On The Queen's Service
Part The Sixth
"There is a matter I must talk of with you Stick," Fletcher murmured as the first hinting of a grey dawn began to turn night to day.
He gave permission for his hand to stroke the smoothness of his catamite, for much did he enjoy the long, slender thighs and firm, flat stomach of the boy in his bed. Enjoyed also the slender hardness that sprang to life above the thighs and below the stomach at the first touch of his questing fingers. Never did he regret taking the boy as catamite, and even now, at past sixteen years of age, the boy's body gave him great pleasure.
That some of that pleasure came from the lotions and potions of the apothecary Juan Rodrigues was a matter not in doubt, for those lotions and potions kept his catamite's flesh as smooth as it had been when first Fletcher swived him when he was but eleven, and to his friend Juan was Fletcher most grateful.
From the manner in which his flesh was being stroked and from the way the hand that grasped his hardness did ease the skin of that hardness up and down with such considerate care, Stick knew that whatever the matter be that his master wished to speak of it was of no thing that he had done to cause displeasure.
"I am all ears, master," Stick sighed, "But if you should wish me to stop my mouth while you speak, then that will I gladly do."
"I would not have you distract me so from what I have to say," Fletcher felt also the wonderful crinkled smoothness of that pouch that held the stones of his catamite, "More than you do so already. I must speak to you of Harry de Vere."
"I confess I have made venture to speak with you of that boy," Stick acknowledged, "And have been most forward in doing so. But I can make no pretence that I do find his flesh most wonderful, his body most desirable and his arse the sweetest arse in the world."
should do so is a thing of no surprise," Fletcher gave the stones he was
fondling a squeeze so gentle it could be hardly called a squeeze, though it
were enough to tell the owner of those stones that his master found no
displeasure that he desired that boy so.
"But I have been tasked by Mr Secretary to give consideration to the taking of Harry de Vere into my household, and in no wise could I do that thing unless it were to be as catamite, for, like you, I do find his body to be a thing greatly to be desired."
"Do you wish then, sir, to end my service with you?" A sudden fear and coldness ran through the body of Stick, for he had hoped to be catamite for a year or more yet.
"In no way, Stick," Fletcher hastened to say, "For you give me much delight, and wonderful as the body of Harry de Vere is, it possess not a prick like yours, and yours is a prick I much enjoy having within me."
"You would keep me then as catamite still?" Stick asked, a surge of hope dispelling a little of the coldness of fear. "I would stay yours till I am of too many years to be of pleasure to you, sir, though I know a need must be in you, as it would be in any man, for flesh younger than mine."
"Your flesh delights me, Stick, and will so do until we be forced to acknowledge you a man and a boy no more. If I do take Harry it will be as second catamite, below you in status and in desire."
"In status perhaps," Stick smiled in the growing light, "But pretend not in desire also, sir, for no man who likes the flesh of boys could desire any more than he do Harry."
"And no boy either, Stick, for I know how much you do long for tastes of that same flesh, and I do give you promise that if Harry become second catamite in this house, then no prohibition will be placed on your enjoyment of his body. Save only that you keep always some seed at my disposal," Fletcher added with another gentle squeeze of his catamite's stones.
"Always will my seed be at your disposal, sir," Stick promised, "Though I much doubt that you, being old now, will have any spare for me."
"It is settled then," Fletcher released the stones of Stick and placed his head beneath the sheets. But before taking his catamite's hardness in his mouth, he said also that it was a thing Harry had the decision on, for it would be his choice alone if he did become catamite or no.
Harry appeared before Fletcher and his apprentice when they did visit the establishment of Mr Goodboy for the purpose of talking with the boy on the matter of his future. He was clothed in a simple cloak alone, fastened around his waist by a cord, and by no wise could any fail to be aware that the cloak was all that covered the boy beneath it, for though of simple cut, it was made of finest silk, and though eyes could not pierce the covering, yet could they not fail to discern the shape of what lay beneath, for the silk did cling most closely to the body of the boy where it did touch with it.
