Hubert is upon him the moment he slips into the minister’s rooms. Both hands in Ferdinand’s hair, raking down to the loose ribbon where he’s gathered it at one shoulder; their mouths pushing each other apart with the same urgency Ferdinand feels to rip open the many fastenings of Hubert’s clothing. Ferdinand grabs hold of his narrow hips and refuses to let him go.
They’ve been courting for a few months now, and still he hasn’t tired of this feeling, still he finds it flowing through his mind all day: memories of all they’ve done and whispers of what they’ll do a constant river threatening to carry him away. How is the cold-blooded minister who delivers a dispassionate report on prisoner interrogations the same man who whimpers and begs beneath Ferdinand, tears leaking from his eyes, his whole body flushed red, teeth grinding into Ferdinand’s shoulder as he comes? How is the shadowy assassin who staggers back to the palace covered in others’ blood the gentle soul who curls against him in sleep, who murmurs soft words of adoration that Ferdinand cherishes like jewels? He loves him both ways, he loves all of him, he wants him, he wants.
“I love you,” Ferdinand gasps between kisses, his thigh trapped between Hubert’s knees, his back arching against the door.
Hubert’s tongue sweeps inside him before he parts with a gentle suck at Ferdinand’s lower lip. “And I love you.”
He’s cradling Ferdinand’s face now, thumbs sweeping at his cheekbones as if he’s tracing the freckles there, eyes intent on Ferdinand’s. But there’s something different in his touch—not the thin cotton of the gloves they wear as part of their daily uniform, and not the callused, scarred scrape of Hubert’s own hands, battered and burned by dark magic’s cost. They are warm, and too smooth—save for the thinnest hint of a seam—
Oh. Ferdinand’s stomach does a little flip. He strains his gaze, trying to look at the black leather gloves holding him firm—
Hubert smiles, almost shyly, and breathes a tiny laugh. “I was wondering when you would notice.”
“Notice what?” Ferdinand asks, the squeak in his voice betraying him. He’s clutching Hubert’s hips too hard, and Hubert adjusts his stance.
“Don’t think I haven’t seen the way you react when I wear them.” He brushes the side of Ferdinand’s face with the backs of his fingers. The leather is impossibly supple, leaving the faintest tang of a tannery in the air. “I always see you, love.”
Ferdinand closes his eyes with a shiver as Hubert lowers one hand to the fastenings of his coat. “They remind me of your . . . many, many talents.”
The buttons pop open with far more ease than Ferdinand could have thought possible while Hubert is wearing those gloves. “And what talents might those be?” Hubert asks, in that low, intoxicating tone of his. Like fine oak. Like the softest of chains.
“Weaving spells.” Not to be outdone, Ferdinand starts on the buckles and hooks of Hubert’s cloak. “Handling dangerous substances with great care.” He catches the cape just before it falls to the floor, then gently slides it down. “Coaxing confessions from uncooperative prisoners . . .”
Hubert shoves open the many unbuttoned layers of Ferdinand’s shirt, waistcoat, jacket, and clenches at his ribs. Slowly, gloved thumbs circle around Ferdinand’s nipples, and Ferdinand gasps, the cold air and promise of warm touch overwhelming—
“You seem plenty cooperative to me.”
Hubert ducks his head and rounds his mouth around one nipple. Drags his tongue against the hard nub. His thumb presses against the other, the glove’s seam like a knife blade against Ferdinand’s oversensitive skin, and Ferdinand bucks his hips upward in a hungry cry.
“Hubert!” He fumbles at the fastenings of Hubert’s jacket. “Hubert, please—”
Hubert’s tongue flicks his nipple from side to side, and then he sucks for a long moment before peeling his lips off with a loud slurp. “Please what, Ferdinand?” He sets his teeth around the tip with the faintest pressure and looks up at him, making eye contact. “Tell me what you want.”
Ferdinand’s hands fall limp to his sides, and Hubert thankfully finishes the work of shrugging out of his own jacket before returning his hands to Ferdinand’s ribs. His hands work down, the buttery leather leaving a searing trail against Ferdinand’s skin, and all he can do is grasp at empty air as Hubert touches him.
