A Very Queer Set of Gentlemen

“You are moving the balls about by magic!” Grant exclaimed. “I saw you touch your nose!”

Strange was quite put out by this accusation. “I did no such thing. Good god! Might a man sneeze?”

De Lancey, from his place at the head of the billiards table, smirked. Grant and Strange were being their usual incorrigible selves, indulging in a battle of sardonic observations and smart remarks. The three of them were occupying a side room at the Bedford, steadily working their way through a decanter of excellent port as they talked and pretended at gaming. It was a far cry from their days in the peninsula, rationing the odd snifter of brandy and having neither the time nor inclination for entertainment.

Title: A Very Queer Set of Gentlemen

Author: nothinghamshire (neut)

Characters: Colquhoun Grant/Jonathan Strange/Colonel De Lancey

Summary:  Jonathan Strange enjoys some downtime with his army friends at the Bedford.

Archivist’s Notes: Originally published on the jsamn kinkmeme, and then on AO3 in August 2015.  The author has now closed their accounts on both channels, but agreed to allow NPS to archive the story here.  Give Him a Mask and He’ll Tell You the Truth is also hosted on NPS.

Author’s Notes: Written in response to no less than three prompts on the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell kink meme calling for some Grant/De Lancey/Strange action.

First and foremost, the original prompt which inspired this fic:

Strange palling around with his army buddies and seemingly getting pretty tipsy was the best thing ever. Can we have a different night that doesn’t end in mirror adventures but instead threesome officer/magician/officer sandwich sexytime adventures? The boys want to catch up with Merlin after those heady Peninsular days.

I will happily admit that I later prompted Grant/De Lancey as I was so keen for De Lancey to make his debut on the meme. I caved in when another anon responded to that prompt wanting a Bedford threesome. It just had to be done.

A word on De Lancey: it will come as no surprise to the reader that I am a big fan of TV!De Lancey for all that we see of him. I took his sass and absolutely ran with it for this one. It turns out that there was indeed a Lieutenant-Colonel William Howe De Lancey who fought in the Napoleonic wars and died at the Battle of Waterloo. It feels safe to assume that this is the very same Lieutenant-Colonel De Lancey that appears in the book, although I haven’t been able to find this confirmed anywhere. However, for the purposes of this fic, I have used the name William.

A word on billiards: I know jack about it. I read the rules and still don’t get it, so I kept the billiards terminology to a minimum. Apologies for any glaring errors.

A word on the title: a description of Strange and his friends as given by the Nottinghamshire gentleman in the novel.

See the end of the work for more notes.


A Very Queer Set of Gentlemen

“You are moving the balls about by magic!” Grant exclaimed. “I saw you touch your nose!”

Strange was quite put out by this accusation. “I did no such thing. Good god! Might a man sneeze?”

De Lancey, from his place at the head of the billiards table, smirked. Grant and Strange were being their usual incorrigible selves, indulging in a battle of sardonic observations and smart remarks. The three of them were occupying a side room at the Bedford, steadily working their way through a decanter of excellent port as they talked and pretended at gaming. It was a far cry from their days in the peninsula, rationing the odd snifter of brandy and having neither the time nor inclination for entertainment.

“Quite right, Merlin,” De Lancey said, watching Grant very carefully as he bent to take a shot. “I firmly believe that a man should scratch his itches.”

As he struck the ball, Grant rolled his eyes. He had known De Lancey long enough to know what he was about, even when he was being ridiculously oblique. The cue ball bounced off the cushion at the far end of the table, though Grant’s aim proved poor and resulted in a foul shot. He cursed under his breath and straightened up, disgruntled. He was in no way surprised to find that De Lancey was standing close enough to him that their shoulders were touching.

“Wouldn’t you agree, Grant?” he asked, simply.

Grant’s mouth twisted into a wry smile as he moved to collect his glass from the edge of the table. He gave De Lancey a knowing look and a slow answer.

“Oh, I’m sure that I would.”

De Lancey looked amused at this, as he did by anything that wasn’t liable to either get him killed or put him on the wrong side of Wellington.

Grant turned his attention back to Strange and picked up on the discussion they had been having before his cry of foul play. “Could they not have least given you a Baronetcy?”

Strange laughed. “I am afraid that it would have been quite impossible to enoble me and not Mr Norrell, and Sir Walter said that no one in the Government much liked the thought of having to address Norrell as my lord.”

