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The skin beneath Gunther's lips as he drowsed up from a blissful, dreamless sleep was warm and soft, and the familiar smoky incense scent of Valois's body filled the air around him. Gunther moaned softly and kissed that skin, not even moving his head; just kissing over and over until he heard a low chuckle above him.

"Are you hungry, mon chéri?"

"If I was hungry, I'd be licking." Gunther smiled, almost drunk on the happiness of a good night's sleep and the body of this man beside him. "Actually, that's the best idea I've had so far this morning."

"And you have had so many others for comparison since waking, hm?" Valois teased, his breath shuddering in a shaky sigh across Gunther's face as Gunther began to lap across his collarbone and into the dip at the base of his throat.

"I'm working on the others." Gunther licked his way around one nipple, then lifted his head just a fraction to blow gently over the wet skin. The breathless moan that greeted him went straight to his dick, and he whispered, "Here's another good one," before he slithered down Valois's body, his tongue tracing a damp line down his torso and belly before curling around the head of Valois's cock and gently easing it into his mouth.

Trembling pale fingers carded into his hair, urging him down, and he looked up through his lashes as he took more and more, sucking hard as he went and moaning around the silken hard flesh as he watched Valois's throat arch.

And you call me beautiful. Fuuuck...

With Valois's heels resting on his shoulders, and his pale thighs wide apart and trembling under his hands, Gunther sank down even further, feeling the head of Valois's cock push past his gag reflex. It had taken him some time (and not a little experimentation with some toys in his newly-lockable bedroom) to get to this point, but the desperate whine above him rewarded that effort as Valois's heels dug in briefly and his hips twisted.

You're fucking perfect. If I could have you like this forever, then I would.

Slowly, teasingly, Gunther pulled back, and Valois's fingers clutched in his hair. A soft whimper of protest was all that he heard before he sank down again, a little less this time, rasping his tongue across the head and - very very gently - scraping his teeth under the crown. Panting, Valois jerked beneath him, and cursed softly in his native tongue

Cupping his hand around Valois's balls, Gunther squeezed gently as he continued using his teeth and tongue, learning more French curses than he ever thought possible. It delighted him to know that, beneath his buttoned-up-and-proper facade, Valois had a filthy mouth that could only be loosened by sex, and that he was the one who could set it free.

He sank back down again, relishing that push into his throat and his new-found ability to cope with it, then - as the first twitch and pulse shivered in his palm - he pulled back again, swivelling his gaze upward, fixing on Valois's face. His lips parted, his eyes open and yet unseeing as he came, Valois was beauty itself. Gunther could only watch in loving awe as his mouth was filled and his heart broke open.

I made you look like that. I made you let go. You love me? Oh god, I love you, too.

"Good morning to you, too," Valois panted as Gunther drew away. "Did you want tea?"

Gunther swallowed, scoured his tongue over his lips, and propped himself up on both elbows over Valois, gazing down at him. "I'd have to shift my arse out of this bed to get that," he said, his voice hoarse from taking Valois so deep in his throat, "and I am not moving. Not even half an inch away from you."

"Not at all." Valois lifted his hand to Gunther's cheek, stroking the backs of his fingers down it. "Your secretary brought some in for us while you were asleep." He turned his head to glance at the bedside table, before looking back at Gunther with a smile. "Well, to be fair, she brought one in for you, then went out and made another one for me."

Gunther stared at the two cups of now-cooling tea on the table, a chill like a rivulet of icy water trickling down his back.

"Oh god." The words were barely a horrified breath.

"Mon chéri, you should have seen her eyes," Valois said, a world of gentleness in his voice. "She was a little surprised, but not shocked, nor upset. She saw only the shoulders that have been so tense, utterly relaxed. She saw only the man she feels so fiercely protective of, finally at home."

"She saw us," Gunther whispered.

"She smiled at us." Valois gently persuaded Gunther to look at him. "Hear me, beautiful one. She was happy for you. Do you understand?"


Gunther was frozen with fear. Cornelia would find out. The whole fucking town would know! Oh god!

