In the aftermath of Jack Harrison’s release from the psychiatric unit, Gray Raoul’s first instinct is to take brutal revenge on the one responsible for financing Jack’s and Jan’s torturous psychological reconditioning. However, that person plays the game dangerously well, and knows exactly how to manipulate everyone in Gray’s life. To help negotiate this delicate situation, Gray contacts ex-Diadem Doms Trace and Gabriel Hunter. But the more Gray seems to regain control, the clearer it becomes that there’s something not quite right about Jan Richards. Jan quickly unravels, taking Jack and Gray with him, and bringing out one particularly deadly player. Gray is left with one last defense: break Jack down in order to partner up with his alter ego, Martin. But once freed, Martin has plans of his own, and he wants to make it personal with Gray. Complete trust between Master and sub, between Gray and Jack, will be tested to the absolute limit. (M/M)
“You look good.” Jack came in close to Jan, his arm also slipping under Gray’s jacket to stroke his back and no doubt keep his triad close. He rested his head against Jan’s, briefly closing his eyes as another touch cuddled Jan in close too. “Smell…” Jack took a deep breath, shifting slightly as if to climb into Jan’s soul. “You smell so much better, baby.”
Jan still fought with the origins of the painting, only looking at Jack when his name was called.
“You okay, breakdown?” Jack frowned, his hand finding Jan’s neck and stroking gently.
“It’s getting on for nine, Jack.” Jan looked back at the painting, then frowned at the door. “Gray’s got work in the morning, I’m… I’m…” Gray felt the brush of thumb at the back of his hand from Jan. He wanted out, and that touch was Jan giving a very polite stop this please.
Jack flicked a look at Gray. Shifting black hair from his eyes, he pulled Jan into him. “You tired, breakdown? You know, whether it’s here or a nightclub, doesn’t really matter. I can just as easily get you some hot cocoa topped off with marshmallows. Spider-Man pyjamas… big bunny slippers to flop around in?”
Jack got an elbow in the ribs and he winced, rubbing at the fake damage. “Funny. This taking the piss thing you rely on, Harrison? Stop it,” said Jan.
Jack flashed a grin. “I was being serious.” He winced. “Which is slightly concerning, considering the thought of loving you in Spider-Man PJs is twisted, even by my standards.”
Gray eased a touch along Jack’s slender hip as he moved in close to Jack’s ear. “He needs home, Jack.”
Closing his eyes, Jack brushed his cheek against Gray’s and Gray resisted the natural instinct to shift and let him touch. All too easily the instinct finally won over, and Gray nudged back at Jack’s cheek, asking… needing to be intimate, if only for a minute. Jack shifted a touch and Gray eased the hair from Jack’s neck and feathered a kiss into the curve of his throat.
“Hmm.” Jack sounded distracted. “A 9:00 p.m. precise call to bed. Showing your age, mukka,” he said, finally looking down and patting at Gray’s stomach.
“So said the old guy in his thirties now.” That came off Jan and earned a smile from both of them.
“Carry it on siding with him, Richards. He’s old. I’m—”
“Yeah, an adult,” said Gray, pulling away slightly. “Say it often enough, throw a bit of pixie dust on it, take off your tights, and it might just help you work some magic on your street cred, Jack.”
Jack lowered his look. “I don’t wear fucking tights… they’re… man-stockings, under my coveralls, and there to keep my bollocks warm when I’m under a car, on the floor.” He’d taken to wearing them lately.
“Yeah? You order via Amazon or have a particular ladies’ lingerie section you prefer?” asked Jan. “And how many pairs do you have ordered in rows in your drawers?”
“One, maybe three.”
“Hah! Got you, Jacky-boy.” Jan’s look darkened.
“What?” said Jack.
“Nothing.” A slight blush burned Jan’s cheek.
Jack levelled a finger. “That head of yours goes anywhere near fucking tights, high heels, and a satin skirt….”
Jan’s smile deepened at about the same time as his blush turned blood-red. “Just a thought,” he said quietly.
“Oh well… thoughts.” Jack slid up close to Jan and slipped an arm around his shoulder. “Tell me more about these… thoughts.”
How Jack played Jan like this, and how Jan bit back, was good to see. But the smiles and playful gazes didn’t quite reach “normal”. Gray saw it in how Jack called it a night now and headed back over to the stairs after kissing at Jan’s cheek.
“Boring fuckers,” Jack shouted, sounding lighthearted enough, and Gray almost smiled. Go back seven months, he’d have fucked that mouth out of Jack, with Jack calling him out on doing just that. And yeah, the temptation would have been there to pull Jan a little closer and corrupt his vanilla look, fuel that need for them both to fuck Jack.
Only they’d both been held in the wrong hold, disjointed and broken down where only echoes remained. Gray was in that mix somewhere. A part of him hated himself for it, for how stepping into the public eye beyond MI5 had him wanting to close the door too.