Pauper, 9

Swapping Places Means You Have a Person Who Understands Your Problems Intimately

Ao3 Link

Niall didn’t know the servants who’d come into his room with him, two young men he’d never seen before who’d helped him out of Russ’s clothes and into a hot bath. They’d washed his skin and done his nails, chiding him for having bitten them so much. Niall had completely ignored them, and they’d moved on and fixed his hair and rubbed him with oil and perfume without saying another word.

He’d never paid the servants enough attention. These ones obviously worked for his uncle. How many of Niall’s other servants did as well? But he knew these two had never bathed him before, because they washed him between his legs, which Niall had never used to let his servants do. He’d been shy about the idea of someone touching him there. These two clearly didn’t know that and did it anyway.

Niall let them. What did it matter? And he didn’t want to cause a scene. Russ had already done that in the throne room earlier, pulling down their pants in front of everyone and forcing Nolan to admit that his nephew wasn’t circumcised.

Why had they done that? Now they were in the dungeon with Buck and Doggy, and Niall was in his room, warm and comfortable. Well, cooling down. He’d told the servants he could dress himself and sent them away, and had just sat on his bed naked, looking down at his dick. If he didn’t have his foreskin, Russ would never have been able to prove which of them was which. They could have just kept living Niall’s life and probably everyone would have preferred that. Russ was friendly and nice, and Niall had seen the looks on everyone’s faces when they’d been taken away.

Nobody had wanted Niall back. Not even Nolan. That had been clear. He’d stood there, in front of Niall’s father’s throne, and he’d pretended that he didn’t know Niall, that Niall was an imposter even though he’d just been about to rape Niall an hour earlier. Niall hadn’t considered that Nolan had his carriage. He’d gotten back to the castle first, even if he’d been tied up. Gil must have untied him.

Niall was back in the castle, in his room, comfortable and safe. Everything was where it should be. But he felt like everything had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

The door opened without a knock or announcement, and Nolan came in. “Niall,” he said, pausing. “Why aren’t you dressed? You’ll freeze to death.”

There was a fire in the hearth. Niall wasn’t that cold, just cooler than he had been. It was better to feel cold than to feel nothing, anyway. “I’m fine,” he said quietly, resisting the urge to hide himself. Not, he realized, because there was someone in the room. Because Nolan was in the room.

“Don’t be foolish. We can’t have you getting sick too,” Nolan said, shutting the door. He came over, lifted Niall’s smallclothes from the top of the neat pile the servants had left for him. “Come on.”

Niall let Nolan pull the smallclothes over his ankles, then stood so Nolan could pull them up. “You’d rather I was naked, though.”

Nolan paused, looking up at Niall. It hurt to look back. He pulled Niall’s smallclothes up, covering him. “What happened in the East Quarter was a misunderstanding, Niall. I was there to rescue you.”

“You were there to rape me. Just like you were all the other times.”

“I’d never been there before. I’d managed to figure out what Russ had done, who he was. He killed your father, Niall. And he’d trapped you in that awful, wretched place to hurt you and destroy our family.”

It would be so easy to believe that. It would be so much easier if Niall could just believe that to be true and move on with his life. He wanted it to be true so badly. “My father is dead?” he asked quietly.

Nolan didn’t answer, getting Niall to sit down so he could slowly put his socks on. Niall noticed how his hand lingered before he pulled on his garters. Once he’d clipped them in place, he sighed. “Yes, he died a few minutes ago. I’m so sorry, Niall.”

Niall nodded. There was an enormity to that, and it was one he wished he could feel. But it was just one more enormity piled on his bare shoulders. “Can I have a hug?” he whispered.

“Of course.”

Niall stood up again, and Nolan hugged him, that tight, firm hug he always gave Niall, his hand on Niall’s barely-clothed ass. Niall hugged him back, imagining strangling Nolan like this, somehow. “What’s going to happen?”

“In a few days we’ll hold your father’s funeral,” said Nolan. “And then you’ll be coronated king.”

“I can’t be king,” said Niall. “I’m not qualified.”

“Everyone thinks that when this happens. The council talked about naming a regent for you, but they all agreed that you were competent to rule. They all believe in you.” There was a tightness to his voice when he said that. Was he angry? Of course he was. He’d done all this, and Russ had ruined it. Nolan had pretended not to know Niall, had planned to kill his own brother and set Russ up as a puppet, rule through him as regent.

Niall wondered if Nolan would have left him in the brothel, kept visiting him. He wondered why the council had decided that Niall was fit to…well, no, he didn’t wonder that. They hadn’t decided that he was fit to rule. They’d probably all seen Russ this last week and thought that they’d make a great king. Monarch. Niall didn’t know.

They were probably right. He’d make a better one than Niall, anyway. Anyone would make a better king than Niall, he knew that now.

No, not anyone.

Nolan wouldn’t.

Niall let go, waited a few seconds for Nolan to release him from the hug. “Uncle Nolan, is it okay if I go to sleep? Tomorrow’s going to be really hard.”

“It is,” Nolan agreed. He smiled. “Sure. I’ll get your nightgown.”

