You are born to your power, given everything that you've ever wanted; your father is the King of the land, your mother a beautiful Queen. You are the Prince, the power, the one that the Kingdom looks to rule when your time comes. You seek pride, you seek glory, be it on the battlefield (in the clashing of swords, the screams of the crows, the mess of battle and anger; something that you will not experience until you are much, much older, much wiser) or in court (where power comes from wit, from charm, and where you know that there is much more going on than is said, even as a child); and you are given such, without restraint.
This is what you know. This is all you know.

He is sharp, deadly, a blade amongst the skirts and laces that characterize your world. He cares not for your power, for your glory, for everything that everyone seems to consider important; he cares not even for your own life, if the poisoned dagger held to your throat is any clear indication. He takes you, hands bound and blindfold over your eyes, and you let him.
Granted, saying that you allowed him to take you might be stretching the truth. A child does not allow for anything to happen, but then, you've never been much of a child, anyway.

He holds you for ransom, this man, keeps you blindfolded and held captive in some ratty hole or another; you are sufficiently outraged at how he has treated you, below your station, below your birth, though you are, perhaps, admittedly flattered that he considers you worth holding for ransom. Of course, you are the Prince, but that someone else has taken notice...it fuels your passion for more, for more people to want to take you captive, because that means, somehow, that your value is greater than what it was before you were kidnapped.

That your worth can be measured in coin does humanize you, in a way, you suppose, testing the rope binding your wrists together. It's a pity that he's kept you blindfolded; you'd like to see what manner of hovel you've been imprisoned in, though you know that what he has done is wise; he hasn't even spoken to you above a whisper, voice too impossibly low to identify it at a later date. They will ask you questions, you know, when you are returned home, and you will be unable to answer any of them.

But the money never comes; the ransom unpaid.
Perhaps you are not as valuable as you once liked to think.

xxx

He calls you Altezza, the man who pays your ransom.

It means Highness in his native tongue, some flowing romantic language that holds you entranced the moment he begins to speak. You want to learn it, master it; it is much lovelier than the language you speak, less stilted, awkward. The language of a Prince. Teach me, you demand, imperious, prideful, as you have always, always been. He merely smiles, ruffles your hair (to which you squawk indignantly; you are not a child), and tells you to be patient. He's taking you home, he says, and you can't help but feel a bit disappointed that he's so ready to give you up.

The coin that your parents have promised for your safe return far outweighs the amount for the ransom; clearly, something was lost in communication between your kidnappers and the Kingdom, but that's neither here nor there.

He takes you home, takes his money, and vanishes. Your parents are overjoyed to have you back, welcoming you home with open arms, tears, and a celebratory ball that you suffer through with your usual grace and charm. A boy of seven can only do so much, though.

After the rather arduous party, you return to your rooms, slightly pink in the face; you despise dressing up (necessary as it is), and the exertions of the night have caught up to you. You dress for bed, slide underneath the cool silk sheets, and wait for sleep to take you.

Sleep doesn't come.

A dark figure taps on your window, and you freeze, heartbeat speeding, breath coming erratically- not again. Never again. You pull yourself from your bed as the window swings open, lock picked by clever hands. He is hooded, but familiar, and his voice drives you back a step.

Buonasera, Altezza.

xxx

He is no normal man, you decide. To rescue you, then to offer his services (the unsavory type; he is a sellsword out for hire, but you need him, you need him more than anything, to fight this fear, the fear that had so immobilized you before) for a pittance charge... It's obvious that he wants something from you, but you don't particularly care. What will come will come; so long as you can pay for him, he will be loyal to you. He swore as much, and you choose, willfully, to believe him. The alternative is to call for the guard outside, and you're confident that you would not live long enough for him to rescue you.

There's something about this man, something undercurrent and dangerous, that draws you to him; imperiously, you hand him the money he requests (a portion of your allowance, what you had been setting aside to purchase a pet of some sort, and, with a dark chuckle, you realize that in a way, you really are purchasing a pet of some sort) and settle back on your bed, arms crossed. Who are you?

Perhaps that is something that you should have asked me before hiring me, eh, Altezza? The man chuckles, idly thumbing the handful of coins you had given him. He sobers quickly, though, dark eyes thoughtful as he looks at you. My name is Vincenzo. Tu sei principe Xavier, yes? The way your name rolls off his tongue is strange, the usually harsh syllables rendered soft and flowing by the man's thick accent. It sounds...But you've been distracted.

