AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
FANDOM: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman
PAIRING: A. J. Raffles/Harry 'Bunny' Manders
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Bunny has desires on Raffles as more than a friend, but knows he cannot tell him.
WORD COUNT: 4,111
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
His mouth was on mine. His hands moved over my body; his fingers lightly caressed my skin, as they wandered at will. Fingers I have seen bowl puzzling balls, crack safes, hold Sullivans and glasses of whisky were now making love to me; were making my body tremble with desire; with want; with need. And it was a need; a deep, deep, need; one I have had for so long; one I never believed would be fulfilled.
Now his mouth moved from mine and began to kiss my neck, taking the soft skin inside the wet warmth, sucking, biting; I arched my back and moaned his name. His hand was on my heated flesh, his strokes firm, knowledgeable; I knew he could hold my release back; he knew my body so well, better even than I knew it myself.
After one final kiss to my neck, he began to make his way down my body; he paused to lick and kiss around my breasts before he moved further and further down, kissing my stomach, my hips, the tops of my thighs before his mouth replaced his hand and closed around flesh that was so hard, so heated it almost hurt.
Again and again he led me to edge, let me hover on the brink of release only to pull me back at the last second. Again I cried his name and begged him to let my body have what it so desperately craved. But he didn't listen; he just took my hand and stroked it; calming me as he had done from the moment I first met him. When he was ready and only then, would he allow my body its release; would he allow me to cry his name and tremble with the ecstasy of what he had done.
I tried to plead with him, but he simply continued to stroke my hand and used his mouth to perfection. Again he teased me towards the brink, again he pulled me back. I did not know how much longer I could go on; my heart was racing so hard I feared it might burst from my breast. My face and body were trembling with desire, with the need to finish this; my skin was damp; my vision blurred, but still he held me there; still he loved me; still he did what he does so very well.
And then finally, his fingers now linked with mine, he gave me what I craved; he allowed me to fall over the edge; he let my completion happen.
"Raffles!" I cried, as my body shuddered its release into his willing, eager mouth. "Oh, Raffles; Raffles; my Raffles. I love you." 'Love' was much too simplistic a term for what my feelings were for him, but even though I was a writer of verses, I did not know, I could not find, the word or words to convey what I felt for him; what he was to me. Thus, 'love' would have to suffice.
I closed my eyes and let my body sink into the bed as his touches and his kisses lightened and changed from the passionate to the loving and caring. I let myself be swept up in the moment. "Raffles," I whispered his name this time, turned to look at the bed beside me and opened my eyes.
It was of course empty. He was not here. He was never here. He never will be here. For he does not know the true nature of my love for him; how could he know? And I for my part would never tell him; how could I? How could I risk our friendship, our intimacy, our closeness? How could I risk dinners at the club, lunches at the Savoy, being his guest at all of his cricket matches, attending parties and balls with him, hours spent in the Turkish baths, evenings spent by his side involved in illegal activities? How could I risk so much? I could not
Thus, I shall go on as I always have done. Loving him, wanting him, needing him, yearning for him, all without him knowing. I shall go on spending nights aching for him, allowing my body and mind to do as they wish, imagining him here by my side, imagining his hands and mouth on my body, loving me.
"Raffles." I whispered his name one more time. And again I closed my eyes and prepared to go to sleep. I was too drained and too contented to bother getting back up to turn the lights off; they could stay on all night; they wouldn't disturb me. Nothing would, nothing could, disturb me.
"Yes, Bunny." His voice was quiet and had a slightly shaky edge to it.
I sat up with a start and shook my head; I could not have heard his voice; I could not have heard him. He cannot be here; he was never here; he never would be here. I must be asleep and dreaming; that's all it is a dream; just a dream. And then from the shadowed corner of the room he appeared and came to stand at the bottom of my bed.
I stared at him and again shook my head. He wasn't here; he couldn't be here; I was asleep; I had to be asleep, because if I was not then he - "Raffles?" I whispered. "Are you real?" I gazed at him, his face was slightly flushed and he had a look in his eyes which I had never seen before; it was almost as though he was a little ashamed.
I watched him swallow and dampen his lips as he continued to stare at me. "Yes, Bunny, I am," he finally said.
