Rational Intercourse

Part 4

Kiss me.

Did that classify as a direct order?

Butler swallowed.

Rule number one: Protect the principal.

Artemis’ breath teased his lips—warm and gentle as a spring breeze, sweetly reminiscent of coconut.

Rule number two: Follow orders.

Centuries of history swung in the balance of that moment, centuries of duty, honor, and professionalism—Butlers serving Fowls unerringly, without hesitation. How did the saying go? Rules were made to be broken.

Domovoi’s mouth descended on his client’s.

Heart rate, muscle tension, body temperature: on contact, information flooded his senses with the abrupt force of a broken levee. Artemis was tense, rigid from the tips of his restless fingers to the balls of his feet. In his chest, his heart stuttered rapidly, like a caged hummingbird thumping at the walls of its enclosure in an attempt to break free, and though he made no move to withdraw, his stance radiated uncertainty. All this, Butler noted in under a second.

“Artemis,” he began. Instantly, the hand in his tightened its grip, forbidding his withdrawal. “You must breathe, Artemis,” he advised, running a thumb soothingly over his charge’s knuckles, “if you plan on remaining conscious.”

Artemis laughed then, brittle and breathless but real. “Of that,” he said, “I am perfectly aware. Unfortunately,” he cleared his throat, “I am rapidly discovering that practice is, in fact, far more complicated than principle. I…mm.” He frowned as the words drifted off. “I’ve never…never actually…”

“Never been kissed?” Butler sounded surprised.

Artemis’ cheeks flared. “Something to that effect,” he confessed uncertainly. “Should I have?”

An image of some foreign figure with their lips to Artemis’ flashed, uncalled for, into Butler’s mind, and for an irrational second, a sudden innate desire to eviscerate the mysterious culprit swamped him with disturbing ferocity. Frowning, he shook his head to quell the violent instinct. “Not necessarily,” he said. “Only…” Somehow ‘You’re far too pretty to have avoided getting kissed for this long,’ didn’t sound quite right, even in his head.

“The…proper circumstances failed to arise, I suppose,” explained Artemis, avoiding mention of the fact that he’d never really wanted to kiss anyone but Butler anyway.

Butler gave his charge a curious look. “And are these what you deem to be proper circumstances?”

Artemis’ blush deepened. As far as he was concerned, any circumstance that involved Butler and himself and no one else was plenty proper enough, but he wasn’t about to blurt it out loud. “I…thought it was high time I worked on my people skills,” he said instead. “You’re the only one I trust with the task. Unless you’d rather I seek out someone else?”

A hazy red cloud of violence again reared its head at the thought of anyone else laying so much as their little finger on the Fowl heir, and Butler stamped it out stubbornly, resisting the urge to grit his teeth. Apparently, he’d let on plenty enough through his expression, though, because by the time he reigned control of his groundless jealous tendencies, Artemis was smiling at him far too knowingly for his liking.

“I thought not,” was all he said.

White light flashed through the room, followed almost immediately by a straight clap of thunder that made the paneled glass windows shake in their frames. Overhead, the light fixtures dimmed, then went dark. Artemis frowned, long shadows accenting his look of disapproval.

“Butler, I was under the impression that Fowl Manor-”

“Auxiliary power should-” The lights cut back on. “See?” A second flash, this time accompanied by a simultaneous boom, shook the house, and all lights in the room fizzled, then died with an unpromising pop. It was Butler’s turn to frown.

“Yes,” said Artemis in the resulting darkness. “I see. Or, more precisely, I don’t see.”

“My room is not equipped with such an elaborate backup system as yours,” the bodyguard explained after a moment. “You should still have complete access from your computers, should you wish to tap it.”

“Ah. And the house alarms?”

“Intact. The house’s security works separately from the luxury power unit.” Butler eyed his charge, and after a moment added, “You are safe here.”

Artemis gave him a strange look. “I never doubted that,” he said quietly.


Rain tittered on the windowpanes like scattered Morse code. Outside, a low wind howled and the thunder answered with a staggered drum roll. For a moment, Artemis fancied he could hear his heartbeat over the storm, and he shut his eyes, a held breath escaping him through a broken sigh.

“Butler,” he began.

“Are your parents home?”

Artemis’ brow furrowed. He opened his eyes and faced his bodyguard with a sort of dull, perplexed expression, as if he couldn’t quite comprehend the question. “My parents…?” he repeated, and then it dawned on him and he shut his eyes again with a quiet “Oh,” of comprehension. “No,” he replied at last. “They’re…out,” he filled in vaguely with a distracted wave of his hand, his mind obviously on other things.

“And the twins?” Butler prompted.

“With mother.”


“Hm?” Artemis barely stirred.

“To what extent, and at what rate were you intending to work on your…people skills?”

