Thank God that's over. I don't think I'll ever get used to these things.
I'm still a guerilla at heart, I guess. Sneak in, blow it up, run away.
That's me. This schmoozing stuff wears me out. Zechs gave me a crash-course
in etiquette and protocol, but I'm always afraid I'm going to call someone
an Honorable who should be an Esteemed, or use the wrong fork, or just
generally fuck up and embarrass myself and Zechs in about a thousand different
But Zechs looks happy, so I guess I must not have done too bad.
He looks damn sexy, too. Zechs Merquise in tails and white tie ought
to be against the law. He's so cool and smooth when he's being the Ambassador,
and then all of a sudden he'll look at me and there'll be this flame in
his eyes, out of nowhere, like a brushfire set by lightning. Lightning
Count, they used to call him. No wonder.
I yawn and stretch, and then I feel him massaging my shoulders. Mmmmm...he
could do that all night and it'd be okay with me. Well, maybe not all
night. But I wouldn't argue about a couple of hours of it, anyway.
"Are you tired, love?"
I turn around, and I can't help smiling at him. All I have to do is yawn,
and he goes all mother hen on me. "No more tired than you." I reach
up and touch his cheek. "You're working too hard."
"I like working." His smile is soft and dreamy, the one no one ever sees
but me. "At any rate, it's not work when you're beside me." He leans
down and kisses me on the forehead, like I'm some fancy piece of porcelain
that'll break if he presses too hard. "Come on. The staff can finish
cleaning up. It's past your bedtime."
I guess it ought to annoy me when he talks to me as if I'm a little kid,
but it doesn't. I know he doesn't really think of me that way, and it
makes me feel like he'll take care of me, no matter what. When you've
had a life like mine, that means a lot.
He takes my hand and we climb the stairs. His hands are strong and warm
and, God, I want them on me right now. I've wanted him all night. And
he asks if I'm tired? Not bloody likely.
We're barely inside our rooms when he starts kissing me like he's never
going to stop. He nuzzles my neck, and my knees fold when he goes for
that spot right under my ear. His arms slide around me, though, and I
know he won't let me fall.
Nobody's ever kissed me like he does. I swear he must know a hundred
different ways, from sweet and gentle to so hard it hurts. And it's always
exactly the way I need to be kissed at that moment. I don't know how
he does it—and I really don't care. All I know is that right now, his
mouth tastes so good, better than champagne even, and I'm hungry for it.
I want him to kiss me everywhere and then some.
He works the knot out of my bow tie—I still can't get the hang of that
thing—and takes the studs out of my shirt. Damn, I love it when he undresses
me. He does it like he does everything, perfect and with attention to
detail like you can't believe. His fingers just barely touch my skin as
he finishes unbuttoning my shirt, and I'm pretty sure he's doing that
on purpose, just to tease me. It's working.
"I watched you all evening." His voice makes me shiver. It's like a cat
purring. A big, dangerous cat. "I watched the way you move in those pants,
and I wondered what our guests would have thought if I'd touched you like
this as we went in to dinner." He skims his palms over my ass and squeezes
not quite hard enough, then pulls down my zipper. "I wanted to do this
when we were dancing. Could you tell?"
He turns me around, pulling me against him, and glides one of his hands
down my belly, inside my shorts. His touch jolts me. I feel it like
I used to feel the bolts of beam cannons blasting Deathscythe, like something
that's happening outside me but that still shakes me all the way to my
core. I buck against his hand and make a noise that sounds like I'm strangling
or crying or both. I'm not sure myself which it is.
His lips are against my ear, and he's talking to me as he touches me,
still in that dangerous purr like nothing ever rattles him. For a minute,
it pisses me off—I can hardly breathe, and he can go on like he's giving
a fucking speech. But he keeps touching and talking, and I can't stay
mad at him. Hell, I can't even think. I try to ask him for more, but
I don't know if the words make it from my brain to my mouth.
"My, my...so hot tonight, little one?" He's running his fingers over
the head of my cock, just enough to make me want to scream and not enough
to make me come. "I love to see you dressed up, do you know that? Almost
as much as I love to see you wearing nothing at all."
He strokes my cock just once and then dives deeper into my shorts to cup
my balls in his hand. He's rubbing his thumb over them, and it's so maddening
I want to crawl out of my skin.
