Or Maybe Themselves

by Meris

Napoleon woke with a gasp, hard and aching, the dream losing clarity even as he groped after the details. A large room, dimly lit. Long legs under his hand? The quiet hubbub of voices laughing and talking over the gentle clink of glassware. He remembered turning his head to watch, hands moving easily to do...something. The scene disintegrated as he tried to recall it, faded and seeped out of memory. The sheets felt rough under him and he knew he was awake.

He rolled onto his back, shifted his legs apart, trying to ease the tightness in his groin, trying to remember what he had dreamed that was so arousing, wishing they weren't on assignment, wishing he were alone in the room and free to simply relieve himself with a couple of lazy strokes or ten. But that would probably wake Illya, sleeping lightly and silently in the other bed, and he'd never yet been caught jacking off unless he wanted to be.

By now the tattered impressions had slipped back into the depths of the sleep underworld, leaving only the hot driving erotic need that had powered him out of the dream into wakefulness. He sighed, eyes still closed, accepting that he'd need to calm down and drift off again, briefly considering and rejecting the possibility of simply jerking off in privacy in the bathroom. That meant actually getting up and he didn't feel like it, didn't feel like being any more awake than he was, didn't feel like dealing with standing up or with the light or with being shocked by cold tile instead of lapped by warm sheets.

Given the current assignment, he could understand where some of this was coming from.

He shifted again, trying to relax and focus on something that would help—preferably something banal. Sheep, the latest policy changes, agent rotation schedules, anything boring would do.

But his mind remained willfully unfocused, skittering over work and play, tumbling in its kaleidoscopic eye the blue cold morning of the previous day with the icy tang of frost in the crisp air, dancing slow and sure with Melanie last week, the chalky feel of newsprint under his thumb as he picked up the morning paper. The delightful feeling of the cashmere scarf as it wrapped his throat against the winter weather, the peculiar sinuous shapes of the rococo lighting in the club they were working for this assignment. The lamps curved like flames held in brackets, in the Victorian opulence of what was essentially a gentleman's club, even though their prey, and the others who frequented it, were no gentlemen. Their assignations, not always with willing partners, proved that.

He and Illya were posing as new members who were being given the tour, and some of the practices that took place as a matter of course in the red-flocked apartments were eye-opening. Some of what they had seen had been uneasily titillating, although he'd never have admitted it out loud. He shivered in the dark and privacy of his bed, cock twitching heavily at the memories, goosebumps of illicit excitement tightening his skin. If the game had not been so very much worth the candle, he'd have protested to Waverly, insisting the place be shut down, but they were so close now, so close to gathering in their targets without alerting their keepers, in the rooms papered in crimson velvet, furnished with voluptuously-cushioned sofas of brown plush that welcomed the body and hand, with thick, vine-enlaced, sound-muffling rugs underfoot and low gentle lighting above, rooms that kept their inhabitants safe and insulated from the outside world.

Velvet sofas that soothed the hand with their smooth sensual nap, draperies that slid like liquid embraces over his shoulders as he parted them... Napoleon slid back toward sleep, thinking disjointedly of the low glow from the sconces and the way it shadowed all the faces in the rooms, transforming them from normal people to strangers who could do anything, be anyone they wanted, except themselves. Or maybe themselves. Hearing the soft shush of the velvet curtains as they were pushed aside, sinking into the generous, deep-seated, reddish-brown leather armchairs in the upstairs parlor. In his mind's eye he saw the comfortable room with its large fireplace that burned aromatic, spicy woods and the proprietor, a tall man with no face, standing in front of it, telling them of the latest challenge, in a voice that echoed everywhere.

"A prize for the most unusual pet." It made perfect sense as he said it, and Napoleon knew immediately what he would bring, saw other heads nodding wisely, excitedly, vividly, and in the manner of dreams time skipped and the long room had all its armchairs arranged in a line across the narrow end, the only light provided by the dying fire in the big fireplace to one side, its heat thrown out into the room by an iron reflector shield that had peculiar patterns embossed on its surface, vaguely seen behind the andirons and logs, and they all sat in the armchairs, all the owners, dressed like the bankers and lawyers and businessmen and spies they were, tailored legs crossed at the knees or ankles, and tethered at their sides in the gaps between the armchairs knelt their pets, caught up short on beautiful soft leather leashes, crouching, waiting, and without there being any sound or signal given, they stood one by one and walked across the carpet the length of the long room, disappearing into the dark, and when his turn came, he stroked the white-gold hair under his hand once before unsnapping the leash from the golden collar, and Illya moved out from under his hand in a crouch like a hunting panther on all fours, golden and bronze in the light of the fire, muscles moving compactly, lightly, under the skin before rising to his feet, the stones in collar and cuffs and delicately chained cockrings catching the firelight, refracting it in a shattered rainbow across the shadows of the room, the flat band of muscle girdling the slim hips flexing with each wary step, a jeweled, dangerous predator in this very civilized room....

And Napoleon woke with a tremendous gasp and the image of Illya stalking naked in the firelight seared into his mind even as his cock throbbed and pulsed and gave up its seed without even a touch, leaving him drenched and wrung out, head thrown back into the pillow.

"Napoleon? What's wrong?" Muffled voice from across the room, and Napoleon had to breathe twice before answering, "Nothing, just dreaming."

"Anything I can help with?" Sleepy, but there for him, and for a second, it was all he could manage not to say, "Put on the collar..."

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