Title: Evening Dress
Characters/Pairings: Xanxus/Squalo; Timoteo Vongola
Summary: Part of being the Ninth's heir is attending to the Vongola's social duties; this has more benefits than Squalo had previously anticipated.
Notes: Adult for smut. Part of the fem!Xanxus universe, taking place a few months after Firestorm. Basically an excuse to play dress-up with Xanxus and make Squalo's brain melt while setting up some plot. 4139 words.

Evening Dress

All things considered, it was a while before the Ninth got around to letting Xanxus know that it was time to attend to the social duties that made up the other part of being the head of the Vongola. Just as well that it did, really, far as Squalo was concerned. Turning Xanxus loose among the other Families just after the dust had begun to settle and before she'd had time to come to terms with—stuff—would have been like tossing a hand grenade into a room of armed missiles. Sure, the fireworks would have been spectacular, but no one would have survived long enough to appreciate them.

So thank goodness for the geezers having some common sense and a communal sense of appropriate mourning periods, was all Squalo had to say about that, insofar as he had anything about it to say at all while being busy with all the work that went into running the Vongola and keeping an eye on the Varia and Cavilo at the same time. And they went on that way until the morning the Ninth picked up a white card and passed it across his desk to the boss. She glanced at it and grunted. "What's this?"

Squalo took it when she passed it along to him—heavy white paper, gilt edges, thick calligraphy: it was an invitation to the Modigliani boy's eighteenth birthday party.

"An obligation we must observe," the Ninth said. "We have always been close to the Modigliani." He paused, probably just to be sure that they were paying attention to him. "It will be a good occasion to introduce you back into the society end of the business." That Xanxus had stopped attending parties after taking the Varia had gone unremarked—until now. Evidently that was at an end.

Squalo watched Xanxus, careful not to crush the invitation in his grip, but Xanxus' mouth only flattened a bit, and she didn't bother protesting this new twist to her duties. "Whatever."

The Ninth studied her for a moment and nodded, apparently satisfied. "We'll make the proper arrangements," he said and moved on to the next order of business.

That was pretty much that. Squalo didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, save for a bit of irritation when Staffieri inquired whether he had anything appropriate to wear (and then sicced a tailor on him anyway, willy-nilly). Officious old farts. As if Squalo would have dreamed of disgracing the boss by wearing a substandard suit. But it was just a party and, boring as he found such things, Squalo couldn't see much point in getting exercised about it.

That didn't stop Sera from ejecting him from Xanxus' quarters and closeting herself with Xanxus the evening of, however, exiling him while she helped Xanxus dress. Didn't make much sense to Squalo—he'd seen Xanxus get dressed almost more times than he could remember, which was generally the highlight of his morning—but he guessed it didn't matter. He cooled his heels in the hallway, waiting for the boss and contemplating the evening ahead of them without enthusiasm. There would be mingling, he was sure of it, and making nice with people who weren't worth the mud Xanxus scraped off her boots, and, if they were very unlucky, there would be speeches.

Even though he was deep in contemplation of the hours stretching out ahead of them, Squalo still came to attention when he heard the latch of Xanxus' door click. "Am I allowed—" he began, before he stopped short, the words catching in his throat as Xanxus stepped into the hall.

Someone had given Xanxus the same talk about dressing up that Staffieri had given him, because she was wearing a dress, an actual dress that hugged her figure and fell to the floor. It caught the light as she moved, throwing it back the way a raven's wing did, and left her shoulders bare. She wore gloves and had a stole draped around her, and—Squalo had seen Xanxus scrape the hair back from her face for a fight or a mission, tying it out of her eyes for the sake of practicality, but he'd never seen her pin it up in a sleek knot like it was now.

She stared at him, silent and nearly expressionless, while Squalo grappled with his reaction to this shockingly elegant presentation. "Jesus Christ, Boss," he whispered, reverent as a man standing before an altar.