"When I had you in my arms and we were waltzing, I wanted to take you
then. Could you feel me? I felt you—you were so hard that I knew if
I stood back, anyone could have seen. And I think that if the music hadn't
stopped when it did, you might have had to excuse yourself to change your
He runs his tongue over my ear and I hear myself moaning. He's right.
When we were dancing, our bodies moved together like a reflection of making
love. But it wasn't just that, not just the way he felt pressed against
me. It was the idea that we were dancing—in public—and I didn't have
to be afraid to put my arms around him. That he wasn't going to push
me away if I said too much or got too close. That it was okay if the whole
room figured out that I'm crazy in love with him. It was the way he smiled
at me that let me know he feels the same way. I thought I was going to
come right there.
He's still holding me, telling me what he thinks about me, and that turns
me on as much as anything he's doing with his hands. "You're so beautiful,"
he whispers, sliding his hand under my shirt. His touch lingers on the
scars I've collected, pausing over my ribs like he can tell every time
I've cracked one of them. "And so fragile..."
"I'm not—" I try to protest, but then his fingers hook the waist of my
shorts and I can't remember what I was going to complain about. "Please,"
I beg, covering his hand with mine, trying to guide it to where I need
him most, but he doesn't go any farther.
"Do you know how much it excites me to know that you want me?" I mumble
something, but my mouth is having trouble forming words. "I think you
were hot enough that if I'd spread you out on the dining table, you'd
have begged for it, wouldn't you?"
I get this visual of me on the table, bareassed naked, my legs wrapped
around his waist as he fucks me while the other rooms are full of people.
My brain short circuits. I jerk like someone just held a cattle prod
to the more tender parts of my anatomy.
"Ah ha. Liked that idea, didn't you? I thought you would. I know you,
little one. I know what you need. And you needed this, didn't you?"
He closes his fingers around my cock. I whimper. Oh god, yes, my prince,
I need you and your hands and your mouth and your body forever and ever...
He reaches under my shirt and pinches my nipple. Hard.
I hear him chuckle at my reaction, but I can't help it. I'm not sure
if I'm protesting or begging.
He's playing with both of my nipples now, and it's like there's a conduit
between them and my cock, buzzing with electricity until I feel every
nerve ending in my body getting ready to fire. And then his touch is
gone, suddenly, and I'm lost. I reach for him, half blind with wanting
"Shhh, little one. I've not gone anywhere." He takes off my shirt, then
pushes my pants down. He pulls my shorts down, too, and I can tell he's
being careful with me, now that I'm as hard again as I was when we were
dancing. He lets the cloth barely scrape my skin, and I whimper some
more. He finishes with my clothes, and it suddenly occurs to me that
we haven't even made it out of the foyer.
He picks me up and carries me through the living room to our bedroom.
I wrap my arms around his neck and hold tight, not because I'm afraid
he'll drop me, but because I need to feel him. I need to know that this
is forever, that it's not one night that we've stolen out of a lifetime
of being alone. Sometimes...sometimes it's still hard for me to believe.
My arms tighten around him and I press my face against his skin. I can
still smell his cologne, but mostly what I smell is him, clean and tangy,
totally male. Totally Zechs. My fingers curl into his hair. Yes. This
is real. I couldn't make something like this up.
He lays me back on the bed and just stands there for a minute, looking
at me. He pushes my knees apart, touches my thighs, his fingers tracing
my skin. Then he sits beside me, brushes his fingertips across my cheek.
"Tell me what you want. Tonight is for you."
I don't know what to ask for. I want so much—and so little. I want all
of his heart and body, I want just a touch. I need him on me, inside
me. Or just to hold my hand. In the end, I ask for all that I need,
now or ever.
"Just love me."
He draws a line with his finger down my cheek, my jaw, my chin. Then
his eyes ignite, and he's the Lightning Count.
I watch him strip off his clothes and I have to close my eyes. If I don't,
I'll be finished before he even touches me again. I hear him move, and
then before I can open my eyes again, he's on top of me. Not with his
whole weight—he's always afraid of hurting me, no matter how much I tell
him I'm tougher than I look. But I can feel him covering me, and I don't
think heaven could feel any better.
