|Honey and Bile|
|Summary:||Alek is looking for Dmitry's cooperation.|
|Related Logs:||Well, probably that one time at Seagard but…|
|Reading Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|My God, it's full of books.|
|July 17, 289|
Sunlight streaming in through the reading room's window, Dmitry sits at the table with a map spread wide across its surface, held open by a glass and a compass. What he is actually reading is a heavy tome, set at the edge of the map, but a small pile of letters and blank pages sits beside his elbow where he sits there, poring over the text.
The Lady Danae Tordane has been made a guest of Terrick's Roost, and where the lady goes, so does her misfit knights. The one that enters this peaceful little Terrick place is not the septon one, but rather the other one. He does not seem the least bit surprised to see Dmitry there, a small smile already touching one corner of his lips as he presses the door closed behind him. "My lord, do you have a moment?" he says dryly, not the least bit in humility to the noble except for the offered title.
Fingertips left to rest across the old paper of the book, Dmitry looks up at Alek's entry with dark eyebrows lifting over his dark eyes, surprise reflected there and in the faint, tense crimp his mouth. After that first treacherous heartbeat, though, he shares a smile, easy and mild, and says, "Why, perhaps even two moments, if you would have me spare them."
"To be honest, I'd expected you to seek me out first, when you returned and heard we were here," Alek answers, his words drawled warmly as he leans his frame lightly against the door at his back. Steel-colored eyes drag against the picture that light filtering through hair makes, his gaze lingering on the other man's lips unabashedly. "Or at least that you'd call on Danae, given your fondness for our cause?"
"I am sure that I shall attend on the Lady Danae directly," Dmitry answers easily, with a sideways flicker of his gaze away from Alek's features. The golden light of the sun catches on dust motes in the air; it also teases a few hints of deep brown in the midst of the black waves of hair that crown Dmitry's head. He drums his fingers lightly against the page, sending up a few more escapee dust motes. "I am but recently returned from Kingsgrove, myself, and the lady has eluded me as of yet." Note that he does not comment on his avoidance of Alek, neither to confirm nor deny it.
Alek does note this with the twist of a wry smirk, pushing himself away from the door to close the distance between them with easy steps. His fingers slide through that sunwarmed hair without warning, an attempt to capture it in a light knot of fingers to draw his face up to draw a kiss in a brush against his lips as he murmurs, "And me, Dmitry? Are you already regretting your decision?"
Dmitry's eyes flick sidelong toward the closed door as Alek approaches, so that his immediate reaction is more controlled than outright panic. The contact, though, he keeps perforce brief; he ducks his head after the light brush of Alek's lips, slipping out of the chair and moving sideways away from letters and book. He places the corner of the table between them, and looks up at him across this wary distance with an intent, tracking focus to his long-lashed eyes. "What decision do you imagine I should regret?" he asks, his voice all bold confidence in direct contrast to his deliberate physical retreat.
"Are you going to play coy about this? Do you think if you refuse to mention my fucking you, it will disappear?" Alek suggests dryly, his lips still holding that easy, warm smirk as he paces to close the distance between them again for all that he does not actually reach for him again. "Maybe you will convince yourself to forget it, but I will not."
"I haven't forgotten anything," Dmitry says. He tilts his head up, standing his ground this time as he looks up at him beneath the high arch of his eyebrows. He plays toward a coolness he does not truly possess; his voice, excellent insrument though it is, cannot hide the quickened hammer of his pulse, nor the blackness of his dark eyes, mated to the inner thrill of adrenaline. Mostly adrenaline. Maybe other things. "I'm sorry, were you expecting a love letter? Prettier lies, perhaps? I have a number of them I could supply."
A laugh catches in Alek's throat, an eyebrow quirking upwards at Dmitry's coolness for all that he seems to perhaps believe it as he doesn't press any closer. Instead, he admits, "I'd expected you to come crawling into my bed when you heard we were here, begging for more. Nothing so frivolous for me." His fingers touch against the corner of the table, splaying easily against the wood. "I suppose you have at least talked to your family about Lady Danae being here?"
