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nothing but love on my mind

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They’ve stayed much too long in Samarkand, Yusuf considers as he strolls through the  market and he greets the vendor at the stall selling paper and ink by name. 

Their intention had been to stay a week, maybe two, and then continue eastwards. That had been somewhat hampered by the fact that for their first week there, they had both been so exhausted they had slept late every day. Perhaps the realization that accelerated healing meant fucking every day was a possibility was also partly at fault for their slow progress, but Yusuf wasn’t precisely willing to accept responsibility for that.

It was just a way to pass the time.

Anyhow, after a week had passed, Nicolò had said they couldn’t possibly leave without procuring new boots for Yusuf since his were wearing through on the heel, and Yusuf had said they needed to get a new coat for Nicolò since the nights were getting colder, and while they had some money from selling their horses, that was allotted for food and lodging, meaning they first had to look for work.

It’s been a month and a half, and they have purchased both the boots and the coat, but they have not yet left.

For a drawn-out moment, staring down at the wares on offer before him, Yusuf considers an eternity spent alive, forever having to resist the urge to put down roots.

The thought makes him shudder, and he ends up buying beeswax as well as paper and ink, so he can treat his new boots with it in an effort to get them on the road again.

On the way home, he treats himself to a quick stop in the bathhouse, because the thought of leaving again makes him remember how much he appreciates it, and by the time he gets back he’s in a tolerably good mood, spreading his purchases out on the table.

“I was thinking,” he tells Nicolò when he gets back from his job taking care of a rich tradesman’s horses. “We should probably leave soon.”

Nicolò stills in the doorway, holding their dinner in one hand.

“Oh,” he says. 

He sets the package containing bread and fresh, fragrant cheese on the table and goes about taking off his shoes and washing his face and hands. “I suppose so,” he says eventually, stilted.

“Do you not want to?” Yusuf asks, baffled. “I thought the plan was to find—”

“Yes, yes, to find the women,” Nicolò waves a hand. “That’s the plan, we can leave whenever you want.”

Yusuf blinks. “You don’t sound thrilled.”

Nicolò exhales loudly through his nose, a sure sign he is now not only not thrilled but actively irritated with Yusuf.

“Nicolò? Do you not want—”

“I want,” Nicolò says through gritted teeth, and turns to him. “I want to touch your cock.”

Yusuf blinks again.

It’s not that he’s opposed, it’s that it’s entirely out of nowhere and he’d really rather at least a kiss to get him in the mood first.

“Is that alright?” Nicolò asks. His eyes are blazing with—something, Yusuf’s not sure what, fists clenched like he’s holding himself back. It’s unfairly attractive, and, well, he’s had worse lines, and if they are going to be on the road again soon, it will absolutely be worth getting as much time in bed together first as they can.

“Yes,” Yusuf says. “Um, yes. Sure.”

“Good,” Nicolò says, and then he’s in Yusuf’s space and kissing him within an inch of his life, which is better late than never. 

In short order, Yusuf finds himself pushed back towards the bed on the left—the bed they’ve given up on keeping the sheets even a little clean on, the bed Nicolò’s had him most every way he could think of over the last six weeks, and perhaps it’s a trained response, but the combination of being pushed back into the sheets and Nicolò’s mouth on his neck has Yusuf hard and ready almost immediately. 

“If we’re leaving,” Nicolò tells him, “I want to. I’m going to. I.”

Yusuf swallows heavily. He’d known, abstractly, that Nicolò was not precisely skilled at finding the right words, but he’s never seen him so lost for them. Usually, he soldiers through and finds it in himself to say something , usually something awful.

He wants to hear it, whatever it is that Nicolò wants to say.

He wants to hear it and Nicolò not being able to get it out sends a pulling sensation all through Yusuf’s chest.

“Tell me to stop,” Nicolò says, instead of whatever he meant. “And I will, I promise.”

He gets up, leaves Yusuf there on the bed, his shirt loosened and half off his shoulders, cock straining against his breeches, and goes to the table. He picks up the beeswax and the shawl Yusuf bought him two weeks ago impulsively, thinking of how bare Nicolò’s head had been when he left his armor behind and how the thin skin on the back of his neck had burned and blistered in the sun. It is, Yusuf thinks regretfully, far too brightly colored and patterned for Nicolò’s tastes, a fact he only realized when he had already been ensnared by it. Perhaps Nicolò will wear it to please him. He certainly hasn’t been able to stop running his fingers across it when he sees it lying there on the table.

That does not appear to be his current aim, however, given that he is advancing on the bed with the shawl gripped tightly in his hands.

“You’re going to stay still for me,” he says. “Aren’t you?”

