armartello: (Default)
armartello ([personal profile] armartello) wrote2017-04-07 07:12 am

Sidearm!AU -- Part 2


This AU got a bit out of hand and it's been my first "large" project of 2017... 
Part One

“Why are you smiling at me like that?” Jazz asked, raising an eyebrow. He leaned back against the couch, bringing his laptop closer.

Savin just grinned wider and pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. “You like Devin,” he said, as if it were all he needed to say. “It almost sounds like you had a blind date that went really well, to me…”

“It wasn’t an actual date, though?” Jazz pointed out, still giving Savin one of his best incredulous looks. He picked at a piece of fuzz stuck to his shorts and pouted, dropping his eyes from the screen. “Besides, Savin, it’s his job to make me feel comfortable with him and flirt -- not to mention he gets paid more if I have sex with him.”

“Mhm, sure, keep telling yourself that, mate,” Savin said, smirking at Jazz. His green eyes flashed with mischief. “How much more would you have to pay to fuck him, anyway?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t ask,” Jazz grumbled, wishing his face didn’t feel so hot. He covered part of his face with his hand, still avoiding Savin’s eyes. “He -- god, I feel so wrong saying this, but -- he said I could pay him directly, if I wanted to have sex with him and all, and -- it’s almost weird to me, that that’s even legal… Not to mention he’s only nineteen…”

“Well, it’s not legal here, y’know?” Savin said with a shrug. He leaned back against his pillows, his expression softening. “You know you don’t have to hire him if you’re afraid you’re gonna fall for him, love. ‘Specially since it’s his job and all to ‘make you feel comfortable and flirt,’ like you said.”

Jazz shook his head. “I’m not afraid I’ll develop feelings for him. I mean, yes, I did enjoy myself -- a lot -- tonight, but…” His face felt warm again as Savin grinned. “What?”

“You blush every time you talk about him,” Savin snickered. “Care to tell me again just how far he got with you, because I’m pretty sure it was more than just making out…”

The teasing note to Savin’s voice caused Jazz’s blush to worsen, and he folded his arms over his chest. “He -- figured out that my nipples are sensitive,” he grumbled, reminding himself it was best to just be honest. “He even kissed his way down my chest and stomach, but -- I stopped him before he undid my belt or anything…”

“Did he grab your ass? He should’ve grabbed your ass,” Savin said, still snickering to himself. “And I’m not at all surprised he found out about your nipples -- you practically shove your chest in my face when you want them played with, so you probably did the same with him.”

Jazz groaned, vaguely remembering how he’d moved under Devin, when Devin had pushed him onto his back as he covered half his face with his hand once more. “No, he didn’t grab my ass,” he huffed, almost disappointed to report that fact back to Savin. “But I wanted to grab his and didn’t, I’ll have you know. He has an amazing ass, too…”

“So what you’re telling me is, the both of you kept your hands and mouths above the belt,” Savin said. He grinned at Jazz and folded his hands behind his head, kicking his feet up on the bed. “I gotta admit, I’m impressed -- you said you were dying, I figured you’d at least try to give him a handy."

Jazz rolled his eyes. "Just because I wanted to fuck him into the mattress doesn't mean I couldn't keep my hands to myself, either, you know," he said, frowning a little to himself. He raked his fingers through his hair. "Somehow I think you would've been okay with it if I had, even though you didn't give me permission to..."

Savin snorted and shook his head, pulling his own hair back and bringing his laptop closer to him. "I wouldn't have been exactly happy if you had slept with him, but I wouldn't have been surprised?" he said, his expression sobering some. "But -- it sounds like he's good at his job and that he enjoyed your company, too, which is good if you’re gonna be working with him for a while.” Savin paused, cleaning his glasses with a corner of his shirt before slipping them back over his eyes. “When're you picking him up Friday?"

"At four-thirty," Jazz answered, relaxing a little himself as he pulled his own computer closer to him. "He lives about an hour from us -- so I have to leave here at three just to make sure I have plenty of time if I get lost, going to his place. He's about an hour away from where the dinner's supposed to be at, too, and  --"

"And you don't want to be late," Savin finished for him, a soft smile tugging at his lips. "You sure you're going to be ready by three? You're fucking terrible at getting yourself out the door..."

"Without you here to distract me, I think I should be just fine," Jazz quipped, his lips quirking upwards. "I seem to recall that ninety percent of the time, a certain someone always liked to drag me back into bed before we went out anywhere…”

Savin shrugged, a wry little smile tugging on his lips. “It’s not my fault you look so damn good in a suit.” His eyes raked over Jazz’s form before darting to somewhere offscreen. “Be back in a sec,” he said, winking as he slunk off of his bed.

Jazz just shook his head when he heard the quiet click of a door closing, and Savin was back on his parents’ guest bed, resting on his side and his eyes locking back on Jazz’s. “Besides, you can’t say that you don’t like it when I pull you close and start drifting my lips up your neck, can you?” he asked, smirking. “You never seem to tell me no…”

“Oh, I tell you no plenty of times,” Jazz said, unable to suppress the shiver running through his body. He could practically feel Savin behind him, his hands on Jazz’s hips and his lips and tongue at Jazz’s neck. How Savin would tease and kiss his neck slowly, listening for how Jazz’s breath would inevitably catch in his throat. “You just never listen…”

“Trust me, if you said ‘no, Savin, please stop,’ I’d stop. You just always go, ‘Savin, we can’t, I don’t --’” Savin then mimicked the sharp little gasp and moan Jazz had made countless times in the past, and Jazz knew his face had to be red. With a slow, knowing grin, Savin looked up at Jazz over the edge of his glasses. “Am I wrong?”

“You’re not,” Jazz grumbled, collapsing against the couch cushions with a groan. “I just -- you know I really don’t have the time when you do that, and you always promise me you’ll be quick and you never are.”

“I am, for me!” Savin laughed, his deft fingers moving to trace shapes into the bedspread. Jazz closed his eyes, trying to imagine the sensation of Savin’s fingers drifting over his body in the same way, right over the edges of his shoulder blades. “You know I could tease you for hours.”

“Mm, you can,” Jazz said, his face flushing further. Still, he found himself squirming a little, opening his eyes and meeting Savin’s. “I miss it -- I miss you…”

“I know you do.” Savin’s expression fell a little. “‘Kaasan seems to be responding to treatment pretty well -- maybe in a few weeks I can come back and make up for lost time. In the meantime -- do you want permission to sleep with Devin, if it’s not too expensive to sleep with him?”

“Define ‘too expensive,’” Jazz asked, a sly grin making its way across his face. “I’m pretty sure me taking him out to dinner with me several times is already going to blow our fucking budget.”

