Well, here's the last chapter. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments/favourites, etc! I'm so happy so many people like this thing =) Anyway, here you go...enjoy!
Ludwig does not dream, but he could still be asleep; that's what it feels like. He lies still, almost unable to move, his eyes closed as he breathes in, and out, and in, and out, and in...
He is warm, and tired, though he has slept – is sleeping – what is he doing? It is difficult to tell – and his muscles ache and his skin prickles and burns.
Slender fingers are combing slowly, so slowly, through his hair, and a gentle palm is resting on the crown of his head...then the whole hand moves, sweeping slowly; oh so slowly backwards from his hairline, downwards along the top of his head and back, back, back, down to the nape of his neck. He can feel sweat drying there, and on his shoulders, and along the length of his spine, and he shivers. He is growing cold.
The next thing Ludwig becomes aware of is his still-painful erection. He can feel it pressing against a warm, slender leg, trapped there by his own thigh. It is throbbing terribly, and when he moves a little to relieve some of the sensation, he slips a bit; and now it is pressed against the thick, slightly scratchy carpet. He hears a moan, thin and needy, and it takes a moment for him to realise that it comes from himself.
"Ludi..." says a voice, and there is another hand on his body, now; this time on his right hip, sliding downwards, inwards...he feels it against the inside of his thigh...fingernails...and the scratches are gentle now, more like slow tickling than passion-induced, claws-out fervour.
Feliciano's head drops to meet his own, and a tender kiss is placed on the tip of his ear.
"My Ludi," he murmurs, and Ludwig clenches his fists, and presses his face into the smaller man's lap as Feliciano's hand moves further, faster...the soft ends of those fingers reach his balls, rub slowly, lingering a moment; then move onwards and upwards, touching the base of his arousal, slowly, almost tentatively at first, then squeezing and teasing...they move up, then back down, and up again...down...and he clings to the other, wordlessly begging, writhing minutely, absolutely exhausted in his lover's lap.
His whole body hurts, and it is wonderful.
Feliciano's dress is wet with their fluids, and his stockings are bunched a little around his knees, gathering in fuzzy dark lines. Thin nylon threads criss-cross each other over tanned skin, leaving tiny diamond-shaped gaps between the strands. The colour of the threads doesn't quite match up to the colour of Feliciano's skin; they are a little too pale; and too shiny...perhaps it is just the light in the bedroom, but they seem to glitter and gleam slightly when they catch on a fleck of sunshine. Ludwig sees all these details; they are becoming more and more real to him as Feli's hand moves with increasing speed along his length. Before, he saw these things through a haze but felt them like a knife-edge, and now they are becoming real again, and he is moving away from the dream, the fog, and back into reality, and it is all too fast, too fast...
His breath catches in his throat, and through the rushing of blood between his ears, he vaguely hears himself letting out desperate, gasping cries which fall apart, stumble over one another, and are sliced apart as they reach his throat.
He does not come until Feliciano swaps hands, and moves his now wet right one to the backs of Ludwig's thighs, stroking, tracing the shape of new, purpling bruises there...and it aches, it aches so beautifully that he arches his hips backwards – oh, that hurts, oh Gott – and words, making not an ounce of sense spill from his lips in a jumbled, desperate plea.
"Please, please...ah, per favore, please let me – Feli, bitte, bitte!"
He doesn't think he'll be able to stop himself even if Feliciano says no – but then lips drag across his shoulder, and he is kissed, and Feliciano moves his hand faster, and whispers, "Si," and, at long last, he comes with a rough sob, and Feli's hand doesn't stop moving until Ludwig's hips no longer buck, and his thighs stop clenching against the floor.
The air becomes colder still, freezing the sweat on his back and his neck, and his head is spinning, and he almost feels ill.
"Mmm," says Feliciano, and the words are like distant echoes, still lost in that haze, in that mist. The green maid's dress shifts beneath Ludwig's face and torso, as though the smaller man is fiddling with it; pulling it. "I need to take this off, Ludi, it's icky. Can you move?"
He curls even further in on himself, drawing his legs up towards his stomach and shakes, clutching desperately at Feliciano's legs. He is falling, he knows, he is falling...
