HENRY IN FINKLE ROAD
It was Sunday, and the bells of Strelzen were ringing out for mass in its many churches. Henry was sitting in his room in the private wing of the royal palace. After Helge had shared the news of what had happened at Terlenehem with a few selected friends, the king had insisted on Henry's staying with him.
‘Henry, you really have done it this time. You have exercised your courage on a cosmic stage. Do you think I can let that pass, even though it cannot be acknowledged publicly?’
The court gazette lay open on a side table. ‘Saturday. At a private investiture. The Grand Cordon of the Rose to Mr Henry Atwood OHL. Henry Atwood GCR commissioned kapitan-leutnant in the Regiment of Foot Guards and appointed adjutant to HM the King.’
‘There,’ Rudi said as he shook Henry’s hand. ‘My little gay Lancelot is now truly a knight and a warrior, and some justice has been done to him. Pity you’re so short for a guardsman, Henry.’
‘I’d rather have been a sailor.’
‘We’re a landlocked country.’
‘Do I get paid?’
‘No. The commission’s honorary. Your student debt’s your problem, Henry.’
‘Still, I’m one rank higher than Ed Cornish. And mine’s the premier infantry regiment in the army. He’ll have to call me sir!’
The king smiled. ‘That’s only right and proper.’
Henry was awaiting the call to summon him to the Hofkapelle of the Residenz. Mass was at ten o’clock and he was in attendance with Fritz. Bizarrely – or perhaps not, considering this was Rothenia – Rudi and Fritz were better friends than ever, despite the king's having almost killed the prince by running him through the body with a cavalry sabre.
Henry looked at himself in the mirror. Gavin would have been blazing with delight to see Henry in military dress. Short though he was, he looked magnificent in a dark blue, gold-buttoned coat with red and gold facings. A gold stripe ran down the seam of his red trousers, and golden aiguillettes hung from the captain’s epaulette on his left shoulder. The star of his order was pinned to his chest and the order of Henry the Lion was around his upright collar.
The bearskin cap was a problem. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wear it, just keep it tucked under his arm. The sword was another difficulty. It seemed too long for him. A pity his face was so boyish. He simply could not look stern.
The phone buzzed, a secretary asking him to join the king in the Grande Salle. So Henry trotted down the great staircase, unconsciously adopting a military pace on reaching the public rooms. He was unnerved when the guards in the palace presented arms as he passed, only barely remembering to return the salute.
Rudi was in a blue suit, and Henry remembered to salute him too, before shaking his hand. Harriet Peacher was standing beside him, ravishing in a beautiful summer frock from Paris. It was pretty clear to the whole world now that there was a love affair in full bloom at the palace. Harriet and Eddie’s father was expected within days for some serious discussions with the king.
Harriet smiled brightly. ‘My heavens, Henry. You look gorgeous, quite the gay blade.’
‘Oh very funny, Harry!’
Strangely, he could not grieve for Gavin. He somehow knew the boy was out there somewhere and loved him still, even though Henry could not see him.
The king said, ‘Henry, I had a word with the archbishop. He is more than happy for you to take communion. He even offered to issue an indult to that effect.’
‘Then I will communicate. Thanks, Rudi, that means a lot, especially at the moment.’
Mass was gorgeous, with a reconstituted chapel choir made up of choral scholars whom Rudi was sponsoring from among the members of the university music department. The bishop of Luchau was celebrating. The palace staff were all in attendance, as well as the king’s guests. It soothed Henry very much, and, despite the difficulties of the sword, he sank to his knees at the elevation with deep reverence.
While he contemplated the mystery of the mass, Henry tried to make sense of what he had witnessed over the past few days. He had seen the inauguration of a new phase in the relations between the divine and Creation, he was quite sure. Something had come into the world as a result. Maybe God was responding to the development of human history, the development that had brought forward so many people like Piotr Bermann.
Henry wondered if he would see more of how it developed. And always his mind returned to his vision in the abbey of Medeln. To whom had he been talking? It had looked like his friend Jed, but the presence had denied that. Could it have been Someone he dared not name, even in his head? Only that Someone could have done for him what had been done in the tombs of the Tarlenheim family.
