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A Favour for a Coin

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                Sometimes it was hard to keep a blank expression, other times it was impossible, but as the King’s personal guard it was always expected. Keeping neutral was as important as not sharing the gossip he overheard and he did hear the juiciest gossip.

                “The father, he looks like me?” The King asked his wife, without a hint of disproval that she had found herself pregnant with another man’s child. He cared only for an heir, one he had point blank refused to produce himself. The King’s guard had been through the entire drama, consoling the drunk crown Prince who had learned he must marry, hiding the truth of the King’s affairs with silence, the old King’s death, the revelation to the Queen that she simply lacked the ability to please her husband. Now the King’s plan was set in motion and surprisingly not a single actor in this show before him was upset.

                “He’s your race, height and build,” The queen reassured him. “The child should look enough like us not to raise suspicion.”

                “Then you did well,” The king said, wrapping an arm over the Queen’s shoulders and holding her in a loving embrace. The Queen’s guard, Issay, almost looked uncomfortable at the gesture though he was hiding it well. ‘Atsushi and Issay?’ The King’s guard thought with amusement, ‘He certainly knows how to make his way around the castle.’ “You can name our child, as agreed.”

                “It’s our child now? As if you are going to do any of the work? You wouldn’t even get me pregnant.” The Queen scolded, making it almost impossible for the King’s guard not to smile. She’d got him there; King Atsushi was far more likely to be found drinking with the men in his guard, than in a nursery. Atsushi was kind and affection when he choose to be so, the rest of the time acting distant and aloof, never once had the guard seen him act fatherly. In all honest, the King wasn’t good around children at all.

                “Well you will have plenty of staff to help you,” Atsushi tried to bargain, “And I’ll be there for the most important moments, I promise.”

                “If this child was really yours, I’d be so mad right now.” The queen scolded him, but she was smiling anyway. Despite everything, they had found some form of true love. Everything was working so nicely for everyone around him, the King’s guard had never felt so much alone.

 

                Later that night the guard decided to drown his sorrows at the local tavern. It wasn’t often that he ventured into town and he’d forgotten the way his uniform drew attention. Ignoring the gazes of those around him, he took a seat at the bar and ordered his favourite drink trying to keep himself to himself. His only friends were guards like himself and the King that he protected, it was enough for a man like him.

                “You should buy another and stay for the show,” The bar maid encouraged, as the guard placed his empty glass down on the bar. “They’re really very good.”

                “What kind of show?” The guard asked, debating the decision to stay. It wasn’t too late but he did have an early start. He’d be no good to the King if he was tired.

                “A play,” The bar maid replied, already serving the second drink he hadn’t agreed too. “Of love and tragedy.”

                “It hardly seems my kind of play,” The guard answered, placing the money for his drink and turning towards the stage where an actress had appeared. “But I’ll suppose I’ll stay and watch.”

                The show began with a song that quickly had the guard hooked. It was true that this wasn’t his type of play at all, but the actress was certainly talented and the story easy to follow but still with surprising twists and turns. Before he knew it, he was mesmerised by the whole thing, in particular the leading man who he just couldn’t draw his eyes away from. The show ended before he was ready for it to, leaving him with a desperate need for more. His mind whirled with what he had seen and he glanced at his empty glass with displeasure. To feel this way, exactly what had been in his drink?

                An actress approached from the stage, all smiles with a keen look to her eyes. It wasn’t unusual for an actress to sell herself after a show, neither was it unusual for an actress to head straight his way. The guard knew he was considered beautiful, though in his own eyes he was far too feminine and longed for a more traditionally masculine face. When he was younger his mother had scolded him, repeating firmly that the only reason he didn’t like the way he looked was because he simply wasn’t his own type. In the end he had learned to agree with her, for whilst he didn’t find himself handsome there were many that did.

                “So, did you like the play?” The actress asked, her tone seductive and alluring. She was beautiful, the guard noted, and the attention she was throwing his way had made the men around him envious and resentful. In their eyes he had committed the duel sins of being handsome and in a position of power and respect.

