Title: The Book of Curtis
Series: Yes - Billet Doux. Direct sequel to 'The Book of Keel' and you will need to read that story to understand this one.
Author: Alyse (alyse@CI5Ops.co.uk)
Archive: CI5 Operational Control (http://www.CI5Ops.co.uk), Britslash
Category: The New Professionals - Curtis/Keel.

Rating: NC17.

Spoilers/Warnings: No spoilers. No warnings. Sex (surprise, surprise)

Summary: What can I say? It's plotless and an erotic vignette, as all of these are. Sam does something daring.

Feedback: Yes please, to alyse@CI5Ops.co.uk.  Constructive criticism welcome, flames will be used to melt chocolate, and we all know what I'll do with that :)

Disclaimers: They belong to Brain Clements and David Wickes Productions. They don't belong to me - if they did we all know what they'd be doing. I don't make any money from this. I have nothing but my own warped imagination and therefore I'm not worth suing. :)

Notes: Many thanks to my excellent beta Lou, for the eagle eyed spotting of typos. Thanks also go to Dinah for her invaluable role as technical consultant during certain scenes of this story. And you'll have to guess which scenes :)

Once again, the poems used in this are by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu respectively and the translations used can be found in "The Ink Dark Moon" courtesy of Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani.


The Book of Curtis


by Alyse

 

"Chris?"

The word impinged on his consciousness and he snuggled deeper into the covers, trying desperately to block it out.

"Chris?"

"Go 'way..." he muttered darkly, burying his face into the pillow.

"Chris!"

There was no ignoring the insistence in his lover's voice and he grumpily dragged himself out of the cocoon he'd made of the bed linen. "What do you want?" It wasn't a gracious question but then he wasn't in a particularly gracious mood.

Sam quirked his eyebrow but appeared willing let the irritation in his partner's voice slide. "I won't answer that with the obvious," he replied urbanely, "except to say that I need you," the word was emphasised with a dig in his ribs, "to come with me."

Chris scowled. "It's the middle of the night," he whined.

"It's ten p.m., Chris. That's hardly the middle of the night."

"But I've been up for over 36 hours..."

"So have I," retorted Sam unsympathetically.

"Why does Malone need us now?" he demanded, raising himself sluggishly up onto his elbows and peering blearily at his partner.

Sam gave him a long, steady look. "I didn't say that Malone needed us. I said that I needed you."

He frowned. "For?"

"I need you to come somewhere with me."

"Work?"

"No."

"Then can't it wait until tomorrow? We do have two days off work, you know?" He sank back into the mattress, hoping that his lover would see sense. It was a forlorn hope.

"I know we do, that's why I need you to come with me now."

He wasn't sure whether it was his exhaustion or whether his lover really was making no sense. Not making sense was his gig and he rather resented Sam encroaching on it. Rather than protest, which would have been token at best by this point, he settled on a petulant, "Where?"

Sam gave him another unsympathetic look. "You'll find out when we get there."

Grumbling, he hauled himself out of bed, reaching automatically under the pillow for his gun.

"You won't need that."

He gave Sam a long, flat look.

"I mean it, Chris. We're not heading anywhere dangerous. You won't need it."

There were times that he really hated it when his partner got mysterious. This was one of them. Not bothering to hide his sigh, he ambled over to his discarded clothing and began to pull on his jeans and t-shirt.

"You goin' to be mysterious all night?" he mumbled as he pulled the black t-shirt over his head.

"Yes."

"You know I hate that, don't you?"

"Yes."

"And that doesn't bother you?" He ambled back to the bed, the question more curious than heated.

"About this particular matter? No."

He paused in the act of pulling his socks on. "Should I be offended by that?"

For the first time, Sam smiled. "No. I'll make it worth your while. Promise."

He perked up. It sounded suspiciously like whatever Sam had planned it involved sex somewhere and he was almost always interested in that. He opened his mouth to pry further but Sam cut him off with a wry look. "If we don't get going, though..."

"Okay, okay. Jeez. How come when you get a bee in your bonnet, I'm the one that gets stung?"

His partner didn't bother answering, just gave him a slightly smug smile.

*****

"Why are you taking me to a tattoo parlour?"

"Why do you think?"

He thought hard for a moment. "We're meeting an informant?"