You nod, narrowing your eyes. Vincenzo...?

My surname is of no great import, Altezza. I can promise you that. Vincenzo replies with a grin, sharp and quite threatening, and you are struck by the knowledge that you've only known this man for less than two days; you know nothing about him, yet here you are, alone, vulnerable, with him. He's probably armed to the teeth (which, you notice, are sharp, in matching with the man), with unknown motives and a rather suspect manner. Your grip on your crossed arms tightens as you tense, fear once again overtaking you-

Calm yourself, Altezza. I am not here to hurt you. A soft assurance, as the man walks to your bedside, prying your hands from the tender flesh of your underarms. He eyes the crescent-shaped marks that your nails have left, and you are reminded, once again, just how young you are. I will be stopping in from time to time. If you need anything, he murmurs, tell me, and it shall be done, if it is within my power.

Why? You demand, Why help me?

Because it is a shame to see a child so burdened with purpose. Because you remind me of someone that I used to know. Because I'm bored. Take your pick, Altezza; all are true. Basta sapere che io sono tuo, until I tire of this.

I don't understand. You murmur, mind tripping over the unfamiliar language. Vincenzo smiles, softer this time, not quite the feral look of before. A ring is dropped into your palm- a promise, a benediction, you decide- and he backs up, drawing his hood.

I will teach you, someday.

And he is gone, out the window from which he entered. You lay down, mind whirring, and do not sleep much that night. He will be back, you know, and you are unsure if you're prepared for that.

xxx

Years pass. Time changes many things, but one thing remains constant- Vincenzo reports to you, as he always has, inappropriately cheerful and brash. He provides information, gets rid of threats, watches over you as a father might, and, at some point, you began to look to him more than you did your own family. It's probably part of some grand scheme to take over the throne (you decided this long ago, when he refused, point-blank, to reveal his motives), or at least to give him some sway over it, but you pride yourself in your independence, your ability to make your own decisions. He may influence you, but he does not control you.

How many years has it been, Vincenzo? You ask idly, running a finger down one of the many blades he keeps around your room; the man grins from where he sits, whetstone scraping against some knife or another. Truly, it hasn't been that long, but it feels as if an eon has passed since he broke into your room after rescuing you.

Seven years, Altezza. Growing senile in your old age?

You glare hotly at him, pouting. If anyone's growing senile, you mutter, it's you, old man. How old are you, again?

Vincenzo holds a hand to his heart as if wounded, but glee lights his usually-dark features. A mere twenty-and-eight, young pup; I would not be so hasty to call others old. How is your father? The jab to your father's age- for he is not young, and he has not aged well- makes you scowl, the action nicking your finger on the blade. Vincenzo stalks to your side, deftly taking the knife as he examines the small incision. Satisfied that it is not life-threatening, he presses a handkerchief to it, then returns to his seat.

You treat me like a baby. You grumble, and Vincenzo smirks.

Ti comporti come una sola. I will treat you as an adult when you behave like one.

He never did get around to teaching you his language; mildly annoyed, you ignore him, instead glancing at the pile of paperwork that has yet to be sorted. Your father demands much of you, as he is aging and you are filling into your role as Prince; at least he leaves you to your own devices, so long as you do your work. Vincenzo is adept at hiding, but being under constant watch would make his job near-impossible. You still pay him his pittance; you have no idea what he uses the money for, outside purchasing multiple sharp objects to carry around in a threatening manner.

I hear tell that there is to be a ball tonight, in search of a proper partner for the young prince. Vincenzo finally says, setting aside his whetstone. You tense, uncomfortable, and nod. Who do your parents have in mind? His voice is soft- kind, too kind, for he knows how you despise this, the idea of it.

Her name is Emilie.

Ah, the blonde one. You do not seem thrilled. Vincenzo looks inordinately pleased at this observation; you scowl, reclining back (minding your finger, which is still, frustratingly, bleeding). The ceiling is boring, bare, but it's a sight better than his smug face.

You could just say no.

No, I can't. You don't- You break off, chewing your bottom lip. You have never had to do something you hated because of duty.

