I'm currently reworking this but it shouldn't take me too long to do. It's actually fairly fun to do and usually I don't like editing much. Much as back a couple of years ago, I've always found Cesare Borgia an extremely beautifully written, if not troubled, character and has inspired me a lot. There is some sexual content, but I decided to not overdo it here.
A huge thanks to Hyarou, Syuuk, KawaiiGurl 101, HikariNoTenshi-san, Evil Pixies are Yummy, MeowMeowMart and Sychronergy for the reviews. I actually wasn't looking to disappear off as I had a few ideas for this I'm trying to now remember. Hopefully if I can't I'll come up with something good, and until them I am trying to make this...somewhat easier to read. I think my writing has improved in a couple of years at least. I am a "wordy" type of person apparently, I was never sure how to take that.
Of course I own nothing...blah blah blah...
For Chiaro, the colour red had come to mean many things.
At this moment, he was reaching for discarded crimson vestments that were tangled upon the branches of a leafless tree on a winter's night, his mind lingering as he stood close to that lake. Thoughts of Cesare Borgia would amount to the various shades of red; of passion, beauty, fury and above all an unquenchable ambition. Vermillion, scarlet and ruby spilled together into an unimaginable desire; of blood and violence, yet something purer than simply murder. As his eyes cast over the figure in the lake, bathed under a silvery caress of moonlight, he knew those shades were all true. All the same, they shouldn't be associated with a supposedly pious man of God.
His fingers fell over the softness of those velveteen robes, and the golden crucifix swinging innocently by their side. It was as if that slim, black leather mask he wore slipped slightly. Ahead of him the surface of the water rippled, its lone swimmer gazing back from the chill of wind and so Chiaro paused nervously. The vestments in his hand were still warm, and he was slightly relieved as he wondered how much Cesare's frail body could fare in the cold winter's night. He inched forward, his fear concealed as his eyes fixed on the slim, and naked, torso of the other man.
"Cesare! Please get out of there – you'll catch your death..." he called out urgently. His tone was both soft yet carried over the icy wind. Impossibly long raven tresses flicked back over a soft, cream toned shoulder as the cardinal met his eye. For a moment, the piercing golden eyes faded back to warm lilac. A surprisingly serene, gentle smile he had not seen so long. The assassin felt himself blush, the air pricking and deceptively warm for just a moment, as that delicate, radiant man drew closer to the shore.
"Death is always looking to catch me, that's my curse," Cesare's hands reached up, cupped hands opening to allow water to splash down. It fell like the falling tears of heaven, splintering in the light and back down into those cerulean depths around him "I need to calm these demons inside me, and without you this is the only way to cleanse them. To stop them burning the life from me."
"I'm here now so please come back..." the assassin had untied his left boot, and was in the process of kicking off the second as slim fingers curled around his wrist; a weak grip not portraying any of the strength the man's body held. He had not even heard Cesare leaving the lake. He paused, refusing his instinct to pull away and instead pulled the other man closer, feeling as if his icy body would freeze his heart itself. "Look what you did, you're shaking..."
"Did you know that every time I look at you, that light blinds me," Cesare's voice contained all the surprise of one who expected salvation to have been lost to him long ago such reasons were what caused Chiaro to save him from suicide and promise to guard him in the first place. Heatless fingers touched over that mark he wore before caressing his cheek, as though he could absorb that glow and save himself. The look of building torment and exhaustion building in those lilac eyes was unbearable. "After all this time, I can be in agony and feel as if my soul is being torn apart, yet that vanishes when you hold me. How strange it is, for a demon to need the comfort of an angel."
"You're far from a demon, but as you said I'm here now..." Chiaro's words were panicked, just like they were that certain, fateful day. So close to the Vatican, and he had to wonder if this was the first or latest time the cardinal had ill-advisedly taken to the winter chilled waters. It made sense the demons would tempt him to do it, and he would seek to purify his weakening body from them. Just as he said he would protect him from them; the mere parasites seeking to control what they had been promised. "I need to keep you warm; you'll catch your death like this..."
