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Lost Child

Part 2

Nicodemus’ gaze narrowed in minor annoyance as he watched the fawning display being played out before him.

"I see the children are on their best behavior tonight," he murmured in an aside to his companion, Aris. "They just haven’t decided who to suck up to the most."

All of the glittering lights of vampiric society were in full view tonight, and it fell to Nico to host this lovely party. Every one of the newly created little vampires tagged along with their proud parents, and it bored Nico to tears. Ritus Admissionus. Over the next month, Diocourides would travel to five cities and let his newest creations be introduced into the grown up world of vampire society.

Aris snickered as she looked over at Nico. "You only need to show your face for a few hours. The rest of us aren’t so lucky."

A sudden wave of awed whispering rippled around the room, all gazes shifting to the doorway. Several seemed to almost fall over themselves to gain even the slightest bit of acknowledgment from the newcomer.

Dressed in his trademark cream and gold velvet waistcoat and a pair of cream-colored, form-fitting pants, Adrian-Luc Rocher stood in the doorway. His chestnut brown hair was pulled back, held at the nape of his neck by a gold silk ribbon, and he held a pair of off-white gloves in one hand. In the other, he held a stylish walking stick made of rich cherry wood. He looked sure of himself, as if he had fully expected the awestruck response his arrival had brought about.

A few hours were a few too many in Nico’s book, and the arrival of Luc didn’t help matters at all. He had enough on his plate without any additional complications.

Inclining his head slightly towards Luc, Nico acknowledged his presence, the motion one of strict protocol.

With a slight wave of Nico's hand, most of the sycophants surrounding them found better places to be. The dark tinge to Nico’s expression wasn’t to be trifled with.

Back straight and head held high, Luc carried himself like he always had: full of pride. When he reached Nico’s throne, he bowed low, the move just a touch exaggerated as his forehead nearly touched the white marble floor.

"A fitting party, Your Eminence," Luc said after standing upright once more. "Simple, but elegant." A wry grin followed the words.

Nico’s brow raised a tiny fraction. "So glad you approve, Luc. I’ll be sure to let my secretary know her plans passed your high standards."

Considering Alison had driven him nearly crazy over the last several months with the details, Nico still managed to seem fairly unruffled with the whole thing.

Looking quite pleased, Luc turned and found a favored seat, just off the right of the dais. He reclined on the plush pillows and took up conversation with a young mortal. One bored yawn later, Luc dismissed the mortal with a casual sweep of his hand. Sipping at the cup of wine set before him by a servant, he idly watched the others. Only when another mortal stepped into the room did Luc seem to take immediate interest.

"Isn’t he a pretty one," he remarked.

Aris’ gaze darted between them , a malevolent glee apparent on her features. To be the fly on the wall so close to the two would be a tidbit she’d dine out with for a few weeks to come. Several of the others were eyeing her somewhat enviously because they weren’t close enough to catch the action.

Nico remained elegantly draped on his throne, appearing completely unmoved though he was aware of the undercurrent around him. His gaze narrowed, settling back on Luc with the comment. "He is, isn’t he?"

Lifting his hand, a small movement of his fingers brought the mortal in question to stand in front of Nico. "My newest addition, and his name is Lorenzo."

"Such taste," Luc purred. "Is he as sweet as he looks? Such pretty flesh. Tell me, does he taste like the cool caramel of his skin?"

Luc’s pale golden eyes turned dark as he watched Lorenzo move across the room. When the young mortal bowed before the throne, Luc’s tongue slipped out just enough to wet his lips.

As Lorenzo bowed to him, Nico reached up, taking hold of his hand and tugged him gently down to his knees. Smiling faintly as the young mortal settled against his leg, he looked over at Luc. "Do I have something you want, Luc?"

Not seeming at all upset or even surprised, he studied Luc enjoying the obvious reaction. "You’ll have to discuss things with Lorenzo. He is free after all."

"It matters not," Luc said, his gaze never leaving Lorenzo. "I have no problems getting what I want."

Without moving from where he lay, Luc lifted a hand, beckoning Lorenzo over. Having received Nico’s consent that he was indeed free, Lorenzo stood and went to kneel before Luc.

