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[personal profile] conjure_lass
Title: Love-O-Matic
Pairing(s): UkxUs
Rating/Warnings: PG for language, mentions of sex, and 80's pop music.
Summary: Deep in the bowels of the House of Commons, Alfred finds Arthur hard at work. Foot massaging ensues.
Author's Note: This is another experiment in writing in present tense for me. I enjoyed it, and I hope you all will too!



It is the sound of Arthur’s frustrated exclamations, a box being kicked into a wall, that guide Alfred down the dimly lit, almost claustrophobically narrow hallway. Alfred can see the soft beams of lamplight peek from under the closed office door, can barely make out the way the light catches on the filth and abandoned paperwork littering the linoleum.

Before he reaches it, however, he pauses at the one lone window, runs his index finger through the half-inch of dust on the sill. A lopsided heart, A+A scribbled within the perimeter. Alfred’s smile is also lopsided, and he blushes even though no one can see his sentimentality.

Another spattering of commotion from nearby prompts him to make his way to the door, gingerly pressing his ear to the aged wood while waiting for relative peace to return within. As he does he glances up at the rusted brass nameplate--A. Kirkland--that has moved from department to department within the House of Commons for the better part of a hundred years. Today it makes its home down in the lower levels, accounting, a place that Arthur particularly hates. The vile, shit-laden bowels of the government, he calls it. The last time he was here was somewhere in the late seventies, when he’d almost set fire to the file cabinets and been forced to take a leave of absence while the offices were treated for smoke damage.

Things hadn’t seemed to improve much.

“Babe…you in there?” Alfred turns the doorknob and pokes in the top of his head, a defensive measure should a blunt object be hurled towards the door in reflexive anger, and glances warily around the room.

Arthur’s offices had always been something of a sty, which is odd considering how immaculately he keeps his house most of the time. Stray cigarette butts lay strewn about the floor, mixing in with the crumbled trails of adding machine tape, torn up boxes, and important looking files flung haphazardly around the room. The walls are cluttered with mementos: a semi-pornographic Buzzcock’s poster, war-time propaganda from the 40’s, a practically life-sized shot of some poodle-permed 80’s soccer star that Alfred doesn’t know. Most of them are somewhat tattered, their edges worn and stained yellowish with nicotine.

Arthur doesn’t care much for material things these days.

The desk itself, where said man is currently hunched over and growling at his ancient Add-O-Matic adding machine, is the eye in a hurricane of disarray. Long since empty bottles of whiskey teeter on the razor edge of disaster, their peeling labels and frosted glass dull in the dim overhead lighting of the hanging lamp. Dust is thick here too, clinging to the cloth covers of the open ledger books, their pages fluttering in the meager breezes coming from the fan that sits on a nearby filing cabinet.

Seeming to only then notice his presence, Arthur glares up at him and speaks around the cigarette dangling from his lips. “What have I told you about the pet names in public, boy?”

“How is this in public?” Alfred gestures around the room, to the cobwebs hanging in the corners, to the dart board set up on the opposite wall, a photo of Francis sporting a dart right between the eyes. He walks over to it, pulls out the dart, inspects it. “This is practically a tomb. I don’t think anyone even knows you work down here. Do you even work down here?”

“I’ll have you know,” Arthur says, pressing the cigarette out on the corner of the desk before dropping it into an empty whiskey bottle. “That as much as I hate this place, I am still honor bound to do my job. I’m an able enough accountant.”

“That’s kind of scary, hon.”

“Yes, well, no more so than your time spent with the IRS.”

Alfred shudders, tries to push back the horrific memories of his time spent in the dark, dank and dreary offices of his government’s treasury department. “Point taken. Hey, what was all that noise about earlier?”

“Oh, nothing of importance.” Arthur runs his fingers through his bangs, blows them from his eyes. “Just having a momentary frustration, that’s all.”

“You okay?” Alfred feels concern tighten his chest, turns to watch the other man rubbing at the back of his neck, the bend of his shoulder, down his upper arm to hold the elbow almost gingerly. Alfred knows that there are scars there, old injuries that give Arthur trouble, make him get up in the middle of the night when he’s slept too long on one side.

Alfred glances away and pretends he doesn’t notice, just like always.

