There was a child in the corner of the shop. Basil’s favorite corner, where Gill’s potted plants were overgrown and curled together to make a green fortress. Right before the shelves of pre-made salves and remedies for common ailments.
They didn’t get many children customers.
None except for Wyn, an apprentice for the last wizardry guild north of the Astorien Reach. She was a small thing, wore clothes too big for her that were nothing but a jumbled mess of various fabrics and too many scarves, and had wisps of blonde-white hair tucked underneath her cap. But, Gill liked her well enough and that counted for something.
Basil wiped chocolate off on his apron as he approached her. Now, usually it was frowned upon to snack while on shop duty, but Gill was never one to be strict when it came to enforcing rules. He poked his head carefully between the thorny veins of two plants.
“Looking for something?”
“Master Wilhms’ cough is acting up again.” Wyn barely looked his way.
Basil pursed his lips. “Well, as much as I hate to lose business, I do think he should see a doctor.” Master Wilhms had once been a great wizard, or so the stories said. It was before Basil’s time, the time of adventuring and dragon hunting. The time of questing and daring missions. Apparently Master Wilhms had assisted many knights on their journeys before the dragons rose up and had their civil rights movement and the queen disbanded the adventuring order. It was likely for the best.
Wyn shook her head. “Master Wilhms doesn’t trust doctors. He thinks they’re trying to steal his soul.”
“A reasonable fear for a man who wrote an entire book on necromancy.”
Wyn pursed her lips, placing her gloved hands on her hips and pointing her chin purposely in the air. “Where is Mr. Duran? I have a custom order of utmost importance.”
“You’re talking to him, child.”
She gave him a look. “The other Mr. Duran. The useful one.”
Basil gasped, stumbling back and putting his hand over his heart. Wyn was never particularly nice to him. Rotten child had no taste for art, or humor.
When she failed to even humor him, he frowned and held out his hand for her to drop the note she undoubtedly had for the custom order.
“He’s in the back room, and you know very well he doesn’t like to be disturbed.”
Wyn narrowed her eyes. “This is a sensitive issue.”
“I’m a very sensitive man.”
A door creaked open behind them. Basil looked over his shoulder just in time to see Gill emerge from the back room, the scent of his word flooding the small apothecary and burning Basil’s nostrils. Gill palmed both sides of the doorway.
“Tea,” he grunted.
Wyn whizzed past Basil, pausing just once to stick her tongue out at him as she scurried to Gill with her order. Basil sighed in defeat and headed instead towards the stairs of their apartment to bring Gill his tea.
By the time he returned downstairs, Wyn was gone. He smiled at that, flipping the open sign over on the shop door before steadying the tea tray in his arms and heading towards the back room behind the counter.
It wasn’t as if he wasn’t allowed in there. Gill hardly said as much, and in fact seemed thrilled any time Basil showed the slightest interest in anything he did, Basil simply preferred not to go in there. The room was hot, as it should be for a room with seven stoves. And it smelled. Cloyingly perfumey from all the crushed flowers and sickeningly medicinal from all the burning incense and herbs, almost a bit like what it smelled like when Basil was younger and his grandma found herself in a cleaning frenzy. Then, it had been an improvement. East Foundum was known for its pleasant smells.
Gill sped about the room, grabbing ingredients from shelves with one hand and tucking them under his arm as he held Wyn’s note in the other.
Basil set the tray down on the weathered down table in the middle of the room, carefully brushing vials and jars out of the way. Gill didn’t seem like he noticed Basil was even there. He poured a single cup of tea and stirred in a teaspoon of honey. He lifted the cup to his mouth and blew softly to cool it a little.
He watched Gill race around the room for another moment before speaking. “I’ve brought your tea, dear.”
Gill lit a flame on one of the stoves, fixing a pot over the burner as he looked over his shoulder. “Thank you.”
Gill held his bare palm over the pot to check the temperature before stepping towards Basil to take his tea. He stuck his tongue into it first, testing the flavor in his mouth before he nodded his approval and took a direct drink.
“You’ve been in here all day, I’ve hardly seen you.” Granted, Basil went out that morning for a small shopping trip. He reached out his hand to brush sweaty clumps of reddish-brown hair off Gill’s forehead. Gill tended to tie his unruly hair back when he worked. His hair was breaking free of the feeble attempt with every move he made. Gill sighed, leaning his head towards Basil’s hand.
He closed his eyes. “It’s good to be busy,” he said after a while. “Haven’t been busy since Dr. Nord opened that clinc down the street.”
Basil moved his hand away from Gill’s hair to cup his cheek. He stroked his thumb over the rough patch of skin on his cheek where Gill messed up shaving. Basil frowned, pouting his lips as he watched worry lines crease on Gill’s forehead. If they continued to lose business they’d eventually figure something else out. Gill’s visit to the city was never meant to be permanent, they’d met and disrupted each other’s plans.