"Yes," Luc murmured, just loud enough for those in the immediate proximity to hear. "You are a pretty one. Do you desire me, boy?"

Swallowing hard, Lorenzo nodded slowly. "I do."

"Good. Bare yourself for me."

"I do hope you are prepared to take on his care, Luc." Nico murmured softly as he watched the play in front of him. Aware Luc did these things to him deliberately, it was no different than the previous attempts spanning all the years he’d known the young vampire.

"I am."

Lorenzo stood and obediently began to undress, letting the thin cotton pants slide down his legs to the floor. He unbutton the loose, flowing shirt and shrugged it off, thus baring himself to Luc, and incidentally, the entire room.

Unfolding gracefully, Luc stood then and moved forward. Sliding his fingers through Lorenzo’s long, black hair, he tipped the mortal’s head just enough to bare his throat. But instead of biting, he turned Lorenzo slowly, one hand wrapped gently in Lorenzo’s hair to keep his head back.

"You wish to please me," he murmured. Lorenzo nodded. "Good. Very good."

Luc and Lorenzo were the central focus of attention even though the others appeared to be carrying on their own conversations around the room.

Nico’s features held no more than a mild interest in the proceedings. If one happened to notice the faint dig of his nails into the arm of his throne, they would realize appearances were deceiving. Though it was likely very few would notice as they gazed in appreciation at the naked form of Lorenzo. Nico was well known for his tastes in choosing his own toys.

"I will see you come," Luc whispered in Lorenzo’s ear. "I will hear you cry out."

Lorenzo’s breath caught, the gasp audible. "Yes," he replied obediently.

"Turn and free me. Pleasure me and I will allow you pleasure in return."

As soon as Luc released him, Lorenzo turned and dropped to his knees. He unfastened Luc’s pants just enough to free Luc’s cock, which was already full and hard, the tip glistening. Lorenzo licked his lips, then wrapped them around the head of Luc’s cock.

Not by so much as the slightest reaction did Nico show he knew the whispered words were meant for him. His senses picked them up quite clearly. Turning his head slightly, he caught Aris staring at him and damn close to snickering.

The higher arch of his brow kept her silent but only for a moment. She couldn’t resist reaching over to Nico, a sly tone in her words. "My, my, trying so hard not to react, Nico."

"Yes," Luc purred, pleasure filling the soft exhale of breath as he slid his fingers through Lorenzo’s hair. "Sweet and hot. Let me feel your tongue, your teeth."

In answer, Lorenzo’s teeth grazed along Luc’s shaft, from base to tip. When he reached the head, Lorenzo probed the slit with his tongue, a hiss of breath from Luc meeting the sharp, pleasurable burn.

"More," Luc said, dark golden eyes lifting to lock onto Nico’s. "Devour me."

Ignoring Aris’ attempt to needle him, a dark gaze, already begin to fleck with silver, meet the gold one. A faint smirk graced his lips as his eyes drifted slowly over Luc before taking in Lorenzo. It took a great deal of control over himself to appear so unmoved.

"Are you enjoying yourself, Luc?" Nico's question ruffled gently through Luc’s mind.

Several members of his court were waiting for him to react, and he refused to give anybody, including Luc, the satisfaction.

"The thought of you on your knees before me brings me infinite pleasure." The purr of Luc's words rippled through Nico's mind.

Tightening his grip on Lorenzo’s hair, Luc began to thrust into the waiting mouth, Lorenzo taking every inch Luc gave him.

"Touch me," Luc growled, the sound low and feral as he neared release.

The moment Lorenzo’s hand cupped his balls, Luc thrust forward, groaning as he flooded Lorenzo’s mouth.

"Your imagination astounds me, Luc." Because their minds were momentarily linked to allow for the conversation, Nico could feel the echoes dominating Luc’s thoughts as he came.

Standing from his throne, he slowly descended down the steps of the dais. When he was close enough to the two, he laid his hand on Luc’s chest. "When you are done with your amusements, I need to speak with you in private."