The boy was aware that he did reveal near as much as he did conceal, for he arranged his standing with great care, and none seeing could doubt the firmness of his chest and the swell of his thighs, nor be ignorant of the size of his member, for though that be soft still, yet did the silk of his covering follow most clearly that which it did so little to hide.
"Mr Fletcher," Harry did greet his guest in a voice sweet and full of welcome, and the smile on his angelic face was one of warmth and not of art. "And Stick, also, you are most welcome also."
Stick did find himself much aroused, for though he had but recently fed his seed to his master, yet was he but still a mere sixteen and still much given to being aroused in some haste by a boy such as the one his gaze did feast on.
"I am aware of the purpose of your visit, sir," Harry did say, "For Mr Goodboy has informed me of the wishes of Mr Secretary Walsingham and of my uncle of Oxford also, and I must thank those gentlemen for the care they do seem to take of my future. Would you sit, sirs, and take some wine while these matters are talked on?"
Harry waited not for compliance with his request, for he did clap his hands together and summon a boy to serve them. That the boy was one of those that Mr Goodboy was wont to use as waiting servant, of no more than ten years and dressed only in that cunningly designed jerkin that had no sleeves and was open at the front with sharp points at its end, points that did lead the eyes direct to his still unformed member, was a thing Harry took no note of, for he was acquainted well with the form of every boy in that house of pleasure.
"I am aware, Mr Fletcher," Harry said as he sat upon a stool and did cross his legs, one over the other so that the form of his thigh was most clear beneath the silk, "That it is more usual in circumstances such as this for the boy be not the one who talks, but you must be aware sir, that I am no usual boy, and that these circumstances be not the norm. I beg you, sir, that I be permitted to voice my thoughts before you do say yours."
"I know you to be Harry de Vere, and a boy of exceptional beauty," Fletcher chose his words with care, for he knew well that the boy was inspecting him in the same wise as he was being inspected by him. "I know also that Mr Secretary, with the consent and agreement of your uncle, thinks to place you as a boy player in the company of Mr Strange, and thinks also to have you apprenticed as a future intelligencer."
"And knows also," Harry spoke as though it were a thing of common knowledge that he spoke of, "That I will be apprenticed to no man unless I be also catamite for that man, for I am a boy of prodigious appetite in that way and much given to being used often."
"Have no fears there, Harry," Stick did say for Fletcher had given him leave to speak what was in his mind in this encounter, for the boys would share the same house, and indeed, bed, should Fletcher take Harry as his apprentice. "My master is a man of some appetite himself, and is a man much given to those feasts only a boy can provide."
"I am glad of it," Harry smiled at Stick, and smiled in such a way that there was clear more than mere politeness in that smile, "And I know you to be one that does like to feast on the flesh of boys also, Stick, and have satisfied your hunger with me more times than many."
Stick groaned gently and did reach a hand to his hose, for he had grown most hard and his member was trapped there in a way not comfortable.
"As boy player, Mr Fletcher, I will doubtless much attract the attention of some gentlemen, and as apprentice intelligencer it would be my duty to find things they know of, and use all the skills at my disposal to make such discoveries. Would that not be so?"
Fletcher was skilled sufficient at his trade to discern that young Harry was enjoying the role he now played, and that the boy was demonstrating clear that as boy player he would be most successful.
"It would be so indeed," Fletcher acknowledged, but had no intention of allowing the boy to follow uncontested the script he had written for himself. "And as the master to that apprentice I would need to learn not just of the information gained but also of the manner in which it had been gained."
That the boy had wit sufficient to glean that he would be expected to reveal the full nature of any encounters he might have with those men from whom he did gather intelligence, was clear from the gleam that entered then the boy's eyes.
"You would have me say, in some detail, of my encounters, Mr Fletcher? You would wish to know not just what is in a man's mind, but also learn how he does use his prick?"
