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In vain have I struggled

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Darcy looked up from his morning letter writing, vaguely aware that his father had spoken.

“I said young Wickham returns to us today,” his father repeated from behind his newspaper. “That will liven things up again. It has been so uncommonly quiet.”

“I dare say,” said Darcy, feeling stung. He himself had enjoyed the quiet evenings of the beginning of the summer, peacefully reading or engaging in reasoned discussion. He had come down from Cambridge a week ago, but Wickham had decided to stay with friends for a while.

“He brings a friend from his College. A Mr Denny. Do you know him, Fitzwilliam?”

“No, I am not acquainted with him. I do not often see Wickham at Cambridge.”

“Your head forever buried in a book, I have no doubt,” his father said affectionately. “George has rather different pastimes, I’d wager.”

Darcy said nothing, though he knew that wagering certainly made up a large part of Wickham’s pastimes. Still, he never seemed to get into any difficulties from it. He perhaps was rather sharp at cards, as he was at everything else.

“Well the boy should make hay while the sun shines. Heaven knows he will have little time for frivolity when he takes orders.” His father shook out the newspaper and began to fold it.

Wickham was to take orders and a family living the following summer. It was a source of some discomfort to Darcy though he had not been able to pinpoint why.

“Are you still quite fixed upon that plan, father?” he said now, trying to keep his voice light. “I have never met a clergyman with quite his temperament.”

The elder Mr Darcy chuckled. “Nor I. He will quite shake things up at Kympton I am sure. Attendance at Evensong among the young ladies of the Parish will never have been so high.”

“Father…” Darcy began, but his father silenced him.

“Now Fitz, I have heard many of your protests against this and I must say again that I disagree most heartily. It will be very well for the people Kympton to have such a man as Wickham in their midst. He is an uncommonly lively boy, and he can be wild, but he has a good heart. No one with his manner and countenance can have an ounce of true wickedness in them.”

Darcy pressed his lips together and said no more. What his father said was true, to his knowledge. Wickham was a little wild, though he had never been anything but charm itself to Darcy or his little sister Georgiana.

But he had always disturbed Darcy in some way; he was too vital, as though all his desires were on display. And inappropriate desires were something Darcy’s thoughts had lingered on of late.

 

Xxx

 

The clatter of an arriving carriage broke apart the peace of the family’s afternoon.  Georgiana threw her embroidery aside to rush to the window.

“He’s here! Oh! Papa, Fitz, he’s here!”

Darcy looked to Georgiana’s governess, startled when an admonition for Georgiana’s outburst did not occur. But Miss Younge was merely smiling at her charge with amusement.

“May I go down, Papa? Please? Oh! He is come out of the carriage. GEORGE!” Georgiana thumped the window, waving frantically.

“Hush my dear!” said their father, laughing. “We will all go down. Come away from that window before you break it.”

“Am I all straight, Miss Younge?” said Georgiana, presenting herself to be inspected by her governess.

“Let me re-tie this ribbon for you,” said Miss Younge, fussing over Georgiana’s hair. “There. You look very well.”

Darcy frowned. Georgiana was becoming entirely too frivolous, and this Miss Younge appeared to be indulging her in it. He would have to speak to father about it. Reluctantly he got up and followed his family from the drawing room downstairs to the hall.

The butler had opened the door for Wickham and his guest and Mrs Reynolds their kindly housekeeper was fussing around, directing the footmen where to take their luggage, and ordering a maid to bring tea to the parlour.

Darcy paused on the stair for a moment as Wickham came through the door, lit by the afternoon sun.

He looked impossibly beautiful.

He was laughing at something Mr Denny had said, eyes closed with delight and his head tilted back. He must have spent the entire visit with his friend out-of-doors it seemed, for his skin was tanned a smooth gold and his brown hair lightened almost to blond. A new suit of clothes accentuated the transition Wickham had made of late - but which Darcy had not quite registered - from boy to full grown man, and when he opened his eyes again the deep blue of them against his brown skin made Darcy clench his hand upon the bannister.

“Come Fitz,” his father said, turning to him. He frowned. “Are you taken unwell?”

“No sir, I am quite well,” Darcy responded, descending the stair. It was far from the truth.

“Young lady, can you tell me what has become of Miss Georgiana? I expected her here to greet me,” Wickham was saying solemnly to Georgiana. Georgiana gave a wriggle of delight.

“George, it is me! Don’t you know me?” she said.

“What? This grown up young lady is Miss Georgiana Darcy? I can scarce believe it. Why the girl I know is only nine years old,” Wickham said, smiling down at her.

“I have been ten years old since Tuesday,” Georgiana said.

“Well,” said Wickham. “This is quite a predicament. For I have a new doll here meant for a little girl, and now I cannot think what to do with it.”

Georgiana’s eyes went round as Wickham produced the doll in question. “But perhaps you could take care of her nonetheless. She has travelled a long way.”

“Yes I promise,” said Georgiana taking the doll in her arms. “I will take care of her beautifully.” She buried her face in the doll’s hair.

Darcy could not help but smile at her delight. He himself had given Georgiana a book of rather solemn poetry which she had thanked him for prettily, but to his knowledge had never opened. Wickham was always much better at these things. And it was wonderful to see her so at ease when usually her shyness struck her all but dumb in company.

Wickham caught him smiling and smiled back. And God, how a smile from Wickham could make his heart thunder in the strangest way.

“I am afraid I have brought you nothing at all Darcy. I hope you can forgive me.” He held his hand out to him.

“I had no such expectation,” said Darcy awkwardly. He took the proffered hand; a fleeting press of Wickham’s warm skin against his own. Their eyes met and Wickham’s widened a little. At what, Darcy did not know.  

“Sir,” said the butler to Wickham, causing him to release Darcy’s hand. “The coachman…”

“Oh!” said Wickham, patting his pockets.

“Do let me, Wickham,” his friend Mr Denny said. “I absolutely insist.” He opened a pocketbook stuffed with notes and darted outside before anyone could argue with him.

