“His old self had been scrubbed away, and Wylan wasn’t sure he knew the person who remained—the person who was standing in a private parlor in one of the Lid’s most luxurious gambling dens, caught up in another of Kaz Brekker’s schemes.”
“It’s disgraceful,” spat out old Maeve as she scrubbed the
king and queen’s bedsheets harder. “The way he carries on. Even in the daylight! The poor queen gets no
rest meeting his demands!”
“I don’t see the Queen a complainin’,” Toothless Berthe
snickered as she stirred a pot with more laundry.
“Mind your tongue!” snapped Maeve. “I’ve known Queen Sansa since she was a wee
mite. After what she been through with that first bastard, Ramsey, to now have
to be subjected to this one’s lust! It’s that bastard blood I tell you. Only
thinking of one thing. And Queen Sansa,
the most proper of ladies if there ever was, having to put up with it!” She examined the sheet in the water before
her with a critical eye and scrubbed harder. “Every day we need to clean these
“But the King seems to love her very much,” offered the
youngest woman in the room, a girl named Lily of no more than fifteen with soft
brown hair hidden under a white cap. “He’s always so caring and loving with her
“A sham!” snapped Maeve.
Honestly? How much seed did that man spill? She dunked the sheet again and tried a new
bar of soap on it. “Lady Catelyn was wise to have kept him from the queen when
they were growin’ up. Gods knows what he would have done then seein’ he ain’t
able to keep his hands to himself!”
“Aye,” Berthe noted slyly. “Aimee, one of the maids a tol’
me he came in from the training yards yesterday when her grace was with her
ladies in her solar and ordered ‘em out. No sooner had they left that they
heard moanin’ an’ a gruntin’ coming from there.
When Aimee went in hours later, she said that heavy table, you know, the
oak one circle one? It’d been moved two feet.”
The other women paused and blinked at Berthe who delighted
in shocking them both into silence.
Lily frowned. “But
that is quite a heavy table. Why would they move it themselves?”
Maeve and Berthe gave her a look but decided not to
explain. The women lapsed into silence
and continued with their work. They were
quiet for a few minutes then Lily said hesitantly.
“The Queen doesn’t have many small clothes sent to the
Berthe cackled as Maeve sent the younger girl a quelling
look. “My guess is she ain’t got much use for ‘em seeing how much the King
demands his rights.” She winked at the
other two. “Tho’ I hear he likes to a
keep a pair of hers with him.”
“Berthe!” Maeve reprimanded as Lily frowned and asked, “Why?”
“Cause of her smell.
The Queen isn’t the only woman that man can get wet with a look. And that pretty mouth of his! Bet he knows
how to use that on her. I hears he’s even taken her in the throne room. On the
Lily blushed furiously as Maeve yelled at Berthe for her
perverted thoughts, but the other woman only cackled more loudly. The two began to squabble and Lily finished
folding the last of the dry linens. She
murmured that she was going to take them up to the maids, but the other two paid
her no mind.
The young girl took a back set of stairs used by the
servants. Typically, she had very little interactions with the royal family and
the members of the court, but there was one hallway she needed to go down to
reach the small room where she left the cleaned laundry for the maids to take
to the royal chambers. She was just
about to round a corner when she heard a low gasp and then a moan. Lily stopped and peered cautiously around the
corner and her eyes widened.
The queen was leaning against a wall, her head thrown back
against it, panting quietly. Lily could
see a man underneath the queen’s skirts, kneeling before her. The queen’s fingers grasping the dark curls
as she pressed him closer to her. Queen
Sansa’s skin turned a rosy hue and she let out a sharp cry before she seemed to
sink bonelessly against the wall. The
king rose to his feet, fumbling with his breeches before he grasped the queen’s
leg behind her knee and wrapped it around his waist.
“Please, Jon,” Lily heard the queen begged and the girl
thought the queen was asking for her husband to leave her be. Indignation rose
up in the girl on behalf of Queen Sansa.
How could he make her do this in a hallway! Like some trollop!
With a grunt, the king pressed his hips forward, his mouth
covering the queen and muffling her cry. Lily saw the king drag her other leg
up until they were wrapped around his waist as he rutted furiously against
Queen Sansa’s body, kissing her to muffle her cries. Suddenly the king seemed to stiffen and Lily
heard the queen let out a choked sob before both slumped against the wall.
Lily could only stare wide-eyed. No wonder Maeve was so mad. No lady would want to be subjected to such
unbridled lust and to be forced to rut in a hallway. And what was he doing
under her skirts earlier? Berthe’s comments about the king’s pretty mouth came
back to Lily and she blushed, imagining what that pretty mouth found down there
and what it might have done.
She could hear the harsh sounds of the king’s breaths,
sounding like he did after a particularly hard sparring session. She watched as
he pulled back and then, he tenderly stroked the queen’s cheek. She purred, literally purred and rubbed
against his hand.