“I don’t know, that’s up to you to decide,” Savin said with a wink. “If it’s an hourly thing, you could probably get away with paying for one hour and being satisfied -- I mean, he isn’t me, so you’d probably get off more than once?”

Jazz snorted, grinning as he recalled earlier that evening, how Devin’s eyes had flashed dangerously as his lips moved closer to Jazz’s very obvious arousal. “I don’t know, he seemed like he had a bit of a fondness for teasing, too,” he said. “Before you’d even given me permission to make out with him, he had started ah, undressing a little…”

“He wanted to get you all hot and bothered,” Savin said with a snicker. “He’s gonna get his money’s worth out of you if you’re not careful -- though I know you don’t wanna be.” He lay on his back and turned his eyes towards the ceiling. “Care to tell me just what you would’ve done to him, if you’d had permission?”

“I think you’d rather me show you that in person,” Jazz said, roughening his voice. He caught the way Savin shifted a little at his tone and smirked. “Does this mean you’re giving me permission to pay my Sidearm for his special services?”

“Mm, I’m considering it,” Savin said. He looked off to the side, appearing deep in thought as he tapped his finger to his lips. After an anxious moment on Jazz’s part, Savin said: “Ask me again after your first date with him -- I want you to just stick to making out with him for now, clothes on. He said that was free, right?”

Jazz released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and nodded. “Yeah, he said making out was free. But -- just so I have clear boundaries and what’s okay and what’s not --”

“You can touch him below the belt -- but any touching below the belt has to be done over clothes only. You’re gonna grab his ass and run your hand over his cock and feel guilty about it later anyway, so I might as well save you the stress,” Savin said, giving Jazz a wry, knowing look. “Neither one of you is allowed to get off -- but I’ll allow getting each other close as long as all the touching’s done over clothes.”

“But I can’t get him off,” Jazz repeated, the words almost coming out as a whine.

“Nope,” Savin said, smirking. He gave Jazz an appraising look. “What’s wrong, love? You look pained.”

“You are the biggest tease even from several thousand miles away,” Jazz said, doing his best to keep his voice and expression flat. “You’re enjoying watching me get all worked up over this guy, aren’t you?”

“It’s been a while since you’ve had a crush,” Savin said with a shrug of his shoulders. He gave Jazz a sly smile. “It’s cute.”

“It is not a crush,” Jazz protested, pouting. “And it’s not cute.”

You’re cute,” Savin said, his smile widening. “But okay, it’s not a crush. You just can’t stop talking about him and you’re planning on picking him up early because you’re afraid of running ‘late’ but the real reason is you can’t wait to see him again.”

Jazz covered his face with his hands and groaned into his fingers. “I hate you.”

“You love me,” Savin snickered. “In fact, you love me most when I do things like talk sense into that hard, blond head of yours. And trust me Jazz, you like this guy. A lot.” His expression sobered some as he faced his laptop better, studying Jazz’s face. “Just -- be up front about it with him, if you do develop feelings beyond wanting to fuck him against the nearest hard surface, okay? And remember that it’s his job to act like a partner, but that doesn’t mean he is.”

“I know,” Jazz said, sighing. He met Savin’s eyes and gave him a slight smile. “I’ll do my best, okay? So don’t worry about that.”

“Okay.” Savin gave him a reassuring smile before it shifted, changing into more of a teasing grin. “Also -- don’t forget my rules when you see him on Friday!”

Jazz half-laughed, half-groaned, smiling back at Savin and shaking his head. He didn’t dare say just how much he was looking forward to the dinner, now that he had Devin at his side.

He wasn’t sure he could handle how much Savin would tease him over that, too.


Jazz had never been so grateful to see the correct street sign in his entire life.

He turned down it, praying that the directions he had at least got this part right. Devin had given him a description of the house along with the street and house number. He’d mentioned that Jazz might have trouble finding it -- clients in the past have, as well.

Jazz hadn’t known just how much trouble Devin had been talking about until he’d started making his way here. But as he glanced at the houses, he felt his shoulders relax. Devin had been very detailed in describing his house and the ones nearby -- and somehow, Jazz knew he was, for once, heading in the right direction.

Thankfully, he'd left at 3:13, which was thirteen minutes later than he'd wanted to leave, but seventeen minutes sooner than he'd expected himself to, given he still had to go to work, that morning, before going home and getting ready. That seventeen minutes had only bought him so much time, as he'd spent at least thirty extra minutes trying to find his way here.

Still, when he saw the house with the carefully arranged cacti and the odd monster windsock, he breathed a sigh of relief and pulled into the driveway. For a minute, he sat in the car, studying himself in the rear-view mirror and touching up his very light, hopefully unnoticeable make-up. Not that he was ashamed about wearing it -- but here in Cliffton, they viewed it a little differently than they did in the Empire.

Once convinced he didn't look like the flustered mess he felt like he was, Jazz pushed himself out of the car, adjusting his waistcoat as he stood. He wasn't wearing his jacket, just yet -- he found wearing it while driving to be distracting, and he still had at least another hour to go before he was in front of President Piere and the other men who ran Cliffton's government.

He shivered a little against the breeze that kicked up, but stood with his shoulders back as he approached the front step. Devin had told him to ring the bell, and to not be surprised if it took him a little while to answer the door. Swallowing a flutter of nerves, Jazz did exactly that, slipped his hands in his pockets, and waited.

The door flew open within seconds, and Jazz found himself face to face with a man roughly the same age as him, darker skinned and taller than Jazz had remembered Devin being. His dark eyes widened, and his cheeks took on a warm glow. "Oh, I'm sorry!" the other man exclaimed, his voice much louder than Jazz had expected. "Are you here for Devin? I can go get him for you if you like, I just thought you were someone else and I know I wasn’t supposed to answer the door, but --"

"Wes!" Devin cried, causing the other man to jump away from the door. Jazz could barely see him over the edge of Wes’s shoulder, his amber eyes wide in almost horror. He pulled Wes away from the door and shut it behind him, leaving Jazz blinking at the front door with his mouth hanging slightly open.

He snapped it shut when the door swung open a moment later, Devin slipping through it and shutting it squarely behind him. He and Jazz stared at each other for a moment, Jazz noticing Devin’s cheeks were tinted pink just as he cleared his throat.

“Wes seems nice,” he said, managing a teasing smile. He offered Devin his arm. “I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.”