“I want—” Ferdinand tries to wet his suddenly dry mouth. “I want you to touch me.”
“With the gloves?” Hubert asks. He slots his hands around Ferdinand’s shoulders, and shoves all the layers of Ferdinand’s clothing down, until they’re trapped around Ferdinand’s biceps, pinning his arms to his sides. Ferdinand strains his arms, but the multiple thick fabrics create surprisingly effective restraints. A smile carves Hubert’s face. “Is that what you want, love?”
Ferdinand is sure he’s blushing all the way down to his chest as he nods.
Hubert’s smirk deepens. He takes a step back from Ferdinand and rolls up the sleeves of his dress shirt, exposing slender but leanly muscled forearms. The inky stains and charred burn marks of black magic snake up his skin from beneath the hem of the gloves, where they stop just above his wrists.
And Ferdinand has spent plenty of time lavishing attention on those hands and arms, kissing and savoring every wound and nick, every alkaline tang of dark magic clinging to that skin. But the sight of them like this sparks a very different want in Ferdinand from his usual instinct to nurture and love that battered flesh. Now it’s all too easy to imagine Hubert catching him by the neck in the crook of that elbow, or pinning him with those forearms, or wrapping those black-clad fingers around his throat, the tender leather pushing and pushing until it bruises, crushes, twists.
“Sweet Ferdinand.” Hubert runs his fingers down Ferdinand’s cheek, but makes no other contact with him. “You relish a taste of danger, don’t you? You like being reminded of the man I am outside of these rooms.”
Ferdinand strains his arms against the strictures of his shirts and catches his fingers around Hubert’s suspenders to tug him near. “I like all of you.”
Hubert’s eyes close as he laughs shakily, but he returns to himself quickly. He cups one hand around the side of Ferdinand’s neck, thumb stroking at his jaw, and meets Ferdinand’s eyes.
“Do you want me to be a little rough with you, darling?”
Ferdinand swallows, feeling Hubert’s hand shift along his neck as he does so. “Please.”
Hubert’s smile darkens. “And you’ll tell me if I should stop?”
Hubert’s thumb slides around to caress the ridges of Ferdinand’s throat, up and down, a slow, relentless drag like playing piano scales, and Ferdinand shivers with a tiny sigh. They’ve been learning each other’s bodies together, finding their way to their own pleasure as well as each other’s. Ferdinand would have not guessed a few well-placed words of praise could leave Hubert begging and leaking before him, but now that he’s found it, he deploys it as strategically as any well-placed attack. And Hubert, it seems, has picked up on that dark thread stitched under Ferdinand’s skin. His need to be valiant—and his need to be debased much the same.
“My beautiful Ferdie.” Hubert kisses his forehead. “So willing. So very needy for me.”
Ferdinand yelps as Hubert grabs him, one hand at his throat and the other at the waistband of his breeches, and wrestles him toward the loveseat of Hubert’s parlor. Hubert sits down and drags Ferdinand onto his lap, facing him, Ferdinand’s thighs bracketing his slender hips. But Ferdinand is still restrained by his own clothing; he tips forward precariously until Hubert steadies him with the hand at his throat.
“Easy, darling.” He grips Ferdinand’s chin and tips it down. “I want you to watch.”
“Watch . . . ?” Ferdinand asks—then whimpers as Hubert unfastens the front of his breeches. The cool air stings against his erection, but then Hubert wraps his hand around Ferdinand’s shaft and coaxes it out, the soft leather feeling blissfully warm and smooth as he grips him firmly.
“Oh,” Ferdinand murmurs, and watches, biting his lower lip, as Hubert’s gloved thumb teases at his slit, smearing glistening precum on the fine leather.
“Mm. I know I’ll never tire of this sight.” Hubert works his thumb a moment longer, then slowly lifts his hand away. “Or this one.”
His gaze locks onto Ferdinand’s, and he presses the smeared thumb of his glove against Ferdinand’s lower lip. Ferdinand can’t help his soft inhale as the leather pushes against him, and then he’s tasting it, and he’s tasting /himself/, salty and a little sour mingling with the musky leathery taste of the gloves. With a pleased murmur, he rounds his lips on Hubert’s thumb and uses his tongue to pull it deeper in.
