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Noah didn't have much in the way of souvenirs from his vacation in Paris. He didn't have a tan to show off, or a tattoo. He didn't have a shelf full of knickknacks or a stack of postcards. But he did have a pair of worn-in chaps, a couple of very nice welts from his Master's whip on his back, and some great stories. Even his pictures, the few he had taken, had come out fairly well.
Dinner was spaghetti. It was a simple meal; after eating out every night for a week he was ready for simple again. He hoped Phan would bring his usual bottle of Coke, of course. Beyond that, he'd made no plans for the evening, thinking that Phan might have something to unload if things were shaky with Bradford, Phan's provisional Dom. When the doorbell rang, Noah found himself hurrying to answer it.
Phantom grinned and bounced at him as soon as he'd opened the door, the bag with the Coke thumping solidly against Noah's back as Phan hugged him. "Oops, sorry! Hey, missed you! God, it smells great in here," Phan babbled at him, all smiles. He was dressed in loose jeans, which was a change for him, and a fuzzy sweatshirt that smelled like incense. "Have a good trip?"
They were still in the hall, for God's sake.
Phan had a way of making Noah smile despite himself. Sure, all this happy cheerful energy could be covering something, but for now it was fun and Noah went with it. "Oh, my God, Phan. I've never had a vacation like that. Paris is beautiful, and one of the kinkiest towns I have ever been in." He took Phan's bag and headed for the kitchen. "Come in, come in!"
"Paris? Really? Ah, you've never been to Rio." Phan was hard on his heels, one hand skimming Noah's back. "So? Pictures?Shopping? Did you go to the Louvre? The Eiffel Tower? Tell me everything! Well, not everything, just the highlights, but tell me everything. And feed me."
"I've never been anywhere until now. Sit!" Noah laughed and went to the stove. "Pictures are right there on the table. The Eiffel Tower was my favorite touristy thing, I think; the view and the evening air, it was romantic and beautiful and I felt like such a kid in love. The Mona Lisa was cool, too, I guess. But, Jesus, we had to wait in this long-ass line."
"The lady still draws a crowd," Phan said absently and Noah looked over to see him rifling through the photos. "God, it's beautiful," Phan said, flipping to the next one. "Some of these are really nice, Noah."
"Thank you." Noah put a pile of pasta in the center of Phan's plate and then one on his own. "Did you check out the one I got the other American tourists to take of us? That's my only picture of Tobias and me together; it came out pretty good, huh?"
"Uh-huh. You both look insanely happy," Phan said with a grin. "And he should always smile. Well, unless he's whipping your ass; it wouldn't work so well then, but you know what I mean." Phan looked through a couple more photos and finally set them aside. "He looks good," he said simply. "So do you."
"Thanks." Noah smiled at Phan, who looked a little thin to Noah, but he couldn't be sure, so he decided not to say anything about it. "It was such an amazing week. I have a couple of other things to show off, but eat first." Noah handed Phan a serving pitcher of sauce. "That's homemade, but quickly. I didn't stew it all day like I should have. Hope it's okay."
"If it's got garlic, it'll be good. You worry too much." Phan grinned again and dug into his plate with flattering speed. "So, what's this other stuff you wanna show off? Sir buy you presents?" He winked outrageously and took another mouthful. "Mm. Good."
"One or two notable ones, yeah." Noah had planned to wait until they were done eating, but he was too proud of his marks not to show them off. "Look." He stood up, turned his back to Phan, and tugged his sweater up to his shoulders. "Bullwhip. In public, in this club that was so strict I wasn't allowed to speak at all."
There was dead silence behind him and then he heard Phan's chair scrape back. "Shit," Phan breathed, and warm fingers traced around the mark on his right shoulder. "That's ... wow. Not at all? God, did you make it?"