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amateur wine tasting

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“You know, when you first asked to share a drink, I was expecting ale at the Forgotten Knight.”

Vilmar lifts his glass of wine, giving it a swirl as he’s seen Emmanellain do. He’s never been certain what the purpose is, but, then, most of the frills of Ishgardian nobility are lost on him. Haurchefant once talked him through the use of five different forks, laughing as Vilmar came up with increasingly ridiculous ideas of what they might be used for. He shakes off the thought as quickly as it comes, wary of the sting that comes with it.

“After all you’ve done, fine dining seems the least I can offer you,” Aymeric says, his smile warm and fond. It’s a good look on him; the Lord Commander is handsome enough at rest, and becomes devastatingly so with a smile.

“I’ve never been able to tell the difference between a good wine and an abysmal one, to tell the truth,” Vilmar says, his returning smile a sheepish one. “I grew up in the Black Shroud and distilleries were a bit outside our purview-- the wood wailers would tear down anything more permanent than a tent. Ask any Keeper, a good drink is anything that gets you drunk without also blinding you.”

“I sincerely hope you are exaggerating,” Aymeric says, looking alarmed.

“Not in the slightest. One of my elder brothers once tried to make fruit wine in a barrel he nicked from one of the outposts and instead crafted some truly potent poison. He threw up on my bedroll,” Vilmar says, laughing. “I didn’t speak to him for days.”

“As an only child, I can but imagine,” Aymeric says with a chuckle.

“Gods, what a life that must have been. I’m the youngest of nine.”

Vilmar isn’t expecting the way that makes Aymeric frown.

“Something wrong, my friend?” Vilmar asks, concerned that he’s damaged the warm mood in the room somehow.

“Nothing serious, I assure you. It merely occurs to me how much I do not know about you. This is the first I’ve heard of your family, and yet I’ve asked for your counsel on so many matters regarding my own.”

“Oh,” Vilmar says. “Well, that’s more a matter of circumstance than neglect, don’t you think? And there… isn’t much left of my family. You’ve experienced enough of my grief for a lifetime. I wouldn’t burden you with old wounds.”

Aymeric’s expression goes solemn, and Vilmar curses internally. In his attempt to save the atmosphere, it seems he’s made his friend worry.

“If it would lighten your burden to speak of it, I would gladly shoulder some of the weight,” Aymeric says, setting down his fork entirely. “I have no desire to be a fair-weather friend, Vilmar. If you have need of me, I would offer my ear as gladly as my sword.”

Vilmar’s heart presses hard against his throat and he has to swallow twice before he regains the use of his tongue.

“Aymeric,” he says, softly. “I… thank you. You are-- I am-- oh, forgive me, you’ve left me without words.”

He laughs, helpless to do anything else. When he looks up at his dining companion, there is something almost wistful in the smile waiting for him there.

“I can be patient,” Aymeric says. “Whenever the words come, I will hear them.”

Vilmar looks at him for a long moment, taking in the affection crinkling the corners of his eyes, the cut of his jaw, the slightest tilt to his shoulders from the way his posture changed to accomodate the long-healed wound below his ribs. Thancred’s old jibe about Aymeric’s interest colors the moment-- gods help me, I think it might be love. Vilmar’s tail lashes under the table and his ears twitch.

“Forgive me for the lapse in manners, but, ah, Lord Commander… Would it be too forward to ask if I could stay the night?”

Aymeric flushes, and Vilmar can almost watch him internally chastise himself for reading too much into the question. Vilmar grins, and speaks again before Aymeric can reply. “In case I wasn’t clear, I am not asking to avail myself of your guest room.”

Aymeric’s eyes go wide. “My support is not conditional on--”

Vilmar shakes his head and laughs, holding up his hands in surrender. “I know, I know! You’re too good a man to trade favors in such a way. I’ve always been a bit late in figuring out such things, but am I right? Your interest in my body goes beyond my sword arm?”

Aymeric’s ears have gone very pink. “You cut right to the heart of the matter in all things, I see.”

Vilmar leans forward with a grin, putting his elbows on the table. “You’re more shy than I was expecting, truth be told. I’m not making fun, Aymeric. I want this with you.”

