Slowly

Copyright October 30, 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.

 

If you have subscribed to this series and you enjoy it, please recommend it to a friend.

 

A note from the author: "Lo" is the Anorian equivalent of "Mr." and "Ms."  When coupled with a last name, it's a respectful way to address someone.  Anorian lawyers are called "the righteous Firstname Lastname."  Many of the princes' cousins become the princes' assistants.  And people who subscribe to "In This Land" totally rock.



            As Selorin wrote out a note and passed it to a clerk, Dakeb stepped around behind the judge’s bench and set a file before him.  “Your Highness may want to duck,” he murmured, opening the file.

            “Tomi?” Selorin asked, glancing over the file’s contents.  It was a formality; Selorin studied each case’s history at length before it ever came before him in court.

            “Tomi,” Dakeb confirmed.

            Murmuring a brief prayer to the gods, Selorin nodded to the guard.

            “Now appearing before His Royal Highness, Prince Anosakim Inanodat Selorin A Diki,” the guard announced as the doors swung open, “the righteous Pilori Hamet for the cause of Lo Hular Kihiko, and the righteous Noru Tomi for the cause of Lo Risit Ubik.”

            In formal blue robes, the lawyers strode into the room.  Rather, Pilori Hamet strode, and Noru Tomi tripped, dropping his bag, scattering his papers, and tearing his robe.

            Closing his eyes, Selorin sat back, whispering to the gods.

            Most of the crowd burst into laughter.  Covering his own amusement with a cough, Dakeb gestured to one of the guards, who came forward to assist Tomi.  While Hamet settled himself at his table, spreading out his papers and waiting with folded hands, Tomi scurried to the front of the courtroom, clutching his bent and disorganized sheets to his chest, leaving his bag behind in his haste.  While the guard brought him his bag, he rifled fruitlessly through his papers, occasionally pausing to drag his torn sleeve back up over his shoulder.  Apparently, unlike most of the lawyers, who wore full professional dress garb under their robes, Tomi wore a simple tunic and pants.

            Without even opening his eyes, Selorin gestured again.

            “Now appearing before His Royal Highness, Prince Anosakim Inanodat Selorin A Diki,” the guard said, “Lo Hular Kihiko and Lo Risit Ubik.”

            The seated crowd stirred as the plaintiff and defendant entered the courtroom.  Hular Kihiko and Risit Ubik had been business partners for many years.  While Hular had worked late one night, someone had come into the office, stabbed him, and left him for dead.  Hular blamed Risit, as the two of them had quarreled loudly and often.  Risit swore to his innocence, and the evidence was so uncertain that all of the previous courts had passed the decision on, until finally it had come before Selorin, the royal high judge, the nation’s final judicial authority save only the pharaoh.

            Standing beside Hamet, Hular seemed determined.  Standing beside Tomi, Risit appeared desperate and discouraged.

            Opening his eyes, Selorin sat forward, scrutinizing the men.  Openly analyzing the plaintiff and defendant was something that Selorin did at the beginning of every trial.  He took longer than usual this time, especially with Risit, who turned pale and looked like he needed to sit down, preferably far from the courtroom.

            At least it gave Tomi time to shuffle his papers around, although they never did seem to become any more organized.

            “With the authority of the god Sutanoka, the authority of the god Itanoka, and the authority of Anosukinom Mutotanosa Situkabulanin Elanilanulanori Banotuda Kudorin A Rituliti,” Selorin said, “I preside over this courtroom.  Do you swear, before Sutanoka and Itanoka, that you are Hular Kihiko and that every word to which you give voice under this roof is true?”

            “Yes, I so swear,” Hular said.

            “Do you swear, before Sutanoka and Itanoka, that you are Risit Ubik and that every word to which you give voice under this roof is true?”

            “Yes, I so swear,” Risit said, his voice wavering a bit.

            “Lo Kihiko, do you give the righteous Pilori Hamet the authority to speak forth and act in your favor?”

            “Yes, I so give.”

            “Lo Ubik, do you give the righteous Noru Tomi the authority to speak forth and act in your favor?”

            “Yes, I so give.”

            At that, there were a few skeptical murmurs in the crowd, and a few giggles.  Tomi didn’t react, and Risit seemed resigned to it, but Selorin frowned.

            Silence reigned.

            “Lo Hamet,” Selorin said, “you may begin.”

            The testimony and evidence were much as they had been in the previous trials.  Dakeb had read over the case beforehand, and Hamet had no surprises in store.  Having been a lawyer for several decades, Hamet was professional and experienced.  He’d appeared in this courtroom many times, and knew to present his case to Selorin, not to the crowd.  Moving logically and methodically through his points, he made clear and concise arguments.  His witnesses were well-rehearsed, and he used his evidence effectively.

            Tomi may as well have been in another courtroom.  He plunged his fingers through his thick, dark hair so often, it stood up raggedly all over his head.  He stumbled over his own feet and stuttered through his sentences.  He knocked his papers off of his table and tripped over the hem of his ripped gown.  He confused the precedent cases and, despite the wealth of crumpled papers before him, never could seem to find any of his notes.

            He hadn’t been Risit’s lawyer for the previous trials, and as time passed, Risit sank lower and lower in his chair, finally slumping over the table in apparent despair.  Many of the witnesses had never met Tomi, and seemed bewildered by his distracted manner.  Then Tomi called a new witness.

            Without referring to his notes, Selorin said, “Pito Nanoset is not on your list, Lo Tomi.”