“‘Snot my --” Devin’s face turned red. “He’s my roommate,” he mumbled, toying with his braid. He chewed on his bottom lip, glancing back on the door. “Wasn’t supposed to answer the door…”

“He said that, actually,” Jazz said with a quiet chuckle, stepping away from the front door once Devin took his arm. “Relax, seeing Wes didn’t upset me or anything.” Though he had to admit, hearing Devin say Wes wasn’t his boyfriend had flooded him with relief. Not that Jazz wasn’t okay with Devin having a partner or two, but --

“‘Snot that, it’s just -- some clients don’t react too good, if they know I live with another dude,” Devin said, giving a shrug of his shoulders. He seemed to relax a little, though, as he and Jazz approached the car.

Just as Devin’s arm slipped out of Jazz’s, the two turned to each other, and Jazz took a moment to look the other man up and down, gulping at how his tie felt a smidge too tight. Devin’s eyes met his and he looked away, pulling his keys free from his pocket. “I’m sorry I’m a little late,” he said after a moment, clearing his throat again as he opened Devin’s door for him. “I got a little bit lost on my way here…”

Devin blinked, then nodded as Jazz gestured to the open door, slipping into the passenger seat. “No driver?” he asked, his face flushing once the question left his lips.

Jazz laughed and shook his head. “I prefer to drive myself,” he said, shutting the door behind Devin quietly. He moved to the driver’s seat and settled in, slipping his seat belt over his shoulder. “I like driving. A lot.”

“Mm, hope you’re a better driver than Wes is,” Devin said with a quiet snort, relaxing a little against his seat at Jazz’s response. “Anything I should know ‘bout before we do this dinner?”

“Yeah, it’s going to take me at least an hour to get there and I’m probably gonna get lost along the way -- unless you’re better at following directions than I am,” Jazz said, a sheepish grin making its way across his lips. He passed Devin a small stack of papers “Think you can co-pilot for me?”

Devin’s brow furrowed, glancing through the directions. “‘Can get you there faster,” he said, looking up at Jazz. “This takes you ‘round the long way.”

Jazz picked up his phone once he’d finished backing out of Devin’s driveway and took note of the time: 4:48. He was expected to arrive at six with his “husband.” “Faster would be better,” he said, wishing his stomach wouldn’t twist so much with nerves. “I just -- I’m bad with directions, and --”

“Just listen to me, ‘kay?” Devin said, offering Jazz a small smile. He pushed his braid over his shoulder and slipped his seat belt on, making an odd face as it tried to ride up over his neck. “Been to this place before -- kinda remember how to get there and I know the roads better than you do. Kinda lived here a while, y’know?”

Jazz nodded, and Devin gave his first direction after a moment, the two of them otherwise falling into a careful silence. Jazz almost wanted to turn on his music, but thought better of it -- he wasn’t sure what kind of music Devin would like. Clearing his throat, he glanced at Devin as he relaxed into his seat. “So you weren’t born in Majeria, then?” he asked.

Devin shook his head. “From the Republic. So’s Wes,” he said, keeping his voice low. “Don’t really look like I’m from there though, y’know?”

“You do have a bit of an accent, though,” Jazz remarked, giving a slight shrug of his shoulders. “It’s kind of cute, actually.”

Devin blinked, and out of the corner of his eye, Jazz thought he saw another hint of a blush. “So do you,” he said. “Never heard one like yours before…”

Jazz shrugged his shoulder. "You've never met anyone from the Alban Empire before," he said, giving Devin a wry smile. "I know the Empire sends troops here to help out against the Lamagne -- but most of the fighting's done in this pocket of desert far away from the majority of the population. And you don't exactly strike me as the military type..."

Devin snorted. "Met that type though,'" he said, giving Jazz a wry smile in return. "Most of 'em just wanna fuck and run."

Jazz blinked, a little taken aback at Devin's candor -- and his word choice. He had suspected Devin had been trying to keep it clean the entire time, but -- "'Fuck and run,' huh?" he repeated, raising an eyebrow.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jazz watched as Devin's eyes widened, and he looked away from Jazz, obviously embarrassed. "Told you I take sex clients too, didn't I?"

"That's not what I was questioning," Jazz stated, grinning. He turned down the next road just as Devin gave him another set of directions, trying to commit the new route to memory. "Just the fact that you said fuck."

"There something wrong with that?" Devin asked, turning to Jazz and giving him a wide-eyed, innocent look. "It's just a word..."

"Mhm," Jazz hummed, glancing at himself in the rear-view mirror again before following Devin’s next quiet direction. “I mean, I don’t care if you curse around me -- my mouth’s pretty fucking filthy, too, but -- I’m sure you know we’ll both have to keep it clean once we arrive.”

Devin nodded. “Know that, yeah,” he said. He seemed to relax even further in his seat, leaning his head back against the headrest and closing his eyes. His arms were folded over his chest, and Jazz almost wished he could stop the car and pay intimate attention to the angle of Devin’s jaw. A quiet moment passed, Jazz staring out at the endless stretch of desert highway and doing his best not to glance at the time.

“Said you were an ambassador, right?” Devin asked, his voice breaking the silence. He chewed his lip. “What d’you do again?”

“I, um.” Jazz cleared his throat, rubbing at the back of his neck as he kept his attention forward. “An ambassador is -- a representative of their nation. I’m more or less here to foster the relationship between my nation and yours.”

“How long’ve you been in Majeria?” Devin shifted in his seat and pointed out the next exit Jazz wanted after glancing through Jazz’s directions. “Didn’t know we had ambassadors coming here, either…”

“I’m the first one to come to Cliffton -- that’s what we know Majeria as in the Empire -- in something like fifty years,” Jazz said, swelling a little with pride. “The Empire and Cliffton have had a rocky relationship for a while -- shaky allies at best, and Cliffton actually used to be a colony of ours before they broke away from us a long time ago.”

“Huh.” Devin watched the road, his amber eyes searching for something Jazz couldn’t see. “Didn’t know that.”

“A lot of people in Majeria don’t,” Jazz muttered, tapping the steering wheel with his thumbs. “That’s basically all I know about Cliffton, and I work here now, you know?”

Devin nodded, and once again, the two of them lapsed into silence. This time, Jazz found himself reaching for the radio, turning it on but lowering the volume from his usual ear-shattering levels. A familiar piano line started, and Devin straightened up in his seat, looking at Jazz with wide eyes once again.

“You listen to Muse?” he asked, almost reverent.

Jazz blinked, then grinned. “Of course I do,” he said, cranking the volume up a little bit higher. “They’re only one of the best bands, ever. They’re my favorite.”

“Mine, too,” Devin said. This time, his cheeks were pink, his eyes still locked on Jazz as though he were seeing him for the first time. “Found ‘em on the ‘net -- don’t really got much in the way of music here in Majeria, y’know? Didn’t know where they were from, but --”

“They’re from the Empire,” Jazz said, half-humming the lyrics under his breath as he drove. He gave Devin a soft smile. “What all have you heard from them? They just released a new album -- Drones. Have you heard that yet?”