                “I wouldn’t usually enjoy a romantic tragedy, but this one must be an exception,” He answered honestly. “You have some truly talented actors in the troupe.”

                “You flatter us,” The actress said, resting her hand on his knee, “Perhaps you should back up those words with a drink?”

                “You have the wrong impression,” the guard said, taking her hand and gently removing it from his leg. “I have already received the entertainment I expected tonight.”

                “Have you?” She asked, “I think you are actually waiting for the attention from another. Don’t look so shocked, I’m not offended, I suspected as much. I’ll go find them for you.”

                “That’s not what I meant!” the guard protested, but the actress was already searching the tavern for her colleague. Taking his chance, the guard slipped out of the building and began to head back to the castle. The female attention made him uncomfortable and he knew the local men would be relieved that the competition had gone.

                He wasn’t far from the castle gates when he heard running footsteps behind him and, on instinct, he turned to face the threat before scolding himself silently. He was off duty and just because this man was running, it didn’t mean he was dangerous or up to no good.

                “You were the man staring at me all night, now you leave?” The blond actor scolded, as he fought to get his breath.

                “I’m sorry,” The guard apologised, “I didn’t realise you wanted to talk.”

                “Talk?” The blond asked, “You know what I am. Chisa told me you were waiting?”

                “The actress from before?” the guard asked, his eyes widening as he understood the actress’ intentions. Chisa had thought his rejection was in favour of the man before him? Which would mean… “You sell your body too?”

                “I do small favours for cash,” The actor replied, giving the guard a suspicious look. “You really weren’t after that, were you? I’m sorry, it looks like Chisa was carried away. You were clearly just enjoying the play. I’ll leave you now.”

                “You’re scared of me, aren’t you?” the guard realised. “Because I’m the King’s guard?”

                “King’s guard?” the actor repeated, “For real? Then I really have messed up.”

                “What’s your name?” the guard asked, not sure why he wasn’t just allowing the actor to leave.

                “Yuto,” the actor replied. “Could I have yours?”

                “Leoneil,” The guard answered. “I want you to perform again at the castle, of course your troop will be paid. I’ll need the King’s permission first but I can’t think why he would say no. I’ll send someone tomorrow to confirm everything with your leader.”

                “You must have really liked the play,” Yuto commented, now wearing a relieved smile. “I really am sorry, for misunderstanding your intent.”

                “I don’t think you entirely misunderstood,” Leoneil reassured him. “I’m just not the type to pay for that kind of pleasure.”

                “I see.” Yuto replied, giving Leoneil a curious look. Shocked at his own behaviour, Leoneil turned and headed home as his brain tried to come to terms with what had just happened. It was the drink, it had to be, and at very least the actor had revealed more to him than he had done in return. Selling himself for small favours? He assumed the favours must be sexual in nature, but what did small favours even mean? More importantly, why was he actually considering taking the actor up on the offer?

 

                The King of course agreed to the suggestion of the actors coming to the castle. He wasn’t one to deny his guard’s requests, especially ones that would please many in the castle. He did however take the credit for himself, something Leoneil gently scolded him for in private where he knew he was free to speak his own mind.

                “And who’s money is paying this actor’s troop?” Atsushi questioned Leoneil, “At very least let me take the credit.”

                “You’re impossible,” Leoneil teased, his smile fading into a neutral expression as the bedroom door opened. “Well seeing as Issay is here, should I be guarding the queen?”

                “She’s getting changed,” Issay reassured him. “As is the King. He needs privacy.”

                “Oh, right.” Leoneil replied, slipping out of the room quickly. The King had only just gotten dressed and he wasn’t prepared to be in the room as the clothes fell to the floor. Instead he stood in the hallway, his thoughts returning to the actor from before. If these acts were good enough for the King, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to offer the actor a few coins to return to his room that night? Could he do it? A male lover was one thing, a male companion entirely different.

