"Do you know how to gut a fish, Peter?"
His wrists ache from the chains holding them above his head and against the crude slab that serves as a rack in this mudhole. His blue silk and velvet were hanging in tatters, offering him no cushion or warmth. But beyond the pain, the indignity is insufferable. He hadn't even been part of the battle. He had just come to watch, from a safe distance. What he thought was a safe distance. He hadn't underestimated Draper's tenacity, or strength, or tactical skill. Those had all been accounted for. He had misunderstood his honor - it turns out he didn't have any. He glares at the walls of the Northerner's crude tunnel and says nothing, licking dried blood from his lips. The scraping starts again, and Pete tries not to flinch. Don sharpens a blade slowly, anger tempering his ferocity, but not his care. And he is angry. Some of his best men died today. His brother died today. He was meant to die with them.
"You sink your blade right into its belly, break the sternum apart in one quick blow. Then you slit its throat."
Peter is not able to feign indifference when Don's calloused, bloody hand is on his bared abdomen, staining his skin with the memory of the battle and filling his nostrils with the stink of death. Damn. Damn fuck shit damn damn. He'll be one of those twisted, unrecognizable corpses, head lopped off, comically turgid. Don's scent pulses red blood to his cock, but he doesn't get hard. He's been hard for hours.
"Don't...please...I'll do anything...Don, it's still me-"
His voice dies at the undisguised venom in Don's eyes. The dagger is at his navel now, and even he's almost ready to give up. Almost.
Soft footsteps announce her entrance, and she materializes like mist at Don's shoulder. Her eyes are ice and he can think only one thing.
She's going to watch me die.
No. Not her. Anyone but Margaret.
"I'm not going to kill you, Pete." The words fall heavy and reluctant from Don's lips, too angry to be false, too good to be true, and the knife doesn't sink in deep enough. "She'll have the final say."