Title: Ravish and Radishment
by Clare Chew
Thanks to JT for encouragement, and ZN for beta-reading.
"Baldrick! Baldrick!! Where are you, you miserable good-for-nothing excuse for a human being?" Mornings were never a good time of day for Edmund Blackadder. The dawn of a new day always coincided with the onset of one of his black moods. "Baldrick! Come here and look at this!" Then again, he was always in a foul temper.
But he had good reason to be. Life in the early 1800s was harsh and brutal for the underprivileged. Even as butler to the Prince Regent, doomed to living in a dingy cellar caked with dirt, it was not pretty.
"Typical, just typical. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." Baldrick's usual sleeping quarters in the upstairs water closet were empty. That left the kitchen. "Baldrick!"
Despite his lot in life, Blackadder knew that he had reason to be grateful. After all, how many butlers had such a pathetic-looking dogsbody to do the dirty work? How many butlers had such a perfect target for bullying and venting their frustrated anger?
"Baldrick! Answer me when I call you."
A short, unshaven, filthy man looked up from where he was cleaning the kitchen floor. "You called, Mr. B?"
"Yelled, actually, but let's not get into semantics." Blackadder held up a pair of mud-splattered shoes. "Look at this. You call these shoes polished?"
Baldrick obligingly peered at the objects in question. "No, I call those shoes 'shoes'."
Blackadder scowled. Insolence from his master was one thing, insolence from the sub-human classes a different matter entirely. There was only one sensible way to deal with such a display of cheek. He took careful aim with one shoe, and let it fly.
Baldrick ducked, but he was not quick enough. "Owwww!! What was that for?"
"For being cute. You're much too ugly to attempt it, so don't even try. I have enough trouble dealing with Prince Minibrain upstairs."
"I don't see what you're so grumpy about. The Prince hasn't called for you yet this morning."
"For which I am extremely grateful. The Prince may have the charm and intelligence of a plank of wood, but he does have one redeeming feature: he sleeps like a log until three o'clock in the afternoon. That means rest for me, and work for you."
"But I work for the Prince, too. Why don't I get a rest until he wakes up?"
"Because you work for me, Balders, and I find that much of my joy in life is irretrievably linked to depriving you of yours."
The servant bell for the front door rang twice.
"Who could be calling at this hour?" Baldrick asked.
"I don't know, but whoever it is has wasted their time. The Prince isn't going to be awake for another seven hours."
"He hasn't been the same since he's started going to that new gentlemen's club, has he?"
Blackadder sighed. Unfortunately, opening the door and announcing visitors was one task he had to do himself. Baldrick was simply too ugly to be seen by outsiders. So he threw the other shoe, but Baldrick was better prepared and ducked out of the way.
The bell rang again.
"All right, all right," Blackadder muttered. "I'm coming."
< < o > >
As Prince Regent, Prince George had his own private residence in Carlton House. Though Buckingham House easily accommodated the entire royal family with plenty of room to spare, Carlton House had the advantage of its location. It was within walking distance of the venues frequented by fine young gentlemen: the taverns, coffee houses, and gentlemen's clubs of Central London.
It also gave him the freedom to come home at any hour of the day or night without disturbing the other members of the royal family. There was no need to explain himself to the King and Queen, which was most convenient. And as long as he remembered to take the key, even the servants would know nothing about his nocturnal wanderings. However, Prince George had not reckoned with the difficulty involved in inserting a key in a lock while severely inebriated. After several abortive attempts, he settled for banging on the front door.
"Tally-ho, Bladders! Let me in!"
Blackadder cringed at the mangling of his name, but said nothing as he opened the door. Correcting the Prince was about as productive as teaching a nematode worm the finer points of Dalton's atomic theory of chemistry. "Certainly, sir. Been out for some morning exercise, I see."
"Morning?" George looked up at the sky, his powdered wig half over his face. "It can't be. I can't see the sun. There's only darkness out here."
Blackadder straightened the wig. Bleary grey eyes squinted at him.
"Why, so there is light! Bravo, Bladders! You are right, after all. Morning it is."
With his exquisitely embroidered silk coat dishevelled, cravat half-undone and stockings down to his ankles, his master was hardly a picture of sartorial elegance. Blackadder frowned in disapproval. "Just come inside before you make a complete spectacle of yourself."
The Prince stumbled as he came inside, but his spirits remained high. "Guess where I've been tonight? I had the most wonderful time."
"Considering how disreputable you look, your Highness, I'm not sure I want to know. Just look at yourself! I dress you up, and this is how you return?"
"Ooooh! Lower your voice. It's giving me a headache."
Blackadder assisted the Prince in removing his coat. "I don't know why I bother sometimes."
He knew the Prince's appearance shouldn't matter to him. It wasn't as if his master had a valuable reputation to protect. If unblemished reputations were deemed as beyond price, then the Prince's would be worth about sixpence.
But Blackadder took some pride in his work. It was his job to see that his master was dressed appropriately for his station. Even if he was doomed to win the "Who's Got the Stupidest Master" competition, as awarded yearly by the Guild of Butlers, he would rather be damned than also win the "Who's Got the Worst Dressed Master" competition, as well.
"I told you I shouldn't have bothered to get dressed for The Naughty Hell Fire Club," George replied as he made his way toward the bedroom. He fumbled with the buttons of his waistcoat. "Damn these fastenings! You have to be an Oxford graduate to figure out how to undo them."
