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fic: You Can Be Had (9/9)

Title: You Can Be Had (9/9)
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (TV) - modern, non-powered AU
Pairing: Grant/Strange
Rating: NC-17
Length: 2300 words this chapter
Summary: A party and a happy ending

Jonathan likes this time of year, the sense of promise and yearning as the evenings stretch out and April turns into May. It’s the perfect time for a party, and this one’s going swimmingly so far, despite the rather odd mix of guests. A bunch of Grant’s work friends from the Menier: Dave, Chris and Adil, Dot the theatre manager, Fiona from the gallery, Stu from the restaurant. Some of Jonathan’s friends from the club - not Art, obviously, but William and Ned and Fitz and Jeremy. A few neighbours from the flats, who he’d said hello to in the courtyard now and then, but never got to know until Grant made friends with them. No God-botherers, thank fuck. Well, there’s Bell, but he doesn’t think of her that way any more.

She hasn’t been acting like a God-botherer at all recently, and he wonders how much longer she’ll stick it at the Mission. She took a lot of flak from her bosses and colleagues for staying friends with Grant, not to mention giving him a roof over his head for several months, and it opened her eyes. Not before time: she’s too intelligent to waste her life with that bunch of bigots. She ought to go to art school, do something with her talents. That portrait of Grant she did for his birthday was breathtakingly good.

Grant’s birthday is the excuse for the party; that, and the new digital piano. He still hasn’t heard it properly since they brought it back from the shop; Grant’s been practising with the headphones on after he gets home from work. But he promised to play something at the party, maybe even sing. Jonathan can hardly wait. He knows Grant’s played for a couple of rehearsals at the Menier when their regular pianist was sick, and that he might have an evening gig in the theatre’s restaurant soon.

Watching Grant at the keyboard, even when he can’t hear the music, is its own kind of pleasure, of course – sometimes almost too much so. Staring at Grant’s hands and thinking of those strong fingers closed around his cock, stroking and teasing him to distraction. Remembering the stinging heat and precision of the way Grant spanks him, till thinking stops and there’s nothing but the peace of pure sensation. Fuck, Jonathan wants him so much he’s practically dying, especially after this afternoon.

It had started with Grant making bread for the party. The sight of him kneading dough, frowning in concentration, smudge of flour on his forehead, sleeves rolled up, had been too much for Jonathan. He couldn’t resist kissing the back of Grant’s neck, nuzzling and biting gently, and stroking him through his jeans until Grant groaned and leaned back against him, surrendering. They’d ended up with Jonathan kneeling on the kitchen floor, desperate to suck Grant off, Grant protesting that he’d get flour and dough in Jonathan’s hair if he pulled it, and Jonathan saying “Do it!” He’d regretted it later, when the hairwashing took so much time that the kitchen timer went off while they were still in the shower, just as he was getting close.

“Bad luck,” Grant said, with a wicked grin. “Maybe later.” He kissed Jonathan lightly on the lips and stepped out of the shower.

Grant turns to look at him now as if he can hear his thoughts, and gives him a grin so full of intent that it takes his breath away. Christ, he looks good in that shirt, the new burgundy one that William made him buy. Of all the things Jonathan could have imagined Grant doing after he’d left the Mission, becoming friends with William must be one of the most improbable. But it seems to work somehow, and the effect on Grant’s wardrobe has been a joy to behold. It should be an arrestable offence for anyone that good-looking to dress that badly, William had announced on meeting Grant, and promptly made it his personal mission to do something about it. Only Grant’s determined self-discipline about money keeps William’s enthusiasm for taking him clothes shopping in check.

It’s a discipline born of never having had much – Jonathan was shocked when he found out how little the Mission paid, and astonished that Grant had still managed to save something out of his living allowance. Just as well, given how long they’d taken to pay him his final month’s salary in lieu of notice. They’d had to cough up in the end, for fear of bad publicity if it went to court. Grant had insisted on paying his way, though Jonathan had said he’d be happy to help out until he found a new job. After he moved into the admin role at the Menier last month – a significant step up from waiting on tables there – he’d become more relaxed about letting Jonathan pay for things sometimes, though he’d refused to let the piano be his moving-in present.

“It’s too big.”

“Not a sentence I often hear from you,” Jonathan said, and grinned.

