Title: Fits and Starts
Fandom: The State Within
Category: m/m slash
Pairing: Nicholas Brocklehurst/Mark Brydon
Word count: 3,237
Warnings: None that I am aware of
Author’s note: Unbeta’d and only my second fic in English, ever, so er… this will undoubtedly show, but I’ve done my level best. Concrit welcomed!
I’m sure many writers and readers in this fandom care about plot, realism, and good storytelling. Questions like ‘what are they doing at that hotel’ and ‘what would such shenanigans mean for their professional relationship?’ spring to mind. I swear I also care about such questions occasionally. Now is not one of those times. What you get here is decidedly PWP. Dramaturgically unsound, smutty fluff-smut this way lies.
Summary: Nicholas realises he wouldn’t mind having sex with Mark Brydon. Mark’s supposedly being straight poses a bit of a challenge. But nothing insurmountable.
Fits and Starts
Nicholas was lying on the roof terrace of the hotel—actually on the wooden floor of the terrace, since this was the coolest spot—with a pint of lager next to him that he had been nursing for the better part of an hour. (He never could get into the habit of drinking much alcohol at a time.) How he could have the place to himself he had no idea. It was a beautiful, clear evening, and he was enjoying the cooler temperature and the crisp smell of the air after a hot and humid day.
He knew he had jinxed his perfect solitude when he heard the door open and soft footfalls moving in his direction. When he rose a bit and looked up, there was Mark Brydon with a glass of what looked like whiskey in his hand. He plopped down next to Nicholas and, leaning on his elbows, contemplated the evening sky. Nicholas mirrored his posture.
This was the kind of thing that would have been unthinkable a few short months ago, but ever since Mark had exposed Nicholas for the duplicitous bastard he was, they’d been on much easier terms. And more complicated, too, in some ways.
They both remarked quietly on the pleasantness of the temperate breeze and the view, and then sat for several minutes in silence.
Mark sipped his drink now and then, and after a while turned to Nicholas with a crooked smile, nodding to his glass that was still half full, and said, “Is it an occupational hazard for you, sobriety?”
“Something like that,” Nicholas admitted.
Mark smiled and put his empty glass down. Nicholas felt the tiniest interested flutter at seeing him lie all the way down on the wooden surface, sighing contentedly as he placed his hands under his head. Nicholas couldn’t help letting a sidelong glance skim over him now and again. Outstretched like that Mark’s lithe form was utterly desirable. It was amazing how carefree Mark acted in his company these days. He must know that his pose right now was…alluring. The flutter intensified.
It was then that Nicholas rolled onto his side and gave Mark a peck right on the mouth.
“Wh... What are you doing?”
“Just trying something,” Nicholas snuck in one more cautious brush of the lips before reluctantly asking, “Should I stop?”
“I just—don’t know where this is coming from.”
“Not sure myself.” Nicholas was hoping not to have to explain something that had taken himself aback. “Let me do it again?”
There was no answer, but Mark’s eyes were still searching his face. He didn’t seem put off so much as bemused, which Nicholas took to be a good sign. Perhaps he had chosen to take Nicholas’ words as an instruction; at least he made no effort to stop him when he leaned in again for another kiss, slightly firmer, slightly longer. He also didn’t reciprocate.
Oh Mark. Ever the diplomat. Awaiting more clarity before acting.
“How long has this been on your mind?” he asked in a hushed voice.
“It hasn’t, not really.” Nicholas was vaguely aware of going into his ‘convincing liar’ mode even though it was actually the truth: he hadn’t thought about Mark in that way, apart from noting in passing that this ambassador was rather more fit than most he had met. Whenever they’d had physical contact, the circumstances had always been fraught with the wrong kind of tension for it to put him in mind of sex. Being alert to immediate danger was not the aphrodisiac it was cracked up to be, in his experience.
But right now, Nicholas knew that he must offer a more satisfying answer unless he wanted Mark to keep asking questions. And he didn’t.
“Maybe in the back of my head. For quite some time, I think.” Which was also true. To change the subject, and because he was suddenly curious, he went on, “Is this the first time you’ve kissed another man?”
“Yes. Is that so strange?” If Mark sounded a bit defensive, his expression was one of mild wonder.