Aymeric clears his throat and, after a moment to collect himself, smiles. He’s still flushed, but the surprise is giving way to desire the longer Vilmar’s suggestion has to settle in. “In that case… I see no reason to prepare the guest rooms.”

Vilmar laughs, delighted.

* * *

By Vilmar’s standards, they are quite chaste until they step foot in Aymeric’s bedroom. Save for Aymeric’s hand brushing over his shoulder as he leads the way, they don’t even touch.

He’s still fairly certain he hears two of the servants talking about making sure there are clean linens for Aymeric’s room in the morning. The Ishgardian need to keep an eye on everyone’s sex life continues to surprise him.

Aymeric’s quarters are that particular sort of impersonally tidy that comes from having house staff, but they still smell like him, and it immediately puts Vilmar at ease. He’d left his gloves on for dinner, because even nobles can’t keep a chill from their homes in Ishgard, but he takes them off now. He grimaces at the state of his nails; he hasn’t kept them properly trimmed in the year since Haurchefant’s death.

“I don’t suppose you have a preference for giving rather than receiving?” he asks, looking up to find Aymeric lighting the oil lamp by his bed. “My nails are in a state. Although, if you would rather do it the other way ‘round, I suppose we could find a file, or you could do the preparation yourself.”

Aymeric returns to his side with a smile and leans down to kiss him. Vilmar purrs softly against his mouth, charmed by how chaste his opening move is. “I am not particular about which role I take.”

“Alright. I’ll take your cock, then,” Vilmar says. Aymeric is close enough that he can watch the way the words hit him, a bit of color rising in his cheeks before he leans in for another kiss.

“As bold as always,” Aymeric’s hands come up to cradle his face, and the next kiss lingers, slow and passionate. It feels like hot molasses under his skin, starting in his belly and creeping out through the rest of his body.

He nips Aymeric’s lower lip, practiced enough not to hurt him with his fangs. It has the desired effect, earning him a tiny hitch of breath and a twitch of the fingers in his hair.

The next nibble gets him a real shiver and a soft moan. Before Vilmar can do it again, Aymeric pulls away enough to speak to him.

“Forgive me my eagerness,” he murmurs. “It has been… quite some time.”

“A crime on the part of the Ishgardian citizenry, but an easy enough thing to remedy,” Vilmar says, tapping his fingers against Aymeric’s shoulder. “Take this off, and I would be more than happy to relieve you of any pent up tension.”

Aymeric’s face flushes further, and it occurs to Vilmar that he’s aroused, not embarrassed. It’s a heady thought.

“As you wish.”

Aymeric’s leisure clothes are less complex than his armor, and Vilmar watches hungrily as he shrugs off the jacket and sets about unbuttoning the tunic beneath. It’s a lovely sight, but Vilmar is glad his own clothes are not tailored-- his attire is something Tataru helped him scrounge up at the last minute when he got the invitation. He can just pull the whole thing over his head instead of bothering with the buttons.

Aymeric stops mid-button to look at him when he does, desire plain upon his face. It’s a distraction from undressing, but Vilmar kisses him anyway, too enamored with that expression to resist.

“Has anyone ever told you that you are painfully handsome?” Vilmar asks, pulling back enough to grin. Aymeric laughs.

“Never so bluntly,” he says. “And not by anyone so good-looking as yourself.”

“Then allow me to be the first! You are stunning,” Vilmar purrs, reaching down to unbuckle Aymeric’s belt. “Like a gift from Menphina herself. How would you feel about letting me ride you? I want to watch you fall apart.”

Aymeric moans, disbelieving. “Please. Gods, every word you speak makes me more concerned you are something out of a lustful dream.”

Vilmar beams. “If you’ve been having lustful dreams about me, I would love to hear of them.”

“I’d only look foolish with the real thing right in front of me,” Aymeric says, and Vilmar laughs.

“Half of the fun of sex is looking foolish. But if that’s your preference, I’m sure I can offer your subconscious some inspiration for the future.”

Vilmar takes care of his own belt this time, and reaches back to undo the clasp that keeps his trousers looped over his tail. They’re a bit oversized, so without the two supports, he’s down to his smallclothes almost immediately. Aymeric’s eyes drop to where Vilmar’s cock strains the fabric and he visibly swallows, as though his throat has just gone dry. It’s a flash of heat through his belly and Vilmar steps forward, purring loudly enough to be heard at a distance. He goes for Aymeric’s buttons, eager to get him out of the lingering tunic and trousers.