“Your attempt at distraction is duly noted,” Grant said, with a look that said I’ll deal with you later. “But we go halves on this one, OK?”

Jonathan agreed, not just because the prospect of being dealt with later made him giddy with anticipation. He knows by now that Grant won’t be budged on some things, and there’s no point trying.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing - far from it. His desire to prove Art wrong, to show he really meant it, made him push for more commitment than Grant was ready for at first. They’d had some fierce rows about that, after Grant came back from that awful visit to his mother in Scotland, and sometimes he thought they wouldn’t make it through those first months. But he’s learned to be patient, to let Grant find his own pace, learned to negotiate and to compromise. And, as of last week, here they are actually living together, a thing he never expected to want with anyone, and that makes him ridiculously happy. The move didn’t take long when it finally happened – despite William’s best efforts, Grant had so few belongings that he could do most of it in one go – but Bell turned up tonight with the last two carrier bags of his stuff, which somehow makes it all seem real in a way it didn’t before.

William starts up a chorus of Happy Birthday To You, and Jonathan puts his arm around Grant’s waist. The warmth of his body and the smell of his skin make Jonathan dizzy with want. He’s never felt such an intense addiction to anyone or anything as he does to being with Grant, in bed or out of it.

The timer pings and Grant ducks into the kitchen to get his biscuits out of the oven, coming back to hug Jonathan enthusiastically.

“We have to replace that thing,” Jonathan murmurs in his ear. He’s developing a Pavlovian reaction to the sound, especially when combined with the smell of baking.

“Do we?” Grant says, mock-surprised. “I thought it was working just fine.”

He kisses Jonathan behind the ear and runs a finger over his wrist just below the silver bracelet. Jonathan manages not to moan, but it’s a close call. Grant knows exactly what he’s doing to him, and it makes him weak at the knees.

Dave the lighting engineer had spotted the bracelet right away, and said “Nice work!” with an admiring grin. Of course, he must be the one who put Grant in touch with Runesmith - he was wearing a bronze version of the same bracelet himself, though his had Firebrand inscribed on it in Elvish rather than Property of C Grant.

Jonathan’s still not sure if “Nice work!” referred to Runesmith as a jeweller or Grant as a dom; either would be equally appropriate. He’d been shocked and delighted to discover just how good Grant was in the role, gently creative but with a wicked streak (the kitchen timer being a case in point). The way Grant makes him feel, deliciously helpless and completely safe, held and known in a way that no one’s ever known him before...

“Is that thing just for decoration, or are you actually going to play it?” William demands, breaking in on Jonathan’s reverie.

“Going to play it,” Grant says, unruffled. He detaches himself gently from Jonathan’s embrace and sits down at the piano.

Whatever Jonathan imagined this would be like melts away as Grant begins to play I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free. It starts slow and simple, but builds till Jonathan’s almost breathless. Fuck, he’s good. Talk about hiding your light under a bushel. Bell and the Menier bunch don’t seem surprised, but everyone else looks almost as gobsmacked as Jonathan feels. There’s applause at the end, which Grant acknowledges with a sheepish grin.

“Sing something, Colley,” Bell says. “You promised.”

Grant goes a bit red, but says “OK. This one’s for Jonathan.”

Jonathan doesn’t recognize the song at first, but when he does it takes his breath away:

“As I was walking down by old Thames side,
Oh, my foot and my heart seemed to falter,
For there you were standing by a Custom House landing,
Like Venus risen out of the water.”

William wolf-whistles, and Grant’s blush deepens, but he keeps going:

“And they’ll say, well, it’s because I’m a fool in love
That I swear there’s no beauty before you
And those that deny, or think that I lie,
Oh, those are the ones never saw you.”

Jonathan hasn’t cried in public since he was four years old, and he’s not about to start now, but his eyes are pricking and his throat is tight. He’s still getting used to being able to say “I love you,” and Grant’s even shyer than he is about saying it, so this public declaration is completely unexpected.

“You massive sap,” William says, cheerfully disgusted. “Call yourself a top after that if you dare.”

Grant grins and flicks him a V-sign, barely breaking stride. He carries on playing and singing until Jonathan’s chest aches with happiness and pride at being so entirely loved, acknowledged and claimed in all the ways that matter.

Bell’s the last of the guests to leave, and surprises Jonathan by hugging him goodbye.