            “No, Your Highness, she’s not,” Tomi admitted.  “She should be, or she would have been, but I couldn’t find her, and I didn’t want to put her on there if I couldn’t get her, but I found her, and she’s here.  Your Highness.”

            “The righteous Noru Tomi has had several months to draw up correct and proper lists of witnesses and evidence,” Hamet argued.  “Bringing in a new witness at this late date is unusual at best and dishonest at worst.  As the witness lists are handed in the day before trial, are we expected to believe that this woman was only discovered last night?”

            “Yes!” Tomi said.  “She was only discovered last night, yes, that’s right.  She’s Risit’s alibi, she’s the woman he was with, but she left town and his last lawyer gave up on looking for her, but I can’t let him go to prison for something that he didn’t do, so I searched for her everywhere, and it turns out that she was out of the country, but I found her, I finally found her, she’s-”

            “Your Highness, there is no mysterious woman,” Hamet protested.  “This false alibi-”

            “I will hear from her,” Selorin said.  “Bring her in.”

            Hamet glared at Tomi, Tomi ran his fingers through his hair, and Risit whispered earnestly, probably begging Tomi not to blunder at this critical moment.

            Pito Nanoset was a prostitute.  She’d been out of the country with one of her clients, and had stayed away for months, traveling.  She’d returned to Orina Anoris only two weeks ago, but down in the southern cities.  Only a great deal of investigative work had brought Tomi to her, finally.  Most importantly, however, she did have Risit in her list of clients, and her accounts showed that he’d been with her on the night of the stabbing, during the relevant hours.  Hamet questioned her closely, intending to prove that she was lying or that she’d falsified her records, and while she was consistent, she had no way to back up her claims.

            After Pito’s testimony, everyone waited for Selorin’s next move.  He was supposed to allow the lawyers to summarize their arguments, and then give his decision.

            Instead, he sat forward, lacing his fingers.  “Lo Tomi,” he said.

            “Your Highness,” Tomi said, jumping to his feet.

            “I believe that you made every effort to locate your witness.  I believe that it was the gods’ will that you found her in time for this trial.  Therefore, I will give you one week to do whatever you must to substantiate her claims and solidify your argument.  The gods have smiled on you, Lo Tomi.”

            “Yes, Your Highness, thank you, Your Highness,” Tomi said, bowing.

            “The gods have smiled on you, as well, Lo Hamet,” Selorin said.  “You have one week to invalidate Lo Nanoset’s claims.  I expect both of you here before me in seven days.  You are dismissed.”

            Bowing, the lawyers and witnesses began to leave, Hamet and Hular conferring hastily, Pito and Risit greeting each other, Tomi stuffing his papers back into his bag.

            “Lo Tomi,” Selorin said quietly, crooking his finger.

            Dragging his sleeve back up, Tomi shuffled to the bench, bowing nervously.  “Yes, Your Highness.  Thank you for your generosity.  It is-”

            “You and I have spoken before, Tomi,” Selorin said quietly.

            Turning bright red, Tomi stammered, “Y-yes, Your H-Highness.”

            “If you plan to continue to appear before me, I must insist that you respect this courtroom.”

            “Yes, Your Highness, absolutely, I-”

            “I will send someone to your office, to provide you with proper instruction.  If your performance does not improve, at least in part, then I will bar you from practicing in this building.  Do you understand?”

            Now dreadfully pale and sweating profusely, Tomi whispered, “Yes, Your Highness.”

            Selorin nodded.  “You are dismissed.”

            “Yes, Your Highness.  Thank you, Your Highness.”  Bowing, Tomi backed away, then turned and almost ran.

            “How much improvement do you expect to see?” Dakeb asked.

            “That’s up to you,” Selorin said.  “Pay a visit tomorrow morning and report back to me on your progress.”

            Oh, no, no, “Not me.  What about the clerks?  What about-”

            Selorin grinned up at him.  “Are you refusing a direct order?”

            He was on the verge of doing just that.  “Tomi is a nice man,” he said, “a well-meaning man, but he’s a mess.  He’d be attractive if he combed his hair, he’d be clean if he stopped falling over, but nothing’s going to make him coherent or organized.”

            Accepting a case file from Topano, Selorin said, “Confidence would help.”

            “He needs more than confidence,” Dakeb said.  “He needs a new personality.”

            “Whom are we talking about?” Topano asked.

            “Tomi,” Dakeb said.  “His Royal Highness wants me to give Tomi confidence lessons.”

            “The righteous Noru Tomi?” Topano asked.  “I’ll admit that the man needs help, but nothing short of a career change will do it.  I’ve often thought that he would make an excellent clown.”

            “Tomi is a lawyer,” Selorin said firmly.  “And he’s going to be a competent lawyer.  Yes?” he asked Dakeb, raising his eyebrows.

            Doing his best not to question Selorin’s wisdom, Dakeb said, “Yes.”



            As soon as he’d been released from the courtroom the day before, Tomi had rushed Pito back to his office and taken her client list and accounting from her.  He’d sent a letter to everyone mentioned in any of her paperwork, and today was checking the city records to make personal visits to anyone living nearby.  If he could bring in her other clients and show that their recollections corresponded with her records, then-

            “This,” a low voice said, “cannot be your office.”

            Shooting to his feet, scattering papers and overturning his chair, Tomi stammered out, “D-dak-keb.”  Itanoka above, Prince Selorin had sent Dakeb!  He’d expected a clerk, simply a clerk, not Prince Selorin’s assistant, not Prince Selorin’s cousin, not the son of Prince Selorin’s predecessor Selorin A Dimi, not Dakeb!