“Come in my dear boy and take some tea with us,” the elder Mr Darcy said, clapping Wickham on the shoulder. “How are you finding Cambridge? I hope your allowance is ample.”

“More than ample. You are very kind, sir,” Wickham said, and old Mr Darcy beamed.

“Well, you have a fine brain. It would be a shameful waste not to educate it. I hope you are paying special attention in your theology lectures.”

“Oh indeed,” said Wickham, his eyes dancing with amusement. “There is not a thing I do not know about Moses who was burnt to death by a bush, or young Methuselah who married a pillar of salt, or everything that Matthew, Mark, Luke and George wrote…”

“It’s John not George!” Georgiana giggled at him. “And Methuselah was not young at all! I believe you are a perfect dunce. Papa, did you hear him? He is all wrong!”

“Oh, a dunce, is it?” Wickham said, catching her up and throwing her over his shoulder. “I believe you are not a girl at all but a tiny clergyman come to plague me. I shall take you to tea upside-down and see how much bible study I can shake out of your head on the way!” With a whoop he ran up the stairs carrying the delighted child who beat his back with her fists.

Old Mr Darcy followed them at a more sedate pace, chuckling as he went. Mr Denny followed him in turn. Darcy himself paused to gather himself. Wickham was a force of nature; he had this effect on everybody, he told himself. The bubbling of joy and excitement within him was no more than pleasure at the return of his childhood companion.

 

xxx

 

Wickham had brought sunshine to Pemberley with him. The next day dawned hot and clear. Georgiana had been taken away, protesting, by Miss Younge to a dance lesson, and old Mr Darcy had a meeting to attend in town. It was really too warm to sit indoors, or ride out, and so the young men of the household found themselves drawn towards the lake.

Darcy had established himself beneath a tree with a book he was trying to finish. Wickham sat on the edge of the lake, bare feet dangling in the water, and Denny had taken himself to the far side of the water and was teaching himself to dive with furious concentration. He belly-flopped into the water over and over until Wickham begged him to stop.

“Denny! You will do yourself a terrible injury,” he laughed. “At the very least you will becoming incapable of fathering children.”

Darcy smothered a chuckle. Denny had indeed been hitting the water devilishly hard and had been swimming nude, as they could in such a secluded spot.  

“Well why do you not come and show me?” Denny said plaintively. “You are capital at diving, I have seen you. It is very unkind of you to sit there laughing at me.”

“Very well,” said Wickham, slipping his shirt over his head and striding around to where Denny stood, dripping.

Darcy could not resist a quick look upwards as Wickham’s hands went to the fall of his breeches. He could see Wickham’s deft hands undoing his smallclothes at the same time, and begin to slide both off his hips. He watched as the taut muscle of Wickham’s stomach was revealed and the dark line of hair leading to...No. Breathing hard, Darcy looked steadfastly back down at his book. The lines blurred before his eyes. He read the same sentence over and over and over again, until he heard two large splashes and felt safe to look up again.

The diving lesson went on long enough for Darcy to regain his composure and lose himself in his book. But before long his concentration was broken by a sigh from Wickham. Darcy became aware that he had pulled himself out of the water very close by while Denny had remained in the water, floating lazily on his back.

From beneath his lashes could discern that Wickham had tilted his face up and was drying in the sun. He would not allow himself to look. He would. Not. Look.

“Won’t you bathe, Darcy?” said Wickham after a moment. And, cursing his weakness, Darcy glanced over at him. Wickham sat at the edge of the lake, a drying sheet not quite covering the dimples at the base of his back, the sun catching his golden brown hair.

“I do not care to,” Darcy said shortly. He was transfixed against his will by the muscles moving under the skin of Wickham’s back as Wickham lifted a hand to shake water from his hair. Rivulets of water travelled from the nape of Wickham’s neck down between his shoulder blades, tracing an enticing path over his ribs and then downwards and out of sight.

He looked away again.

“I hate to see you sitting about in this heat, getting as freckled as a farmer’s boy. You had much better bathe.”

Freckled? Darcy glanced down at his hands in horror. Wickham smiled.

“On your nose Fitzwilliam. Oh,” he said, as Darcy put a hand to his nose, “It becomes you very well. But come! It is uncommonly hot. You will give yourself a brain fever.”

Wickham began to turn, wrapping the drying sheet around his waist - thank God for small mercies - and came to kneel in front of Darcy.

“It is beautifully cool in the lake,” he said, taking Darcy’s hand in both his; so brown and strong against Darcy’s pale skin. Wickham turned Darcy’s hand palm upwards and began unbuttoning his cuff. Darcy’s mouth dried as he took a sharp breath inward. Wickham glanced up at him briefly, then lowered his lashes again as he continued at his work. Having finished with one cuff and pushed it back, he began on the other.

Darcy felt his pulse take up a hectic rhythm as Wickham rubbed his thumb back and forth across the exposed skin of his wrist.

“You see Darcy, I told you that you would make yourself unwell,” he said. He pressed his thumb harder against Darcy’s pulse point and looked up at him. “Feel how fast it beats.”

Darcy could not think of anything to say. He wanted to order Wickham to release him, to leave him in peace. He wanted him to wrap his hand tighter around his wrist and pull him close. He wanted to lift his other hand to Wickham’s hair, he wanted to pull at the sheet around Wickham’s waist...he wanted to be left alone, for these feelings to stop tormenting him.

Just when he was about to snatch his arm away, Wickham released him. But only to torment him more. Much worse than the touches at his wrists, Wickham took the hem of Darcy’s shirt and began to lift it over his head.

“No,” said Darcy hoarsely. He grabbed Wickham’s hand. “I do not...I dislike bathing.” He tugged his shirt back down. Wickham looked at him for a long moment, a small smile playing around his lips, blue eyes fearlessly meeting Darcy’s own. He leant forward, putting his mouth against Darcy’s ear and Darcy thought his heart would stop.

