Seeing John in that crowded, stuffy room was a balm of delight. It was stifling in the summer heat of the Caribbean and Jamie was delirious with it. He found the masses suffocating and his head spun as if he had gone too far into his cups. He swayed a bit as he walked around the room, trying to keep his head. He would do anything to feel the chill of the highlands in winter at that moment, his throat parched from the sweltering waves of oppressive air that felt more liquid than gaseous. Truly, it was a miserable night made worse by the vacuous mob of the elite and the itchy finery he had been forced to don.
He had arrived in this hideous place as a result of his nephew and his own stupidity. He had hoped beyond hope that providing money to Laoghaire would give her enough grace to release him with the divorce and that it would provide for the two girls. He was fond of the wee lassies but had no desire to be with their mother. Time had healed many wounds but he found it was not his wife that he desired.
He was so very tired of denying himself what he wanted… who he wanted, most.
Ian, the bonnie lad, had eagerly offered to be the one to retrieve the treasure. And surely he had his own stake in it as he was in favor of Jamie’s plans to provide the second half of the money to the family for Lallybroch’s upkeep while Jamie finally escaped to live as a free man. But then the pirates came and stole Ian away with them. And Jamie made haste in pursuit, determined to bring his nephew home.
Which led him here. Now, he was stuck, alone, in Jamaica. The heat was enough to sap the strongest man of his strength, his head was swimming and belly aching with thirst. And he had to meet the ostentatious, stuck-up, prick of a governor who was just as likely to lock Jamie up as he was to help him find Ian.
To be fair, Jamie had never met the man. But his time in bondage and politics both had proven that the man was more likely to be a charlatan and crook than anything approaching decent and honest. Power liked greedy men and even in a hell such as this, that was still likely to hold true. He had been stuck circling and making nice for over an hour, trying to get himself close to the governor so that he could meet him and request his aid.
There had been a tight knot of fawning sycophants around the man all evening and a line formed for those in attendance to make their way forward to greet the man. Jamie could feel himself getting irritated with the delay. It had taken over a week to book passage to go after Ian, with the troubles at sea he had likely been here for nearly a month longer than Jamie himself. He.couldn’t afford the delay. Ian couldn’t afford it either.
Finally a few of the people wandered off and Jamie forced himself upright to approach. He couldn’t look as if he were about to swoon with the vapors even though the heat truly was making it difficult to walk a straight line. His skin felt like it was on fire and he could feel the dampness of his clothes abraid his skin.
The last person he expected to see was John.
John Grey, the only man that Jamie would count as wholesome and good in politics. John, the man who had at once become his closest friend even while flogging him and keeping him jailed. John, the man who agreed to play father for Jamie’s son. John, the one Jamie had pushed away and refused to think of. John… the one person Jamie desired most, and would never have. He felt the heat of the night flush his cheeks as a smile threatened to break out across his face, quite a breach of decorum and yet one he could scarcely hide. “Your Excellency,” he greeted faintly.
“Wha… Jamie!” John’s face had broken from the cool, steely indifference into a veritable sun at the sight of Jamie. John, who made Jamie’s head swim faster and more profoundly than the heat looked at Jamie as if he hung the moon itself. It was more than Jamie could bear in that moment. And it was a true blessing, knowing that John would surely help him in locating Ian.
“It’s good to see ye, John,” he intoned softly, though he still could feel the intense discomforts of the atmosphere. “I’d like to speak with ye, if it’s possible? Whenever ye have the chance. It is a matter of great importance.”
“Of course, Jamie. I’ll need a moment before I can slip away but stay close,” his hand came up to squeeze Jamie’s. John’s fingers lingering a touch longer than appropriate and Jamie felt a fire roar up from his gut which only made him sway very lightly on his feet in response. It was too much and not enough and both the ghosts of his past and his weakness made him acutely aware of the eyes on them.
He minutely squeezed John’s fingers in return and nodded. “Aye, I will.”
While John circled the room, Jamie stalked off to a corner and managed to gently grab the attention of one of the servants walking around with trays. “Water, if ye have it please,” he requested quietly of the dark-skinned man, taking stock of the beautiful tone of his skin and feeling a sour turn at his stomach recognizing the man’s lack of freedom. He knew all too well what it felt like to be trapped even if you weren’t hidden behind stone walls in irons. The poor bastards.
