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Author's Chapter Notes:
Warnings: Lemon/lime, summer 1977. Very young ages for the characters involved. Thievery, social graces, haggis, Robert. Enter at your own risk.

It was done.



He was nearly ecstatic. He was done at Eton, his uncle had refused to fund any further education, and Dorian was coming to get him.

What could be better than that?

The blond pulled up to their usual meeting place in a small Ferrari, bright red, with the roof down.

"Hallo, young man? Looking for a lift?"

THIS could be better than that.

Dressed neatly in a little tweed suit, a small case with his small amount of worldly belongings beside him, James smi~iled. "Actually, I am. Might you be the sort of person to give me one?" he teased.

Dorian HAD come back as promised, and had kept up with him. It had only made James love him all the more, even when Robert had come to Christmas at his uncle's again.

"Aren't you even the *least* impressed by my graduation present?" Dorian said in mock outrage. "I'll have you know I spent quite a lot of time on my back for this."

"Oh, I'm VERY impressed," James announced, face lighting up in a smile of sheer delight. He didn't like to think of Dorian with anyone else, but... Well. Money was money, business was business, so he looked at it that way instead! "It's lovely! I'm sure it's most fun to drive!"

"It's *heaven* to drive, dear boy. Now put your little case in the back and let's get into *London*! I'm house sitting for a... friend, tonight, and you have to see the place. It's in Mayfair and it's *gorgeous*! We can plan out our holiday from there."

The smile that the dark-haired boy gave him as he slid into the car was MOST vicious. "I have an idea for you, if you're interested..." His eyes slid to the side. "I know you will be..."

Pulling out into the narrow lane that ran alongside the quadrangle, Dorian returned the sly look. "And just what might *that* mean, Mr. James?"

"*That* might mean that my uncle's purchased a very lovely, expensive new painting and I rather think you'd like it," James answered him smugly.

The car swerved for a moment while Dorian tried to keep his hands steady. "Jamesie," he said, eyes firmly fixed on the road now, "are you suggesting what I *think* you're suggesting? To your own relative?" He broke into a sly grin.

"To that complete bastard who spent all of Poppa's money, invited Robert to Christmas twice *and* won't pay for Oxford? Yes," James told him, raising his brows. "Not that I need it, mind you...."

That made Dorian laugh. "No, no -- take it from one who's been there and back again. You don't need Oxford one *bit.* Though I should like to see you running across the quad with your little robes flying. So tell me -- what kind of painting is this?"

James was very nearly *PURRING*! "One of John the Baptist. He's quite lovely, one of del Sarto's boys. I think you'll appreciate him most magnificently, and just THINK of the money we could get for him!" Dorian was neck-deep in debt since his father's death of almost six months prior, a state James was quite near himself. "It's the one where he's bare to the waist with the red material all around him."

"Money?" Dorian said, his voice quavering. "But *Jamesie*! It's a del Sarto! We couldn't *sell* it! That would be a crime!"

"STEALING it would be a crime," James informed him most primly. "SELLING
it would be a start to getting you out of the red and into the black!"

"Yes, but what fun is it to be in the black if you have to give up a del Sarto?" Dorian insisted. "And besides, I know that painting -- he's the most sensuous John the Baptist that I've ever seen. How could I let him slip through my fingers?"

"Steal him twice!" James suggested. "Or we could make a forgery and sell it instead!" The nuances of crime were coming rather TOO easily to him, he sometimes thought. It had been a hobby of Dorian's for a few months now, and he was getting VERY good at it, so it was probably no wonder that James was getting into it as well. When with Dorian, do as Dorian does...

"Hmm... I don't know anyone yet who can make really good fakes," Dorian mused as the slowed for the London traffic. "So... guess it will have to be two burglaries for me! No matter what, I *must* have that painting."

"And you will," James promised. "And we'll have money, too. It's perfect!"

"*If* I don't get caught," Dorian reminded him. "If I did that would be sticky."

"You won't!" That seemed QUITE certain, the dark head shaking a quick negative. "I know how to get into the house. It'll be easy as anything!"

"But we'll have to think of a place to hide it from your uncle," the blond murmured. "He'll no doubt search the house -- we need to be prepared... and who would we sell it to?"

"I haven't worked all of that out, yet," James admitted, gnawing at his lower lip. "We need to find a good fence, I guess, but one who'll give us the MOST Money!" A firm expression came over his face and he nodded. "I'll get the BEST price for it!"

"Oh will you?" Dorian smiled. "Have you had lots of experience with these things, then?"

The Scottish boy sniffed. "I don't need experience with these things. *I* have experience at getting the best bargains! Want a cookie?" he asked, his visible blue eye sparkling with humor. "This one's only made today, and I STILL got it free because I'm not coming back! The lady behind the counter nearly cried..." he finished thoughtfully.

Dorian shook his head, still smiling. "You eat it," he said firmly. "I have to watch my girlish figure. So -- will I absolutely hate your uncle? Does he know anything about me, other than that I'm crowding in on him for the holiday?"

"That's about it. He knows who your father was, and so that makes him VERY excited to hear about you coming. Once I explained you were aristocracy..." James rolled his eyes, nibbling at his cookie.

"Why? Does it impress him? Even though I'm poor?"

"HE doesn't know you're poor," the other boy informed him. "He could find out, I suppose, if he asked the right people, but I rather think he won't... and even if he does, the title'll impress him, right enough."

"Well, good," Dorian said, looking smug. "Maybe he'll treat us *both* well. I can't see him treating you badly if I'm your guest and he thinks I'm the bee's knees."

James's little nose wrinkled up, his mouth forming a little moue of irritation. "We'll see. He's rather a wanker," the small man sniffed.

"Yes, I've gathered that over the years. I must say I can't wait to torture Bruce!"

"You're a cruel man," James sighed. "I love you for it! I hope he suffers TERRIBLY!"

"Well he always seems to be in an agony of indecision around me. He wants so desperately to be homophobic, but his little winkle always gets stiff when I come in the room. Hah!"

THAT drove Dorian's companion to giggles, unable to help himself. "So does mine, but at least I *admit* it!"

"I'm sure we can torture him somehow," Dorian said, smiling evilly. "We have almost two weeks. "And I'd like to pay him back for all the times he's been nasty to you..." He paused for a moment, glancing over at James. "Will *Robert* be there?"

"I don't know. He usually comes only for Christmas," James admitted, biting his lip. He'd taken to hiding from the man, but it wasn't always possible NOT to get caught, and the truly sick part was that he enjoyed what happened when he *was*... and Dorian always gave him underwear if he found out about it, which was the most magnificent thing! "They're business associates, but..." Which meant that Robert bought paintings from his uncle and did God only knows what for him.

"Are you planning on sleeping with him?" the blond said with a disapproving tone.