Withdrawing his hand, Nico casually walked away towards one of the couriers. Drawing him aside, he spoke quietly to him. Then without a backward glance, Nico left the throne room.

Once Lorenzo had him tucked back into his pants, Luc helped him to stand. Tipping the mortal’s head back, he sank his fangs deep into Lorenzo’s throat, setting off a chain reaction that left the mortal shuddering in his arms as he came. Licking the wound softly, Luc smiled.

"Very good. You are free."

Releasing Lorenzo, Luc turned and headed for the door, a self-satisfied smile on his face as he made his way to the library. Stepping through the door, he saw Nico seated on the edge of a wooden desk.

"You wished to see me, Your Eminence?"

"No, not really, but it seems I must." With a smirk firmly in place, Nico gestured towards one of the chairs near him. "St. Ives asked me to work between the two of you to try to smooth any ruffled feathers during your business dealings."

Settling into a chair, Luc lifted an eyebrow in amusement. "Ruffled feathers?"

"Given your penchant for taking over, he wanted to make sure you both weren’t tempted to kill each other before the ink dries on the paper. He’s not thoroughly happy with the proposals for your takeover of his firm."

Luc fought to suppress the grin. "Ah. You know me too well, Your Eminence. However, I fail to see where he has any grounds to assume such things. I have done nothing…to him, anyway."

"No, but he seems to believe you’ll be edging him out somewhere along the way, Luc. And he’s called in the cavalry to make sure you don’t get too far ahead of yourself." Pinning a look on Luc gave emphasis to the rest of his words. "I don’t like getting dragged into this. And I have no desire to attend any meetings with you, but it does seem for the moment, I’m given no choice."

The idea of being closely closeted in an indeterminate number of meetings with Luc didn’t please Nico at all.

The grin slipped free, albeit slowly. "And why, pray tell, are you so loathe to meet with me?"

"Because business details bore me to tears." He shot back quickly.

"Were it my choice," Luc said as he stood, moving just a step closer to Nico, "business details would be the last thing we’d be discussing."

Nico had managed to keep Luc at a distance, except for court procedures. He preferred it that way, and had no desire to upset his own apple cart. Luc had been trying to get to him for quite a while, and knowing the young vampire’s habits, Nico preferred to keep them strictly apart.

"It seems it’s neither of our choices." Narrowing his gaze on Luc, he remained unmoving from his position. Not even the faintest ripple of tension showed in the casually relaxed pose.

"Truly. Given your choice, what would you have us discussing, Your Eminence? Perhaps…" He trailed off, trailing a fingertip lightly over the top of Nico’s left thigh. "The subtle differences in the way a man tastes? Or maybe the sweet pain of a long-awaited release when it has been denied for a time."

Taking hold of his hand in a near painful grip, Nico lifted it up and away from his thigh. "The details of this business venture, Luc. It’s why you are here, isn’t it?"

Nico wasn’t about to get dragged in what Luc wanted him to. Releasing his hand, he reached up, lightly patting Luc’s face. "Save your play for your toys, they’ll appreciate it better than I."

Appearing unmoved by the rejection, Luc smiled. "That is because you haven’t given me the chance to do anything more than tease." He backed up and sat down, picking at the sleeve of his velvet coat. "Yes. As you said, it seems that St. Ives is…paranoid, so I am here for a recommendation of character. He wants reassurance from you that I am trustworthy. You’ve known me quite some time. You know that I am, although my ways of doing things might be a bit shrewd to some."

"Oh, I’m not so sure you won’t edge him out as he fears you will. You’ve always preferred running things yourself. But in this instance, it might stand you in better stead if you were more patient. I’m not the least bit worried you’ll attempt to cheat him, which I have already reassured him on." Nico never could quite understand Luc’s more personal behavior though. As Luc moved back, his stance relaxed a touch more.

As he leaned forward, arms resting on the arms of his chair, a serious look settled on Luc’s face. "Patience is not one of my virtues, Nico. You know that. St. Ives is shuffling his feet on this deal. He can’t continue to hold his own; I can. I have the capital to pull St. Ives Pharmaceuticals out of the negative. If he doesn’t get off his ass, the company will go under. If that happens, where will that leave our donors? Where will they get their supplements without fear of red tape?"