Time seemed to crawl as he drank his water and avoided the women batting their eyes coyly at him from behind fans. He envied them in the having of them, it wasn’t Paris where it was fashionable for men and women alike to carry them. He could feel sweat crawling down his back and chest, the slide of it stroking fire in its trails. His clothing felt abrasive like it would slough his skin off in miniscule amounts. His whole body felt aflame with it, itchy and miserable as he waited for John. It wouldn’t be half as bad if he wasn’t also worried for Ian. But with both plaguing him, he felt as if he might go mad.
Finally, John beckoned him as he made his way across the room, slowly escaping the throng after his political duties were over. It was well after midnight and his smile seemed more a caricature of his normal one for the fatigue of pretending to care. Nay, John was the sort who relished the opportunity to make friends and flourished when genteel manners and quiet authority were needed. But after a whole night of them, Jamie could hardly blame him for the pinched look around his eyes.
He followed John into the office and settled himself with a wince into one of the chairs across the desk. He watched John flit around, grabbing the decanter and pouring them drinks before taking a seat across from Jamie. It was good to see the man again, and Jamie, having feared he would never see the ones he loved alive again, shifted forward to embrace John before he could settle back in his chair.
John stilled for a moment before wrapping his own arms around Jamie and sighing softly at the embrace. It felt awkward and perfectly right all at once to hug the man who had become one of his closest friends. Knowing what he meant to the other… and what John meant to him. “It’s so good to see you, John. But who did you offend that warranted being sent to this hellhole?” Jamie was mostly joking but it was so wretched that his words held a grain of truth.
John toasted Jamie with the drink and took a healthy sip of it, “You’re not far from the truth, my friend,” he muttered. “I was awarded the governor’s seat after the previous governor was killed by a zombie. Although, despite the peculiar happenings of my post, the weather was quite pleasant when I arrived. But now that it has grown hotter and the storms have come, it’s rather dreadful at times. Still, the distance is appreciated.”
Jamie nodded and shifted back, another flash of discomfort crossing his face in response to the chafing. He apparently failed to hide it effectively because John leaned forward and searched his face. “Are you alright, Jamie? Are you hurt?”
“Nay, I’m fine... Just it’s hot and my skin feels like it’s on fire, ye ken? Feels like my shirt isna made of anything but knives,” he managed. He should have been surprised at the hands that twitched toward his shirt as if to take it off but he wasn’t. He glanced at the door and then back to John. “We wilna be disturbed?”
John pursed his lips before standing to lock the door and secure the window shutters before moving close again. “What’s wrong with your skin?” he asked softly, concern coloring his tone. “It isn’t the pox or some inflammation, is it?”
Jamie heard a bustle from the other room and he raised an eyebrow at John, eyes darting toward the sound that came through the closed door further into John’s rooms. John shook his head with a small smile. They wouldn't be disturbed.
Jamie eased out of his coat, feeling John's hands slide up to take it away from a Jamie and drape over the back of the chair. Jamie stilled as he watched John, their eyes meeting for several moments. John met his stare with a searching expression before something eased in him. Whatever he had been looking for in Jamie's face had apparently been found and Jamie swallowed as John's nimble fingers began to untie Jamie’s cravat. Blue eyes fluttered shut in delight at the loosening of the binding around his neck. It was nothing short of ecstasy to be rid of it.
John swallowed audibly and it caused Jamie to open his cat-like eyes just enough to focus on the slight man, shifting forward so that nimble fingers could ghost over his chest. John’s hesitancy was clear in his expression as he only barely caressed the silk waistcoat that bound Jamie so firmly about the middle. He paused, then, fingers freezing on the buttons and he looked up, waiting for permission, searching for Jamie’s acquiesce. He moved so slowly, hesitantly but Jamie was sick of allowing his own memories taint this between them.
“Going to help me, Major?” Jamie asked softly as he closed his hands over John’s across his chest and guided him to gently unbutton the top button of his waistcoat. Each unfastened button loosened the constriction against burning skin and stoked the tension between them. The air was electrified as the last button slid out of the hole with a whisper of sound and the waistcoat opened. John hesitated again for just a moment before his hands slid gently up Jamie’s chest, sneaking under the waistcoat’s shoulders and pushing it down bulging arms. Jamie shifted his body lightly to allow the material to fall to the ground.