Sam sighed. "I told you..."

"This isn't work. I know, you said."

His partner gave him an undecipherable look before sighing again. "Maybe this isn't a good idea..."

"What isn't? Sam, you're going to have to explain things here, because I haven't quite woken up yet."

Sam's lips twisted wryly again and he glanced down at the extra large coke Chris held clutched in one hand. "Caffeine not working?" he asked innocently.

Okay, he was tired but he wasn't quite so out of it he didn't recognise his partner trying to change the subject on him. "I take it we're here to get a tattoo?"

"Well, I was thinking about it, yes."

"Okay, I'm not going to get into why, but why now? Why not wait? We have two days off, which by the way I fully intend to spend in bed and I was kinda hoping you'd be there too, so why are we standing outside a tattoo parlour..."

"Because you don't want to go in."

He huffed irritably. "I meant at ten thirty at night instead of coming here at a reasonable hour tomorrow?"

"Because we have two days off."

This was getting beyond a joke and he fixed Curtis with what, in his lighter moments, Sam referred to as his best Paddington Bear look, in other words a long, hard stare that he'd perfected on suspects. Familiarity obviously bred contempt because his partner didn't so much as twitch. He sighed and gave in, deciding that whoever this Paddington Bear dude was, and knowing his partner's rather strange sense of humour he hadn't quite dared to do any investigating into the matter, he'd obviously never had to deal with infuriating English CI5 agents on a mission.

"Sure, fine, whatever."

Since Paddington Bear hadn't worked he went straight to channelling Scully. That worked better, his partner guilt-tripped into elaborating even as he was steering Chris through the door into the garishly lit interior.

"Two days off, Chris, gives me two days to heal."

"Ah. You're going through with this then?"

Once again his partner fixed him with that unreadable look. "Yes," he answered softly. "I'm going through with it."

He shrugged, not sure what it was that Sam wanted from him. "Okay."

"Just like that? Okay? No arguments, no trying to talk me out of it?"

"Nope." He hesitated for a second. "You aren't expecting me to get one are you?"

Another half-smile from his lover. "His and his tattoos?" Sam said lightly. "I don't think so. You're safe."

"Okay." He took another swig from his Keel sized container of coke. "Lead on..."

Sam led him over to the counter and spoke to the heavily tattooed girl sitting behind it. She'd been watching them while they'd talked and the way she'd been eyeing Sam up got his possessive streak rearing its ugly head. She was still eyeing him up and Chris moved quietly across the linoleum floor coming to rest behind his partner and wrapping his arms around Sam, staring almost belligerently over his lover's shoulder at the receptionist.

Sam gave the girl a rueful little shrug, an unspoken apology for her being on the receiving end of this little demonstration of jealousy, and continued filling out some paperwork. She smiled back, gave Chris a worldly-wise look that spoke volumes and stood up, heading into the back room. When she returned a thin and tall man accompanied her, almost cadaverous in appearance and whose every inch of skin, bar his face, seemed to be covered with examples of his art.

He gave them a slightly suspicious look, taking in Chris still wound about Sam, his hair rumpled as though he'd just got out of bed, and Sam, smooth and cultured as always and still wearing his Armani suit. Chris could almost see the words 'rich gay and bit of rough' going through his head. His voice, when he spoke however, was pleasant enough. "Which of you gentleman requires my services?"

"That would be him," Chris replied. "My body's a temple. Without decoration."

"That would be why we stopped at MacDonalds, would it? For some burnt offerings?" Sam asked, a little too sarcastically for Chris' taste.

"That's right." He squeezed the arm wrapped around Sam's waist and gestured a little too enthusiastically with the other, coke holding hand so that the dark liquid sloshed up the straw. "Oops."

There were stereo sighs.

"Well," their host said, his tone bright. "My name's Dave and I'll be your tattoo artist for the evening. I take it that you've filled in the paperwork? You're over eighteen and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol?" The tattooist gave Chris a pointed look.

"I'm not," Sam replied urbanely. "And he's always like this. High on life."

Dave snickered softly and gestured them through to the inner sanctum.

"Do you have an idea of what you want or would you like to look through some of our designs?" he asked as he showed them into a room containing a chair that bore an unfortunate resemblance to the one used by Chris' dentist. It brought back memories that Chris would rather not dwell on.