“An altogether depressing thought,” De Lancey agreed. “And truly, what has the man done for England?”

Strange lowered his eyes, giving his attention to the table. “He has done what he can,” he said, blankly.

Grant frowned at De Lancey. Neither of them held particularly high opinions of Norrell based on what Strange had told them of him.

“Mr Norrell,” Grant said, “Has hidden in his library doing little more than making a nuisance of himself for the Government while you, sir, have changed the face of modern warfare.”

De Lancey raised his glass. “Well said, Grant. I shall drink to that.”

Grant tipped his glass towards De Lancey from the opposite side of the table and they both sank the dregs of their wine. Strange sighed, though his familiar mocking smile was threatening to make an appearance.

“Pardon me, gentlemen,” he said. “But I rather thought we were playing a game?”

De Lancey grinned, reaching for the wine decanter. “I rather thought Grant was losing a game.”

Grant scoffed at this, though he was quite content to offer his glass for a refill when De Lancey stepped forward. “We shall see how well you fare when pitted against a magician.”

Strange shook his head. “Really, Grant,” he said. “When will you give up these foolish notions about my magic and admit that I am simply the better player?”

De Lancey laughed and clapped Grant across the back. “He does make a fair point.”

Grant cleared his throat. “Your shot, Merlin.”

Strange grinned at De Lancey as he bent and took his shot in one long, graceful movement. They all watched as the red was potted.

De Lancey laughed and Strange turned to Grant. “Look at it this way,” he offered. “De Lancey is likely to be utterly jug-bitten* by the time you play him, so you may very well stand a chance of winning that game.”

This amused De Lancey no end. “You truly have the measure of me, sir.”

Grant smirked. “And who does not? It is no great secret that all you need to find contentment is a hearty meal, good wine and someone to warm your bed.”

De Lancey moved away and dropped onto the sopha. “Quite right,” he said. “Do you see anything wrong with that, Merlin?”

Strange shook his head. “Absolutely not, Lieutenant-Colonel. Now that I have been in a war, I find that I have a far greater appreciation for the simple things in life.”

De Lancey tipped his glass towards Strange with a nod. “Now, I have partaken of an excellent meal and I am not wanting for good wine…”

“Ah,” Grant interjected. “But you have yet an itch to scratch, I’ll warrant.”

De Lancey began to loosen the buttons on his jacket. “And you, dear Grant, need an incentive to play better. So, what do you say to this, gentleman: the first to two-hundred points may have me.”

Grant laughed despite his expression of distaste. “You are too much.”

De Lancey grinned back at him. “Afraid that you may have to relinquish your dear Merlin to me?”

Strange suddenly cleared his throat, as though to remind them that he was indeed still present. He was, Grant noted, considerably red in the face. “Forgive me,” Strange said, hesitantly. “But… the war is over.”

“Indeed it is,” De Lancey replied. “What of it?”

Strange opened his mouth a few times, as though about to speak, but it seemed he could not find the words. Grant, sensing his discomfort, helpfully interjected. “I think Mr Strange was under the impression that certain acts were confined to the peninsula. Is that right?”

“Yes… you said yourself, Major Grant, that there were… concessions… that could be made. We were in unusual circumstances, after all.”

“Oh,” De Lancey said, dimissing the notion with a wave of his hand. “It is a lie men tell themselves to make peace with their desires. I had thought your wits sharp enough to have fathomed that.”

Grant sighed. Tact was not De Lancey’s strong point. He turned to Strange and said, “We need not speak of it, if it does not please you. Let us finish the game.”

No!” Strange replied somewhat urgently. “That is to say, I have missed that particular type of… company. Not to say that my wife isn’t forthcoming; heaven knows we have made up for much of the lost time, but…”

Grant and De Lancey shared amused smiles. The war had changed Jonathan Strange in a great many ways, but in many others he was still quintessentially Merlin.

“Billiards be damned, then,” De Lancey said, the very picture of decadence draped on the sopha as he was. “But seeing as how Merlin would quite clearly have been the first to reach two hundred – and I dare say by a wide margin – it seems only fair that he should go first.”

Strange looked between them both. “W-well… right.”

De Lancey smiled and clapped his hands together. “Excellent. I say, might you conceal the room with magic?”

Grant shook his head and crossed the room, pointedly closing and locking the door. “Does that meet with your requirements?”

