A Kind of Alchemy
by London Lampy
"You're wearing pyjamas, why are you wearing pyjamas?"
"Because it's cold." Fran had suddenly found his bed full of a naked Mulligan. He had no idea how the man had managed to remove his clothes quite so fast, but then he rarely had any idea of how Mulligan did much of what he did, that what was what came of having a magician as a lover.
Mulligan kissed him, a deep kiss that Fran had no hope of and no desire to resist, it was a kiss that went a very long way toward making him at least temporarily forget the events of the last few hours. By the time Mulligan stopped kissing him to let him draw breath Fran realised that he too was now somehow naked and lying on his back with his legs wrapped around the other man.
"Hello." Fran said, the room was dark but he could just about make out Mulligan's familiar, handsome features.
"Hello Fran." The magician's deep voice sent a shiver through his body. "I came home for Midwinter."
"So you did."
"Missed me?" Mulligan kissed him again, this time very tenderly.
"I always miss you." Fran replied touching his face, still amazed that he was actually there.
Mulligan reached down between them and wrapped a hand around Fran's erection and expertly stroked it, Fran did the same back to him, enjoying the sensation of his lovers thick cock snug in his palm.
"It's been too long." Mulligan purred in his ear. Fran chose not to ask if he meant since he'd last had sex, or since he'd last had sex with him. He'd always felt that what Mulligan did while he was away was his own business, the man was a law unto himself, and he was happy not to know as long as he came home to him eventually. For his part he had always stayed faithful, quite simply because he loved Mulligan. To have someone else in his bed, someone he didn't love, would be briefly physically satisfying but he knew that it would ultimately leave him feeling hollow and lonely.
Mulligan's hand moved lower and Fran shifted to give him better access, lifting his legs and wrapping them around Mulligan's broad back.
Fran didn't stop to wonder at what point Mulligan had found a tin of lubricant, or how he'd managed to open it and liberally coat his fingers with it without him noticing, he simply relaxed and relished the sensation of those fingers slowly penetrating him, then massaging him deep inside with exactly the right amount of pressure. Unsurprisingly Mulligan was very good with his hands.
"Feel good Frannie?" He asked. The question was somewhat redundant as Fran was struggling not to make any noise. Although after all the punch she'd drunk it was likely that Fudge would sleep through an earthquake she was still only one floor above him, and she didn't ever need to hear her uncle on the brink of an orgasm.
"Feels good." He whispered as he felt Mulligan adding another finger. Fran was still stroking the other man's shaft and although the magician had a lot of self control he could tell from his breathing that Mulligan was just as aroused as he was.
"I want you now." Fran said, because he did, desperately.
Mulligan complied with his request and this time Fran utterly failed to contain a moan as his ass was filled with cock. It was a sensation that Fran adored, being entirely filled like that, Mulligan was very well endowed. The magician knew him well enough to know that he liked a long, slow fuck best, and that was exactly what he gave him.
"Gods I love you Frannie." Mulligan said as he flexed his hips to bury himself as deep inside Fran as he could.
"Mmm...mmm." Fran agreed, the other man's hand was once again wrapped around him and he was extremely close to climax.
In fact it was Mulligan who came first, Fran recognised the low growling noise that his lover always made at the point of orgasm and he felt the friction between his passage and Mulligan's cock lessen as he grew slicker inside. The knowledge that Mulligan had just filled him with his creamy fluid made Fran's balls tighten and he unloaded his own fluid into the magician's caressing hand as quietly as he could.
Mulligan eased himself out of Fran, leaving Fran momentarily disconcerted at the emptiness, but he forgot all about it as they once again kissed, and Mulligan whispered "I love you" into his ear.
"Love you too." He said quietly as he rolled onto his side to let the other man spoon him, far too tired to care about either cleaning up or the damp patch he was creating.
"Are you going to explain what the hell's been going on here now?" Mulligan asked, pulling Fran in close to him so that Fran could feel the vibration of his voice running through his body.
"Can it wait until tomorrow? It's a long story, and it's been a bloody long night." He yawned. "And I don't think I can stay awake much longer."
"All right." Mulligan agreed, kissing him on the head. "In the morning."
"Fran." Mulligan sighed while pouring himself another cup of tea from the pot. "Only you could managed to be quite so generous and quite so stupid at the same time."
They were sat in the kitchen having a breakfast of tea and toast. Neither Fudge nor Sam had put in an appearance yet, although this was hardly surprising after last night.
"I couldn't just leave him there though." He attempted to explain. "And it's not like Mother has ever come down to The Empress to demand control."
