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Francis’ knees are starting to get to him.

These hateful little assignations are all well and good (that is to say, temporarily satisfying and enduringly wretched), but he’s in a ridiculous position, one foot on the seat of Fitzjames’ chair and one kicked out limp behind where his knee is braced on the great shining table, and he’s been fucking Fitzjames’ insufferable mouth for minutes upon minutes and feels somehow no closer to his crisis than he was when they began, and now his knees are creaking. 

Perhaps he’s had too much to drink, he thinks, or perhaps Fitzjames is simply not up to the task. Anyway, the commander seems to at least be enjoying himself; as he should, for Francis has been regaling him with a certain choice bit of filth that has become an old standard of theirs. Early on, he’d had Fitzjames down on his knees with a boot on his thigh and a hand in his hair, and the man had spurted off in his trousers moaning, Sir John, oh, oh— 

Francis must have got that sort of light in his eyes when he heard it; he’d never seen it himself, never had a mirror handy, but he’d heard it described by others, an ugly sparking thing like a grease fire. One of his least attractive qualities. Fitzjames saw it and latched onto it like a limpet. Started asking and then prodding and then begging, and Francis gave in, as much out of spite for their captain as lust for Fitzjames. Now he‘s snapping his hips in and out of the good commander’s face, making a spittle-slicked distended mess of his lips and chin, and growling out such slanderous stories as would require great leaps of the imagination to fall within striking distance of belief.

“Oh, you do wish he was here, don’t you? You wish he would use you too.” His prick bumps the back of Fitzjames’ throat over and again; Fitzjames swallows convulsively. “Send you to me afterwards with spunk in your pretty hair, a nice little peace offering.” His tone is drifting into meditative, detached, and the response is quite rewarding - a squirming twitch from Fitzjames as he struggles to obey the simplest order, Do not lay a hand on yourself, followed by a clammy-slick grasp as he begins to fondle and pump at Francis’ base, evidently just to have something to bring off. 

Francis carries on: “He’ll never see you, you know. He’ll never give you a poking with that fat old worm of his, not like I will. I’m all you’ve got, Commander. I’m the only one can fuck you like you need it.” Fitzjames gives a hitching little whine, as if this is a great tragedy. And it must be, indeed, for a man such as he. Francis watches with great satisfaction the paradox of James Fitzjames’ pleasure: eyes framed by pretty lashes and rolled back with theatrical flair, shining tresses turning dull and matted with sweat. An audience of one, Francis thinks. You must be starving.

“I wonder,” says Francis shortly, and thrusts in hard: head dripping at the gate of Fitzjames’ throat, bollocks slapping his chin in an uncouth swing. “Would you go on your knees for anyone? Would you let my officers pull rank to get your mouth around their pricks?” 

A very wet swallow from Fitzjames, almost a cough, almost a gasp. Francis stares into his face and sees that mean and hungry light reflected straight back at him, bright and sharp as anything. Of course, Fitzjames manages to make it look beautiful.

“Of course,” Francis hums, drawing out halfway and jerking his chin at Fitzjames, who eagerly takes his cock in hand to steady it and sets about lapping the boiling head with a soft frenetic tongue, “they do fall below you in command. But if my Lieutenant Little came to your cabin and ordered you to bend over the bunk— Captain’s orders—” Fitzjames squeezes his eyes shut. “You would do it, wouldn’t you? You’d love it.” 

He can feel it coming up on him now, can feel the edge of it all running against him like a grindstone - the image of Fitzjames holding himself open for Edward’s perusal with one long hand, of Edward fucking Fitzjames into a lax loose slickness on Francis’ orders, is driving him on like a tailwind. He thrusts in deeper now, so that Fitzjames’ nose is brushing the flesh of his stomach - he hopes the smell of himself worms into that marble nose and stays there, makes him pop up hard from the smell of standard-issue soap, never lets him rest again. “And if he doesn’t loosen you up enough I can always call the Marines. Let them have a go at you - they won’t be nice, either, my darling, you know how they feel about decorative officers like you.” On a whim, he takes Fitzjames’ chin in his hand and squeezes, forcing the man’s mouth open further. Almost, now, almost— 

“And you can come to me when you’re all used up, all filthy and full of spend.” A snap of his hips, a swallow from Fitzjames. “Too ashamed to go to Sir John, hmm, can’t let him see his favorite pet so tarnished.” Snap, swallow. “But I’ll fuck the whole crew’s seed out of you, because I know you’ll be all mine at the end of it.” Snap, swallow. “All mine, fucking— God—” Snap, swallow, and a long ragged whine from Fitzjames, way down in his throat, and Francis is done, he’s spilling, he’s choking Fitzjames on it just like they both wanted. 

“Christ,” he breathes, a bit dizzy as he comes down. “Christ.” Faintly he registers a creaking sound; Fitzjames is clutching at some part of the chair. He sounds close to splintering it. Francis peers down at him none-too-patiently to see that he’s laughably hard, soaking a patch through his uniform trousers. 

“Oh, alright.” Francis shifts down off the table, foot between Fitzjames’ legs, and hikes up his trouser-leg to bare his unremarkable shin; he removed his boots and socks when the thing began, lest he scuff the chair or slip upon the table. “Get yourself out, then, boy.”