Wordlessly, Yusuf nods.

Nicolò hands him the beeswax. “Plug your ears,” he demands.


“I want,” Nicolò gets out through clenched teeth, “my every touch to be a surprise to you. I want to cover your eyes and close your ears so all you know is me and what I’m doing to you. I will have precious few opportunities to make you insensate with pleasure once we leave here and I should like to make this one count. Do you object?”

“Not in the slightest,” Yusuf says weakly, the words insensate with pleasure ringing through the suddenly empty fields of his mind.

“Then please let me stop talking about it and do it,” Nicolò says.

“I like when you talk about it,” Yusuf says, and then wants to kick himself. It’s far too close to a confession of what he’d really like, which would be Nicolò to just tell him what it is he’s thinking when he propositions Yusuf, what it means to him, how he feels.

He is, however, aware that he would then have to formulate a response, which he currently does not feel capable of.

When they arrived in Samarkand, he feels reasonably certain he would have been able to say quite easily that Nicolò was gifted between the sheets and carnal affairs were a good way to pass the time; now, however, he is reasonably certain he wouldn’t have been telling the whole truth, even then.

There’s something in the way Nicolò looks at him, something in the way Yusuf craves his touch, thinks about him when he isn’t there, that has resigned him to the fact that he can’t put aside this thing with Nicolò as purely carnal.

He’s also not sure he could term it romantic, not when he’s being handed enough wax to block his own ears, followed by Nicolò binding the scarf securely around his head, covering his eyes.

Abruptly, Yusuf realizes he no longer knows how slow or fast to lean back into the bed. He pats the covers hesitantly, trying to find the right speed, the right angle and realizes he can do neither.

Nicolò’s hands are a gentle weight at his shoulders, front and back, pushing him down gently on one side and holding him steady so he doesn’t overbalance.

His tunic is rucked up unceremoniously, his breeches unlaced and pulled off his legs. 

The bed dips near him and Yusuf knows Nicolò must be somewhere very close, but he can’t feel Nicolò’s hands on his body. It’s a thrill to his very core, the fear of how vulnerable he is to the one man who knows better than anyone how to hurt him, the joy of it.

Nicolò lays a hand on his ankle and he flinches all over.

He can’t hear what Nicolò says, he can only guess that it must be soft and sweet, and he wishes he could hear it, he could know it, even as Nicolò’s hand strokes gently over the thin skin of his ankle. 

At first, it’s just that, Nicolò’s hands running softly up and down his feet, his shins. He sucks in a breath when Nicolò’s touch reaches his thighs, when his thumbs trail down the sensitive inner sides. He makes some sort of noise when Nicolò reaches his chest, when his thumbs catch on Yusuf’s nipples.

“I thought you wanted to touch my cock,” Yusuf says, or at least he thinks he does, since it sounds distant and off with the wax plugging his ears.

He doesn’t need to hear Nicolò laugh, he can feel it, a vibration against his skin.

A firm grip wraps around his cock, unexpected and amazing. Nicolò sets a steady pace that has Yusuf gasping, hitching his hips up to meet it. It’s exactly what he wants, although he would be lying if he were to say he doesn’t miss being teased.

But Nicolò appears to have no intention of teasing him. He spreads the slick dripping from the head of Yusuf’s cock down with each stroke, making the glide of his fist that much better, and in no time at all, the muscles in Yusuf’s abdomen are locking up as his balls draw tight and his cock pulses.

Nicolò lets go.

Yusuf whines in frustration. 

A kiss is pressed to his sternum, an apology or a tease, it’s hard to tell.

He tilts his mouth up and is rewarded by Nicolò taking the hint and kissing him properly, just for a bit, before his mouth moves on to Yusuf’s cheeks, his earlobes, the thin skin of his neck. His mouth retraces the steps his hands took before, and it does nothing to ease the hardness in Yusuf’s cock as Nicolò sucks and bites at his nipples, his stomach, his thighs. He’s not entirely sure what noises he’s making, given that he can only half-hear them, but he’s entirely sure he doesn’t want to know.

He just wants Nicolò to not stop.

Nicolò reaches his feet and presses a kiss to each big toe, which is not in itself arousing, but it is very sweet, and currently, Yusuf is only capable of processing the way his heart jumps in his chest as further arousal, especially when Nicolò lunges up and immediately follows it by taking one of Yusuf’s balls into his mouth.

He’s never felt the sensation of someone’s mouth on that part of his body before and it makes him yell.

The skin is sensitive, so sensitive, and Nicolò’s tongue—he knows there is too much hair there for it to be a pleasant experience for Nicolò and yet, as soon as he lets one go, he takes the other into his mouth, licking at it gently and making Yusuf cry out and moan. It might not even be so good if he were not already leaking onto his own stomach after one denied orgasm, but it is, it’s so good, in a way that makes tears gather in his eyes.

