Outside, the ocean glowed with the fading light of dusk.
It was a lazy evening, one of those kinds that followed a long day in the sun that left you liquid limbed and languorous. Damen and Laurent had retreated back to their rooms with their feet still covered in grass and the tips of their hair windswept, and all Damen had on this mind was the privacy of their bed and the taste of Laurent’s skin.
It seemed as if Laurent felt the same. Their table had been replenished with cut fruits and a pitcher of the peach juice that Laurent had favored, but he’d turned his full attention on Damen as he’d stepped up to him, put his hands on his chest and pushed him down on the bed.
Their surroundings felt hazy in the dwindling light. The curtains around them were no more than shear gauze, thin enough to blur the colors streaming in and soften the bed in muddled hues of sunset. There was something newly familiar about it, all of their days at the palace ending like this. In each other’s arms with one of them pulling the other in, the air around them scenic with tenors of summer and the sound of their shared pleasure. Damen liked the consistency of it all, a promise of what their future might hold.
There were other moments they shared, those small indulgences that were most special when shared with someone else. The previous night they had left their chambers and walked along the shore, and it was Laurent who took hold of Damen’s arm and coaxed him in. The night was calm and the waters still, and Damen had lost track of how long they swam and who had managed to outdo the other in endurance. When Laurent had emerged it was with dripping hair and a breathless look in his eyes, and he showed no signs of protest when Damen crowded him against the sand and kissed his wet skin that gleamed like moonlight.
Those instances were all wonderful, more than Damen would have imagined for them at a time, and yet it still didn’t compare to this. The proprietary slide of a hand and creak of a mattress. The building feeling inside him, the knowledge that it was reciprocated and the proof of it in the way Laurent touched him. Laurent could be pliant in his arms, but he could be just as firm with him, unrelenting. There were times, Damen was coming to learn, where Laurent’s hands said just as much as his words.
He could feel as Laurent’s enthusiasm grew, the way it progressively would in those past few days. It was in the deepening of his kiss, the way his hand gripped the hair at the nape of Damen’s neck and how his lips parted, the small sound of encouragement as Damen palmed at the back of his thigh and lifted it so he could press their bodies closer.
Laurent made a sound at that, soft and subtle, more of a breath of air against Damen’s lips than anything. Damen could feel the way the shift had caused Laurent’s cock to rub against Damen’s abdomen, and he couldn’t resist his grin or the way he moved, hooking Laurent’s leg over his as they rutted against each other slowly.
Laurent liked this, he knew. The simplicity of lying with someone and kissing, no end goals needed but the drift of hands and the occasional sweep of tongue. There was almost something youthful to it, to find such enjoyment in an exchange so innocent. Damen thought he could kiss Laurent for hours and he wouldn’t tire of it.
Damen’s fingers moved, skimming against smooth skin and light hairs as Laurent’s foot curved against his calf. He trailed the line of Laurent’s spine, the dip of his back. He grazed, lower, and Damen was rewarded with a short interval where Laurent pulled away with their foreheads still touching, his eyes closed like all of his focus was on one sense alone.
He’d acted the same the previous night. The mood had been languid as Damen lifted himself from where he’d been between Laurent’s legs, lingering on an elbow as Laurent turned onto his back. He’d been silent, short of breath, and a rush of pride had warmed Damen as Laurent passed a hand down his face with a low, unthinking sound.
It was something he hadn’t tried before and he’d wanted to give Laurent that. It had been like operating on instinct; he’d thought Laurent would like it, and the idea of it intrigued Damen enough that he thought he might like it too. There were very few things that rivaled the importance of bringing Laurent pleasure, and that notion was just as true now, the two of them laying on their sides as they kissed.
Laurent’s hand slid down Damen’s arm, to his flank, and then Damen was on his back with Laurent above him. The weight of his body was heavy as it kept Damen confined against the sheets, and it was a considerable surge of arousal that let him be held down. It felt like a calming, the press of a thumb into his wrist and the surety of Laurent against him.
The change in position also meant that Laurent was more in control. It were his arms that were closing Damen in. It were his hips that were moving, subtle shifts forward that brought them together and made Damen groan. Each press was like static to his body, and the rhythm of it all caused something to flare inside him.