Artemis looked up sharply, his mismatched eyes starkly vivid against the black and white backdrop of skin and shadow. In the strange light, his usually pallor skin seemed almost to glow, and as Butler watched, his lips curved up into the faintest of smirks. “Surely you know me by now, Butler,” he said with a barely detectable hint of mischief. “I want to know everything,” He met his bodyguard’s gaze dead on, “now.”

Butler’s stomach did an odd flip, and he swallowed a groan as blood pooled far too low in his gut for mention in polite society. When he caught Artemis’ chin between his fingertips, the boy’s eyes never wavered, and he cursed his weakness as he murmured, “Let’s try this again, then, shall we?,” and bent to claim forbidden fruit once more.

For the first half second, Artemis tried to approach the reality of being kissed as he would any other incident worthy of scientific study. Of course, he quickly failed. Too many things distracted him.

For starters, Butler’s lips were a great deal softer than he expected—and warmer. For some reason, he had always assumed kissing his manservant might be something like going head to head with a slightly fleshy boulder. This was nothing of the sort.

Secondly, he found himself increasingly aware of every minute point their bodies came in contact, almost to a hypersensitive degree. For instance, Butler’s hand, after leading him into the initial kiss, had never quite left his face. It now lingered somewhere between the base of his jaw and the nape of his neck, leaving the flesh there hot and tingly in a not altogether unpleasant way. Also, Butler’s other hand, which Artemis had forgotten almost completely about until that moment, had gravitated from some unknown place at his side to within half an inch of his left hip. There it currently resided, radiating body heat, and making him wonder if he just shifted his weight ever so slightly…

Butler caught the movement in an instant, pinning Artemis—if only very loosely—to the wall in a moment’s notice and effectively stilling him. Immediately, a spiral of heat coiled in Artemis’ gut, and he nearly whimpered aloud at the foreign sensation. A far distant corner of his mind questioned the strength of his reaction to being restrained at the hands of his own bodyguard, but he dismissed it all but before it came to him, far too preoccupied to let it bother him at present. Besides, Butler’s mouth had begun to change tactics and required his full attention once more.

French kissing, as Artemis had perceived it all his life, was, in essence, a rather messy, time consuming sport that amounted to little more than a clumsy exchange of saliva in vast quantities for many minutes, if not hours, on end, depending on the patience and endurance of the persons involved. Preconceived notions aside, he rather quickly found actual participation in the ritual to be immensely more pleasurable than he originally presumed.

At Butler’s first prompting, Artemis’ lips spread eagerly almost of their own accord, and the resulting entanglements succeeded in robbing him of just about everything he’d ever valued in himself, including, but not limited to, rational thought, natural level-headedness, and the ever-underappreciated ability to breathe. Butler’s kiss was gentle, but utterly dominating, and left Artemis’ usually keen mind in a sort of fevered haze. The world as he knew it shrank on its axis until it included only himself and Butler in a tiny squadron of space just large enough to hold the two of them. All else ceased to exist.

When the contact broke, Artemis mourned the loss with a soft whine of protest, but his discontent was short-lived. In less than a second, Butler shifted his area of focus from Artemis’ lips to his neck, and only then did he discover the true meaning of breathlessness. The effect was dizzying.

The air in his lungs went hot and dry and caught in his throat with every inhale. He felt his pulse everywhere, from his scalp to the tips of his fingers, and it throbbed wildly, as if trying to break free of his skin itself. As Butler’s kisses traveled lower still, Artemis’ legs began, barely perceptibly, to tremble, making him seriously doubt how much longer they could hold him upright. It didn’t escape Butler’s notice.

“Artemis,” the bodyguard cautioned quietly, “are you-”

“Positive,” gasped Artemis breathlessly. “As you were.” After a moment of silence and no action, Artemis’ eyes—which he hadn’t realized he’d closed—fluttered open, and he found Butler watching him. Guilt, need, and pure, unadulterated reverence poured from that gaze, and Artemis’ legs nearly buckled on the spot. What great thing had he ever done to deserve this?

“There will be no turning back,” Butler warned, his voice heavy with restraint.

Artemis shuddered. “That option…disappeared long before you kissed me.”

Two seconds of eternity passed silently between them. Then, something in Butler relaxed, and he nodded. A moment later, Artemis’ feet left the ground.

Artemis’ body felt tiny, almost insignificant, in Butler’s arms, and he frowned slightly, wondering if a teenage boy should really weigh so little. Before he could delve too deeply into his concern, however, Artemis’ arms circled his neck, and Butler shoved the thoughts aside for another time. Artemis’ breath was hot and distracting against his chest, and he had far more pressing matters to attend to than weight-gain programs for his client.

“Remove your shoes,” he said as they arrived at the edge of the bed, and Artemis complied instantly, two padded thuds immediately following the issuance of his command.