Jamie’s blue eyes were lidded and heavy in the growing tension. He reached down to undo his belt and smirked at the wordless stammer that fell from John’s lips. Once his belt was undone and his breeches loosened, he reached down and tugged his shirt free to pull it up and over his head. John stood frozen in front of him for a long moment before his eyes scanned down the rashed skin of Jamie’s stomach and chest, hidden by a thick thatch of red hair. “Well there’s your problem,” John said as he ran his fingers up through the hair on Jamie’s chest.
Jamie stared down at the man’s hand teasing across his chest and shivered at the pain that lanced across his body. It was like lightning setting his skin alight. “My body is the problem?”
John sighed in amused exasperation and shook his head in response, “no of course not.” His hands tugged lightly at the hair and he gently let go. His hand brushed gently down Jamie’s stomach then before he passed the man to walk toward the back rooms. Jamie followed after John, curious and stepped into the doorway to find John's bedroom and bath hidden away, devoid of life save for John.
John gestured idly to the small settee as he plucked a small glass bottle of oil from his dresser and slipped barefoot over to the bath. He poured a small amount into the water, the scent of lemon verbena filling the room before the bottle was slipped into his pocket. He turned then as he sat on the edge of the copper tub and crooked a finger to Jamie to motion him close. Jamie stood and approached, his stomach twisting in apprehension and excitement as John began to swirl his hand in the water. The movements were hypnotic and let the oil scent the air fragrantly as he withdrew them and patted his fingers dry on the towel. Jamie felt as if all the air in the room had rushed out as John stood and slowly began to undress himself from the waist up. Jamie felt a longing stir in his stomach as he watched nimble fingers dance across intricate brocade and he sighed as John’s hairless chest was revealed.
Blue eyes danced slowly over the pale skin and Jamie licked his lips in appreciation as John crooked a finger to beckon him closer. He had been sure that he had seen a peak of hair from under John’s loosened cravat when they had been at Helwater and he gave John a considering look as he approached. “Yer as smooth as a babe,” he commented lightly and then allowed himself the weakness to tease his fingers across John’s chest. Fingers grazed a blush pink nipple and his eyes fell lidded and half-closed as it tightened at the touch.
John’s lips turned up and he knelt before Jamie, pulling a desperate gasp from Jamie’s throat before he could stop it escaping. Hands went down to tug off boots and Jamie felt heat slither up his stomach and chest, painting it ruddy under the rash. He felt like a clotheed for the thoughts that had thrust themselves unbidden in his head when John was simply working to divest Jamie of his clothing.
Perhaps the gasp that had escaped had merit after all. Those same long fingers teased up across Jamie’s thighs and up to undo the fastening on Jamie’s breeches before tugging them down firmly, stockings rolling down with them to leave Jamie bare. In contrast to the smooth bare skin that John sported, Jamie was burly and covered in a fine downy covering of reddish blond hair. It was darker and wiry across his legs and longer, finer on his stomach and chest. “It’s intentional, I promise you,” John said calmly.
Jamie had to think back to his own comment and he gave John a measuring look as the slighter man pressed him to climb into the warm bath. The heat from it made Jamie wince as he forced himself to settle in the water.
John chuckled and turned to the bag hidden in the wardrobe, tugging out a long leather strap, a razor and a pot to create a soap foam. He approached and settled himself on the edge of the tub, easily trapping Jamie in the water. He would have to shove John out of the way if he wanted to escape the tub but he didn’t feel trapped. He watched as John clipped the leather to his belt and turned the linen side up to slowly stroke the blade against it, the rasping sound filling the heavy air around them as John’s nimble fingers flicked back and forth to strop the blade. Once he deemed the blade appropriately warmed up, he flipped to the leather side and began to stroke down the leather to warm it.