"Let me, sir." Blackadder took over, dismissing the Prince's feeble efforts. The Prince couldn't do up his clothes at the best of times, and alcohol was unlikely to improve his fine motor skills. "I thought you had cancelled your membership to that particular gentlemen's club. I understood that some of the new, ahem, activities there were not to your taste."
George stared at him. "Huh? What activities?"
"Well, the...the..." Blackadder cleared his throat. "The one for non-payment of bills, sir."
"Oh, the radishing! You mean when they pull your britches down and push a large radish up your--"
"Yes! Yes!" Blackadder shouted. "I know!"
"Aarrggh! My aching head." George doubled over and fell back onto the bed, hands clapped over his ears. "Bladders, what has got into you?"
Blackadder collected himself with difficulty. He took deep breaths until the nausea eased, and forced it back beneath the veneer of polished calm. "Nothing, nothing. Forgive me, your Highness. I was...I was just expressing my concern for your welfare."
"Why, Blackadder." George sat up slowly, eyes wide, his headache forgotten. "Do you...do you really mean that? Does my welfare matter to you that much?"
Blackadder breathed a small sigh of relief. Fortunately, working as a servant to such a gullible moron did have some advantages. He smiled warmly at the Prince, and softened his voice. "But, of course, your Highness. Were we not raised together as children? I am here to serve you, sir, just as my father served your father. Why, as a babe I even showed you which bit of your nursemaid was serving the drinks."
"I am touched, Blackadder, truly touched." George sniffed, and rubbed his eyes. "I think that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."
Blackadder knelt before him. "Let me take your cravat and shirt off, sir." If the Prince was going to start blubbering, then it was best that he do it on a bare chest. It would avoid the inconvenience of having to put more starch in his neckcloth and hanging his shirt out to dry.
Obediently, the Prince lifted his chin. "You mustn't worry about the radishings. They don't do it that much, anyway."
Maintaining a stony silence, Blackadder began to work at the fastenings of the shirt.
"The Naughty Hell Fire Club has standards to uphold. It doesn't radish its members without cause."
Blackadder clenched his jaw. "Your Highness..."
"You even get used to it after a while."
George's voice was low and confiding. "And it isn't that bad, once you get--"
"That is it!" Blackadder jumped up as if burned. "No more!"
"Dammit, Bladders! I'm not deaf, you know."
"Sir, you will have to undress yourself." Blackadder cleared his throat again. After yelling at Baldrick, he barely had enough voice left to shout at his master as well. "I know it will require considerable intellectual exertion on your behalf, since you have difficulty even putting on a pair of trousers without my assistance. But think of it as exercise for your brain cells. All three of them."
"Exercise? But I'm the Prince Regent. I can get others to do my exercise for me."
Ignoring him, Blackadder stormed out.
< < o > >
It was dark in his quarters. There were no windows to bring in warm sunlight, but he preferred it that way. A small oil lamp provided enough light to illuminate the bedside table, yet kept the rest of the grime and filth in shadow. With the door shut, there was nothing to disturb him except the scuttle of the cockroaches.
Blackadder untied the ribbon in his hair, allowing it to fall to his shoulders before he lay on his narrow bed. He stared at the ceiling, and wished he were in another time and another place. Previous generations of his family had been lords and dukes. And there were rumours, never substantiated, that one was even King of England for ten glorious seconds.
There was a knock at the door.
"Mr. B? The Prince is ringing for you."
"I'm on strike, Balders. I've had enough of his sexual depravity and boorish manners. See what he wants and take over for me. If he's going to act like a crazed idiot, then he can have one for a butler."
"Does that mean I'll get to wear a smart uniform like you? And get that nice wavy look in my hair with the little ponytail? Oh, I can't wait."
Blackadder snorted to himself. Insulting Baldrick was no fun without the added violence. Sarcasm went completely over the man's head, but hurled objects and booted feet usually brought the point home.
Left in peace, he went back to his pensive musings. Why couldn't he be a lord or duke, as generations of Blackadders had been before him? Why was he reduced to waiting on a complete git with a newly discovered radish fetish?
"Oh no," he muttered to himself. He'd thought of the bloody thing again, dammit.
He couldn't get it out of his mind. In order to avoid thinking about a radish, he had to remember not to think about a radish, and that defeated the entire purpose of the mental exercise because it only reminded him of it all over again.
Not to mention what the Naughty Hell Fire Club did with them. Though he never did allow the Prince to fully explain what was involved, he had a vivid imagination that filled in the blanks well enough. The thought of it made him shudder, and a peculiar warmth settled in his nether regions.
It isn't that bad, you know.
No, he didn't know. And he didn't want to. Firm red radish, soft white bottom... His anal muscles clenched in protest. The results could only be agonizing.
No doubt the radish in question wouldn't be too happy either.
So why did such a repulsive act inflame his senses so? Why was his cock stirring at the mere thought of it? Why was his body betraying him like this? He looked down at himself, at the bulge in his breeches. "So this is what it's come to, is that it? After being deprived of female companionship for God knows how long, you've decided to settle for vegetables. You're as bad as the fathead upstairs." The ache in his loins eased a fraction, and the bulge subsided as if ashamed.
"Come to think of it, at least they'd be perfectly compatible. Prince George already has the intelligence of a carrot, so I'm sure he and the radish must have many interests in common. Being equally dull and boring, they'd be fascinated by each other's conversation. And at night in their marriage bed..."
