his back on the wide bed. "Pretend I'm asleep." He closed his eyes, but his bright grin gave him away.
"What do you want?" Laurent asked, trailing kisses down Damen's shoulder and onto his chest.
"I'm asleep," Damen informed him, eyes still firmly shut. "I can't tell you what I want."
Laurent knew what he wanted to do. What he thought about more and more often, but could rarely summon the courage to do when he knew Damen was watching him.
He knew he wasn't being very subtle, kissing his way down Damen's chest until he reached Damen's hip, but if they were pretending Damen was asleep then it didn't matter very much if he was subtle, Laurent decided.
Laurent wove his fingers into the short hair above Damen's cock, which had been waiting for him, hard and eager, and Laurent opened his mouth for Damen.
He didn't do this often. It made him feel vulnerable and afraid in a way that few other acts did, but knowing that Damen couldn't see him, Damen wasn't watching, Laurent began to enjoy the feeling of Damen's cock, skin as soft as velvet over hardness, inside his mouth.
Damen gasped, forgetting or maybe unable to pretend he was asleep, and thrust gently into Laurent's mouth.
Laurent took him deeper, letting his tongue play around the side of Damen's cock, hollowing his cheeks around him.
He couldn't say how long it lasted, but soon Damen was coming, warm and salty in is mouth. Laurent swallowed it all, pulling off with a last kiss to the head of Damen's cock when he was finished.
"Laurent," Damen breathed, as Laurent settled himself alongside Damen, his head resting against Damen's shoulder. "That was--"
"I don't want to talk about it," Laurent said, and at the edge in his voice Damen stopped.
"I'm glad that my virtue is safe with you while I sleep," Damen teased.
Laurent flushed. "I don't...I don't want you to..." he trailed off, unsure how to ask something that was so obviously unequal, unfair.
"I know you don't want the same," Damen said, draping an arm across Laurent. "You don't need to worry. I won't do anything to you while you're asleep."
"Thank you," Laurent muttered.
For some long moments they lay together in silence, Laurent comforted by the heavy weight of Damen's arm across his side, and Damen content with the warmth of Laurent beside him.