A Special Gift

Copyright December 28, 2006
by Matthew Haldeman-Time

I am writing about men having sex with other men.  You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction.  This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.

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            As soon as Benuto received his weekly pay, he tucked a portion of it into a small leather pouch under a pile of shirts in his top dresser drawer.  Then, slipping through the busy hallways of the servants’ quarters, squeezing between burly guards and ducking around knots of laughing maids, he went to his sister’s room and gave her some money to send home to their parents.  With a last few coins jingling in his pocket and a wide grin on his face, Benuto hurried out of the palace, sandaled feet racing across the stone path leading to the noisy, crowded marketplace.

            Dodging merchants, shoppers, children, carts, and assorted animals, Benuto made his way through the smaller, cheaper stalls until he reached the larger stalls in the middle of the marketplace.  These merchants offered more expensive items, and not only did the crowd thin out here, but about half of the people moving between stalls were only looking, not buying.

            Benuto wasn’t as richly dressed as some of the people around him, here in this more elite area; he wasn’t dripping with lavish jewels, wasn’t covered in silk.  He’d changed out of his usual brown clothing, the standard attire of a palace servant, and had replaced it with white pants and a light blue shirt.  He owned almost no fine jewelry of his own, but from his right wrist hung a bracelet of lovingly polished silver.  It was a gift from Queen Anikira for his first completed year of loyal service; he wore it as a reminder to himself that the gods were with him.  The gods had smiled upon him when he’d been granted a job in the palace; he prayed that they would be with him today, as well.

            His older sister, Beneta, a palace hostess, had helped him to get his job.  To get what he wanted this afternoon, he could only rely on himself.

            Pausing behind a stall featuring delicately crafted vases that looked too fragile to breathe on, Benuto smoothed his short, dark hair, undoing one of the buttons on his shirt.  Taking a deep breath, he lifted his chin and walked forward, stepping down the aisle and around a corner.

            And there he was, manning Lo Tamaro’s stall, his capable fingers turning over the leaves of a book, his head respectfully bent as he conversed with an older woman.  Ket Tamaro ran his father’s marketplace bookselling stall, selling relatively less precious volumes of old and rare texts, while Lo Tamaro himself ran the main bookstore farther across town where the most valuable books were kept under lock and key.  Ket had very white teeth and a very cultured voice, and Benuto visited his stall twice a week just to look at him.

            Usually, Benuto was too busy staring to think of anything interesting to say, and didn’t exchange any words with Ket.  Lately, however, he’d managed to offer a few, passing remarks - - a brief greeting, a flimsy question.  He’d promised himself that he’d become more bold, because it was weak and immature of him to harbor this kind of desire but not act upon it, and he’d determined that today he would take firm steps toward his goal.

            His goal wasn’t overly specific.  Generally, it involved three elements: touching, kissing, and Ket’s naked body.

            He knew that once he got Ket into his bed, there would be no trouble - - Benuto was confident when it came to sex.  It was the shuffling, awkward dance of getting to the point of sex that made him stumble and hesitate.

            While Ket spoke with the old woman, Benuto admired the way that his white teeth flashed in the sunlight.  His skin was lightly tanned, and his finely made shirt clung to his firm chest.

            Reflexively touching his pocket to feel the reassuring weight of the coins there, Benuto moved in closer, stepping nearer the woman as if scanning the displayed texts.  Glancing out of the corner of his eye, he tracked Ket’s smooth yet precise movements, growing warm at Ket’s close proximity, listening to the low, rolling syllables of Ket’s cultured accent.  Benuto came from the broad farmlands, where everyone slurred words and dropped consonants, but Ket must have grown up nearby; he sounded almost as well-bred as a prince.

            As the woman gathered her purchases and walked away, Benuto felt a quick, anticipatory tingle race through his body.  It was time.  Raising his gaze to Ket’s face, he tried for a smile.

            Licking his lips, Ket smiled back.  “May I help you?”

            Instead of the calm, “Yes, thank you,” that Benuto had planned on, out came, “I want a book.”

            Ket’s smile broadened, showing off all of those bright, even teeth.  “Then I can help you,” he said.  “What sort of book would you prefer?”

            His knees were weak, but he made a valiant attempt to return to his prepared script.  “I’d like to get something for my sister.  She’s a hostess, in the palace, and she’s very interested in foreign cultures.”