“I do not believe it,” Wickham said.

“Come back in, Wickham!” bellowed Denny. “I thought we were to have a race!”

“I will come directly,” said Wickham, his eyes still fixed on Darcy’s. Darcy’s gaze was dragged upwards as Wickham slowly stood, his hands moving to where the sheet was tied at his waist. Surely he would not…

But instead Wickham turned and walked to the lake edge. With a last glance over his shoulder, Wickham released the sheet at his waist and Darcy stared helplessly at his body, as perfectly sculpted as one of the statues of greek gods his father loved to collect. Wickham raised his arms above his head and executed a perfect dive into the water.

Darcy slapped his book closed as hard as he could, and made for the house.

He managed to get just inside the door of his room before succumbing. He leant against it as he tore at his breeches, getting a hand to his painfully hard cock. He closed his eyes and Wickham sprang to life before him; bare chested, fingers pressing against his wrist; sliding his breeches down over his hips, God, yes, the line of hair leading down to, to...Darcy touching him there and there and...in a few brief tugs he was coming, coming on Wickham’s chest, his stomach, as he begged him for it

Almost sobbing with release he slid down the door to the floor, shaking from the intensity of his orgasm. He put his head in his hands. He had never experienced such overwhelming want before; he was utterly shaken. What could be wrong with him? Wickham could not be the true cause; not only was he a man, but brought up with him as almost a brother. No, it must be something else; an illness, an ill humour of some kind. Perhaps he had studied too hard this last term. Or the heat. The heat had given him a fever as Wickham said and he had become confused, unwell.

But the very thought of Wickham’s words and the way Wickham had pressed his thumb against him was almost enough to make him harden again. He must not think of it, any of it, again. He would go directly to bed and miss dinner, and see if he had righted himself in the morning.

 

xxx

 

He steadfastly avoided seeing Wickham and his friend Denny alone for the remainder of Denny’s visit. They kept very different hours in any case; Wickham and Denny sat up late playing cards most nights and did not appear till after breakfast the next morning.

Instead, he turned his attentions to Georgiana. Her governess, Miss Younge, seemed to be more sober and devoted young woman than she had first appeared and took Georgiana’s studies very seriously. Sober that was, unless Wickham was by. But then who did the man not have that effect on? Darcy had walked in on them in the drawing room one day, heads bent over a book, laughing and looking altogether intimate. His annoyance must have shown immediately on his face, as Miss Younge stood and curtseyed before scurrying from the room. Wickham slipped the book back into his pocket before turning to Darcy, his face all smiles and innocence.

“Do not look like that, Darcy,” he said. “Miss Younge was asking advice on bible lessons for Georgiana. It was not as though I was reading her a poem by Lord Rochester.”

Darcy burst out with a surprised laugh. “I should very much hope not,” he said.

“I have a book of his poems of course,” Wickham said. “They are shockingly wicked. If you should ever find yourself in the mood.”

“I am rarely in a wicked mood,” said Darcy abruptly, a little more disapprovingly than he had intended.

Wickham looked at him steadily in that way he had; as though your thoughts had been stripped bare and placed before him.

“Really? That is a pity,” he said. “Though perhaps you deceive yourself.”

Darcy felt himself redden under his gaze.

“I have hardly seen you this past week, Darcy,” he continued. “Of course, I have been much in town with Denny and his army friends. Will you not stay after dinner tonight and play a hand of cards with us? It is much more diverting with another person.”

“I am afraid my evenings have been occupied with…”

“With skulking around in the library, reading the Greeks,” Wickham said, with a chuckle. “It does not give a person much confidence in the allure of their company. You must spend one evening in the present with us. I insist.”

“I…very well,” said Darcy. He had perhaps been rude to Wickham’s guest by ignoring them so. And perhaps he should test himself in Wickham’s company again.

“Good,” said Wickham, and laid a warm hand on Darcy’s arm. “I have missed you.”

 

xxx

 

Darcy had found himself watching Wickham from his window again.

Denny had been gone a week, and Darcy found himself avoiding Wickham even more. And now his father had travelled to Oxford for some days on business, and Georgiana had accompanied him to stay with some cousins, and Darcy and Wickham were rattling around inside Pemberley alone.

It made all his lusts impossible to ignore. However many cool baths he took or sermons he listened to or worthy books he read, his body kept winning over his reason.

Darcy leant against the window frame. It seemed it would be Wickham’s habit to ride out in the early afternoon of each day of his summer holiday. And now it seemed it was Darcy’s habit to linger by the window at the same time each day, just as Wickham returned.

Wickham clattered into the courtyard, as at ease in the saddle as any young aristocrat. He had discarded his coat and necktie somewhere upon the ride and the long column of his throat emerging from his shirt made Darcy flush with that strange heat he kept experiencing. He felt a terrible urge to put a hand to himself.

Instead placed a hand against the window and for some reason the movement made Wickham look up for a moment. Darcy stepped back quickly, heart thudding, with no idea why he was reacting in such a fashion.

Cursing himself, he rang for his valet and ordered a cool bath. He must persist in treating his illness, or his thoughts would continue to be affected. He certainly felt far too warm, he thought, as he pulled his shirt over his head.

He had stripped to his small-clothes when Wickham burst into the room, his face still glowing from his recent ride, and breeches still mud-spattered. His hair had escaped from its queue and fell softly about his face, and there was a sheen of perspiration on his throat.

“You wanted me,” he said.

“I…” Darcy could not speak, could not think of a thing to say.

“You waved from the window,” Wickham said, and began to smile. “I did not expect to find you like this. What on earth can you require of me, Fitzwilliam?”

“I do not require you,” Darcy said abruptly. “I did not wave.”

“You stood at the window to look for me then. Why?” said Wickham. He had come up in such a hurry, Darcy noticed, that he still held his riding crop in a gloved hand.

His valet entered the room then, carrying a ewer of water. Darcy dismissed him. “I do not require it now. I will bathe later,” he said. The valet left without a murmur.

