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Faraday hadn’t felt this nervous when he’d sent out the invites. He’d scratched each of them out on thick letter headed sheets, which he carefully folded into an envelope and sealed with wax, more than a little kitsch although Faraday didn’t mind. In fact, he had welcomed it, as he had sat at his writing desk in his office, feeling a part of something bigger than himself - more ancient. 

 

Dr Faraday, Hundreds Hall. Dr Faraday, Hundreds Hall. The name and address caught his eye on the paper every time he reached for a new page and Faraday had felt his lips almost twitch into a smile. Everything, Faraday had thought, was finally falling into place. The house itself had felt alive in a way it never had before; it was practically glowing, brighter than could be provided from the little electric lamps alone. Still, Faraday couldn’t help but remember the events of the previous years. It had been quite a sad affair, really, poor Mrs Ayres. Poor Caroline.

 

Faraday’s heart had clenched, his hand hovering over the page where he had begun to sign his name at the bottom of the invitation. It always did give him a strange feeling, remembering those gruesome events in the very house that was his home now - his pride and joy, his safe haven.

 

It was different now from the way it was back then when the house had been dilapidated and crumbling, rotting from the inside out like the Ayres family themselves. Faraday liked to think that they would be proud of him for restoring the grand old house. 

 

It had taken him years on his modest Doctor’s wage, especially with the chaos of the newly born NHS. He’d done a lot of the work himself; scrubbing every floorboard and repainting all of the walls, before he got professionals to fix the fittings. And now, Faraday was pretty sure that Hundreds had never looked as good. Each room, he’d made sure, was furnished beautifully in the old Victorian style fitting of such a place and all the history that lay beneath the floorboards and the wall panels, all of the people who had lived and died here stretching back through the Ayres family tree - it’s branches large and plentiful. And now Faraday’s name had sprouted among them, unfurling from its newly formed branch. 

 

It was lonely, though, even Faraday could admit that much. So, a party. Invites. The world’s most rich and famous invited to see Faraday’s masterpiece, to induct him into their ranks. It had all seemed like such a wonderful idea; a fitting tribute to the house and a chance to show off his pride and joy. 

 

But now that he stands at the foot of the stairs, directing the flow of traffic of the catering and the waiters, it seems all too full of noise suddenly, and Faraday finds himself wishing that he’d kept the old house to himself. He’s so busy directing two young men with large floral arrangements to the sitting room, that he doesn’t notice the man approaching him.

 

‘Excuse me, sir,’ the voice is soft and lightly accented, immediately catching Faraday’s attention. ‘Are you Dr Faraday?’ 

 

He turns to see a young man with dark hair and sad dark eyes, standing nervously only a few yards away, waiters and two men moving extra chairs into the dining room pushing past him. The young man’s shoulders are curved inwards slightly as if he’s trying to take up as little space as possible. Still, he’s at least the same height as Faraday, a rare enough thing in itself, and at least twice as broad despite his gentle demeanour. Faraday feels himself unconsciously drawing himself up a little straighter.

 

‘Yes, I’m Faraday,’ he says, his gaze roaming over the other man. His hair is slick with pomade but he wears it coyly flipped to one side. Even his tuxedo screams American, big and overbearing even if it’s only black and white. It’s everything Faraday hates rolled into one - the very epitome of the new American money, with none of the class or history of the old upper classes. But maybe it’s his soft and slightly shy attitude, saturated with melancholy but Faraday already knows that this man is different. 

 

‘I’m the pianist,’ he says softly, piercing gaze never leaving Faraday’s face. Faraday returns it; his nerves are made of steel, even if his heart hammers in his chest. ‘I was hired for,’ the young man pauses, letting Faraday glimpse the tip of his tongue as he wets his lips, ‘a party?’ 

 

Faraday is rather proud of the grand piano. It’s one of the few original things that he’d been able to allow to remain, although he’d had to have it fixed professionally and cleaned not trusting himself with such a delicate artefact. 

 

‘Oh, yes,’ Faraday replies, remembering himself. ‘Of course.’

