Karl and dougray Scott: Christmas Eve
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"The potted Christmas Eve is a Scott family tradition," Dougray explains, shutting the front door of the guest house. Dried sticks crunch beneath their boots as he and Karl cross the short distance to the main house. "As is the obligatory Christmas morning hangover, naturally. But he who is masculine among you shall not mention it."
Karl laughs. He takes Dougray's hand in his and gives it a squeeze and his lover a smile. "Sounds good to me. You don't have any mean drunks in your family though, do you?"
"Bombastic, yes. Mean, no. Smile and nod if the House of Lords bores you," Dougray replies, grinning back. "Dad and my brother might get into it, but they won't expect us to have an opinion. Conveniently."
"Yeah?" Karl leans in to kiss that smile while he still can. "I know Harry and I are the resident Kiwis but how come you get a pass?"
The kiss is too brief, but good, a stolen moment in view of his parents' house. "Because I never cared anyway. They gave up on me a long time ago. Thank god," Dougray adds reflectively.
He reaches to push open the front door but it swings wide on its own, and he falls back, stepping away for Karl to enter the home first. "Frederick, thank you," Dougray murmurs to the butler standing attentively just inside the house.
Karl nods at the butler and stamps his feet off on the rug in front of the door before stepping further into the large foyer. He gives Dougray a look, wondering if the butler was watching for them or if they'd been loud enough to hear coming. Christ. What a fucking place.
Peeling out of his coat, Dougray wonders what that look was about. For all his bluff and bravado, he's more than a bit concerned for how this holiday weekend will go; meeting a group of family members at once can never be anything less than an onslaught. He's just hoping to keep his lovers comfortable in the now, and assess damages later.
"Your father and brother are waiting in the library, Sir," Frederick announces, taking their coats. "If you'll--"
"We'll find it," Dougray cuts in, "thank you." He softens his interruption with a smile, and leads Karl down a wide dark hallway. "Hate it when he sirs me," he mutters. "Feels so fucking weird."
Karl chuckles softly. "I can imagine," he comments, trying to keep a straight face.
"You know, maybe if you and Harry gave me that birthday treatment and called me Sir more often yourselves, then it wouldn't feel so alien," Dougray suggests with a sly grin. He pauses in front of a paneled oak door and attempts his own innocent face. "No?"
"You go ahead and suggest that to Harry," Karl says, grinning like hell now.
Dougray just snickers. Yeah, maybe if he wants to earn himself a night in chains with no orgasm. He shakes his head and opens the door to find two men already waiting within, backlit by the sunset washing the windows. "Dad, you remember Karl," he prompts the older gentleman sitting in a favored armchair.
Lord Scott nods and lays his cigar down so he can hold out his hand. "Of course. Karl, welcome to my home."
"Thank you, sir. It's a pleasure to see you again," Karl says, shaking the man's hand. "You have a lovely home."
"The estate's been in my family for centuries, an award for loyal service to the crown," the gentleman explains. "When my ancestors--"
"Which crown is the question you should be asking," the other man cuts in, leaning tall and dark against the fireplace. "Scotland never--"
"And this is my brother Marcus," Dougray cuts in smoothly, seeing the light of battle in his father's eye already. "Marcus, please meet Karl Urban, one of my partners."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Karl says promptly, offering his hand to Dougray's brother, his eye quickly noting the similarities and differences between the two siblings.
"You, too," Marcus answers, his manner friendly enough although Dougray can tell underneath he's still not quite sure about them. "And where's...?"
"Harry. He's taking advantage of the opportunity to wrap some gifts without us peeking over his shoulder," Dougray explains with a grin at Karl. "He'll be here soon." He picks up a bottle of aged scotch and tops off his father's glass before pouring for Karl, their fingers brushing briefly as he hands him the glass. It feels strange to serve anyone before he serves one of his sirs, but then, it's his father; he doesn't even want to think about the furious speculation that he'd start up behind closed doors should he do otherwise.
"Thanks," Karl murmurs, taking a drink. "Mm. Very nice." He looks at both men then glances at Dougray, entirely unsure what the hell to talk to them about. "And the ladies? Will they be joining us?"
"God, no." Marcus looks startled by the very idea. "How could they talk about us to death with us standing right in front of them? Kelly tells me everything I do wrong the rest of the year. Tonight's Christmas."
Dougray smothers a smile and gestures Karl to sit down on a plush upholstered sofa, hoping to somehow put him more at ease. "Mum prefers brandy anyway," he explains. "She and Maura and Kelly are probably watching the little ones and, well, talking about us to death. Speaking of the kids, why isn't Christopher in here anyway?" he asks Marcus. "I would have thought him old enough to join us now."
"Next year," Marcus answers.
"You said that last year," Lord Scott points out.
"Kelly said next year."
"That settles it, then." Lord Scott holds out his cigar case. "Do you smoke, Karl?"
Karl shakes his head. "No, sir, but thank you." He's certain it'll earn him another black mark but he's damned if he's going to pretend to be anything he isn't.
"Eh, neither does that one," Dougray's father says with a shrug, gesturing towards Dougray. "Quit after his divorce."
The silence is suddenly so thick it's oppressive, and at first Dougray wonders just why; it wasn't that awkward a remark, he didn't think...
But then his brother tosses back the rest of his drink in one go and exclaims, "Explain to me how you get two. Is that a gay thing?"
Dougray chokes on his scotch.
And Karl almost does too, but he recovers quickly. "Yup. That's it exactly. Buy one, get one free," he says, eyes glinting with mischief.
Dougray stares at Karl in horror, unsure whom he wants to smack more. All right, so it can't be Karl. "Marcus, what the...? Have you been dying to ask that all this time? Christ!"
"Dougray!" Lord Scott's voice is stern.
"What? You're calling me out and not him?" Dougray feels like a child again. It seems to happen every year around this time.
Marcus spreads his arms wide. "I just want to know! It's not fucking fair to the rest of us!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake." Dougray covers his eyes with his hand, then thinks better of it and swallows the last of his scotch in one swift burn.
"Both of you! If your mother were here!"
As if he didn't start the whole firestorm himself, Marcus points at Karl. "See this? This is exactly why we don't invite the women."
Karl laughs, although he's really not sure it wouldn't be better if they were here. Christ. "Harry and I were already together - had been for a long time - when Dougray met us. That's how he ended up with two, as you put it."
Marcus looks like he's on the verge of another impudent question, but restrains himself -- barely. Of course, Dougray doesn't help matters when he adds archly, "See? It's easy. Go find a girl you and Kelly both like, and bring her home."
"Fine, fine." Dougray waves it off, annoyed with himself for taking the bait. He gets up with a sigh, crossing the room to fetch the bottle of Macallan. "Let's talk politics."
Karl laughs again. "I'll be claiming the Kiwi exemption but I'll be happy to listen to you folks," he says, taking another drink of scotch, the taste of which might actually make up for everything else. Maybe.
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