“Not strange. Although there is a rumour—”
“Yes, I know about that, thank you.” They shared a smile.
“Lots of people experiment a bit in their youth, you know,” Nicholas suggested.
“Not when I was young, they didn’t.”
At that, Nicholas gave a genuine chuckle.
“Is that what this is? An experiment?” Mark asked then, in all sincerity.
“Yes, it’s an IQ test. Now, come off it with the questions!”
There was still no protest from Mark when Nicholas resolutely moved flush against his upper body. He wedged himself between Mark’s ribcage and his arm, and Mark passively allowed it. He was still flat on his back, looking… not entirely petrified. So far, so good.
Nicholas lowered himself until their noses touched softly. He inclined his head almost imperceptibly—and their lips were pressing together. Much longer this time. Mark came close to perfect immobility. Nicholas peeked at his face a few seconds in, just in time for the thrill of seeing his eyes slide shut. Mark moved his jaw a little, kissing him back at last, gingerly.
After a while—how long Nicholas couldn’t gauge— he felt a warm palm come to rest on his shoulder. The body under his remained pliant, but Nicholas still felt a lurch of apprehension when the grip on his shoulder became firmer and he was gently pushed back. This was exactly how considerate Mark would be about rejecting him.
“I’ve no idea what I’m doing,” Mark mumbled when their lips parted.
Nicholas was about to offer a half-amused neither have I, but he checked himself. One of them had to be confident if Mark was to be reassured. Nicholas was usually able to fake that, but he found it strangely difficult now.
Mark let out a sniff, looking puzzled and shaking his head; he was all too rapidly coming to his senses now that the initial surprise was no longer stunning him.
Look at you, thinking ahead, estimating consequences. There’s a time for sagacity and a time for letting your hair down, for Christ’s sake, Mark.
Nicholas didn’t voice his frustration, and if he was worth his salt he could manage not to let it show. If only he could keep the man relaxed and in the here and now. For once there was no government conspiracy to expose (or cover up, as the case may be), no international incidents demanding their immediate attention; they were just there, on the terrace floor in the dusk, ties loosened.
But he could sense Mark faltering. Nicholas knew that he was putting the brakes on now.
“Look…” Mark stirred without exactly pushing Nicholas off him. “I think this is a mistake.”
Trust Mark to be too sensible for his own good. It was hardly appropriate to nag him, though. He retreated, sitting next to Mark, who raised himself up on his elbows. Mark was looking at him in a strange way. Not like anything was settled, but inquiringly, as though it was Nicholas’ call. Of course, at that moment Nicholas’ mind was a blank. If he wasn’t being crass, he knew that carrying on probably was a mistake.
“Because of Jane?” The words were out before he could bite off his tongue. Damn it, Nicholas, this isn’t like you! What was he doing raising the one subject that was sure to make Mark think twice?
“No.” Mark sat up, looking miserable. “Jane’s very important to me.”
“I know,” Nicholas acceded. That was one of the things he liked about Mark, actually: the fact that he was a good judge of character.
“But that’s not… We’re not a couple, as such.” And that was another point in Mark’s favour. He had never done the whole pairing off thing. As someone who had always been disinclined towards established relationships, Nicholas found the same trait attractive in others. Attractive and obviously practical, too, if one wanted to seduce someone. And one wanted.
“Then what?” Nicholas spoke in a subdued voice and tried to get eye contact. Mark met his gaze, he wasn’t one to shy away from that. But for all his usual eloquence, he was unable (or unwilling?) to articulate whatever it was that was troubling him.
Nicholas thought it must be an identity issue. If Mark had always thought of himself as straight, it stood to reason, yada yada—Nicholas was so frustrated he could groan.
There was a chance that Mark would forget his misgivings if only he could get him kissing again. He gambled.
With a slightly raised pulse, Nicholas grabbed Mark’s face with both hands and pressed their lips together. He deftly parted Mark’s lips with his own and felt, seconds after, the faint green-apple taste of Mark’s tongue in his mouth.
Finally. Oh, yes, finally.
Nicholas could feel that same pulse as a throbbing in his abdomen now, pooling lower, quickly becoming more insistent. This was not the time to act on it, though. Nicholas mustn’t scare him off now.