An image came unbidden into his mind. He was in the Prince's bedroom. When the Prince was in bed, it was part of Blackadder's routine to check in on him, just to make sure that he wore his night robe the right way round, and he knew which end of the bed he should be resting his head upon.
But this time, George was stretched out before him, lying on his stomach, the blankets thrown off. His head was free of the powdered wig, and soft strands of brown hair fell over his face. A sweet smile curved his lips. The hem of his night robe was lifted high to reveal his bottom: two soft cheeks, gilded with gold from the oil lamp, and the tempting shadow between them.
On the pillow beside him lay a bunch of freshly picked red radishes.
"Oh, dear God." Blackadder covered his face but it was no use. He could see the scene in his mind's eye, and his body would not be denied. His cock throbbed, impatient and eager, and the tightness in his crotch was almost painful.
He was a pervert. There was no denying it.
He rubbed his forehead. This mental self-flagellation was pointless. It wasn't as if he was a pious man, one burdened with a conscience. He had discarded it long ago, after finding that it was about as useful to him as a chastity belt on a prostitute. But he had thought himself a man of the world, cynical and jaded. It was galling to learn that when it came to sexual matters, he became as fearful as a callow youth.
It was just a fantasy, a mere daydream. An alternative route on the winding path to physical relief. That was all. He could worry about it, and never arrive at his destination or follow the fantasy to its end, get his rocks off, and then try to forget it ever happened.
He certainly knew which one he'd prefer.
He pulled off his breeches, freeing his cock, and fondled himself. Closing his eyes, he returned to the vision of the bare-buttocked Prince and the radishes. Now...he pictured himself approaching the bed quietly, so as not to awaken the Prince.
With his free hand, he stroked his erection, just a teasing caress. He felt it swell in his hand and tingle pleasantly.
Slowly, he would get onto the bed. The mattress might dip, but the Prince would not stir.
He enclosed the shaft with his fingers, holding it still. It pulsed in his grip, and a sweet ache spread down his thighs.
Then he would pull the drowsing Prince to his knees.
His fingers tightened around the shaft, and he began squeezing and stroking, pulling it to life.
Then finally, finally mount him with one powerful thrust, and ride him hard until they both forgot about those bloody radishes--
He let go of himself. Baldrick's voice was more effective than ice-cold water. "What is it?"
"I know you're on strike, sir, but I'm having trouble with some of these butler duties. You see, the Prince wants me to cook an extra big dinner tonight, but I'm not sure how to do it."
Blackadder sighed and pulled on his breeches. "Just give him that thick broth you make for the rest of us. Serve it with a rat's tail, and he'll probably think it's a new French dish."
"Well, he said something about being able to eat a horse, but I wasn't sure which one to pick. I mean, the Prince's charger, Black Rubicon, looked rather lean. I was thinking that the white pony might be more tender and juicy--"
"Not Misty, the ageing Shetland pony beloved by the Prince and adored by the Royal children?"
"Oh, is that what its name is?"
Blackadder threw the door open, and was assailed by the smell of mildew and rot. That was nothing new. But there was a strong acrid smell in the air, too. A bit like Baldrick, but stronger. Horse dung.
"Baldrick, don't tell me you--"
A high-pitched whinny greeted him, followed a loud thud.
He stumbled past Baldrick through the corridor and entered the kitchen.
Misty bared her teeth at him and whinnied again. Her halter was tied to the chopping board, which now rested on the floor with an overturned box of radishes. She thrashed her head helplessly, thick mane flying as she tried to drag the board and herself around the room, but her stubby legs were failing her.
Blackadder surveyed the scene and took a deep breath. "Baldrick," he spoke quietly, "what is that animal doing here?"
"Well, Mr. B, I didn't want to do the deed in the stables because that's a dirty place. So I thought the kitchen would be cleaner."
"Of course." Blackadder grimaced at the pile of warm dung on the floor.
"I had a devil of a job getting her through the side entrance and down the stairs, but I finally managed it with the help of a big whip and a bunch of carrots. So my only problem now is how to prepare her." Baldrick picked up a meat cleaver. "I was thinking that a blow to the head might be a good start."
Blackadder cuffed him on the ear. "You mean like this?"
Baldrick stumbled, but managed to regain his footing. "No, I was thinking more a blow to the back of the neck, like what happens to French noblemen. I've tried it on chickens, and it works well. They do run around a bit and spray blood everywhere, but once they settle--"
"It's tempting, Balders, very tempting. But I will do my best to resist. Now untie that poor wretched creature before she turns this kitchen into a gardening shed."
"But what about the Prince's dinner?"
"Let him eat broth like the rest of us."
"But we're out of broth. Mrs. Miggins hasn't come around to stock the pantry yet."
"Then what do you have in the pantry at the moment?"
"Radishes. A box of them came in the other day."
"And they can go back where they came from!" Blackadder took another slow deep breath. "Anything else?" he asked mildly.
"Well, we do have this turnip, sir. But I've developed a soft spot for it. As a child I never had any pets of my own--"
"Yes, yes. But is there anything edible in this kitchen besides root vegetables?"
Baldrick frowned at the words. "We do have a box of radishes, if you prefer..."
"No, I do not prefer." Each syllable was carefully enunciated, as if he were speaking to a dim-witted child.
"But maybe the Prince would like it."