"Ludi!" Feliciano wriggles away, kneeling up so he can wrest his legs from his lover's grasp. "C'mon, you have to sit up!"
He can't; he can't!
His mouth is too dry...
His cheeks are wet, and, oh, he is cold, so cold...
"Ludwig?" Feliciano's voice trembles, and for a moment, all is still – then a pair of warm arms are flung around his waist and shoulders, and he is tugged upwards until he is resting against the side of the bed. Feliciano wriggles between his legs, pulls their chests together, peppers his face with kisses – his cheeks, his chin, his jaw, his temples, his sweaty forehead, his eyebrows...
"Oh, Ludi, don't cry!" he is saying, half-sobbing in terror himself, and Ludwig feebly tries to hug him back. "Please, Ludwig...did – did I h-hurt you? Oh, please...hug...hug me...Ludwig..."
He is warmer now, and his arms and legs and hands suddenly feel capable of movement. He tries to embrace Feliciano, but –
"M-my hands," he murmurs, and Feliciano pulls back, his eyes wide and watery. "My hands...they're tied...still tied up." His voice is raspy, and he still trembles somewhat, but this...this is better...he can smile now, and he does so, clumsily kissing his lover's tears away.
"Ludwig..." Feliciano kisses him in return, over the bridge of his nose, and fumbles around for the scissors. They are lying a short distance behind the pair, next to Ludwig's ruined shirt. Feliciano seizes them; and, after some initial difficulty, cuts the blond man free. "I thought...I thought..."
"'M okay," Ludwig says, though he presses closer. He craves Feliciano's body heat, his hugs, his kisses like a drug now; but the shaking is ending, and though he can still feel dampness on his cheeks, he is alright...he is. "I'm fine."
He wraps Feliciano up in his arms, and Feliciano holds him closer, and they sit there for a while, buried in one another.
Ludwig's head is buzzing, and he is still tired, and sore, and horribly sticky, but he has Feliciano, who seems to have calmed down now. He feels totally sated; though slightly empty (he attributes this to endorphins and sheer exhaustion, however, his mind rattling through the pages of manuals and encyclopaedias he has committed to memory, albeit at a rather slower pace than usual), and he is far too relaxed to even think about moving from their position on the floor to the bed, no matter how impractical a place to sit the former may be.
"Thought you hated me," Feliciano mumbles, and Ludwig feels it rather than hears it, just like when the smaller man was licking over his skin earlier, nibbling and biting, breathing words into the core of his very being...
"I'd...never hate you," Ludwig says softly, and lazily, he kisses his hair. "Just...tired."
Feliciano nods, bumping Ludwig's nose, though he doesn't mind, not really, before saying, "Did I...did I make you feel good, Ludi?"
"Mmmm," Ludwig says, and his cheeks turn slightly pink. "Very good."
"Good," says Feliciano, and then adds: "I – think I'd like to try it again. Ve, if you want." He looks slightly embarrassed, but also rather hopeful.
"I do." He says this at once, and flushes an even deeper shade of scarlet.
Feliciano giggles, for whatever reason, and strokes down Ludwig's arm. "You're shaking again," he notes, and there is a hint of worry in his sweet voice.
"'S alright," Ludwig says, though his heart pounds, and he wraps his arms more tightly around Feliciano when the Italian tries to move away. "Wait –"
"Bed," Feliciano explains, and, with some difficulty, pulls the other man to his feet.
It is lucky after all they were sat where they were, Ludwig thinks, through the thick cloud of sleepiness forming about his head – because the instant he stands up, he wobbles, and falls down onto the mattress, unable to reach out an arm to steady himself.
He turns over, holding out a hand, hungrily, anxiously seeking out the smaller man – and his heart stops racing quite so wildly when slim, pointed fingers entwine with his own. Feliciano crawls inelegantly over him rather than let go of his lover's hand and simply walk around the bed to his side – and flops down, as close to Ludwig as is physically possible.
"Love you," he says, in that soft sing-song trill which only he can make endearing. "Love you, Ludi."
Ludwig makes a quiet, discomfited "Mph," sound, and mumbles that he loves Feliciano too into the smaller man's hair.
Feliciano chuckles, and shuffles even closer.
