Valorous wasn’t working today, and that was for the best – Cecil was meant to be on the afternoon shift, but as soon as he woke up, he knew he wasn’t actually going to go in, had suspected as much last night. His shoulders fucking ached, not to mention his hips, but it wasn’t because of that – it was because when he blearily opened his eyes, Valorous was on his feet and obsessively dusting the bookshelves that Cecil knew he’d dusted yesterday, because he’d watched him.
On the phone, he hoarsened his voice and coughed intermittently, muttering, “Sorry, Chaz. Tomorrow as well, yeah. Cheers.”
Valorous wasn’t looking back at him, which meant that Cecil had a good view of his back – on top of the scars already there, dappled bites and cuts and old wounds, there were new marks overlapping on his shoulders from the flogger and then on his arse from Cecil’s palm.
He’d been careful to avoid his left arm, and where the white, raised marks from the lightning scars crackling up to the shoulder showed, it was like seeing two contrasting fabrics sewn together, the random streaking of the lightning scarring showing starkly against the criss-crossed fresh reds from the flogger.
Valorous had been breathless, on his knees with his body braced against the foot of the bed, going, “Harder, harder,” as Cecil had let him have it – and Cecil had gone harder than he would have on pretty much anybody else, knew the lad could weather it, but even whilst sobbing, his lips bitten red and his body shaking, Valorous had kept at him to go even harder than that.
There was something horrible, even in memory, about the way he’d started to snap, started to really scream at Cecil when he’d realised he’d hit the wall that Cecil had built for the two of them, that Cecil wasn’t going to hit him any harder.
“Fuck’s sake, old man,” Valorous had snapped, turning and grabbing the flogger before it had time to build momentum on the next swing, and he’d come in close to Cecil, glared up into his face, his lip curled, his eyes alight with desperate rage. “Am I the fucking deaf one, or are you? I know you can hit harder than that.”
Cecil hadn’t said anything, hadn’t been in the fucking mood – he’d been pissed, felt like they were just going around in fucking circles, but he’d known then and there that they weren’t going to get to what Valorous needed with the flogger, not when he was turning around and snarling like a dog with his eyes wet with his tears, crying, but not letting himself sob.
“Down,” Cecil had said coldly, and Valorous hadn’t even obeyed him, had spat on the floor and shoved Cecil in the chest, a dangerous crackle sounding from his palms as his thumbs almost touched each other and energy flashed between them.
“If you can’t give me what I fucking need, I’ll just go somewhere else,” Valorous had whispered, and he’d been frightening then – the magic had shimmered on his skin and around his face, his hair, like it was some sort of twisted halo, glinting out of his eyes like hellfire, and Cecil hadn’t had the slightest idea in the moment what the fuck the lad was thinking, who he was considering.
He hadn’t liked the streak it had sent through him, the sudden thump and pull at his heart strings – not of jealousy, like he supposed Valorous was hoping for, but of fucking worry, because there was no telling what damage he’d do to himself, let alone anyone else, while he was like that.
“So take the flogger, and hit me ha— Cecil, ow, ow, fuck—” Cecil had given himself a static shock grabbing the little prick by the hair and hauling him out of the bedroom, down the corridor, and into the kitchen instead, and his arm had been fucking throbbing with it, all pins and needles until he’d shoved Valorous had against the kitchen counter. “The fuck are yo— Mmm, mm—“ He’d fucking whimpered around Cecil’s fingers as he’d kept his head down with one hand and shoved the other into his mouth, pressing the pads of his index and middle digit over Valorous’ tongue.
“I have to gag you, lad?” he’d asked coldly, deciding not to engage with, not even address, his fucking temper tantrum, and Valorous had stared at him with his eyes that uncomfortable, not-quite-human blue, wide and seeming more unnatural than normal. It wasn’t regular that Cecil was made to feel quite so aware of the livewire he was holding in his hands when he handled Valorous the way he did, but in moments like those, that horrible eye contact where Valorous looked like nothing more than pure magic barely contained in the body of a boy he’d used to teach—
Yeah, he’d been made aware then, and it had taken fucking work not to flinch, not to tremble, not to look away before Valorous did, his eyes lowering.
Cecil had already cut and prepared the ginger, knew that he’d want it at some point, and he took it out of the enchanted plastic container he’d set aside for it, save him putting it in the fridge, and as he took the bulb out and rinsed it under the sink, watching the yellow flesh of it glisten with moisture, Valorous moved on the counter but didn’t stand up straight, didn’t do more than crane his neck to try to see what he was doing.
