Chapter 1: Midnight Massage
They were safe. That was all Adrian cared about. Bertran was dead, something was wrong with Sabine, and Mat and Damien looked exhausted, but the four of them were alive and they had escaped Mammon. Damien’s hazel eyes looked tired, the creases at the corners of his eyes, normally barely noticeable, now crinkling. He couldn’t help but admire the man’s aquiline nose and full, firm lips. He admired everything about Damien. Mat appeared the same as always, though his step wasn’t as energetic as usual. His hair was dyed blonde, as it usually was when he wasn’t with his military. White hair was extremely unusual and Mat preferred to blend in when he wasn’t in uniform, so he regularly dyed it. His wide brown eyes were nearly as tired as Damien’s hazel ones, and they both seemed grateful to be able to relax for the moment. Mat had set a course into Kreutzer where they could regroup and then retake Vega. He cursed Krosil silently for his quick action after Bertran’s death. The man shouldn’t have been able to take the planet that easily. He shouldn’t have even known Bertran was dead. But when Sabine had killed Bertran, he had seen Bertran’s ghost attack her. He couldn’t escape the thought that the ghost had alerted Krosil somehow and that was how he had moved in an entire fleet in less than an hour. He was lucky Damien and Mat were close enough that they could return from mining ore to rescue him. Although they were really rescuing Sabine, not him, he had to admit. Mat would have saved him, of course. But Damien wouldn’t. Not yet, at least.
There were six sleeping chambers on the large mining ship and Sabine retired to the furthest one immediately, leaving Adrian to assess the two tired men who had just rescued them. Mat and Damien had briefly discussed the best flight path to Kreutzer, where they could use one of Mat’s fleets to retake Vega from Mammon’s control. Mammon would be watching all of the nearby gates so they were out of the question, but both men thought a gate just over a day away in the Unclaimed Quadrant would be unguarded. It was too dangerous jumping anywhere in Wendigo and they were relatively far from the border. Lohen would have been closer, as the border was within two hours, but Damien had vetoed that. They had mentioned a hidden gate just minutes from Vega but the area was too much under Krosil’s control, and he wondered what they meant by a hidden gate. Were there gates people didn’t know about? He would have to find out more, probably from Mat. The two were now lounging in the kitchen area drinking coffee in comfortable silence.
He poured Mat another cup, noticing the redness around his eyes and the relative slowness of his movements. It wasn’t the gravity; Mat was accustomed to the high gravity of the mining ship even if he wasn’t. Kreutzer kept its ships at a much lower gravity but Mat shifted gravity enough to be comfortable with the change. He had seen Mat like this before, but only rarely. Normally his adopted son could handle his alcohol, but he and Damien must have had quite an evening before they received his emergency beacon. Now that the immediate concern of Bertran’s death and the need for escape had passed, he could safely tease the two men.
He was especially interested in Damien, because the man would be slightly less careful than usual. Adrian slipped a powder into his cup and the man didn’t notice at all, gulping it down quickly. The effects of the powder wouldn’t be felt for nearly twenty minutes, and he grinned at the thought of what he could do once Damien started to respond.
“You two didn’t spend time off planet, did you?” Adrian asked. “You know you were supposed to be mining ore for me.”
Mat laughed. “We got most of your ore, don’t worry. And whether we chose to go off planet or not is our business.”
“Not if it’s affecting your ability to get the rest,” Adrian said.
“It’s not like we can even get to Vega to drop the ore off,” Mat pointed out. “Once we get rid of Mammon, then you can pester me about my late payment.”
Mat turned to Damien with a sly smile on his face. “Who did you end up with, by the way?”
Damien’s cheeks pinked in an endearing manner and he looked at Adrian before returning his gaze to Mat. “I thought we weren’t talking about what happened.”
“You promised not to tell Sabine,” Mat said. “I didn’t promise anything.”
Damien shrugged, but his gaze flickered to Adrian again before answering. “Lydia.”
Adrian was delighted that he felt embarrassed to talk about his evening with the woman in front of him – it meant that he had feelings for him. Of course, he knew that Damien felt something for him, but the man was in a deep state of denial. Hopefully tonight would change that denial. He couldn’t help but smile as he thought of crouching over Damien’s nude body. He enjoyed the chase, and this was going to be exquisite.
Mat and Damien chatted a little longer, but then Mat stood up and stretched. Damien was quick to follow, no doubt not wanting to be left alone with Adrian. He didn’t mind; soon enough, he would get his chance. Damien took the room closest to Sabine’s and Mat took the one next to his, perhaps knowing that Damien wouldn’t be able to sleep with Adrian next door. They bid each other and Adrian good night, and he waved half-heartedly. He glanced at his watch.