The motion both let his skin warm the leather and soften it for sharpening, feeling for knicks and grooves before he repeated the same quick motions. He held the grip of the blade’s stem firmly between thumb and index finger and flicked it back and forth as he glided the blade down the strap. The tone of the stropping changed from linen to leather and suddenly the rasp was wetter, slicker. It sent a slow shudder down Jamie’s spine in response as the sound echoed in the quiet room. His eyes locked onto the blade. Eyes taking in the quick flashes as John glided the blade up the strap until it was sharp enough. It glinted wickedly in the light of the lantern and Jamie chuckled, mirthlessly in response to it. The sound of it was still a little choked as he swallowed. Another time, decades ago, he might have feared to see the sharp blade in this man’s hands. But he knew John better now, and it only sent a thrill through him. “I already shaved, ye ken.” He said calmly and John chuckled before reaching across Jamie to gather up the soap. “Hmm yes, you’ve done an impressive job.” He agreed as he reached to cup Jamie’s cheek and trail his thumb across the smooth skin there.
He dropped the soap into the water, allowing his knuckles to brush against Jamie’s skin as he lathered it up and then began to soap up Jamie’s chest. Jamie stiffened for a moment before settling back, his body tense from the pain of the soap running across his skin but making sure to keep his expression clear and unworried. The intimacy of the act wasn’t lost on him and he cursed his body for instinctively reacting. He watched as John settled the blade in the warm water for a moment as his other hand dropped the soap onto the edge of the sink next to him. That hand trailed teasingly up Jamie’s arm to grip his shoulder and he shuddered at the smooth glide.
It had been years, a decade or more in coming since Jamie had realized he loved John. But being here with him now, that all rushed too fast and strong for Jamie to control. He wanted nothing more than to shove John down into the water with him and kiss him but the man was bringing the blade up and slowly began the short, controlled glides over his chest. Jamie’s breath caught in his chest and he moaned softly, a flush rising quickly in his cheeks at the intimate flashes and cool steel. It was heady, the desire and danger coated with lust and tempered with the exhaustion of months at sea.
He stiffened as John worked the razor over his chest, ridding him of his hair and leaving him smooth and exposed. Jamie’s nipples hardened as did his cock as the blade scraped close to his left nipple and then glided just passed it. “You see, Jamie,” came the gentle words from John, shifting Jamie’s focus from the blade on his skin to the man’s brilliant blue eyes, “with the heat and humidity, your hair just builds up your sweat… take it away.” The blade scraped down Jamie’s sternum to his stomach and Jamie swore softly as his cock stood clear of the water in response. “And your skin can breathe a little easier. It should help with the rash and burning.” John murmured softly as he ran a hand slowly over the slick skin of Jamie’s chest.
“Christ, John.” Jamie managed the words through sheer will and effort as John’s thumb teased over his right nipple. John’s lips only curled upward in response and suddenly blunt, filed nails were scraped down across Jamie’s chest and stomach. They paused then as Jamie swore and bucked up, hand hovering so close to Jamie’s length and yet too far away to attend to the issue. “Dinna tease me man,” he managed before stiffening once again as John scraped the blade down his stomach in smooth, controlled strokes.
“I never tease without delivering, have some patience Fraser,” came the measured reply. John’s face was set, eyes intense as he followed the blade’s travels over Jamie’s stomach. It took all of Jamie’s strength not to squirm away when it flashed over his ribs or jump as the blade came concerningly close to his cock.
Soon, John was splashing water up and letting his hands tease down Jamie’s chest before leaning in to kiss Jamie as he flicked the blade shut. “There now, that’s much better. Your poor skin will feel better soon.” He said softly, running water up and over Jamie’s chest. He smirked as he reached down into the water then, brushing just across the edge of Jamie’s cock as he reached down to snag Jamie’s ankle to lift it up, shifting to sit further away on the rim.
“Christ man, are ye going to rid me of every bit of hair while I freeze in the water and wait for ye?” Jamie rasped the question, he couldn’t manage to speak unaffected. John just laughed in response and put the razor on the edge of the sink, closed and grabbed the soap to run it up Jamie’s legs.