I felt simultaneously hot and cold; my throat was dry and had become tight; my stomach churned so much I feared I might vomit; my breath began to come in shallow bursts and my pulse rate increased as my mind reminded me of just what he must have seen and heard.
I didn't understand why he was standing in my bedroom dressed in his evening clothes, his overcoat and his top hat. How had he got in? And more importantly why? How long had he been there? And why had he not spoken until now? I didn't know what to say and from the look on his face it appeared he was also unsure.
But one of us had to speak and it was my bedroom in my flat. I had the right to be here; I had the right to my privacy. He is the one who had no right to be here; no right to invade my privacy. I ignored the fact that he being in my bedroom (or I being in his) is what I had always wanted. "How long have you been there?" I demanded, than added, "and how did you get in? And," I went on, suddenly unable to stop talking, stop asking questions, "what are you doing in my flat?"
He blinked for what I'd swear was the first time since he appeared from the shadowed corner. He was silent for a moment or two, before he said his voice low and a little shaky, "Let us just say long enough. As for how I got into your flat, well, my dear Bunny, you are the one who gave me a key. And as for what I am doing here, well, I confess I followed you home."
He shrugged and glanced away from me. "I often do," he said finally, once again looking at me.
I was stunned. "But why?"
He shifted slightly and again looked away. When he looked back, his cheeks appeared a little more flushed; again he appeared to be almost abashed. "Because, my dear Bunny, the streets of London are not always safe; not even in these parts. And when you insist on walking rather than taking a cab, I feel uneasy unless I know you are home safely."
I just stared at him; and despite the fact I suddenly remembered I was sitting up in bed wearing nothing more than pyjamas, having just done something that would quite possible destroy the most important friendship I have ever had, I was taken back over thirteen years to our school days when he looked out for me, looked after me, protected me from bullies and those who wanted to get my hands on me in other ways.
"We're not at school now, Raffles," I said, my tone slightly hard. Did he really think I was incapable of taking care of myself? I found myself both somewhat angry with him for daring to presume I am incapable, and yet at the same time more than a little touched that he cared enough about me to still want to protect me.
He gave me a grim smile. "Well, yes, Bunny; I am quite well aware of that. However, some promises do not have a time limitation on them."
How could I stay angry with him? I could not. "Do you always let yourself into my flat?" I asked. I had no need to enquire how it was I didn't hear him; I've spent enough evenings by his side watching him break into houses or rooms to know how silent he was, and unlike the other houses he entered, he hadn't had to break into my flat, he had a key.
He shook his head. "No. Normally I wait until you are safely inside and then I go back to the Albany."
"What made tonight different?"
He shrugged. "I do not know, Bunny, and that's the truth. I just had a feeling, an urge you might call it to . . . I don't know." He stared at me for a moment, the next he had taken off his hat, dropped it on top of my clothes on the chair and was by the side of the bed. He sat down and took my hand in his. "Bunny, why are we talking? Why don't I just -" he leant towards me. To my surprise I pushed him away, moved across the bed and pulled the covers around me. He stared at me, his surprise clear. "Bunny?"
He was about to offer me, about to give me, everything I had ever wanted and I had pushed him away. Why? Because I didn't know why he's offering me what I wanted, and I needed to know. Was he doing it out of some sense of obligation to our friendship? Or because he felt guilty at having invaded my privacy and stood and watched what he had no right to observe?
"Raffles, why did you come into my bedroom? And more importantly, why didn't you leave when -" I stopped abruptly.
He stood up and walked away from the bed; he went to my dresser and began to rearrange my shirt studs and cuff-links, lining them up neatly as I sat and watched him and waited for him to reply. His back was to me, and as he continued to rearrange the things on top of my dresser, I definitely get the feeling he was far from the usually easy, relaxed, unconcerned Raffles whom I loved and knew so well. "I should have done," he said finally, without turning around. "It was incredibly bad manners, ungentlemanly and definitely not cricket. I very nearly did leave; I told myself to leave; I got as far as putting my hand on the door handle. But . . ."
He fell silent; his hand stilled and he let one of my cuff-links fall back onto the dresser. At long last he pushed his hands into his overcoat pockets and turned around. "I had to know, Bunny," he said quietly, as he looked at me; his steady gaze was now unreadable. "I had to know," he repeated. "I swear to you, Bunny, had you not," he paused and once again looked away from me. "Had you not called out my name, I would have gone as silently as I had arrived and you would never have known I had been in your flat let along your bedroom; you would never have known I stood and watched what I had no right to observe. But, Bunny, once my name left your lips, I couldn't go. Can you not understand that? You cried out my name, Bunny, my name. How could I leave?" Now he did once again look at me and I saw he spoke the truth.
