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The door to the parlor burst open and Thomas came striding in, a string of apologies flowing from his mouth. James felt his mouth quirk into a fond if smug smile at the sight of him. Wigless, coatless, in relative disarray compared to his usual put-togetherness. Jenkins, Thomas’s poor valet, scurried in after him, hunching toward one of Thomas’s shoes that James just realized was still untied, laces flapping in Thomas’s wake.

 

“James, I am so sorry. Please don’t tell me you’ve waited long, I couldn’t bear it. I don’t know what’s come over me.”

 

James turned the page of this morning’s copy of the London Gazette, eyes flickering between its pages and the thoroughly ruffled Lord Hamilton. 

 

“Your coverlet, I imagine, judging from the state of your hair,” James replied nonchalantly. 

 

Thomas put up a sheepish hand to run through his short, sandy locks, which betrayed a rather adorable bedhead. As Thomas’s long fingers attempted to tame an unruly cowlick, James watched Thomas’s face closely for any sign of slight. At his insouciant comment, the way he had neglected to stand as Thomas burst into the room. Even now, months into their partnership--months which seemed at once a blink and an eternity--James remained vigilant for signs that his lack of decorum with Thomas was unwelcome, despite Thomas himself repeatedly demanding it of him. But the blush that so delicately tinged Thomas’s cheeks was accompanied by a pleased, if embarrassed, smile. Merely the sight of it set James’s spine in alignment.

 

“I’m afraid the salon ran rather late last night,” Thomas explained, one foot propped on a velvet stool as his valet bent to finish tying his shoes. “Lord Bolton was in attendance, and, well... you know he isn’t famed for his succinctness.” 

 

“Bolton was there? Well, now I truly regret not having been able to make it,” James said, nimbly avoiding a chaise pillow as it was lobbed at him over the rim of his newspaper.

 

“Stop, James, I’m serious. I needed you there. If for no other reason than as a human shield,” Thomas said, accepting a cup of tea from a maid with one hand and fussing his valet away from his waistcoat with the other. 

 

“A shield? I’m flattered to know how highly you value my company. Soon you’ll start asking me to bring a gun to salon,” James said, eyebrow arched as he pretended to peruse an article on the latest military medals awarded.

 

“Oh hush. You know how I value your insights, especially the uncharitable ones. But I think I really could have used the gun this time. I mean it. He tried to follow me into the privy, James,” Thomas complained. That got James’s attention. His eyes shot up to track Thomas’s body language as Thomas downed the cup of tea. 

 

“I had to stand there smiling at him with the chamber pot in my hands, hoping he would get the message while he blathered on at me about Sophia of Hanover and ‘the issue of Catholic degeneracy degrading the royal line’. Honestly, Lieutenant, I can’t say which was more unpleasant at the end of the night, the contents of that chamberpot or the contents of Lord Bolton’s disquisitions.” 

 

James brought the Gazette back up to cover his face in an attempt to hide his amusement. Even now Thomas regularly disarmed him with his proclivity--nay, proficiency --for vulgarity. The first time Thomas had revealed this aspect of his humor, James had blanched and nearly dropped his teacup; now, it usually set him to uncontrollable, nervous giggling. And Miranda was even worse than Thomas. There was something comforting to James about these two perfectly coiffed aristocrats talking so plainly of things base and animal in nature. Comforting and strangely... energizing. 

 

Thomas crossed the room looking utterly pleased with himself and plucked the newspaper from James’s shaking hands. He and Miranda both knew the effect such ribaldry had on James--well, Miranda knew the full extent, and Thomas only--thankfully--partly. Coming around the desk Thomas settled himself against it, facing James, and shook the broadside out to its full length. 

 

“Shall I read it to you?” Thomas said, and his tone of voice indicated it was hardly a question. Not that James would ever say no to more of the sound of Thomas’s voice. Truth be told he’d barely perused the Gazette this morning, merely using it as cover as every nerve in his body strained pathetically for the sound of Thomas’s footsteps coming down the hall to meet him, brightening his world more than the morning sun.

 

Not that Thomas would ever know the extent of feeling he aroused in James. Not if their relationship, nor James’s entire career were to be preserved. Not if James could help it.

 

So he set his face into a mask approaching seriousness as he listened to Thomas’s voice read to him from the dry periodical. As he did so, he allowed his mind to wander. He loved Thomas’s voice. It was perfectly accented and uncommonly gentle, and yet something in it held for James a call to action. To listen, to defend, to carry out his will. Not by force of command, but by virtue of something ineffable within it. 