The bed made virtually no sound as he lowered Artemis to the sheets, and the silk and feather coverlet seemed almost to swallow his minute figure whole, but the resulting effect was a sight for starving eyes. Shadows of raindrops skittered across a once pale face, now brightly aglow in the moonlight. Long black lashes stained pink cheeks, flushed as if with fever, and many a rapid breath fluttered from between parted peach lips, still damp and glistening with evidence of their recent endeavors. After several moments, Artemis’ brow furrowed faintly, though his eyes remained closed, and he tilted his head against the pillow.

“Butler?” he inquired quietly.

“Yes?” said Butler, drawn from his reverie.

“Would you do something for me?”

Butler eyed his charge: a fifteen-year-old, unfeasibly brilliant world-savior, imbued with the timeless magic of impish warlocks and primary heir to a mass fortune greater than any sane man could spend in twenty lifetimes, let alone one—not to mention the sole focus of the last eighteen years of Butler’s life. He had nearly died for the boy on countless occasions, and Artemis had saved his life more than once. What would Domovoi Butler do for Artemis Fowl?

“Anything,” said Butler. And he meant it.

Artemis smiled. “You don’t want to know what it is first?”

Butler leaned over his charge, something to the effect of a large beast of prey, the tail feathers of its quarry finally caught in its paws. Artemis raised his eyebrows, unabashed and almost challenging. “At this point, I hardly think it matters.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Artemis consented, “but the word is so often tossed about flippantly, so rarely said in earnest, I simply-” A finger to his lips hushed him instantly, and Butler eyed him with an odd mixture of curiosity and amusement.

“Must you always overanalyze such things?” he asked, and Artemis’ cheeks pinked.

“I suppose it depends on your definition of over-analysis,” he responded quietly.

“Hn.” Butler dipped his head, tracing his lips gently along the boy’s jaw and shutting his eyes as Artemis shuddered. “What was it you wanted, again?” he asked.

“I…” Artemis’ cheeks colored fetchingly, and he drew a rather shaky breath. “It’s just…” He swallowed, and when he looked up, his expression had an almost desperate quality to it that pulled at Butler’s heart. “Don’t hold back. Please?”

It was a request to eradicate social boundaries, to forget, completely, at least for that night, that they were master and servant, employer and staff. It was a request for honesty, equality, and devotion without compromise. Domovoi bent forward, pressing a gentle kiss to Artemis’ forehead.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.

The kisses that followed were maddeningly soft. Each seemed to build off the last, so that by the time Butler had made it from his forehead to his lips, along his jaw, and down to his throat, Artemis was swallowing erratically to keep from panting. His skin remembered every point of contact, and tingled at each, as if branded. By the time Butler made it to the base of his neck, worrying his collarbone teasingly, Artemis was biting his lip not to whine outright.

“Butler,” he managed between staggered breaths, “could you…” His words died prematurely. Instead, he shut his eyes and shivered, suppressing the urge to squirm as Butler’s hands deftly skimmed the length of his shirt. Despite his solitary nature, his manservant obviously wasn’t totally unpracticed in the art of clothing removal, Artemis noted distractedly.

The fine silk felt cool as it slid back from his chest, baring his sensitized skin to the even cooler night air, and Artemis felt the familiar prickle of oncoming goosebumps. Then Butler’s fingers grazed his stomach, and he drew a sharp breath, all feelings of cold gone.

Heat coursed through him, starting with a tight knot in the pit of his stomach, then snaking its way up his spine like a series of rapid-fire sparks set off in a domino effect. At some point, it occurred to Artemis that perhaps he should contribute more to the process, but his train of thought ended about there. For starters, he was about as familiar with his current situation as the latest teen-pop bimbo was with complex logarithms. Secondly, Butler seemed every bit capable of getting them to wherever they were going without his help—which was actually very fortunate, since, despite all his talk, Artemis had only a vague idea of where exactly that might be. That line of thought did, however, bring to mind a question that Artemis’ infallible curiosity made him just bold enough to voice—that is, if he could find the breath to voice it with.

“Butler?” he inquired rather breathlessly, frowning at the trill quality of his own voice and making a mental note to steady it.

“Hn,” Butler grunted his acknowledgement without raising his head.

“W-when…” Cursing his disheveled state, Artemis grit his teeth, swallowed his words, and started over, determined to be articulate. “When was the last time you,” he waved his hand vaguely, “this…?”

This time, Butler did look up, and with a raised eyebrow to boot. “ ‘This’, Artemis,” he said, “is something most people refer to as having sex.” Artemis’ stomach somersaulted. For some reason, the word ‘sex’ on Butler’s lips positively thrilled everything that defined him as a teenage male, and he bit his lower lip, rightfully worried that if he didn’t, he might make any number of undignified noises. “If referring to it in plain terms is too much for you, then you certainly have no business participating in-”

“Sex,” Artemis nearly choked on the word in his haste to get it out. Immediately, he blushed. “I mean…what I was going to say was…I…” Butler kissed his nose, instantly halting the tumbled string of words, and Artemis blinked, bewildered. A second later, he let out a fluttered breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding, and he felt Butler’s smile against him, warm and comforting.