He met Wickham’s eyes. Wickham looked him over, very deliberately, eyes lingering in places that they should not.

“I do not require you,” Darcy repeated, but his voice sounded faint to his own ears.

“What,” said Wickham, his blue eyes lit with amusement, “If I require you?”

“Why?” said Darcy, sitting down on the window seat. He was acutely aware of his half-fastened small clothes and wanted to put the ties together, but then Wickham would look at him, and he could not bear it.

“What could a person require Fitzwilliam Darcy for?” Wickham said, moving towards him. “Not a warm welcome, that at least is certain. And after I rushed up here, thinking my brother had summoned me.”

“We are not...” Darcy’s voice failed him, his eyes locked in Wickham’s.

“Your father sees me so. But you do not agree. I wonder how you do see me?” Wickham said. He ran the riding crop up and down his lean thigh and Darcy’s mouth dried. He was right in front of him now, and Darcy wished he had never sat down.

“Companion, perhaps? Friend? No.”

Wickham knelt. Darcy’s blood roared. He could not move.

“Servant?”

Wickham,” said Darcy hopelessly.

Wickham placed his still-gloved hands upon Darcy’s thighs and pushed them gently apart. The ties of the small-clothes pulled apart, leaving him utterly exposed. A steady tug disposed of them entirely.

“What’s this?” Wickham smiled.

Darcy wanted to die from shame as his body betrayed him. Fully roused now, and getting harder with the feel of the leather against the soft skin of his inner thigh, he let out a breath. A bead of wetness gathered at the tip of his cock. Wickham looked up at him, bold and mischievous, moved his head forward, and licked at it.

A low moan escaped Darcy before he could gather his wits to suppress it.

“That pleases you, does it?” asked Wickham softly, but did not wait for an answer before applying his mouth to the head of Darcy’s cock in its entirety. Oh it was so wrong, so wrong, so... Darcy tried for a brief second to struggle away but Wickham merely tightened his grasp and sank his mouth down to the base of Darcy’s cock, moaning.

Oh God. His head fell back against the window. He could do nothing but succumb. His thighs were trembling with the effort of not bringing his legs together around Wickham’s head. He felt the drag of leather as Wickham shifted his hands and pushed his legs further apart and held them firmly. All the while he worked his mouth along Darcy’s length, swallowing him down eagerly.

“Oh...” Darcy managed as soft leather brushed against his balls then cupped them. Wickham pulled his mouth away from Darcy with an obscene wet sound, and began to stroke him, his glove dragging on Darcy’s cock till he could hold back no longer. With a cry and a thrust he finished, pumping over Wickham’s hand as he came harder than he thought was possible, and Wickham watched every moment.

Not breaking eye contact, Wickham sucked the fingers of his glove clean. Darcy could not stop himself clenching with another spasm as he watched him.

“More to spill?” Wickham said merrily, drawing off his gloves and throwing them aside. “I truly believe you never touch yourself at all, Fitzwilliam.” He sucked Darcy clean again, running his tongue along the tender slit, and Darcy shuddered at the sensitivity.

“You will not return the favour I suppose,” said Wickham, his hands going to the fall of his breeches. He licked his mouth and smiled.

Darcy only looked at him, breathing hard. Was he making fun? Wickham seemed so entirely in control and unmoved, he could not believe he was truly aroused.

“Put a hand to me at least,” Wickham said sliding into Darcy’s lap, his breeches undone. Darcy slipped his hands around Wickham’s waist, feeling slightly delirious.

“No. I mean…” Wickham took one of Darcy’s hands and pushed it against his cock. “Here.”

He thrust into Darcy’s hand and the feel of hot, silky skin sent him reeling.  A glance up at Wickham showed him heavy lidded eyes dark with lust and a mouth bruised and swollen from sucking him. He wrapped his hand more tightly around him and his heart quickened as Wickham reacted.

“Yes,” breathed Wickham, pressing harder against him. “Oh God, Darcy...” He threw his head back, and Darcy could smell the outdoors on him and the soap he had used and see the sweat well in the curve of his throat. He was like summer itself. He began to stroke him, and Wickham made a beautiful moaning noise and thrust against him harder. Darcy felt his cock jerk in his hand and suddenly he was coming, pulsing in Darcy’s hand, panting open mouthed above him.

Wickham seemed to recover at once, sliding off Darcy’s lap and cleaning himself with a handkerchief. Darcy felt too overwhelmed to move. He watched Wickham’s neat movements as he fastened himself away.

A knock came at the door and Darcy started before realising it would only be his valet, coming to help him dress for dinner.

“Not now,” he called.

“I am glad you did not say that to me,” said Wickham. “I thought if I did not get to touch you today I would burst.”

“Wickham, we cannot…” Darcy began, and stopped. “This was just…a passing fancy. The heat and the solitude of our situation…”

“And the hardness of our cocks,” said Wickham and chuckled. “Well Darcy, you explain it to yourself however you like. I know my own mind very well.” He opened the door. “I will see you at dinner.”

 

Xxx

 

Dinner was a strained affair. Wickham seemed to not want to make a single remark not designed to tease him, or refer to how they had passed their afternoon, and all before the servants. Darcy did not know where to put himself. And yet Wickham was sweet at the same time, showing interest in the book Darcy was reading, in the business of the estate, and in Georgiana’s schooling. It was reassuring in fact to have Wickham’s views on the suitability of Miss Younge.

“Shall we retire to the drawing room for brandy?” asked Wickham at last.

“I had intended to read for a while,” said Darcy, as the footman held the door open for the two men to leave the dining room. The door closed behind them and they stood alone in the hall.

“Shall I accompany you to the library then?” Wickham persisted.

Darcy swallowed and watched as Wickham’s eyes travelled from his throat to his mouth.

“I…” his voice failed him. “I do not require your company.”

“Require? No, of course you do not,” said Wickham amiably. “Want, however…”

“I neither want nor require it,” Darcy said, lifting his chin. Wickham looked amused. With a quick movement he stepped towards Darcy, pressing himself flush against him.

