It was rare to see him without his smile. The gentleness, the soft, quiet warmth, the joy of life itself. All those were gone now and as Encio pet his cheekbone with a fingertip, he contemplated the man kneeling at his feet.
Bare to the waist, golden skin and scars on display under the warm light of the fireplace, Courier was a snapshot of a dream long forgotten. His eyes were closed, his back was ramrod straight and yet he appeared loose and relaxed, sitting on his heels and letting Encio enjoy the softness of his skin.
- You were late, Courier. – He considered taking off his gloves but…The night was still young. He was still in his office though with the look Matterhorn had given him before leaving, he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed. – What was the reason ?
Courier took a full minute to just breathe, drawing Encio’s eyes to his chest. He was lean and muscled, covered in scars, warm and sleek and lovely. There was a fresh bandage wrapped around his left forearm from the wrist all the way to the elbow and an angry red burn that was still shiny under his ribs. Encio crossed his legs.
- Still within deadline, sir. – Courier pressed his cheek to Encio’s palm where he had been cradling the side of his face. – There was a problem in Rhodes Island Pharmaceuticals’ base and they needed a hand for a few hours.
- Rhodes Island… - Encio paused, glancing at the blinking light of the screencurrently occupying his desk. – Turn around.
Courier didn’t wait for more instructions. Moving without getting up, he turned so he was facing the door and kneeling to Encio’s side. Encio tugged on his hair just a little and the other man obeyed, lightly resting his temple on Encio’s knee. The carpet was thick enough, he knew it from past experiences when both of them had ended up naked on it, and Courier could ask for a cushion is necessary but…But he wouldn’t. Not yet.
Scratching through his scalp once more, Encio focused back on the reports on his screen. Courier breathed out in the quiet of the office and leaned a bit more on his knee.
- What is happening at Rhodes Island ? – Because if Courier had spent some extra time on something, it had to be important.
- They found their Doctor. – Encio paused.
- Oh ?
- Apparently, they have lost their memories completely. – This time Courier didn’t wait for another prompt to continue. – Based on what Amiya and Kal’tsit said, it appears to be true.
- Did they tell you this ? – Encio flipped through a few reports from a week ago, looking for disturbances to show something happening all the way over at Rhodes Island.
- Of course not. – He felt a shrug before Courier sighed again. – I heard some of the younger operators talk about it. And their entire personality is different.
Encio scrolled down to some of the finer print on one of the reports. Ah, people thought they could get away with things by putting them in the end of the report and in tiny font. What did they take him for ?
- Nowadays, they don’t leave an operator on the field and their new prime directive is keeping their own safe above all. – Courier paused. – They all seemed to believe it.
- Would you believe it ? – He dropped his hand again, burying his fingers in the other man’s hair.
- I haven’t spent enough time around the Doctor before they disappeared to be a good judge of their character.
- Always so practical. – Shutting the screen down, Encio pulled the solid wood cover of the desk and cleared the shiny surface. Perfect. Courier had been kneeling for an hour now and, based on the darkness behind the bulletproof glass of the huge windows it was late enough. He could allow himself an evening of leisure, especially since now he had everything he could need to truly relax. – I will investigate further after the meeting tomorrow. Get up.
Courier rose without making a sound and all Encio had to do was push his chair away from the desk for him to understand. Up there, in the penthouse office of Karlan Commercial, at the top of the building towering over the entire city, it was just the two of them and Courier simply pushed himself to fully sit on the desk. And then waited for further instructions.
Encio looked at him, taking his time.
It had been a week this time, with the official deadline being ten days and him expecting Courier back by day four. He was too quick and light on his feet, swift to navigate through shortcuts and either charm or slaughter his way out of any situation, and Encio was used to him always being flawless in his work.
Light blue eyes met his and Courier cocked his head in question, clearly fine with letting Encio look.
- You took your time, Courier. – Tapping on his thigh, Encio waited for the other man to spread his legs so he could slot himself between them. – You know I always expect perfection from you.
- Yes, sir.
- Good. – Courier had closed his eyes, breathing light and easy. Even better. – Keep your hands on the desk.
No response but, well, he hadn’t asked a question.
Leaning forward, Encio kissed the curve of Courier’s shoulder before pausing to breathe him in. It had been longer than he had planned, indeed.
He bit down.
Courier tensed for a moment but didn’t show any other reaction. Encio pressed harder, feeling Courier breathe out slowly and relax again. Once he was satisfied with the mark he’d left, he moved up Courier’s neck, making sure to leave bruises every time he nipped at the skin under his teeth. Nothing too deep or dark, because that was simply unnecessary, but he wanted Courier to feel it.