                The evening approached slower than Leoneil would like, his mind debating one side and then the other of the decision he needed to make. He was sure the King had noticed, but Atsushi said nothing on the matter even when they were alone.

                The play started and it was hard to remain on duty, his eyes constantly stayed on the blond actor whenever he was on stage. Upon realising this he’d quickly divert his attention away but it wasn’t long before the King realised what he was up to. Unlike the tavern, the King had insisted on a half hour break between the third and fourth acts and it was at this break he finally spoke up.

                “Leoneil, you’re off duty for the rest of the night.” Atsushi said, with a tone that was very formal but absent of any discontentment.

                “Your Highness…” Leoneil began, wondering what it was he had done wrong.

                “I can tell you would rather watch the play than guard me, we’re in a crowded room with many guards, take the night off.” Atsushi ordered, before picking Leoneil’s replacement in the next breath. Rather shocked, Leoneil simply remained sat in place though he made no further attempts to do anything but watch the final two acts. This time the girls didn’t come down from the stage, merely bowing politely to rounds of applause and leaving to the back. Within the fuss, Leoneil slipped out of the room with a pounding heart. The King was on to him, he’d probably been on to him before the performers had even arrived, he wasn’t sure if this was a blessing or a curse.

                Unable to handle his emotions, he returned to his room and took off the twin tailed coat he wore as part of his uniform. The coat was lovingly hung up and he took a seat by the window, staring out across the central courtyard with conflicting emotions. He couldn’t start a relationship with an actor, they travelled all over the country and Yuto had admitted to being willing to accept a coin for favours. He was the King’s guard! He needed a partner that would bring him respect! It was pushing convention preferring a man to begin with, for whilst the King himself did not condone his sexuality, some older members of the court still did.

                A knock on the door surprised him, and half expecting the King had come to tease him, he pulled it open to find the very blond he couldn’t stop thinking about. He smiled nervously as the blond entered, shocked when an envelope was placed in his hand.

                “What is this?” The blond asked, holding up a small copper coin. “You may be handsome, but this won’t pay for much.”

                “What? I didn’t…” Leoneil protested, glancing at the envelope that he had in fact prepared. “What I mean is, I never took that out of my pocket. I don’t know how you got it.”

                “A palace guard gave it me, I don’t know his name but he was sat with the royal couple,” Yuto explained. “But even if you didn’t give this me, you meant to?”

                “Damn him,” Leoneil cursed the King. Atsushi had taken the envelope out of his pocket and given it to Issay to deliver. It was the only explanation, it wasn’t the first time he’d meddled in his guard’s love life. “Well I guess the decision was made for me. Yes, I did write that note and pay that coin.”

                “The note say’s one small favour? It must be very small to pay so little,” Yuto scolded. “You’re lucky you’re pretty, or I may not have come at all.”

                “I just wanted to talk to you,” Leoneil confessed. “I’m not the type to pay for favours.”

                “Yes, we established that,” Yuto replied, taking a seat at the edge of Leoneil’s bed. “Fine, I’ll accept the coin to talk, I don’t feel like getting involved with anyone in the castle anyway.”

                “That can’t be true,” Leoneil commented, sitting at the desk chair by the window again. “The men here could pay you well, far better than anyone in town. You’re losing profit.”

                “I don’t really care about profit,” Yuto replied with a shrug. “I’d never let an ugly or cruel man have a single favour.”

                “So what you’re saying is you charge those who could have got you for free?” Leoneil challenged. “That seems, well cruel.”

                “How so?” Yuto demanded. “These men want me, I want them, but society would never let us be together! So yes, I charge, if it’s the only way the man can justify taking me to bed!”

                “This is a social class thing,” Leoneil realised. “People would already have judged you because you’re an actor.”

                “You’re getting it,” Yuto replied. “I can’t help but be attracted to powerful men, men an actor like me could never be with conventionally. You’ll say now that you understand, that you feel bad for me, comfort me, just like they all do. Yet you won’t understand, you can’t possible, because you’re in a position of power and have the ability to choose whoever you want.”