Nonetheless, I still didn't know what to say; what to do. In some way I felt almost violated by him; that he would take such an advantage of our friendship and of the love he has always known I've had for him. I could understand his reasoning, but I wasn't sure it excused him; I was not sure there was an excuse for what he did. Yet as I stared in silence at him, I wondered if I was over-reacting; if I was being foolish, being the rabbit he often calls me, albeit in a fond way. Is what he did really so unforgiveable, so inexcusable?
He hadn't moved; he still stood by my dresser, his hands buried deeply in the pockets of his overcoat, his steady gaze still affixed on my face. And as I stared back at him I knew whatever happened next was in my hands. For once he was not in control, he was not in charge; he would bow to whatever I said or did. If I told him to get out and told him I never wished to see him again, he would go and I never would see him again - not unless I sought him out. He would do whatever I asked, whatever I told him to do.
I shivered slightly and I saw a frown crease his forehead and watched him force himself to remain where he was. I had never wanted to have such power over him; it was not how things were between us; it did not feel right. Before I could speak, not that I had any idea what to say, he sighed, took his hands from his pockets, picked up his hat and turned around.
"I believe it's time I left," he said.
"Wait!" The word was out of my mouth before I even thought about it as two things hit me. Firstly, I had an uncanny feeling that if I let him walk out now, I would not see him again. The second test, for which he had been picked, began in four days and we were due to leave London the day after tomorrow to travel to Manchester for it. And for some reason I had the feeling he would find a way to extend his stay or simply vanish somewhere else and not return to London. Not that A. J. Raffles would find it easy to just disappear; he was rather too well known, at least to anyone who followed cricket. But if anyone could do it; it would be he.
Secondly, an image I had always tried hard to repress flashed into my mind. It is me standing just inside the door to his study staring at him, watching him and another boy on his sofa kissing and touching. His hands are tangled in the other boy's hair, his coat is on the floor and the other boy's hand is inside Raffles's trousers.
And whilst the situations are not the same, not really; I was fourteen, he eighteen; I had stood for a few seconds, no more, he had been in my bedroom for several minutes; I had nonetheless stood and watched him. And whilst I could say it was he who had always insisted I was welcome in his study whenever I wished to be there, and had also insisted there was no need for me to knock, that he should have been more careful, was it not in some ways akin to me giving him the key to my flat? Did that not imply he was always welcome? And he always was welcome and, I realised, he always would be.
"Don't go," I said, and held out a slightly shaking hand towards him.
He stood still for several moments, before putting his hat back down on the chair and slowly making his way towards me. He stopped a short distance from the bed and rather than take the hand I offered him, he put his hands back into his pockets.
I sighed and resigned myself to getting a crick in my neck as I looked up at him. Then something he'd said came back to me. "Raffles?"
"What did you mean when you said you had to know?"
He gave me a half-smile. "I had to know if you felt the same way about me as I felt about you. I love you, Bunny, but you know that, do you not?" I gave a half-nod; yes, I'd always known he'd loved me, but I had no idea that love went beyond the love of intimate friends.
He went on, confirming his words. "I've loved you as more than just a friend for longer than I care to admit, Bunny. I have wanted you in my bed from the moment I opened the door of my rooms to you. I didn't dare to hope you'd feel the same way about me. But then as time went on I thought maybe you did. Yet, I couldn't say anything because I know you'll do anything I ask of you; that you'll do anything to please me, even if it is not something you really wish to do. So I had to know. There was something different about you when you said goodnight to me earlier; something that made me not only follow you home, but also made me let myself into your flat and come into your bedroom."
He moved a step towards me and finally took the hand I was still holding out to him. "Was it such an awful thing I did, Bunny? Such an unforgivable thing?" His voice was low as he gazed down at me.
