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A Gentleman's Sport

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Mixon didn't even think before he did it and perhaps that was his problem, not thinking through. His charge, the young Master Stumph, had been throwing witty insults at his contemporary, Master Wentz, through the entire evening. The banter in and of itself was nothing new. In fact, all who knew of the two and their relationship knew that they fought constantly. Some had even likened it to an old bonded couple. Largely, Mixon and his counterpart, a tall man named Saporta, ignored the two and each other in favor of the well-stocked bar and hors d'oeuvres spread of intergalactic delicacies.

When Wentz's barbs turned to the touchy subject of Stumph's family honor and history, Mixon needn't even look at his charge to know to intervene. He and Saporta moved in tandem to pull their charges apart, just in time to save Wentz from a bloodied nose.

"You bastard ginger," he hissed, "how dare you swing at me! I suppose I should expect nothing less than low-brow brawler tactics from the likes of you." He stood as tall as his tiny self would let him in Saporta's arms. "I challenge you to a gentleman's duel then. Joseph Trohman will be my second." The young heir sputtered and choked on his champagne in the hush that had fallen in the room. "And who do you choose?" he sneered.

Stumph looked around himself helplessly, finding no allies in the society gathered. His head dropped in shame and Mixon couldn't stand to see it. "I will be his second," Mixon declared boldly. Stumph looked up at him gratefully and pressed his weight back just a bit in an odd show of thanks. "Unless you have some objections, Master Wentz, I would set a place and time."

Wentz glared at Stumph intensely for long moments. "Tomorrow morning just before noon, the Clandestine Courtyards. I'll house you in a suite for the night to ensure that you don't run off in that junker you call a transport." Saporta threw Mixon a quick, questioning look before dragging Wentz away. The gala around them resumed, buzzing with gossip. Mixon did the same with Stumph in short order.

 

"Can you believe that asshole?" Patrick raged, storming through the rooms and tearing at the multitude of layers he had on. Mixon efficiently caught each item ripped away, piling them on a convenient chair as Patrick flopped onto a bed. "He would go after my family, just to get a rise out of me. He's insufferable and I hate him and now I have to fight him." He sank into the pillows and sighed. "Why does he keep doing this to me, of all people? Shouldn't he be chasing the many skirts flitting around these balls?"

Mixon snorted and Patrick's head popped up to glare at him. "I'm fairly certain the only skirt he'd like to chase is yours, Master Stumph." Patrick's glare morphed into something far more incredulous. "Consider it, Master Stumph. He's following you around and constantly trying to get your attention. He's very obviously love-sick for you."

"I don't care, he's a dick and he can go fuck himself," Patrick sighed, falling back. "I don't care for him and I never have."

"That, young master, is a blatant lie and we both know it." Mixon smirked at him and he knew Patrick was blushing. "Now, I require your assistance." Patrick sat up again, this time his look was dark. "Not in that way, I require a refresher in the art of fencing."

"Later then, perhaps?" It's not meant to be a question but the lilt made Mixon agree before he knew what he was doing yet again.

 

"I refuse to allow you to fight in this condition," Mixon said, prying the blade from blade Patrick's hand and laying it gentle on the ground. Patrick hissed in pain without the support and Mixon gathered him into his arms. "Come on, I'll bandage your ankle so you'll at least be able to walk to the courtyard in the morning under your own steam."

"Shit," he mumbled as Mixon laid him on the bed and began to tug off his shoes and pants, the hissing soft as the sprained ankle moves. "You know," Patrick said quietly as Mixon bandaged the injury, "you could take advantage if you wanted. Right now." Mixon only paused briefly before he finished the bind and shepherded Patrick under the fine cotton blanket.

"No," he said firmly, brushing Patrick's hair from his eyes. "You need sleep and I need more practice. Especially if I am to fight in your stead. Now, please, rest."

 

As it happened, Wentz was a terrible fighter, allowing his emotions to distract him and make his movements erratic. He was fast, however, and seemed to slither out of the way of Mixon's strikes. By the time Wentz was finally pinned against the ground, blade to his neck, Mixon was bleeding in several places and panting heavily. Saporta called the bout and Mixon dragged himself off with no little effort. Stumph rushed to his side as he stumbled away.

"I'm going to get you back to the rooms," he said softly in a way that brooked no argument. His cheek had a small splatter of Mixon's blood stark against the pale skin and Mixon thought he spied another over his heart. Something boiled in Mixon's loins at the thought.

"You'll need to find a replacement guardian, I'm afraid," he wheezed, wincing at the twinges of pain. "I don't believe I'll be able to keep your tiffs with Wentz from escalating at the moment."

"Father has already sent Hurley on the next available long-distance passenger transport," Patrick said and Mixon sighed as they walked back into the suite of rooms. He limped to the chaise and dropped himself into it. Patrick closed the door softly and locked it with a click. His eyes, normally so bright, were dark when Mixon met them. "He's also finally agreed to your formal courtship. I suppose you've been officially let go, Matt." Mixon's smile is bright when Patrick drops into his lap for a needy kiss.

 

The rich cream chaise was splattered red and pink by the time Patrick finally bandaged Matt's wounds and they moved to the bed. Hurley slipped inside quickly on his arrival and smirked when he found them in a tangle of sheets and contrasting limbs, closing the door gently behind him and he stood silent guard in the suite's common room.