 

Thomas’s voice putting him more and more at ease, James slouched back into his chair, green eyes flickering up the back of the broadside. Thomas couldn’t see him from this angle, his face obscured by the newspaper, and James allowed his eyes the rare chance to roam. Lazily he catalogued the length of Thomas’s fingers, pads already stained with ink from the newsprint. The pure white shirtsleeves, unhidden by his absent coat. Morning light from the southern window glinted off the silk of his green waistcoat, threaded with delicate gold embroidery. James’s fingers itched to run down its sides, smoothing out any lumps and wrinkles.

 

It was when James’s eyes roamed lower that his breath caught in his throat.

 

Thomas had shifted his position to half balance on the desk, one foot supporting him firmly on the floor, the other thigh spread along its polished surface, his stockinged shin and foot bouncing idly off the side as he read. In keeping with his haphazard appearance this morning, it seemed Thomas’s valet had not managed to finish buttoning several bottom buttons of his waistcoat. His unbuttoned waistcoat was swept back behind both thighs, and James could see where his breeches laced delicately up his abdomen. And there, starkly visible through the cream-colored fabric of his trousers, lay Thomas’s length resting gently along the inside of his thigh. 

 

James swallowed as he struggled to comprehend the sheer size of it. He squinted subtly, trying to determine its outlines. Surely it was a trick of the light, a fold in the fabric--but no, there it was, nestled against Thomas’s thigh, extending nearly half its length. It was flaccid, surely--it didn’t seem to be straining against his trousers, Thomas wasn’t wiggling his hips uncomfortably, no fluid seemed to be leaking to stain the light-colored fabric--and James almost blacked out at the mere thought --but even flaccid, it was just absurdly large. 

 

Maybe this was the true cause of Thomas’s easy confidence? James philosophized, trying not to let himself drift toward his more obscene tendencies. Not the privilege of his wealth or station of birth, but something simple as this--the knowledge that he was packing this kind of heat in his trousers? In fact, maybe that explained some of his own natural attraction to the Lord, his feeling of safety around him, of quiet confidence. James’s own member was certainly respectable, he’d always found it to be perfectly proportionate and adequate for whatever job he put to it. But faced with this display , he found something in him wanting, badly, to submit

 

“James, are you alright?” 

 

The sound of Thomas’s concern cut through James like a knife, and he realized with horror that he’d been staring, slack-jawed. Blue eyes gazed down at him, brows drawn with worry. James leapt to his feet, fearing what shadows may be visible beneath his own waistcoat from such an angle. Smoothing down his clothes he stood, his face mere inches away from Thomas’s. And yet he couldn’t bear to look him in the eye, felt the weight of his shame blazing across his face.

 

“James, you look like you’re burning up. Are you ill?” Thomas’s cool, ink-stained fingers came to rest on James’s cheek, and James flinched away as if he’d been electrocuted.

 

“I’m fine, my Lord, I just--if you will excuse me for a moment,” said James, and without waiting for an answer turned and fled the room as fast as decorum would allow. 

 

James strode blindly down the hall, down the carpeted stairs, then ducked into the alcove beneath them to catch his breath. He listened for following footsteps but none came. The door to the butlers’ pantry there was slightly ajar; seeing no one inside, James let himself in and brought the door shut behind him with a soft click

 

Once alone, he collapsed against the wood paneled door, his head falling back against it with a thud . He would just wait here a moment so he could catch his breath, return his pulse to normal. Thomas hadn’t seen anything, surely--no servants had been present (at least, so he thought--how could he have become so careless of his surroundings?). No one had witnessed his distressing break in composure purely at the sight of Thomas’s monster cock in his trousers. 

 

“Ughhhhhhh,” the groan came unbidden from James’s lips at just the thought of it, and without thinking one hand drifted below to palm roughly at his own erection through his trousers. 

 

This was all his fault. He hadn’t taken care of himself this morning. He’d been too anxious to be on time to meet Thomas and besides, he was supposed to be meeting with Miranda later, and she’d given him firm instructions to be ready for her. Well he was certainly ready now, but Miranda was nowhere to be found, and he couldn’t currently see a way out of this room without taking care of it or else magically submerging himself in a tub of ice water.

 

“Sorry, Miranda,” he muttered, before unbuttoning the placket of his trousers and freeing his aching cock into his hands. He would make this as quick as possible. His eyes slid shut as he conjured the image of Thomas sitting on the desk back into his mind. 

 

The morning light was glinting off of Thomas’s emerald waistcoat, his relaxed member tucked neatly down one side of his trousers as he read from the broadside. Thomas’s cock was mere inches away from James’s face--all he would have to do is lean forward. So this time he would. Thomas would say nothing, would merely continue to read the latest proclamations as James pressed his nose against Thomas’s thigh and inhaled the heady smell of him through the fabric. Thomas’s voice would not waver. As if he’d expected this somehow. As if it were his birthright. 

 

James’s mouth drifted open, slack, as he lightly rubbed his own length and pressed the fingertips of his other hand lightly against his sack. 