Devin shook his head. And with that, Jazz picked up his phone, carefully glancing between the road and its screen as he changed the albums over. The opening driving drum beat blasted through his speakers, and Devin’s eyes closed as he sat back in his seat, his hands resting in his lap.

Jazz found it difficult to keep his attention forward. Devin’s whole expression had opened up, even with his eyes closed. He seemed less guarded, somehow, sitting beside Jazz in the passenger seat and listening to his favorite band. They should be arriving soon, Jazz knew, the area surrounding them starting to take on familiar shapes, even if he hadn’t been to this particular facility since his first visit to Cliffton, roughly a year ago.

They’d made it to the fourth track before Jazz breathed a sigh of relief, his destination coming up on his left. It didn’t take him long to pull into the designated parking lot and find a space for his car. As he pulled into it, Devin practically had stars in his eyes, his fingers tapping clumsily on his knee. “D’you wanna finish the song first before we go in?” Jazz asked, snapping Devin out of his dazed state.

Devin just nodded again, his eyes locking with Jazz’s for a moment before closing again. Jazz found himself appreciating the view; studying Devin’s delicate features. Thick lashes nearly dusted Devin’s cheeks, and Jazz looked away, blushing, when Devin’s eyes fluttered open as the song came to a close.

“S’good so far,” he said, the words rough, almost, as Jazz shut off the car’s power. He gave Jazz an almost shy smile. “Can we listen to the rest on the way back?”

“Sure,” Jazz said, smiling as he got out of the car. He was around the front of his car in seconds, letting Devin out before he could even undo his seatbelt and offering him his hand. Devin blinked, then took Jazz’s hand as he stood, the two of them standing fairly close. “I guess we have to act like we’re married now, huh?” he asked, feeling his face burn a little at the thought.

“Guess I should remind you to grab your jacket then, cutie.”

Jazz blinked up at Devin, his mind snagging on the word “cutie,” and registering nothing else that Devin had just said. Flushing from his head to his feet, Jazz nodded, unable to speak as he moved back to the driver’s side of the car and retrieved his jacket, slipping it on without once glancing in Devin’s direction as he willed his blush to die down.

Devin let out a low whistle. “Even your hands’re red,” he murmured, obviously trying to swallow a snicker.

“Shut up,” Jazz groaned, giving himself one last look over in the mirror. “How do I look?” he asked, buttoning up his jacket and wishing his blush would finally die away.

Devin nodded. “Great,” he said, his amusement still present on his face. His expression softened a little. “There anything else I should know ‘fore we go in?”

Jazz shook his head. “You read my email, right?” he asked, offering Devin his arm. “President Piere’s a bit of a jerk and a bit stuffy, so the less we both say to him, the better.”

Another nod, this time with a wry little quirk of Devin’s lips. “Kinda hard for you, isn’t it? Saying less?”

Jazz raised an eyebrow, an easy smile making its way across his lips as he snorted and shook his head. “It’s like having my own husband on my arm,” he said, more to himself than to Devin as he walked them both towards the reception area. Jazz straightened his back, and Devin did the same.

They were ushered inside after a few moments, Jazz giving his and Devin’s names with poise and grace. Once inside, Jazz ran into various people -- had to introduce himself to those he hadn’t met until tonight and Devin to everyone, making small talk along the way. Devin, of course, was quiet just as Jazz had told him to be, listening and taking in everything, no doubt, judging by the way he’d occasionally furrow his brow or the way his eyes would move from Jazz to the other person speaking.

“You okay, sweetheart?” Jazz found himself asking as someone passed them by with drinks. He picked two up and passed one to Devin, sipping at it himself.

Devin blinked, starting a little as Jazz nudged him with the glass. Cute, Jazz thought to himself, smiling at Devin. “Just called me, ‘sweetheart,’” he said after a moment, downing half of his glass in a single gulp.

“Well, I figured you called me ‘cutie’ earlier that it was only fair I gave you a pet name, too,” Jazz quipped, smirking up at Devin. “You might wanna slow down on the champagne -- it packs a bit of a punch and I know Majeria is a dry country.”

“Not from Majeria, ‘member?” Devin returned. He glanced around the room; at all the people Jazz only vaguely knew and had tried to mingle with on more than one occasion. “All the dinners gonna be like this?”

“Most likely,” Jazz said with a sigh. He gave Devin his best smile. “I’ll be honest -- Savin probably would’ve kept his ass home instead of suffering through this with me, even if he was here in Majeria with me.”

“Mm.” Devin looked around once more, his amber eyes searching the room for something. “Still haven’t seen the President, right?” he asked.

“Piere’ll be here later,” Jazz said. He looked up at Devin and pulled him close on impulse, standing on his toes to press a quick kiss to Devin’s cheek. “He’s the President -- he can walk in whenever he damn well pleases.”

Devin nodded, studying Jazz for a moment. “Said there’s gonna be dancing too, right?”

Jazz smiled. “Yes, there will be. But it’s not quite like the dancing we did a couple of days ago -- so you might wanna let me lead, this time,” he said, sipping at his champagne once more.

“Wouldn’t that look funny?” Devin asked, raising an eyebrow. There was a teasing note to his voice. “Considering you’re so short and all…”

Jazz glared at Devin over the edge of his glass, his shoulders bristling. “I am not short,” he said, keeping his voice low even as he ground out the words.

Devin grinned, then plastered on a neutral expression, sipping at his champagne as he snickered into the bubbly liquid. Jazz just glared at him harder out of principal, though he felt himself fighting a smile as well at Devin’s struggle with his own mirth. “If you say so,” Devin managed.

Jazz just shook his head, downed the rest of his champagne, and handed it off to a nearby server. “Yes, it’ll look a little -- different -- with me leading, but it’s easier to pick up a new dance style if you’re following someone else’s lead. Ballroom’s a little different from the Majerian military style, that’s all. You can lead once you get used to it.”

“Wanna demonstrate?” Devin asked, glancing towards an open space in the reception hall. “Seems like people’re already dancing…”

“We can join them in a minute,” Jazz said, sliding his arm around Devin’s waist. “President Piere’ll probably show up just as we’re about to start dancing and I’d rather not be interrupted if we don’t have to be…”

Devin tensed a little under his arm, then relaxed and leaned in towards Jazz. For a moment, their eyes met, but then Devin looked away and swallowed the rest of his drink. As he passed it off just like Jazz had, he said, “Kinda like this better’n going to a military ball. ‘Salot less… overbearing?”