They lie still together, silent and unthinking; just existing, listening to and feeling the rhythmic flow of oxygen between two bodies bound together across time. Feliciano's eyes are closed, and his head is pressed into the space between Ludwig's neck and his left shoulder, and every time he lets out a long, slow, cool breath, his dark eyelashes flutter almost comfortingly against his lover's skin.
Ludwig lets his eyelids fall closed too – slowly, almost reluctantly – and turns his head so the end of his nose is pressed into Feliciano's hair. It is ridiculous, Ludwig thinks; all the comparisons made between one's lover and roses, or spices, or sunlight; because that is not what Feliciano smells of at all. He smells of sweat, and cum, and somewhere there is cologne – an odd concoction of both his own and his lover's, rubbed together by hot, hot skin – and then there is the faintest scent of leather from the riding crop, now abandoned somewhere below them, and that odd, plastic-like, unpleasant smell that tape has, and of course pasta, because he cooks more and more of the damn stuff every day; more than the two of them can possibly eat.
But all of these scents swirl together, and, somehow, inexplicably, smell perfectly charming, and just right – that's the only word that works; just right – for Feliciano. They comfort him, slow his heartbeat from its previous out-of-control thunderclap, rise up to rest atop his eyes, which grow heavier and heavier, despite the fact that they are already shut.
He sighs, breathing in those lovely smells again, and sinks further back into the mattress.
The fierce red marks from the crop which now adorn his upper thighs sting quite badly, as do the purple bruises across his neck and shoulders where Feliciano's affectionate nibbles became a little more fervent than usual – and the places on his arms and legs and wrists and ankles where lengths of rope and bondage tape have burnt his skin like cold fire tingle as though a thousand sharp needles are pressing into him – but they are like kisses at the end of a love letter, like the last words the little Italian says to him before the pair of them go to sleep at night, and so he simply shifts his body until the pain fades away somewhat, and concentrates on the feeling of the sheets licking over those small messages of love.
The light has faded. He doesn't look at the alarm clock, ticking away by his bedside, but he guesses that the time rests somewhere in that warm pink hue between late afternoon and evening. He has the feeling that he is forgetting to do something; that he should not be laying half-asleep, covered in sweat and other...substances...in bed with his lover; that there is something work-related he needs to do, but he cannot for the life of him think what it is. It probably doesn't really matter, anyhow, he thinks, and raises his arms as Feliciano wriggles closer into him, and lays them around his shoulders and waist. Their legs wrap around each other like the ivy that clings to his old castles, and he smiles as his lover flexes his toes, brushing them gently over the tops of his feet.
Feliciano yawns. "Ve...I didn't...I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asks, after a while.
"That was sort of the point."
"Yeah, but..." He struggles. "Ve, you know what I mean."
Ludwig smiles. "I told you, I'm fine."
Feliciano lies still at his side, eyes closed. He remains motionless for a very long time, and Ludwig thinks that he should probably go to sleep too; and is just sliding away into darkness when the little Italian mumbles, "You seem happier now, anyway. I'll tell Hungary."
"You don't need to tell Hungary anything," Ludwig replies, managing to stifle a yawn. "Really."
"She said she wanted to know."
Feliciano smiles – and though Ludwig's eyes are closed, he knows this; he can feel it in the way his body presses even closer (if that's actually possible), and hear it in the way his breath comes out in an amused, almost unintelligible "Hm!" He tightens his grip on his lover, just a little bit.
They lie in silence, bodies wound up like ropes for a little while longer, then Feliciano says, softly, "Alright."
Ludwig sighs with relief, and moves his hand up and down Feli's arm, just once.
A pause, and then, even more quietly, Feliciano adds: "I'd do anything for you, Ludi."
His cheeks are pink – crimson – he knows, but he forces himself to open his eyes, and meet the amber gaze of his lover. "I know," he says, and he kisses him. "Will you be the one who tidies up, then?" he asks, but Feliciano's eyes close at once, and he presses his face into Ludwig's shoulder, and pretends to sleep.
Ludwig watches him – it is something he's always loved doing, watching Feliciano, for her really is the most intriguing, curious creature – and when he feels his own eyes begin to fall shut for the very last time that day, he presses his lips to the smaller man's ear, and, eternally awkward, mutters, "Gute Nacht, Engel."