            Surveying him with a grim expression, Dakeb said, “Thank you for providing me with an obvious starting point.  Please right your chair, and then pick up your papers.  Slowly,” he added, his tone firm, as Tomi rushed to obey.  “Stop right where you are, close your eyes, and take ten slow, deep breaths.”

            Half-crouched behind his desk, squeezing his eyes shut, Tomi breathed in and out.  One.  Was he going too fast?  Two.  Had that been too slow?  Three.  Was this taking too long?  Four.  He was doing it properly, wasn’t he, he couldn’t possibly be breathing incorrectly, could he?  Five.  Dakeb was in his office!  Six.  He didn’t-

            “Tomi.”

            Opening his eyes, he held his breath.  Startled to see Dakeb so close, he backed up, tripped over his chair, and landed sprawled on the floor, wincing.

            “This,” Dakeb said, surveying him, “is not a good sign.”



            It was apparent that Tomi needed not only personal experience but also a clear example.  Dakeb did everything first, then had Tomi follow his lead.  They began with the most simple, basic tasks, like standing up without knocking over the chair, followed by standing up without dropping anything.  Then they practiced righting the chair, followed by gathering up papers.

            Mostly what Tomi needed was to breathe calmly and move slowly.  To keep his thoughts from becoming anxious and agitated, Dakeb told him to recite something that would keep his mind more focused, perhaps a favorite rule of law or a brief prayer.  It helped; sometimes he needed to whisper it aloud, but it did calm him down at least somewhat.

            His office was a mess, with papers and books and folders everywhere.  They weren’t even stacked in piles; they sloppily covered each surface, strewn across desks and heaped on chairs and spilling across the floor.

            Refusing to return to Selorin and admit that Tomi’s office was such a disaster, Dakeb made him clean it up.  Assisting, Dakeb first took off his formal blue robe.  He didn’t really want to get dust and dirt on his clothes, but he wasn’t about to soil his robe.  Tomi’s robe was hung awkwardly on a peg behind the door, and his clothes were already so disheveled, a little more dust wouldn’t make a difference.

            While they worked, he asked about Tomi’s cases.  It took a while to get Tomi to talk in semi-calm sentences, since he tended to race ahead at full speed or stutter and stammer anxiously, but eventually conversation proceeded at a normal pace.

            Which was when Tomi explained to Dakeb exactly how much work he’d put into tracking down Pito Nanoset.

            He hadn’t merely spent a few hours in investigation, or sent an assistant out to do the job.  Tomi, personally, had spoken to Pito’s family members, to her friends, to her neighbors.  He’d traveled all across Orina Anoris for the slightest clue; he’d left the country at a word from her sister.  He’d come close more than once, but he’d always been a step behind, a few days too late.

            “She heard that I was looking for her, but she didn’t understand why,” Tomi explained.  “I left notes for her at places that she might return to, and she got them, but she didn’t trust me, because she’d had trouble with the law before, for stealing things a few years ago, so she was doing her best to avoid me.  When I finally talked to her and made her understand that Risit’s freedom was in danger, she was eager to help.”

            “Why didn’t you have someone else do all of that hunting?” Dakeb asked, incredulous.  “You could’ve sent someone else after her.”

            “Risit’s other lawyers before me had done that, and no one had ever found her,” Tomi said.  “I knew that I could do it if I just tried hard enough.”  Setting down a stack of books, running dusty fingers through his hair, he admitted, “That’s how I get everything done.  I try hard, I try as hard as I can.  I’m not good at very many things, but I’m always willing to try.”

            “Why did you choose the law?” Dakeb asked, wanting to brush the dust from Tomi’s hair.

            “When I was six, my father went to court.  It was a simple case, a monetary dispute, and he took me along.  I was awed by the judge.  He controlled the entire room.  He was in command, he was confident, he seemed to know everything.  Everyone looked up to him, everyone turned to him for decisions.  He held futures in his hands.”

            “You wanted to be a judge,” Dakeb said.  His own father had been the royal high judge; he knew what Tomi had felt.

            “It didn’t take me long to realize that I was never going to sit on the bench,” Tomi said, with a pale flush, “but I wanted to be in that courtroom.  I thought that it would be a great thing to stand before the judge, to present the case, to help people.  And I didn’t give up until I made it.”

            “You pursued your goal,” Dakeb said.  “That’s an admirable accomplishment.  Not many people stand before Prince Selorin.”

            “Not many people are thrown out of his courtroom, either,” Tomi said.  “If I don’t learn how to conduct myself, I’m never going to try a case before him again.”  Turning away miserably, he knocked his stack of books to the floor.  “Oh!  Oh, no, no,” he wailed, dropping down beside the heap of overturned books.  “I’m never going to make it, I’m terrible, I’m clumsy and stupid and-”

            “And hard-working and dedicated and ambitious,” Dakeb said firmly.  “You’re a lawyer, Tomi, you were in Prince Selorin’s courtroom yesterday and you’re expected back there next week.  You’re the righteous Noru Tomi, and you’re going to behave like it.  Get up.”

            Red-faced, miserable, Tomi scrambled to his feet, dusty and sweating and visibly unhappy.