“No,” John managed softly. “I suppose I shan’t force you to endure the blade any longer,” he agreed as he quickly ran his hands up over Jamie’s thigh and then across his hip before motioning for the man’s other leg. There was a teasing smirk on his face and it stoked the fire of frustration and passion inside of Jamie. He reached and dragged John close, the slight man letting out a startled squeak before dissolving into laughter as he landed in the water. His breeches soaked through fast as he wrapped his arms around Jamie’s broad shoulders. Their smooth chests slid slickly, against each other. Jamie hadn’t ever felt that particular sensation and the shift of it, slick and easy, caused his arms to spasm tight around John’s waist. He dragged the smaller man close for a deep kiss as he tugged the ribbon from John’s hair and his fingers teased in and tightened around the soft strands.
“Jamie… we’ve nothing to ease our way here and the water is cold,” John managed in between kisses. Jamie grumbled and tightened his grip as he deepened his kiss, earning a soft sigh from John as he teased his hands down Jamie’s shoulders. John squirmed on Jamie’s lap, his sodden pants brushing up across Jamie’s cock as he braced himself and he tried to leverage himself out of the depths of the tub. Jamie watched, letting his grip loosen as John reached down once he was on the edge of the tub again, dripping on the floor while he let his hand fall to stroke Jamie’s cock slowly. It was like fire, molten and desperate as it surged in Jamie’s limbs.
He pushed himself up quickly, the water cascading down his body as he stood and John licked his lips as he watched Jamie’s cock sway so close. Jamie felt his body seize in a visceral reaction to the heated look in John’s eyes. He shifted his stance, fighting through the swell of panic that shot through him that calmed as soon as he focused on John’s face. John stared up at him then, wide blue eyes hopeful and eager as he shifted closer to press a kiss against Jamie’s hip.
The movement was so slow. Heated and sensual as he shifted closer, allowing Jamie plenty of time to push him away. He didn’t.
John pushed forward, turning to spread his legs wider around Jamie’s thighs and he leaned in, both hands sneaking around to grip Jamie’s ass as he pushed forward, swallowing down around Jamie’s cock.
Jamie thought that he might expire from the pure pleasure of having John’s mouth around him. He cried out softly at the firm suction that surrounded him. The wet heat of John’s mouth was so welcome even as his damp skin cooled out of the water. The contrast tightened his skin, let gooseflesh erupt and his nipples tightened. He swallowed and ran his own hands through John’s hair as he fought to keep his hips from rutting forward.
It took mere moments for him to spill in John’s mouth, a low moan that he turned to muffle in his own shoulder, chest heaving as he trembled in John’s grip. John pulled back, licking his lips with a flush high on his cheeks and pupils blown wide. Jamie could see John’s own cockstand barely contained in his sopping breeches. The sight itself was enough for him to surge forward, stumbling from the tub and dragging John to stand. He pushed John backwards as he kissed him desperately. Jamie moved with a madness as he tugged and yanked at John’s breeches, ripping two seams as he fought them down John’s thighs and off so they were equally bare.
“Jamie,” his lover begged softly and the possessive label his mind supplied sent a thrill through Jamie’s own stomach.
He lifted John and pressed him back against the wall and rutted forward, letting his stomach slide across John’s leaking cock. He kissed him again, his hands gripping John’s ass and hair as he rocked their bodies together. “Cum for me then, bonnie lad. Need to see yer pleasure wit’ my own eyes.” Jamie grunted as he continued rocking, feeling John’s cock leak across his stomach, easing the slide in his new hairless state.
John cried out lowly and threw his head back against the wall. Jamie’s eyes honed in on the tendon in his neck and he pushed closer, trapping him even more firmly as he latched onto it, nipping at his neck and pressing heated, open-mouthed kisses against his skin. The edge of teeth seemed to throw John over and he cried out Jamie’s name in pure exaltation as he came, painting his seed across Jamie’s chest.
They stood then, Jamie supporting John’s trembling body as he released his neck and pressed several more kisses up his chin and cheek before locking his lips to John’s and hefting him closer to carry him out to the bed. Jamie could see the silken sheets and he settled John on them, bending to kiss him again before finding a towel to clean the seed from his chest. He stared at John from the doorway and turned to blow out the candles in the bathroom and padded out naked to join John wordlessly in the bed.
He would get John’s help in finding Ian the next day. And once the lad was on his way back home, Jamie would find a place to settle now here in this new hell.
At least he would have good company.