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valediction

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So let us melt, and make no noise,

No tear-floods, no sigh-tempests move;

‘Twere profanation of our joys

To tell the laity our love.

 

Moving of th’earth brings harms and fears;

Men reckon what it did, and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

 

Dull sublunary lovers’ love

—whose soul is sense—cannot admit

Of absence, ‘cause it doth remove

The thing which elemented it.

 

But we by a love so much refined,

That ourselves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss…


He leaned forward, resting the side of his face on Austria’s infertile womb, and spoke.

“Hey, vital regions. If I bury myself in you hard enough, think Roddy and I can become indistinguishable? Even Russia won’t be able to find me if we become one person.”

A chuckle vibrated downwards as slender fingers continued to pet silver-blond strands. Austria’s voice slipped easily into mock sternness. “That’s serious geopolitical reconfigurations you are suggesting there.”

Everything that brought them to this present moment had happened so quickly, there was no time for either to process regret. However the cards fell for the future of their people, they could not escape this unbearable improvisation of now.

“If I could hide you…” Austria started and then paused, fingers tensing along. His body screamed to clutch this man kneeling before him, almost doubling over as he wrested his mind from all the wishful possibilities racing through it. As he always did when frozen, as he did the first time his body went frigid in Prussia’s hold, he felt for a rhythm, however tenuous, and willed his lungs to let. Eventually, he found recourse in metered words and his fingers resumed their absent-minded stroking.

“If....” He cleared his throat. “If we be two, then are two so as stiff twin compasses are two. My soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show to move, but doth, if th’other do.”

Prussia looked up, placing his hands over his lover’s sides as he began sidling upwards.

“And though it in the center sit…yet, when the other far doth roam…”

At eye level, Austria’s violet caught his red and followed them to his full height. A moment, a slight wrinkle to his brow before he averted his gaze and leaned, instead, into the taller man's chest.

“It leans, and hearkens after it. And…g-grows erect, as that comes home.”

Pause.

A shared chuckle.

“You stuttered,” Prussia pointed out quite unnecessarily. “Did you picture yourself waiting for me with a hard-on, you frilly pervert?”

A lame misreading on both their parts, but Austria hupped into his chest, nonetheless, slight shrugs skipping through his shoulders with each slight contraction. Fuck, thought Prussia. Why would he notice now of all times that even the way Austria hupped was elegant, perfect?

“I thought,” Austria breathed, caught up with his runaway laughter, “you might enjoy Donne’s perverse conceits.”

Prussia pushed his shoulders far enough away for their eyes to meet. “I do,” he pronounced, then blinked once, deliberately. “And I can’t wait.”

Prussia smiled and Austria stilled. The world stilled. Austria hardly felt the tear stream down his cheek. Prussia didn’t bother to alert him, just leaned over and kissed the trail to that devastated eye, so strained from too much and not enough feeling, it looked like it might break. Prussia kissed both eyes shut and then rested his cheek against the smaller man’s. Slight tremors betrayed the tension of that stillness. He wished he could hold on until it broke through in a shuddering cry. Wished he could wait for the spasms to finish wracking both their bodies, for sleep to overtake Austria, to fold him in the arms of his sullen brother, reassure the giant boy with a squeeze to the shoulder and his lover entrusted in his arms, before turning and walking away.

How long? How long will it feel? His heart nearly gave in to his desire for it to shatter.

There was no more time for any of that, but this closeness, this closeness might still be salvaged. Without daring to move a muscle, he exhaled once, lightly.

“Such wilt thou be to me,” he started, ignoring the yet impossible tensing of the already tense man before him, “who must like th’other foot obliquely run.”

He bit his lip and tried desperately not to clench his hands and Austria’s shoulders, beneath them. He would not seek with fingers that past-perfect tilt of chin (dull and sublunary indeed!), nor quash with lips the future-perfect sigh (a prelude to mourning). His eyebrows knit involuntarily and he pressed gently, just enough leverage to detach cheek from cheek and rest forehead against forehead.

His eyes closed, he can’t sense anything but that untensing tenseness.

“Thy firmness makes my circle just,” he swallows, “And makes me end where I begun.”

Then he opened his eyes as he pulled away, put on his brightest smile, and made a show of turning with deliberate steps as he began to make his long way back.