            “Follow me.”  Dakeb walked into the bathroom, and when Tomi followed with a cowed shuffle, he pushed Tomi in front of the mirror.  “Look at yourself.  I want you to look at yourself every morning, every time you meet a client, every time you leave for the courthouse, every time you’re about to appear as a lawyer before anyone.  Look at your hair.  Look at your robe.  Look at your face.  Look at your clothes.”

            Clumsily, Tomi began to paw at his hair, trying to tidy it.

            “Lawyers wear clean, neat robes with no stains, no holes,” Dakeb said.  “Comb your hair.  Wash.  Shave.  Appearing before Prince Selorin like this is disrespectful, and he has no reason to tolerate it.  My father would have thrown you out long ago.”

            “I’ve been so busy,” Tomi said, “I-”

            “You throw yourself into preparing your case,” Dakeb said.  “You need to work on presenting your case, as well.  Pay attention to your appearance, and groom yourself.  Rehearse your speeches.  Practice what you’re going to say.”

            “Work on presenting my case,” Tomi said, gazing at his reflection.  “Preparation and presentation.”

            “Have we had a breakthrough?” Dakeb asked, daring to hope.

            “Do you think that I can do it?” Tomi asked, turning to him abruptly, almost knocking right into him.  “You think that I can do it, don’t you?  You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t believe in me.”

            It was a tough question.  “If you want it badly enough,” Dakeb said, “you can do it.  But you have to try, Tomi.  You have to put the same effort into polishing your presentation that you put into finding Pito Nanoset.  Take your cues from Prince Selorin and from the other lawyers.  You’ve seen them, how they conduct themselves, how polished they are.  That may not come naturally to you, but it’s something that you can strive for.  Hard work got you into Prince Selorin’s courtroom, and it can keep you there.”

            “I’m just so nervous,” Tomi said, his fingers in his hair again.  “Prince Selorin is so powerful, and the other lawyers are so experienced, and my clients never believe in me, and-”

            “They don’t believe in you,” Dakeb said, “because you don’t believe in yourself.  You could be as skilled and accomplished as anyone else, if you really tried.”

            “I have tried,” Tomi argued.  “I’ve-”

            “Look at him,” Dakeb said, turning him around to face the mirror again.  “Does he look like he’s tried?”

            “Yes,” Tomi said, his shoulders slumping dejectedly.  “Tried and failed.”

            Jerking him around, Dakeb almost smacked him.  “You,” he snapped, poking Tomi in the chest, “have gotten halfway there.  He,” he tugged on Tomi’s shirt, “hasn’t even tried at all.  Leave him behind!  You’ve worked hard, and you can’t let this miserable little wimp drag you back into the gutter.  You’ve done the basic work, you got your education, you found your clients, you got into the courtroom.  Now do the rest!  Don’t just be a lawyer in name only, Tomi, act like one!”

            “Preparation and presentation,” Tomi said suddenly, sounding startled, as if he’d just remembered something.

            “Yes!” Dakeb said, going with it.

            “Do the rest,” Tomi said.  “Act like a lawyer.  Act like a lawyer!”

            “Yes!” Dakeb agreed, to humor him.

            “I can do that,” Tomi said, as if truly realizing it for the first time.  “I can do that.  I can have a clean office and walk with confidence and speak with authority!”

            “Yes!” Dakeb said.  “You can!”

            “I can do it!” Tomi exclaimed, and embraced him.

            “Good,” Dakeb said, patting his back.  “Good, that’s fine.”

            “Oh, oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t, I-”

            “It’s all right,” Dakeb said, as Tomi released him, squeezing Tomi’s shoulder, not wanting his confidence to spiral down again.  “You finish cleaning your office and tracking down Pito’s clients, and I’ll come back in a few days to check on you.  When I get here, I expect to see a lawyer waiting for me.”

            “Yes,” Tomi said, nodding vigorously, smoothing down his hair with both hands.  “A lawyer, yes, definitely, I’ll do it, I can do that.”

            “Good.”  Giving Tomi a smile, Dakeb took his robe and left.



            The next day, between cases, Prince Selorin asked, “How’s Tomi?”

            “I’m working on it,” Dakeb said.

            Selorin nodded.  “He looks up to you.”

            To him?  “Is that why you asked me to speak with him?”

            “I chose you because you share my respect for the courtroom,” Selorin said.  “And because I think that he has a crush on you, and I wanted to see what would happen.”

            That explained the hard-on Dakeb had felt during that hug.  “You wanted to see what would happen?” he asked.  “I wonder what would happen if I told everyone that when we were younger, you had the annoying and never-ending habit of hoarding all of the-”

            “Are we exchanging memories?” Selorin asked.  “Shall we discuss your wonderful childhood habits?  Like your fondness for pulling my hair?”

            “It was the same color as my father’s,” Dakeb said.  “I was jealous.”

            “That doesn’t explain why you pulled my brothers’ hair,” Selorin said.

            Dakeb grinned.  “I just liked to make them mad.”



            Two days later, Dakeb knocked on Tomi’s door.

            First, he heard the sound of Tomi clearing his throat.  Then, “Come in!”

            Opening the door, Dakeb looked around the room in wonder.  It was neat.  It was clean.  Everything was filed away neatly, and there wasn’t a speck of dust in sight.

            Behind the desk, Tomi shot up, knocking over his chair.  “D-dakeb!”  Bright red, he nervously set his chair back on its legs, then ran anxious hands over his clothes, smoothing them.  He wore appropriate clothing, a clean light blue shirt with well-made dark blue pants, and Dakeb saw no stains or severe wrinkles.  He’d shaved, and his thick hair was cut short.