Vincenzo smiles gently, though you do not see it; he stands, placing a warm palm on your forehead. Altezza, he murmurs, voice soft, do not assume to know what I have and have not done. It is unbecoming for you to make such...generalizations. You frown, mouth opening to protest, but he places a finger against your lips, quieting you. You will do what you must, Altezza, I am sure; but will you be happy afterwards? His words would haunt you long after that night, amongst the twirling skirts and dapper suits. Your parents have decided; so too have you.

xxx

Emilie is nice enough, you suppose. An opinion built after years of partnership; it goes to show how little attention you've paid to her. Vincenzo doesn't approve of your distance, but Vincenzo approves of little that you do, these days. Perhaps you are too headstrong, too caught in your own goals to listen to him. There is a distance there that there wasn't before, years ago.

I'm telling you, Altezza, you must make a move. Your father is passing, you know this; if you do not do something, you will lose your inheritance to this cousin of yours. Vincenzo was pacing before you, cloaks flapping. He is no longer as young as he used to be, his movements less sharp, more practiced.

You watch him, perched upon the hard wooden chair he's shoved you down onto. You are no longer a child; the gangliness of youth has vanished from your form, leaving you lean and strong, black hair like ravens' feathers upon your crown, the beginnings of a stubble under your chin. At nineteen years of age you are poised to take the throne from your failing father, unless your older (more respected) cousin manages to wrest control from you.

Altezza. You look up, startled. Vincenzo stands before you, face inches away. You are not listening to me.

You're being boring. You retort.

Slap.

You reel back, stunned; Vincenzo himself looks shocked. He steps back as you lunge to your feet, grabbing him by the collar. What makes you think, you hiss, that you have the right to do that, sellsword? You had never called Vincenzo something so degrading; you regret it as the name leaves your mouth, but it is too late. Expression hardening, Vincenzo grappled your arms from his shirt, instead grabbing yours.

I have given everything- everything!- for you, Xavier. Do not presume to say that I have no right. He throws you to the ground; stunned, you lay there, blinking. Hot rage simmers under your skin, burning at you.

I hired you. What have you given that I have not paid for?! You scream, glaring, pain surfacing through the anger. For it is a long-hidden ache, the knowledge that you have paid for Vincenzo's companionship, for his tutelage, that he would leave you if you did not give him the coin he required-

Vincenzo kneels down next to you, arms pulling you into an embrace. The look on his face is one of sorrow, of regret, anger fading as he gathers you into his lap. Altezza, it is not- I do not- Xavier, you do not- Altezza...Non rimanere per- Rimango per voi, non per i soldi, Altezza, per piacere-

You hide your face in his cloak as he stumbles over the words. It has not been easy for either of you, you realize, and you feel like a child again, foolish and too proud, too obstinate. I'm sorry, you sob, tears falling, I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry-

Vincenzo merely crushes you tighter to his chest.

xxx

Things are different after that day. You're not quite sure what is different, but something just...is. Vincenzo seems ill-at-ease, more on-edge than he usually is. You assume it's because your father is fading faster and faster, and it looks more and more like your cousin will be able to claim the throne. You have to do something, but you don't know what, and you won't- can't- ask Vincenzo for guidance. That's something that's changed since that day- you don't seek him out for advice like you used to.

He notices the distance at which you're keeping him, but says nothing; perhaps the fact that you know that he knows is enough for him. Whatever the case, something has broken between you two, or, perhaps, what was broken has finally been brought to light.

I'm going out to the practice lot. You finally announce, grabbing your sword from where it rests on the table. Vincenzo follows you out quietly, as he always done.

You spar with him, like you always do, and you lose, like you always, do, but this time, you put effort behind your cuts and swings, attempt to trick him, beat him- but, of course, it's useless. Vincenzo is one of the best in his trade, and you are merely a half-trained boy; he notices your efforts, though, and frowns.

When you are finished- sweating, panting, gasping for breath at the point of his sword- he drops his blade, grasps your shoulders. Altezza. What's wrong? You shrug him off, biting your lip savagely to not say what's on your mind; it's always been difficult to keep secrets from this man, near-impossible, but you will not yield this time-

Altezza, per favore. I just...What is worrying you? His voice, low, holds you in place as he stalks around you, eyes dark with worry. What are you keeping from me, Altezza? You almost, almost break then, but you merely shake your head and walk away

Nothing, Vincenzo. I'm just...tired. He watches you leave, and you shiver, just slightly, as you feel his gaze on you. Something is different, you decide. Very, very different.

xxx

Troubles in the Kingdom arise as your father continues to get weaker and weaker, yet refuses to name his successor; tensions between you and Vincenzo get worse, so much so that you almost refuse his company when he appears in your window every night.

You must become King, no matter the cost; too many years of work have gone into preparing yourself for this, only to have it taken away before your eyes.

