The Bitten MouthAuthor: speak_me_fairPlay: Richard IIRecipient: angevin2Character(s)/Pairing(s):
Bruising, Violent Thoughts, Kingly Prerogative, Utter DisrespectRating:
Richard has a new custom. Aumerle has had enough.
Considering it was Richard himself who established the custom of his sitting apart, observing the room and the people in it from what was, always, the equivalent of a throne, a seat on high
it seemed strange to him that it was always such a relief when the time arrived for him to be alone in other ways, closed doors and nothing to intrude but distant footsteps and a sometimes palpable fear of disturbance.
It was, however, it was a burden lifted, it was tangible in its simplicity, for he had never wanted to be a graven image, even if that seemed to be the only way now to command respect.
They were all seats where he had been happy, once – but then he had been with Anne, he had known that there was someone who shared his sense of the ludicrous; his sense of the absurd that ran through all the panoply like silver twine.
The sense that somehow, they were better than this.
Now he was alone, and why should he not be seen
as such, if it was truth? If distance from him was what they all so craved, then by God they could have it and then more, and still more, let them gild him and set him at a remove and never come near, and he would be content.
He would have to summon people soon. He was still in his robes, the heavy gold collar weighed along the bones of his shoulders, the tendons of his neck. He was still who he had made himself, even when left in a solitude he did not have to demand with the force of his will.
But he could not muster the energy, so when the door opened, he wondered for one moment of wild absurdity if he had finally learned to make his wishes known with only the power of thought; that he no longer had to move or even use his voice to be answered.
The expression on Aumerle's face, however, did not speak of anything so – oddly, so commonplace, as a sudden mysterious power of the will and mind.
It spoke of a deep anger that piqued Richard's curiosity, against his better judgement, though he only raised his eyebrows in silent query, demand –I still own your actions, whatever it is you think you feel
-- no, more than demand, command
, for was not what this man standing before him had promised to bow to?
"You," Aumerle said tightly, "are giving us all a remarkable impression of a plaster saint. And that is, these days, the last
thing we are in need of."
"And you would know," Richard said dismissively, already turning away. Oh, Mother of God, the old argument
"And it is certainly the very last thing I
am in need of," Aumerle said, and this was not the old anger, oh no, this was something new and thrumming and tangibly dangerous.
Something small and violent in Richard delighted at it.
"I did not realize you were in a position to state your needs, now or ever," he said calmly.
"No? I rather thought that was what one did to saints, particularly the hollow cheap variety who do not respond to simple requests, heartfelt prayers, or indeed –"
The small unhappy thing that was twisting in expectation turned into rage of its own meriting, and Richard was across the room before he was quite aware he was going to move, his hands coming down hard on Aumerle's shoulders and pushing him against the just-closed doors with a small grunt of expelled breath. He took advantage of their difference in height to bear down
, thinking kneel
, thinking damn you
, thinking you do not have the right
, and saying none of this, but instead, angrier than he had been in months and perhaps years –
Aumerle might be shorter, but he was not smaller, his shoulders were broad and heavy from carrying armour; he jousted for pleasure, did Edward of Norwich, and when he let it, as he was doing now, it showed.
He did not give an inch.He could take my whole weight and I could not bear him down,
Richard thought absurdly, and then Aumerle smiled, quiet and not angry at all, although he still was, he simply wasn't carrying the same
anger, and said,
"Ah, there you are –"
-- and Richard bent his head and kissed him, savage and biting and hating the unending hellish affection
that this man could feel for him so easily, even in the midst of rage, and this time, instead of pushing him away, or trying to gentle him, Aumerle kissed him back, nothing of peace in the gesture at all, and his strong arms came up and broke Richard's hold on him, even the muscles in his wrists and hands thick to the touch.
He could have caused real damage. He did not, though Richard knew he would wear bruises from the insistent, implacable bracelets of fingers that carried all Aumerle's strength behind them, not even yet fully employed but only a hint, a –
Good God. The knowledge startled through Richard like ice-slivers. Not a hint, a threat. And a threat he was prepared to use.
Richard shivered, let his own arms relax, dropped his shoulders, and still Aumerle held him in place, continued the kiss; even when their teeth clashed and Richard knew he had drawn blood, he remained immovable, the only hint of giving present in the insistent lips and teeth and tongue.
Richard's whole body was bent at an angle, the pressure on his arms hurt, and he did not want any of it to stop, because it was real, it was real, and when it stopped he would be back in his glass carapace and he was tired
"Stop," Aumerle said against his mouth, and the brush of skin and air together was almost overwhelming; sent his nerves to crawling while his teeth clamped down on a breath that caught in his throat and threatened to become another sound altogether. He closed his eyes. No,
he thought desperately, no, don't make me stop, don't stop, don't --
But Aumerle was not moving. "Not me, you," he said, still holding Richard in place, still so close, and then the final familiarity that no-one dared, these days, not even Isabel at her most confiding –
"Richard. You could always have this. You can have this.
And the rage and panic went from him in one shallow breath that he seemed to have been holding since he left the hall, and he opened his eyes, and Aumerle was still there, still gripping him hard enough to bruise, still so close –
"Edward," he said, scarcely audible, and this time it was no brief shiver of nerves, but a real shudder, taking over even his bones, a relinquishment of something he had no words for.
Edward held him steady.
And Richard breathed.