De Lancey chuckled, approaching him with his discarded cue stick. “Merlin and I have business to attend to. Why don’t you…” he gestured towards the table. “Play with your balls?”

Strange could not help but laugh, if only at Grant’s appalled expression. De Lancey rounded the table and gave him an appraising look.

“You know, I have missed you. And not just for your excellent conversational skills and marvelous acts of magic.”

Strange took this with a pinch of salt, as he found was the best way to take anything which De Lancey said. De Lancey stood very close and Strange noticed him properly for what felt like the first time. The red glints in his hair, the faint dusting of freckles. He had no recollection of them from darkened tents in Portugal when they had often worn days’ worth of dust when they rutted against one another in the night. De Lancey pressed his hand quite insistently against Strange’s crotch and asked, with unusual softness, “May I?”

Lieutenant-Colonel William De Lancey was an odd sort of fellow, Strange thought, as he watched him sink to his knees. Despite outranking both Major Grant and Strange (although not an officer of the British Army, Strange had taken countless orders from the Colonel during his commission), when it came to conjugal matters, nothing seemed to better please him than serving others. He deftly unbuttoned the placket of Strange’s breeches and presently had him in hand, working him to full hardness. Strange was acutely aware of Grant watching them from the opposite side of the table.

“Uh-” Strange began to speak, though the application of De Lancey’s tongue to the head of his cock silenced him. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back as De Lancey properly took up his task, parting his lips and pulling Strange’s cock into his mouth. It was not the first time that De Lancey had performed this particular favour for Strange, though it may very well have been his most thorough execution of the act. He hungrily suckled at Strange’s rigid flesh, playing his tongue about the tip when he pulled back and working the root with his fist all the while. After a few minutes (that may very well have been a lifetime for all Strange new), De Lancey sat back on his heels and looked up.

“And how is that?” he asked, his voice ragged.

Strange made a questioning sound as he came back to his senses. “Yes,” he said. “Yes. Capital.”

De Lancey smiled, pleased with himself. He peered at Grant over the edge of the billiards table and shook his head. “For pity’s sake, Grant, get over here.” He looked back up at Strange, resuming the slow movements of his hand. “He really is very fond of you, you know.”

Strange flushed a very pleasing shade of red and De Lancey once again took him into his mouth. Grant drew up close to Strange and pulled him into an almost tentative kiss. Any doubts that might have plagued the magician were surely lost in that moment. It brought to mind the single instance in Portugal when the three of them had found a suitable time and place to cater to their appetites together. It was the night that their arrangement had gone beyond a practical means of expelling pent up tensions and finding brief respite from the war for Strange. It was the night that he had first allowed Grant to bugger him. As Grant kissed him now, slow and deep, Strange thought on De Lancey’s words and moaned in the back of his throat.

When Grant broke away, he was breathing deeply. Strange was dimly aware that De Lancey’s mouth was gone again and he could hear the sound of rustling fabric. When Grant made a soft grunt and rested his forehead against Strange’s temple, it seemed safe to assume that De Lancey had turned his attentions on him. Strange looked down so that he might confirm his suspicions and the sight left him breathless. The fingers of Grant’s left hand tangled in De Lancey’s fine hair, De Lancey’s full lips wrapped around Grant’s thick, blushing cock. De Lancey turned his gaze up to Strange, a smile in his eyes as he reached out to caress Strange’s prick.

“Good god,” Strange breathed. He looked at Grant, who was watching him with a rapt expression.

De Lancey exhaled dramatically from his place at their feet, demanding their attention. “Grant,” he said. “Be a good chap and undress me, would you?”

Grant arched an eyebrow and asked, playfully, “Is that an order?”

De Lancey smirked. “I rather thought you might enjoy it. Certainly I will.”

Grant offered his hand and pulled De Lancey to his feet. “And what of us?” he asked as he backed De Lancey against the edge of the billiards table. “Are we to undress ourselves?”

Grant bent to apply his lips to the side of De Lancey’s throat as he worked his shirt loose. De Lancey leaned his head to the side to give Grant better access. “Mm. No, not at all. I rather like the look of you and Strange as you are, slightly rumpled, your cocks hanging out.”

Strange took Grant’s place as Grant stooped to loosen De Lancey’s breeches. De Lancey gasped as his prick was exposed to the air and Grant teased him with an agonisingly soft touch. Strange leaned in to kiss De Lancey, who reached up to tangle his fingers in Strange’s dark curls. Grant had De Lancey bare in minutes. He and Strange both shrugged off their waistcoats.