"You sleep with other people," James pointed out to him, looking unhappy. "I don't intend to, but why should you look that way when you do it?"

"Why?" Dorian practically choked on the word. "Because you always come back from it with a bloody nose or bruises all across your face. You had marks on your back like a whip last time, and you wonder why I look this way?"

The younger man bit his lip, looked distinctly pitiful. How could he not? It wasn't really his fault that it happened; he tried not to cross Robert's path! It seemed impossible not to do so, however, and when he did, he couldn't help but enjoy it by the end, even if it hurt...

"I think you should stay away from him, Jamesie. I mean it. He's no good for you. Besides -- I shall keep you busy enough." He looked over at the dark haired boy and smiled seductively.

"So long as you promise," James agreed a little dreamily, eyes almost glistening as he looked at Dorian. "Might I have your underwear again, too?" Ohh, he loved it when Dorian gave him his undies! It made him feel so close to the older man...

"Only if I get new ones," Dorian teased. "You've got nearly all I had. I'll be having to go about with none soon! Although I suppose that wouldn't be *too* much a bother..." He gave James a flirtatious wink.

That dark head flew in a negative motion. "No, no! You have to have more!" he decided. "I'll buy them for you and I'll get the BEST prices!!"

The blond laughed and shook his head. "No, no! You'll buy scratchy woolen stuff on sale and force me to wear it all so you can have it afterwards. I shall go mad with itching! I'll buy it myself only don't make me wear cheap Scottish woolen undies!"

"No woolen undies!" James protested. "I'll buy the silk ones and the cotton ones because those will look very nice on you..." His eyes were almost sparkling with an absolutely manic *need*. "Even I don't wear woolen undies!!"

"Thank god for *that,*" Dorian sighed and then looked thoughtful. "Perhaps Bruce and your uncle do though and that's what makes them so vile. What do you think?"

That sent them both into outright giggles! "Bruce's are full of holes and stains," James informed Dorian with a wrinkled nose as they drove on down the narrow road. "Not at all nice like yours!"

"Oh, *nasty*! Dorian said, a look of disgust crossing his face. "Really, dear, there are *some* things I just don't need to know!" He shuddered and then brightened again. "Here we are!"

He had turned into a quiet, tree-lined avenue off of the major high street. It was lined with houses, Edwardian and Georgian, every one of them a statement of quiet British elegance. Pulling the car alongside one with newly pointed bricks and a rod iron fence around a well-kept front garden, he murmured, "What do you think, Jamesie? Good enough for the night?"

Blue eyes were quite wide, James's mouth settling into the little 'o' that Dorian had always found so utterly tempting. "It's gorgeous! Who owns it? Is it expensive?"

"It belongs to a man I met at one of my don's little dinner parties. He and his wife travel a lot and he thought I might like to stay over tonight, and of course it isn't expensive -- it's free." He opened the car door and stepped out. "Come on then, get your bag and let's go explore."

"FREE!!!!" James squealed, hopping out and bouncing around next to Dorian. "Free, free! I like FREE!!!!"

"Yes, dear, *that* much I know," Dorian said in a long-suffering way, giving the boy's head a pat, or as close as he could get with James bouncing around. "Come on then."

He led the way through the front garden and up the steps, fitting a small key into the lock and throwing the door wide open. "Ah, it's *good* to be home!" he said in satisfied voice and stepped into the gleaming front hall. The floor was hardwood and shined within an inch of it's life. The walls were pale, creamy white with paintings here and there, all in ornate Rococo style frames, and further in was a compact staircase leading to the next floor.

Blue eyes had gone immensely wide, James checking out every bit of the place. "Can you imagine," he breathed, "the amount of money one could get for this!?" Ooooohhhh, it would be so MUCH money! "Would you like something like this one day?" he asked Dorian, gaze landing on him with wonder. "It would be very expensive. I shouldn't like to pay for it. But if you wanted it..." Ohhh, James WOULD! He *would*!

Dorian flashed a smile and then turned away quickly, taking off his jacket and hanging up the keys. "Well... I have a rather different plan for 'someday,'" he murmured. He walked over to the staircase and sat down, saying quietly, "I'm going to make enough money to buy my father's castle back. It was a crime that he had to sell it."

"We'll make enough money to buy *everything* back," James told him fervently. "*EVERYTHING*. We will. I'll make sure of it!"

Dorian looked up at him, his expression half sad, half bemused. "Oh you *will*, will you? And how do you plan to do *that*, Mr. James?"

James's face turned quite determined, a gleam coming into his eye. "I'll pinch every last penny until it *squeals*, and I'll invest *properly*." Oh, James knew he was magic with money! He knew he'd manage to make Dorian rich, and himself, too.

"Sounds a rather severe existence," Dorian murmured, propping his elbow on one knee and dropping his chin into his hand. "But when we *have* become rich, then we can indulge in all sorts of wonderful treats. I simply must insist. I can't live life if there's no luxury in it."

The softening in James's face was obvious. "I'd never let you go without," he promised solemnly. He loved Dorian. Dorian was accustomed to having wonderful things...

"You're so sweet to me." Dorian said, blowing him a kiss. "Shall we check out the bedroom...?"

"I can't wait, I can't wait!" James cried joyfully. "May I sleep with you all night? Please?" he begged prettily, obviously quite excited by the thought.

"Oh yes, I think that it will *have* to be all night," the blond said, winking at him as he turned to go upstairs. "I believe there might even be silk sheets..."

At that, James nearly *squealed* with pleasure. "Oh, yes, yes, yes!" he sighed. "Let's hurry up and look at them right now!"

And so they did.

"'s on the left," James declared, snuggled down into the passenger side seat, swathed in the blanket that Dorian had pulled out of the trunk for him. Oh, he was deliciously warm, and so *happy* after spending a night alone with Dorian, all for himself, all *night*!

"It's a much larger house that I was expecting," Dorian murmured as they pulled into the gravel drive. "Is it Victorian?"

"Uncle Davey says that it's the sort of house people EXPECT art dealers to live in," James sniffed. "I'd rather think they'd expect them to live in something artsier or some such!"

"Well, there are lots of art dealers who prefer simpler houses to show off the art they have," the blond man said. "If the house is ornate they
feel the essence of the art gets lost... not that *I* believe that way, of course!"

Another of those judicious sniffs came from the dark-haired little man. "*I* think he's just cheap and he kept the house that Granda' left Aunt Evalyn 'cause he doesn't want to buy another REAL one."

"Oh, well -- that's always a possibility," Dorian said as they pulled up
to the house and he parked the car. He leaned over, coming within inches of James, and whispered, "Is there anything I should know before we go in...?"

"You shan't like ANY of them," James declared with a nod even as the front door came open and his uncle came out with Bruce following him.