Reaching his cheek, he pressed his lips to Courier’s cheekbone. The other man turned his head, pressing his forehead to Encio’s shoulder.
- Things got complicated. – Encio hooked his hands under Courier’s knees and tugged him forward to the edge, pressing their bodies together. Under his palm, the smooth, tender skin of the fresh burn felt unnatural and like a weak spot that had to be covered as soon as possible.
- Who did this ? – Courier sighed in his shoulder.
- I didn’t ask for their names and they can’t tell anymore. But they wore the insignia of Leithania.
Encio paused for a moment before nipping at Courier’s ear.
- How many ? – Palms still pressed to the table, Courier didn’t answer for what felt like a whole minute. Encio went back to kissing his shoulder, tracing the old scars that littered his golden skin. He could wait. It was still early and he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed until the morning.
Spreading his fingers over Courier’s ribs and to the small of his back, Encio traced up his spine. Another small mark and he moved to a new spot down to Courier’s collarbone.
He could wait.
- I counted thirteen when they caught up to me. And then three more. – Encio paused for a moment before pulling away to look at Courier’s face.
With his ears down in his hair, head cocked to the side and eyes almost glowing in the low light, Courier looked deceptively innocent and soft. The whisper of smile slowly slipped off his lips and Encio considered him for a moment.
- Sixteen Leithanians. – Tipping Courier’s chin up a touch, Encio rubbed his lip with a fingertip. – Arts users ?
- Did they also do this ? – He tapped the bandages that covered Courier’s arm from wrist to elbow.
- Two of them were especially energetic. – Encio looked up.
- All of them dead ? – Courier nodded lightly without losing Encio’s touch. – Good. The insignias ?
- Didn’t touch them. – Encio nodded. Good. Let the Leithanians find their own and think carefully next time.
- Did you see a medic ? – And then he ran his hand through Courier’s hair, pausing to rub at one ear.
- One of Rhodes Island’s.
- Matterhorn will look at you tomorrow. – Courier knew better than to argue by now. Which was good because Encio was finished with the talking. Biting lightly at Courier’s neck once more, holding delicate skin in his teeth until he felt the other man breathe out, he stepped back from the desk. – Come.
And Courier followed.
Behind two thick steel doors, three electronic security panels and one guard who nodded at them without meeting Encio’s eyes, they finally crossed the threshold of his personal space. He was still fully clothed, Courier bare to the waist and shoulders littered with bite marks, and yet he knew nobody would comment or talk. His staff knew better than to spread gossip, not that most of them couldn’t guess their relationship.
Encio didn’t really let that weight on his mind. Kjerag rested in the palm of his hand and he more or less owned the country. Only, unlike most nobles, especially in Victoria and Leithania, he knew how to keep himself safe and his power – unyielding. It was all about planning.
His personal quarters in the business tower were full of heavy dark wood and decadent fabrics. He spent way too much time not going home to not have all of his comforts here. And from what he had mentioned randomly some time ago, Courier apparently felt more comfortable here than at his apartment in the heart of Lysefjorden.
The bulletproof one-way glass on the windows showed the entire Lysefjorden spread like a sea of fireflies beneath them. Encio pressed Courier to the glass and felt him breathe against his chest. Courier didn’t say a word, not even trying to turn and look at Encio, keeping his face to the sprawling city. Encio allowed himself to feel him for another moment before taking half a step back.
Courier cut a lovely silhouette with the lights framing his body. Every muscle on his back on display, pants low on his hips and hands loose at his sides, he was, Encio considered, lovely.
Taking his jacket and vest off, he turned to hang them properly in the closet, making sure to keep Courier in his field of view. Only in his shirt and slacks, now barefoot, Encio rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and walked back to his lover. He noted, once more, where the burn was to make sure to avoid it and rested his cheek on Courier’s hair. Their height difference made it easy since while Courier didn’t look small when alone, he still reached a little over Encio’s chin.
- You were still later than I expected from you. – Tipping Courier’s chin up and to the side, Encio pressed their lips together. Once, twice, the third time his lover pressed harder, still without moving from where his front was pressed to the floor-to-ceiling window.
- I apologise, sir. – Barely breathed against his lips and then Courier paused for a moment, waiting for him. Encio spread his fingers across Courier’s cheek, keeping his face turned, and kissed him again, parting his lips. Courier followed.
Coffee and the faintest bitterness of medicine. Clearly, it hadn’t been as simple as clean wrap up of a wound over at Rhodes Island Pharmaceuticals but…He would get the details about that tomorrow. For now, his lover seemed stable enough and while he was aware of the power balance in the room, Encio also knew Courier was more than capable of stopping him if he wasn’t feeling it.