“You must breathe, Artemis,” his manservant advised kindly. So he did. And it helped.

When Butler’s mouth brushed the corner of his own, Artemis turned into it, initiating a sound kiss that melted his anxieties like sugar cubes in steaming coffee. By the time they parted, there wasn’t a part of him that wasn’t warm and tingly. He met Butler’s gaze and took a breath.

“When was the last time you had sex?” he asked.

Butler chuckled softly. It reminded Artemis of distant thunder. “Since you worked so hard to ask…” Artemis narrowed his eyes dangerously. “…eighteen years.” The annoyed expression disappeared, replaced instantly by sudden insight and, albeit, confusion.

“But, that would mean,” said Artemis, frowning, “ that you haven’t…not since… And why ever not?”

Butler shrugged the question aside with a vague roll of his shoulders. “Mine is a solitary lifestyle. I knew it when I took up training, I bound myself to it when I dedicated my life to the protection of yours, and,” He held up a finger to hush Artemis’ protests, “never once have I regretted it.”

“But…what about the years I was gone? Three years, you could have-”

“Could have what, Artemis?” It was the first time Artemis had ever heard anger in Butler’s voice. “Believe it or not, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to go celebrate my freedom by jumping down the pants of the first man willing to take my money. I thought you had died, Artemis, and without you, I…” The sentence fell apart there, and guilt wrenched at Artemis more sharply than a knife wound. He wished he’d never pressed the issue.

“Butler, I,” he swallowed. “Domovoi…” The man who had protected him all his life looked up, and Artemis saw pain, and fear, and loss in eyes he once thought to be invincible. Tentatively, he reached out, barely touching as he traced the features of a face he’d known almost better than his own since the day of his birth. “I never knew,” he said quietly. “Forgive me?”

Domovoi shuddered faintly. Then, he turned his head into the hand on his cheek, and kissed Artemis’ palm with a tenderness that stole his breath away. “Just…never die again…alright, Artemis?”

“Mn…r-right,” murmured Artemis, rapidly loosing cognitive functions once again as Butler’s mouth proceeded to trail kisses from his inner wrist, down the underside of his arm. “I’ll…do my best.”

“Good,” said Domovoi, and Artemis sensed the time for talk had ended.

Each moment melded into the next. Gentle hands guided him into a sitting position, slipping his open shirt from his shoulders and running the length of his back when he shivered. Needy kisses lead him from one action to another and somewhere along the line, Artemis found himself in Butler’s lap, his legs spread to either side of the man’s waist and his bare chest pressed against the coarse fabric of the man’s shirt. Sudden, intense dislike for that shirt hit him with startling alacrity, and he caught the front of it, feeling his heart stutter pleasantly at the rock solid nature of what lay beneath it.

“This,” he murmured, giving the cloth a curt tug, “will have to go.”

“Hn. Indeed,” Domovoi agreed, and Artemis watched with rapt fascination as his bodyguard stripped, large hands skimming over the long string of ivory buttons with practiced grace and broad shoulders rolling effortlessly as he shirked the offensive material. For a moment, Artemis could only stare.

Butler’s body drew to mind an age of sweat and steel long since buried by the centuries—one where brawn and brutality reigned and the last man standing took all. Under Artemis’ trembling fingers, the ridges of his stomach felt like living granite, and Artemis’ head prickled with a dizzying sensation as he again fought the urge to squirm.

“Domovoi,” he pleaded. By that point, he cared little that it sounded like a whimper, his throat dry and breath hot, even against his own lips. His body ached with foreign need far beyond his comprehension, and he wanted so bad it hurt.

Luckily, Butler understood, even if Artemis didn’t, and he lowered his young charge back onto the sheets, capturing pliant lips tenderly in his own and savoring the taste of Artemis’ moan. Eventually, he murmured, “Strip,” and Artemis never once considered the oddity of receiving orders as opposed to giving them. He complied without a second thought.

Two pairs each of socks, pants and boxers slid from the bed to the floor with a swift rustle of cloth, and Artemis’ first coherent comment upon being naked in the bed of his bodyguard was, “Oh, my.”

Domovoi regarded his wide-eyed charge, but as soon as he opened his mouth, Artemis waved his hand, stalling any concerned comments.

“Never mind that,” he said, though his voice wavered faintly. “Just…uh…” He swallowed. “What’s next?”

Domovoi frowned. “Artemis, are you-”

“Oh, good heavens, Butler, I swear to every genius, god, and philosopher, living or dead, ever to have walked this planet or existed in the minds of man or sprite since the dawn of time that I have never in my life been more ready for-”

“Lubrication,” Domovoi said, answering Artemis’ previous question.



Artemis raised his hand, and Domovoi watched with mixed puzzlement and curiosity as his master’s hand began to glow, dim at first, then brighter, dancing with tiny blue sparks. Then, Artemis was holding a small rectangular container, and he promptly held it out saying calmly, as if nothing even mildly out of the ordinary had just occurred, “Will this do?”