I have to do something about this, Altezza. Vincenzo finally declares, after a night of pacing. I will return. You watch him leave, arms wrapped around yourself, and return to staring at the array of papers before you. You trust him, despite whatever distance has emerged. You will always trust him.

Vincenzo returns the next day, tense and quiet, with only curt replies to your queries. Frustrated, you spar with him again, lose again, and spend the rest of the day replying to the letters of the nobles that you have gathered into your fold. Vincenzo says nothing other than a few grunted instructions as you spar, eyes strained. He looks exhausted, worn, and you can't help the worry that surfaces under your skin, stifling.

Stay here tonight. You order. Vincenzo hasn't spent a night at the palace since you were a boy, terrified of the dark, of the idea that someone could kidnap you again; Vincenzo eyes you solemnly before nodding, pulling up a chair to sit next to you at your desk.

Can I trust you? You ask eventually, glancing up from a particularly boring missive from some southern noble; Vincenzo frowns, leaning back. Altezza, he sighs, what is troubling you? You pause, gathering your thoughts, then exhale. If there was ever a time to be frank, you decide, this is the time.

I...I'm sorry. Vincenzo's eyebrows quirk, and you backpedal furiously. No, I...Vincenzo, I've been...Unappreciative, of what you do for me. And I'm sorry. This has been a stressful time, and I- I have not been myself. You stare at your desk, a blush creeping up your cheeks, and you feel a warm hand come to rest, tentatively, on the back of your neck.

Oh, Altezza. There is no need to apologize, not to me. Never to me. There is a depth to those words that you don't quite want to think about- something behind them, full of an intent that you don't want to name- but it is more than you expected; slowly, hesitantly, you bring the hand on your neck around to your shoulder, forcing yourself into an embrace; you turn your head, hesitate, and press your lips to the hand there. I- thank you, Vincenzo. You have been more than a father to me-

The arm around your shoulders tightens, and you feel his other hand threading through yours, to trace the ring that rests around your ring finger. It used to be large enough to be worn on your thumb; you can fit it only around your thinner fingers now. A father, eh? He mutters, and you grin. Does the thought make your toes curl, Vincenzo? Old fox. He chuckles, and you stand, leading him away from the desk. I tire of letters, you explain, rest with me.

xxx

Five days later, your father vanishes into the void, and you are named King in his stead. Something apparently convinced him as he lay sick and fading, and though you know it was Vincenzo, you say nothing; his pride, and yours, will not allow you to.

Being a King, you come to learn, is difficult. Even with Vincenzo now at you side (granted a position as your advisor), you face many difficulties; the days are long, the nights short, and you hardly eat. You lose weight, slowly, but enough that Vincenzo takes notice at the way your shirt hangs from your thinning frame. Altezza, he sighs, one night, you do too much. The strain is unhealthy-

I can handle it, Vincenzo. You interrupted him stubbornly, waving him off. Where are the reports about the southern fires?

Vincenzo sighed, placing a hand on your shoulder. Take care of yourself, Altezza. I worry for you.

It is you that pushed me to take this role. You retort, shuffling through the stacks of reports; you are driven to such a distraction by your work that you hardly notice when his arms wrap around your shoulders, reading the papers that you sort. It is this scene that Emilie walks in on when she enters your rooms, and she gasps.

Ah, Emilie. How was your- You break off, feeling the arms around your shoulders tighten. Choosing to ignore him, you continue on. How was your trip to the north? She stares at you, eyes narrowed. It was...fine. We will talk later, I presume? You nod your assent, and she leaves, the door slamming behind her.

You shrug Vincenzo's arms off, turning to glare at him. She has the wrong idea. It's not something that you're overly concerned with, but the idea that someone would think that you and Vincenzo were involved is…risky, knowing how you feel for the man.

She does not deserve you. The words are quietly said, but loudly enough for you to hear; warm fingertips trace your cheekbones, leaving a scorching trail against your skin. Vincenzo- A finger is placed against your lips, calloused, gentle; you quiet, frowning. She has been unfaithful to you, Altezza.

You think that I do not know that, Vincenzo? I care not; ours is a partnership born of necessity. She could have a legion of lovers -

You do not.

Startled, you move to step back; Vincenzo holds you still, too close, too warm- Focus. You must focus.

I haven't felt the need to have a lover; you know this.

Perhaps you should. You are no child, Altezza.