Didn’t say a word, of course.
When he’d slid his palm up Valorous’ back like he was calming an animal, Valorous had looked forward, and then grunted at the pressure at his arse, and there was no sensation right away – it took a few minutes to really hit – but Cecil had been able to see him doing the maths, that Cecil had brought him into the kitchen for this, got something wet with water rather than lube.
He'd gotten a big bulb of the stuff, had carved it into a nice good plug, the skin still on the base of the thing, and Valorous had started to say, “Wait, wait, I don’t—”
“Too fucking late, lad,” Cecil had said brusquely, not interested in the weaselling routine, not when Valorous was suddenly widening his eyes in a way that he did when he was trying to look young and innocent and coquettish, but when he had no handle on himself and raw power was all but rippling under his skin, it just made him look manic. “You want to be over the back of the sofa or over my knee?”
“Your knee,” Valorous had whispered, voice catching in his throat.
Cecil had sat back on the sofa so that Valorous could lie over his lap instead of awkwardly folding himself up the way he did in the armchair, and by the time Valorous had him situated the ginger was beginning to hit him, starting to burn. He was fidgeting, breath hitching, his cock most of the way soft pressed into Cecil’s lap, and then Cecil had brought his hand down as hard as he fucking dared, and Valorous had howled.
It hadn’t been four smacks before he’d really broken, let the pain overwhelm him and just started sobbing into his folded arms, his face buried against them, his thighs twitching, his cock soon fucking hard again for the pain.
Cecil had lost track of how many times he’d hit him – with the flogger he’d been keeping careful track, had been swapping hands to make sure he could keep going, but he’d been lost into focus much the same way Valorous was, had let the world narrow down to the fat little globes of Valorous’ arsecheeks, making them bounce, making them turn pink as peaches, making Valorous sob himself hoarse until he was begging raggedly, incoherently, a slurry of, “Please, Cecil, please, Cec, sir, Daddy, Mr Hobbes, Daddy, please, please—”
Only then had he grabbed Valorous by the hair again – no more electricity, no more throbbing, overflowing magic, just the lad himself – and pulled him up into Cecil’s lap, facing him, Cecil’s hand wrapped tight around his cock and tugging him off as he muffled the last of his sobs into Cecil’s neck.
Cecil hadn’t even fucked him after, had just picked him up with Valorous’ thighs around his waist and his arms around Cecil’s neck, all dead weight, taken him into the bathroom and pulled out the ginger, rinsed him off. He’d already been dozing, almost passed out, when Cecil had brought him over to the bed, and when he’d slept, it had been a dead sleep.
He was awake now, of course, and he stopped his frantic dusting for a second to look back at Cecil, his lips pressed together.
“I don’t like the ginger,” he said.
“Good,” said Cecil. “I’ll keep it for when you’re being a proper brat, then, like last night.”
Valorous nodded immediately, and Cecil studied his eyes for any sign of shame, any sign that he really couldn’t handle it, that it had fucked him up more than he wanted, but Valorous seemed satisfied with this assurance from Cecil, and now he moved forward, dropping the duster aside and crawling onto the bed.
Cecil didn’t move, let Valorous position himself as he wanted, straddling Cecil’s lap and making himself small against Cecil’s chest, folding in his limbs and then nudging Cecil to lie back, which Cecil did. He put his hands on Valorous’ back first, sliding his fingers over the skin and feeling the new welts, separate from the old wounds, before he went down the untouched flesh of his lower back, down to his arse, imagined the flesh glowing hot under his palms.
Valorous gasped, moaned, as Cecil pushed his palms up against the flesh and then squeezed, kneading it under his fingers. The lad’s cock was hard between them, grinding wet and ready as it was up against Cecil’s belly.
“Fuck me,” whispered Valorous. “Please, Daddy, won’t you fuck me?”
“Stop fucking calling me Daddy,” murmured Cecil.
“You said you liked it.”
“I do like it,” said Cecil. “You’re just using it to get your way, that’s all.”
It had the effect Cecil had wanted – Valorous started to laugh, didn’t make himself quite so small as Cecil reached back for the lube and drizzled it over his own cock, giving himself a cursory squeeze and tug before he slid between Valorous’ abused cheeks, wiping off the rest of the wetness against his hole.