"James, my boy!" was the hearty greeting given, one he hadn't ever heard the likes of before that very moment. "Welcome home!"

Dorian gave him a flickered glance, a polite smile and nod of the head, and then settled his gaze on Bruce. It was nothing more, just a gaze, but it was fixed and pointed. "How nice of you to have me here..."

Bruce muttered something under his breath only to feel his father dig an elbow into his side, demanding a reply. "Er... Yeah. 'S nice you could come, Gloria."

"Dorian, please," the Earl simpered, winking at him and then turning to James's uncle. "So generous of you to take me in, sir, especially at the holidays. I can't tell you how grateful I am. I was just saying as much to James as we drove up, wasn't I James?" He smiled brilliantly and gave his companion a light nudge.

"Right," James answered, glaring over at Bruce and sticking out his tongue when Davey wasn't looking. "It'll be nice to have a friend around for the next couple of weeks..." Before Davey kicked him out, anyway!

"I do hope I won't be too much of a bother to you," Dorian continued. "I'm sure Jamesie here and I will be able to entertain ourselves so you won't be too put out."

"Oh, no, no!" came that booming voice, Davey smiling at him with an obvious greed. "Not put out at all, I assure you! Glad you could come! We've got a room for you. Bruce! Fetch the luggage!"

The hale-fellow-well-met tone of it all made Dorian wink at James as they followed Davey into the house. The blond was immediately captivated by several portraits in the front hall. "Oh, I see you have a fine artistic sense, Mr. James! What lovely paintings!"

THAT seemed quite enough to make James's uncle nearly swoon. He knew he had lovely taste, but he liked best to be told so by aristocrats and persons with money! "Yes, yes. Perhaps you'd like to buy something from me one day, hm, young man?"

/More like steal something,/ James thought to himself smugly.

"Oh, would you consider parting with any of these?" Dorian asked smoothly in his most appreciative tone. "Well, that might prove too tempting to pass up! Perhaps sometime over the holiday I can see more of your collection...?" As he spoke his hand reached out, invisible to Davey and Bruce, and squeezed James's little bottom. Ah, life was good!

Life was most DEFINITELY very good, for James nearly squeaked his joy aloud just then! Oh, it made him happy when Dorian did things just like THAT!

At six thirty that evening, Dorian and James, now dressed in dinner clothes -- or what passed for them with James -- descended the staircase and joined Davey and Bruce in the drawing room for drinks.

Dorian's smile was all ease as they walked through the door. "Mr. James, Bruce -- such a lovely room you have here! Why, just look at those hunting trophies! What a great number of animals you've killed!"

James's uncle nearly BEAMED with delight at that, despite Bruce's grunted reply; after all, it wasn't every day *aristocracy* came to one's home, now was it? Although he'd never understand why someone like *that* had come with ridiculous little *James*.... "Yes, indeed. Aren't they magnificent?"

The fact of the matter was that James *hated* them. They made him nervous, as if they were watching him, and he didn't like them at all!

Dorian hated them as well, never having like guns or hunting or any kind of blood sports. He could tell he'd struck gold, though, by the gleam in Davey's eyes. Some people were so easy to ingratiate himself with!

"Mmm," he murmured, shaking his golden curls as if to say, 'Who wouldn't love *these* in his house!'

"We got them on a hunt with Robert, James's *special* friend," Bruce sneered, almost a challenge to his ragged, patch-covered little cousin.

Dorian smiled brilliantly at him. "James is such a delight to be around. He had the most friends of anyone this last year at Eton. He was the toast of the school. You should be proud to be his cousin."

THAT seemed to please no one but James, who looked at Dorian as adoringly as he ever had, face glowing with pleasure. "I've never had as many friends as *Lord Gloria*, though," he sighed, leaning close to the blond man with an almost ecstatic expression upon his face.

"He's being so modest," Dorian said, draping an arm casually around James's shoulder. "But really I *am* excited to see where he lives. He's told me how *wonderful* you two have been to him since that unfortunate accident. I've been very impressed with your kindness towards him!"

For a moment, pure *guilt* flashed across Davey's face, though Bruce's expression only darkened slightly. "I'll just bet," he muttered to James, scowling.

The smaller boy stuck his tongue out quickly while his uncle was preoccupied with Dorian before turning back and paying attention to what was being said.

"I've always felt that kindness is the hallmark of a noble mind," the blond man continued smoothly. "No doubt your family must have come from noble stock, Mr. James?"

James almost laughed at *that*! /Not on *his* side of it,/ he thought rather cattily, but nodded for Dorian all the same. "No doubt," he drawled, accent deepening into sarcasm subtly.

James's uncle practically sputtered, "Oh! Of course! I treat the boy like my own son! Wouldn't think of doing otherwise!" He gave an uncomfortable laugh and then waved Bruce over to the liquor cabinet. "What can I get for you, your Lordship?"

"Hmm... do you have any white wine?" Dorian asked, guessing that the only real liquor in the house would be scotch, but hoping the man would surprise him.

"Er... No, no, I'm afraid not, but there's some very good whiskey, if you'd like," that rumbling voice offered, mouth momentarily forming a little moue at the mere thought of white *wine*.

"Ah, well... whisky and soda then," the blond man said, steeling himself. "What can Bruce get *you*, Jamesie?"

Ohhh, *that* was almost worth a giggle, and it was barely repressed. "Tea," he said primly, looking like a little boy. "Whiskey's nasty."

"There you are, Bruce," Dorian called cheerfully to the older boy. "We'll be sitting over here, on the sofa." With that he led the way to the imposing leather sofa near the hearth.

The slight grumble that Bruce gave earned him a cuff from his father, ears boxed quite firmly before he picked up Dorian's whiskey, poured one for himself, and moved to sit in a chair near that couch. It made his nose want to wrinkle when he saw how close James was sitting to the nobleman, but he did the same to Robert, so he supposed it was just James's sluttish ways.... "How was your drive?" he asked, imposing himself on the quiet conversation.

"Splendid," Dorian beamed, accepting the drink graciously. "I love getting to the highways and really opening up a car -- seeing what it's truly capable of. In fact, I have to admit I get a little drunk on speed. What about you, sir? Are you an aficionado of driving?"

"Slowly," the man replied, thinking of his own junky little brown American car. It didn't go very fast at all, but so long as it went, that was all right with him. "I'd just as soon not end up wrapped around a tree, I'm afraid."

"Well, there is that," Dorian said, "but I believe in living life to its fullest, in all spheres of behavior. But come now, I'm talking too much -- tell me about yourselves. What exactly is it that you do, Mr. James?"

"I'm an art dealer," the man said gruffly, obviously pleased as punch to be asked such a thing. "I sell quite a lot of older paintings here in Scotland, and the gallery is a fine livelihood. Bruce will be taking it over when he finishes at Oxford." That was actually more of an 'if'.

