He's pathetic, and he knows it. cesare/lucrezia. (set pre-series)
He's pathetic, and he knows it.
She's angelic with a soul of the purest white, unstained and untouched and he wishes she would remain thus forever; father's plots would pluck her innocence from her without a moment's consideration, but Cesare would try with all his might to prevent that fate, with his life if need be.
She inspires fatal worship, and that will be his downfall.
He watches her now--like a demented, infatuated lecher--spinning and dancing to her own tune, joy and the ignorant bliss of youth shown by the mischievous grin on her pretty face. Cesare often thinks she's a demon of desire sent by the devil himself to tempt him, the forbidden fruit of original sin. It isn't a silly notion, he tries to assure himself as she clutches her skirts in one hand and creates a graceful arch with the other, twirling and prancing around an invisible partner. She's a temptress in her own right. He pretends to be occupied with his sword, glistening from a fresh coat of wax, but his eyes follow her with each motion she takes.
A wave of self-pity washes over him when she giggles loudly and curtsies to her 'partner,' murmuring, it is I who should be honored, my lord. Lucrezia's eyes are suddenly on his and she extends a hand, deviously sauntering over to him. The sword immediately drops from his clutch. As is his role as the puppet clinging to her strings, he accepts her hand and squeezes it, the skin childishly soft. She laughs and raises her hand, pressing it into his and walks in a circle, causing them to walk around each other in a slow race, like ships.
"You're rusty," she teases, feet still moving as though she is walking on water.
"Yet you still dance with the grace of a swan," he says. Sprezzatura, his tutor once told him, meaning the effortless display of grace. Lucrezia glides and steps carefully, mouthing the steps and smiling with her success. His eyes follow her with each move she makes, and not just to affirm she's dancing their dance.
"How are swans graceful, Chez?" Her eyes are wide with endearing curiosity and he feels a twinge in his chest at the desire for her to be immortalized thus.
"They move effortlessly as though absentminded, not a care in the world yet so. . . free," their eyes meet through his words. Her plump bottom lip is suddenly captured in her mouth, and he can witness her teeth biting upon it like a fruit.
Lucrezia pirouettes and they march around each other once more, her cheeks flushed a coral pink. "Free," she repeats with a girlish giggle. "Libero." The Italian rolls off her tongue in a purr, leaving her beaming and blushing. Cesare finds that she possesses a natural intuition for language. Children of nobles are subjected to the finest education and tutors Italy has to offer, and his sister excelled in every lesson with a hunger and a thirst for knowledge that knows no bounds. Language is the subject she enjoys the most, however. Irrelevant words would fall from her lips after her lessons, words such as chiesa and erba and capelli. Her pronunciation always makes him grin like a besotted stableboy.
The dance ends as they face one another, hands and fingers still pressing together. Cesare smiles and kisses the back of her hand and her fingers, tasting the sunlight on her skin. Many times he had wondered what her mouth would taste like; would it be soft, like the rest of her? Would she taste of the wine made from mother's vineyard? Flavors and textures of all sorts crossed his mind when he imagined such a moment when he would kiss those lips, and the thought occurred more often than he cares to admit. Lucrezia's eyes sparkle and her mouth parts as her cheeks flush, testament of her weariness. Cesare knows his sister better than he knows himself and knows she never stays tired for long; merely resting for nothing more than several moments before bounding around the villa once again. Father once called her a little ball of energy, Cesare had smiled at that, heartily agreeing.
"Do you ever wish to be free, Cesare?" her lip is caught in the cavern of her mouth and her eyes dart back and forth as they always do when she is curious or excited about something.
To be free of the chains of the church and the possibilities henceforth haunt him endlessly, sometimes disturbing his sleep and causing him to bestow a particularly envious glance to Juan and occasionally, Jofre. Oaths and vows of chastity make it so he cannot openly love, nor father children. Cesare has always wanted to be adored by his children, the way father is adored by his. He sees the worshiping manner that Juan, Lucrezia and Jofre look up to their father, as though he is Christ, himself; such blasphemies would cause a member of the church to rear back in disgust and mayhap recite ten Hail Mary's, or twenty but Cesare's faith had never been that dedicated, or stalwart. He merely wants to be looked upon with the same worship, as father is. Lucrezia is the only person that looks upon Cesare in something that resembles such love, such respect.
He shrugs and motions her to sit down with him on the grass, and she does so, sweeping her skirts. "It does not matter what I wish, my love. Father's wishes are the only ones that matter. If he wishes I devote my life to God, I will do so. If he wishes I become a soldier, I will do so," Cesare knows father will never fulfill the latter desire, it does not cease Cesare's prayers for him to do so, however. Lucrezia's face falls; he hadn't meant to upset her and berates himself for it. His finger lifts her chin up and he gives her a half-smile, as though his words were jests. "Do not be sad, my love. I hate seeing you in sorrow. I have accepted my role long ago, do not weep for me." It's a lie, of course. He fights against his given role every day he lives, insisting a bishop's robes do not beseem him. He doesn't enjoy Lucrezia's fallen face and sad eyes; they do not befit her as the cloth does not befit him.
"My tears are always meant for you, brother," she murmurs, melancholy. "It occurs to me, now, that you will never love, never have children that will resemble you in every shape and form. Such a fate to be given against ones will."
"It is my burden, sis. You needn't shed tears for me, I cannot bear such thoughts."
"We share burdens as we share blood, Cesare."
He stands and offers her his hand, which she accepts with a smile. I do not have a heart to give another, Lucrezia, for you are the holder of it. The words make him hollow and tear him from the inside out. He wants to say them--God, does he ever--but he doesn't, lest he condemn her and her pure, sweet soul. His lips kiss her forehead and his heart beats hard against his ribs when his sister leans into the touch, and his mouth lingers for many more moments than they should before he relinquishes his hold.
"Let this be the burden that only I carry, my love. You will never come to carry such things," he swears. "Not while I'm here."
It's the oath he wishes he swore in front of the College of Cardinals, it's the oath that supersedes every vow he made in front of God.
Lucrezia smiles and kisses his cheek, her lips a soft friction against the rough expanse of hair on his face. "Your love means more than I can say, dear brother. I am lucky to have a sibling such as you."
Cesare leans in close and grins, tipping her nose with his finger. "No more tears, all right?"
She nods and and her smile grows ever larger, her eyes darting in every direction once again. He watches--admittedly mournfully--as she skips away, taking every piece of him with her.