            “Foreign cultures,” Ket repeated, tapping his fingers on the tabletop.  “We have a few books from Ilaeia, collected works of art and poetry.  Or does she like history?”

            “She loves history,” Benuto said.

            “We have some - - or,” and Ket gave Benuto a close, speculative look, as if considering something new.  “She reads Jacacean?”

            “Very well.”  He liked the way that Ket was looking at him, as if he were a person, more than a customer.

            Ket licked his lips.  “We just acquired a certain book,” he said.  “It’s only about forty years old, and it’s in excellent condition.  It’s in Jacacean, and it’s full of their history, their accomplishments.  There’s a section devoted to their artwork, with a great many illustrations, and there’s a section on their medical advancements, with a great many sketches and diagrams.  It’s a thick volume, but it would make a special gift.”

            That sounded perfect for Beneta.  It also sounded far too expensive.  “I’m sure that it’s something she’d appreciate,” Benuto said, not wanting to say no to Ket in any way.

            “Let me show it to you,” Ket said, turning to the cabinets behind himself.  Unlocking the door, he crouched down, rising and nudging the door shut again as he set a book on the table before Benuto.  “As you can see, it’s very well-crafted.  It was commissioned by the Emperor, and here,” he showed Benuto the inside of the front cover, “it was stamped with his notice of approval.”

            “Beneta would love this,” Benuto said, already picturing her delight.  A tome like this would easily become one of her most dear and prized possessions.  He hated to ask, but morbid curiosity made him punish himself: “How much does it cost?”

            Meeting Benuto’s eyes, Ket licked his lips.  “How much do you think that it’s worth?”

            A book like this?  With those gorgeous illustrations?  Commissioned and approved by the Emperor?  “More than I’ve made so far this year,” he admitted.  “Do you have anything less…well-made?”

            Ket smiled.  “How much do you have with you?”

            The marketplace wasn’t normally a place where Benuto freely displayed his purse, but he reached into his pocket and pulled out his coins, showing Ket his palm.  “I suppose that this might buy me a page.”

            “Or two,” Ket admitted, smiling.  He studied the coins, then licked his lips.  Benuto’s temperature rose.  “Would you happen to have three more of these?” Ket asked, his fingertips brushing the coin stamped with Akanoti’s symbol.

            Ket was close, nearly touching him, and Benuto was almost dizzily distracted by Ket’s mouth. “I do,” he said, gazing at Ket, entranced, “but this book’s worth much more than that.”

            Ket’s fingers strayed down over Benuto’s wrist before withdrawing.  Had that - - was he - - that couldn’t possibly have been accidental, could it?  “It’s worth whatever I ask for it,” Ket said.

            They were both leaning toward each other, and the way that Ket gazed into his eyes made the table between them disappear.  “I can’t let you do that,” Benuto said.  “I won’t cheat you.”

            “Benuto,” Ket said, his voice soft, “would you like the book, or not?”

            “Of course I-”  Benuto cut himself off, staring.  “You just said my name.”

            There was that quick sweep of pink tongue again, tantalizing him, hypnotizing him.  “I noticed you, and I asked about you.”

            “You asked other people about me?” Benuto asked, astonished, feeling a quick, low pulse of excitement.

            “Yes, and I had a rough time tracking you down,” Ket said.

            “I can’t believe that you went to the trouble,” Benuto said, amazed.

            “You’re very handsome,” Ket said.

            “You’re very determined,” Benuto said.

            “Buy the book,” Ket said, “and I’ll have it delivered to you.  Tonight.”

            “I can’t afford it,” Benuto said, “and I won’t rob you.”  He hated his cursed conscience, hated himself for letting his ethics get in the way of his sex life.  Sex life, yes, sex, because Ket had tracked him down, Ket had asked about him, Ket had caressed his wrist, Ket wanted him.  While he’d been trying to manufacture a reason to speak with Ket, Ket had been noticing him, investigating him, figuring him out.

            “Then I’ll bring you something else,” Ket said.  “I have to deliver something, my father expects me at a function tonight and I’ll need an excuse to get away.”

            “Won’t he have you send a messenger instead?” Benuto asked, not wanting this chance to slip away from him.

            “I’ll tell him that you’re an important new client.  He won’t question a delivery to the palace.”

            Clever.  Benuto grinned.  “Bring me anything that you like,” he said, “only make sure that you allow me to give you something in return.”

