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Quince #11; Papaya #14; Chopped Nuts

Author: Regret
Rating: 15
Story: Radial: Unravel AU
Challenge: Quince #11 - What's Not To Love?; Papaya #14 - Don't Let Them Get Away
Topping: Chopped Nuts
Word Count: 2,040
Summary: Milos and Alex discuss what they're going to do, but their nighttime gets a whole lot more eventful when they realise someone else is in their room...

When they returned the inn was a lot quieter than before. A few tired-looking patrons sat at the bar by the door and one man was asleep in his food at a table as they made their way up the stairs and into Alex’s room again.

“Take your collar off when you undress.” Alex sat on the bed and began pulling off his boots without waiting for Milos to assist. What was the point in having a slave if you didn’t use them? “I don’t want it rubbing any more than it already does.”

As tempting as it was to point out that Alex did more damage to him in one night than the collar had in all the time he’d been wearing it, he was too tired to argue. Instead he did as he was told, his fingers finding the catches more easily now he was starting to get practice with it.

It also meant he could take great pleasure in throwing it at Alex’s head. The knight caught it with barely a look, of course, but it made him feel better nonetheless. Stripping the rest off, he moved over to where he’d laid out their nightclothes, only to be pulled up short by Alex. “Get into bed.”

So it really was going to be tonight too. He’d hoped that after he’d managed to restrain himself three days he could at least have a little recovery time. Throwing him an angry glare that the knight was completely oblivious to, he climbed onto the bed via the foot and crawled up to the top. Anything rather than pass in front of Alex.

It didn’t matter. Alex watched him squirm awkwardly beneath the sheets with a smirk that Milos was itching to wipe off his face, before dropping his trousers onto the floor and yanking back the sheets, hitting Milos with a sharp blast of cold.

If he intended for his slave to be grateful of his body heat when he slid into bed, it worked... not that Milos would admit that to him. As he pulled the sheets back over, blew out the candle and turned to throw one arm over Milos’s chest, resting his heavy head on his shoulder, his first thought was less to do with the horror of being touched and more to do with the reassurance of familiar contact. He hated himself.

“So you’re not going to...” He couldn’t bring himself to say it.

Alex shook his head, his hair tickling Milos’s skin. “After today, I’m too tired.” He could feel the smile against his body. “You’re safe.”

What was so amusing about that? Alex weighed too much for him to comfortably sleep, so he might as well try to keep him awake too. “There really aren’t any leads?”

“The servants you mentioned are interesting.” He made no effort to suppress a yawn; for one moment Milos could feel teeth over flesh. “I’d like to talk to them, if you can remember their crests.”

Milos nodded, turning his head away to look at what little of the wall he could see. “Nothing from your stupid aristocrats?”

He felt him frown. “I’d see that gods-damned Duke strung up for what he said to me. No, people from polite circles tend not to speak of sedition in the presence of a king’s knight.” He sighed softly. “If they did, it’d be much easier.”

“You rich people are always so inconvenient.”

The laugh skittered hot air over his chest. “We are, yes. That’s why Aaren became a monk.”

It was his turn to frown, knowing that Alex couldn’t see it. “Who’s Aaren?”

“My other brother.” He adjusted his position, draping one leg over Milos’s. The touch was unwelcome; the heat wasn’t. “He trained to be a monk and went to dedicate himself to the White One in the mountains. He had the right idea.”

He tried to imagine Alex as a monk. He failed. “The religious life doesn’t seem like it’d suit you.”

“I don’t think so either. Although it turns out maybe I could get used to men.” Another laugh heated his skin. “Maybe.”

His backside protested at the memory. “I thought they had vows of celibacy?”

“Who’s going to stick to one, really?” Not Alex, that had been obvious even before he spoke. “People will always find a way to have fun.”

Fun. Now there was a subjective term if ever Milos had heard one. He glanced down at the head weighing down his shoulder. It was weird and he didn’t know what to make of it, but this Alex he found he almost liked. Not the one who didn’t care what he did so long as he got his own way, or the one who could hurt him without batting an eyelid, but the one who dropped his stupidly heavy body on his skinny slave, snored and dribbled all over him.

Maybe it was because it was one of the few times he shut up and stopped moving. And, better, on his way to sleep it was now also one of the few times he spoke to him normally.

“We’ll visit those servants tomorrow,” Alex mumbled, adjusting his weight and making Milos wince. “They might feel more like talking if they’re scared.”

That Alex was the one he could happily punch. “Yeah,” he whispered back, looking away again and closing his eyes. “I can see that working really well.”

The laugh this time was softer; sleepier. It didn’t take long for Alex to drop off and, lulled by his rhythmic breathing, Milos followed rapidly after.

* * *

A flare of pain that felt suspiciously like fingers digging into his stomach woke him with a start. His attempt to jerk upright was immediately halted by Alex’s body and, more importantly, by the finger that moved from his belly—the bastard really had done it on purpose—to press over his lips, backed up by the silent breath of hot air against his ear.