"I know exactly what I want, it's the where."

Dave chuckled again. "Nice to meet a gent who knows exactly what he wants. Care to enlighten me?"

At the request Sam pulled a sheet of paper out of his jacket pocket, unfolding it carefully and smoothing out the creases with the palm of his hand. Chris' heart almost stopped. There, written neatly in Sam's rounded hand, were two very familiar symbols, the black ink as clear and crisp on the white paper as it had been on Sam's skin, just a little more decorative than his effort.

"That it?" Dave sounded rather disappointed. "You wouldn't like something more colourful?"

Sam quirked his eyebrow. "I was hoping for stylish. And... there's a reason for this."

Dave merely grunted, concentrating on the design in front of him. "Just black ink?"

"Yes."

"Well," Dave said eventually. "It's not the strangest design I've ever been asked to do, and it won't take very long. It's fairly simple, after all. So..." He gave Sam a long slow look up and down that was unusual for its simple lack of carnality or even any other human emotion. Chris wondered whether this was simply how any artist would view a canvas. "Where do you want it then?"

"That's up to you."

Lost in his consideration of Dave, Chris almost missed the fact that Sam's last comment was aimed at him. He looked up and met his lover's intense scrutiny, his eyes silver in the harsh, almost chemical, light. "It needs to be somewhere most people won't see it, but apart from that wherever you want. Your call, Chris."

His heart gave that almost painful lurch again, recognising the offer for what it was. A declaration of commitment, of love and more. Sam had told him once that he wasn't very good at talking about how he felt, but oh god; the man's actions said worlds more than words ever could.

"You sure you want to do this?" he asked, his mouth so dry that the words came out muffled. He wasn't just talking about the tattoo and Sam seemed to sense this. There was a wealth of meaning underlying the simple question, but what it boiled down to was, are you sure about us?

"I'm sure."

Not quite an 'I do' but close enough for Chris. Sam moved to stand in front of him, very close, definitely encroaching on Chris' personal space. Not that Chris had any objections to that. He wrapped one arm about the Englishman again, his other hand flailing for somewhere to put down his drink as he kissed Sam deeply, blotting out Dave's presence in the room. The waxed paper container made contact with something solid and he let it rest there, bringing his now free hand up to cup Sam's head. His mind raced, processing the feel of Sam's hair, silky beneath his fingers, the texture of Sam's lips pressed against his, the smooth taste of his lover's mouth and, most importantly, also processing Sam's request.

The tattoo not being visible meant there was only one area of Sam's body that would do. He briefly considered the small of Sam's back, especially since he'd painted the original there, but that seemed a trifle unfair as Sam wouldn't be able to see it. His mind caught up in that thought, he let his hand drift from Sam's back around to his front, not missing the sharp, hissing intake of breath from Sam as their lips parted for a brief instant.

He let his mouth ghost over Sam's, not quite diving in for another kiss, just barely skimming the skin as he opened his eyes and gazed straight into Sam's silvery-green orbs. Beautiful. And his. Marked permanently as his. It sent a shudder of possessive desire through him. Where though? The inner thigh was dismissed for much the same reason as Sam's back, but not before he caressed it, feeling Sam's cock twitch in response to the gesture. It needed to be somewhere Sam would see it and where he could see it when they made love. That left one place.

He let his hand rest on Sam's hip, his thumb brushing over the taut skin of Sam's abdomen, tracing one line of the 'v' where Sam's torso tapered towards his groin. "There," he said, his thumb pressing lightly at the top of the crease, in the hollow of his hipbone. "Just there."

Sam pulled back, looking at him searchingly and then turned to look at Dave who was watching them with a raised eyebrow. Sam stepped back from Chris, putting sufficient distance between them to enable him to indicate where the tattoo was going to go. He felt the lack of Sam's warmth against him immediately, a pang that had only a little to do with heat and sex.

"There," said Sam, touching his trousers lightly.

The eyebrow rose higher.

"Sure?" asked Dave doubtfully. "I can tell you now, it's gonna hurt. There's nothing but skin over bone there really."

A shock shivered through him. "Sam..."

His lover met his eyes calmly. "There," he insisted, his voice light. He smiled tightly but there was no humour in his gaze, which remained serious. "I've kind of got used to pain."