Dmitry's eyes drop, his skin too fair to hide the hint of flush that creeps across his cheeks despite all his play at self-control. Throat working in a swallow, he slants a look askance across the splay of Alek's fingers. "It is as though I have given you cause to doubt my discretion," he says with particular irony. "Yes, I knew it; I had heard it said. I hope that she has not found our hospitality wanting."
"You do not think we could be discreet, Dmitry? It would probably be much more discreet than my accidentally crying your name in my next bedpartner's ear," Alek suggests lowly, something in that reaction pulling him forward again to slide fingers against the younger man's neck, the same fingers extending against his skin. If someone were to walk in, it would be a hard line to tell the caress from something more violent in the way his fingers curve. He asks, "No one seems to be in any rush to meet with us. I can only wonder how the rest of the Terricks view us, but I am not a political man. How do I know what any noble thinks?"
The thready rush of Dmitry's pulse is readily apparent beneath his fair skin, where fingers curl with such intimate threat over his throat. His eyes lift, dark and wide, and there is a moment that he spends without words, dry-mouthed and very, very still. His voice rough and dark as he speaks, he says, "Stop that." His attention is altogether arrested by touch and closeness, so it will be a moment before he can bring to bear any of his habitual glibness.
"Stop what?" The question comes out in a soft laugh, a quiet breath before Alek claims Dmitry's lips in something that is likely much less easy to misinterpret were someone to intrude in that moment. Even he does not let it linger, however, that paranoia drawing him away quickly as he adds, "What do the Terricks think, now that we are here?"
"You play a dangerous game, Coope," Dmitry says with an uneven breath to render his low voice more growlish and abraded in the ear. His eye shoots again to the door, lingering on its knob as though he imagines it about to turn — it doesn't. He drops his hand to his hip, a little as though he is seeking the comfort of some weapon that isn't currently weighted there. Once there, it curls into a fist, a tightening line of tension writing his spine straight and still where he holds himself. "What do you hope to gain by toying with me? Do you imagine I hold my uncle's secrets ready to hand?"
"You know more than I, Terrick. I doubt your uncle tells you all his secrets, but what you do know is worth your own secret, is it not?" Alek answers slowly, the curve of his smile almost dickish as he glances towards that fist. He lifts his gaze back to Dmitry's and waits.
"Is it?" Dmitry's dark eyes narrow, a spark of darker ire reflected in his liquid eyes, as though the more overt threat has precipitated it from his cocktail of fear and — other things. "Has it occurred to you that my friendship might be of better value to you than my secrets?" he asks, very lightly. "More flies with honey than bile?" (It's not usually suppposed to be bile.)
Alek's smile lingers as he counters warmly, suggestion almost like the same said honey dripped over his words, "Did we not already try the honey part, Dmitry? Or was that your invitation to try again?"
"Not here, damn you," Dmitry says in high exasperation. He cuts a gesture with his left hand, sharp and flat through the air. "The tower is crawling with Terricks and servants and probably Mallisters and Baneforts and gods only know what else, and while few of them talk more than I do, all of them talk."
"Then come see me, later. We have enough to talk on, in any case," Alek says, not a request so much as a firm—suggestion as he seems nonplussed by the idea of servants and Terricks. "I always take a room at the Rockcliffe."
"I was just drastically mocking Rafferdy Nayland for conducting an obvious illicit affair at the Rockcliff," is Dmitry's immediate complaint. "I was working on a rhyme. Can we at least go out into decent uncivilized woods and pretend to hunt?"
It is likely not so appropriate to murmur suggestively to the man already frustrated, but Alek does anyways where he offers, "Whatever you would like, though I only think it would be so obvious if you were too loud. Otherwise, we are only two men sharing a drink and perhaps a private talk of business."