Domovoi accepted the bottle, trying very hard not to look as startled as he felt, and glanced at the label: pomegranate-martini, deep cleansing body lotion. “It should,” he said eventually. Then, unable to resist, he asked, “How much gnome magic, exactly, did you say you…borrowed?”

“Stole,” Artemis corrected. “I have no intention of returning it.” He eyed the lotion as Butler popped the cap and frowned at the pinkish-orange color of its contents. “Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how much I took,” he admitted, making a valiant effort not to stare as his manservant spread the substance over his fingers. “My control of it is limited and I’m still in the experimental stages.” After a brief pause, Artemis pursed his lips. “Butler-”

“On your stomach.”

Warily, Artemis complied, turning on his stomach and crossing his hands primly beneath his chin as he settled into the pillow. “Butler,” he began again, “are you really planning on putting that up my a-Ohhmygodthatscold!” Artemis arched away with his outcry, and keened with displeasure when a hand pinned him back down, holding him in place by the hip. “Domovoi,” he whined, wriggling against pin and pouting, “that lotion…is positively…frigid.”

“Come, now, Artemis, I barely touched you…”

Artemis shot an accusing glare over his shoulder. “It. Was. Cold.”

“Hn.” Domovoi leaned forward, and Artemis squeaked with a jerk of surprise as teeth nipped his ear—not nearly forceful enough to hurt, but plenty enough to catch him off guard. Then, a gentle tongue proceeded to trace the bite mark, and Artemis’ brain functions promptly went on rudimentary lock-down. “Allow me to apologize for my grave errors, young Master,” Domovoi purred, his words like humid fire as they snaked their way down Artemis’ neck and raised shivers down his spine that had nothing to do with cold. “Will you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?”

“Ungh,” Artemis groaned, several nondescript mutterings muffled by the pillow beneath him. “Vile, iniquitous, manipulating excuse for a…oh! Yes! Please…yes…forgiven… Domovoi…” Artemis bit his lower lip, eyes closed and fingers now fisted in the pillows as his bodyguard’s throaty chuckle reverberated against the back of his neck.

“So merciful, Artemis,” Domovoi murmured teasingly, and Artemis mumbled something that sounded vaguely like ‘just you wait,’ but it was impossible to tell. Unperturbed, Domovoi smiled, bending to kiss his temporarily-subdued master between the shoulder blades before kindly assuring him, “The lotion will warm up.”

Partly out of respect for Artemis’ apparent temperature sensitivity, and partly because the boy simply looked beautiful laying exactly the way he was, Butler started at the middle of his back this time, taking smaller portions and letting the lotion warm slightly on his fingers before rubbing small, smooth circles down his charge’s back. If Artemis had any violent objections to smelling strongly of pomegranate martini for the next few hours, he didn’t voice them.

In no rush to finish, Domovoi took his time, enjoying the silken feel of young, unmarred skin beneath his fingertips, and savoring the occasional pleasured shiver his attentions induced. As he went, he felt the tension leaving his charge—taut muscles slowly growing more lax, rigid shoulders drooping slightly into the welcoming cradle of the pillow below—and it soothed his own nerves. By the time he reached the boy’s waist, Artemis’ breathing was slow and even, and for a moment, Domovoi almost wondered if he had fallen asleep. One sweep of his thumbs below the boy’s waistline, however, and a stuttered spike in heart rate told him otherwise.

As if reading his mind, Artemis chose that moment to speak up. “Yes, I am awake,” he said, voice heavy with the air of someone woken from a trance, and Butler chuckled, soft and low. When the fingers dipped low once more, skimming just above the base of his spine, Artemis breathed a wavering sigh. “And if I wasn’t before,” he added with hint of breathlessness, “I certainly am now.”

“Good,” said Domovoi, kissing his charge’s shoulder. “This will work much better if both of us are conscious.” His hand lingered at Artemis’ tailbone. “It will also work much better if you try to remain relaxed,” he advised seriously, and after a moment, Artemis nodded in understanding. “Good,” he said again, and below him, Artemis shut his eyes, taking a deep breath and making a very valiant effort not to tense every muscle in his body.

Domovoi was excruciatingly gentle—Artemis wouldn’t have expected anything less—but it didn’t change the fact that fingers were not made for going up arses, and it felt, for lack of a better word, bizarre. The lotion was still lukewarm at best, slick, and strange. Domovoi’s invasion did not hurt, per say, but it was foreign and vaguely unsettling despite Artemis’ best efforts to reassure himself. Apparently, his insecurities did not go unnoticed.

“Try to breathe slowly,” Domovoi suggested, his voice calm and reassuring to Artemis’ ear. “The strangeness of it will fade as your body adjusts, but it may help to think of something else at first to distract yourself.”