Laurent noticed. Damen could see it in the way he pulled back, his expression some mix of intrigued and amused. Damen wanted to pull him back. He wanted Laurent to kiss Damen like he had moments ago, like he would only allow Damen to leave the bed when he was finished with him.
When Laurent spoke, his voice was only a little labored. “Eager tonight?”
“I want you,” Damen said. They had barely begun but he was already panting. He had barely given it thought but he knew what he wanted.
“Yes,” Laurent said, and there was still something a little shy about the way he said it, despite the way he was looking down at him.
Damen thought he might be hearing his own pulse in his ears. He wasn’t a man who’d often felt nervous – he’d never had much reason to – but he could feel it in the pit of his stomach, tight with nerves and something else, something stronger. The hot, desperate feeling of anticipation.
Damen’s hand moved along the mattress, feeling for the oil that Laurent had reached for earlier before Damen had kissed his neck and caused the phial to be forgotten. His fingers closed around the glass and his heart rate sped up, Laurent’s gaze all the while steady on him. When Damen pressed it into Laurent’s hand, he felt like something more was being offered.
“I want to try –“ Damen didn’t know how to express it. “This. You.”
He watched as understanding dawned on Laurent, coloring his cheeks and causing his eyes to widen a fraction. He pushed himself up with the heel of his hand. “Damen.”
The idea felt almost contradictory to Damen. Or rather, his response to it. The notion was so foreign to him that he might have feared it, but that was almost a part of it. There was something about the rarity that he enjoyed, the idea of giving himself to Laurent in a way that he never had before, in a way that he had never wanted to. Damen thought of what it was like. How it felt to be inside Laurent, to be a part of him in that way. He thought of how it consumed him, and he wondered if Laurent ever thought about that with Damen.
“I do.” Damen’s heart was pounding. He wanted it, now. It was all he knew. “Please,” he pushed himself up, causing Laurent’s knees to slide and his arms to move out so he was holding Damen’s shoulders.
“Please,” Damen said again. His palm was on the thin skin on Laurent’s hipbone. “Laurent.” He kissed beneath Laurent’s jaw, felt him react in a breath as his lips moved to his ear. “I want to feel you inside me. I need – “
“Damen,” Laurent said.
Damen lifted his eyes to him. He could hear his voice, the way it sounded like he was begging. He didn’t care. He would, if that’s what Laurent wanted. He thought Laurent might enjoy that, the power it gave him over Damen. Startlingly, Damen found that he did.
He would give Laurent that. Whatever he wanted.
The tendrils of Laurent’s hair were very soft. The muscles of his back were like an anchor, as taut and smooth as the sides of his legs, spread on either side of Damen. Laurent was watching him very carefully, shallow breaths of air leaving him as a number of things filtered behind his eyes.
Nerves became something else as the silence grew. Damen ignored the thickness in his throat as he forced words to come. “If the thought displeases you –“
The only warning Damen received was the miniscule part of Laurent’s lips before he was being pushed, unexpectedly on his back with Laurent looming above him. His hand began at Damen’s neck; moving down in one slow, long slide until he reached his abdomen.
“You think – “ Laurent said. “That I don’t want you?”
The words went straight through Damen’s body. He went to touch Laurent’s face, he had to, but Laurent intercepted his hand and pressed it to the bedding by Damen’s head. That only made Damen hotter.
“Well?” Laurent said.
Damen’s mouth went dry. Laurent was hard against him, he could feel it pressed against this hip, could see it if he only lowered his eyes. It was to a purpose – one that Damen wanted. It was the vulnerability that Damen struggled with, the anxiety of trying something new, of not knowing how it would be received. It wasn’t a feeling Damen had much experience with, and he knew it must have showed.
It was because of Damen’s inability to look away from Laurent’s eyes that he didn’t catch the movement of his hand, not until his fingers were wrapped around Damen’s cock.
Damen groaned as his head fell back. His eyes had closed so it was all feeling; the tips of Laurent’s hair grazing his chest, tickling him with every small movement. His grasp, tight, the perfect amount of pressure. His breath hot against Damen’s skin as he murmured into his ear.
“You think I haven’t thought about you,” Laurent said, “like this, for me?”
He leaned his head down and took Damen’s lip between his own, and Damen couldn’t stop himself from holding the back of Laurent’s head and kissing him like he needed. There was something desperate about it, all tangled in a mess of lips and teeth.