"Really?" Dorian said, turning a winning smile to the boy. "So you're a real art buff, eh, Bruce?"

"Art's for willy-woofters," Bruce answered shortly, earning himself boxed ears. "Ow!"

"Bruce! Mind your manners!" Davey said sharply.

"Well!" Dorian said, looking suspiciously at the boy's father. "That's a very interesting attitude for someone about to take the reins of a prominent gallery." His look made it very clear that Bruce's outburst had put the elder James's position in Dorian's eyes in great peril.

"He'll learn to like it," Davey said firmly. "After all. I still have *James*, Bruce..." Ohh, that was quite a threat, considering that Davey had no plans at all for James of which Bruce was aware!

"Yes, Bruce, have a care," Dorian said reproachfully. "I suspect that you might well be outshone by James if you're not careful. Right James?"

"I could make *lots* of money with art," James agreed. "I'm very good at making money."

"Yes, and I plan to hold you to that claim," Dorian said, smiling down at him and winking. "I believe we'll make an excellent team."

"Are you going to be going into the art business?" Davey asked, almost suspiciously.

"Oh, well -- I've always been an art lover ," Dorian said vaguely, waving a graceful hand. "That was my subject at Oxford, you know. I read Art History. Brought up to it as well, you know, by my father. He had a marvelous collection and his friends were all *very* well versed in art."

That seemed to leave the older man at something of a loss. "And James is going to make you money with art how again?"

"Oh, buying and selling and things like that," Dorian said, another wonderfully vague, half-thought that seemed to become perfectly sensible when spoken by that low, golden voice. "James has got *such* an eye for a deal -- and the boy can bargain with the best of them."

Across the room, Bruce was scowling at his cousin, unaccustomed as he was to hearing the other boy praised.

"Really," Davey murmured unenthusiastically. "I never knew he was so good at dickering..."

"He has hidden talents, this one," Dorian assured him, giving the younger boy a nudge. "Don't you? Speak up, James -- you've been silent as the grave. Is the guest going to be left the carry the conversation on his own?"

"You do a very good job of it," James told him, "and if I talked, it'd rather sound like I was bragging on myself, now wouldn't it? I just want to make money. Lots and lots of money..."

"Yes, but there *are* other joys in life," the blond man said. "Money can't capture all the beauty there is in the world -- don't you agree Mr. James?"

Davey seemed to consider that momentarily. "Well," he said finally, "it covers a lot of it."

"There are even artists who like to paint about money and such!" James said, nodding solemnly. "Money is *very* *important*! And it's so wonderful to make!"

At that moment, Davey's elderly servant entered the drawing room and announced that dinner was served. "I hope you'll like it," Davey boomed enthusiastically. "We're having haggis. It's traditional, you know."

Traditional and *nasty*, James thought, suddenly very glad for his hidden stash of cookies!

Dorian steeled himself for pulling off the technique of appearing to eat one's host's food but not really swallowing. "How delightfully Scottish," he said, smiling brilliantly at James's uncle. "Really, you Northerners are *so* adept at making useful things out of practically any object. I mean who would have thought a sheep's stomach could really be edible!"

Then he gave a wink to James and thought, /Even though I know good and well that it really *isn't.*/

"It isn't," James muttered under his breath as they followed his uncle and cousin into the hallway, a little shudder rippling down his spine. "Ugh."

Dinner went off as smoothly as could be expected with an inedible entree, and soon James and Dorian were saying good night to their hosts and heading up to bed. At the top of the stairs the blond gave his younger companion an adorable pout and murmured, "I guess I'll go to bed now, but my room is so very lonely..."

"Not for long," James replied, eyes fairly sparkling. Oh, how wonderful it would be to sneak into bed with his pretty blond lover! It gave him chills just *thinking* about it!

"I hope not," Dorian murmured, looking out from under long golden lashes at him and running a hand along his cheek before turning to go. He looked back over his shoulder just before leaving the hallway and added, "You know how I hate waiting."

Then he was gone.

Less than ten minutes later, James sneaked back down from his third floor room, the covers rumpled to look as if he was in the bed. It was a short trip down to the blue bedroom, one with which he was most familiar, and he was almost nervous to go in, even if Dorian *was* the one behind the door. Still, he managed it, slipping quietly into the darkness behind it. "Dorian?" he whispered.

"Hmm... made short work of it I see," the blond man murmured from somewhere in the darkness. "Come to bed, dear boy." He held a hand out and suddenly James could see where he was, shimmering in the dim light of the moon at his window, completely naked and stretched on the bed, arms over his head and a brilliant smile on his lips.

James nearly melted at the sight, floating across the floor as if there was nothing else for him to do, and crawling up into the wide bed, pajamas abandoned along the way. He shivered with the delightful thought of another night with Dorian, laying down beside him and almost purring with wonder. "Oh, my Lord," he sighed, enjoying the sound of it. MY lord. *My*...lord...

"I was fantasizing about you all through dinner," the blond man murmured as he pulled James atop him. "Imagining what you'd look like right there -- all filled with me and moaning..."

"I should like that very much," James sighed, squirming slowly against him. "To be all yours again and again. To always have you with me..."

"Well *I* want *you* here and now," the blond purred, lifting his hips up to press a prominent erection between the cheeks of James's ass. "Did you prepare yourself like a good boy, hmm?" His hips shifted, rubbing his shaft in that heated warmth.

"Ye~es..." That was groaned out, barely managed. He'd long since learned that lubricating himself *before* Dorian arrived (or before he went to Dorian, for that matter!) was an excellent idea, and tonight was proving no different. There was something about the feel of his own fingers, slick and sliding deep inside of him, that made being fucked afterwards by the exquisite aristocrat even better... as if it *could* be any better!

"Splendid," Dorian breathed as he lifted James up and positioned him over the head of his cock. "Do it, sweet boy... take me all the way in. You know I love it when you do that... love watching it."

That was another thing that James loved about Dorian; there was something utterly *wicked* about doing what he wanted, and his knees pressed to the mattress before he pushed down, opening just enough to take the head of that lovely thick shaft into his own tight, quivering little opening. "Ohhh..." It was a moan, one filled with infinite enjoyment, and he shivered in want of more. "Ohhh, like... yes..."

Dorian's eyes had narrowed to slits as he stared at James's face, drinking in the way he looked, the way he could see the feelings of pressure and fullness right there on the boy's expressive features. "Mmm, just like that," he whispered. "Find that place inside and make me rub it..."

He sank down slowly, mouth parting as he gave a low sound of pleasure, back arched, flesh prickling with the feel of it as he obeyed. Every inch of him seemed to crackle with electric sensation, his lip bitten tightly, and he shuddered. "Ahh..."