"I would, indeed, Harry, for think you not it would arouse also my prick to learn not only how you did ease out the things a man knows, but how you came by his seed also?" Fletcher stretched his own legs, revealing that his hose was much distended, for he wore no cod piece and his hose was tight about his form.
"And me also," Stick averred, though he showed not the restraint of his master and did send a hand to his hose and gripped his hardness firm.
"And is it not, Harry, a matter of some import how a man does fuck? For had that Sir James behaved not with you in the manner that he did, still would we be bemused as to the reason of his death."
"True, sir," Harry acknowledged with a slight incline of his head, "I see now that the manner in which a man doth swive do tell much of that man if the boy he swives has but the wit to see it."
"Then that is a matter agreed," Fletcher stated plain and eased back his legs so he sat more in a manner whereby he could sup his wine. "Is there more you would say to me before I lay before you my conditions for your apprenticeship?"
"That you should know, sir, a thing that others know not of. That I am a boy not like others. I swive, sir, not for pleasure alone as Stick and other boys do. I swive because the need is in me, sir, and it is a need most great. My mind doth grow most confused and my body fill with longing if I be not swived often. And though I take great pleasure in being swived, it is that need that drives me, sir, a need to have prick oft in my arse. It has been thus, sir, since I was but half the age that I am now, and I fear much what my future shall be when I am a boy no more."
That the words that Harry did speak were words of truth, Fletcher had no doubts, for in the boy's eyes was now a pleading to be understood, a begging that his more than natural needs should be not a matter of contempt.
"I know, Harry," said Fletcher in his kindest voice, "That you were but some nine years of age when you were swived by a gentleman from Court, and as I have been given to understand, were averse in no manner to that swiving."
"I was so, sir," Harry did agree, "And greatly would I have sulked if swived me he had not, for I had set my boy's cap at him and much did desire him in my arse. But sir," and Harry paused for a moment, for to him what he had to say now was a thing of great import. "That I was so swived then is a matter known. What is a matter less known is that the gentleman concerned was but the first man to swive me. Boys had there been in some number before him."
"Indeed so?" Fletcher queried when he found a voice to query with.
"So indeed, sir," Harry did confirm, "For boys from the stable and from the house had used me many times ere that. The first, you must know sir, was a boy from the stables of perhaps the age I now am, and he took me not unwillingly for I did present my arse to him, for even then the need was growing in me, though I be but half the age he was."
"Dear God,!" Fletcher breathed, "Swived at your request when but seven?"
"Fine Ganymede would I have made, would I not, sir," though the laugh that Harry gave along with those words was somewhat false. "I will blame you not, sir, if one such as me you want not in your house, for I must tell you sir, that no being with a prick will be safe from me, be he man or boy with prick grown."
"And well I believe that be he one of the most puritan of tendencies, none would resist for long your charms," Fletcher spoke and looked direct in the angelic eyes of that most promiscuous of boys as he spoke, "And those charms I can make no pretence but to be encaptured by. You are a boy of exceptional beauty and charm, and though I may well swive myself to early grave, I would have you in my house."
Relief did replace concern in Harry's eyes at those words, for he had hoped not to hear such an honest acceptance of the boy he knew he was.
conditions to you, Harry," Fletcher then said, "Are that, if you should wish to
be my apprentice and catamite also, then it will be as second in both those
positions, for Stick will I not displace from his place.
I would also wish that he be allowed to partake of your delights when the mood is on him, for I know he has great hunger for your body.
You must know that his prick delights me much and that he swives me as oft as I swive him, and greatly does it please me that he does so."
"In that regard, sir, I would have no wish to replace him, for my joy is in being swived and I have no desire to be rider and not ridden. Happy will I be indeed, sir, to be second in these matters, and if Stick has a great preference to ride and not be ridden, then he may ride me as oft as he wishes."
"I mind not being ridden," Stick did protest, "Though I confess I do like much to be the rider."
"Harry," Fletcher said, "I wish to have you both as apprentice and catamite if you also have such a wish."
