Warning: This story contains slash. Please do not read if you are likely to be offended by it
Alexander of Tirragen retched into a bush, hearing the pounding of blood rush past his ears as his knees gave way. He sunk into the earth, extremely glad for the darkness that concealed him as he emptied his stomach once again. He took in a deep breath, wiped his mouth on his sleeve and stood up, steadying himself as the surrounding spun.
He stank of alcohol. There was no way he could go back to his room like this. Even though he knew Duke Roger wouldn't be back yet, the possibility of been witnessed by him in his current state was unbearable.
Making a rush decision, Alex headed for the lake. Stripping down to his shirt, he plunged into the freezing water. The shock of it made him gasp, but at least the feeling of sick was gone.
Alex blamed it all on that night. He had been preparing to retire when the door burst open and Roger staggered into the room, inexplicably drunk. Given the rarity of the occasion, Alex would have liked to savour the sight of Roger's flushed cheeks, uncharacteristically tousled hair, and – it was this that Alex always remembered – the sharp, almost hungry glint of his eyes as he looked at Alex.
The glint was instantly gone, replaced by a tired, softer look. Roger smiled faintly.
'My apologies, Alex. As you see, you catch me in an unbecoming –' the older man swayed and Alex rushed forwards, allowing his knight master to sling one arm over his shoulder. He felt the heat of Roger's body through the thin layers of clothing separating their bodies, and despite it all, shivered.
It was an extraordinary and, no doubt, singular occasion indeed, to be the one leading the Duke of Conte into his own bedroom. Alex even went as far as to contemplate the possible need of helping his knight master into bed before the idea turned him instantly hot then cold, and he grew all at once agitated.
With his eyes closed and looking - it was impossible but – dignified, Roger lowered himself to a sitting position.
Hovering anxiously, reluctant to leave, Alex asked, 'Is there anything I can do to help, my lord?' and was rewarded with a weak smile.
'A glass of water.'
Alex leapt to obey, suddenly like a puppy that was eager to please. He returned, handing the glass over with trembling fingers and watched Roger tilt his head, saw the smooth muscle movement of his throat as he drank, and noticed the trickle of water running sinuously down his neck and into the shadows of his shirt.
'Thank you, Alex,' Roger said some time after putting away the glass. His cheeks had returned to its normal, ivory colour, and he seemed to be once more focused. He looked to where Alex stood. Something came into his blue eyes then – not exactly calculating but more than a little thoughtful.
'Come here,' he whispered, and Alex thought perhaps he was more intoxicated than he appeared to be because Roger's hands were around his waist and Alex felt himself forced gently but firmly on to his knees.
'I made a good decision of choosing you as my squire,' Roger breathed, smiling at Alex so tantalizingly with that look in his eyes.
'I'm honoured you chose – '
Roger cupped the younger boy's cheeks in both hands and pressed his mouth against his forehead. Then, withdrawing just ever so slightly, his eyes locked onto Alex's, giving him such an intense and feral look that he thought his heart would stop. And then Roger smiled, his face so close, noses touching, angling his face so that his lips were just inches away from Alex's. Roger paused, as if taunting, before kissing his squire.
The Duke's lips, Alex remembered, was soft and full, and he moved them sensuously, teasing until Alex felt the faintest flicker of tongue.
Paralysed with shock, Alex opened his mouth, gasped, and felt the older man's tongue probe deeper in his mouth, now kissing him like he owned him. When Roger finally released Alex, he regarded the squire's stunned silence with that of amusement.
'Uh,' Alex blurted, and then, 'good night,' before he jumped to his feet and left the room.
That had been three weeks ago, Alex thought angrily as he splashed water onto his face. Three weeks of agony and torture as Roger, giving no indication of remembering the incident or, indeed, of ever been drunk, treated Alex much the same as always. Alex wished he could act the same too but since the event, he was subjected to the most shocking feelings and thoughts, thoughts that could get him in to a great amount of trouble and gossip at court. After a while Alex resigned himself into accepting that there was nothing to the incident other than a high intake of liquor and, amorously heightened by it, Alex had been the nearest person.
But still, sometimes Alex caught Roger watching him, his touches lingering perhaps just a little too long, his tone a little too intimate.
And then tonight, watching Roger surrounded by adoring ladies, his charming smiles and effortless grace working its way into their hearts like the way it had for Alex, he could do nothing but brood and down wine.
'He's. Killing, me,' Alex said through clenched teeth. He was starting to feel cold, and discovered upon getting to land that, although the dip settled his stomach, it did nothing to clear his head of jealous resentments and dizzy thoughts.
Three weeks since the incident and tonight, ironically, it was Alex who stumbled home drunk.