Then, Nicolò lets his balls go and swallows his cock down entirely in one go.

Yusuf cannot help himself, he thrusts up into it. Nicolò should have tied him down.

Nicolò must realize this at the same time, because he clamps his arm over Yusuf's hips and holds him down. Paradoxically, it only intensifies Yusuf's arousal.

That, and Nicolò's mouth, which is a gift of...well, of some greater force, surely, because Yusuf cannot see, he cannot hear, all he has left is the sublime heat of Nicolò's mouth and the flick of his tongue and his own heavy, steady heartbeat as he draws ever closer to the edge.

The muscles of his thighs lock up and his spine arches. He cries out, something garbled, yes and please and Nicolò, and then— and then—

Nicolò pulls away and Yusuf howls in frustration.

Not even Nicolò's hands on his chest, stroking, soothing can calm him. He writhes and twists on the bed, desperate for relief, desperate for Nicolò, until Nicolò puts an end to it forcibly, straddling his hips.

He says something, not that Yusuf hears any of it, and he shifts, awkwardly placing too much weight on the right side of Yusuf's hipbone.

None of it matters when Yusuf can hitch his hips up in a desperate attempt to rub his aching cock against Nicolò's skin. He thinks he might go mad with the tiny pinpricks of sensation.

Finally, Nicolò's fist grips his cock again, firm and warm. Yusuf sobs.

When Nicolò sinks down on him, wet and tight, Yusuf loses his breath entirely.

There's a long moment of adjustment, in which Yusuf wonders if Nicolò has done this before—it's certainly the first time Yusuf is fucking him—and whether he can take it, and then Nicolò starts moving.

It's ungainly for only a moment before he finds his rhythm, and then it’s wonderful.

Yusuf's desperate desire to come very abruptly changes to a desperate fight not to come, not with Nicolò unsatisfied on his cock. He pats his way up Nicolò's legs until they can settle on his hips, grips tight and begins to rock up into Nicolò.

It's strange, to fuck someone and not know when he's gotten it right by the sounds he makes or the expressions on his face.

Still, when Nicolò's fingernails dig into his chest and his hole clenches tight around Yusuf, Yusuf knows. Yusuf redoubles his effort, thrusting up into Nicolò’s heat. His legs are shaking. His cock is throbbing, denied twice, and he’s so close he can taste it, but he needs Nicolò to take what he needs first.

He’s begging, he knows, but he can barely hear himself, only the pounding of his own heartbeat. Still, Nicolò shows mercy. One of his hands leaves Yusuf’s chest and wraps around his own cock, it must, because only moments later, wet heat splatters across Yusuf’s belly and he groans, pained at the thought that he doesn’t get to see Nicolò come.

“Can I?” he asks. He can neither understand his own words, nor Nicolò’s answer, but Nicolò strokes down the side of Yusuf’s face gently, and that’s it.

It feels as though every muscle in Yusuf’s body locks up tight in the instant before he finally gets to come.

When he does, every other sense leaves him along with his already inhibited ones. It’s too good. His hands have gone crushingly tight on Nicolò’s hips and he’s sobbing with pleasure, the orgasm dragging on and on with each helpless thrust up into Nicolò.

He collapses back onto the bed when it finally ends. Nicolò, still sitting astride him, pulls off the scarf and Yusuf immediately closes his eyes against the light, blinking slowly. The beeswax, he pulls out himself.

Nicolò is panting. His eyes are wild and wet and he winces as he pulls off Yusuf.

Again, Yusuf wants to ask if he’s ever been fucked before, but he decides against it. If he had wanted Yusuf to know, he wouldn’t have gone about it like this.

Instead, he takes Nicolò into his arms and holds him tight as they both come down, shaking.

Eventually, Nicolò says, “If we’re leaving, we need more supplies.”

He’s right, but it doesn’t sit right with Yusuf, something in his tone is off.

Yusuf also has absolutely no desire to leave this bed, now or ever. At most to clean up, that’s about it. Still, he follows Nicolò’s lead, scrubs down with a washcloth and puts on his clothes and follows Nicolò back towards the market he just came from, wondering all the while what exactly he should say to make this right.

He’s still wondering when the beating starts, when the city guards grab a vendor from his stall and onto the street, four against one, which is why Nicolò is faster to get between them.

He follows, of course, and in the ensuing pandemonium, the vendor escapes and Yusuf and Nicolò end up in chains.

“I suppose,” Nicolò says dryly as they’re led away, “we really do have to leave town now.”