"Yet." Mulligan stirred milk into his tea. "You know when I saw Sam last night I wondered if you'd got bored of waiting for me to come home and had decided to install someone younger."
"For the god's sake, I'm so sick of everyone thinking that!" Fran objected until he saw the amused expression on his lovers face. "You didn't really think that did you?"
"No." He laughed. "I knew that there had to be some sort of reasonable explanation, but I wasn't really expecting the one you gave."
They both heard movements coming from Sam's bedroom next door. "Sounds like Mr One Percent is up and about." Mulligan said.
"Ssh! He doesn't know, and neither does anyone else except you and Ozzy, and I want to keep it that way."
The kitchen door banged open and a pyjama clad Sam walked in. As Mulligan busied himself making an official introduction Fran looked at Sam's face. His nose was quite swollen and he had a crescent shaped purple bruise under each eye, but other than that he didn't look too bad.
"Happy Midwinter." Fran greeted as he sat down at the table.
"Happy Midwinter." Sam replied flatly, filling a tea cup with milk from the jug and downing it in one.
"Do you want to tell me what that was all about last night?" Fran asked, feeling that now all the drama was over he was owed some sort of explanation.
Sam glanced at Mulligan, who took the hint and disappeared upstairs saying that he was going to have a bath.
"So?" Fran asked again once he was gone.
Sam told him, haltingly and with much blushing when he got to the attempted kissing of Edmund part. Fran wasn't sure what to make of the situation, on the one hand he was rather proud of Sam for sticking up for himself like that, but on the other hand he really couldn't condone him fighting. He knew that if he'd found himself in a similar situation at Sam's age, which he wouldn't have because he'd have been much too shy to ever make make the first move, he would have simply taken the punch and gone off and sulked. But then Sam was larger and stronger than him, both at sixteen and now, and clearly quite handy in a scrap.
"I think that it would be a good idea for you to stay away from Edmund for a while." Fran said.
"Don't worry, I will." Sam muttered in reply.
Unsteady footsteps on the stairs made them both glance round to see Fudge, grey looking even with her naturally dark skin coming into the kitchen still wearing the long johns and sweater that Sam had dressed her in last night before putting her to bed, as he didn't know where she kept her night clothes.
She stared at the pair of them with bloodshot eyes, then back out of the door and up the stairs.
"Is Mama here?" She asked, her voice hoarse but hopeful. "Is she in the bathroom because if you're both in here..." A grin began to spread across her face, and Fran felt horrible having to be the one to let her down.
"Sweetheart, it's Mulligan. He arrived in the early hours of this morning, apparently he was on a train that got caught up in a blizzard or he would have been here in time for the start of the party. Even he can't control the weather."
"But...if he was delayed then perhaps Mama was too, maybe she was on his train?"
"If she was I think that she would have got here by now." Fran said as gently as he could.
With that Fudge's shoulders sunk, she sat herself down at the table where Mulligan had been earlier and buried her face in her hands with a sob.
Fran glanced at Sam sat chewing on his nails staring into space and looking bruised and morose, then back at his niece, sobbing and hungover. Happy Midwinter indeed.
After a lunch that was mostly comprised of left over party food because no one felt much like cooking they retired to the lounge. Fran had suggested that Sam and Fudge might want to play a game to keep themselves occupied, and as Fudge claimed that she didn't feel up to cards Fran had dug her old snakes and ladders set out of the back of a cupboard and given it to them.
"It's your turn." Sam passed the dice to Fudge, who shook it then moved her counter across the board without a word.
"You landed on a ladder." He pointed out.
As Sam shook the dice he glanced down to the other end of the room where Mulligan and Fran were sat together on the couch talking quietly. Fran's legs were resting across Mulligan's lap and Mulligan had his arm around his shoulders. He found it a pleasantly strange sight to see two adult men being affectionate like that together, and he wondered if his future would look like that one day.
"Where's his rabbit?" He asked Fudge, giving up all pretence of paying any attention to their game.
"Huh?" She frowned. "What rabbit?"
"Mulligan's rabbit." All the magicians he'd seen perform at The Empress had white rabbits that they made appear and disappear from top hats.
"No silly, he's not that kind of magician. He doesn't really use props, only cards sometimes." Sam noticed that she had perked up a little at telling him this.
"That sounds a bit dull." The last magician they'd had at the theatre had done a trick involving a dozen large, sharp looking swords, a barely dressed girl assistant and a wardrobe sized brightly painted box. He'd found the whole thing rather thrilling, compared to that cards were definitely dull.