“This tells a different story,” he said, his eyes lit with laughter, pushing himself against Darcy’s hardening length.

And God how Darcy did want him; his wide, wicked mouth and his hair falling across his forehead begging to have fingers tangled in it. Wickham tilted his head just a fraction and Darcy felt his own lips part; his tongue dart out to wet his lips as he fought with his whole being not to fasten his mouth to the long column of Wickham’s throat. And Wickham’s mouth was opening too, his lips so pink and lush and there, and his eyes fluttering closed as though he really wanted...he…

Darcy kissed him. He kissed him the way he’d dreamt of kissing him; deep and slow and open mouthed. And Wickham was kissing him back, his beautiful lips parted, his perfect teeth nipping at Darcy’s bottom lip, eyes closed with intensity. And then he was pressing his whole body against Darcy, pressing his tongue deep inside him, and Darcy wanted everything, and wanted to kiss him while he had it.

“Upstairs,” he said against Wickham’s lips, loathe to take his mouth away even for a second.

“My room,” was all Wickham said.

How they got there, Darcy could scarce remember. They stumbled in the dark until Wickham lit a candle, wrenching at clothes with clumsy fingers. Wickham managed to undress first and Darcy forgot everything at the sight of Wickham naked, muscled, and fully roused. He ripped at his remaining clothing, then caught Wickham around the waist and threw him onto the bed beneath him.

Darcy,” Wickham said, eyes almost black with lust. His words turned to gasps as Darcy began to kiss him everywhere he could reach. He ran his hands and mouth over every inch of Wickham, feeling silky skin over hard muscle; watching the way his cock and nipples hardened, listening to the way he begged and moaned Darcy’s name as Darcy licked, nipped and stroked him all over. Wickham twisted underneath him, incoherent with arousal, and Darcy wanted him overwhelmed, wanted him so drugged with want that he could not think. He stroked down behind Wickham’s tightening balls and pressed a wetted finger to his opening.

Wickham let out a stream of swear words he could only have learnt from Denny’s army friends and spread his legs. “Yes, Darcy. Oh, please,” he begged. “The desk drawer, for god’s sake.”

Darcy looked there and found the oil. Dipping his fingers in it he got back between Wickham’s spread thighs and applied himself to that most tender spot. Wickham moaned beautifully and bucked against his fingers, rocking on them, his cock flushed pink and hard against his stomach.

“Get inside me,” he begged. “I want to finish with you inside me.”

Darcy knelt in front of him, pressing himself against Wickham’s opening.

“Yes,” groaned Wickham. “I’m so close.”

Darcy pushed inside and Wickham wrapped his legs around him. Darcy had never felt anything like his heat, his eagerness, his want for him. He could not control himself. Kissing Wickham over and over, he fucked him hard.

“Please, please, please,” said Wickham incoherently against his mouth.

Darcy felt a hot, wet rush against his stomach and realised Wickham had come, and without even a hand on him. My God. He fucked him with renewed vigour, leaning back to see Wickham’s softening cock bounce against his stomach, his eyes half closed with delight. Darcy had never seen anyone look so debauched. With a cry he began to spill inside him, with such intensity that he wondered if he might pass out from the pleasure. But then he was coming back to himself, and Wickham was kissing him, and everything felt so wonderful he started to laugh. Wickham did too, between kisses, and Darcy entwined his hand with his.

“I did not know it could be like this,” said Darcy, before he could stop himself.

“Shh, Fitz,” said Wickham, kissing his throat. “Do not say things you do not mean or you will break my heart.”

 

Xxx

 

Darcy had breakfasted and ridden the length of the park and back before Wickham had even made an appearance at the stables the next morning.

“Good morning,” he said, very aware of the bustle of stable boys around them both.

“Good morning Darcy,” said Wickham. “You have been out already I see.”

Darcy dismounted and made to leave the stable. Wickham brushed past him and paused for a moment.

“Does your cock hurt as much as my arse does?” he said in a low, amused voice, and ran his riding crop up between Darcy’s thighs. “You gave me a capital going over yesterday.” Darcy blushed violently at the crude words. By the time Darcy had recovered enough to even think of a retort, Wickham had swung himself into the saddle. Trotting past Darcy he pulled a pained face and squirmed in his seat, then winked and dug his heels into his horse’s flanks. Darcy could not help but burst out laughing.

 

xxx

 

They had a golden week before they had to return to Cambridge, or so it seemed at the time. During the day they would ride out, goading each other into races, or idling in country lanes. If the weather allowed, they would bathe, the sight of each other’s bodies tantalising enough to make them risk all kinds of touches and embraces. And at night they devoured each other. Wickham, so teasing and knowing at first, was so different when they were in bed together. He gave himself to Darcy utterly and Darcy loved to make him come to pieces.

“God, Darcy,” he burst out one night as they lay panting next to each other. “I never intended to feel…” He cut himself off abruptly.

“I did not know you had intentions towards me at all,” said Darcy lightly, half afraid of what Wickham had almost said.

“Only foul, terrible ones,” Wickham said, recovering himself. “Involving getting you out of your breeches and into my bed. And as you see, I have had a wonderful success.”

“Only because I had the same ones,” said Darcy, kissing him lazily. “I just could not quite admit them to myself.”

“I think that is quite enough confessing for one night,” said Wickham, throwing an arm across Darcy’s chest and settling to sleep. “Let us each keep a few secrets at least.”

 

xxx

 

“Darcy, I have a favour to ask of you,” Wickham said one evening as they lay in bed, tracing a finger down Darcy’s ribs.

“And what is that?” Darcy said, pushing Wickham’s hair out of his eyes and smoothing it back from his face.

“I wish to persuade your father to allow me to train in law. It will not cost so very much more, and the profits once I am in business…”

“But it is all settled,” said Darcy with growing suspicion. “You are to take on the living at Kympton. It is exceedingly generous of my father to…”

“But I do not wish it,” said Wickham, stroking gently up Darcy’s back, sending tingles across his skin. “And your father has money to spare. Surely I am entitled to choose…”

“He offers you the living out of affection for you!” said Darcy.