 

Faraday leads him through the house to the second sitting room, where the last of the decorations are being fitted into place - the face of the old grandfather clock is being cleaned, a vase of freshly picked flowers placed in the centre of the room and little streams of bunting across the windows. A little kitsch, but it reminds Faraday of the glory days and of that fateful summer - that he would right the wrongs and take his rightful place, as lord of the manor, no matter what it took. 

 

‘It’s a beautiful house, sir,’ the pianist says, his eyes wide and sincere, as he sits down at the piano. His eyes remind Faraday, somewhat, of that blasted dog of Caroline’s. He has to conclude that they look much nicer on this man though, Faraday’s treacherous heart giving the barest hint of a flutter at just the sight of Basil's eyes. 

 

Still, the compliment fills up some cold area of his chest and he can’t help but smirk in response, the barest upturning of the corners of his lips. 

 

‘It is rather, isn’t it?’ He says after a moment, biting back the urge to tell the man the whole sordid tale - 1919, the dilapidation, his repairs after the unfortunate events with the Ayre’s. Instead, he finds himself asking, ‘what was your name again?’ He feels more than a little foolish, after all, he had invited him - all the way from America no less.

 

‘Basil,’ the pianist replies after a moment, voice soft. A look passes over his face, Basil’s eyebrows drawing together and his lips tilting downwards before it’s gone again and Basil’s features are flat and neutral, like a cloud whipped up by the wind.

 

‘A good name,’ Faraday finds himself saying, just for something to say. He feels his lip twitch; he wants, so desperately, to keep talking to this young man - this Basil, who stands there in front of him in his ill-fitting suit and his desperately sad eyes. 

 

‘Thank you,’ Basil says, swallowing - Faraday tracking the movement of his Adam’s apple with his eyes before he shifts his gaze away forcibly. It must be something about the stress of the party that has him feeling this way; so unbalanced, Faraday tells himself. ‘Was there anything, in particular, you wanted me to play?’ 

 

Faraday shudders. ‘Oh, none of that dreadful jazz,’ he says, not missing Basil’s grimace at his statement. Basil quickly regains his composure, his mouth tilting up into a faint smile.

 

‘As you say, sir,’ Basil says flatly, rubbing his fingers. 

 

‘It’s just Faraday, Basil,’ Faraday reassures him, unable to stop his lips from twitching into his second half-smile of the day. He feels quite unbalanced as he walks away, at a loose end. He hasn’t felt this way since…

 

Since her. 

 

He retreats to the stairs, which have apparently become his safe haven. Suddenly, he can’t wait for this all to be over and for him to have the house to himself again. Faraday’s lost in thought when he hears something from upstairs, on the second floor, that sounds like a bird flying into a windowpane and making it jiggle in its fitting. Which is ridiculous, because Faraday had checked and secured all the windows just yesterday.  He gets up, intending to go and investigate - after all, he can’t bear the thought of a pigeon flapping about the place when his guests are here. Before he can start up the stairs, however, the music starts up. It’s gentle at first, a bit apprehensive and stuttering before Basil must get into it, but Faraday is immediately entranced - recognising Handel immediately. 

 

Instead, Faraday drifts back towards the sitting room, peering at Basil’s broad back through the doorway. The pigeon can wait.

 

**

 

Faraday feels like he’s been stood in the entryway greeting guests for hours.

 

It certainly feels different from his first party at Hundreds, at least. It’s not just because he’s playing the role of the host now instead of as a guest. It’s both better and worse. The atmosphere is much improved, even if Faraday says so himself; there are too many people for such a similarly drab affair.

 

Still, he can’t help but feel snubbed by half of his guests who each inquire about what ‘dear Roderick’ is doing now and seem to forget Faraday’s name immediately if they had even heard it at all. The other half is no better; Faraday feels his skin crawl at them - businessmen and their wives, not a drop of noble blood between them.

 

He at least has an appreciation for these things, he convinces himself. Not at all like them. 

 

‘Welcome to Hundreds Hall,’ Faraday says holding out his hand to the next guest, a young man with black hair. He reminds Faraday of Basil somehow, something about his height and those broad shoulders. As soon as he gets a good look at the man’s face, however, Faraday changes his mind. This man is scowling, his eyes piercing where Basil’s are soft; they’re really nothing alike, Faraday decides quickly, shaking himself. 

