SUMMARY: On the way back from a less than satisfactory trip to the Hyacinthe Club, Bahorel is accosted by some thieves-and aided by a mysterious, and much more satisfactory, stranger.
NOTES: For sath. Thanks to acaramelmacchiato for suggesting the title.
Gradus ad Parnassum
The thieves scatter, leaving Bahorel and the stranger who came to his aid to lean against each other, breathing hard. The stranger is shorter than Bahorel, slim where Bahorel is wiry, and as far as he can tell in the dark, well-dressed; he has the fashionably narrow waist and wide shoulders of a man laced into stays, and a cravat so ornately tied, Bahorel wishes Courfeyrac could see it merely for the inevitable commentary.
But in the fight the man had appeared out of the darkness like a ghost and moved like a cat, in the sweeping, brutal strikes of his cane not the trained grace of the singlestick fighter but the animal ferocity of the streets. And now he is warm, almost languid, against Bahorel's side, and yet with that violence under the skin; there had been no one at the Hyacinthe Club tonight who shared Bahorel's particular tastes, and perhaps—
"Montparnasse," the stranger says, his fingers curling around Bahorel's hand and bringing it to his lips. His mouth caresses the bruised knuckles, tongue flicking between Bahorel's fingers to lick away the blood, delicate but thorough as a man kissing a woman's cunny; the simmering in Bahorel's veins bursts into hot flower. "I saw you leaving the Hyacinthe—did you find what you wanted there?"
The sting is sharp and sweet, and Bahorel smiles in the dark, a wolfish smile, the smile an opera singer might give a particularly interesting patron. "You know how to treat a lady," he purrs, and twists his hand in Montparnasse's ridiculous cravat, dragging him into a kiss that is as much teeth as lips.
Later, when he finds his wallet gone, Bahorel only smiles to himself and lifts a hand to touch his neck, where his cravat conceals an assortment of interesting marks. His knees ache, and other places, but the itch beneath his skin has died away again, leaving him calm and cheery with the world.
He had only a few francs in his wallet anyway; they were well worth the memory.