Title: The Bruises
Marlowe and Kyd series
Rating R for unrepentant smut
Word Count 1884
The voice made his gut kick. Irresponsible joy roared down his spine before he could correct himself. His arms rose in goosebumps. He was moving, trapped for a moment by the table bench, and then leaping back free of it.
“I had to see you-- I --”
“Jesus, What happened to your eye?”
It looked, Kit thought, like a split plum. The eyelid was inky purple, cracked, painfully, over the sclera, and that, red and sore where it was always a nearly blue white. The black stain crossed the bridge of the nose, and trickled away to vile green at the outermost edges. In every other way, Walsingham was the same. His clothing was fine, easy on the lovely shapes of him, his hand on his pommel, his feet set bold. He drew the eye.
Kit saw, as if from a distance Tom Kyd, shutting his own mouth with a snap, and giving a bow which was precise, correct in degree, generous in depth, warm.
“This is Mr Kyd,” Kit gestured. “And he is also Tom.” Walsingham's eyes flicked over to Kyd, and he smiled. He returned the bow with a shallow dip of his own. He stepped over the threshold.
Kyd had only gawped briefly. He nodded, he had made up his mind. Kit saw the clever summation in his eyes.
“I'll just. Something to do--”
Kyd said that, or something like it. He whistled for the pup, and left, shutting the door gently behind him. Kit had a feeling somewhere between his his shoulder blades, that Thomas Kyd was laughing.
“God, your face--”
Walsingham looked no better in the dim of the little room.
“I think here I am to say 'You should see the other man.” This smile was shy.
Kit's chuckle was short and pained. He gestured at the the hearth. “Let's--”
Walsingham took the on the rough joint stool as if he had never wanted anywhere else. He looked at Kit with perfect attention, as if he had never sat on velvet and clothed himself in leopard fur.
“I did not think to see you here.”
It sounded bitter, churlish, but Kit thought it was better said.. He did not say 'Why did you come?'
“Am I not still your patron?” Walsingham's voice was wry, wary.
“Aye, of course, but--”
“But that is not why I am here, no.”
Kit could feel his heart rising, hammering suddenly against the thin cage of his bones. He lifted a hand toward Tom's face, stalled it before it could touch and cause more pain. Heat poured between them, like the air coming off a bakers oven. Tom Walsingham smiled, and it was a real smile this time. And Kit saw how his lip was split and swollen too.
“I missed thee.”
The voice was low, cajoling. Kit knew well how this went. He took a step backward.
“And how does your lady? Do you find marriage all you had hoped?”
There was no sneer in Kit's question. He took care at least, that that was so.
“Audrey is well. I do not see much of her.”
“Audrey.” Kit said the name aloud. It raked him sore, but he said it.
Tom Walsingham sighed.
“Come here, to me, Kit, please?”
Kit made a frustrated flapping gesture with his hand. But his feet were bringing him forward.
“Oh, your face.” It was worse up close.
He said it again, and this time he reached down to touch, gentle, on the side where the harm was less. Tom s eyes closed at the touch. His eyelashes lay white, curved up, against his bruises. He leaned forward slightly to rest his chin against Kit's middle. Kit found himself stroking the pale hair back, just has he had used to do. He felt Tom's shuddering sigh.
Tom opened his eyes. “I'll tell you all about it. I will answer all your questions.” He saw Kit's eyebrow quirk. “Aye all. But not yet?” This last was a question, a plea. He was drawing Kit closer, to stand between his knees. Tugging him lower, to kneel there, facing away from the fire.
Sitting and kneeling this way they were of even height. Tom's hands were sure and steady, taking Kit close, sliding under his collar to stroke the skin of his neck. The broken skin of Tom's mouth came soft on Kit's. There was a difference there, something between taste and feel. Kit thought, maybe the copper of blood below the skin.
Walsingham lifted Kit's shirt away. . Kit glanced down over his own white skin, dim in the shadows beyond the window's spill. The fire's heat tightened the skin of his back, raising the hair on his arms so he shivered again. And maybe the shiver was from Tom Walsingham's fingers, tracing his collarbone, or the blue eyes, intent, following the fingers down Kit's breastbone.
So many times they had been frantic. Even at Scadbury where the green hours crept , it seemed, looking back, that they had always hurried.
This was entirely new. Kit could feel the push of the questions, and the regrets. He would have none of them now. He found himself nuzzling along the margin of the bruise, following it up over the cheekbone-- his tongue and lips, slowly making the question anyhow, that he had been forbidden to voice. They had lost the stool, it had gone away with the clothing. The hearth was hard under them, and not at all clean. They were both stained with ashes. Go on this way and they would be in the fireplace. He felt his breath heave a little with laughter. Ridiculous.