"It's not dull, he knows what you're thinking. It's way better than stupid rabbits and hats."
"He doesn't know what I'm thinking." Sam scoffed.
"He does, get him to show you a trick."
Sam glanced at Mulligan, he found the man slightly intimidating, although he could see what Fran saw in him, he was certainly very handsome. "No, I hardly know him."
"Mulligan." Fudge called out. "Sam wants to see a trick."
"Fudge!" He hissed at her, feeling himself blush.
"You want to see a trick?" Mulligan fixed Sam with his dark eyes, and Sam suddenly felt that possibly Fudge was right and Mulligan could read his thoughts.
"Yes." Sam nodded. "If you don't mind."
"I don't mind. Fudge, can you find me two pieces of paper, pencils and envelopes?"
"But..." Sam was amazed and confused. In one hand he was holding a sheet of paper with a rough sketch of a cow that he'd draw and sealed in an envelope while Mulligan had gone and stood in the hallway. In the other hand he was holding a piece of paper with the word "cow" written on it that Mulligan himself had written and sealed in the other envelope whilst in the hallway. He looked at Fudge and Fran sat on the couch, Fudge was grinning at his bafflement, and Fran gave him a small shrug as if to say "I don't know".
"See? Miles better than rabbits." Fudge said, her earlier mood seeming to have evaporated.
"Do you know what I'm thinking now?" Sam frowned at Mulligan.
"Yes. You're thinking "how the hell did he do that?""
"I am!" Sam exclaimed, both fascinated and bothered by Mulligan's seemingly supernatural ability.
"Sam, even I knew you were thinking that." Fran added, sounding amused. "He can't actually see inside your head, it's more to do with the way you hold yourself, the expression on your face, that sort of thing."
Sam couldn't see how the expression on his face could have possibly told the man that he was planning on drawing a cow, and he decided that he was going to try to guard his thoughts around Mulligan just in case.
"What shall we do now?" Fudge asked brightly. "Shall we all play a game?"
"So long as it's not snakes and ladders, I think I'm a bit old for one." Mulligan said.
"Why don't we go out and get some fresh air?" Fran suggested.
"Fresh air, in Parnell?" The magician laughed.
"I know what we can do." Fran's face lit up. "Fudge, have you still got your bat and that soft rubber ball?"
"Yes, they're in my room, but it's way too cold and icy to play outside." She looked confused.
"I wasn't thinking of outside." Fran grinned.
"There's not enough room in here." Sam looked around, one good swing of a bat and something was bound to get broken.
"I wasn't thinking of in here either. Where do we know that's indoors and has plenty of space?"
"What the hell made you think of this?" Mulligan asked Fran as they followed Sam and Fudge through the icy streets to the theatre. It was oddly quite in the city, all the shops and businesses were shut up for the day and the normal constant traffic was reduced to a handful of carriages, even the pavements were almost deserted of pedestrians.
"I thought that they could both do with something to keep their minds off their troubles. We did it once before when the place was closed after the fire."
"So I came three hundred miles through blizzards to play ball games with a couple of kids in an empty theatre?"
"I'll make it up to you later." Fran promised.
"You'd better." Mulligan pulled Fran toward him and kissed him on side of the head.
Fran was convinced that by the time they had finished even Mulligan had enjoyed himself. They used the central aisle to bowl down, with the batter stood in front of the pit, two balls in the pit and you were out and you scored by running a lap around the stalls before the ball could be returned to the bowler. Sam turned out to be particularly good at batting and frequently managed to get the ball into one of the upper levels. Everyone was sure that he was the overall winner, however Fudge was charged with keeping score but kept forgetting the exact numbers so no one knew by how much.
Afterwards Fran unlocked one of the bars and opened bottles of beer for himself, Mulligan and Sam. Fudge stuck to lemonade, stating that after last night she was never going to touch alcohol again. The sun was rapidly sinking behind the buildings outside the windows and as Fran went to the back of the room to switch the lights on Sam joined him.
"I wanted to say thank you." Sam said quietly looking slightly embarrassed, but at least he hadn't turned pink for once. "I wasn't looking forward to today, it's the first time I haven't been with my parents and sister for Midwinter, but it's been kind of fun."
"That's all right, maybe next year..."
"No." Sam cut him off. "I'm not going back!"
"What I was actually going to say was maybe next year we could do this again, get some of the other members of staff to come along and have a proper team game."
"Oh." This time Sam did colour. "Sorry."
"There's nothing to apologise for."
Fran watched Sam return to Fudge and Mulligan, and he was struck by the sense that whether he'd asked for it or not the boy had just joined his family.
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