                “I didn’t pay you to pick an argument,” Leoneil complained. “But if you think a gay man could have whoever he wants, just because he’s the King’s guard, then you’re a fool. I’ve fallen in love with men who only want women, men who want men but hate that part of themselves so much they would never consider it, men above my station. You’re not the only one who’s wanted a man you can’t have, so stop acting like the concept is so special.”

                “You don’t hold back, do you?” Yuto said with a bemused smile. “I guess that makes you different, if only a little.”

                “Is that you admitting you’re wrong?” Leoneil asked, as the smiling blond stood up and moved towards him.

                “Maybe, or maybe it’s me remembering I’ve been paid.” Yuto said, kneeling between the laced boots that Leoneil wore. “Should I be good, Leoneil, or do you want the coin back.”

                “I want the coin back,” Leoneil answered, taking the copper coin from the surprised man kneeling between his legs. “I told you, I don’t pay for these things.”

                “I bet you get them for free,” Yuto agreed, his finger tracing over the other’s crotch that was almost entirely on display through the tight trousers Leoneil wore. “I want this but a man like you, well you wouldn’t want a man like me. I’m just an actor and…”

                “I want you,” Leoneil stopped him. “As you are, I don’t care that you’re an actor, that you accept coins for small favours but I do care that I know nothing more about you.”

                “You want my life story?” Yuto asked. “Is that what it takes to seduce you?”

                “We’ll have a drink and talk, enough to be considered a real date.” Leoneil corrected, carefully standing up without hurting the other. With his heart racing, he retrieved a bottle of whiskey and two glasses and began to pour. It’d taken so much restraint not to take advantage of the blond but he simply couldn’t sleep with a man he had only recently been close to arguing with.

                When he found the courage to turn and face the other, he found that Yuto had returned to sitting on the bed, his innocent smile suggesting that Leoneil had done the right thing to reject him. He was going to be different to the men that Yuto had had before. Even if by being different he may end up not getting the one thing his heart was longing for.

                “My life story for a drink, right?” Yuto asked as he took the glass and sipped the drink. “I was born on a summer’s day in…”

                “Not that far back,” Leoneil stopped him. “Why don’t you start with how you got into acting?”

                “You’re missing out on a lot,” Yuto warned, his grin wider than it had been before. “Let’s see, as such stories go, it began with a girl…”

 

                Leoneil stumbled as he stood up, the three glasses of whiskey combining with his nerves to make him feel rather unsteady. They must have been talking for hours, though it felt like only minutes had passed. His physical attraction was nothing compared to the emotional bond he now felt for the other. He’d told Yuto things he had never told anyone before and to his surprise he didn’t regret it. Quite the opposite, it felt good to have been able to share the truth with someone who obviously cared.

                “Are you drunk on three small glasses?” Yuto teased. The dark-haired man shook his head in indignation.

                “Only by the sight of you,” Leoneil replied, pushing Yuto back against his bed and crawling over him. The kiss was not rejected, nor was it unwanted, the returned passion speaking louder than words. Holding back had made this moment feel almost magical, to be kissing Yuto was the best gift he could have ever received. “I’m sorry, I didn’t pay you, did I?”

                “Three glasses of whiskey,” Yuto reminded him. “I think that’s enough for everything, don’t you think?”

                “Well that whiskey wasn’t cheap.” Leoneil agreed, pinning Yuto down by the wrists and kissing him with just as much passion as before. He wanted so badly to force the other to completely submit to him but even more he wanted to cherish every moment with the other. He’d never felt this way before, not once, so whilst he kept control, he let the other’s wrists go.

                “Let me suck your cock, please,” Yuto begged. “It’s been staring at me for the last half hour. The moment you were hard, those trousers revealed every magnificent curve.”

                “The coat usually covers the crotch,” Leoneil tried to explain, but the blond was having none of that and before he knew it, he was lying on his back with the blond back between his thigh. “Fine, if you want to be between my legs so desperately, I suppose I’ll let you.”