“Anyway,” De Lancey continued quite casually. “Neither of you need be naked for what I have planned and this is hardly the most convenient of places. It would be better if you are able to conceal yourselves at speed if necessary.”

“How terribly practical of you, Colonel,” Strange remarked with a smile.

De Lancey shrugged. “Perhaps, Merlin, we shall one day have the luxury of time and a large bed and Grant might bugger us both raw. But that is not today.”

Grant shook his head, laughing despite himself. De Lancey was surely without shame. He reached out and stroked the tip of one long finger from the hollow of De Lancey’s throat down his torso. “And what is today?”

De Lancey regarded them both with a sultry look. “Today Merlin shall have me over this table and you, my dear Major Grant, shall have my mouth. I trust that is agreeable to you both?”

Strange raised his eyebrows. “I should say so. If you are game?”

Grant laughed, perhaps a little bitterly, for he should have preferred it would be Strange in the middle, or himself at the very least. “He is always game, Merlin.”

“Very good,” De Lancey said. He turned to Grant and pulled him into a hard but brief kiss. “Shall we?”

Then Strange was at De Lancey’s back, pressing up against him, kissing his neck and running his hands over De Lancey’s body. Grant kissed Strange over De Lancey’s shoulder and for some time the three of them remained like this, moving together, hands sliding over heated skin and mouths meeting.

“To hell with it,” Grant said before long, pulling at his clothes. Strange grinned and followed suit.

“Disobedient wretches,” De Lancey gasped as Grant, taking advantage of having to stoop to remove his trousers, teased him with his tongue. He ran the tip up the inside of De Lancey’s thigh, traced his sac and followed the curve of the underside of his prick. Strange, feeling it was only proper to return De Lancey’s earlier favour, dropped down beside Grant and ably assisted him in bringing De Lancey to a state of near delirium. The Colonel, trembling and moaning quite uselessly, had to call them to a halt. He had a bigger prize in mind.

“We shall have to make do without anything to ease the way,” Strange said.

“Spit will suffice, ” De Lancey replied, business-like. “I have managed well enough with it in the past.”

Grant, as ever, was watching Strange and determined a hint of hesitation. “It’s true enough, Merlin,” he confirmed. “Just take your time.”

De Lancey turned and laid his hands flat on the tabletop, parting his legs and bending from the hips to better allow Strange access. Strange merely stood and watched for a moment, before nodding as though committing himself to the task. He held up his right hand to Grant, offering his index finger. “If you please,” he said.

Grant was momentarily struck dumb, but he parted his lips when Strange pressed his finger forward. He proceeded to suckle the digit, ensuring it was good and wet before Strange made to apply it to De Lancey. He watched Strange carefully circle De Lancey’s entrance and then they both of them spat, their saliva meeting at the base of De Lancey’s spine and running down for Strange to make use of. It was slow going and by the time De Lancey had permitted a third finger, Grant had noted that both his and Strange’s cocks were dripping in anticipation. He tentatively reached out to stroke Strange, easing the wetness down his shaft. Strange made a sound that was like a kick to Grant’s gut.

“Grant,” De Lancey said, as though he knew. “Up on the table. Strange, for the love of god, now.”

There was little grace in any of their movements. De Lancey shifted awkwardly, allowing Grant to amble up to sit on the edge of the table. When De Lancey had braced himself on Grant’s thighs, Strange applied one final swipe of saliva to De Lancey’s hole before pressing the tip of his cock against it. De Lancey groaned and Grant hushed him. Strange breached De Lancey with a breathless sigh, then bit his lip hard to hold back the sound that followed. He gritted his teeth, closed his eyes firmly and waited for De Lancey’s word to continue. There was a tense moment before De Lancey turned his eyes up to Grant’s and nodded.

“Go deeper, Merlin,” Grant said. He was ready to capture De Lancey’s weight as he was forced forward and he caught De Lancey’s mouth in a kiss to smother his pained cry.

“Oh,” De Lancey panted against him. “Oh.”

Strange set a smooth pace, his hips coming up to softly bump De Lancey’s until he was ready to taken more forcefully. Grant was rubbing soothing circles on De Lancey’s back as he murmured words of encouragement in his ear. Strange found himself oddly charmed.