 

He would trace Thomas’s cock lightly with his thumbnail. Mapping its upper and lower extremities, verifying its length and girth through the fabric. Thomas’s voice would finally hitch as James brought his mouth close and breathed hot onto Thomas’s head. Tongue licking out to taste the coarse fabric that enclosed him. The flesh beneath stiffening, growing fuller as James lipped and licked and lathed, worshipping.

 

His own hand moved rougher now, rolling over the slick head of his cock. Precum already leaked from his own tip, and he used it to wet and smooth his ministrations. 

 

Fabric fully wet from his spit, James would move his hands from their place gripping Thomas’ thighs to pull at the strings on his trousers. He would unlace him slowly, listening for changes in Thomas’s voice, his breathing. Thomas’s voice would become velvety as he read on, transforming the driest government news into the height of eroticism.

 

Another groan escaped James at the mere thought of Thomas’s voice transformed by lust, and he had to grip the base of his cock firmly to stop himself from getting too far too fast on that thought alone. 

 

Finally, with a yank and shift of Thomas’s hips, he would be free. Cock bobbing pink against the side of James’s face. Grown to its full size, just looking at it would make James’s jaw ache. 

 

Unknowingly, one of James’s hands came up to press at his lips, his thumb drawing over them before pushing between his teeth. 

 

James would bring one hand up to cup and caress at Thomas’s balls. Heavy and full, dusted with angelic blonde hair, they would bob majestically at Thomas’s base. James would lick and nose into them, drawing the smell of Thomas deep into his nostrils and the first delicious moan of pleasure from Thomas’s lips. 

 

“Fuck, Thomas,” he would say--

 

“Fuck, Thomas,” James muttered into his fist--

 

--before licking a wet stripe up the underside of Thomas’s cock and then sinking his lips down over Thomas’s head. 

 

James unfurled his fingers one by one into his mouth, lathing and sucking them as his hips bucked faster into his fist. 

 

Tears would form in the corners of James’s eyes as he struggled to get his mouth and throat farther down Thomas’s length. As adept as James considered himself at sucking cock, Thomas Hamilton would present a challenge the likes of which James had never contended. Thomas’s hands would find their way into his hair, broadside discarded on the desk beside him, as he gently urged James on, touching tentatively at the skin around his ears, his stubbled jaw. Feeling himself fill James’s mouth so fully and perfectly.

 

Four fingers in his mouth now fought to stifle his moans as James fucked into his fist, the wet sounds of his pleasure filling the small space of the butlers’ pantry. 

 

Thomas would be moaning his name in earnest, now, cupping the back of his skull as he fucked into James’s mouth. Filth the likes of which James had never heard would fall like water from his lovely lord’s lips. James would fight to breathe through his nose, drool dribbling down over his chin as he transformed his mouth into a space solely for Thomas’s pleasure. Thomas’s cock would push forward to nudge into the back of his throat and James would fight down reflex after reflex for him as Thomas arced down over him, curling into him as he fucked, full scrotum bouncing wetly off his chin. 

 

James’s wet, stretching fingers slid out of his mouth and came down to slick over his cock with his spit. He cupped and squeezed at his balls as they clenched tighter and tighter against the base of his aching cock, readying.

 

“James, James,” Thomas’s voice would warn, his fingers pulling lightly at his hair and ears to draw him off, but James wouldn’t listen. He would merely tighten his grip on Thomas’s thighs, urging him to thrust deeper and deeper. Just when James would think he couldn’t take it any longer--when his jaw ached and his throat itched and his senses were so swollen with arousal he could barely breathe--he would feel Thomas’s balls tighten, hear silken vowels spill over him as Thomas’s seed pulsed into his throat, coating his insides. 

 

“Fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, Thomas, ” James belatedly realized he was moaning at inadvisable volume, and then his own seed was spilling hot onto the tiled floor of the poor butlers’ pantry. 

 

Finally, reluctantly his lips would remove from Thomas’s softening length with a smooth pop. He would look up to see Thomas’s face, flushed with happiness and the remnants of desire, beaming down in an expression just for him. James would smile and open his mouth, proudly showing Thomas his pearls before swallowing them greedily, all for himself.

 

Legs shaking and unable to stand any longer, James slid down the wood-paneled door until his bare ass was resting on the cold ground. His head fell backward to bump against the door and he let his breathing even, felt the blood finally begin to leave his face.

 

He was nearly there when there came a polite knock, and the sound of someone trying the door. 

 

In a panic James braced his legs and back to hold the door shut. Eyes wild, he waited to hear who was on the other side. He prayed for Jenkins. Or Hampton. God, honestly anyone but Potter with his piggy, judgemental little eyes. Or God forbid-- 

 

As if summoned by mere thought, James heard the softly concerned voice of none other than Thomas Hamilton.