“Let me,” Aymeric says.

The rest of the disrobing is quick. Vilmar takes off his smallclothes while Aymeric finishes with his tunic, and Aymeric follows his example and removes his own along with his trousers.

Vilmar has never been a particularly patient man, and in that moment, he is acutely aware of it. Aymeric is already hard, his cock heavy and hot when Vilmar takes him in hand. He’s perhaps a bit larger than average for an Elezen, but still proportional, not significantly different from any other man Vilmar has been with. The real treat is watching the flush that blooms down his throat at the touch, listening to the soft, gratified sigh.

“And here I was, thinking you couldn’t get any more lovely,” Vilmar says, shaking his head. “Oil?”

“In the bedside drawer,” Aymeric says, and his voice is notably rougher than it was at dinner. Vilmar pushes up onto his tiptoes to give him a swift kiss, then darts over to the nightstand to retrieve his prize. Aymeric watches him go, admiring.

Aside from the bottle of olive oil, the drawer contains a book, and certainly not the familiar religious tomes that half of Ishgard seems to carry on their persons. The cover is classy enough, but he recognizes the title from Tataru’s selection of ‘adult’ literature. Vilmar picks it up, grinning.

“Your company on lonely nights?” he asks, holding it up with a wink.

“That’s going to make me look even more foolish than recounting an erotic dream,” Aymeric says, following Vilmar to nudge him into putting the book back down.

“Trust me, ‘foolish’ is not the word that springs to mind when I think of you touching yourself,” Vilmar says fondly, but he relinquishes the novel readily. “But, I suppose I agree with you-- I would much rather you touch me at the moment.”

Aymeric indulges him immediately, ducking down to kiss him, cradling his head in his hands like something precious. Vilmar purrs deeply and lets his tail tap an affectionate rhythm against Aymeric’s thigh. He nips Aymeric’s lower lip, careful of his fangs, and tilts his head back to speak. “I’ll start on my back and get on top when you’ve got me opened up, yeah?”

Aymeric nods, and Vilmar hands him the oil before climbing onto the bed.

“Are you comfortable?” Aymeric asks, when Vilmar flops down and spreads his legs, knees bent.

“Very,” Vilmar says, grinning. The wine isn’t the only trapping of wealth and status that Aymeric is offering him tonight; the mattress is so soft that he doesn’t even have to move around to get comfortable. Normally his tail poses an obstacle to laying on his back, but not here.

“Tell me if that changes,” Aymeric says. He kneels on the mattress between Vilmar’s spread legs, pouring oil onto his fingers. He’s gentle as he presses against Vilmar’s asshole, giving him time to relax into the touch. Vilmar doesn’t need quite so much patience, has done this often enough to be relaxed from the start, but he gets a little thrill out of the care behind it.

“Oh, that’s nice,” Vilmar purrs as long fingers push inside. “Kiss me while you do that?”

Aymeric takes to the idea immediately, leaning forward and propping himself up with his free arm. He fits nicely there, bracketed between Vilmar’s knees as he works him open. The kiss is nowhere near as careful as his fingers, and Vilmar jolts and moans into it when Aymeric’s gentle touch finds his prostate.

“Mmm, yeah, right there,” he sighs, digging his nails into Aymeric’s shoulders for a moment before he catches himself and hastily lets go. “Sorry, sorry, did that hurt?”

“No harm done,” Aymeric assures him, and, oh, his voice has gone so deep and rough. Vilmar pulls him back down by the back of the neck, kissing him and letting one hand drift to a long, pointed ear. Elezen are easy enough to please; one stroke of Vilmar’s thumb is all it takes to make Aymeric shiver.

“More oil,” Vilmar requests, shifting on the bed when Aymeric removes his fingers to oblige him. The oil dripping onto the sheets has started to make quite a mess, but that’s good, that’s perfect. Vilmar doesn’t want to wait long enough to accommodate neat and clean.

Finally, finally, he’s ready, slicked up and relaxed in all the ways he needs to be. “It’s your turn to be on your back,” he says, grinning playfully.