Niall shook his head. “I’ll sleep like this. I mean, you’re always saying I shouldn’t be so shy. Where’s Sally?”

“Down in the servants’ quarters. I’ll have him released from service tomorrow. None of this would have happened if he’d been with you. I think he probably knew and didn’t say anything.”

Niall did too, but he didn’t think that was a bad thing. At least Russ hadn’t been alone with Nolan this whole time. “Okay. Goodnight, Uncle Nolan.”

“Goodnight, Niall. I’ll see you in the morning.” Niall nodded, and then he leaned up and kissed Nolan on the cheek. Nolan looked surprised, but he kissed Niall back. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” lied Niall.

Nolan left him there, and once the door was shut, Niall wiped his mouth and started pulling on the rest of his clothes. He was tired. He was so tired. It would be so much easier to go to bed, just close his eyes and not be himself until tomorrow at least. But things being easy didn’t mean they were right. He pulled his pants on, tucked his shirt into them. He tried hard to tie his laces, realized he didn’t know how. It wasn’t as easy as the servants made it look. So he left them undone, searching his wardrobe for a belt to keep his pants up.

The guards at the door would have been told not to let him out, Niall thought, looking at himself in the mirror on the door. Because he was so distraught. And because Nolan wanted him to stay here. He’d have to make them listen to him. He’d have to convince them. He’d have to…

Niall took his pants off, and his shirt too. He put on a different one that buttoned up, but didn’t do up the buttons. It was long enough to hide his smallclothes. Niall put the belt around his waist, just barely keeping the shirt closed at the bottom. He couldn’t tell if he looked stupid or not, but it was time to find out. Niall went and opened the door. There was only one guard out there, another one Niall had never seen, and he turned his square face to look down at Niall. “Your Majesty, you have to stay in the room, it might not be safe…” he trailed off, seeing that Niall wasn’t wearing pants.

Niall looked up at him. Rooms that were being guarded from intruders had two guards. Rooms that were being guarded to stop people leaving had one. Nolan knew he wasn’t in danger. “I heard a noise,” he said quietly. “Can you come check to make sure there isn’t a murderer in my wardrobe?”

“Well…of course, your Majesty,” said the guard. He came inside the room, checked in the wardrobe, the bath, the closet, under the bed. Niall waited by the door, watching. And when the guard came back, he smiled. “There’s nothing in here, sir,” said the guard.

Niall nodded, let him go by. He shook himself, then hugged the guard from behind. “Thank you,” he said. “For protecting me. What’s your name?”

“Glenn, and it’s…my honour to do so, your Majesty…”

Niall nodded, his hands wandering down. He was clumsy, but he undid the guard’s belt without too much trouble. “I want to thank you, Glenn.”

“You don’t have to…”

“I know I don’t have to,” Niall said, sliding his hand down Glenn’s pants and gripping his cock. “I’m a prince, I don’t have to do anything. I want to. So if you also want to, you could…let me thank you for your…service…”

He felt like such an idiot, but the guard swallowed. He was hard already. “Well as long as you…want to…”

“I do,” said Niall, smiling. He let go, got Glenn to turn around. And Niall got down on his knees, pulling down Glenn’s pants. He took a breath, but made himself smile Russ’s smile up Glenn before licking the head of his cock, kissing the tip. Niall licked and kissed and sucked Glenn’s cock all over, focused on getting it done so he could go. He was trying to remember the lessons Doggy had given him yesterday. He’d spent two hours with Doggy’s dick in his mouth being educated about how to do this right.

He didn’t have Doggy’s warm voice praising him when he did it right, but it seemed like he must be doing it well, because Glenn was panting, standing there, shaking all over. He didn’t even put his hands on Niall’s head, let alone call him a good boy. But his dick was twitching in Niall’s mouth, and even Niall, who had only been doing this for a few days, had to wonder how often this guy was getting off if he was already about to cum.

He did cum, and Niall made sure to put his lips fully over the head of his cock. He tried to ignore the taste and worried about swallowing, since he didn’t want it to be on his face. A small amount did escape to slide down his chin, but that was okay. Niall pulled away, and stood up, wiping his mouth on Glenn’s sleeve. “Thank you,” he said with the smile Buck taught him to use to make customers feel like they mattered..

“Thank…thank you, your Majesty,” said Glenn, breath shaking.

Niall nodded. “I’m going to go to the kitchen to get a snack. Stay at my door and pretend I’m here until I get back?”

“I’m really not supposed to let you…”

Niall tightened his grip on Glenn’s arm, stepping closer, pressing himself against him. “And when I come back,” he said, getting on his toes. He took Glenn’s hand and put it on his butt. “You can…tuck me into bed?”

Glenn’s cock throbbed against Niall. “Okay,” he whispered.

“Good. When I’m king, maybe I’ll make you one of my private bodyguards,” said Niall. “If I can trust you to be…discreet.”

“You can trust me, your Majesty!”

“Good. Pull your pants up and guard my door until I get back.” Niall turned away, headed out, stretching his arms above his head so his shirt would rise and show off his ass. Glenn didn’t stop him.