“And you cannot know how that feels,” returned Wickham. “To be obliged to be so very very grateful for something I do not want.”

“I should think that gratitude would come easily,” Darcy said, half sitting up and shaking off Wickham’s hand. “When my father has spared no expense…”

“I had no intention of upsetting you Darcy,” Wickham said quickly. “I was merely speaking a passing thought aloud. Forgive me.”

Darcy said nothing, but felt incredibly unsettled by it all.

“Come, we have one night left before we return to Cambridge,” said Wickham. “And you said we must keep our usual distance there. Do not let us quarrel now, dear brother. I cannot bear that you would think ill of me.” He traced Darcy’s lips with a finger and Darcy felt himself giving in.

“How can I make it up to you? Should I do that little trick you enjoyed so much last night that made you make those exquisite noises? Yes,” he said, as Darcy felt his face flush with desire. “I think I shall.”

 

xxx

 

Back at Cambridge, they did the sensible thing and kept their distance. Darcy buried himself in his studies, and Wickham, he assumed, threw himself back with equal vigour into Cambridge society. Darcy managed to clear his head of Wickham a little; it was as if, when they were together, that they drugged each other in some strange way. His stomach churned to think of how they had behaved by the lake at home. But he had been so unafraid, so infatuated. So unlike himself. His mind turned over and over between feeling that his longing for Wickham was an illness within him, and thinking it was the most wonderful thing that had happened to him. His peaceful life at Cambridge made it all the easier not to think of it at all.

But one evening, Darcy’s peace of mind was shattered by a messenger delivering an urgent missive from Wickham. He was at a certain Inn just outside Cambridge with Denny, he had been attacked and he needed help. P.S. please tip this messenger boy.

Darcy did not hesitate. He arrived at the Inn and Wickham’s friend Denny showed him upstairs to a set of rooms.

“He is in the bedroom,” Denny said, settling himself in the small parlour by the fire with a whisky. Darcy wondered why Denny was not with his good friend, but perhaps Wickham had asked especially to see him alone.  

 Wickham sat on the bed by the window, in a sorry state. He looked up at Darcy, his lip split and face bloodied, and Darcy’s stomach turned over.

“Who did this?” he managed.

“I was stupid enough to play cards against a notorious merchant,” Wickham said, an apologetic smile on his lips. “By the time I discovered he was cheating, he had bankrupted me. And he did not take kindly to the accusation.”

“But this is outrageous, Wickham! He cannot just cheat you, then beat you into the bargain. Look what he has done,” said Darcy passionately, catching up Wickham’s chin with his hand and gently stroking his lip with a thumb.

“Let us say no more of it,” said Wickham. “I gambled what I could ill afford to lose, and lose it I did. My injury is a penance for my stupidity.”

“It is not a penance you should have to pay for his want of morality,” Darcy said, his hand going to his pocketbook. He opened it and bade Wickham name his loss. Wickham refused vociferously at first, then would only name a paltry sum, until, with persuasion and some caresses, he owned the true amount. Darcy felt a shock at the high stakes Wickham had allowed himself to be drawn into but one look at Wickham’s pale bruised face, so handsome in its remorse, and he could do nothing but tuck the notes into Wickham’s coat.

“Thank you,” he said, and kissed Darcy gently.

There was a knock at the door and Denny appeared.

“Darcy your coachman wishes to know whether he stays or goes,” he said.

“I will leave you to rest,” Darcy said to Wickham, and followed Denny into the outer room.  

“Were you with Wickham when he was attacked?”

“I was at the table with him, yes,” said Denny.

“And could you not bring yourself to intervene?” Darcy said, his temper rising. “He has been beaten to a pulp!”

Denny looked at him with a wry smile.  

“Is there something amusing you?” said Darcy.

“Don’t be a fool like me,” Denny said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You do not truly believe it was the merchant who was cheating, do you?” Denny said. “You know what Wickham is like.”

“Wickham has never to my knowledge been in such a circumstance before,” said Darcy coldly.

“Are you…” Denny let out a short laugh. “I suppose you would not know. I have always picked up his debts before.”

Darcy felt cold. “Have there been many such debts?”

“I cannot begin to count,” said Denny.

Darcy wanted to challenge him. This could not be true. But one look at Denny told him it was.

“But this is shocking,” Darcy burst out. “Does he never repay you?”

“Oh yes,” said Denny, “He certainly has his ways of repaying me.”

The way he smiled as he said it made Darcy look at him sharply. Denny shrugged his shoulders.

Darcy remembered the evening they had all played cards and Wickham had run out of money. “I shall repay you in whatever instalments you require,” Wickham had said to Denny, and Denny had flushed bright red. And the times he had seen Denny’s arm around him in the hall, taking him to his bedroom. “Drunk,” Denny had said.

“How can you…” Darcy began.

Denny’s mouth twisted. “I think you know how I can.”

“I have no idea what you mean,” Darcy said, his heart thudding.

Denny squared up to him, bringing his face close to Darcy’s.

“Did he leave his gloves on for you too?” he said.

Darcy took a stumbling step backwards.

“Darcy,” Denny held up a hand in a peace-making gesture. “Please. Forgive me. I only wished to make clear...the circumstances of this evening.”

“Which were?”

“Wickham cheated, which he often does. He feels invincible after a drink, I think. And he was caught, thoroughly.  I had argued with him earlier and refused to pay another debt for him again. He offered this man a similar repayment method to the one he uses with me, and, well. You see his face.”

“Does this merchant know who he is?” said Darcy. He could barely take in what he was hearing.

“He does not. And he has been paid handsomely to forget the incident entirely,” said Denny.

“So why did Wickham call for me?” Darcy sat down, all the strength going out of his legs.

