Author's Notes: So it's kind of been a while, because I went through this huge phase of not wanting to write anything... But I'm kind of back now? c: I mean I guess so! So while I'm still getting back into the game, here's a nice little oneshot for y'alls.
Warnings: There's incest. Nothing graphic, but it's pretty heavily implied. If you don't like it, don't read?
As usual, I don't own anything!
This is the first time Cesare has opted to visit Lucrezia, instead of waiting for her to come to Rome. The travel is arduous - as it usually is - and he regrets making her do it so often. In the letters he writes to her, he always pleads with her to come and visit. She often responds the same.
Why do you not ever visit me, dear brother? she writes. It's what she doesn't write that makes a strike of jealousy light up in his heart - Are you afraid of seeing me married, dear brother? is what she really means, he's sure of it. He knows she plays this cruel game carefully, luring him because it is common knowledge does not like her marriage with Alfonso d'Este.
It's a sick sort of gratification. He is received at the estates with open arms, and his sister comes swinging down the staircase in a gown of damask gold and pearls, her flaxen hair pulled to the side in a gloriously long braid. Cesare smiles a tiny smile and takes one of her hands in his, lifting it and kissing the finger on which the ring is.
"I have missed you dearly, sister," he murmurs, feeling her fingers move beneath his lips. She is attempting to not press her fingertips to his mouth, a movement that is both familiar and would have, perhaps, negative repercussions on the situation. Reluctantly, Cesare lets her hand slip from his, but toys with a lock of her lovely hair. "And you have let your hair grow longer," he adds, much to her approval - she practically preens at his comment. "It suits you."
"I thought you might like it," she replies, a smile coming over her lovely lips before she turns on her heels and flits away from his caress toward the dining hall. Cesare follows after her, ever the obedient servant. They dine together, just the two of them - Lucrezia makes small talk gaily, chatting with a brilliant smile on her face and taking dainty bites between conversation. She talks just enough that Cesare only has to smile and nod and make small noises to show he's listening.
Halfway through dinner, he takes her hand in his and runs his thumb over the crest of her fingers while she speaks. She asks questions occasionally - "And how is father? And Juan? Is he keeping himself safe?" - but gives his hand a quick squeeze before continuing on with conversation. She is good at that, his Lady Labyrinth; keeping things moving and not letting him linger too long.
That night, they make love in her bedchambers. He mutters to her how he has missed her so, kisses every inch of her slender, soft body he can reach, revels in the noises that she makes. She clutches at his hair and says his name - Cesare - like a prayer, making him almost feel guilty. But then she pulls him up for a kiss, lips locking with his and lighting a fire in his veins, and suddenly he forgets that he's supposed to feel guilty and just feels good instead.
A small part of him is sure that Alfonso knows. He is not a stupid man; surely he has heard the rumors. But he loves Lucrezia without consequence, burying his face into her hair and breathing heavy and hot while she whispers his name over and over again. In the morning, he makes sure the bedchamber door is locked and kisses her brow, her nose, the corner of her mouth as she sleeps.
She looks peaceful. He resents it, just a little bit, because it means she's happy even when she's here with her husband. He has never seen her more radiant than he had the night before - perhaps once, before she had been sullied by Giovanni Sforza. But never much after that.
"Are you happy here, 'Crezia?" he whispers to her as she drowses quietly. She doesn't answer him. She sleeps peacefully - and for a moment, Cesare entertains the idea that she is content to be in his arms, not anyone else's.
He kisses the crest of her hair, lingering there, shutting his eyes and praying to whatever God looking upon him that Lucrezia does love him, still. She murmurs in her sleep – and he knows, holding her and kissing her, that he is not willing to give her up for anything. Not even her husband.