Aymeric laughs, warm and pleased. “As you wish. Should we turn down the lamps?”

“Seven hells, absolutely not,” Vilmar says, pushing at Aymeric’s shoulder to encourage him to lay down.

On his back this way, Aymeric is stunning. His hair is ruffled, sticking to the sweat at his temples, and his eyes are dark with wanting. The flush has escaped his face entirely, staining his ears, his neck, and even his chest. Vilmar wants to devour him.

He wastes no time, straddling Aymeric and pouring a generous amount of olive oil into his own hand. He gives Aymeric’s cock a firm pull to slick it up, relishing the way his eyelids flutter at the sensation, and then lines them up.

It’s a slow slide, more for the privilege of watching Aymeric arch than any need for caution. Aymeric’s hands jump to Vilmar’s hips as he bottoms out, and Vilmar grins down at him.

“There, ah, there you go,” he says, his voice hitching as he starts to move. Aymeric doesn’t seem inclined to respond with anything more verbal than a sharp gasp.

Vilmar has always been good at this part, the burn in his thighs a perfect counterpoint to the jolts of pleasure in his gut when Aymeric’s cock hits just right. The Ishgardian cold chills the sweat against his skin and he feels aware of every inch of his body, visceral and delighted.

The beautifully crafted words that have earned Aymeric political acclaim desert him entirely in bed, it seems, but he still grows louder and louder as they continue. There’s enough of a whine to his noises that Vilmar knows he isn’t putting on a show, that the sounds he’s making are unintentional.

Vilmar has no such trouble finding his words.

“Here,” he purrs, reaching down to take one of the hands holding tight to his hip. He licks Aymeric’s palm, then guides it down to his cock. “No need to keep your hands to yourself.”

“Of-- by the Fury, of course,” Aymeric pants, and takes Vilmar in hand. “Whatever, whatever you wish.”

Vilmar chuckles, warm and raspy.

“Well, what I’m wishing for is for you,” he pauses to lean forward, so he can get a better look at Aymeric’s face, flushed and twisted up with pleasure, “to come so hard they can hear you in Dravania.”

Aymeric makes a noise somewhere between a laugh and a moan; Vilmar grins down at him, triumphant.

“Only if you do the same,” Aymeric says, his voice strained but the words clear. He starts stroking Vilmar’s cock in earnest now, and Vilmar’s toes curl.

“Gods, you’ve got yourself a deal,” he gasps.

It’s harder to focus after that. Everything crystallizes into a kaleidoscope of sensations and fragments of thought: digging his nails into Aymeric’s chest and remembering halfway through to be careful of the scars, an off-tempo thrust that nearly knocks him off but hits just right, the happy twitching in his ears that becomes nearly a tremble when Aymeric sighs his name like a prayer and comes.

Vilmar spares half a moment to slide off the man’s cock before he falls on him, kissing his throat, his shoulder, the underside of his jaw. Aymeric, never one to let himself rest, rolls them over before he’s even caught his breath, propping himself up on one elbow while his other hand wraps around Vilmar’s cock.

Not content to let him work without distraction, Vilmar kisses him, and keeps trying to kiss him even as the orgasm twists through his belly and leaves him gasping and incoherent.

Vilmar comes back to himself slowly, as the sweat cools on his skin and he realizes his tail is half-crushed somewhere in their tangle of limbs. It isn’t comfortable, but he doesn’t want to move, too happy with his face pressed into Aymeric’s neck. He smells good, like sweat and whatever is in the potpourri scattered around the estate.

It’s the cold that gets him, eventually. He reluctantly nudges his shoulder and hums a wordless request to move.

“My apologies, I must be heavy,” Aymeric says as he rolls over, and, oh, that puts him in better light. Vilmar forgets the chill for a second time and just looks at him. He’s pale enough that the sex flush is clearly visible, alongside the red splotches on his neck and shoulders that might become hickeys by morning. Above it all, though, is the way he looks back.

Gods, but he looks besotted.

“Let’s get under the blankets and you can lay on me all you want,” Vilmar says with his best playful grin, before he can do something stupid, like bringing up feelings when his heartbeat has barely settled after the sex.

The way Aymeric laughs and smiles at him doesn’t help, with the feelings or his pulse.