"So warm... so deliciously *tight,* sweet boy..." Dorian's eyes closed as his shaft was engulfed, willing himself not to turn the boy over onto his back and go at it hammer and tongs right then. "Move, dear Jamesie... oh, *move*..."

"No..." The way that whisper denied him was almost mischievous, the entirety of it purred out and accompanied by a kiss that was almost enough to make his brain stop functioning altogether. "Feels too good, just... like... this..."

"Rotten cheek!" Dorian managed to get out. "You're a tease, you wretched boy."

"You're a tease," James sighed, rocking atop him without allowing that hardness to pull out of him. "Mmmm..." God, it hurt wonderfully, and he loved that, loved the tingling pain of it, and the pleasure, too...

Dorian grasped James's arms and stared up at him. "Do it now, or I'm pulling out and taking you over my knee!"

*Oh*, how that threat affected him, the entirety of him going almost liquid with submission and wonder, lips parting, trembling as he breathed out softly, "Make me."

Feeling vexed, and therefore twice as horny, the blond man pushed his younger companion back, pulling out of him roughly before turning the boy over across his lap.

"I'll teach you not to disobey orders," he murmured and brought his hand down hard on the slightly upturned bottom. The way that James squirmed and whined softly in his throat said much more than the hard flesh against Dorian's thigh that he liked it; indeed, he seemed to be asking for more of it with every wriggle!

"Oh, *please*, my Lord!" he gasped out, shivering. Just the *sound* of those words were magnificent!

Another firm smack and Dorian smiled at the lovely pink color flooding into the dark-haired boy's cheeks. "Please what, Jamesie?" he murmured smoothly as a third hit its mark. "What are you begging for, pretty boy?"

"Ohhh, please, *more*!" It was a full-fledged groan, and the steady shift and twist of the slim boy's body was undeniably appealing. "Please, more, please!"

"I love to hear you beg, sweet boy," Dorian said, smiling. "Now I wonder... could I make you come just from being struck?" This was followed by several hard smacks, one following the other. They nearly drove the breath out of the younger man, his entire body trembling wildly as Dorian hit him. Several quick, sharp cries followed, and then he *did* come, unable to stop himself as he went almost limp over Dorian's lap.

"Ohhhhh..." Soft, cool breath was sent over the reddened skin of his bottom, Dorian blowing softly over them, thoroughly enjoying his handiwork.

"*Now,*" he said firmly, "you will serve *my* pleasure." And with that
he turned James over and pressed him back down to the bed, straddling the smaller body and pressing James's legs apart, nudging up between his cheeks.

"I will," James whispered dreamily, squirming. "I will, anything you want, my Lord..." It was so luscious, so wonderful, so much better than that horrid Robert!

"I want *this,*" Dorian whispered close to James's ear, and he thrust in, pressing the younger boy even wider as he did. The heat and tightness made him moan out loud and his eyes locked onto James's, possessing body and soul at once. "*Mine,*" he whispered fiercely. "*Mine.*"

"Yes!" Oh, it hurt and felt so good, Dorian's hips pressed against his hand warmed bottom, and his cock was getting hard again already between their bellies. There was just something about Dorian that made it seem as though he'd never, ever get enough. "Oh, yes, yes, yes, *yes*!"

Dorian took that as permission to let himself go, thrusting into the boy beneath him like liquid fire, smooth and hot and steady. He nuzzled at a tender spot on James's neck, panted breath washing across the other boy's ear. "Ah, *god* -- make me come... make me come..."

He wanted to so badly, wanted to be responsible for Dorian spilling inside of him and making him feel so perfectly magnificent! He wrapped himself around the slender blond man, panting in his ear even as he tightened minutely around that plunging shaft. "Love you. Yes.. yes.. perfect... God.. *YES*!"

"Ohhh... delIGHTful boy..." Dorian crooned, holding him close and filling him. "So perfect... just the way I want you..." He turned his head slightly and took James's mouth in a long, soul-searching kiss.

"My Dorian," James whispered, meaning it ever so much. "Mine, only mine, always..."

The blond man rolled to the side, half off of James, and nuzzled at his neck. "Mmm... you always know *just* what to do and say, don't you?" he murmured. "You know how to make it so *very* lovely..."

"Because I love you," he was informed, the Scottish boy's mouth curving into a little smile as he sighed and squirmed beside Dorian, erection slowly fading. "Madly, I do.."

"Mmm... you're so sweet to say it," the blond fairly purred, "and of course I cherish you, darling. You're an absolute delight." He laid his head on the pillow and traced James's profile with one, long finger. "I do hope I can make your summer holidays more bearable..."

Oh, that was as close as he'd ever come to saying that he loved James, and the boy sheerly melted with the wonder of it, snuggling closely against him. "Anything near you could be made bearable," he whispered, stealing Dorian's lips in the sweetest of kisses. "Anything at all!"

"I don't believe I'll ever be able to abandon you to your relatives again," the blond man sighed, "now that I know how dreadful they are. How *have* you put up with them so long, Jamesie?" He gave a small nip to the dark haired boy's ear and then blew on it softly.

"There wasn't really anywhere else to go, was there?" James whispered, shivering and smiling at him. "You were in Cornwall, and then in London, and you didn't ask me to go with you, so. I had to come here..."

"Ah, so then it's all my fault, eh?" Dorian murmured, pressing kisses to his throat. "Well, I'll have to make it up to you somehow. How about... you coming to live with me in London when the holidays are over?"

The kisses, combined with those words, dragged a gasp from him, accompanied by the widening of blue eyes. "Oh, d'you promise!?" James asked him excitedly. "Really, for true, you promise!?"

Dorian smiled at him. "I wouldn't *ask* you if I didn't mean it, you little fool," he said. "It'll be tight at first, I expect, but it should get better quickly, and there are always ways of getting money to tide us over -- just takes knowing the right men."

"I'll help," James volunteered, face lighting up. "You know I can, I'll pinch pennies 'til they squeal for you. Oh, my Lord!" he whispered gleefully, liking the sound of that better and better!

The blond gave a soft laugh. "I rather like it when you call me that, you know," he mused. "Makes it sound like you're my perfect little pet... always here whenever I... *need* you. Speaking of which..."

He nuzzled softly against James's neck again and rubbed a hardening shaft against his bottom.

"Again?" James breathed, shifting fitfully, enjoying the mere thought of being Dorian's once again. "Ohhh, I'll always call you my Lord, and you can always do this to me, and we'll be just like this.."

Morning dawned bright and early, and both boys headed downstairs for breakfast, washed clean and smelling only of soap. Dorian was rose-scented from the stuff in the guest bathroom and James was quite contentedly smelling of stuff much less expensive, but at least neither of them smelled of sex and they were going to have breakfast! Both of them were starving after the night before and quite ready to eat.