            With the slim, neatly wrapped package under his arm, Ket mounted the stairs.  He’d been in the palace many times before, but never in the servants’ wing, and he was surprised by the cheerful bustle around him.  He was also on the verge of becoming lost, when a quick hand grabbed his wrist and a voice said, “Right here, this way.”

            Pulled through a doorway, Ket found himself face-to-face with Benuto, although he could barely register the sight of Benuto’s dimples and dark eyes before Benuto was kissing his lips and licking into his mouth and pushing him back across the room.

            Moaning, Ket submitted, dropping his package and wrapping his arms around Benuto’s shoulders.  Groaning a little, he gripped the back of Benuto’s neck to keep their mouths locked, his blood running hot as Benuto sucked at his tongue.  Unfamiliar with these rooms, his eyes closed, he trusted to Benuto’s guidance, allowing himself to be steered backward as he nibbled across Benuto’s succulent lips.  Benuto’s gorgeous mouth drove him to distraction, those full, red lips always pouting at him and begging to be kissed, making him lick his own lips in worthless consolation.

            But now he could lick Benuto’s lips, and kiss them, and moan over their lush softness.  And he could do more, more, so much more.  His hand finding Benuto’s waist, he squeezed one slim hip and then balled his fist in Benuto’s shirt, tugging, wanting the shirt off, wanting everything off, yes, “Oh, yes, everything.”

            “I’ll give you everything,” Benuto promised, panting against his mouth before kissing him again, deeply, with great, arousing passion.  “Everything.”

            Immediately believing that promise, so hot he was sweating, Ket kissed Benuto hungrily, groaning helplessly when he felt Benuto’s hips push against his, grinding arousal to arousal, devouring Benuto’s mouth.  Hands sliding and clutching over Benuto’s slim, firm body, he gripped Benuto’s ass, wanting to hold Benuto in place to fuck against him, to control their movements.

            But if anyone was in control, it wasn’t Ket; one firm push and he was splayed across a bed, on his back, barely getting a chance to inhale before Benuto was on him again, kissing him deeply.  Moaning at the slide of Benuto’s tongue, Ket felt his body tense and ache as Benuto’s hips rocked against his, his arousal stiffening and swelling as his body responded to the thrusting, rocking sensations that mimicked sex.  When he felt Benuto pulling at his shirt, taking it off, Ket quickly returned the favor.  His hands slid eagerly over Benuto’s chest, rubbing greedily across hot, lean flesh, and then he felt Benuto’s hand at his waist, stroking his dick while unbuttoning his pants, taking them off.

            “Oh, uh, oh, yes,” he needed more of that touch, he needed Benuto’s hand on him, he needed, “Yes, yes,” there it was, oh, Benuto’s fist closing around his hard erection.  Suddenly breathless, Ket struggled for air, his head falling back and his body tensing as his cock throbbed and his hips strained to buck up into Benuto’s hand.  But that wasn’t all he wanted, that wasn’t enough, he wanted Benuto’s mouth, he wanted Benuto’s lips, he wanted - - pulling Benuto in for another kiss, he groaned, sucking, nibbling, licking over Benuto’s soft, pouting lips.  “Suck me,” he panted, his body jerking and his breath catching as Benuto’s hand gave him a tight squeeze.  “Suck my cock.”

            “Say my name,” Benuto whispered, so close that Ket could, yes, taste him.  “Say it to me.  Say it while I’m on you, say it when you’re in my mouth.”

            The desire in Benuto’s voice sent unbearable need swirling through Ket’s body, and he moaned, capturing Benuto’s mouth again.  “Benuto,” he whispered, between hot, hungry kisses, “Benuto, Benuto.”

            Benuto’s head lifted, and Ket arched, aching, moaning senselessly.  Then, slowly, wetly, Benuto licked down his chest, leaving moist, sucking kisses across his skin.  Burning, groaning, Ket twisted, gripping Benuto’s hard shoulder as Benuto’s mouth ventured down, down, and Benuto’s hand, still squeezing and pulling, brought his throbbing, rigid erection to Benuto’s wet, sucking mouth.

            The sounds that rose from Ket’s throat were rough and desperate, but he remembered to include Benuto’s name, stuttered over it until he was riding a fierce wave of need and he was chanting it, “Benuto, Benuto, Benuto,” pushing himself up onto one tense, trembling arm and staring down, needing to watch, needing to see.