After Mass, Henry and Fritz wandered out into the palace grounds. ‘I would have thought you’d be a bit wary of coming out here, Fritzy, what with all that garden equipment lying around.’
‘Ha bloody ha, as you might say, Henry. No, it’s hanging round Harry that causes the pain. I feel so abandoned and so regretful. Though I know she never loved me, still I think I really did love her. It was like no other feeling I ever had. And how about you, Henry? You too have lost your love, and he was a wonderful person. I can understand how you feel.’
Henry took Fritz’s arm and held it tight. The prince leaned down and kissed his hair. ‘Come on, Henry, let’s go in and have lunch. Then we can go over to the Tarlenheim palace and you can help me build King’s Cross station. How about that for consolation?’
‘I couldn’t ask for better.’
Fritz gave him an odd look.
Henry smiled across the table at Fritz, who was working on the clock tower. Henry was painting figurines, the sort of task he could be trusted with. Fritz smiled back. It was late in the evening and Fritz had got them glasses of fruit wine. They were very companionable. He felt closer to his friend than ever before. It was a bond forged both in mutual sadness and in mutual escape from death.
‘Your scar’s mending, baby,’ he said, then caught himself and blushed. ‘Sorry Fritz, for a moment I forgot whom I was talking to.’
‘Don’t mind me, Henry. Call me baby. It’s quite nice. Is that what you called Gavin?’
‘Yes, though it was a bit patronising. He was not at all babyish. In fact, he was – is – a more courageous and stronger man than I. But somehow we liked it, it expressed something about us.’
‘You usually topped with him, is that right?’
‘Your prurient curiosity again, Fritz?’
‘Oh yeah. But the fact that you topped made him the dependent part of the couple, at least sexually.’
‘I suppose. It must be hard for a straight man like you to understand how guys interact sexually in a relationship.’
‘Oh, I don’t know about that. The Internet is a great help. I read the story sites, there’s a lot to be learned from them about all sorts of sexualities, especially the way-out ones. And when it comes down to it, straight and gay are just opposite ends of a continuum. Gay guys sometimes father kids, and otherwise straight guys have sex with men for a lot of reasons.’
‘Loneliness?’ suggested Henry.
‘Amongst other things.’ Fritz put down his model and looked into Henry’s eyes. Then he leaned over and cupped his friend’s cheeks in his warm hands. ‘Henry, I don’t want to sleep alone tonight. I want to sleep with you. Will you do this for me? We’re lonely, we’re unattached. I think we love each other, just a little. I have to confess I have wanted to try gay sex for many years. Now I think the perfect time and the perfect partner have come my way. Will you?’
Henry was astonished and so was his penis, which sprang erect. Fritz released him, and sat back looking hopeful. Not trusting his voice, Henry nodded.
Fritz beamed. ‘This is fantastic!’ Then he looked puzzled. ‘Er … what do we do?’
Henry could not help chuckling. ‘Well, first we find a bedroom, and then we take it from there. Have you got lube? I want you up my bum, Fritzy … but are you willing to take it?’
Fritz nodded decidedly. ‘I want the full experience.’
Henry was a bit taken aback by Fritz’s answer. He smiled. ‘You’ve been planning this haven’t you?’ The only answer he got was a sheepish grin.
Henry was getting very excited. Even in his battered state, Fritz was the most awesome-looking male Henry had ever seen ... and now he was offering himself to Henry! This was some dream, if it was a dream.
Henry stood up and offered his hand to Fritz. Fritz took it, and came close to Henry. For a moment they looked into each other’s eyes, and then Henry snuggled into Fritz’s bigger body. When their lips met, Henry knew it was for real. This was a lover’s kiss, not a friend’s. Fritz forced his tongue past Henry’s unresisting lips and sucked Henry’s tongue into his mouth. Fritz’s arms embraced Henry and pulled him close. His hands pushed down past Henry’s waistband and gripped his buttocks. After a while, they broke apart. Henry was breathing hard and his heart was pounding. Fritz grinned and took his hand.
They galloped down to Fritz’s room, and even before the door was closed, clothes were being shed in every direction. Henry threw his briefs across the room and turned to find Fritz fully nude, holding out his arms to his friend. Henry had not seen Fritz naked, and his revealed and beautiful member was on the lines of Ed’s, thick and proud. He was fully erect. All of a sudden Henry was nervous. It had been a while since he had encountered the demands of something like that.