“Be good to him,” she says, a little shakily. “I know you will be.”

“I’ll try,” Jonathan says, meaning it.

“See you soon, Colley,” she says, and hugs Grant fiercely.

Grant sees her to the lift, and then they’re alone at last, almost shy with the newness of it. No matter how many times he’s stayed over, this feels different.

“Should I carry you over the threshold?” Jonathan says, which makes them both laugh, and the tension is broken.

“Not unless you want to do your back in,” says Grant, and kisses him. “Bed?”

“Yes,” Jonathan says. “Please, yes.” He wants this so much he can hardly stand up straight.

Grant kisses him again and pulls him closer, stroking his back and his arse until Jonathan moans into his mouth.

“Mmm, too good,” Grant says, pulling away reluctantly. “Go on now, before I change my mind and have you on the kitchen floor.”

As tempting as that sounds, Jonathan knows Grant’s got other plans for him tonight, and whatever they are, he doesn’t want to miss any of them. It’s almost a race, though only with himself, getting undressed as fast as his clumsy fingers will allow, till he’s lying on the bed, naked except for the silver bracelet. Grant follows him into the bedroom, unhurried; he’s barefoot and with his shirtsleeves rolled up, but otherwise fully clothed. If Jonathan weren’t achingly hard already, that look would get him there in seconds, as Grant knows perfectly well.

“Hello, gorgeous,” Grant says, eying him appreciatively.

“Hello gorgeous yourself,” Jonathan says. His mouth is dry with lust.

“How good can you be for me, love?” Grant asks, and strokes his neck.

Jonathan shivers under the light touch. “I don’t know,” he says hoarsely.

“All right,” Grant says, and carries on stroking down his chest and stomach, stopping just short of his cock. “Not too many edges tonight. Lie still and don’t make a sound, and I’ll let you come.”

The first time Grant played this game with him, Jonathan lost it right away, paying the penalty for his startled exclamation on hearing the rules. Last time they did it, he’d managed to hold out until Grant tickled him when he was seconds away from coming, making him squirm and yelp and then edging him silly. There’s no way he’ll get that far tonight. He’s going to break sooner rather than later, and the air between them crackles with excitement. They both know how this goes: Grant’s slow tormenting caresses push him to the point where he can’t control himself any longer, teased half out of his mind, moaning and writhing in utter abandonment. Jonathan’s never wanted so much or begged so hard as he does with Grant, never been so exquisitely satisfied when he finally gets to come. He can hardly wait to begin, and yet something in him wants to savour this last moment of anticipation, of lying as still as he can under Grant’s searching gaze, trying to remember how to breathe, his skin tingling and his heart racing.

Grant makes a loose ring of his hand around Jonathan’s cock, close enough for Jonathan to feel the heat of it, but not quite touching. “Say yes if you want this, no if you don’t.”

Yes,” Jonathan says, meaning yes to all of it. To tonight and whatever the future may bring.

“Me too,” says Grant, loving and serious.

He kisses Jonathan, and they begin.


And that's the end of the main story, though there may still be more deleted scenes and extras. My thanks to everyone who has read, commented and otherwise encouraged me in this for the last fifteen months, to etave and Owl_by_Night for the original prompt and many fic conversations since, and to the lovely people at ushobwri and fan_flashworks for cheering me on. Special thanks to [personal profile] theicescholar, [personal profile] kalypso and Owl_by_Night for their help with finishing this last chapter.

The Menier Chocolate Factory is a wonderful theatre and gallery space in Southwark.

Grant's awful visit to his mother in Scotland appears in two chapters of You Can Be Had: Extras, "Dogs and Sorcerers" and "Help and Comfort"; Jonathan's silver bracelet appears in "A Silver Bracelet", and Bell's view of the past few months appears in "A Strange Party".

The song Grant sings is Old Thames Side, by Richard Thompson.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/221813.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2017 02:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm sad it all has to end. But what a great note to end it on! Grant and Jonathan so ridiculously happy together, their friends supporting them, and Grant advancing at his new occupation! I just smiled from start to finish, so happy for these boys!

You did a fantastic job with this series. Lots of emotional highs and lows. I loved every word of it!
Mar. 27th, 2017 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, and thanks for all your encouragement with this fic! <3 I was sad to let go of it but it was time. And there may still be more extras :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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