[M] Sense and Insensibility

Miki and Nikolai

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Miki Denton
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:06 pm

Miki was two parts excited, and one part apprehensive about his date with the painter, Nikolai Tosya. After their first night together, it was hard to think about anything else other than his soulful, blue eyes and golden skin and that sultry baritone accent with its rolling “r’s.” How naive Kolya was, yet almost animalistic in his pursuit of pleasure. The painter was unlike any other man that Miki had ever met. There was something a bit troubling about him, too, but Miki couldn’t quite put his finger on just what it was. For now, he chalked it up to Kolya’s tragic past. The Russian seemed as haunted as his paintings, and whatever ghosts were chasing him, Miki knew he wouldn’t be able to exorcise. Only Kolya had that kind of power.

Though he could have just as easily taken a cable car, Miki rode Napoleon to the event, taking place at a big Victorian house on Clay Street. The host was George Richardson, a real estate magnate hailing from family that made its fortune from the fur trade, and his wife, Agnes, both philanthropists. Most of the guests were affiliated with the IDPD, an organization that benefited from their generous donations. Miki hoped that Kolya wouldn’t feel too out of place, but then again, perhaps he could find some patrons of the arts among the moneyed crowd, moving stiffly around the halls in bustles and frock coats.

Most couples arrived together, but Miki knew American culture enough to know that it would be less scandalous for the two men to arrive separately. Upon entering the house, he was greeted by the servants, extending a tray of champagne. He took a flute, thanking them politely, and made small talk while waiting for his date to arrive.
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Nikolai Tosya
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:18 pm

Nikolai had just spent the last half-hour scrubbing every last trace of paint from his skin. Now, as he finally stepped out of the bath, it was hard to say which was racing faster -- his heart or his mind. His heart galloped straight towards the evening ahead with unrelenting faith and desire. But his mind veered this way and that, distracted by every troubling doubt. What if their reunion felt awkward? What if the closeness they’d shared couldn’t survive outside of the bedroom? What if Miki had already begun to regret their impulsive coupling?

Nikolai paused beside the bathroom mirror. Without any conscious direction, his finger traced lines in the steam that had condensed there, until the artist snapped out of his thoughts. Blinking at the partially finished design, Nikolai thought that it looked vaguely familiar. But he couldn’t place it. And anyway, such things were not his primary concern right now. With a quick wave of his hand, Nikolai wiped the mirror clean, and left the bathroom.

His clothes were already spread out on the bed, waiting for him. Black trousers, secured earlier that day. A crisply pressed white shirt. And then, a few items more in line with the way that he’d dressed back in Russia. His waistcoat was white, decorated by floral designs embroidered in ivory silk thread, while his frock coat was a brilliant red. Not exactly ‘black tie’. But Nikolai had a flare for the dramatic, and knew that he would be forgiven a few eccentricities because he was a foreigner -- indeed, people might be disappointed if he didn’t have any.

After getting dressed, Nikolai set off towards the address Miki had given him. Whenever possible, he walked to his destinations, scanning the world with an artist’s attentive gaze. Always searching for the subject of his next painting. But tonight, Nikolai found it difficult to see anything except memories of Miki. The graceful curve of his ear. The fullness of his lips as he moaned in pleasure. The way that his long hair tumbled past his face like a golden waterfall.

Finally arriving at the house, Nikolai presented himself to the servant greeting guests. Miki had promised to make sure that their hosts would be expecting him, and the elf must have kept his word, because Nikolai soon found himself being ushered into the elegant mansion. It was certainly impressive, in its way. However, for someone who had spent time in palaces, not terribly intimidating. Upon reaching the final guardian, Nikolai handed over a calling card, which he’d carefully retrieved from the very bottom of his travel trunk.

“Duke Nikolai Tosya,” the servant announced in a booming voice, before motioning for Nikolai to join the other guests.