She tipped her head to the side; Jesus, she and Sera had done something to her eyes that made them stand out even more than usual, smoky and long-lashed. "Think it looks okay?"

"You…" Squalo trailed off, at a loss for words to describe how she looked, and gestured helplessly.

Sera, who'd followed the boss into the hall, snorted. "Think you broke him, Boss."

Squalo would have made a face or something at her, but that would have required taking his eyes off Xanxus, which wasn't going to happen. Instead he gestured in Sera's direction, letting her know what he thought, and kept staring at Xanxus.

As Sera cackled, Xanxus let her mouth curve in the tiniest crooking up at the corners. "Maybe." She lifted one gloved hand, gesturing him closer.

Squalo stumbled away from his post and remembered to offer his arm like a real gentleman. "Boss," he said as she settled her hand in the crook of his elbow, because he needed to at least try. "You look—" But again, words failed him.

Perhaps it didn't matter that he didn't know what to say, though; the way Xanxus' eyes softened, barely perceptible, said she knew.

The Ninth was waiting, Staffieri and Martelli with him, when they made their way downstairs, and all three of the geezers looked them over, inspecting them from head to toe, before the Ninth nodded. "That dress suits you," he told Xanxus.

She just shrugged, lifting a shoulder and then resettling her stole again, all the softness swept from her face. "It's stupid and impractical."

"Sometimes lovely things are," the Ninth said, unexpectedly, and turned aside to retrieve a flat case from the sideboard. Squalo frowned, wondering what the old man was up to now. "A dress like that wants something to accessorize it." He offered the case to Xanxus.

She stared at it, probably thinking of the last time he'd offered her such a case, and made no move to take it.

The Ninth sighed and flipped it open to show them the contents; Squalo sucked in a breath in spite of himself when he saw the glitter of diamonds against black velvet. There was a pair of earrings and a necklace curled around them, a heavy setting and a truly stupid amount of money in gemstones right there in the old man's hands.

Xanxus stared at the jewelry for almost a full minute before raising her eyes to the old man's. "What the fuck is this?"

"They were my wife's," the Ninth said. "And my mother's, before that. They would have gone to your brother's wife, eventually."

Xanxus inhaled, the sound sharp, and dug her fingers into Squalo's elbow. "Passed down in the family, then."

"From boss to boss." The Ninth administered that correction gently. He looked at her and then added, "You might consider them a loan, if you prefer."

Xanxus took another breath and loosened her death grip on Squalo. "I suppose." She released him and jerked her chin, so Squalo took the box from the Ninth, a little dizzy with the glittering, and offered it to her. She extracted the necklace and regarded the fall of it from her fingers before handing it to Squalo. "Here."

The catch, right. It was small and fiddly; no wonder she didn't want to fuss with it herself. Squalo traded her the case for it and stepped behind her to pass it around her throat. The nape of her neck was bare, save for a few wisps of hair curling loose; he had to swallow hard and hope that the geezers couldn't see the way he fumbled with the catch in his distraction.

Xanxus did the earrings herself when he'd settled the necklace to her satisfaction. Then she looked at the Ninth, chin angled high, and said, "Happy now?"

"They look very good on you," the Ninth said after another of his inscrutable looks and silences. "Shall we go?"

"Let's get this over with," Xanxus said, so they went.

It was a damn good thing that the party was a friendly one, because Squalo didn't take much notice of it and didn't remember much of it, afterward. He couldn't help it; every time he caught sight of Xanxus, elegant and dark and so much the more dangerous for it as she moved through the crowd, he forgot everything else he was supposed to be doing and watched her instead. He might have done his job and talked with the men of the other Families like a good right-hand-in-training ought, but God alone knew what they said to him. It was just as well that one of the geezers stayed close the whole time; Squalo had to assume that Martelli and Staffieri kept him from doing anything too unrecoverable.

The old man seemed pleased at the end of it, anyway. "That went smoothly enough," he observed once their drivers had ferried them home again. "You did very well this evening."