Forgetting his doubts, he ran into Fritz’s arms, was caught and lifted. They kissed again, Henry moving his erection against Fritz’s belly. Fritz carried Henry to his bed, and dropped him on it with a laugh, looking tenderly down at him. Henry lifted his arms to receive Fritz. They spent an age kissing and stroking. Henry found Fritz’s penis a formidable handful, the urethra more like a band of muscle. It was steel-hard and velvety. The foreskin had retracted right back and Henry could not in the end resist closing his mouth over it. Looking up at a suddenly ecstatic Fritz, Henry flickered around the glans with his busy tongue, licking up and down the length and massaging Fritz’s heavy balls with both hands.
He broke off. ‘Hey! You shave yourself, Fritzy.’
Fritz laughed. ‘Yeah, and right up to my ass too, Henry. It’s a hygiene thing in Rothenia. You’ll have a clear field for your activities. You clip yourself close too, baby.’
‘You called me baby!’
‘Just for tonight. God, you give good head, you little English satyr. More please. You’re better than most girls.’
Henry chuckled a little, ‘When you have the equipment you know better how to service it.’ He returned to his devotion and soon followed his tongue behind the balls. Fritz gasped and pulled back his muscular thighs to allow Henry better access. He moaned as Henry’s tongue worked its way down his perineum and finally began to engage with his virgin hole. Henry could not believe he would soon be allowed in there. He tested it with a finger and found it very tight. Fritz could take a lot of anal stimulation, and when Henry pulled off he found evidence of Fritz’s excitement leaking out of him.
Henry re-engaged with Fritz’s penis, relishing the sweetness of his precum. He was going to take his time with this virgin prince. He slowly licked his way up Fritz’s abdomen and chest, sucking at his nipples and nipping at them with his sharp teeth. The expanse of smooth, toned and tawny chest was driving him into an erotic frenzy. He could resist it no longer.
The time had come. ‘You gotta get me ready, Fritzy, and I mean ready. Your dick is gonna be quite something to take.’ Fritz nodded, but was having trouble saying anything, such was his excitement.
Henry flipped himself on to his stomach, pulling a pillow under his groin. He felt hesitant fingers testing him. His anus received a cool squirt of lube, which warmed as Fritz rubbed it around with his fingertips.
‘Henry, this is really new territory for me.’
‘But not the sucking off, was it?’
Fritz laughed. ‘No, back in Terlenehem my gang of kids were into hand- and blow-jobs. It stopped in Modenehem, more’s the pity. Am I doing this right, baby?’
‘I’m ready for penetration, Fritzy. Start with one finger and take it gently. I could get three of Ed’s up with no real problem. Aim for that, and don’t be frightened to stretch me.’
Fritz applied himself and, as his confidence grew, his long fingers were able to give real stimulation. He soon had Henry squirming involuntarily on the bed. Eventually Fritz withdrew. ‘I can see a hole there, baby. But how do I know it’s open enough?’
‘Time to find out, I guess. Just take it easy, apply a firm pressure till you pop inside the muscle ring and hold it there for a bit. Never mind the noises I make. You won’t need to bother with a condom, either.’
Fritz sighed wonderingly, ‘I really can’t believe I’m about to do this.’
Henry felt a spongy warmth as the broad head of Fritz’s penis probed his entry. Henry was experienced, but he had his doubts about this encounter. He felt the pressure build up. Fritz cursed as his erection bent and slid off the mark, not just once but twice. Henry looked over his shoulder and grinned. ‘Exactly the same thing happened to Ed and me when we first tried it. Don’t worry about it. Just hold your dick to stiffen it’.
Fritz relaxed and tried again. This time the pressure persisted, and Henry willed his anus to relax. An instant later Fritz was inside him! Henry was immediately aware that this was a very different penetration from those of his earlier partners. Fritz was wide as well as long. Henry gave an involuntary groan.
‘Are you okay, baby?’ came the anxious question.
‘Yeah. Just rest for a few moments and start the pressure again. How does it feel?’
‘Man, this is the best. So hot and tight! Better than that girl’s ass I went up. Hey! You squeezed me. That’s a great trick. Oooh!’
