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Chess (ficlet)

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Written in response to this prompt: Tommy comes to Margate again and somehow ends up playing a game of chess with Alfie despite knowing only very little about it and somehow it turns into a game of strip chess and Tommy pretends to be Very Mad About It.

First of all, Tommy is good at chess. Very good. I mean it’s a game that requires strategy and subterfuge, and a player to think at least ten steps ahead of his opponent. Tommy was born for it. He hasn’t, however, played it all that often. Certainly not as often as Alfie has of late (well, you have a lot of time on your hands when you’re dead). Alfie has one board set up in the corner just for an ongoing game with Olly which they play via the telephone, mostly, and the odd half hour in person when he visits. They keep a careful track of each other's place via pencil, paper and grid references. Alfie’s even taken to playing with the delivery boy from the grocery shop on occasion (when he’s craved something a little more intellectually stimulating than shooting seagulls). 

Which is why it is particularly galling that Tommy has wiped out one bishop, a knight and a rook within the first two dozen moves. 

But Alfie can bide his time because he is nothing if not patient. The exact opposite of Tommy. Tommy is playing like he cannot get this game over with quick enough. Which is not the point with chess, now, is it? And the thing is Alfie can see it coming. Can see him getting cocky, so fucking sure of his abilities that his concentration is slipping. A lot like what happened with that fascist to be honest, and that didn’t end well. 

He can sense Tommy’s growing impatience as he slowly considers his next move. He’s not going to rise to it, Tommy came here so Tommy can damn well wait, but an idea is brewing in his mind.

”Alfie, just play your next move.”

Alfie just strokes at his beard. Another few minutes pass.

“Stop stroking your chin and get on with it.”

“My chin, yeah. One of the few bits of my face left undamaged. Quite fond of stroking it, as it happens.” 

“Alfie, just play your goddamn move or I’m gonna play it for you. S’fuckin’ obvious.”

“Did you know that chins, right, are uniquely human?”

Tommy just raises his eyebrows in a gesture that says what the fuck? He doesn’t actually roll his eyes, but he’d like to, Alfie can tell.

“Not even our nearest relatives, the apes, possess a bony protuberance beneath their teeth, which is interesting bec….” he doesn’t finish the sentence because Tommy has got out of his chair, reached over to Alfie’s side and moved his remaining knight to cover his queen. It has left Alfie, unusually, speechless. I mean it was exactly the move he was going to make, eventually, but that doesn’t make what Tommy’s done any less mother-fucking rude.

“Well that is just very unsporting Tommy. Very fucking unsporting indeed. Gonna have to be some sort of penalty for that.”

Tommy is leaning back in his chair again with an amused expression on his face. He purses his lips and looks out of the doors momentarily and when he turns back he actually has the semblance of a smile on his face. “A penalty?” he says, reaching for his cigarettes.

“Yeah, mate. A penalty,” Alfie repeats, feigning interest in the horizon for a moment. “A forfeit, if you will.”

“What kind of penalty, Alfie?”

“Think you’re gonna have to lose something, Tommy. Let me see. The jacket should do it.”

“Alfie, it’s fucking chess. I’m not taking my clothes off.”

“And the waistcoat, yeah. That can go too.”

“I’m not taking anything off unless you take one of my pieces.” 

“Oh yes you are, mate,” he says, voice low and gravelly now, because he’s fucking onto something here.

There’s a long pause. Tommy’s lighting a cigarette but his eyes don’t stray an inch from Alfie’s. “Fine then,” he says suddenly. He clamps the cigarette between his teeth and roughly shrugs off his jacket, undoes his waistcoat. “S’not gonna help you win though,” he says, reaching over and playing his next move, swiftly.

Alfie surveys the board for a long time. He knows exactly what move he’s going to make but he’s enjoying Tommy’s agitation. Eventually he leans forward and takes one of Tommy’s pawns. “Shoes,” he says, without looking up.

He listens as Tommy reaches down and angrily undoes his laces. He mutters something indistinguishable as he kicks of the brogues before returning to the game in hand. He moves his queen.

Alfie cracks his knuckles loudly and then switches his king with his remaining rook.

“You can’t do that,” Tommy immediately interjects.

“Fuckin can mate, it’s called castling.”

“I know what it’s called, Alfie, but you can’t do it. You’ve already moved your king.” He’s goddamn right of course, sharp as a knife that boy, but Alfie’ll be damned if he’s gonna admit it.

“No I haven’t,” he immediately lies.

“Alfie, you did it right at the start, when you were in check.”

“Nah, you’re dreaming it, mate. Must be getting on a bit, losing your memory.”

“I am not fucking dreaming it. Alfie you…”

“Trousers,” Alfie growls.

“You what?”

“Trousers. Off.”

“I came here, believe it or not, to talk business.”

“Oh, did you now? And you’ve never talked business without your trousers on before, hmm?”

Tommy has the decency to blush slightly at that statement. Whilst looking endearingly pissed off.

“Stop complaining like some schoolgirl who’s been outsmarted by the class bully. Miss, miss, she cheated,” he mimics in a high pitched voice, which makes the change of tone that follows all the more effective. “Get them fucking off.”

The mocking has the desired effect; Tommy stands up and churlishly removes his woollen slacks, throwing them furiously over towards the fire.

Before he has a chance to sit back down Alfie tips up the chess board and lets all of the pieces slide noisily to the floor.