If Dave's eyebrow rose any further, Chris thought rather facetiously, it was going to go straight over the top of his skull and down the other side. He resisted the urge to giggle, knowing it was down to a combination of exhaustion and exhilaration, his emotions seesawing wildly out of control. Sam was doing this, for him. To show him how much he meant to Sam.

"Are you sure you don't want me..."

Sam cut him off with a smile, that uncanny rapport between them kicking in again. "I think someone might notice, Chris."

His and his tattoos. Yes, someone would, like CI5's medical contingent for instance. God knows, he and Sam were their guests often enough.

'I know it must be this way in the waking world, but how cruel - even in my dreams we hide from others' eyes.'

Unbidden the poem rose once again in his mind and sent a shiver through him. Sam was right. They'd agreed to be discreet but that didn't mean he had to like it, or the feeling of helplessness it gave him sometimes, like when Sam was injured and he wanted more than anything to just hold the man but couldn't. Not when others were around.

He nodded jerkily, his eyes never leaving his partner, his lover, as Sam moved to the chair.

"Here okay?" he asked Dave.

The tattoo artist shrugged, obviously deciding that the pair of them were nuts and therefore that they were outside his sphere of concern. "Fine. You can keep your shirt on, but I'll need you to open your trousers and pull them down a little."

Once again Chris struggled to combine the man's unconcern with the instruction issued. He was biased, he knew, but the idea of anyone wanting to undress his partner, even slightly, without intending to pounce on the man was a concept he struggled to understand. So instead of wrestling with it any further he picked his drink back up and stood there, trying to look as nonchalant as possible while all the time he watched his partner closely.

Dave swabbed the area with a clear liquid, some kind of alcohol or similar Chris guessed and then started to pull his equipment together. "How big do you want it?"

"Big enough to be clear and yet small enough to be discreet."

"Well, that's helpful."

Sam gave a genuine smile this time. "Maybe three or four centimetres maximum."

Dave was all business, examining the area selected closely. "This like writing?"

"It is writing."

"Japanese, right?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Do you want them side by side? 'Cause I was thinking be better not."

"You mean one symbol below the other?"

"Yeah. Given the position. They should follow the line of your body, I think." He smoothed his hand over the skin, obviously planning how the finished product would look and Chris had to fight down the sudden surge of jealousy he felt that someone would touch his Sam like that.

"Fine."

"Okay." Dave was all brisk business. "Let's get going, then. If it gets too much, let me know and I'll stop for a bit. I will warn you though, it won't get easier so if you can stand it best get it over with all at once."

Once again Sam gave that little wintry smile. "I can stand it."

The tattooist didn't seem convinced, but merely grunted, letting it slide. If he thought that Sam was some rich businessman who had no concept of pain he was in for a surprise. His partner was intimately acquainted with it. They both were.

Sam didn't even flinch when the needle went in for the first time although a slight tightening around his mouth told Chris that the experience wasn't a comfortable one. He could only watch, wincing in sympathy every now and again as Dave continued to work, pausing frequently to wipe the affected area with swabs to clean the blood and ink from it.

He finished the first symbol with nothing more than a couple of twitches from Sam and a couple of hissing intakes of breath. It was with something approaching respect that he asked if Sam was ready for the second one. The Englishman nodded curtly.

The second symbol was simpler, thankfully, because it was obvious to Chris by now that it was hurting. His partner had that shuttered and tight expression he got on his face whenever he was in pain and attempting to hide it. Just as he had on Nomine Patri, among other places.

Finally Dave finished, wiping the area again with a flourish and then he applied a small white dressing over the damaged skin. "There you go," he said cheerfully. "We've got a leaflet on care for you. You can pick it up from Nancy on reception. But basically, keep it clean. It will scab over and then heal, so it won't be a pretty sight for a couple of days. Any sign of infection, consult your GP. You can pay on the way out."

Chris blinked. That was it? It was almost an anticlimax until he caught sight of a pair of intense grey-green eyes watching him closely, the heat in them unmistakeable.

"Okay, we're out of here. Thanks, Dave. Bye."

He knew he was babbling and didn't care, not when Sam was stalking towards him on silent feet, fastening up his trousers with a casual disregard for etiquette.

Oh god.