Blackadder grabbed him by the collar, his control slipping. "Baldrick, I bet the Prince would love it, but there is no way I will tolerate such behaviour as long as I am his butler. If I see a radish anywhere near the Prince, I will personally take this meat cleaver and do to you what you tried to do to that poor pony. Now, have I made myself perfectly clear?"
"Yes, Mr. B. But what are we going to feed the Prince for dinner?"
"Anything, just not radishes!" Blackadder picked up the empty box of radishes and threw it out the door. "I never want to see another radish in this kitchen again!"
Baldrick watched, stunned. "I never knew you felt that way about them, sir."
Blackadder stopped. It was not like him to take his temper out on inanimate objects with Baldrick as an available target, but he had been unprepared for the vicious anger he felt at the idea of the Prince with a radish.
Unprepared for the depths of his own jealousy.
"Well, I do, Balders." He sat down, defeated. "I do."
< < o > >
Prince George had a lot to think about that evening in his chambers. He still had a strange after-taste in his mouth after sampling the new dish from the kitchen, bouillon de queue de rongeur. He smacked his lips. It was odd, but it did tend to grow on one after a while.
Then again, the French had a reputation for bizarre cuisine. George shrugged. He was always willing to experiment and expand his horizons. Or at least, his stomach.
He returned to the thorny problem of removing his clothes. It shouldn't be that hard, and Blackadder always made it look like child's play. But then, Blackadder had very nimble fingers. And he was a very smart man.
But he was prone to mood swings. Like this morning, for instance. George had no idea what had provoked that sudden fit of passion. Why, Blackadder didn't even help him take off his shirt. That was most unlike him. And as for leaving abruptly like that... It made no sense at all.
He tugged at the fastenings, but they didn't budge. He tried to pull it over his head, but it became stuck around his chest.
It was hopeless.
Baldrick had mentioned that Blackadder had taken ill, and George knew that ill people could get quite cross at times. But who told Blackadder he could become sick at such short notice? George frowned. He certainly couldn't remember giving such an order. And he never would. He didn't want Blackadder to be ill, ever.
Why, without Blackadder there would be no one to advise him. No one to discuss matters of State, no one to listen as he recounted his escapades at various receptions and gentlemen's clubs.
Life without Blackadder would be very lonely, indeed.
Especially since he would be doomed to wearing the same shirt and underwear for the rest of his life. The stench would definitely keep him off the guest list for royal functions, as well as keep away any potential Princesses Regent.
This was worse, far worse, than he had ever imagined. He had to do something. But what? He stroked his chin, and thought hard.
"This is a tricky one," he murmured to himself. Too tricky for a man such as himself. He needed someone more cunning than a fox, a man accustomed to devious methods, a man of intelligence and wit...
"Blackadder! Of course! He'll know what to do about all this." The Prince rang the bell, then he remembered. Blackadder was ill.
He frowned. Well, ill or not, Blackadder's role as butler was to serve him. And if there was a time he needed his services, it was now. Blackadder would know how to save him from a life of misery and isolation and smelling like a sewer.
Or at the very least, he'd be able to teach him how to get undressed.
His mind made up, George pulled a bed sheet around himself, and wandered down to the servant's quarters. He had once managed to find the kitchen after searching for about five hours. Surely, it would be easier the second time around.
< < o > >
In the kitchen, Baldrick sipped a spoonful of the rat's tail broth. "It's not bad," he announced. "It's more tasty than dung."
Blackadder stirred his broth, but said nothing. He wasn't hungry for food. In fact, the idea of eating made him feel ill. Or perhaps it was the awful realization that he was fixated not with a vegetable, but with his master. Mindlessly optimistic to the point of foolishness, Prince George was his complete opposite in class, character and cerebral capacity.
Contemplating any relationship with him outside that dictated by social convention was sheer lunacy.
"Did you hear that, Mr. B?"
"That noise. Listen!"
Silence, then a soft moaning.
Baldrick dropped his spoon with a clatter. "It sounds like a ghost!"
"Hardly." Blackadder did not look up. "It's probably just a draft."
There was another moan, louder this time. It sounded a lot like, "Help! Blackadder!"
Baldrick stood up, tense with fear. "It's coming closer!"
"A very strong draft," Blackadder amended, still stirring the soup.
"It was saying your name!"
The moaning stopped, cut off by a series of thuds that grew successively louder.
"It's coming down the stairs!"
Blackadder listened. "Probably a cockroach. Now, I've told you time and time again, they are pests, not pets. If you feed them they'll become bigger, and before you know it, they'll be clawing furniture and chewing shoes."
A mass of white sheets tumbled down the stairwell onto the floor.
Baldrick jumped behind Blackadder's chair and ducked in terror. "I told you, it's a ghost! Do something, Mr. B."
"Ghosts do not fall down stairs, Baldrick."
"How do you know? Clumsy ones would."
A muffled voice came from the mass of white sheets. "Ohhhh...my head!"
Recognizing it at once, Blackadder pulled the sheets away with a flourish. "Prince George! Are you all right, your Highness?"
The Prince shook his head. "Where am I?"
"You're in the kitchen, sir. You fell down the stairs with a sheet over your head. Perhaps a trifle unwise of you."
"Oh, I remember. I was trying to find you and I got lost in the maze of stairs. Then I slipped on the damn sheet."
"Are you all right? Can you move your limbs?"
George sat up, rubbing his brow. "My head feels like it's been trampled by a stampede of elephants, but I think I'll live."
"Are you sure, sir? We can send for the royal physician."
"Don't be absurd, Blackadder. I am perfectly fine."