“Mr Hobbes,” whispered Valorous in his ear, much more confident this time, just the way he’d been for however many years, and fuck, if that didn’t send a thrill through his body, his cock throbbing hard against the warm, velvety heat of Valorous’ body. “Please fuck me, sir, I’ll pay more attention in class next time, I swear. Just need to give me some fucking incentive.”
“Incentive, is it?” asked Cecil wryly, trying not to let on how much this was turning him on even though his cock was straining and his heart was pounding in his chest, and he lifted Valorous by the hips, nudged the head of his cock against the open pucker of Valorous’ hole.
Valorous’ eyes closed as he sunk down an inch, welcoming Valorous in, squeezing him, and Cecil looked down between them at the way his cock slowly disappeared into him, swallowed up.
“Fuck,” whispered Valorous.
“I didn’t book the day off just to fuck you, you know,” said Cecil. “We’ll have a talk today about last night.”
“Wasn’t a question.”
“Are you trying to make my cock soft?”
“No,” said Cecil, and to demonstrate the fact, he gripped Valorous by the hips and slammed him down in one hard movement, watching the way Valorous’ eyes widened and his mouth fell open, listening the punched-out noise he let out, his hands going lax for a second. He looked at Valorous’ face, at the fucked-out expression that took it over for a moment or two, let Valorous have a few seconds to accustom to where Cecil was stretching him open, and then he delivered a sharp smack to his right-hand side.
Valorous yelped, hole clenching tightly around Cecil’s cock and his hips jumping, but then he began to move, leaning in and cramming his body against Cecil’s chest and rocking himself back on Cecil’s cock like he barely wanted to move away from him. Cecil slid his hands up his back, resting them over his hips and pressing his fingers against his lower back to keep him steady.
“That’s a lad,” murmured Cecil in Valorous’ ear, nosing against his hair and then grazing his teeth over his ear’s shell. “I’ve got you, that’s it. Going to make me come? Going to get me off with this sweet little arse of yours, make yourself useful?”
Valorous shuddered, his face mashed in against Cecil’s neck and his hands clutching at his arms, his sides, and he ground himself down against Cecil faster, clenching as he drew back, body wracked with it.
“I’m useful,” Valorous whispered, and Cecil took that in as he rubbed down the lad’s spine, wondering if that was an invitation to take it and praise him. Cecil had had a good many lads over the years who wanted praise, craved it, wanted to be complimented and fussed over – Valorous stiffened in response to a lot of praise, didn’t respond well to anything more significant than a brisk “Good boy.”
“That you are, lad,” said Cecil, not without caution. “Glad to have you here.”
“Shut the fuck up,” snapped Valorous, and apparently to keep Cecil from talking, he caught him in a kiss and savagely clashed their lips together, whimpered against Cecil’s tongue when Cecil grabbed and rubbed at his sore arse again, pressed and kneaded on the flesh.
It was the pain that got him off, made him come with a sharp, whimpered noise, and then he said, “Fuck me properly, fuck me hard, Cec, come on—” until Cecil turned him around and pinned him down on his belly, slammed his hips into him until he tipped himself over the edge.
He was breathing heavy after, was tired as well as feeling the ache in his shoulders and his arms, and he half-collapsed over the lad, aware he was breathing hot on the back of his neck even before he pressed a kiss to the nape of it.
“I’ll make breakfast,” mumbled Valorous into the mattress, and Cecil pulled back as he extricated himself and went to piss, let Cecil take care of stripping off the top sheet and tossing it to wash.
When he opened the door and Ruby came in, Cecil leaned and took her face in his palms, squeezing her cheeks and chuckling at the wobble of her chops as Ruby leaned into him.
Valorous had already set a folded crepe on the table, and before he sat down to eat from it, Cecil put Ruby’s breakfast together and set it down for her.
“How’s the back?” asked Cecil.
“Fine,” said Valorous.
“Hurts. It’s good.”
“But you don’t like the ginger.”
“It’s not… I’m not used to it.”
“Last night,” said Cecil slowly as Valorous flipped over the other crepe with fucking chocolate folded into it instead of the lemon and sugar he’d put over Cecil’s, and it seemed too sickly for him for early in the morning, even with strawberries in it too, “you were not right in the fucking head.”
Valorous swallowed, rolling his shoulders as he sat down and put his plate in front of him, beginning to cut his crepe into pieces. “Sorry.”