"Indeed I do, sir," Harry smiled most angelically, "And had begged Mr Goodboy to intercede for me with Mr Secretary in that regard, for well I know that Stick sings nothing but your praises and says also that you have a prick of a size that will give me much pleasure. And that," he grinned now openly, "Is a thing I know to be true for I have entertained it ere now on more than a single instance."
"The matter of young de Vere is well concluded," Walsingham said without looking from the paper on which he wrote, though how he knew of it already Fletcher had no notion for he had to Westminster gone direct and with haste straight from the house of Mr Goodboy. "And I have here signed the warrant for the arrest and search of the house and park of this Sir William Rich directly by persuivants."
He tapped the paper before him to say that it was so.
others taken as they watched your house have to the Tower been already taken,
and I am told that Mr Gentle's boy did but show them the instruments of their
trade and two confessed straight who sent them and for what purpose. Trusting
not their words, and rightly so, Mr Gentle did ask others to confirm and with
but little stretching on the rack did get that confirmation.
A nest of foul vipers have you uncovered here, Thomas; foul, dangerous and unnatural vipers. The Queen is much distressed that such things could happen in her land, and this Sir William is to straight to the tower for questioning. That he be a man of some birth and connection will protect him nothing against charges of Devilry."
"I would have also wished to discover clear the slayer of Sir James and of the boy Ganymede," Fletcher said, for he considered his work there to be incomplete.
"More will we doubtless know when Rich has answered a question or two," Walsingham shrugged and it was clear that, for him, the matter was complete already.
"Now I have
another matter for you to investigate, Thomas. There is a house in Coldharbour
Lane, close by the Curtain playhouse. You will be in need of greater
accommodation than now you have for now you have a groom as well as his wife to
house. And a second apprentice also.
You will require a stable for the groom and for your horses also, is that not so?"
"It is a matter I had not thought on, sir, for I have had not the time to do so, nor do I have the funds for such a thing."
have now, Thomas. And as for funds, I do believe a grateful monarch will reward
you amply for your endeavours in behalf of the peace of her realm.
From the estate of one William Rich, I do believe."
"I know not what to say," Fletcher stumbled his words for indeed he had expected no such recognition.
nothing," Walsingham shrugged, "And come to me tomorrow to report on that
house, for you have need of it directly as Master de Vere will attend you as
apprentice by the week's end.
No doubt I will be in a position to apprise you of Rich's answers to his questions also. Though perhaps," he added as afterthought, "It were best you attend Mr Gentle direct and hear what he has learned from him, for he writes not well and doth leave out many things."
"A new house?" Jane questioned, her eyes bright shining, "And one with so many rooms and a stable also? I will need more help, Mr Fletcher. A boy at least to aid in the kitchen and another for Robert in the stable. And one to fetch and carry and chop wood and make fires, for a house of such a size will need fires in many rooms."
The house was indeed larger by far than the one Fletcher at present owned. Timber framed with the ground floor clad outside in brick, it had a small hall for entertainment as well as a parlour on the ground floor, a solar of ample proportions and bedrooms of number five, though Fletcher saw not the need for them as only one would see occupants unless there be guests.
"There be no need to rush in that matter, Jane. Let us settle in first and then see what help you may require."
"At least three boys, Mr Fletcher," Jane was adamant, "And mayhap another, for when I grow large with my child I will need one to fulfil some of my tasks."
"Perhap a girl would be better suited there," Fletcher ventured, but Jane would hear not of it.
"Boys, sir, all boys, for this be not a house for maids. And I will do the searching and the hiring sir, for they will be under me in this house and I would have none that may cause me trouble."
Though Fletcher would much have preferred to do the choosing, for he had suspicion that Jane would find boys suitable enough for the work they were to do, but of such uncomely appearance that nor he nor Stick would desire them for purpose other, he had no choice but to consent, for Jane was already a woman of some force and not to be crossed in her designs.