Fandom: Sherlock Holmes 2009
Summary: Blackwood has been invited to Coward's country home for Christmas, a short scene that takes place before dinner.
Word count: 1195
Notes: A vaguely Christmas inspired fic. Kind of rushed, I just really wanted to get something written in honour of the season! Merry snowhaps everyone!
Coward is dressing for dinner when Blackwood enters the room, disdaining to knock before he breaches the threshold. There is a valet here too, his fingers poised at the knot of Coward’s cravat and the pair of them turn in synchronized surprise at the intrusion.
Both pairs of eyes on him, Blackwood feels his height, smiles at the conspicuous silence and the frozen tableau.
“You may leave us,” he says, and waves his hand toward the open door.
The servant takes a step in that direction before he remembers himself and glances back at Coward for guidance, who nods a sort of assent although his lips are pursed and his shoulders bristling stiff. Blackwood moves aside to allow the young man to pass, he can sense the timid scrutiny being placed against him and it makes him smile. He’d attempt to catch the servant’s gaze if it weren’t fixed so steadfastly on the ground.
“You shouldn’t do that,” Coward says, reproachful, as soon as the door clicks softly into the place, leaving them alone together in the bedchamber.
“Shouldn’t?” Blackwood echoes, raising an eyebrow.
Coward huffs through his nose and begins to fuss over the cravat with his own two hands, sparing fleeting glances in Blackwood’s general direction by way of the dressing table mirror. Christmas Eve, it’s dark outside already and the lamps have all been lit. Even so, Blackwood can barely make out his own figure in the looking glass. Coward, standing closer to the sconces, is lit with a chiaroscuro glow.
“Servants talk,” Coward says.
Blackwood pads silently across the thick carpet until he too is illuminated, until he is close enough to cover Coward’s hands with his own and still them from their fretting.
“And what, exactly, do you think they talk about?”
He murmurs the question against Coward’s ear. The soft, fine skin there is like velvet against his mouth. Coward shivers and does not resist his grip, only narrows his eyes a fraction. It’s barely perceptible, the merest twitch, but Blackwood sees it. The room is redolent with the scent of cloves and, faintly, fresh linen. Coward’s shirt is starched and new. Blackwood can barely smell his skin. So well-scrubbed and put together, it makes his appetite swell.
“Not now,” Coward says, flexing his wrists. He doesn’t attempt to pull away, not yet.
From the hallway drifts a mumble of voices and footsteps muffled by ancient brick and thick wallpaper. Blackwood chuckles and releases Coward, stepping back and seating himself with weighty unconcern upon the bed. It’s too well made to creak, a fact he finds vaguely disappointing.
“I assume your father was not best pleased when you raised the issue of my invitation to your festivities,” he says.
Coward’s fingers are plucking at his collar once more, to no apparent purpose as far as Blackwood can see.
“Does it matter?” Coward replies. “I doubt very much that you’ll be losing sleep over his opinion, Henry.”
Blackwood strokes his hand across the eiderdown, smoothing it out. It does not escape his notice, the way Coward’s eye flit toward the bed at the faint whisper sound of skin on cotton.
“I think he would have preferred my luggage to be deposited in the servant’s quarters,” Blackwood scoffs. “I have the smallest apartment on the second floor. Of course, it’s hardly mean, such a grand place you have here . . .”
“But your pride is wounded?” Coward gives a short little laugh, a shake of the head that makes the mahogany finish of his hair gleam as it catches the lamplight.
“It’s awfully far from your own room,” Blackwood says.
He watches the movement of Coward’s fingers in the mirror, he’s merely petting the silk around his throat now. Blackwood finds his own fingers echoing the motion - how fine Coward would look with something tighter around his neck, flushed and gasping for want of breath. He licks his lips.
“I wonder, do you think your father’s impression of me would be much improved if he knew I was fucking his firstborn?”
Coward wheels round from the mirror, his eyes wide and darting about the room as though he expects nothing less than some spy to slip out from behind the drapes or leap from the armoire.
“Henry!” he hisses, his ears glowing pink.
“If,” Blackwood says, crossing one ankle over the other. “If he knew how earnestly his son begs for it.”
Coward’s cheeks are blotched with scarlet and perhaps there is a sort of fury in the clenched set of his jaw, but Blackwood can see beyond that. He can see the dark obliteration of irises, the flare of nostrils, tempting wet gleam of a mouth that’s parted to drawn breath faster and harder. And a better tell than any of those signs, the slight sway as Coward takes a step toward him, half cut with lust.
“Don’t,” Coward says, part demand, part entreaty.
Blackwood gets to his feet. “Would you like to know what my Christmas gift to you is?”
Coward hesitates and Blackwood uses the moment to straighten out the bedding. The austere white of the sheets peek out from beneath the rest of the bedclothes like a promise, there’s an exciting sort of intimacy to such a sight.
“Not now, Henry,” Coward says. It's a weak protest.
Blackwood pats down the sheets one final time and then lunges for Coward, grabbing him by the chin. He can feel the outline of Coward’s teeth beneath his forefinger and thumb and he pushes hard against them as he shakes Coward’s face back and forth in a mockery of the answer he has just received.
“What a useless, pretty mouth, to be telling me no. That’s not what I want your mouth for, Coward.”
Coward tries to pull free and they back into the dressing table together with a clatter. The porcelain shaving bowl rocks on its base, spilling water and something unseen topples to the floor with a dull thud.
Through the pressure of Blackwood’s fingers, Coward manages to force out a few words.
“No, I think you want my mouth in parliament, whispering in all the right ears.”
The spark of defiance lights up his eyes and then, like the iridescence of serpent scales, shimmers into something else entirely. He tips his head back and for a moment Blackwood is so captivated by the sweet, white line of his throat that he’s sure that’s what is being proffered.
“Are you telling me what I want?” .
“No,” Coward says. “Never, my lord.”
Blackwood pushes him roughly against the dressing table, almost lifting him atop it. Their chests press together and Coward looks at him in such a way that Blackwood realizes the tilt of his chin for what it really is, not the offer of his throat but the offer of his worthy cheekbone for the sting of Blackwood’s knuckles, for the sharp burn of a bruise upon his face.
Blackwood kisses him instead, hard. Bites just gently enough not to leave too deep mark, so the sight of Coward’s tender mouth will be his secret amusement alone over dinner. He will be satisfied enough with that.
At least for now.