"Gunther," someone was saying. "Gunther."

He blinked, then Valois's concerned face swam into view again, blurred by tears. "Oh god," Gunther whimpered. "What if--"

"She will not tell," Valois said, brushing a finger under Gunther's eye to catch the tear that spilled over his lashes. "If you wish it, then I can ensure that she never even saw us. Do you wish that?"

Torn, Gunther hesitated. He knew Valois could do that, and he wanted so desperately for this fear to subside, but he was very fond of Natalie and he couldn't do that to her. Wiping memories? He shivered inside and shook his head.

"No," he said hoarsely. "Don't do that to her. I trust her."

Valois smiled. "Rightly so. She is a good woman, with troubles enough of her own. Now kiss me, mon chéri, and I will take away your doubt."

Oh god, please. Please take it all away. Never leave me, not this version of you. I love... oh god, I love you.

"A private bathroom at work?" Valois's eyebrows arched delicately. "Ah, la vie d'un Chef de la Direction! It has its rewards, does it not?"

Gunther closed the bathroom door, hooking an arm around Valois's waist to pull him close. "Keep talking French at me and I'll show you what other rewards I have," he groaned. "And okay, that was corny, but holy fuck."

Valois chuckled, walking Gunther slowly backwards until he had him pressed against the wall. The contrast of the heat of Valois's body in front of him and the chilly tiles against his back made Gunther shiver.

"The shower's plenty big enough for two..."

"Mmm, indeed, but I wish to discover more of those rewards first."

A pale, slender thigh pressed between Gunther's legs; a slow, torturous pressure that flicked some switch in his lungs, sending his breath from even and deep to ragged and panting.

"Nnngh, god! Valois, please!"

"I love it when you beg," Valois purred, turning Gunther around and pulling him into the shower. "I hope you don't have any meetings to attend to this morning..."

"I don't know how the hell I'm going to face Natalie," Gunther murmured as they stood in the corridor to his private suite almost an hour later and he opened a closet to pick out something to wear.

Valois stood beside him, still distractingly naked, the fingers that had brought Gunther to his knees in the shower gesticulating at a neatly-folded clean white shirt.

"That one," he said. "I love to see you in a white shirt with simple black pants and vest. Makes me want to tear it off you again."

"Yeah, like that wouldn't make the poor girl's eyes bug out." Gunther couldn't help but smile as he pulled out the shirt and shouldered into it. Sliding his fingers down the placket, he started to button it up, but was stayed by Valois's hand on his wrist.

"You look beautiful like this," Valois whispered. "Half-dressed, and with your mouth kissed and fucked until your lips are slightly swollen. Do you even realise how beautiful you are?"

Gunther looked down, because suddenly the rug underfoot was the most interesting thing in the world right now. "Nobody ever said that to me before you did," he mumbled.

"Then everyone who ever met you is blind. Even you don't believe me, do you?"

Gunther shook his head as Valois pulled him close and whispered, "Then I shall keep loving you until you believe me. Do we have a deal?"

"As long as you don't stop loving me when I do believe you." Gunther pressed himself close, holding tightly in his heart those words - 'keep loving you' - because it was the closest admission to Valois's feelings for him that he'd had yet.

"Gunther, mon chéri? I don't think I could stop."

"Uh, Natalie?"

"Oh, good morning, Mr Goth!" Natalie directed a pointed glance at the clock, which read almost midday. "Did you sleep well?"

"Look..." Gunther couldn't meet her gaze. God, what the hell must she think of me?! "I want to apologise. You, uh, you shouldn't have had to see that."

"No, I shouldn't. I was quite stunned, to be honest," came the tart reply, and it only served to make him even more ashamed, not to mention worried. Maybe he should have asked Valois to make her forget what she saw.

"I... I'm sorry. I don't know what else to do but offer a sincere apology. And..." he swallowed, because this was going to come hard for him if she accepted. "And a perfect set of references, should you decide that you no longer wish to work for me. It would be the least I could do to make it up to--"

"References?" Her giggle jolted him out of his misery and - finally - made him look up at her.