                “I was paid to have lessons.” Yuto teased him, his lips moving so close to the other’s crotch that his warm breath could be felt through the fabric. The lips met his crotch in a flutter, before the blond released his hard length with ease.

                ‘He has had practise,” Leoneil thought as pleasure swept down his spine, ‘For some reason I’m not even considered to be jealous of those who have felt this before.’ A moan escaped his lips and he let himself relax and give in to pleasure. This relationship wasn’t going to be like any of the others he had experienced and perhaps that was for the best, the other relationships hadn’t lasted in the end anyway.

                “You taste so good,” Yuto remarked, his tongue running up from the base of Leoneil’s cock. “You have pre-cum already.”

                “Well that’s your fault,” Leoneil said, his moans giving away exactly why that was. “You’re just too good.”

                “Then I’ll stop,” Yuto answered, pulling away with an almost sadistic smile. “I want that cum to be in my ass, not my mouth.”

                “I’d fill you to the brim,” Leoneil warned, “But whilst I will cum in your ass, I’m going to put our health first.”

                “Well aren’t you Mr. Responsible?” Yuto teased, but it was his own condom that was being pushed gently down Leoneil’s length. More than pleased by this turn of events, though missing Yuto’s mouth so much, Leoneil embraced the other and held him close as they kissed. After the fact he would have no idea how they even managed to get undressed but they must have done, for they were soon naked in each other’s arms.

                “I can’t wait for you much longer.” Leoneil warned, encouraging the other onto hands and knees as he quickly retrieved some lube.  With fingers coated well, he began to explore the hole he was desperate now to fill. He was desperate for release now, after he’d been so good and waited only to be denied so cruelly by the other’s skilled tongue. He could have become aroused again, Yuto was hot enough, but perhaps the other had been disappointed before? If that was the case, then he too knew about being let down in the bedroom and could sympathise.

                Once stretched, Leoneil slipped his length slowly into the other and this time it was Yuto’s turn to moan. The moans didn’t make Leoneil stop, for they were clearly gasps of pleasure, and he was soon buried as deep as he could be in the other. Gently he took hold of the other’s hips and picked up a gentle pace. He was using this man’s body, claiming the other as his own, even as the other gave him everything willing. He had wanted to dominate the other completely from the moment he had seen him on stage and even now he was holding back, choosing compassion and pleasure above all else.

                “I promise that I will cherish you.” Leoneil got out, relieved that Yuto couldn’t see him blushing. It was close to a declaration of love but it seemed Yuto had missed the true impact of the words. At very least, he only responded in a moan of bliss. ‘I can have a relationship like this,’ Leoneil thought. ‘If it is to be with him.’

                When Leoneil came, he slipped out of the other and helped Yuto find his own pleasure before taking him in his arms. They’d talked so much before but it was only now that Leoneil realised that they hadn’t talked about anything important. The past made them who they were now, but where had been the discussion of the future?

                “Your theatre troop won’t be in town for long, will they?” Leoneil asked, his heart threatening to break at the revelation.

                “A few months,” Yuto answered. “What? Don’t seem so surprised. We tour for nine months, starting and ending here, before rehearsing a new play and touring again. We’ve just finished with this play, that was why we had time for this extra showing.”

                “Three months, is that how long we’ve got?” Leoneil asked, relieved by the idea but still sad that Yuto would eventually go.

                “If we are together that long, we’ll find a way to go for the other nine,” Yuto promised, kissing Leoneil gently. “That’s what you’re really asking, isn’t it?”

                “I suppose it is,” Leoneil answered. “We may not even be compatible in the end.”

                “Was I not good for you?” Yuto asked, in a teasing tone that made it clear he thought that everything had been amazing.

                “You were great,” Leoneil answered, holding Yuto closer. “But let me tell you about all the things I wanted to do to you. If you don’t run, perhaps we may just have a chance.”

                “I won’t run,” Yuto promised. “You’ll find for most things, I’ll probably even say yes.”