“S-something…else,” Artemis repeated. “R-right.” Doing his best to mentally block out the actions of Butler’s slicked digits in his unaccustomed body, he racked his brain for a distraction. “The…umm…square root of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. The speed of light in a vacuum is two-hundred and ninety-nine million…oh heavens,” He bit his lip to muffle himself as Butler added a second finger, then took a breath and continued, “seven-hundred and ninety-two…ngh…thousand, four-hundred and fifty-eight m-meters per…oh…second…mmm…” Artemis whimpered, curling his toes and rocking backwards onto Domovoi’s hand. “D-domovoi…I’m…I’m not sure this distraction thing is…working…entirely the way it…should.”

“Oh?” Domovoi added the third and final finger, eliciting a bedraggled moan from his keening employer. “Does this still feel strange?”

“S-strange? Umm…” A finger curled inside him, and for a moment, Artemis thought his body had entered spontaneous combustion—white light bursting behind his eyelids, heat sweeping every inch of his body. By the time he could speak again, he was shaking. “N-no, actually,” he managed hoarsely. “Strange is not the…mm…the precise word I would choose to express my current sentiments.”

“Ah, then see? The distraction worked perfectly.” Domovoi nuzzled aside coal black locks, damp with sweat, and kissed the nape of Artemis’ neck. “You’re brilliant, Artemis.”

“Nhn…really?” Artemis moved almost instinctively now, barely conscious of his actions as he rocked back and forth to the rhythm Butler’s fingers provided. “I never would have…guessed,” he panted. The comment earned him a curt pinch to the rear, and he yelped. When he threw an aghast look over his shoulder, Butler met it with raised eyebrows.

“Ever tried modesty on for size, Artemis?” he asked.

Artemis wrinkled his nose. “Not a good fit,” he said. “Modesty is for insecure conformers with no…ah…self-respect or…gracious…confidence in their own…abilities.”

“Is that so?” Domovoi removed his fingers, and Artemis positively whined, earning himself a rumbled chuckle. “No modesty or patience, Artemis? You’re starting to sound immoral…”

Artemis snorted, spreading his legs at Domovoi’s gentle prompting and subconsciously gripping the headboard for support. “I’m fifteen years old, naked, sweaty, and panting in the bed of my bodyguard, about to loose my virginity to a man twice my age, three times my size, and,” He swallowed, “I wouldn’t be anywhere else for the world. You want to talk about morality?”

His pale hands were trembling against the headboard as Domovoi caught his hip, guiding his body into position, bracing him, and a painful constricting in his throat caught him off-guard. Even this did not escape Domovoi’s notice.

“You are beautiful, Artemis,” Domovoi promised him. “Beautiful, and brilliant, and I love you…more than life itself. If this is not every iota of what you want, I will stop, and I will wait for you…no matter how long it takes. I want for nothing but your happiness. Do you understand that?”

Artemis shivered, fear and doubt melting like winter before spring, and he nodded. “Yes,” he said finally, “I understand. And this is what I want…I promise.” It was all the reassurance Domovoi needed.

Artemis heard hands fumbling in the sheets, presumably searching for the lotion, then a quiet squirt followed almost instantly by a sharply indrawn breath. He couldn’t help but smirk. “It’s cold, isn’t it?” he asked. Above him, Domovoi groaned.

“Artemis,” he sounded almost pained, obviously talking from between grit teeth, and Artemis almost took pity on him. Almost. After several seconds, Domovoi breathed a heavy sigh and muttered, “Yes, Artemis, it’s cold. Are you quite happy now?”

Artemis chuckled. “Quite.”

“Good.” Domovoi leaned in then, and his breath was a hot stream of fire against the shell of Artemis’ ear as he growled, “Brace yourself.”

Artemis need not be told twice.

Penetration hurt—a lot. Something like what he might expect sitting on a hokey stick might feel like—or a telephone pole. Worse, he knew Domovoi was making every effort to be gentle. When Butler paused, Artemis’ knuckles where white on the headboard, his forehead was gleaming with sweat, and his entire body was trembling like a leaf. He had yet to make a sound. Finally, he swallowed thickly, only to find his throat parched and dry.

“Does this…get any…better?” he panted hoarsely.

Behind him, Domovoi grunted. “Yes,” he said. “Eventually.”

“Mnh.” Artemis grit his teeth. “Any idea…when?”


Artemis shut his eyes, and his tongue flicked out to catch the perspiration gathering on his upper lip. “Fuck,” he said.

A long pause followed. Then, “I didn’t know you knew that word. Are you alright?”

“Generally, I view profanity as a careless vandalization of language committed only by those who lack the vocabulary to express their sentiments more proficiently. However, on rare occasions, it can be a extremely efficient and satisfying way to get a point across.” Artemis flexed his fingers on the headboard. “In answer to your question…I feel like I’m giving birth to a horse through my ass…backwards.”

“Ah.” Domovoi frowned. “In that case…I suppose I’ll give some leeway on the profanity.”