“Grant,” De Lancey breathed, his palms flat against Grant’s chest. “Lay back.”

Grant carefully eased himself down off the lip of the table and laid back on the baize, idly wondering about the sturdiness of the Bedford’s billiards tables. He propped himself up on his elbows, reluctant to take his eyes off the spectacle before him and faltered just slightly when De Lancey took him into his mouth once more. He was damnably talented at it and the way he moaned so hungrily about a man’s cock was almost more than Grant could stand, so very close to the edge as he was.

By now Strange was riding De Lancey quite thoroughly and judging by his harsh breaths and grunts, he too was feeling the strain. De Lancey fondled Grant’s balls and one questing finger reached beneath, rubbing at the ever so delicate skin there. Grant canted his hips upwards and De Lancey pulled off him, panting and grinning.

“Not yet,” he gasped and Grant was torn between wanting to choke him and begging him to continue.

Strange, it seemed, was reaching his peak.

“Wait!” De Lancey cried and Strange abruptly came to a halt. “Back up with you, Grant.”

De Lancey summoned surprising strength to pull Grant back up and onto his feet before the table. Strange struggled to keep seated in De Lancey’s body and they took a moment to rearrange themselves until De Lancey was satisfied.

“There,” he said. “Good. Now, Strange, take Grant in hand.”

It was all Grant could do to keep from shouting out in agreement as Strange found his aching prick, his long arm curling around De Lancey and trapping him firmly between himself and Grant.

“Think, Grant. Think how good it felt to fuck Merlin. To be inside him. Knowing you were the first. The only.”

Grant made a sound he didn’t think he had ever made before. He silently cursed De Lancey and his filthy mouth.

“Oh, he likes that, Merlin,” De Lancey went on. “You would too, wouldn’t you? Grant’s strong body underneath you. Watching your cock fill him up.”

Fuck” Strange breathed and his eyes widened in shock.

De Lancey, looking back at him over his shoulder, had a dazed little smile on his face. “Yes,” he said. “Good man. Fuck Major Grant. Fuck him hard.”

Strange slammed his hips forward and De Lancey thankfully had the foresight to press his mouth against Grant’s shoulder, the heated flesh swallowing up the wail that Strange forced from him.

Strange was working Grant’s cock just as intently now and De Lancey reached down to join him. He fixed his eyes on Grant’s. “How did it feel, Grant? To spend in that tight arse? To hear him beg you for it. To feel him tense around your prick? To fill him with your-”

Grant leaned down and bit De Lancey’s shoulder as he spilled in what felt like a torrent, flooding down over Strange and De Lancey’s hands.

“Oh, god,” Strange hissed, watching Grant convulse. “Yes. Yes.”

Grant, collapsing against De Lancey, somehow found the wherewithal to grope for his cock and urge him towards his completion.

“Tell him, Grant,” De Lancey rasped. “Tell him how you want him.”

Grant looked up at Strange over De Lancey’s shoulder. “I… I want you, Jonathan. I want you inside me. I want you to take me hard. Fast. Just like this.”

Strange buried his face in De Lancey’s hair with a weary moan. He brought his hips up once more, twice and then Grant was there, kissing him and De Lancey was wrapped so very tightly between them.

“Come for me,” Grant whispered and Strange was undone. At the first rush of his climax, he felt De Lancey tighten as he too peaked, Grant silencing him with a kiss.

There were a few shaky minutes when the three of them did nothing but breathe and try to find their senses. Before long Strange’s cock began to soften and he carefully extricated himself from De Lancey who, for his part, was quite done. His thighs were quivering with the strain of standing without support, so Strange and Grant helped him to the sopha despite being drained from their own exertion.

“You two,” De Lancey murmured when he was seated. “You’re quite hopeless.”

Grant, from his place on De Lancey’s right, looked incredulous. “I hardly think you are in any position to say that.”

De Lancey grinned rather stupidly. “Oh, do be quiet Grant and give him a kiss.”

There were not a great many things that could cause Major Colquhoun Grant to blush, but this proved very effective. Strange, seated on De Lancey’s left, merely smiled. He leaned over De Lancey’s prone form and pulled Grant into a kiss, soft and slow and altogether sweet.

“Good,” De Lancey said, patting them both on their knees. “Very good.”


Notes: *Jug-bitten = a rather brilliant piece of Regency slang meaning, quite simply, drunk



3 thoughts on “A Very Queer Set of Gentlemen

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