“We had argued. He did not know that I was going to pay his debt as I always do. And I think he thought to make me jealous. It worked.”

“You must allow me to…” said Darcy, reaching for his wallet.

“No,” Denny shook his head. “I want nothing. I should not have let him get into the situation in the first place. I know how he relies on me.”

The naked longing in Denny’s voice as he spoke the last sentence made Darcy look up at him.

“Does it not distress you that he uses you thus?” he asked.

“Worse than that; it makes me hope,” Denny said. “I am to take a commission in the army before long, you know. It is much the best way for me to sever the ties of this ridiculous attachment. And I know it is ridiculous; that it makes me ridiculous.”

“He has made fools of us both,” said Darcy bitterly. How ashamed he was of his reckless behaviour, his want of thought or pride. He knew now that Wickham had no feelings towards him at all. All this was to escape having to take orders. Darcy knew he would find a way out of that the way he had found his way out of his debts and into the bed of anyone useful to him. He closed his eyes in shame when he thought of how open he had allowed himself to be, how vulnerable. But could it really have all been an act? Wickham had seemed to truly desire him.

No, enough.

“I will go,” said Darcy, reeling with humiliation. “I will not allow myself to be dragged into this any deeper.” He pressed some notes into Denny’s hand. “Give him these. Tell him I will not come to his rescue again.”

 

 

Xxx

 

Darcy had no time to dwell on Denny’s revelations, for the next morning came the terrible news that his father had died.

Everything changed from that moment. He was called back from Cambridge to help settle the estate. He was now guardian to Georgiana, who was lost and confused at her small world being turned upside down. He could barely spare a thought for Wickham and his schemes. He assumed Wickham would take orders as planned in the summer and forget all about this law nonsense. His father had certainly left Wickham no other legacy.

 

Xxx

 

A few nights after the funeral, Mrs Reynolds came to the door of his room in her night clothes, in a state of great agitation.

“Sir, there are sounds coming from your dear father’s study,” she said. “The housemaids say it is a ghost! I know we are not to go in there without permission…”

“Tell them that of course it is not a ghost. And as if my father would harm them, alive or dead!” Darcy said, taking the study key from the desk drawer. He snatched up a candle and hurried downstairs. Pausing at the door of the study he listened. There were certainly movements inside. He unlocked the door silently, and pushed it open an inch.

Wickham stood, rifling in old Mr Darcy’s desk, having let himself in through the window. As Darcy watched, he withdrew a cheque book and slipped it into his pocket.

Darcy turned to Mrs Reynolds. “It is only Wickham,” he said. “I will find out what he wants. Please go back to sleep now, all of you.”

The servants dispersed and Darcy turned back to the door, taking a deep breath before entering the room. Wickham was so intent on his quest he did not sense Darcy until he was right behind him.

Darcy seized him by the shoulder violently, dragging him around to face him.

Wickham panicked for a moment, swinging a fist at Darcy. Darcy side-stepped him, coming back with a punch of his own. Wickham cried out as Darcy’s fist made contact with his face, and staggered back out of his reach.

“Good God Darcy,” he said, hand holding his injured face. “I thought I was being set about by a band of thieves.”

“What are you about?” Darcy managed, his fury causing his voice to shake. “These are my...my father’s…”

A sly look came over Wickham’s face and Darcy knew he was about to lie.

“I wanted something of his. Something written in his hand,” Wickham said. “I cannot bear that I will never receive a letter from him again.”

“Then I do not see how the cheque book you have taken would satisfy your need,” Darcy said. “For he has written nothing in it.”

Wickham changed tack. “I have a very pressing need at present,” he said. “I did not want to disturb you with such mercenary concerns while you are grieving. I know that had your father been alive he would have allowed me…”

“Well he is not alive, and I do not allow you,” said Darcy. “How can you come creeping here in the night like a common thief? Can you friend Denny not furnish you with what you need?”

Wickham made no response.

Oh,” Darcy said, realising. “He has gone into the army at last. So you must hold yourself over until you take orders.”

“Take orders? I cannot go into the church,” Wickham said earnestly. “Darcy, you know my weaknesses. Can you in all conscience allow it?”

“As though you know what it means to have a conscience,” said Darcy bitterly.

“You pride yourself on yours and yet it does not prevent you indulging yourself,” Wickham said.

“Indulging myself in what?”

“In me.”

“I do not…” Darcy was speechless. What had happened between them had been accidental, or the fault of Wickham. He had struggled against these shameful feelings and had succeeded in the most part! He had never instigated...he had only capitulated when Wickham…

“And how could I have resisted you? I have to keep in your good favour. My livelihood depends upon it.”

“What can you mean, Wickham?” demanded Darcy, a cold horror washing over him.

“Only that if fault must be apportioned, it does not lie with me,” Wickham said. He was lounging back against the desk now, quite at ease, as though they were only discussing the weather. “I am merely the Steward’s son and obliged to serve you.”

It was to be blackmail then.

Darcy could not contain his rage and grief. He launched himself at Wickham, grabbing him by the shirtfront.

“I should thrash you within an inch of your life,” Darcy said, holding the struggling Wickham down on the desk. Wickham let out a moan and pushed himself back against Darcy. Good God he was shameless, he had forgotten how Wickham reacted to being treated roughly.

“Please,” Wickham gasped. His eyes flickered over to the chair where he had discarded his outer garments. His riding crop lay on the top.

Darcy snatched it up and Wickham let out another moan.

“I ought to give you a stroke for every shilling you have tried to extort from me,” he snarled.

Yes. Please, Darcy. Let me earn it,” Wickham said breathlessly.

Arousal flamed through Darcy’s body. Why not? If he was to pay the bastard off, why not make him suffer for it. “One hundred pounds per stroke. And believe me you will feel every penny.”

“I will bankrupt you,” said Wickham.

“I will break you first,” said Darcy and Wickham gave a little gasp of excitement. “Take off your clothes.”