"Just don’t shove him out the way, Luc. He knows his own company inside and out. While you have the skill and money to pull him out, you still need to listen to him as well. He’s shuffling because he’s afraid he’s going to lose it all either way. Offer him a spot on the board that leaves you in control, but lets him guide the future too." Nico knew a great deal about what he was talking about.

"In your impatience, don’t leave St. Ives in the dust. The transition for the company will be made all that harder if you do. He’s agreed to sign the necessary paperwork as long as I’m there to oversee the structure of your takeover."

"I was intending on keeping him on the board anyway," Luc said dryly. He stood abruptly and began pacing, the movements sharp. "Justus is in town."

His narrowed gaze fastened on Luc, following the agitated motion. "It would be best if your Father plans no trouble, Luc."

Nico seriously disliked the man and his reputation preceded him. "He has yet to come up against me, and I can guarantee he won’t like it if he tries."

"Yes, well, as his Son, it is my duty," Luc said, a hint of disgust emphasizing the words, "to open my home to him." He turned around to face Luc. "Why do you think I came tonight? Just being in the same house with him is enough to make my skin crawl."

"I was wondering what drove you to seek entertainment in the court tonight of all nights." A shrewd look pinned Luc. "Am I to assume he has breezed into the city to either batten off his son or to bring you back under a thumb?"

Luc wasn’t really all that old in their world, not say compared to Nico. The first formula had his own sneaking suspicious about the sudden advent of Justus into Luc’s life.

"He hopes to get me back under his ‘watchful eye’ as he put it. Justus thinks I am lax and unruly, that I cannot hold my own without him." Moving back to his chair, Luc dropped down into it, letting his head fall back and his eyes close. "I don’t trust him, Nico."

"Kindly remind your Father he is under my ‘watchful eye’ while he remains here." He knew how much it had to irk Luc to have his Father too close for comfort, yet be unable to do anything about it. Only this time Nico could and would insure the man didn’t get out of hand.

His voice softened slightly as he leaned forward, placing his hand over Luc’s. "Don’t worry about him, he can only go so far in my territory."

While Nico generally kept anything sexual at a distance, he had no problem attempting to reassure and comfort Luc. In his eyes, Luc was no more than a young child.

"You don’t have to stay in the same house with him, constantly watching for him over your shoulder. He doesn’t approve of my…habits."

"Your Father’s opinions are notorious. As are his attempts to mold you into what he thinks you should be. He doesn’t approve of me either, but then he never did." A harder edge appeared on his features even though he smirked.

"How do you know so much about him?" Luc asked after several minutes of silence. "You know far more than most others about a man who has always been very private."

"Oh, your Father and I go a long way back, Luc." It may have been a casual tone, but another inflection lurked just beneath. "You both seem to share the same habit of liking to challenge me to win things."

Luc lifted an eyebrow at that. "Justus challenges to gain favors and riches and God knows what else. I only want you."

"He’s challenged me for far more than that." Shrugging slightly, Nico kept everything else veiled behind a mild mask. "As far as your interest in me goes, it’s always better to keep it at a distance."

Nico simply wouldn’t explain why.

Narrowing his gaze on Nico, Luc resisted the temptation to prod for more information. "Considering that the attraction is one-sided, I suppose I probably should." With a sigh, he stood. "I hate to chat and run, but I have business matters to attend to."

A carefully maintained coldness stayed encased around Nico as he watched Luc. "Let me know if your Father causes problem. I will deal with them and him. With a great deal of pleasure."

Nico had the feeling Justus had appeared simply because he was too close for comfort to his precious son.

Luc nodded. "I will. I’ll be in touch, Nico." With that, Luc walked out, immediately slipping back into the haughty air of a noble.

Remaining silent, Nico knew he would be keeping a sharp eye on the situation. He really didn’t want to deal with the past issues, but he had no doubt they would come out. He had no clue what would happen then. With a quiet sigh, he stood from the edge of the desk to return to his court.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's deranged imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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