You glare balefully at him, indignation overcoming your shock. As you have so willfully ignored in the past. Do not admit to things that you do not believe are true only to suit your own desires-

My desires? And there it is again, the dark glimmer in those green eyes, damnably entrancing; you swallow thickly, and one of his fingers traces down your throat. You tense, eyes wide, as Vincenzo breathes, Aye, I suppose you're right. And you are caught, a fish in a trap, no escape-

He murmurs your name like a benediction, pulls your bodies flush together; you struggle a bit, but are quelled by the look he directs at you, heat and fire, lust, need, and finally, finally, he crushes his mouth to yours, teeth clacking together, open-mouthed, dirty; your inexperience is swept away by it, forgotten, as he claims your mouth, your jaw, the exposed line of your neck. You strain into his touch, gasping, fingers knotting in his hair—

Altezza—Xavier, please, ti prego, Dio- Vincenzo begs, pleads against the skin of your throat, just above where the collar of your shirt has been dragged down to; impulsively, you pull his mouth back up to yours, tasting him. Wine and the faint tang of blood (you must have caught your teeth on his lip earlier- you can feel the ragged tear with your tongue, and you lave the flat of it across the small wound, drawing his lip into your mouth to taste more); he moans against you, pushes you back, back, until your lower back hits the edge of your desk, and he bends you back over it, until your weight rests on the cluttered surface.

The- the papers, Vincenzo, wait- You gasp, jerking away to cast a worried eye at the state of your desk; Vincenzo ignores you, instead reaching for the buttons on your shirt, nimble fingers deftly unbuttoning them. He eases the garment from your shoulders, not bothering to untuck it from your trousers. You pull your arms out of it, wrapping them around his neck as he brushes his mouth down your collarbone to your chest, lips pausing at the small, crisscrossed scars down your left side. Sparring practice two years ago, you mutter, running your fingers through his hair, the one where we fought with knives.

He presses a kiss to each scar, making you flinch, then continues his path downwards; standing as he is between your thighs, you see no reason not to hitch your legs around his hips, drawing him closer; he laughs softly against your skin before tugging your shirt out from your trousers, removing it completely. You shiver under his heavy gaze, casting your eyes elsewhere. Perhaps- perhaps we should stop, Vincenzo, it's not wise-

He surges upward, presses a kiss to your lips to quiet you. I have waited so long for this, Altezza. Do not- do not deny me now. You cannot refuse him- for, of course, you too have waited, wanted, though you had grown used to ignoring it. I can never refuse you, old man. You reply, and he laughs, taking your mouth once more.

You find yourself gasping, bucking into his touch by the end of the kiss; his hands travel, slowly, down your stomach to trace the line of fine hair between your hips; he inches your trousers down, agonizingly careful, and you impatiently lift your hips, disentangling your legs from his body to allow him to pull them completely off, and then you are naked, squirming under his heavy gaze, panting, needy. He doesn't touch you, merely looks, green eyes tracing the lines of muscles under your skin, the leanness of your body; he was right in saying that you are no longer a child.

You have grown. He murmurs, and you hiss as he brushes his fingers down your stomach, nails scratching deliciously against your skin, lower, lower—

You almost scream when his fingers trace the base of your cock, then rake up the sides, palming the head. You have little experience with pleasure- your own reactions spell this out- and the sensations are overwhelming; you buck into his hand as he begins to pump you, slowly, with one hand; the other grasps your thigh, pulling you closer, closer, and up, until your legs rest on his shoulders; he leans over you, lessening the strain on your back, bending you almost in half; his eyes meet yours, irises blown huge and black, dark.

Vincenzo, you moan, I can't- please- his hand doesn't slow, but the other releases your thigh, instead reaching between your bodies; you hear the click and scratch of his belt being undone, and a bolt of panic shoots through you. You aren't ready for this, not yet. Vincenzo- wait, wait, please-

It'll be alright, Altezza.

He ignores your moaned protests, and you shove against his shoulders; ineffective, for he ignores you, instead focusing on stroking down the curve of your ass, fingers drifting in and out, until he finally draws his hand away; you're almost too far gone to protest as he leans around you, the tempo of his hand on your cock speeding, driving you higher, higher.

Vincenzo, I can't- I'm not- please-! You gasp, and he pauses, glances at you. Takes in your panic. Shame seems to crash over him like a wave, and he pulls back, eyes shuttered, horrified at himself. I'm not ready, you pant, not for this.

