Title: After Never
Word Count 2074
Rating R for smut
Thomas had kissed him by the river. Nobody had ever kissed Kit before, not that way. Mother kisses were different. And Aunt Cecily Arthur, who had pinched his cheeks at New Years, and remarked on how he had grown, that was different too. Nobody had ever touched his trembling lips with their own, embraced him close, nobody had ever touched his aching thundering heart. No eyes looking into his had ever been so warm, no black over blue so beautiful.
Now he walked beside Thomas, back to the house, he was rubbing his hand over his mouth when he forgot to stop himself. It felt different. Overhead the day had changed too. A mackerel sky had come as the morning warmed. Uncertain clouds hurried, striping the ground with dabs of brightness. The wind was sweet against his face, with the leafy smell of the trees by the river.
And here was a back door that Kit had not noticed before. This was a humble ordinary door, quite different from the enormous thing in the front by the moat. This door led past the kitchens. Blinking in the dim entryway, Kit could see that women were already at work. He could smell bread baking. That would be good. And this house had a library too. And he was to have the run of it. That had never happened to him ever. There would be books he had never seen, no one to call him from reading them. He was a guest, he was wanted. He walked, and his knees were still shaking.
Thomas went ahead of him, into the room, to open the shutters and poke up the fire. There was a chair by the window, black with age. The wood had a strange pitted texture, like that cast up by the sea, wormholes, Kit thought. The chair must be terribly old. It had arms, they were narrow where a mans arms would rest, and spatulate where he would rest his hands. And it had pillows at the seat and back. He had a sudden clear vision of Walsingham reading, shifting his thin body, the pillows comfort to his aching burning bones. This was an old man's chair.
“I will come back as soon as I can.” Thomas smiled, just at Kit, and closed the door and was gone.
Beyond the chair, past the light of the window were the books; stacks of books, heaps of books. There were so many that they began at the floor and went up over his head. Kit stood, poised on his toes in an agony of indecision, touching the spines and boards of them, as gently as he would pet a cat. Finally he lifted down a world atlas. He took it to the chair by the fire, opened it carefully. Here were maps, and travelers tales, routes of ships, drawings of alien plants and flowers. Each map,each picture, an infinity of stories. Kit soared. It was like riding a dragon.
He did not notice the footsteps until the door opened.
Kit looked up, but it was not Thomas, as he had hoped. Nor was it Francis Walsingham, as he had secretly feared. This was the round faced girl he had seen in the kitchen. She was perhaps his age, not older. She carried a wooden tray, leaning back slightly, resting the weight of it against the soft curve of her apron. It was heavy. Kit could see the girls lip tucked into her teeth in concentration. Her feet were bare.
He set the book aside, and rose to take it from her.
“Tis food, Sir,” she said. She dipped briefly to him and fled.
And now he could feel the empty clench of his insides. Here was soft bread with a pale white cheese, and a bowl of dried apricots. There was a silver knife came with it, the handle made to look like a fanciful bunch of grapes. And there was a damp cloth to clean his hands decently.
He ate quickly. He wanted to get back to the book. But now that Kit looked up he could see that it was going to rain. And the wind had come up too, Francis Walsingham's fruit trees were tossing confusedly.
Some of the house had glass windows, but this room did not. It was an older part of the building perhaps. The window began waist high, it was narrow, and situated in a recessed alcove.
Kit got up to shut the window shutters, and stopped. Out beyond the fruit trees the sky had gone a peculiar bruised green. It was not raining yet. His skin prickled. It reminded him of something, he groped in his mind to think what. Then he had it-- this was like when his sisters were small, toddling, when they fell over, or you took something from them. This was the inhalation before the tantrum shriek.
Thunder came, sharp as a snapped whip. And right after it, not even a breath after, came the first fierce arc of lightning. Somewhere above something was banging and creaking. The sound was blurred by the rising wind. And then the rain all at once, loud and cold. The green air was the green of drowning. Lightning tore the sky, high and astounding. The air was pressing now, the wind seemed to come from everywhere at the same time. He had the shutters in his hand, ready to close them, he would close them in a minute, he would.
“The rain is going to come in.”
Thomas had come, cat-foot, behind him.
“I was watching-- ”
“Thou'rt shivering, Kit.”
Thomas came behind Kit and drew him close. He pressed a kiss into Kit's hair. Then another just by his ear. Thomas was taller. Kit seemed to fit perfectly this way, tucked against his shoulder. The rain was not coming in after all , but the cold air was.