"Are you kidding me?" She was grinning at him, pulling her fingers up to form a fake gun and blowing over the top of it. "My god, that was smokin' hot! Why the hell would I leave just because I saw my boss's arse when he was in bed with another hot guy?"

"Uh... what?" Bewildered, Gunther palmed a hand over the back of his neck, feeling the heat of the blush that was rising there. "Look, I mean it. I am so sorry you had to see that, and I, uh..." He sighed. "There's no other word for it. Natalie, I'm begging you not to tell anyone."

"Did you take video?"


"Oh damn." She blew over her finger-gun again, then winked at him. "Not a word shall leave my lips, I promise. A repeat performance wouldn't go amiss, though."

Gunther coloured all the way up to his hairline, and once again found a fascination for rugs and all things carpet, scuffing the toe of his shoe over a small piece of fluff that was sticking out from the corner of the expensive rug under his feet.

Natalie laughed again. "Chill, boss. Just kidding. Well, mostly. Want some coffee?"

"Mike on Security downstairs swears blind he didn't see anyone go past him after I left, and I was the last one out of the building yesterday," Natalie mused towards the end of the day as she finished up her filing. "I guess he must have dozed off. Gotta be boring sometimes, sitting behind a desk with nothing to do all day but watch TV screens. I'm forever nodding off whenever I get a chance to catch up on Sex and Sim City, so I sort of get that."

Gunther stood up and walked around the front of his desk, sitting back down on one of the paired chairs. He wasn't even going to touch Natalie's unspoken question of 'how the hell did that guy you were with even get in here?' - instead, he simply asked, "How are things at home?"

"Oh." Natalie closed the filing cabinet. "Um, they're all right, I suppose. Charlie's got a promotion at work, so that's keeping him happy. Thing is, he keeps telling me we can afford for me to give up work now that he's earning more."

She heaved a little sigh. "I don't even know that I'm the mumsy type, you know?" she mumbled. "I mean, I love kids, but just as long as I can give them back at the end of the day." She turned to give her boss a wry smile. "No maternal instinct at all, me."

Gunther smiled back up at her. "Well, it's not the be-all and end-all of a woman's life," he said. "Have you spoken to your husband about this?"

She shook her head. "I did try once, but he told me I was being over-emotional."

Gunther frowned, trying to bite back a rather waspish remark about Natalie's husband, when a voice drifted across the room.

"Does your husband prefer cats, or dogs?"

They both turned to look at Valois, who was walking into the office from Gunther's private suite, where he'd spent the afternoon 'entertaining himself', as he'd put it earlier. Thankfully, he was dressed.

"Um, he likes dogs, I think." Natalie looked nonplussed. "Had several when he was a kid. Why?"

Valois merely smiled. "I think, Madame, that you will find your husband now prefers the presence of a dog over the presence of a child in your home."

"Valois--" Gunther warned, even as Natalie stared at him for a moment. Then...

"Oh my god!" She clapped her hands together. "I knew it! I could sense it! My mum was a witch, too! She told me I'd know if I was ever around one, because I had a little bit of it in me, but it never fully expressed itself. So that's how you got past Mike!"

Gunther's jaw dropped. A witch?! "Natalie, what--?"

"Madame." Valois bowed low. "I am more than just a witch. Much more, and no ordinary witch at that. I am also, among other things, an illusionist, and I think you have just stunned my lover by being far more observant than he has."

"Oh, he's just blinded by infatuation." Natalie giggled. "I could see it when he came out of his suite this morning. Well, when he could bring himself to look at me, that is. Oh my god, a real, live witch! Sorry, but I haven't met another one, apart from my mum."

Gunther rose slowly from his chair, on shaky legs. How could he have been so stupid? How did he not even realise? And after all the ancient and arcane books he'd collected and read; to not even recognise a witch when one came his way!

And then, it struck him.

What if... oh god, what if this is all a trick? A spell? The multiple versions of him! Oh god, no. He wouldn't do that. He couldn't!

And then the world turned black and swallowed him up.

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