Xanxus just snorted. "You don't need to sound so surprised."

Squalo glanced at her, wondering a little at that irritability; she looked tired around the eyes, like the business of standing around and looking beautiful while eating cake and talking with the other Families had worn her out.

Then again, when he put it to himself like that, it made sense that she would be tired.

"I'm not surprised," the Ninth said, and paused there, looking at her like he was trying to gauge her mood and to see what he could get away with. "Whatever you set your mind to doing, you do well."

Xanxus gave him a long look and then rolled her eyes.

The Ninth was starting to learn, however, because he didn't rise to the bait. "It's late. We can talk more about it in the morning."

Xanxus grunted an acknowledgment of that and turned away from them. Squalo followed after, absorbed by the way the silk of her dress clung to her silhouette and the teasing glimpses of her skin that the plunging back and the filmy stole afforded him.

God, she was beautiful.

She was also carrying her shoulders like she expected an attack at any moment, though Squalo didn't know why. She relaxed, marginally, once she was inside her quarters and Squalo had gotten the door shut and locked behind them. She took a deep breath, one that made her shoulders rise and settle again as she exhaled, and said, "Come and help me get this stuff off."

Her tone was weary enough to make Squalo bite the inside of his cheek in concern, but he managed to sound normal enough as he approached her. "Sure thing, Boss."

Xanxus let the stole slip off her arms and slide to the floor. Squalo stooped to pick it up and followed her into the bedroom, wondering a little at her mood. Had someone offered her an insult while he hadn't been within earshot? He couldn't imagine that anyone had—he would have noticed her punching anyone who would have dared.

It was Xanxus: either she would say what had happened or she wouldn't, and she would be the one to decide which it would be. Squalo put it to the side and dropped the stole on the dresser. "What first, Boss?"

She had her back to him; he saw her shoulders rise and fall again. "Get this damn necklace off me." Her tone was almost fretful. "It's too fucking heavy."

"Sure." Squalo went to her and lifted the necklace away from her skin and undid the clasp. It was heavy, warm from her skin, and her nape looked strangely naked without it. Xanxus sighed as he weighed it in his fingers. He reacted to that soft sound on impulse, bending his head to kiss the line of skin just below her hairline. "Xanxus," he said against her skin.

He was close enough to feel her shiver; she reached a hand back to him and gripped his shoulder. She didn't say anything, not then, nor when he slipped his arms around her waist and took her weight as she leaned against him. Squalo rested his cheek against the smooth sweep of her hair and waited, holding her and a king's ransom in diamonds until Xanxus took another breath and loosened her grip on his shoulder.

"Get these shoes off me," she said, stepping away from him and settling on the edge of the bed. She extended one foot and Squalo paused to wonder how on earth Sera'd talked her into heels.

Some mysteries were not meant to be revealed, however, so he set the necklace on the bedside table and knelt to undo the buckle of the strap that passed around Xanxus' ankle. Once he'd eased the shoe off, she sighed again, the sound genuinely relieved, and flexed her foot, stretching it.

Squalo undid the other shoe and set it aside and glanced up at her, considering it, before he set his fingers back on her ankle. "Boss?" he asked, waiting for her permission in case this was one of the things she couldn't handle.

Xanxus looked back, more curious than objecting, and shrugged. "Yeah?"

Permission enough, Squalo decided, and took her foot in his hands so he could run his thumbs over the sole, following the tendons and pressing down firmly as he kept one eye on her reaction.

Xanxus gasped as he stroked his thumb back again, sliding it along the silky stuff of her stockings. "Fuck," she said, leaning back on her hands and exhaling the word on a single long breath.

Squalo smiled and circled his thumbs over the instep of her foot, working the muscles and tendons there to coax the tightness of them loose. "This help?"

"This is your new job." Xanxus' voice had dropped and picked up a husky timbre; she sucked in a breath when Squalo worked his thumbs over the fine bones of her ankle. "I'm going to put it into your job description."

