Author's Note: Okay, so, this isn't typically my cup of tea. It's the first yaoi-ish fic that I've ever written, and probably the last. Even though I adore Godchild and think that Cain and Riff are absolutely adorable.
BUT. I wrote this for the fabulous Akito Tsubaki, who's been having a bit of a rough time lately. Everyone should go read her fics right now and send her tons and tons of well-wishes. She totally deserves all of that and more.
Akito, darlin', I hope that this makes your day at least a little bit better. Love!
Disclaimer: I don't own Godchild or any of the characters or material contained therein. …yeah.
A bittersweet Italian aria filled the air, sung masterfully by a young woman with curly auburn hair, clad in a shimmering white dress that was quite stunning, but was most likely quite difficult to breathe in. The girl was probably used to the constricting wardrobe, fortunately, as was evidenced by the ease with which she performed. She had a great deal of charisma, as well. Everyone in the audience was enraptured, unable to draw their eyes away from what was happening on stage.
Even the ever-so-popular Count Cain Hargreaves, usually rather disaffected, was watching intently from his secluded viewing-box. The young woman was a rising star in the opera, and, when there was something new to see, Cain was usually there to see it. Besides, it had been a dreadfully boring day up until that point.
The Count's attention, however, was nearly of the same degree as that of the man sitting next to him—a man who didn't frequent the theatre and was rarely seen in high society. He was tall, handsome, with white-blonde hair, but a submissive attitude that immediately revealed him as a servant. While bringing a servant to the opera was generally not smiled upon, no one was going to argue with the decision of Count Hargreaves. No one dared. He was eccentric, after all.
Even so, no one was more confused about Cain's decision than Riff himself. While it was obvious that the two had a unique relationship, it wasn't typical for Cain to ask his butler along to a social event. Riff assisted the younger man on his many escapades and took care of everyday tasks and worries, but he was hardly a suitable companion for something like an opera. It would have taken no time at all for Cain to convince one of his many women to accompany him. Why he hadn't done that was confounding. Perhaps he hadn't felt like it. He wasn't particularly attracted to any of them at that point in time, so he might not have been in the mood to suffer the annoyance.
Not that Riff cared much for the reason. He couldn't stand to see women practically hanging off of Cain, smothering him with eyelash-batting and artificially sweet smiles. It was to be expected, of course, but that didn't make it seem any better. That didn't keep the bile down whenever he ventured to think about it—which was far too often. So, anything that kept the young Count away from those vultures was more than good enough for Riff.
The aria ended, and the audience exploded into applause. There was still much of the opera left to be seen, but no one would be quite as interested in what followed as they had been in that one fleeting song.
"That was beautiful." It seemed a gross understatement, but Riff couldn't think of much more to say. Wisdom, not eloquence, was his forte.
"And she's only sixteen years old. Can you believe it? Most opera singers twice her age don't possess the skill that she does." Admiration was apparent in Cain's gold-green eyes, but it was tempered by his usual nonchalance, aloof and somehow detached. Still, it was enough to cause his servant to wonder if the young singer had managed to gain enough of Cain's attention to begin winning his heart. She didn't need eyelash-batting; she had the voice of a goddess.
What did he have? Expert shoelace-tying skills? That was far from impressive.
"Yes, that's…impressive. To say the very least." And it was, truly. The sweeping sense of awe that held every member of the audience captive in its grasp was not lost on Riff. Nonetheless, he was naturally reserved and decorous, so he rarely reacted strongly to anything. That fact was quite helpful when it came to frustrating or threatening situations; it helped him keep his head firmly on his shoulders. Unfortunately, it could not keep his mind from wandering, and it usually found itself in areas inappropriate for a man of his standing.
Riff Raffit was a servant—nothing more, and nothing less. He should never forget his place, but he tended to on a disturbingly regular basis. Perhaps Cain truly had "spoiled" him as many claimed.
"You seem somewhat distracted, Riff." Cain quirked an eyebrow inquisitively. "Something on your mind?"
It was a cruel question, and the younger man knew that perfectly well. There was always something on his servant's mind. There was never a point in time when Riff wasn't thinking about something, and his thoughts typically centered on his Lord Cain. Riff liked to think that Cain didn't know what he was thinking, but something in those gold-green eyes, something he couldn't always decipher, told him that he was mistaken.
"I am simply admiring the production," he lied. "It's not often that you take me along on one of these outings, Lord Cain. I'm honored." That much was the truth, and it was a sentiment that he had already expressed at least twice.
Cain chuckled ever so slightly, reclining in his seat and ignoring the opera entirely to fix his gaze on his manservant. "The theatre is nice every now and then, but it tends to be a bore after the first few acts. Like tonight; the star has already performed, everyone was delighted, and now we're just going to be waiting for the end." He yawned dramatically, as if driving his point home, and then added as a sort of afterthought, "That's why I brought you."
While Riff had trained himself to expect almost any turn of events, that statement took him completely by surprise. He didn't know whether to be flattered or insulted by the fact that Cain had brought him along to the theatre to provide entertainment when the opera failed to garner sufficient interest. In the end, he was forced to have neither reaction; being the faithful servant that he was, he had to view the situation as yet another chance for him to fulfill his duty.