He watched Wickham undress, restraining himself from tearing the clothes away himself as Wickham’s fingers fumbled over the buttons. At last he was stripped bare of everything, standing in front of Darcy in all his beauty.

“Turn around and put your hands on the desk.”

Wickham did so without a word. The only sound was the hitch of his breathing and the tick of the clock on the mantle. Darcy weighed the crop in his hand.

It was intoxicating to have Wickham at his mercy like this. He stroked the crop up Wickham’s inner thigh, nudging his balls with it and seeing how they tightened as he trembled with anticipation. He stroked it down the other thigh and then up again, and across the fleshy part of his arse, before taking it away altogether and beginning again.

Wickham was begging incoherently by the time Darcy landed the first blow.

He took the first five well, with only the smallest of cries. Darcy watched as the golden skin began to flush pink and his legs began to shake with the effort of holding himself still.

By ten he was moaning in earnest. A pattern of welts had raised themselves on Wickham’s flawless skin; on his arse, his thighs, his lower back.

“Enough?” asked Darcy, breathing hard himself with the intensity of his arousal.

“More,” gasped Wickham, shifting his feet. His erect cock jutted from his body and Darcy had an urge to take him in his hand and bring him to climax while thrashing him as hard as he could.

But they had an agreement.

“Count then,” he said, and brought the crop down hard on the underside of his right buttock.

Ah! E-eleven.”

Darcy began to linger between strokes, stretching out the anticipation, letting Wickham feel each new stripe across his skin in its entirety. Making him beg. He could tell Wickham was coming to the very limit of his endurance, but he would hear it from him.

“Eighteen,” Wickham was saying, his whole body trembling now, his head resting on his forearms. A trickle of sweat made its way down his back.

“More?” Darcy said. Wickham breathed in and out hard before nodding.

Darcy brought the crop down hard on an already angry welt on Wickham’s upper thigh. Wickham screamed, his knees buckling.

“Nineteen. Oh God, oh fuck,” he moaned.

“You look finished Wickham,” Darcy said, leaning over him and pushing his own erection up against Wickham’s red, beaten arse. God how he wanted him. “You cannot take more.”

“One more,” Wickham panted. “I can take one more.”

Even if Wickham could take more, Darcy was almost dizzy with want. He must finish this now. Stepping to the side of Wickham, he flicked the crop across his bobbing erection. Wickham let out a final broken cry and twisted away.

Twenty. Enough,” he sobbed. “Please, enough.”

Darcy lowered his arm.

Wickham looked at him over his shoulder, chest heaving as he choked back his tears.

“You cannot leave me like this,” he said. “Fuck me, please.”

He tried to turn around but Darcy pushed him face down onto the desk and held him there. Wickham panted underneath him. Darcy pulled down the fall of his breeches, looking wildly around himself for anything that could be used to ease Wickham open. Wickham arched towards him.

“I do not need it,” he said. “For God’s sake, hurry.”

Darcy pushed a finger inside him and felt Wickham was oiled already. God knows who he had been with already that day. He was little better than a whore.

The thought excited him almost as much as the whipping had. Holding Wickham’s hips tightly, he pushed in deep. Wickham let out a low moan and pushed back hard onto his cock and Darcy let go any pretence of restraint as he sank into Wickham’s tightness. He fucked him as roughly as he could, slipping a hand around to tug on Wickham’s cock. He was vaguely aware of Wickham bucking into his hand and moaning his name, and a spurt of heat over his fist, but it could not compete with his own urgency. He looked down at himself pushing again and again into Wickham’s body, the body he had beaten and marked, and pushed in deeper yet. Wickham was utterly spent and only able to whimper as Darcy fucked himself to climax.  He collapsed against Wickham, face buried against the nape of his neck, allowing himself just one more time to kiss him there, and breathe in his sweet scent.

He broke away from him after a moment and Wickham sighed at the loss of contact. As he turned his back upon him and fastened himself away, Darcy could not quite believe what had just occurred.

“I believe you enjoyed that as much as I did,” said Wickham presently. “A pity it is to be the last time. At least, I think that was the last time?”

“Yes,” said Darcy.

Wickham nodded, wincing a little as he pulled up his breeches. “God knows how I will sit on a horse now,” he said.

“I am sure you will survive it,” said Darcy.

“Well then,” said Wickham. He held out a hand. “My cheque?”

Darcy felt a wave of shame. “How...how many…”

“Twenty I believe, before you broke me,” said Wickham with a smile. “Although I feel a little extra for you taking me so roughly would not be amiss. I will not sit comfortably for a week.”

The devil take the man. Darcy lowered his flaming face to the cheque book and wrote the amount out. He held the paper out to Wickham who took it.

“So that is what I am worth,” he said, sounding amused. “I have perhaps been trying to make my fortune in the wrong way.”

“It is the last money you will ever receive from me,” Darcy said. “I want you to leave now and never return.”

Wickham looked at him for a moment.

“You will not sever my attachment to Georgiana,” he said, an edge creeping into his voice.

Darcy was taken aback. He had not realised that Wickham cared so very much for his little sister. But it was perhaps unnecessarily cruel to cut Georgiana off from one who she saw as an older brother, who she had known all her life and was so affectionately attached to. And her governess of course would vet any letters.

“You may continue to write to her,” Darcy allowed. “But you will not be welcomed at Pemberley again.”

Wickham nodded. He had finished buttoning his coat and had picked up his gloves and hat, but paused for a moment. He looked straight at Darcy and Darcy wanted to flinch away from the look of regret on his face.

“I always admired you, you know,” Wickham said. “I am sorry to part. Perhaps it will not always be like this between us. We were like brothers before; perhaps we can be again.”

Darcy half smiled and shook his head.

“I do not know of any brothers who behave towards each other in this manner,” he said.

“True,” said Wickham. Before Darcy could turn his face away he reached up and kissed him hard, and then stepped away again.

“Goodbye Darcy,” he said, putting on his hat. "I hope to see you again one day."

Darcy did not respond as Wickham disappeared out into the midnight dark of the garden.