"Your rival's son and heir?" the pale-skinned and silvery-haired man said, as he lounged on the bed of the sumptuous hotel suite. He laughed, deep in his chest, and recrossed his long legs at the ankles. "And I thought that seducing youngsters was my modus operendi, or have I rubbed off on you more that you thought, Count?"
Given how much of an effect Gankutsuou had had on the body that had belonged solely to Edmond Dantes, the most he could do with the guest in his bed was to enjoy the other's relative warmth. But the small price he had to pay in return for the ageless yet ancient lecher's knowledge in the art of poisoning were these occasional trysts with this one who still remembered when the Count's body was still comprised completely of flesh.
"It is the seduction of the mind that I seek, Doctor, and not of the flesh," the Count corrected, smirking a bit at this bawdy banter.
"The one is as much a challenge to surmount and a pleasure to attain as the other," Muraki replied, folding his arms behind his head, his single eye watching the Count as the other finished penning his letters of introduction. "I only wish that I could return to earth with you in order to watch the comedy played out. I haven't seen a good theatre piece in centuries."
"Watch the news from earth and you will see the lives of three men with no right to their power catch fire and burn to the ground," the Count replied, signing the last letter and folding it.
"Mmmm, you couldn't find me a seat in the topmost galleries, hidden away where I can't be seen?" the other wheedled.
"Alas, no, but you will have a small supporting role," the Count replied, slipping the letter into its envelope, then turning in his chair and tenting his long-fingered hands with the peculiar tattooing on the backs. Bending his fingers to form a hollow square, he looked at Muraki through them. "Your talent in the arts of poisoning will be seen in at least one, if not several acts of the comedy."
"Better a small part than none," Muraki replied, smirking with pleasure.
The Count rose, removing his dressing gown and draping it over the back of his chair before approaching the bed and laying down on it. "Remember the old saying: there are no small roles, only small actors."
Muraki slid closer to the Count, slipping an arm about him and nuzzling his face into the back of his neck. "Mmmm, I like your style, Count, it reminds me of my own when I was your age. A lot of you reminds me of myself." He sat up, looking down into the Count's face and running his fingertips over his forehead. "Even to the dark spirit that drives you as mine drives me."
The Count's forehead burned with a violet light and one hand whipped up, grabbing Muraki by the throat and pushing the pale man up and away from him. "We are nothing alike: you are a glutton without art, without the courage to face the men who accused you of your crimes. Do not compare us," Gankutsuou replied.
Muraki laughed, but the humor veiled a note of hysteria. "You forget that my crimes include storming the gates of purgatory and carving up a reaper whom I captured and who would have destroyed me," Muraki replied. "Your charges, false as they are, were limited to the mortal world."
"Very well, but do not compare us again: we are as different as midnight and the darkness that accompanies a midafternoon storm," the Count replied, lowering the other man to his pillow.
"A fair compromise," Muraki replied. But he did not approach his bedmate until the Count elected to close the gap between them.