“O-oh. Well done. You see how excited you already are for me? And I’ve barely begun to touch you.” Hubert smirks, fingers stroking softly at Ferdinand’s jawline as he lets Ferdinand savor his thumb. “Just imagine what more is to come.”
Ferdinand closes his eyes as he nips on Hubert’s thumb with his teeth, then sits back on Hubert’s thighs. “Maybe you should give me an idea.”
Hubert laughs, then withdraws his thumb. “Very well. Sit up a moment.” He taps at Ferdinand’s thigh, and Ferdinand lifts up onto his knees. Then, lithe index fingers grazing Ferdinand’s hips, he shoves Ferdinand’s breeches further down onto his thighs, over and past the swell of his ass.
“Oh, darling.” Hubert caresses one palm over the bared curve of his rump. “I wonder what kind of mark I can leave here with these gloves.”
Ferdinand can’t help but tense at the thought; while they’ve discussed getting a little rougher in the bedroom, it’s mostly been limited to gripping the other’s hair, or biting and sucking hard enough to leave marks. Long before they confessed their feelings, though, he’s imagined it. He’s always imagined Hubert to be a little cruel, a little vicious of a lover, and he relishes the thought.
“Perhaps in a bit,” Hubert muses, and scoots Ferdinand forward, back onto his lap. As he wraps both hands around Ferdinand, he takes one half of his ass in each hand and kneads at them. “Right now, I want to savor you.”
The leather creaks faintly as Hubert’s hands grab and tease, and his teeth dig at Ferdinand’s other nipple.
Ferdinand cannot bend his arms at the elbow, but he can reach back and grab hold of Hubert’s slender thighs in some form of support as he lurches his back up to meet Hubert’s mouth. The taunting, tantalizing suck and scrape of Hubert’s lips and teeth send him spiraling, pulling soft cries from him effortlessly at the delicious sensation. “Hubert,” he murmurs, head rolling back as he gives himself over to the pleasure of Hubert’s mouth, of gloved hands digging at his ass. “Hubert, please, touch me more.”
With a lusty groan, Hubert’s hands inch toward the cleft of his ass and pull him open. As soft as the gloves felt against his skin, one finger seamed and thick from the material is rough and agonizing as it pushes against Ferdinand’s entrance. He shakes with a startled cry, causing Hubert to bite harder, as he pushes and pushes, determines to thrust one gloved finger inside him.
Hubert wrenches off of his nipple with a hearty suck. “What do you think, my darling? Should I have you just like this, fucking you on one finger, stroking you with one hand?” He brings his other hand back around and grasps crudely at Ferdinand’s cock. “Is this what you yearn for when you see me in these gloves?”
But Ferdinand doesn’t get a chance to answer when the gloved finger pushes through the dense ring of muscle at his hole. He wails, first from the fraction, but then from the crook of Hubert’s finger inside him, rubbing him fervently.
“That’s it, darling. There’s that beautiful sound I wanted.”
Ferdinand digs his nails into the thick fabric of Hubert’s trousers, straining to control himself at the fierce, relentless push of Hubert’s finger. He bites his lower lip, trying to soften his cries, but then Hubert lets go of Ferdinand, and tugs that lip from his teeth.
“No, no. That’s my treat to savor.” Hubert smirks at him. “You wouldn’t deprive me, now, would you?”
Ferdinand tries to shake his head, but Hubert’s grip on his chin prevents it. “Never,” he says instead.
Hubert smiles and, with another vicious twist of his finger, tugs Ferdinand’s face down to his own. “I thought not, darling. You are so very good to me.”
Then he seizes Ferdinand’s mouth with his own and sucks his lower lip—hard. Ferdinand hisses and squirms at the cruel dig of Hubert’s teeth, and the heat it sends flaring now inside him. Hubert laughs darkly, teeth grinding in, then slowly releases his lip with a loud suck.
“Please, Hubert,” Ferdinand says, flexing his biceps as he strains against his clothing. “I want you.”
Hubert grips his cock, eyes narrowing. Those pale eyes glint with something darker. “Do you really think you’re ready for me?”
True, Hubert’s gloved finger inside him still burns, but the want that ripples through him burns hotter. “Please . . .”