Dave watched them leave, shaking his head in bemusement. Took all sorts, he supposed. But if it didn't, he'd be out of business.

*****

He was very restrained and didn't pin Sam to the wall until they reached his apartment. Once there, though, he had no qualms about pressing the full length of his body up against Sam's, pushing the door closed with his foot rather than waste time actually turning to do it. He was far too busy plundering his lover's mouth, his fingers sliding between the buttons of Sam's shirt with practised ease.

Sam didn't put up any resistance, his hands already moving to divest Chris of his jacket, his tongue sweeping into Chris' mouth, duelling with Chris' own, conquering, demanding, submitting to Chris'. It was an old dance and one they were well on the way to perfecting. Just as they were well on their way to perfecting moving from the entrance lobby to Chris' bedroom without tripping on the stairs, all the while kissing and undressing each other.

Chris' jacket was discarded somewhere around step three while Sam's didn't make it past the top step. Chris' top ended up on the floor by the couch and Sam's shirt was already open by the time the back of his knees hit the bed and he was toppling over, Chris already moving to straddle him, his hands moving ceaselessly over the planes of his lover's chest.

He loved touching Sam, feeling the hitch in his partner's breath when he caressed a particularly sensitive spot, feeling the way his partner's chest rose and fell with each ragged, excited pant, watching the expressions of lust and passion passing across his partner's mobile face.

He leant down again, his tongue swirling around the contours of Sam's mouth before he moved to nip and nibble at Sam's neck, sucking lightly at the yellowing bruise still clear against Sam's pale skin. Sam arched up into him, hissing his pleasure at the touch, clear evidence of his passion even if Chris hadn't been able to feel the hardness pressing up into his leg.

He moved his mouth to the hollow of Sam's throat, lapping up the musky sweat forming there, and then downwards across the smooth lines of his lover's torso. He traced the line of Sam's breastbone before moving sideways to capture one taut pink nipple, sucking the nub hard into his mouth. Sam moaned and writhed beneath him, his fingers scrabbling at Chris' back, seeking to maintain and prolong the contact between them.

Chris shook him off, catching his hands and pinning them firmly to the bed as he continued his journey. Sam's body was mapped with a thoroughness that did Chris' SEAL's training proud, each groove and hollow explored with an agile tongue, each line of muscle clearly delineated by a trail of kisses.

He didn't release Sam's hands until he needed his own to unfasten his lover's trousers, sliding his fingers underneath the waistband of Sam's boxers to stroke along the skin of his abdomen before pulling both underwear and trousers down to his ankles. Sam's shoes and socks proved no obstacle to a determined CI5 agent.

In a matter of moments his partner was supine on the bed, naked, his only adornment the crisp white bandage.

Chris shucked himself of his own remaining garments in record time, desperate for the feel of Sam's naked skin against his own. It still seemed an eternity, however, until he was able to join his lover on the bed and touch him again. He wasted no more time, continuing his exploration of his lover's body, this time unhindered by clothing. When he reached Sam's hipbone he hesitated, hovering over the bandage. Sam made the decision for him, reaching down to tear it away.

The skin was red and a little swollen but the lines of the tattoo were clearly visible nonetheless. The tattoo was hot to the tip of his tongue and Sam hissed. He glanced up, thinking that he'd gone too far and caused his lover pain but the heat and tenderness of Sam's skin had nothing on the heat and tenderness in his eyes.

Holding Sam's gaze, he lowered the tip of his tongue again, tasting the metallic taste of Sam mingled with the acrid taste of the ink - all heat and fire.

Sam hissed again, his pupils dilating with arousal and Chris took the hint and sucked the damaged skin lightly into his mouth, listening to Sam's moan of pleasure, turning his own insides into fiery molten metal.

He let go before he could do any more damage, not willing to do anything that would hinder the healing process, but it seemed to be enough. Sam's eyes, when they met his again, were glazed with lust. "Chris," he ground out, his voice hoarse with suppressed passion. "Fuck me."

He was helpless to resist the request, especially when phrased so elegantly.

He hunted frantically in the bedside drawer for lubricant, slicking it on himself with urgent fingers before turning those same shaking fingers to the task of loosening Sam for their coupling. He wasn't careful about it, too wrapped up in the burning need to bury himself into Sam's tight heat to take more than rudimentary care, but Sam didn't seem to mind, urging him onwards with desperate words and pleas.