“Give it time,” Jazz said, frowning a little to himself. “Political dinners can be much, much worse. There’s just a lot less ceremony -- which means there’s way more ways to fuck up, if you’re not careful.”

Devin nodded. “Guess that’s true…” He turned to Jazz again. “Been doing okay so far, right?”

“You’ve been doing just fine, sweetheart,” Jazz said, smiling up at him. He leaned up onto his toes again, brushing his lips against Devin’s and hoping to all hell that the action looked natural. “Let’s go find our seats at the table. I have a feeling Piere’s gonna be here, soon.”  

Devin blinked, then smiled at Jazz and gave him another nod of his head. He followed Jazz’s lead and allowed himself to be directed towards a table, where Jazz was kind enough to pull Devin’s seat out for him before sitting down himself.

The table was intricately decorated -- there weren’t the thousand knives like that of the Majerian Military table, but cutlery still dominated, and Jazz wondered if he would wind up making any sort of mistakes, this time. Devin seemed a little lost in thought, his eyes studying the table and then lifting to meet Jazz’s, his brow furrowed. Unable to resist, Jazz moved forward and kissed Devin again, chuckling a little to himself as Devin let out a choked squeak, that time.

“Sorry,” he said as he pulled away and noticed the blush blooming on Devin’s cheeks. “You just looked really cute and confused…”

Devin pouted and folded his arms over his chest as he leaned back against his seat. “Did not,” he whined, not at all looking in Jazz’s direction.

Jazz laughed and shook his head, pulling his seat closer to the table and patting Devin’s shoulder. “Of course you didn’t, sweetheart,” he said, grinning. Devin just shot him a dark look, and Jazz found that he couldn’t contain his grin. If he had to tolerate being called short and overly chatty, then Devin would have to tolerate Jazz’s form of teasing, too.

After a moment, Devin’s dark look dissipated, being replaced by a pleasant, not-quite smile as he shook his own head, He smoothed a hand down the length of his braid, taking it in his hands and biting his lip. “Is that him?” he asked, lifting his chin and gesturing back behind Jazz.

Jazz furrowed his own brow, turning to look where Devin had indicated, then immediately rose from his seat. “President Piere!” he said as an older gentleman approached him, his skin darker than Devin’s and his smile lacking warmth. “It’s a pleasure to be here with you this evening.”

He offered his hand, and Piere took it stiffly. “Ambassador Callahan. The pleasure’s all mine,” he said once the handshake had ended. Piere turned to Devin and raised an eyebrow. “I take it you brought your husband with you, this evening.”

“Yes I did,” Jazz answered, grateful that Devin had stood up along with Jazz. He glanced up at Devin, who was looking appropriately at home beside him, and gently placed a hand on the small of Devin’s back. “This is Devin.”

Devin, thankfully, smiled at Piere and shook Piere’s hand. “Nice to meet you,” he said, matching Jazz’s warm tones.

Piere glanced between Jazz and Devin once more, his expression unreadable. He then smiled, the look a little more genuine than it had been, just a few moments ago. “Dinner’ll be served in just a little bit, but if the two of you would like some more refreshments, please, don’t hesitate. I hear the champagne is excellent, this evening.”

“It is,” Jazz said, continuing to keep his hand on the small of Devin’s back. He had to resist the urge to let it slide lower; to test just how well Devin could keep his composure. He damn well knew Savin would’ve been doing the same to him, had he been here. “Devin and I have already sampled it.” He leaned in closer to Devin, resting his head against Devin’s shoulder and sliding his hand to Devin’s hip. “Haven’t we, sweetheart?”

Devin nodded, and Jazz had to contain his snicker at the way Piere’s expression entirely closed off and tried to hide disgust. Piere nodded back, gave them another lackluster smile, and dismissed himself, claiming to need to speak with other guests that evening. Once he was gone, Jazz released the breath he’d been holding, and Devin turned to him, a knowing look in his eye.

“What?” Jazz asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Wanted to grab my ass just then, didn’t you?” Devin countered, snickering as he settled back into his seat.

“How’d you know?” Jazz asked, following suit and sitting back down. He gave Devin a sheepish grin. “Would you have minded if I had?”

“Had other clients do worse in front of their superiors,” Devin said with a shrug. “Part of the job, I guess.”

“Well, that man’s technically your leader, you know?” Jazz said, picking up the glass of water sitting innocently in front of him. “I wouldn’t want to embarrass you in front of him. That doesn’t seem all that fair…”

Devin blinked at him and tilted his head to one side. He studied Jazz for a moment before giving himself a slight shake and reaching for his water, as well. “Never heard of him before,” he muttered. “Always figured the military was Majeria’s leaders…”

“I mean, yes? But the military’s not the only source of your country’s leadership, either,” Jazz said, keeping his voice low as more and more people began to fill in at the table. He scooted his chair closer to Devin’s and slipped an arm around Devin’s back. “Though, I’m pretty sure Piere’s a figurehead -- that he answers to someone else I haven’t met, yet.”

“Huh.” Devin sipped at his water, glancing around the table. “Looks like he’s coming back -- might wanna talk about something else…”

Jazz blinked, then smiled at Devin and shook his head, leaning his head against Devin’s shoulder. Part of him desperately wished that the night would end, just so that he could talk to Devin in a more private setting -- though he wasn’t sure just what all else he would do, if he could get Devin alone. They’d already dealt with one long car ride -- Jazz was certain that Devin would likely want to go back home, once everything was said and done.

Not to mention, Savin had given him very explicit, very clear rules. Making out was okay. Touching Devin anywhere he wanted over clothes was okay. Getting Devin close was okay. Anything beyond those things was not okay.

But he also didn’t want the night to end. Because then that meant he would have to take Devin back to his place, to his roommate, to his regular life. And even though Jazz was absolutely certain this wasn’t a crush, that this was just sexual attraction and nothing more, part of him wondered if Savin was right. He certainly was drawn to Devin. More than he ever thought he would be to a man he was paying to hang off his arm.

“You okay, cutie?” Devin asked, nudging Jazz and breaking him out of his thoughts. “First time I’ve seen you quiet all night…”

Jazz laughed and lifted his head from Devin’s shoulder. “Figured you’d enjoy the silence,” he said, smirking at Devin as he brought his water to his lips. He rose from his seat, pressing a light kiss to the side of Devin’s head like he would’ve Savin, had it been Savin in the seat beside him. “I’ll be right back -- I’m gonna get more champagne. Want any?”

“No thanks,” he said, briefly meeting Jazz’s eyes. For the first time, Jazz noticed that his cheeks looked a little flushed. “One’s enough for me. Better if I don’t drink too much, y’know?”