"Thank goodness. Get a chair, Baldrick, and make some tea." Blackadder helped the Prince up and dusted him off. "Sir, it's ten o'clock. You know you are not to wander the cellar at night."
"Ten? I think I left the chambers at eight. That makes it two hours." George grinned. "I'm getting much better at finding the kitchen now."
"With all due respect, your Highness, what insanity possessed you to come here like this?"
"I had to find you, Blackadder. Becoming sick is most unlike you, and I don't remember ordering you to do so. I needed to make sure you were well." He reached out and gripped Blackadder's hand.
Blackadder swallowed. Having the Prince so near seemed to short-circuit his higher thought processes. All he could make sense of was the warm, firm strength of his master's hand. It sent a sweet jolt of awareness up his arm, and down into his groin.
He kept his gaze averted. "I...I am fine, sir. Quite recovered, thank you."
"Hurrah! Wonderful news! I am so relieved. While you were away, I found I needed you more than I ever thought possible."
Blackadder decided he had to be hallucinating. To hear his innermost thoughts being spoken by the object of his lust... It simply could not be true. It had to be a figment of his overheated imagination. He dared to look up. One look at the Prince, at his usual expression of bovine incomprehension, would be the perfect antidote to his ardour.
But the large grey eyes gleamed with warmth. The curve of his mouth was kindly. Freed of the ridiculous white wig, his chestnut brown hair was wavy but unusually short. Perhaps keeping it short made it less itchy for him to wear the wig. It was certainly not fashionable for the times, but it suited the angular planes of his face.
"Why, who's going to help me with all my clothes? They're pretty complicated things. I know I'm not the most intelligent of men, so I have the deepest respect for men who know what they're on about. And you, Blackadder, have always struck me as being very bright. Brighter than a brain pie, I always say."
"Yes, that's true, your Highness." But not smart enough to avoid this ludicrous fixation. Not smart enough to realize the futility of lusting after his master. No, Baldrick and Prince George were not the only fools in the household. Perhaps stupidity was a contagious disease after all.
"Your Highness." Baldrick held out a bowl of broth. "My mother used to give me chicken soup when I was ill, sir. Now this isn't chicken, and it isn't really soup, but I thought it might help you recover from that fall. Would you like--"
"No, he would not," Blackadder snapped. Having resigned himself to joining their ranks, he was determined to minimize his contact with other fools as much as humanly possible. As far as he was concerned, there was one too many idiots here. Someone had to go. "We need some ice and vinegar to apply to any bruises. Balders, I want you to go and find some ice."
"But it's the middle of summer!"
"Exactly why you must make haste, before the snow in Scotland melts away. Meanwhile, I will escort the Prince back to his chambers and attend to him there. Providing you have no objection, your Highness?"
"None at all. This place does smell a bit whiffy, doesn't it? A lot like the stables."
"It must be your imagination, sir." He guided the Prince to his feet, wrapped the sheet around his shoulders, and propelled him towards the staircase. "Time for you to go to bed."
"You may be right." The Prince yawned. "Goodnight, Baldrick. Have a safe trip."
"And don't come back without that ice." Blackadder left Baldrick behind without a second glance.
< < o > >
If Blackadder were in any doubt that the Prince would be lost without him, the sight of the Prince's bedroom chamber would have sent that thought flying out the window. Bed sheets were strewn about the room, jars of toiletries were overturned, and spilt powder covered the dressing table.
With his hands placed respectfully behind his back, he indicated the mess with an inclination of his head. "Doing a bit of spring-cleaning, I see."
George nodded, pleased. "Well, I thought I'd tidy the place up a bit while you were ill. I had to do something to pass the time. Mind you, it's still in progress at the moment."
"Yes." Blackadder picked up the sheets and hastily flung them onto the bed. It was not part of his duties, but it would be too much trouble to summon one of the maids. "Why don't you prepare for bed, sir? You can continue your demolition tomorrow."
"Very well, Blackadder." George yawned and stretched. "I have had the most exhausting day. Staying awake for seven hours without a nap is quite a record for me."
Blackadder glanced at him. Unfortunately, undressing the Prince was one of his duties. One he had performed many times without a fraction of interest. But now, being alone with the Prince in his chambers was simply too close to his secret desires. He steeled himself, and reached for the fastenings of the Prince's shirt.
"No, Blackadder." George batted his hands away. "I want you to show me how to take off my clothes."
"It occurred to me that if I ever managed to get together with an attractive bird, I should know how to undress. Just in case she wanted to engage in some naughty night-time action." He grinned and gave Blackadder a nudge.
"Sir, there are some activities that are considered below men of noble blood."
"I know, but getting one's gear off can't be that hard. At the Naughty Hell Fire Club it didn't take them that long to undress me."
Blackadder winced. "Sir, I would appreciate it if you never, ever, mention the name of that club in my presence again."
"But why in heaven's name not? The Naughty Hell Fire Club is a perfectly reputable gentlemen's club."
"I beg your pardon, sir, but 'reputable' is not the word I would use to describe that club, and I use the word 'club' loosely. If you consider the company of well-dressed, sex-mad baboons with walnuts for brains entertaining fare, then I suppose The Naughty Hell Fire Club qualifies as one of the above institutions." He was a trifle more sarcastic than he had intended, but he could no longer remain silent. "However, the words 'mental asylum' would probably fit just as well."