"What sort of food do Scots eat for breakfast?" Dorian asked James as they reached the bottom of the stairs, and then he added, "Please say it doesn't involve the digestive tract of some animal."

"Oatmeal," James answered him sagely, nodding. "You can have sugar and cinnamon to put in yours if you like. I'll sneak it out of the kitchen for you..." And eat his plain! Since those rowdies had poured sugar out all over him years ago, he had stopped using it or carrying it with him. What a horrible waste that had been! He still loved sweets, though, particularly cookies -- they made him think of the first day he had ever met Dorian.

"Well, I suppose that's all right," Dorian said. "Sounds very hearty. Will we go out and shoot things afterwards?" he laughed. "I didn't bring any hunting boots."

Nose wrinkling adorably, James shook his head. "Not if you say you'd rather not. I'm sure they could *find* some for you." He had, in fact, been forced to go hunting the last time Robert had come and he'd hated every moment, particularly when they'd smeared blood on him. He'd almost gotten ill!

"No -- good lord, no! If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I'm hopeless with guns!" He shivered delicately as they entered the dining room.

At those words, all eyes turned on them -- Davey's, Bruce's, those of James's invalid aunt, Evalyn... and Robert's. The fact that he was at the table made James's eyes widen comically and made him take a step closer to Dorian.

Davey stood, awed still by the fact that an aristocrat was living in his home. "Good morning, Lord Gloria," he said heartily. "Come in, come in, you must meet my wife and my dear friend Robert."

"Good morning, Lord Gloria," James's aunt warbled softly, pale face momentarily shifting into a smile. "How lovely to have you here to keep James company. My poor dead brother's child... I'm glad he has such a *good* friend!"

"Oh, yes, we're *fabulous* friends," Dorian said, sweeping over to the woman and catching her hand for a chaste kiss. "So gracious of you to allow me into your home. I couldn't have wished for a lovelier hostess."

"James," Robert nearly purred, both elbows on the table, green eyes pinning the boy damned near against Dorian. "I hear you're out of Eton."

"Y...yes, sir." For a moment, he had thought his tongue wouldn't work at all! "I'm out..."

"And this," Davey said, gesturing to the tall, dark man eyeing James, "is my good friend Robert Craig. Robert, this is Dorian Red, the Earl of Gloria, from London."

Dorian gave him a cool smile. "Mr. Craig -- James has told me all about you..." /You slimy bastard.../

"Indeed..." Robert replied, gaze narrowing slightly as he smiled also, giving Dorian equal measure. "I should certainly hope so. He's quite the boy, our James. I was rather hoping he'd... come to work for me, now
that he's done with school."

"Isn't that generous of him, James?" Davey said. "You should be thanking Robert, for thinking of you like --"

"I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Craig," Dorian interrupted, "but James is already under *my* employ. He'll be coming back to London with me at the end of our holiday here." His stare at the older man was pointed and smoldering.

"That's right," James offered timidly, wanting (quite frankly) to hide behind Dorian and do no more than peer out from beneath an arm!

"That's just marvelous," Aunt Evalyn warbled. "Why, James, you'll be so happy, won't you?" Her head nodded solemnly, as if to say that she quite liked the notion.

"Very happy," the smaller man squeaked out, clinging to Dorian despite himself.

"Well," Davey said in a slightly nervous voice, "guess you were just a bit too slow on that one, eh Robbie?"

"Indeed," Dorian murmured and pulled out a chair for James.

With some relief, James seated himself, smiling brilliantly at Dorian even as Robert spoke again. "Well, I certainly am sorry to hear *that*," he replied, eyeing Dorian thoughtfully. "I'm very *fond* of James."

The Earl smiled, shaking out his napkin gracefully and draping it over his lap. "Well, I'm not surprised. James is a wonderful boy. So clever and resourceful -- and ever so much fun. We're going to have quite a time in London, aren't we James?" He smiled a bit smugly at Robert and gave James a wink.

Oh, if he could have gone off into delirious little squeals of pure pleasure, he would have. There was just something *wonderful* about having all of that attention to himself, even in a roomful of people, and he nodded firmly, giving Dorian a worshipful gaze. "A wonderful time," he agreed dreamily. "We already did on the way here!"

To this Dorian said nothing, just picked up his glass of juice and gave Robert a 'you-know-exactly-what-we-did' stare over the rim.

"Fine, fine," Davey said, a bit too cheerfully. "You know, Robert here is a very fine shooter, as well as an expert horseman."

"Lots of TROPHIES," Evalyn offered in her warbling voice. "Perhaps you boys should all go *hunting* today!"

Dorian smiled self-effacingly. "Alas, if I took up a firearm I would probably shoot one of the hunting party." He looked pointedly at Robert. "I'd better not. James? What do you wish to do this morning?"

"We could look at all of the artwork in the East Gallery," James offered, delighted at the notion of a morning with Dorian all to himself!

"Now *that* sounds like *my* kind of morning," Dorian purred, giving the boy a glowing smile.

"It'd prob'ly be better if we pursued manly activities without such poofters," Bruce grumbled under his breath.

"Bruce! Mind your manners!" Davey said sharply. "Pardon him, Lord Gloria. He didn't mean it."

"Oh, I don't mind," Dorian said, waving a hand. "I find that those ignorant of the fine arts are often bigoted and childish. Now tell me, Mr. James -- what period of paintings do you have the most of?"

"High Renaissance," Davey replied almost happily, while Bruce glared at Dorian. "You'll like them."

"Oh, yes," James agreed. "They're very expensive and oh-so-rare!"

"They sound delightful," the Englishman murmured, beginning to play footsie under the table with James. "And yes, I'm sure they're worth *quite* a lot. That's enough to keep James by my side this morning..." He trailed a toe, clothed only in a silk stocking, up under James's trouser leg.

"He does like money *quite* a lot," Robert agreed wryly, an eyebrow raising at the sight of James's flushing countenance. "There's nothing hidden about *that*." After all, he had always paid the boy quite well for his companionship, and more for his unwillingness.

Dorian smiled down at the other boy, giving him a discrete wink. "No, it's part of your charm, James dear boy, and your talents..." He looked at Robert briefly and then back at James. "Of course, I am *very* happy that you've decided to share it with *me*..."

Ohhh, life was sooo good!! James was nearly ecstatic as he smiled blissfully up at Dorian, unaware of the slightly pained look on his uncle's face, his aunt's obvious confusion. "I can't imagine sharing it with anyone else, my Lord!" he sighed.

"Faggots," Bruce muttered under his breath.

"And *you*, Bruce," Dorian said, winking at the boy out of spite. "What does the future have in store for you? You must be very excited at the prospect of working with so many rich and powerful men. Why, I imagine that your clients will find you *fascinating*..."