Jazz nodded and patted Devin’s shoulder before walking away, striding over to one of the servers passing champagne to anyone close enough to take one. He’d just managed to get his hand on another glass when he felt a pair of eyes on him. Turning, he noticed Piere approaching him out of the corner of his eye.

“I had no idea your husband was so young,” Piere said, lifting his own flute to his lips. “How did the two of you meet?”

“Through a speed date,” Jazz answered, lifting his brows towards his hair. “And Devin looks younger than he actually is; he’s my age.”

The lie felt odd, but he didn’t want to admit he was bringing a teenager to these dinners. Or that the teenager in question wasn’t his actual husband, who was in fact several years older than Jazz himself. Or that he had “married” someone several years younger than him.

“His accent’s not like yours,” Piere said, glancing back towards the table where Devin sat.

“He’s not from the Empire,” Jazz said, clearing his throat and sipping at his champagne. He gave Piere a slight smile. “He’s an immigrant.”

“Where from?” Piere asked, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not sure I’ve heard an accent quite like it, before.”

“It’s a blend of accents -- he’s been in the Empire a while, you know?” Jazz said, wracking his brain for accents that he could reasonably combine with his own that would sound vaguely Umani.

“Yes, but where is he from?” Piere repeated, smirking a little at Jazz. He traced the rounded edges of his glass with his finger. “Certainly part of his accent comes from somewhere?”

“Janpantu,” Jazz said, flashing Piere with his best insincere smile. “Shouldn’t we take our seats? Dinner should be arriving soon, yes?”

“In a few more minutes, I suspect. Have you eaten a Majerian meal before?” Piere asked, walking towards one of the tables. Jazz realized it wasn’t his own.

“I’ve done a bit of research,” Jazz said, glancing around the hall. For the first time, he realized the room was filled with men and women in what appeared to be high dress uniforms and not suits and dresses. Maybe the smattering of cutlery should’ve been something he’d paid attention to. “I haven’t ever sat at one before, however.”

“Well then, you’re in for an experience,” Piere said, sitting down in his seat. He then gestured back towards Jazz’s table. “Please, Jasper, take a seat.”

Jazz nodded, lifted his glass to his lips, and made his way smoothly back to his table, where Devin sat, his eyes scanning the room. “We’re supposedly being treated to a Majerian dinner,” Jazz said as he sat down. Devin blinked at him, his brow furrowing a little. “You might want to pretend you don’t know what you’re doing when they bring out the knives.”

Devin’s brow furrowed even further. “Why?” he asked, keeping his voice low to match Jazz’s.

“You’re not supposed to know what all to do with the knives. I don’t,” Jazz said, leaning in to murmur the words near Devin’s ear. “I told Piere that we’d researched it but we’re bound to get something wrong, don’t you think?”

Devin considered this, then smirked at Jazz. “Don’t want me to do better’n you, huh?” he teased, turning his head so he could whisper the words close to Jazz’s ear in return.

Jazz’s face burned as Devin’s lips brushed against his skin, and he pulled away with a snort. “It’s not that, I just --” He gave Devin an embarrassed smile. It was partly that, but -- “He already suspects you’re not -- from the Empire -- and if you’re a little too good with the knives, that’s only going to make that worse.”

“Doesn’t really matter, does it?” Devin asked, raising an eyebrow. “Said we researched it -- doubt he’s gonna be watching us either, y’know?”

Jazz considered this, pouting a little in thought as he resisted the urge to catch his bottom lip between his teeth. He sipped at his champagne and sat back in his seat. “I guess that’s true,” he said, letting his hand remain where it rested between Devin’s shoulder blades. He absently drifted his fingers along the top of Devin’s spine, the touch an automatic one.

He didn’t want to think about how at ease he was becoming with this; how easily he could touch Devin and accept his touches and flirtations in return. It was an act, he knew. Or at the very least, it was supposed to be -- and for Devin, he was sure it was. Jazz was a paycheck and likely not anything more than that -- except maybe a little bit of fun.

With a shake of his head, Jazz pulled his hand away from Devin’s back and scooted closer to the table. Maybe Savin was right. Maybe he did have a crush, and if so --

It’s only dinner, Jazz reminded himself as the servers brought out the knives. This was business. People hired Devin all the time; he wouldn’t be the first man to do so, and he wouldn’t be the last.

He couldn’t have a crush, he told himself. He could find Devin hot and want to touch and tease him and hear him moan, but being sexually attracted to someone was different than being attracted to them romantically, and he damn well knew he couldn’t afford a romantic interest in the man beside him.

“You okay?” Devin asked, studying Jazz. His amber eyes flashed with concern. “‘Don't think I've seen you quiet this long.”

Jazz blinked, then gave Devin a warm, knowing smile. "Are you worried about me?" he teased, nudging Devin a little in the side. “If so, that’s kind of cute that you’re worried about little ol’ me…”

Devin snorted and even rolled his eyes a tiny bit, though Jazz caught the hint of a blush that bloomed on Devin’s tanned cheeks. “Not worried, no,” he said. He turned to Jazz after a minute of pointedly avoiding his eyes and gave him an easy smile, dropping his voice low as he leaned in again. “Won’t do too well with the knives, I promise.”

Jazz nodded, unable to hide his relief at Devin’s statement. It seemed silly to worry about something like that, but he had to keep up the appearance that he and Devin were both foreigners. And when the knives rolled out a few minutes later, preceding the arrival of the food, Jazz did his best to appear mildly alarmed beside Devin. While Devin was right that Piere wasn’t sitting at their table with them, that didn’t mean that the other guests seated with them wouldn’t report back to him later about anything odd Jazz and Devin had done.

Of course, the knives weren’t the real surprise of the evening. No, Jazz had to do his very best not to react as their meals -- if one could even call them that -- rolled out in front of them. He’d been treated to steak and chicken and pork, the night he’d selected Devin as his sidearm.

But this -- Jazz almost gagged, the smell wafting from the plates settled in front of them almost too much to bear. Devin did gag beside him, his amber eyes wide and his mouth clamped tightly shut.

“The fuck’s that?” he murmured, just low enough so that only Jazz could hear him.

“I have no idea,” Jazz whispered back, careful to speak out of the corner of his mouth. He didn’t dare turn towards Devin and instead let his eyes drift over the table. No one was paying attention to them, as far as he could tell -- and certainly no one had reacted to Devin’s incredibly appropriate use of the f-bomb. “Must be some kind of seafood.”

“Looks like a giant fu -- like a giant tentacle,” Devin said, turning to Jazz. The horror was plain on his face; disgust creeping in shortly after that as someone signalled that it was time for them to dig into their plates. “Don’t think I can eat that.”