Encio pressed deeper, sliding his fingers down to Courier’s neck and keeping his touch loose but present. And again. And again.
Dropping his free hand down Courier’s chest, he pet across his stomach and flicked the fly of his pants open. His lover didn’t show a reaction and Encio nipped on his lip just to get him to tense for a moment.
- Breathe, Courier. – He felt the almost-smile that touched his lover’s lips and pressed back in. While patience had always been one of his greatest virtues, he had been expecting this three days ago. Unzipping Courier’s pants, he slowly slid them down, still making sure his chest was pressed to the cold glass.
- Yes, sir. – Another sigh. Good.
Courier’s skin was warm where Encio was feeling the curve of his hip, warm and dry, and he traced the scars he knew better than he knew the ones on his own body.
He took a deep breath and savoured it on his tongue like fine wine. The air in the room was suddenly perfumed with a scent that had his body react in an instant. He was holding Courier in his arms between himself and the cold, unyielding glass, he held an entire country in the palm of his hand, and yet the moment he caught that one specific fragrance, he was the one who was uncomfortable because he had to adjust himself discreetly.
Encio had a pretty good reason not to deal with post Courier delivered personally in company and it wasn’t due to data security.
- Keep your hands to your sides. – And then he didn’t wait for a reply. Curving his fingers around Courier’s cock, he stroked him to full arousal. Firm pressure and then… Twist of his wrist. He knew Courier, knew how to get him ready in seconds and based on the stuttering of his breath, he had succeeded. – Do you think I can have you finish in under a minute ?
Courier held his breath for another couple of moment and Encio paused mid-stroke, lightly pressing where he was still holding his fingers around his lover’s throat.
- Yes. – Sliding his lips down, he kissed Courier’s shoulder and let his lover breathe his own air. Fitting his teeth on the muscle under his mouth and curling his tail around Courier’s calf, he bit down and gave Courier’s cock another firm stroke. And then one more. Slightly more pressure on his neck, more force behind the bite, a slide of his fingers and…
Courier made no sound. He never did unless Encio wanted to hear him finish. But his entire body tensed against Encio’s, he opened his palms and pressed them harder to the window and his spine curved. Encio felt his breath catch and held onto his shoulder until Courier barely sighed and leaned forward to lean his forehead on the glass. He had spilled all over Encio’s hand and probably the floor but that was not for them to worry about.
Tugging him by the shoulder with his clean hand, Encio had Courier turn around, tipped his face up and gave him a quick kiss.
- On the bed. I’ll be back in a minute.
The en suite was just as spacious and dark as the rest of the rooms, and as Encio was washing his hands, he considered what he wanted to do tonight. Usually, he would drag things out, spend a few hours getting Courier to actually make a sound, maybe get some light late night dinner in him since he was sure the other man hadn’t eaten today, take his time washing his hair and petting every inch of his body.
But Courier was hurt and since he’d arrived later than both of them had expected, Encio was sure his lover had cut short through the wilderness on foot, probably ran all the way, and he had lost the mood to edge. Maybe some other day.
Dropping his shirt in the hamper, he ran his fingers through his hair and stepped in the bedroom.
Courier, still in his pants, was sitting on the bed checking something on his phone.
- Take those off. – His lover glanced up and dropped the phone in the bedside drawer. The last piece of clothing was removed with clinical efficiency and while Courier was doing that, Encio followed suit. – Come here.
And then he was flat on his back, an Itra across his thighs pressing onto his chest with his whole weight. Looking down at Encio, Courier cocked his head, pet up and down all the way to his shoulders and then back, and then pulled away a few inches.
- What are you… - His hand was tight in Courier’s hair before he knew it. His lover’s mouth was warm on him, Courier giving his cock a lick and then swallowing him halfway down, pausing, going back up and then all the way down.
Encio relaxed his fingers as not to force Courier down too hard but still gripped his shoulder hard enough to bruise. He knew his lover would wear them tomorrow and they would show under those thin shirts he liked to have on under his jacket. Oh, they would definitely go for round two in the morning, after Matterhorn looked at his arm and burn.
- You can move now. – No sighs, no pauses, no laugh. Courier simply slowly moved up, using his fingers where he had released his cock, his grip loose and more of a pet than actual stroke. And then back down.
His throat was tight and Encio closed his eyes, letting himself relish in the feeling of Courier’s silky hair between his fingers and his warm skin under his other hand. His lover was moving slowly but deeply, taking him all the way down, fingers tight on Encio’s thigh and he realised Courier wouldn’t be the only one wearing bruises tomorrow.