Jaw tightening tensely, Dmitry flicks his hand in another sharp gesture, and then lifts it to drag haphazardly through his dark hair. His eye draws inexorably back to the door again, paranoiac. He says, "Perhaps," again, not quite confirm nor deny. Abruptly he says, "Tell me, do you know what aid Lady Danae hopes to find here?"
"I do not think she is going to be particularly picky on what type of aid she accepts, though anyone who has eyes to see and even those that do not know the Terricks have little to give," Alek points out dryly, his smile quirking at the other man's gaze though he does not follow it, too cocky and sure of himself to bother with worrying over who may walk in. "It would be nice to find if the Terricks could at least spare goodwill for her bid, at least. That does not seem so sure of a thing."
"Would it surprise you to learn that the Terricks are not all of one mind, Alek?" Dmitry lifts his gaze back to the taller knight with the twitch of a smile at one corner of his mouth, irony reflected with humor in his liquid dark eyes. He hitches his hip into the table, leaning into its corner as he folds his arms in a loose cross. "What support does she have already? Do any sue for her favor? Are there ambitious young men to fall to the feet of Ser Gedeon's lovely widow?"
There is a bit of sharpness to the narrowing of Alek's gaze at Dmitry's questions, his reply nevertheless warm with humor as he says, "I wear her favor, Ser Terrick, and any man that would beg of it must go through Ser Streem and I. If you ask after the support of men seeking to win courtly love, there are none."
"Really?" Dmitry tilts his head slowly to one side, humor waking in his dark eyes as though despite himself.
"Would I lie to you?" Alek questions, all low amusement in the slide of his eyes and the murmur of his words.
"Oh, I have no doubts about that," Dmitry tells him, fingers drumming lightly against his opposite sleeve. Lifting his chin, he asks, "How would I rate?"
Alek's brow curves upwards, a challenging gesture even as he murmurs flatly, "Are you sure you do not want to wait to ask me that until I am inside you? Surely that would give the second son of an offshoot Terrick line a better score."
"Third son, actually," Dmitry says agreeably, because he is improving his chances. His smile altogether sharp, he assures Alek, "But the by far the boldest and most imaginative of the three, I assure you. Was it not goodwill your lady sought to earn?"
"I do not speak for my lady, Dmitry. These are matters for nobles, and good riddance for that," Alek drawls dismissively, though his lips curve in a smirk at the younger man's description of himself. "But even I know that a third son of a cousin is not a good match for a potential Lady Protector of Stonebridge. Unless you had more than goodwill to offer."
"Third son of a brother," Dmitry says. "Let's not make it worse than it is, shall we?" He turns a considering look over Alek's features, and the shadow of a smile lingers at his mouth. "I think a Terrick might have much to offer, with the strength of his House behind him," he says. "But I certainly don't speak for my uncle, any more than you for your lady. Such lowly knights as we are."
DUMP: Alek is busy seducing the database.
It is probably habit that causes Alek's gaze to draw to that shadow of a smile, studying the man's lips for a moment before he straightens with a careless smile of his own. He answers, blandly, "Then I will give you a tip, if you will, Dmitry. I would find out what words your uncle would say before you spoke to my lady. A Terrick with his House behind him would have a much better chance than a single knight only looking to say sweet words."
"Mm." Dmitry glances down at the cuticles of one of his hands. "Words have a certain value all their own," he says. "I would not discount them, were I you. The right word in the right ear." He straightens a little, hands falling from their loose fold, and his knuckles press against the surface of the table. "The right silences, of course."
"I would be more worried about my silence than yours, my lord," Alek counters with easy humor, his own fingers brushing for a moment against Dmitry's wrist.
"Indeed," Dmitry says. His smile sharpens, a bright and somehow unfriendly glitter in his dark eyes, for all that he did not seem terribly averse to planning a later assignation not too long ago (maybe he is struggling with inner conflict between inherent smarts and inherent stupidity). "You seem quite intent on worrying me."