“I’ve thought about it,” Damen said. The words were muddled against Laurent’s mouth, spoken in a gasp somewhere between the slide of Laurent’s tongue and the precise grip of his hand. “You. Fucking me.”
The response Laurent gave was just as muddled, straight into Damen’s mouth. He had thought about it. Random moments where it came unexpectedly, leaving him dazed no matter how brief it may have been.
Long mornings in Ios on bed rest with Laurent working at his desk, giving Damen little attention or other times, giving him a certain look. The days leading up to their stay in the summer palace. One night when he’d taken himself in hand, something he hadn’t felt the need to do in many years. He’d been thinking about Laurent, having him again, until suddenly everything reversed.
To be on his back with his legs parted, Laurent’s fingers inside him. Laurent, inside him. The thought would send a thrill of apprehension through him; some bit of dissonance, but there was always something headier there, pulsating through him with abandon. Damen felt that same thing here, now, Laurent’s fingers curled around the phial as he smoothed a palm up Damen’s thigh.
The stopper came off. It was a discreet sound, but it was loud amongst the crashing of the waves and the distant sound of night insects, something constant like a heartbeat.
Laurent’s lips were red from kissing, and his hair was in slight disarray in a way Damen had only just recently been allowed to see, disheveled and careless. He coated his fingers in a liberal amount of oil, his eyes scanning Damen all the while. They didn’t linger on one part of his body for particularly long, and something of it reminded Damen of how he spoke more when he was tense.
It caught Damen by surprise when Laurent pressed a kiss to his hip, light and chaste. It was what had stopped him from pushing himself up and taking Laurent’s face in his hands, and he consciously kept himself down and steady as Laurent moved to his stomach, then his chest, paying all those parts of him equal amount of attention like the moment was something precious. This too was something new. It was usually Damen who held Laurent like this, kissed those secret parts of him and showed him what this kind of affection could feel like. To be the recipient of tenderness was not something he’d ever craved, and yet his chest still felt full.
The first slide of Laurent’s finger was slow. It was as if all of Damen’s attention zeroed in on the feel of it, to the sensation of being breached where he never had been in this way, though he still felt everything else in fractions. The small, hitched breathes that Laurent made against his face. The way he kissed Damen, once, like he needed it. The heat of two bodies pressed together, eager to get as close as possible. Damen was pressing closer, inching his hips experimentally into the rhythm of Laurent’s hand.
Laurent made a sound of approval at that, low in his throat as he bent his head and kissed him again like it was a reward. Damen’s cheeks warmed at the insinuation of it, hot all over and chasing after it as he tried to keep pace with it all.
Damen’s breath caught in his throat when Laurent gave him a second finger. This already was so much more intense, and his mouth was open and slack as Laurent eased them both in, as gradual with it as he had been before.
“Good,” Laurent told him, but the shakiness of his voice betrayed him. “That’s good,” he said, and then he did something with his fingers and Damen was moaning, his focus wavering as Laurent’s words lingered in his ears. He did it again and Damen grasped at the sheets, unable to keep himself quiet.
He forced his eyes to open. It was revealing to be watched like this, exposing. Arousal ribboned through Damen painfully as Laurent caught his eye, and Damen had to take his lip between his teeth to stop himself from saying something foolish.
Laurent reached for the phial again and Damen’s pulse stuttered, but then he was leaning forward and turning the glass over, getting Damen’s hand slick with it.
“Touch yourself,” Laurent said, when Damen made no move to act. “Go on.”
He did. It was – there was something different about it when it wasn’t all that was being done to him. Laurent was stretching him open in that achingly slow pace of his, and the relief that his own hand brought around his cock caused Damen’s eyes to close again, powerless to it. Laurent was stretching him open for his cock. He was going to fuck Damen because he’d asked for it. Begged for it.
Damen’s grip tightened, almost forceful in the way he began to take himself. Laurent had three fingers inside him and he was watching Damen, opening him, and Damen’s neck burned under the weight of it all. His hand sped up and Laurent watched, transfixed, his eyes slightly wide with something like wonder.
“Like that,” Laurent said, and Damen’s cock throbbed. “The way you like it.”
“Laurent,” Damen said, and because it felt so right to say his name, “Laurent.”