“Goodness, Jon,” the queen said in a languid voice. “You couldn’t even wait until we got back to
“Not when my queen is acting like a minx,” grunted the
king. “And tossing these in my face
before she leaves my study.” Lily saw
him wave a piece of white silk and realized they were a pair of the queen’s
smallclothes. She watched as he pressed
his nose to them and inhaled deeply. “Especially
not when they smell like this.”
Lily heard the queen laugh wickedly as she pushed the king
back. He grinned at her and laced up his
breeches as she smoothed out her dress.
She reached out to take back her small clothes but he held the
undergarments away from her. He pressed
them to his nose again, inhaling deeply before he tucked them into his tunic.
Queen Sansa raised an eyebrow at him before she pressed
close to the king. She said it in a low
voice, but Lily heard her all the same. “Now
you’ll know during our council meeting that I’ll be bare underneath my dress.” She turned on her heel and started to walk
down the hall in the opposite direction of Lily. She saw the queen glance over her shoulder at
the king and wiggle her bottom at him.
King Jon let out a growl and lunged at the queen who let out
a small shriek and started to run down the hall, laughing as the king stumbled
after her in pursuit.
Lily emerged from her hiding place with her hand over her
mouth. Well! She guess the king wasn’t the only one with
lust in his blood. She smiled to
herself. Looks like she will have her bit of gossip to give in the laundry room
“Ah, you must be Miss Mizoguchi.” The man who enters the room is tall and old,
dressed in hospital scrubs with little puppies on them. He wears an easy smile
across his face. “No one made me aware
that Robin was in the habit of giving out his secret identity to every
attractive girl he meets on patrol.”
Damian’s boots smack the linoleum floor across the room when
he leaps off the counter and points an accusatory finger at the man. “Shut your filthy mouth, Pennyworth, I did no
such thing!” Pennyworth raises a single
grey eyebrow and Damian says, “She figured it out on her own!”
“You didn’t really make it hard,” Maps says. “I mean when you saved me from that owl you
were literally just wearing a sweatshirt over your costume.”
“What would you have had me do? You called Damian. I was on patrol and had a limited window of
time to reach you. Should I have just
arrived as Robin?”
“You might as well have,” Maps says, and even as she does it’s
still beyond surreal to have this conversation with him in the Robin costume in
the Batcave. As soon as she gets back to
school Maps is marking this day on her calendar as the official best day of her
entire life, horrific fear toxin induced hallucinations not-withstanding.
Damian snorts and Pennyworth rubs his forehead with his
thumb and forefinger, muttering to himself.
“I believe you and your father are going to have
a chat when he arrives home about the etiquette involved in preserving one’s
secret identity,” Pennyworth says.
In the end, Nico took his own advice and used his old white
coat and scrubs to create a morbid looking blood covered doctor. The
child-friendly design only made it that much creepier. Will went dressed as a
pirate. They arrived and Will immediately found Paolo who was dressed as a
pharaoh, shirtless and decked in golden jewelry and liner.
“Hey, you guys made it!” he said happily. “I love the
costumes.” Will smiled as Nico looked around wide eyed. “What is it?” he asked.
“I’ve never… seen people so openly happy and expressive,”
Nico murmured, his eyes skirting over gay and lesbian couples, trans couples,
drag queens, and the polyamorous relationships. His eyes focused on one couple
in particular as they kissed in the middle of the dance floor.
Will noticed Nico’s eyebrows were slightly furrowed and
raised, his head tilted, his lips parted. Will wasn’t sure what to make of the
expression. “Did you come from a more conservative family?” Paolo asked. Nico
blinked and returned his attention to Will and Paolo. He froze with his mouth
open, not speaking. “It’s okay. That’s what things like this are for. To give
people a chance to be themselves without worrying about anyone else judging. No
censorship.” Just then a woman who had arrived in only body paint zipped past,
followed by another woman dressed as a fairy. Paolo chuckled. “The term is
taken differently with different people.”
“So… why are you here?”
“I’m part of the community,” he said simply. “It’s why I
started working with LGBT rights.” Will’s eyes widened.
“You’re… gay?” Paolo nodded as he leaned against a table.
“Oh. Well okay.”
Nico nudged him and whispered in his ear. “Don’t stare so
hard you’ll give us away.”
Will blushed and narrowed his eyes. “I wasn’t,” he hissed.
But Nico didn’t look amused.
“I’m getting a drink,” he said. He left, walking through the
crowd, keeping to himself and making sure he didn’t accidentally nudge anyone.
Will looked after him, his eyebrows furrowed as Nico walked.
“He’s very private,” Paolo said. “It must have been hard for
him. Was it?”
“What?” Will asked.
Paolo shrugged. “He loves you. It’s evident in the way he
looks at you, the way he… hovers. But he doesn’t show it much. Through
handholding or hugging or kissing even. He’s very restrained, like he’s trying
to hide it. That’s why I ask if it was hard for him to grow up gay.” Will
blinked in surprise and looked back to where Nico was getting a drink. He
looked stiff and uncomfortable.