"I am not entirely certain that I'm an excellent source of entertainment, Lord Cain" Despite himself, Riff couldn't help but find amusement in the situation. He had never been particularly entertaining. At least, that was his opinion; obviously, Cain disagreed, at least on a certain level—hopefully on some sort of beneficial level.
"Oh, but you are!" Cain insisted, and the mischief dancing behind his eyes produced a deep disquiet to well up inside of his butler's psyche. "Without you here, I wouldn't be able to test a theory that I overheard a few lords discussing the other day."
This "theory" had never been brought up before, so Riff had absolutely no idea as to what Cain was speaking about. The amount of "theories" that could be tested within a viewing-box at a theatre was quite limited; at least, that was the opinion that the older man held. When it came to Cain, any opinions, no matter how firmly founded, could be wrong. That was a lesson that Riff had learned early in his career as the Hargreaves family butler, and it was one that he would never forget.
"May I ask what this theory might be?" To a certain degree, he was afraid to ask, but he knew that he was going to hear all about it anyway, so it couldn't hurt to inquire. At least, he hoped that it couldn't hurt to inquire.
Before giving any sort of answer, Cain rose from his seat and drew the box's curtains shut. They were red and made of satin, embroidered with gold thread and tassels. "It's an intriguing theory." Upon reseating himself, he leaned over the arm of his chair, closing a great deal of the gap between the two. "But I believe that I wasn't meant to overhear this conversation, and that this theory isn't very well-known, so let's just keep this between us, shall we?"
Cain didn't even need to include that question. There really was no one else for Riff to tell. Even if there were people for him to tell, he wouldn't have spoken a word. Everything said or done between him and his master was kept in strict confidence.
"Of course, Lord Cain. You don't even need to ask."
"Alright, then." The grin that settled on Cain's lips was somewhat unsettling, as it seemed to proclaim that the young man had a devious secret, something that could shock and appall. It was coy, yet enticing; sweet, but laced with poison. Riff could have analyzed that expression forever, but he wasn't granted the chance.
Without warning, and in one fluid motion, Cain shot out of his chair, climbed into his manservant's lap, gripped the lapels of the older man's shirt, and pressed their lips together. It happened so quickly that it didn't even seem real. Another reason why it didn't seem real was that Riff simply couldn't comprehend that it was actually happening. In that brief moment, he lost all of his senses.
Contrary to the man's innermost desires, his body was completely frozen. Even if he had possessed the mental capability to move, he wouldn't have been able to. Shocked beyond its capacity to compute, his mind barely even registered the sensation of Cain's lips on his, of lithe fingers stroking across his shoulders. So fast—too much.
Then, as quickly as the encounter began, it ended. Cain retreated a few inches, but he wasn't retreating for good. Mischievousness had morphed into smugness and a sort of possessiveness that sent shivers down Riff's spine. Sensation slowly began to return to the blonde man's paralyzed limbs, but his senses were still overloaded.
"…Lord Cain?" Yes, eloquence was certainly not Riff's specialty, especially not when his beautiful, fragile Cain was sitting on top of him, showing signs of affection that Riff never expected to receive.
The grin returned, and Cain moved one of his hands up into his butler's silky white-blonde hair. With his head canted to the side, eyes staring up at Riff through thick eyelashes, he was more beautiful than ever—and, at the same time, more infuriating and confusing than ever.
"I'm just testing the theory, Riff," came the smooth, saccharine response. In only a matter of seconds, he was ghosting his lips over Riff's neck, increasing the pressure of his caresses as he continued.
Much to his displeasure and mortification, Riff couldn't keep his body from trembling. Unlike Cain, he wasn't proficient in the art of seduction, or even the art of romance in and of itself. Besides, the entire situation was entirely improper. He was a servant, and they were in a public area. They couldn't be seen, of course, due to the curtains, but still…
"What…what theory would that be, Lord Cain?" It was nearly impossible for Riff to keep his voice from wavering as much as his body. His hands were tightly clenched at his sides, and he knew that he wouldn't be able to keep them there for long. The amount of self-control and patience that he possessed was almost superhuman, but even Riff had his limits, which he was beginning to reach.
"Well…" Cain pressed another quick kiss to Riff's lips, not missing it when those lips moved ever so slightly in response. "Apparently, private viewing-boxes at the theatre are the best places for romance."
All that Riff could do for a few moments was stare at the younger man, shock and astonishment engraved deeply and apparently in his expression. If Cain had so much as wanted the beautiful young singer, it would have taken him very little time to make her fall in love with him. The Count could have anyone that he wanted—his pick of the world. Anyone. And, while their devotion to each other was unmatched, Riff could never assume that Cain actually loved him. The more he thought about it, the more he came to the conclusion that such a thing was preposterous.
Perhaps it wasn't preposterous. Perhaps it was true, and Riff had simply been too decorous to realize it.
So, he did the only thing that he could think to do—the only thing that his body could perform. He returned the kisses that he had received, letting himself indulge his innermost desires for the very first time. Cain wanted it as much as he did, and, after all, he only lived to fulfill his master's desires.
Besides, such an interesting theory had to be tested.