Cesare's Cabinet

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This story takes place after series two of Queer as Folk and contains spoilers for the entire series.


Niagara Falls was strange enough, but Vince was really gobsmacked when he realised Stuart had called ahead and booked the honeymoon suite.

It wasn't just strange, it was malice aforethought. The huge, pristine white bed, the matching white dressing gowns, the decor in white and shades of pale blue with, good god, pink accents. It was all understated and tasteful and lovely, but it was inescapably a honeymoon suite. Stuart was having a go at him, a dig at all the earnest hand-holding Vince had been putting him through.

The bellhop stacked their bags on the bureau under Stuart's direction, and tried to lead them through the four connected rooms; Stuart, veteran of countless hotel stays, managed to smoothly cut him off and palm a tip to him without Vince getting so much as a glimpse of the notes. Vince hadn't seen much in the way of price tags for weeks. In a way it was touching, if puzzling, that Stuart kept the cost of everything mostly concealed from him. He'd thought about telling Stuart that he wasn't bothered about the money, but he'd be lying and Stuart would know it, and Vince was trying not to do that any more.

Somewhere between Britain and America, Stuart had lost his tolerance for Vince's lifelong habit of bending the truth a bit. But backed into a corner, Vince had found honesty wasn't as difficult as all that. In fact he was much more at ease, now that he wasn't constantly in danger of being found out on one of his many embellishments.

Funny how it had never occurred to him that his frequent lies and his frequent anxiety might be connected.

A few months ago he might've pretended not to mind that Stuart had booked the honeymoon suite, might even have lied and said it was brilliant, right up until he absolutely couldn't take it any longer. Then he would've made up a weak excuse and buggered off, feeling an utter twat, totally deserving of the hard and angry look that Stuart would inevitably give him upon being served with one of Vince's flagrant inventions.

Not now, though. He was absolutely going to call Stuart out on this and find out what was going on.

Eventually. Once he worked out some reasonably tactful way to ask.

It might take a night or two.

Vince cast his mind back over the past few weeks, trying to calculate when Stuart must have made the call ahead to get the suite, struggling to remember if he'd done anything particularly slushy or objectionable around that time.

Nothing came to mind, but that probably only meant he wasn't remembering it right.

"This is odd," he said as soon as the bellhop was safely gone. "Did they give us the right room?"

"Yeah," Stuart said. "Why, something wrong with it?"

"Well, it's the honeymoon suite," Vince tried, watching Stuart's expression closely.

"Yeah? So?"


Oh, what the hell. He'd run away from home, hadn't he, abandoned his job and his flat and everything he held dear. Yet even so, sometimes he had to remind himself that he'd made up his mind not to let anything hold him back.

At absolute (and frankly unlikely) worst, he'd discover that Stuart had been toying with him for the past few months, and this conversation would be the end of it, and then Stuart would dump him flat and vanish with the Jeep, never to return.

That would be awful, but even so, Vince would still be no worse off than that horrible night when Stuart said he was leaving for London. In fact, Vince would be one trip to America ahead. And if Stuart deserted him now, he wouldn't feel the least bit bad about sticking Stuart with the tab for several nights and a great deal of minibar liquor at a posh Niagara Falls honeymoon suite, which was, after all, being charged to Stuart's credit card.

There was no use being nervous. He'd already confronted his greatest fear. Being rejected by Stuart had always been the absolute worst possibility on Vince's personal horror hit parade, worse than anything: buried alive, torture, tickets to Starlight Express. But the rejection he'd been dreading half his life hadn't happened. When Vince had summoned up every bit of his courage, spurred on by desperation and his mum's boot in the arse, and presented himself to Stuart, take me or leave me, Stuart had taken him.

Anything beyond that would be relatively easy. Even if Stuart suddenly turned on him now, Vince had still had a better run with Stuart than anyone else Stuart had ever shagged in his entire life. Vince was the first bloke Stuart had ever had for even two nights running, let alone the hundred or so nights it had been since they left Manchester. That had to count for something, and if it didn't, well then, better to know now; either way Vince had nothing worse left to fear.

"So," Vince said with more confidence, "it seems a bit strange is all. A few months ago you were ready to commit seppuku to keep my dad's family from thinking we were boyfriends..."

"Not the way she said it, that's for fucking sure," Stuart sneered.

"What d'you mean, the way she said it?"

"You were there."

"Yeah. And?"

"'You remember, I told you, this is Vince's boyfriend,'" Stuart mimicked Judith's lowered voice. "Brace yourself, don't panic, but-- god, imagine it-- he's got a boyfriend. Try not to act too bloody shocked."

"Is that what got your back up?" Vince asked, surprised.

"Everything about it gets my back up," Stuart waved a dismissive hand at him. Vince didn't miss the present tense.

"So the suite. Wasn't a gesture, like," Vince said.

"Best view, best bed," Stuart said. "That's what I asked for."

"Right. Right." That was enough courage for one day, surely. Only then he said, "So I won't be introducing you as my boyfriend, then. I'll have to find some other way to say it."

"I'll introduce myself," said Stuart.

