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Criminal Conversation

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When Mortimer returns home that afternoon, he finds Blake already seated in the living room, scribbling on a newspaper which he puts down immediately on hearing his friend’s footsteps. His eyes meet Mortimer’s - bright, hopeful, and just a little lost.

It takes both a moment to think of what to say, and Mortimer’s contribution, “You’re home early,” is hardly a masterpiece of wit.

“What can I say?” says Blake. “I was feeling rather tired.”

“If you intend to retire early, I may do the same,” says Mortimer, and Blake, not misunderstanding his meaning for a moment, pinkens. But the smile is involuntary.

Mortimer crosses the room, confiscates the newspaper, and takes both his friend’s hands. Blake is on his feet quickly, and the pair of them somehow make it to the nearer of their room’s, which is Blake’s.

When the door closes and locks, they pause. Last night's urgency is gone, leaving in its place a deeper yearning. With a sudden fierceness, Francis pulls him close.

He tries to release Francis from his tie, and is gently rebuffed. “All else being equal, I’d rather you didn’t strangle me, dear.”

Mortimer gives up the hazy idea he’s had (more than once) of ripping his friend’s clothes off, and aims more decorously for the buttons. Francis’ hands are bunched up rather awkwardly in his jacket, which is far too hot at the moment, and Mortimer decides to make something of a fresh start.

“Bed?” he says, attempting to shrug his way out of the jacket, which falls on the floor. If it’s ruined, a worthy sacrifice. Taking Francis’ elbow, he steers him in that direction, and they end up seated, facing each other, still more or less fully clothed.

It may have been a bad move, Mortimer thinks for a moment. Blake looks down, fiddling with the loosened tie. He takes it off rather slowly.

“Is everything all right?”

“More than all right.” Francis meets his eyes again. “Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure where to go from here.”

“Oh.” Mortimer places a hand on his friend’s arm. “So you’ve never…”

“Not quite. But I don’t think schoolboy fumblings count,” says Francis, a little sheepish, if not embarrassed.

Mortimer thinks for a moment. Francis may well be ahead of him on one score at least - there have been three or four, depending on how you count it, before he fell too deeply into his work, and then the wars. Even so -

“Only women,” he says.

“Hmm.” Francis takes that in, shifts his weight a little. “But you do want, I mean…”

God but he wants Francis, more than any woman, more than any teenaged passion or vain hope for a connection more substantial. “Desperately,” he says, and by way of demonstration, makes for the buttons again when their lips meet.

He does have a vague idea of what Francis looks like under his clothes, but he’s never seen him under circumstances where there’s time to appreciate it. Pushing the shirt away, he places his hands on slender, but muscled shoulders for a moment before tearing at the undershirt.

“I can get it off myself,” says Francis, half-laughing and assisting him. His flush spreads down to his chest, and Mortimer presses a kiss into it, running his hands up and down, over a bewitching landscape of muscle and bone.

“This isn’t fair, old chap.” Francis is going for his vest, and Mortimer concedes the point. What had possessed him to put on so many clothes that morning? Between the two of them, they catch him up to Francis’ level of undress, and Francis, placing his hands on Mortimer’s chest, stops and swallows. Then he leans forward and touches his lips to Philip’s collarbone. His mustache tickles a little.

“Do as you please,” whispers Philip, mischievously, and taking him at his word, Francis pushes him over and positively covers him with kisses. Each one sends a shower of sparks running down his nerves, and he can't help but moan.

"Sorry." Francis pauses. "I've wanted to do that for… a while."

"I've had flights of fancy myself," gasps Philip. "Don't you dare stop."

Encouraged, Francis leans over again and nips. It's too much. Seizing hold of his friend, he rolls him over, pressing him down into the blankets. Francis pushes up against him eagerly, and why the hell do they still have their trousers on? He slips his fingers under the waistband, registering the sharp hipbones, and tugs at the fabric.

This time Francis helps him. He takes the briefest moment to admire their handiwork before taking hold of Francis' arousal.

A movement of his wrist, and his friend - lover, it's lover now, isn't it - inhales sharply. Intoxicating, this power. He probably shouldn't be trusted with it.

"It doesn't bother you, does it, old chap?"

Mortimer pauses. "What exactly? The, er…" He gestures with a hand that is slightly wet.

"This being against the law."

Mortimer laughs. "Well, I'm not exactly in the habit of breaking the law…"

"I am," says Blake, with a wry smile.

"It's different when it's you," protests Mortimer.

"It's not."

He knows better than to go down those lines, but instead kisses Blake firmly. “At any rate, you’re worth breaking a law or two over.”

In the interests of fairness, but mostly because he's aching to, he divests himself of the intrusive trousers and finally he's alone with Francis.

And oddly enough, by mutual agreement, they slow down. The touches become light, exploratory.

Francis has a few scars he hasn't seen before. One of them, a slim white line on the thigh, catches his fingers.

"Caught it on something during an emergency ejection," says Francis. "It wasn't so bad."

"Mhm," says Mortimer, touching another, on the rib. "This one?"

"Pure carelessness on my part. Do you require a full catalogue, Professor?"

"God, no," says Mortimer, returning his hand safely to Blake's cheek. "I'm sorry."

By way of acceptance, Francis takes his hand and kisses it. "As I said, carelessness. Some things I can't tell you - not even you. I would if I could."

"I don't mind." Philip wriggles closer. There's no space between them now, and he takes advantage of the position to kiss Francis' neck.

"Is there anything you would?" asks Francis, quite serious. "It won't be easy, if we - keep doing this."

As if he's ever turned down a challenge. "From you? Nothing I can think of."

"Are you so sure? What if I aided the enemy, or disappeared without a word?"

"Good grief, Francis."

"I could hurt you terribly."

"But you won't."

"Almost certainly, I will."

"Then I don't care," says Philip, propping himself furiously up on his elbows. "Remind me, how much trouble have I dragged you into?"

"That's different," argues Francis, and realizing what position he's been backed into, he smiles ruefully. Pressing his advantage, Philip shifts on top once more.

"Let's not take any of that to bed."

Over the next few minutes, he endeavors to blot any thoughts of the outside world from Francis' mind, and based on the delicious little noises his efforts elicit, they're successful.

Francis isn't one to go down without a fight. He gives as good as he gets, and they're panting, struggling, trying to get a grip on slippery skin.

Victory, when it comes, is for Philip almost overwhelming. In a half-blinded haze he guides Francis between his thighs and meets him on the other side, both hearts pounding almost in unison.

"All right?" he breathes.

"Better than I imagined," says Francis, his voice shaky.

"Same time tomorrow, then, old chap?"

Francis bursts out laughing.