Henry was determined to accept this boy’s cock all the way. With patience and coaching he took it slowly. The stimulation was awesome. It had been a long time since he had such a thing inside him. Fritz too was in transports. By the time he had buried himself in Henry up to the root of his penis, he was moaning and nipping at Henry’s neck and shoulders. He began rotating his hips, then reached under Henry’s armpits to pinch his friend's nipples.
Henry gasped. This was what it had been like with Ed, the feeling of being totally possessed by a big and powerful animal. And this one was so beautiful, too. His fragrance was like an aphrodisiac in Henry’s nostrils.
Henry went over the top. Damn the pain! He begged Fritz to start fucking. He soon got his wish. Although the friction against his inner skin from such a thick member was hard to take at first, once the pumping began Henry was gasping and crying with delight. His arse was receiving the best workout it had experienced since Ed and he broke up. This was what he used to enjoy night after night. How could he have given it up?
It didn’t take long for Fritz to climax inside Henry, but Henry didn’t mind. They lay clasped together, Fritz wrapping himself round Henry just the same way Ed used to do. Fritz had no hang-ups about kissing, either, and it was not long before Henry was moving down his body and licking and sucking at Fritz’s balls, while beginning the penetration with his fingers.
It was not easy for Fritz. It wasn't that he was not keen to take Henry, but his anus was new to penetration and he hissed and squirmed as Henry’s insistent fingers probed inside him. Playing with such a magnificent backside nearly brought Henry to the brink.
Finally he couldn’t stand it any more. He got Fritz on his back and moved his legs out, then began the long and patient process of penetration. He managed it without too much pain for Fritz and was delighted to see the stunned look of surprise on his friend’s face as the sensations emanating from his rectum began turning to pleasure.
They kissed lingeringly. Henry kept up a varied pace until finally he could stand it no more and began slapping away at his friend’s buttocks with his groin. He came with a shout and fell forward into Fritz’s welcoming arms.
A little while later, Fritz pushed himself up, kissed Henry and smiled. ‘How was I, baby?’
‘A totally fantastic fuck, Fritzy. You should think of taking it up full time. What did you think?’
Fritz smiled back at him. ‘It answered a lot of questions I had, Henry. Now I know what Oskar feels like when he gets mounted by Peter. I think Pete usually tops him. I heard them once. I couldn’t believe queer sex was anything but fun after that.’
Henry reached up and traced the scar across the bridge of Fritz’s nose and cheek. ‘So … er, you wouldn’t mind doing me again?’
‘You’re seventeen. Seventeen-year-olds are legendary, Fritz.’ Fritz laughed. Henry saw that his cock was indeed ready for action again, and Fritz did not disappoint him, either then or when he took Henry for the third time two hours later.
They woke late the next morning, cuddling together a while in bed before going off to enjoy a shower and then dress. Over a late breakfast, they waxed a bit clinical about their love-making.
‘So what have we learned, Fritzy?’
‘I like sex, I like it a lot. And most of all, I like it with those I love – you for one, my Henry. I don’t think I’m lost to heterosexuality, though. Girls are great too. But I know a lot more about myself now, and what pleasures me. Maybe you and I will never fuck again, but if a man attracts me in future, I won’t resist if I find I have feelings for him.’
‘You’re so beautiful, Fritzy. I can’t imagine anyone not falling under your spell. Is there anyone else at the moment?’
Fritz looked confidential. He leaned forward. ‘You may think less of me, my Henry, and suppose it’s a rebound thing, but … have you seen Lennie ... the Princess Royal?’
Henry gave Fritz a disbelieving look. Fritz appeared a little sheepish, but came back defensively. ‘She is my age, and she’s so very pretty, so cool and clever. We danced the night of the ball, and if I hadn’t been all hung up on Harry, I would have said something to her then. She came to visit me in hospital, you know … twice. Although I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I do have her MSN address. I’m going to chat her up on line.’
Henry laughed, reached over and pulled Fritz toward him for a loving kiss. Breaking off he murmured, ‘In all the centuries since St Fenice, no Tarlenheim has ever made an Elphberg marriage. Do you suppose perhaps the time has come at last, Fritzy?’