"And when someone asks what we are? I mean, to each other?"

"Tell 'em to fuck off," Stuart suggested, drawing near. "Or if you really want them to know..."


"Give 'em a demonstration," Stuart said, slipping his hand into Vince's and pulling him forward, into Stuart's arms.

Vince had been trying to decide if he was narked at Stuart about the whole thing, for waking his doubts again, for making him think about it instead of just enjoying the ride. But then Stuart's mouth opened against his and he'd never been more sure of anything, slipping his arm round Stuart and pressing his hand just where Stuart's back curved in to his waist, where Vince's palm seemed to fit perfectly.

They tumbled together onto the panoramic bed, a plateau of gleaming white, crumpling seismically under them as they snogged and grappled with each other, shoving one another out of their clothes.

Tugging Stuart's black Calvins down his hips, Vince said, "This is going to make for some awkward scenes at parties."

"Twat," Stuart muttered, kicking his pants off, wriggling out of his socks. He managed to lever Vince down next to him using only his legs and a certain amount of spatial ingenuity, and once they were chest to chest, hip to hip, he met Vince's eyes, dead on, as they both caught their breath.

"Sod telling them, you can say anything," Stuart growled, "just show them, like this," he snatched Vince's hand in his and held on tight, "like this," he wound his other arm round Vince's shoulders and kissed him deeply, drowningly, until they were both gasping for air and release.

"I think I'm getting a knack for it," Vince managed. He couldn't stop touching Stuart, every curve and angle, muscle and sinew, smooth skin and tangled curly hair; he never could.

Stuart eased back from him, slowing the pace without losing the intensity, arching under Vince's touch. "Good. Cos I'm not some acceptable boyfriend," he made the word sound ugly, "some season tickets to the theater, brunch on Sundays, holding hands in public when it's safe boyfriend." He drew his hand up Vince's thigh teasingly, smirking, sexy and sly. "I'm not letting them try to wrap it up and make it all right for them." He stretched back invitingly, his fingers trailing lazily along Vince's hip. "And I'm never letting anyone forget that I'm shagging you blind every chance I get."

Vince leaned in and kissed him. Days and weeks and months and he still couldn't keep from smiling like an idiot when he kissed Stuart and felt Stuart select a response out of his vast sexual vocabulary, a whole range of kisses from a delicate swipe of lips and tongue to a full-out voracious snog.

He was especially fond of the really long ones, when they'd breathe together warmly, close, drinking each other in. He'd compared it to Tuvan throat singing, once, just for the incredulous, irritated look that Stuart flashed at him for it.

"No humming," Stuart had said, "save that for when you're giving head. On second thought, don't save it--"

Vince should've been intimidated, every time they shagged, should've been in tremors at being compared to the legions of men Stuart'd had: literally, there'd been well over a thousand. He wasn't, though. He couldn't've gone through with it if it had been like that. Nearly hadn't.

It'd come together sort of quickly for him there in that London hotel room, that he could touch Stuart in ways other men couldn't. Other men might want Stuart as much as Vince did, some might even love him, as well; but they couldn't know him the way Vince did, his brooding silences, his stupid laugh, his offhand cleverness, his overbearing arrogance, his almost shocking tenderness at the strangest times.

And maybe Stuart needed that; needed to be known. As a theory, it seemed to hold up fairly well. Sometimes Vince even managed to believe it.

Tonight he believed it, his hands gliding over Stuart's skin, his movements following a familiar path, guided by instinct and practice-- when their bodies met like this, a touch here; this gasp called for a kiss, this twist of hips for a grip, but not a wank, not yet.

Vince rolled onto his back willingly enough at Stuart's subtlest shove in that direction, felt Stuart's palms stroke hard up the backs of his thighs to the hinges of his knees, hands cupping his calves, easing his legs back in a long, slow movement, Stuart's cock hard against his, warm wet pressure and a nip of teeth at his ankle. Vince half-gasped, half-laughed as Stuart tongued his anklebone and then his heel, and Stuart saw him chuckling and flashed his you-know-you-love-it smirk. He flipped open the lube, squeezing and applying it deftly all with his left hand. When he finally touched Vince, that was the end of laughing; Vince thought he'd go deaf from the pounding of blood in his ears. His hips jerked when Stuart bent and licked him teasingly, balls to cock in one hot trail, up his stomach, circling his navel and then abruptly tracing along the back of his thigh as Stuart's fingers slowly, slowly opened him up.

Stuart was like no one else Vince had ever shagged, ever. He was amazing: well, of course. Vince had always known that, heard it presented as immutable fact by scores of shags and eyewitnesses. Even when they'd only been kids, Vince had once eavesdropped on a conversation between a couple of older men because he heard one say, "The hottest thing you've ever seen" and he'd instantly known they were talking about Stuart; and they had been. He'd always imagined that Stuart would be better than anyone else he'd slept with, but he'd thought that Stuart would be better by degree, not by kind.