"I can live with that." He flexed her foot carefully, until the muscles relaxed further, and went back to kneading the sole of her foot, running his thumbs up and down the length of it until Xanxus made a sound that was nearly obscene and prodded his chest with her toes.

"Do the other," she said, heavy-lidded. Squalo laughed softly and obeyed, switching feet and kneading until his forearms ached with the exertion and Xanxus was all but purring with satisfaction, most of her tension from before melted away.

It surely hadn't all come from impractical footwear, but Squalo wasn't going to complain if this was all it was going to take to get her to let it go for the evening.

She sighed, opening her eyes again when he set her foot down after one last stroke. Squalo looked up at her, wondering what she was thinking, until she lifted a hand and stretched it out. "Get these fucking gloves off me."

"Sure, Boss." Squalo took her hand in his and ran his fingers up her arm, stroking it through the delicate kidskin, and drew the top of the glove down, careful with the snug fit and the tiny buttons on the inside of her wrist. Xanxus watched him strip it off her and smiled, the barest softening of her mouth, when he pressed his lips against her palm. Then she slid her fingers out of his hand and offered him the other one to do.

Squalo nuzzled her bare palm after he'd laid the second glove aside. "What now, Boss?"

Xanxus ran her thumb over his lips, sliding it back and forth. The thoughtful, assessing look in her eyes started heat curling in the pit of his stomach. "Help me get the rest of this rig off." She pushed him back and slid off the bed, standing and turning to present him with the zipper that held the dress closed, not to mention the curve of her spine and the way the silk of the dress hugged her hips and ass.

"God, Boss," Squalo breathed, helpless to keep himself from settling his hands on her hips and stroking them through the silk. He heard the soft snort, an indulgent sound, as he traced his hands over her and reached for the zipper. He tugged it down, slow enough that he could count off each individual snick of the teeth coming undone. The silk rustled as soft as the wind, falling open and draping against Xanxus' body and revealing the panties Xanxus wore and the tops of her stockings.

When Squalo set his hands on her again, running them over the soft curve of her waist and stroking them under the edges of the dress to play over the curve of her hips, Xanxus sighed and leaned into his touch. The dress rustled as her balance shifted, and again when Squalo leaned forward to stroke his lips over her skin, following the line of her spine and murmur her name.

Xanxus set a hand on top of his, gripping it through the loose layer of her dress, and then shrugged her shoulders to unsettle the dress and let it slide down her arms and off her body in a billow of warm silk and a hushed slither. It made a puddle around her feet and across Squalo's knees as she turned, wearing nothing but her panties and stockings.

That was a sight to strike the words out of him again; Squalo opened his mouth, gazing up at her and stroking his fingers over the sleek curve of her ass until Xanxus huffed softly and reached for his hand. She set it, quite pointedly, at the lacy edge of her stockings and raised an eyebrow at him.

"Sorry, Boss," Squalo said, though he wasn't, not really, and set about unrolling it down her leg. Her snort suggested that she wasn't fooled, and she gripped his shoulder for balance as he drew it off. He smiled at her, wry, and ran his hands up her other leg to draw the other one down, letting his fingers linger against her skin and liking the sound she made as he did.

When he glanced at her again, she nodded. Squalo dipped his head, breathless, and flattened his palms against her calves, sliding them up her legs again, over the backs of her knees and along the solid muscles of her thighs, up to where the panties sat low on her hips. They were silk and lace, fragile enough that he could have set his fingers in them and snapped them off her with a twist, but he hooked his fingers in them and eased them down carefully, conscious of how Xanxus watched him the whole time.

He looked up at her then, still wearing the diamonds in her ears and with her hair swept away from her face, and had to wet his lips before he could say anything else. "Now what, Boss?" He was near enough that all he wanted to do was close the little distance between them and put his mouth on her, to slide his tongue over her and listen to the sounds she would make until she forgot everything about the evening that had made her unhappy and came undone.