            The sight of those full, red lips wrapped around his cock, stretching to accommodate his swollen erection, was too much for him, and he made a quick, intense noise, reaching down and tugging his cock from Benuto’s mouth, gasping for air and struggling for control.  “Don’t, don’t,” he said, panting, “don’t make me come, just, just let me watch.”

            Desire flashed through Benuto’s eyes; he raised a hand, cupping the side of Ket’s face, his thumb rubbing across Ket’s lips.  “You want to watch?” he asked, his voice a promising murmur, as he leaned up and kissed Ket’s mouth slowly, gently.  “What,” lick, “do you,” soft suck, “want to see?”  Tenderly, sweetly, he bit down on Ket’s lower lip before breathing on it hotly, making him tremble, making him moan.  “Do you want to see my tongue on your cock?”  The caress of Benuto’s hand stroking down his side made Ket squirm, his erection begging for attention.  Another kiss, soft and warm.  “Do you want to watch me kiss your cock?”  The delicate brush of Benuto’s lips; Ket struggled not to grab him.  “Is that what you want, Ket?  You want to see your cock between my lips?”

            “Benuto,” he moaned, taking Benuto’s mouth again, guiding Benuto’s hand back to his twitching, pulsing erection.  The rest of his words were lost, but he didn’t need coherent syllables to communicate his yes, yes, yes.  Stroking tongue against tongue, he spread his legs further, raising his knees and running his hands down Benuto’s back, coaxing Benuto south but unwilling to release that sexy, tempting, generous mouth.

            Breaking from their kiss with a snatch of laughter, Benuto kissed his cheek and slid back down, lips brushing across his hipbone.  “Yes,” a lick up his thigh, “mmm,” Benuto’s hand on his balls, and then oh, yes, yes, oh, Benuto’s tongue flicked out, the tip drawing a fine line up his erection.  Soft kisses fluttered around the head, and Ket’s cock throbbed heavily at the attention, his eyes wide, his gaze devoted to every caress.

            Benuto continued on, flirting with Ket’s erection, cupping and palming his balls.  The light, constant teasing kept Ket on edge, kept him sweating and shaking and moaning Benuto’s name.  His voice was ragged now, pleading, and when Benuto’s lips were wet with his pre-cum, he broke, begging, “Please, Benuto, please, suck it, I’m so close, suck it, please…”

            The backs of Benuto’s fingers brushed lightly against Ket’s straining erection as he said, “You told me not to make you come,” and left a wet, sucking kiss on Ket’s thigh.

            So close, he could feel it, he was consumed by it, orgasm fighting to roll through him like fire.  “Please, Benuto, a little bit more, suck it for me, please.”

            “I could,” Benuto said, holding Ket’s gaze.  Slowly, lasciviously, he licked his lips - - Ket’s gut clenched - - and he pouted - - Ket’s cock jerked eagerly, painfully - - and he touched the head of Ket’s erection to the tip of his tongue, drawing his tongue in, guiding Ket’s cock closer, rubbing it across his lips as it pulsed and leaked.  “Or,” he said, and his fingers drifted back, his palm cupping Ket’s balls but his fingertips pressing to Ket’s clenching hole, “I could let you feel my mouth somewhere else.”

            The package was so well-wrapped that Benuto couldn’t possibly have done it himself.  “Where did you get this?” Beneta asked, untying the slim, gold strings.

            “From a friend,” Benuto said, his grin far too pleased.

“It looks lovely,” she said, smoothing aside the thick outer paper and the thin, elegant sheets inside, uncovering, “A book!”  Already delighted, she lifted it, turning it over in her hands.  Oh, “It’s in Ilaeian,” she said, eagerly reading the cover and flipping through the pages.  “Poetry, oh, Benuto, thank you!”  Rising, she threw her arms around Benuto, hugging him tightly.  “You are my most beloved brother.”

            “You’re welcome,” he said, kissing her cheek and setting her back.  “You like it?  There were a lot of other things there, but I couldn’t afford-”

            “No, this is perfect,” she assured him, squeezing his arm.  “Perfect.”  Running her fingers across the cover, she couldn’t wait to delve into its contents.  “You’ll thank your friend for me?”

            Benuto grinned.  “After what I gave him last night, I think that he’ll be thanking me.”

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