And because it was Laurent, who had come to know him in those days - in those months – he nodded his head and leaned forward and took Damen’s mouth in his. It was sweet, surprisingly gentle, and brought on a sort of affection that Damen never thought possible.
They kissed like that for some time, like they’d both forgotten everything else and this was all that mattered now. Both of Laurent’s hands eventually found their way to Damen’s neck. It got his skin slick and sticky and he didn’t care. His own hands had made their way to Laurent’s hips, his backside, smoothing down where he wanted to hold him most. He could feel Laurent’s shiver, could feel the hard, urgent press of his cock, and he wanted him.
“Do it,” Damen said. His voice was hoarse and his body was ready. He felt delirious with need, as delirious as Laurent seemed with his bleary eyes and his parted lips. Damen took the phial and pressed it back into his hand, a wordless plea, and Laurent let out a startled little laugh that was so new and unexpected that Damen felt it in his chest.
They locked eyes, when it finally happened. That first, long push with Damen’s hands on Laurent’s sides and Laurent’s own arms shaking. Everything about the moment felt still. A scene held and captured beneath the strokes of a paintbrush, as if they could spend forever in this moment where Laurent’s eyes held his and Damen felt something in him irrefutably change.
He thought of Laurent on his knees in a dimly lit inn, and then after, rolling on top of Damen.
He remembered the words, softly spoken. You’d be my first.
“Damen,” Laurent said.
He’d said it through a breath, a gasp of air like it couldn’t be held back. Damen didn’t think he’d ever heard Laurent say his name like that.
His skin was flushed, starting from his cheeks and making its way down his neck. Damen could see each rise and fall of his chest, could hear each sound as Laurent held himself very still. Damen could feel Laurent’s nails biting into his shoulder, threatening to break skin.
Damen needed it. The sharp sting of pain centered him, sharpened his focus so it was on Laurent’s hands, moving down muscle until he was grappling for Damen’s hand. When their fingers clasped, Damen wasn’t sure who was grounding who.
“Damen,” Laurent said, again. His free hand was on Damen’s side, his elbow bent by his head so their faces were inches apart. “You’re -“ His eyelids were hooded. “Is it –“
He didn’t finish his sentence because Damen was kissing him, his head tilted up so he could take his mouth. Laurent’s lips stiffened against his in surprise, just for a moment, and then his body was lowering the rest of the way so he could kiss Damen back in that sweetly eager way of his.
Their chests brushed. Laurent’s tongue teased Damen’s lip and he opened his mouth to it, wanting more. That thick, intrusive feeling was there but it was dulled by each second, each passing moment where Laurent’s shaky fingers brushed the side of his face and awareness settled in around them. They had done it, finally. Laurent was inside him, where no one else had ever been. Would ever be.
Damen’s arms were moving of their own accord, his body working instinctively like it usually did when he had something he desired. They were winding around Laurent, his hands gliding down the ripples of his back and feeling the firmness there. His fingers tightened and Laurent broke away, panting for air and looking every bit of desperate that Damen wanted. It was a look that Damen barely saw on him, if ever, and he wanted to chase it to its completion. He grabbed at Laurent’s backside, pulling him in, and he heard the sound that left his own mouth when it brought Laurent deeper.
“Wait,” Laurent said, but the word was too broken to be reprimanding, his eyes too large. Damen did it again and Laurent’s hips jerked. “Damen,” he pressed a hand to his chest, but Damen knew the look of a man on the edge.
Damen spread his legs a little wider, watching as Laurent reacted again. His head fell forward and their noses touched, and it was like that that Damen felt the precise roll of his body. It was careful, almost accidental, but he knew Laurent better than that.
“Yes,” Damen said.
He said it into the edge of Laurent’s jaw. It was little more than a whisper, muffled by the press of lips against skin. Still, he knew Laurent heard it by the way he moved again, a little more purpose to the press of his hips.
It stole the breath from Damen’s lungs. He was gripping Laurent’s arms without meaning to, and Laurent was watching him with a sort of dazed look in his eyes as he thrust forward, a slow and easy rhythm. It was like nothing Damen ever experienced. The full length of Laurent moving inside him was so different than he could have imagined, more. It was in how Laurent couldn’t seem to look away, as if that would make everything stop. It was in the way he clinged to Damen like he still wasn’t close enough. It was there – Laurent’s cock hitting hard and deep, and Damen was helpless in the way his toes curled into the bedspread and he moaned Laurent’s name, needing it again.