Yet, to his utter exasperation, Mark pulled away again, holding him at arm’s length.
“You’re right.” He gave up. He could take no more. “We should stop. This is too—”
“Confusing,” Mark offered, short of breath.
“Arousing,” Nicholas corrected him with a dark glare.
At that, Mark looked into his eyes with a curious expression that he couldn’t make out. Then with a throaty sound he suddenly pulled Nicholas close, and they were honest-to-god snogging, urgently, deeply.
Mark dragged Nicholas down on top of him—there was no way now he wouldn’t feel his erection. But Nicholas was past caring, and judging by the way Mark was writhing underneath him, so was he.
All of a sudden, Nicholas’ good sense made a surprise appearance: “Shit—the door!” He was halfway on his feet when Mark stopped him: “There’s no need. I locked it when I came out here.”
“You did?!” Nicholas was beyond thrown, so much so that he couldn’t hide the wolfish grin that followed. Mark, for his part, looked in the waning light as though he actually blushed, but his voice was level enough.
“I wanted us to have this place to ourselves.”
He lowered himself back down to sprawl over Mark. Nicholas wasn’t sure what to make of that last piece of information, and a tiny, less gracious part of his mind wanted to rag Mark about it, but he settled for kissing him instead.
Still a bit fuzzy with the enjoyment of feeling Mark’s willing, open mouth against his own, Nicholas leaned on one arm to undo a couple of buttons in Mark’s shirt with his free hand, but the other man soon toppled him, rolling them both over to change places.
My, my. Wasn’t the reputable Sir Mark full of surprises?! Nicholas secretly sniggered into the kiss even as he admitted to himself that he was probably being unfair to the man, if only in mind. Mark was no stick-in-the-mud. Just then the latter abandoned his mouth to work his way down his jawline to his neck, kissing, licking, nibbling at the skin there, now and then grazing it with his teeth.
Yes, definitely unfair! Nicholas hissed and bared his throat.
In cooperation they managed to get their shirts open and their ties off, with all the clumsiness that these situations warrant. Mark continued kissing and sucking his way down Nicholas’ collarbone, then his chest, reaching a nipple and tonguing it. Nicholas’ eyelids fluttered at the tingling sensation, but he forced his eyes open to watch as the dark head moved over his body until Mark came back up and they were kissing again.
Unlike some bi-curious men Nicholas had bedded, Mark didn’t seem to labour under the assumption that gay sex had to be somehow different and more adventurous than what he was otherwise used to. His moves were simple, experienced. This was more of a relief—and a turn-on—than Nicholas would have thought, and he found himself gasping while yet again, Mark rose in his esteem.
My turn! Suddenly Nicholas had an almost dizzying urge to taste. He wrapped one arm around Mark, shifted them both around, and went directly for the other man’s fly. Pulling down the zipper slowly—with no little measure of restraint—and leaning down inches from Mark’s face, he said in a low, raspy voice, “I’m going to suck you off now.” At that, Mark shut his eyes tightly.
He yanked Mark’s trousers open and reached into his shorts, keeping his eyes focused on the man’s face. Mark’s cock was every bit as hard as his own, and as he ran his hand up and down the velvety skin of it, he noted with satisfaction how Mark bared his lower teeth, his breath catching.
His hand closed tightly around Mark’s cock, and with one last appreciative gaze at his rapt expression, he dove down and took the head into his mouth. Mark unintentionally bucked, and Nicholas shifted his own weight, the better to pin his hips to the floor. While pumping slowly with his fist, Nicholas took Mark’s cock deeper into his mouth, moving his head up and down in the same rhythm. Mark’s breathing was becoming ragged, his erection swelled in Nicholas’s hand.
Nicholas liked giving head. He liked everything about it; the feel of it in his mouth as well as the element of control. It was brilliant holding that much sway over someone while giving them pleasure at the same time. Having Mark of all people at his mercy like this was a little bit humbling, somehow.
Savouring the taste of him, Nicholas dragged his tongue all the way from the base of his cock to the tip, and when that elicited a suppressed moan from Mark, he went on to lick and kiss and suck the tender flesh of his groin, drinking in all he could of the delicious, heady smell of hot skin. He went back to sucking him off.