The innuendo practically dripped off of the blond man's tongue as he gave James's cousin a wicked smile, then ate a bite of oatmeal so sensuously that the metal nearly melted.

Life, James decided, was REALLY good!

"Let's... er, go on hunting, shall we?" Davey murmured, obvious confusion upon his face.

"Yes," Robert agreed smoothly, standing and placing his napkin upon the table, gaze glittering almost dangerously. "We will see the two of you later, then," he murmured, a sheer warning singing from him to James. "At lunch, perhaps."

"Ciao!" Dorian said, smiling brilliantly at them and waving a languorous hand as he picked up his tea cup. When the other men were gone he looked over at James and murmured, "Whatever do you see in him, dear boy?"

"He seemed very nice at first," James replied sheepishly, face flushing.

His Aunt Evalyn caught the edge of that comment and looked his way. "Oh, dear, Jamesie. Has Robert done something quite not nice?" she asked.

"Er... No, Auntie Ev," he murmured. "He's just a bit strange sometimes
is all."

"Frankly, Mrs. James," Dorian said. leaning towards her with an air of confidentiality, "*I* think he has a rather unwholesome interest in James here. If I were you I'd insist that he be kept away from the boy."

"Oooh!" she warbled, eyes much like James opening wide. "Do you really think so? Wouldn't Davey have noticed?"

"*Well,*" Dorian continued smoothly, "if you ask me, I think your husband is a bit short-sighted when it comes to his friend. You know how it is -- thinks the man can do no wrong, that sort of attitude." He patted James's shoulder with an air of brotherly concern and murmured, "No, I'd watch that man if *I* were you..."

"Dear, oh, me," she sighed. "I'll take care of it, Jamesie. Simply don't worry about it..." Although HOW his rather helpless aunt would take care of it, who knew?

Dorian beamed at her and cupped his hand around James's shoulder. "Such a kind woman you are, the perfect foster mother for our boy here." He slid a sidelong glance over to James and gave him a wink. "Well, shall we look at those paintings now?"

"Yes, my Lord!" James agreed, just a bit dizzy from the quick progression of events and utterly *delighted* with them, as well. "Oh, I shall show you all of the best ones!!"

"Splendid," Dorian replied, standing gracefully and waving a hand at James's aunt. "Breakfast was wonderful! We'll see you a bit later!"

"Have a nice morning!" she replied, waving to them with her napkin as they headed out into the hallway.

"Now, then," James murmured, an expression of sly pleasure taking over his features, "shall we... LOOK at the artwork?" More like figure out how to steal it, actually!

"Definitely," Dorian said, smiling back at him, "and we'll look at the lovely windows as well, won't we? There are so many things one can learn by looking at windows..."

The air was nearly fat with their scheming as they smiled at one another so very wickedly, both pairs of blue eyes gleaming with a sudden wild need. "You're very fond of those," James noted, smirking. "Yes, let's *do* look at them. And then..."

Late that night, a slim, dark figure made its way toward the gallery. Dorian had tied back his hair and donned tight-fitting black pants and a turtleneck, along with soft leather shoes that made no sound at all as he crept along the carpeted halls.

When he reached the gallery doors, he knelt down and began the task of picking the lock, using the pick exactly how he'd been taught by his father's closest friend.

Thievery was an enjoyable thing to him -- the adrenaline rush, the frantic pace of blood pounding in his ears -- combined with the sheer *magnificence* of the reward at the end was perfect unspeakable joy to him, and he was quite delighted at the thought of the del Sarto hiding behind that lock. It brought a grin to his face, white teeth gleaming, and made him shiver with anticipation.

The lock gave with a soft but satisfying click and Dorian slipped into the room beyond. He had been three times already and had the layout memorized perfectly, so that now, even in the pitch black, he found his way easily to the painting he wanted. Reaching into his pocket, he brought out a small torch and played it over his prize, looking for the best way to take it down from the wall.

The wire at the back was poorly hung at best, but the hook was very cleverly placed. Perhaps if he sliced the wire.... A quick motion brought a small pair of cutting pliers from that same pocket, a stool from nearby brought to make the easing down of the painting simpler, less likely to damage the frame.

With a quiet snip, the painting dropped. Dorian caught it just above his knee Then, pocketing the clippers, he grasped the painting by the frame and headed for the door.

When he came out into the hallway again, he continued on the way he'd been coming, towards a door at the far end, and the attic. /Hiding it here will be easy,/ he decided, quite smug with James and himself. They'd found an old lot of paintings to hide it in, horrid things that *surely* no one would ever look through, and it would be missed even if someone *did* search as high as the attic!

Brushing his hands with a air of satisfaction, the blond boy turned and headed back down the attic stairs, already dreaming about hanging the painting properly and gazing at it for hours.

Snuggled firmly in his bed, James squirmed slightly with the sheer glee of what he knew Dorian was doing. It was really best as a one man job, so he had gone to bed to wait for Dorian to be finished, but oh, he was so very delighted! When the door opened, he looked towards it, blue eyes gleaming excitedly, only to be utterly and completely shocked at the sight of the man in the doorway.


"Well, well -- my little boy is waiting up for me," the man purred. "Such devotion..." He closed the door to the bedroom and walked, panther-like, to the bed. "You've been neglecting me since you've been back home."

"I'm not waiting up for you," James denied, voice gone squeaky with fear as he scrunched himself up against the headboard, shivering. "I'm going to sleep, and I'm not going to do what you like!"

"Of course you are," Robert said, quietly but firmly. He began to unzip his trousers, his fly just inches from James's face. "That's what you're *paid* to do. Now, you don't want to give up *double* the money I usually give you -- do you?"

Oh, that was a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE thing to hear and have to deny! He and Dorian could use that money so *much*... "I..." His voice warbled. "I work for Lord Gloria now..." Oh, but he didn't want Dorian to see him all bruised or abused, either!

"He can't give you anywhere near the money that *I* can," Robert scoffed, pulling down his underwear to let his large cock spring free. He brushed it against James's face. "Suck it -- I'll give you *triple* the money."

"I can't!" James whimpered, closing his eyes and turning his face away, shaking his head wildly. "I won't! Go away!" /The *money*.../ God above, that hurt him!

"Do it!" Robert hissed, backhanding him suddenly before grasping the back of James's head and pressing his hips forward. "Do it, you ungrateful little slut!"

His mouth had opened when he'd cried out, but when Robert tried to come even closer, he bit down, drawing out a yell from the man. He pulled back, slapping James again and fairly knocking him out of the bed, drawing a cry from him that was quite loud, rocking back from the walls.

"Now that you're down on your knees you can do something *useful*!" Robert hissed, keeping his grip on James's head. "Do it, slut! It's the only thing you're good for!"