The Duke was not there when Alex returned, much to his relief. Heading straight for his room, he stripped off his wet shirt and threw it across the room. Finding a towel, he began to dry his hair, spraying water droplets everywhere. The motion made him light headed and he had to quickly sit down on the bed. Glancing up, Alex froze in surprise.
Roger was leaning against the door frame, watching Alex through lowered eyelashes, a slight smile playing across his lips. Alex had no idea how long he had been standing there.
Why must he keep saying that?
He stood up, straightening his back. 'Did you want something, my lord?'
'Want?' Roger smiled again and, quite incredibly, ran his eyes leisurely down the boy's body, noting the wet hair plastered across his forehead and his bare, damp chest.
Suddenly Alex felt very naked and very self conscious.
Surely…surely the way he's staring…it wasn't just all in Alex's head?
'No,' Roger said. 'No. Good night, Alex.'
'Wait!' The word was out before he could stop himself. Roger turned, his eyes bemused.
'That night when you came back, when you were drunk,' Alex said haltingly. 'You kissed me.'
The silence seemed to last forever.
'Yes, I know.'
Alex stared. 'You know? But you never… Why?'
'Like you said, Alex, I was very much under the influence of the wine. It seemed…' Roger paused, enjoying the way Alex writhed on the spot. 'It seemed the right thing to do at the time.'
When Alex didn't reply, too angry and hurt to reply, Roger's eyes grew softer.
'I was wrong, Alex. I shouldn't have done what I did, and for that I apologise. It would be wise to put it behind us.'
As Roger made to leave, wild impulse made Alex take two large strides so that he found himself face to face with the older man.
'Kiss me,' he said bluntly.
He could tell Roger was not expecting this because his eyes widened slightly in surprise, and Alex felt a small satisfaction from it.
Roger turned his full attention to his squire, studying him appraisingly. His eyes lingered on the boy's slim, bare chest, and the shadows formed where the collar bones protruded.
'You don't know what you are asking, young Alex,' he whispered intimately, but even as he said this, his hands snaked around Alex's waist, drawing him closer. This close, Alex felt their hips grind into each other, and he gasped at how good it felt.
'Please,' he whimpered.
Please what, though? Please kiss me? Please stop?
Roger answered this for him as he closed his mouth over his squire's. This was a different kind of kissing, Alex noted. This wasn't the lazy, drunken kissing of the night three weeks ago, but kissing with a purpose, though Alex couldn't work out what that was.
Roger kissed with intensity, and it was rough, the way his hands gripped fistfuls of Alex's hair, the way he pressed his palm against the flat of his stomach.
'Alex, Alex. You are so drunk,' Roger murmured softly, his warm breath tickling as his teeth grazed the back of his ear.
Breathless and dazed, Alex staggered backwards. The back of his knees hit the edge of the bed, and he fell on to it. Momentarily his breath was knocked out of him, but just as he recovered, the weight of the Duke's warm body pressing on top of him made him forget to breathe again.
They were lying on the bed now, Alex trapped beneath Roger's weight. Alex thought his brain would explode from the way Roger touched him. A way of touching that would have gotten both men exiled from court in other countries.
Roger wasn't aggressive, not exactly, but it hurt when he bite Alex's lips, and it hurt when his arms were pinned down, nails digging into tender flesh.
It was a very different kind of hurt when Alex felt Roger's hand run along his inner thigh and rub against his groins.
'Oh gods don't!' Alex gasped, tensing to get up but Roger pushed him back down roughly.
'You did ask,' he whispered into Alex's ear, and kissed his bruised lips once more.
Alex was painfully hard, and he was afraid. He was terribly afraid of what was happening to him, of how much he enjoyed Roger looking down at him, feeling him. He was afraid of what this all meant and how hard it was going to be to act normally afterwards.
But these were nothing compared to Alex's other fear, which happened just as he thought it.
As quickly as Roger had first kissed him he now suddenly withdrew, climbing off the bed. Straightening his back, he smoothed his clothes calmly, as if nothing peculiar had just happened. He looked down at Alex, who lay dishevelled, half naked and wide-eyed with confusion.
'Does that satisfy you?' he asked. His lips curled with smugness as the boy's mouth opened in bewilderment.
'Go to sleep now, Alex,' Roger ordered before leaving, knowing fully well that his squire would be lying awake the entire night.
No, Alex thought. No, he was not satisfied. Roger had left too soon, left too cruelly. Alex would do anything to have him back in his room, to have Roger look at him with that level of intensity. Alex would do anything, anything, if only to get Roger to touch and hold him like that again.
Before drifting into an uncomfortable dream of painful desires, Alex realised that that was exactly what Roger had intended.