 

‘Abraham H. Parnassus,’ the man says, staring at Faraday’s hand. ‘I’m in oil. It isn’t for the weak.’

 

‘Ah, yes,’ Faraday says, inwardly grimacing. Another new money American, with none of the refined manners of his fellow Englishmen. Faraday’s not sure how much more of this he can take, although this Abraham H. Parnassus seems to be one of the last.

 

‘It is the Earth’s milk,’ Parnassus says gravely, nodding his head as if he’s said something deeply insightful.

 

‘Ah,’ Faraday says, feeling a bit like a broken record. ‘Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that.’ He shuffles his feet, glancing back towards the sitting room and praying to god that Parnassus has said his piece and will move on to talk to someone else. 

 

‘This won’t take long will it?’ Parnassus asks, stepping further inside to stare around the corner at the sitting room - now bustling with people. ‘I have to be on my way back,’ he continues, not bothering to even glance in Faraday’s direction, ‘I can’t let H.R. Pickens get ahead. I have to crush him into the ground.’ 

 

Faraday can’t do anything but gape at him, although to most the movement of his jaw would be minimal. Parnassus reminds Faraday, distantly, of a steam train; a lot of noise and heat that forces everything out of its path.  

 

‘Do you have a wife Faraday?’ Parnassus says. It should be a question but coming from Parnassus Faraday isn’t quite sure; it seems more like a demand. 

 

Faraday’s whole-body flashes with heat and his teeth sink into his lower lip. ‘What kind of question…,’ he says before he can stop himself, taking a deep breath to regain his composure. ‘No,’ he continues, acidly. The memory of Catherine’s rejection is still fresh, after all of these years - still stings him. He feels stretched thin. He’s so used to being in control, to being so cold and detached and yet the one day he needed it the most, his body is letting him down.

 

Around them, the lights flicker. The last thing Faraday could do with right now is a power cut. 

 

‘Hm,’ Parnassus grunts, opening his mouth as if he’s about to say something else.

 

‘If you’ll excuse me,’ Faraday says, not waiting for a reply before he disappears to find a waiter with a glass of sherry. 

 

**

 

As if by some force out of his control, Faraday finds himself drifting back towards the piano where Basil is still playing dutifully while the guests mill around him - never bothering to glance in his direction. Faraday’s nervous at first, hanging back to take small sips from his glass before he remembers that it’s his house after all - he is allowed to impose on the pianist that he is paying. He’s still only on his second glass of sherry but his chest feels warm and loose, especially as he approaches Basil.

 

There’s something about Basil’s music, that’s what it must be. 

 

‘You play beautifully,’ he says, sliding in beside him on the piano bench, feeling bold. And perhaps a little reckless. 

 

Basil stiffens, his fingers stumbling over the keys. ‘Thank you, Faraday,’ he says softly, ‘I’ve enjoyed this evening. It’s not really… my scene, but I have enjoyed it.’ He turns towards Faraday, smiling sadly and its Faraday’s turn to freeze.

 

He takes a shaky sip of his drink, heart hammering. ‘Basil,’ he says, not sure where he’s going with this but wanting to talk to Basil regardless, ‘I was wondering if you’d like to-’

 

‘Faraway!’ A familiar voice shouts, cutting Faraday off. 

 

‘Faraday,’ he corrects, clenching his jaw and edging a little closer to Basil, although he’s almost glad for Parnassus’ interruption. No doubt he would’ve only said something stupid. 

 

‘Look at me,’ Parnassus says, leaning in close so that ‘If you want to be the picture of strength, like me, you must do much better. You must be strong and crush your enemies. H. R. Pickens only has so much time left. And there were simply not enough swine livers! Hardly a party-'

 

‘Mr. Parnassus!’ Faraday grits out. The house shudders, the paintings shaking on the walls as an inhuman screech rings out, echoing through the house.