The masked man's bare feet slipped against the muddy bank as he reached out to retrieve the scarlet robes, the whispering air whipping violently under his open shirt and bare chest as he did. He carefully pulled Cesare to him, wrapping him in crimson before pulling him into his arms. As he felt that shaking heartbeat against him he couldn't help but think how inappropriate this was; and what would happen if they were caught. Cesare's eyes slowly looked up into his, the fatigued look of someone constantly fighting for possession of his own body, and didn't resist as the two men sank to the ground together. He cradled the man into his shoulder as he stroked the soaking hair away from his neck. How long and thick his hair was now; dark and seductive, even if he shouldn't have such thoughts.
It was frightening really, seeing him like this and not seeing the strength and intelligence hidden behind those eyes. If Chiaro knew not of demons sustaining that body he'd think the cardinal's health was failing him. Neither of them knew just how much strength had been consumed from him over the years; perhaps the assassin was to blame. On the darkest of nights he wondered if he had in fact denied him of a merciful death.
"...You need to take your clothes off," he heard Cesare tell him gently, looking up from their embrace as the blonde assassin nervously shook his head. "You chased those demons away, they left me so cold...and now I need your heat, your body...help me..."
Chiaro unfortunately missed the conniving, subtle grin blossoming over the angelic face of the other man. He nodded, tentatively removing his mask to look down. It was as though a dark light, possessive in nature, reached out to grip at him. Breathless and enchanted it was as if a deathly grip caressed his very soul and stopped him pulling away. He reached out, drawing Cesare close as his lips brushed over the other man's in a chaste and tender kiss. Those lilac eyes closed, and he kissed again softly at the raven haired man's eyelids.
He obliged to Cesare's request, even if he was unsure why. He started to remove his white shirt, startled as surprisingly agile hands reached to help him make quick work of the rest of his close. A hated gaze was searching him, and embarrassed he drew the man close to him, his hand seemingly tracing the soft skin of his pale chest of its own accord. His mind protested as his heart quickened and his body grew aroused, his desire fixed on that warming body within his lightly muscled arms.
"I must be such a bother to you, and to your life," he heard whispers against him. He reached out, cupping Cesare's chin delicately as he spoke those words and shook his head. He gripped his hand, trying to ignore how his body felt with the other man pressed against him. "I rely on you with more than my life, and it seems not even a day can pass without you saving me. It seems destiny forced us together; if you hadn't saved my life, your destiny would still be your own..."
Chiaro nodded almost dumbly, pushing his thoughts that this shouldn't be happening. But then it was his fault, it was because of him that beautiful man's life was still wracked with agony and darkness. He gritted his teeth, his face pressing into the Cardinal's damp hair and tried to memorise its scent. His soul ached, knowing even now the other man must wish he was dead; he was damned, his own father having bartered away the very life he clung to. Chiaro told himself his pain was nothing in comparison, and all he could do now was keep him alive.
"So do you regret it?" Cesare continued quietly, reading his eyes as if he could read his mind. He shook his head, fixed by those beautiful lilac hands and his fingers stroking his porcelain face. No, he couldn't, there was nothing cruel or malicious in that man. It was just the black grip cursing his heart, he knew that. a cold hand reached up, caressing the assassin's jaw as if mimicking him and he reached to hold it there. "Rather – do you regret being with me?"
Chiaro reached down, claiming those silken lips in another feather-soft kiss. "Of course not, not for one moment. I'd rather die than be from your side."
Chiaro's eyes widened and he drew back, the kiss becoming slightly less chaste after the ecstasy of a fevered tongue swept over his own. He noticed a shadow cross behind those eyes, a golden and glittering magnificence tainting them momentarily before dissipating. The grip upon his heart said to ignore it, and instead look into the innocent face of the one he had come to cherish dearly. "T-take you where?"