"I resent your tone of voice!" The Prince straightened and lifted his chin. When he rose to his full height, he had at least three inches over Blackadder. "Many of my friends are members of this club. Are you casting a slur on their reputations, and my own, by your remarks?"
Blackadder couldn't conceal his sneer. "You have already done enough to damage your reputation without my help."
"How dare you speak to me in such a manner? You are here to serve me and, by God, that is what you will do!"
"Fine," Blackadder snapped. He stepped up to George and seized each end of his shirt. "You want me to show you how to undress? Well, you just take either end of your shirt, like so...and then you pull...like so." Buttons popped off, and the shirt gaped open to revealing pale flesh, and small brown nipples. Reddish-brown hair dusted his chest, and formed a line arrowing down into his breeches. Blackadder stared, transfixed, his hands still clutching the shirt.
George peered down. "Are they supposed to fall off like that?"
"It...it is one unfortunate disadvantage, your...Highness." Blackadder could feel the warmth of the skin through the shirt. If he relaxed his grip, his knuckles would be touching bare flesh.
"Never mind, you can't win them all. So what comes next?"
Blackadder couldn't speak. He opened his mouth, and was seized with a sudden urge to press his lips against the long planes of the smooth throat, run his tongue over the mound of his Adam's apple, nip at the soft skin over his collarbone--
"Wait, I've got it. We rip off the sleeves now, right?"
--silence the childish prattle with a hard kiss.
Blackadder slid his hands up to grasp the Prince's collar, and pulled him into a passionate embrace. George seemed frozen with shock, neither responsive nor repelled. His stillness allowed Blackadder to shift his hands beneath the open shirt, stroking the lean muscles of his chest.
When Blackadder moved away to draw breath, George's lips clung to his, as if reluctant to let go. His eyes, a mesmerizing shade of grey-blue, were wide with wonder and amazement. His lips parted in surprise, his cheeks were flushed.
It was a compelling enough reason to kiss him again, and push him onto the bed. With George beneath him, he was free to let loose the hunger at last. His lips slid restlessly to the angular jaw and ear, his hands roved over abdomen and crotch, and his hips surged against hard flesh.
"Bladders!" George gasped as he arched up in helpless surprise. His fingers reached for Blackadder's head, clenching spasmodically in the dark locks.
Blackadder hated being called that, but it no longer mattered. Nothing mattered but this fantasy made flesh. Not rank, not intellect, not even bizarre nicknames could stop him. He tasted the tang of perspiration within the hollows of collarbone, while he inhaled the sweet scent of perfume. No dirt, no grime...just pale smooth skin, dusted lightly with fine hairs.
George's voice was high pitched, uncertain. "Bladders, what...what game is this? What is--"
Blackadder covered his mouth again, so the words became a muffled moan. Though reluctant, George was not fighting him off. His body, once rigid with horror, now relaxed with bewildered acceptance. Torn between pulling him away and bringing him closer, George's fingers had settled for stroking his scalp, a sweet caress that sent waves of delicious pleasure trickling down his spine.
"Sir." Blackadder's voice was barely audible above the sounds of their mutual gasping. He rested his forehead against George's for a moment, and shivered at the sensation of warm breath against his neck. He could feel the rapid rise and fall of his master's chest, an echo of his own. With an effort, he sat back on his haunches between the Prince's legs and disrobed with indecent haste. The sight of George sprawled out before him--brilliant eyes glazed with passion, lips swollen with kisses--acted as goad and inspiration to his frantic efforts. Once unencumbered, he returned to the Prince's tight fitting breeches.
"Allow me to demonstrate how to remove your trousers." He scowled as he fumbled at the buttons. Despite his experience in performing this task, his fingers were clumsy and slow.
George lifted his head to watch. "Maybe I should sit up."
With the fly buttons free, Blackadder thrust his hand past the folds to squeeze heated flesh.
"No!" George cried, eyes scrunched in pain. He jerked off the mattress like a marionette.
"Yes!" Blackadder told him, and with one tug stripped him of breeches and drawers. He allowed himself a moment to take in the gorgeous sight of his master virtually nude, the open shirt concealing nothing.
He lowered himself beside him. "Hush, sweet Prince." He took hold of the deflated cock and stroked gently, a slow and easy rhythm.
"No." George tried to twist away, but it was merely a token effort. His erection was returning despite his resistance, filling Blackadder's hand.
"Hush." Blackadder allowed his palm to caress the head, before returning to grip and pull at the shaft. By spreading the moisture at the tip to the rest of the cock, he wanted to bring George more pleasure. Much to his relief, it seemed to be working. George no longer resisted him. But with his eyes were shut and lips pursed, it was hard to tell if the experience was delight or torture.
Touched by a strange impulse, Blackadder kissed the damp forehead as he eased their bodies together. "Think...think of radishes if it will make it easier."
The cock twitched, and brilliant eyes fluttered open. "Have you tried it?"
"No! However, recently I...I have started to wonder." Blackadder lowered his gaze, affecting shy modesty. "If I could watch you, to see how you found it, just to make sure that it wasn't...unpleasant..."
"Oh, I'd be happy to show you." George smiled. This was something that he knew, something his smart-as-a-brass-button butler knew nothing of. "Do you have a radish?"
"No." Blackadder guided George so that they lay facing each other. With their erections aligned, he began stroking them together with both hands. "But I have something else that would be ideal for the purpose."
"You do?" George shivered under the touch, revelling in the contact.