 

‘You!’ Parnassus says, turning towards Basil who is still dutifully playing. Faraday swallows, getting up out of his seat to stand between the two of them. He can’t face the thought of Parnassus ripping into dear, sweet Basil. 

 

‘You play most beautifully,’ Parnassus continues and Faraday breathes a sigh of relief.

 

‘Oh,’ Basil says, his voice high and nervous to Faraday’s horror. ‘Thank you, sir!’ 

 image

‘Mr. Parnassus,’ Faraday says, clearing his throat. He nods in the direction of the quickly emptying sitting room. ‘It’s quite late and I think you mentioned that you have to be getting back to America. Perhaps you’d like to,’ he nods his head again, flailing his hands in a very English gesture of not wanting to be rude but indicating his desire for Parnassus to fuck off.

 

‘Oh no, dear boy,’ Parnassus says, despite the fact that Faraday is convinced that he must be younger than both of them, ‘I intend to discuss the methods of drilling for oil with Basil here. Maybe some practical demonstrations. You have plenty of useless rooms here. You remind me of H. R. Pickens, he has a lot of useless rooms.’ Faraday’s brows furrow. Practical demonstrates of oil drilling? With Basil? Surely Parnassus hasn’t brought drilling equipment over to England with him. And why would he need one of Faraday’s guest bedrooms for that?

 

He means…

 

Oh…

 

Faraday feels the tips of his ears go hot and he risks a glance at Basil’s face. He’d expected Basil to look disgusted but instead, Basil’s cheeks look flushed and his lips are parted in a smile. Basil looks intrigued if anything. 

 

The lights flicker, distracting Faraday for just a moment.

 

‘Basil,’ Faraday manages to choke out. His lungs feel heavy as his heart pounds in his chest. There’s something stirring low in his gut and Faraday can’t decide whether it’s sickness or something else. ‘Basil? What are…,’ Faraday mumbles; he can’t quite bring himself to think about it - to think about what Parnassus and Basil. 

 

‘I thought you’d never ask,’ Basil says, looking like he can’t quite believe he’s saying it himself. Basil’s lips are open and glossy, and Faraday finds his attention drawn there - unable to look away; it starts something fragile and feeble in his chest that Faraday refuses to name. It reminds him too much of her, of Caroline but more, stronger than it had ever been with her already. The awkward fumble in the car flashes back to him, slipping his fingers beneath her blouse and touching her soft warm skin - except it’s Basil instead, all pale skin and dark eyes looking up at him. 

 

‘Come on then dear boy.’ Faraday had almost forgotten Parnassus was there. But it seems that the feeling is mutual because Parnassus doesn’t even glance in Faraday’s direction as Parnassus reaches out to take Basil’s arm, the same way as Faraday had seen gentlemen do to ladies. 

 

But Parnassus was no gentleman, Faraday thought as a tightness spread through his jaw. He can see how tight Parnassus’s grip must be around Basil’s arm

 

‘Before we petrify,’ Parnassus grumbles, starting to cross the room with Basil in tow. There’s a rustling sound in the ceiling like old floorboards shifting and Faraday starts to worry - distantly, that he’ll have to replace them. He’d already had to replace the ones in Susan’s old room, eaten away by beetles and strange scratches, which had taken him days and is not something that Faraday is too willing to do again. 

 

But before he can glance up something shiny and black shoots past his face, landing with a muffled thump on the carpet next to Faraday's feet. A crow, black feathers contrasting starkly against the red carpet. Faraday jumps back, sucking in a sharp breath of revulsion but doesn’t have time to contemplate it as Parnassus and Basil disappear out of the room.  

 

‘Excuse me!’ Faraday says as he storms after them, barely holding onto his composure. He feels like stomping his foot, uselessly childish, swelling in him. ‘Excuse me! This is my house you know!’ 

 

Parnassus doesn’t even turn away from where he’s rattling each door handle, Basil pressed improperly closely to his side. Faraday thinks, for a moment, that Parnassus is finally listening to him but instead Parnassus leans down to press a kiss to Basil’s lips. 

 

‘Parnassus what the devil are you…?’ 