"Wherever you like...I'll give you my body until the sun rises," with a shaking breath, Cesare leaned in to gently kiss his neck. Chiaro ignored his instincts to move away, even if this felt like a costly offer. "They say the best way to stop a fever is to burn it from someone; any physician will tell you that. You don't want to make me sick, do you?"
His protest died in his throat as he watched those hands reach up to lose themselves in his soft blonde hair. Again he was trapped by that man's enrapturing beauty and how powerless he felt; vulnerable and helpless and again under Cesare's control. It was as if he was a siren of legend, and he was called by a beautiful yet silent song of something more sinister from within that perfect body. Perhaps he was the same as a fated sailor about to be pierced upon the rocks, under the thrall of a dark plea and unable to break away. He leaned closer.
"Only you can make my pain go away," Cesare reminded him. "My body needs you as does my soul...what would you do to save that..."
The assassin's mind drew blank, no longer protesting as he lay the other man down. Heat built within him, beading on his skin in that cold and fleeting night as the sun still refused to rise. Chiaro felt dizzy, intoxicated even, as his hands reached out to knead softly at the other man. Not a single thought entered his mind as his lips drew over Cesare's neck, the weak body under his arching slightly in protest as he bit down. His teeth cut and bruised his throat more harshly than he would otherwise dare, but then he would never dare defile him to start with. Lost within the control of demons that guilt faded, subsiding even before its emotion crossed his mind. His calloused hands, keened from so many years of swordplay, just sought to caress that delicate body for the rest of his life. To tear it and make it belong to only him. Cesare's tired body grew rigid and resisted, and he traced those pale arms before gripping them and forcing them down. His mind fell to the prospect of only taking the possessed man again and again, until those lilac eyes never again saw the world that pained him so much.
As he flattened the scarlet vestments for the both of them, Chiaro knew it was hardly the first time he had made love. However it would be the first time he would with a man and definitely not with one burning with fever and entered forcefully. His hands gripped painfully onto Cesare's shoulders as his body commanded him too, his nails scraping scars down his soft skin and the other man's body seemed to protest against his force. His mind told him it was wrong, a quiet fear of breaking a virgin in the heat of his own selfish passion. He didn't want to hurt him, but his body was contorting in its pleasure and he shuddered deeply, reaching down to cover Cesare's mouth as if to stop him screaming.
As the final, deepest and most penetrating arching of his body left him, Chiaro could hear the chirp of birdsong once again. In the next moment he collapsed at the side of his trembling lover, looking at a trickle of pearly-white fluid as it mixed with a tone of virginal blood on the dirty below them. The guilt struck him, daring to glance at Cesare who simply remained as he was and stared blankly into the sighing waves. He reached out to stroke the thick dark waves of his hair, enveloping his freezing body against his passion-warm flesh and worried how much of the Cardinal's dwindling energy had been spent. He smiled, even if he didn't feel like smiling, his body for a moment loving how frail and tired he looked even if that seemed...warped, somehow. "You are the most beautiful creature I've ever seen, never forget that..."
"I hope I don't get sick," Cesare said distractedly, but leaned into his chest as if to close off what little space remained between them. His eyes opened slightly, a delicate purple of ambition watching the golden spires of the Vatican across that freezing lake. "I can't do a whole lot if I'm stuck ill in bed..."
Chiaro nodded, feeling pained suddenly and drew him into his arms again. He reached out, a hand drawing his hair back, thick with the aroma of water and pressed his lips to his forehead. "...You're really burning up; we should get you to bed..."
"I think that's the best thing to do," Cesare said weakly, and when Chiaro looked away he gave another hidden smile to himself, as if he had finally achieved a long sought after goal. The blonde assassin was oblivious to it as he carefully, albeit shakily, tucked him within the blood and mud strewn vestments and took to pulling on his clothes. He was clumsily lacing his boots when he noticed that same trickle of blood again, horrified that his actions had led to such a loss of innocence.