            “You look well,” Dakeb said, approving, stepping into the office and closing the door.

            Gesturing to the chair, Tomi said, “I’m sorry about the, I was just, the-”

            “It’s all right,” Dakeb said, smiling.  “Slow down, Tomi, breathe deeply.  Recite, if you need to.”

            Nodding, Tomi breathed.

            “We’ll try again,” Dakeb said.  “You look well, Tomi.”

            Inhalation, exhalation.  “Thank you, Lo Dakeb,” Tomi said, almost bowing.  “I have worked hard to follow your advice.”  Inhalation, exhalation.  His hand strayed up as if to ruffle his hair; pulling his hand back down, he whispered to himself, growing calmer.

            “You’ve made great progress,” Dakeb said, taking a seat.

            “Thank you,” Tomi said.  “It’s all because of you, you were so helpful, you were so right.”  Breathing, he sat down carefully, seeming relieved when he did so without incident.

            “It’s your effort that made the difference,” Dakeb said.  Tomi really was quite an attractive man.  He was still a bit red; Dakeb remembered the stiffness of his arousal, and smiled.  “How have you fared in preparing for the continuation of the trial?”

            “Oh!” Tomi said, as if remembering.  “Yes, yes, I’ve gotten a great response, I have many witnesses already lined up, Pito kept wonderfully accurate records.  I told Risit about it, and he said that he’s finally beginning to hope for the very first time.  I just need to do well in court, I just need to make Prince Selorin see the truth.”

            “The gods will guide you, and him,” Dakeb said.  “Are you confident in your case?  Are you confident in your presentation?”

            “I’m worried, because this is all so important,” Tomi said, rubbing at his hairline, perhaps as a personal compromise so that he wouldn’t muss his hair.  “Risit’s freedom is at stake, and his happiness, and his family’s future.  But I know that I have the truth and the evidence both on my side.”  Sighing, he shifted in his chair.  “For the presentation, I don’t know, there’s so much to remember, there’s so much to be conscious of all of the time.  It takes me much longer to get ready in the morning.  But I look more professional, everybody thinks so, and Risit seems to have much more faith in me.  And that’s what’s important, isn’t it, providing him with a good lawyer?  A good lawyer in all respects.”

            “Yes,” Dakeb agreed.  “You’ll find that your cases run more smoothly when your clients have faith in you.  And when you have faith in yourself.”

            “I do, or I think that I do, or at least I’m trying to,” Tomi said.  “I know that I can do it, I just have to work at it, I just have to try.  Really try, and not give up.  I gave up on a lot of things, I gave up on looking good and being clean and seeming professional and impressing anybody and finding a boyfriend and having sex and-”  Stopping abruptly, Tomi turned a brighter red and cleared his throat, then lowered his gaze and folded his hands in his lap.

            “Maybe, now that you’re making such great progress in your professional life, you’ll find yourself making progress in your personal life, as well,” Dakeb suggested, amused by Tomi’s embarrassment.  “A little confidence in the courtroom can give you confidence in the bedroom.”  The reverse was true, as well, and he smiled at the thought of Dakeb making a sexual conquest one day and swaggering into the courtroom the next.

            “Yes,” Tomi said.  He seemed to have laced his fingers to keep himself from dropping or overturning something, which was a good idea.

            “I will be happy to tell Prince Selorin how well you’re doing,” Dakeb said, rising.  “I look forward to seeing you in the courtroom.”

            “Thank you,” Tomi said, getting up carefully and stepping around his desk.  “It was a great honor to have your assistance,” he said, walking Dakeb to the door, “and I’m grateful for your generosity.”

            “You got this far on your own,” Dakeb said.  “Everyone needs some help, once in a while.”

            “It,” Tomi said, sweat beading across his forehead, “it means a lot to me that you, that you would help me, that you believe in me, that you - - you’re so confident, you’re so poised, you’re the son of Selorin A Dimi, you-”

            “Tomi,” Dakeb said, putting a hand on his shoulder to calm him, “I don’t-”

            Tomi kissed him.



            Dakeb was perfect, he was utterly perfect, he was everything that Tomi wasn’t, everything that Tomi had dreamt of being.  Tomi had promised himself that he wouldn’t embarrass Dakeb with his unwanted desires, but then Dakeb had touched him, had touched him despite his blunder during the last visit, and he couldn’t help it, he couldn’t stop himself, he surged forward, knocking Dakeb back against the door, kissing him.

            It was a terrible kiss, clumsy and awkward, too sudden, too rough, and Dakeb had both hands on him now, one on his shoulder and one on his arm, not encouraging but not shoving him away, either.  He tried to gentle the kiss, his hands sliding over the glossy fabric of Dakeb’s robe.  The feel of Dakeb’s body under there made him hot inside and out, made him too eager again, and he jerked Dakeb’s hips forward, yanking them to his own.  The sudden pressure of someone else’s body against his arousal made him groan, and he humped against Dakeb a little, excited.

            Which was when Dakeb’s fingernails scratched across the back of his neck.  “Slowly, Tomi,” Dakeb murmured, kissing over his cheek, kissing his ear.  “Breathe,” Dakeb whispered, sucking at his earlobe, and he gasped, delicious pleasure shivering through his body.  Pressing close, he wrapped his arms around Dakeb’s shoulders, holding on, panting and unable to break his hips of their forward, fucking motion.

            “Breathe,” Dakeb whispered again, hands rubbing up and down his sides.  “Think about what you want.”