 

‘His name is Abraham, Faraday,’ Basil says, smiling as he bites his lip. Faraday shivers, the feeling travelling through his entire body; he feels completely unbalanced like everything has tilted on its axis. What is happening? Why had he invited these Americans with their strange ways?

 

But most puzzling of all, why is this sending a flash of desire through him? 

 

‘Are you two going to...?’ He says, trailing off as he’s unable to utter the word - barely even able to think it. Especially not with sweet, soft-spoken, handsome Basil. It’s not like Faraday thinks that Basil looks breakable; Basil’s taller and wider and no doubt much stronger than Faraday is. But there’s something about him, something dark just beneath the surface; a sadness that tinges Basil’s every word. Basil is good, that much Faraday knows, and far too good for someone like Parnassus - so brash and uncultured, someone who did not deserve any respect.

 

Faraday can’t say the same of himself, that much he can admit without dwelling on the past, but he feels confident that he can sense the goodness in others at least. He suddenly feels a great sense of regret for trying to move on, to keep up with the times by writing that damned invitation to Parnassus. New money are all alike, Faraday thinks. 

 

Oh, Faraday realises distantly. He’s jealous. Jealous of Parnassus, of the way he can assert himself - his thoughts and feelings with such ease. It’s obnoxious yes, but it leaves Faraday feeling like a shell - empty and useless, always so repressed and unable to express his emotions. Proper, yes, but unable to connect with those around him like everyone else seemed to be able to.

 

The door that Parnassus had been opening slams, right in his face, so loudly that it breaks Faraday out of his stupor. His gaze moves over the old oak panelling, trying to find a cause - a draft from an open window or door perhaps, a mislaid guest who had somehow managed to go unnoticed until now. But he finds nothing, no explanation as to why such an old and heavy door should slam shut and lock itself. All he’s left with is a feeling of satisfaction at Parnassus being thwarted for now.  

 

‘What was… what was that Abe?’ Basil mutters as he presses a little closer to Parnassus’ side, Faraday watching with growing horror as Basil strokes his hand up Parnassus’ arm. It’s such an intimate gesture that Faraday feels himself flushing, sweating uncomfortably beneath his jacket.

 

‘Fuck,’ Parnassus says, not acknowledging that he’s even heard Basil. Instead of giving up, as Faraday thinks any sane individual would when some unknown force slammed and locked a door in their face, Parnassus seems to redouble his efforts - jiggling the handle with all of his might, if the grunting sounds, he makes are anything to go by. What does Basil see in a man like Parnassus, Faraday wonders. ‘You will not best me. Just like H.R. Pickens, I will crush you beneath my boot! I will grind you until your bones are nothing but dust and then-’

 

‘Abe, I don’t think trees have bones,’ Basil cuts in softly, the mere sound of his voice drawing all of Faraday’s attention. It’s so melodic and yet sorrowful, just like the way Basil plays the piano. It’s at odds with the utter ridiculousness of the statement Basil had just made; Faraday feels like ever since Parnassus had arrived at the house, his world has turned on its head, like Faraday is his very own Alice in Wonderland, pressed up against the small house that tries to contain him where up is down and down is up. He can’t make sense of anything in his normally ordered world. These feelings are too much, too new and Faraday feels like his head is spinning.

 

‘Perhaps I may suggest an alternative,’ Faraday says before he can think about it. He moves his hand to point up the stairs, the same stairs that he remembers from when he was a boy - that generations upon generations of the Ayres family have walked up and down. And now this. Faraday feels a thrill of shame go through his body, like a shiver, except for the first time in his life, it doesn’t feel like a burden. It’s pleasurable even, his cock taking an interest. What the hell is he doing, leading these two near strangers through his house for acts that he can barely bring himself to think about without blushing? What the hell is he doing actually enjoying it?

 

Faraday leads them to the master bedroom - his bedroom, without thinking as his feet move of their own accord. It’s too personal here, Faraday knows the memory will stick as soon as he opens the door; it’ll sink into the plush carpet and soft sheets, like a bad stain.