He did, pulling out slowly and then back in all at once. Laurent made a soft, panting sound as he pushed into Damen’s body, a gradual pace that welled emotion in his lungs and compromised his vision in flashes of white-hot pleasure. It was good. It was so much better than good, and though Damen couldn’t be sure of the expression on his own face, he thought it might be twinned to the one on Laurent’s.
Heavy lidded and damp skinned, it was suddenly as if Laurent couldn’t get enough. Like after allowing a final wall to be penetrated, he was defenseless in giving in to what was splayed out before him for the taking. He was ceaseless as he gave it to Damen, sinking into him again and again. Each joining of their bodies sent hot waves through Damen’s stomach and melted him into liquefied limbs. This was what he had hoped for; to see Laurent like this, enraptured. For Laurent to allow himself this, allow himself to have Damen in every way that he desired.
It surprised Damen to realize how close he was. His cock strained against his stomach heavy and untouched, and Damen would have never thought he could be this close to release from Laurent fucking him alone. The understanding stirred something in him, ignited some dormant part of him that would have spurred him into dominance if he’d thought he was capable of it. All he seemed able to do was press his face into Laurent’s neck, to hold him as tight as his arms would allow and to try to quell what was beginning to seem like too much for one person to contain.
Laurent held him like that as he came, rocking into Damen gently as he spilled against his own stomach. Words were inadequate but they still fell from Damen’s mouth with each gasping breath that came with climax. He felt like all of his senses were entangled together. He felt adrift, and he was only brought back by the ragged sounds of Laurent’s breathing, forcing his eyes open.
Damen was breathing just as hard. His fingers were pressing bruises into Laurent’s hips, he could feel the pressure as he loosened his hold, smoothing over them instead, and he felt Laurent tremble with it. Damen lifted his gaze, and it was with a start that he realized that Laurent had not yet come.
“Don’t stop,” Damen said. He changed the placement of his hands, tracing the backs of Laurent’s thighs and feeling every hair stand on edge. He looked into the unfocused haze of blue, shifting his hips.
The flash of Laurent’s tongue was brief, quicker than the shake of his head. “It’s – “ He pushed a hand into the bed, trying to lift himself. “I can – “
“No,” Damen said. “No.”
Damen was holding him in place, lifting a leg up and around to keep him there. Laurent’s eyes flashed at that, a soft moan slipping out as Damen rolled into him again.
“I want it,” Damen said, and he felt the flip in his stomach when Laurent pressed into him, the smallest of movements. He felt like he’d been saying that all night, like it had been hours of him trying to make Laurent see, to make him understand how deep this ran. He brushed a hand through Laurent’s hair, clearing it away from his eyes and tilting his head enough that he could tell him exactly what he wanted, how he’d thought of Laurent finishing deep inside him, how the thought kept him up.
Laurent made an abrupt sound, a cross between Damen’s name and a gasp, and then he shuddered hard in Damen’s embrace as he found his own release.
They laid like that, after, collapsed in each others arms with nothing left between them but a line of sweat and the occasional hum of content. Laurent’s face was concealed from his view, and It seemed that after all that transpired he was unable to do much more than simply lie there, sprawled on top of Damen feebly. Damen felt a euphoric sense of peace settle over him, one he’d only begun to feel those past few mornings when he woke up with Laurent against him, thought it was different now. More absolute.
Damen ran a hand down the back of Laurent’s head, smoothing down the soft strands and smiling through a long inhale. Laurent’s head had been down and unmoving against his chest, and when he eventually lifted it it was with the wrung out, satisfied look that Damen knew well.
He was lovely like this. His eyes were bright and energetic, despite the softness lining the edges. It made him look younger. A man trying out new things because he felt safe to. Because he wanted to.
“What,” Laurent said, artfully flat. His chin was resting on Damen’s pectoral muscle, and when Damen didn’t answer he narrowed his eyes.
The sight of it only caused Damen’s smile to grow, so soon after. Laurent’s expression altered with that as well, taking on the one he wore when he called Damen an idiot with a fond tone, chastising. He knocked his ankle into Damen’s without looking, and that too was unexpected. Damen gave him a light, careless shove back, and as they smiled at each other Damen began to feel it again. The hopeful stirrings of something new.