I'm. I'm so sorry, Xavier, I didn't see, I didn't…I was caught up in- He steps back, and your legs drop from his shoulders to rest on the desk; you imagine what you must look like to him, sweating, lips bruised red, cock fully erect, flushed darkly against the pale skin of your stomach and thighs, which are still spread from where he was standing before; you are exposed. Helplessly exposed. A blush spreads over your cheeks and you itch to bring your hands down to cover yourself, though modesty is moot point by now, surely.

It's… it's fine, Vincenzo. I just…Not that. Not yet. You can't meet his eyes. Anything else is…wonderful. Vincenzo, I just. Not tonight. You offer him your hands, forgoing any idea of stopping. Surely…Surely he understands. Please?

He grabs them, presses his mouth to each knuckle, tongue dancing across your skin. I understand, Altezza, he murmurs against one of them, then takes a finger into his mouth, laving up and down the length of it, and you're struck with the image of his mouth on you-

Fire dances through your veins, hot and searing, straight to your aching, weeping length, and you gasp, yanking your hand away; he looks puzzled, apologetic, and you press your mouth against his, pulling him down, into the position you were in before, legs locked around his shoulders, heels digging in between his shoulder blades. Touch me, you beg as you pull back to breathe, please, God, Vincenzo, touch me.

You're a mess of contradictions, but he reaches down to stroke you anyway, mouth brushing against yours; you ache to touch him, but you can hardly move, trapped against him as you are. I can't- Vincenzo, I can't- You twist in his grasp, words failing as he drags a nail against the thick vein down your cock; you manage to get control of yourself, though, and hiss out an order.

The bed, the bed, I don't- not the desk, Vincenzo.

He pulls back, wraps his arms around you, and half-carries you across the room to the plush bed that you've slept in since you were a child. As soon as your back hits the sheets you reach for him, hands scrabbling against the belt he never quite removed; you pull it off, with assistance, and pause, unsure.

Touch me, Xavier; a growled order against your neck, where Vincenzo has buried his face; you tentatively press your hand against his trousers, feeling the bulge there, and with a flash of bravery you reach into them, fingers drawing him out, tracing the thick, long length of him. The flesh is burning to the touch, flushed dark with blood; he is uncut, unlike yourself, and your nails catch on skin as you stroke him.

You have no idea what you're doing, but Vincenzo chokes back a moan as you touch him, shuddering above you; he presses open-mouthed kisses to your throat, marking you, and you ache to be touched, but his hands are the only thing holding his more significant weight above yours. Frustrated, you release his cock, instead opting to thrust up against him, grinding yourself against his thigh.

He grunts, shifts so that he's looking down and between your bodies, head tucked under your chin; he maneuvers himself so that he can press down on you, hands planted above your head, lost in the masses of pillows. Your hands scratch and rake down his back as he moves against you, skin on skin, delicious friction, blinding you—

You come with a strangled gasp, his name caught on your lips; he continues to move, pulling you through pleasure so exquisite as to be painful (this is nothing like what you and Emilie shared, quick touches in the dark, necessary, pleasureless, and far different from you, alone, ashamed as you jerk yourself to completion), and he spills against you with a deep moan, coating your stomach.

He collapses against you, panting, for a time, before rolling off. You protest, a sharp, demanding sound, pulling him back against you; you need his weight, the sticky warmth between your stomachs. He turns and moves you so that he's pressed against your back instead of laying on top of you; an arm pushes under your head while the other wraps around your stomach, hand dragging through the fluids there. If your face was not already quite red (and if you weren't as exhausted; satiation brings a sense of tiredness to your bones, warm and heavy), you would be blushing, but you say nothing, instead opting to relax. He presses his mouth against the back of your neck after tucking your hair away, mouth moving, but no sound emerging.

You wait a moment, breathing, before uttering, quietly, Thank you, Vincenzo.

That draws a chuckle from him; you half-heartedly elbow him, earning a half-hearted bite. I will wait until you are ready, Altezza. Eagerly. He declares, and you squawk indignantly, though you thread your fingers through the ones on your stomach. I...Thank you for understanding, you finally murmur, and he kisses your neck in response. You both remain still after that, breath slowing, edging towards sleep.

You have no idea how you're going to explain the angry red marks on your body in the morning, but you're sure Vincenzo will figure something out, somehow.

He always does.


Erm. Yeah. Part one of probably a good number, I suppose.

Apologies if my Italian is wrong; I'm pretty poor at it. :V