For a minute I don't do anything but lay there. I feel so safe under
him. So warm. And then he starts moving against me, and I shake from
needing him so bad.
He holds my arm down, above my head, while he kisses my neck, his teeth
grazing the skin of my shoulder. His other hand is between my legs, his
fingers rubbing the inside of my thighs. I can feel my control slipping
and I try to get away from him, just a little bit. This feels too good,
and I don't want it to be over so soon.
His fingers tighten around my wrist. "Lie still, little one. Let me
I try. I really do. But I can't keep still, not when he moves down to
start sucking on my nipple, drawing circles around it with his tongue.
"Fuck," I whisper again, as he catches it in his teeth, biting just hard
enough to keep me on the edge between pleasure and pain. It's a tightrope
he loves to walk. And it comes close to breaking me, like always.
He does the same on the other side, and I've got my hands balled into
fists, I'm trying so hard not to come.
"Zechs, please...you're making me...I'm going to—"
"It's all right, baby." He runs his fingers through my bangs as he looks
into my face. "Come for me. Let me watch you."
He presses his body against me a little harder, and our cocks touch.
I can't hold on any more. I can hear myself groan, feel him holding me
still. I know he's looking at me, watching me lose control, studying
every twitch and spasm and whimper. It's what he wants, to see me this
way. God help me, I want it, too. I want him to make me helpless.
He whispers again, "Come for me, little one," and his fingers tease me
until my brain goes nova and stars explode behind my eyelids. I feel
like I'm being blown apart, but it doesn't hurt. It feels glorious.
The stars fade, but I can hardly open my eyes. I take a deep breath and
find I'm still shuddering. I can't even move.
Zechs kisses me. "I don't think I have to ask if it was good for you,
I open one eye. It takes just about all my energy. "You don't have to
sound so damn pleased with yourself."
"Me? You're the one who looks positively sated."
He moves off me and I roll on my side so I can snuggle up to him. I put
my hand on his chest, and he covers it with his. His hands are beautiful,
long-fingered like an artist's hands, and so much bigger than mine. I
curl my fingers and they disappear under his palm.
I look at our hands, and I start thinking. Zechs tells me he always gets
a little nervous when I start thinking, and I guess maybe he has a point.
It's like once I look under the surface of something, I have to go all
the way to the bottom of it.
Something's been nagging at me for a while, like a thought that wants
attention. I haven't gone there—been kind of scared to, I guess—but tonight
it kind of snuck up on me. So all of a sudden, there it is, and I'm looking
at it, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Zechs can steal my control in a heartbeat, without even trying. Shit,
look at me tonight. He hardly even had to touch me. And it's not just
in bed that it's like that—I catch myself all the time thinking, "Whatever
you want" when it comes to making decisions around here. That was hard
to get used to at first. You really have to believe in someone if you
let him have that kind of power over you. And it took me a while, but
I finally learned to trust him. Trust doesn't come real easy to me—heh,
that's an understatement. Zechs is the only person in my whole
life who promised never to leave me, and it looks to me so far like he's
planning on keeping that promise. Of all the things Zechs has done for
me, the best isn't the fancy house or the clothes or even taking me away
from Earth, which was killing me a little more every day even if I wouldn't
admit it. It's that he taught me that I really can depend on him for
But sometimes I wonder how much he depends on me. He's always in control,
not just of me, but of himself. I wish he'd let go once in a while—he
gets so tense sometimes and I know he just needs to blow up. Yell, punch
something, screw me to the mattress, whatever. But he won't. When he's
like that, I feel like there's a place inside of him that I can't reach.
Fuck it all, I don't know why I have to think so much. I always tell
Zechs it's not good for a person to think too much, and this is why.
Zechs squeezes my hand. I know he can tell I got distracted, but it doesn't
take him long to get my attention back . Those artist's hands start drawing
designs on my hip, my ass, and I shiver, but it's a good shiver.
"Baby," he whispers. "I want to take you."
I want it, too, as much as I've ever wanted it. More, maybe, because
of what I was thinking, because he can't shut me out when he's making
love to me. I try to nod, but then he kisses my throat, and my head falls
back like my neck is broken. He's holding my wrists down, pressing my
arms against the bed. His mouth bruises mine again, and I feel it all
the way down in my belly. Oh God, I can't ever get enough of him, even
if he did just make me come.