She might have been considering just that, judging by the way she watched him, but in the end she shook her head and stepped back, away from him. "You're overdressed."

Squalo had raised his hands and started undoing his tie almost before his brain had made the words make sense. Xanxus smiled, faint but true, and settled on the bed, stretching herself out. Squalo faltered in the middle of shrugging out of his jacket as she drew a knee up, casual, to settle her fingers between her thighs and stroke them back and forth. "Jesus, Boss."

"Still too many clothes," Xanxus remarked, mouth quirked just a bit.

Squalo gasped as she hitched her knee up a little farther and slid a pair of fingers into herself. He scrambled out of the rest of his clothes fast enough that he lost at least two buttons and one cufflink doing it. Xanxus watched him the whole time, fucking herself on her own fingers and breathing more deeply as she did, until he was standing naked and breathless before her.

Then she smiled and slid her fingers free; they shone in the low light as she stretched her hand out to him. "Come here."

Squalo obeyed, sliding onto the bed with her and trying to read her expression for additional cues to how she wanted him. "Boss," he said, barely able to find the breath for it.

Xanxus laid her fingers against his mouth, sticky and heavy with the scent of her. When Squalo moaned, she pressed them between his lips. Squalo moaned around them, hovering over her and stroking his tongue over the pads of her fingers to taste the salt and musk of her. She watched him, a curiously satisfied expression hovering in her eyes.

"You're mine," she said as she drew her fingers away and set them against his chest, the pads of them fanned wide against his skin.

"Always, Boss," he whispered, which was the only possible response he could give when she claimed him like that. "Heart and body and soul."

Xanxus nodded and pressed her palm against his chest, pushing him back and over. "That's right." She shifted onto her knees and threw one over his hips as she reached for his cock. She guided it against her and settled over him; Squalo shuddered with the sudden, shocking heat of her body and the rush of sensation, and almost missed the half-voiced, "No matter what they try," that she added to that.

There would be plenty of time later to figure out what the hell the geezers had done to warrant that; for now Squalo managed to breathe out, "Fuck 'em," and reached for her hips, needing to hold onto her (and suspecting she needed him to hold her).

"That's right," Xanxus said, showing her teeth between her lips, and ground herself down against him, rubbing back and forth until she went off, quick as that, with a shudder that jerked her taut over him as her body wrung tight around his cock. "Fuck!" She leaned over him, pressing a hand against his chest and breathing hard, and gasped, "Fuck me."

"Anything, Boss," Squalo promised her. He rolled his hips up, panting with the sweet, sharp edge of the pleasure that was already running through him.

Xanxus groaned as he did, rocking herself down against the short, hard thrusts, and gripped his shoulders to brace herself over him. Her expression was intent, fierce with concentration, and she hissed between her teeth as he found just the right angle. "Yes, fuck, there—"

Squalo rocked against her again, and again, driving himself against her as she gasped over him, until she groaned and sank her nails into his shoulders as her body seized around him again. The sharpness of her nails was good; Squalo sank his teeth into his lip and kept going, planting his feet against the mattress and driving his hips against her, fast and hard, as Xanxus groaned breathless, wordless things above him and pleasure swept her expression blank. Then he got his hand between them and slid his thumb through the slickness of her folds to rub against her clit, firm, and she shouted, arching over him as she came again. He lost track of that as his own pleasure crashed through him, emptying him out mercilessly.

Xanxus' hair was already falling out of the pins holding it in place when Squalo began to be able to take notice of the world outside his own skin again. He helped it the rest of the way by raising shaking fingers to comb through it and send the pins pattering down over their bare shoulders. Xanxus, sprawled over him, stirred and murmured as he did, but didn't stop him.

"Boss," he said, weaving his fingers into her hair. "Xanxus." She made a sound and tucked her face against his throat, pressing closer. He cradled her head and turned his face to kiss her temple. "Love you so much."

Xanxus didn't say anything, but he felt her lips move against his skin, curving into a smile.


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