"Mmm hmm." He allowed his thumb to brush over sensitised heads, giving and receiving pleasure, and deliberately lingering over George a fraction longer.
The result took Blackadder by surprise. George clutched his shoulders and pulled their bodies together. He thrust his hips in unmistakable aggression, seeking more friction. Blackadder found himself arching too, keen to continue this erotic duelling. The rawness of it was new and exciting for him. Wanting more, he rolled above George, and used his weight and leverage to intensify the sensations. George thrust up to meet him, no longer in pain, and stifled a moan in the hollow of his shoulder. The hot tongue and sharp teeth drew forth a shudder from Blackadder, and urged him to a sudden frenzy of movement.
Abruptly, George stiffened. He shut his eyes and threw his head back, throat muscles working as he cried out in triumph. Warm wet seed gushed between them.
Blackadder stilled. His cock ached but he ignored it, completely hypnotized by George's beauty. He bent his head and ran his tongue over the bobbing Adam's apple, along the smooth throat.
"Blackadder." Sleepy eyes, an intriguing mixture of grey and blue, blinked up at him.
"I'm here." Blackadder was ready, more than ready. He shifted restlessly against George's lax genitals. "I want to see...the radishing."
"Of course." George smiled up at him, a lazy sensual grin that sat well on his features. He ran fingertips lightly down Blackadder's spine, a caress that soothed yet aroused. "But I'm all out of radishes. And, even if we had one, I don't know what we can use to--"
"Do not worry, sir. I have a brilliant idea." Blackadder wrenched himself away, and looked about wildly. He did not need a radish, but something to ease the way would help. The tin of pomade used for styling the wigs caught his eye.
He applied some of it to himself, resisting the desire to masturbate. It was tempting to do so, with the sight of George on his side, facing away as he cleaned himself with a sheet. His buttocks, firm and lean, presented a picture that bore an eerie resemblance to Blackadder's fantasy. How could any mortal man resist?
He couldn't any longer. He pounced on the bed, lifted the lax body by the hips, and pushed into him. It was more a tribute to blind luck and George's torpor that he was able to sink deep with the first thrust. Warm wet tightness squeezed him, milked him, enveloped him. It was wonderful. He growled in satisfaction, watching as he appeared between pale cheeks, then sank within again.
George moaned softly, and as before, began moving with him in counterpoint. The gentle swaying allowed Blackadder to move even deeper within. He tightened his hold, and forced himself to continue this slow steady rhythm. He wanted to draw this perfection out for as long as possible. Pure physical perfection.
The mangled name jarred him a little. How could it be that a man who was thicker than a whale omelette was also so attuned to his sexual needs? The very idea was beyond comprehension. He was one of a long line of Blackadders, a family feared for their treachery and cunning. George was known far and wide as the stupid Prince with an insane dad.
George shifted beneath him, restless. His flesh tightened around Blackadder, making him gasp. Distracted, Blackadder fell forward, grasping chest and abdomen to keep him close. He continued the steady undulation of his hips, and ran his hands over George's body. The muscles beneath his fingers heaved as George panted beneath him. Taut and heated, damp with effort, a stark contrast to the welcoming softness around his cock. Over George's shoulder, Blackadder saw the fingers gripping the sheets, white-knuckled as they strained to support combined weight: that of his own body and the man fucking him.
Blackadder listened to the soft wet sounds they made as they moved together, the gasps George uttered mingled with his own harsh breathing. Searing heat and mingled sweat melded them, transmitted through the friction of George's linen shirt. As their flesh merged in irresistible union, it occurred to Blackadder that, for this short period of time, they were of one mind. United in their striving for sexual fulfilment.
But aside from that, they had absolutely nothing in common. Absolutely nothing.
After all, the Prince was an utter dolt. Who else would be foolish enough to take lessons in public speaking from a couple of pompous actors, casting aside the counsel of his faithful butler? Who else could be so infatuated with the exploits of the Scarlet Pimpernel that he would invite strange Frenchmen home for tea?
Blackadder gripped George tightly as the awful realization hit him. No! He was not--could not--be jealous. Why should he care if the Prince preferred the company of others?
But he did. The mere idea of it incensed him.
He drove into George hard and fast, fuelled by anger. Beneath him, George cried out and nearly pitched forward, but managed to find purchase on the rumpled sheets. Gasping for air, George bent forward and used his forearms to balance himself, then lifted his pelvis higher to meet the thrusts.
Above him, Blackadder groaned in mingled ecstasy and frustration as he continued his onslaught. He wanted to wound and dominate, but instead he was welcomed and accepted. George was adapting to his demands, absorbing his ferocity and giving pleasure in return. The generosity angered him, even as it aroused him to near agony. Was George like this when he was radished in the Naughty Hell Fire Club?
Through the maelstrom of sensations, one thought was left. He did not want George to go to the Naughty Hell Fire Club ever again.
Blackadder slowed his thrusts, ignoring the soft moan of protest. He ran his tongue along the whorls of George's ear.
"Tell me something," Blackadder whispered.
"Anything. Just don't stop..."
"How do I compare to...the radish?"
George made a choking sound, between a laugh and a sob. "Better. Much...better."
Blackadder found himself relaxing at the words. He reached down to milk George's erection as reward, and began thrusting anew, releasing his self-imposed control at long last. When he climaxed, he clutched George like a lifeline as he did so.
Hidden from his view, George was grinning as he was buggered senseless.