“You don’t have to,” Jazz said, shaking his head. He pulled his plate closer and took note of which knife his fellow guests had selected before following their lead. “I mean, you should probably take a bite just to not be rude, but -- I totally don’t blame you if you don’t even want to do that…”

Really don’t think I can,” Devin insisted, putting a hand to his chest. His face looked vaguely green as he pushed his plate further away from him, his nose wrinkling as he turned to Jazz. “Really gonna eat it though, aren’t you?”

Jazz couldn’t quite meet Devin’s eyes as he nodded. His face warmed, and he wondered if it was just a delayed physical response to the champagne he’d downed earlier, or if it was in response to the additional attention Devin was now paying him -- how his eyes were entirely focused on Jazz.

“Bet I can eat all of it,” he said before he could stop himself, meeting Devin’s eyes. His own then widened as he slapped a hand to his mouth and shook his head. “Wait -- forget I ever said that, because me and bets are a terrible thing and I will actually eat the whole thing, if you bet me I can’t. So don’t do that to me. Please.”

"Dunno, dude," Devin said, snickering a little even despite looking downright sick to his stomach. "Might pay you to see that."

"No thanks," Jazz said, toying with his knife between his fingers. He glanced at the plate, then stabbed the tentacle just like he'd watched the other guests do. Even the texture from the moment his knife touched the tentacle was just too much, and Jazz had to swallow his stomach back down. "I think I'd be sick if I did."

"Think I'm gonna be sick watching you," Devin mumbled, looking away from Jazz and covering his face with his hand. He rose from his seat. "'Scuse me."

Jazz shook his head, contemplating whether he could get away with one bite and eating nothing else. He probably could, as long as he cut it up into small pieces and made it look like he'd actually touched his food. He knew there would be more than one course -- there always was -- but he wasn't sure he'd be able to eat after this.

With trepidation, Jazz lifted the tiny bite he'd cut out for himself to his lips. He did his best to keep his expression neutral as he placed the first bite into his mouth, chewed it as quickly as he could, and swallowed it without managing to gag. His stomach still twisted and tried to climb back into his throat, but he kept the first bite down after a moment.

The taste wasn't as terrible as he thought it would be. The texture, on the other hand, was absolutely horrific. Maybe if he just swallowed every bite whole instead of chewing...

Devin returned just as Jazz was cutting his food into even smaller pieces, his color having mostly returned to normal, though he did look a little pale. Jazz raised an eyebrow at him, then glanced at his plate. "Would you rather I not eat this in front of you?" he asked.

"'Sokay," Devin answered, settling in his seat beside Jazz. "Just -- brush your teeth before kissing me, 'kay?"

Jazz blinked, then hoped his blush wasn't noticeable to the rest of the table. He had totally forgotten that kissing Devin was a thing he could do, despite the fact he'd kissed Devin several times already since they'd arrived. Each kiss had been a chaste one, though -- the kind that was appropriate among company.

"So cute when you blush," Devin snickered, though his eyes kept darting over to Jazz's plate. "Can give you a toothbrush if you didn't bring one..."

"I have one," Jazz said. He pushed his plate aside after taking his fourth bite. "I think I'm gonna brush my teeth now, actually."

Devin shook his head, putting his hand on Jazz's arm. When Jazz gave him a bewildered look, Devin leaned in, his lips tantalizingly close to Jazz's ear. "Should stay here 'til Piere's finished," he said, glancing over at Piere's table. "Gonna look rude if you leave now, y'know?"

Jazz shivered at the warmth of Devin's breath against his ear; how it ghosted even a little lower, down the edge of his neck. He wanted nothing more than to excuse himself from the table anyway and take Devin with him, but what Devin said kept him in his seat.  "You're right," he said with a quiet sigh. He lifted his glass of champagne to his lips and gave Devin a tiny, wry smile. "I was just thinking about how much I wanted to kiss you, that's all..."

Devin's face turned an impressive shade of red. Jazz wondered if maybe he was pushing things a little bit too far -- but he had a feeling that Devin would tell him, otherwise.

"You flirt with your actual husband this much?" Devin asked, raising an eyebrow. Once again, his words were quiet and spoken in the intimate space between them so only Jazz would hear.

Jazz snorted. “Savin’s usually the one talking about kissing me…” he said, smirking at Devin. He leaned in close, letting his lips brush against the shell of Devin’s ear as he continued: “He also likes telling me how badly he wants to push me up against a wall and fuck me…”

Devin inhaled sharply, and as Jazz pulled away, he caught the way Devin’s eyes fluttered closed; how he caught his lip between his teeth. Snickering to himself, Jazz settled back against his seat, finishing off the last of his champagne. He watched as Devin slowly composed himself; shivered as Devin’s eyes met his after they'd finished raking over Jazz’s form.

He knew that look. And he wanted to exploit it as much as he possibly could, but common decency meant he had to wait until the meal was over before he could find the nearest secluded corner and let Devin kiss him breathless. Or kiss Devin breathless, however it played out. Instead, as the plates cleared out and more food was placed before them, he allowed himself the simple pleasure of teasing Devin underneath the table. Fingertips, lightly drifting along the length of the inside of Devin’s thigh before he palmed Devin's crotch -- just for a moment.

“Thought Savin said nothing below the belt,” Devin whispered at some point, his voice strained. His composure otherwise was impeccable, and he picked at the food now placed in front of them -- another meat Jazz couldn’t necessarily identify, but smelled and looked amazing.

“The rules changed a little,” Jazz said, pulling his hand away from Devin’s lap. He began to tear into the second course of their meal, thankful for the way it washed out the taste of the previous entree -- though he would never forget the texture of that tentacle for as long as he lived.

Devin’s brow furrowed, his expression still holding a hint of lust as he met Jazz’s eyes. “Changed how?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Didn’t bring anything if you’d wanted to do anything extra, tonight…”

Jazz shook his head. “I think we can ‘discuss’ that later, don’t you?” he said, now sipping at a glass of water. He gave Devin a disarming smile as he circled the edge of the glass with his fingertip. “But if it’ll help ease your mind -- I still don’t have permission for -- certain things…”

Devin nodded and licked his lips. He glanced towards Piere’s table, his expression unreadable. “Guess I’m gonna find out, huh?” He smirked into his glass, the look in his eye now downright predatory. “Can’t fucking wait…”

Jazz shivered at the undercurrent of lust present in Devin's tone. The rest of the meal, thankfully, seemed to fly past them, Jazz engaging in small talk with the rest of the table while Devin sat back quietly and listened. On occasion, Devin's hand would wander underneath the table, teasing Jazz much in the same way Jazz had done to Devin earlier in the evening.