Nikolai was aware of the eyes that followed him as he entered the room, but he only cared about one particular pair. Glimpsing Miki through the crowd, Nikolai strode over to the elf with single-minded determination, barely glancing at the people who parted to let him pass. Being reunited with his lover was nearly overwhelming. Immediately, Nikolai wanted to grab Miki and kiss him breathless. But he didn’t know if Miki was openly gay, and he certainly didn’t want to risk embarrassing the IDPD agent in front of his friends and coworkers. So he simply bowed, before giving Miki a wide grin. “Mister Denton. How delightful to see you tonight.”
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Miki Denton
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:39 pm

Duke Nikolai Tosya?! Kolya was a Duke? Had he said something about royalty and Miki missed it? No, Miki definitely would have remembered if Kolya had revealed a noble title in his midst. Heads turned as the crowd parted for Duke Tosya. The Richardsons were wealthy, yes, but as far as Miki knew there wasn’t any other royalty on the guest list, so of course everyone was a bit starstruck. Miki included himself among them, his mouth hanging agape as Kolya approached him. A wide smile crossed his face as he bowed.

“Duke Tosya. The pleasure’s all mine.”

When it came to his homosexuality, Miki had learned the hard way on the frontier, that it wasn’t something he should flaunt. But here, among friends and donors, he felt a bit more uninhibited. Leaning in, he gave Kolya a kiss on both cheeks, the European way, but offset it with a friendly pat on the back. His gaze panned down the length of Kolya’s white suit.

“You look superb.”

Tucking a blonde strand behind a pointed ear, Miki made a round of introductions, to whoever was in the vicinity, socialites and IDPD agents alike, letting pleasantries commence. When there was a pause in the chit-chat, he leaned in, whispering.

“You arrived just in time to save me from this dreadfully dull conversation.”
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Nikolai Tosya
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:01 am

The press of Miki’s lips made Nikolai flush with heat. And where each kiss touched his cheek, it left behind a small blush of color, like a smudge of ghostly lipstick. Again, Nikolai wished that he could shove Miki up against the nearest wall and crush their mouths together in a proper greeting. But social conventions needed to be obeyed. And anyway, sometimes withholding something made it all that much sweeter in the end.

Affectionately, Nikolai returned Miki’s European style kiss. “You look amazing as well. But then, that is always the case with you.”

While Miki made his round of introductions, Nikolai plucked a champagne flute from the serving platter of an approaching waiter, completely draining it in time to place it back on the same tray. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed these sorts of parties. During his last years in Russia, they’d become horrible ordeals, faced with the same numb resignation as going off to war. The gossip whispered behind fluttering fans, the thinly veiled insults -- everyone had their own theories about why the Tosyas still hadn’t conceived a child, and they were all painfully eager to share them. But this was different. No one knew him here, he had no reputation to protect. He could just have fun. And he fully intended to do so.

Even during mundane social interactions, Nikolai always found something to be interested in. An unusual piece of jewelry, the way that smoke rose from someone’s cigarette, or the light twinkling on a woman’s beaded dress. Still, he had to fight back a sympathetic chuckle when he heard Miki’s whispered confession.

“I like the idea of saving you,” Nikolai admitted, matching his companion’s hushed tone. “From dull conversations, or ravenous monsters, or anything in between. But I suppose a trained IDPD agent is rarely in need of such services.”
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Miki Denton
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:59 am

Blushing bright red, Miki adjusted his boutineer, a single speckled orchid. He loved the bloom’s alien shape, reminiscent of some of the flowers in the Hedge. Piano music tinkled in the distance, a tune that Americans called a “waltz.”

“Everyone needs saving sometimes,” he said. With a bittersweet ache, he thought about his recent trip back to the Hedge, and Dove, the eternal damsel in distress. Sipping his champagne, the elf chuckled. “Besides, you haven’t seen me cast. Believe me, I got lucky with that exorcism spell.” Miki reasoned that the IDPD kept him around for his keen investigative skills, and knowledge of creatures from beyond the realm, because it definitely wasn’t his magical ability.