He’d woken him so painfully for sex? Opening his mouth against the digit, he took a deep breath to let him know exactly how he felt about that, when a soft sound that most definitely did not come from either of them made him close it again, eyes wide.

Someone was in their room.

Straining against the darkness in a vain effort to make out anything beyond what could be a person—or it might be the dressing table—beyond the end of the bed, he held his breath and listened to the unmistakeable sound of drawers being opened and their belongings being sifted through. Beside him, he could feel Alex was doing the same, could just make out in the corner of his vision his arm moving for the knife on the bedside table.

He heard the drawer being shut again. Something that slowly resolved itself into a figure as his eyes accustomed themselves to the velvety midnight moved across the room to open the wardrobe door with barely a creak—then froze as Alex’s knife smacked into the door.

The impact echoed, the sound taking on that unearthly middle-of-the-night resonance; the figure leapt back as Alex swore and threw himself from the bed.

Milos saw it hesitate as he scrambled for the end of the bed, determined to herd it towards the knight. It seemed well aware of the man blocking the exit and approaching slowly. He heard the faintest of gasps, then it spun on its heel and bolted for the window instead. His feet pounded across the floor, a wall of cold air hitting him as the figure threw the window wide; he couldn’t make it in time. As he made a lunge for their collar, they clambered up into the recess and, to his horror, threw themselves to the ground.

He and Alex slammed into the frame at the same time, both staring down as the figure pushed themselves slowly to their feet. Despite the dull light from a streetlight a short distance away the face remained impossible to see as it stared back up at them, then turned and ran up the street, round a corner and away.


Milos felt his jaw drop. From the sharp intake of breath beside him, Alex felt the same way.

Who in every single damned gods’ name threw themselves from a second storey window and got up again? Let alone sprinted from the scene of the crime...

He shoved himself from the window, padding across the room to grope around for his trousers.

“What’re you doing?”

“I’m going after them.” Were these his, or Alex’s? Well, all his clothes had been Alex’s, he didn’t suppose it mattered now. “They were in your room, I can’t—”

In the gloom he could just about see Alex shake his head. “He’s long gone now.”

“I don’t care. I saw what direction he went in, if I run I can—”

“You can what? Get into trouble for running around without your owner, acting like a runaway?” Alex barked a harsh laugh. He felt him brush past him, then with a snap and flare the room was lit with an orange glow. “We need to know what’s been taken, if anything. But I’d bet something has. No one runs like that if they’re empty-handed.”

“No one should run like that after they jumped from a second floor window!” Gods, if he hadn’t seen it himself he’d never have believed it. He watched Alex light the candle on the table, still holding the trousers uselessly in one hand.

Alex, burying his arms up to his elbows in the top dresser drawer, turned and gave him a strange look. “There’s something you need to know. But tomorrow.”

“If I need to know it,” Milos snapped, “shouldn’t you tell me now?”

He shook his head, closing the drawer and pulling open the second. This one he made an immediate beeline for the corner of, twisting his arm to drag his fingers over the underside of the upper drawer with a frown. “It’ll take too long to explain, and—fuck!

He felt his blood chill. It had nothing to do with the frigid night air. “What?”

“Nazarian’s instructions.” He banged a fist against the side of the drawer. “I’d attached them to the bottom of the top drawer. Seems the bastard knew where to look. Fuck, fuck, it’s got his seal on—” He punched the wood again, furious.

Milos sat at the edge of the bed, shoving one foot into the leg of whoever’s trousers they were. “I’m going after them.”

Alex sighed. It was easily the most worrying noise he’d heard from him since he’d bought him; he’d never heard him sound so defeated before. “No. Get back into bed.”


Bed.” In rapid steps he crossed the room and shoved him backwards, yanking the trousers from his leg at the same time. “Tomorrow we’ll interview those servants.”

He stopped arguing as Alex pushed him back into bed proper, following him and pulling the sheets over them both. “If you don’t want to go now, does that mean you’ve got an idea who was responsible?”

Alex blew out the bedside candle, leaving only the one on the table to light the room. Milos didn’t blame him for leaving it on. He didn’t think their thief would be returning, but just in case... When the knight turned to look at him, it was with an almost gentle expression of resignation. “You don’t have an idea?”

He stared. “The Duke?”

Alex nodded. This time, when he settled more closely against him, it wasn’t with his head on his body. It rested on the pillow against his shoulder. Somehow, like this, it felt almost companionable. “Let him think he’s won for now. We’ll deal with him when it suits us.”

Milos nodded in return, the gesture feeling odd when so near to his owner’s head. Eyes closed, frowning faintly, and most importantly with his mouth closed, Alex looked more handsome than at any point when he was awake. His stomach twisted.

He really hated himself for that thought.

Tomorrow was going to be easily the most interesting day of his entire time with Alex. He wasn’t looking forward to it.


Runaway Tales



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