< < o > >
Clean white pillows. Sunlight through gauzy curtains. A hand idly stroking his hair. No servant bells.
It took a while for Blackadder to realize he was not dreaming. He turned his head, and met glowing grey-blue eyes. With his chestnut hair falling across his brow, George looked as sweet as a schoolboy. Innocent and sweet, and just ripe for the picking.
"Good morning, your Highness."
"Isn't it, Bladders? You know, I've discovered the most amazing thing."
In the haze of utter satiation, Blackadder felt unusually prone to indulging him. "What?"
"The sun takes an incredibly long time to get up into the sky. It doesn't suddenly pop up like a weasel, but it spends ages doing it. I only noticed it because I happened to wake up really early, and I saw a small amount of light. And I thought, 'Hey, the sun is normally much brighter than that'."
Blackadder grimaced. Strange how George's beauty diminished the moment words came out of his mouth.
"Then I looked at the time, and I couldn't believe it. Eight o'clock! I have never woken up so early in my entire life."
Blackadder pulled George down and kissed him. A rather desperate act, considering that neither man had yet been to the bathroom to brush their teeth, but anything was better than listening to George talk. How could a man look so beautiful, yet speak such drivel?
"Sir, I have a request to make of you."
"I'd love to, Bladders, but I think my rear end needs a bit of a rest for a few hours."
"Perfectly understandable, sir." Blackadder managed to conceal his smirk. "But I was thinking about what my status will be in the household now that I am no longer your butler."
"What?" George grabbed his shoulder. "Blackadder, don't tell me you're leaving?"
"Well, sir, I can hardly share your bed while I am in your employ as butler. The other servants will gossip, and the rumour will spread that you are a cruel master who thinks nothing of taking sexual advantage of his servants, using them to satisfy his insatiable carnal appetites."
George sat up, horrified. "Oh my God! This is terrible! What are we going to do?"
"Do not fear, sir, for I have a cunning plan. What you must do is elevate my social standing and increase my yearly income to ensure we are free to associate without suspicion. By appointing me as a new lord, no one would dare cast such slander on our reputations."
"Excellent, Bladders! I shall fetch my robes of state and find some ermine for you, and we can do it this very afternoon." He pulled the cord for the servant's bell.
"Very good, sir." Blackadder lounged on the bed, incredibly pleased with himself. A title and guaranteed income for turning up to Parliament when he felt like it, plus the Prince Regent as his sexual plaything. Not bad at all for a morning's work.
The bedroom doors opened, and Baldrick entered, filthy as ever, carrying a large box.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Blackadder snapped. "You're supposed to be in Scotland."
"I couldn't go to Scotland because you didn't give me any money. So I went down to the Thames and got some lemon rind I saw floating with the rest of the sewerage. My mum swears by it as being the perfect cure for aches and pains."
"Hah! I suppose dying from cholera would put an end to such minor complaints."
"Now, now, Bladders, settle down. Baldrick is our new butler."
"Him? In heaven's name, why?"
"After years of loyal service, I can see that he is a man of discretion, diligence and integrity."
"Well, sir, there are other issues to consider." He regarded Baldrick with unconcealed disgust. "For example, personal hygiene."
Baldrick ignored Blackadder in favour of speaking directly to the Prince. "Your Highness, I brought up the things you asked for."
"Excellent! Place them over here by my side of the bed."
"What things?" Blackadder asked suspiciously.
"I thought I'd surprise you." George reached out to play with a strand of Blackadder's hair. "I'm sorry I wasn't better prepared last night."
Somewhat puzzled, Blackadder smiled back. "I assure you, sir, you should not have troubled yourself. There is nothing you could give me that would surpass what you gave me last night."
"Tish! Nonsense! And I even got Baldrick to find us more of that pomade. Just as well, since we cleaned out the entire tin last night."
Blackadder couldn't help but notice that Baldrick was leering at him. If he didn't know the man was an imbecile, he might have thought it rather malicious. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing, Mr. B."
George clapped his hands. "Baldrick, bring up some breakfast for us. Some of that delicious French broth would be perfect."
A niggle of unease persisted in Blackadder's mind after Baldrick left. "Sir, what did you get for me?"
"Now, now, Bladders, it's a surprise. Telling you will spoil everything."
"Sir, if there is anything I hate in life, it is any kind of surprise. Give me boring predictability any day."
"Well, Bladders, I know how it's your first time so I thought that we might practice today. I bet a man of your brains will have no trouble getting accustomed--"
"No!" A horrible suspicion occurred to Blackadder. "Don't tell me it's..." He reached over the Prince to take a look at the box.
Crimson-red radishes. Lots of them. The smallest were at least as large as a man's fist.
All for him.
Blackadder froze, suddenly speechless.
"There, there." George took him in his arms. "There's no need to thank me. What more could a man do for his dearest friend?" He stroked Blackadder's hair fondly. "I was thinking that the best way is to start with the smaller ones and work our way up. What do you think of that?"
"Sir." He swallowed nervously. "Words are inadequate to describe my feelings. But there is one thing I would like to say."
George kissed his nose. "Yes, what is it?"
"I hope you will not think it ungrateful of me if I were to speak so plainly."
"Nonsense, Bladders. Your honesty is one of your charms. I grant you permission to speak as plainly as you wish."
"Thank you, sir." Blackadder took a deep breath in, then let it out as a familiar roar that echoed to the cellar of Carlton House and rocked the foundations: "BALDRICK! YOU BASTARD!"