“Much obliged.”

Time dragged on infinitely. Artemis ached from his numbing white fingers to his tightly curled toes. His ears hummed with a buzzing loud enough to rival a thousand enraged wasps and his temples thudded dizzyingly with every staggered heartbeat. Then, very suddenly, it all stopped. Mostly. He could hear himself breathe again, and moment’s later, he picked out Butler’s breathing as well. Slowly, he realized that the other had finally stopped, and with that realization came many more.

First, despite the almost comically vast contrast between Butler’s immense frame and Artemis’, well, slightly less daunting one, Artemis’ body had somehow taken the punishment of every single inch Domovoi had to give and managed to remain completely intact—a good first step. Second, though he had initially doubted the possibility of his current situation ever being even remotely ‘comfortable,’ he now found it a great deal more bearable. Domovoi’s chest and stomach felt good against Artemis’ back, all lean muscle and predatory strength that rippled with lethal promise every time he took a breath, and his hand felt good at Artemis’ waist, powerful, protective, and possessive all at once.

Artemis let a hand drop from the headboard, and his heart fluttered when Domovoi’s caught it, warmth flooding his chest as their fingers tangled as intimately as their bodies. Then, Domovoi’s lips grazed his shoulder, and Artemis decided the current situation was definitely several cuts above ‘bearable.'

“Are you hurting?”

The question came out across his neck this time, sparking a hot prickle of feeling low in Artemis’ gut, and he quickly shook his head, the word ‘hurt’ effectively wiped from his vocabulary by Domovoi’s lips and hands as they proceeded to trace slow, teasing patterns across his already over sensitized skin.

“N-no,” he said. “Not,” The words stalled in his throat, Domovoi’s teeth tugging ever so maddeningly lightly at his earlobe, and Artemis swallowed, eyes shut as he gasped loosely, “Not anymore.”

When Domovoi moved, Artemis forgot to breathe. Slow, agonizing strokes sent heat, pain, and euphoria clawing up every nerve in his body. His muscles drew taut and his instincts teetered between screaming for it to end and begging for it never to stop. His lungs burned and only Domovoi’s hand in his rooted him to this world; he clutched at it for life and sanity.

Slowly, gradually the pain wore away, as promised—long, patient movements working it back bit by bit until, after a desperate eternity, Artemis finally knew nothing but blessed delirium. For the first time in his life, he disregarded thought completely. He surrendered himself to the overwhelming wash of unfamiliar, yet unbelievably addicting sensations sweeping his body and put his complete trust—as he always had—in Butler. It yielded positive results, to say the least.

Domovoi moved with the same steady, uncompromised self-assurance that he did in all other ventures. He knew what Artemis’ body craved long before Artemis himself, and, with a few scattered touches, could bring him, trembling, to the outermost brink of insanity, only to hold off at the last minute and leave him shaking with unsatisfied need. Artemis might have deemed the situation worth swearing over if he could have found the breath to utter more than a broken moan.

Then, Domovoi struck something in him, and for a brief second, the world as Artemis knew it fell out from under him. When he returned to it, he hastened to re-swallow his heart and lungs before gasping, “Butler, what, pray tell, was that?”

“You aced anatomy, Artemis,” Domovoi reminded him.

Artemis groaned. Had the man always been this difficult? He couldn’t remember. Something about the way Domovoi was moving was making it nearly impossible to concentrate. “P-prostate,” he whispered finally, and hot air tickled the shell of his ear as Butler rewarded his answer with a soft chuckle and a kiss to the neck.

“Precisely,” he said.

Artemis snorted and opened his mouth, every bit intent on spouting some witty retort when suddenly, the option disappeared. One strike to that spot, and fifteen years of painstakingly cultivated highborn etiquette burst into flame. Fowls did not beg; neither did they scream, but Artemis was very near being driven insane by the urge to do both as he arched back helplessly into Domovoi’s advances and buried his moans in the pillow below. Of all the things in life impossible to learn about from textbooks, sex had to be at the top of the list.

It was cruel, exquisite torture. It did to rigorous morals what good soap did to tough stains. Within minutes, Artemis had decided that perhaps Fowls might be permitted to beg only on very special occasions—or when under extreme stress. Just to be on the safe side, he shut his eyes and bit his tongue as Domovoi hit again. When Domovoi’s hand slipped down from his hip to skim the spans of his stomach, however, skirting dangerously close to where Artemis abruptly realized he desperately wanted it, morals disappeared in a puff of smoke.

“Domovoi,” he whined piteously, making every effort to convince himself that grinding his hips wantonly into the sheets as he begged his manservant to bring him off was not half as degrading as a great many other things he could have been doing at that moment. “Please…”

Mercifully, Domovoi required no further prompting. When sure fingers first skimmed the length of his aching arousal, Artemis jerked into the touch, lips parting with a sharp, choked cry that died almost before it started. Immediately after, he whimpered, and his body shook as Domovoi’s hand closed around him, instinct warring fiercely with his last shred of pride as Artemis struggled not to buck directly into the grip in a fervent search for much needed friction.