Fitzjames does so with a grateful (if a bit huffy) sigh, and immediately takes to stroking himself. Francis hisses, like he’s redirecting an errant dog, and snaps his fingers in the vicinity of his own foreleg. “You know what to do. Don’t try my patience.” He takes Fitzjames’ chin in hand again, brings the man’s face sharply up towards his own, and is rewarded with a slow blinking slackening of that impudent visage as the commander begins rutting slow and deliberate against the lower part of Francis’ shin. 

Dear god, but this part is lovely. Lovely to watch Fitzjames coping with such a position, the sodomite Tantalus, so close yet so far from a truly satisfying prize; but lovely, also, for the sheer filthy feel of it. He can discern the intimate details of Fitzjames’ shaft against his leg, the soft crepe-paper skin of his bollocks slipping and sliding so exquisitely as those two fine jewels are thrust apart by Francis’ Achilles’ tendon. He can just catch, at the very peak of Fitzjames’ thrust, the smooth expanse of his perineum passing over the wiry-haired plane of Francis’ skin. 

Francis has pondered whether the pleasure he himself takes in this act completes Fitzjames’ debasement or ruins it; now he ponders nothing at all, for that would run counter to the purpose of this meeting. There will be time later for him to tie his mind in drunken knots. Now he has a terribly, terribly attractive man pinned under him, leaking seed onto an embroidered seat-cushion and humping his leg like a bitch in heat, and that rather seems to iron things out. 

“Oh, Lord. Oh, dear Lord. Oh, Francis. Only you. All yours, Francis. Francis.” Fitzjames’ litany, while gratifying on its own and eminently predictable going by his conversational habits at the best of times, piques Francis’ interest for a different reason. The commander will leak the whole way through without fail - his prick is already clammy, now, from what he dripped out while Francis was giving his throat such a stretching - but everybody has a tell, and Fitzjames’ is this: towards the end he starts to babble senselessly, saying anything that pops into his head. It’s how they got to Oh, Sir John, after all. And now he’s close, face clutched rigid in Francis’ hand, hips rutting up into Francis’ shin, and he‘s gasping, “Please, Francis, Francis, I love you—”

Time seems to stop. 

It cuts him to the core. Here, now, him. Not one person outside of his own sisters has ever said that to him and meant it, he knows as much, but such a blatant reminder galls him past belief. Not even Sophia would say it, towards the end. And now to have it thrown back in his face like this, like it’s nothing.  

He ought to roar, ought to spit and growl and rage, How dare you presume to say such a thing. Instead he slaps Fitzjames hard across the face, backhanded, hard, with the hand he was using to grip his jaw, hard. Harder than he meant to, not that he meant to at all— And there’s an immediate bloom of deep pink across Fitzjames’ great box of a face, and a high sharp gasp from his pursed little lips, and Francis must have had too much to drink after all, because what sort of man is he, who would hit a lo— a— Jesus, Jesus buggering Christ— “Oh, God,” he groans, suddenly wretched, cowering in the middle of the room where he’d propelled himself in the interest of putting some space between them, feeling right in the terrible mire of insecurity he’d been trying to get out of. “God, I’m sorry—”

And he’s diverted, suddenly, by the fact that Fitzjames has continued to gasp, has in truth begun to exhale this gasp as a groan. The fact that his eyes have rolled up in his head like a lady in a faint, the— Francis looks down to see Fitzjames’ big clumsy hand around his prick, his hips still pumping, seed trailing from the wilting head of him. 

Well. Perhaps the evening can be salvaged. 

“Good Lord,” he rasps, clears his throat, repeats himself - too quiet, the first time, too loud the second. “Truly?”

Fitzjames stares haughtily back at him. The big pink blotch across his cheekbone really does add something to his aspect, Francis thinks idly. “You’re the one who hit me, Francis.”

Francis puts his hands up, concedes; still, he feels like something more ought to be attempted. “I don’t suppose you’d like to discuss that? Any of that?” Francis supposes it wholeheartedly to be a slip of the tongue, an embarrassing mistake, but he would dearly love the punch back from Fitzjames - the swipe of claws, the revilement of any such sentiment - to prove it.

The look that crosses Fitzjames’ face upon this suggestion is positively scandalized - one would think Francis had suggested staging a mutiny so as to pop over to Russia for an afternoon drink. An afternoon drink does, as a matter of fact, sound rather lovely. “Discuss, Francis? What on earth would be the good in starting to discuss these matters now?”

Francis bares his teeth - not a smile, not a grimace, merely a peeling back of the lips. “Of course,” he sighs, “if you do not see the point in it, I suppose there is nothing to be done.” Damn him for trying to extend a hand to James Fitzjames. He cannot, it seems, pass up an opportunity to fly contrary to Francis’ aim. 

“There is nothing to be done,” James returns, already halfway out the door. “We’ve already done it all, Captain Crozier.”

Francis allows himself a generous roll of the eyes at this parting blow before he hefts himself down into a seat and gropes for the decanter of whisky that’s been left atop the cabinet like one more essential tool of sailing. Other captains’ cabins, he thinks wretchedly, have compasses and maps strewn about, too often used to bother putting them away. This musing makes him recall that he spilled spirits on a map of the Arctic Circle last week, which makes him fume with impotent shame, which makes him think of James Fitzjames - an inconvenient intrusion, so soon after such a libation. He casts about doggedly for something else to think. 

Finally he settles on the indisputable truth that his knees are hurting terribly. As soon as it occurs to him the pain seems to billow out and multiply; once named, it is impossible to ignore. He groans, grits his teeth, and pours himself another glass.