 

‘Didn’t think you had the guts, Faraway,’ Parnassus says, inscrutable, although Faraday gets the distinct impression he’s being laughed at. ‘You’re really going to go through with this.’ Faraday turns on his heel, ready to give Parnassus a piece of his mind until he catches sight of the look on Parnassus’s face. Parnassus’s jaw is set in a solid line, the muscle visibly flexing, and his eyes are piercing, his gaze focused on Faraday. Faraday is sure that he must be Parnassus’s senior, and yet the other man manages to look so old and young at the same time. Like a force of nature. And what can Faraday do against a force of nature except, yield?  His cock twitches in his trousers, pressing against them in a way that’s uncomfortable and must be unsightly - although Faraday doesn’t allow himself to glance downwards, too ashamed.

 

‘You’ve underestimated me, then,’ he manages to squeak out in reply, not helping his case much. Once again, he wonders how exactly he got here until Basil brushes past him - shooting him a smile that’s warm but tinged with a gentle sadness.

 

‘I’m glad,’ Basil says quietly and ah yes, Faraday thinks completely disgustingly smitten, that’s why. He was swept along in Basil’s wake, this sweet and understated man - wearing his sadness like a cloak, whom Faraday felt already a great understanding with. He dared not ask, but he was sure that they both bore similar a sadness. Faraday steps inside after the two of them, pushing the door closed with a sound that indicates a sense of finality that Faraday isn’t sure he’s ready for.

 

‘You two on the bed,’ Parnassus says, his voice low and commanding, before Faraday can start to worry. Although it rubs him the wrong way at first, Faraday is moving before he can think about it, enjoying giving himself over to the freedom of submission. The bed frame squeaks a little as Faraday climbs on top of the covers, heart pounding. He doesn’t dare to look up at Basil until a hand slips over his face, warm and calloused.

 

‘Come here,’ Basil’s voice is as warm as his palm, Basil’s thumb stroking the hinge of Faraday’s jaw. Faraday swallows, as Basil’s lips slide against his own. This much he knows well-worn like the back of his hand. He’d kissed Caroline many times before and Basil’s lips are sweet and soft, so Faraday leans into the touch - licking his way into Basil’s mouth. 

 

Basil’s hands slide their way down over Faraday’s shoulders, nimbly getting to work on the buttons of his shirt. With each inch of his own skin that Basil reveals, Faraday gets bolder, even as he becomes the naked one in a room of clothed men. He should be embarrassed or ashamed, but he feels neither - moaning softly against Basil’s lips as they break apart to catch their breath. 

 

‘Come on Abe,’ Basil says sweetly, as if it was a perfectly innocent request, as he tugs Faraday’s trousers down over his legs. ‘Join us.’

 

Parnassus it seems does not need to be told twice, crawling naked across the bed until he’s situated between Faraday’s thighs, and Faraday finds himself pulled back against the plain of Basil’s chest. 

 image

‘Perfect,’ Parnassus mutters under his breath and Faraday feels himself flush under the praise. ‘You remind me of oil, hidden deep underground. I’ll need to drill for you too.’ The smile soon slips from Faraday’s face at Parnassus’s usual lacklustre metaphors. 

 

He reaches between Faraday’s thighs, slipping one large hand around Faraday’s aching cock and fuck he’s so much better when he’s not speaking, Faraday decides. Faraday swallows his moans, forcing his hips to stay still and his back ramrod straight against Basil’s chest, willing himself to stay under control even as he feels it slipping. He’s worried that he’s done something wrong, as Parnassus pulls away to reach something out of the pocket of his discarded jacket. 

 

‘Oil, my dear boy, has many uses,’ Parnassus says as if he’s an elder imparting ancient knowledge to his students. He holds the little tin up to the light as if to show Faraday better. 

 

‘Surely you don’t mean… gasoline! Good God man!’ Faraday says anxiously, heart-pounding as the thought strikes the fear of God through him. Or at least the fear from his nether regions against any open flames. 

 

‘There is more than one type of oil, dear boy,’ Parnassus replies, his eyebrows raised as if he is particularly offended by this notion. ‘Oil is Earth’s milk, it comes in many forms,’ Parnassus pauses to lick his lips and Faraday’s poor cock is conflicted on whether to be disgusted or aroused by the sight, ‘many pleasures, many new ways to sew my festering seed in new pastures.’