“Bed?” It was Kit's voice, after all, hesitant and jagged.
Here, sheets beneath Kit's naked skin, the ceiling far and small. Tom above him. Tom's teeth clenched. He was gasping like a man in pain. They were making it new, Kit realized; new as if they had never done it with foolish laughter, or drunk, or angry, hard as fighting.
Tom was kissing him now, nipping his way to the angle of the jaw, taking Kit's gasp, growling a little response. His hand fit in the sway of Kit's back, lifting, bringing all close.
Tom's mouth down his abdomen now, Kit arched. Kit's own head rolling on the pillow. He struggled against the coming loss. Too much, too much. The cool voice in his soul that found words for every moment, was still, for once. It too could only groan with need.
Another moment would be too late. Panting, shaking. He tugged at Tom's armpits. “Up.”
Tom grinned, he scrambled forward. Ah yes. Tom's arms braced on the wall at the head of the bed. . As with lobster, Kit began with the legs. The delicious thorax he saved for last. He saw from the edge of his eye, Tom groan and avert his face to the angle the bent arm.
“Please, Kit.” The voice was a wobble of breath.
The hair was fine as floss above the kneecap. There was an old scar there that Kit's tongue liked to find. Very old. White. It had some provenance lost in childhood. Maybe a fall, maybe an ember from a long gone fire. It filled Kit with something fierce and strange and weakening. He ran his tongue over the place again, and swallowed the clench in his throat.
Up the front of the thigh. Here the muscle was bent strong around the strong straight bone beneath. The hairs were coarser toward the top, more dense than Kit's own, and dark gold. And now, after all delay, he had reached the delicious center. A pelt of curled gold. There, just below the navel, a pathway of cross-wound hairs, jeweled with drops of wet, like dew. The cock was jutting, trembling, incarnadine. It was wet at the tip.
He allowed himself give a delicate lap at the edge of the crest. Tom tasted of clean skin, and heat,heat. The sound from up above was a mangled word, rushed and needy. Tom was open eyed, watching. Kit met his eyes, and slid a hand under and between. Just for a moment he lifted the soft clench there. Tom rocked his face against the wall. His hands were gone to fists.
“Kit, thou-- oh.”
“Shh, I will.”
So good to give. Kit was shuddering as he suckled, twining his own legs, unable to hold still. His own need had come on, fierce. And Tom was rocking, slow, each push an arc with a trembling apex. Kit's head on the pillow, pushed tight to the wall, knocking the wall a little each time. Tom's hand in his hair.
And now, and now. He felt the thrill beneath his lips, the shudder, the tightening. He pushed with his cupped tongue taking the spill. Perfect.
Tom slid down beside Kit, warm against him, kissing alongside as a boat kisses the shore. He curled close, leg over Kit's legs. He held Kit down a little against the perfect stroke. And so good to be given. The world blazed white, and the words were long gone, and Kit could only gasp and shiver and buck.
It was forever later when he he opened his eyes. Tom Walsingham lay close, leaning on his elbow. He had one warm hand spread on Kit's chest. The hand was loose and warm, but the bruised face was rueful, and a little apprehensive.
“So?” Kit touched gently the place between the eye and temple, where the bone was thin and close. “Who was it hurt thee?”
“I was about my uncle's work.”
And this was not to be spoken, even to each other. Danger there. Still, Kit waited. He let the silence get heavy. Tom would say. He had before.
“I was bringing letters from the number 6 drop. I had my man with me-- Frizer. It was night.”
Kit nodded seeing it. Number six was Isle of Dogs. It was an ugly place. It was a world away from a warm tavern, or from Scadbury.
“Well, no. He knew only he was to meet me on the way home. And he did. Good thing he was with me-- there were six of them. Came from cover. They knew we were coming. Frizer killed one. The others got away-- worse for wear, hah.” Tom gave a bark of a laugh. They cut my saddlebags.”
“No, course not.” Tom patted his middle. “ I had them under my shirt, and a jerkin of boiled dog-skin.”
Kit grimaced, he could imagine Tom in a plain workman's jerkin, on an unremarkable horse. Even with the gold hair covered, even dressed to be forgotten, Thomas Walsingham would stand out. Nothing could make anyone safe.
“Will he use you so, and you married now?” Kit's voice was low and bitter.
“Aye, he will use us all.”
And there was not much more to be said about that.