Fully enjoying the way that Mark was now gasping audibly with every breath, Nicholas swirled his tongue around the crown and sucked; not hard enough to bruise, but enough to make him squirm.
Much as he would like to touch himself, he needed both hands elsewhere: one to hold Mark in position while he was blowing him, and the other… Nicholas sucked on the fingers of his free hand. Then he cupped Mark’s balls and carefully worked his hand further down until he could tease at his anus with the wet fingers.
He slowly took as much of Mark’s length into his mouth as he could, and at the same time pressed one digit against the tight ring.
“Oh, Jees—!” Mark went very still.
Nicholas glanced up to assess Mark’s reaction, then cautiously continued what he was doing. Mark tipped his head far back and let out a rush of air. Very slowly, Nicholas pushed his finger in to the first joint. There was another gasp. Mark was straining against him. For one moment, Nicholas allowed himself to just take in the sight of him. Gorgeous. He was going to resume the blowjob, but Mark stopped him.
“Wait! Wait, wait.”
“Nothing,” Mark assured him a little short of breath, “I’m just very close. Come up here.”
Nicholas obeyed, somewhat impressed with Mark’s self-discipline. As soon as they were facing each other on the floor, Mark reached out to grab him through his clothes. Nicholas felt more blood rushing to his hard-on with a vengeance.
For the first time Mark’s lack of experience showed, as he seemed a bit nonplussed and had difficulty finding a good angle and pressure. Nicholas didn’t blame him. In the heat of things, he had almost forgotten that Mark was new to this, and there was a big difference between touching oneself and someone else.
Nicholas got out his aching cock and guided Mark’s willing hand to a grip and a motion that was pleasurable.
They were face to face, each with the other man’s dick in his hand. When Nicholas started rubbing Mark harder, his attentions faltered for a few seconds, but he soon got back on track.
Nicholas had been aroused for quite a while now, and the heat in him built up quickly. They both increased the pace.
Mark was panting hard, his midriff shuddering, and it made Nicholas want to lick him all over, but he was getting closer to his own climax fast, and all he could do was keep going.
As he came, bright dots dancing behind his eyelids, he found Mark’s mouth with his own and thrust in his tongue. Riding out the wave, he tightened his hand further around Mark’s cock and grabbed the back of his head to deepen the kiss.
Come on. Come for me, Mark. That’s it—
And Mark was openly moaning into his mouth, clutching him. While Mark was juddering against him, Nicholas broke the kiss and drew back a little to properly revel in the sight of Mark going over the edge and into total abandon. Mind-blowing as it had been, he would gladly have given up his own release for this.
When Mark’s shudders had subsided, Nicholas leaned in for one more kiss. Mark gave him a drowsy smile. His black hair was soaked in sweat at the hairline as though he’d been running.
They started buttoning up shirts and trousers, one moment their own, the next each other’s. Then they cleaned up as best they could with only a handkerchief to wipe off the stains.
It was a strange walk down the hallway heading for their respective rooms, making no sound, their clothes a little damp and dishevelled.
In the morning, everyone joined in the conference room of the hotel. Mark turned up in one of his well-tailored suits, looking rested and artlessly confident (and fit, Nicholas thought to himself).
With Mark seeming just as he usually did on the job, Nicholas perceived of him as the Ambassador. There was nothing in his appearance to suggest that the night before, he had been flushed and breathless as he spent himself in Nicholas’ hand.
Nicholas braced himself for the possibility that Mark would simply flout him. It wouldn’t be the first time he had a sexual encounter with someone only to see them pretend afterwards that nothing ever happened. And Nicholas could survive that; he was a big boy.
Mark’s personal secretary called attention to a point in the agenda. Nicholas was focussing (more or less) on what she was saying when he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, that Mark’s face was turned towards him. He risked a glance. Mark was indeed looking at him, and when he returned his gaze, Mark held it for a fraction longer than usual before breaking eye contact with the slightest hint of a smile.
It was all Nicholas could do not to smirk openly.
Although he had been only dimly aware of it until last night, Nicholas realised he had wanted to fuck Mark from the first time he laid eyes on him.
He recalled for the hundredth time how Mark had behaved on the roof terrace once he had overcome his qualms. It was just possible that, on some unconscious level, this had been a long time coming for Mark, too.