Alek seems unbothered by that glitter, his tone and words dropping into a low murmur as he slides fingers against the thin skin of the man's pulse, "Does it worry you? Does it make your heart pound and your pulse race?"
It obviously does, these reactions only heightened by their mention. Dmitry's lip curls back from his teeth, his hand curling again into a fist with a tautening tension drawing muscles tighter. "Enough," he growls. "I trust you have made your point."
All lean muscle and ripcord strength, Alek persists in leaning closer only to murmur, desire edging his answer, "Gods, not nearly enough, but the rest of my point can wait until next time." When he pulls away it is with a careful breath to gather himself, though his own tautness comes from an obviously different place.
Dmitry hisses something under his breath. It is profane and creative. (I am not creative enough.) He turns sharply away and stalks back to the book, and the letters, and the map; the ram of his knuckles against its surface is not quite hard enough to be a proper punch, but bears some echoes as an expression of strain. After a beat, then two beats, the young knight pitches a light-voiced, almost laughing query: "Even if you imagine I don't know anything?"
"I am sure you can learn," Alek says, though there is still that tightness that comes from desire, his gathering a slower thing for all that he seems more at ease than the younger man.
Dmitry snorts. As responses go, this one is not his easiest to read!
It certainly is not one that Alek can parse, his brow only lifting in a silent question to the retort.
Glance returned, it is with a wry pull at Dmitry's mouth. He says, "As I said before, the Terricks are not of one mind. I believe the important ones can be won." Who those might be he does not share, though his eyes are smiling again. "And more, perhaps. Just perhaps. But information is not static, it flows; and while you may hold my secret, I suggest that you spend it at your peril, and the peril of your cause. Or perhaps you think only those knights of the highest and most pertinent bloodline can be useful, Ser Alek."
"Do you think I would spend it so freely, my lord? Or did you think I only played at the words when I suggested I would kill my squire for you? Make no doubt that I would use it if I had to, but I would rather not," Alek replies softly, his smile easing into something softer as he brushes his gaze over Dmitry in the caress that he doesn not press in more physical manner. "I do not doubt how useful you can be. I only doubt what a good match you would make, if we're speaking bluntly." Did they ever not? Who knows why he throws that in.
"I'm sure your lady has a plethora of finer options ready to hand," Dmitry says with dismissive ease, a little as though he withdraws from candor, moth drawn too close to the flame only to flutter quickly away back to the shelter of the breezy dark. "It was only a thought, I assure you; I don't rest my heart on it."
You have already given alek a cookie this week.
"Far be it from me to tell you what to think," Alek offers dryly though the words are softened with the same easy smile.
"Yes," Dmitry says musingly, with a long, measuring drag of his eyes up Alek's lean frame. "No impact on my thinking whatsoever, I assure you." His lips twitch.
Alek's brow lifts, a challenge held there as he answers lowly, almost a bare whisper despite the distance between them, "Say that again like that and I will fuck you here, the Stranger take waiting for discretion."
"Then clearly I must guard my wayward tongue," Dmitry tells him. He shakes his head, a tightening of his jaw visible in his expression. He looks away, tense and still and silent for a heartbeat. Reluctantly, his voice dropped low and strained, he says, "The sooner you go away, the sooner I will come and find you where it's safe."
"Or you are just trying to get me to go away," muses Alek dryly, but he does straighten and draw himself in a seeming single movement to the door of the reading room. He flashes a smile at Dmitry, fingers raking against his skull to muse hair carelessly before he pulls that barricade between them and the rest of the world open.
"Now why would I possibly be doing that," Dmitry mutters. He tries to smooth the rumple of his hair with the passage of his fingers. It accomplishes about as much as you'd expect.
The smile only tugs crookedly at Dmitry's muttered response, and Alek does not bother bantering longer before he slips from the room. Probably to find something to drink.