“I’m not asking you to fucking apologise,” said Cecil bluntly. “This is not a fucking scolding. Last night, lad, you were a fucking liability to yourself – screaming at me the way you did to keep at you. I was hitting you as hard as was appropriate with that fucking flogger. The tails might be thin, but that thing is fucking soft deer hide, and you picked it out. If you wanted me to use a cat or a whip on you, you can fucking tell me so, but I’m not about to start making you fucking bleed at the drop of a hat, especially when you’re in a state like the one you were in last night. If I hadn’t bent you over and made you take the ginger – if I hadn’t a second idea waiting in the wings to break you down from that temper of yours – would you have left?”
Valorous didn’t say anything right away, eating a few mouthfuls of his crepe one after the other, and Cecil looked at his face, at the colour of his eyes. It was hard to envision them side by side, the Valorous in front of him now, an exhausted, scarred lad that seemed as usual as any other, and the Valorous he’d been juggling last night, threatening to blow like a fucking gasket.
Would he have?
Cecil didn’t know, didn’t think so – kids like him had to learn to control themselves when they commanded as much power as he did, and Valorous had said as much before. He might not have lost himself enough to do damage to the flat, to break anything, but he could well have hurt himself, and could have hurt Cecil.
It wasn’t a particularly pleasant thing to think about.
Any of the boys Cecil had ever fucked, most of them wouldn’t have been able harm him even if they’d wanted to, but Valorous could do it without thinking, without even a consideration. Valorous could turn him to fucking dust if he wanted.
Even if he didn’t want, Cecil supposed.
“I didn’t,” said Valorous, voice low. “I didn’t go.”
“No,” Cecil agreed. “And I’m glad you didn’t go – I was fucking relieved that you stayed.” He said it very crisply, aware that his voice maybe sounded jagged, but he said it for a reason: Valorous relaxed just slightly, making himself a bit smaller in his seat, but not seeming overly vulnerable. “But you wanted me to hurt you, and at the same time, you weren’t letting me break you down. You needed it, but you were resisting, and that’s fine, it’s natural to do that sometimes, to not be able to take it, but the way you were, you didn’t just want me to hit you. You wanted me to rip you to fucking shreds. If I hadn’t caught you by surprise with the ginger, cut through your defences, Valorous, would you have left? Would you have gone out into the city and found someone who would rip you up the way you were asking for?”
Valorous’ throat bobbed as he swallowed. “Sorry,” he said again.
“That’s not a fucking answer,” said Cecil, as gently as he knew how. “Psych help yesterday?”
“Mm,” said Valorous. “What would you do if I killed someone?”
“What, killed someone new?” asked Cecil, studying Valorous’ face, the set of his jaw, the misery in his eyes.
“You know how Stark’s a cunt?”
“Yeah,” said Cecil. “What about him?”
“Yesterday,” said Valorous, “he called me back to this murder scene. And he only called me back because one of the kids had toys of me, was my fucking fan. I was there to help arrest his mother, and until then he’d dreamed of meeting me. Had posters. And Stark just thought it was funny. They thought it was funny – they thought they were taking me down a peg.”
Cecil thought about the way Valorous had looked last night, the way he’d come and just fucking collapsed against Cecil’s chest after coming out of his session, and Valorous shifted in his seat, poking a piece of strawberry around his plate.
“They didn’t think about the kids,” said Cecil.
“Well,” said Cecil, and then stopped himself, because he’d been about to say, that’s coppers for you, but he didn’t know if that was what Valorous wanted to hear, if that was something he could hear, just about now.
“Their mother’s gonna go to prison, probably. And I just think it’s bullshit. Maybe she did kill her husband, but she should have. She was right to.”
“Stark you’re thinking about killing, is it?”
“I wouldn’t get caught,” said Valorous. “No one would know it was me – I wouldn’t even need to pin it on anyone else specific.”
He said it so matter-of-factly, as if Cecil didn’t know, as if Cecil needed convincing, as if Cecil wasn’t fully aware of just how dangerous Valorous King was, all the skills he had under that belt of his. Maybe Cecil should have been frightened, or pissed, or maybe he should have acted like Valorous’ conscience in this scenario, told him that wouldn’t be right—
But Stark was a right cunt. His kids had been a mess at school, and just from that and snippets at parents’ evenings alone, Cecil was about willing to say he deserved to die more than most.
“S’that what you want to do?” asked Cecil.
Valorous shrugged. “What are we gonna do today?”
“Thought I’d just look after you,” said Cecil quietly. “How’s that sound?”
Valorous ate his bit of strawberry. “Fine,” he said. The smile was distant and fleeting, but it was there.
Cecil took it for what it was.