“Of course I’m all right, you hen.” Arthur stretches his legs out in front of himself, points the toes; his knees crack so loudly that Alfred can hear them from across the room. “I’m so blessed. I’ve gained a lover and a mother all in one go. It would be charming if it weren’t so damn Oedipus complex…”

“You say shit like that just to make me feel stupid.” Alfred pouts, moving across the room to sit cross-legged on the floor in front of Arthur, ignoring the cigarette ashes he deposits himself in. Wrapping his arms around Arthur’s knees, he rests his cheek on the older nation’s thigh and stares down at his brilliantly shiny shoes.

Arthur’s shoes are always impeccable.

Sometimes, on days when Arthur has to work, Alfred will lie in bed and watch the way Arthur dresses himself, prepares for the day, shines his shoes. Like clockwork. Precise. Staying quiet, he’ll bite his lip and squirm over the way he rolls on his argyle socks, sensually, as if enjoying the feel of the soft cotton against his skin. There is a military precision with which Arthur buffs the unblemished leather of his oxfords until they’re gleaming like polished ebony; it reminds Alfred of lonelier times, of wars that seemed to go on forever. Arthur always stands once he finishes, brushes the legs of his pressed trousers with a lint roller and turns to survey his handiwork in the full length mirror near the bed. Posture perfect. Neat. Every time.

“I do nothing of the sort,” Arthur murmurs, running his fingers soothingly through Alfred’s hair before leaning down to press lips to his jaw, sending goose pimples racing across his flesh. “I simply do it because it always makes you go to the library to find out what I was talking about.”

“Sneaky bastard.”

“Mmmm.”

Silent moments pass while Alfred listens to Arthur try to relax, observes him attempting to stifle the occasional grunt of discomfort, of tension, of some ache or pain wherever it might be. Dark circles linger under his eyes, and Alfred wonders how long he’s been down in this damn office. When’s the last time he’s done anything but smoke and do calculations? When was the last time he ate something? Went outside for a breath of fresh air?

Alfred’s reflection--he can see his face in the perfect shine of Arthur’s shoes--does not have the answers. It does, however, provide him with a bit of inspiration, and when that inspiration has come to fruition he does indeed have something of an answer. Or at least the beginnings of an answer that will hopefully end with either a large meal or a good fuck. Maybe both. Hopefully both.

That is, if Arthur plays along.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Arthur sputters, trying unsuccessfully to jerk his foot away as Alfred begins unlacing his shoes. “The floor is filthy! I don’t want it on my socks!”

“Then I’ll take them off too.”

And Alfred does so, slowly, one at a time, watching Arthur’s protests die on his lips when he runs fingertips along the bottom of his left foot. Smirking, he pulls that foot to rest in his lap, slowly begins rubbing at it with both hands, musing at the stark difference between Arthur’s upper and lower extremities. It isn’t that his feet are dirty, far from it actually, but while his hands are impeccable, manicured and shapely, his feet are noticeably less pampered, the soles callused from countless years of pacing the floor, the nails kept only to the bare minimum of cleanliness.

Alfred pulls gently at each toe, wiggling them to hear the satisfying crackle of the joints before moving on to press along the sole with his thumbs, squeezing along the instep with his fingers. Not stopping, he glances upwards at Arthur’s face. There’s enjoyment there, no mistaking that, but Alfred can see the lingering tension in his shoulders, the way his lips are set in a tight line, caught between pleasure and embarrassment. Determined now, he sets his mind to his task, idly humming some melody he must have heard in the car, letting his thumbs move in rhythmic lines up, up, up the sole, around and around the ankle, press into the bend, feel Arthur shudder, just a tiny unconscious reaction.

“I thought you wanted my foot, not my hand,” Arthur murmurs, his voice teasing, a little languid. Alfred looks up, cocks his head to the side. What’s he talking about?

Close your eyes, give me your hand…do you feel my heart beating?” Arthur sings the words almost completely off-key, but recognizably enough that Alfred can place them pretty quickly. Bon Jovi, legwarmers, Flashdance, mullets, shoulder pads, leggings, oh fuck yeah. Was that what he was humming? Alfred feels the blush spreading across his nose, laughs sheepishly to ease the humiliation, and tries to remember the rest of the song.

The right foot is receiving much the same treatment as the left when he starts really getting into things, using his best falsetto, fingers working in tandem with his awful singing. “Say my name, sun shines through the raaaainnnnn. A whole life, so lonely…”

“Then come and ease the pain,” Arthur continues, chuckling more than he’s singing, trying his best to look very dramatic. Alfred just knows he’s seeing Atomic Kitten prancing in his head, and inwardly cringes. “I don’t want to lose this feeeeling…ohhhh.”