He lets go of my hands and reaches for something out of my line of sight.
Then I feel his fingers probing at me, and I know what he was reaching
for. I can feel them, slick and warm with oil, working their way inside
me. I push against Zechs' hand with my hips—I want to feel him as much
as I can. He won't quite give me what I want, not yet, pulling back as
He's frustrating the hell out of me, and I'm about to start kicking and
screaming. And then I get this idea. If he can make me crazy, why can't
I do the same thing to him?
I sit up a little and take the bottle of baby oil away from him. He opens
his mouth, about to protest, but I shake my head and move away a little.
I pour a puddle of the oil in my hand, smiling as the scent reaches me.
It smells so...innocent.
Still smiling, I smear the oil over my body, starting with my chest, rubbing
slowly until every inch is glistening. Zechs licks his lips, but he
doesn't give any other clue about what's going on in his head. So I crawl
off the bed, pour some more oil in my hand, and go to work on the rest
of my body—arms, legs, until the light shimmers on my skin. He's been
watching me, intent but quiet. I know that's one thing he likes, watching
I pour one last pool of oil into my hand, and then I touch myself, slathering
the oil on my cock, biting my lip a little because the way my hand slips
over it feels way too good. And knowing Zechs is watching makes it feel
even better. I close my eyes, swaying a little as I stroke myself. I
hear a quiet, hissing breath and I don't think it's mine.
I've almost got him, I'm sure of it. I turn around so that my back's
to him. With a deep breath, I slide my fingers down my ass, searching.
I find what I'm looking for, and I arch my back a little, wiggling just
enough to be a tease. I can imagine the way his face looks, even if I
can't see him, his eyes half-closed, his tongue licking at his lips.
Then I push my fingers inside and I swear I hear him groan. Or maybe
it's me. Fuck, I can't tell the difference any more.
I wriggle again so my braid twitches across my ass. I'll admit I'm getting
into to putting on a show for him. I've stripped for him before, danced
for him...but nothing like this. I bend over just a little so he can
get a better view as I go deeper.
I hear the covers rustle. Just a little more, my prince, and then I'll
have you begging, just like you always make me. But he's still silent.
C'mon, show me that I can drive you wild...just one word... I slide my
fingers almost out of my body and then back in again, a slow rhythm like
the one he uses to tease me before he really gets serious.
I can hear him breathing now, harsh and ragged. I have time for one self-satisfied
little grin, and then he's grabbing my wrists, pulling my hands away.
Before I have another chance to move, or even think, I'm flat on my back.
He lets go of my hands, but only so he can push my legs apart. He makes
a noise that's as close to a growl as anything else, and then he takes
me. Hard. It's okay, because I'm ready for it. More than ready for
it. But...God! He's so...fucking...strong. So commanding...shit...who
I'm lost. Totally. Completely. Can't help it—he overwhelms me. I surrender.
I claw at him, my nails scoring his back. I admit it to myself, finally,
that I need it to be this way. Need to be totally his. I can hear my
own voice, and I'm the one who's begging.
He gives me what I'm asking for, and more. His teeth graze my skin, a
sudden, sharp nip on my shoulder pushing me right over the edge. I yelp
and buck and push against him, and he's whispering my name in my ear,
telling me what to do, what he wants to see and hear and feel. I obey.
And then his hands clench, holding me still, and I can feel him filling
me. I let go, and it seems like a long time before I can breath again.
When I open my eyes, he's there, watching me, playing with stray pieces
of my hair.
As good as that was—and don't get me wrong, it was wonderful—I guess I'm
a little disappointed that my plot didn't work, and it must show in my
"Duo?" Zechs leans up on his elbow, looking down at me, that little line
between his eyebrows that always makes me want to kiss his frown away.
"Little one, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." Shit, that came out sounding like a little kid who got a whole
pile of birthday presents, but not the one thing he really wanted. I
try again. "Honest." Okay, that was a little better.
Not enough, apparently. "Somehow, I don't believe you." He rubs his
thumb across my cheek. "What is it? Was it something that I—"
"No! No. It's not you, it's me." I flop over on my belly and start picking
at the covers so I don't have to look at him.
He lays right next to me, his face at my shoulder, so I can't avoid him.