I tugged on his hand firmly until he sat down on the edge of my bed and was facing me. Was it so awful? Was it unforgivable? Was I going to let embarrassment prevent me from having what I'd wanted for so long? Did it really matter that much? Was I going to let pride get in the way and tell him to go away? Of course I wasn't. How could I? If I sent him away what would happen then? I'd have to go back to my empty, lonely bed; I'd have to go back to dreaming of him, to imagining it was his hand on my body and not my own; I would have to go back to imagining what it would be like to have his mouth on mine. I didn't want to go on imagining his kiss or his touches; I wanted to know them.
Yet words were difficult to find, so instead I acted. I pulled his hand hard until he fell forward against me and I kissed him, putting one hand behind his head and holding him firmly as he began to kiss me back. And once I tasted his kiss, I knew my imagination had fallen woefully short of what it was actually be like to be kissed by him. And if it fell short with a simple kiss, the rest would not come even close to what I'd imagined, how could it?
I'd fallen back against my pillow under his weight and he was half on top of me, his mouth still firmly on mine, his tongue tracing my lower lip until I parted my lips and invited his tongue into my mouth. And then one of his hands began to move over my body, his fingers lightly caressed my skin as they wandered at will, undoing the buttons of my pyjama jacket until I feel the cool air touch my bare skin. I shivered slightly under the duel assault of the air and his knowledgeable fingers.
His fingers began to move slowly down my body, travelled over my breast, across my stomach until they closed around my hardness, stroking me first through my clothing, before undoing my pyjama trousers and pushing them down my thighs; it was only then that he took my heated flesh into his cool hand.
I moaned into his mouth as I pushed up into his touch - it really was nothing like I'd imagined. He'd always told me I have a good imagination, but it failed me; what I imagined was nothing compared to what he was doing to me. And I was already once again close to the edge, already nearing completion, but then his hand stilled and he held me tightly, preventing my body from getting the release it craved. I shifted and try to object, but he just kissed me more deeply, until I gave myself up fully to what he was doing to me.
As he held me, I felt my body stepping back from the edge and I moved my hands to touch him; they encountered thick cloth and I remembered he was still fully clothed, including his overcoat. The absurdity of the situation suddenly hit me and without meaning to, I began to laugh - which wasn't an easy thing to do when you're being kissed and kissed so very well.
As the laughter turned into coughing, he lifted his head and just stared down at me, eye wide; his lips were swollen, his hair messed in a way I've never seen it and he just gazed down at me, his look one of incredulity. And to my horror, his look made me laugh more.
It was only when I saw his gaze become dark and frozen and he stiffened as he sat up straight and his hand slipped from my body that I managed to stop laughing. I caught his hand before he could move away completely. It was rigid in mine and I knew I had seconds to explain. "I'm sorry, Raffles," I said quickly. "I'm not laughing for the reason you probably think I'm laughing." He raised an eyebrow and invited me to go on. His look was still hard and frozen, and I also saw more than a hint of hurt beneath the steady blue gaze. "It's just - well look at us," I waved the hand I wasn't holding his with at him, then at me and I looked at him and then down at myself.
I was flat on the bed, my pyjama jacket was opened and the bottoms were pushed halfway down my thighs; and he was still fully dressed, even his bowtie remained perfect. He followed my look, his gaze came to rest for several seconds on my lower body and he then looked swiftly down at himself before looking back at me. And to my relief I saw the hurt, the hardness and the coldness vanish from his eyes and his lips moved upward as he smiled and then he too laughed.
I lay there, still holding his hand, just gazing up at the man I knew I would never stop loving; the man I never believed I'd be able to love as I was now able to love, and I realised him following me home, letting himself into my flat and creeping silently into my bedroom to stand and watch me wasn't an awful, unforgivable thing, it wasn't even embarrassing; instead it was the best thing that could have happened.
I pulled his hand to my mouth, licked the tips of his fingers and kissed his hand several times before letting it go. I sat up far enough to pull of my pyjama jacket, pushed the trousers further down my legs and kicked them off and stared pointedly at him. "Get undressed, Raffles," I said. "Get undressed, get into bed and make love to me."
Raffles has always been a tidy man, a very tidy man and has always taken great care of his clothes. I think the fact he stood up, pulled off his coat and simply dropped it on the floor before stripping the rest of his clothes off at a speed that amazed me, letting them, as well as his shirt studs and cuff-links, simply fall to the floor told me, even more than the look in his eyes which never once left mine, just how much he wanted me.