He waited until the powder had enough time to kick in before he went to Damien’s door. It was locked, of course, but he was an adept lock-pick and it only took a minute or two before the door was open. He waited and listened to hear if Damien reacted to the opening door, but there were no sounds. He pushed the door open enough to slide in, then closed the door behind him. He stood in the doorway until his eyes adjusted and the darkness of the room became a glorious vision of Damien lying half-naked in his cot, his well-defined chest on full display.
Adrian’s fingers ached to run over the hills and valleys of that belly and make his way lower, to the bulge between his legs, but that would be too much for Damien. This would be a slow seduction. He didn’t want to scare off his prey.
Damien’s eyes were open and glittered in the dim light of the room. The powder had worked perfectly. He wanted Damien awake and able to respond physically, but unable to control his body. It was likely a frightening position to be in, but he would teach Damien to trust him.
He went to the man’s side and dropped to his knees so that they were face to face. He caressed Damien’s velvet cheek and kissed his forehead.
“Sorry, love,” Adrian said, “but you weren’t giving me a chance. I won’t do anything, don’t worry. I just want to hold you, and I want you to hold me and see what you’re missing.”
He caressed his shoulders, then turned him so that he was lying on his stomach comfortably. He checked his head and arms to make sure that the man was as comfortable as possible in his new position. Then he allowed his hands to slide down to Damien’s hips and pull off his sleeping pants. He held his breath as he exposed his ass, and he wasn’t disappointed. Damien was sculpted; perfect in all regards. He tossed the pants to the ground and arranged his legs so they would be comfortable. He leaned back and took a long moment to let the image of Damien’s broad back, perfectly sculpted ass, and long muscled legs sink into his memory. Then he climbed onto the bed and straddled Damien.
Damien inhaled sharply and he made a soothing sound. He rested his hands on Damien’s shoulders and began kneading the stiff muscles there. He had given massages to plenty of men in his time, and he knew exactly how to relieve stress. A swirling motion here, pressure there, and soon Damien was relaxing into his touch as if against his will. A soft sigh escaped the man’s lips. He worked at his neck and shoulders for a long time, then turned to his full back. He let his fingers trail lightly against Damien’s side and the man flinched slightly. He smiled. So Damien was ticklish. He wouldn’t have guessed that. Ticklish men, he had learned, were usually the most responsive.
He scooted down on the cot and let his fingers work their way into Damien’s muscular hips and finally his ass. He was extremely tempted to do more, but he wouldn’t. Damien needed to know that he could be trusted, and moving too fast could be fatal in this game. Already Damien had tensed when he started massaging his hips, and he had to work slowly as he kneaded his fingers into Damien’s tightly muscled ass.
As much as he wanted to continue forever on that particular body part, Damien was nervous, so he let his hands move downward to his thighs, a subtle indication that he was not about to take advantage of him. Damien seemed to relax slightly as his efforts became concentrated on his legs, and by the time he was at his calves, he was completely limp in his hands. He grinned.
He spent a lot of time on Damien’s feet, since fighters were always on their feet and rarely had the pleasure of a foot massage, and Damien let out several low moans of pleasure as he stroked him firmly across the sole of his foot. He was careful not to touch too lightly, since Damien was ticklish and he didn’t want the man flinching. He glanced at his watch as he worked on his feet. The powder would be wearing off very shortly and he would be fully able to move. Already he had the capability to move slightly, but he hadn’t realized it yet.
After Damien’s feet were thoroughly spoiled, he began working back up his body, massaging his calves again, then his thighs, then his ass. This time Damien didn’t tighten or flinch at all when he stroked his hips, even though he was fully capable of moving at this point. He grinned. Damien was letting him massage him, of his own free will. This was no longer a forced massage but a welcome one, and he thrilled as he worked his way up Damien’s back to his shoulders and neck again. He kissed the nape of Damien’s neck right over the tattoo of a phoenix that marked him as royalty.
“If you turn over, I’ll do your front,” he whispered in what he hoped was an enticing tone.
Damien’s eyes flew open. His hands twitched, then he pushed himself up.
“I can move?”
“For the past twenty minutes or so.”
Damien stared at him incomprehensively. “Get out,” he finally managed.
“Are you sure?”
“Get out,” Damien repeated, louder this time.
He stood. He was fairly hard after all the touching and stroking he had given Damien, but he had expected to come away from this evening without relief. He was just glad he had let him stay as long as he had. He left the room without a word and went to his room. A few minutes later, he heard a sound outside and slit his door open in time to see Damien slipping into Sabine’s room. He let out a soft laugh. So he was running to his sister for protection? Each room could hold two people if the second person didn’t mind sleeping on an uncomfortable pull out cot, and he must have preferred being away from Adrian to comfort. It meant, however, that he had successfully shaken Damien and made the man realize what he had to offer.
He climbed into his bed and let his hand wander down his waist. In the morning, Damien would look at him in a whole new way. He could hardly wait.