Finally he was easing into Sam's body. It was tight, oh Christ, it was so tight. And hot as an inferno, burning him up, consuming him whole. He was lost in a daze of bliss; Sam's body, as always, gripping him as though made for him, but had it ever been this tight, this velvet? Probably not, since Chris was usually much more careful about preparing his lover. Sam, however, seemed to love the roughness of the possession if the harsh moan he let out on Chris' entry was anything to go by. His strong fingers dug into Chris' back, pulling his lover closer, pulling Chris down so they could kiss, his tongue invading Chris' mouth. And then he arched up, crying out as Chris' almost brutal thrust scraped over his prostate.

"Oh Christ, yes," he grated out. "Harder, Chris, please..."

He let out an almost animal howl as Chris complied, pounding into him ruthlessly. Their mouths clashed violently, each seeking dominance and Chris tasted the harsh metallic flavour of blood as one of them suffered for it. Sam's blunt fingernails dug almost painfully into his back and he let out a groan of his own, the sensation going straight to his already straining cock.

He was so close and so quickly. Releasing his grip on Sam, he rose up onto his knees, pulling Sam's pelvis up and angling his thrusts so that each one struck that sensitive gland deep within his lover's body, trying to either delay the inevitable or to ensure Sam came with him. Sam writhed on the bed beneath him, his head tossing from side to side while he kept up a nonsensical litany of need. Sam's hand was moving rapidly on his own erection, and Chris peremptorily knocked it aside, replacing it with his own, circling around the weeping tip with one finger before grasping it firmly and pumping in time to his thrusts deep into Sam's body, feeling the crescendo building. Sam was tense against him, pushing back into his thrusts almost violently, beyond words now, just giving voice to harsh gasps, driven out of him with each stroke. He moved his other hand to Sam's hip, stroking the skin lightly before moving his thumb over the tattoo and pressing down gently.

The combined pleasure/pain was enough to send Sam careening over the edge, and he came with a hoarse, strangled cry, biting down hard on his fist to muffle the noise. The contractions of the velvet sheath he was gripped by were enough to topple Chris over into bliss as well, and he yelled loudly as the tension in the pit of his stomach built into a fierce, liquid surge of pleasure that centred on his cock before it washed him away entirely.

He collapsed onto Sam, burying his face in his partner's neck while Sam panted heavily in his ear and stroked shaky hands down his back. "Oh Christ," Sam muttered again, his voice sounding strained from his swallowed cries but still blissful, before he twisted uncomfortably underneath Chris. Chris muttered an apology and shuffled off his lover, accidentally catching the sore patch of skin bearing the tattoo as he did so.

Sam swore softly and once again he apologised.

"S'okay," his lover muttered, rolling over to look at him, the expression on his face serene. "Worth it."

He smiled softly. "The sex?" he asked softly. "Or this?" His thumb grazed lightly over the wound, being careful not to hurt.

"Both," Sam replied, his voice as soft. The look in his eyes spoke volumes, softer than Chris had seen them before, almost as though the act of marking himself like this and making love afterwards had lowered some of the barriers he habitually kept up.

"I'm glad you did it." His sincerity shone through, deeply touched by the gesture. "It means a lot, Sam."

That earned him another of those heart-stopping smiles his partner specialised in. The ones reserved just for him.

"I'm glad you're pleased," he said lightly, the words a contrast to the soft seriousness still evident in his eyes and smile. He hesitated and Chris looked at him encouragingly.

"Do you remember how I translated those poems for you?" he continued quietly.

"Hmm mm."

"There was one I didn't tell you."

"One you wrote?"

Sam shook his head and chuckled softly. "No." His eyes were warm as he added, "But I think it's apt anyway."

"You going to tell me now?"

There was a long pause while his partner just seemed to drink in the sight of his face and then Sam said, still softly but with an underlying intensity that managed to get Chris' heart beating faster than the energetic sex they'd just shared had, "In this world love has no colour - yet how deeply my body is stained by yours."

And then he shuffled closer to Chris, moulding himself to the American as though they were made to fit together.

Perhaps, thought Chris, wrapping his arms happily around his lover, they were.

The End


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