In the light of the chandelier, Nikolai looked positively shining with happiness, and less like the haunted man he’d encountered in his studio. And so handsome in his suit. The wicked urge to take Kolya into a hidden parlour, and pleasure him on his knees overcame Miki so strongly that he inhaled sharply. It was the quickest way to permanently blacklisted from the Richardson’s parties, but it would be worth it.

“You were pretty ravenous last night,” he said, grinning. “What if you’re the big, bad beast?”
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Nikolai Tosya
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:56 am

The distant notes of a waltz brought back so many memories. Nikolai’s family considered the dance absolutely scandalous, since it required the man to wrap his arm around the woman’s waist. But Nikolai always loved its carefree spinning. He and Natasha had both been good dancers. When they were on the floor together, whirling to the music, it was almost like flying. Like they could rise above everything that threatened them, if they just held on to each other tightly enough and twirled fast enough.

Nikolai shook his head when Miki downplayed his magical talents. “I do not know anyone else who can make fire dance on their fingertips or banish ghosts from paintings. Maybe such things are common in the Hedge, but to me, they seem quite incredible.”

“What if you’re the big, bad beast?”

“Perhaps I am,” Nikolai conceded. Although his tone remained playful, part of him couldn’t help wondering how much truth Miki’s words might contain. The elf had seen his grief. But not his fear, his anger, and his loathing. Not the wounded thing inside him that paced behind the bars of its cage, gnashing its teeth and howling at the darkness. Of course, Nikolai believed that he could shield Miki from that monster, or he never would have let things go this far. But that still didn’t erase its existence. “Does that cast you in the role of Beauty? You are certainly qualified to play the part.”

Nikolai plucked another champagne flute from a passing tray. Having sufficiently lubricated his throat with the last one, he sipped this drink more slowly, enjoying the fizzy feel of bubbles against his tongue.

“I wish I could dance with you,” Nikolai admitted, gazing at Miki with yearning eyes. How he ached to hold the elf in his arms and spin beneath the glittering chandeliers, to whirl so fast that the rest of the world disappeared. But there were numerous obstacles, and Nikolai chose to bring up the least of them. “ I suppose we would have to flip a coin to determine who leads.”
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Miki Denton
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:42 pm

Waltzing was far from the elf’s mind as he and Kolya shared champagne in the ballroom. Miki had to admit, he kind of wanted to see Kolya become that big, bad beast he was teasing him about. As he gazed at the handsome Duke, Miki couldn’t stop undressing him with his eyes. Now that Kolya had some experience under his belt, Miki hoped they wouldn’t need to be “gentle” anymore and engage in some rougher, more carnal expressions of their desire, like the kind of things he saw depicted that pamphlet of erotic etchings that Dove had found in his bookshelf, and teased him about, the one that showed people bound and spanked with riding crops.

At Kolya’s admittance that he wished to dance. Miki’s brows rose in surprise, blinking away his prurient fantasy. Out of the few parties the elf attended, he couldn’t remember ever seeing two men paired together on a ballroom floor, which was a surefire clue into how well that would go over here. “Oh you would definitely have to lead,” he chuckled. “I don’t know any of the steps. I only know the traditional dances of my clan.”

If he ever took Kolya to Thornwood, he could show him all of those dances. If he ever had his sentence commuted, perhaps that could happen, but until then, Miki could only daydream about it. Still, there was nothing stopping the two men from dancing in private.

"Maybe you could teach me the steps?"
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Nikolai Tosya
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:28 am

When Miki requested waltzing lessons, Nikolai nodded so enthusiastically that he nearly created a breeze. Who needed crystal chandeliers, or fancy parquet floors, or a full orchestra playing in the background? As long as he could hold Miki in his arms, Nikolai would be perfectly content with candlelight and a scratchy gramophone. “I will teach you to waltz. And in return, you will teach me a dance from your clan.”