Should've known that wouldn't work.
"All right. Tell me."
I might as well give in now. He's a prince, damn it, and he always gets
his way, sooner or later. "Well, it's just that..." Fuck, I'm blushing.
How does he do that? "I wanted to be able to make you crazy in
bed. Drive you wild. Like you do me."
"But...Duo..." He stops and I steal a look at him. He looks floored,
like he doesn't know what to say. "You do."
Somehow, I knew he was going to say that, and I smile, but I'm still stupidly
disappointed. "No, I mean...like..." Shit, why is it so hard to tell
him this? "Like...you want me so bad it hurts...like you're out of control...the
way I am...a-and—" I'm just making this worse, so I shut up.
And he's having none of it. "Duo...I mean it. You do drive me wild."
He combs his fingers through my bangs. "I do lose control with you."
He kisses my shoulder, I guess because it's the only thing he can really
reach without getting a mouthful of hair. "That's one of the most precious
gifts you give me."
"I don't know if I can explain this, but...for me, being in control is
being out of control. Does that make any sense?"
He's lost me. "No...sorry..."
He leans on his forearm, settling into a more comfortable position, a
half-smile on his face. His eyes are serious, though, and I know this
is important to him, so I try really hard to understand.
"My first...instinct, I suppose...is to take charge."
I know that, and I don't mean just with me, at home. I think about him,
his past with OZ. With White Fang, of his part in the end of the war,
something that he never, ever talks about. He can't help wanting to be
in command, it's who he is. I nod.
I can see from that line between his eyes that he's thinking the same
things I am. "But when I do take charge..." He looks away from me and
his voice is quiet and sad. "Things...go wrong."
Unsaid words hang heavy between us. Words like Libra...Mars...and the
word I don't like to think about—Trieze. My throat aches and I
can't talk, so I just reach for him, but I can't tell if he even remembers
"That's why I avoided anything to do with power for so long. Why I avoided
any relationships at all. Things I touched went...sour."
He looks back at me, a look I don't completely understand in his eyes.
"Except with you...you let me...be your prince. You let me command you.
And when it was all right—more than all right—with you, I didn't have
to be afraid of that part of myself any more. I could risk getting involved
with the world again. Do you understand now?"
"I don't know, maybe...but..."
"Well, it's just that...sometimes I can tell that you need to let go.
And I wish you would. I wish you'd let me be...I dunno...your pressure
valve, I guess."
"Don't fret, little one." He smiles for real, and I can feel it all the
way inside, warm, like a campfire in the middle of a cold, dark night.
"You are my safety valve. You keep me from exploding at all the
things that seem like petty foolishness to me, the stupidity and ignorance
and waste of bureaucracy, the idiots making policy..." He sighs and I
can feel him tense again. I rub his shoulders, wishing I could do more.
I'd hate his job—I'd have to kill people on a regular basis, I'm afraid.
All of a sudden, he grabs me in a hug, tight enough that it takes my breath
away. We're so close, I can feel his heart beating. He cups his hand
over the back of my head, presses his cheek against mine, and I can tell
there's something real and raw happening, I'm just not sure what, exactly.
But I hold on, just as tight as he's holding me. And so there we are,
for a long time, just hanging on in the dark, and I don't know why, but
something keeps telling me not to let go. Like we're holding one another
up above the water, two castaways trying to keep each other from drowning.
And then Zechs whispers against my ear, so softly I feel his words as
much as I hear them. "I need you, little one. Do you understand? I need
I don't think anyone ever really needed me before. I've always just been--convenient.
I can't answer for a long time, except to hold tighter.
He pets my head, nuzzles against me. "Duo? Baby...are you all right?"
I guess he's not used to my being quiet this long for anything short of
unconsciousness. "I...no one ever needed me before. I don't know what
I can feel him smile against my hair. "What you're doing is just right."
"That's good, ‘cause I think...I like it."
Better, even, than driving him crazy. I didn't know Zechs needed me—fuck,
he's a prince and I'm an ex-terrorist, ex-street rat, a barely former
junk trader and professional juvenile delinquent. Who would have thought
he'd need me? It makes me feel good inside, though. Warm. Proud,
even. Funny how sometimes you get exactly what you wanted even when you
didn't know it's what you wanted. But I guess life's like that
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