Seeing her land broken and bowed under the threat of a foreign leader makes Cressida promise herself, never again.
NOTES: HOLY CRAP GUYS WE'RE ON SINGLE DIGITS!
Sometimes it feels like he's set her on fire. Every little look he sends her makes the fire smolder and burn, and every touch sends little sparks through her skin. It makes her want to grab him, and make the fire spread until she's part of it, nothing but the blazing, mindless goddess of heat.
She wonders if (hopes that) it does the same to him.
NOTES: A tad bit more adult.
I am a stone. No, I am a deep, deep pool of water. Calm. Still, Octavius reminded himself as Cressida ranted at him.
"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, APPROVING THAT BILL?"
"Now, Cressida, you know-"
"You Highness. It will please the aristocrats. You know how they complain."
"WHAT I'M WORRIED ABOUT ARE THE SMALL PEOPLE! YOU KNOW, THE ONES YOU SWORE TO DEFEND?"
A deep, deep pool of water. Yeah.
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?"
NOTES: I don't even know why Cressida's yelling at Octavius. That's kind of sad.
He tells her that she doesn't care about him.
She's inclined to prove him wrong.
NOTES: With a kiss, right Cressida?
She fumes silently in a corner. Gods damn it, she got dressed up in this stupid thing to throw him off balance! Yet when she came in, he didn't say a single word to her! She put on this thrice-damned monkey suit, all blue Oriental silks with its stupid drapings and embroidered finery but she doesn't even get a reaction? Well, he can go die in a hole for all she cares; she is never wearing this cursed thing again!
Just as she prepares to leave, he happens to drift over to her corner and say, "Princess, you look beautiful tonight."
Well. Perhaps this thing isn't quite so awful after all.
NOTES: Cressida totally didn't wear the dress to throw him off balance. Part of the continuum where Octavius is kind of a jerk.
The moment she walks in, he is struck completely dumb. She looks absolutely gorgeous. There are no words that can really describe what he is seeing.
Before, she was merely a game piece, a sexless thing to play with. She was almost one of the senators, old, fun to manipulate, and absolutely not a real person. Now he can see that he was totally wrong.
Her womanly figure, usually hidden under decorative armor, is bared by the revealing silk dress. The subtle lines of the dress hint at even the parts of her that aren't expressly shown. Faint embroideries dance across the fabric, bestowing a sort of mysticism upon the princess. Someone has put a little makeup on her, all smoky eyes and cherry lips. Her hair, normally pulled back in a no-nonsense bun, is down on her back, the effortless red-gold curls calling all eyes to her. She is beautiful tonight. So beautiful he can barely focus.
He's always had a certain... fondness for women, and a weakness for power, so she, as an amalgamation of the two, is most definitely his Achilles heel.
NOTES: I don't even KNOW. I was planning something TOTALLY different for this, but #95, "Lovely", just totally took over my brain, so THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. And yes, this is connected to "Lovely". It's Octavius' POV!
She grew up in a loving family, surrounded by friends and teachers who picked her up when she fell and supported her when she was weak.
He grew up with the best tutors money can buy, constant weapons training, and a wisp of a mother.
It is clear to him who had the better upbringing.
NOTES: Why did I go for childhood for "Advantage"? Well, for one I was kind of stuck with this one. Also, in the Nurture vs. Nature debate, I fall on the side of nurture, so to me, Octavius DOES actually have a disadvantage in his upbringing. So there. A view into the crazy mind of an author.
Once, when his uncle (never his father) was in a good mood (drunk), he had told Octavius something important.
"There are two types of women in this world: the ones you understand, and the ones you don't. The ones you understand will be nice, and you'll have a lot of fun with them, but they'll never last.
"One day, you'll meet a girl who you don't. She'll drive you absolutely crazy. But you'll let her."
He forgets this until one day, sitting across the Senate floor, is Cressida Lindenshield, and despite the fact that he controls all the pieces in the game, she's still a mystery.
NOTES: Scipio didn't seem like he would go about dispensing wisdom. Well, except for how to stone cold murder a dude with your bare hands. Inspired by another fic I read.
"Do you love me?" he asks one night, as they are sitting with their tea.
"No," she says, but he can see the truth in her eyes.
NOTES: Did you see what I did there, with the JUXTAPOSITION? I'm so clever!
One more left!
It doesn't matter that they'll probably die a bloody, restless death. All they know is that they'll stand together until the end, supporting each other until death comes a-knocking.
And, despite everyone's expectations (and a few people's hopes), they do in fact die of old age, together in their bed, with a dozen fat grandchildren.
NOTES: And I'm done! This bloody thing was a month in the making, so believe me, it feels good. None of it would have happened, though, without my darling beta, Boomerang Fish. Yep, she reviewed each of these little drabbles one a time (all 100 of them, plus a few extra!) without complaint. So I give my thanks to her!