He felt good about that, Niall thought, as he headed away from his rooms. He’d thought he’d feel gross about it, but it felt…powerful. He’d done that, just him. It had been his idea, and then he’d done it, and it had gotten him exactly what he’d wanted. He wondered who else it would work on. Maybe lots of people.

The castle was empty except for some patrols of guards that Niall avoided—he didn’t have time to suck off every guard in the castle—and some servants, whom he similarly stayed away from. Niall made it all the way to the dungeons without anyone seeing him, and went down the stairs.

He’d never been down there, but there was a small room with a door guarded by two guards with spears. They stood at attention. Okay. Niall could suck two more dicks. He gave them Russ’s smile this time. “Hi,” he said. “I know you’re not supposed to let anyone in, but it would really mean a lot to me to be able to face my imposter.”

“I’m sorry, your Majesty,” the guard on the left said, straightening even more when Niall looked right at him. “We’re forbidden from letting you in.”

Of course they were, there were two of them. Niall took a step forward, put his hand on the guard’s arm. “I’m sure I can…convince you to change your mind?”

“No, sir.”

“I won’t tell my uncle if you don’t…” Niall let his hand drift downward.

“I’m sorry, your Majesty,” said the guard, taking Niall’s hand and pulling it away. “We’ve already opened the door once tonight and gotten in trouble. Reece, take him back to his room.”

“Come right this way, please, your Majesty.”

Oh. So he couldn’t just smile and suck everyone off. That was a bit disappointing, he’d felt so good about that. The other guard, Reece, reached out, took Niall’s hand. Niall had to do something. He had to…

He thought about Doggy, and Doggy’s face earlier tonight when Niall had sneered at him. And he yanked his hand away from Reece. “Don’t you touch me,” he snapped, putting every thorn he could into it.

Reece stepped back. The first guard straightened even more. Good. “I’m sorry, your Majesty. But you have to…”

“I don’t have to do anything,” Niall said, tilting his head so he was looking down his nose. “You thought you were in trouble before? Don’t you ever dare presume to give me orders again or I’ll make sure you’re both licking latrines clean for the rest of your lives, do you understand?”

“I’m sorry, your Majesty…”

“I said, do you understand?” Niall repeated, crossing his arms.

They both saluted him, spears slamming into the ground. “Yes, your Majesty!”

“Good. On the floor, both of you.”

They didn’t question him now, getting on their knees. “The floor,” Niall said, putting his entire sneer into the word.

They glanced at each other, and both of them lay right down on their bellies. “Please don’t be angry, your Majesty…” the first one said.

Niall bent over, took the keys off his belt. He didn’t protest. “I’ll think about letting you off easily,” he said, straightening. “As long as you’re both still in this exact position when I come back, do you understand?”

“Y-yes, your Majesty!”

“Good.” Niall unlocked the door and made sure to step on both of them on his way into the dungeons.

Only once the door was shut behind him did he take a breath. Wow. That had been…fun. He’d gotten a bit of a boner, actually. Suddenly he understood the sex thing Doggy and Buck had been talking about before. Niall could get into sex more if he got to be mean to people. He should have had them lay on their backs so he could see if they’d gotten boners from it too.

Okay, he’d think about that later. Niall grabbed a torch from near the door and headed into the dungeons, telling himself that it didn’t matter that it was dirty and cold and dark and…there. One of the cells was occupied, and Niall hurried over to it. The keys were heavy in his hand as he brought one to the lock, setting the torch down. “Who’s that?” That was Buck’s voice.

“It’s me,” Niall said. The key didn’t work, so he tried another one.

“Prince Niall?”

“Sally? Why are you…” That was a stupid question. Of course Nolan had locked him up, he was the one who’d hit him. “Did they hurt you? Any of you?”

“No, none of us,” said Doggy. “Just a few bruises. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Niall promised, trying a third key. How many fucking keys did there need to be? “Are you guys? Russ, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Russ said, coming over to lean against the bars. “Niall, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”

“No,” said Niall, frustrated. Another key. “It’s…”

“Please don’t say it’s your fault. You didn’t cause any of this, I promise,” said Russ.

“No,” Niall agreed. “It’s not my fault.” The lock clicked, and the door swung open. He looked up at them. “It’s Nolan’s. And I need your guys’s help to deal with him.”

The door open, Russ hugged Niall, and Niall hugged back, and it felt so much, so much better and so much different than hugging Nolan. Russ let him go, and they smiled at Niall. It didn’t look like their usual smile. It looked like…“Okay,” said Russ. “Of course we’ll help you.”

Niall nodded, and stepped into the cell. “I…would understand if you didn’t. If you want to just escape.”

“Don’t be stupid. This is both of our problem now. It’s all of our problem.”

It was. Niall knew that. They were all stuck together. They were all…friends. Maybe. He looked at Russ, and he smiled Russ’s own smile at him. “Okay. I have a plan.”

Russ smiled back, Niall’s smile on their lips. “I’m listening.”

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