“Fucking hell, Alfie.” Tommy huffs. He looks genuinely exasperated, angry even, which is rather satisfying on a number of levels.

Oh dear, looks like you’ve lost a few more pieces,” Alfie says, voice ludicrously sincere. “Shorts,” he says, nodding decisively towards Tommy’s pelvis. 

Tommy glares at him furiously but Alfie can see the cogs whirring, weighing up the options. He slides out of the cotton underwear until he’s gloriously naked from the waist down. Well, apart from the socks and garters, but that all rather adds to the effect. 

“Now get the fuck over here and pick those up,” Alfie orders. When Tommy hesitates he decides to add a little incentive. “And if you’re a good boy, I won’t have to belt you while you’re down there. Be terribly hard to explain those noises to the nurse. She’s only in the parlour.”

Tommy drops to his knees at that, starts picking up the pieces as Alfie unbuttons his own trousers. He slaps them carelessly back on the coffee table where they proceed to roll off all over again. Alfie watches for a moment, amused, but impatience finally gets the better of him.

“For fucks sake, just get over here, I have something else you can attend to.”

Then he reaches over and grabs Tommy roughly by the hair, forcing him to crawl the last few inches towards the edge of the sofa.  He pulls Tommy’s face into his groin and leans down to glare. 

“Don’t worry, love, you’re still good for something,” he coos as he forces his half hard cock into Tommy’s mouth. “And you can fucking look at me while you’re warming my cock.”

Tommy lets out a muffled groan of frustration, as Alfie’s intention becomes clear. He starts to lick underneath the head and suck his cheeks in. Alfie grips his chin, hard  and tilts him upwards slightly. “Did you misunderstand me Tommy? I want you to warm my cock. Not suck it.” Tommy stills his tongue obediently, his eyes burning with absolute fury.

“There, there,” Alfie tuts, tapping his cheek gently as he settles himself back against the sofa. “A little lesson in patience will do you the world of good, Thomas.” He reaches for the book on his side table and proceeds to read to himself.  He can feel Tommy’s breath pulsing, sharp and fast, against his pubic bone. It’s like a gift from the fucking gods. 

Ten minutes have passed before Tommy dares to protest. He licks again, long and slow, and it takes considerable restraint on Alfie’s part not to rut straight into his mouth. He doesn’t. Instead he reaches down and slaps Tommy’s cheek, daring him to try again. 

When another ten minutes have passed he shifts his hips slightly, reminding the man at his feet that he is still watching. “D’you know, I think I fancy a cup of tea, Tommy,” he says innocently. Tommy moves as if to pull back but is swiftly held in place with a ringed hand in his fringe. “No need for you to move, lovely, I have staff for that, even here. Nurse!” he shouts abruptly. “We’ll take tea, in the living room please.”

“Right you are Mr Solomons,” comes the reply from deep within the house. 

And if Tommy looked furious before he looks downright livid now. Or maybe it’s terrified. Hard to tell when he’s on his knees with a cock in his mouth. “You stay where you are for the next five minutes and I’ll let you get up before she comes in,” he says, without releasing his hair. “Can I trust you Tommy?” he asks quietly. “Because good boys get a reward?”

Tommy nods, just barely, cheeks flushing at the promised praise. The minutes tick by achingly slowly, Alfie feigning deep concentration in his book. When he hears footsteps approaching down the corridor he bucks his hips, signalling Tommy’s freedom to move. Alfie simply places his open book over his lap and smirks as Tommy scrabbles desperately for his clothes. There isn’t time, of course, he’s still on his knees when the nurse arrives, almost hiding behind the sofa.

“Don’t mind him, he knocked over the board,” Alfie offers, charmingly. “Just picking up the pieces aren’t you, Mr Shelby? My back’s not up to it you see.”

The nurse’s eyes flicker towards Tommy just briefly, and if she notes his state of undress she ignores it. “And you can go now, dear, once that’s poured,” Alfie says, “No need to stay until eight.”

When she leaves the room Tommy glares at him through gritted teeth, his entire face flushed red. “You fucking, fucking, cunt…”  he hisses, but somehow they’re on each other within seconds, kissing deeply, angrily. And when the front door closes, the nurse has left, they stumble into the bedroom like a pair of desperate teenagers. The sex is hard and angry and satisfying, Tommy bent over the edge of the bed as Alfie slams into him, telling him how well he has done. When they later move onto the bed Tommy takes out his frustration on Alfie’s back, nails scraping hard and deep. It only spurs Alfie on to faster, to harder, which is no doubt exactly what he intended. They come together in a medley of grunts and curses and teeth and nails that finishes with a crushing embrace. 

“Haven’t seen you so angry at me in a long time,” Alfie mumbles.

“You’re a cheat and a bastard,” Tommy replies as he lights a cigarette.

“I know. That’s why you love me.”

“She could fucking tell anyone.”

“Who, Dorothy?” 

“Don’t give her a fucking name, that just makes it worse.“

“She’s partially sighted ,” Alfie says, biting at a fingernail. “Can see fuck all bar what’s under her nose.”

Tommy slaps him so hard across his chest that it really should hurt, but all Alfie can do is laugh. And laugh. And reach over to kiss Tommy gently. “Did as you were told, anyway though, didn’t you?" he says adoringly. "Tommy Shelby just wants to be a good boy.”

“Fuck off,” is all Tommy can say.