Logistically, it shouldn’t have felt much different than his own hand—save for perhaps being larger and a good deal more calloused—but, to hell with reason, there was no comparison. Domovoi’s touch set off firecrackers in his brain, and in combination with the same slow, steady strokes that turned his fecund mind to mush, Artemis could do nothing but quiver and pray. Before the pace sped up, Artemis had cursed in five languages, prayed to twelve separate religious deities, and conveniently forgotten every code of refined conduct ever taught him. By the time the pace finally did speed up, it was all worth it.

No language Artemis knew had words apt to describe his sentiments then—and Artemis knew a lot of languages. It felt as if he’d been left dangling for eternity, suspended thousands of feet up on some flimsy thread until he didn’t care what lie below, so long as he no longer had to hang in suspense, and finally, finally, something had come along to snap the thread. Pursuit of that final snap consumed him.

Meanwhile, Domovoi sensed his charge’s approaching climax and purposefully tightened his movements. Artemis’ body was tight, taut, and smooth from every angle—like hot silk to the touch—and the noises he made, despite his obvious attempts to muffle them, drove Domovoi positively mad in the best way possible. As the irregularity of Artemis’ anxious writhing increased, Domovoi fought to retain his control, knowing with an almost primal instinct that neither of them would last much longer. Drawn by a savory patch of ivory, he bent forward, claiming a last taste of the sweet skin and salt sweat of Artemis’ neck. He smiled when Artemis’ lithe figure grew instantly rigid to the touch, an unmistakable prelude to release.

Cultured aristocrats did not scream, but tonight, Artemis would make an exception. With hot lips at his neck, sure hands at his straining arousal, and an adamant body buried deep in his own, Artemis’ world shattered like a glass rose on concrete. Orgasm overtook him with the dizzying force of a seismic quake, and he surrendered to it, shuddering his release into the previously pristine sheets and arching one final time against Domovoi’s onslaught before collapsing entirely. He noted Domovoi’s consequent completion moments later with the offhanded, complacent air of one thoroughly satisfied and driven far beyond the point of exhaustion.

For a time, they simply lay there, breathless and panting, intimately entwined, and each too utterly spent to bother initiating movement. Only the muffled pitter-patter of a misty rain outside kept it from a perfect silence.

Then, with unruffled nonchalance that only a Fowl could muster under such unconventional circumstances, Artemis gave a contented yawn and announced sleepily to the wide world in general, “I’m hungry.”

Above him, Domovoi groaned. Taking care not to move brashly, even at this stage, he slowly untangled himself from his young charge. Rolling slightly to the side so as not to crush Artemis’ frailer figure, he too succumbed to collapsing in the sheets. After a moment he said, “Did you have anything in mind?” He heard the sheets rustle and glanced to the side to find Artemis staring at him with an oddly fond expression he was nearly positive he’d never seen before.

“You would do that, wouldn’t you,” said Artemis, making it a statement, not a question. He propped his head up on one elbow to better scrutinize his bodyguard. “If I asked it of you, you would get up, get dressed, go downstairs, prepare any dinner of my choosing, and bring it up here to me, despite the fact that I’d almost surely be fast asleep by the time you finished?”

Butler shrugged his shoulders noncommittally. “If you asked it of me, yes, of course…though I can’t promise I’d get dressed.”

For some reason, Artemis’ cheeks grew extremely pink with the last comment, and Butler chuckled, a low, brassy rumble that did nothing to help Artemis’ condition. Pouting, Artemis slapped his chest good-naturedly, something to the effect of throwing a feather at a brick wall. “You…I let you get away with too much,” he scolded.

“Hn.” Butler smiled, noting without comment that Artemis’ hand lingered on his chest where he hit. “Do you now?”

“Indeed,” murmured Artemis, and somehow, they’d made it close enough so that when Artemis leaned up and Butler leaned down, their lips tangled, soft and lazy. When they separated, Artemis regarded his lover through a half-lidded gaze. “Have I ever told you you’re wonderful?” he asked quietly, and Butler brushed back a free-falling strand of black silk.

“Not that I recall,” he replied, and Artemis shut his eyes, leaning contentedly into the touch.

“Hm…in that case, I’ll have to make a point to inform you more often.” He kissed Butler’s palm. “You’re wonderful.”

Butler smiled. “Are you still hungry?” he asked.

“Yes,” answered Artemis, “but I’d rather you sleep with me than cook for me at the moment.” He slipped back down into the sheets, then opened an eye to glance Butler’s way. “Think you can handle that?”

Butler chuckled, drawing his young lover into a close spoon against him, and nuzzling Artemis’ neck with unadulterated affection. “Yes,” he murmured eventually, “that, I think I can handle.”


Part 3 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Artemis Fowl ~~~~~~~~         


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