It reminded Jazz so much of Savin he ached, his arousal probably downright obvious to anyone who spared him more than a second glance. But he could at least hide his semi-permanent blush behind the champagne he'd been drinking -- or well, that was what he kept trying to tell himself. Except he’d only had roughly three glasses and even with his low tolerance, he’d spaced them out well enough that he maintained a quiet buzz -- one he would shake entirely before the end of the night.

No, he was drunk on Devin’s quiet flirtations; on the way his fingers drifted along Jazz’s arm or over Jazz’s thigh, depending on where his hand wanted to be, at that moment. And when dessert finally had the good graces to arrive in front of them, Jazz got to witness the childlike wonderment lighting up Devin’s face.

“You’re so cute,” Jazz found himself murmuring, leaning in to press a kiss to Devin’s cheek.

Devin just glared at him through the corners of thick lashes, that single look communicating a multitude of emotions and thoughts. Jazz just grinned back at him, chuckling a little as he settled back against his seat.

So far, the dinner had been far more pleasant than he’d expected it to be. Though he suspected that had everything to do with the fact he’d been relentlessly riling up his young, beautiful partner all evening. When everyone rose for the customary dance at the end of the meal, Jazz found himself whispering the various things he’d love to be doing to Devin right now, if he had the permission to do so. He enjoyed the way Devin’s grip on his hand tightened; the way he pulled Jazz closer -- how Jazz could feel just the faintest hints of Devin’s arousal as they moved together on the dance floor.

As the music change, Jazz realized neither one of them, apparently, knew the steps to this particular dance. He noticed the flash of panic in Devin’s eyes and pulled Devin closer. “Relax, sweetheart,” he breathed, changing his tone and hopefully sounding reassuring. “I’m pretty good at picking up different ballroom styles fairly fast. Let me lead?”

There was a moment of hesitance before Devin nodded, and the two of them rearranged themselves appropriately, Jazz’s arm sliding around Devin’s waist. Jazz glanced at the couple closest to them, did his best to mimic the moves the lead performed. It didn’t take long for Devin to relax in his arms, his muscles unwinding one at a time under Jazz’s fingers.

“Pretty good at this,” Devin said after a moment. He smiled, though it still felt uncertain. “Kinda surprised...”

“Used to take dance classes when I was a kid,” Jazz answered with a shrug of his shoulders. He smiled back at Devin, looking up at him almost shyly as he glided Devin over to a corner where it was less likely they’d be overheard. “I love dance. Ballroom’s probably my third favorite -- so I practiced a lot of different styles of it…”

Devin nodded again, his expression unreadable as he continued to follow Jazz’s lead. He even began to pick up the more intricate pieces of the footwork, matching Jazz within a few repetitions. “I met Savin at a dance class, actually,” Jazz said, meeting Devin’s eyes again. A slow, fond smile made its way across his lips. “He’s no where near as good at this as you are…”

“Been told I learn fast, yeah,” Devin said with a shrug. “Don’t think I’m any good, though…”

“Your form’s really good when you know the dance well,” Jazz said, pulling Devin closer. “You overthink though when you’re not as familiar with a style -- I can tell because you tense a little and wrinkle your nose when you do. It’s really cute.” Jazz chuckled, leaning upwards to press a light kiss to Devin’s cheek. “When you relax you overthink less…”

“Like calling me cute, huh?” Devin grumbled, pouting a little as he pressed himself closer to Jazz. “Thought you’d prefer calling me hot…”

“Oh, you’re that, too,” Jazz said with a wink. His fading arousal reformed, and he slipped one hand down to Devin’s hip. “I still haven’t told you the new rules, have I?”

Devin shook his head. Smirking, Jazz pressed himself even closer. “I’m allowed to touch you wherever I want -- but if it’s below the belt it has to be over clothes,” he said, all but breathing the words against Devin’s neck. “We can get each other close, but neither one of us is allowed to get off…”

Devin shivered, and Jazz could feel the heat radiating down the edge of Devin’s neck. “Don’t think it’d take much to get you close,” he challenged. “Bet I could do it  now…”

“Mm, as hot as that sounds, I think I’d rather wait ‘til we were off the dance floor,” he said, pressing his lips to Devin’s shoulder. “We’re get enough stares as it is -- and if you recall, I can get kinda loud…”

A quick glance around the room resulted in the slightest of frowns forming on Devin’s lips. “Guess so, yeah,” he sighed, shaking his head. “Night’s almost over, isn’t it? ‘msure it’d be acceptable if you left soon…”

“Probably, but I can’t be the first guest to leave, either,” Jazz said, twirling Devin around in his arms before bringing him close. “I suspect we have another twenty minutes before we can get somewhere more private…”

“‘Stoo long,” Devin half-whined in Jazz’s ear. “Wanna work you up now…”

“We could always sneak off into one of the bathrooms?” Jazz suggested, keeping his tone light and a little teasing. “Savin and I used to do that all the time, back in the Empire…”

The face Devin pulled at the very thought of making out in the bathroom caused Jazz to choke on his own spit laughing. “Oh fuck no,” Devin managed, shaking his head. “Just -- fuck no…”

Jazz snickered, managing to get his coughing under control after about a minute, a wide grin sweeping across his face. “My car? Though if we don’t leave the lot right away Cliffton’s government would probably get suspicious and check on us -- and we’d have to actually leave the building for that, too…”

“Saw some hallways on the way in that aren’t being used,” Devin suggested, his eyes hopeful. “Think we could try those?”

“If we were in the Empire, I’d say yes,” Jazz said, pursing his lips together a little in thought. “Security in Cliffton seems tighter than it is back home, though… might not be a good idea to go sneaking around somewhere. It’d look incredibly bad if I got fucking caught.”

“Guess you do gotta worry ‘bout that, huh?” Devin said, another pout gracing his lips. Jazz leaned up to kiss it away, missing his next step entirely -- not that he particularly cared about giving a perfect performance. Especially not when Devin kissed back, his desire obvious in the way his fingers seemed to grip Jazz just a little tighter before he pulled away.

“Hope you kiss your husband this much,” Devin said, resting his cheek against the side of Jazz’s head. There was a light, humorous tone to his voice. One that caused Jazz to ease even further against Devin, resting his head against his shoulder.

“Trust me, I am not any worse with you than I am with him,” he said, smiling into Devin’s shoulder. Their hold on each other had shifted, the two of them merely swaying to music now as their bodies pressed close together. “Besides,” Jazz continued, ignoring the way his face heated up a little, “it’s in my best interest to act as if I were in love with you.”

“Mm, true,” Devin whispered. He pulled away from Jazz, his fingertips tilting Jazz’s chin back as he leaned in and kissed him softly. “Just don’t fall for me anyway, ‘kay?”

Part Three