Perhaps it was strange that dancing meant so much to him, when he and Miki had already engaged in far more intimate acts. But there was a special magic to it. Besides, as much as Nikolai enjoyed the sex, he wanted his relationship with Miki to be based on more than that. He wanted them to have common interests, things they liked doing together beyond fucking. And now, during these first tentative weeks, was when they would begin discovering those things.

“Your Highness?”

Jolted from his thoughts, Nikolai focused his attention on the middle-aged woman who had approached them. “Please,” he protested modestly, “I am not royalty. ‘Your Lordship’ is a more appropriate title for someone of my rank.”

“Of course. Your Lordship. My husband and I are so honored to have you at our party tonight, we’d like to offer you a gift from your homeland.” Smiling, she held up a bottle filled with clear liquid, which Nikolai immediately recognized as vodka. Ironically, he actually preferred scotch. But it would be impolite to argue about stereotypes. After bowing to his hostess, Nikolai graciously accepted the alcohol.

“Спасибо. Тысяча благословений в твоем доме.”

A few more pleasantries later, the woman departed. Grinning, Nikolai opened the bottle and poured a sizeable shot into Miki’s champagne, before doing the same with his own glass. It might not be scotch, but at least it was hard alcohol. “Now we can drink like people do in my country.”
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Miki Denton
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:05 am

“You have a deal, Kolya,” he said, biting his lip coyly, imagining what their dance lessons would probably devolve into. Miki stood by as one of the Richardson’s guests gave Kolya a gift, a bottle of clear liquid, and Kolya accepted it like a perfect gentleman, thanking her in his native tongue.

Oh Gods, Kolya’s language was beautiful, almost like music. Miki couldn’t wait to hear more of those deep, guttural sounds, especially while tangled up in Kolya’s sheets. Distracted, he was only half-watching as his date poured vodka into his champagne glass.

“Oh?” He took a long sip and hissed out a breath, unsure of what he’d just tasted. Whatever it was, it was very strong, burning his throat on the way down, and heating up his bloodstream like a furnace. Miki drank a lot of wine, and didn’t have too much experience with hard liquor. He was about to tease the other man about getting him drunk and taking advantage of him, when he heard two familiar words coming from snippet of a nearby conversation. “Dove Koenig.” Someone had mentioned the name of the man that Miki was desperately trying to forget. Did that mean Dove was here? Miki panned his head around the room, but didn’t see the Englishman anywhere. Turning his back on Nikolai for a moment, the elf leaned in to his right, addressing the young woman who had spoken his name.

“Excuse me, did you say that Dove Koenig would be here tonight?”
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Nikolai Tosya
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:13 am

Nikolai couldn’t remember when he’d been in a better mood. He had booze. He had an audience who seemed genuinely impressed by his grandstanding. And, best of all, he had Miki for the entire evening. The two of them would spend the next few hours getting to know each other better, sharing soulful glances and discreet touches. Then, when they were both properly drunk, they would stumble back to Nikolai’s place for some truly uninhibited sex.

Lifting his mixture of vodka and champagne, Nikolai silently toasted the universe. Everything was absolutely perfect.

Then, in a moment, it all went sour. A frown creased Nikolai’s lips as he watched Miki scan the room. He was accustomed to having the elf’s undivided attention, and he found himself irrationally perturbed when it strayed. Who was Miki searching for, anyway? His lover was right in front of him. No one else should matter.

And yet, someone apparently did. The lines of Nikolai’s frown deepened when Miki pressed a nearby woman for the location of Dove Koenig. Maybe it was something in the elf’s voice, or maybe it was just romantic intuition, but Nikolai felt a chill in his heart when he heard that name, like someone had stabbed him with an icicle. Nevertheless, he tried keep calm. Maybe it was just an old friend, or a superior whose favor needed to be curried.

“Who,” Nikolai demanded, not caring if he interrupted the woman’s reply to Miki, “is Dove Koenig?”
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