"NO!" James cried, his nose bleeding, even as the door came bursting open, rebounding off of the wall. His uncle looked quite ridiculous in house slippers and plaid pajamas, and sudden fear shook him down to his very belly. Oh, he'd be blamed, just as sure as anything, and he closed his eyes tightly, letting out a terrified little sob.

"What in bloody hell 're you doing!?" Davey bellowed, marching straight over and leaning down to James, beginning to wipe at his nose. "Put yourself away, you bloody ARSE!"

"He *asked* for it!" Robert shouted back, even as he backed away, doing what he was told. "He *begged* me for it!"

Davey hauled James up from the floor. "What's goin' on here, boy?" he asked him. "What was the man doin' to you?"

Unable to help himself, he burst into tears. "'e of-ff-ffered m-me m-money t to... an' I said *no*, b-but..."

"Now, Davey..." Robert began nervously, re-buttoning his pants.

"You did *WHAT*??" Davey shouted, eyes blazing at Robert. "You SWINE! You filthy, perverted SWINE!! I'll have you *jailed* for this! Now get out of my house!! OUT, you here me??"

"He's just a stupid little slut! You don't give a damn about the boy, what's it matter if I use him for what I want!" Robert yelled back.

"He's my flesh and blood, you perverted bastard!" Davey yelled back. "How *dare* you do this to a member of my house!!"

Just then, the door swung open a bit further to reveal Dorian standing in the hallway, James's aunt cowering behind him in her nightgown, clutching his arm for support. "What's all the fuss about, gentleman?" he asked.

With a wail, James flung himself to Dorian, nose beginning to bleed again. "H He!" he hiccupped. "H-h-h..."

"OUT!" Davey yelled. "Out this MINUTE, or I'm calling the law!"

"Fine!" Robert yelled back, brushing past Dorian in the doorway. "But *this* one is worse than *I* am!" he roared, pointing at the blond. "He just doesn't *pay* for it!!"

With that, Robert retreated down the hallway to his room.

Dorian watched him, arms around James, smoothing his hair and patting his back. "It's all right now," he murmured. "I'm here..." Here, and getting blood and snot all over him from James's nose, it seemed.

"What a frigging mess," Davey grumbled. "James..." Blue eyes rounded on him, infinitely hurt, it seemed, and he couldn't take the look of them. "Wipe your face and go to bed. I'll make sure he gets out," he said gruffly just as Bruce arrived in the hallway.

"Da'... Robert's leaving, 's going on?"

"We've had... a parting of the ways," Davey said, moving out into the hall and pushing Bruce back towards his bedroom.

"I'll stay and help Jamesie get cleaned up if you like," Dorian said to the older man.

The answer came by way of a gruff, "Thank you," leaving the two of them alone.

"He offered me so much money," James whimpered once the door was closed. "Lots an' lots. Triple the amount of before, but I said no..."

"I'm glad to hear it," Dorian said softly, wrapping the younger boy in his arms. "Now shall we get you cleaned up?" He led the way to the small bathroom just down the hall and ran the water until it got cold. Taking down a washcloth from the shelf, he drenched it, gave it a squeeze, and began cleaning off James's face.

"I think you were very brave, dear boy," he murmured.

Snuffling, James sighed. "Oh, I love you," he murmured, happy that Dorian was cleaning him off. He didn't like to look at himself in the mirror when his nose was all bloody. "Did you...?" he whispered.

"Of course, darling," the blond said. "Would I let you down?" He gave a last dab at a stubborn trace of blood and the rinsed the cloth and gave it back to James. "It's quite safe, so don't you fret about it. Just keep that on your nose for a few minutes."

"I can'd waid do dake id oud," James expressed, cloth held firmly to his nose. "I'b bery excided!"

Dorian laughed and ruffled James's hair. "Yes, well, I'm very excited as well," he said. "But I imagine *you'll* want to sell it right away."

"For LODS of bodey!" came the quick agreement, James's eyes bright. "Lods and lods! 's worth this!"

"Yes, but... I get to steal it back from whoever we sell it to," Dorian said firmly. "That's simply not negotiable."

That seemed perfectly all right with James! "Bore bodey for uz!" he declared, pulling away the cloth. "More money's always a good thing, isn't it? You get what you want, I get what I want, all's right with the world!"

"Yes indeed, sweet boy," Dorian smiled. "Now, let's get you back to bed, shall we? Has the bleeding stopped?"

"Yes, my Lord," James answered him worshipfully, eyes fairly glimmering with sheer joy at him.

"Perfect -- I'd hate to see that pretty face spoiled. Now all you need is a kiss..." He pressed his lips delicately against James's abused nose and cheek, and then tossed the wash rag into a nearby hamper and led his friend back down the hallway just in time to hear Davey, standing in the front doorway, shout, "And I never want to see you again, you PERVERT!!"

"Oh my," Dorian giggled from the safety of the upstairs hall, "your uncle can be very... *forceful* when he wants to!"

"An' I didn't even think he liked me," James marvelled, allowing Dorian
to prompt him into his bedroom and under the sheets most carefully. "Would you like to stay with me?"

"Well, I think we may want to wait until your uncle settles down, don't you think?" Dorian had perched on the side of the bed and was stroking
James's hair. "Lord knows *I* don't want to be thrown out into the street! Besides, he may be extra alert tonight -- may even check up on you..."

"I didn't even think he *liked* me," James repeated again, snuggling into his covers and closing his eyes. "I like it when you do that.."

"Of course he likes you," Dorian murmured, slender fingers caressing cheeks now as well. "You're part of his family and besides... who *wouldn't* like you. You're the sweetest little pet ever..."

"I do love you," James sighed worshipfully. "I do."

"Sweet, sweet boy," Dorian said softly. "Would you like me to stay until you fall asleep?"

"Please," the younger man requested, looking up at him with the most adoring of expressions.

"You just close those eyes and have lots of lovely dreams about money and how were going to spend our time in London... together in our own place..." His gentle stroking continued as the boy's eyes closed. "We'll have *such* fun..."

So much fun....

When breakfast arrived, it was to the sound of yet more yelling. "THE BLOODY ARSEHOLE STOLE MY FRIGGING DEL SARTO!!" Davey bellowed, his voice carrying all the way up the stairs.

Dorian, who was dressing in his room, smiled sadly to himself in the mirror. "I'm terribly sorry, Mr. James," he murmured to his reflection, "but St. John really wanted to go home with *me*..."

"I'M PRESSING CHARGES AGAINST THAT MAN!" came the further bellow, accompanied by a timid knock on Dorian's door. He hadn't even answered before James scurried inside, wide-eyed.

"He's awfully angry now..." he murmured.

"Hmm, well, I figured he would be," Dorian said casually, giving his reflection one last glance. "Shall we go down and make soothing noises over breakfast?"

"Let's do," James agreed with a little sigh and a smile, beaming up at Dorian. "Let's do, indeed."


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