“Sweet, sweet Ferdinand.” He runs a gloved hand along Ferdinand’s cheek and wipes away a trickle of blood from his lower lip, then makes a slow show of licking it from the thumb of his glove. “So bright. Yet always craving the darkness.”
“I always crave you,” Ferdinand replies.
Hubert’s sadistic expression alters for a moment, eyes rounding with softness, and, Goddess, does Ferdinand love every version of him. But when the darkness returns to Hubert’s face, it does so in force.
He hoists Ferdinand up into the air with a grunt and shoves him toward the nearby armchair, Ferdinand’s knees on the edge of the seat and his face pressed into the high velvet backing. It’s a bit of an awkward position, especially without being able to steady himself with his hands, but Hubert runs one soothing palm along Ferdinand’s rump and the back of his thigh while the other gathers Ferdinand’s hair up and away from his face and shoulders with a reassuring brush of fingers along his neck.
“Is this all right?” Hubert murmurs, keeping up his steady caresses. His breath skids hot down Ferdinand’s ear and shoulders, prickling at his skin.
Ferdinand nods with a swallow, not trusting his voice right now.
“Good.” Hubert kisses the hinge of his jaw. “You’re so good for me.”
And then there’s a forceful crack of leather against dense flesh as he spanks Ferdinand, lifting up into the lowest curve of his ass and following through—and leaving his hand gripped there. Ferdinand yelps, but doesn’t pull away. The stinging pain is more than bearable given the powerful want behind it—Hubert’s want for him, Hubert, Hubert. Ferdinand bites down on his lower lip with a whimper.
“Flames, you take everything so beautifully.” Hubert jiggles the fistful of ass as he drags his tongue around the curve of Ferdinand’s ear. “How it makes me want to see you even more soiled and wrecked.”
Ferdinand whimpers, burying his face in the plush velvet of the chair. Hubert digs his hand off of Ferdinand’s ass and teases his fingertips over the surely reddened flesh there, the leather suddenly rough, too much on Ferdinand’s oversensitive skin. He curls his hips, instinctive.
That draws a low laugh out of Hubert, rumbling against Ferdinand’s neck. “You’re not trying to fight it, are you, darling?”
Ferdinand shakes his head, eyes squeezing shut.
“Good. I would so hate for you to miss out.”
—And then the next smack tears through him, nearly in the same place as the first. The sting of it is different this time, somehow both hotter and colder at once, numbed but also more powerful—and Ferdinand takes notice, now, of the delicate curl to Hubert’s fingers as he seals it in, the feral snarl he makes, the barely chained lust he must be feeling, too, to let such hunger show. And, Goddess, does Ferdinand love him. Love his control, his commanding presence. And equally loves when it splits and cracks.
“If only you could see how red that lovely freckled ass of yours is,” Hubert purrs in his ear. “It’s downright divine.”
Ferdinand feels his cheeks and ears go red to match. “It is all yours.”
Hubert hums gently at that, kneading Ferdinand’s ass again, and his nose trails along Ferdinand’s throat. “Well, then. I think it’s time I took full advantage of it.”
Ferdinand sucks in his breath as Hubert pulls his hand away, then the rest of him—his sudden absence a rush of cold on Ferdinand’s bared skin. But then there’s the clear sound of a vial being unstoppered, and suddenly, Hubert grabs one of Ferdinand’s hands where it’s pinned to his side.
“I don’t want to ruin the leather on these gloves any more than I already have.” He curls Ferdinand’s fingers into a cup. “Help me, would you?”
Ferdinand nods, and Hubert pours a generous amount of oil into his hand. There is a rustling of fabric, and then—Oh. Hubert’s cock, thick and hard, is sliding against his palm. Ferdinand closes his fingers around it, and Hubert grunts as Ferdinand helps slick him up.
“Good,” Hubert purrs. “You’re doing so good.”
Ferdinand sighs at the praise, and can’t resist tightening his grip on Hubert’s shaft. He’s rewarded with an abrupt hiss in his ear before Hubert backs out of his reach.
“Oh, no. No, I have a much better plan than that.” Again those leather gloves are spreading apart Ferdinand’s cheeks, and he shivers with anticipation. The slippery head of Hubert’s cock nudges up against his hole as the gloved fingers dig in. “Be sure to relax, darling,” Hubert says, the smirk apparent in his tone.