He would allow it.
Courier swallowed him to the base and Encio pressed lightly on his shoulder.
- Stay. – The hand on his thigh spasmed for less than a heartbeat and then relaxed back to a gentler pet. Encio knew Courier could hold his breath so he stroked though his lover’s hair and enjoyed the heat around his cock. He had definitely had plans for that three nights ago and while he knew their relationship wasn’t purely sexual, this was more than nice.
Courier swallowed around him and Encio tugged on his hair to get him to move.
With a twist of his fingers and a long lick, Courier released him but still didn’t look up. He just took a second to breathe and then took him back in his mouth.
- Finish me. Now. – While he knew how to get Courier to come in under two minutes if he really set his mind onto it…The opposite was also true.
Courier’s fingers tightened around him, he curled his tongue on the upstroke and Encio was done. Pulling down on his shoulder, he squeezed his eyes and felt his entire body light up with pleasure.
His lover swallowed everything.
Encio blinked at the high ceiling above his bed.
And realised they were both laying on top of the covers.
He rolled to his stomach, catching sight of Courier going up to his knees on the bed, looking at him in confusion. The thick cover was easy to pull from under the pillows and he guess that made it obvious because Courier tsked lightly and got up.
- Going somewhere ?
- Shower. – And then he slipped on the short silk robe that had been folded on one of the small side tables. Encio’s short silk robe which he almost never wore because while it was his, Courier tended to put it on after sex and that was when he left most of his scent all over it. No reason for Encio to make him stop, especially with how relaxed everything in him got when he caught that fragrance.
- Be quick. – No reply but, then, it hadn’t been a question. He checked for anything urgent while the shower ran and with everything clear and under control, he just slipped under the covers and dimmed the lights all the way down.
It took another few minutes before his lover joined him, hair still slightly wet, and Encio scratched lightly through it to feel Courier stretch against him and get comfortable laying on his chest.
- Matterhorn will be looking at those wounds tomorrow and you will not be going anywhere near Leithania for the next month. – Silence but he knew he was being listened to very carefully. – I will get their delegates for a formal dinner here at some point next week because apparently we do have a lot to discuss. We cannot have our lovely trade relations be disturbed by the actions of a few rogue individuals.
They both knew it wasn’t rogues who had organised and performed the attack but he was still doing to enjoy watching the ambassador and her husband sweat and squirm throughout the dinner while trying to justify the attack.
Another entertaining entry on his calendar, indeed. Though it did not get even close to having Courier back. That was always a special kind of treat for him.
Sliding his palm up and down his lover’s spine, he kissed his head and tried to relax. Courier waited a few seconds before dropping a soft sigh.
- The trade deals will be fine. – Was that what he thought he was thinking about ?
- They laid their hands on you. – A pause.
- You mean on your property ? – The teasing lilt was there but something underneath it… Encio curved his arm around Courier’s shoulders tighter, pulling him onto his chest. Sliding his free hand to the small of his lover’s back, he made sure their bodies were pressed as close as possible before rubbing his cheek on Courier’s hair.
- I mean you. People should worry about approaching you because you are my personal assistant and also because it is known that whoever gets sent after you doesn’t return but I am allowed to be upset you got hurt simply because you got hurt. Not an employee of mine, not something I own but you. – And wasn’t it ridiculous that while he had never been shy, certain things he would only ever say in the dark, in the silence of their personal quarters. Oh, he had no problem showing casual affection even in front of others, if they were trusted, but some things were too personal and only meant for Courier to hear.
His lover laid there for a minute, clearly thinking about it.
- I’m not that fragile. – Encio rubbed his back and tangled the fingers of his closer arm in Courier’s hair.
- Which is why you do what you do. I would never allow someone I don’t trust completely to take care of themselves to act on my behalf and be my messenger. – He relaxed a little more in the mattress. – This has nothing to do with your job and everything to do with me not enjoying seeing you hurt.
Courier’s fingers slid up his chest, went to his neck and then buried themselves to lightly scratch his scalp. Encio closed his eyes and had to actively try not to purr. His lover knew every single weak spot. It would be unfair if he didn’t enjoy it that much.
- I’m okay and I intend to stay that way for as long as possible so don’t worry. Plus, - Encio heard the mirth in Courier’s voice but could swear that if he turned on the lights, the smile would still not be present. He just sounded soft. – Matterhorn will fuss enough for both of you tomorrow. You know no matter what happens he will not allow me to go out again before he’s happy I am well enough.