            “I want to fuck you,” Tomi confessed.

            “How?” Dakeb asked, stroking his back, making him shiver some more.  “Where?  Which position, on which surface?  Do you have oil?  Is the door locked?  How will I find my pleasure?”

            Dakeb’s pleasure, yes, right, that was more important than anything.  Sliding down to his knees, Tomi pushed Dakeb’s robe up with one hand.  Dakeb’s pants were very expensive, with blue pearled buttons, four down and three across.

            “What are you doing?” Dakeb asked, sounding like he didn’t know whether to stop Tomi or not, holding his robe out of the way.

            “Pleasuring you,” Tomi said.  The sight of those perfect little buttons unnerved him; he could just imagine accidentally, clumsily ripping them off in his haste and watching them skitter and roll across the floor.  Taking a deep breath, he whispered to himself, chanting to calm his anxiety, carefully undoing each button.  They slipped in his fingers, and he rested his forehead against Dakeb’s stomach, closing his eyes, going by feel, unbuttoning by touch.

            Dakeb’s fingers slid smoothly through his hair, sending little sparkles of excitement down his spine.  “Have you been with many men?”  Still holding his robe out of the way, Dakeb tugged his shirt up, and Tomi kissed his stomach, whispering against his skin, licking for the taste of him.

            “No,” Tomi said, finally remembering to answer the question, “not many,” and then he undid the last button, and as Dakeb’s pants slid down, Tomi’s hand cupped Dakeb’s genitals, fondling the soft sac, the hardening arousal.  Lips already parting, he bent his head, taking Dakeb’s dick into his mouth, sucking it in farther, moaning as it stiffened, hot from the realization that he, of all men, was pleasuring Dakeb.

            Short fingernails scraped behind his ear, catching his attention.  “Softly,” Dakeb said, sounding tense.  “Gently.”

            Immediately relaxing his mouth, Tomi tried to lighten his touch, caressing Dakeb’s balls.  Stroking the base of Dakeb’s dick with one hand, he backed off the head a bit, licking up the shaft, sweating with pleasure at the treat of Dakeb’s arousal in his mouth, moaning and panting as his own dick throbbed happily.

            “Mmm,” Dakeb murmured, thighs spreading, hips tilting forward.  His fingers rubbed against Tomi’s scalp as he made a warm, vague noise.  “Mmm…  Yes…”

            Encouraged by those agreeable sounds, Tomi licked more, running his tongue up and down the length of Dakeb’s erection, sucking gently, fingers rubbing across Dakeb’s perineum and softly stroking over his asshole.  The lighter his touch was, the less pressure he used, the more aroused Dakeb sounded.  As he sucked, just at the head, as gently as he could, one slow fingertip pressed in.

            Groaning, Dakeb cupped the back of Tomi’s head, hips rocking forward, dick sliding to the back of Tomi’s throat.  “Suck it for me,” he whispered, his hips easing back and then pushing forward again, his erection dragging over Tomi’s tongue, “just a little, just enough to, oh, make me feel it.”

            It was torture, being delicate when he wanted Dakeb so badly, being soft and gentle when he wanted to grab and devour, but he did his best, doing whatever made Dakeb happy, thinking of butterflies and feathers, rubbing his finger in and out slowly and carefully, just the tip, a shallow little fucking.  Dakeb slid into his mouth with an easy, gentle, rocking motion, moaning and sighing, cupping his nape and murmuring, “Yes, mmm, oh,” every once in a while.  Whenever Dakeb paused with just the head between Tomi’s lips, Tomi licked at him, moaning at the musky salty taste of him, and he’d make quiet little encouraging noises like he was really turned on before pushing back in again with a low, aroused moan.

            Tomi’d never used this much self-control in his life, and it was killing him not to suck harder, not to shove his finger into that tight, clenching heat, not to take what he needed.  His body was begging him for it, his erection straining and pushing against his pants, his blood pumping hot and eager.  But he wanted to pleasure Dakeb, and this was what Dakeb wanted, and when he heard a quiet, tense moaning sound, a kind of, “Nnnnn,” he licked around the head again, and suddenly he was licking up cum as Dakeb climaxed, relieved moans echoing up from the back of Dakeb’s throat as thick, frothy jism spurted across Tomi’s lips.

            “Ah, ah,” Dakeb protested, pulling back against the door and drawing Tomi’s head away.  Deprived of Dakeb’s dick, Tomi licked his lips clean, then withdrew his finger, stroking up the outside of Dakeb’s thighs with both hands, looking up in supplication.  Panting, absentmindedly stroking Tomi’s hair, Dakeb relaxed against the door, eyes closed, a vague smile on his face.

            Hot with need, dick pulsing and fiercely erect, Tomi wiped sweat from his brow with the back of one hand.  “Dakeb?”  He’d never fucked anyone this handsome or anyone this important before, and he was both intimidated and aroused by the idea.  He almost wanted simply to masturbate and let Dakeb leave.  But he couldn’t let this opportunity pass.

            “Mmm.”  Dakeb lazily drew him in again, and he kissed across the top of one lean thigh, stroking Dakeb’s hips to keep from touching himself.  “On the table, or the desk?”

            There was more room on the table, and if he did it on the desk, he’d never be able to sit there again without getting hard.  “The table,” he said, realizing that Dakeb had just agreed to being fucked.  He had permission.  He was going to fuck Dakeb.

