Vincent Nightray was well aware that his version of love and devotion differed from the norm. So aware was he that he cheerfully likened the world around him to a whole, unscathed thing, while he remained a shattered doll tossed into a corner, somewhere that no one would see.

God help anyone that did.

He employed painstaking measures to make sure that didn't happen – in both day to day life, and his occasional nightly venture that saw him outside of the Nightray manor with a lady friend, or someone, as it may have been, that was not so much of the feminine persuasion.

The latter was a far more delicate affair in the way that it had to be handled, of course. It was perfectly acceptable for a nobleman to go about courting the ladies… and subsequently bed them, and so Vincent did it quite often and openly. But enjoying the company of gentlemen was generally something to turn one's nose up at, and so Vincent quickly found himself in a position to hide what he did on the occasional night – most commonly, the second weekend of every month.

First, he didn't know their names, or at least, that was what he led them to believe. He knew perfectly well who these men were that he met well past dinner at one of their smaller, winter homes; sons of earls and the occasional marquis, but whatever the case, members of the peerage, all of them. And they certainly knew who he was – in fact, in spite of their reluctance, he had sweetly requested them to call him by his first name, no titles or pleasantries required.

It was part of the fantasy, that particular thing, which went back to his version of love and devotion. Such occasions with these lovely gentlemen were to satisfy the lack of a devoted male lover in his life, namely one that he was certain he could never have. Vincent predictably found that thought depressing, and sought to repress it in such a manner. At the same time, he liked to think that these rendezvous honed his skills in the off-chance he would, some day, find none other than Gilbert in his bed, wanting for his attentions. A shame that such caution had to be afforded in them.

Which brought him to the second point, and one that had him a bit miffed on this current night – the careful placement of any marks, were there to be any. After a somewhat awkward run-in with the youngest Nightray child – a 10 year old Elliot, that is, inquiring about why his 'wrists had blisters' – Vincent had promptly set a rule. Of course, this had been countered on this very night by bindings that tightly wrenched his arms behind his back, the majority of rope at the elbow. A thin strip of red silk, someone's unbound cravat, was nevertheless cinched about his wrists, and it made Vincent a bit nervous. Even the lightest of silk could leave a mark, and he wasn't interested in another telling off from Claude and Ernest about keeping his activities to himself, lest he corrupt their precious Elly's mind.

Those thoughts fled him as the mattress sunk in, and he lifted his face from where it was buried down into the fine silk of the coverlet. One, broad hand swept down his bare back and Vincent arched like a cat, two-toned gaze lidding until another set of hands, not nearly as warm and not anywhere near as kind, fell upon his inner thighs and shoved them open once he was hoisted to his knees, face firmly pressed back to the bed. A soft, hitching gasp left him as oil, warm and slick, was pooled at the small of his back and worked over the curve of his rump and down his cleft, making him shudder.

First and foremost, Vincent knew he was merely a high maintenance toy. And secondly, that was how he preferred it. None of these men were Gilbert, after all; none of them he would ever hold a shred of care or real affection toward. They were tools to him as much as he was to them, and keeping it that way, in spite of their offers otherwise (and oh, did some of them offer!) was his priority – that, and his own enjoyment.

Vincent thoroughly enjoyed when a long fingered hand caught into his hair, jerking his head up as he gasped with the sharp tug. He found himself staring into the hazel eyes of some earl's son – he couldn't remember the man's name to save his life, but he liked this one nonetheless. He was tall and lean, with slim, artistic hands and longer, wavy black hair that he kept pulled back at the nape of his neck. Vincent was sure this man knew he was a favorite, but couldn't bring himself to care. Instead, he eagerly surrendered to the pull in spite of the strain, obliging the thick erection pressed so forwardly to his mouth with a wet, somewhat sloppy drag of his tongue before enveloping it with his lips.

He was, fortunately, used to the predictable yank upon his hair, forcing him to quickly swallow the full length of flesh to the hilt. And in swallowing, Vincent's eyes fluttered, a muffled, pleased noise sounding in the back of his throat. Rough and careless and lewd or not, he did so wish for Gilbert to do this very thing – to simply grab him by the hair, shove his cock down his throat and make use of him as he saw fit.

This man made use of him – both hands gripping into golden hair, holding him in place as that son of an earl fucked his mouth with short, but potent thrusts. Vincent, bound as he was, had little room to protest even if he had wanted to and could only occasionally whimper, his own erection full and hard between his legs, blatantly ignored even as another set of hands fell upon him again, to slim hips.

The touch would have steadied his trembling form if not for the hard, heated slide of another man's cock pressed against his ass, and the familiar touch of those perpetually chilled hands. This man, older than the rest, perhaps in his late twenties and the second son of a who knows what, was both a favorite and not. He was merciless – had left Vincent strung up and unfulfilled more times than he could count, sobbing at times in a mix of anger and arousal and god, but he would kill the bastard some day. But at that moment, Vincent's body eagerly proclaimed wanting, and pushed homicidal thoughts to the wayside as inch by inch, his body was filled by him, his hot, stiff erection that was shoved in so long and hard that Vincent nearly choked upon his other task once he found himself effectively spitted between both men.

It didn't last as a final, deep thrust spilled his dark-haired companion's seed down his throat, and Vincent gasped once he was released, panting and struggling not to cough. He wanted to take the time to lick his favorite clean, lavish a bit of attention upon him, but wasn't allowed – instead, he was dragged back into that second son's lap, shuddering at the deepness, the sharpness of angle the position brought and then crying out when he was yanked down, so very roughly, into an upward arch of the man's hips. His head fell forward and he panted shallowly. Yes. He also wished for Gilbert to use him like this – so thoroughly and with no care at all for him because he deserved it

It was late – very late – before he was finished and had contently lost track of how many different men had been there that particular night. Vincent supposed it was only a few hours before dawn before he made his way out to his carriage, politely turning down the usual requests for his company for later, private dates. He smiled and brushed it off easily enough, but found himself thinking the whole time: you certainly don't want me. Obviously, you are not aware of how broken I really am. Why would you even consider me?

Both sated and not, he found his way to his bed. It was never really enough, no matter how enjoyable. It simply wasn't Gilbert. It probably never would be Gilbert… and that was the problem at its source, wasn't it? Vincent smiled tiredly and buried his face down into a pillow. Well, he supposed love did not necessarily have to be fulfilled to exist.