Basil closed the gap between them instead of voicing his concerns and planting a quick kiss on Gill’s forehead. “You need a break. Can I give you a massage?”
“…I just turned the stove on.”
“I don’t hear a no.”
Gill didn’t say anything right away, he simply took another sip of tea. “Thirty minutes,” he said finally. “And then I’ll get right back to work.”
Basil clapped his hands victoriously. “I’ll get my oils!”
He was already running out of the room and back up to the apartment where the boxes of aromatic massage oils he purchased that morning were waiting.
Gill didn’t seem any more excited by the time Basil stepped back into the back room, dangling a bottle of massage oil before his nose.
“There’s just no room for all this,” Gill said, gesturing around to the clutter with his hands.“I thought you meant a quick shoulder rub?”
“Who do you think I am?” Basil hadn’t spent months wooing a masseuse when he was eighteen to end up giving his spouse a quick shoulder rub. What a disgrace.
“C’mon now,” Basil continued. “Disrobe. Let’s see what years of mixing salves have done to that body of yours.”
Gill gave him a look. Even so, he undid his apron and began unbuttoning his shirt. “I’m just taking off my shirt,” he said.
Basil rolled his eyes. “What kind of a monster do you think I am?”
Gill chose not to answer. They removed the rest of the mess on the table and fixed another sheet over the table cloth before Gill reluctantly climbed up. He displayed his back proudly, resting his head on his arms as he drummed his fingertips against the table and waited for Basil to straddle him.
When they met, Gill had been a lot more muscular. Or at least more toned. At the time it’d been because Gill had been burdened with most of the odd jobs and heavy lifting when it came to the people he travelled with. Age and the influence of Basil’s lifestyle made him doughy. Not that Basil minded. It all just made Gill a lot more comfortable to cuddle with.
Basil poured some of the oil onto his hands. The smell was certainly an improvement from the room around them. Citrus and a hint of vanilla. He rubbed his hands together before pressing his fingers into Gill’s back. He was careful not to press too hard on his tense muscles, working in slow circles to release the tension. Gill moaned his approval.
“We should go out to dinner one of these days.” They hardly went out, hadn’t really done it in at least a year.
Gill hummed as he searched for words. “You don’t like what I cook for you?”
“You know that’s not true. Maybe I just want to show you off.”
Gill snorted at that. Basil continued to work at his back.
Gill spoke again after a few minutes. “Do you remember the first place I took you?”
“Of course. I’m the one that suggested it.” Gill got so easily lost in those days. The city had been uncharted land for him. And although Basil would give him credit for making the first official move and making his intentions to take him out, Basil did give him a gentle push in the right direction.
“You ordered dessert first and then took me to that awful play.”
“That my best friend wrote and directed, thank you.”
“No one is happier than me that Pinkie decided to take up needlework instead.”
Basil pinched him. “You’re so cruel. It wasn’t that bad.”
“You’re only saying that because you were the lead.”
A moment of silence. Gill shifted a little.
“Can I roll over?”
“Only if you want to get oil all over the sheet.”
Basil shrugged, and lifted himself slightly so his husband could turn over onto his back. He settled back down, purposely rubbing himself gently against Gill’s crotch as he stared up at him with a raised eyebrow. Gill gripped Basil’s hips, drumming his fingers against the strip of exposed skin from where his shirt untucked itself from his pants.
Basil wiggled his oily fingers in the air. “Want me to do your chest? Or…” He wiggled his eyebrows as well.
Gill looked up at him with the same stoic look as always. “I should get back to work now. Master Wilhms—”
“—I heard from my grandma that he had a mighty elf fetish back in the day, his cough medicine can wait.”
Gill scoffed, a sardonic smile broke through his stony exterior. “Elf fetish or not, he pays me.”
Basil pouted. It was hard to look seductive in work pants and a shirt he borrowed from Gill, but he tried anyway as he leaned forward, careful not to drip oil all over his face.
The next time he spoke, he kept his voice low and forcefully sultry. “When was the last time we…” he let his words trail off.
Gill licked his lips in thought. He gripped his hips tighter. “Was it…last week? At Pinkie’s dinner party.”
Pinkie was the only one of Basil’s old friends who still held on stubbornly to the dreams they had when they were much younger and wanted to take the art world into their palms. The dinner parties were an excuse to get drunk and reminisce. Basil gave Gill a nod of encouragement.
“You were so drunk,” Gill continued, he lifted himself up onto his elbows. Their noses touched. “We slipped out while Pinkie was giving his annual speech.”
“It’s a damn good speech,” Basil interjected. It was about their everlasting friendships and the sentimental value of good wine.
Gill nodded. “I could still hear it. We were right under the window.”
“And?” Basil urged him on.
He licked his lips again. “Fucking you out under the stars made me feel like I was twenty again.”
That statement deserved a smile. It had been a rare moment, quite unlike them. They tended not to be so rough, needy, or quick about their interactions, but good wine and chocolate did something to Basil and they ended up in Pinkie’s garden with Gill practically shoving his face into the dirt as he frantically searched for something to hold onto as Gill fucked him for all he was worth.