The next few lines in their impromptu duet are a blur, so Alfred hums them instead, focusing on rubbing his thumb in slow circles around Arthur’s Achilles tendon while waiting for the lyrics to fall into place. When they finally do click he begins to smile, drawing in a deep breath for the triumphant climax, voice growing loud and intense…or as intense as he can manage considering he’s struggling to contain his laughter with every passing second.

“Is this burning an eternaaaaal…”

He takes deep breath and releases Arthur’s foot, clutching theatrically at his heart as he throws his head back, barely missing the corner of the desk in his zeal.

“FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMEEE??!!”

Alfred’s voice cracks somewhere in the middle of the high note and he promptly loses control, curling in on himself to cough and wheeze and laugh all at the same time. Glancing up through his tears, he sees Arthur pressing his forehead against the desk, his shoulders shaking with sniggering, genuine spurts of amusement interspersed with what Alfred thinks are the most adorable piggy snorts ever.

“You…are a tit.” Arthur reaches out and pats Alfred’s cheek without looking, gives it a playful squeeze before slowly sitting upright again. Still smiling--Alfred loves it when Arthur smiles--he rotates his ankles a few times as though testing them out, wiggles his toes with a satisfied sigh and lets his head loll backwards. “Well, that is nice then, isn’t it? You should make a regular habit of that, Alfred. Though you missed a few…tense areas.”

“Yeah?” Alfred quirks an eyebrow and bites his bottom lip, sliding one of Arthur’s socks back up over his toes, his calf, pauses to pepper tiny kisses along the curve of his ankle. “You should show me where they are. I’ll work a little magic on them.”

“Sounds lovely.” The tone of Arthur’s voice is a velvety purr, and prickling shivers burst to life along Alfred’s spine, set his nerves alight, seep down deep into his belly and begin to simmer. And this probably would have led to more--urge to pounce rising-- had Arthur’s stomach not chosen that precise moment to loudly protest its complete and utter emptiness.

Shaking his head, Alfred reaches up and tugs Arthur’s shirt free of his pants, reaching beneath the fabric to pat gently along the plane of his belly. “Geez, babe, when was the last time you ate?”

“Terribly sorry about that,” Arthur apologizes under his breath, red faced, glancing towards the door as though expecting Miss Manners to come in and take away his Polite License. He cocks his head to the side as though rolling the question around in his head. “Well, I had a sausage roll yesterday evening…”

“Yesterday? Are you kidding me?” Alfred rises to his feet at that, hands moving to rest on his hips, no nonsense. He points down into Arthur’s outraged expression, presses his index finger directly to the tip of his nose. “No wonder your stomach is talking to your backbone! That’s it, get your coat, we’re going out.”

Sputtering indignantly, Arthur rubs his nose and reaches down to jerkily ties his shoes before turning back towards his desk to grab up his pen. “Ridiculous prat! I’ll do no such thing! I’ve work to finish and your mothering isn’t going to--”

“On me.”

A pause, Arthur looks up somewhat suspiciously. “You’ll pay?”

“Yep. And we’ll get whatever you want.” Alfred pulls Arthur’s suit jacket from the closet, brushes it off and holds it up. When Arthur doesn’t move he jiggles it a bit enticingly, like a matador’s cape.

“Whatever I want?” Still clearly a little unconvinced, Arthur has nevertheless stood up; his fingertips tap the desktop as his eyes narrow. Seeming to come to some sort of decision, he steps forward. Alfred grins. Got him. All he needs to do now is sweeten the deal appropriately for the both of them and Arthur will be as good as his.

“Absolutely. And when we’re through, you can take me home and put me on my back in that great big king sized bed of yours. I’ll even make you tea in the morning before we both call in sick to work.”

That light, the little one that sparkles in Arthur’s gaze when he‘s thinking something dirty, burns to life in his eyes. “Deal.”

Smiling, wide, full of teeth, Alfred helps Arthur into his coat, leaning down to press a short-lived kiss to the seashell curve of his ear. “I knew you’d see it my way.” He likes the way Arthur shivers at that, the way he elbows him sharply in the ribs and stomps away, leaving Alfred to turn off the lights and lock the door.

Alfred can barely even remember how to lock this door, it’s so damn ancient. Do you turn the handle to the left or right? A quarter turn back? Knock three times and the door shall lock? Or is that open? He doesn’t know.

When he’s made a big enough show of pretending to lock the door (he can’t figure it out, it’s hopeless) he turns to see Arthur standing in the long beams of the streetlamp streaming through the singular window. It’s almost too gloomy to see, but Alfred can tell the older nation is surprised, smiling almost tenderly down at the heart on the sill, shifting from foot to foot as though a little uncomfortable.