He'd discovered, though, that Stuart was a completely different sort of shag than anyone Vince had ever had before. He wasn't like Simon or Mark, all showy and polished like a porn star, putting the way things looked ahead of the way things felt. He wasn't like Peter, who had three or four surefire tricks he always used, every time. He was nothing like Dominick, all ragged strokes and cheerful enthusiasm, or Darren, with his assortment of entry-level fetishes, or Cameron, who'd actually shagged Vince full out up against the wall a few times, with staggering upper body strength and stamina.

Stuart was focused, grabby, intermittently rough, unfailingly egalitarian. He sucked Vince's earlobe and his cock with equal abandon, touched and clutched at every inch of Vince that came within his reach; he took time out from wanking Vince off to rake his fingernails lightly down the insides of Vince's arms, he caressed Vince's sides with the pads of his toes; when he topped sometimes he slid his hands up and linked them behind Vince's neck, or stroked hard with his thumbs along the arches of Vince's feet, he made noise, cries and grunts and a strange purring groan, he topped, he bottomed, he licked and rimmed and wanked, he did anything and everything and he loved all of it, every second of it, it was obvious in every move he made, every breath he took. His face was always gorgeously animate, involved, his concentration powerful and unwavering, like the sun through a magnifying glass, narrowed to a burning shaft of light.

Stuart put more of himself into sex than anyone else Vince had ever shagged, and maybe that explained why he got a lot more out of it as well. Stuart never had desultory sex, lackluster there's-nothing-on-telly sex. Even if it was just a fast wank in a doorway, Stuart kissed and lapped and thrust like it was everything he'd ever wanted, everything he'd been waiting for, like there was nothing else in the entire world.

And on a night like tonight, when they had plenty of time and lust and a full bottle of lube, look out.

"C'mere," Vince said hoarsely, beckoning Stuart up. Stuart grinned and eased his fingers out gently and crept up his body, grasping Vince's cock briefly along the way, working it til he got a moan, letting go, moving to straddle Vince's chest, knees planted far apart.

Vince wasted no time; he took Stuart's arse in both hands and pulled him closer, taking him in, all one smooth motion of lips and tongue, deep as he could manage. He watched as Stuart threw his head back, listened as Stuart made his peculiar groaning, purring noise, deep in his throat. Vince sucked and licked and squeezed as Stuart rocked on his knees, as Stuart reached back and took his cock in hand again and wanked him slowly, until Vince's hips were lifting from the bed with every stroke, until Vince could taste the first faint thread of salt.

They tore away from each other, Stuart gasping as he slicked lube onto himself; Vince braced his feet on Stuart's shoulders and accepted the first slow, slow push in, out, further in, with a twinge of discomfort that faded into the pull and push of sensation, and all at once he was so relaxed and so ready for it, as Stuart reached and grabbed his hands and began to fuck him in earnest, fast, hard, heady, every thrust hitting just right, every time, again and again and in time with Stuart's hands and his own wrapped around his cock until he couldn't hold out one second more, clenching hard, everything, hard and relentless and exactly right, and he heard Stuart saying with that startling tenderness in his voice,

"That's it, that's it,"

as Vince cried out aloud and came, his body convulsing, and moments later he felt Stuart pull out fast and bring their hands, still linked, to touch himself just once, lightly, and then he was coming as well, adding his spunk to the sea of it, hot and thick and sticky on Vince's skin.

Cleanup was achieved by ruining a corner of the top coverlet; they wiped up with it and shoved it aside, barely managing to pull themselves up to the heap of pillows at the head of the bed, too spent for anything more. Vince's whole body buzzed with satisfaction, and he didn't want to sigh with utter contentment but really, he sort of had to; it was exactly how he felt.

"Maybe it was a gesture," Stuart murmured.

Vince didn't even register that he'd said something at first, and it took ages for the words to sink in.

Once it resolved in his mind, though, he blinked himself awake again. Stuart had half-turned away, one hand shoved up under the pillow the way he always did when he settled in to sleep.

Vince snuggled close against Stuart in the wide vista of the bed, far too relaxed to mind that the covers were a complete wreck. "I promise," he said, curling his body against Stuart's, "I won't introduce you as my boyfriend."

He felt Stuart's answering snort. "Never mind. Shag like that, you can call me whatever you like."

Laughing silently, he slipped his arm around Stuart's waist. "Hiya. This is my favorite shag, Stuart Jones."

"Mm. Nice to meet you."

"Or... this is Stuart Alan Jones, the bloke I've been having lately."

"Charmed, I'm sure."

"This is my best mate who also happens to fuck me senseless on a regular basis, Stuart Jones," Vince tried.

"Not bad. Bit long."

"This is my--" Vince blanked. "This is mine, you can't have him," he improvised, chuckling.

Stuart turned in his arms, and Vince wondered if he was about to get a bollocking for being possessive, even as a joke, but Stuart was smiling, his eyes slitted and mysterious. He pulled Vince's head down and snogged him thoroughly, a long, Tuvan throat singing sort of kiss.

"That'd work," Stuart said when they parted, lying close, his eyes drifting shut, his face smooth and restful.

He fell asleep in moments, leaving Vince to wonder, as always, what he really meant.


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