Wiggling his hips, Basil moved to wrap his arms around Gill’s neck.
“Were we so wild back then?” They certainly had more sex a decade ago. Basil was certain it had nothing to do with attraction, Gill aged like fine wine and neither were very old yet to begin with. Things just got in their way as the years passed.
Fingers trailed from his hips to the curve of his ass. Gill gave him a gentle squeeze.
“It’s already been thirty minutes,” he said. Another squeeze.
“A couple more can’t hurt.”
Basil pressed himself forward, brushing against Gill’s bare chest as Gill moved to wrap his arms around him. Their noses smooshed together as they kissed, Basil humming against Gill’s mouth as he gripped his ass again.
Never one to waste time, Basil slid his hands downwards. His fingers searched for the belt buckle. He felt his entire body tingle as his fingertips brushed against Gill’s growing bulge. That was a thrill that never dulled. There was no greater sense of pride than knowing he still gave his husband a hard-on.
Gill groaned as his fingertips brushed against him, capturing Basil’s bottom lip between his teeth and tugged at him. Basil clumsy undid the belt buckle and snacked his hands into his pants.
When Gill pulled away, his lips were wet and his voice hoarse. He gestured to his pants.
“Take them off,” he said. Basil saw so reason to hesitate. He shimmied away from Gill’s thighs to kick off his own pants while he pulled Gill’s down to his ankles.
His hands were still slick and sticky from the oil, and that too had to reason to go to waste. Gill watched him. He watched as Basil gripped him in both hands, smoothing his thumbs over the head of his cock as he rubbed what was left of the the oil onto him.
Gill rolled his head to the side. He placed one hand over Basil’s. His eyelids may flutter slightly but his grip on him was steady.
“Do you want to ride me, baby?” The tone of his voice changed. It sounded deeper. Richer. Just the way he liked it.
Basil could do nothing but nod. His lips were slightly parted. Gill reached up with his free hand and hooked his thumb into his mouth. Basil closed his lips around him, sucking on the digit eagerly.
“Come here.” Gill removed his hands, wrapping his own around himself and gesturing for Basil to straddle him again.
His teeth sunk into his bottom lip as he eased himself onto Gill. That was always the best part. The slow descend. Feeling every inch and curve of him. It made his legs quiver. Basil had to steady himself by gripping onto Gill, his hands placed just right under his belly button. He let out a low moan, tilting his head back.
Gill palmed his hip with one hand. The other still cupped his face, his thumb just popping out of his mouth as he moved his head.
“Oh fuck.” Basil let out a sigh as he engulfed Gill completely. He swirled his hips around, relishing in the feeling of being full for a moment. His own cock twitched for attention. The head turning red as it went all but ignored. Not that Basil cared all that much.
He leaned forward again, moving his hands so that they were on both sides of Gill’s head, gripping the sheet as he began to rock his hips. Beneath him, Gill bent his knees, further spreading his legs for better leverage as he moved his hands to grip him.
His mouth hung open, giving off short gasps as Gill thrust up into him. He leaned down further. Gill buried his face in his neck and Basil moaned louder as first his tongue ran along his exposed flesh and then he felt the scrape of teeth. His hold on him tightened and Basil felt positively squashed between Gill’s chest and his arms. He couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
His hands were still sticky and he peeled them away from the sheet for only a second before bouncing back in rhythm to Gill, causing him to lose his hold and slip. He fell against his chest at an angle that would have hurt but Gill held him tightly and the increase in volume as he yelped only seemed to encourage him.
Gill all but latched onto his neck, sucking and biting when it pleased him as Basil groaned away on top of him. He would laugh later, when he got the chance. It seemed a lot less like he was riding him, and more like Gill was moving him back and forth for his own pleasure.
He gave the tip of Gill’s ear a kiss. Another one. Basil craned his neck to suckle the sensitive skin behind his ear and hummed with pride when he heard Gill give off a hefty sigh and curse under his breath.
“Oh gods,” Basil moaned. He found himself gripping the edge of the table so he could push himself back onto Gill with added fervor. “Oh yes, yes I—”
A bell chimed from somewhere in the shop and Gill shot up to a sitting position with such a speed that Basil rolled off of him and landed with his legs in the air and his knees but his ears, excess oil dripping from his thighs to his face.
“You closed the store, didn’t you?”
“Of course I…” Wait no. He thought about it. He turned the sign over but he never locked the door.
Gill jumped down from the table, quickly pulled up his hands and padded around the room quickly for his other clothes.
“Help me up, dear?” Basil’s neck was beginning to cramp. Gill tied his apron and turned back on the oven as he shouted out to whoever had entered the shop while they were busy.
“I’ve got work to do,” said Gill, and without another word hurried out the door.
Basil could only groan loudly in frustration as the door closed after him.