“Babe?”

Arthur looks up at that, crossing his arms over his chest and wiping the sweet expression from his face as though it were never there. His eyebrows come together, falling into a more natural disposition. “Which A is first?” he asks, looking away with a blush. He reaches out his hand, waggling it around impatiently when Alfred can’t quite get there quickly enough.

“What do you mean?” Their fingers lace together, and Alfred feels the tension in Arthur’s arm loosen at the physical contact, giving away his affection without him knowing. “There’s only one A in the alphabet, Arthur. Do you want to sing the alphabet song together, honey?”

“Come off it.” Arthur bats him with his free hand. “I mean, which A is first? You or me?”

Alfred thinks, comes up with an answer, thinks better of it. He grins, bumping their hips together. “Well, me of course! Awesome before Age!”

“Remind me again why I pined after you for two centuries?”

“Um…free meals and I’m amazing in bed?”

“Yes, free meals, that’s it.”

“Arthuuuuuurrrrr…”

FIN



I hope you all like it! I bothered my poor Fancy for two weeks while I wrote this!

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Cherry!

Date: 2011-01-08 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jedishampoo.livejournal.com
You really have a way with descriptions... The detail you gave the trek down to the office and of the office itself, and then the detail in the foot massage, really make this come alive. (And it was very sweet, too. I love the thought of England furiously scribbling numbers in a cigarette-butt-infested office.) Oh! And their gentle bickering is adorable to read; I can just hear it in my head perfectly. ♥

Date: 2011-01-09 12:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] conjure-lass.livejournal.com
To be completely honest, this is one of my favorite pieces that i've written for UsxUk. I'm eventually going to write a companion piece of Arthur coming to visit Alfred in his IRS office. Eventually. Someday.

But i'm really glad you liked it! And that you actually commented on it! It makes my day! :) You must be making the trek through my fics. LOL

Date: 2011-01-09 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jedishampoo.livejournal.com
♥ I sneakily printed a few of your fics at work yesterday. But when I get my new Kindle next week, I can download fanfic to my Kindle all the livelong day! Wooo.

Date: 2011-01-09 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] conjure-lass.livejournal.com
*BLUSH*

You flatter me. Though I admit that two of your fics are on my Sony E-reader. *SMILES BIG* You'll have to tell me how you like your Kindle. I really love my E-reader!

Date: 2011-04-21 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeld.livejournal.com
I like this one! owo

You're very good as decriptions, without making them a long long list of this-is-this and that-is-that. I'm flummoxed at the amount of research you do <3 NO ONE knows that much about the house of commons!

But now i wanna go XD I wonder if they do tours? I've only seen it from outside but now i wanna go in!

Date: 2011-04-21 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] conjure-lass.livejournal.com
*is sitting at her computer working on Backward Glance outline*

This was actually the first time i'd ever written present tense! I was so insanely happy with the way it turned out.

It's been my experience that details are fine as long as the character is experiencing them. Just telling the reader what they're seeing isn't good enough, you kind of have to show them how the character is living *through* the details. Then they seem totally real without being a laundry list.

And i'd LOVE to go. A person can only do so much research on the net!

You should see all the research i'm doing for NYC City Hall. It's ridiculous.

Date: 2011-04-21 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeld.livejournal.com
:O thats a very good point!

Mmmm...I just read that FrUK you posted over at what-the-fruk
mMmMmmMmmmmmmm TwT

NAPOLEAN KINK.
i miss france in Badin' =3= I guess he's on his way though.

Date: 2011-04-21 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeld.livejournal.com
AND I DEMAND PREVIEWS WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO OVERLOOK ANYTHING YOU'RE ER...STUCK ON... <3

Date: 2011-04-21 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] conjure-lass.livejournal.com
Oh, did you decide to add in that scene i suggested? *is flattered!*

You know, I was going to mention this, but I know everyone would be utterly THRILLED to get at least one more DC scene in Badin. I don't now where yet, but everyone (including myself) seems to have a boner for him. *GIGGLE*

Date: 2011-04-21 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeld.livejournal.com
lol shall i just have him wandering about in the nip in the background somewhere as an easter egg prize? XD

And DUH. Yes! You saved my life with that suggestion. Its not even written yet but its deffffffff going in <333

Date: 2011-04-21 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] conjure-lass.livejournal.com
PFFT PFFT. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.

I'll have to think on it. Surely there's something we can put him in that would give people their DC fix.

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