He thrusts forward, head pushing past the tight band of muscle at Ferdinand’s entrance. Ferdinand cries out, but quickly stifles it. Hubert pauses, just barely inside of him, and moves his hands to clutch Ferdinand’s hips.
“No need to hold that in. Let me hear every blessed sound.”
So Ferdinand does, full-throated, and relishes the burning drag of Hubert’s cock as he presses inside.
Hubert groans as he seats himself fully and holds there, Ferdinand so wonderfully, painfully filled with him. His own neglected cock is dripping, and his every nerve is fiery, overwhelmed—and Hubert knows it. One of those gloved hands slips down the slope of Ferdinand’s hip to curl around Ferdinand’s painfully hard shaft.
Knees pushing onto the seat of the armchair behind Ferdinand, Hubert begins to thrust. Ferdinand sobs at the overwhelming scrape and burn inside of him, made all the more delicious by the black leather pumping at his cock. He’s moaning wordlessly now, hopeless and pinned, as his dark and greedy lover fucks him relentlessly, his face shoved against the chair, even the velvet beginning to burn on his cheek.
“Is this what you hoped for?” Hubert snarls in his ear. His other hand releases Ferdinand’s hip to encircle his throat. Long, dexterous fingers dig into the thin flesh, not so hard that he can’t breathe, but enough to leave a mark, marking him as Hubert’s, his, his—
“With these gloves, I can do whatever I please. Keep my hands clean.” He becomes more reckless in his thrusts now, hand pumping fiercer on Ferdinand’s erection. “Is this what you imagined? Being used and choked and fucked?”
“Yes,” Ferdinand wheezes, his breath more ragged now. “They’re part of you. I want—every part.”
Hubert’s hips slam into him and grind. “Even the vicious, violent parts? The brutal, bloodstained ones?” He bites at Ferdinand’s earlobe and growls as he fucks into him. “I’m not a good man, but I can be so good for you—”
“No.” Black spots dance in Ferdinand’s vision as he feels himself edging closer to release. “I want the man you are.”
Hubert’s thumb twists at his head as he gives Ferdinand’s cock another forceful pull. His fist closes on Ferdinand’s throat. He is surrounded by Hubert, filled by him, helpless to him—and it’s everything he wants. He wants Hubert—
Ferdinand wails as he comes, pearly white spilling all over black leather, his throat bumping against the steadying clench of Hubert’s other fist. Everything is darkness and light; he’s vaguely aware of Hubert’s reassuring yet sneering tone in his ear and the punch of lean, bony hips against his ass and then heat filling him, flooding him, his lover leaning against him and holding, keeping them locked together as he releases.
Ferdinand’s eyelids flutter as the swirling pleasure in him unwinds and he goes limp against the chair. All the while, he feels Hubert’s steady grip, and the words take shape again.
“Such a good boy for me. So strong. So willing and eager.”
Hubert’s hand falls from his throat, and instead he kisses and nuzzles at Ferdinand’s neck. As he eases out of him, Ferdinand feels sticky warmth leak free—but then Hubert is gathering it up with his fingers. Those same fingers then nudge at Ferdinand’s lips, and with a weary laugh, Ferdinand sucks his filthy spend off of the bitter leather. Salty and bitter, mingled with a pungency—and yet it tastes so much like him, his Hubert, that he savors it like the finest sweet.
“Is this everything you wanted from me, beautiful?” Hubert asks. He carefully works Ferdinand’s clothing the rest of the way down his arms, freeing them at last. “Everything you’d hoped these gloves might bring?”
Slowly, Ferdinand turns to face him, and clasps those gloved hands in his own. Hubert, mostly dressed still, nonetheless looks beautifully disheveled. His bangs have fluffed, unruly and wavy, and his partially unbuttoned dress shirt is woefully rumpled. Keeping his gaze fixed on Hubert, he peels each glove away to reveal the scarred, magic-warped, gnarled hands beneath.
“Of course it was.” He kisses one slender index finger, then the other, and keeps them close to his mouth. “It was you wearing them.”