But it was lovely. Thomas was kissing him with focused attention, and his warm hand burrowed beneath Kit's doublet now, half the buttons undone, and he was touching Kit's belly his hand spread warm on Kit's shirt. Another slam of thunder made them both jump and the embrace tightened. Then Thomas was kissing his neck, and it drove the breath out of Kit, made him pant. Thomas bit there, gently, where the collar sagged away from skin. It felt so good, Kit could only cling to the arm that held him, bare his throat to the bite. He heard himself make a small sound, an upward sound a sort of shuddering squeak.
This was going to be it.
Kit had waited 18 years, given every minute to his studies. He had read his texts and learned them perfectly. The cobblers boy could not do less, anything to avoid the shoe shop. He had worked and worked, freezing dawn to freezing dusk. The more wealthy boys had perhaps had time for kissing-- time for more than kissing. He had wanted it, yes. Sometimes the need had felt like an ache in his chest, and his skin, a softening, weakening thing in the hot center of himself. Kit had so often wondering how it would be, who it would be. Now this was it.
He turned away from the window, and he and Thomas were pressed together all the way down now, and he was not sure who had started the rubbing and pressing and rocking, but it was a very good idea. He heard himself sob, pressed the sound against Thomas's mouth, and they were clasped hard and he had a hand in Thomas's golden hair. He wanted-- he wanted--
“Shh. No Kit. Slow now. Wait a moment.”
“Oh, but I--”
“Let me get the door at least.”
Thomas smiled and drew away. It ached, all down the front of where he had been, where Kit needed him. Kit heard him lock the door. Saw him cross to a chest in the corner by the big bookcase.
“This will do well.”
He had a red carpet. It had been in the chest, Thomas unfolded it before the hearth.
Thomas knelt on it, and reached to draw Kit down too.
“There now, this is warmer.”
And it was warmer. The crazy need had subsided just a bit. Thomas did not kiss him again immediately, but reached out with fingertips, to touch Kit's cheek, his mouth. His touch was careful, light as mist.
“Never, never anything,” Kit whispered. His heart was racing.
“Jesus,” Thomas said, and his voice was a whisper too, and the look on his face was awe and want together, and it wound something up in Kit, so tight that he wanted to sob again.
Thomas rested beside him so close that Kit could feel the heat of skin, and that was like the heat of the fire. It was like a dream, he thought. Not a daydream or a wish, but a real dream, with the strangeness, the aching, the drum of the rain and the soft red wool beneath his skin, and the drunken green light that crept between the wooden shutters.
In the space of three breaths Kit's doublet and shirt were put aside. Thomas tossed his own to join them. The fire was low now in the hearth, it painted skin with shadows and gold. Kissing was so much better this way, with bare skin touching. Thomas leaned on an elbow, so close. His kisses were tiny sips to Kit's eyelids, brow, the corner of his open mouth. His hand moved light and slow over Kit's chest, his side, over the flat stretch of abdomen.
Kit's breeches were loose with the doublet gone and his points undone. If he stood up they would fall to his ankles.
And he had only to reach up a little bit to touch the warm golden skin, the soft golden hair. The thin skin of Thomas's neck and cheeks had flushed with a stippled pink, his breath was sweet and rapid.
He leaned in for Kit's mouth again, using his own to open it, his tongue stroking Kit's, coaxing it into the heated press until there was no distance at all between them.
The hand was stroking lower now, beneath the edge of Kit's breeches, not centrally, not on his aching cock, but just in the curve of his hipbone, gentle in his hair.
“Oh.” Kit was squirming now, because he could not bear-- and Thomas gave a breathless chuckle.
“There, is that better?”
Kit nodded desperately. “Oh yes. Oh.”
He felt Thomas tugging the breeches down, until they were nearly off, inside out, tangled on Kit's left ankle. And he was bare now, but for stockings, and the air of the room was like a caress all of itself.
And Thomas had kicked his own away, all the way across the room. They landed halfway up the bookcase. And Thomas was naked, and he was dark gold all the way down. And then Kit had no need to see, because he could feel. Thomas was pressed to his side, and he was pushing as he stroked, and all was tight and hard.
“Oh sweetheart, oh Kit yes--”
Thomas was shuddering against him now.
And the beautiful feeling was just out of reach, and Kit was arched in a trembling bow to reach it, and the stroking hand left him a moment, and he cried out in despair, but it came back, and all was slick now, and he was so close. He was close, and then he was there-- and it broke over him like stars falling. The air rasped his throat, Thomas was there beside him and smiling. He pushed Kit's hair back, and kissed him as he sagged.
And he felt the gentle press of a damp cloth, cleaning his belly and thighs. It must have come from the dinner tray, Kit thought. But his thoughts were sluggish and reluctant.
Thomas pulled the carpet up over them both, and it was still raining, and Kit had not known it was possible to be so astonished and sleepy at the same time.
“The door is still locked,” Thomas said. “Sleep a little. I will stay by thee.”
And so he did.