Even if Chiaro wasn't really cold anymore he couldn't stop shivering. Cesare he knew was a lot more sheltered than him, both protected and neglected in equal measures, and he knew he'd need to be around more to stop him taking to those frozen waters. Silently he swept the Cardinal into his arms in a shower of raven hair, receiving no resistance even though he expected it. It was alarming how light he was growing, weaker, and he again thought it was a symptom of that terrible curse. A slim hand reached round the blonde man's neck and he looked down at him. "Try to sleep on the way back of you can. You're never sick for long so just be careful for a while. Try not to get worked up over anything in the meantime."
"Usually I wouldn't, but of course it's not like I've ever been ravished with a fever before. You could have gentle with me," Cesare replied softly. The assassin's eyes looked over the dark bruising mottling his milky skin and widened. A golden glint in the other man's eyes appeared and gave a playful smile, those lips anything but comforting and reassuring. He looked away; aware hurting Cesare's body hurt him just as much, and watched the Cardinal reach for his glittering crucifix with a trembling hand. "But first I need you to do something for me."
Cesare was holding the chain and its depiction of their fallen saviour tightly to him, seemingly oblivious now to his bruised body and the illness burning within him. Chiaro nodded, his lips pressing their apology to his fevered forehead. His pale skin showed little sign of the fever aside from its heat, but then he hardly looked like he was playing a host to demons either. "Anything."
"I'm going to need new vestments I think," he announced, gesturing to those he was wrapped in, amidst their stains and evidence of his lost virginity. The assassin stiffened slightly, but nodded. "I don't think a man of the cloth should be seen like this, do you?"
"No but..." Chiaro paused, looking down into the perfect, tired features and felt guilty for disturbing him. Ignoring that thought he continued. "But what should I say?"
"About what?" Cesare dissolved into a fit of dry choking coughs before drawing back, looking at the lines of red wet upon his fingers as he drew back with interest. He pondered, ignoring the fear in Chiaro's face. "Oh, the blood? I'm not sure, lying to the Pope is a sin, but as he's my father just say what you think makes sense. You'll be able to make up an excuse for defiling his child's body – assassins are good at being deceptive I'm told..."
"...Just sleep, you need to rest now," Chiaro said blankly, feeling stricken and remaining completely skill. He still felt himself drawing the man closer into his arms, protectively as those lilac eyes closed. For a moment a boiling anger embedded itself within him at those sharp words; at hollow and used he felt. However he felt looking down into those deceptively angelic features made the guilt rise again. He was the demonic figure stealing and damaging something beautiful, and the thought made his eyes sting. He stroked again through his dark hair, running it through his fingers for the sake of watching it fall. It was more rare and precious than black gold, and he didn't deserve any of this. Yet at the same time he was as deserving and cruel as the frozen winter sun rising ahead of them.
There was a reason, certainly, for why Cesare was like this. Chiaro was the light and warmth in his painful and cruel life, and even now it seemed he was still hurting him. The assassin silently told himself he was what protected the cardinal's ebbing humanity, but at the same time wondered if his body and mind would eventually fall deeper into illness and madness. He gave one last glance to the icy waters, his tear blurred eyes fixed between them and the deep scarlet of the vestments
In that moment Chiaro felt more than ever as if he could name the various shades of red that depicted anything but piety, and then felt he could name every shade of blue in the lake's sorrowful depths. As the two flooded together they would of course make a delicate flood of purple; the red passion and blue sorrow making something new. Such things could never end in purity or sanity, could they? Yet it was that exact colour he knew was carried in Cesare's eyes when the demons weren't affecting him. Those eyes were forever locked in their cruelty and vulnerability, colliding between the highest ingenuity and the deepest despair. In thought he dared himself to reach down to steal a secret kiss from the other man before walking away from the lake and towards the towering Vatican.