 

“James? Is that you in there? Are you alright? Let me in, I want to make sure you’re alright.”

 

“One moment,” James called with barely suppressed panic, leaping to his feet and fumbling desperately with the buttons on his trousers. They were barely in place before the doorknob turned and Thomas ducked his head inside, his features drawn with worry.

 

“James? I was waiting for you but I thought, oh, what if something happened--what if you fainted somewhere and there was no-one to find you. Are you alright? You do look faint,” Thomas said as he crowded into the tiny room against James, his hands ghosting over James’s forehead, his neck, feeling for fever.

 

“I’m quite alright, my Lord-- Thomas ,” James said, catching one of Thomas’s hands in his own to stop their wandering. 

 

“Your hand… it feels clammy. Are you sure?”

 

James dropped Thomas’s hand quickly, brushing the remnants of his own spit and precum quickly against his uniform. Please God, don’t let Thomas smell his hands

 

“I--I did feel faint,” James ventured, “but I’m alright now. I just wanted a quiet place to splash water on my face,” James said, indicating one of the small basins along the wall. 

 

Thomas let out a sigh.

 

“You gave me quite the fright, you know,” he said, softly. 

 

“I’m sorry, My Lord-- Thomas ,” James corrected himself again, and Thomas looked at him sharply, searching his eyes with a renewed suspicion.

 

“Are you sure everything’s alright? Usually you only start ‘My Lord’-ing me when you’re angry with me, trying to put a bit of distance between us. Did I do something wrong?”

 

James’s face pulled into an involuntary grimace at Thomas’s inconvenient astuteness--he was , in fact, trying to put some distance between them, but for reasons he would rather die than divulge.

 

“Ah, I see,” Thomas said, mirroring his grimace, and turned away. James had to fight himself not to follow him with his hands, his body. 

 

“I’m mothering you, aren’t I? Miranda says I do have the tendency. I suppose I’m no better than Lord Bolton, practically following you into the privy.” 

 

It was a convenient lie, and Thomas had even kindly supplied it himself. James couldn’t well tell Thomas that following him into the privy was the exact thing he fantasized about Thomas doing, day in and day out. So he set his mouth into a line and looked down sheepishly.

 

“I am terribly sorry for worrying you,” he said, lamely. “I promise I really am feeling better.” 

 

Thomas sighed deeply. “Well, all the same. I suppose we should abandon the pretence of trying to get any work done this morning. Apparently neither of us are feeling particularly up to the task. Would you care to join me in the library until lunchtime? Miranda is coming and she’ll be devastated if she misses you.”

 

“Well, I--”

 

“I got a copy of that new Vanbrugh play,” Thomas said, voice low and conspiratorial. He leaned in closer. “It’s dreadful ,” he added gleefully, waggling his eyebrows. 

 

James struggled to keep his straight expression, but found himself too exhausted by the morning’s excitement to keep up the pretence of not finding Thomas utterly charming. 

 

“Well. If you insist --”

 

“And I do,” Thomas said, looping his arm through James’s. As he stooped to lead them through the doorway, however, he paused briefly, his nose wrinkled in something like disgust.

 

“Eugh, what is that?” Thomas said, and James realized in a rush of pure terror that the vile substance Thomas was indicating was James’s own spend , lying wet and clear on the tile below. James froze, his sluggishly post-orgasmic brain struggling to come up with a believable excuse, before Thomas continued.

 

“I’m so sorry , James, you must think my house is in utter disarray after this morning. First, my late appearance at our morning meeting, now mysterious substances in my butlers’ pantry. I will notify Jenkins to have it taken care of immediately.”

 

“Ah--it’s quite alright, Thomas. Actually, I hadn’t even noticed.” 

 

“Hmm…” Thomas hummed, still obviously displeased, before guiding them back up the stairs toward the library, babbling excitedly the entire time about the play they would soon tear apart together. 

 

They found Jenkins already standing to attention outside the library door. Thomas relayed his instructions to Jenkins while James studiously inspected the drapery, objects on a nearby tabletop, honestly anything within eyesight that wasn’t either of the other two men. Jenkins received his instructions placidly before turning to enact his master’s will.

 

James paused to watch the straight-backed Jenkins’ descend the stairs. Jenkins will be getting a large tip this Christmas, James pledged to himself, before following his friend into the warmth of the library. 

 

Placing himself in the chair he had become accustomed to thinking of as his own, listening to his friend begin his dramatic reading, James allowed his eyes but once to trail to the bottom of Thomas’s waistcoat. He noted with great relief that Jenkins had persuaded Thomas to stand still long enough to finish buttoning it, shrouding Thomas in a much-needed blanket of respectability. 

 

An inordinately large tip, he silently amended, before settling himself in deeper to listen.