            Dragging himself up onto his feet, he kissed Dakeb eagerly, desperately, clutching greedily and catching up handfuls of cloth.  He was so hard, with need clawing urgently up his back; he needed to fuck, needed to fuck now, and he pulled Dakeb’s robe out of the way, rocking his erection against Dakeb’s stomach, groaning, grasping Dakeb’s hips and-

            Dakeb scratched across the back of his neck.  Ouch, right, okay, “Sorry.”  He stepped back, letting go entirely, running his hands through his hair and trying to calm down, chanting under his breath.

            Taking a step away from the door, Dakeb casually unbuttoned his robe, draping it over Tomi’s on the hook, then ever so gracefully stripped out of the rest of his clothing and strolled across the office, reclining against the table.  “The oil?”

            He was beautiful.  He was perfect.  The long, elegant lines of his body were everything that Tomi had dreamt of.  His calm confidence was astounding.  Nothing rattled Dakeb, nothing!

            Lazily scooting back, lounging more comfortably, Dakeb asked, “The oil, Tomi?”

            “Oil!  Yes, yes, the oil, we need the, right, yes, I-”

            “Slowly, Tomi,” Dakeb said patiently.

            Stopping short, Tomi took a deep breath, then another.  Whispering his chant, breathing carefully, he walked to his desk.  Instead of rushing over, breaking his drawer, and scattering his belongings everywhere, he moved slowly, calmly, carefully.  He’d almost thrown the oil away when he’d cleaned his desk, because he hadn’t used it in a long time, but he’d told himself not to give up hope.

            His hands shook a bit, but he found the oil and took it over to the table.  Swallowing, he met Dakeb’s eyes.  “You weren’t this perfect even in my dreams.”

            “I must admit,” Dakeb said, stroking his neck and making him shiver, “that your enthusiasm is gratifying.”  Leaning forward, Dakeb kissed him, gently, and he did his best to keep his own participation soft and tender.  He must have succeeded, because Dakeb sat back with a pleased noise and, with a bit of a smile, tugged lightly at the front of his shirt and said, “Undress for me.  Calmly.”

            Calmly, yes.  He kept his respiration calm, kept his movements slow, and planned ahead.  So, instead of ripping his buttons off and tripping over his feet and getting his pants caught on his shoes, he took his shoes off first, then his shirt, then his pants.  His dick was calmer now, too, still aroused but not as demanding, which made it easier not to fumble everything in his urgency.

            Once he was naked, he rubbed his hands over his thighs nervously and cleared his throat, meeting Dakeb’s eyes again.  It was strange to be naked in his office, but Dakeb looked perfectly at home lounging on his table, and in fact leaned back with a knowing smile and a low, “Slowly, Tomi.”

            Licking his lips, Tomi mounted the table, crawling overtop of Dakeb, careful not to be too clumsy about it.  He didn’t want to rush, so when Dakeb’s fingers skimmed down his chest, he moaned at the sensation but didn’t blunder into another awkward kiss.

            Dakeb’s thumb brushed over his nipple, making him twitch.  “What do you want to do?” Dakeb asked quietly.

            He cleared his throat first, buying time to remind himself not to blather on, then admitted, “I want to fuck you.”

            That smile was approving, he thought.  “All right.”  Stroking up the side of his neck, Dakeb drew him in for a soft kiss, then murmured, “Slowly, Tomi.”

            Slowly, yes.  Straightening, he took the oil, then realized that there was a problem, and hesitated.  Telling himself to be calm, he looked around the room, then reached to one of the chairs beside the table.  Taking the cushion and folding it in half, he slid that just beneath Dakeb’s hips.

            “This,” Dakeb said, arching and settling down more comfortably, “gives me hope.”

            Proud of himself, Tomi wet his fingers with the oil, then guided Dakeb’s knees up.  He couldn’t resist ducking his head and kissing Dakeb’s stomach while he lowered his fingers and gently caressed the tight little pucker.

            “Mmm.”  Drawing one knee to his chest, Dakeb put his hand on the back of Tomi’s head.  “This is nice.”

            Nice?  Tomi had his fingers oiled and was about to fuck Dakeb, and that was nice?  That was monumental!  Resting his forehead on Dakeb’s stomach, chewing on his lips, he pushed his finger in, moaning at the - - ouch!

            “Gently, Tomi,” Dakeb warned, nails digging into Tomi’s scalp as his muscles locked around Tomi’s finger.

            Gently, yes, yes.  Taking a deep breath, Tomi slowed down, stroking carefully, crooking his finger and caressing Dakeb’s prostate, kissing around Dakeb’s navel as he listened to, “Ah, oh, yes…”  Carefully, tenderly, he slipped in a second finger, and there were no fingernails or warnings this time, only quiet, pleased, aroused noises as Dakeb’s dick stiffened.  He mouthed it, licking the shaft, and Dakeb moaned, squeezing his shoulder.  “Yes, oh, ooohhh…  Mmm, Tomi, I’m ready.”

            Immediately, Tomi popped his fingers out, moving right into position and aiming his dick at Dakeb’s asshole, giving himself a quick swipe with the oil and pushing the head of his erection against - - ouch!  Oh, this wasn’t right, this wasn’t fair, Dakeb couldn’t do this to him!  “Please,” he whimpered, rubbing the head of his dick against Dakeb’s asshole, groaning, needing, hiding his face against Dakeb’s chest, “I want you so much, I’ve fantasized about this for so long, you can’t give me permission to fuck you but make it this slow, I want you too much to be this careful about it, I can’t slow my dick down, I can’t.”