 

Faraday feels like he’s going to retch at the imagery alone and is about to say as much, except that Parnassus has got a hand gripping his hip and is sinking a finger slowly into his entrance, pushing inside with a gentleness Faraday wouldn’t have expected of Parnassus.

 

He’s had sex before, of course, because he’s felt that’s what he should do - awkward fumbles with Caroline aside. It’s always been quick and mechanical, like something out of one of his thick medical tomes. But this is… this is...

 

Faraday arches into the touch as Parnassus’ finger hits a spot inside of him that sends sparks blooming behind Faraday’s eyelids, his teeth sinking into the meat of his lip and using the pain that blooms there to keep some semblance of control over himself. He wants to cry out, wanton and completely debauched, but he clenches his jaw to stop the noises from spilling out. 

 

‘I think he likes that,’ Parnassus says, breaking the mood as always. Basil giggles but Faraday doesn’t get a chance to focus on it because Parnassus is sliding a second finger, alongside the first. 

 

Faraday can’t hold back his sounds any longer, a moan ripping its way from somewhere deep in his chest, his fingers tightening over the sheets. His hips rock backwards of their own accord, as he fucks himself on Parnassus's thick fingers alone. Faraday feels so needy and desperate but somehow he can't stop himself from seeking the stimulation, from riding Parnassus's fingers until they hit that spot inside of him over and over again, with every snap of his hips.

 

‘You look amazing,’ Basil praises, his voice soft as his warm hands slide of Faraday’s jaw once again. ‘May I?’ His forefinger rubs at the edge of Faraday’s kiss swollen lip, timidly begging for entrance.

 

Faraday isn’t able to reply, not with words at least, so instead, he does all he can think to do - letting his mouth slip open to allow Basil’s probing fingers entry. He swirls his tongue over Basil’s fingers without thinking, sucking them into his mouth. He hears Basil gasp but before Faraday can feel too smug about it, Parnassus is shifting his fingers inside of Faraday and setting Faraday’s senses alight as he thrusts back against Parnassus’s fingers, riding them weakly.

 

‘Is it okay if I use your mouth?’ Basil asks as he threads a hand through Faraday’s hair, tugging gently. Faraday moans, arching up against Basil’s hand - enjoying the submission and the twin shocks of pain and pleasure, radiating from his scalp. He finds himself mindlessly chasing Basil’s fingers, as they slip from his mouth at the same time as Parnassus’s are removed from his arse.

 

‘Ready?’ Basil says and Faraday isn’t quite what he’s talking about except that he feels cold and empty without their fingers inside of him. 

 

‘Yes. Please,’ he mumbles, his voice cracked and desperate. His knees feel like jelly as Parnassus’s large hands gently ease him down onto all fours, but he finds that he can’t do anything but comply - doesn’t want to do anything else than have both of his partners’ hands all over him.

 

‘Hold still,’ Parnassus commands and Faraday braces himself for what’s to come, his cock already leaking at the thought. ‘H. R. Pickens was weak and could never-,’ all thoughts of concentrating on whatever drivel Parnassus is talking about are pushed from Faraday’s mind as Parnassus’s cock, slick and bigger than he’d expected eases into him. Faraday feels like the air is being forced from his lungs, gasping at the sensation as his body trembles with pleasure. 

 

And then Basil is framing Faraday’s jaw gently with his hand, his cock level with Faraday face and Faraday understands. The moan he lets out is closer to a whine, high pitched and nothing like any sound Faraday thinks he's ever made before.

 

‘Please, please I need it,’ he begs, too far gone to be embarrassed at his own display. He will be later though, that much he’s sure of, his cheeks stained red with thoughts of his over emotion even as he slips a hand between his thighs to touch himself. 

 

Basil exhales softly, lining himself up with Faraday’s mouth before he slips inside - slowly, giving Faraday time to adjust. Faraday’s full at both ends stretched completely open so that everything is bared. He’s not sure what to do, moving erratically as he’s taken over by pure sensation and lust - alternating between moving backwards to meet Parnassus thrusts and forwards to swallow Basil down further. 