            “You can, Tomi,” Dakeb said, petting his back, “I know that you can.  Just go nice and slow, give me a sweet, gentle fuck.”

            Nice and slow.  Sweet and gentle.  Nice and slow.  Sweet and gentle.  Whispering his chant, Tomi thrust inside.  Oh, oh, “Oh, Dakeb, oh, ah, ah,” too good, yes, yes, ah, “Dakeb, uh, mm,” he went all the way in, buried his dick in there and just moaned as the intense pleasure of it seared him.

            “Mmm, Tomi.”  Stroking his spine, Dakeb moaned beneath him.  “That’s so nice.”

            Fucking Dakeb was absolute torture.  His dick throbbing, his body aching, orgasm always one breath away, Tomi lasted for as long as he could.  He eased back, then slid in, eased back, slid in, very slowly, very gently.  Keeping a hand on his ass and a hand on his shoulder, Dakeb made warm, pleased sounds and murmured, “Slowly, Tomi,” in a voice drenched with sex, eyes closed, a smile on those perfectly curved lips.

            He wanted to come, he needed to come, his body couldn’t bear the unreleased tension, but he was making Dakeb happy, he was making Dakeb feel good, and that meant more to him than his own pleasure.  So he kept going, whispering his chant, fucking slowly, tenderly, with even, easy strokes.

            “Oh…  Mmm, yes, oh…  Yes, slowly, Tomi, oh…”  With a groan, Dakeb arched up against him.  “Come for me, come in me.”

            The words were barely out before Tomi’s body obeyed, his hips stuttering forward as ecstasy pumped through him, his muscles trembling while a series of overwhelmed groans issued from somewhere deep inside.  Drained, weak, he slipped out of Dakeb’s body, rolling onto his side and licking sweat from his upper lip.

            He’d fucked Dakeb.

            Beside him, Dakeb stretched casually.

            “You’re still hard,” Tomi said, eyeing, Dakeb’s perfectly proportioned arousal, unwilling to let Dakeb leave unsatisfied.  “Do you want me to suck it again?”

            Rolling towards him with a smile, Dakeb grabbed his ass and yanked him closer, then rolled right on top of him and pulled his knee up, kissing him, kissing him hard, kissing him deep, kissing him until his toes curled and he was making muffled, desperate, greedy noises.  “You don’t have to do anything,” Dakeb said, reaching for the oil with a smile.  “Just beg me for more and come as hard as you want.”



            Days had passed, and he had to be in court that very afternoon.  He was prepared, his case was solid, but he was still worried about presentation.  “Do you think that I’m ready?” he asked, breaking off into a gasp and a desperate moan as Dakeb sank down over one more inch.  He wanted to grab Dakeb’s hips and yank Dakeb down onto his dick, needed to buck upwards and slam himself in; his hands shook as he struggled for self-control.


            “Just remember, ah, what I taught you,” Dakeb panted, rising just a bit and sliding down onto his erection, slow and easy, torturing him.  “Slowly, Tomi.  Slowly.”



            “Now appearing before His Royal Highness, Prince Anosakim Inanodat Selorin A Diki,” the guard announced as the doors swung open, “the righteous Pilori Hamet for the cause of Lo Hular Kihiko, and the righteous Noru Tomi for the cause of Lo Risit Ubik.”

            Tomi.  Selorin sat back, watching the lawyers enter.  They strode in together, Hamet leading the way and Tomi right behind, their steps firm and confident.  Raising his eyebrows, Selorin kept his gaze on Tomi, watching him step behind the table and take papers from his bag, setting a small, neat stack on the tabletop.  His robe was clean and well-maintained.  He looked like a lawyer.

            “Is this your doing?” Selorin murmured.

            “He is easy to instruct,” Dakeb said.

            Sitting forward, Selorin said, “Lo Tomi,” crooking his finger.

            Turning red but noticeably not knocking anything over, Tomi smoothed his robe and approached, offering a respectful bow.  “Your Highness.”

            He was clean-shaven; his hair was neat.  “I approve of your appearance in my courtroom today,” Selorin said.  “You represent yourself well, Lo Tomi, and I trust that you shall represent your clients well.”

            “Yes, Your Highness.  Thank you.”  Licking his lips, Tomi glanced at Dakeb, then turned even redder, all the way up his neck to the tips of his ears.

            Smiling, Selorin asked, “Do you have anything to add, Lo Dakeb?”

            “Lo Tomi was singularly enjoyable to instruct, and very appreciative,” Dakeb said.  “After several days of intense tutorials, he made great progress under me.”

            “I am very grateful to Lo Dakeb for his training,” Tomi said, breaking out into a sweat but neither stammering nor fidgeting.

            “Excellent,” Selorin said.  “Return to your table and we shall resume.”

            “Thank you, Your Highness.”  With another bow and one last, lingering glance at Dakeb, Tomi turned away.

            Red scratches were visible across the back of his neck.

            “Dakeb,” Selorin murmured, as the guard called in the plaintiff and defendant, “did you disgrace yourself this week?”

            “Not at all,” Dakeb said.

            “You would never abuse the power of your office or take advantage of a lawyer’s vulnerability to you,” Selorin said.

            “Of course not,” Dakeb said.  “All I did was restore a man’s confidence.”

            “You seem to have done a remarkably good job,” Selorin noted.

            “Well, Tomi has a remarkable…will to learn,” Dakeb said.  Smiling, he added, “Simply remarkable.”



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