 

‘Easy,’ Basil says gently as if he and Parnassus are one being and their movements are connected. ‘Let us take care of you.’

 

Faraday realises distantly, that something is rattling as the lights above them flicker. He doesn’t have a chance to wonder what it is before Parnassus’s hips piston into him again and Faraday’s mind goes nicely warm and blank beyond simply feeling. 

 

‘Oh lord, oh god,’ Basil’s panting, his voice sounding completely wrecked. ‘What is that? Fuck it feels so good.’

 

‘It feels like a hand,’ Parnassus grunts, somehow thrusting even harder so that he hits that sweet spot inside of Faraday every time. ‘Where is it…?’

 

Faraday groans as the same sensation closes around his cock, the lights flickering. There is no hand, he’s sure of it, and yet something is stimulating him - rubbing his cock in even strokes until he’s moaning around Basil’s cock. The edges of his vision turn white, pleasure flowing through him as he comes and the pressure that’s been building inside of him releases. 

 

Faraday’s chest heaves and he feels completely spent, unable to do anything but hang limply in Parnassus’s iron grasp as the other two men take a few last stuttering thrusts before spilling into him. Basil is first and Faraday tries best to swallow without choking as Basil cries out, before Parnassus is coming too, seated deep inside of Faraday.

 

Faraday collapses onto his side finally, breathing heavily. He feels warm and loose and thoroughly used, his arse already leaking come onto the sheets. An arm winds around his shoulders and another around his waist, boxing him in and Faraday finds himself leaning naturally into the twin embrace as his eyes feel heavier and heavier, sleep on the edge of every blink. 

 

‘What was that?’ Basil whispers, breaking the silence. 

 

Nobody answers, too blissed out to care what supernatural being had touched them. At least the being had had talented hands, Faraday thinks as his eyelids droop. It can’t have meant any harm. 

 

**

 

The morning is crisp and clear, Faraday’s breath making little clouds in the air. He slides his hands into the pockets of the green woollen coat he’s taken to wearing around the grounds of Hundreds, fingertips touching against the woollen mittens he keeps inside each pocket for particularly frosty mornings. Today isn’t that bad, the sun peeking through the clouds and warming the ground just enough that

 

Parnassus is both a man of few and many words, Faraday has come to learn. Sentiment foils him, but beneath that rough exterior, Faraday is sure that Parnassus feels something for him. He had stayed, after all, for that handful of lazy days (spent mostly in bed) not just for Basil’s sake. For once, he doesn’t say anything as he heads towards the car with Basil in tow. But the nod that Parnassus sends Faraday as they pass each other is more than a simple movement of his head, Faraday is sure. Parnassus's eyes are bright, sparkling with some unsaid emotion that is far softer than his usual bluster. 

 

Basil and Parnassus slide into the car together with an easy familiarity that almost makes Faraday flush with the blue memories it conjures up. Parnassus and Basil matching each other’s rhythm so easily as they used him, as they stroked each other’s cock’s, and with each groan that they drew from each other’s lips with their fingers. 

 

‘Faraday!’ Basil calls, rolling down the window. ‘You’ll come to visit soon, won’t you?’ Even from the distance between them, which feels both like an ocean and a couple of yards rolled into one, Faraday can see how wide Basil’s eyes are and the way his gaze is searching Faraday’s face.

 

Faraday’s voice falters for a moment, as something hot and fragile settles somewhere in his chest. He has the most confusing urge to cry despite the fact that his heart is brimming with what he thinks must be joy, his lips twitching into the barest hint of a smile even as his eyes prickle with unshed tears.

 

‘Of course, I will,’ he manages to say, after a moment. ‘Soon.’

 

Faraday closes his eyes, feeling the warmth of the sunlight spreading over his skin. He listens to the sound of the car's wheels up the road until his ears are straining for the rumble of the engine. He doesn’t allow himself to dwell for too long, he has matters to attend to, of course, and he blinks them open again and turns back towards Hundreds. He’ll see them again soon, after all. And most importantly he won’t forget. The house is silent around him, somehow feeling at peace.